Disembodied Screams

I wrote this for a writing competition. It didn’t win. 

Please enjoy this sloppy seconds essay. 


My out-of-body experience started at the one hour and 22-minute mark of my 55-mile morning commute to work.

The miles of Boston traffic surrounding me morphed into blurry blobs, Ed Sheeran’s music became static, and I could only hear the sound of my voice yelling the same thing. Over and over and over.


There was no emotion behind my pleas—I sounded like Siri as I shouted “HELP!” for three minutes straight. Thankfully, it was winter and my windows were rolled up. I like to think any drivers that caught a glimpse of me alone and screaming in my car just thought I was talking to my husband on speakerphone. Or singing with the radio. Or doing anything except losing my mind.

Abruptly, though my tone remained the same, my word choice changed.

“F*$K! F*$K! F*$K!”

I’m not proud of my potty mouth, but I’d been awake since 4:30 a.m. Rising before the sun and leaving for work in the dark can make people do crazy things. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

The F-bombs continued to drop until I heard a beautiful robotic voice from the GPS heavens:

In one mile, take the exit on the right.

I felt my soul get sucked back into my body and I jerked awake. It was sort of like when Patrick Swayze jumps into Whoopi Goldberg’s body in Ghost. Minus the awkward sex scene, and plus the fact that I was jumping into my own body. But you get the idea.

I suddenly felt alive again. Only one mile until my exit for work. I took a sip of coffee from my travel mug and started singing along with the radio, seemingly unfazed by the mental glitch that had just occurred.

I did, however, learn an incredibly valuable life lesson that day. In morning traffic, no one can hear you scream.

My New Old Friend: Reconnecting with a Former BFF as Adults

I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing close friends in my life. Not all of have followed me into adulthood, but I have a handful of ride-or-dies that have stuck with me through some really weird stuff. Either way, I’m thankful for the friendships—no matter when they ended, or why—because I know that certain people are just meant to be there for specific portions of your life to help you grow. Or something like that.

Over the last six months, though, I’ve reconnected with Blake.

Blake was one of my best friends from 6th grade until about 10th grade. We met when we were both cast in a Newport Children’s Theatre play and quickly became friends. I’m not even positive why we “clicked,” but I think it was a combination of our love of eating* and the fact that some people thought we looked alike.**

*Please note that I said “love of eating,” not food. It wasn’t about the food, it was about eating it.

**We didn’t look alike. We were just chubby and had the same haircut. 


We did not wear these clothes for fun; they were our costumes for the play we were in. Fun fact: My overalls were from the Women’s Department at Fashion Bug because I was too tubby for the cute overalls at Gap Kids. So tragic.

Blake and I had a really good run. We helped each other through our awkward years and had a lot of fun together. I taught her how to pluck her eyebrows and she would give me tough love feedback that other people didn’t have the balls to give.

For example, when we went to Weight Watchers together in 9th grade and started to lose weight, I got excited and bought a pair of wide-leg off-white jeans at the Express (shudder) just because they buttoned. The button was totally pulled and I looked like I had a lower stomach tumor, but who cares? They buttoned.

Blake was not about that bullshit, though. I excitedly wore them over to her house and she wasted no time as soon as I walked in the door.

“Are those pants new?” she asked.

“Yeah, I got them at the Express! They’re an 11/12,” I bragged.

“You know, just because you can button a pair of pants doesn’t mean that they fit. I don’t know if they’re very flattering on you,” she said matter-of-factly.

I knew she was right. She knew she was right. Everyone who saw me in those jeans knew she was right. And I know she wasn’t even being mean or a bitch about it—she just kept it real 24/7 and didn’t want her BFF parading her camel toe around town like a hot mess.

I always felt like Blake was the cooler, more mature version of me. She was better at talking to boys, wore nicer clothes, and was more adventurous. We were both pretty outgoing, but she pushed me outside of my comfort zone—in a good way.

I don’t know why we stopped hanging out. She went to boarding school nearby, so while I could still see her, they had half days of school on Saturdays and it just got hard. We made new friends in our respective high schools and kind of floated away from each other. There was no falling out—we were just entering new phases of life and had new lessons to learn…separately.


The last summer we hung out.

Towards the end of 2010 when I was almost 27 and she was almost 26, we became unofficial Facebook Messenger buddies. Blake messaged me to congratulate me on my engagement and we attempted to make plans to meet up. We ended up getting coffee together, but I actually don’t remember much. I know we caught up and it went well, but that’s about it.

Over the next six years, my string of Facebook messages with her is filled with us touching base about random life events. Congrats on weddings and babies and promises to get together that were never kept. We had a lot going on and I think we could both barely manage our current friendships, never mind rekindling an old one.

Then for some reason this past November, we finally got together. I wish I could tell you why it finally worked out, but I really don’t have a clue. I went to her house on my birthday and I sat and hung out with her and her sister for hours. And the coolest part? It wasn’t awkward. We talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives immediately, even though we’d barely seen each other in almost two decades.

We’d both had countless experiences over the years that had built us up (and knocked us down), but we were the same people at our cores. I feel like it’s easy to lose sight of our authentic selves as we get older, so I was weirdly relieved that Blake and I both felt like we still knew each other—like really knew each other.

Since then, we’ve hung out probably every two or three weeks. I go over to her house while her kids are at day care and we just…chill. She takes me on hikes on the trails behind her house and excitedly teaches me about random animals and plants. I huff and puff behind her like a slow, sweaty beast who has no clue about nature, but I’m consistently in awe of how much she loves it. Every once in a while she asks to borrow my iPhone to take pictures of random things because she has a flip phone from 2007 that she can never find. I’m so jealous of her flip phone. And her zero desire to text or be connected to the world 24/7. 



I found a broken bird egg on one of our nature hikes and I was so impressed with myself. It was actually pretty sad how proud I was, but Blake took a picture to humor me.

We sit in the backyard and read tarot cards and just talk about life. We call these visits our therapy sessions, because they really are. Now that we’re older, we’ve both become less selfish and can actively not just talk to each other, but listen to each other and provide valuable feedback. Blake will still give tough love feedback, but it’s way more gentle and she’s developed such an awareness of how her words or actions may affect others.

And there’s zero judgment. Like, none. Usually, I can feel people judging me (even if it’s unintentional) while I talk, but I don’t get that from Blake at all. And I don’t judge her either because life is WEIRD, man. To quote the late, great Harris Wittels, “We are all horrible and wonderful and figuring it out.

I’m not going to air my dirty laundry on the Internet, and I’m certainly not going to do that to Blake, but I’ll just say that we’ve both been able to help each other through some shitty shit. (Don’t you hate shitty shit?) And that’s a big relief to me because my copay to see a therapist is $55. I just can’t justify spending that kind of money to talk about feelings because if a new Kylie lip kit comes out, I really need to have that cash on hand, ya know?








A Day at the Poo-l

I couldn’t wait to go visit my in-laws at their new home in a 55+ retirement community right outside of Las Vegas. I’d been told about the countless activities, pools, and feisty old people driving golf carts instead of cars—I was psyched to see it all in action.

When we arrived, we saw how right they were. However, there was one thing we didn’t expect: my 15-year-old stepson was basically the human equivalent of a steaming pile of poop. We learned this the hard way as we tried to visit one of the community’s five million pools one day.

All five of us rolled up to the clubhouse with the nicest pool around 10 am, totally ready to make it a day. Debbie, a senior friend of my in-laws who was 500x more fabulous than me, met us there too because we needed three individual residents to get our three individual guest passes…because that’s not a pain in the ass at all.

The older gentleman sitting behind the desk seemed like someone who used to work in a job where he was extremely unappreciated and/or made to feel like a crap on a daily basis. For example, I see him celebrating his 50th birthday while managing a Jamba Juice, or maybe teaching U.S. history to middle schoolers while simultaneously fantasizing about killing himself. Those feelings of self-loathing had clearly carried over into his retirement—you could tell by the way he leaned back in his chair and showed little to no emotion.

“Hi! We have three guests for the pool!” my precious mother-in-law chirped as she approached the desk.

Norman Bates didn’t say anything for a minute and then pointed through our group to my stepson standing in the back.

How old is he?” he asked. His tone of voice was similar to how you would say “Is that gross blotchy rash contagious?”

“He’s 16,” my mother-in-law replied, figuring she’d give him an extra year of age…juuust in case.

“Nope, gotta be 19 to use this pool. You can come back from 1-4 pm because that’s when it’s open for kids,” he said matter-of-factly and ever so pleased with himself. “The other community center down the road has the pool open from 10 am – 1 pm. You can go there instead.”

“Oh come on, it’s not like he’s going to bother anyone! Just let him in!” Debbie pushed.

At that moment, you could see desk guy having flashbacks to high school when the pretty girls would trick him into doing things that got him in trouble. He was not going to be fooled by beauty again in his golden years—he was going to stand up to all the cool kids that were trying to pressure him into not being a total dick.


We knew that Mr. Jamba Juice was a lost cause, so we piled into the mini van and drove over to the other community center. There was a gentleman at that desk who seemed like he had a past life similar to the other dude, but he was nice to us because we were following his rules.

We got into our suits, did the required pre-pool shower (does that really do anything?) and walked out into the sunshine. The pool was huge, sparkling blue, and there were all sorts of adorable old people in it.

CRITICAL LIFE TIP: If you’re chubby and want to feel confident in a bathing suit for once in your life, go swimming in a retirement community. I felt like Cindy Crawford. Or Gigi Hadid. Or whatever supermodel I can reference that you dang Millennials will know.

I walked down the steps into the pool with my husband, stepson, and father-in-law; my mother-in-law was hanging out on the sidelines under an umbrella. We all dunked under the water, talked about how happy we were, and just started to get comfortable when we heard:


A health emergency? WTF is a health emergency? Is this the part where I get AIDS?

We all stared at her blankly for a minute because we didn’t quite understand what was happening.


Confused still, we began getting out of the pool. My mother-in-law walked up to the woman who had to make the bizarre announcement to ask her what was going on. The woman paused for a second, collected herself, and whispered:

Someone had an accident in the pool.

“Number one or number two?!” my mother-in-law asked.

“…number two. In one of the lap lanes. I heard her say she had to get out of the pool and that she had to go the bathroom—and then I saw it in the water. She’s insisting she didn’t do it, but she did.”

The poor employee looked like a deer in headlights and gestured discreetly to the 100-year-old corpse of a woman that was 5-foot-nothing and approximately 70 pounds. The butt of her one-piece bathing suit was hanging down loosely—possibly because she had a non-existent ass, but more likely because she’d dropped a load off at the pool that had expanded the limits of the elastic in her suit.

Who is that?” my mother-in-law whispered to the woman.

“…Nancy…” was all she could muster up. “I’m so sorry, I know it was a pain for you guys to find a pool that was open for kids. I can call down to the other clubhouse to see if they will let you in early.”

I was half listening to this conversation happen, half watching the one remaining old dude in the pool. He was in the lane next to Nancy’s and had a snorkeling mask; he was holding it up to his face to try to get an up close and personal look at the floating feces show. I was in awe watching him study the poop cloud.

We didn’t know what else to do at that point, so we just all had to laugh at how stupid our day had been. We grabbed our stuff and headed for the main lobby. The woman was waiting for us there.

“I called up to the other pool to tell them what happened and ask if you could go swimming over there…he said you could go back there at 1,” she offered.

The suicidal history teacher struck again. He did not care that someone had pooped on our pool day. He was bound by the rules of the retirement community pool and he certainly wasn’t going to bend them because Nancy’s sphincter muscles weren’t what they used to be.

I will never forget, though, Desk Guy on a Power Trip. I will always remember you. And next time we visit my in-laws and see you again at the pool, I can’t guarantee the state of my bowels. Maybe I’ll eat an entire plate of barbecue pulled pork nachos before. Maybe I’ll drink a pot of coffee. Or maybe I’ll do both.

And by the time you realize what has happened in a deep, dark corner of “your” pool, it will be too late. I will simply lean over and whisper into your ear:

“This one’s for Nancy.” 






The Day I Didn’t Meet Britney Spears

On my first day of college at Fordham University, I sat at a big rectangular table with the rest of my English class. My teacher, in an attempt to add some meaningful slant to this monumental day, asked us: “What one big goal do you have for your freshman year of college?”

As the question traveled around the table, most people talked about making friends, getting good grades, figuring out a major…I don’t know, I can’t remember specifics. I was bored.

When it was my turn to speak, I didn’t have to think it over — I had known my goal since the day I received my acceptance letter from Fordham.

“I’m going to be on Total Request Live and give a shout out!” I proudly proclaimed.

My teacher chuckled and the class laughed, but that was fine because I had no interest in their opinions. After nearly 18 years of living in Rhode Island, I was finally in New York City and damnit, I was going to find the famous people and be on TV. In 2001, TRL was everything and I needed to be a part of it.

Unfortunately, I think terrorists got wind of my plot for full MTV domination because 9/11 happened only a few days later. That definitely threw a wrench in my plans, but once TRL came back on the air and I stopped panicking out in public, I knew it was time to put my teeny bopper pants on and head down to Times Square.

My first visit to TRL was everything I thought it would be, and more. I got inside, had a prime seat in view of the camera, and was randomly selected to give a shout out. Before the show started, some random MTV person kept appearing out of nowhere to make me rehearse what I was going to say…really, really fast. My time came during Mandy Moore’s video for “Crush” and I just let it rip:

“Hey, my name’s Mary! I just want to say ‘what’s up’ to all my friends and family in Newport, Rhode Island and all my girls at second floor Alumni South at Fordham University! WOOOO!!! YEAH!!!”

Remember that crazy scream that Howard Dean did in 2004? It sounded a lot like that. I was crazed, and I was so proud.

I showed up at my English class the next day with laryngitis. When my teacher asked what happened to me, I croaked out, “I did it.” I think he was impressed. Maybe afraid too, but also impressed.

I rode that high for a couple months but continued to plan out my next trip to TRL. It had to work with my class schedule, and I also wanted to see a really big celebrity. I mean, I met Ben Stiller the first time (he was promoting Zoolander), but I wanted a major celeb — I wanted Britney Spears.

Britney was my everything.


Right before Christmas break, MTV called me. They said they were having some type of fan appreciation show and they wanted lots of fans outside with great posters. The part that really drew me in, though? The people with the best posters would get free tickets to any TRL taping. Like, the TRL tapings where huge stars were on and people camped out to get inside. Britney-level stars.

I knew Britney was going to be on the show in February, so I told the MTV person I’d be there with two of my friends — and we were planning to win.

Our three posters were thebomb.com, if I do say so myself. The first masterpiece said “C’mon Carson” the second said “We’re famous” and the third said, “Let us up.” Each poster board had a hole cut out where we stuck our faces in, and we drew around the hole to make it look like a famous person’s body. My friend Kelly was Mariah Carey, Annie was Christina Aguilera, and I was Britney Spears (duh) in her “Slave 4 U” costume carrying the snake.


We surveyed the competition upon arrival and determined no one had been as creative as us. We thought we had it in the bag, but then we spotted it: an enormous poster of the American flag that said,“TRL Loves America.”

“Shit,” I whispered. “Those assholes are playing the 9/11 card. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO BEAT AMERICA?”

“It’s okay, MTV will see through them!” assured Kelly.

There were a few tense moments there throughout the taping, but luckily, Kelly was right…sort of. Only three months after 9/11, the MTV folks knew they had to choose the American flag poster. But, they also knew our posters were hella sweet and they would be horrible human beings if they didn’t pick us. So they announced it was a tie, which was fine with me because I was still getting tickets and I knew that we knew who the real winners were.

The MTV production person pulled out his clipboard to get our information and find out which upcoming show we wanted tickets for.

“We’re gonna have Jennifer Garner, Scott Foley, Justin — “

“Britney Spears, please,” I said quickly, cutting him off.

“Are you sure? We have a lot of awesome guests coming on soon,” he naively asked, clearly not knowing who he was dealing with.

“Oh, I’m sure,” I replied. “And it’s going to be the best day of my entire life.”


February 15, 2002

The date was highlighted, underlined, and circled on every calendar and planner that I owned. It was the day I was going to finally meet Britney Spears.

The night before was Valentine’s Day, so my group of single girlfriends went out to Silk Road, a hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Manhattan that served free, unlimited carafes of wine to anyone with something resembling a legal ID.

I drank my weight in alcoholic urine and laid down on the floor of the AIDS-covered D-train all the way back to the Bronx.


Hours later, as I vomited rice out of my nose into my dorm’s trash can, Annie pushed my hair back and asked if I was okay.

“I’m going to meet Britney Spears today,” I said, spitting out a single kernel of white rice.

When I woke up in the morning, I hit the showers and I was as good as new. It was time to meet Britney Spears.

We rode the train into the city a little early because we had a plan. It was also the day Britney’s new movie “Crossroads” was coming out in theaters, so we were going to buy tickets to the movie and then get in line at TRL. We were afraid the movie tickets would sell out, and we already had tickets to get into TRL, so why worry?

Movie tickets in-hand, we approached the long-ass line at TRL and took our spots. We saw an MTV person with a clipboard working his way down the line, so we figured we would get inside soon. Meanwhile, I couldn’t stop smiling and I think I may have sweat through my shirt (part excitement, part my body trying to remove the cheap wine toxins from my organs).

I watched clipboard guy get closer and closer. He’d ask names, and then hand over the coveted TRL wristband, which ensured your entry to the most epic taping of all time. He finally made it to the girl directly in front of me and I suddenly felt like I was going to poop my pants. It was time.

Until it wasn’t.

My urge to poop was quickly replaced by a wave of nausea as clipboard guy was called away to the front of the line.

“What’s going on?!” I shrieked at poor Annie and Kelly.

“Don’t worry, he’ll be right back. He probably just needed more wristbands,” said Kelly.

He did come right back, but there were no wristbands.

“Hey guys,” he shouted over the crowd. “Britney’s people took the rest of the available seats, so you aren’t going to be able to get into today’s show. I’m sorry! Stay here and I’ll come down the line and get your info so you can get tickets to a different future taping.”

You know that feeling you get right before you’re going to pass out? When all of the noise going on around you becomes just a low buzzing sound in the back of your head? And your surroundings turn into a blurry mess of smeared, spinning colors? That was my body’s immediate response to the news. But I wasn’t even close to passing out; it was more like a blind rage.

“WHATTHEFUCKISHAPPENING,” I yelled. That was followed by more ranting and raving, but I couldn’t remember what I said if you paid me. I just remember Annie and Kelly’s wide eyes staring at me.

Clipboard guy walked up to me, unaware of my rage blackout that was currently underway.

“Hi! What’s your name and who are your favorite celebrities? We’ll call you the next time any of them are on the show.”

“Britney Spears,” I deadpanned.

He chuckled nervously. “Hah, well, unfortunately, that’s not an option right now. Is there someone else you like, too? Maybe Justin Timberlake? His new album will be out later this year.”

“Britney. Fucking. Spears.,” I repeated, staring deep into his soul.

He stared back at me. I felt his fear. It gave me life.

“You see that car out in the middle of Times Square?” he asked quietly, leaning in like he was trying to make amends with the Britney Gods. “That’s the car Britney drives in ‘Crossroads.’ She’s going to come outside at some point and tape some of the show at the car. We’re going to let a few people stand around the car during the taping — do you ladies want to do that?”

The buzzing in my ears stopped, and I could see more clearly now. I felt down, but not out. I still had a chance to meet my queen.

He walked a small group of us over to the puke green 1972 Buick Skylark. I could smell Britney on the car. She had been here.

The show started, and I was excited again. I was standing next to Britney’s Crossroads car, there were barricades all around us like we were maybe important, and the MTV PA’s were prompting us to scream really loud on cue. I was in my element.

I could see Britney up in the infamous TRL window, and she was wearing a light purple collared shirt that was cut off an inch or two above her belly button. It was like she had a Skype interview right before being on TRL, so she chose an outfit that was half professional, half teen pop icon. I don’t think Skype existed in 2002, but try and work with me here.

At every commercial break, one of the PA’s would try to reassure us that Britney would “be outside soon!” However, as the video countdown progressed, and we got closer and closer to number one, the truth washed over me like a shit-filled tidal wave: Britney wasn’t coming.

Once I knew that I had been tricked, my head started to spin around, and it was clear to Annie and Kelly that Lucifer had returned.

“GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE NOW. FUCK THAT BITCH,” I screamed, pushing my way toward a break in the barricades.

A large, bouncer-type dude stood between me and freedom. I wanted to get as far away from that stupid car as possible before I accidentally set it on fire, but he wasn’t feeling it.

“Sorry, you have to wait until the show is over. We can’t just have people going in and out of here,” he tried to explain.

As he was trying to reason with me, the show came back from commercial. Everyone around me started to scream for the camera that was shooting us from overhead, but I was laser-focused on getting out. My arms started flailing.

“LET. ME. THE. FUCK. OUT. OF. HERE. NOW. YOU ALL LIED TO ME. YOU’RE ALL LIARS. LET ME OUT NOW!” I shrieked. (Or at least, that’s what Kelly and Annie told me I said. I was having an out-of-body experience at the time.)

The bouncer gave my friends a “Yo, this bitch is crazy” look and separated the barricades to let us go. I busted free from my hell on earth and power walked as far away from 1515 Broadway as humanly possible.

“Wait!” Kelly yelled. “We can’t go back to campus yet—we already bought tickets to the movie.


We turned to walk toward the movie theater, and I cried. What I thought was going to be the day I finally met Britney Spears turned into the day I didn’t meet Britney Spears. And now I had to sit through her movie because I was poor and there was no way I was going to buy a movie ticket and then not go to the movie.

We were very early, so we sat at the bottom of an escalator and waited. I cried more.

Then, they started coming in—the assholes that had gotten inside TRL. They were wearing Crossroads jackets and carrying tickets to the movie. There were tons of them.

Turns out, everyone that got inside TRL that day received a free jacket and free tickets to the movie. If we hadn’t gone to buy our movie tickets ahead of time, we would have been further up in the line, and we would have gotten inside.

Just writing that made my chest tighten up and I started to have heart palpitations. That’s how much it still angers me.

As I watched those lucky bitches file into the movie theater, all I could muster to yell was, “You guys suck!” Nailed it.


When we got back to our dorm that night, our friend Shannon was waiting for us.

“How was it?!” she asked.

“It was SO amazing,” I lied through my teeth, smiling. “Best day of my life.”

“I was watching, but I’m not sure if I saw you guys,” she said. “Were you outside? I thought I saw you yelling at some guy, Mary.”

I started crying again. And then I cried some more, just for good measure.


February 15, 2002, wasn’t the end of my love for Britney Spears—it was just the beginning of our abusive relationship. She’d get my hopes up and then break my heart, over and over again. We grew up together, and somewhere along the way, I realized she was human. I feel like I finally respect and understand her.

If anything, Britney Spears has taught me more life lessons about disappointment and anger management than my $40k/year college did.

Wasn’t that mature of me to say, Britney? Looks like we can be friends now. I promise not to scream in your face, shout obscenities, or cry. I can’t guarantee, however, that I won’t write an essay called “The Day I Finally Met Britney Spears.”

PS: Want to get a feel for what it was like in Times Square that day? I found this amazing, weird, documentary-style video on YouTube that someone filmed the day I didn’t meet Britney Spears. I’m not in it (believe me, I checked) but it’s still awesome:

Lies My Teenage Stepson Tells Me: Part I

Overall, I’d say I lucked out with my stepson. He’s a good kid, doesn’t really argue or get hormonal with us, and generally does chores without complaining. That’s pretty much all you can ask for out of a 15-year-old boy

The one thing that drives me absolutely bonkers, though? He lies about everything.

Actually, scratch that–he doesn’t lie about everything. He only lies about really dumb stuff that doesn’t even matter, like whether or not he washed his face or did his homework. Damn, dude…you should at least save your lies for really big things that could get you in ridiculous amounts of trouble. That I would understand.

I make fun of it, but it’s also really annoying and frustrating. I have actually cried because I’ve taken it personally. And then I realized it’s not personal at all because teenagers don’t consider the feelings of others when they decide to lie. Seriously, this is what I’d expect to see if I could peak in his brain and view his thought pattern:


So, instead of getting mad at him all the time for lying, I’m going to do something productive and post those interactions on my blog instead. First of all, there’s something so intensely gratifying about catching him in a lie. It makes me feel like the smartest person alive because I’m sorry, I will not let a kid who walks around with food in his braces outsmart me. Secondly, it will give me a place to collect all the lies so that when he gets married, I can print and bind them in a book for his new wife to enjoy.

So, without further adieu, here’s my stepson’s lie of the day [it’s not that good, but I was especially proud of the detective work I did to call him out on his shit]:

Pubert is sitting in the living room doing homework, while I sit in the kitchen doing my work. He has to e-mail a teacher, so I let him use my other laptop to do that. I hear him typing away for a while, and the typing eventually turns into the mouse clicking.

I sign into his e-mail from the other room and see that he finished his message to the teacher and sent it.

Me: “Please make sure that you close that computer when you’re done with the e-mail. You’ve got other stuff to do.”

Pubert: “I know, I’m almost done! I just need to write a couple more things.”

Me: “Really? You’re clicking that mouse a lot. That’s not typing.”

Pubert: “No, I am working on the e-mail, it’ll be done in a minute.”

Me: “You mean the e-mail you sent already?

Peanut gallery in my head: “OHHHHH BURN!!!”

Silence from the other room. I hear my laptop close and he puts it away.

Me: “You know you don’t have to creep around on my computer and then delete the history, right? If there’s something you want to do on there, you can just ask me and I’ll let you use it. I’m not a monster.”

The silence from the other room continues, but he can smell my smugness wafting his way, no doubt.

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.



Please tell me more about that dead celeb you’re sad about

I just started to attempt to do “real” work this morning (aka paying work) when I received a message on Facebook from my dear friend Kristin.

“Will you please write a blog post about dead celebrities?”

Much like the DJ at your middle school dances, I do take requests, so I was happy to ignore my work and appease the one person who reads my blog.

Let’s be clear about one thing: there’s no one who loves celebrities and Hollywood more than I do. If there’s anyone who should be melting down every time a famous person dies, it’s me.

That being said, we have indeed lost quite a few big name celebs this year. Yes, it’s a bummer. However, the way I reacted to each death was basically the same for every person who kicked the bucket:

  1. I was told or read that a famous person died.
  2. I was initially shocked.
  3. I said, “Hey, Andy! So-and-so died!”
  4. He said, “Really? Whoa, how?”
  5. I told him how he or she died.
  6. I read a couple more stories about the death over the coming days to see if they’d give any juicy details about last words/meals/conversations because I love getting the full picture of a death (any death).
  7. I go on with my life.

Do you see what’s missing in that list?

I don’t post about it on social media.* 

Why not? Because I know you don’t really care about my feelings that much. And honestly, I’m not about pretending I was some kind of super fan. I do have a deep attachment to many celebrities, but I’m not big on posting tributes** to people who don’t even know I exist. I’m going to keep Dr. Jason Seaver in my heart always, but a digital memorial to him on Facebook is out of the question for me.

Now, that I think of it, I lied–I’ve made one contribution to the social media community in the wake of a famous person’s death:


Remember that time all of you were scholars and cared so much about Maya Angelou? Good times.

Also, no more posts about saving Betty White from 2016. You’re not being clever and Betty White made it this far without your help.



*am going to post on social media when Britney Spears dies, so I am warning you and apologizing in advance. That is the only celebrity death that will rock my world to the point that I feel the need to publicly share my feelings.

** Please post a tribute to me on your Facebook when I die because there’s a good chance it will give me so much life that my heart will start beating again.

The couple that eats together stays together

Andy and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary on November 11. According to the list of traditional anniversary gifts, year five is supposed to be something made of wood; the more modern list says silverware. We’re not really into owning things as much as we are eating them, so we put our bellies together and came up with a sensational idea: dinner at the Nordic Lodge, a magical high-end, all-you-can-eat buffet. Not only could we celebrate all of the weight we’ve both gained over the last five years of marriage, but we’d still be totally following the gifting guidelines — both traditional and modern — by eating within the Nordic Lodge’s wood-paneled walls and using their silverware to shovel in all the goodies.

The Nordic Lodge is legendary. The Travel Channel named it one of the country’s Top 10 buffets, and the Huffington Post called it one of the best in the world. I had heard tales of the unlimited lobster, filet mignon, and desserts, but never had the opportunity to experience it myself up until a few days ago. It was worth the wait.

Initial observations and tips:

The Nordic Lodge is in the middle of nowhere. As we traveled deeper into the woods on a dark, winding road, Andy wondered aloud if the Nordic Lodge may actually be a trap run by crazy people who harvest human organs. Thankfully, he was wrong.

The buffet itself is high-end, but that does not mean that a) you’re going to be dining with classy people and b) you should dress up. If you’ve ever been on a Carnival Cruise ship, you’re going to encounter an eerily similar atmosphere at the Nordic Lodge. Wear your stretchy pants and get ready to eat alongside those people on Facebook who share memes like this:


They have a salad bar and lots of fruit, but don’t waste valuable stomach space eating that crap. You can go back to being healthy tomorrow.

Don’t go if you don’t like dead animals. They have real dead animals on the wall, along with when they were killed and who did the deed. I started to get sad for the animals while I waited to enter the dining room and thought about how crappy it would be to get shot and then hung on a wall for all eternity to oversee the worst of human society eat themselves to death. But then I got seated, mutilated the bodies of two lobsters, ate a dead cow, and completely forgot about my friends on the wall. Hey, at least I didn’t eat them too.

Currently, it costs $93 to eat at the Nordic Lodge (I think it’s going up to $96 for 2017, though). I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $93 just laying around waiting to be spent on one of my fat fantasies. I had to wait for a special occasion to justify it. Looking around the restaurant, though, you could tell there were a lot of people that enjoy coming regularly. Do they keep a special savings account for trips to the Nordic Lodge? Do they opt to skip paying rent some months so they can get their eat on? I don’t get it.

How much food we were able to cram in our faces:

I took photos of each and every plate of food we got for a couple of reasons. First, to show you. Second, because I had a feeling the entire evening would become one binge-eating blur and I’d completely forget everything we ate. My placemat was a map of the buffet, which was very helpful in assisting us with our plan of attack. Keep in mind, this map doesn’t even list every single thing in the buffet — just the more popular items:


Round 1

Aww, look at my special little guy tying on his lobster bib. My plate has a lobster, melted butter for the lobster, lobster mac and cheese, and three shrimp with cocktail sauce. I think Andy has a similar spread, minus the mac and cheese, plus a bunch of crab legs.

Round Two 


I was super excited for the filet mignon, but they gave me a tiny piece. I knew it was probably for the best, but I was still jealous Andy got way more. Also pictured: more shrimp + cocktail sauce, a baked stuffed shrimp, fried shrimp (I feel like Bubba from Forrest Gump right now), fried scallops, a scallop wrapped in bacon, and a stuffed mushroom. I don’t know what the hell is happening on Andy’s plate because I blacked out when I saw he actually got fruit.

Round Three


A little lobster bisque break to cleanse the palette. That’s what it’s for, right?

Round Four


I felt myself getting full and I knew I’d be so upset if I didn’t save room for dessert. I grabbed a slice of cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream, a lemon bar, mini cannoli, and a chocolate-covered cherry. Andy hit up the Haagen-Daas ice cream bar where they made him a strawberry milkshake.

This is the round where I started to have those burps where you can’t even get the air out because there’s too much food piled up inside.


Here I am, reflecting on my poor life choices. Meanwhile, the lady over my right shoulder questions why she cut her bangs so short.

Round Five 

I did not participate in the fifth round, but Andy really went for it. He got more steak and other meaty things I cannot identify. And look! His steak is shaped like a heart! That was the Universe wishing us a happy anniversary and many more years of obesity to come.

While Andy ate, I concentrated on not accidentally letting out the fart that I had on deck. Andy tried to encouraged me to let it go, but I didn’t want any of my fellow patrons to end up on the wall with all of those dead animals. I also wondered why the Nordic Lodge didn’t smell like farts at all — you’d think a restaurant of the all-you-can-eat variety would be a prime location for crop dusting. Maybe they put in a special system that filters out all of the bad air.

Round Six 

During round five, I began to reflect on all of the tales I’d heard from people about how many lobsters they had eaten at the Nordic Lodge. My stepson’s uncle allegedly ate nine lobsters — heck, my 5-foot-nothing, 100lb wedding photographer even told us she ate six lobsters once. I felt humiliated with my one lobster, so I rallied, went back to the buffet, and got one more. It was covered in weird white stuff, but it was still cute and I ate the whole thing. Meanwhile, Andy devoured a second strawberry Haagen-Daas milkshake.

His favorite part of the evening, though? At the very end, when the waitress brought us warm, giant wet naps. Wet naps make life worth living for Andy and I’m pretty sure he would have dropped $93 just for a bunch of huge moist towelettes.


The walk to the car felt like an eternity because our legs were incapable of carrying the extra 20lbs we had suddenly put on inside the Nordic Lodge. I also had the distinct pleasure of driving the hour home while Andy reclined in the passenger seat, drinking out of the bottle of Pepto-Bismol that we brought along for the ride.

As I looked over at him, curled up like a fat little hedgehog with pink goop dripping from his lips, all I could think was “soulmate.”

Kylie Lip Kit Review from a 30-Something Hermit Who Never Wears Makeup

I love makeup. I just never wear it.

Buying it, though? Oh, I am awesome at buying makeup. The expensive kind, too. Because it must be better if it costs more, right?

Needless to say, the Kylie Lip Kits have been on my radar for a while. I just never got around to buying one because I kept reading about how they’d sell out within minutes of re-stocking. Makeup is great, but I just don’t have that kind of internal drive when it comes to shopping.

I made the poor decision to download Snapchat recently and basically only follow the Kardashians and Jenners because that is the type of sad life I lead. At first, I could not understand why Kylie is the most followed person on Snapchat. She doesn’t really say or do anything entertaining (except her dogs, I want them all) and she films videos where she stares at the camera, poses, and doesn’t speak. It makes me feel like I’m standing on the other side of her bathroom mirror like a total creep. But she’s really super sly about promoting her makeup line on her Snapchat too — and even though I knew what she was doing, her tricky social media hypnosis worked on me.

Last week, she said she was going to be restocking her store at 12pm. I made a mental note to check it out, but didn’t remember until 1:00 rolled around. I figured that it would all be sold out by then, but I checked anyway — and there were still plenty of treats left. I went into overdrive and searched the Internet to figure out what color lip kit I should buy. I’m not risky, so I settled on Candy K, which looked semi-normal. $37.95 later ($29 for the lip kit + $8.95 shipping), Candy K was mine.

Well, it took a week to get to me. But when I heard the mailman today, I went running outside like a big loser and grabbed that unmarked black box like it was filled with hundred dollar bills. As I walked into the house, the realization washed over me:

“Mary, you’re almost 33 and you work from home. You wear pants with an elastic waist every day and you certainly don’t wear makeup unless you’re going to a wedding. Kylie Jenner is 5 million times cooler than you and so are the hip, Instagramming 20-somethings who buy her products.”

But you know what? Sometimes I see my crazy neighbor who is missing his ears when I go outside. On Thursdays, the lawn guys see me as I scramble to pick up my dog’s poop. And I should really be trying harder to impress my co-worker (my dog) and create a better work environment. So screw it, this is happening.


My stepson’s name is Kyle, so I am totally saving this box and doctoring it for his birthday.


OMG, a personal note from Kylie! It must take so much time for her to write these cute notes for all of her customers. Do you think she really bottled her soul into the lipstick?


I think that person needs to brush her teeth. It looks like she ate dirt.




This is me without makeup. I am incapable of taking a serious picture, so I was physically unable to show you what my lips look like in their natural form.


This was the best I could do. I cropped the rest of my face out because I couldn’t handle it. I have the same exact lips as my dad — small on the top, bigger on the bottom. Now that I think of it, my body shape is like my lips too.


This is after the first step — lining the lips and then filling them in. My face says “Oh no, this stuff is darker than I thought it would be.”


This is after step 2 — covering the lips in the matte lipstick. I kinda think it just looks the same as step 1, but okay. Feelin’ sorta Brenda Walsh-ish. Also, my lips don’t look bigger, but I mentally prepared myself for that.


I look like I’m taking a school picture, but on the plus side, the color makes my teeth look pretty white.


And then I moved into different lighting because that bathroom lighting is cruel. This is by the window. The color kinda reminds me of Body Shop’s Vanilla Stick from the 90s and I can totally get behind something like that.



The lining is sort of obvious in this one…ehh whatever, I do what I want.


Last one, again, in different lighting. I’m so pleased with myself.

Bottom line? The Kylie Lip Kit did not give me Kylie Jenner lips. It’s also darker than I would normally wear, but I am down with pretending I’m from 90210. It also might look better if I actually wore makeup on the rest of my face, too…

…baby steps.

The Day I Met David Sedaris

Jillian and I went to go see David Sedaris read/speak/talk last night. Of course, we had to wait in line after the show so he could autograph our books, because those are the types of things nerds put on their bucket lists.

In line, we were sandwiched between a very “Newport” couple who hated us so much (yes, jerks, we saw your butthole faces smirking every time we laughed too loud or told bad jokes) and two amazing 50-something women who had clearly sipped their dinners through straws (and yelled hilarious things at the mean couple in front of us when they spent far too long talking to David about their shitty lives).

When I finally got my few brief moments in front of the man himself, I took the opportunity to give him my blog address. I thought I had grown to have some shame in my old age, but apparently I was mistaken.

“So, what do you write about in your blog?” the best author to ever live asked me.

“Um, stuff about my life…you know how it is,” I replied.

He smirked and continued to sign my book. Then he told us some story about chicken, but I kind of zoned out because I figured I had made it that far without embarrassing myself too much and should probably stop talking.

David Sedaris autograph

Also, things I Googled to write this post:

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 10.05.27 AM

The Time I Bought a Doll That Looked Like My Husband

Once upon a time, before my husband was my husband, he was just some dude I was friends with (and was obsessed with, but whatever). In the summer of 2005, my friend Mellissa and I hung out all the time and we’d try to get him to go out with us, but he always had an excuse that generally revolved around his son, his girlfriend, or his job. Boring.

After we asked a million times and got rejected a million times, we were feeling like real losers. However, one day while we were out shopping at a thrift store, we spotted something that would change our lives forever (okay, not really, but bear with me): a doll that looked like Andy. We figured if boring Andy would not hang out with us, we would buy a doll that looked like him, name it Cool Andy Mack, and bring it out with us to bars. Because that is a normal thing to do.


(BTW the shirt I’m wearing in this picture was the worst. It was the type that you wore a tank top under and then tied the shirt in a knot under your boobs. Good one, Old Navy circa 2005.)


Real Andy Mack did not smoke cigarettes, but Cool Andy Mack did. Because cigarettes are SO COOL. (Turns out cigarettes were Real Andy Mack’s deal breaker, so I cut that gross shit out really fast when he showed interest in me. “You don’t want me to waste almost $10 a day on a pack of crap that will make my breath stink, my clothes smell, and kill me? Okay, cool, deal!”) Seriously, though, I loved smoking. Okay, let’s move on.


Cool Andy Mack even hung out in the Women’s bathroom before Caitlyn Jenner made it a thing.


Cool Andy Mack didn’t just drink — he drank beers two times the size of his body.


Cool Andy Mack made new friends wherever he went.


And best of all, Cool Andy Mack loved hanging out with me. We had lots of long talks and made each other laugh…even though he wore weird ugly shoes that looked like Herman Munster’s shoes dipped in peanut butter.

Eventually, Real Andy Mack came to his senses and started hanging out with us more, but I will never forget Cool Andy Mack and the fun times we had. I think he lives in a plastic storage bin in my closet now, but I have no doubt he’s happy and having a great time.