The joy of socks.

Last weekend during a shopping-induced frenzy, untitledhusband and I dropped $473 at the mall. We don’t know how it happened. We went there to buy me a few new bras. My old ones have gotten a bit big, and were making my girls looking less like melons and more like two zucchinis. I also got some running shoes, workout clothes and socks, which turned out to be the hardest decision of the day.

So I walk into Lady Footlocker and drop the bomb. “I’m going to start running, so I need some running shoes and socks.” It can’t be everday that a girl of my size walks in with this kind of optimism, but the sales clerk held it together regardless. Once she recovered, she hooked me up with the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn outside of my Crocs, which made me question the cartel responsible for withholding these babies from the general non-exercising population. Must one run (or even leave the couch for that matter) to experience such comfort? Blasphemy.

After overcoming the orgasm induced by said shoes, I headed towards the large barrel filled with white athletic socks. “Low-rise or mid-rise?” she asked. I must’ve stood there for five minutes, trying to decide. This was a conundrum, for I am from the generation that has seen every sock trend imaginable. I have clear memories of wearing purple and gold knee-shooters while playing basketball in junior high. Somewhere between then and high school, socks became scrunched (all the better to showcase those pegged jeans). Now, it seems we have the invisi-sock. Unless there is a market for hosiery that only covers ones toenails, there is nowhere to go but up.

This revelation has me awaiting the return of thigh-highs — socks that would make even the thinnest of legs look like paunchy, cottony Greek columns. Socks that could double as Wilt Chamberlin’s sleeping bag. They would protect my inner thighs from the inevitable chafe of my early morning spins on the elliptical. I would gladly rock the look of the fat chick from Meatballs if it meant I could forego the Gold Bond for just one summer. But being an overweight 36 year-old from the Midwest, I fear my vision might be misinterpreted as high-functioning autism or worse yet, fashion ignorance.

So until the sock apocalypse arrives, it looks like I will be wearing the shorties. Every other part of my body is well-covered, but my ankles are out there, naked and free, spotlighting vein patterns that only moms and injured gymnasts have. I have one body part free from jiggle and stretch marks, and by god, I ought to flaunt it.

Open wounds.

I think perhaps the shittiest thing about Father’s Day is having to pick out a card for untitledhusband’s dad. He left his family and the state when untitledhusband was 8, so he could shack up with his girlfriend. Since he paid his child support, his parental responsibilities were fulfilled.

untitledhusband has been cleaning up the mess ever since. After the divorce, he watched on as his already-thin mother lost 10, 20, 30 pounds seemingly overnight. She’d melt into her bed and quietly cry and pray, cry and pray. It wasn’t quiet enough, for he’d always hear, doing whatever he could to keep his younger brother from hearing. He’d listen on and wish that he could superglue her back together. She’d bake cookies, fold laundry and pour cherry Kool-Aid into the Flintstones jelly glasses for him and all his friends, as if this whole mess had never happened.

The meager paycheck of a single mother couldn’t support a mortgage, so they moved around from rental house to rental house. For a short time, they lived with Grandma and Grandpa. They’d settle in, and soon find themselves displaced when a whole family who could make a house payment moved in. Every box that was packed and unpacked was a crude reminder of everything his father took with him when he left.

He had a nervous breakdown after his dad split. Being man of the house before you’ve even hit puberty will do that to you. He’d lose his shit every time his mother left the house or deviated from her daily routine. His mother stopped at the grocery store for a few mintues after work one evening, and came home to find her oldest son hysterical, thinking she had been in a car accident. During his next visit, his father grabbed him by the shoulders, confronted him about the child psychologist bills and declared that he was perfectly fine. And so that was that.

Now, I watch on as untitlehusband takes his father’s phone calls on holidays and yes, Father’s Day. It’s always less like a conversation, and more like a job interview. The dialogue is punctuated with nervous laughter and obligatory ice breakers. “So how is the pond coming along?” “I hear you’ve had no rain down there.” As much as he says that he couldn’t care less about his father, I can see just how much he does.

No matter how old he gets, untitledhusband will always be this nervous, unsteady boy around strong older men like his father, whether it’s his boss or the waiter at Friday’s. When we go to untitledson’s soccer games, I can feel his apprehension when he realizes that he knows nothing about sports. I see how he avoids getting oil changes on his car. Talking to the mechanic reminds him just how little he knows about things that a father teaches a son. When he says that he is so over his dad, I nod and smile, knowing that being fatherless has damaged him in ways he can neither comprehend nor admit.

Deep down, I think untitlehusband feels that if only his father had loved him more, he might have stayed. And so he will forever and always be trying to prove himself to a man who didn’t deserve his love in the first place. Unfortunately, Hallmark just doesn’t have a Father’s Day card for that.

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think?

Seen at work parking ramp – a white Hummer (one of the really big ones) with the following bumper sticker: Got freedom? Thank a solider!

Son, I think your bumper sticker would carry a bit more clout if you were driving something that got more than five miles to the gallon. It’s amazing to me how many people out there don’t connect our excessive gas usage with the sacrifice our soliders are making.

I, too, currently drive an earth-fucking Jeep (and we plan to replace it with a hybrid or something smaller as soon as the funds avail themselves). I would be embarrassed to place a yellow ribbon or American flag on my vehicle right now, knowing damn well that if the Middle East didn’t have oil, we wouldn’t be over there.

I also think that it’s no coinkydink that we are paying $3.25 for a gallon of gas, and our president’s family business IS the oil business. I imagine a little switch under his Oval Office desk. Memorial Day weekend, with no choice but to drive long distances? ON. Approval rating just hit an all-time low? OFF.

Now that he’s not running for re-election, it is a free-for-all at the pump. Bill never would’ve let this happen. Bill would’ve had Ann Coulter personally siphon every last vehicle in Dubai with her mouth before letting gas prices get this high (and she would’ve liked it).

On a related note, have you ever seen anyone other that short balding middle-aged white men driving Hummers? Dude, it would be much more cost-effective to forego the Hummer and simply wear a shirt that says, “My mind is not the only thing that is small.”

Mother of the year.

I think we’re long overdue for a flaming post about untitledmother. She makes it so easy, continually providing material for me. How thoughtful of her. This past week, she did something that was by far the most hurtful and infuriating thing she has ever done.

For an entire year before I had my weight loss surgery, I contemplated whether or not I should tell her about it. She is notorious for not being able to keep a secret. Not sure whether it’s due to laziness, vindictiveness or stupidity (methinks it’s a combination). I don’t tell her a whole lot anymore, for I clearly remember when she told everyone I was pregnant with untitledson – AFTER I told her not to tell (it was five weeks out, and I had just fallen down a flight of stairs and as a result, had to have ankle surgery). I told her not to tell anyone – I just wasn’t ready to share, and it was quite risky, given what I had just gone through. Of course, she told. Fucking whore. I mean, is nothing sacred?

So this time around, I thought for an entire year about whether I should share my weight loss surgery with her. For 11.5 months, I decided that no, she should not know. She is not to be trusted. As surgery neared, I thought, “What if something happens to me? She needs to know. What kind of child would not tell her mother that she was about to undergo major surgery?” I also thought how heartbroken I’d be if my own child could not trust me with such news. If untitledson had kept this from me, wouldn’t that mean that I had pretty much failed as a mother? I think so.

So I took a leap of faith. I put my balls in the blender. But first, I swore her to secrecy. I must’ve prepped her for 10 minutes before telling her. “You must, under NO circumstances, EVER share this with anyone. ANYONE. Especially vindictive and jealous untitledsister-in-law. If you ever do tell, know that I will confiscate all those bottles of unused fat burning pills of yours – the ones you spent my college fund on – crush them and make you snort them like Keith Richards at his father’s funeral. Do you understand? DO. YOU. UNDERSTAND?”

She said yes, of course. OF COURSE SHE COULD KEEP A SECRET. Then I told her what I had told only five other people in my life (untitledhusband, boss, untitledmother-in-law, and untitledbrother-in-law and wife). These other people, I trust completely. Every conversation about the surgery since then, I have told her, “Remember, you cannot tell anyone. Even if they wedge your maxed-out credit cards under your toenails.” Yes yes, she assured me. She would under no circumstances tell.

So here we are, three months later. And guess what – she has told. Not just anyone – untitledsister-in-law. The one person who most did not need to know. She left me a voicemail about it on Mother’s Day (after I had traveled home for the weekend, given her a gift, and paid for her lunch, no less). “I screwed up! I told her about your surgery. It just slipped!” Notice there was no apology in there.

I’ve spent the last week thinking about how I want to deal with this. I have not talked to her yet (we normally talk at least every other day). I am upset that she told, but I am more upset that she has showed zero contrition for her actions. No apology note. No flowers. Nothing.

What kind of mother does this to her child? She knew how serious this was to me. How do you let something like that just slip? She said it came up in conversation.

untitledmother: “Oh, I saw her last weekend. She looks so good.”

untitledsister-in-law: “What do you mean, she looks good?”

untitledmother: “Oh, you know, she had the SURGERY.”

I feel so completely betrayed. I cannot trust untitledmother with anything, whether it’s a secret, watching untitledson for the day or bringing a dish to pass at untitled-mother-in-law’s holiday potluck (that’s right, she just shows up to eat). A true class act. At every turn, she disappoints. In lieu of helping us unpack after the move, she gave me a jar of jelly and a jar of salsa. I had to literally beg for her to work with untitledsister-in-law to give me a baby shower (first child, and probably only child for me, no less). Imagine having to beg for your own first and only baby shower. The only reason I haven’t cut ties to her is that I would never do that to untitledson. He needs to know his grandmother, even if she is a louse.

I suppose she is waiting for me to call, thinking, “Oh, she’s probably mad about this, too. She’s always overreacting.” I don’t think I am. I mean, I just want my mother to have my back every once in a while. I need to know she’s still looking out for me – and not just to find me so she can stab me. I know for sure that I will never tell her anything again. I don’t plan on calling her so often, if at all, anymore. I thought about telling HER dark secret – that she has a son she adopted out before my brother and I were born (my brother does not know). Do you have any thoughts on how I should handle this?