Child of God.

This last weekend was untitledhusband’s younger (adopted) sister’s confirmation. She is 16 and – I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about this before – she is mentally challenged. As we were sitting there at the party, satisfied by the fact that we were able to pilfer a corner piece of cake and avoid the Brazil nuts amidst the bowl of cashews, I sensed an awkwardness in the air.

In many aspects, this was like any other party. People came from states away. Cakes were baked. Punch was made. Gifts were given. Yet I wasn’t the only one who noticed that at the center of it all was this girl – a child – who has trouble combing her own hair and still watches Arthur from time to time. Aside from Christmas and Easter, she has very little concept of God. And to her, this whole confirmation thing was more about getting an iPod than anything else (which makes her just like every other 16 year-old, I guess).

But still, I say shame on us for confirming someone who doesn’t really understand what confirmation is. I’ll even go one further – shame on us for baptizing or confirming anyone into any organization before the age of 18. What kind of cult wants you to sign on the dotted line before you can even drink a beer? I believe it’s the Amish who send their 18 year-olds out into the world to live independently before they decide if they’ll spend the rest of their days harvesting wheat with a machete or playing “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” with their homies and smoking hydroponic fatties. I expect as much wisdom from those who carve rocking chairs out of an Oak tree with little more than a pocket knife.

Certainly, it won’t hurt untitledsister-in-law to sit in church every Sunday and recite chants that she and probably half the church members don’t understand. But let’s just say I’m a little skeptical about any organization that would confirm a girl like her, at this point in her life. I’m all for her being part of a church if it brings her joy. But make no mistake – churches are businesses. They want members, because they want to grow. They want to grow, so they can bring in more money. They want more money, so they can keep the Pope in red velvet Armani slippers.

This girl isn’t going anywhere. And I doubt if she’ll be dropping a 20 in the offering plate anytime soon. So how about waiting to confirm her until she is a bit older, people. Like until she’s able to microwave a bean burrito or wash her own underwear.

Last dance.

From today until about, oh, Wednesday, I need everyone out there to think fertile thoughts and cosmically send them my way. These next few days are our last chance at conceiving a baby. No pressure, though.

Now, if you’re not feeling particularly sexy, may I suggest locking yourself in the handicap bathroom stall at work (come on, you know you use it when no one else is looking) with a pocket rocket or the latest issue of Juggs or something. This is no time for modesty, people. Like I said, it’s my last chance, and I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to break out the crazy voodoo shit to make this happen.

untitledhusband has had to overcome his crippling fear of needles and blood to inject my backside with a fertility drug called Repronex (hormones that stimulate ovulation) every month. Sounds painful, but it’s hurt our pocketbook more than my rear end. Much of what I have read online says that if the injectibles haven’t worked after three months, they probably are not going to work. Month one I had a good-sized follicle, but for some reason, it did not fertilize. Second month, same thing. Some infertility bulletin boards suggest shooting room temperature egg whites up your cooch before intercourse — somehow, that makes the little swimmers survive longer. The first two months, I refrained from such stitch witchery. But at this point, I’d shove the entire chicken up there if it would result in a pregnancy.

If things don’t take this month, I won’t say that I won’t be frustrated and a little bit angry. Because I’m sure I will be. But I’m fully aware that there are many women out there who cannot have any children. For me to be all pissy because I can’t have a second, well, that’s not right. So all I ask for now is strength — strength to get me through whatever this month’s outcome will be. Strength to deal with the fact that life is rarely fair, and that undeserving assholes win the lottery, get promoted and more often than not, walk away with the free salad spinner at the Tupperware party.

All this makes me question who exactly is at the helm up there. untitledhusband believes it is no one. My scientific mind agrees with him, but my desperate heart so wants to believe that someone, somewhere is looking after me, making sure that I get a little somethin somethin for letting people into traffic and saying hi to the Wal-Mart door greeter. If no one is driving this car, well then, life is just a bunch of coincidences and consequences. Now is that a downer or what?

So in lieu of remaining confused and let down, I choose to give my doubts a rest and find some hope and faith. At least for a few more weeks. I desperately need to believe that god or whomever is not going to pass me by this time. So I am officially taking my sadness and my shrivelled old eggs and passing them off to god. But by doing so, I damn well hope that she’s going to book it to the end zone and do the funky chicken when she gets there, cause sista girl needs the Hail Mary right now.

Two words: fucking awesome.

This here is why I do business with a car repair shop owned and operated by two Greek brothers (who look exactly alike, and are both named Nick. True story.).

Two Words: You Lose!

Take me to the creative team behind this masterworks, which is posted in the brothers’ waiting area. Share with me the vision. Are the flames emanating from a secret bunson burner somewhere — or did they spontaneously ignite after the oxygen came in contact with the awesomeness of the GTO? Did the car break the sound barrier upon takeoff, creating a sonic boom and a road of flames in its wake? I want to know.

There’s something about this piece that warms my cockles. It reminds me of when I was a kid, and I’d sneak into untitledbrother’s room while he was at football practice. I’d hopscotch around his Dungeons and Dragons game pieces, dirty tube socks and fossilized Totino’s Party Pizza remnants. A crusty bottle of Oxy would be tipped over on his desk, alongside a copy of “National Geographic,” opened to a photograph of an African woman with pointy boobies and neck rings. I’d walk past his album collection — which included John Lennon, Bob Seger, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. Sometimes I’d listen to his records, making sure to steer clear of “The Wall” and “The White Album” (the artwork gave me nightmares, like any good rock album should).

On the paneled walls of his room were all these pictures of muscle cars — Chargers, Super Bees, Mustangs, Furys — all suspended with yellowing Scotch tape. The photos would be accompanied by headlines like “Out to Launch” and “Pony Up.” I can’t make this shit up, people.

It wasn’t long before he graduated from the pictures to having a motor hanging from the ceiling in our garage and a carburetor on his bedside table. I was careful to get the hell out before he returned, lest he pin me to the floor and fart on my head. My reconnaissance gave me a narrow glimpse into what was cool and important in this world, be it right, wrong or indifferent.

So when I see a poster like this at my mechanic’s, I can’t help but think that when I drop my keys off, he and his brother are scurrying to the back room to eat Doritos and glue together model hot rods until their mother says it’s time for dinner. Tell me — knowing this, how could I take my business anywhere else?

Diagnosis murder.

untitledhusband’s youngest brother is a sociopath. At least, that’s what we have surmised, based on our random observations over the past 21 or so years. Since we’re the only ones in the family to recognize the signs, it is starting to create some conflict for us. Should we bring this up at the next family gathering? Should we leave a copy of “So Your Son is a Sociopath” in untitledmother-in-law’s mailbox?

Perhaps I need to give you a little background. Break out your mail-order PhD’s and start the clock, people. The session has begun.

When untitledbrother-in-law was four, he started the family home on fire not once, but twice. Don’t even ask how a four-year old got a hold of matches, cause I don’t know. At the age of 12, he damn near beat our cat to death with his bare hands. We came home to find the poor cat panting, and his eyes were dilated – both signs of extreme physical trauma. On another occasion, he was caught beating a tied-up dog with a broom. No injuries there, thank god – just a rightfully pissed-off dog. And at age 16, while caring for the neighbor’s dog, the animal mysteriously died. OK, now if this were your kid, wouldn’t you find it odd that most animals in your child’s presence are either injured or dead? Would you not be sleeping with a crucifix and a tazer gun, you know, just in case?

After achieving his goal of not only maiming, but killing, another living being, he made the jump from animals to humans. At the age of 20, when he was babysitting his one year-old cousin, the walker she was in spontaneously broke into a zillion little pieces. He told everyone that he was playing a game with her, and that the walker bumped into the wall and shattered. The child was not visibly injured. We were like, “OH. MY. GOD.” Everyone else was like, “Oh those cheap walkers. We’ll have to get her a new one.”

This history, coupled with the fact that he has no emotion – no ups, no downs – has led us to our diagnosis. Surprisingly, no one else in the family sees what we see. I once read that one in 10 people is a sociopath.

As for right now, untitledbrother-in-law is a 21-year old college drop-out. The only bloodshed that we are currently aware of results from his habit of routinely bleeding his parents dry. Perhaps if he would’ve stayed in school, he would’ve learned that if you’re going to make a career out of extorting money from people, you should choose those whose household income is more than $45k a year.

From our vantage point, we see him blowing his money on beer and tattoos (one, ironically, is of barbed wire) and titty bars and $5 mochas and then asking his parents for groceries and gas and rent. This cycle of bouncing checks, asking for money and bouncing more checks just goes on and on.

What slays us are the never-ending excuses dished out by untitledmother-in-law. “He was adopted and who knows what he endured as a baby.” “Deep down, he is a GOOD KID.” Good kid? No no no. Good kids are building irrigation systems in Africa and volunteering at nursing homes and selling lemonade for cancer research. This kid – he is not so good.

untitledhusband and I, we try to stay out of it, cause really, it’s none of our business. And even if we wanted to make it our business, what could we do? We could broach the subject with untitled-mother-in-law and untitledstepfather-in-law, but they wouldn’t believe us. They’d end up hating us, and untitledbrother-in-law would become a martyr.

We go back and forth as to whether we are overreacting or not. Do we have a predator in our midst, or is this simply a young man who will spend the rest of his days working at Seven Eleven and kicking puppies? I wonder if this is the inner turmoil that Jeffrey Dahmer’s family felt as they weighed their suspicions against that little voice that kept saying, “Nah, he’s fine. He’s just a little…different. That’s it. DIFFERENT. He’s our son, he’s our brother. He’s FINE.”