Weenie roast.

We went to a friend’s house this past weekend for a grill-out. It was our first date, so to speak. In lieu of the Whitman’s Sampler, we brought $20 worth of kebabs, lips and assholes for the kids (hot dogs), cut fruit, pasta salad and my famous crack dessert bars. Boo-ya, instant BBQ.

Both untitledhusband and I know the wife quite well through work and whatnot. We hadn’t spent much time with her husband, though. When we arrived, he was cutting his grass with his new lawn mower. I didn’t think much of it, for I assumed he would put it away once we got out of the car. But oh contraire. He did not stop until one hour later, when he had finished his yard.

In all, we were at their home for, oh, four hours. Except for the short time we spent together eating at the dinner table, he was constantly doing something else – mowing the grass, playing with the kids outside, masturbating to the table saw spread in the Lowe’s circular. It was clear that he preferred tinkering around in his garage to spending time with us. In addition, their kids wanted nothing to do with untitledson. This did not bother him. He just took the opportunity to raid their toy room and fart on the heads of all their stuffed animals. I was tempted to have him poop in the pink Barbie Hummer, but even I see how that might be crossing a line (especially with how common DNA testing has become).

All in all, the whole situation was quite awkward. Here we’d come with armfuls of carefully prepared food (hey, it was prepared by someone, somewhere). It was clear we’d gone to lengths, if not the deli section, for this one. Then the husband has to go and make us feel like over-anxious virgins at our first prom. It was as if we weren’t worth the effort.

By all other accounts, this guy seemed quite nice. When he did stop his chores long enough to talk, he was very cordial and engaged. He just didn’t seem to understand that abandoning your guests so you can play kick ball with the neighborhood kids was rude. In my mind, I kept making excuses for him – anything to deny the possibility that he just had better things to do that visit with the likes of us. I thought to myself, “Maybe he has ADD. Or maybe he has been working on home projects for so long, he just doesn’t know when to stop.” But there really is no good excuse, now is there.

I’d like to think that we’re not boring people. So maybe we play Scrabble on our Tivo and watch “Big Brother” when everyone else is outside, creating “Eight is Enough” family pyramids, waving flags and playing bocci ball. Does this make us boring? I mean, christ. We are certainly more entertaining than a gaggle of six year-olds that eat their own boogers. I mean, if it’s gross stuff that you’re into, I can tell you for a fact that I myself have an obsession for zit-popping. untitledhusband gets a sick joy out of playing with his own toenail clippings. untitledson will fart on demand, followed by what could only be termed the funky fart dance and a loud vocal declaration of “excuse mah BUTT!” If this isn’t excitement, hand me my nitro pills.

The dreaded mix tape.

In our desperate bid to purge our home of all things we’d rather not pack for the move, untitledhusband discovered a crate full of old cassette tapes in our garage. Nestled in between the Martika tape that  he had cracked over his brother’s head and the Bell  Biv Devoe (Oh NOOOO!) tape that made a most excellent ice scraper at one time  was this  curious specimen — a mix tape I had Frankensteined together during my freshman year of college. I can tell it was my freshman year, because any year past that would NOT have included anything by Meatloaf.Was my taste in music ever this unevolved? I’d like to think I came out of the womb channeling Ryan Adams or Wilco. I’d also like to to think that if Peabo Bryson had any plums, he would’ve lifted himself up off of track 12 to kick the shit out of track 13. Not to be outdone, Diana Ross would’ve used one of her false eyelashes as a machete, holding all the others hostage until they could sing Please Mr. Postman in perfect falsetto. That’s right, bitches. Ms. Ross don’t play. And she certainly doesn’t take up residence with the likes of REO Speedwagon.I don’t remember any one incident that inspired this creation. I just recall that guys were never that interested in me — not in high school, and not in college. They always liked my friends, blind mutherfux that they were. This was proof enough for me that yes, I would be single forever, and that all guys WERE assholes. Cause if a guy really is an asshole, there’s nothing like spending an entire Saturday afternoon creating a musical homage in his honor, and then listening to it every day for six months.

Mix Tape: Guys Are Assholes

The story behind the stuff to the right.

I was just wondering if ya’ll notice this little feature to the right called del.icio.us clickables. There isn’t a place over there for you to comment, so I have no idea if you like them, curse them, or even notice them.

Even if you pay them no attention, I must say the clickables have a permanent home on untitledlife. They were untitledhusband’s idea, and they have provided me many hours of cheap entertainment. The clickables are a little diary of my day — this is what I do with my time when I’m not writing, eating or waging poop-offs in the departmental bathroom. Some of the clickables I find. Others are sent to me by untitledhusband. There have been moments where I nearly wet myself over something untitledhusband has IM’d to me for the clickables.

We’ve been through a lot, untitledhusband and I — times of great happiness, confusion, anger, thankfulness, sadness and desperation. And that was just last night. But through it all, no one makes me laugh more than him. I find him just as amusing now as I did back in 10th grade study hall.

Tomorrow, I may curse his name for spattering the bathroom mirror with foamy toothpaste flotsam or for taking the last Kashi bar to work. But right now, in this moment, I love him like I did when we were young and stupid… when we skipped class together to dig my car out of a snowbank, or when he sold his CD collection to put a down payment on my engagement ring. I love my guy, and I love his clickables — in particular, the one about Jessica Simpson’s camel toe.

Three. It’s a magic number.

People say that everyone has at least one story from their life that could be made into a movie. I’d like to tell you mine.

I’ve always had this theory that everyone has the same amount of pain to endure in their lifetime. For some, it drags on for 80 years. For others, they get it all out of the way in one moment. Me, I worked mine out in three months.

It all started off with my dad getting sick. After being woefully misdiagnosed by hack doctors who failed to give him the proper tests, he suffered unnecessary, irrepairable brain damage — the kind that keeps you in bed, wearing diapers, unable to eat. The saddest part was that every now and then, he’d have a day of clarity, where he realized he was in laying in his own shit. And to me, that was the hardest part.

I’ve told you what untitledmother is like. untitledfather — well, he was much like me, only a little kookier. No one should ever have to go out like he did. He was the kind of man that would snow blow his neighbor’s driveway just for the hell of it. He was a staunch Democrat in a town of Republicans. He’d volunteer at the caucus, but wouldn’t dream of putting a campaign sign in his yard, lest it start an argument with a friend. When I was in college, he took his last $500 (he was laid off at the time) and bought me a car, so I wouldn’t have to walk to work late at night. Every Christmas, he tried so hard to buy untitledmother a gift she’d like. One year it was new bathroom towels. The next year it was cheesey jewelry. He tried so hard, but she was never pleased.

During this time, untitledhusband and I were having some pretty serious issues. He had decided all of a sudden that he did not want to have kids. He had recently experienced a depression, and had begun taking Prozac. It worked well — almost too well. It put him in a state where he was so in love with life, that he thought he was 19 years old again, going out drinking with friends, not doing bills, etc. I didn’t know who he was anymore, and I didn’t quite know what to do with him.

It was about this time when untitledhusband broke the news to me — he didn’t want to have kids. Ever. This contradicted everything we had talked about for the past 10 years. I wanted a child with all my being. In fact, we had been trying to get pregnant for the past six months. Everything I knew was no longer so. We went through a period of separation, where we lived in the same house, yet miles apart from each other. He moved into the guest room, which ironically, ended up being untitledson’s nursery.

Somewhere in the middle of this, 9-11 hit. I remember IMing untitledhusband at work, scared shitless that the world was coming to end. I asked him if he was safe, if he planned on going home early. I suggested we fill our cars up with gas, and buy some bottled water. He asked why, and I said I didn’t know. It just sounded like something we should do. Child or no child, I could not imagine myself without him. We made a deal to try to work things out. And maybe, some day, we could continue the conversation about kids. Maybe.

So there we were, going through our shit, and then my dad died. During his last year, he could not eat, walk or even carry on a normal conversation, due to the brain damage. The last time I saw him alive, near the end, I sat with him in the hospital, and we watched the “Beverly Hillbillies” together. It had always been one of his favorite shows. There were moments, sitting next to him, where I forgot we were in a hospital room. He laughed at all the things he would normally laugh at. I was happy he was smiling, yet sad, because it meant he had some idea of his situation. He had always said, “If I’m ever in diapers, pull the plug.” Goddamn, I wish there would’ve been a plug to pull.

I got a phone call at work about one month later from untitledmother. She said dad had died. My first words were, “Are you sure?” I don’t know why I said that. He’d actually been gone for some time. Now, he could move on. That’s how I saw it. Writing his obituary, that was hard. As I typed the words, I felt like everything he had done in his life, every day of work, every hope, every sadness, was there in my fingertips, trying to tell the story of his life in a few lousy paragraphs. I’m sure I fell short, but I like to think he would’ve been quite pleased that I squeezed in a little something about his famous chili and the love he harbored for his beleagured Minnesota Vikings.

All this sorrow, yet the trifecta was not yet complete. One month after we buried my dad in the same suit he’d worn to my Catholic confirmation, high school graduation, and his mother’s funeral, I was laid off from my job. It was my dream job, no less. Marital problems, dead dad, and then unemployment. I’ve heard that these three things are the biggest stressers a person can endure, and I experienced all of them in the course of three months. I learned that my capacity for sorrow was like a drinking glass. After my dad’s death, it was plum full. When the layoff came about, I simply could not feel pain anymore. Thank god for small mercies, I guess.

It’s funny how life works, though. As quickly as things can go bad, they can go good again. A few months later, I was hired by the Evil Empire. I remember stumbling through those first few weeks, my life was such a mess. That’s the thing about working in corporate America — you can slide by at half-power and no one notices. I was there for three months when I found out I was pregnant with untitledson. By this time, untitledhusband had come out of his Prozac-enduced fog. No one was happier about the pregnancy than him. Well, maybe I was, but that kind of thing is hard to measure. Many times, he has said to me, “For the rest of your life, I will make this up to you.” And he has, people. He has. There are still moments when that time in my life will reach forward and clutch my heart. It reminds me that regardless of the fact that the button on my favorite khakis has popped, or that untitledson has pooped his new Buzz Lightyear underwear, today was a good day.

Parents of the year.

I know it’s not normal to find your child’s tantrums entertaining. It may even be a bit cruel. But untitledhusband and I simply could not control ourselves.

The other night, an over-tired untitledson decided that he wanted to take his shirt off himself before hopping into the bathtub. I let him work on it for about 10 minutes (it was a tricky shirt) before I started helping. And oh my god, was THAT ever the wrong thing to do. I would’ve held back, but we were starting to cut into my “Project Runway” and “American Idol” time. And that simply cannot be tolerated, people.

My good intentions sent him tailspinning into a world of fury, body flails and donkey kicks unlike anything I’ve ever seen. He even busted out a move I had never seen him do before (wherein one lies on his side while propelling around in a circle, using only his feet). It seemed fairly reminiscent of Pete Townshend, and had I handed him his red plastic Wiggles guitar, I am convinced he would’ve ripped out a few chords of “Teenage Wasteland.” Oh, and did I mention that he was buck-ass naked at the time? Well, he was. And I’m here to report that his face isn’t the only thing that gets all red and shriveled when he’s mad. I’m thinking it’s a self-defense mechanism. “Retreat, boys. RETREAT!”

untitledhusband broke lose from the tethers of his freelance work long enough to come upstairs to see what all the ruckus was about. Once he appeared, we both started laughing uncontrollably at the site before us. Not wanting to throw a molatav cocktail into this barn burner, we closed ourselves into the bathroom. We commenced to laughing so forcefully, it made no sound at all, aside from a few snorts, gasps, and some involuntary glottal clicks usually only spoken by young Masai warriors.

Once untitledson realized that no one was witnessing his antics, he began battering the door with his little butterball foot. I would’ve let him in, but I was afraid I’d find him chucking crucifixes around like ninja throwing stars or something.

Eventually, I did open the door. But I’ll have you know that he screamed through his bubble bath. He screamed through putting on his jammies. He even screamed through “Olivia,” which he did not deserve to hear. But this seemed like an Olivia moment to me – untitledson throwing a hissy over an article of clothing. I can only imagine how he is going to react when I want to dress him in onesies when he is 16.