You don’t buy me flowers.

Let’s hear it for untitledhusband. He surprised me with not one, not two, but three gifts. Three good gifts, at that:

Gift #1: Gourmet Chocolates (interpretation: “I love you at this weight and the weight you’d be if you ate these every day.”). No matter the holiday, you can never go wrong with chocolate. Not with me. Sock lint dipped in chocolate? Sign me up.

Gift #2: Freaks and Geeks DVD (interpretation: “I love you because you have heart.”) I will never understand how this show got shit-canned after one year and “Walker, Texas Ranger” was left to roundhouse his way through the nineties. Which reminds me, if you are down with wasting one hour that’ll you’ll never get back, do it here.

Gift #3: One of these bracelets, which I have been lusting after for quite some time now. (interpretation: “I love you enough to listen, take notes and plan ahead when you ask for something specific.”) Thank god he knows me well enough not to buy me a gold and diamonds heart pendant from Kay’s.

What can I say. I love my boo.

Going to pot.

For the past, oh, six years, we’ve had this problem where all of our toilets are either running or overflowing or dripping at any given time. We take turns pretending like we don’t hear them, so we won’t have to be the one to get up off our ass to perform the requisite clinking. I’ve even trained untitledson how to clink a toilet, which, I must say, is quite developmentally advanced for a child his age.

Now before I get too far into this, let me just say that going to the bathroom is no fun at all when you have to lord over your kill and make sure that all the remnants and whatnot flush down properly. I can’t remember the last time I went to the bathroom, flushed the toilet and simply walked away. No, in our household, each toilet visit is followed by re-flushing or clinking or god forbid, emergency plunging.

The upside to all this nastiness is that our toilet issues have proved to be a decent cardiovascular workout for me. Few things make me move faster than chunky debris cascading over the toilet lip (except for the time when untitledson pooped in the bath and he thought it was a tub toy).

In an effort to undertake the repairs, untitledhusband dug deep and found his inner Vila (which, as it turns out, had been smothered into submission by his collection of over-priced hair product and his snappy looking Diesel tennies). Grappling his manhood in one hand and a monkey wrench in the other, he undertook the job of replacing our toilet innards. “How hard could it be?” he said.

Now let me go on record as saying that if a project requires anything more complicated than a screwdriver or an Allen wrench, in our case, it is just best to call a professional. For in his efforts to properly tighten a bolt or a nut or a screw or something, he managed to crack the toilet tank in half.

After years of withstanding untitledmother’s nuclear blasts, my bout with food poisoning (Olive Garden, for those interested), and untitledbrother-in-law’s bunker busters (which he will drive 15 miles out of his way just to drop at our house), the turlet is done in by a simple turn of the screw.

For the amount this project is costing, we could’ve easily hired a handyman to do the job several times over. But since I love untitledhusband (and the fact that I am going to need his spermies in about one week), I will refrain from bringing this point up. I may not understand compound interest, how to work my voicemail properly or the popularity of the Wiggles. But I do understand a man’s need to be able to say he fixed his own shitter.

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.”

untitledeye: Just a good ol’ boy, never meanin’ no harm.

Here in untitledland, we’ve had quite the dumping of snow lately. The other day, untitledhusband was working from home when what does he hear but a high-pitched NEEEEEEEEEE NEEEEEEEEEE NEEEEEEEEEE coming from our normally quiet suburban street. Was his computer fan burning out? Was it a weed eater? A remote-controlled airplane? No. It was our POSTMAN — whippin’ shitties out in the street, just like a 16 year-old boy who’s stole the keys to his dad’s Miata.

Whippin' a Shitty 1

Tire Closeup

Whippin' a Shitty 2

As you can see in these pictures, he had a hard time coaxing his breadbox from house to house. He’d get within a few feet of his target when his rear end would fishtail out of control. Methinks life might easier for these guys if they outfitted the wheels with something other than pencil erasers. Unfortunately, untitledhusband did not get pictures of the other snow-related neighborhood fiasco — the girl next door who was struggling to pull her car into her parents’ driveway. He was too busy drawing all the shades and pretending not to be home. My hero.

King of pain.

untitledhusband has this… perversion. He likes turning on the most inappropriate TV programs during family functions. Sometimes it’s planned, sometimes it’s not.

I recall the time when he busted out Jerry Springer’s “Too Hot for TV” at his mother’s house during the annual Christmas gathering. The extended family had just returned from holiday mass. All had begun to gather in the living room, the women in their festive holiday sweaters and the men with their clip-on ties.

There was talk of jam recipes from the “Taste of Home” magazine, so-and-so’s upcoming Mary Kay party, and the guy down the road who’s too cheap to plow out his driveway. About this time, untitledhusband decided it was time for Jerry. I don’t know what was more mortifying, seeing a 300-lb transvestite doing the James Brown power splits, or watching the strippers take each other down in a baby pool filled with chocolate pudding. All this, on a TV that in 20 years had witnessed nothing more racy than the boobalicious babes on Hee-Haw or the rare panty flash that occurred during a Lawrence Welk dance segment.

untitledhusband just sat in the corner and shook. From deep within his gullet emerged this whole-body laugh — the kind that makes no sound, except for some spittle gurgling in the back of his throat. The rest of the room was dumbstruck by the blasphemy, as all the churchiness they’d collectively gathered not even one hour ago was being systematically sucked away by the evil that is Jerry Springer.

This moment is seconded only by the time he flipped on the Howard Stern show when his dad came for a visit. The topic this particular day was, of all things, pussy farts. Some lady had a microphone down her pants as she sputtered out the national anthem, or something that sounded like that. untitledhusband was laughing. His father was laughing. I just sat there, thinking to myself, “May there never be a day when I can laugh about pussy farts with my son.” Christ.