Vegans Are People, Too

November 28, 2017

Rolf can’t eat a damn thing. All he consumes is juice. We make it every day. Five pounds of organic carrots, Everything is organic: celery, parsley, ginger, garlic, turmeric, beets, kale. Anything that’s added to the carrot base is organic.

Oh my God. I just realized he’s vegan.

We laugh because it’s all we can do. His vegan diet is keeping him alive. Cancer, apparently, cannot live in an alkaline environment, so he is dedicated to making his body not an acidic one, but alkaline.

No more steak or chicken. No fish. He eats beans cooked with organic coconut oil. He can no longer even stomach eggs.

Now how am I gonna make fun of the self-righteous jerks in my driveway? Well, I can still hate them for smoking. Except …

The side effects from Rolf’s chemo are severe. “People” say that smoking Maryjane can ease the nausea.

Oh, for pete’s sake.

I’m gonna be married to a vegan smoker.

Girls Night Out

October 29, 2017


Nights out with my girlfriends never end well for me. People like to literally pick me up. Men and women hitting the sauce seem to find it adorable and hilarious to find a reason to seriously hoist me in the air like an Asian doll who has a sign that says, “Please pick me up and treat me as something less than human.”

I live in a town with hardly any Asian people, so I suppose that instead of the usual comments like, “Where are you from?” or “Do you speak English?” tipsy bar patrons just skip all that and go right to touching me.

For instance, one night I was out my pal, Stephanie, and we were minding our own business at The Mine Shaft. We chose a table next to a couple of other mom-looking gals. They were a little chubby around the middle, wearing jeans and their hair looked good.

“Is it ok if we sit here?”

“Sure, those other people just left!”

After a couple of minutes:

“Haven’t I seen you at the school? Do you have a kid there?”

We all talked about our children and what grades they were in. That was all normal. And then an abrupt shift:

“Are you Korean?”

“No, I’m Chinese-American.”

“Well, you look exactly like my adopted Korean cousin!”

(Translation: I will completely ignore the fact that you just identified yourself as a different ethnicity, and I’m just gonna go with Korean.)

“Can I hug you?”

“No thanks.”

“Oh, come on! Just one little hug?”

Stephanie and I looked at each other and laughed. She’s white and from Michigan, by the way. That has nothing to do with anything, except I thought you might be wondering if she was Asian, too. Physically, the only thing that Stephanie and I have in common is that she’s short, too, so people also wrongly assume things about her like she’s cute and harmless. But she’s from Detroit so they’re wrong to mess with her. She’s tough, but all the same, she just laughs at me when this other mom seems determined to surround me in her loving arms.

“Hug me, you look just like Sunni!”

I try to be funny, yet firm and say, “Hey, No means no!”

“Don’t be that way!”

Stephanie and I get up to walk away, and seriously, this lady grabs me from behind and picks me up off the floor.

“Oh my God,” she says, “I just miss you so much!”

When I get home and I’m taking my clothes off in the bathroom, I notice that she’s hugged me so hard that I have a bruise on my waist.


Stephanie and I look amazingly skinny, especially next to Brandy!

Stephanie and I look amazingly skinny, especially next to Brandy!

Another time, out with the gals, we were at McGee’s, the only bar in town with a dance floor. It was a Friday night, maybe eleven p.m. or so.

Stephanie and a couple of other friends and I were dancing together after haranguing the DJ to play old stuff we wanted, like Prince and Grand Master Flash. In a weird coincidence, the Friday night DJ is Jamal, the only black person in this town for a 10-mile radius, and he and I also went to high school together. Something about having a male friend right there in the DJ booth made me feel safe while out with my ladies, even though our town is plenty safe enough. In any case, it was just an extra measure of feeling like everything was fun and nothing unpleasant could happen. I’m not reckless. I always scan bars for a backdoor and keep my eye on tiny little Stephanie because she’s super short and is easy to lose in a crowd.

Stephanie and I made our way back over to the bar. I’d already had one drink, so was feeling chatty. As we waited for the bartender to notice us, we were standing behind a super tall guy who was about 6’8.” His wingman was a little shorter, but still big, about 6 feet tall.

I am friendly.

“Holy moly, I barely saw you there! You’re so short. Do you want me to order your drinks for you?”

Right on cue, the bartender asked me and Stephanie, “What can I get you two ladies?”

After I ordered our drinks and paid, I said to the bartender, “These guys are next. They’re just too shy to talk to you.”

Stephanie and I laughed and made our way back to the dancefloor where Jamal was playing my jam, “White Lines.”

After a few minutes, the tall guy and his wingman joined us on the dancefloor. We were in our circle of girlfriends and Jamal was ten feet away and we were singing along from the short distance, and everything felt good.

Girls Nite out, right before getting lifted off the ground against my will!

Girls Nite out, right before getting lifted off the ground against my will!

I was a little tipsy and looking at my glass of grapefruit juice, vodka, and soda. I watched it as it rose in the air, and I saw it float up past Jamal’s head and through the clear glass I could see the Joe Montana jersey that’s pinned to the McGee’s wall.

But it wasn’t just the drink that was rising in the air, it was me. I was inexplicably growing, floating up and up.

I looked down and the tall guy had picked me up with one arm like I was his five-year-old niece. And for the record. I do not weigh nothing. I felt like a cheerleader on the top of a human pyramid. I lowered my arm and Stephanie reached as high as she could and took my drink out of my hand.

Grandmaster Flash was singing, “Higher, Baby. Get higher, Baby .. And don’t ever come down, FREE BASE.”

Pretty soon, Tall Guy was slowly spinning me around and the view from up there was like I was a starry-eyed Carrie gazing down at the other prom-goers. For all I knew, a bunch of pig blood was about to drench me.

I caught a glimpse of Jamal during one rotation, and he was just smiling at me. After a few minutes, Tall Guy put me down and Stephanie handed me back my drink.

Okay, that was weird. I moseyed over to the edge of the wall to catch my breath, and left the other gals dancing in a loose circle to Sheila E.’s, “The Glamorous Life.”

I was sipping the rest of my drink when out of nowhere, Wingman came over, and cornered me. He got right up in my face and said, “STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY GIRLFRIEND, YOU LITTLE BITCH.”

I didn’t know whether to be scared for my life or to burst out laughing. Was my gaydar seriously that broken? These guys looked like basketball-playing date rapists, not anything like my queenie brethren from the city.

My mind was racing. I wanted to say so many things, like:

Hey! I get ya! I’m from San Francisco!


John, I’m only dancing!


WTF? Get off me, Jock Strap!

Before I could shoot off my mouth, Wingman lumbered away to the other side of the room and glowered at Tall Guy who was dancing with some other girls by the DJ booth. Stephanie hadn’t seen Wingman come over and threaten me. She gave me a little shove and said about me getting lifted in the air, “That was hilarious! Why does stuff like that always happen to you?”

Who the hell knows?

Honey Badger don’t know.

Honey Badger didn’t wanna get her ass kicked. Honey Badger went home to look for the power cord to her daughter’s laptop.

Honey Badger

October 8, 2017

My kid can’t find a damn thing on her own. Her homework, a matching sock, her own damn sandwich that I just made for her and brought to her command center, the couch.
My own mother used to say, “If your head weren’t screwed onto your neck, you’d never be able to find it!” I hated it when she said that. And she said it all the time.

Now I know why. Suddenly, I’ve become the designated Person Who Finds Things. Of the three people who live under this roof, only I seem to be capable of finding whatever it is: the radiologist’s phone number, the special skinny spoon which is the favorite for eating ice cream, or … the cat.

Why does this happen? I never intentionally wanted people to be completely dependent on me, or did I? I’m pretty sure the answer is no. It’s nice to be needed, but I wouldn’t mind a few hours in an underwater isolation chamber, or … death.

I wanna die just so I don’t have to look for other people’s stuff.

There’s a great video on youTube that calms me like morphine. It’s called The Crazy, Nastyass Honey Badger (narration by Randall) and has more than 84 million views. It’s a National Geographic-style nature clip set to a scathing, sarcastic voiceover about how the honey badger gets things done. Honey badger walks in slow motion, runs backwards. Oh, it’s chasing a jackal! Honey Badger finds some bees, gets stung like a thousand times and doesn’t give a crap. Continues to eat honey and bees. Finds disgusting larvae. Eats that, too. Doesn’t give a fuck. Honey Badger does all the work and the other animals just pick up the scraps. Other animals say, “Thanks, Stupid!” Honey Badger don’t care. Honey Badger keeps on going. Honey Badger gets in a fight with a king cobra, gets poisoned by the venom. Gets right back up again.

You get the picture.

I watch this video when I feel down because I know as an American mother, I hafta be the honey badger. I need to keep going on. If I get poisoned by snake venom, I have to get the fuck back up. Put dinner on the table. Do the dishes. Keep moving. There’s no time to stop. The narration keeps going. I have to keep going.

Analyze this video, and you’ll notice two things: this animal does anything to survive, and the narrator repeatedly says, “Honey badger don’t give a fuck,” which, apparently, is the key to survival.

All right. I will take those lessons to heart.

Meanwhile, I’m also reading, The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine. She says that right about my age, my brain is draining all the nurturing hormones out of my system. Well, that’s convenient. Right about time when my kid is her most surly and can’t find a dang thing, my brain has wired me not to care.

Wazzup, Mother Nature?

So here we come to this morning. My daughter has waited until the last minute to complete her Paris project and is frantically trying to finish it the morning it’s due despite the fact that for the last five days I have been reminding, cajoling, nagging, and finally leaving her to her own system which is apparently no system at all. She yells in exasperation, “Mom, where’s the cord for my laptop?”

And honestly, I don’t mean to be callous, and Louann’s book tells me that my response is completely normal, and that response is this:

Honey Badger don’t give a fuck where the cord to your laptop is.

Living with Chemo Man

September 2, 2017

There was evidence of cancer in the lymph nodes, so we decided to go forward with chemotherapy.

That decision may sound simple, but I cannot tell you how many people told us that organic juicing and coffee enemas were gonna heal him lickety split.

I wanted to kill those people. The tsunami of unwanted advice threatened to kill both of us more than anything, and my desire to stab people just to shut them up was a very real thing. People left books on our porch about juice blends, recipes, alternative therapies, meditation, cleanses, and cancer memoirs.

I know people meant well, but their good intentions only served to maybe make them feel better. I understood their need to feel like they were helping, but they were not helping. I stacked the books and everything that well-wishers left for us, and they collected dust in the corner. The idea that in the near future I would have to talk to people and be nice to them and thank them was a burden. Thankfully, my friend, Kathryn, became my designated shield wall so I didn’t have to put on my smiley face. I was grateful to those who were concerned, but I was even more grateful to Kathryn for making sure I didn’t have to play hostess when all I wanted to do was sleep or cry, or cry myself to sleep.
Rolf was still on blood thinners because of the portal vein clot, and the effects of chemo made him clumsy and caused numbness in his hands. The most agile man with feline dexterity now dropped things all the time and was crashing into walls, bruising himself and bleeding in random places. At first I was alarmed to find blood on the walls or on the couch, but pretty soon I just kept a rag and hydrogen peroxide with me at all times. Coincidentally, the daughter was still getting used to her newly arrived menstrual cycle, so for several months I just went around the house cleaning up random spots and streaks of family blood that was never my own, but that’s what a wife and mother does, right?

Poor Chemo Man also developed sores in his mouth, so eating and talking were both painful. For a man who was previously greatly identified by his powers of speech and ability to eat with gusto and a stomach of steel, this change was difficult. His identity as a big, strong guy was also dissolving before his very eyes as his muscles shrank. He no longer had huge biceps, and couldn’t make his favorite jokes:

Got any mice?

Huh? Why?


Got tickets?

What for?


He’d flex his biceps like a WWF wrestler and crack up everyone with his hilarious stupidity. But that was all gone now.

Pet Masturbator

July 30, 2017
pet masturbator

My boyfriend, Cosmo.

My cat totally wanted to fuck me. When we lay on the bed, he gazed deep into my eyes and ran his claws through my hair. If I’d been scratching under his chin and then went to retract my hand, he closed his impressive fangs over my fingers, stopping just short of biting. With my hand in his mouth, he breathed heavily and glared at me, as if to say, “Where do you think you’re going, Missy? I’M NOT DONE WITH YOU YET.

The sex with my cat was great.

Just kidding.

Cosmo, my eighteen-pound Maine Coon, was an awesome cuddler and considerately moved to the edge of the bed so I had more room to sleep. However, sex-wise, I just wasn’t that into him. If he spoke English, I would say, “It’s not me. It’s you. Your tuna and turkey giblet breath is really a turn-off. So is your lack of a human body, and the fact that you have no genitals.”

And yet, the cat persisted.

When Cosmo sauntered into the room with his muscular feline swagger, he was immediately annoyed if he found my husband on the bed reading The New Yorker. He jumped on the human’s chest and swatted his tail in his face. The low, mournful meow said, “How long are you going to be cock-blocking me, you gigantic oaf?” When the furry arms reached up to the human head and the claws slowly but surely began to dig into the scalp, in no uncertain terms, the cat was nonchalantly reminding the male human, “Don’t make me mess you up.”

And now is as good a time as any to tell you all about The Curious Tale of the Cat and Masturbation in the Daytime.

One afternoon I was home alone and engaged in a little “self love” on the bed – our bed, the focal point of my family’s Cat vs. Human Love Triangle. Right when the getting was good and I was happily oblivious to the world, Cosmo came bounding up the stairs like the goddamn house was on fire. With a Baryshnikov-esque grand jete, he came leaping up onto the mattress like a superhero and meowed loudly, in a complete panic, as if to say, “ARE YOU OKAY?”


Cosmo: “Um … Are you okay?”

The wittle kitty thought I was having a seizure or something. Or something.

I tried to shoo him away, but Cosmo would not budge. He wasn’t. Going. Anywhere.

At that moment I pictured myself in the near future, filling out an intake questionnaire at the Psychological Institute for Crazy Cat Ladies:

Question #1 Have you ever masturbated in front of your pet?

Meanwhile, Cosmo was purring like the rebuilt engine of a late-Seventies muscle car. He wasn’t budging. I nudged him, tried to shove him offa me, and twisted every which way, hoping his heaving weight would eventually slope off to the side. But he only clung to me harder.

I could have just stopped loving myself right there, but magazines are always saying, Do Something Just for Yourself Today!

And so I was.

Speaking of magazines, you know how sometimes there are those sex advice columns that say an orgasm isn’t the only thing that matters, that sex can be enjoyed without actually reaching climax?

That’s a buncha bullshit.

So … despite having an eighteen-pound cat lying on my chest, I closed my eyes and decided to finish what I started. Because, you see, I’m NO QUITTER.

Cosmo dug his claws further into my prize quilt and rode me like I was his personal mechanical bull.

At one point I opened my eyes just a little bit, and he was gazing at me intently, a knight in fur armor, comforting me with his big green eyes. “My Lady,” he seemed to say, “If you are having an epileptic seizure or a really, really bad hairball, I will stay with you, My Love.”

Then after, after IT, the moment of completion that lame magazines say isn’t necessarily the point, after I was done with IT, my cat was a perfect gentleman. He had waited patiently for me to finish whatever was happening, and I knew what I was supposed to do next. When someone waits, and holds you, and stays in the moment with you, and now you’re satisfied, there are favors you know are just the right thing to do next.

It was snack time!

I got up out of bed and he raced downstairs behind me.

“I’ve got your favorite, Honey! Fancy Feast Ocean Whitefish and Tuna Medley!”

We have to reward our furry pals. Sometimes they’re the only thing keeping us from hurting vegan smokers parked in the driveway or chewing out the pharmacist who treats me like a Norco addict trying to score when all I want to do is pick up my husband’s damn refill.

I read the cat story at Litquake!

I read the cat story at Litquake!

Rocking the Cancer-Free Modality

June 16, 2017

“Maybe you should consider getting a job.”

That’s what my mother-in-law said to me when my husband was diagnosed with cancer.

Rolf had eaten very little over the past two months and he was down from 210 pounds to about 170. For years I’d wanted him to lose his gut, but not this way, obviously. His mother asked him unhelpful questions such as, “What do you think made you get this cancer?”

“Mutating cells,” he answered.

Why does anyone get cancer? Rolf’s diagnosis sent fear into the hearts of a lot of people we knew. Some people reacted with, “He isn’t even that old,” or, “Damn, I’m way unhealthier than he is.”

But the thing that really got to people was the sense that there was no sense of justice in the world. Rolf is the nicest guy on the planet. Why do scumbags never seem to be the ones who get sick?

I’ll tell you. Because scumbags are constantly offloading their negativity onto other people. People would say, “Your husband is so nice! How could this happen to him?” As if babies aren’t nice, and those ten-year-olds with leukemia aren’t innocent. Can you get cancer by being too kind? Remind me to tell those vegan smokers in my driveway to fuck off and then maybe I won’t get cancer.

That’s not funny.

In any case, dealing with cancer was now our reality.

It all started with excruciating abdominal pain that he didn’t tell me about for three days. I hadn’t noticed because we don’t eat every meal together, and when we do, the three of us often all eat different things. I’m usually cooking the kid’s food and not paying attention to whatever Rolf’s eating. Eventually, he walked up to me and said, “I think there’s something wrong.”

He said it casually, like, “Wanna watch something on Netflix?”

Except he followed up by saying, “I think I need to go to the Emergency Room.”

So we went, and waited for five hours.

The initial finding wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t cancer yet. He had a massive blood clot in his portal vein leading to the liver. What were we supposed to do now? Well, the first thing to do was to take care of his pain. Rolf is a stoic person who can smash his hand in a car door and say it’s nothing, so when he said his pain level was a five, I knew it was more like a ten for a regular person. I won’t go too much more into it because he would be embarrassed if I told you any more about how he could barely stand up. The idea of being too wracked to drive is a shameful thought for most men, so I’ll just stop there. I’m just saying that when a man allows his wife to drive, something is definitely wrong.
Finding the clot in the portal vein led us on the months-long journey of calling different doctors, and everyone passing the buck on pain management. Meanwhile, homie was going down. Work stopped. Food stopped. All that went on was lying in bed like the Last Confederate Soldier, and yours truly on the phone with our healthcare provider trying to get CT scans and pain medications approved. I cannot tell you how many times on the phone I was transferred to voicemail or nurses in the wrong department, or technicians who were in Building 5, not Building 4, but Terri went home five minutes ago and won’t be back until Tuesday morning. We are experiencing higher than normal call volume. Please call back later. Goodbye.

Doctors thought he had cirrhosis of the liver.

“But that’s impossible. Rolf drinks just as much as the rest of us!” That was one sentiment that spread like herpes through our group of friends. How do you get cirrhosis by just drinking beer? Hey, alcohol is alcohol.

We went to the top hospitals in San Francisco, three hours away from where we live. After many blood tests and examinations, one specialist said Rolf definitely had liver damage. In fact, he was in the last stages and was probably looking at a necessary transplant.

The other specialist said he had no liver damage at all.


Then a gastroenterologist suggested a colonoscopy. He was already doing an endoscopy to look for blood vessel problems in the esophagus that would’ve proven the extent of liver damage, but while he was at it, he figured he’d “do the other end,” and that’s when the gastroenterologist spotted the mass in the colon.

“This is cancer,” he pronounced with authority.

Like a great wife, I wasn’t even there.

We’d already had months of doctors’ appointments and me fighting with our primary care physicians who were reluctant to prescribe Rolf anything stronger than Motrin. Even after the doctor agreed to write a script for oxycodone, the effing pharmacist backtalked me, lecturing me on opioid addiction.

I was at LAX airport when I called Rolf and he gave me the cancer news. Hearing the “C” word over the phone, I wanted to call up the pharmacist back in Nevada City, and yell, “ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Don’t you feel great that you treated me like I was gonna sell that Oxy to kids at the high school when now he has fucking cancer?”

Oh, I was so pissed. Cancer. Okay. Do you want me to come home?

No. I’ll see you when you get back. It’s ok. Dave will drive me back home.

Dave is our next door neighbor. And sometimes a dude has to be with his dude friends. Maybe even more than with his wife. I understand men. They like to light stuff on fire and sharpen knives. Dave and Rolf are like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble barbecuing brontosaurus burgers every weekend and throwing machetes at the fence for fun. I felt ok to be on my quick business trip because we’re really close with Dave. I’ve done his laundry and he’s peed in our backyard against the tree, so we’re pretty close.

When I got back home, there was a lot more driving back and forth from Nevada City to San Francisco for oncology appointments. We scheduled a surgery to remove the mass, but there were a lot of tests to complete beforehand. I figured everything would be for nothing if we all died in a car wreck, so I sent a group email to all our friends that if someone could get the oil changed in our car that’d be great. I was grateful that lots of people offered, but would Tuesday be ok? Or could you call me later?

The answer was no, Tuesday was five days away and no, I didn’t have time to call anyone later because Rolf has to be at another appointment in an hour, and I had to get the kid from school in a half an hour and there’s no food in the house, not that Rolf can eat anything, and the cat litter box hasn’t been changed in a while and there are five messages on the answering machine from Rolf’s family demanding to know what’s going on.

A knock on the door. It was Dave.

“Give me your car keys,” was all he said, and he took the car to get the oil changed.

The day of Rolf’s surgery, to have the ping pong ball of cancer removed from his colon, Dave and his wife, and a couple of other friends cleaned our house. The doctors had basically told me that, because of the portal vein clot and complications caused by it, there was a very real chance that Rolf could bleed to death on the operating table.

But he didn’t. I could go on with descriptions of emotional turmoil, but I’ll just move right on to say we went back home a week later, and about two months after that we had a Rolf’s Not Dead party.

Percocet Rats

February 10, 2017

How do you kill your child’s beloved pets?

Claire had begged for pet rats two years ago. She wore Barbra down like only a mini version of you can. She begged, cajoled, even did chores to earn those rats. The bare, naked tail looked like that thing wrapped around the neck of the albino creeper in Jabba the Hutt’s lair. But Barbra caved. And she had to get two rats so the one wouldn’t be lonely. See, we are nothing if not concerned about the emotional well-being of rodents we invite into our families. We take this Forever Home rhetoric seriously.

Got the cage, the water bottle, the works. Guess they shouldn’t have let Claire watch The Secret of Nimh, like, twenty times. The rats were purchased in San Francisco from a rat breeder, of all things. Other moms swore by this breeder. Guaranteed humanely raised and without all that rabies n shit you risk when you purchase your vermin from an unreliable source. I sent Barb an article about a kid dying after being bitten by his pet rat from Petco. She was not amused.

What to name the rat duo? Harry and Hermione? Nicodemus and Mrs. Frisbee? The breeder would only sell two girl rats cuz, you know, sex. No one wanted sixteen pet ratties.

So the two girl rats were named Nico and Mrs. Frizz.

And things were great … for a while. Sure the gnawing kept everyone up at night and everyone in the family got used to rats peeing on their clothes at random. Claire even kept the cage clean, which was good because it was big enough to hold a human, this cage.

“They need space to run around in,” said the breeder. And the cage was on sale, too. Only ninety-nine freaking dollars.

The expenses for Nico and Mrs. Frizz were mounting, but hey, anything for our furry members of the family.

However, when you’re the one making the money and it’s getting spent on rat wellness, you can get a little bitter.

“If you feed one more organic blueberry to that thing, I’m done,” seethed Ben, the husband.

“Oh, Daddy!”

For his trouble and concern he is given the eyeroll.

Part of the reason Barbra and Ben had even agreed to have pet rats is that the critters weren’t supposed to live that long, but now the rats were older than two years, and this was a problem. In case you want to know, rats develop tumors. Beware ye who read further. Disgusting descriptions will now follow.

Mrs. Frizz developed three huge tumors, and Nico had four. It was as if they each had swallowed Barb’s vintage Weebles, the ones that wobble but don’t fall down. Gigantic cysts bigger than robin’s eggs protruded from various body parts. One was right at Mrs. Frizz’s throat, like a giant gullet filled with pus. Every time she tried to get food into her little mouth, the tumor pushed the food pellet farther away, essentially rolling it just out of reach. As for Nico, the robust tumor on her left ass cheek made her pee shoot out sideways. You never knew what was gonna hit you, or where. Was that an optical illusion? No, just a tumor the size of a Cadbury Egg.

It was time to put them down. Even Claire was over it.

“Mom, do something! They’re disgusting!”

No one wanted innocent animals to suffer, Barbra least of all. I’ve known her since we were in tiny tots, and she cried for a week straight once when she saw a dead finch.
So she did the most humane thing a nurse practitioner could possibly do. She took a lighter, and melted five Percocet tablets with some water in a tablespoon, sucked the drug into a syringe and injected Mrs. Frizz with the lethal dose. The rat weighed less than a pound, so five good Percocet that Barb could really have used for a rainy day, went towards the greater good of pet disposal. Barb wanted to send her off like a Hollywood starlet in the opiate haze and comfort of her own bed of shredded Kleenex.
Claire waited in the bathroom. “Is it over yet?” she screeched, eager for her pet’s pain to be over and done with.

Except Mrs. Frizz was having none of it. After Barbra’s expert injection, nothing happened. The rat looked up from Barb’s hands as if to say, “Wut?”
So Barb wasted another perfectly good three tablets, and cooked the drugs up in a spoon like Matt Dillon in Drugstore Cowboy.
Once again, she sucked the liquid into the syringe, carefully poked the needle into Mrs. Frizz’s rump, and … nothing.

Ben came over and whispered, “What’s happening?”

Frustrated, Barb explained, “I injected her with enough drugs to kill a human, but nothing happened!”

“MOMMY? Can I come out yet?” Claire shouted from the bathroom.


Ugh. Sometimes you really need a man around the house. In the end, Ben constructed a special wooden box with a hole in the side, placed both tumor-addled rats inside, attached the box onto the exhaust pipe of their Subaru Outback and ended up carbon monoxide poisoning them.

Success. He was happy to report they died smiling.

They’re now buried in the backyard to the left of the trampoline.

The Loneliness of the American Mom

December 5, 2016

I look at other mothers, my friends, and sometimes they look shellshocked. I see them in their non-Facebook moments, like when I’m picking up or dropping off their kid after a playdate or sleepover. Sometimes they are too tired to cook dinner and there is no dad in sight. Popcorn for dinner.

They look how I feel. Tired, with that decades-old Shingles virus threatening to flare back up along their shoulders. I imagine there are no painkillers in the house and no time to make a doctor’s appointment to get a prescription. That is, if they even have health insurance.

No one has walked the dog who is going batshit crazy, licking my shoes and barking. It’s stifling hot inside at 8pm, and the mom has just gotten home from work. I’m dropping off her daughter, and the son is slouched, watching basketball on a giant screen.

“I told you to turn that off!”

I want to get out of there. I feel awkward, and I don’t want to embarrass my friend. I know I’m fortunate that I don’t work a “real job.” I had time to make her kid a cheese quesadilla for dinner, and gave her organic grapes on the side. I’m kind of a half-organic type of parent. I try to buy non-GMO stuff but I don’t get, for instance, organic cheese. I think it’s ok. Plus, we’re not rolling in cash. Either way, I secretly do pride myself on feeding any kid who comes into my house, and I’m glad that I’d provided dinner because nothing is going on, food-wise, here. I wonder if the boy has eaten anything but popcorn as I walk out the door with my kid.

When Lucy and I get home, Rolf has made a casserole using the leftover garlic bread from our restaurant dinner the night before. It’s bubbling with cheese in the Pyrex and smells delicious. He’s eager for us to try it, but Lucy and I’d already eaten before we dropped off her friend. And he can’t eat melted cheese. He likes to cook, though. I’m grateful for that despite the fact that sometimes there’s no one to actually eat what he makes because of our wonky timing or food preferences that he somehow doesn’t remember, even his own.

I profusely tell him how amazing his casserole smells and looks because everyone deserves points for effort.

“Is it ok if I take this over to Jennifer? I don’t think she’s had time to make dinner yet.”

“Yeah, of course.”

I text her to see if she wants it. No one likes charity, and I’m aware of that. I carve out a portion with a spatula, text her that we couldn’t finish it, and would they be able to eat it because it won’t be good tomorrow?

She texts back, “Sure.”

They only live a few blocks away. I grab an oven mitt and just put the Pyrex on the passenger seat of my car. I drive over, walk in, place the casserole on the table, and get out of there quick because I know she’s exhausted and I don’t want her to feel like she has to thank me profusely or anything. I’m like a compulsive drug pusher, except with food. It kills me to think they wouldn’t have anything for dinner. I know it makes me feel good to share, but I don’t do it for the thanks, the owed favor, or the anything. I just know exhausted when I see it.

Vegan Smokers

November 3, 2016

I hate the vegan smokers who are blocking my driveway at 8am. There’s eight feet of parking space in front of them, but they couldn’t pull their car forward. They’re idling their runs-on-vegetable-oil decrepit Mercedes, smoking a hand-rolled cigarette and meanwhile their grubby toddler is wandering in the street. I only know they’re vegan because a bumper sticker tells me so.

“Excuse me, please. Could you please pull your car forward so I can get out of my driveway?”

Blond Dreads glances over, blows a plume of smoke in the crisp, morning air and says, “You have enough room.”

This is why some people must be destroyed.

The school that’s a block away used to be the regular grammar school. My daughter went to kindergarten and first grade there. But now it’s a charter school for kids who must sign a contract to never watch TV and they only get to play with boiled wool squares and wooden toys that cannot be remotely gun-shaped. No one is vaccinated. The first appearance of whooping cough in the entire state in over 30 years has just recently surfaced there.

I hate them all.

I feel my irritation is justified because when it was the old school, there was never a problem with traffic or surly vegetarians blocking my driveway. Now there are people driving 30 miles an hour up this tiny, narrow alley and glowering at me like I’m the enemy.

I live here. Please keep your lice and diphtheria away from me.

Oh, gee.

Please, can’t we all just get along?