Saturday, August 28


Remember in Sophia in The Color Purple? Well, if you ever read the book (or let's be honest, you just saw the movie - didn't you?) you either know her as the physically imposing, strong-willed wife of Harpo, or you just have some vague recollection about Oprah Winfrey something-or-other. Either way, you know who I'm talking about. Basically Sophia punches the Mayor, and becomes what can only be described as an indentured servant. In 1930s rural Georgia. Ahem. Ironically, Sophia is forced to work for the Mayor's wife, Miss Millie, and for some reason teaches her how to drive a stick. So, it kind of winds up being Driving Miss Millie. [Side note: while that sure is a snappy reference, rest assure that the best Driving Miss Daisy parody would have be Driving Miss Daisy Crazy. Don't look at me that way, a friend told me about it.]

So anyway, finally, after about a billion years of waiting on a bumbling old white lady, Sophia gets to go home on Christmas Day to see her family.Whoo fucking hoo. A whole day? For God's sake don't put yourself out Miss Millie. But I guess it's OK, because Millie does her a solid by giving Sophia a ride to see the family she was so cruelly torn from all those years ago. Yet before Sophia can even get her coat completely off, you hear the grinding of gears and cries of frustration from just outside the window. Yep, sure as shit, Miss Millie can't drive her dumb ass home and basically passive-aggressives her way into making Sophia do it. Sophia leaves crestfallen, her Christmas forgotten and her sadness ignored.

I think about this scene a lot. Particularly whenever I try to do anything. Ever. If I even think about going for a walk alone, I suddenly find myself with a three-year-old attached to my leg. Now, while you might be thinking "it's good to walk with a little extra weight," it's not so productive when that ankle weight is screaming "mommy, mommy!" There's also nothing relaxing at all about trying to spend some alone time with a chorus of "mommy, don't leave me!" in the background. I feel like I should make my walking destination DFACS.

But this weekend, after a particularly shitty few nights with a baby that can't quite put his finger on what's bothering him, I decided that come hell or high water I was going to relax with a bath. Ahhhhh a bath. Not for everyone I know, but definitely for me. Due to the suspicious soft spot under the tub of our old house, I never dared to bathe in it for fear of winding up in the basement. Which means it's been over a year since I had a bath, and no you aren't allowed to say "yeah I can tell, you stink," like Mark did. I've bathed since then, just not in an actual bathtub.

But in the new house there's just one catch if you want to spend QT in an actual tub. It's is Piper's bathroom. That means to use it, you have to treat it like a covert military operation. She can not know your intentions. She can not be privy to when you enter or leave the bathroom. You must keep all movement in said tub to a minimum. This includes splashing, intentional or otherwise. If she even suspects that you are in her bathroom without her, you will come face to face with your worse nightmare. A three-year-old trying to get into the tub with you while simultaneously critiquing your ageing body. I love Piper, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood to share my quiet time with Tinkerbell bubbles and an army of Littlest Petshop bobble-headed "pets." OK, the Tinkerbell bubbles are really nice.

I was so serious about my anticipated soak, I prepared a statement beforehand. It basically consisted of "don't ask, don't tell, oh and I'm taking my fucking time." I even did something I never do which was to take a shower first. That way, I could cherish this stolen time by focusing all my energy on relaxing and not have to bother with all of that pesky cleaning. Mark promised to keep Piper downstairs, but before I could even get into our actual bedroom, I heard "mommy, can I come with you?" I literally ran into the bathroom and locked the door, hoping that she wouldn't come up and try to get in. That only makes her angry. And you wouldn't like Piper when she's angry.

I didn't hear tiny feet trying to kick in the bathroom door, so I figured that I was safe. After a shower, I cautiously headed toward Piper's bathroom, only to come face-to-face with...Piper. I called down to Mark that Piper was in her room (cock blocking me from the bathtub), and he responded, "yeah, I know. She's getting a toy." What he couldn't see though, was that she was on the floor trying to wrangle herself back into her underwear, which is never a good sign. It brings up too many questions, mainly "why are you out of your underwear?" I promptly did my Mom sigh, which I have to say is fairly good after only three years. You know, the sigh that says "kid, you are killing me and so is your Dad, because how could he not know this was going to end up in a way that was going to frustrate the shit out of me."

Instead of inserting myself into the situation further, I turned around and went back into the bedroom. I could hear that we had a situation brewing, and it had something to do with poop. I laid my head down on the bed and mentally began to let go of my bath. I felt like Sophia at the dinner table, minus the messed-up eye. Her coat half on, half off, glancing at Miss Millie driving like a spaz, knowing that she was going to have to go and fix the situation one way or another. Sophia had Miss Millie and I have Piper. And Tanner. And Mark. I often like to say that it's kind of nice being so important, but not really. As I got up and headed into the bathroom that had held such promise moments before, all I knew this was going to have nothing to do with driving and everything to do with poop.


Thursday, August 12


I look forward to the day when I get to see a movie in an actual theater. I really miss it, but I also have to take into consideration that between tickets, treats and babysitters, I'm looking at about 80 American dollars to see one moving picture show (that's probably going to suck anyway). Instead, Mark and I have been Netflix devotees since 2003. I have to mention the date we joined Nexflix because Mark will get on his "I loved Netflix before anyone else did" soapbox. I shouldn't give him too much grief though because he definitely has the Netflix thing wired. Not only does he know the processing time of our local hub, but exactly when to mail something back in order to get a "long wait" release, pronto. That man can manipulate a queue like nobodys business. But I like Netflix because it means I can watch crap like The Bounty Hunter without judgement or shame. OK without judgement.

But once in a while there comes a film, so moving, so haunting that it deserves only to be seen in a theater. Scratch that, in a theatre. When I first heard about The Room, it was apparent that this thing was so bad it had garnered sort of a Rocky Horror-like cult status with midnight showings and everything. All I had to do was hear "one of the worst movies ever made" and I was in. I love bad movies. Not bad movies like The Bounty Hunter, but baaaaaaaaaaad movies like Showgirls, which PS I saw in the theater on opening weekend.

Frankly, it's a pretty bold statement to call a film "the worst ever made," because that's a direct challenge to classics like Plan 9 From Outer Space and Valley of the Dolls, so you'd better be ready to put your money where your mouth is. And they did. The Room is amazingly, wonderfully, exquisitely bad. The direction, I don't think there was any. The camera work, sloppy. The story, incomprehensible. The continuity, non-existent. And the acting, oh the acting. It made the Saved by the Bell cast look like master thespians. Let's put it this way, one of the main characters also doubled as the line producer.
Tommy Wisseau is the wonky-eyed triple threat that wrote, directed and starred in this masterpiece. Don't take my word for it, but I think that the story revolves around Wisseau's character, "Johnny." I really wish that people would never, ever name another character Johnny. It reminds me of 1940s film noir, and this movie is no film noir. It's more like film no bueno.

Anyway, Johnny has this slut girlfriend, Lisa, and despite the fact that everyone constantly refers to her beauty, she's more like a poor man's Britney Spears. Which is like saying she's a rich man's Tonya Harding. So even though Lisa appears to love Johnny she doesn't and wants to be with his friend, Mark (also the line producer). However, Johnny is a successful something-or-other and is about to get a promotion despite his Warrant-inspired hairdo and ill fitting suit (because he only wears one throughout the entire movie).

You know, I can't even bring myself to try and decipher the rest of the plot, because to be honest, I'm still confused by the delicate nuances of the script. Let's just say that there are subplots about drugs, cancer and domestic abuse but none of them are fleshed out further than one scene. You just kind of have to go with it.

Seeing The Room at an actual movie theater was like going to see Mystery Science Theatre 3000 live, but with more alcohol. We were surrounded by die-hard fans and it took me about 60 seconds to adjust to the yelling. I had to fight against the instinct to shush everyone. But once I settled in I realized that I was among like-minded friends. Finally, there were people to validate my feelings about dialog like, "I did not hit her, that's bullshit! Oh, hi Mark." To relish in my confusion over exactly what the deal was with that creepy kid Denny (or Danny depending on your interpretation of the accent) and his voyeurism. I'm not going to even address the tickle fight situation.
All in all it was the best $40 we've spent in a long time on a movie that we knew going in was going to be crappy. If only that had been true with The Bounty Hunter. By the way, we got my Dad to babysit.


A while back, a controversial video surfaced of a woman dragging her child through a Verizon store with the help of one of those backpack leashes. As I watched this disengaged mother pull her limp child, I was horrified that I wasn’t horrified. Instead, I thought to myself “I totally get that.” Apparently the tyke wasn’t listening and decided to pull the old “go limp” maneuver that I myself perfected in college whenever someone tried to throw me out of a bar.

My former self would have been outraged that a mother would do that. However, my current self has actually hidden from Piper to make her think that I’ve
left her behind. My former self thought that if I was in public and I knew your child’s name, you were doing something wrong. My current self would be able to retire if I had a dime for the number of times I’ve been in public and said “Piper, Piper, Piper, Piper, Piper, Piper, Piper, Piper.” It’s safe to say that my former self was an idiot.

Someone once told me that, aside from Brook Shields and Tom Cruise, n
o one really talks about the dark side of motherhood. And they’re right. Remember in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke is hanging onto that upside down Space Needle thingy? His hand’s just been cut off and he’s all kinds of sweaty and windblown and the only one there to offer help is Daddy Darth Vader? He extends his hand, and says “join me.” You can see the desperation on Luke’s face he ponders his choice between physical death and spiritual death. In the end, chooses to plummet into the darkness below.

You may be thinking, “wow, you sure have put a lot of thought into the
Empire Strikes Back.” I find that scene pretty poignant, not only because of Mark Hamill and his limitations as an actor (everything was downhill after he starred in Sarah T. Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic with Linda Blair), but because sometimes I truly believe that Piper is trying to take my spirit and to crush it. Those are the days when "there is no escape. Don't make me destroy you," sounds like great a parenting strategy to me.

I know that if I really wanted
to take some drastic steps, I could get this child under control. But like Luke, I choose instead to fall into the unknown hoping to come out on the other side. However, my unknown is actually going to my bedroom, locking the door, and reading celebrity gossip magazines. I don't know if that would have worked for Luke. It certainly would have put a different spin on the movie, but would have totally explained the gay-ness of Return of the Jedi.

In my scenario, reading gossip about Jennifer Aniston's potential love child, prevents me from embracing my inner Darth. I always try to remember that I am the adult, but there is just something about having a 3 year-old
scream “you aren’t my friend anymore!” at the top of her lungs that can drive you over the edge of your very own Space Needle thingy. Once after being told that “I was a bad mommy,” I actually gave Piper the finger. I threw my kid the Rockefeller. I figured that she doesn’t know what it means and lacks the dexterity to imitate it. It’s definitely better than the
time I muttered “fuck you” under my breath, and as she walked away I heard “you fuck you.” You may send my Mother of the Year certificate to me via email.

But at the end of the day, I love my kid more than anything. I just hope that by the time we get along I'm not half man, half machine. Although it would be cool to have James Earl Jones as my voice. Then everyone would do as I say.