Yeah, I'm a crabby old lady. What's it to you?

I was listening to public radio while driving to my job interview in "The City" this week, I heard something that irritated me. I know what you're thinking: "But Übermilf, you're NEVER irritated!" Well, exceptions prove the rules, don't they?


What irritated me was a "Stories on Stage" reading about a young guy who finds out his girlfriend (with whom he lives) is pregnant, and after initially telling her he's happy and wants the baby, skips out on her. And, presumably, we're supposed to feel for his predicament. Without, presumably, feeling for his girlfriend's predicament, because if we felt HER predicament, we wouldn't feel like listening to his escape story, we'd feel like telling him to TURN HIS DAMN CAR AROUND, MISTER, and FACE REALITY LIKE A REAL ADULT.


Yes, so the whole premise irritated me, that we were supposed to empathize with Peter Pan. Even if I felt like playing along, which I never do when the fate of babies is involved, I would still have gotten pissed off, because he leaves because he doesn't want to (horror of horrors!) "settle down and live in the suburbs."

He doesn't even explain what is so horrifying about that prospect, we presumably know, as if "settling down and living in the suburbs" is akin to "catching leprosy and having your face fall off."

Then, predictably, on his travels he runs into an older married empty-nester couple who hate each other and are miserable, instead of a happy family that makes him change his mind and return to his girlfriend, or even a wise Yoda-like grandma who tells him he's got to go back and at least be honest with her that he doesn't want the baby. No, instead, the unhappy, unfulfilled but still attractive MILF/cougar tries to have sex with him. Because all unhappy women really need is to have sex with a troubled 20-something guy; that will solve ALL their problems! And of course, if we're in our 40's and married, we ALL must be unhappy, right? From living in the suburbs!


I want to know what's so f-ing attractive about the alternative to "settling down" (which has been known to occur in urban and rural areas, not just suburban ones). Dying alone? Being, as Chris Rock says, the guy who's "too old to be at the club?" Waking up Christmas morning to ... cold and silence? Or, alternatively, to the latest temporary bed-warmer to whom you have no real, deep connection?

This myth that getting married and having kids and settling down is the death-knell of your personhood and individuality was, if not started by, certainly nurtured and spread by, the Baby Boomers. Without going into the depth and breadth to which I despise certain Cialis-chomping, true-age denying, self-indulgent Baby Boomers, I'm going to be generous and say it's a reaction to the former myth that settling down and having kids was the ONLY path to happiness. Of course, that's not true either. But here's the thing: every person is different. Every family is different. You can't say, "I don't want to settle down in the (sneer) suburbs, because you know how that is."

As a matter of fact I do know how that is. I have friends and neighbors and a husband I adore. I have someone to talk to and share life's difficulties and delights with, someone I can trust with my life. I have 2 daughters who make me smile and laugh every day. My town has a film discussion group and book clubs galore and (for now) a ballet and 2 theater groups. We have a beautiful park and a nature center. We pull together when there's a tragedy.

Some people aren't cut out for married life or raising kids. If you aren't, I hope you find happiness in your own way. Just don't make assumptions about me or my life, or expect me to nod knowingly when you bemoan middle-class existence. Because I happen to like it.

And also, from a writing standpoint? I hate predictable, clichéd scenarios. That irritated me, too.
Stellar Moments in Parenting, Part I
I went to Trader Joe's today. I hadn't been there since we got back from Austin (and they don't have Trader Joe's in Austin, so it had been awhile.

It occurred to me that I hadn't been in my local Trader Joe's since the "Roger incident."

Last June or so, I was in the store while the parents AND grandparents of a very ... um, HIGHSTRUNG 3 or 4 year old boy attempted to grocery shop. They entered at roughly the same time as me, which I remember because all of the child-sized shopping carts were either in use or otherwise unavailable for use by said boy. He did NOT react well.

It took all four adults to get him into the shopping cart seat. He flailed and wailed and twisted and contorted his body like one of those inflatable advertising noodle people. He screamed and shrieked and carried on for the entire time they were in the grocery shop. He was vile and cruel and nasty as they come, biting and spitting and shouting all manner of hateful epithets at the adults in his life.

In response, this is what they kept repeating, over and over. And over. In sappy, sing-songy, pleading voices. "What's wrong with Roger?" "What's wrong with Roger?" "Do you want a balloon, Roger?" "What's wrong with Roger?"

They got into a checkout line. I got into one, too -- far away. They finished before me, and the entire store breathed a collective sigh of relief as the automatic doors closed behind them. That, I thought to myself, is that.

Until I also exited the store. That's where I saw Roger, spreadeagled in the parking lot, having a full-body temper tantrum on the ground. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARKING LOT. They let him flop around and kick while traffic ground to a halt around them, all the time repeating (you guessed it) "What's wrong with Roger? What's wrong with Roger?" in that same babying voice.

I put my groceries in my trunk and exited out the back side of the parking lot.

I do NOT want to see how Roger turns out. It's too terrifying to contemplate.
I have performance anxiety

And I'm still on a borrowed laptop.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that internet commentors now casually throw out the phrase "go kill yourself" over something as trivial as this (5th comment down.)

That is all.

Since I've already missed No Pants Day and all. I guess there's always next year.
More Notes from a Foreign Computer

I'm still writing from a borrowed computer.

So, I was watching a "Sopranos" rerun today, like I do every weekday at 1 p.m. CST. Tony is in psychiatrist Dr. Melfi's office, where he tells her, "life is nothing more than a series of distractions until we die." I agreed with that in my head.

Then Dr. Melfi said, "That's depression talking." I have now been diagnosed with depression by a fictional character on a TV show that ran several years ago.

That's my day. How's yours?
Bad Jokes from my Dad

I am living on a borrowed computer. My laptop is in the iHospital. I hope surgery is successful, because my novel is on that thing's hard drive, and I may never be able to type those two pages again.

Because my time is limited, I shall save it by simply repeating bad jokes my father has told through the years.

For instance, when speaking of the neighbor down the street, who he personally despised but with whom my mother was friends, he'd say, "She has everything a man could desire. Big thick mustache, stocky shoulders, tattoos..."

They aren't all that short. Some are painfully, tragically long. You'll see.

That's about it for today. I have dragons to slay.
And Here Is Why I'm Pissy Today.

I likely have ADD. I've discussed that before and that's not why I'm pissed off. Today, I am half pissed off at an article in Woman's Day (or Family Circle or Good Housekeeping or one of those) that I read in the early-mid 1990's. Also, I am half pissed off at myself for taking in to heart. (Does that seem irrational to you? Thinking about an article written more than 15 years ago and getting pissed off about it? What's your point? Shut up.)


I'm thinking about this today because I have a zillion things to do. (So why am I blogging, then? Didn't I just tell you to shut up?) So, I started on my zillion things to do, and like so many things to do, there are steps involved. For instance, sort the laundry into baskets, take it downstairs to the laundry room, put it in the washer, etc. And in the kitchen, I have many things to do. In between taking one load downstairs and putting it in the washer and getting the other load to bring downstairs, I decide to take the recycle down into the garage because I spotted it as I was headed back into the bedroom.

As I empty the recyclables into their bin in the garage, I feel a pang of self-chastisement because I started a new task before I finished the old one. I feel bad about myself. Why? Because of that stupid article in that stupid magazine.

ADD and ADHD were new back then, and they were describing the "symptoms" of this "disorder." And how horrifyingly disorganized the thought processes of such individuals are -- for example, starting new tasks in the middle of old ones. I did that all the time, and now I knew I was a horrible person for doing so. I must fight my instincts in order to correct myself into how I "should be." I have spent my whole life doing this. There is something wrong with me, and I must fix it or no one will love me ever ever ever!

Here's the problem: there was nothing wrong with me before; I always wound up finishing my tasks. I just did them differently than other people. Some people leave half-finished tasks lying around, which I can see is a problem. I never used to do that -- I always got them done. UNTIL I TRIED DOING THINGS ACCORDING TO THAT DAMN MAGAZINE instead of what felt comfortable and natural to me.

All of a sudden, tasks overwhelmed me because I didn't see them in bits and pieces anymore -- I only saw the big, scary whole. Because now I was forbidden (in my mind) from doing one piece at a time. IF I STARTED, I HAD TO FINISH! IN ONE FLUID MOTION!

I just realized that today. I have been limping along for more than 15 years because of a stupid magazine article that made me feel "wrong" and "bad."
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

If being easily irritated, impatient and rebellious is sexy, then call me MILF -- Übermilf.

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Perverts, scram. There's nothing for you here.

Now, who wants cupcakes?

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