Chard, Proton, Toile, and Glacier are my four adorable little rascals. Four kids in five years was tough, but thankfully our surrogate was chosen specifically for her impeccable breeding hips. We spend most weekends volunteering for the rights of vegan aardvarks and decorating Cheerios to look like tiny donuts which we then give out to the nice ladies on Lamar Avenue. You should see their looks of wonder when little Toile hands them a matchbox full of tiny chocolate "donuts" with sprinkles! My darling husband Digby Ingerham Tinsley Throckmorton III (yup, we call him Ditty!!) and I spend all our time with them when Ditty isn't working at his job as Chief Experience Officer for a company that provides ethically sourced glass jars for the craft pickling industry called Dilligent Sourcing ("Innovations With Relish!"). We're in the process of building a LEED Platinum-Certified luxury yurt in the hopping Binghampton area, but we're having problems finding an architect who really understands our need for an eight-bedroom yurt and who won't argue that I don't actually know what a yurt is.
I'm kidding. I just spent 10 minutes finding and printing out "doggie pinups" for our dog Grumbledore's man cave and writing Planter's to beg them to bring back those cheese puffs they used to make that came in a canister. Those things were like crunchy unicorn dreams. Our kids are out of the house, too. That's great because now we can turn on the Barry White and turn down the lights whenever we want. And by that I mean we fall asleep by 10 while watching Ally McBeal on DVD.
I'm coming to that age where I am getting low on rats' asses to give. My grandmother used to say she only wore makeup because other people had to look at her; and if anyone ever broke into the house at night, they'd get what they deserve. I feel the same way. I once had a pizza delivery guy tell me he could never eat pizza when he had the flu and reminded me to stay hydrated. I was perfectly healthy. I try to look on the bright side. Looking perpetually contagious keeps people from invading my personal space.
My grandmother also said that at a certain age all you can do is be clean and well-pressed. If I have to interact with people who haven't known me long enough to know I often tie a scarf around my dog's head and pretend he is Masha from old country (in Russia, butt licks dog), I can be — not put together, but a reasonable facsimile thereof. Years ago at work I had this awesome jacket. You know the one. You put it on, and you're like Wonder Woman. I was wearing it one day, and one of my employees said to me that a woman had just told her it was a great outfit and you could just tell I had it all together. Let me stress that at the time she said that, I was wondering if both buttons of my trousers were going to slither off, or just one. Also I was wearing shoes that made my feet smell like the breath of rabid buffalo by the end of the day. I was the Doug Henning in Ellen Tracy.
I think about doing stuff and looking nice while doing it. Like making chandeliers out of plastic spoons or painting my nails to resemble Renaissance paintings, but it distracts me from my hobby of reading dog-shaming websites. Oh, and dusting and working and stuff. I live in an area of town where young moms walk their babies competitively. Makeup is involved. Hair is blown out. The babies who can't even walk yet wear tiny workout suits from Boden and play on iPads mounted to their strollers. The combined total price of the workout wear of one pack of them is as much as my mortgage. And I LOVE them. Because I know every one of them has something they'd just die about if the other pack members knew. Secrets involving a love of spray cheese, an itch in an unmentionable place, perhaps one of them thinks Donald Trump is hot. We're all total messes! Their messes just have better highlights than mine.
It used to be about having it all. Now it's about looking like you have it all and perfecting the humblebrag: "Omigosh, sooo many people stop me as soon as I get out of my new Tesla to ask about it and I'm like, can I put my baby in my sling first?" Not that I haven't perfected mine too. Just the other day I was all can you believe all these stains on my shirt are from one meal?
Am I doing that right?
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...