Category Archives: Sisters
This exchange happened between my sister, Crash, and me a few days ago. You see, about 20,000 years ago I did what I thought was a really nice thing and surprised my sister in North Carolina for her birthday. Her birthday usually coincides with my Spring Break, so I figured I would give her the best gift of all – me. She seemed quite happy about it at the time, but little did I know that I was setting her up for an annual hopefulness that seems to have gradually turned into full-blown paranoia. Every year at this time, she asks if I’m going to surprise her again. And, of course I say “no” because, even if I was, I’m certainly not going to tell her. This year, as you can tell, the hopefulness has turned into fear, and I’m trying not to take it personally.
I mean we all know the difference between “half-ass” cleaning and the cleaning you do when you are afraid you are going to get murdered by a serial killer and your home is going to be featured on C.S.I. But my sister should know by now that I would be perfectly satisfied with no-ass cleaning because that’s exactly the kind of house I live in on a regular basis.
The other day, there was a story in the news about a woman who got injured because her friend decided to keep his ammunition in his oven, and she decided to preheat it to make some waffles. Now, there are a few things wrong about this story, but my biggest question is: why do you need to pre-heat the oven to make waffles? I mean, I’m not a kitchen person, but I’m pretty sure you don’t bake waffles.
You might ask what that all has to do with this post, but I think that you will agree with me that keeping your bullets in the oven is a perfect example of, half-ass, “Oh crap, I have a visitor, what am I going to do with this armful of armament, I know, I’ll put it in the oven” kind of cleaning. Never predicting that, when you left the room to go take a whiz, your neighbor would suddenly take it upon herself to make some kind of mutant form of waffles that must be put in the oven instead of in the waffle iron that was sitting on your counter.
What I’m getting at, Crash, is you can totally put your ammunition in the oven if you want. Because: A.) I don’t cook, so I think we are all safe on that account, 2.) I don’t clean, so I’m never going to find it in there, and III.) I’m not coming to visit this week, so I really don’t care where you decide to store your ammo.
Although I do feel obligated to mention, Sis, that someone who earned the nickname “Crash” because of her less than graceful performances in the past, should probably not be around live ammunition on a regular basis.
Oh, and I am coming to visit. No, I’m not. Yes, I am. No, I’m not…
Don’t you love having a sister? Happy Birthday.
“I hate Jenny Lawson.”
“You hate your Maid of Honor?” my husband, the Honorable Cap’n Firepants asked.
“O.K. Wrong Lawson, dude. Don’t you even remember my Maid of Honor’s first name?”
Quickly sidestepping that land mine, the Cap’n said, “Well, who is this Lawson you hate?”
“She is a writer. And I hate her.”
“I think we’ve established that. Care to explain why?”
“First of all, she had a crazy childhood.”
“So did you.”
“But hers was a happy, crazy childhood. And funny. And she lives in Texas.”
“In the Hill Country.” This will make the Cap’n hate her, too. He has always wanted to move to the Hill Country. “Where vultures try to resurrect your buried dead pets and scorpions invade your attic.”
“That doesn’t sound so good.” Although he did kind of perk up at the dead pet part. There are moments when he does not have kind thoughts toward Wonderbutt, our Bulldog who Ate the World.
“It’s funny! Well, the pet dying part was not funny. I cried. But she made it funny. That’s why I hate her. And she uses profanity indiscriminately.”
“Well I’m glad she does not use discriminating profanity.”
“Haha. Seriously. She is hysterical.”
“So, what I’m getting here is that she wrote a book that made you laugh and so you now hate her.”
“Exactly. Plus she collects taxidermied animals that are dressed up. How am I supposed to compete with that?” Again, Cap’n Firepants seems to brighten with a thought.
“It sounds like you’re jealous,” he says after a moment, perhaps thinking that is a better thing to say than, “Wonderbutt would make a fine tuxedoed and taxidermied collectible.”
And this is where the conversation ended. Not because I threw a deadly scorpion at Cap’n Firepants and a starving vulture ate his carcass. Though I seriously thought about it.
Only because this conversation did not really happen, except in my head. And I really hate it when I can’t even control the conversations in my head enough to make myself look good.
If you are interested in hating Jenny Lawson, too, I highly recommend her book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.
(And by the way, Crash, thanks for texting me today that I should read this book – which I finished this weekend, laughing so hard that I was crying – and then not saying anything like, “She’s just as funny as you” or “You could totally write a book like that”. Instead, you just said, “We thought r life was crazy.”)
(And by the way, Parents-in-New-Jersey, you are not the crazy set of childhood memories to which we are referring. Thank you for reading my blog and not being crazy. Although, if you were crazy, I might be able to make a lot of money off of the stories. Now I just have to do it the hard way and make up my own stories. Don’t worry, though. I’ll just make them up about Crash and Cap’n Firepants – not you.)
(And by the way, People Who Might Read Jenny Lawson’s Book, I would probably advise you not to read the iBook edition on your iPad while you are sitting in the middle of a group of parents at your daughter’s dance class. Particularly if it is the chapter entitled, “My Vagina is Fine. Thanks for Asking.” People look at you funny. And not in a good way.)
My sister, Crash, texted me yesterday that she had some great material for my blog. Apparently, my niece had requested a trip to a tanning salon – which my sister refers to as “the toaster”. Being a good mom who does not want to subject her daughter to harmful death rays, my sister suggested instead that she use the “lotion they used in Baywatch”. I am not sure if it is the actual lotion, or has just been sitting in her closet since the 1990’s. My sensible niece replied, “Great. That stuff’s thirty years old.”
So, my sister decided to test it on her own hands before her daughter slathered it all over her skin. And it turned her hands orange.
This was all texted to me with the suggestion that it would make a good post.
“Where’s the pic?” I texted back, all business.
She sent me the pic. And her hands did not look orange. Maybe a little. But not the pumpkin orange that I was hoping for.
She offered to doctor it up for me. She then sent me a picture where her face was completely red. Photoshopped.
“I can’t do that,” I texted back. My readers rely on me to be genuine. I don’t want to be the next James Frey. Although a scandal could be good advertising…
She sent me two more hopeful pics of her hand at various stages of close-uppedness. I still didn’t see the orange.
In the meantime, she sent me a few pics of my niece, who absolutely abhors having her picture taken. Even though she isn’t the slightest bit orange.
I sometimes question how Crash and I can be related. She has absolutely no problem making fun of herself and is not even an ounce self-conscious.
My niece, my daughter, and I, (on the other hand that is also not orange), cringe at the thought of anyone analyzing us too closely. The only reason I submit to photographs now is because I don’t want my daughter to develop an aversion to having her picture taken.
That truth is I’m not orange either; I’m green. With envy. I wish I could be more like Crash. But that would ruin the mystique of Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, mother of Dimples, Wonderbutt, and Mrs. P.I.B. Right?
Today is my dear sister’s birthday. She is probably hoping, as she does every year for the last decade, that I will be surprising her in North Carolina. Unfortunately, I can’t do that again until she stops expecting it. Do you hear that, Crash?!!!! Anyway, I just want to say Happy Birthday to my crazy sis. Sorry I can’t be there. But here is the next best thing.
My sister, Crash, just got an iPhone. The one I coveted, then decided wasn’t good enough, then coveted again when Cap’n Firepants declared he was contemplating an upgrade of his own. iPhone upgrade, I mean. Though he probably secretly thinks about trading me in for a better model, too.
Crash has never had an iPhone, and she is approaching this brave new world with all of the zeal of a drunken gorilla. This is her trying to use FaceTime, iPhone’s video conferencing feature.
So far, we haven’t FaceTimed each other yet. Partly because I’m scared of her picture. And partly because I enjoy trying to interpret her texts so much.
It’s not like she’s never texted before. She has owned a cell phone. But it apparently did not have autocorrect. Either that or she has recently started smoking weed because I suddenly can’t understand
twenty-five fifty-three percent of what she’s saying.
It reminds me of when she would call my dorm room in college and my roommate would pick up. Roommate would say, “Hello!” then listen for a few moments and hand it to me.
“I think it’s your sister,” Roommate would say, hesitantly. The implication being that she wasn’t absolutely sure it was not the crank caller who graced us weekly with pornographic rants, but was willing to hazard this guess because of the higher pitch of the voice and the lack of heavy breathing.
We had moved to Louisiana when my sister was about ten, and she had thrown herself into the culture wholeheartedly, somehow adopting an accent that was a combination of Cajun, Hillbilly, Southern Belle, and the Bronx.
Crash’s iPhone autocorrect appears to embrace different cultures with the same zeal as my sister. Usually autocorrections bear some kind of similarity to the new words it suggests, and the replacements tend to be in the same language, but Crash’s autocorrections sometimes appear in another language altogether – bearing no resemblance to the original word at all. Here are a couple of her recent ones regarding Wonderbutt’s new Zazzle store.
It doesn’t help that even her communications that come through the way she intended sometimes have me scratching my head. So, I’m continually asking myself if I should know what she is talking about – or point out that she’s had another autocorrect malfunction. This somewhat defeats the whole purpose of texting – a brief correspondence that cuts through all of the pomp and circumstance of an actual telephone conversation. I spend more time deciphering Crash’s messages than I do on composing my blogs – which, believe it or not, is a lot of time.
Crash used to call me right after she sent an e-mail, and proceed to tell me everything that was in the e-mail. I’m thinking she may have to do some texting follow-up calls as well. I don’t want her to stop texting, though. She is my human Wonderbutt.
If you’d like to read more about my feelings on autocorrect, click here😉
Sometimes my daughter can be extremely smart and devastatingly dense at the same time. Her Santa Claus reveal is a perfect example.
A few years ago, when Dimples was 6, she started making little comments that hinted at her suspicions of Santa’s true identity. One night close to Christmas, Cap’n Firepants had to work late. Dimples and I were eating dinner, and she suddenly blurted out, “Mom, are you Santa Claus?”
Dimples has always been a pretty logical person. I could have dodged the question, feeling quite comfortable in saying “no” because I actually am not Santa Claus. I’m Mrs. Cap’n Firepants, and that’s burden enough. But I knew what she was asking, and I decided to honor the spirit of her question.
“Do you really want to know?” I asked. Because there is no going back once that question gets an honest answer. Step over that line and part of your childhood is gone and, quite frankly, part of the parents’ childhood is gone, too. Because we all live vicariously through the innocent joy and anticipation of our children during the Christmas season.
“Yes,” Dimples responded without hesitation. Remembering how bummed I was when my mother finally gave me the affirmative answer to my own Santa question, and the betrayal I’ve felt ever since whenever someone insists on giving me T.M.I. on something I preferred to believe was magical, I was still reluctant to eradicate the entire North Pole franchise over a meal of fish sticks and macaroni. But, unless I was imagining things, Dimples seemed almost hopeful that I would debunk this myth she had barely believed all along.
“I am,” I said.
Her eyes widened, and a big smile slowly widened across her face.
“I knew it!” she said. She wasn’t bragging about solving the mystery. Instead, she acted like I had just confirmed that I had my own super powers. Like I was the one hopping into a souped up air-surfing vehicle every Christmas Eve with the intention of criminally trespassing a billion times in one night so I could leave behind a few gifts the elves had bought online from Walmart.
“This is so cool!” she exclaimed.
She couldn’t contain herself, leaping off her chair and giving me a hug (a rare demonstration from Dimples, who usually offers her back to you when you try to show too much affection) – apparently noticing that I was taking this news a whole lot harder than she was.
After a few minutes of one-sided celebration, she suddenly stopped, and looked up at me with a very earnest expression on her sweet face.
“Does Daddy know?”
There was a story the other day about some parents who had given their child the ill-fated name of Adolf Hitler. As a teacher, I’ve been party to many urban legend discussions about poor choices for appellations (such as Vaseline – pronounced like Rosalyn, but with a “V” at the beginning).
We have a little more leeway with pet names, fortunately, as dear Wonderbutt can attest to. However, this post should serve as a warning that even pet names should be chosen with some thought to the possibility that you may need to yell that name in public some day:
Example #1 – My sister, affectionately known as Crash, texted me the other day that her dog had disappeared the night before. They searched for awhile, but the dog, who is old, deaf and has very dark fur, was impossible to find that evening.
The next morning, her husband found the dog, thankfully, and she is perfectly fine. Crash had me LOL, though, when she texted me about the incident.
The dog’s name (Crash told me I did not have to use a pseudonym in my blog since that would pretty much ruin the story) is Timber.
Crash’s words in her text, and I quote, “U can only call Timber so much before people think u need to be committed.”
Good point. So, if you live on the East Coast somewhere, and you heard someone walking around yelling, “Timber!” over and over again a couple of nights ago, rest assured that you were not being warned of the imminent collapse of a tree onto your roof. And it wasn’t an escaped mental patient. Although we do fondly question my sister’s mental state sometimes.
Example #2 – My friend, The Dictator, found a cat on the beach when she was on Spring Break during her high school years. The cat was pretty skinny, which is how she explained to her mother the cat’s regrettable name – Boner.
Unfortunately for The Dictator’s mother, Boner was an outside cat who needed to be called in for dinner each night. Luckily, their neighbors were either ignorant of the “street” meaning of the name, or too well-bred to ever mention the incongruity of a middle-aged woman stepping out into her backyard (which bordered a golf course) and yelling, “Boner! Boner!” every night while everyone was trying to eat dinner.
Love my sis. She texted me the other day that I needed to watch Anne Hathaway rapping on Conan. Then she said that she and my niece think I look like Anne Hathaway.
Since my sis recently had a mishap as a result of wrestling with a car my niece backed into a ditch, I figured she might have double-dosed on her pain meds. But I accepted the compliment graciously anyway. I mean, what 42 year old woman in her somewhat right mind wouldn’t want to be compared to the elegant and beautiful Anne Hathaway?
Then I watched the rap. Hmm… Is Crash (sis’ nickname ever since the car wrestling incident) comparing me to rappin’, obscenity spewing Anne or demure, eloquent Anne?
Not that I don’t like both of them. The rap was hysterical and quite clever, and just a little off-color. Well, the off-color part works…
Anyway, so I feel like I should offer a tribute to Crash for all of the ego boosts she has offered me through the years. Here are the top 10 Great Things about My Sis:
- She doesn’t take herself too seriously (hence her self-applied moniker, Crash)
- She always places her kids ahead of herself (which is why she took on a two-ton Jeep at night in a rainstorm)
- Her childhood dream was to grow up and teach cats how to roller skate.
- She abandoned her childhood dream in order to become a full-time mother and part-time medical assistant, both of which are a whole lot harder than teaching cats to roller skate.
- She tells me that I write better than the author of her current favorite book.
- She makes the whole family pose for group pictures whenever we’re together. In every possible permutation. “Now all of the kids,” “now the married couples,” “okay, let’s do the boyfriends and girlfriends.”
- She ignores the family’s insults as we grudgingly get into position for the photos.
- She magically inspires our autistic nephew to grin for a photo in the middle of a potential nuclear meltdown.
- She’s forty, but she looks like she is in her twenties. (Actually, I really don’t like that about her, since that genetic abnormality seems to have skipped right over me.)
- She thrives on a diet of potato chips and cookies because she loves animals too much to eat them. Plus, she thinks raw meat looks gross.
There are a lot more great things I could say about my sis, but that would, of course, no longer be a Top 10 List. So, that’s my tribute to one of the kindest, funniest people I know – the one person who I am completely confident could teach a cat to roller skate once she set her mind to it.