The Pros of (Temporary) (Military-Related) Single Parenthood

Yesterday, we went over the cons of such a situation. But today we celebrate the silver linings! It’s not always bad. Even in college we had summer and winter breaks apart, giving us an opportunity to miss/appreciate/become less annoyed with the other. PROS That span of 2005.5-2008.5 where we didn’t have a break?

Yeah, I don’t want to talk about that. Deployments can be good! We’ve come to enjoy them, at least parts of them. 

Plus they don’t exactly hurt the bank account and are pretty much the reason I don’t have to schlep to work every day any more…

Anyway, let’s get started! 

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The Cons of (Temporary) (Military-Related) Single Parenthood

Clearly, things could be harder. I could always be a single parent. But I’m not. I have pride in my husband who has chosen an important career even if it means he is away from home several months at a time. Even then, I know it could be three to four times longer than that. I’ve accepted this as OUR situation, both before and after we had a kid. And obviously, there will be more cons than pros, I’m not heartless. But there are, in fact, a few pros. We’ll get to those tomorrow. PROS

Quite honestly, I’m used to this routine, I’m happy to find good moments where good moments lie. And while things change (i.e. get ridiculously harder) as the kid grows, you just gotta MAN UP and roll with the punches. Even if you just want to punch yourself in the boob sometimes.

So on with the CONS:
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Yo, Special Snowflakes. NEWSFLASH.

An Open Letter to the Children of the Newest Generation

You’re all losers.

Yes, sure, you’re all unique little children. No one in the world is quite like you. Like snowflakes, you are one of a kind. However, there are also BILLIONS OF FUCKING SNOWFLAKES.

I never bought into that “no two snowflakes are the same” bullshit. Mother Nature is creative but she also creates a shitton of snow. Surely she repeats a pattern occasionally.

Anyway.

Not that special.

Not that special.

Many of you are being coddled by your parents, teachers, bus drivers, pediatricians, neighbors, tween bands, relatives, veterinarians, monkeys, pretty much anyone you come in contact with. And while their heads may all be in the right place, they are morphing you into a generation of noncompetitive wusses.

Everyone gets a trophy. Everyone gets a prize. Everyone gets a medal. No one feels left out.

NO. THAT IS NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS.

NO.

The world is driven by competition. Getting into college, finding an internship, getting a job, busting your balls for a promotion, starting your own business…guess what, tiny shitheads. It all requires a competitive drive. Which you aren’t learning to hone. You’re learning that everyone wins. Sweet participant trophy, dude.

Why this rant, why now? Because making the game Operation have EASIER PIECES TO REMOVE is stupid. The whole fun point of that game is the buzz. I don’t ever recall actually PLAYING the game growing up, just fishing the pieces out or holding the thing against the metal to BE buzzed. Making it easier sounds boring as shit and I’m pretty sure that actual game play IS boring. Side note, is the fart noise and noxious cloud in that commercial really necessary? Are you guys sinking that low that a game itself isn’t enticing but added bonus TV farts will make you jump for joy and beg your parents to get it for you?

I mean, farts are funny but come on.

Still not that special.

Still not that special.

I also heard some of you don’t keep score in sports? What the fuck is wrong with you? You’re telling me that you play the game for an hour or through the acceptable amount of innings/periods/quarters and then….leave? What’s the point? I’m glad you’re getting exercise, but seriously. What’s the point? Next you’re going to tell me you don’t wear uniforms because you don’t want to differentiate from each other because you’re all so equally awesome.

Why even bother going through tournaments, then? Or do those just cease to exist in this non-score keeping world and everyone gets a Thanks for Playing, Champ type prize at the end of the season? We all got something in my softball summer leagues growing up, but you did NOT want to leave with one of those piddly participant Thanks for Trying to Play medals, you wanted the two #@%! foot tall monstrosity that you’d admire for a month and then shove in the corner of your closet.

But dammit, that was a glorious, prideful month of admiration. THAT YOU EARNED.

I took a softball TO THE FACE to earn that @%@#$! trophy. (True story. Except it was second place and the trophy was only like a foot and a half. BUT STILL.)

Someday, sooner than later, you’ll need to compete for something you really want.

I’m telling you this as a person who lacks a TRUE competitive drive, children. I know how hard it is to pull enough passion out of myself to push me forward. While I am good at what I do, I also lack the drive to aim for greatness. I am usually satisfied with mediocre and I’ll bitch about not getting a better job/salary/raise/promotion though deep down I know it’s my own fault.

OK, maybe some of you are a little special.

OK, maybe some of you are a little special.

Who do I blame? ME. Me, myself and those 15 years of dance lessons. I didn’t learned how to compete there but holy shit can I tap, especially in front of a room full of senior citizens. Lots of good that does me these days. I blame my short stature for not making the high school volleyball team, thus ending my competitive sport spirit. I blame my good brains for getting more than decent grades without seriously trying, thus ending desire to push for more.

I’M TRYING TO HELP YOU HERE. Be competitive. Fight. Strive for greatness. Find passion in something. Admit that you’re the best or find the person who IS the best and #@%!# beat them at their game. Not literally beat them. JUST AT THEIR GAME. Don’t be ashamed. But stay humble. Play the old version of Operation. You’re gonna get buzzed (and not from Boone’s Farm). Life stings. Get used to it.

AND KEEP SCORE FOR SHITS SAKE.

Good luck. You’re gonna need it.

Bananas are the Worst.

My former coworkers can verify that I used to throw a minor fit when the old developer guy next to me would nom on bananas at his desk. The wretched smell would waft over the short cubicle wall and into my banana-free zone. And I would dry heave. When I was pregnant, I actually had to step away when he (or anyone else in the office) ate them. I never said anything, because really, it’s just a #%!#$ banana. And he was a really sweet guy. And it was all over in a few minutes anyway. Plus, hello excuse to leave my desk.

If you didn’t gather from that enthralling anecdote, I hate bananas. They are good for one thing only: banana bread. And when I make banana bread, I pretty much hold my breath until the pan slides into the oven where is becomes delicious non-banananey goodness.

I don’t know if this is true. I also don’t want to find out.

At first glance, they are a perfect food. Cheap, abundant, wrapped in its own easy-peel wrapper that doubles as a cutting board, full of potassium and some other shit.

DO NOT BE FOOLED.

They are also filled with spiders.

And apparently the bottom end of it tastes like Beelzebub’s booty. (Can someone verify this?)

DID I MENTION THAT THEY ARE FILLED WITH SPIDERS?!

Spiders, people. Venomous ones.  No. Just. NO.

The worst. THE WORST.

Unfortch, Little A goes apeshit for bananas. His first real word is thisclose to being banana. He freaks out when I put them in the grocery cart. He powers through an entire one for breakfast. I have to touch them on a daily basis. And one would think, after five months of a daily peeling, I would be immune to its powerful scent. I am not.

Does anyone really like bananas? IT’S A CHIQUITA CONSPIRACY. I feel like the world thinks everyone LOVES bananas but nearly everyone I know does not. Including my mom’s side of the family, where a conversation yesterday exposed a communal hatred among two cousins, my brother and myself.

bananas

I will continue to give in to Little A’s obsession and continue to cut off the apparently awful tasting booty end. Because I love my little spawn.

The sacrifices we make as parents, amiright?

BANANAS. NO. NOOOOOOOOO.

.

Sidenote: This post was really hard to write as my N key isn’t working so well. SO MANY EDITS.

The Icing on the Cake

Literally. /ChrisTreagar

This is so not baby related. Let’s explore more about me and less about Little A.

I am a cake and frosting snob. Everyone who knows me knows it. I am the first to admit it. I will not hesitate to look down on you based on your cake preferences. I bake from scratch and I love to brag about it. I’m pretty awesome.

In my world, cake is just (usually, but there are a few exceptions) a vessel for frosting. There is nothing better to celebrate with or satisfy a sweet tooth with than a mound of delicious, sugary frosting. As long as it isn’t red. Not saying I don’t love the cake part but generally cake is nothing without frosting. I actually have little issue with box cake mixes, either, even though I am a from scratch snob. I’ve been known to keep some in the pantry for emergency use. And sometimes, boxed mix is the only option. I’M LOOKING AT YOU, HARD TO FIND CHERRY CHIP.

But back to frosting. Not all frostings are created equal. I present to you…

THE EXPLETIVE BABY RANK OF %#&!^ FROSTING

1. The elusive “Wedding Cake Frosting”. This hard to find gem beats out my mother’s buttercream by only a sprinkle of sugar. I don’t know if this is a midwest term or my mom’s term or a St. Paul, MN term or what, but “wedding cake frosting” is how I’ve come to know it. It’s that super sugary, borderline fine grit, deliciously decadent bakery frosting. The only points of reference I have to this specific type of icing will only be recognized by Minnesotans – think the old McGlynn’s frosting (remember them?! AMAZING) or PJ Murphy’s bakery on Randolph. I would pay big money for a bucket of that stuff to be delivered to my door. It’s unrecreatable. I don’t even know how to describe it. But you want it.

Hold on. Let me wipe up that puddle of drool. OK. Let’s move forward.

2. The easy to recreate “My Mom’s Buttercream”. This shit is so simple to make it drives me BANANAS when people say they can’t make frosting from scratch. For cripes sake, people. Butter, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla. Blend. DONE. Need chocolate? ADD COCOA POWDER. My mom would make us the best cakes for our birthday parties – the ones baked in character pan and decorated with 34,761 stars of frosting. Not to mention delicious. Even if she used a box for the cake, the frosting made it epic. I don’t know how she had the patience to decorate those things. But man, her frosting is good. And now my frosting is good because I stole her secrets.

3. Safeway. They have the best (in this area, at least) grocery store frosting. It’s the closest to Wedding Cake frosting I can get my hands on, yet still miles away. Costco isn’t too far behind but, considering I never need 48 cupcakes to satisfy my bakery frosting need, I don’t seek it out. I won’t say no if those giant triple size cupcakes show up at an event, however.

4. Swiss Buttercream. Delicious, meringue-y, fluffy, but like all things Martha Stewart, takes 18 ingredients you don’t have plus eggs and an hour of unnecessary time. I’ll make it for a few recipes (Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, looking at you), but I don’t necessarily crave it.

5. Whipped Cream frosting. Peak disappointment when you see a cake or cupcake with mounds of fluffy frosting and your mouth starts watering and you take a bite and it’s GODDAMN WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING. That shit tastes like old dairy and air and failure. The texture is squishy and the whole idea of it makes me want to cry. But some people prefer it. And I judge those people.

6. But there is something worse. Likely, I can usually spot it on a cake before I take a bite. So I won’t have cake. CANNED FROSTING. Oh lord help us. That stuff is Crisco and fake flavor and hatred of the world. If you can open a can of %&@$%! frosting, take an extra five minutes and make buttercream from scratch. And no, Sandra Lee, adding a teaspoon of extract does NOT $#!^@$ remove the “packaged taste”.

Two weeks ago, that would have concluded my list. But there is a recent addition to the frosting world that seriously grinds my gears. I just don’t even know if I want to be in a world that lets things like this happen.

7. DUNCAN HINES FROSTING CREATIONS. Buy a can of frosting. Buy a FLAVORING PACKET. Mix. INSTANT FROSTING. What. the. motherloving. shit. is. this. If you’re going to take the time to incorporate a flavoring packet, SHITHEAD JUST MAKE REAL FROSTING. There are recipes out there for any type of frosting under the sun that take few extra ingredients, would contain less preservatives, additives and gasoline, and would taste twenty times better. I BET SANDRA LEE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THIS.

“Duncan Hines unveils Frosting Creations, a ground-breaking proprietary frosting system that transforms desserts into flavorful and colorful works of art.”

Apparently it contains LSD.

Ground-breaking? And proprietary!? WTF. Maybe it’s because…my place of business…tends to severely overuse the word proprietary, but seeing it in a sentence about frosting had me doubled over in giggles, sarcasm and nausea.

No. Just...no.

I am trying to look at the website to see what atrocious flavors are available…and the webpage is down. THE WORLD IS TELLING YOU SOMETHING, DUNCAN HINES. Keep that shit to yourselves. I will tell you that I spotted a “Cotton Candy” flavoring packet in the TV ad. Which made me want to vomit. I don’t even understand how these are so magically different than the pre-fabricated canned frostings on the shelves.

“On Sunday, April 1 a coupon for Duncan Hines Frosting Creations™ also will be available in many local circulars and newspapers.” (from Yahoo  Finance. Seriously.)

I hope this whole thing is a #$^@#%$ April Fools joke.

I just. I don’t even know anymore. Between mashed up cake reformed into balls and this shit I just don’t know. People scare me. I wonder if they have taste buds. It makes me sad. THINK OF THE CHILDREN WHO DON’T KNOW ANY BETTER. Like someone I know, whom I had to ween off of canned strawberry frosting and Funfetti cake.

Someone in Minnesota see if PJ Murphy’s will overnight some frosting to me. Or, you know, just have them send me a cake. And some donuts. They make amazing donuts.