Raging Dull

By all reasonable accounts I should be on Cloud Nine* today. The Kansas City Royals, my lifelong team, bereft of a championship for 30 years, won the World Series on Sunday. All I have to do is think of Eric Hosmer’s mad dash home to tie Game 5 in the ninth inning, and I get a huge smile on my face or start to tear up. Instant happiness. Last night I went to see Jim Gaffigan in concert with my husband, oldest son, and BFF. We had a great time. He was fantastic. Quote from one of our favorite bits, “Is this worth it?”

But someone today served me up a full-on slice of rage with a side of loathing and an indignation chaser. Literally everything is pissing me off. Granted, even when I’m even-keeled I don’t easily suffer fools, but that’s not usually something that turns my day upside down.

Alex had some questions about the show this morning. “What did he talk about?”

Me: “Hot Pockets.”

Alex (eyeroll): “Did he talk about airline food?”

Me: “No.”

Alex: “Good. Because that is getting REALLY old.”

Eight years old, going on…me. I think that sort of sums up what’s wrong with me today. I don’t have any patience for anyone who is rehashing the same old shit. What set me off started before I’d even left my house this morning – a fairly innocuous comment on a post about the Gaffigan show my friend tagged us in on Facebook.

“…looks like youre hanging out with a bunch of Weiners!”


For the record, my name is Jennifer Weiner. Pronounced “WINE-er.” When I write I use my maiden name for my byline so I’m not confused with the relatively prolific author of the same name. Jennifer Weiner has done rather well for herself, so it wouldn’t be terrible, but no need to create undue confusion. Receptionists at medical offices often ask me if I’m her. Note to Jennifer’s publisher – receptionists at medical offices must be very into “chick lit.” I sense a marketing opportunity. You’re welcome for that free bit of insight about a key demographic. I read Jennifer Weiner’s first book, Good in Bed, a title for which I suffered a fair amount of grief. It was okay, and that’s not a knock against her, but it’s a genre that’s just not really my thing.

I digress. The “weener/weiner” comment is just so ridiculously unfunny. I mean, could you pick any lower hanging fruit than making an obvious joke out of someone’s name? It’s not my name. I wasn’t born with it. My kids get mocked for it constantly. My oldest son, now a sophomore in high school, used to be terribly bothered by it. A baseball pitcher, he intentionally hit a kid once as a 12-year-old when he heard the kid call him “weener” before a game. When I found out why he hit the kid I wasn’t even mad. I was impressed with his control and situational awareness. He’d cleanly retired the first two batters, then plunked the kid with precision on the first pitch with two outs. Now he embraces the taunts, lets his friends call him “penis,” which has taken away all the power of the chirp. You can do that as a 15-year-old who lifts weights and is unafraid of anyone. It’s a little different for younger kids who haven’t developed any coping mechanisms.

I don’t know this person. She’s probably perfectly nice, but her comment annoyed the hell out of me. Not because I was offended, but because of how fucking immature and stupid and preposterously unclever it was. If it were a good joke, I probably wouldn’t have cared. I respect a well-timed and funny insult at my expense. But I have no tolerance for the trite and cliché. I later replied to her comment with a single word. “Hilarious.” She “liked” it. That angered me even more. Because that remark was dripping with sarcasm. And it went completely unrecognized.

The check-out lines at Target over my lunch hour were long. And things went from bad to worse because when it was my turn, the slow cashier handling my lane was replaced by the chatty cashier. I always purposely avoid this woman’s lane. She’s worked there for eons, and she insists on commenting on every item you purchase. I plastered a smile on my face, and prepared for her shtick. As she slid the pizza crusts, pizza sauce, and mozzarella cheese across the scanner, I assumed the crash position, bracing for impact.

“Makin’ some pizzas?”

Oh. My. God. Are you some kind of fucking psychic? How the amazing Kreskin did you know that? No. Way. That was. FAN-Tastic. Seriously, chills.

“You know, there’s a recipe for a cauliflower pizza crust. I haven’t tried it, but I need to. I need to stay away from the carbs. The cauliflower is low-carb. I’m supposed to be on a low-carb diet, but everything is made outta carbs! I’m a diabetic. My sugars are just way out of control. Crazy high. I see you got that 25% off apparel coupon on Cartwheel. Lady in line earlier didn’t know about it and I told her all about it. She didn’t have the app and went over to customer service and set it up. I used mine the other day.”

This is a test, God. Right?

Mercifully that exchange ended. In the parking lot a cute two-year-old boy was not being controlled by his mother, and slowly walked right in front of my car as I was trying to leave. Move out of my goddamn motherfuckin way, you little bastard. (My God I’m watching too much Veep. I have Selina Meyer mouth.) Before going back to the office, I decided I needed a little pick-me-up, so I stopped at Starbucks for some iced tea. Ran straight into a brick wall of upselling purgatory. 

Barista: “So are you having anything for lunch? A hot sandwich? Fruit parfait?”

Me: “No, just tea.”

Barista: “That comes sweetened, but we can make it unsweetened by special request.” 

Me: (Special request? That sounds overly complicated. Do I have to fill out a goddamn form or something? We’ll leave the sugar out of your tea, but only after you complete Schedule 2530-IT in triplicate.) “Unsweetened, please.”

Barista: “For only 50 cents more you can upgrade your Grande to a Venti.” At this point she’s waving cups at me.

Me: “Fine.” (If that will end this transaction. Please.)

Barista: “Anything else for you? We have fresh gingerbread cookies out of the oven!”

Me: “No thanks, I’m good.”

Barista: “Do you like music? We have the new Andrea Bocelli CD.”

Me: “That’s ok.” (I haven’t listened to a CD since 2006. Do they still make CD players? You don’t grind the coffee with a mortar and pestle, why are you selling CDs?)

Probably I should not be allowed around anyone for the rest of the day, for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Unfortunately I have a meeting tonight, and I have to deal with my own children, which is always interesting. Thank goodness it was dark when I drove home at 5:00 in traffic. That’s always a mood booster.


*What is Cloud Nine anyway? What right does Cloud Nine have to be so damned haughty? I bet it just kissed ass all the time, and probably backstabbed the hell out of Clouds Five and Seven to attain its exalted position. Cloud Six is all, “That was my idea, bitch. Thanks for sharing the credit.”

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2015


The Bare Necessities

I was in line at Target today, and the guy ahead of me had two items. Shaving cream and a toilet brush. Obviously a man on a mission. I looked at him in awe. What must it be like to have such singular focus? Here’s the difference between a man’s shopping trip and a woman’s shopping trip. I’m generalizing here, but the reason men can go into a store and come out with only what they went in for is because they have the luxury of worrying only about themselves.

A member of the male species goes to a store for shaving cream and a toilet brush, and purchases the following items:

  • Shaving cream.
  • Toilet brush.



If I were to go in for shaving cream and a toilet brush, I would exit the store with:

  • A Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer notebook from the $1 section because I got one for Cameron two days ago and Justin’s been trying to steal it ever since, resulting in an endless battle between the two of them. Also one for Alex too so he’s not left out.
  • Lip balm in four different novelty flavors: Mountain Dew, Jolly Rancher Watermelon, Nerds and Blueberry Push Pop. Because the kids’ mouths are starting to look like The Joker, and because St. Nicholas Day is next week, and they are perfect useful and necessary, yet fun, stocking stuffers.
  • Black socks so David doesn’t show up at his band concert looking like Cliff Clavin wearing white socks and black pants.
  • Two-pack of gray $1 knit gloves so Cameron doesn’t have to wear one cream-colored glove and one blue glove with a yellow soccer ball on it to school anymore.
  • Spongebob toothpaste because Justin and Alex are out.
  • Shaving cream.
  • Biggest bottle of Aleve I can find.
  • Children’s Ibuprofen because we are down to the last few chewable tablets, and Cameron mentioned he was starting to get a headache and sore throat.
  • Frozen chicken strips and apples so the kids have something for dinner while Barry and I eat leftover Chinese.
  • Spaghetti sauce and bread sticks for dinner tomorrow night.
  • Peanut butter. Used the last of it yesterday.
  • Milk. We always need milk.
  • 12-pack of caffeine-free diet Coke because husband is down to his last two cans.
  • Ritter Sport chocolate for my secret stash.
  • Toilet brush.
  • Scotch tape to replace the roll that Justin used up trying to tape his stick back together last night.
  • AA batteries for the TV remote that has been taking five clicks to change one channel.

And those are just the necessities.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011

Black Friday

So I’m contemplating heading out shopping at midnight. I’ve never done that, usually because by the time I’ve spent all day dealing with four kids, I’m completely wiped out, and the thought of being extra sleep-deprived, and having to start it all over again in a few hours has never appealed to me.

But there is an awesome deal on a TV. And Justin’s already sleeping. They aren’t the handful they used to be, though each of them drive me nuts in their own special ways.

I have no idea how to go about this. I’m not aggressive when it comes to shopping, because normally I don’t care. I’ve become a bit anti-consumerism over the last few years, for precisely this reason. Because people make idiots of themselves lining up and storming the doors for the world’s cheapest PlayStation.

But $298 for a 46″ TV…when we’re probably the last household on earth who doesn’t have a really nice HD flat screen TV, and my kids remind me on a daily basis how uncool we are. The thought is tempting, but I really don’t want to put that much work into it. We shall see. I still have a couple of hours to think it over.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011