Tuesday, October 8, 2013

woman, thou art lost, literally (and, let's face it, metaphorically)

Well, jeezalou, once again Mrs. G. has subdued social networking, outplayed it really. What writer of blogs really wants readers to be able to locate her? Only the kind of internet wizard who has received dozens of emails from women mainly asking, "Did you move your blog? Where is it? I've had more luck spotting an Ivory-Billed Woodpecker; can you help me find it?"

This spot was supposed to be a temporary placeholder for the new blog format Mrs. G. is in the process of creating. As is often the case, reality -- tedious, tedious reality -- has foiled her plans to build a website from the ground up in sixteen days, because, guess what, this is a hard task for a woman who has learned everything she knows about technology from the Amish and been too stubborn to ask for help. The new concept is interesting, the new banner is cool. Man oh man, you should see the stunning sidebar,  but the other stuff required for a functioning site, the kind of stuff like, say, visible words on it, is slowing neutralizing Mrs. G's soul proving to be more challenging.

So, she said self-consciously, let's move back over here until Mrs. G. has succeeded or failed in concocting her vision.

Mrs. G. understands your exasperation. While some of you understand she is enamored with change, no doubt others of you consider her a habitual smoker of pipe dreams. You'd both be right.

Thank you for your patience, Dear Reader. As you must know by now, Mrs. G. has always been a crapshoot.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Full Confessional Friday! 10/4/2013

Be it Venial or Mortal (there's no escaping Original), we've all got secrets -- light, dark, funny, sad -- worth bringing to light. The act of confession can be liberating, mollifying and entertaining. Contrition? Repentance? A shot of Tequila? That's your call, sister.  

Friday, September 20, 2013

Full Confessional Friday! 9/20/2013

Be it Venial or Mortal (there's no escaping Original), we've all got secrets -- light, dark, funny, sad -- worth bringing to light. The act of confession can be liberating, mollifying and entertaining. Contrition? Repentance? A shot of Tequila? That's your call, sister. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Always Missing Her

Mrs. G. has written many times about her grandmother, a loving,  funny, loyal, odd bird kind of broad, a second mother, really. She married Mrs G's grandfather on their first date and they were together for 56 years. When he pulled some bullshit way back in the day with another woman, Mrs. G's grandmother leased out their bedroom to a young newlywed couple and forced him to sleep in his car until the six month lease was up.

Mrs. G. has mentioned before that her grandmother was not a proponent of what we now call Western Medicine. Mrs. G’s grandmother was not a proponent of what we now call Alternative Medicine. Mrs. G’s grandmother, a woman of modest means, was a proponent of what we now call Pipe Dream Medicine—the kind that did not cost more than a four ounce tub of Vicks Vaporub or a jar of yellow mustard.
She also believed she was a licensed physician with a medical degree from the University of I Think Doctors Are Full Of Shit.
She was a confident woman and when she told you to do something, you let nothing but fear and common sense stop you from doing it. Fast.
Mrs. G’s grandmother believed in home remedies, and Mrs. G. was her last generation of guinea pig. So Mrs. G. endured the mustard plaster and the onion poultice. She endured arbitrary spoonfuls of cod-liver oil and Phillip’s Milk of the devil Magnesia. She endured…well, you get the idea, she just endured.  The first day of a sore throat demanded round-the-clock gargling with salt water. The second day of a sore throat demanded tonsils being painted with liquid mercury red Mercurochrome. The third day of a sore throat demanded swallowing a substantial dollop of Mentholatum. The fourth day of a sore throat demanded a mild cussing out, because, clearly, you, the afflicted, were at fault and not following her exclusive, unwavering and tirelessly recited Hippocratic Oath: MIND OVER MATTER!
Oh, and just so you know, menstrual cramps are nonexistent and for the weak.
Mrs. G. would persuasively cry and carry on during each of these iron-handed (but mainly innocuous) procedures for survival purposes only, because another of Mrs. G’s grandmother’s medical convictions was that the level of pain was directly proportional to the level of cure. If it didn't hurt, it didn't heal.  Hysterics were required.
Mrs. G. begged her mother for orange baby aspirin or grape Robitussun—for First-Do-No-Harm mercy, but Mrs. G’s mother just shrugged it off and told Mrs. G. to count her lucky stars that she had not been forced to endure her grandmother’s chief, front office miracle cure: the enema. Apparently, back in the early days of Mrs. G’s grandmother’s medical residency, also known as Mrs. G’s mother’s childhood, Mrs. G’s grandmother believed an enema was akin to the polio vaccine in its curative properties, and she administered them liberally. Mrs. G’s aunt has confirmed the horror.
Mrs. G's grandmother  did not trust telephones, grocery store clerks, or the post office. She despised all politicians besides FDR and Jimmy Carter. She was not friendly to many people outside the family, a nearly impenetrable, private person unless it was your privacy that required penetrating. She was less into Neighborhood Watch and more into Neighborhood Stalk. If anything was going down on West Lakeland Drive, it would not be on her beat. Her two greatest passions were Murder She Wrote and the Memphis State Tigers. Mrs. G's grandmother rarely held her tongue about anything at social gatherings and believed if you consumed alcohol more than zero times a year, you were a full-fledged alcoholic. She was judgmental and sometimes difficult to be around. Her favorite candy was Aplets & Cotletts (which she hid on the top shelf of the linen closet) and if you begged, pleaded and promised to never shave above your knees, she might, might share a piece or two with you. 

Mrs. G's grandmother loved Christmas. Let's just say it was her Secret Boyfriend. She spent months sewing felt snowmen and sparkly sequins onto stockings, crocheting red and green toilet paper roll covers and saving her sheets and sheets of green stamps to trade in for a porcelain sheep, camel or surplus Baby Jesus to add to her colossal Nativity Scene.

In 1973, flocked Christmas trees were all the rage. Despite Mrs. G's Grandfather's and Uncle Hugh's urging, no pleading, that she just go and buy one of these trees off the lot, Mrs. G's grandmother insisted that she could flock her own for half the price. So she filled her Electrolux vacuum cleaner canister with white asbestochemical snow and switched the vacuum hose around so that rather than sucking in, it blew out. She flocked her tree, for sure, but in her spirited holiday-induced hysteria and her inability to limit the vacuum's lawless spray, she also flocked most of the den. By the time she was finished, it looked like there had been some sort of radioactive fallout of miniature marshmallows and synthetic dandruff. The whole house smelled strangely of Tupperware. It was sensational.

Today marks the 17th year since Mrs. G's grandmother died. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor, given six weeks to live and died in two. She wasn't a procrastinator.

It is not a sad day for Mrs. G, not at all. It's a day centered around memories of a woman Mrs. G. loved with all of her beating heart.

Tired, Mrs. G. hit the sack tonight at 8pm tonight and slept soundly until her eyes popped open at 1:16am. She lay in bed, hoping to drift off but found herself thinking once more of this woman who gave her so much.

Mrs. G. periodically lived months at her grandparents' house, a house that embodied unconditional love, security, respect, clean cotton sheets and three squares a day.

The memory Mrs. G. is sitting with in this wee hour of the night is when her grandmother would crawl into Mrs. G's bed, smelling of Pond's Cold Cream and, her prophylactic antibiotic of choice, Vicks Vaporub, and tell Mrs. G. homemade stories, various riffs on brave, tiny fairies who hid in the oak and magnolia trees in her grandparents' backyard. The fairies wore silky skirts of butterfly wings and bathed in acorn caps. They slept in downy birds' nests and rode fireflies from tree to tree. These were gutsy fairies and not surprisingly, given Mrs. G's grandmother's straight-laced nature, asexual. If there were any boy fairies flitting around the neighborhood, they did not dare cross Mrs. G's grandmother's property line. So the two of them would snuggle up, hold hands and fully inhabit the moment, their moment. When Mrs. G's grandmother slipped out of Mrs. G's bed to go to her own, they would spend a moment or two whispering about possible scenarios of what the fairies would do the next night and the night after that.

Be good to children and they will never forget you. 

Remembering you tonight, Mamaw. 

Loose Change

In seventh grade Mrs. G. stole a book from the Memphis public library. She didn't actively steal it, as in stealthily slip it into her backpack and hotfoot it out the door. No, Mrs. G. was Catholic. Catholic Catholic. It was 1978, and she was panicky about sinning.

The church had recently abandoned the safe and snug anonymity of the perfectly good confessional in favor of the hippy happy, guitar-strumming-nun infused  face-to-face confession.

Previously comfortable with the occasional white lie and blasphemy, eleven-year-old Mrs. G. now focused all her efforts on never, ever sinning and, therefore, never, ever sitting on a folding chair at a lame card table across from an ancient, moth-eaten Father Stritch to report her misdeeds while he looked directly at her base and unholy face. Not since discarding the Latin Mass had the Vatican hatched such an ill conceived, daffy plan. Sin has no business in the cold, hard light of day.

So, no, she didn't swipe the book— she just never returned it. She let her mother take the fall and pay the replacement fine (sin). Mrs. G. concealed the book under the winter sweaters on the top shelf of her closet, right next to a battered copy of Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones on loan from a friend. The book Mrs. G. stole was a copy of Sara Davidson's Loose Change, a nonfiction account of the lives of three Jewish girls, who met while living in a UC Berkeley sorority house, from the 1960's to the mid 1970's: Sara (Davidson), who becomes a successful journalist; Susie, who marries a student radical and grooves through the western counterculture scene; And Tasha, who moves to the Big Apple and becomes a sophisticated fixture in the art world. The book is chock-full of student protests, drug use, the civil rights and feminist movements, the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention, communes, vaginal explorations and Joni Mitchell. Arousing stuff for a true-blue, quaking Jesus lover. Mrs. G. isn't entirely sure what it was about the book that lead her to a momentary life of crime, but the wholesale disregard for authority and wanton sex didn't hurt. It was in this book that Mrs. G. learned the word patriarchy and, Mother Mary and St. Bernadette, did she use it a lot. 

To her mother: Don't you know those false eyelashes and platform shoes are tools of the patriarchy!

To her stepfather: I have better things to do than wash your patriarchal dishes!

Mrs. G. still has her stolen copy of Loose Change. It's currently on the family room bookshelf right next to (oh how things change) Martha Stewart's Cookies...The Very Best Treats to Bake. Mrs. G. is looking at the stolen book right this very moment. It reminds her of criminal behavior and damnation. It makes her nostalgic and wistful for outlaws, the Dewey Decimal System and books you just have to own.

It doesn't make her nostalgic and  wistful for the patriarchy because that shit still exists, in spades.

 Reader, what was the most stimulating, devilish book you hid on the top shelf of your closet?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September Update: Things Mrs. G. wants and doesn't want to admit

Things Mrs. G. Wants to Admit

~Mrs. G. is excited about revamping her blog. It is going to be reminiscent of the old Women's Colony but different in all befitting ways. Despite learning everything she knows about technology from the Amish, Mrs. G. is building this site from the bottom up. Let's hear it for new tricks, old dogs.

~Mr. & Mrs. G. are successfully taking advantage of the Empty Nest. They have been more spontaneous just for the hell of it -- dinners out, uninhibited screaming matches, weekend trips planned, cooking optional.

~Mrs. G. wakes up every morning and thanks God that she doesn't have to placate assholes fixated on organic rotisserie chickens.

~After a the Financially Strapped Summer of the Bambinos, Mrs. G. was able to go out tonight and buy new shirts for Mr. G. and undergarments for herself. And just to grandstand, she bought Klondike Ice Cream Sandwiches...not on sale.

~The three tomato plants Mr. G. planted have yielded, easily, 75 tomatoes. Tomorrow, Mrs. G. is attempting to make fresh marinara sauce.

~Mrs.G's daughter loves her new job (her first paycheck yielded her an awesome cut and color)...

 and Mrs. G's son has fallen for New York.

Things Mrs. G. Doesn't Want to Admit

~Despite Mrs. G's success with dealing with the empty nest, she frequently wakes up in her son's bed. Disturbing? Maybe. Weird? Probably. But it's the truth and she's dealing with it.

~It appears the Bigger Love movie isn't going to happen. Mrs. G. will give you the full story soon, but for now, give her a couple of weeks to feel sorry for herself. Mrs. G. said no three times when she was approached by the A&E Network to option her blog, mainly because she has been through YOU ARE SO AWESOME! projects falling through at the last minute. Last week, true to form, this project bit the dust. Mrs. G. is trying to be gracious, but it is slightly killing her that the network of Dance Moms and Supermarket Superstar has written her work off as pedestrian. Tears continue to sporadically fall, but now that Mrs. G. has new undergarments things should start looking up.

Actually, no new bras or underwear can ease this particular disappointment speedy quick, but Mrs. G. is putting on a brave face for you because she's not sure what else to do.

"Depp will help give life to Miguel de Cervantes's famed character Don Quixote in a modern-day film for Disney, Deadline.com reports. The actor is set to produce the movie about the hero of La Mancha, but no word yet on whether he'll be acting in the project. Hewitt will executive produce a Lifetime movie based on a post from Heather Gattuccio's blog Derfwad ManorDeadline.com reports. In the blog post, the happily married mother dreams of polygamy with A-list stars. The movie tells a new version of the story of a bored homemaker's fictional blog about her own polygamy but when she starts getting noticed for her online presence, she must keep up the charade." 

~Mrs. G's dog Gus won't shit outside if it's raining. You might recall Mrs. G. lives in Seattle, where rain falls, on average, 150 days per year. Please send advice or prayers.

~Mrs. G's dog Chewie is perfect, faultless, and Mrs. G. struggles not to favor him. That's a lie. There is no struggle, she favors him. Please send advice and prayers.

It's late and that about covers it. Feel free to share what you do or don't want to admit. No pressure. Mrs. G. has no shortage on her plate, but it's still cathartic to know she's not alone.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Answer Broad: Alimony & You: A Primer

I’ve been divorced for about 12 years. My ex-husband married the woman he was seeing during the last years of our marriage. Now, he has become a minister.

He recently told me that all of his money needs to go to the church, so he can’t pay me alimony anymore. I’m doing OK without his money, so I decided to just let it slide.

My (now grown) kids are furious. They say that legally he owes me this money and that I need to talk to my lawyer. I guess it would be nice to have the money, but wouldn’t I be stealing it from a church?

-Stealing from the collection plate

I can certainly understand wanting to be done with an ex, and just not wanting to fight anymore.

However, in this case? Go after your damned money!

If your ex has a legal obligation to pay you alimony, it’s not up to him and it’s not up to you to change that obligation. You need to go to court to change that obligation. That’s just good recordkeeping. Oh, and it’s how The Law works.

Secondly, using the church as an excuse not to pay you funds to which he is legally obligated is slimy. Like, slimy in a sweaty-televangelist-robbing-old-ladies kind of way. Seriously. You’re telling me that your husband cheated on you, you guys divorced, he married his mistress, and now he’s all holier-than-thou and hiding behind a church as an excuse shirk his obligations? And you’re agreeing to let him do this?

Honey. No.

You might not need the money right now, but we could all use a nest egg. Tuck it away for retirement or your grandkids’ college funds. Based on his stellar moral record, I sincerely doubt that by not paying you alimony, your ex is donating that exact amount to his church. And even if he is, he’s getting a tax benefit from the charitable giving. From a karmic standpoint, it’s a disaster. Don’t be a part of it.

Stick to the straight and narrow. Let your ex know that you – and the state – still expect alimony. Give your lawyer a heads-up, and be prepared to go to court if necessary.

And if you’re really torn up about “stealing” from a church? Donate the alimony to the charitable organization of your choice – preferably one that has nothing to do with your ex.

If there was a problem, yo, I’ll solve it. Or at least write thoughtfully about it. Email The Answer Broad at advice@theanswerbroad.com.

The Answer Broad is only licensed to operate a standard motor vehicle. However, she will gladly ruminate on life’s ups and downs with you. By submitting a question, you’re giving permission to publish it anonymously. The Answer Broad would never, ever reveal your identifying information.