Wednesday, December 27, 2006

You won't have Karla to kick around anymore.

It was very kind of several of you to inquire as to my well-being after the death-by-cookies post. You were worried that the delay in follow-up posting meant I did indeed die in my kitchen as all women should, and I appreciate your concern. To the dozen or so of you who actually called 911 and had ambulances sent over, however, I'm a little irritated at you. That was a bit over the top.

The truth is, I didn't end up baking after all. I still have all the ingredients sitting in my kitchen, openly mocking me, but so far I've skillfully avoided doing anything with them. I meant to, I really did! But we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day with Brian's family, and on the day after Christmas, Brian had surgery. (Sex change? Vasectomy? Partial colostomy? You decide.) I used Brian's surgery as my weak excuse to say I didn't have time to bake, what with all the caretaking I had to do for him afterwards. (In reality, "caretaking" ended up meaning "not asking him to do household chores for a whole day," but still, it was the best excuse I had available to me at the time.) Tonight I had a Pilates class to teach, and then bright and early tomorrow we leave for Corpus Christi, where we'll be spending a few days with more of Brian's family. (I knew I should have followed my instinct and married a guy with no family, but apparently most of those kind of men are on death row or in meth labs in the back woods of rural Missouri. Which doesn't make them undesirable, just harder to meet.) Actually, the trip to Corpus was my reason for wanting to bake cookies in the first place--I wanted to take them for the family to enjoy. Later, it occurred to me that there's very little about vomiting that's enjoyable, so I realized the family would appreciate me more if I just stayed out of the kitchen.

At any rate, you won't hear from me for a couple of days while I'm out of town, so you'll have to content yourself with internet pornography and shoplifting like you did before we met. Here's the part where I should say something like, "Here are some links to a few great bloggers you can read while I'm gone--I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!" I started to do something like that, but then I realized no other bloggers are as interesting as me, and I didn't want to offer you less than the best. I'm that committed to bringing you the best quality entertainment possible.

Okay, I'm kidding. Here, read these, if you're that desperate to avoid talking to your spouse:

Watching someone spiral into madness and depravity is always interesting, in spite of its sadness.

Some chicks are smart and funny and will mail you presents at Christmas, if you suck up to them all year.

Why do you have to read mean stuff all the time? How about trying someone who's just plain lovable?

I didn't make this guy's list of "blog crushes." But mark my words, I'll weasel my way onto that list in 2007, if I have to start posting nude pictures of myself.

That should keep you occupied. See you when I get back.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The cookies that ruined Christmas for all of us

A terrifying thing is about to occur at the Karlababble estate. I'm about to bake cookies.

I can hear you screaming at your computer monitors, "NO, NO, NO! Are you INSANE?! Have you already forgotten the shameful trauma that occurred when you tried to assemble a simple gingerbread house? For the love of God, stop trying to pass for a normal human!" And of course, you're right. This can't go well.

Bear in mind, I'm volunteering for this humiliation. No one asked me to bake cookies. It's just that every time I turn around, I trip over a nice, normal person cheerfully doing traditional, adorable homemaking tasks with efficiency and ease--baking cookies, cooking dinner, gardening, making crafty things, etc.--all without accidentally dismembering a passerby or igniting half the city in a roaring blaze. How do they do it? That's the question that keeps me up at night. It's not so much that I need a batch of cookies, or that I can't purchase much tastier, safer, less bacteria-laden ones in a store, but goddamnit, I'm determined to successfully complete a June Cleaver activity at least once in my life before I die of liver failure. If you jackasses can do it, why can't I?

The crazy thing is, I'm an adult now. I have a family, responsibilities. I can't really afford to risk life and limb participating in daredevil, death-defying activities like hang-gliding, bungee jumping, knife throwing, mountain lion hunting, or baking. I should think of my husband and son and say, "No, it's not worth the risk; these people need me alive and healthy for years to come."

But then I glance over at the two of them. Jake is demanding that I read Go, Dog. Go! to him for the 2,677,465th time, and Brian is having a chick-TV marathon as he watches Laguna Beach, which he will probably follow up with The Real World. And I think, "What the hell? Let's risk it."

So, in spite of the unmitigated sadness that will surely come as a result, I am about to bravely, stupidly march into that kitchen and find out once and for all who's boss. I'm pretty sure I know the answer. But I'm not so foolish as to go in unprepared for the disaster that is soon to come. I've thought of a few things I might need at the ready to attempt to hopefully prevent my early demise. So far I've stockpiled:

A stomach pump.

Funny, I always thought this thing, while crudely named, would actually be an elaborate medical device, shiny and sophisticated, requiring some sort of degree just to figure out how to operate. Instead, it's basically a $7 bicycle pump with a long hose. The question is whether I'll be able to use it on myself rather than needing the assistance of a second party, since Brian may be busy watching Dr. 90210 and Jake will be--well, still not yet 2 years old. I'll let you know afterwards how I fared.

A fire extinguisher.

This actually looks way more sophisticated than the stomach pump, which is reassuring. On the other hand, it might require more skill to operate. Again, the question surfaces: Can I use one of these on myself? If I'm engulfed in flames, will I be able to spray myself with this to put out the fire before I toast like a marshmallow? Either way, it'll make for a good blog post afterward, assuming I still have working nerve endings in my fingers, and am able to type.

Paramedics at the ready.

This one was tricky. In much the same way you can't call the police and say, "I think someone is thinking about robbing me," you also can't call 911 and say, "I think there may be a medical emergency--not sure which kind--at my house later today. I need you to come over and be ready for anything." So I couldn't procure actual trained paramedics, but I was able to find a street mime who can mime performing CPR, which is almost the same thing.

Tequila. Lots of it.

I don't think I need to explain this one. This is just one of those all-around useful first aid items we all keep on hand every day, right? Like band-aids or Neosporin or a prosthetic foot. You never know when you'll need it, but you know you're going to be thanking God that you had it on hand at that crucial moment.

So now that you know I'm setting off on my own domestic Survivor adventure, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on how much you suddenly realize I mean to you, and how crushed you'd be to lose me. I hope you're sorry for all those horrible things you've said about me, in the comments section or under your breath. And I hope for your sake nothing really bad happens to me in that kitchen today, because I'd hate to think of you spending a lifetime mired in regret, sorry that you didn't cherish me more when you had the chance.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas blows.

I know you people think I'm a genius, a prodigy, multitalented on so many levels that it brings new meaning to the prefix 'multi.' Okay, I don't know you think that, but just go with me on this. The point is, no matter what level of intellect and talent you assumed I possessed, I'm here to correct you, and show you how gravely you've overestimated me. Turns out I'm way, way dumber than you could have imagined. Perhaps the only smart thing I've been able to do consistently is find new, more spectacular and innovative ways to prove how dumb I really am.

Take, for instance, the gingerbread house. If you've been a reader of this blog for more than a few minutes, or if you've ever spent any time with me at all, you know I'm definitely not the kind of person who trots around the kitchen in an apron, baking delicious treats for my family. In fact, I've made exactly one cake in my entire life, and that was from a mix. I've made cookies a total of 3 times, also from mixes. My strategy thus far has been to take the considerable time and effort that I know is required to learn how to be good cook, and instead devote that time and effort to perfecting my drinking skills--which I have to say, has paid off. I'm excellent at that. But we make choices in life, and inevitably, when we choose Thing A, Thing B necessarily suffers. Thus, while I was out modeling myself after Dudley Moore in Arthur, my skills in the kitchen shriveled and died, along with two-thirds of my liver. That's the best explanation I can give you for the horror you're about to see here.

My neighbor bought two gingerbread house kits; one for her and one for me. Her idea was for the two of us to hang out together at one of our houses and assemble our gingerbread houses while her daughter and my son played underfoot. Quaint, no? Charming, even. I thought it was a very sweet idea, and really nice of her to think of me.

I should have known how it would turn out. My neighbor is good at everything. Everything! She's a great cook, an excellent host, she's crafty, and she can successfully grow all manner of flowers and vegetables without killing them in a matter of a week like I would. It's not easy living mere feet from such an overachiever, and I'd probably hate her if not for the fact that she feeds me from time to time, and brings me desserts or glasses of wine now and then. Instinctively, she must know the secret to keeping bitter, underachieving neighbors from gutting her with her own lemon zester is to ply them with food and booze. Smart girl.

At any rate, the Great Gingerbread House Fiasco netted me a few of the saddest photos in the history of photography. Below, see her adorable little specimen on the left, and my post-Hurricane Katrina model on the right.

Need a closer look? Here's Bree Van De Camp's house, zoomed in for your inspection and admiration: And no, it's not done yet in these photos. I'm only showing you how far each of us was able to get in the given time. I'm sure it got even more picturesque and fabulous when she added the final touches later at her own house. Look, she even remembered to put a doorknob on the front door!

By shocking contrast, here's my own Keebler Elf Haunted House:

I know it looks like I put it together one-handed in the shower while I shaved my legs with the other hand, but I assure you, we completed our projects under the exact same conditions. And to answer your question, I was indeed stone-cold sober at the time. Maybe that was the problem.
The next day, when my son, almost two years old, would amble around the kitchen and point to this new addition sitting on the countertop, looking inquisitively at me for the word to identify it, I would hang my head and mutter, "Uh...gingerbread house," and then quickly distract him, ashamed of the lie I was telling the impressionable, trusting boy. Because it's really not a gingerbread house, is it? It's a fucking monstrosity, a slab of iced shit, but it's not nice to say things like that to a toddler, so I lied and let him think that gingerbread houses all look like they've been peed on belligerent, fairy tale giants. One of these days he's going to see a picture of a normal, perfect gingerbread house in a book or on TV, and he's going to swivel his head to glare at me, and shout accusingly, "You lied, mommy."

A day and a half later, I did the right thing: I chucked it in the trash, putting us all out of our misery. Well, after I ate half of a roof panel. Fairy tale giant pee tastes better than you'd think.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Being good all year doesn't pay.

I tried to be good this year. I did! Not so much because I felt that Santa was watching, but because I knew Child Protective Services was. And I think I did pretty well. On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being reallyreallyreally bad, and 10 being reallyreallyreally good, I'd say I was a solid 7.5. Better than average. Pretty darn good. For me, at least.

Which is why I was baffled by a couple of the gifts Santa sent my way. First, there was the package of Fundies. I went to a Christmas party with friends last night. Good food, great company, copious quantities of booze, and even a gift exchange to top things off. It was the kind where each person brings a gift, and you draw numbers to see who will pick a gift first. Each person has an opportunity to steal a previously-opened gift or pick a new one. I was number 3, and since the first gift was a blowup doll, and the second gift was a plastic hand with the middle finger extended, that lit up and said "Fuck you!" when you pushed the button, I opted to pick a new gift. After all, I'm perfectly capable of using my own middle finger to communicate, and I have plenty of blowup dolls already. Little did I know what lay behind Door #3 was a package of Fundies. Pictured above, you can see for yourself how useful these babies can be. Perfect for Siamese twins joined at the forehead. Or for people who will do anything to cut their laundry load in half.

Then there were the magnets from Kendra. These were actually quite awesome. Kendra is cool for a whole host of reasons, but chief among them is the fact that she sends me stuff at Christmas time. Last year I got a very cool homemade tree ornament, which, fortunately, looks pretty nifty even without a tree to hang on. I'm trying to set the record for Most Consecutive Christmases Without Putting Up a Tree, but Kendra's ornament looks just as fabulous hanging from one of the the three little gold hooks on my mantle.

Kendra made this year's set of magnets herself. The girl is crafty! I am always baffled by how some people seem to innately know how to build entire cities out of wooden spoons and empty pudding boxes, while I can barely get myself dressed in the morning without breaking a limb. Kendra is one of those people who seems to spring out of bed some mornings thinking, "Today I shall build a TV set out of shampoo bottles," and 30 minutes later, pow! She's watching "I Love Lucy" reruns on a TV set that would put your Sony to shame, and her hair smells terrific.

At left is a picture of my new magnets, displayed on my refrigerator. First there are the "gin" and "tonic" magnets, showing that Kendra is eerily aware of the sole contents of said refrigerator. Then the pretty ladybug pattern, the funky white-and-blue face magnet, and the swirly yellowy one. And then...something sinister about that last one. Where have I seen that awful face before? Why do I suddenly feel like evil lurks nearby, waiting to pounce on me? Is it? No! It can't be....

Yep, the bane of my existence. It's not bad enough that creep has my email address and sends me all manner of deranged messages and incoherent threats, but now I have to be reminded of him in the sanctity of my home? Kendra is at once generous and vicious. Or perhaps she is just too wholesome and naive to understand the true nature of this horrible ogre. Either way, I am forced to keep the offensive image up on my refrigerator because Kendra is so sweet, and she gave me this gift in kindness. On the bright side, there's the inevitable weight-loss benefit. I expect to lose about 98% of my body weight in 2007, with that unsettling image menacing me every time I approach the fridge looking for food.

Anyway, thanks, Kendra! You rock. Now I'm off to see if I can find a sailor on leave to entice into wearing my Fundies with me. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dear Jackass, Volume 11

Attention self-proclaimed musicians:

You are no longer allowed to vigorously play air drums along with songs on the radio. There will be no more dramatic thrashing, elbow flinging and hair-slinging. I see you're desperate to broadcast the fact that you're a musician, and therefore worthy of getting laid, and I sympathize with you, because you're right--other than your little once-a-month, hole-in-the-wall bar gig, there really IS nothing very interesting about you. But you're going to have to find a more creative, less desperate way to announce it. That means you're also going to have to stop shouting, "Yessss! Good TUNE!" at the start of every third or fourth song you hear on radio, followed by an energetic "look at me" display as you throw your head back and play air guitar with your eyes squeezed shut like you're in the initial moments of coronary failure. And don't tell me it can't be done, because I have friends who are musicians, and they manage to not look like total asshats every time a good song comes on. In fact, I'm convinced that's the best way to distinguish a genuine musician from a sad little wannabe--how well he's able to keep his composure when a song that he knows how to play comes on the radio.

All I'm saying is, let there be a moratorium on dipshittery. If I see another one of you numbnuts launch into a full-scale assault on an imaginary drum kit the next time a Rage Against the Machine song plays, I shall be forced to gut you with a makeshift drumstick.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Airing Of Grievances

Christmas is nearly upon us, and as part of my ongoing effort to be different to the point of being totally irritating, I'm eschewing it this year. (The previous sentence is part of my ongoing effort to find ways to crowbar the word "eschew" into conversation.)

Therefore, I'll be observing Festivus this year instead of Christmas. Those of you who have watched Seinfeld will understand immediately what I'm talking about...and those of you who have never watched Seinfeld are hereby banned from reading this blog. I don't like people like you.

In a nutshell, Festivus is the alternative holiday celebrated by George Costanza's father, who was fed up with the commercialism of Christmas. A central component is the annual Airing of Grievances, in which participants take turns letting the others know how they've disappointed them throughout the year. In the spirit of the season, therefore, I'd like to take a few moments to let some of you know how you've disappointed me.

Hoss of OldHorsetail Snake: I'm pretty sure you stole ten bucks out of my wallet when you were groping me at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport. At first I was disappointed that you were being so grabby with me. Now I'm disappointed that you were more interested in my money than my ass.

Kendra: I have a feeling you're really good at baking cookies, and yet to this day I've never had a box of 7 dozen fresh-baked cookies of various flavors and fun shapes FedExed to my doorstep with your return address on the label. Shame on you.

Common Wombat: The internet isn't big enough to hold the list of the many times you've disappointed me. I'll settle now for simply complaining that you're probably the one responsible for all the searches I've been getting for bull rape.

Brandon: While I'll keep just between us the details of my rather personal disappointment with you, let me just take a moment to say that life with herpes isn't as glamorous as the water-skiing, hang-gliding people on the Valtrex commercials make it out to be.

TFG: Since when did your blog turn into the Diary of My Crotch? No, not my crotch--that would actually be interesting. But your crotch? That dusty relic has cobwebs that have cobwebs. Who was president the last time someone other than you laid eyes on that antique? A writer should strive to find subjects that his readers can identify with. To that end, why not write about something more people have heard of?

Colin: You first disappointed me by misspelling the name of your blog. When I pointed it out to you, you modified the title slightly to acknowledge the misspelling. Since then, you've disappointed me by failing to ship cases of British booze to my home every year on the Queen Mum's birthday. You are a disgrace to your country and my liver.

Psquared: I'm pretty sure you're the reason I continue to see the phrase masturbation with a banana on my Statcounter searches. Can you deny that you bought bananas in the last year? I didn't think so. Ladies and gentlemen, do not trust this man around the fruit salad.

This by no means concludes my list of grievances. When it comes to Grievance Airing, I could air and air all day long and not manage to get them all out. One holiday per year is not nearly enough for me to accomplish all the grievance airing I have cut out for me. I may have to consider amending Festivus to allow for a monthly Airing of Grievances, or perhaps a bi-hourly one. Did I fail to mention your name today? Trust me, you're on the list somewhere. It's just that I can't sit in front of this computer all day and night. But your time will come.