abandoning pretense: three pints of glitter and some electrical tape

It’s Halloween, my loyal so-and-sos! The one day a year when we can indulge our inner demons, wreak havoc wherever we please, and let our secret psychos come out to play, all with the lame and yet somehow perfectly acceptable excuse of “What? It’s Halloween.”

This Halloween I thought it would be fun to have sexy, scary guest blogger Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense stop in and share with us a hilarious and ghoulish story of a costume party gone afoul. (Okay, it’s not really that “ghoulish” of a story. And “gone afoul” is a bit of an overestimation. But trust me. You *will* laugh your pants off. So before you start reading, make sure you’re wearing your sluttiest Halloween panties.)

(That goes for the men, too.)

(What? It’s Halloween.)

Let’s read! And when you’re done, don’t forget to check out:

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Three Pints of Glitter and Some Electrical Tape

I got my husband to attend the charitable Halloween ball by highlighting “open bar” on the invitation and leaving it on the sofa arm for him to discover. That way he would think the whole thing was his idea, and never suspect my secret hankering to slather glitter all over myself.

That was the easy part. The tough part was figuring out a couples costume—I was flexible, as long as I got to wear a metric ton of glitter. My husband, on the other hand, wanted to go as a scary monster (i.e., wear jeans, a t-shirt and the horrifying mask we have hidden high in our coat closet because our eight-year-old pisses his pants every time someone mentions it.) I vetoed this option, because:

  • I knew my husband would try to show the scary mask to our son right before ditching him with the babysitter, and no way was I going to do that to the poor kid… or my son.
  • How was he supposed to brainstorm million-dollar inventions with strangers over cocktails while wearing a rubber mask? Luck equals opportunity plus preparation. There are no masks in that equation.
  • He wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate how sparkly I was through his mask.

“Scary monster” was my husband’s only contribution to costume ideas. After that, he flapped his hands at me like a territorial praying mantis and grumbled something along the lines of “I don’t freaking care, just pick something for me and I’ll wear it.

So I scoured the Internet for couples costume ideas, but most of them were crazy and elaborate and required a hefty investment of money, time, and Pinterest-worthy craftiness (think “giant pair of dice” or “sexy Tarzan and Jane” with leaves barely covering the tender parts). I needed something that was both cheap and lazy, but still awesome.

When I stumbled across the Tooth Fairy and Kid Who Just Lost a Tooth idea, I knew we had a winner. I already had a dress that could pass as something a fairy would wear, so that left plenty of room in the budget for three huge pints of glitter. Besides that, I only needed to buy adult-sized wings. (I tried on my toddler’s tiny dress-up wings and, surprisingly, they looked weird.)

Resplendent.

To make his part of the costume work, my husband only needed to wear pajamas—which I thought he would find very pleasing given his general lack of interest in the whole costume-choosing endeavor. All he really needed to do was put some crap over his tooth to black it out, and carry around a teddy bear and security blanket. BOOM. The perfect Tooth Fairy and Kid Who Just Lost a Tooth costume. We would be the most adorable couple at the party.

The big night arrived and I was frothing at the mouth with anticipation. I hadn’t glittered since I was an undergrad, and since motherhood had depleted me of all my regular human woman sparkle, I was determined to twinkle intensely enough to blind at least a few people.

Unfortunately, my husband was having trouble getting the tooth-blackout makeup I’d bought to stay on his front tooth, and he kept bugging me about it. “Babe,” I finally told him, “I am not finished with my glitter. You’re an engineer. I’m sure you can figure out how to make your tooth disappear.” He resolved his dilemma, very effectively I must admit, by wrapping a strip of electrical tape around one of his front teeth.

We arrived late to the party and had to park about four streets away. Fortunately for me and my feet—which were stuffed into heels for the first time since getting pregnant three years prior—a shuttle was circling the neighborhood to bring far-parkers around to the party, which was being held in the backyard garden of a historic riverside home.

When the shuttle was about halfway to the party, my husband suddenly turned to me in a panic and said: “Honey, did you remember my blanket and teddy bear?” After I slapped the gross off myself from hearing him ask that icky question, I glared at him and said, “It’s not my job to keep track of your stuff, remember? We’ve been having this conversation for ten years!

After a brief debate as to the direness of the blanket/teddy bear situation, we agreed that my husband could do without them. I reassured him that he still very clearly lacked a front tooth, and as long as he stood beside me—obviously a tooth fairy—people would “get it.”

We should have turned around and gotten the stupid costume props. Everyone at the party was decked out like it was Vegas. There was a Black Swan, various creepy zombies, some sexy nurses, a few outright hookers, werewolves, doctors, giant babies sucking coffee mug-sized pacifiers, and more. Not a single person was without an elaborate costume.

Not a picture of the actual party, but close enough. You get the gist.
Not a picture of the actual party, but close enough. You get the gist.

As for my husband and I, the entire evening was a repeat of the same conversation:

“Oh, you look SO pretty and sparkly! Perfect fairy!”

“Aw, thanks!” Then I would subtly jerk my head at my husband in a silent plea for the party-goer to try and figure out just what kind of fairy I was.

The person would inevitably turn to my husband with a confused look on his or her face and say, “Hold on. Lemme guess. A homeless person? No? Hmm… a college kid? Oh, I know! A junkie! Not that either? Hmm… I dunno. Hey, what happened to your tooth? Did you have a bad fall or something? Or is that just a big piece of spinach? Here, lemme get it for you. Hold still.”

Each time the conversation occurred, I stood to the side, mildly concerned that I’d dressed my husband like a meth-addicted homeless college student for Halloween, but my mouth was exploding with too much empanada for me to give enough damn to rectify the situation. My husband got pretty irritated that only my half of the costume had worked out, but I pointed out that he’d had zero interest in the costume selection up to 30 minutes before it was time to leave for the party. However, in a gesture of compassion, I suggested he go ahead, take the electrical tape off his tooth (it was inhibiting his eating), and get comfortable. Dejectedly, he insisted the blacked-out tooth was the only indication that he’d put in any effort at all.

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I’m pretty sure this was what people were saying about us.

The party wasn’t a total bust, though. I kept the beer in ready supply, and soon my husband and I were shaking up the dance floor, me pretending I didn’t have eighteen blisters on my squashed feet while poking everyone in the eyes with my fairy wings (told you I would blind people!), and my husband grinning next to me like a drunk fool, his missing tooth on full display. Oh, and it rained.

By the end of the evening, I’d given up on shoes and decided to just limp back to the car barefoot and wet, leaning on my inebriated gap-toothed husband, hair sticking to the sides of my face.

“Did you have at least a little bit of fun?” I asked him, feeling guilty for roping him into attending the event in the first place.

“Eh. It was okay.”

“Maybe next time we could just donate.”

“Or hope the party’s inside.”

“And you can choose your own costume.”

“Yes! I’ll wear my scary mask.”

“Anything but the mask, sweetie. How would you talk to people through that thing? And how would you be able to see how glittery I am?”

He sighed. “Ugh. Who cares? I’ll just let you pick.”

“Sounds good.”

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When Kristen Mae isn’t running absurdly long distances, washing poop out of her dog’s butt-hair, or taming her two booger-machines, she’s tossing her expensive Master of Music Performance degree out the window by feverishly attacking her “writing career.” She is a regular contributor at Nickmom.comBluntMoms.com, Mamapedia.comMamalode.com, and ScaryMommy.com. Her writing has also been featured Huffington Post and HotMessMom.com. In addition to her blog, Kristen shares hilarious and heart-warming tidbits of her life on her Facebook pageGoogle+Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Photo credits:
“Tooth Fairy Man”: http://www.amazon.com/Tooth-Fairy-Costume-Chest-48-53/dp/B001ODU9U8/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1444315748&sr=8-9&keywords=tooth+fairy+costume+man — Modified
“Costume Party Attendees”: CC BY 2.0; File: VFS Makeup Design Students display Halloween makeup on Urban Rush.jpg; Uploaded by Flickr upload bot; Created: 29 October 2010 — Modified
“More Costume Party Attendees”: Halloween 2010 – By Armando Salum, Veracruz; Date 8 November 2010; Source originally posted to Flickr as “Beater Clown & La Catrina”; Author Eduardo Pavon; This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 11:41, 27 November 2010 (UTC) by Infrogmation (talk). On that date it was licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. — Modified

the european mama: dealing with a hangry person

How you be, loyal so-and-sos? Ready to read some funny shit, I hope? Because BOY OH BOY HAVE I GOT A TREAT IN STORE FOR YOU.

Today’s guest blogger is Olga Mecking from award-winning ex-pat blog The European Mama, and guys? This lady is one of the sweetest, smartest, and most adorable women I’ve had the privilege to meet on the Internet. She will charm your pants off in FIVE languages, y’all. FIVE.

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Originally from Poland, Olga now lives in the Netherlands with her German husband and three (count ’em three) children. She blogs poetic about ex-pat life in the Netherlands, how to parent multilingual kids, and what it’s like to speak waaaaaay more languages than I ever will. Let’s hear what she has to tell us about “hanger” management!

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“I think I should write a blog post about dealing with a hangry person,” I told my husband, after I’d just recovered from one of my notorious hanger episodes.

“Yes. Yes, you should,” said my husband, still traumatized and trembling from said episode. I’m pretty sure he was agreeing with me solely for the sake of self-preservation.

If you don’t know what “hangry” means, it’s probably time to learn, because I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself at some point. “Hangry,” if you’ve never come across the term before, is nothing more than a portmanteau word combining the adjectives “hungry” and “angry.” Get it? “Hungry” + “angry” = “hangry”? It’s just that simple.

Except when it isn’t.

When my husband and I started dating, he was blissfully unaware that when I say the words “I’m hungry,” it constitutes an emergency on par with a child telling you that she REALLY needs to go pee RIGHT NOW. For the record, I am usually a sweet, friendly, and wonderful person –but there are two things that turn me into an unreasonable monster. One is being with other people for far too long. The other one is when I’m hangry. The type of hangry that only a pregnant woman can pull off, except for the fact that I’m not pregnant. In fact, the only time I wasn’t hangry was when I was pregnant, but that’s because I was either puking, suffering from heartburn, or just feeling too full to eat.

So for anyone who doesn’t know me well, the metamorphosis from amiable Olga into the Incredible Hangry Hulk can come as a huge and unpleasant surprise. And believe me, I understand why it’s so shocking. After all, how can such a nice, kind person become so terrible and full of rage? More importantly, how is a loved one expected to deal with such a transformation?

This very question is why I decided to write up this following list of tips for dealing with a hangry person:

1) Understand that the words “I’m hangry” are always an emergency. Yes. They are. There is no “I think I may be hungry in a few minutes,” or even “I think I need to eat something soon, but I should be able to manage for another half an hour.” No. It’s either “not hungry” or “hangry”, with no gradation in between.

This means that when you hear “I’m hungry,” you must always assume that “hungry” means “hangry,” or more probably, “I will kill you if you don’t bring me some food RIGHT. NOW.” So act quickly. Cook something, find the nearest restaurant, or order take-away. In other words, do anything it takes to appease the hangry person while preserving your own life in the meantime.

2) Phrases such as “Why are you in such bad mood?” or “Relax! You’re not starving,” or “Are you sure you want to order that much food?” are totally unhelpful. If you can’t think of anything useful to say, just stay quiet and get out of the hangry person’s way. If you absolutely HAVE to say something, try one of these phrases:

  • “Here’s your food.”
  • “Your food will be here shortly.”
  • “You can have my food.”
  • “You can eat my arm.”

You get the idea. If whatever you want to say is not about food or the imminent arrival of food, keep your mouth shut.

3) Speaking of ordering food, the non-hangry person is always in a tricky situation. You want to help the hangry person to get the food she so desperately needs (I’m assuming the hangry person is a woman, though men get hangry too), but you don’t want to make a hasty or unwise decision, resulting in her getting the wrong food… because that would be a tragedy. So be careful. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and she will tell you what she wants; in that case, you can simply relay her order (ACCURATELY, PLEASE) to the waiter. If she can’t tell you what she wants – “Whatever you want is fine” or “I don’t care” or “Anything will do” — due to being apathetic and/or having low blood sugar, it’s best to order something she usually likes. If you use your brain, you may just survive… but not always.

4) While waiting, don’t try to divert the hangry person’s attention to something that isn’t food. It will not work. You will either be faced with an angry outburst the size of an ornery elephant, or a healthy dose of we-will-all-die-if-I-don’t-eat-right-now despair. Trust me, you don’t want any of either of these things.

Also, don’t try any comforting gestures such as patting on the back, caressing of the arm, or saying things like “There, there.” You may just end up being “rewarded” for your good intentions with a punch to your face. Instead, try to become invisible and pray to whatever higher power you believe in that the hangry person’s meal comes soon. Here are some suggestions of things to do while waiting:

  • Stare incessantly at the waiter
  • Nag the waiter
  • Bribe the waiter with whatever you have to offer
  • Do whatever else is necessary to make food appear

(Side note: you might feel like these things fall under the category of “impolite,” “rude,” or “completely unacceptable in polite society,” but you would be wrong. Nothing short of murder is off limits when it comes to helping a hangry person get her food.)

5) Don’t speak to the hangry person while she eats. No small talk. No “how is your food?” No “I bet you’re feeling better now.” Nothing. Just let her eat in peace. Because if you don’t, you may just get devoured along with the rest of the meal. Hangry people know no mercy. I mean, you don’t talk to a tiger while it eats its prey, do you? Of course not. If you find yourself faced with a hangry person mid-feed, your best bet is to keep schtum and not draw attention to yourself.

6) After the meal is over, wait a little until the nutrients from the food hit the hangry person’s  bloodstream. You will be sure to recognize the signs – her face will become softer and the desperation in her eyes will disappear. However, the surest sign that the hangry period is over is when the hangry person finally graces you with a smile. When she does, then and only then is the time to benefit from all you did for her and bask in the warmth of being a hero.

But whatever you do — don’t mention her hangry behavior to her! Just enjoy this feeling while it lasts, because the next hanger attack is closer than you think.

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Now, I realize that this is a long list and it’s going to be hard to remember all of these tips, especially when in the moment. So I will give you one important message to take away from all this and that is this: If it won’t make food appear faster, don’t bother.

You’re welcome.

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Olga Mecking is a Polish woman who lives in the Netherlands with her German husband and three trilingual children. Her blog, The European Mama, was launched in July 2011 and gives readers insights into Olga’s life as an ex-pat in the Netherlands. Initially a trilingual blog, it is now primary in English. Olga blogs about her life in the Netherlands, being an ex-pat, multilingualism, and parenting.

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Photo credits:
“Godzilla”: Film still from Ishirō Honda‘s 1954 film Godzilla.

gettin’ stabby wit it

When my husband and I first got married, we had a serious case of The Poors.

Honestly? We didn’t mind all that much. After all, a lot of newlyweds come down with The Poors. Especially newlyweds who’ve had to max out their credit cards in order to pay for all their own wedding festivities and honeymoon travel. Newlyweds still paying down thousands upon thousands of dollars in student loans, car loans, and loans from The Bank of Dad. Newlyweds enjoying a combined household income that most people would very generously describe as “Aw. Bless.”

You know. Newlyweds like us.

It wasn’t the best of times, I’ll admit, but neither was it the worst of times. We were young. We were in love. We were in a constant state of naked-times. We had more important things to do with our time than sit around bumming out about our financial situation. So we just learned to do more with less.

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What? We were busy doing a lot of this. Don’t judge.

One of the ways we cut down on expenses was to upcycle furniture that was destined for the landfill. Which is why, about a month after we got hitched, my husband showed up at our apartment with an old table that was sturdy and functional, but in desperate need of some tender loving care. His intent was to sand it, paint it, seal it, and then use it as a desk in his home office.

“Fine,” I said.

“Sounds good,” I said.

“Go for it,” I said.

“This will in no way be a humongous disaster,” I said.

And I didn’t give it another thought.

My husband started renovating the table on a warm Friday evening. The process took three full days, but when it was finally finished on late Sunday afternoon, I had to admit that all of the effort had been worth it. I was summoned to the back patio, where I pronounced the table glorious.

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The glorious table. Which we still have. See if you can find it under all of my husband’s shit.

After about five minutes of praising my husband and his glorious table, I returned to where I prefer to spend my balmy Sunday evenings – inside. However, in an unusual nod to my arch-nemesis The Outdoors, I decided to live a little and open all of the windows. Which is why, about an hour later, I heard with crystal clarity every single word of the filth that suddenly began pouring from my husband’s mouth.

Delightful turns of phrase such as “GOD FUCKING DAMN IT!” and “SON OF A BITCH!” began floating in through my bedroom window, along with several obscenities of a decidedly more international flavor. And since long profane rants are not normal behavior for my husband, I became a little concerned about what I was hearing.

Still, I wasn’t truly and seriously alarmed until I heard the gigantic CLUNK. And the THUNK THUNK.

And the CHUNK.

I didn’t know for certain, but it sure sounded a lot like someone was flinging a table all over the back patio with a surprising amount of force. I jumped out of bed and ran outside to assess the situation, and there in front of me was a tableau I will never forget. The glorious table had been up-ended in the corner of the patio, and my husband, sweaty and shirtless, was standing next to it with a look in his eyes that I can only describe as “CUH-RAZY.” The expression on his face was one of unequivocal rage.

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It was almost as if he had a… RAGE FACE. I’ll show myself out.

At first I didn’t understand exactly what I was seeing, primarily because it was starting to get dark, and also because the table was lying on its side, way off in a shadowy corner of the patio. But once my eyes adjusted and my brain processed the scene in front of me, I realized that the paint on the table had started to peel and bubble. And I’m not talking about a bubble here, a bubble there – I’m talking about a massive amount of huge, swollen, fuck-you-and-all-your-hard-work-because-there-is-absolutely-no-fixing-this-shit bubbles.

“What happened?” I gasped.

“I sealed it,” spat my husband.

“With what? Hydrochloric acid?”

He ignored this, pushing past me and making his way into the house. I followed.

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

“I don’t know. Do we have an axe?” He was in the kitchen now, squatting in front of the cabinet beneath the sink and rummaging through its contents.

“Uh, no.”

“What about a hatchet?”

“No!”

He didn’t respond. He just kept on scrabbling around underneath the sink.

It turned out that my husband had used a spray sealant that didn’t play well with the kind of paint he’d used on the table. Rather than acting as a sealant, it had acted as a solvent, and almost as soon as he’d finished spraying it on the table, the paint had started to bubble and crack. All of the sanding and painting he had done over the course of the weekend was instantly ruined.

My husband, unable to locate the hatchet we didn’t actually own, finally stood up from his crouching position in front of the sink. He looked around the kitchen with wild eyes, riotous hair, and a disconcertingly unhinged look on his face. And as his eyes lit upon the knife block, I realized what he was going to do.

“Don’t,” I cautioned him.

He just looked at me.

“Seriously,” I said. “Don’t.”

But it was too late. The decision had already been made.

My husband grabbed the largest knife we had – a gleaming 10-inch butcher knife – and made his way to the back patio with purpose and determination. I trailed behind, knowing that at this point there was nothing I could say or do, and when we got outside, my husband up-righted the offending table with what seemed like super-human strength.

And that’s when he stabbed it.

Hard.

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Also THIS may or may not have happened. (It did.)

Look. Unless you are in some sort of dive bar full of sketchy criminal types and you need to make the point that YOU ARE NOT TO BE MESSED WITH, there is absolutely NO acceptable reason to stab a table with a knife. None. And even if there were other acceptable reasons, I’m fairly sure “being pissed off that some shitty sealant messed up my paint job” would not be one of them. But my brand-new husband, normally one of the sweetest men on earth, had clearly left reason behind.

Fortunately, the act of stabbing the table with the butcher knife seemed to satisfy my husband’s urge to turn the whole thing into a pile of urine-soaked kindling, and in the dim light of the back patio he turned to me.

“Now I have to start all over,” he said sadly.

“Yes,” I agreed. “But not tonight.”

“Oh no,” he responded, his jaw set in an expression of grim resolve. “Tonight.”

He took the entire next day off of work to fix the wreckage he had caused, but not before staying up until three o’clock in the A.M. in an adrenaline-fueled attempt to strip down the ruined table. He used the electric sander until around midnight, when our neighbors started to complain, at which point he thoughtfully switched over to sandpaper blocks.

But not before kindly informing the neighbors that if they didn’t shut their fucking mouths he was going to come over there and sand their faces off.

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Photo credits:
“Tattooed Sailor”: Two sailors aboard the American battleship USS New Jersey in 1944. Date 12/1944. Source: http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/arch_results_detail.jsp?&pg=197&si=0&st=b&rp=digital&nh=481 Photographed by Fenno Jacobs. Department of Defense. Department of the Navy. Naval Photographic Center. This media is available in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, cataloged under the ARC Identifier 520883. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. — Modified