LOOT CRATE: The Bane of My Existence

I went to get my cards read by psychic RoseWolf of SecondSightRose.com a while back, and I knew she was truly accurate when she said to me, “I’m getting that the decor in your home looks more like a…MAN CAVE?!?” With all of the comic book convention tzotchkes, art, pop culture collections, art books, and work samples Dave Dorman has amassed over his 35-year career, outside of the Smithsonian Institute, there’s no facility existing to properly display all. of. that. shtuff. Oh, wait–there’s Warehouse 13, if only it was real.

So…you can just imagine my reaction when we started getting these LOOT CRATE boxes in the mail every month — it was like a geek menstrual cycle, and equally a pain in my ass. Every time Dave or Jack’s back was turned, I was throwing away these irritating, tiny collectibles into the circular file (which Dave and Jack never seemed to miss) in my attempt to maintain some semblance of decluttering. Outside of the Legends of Zelda terry cloth wrist band, which I used for tennis–and to wipe my brow as I labored over throwing away more LOOT CRATE crap–there was nothing in these LOOT CRATE boxes of “exclusives” worth the $20 a month. But this month, I have to hand it to Loot Crate. They actually sent something that I like. Something with purpose. Introducing my new Breaking Bad apron:

The BREAKING BAD Los Pollo Hermanos Apron, courtesy of LOOT CRATE

My new Breaking Bad Los Pollo Hermanos Apron, courtesy of LOOT CRATE

Mind you, Dave doesn’t enjoy my “clean eating,” so I’m rarely cooking for anyone but me or Jack, but if Jack’s occasional box of Mac & Cheese splashes up, at least my Batman tees are now protected. However, Dave’s t-shirt collection and mine are like constantly warring nations, fighting for closet space territory.

Good thing Dave’s out of town 3 of 4 weekends in September so those, too, mysteriously find their way into the circular file…

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A FlashJack

That is, a “Jack Flashback.” My close friend in Florida Angie Druetta sent me this photo in my email this morning, and it melted my heart. My parents, God love ’em, suffered through my stork delivery nearly as much as I did. I went in at 9 a.m. on November 2nd with Pitocin and ended up with a c-section at 4:42 a.m. the next morning. I never went into labor. The kid was already 2+ weeks late. My due date was October 18th. I was hoping for a Libra, but I got a Scorpio kid. It’s worked out well so far. My parents never left my side, so it was only right that they held Jack more than I did in the first few hours of his young life.

Mom and Dad, who was just minutes old. Pensacola, FL, 2003.

Mom and Dad, with Jack, who was just minutes old. Pensacola, FL, Sacred Heart Hospital, 2003.

This almost softens my heart to the fact that before British Soccer Camp yesterday, I came downstairs first thing in the morning to discover that Jack removed a white sheet from his bed to cut up with scissors and turn into a North Korean flag. Unbeknownst to me, this was an assignment from his soccer camp instructor. I walked into my creme-colored, carpeted front room to find a giant, thick, RED Sharpie and 3 of my blue Papermate flair pens strewn across the floor, next to Jack’s new “flag.” He colored his white bed sheet on my carpet (so he could “spread out,” he insisted) while lying on his belly. The thought of doing this on the large kitchen table never occurred to him. Good thing his team won the “World Cup” at British Soccer Camp yesterday. That redeemed him a little

Jack gets a congratulatory "high-five" from British Soccer Camp Coach Tom.

Jack gets a congratulatory “high-five” from British Soccer Camp Coach Tom.

The Poop Deck: Episode One – Your #1 Online Resource for Scatological Humor

I willingly admit, my sense of humor is often ruled by the 13-year-old boy who lives inside of my brain. This is the side to my humor that Dave Dorman finds deplorable. His derision merely serves to egg on Jack and me, which drives him deeper into his art studio…far away from us.

I derive comfort from the fact that I’m not alone in this. In fact, the family I was adopted into shares my sick sense of scatological humor, as do my “collection,” as BFF Marovich calls them, of friends I’ve curated along the way. No one batted an eye when one-year-old Jack’s favorite stuffed toy from me was Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo from South Park, replete with a push-button sound chip of Mr. Hankey sound bytes (“Howdy Ho, Kyle” being our personal favorite!)

Every once in a while, you’ll see me post some poop humor here that catches my eye. My non-Mormon Sister Wife Maura curated this one for me:

https://www.facebook.com/DiscoveryNews/videos/10153337937478387/

Like Peanut Butter & Jelly...

Like Peanut Butter & Jelly…

I commented on my Facebook page that I appreciated that “Mr. Henkie” from South Park was narrating this little video, and I received this instant message from my Facebook friend, Mike. Knowing my penchant for correct spelling, rest assured I’ll be editing my FB post, post haste!

We all need friends to hold us accountable. Thank you, Mike!

We all need friends to hold us accountable. Thank you, Mike!

This Morning: The Weird Baby Incident

A few of my non-Mormon Sister Wives and I decided to have breakfast and go see the new ENTOURAGE movie today. In a rare twist of fate, this was our second Sister Wives adventure this week, the first being a paradise pool party on Tuesday, a few doors down from Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy’s new abode in the Chicago suburbs. This adventure didn’t end well for one of our Sister Wives…who awoke on a poolside chaise lounge at 9:30 p.m. in a Chardonnay-induced haze and is likely just now eating solid foods again. I hope the new neighbors weren’t offended that we blasted Marky Mark’s “Good Vibrations” vs. Donnie’s vintage croons.

Towards the end of breakfast, four of us Sister Wives were deep into a conversation about botox when a stranger in her late 40s to mid 50s–we are still debating her age–approached our table with a 6-month-old in a baby carrier. She looked at my friend Ophelia (we think so, anyway–we’re still puzzling over whom she was actually addressing) and said, “Do you want to see Baby Bentley, too?” We all looked up, with our collectively confused, WTF facial expressions. Did we know this woman? And why was she was foisting her baby on us? “He’s my sister’s twin baby,” she continued, by way of some nutty, non sequitur explanation. “There’s another one just like him,” she added. And then she abruptly walked away, baby carrier in hand, off to pay her bill. Once she was out of earshot, the table erupted into a mad scramble of a debate, trying to figure out who among us knew her. None of us did.

Since I’m the freak magnet who attracts every Gary Busey-type within a 10-mile radius without even trying, and Ophelia is my rare equal in this odd magnetism trait I’ve grown to accept over the years, we’re doubly charismatic-dangerous when we’re together. A reality TV show with Ophelia, me, and Gary Busey would be something to watch, I assure you. Of course my writer’s mind goes into overdrive, building a tale where this woman’s a child trafficker who dresses up like a nurse and grabs newborns from the local hospital. She did have crazy eyes, maybe just a little bit.

SO NOT me, or Sister Wife C, either.

SO NOT me, or Sister Wife C, either.

“Apparently my baby repellant is no longer working,” snarked Sister Wife C. I burst out laughing. She and I are so on the same page about this. We aren’t proud to admit it, but we deplored that whole baby mama stage of life. I’m probably the only person I know who doesn’t relish the smell of new babies. They always smell like oily hair to me, which is not a smell I enjoy. Neither is that sickening sweet baby powder smell. I never used it on Jack for that reason. Jack barely makes it out of the shower with his noxious AXE hair products and I’m already smelling oily hair on him and sending him back in for a second try. The whole baby mama thing didn’t get fun for me until Jack was probably about 1 and could walk and talk a little. Prior to that, he had his flashes of genius, but mostly, I was impatient for the next phase and bored, bored, bored. There are only so many cute moments to make up for All. That. Poop.

We finally made it to ENTOURAGE at the fancy pants theater, where you sit in a recliner with a pillow and blanket while they serve you Death by Chocolate Cake drizzled in caramel with extra whipped cream on the side (I’m not so big on the chocolate, so thank you, Sister Wife Ophelia, for putting that whipped cream on the side just for me). ENTOURAGE was such a fun, funny, and occasionally poignant movie. Jeremy Piven‘s Ari Gold character was perfection. I liken ENTOURAGE to a class reunion–all the familiar faces you miss, minus the awkwardness of actually having to be there. And then one of the main characters had to go and have a baby. And that got me wondering… I sure hope there aren’t any babies missing from the local hospital roughly six months ago…checking…

See Jack. See Jack Draw. Draw, Jack, Draw!

Once people realize that Dave has a son, Dave’s often asked if Jack can draw. The short answer is “Yes, when he feels like it.” Nothing gets me more aggravated than when Jack half-assed rushes through creating a greeting card for his teacher or his Grandma, because I know what he’s been capable of since an early age. He can draw from his head, just like Dave, whereas I must have reference of some kind. Jack can draw varied perspectives and angles and even though they’re simple drawings, they’re very complex. Here’s a recent piece he just did that I found crumpled up in his backpack.

Graphite Dogs by Jack - Blue Dog article Rodrigue better watch his back...!

Graphite Dogs by Jack – Blue Dog art resellers better watch their backs…! Competition is coming…

And had I not witnessed this with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it, but Jack drew this from his head, with no reference, at age 6.

Cosmo from "Fairly Odd Parents" as done by Jack at age 6.

Cosmo from “Fairly Odd Parents” as drawn by Jack at age 6, out of his head, with no photo reference in sight.

And here’s Jack’s piece de resistance, which still makes me laugh. I remember I was so proud of Jack’s little pre-school drawing. All of my friends–plus Dave–thought it was hilarious that I (of all people) didn’t notice the phallic aesthetic to this piece. My practical joker friend Nancy (do I have any other category of friends?) asked to borrow the piece, on the premise of showing it to her daughters. I was so proud of it, I loaned it to her without question. The next thing I knew, I was the recipient of a glass cutting board made of Jack’s phallic art, as seen below. It remains one of my most prized possessions – that piece I’d grab to save as I ran out the door if, God forbid, the house were ever on fire.

"The Angry Pecker" by Jack Dorman, age 3.

“The Angry Pecker” by Jack Dorman, age 3.

I was razzing Dave the other day that I sold my first piece of art at an earlier age than he did, and then Jack inserted that he had us both beat – he convinced some kind stranger to buy his art at Star Wars Celebration for $10 when he was merely 6 years old. I reminded Jack that it was a pity sale, but he stood his ground in the debate.

I hope the kind stranger held onto it. It could be worth something someday…

L.A., I am IN You…

As I write this, I’m staring out the 12th-story window of my hotel room on Highland Avenue at the “Hollywood” sign. There’s an energy to California that I always feel the moment my feet touch the ground. Maybe it’s the I’ve-been-deprived-for-6-months rays emanating from that orange, fiery ball in the sky (what is that sphere, anyway? A sun or something?). Maybe it’s an impending earthquake. It just feels like it heightens my already high energy. Maybe it’s the uber-creative friends I always hang with in Cali. I feel so happy here. The only thing that could top off this glorious feeling would be if I had my merry band of Kotex Mafia to share this with me–Marovich, the Sister Wives, the S.H.I.T. Club. God, we’d have a blast. In a perfect world…

We’re here in L.A. because Dave Dorman is a judge for the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Awards a prestigious award for the sci-fi and fantasy community. Last night, part of the fun was an art salon at Cliff Nielsen’s studio. He did a sci-fi retro theme for the live models (blasting 1960s James Bond soundtracks in the background as we sketched–I was in sensory heaven) so here’s my graphic-covered southpaw after a 10-minute sketch:

10-Minute Art Jam, Southpaw Style

10-Minute Art Jam, Southpaw Style

And here are the wonderful models:

Wonderful models from Cliff Nielsen's Art Salon

Wonderful models from Cliff Nielsen’s Art Salon

Today I join our X-Files actor friend Dean Haglund, who is HILARIOUS (if you’ve never seen him do stand-up comedy, do yourself a favor and be sure to find where he’s performing) for his downtown LA walking tour. It will be a total riot, I guarantee you. Between my penchant for attracting society’s oddballs and Dean’s out-of-left-field running commentary, this could get interesting…

Now, let’s talk briefly about how California fruit growers are holding out on us. I mean seriously, they do not share their highest quality level of produce with those of us outside of Cali (a California friend told me this long ago, and I didn’t believe him until I saw the berries from our $127 breakfast this a.m.–I think me adding smoked salmon to my egg white omelette was the costly tipping point.) Why, yes! That is a QUARTER next to my blueberry, black raspberry, and raspberry:

Look - these berries were radiated on Gilligan's Island!

Look – these berries were radiated on Gilligan’s Island!

And hotels–what’s with hiring Dracula as your guest rooms interior designer? The gray and silver aesthetic for our room is way too similar to the New Mexico cult compound from TV’s “The Dig,” an aesthetic co-creators Tim Kring and Gideon Raff discussed openly as making people feel cold and uncomfortable. Which it does.

Actress Lauren Ambrose amidst the cold, sterile interiors from the cult compound on USA Network's "THE DIG" TV series

Actress Lauren Ambrose amidst the cold, sterile interiors from the cult compound on USA Network’s “THE DIG” TV series

If you’re in the market for ugly curtains, er, window dressings, I know right where you can find some…

Someone Went Shopping at "Ugly Curtains R Us"...

Someone Went Shopping at “Ugly Curtains ‘R Us”…

As a final thought, my prayers go out to those who were hit by the twisters in Northern Illinois last night, way too close to our home. I was comforting our frantic-bordering-on-hysterical son on the phone from here as he was hiding in the basement during last night’s terrifying storm. (Unfortunately, I know first-hand how butt-puckeringly frightening it is to be hit by a tornado while you’re in your house after our Hurricane Ivan adventure in Florida.)

Stay tuned as my wildly fun and unpredictable weekend unfolds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

So On My Birthday, I Discover I’m a Fugitive…

I hope everyone remembered to take today off in honor of the National Holiday that is my birthday. You’re welcome.

Some of my fondest birthday wishes from today include this one, from a total stranger on LinkedIn who has such a nice way with words:

My lovely birthday message from a LinkedIn connection.

My lovely birthday message from a LinkedIn connection.

And this one, from my friend Chrissy:

You had me at "wacky"...

You had me at “wacky”…

…as well as the lovely wishes from my “daughter” Cory, Marovich’s daughter, who deemed me her “2nd Mama” two decades ago.

I drove up to bucolic Woodstock, Illinois this afternoon–yes, home of the film Groundhog’s Day–to renew my driver’s license, which expires TODAY at midnight. Imagine my surprise when this woman…

Okay, she bore a STRIKING RESEMBLANCE to Roz from Monsters, Inc.

Okay, let’s just say the Illinois Department of Transportation representative  bore a STRIKING RESEMBLANCE to Roz from Monsters, Inc.

…informed me that I was, essentially, a fugitive…there was an outstanding speeding ticket from 2013 that I never paid, so there was no getting my license renewed today. I was mortified.

Marovich's favorite dismissive statement to me.

Marovich’s favorite dismissive statement to me.

To resolve this, I have to make a trip to the county courthouse on Monday, and then drive all the way back up to where Christ-left-his-Nikes-Woodstock. It’s a 12-hour time vampire. You’ve gotta love bureaucracy. And no, there’s no way to just pay this online or by phone (I tried) and rectify it easily.

I immediately saw red, because I have a strong suspicion as to how this happened. You see, Dave Dorman always offers to take my mail to the post office. (Dave Dorman’s Future Wife, pay close attention to what I’m saying here…) I’ve learned over time to refuse him, because I’ve discovered months-old paid bills, addressed and sealed in their envelopes, still lurking beneath his driver’s side seat alongside the fossilized McDonald’s french fries, on that rare occasion that I clean out his car. I am fairly certain my paid 2013 speeding ticket has taken up residence underneath his driver’s seat with some slutty ATM receipt and birthed a few dozen baby raffle tickets by now.

So…my Easter options are to drive with an expired license so I can play tennis with Marovich and give her the beating she SO deserves after last night’s racquetball game…or I can make Dave drive me over there and suffer through waiting for me to play a few games…or I can Uber there and back, albeit a rather costly endeavor just to play some free outdoor tennis.

Being the freedom junkie that I am, me without a driver’s license has a solid “Denise-loses-her-shit” moment written all over it. I pity Jack when it comes time to take away my car keys in my old age. Hillary getting her server (or her Presidential candidacy) taken away would go down more quietly.

So yet another life’s lesson learned–even when you’re so important that your birthday is a National Holiday, it means nothing to IDOT. Nothing at all.

Deconstructing the Earthworm Fart (TM)

Admittedly, I was not looking forward to spring break this year–2 weeks of hearing the young Padawan’s endless comments about farts, poop, balls, and wieners…but then one day, I took a good look in the mirror, and realized I was the Beavis-meets-Butthead driving this sophomoric, scatological humor train. This could be why my family and friends post stuff like this on my Facebook page without any hesitancy:

My Christmas shopping is done for this year...

My Christmas shopping is already done for this year…

I sort of realized it when Jack asked me for permission to do something and my quid pro quo was having him perform his best “earthworm fart.” Then there was our emoji text message exchange on Sunday morning, which had numerous piles of smiling poop emojis. You know the one…this one:

Text exchange between Jack & me Sunday a.m.

Text exchange between Jack & me Sunday a.m. My comments are in blue bubbles. I’m just grateful he spells “diarrhea” correctly, even in text speak…I must be doing SOMETHING right.

So…I went to play racquetball w/BFF Marovich Sunday morning (who didn’t hand my ass to me this week – I am improving and actually sort of won the last game because time was up as I was serving – I believe the score was 5-2) and back at her house, I reminded her of her infamous earthworm fart. You see, Marovich started this whole thing. She would always do stuff to make me laugh (never a quiet, polite laugh, mind you, but a full on giggle-turned-guffaw) and get us kicked out of the library when we were in junior high. She has this enviable gift for doing and saying the most outlandish things and keeping her poker face, which always makes me laugh even harder. So…she was a good sport about letting me videotape her on Sunday morning, but first, you will note, she had to pull a quick cross-eyed Eugene Levy-as-Loopy face…referenced here:

Eugene Levy as "Loopy" with two left feet from "Best in Show"

Eugene Levy as “Loopy” with two left feet from “Best in Show”

which always cracks me up…so the camera may shake a little, but you’ll get the idea. So without further adieu, here’s Marovich demonstrating her own invention, the one-and-only, legendary Earthworm Fart(TM):                                                                                                            

 http://bitly.com/EarthwormFart

 

 

 

What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is Going On?!? Dodgeball Has Gotten Wimpy

I avoid living vicariously through my son, but not when it comes to Dodgeball. I signed him up through the park district, and okay, I’ll admit it–it might’ve been because I heard adults could play, too–so last night was our introductory session. Jack was reluctant to play. That is, until he quickly realized that together, he and I make a viable force–serious contenders. I’m no athlete, but there are four exceptions: Dodgeball, Four-Square, Racquetball and Tennis. If it has a ball, I’m IN, and I play with PASSION. So does Marovich, which is one of her many great BFF qualities.

One of my favorite movie scenes was this one (link below) with Justin Long and Vince Vaughn in the movie Dodgeball–a catchphrase I like to repurpose a lot: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMWdnkSMPGM

My favorite scene from DODGEBALL: "If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."

My favorite scene from DODGEBALL: “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

My “Sister Wife” friend Maura snapped some photos of me last night. I called Marovich this a.m. admitting that images existed, but that I wasn’t about to send them to her. “Tell you what,” she coaxed ever-so-smoothly, “Just send them over… I’ll decide whether or not they’re blackmail material.” That Marovich. Always thinking.

Marovich and I loved Dodgeball as kids. We were reminiscing about playing over the phone, and she reminded me how she “used to love it when someone wasn’t looking and (I) could nail them right in the head!” I had the unpleasant task of informing her that head shots are no longer allowed. “What the shit is THAT?!?” she sneered, in sheer disgust. I agree. We’re raising a nation of wimps clad in bubble wrap, hovered over by helicopter parents.

I don’t know if it’s just our park district, but the red, rubbery balls I remember fondly from childhood are no longer used in today’s version of Dodgeball. Now they use these lightweight, spongy wimp balls that don’t deliver the leverage I like for hitting hard.

So Marovich and I are now in hot pursuit of an Adult Dodgeball League. This may be our last middle-aged gasp at going for the gold. Dare I hope (Dare, dare…) that there’s a Dodgeball Olympics?!? 

Ranger Jack

Today Jack delivers his “Death Valley” report for school in front of a green screen. One of the things I love about his school is their heavy emphasis on public speaking, which they start teaching at an early age. I believe public speaking to be one of the greatest weapons in your arsenal, in the business world and beyond.

Ranger Jack, Reporting on Death Valley

Ranger Jack, Reporting on Death Valley

Today’s Ranger Jack costume is designed by “House of Denise”: my Ron Jon Surf Hat, which Marovich calls my “Inspector Gadget Hat” and tries to hide from me for months on end because she hates it so much, and my Orvis fly fishing vest, which I used to wear for video shoots pre-9/11–those millions of pockets were GREAT!–and then post-9/11, my beloved vest made the TSA scrutinize me a little too closely every time I flew (as in “I lost my virginity to a latex-gloved TSA agent”) so that vest is now retired to my luggage for video shoot travel. I guess I’ll just have to start wearing burquas to prevent future scrutiny.