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…

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The John Hughes Home Tour: “I Can’t Believe I Gave My Panties to a Geek…”

That headline is a quote from Sixteen Candles, lest you think I would willingly sacrifice my Wonder Woman panties. I normally don’t blog twice in one day, but I have to get this one in while everything is still fresh in my mind.

My friend Amber and I decided to squeeze in the director John Hughes‘ former home tour today before the event closed this weekend. John Hughes was behind some of my favorite movies from childhood, from Animal HouseSixteen Candles, and Breakfast Club on up. The home tour was a fund-raiser for the Infant Welfare Society of Chicago, but the rooms were each redecorated by different designers, so the interior actually looked nothing like it did when the famed director lived there. To see what it looked like when he lived there, click here.

The Lake Forest home of director John Hughes

The lovely Lake Forest home of director John Hughes

Before meeting Amber, I had my usual 2-hour weekly breakfast with the Sister Wives, which involves a lot of laughing and even more coffee drinking. The 45-minute drive to Lake Forest was sheer torture. All of that coffee had to go somewhere, and preferably not soaked into the passenger’s seat of Amber’s cute new convertible. That crazy astronaut woman with the diaper was actually making sense to me for a brief moment.

Once we arrived at Mr. Hughes’ palatial manse, I asked to use the facilities. As the ersatz representative of the unwashed masses, I was directed outside to some porta-potties through a ridiculous, circuitous route that involved me walking on the cobblestone street in front of the home to get to the second driveway. (I later discovered the short-cut, through a sidewalk on the side of the house. The bastards.) The absurd juxtaposition of these two porta-potties against the looming luxury of this 11,000 square foot, 21-room mansion was not lost on me.

A 70-something-year-old woman was ahead of us in line. There were two porta-potties, side by side. She informed us with a dramatic grimace that the one to the right was “not usable,” as she stepped into the remaining porta-pottie and locked the door. I waited and waited. And I waited some more. I finally got desperate enough to bravely peer into the other porta-pottie. I jumped back, as if stung. It was unusable. It rather reminded me of the river in Willy Wonka’s factory. These elite North Shore women are animals! Perhaps it was a symbolic statement or art installation–a harsh reminder of the bleak existence of the Infant Welfare Society recipients? Or maybe I just read too much into things…

Poor Amber had to listen to my bitchy observations as 10 minutes passed:

“If she spends one more minute in there, I’m not going in without a hazmat suit…”

“What the hell is taking her so long? At her age, she can’t possibly be changing a tampon…!”

As we stood there, we noticed that in the four-car garage, a rummage sale of sorts was going on. Or as they called it, a “boutique sale.”

“Oh my God!” I squealed. “Do you think this is John Hughes’ garage sale?!? Maybe we can buy a John Hughes’ ashtray for $5! Or maybe Molly Ringwald’s prop lipstick from Breakfast Club!” Could I be so lucky?!?

Finally, the silver fox emerged from the porta-pottie. I went in, got business done, and went to wash my hands. The damned faucet wouldn’t work. There I was, trying to remove the sticky liquid soap with as many paper towels as I could find. Meh. Amber finally needed to use “the facilities” as well. It was then that I thought to myself, “I know exactly the picture I am taking to memorialize today’s adventure.” And it was this one:

May God bless my friend Amber, who not only puts up with my shenanigans, she lets me post them on my blog

May God bless my friend Amber, who not only puts up with my shenanigans, she actually lets me post them on my blog. That is her “Are you fucking KIDDING me right now?” face.

Amber and I decided to check out the rummage sale, er, boutique sale, in the garage before heading back to do the tour. I was thrilled to see sleeping masks for sale. The elastic is too tight on mine and these were a nicer material. It was then that I discovered North Shore rummage sales are not like the ones in my ‘hood. The price tag on said sleeping mask? $175. Hand to God. Even I, with my wild imagination, couldn’t make up a price point like that one.

Mind you, Amber has a high-powered job and she left directly from work to join me in our “play date.” I marveled that she did the entire tour in those 4″ heels. We entered the director’s former home and the weight of the pretention was cloying and oppressive. Never one to mince words, Amber knew my opinion on every window treatment, piece of furniture, bric-a-brac, and accoutrement, which went from fugly…to fuglier…to fugliest. This was a 1929 art deco era home–and call me a purist–but it deserved to be decorated by someone who respected that. Some designers just need to surgically remove that shitty 1970s mid-century modern aesthetic from their repertoire. It’s so derivative and unimaginative. To perpetrate that style on a 1920s home is just criminal to me. Imagine watching Downton Abbey and seeing a Harvest Gold refrigerator in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen. It was fugly the first time around, and it’s even moreso today.

Something might have been said about us not being allowed to take photos inside of the home, but I can’t be sure. I know I didn’t sign any NDAs. All I know is, I stood guard, just in case, as Amber and two other tourists happily snapped away and got their contraband images. (In our defense, the expensive book we were given for the tour had almost zero photos of the home’s newly decorated interior–just designer renderings.) We loved these clever little cocktail tables that had been created with Monopoly, Backgammon, and Scrabble boards on their surfaces.

Cool cocktail/game tables we want to replicate. The steer horns? Not so much.

Cool cocktail/game tables we want to replicate. The steer horns? Not so much. I’ll never understand Southwestern decor in a Midwestern home. The rug was like walking on a lovely, fluffy cloud. 

One of the highlights for me was the library–always my favorite room in anyone’s home–and John Hughes’ office. Call me sentimental, but to be in the rarefied air of the room where he wrote some of my favorite movies meant a lot to me. I teared up a little.

We toured the grounds, with Amber re-aerating the soil in her 4″ spiky heels, and we were both underwhelmed by the lack of flowers. I guess they literally meant grounds, since there were many bald spots where grass wasn’t even growing. I was expecting a garden resembling a Monet painting, yet this was not much different than my own back yard. Just bigger.

As Amber dropped me back at my car, I shared with her my theory on playing hookey for the day: “I’m all about the five-year plan. Five years from now, you will never remember the day you had at work. But you will remember that we toured John Hughes’ beautiful home today. With nary a moment’s hesitation, she agreed.

And so I leave Amber and those of you reading this with a thought from the brilliant pen of John Hughes:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick)

Watching ALIEN with Jonesy the Cat

Last night I made Jack and Jonesy the Hairless Cat watch her namesake on the original ALIEN movie with me. Needless to say, Jonesy was non-plussed. She just played with the strings on my hoodie when she wasn’t outright sleeping through it, having her little kitty dreams, muscle memory movements included. When the ALIEN version of Jonesy meowed on screen, it grabbed her attention for a brief moment and her giant ears perked up.

Jonesy the Cat, My Little Chest Burster...

Jonesy the Cat, My Little Chest Burster…

The greatest “special f/x” moment in my life occurred during ALIEN. It was 1979, during a camping trip with my parents in Estes Park, CO. The movie theater back then was this metal pole barn-style building–a bad 1970s mustard yellow, as I recall. ALIEN was playing, and I begged my parents to take me to see it. My parents paid very little attention to pop culture, so they had no idea what they were in for.

On that particular night, a bad storm was headed for Estes Park. Dark, ominous clouds were gathering and speeding toward us as we raced to the theater. We barely got in before the downpour.

In the famous scene where Kane is attempting to eat his first meal after recovering from the xenomorph facial attachment, the storm outside the theater began picking up its pace. Winds were howling. The sound of the pounding rain on the tin roof was deafening.

Then, at the precise moment when the chest burster popped through Kane’s chest, lightning struck the pole barn theater, accompanied by the loudest thunderclap I’ve ever heard! It was AWESOME! I literally jumped out of my seat. We all did. It will remain the best special f/x movie-watching moment of my lifetime.

Last night I gently reminded my mom of that moment as we were watching ALIEN together. She couldn’t remember it at all. It’s always interesting to me when those moments in your life that have the greatest impact on you are so trivial to those you were with at the time. Since that was a treasured time in my life, spending quality time with my dad on a family vacation, I wish my mom could share in that memory.

Perhaps a “Spock Mind Meld” is in order…