Candy Crush Shame


I just spent 15 minutes tearing around my house in a middle aged rage, all because I could not, once again, locate my cell phone.

This is a common occurrence in our house.  I feel belligerent and rebellious about being tethered to this device.  At my age, I no longer want to care for a needy baby, especially one made of glass and costing almost as much as a human newborn.  My family constantly begs the question of me, “why do you even have a phone?”.

The problem with the misplacement comes because I keep the device on silent.  I do this because I secretly, and with much shame and self-loathing, play Candy Crush.


There, I’ve said it.  I keep it quiet so that when the game pops up, the music doesn’t erupt and alert my family to the fact that I’m not doing something selfless and focused solely on them.  I frequently sigh and mutter about lowering bills and checking grades when I’m on my phone.  I feign exhaustion from work emails.  I do not advertise on Facebook that I need lives.  I hide my secret shame.

But, like any other junkie scum, I have passed my addiction on to my offspring, roping Cricket in with the typical gateway words of “here, try this, you’ll like it”.  Only with her, alone in the darkened den, after the decent family has gone to bed, do I share the level of my evil (128).  Only to her can I talk freely of doughnut bombs and striped candy.  Only she understands my slurred “Divine!”. 


Game addiction is not new to me.  When I was first pregnant, miserably and surprisingly pregnant, a good friend gave me a Nintendo to keep me and my bags of Cheddar Cheese Ruffles company.  At this time, The Goose and I were living with my parents while we built a house.  When The Goose would come home from work, stunning in a suit and tie, there I’d be, glassy eyed and sweaty, trying to save Princess Peach.  I dreamed about eating mushrooms, the cartoon kind, not the Jefferson Airplane kind.  I couldn’t pass a flower without wanting to jump on it in hopes of super powers.  It became my job.


The Goose gave me a stern talking to.  He has no head for games, dare I say no ability, and was, understandably, shaken by the visual of the larger and pajama clad me, surrounded by chip crumbs and slamming my mothers pound cake.

I agreed to step away from the game.  Once I had been “clean” for 30 days and had moved into my new house leaving the machine behind, I came back to visit my folks walking in to find them in their matching recliners, jaws slack, knuckles swollen on the remotes, cigarette hanging from my fathers mouth with a two inch ash, while they battled the pills on Dr. Mario.  It’s a sickness.

Image   The Trophy Wife and I once shared a handheld Tetris game for 11 hours and over two states while driving back from south Florida.  We traded back and forth at rest stops and  gas stations, texting foul and taunting messages at each other, insulting the other’s mother and soul, while I eviscerated her with a high score that has yet to be challenged.  Yes, I said it, I still hold highest score.  And while the device has been dead for years, there is a picture that I can produce any time she gets mouthy about her abilities


For this reason I never got my kids any video games.  I know it’s a problem,  pale chubby kids sequestered away in dank basements, developing muscles only in their thumbs. The Boy played outside with fire and gas, knives and BB guns, like a boy should.  Each holiday I warily offered them one, but they always declined, The Boy asking for hatchets and explosives and Cricket, from age 3, asking for agendas, white boards and software, like any good nerd.

But now the problem has reared it’s ugly head with Candy Crush.  I just saw where a friend has publicly renounced the game and has sworn to abstain for 9 months, during the school year.  I’m not ready to do this yet, but after looking for my silent phone all over the house this morning, only to find it tucked inside my BRA, (This begs other questions about my rack that I am not yet ready to address.) I might be able to make the first step and admit I might have a problem.  Is there a 12 step for this?


Oh, Gosh, I Might Be Tacky

Remember that crazy phrase that went around a while back, “you might be a redneck”?  I snickered right along with everyone and never, not once, associated myself with any of the redneckisms I ever heard.  Tonight, as I lie in my bed at the miserably dark hour of 6:42, bloated, salted and sugared, in elastic pants the day after Thanksgiving, I’m seriously starting to question that maybe I didn’t listen hard enough.

Yesterday at our Bastards Thanksgiving day, things started out beautifully.  I had several tables seating between six and eight, all laid with my mother’s sterling, multiple generations of crystal and china, napkin rings, candlesticks and flowers.  Lovely music played.  I wore an antique Bavarian crystal necklace and earrings, my mother’s gold bracelets and had clean hair.  My house was in order, animals removed from the kitchen.   It smelled heavenly.  Things went along swimmingly as friends arrived, hugs were had and drinks were poured. Folks stepped out onto the front porch to admire the beautiful day.  Then, I heard it, that incongruous shout back into the house, “Hey, y’all, come outside and watch.  There’s a kid riding the sheep around the pasture and that big ol’ emu is chasing around a wiener dog”.  Things just went right on downhill from there.  I blame the Goose.  Not the Golden one this time, but the Grey.  One particular couple, you see, arrived at my house bearing not only two casseroles and a banana pudding, but also adult jello.  I’m sure someone yelled out something about showing a body part at some point.  I am hoping it wasn’t me.

What is it about holidays that never end up the way we envision them?  Does anyone’s? All week I dreamt that my first home Thanksgiving would be a House and Garden worthy event.  When a kid walks into the house with filthy feet holding a hen and proceeds to thrust his hand into the dinner rolls, something has gone astray.  Chippendale chairs ended up outside in the yard and someone lit a fire in the fire pit by pouring gas directly into it and shouting “watch this”, accompanied by much verbal abuse and encouragement. We told story after story of growing up.  Bunch of inbred folks that we are, we all married someone from high school and we all know everyone who is anyone from our hometown and are more than willing to talk about them in their absence.

I only hope my mother couldn’t see any of this and was busy elsewhere in Heaven supervising dinner done correctly.

In the paper today, I saw that a woman had been arrested for stabbing someone at her dinner table with a meat fork.  No one who saw that headline can possibly blame her.  I’m sure the woman had a dream day in her mind and the poor man just used the wrong utensil or, like the kids’ table at my house, failed to use even one.  Nor did any napkins at that table come out of their rings and the glasses remained clean so apparently no one there drank anything or wiped their mouths.  Although I have asked repeatedly, my son claims not to know how the consumption of dressing and gravy was accomplished without a fork.

Tonight, as I lie here, fat and sad that yesterday’s laughter and golden sunshine is over, I am answering an email from the editor of a paper who wants to come over tomorrow to photograph my pig, Babette, and this, more than anything, has caused me to question the sophisticated life I’ve always believed I was living.  Unless this pig can land the cover of Vogue or Veranda, I’m going to have to believe there might just be a problem here, not redneck, but possibly…tacky?  But just like the fact that I saw one of my friends yesterday make the decision to eat cake with an olive fork, I’m going to chose to ignore it.

Women, the good, the bad and the crazy

Talking about men is usually fun.  We can poke fun at them and they don’t always understand.  Plus, they’re interesting to watch, kinda like a wildlife special. Women aren’t always fun.  A lot of the time, they’re dramatic, prickly and believe they’re always right.  The women in my life are not like that.  I just don’t have time for the serious ones or the ones you have to be careful around so you don’t make them grouchy. I only like REALLY fun women.

You even have to be careful about fun women sometimes.  You can’t always spot the underlying crazy. Women who were once fun can take a drastic turn once they reach “a certain age”.  I had a really fun friend who went, basically, how can I say it…bat shit crazy a few years ago.  And not in a fun way.  Everyone walks on eggshells around her and lives in fear.  I haven’t spoken to her in two years.  Scary stuff.  Nothing feels better than cutting the bad ones free. That’s why we need a universal ladies intervention when we see it coming.  There should be a ladies farm where they can go away and be reprogrammed.

My friend, the Trophy Wife, and I have “in case of crazy” clause in our friendship.  If one of us does something wrong, the other will tell her and then hide behind something.  I made her somewhat mad a while back and she said “this made me mad” and I said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to make you mad.  I’m sorry” and she said “k” and it was over.  That’s how true friendships should work.  Any unhappy drama takes away from the time that should be spent talking about important stuff.  Like how much you both hate the mean women you know and how ugly their clothes are.

I’ve figured out that I like smart women.  I have some women in my life that can fire back such rude and intelligent comments that a night around the dinner table with them is like a shoot out in the old west.  I love that.  I like to laugh and I want women who will pull out a boob at the mall if it will make me giggle.  My daughter has inherited this and is so witty and sharp that the Goose and I are sometimes downright afraid.

My son picked up my phone the other day when I was driving and told me, shocked and quiet, that someone had sent me a message that that said “play, you disease ridden whore from hell”.  Who would do such a thing?  My favorite Words with Friends rival, that bald headed, wine swillin’, CHEATING, gorgeous fiend from my 9th grade english class, the Sweet Talker.  The Sweet Talker is all the more shocking because every word that comes out of her mouth is sweet.  She is the kindest, most supportive, lovingest woman on the planet, irresistible to dogs, children and baby pigs, but every so often, she comes out with something so vile that it’s hilarious. She is such fun that she let me take a 24 pack of sharpies to her head and draw paisley tattoos.  Now that’s a cool chick.


My long time best buddy, the Empress, will mince no words telling me if I’ve come down with a case of chubby.  She will come right out and tell me that my jeans are doing me no favors or that I could be doing something, anything, else with my hair.  She will reach right out and re-situate my bosom in my shirt, in public.  She would also be there to bail me out of jail should I need it, if she were not incarcerated along with me.  One of her husbands once told us he had never heard two louder women when we’re together.  Well, he’s gone and I’m still here so…

I like loud women.  I like a woman who will root through my closet and take what she wants and then deny it (Peaches…okay, maybe I was wrong and there are TWO of those shirts) or dress up along with me if I want to wear my old prom dresses.  I like a woman who will, after I make a tipsy fool of myself, tell me “no, honey, you were CUTE!”.

A good friend will hate your ex with you, hate your husband’s ex with you, will leave your drive thru dry cleaner with you and move to one in which you have to get out, in the rain, all because the old one shrunk something and then wouldn’t fix it. They will steal a boat with your encouragement. (Notice that I won’t elaborate on this.)

When I had Shep and my boobs became so engorged and miserable that I had to put cabbage in my bra, my friend chose that day to explode her implant, thus making her boobie condition as miserable as mine.  I love that she spent hours on the phone with me, both of us on pain meds, describing our miserable racks.  That is true and abiding friendship.

I hope all fun women have friends as cool as mine.  I adore my girls.  They entertain me every day.  When I look back, there will be a LOT, a LOT of stories that will cause me to laugh.  While all those other, quiet and respectable women are telling stories about their grandchildren, I hope to still be calling my friends in the morning and saying “Do you think we’re going to get caught?  Think we got away with it?”.

The Noms


A word about food.  It plagues us women.  I used to be a girl who forgot to eat.  I was so slim I would whip off my clothes at any opportunity.  My pantry contained paint cans, twist ties and car keys.  All that changes with kids.  First, they cause you to get fat and then they cause you to carry food with you everywhere.  Sitting at a playground can cause any woman to nip into the Goldfish while wishing for vodka.  I hate Goldfish and have eaten at least a semi-truck load out of desperation. 

My daughter, Cricket, was a fabulous eater in the beginning.  I raised two vegetarian kids, no milk, no meat, but she ate everything else with gusto.  People would stop and pat her golden curls in restaurants to see her bearing down on her plate like a lumberjack.  All that changed, though.  Now, she is unable to have her food touch other bits of food.  Food must be white or light in color, no sauce or “green things” (parsley) decorating it.  Many would say, “ah, toddlers are notoriously picky eaters”.  Cricket is a sophomore in college. 

My friend and running partner, Peaches, is at the opposite end of the spectrum.  I have never seen such a small person put away such copious amounts of food. She dreams of food, fantasizes about it.  Her eyes widen and shine at the thought of it. She recently volunteered at a food pantry and shoved food they deemed too disgusting for hobos  into her pockets for later.  Several incidences with Peaches have concerned me lately.  A while back we were on our street coming home from a long run when she spots something shiny on the road and makes a beeline towards it like a chicken on a slug.  It turned out to be a Snickers.  A Snickers that has been crushed by a car.  “No, Peaches”, I begin but she is already listing reasons why it’s okay.  It’s in our neighborhood, the wrapper is still on, etc.  Peaches consumed that Snickers in front of me.  Two weeks ago we saw a plastic Easter egg on the side of the road.  Now, this was NOT in our ‘hood and, indeed, was near a house where there are cars jacked up on blocks protected by pitt bulls. I don’t care about your argument for pitt bulls, you pair them with a transmission hanging from a tree and the result is not good.  Opening the egg, she discovered candy.  Can I mention that Easter was almost six months ago?  Where has this egg been?  Who packed it to begin with?  I have long wanted to do a coffee table book about things I see on the side of the road when running.  I never thought Peaches would EAT one of them. 

It all goes to the grip food has on us beleaguered women. I can be going along fine, fitting into my jeans with room for a friend and, BAM, a chip will whisper to me as I pass through the kitchen.  It will beg for me to release it’s friend cheese dip from the cold prison of the fridge and reunite them with their mother, margarita.  It’s a vicious cycle, food.  As we get older we have to budget our calories, nutrition and fiber and give up chewing altogether. I am thinking that my rise to fame is going to occur with the invention of the metastolifruiti, a combination of metamusil, vodka and grapefruit juice, for antioxidants to keep our skin fresh.  It’s a well-balanced diet all around.