Juliette Low: Feminist Warrior

When I was in college, I used to get drunk on cheap vodka with some of my friends from band (add another layer of nerd to my profile: band geek) and watch a fantastic independent film called Love and Other Catastrophes. Please go rent it right now, because it’s HILARIOUS. One of the characters in the movie was working on her thesis, entitled “Doris Day as Feminist Warrior.” Which, is just really really funny to a women’s studies student, because, have you seen Pillow Talk? But the phrase “feminist warrior” has stuck with me over the years and I have often thought about how fun it would be to write a dissertation on different women from Hollywood or history in which I explained why they are, despite all appearances, a feminist warrior. Marilyn Monroe is on that list.

But today, I’m going to tell you about someone who is so obviously a feminist warrior, it’s not actually funny. And that person is Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts. I am a lifetime member of Girl Scouts (add another layer of nerd to my profile) and it’s an awesome organization and not homophobic like the Boy Scouts are. (Gay men are not pedophiles. Stop being assholes, Boy Scouts of America, and let them be troop leaders.) I am such a big Girl Scout person, I even read the extremely boring official biography of Juliette Gordon Low, Lady From Savannah. And because I love you guys, I’m gonna write about her for you, Drunk History style, just like I did with our pal Julia Ward Howe.

OK, so, Juliette was from Savannah, and she was born just before the Civil War, and her family was pretty rich, which means they owned slaves and her dad fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War–although, her mom was from Chicago and was anti-slavery, so her mom hung out with General Sherman. I know for some of you, you’ll hear “Confederate slave-owning family” and you’re just gonna be “That’s it, I’m out.” I respect that, because I’m a white girl and I don’t pretend to get what it is to be black and live in a country that is still super racist and where so many of our historical figures were slave owners. But seriously, you’re about to miss out on hearing about someone who turned out to be pretty awesome in spite of the circumstances of her birth into a suuuuper racist society. The rest of you, here we go.

Juliette’s nickname was Daisy, and like a lot of these women from that era who went on to do fabulous things, she was super precocious. Daisy got some childhood illness that left her mostly deaf in one ear–and all the crazy stuff doctors tried to do to fix it just made it worse. She also liked to do stuff like make clothes for poor people and take in stray cats like a crazy cat lady.

Daisy grew up and at age 26 (which was pretty old by 1880’s standards) she got married to William Mackay Low. Here’s where it gets really crazy: when people were throwing rice at the happy couple after the ceremony, a piece of it got stuck in her ear and it got infected and she lost her hearing in THAT ear too, so she spent most of the rest of her life mostly deaf. Anytime someone tries to act like people with disabilities can’t do awesome things, you tell them “FUCK YOU ASSHOLE. Juliette Low founded Girl Scouts, and she was mostly deaf.” Also: if you go to a wedding where the bride is a Girl Scout, do not expect there to be hard shit like rice or bird seed to be thrown at the couple, because we don’t want to accidentally go deaf. Live and learn, people.

So, there’s Daisy, just like our pal Julia, married and rich and you’re supposed to live happily ever after, right? Hahahaha, no. Willy (that was his nickname, I am not even making that up) and Daisy had marital trouble for quite a while. At one point, Daisy came home from a trip and found Willy with his mistress living in Daisy’s house, and Daisy had to go live in the servant quarters because Willy was all “I’m the man, do what I say.” They spent the next several years trying to sort out the divorce, because it wasn’t as simple back then. You couldn’t just go to the courthouse and say “My husband is fucking this other woman and I have to live in the servant quarters, so, I’m done here” like you can now. It was a huge deal to get divorced. In fact, it was so difficult that eventually Willy died before the divorce was done. And just like Julia, her asshole of a husband left Daisy almost no money (she had to sue to get her house in Savannah because that asshole Willy tried to leave it to his mistress), but at least she was free.

Daisy traveled a lot, and she got to be friends with Lord and Lady Baden Powell, an English couple who could tell that World War I was coming and thought “Let’s start training the kids in our country to be army scouts and nurses, because, we’re really gonna need some of those here in a minute when this war starts.” So, they founded Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, and the boys learned stuff like semaphore and the girls learned how to roll bandages and do first aid. Daisy was like, “Dude, great idea, but how come the girls gotta be nurses? Why can’t they be scouts like the boys?” So she came home to Savannah and said, “Imma teach these girls morse code and how to build a fire” and she started the very first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912.

If you want to know what it was like to be a Girl Scout back then, check out The Golden Eaglet, a silent recruiting film from 1917. Daisy didn’t fuck around thinking girls needed to be coddled and protected. To hell with that. She wanted her Girl Scouts to be badasses, because being a badass is fun. And they were badasses and they did have fun…and they still are and do. When I worked at a Girl Scout camp, I taught girls how to wield an axe. I can start a fire with one match and no paper. And more than that, Girl Scouts taught me how to lead. You need a tough job done right? Ask a Girl Scout. Daisy created an organization that teaches girls to dream big AND gives them the skills they need to make those dreams a reality. What could be more feminist than that?

Why am I writing about Daisy today? Well, it’s her birthday. That’s right, she was born on Halloween, and today is her 153rd birthday. So, if you know a Girl Scout, don’t say “Happy Halloween” to them. Tell them “Happy Birthday to your founder, Juliette Low, Feminist Warrior!”

You’re Not Helping

This is going to be a complaining post, and related to the one about “enjoying every minute because they grow up so fast.” My apologies in advance to people who don’t like complainers, because, you will not like this post. Nor will people who try to make complainers feel better by telling them how much worse things could be. Because, YOU’RE NOT HELPING.

Here’s the thing. When someone complains to you about their job or the traffic or their kids behaving badly or whatever, and you say to them, “Well, at least you have a job” or “Well, at least you can afford the gas to drive in that traffic” or “Well, at least you HAVE kids, some people can’t even get pregnant”…yeah, that isn’t helping. You are not making the person feel better by telling them how much worse it could be. All you have done is add a layer of guilt to whatever it was they were frustrated about. Is this person someone you like? If so, you have just made them feel worse instead of better. Congratulations. If you don’t like them? Then super congrats, because you have just been an asshole to them in a way that is somehow socially acceptable. But either way? You’re not helping.

Here’s another one: “That happens to lots of people, it’s just part of life.” Sure, car accidents and cancer and frustrating child behavior ARE part of life and they DO happen to lots of people. Does that make them not upsetting? You’re not helping.

And as much as I love the phrase for its snappy snarkiness, saying “first world problems” to someone complaining about their job or whatever is not helping either. See, here’s the thing: if I am an entitled asshole who is complaining about how the crew running my yacht were late and now I have missed happy hour in Monaco, you think it’s gonna make me a less entitled asshole to hear that that is a “first world problem”? Of course not, I am an entitled asshole. You’re not helping. If I am NOT an entitled asshole, then I am not complaining about something that is piddly to me. I am complaining about something that really is upsetting me. That children are starving in Africa does not mean I don’t get frustrated about my life sometimes. Reminding me that children are starving in Africa is not helping.

So, what do I want you to do instead? Well, if I were a magician and could wave a magic wand, I would make everyone just listen politely while the person complains and then say “Gee that’s too bad.” Consider “Gee that’s too bad” like hearing someone from the south say “Bless her heart.” It’s a polite way to say you don’t really care and change the subject. Is that helping either? No, but you know what? You’re not making it worse either.

Or, you know, you could say something that MIGHT help, like, “Are you looking for a new job? Because I know someone who is hiring” or “I know this sweet back road with no traffic, let me give you the directions” or “My kid did that too, you are not alone. You can survive this age by finding other moms going through it too.”

Children’s Television Survival Guide: Zoboomafoo

It’s time once again for another installment of our Children’s Television Survival Guide. This time, we’re talking about an oldie but goodie: Zoboomafoo, which features everybody’s favorite children’s television siblings, the Kratt Brothers. And by everybody, I mean every straight woman and gay man in America.

Because, let’s face it, during their Zoboomafoo days, those Kratt Brothers were kinda sexy. Are they goofy? Sure, but it just makes them more endearing that they don’t take themselves too seriousy, doesn’t it? Plus they’re kind to animals, and then there are the episodes where they’re running through the African Savannah in their little shorts. Or when they fall into some mud and I like to imagine it’s chocolate that someone might lick off their face for them…oh wow, I’m sorry, Kratt Brothers, I totally just objectified you, that is wicked uncool of me. My bad, moving on…

Zoboomafoo himself is a hoot and a half–he’s a real lemur who turns into a puppet lemur when you feed him a snack. I feel like him and the Kratt Brothers are totally aware that this show is being seen by kids AND their parents, so when they talk, it’s not like watching Dora where everyone is just screaming at the kids in the room all the damn time. They use the proper names for animals and their anatomy and habitat and behavior. I just feel like I’m not being spoken down to all the time.

My favorite part of the show is when Zoboomofoo starts telling us a story from Zoboo Land. Which is a claymation world of bizarre looking creatures who do strange things. None of Zoboomafoo’s Zoboo Land stories make any sense, but I always have the feeling that if I could just get my hands on some acid, suddenly all the wonders of the Zoboo universe would become clear to me. Also then I might understand the weird claymation clock thing on the wall in Animal Junction.

Of course, the Kratt Brothers got too old to be rolling around in the chocolate, I mean, the mud with Zoboomafoo and a tiger cub and some turtles or whatever. So, now they have that cartoon show instead, so they can stay young and handsome forever. Which is OK and all, I mean, The Boy likes it and they have a hell of a game on the PBS Kids we site. But like most sequels, it just doesn’t live up to the original. I miss Zoboomafoo and his drug-induced Zoboo land.

Post Script: When researching this post, I discovered that someone has actually started a Zoboomofoo Wiki. No lie. God, I love the Internet!

My belly looks like a butt and I don’t care

I’ve been reading a lot of stuff lately about that woman from California with the rock hard abs and the “what’s your excuse” photo. Angry stuff, “you go girl” stuff, and everything in between. None of it really spoke to me, though. No offense, awesome bloggers who I follow, it just didn’t speak to me. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I felt about the photo, and I have rewritten this post a lot, because I feel like talking about the issue of body image is one of those things where it’s easy to stick your foot in your mouth. Or at least, it’s easy for me to stick my foot in my mouth. But whatever, if you’ve hung in with this log this long, through an link to an Al Jazeera article, a martini without gin, and the love affair between Handy Manny and Kelly from the hardware store then this probably won’t drive you off. Here goes…

When I was pregnant with The Girl, I gained over 50 pounds. While nursing her, I lost all that weight, so I am now a little lighter than I was when I got pregnant, and in a healthy range for my height. All that weight gain/loss has left my belly looking like a butt. There’s all kinds of loose saggy stretch-mark-covered skin on there. At first, I looked at my belly in the mirror and said “What the fuck is that?” It was like seeing someone else in the mirror.

But now, I look at my belly and don’t really think anything of it. Like, it’s just how my belly is, and I don’t feel proud or ashamed or whatever. There are two big reasons for that: first, nobody sees me naked really except my husband, and he says he likes seeing me naked, so if he’s happy, there’s no one Judgy McJudgersoning my butt-stomach. The second reason is, I don’t define my value as a person around my body, especially parts of it I can’t control. Like the elasticity of my skin. I mean, we get older (or we die–getting older seems like the better of those two options) and our bodies change. Things sag and wrinkle. We get scars. That broken toe sets a little off and now it looks different. We start growing hair places we didn’t used to to have it, or stop growing it where it used to grow. All that is perfectly normal and natural and completely out of my control. I can’t stop my body from aging, so, I just don’t worry about it. I notice changes, sure, but then I get used to them, and that’s pretty much the end of me thinking about it.

I feel like in all the conversations around body image, there’s still this underlying assumption that what people look like under their clothes is important, or, that it’s even relevant to anyone who isn’t seeing them naked. I mean, I have no idea what most of my friends’ bellies look like. Maybe they all have butt-bellies, maybe they have fabulous rock hard abs, I don’t know. And even if I did, why should I care? Why should I care that that lady from California has rock hard abs? Why should she care that I don’t?

I mean, look, that woman clearly worked hard to look like that and she’s proud of that hard work, so, good on her for being happy. BEING HAPPY. Because, being happy is a good thing. It’s not the abs that are the good thing, it’s that she’s happy. Having rock-hard abs wouldn’t make me happy. It’s just not the relationship I have with my body. How my body looks doesn’t make me happy, or sad. I think the reason why that photo set off so many emotions for people is because it suggested that our abs are what all of us should care about. I would like to suggest that it’s OK to have a different perspective–to just not care how your body looks.

One of the things the Cult of Perfect Motherhood tries to tell us is that in addition to being completely dedicated to our kids, we also have to try to have a perfect-looking body too. Which is crap. Looking perfect does not make you a better mother. Feeling good so you can be there for your kids is what makes you a better mother. So, if working out on your abs makes you feel good, then great! Do it! If it doesn’t, and you’re happy and you feel good, then don’t let what other people might be thinking about your butt-stomach worry you. Because, unless they’re Judgy McJudgersons, they don’t care about your how your belly looks.

Cocktails with the Cult: Beth’s Dirty Martini

I’ve decided to start a new recurring series on booze. So, here’s how drinking works for me now that I am in my late 30’s: if I drink during the work week and then have to get up in time to get the kids ready and then commute to work? Yeah, that’s not happening. Also, if I drink more than 2 drinks on a weekend? I am going to be hung over, in fact, 2 is pushing it most times. There is no amount of water-drinking that will prevent that hangover. A couple times a year, I let loose and get completely sloshed, and the next day is always a disaster, which is why I rarely do it.

What this means is, because I don’t drink much or often, I am a lot more choosy about my booze. Since my only drinking is one cocktail on a Saturday, I don’t want to waste that drink on crap like I did when I was a college student. So, my days of Popov vodka and OJ are gone, and replaced with higher quality cocktails.

Of course, I am too tired to be going out for cocktails. I haven’t had more than a couple of nights of decent sleep in a row since before The Girl was born, and today is her second birthday. Once in a while, The Hubs and I will get a babysitter and go out, but honestly, my cocktails are mostly made at home. It costs less money that way too. So, we have a pretty good selection of quality booze in our pantry, and I am always on the lookout for new cocktail recipes. Recipes that I will share with you in this new recurring series.

Oh hi Judgy McJudgerson, are you worried about my kids becoming alcoholics because they have seen me drink? Or that they’ll raid my liquor cabinet? I’m not. I firmly believe the dumbest thing you can do is shelter your kids from the world. I think teaching them about safe non-binging ways to drink, like a single cocktail, and explaining to them about how booze affects people, especially kids, especially teenagers who are driving cars, is the right way to raise my kids. You disagree? Great, then you do it differently. I will be over here with my cocktail.

Alright, onto today’s recipe: my version of a dirty martini. You may have figured out by now that I am a vodka drinker, not a gin drinker. If you are a gin snob, I will understand if you never read my blog again after this post. You can go hang out with the Glenn Beck fans who stopped reading after I shared that article from Al Jazeera.

My dirty martini is a simple drink, with not a lot of ingredients, so you want those ingredients to be of good quality. I have my own favorite brands of vodka–Crater Lake is my new favorite, but may not be available in your part of the world. I used to drink Stoli because it’s not bad and it’s readily available, before the whole Russia-hates-gay-people thing happened. Just buy a vodka that tastes smooth to you, not like rubbing alcohol. What I mean is, don’t buy cheap vodka. Buy a middle-level or top shelf vodka. And for the love of god, store your vodka in the freezer. Room temperature vodka is just wrong.

Next, you need some dry vermouth. I use Boissiere. There may be better brands out there, I don’t know that much about vermouth. I cannot express how disappointed you will be if you try to make this drink with sweet vermouth.

And then there are the olives. You want green olives, and you want them to come in a jar with some brine, and you want them to look yummy, not all shriveled and sad. If you want to be really fancy, get some stuffed with blue cheese (OMG SO DELICIOUS) or hit the olive bar at Whole Foods. I personally get a fancy looking jar from my regular grocery store.

So here’s how I put this drink together, and my apologies to the bartenders of the world who will certainly tell me I am doing it wrong. You can go read some other blog with the gin snobs and the Glenn Beck lovers–or better yet, perhaps you could come over and mix me one? Because, that would be awesome too. What I do is, I take my martini glass (don’t have one? Pretty sure this would work out OK in a kid’s plastic cup from Ikea–I can hear bartender brains exploding even more) and I put in a splash of the dry vermouth. Just a splash, not a shot. Then I put in a splash of the brine from the olive jar–this is what makes it “dirty.” If you like it very dirty (snicker, I said dirty), put more brine in there. Then I pour in some vodka to fill the glass–not up to the rim, because there’s gonna be some olives in there.

Next, I take a martini pick (or a toothpick if you don’t have martini picks) and I put 3 or 4 olives or 5 on it. And I use that martini pick to stir the martini. I do not shake my martini with ice because that just waters down your martini. Also, because almost all of this drink is vodka that has been in the freezer, you don’t need ice. It’s already cold. This would be part of the genius of vodka over gin.

And that’s it! You now have a little taste of heaven to help you unwind on Friday night. Cheers!

Privilege and Choice

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the writing I have been reading lately about motherhood. I love reading mom blogs, and there are so many good (and funny) ones out there. Sometimes, though, I feel like there is a voice missing in all the conversations about PTA fundraising, minivans, tantrums in restaurants, and leaning in and opting out. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, but something was nagging at me…a little thought in the back of my head that said “This is all awesome, but something is missing.”

And then I read something from Al Jazeera America. Just, go read it right now. (“OMG SHE READS AL JAZEERA SHE MUST BE A TERRORIST” say my Glen Beck-loving readers. Hahahaha, I don’t have any Glen Beck-loving readers.)

This article hit home for me SO much.

Second wave feminists made it possible for middle and upper class women to work outside the home. They got us civil rights, like equal educational opportunity, employment discrimination protections, and rights to fair treatment in the courts. They made it theoretically possible for women to have choices in their lives. And for that, we should be grateful. (Don’t get me started on people who shit on Second Wave feminists for not bringing on a feminist utopia. Have you seen Mad Men? I am glad I’m not living like that, aren’t you? Then thank a feminist.)

But the work left for feminism to do post-second-wave is to make it so that all women have enough economic stability that those choices are no longer just theoretical. So that women really are making choices based on their hearts, not their pocketbooks. Really choosing how to live your life–leaning in or opting out, going to college or going to work, SAHM or in-the-workforce mom–isn’t possible for every woman. Being a 20-year-old low-income mom with two kids? Yeah, your choices are going to be WAY more limited than mine were as a 20 year old, when I had parents able to pay for college, and no children of my own to take care of. I could go to a college back east and spend my free time playing in the pep band and drinking cheap vodka, because there were no kids waiting at home for me.

Which brings me back to that missing voice. I think the mom blogs that get the most attention tend to be women who are at least middle class, women like me who are writing from a place of privilege. Our lives aren’t perfect or easy, but they do give us the freedom to have time to write. And what we write about reflects our lives, as it should–we shouldn’t try to speak for others, that’s a recipe for disaster–and we lead lives where not every opportunity is open to us, but a hell of a lot more of them are than they are for poor women.

There ARE mom bloggers who are poor, but you have to seek them out. I wish the HuffPo’s and Upworthy’s of the world would pick them up more often. I think listening to their voices, understanding the particular flavor of their struggle, is important. And I am going to try to do a better job of sharing them on my Facebook page. To kick things off, check out this awesome blog post from a mom named Tara–it’s an oldie but a goodie.

Children’s Television Survival Guide: Handy Manny

It’s time once again for another installment in our Children’s Television Survival Guide. This one has a romance that lasts the test of time, a lunatic middle aged man, and a multi-ethnic cast of dozens. No, I don’t let my kids watch Gone with the Wind, I’m talking about Handy Manny.

Where to begin, this show has SO MUCH AWESOME.

First off, for someone with the sense of humor of a 13 year old boy (and really, who doesn’t? That is to say, who doesn’t who’s stuck with this blog this long?), Handy Manny is fucking AWESOME. I mean, there’s The Tools. (Haha, she said tool.) Two of them are screwdrivers. (Haha, she said screw.)

Then, there’s Mr. Lopart, who runs a candy store that no one is ever in. He’s got all these crackpot inventions and a cat who looks like Ernst Blofeld’s. Did you notice his mother is a big part of his life? Guy is one step away from being Anthony Perkins in Psycho. It’s like the writers took all these awesome 1960’s evil, mentally unstable characters and referenced them all in one weird dude who makes everyone around him uncomfortable, but like, in a non-threatening way. It’s genius.

But what really brings me back to Handy Manny is the romance between Manny and the lovely Kelly, who runs the hardware store. You could cut the sexual tension between those two with a knife. And did you ever notice how Kelly never makes him pay for his supplies? Not in front of the tools, anyway! Snicker. Manny always thanks her and says, “You always have just what we need.” Of course she does, Manny, wink wink. There’s even one episode where they enter a chili cook off together and when they win, they hug and then quickly step apart awkwardly and blush. Come on Manny, man up and tell the tools they’re getting a new mommy!

I could go on and on about Pat the hammer and his obvious yet tragic traumatic brain injury (his head is the part of the hammer that you hit things with–it was only a matter of time, really); Turner’s soul that is as black as my own; and of course, that hot Eric Estrada-referencing motorcycle that Manny rides around that makes me want to him the theme song from CHiPs. I suppose I should be raving about the show teaching my kids about people of different ethnic backgrounds living side by side, and teamwork, and getting to learn Spanish words without Dora or Diego screaming out of the TV. But really, I would probably watch Handy Manny even if I didn’t have kids. It’s better than Days of Our Lives.

Crazy thoughts I have at 2AM when The Girl won’t sleep

The Girl is still a shitty sleeper. Am I looking for advice? I am not. Know why? Because I have heard it all. I have read the books, I have talked to other parents, we have talked to the doctor about it. Please, please, please, do not offer me advice. I really don’t want to hear it. I just want to explain what it’s like being a working parent of a child who is a shitty sleeper.

These are the thoughts that run through my head from 2AM when The Girl woke up until 4AM when she finally, mercifully, fell back asleep.

“Why can’t she just stay asleep at night?”
“I am not going to be functional at work tomorrow.”
“Maybe if I read that No-Cry sleep book again, it’ll have a solution.”
“This book is crap.”
“Maybe there’s something hidden in her room that’s waking her up? Like an alarm clock? Or the boogie man?”
“Is she asleep? Maybe I can go back to bed.”
“Fuck, she’s not asleep.”
“Why the fuck is she singing Ring Around the Rosey? Jesus Christ it’s 3:15 AM.”
“Why isn’t she wearing a diaper? She can tell me she peed in her diaper, take it off, and ask for a new one, but she can’t STAY ASLEEP?”
“I can’t keep doing this. We need another solution.”
“How much water can I give her to get her to shut up without having her pee through her diaper?”
“Is she asleep?”
“Oh thank god, she’s asleep.”

After a night like that, I am grateful I have a boss who is also a working mom and knows what sleep deprivation is like, and that I have the flexibility to take a half day off and then work from home after a nap. I am also grateful to have The Hubs, who is a fantastic father and husband, and who gets the kids up and dressed and to school while I sleep in. I am privileged. I can’t imagine what it is like to be a single parent and have to do all this alone. Or to work in a job that doesn’t offer the flexibility mine does.

But I still wish The Girl would just learn to sleep.

Our Best Poop Story

The Boy is, and always has been, an excellent pooper. It began in his NICU days when he went through 3, count them, 3 incubators because of poopsplosions. Now, to most parents, a poopsplosion means a diaper that catastrophically failed, releasing poop all ver clothes, stroller, car seat, parents, siblings, etc. Which, pardon the pun, is a pretty shitty thing to have happen and can ruin your day.

That is not what I mean by a poopsplosion. What I mean is, a diaper is off because you are changing him, and you go to wipe, and suddenly, poop is flying across the room. Or, when he was in an incubator, it was splattering all over the inside of the incubator. Generally the pooping was proceeded by a popping sound, and then BLAMMO, you’re covered in poop.

When he switched from the NICU to the less-intensive-care ward at our hospital, the nurse from the NICU handling the hand-over told his new nurse, “Watch out for this one, he’s a serious pooper.” The new nurse kind of rolled her eyes as if to say, “I deal with babies, I can handle poop.” Hahahahaha! No. Seriously, he is a pooper. The very next day, the new nurse looked at me and said, “I should have listened to that nurse. He shot poop through the tails of his crib and 4 feet across the floor. I measured it, I couldn’t believe how far it flew.”

Did you think I was exaggerating when I said poop was flying across the room? I was not.

It should surprise no one that he continued his powerful pooping when he came home. Luckily for me, the absolute most awesome poopsplosion of his career happened just after I had gone back to work full time and The Hubs was working from home (his last work day before going on FMLA leave) and watching him. He’d taken The Boy to the changing table–a beautiful one built by my parents’ neighbor, who was a high-end cabinet maker, so it’s now been pooped on by two generations of my family–and had taken off his diaper, and was wiping The Boy’s little bum, when that wonderful pop sound happened.

Now, the changing table was located by the door of The Boy’s bedroom. So, the poop shot off the end of the changing table and splattered all over the door. Mess enough. But what makes this story so awesome is that at that exact moment, our cat, Charlie, happened to be sitting between the door and the changing table.

I can only imagine what it must be like to be a cat, seeing as how I am not of the feline persuasion. But I think if I were a cat, and I was sitting in a nice sunny carpeted spot on the floor, minding my own business, and suddenly SHIT WAS RAINING DOWN ON ME FROM ABOVE, I would probably freak the fuck out and run for my life.

And that is exactly what Charlie did. He ran. And he tried to wipe the poop off himself by rubbing up against door frames and walls as he ran. And then he took cover, which also seems the prudent thing to do when it’s raining poop. And where he took cover was a place where he knew no more poop could fall on him: under our bed.

When The Hubs called to tell me about this poopsplosion of all poopsplosions, I could not stop laughing. The poor guy. His last work day pretty much ended right there, because it took the rest of the afternoon to clean THAT hot mess. And I was really, really glad to be back in the office.

So, the next time your kid has what you call a poopsplosion, just think to yourself, “At least my kid didn’t just shit on my cat.” And think of poor Charlie, who learned a valuable lesson that day: don’t go anywhere near the changing table.