Disaster Chef: If I Made A Damn Pumpkin Pie Then You Definitely Can Too

Mom Blogger Pie

As some of you know, I low-key aspire to be a Mom Blogger and frequently exhibit traits of this particular breed of human (besides, you know, having human kids)  – sometimes ironically, sometimes not.

After spending the years from 2006 to 2013 drinking my weight in malt liquor, missing my alarm in the morning, ignoring my goals, messing around with drugs, encouraging my own body dysmorphia, smoking, willfully participating in shitty relationships, and eating beans out of cans, I DISCOVERED, as it turns out, that I actually need, enjoy, and thrive on the following things:

  • A clean home with some nice items in it
  • Food that doesn’t come from the bodega
  • A full time job with benefits
  • A solid relationship with a person who also has a good job and a very minimal set of issues
  • Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night
  • Doing things that are healthy for my spirit, such as ignoring the haters, having a positive body image, focusing on my dreams & using my time wisely.
  • Enjoying substantial quantities of top to second-from-top shelf vodka only one or two days a week.

Now, I am not saying I regret the past, nor am I trying to tell anyone how to live. I am a sex-positive person who respects personal choice and unique lifestyles and bucking the status quo when you feel like it. I’ve definitely made some questionable decisions in the name of exploring myself, my needs, and this crazy-ass world we live in. I encourage anyone to do the same.

That being said, I also feel like much of my early twenties were spent saying to myself “Why am I putting myself in these situations? How do I stop feeling this way? Poor me, and also, I am the worst,” when what I really should have done was break up with whoever-the-fuck, get off the internet, and get a damn job.

I think some people were surprised when I started adjusting my priorities. Maybe it was a letdown, because I wasn’t going out and peeing between parked cars with them every night. But there were a few things motivating me. The first is, I had found a respectful, funny, trustworthyunaggressive, and down-to-earth man who loved me. And after dating every make and model of loser imaginable, I was not about to fuck that up with bad decisions. The second is that I was getting older, and past a certain age it’s hard to make messy look cute. I’ve talked about this before. I never was the kind of person who could stay out until 4am, still make it to work the next day and NOT want to throw myself out of a ten-story window. I was just like, “I want to be happy and stop feeling guilty all the time for being fucking irresponsible.” So I’ve been working on this for the last year or so.

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The start of every Childless Mom Lifestyle: getting your first pair of Uggs

This is one of the reasons I love being a domestic goddess from time to time. Just like in high school when that girl Rebecca told people she was shocked we got into the same college because she thought I was dumb (don’t think I forgot), I take pleasure in doing things well that are not expected of me, or that I don’t expect of myself. A self-fulfilling prophecy will get you every time. I also like providing nourishment for others and cultivating a comfortable environment for the people I love, having grown to understand the significance of those things in my own life.

So that’s where the pie comes in.

You see, I’ve been in the dating game for about ten years, and out of all twenty of my boyfriends I think maybe three of their moms have actually liked me. It’s just always been this way. I guess I took a couple virginities when I was younger and I was never churchy or blonde, but I wasn’t a bad person, so I don’t know what their damage was specifically. But they sure had damage. In tenth grade one mother actually referred to me as “the spawn of Satan.” I was fifteen – I hadn’t even done anything awesome yet! High school was rough for me.

Given my past experience, when my adorable current boyfriend invited me to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving I was pretty nervous. I’ve never been to a guy’s family home for a major holiday before, and I wanted to make a good impression. A GREAT impression. The kind of impression that makes them happy that I live with their son. I’m not a master chef, but I do have some basic skills and the even the ability to improvise from time to time. Last year around Christmas I brought over a card and some homemade body scrub (which was kind of a flop but they were nice about it) and these Oreo cheesecake cookies I made from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Those were divine (I’m the kind of person who says divine now) so I decided to go back to the source.

If you haven’t accepted it already, Pinterest is the shit. It just is. It’s my guidebook for cleaning my act up. Even though they DO have some heinous DIY shabby chic country sorority bullshit on there, I also feel like I’m in control over my home, my body and my mind when I’m on that app. It makes adult life possible for a ne’er do well, and you can imagine how useful that is for me.

Follow me on Pinterest here! Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.42.04 PM

So naturally, I turned to Pinterest when it came time to prep for Thanksgiving. I knew I wanted to make a pumpkin pie, because it’s not Thanksgiving without one. And I’m all about doing holidays right. Plus, it’s a southern staple, so I figured it would be a nice addition to their Long Island spread.

I’m not sure why I decided I needed to make the pie “from scratch,” since I’ve never done that before in my life. I was raised in a household where store-bought pie crust and filling from a can is quite fancy enough. Hell, a pre-made pie would be just fine. And James’ parents aren’t snooty either. I guess it was just one of those situations where I was being a teacher’s pet (his mom is a teacher, no pun intended though) doing extra credit even when I already had an easy A. Plus, holidays are just ridiculously important to me. I’m the girl you’ll find frantically buying packs of hot dogs on the 4th of July, dragging my friends to Central Park on a cloudy Memorial Day or flipping out about a serious lack of margarita mix on Cinco de Mayo. To put it simply, I need to chill.

Regardless, there I was in the Union Square Whole Foods two days before Thanksgiving, zigzagging between rich hipsters and trying to find nutmeg. Of course there was none, presumably because every damn Thanksgiving recipe calls for it, so I settled for this thing called “Pumpkin Pie Spice,” a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. I picked up a pie pumpkin, threw it in my tote and prayed that that day was not the day that I finally get pushed down the stairs boarding the L train, because it would have been a shame to squash that gourd (do you even see what I did there?)

I had already made a crust the night before. It was a graham cracker crust, so not made from “scratch” per se, however, it did not start out as a crust and then it became one, so I happily gave myself credit.

Making a graham cracker crust is super easy. You take 10 graham crackers (usually how many they include in a pack), crush them up, and mix it with 6 tablespoons of melted butter and 1/3 cup of sugar.

Pie Crust 3
Since I don’t have a food processor, I tried to use a regular blender to crush the crackers, which didn’t work very well. When the machine starting smelling like smoke (wtf?) I stopped and crushed the rest with a potato masher. Then I mixed in the butter and sugar (I used brown sugar because it’s what I had and it seemed just as good if not better) and pressed it into the pie plate. You can use something flat like a measuring cup to press down the center, and use your fingers around the sides.
It ended up cute and tasty looking, and I was impressed with myself. Find the full recipe for a graham cracker crust here.
Pie Crust 5
HOW CUTE, right?
Since I was going to bake the pie anyway, I didn’t need to pre-bake the crust. I just put it in the fridge overnight and came back to it the next day.
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Having made it home alive after my Whole Foods excursion, I was ready to make my pie goo. Everyone kept telling me this was the most annoying part, the most delicate process and the main reason why nobody likes making pumpkin pies from scratch. But I thought it was pretty straightforward and fun.

I got the full recipe from here. Y’all, I cannot stress the beautiful and sometimes frightening normalcy I am able to witness on these Pinterest-ass blogs. I adore them.

Essentially, you cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds and the stringy stuff. Then you place each half on a cookie sheet “flesh-side down,” which I figured out means “round side up” even though I thought flesh and skin were the same thing and that the skin was on the outside…but ANYway…

Then you roast that shit at 325 for an hour. Once it’s done, you’re able to to pull the skin off the outside and just have the pumpkin mush, which you have to mash up really well. This is where I had a problem, because my blender was smelling like smoke, I don’t own a standing mixer or a food processor, soooo I just used a whisk. I whisked so hard n fast, and of course, no matter what it was still a little chunky. But I was like, “Whatever. It’s 10PM and I need to go to bed soon.”

I dumped in the rest of the ingredients, (eggs, milk, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice) and made the gorgeous barf-colored mixture pictured below.

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mmmm

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Above is what it looked like in the crust before I baked it. A little chunky, sure, but I was already like 80% done making my first pie ever, and it actually looked like a real pie!

So obviously I patted myself on the back way too early, failing to realize that one of the easiest ways to fuck up a baked good as an amateur is by burning it. I put the assembled pie in the oven at 325 and was planning to leave it in for another hour. But somewhere around 45 minutes I started smelling burning crust.

See, this is what I can’t deal with when it comes to ovens. They’re all different and confusing and none of the knobs make any damn sense, and you need to buy a fancy thermometer to actually know what the hell is going on in there. Plus, I’m always just afraid I’m going to fall in and permanently disfigure my face.

You’d think I’d be way too simple and anxious to even survive in a kitchen, but again, there I was, creatively navigating this potential disaster in my own stupid way. I unbent a paperclip to do the “toothpick trick” to figure out if the center of the pie was done. I moved it from bottom rack to top rack to bottom again. I changed the oven temperature. And eventually I just took it out, let it cool and hoped the damn thing would stop jiggling.

The next day, I carried the pie to work on the L train, placed it in the fridge with a big DO NOT EAT sign, then cradled it in my lap on the LIRR (with a can of whipped cream in my purse, of course.)

As it turns out,  James’ mother doesn’t even like pumpkin pie! This was awesome news! But it was a hit with the men of the household, and I fuckin’ loved it too, so that was enough for me. Plus, I think I mentioned once or twice that I MADE IT FROM SCRATCH, so I’m pretty sure I get some points for that with the whole fam.

The next week, as I was roasting the leftover pumpkin seeds, I started imagining myself as a mother, hosting my own family gatherings and feeding pie to my little babies. I had fantasized for about a minute when I smelled the pumpkin seeds starting to burn.

“Yeah,” I thought. “One thing at a time.” And I poured a glass of vodka.

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PS – This is the appropriate pie-to-whipped-cream ratio. Thanks.

 

 

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10 Little Decisions That Changed My Life in 2014

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December: a time for self reflection

A wise person once said, “You should only take advice from someone who has made plenty of mistakes.” Actually, I just made that up. But it sounds right, doesn’t it?

One weekend in November my dad came to town and I got to spend some much needed time reconnecting with him and with my brother, who, interestingly in its own right, had just returned from touring with Macy Gray. We mostly did a lot of talking – about art, about music, comedy, parenthood, love, work, and following our dreams. My father, who turned 66 in July, has certainly led a life not lacking in transformations. I feel like every time we see one another he’s reinventing himself in some way. It’s a comforting reminder that we’re not bound, at any age, to our bad habits, or to things that are familiar.

Most of us spend this last month of 2014 contemplating our own change. Our dissatisfaction flirts with our ambition and the result is a list of “do-betters” that we may or may not keep in mind for more than a day. Most of the time our desired transformations are too grand to distill down to a simple resolution we can actually keep. I’ve found it helps to start with the details, the things we can actually change, and then work backwards.

Because the hardest things for me lately have been the little things, I wanted to share some small changes I made in my daily life this year that brought me just a few steps closer to sanity. Even if they can’t fix any of your real problems, maybe they’ll help you along the way.

1. Buying a Professional Hair Dryer
Beauty isn’t everything. I think we can all agree on that. But I decided if I’m going to care at all about the way I look then I’m going to invest in it. Since I’ve been cursed (just kidding!) with having a lot of hairdresser friends, I never hear the end of their hair-related advice. I don’t trust everyone, but I do trust my bestie-in-law Hannah who basically forced me to drop my secondhand blow dryer and pick up a legitimate one. I have the Rusk CTC 7500 which costs about $100. It’s cut down my styling time substantially, and thus the amount of time I spend sitting in front of the mirror every morning hating my hair and willing it to speed-grow. Note: Rusk is not paying me to endorse their products, I’m doing it out of the kindness of my heart. I’ve been trying to get Hannah to start a beauty blog so she can recommend all her favorite things. Everybody should post on her Facebook and convince her to do it. She’ll get more free products than she’ll know what to do with, and then maybe she’ll give some to me!

2. Making a Bedroom Embargo
You can always tell how I’m doing psychologically by what’s on top of or next to my bed. On any given day in 2012, for example, it was empty wine bottles, dirty plates, multiple kinds of hot sauce, and Lawry’s seasoning salt. I slept on unmade sheets and curved my body around my laptop, which almost never left my side. This was just how I lived, all throughout college and up until about six months ago, and I was low-key miserable the whole time. I loathed having crumbs in my bed, and staring at a computer screen until I couldn’t keep my eyes open made it harder to fall asleep – that is, if I even chose to try. More often than not I would slip into a social media k-hole until the wee hours of the night, and my sleepiness would be mistaken for depression and madness. I’d entertain my most insecure thoughts until 3 in the morning, and the next day I’d wake up in a pile of magazines and empty Dorito bags, just as tired as the night before. When I moved to my Ridgewood apartment in April of this year, I made a rule: no food and no computer in the bedroom, ever. It works because my bedroom is so far away from my Internet router that I barely even get wifi in there. And it’s made a huge difference. My mind has a chance to rest, and my eyes have a chance to adjust to darkness before I go to sleep so I’m not lying there for hours with the afterimage of my Twitter feed projected on my eyelids. And no food means no crumbs, no garbage, and no extreme self loathing after the fact. I also always wear slippers around the house now. If you have pets, it’s the only way to keep their nastiness out of your sheets. Bless their disgusting little hearts.

3. Forming a Cleaning Obsession

mesy roomMy bedroom in 2013

Unless yours is a neighborhood I could only afford in my wildest fever dreams,living in New York is pretty much disgusting. Gross strangers are everywhere and some of them will even touch you unprovoked. Every so often, rats will crawl over your feet to scurry towards their next meal, aka the lovely bags of garbage so adorably piled five feet high against the tree outside your building. Urine is on literally every surface. Any human that can operate in this world on a daily basis and then come home and be perfectly content with, I don’t know, a kitchen sink full of scraps of food and trash, has a tolerance for nastiness rivaling that of  the opossum itself. In the past, very regular drinking followed by depression had created a cycle of lethargy that had allowed me to live with messes. I would use my unmade bedsheets, sprinkles of kitty litter, and piles of clothes and books and dishes as the abstract expression of my psyche. I never felt comfort in this disarray, I just didn’t have the wherewithal to control it. I remember, even before I was  a hungover 20-something, I would stand in my teenage bedroom staring at my mess and end up feeling so overwhelmed by the wreckage that I’d just waste time whining uncontrollably. As a Virgo, I require organization in order to function. Perhaps it was my Pisces moon that would make me feel so sorry for myself that I couldn’t even address the problem at all. Well, such is no longer the case. It’s not perfect, but my house is set up so that everything has its own place. I bought all the necessary tools and devised a system. Dishes are done right after dinner, counters are cleaned once a day, sweeping is done as necessary in addition to a weekly full clean of the floors (sweep, swiffer, dust-bust, spot wipe). The bathroom gets a full wipe down once a week. I make my bed every single day. I Lysol wipe my trash can.Most importantly, I clean as I go. This is not a joke – this is what it takes for me to feel like a human being. And it works. If you value yourself, you should value the space you live in and treat it accordingly, don’t you think? It doesn’t have to look like Apartment Therapy is coming to take your picture any minute now, but like, don’t leave a banana peel in your bedroom trashcan for two weeks. Trust me, it makes a difference.

4. Giving Things Away
One of the things I had to learn in order to keep a clean house is how to part with the unnecessary items cluttering up my space. I live in an old apartment with exactly one closet. It’s in the kitchen. I keep my trash bins in there. I have quite a bit of space in comparison to many other New York apartments, it’s just that everything is out in the open. Add a live-in boo to the mix and I really had no excuse to hang on to those dresses I hadn’t worn in two summers, those purses I hadn’t carried since the second I got my hands on a vintage Coach, and that puffy vest from the 80s with the broken zipper that had a lot of sentimental value from the Winter of  ’07-’08 but is certainly well memorialized in pictures by now. Luckily, my friends over at North York Creative held a perfectly timed vintage bazaar of sorts last month, to which I donated a mountain of gently used items. Still, I barely even scratched the surface of my hoarding problem. I still have a long way to go, but I don’t want to throw away too much just yet. I recently figured out how to use Etsy so it’s really only a matter of time before I become the next Sophia Amoruso. Right?

5. One Word: Roku
Two words: Gilmore Girls. Three words: Man vs. Food. I could go on and on about this one. I’ve always been an avid Netflix and Hulu user, but take my dad’s old TV and a couch from my mom and the Roku Austin brought with him when he moved in and now I have a full-on common area and entertainment center where I can bask in the joys of early 2000s WB shows. Those of you who used to read this blog for the hilarious drug-fueled antics and are wondering what happened to my Crazy Clubbin’ Lifestyle, well, this is it. Also I had a full time job for a while and a boyfriend and…you know what, I don’t have to explain myself to you! This is just what I’m into now, okay? Grow up.

6. Getting a Desk
If you think you can lie completely horizontal on the couch with the TV on and a pillow behind your head and your laptop on your thighs and actually get shit done, you can’t. You are lying to yourself. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it does take a whooole lot longer. Case in point: I tried to address and personalize 75 Christmas cards last week while sitting at my coffee table watching Rory stumble through her first few weeks at Yale and it took me EIGHT HOURS to complete them. That doesn’t even make any sense! Except when you consider that I was paying probably 3/4 of my attention the show and 1/4 to the cards, and had I actually been focusing and sitting upright in a well lighted area I could have gotten them done in two hours, tops. This is what the desk is for. I can’t say I use it all the time (right now it’s covered in piles of wrapping paper and dollar store bags) but I will say, when I need to bang out a little something on the laptop it is absolutely essential to my workflow (and I just said “workflow,” so you know I mean business). This new desk was actually another hand-me-down from my brother Winston. I guess the moral of the story here, really, is stay in good with your family and eventually they will probably give you free stuff.

7. Cooking My Own Food
Let me start by saying that this is not a weight loss tip. It certainly can be – if I went to Trader Joe’s and only bought fruits and veggies and nuts and quinoa, never ordered takeout and brought my lunch to work every day I would be a skinny lady, although probably pissy and extremely bored. I envy anyone who can shove a handful of raisins in their mouth and be like “DAMN I am so full and satisfied! I’ll wait 4 hours until dinner, go home, steam some cauliflower and call it a day!” But nah. This is about being in control of what’s going in your body. I love comfort food of all types. Does it make me feel good to spend $20 and have some fried chicken with three sides delivered to my house sometimes? Yes. But it makes me (and my bank account) feel even better to figure out how fried chicken is made and to do it myself. Not every day, of course. That shit is time consuming! But there are plenty of simple ways to prepare hearty, dank-ass foods for yourself in a reasonable time frame. I haven’t had a microwave in three years, but once I learned how to use my oven, I didn’t even need or want one. Buy a couple decent pans at Deals for cheap. Go to the store and get $30 of basic groceries to last you about two weeks (veggies, a grain, some meat, garlic, olive oil, seasoning). It beats the hell out of spending $100 a week ordering food, and the act of preparing it can even help ease the stress of your day. Plus, cooking a delicious meal does incredible things for your ego. After some practice, you’ll be able to make from-scratch cookies that impress your boyfriend’s parents (“I’m domestic and creative! Approve of me!”) and maybe even come up with your own next-level recipes that put a takeout box to shame.

IMG_0522I really did make my own fried chicken

8. Drinking More Water
I was doing really well with this earlier in the year and it made a huge difference in my energy level, my mood, my skin,and my health in general. I’m currently recovering from a holiday week that consisted of mostly vodka, which is no doubt at least partly to blame for the cold/flu/bronchitis/sinus infection something-or-other I’ve been battling for the last five days. I’m feeling pretty fatigued and disgusting right now, and my vocal cords are in the morgue. So, I’m gonna drink about six glasses of water and see if it helps. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to sleep. Ok, let’s make this a two parter. Number 8. Water and Sleep.

9. Staying in Touch

IMG_2730A little holiday card goes a long way

This one is so, so important. In every facet of life – work, family or friends – just checking in from time to time will take you a long way. Parents deserve it because they raised you and you are an ungrateful little shit. Also, they give pretty good advice. The people you’ve worked with in the past have met new people who could give you a jumpstart on your career, but not if you never email them. And, sad to say it, but from the moment you graduate college, making friends only gets harder. Lives get more complicated, hanging out gets a little more difficult to arrange. But if someone is important to you, shouldn’t they know it? Even if it’s just a little text from time to time, or jesus, even a snapchat. If  you wanna feel really good about yourself, send a handwritten letter. When I was a little kid, my dad would point at my toothbrush every night and say “brush the ones you wanna keep!” I’ve decided to apply this logic to people in my life. “Call the ones you wanna keep.” Seems like a foolproof plan.

10. Following Those Dreams, One Step at a Time
Figuring out who you want to be is hard. When I started college, I knew I wanted to write. Having gotten some subpar grades my freshman year, I didn’t have a GPA quite high enough to be accepted into the Journalism school. I didn’t know I was interested in film or TV until my then-new friend Alex encouraged me to pursue the Media Studies major. Even after three years of study, I still didn’t know I was interested in comedy until after graduation, when I was lying depressed on the couch for the tenth day in a row and it dawned on me that I’d really enjoy making one of those shows I’d been binge watching. It took me more than six months after that to move to New York, almost a whole year after that to get my first paying job in TV, and another year after that to start taking improv and sketch writing classes in my spare time. It’s definitely been a push and pull. I hear the same thing from everyone I know who is an aspiring entertainment creative. Sometimes it feels like for every two steps forward you have to take three steps back. Trying to make a buck and follow your dreams at the same time can seem like an impossible feat. I know it feels that way for me right now. But I just have to keep going. If that means writing scripts on the weekend, blogging on the subway, taking improv classes at night and reading, watching and going to see new material and acts whenever I get a free moment, then that’s what I gotta do. 2014 wasn’t the best year ever, but it wasn’t a waste, either. Clearing the cobwebs from a lifestyle cluttered with irresponsible decisions and, well, physical mess, has helped me identify the bigger steps I need to take towards my goals and create a plan to do it. And in the process I learned some important lessons.

Believe in yourself. Respect your space. Invest in your happiness. And don’t underestimate the value of taking time to get your shit together.

Baby’s First Blog

I was rummaging through my old Myspace blogs today because I was feeling (somehow) more self-indulgent than usual, and I found what looks like a pretty helpful guide for teens on how to avoid getting grounded. If any of my readers are still 16, I hope this helps you. Other words of advice: remember to clear your browser history, don’t spend all your money at Cook Out and if you ever get suspended you can always lie about it on your college applications.

Typos have been left intact for authenticity.

“this is about to be totally useless

it has almost been a year since my first little blog-myspace-adventure-type-venture and i’m feeling pretty psyched.

i thought that since the last entry i ever wrote was pretty STUPID, i would write another possibly less stupid one so you guys could stop thinking that i’m probably still that lame.

here’s the business. i have got absolutely nothing to do. thus my unexpected blogging. i’m in a sort of trouble so technically i can’t leave the house. this does not happen to me often. but just fyi i am not enjoying it and probably would not recommend getting in a sort of trouble yourself if you were mayhaps considering it. my advice is as follows:

1. Be Stealth- the whole reason i’m even here is because i am underly cautious to an embarassing degree.

2. Get Your Story Straight- there is absolutely nothing worse than hearing the words “oh but didnt you just say _________ was picking you up?” and then having to go “oh yeah that’s what i meant” and then face an awkward silence/stare combination. there’s nothing worse than that.

3. Don’t Have People Pick You Up- it’s just easier to get your fuckin license on time. this rule should probably just be “get your license on time” or “don’t be really stupid and set yourself back like a year and a half for absolutely no reason.” if you do that your life will be tragic.

4. Chill The Fuck Out- sometimes it’s better to not get defensive. if mom is like hinting at the fact that she’s got you…and is like no your staying home…then dont yell at her for being unreasonable. because then she’ll actually be mad and pull you out into the garage and give you a talk about lying to her like that right in front of everyone and did i really think she was that stupid, etc, etc.

i tried really hard to come up with 5 rules but i think the rule about not being stupid pretty much sums it up. 

as sad as i seem, a part of me wonders if this isn’t really a blessing in disguise. because without restriction i wouldnt be at home with all this time to blog and stuff.

-kathryn”

That Awkward Moment Where You Lived with Your Parents

While being back home may be a temporary stint for me, living with your parents for any period of time as an adult can make your daily life more obnoxious in an infinite number of ways. The simple tasks you had performed so easily during college (or that time you were a drug dealer in the years after high school) can be extremely difficult to execute within those disturbingly familiar walls. A quick look at some of the things that have become nearly impossible to carry out since I returned to the nest:

1. Speaking like I normally would. I’m not sure why, but in the years that I was away for college, my vocabulary went from “saying shit and fuck a healthy, normal, enormous amount of times per day,” to “I actually have a case of verbal Tourrette’s that cannot be contained whatsoever. SHIT-BALLS I FUCKING STUBBED MY FUCKING TOE.” This, of course, always shocks my mother, who to this day (god love her) is still convinced that eventually all her teaching will pay off and I’ll miraculously have one or more manners.

2. Sleeping in. The other day at around 11:30 AM while smothering a headache underneath the pillows of my ever-so-classy bunk bed, my mother came in, shook me awake and told me to look for jobs. “It’s AFTER ELEVEN,” she urged. Personally, I would have felt perfectly justified and morally sound in sleeping for another two hours or so, but “Mom, I’m hungover because my friend from high school came over last night after you fell asleep and we drank a handle of Bacardi that we found in her trunk,” doesn’t really roll off the tongue so well on a Tuesday morning.

3. The actual process of getting drunk. Actually, before I had the “legal trouble” I recently acquired, it was pretty easy to share a few bottles of wine and champagne with my mother while watching three-hour Barbara Streisand movies. Now that she realizes I’m no longer the innocent little girl she mistakenly believes I once was, I’m afraid she’ll think I’m a free-loading alcoholic for drinking a Corona with dinner. Usually I can wait until they go to sleep. Inevitably, though, the concept of drinking alone at my parents house is just too depressing to bear, and I never make it past the first beer.

4. Buying Marijuana. If I had a car this would be much easier, or if we didn’t live in a suburban monstrosity of a house in the heart of America’s safest, most tree-free town. But that’s just not the case. Of course I wish I didn’t have to meet a dealer in the bathroom of a Bennigan’s while out to dinner with my family, but after all that stress of trying to find someone who will actually deliver you weed, you kinda need it.

5. Smoking Marijuana. Or anything for that matter. We have a screened-in porch on my deck (because what are we, poor?) which makes for a delightful smoking area during the evening hours. But even after jumping through flaming hoops to find the smallest amount of bud, it seems like things just continue to go wrong. Of course tonight is the night that my parents’ insomnia kicks into gear, welding them to re-runs of Two and a Half Men until the witching hour. Also, where the fuck is one single lighter in this house? Is it sketchy for me to be rifling through all the kitchen drawers at 11 pm? I find a grill torch in the cabinet and decide to smoke in the crawl space of my sister’s closet.

6. Finding one single vegetarian thing to eat. Oh look, about 50 bags of frozen Tyson’s chicken nuggets, leftover beef stew, some Chef Boyardee, chicken flavored Ramen noodles, and six packs of hotdogs. GUESS I’LL BE EATING THIS CAN OF GREAT NORTHERN BEANS.

7. Watching TV and getting on Tumblr all day long. “Honey, shouldn’t you be applying for jobs? Can you fold the laundry? You should clean your room it looks HORRIFYING. Look at this shitty job posting I found you that you would never want to apply for in a million years! Did you see it? I know it says ‘Janitor at local TV station’ but that could look good on your resume! Are you depressed?” No, mom. No, to all of this. Now go away so I can reblog pictures of naked people.

8. Avoiding “family outings.” Contrary to what you might think, I don’t actually go to Irish chain restaurants with my sister and parents because I love being surrounded by drunk people in their 50s while silently stuffing my face with spinach-artichoke dip. As thrilling as that is, I’d much rather be eating an entire pizza alone in my room with my cat. But what am I going to say? “No, I’d rather be pathetic,” and proceed spend 20 dollars on my own meal? Please.

9. Entertaining suitors. The other day when I was casually hanging out with someone I would casually like to bone, I thought I would try to sneak him up to my bedroom for for the ol’ quick-and-risky after he drove me home. I barely made it through the door of my garage before hearing my mother’s voice calling my name from the next room. Of course, my perfect gentleman scuffled into the night before having to drunkenly introduce himself at four the morning. I went to bed feeling grossly unsatisfied and didn’t hear from the guy for days.

And last but not least,

10. Masturbating. Am I right?