Yeah, this is a rant. Minus the bitterness. Mostly.

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Several weeks ago, I received a letter of request from an organization, written by me, sent to me, yet signed by someone else.

My words, my writing style, my heartfelt pleas were all there - in black on white. They were staring at me. Taunting me. As if to say, “Look, I’m sorry. You gave us up sweetheart, and so now we belong to someone else. Someone with better hair than you.”

You know that feeling you get when you think you’ve lost your keys and so you look around the house frantically until you finally give up and make yourself a cup of coffee only to realize, once you’ve sat down to drink your brew, that you don’t have any coffee cream in the house and worse yet, you still haven’t found your damn keys and so you get up to look again and by the time you find them a full hour later you feel like a perspiration-drenched fool because your keys were in the bottom of your purse the entire freaking time?

Yeah, that’s how that letter made me feel.

Irritated and sweaty. And craving caffeine.

No, really.

By the way - when I'm not ranting, I'm writing. And sometimes I'm funny. Like that time when I lost 10 pounds in a dressing room... and found them somewhere else:

The lights of Paris

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

It was the first time Geoff and I had ever stayed in such luxurious surroundings. Ornate furnishings, a marble sink and endless lengths of cascading fabric filled our Paris hotel suite. Of particular note were the plush velvet curtains that reached clear up to the 14-foot ceilings.

After our first full day of sightseeing, we were eager to get some sleep.

We tucked ourselves under the blankets and turned off the bedside lamps only to find the room still flooded with light. We must have missed a switch, I thought while getting up to find it. Then I realized… the light was coming from outside our room.

As it turned out, we were positioned at the precise location of the hotel sign, which was awash with intense, white light. It was so bright; we could have performed open-heart surgery (had we the tools, knowledge or patient).

“It is the city of lights,” Geoff joked.

I was not amused.

Because he knows me well, Geoff proceeded to do what he could to make the brightness go away.

He dragged the hotel table to the window and on it, placed a chair, followed by the firmest cushion we could find. Using the wall as balance, he ascended the makeshift tower and began shoving blankets and pillows at the top edge of the curtains, to seal off the light.

Slowly, our room was transformed from luxurious retreat to rock star party aftermath.

Just as Geoff was placing the last bolster, the lights went off - automatically - just as they did every night thereafter. Precisely… at one minute past midnight.  

No, really.

Tampons are not toys

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Because not everyone enjoys impromptu discussions about poop, our local coffee shop features a not-so-secret upstairs room where mothers of toddlers congregate to have conversations punctuated by phrases like, “What happened to your other shoe?”, "How long has that worm been in your pocket?" and "Can you please take that dolphin out of your brother's ear?" without disturbing the street-level caffeine imbibers below.

The other day, after a chance meeting on the sidewalk, my friend Sharon and I made tracks to “the room” to swig copious amounts of coffee while our kids ate giant ginger cookies.

Two seconds in, our children asked if we had any toys. You think they would know us better by now. The only remotely kid-friendly items in my purse were a marble, two Band-Aids, a hotel pen and a miniature Spirograph toy that can only be operated by someone with Barbie doll sized hands. So, you know, I’ve given up on any aspirations of becoming Mother of the Year.

Sharon on the other hand was slightly more prepared and was able to produce four crayons, a tiny pack of playing cards and a handful of magnetic sticks. These items, along with a couple of pages ripped from my journal, kept everyone happy for at least as long as it took to drink two medium French Roasts. I won't lie though - there was a brief moment in time when we both contemplated handing each kid a mini rocket (they might have been tampons) in order to buy ourselves just a few more minutes of cafe culture - mom style.  But, we refrained.

Later on, Sharon reminded me of why she and I get along so well, when she started the following email exchange.

Sharon: I Googled it. Tampons are not toys. Whatever. Maybe one day I'll be in a restaurant and really desperate for a distraction. Glass of water, tampon… how is that different from those other toys that grow in water!?

Me: I think you may have just unlocked the secret of the Sea Monkeys! Tampons + googly eyes + a glass of water... voila --- purse puffers.

Sharon: Nevermind toys. I've done a lot of camping and I can't believe I didn't know this. Using Cheezies to start a fire I knew... but tampons?! Brilliant.

Me: First of all -- whoa! And second of all -- I feel like I've just lost the last bit of innocence I still had. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm about to write a blog post about snot.

And then I did.

Sharon: I know blows your mind eh? And I just realized, as ex-smokers we should be grateful that a stray spark didn't set our crotches ablaze. Who do I talk to get this warning on cigarette packs!!? Forget about your teeth people -- a CROTCH could start on FIRE!  And before you think I'm off my rocker let's just remember who is carrying snot in her purse.

Me: You just made me laugh so hard I cried. For a really, really long time. Now my tummy hurts. If we're not related, we must have been in a past life. You know, before we both spontaneously combusted. See you tomorrow. I'll be the one with the snot.

And that's what stay at home moms discuss after a visit to the not-so-secret upstairs room at the local coffee shop. I suggest booking your time in advance.

No, really.

WTF Sears?

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

The arrival of a new Sears catalog is usually loads of fun at our house. We all love looking at all the items we don't need, at prices we can't pass up.

But this catalog was different from others we've received in the past.

For one thing, the models appear as though they are dead. Or rather, undead. Which begs the question... WTF Sears?

Am I wrong? I'm not wrong. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

No, really.

It snot what you think

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

While cleaning out my purse this morning, I found the usual items...

Receipts, tissues, wipes, marbles, one sock, a mystery toy from a Kinder Surprise egg and other assorted bits of stuff were mingling amongst the spare change and raisin box escapees.

Then, I discovered a small plastic bubble - a forgotten gumball machine acquisition, the contents of which had remained unknown. Until today.

I’ll admit it. I regularly fall prey to the lure of gumball machine booty and I’ve passed my  penchant on to my 3-year-old daughter. I blame my mother. Time and again she and I have dropped quarters into the colorful contraptions at the supermarket in the hopes of obtaining a hacky sack, a glow ring or a tiny porcelain mug emblazoned with the face of an ex-President.

Instead, we typically end up with plastic mummies, temporary tattoos or little alien figurines playing soccer - all of which delight my daughter to no end.

However, inside the forgotten plastic bubble lodged at the bottom of my purse, was something entirely different – unlike anything I had ever seen come out of a gumball machine before.

Behold – the contents…


Now, my memory may not be as clear as it was before childbirth, but I’m fairly certain that I would never knowingly put my money into a machine selling snot.

Which begs the question. Why sell fake snot to kids? Are gumball machine company execs unaware of the fact that children produce enough of their own snot to fill small wading pools? Seriously. My kid is rarely sick and still she accumulates the stuff.

I touched it. I don't know why.

As I was holding the goo, I got to thinking. What if it isn’t fake? What if this is real, honest-to-goodness snot? And more importantly, why the eff am I rolling it around in my fingers?!!??

So I stuffed the mess back into the little bubble with the green bottom and contemplated what I would do if I were an investigator on a crime drama television show (yeah, I've been watching Monk on Netflix again). I would say, "Send this to the lab for analysis Randy." And Randy would come back with a file full of details I really wouldn't care to know about. Also, a coffee. With cream. I have a pretty active imagination, after all.

But alas... the reality is, I'm just a mom with a heavy purse and a pocket full of snot that I purchased for twenty-five cents.

No, really.