The Bucket Shrub

Sucking The Life Out Of The Holidays

My husband found four shrubs and a palm tree by the side of the road. Well, it’s not really a palm. It’s some kind of giant fern with a weird (PORN NAME ALERT!) hairy trunk. And it’s like four feet tall except now it’s dead. Or maybe it’s just resting, what do I know about plants?

We have some neighbors who have a lawn care business and generally leave the carcasses of shrubs and other assorted flora in the Designated Trash Spot which is the fence at the culvert. This is the best place in Memphis to find and leave Stuff. Chuck and his friend Alan hauled out our busted washing machine a few months ago and by the time they’d finished a beer to reward themselves for the manly job they’d done, the sucker was gone. I once saw this great end table and by the time I circled back around to pick it up, it was gone. I saw a middle aged woman in a Mercedes sedan try to pick up two club chairs and put them in her trunk. It’s like the FAO Schwarz of junk. On Black Friday.

I don’t know why these particular plants were put out to pasture. They were all healthy. The four shrubs have been sitting in their pots in front of Chuck’s garden forming a nice hedgerow. But it’s Christmas and I’m Southern. By law, I must decorate the house in some fashion. Usually, I just put a ribbon around a bottle of Jim Beam and call it a day. This morning I stuck a shrub in the ice cream freezer.

Part of Chuck’s dowry was a White Mountain ice cream freezer. You know the one. Wooden bucket, loud motor. He comes from a big ice cream-making clan, but that’s another post. Believe me. I really liked the bucket and being a gal on a budget, I stuck it at my front door and threw some greenery in it. It looked really cool. Then, of course, I let the greenery turn brown. You’ll know my house by the ice cream freezer full of sticks decorating the front porch. Oh, and spring before last a squirrel nested in it. So that was nifty.

But this morning I looked at the pumpkins (from his garden, thankyouverymuch) and frost-bitten croton and thought, damn. I should be embarrassed. I mean, I’m not. But I should be. So I grabbed a shrub, threw out the nest and the pumpkins, and now my porch is about a quarter of the way to being festive. I’m going to hang some glass balls on my bucket shrub. Maybe put a wreath on my door. OBVIOUSLY, I will be putting Fernando The Yard Flamingo in his Santa outfit. By that point I’ll be exhausted and need to recouperate by watching Love Actually for the 4,593th time. And I’ll probably require a cheeseburger.

Then I’ll wait with a finger or two of bourbon for a really pissed off squirrel to come banging on my door wanting to know how in the hell I thought I could evict him without proper legal notice.

Blanche

this christmasPeople think that if you don’t work outside the home, all you do is lie around and eat bonbons and watch stories. First? There’s only like one soap opera left on TV. Second? I prefer Cheetos. There’s so much to do around the house even now that both Girl Child and Boy Child are out of the house. Chuck and I were both sick during Thanksgiving, and I’d just had enough of walking through the living room thinking about how it really needed to be dusted. So I hired an imaginary maid, Blanche.

Blanche came highly recommended from the tap instructor of my imaginary twins Sizzlene and Formicadinette. But it’s been a while since I’ve managed people, and I guess I’m out of practice. So here’s a thing. I said to her yesterday, I said, “Blanche, that Christmas tree isn’t going to decorate itself.” And she, cheeky thing that she is, said to me, “Missus, CTFO and drink your bourbon.” Now, I was totally on board for the latter, but I had to call a teenager to ask what a CTFO was. And I’ll just say this, I’m very hot-natured so I thought that was kind of nice.

We’re going to get that damn tree up today. Or maybe tomorrow. Point is, we’re getting that damn tree up. Just a little while ago while she was admonishing me for not polishing the silver more regularly and with more vigor, I told her I thought it would be nice if we had a fire in the fireplace. Actually, I was back in the bedroom going through the pockets of every jacket I own to find a freaking tube of Burt’s Bees or Lip Smackers or any of the 5,930,372 tubes of lip stuff I KNOW I own but can’t ever find, and she was in the dining room doing whatever it is maids do in dining rooms. So I called to her. I said, using my outside voice, “BLANCHE! FOR GOD’S SAKE GO PULL THAT LIMB THAT FELL SATURDAY OFF THE CARPORT ROOF AND START A FIRE!” Well, then I hear my text alert and was about to ignore it like I normally do, but I was hoping to hear from my friend who was having silicone injected into her earlobes today. She has always had the most leaf-like lobes. Just weird and thin and, well, unattractive. But it was Blanche! blanche

Can you believe that? Part of her contract is that SHE does my pedicures every Wednesday. I can’t believe she forgot that’s tomorrow. Much more of that and she can just go back to cleaning floor wax out of shoe taps.

Briefly: Duckfaced Naked Selfie Edition

I hate to give this woman any more hits by linking to her, so let me just say that if you spend any time on social media you’ve probably seen a post written by a mom of boys. It talks a lot about how she thinks young girls are skanks. I really wish I were as cool as this particular mom thinks she is. I’d have been a much better stepparent. Because make NO mistake, I am NOT the cool mom. That’s not my job. But I digress.

These Adorable Parents and their Adorable Boys go through Facebook together and girls who post bra-less selfies of themselves are blocked because, laydeez, you don’t want the Adorable Boys to think of you sexually, do you?

YES, YES THEY DO!

Yes, 14 year old girls who post pictures of themselves in bath towels DO want to be thought of sexually because in this world a woman’s worth is directly tied to how fuckable she is. And, guess what, the whole purpose of those stupid teenage years is to figure out that whole sexual self thing, often with CRINGE-INDUCING results. But that’s not my point.

My point is I’m really sick of The Cult of Victimized White Men. Oh, the poor American White Male. What’s he to do with all these wimminz running around without proper undergarments like Mommy used to wear? Oh, poor American White Male. She says she’s a good girl and rebuffs my advances, but look at her! And, in this case, Adorable White Parent thinks nothing of posting beach pictures of Adorable White Boys all over her blog because that’s not the same as posting pictures of Adorable White Girls in bikinis, right?

This idea that real men of character shouldn’t linger over pictures of women in bathing suits is ridiculous. And, not for nothing, it’s not like it takes bathing suit pictures to turn a teenage boy’s thoughts to lust. Pictures of broccoli will do it. That’s just how teenage boy hormones work. So as  parents, I believe our job is to say it’s less about the hormones and more about what you do with them. Why does Adorable Parent need to shame Adorable Boys into thinking something is wrong with them because they like looking at half-naked girls? The discussion of how we talk to girls about posting those pictures is another one. I’m saying having the whole Adorable Family sitting around a table, looking through what’s probably hundreds of pictures of teenage girls and deciding which ones should be blocked for content is really, well, creepy. Making decisions based on outward appearance about which girls are good enough for the Adorable Boys is wrong. Period.  Also, it seems to me if a family meeting is necessary to determine who makes the cut for Adorable Boys’ friends lists, maybe Facebook isn’t for you. There is nothing wrong with a parent saying, you know, I’m just not comfortable with this yet. THAT’S WHAT PARENTS DO.

Look, I’m down with what Adorable Parent is trying to do. I really believe she doesn’t want to raise men who will victimize women.  I believe she wants to raise men who will look deeper than a duckfaced selfie. But making a family bonding night of blocking girls who are struggling with their sexuality– just as the Adorable Boys are– is doing just the opposite. It’s just reinforcing women are nothing but shells.

Oh, I could go on, but I’ve titled this post “Briefly”. Also, I have to find some Super Glue because although we had 4,598 tubes last week, we have none the day I break my phone case. So let me end with this. There is a picture my brother sent me a while ago that came to mind as I read Adorable Parent’s treatise. It really sums up how I feel about this whole Victimized White Male discussion.

i need feminism because

(Note: I found out about this post because my friend Desi alerted me to a post from our friend Pernilla. He thinks it’s fun to get me all riled up. So does she.)