New Year, New Funeral Part III: The Burial

The next day we all reconvened at the funeral home. Like the rest of this family affair, we started the day without one of the most important aspects of the funeral: the pallbearers. So, as we said our last goodbyes to my grandma, my dad went around the room gathering pallbearers which included me and Amanda (suck it people who think that only boys can be pallbearers. My family don’t play that).

As the rest of the family began trickling in, Amanda and I fixed our Boutonnieres, sitting in the pew behind my uncle Robert and aunt Sylvia. As my mom adjusted Amanda’s Boutonniere, the funeral director approached my uncle Robert to let him know that the funeral home had a limo prepared for all of the pallbearers. 

The thing was, Robert was still pretending we all didn’t exist. 

“No, the pallbearers don’t need it. It’ll be for me and my family, there’s 5 of us.”

Amanda and I laughed and we laughed. I laughed so hard that it took me a minute to realize that in a room full of people that have no problem expressing themselves they’d suddenly fallen silent.

I wiped the laugh-tears from my eyes to see what everyone was looking at. 

It was Tom. Fresh out of prison and joining us in saying goodbye to the matriarch of our family.

We’re going to segue for a moment because it was only recently that I discovered why his mere presence made everyone uncomfortable.

It wasn’t that he was a convicted murderer, nobody batted an eyelash at that. In our family we love each other, we don’t kill each other – just other people, I guess. Anyway, it wasn’t that.

No. It was his affair with my cousin Joe’s wife. Joe, who was also at the funeral home. (I have a lot of Joe’s in my family)

Tom’s conviction was one that was well-deserved. He killed someone decades ago in a drug deal gone bad. What I didn’t know was my cousin Joe was with him when it happened and turned states evidence on him – the other thing you don’t do in our family. No killing each other, no selling each other out.

For 25 years, Tom stayed pissed. 

I’ll admit, it’s a little unnerving that my ability to hold grudges for all eternity is something I have in common with my murderer cousin. At least he’s not a serial killer, I suppose.

There’s always a bright side.

Anyway, when Tom got out of prison the first time, he met Julie (Joe’s wife) and they began their fling. He ended up going back to prison for a parole violation but they never lost touch, and after another few years of incarceration, they finally got together. Julie was ready to leave Joe for Tom but didn’t only because Tom made it clear this was just a revenge thing.

Ladies, we’ve got to do better. Tom’s are a dime a dozen, minus the murderingwe hope.

So when Tom walked into the funeral home everyone got quiet. However, it didn’t take long for my aunt Diana to be over Tom’s presence.

In fact, I think she forgot he was even there because she’d come to the realization that someone was going to be able to keep the crucifix that was in my grandma’s casket. 

And that person, she believed, should be her.

My dad asked my uncle Robert about it and, of course, Robert stated he would be keeping it. When my dad relayed the info to Diana, her response was “well he touched it so I don’t want it anyway.”

Don’t care, she’s still my favorite aunt.

We were preparing to load my grandma’s casket in the hearse and head to the church but after that response from Diana, and the way things had gone so far, my dad felt it important to have a talk with everyone and reiterate the importance of behaving.

And by everyone I mean just the adults.

When he was done parenting, my aunt Diana responded to his lecture with “don’t worry, I won’t do anything. That doesn’t mean I don’t have something real bad planned for later, but I’ll be good today.”

So we load up my grandma and head to the church, each in our own cars because Robert and his family were the real stars.

Upon arrival we all took our seats in the first 2 pews on the right side of the church, an area meant for pallbearers. To the left of us in the first pew sat my uncle Robert, Sylvia, Viva, and their other daughter Ashley (their son, my cousin baby Robert, was a pallbearer with us). Because nobody wanted to sit next to Robert, the rest of the family sat about 5 rows behind them with the exception of my parents and sister.

Before the priest began talking – and I mean he was literally getting ready to open his mouth – Sylvia stood up, turned around, and yelled at everyone to MOVE IN CLOSER BECAUSE THERE WAS PLENTY OF ROOM, which they did because the priest and God were watching.

It had been years since I’d been inside that church. I quit being catholic in my early twenties and the only time I ever liked walking in there was when Amanda and I used to go with my grandma when we were kids.

The church looked exactly the same as I’d remembered with 2 notable differences: a different priest (understandably as it had been almost 30 years since my last appearance) and no choir (unacceptable, this is a fucking Mexican church where was the choir?).

To my recollection the choir had always been comprised of volunteers but, even if they were paid, it’s not like this catholic church didn’t have the money to replace them (looking at you Vatican, don’t y’all have a coop program?).

This would not have sat well with my grandma. She loved that choir and the Jesus songs they sang. She also loved the back-in-the-day priest. The same one that once stepped down from his podium to interrupt my comedy routine to tell me I was being disruptive and needed to come back to church the following week to repent. Whatever.

Anyway, you know what my grandma got instead? A severely incomprehensible priest and songs from what I can only imagine was Now That’s What I call Jesus Tunes Vol. 3. At one point, that generic Shout to The Lord song (the Kidz Bop version of Shout at The Devil, I believe) came on, a song that Amanda and I used to make fun of as kids. Even though she wouldn’t have been happy about the choir, I actually think my grandma would’ve gotten a kick out of that stupid song.

An hour later, it was time to head to the cemetery. When we’d first gotten to the church I’d handed my purse to Amanda’s husband, Jerry, which seemed like a good option at the time. The thing with Jerry, though, is he has one major character flaw: he’s nice.

There was no place for that here.

After we’d loaded my grandma’s casket into the hearse, we headed over to my car and stood there. Jerry still had my purse which held my keys and the 3 of them were nowhere to be found. This normally wouldn’t be too big of a deal except, as you’ll recall, we had to drive ourselves to this cemetery and the hearse and, particularly Robert, were not going to wait for us. 

The hearse drove right by us, revealing Jerry’s whereabouts after it passed. He’d been helping Amanda’s mom (who she’s a bit estranged from) into her car. 

“Shake a leg, Jerry!” Amanda yelled as he ran to the car.

“Sorry! I was helping your mom and then she wanted to look through Jenn’s purse.”

“Goddamnit Jerry” Amanda and I said in unison as we prepared to finally leave the church.

We jumped in my car and started cutting our own family members off to get in the procession line. The burial was the only part of the funeral where things went fairly smoothly. Except for when the funeral director asked if anyone had any words they wanted to say and Robert just goes “No!” and my dad had to make Robert chill so he could say something. 

As they lowered my grandma into the ground, we all took handfuls of dirt and threw it in with her. In the background, Robert and his family sped off in the limo/getaway car. 

My grandma was buried in the oldest cemetery in my hometown with tombstones dating back to the 1700s. She was laid to rest right next to my grandfather who died in 1981, 2 years before I was born. My grandma was only 48 when he died and she never remarried or so much as had a boyfriend.

I know some of that is attributed to her religious beliefs and the times but I think it was very Betty White of her. In her eyes, there was never anyone else. That’s pretty special especially when you consider how out of the norm that is now.

As I stood there, taking everything in, my mom walked over to me and had my sister join us. I figured she wanted to have a moment with us since we were all together. She very lovingly pulled us close.

“You better not bury me in this cemetery. When I die, you both better bury me in the Gucci cemetery.”

My mom calls the newer cemetery the “Gucci cemetery” as though that makes the fact that it’s a cemetery any better.

My mom isn’t the most affectionate or mom-like mom there is so I chalked this up to it being her way of having a moment. And this was a day of family so I didn’t want to deny her that.

“Mom”, I said. “I told you, you don’t have to worry.”

I looked her in the eyes.

“I’m letting the Home decide that”.

2022 wasn’t the easiest of years for me (as I’ll be letting you all in on) but, luckily, it was also pretty ridiculous.

So, no matter what happens in 2023, I hope you can find the humor in it all.

Let’s have an entertaining year!

Part I: The News

Part II: The Visitation


New Year, New Funeral Part II: The Visitation

The day of my grandma’s visitation came and for all their scenes from a Lifetime movie, I was pretty surprised that I and my family were the first to arrive. I was also a little glad. We were able to get some alone time with my grandma before it was time to go into jailyard mode.

The first (after us) to arrive was my aunt Sylvia, uncle Robert, and cousin Viva. Now, they’re all pretty messed up but they’re also some of the funniest people I’ve ever known, and their comedy acts are not discriminatory to location. They’ll talk shit wherever.

Viva and Sylvia, who I hadn’t seen in several years, immediately started telling me and my mom (who was sitting in the pew behind us) what happened at my grandma’s house the day the cops got called.

Apparently, my cousin Beverly the Legal Secretary drafted a text message explaining the legalities of breaking into my grandma’s house. She then sent it to my cousin Mickey requesting that Mickey send it out to the rest of the family, which she did on a fucking Android. 

That mass text was as good as a search warrant for my aunt Margie (Mickey’s mom) so off she went to go break into my grandma’s house, prompting my uncle Robert to call the cops. 

Well, my cousin Viva doesn’t have a job so she listens to her husband’s police scanner all day and of course she hears the call come in for a whatever the number is for this type of novella bullshit. She hauls ass to my grandma’s house to find Margie, my uncle Joe (Margie’s husband), Beverly, and Beverly’s penal code book, all talking to the cops.

How does Viva react to the scene? She starts cussing everyone out and threatening to kick Beverly’s ass while Beverly is in the background reading her breaking and entering rights.

By the way, Viva and Beverly? Both in their mid-forties.

Viva, very maturely, ends her story with “when they get here I’m going to cuss them all out and flip them off.”

Fine.

Eventually, the rest of my very large family began to trickle in, a very dysfunctional reunion where nobody spoke a word to Robert. But what did he care? Not only had he kept my grandma to himself but he’d also made himself the star of the slideshow.

Yes, the slideshow that’s supposed to commemorate the life of my grandma featured pictures of my uncle in his younger years, such as when he was a boxer or the time he stood next to a car. Then there were the pictures of random family members with my grandma nowhere in sight. While it was a nice trip down memory lane, the memories were all SUPPOSED TO BE OF MY GRANDMA.

At one point my aunt “just” Diana arrived. She is absolutely my favorite aunt (even though I can’t keep up with her surnames) out of all of them, I just adore her. She’s a blast to be around and to be frank, she just doesn’t give a fuck. When I saw her the first thing she said was “are you going to rumble with me?” The next thing she said was, “did you see my name in the obituary, like I’m Prince.”

I laughed and then returned to rejoin the trio my cousins Amanda and Nancy had formed. We were Switzerland. As we chatted and caught up on each other’s lives, more people arrived.

And then…

“What’s Mr. Worldwide doing here?” my cousin Michael asked.

“Grandma knew Pitbull?” my sister replied.

Our trio looked up to find my uncle Alex and his Latin superstar-Esque boyfriend walking in. We’d never met him before so this was a really fun first impression as he was dressed in all white like a Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony video circa 1996, donned a HUGE crucifix around his neck, and wore sunglasses that I think were permanent because he never took them off.

I sat there and thought “this is for sure how the Facebook Metaverse looks.”

Just then, my aunt Ida walked in. Faux Pitbull became old news. 

She walked straight over to the casket and threw herself on it. I’d only seen that done on TV shows so at first, I wasn’t sure what to do. The thing is though, my grandma was an incredibly tiny woman so my aunt’s theatrics were severely shaking the casket. I did my best to comfort her/hold her still but when that didn’t work I turned around and gave my other aunts the “someone fucking help me” look.

Margie and Diana relieved me and I went back to join my trio. We’d survived the visitation which, by the way, was only 4 hours long. The next day was the final visitation, church service, and burial – plenty more hours.

*Join me Friday for the conclusion of “my immaturity makes complete sense now”



New Year, New Funeral: The News

The holidays really aren’t what they used to be. When I was a kid, holidays used to be spent at my grandma’s house. My entire family, which is huge, would gather and eat and talk shit and sometimes fight. These days, the whole family kind of does their own thing with my immediate family being no exception. 

This year my parents chose to attend a party that they made me attend only for me to be, at 39 years old, the youngest one there. I spent my evening not knowing what everyone was talking about and listening to an older couple make innuendos about “eating meat”. Also, I was the only sober one.

By the way, if you ever want to feel like a kid again, find yourself in that kind of situation.

As fun as it was to be in the equivalent of that worst-case scenario where you’re watching a movie with your parents and a sex scene comes on, the 2022 holiday season hit different. Losing close family members over the years has changed the holidays for my immediate family and this past year, we lost my grandma.

My grandmother’s passing felt like the end of an era. She was the Queen Elizabeth of our family except she never let anyone starve and nobody was happy when she died.

She was an amazing woman who didn’t ask for much in life. But no matter how incredible she was, there’s just one thing my family has never been able to do for her. 

Behave.

The last couple of years of her life were rough as she suffered from dementia. For those 2 years, she remained in the care of my uncle Robert but for reasons I’ve still yet to hear, he pretty much kept all of my aunts away from her. To be honest, I didn’t even know he’d done that until the day after she’d passed. And while I don’t know what their feud was about, I do know they kicked that shit into high gear less than 12 hours after her passing.

Growing up, I spent a significant amount of my childhood at my grandma’s house hanging out with my cousin Amanda who, along with her mom, dad, and 2 younger brothers, lived there. Almost every weekend was a slumber party and up until it happened, I always thought that when my grandma passed, Amanda and I would have one more slumber party in that haunted ass house and reminisce until the 2 a.m. footsteps scared us to a hotel.

That never happened, partially because her house fell into disrepair after she moved in with my uncle but primarily because mere hours after she passed it was under siege. 

It all began when my uncle Robert did an incredibly fucked up thing. He waited until after she passed to tell everyone so nobody got to say goodbye before she died. I don’t care who you are, that’s fucking low. 

And because everybody hates him, my dad is the one who had to call everyone and break the news about my grandma’s death. I received a text from my mom the next morning and called her as soon as I could to see how my dad was doing.

He was doing OK. Sad, but OK.

My aunt Ida, one of my dad’s sisters, was not faring as well.

When I called my mom she went into detail about my grandma’s passing and then said “everyone’s already fighting”. I don’t even think my grandma was cold yet. 

Apparently, when my dad told Ida what happened she hung up, drove to my uncle’s house, and drove back and forth in front of it honking her horn and screaming “I’m going to kill you!!” Ida eventually came to a stop in front of his house prompting my aunt Sylvia (Robert’s wife) to go outside and find out what the hell. So Sylvia walks up to the passenger side of the truck and Ida takes a swing at her missing by probably an entire foot because the majority of the women in my family are like 4’11”. (At just over 5’3”, I’m considered “tall”)

Ida would eventually go home but my family was just getting started. Later that evening, I received a follow-up call from my mom.

At the 12-hour mark of my grandma’s death, the cops were called to her house. 

I began to prepare myself for their eventual brawl which I was positive would take place at the funeral home. I’d assigned myself as the protector of my grandma’s casket, making sure their flurry of putazos didn’t knock it over. All of the fights I’d witnessed as a kid at our backyard Pachangas had prepared me for this so I guess they weren’t for nothing.

Just as I’d finalized my new position and plan in my head, my mom hit me with more news. My cousin Tom had completed his prison sentence (FOR MURDER) and would be at the funeral.

“Do I need to be armed?” I asked my mom.

“No, your dad will be”.

BTW, I’ve been told by a friend that the conversation I had with my mom is one that would never happen in her family. Boring.

Anyway, that was day one.

The next day my grandma’s obituary ran. 

The day after my grandma passed away my dad had gone to the funeral home to help Robert with the funeral arrangements. Unfortunately, he didn’t consider asking about the obituary, which was put together by my uncle.

It looked and read like he was working within the confines of Twitter’s character count. 

When it came to her survivors, my uncle’s name came first, obviously. He made zero mention of the grandkids, great-grandkids, or my other 2 uncles that had since passed away. He didn’t include my aunt Diana’s last name but I will say that in his defense, she’s been married a few times and for the most part not very many people know what it is.

He also didn’t mention who the pallbearers would be but that was because he forgot he needed them in his haste to Norman Bates the funeral. And then there was the picture.

He chose a picture of my grandma from when she was 14.

Ok she was 90 when she died. She’d taken HUNDREDS of pictures since her teens.

For most people, the days that follow after the death of a loved one usually involve reminiscing and recalling happier times.

For us, it was a precursor of what to expect at the visitation and funeral which took place just 3 days after her death because my uncle was trying to make it hard for his out-of-town sisters to make it.

His plan, however, failed. EVERYONE made it and for the first time in their adult lives all of my aunts had something in common: they wanted to murder Robert.

I’ll see you this Wednesday for Part II: The Visitation

Internet Airball: I lived it. I dated an Abercrombie night stock guy

It’s only fitting that this piece would be rejected. You see, I wrote it after watching the Netflix documentary on Abercrombie & Fitch where I discovered the awful truth about a guy who rejected me several times during our relationship.

I guess I’m not surprised that my satirical revenge piece didn’t make the cut. But writing it made me happy and I want to share it. Also, suck it Mark!

Enjoy!

I Lived It: I Dated an Abercrombie Night Stock Guy

As a pop culture guru, I’m all about the latest trends, and right now True Crime is where it’s at. I read all the blogs. I listen to all the podcasts. You have a petition to re-open your favorite alleged murderer’s case? Where do I sign? I. Love. True Crime.

Or at least I did… until I became a victim. 

My workday began like any other. I turned on my computer so my boss could see that I’d logged in, then I Netflix’d and chilled. Halfway through the documentary I’d been waiting months for, it happened. In an instant, I went from a regular woman waiting for her chance to solve a cold case to the actual subject of a documentary. 

As I happily watched White Hot: The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie, it happened. I discovered the truth about Abercrombie stock guys. And I dated one just 18 years ago. I dated an Abercrombie Night Stock guy.

How could this have happened? I was always so careful about who I was seen with, although I guess he was never really seen.

If you date an Abercrombie guy but the awake world doesn’t see him working the floor, did he actually even exist? I understand the philosophical Instagram accounts now. I get it.

When I met Mark, I thought I’d actually found a name-brand guy. According to Netflix, I may as well have been dating one of the ogres from American Eagle.

And what does that say about my judgment? How could I be so blind as to why he was being hidden away? And oh my god, what if Chrystal saw it? Here I was trying so hard to keep other girls away from my find and the whole time he was a knockoff. Frabercrombie and Fitch.

I completely understand the women from Tinder Swindler now. We just didn’t know.

All of this true crime I watch and I still became a victim. It really can happen to anyone.

I know you’re wondering if Mark knew he was pulling the 100% cotton “Damn I’m Chiseled” graphic tee over my eyes. The answer is I truly don’t know. I mean, nobody goes into Abercrombie and applies for a job thinking they have a face for podcasts. 

But, then again, that’s a swindler for you. 

Listen, I’m not completely partial. This happened almost two decades ago and even though the wound is fresh, I’m mature now and can give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s also a victim. Maybe, at the same time as me, he watched the documentary and realized he was a casualty in this too. Maybe he felt just as attacked. He’ll know what it actually meant to be an Abercrombie stockroom guy.

Fuck I hope so.

Actually, yes, I am a Robot

As I’ve proudly stated on more than one occasion, I’m Mexican. I love being Mexican. I love our culture. I love our food. I love our community. I love being Mexican. There’s even something to love in the putazos.

If you’re not familiar with the word ‘putazo’, it’s a Spanish word for ‘gut punch’. Punches are not great. The emotional ones, well, they’re not great either but at least they make for good life lessons and stories. 

Two of my closest friends in the world are also Mexican and grew up the same way I did: getting roasted by our families. It is very hard to hurt our feelings, something that we wear as a badge of honor. You think I’m scared of a Karen? My family eats Karens for breakfast and then regurgitates them in the form of putazos.

These putazos come as a surprise and at warp speed, like a bee sting or a drunken blackout, only sometimes those things are better. It’d been a while since I had a good putazo, so I should’ve known I was due.

Last week, my best friend, Ileen, came down for a benefit being hosted for her aunt who I hadn’t seen in nearly 20 years. She suffers from diabetes but because she hasn’t really taken care of it the nerves in her legs are shot. Her insurance doesn’t cover most of the treatments so Ileen’s mom held a benefit to raise as much money as she could to help pay for it.

The benefit included enchilada plates and Loteria (Mexican bingo) so you know I was down. We arrived at Ileen’s mom’s house before her aunt did so we helped get everything set up, making ourselves useful. Not too long after her aunt arrived so we met her outside to greet her.

I hardly recognized her mainly because it had been so long since the last time I’d seen her but also because her diabetes had really taken over her body. I wasn’t even sure she’d remember me so I was surprised when Ileen sort of reintroduced us and her aunt said: “aww, yes Mija, I remember you”. 

Heartwarming, especially when I paint the scene: she was being helped out of the car by two other relatives because she could hardly stand on her own. One leg was bigger than the other and you could tell she was in pain.

She gave me a hug, a quick one so as to not lose her balance. She touched my face with her soft aunt-like hands. And it was just a wonderful reunion. “Of course, I remember you, Mija”.

She held my face in her hands.

“You and Ileen were a lot skinnier back then but I remember you”. 

I stood there, a smile on my face. My brain frozen. The side effects of a good putazo. 

The smile remained on her face as the two relatives carried her inside the house. I turned to look at Ileen and found her in the same state I was in.

“Did she…?” I said.

“The irony isn’t lost on me”, she replied.

Ileen and I ate 2 enchilada plates that night, mainly to eat our feelings, but mostly because her aunt could not – so that was our putazo back.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and with my family coming into town, I’m sure there’s a putazo with my name on it arriving with them.

But I’ll still have fun.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends, and loving putazos.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Review: The World’s Worst Assistant | Sona Movsesian

Every time I recommend a show to my friends, the question I usually get back is “how do you have time to watch so much TV?” They’re a rather ungrateful bunch. All I’m trying to do is expose them to some great entertainment and they respond by implying that TV is all I do. I wish. 

I actually work a real job, which is also when I happen to watch all of these shows. But I can’t always watch what I want because sometimes I have to pay attention. It’s a lot of sacrifices, my job. 

I don’t know a lot of people with my work ethic, but I now know of at least one. Her name is Sona Movsesian and as the executive assistant for Conan O’Brien, she’s written a book that will give insight into how our minds work as well as advice on how to make it happen for yourself.

The World’s Worst Assistant is a hilarious memoir filled with stories that detail the evolution of her work ethic and how she’s managed to work her dream job without sacrificing her happiness or well-being. 

Don’t let her 58-episode Friends binging championship fool you. She’s actually an integral part of Conan O’Brien’s team and has been for the last 13 years. From inspiring bits to filling in on-air when a guest had to cancel to equipping herself with every bit of Conan’s personal credit card and banking info, Sona has made herself a necessary part of the team while still getting in her work naps and snacks. A more capable George Costanza if you will.

We should all be so lucky to work for someone like Conan O’Brien, but we should also be so lucky to have the confidence and self-love that Sona has that’s allowed her to find her place in an industry she loves (as well as one that’s notoriously misogynist) and a job that suits her perfectly. 

For some laughs, inspiration on how to make your work life and home life indistinguishable, and just an overall good book, read The World’s Worst Assistant by Sona Movsesian.

Photo credit: Dutton Books (IG: @duttonbooks)

I’m here for We Are Still Here

Horror movie lovers can determine if a movie is going to be a classic before the movie is even over. The Exorcist. Nightmare on Elm Street. The Changeling. Robert Ebert and his questionable taste didn’t decide that. We did. From mainstream movies to indie flicks, our people know where it’s at.

So allow me to introduce you to a little gem called We Are Still Here. It’s amazing. The acting is terrible. The writing isn’t that great. The plot is nonsensical. Somehow, it just works. 

Here’s the rundown.

Paul and Anne (who makes a better Barb, probably because that’s her real name, so that’s what I’m going to call her) are a super simple, not-much-to-talk-about couple who have recently moved from their hometown in an attempt to start over following the death of their son. Barb is very emotional and upon moving into this centuries-old house, tells Paul that she can feel the presence of their son and that she believes he’s followed them to that house. 

Paul is like “Barb, no he didn’t, he’s dead” and his responses continue in this cadence for the duration of the movie.

we-are-still-here-2                                    Photo by: gbhbl.com

It’s the best.

So after a bunch of not-very-weird things happening, Barb contacts her hippie psychic friend, Mae, and asks her to come for a visit but also so she can conjure up her late son. Mae is like “sure” but Paul is like “god damnit”. 

Mae and her husband, Jacob, arrive and they all go to dinner where naturally the entire town is also having dinner. The 4 of them walk in and the entire town stares at them cause they’re the new owners of “that” house. They notice but ignore it like good unsuspecting victims. Meanwhile, Barb’s friend Mae’s son is on his way to the house with his girlfriend, and now the shit is really about to go down.

Mae’s son gets offed and his girlfriend drives away frantically for help and then SHE gets offed. The foursome get back home and are like “hmmm, I guess the kids aren’t here yet.” Parents didn’t smother their kids back then so they’re just like “oh well”. 

So the next day Mae tells Barb “let’s do a seance to contact your son” and Paul is like “pfft”. But then Mae is like “actually, sike, there’s something evil in here so no seance”.

Instead of conjuring the dead, the women go to the grocery store. After they leave Mae’s husband Jacob is like “seance time!” and Paul is like “pfft”. Jacob is like “Paul, you need to believe it or it won’t work” to which Paul’s attitude rolls its eyes. They’re doing the seance and then Jacob starts acting weird and Paul is like “this is lame”. 

As it turns out, it’s not lame, Jacob has managed to get himself possessed. The wives get home and Paul is like “so yeah, Jacob played with ghosts and now he’s crazy”.

MV5BMTk0NjU1OTAxOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDA0Mjg4NTE@._V1_                                                           Photo by: imdb.com

Then Mae is like “it’s Dagmar (the thing that’s haunting the house)!” and Paul is like “oh FFS”. Then Jacob stabs his own eye out and Paul is like “ok, time to bounce”. 

Before they can leave the town’s people show up because the ghosts of the house are feeding and they need to make sure the victims are the owners of the house and not the rest of the town. The leader of the group knocks on the door and like a dumb-dumb, Mae answers it resulting in her timely death. Barb is like “he killed her!” and Paul is like “I was here when it happened”. 

So Paul and Barb run from the townspeople and then (plot twist!) the ghost family (not just Dagmar) that has apparently been wreaking havoc on the town is like “you know what, fuck this town, but Paul is cool” and kills everyone except Paul and Barb. After everyone is dead Paul is like “sup” and the ghost dad is like “sup” and then the ghost family is like “k, bye” and it’s over. 

Paul is the reason this movie is watchable. I don’t know if he’s a terrible actor or if his role was meant to convey an attitude of “over it” but it just makes me laugh. Terror takes over this family and he can’t be bothered by any of it. Which, by the way, is the person you want by your side in a crisis – clearly. Paul’s not here for your shit, my shit, or anybody’s shit. And you know what, I’m here for that.

We Are Still Here is streaming on Shudder.

Adventures in Senior Sitting: When Opportunity Strikes

It’s been a little while since I’ve written about my father-in-law and the reason for that is: I no longer speak to him. For my own sanity, I just can’t. I’ve got one life, and I’m not wasting it on an asshole.

That doesn’t mean that I’m going to quit sharing stories, you understand. Because we’re all in this together and by that, I mean dealing with in-laws, or shitty people. Or both!

If you’re new to this series, I’ll give you a quick recap.

When my mother-in-law passed away in 2018, my husband and I inherited my then 64-year-old father-in-law who promptly went from a grieving widower to a rebellious teenager within a month. From constantly getting in trouble to bringing home a significant other we couldn’t stand, everything he did was like payback for how bad of a kid I was – something I thought I’d avoided by not having kids of my own.

Those stories, BTW, can all be found here.

A lot has happened since my last post a year ago where I detailed his trip to Florida that detailed him going with COVID then returning, getting sicker, and having me call the ambulance because he had no lung capacity, except for the air he had available to call ALL OF HIS FRIENDS while he waited for the ambulance to tell them that he was waiting for an ambulance.

Since then, he’s moved out – run away to his girlfriend’s house for all you parents with teenagers. But like all people with bad kids, I’m still dealing with and having to hear about all of the shit he’s getting into. 

A few weeks ago we received a letter from a recycling company in the city he lives in now explaining that he’d been caught dropping shit off without paying to drop that shit off, and included a picture of the shit he dropped off. 

I was incredibly disappointed. 

That picture didn’t have him in it. Just the chairs (his girlfriend’s, of course).

I almost called the recycling company to ask them for a copy of the video but my husband wouldn’t let me. He’s such a fun sponge.

Then I decided to do it anyway but before I even had a chance, he’d moved on to another scheme.

Like all wives, my husband has a friend that I can’t stand named Stewart. He’s a complete moron. One time he got in a fight with a guy and when he was told he had a small penis he took it out and put it on the bar. And that’s just one of the hundreds of jackass things he’s done.

Recently, he managed to top himself. He got a DWI and also got charged for firing his gun at somebody. 

His mugshot is fantastic. My friend Joanne (the woman I ghost hunt with) dislikes Stewart as well, so I’m thinking of turning his mugshot into her birthday card. Or maybe have someone on Etsy make a shirt. I’m not sure yet.

Stewart is obviously in a lot of trouble and is facing quite a bit of jail time. 

The way I see it, he had it coming. The way my husband sees it, it’s a bummer that his friend has managed to get himself in this kind of trouble.

The way my father-in-law sees it, it’s an opportunity

Stewart has a membership with a local marina where he pays a monthly fee and can take a boat for the day anytime he likes.

But since Stewart won’t be having a hot girl summer this year, my father-in-law convinced him to put him on his membership so he can rent boats while Stewart serves his time.

This may sound like no big deal, but I haven’t told you about what happened to the last thing my FIL played with that wasn’t his.

Just before he moved in with us, he was living in a hangar that he would tell people was his but actually belonged to his friend, Mark. Mark was a wealthy man courtesy of his oil rights inheritance. 

I’ll never forget when he came into that money too. 

He walked into the motorcycle shop I was working for at the time and looked like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber in the scene where he’s wearing the fringe jacket.

I was like “damn, Mark made it.” New money purchases are snazzy.

Mark couldn’t spend his money fast enough and one of the things he bought himself was a little 3-seater plane. The only thing was, he didn’t know how to fly. 

My father-in-law had his pilot’s license from like the 80s and also used to play flying games on his iPad so you could call him a pro, or at least that’s what he called himself when he pitched his plan to Mark. He convinced Mark to let him live in the hangar and manage his plane and also fly him around. 

Mark agreed and after my father-in-law (and mother-in-law prior to her passing) moved in, he promptly hired an actual pilot to fly them both around. This arrangement lasted about 5 years which is usually the cut-off point for most of his friends. 

One day, a few months after my mother-in-law passed, he was flying the plane around showing off. When he came in for a landing he forgot to put the landing gear down and crashed the plane.

AND THEN…

When Mark gave him the bill for the damages, my father-in-law claimed he wasn’t responsible because it was Mark’s plane

He never paid the bill so Mark kicked him out of the hangar (which he told people he sold BUT IT WAS NEVER HIS) and that is the reason he ended up moving in with us. 

He’s nothing if not consistent as he continues to spread his carnage, first at my house and just wait until I tell you about what he did to his girlfriend – that’s next week.

Or it might be his impending boat wreck where he blames Stewart and adds to his charges, whichever comes first. 

Your Experience Escort: Manifesting this post

I would like to start by saying Holy Jesus On a Stick there are a FUCK TON of people calling themselves life coaches. There are different varieties of them but they all sound about the same, and because there are so many this turned out to not be as easy as I thought it would be. 

Variations of posts were in abundance with every account having a mimic like they’d paired up or something. But they weren’t linked to each other (probably to not raise suspicion) so finding the identical posts turned into that memory match card game except instead of trying to find 2 bears I was trying to find 2 plagiarists. 

It was exhausting

I almost didn’t want to do this anymore.

But I persevered and scrolled through one account after another, finding the irony in the fact that their offer includes helping you become your authentic self pitched in a caption below a professionally taken and edited photo of them doing something super natural like smiling maniacally while sitting on a bench and staring off into the distance. 

Besides having every single thing in common, they were also all filled with inspirational quotes. Quotes as far as the eye can see, as in I’ve literally seen them before, which was pretty interesting because underneath these quotes were the life coaches’ names and handles – not the names of who the quotes were really by.

People you may have heard of such as Jamie Anderson, the author of Doctor Who. 

image2 Like this one!

Odd. I think they thought that because they switched out a word or tweaked it a bit they could just call it there’s. Sneaky sneaky.

It was bound to happen, I suppose. I mean, some of the people I found were dubbed “thought leaders” by Oprah (which, BTW, I think it’s time we quit listening to her and I would like to use Dr. Phil as exhibit A) so it only makes sense that they would see a quote and think “oh yeah, I think the same thing!”, and then just take it and say it was theirs.

So, that’s where I started: quotes. The quotes that appeared to be by the “life coach” which let me tell you, were hard to sift through and required a lot of Googling. The only time this was easy was when I’d read a quote that made zero fucking sense – then I knew it was original.

Anyway, the quote (or variation of) that kept poking me in my pessimistic eye was an inspirational set of words that proclaimed that anything you put out into the universe, you can have. You can manifest anything. 

image0                                                                          Here’s one from one account.

image1                                                                        And here’s one from another!

What they’re essentially saying is “ask and you shall receive”, but to figure out how to make it happen, you have to cough up a coaching fee.

Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think you need to pay someone $500 a month or thousands of dollars to attend a retreat to figure that out. 

I’ll just tell you.

Ask for something and you just might get it. 

My friend Christy will tell you that her new job came via manifestation and her vision board. But for some reason, she won’t also give credit to the other pieces of the universe that helped: her resumé, our mutual friend who helped touch up her resumé, and Indeed. 

*Side note: I’m not against vision boards, they’re actually a good way to stay focused on your goals. Christy’s daughter, however, is and drew penises on hers, which is objectively funny.

There’s admirability in the act of asking for what you want, it isn’t always an easy thing to do. What they don’t mention is that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, especially when that thing involves other people. 

You’re just not always going to get what you want.

Case in point:

Have you ever been to the Kalahari? With the exception of all the kids running around everywhere, it’s pretty awesome. They have an arcade room that rivals Dave and Busters and it is the absolute best. They don’t have it anymore but the first time we went, they had this huge digital Connect 4 game right in the middle of the arcade. 

Nothing says “I’m smarter and more strategic than you” than winning a game of Connect 4 so naturally, my husband and I sat down to play. 

People gathered ‘round which makes the game more stressful – you want those people to see you win but you also want them to shut the fuck up because this is a game of world domination when you’re playing against your significant other.

As we played, a little girl walked up to us and stood right next to me, in my personal bubble. But I was focused on obliterating my husband so I let her stay.

13 seconds later, she began to talk, something I hadn’t consented to.

“You playin’?”

“Duh,” I said in my head. Silence is what I said out loud.

“This game looks cool”.

It was cool but what the hell? Had my husband recruited her to distract me? THIS GAME DETERMINES THE RULER OF THE HOUSE, KID!

But she continued and did something I thought was pretty brave of a child appearing to be aged 7 to 10.

“I wanna play, give me a quarter”.

She said this to me.

Ballsy. I never even asked my parents for money like that. 

Give me? I could never tell my mom “give me” much less a total stranger. This kid had guts. She was going to grow up and just ask for what she wanted and probably get it because she’s got gumption. 

I turned to her, facing her stern little aged 7 to 10 face.

“No. Now go stand over there”.

That kid is probably going places but that day, that place did not include Connect 4 with my quarter.

And you know what she did? 

She shrugged her shoulders like “whatever bitch” and went to go hustle someone else. She moved right on and continued her quest to play games with everyone else’s quarters. Like a true pyramid scheme seller.

I did the right thing because she learned two lessons that day (or zero lessons because kids don’t care). One, you don’t fuck around when it comes to Connect 4, and, B) you don’t always get what you want.

And she taught me that whatever the outcome, you just keep moving forward. 

The moral of the story is: it isn’t necessary to pay someone to tell you to ask for the shit that you want. Like, you can just do that (and I’m not even going to send you a bill for that!). The worst someone will tell you is ‘no’ and if you grew up with a mom like mine, then you’re tough enough to take that. 

You may not always get it but at least you can figure out what to do next after you get an answer. 

I’m not sure what became of that brave aged 7 to 10 child but I hope she’s ruling her end of the world, asking for everything her little however-old-her-heart-is-now desires. 

And she probably is. 

Or she’s turning little kids and small adults upside down and shaking the quarters out of them, cursing me as she does so.

Either way…

Meet Your Experience Escort

Did you know that the SNL skit Pretty Living was written by Molly Shannon and is based on an ad she saw in a newspaper where a woman was advertising herself as a “Joyologist”? I found that out in her book Hello, Molly! 

I wish life coaches still called themselves this.

Anyway, reading that sparked a memory and I think I may know why I have such a problem with these self-proclaimed masters of life.

When I was 12, I got hustled by a woman who claimed to have the secrets that would help me live the life I want.

She was a phone psychic I called in the 90s and she couldn’t even tell that I wasn’t 18. I was away at cheerleader camp when my parents got the bill (thank God) and upon my return, they treated me to McDonald’s then presented me with the bill and promptly grounded me for about 4 months. #bossmove

“Did she predict you’d get grounded?” my dad asked.

“Well, she couldn’t predict that I wasn’t an adult so no.”

I forgot all of her predictions almost immediately which is a great sign that it was a bunch of bullshit, especially since I had 4 months of solitary confinement to try and remember them.

As a kid, I didn’t understand how this woman got hired as a psychic. Was there a test? Did they do that thing where someone goes “guess what number I’m thinking of?” and the interviewee goes “3!” and the hiring manager is like “you’re hired!”

How does one become a psychic?

As an adult, I know the answer. 

You just say you are one. And I know this because that’s how you also become a life coach and/or self-help guru. The requirements are the same too: you just have to be good at bullshitting. A skilled salesperson if you will.

I talk A LOT of shit about life coaches, particularly the 20-something-year-old Instagram ones, but that’s only because I, respectfully, find them to be full of shit. 

I realize how judgemental I am about this subject and believe me, I don’t care. 

For the record, I don’t think the people who seek out these internet snake oil salesmen are crazy or stupid.

Seeking help (period) is not stupid. It’s incredibly brave. 

The people who proclaim to have a secret that nobody else has and convinces others who are vulnerable and in emotional need to pay anywhere from $500 a month to $85,000 a year to learn it? People who lack the education or even experience to position themselves as some sort of emotional healer? THAT’S the shit I’m not cool with.

I mean, even Oprah’s favorite book The Secret – which tells you the whole secret (envisioning your goals, putting them on a vision board if you’re into that shit, and then doing your goals) in a matter of pages – costs like $20. 

Those above mentioned rates may sound made up and oddly specific but there’s a reason for that: a gym friend of mine has worked with life coaches that both charge and pay other life coaches that much. 

I’ll explain.

This friend first worked with a 20-something-year-old life coach to help with her marriage. This self-proclaimed life coach (and now astrologer, I just found out) has never been married and at the time, was dating a man that recently got served by his divorce lawyer for non-payment and was about to lose his own law license. 

As you may have guessed, her lack of experience in this field didn’t work so my friend moved on to another woman claiming to have “the secret”. 

And where did she get said secret?

From none other than Mr. Tony Robbins of course. 

I did not know that Tony Robbins’ business was more than just his motivational speaking and his books. Apparently, you can become one of his disciples/coaches by paying thousands of dollars to ascend the ranks. Kind of like Scientology. 

Or a pyramid scheme.

My friend began attending retreats hosted by a Tony Robbins disciple/former gym member named Laura (who actually came into the gym one day pretending to visit everyone but was actually there to “feel our energy”) and became a different person.

I wouldn’t call her enlightened so much as I would call her cold as fuck.

She went from joking around and dancing at the gym to ignoring all of us and shutting everyone out, including one of her best friends. And after Laura’s visit, she started saying that the gym was full of bad energy. 

She continued to show up, however, and (ironically) spread her bad energy  around the gym, to the point where a week-long absence for a work trip was celebrated by a couple of the coaches and some of the members. Everyone was tired of her coming in and being, to be frank, painfully unbearable. Like an abscessed tooth. 

Or a pyramid scheme pitch. 

And then there were the psychedelics. At first, my friend and her husband would attend these retreats and spend the weekend just staring at each other – which I admittedly thought was weird because I do that with my husband for free. But then the staring eventually turned into tripping as they were now being doped by psychedelics.

Our other friends and I couldn’t understood what she was doing but, honestly, it wasn’t for us to understand. It was her thing and as far as we knew she was doing this to help her marriage. But we also knew that since she’d started these $1500/month shroom sessions she’d retreated from everyone but Laura, who she was now referring to as her mentor. 

You know who else was a mentor?

George Costanza.

This is when we started to think she was in a cult because that’s what cults do – separate you from your friends and family that aren’t associated with the cult. Even Laura had quit hanging out with some of our other friends from the gym, people she’d been friends with for years.

From there I began to think this was some bullshit. And that thought led me down a rabbit hole where I discovered the podcast Sounds Like a Cult (which is awesome and you should listen to it!) and also found that to be the type of Tony Robbins disciple that is allowed to host these retreats and continue to learn about life or something (what Laura does) can run up to $85,000 a year depending on what level disciple you are.

I realize this might just be me but I’m not paying $85,000 to learn about life when I live it every day and that alone requires me to give money to the government. 

And excuse me but when do you actually learn the “secret”, from Tony or your life coach, anyway? 

The answer is: you don’t. These coaching programs are meant to be ongoing. 

Now, there are some people who will tell you whatever coaching they received changed their life, and I think that’s fantastic. But when someone charges any amount of money for guidance they may not be equipped to provide, that’s where shit can get dangerous and expensive. 

Additionally, Tony Robbins clearly states in his disclaimer (that I found buried in his website) that his coaching is not meant to be any type of counseling and even recommends getting help from a licensed professional if you’re in need of one.

Further, he only absolves himself, not his “coaches”.

Side note: I wouldn’t write that you’re a Tony Robbins coach on your resume unless you want to sound like I did when I used to write that I was Miss San Antonio Latina on mine. Yeah, I really did that but in my defense, I got that title the way Tony Robbins’ coaches get there’s: I paid for it.

Look, professional counseling (which Tony Robbins makes sure to state in his terms that he doesn’t do) is one thing. It just doesn’t sit well with me that there are people reading Brene Brown books and then charging people hundreds of dollars to regurgitate her advice to them.

That’s not life coaching. That’s plagiarizing. 

It’s important to note that my thoughts on the Tony Robbins stuff is based on my friend’s complete attitude change and the fact that her husband has made comments about it that imply he’s a little concerned as well.

Again, if it’s worked for you, cool. I just happen to be witnessing the type of transformation you normally see in possession movies.

Anyway, I’ve complained about this ad nauseam for God knows how long so I finally decided to do something about it.  

Beginning next week, I’m going to start pulling posts from various Instagram life coaches, organizing them into categories (because all of their posts are nearly identical to each other), and telling my own life stories that align with said posts. 

Real stories. Shit that actually happened and how I dealt with it. Not made-up stories or excerpts about how one time I looked like a deer in headlights because someone asked me what things I like and I didn’t know an answer. Spare me.

This is really just my petty way of showing y’all how similar (nearly IDENTICAL) these life coach posts are. Also, it’ll help me tell more stories.

Oh, and all of these here’s-what-happened-to-me-but-do-what-you-want stories will all be free. 

No monthly fee. No retreats where I make you yell in a canyon.

My goal is to post once a week but I have a real job that doesn’t involve swindling people so I guess it’s also time permitting. 

Welcome to a new era.

Welcome to your Experience Escort.

PS: I’m not the only one who feels this way. Check out this article by Rachael Albers. She does a deeper dive into this online marketing gig (because that’s what these life coaches do) and describes the problem with it way better and more mature than I ever could.