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Last weekend, Medium called a family meeting. We haven’t had one in months and I had no idea what triggered her to think of it.

She explained her problem and clearly communicated her expectations for our behavior. We raised our eyebrows (I may have smirked a little) and nodded understandingly. Every one of us promised to do better in the future.

We dispersed to our posts in front of various screens and quite frankly, I forgot the whole thing.

That is, until this morning, when I staggered into the bathroom for a shower and found this written reminder of my girl’s instructions:

Protected by Ziploc

She is her mother’s daughter. The “…or else” was implied.

This is the first week in 31 months where I’ve had to make myself look presentable before 7 a.m. Three days in a row. And counting. So now you know it’s true: I’ve made the leap back into paid employment.

KidsVT, that esteemed magazine whose editors kindly publish words I’ve written, printed an essay where I did some reflecting. On my life. And the lessons I’ve learned recently. Follow this link to read it: From Working Mom to Stay-at-Home Mom… and Back Again.

To prepare myself for the shock of reentering the workforce, I spent the last 30 days of my “mommy sabbatical” focused not so much on my family but on myself. I hosted and went to mommy coffees, sweated liters of water during Body Combat, lunched out, went skiing, practiced taekwondo, attempted yoga, caught a few shows, ran a 5K, went on a Downton Abbey sleepover, and otherwise thoroughly enjoyed the company of an amazingly wide circle of women (and a few men) who I am so incredibly fortunate to call “friends.” It was an amazing month. Thank you all!

Oh, don’t worry. I hardly neglected my family. I also made elaborate dinners (a departure from my usual scrounging around in the fridge for edibles), scrubbed the house, hoed out the kids’ rooms and spent quality time with the OINKdaddy. On three Wednesdays in a row, I let Small, Medium and Large play hooky (One child at a time – I’m not totally insane!). We spent our days together doing whatever they wanted to do (snowboarding, arts and crafts and skeet ball – guess who wanted what). We had a ball and I hope they will forever remember our “Mommy Days.”

Because they weren’t just these last three Wednesdays.

I’m working on a post that explains my long absence but this news couldn’t wait: Johnson and Johnson has issued a formal apology for creating a run on feminine plugs.

I complained about alerted people to this problem in my post, “What’s the Dealio Johnson and Johnson?” last February. I had hoped that someone at J&J would send me a personal response to my fantastically worded email, but I’ll just have to accept their personalized video apology, instead.

Go to O.B. tampons’ website, type in your name, and voila! A good-looking nerd will croon a “triple sorry” just for you. I watched it twice (the Canadian version doesn’t seem to be different from its U.S. sister). You’ll enjoy the white baby grand piano, rose petals and heart tattoos. Hilariously excellent.

Thanks to astute OINKtales readers, Kaki, for forwarding me the link to the apology and Meredith, who recommended I purchase my feminine hygiene products from drugstore.com. You warm my dove surrounded heart!

So, I’ve been thinking about writing quite a bit lately but haven’t managed to put the proverbial pen to paper (or, in my case, fingers to keyboard). I’ve got half a dozen incomplete posts flitting around inside my head, begging to be set out, cut, polished and published and at some point, I promise: I will get them to you. In the meantime, today’s post is off the top of my head, inspired by the hilarious Iris of The Bearded Iris who linked to a post from Kate Takes 5.

I’ve always been interested in the ways people find OINKtales (my obsession thoughts on how to turn visitors into return visitors is a topic for another post). WordPress has a handy tool that tells me on a weekly basis what search engine phrases people have used to visit my site. What I didn’t know, until today, was that WordPress keeps an “all time” list of search engine phrases. Eureka!

OINKtales’ Top 5 Search Engine Terms:

1. “oink tales” (Really peeps? Bookmark this shit site. Do it now.)

2. “body combat” (My apologies to serious Les Mills Body Combatants as I am a group fitness poser. Note to self: Only post on group fitness has become top search engine getter. Get new post on same topic finished fast.)

3. “monster trucks” (Boys like toys.)

4. “kitchen peninsula” (Very glad the before and after pictures of my kitchen renovation have had so much screen time.)

5. “suburbia” (Sigh. But I’d like to think that I’m not living in your average suburbs. I mean, it’s not like Vermont even has a city large enough to warrant suburbs. I live in a town. With lots of trees. And poor landscaping. Oops. That last bit is just at my house.)

“Wow, Mary, that was really fascinating.” Wasn’t it? Shut up and keep reading.

OINKtales’ Top 5 Weird/Funny/Scary Search Engine Terms:

5. “blonde teen brown eye brows plays with bottle brother sister” (Say what? What search engine brought them here?)

4. “BYOB restaurants Keene NH” (I’ve never been to Keene, NH nor have I written about it. I’m sure it’s a lovely place, though. If you know of a BYOB restaurant, please tell me. I’ll share. For anyone visiting the Burlington, VT area, BYOB to Tiny Thai in the Essex Outlet Mall. No corking fees so feel free to upgrade from the screwtop varieties.)

3. “bang my neighbor” (For the record, I am not banging my neighbor. Not any of them. Not even the hot one. I think we’ve already established that I live in the suburbs and that kind of thing just doesn’t happen here. But wait! Maybe they meant “bang” as in b.b. guns or airsoft rifles! Yeah. Well. I’m not doing that either.)

2. “tanya cashier at costco in inglewood” (Dude. If you’re looking for a date by googling the first names of cashiers in your area, you’ve got bigger problems than you think you do. Get thee to a counselor. STAT.)

1. “anne hathaway tampons” (I kinda love this. It’s so sick that it’s funny. I have indeed written posts about Anne Hathaway and tampons but they were separate posts about the Oscars and the O.B. shortage. Exactly why would anyone want to read about Anne Hathaway’s tampons? Shudder. It boggles the mind.)

Saw the most ridiculous thing this weekend while I was out and about:

Yup. That’s right. Justin Bieber has his own perfume. Eau de stinky, hormone-laced, teenage boy.

As a woman in her mid-thirties, I have to ask: Why?

I don’t get it (and I read Tiger Beat in high school, too). Back in the day, Kirk Cameron, John Stamos and Patrick Swayze knew better than to hawk ladies’ perfumes. The times, oh my, how they’re a changin’.

Trying to understand why anyone would think a baby-faced teenage boy makes for a compelling spokesperson for a women’s fragrance, I watched the promotional video. The female in it, presumably a representative of Someday by Justin Bieber‘s target audience, looks ten years older as well as ten feet taller than Bieber. One spritz and the pubescent-of-the-moment materializes to nuzzle her neck. She dreamily floats into the air on his kisses. With a stiff wind blowing, they awkwardly embrace. At one point, it looks as though he is trying to give her a piggy back ride (I can too pick you up!) and in another she clasps his head to her breast, which comes off less ‘come hither’ and more ‘breastfed infant’. Pantomined ecstasy over and feet on the ground, they exchange a look – puppy dog longing on his part, circumspect assessment on hers.

Someday, he will be old enough to hold her attention without having to pay her for it. Someday, they will look back on this experience and laugh embarrassedly. Someday, he will have a ghost-writer type his memoir wherein he will whine about having lost his youth and innocence in the media circus that is his world.

Contemplating too-big-for-their-britches teenage boys led me to recall the one I met on a cruise ship last fall. I had spent the day at the beach snorkeling, drinking Tequila, para-sailing, drinking Tequila, swimming and laughing with a fantastic group of women most of whom I had met just days before. By the time dinner was over, though, my buzz had worn off and I was grumpy. Instead of going to bed, I went to the dance party on the lido deck where I promptly parked myself on a lounge chair in a prime people-watching position. Within moments, I noticed a tall boy in a red shirt with a white cross. He looked to be around sixteen years old. His shirt proclaimed he was an “Orgasm Donor.”

“Oh my God,” I said. “Look.” I pointed him out to my friend, the ZumbaQueen.

“Oh my God,” she said, cracking up. “That’s terrible!”

“Where are his parents?” I asked, rhetorically. “Do they know he’s wearing a shirt like that?”

We watched him strut among the people at the party, high-fiving his friends and leering at girls and women alike.

“I’m going to call him over,” I said. “That is not okay.”

“Mary!” she admonished me. “Be nice!”

Throwing off my blanket, I waited until his orbit carried him closer. “Honey,” I called to him, crooking a finger. “C’mere.”

He puffed his chest out, pulled his hat more sideways and sauntered over. When he reached me, he leaned down, all bluff and bravado. I smiled at him, looked him dead in the eye and said, “Are you even old enough to shave?”

Someday.

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