Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Last Laugh

For those of you who don't know, I recently tried comedy.


I'm not talking about fun stuff like Mortified. I'm talking about the thing masochists do when self-deprecation, self-verbal-abuse, self-hatred and self-flagellation haven't quite done the trick, so you decide to write some jokes and get up on a stage in front of a bunch of strangers and tell these jokes.

Ohmygod it's so hard.

The problem is, I didn't realize this at first. See, someone convinced me to sign up for an amateur comedy contest called "So Your Friends Think You're Funny" at a place called Sally Tomatoes. Please don't even get me started on the names of some of these venues, okay? So I was like 'psh, sure, whatever,' and threw together a little routine. Turns out, the people and the judges liked it, and I got 2nd place. Woo hoo! One local comedienne in attendance said that I was "robbed for first place". Another comic said "Amanda Janik is going to have a very busy year." Yeah so, I got cocky. I mean, I'd literally never tried comedy before - I'd never even been in or even to an open mic - the closest I'd ever gotten to bonafide comedy was holding an imaginary microphone at parties when I'd had too much to drink and no one was listening to me, which I would fake-tap with the palm of my other hand, saying loudly, "is this thing on?!"

So I got invited to be in some comedy shows. I didn't know that this was a big deal, or that this is what the people who actually go to open mics and test out their jokes beforehand actually strive for. I was just like "oh you want me to be in your comedy show? I don't know, let me check my schedule...." I really liked that when you do a comedy show, you sometimes get money. Or in the case of the show I did in Healdsburg, wine!

I became friends with comics on Facebook and started to realize that I was running a super sham operation. They were out there, schlepping from city to city, room to room. 'Room' is, I learned after far too long, what you call it when, I guess, a comic has their own show. Wherever they have their show is called a 'room'. You're welcome: I just saved you from having to take this guy's classes.

I did a few shows but it quickly became clear that I had to change up my routine. See, my original, second-place-winning routine was pretty heavy on the whole 'Stupid Shit My Boyfriend Says' material, and he was totally down with that - he's very giving and when we first started dating he told me that I was free to mock him and use anything he ever said against him forever and ever amen.

But then he said some reallllllly stupid shit and I made a publicly displayed comedy routine out of it, which he encouraged...but then watched a few times, sat through being publicly called out, and finally decided that maybe we should have a lil' sit-down.

I only had one other show after that because, really, how funny can I be if I'm not publicly shaming my boyfriend for the stupid stuff he says, right?! The show was at Christy's, it happened to be their last night open before a 'remodel' (read; rumored straight-up closing), so I decided to dress nice. I wore a sexy velvet dress, red heels, makeup. This, it turned out, was a mistake.

There were a bunch of foxy babes in the audience that night. By 'foxy babes' I mean desperate bachelorette party attendees in teensie rompers and hooker heels, and while I thought they would be a great audience for my bit, let's just say...they were not.

See, in my schpeel I talk about how my boyfriend thinks I need to lose weight. Yeah. And all of the fun things that come along with that, like breaking up, considering prostitution, etc. You know, the usual. This tends to be pretty funny and generally goes over well, if only for the "oh no he di-int!" factor. However, when I'm looking Super Smoking Hot in my sexy dress talking about how my boyfriend thinks I'm too fat boo hoo, the lasses in the first three rows weren't having it. They collectively sucked in their tummies a bit, having perhaps just settled into their seats after secretly cracking their backs in the handicap stall of the women's room because their heels made them want to die, all the while trying to keep their Spanx from rolling under their bellies every time they bent over to reach for their Lemondrop...and here was this naturally gorgeous, curvy, voluptuous, clearly-a-perfectly-fine-weight woman standing before them complaining about her boyfriend...this is how I imagine the inner dialogue went:

The dress is velvet. The heels are red.
She has a boyfriend?! Look how much work I put into my appearance and I don't have a boyfriend and my stupid friend is getting married and I'm going to be alone and I hate this comic she's the worst I will KILL HER...gaaaaaah! Oh wait, and now she's making a joke about one time when she had make-up sex with her boyfriend in the handicap stall of the women's restroom?! Right where I just purged?? OHMYGOD!! I just got her toilet sex from a year and a half ago on my vomit-face!!"

Yeah so needless to say that audience didn't love me.

For the record, Paul was sitting way back at the bar and he said several people near him were laughing, but they were quiet laughers. And his ex wife was there, too! She said she was cracking up as well because she was agreeing with all of the things I said. "Yes he does clip his toenails in bed!!" It was suggested that she and I develop a comedy routine together but sadly she declined.

Anyway. Even though I know the main reason my last gig was a bust was because I was way too super-hot, I've decided I'm done with comedy. And it's not just because, while I made a record-breaking $10 to do the show, I spent $5 to get in, therefore grossing only $5 (math!!!).

It's because comedy is not for the weak, the lazy, the paranoid...aka me.

Apparently, I already knew that.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Liam Ruins Father's Day

I'll share this story in bullet points because getting into the details will have me reliving it and I'll start weeping again which is really irresponsible since there's a drought.
  • I got a call Wednesday from Liam's school saying he had taken a spill and was hurt and could I come get him because he might need to see a doctor.
  • I casually made my way to his class room at 120mph.
  • I assessed the situation and called the ambulance.
  • Yadda yadda yadda, he'll be in a cast this summer.
The last five days have been a steady stream of agony and panic, relieved intermittently with drugs. Also, Liam has had a hard time.

I snapped a few shots during the whole thing which may seem insensitive, but I honestly just meant for them to be a shortcut to having to call everyone and tell them what was happening. I had my hands full and I was alone, so I knew there would be panicked family and friends relying on me for updates. I thought that I'd group text these photos of Liam just so everyone could see he was okay.

Not okay.

Super not okay.

I didn't send any of them. Erin joined me as soon as she could and was amazing. Her tricks for distracting Liam and keeping things light were much more effective than my sobbing and pacing.

A little morphine didn't hurt either.

I was a firefighter and EMT for a number of years, but there's nothing that can prepare you for the heartbreak of seeing your own child in pain. It was the worst day of Liam's life and definitely makes it into my top five.

The days since then haven't been a picnic. To say Liam hasn't been sleeping well is a gross understatement. The neighbors can attest to that. In fact, Jodee went and talked to them yesterday to assure them that nothing sinister was happening over at our house. Frankly, we were surprised no one called the police.

For you medical folks and parents of young ones it was a "displaced supracondylar humerus fracture" caused by a little shithead kid that shoved Liam off of the play structure at Summer School. To be fair, rumor is Liam pushed first. Regardless, I politely asked his teachers to NOT tell me which kid did it. I don't want to know.

I'm trying to look for some silver lining to this accident, but it's tough. It's going to be a complete drag for Liam for the next couple of months. I guess if there is a bright side, it's that he's clearly not a victim of "helicopter parenting." He won't be one of those kids who grow up and have their parents write their doctoral thesis for them because they've never had any independence. I don't know. You learn a lot from taking a hard fall, but it's a stretch to call a five-year-old's broken arm "character building." I'm just going to have to take comfort from the old adage "It Could Have Been Worse."

Jodee and I ended our shift this morning and are sending Liam to mom's house until Wednesday. Jodee's been a godsend. With Liam's language issues it's been particularly hard getting him to understand what's happening and why we deny his insistence every hour to "take it off." Jodee had the brilliant idea to collect photos that might explain the situation better. He seemed to understand but was slightly horrified when she showed him this:


Neither of us has slept much the last three days since she's taken on as much nursing duty as I have. Getting Liam to drink 5mL of Hydrocodone at 2am is a process akin to waterboarding and definitely takes two sets of hands. It will be nice for us both to have a reprieve.

Poor lil' guy.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Heck Yeah Summer!

I know some (most?) parents dread summer, for with this hottest of seasons with the longest of days comes the age-old question of "what will I do with my dang kids all day?!" Because to be a grownup often means to have a job of some sort, trying to figure out how to safely keep our kids busy while also enriching their brains just a teensie bit during those long work hours can be a daunting chore. Let's just say we all do our best, shall we?

Alas, thank the sunshine and stars because with all of those hours spent at a babysitter's with strangers or in front of the TV while we work, we guilt-ridden working parents are redeemed by the magical thing we call...occasional play time! I personally crammed as much of this into the first few days of vacation so the kids might be blindsided by the extreme fantasticness of it all, and would perhaps be too tuckered out from all the fun to notice the time spent doing non-fun things afterward.

On day one of the kids' Summer Vacation: we went to the pool.

On day two of the kids' Summer Vacation: we went to an entirely different pool.

On day three of the kids' Summer Vacation: we went to an amazing music festival two blocks from our house!

On day four of the kids' Summer Vacation: the kids were picked up from Sprout by a magical fairy and taken to the river where they swam, and swam, and swam.

On day five of the kids' Summer Vacation: we, um, well we spent the day at work. But still. You have to admit that wasn't a bad start, right?

So we've come up with a great plan, and that is to simply continue having heaps of water-based fun, with some days at work, sleepover camps, traveling and all kinds of other time-fillers thrown in there for good measure.

Hey Summer: come at us, bro!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Back to Beverly Healdsburg

Liam's teachers met with Erin, my mother, and I for his annual IEP (Individual Education Plan) and it
was decided. He's coming back to Healdsburg!!

Why am I so thrilled?! Because I'm a frickin' SNOB!

There are some great towns around Sonoma County, but none better than Healdsburg. He's been going to a school in Windsor for the past year and Windsor is just....well. I mean, you can tell a lot from a town's slogan.

Santa Rosa: Out There in the Middle of Everything

Healdsburg: The Heart of Sonoma County Wine Country

Windsor: Where the Walmart is.

Last year it was deemed that Windsor had the only program suited to Liam's needs. I like to think that this fact kept the head honchos at the Healdsburg school district awake at night, fretting over the fact that they'd failed a local treasure.

"We've GOT to get Liam back!" they all collectively agreed.

Well in the intervening year the good old HUSD got their shit together and created a program that is suspiciously perfect for Liam. He'll be finishing out summer school in Windsor, which is merciful of him. I think his teachers will need time to come to terms with their loss.