Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the tag “#food”

Nice to meet you, Erma.

I like eating applesauce in the middle of the night.

When I need a snack at night, unsweetened applesauce in the total package: easy to find in fridge, low calorie, good for nausea, thick enough to cushion pills, and I can eat it silently in bed, perusing the internet for funny pictures of cats while next to me Mac produces an astonishing amount of body heat for someone who is neither awake nor the Human Torch.

Eat it silently.



gerund or present participle: foreshadowing
be a warning or indication of (a future event).
          Two nights ago I came to the kitchen, then got my Peter Rabbit bowl, then filled it with applesauce, then grabbed my glass of water, then padded back to the bedroom, then set down the applesauce, then put the water on a coaster on my bedside table, then climbed into bed to sit up and peruse funny pictures of cats. Then jumped up with a robust squeal as my left butt cheek tipped a child’s plastic bowl filled with cold applesauce. Right now, I’d like to use this platform for some sage wisdom:
When setting things down it is of vital import to remember where one did this if one wishes to collect said item with hands, not arse.
          As you can imagine, Mac’s eyes opened PDQ when I squawked. I’m dripping applesauce onto the carpet on my side of the bed, where we keep a power strip on the floor. Two nights ago the power strip was hooked up to FIVE things, only two of them less than a hundred dollars to replace. I was frantically scooping up applesauce with my hands, trying to see how much of it got near or on the strip, and since the strip is how my bedside lamp operates I’m scared to turn the damn thing on. I replace my disgusting, squishy nightgown. Mac gives up sleep as a lost cause and heads to his bathroom, stopping to put my nightgown in the washer. I collect bowl, spoon, sodden Kleenex and such to get everything rinsed since we’ve already spent two months at the Maginot Line as far as kitchen ants are concerned.
          Mac returns, shuts off his light, and I come back in with some wet paper towels (carefully kept away from electrical sources, thankyouverymuch) and a flashlight. Satisfied our bedroom is no longer a target for Ant Lebensraum, I sit back on the bed.
          We have cream-colored sheets.
Guess what looks like a wrinkled shadow against cream-colored sheets?
I hadn’t seen the pile of applesauce puddled dead center of my butt imprint.
          Oh, yeah. Same sauce, second verse. A little bit louder, and a metric shit ton worse. There are now TWO disgusting nighties (silky fabric for optimal conduction of frigidity, TWO soggy areas of bedside floor to clean, TWO times I have woken up my husband, an essentially good man, for absolutely no reason than my own terrible choice of late night snack. But wait! There’s more.
          Our mattress pad has a heating element, like sleeping on a giant heating pad. I have no clue if the sauce got in there, and if it did, how do we clean it? I just said moisture and heat sources are mortal enemies. We can’t get clean sheets (stored in closet of Baby’s room), I’m still hungry, I haven’t taken the needed pain pill, my snack is lodged in crevices polite society doesn’t discuss plus Mac goes to work in three hours and his wife is having a breakdown over pulverized fruit.
          Mac smiled gently and told me to get a towel. I miserably put a towel over the whole damn thing and reply, “At least I’ve got a blog entry. Can’t let this be for nothing.” Then Mac tells me, as the CPAP goes back on, “Erma Bombeck would be proud.”
All right then.

Reasons My Baby is Crying

One year old edition:

  1. He is not allowed to stick his head in the living room trash can
  2. I won’t let him eat splinters the cat has scratched off of the baskets that were supposed to be a tasteful and low-budget place to put away toys in the living room
  3. He waved a plastic spoon at the cat, the cat tried to catch it in his claws, and it scared him. Which then scared the cat. I now have a crying baby and an actual, substantive scaredy cat in my living room.
  4. The baby isn’t allowed to throw Cheerios at me while I’m trying to feed him food that contains anything other than Cheerios
  5. The Cheerios are damp because he drooled on them
  6. The Cheerios are missing because he threw them on the ground
  7. We’re out of Cheerios
  8. Mommy left him alone to put on pants that can be seen outside the house so she can BUY MORE FUCKING CHEERIOS WHAT, DID YOUR BIRTH PARENTS BUY YOU STOCK IN GENERAL MILLS?
  9. Daddy can be heard on the stairs but not seen.
  10. Daddy can be seen in the kitchen but isn’t talking directly to him.
  11. Daddy is looking at him and talking to him but he wants the cat.
  12. He’s not allowed to eat paper towels
  13. He’s not allowed to suck on the ends of computer charging cords
  14. He is only allowed one episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood a day, and that’s 7/8 more of an episode than Mommy can handle without doing something more stimulating, like sticking her hand in a Veg-O-Matic
  15. He wonders why his train stops rolling when it hits something
  16. He stood up using the bottom of the couch for support then got scared of heights
  17. He smelled his own fart and got angry
  18. He saw a picture of himself on my phone then got sad when the screen went blank
  19. “Rock Out Elmo” fell over and it looks like he’s having a seizure
    • OK, I’ll give him that one
  20. I came in from shoveling snow and directly went to put my cold hands in his pajamas to change his diaper.
    • OK, I give him that one, too.

One batch, one family

There are many, many reasons to celebrate Christmas. Jesus is the Reason for the Season is a popular refrain and I like how that encapsulates a religious meaning for Christians in the story of  Joseph and Mary desperate for a place to give birth to Jesus. Christmas is a cornerstone of faith for 1/3 of the world’s populace, give or take a few. If Jesus is the main person in your religion, having a birthday party for him seems solid to me.

The old standard songs have some pretty great holiday justifications; getting home for Christmas even if it’s only your dreams, asking Santa for nothing but the company of a loved one, laughing at the mean old Grinch. Some are funny out of context, and laughing is a good reason to celebrate. It can be meteorological (Let it Snow!), audiological (sleighbells ring, can you listen?), psychological (Do You Hear what I Hear?), pathological (baby, it’s cold outside and you seem like a suave creep), even zoological (STOP with the turtle doves. She’s just not that into you and you need to walk away).

For others, Christmas time is about gifts. The act of giving, receiving, surprise, generosity, ingenuity…all good reasons to celebrate.

For me, Christmas is about sugar cookies. It’s my mom and dad’s main holiday tradition. There is no Christmas without sugar cookies. More specifically, there is no Christmas without everyone getting together and frosting them. For our mixed bunch (believers and non-believers alike) sugar cookie time is the essence of the church we go to to find our Christmas meaning. It’s our ancestry (we are many things, ALL of them cookie-centric cultures at the holidays). It’s also our culinary history. In her iconic “Cooky Book” Betty Crocker gives two versions of sugar cookies: Mary and Ethel. We bake the Ethel version. We have more ideology in common with Muslims fasting for Ramadan than we do with “Mary” recipe sugar cookie bakers. We take the Ethel recipe very seriously.

Cookie decorating is our artistic release. In years past Dad has given his cookie men plaid pants, mom has given her cookie ladies curly hair, Robin made an Elmo cookie, I turned a tree-shaped cookie into a KC Chiefs arrow.

We did our cookies later than usual this year, December 23rd. Robin and her family were there, I was there with Baby and Mac came from work to my parent’s house an hour later. This year saw several singular creations. The Dude experimented with Pollack-esque sprinkles while his dad made a cookie man wearing an ugly Christmas sweater vest of M&Ms. I swirled two runny frostings in a cool pattern I saw in some magazine named ‘Taste for People Classier Than You.” Robin even removed the head of one sugar cookie man and stuck it up the backend with some frosting. She then gave the head an orange combover and we celebrated eating one of this year’s brand name head-in-ass presidential candidates.

We listened to Christmas CDs, decided “Is it a Red Hot or is it a red M&M?” is a good game for people you don’t like very much, fed the baby a few cereal puffs. I fondly remembered when dad ate so many cookies we required a quadruple batch to be stocked up for the Christmas season. I especially remembered trying to sneak dough while they were in the fridge overnight and then attempting to cover the telltale spoon divots. I thought about the countless sugar cookie people that have paraded across our plates.

Sugar cookies are white. They are frosted with white, light green, or light pink frosting. The Imes family does not DO loud colors, colored gel, anything piped. Mom makes the cookies and frosting from scratch and everyone sits around one table for the games to begin. You get three frostings, a knife, and maybe a toothpick for detail work. You may have sprinkles or candies but you may NOT have these:


as Robin dumped an entire jar on the floor in our old house in 1989 and we were still pulling them out of kitchen baseboards when my parents moved 11 years later. This is true.

But this year, this year was different. The set-up was the same, the obnoxious jokes were hilarious, the contest to see who has the best cookie was highly competitive, mom fussed to get the curly hair just right, people surreptitiously ate their “mistakes.” It was the clone of Christmases past in all the best ways. As I watched everyone reaching for the green frosting and asking where the mini-chips went I absorbed the scene. I mean I really saw us. Then I knew: if everybody makes the cookies, everybody frosts the cookies, everybody eats the cookies, then these cookies are the Christmas tradition that define our family. One batch, one family. It’s the thing we can’t buy, won’t outsource and wouldn’t ever trade.

That’s when it hit me. In the most important way imaginable my sugar cookie family has changed. There is a new cookie on the table. Expansion was required for the familial rite of passage. So in 2015, for the first time ever, the ritual was amended.  I made a batch of chocolate frosting.

One batch, one family.


Featured Artist Series: Lacey Hannan

This holiday season, I wanted to give all of you a gift for staying with us on the adventure thus far. Over the next month DtEC will have videos of holiday favorites performed by my very talented actress friends, with a few minor story edits as done by yours truly. I hope you enjoy our festive offerings as much as we enjoyed making them for you.

First up, Hollywood actress and model Lacey Hannan performs a new holiday classic, “‘Twas Thanksgiving Day.”

‘Twas Thanksgiving Day

Written by Sarah Imes Borden and performed by Lacey Hannan


Tis Thanksgiving morning and all through the house, everyone’s stirring, even my spouse

The turkey’s still frozen, my gravy won’t thicken, the Butterball Hotline just told me “serve chicken”


My brother in law has burnt both the hams, my kids ate the marshmallows meant for the yams

My sister in sweatpants and I in my jeans, have now come to blows over who’ll make the beans


My husband has ruined three knives and a pan, his job was to open the cranberry can

I’m basting potatoes and mashing a bird, at this rate we’ll eat on December the third



When out at the kids table arose such a clatter, Ibsprang from the kitchen to see what’s the matter

Turns out my son’s soda made a big mess– I’m so damn tired I couldn’t care less


Then what to my glazed over eyes should appear? Oh thank you God, my mother is here!

With casseroles full of already-sliced meat, and homemade sage stuffing I can’t wait to eat.


Her car contains every feast food you can buy, salads and cheesecakes and fresh pumpkin pie!

Savory sauces and sweet little blintzes, when she smells my food she just barely winces


We spring to the table, ignoring the messes, forgetting to put on our ties and nice dresses

We slam back turducken and drink all the wine, for such a disaster it ended up fine


As mom washed up dishes without a word, I cried about roasting the still-frozen bird

I heard her laugh loudly as she drove out of sight…“Nobody gets their First Thanksgiving right!”













Attention! Due to extenuating circumstances, the following protocol is in place; nothing the baby can get to is safe, either for the baby or the object in question. The following things are now regarded  as extremely perilous: pennies, pens, TV trays, hair bands, anything sharp, anything metal, anything plastic, anything with a plastic bag/wrap/overlay, anything on the floor that can be swallowed, anything removed from the floor that can fall on to the floor, anything that’s not floor related but still adheres to essential gravitational physics, anything used for housecleaning, a dirty house, an old house, a new house, my house, your house, home school, pre-school, night school, eating, not eating, and the cat.

It’s impossible to childproof a house. It is literally, using that word correctly and deliberately, NOT POSSIBLE. How do I know this? Because we have done nothing this past weekend but try to make this house a safer environment for the baby and I can assure you I now live in the least safe house in America. There are people squatting in abandoned scythe factories and asbestos warehouses that are in a better position to guarantee my child’s safety.

First we started with the outlet covers. We got the fancy ones that slide over the unused sockets. The baby regards these as a triple pleasure. He gets to slide things (motion!), try to stick his finger in the opening (entertaining!) and listen to me shout “NO! NOT A TOY.” (attention!). That’s nothing compared to the baby gate. Mac screwed one into the wall, then made a special opening at the side so the cat can go downstairs to his litter box. This gate has it all. It has mystery (“what’s down there?”), comedy (watch mommy try to work the finicky lever!) and pathos (“why, oh why won’t daddy take me past the gate?”). It’s like dinner theatre for the under 1 crowd.


This is nothing compared to securing the cabinets. I have turned cabinet security into more than a DIY project. In all modesty, I can say I blew right through DIY and home maintenance cliché straight into post modern art. I tried to attach one plastic security spring onto my bathroom cabinet door. It was obvious the previous homeowners also had kids, I could see the remaining screw marks and plastic barrier meant to keep the spring secure until your finger pushes it down. It took me 20 minutes to install one plastic latch. It lines up with the barrier, but I can’t get it to latch. It just sticks out, completely useless, hitting the barrier over and over. If it does go under the latch, it’s so low it doesn’t catch. Behold, the phases of my useless childproof latch.


So Mac got the fancier magnetic locks. This shall be saved for another time I need to write about pulling out my own hair and slowly eating it while I rock back and forth, singing nursery rhymes to myself.

In the meantime, I am on full Floor Patrol Alert. I encounter a lot of cat hair on my beat. As the baby butt scoots along, he often finds these fluffy wads wafting by, and will stick out a moist hand to capture a few little tufts to snack on. Cotton candy will never look right to me again after picking up wet strands of cat hair my son has tried to let melt on his tongue. I thought this meant he was hungry for fingerfoods, so I got him fancy “melt in your mouth” puffs. I was afraid the generics wouldn’t be melty enough so I went for name brand, recognizable Advertised Brand of puffs. The bad news is that the baby couldn’t care less. I showed him over and over how fun the puffs could be if he would let those melt in his mouth instead of the cat hair. The good news is, I now have a delicious and portable melt-in-my-mouth snack anytime I want to treat myself. I’m partial to the blueberry ones.

In the meantime, we have more than enough to be getting on with as far as floor cleanup. I never realized how many things fall on the floor everyday. Gravity is stronger in the Borden household than it was this time last year. Naturally, the things most likely to roll and fall (coins, those funny lipbutters in the egg shape that are trendy, grapes, breath mints) are exactly the size and shape of a baby’s windpipe. Mother Nature could have done all humankind a solid and made our windpipes a hexagon, or octagon, anything with some damn corners. But no. The human windpipe is fragile, round, easy to put things into and absolutely necessary for survival. Thanks, bitch.

So, we’ll take awhile longer to make la casa de Borden safer for its smallest occupant. Until we iron out the wrinkles the baby will be followed as much as possible and I’ll keep screaming “NO! NOT A TOY!” I have to swallow first though, these puffs make me thirsty.

Señor Arbuckle

Attention! Due to extenuating circumstances, the meal plan has been altered. Supplementing the traditional “three squares a day” are Extra Breakfast, Second Breakfast*, Elevenses, brunch, the Long Lunch, the Business Lunch, the None of Your Business Lunch, tea, high tea, High Noon Tea (if you don’t bring me a cup of tea I will shoot your ass), the Late Tea, early bird special, rudely unpunctual bird special, and Midnight Snack.
*denotes service available outside your local shire starting 5/2015.

The baby is going through a growth spurt. Not the kind where his little jammies are a bit too tight. The kind where our doctor asked, in all seriousness, if he was throwing up any of his food because she had never heard of a baby this young drinking 11 ounces at a time and keeping it all down. But he does. Over and over again. We feel bad because we are feeding him so much more than we’re told we should. The problem is, if we stop he screams and screams until he gets his bottle back. We cannot fill him up. He’s not even to his third month and we’re buying the amount of food recommended for 6 month old children or those greedy mean chihuahuas that women carry around in handbags and you know they could rip your face off. I mean the chihuahua could rip your face– nope. Just thought about it. As to whether I meant the chihuahuas or the women I’ll let the ambiguity stand.
Every ounce the kid gains goes to his face. It looks like I’m raising the Mexican Fatty Arbuckle. His cheeks look like we decided for some reason to store an egg’s worth of Silly Putty on each side of his face. His forearms have little rolls of fat. I find rolls of fat I didn’t even know the human body could make. I delight in showing my friends how you can part his roll of neckfat to find another, deeper roll of neckfat. His neckfat becomes my pride and joy. See how fat MY baby is? I go through an odd phase of showing everyone I meet just how fat I can make a baby. You’d think I had invented caloric intake.

His burps can be categorized thusly: hic-cough, ate at Taco Bell, frat boy, Homer Simpson, and Zuul. You do not want Zuul. Nobody wants Zuul. The worst is when the Zuul burp wafts formula smell at you. I seriously thought nothing could smell worse than formula that I had to mix at three a.m. while sick to my stomach. At 3:15 that same morning I knew I hadn’t thought it through. Thankfully he doesn’t spit up that much. When he does, he seems to be an all-or-nothing kind of guy. I used to think loving my baby was such an intense, visceral kind of warmth I could truly feel it spreading. Now I know better: that warm gushy feeling I get when I hold Baby starts at my heart and spreads steadily all the way from my chest to my arms and stomach, then stops at the band of my underwear where it pools because formula-drool is super-viscous before it crusts over.

This leads to a whole other tactical problem I had yet to consider: the nursery has a little bassinet, a changing table, stacks of onesies and jammies, a shelf of stuffed animals, but no laundry hamper. We forgot that outside the casino hotel laundry would be expected. You can get away with a LOT in a casino hotel that just doesn’t fly out here in reality, but that’s another article. Tune in next time when Mac and Sarah re-evaluate the importance of clothing, self image and sanity.


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