From the category archives:

The Shoebox Chronicles

Shoebox Chronicles: BBQ Bill

by Mary Anne on September 7, 2009

First of all….THANK YOU to all of you who were kind enough to comment last week on my plea for Shoebox Chronicles entries. I could never tell you how stuck I was and how much your support means to me. I’m going to get to several of them but today, let’s start with one from Pippa who asked:

“The best dinner party guests ever (alive or dead, but the dead ones would have to be alive because of a Time Travel Machine that you or someone you knew made, otherwise they would be really bad guests as they wouldn’t eat your food or talk and would smell and their head would fall off into some soup…)

Wait. What?

Okay, now I get it and I love me some Pippa for asking. I could tell you about bringing someone back from the dead and a great dinner we had where their head did not fall off in their soup but that would be too easy. So Pippa, I’m turning that question on it’s head and telling you about the worst dinner party in the history of….well, ever.

We had a friend over for a grill last year. A friend we don’t see often for reasons that are about to become clear to you because we don’t live very close to each other. Let’s all pretend we are in the witness protection program and call him BBQ Bill from now on…because I really don’t want him to ever find us again.

BBQ Bill shows up with his kids :45 minutes early while I’m still running around in a towel with curlers in my hair. Oddly enough, he has a HUGE cooler with him even though we told him not to bring anything. Normally, I’d assume our guest brought adult beverages but I was a bit confused as it was only the three of us (because in this house we have a strict one beer per child limit) (also, I’M KIDDING) and the cooler could easily hold two cases of beer and a few bottles of wine.

But it wasn’t beer and wine.

It was meat. At least 50 lbs of raw meat. Even though we told him we had the food covered. Beef, chicken, ribs, you name it. I’ve never seen so much raw meat outside of the grocery store. I’m not kidding you when I tell you what once was a small farm was now in that cooler.

So I looked at The Man and The Man looked at me and shrugged his shoulders (because we are both totally at the WTF??? portion of this story a mere :15 in, which is never a good sign) So we finally asked the million dollar question, “What’s with all the meat?”

At that point, BBQ Bill informed us he doesn’t have a grill at home so he’s going to grill this meat (50 lbs!) on our grill and store it for future dinners. Which, no big deal right? It wouldn’t be normally, no. But…the grill we bought is crap, and after about an hour or so of high heat, giant plumes of black smoke start to emerge and stain our house which is entirely white brick a lovely shade of grossness. Witness the setup:

grill 2
Needless to say, The Man and I tend to be careful to avoid this very situation. Not that day. BBQ Bill took over the grill….for four hours. This, in and of itself, was annoying. Aside from the whole house turning black you should know that in the summer in Texas, we tend to grill and run inside because hell has nothing on us heat wise. Four hours of it and you are basically dealing with three adults soaked in sweat and smelling of charred flesh…which is to say, not my style. It was all too much…how much meat can one man grill? (50 lbs in case you weren’t following)

The fact that his son was pulling out our in ground sprinkler system and beating my children repeatedly in the pool was really the icing on the cake. (Kids will be kids!) With every thwack and every sizzle I cringed. At some point I’m fairly sure I ended up in the fetal position under the table sucking my thumb though the post traumatic stress disorder prevents me from remembering it all.

The Man did not think I would be able to endure. I did not think The Man would endure. Every time we thought he was done, another burger patty would magically appear and one of our children would scream in the distance. We were at a stalemate as to which one of us was going to go completely freak show and send them running to the street. Sadly, we are both far too polite and it never happened. Though our house, once white, now fully smoke black, was begging us to.

Hours later (eight in total for what was supposed to be a three hour get together), we got them out of our house with their cooler of full of meat, sprinkler system in serious need of repair and children now afraid of anything pole shaped.

As we burned the flesh off of our hands scrubbing with bleach to restore our house to it’s original color (it’s still not quite there) we pinky swore with our ragged fingers to never have them over again.

So thank you Pippa for the question….because just the other day I was thinking we hadn’t seen this guy in a while. Now I remember why.

Now y’all tell me…whats the worst dinner guest you’ve ever had and have you had them back since?

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The Shoebox Chronicles: Shoe-gasm

by Mary Anne on December 14, 2008

Welcome to another edition of The Shoebox Chronicles!

A while back Kat over at 3 Bedroom Bungalow suggested that I talk about a favorite pair of shoes. One would think I could have come up with that on my own given that I am The Stiletto Mom and all but no, never occurred to me. This is why I love you all so much…you don’t really seem to mind that I have no idea what I’m doing most days. Then Dorsey over at Searching For My Inner Skinny, as usual, had to take it one step further and asked me to not only describe a favorite pair of shoes….but tell her about a pair that gave me a shoe-gasm.

It’s embarassing to admit but I have to be honest and tell you that I have never actually had a shoe-gasm. Even though I am an admitted shoe whore, it’s just never happened for me. I am an open minded person, I’ve experimented with several different shoes, some of them designer even. I think it’s just that I never met the right pair.

Until this weekend. Oh yes friends, it happened. And it? Was freaking FABULOUS.

It all started when I walked into Neiman’s. I had my loot from the big bet burning a hole in my pocket. I made my way to the shoe department with great anticipation. What would they feel like on my feet? Would they be firm and confident? Or gentle and inviting? Would they caress the arches of my feet in a way they’ve never been caressed before? Eyes darting back and forth, my heart racing with the thought of what they would look like, I surveyed the room for the pair of Christian Louboutins that would be my perfect match. And then I saw them.

Hello Lovah…

I’ll admit I was a little shaky as I handed them to the salesperson….I blushed as he smiled at my expression. He gently took the shoe from my hand and guided me to a plush chair in which to sit. My mind began to race….excitement at what was about to happen to my feet, shame at the wretched excess of what I was considering doing. What would my other shoes think? They are pretty, they’ve been good shoes…how could I turn my back on them like this? They’ve been loyal to me, heels never breaking, always perfectly matching my outfit…comfortable even. As shame began to flood my emotions, I considered leaving. Something about this all just felt so wrong, so….dirty.

And then my salesman came back with the shoes. He knelt down in front of me, glancing up as he lifted the lid off the box. He smiled slightly as he slowly pulled the red tissue paper back exposing the shoes. He was good….soooo good….he was definitely a man who knew what he was doing. With the slightest flick of his wrist, he quickly pulled the shoe from the box and looked at me knowingly. “Give me your foot….let’s see how this feels…” he said.

Slowly he slid the shoe on to my ever so slightly shaking foot.


I could feel the heat coming from the shoe, the tingle, starting at the arch of my foot and beginning to spread slowly up my leg……and then it happened.


Sort of like this:

After a few disapproving looks from the Dallas Society types, I stood up on my shaky legs, thanked the nice salesman for being so gentle and knowing with a novice like me and quietly paid him before he had a chance to call security.

Feeling like a born again woman, I confidently took the shoes, tucked them into the trunk of my car and headed home. I’ve heard shoes like to just doze off after giving a good shoe-gasm so I thought the darkness of the trunk would be the perfect place for them to relax after bringing my feet such joy and the knowledge of what a true, loving shoe-gasm could feel like.

We got home, I lovingly lifted them from the trunk, brought them in and gently unwrapped them. And then we had a make-out session.

Now I know a few of you guys, and by guys, I mean Man Bloggers, are just not going to get all the hype here. It’s not just that these are the most comfortable shoes known to man (well woman actually)….they are literally sex on heels. The way they make my calves pop when I wear them, the fact that they are black and will go with EVERYTHING…all that pales in comparison to the red sole of the shoe that screams, “Look at me! Look at meeeee!!!!” as I prance out of a room. It is nothing more than pure, unadulterated conceit in the form of a simple black shoe. In short, they are right up my alley.

Huge shout out to Mama Dawg from Two Dogs running whose relentless reading of Us and People paid off Thursday as she was the first one to guess my little word scramble. Sure, people call those magazines rags full of useless information. I call them my bible because having all that celebrity knowledge is what allowed me to win this little bet in the first place. Oh, and Cameron? I’m still not going to tell you what the bet was. Mama Dawg….you are my kind of gal!!!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a shower.

This hot mess edition of The Shoebox Chronicles brought to you by my favorite new Brit, Kat at 3 Bedroom Bungalow and the ever snarky Dorsey at Searching For My Inner Skinny. Gals, I love you both…thanks for the great idea!

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Long before I opened the Shoebox for ideas I went directly to one of the biggest smart asses out there, Captain Dumbass, and asked him to help me out. If there are even two of you reading me today that don’t know him, I’d drop dead of shock….and if it’s true…you need to discover him in all his glory at Us and Them. Now. I’ll wait.

Back? Ok, good! Don’t you feel like your life just got a little brighter today for knowing him? I promise you, the glow never fades. EVER, NEVER.

So Captain Dumbass gave me this idea:

“You are the first lady…what is the first thing you would do?”

Which…at first I was like DUDE! My guy totally didn’t win and you know that!!! (My guy didn’t even make it out of the primary…I’ve been sad for a very long time folks.) But then I thought, well what the heck, because while I will more than likely never be a First Lady, I might very well be a First Mom. It will give me good practice for when Mr. C takes the White House in 30 years or so. So let the planning begin.

I’m guessing most of the standard stuff is already in place. China patterns, decor, a well thought out shoe closet. So I’m going to start off with the one thing I might actually enjoy with this administration, The Inaugural Ball.

First of all, I’m doing away with all this formal mess. I like a good ball gown as much as the next girl but the shoes and dancing all night? No thanks. I tend to be much more of hang on the back porch and drink with your friends kinda gal so that’s how we are going to roll with this one.

First thing to consider is the music. I’m going to do the world a favor and introduce them to Cynical Dad and let him rock his Nameless Twitter Radio Show (Tuesday nights on Twitter starting at 10 pm East Coast….add him now and join in!) directly from the South Lawn. Requests always accepted as long as they are in theme. And if you are out of theme? He will publicly shut your ass down on Twitter. Trust me, I know of which I speak. So all you foreign dignitaries and stupid celebrities that plan on showing up? You had better have your shit together before you take on Chag because he could put DJ AM to shame. He’s THAT GOOD.

Even though I cyber stalk him, I don’t really know Cynical Dad that well. I figured this was a way to take the harassment far beyond the usual boundaries of twitter and relentless commenting on his site that I normally employ. The conversation went something like this.

TSM: Hey Chag? I know I am starting to scare you what with all the constant tweets, comments and emails but I really need your help with something.
Cynical Dad: Seriously, Stiletto, you are turning into a freak, go away.
TSM: No really…help me.
Cynical Dad: Do you promise to go away if I do?
TSM: Of course! (fingers, toes, legs and eyes crossed…I’m totally not going away but he can’t see that…don’t tell him.) I’ve been asked to host the Inaugural Ball and I need a DJ. Can you step in? The theme of the party is Change. Can you spin a few songs for me?
Cynical Dad: I’m going to need you to sign this document promising to go away but after that, I’ll help. Sigh…
TSM: Sure! (PS? I totally signed it The Tennis Shoe Mom….it’ll never hold up in a court of law.)
Chag: Well, if the theme is Change, I’m gonna get the party started with Changes by David Bowie. This song might’ve been about Bowie changing his personas or a sex-change operation, but it’s still much cooler than that lame Will.I.Am song.
TSM: Well, sure, that’s a great song and all but since I’ve changed the venue to a lawn event, there will be kids there. Not sure sex change operations are appropriate.
Chag: Ok, you have a point. How about Motley Crue Time For Change? You know that one, the song that killed Motley Crue’s career (who wanted to listen to them talk about change, issues, etc. instead of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll?) could’ve kicked ass as an Obama song.
TSM: Chag, focus. FAMILY EVENT.
Chag: God you are a huge pain in the ass aren’t you?
TSM: So I’m told.
Chag: Ok, last one. How about Time to Change by The Brady Bunch? I think if Obama had used this as high campaign song, he would’ve won ALL of the electoral votes. He definitely would’ve received 100% of the Gen X vote.
TSM: Yes!

Cynical Dad? YOU ROCK. Moving on to the next part. DANCING. Sure the Obama’s can bust a move, we all know that.

But I know for a fact the rest of these uptight politicos don’t know a thing about dancing so I’m bringing Steenky back….the Stink is going to show them a thing or two about how to get their groove on, and also how to rock a totally HAWT dance face. Like this:

Steenky? You are one hot mess of a dancing fool. Also? I’d like to suggest that when and if we ever meet we avoid dancing altogether. I’m not sure I can keep up with your fierceness.

Cocktails are in order, especially for me what with all this hard work and the need I will have to wash that pesky taste of a total ass kicking the results of the election out of my mouth. For that, I went to Ciroc the Vote and found this little gem of a recipe:

1½ oz. Cîroc Vodka
¾ oz. pineapple juice
1 oz. cranberry juice
Splash of triple sec
Preparation: Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a glass.

So there you have it. One party for a Democrat planned by a charming Republican Southern Belle. Can you make it? If I’m in charge you are all invited. If this really is the Administration of Change…then surely they won’t mind all of us crashing their party right? Please RSVP below and let me know so I can buy enough booze.

This hot mess multi-media edition of The Shoebox Chronicles brought to you by Captain Dumbass, Cynical Dad and Steenky Bee. Three venerable bloggers who I plan to stalk until my fingers fall off…you should too! And don’t forget about Cynical Dad’s Nameless Twitter Radio Show tonight at 10 EST. Go add him on twitter and send in your requests, tonight’s theme is Guns N Roses…be there or be square!

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The Shoebox Chronicles: Grossness

by Mary Anne on November 12, 2008

Well, hello friends! First of all, thank you guys for all for stepping up to the plate yesterday to help me with this nasty case of Writer’s Block I seem to have going on. I asked and you guys delivered a good two months worth of stuff if I get stuck again. Plus, I got some very nice emails and posts that encouraged me which just touched my hard, cold, haute couture heart to no end. You guys are the best! So many great topics that I’m putting them into something I’m calling the Shoebox Chronicles. I’ll pick one topic from the Shoebox as I freeze up, write my heart out and give you tons of linky love at the end for being such a dear friend and understanding what it feels like to prefer the thought of sticking your head in the oven over trying to come up with something original to say.

And now, the first installation of the Shoebox Chronicles….Grossness…

There are so many things that gross me out. To cite a few, standard nose picking….add extra points for eating after. Dirty fingernails…please don’t touch me with them. Childbirth videos…please don’t show me the video of your hoo hoo at a party (a dinner party no less right after we finished eating…oh yes, that actually has happened) and I’ll spare you from the lengthy explanation of how the thought of something coming out of…well, down there, caused me to threaten my husband within an inch of his life if he got near me with a camera at that point. If you have such a video, I’m happy for you because you are far less squeemish than I am and you actually had the right attitude in the delivery room, whereas I? Did not. Bring on the drugs and get this thing out of me was my general opinion. Yep, I’m shallow but you knew that. Feet, in general, need to be added to the list as do crickets, crawfish and lizards.

I thought I had my list of things that would make me throw up down to a science.

Until the other night.

The Man and I were sitting outside, we do that a lot at this time of year. It’s cool and crisp and we have a covered patio where we have mounted an old TV that streams whatever is on in the family room. It’s fantastic and my favorite place to kick back at the end of the night while the weather is pleasant.

This is where I relax, no kids, great wine and read all of your blogs and write on my own. So here I was, really enjoying myself when all of a sudden the man hawked the largest phlegm ball ever seen by humanity.

We interrupt our regularly schedule programming here to insert the following caveat: The Man does not normally do such disgusting things. The Man is actually quite charming, well mannered and able to function in social settings with little to no supervision. The Man was not raised in a barn nor does he scratch himself in public. The Man normally does not emit phlegm on such a hideous basis, he was suffering from the grossness he eventually infected me with. The Man is an educated, well spoken former member of the United States Air Force and is pretty damn good lookin’ to boot.

The phlegm ball hit the ground and before you could say, “WTF???” our 38 pound (not a typo) pug ran as fast as his fat little legs would carry him and GOBBLED IT UP. Vomit. Then? He licked his lips and stood there wagging his tail. The dog, that is.

As I started wretching uncontrollably, The Man was laughing hysterically at me. AND THEN HE DID IT AGAIN.

…and the dog? Gobbled it up again…and then? TRIED TO GIVE ME A KISS.

Apparently this is a disgusting little trick my non barn bred, well educated, former member of the military has played before with our dog. The fact that it makes me dry heave into our landscaping only makes it more fun. Pfft.

After I finished throwing up in the begonias, I asked him very kindly to never do that shit to me again. But now, he is sitting here looking like he might have a trick or two up his sleeve, and after 15 years of marriage…I’m scared…and TOTALLY GROSSED OUT.

Somebody hold me…and bring a bucket.

This hot mess of The Shoebox Chronicles brought to you by Mama Dawg over at Two Dogs Running who asked the following question: “Write about something that completely grosses you out. I mean to the point that you’re thisclose to hurling as you type it.” If you haven’t been to her site, go check it out, tons of humor, hard to answer questions and great posts in general. She’s awesome and I adore her for adding to my ability to totally punish all of you for reading me.

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