Skip to main content

Blackout Wednesday in the 'Burbs

It's almost time for the Midwest suburbs' drunkest day of the year! Not New Year's Eve. Not St. Patrick's Day. Not the 4th of July. No, not even MSU vs. U of M game day. It's Drunksgiving! Also known as Blackout Wednesday. Each year, I look forward to it with all the enthusiasm that Wednesday Addams had for Thanksgiving.

That's not genuine moral outrage, by the way. I mean, it's a glorious, satisfying, iconic performance of moral outrage. But think about it. We love the character of Wednesday Addams for being a coldblooded mercenary, a sharp and glamorous mascot for all the nihilism of Gen X, who--Hey, speaking of Gen X, are they going to be at Thanksgiving? Did anyone remember to invite them? In the traditional Boomer vs. Millennial showdown over our feast of greed and gluttony, will Gen X sit back and spectate, forgotten as usual, or will they carry a torch for the sickest burn and use it as a diversion to escape social obligation, like our goth princess Wednesday?

Okay, so the way Wednesday feels about the summer camp Thanksgiving play (lame--get me out of here) is how I feel about Blackout Wednesday. Like, Thanksgiving can be stressful enough. Do we have to poison ourselves and drive our cars into trees the night before? Do we have to start puking before overeating? Do we have to reunite with everyone we outgrew in our youth and celebrate by playacting that we, too, are human dumpsters? No, no we do not.

I live at Ground Zero for these shenanigans, in the Midwestern suburbs, not too far away from Michigan State University, the drunkenness capital of Murrica. I like to prepare for Blackout Wednesday with the same kind of care and attention to detail that Wednesday Addams must have used in preparing her escape from summer camp. I make sure I have all my grocery shopping and errands done so that no one has to leave the house that night; I have known a few too many people killed or permanently injured by drunk drivers to not take this seriously. Like Wednesday, I like to have a nice fire--but in my fireplace. Like Wednesday, I like to have an accomplice in the form of a cute and kissable asthmatic guy--my husband. Like Wednesday, I am interested in learning and teaching my daughter about real American Indian history--but not necessarily to appropriate it for my own revenge plots. It's just, you know, interesting.

My parents are Boomers and also rad liberals, and I don't hate celebrating holidays with them. If my family were so toxic that being around them made me want to get blackout drunk, well, I probably wouldn't be helping them move into my neighborhood this week. I am a full grown adult Millennial (ahem, Earth to hilariously bootypained Boomers who have burst into flames at the word "OK": the children making fun of you on TikTok are Gen Z, not us approaching-middle-age-moms you've been screaming "avocado toast" at for decades). As I was saying, if my parents and/or other extended family guests at Thanksgiving were nuclear, toxic, abusive people (as opposed to regular family members who don't always get along perfectly), I would not bring my daughter over to spend time with them anyway. I'd let them have a meltdown and drink away their sorrows, if someone must, rather than volunteering to do it myself. I haven't been Catholic for a long time, and self-imposed martyrdom no longer appeals to me.

The fact is that I don't hate my family, not even the more typical Boomers among them, or myself, and I don't prefer to catch up with the old friends I do want to see over the dive bar toilet, so bah humbug to Blackout Wednesday. But I get it. Sometimes people use "avoiding something I hate" as an excuse for "doing something I secretly like to do," which for some people is, I guess, getting hammered with your mates from middle school band camp. For me, it might be baking pies and watching campy old movies with my husband and daughter and cat, which sounds much cooler if I pretend it's all because I'm protesting mass consumerism and casting spells for the fall of capitalism. But who do I need to perform for? Everyone worshiping at the public porcelain altars will be too hungover to even remember that I wasn't there.

Remember to eat your vegetables! Love, Mom


Popular posts from this blog

35 Great Things About Turning 35

The prime of life starts at 35! It's the best-kept secret from younger people, but your 35th birthday is a major cause for celebration. For mine, I have made my own listicle of 35 reasons why experts agree that 35 is the best age to be:
You get to say, "I'm 35." The number 35 carries so much more gravitas than 30, but you're only a few years older. At 34, I've started fudging my age--by adding a year. People automatically take me seriously, and if they don't, at least they tell me I look young for my age. (Eye roll, hair toss, "whatever.")  35-year-olds DGAF. Inner chill reaches new heights at 35. Despite its #2 status on this list, it's the #1 response I hear about what's best about hitting 35. My gorgeous friend Nerlie was beautiful and resilient and wise beyond her years in high school, but now, at age 35, she gets to fully enjoy being herself on her own terms. She writes,  "I've survived so much that I don't waste time o…

Happy Spring Awakening of the Rusalki!

The water spirits demand hard-boiled eggs.

According to MagPie's Corner on Facebook, the ancient Slavic holiday week known as "first Rusalii," when the rusalki first awaken in the rivers and streams, is happening now. Apparently, they wake up hangry for bread and hard-boiled eggs.

My family will be baking bread and boiling and decorating eggs, you know, just in case. We do live very close to a river. And traditions are important.

So happy First Rusalii to you! Happy Good Friday! Happy Easter weekend! Happy spring, no matter what or how you celebrate. Where I live, Easter is going to be the first warm, beautiful day we've had in a long time, with many warm days to follow--the perfect weather for a spring awakening.

P.S. Matka Danu Miklagarth, epic historical thriller featuring rusalki-impersonating pirates, is nearly 170,000 words long. If this book ever gets printed, it could be used as a weight to walk across the bottom of a river for real.

The Tiny Tweens

Girls really do grow up faster than they used to! My baby has just started third grade. Here she is looking like a tiny tween. Some of the girls in her class are bigger, taller, and older looking than she is. This is the new reality of girls in elementary school.

My daughter has given away nearly all of her toys and set up a neat and tidy homework desk stocked with notebooks and pens. She's more interested in Minecraft than My Little Pony now, but she still prefers to run around and play with other kids outside than to sit with a device.

Sometimes people ask me if I'm sad that my child is growing up so quickly. So far, not really. She was a very cute baby, but every year older is easier and more fun for me! We haven't yet hit peak enjoy-it-while-it-lasts.

She gets herself ready for the day. She can help with more chores. She sleeps in until about 7:00 a.m. (It used to be 5:00.) She still wants me to read to her at bedtime, but now it's horror chapter books rather than…

My Alpha

It turns out my husband is a fantastic alpha reader. Who knew? We've been married for 13 years and have known each other for 21. And last weekend was the first time I ever had him alpha read for me. Turns out he's the best creative partner I could ever hope for and that he still has the ability to surprise me with hidden talents and acts of love.

My husband is not really a fiction reader. He probably hasn't read a novel since high school AP lit class. It's not that he doesn't love a good story, it's that he doesn't like sitting still long enough to read a book or watch a movie. He's a very active and extroverted man, and he'd rather have a conversation or a real-life adventure than read a book. He's kind of like Gaston if Gaston weren't an asshole.

So until now, I haven't wanted to bother him with requests to read my writing, because reading novels isn't his jam, and also because I've always harbored guilt at how much time I spen…

Word Count Flood

What the meow?

Matka Danu Miklagarth is busting its banks. It's now almost 175,000 words long, and writing it feels like having a weird dream that I can only partly control. I'm not sure I want it to end, but I also know it needs to end soon.

I'm going to be late for work.

I need to have this thing beta read and revised before summer begins, because I don't want to get lost in the fall slush piles.

I also declared on this site that I was "Racing Rammstein" and vowed not to buy the new album until I finished the manuscript. I thought I had plllllenty of time. Ha! My books always run longer than I thought they would.

My husband agreed to be my alpha reader, but now that I mentioned I was writing a sex scene between a mentally unstable serial killer and a man who was recently castrated, he's not so sure. Hmmm, I might have to skip to a group of (all-female) beta readers.

Come on, it's just for historical accuracy.

Gretchen (my cat) doesn't mind me ta…

The Golden Moments

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone. -George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans) 

The only time this is not generally true for me is in the fall. This is the golden moment when I feel most alive, aware, and present with everyone and everything around me. This is when my daughter and I begin most days with a walk in the golden hour of the morning, in this most golden season of the year.

It's also that magical time when my little golden child is still excited about school, from our morning walks to seeing her friends at recess to the Scholastic Book Fair to riding the bus home with more friends. She has already earned another "Golden Warrior of the Week" award (for exceptionally helpful behavior) and received an excellent, glowing report at the first parent-teacher conference of the year.

I've extended my "fallow period" from working on my novel, and I'…