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I like to play a little game with my mother called “Married, In Jail or Dead.”

It goes like this: Mom calls me and says “Did you know a Mark Smith in grade school?”

At this point, I know this person is either experiencing some domestic milestone, in trouble with the law or dead. I get to guess which.

Sometimes I even get clippings from the newspaper in my home town describing in great detail how the girl I barely knew in seventh grade just had her fourth kid, or how the guy one grade higher than me just drove himself into a bridge embankment.

Jews worldwide should heave a sigh of relief my mother wasn’t Hitler’s mother – Hitler would have been opening envelope after envelope of newspaper clippings about old classmates. Some of which I’m sure didn’t want to be found.  I can hear her now: “Adolf, didn’t you go to camp with a Harvey Katz?”

Mom has appointed herself Sea Isle City, New Jersey’s Minister of Communication, and thanks to her, not one obscure ex-classmate has made a move in 30 years that I did not know about.

My mother invented Facebook without even knowing it.

Just about to get to work yesterday when I heard the all too familiar BOOM! of a transformer blowing.

Lights out. Poof goes the power.

That’s ok, I think, trying to stay positive —  I still have my laptop battery! But the wireless router plugged into the wall is dead, so I can’t get online, which really makes my laptop next to useless in my opinion.

That’s ok, I soldier on, bravely — I’ll exercise!  Then I realize – I can’t. The Wii won’t work without electricity. The recumbent bike won’t give me resistance without being plugged in. I can’t even go for a walk outside thanks to the 30 mile an hour wind and rain that blew out the damn transformer in the first place. What am I supposed to do? Run in place without a little Wii person leading me around a little Wii track?  I would look RIDICULOUS!

Those poor people in the 1700’s must have been SO out of shape.

And every time the electricity goes out, I have a few seconds where I think to myself: “Well, I can’t watch television, but at least I can watch a DVD or Tivo.” Every. Single. Time.

Inevitably, I end up doing some house cleaning – in dim light, which drives me crazy. (Actually, in the past my mother has accused me of always doing my house cleaning by dim light, now that I think about it.) Opening the shutters to let in the sun doesn’t help much.

Why does the electricity always go out on overcast days?

The whole day goes by and no electricity. When the sun goes down we start feeling like pioneers, sitting outside, trying to enjoy our last few minutes of light. Soon afterwards we’re sitting in the living room playing cards by flashlight.

That’s right. I said CARDS.

We’ve been reduced to animals.

Slowly, the bulb in our only decent flashlight starts to go, like one of those horror movies where there is one little light keeping the vampires at bay and it is getting dimmer and dimmer…

We light candles all over the place, knowing full well people who drink as much wine as we do should not light candles all over the place.

Our beloved dog, Gordon, is looking at us like we’re nuts. Switches on the wall, people. He’s saying. I’m too short to reach them and I’ve got these awkward paw thingies instead of hands, but I’ve seen you do it a million times. Just hit the light switches on the wall!

We finally give up and go to bed, praying the PING! of everything springing back to life wakes us up during the night.

It doesn’t.

Day two of darkness arrives.

I hope we don’t have to eat the dog.

Lately, I’ve had an important question on my mind. When are you too old to wear a thong? 40? 30? When your ass has official touched the back of your knees?

When you just look ridiculous in them” isn’t a satisfactory answer, because thongs are not solely about titillation. They also serve a functional purpose – they eliminate panty lines.

I despise panty lines. Not only are they unattractive, but they bring to mind the word “panty” – quite possibly the most horrible word in the English language. You can’t say “panties” without giggling or feeling just a little bit dirty.  Even 1959’s Anatomy of a Murder with Jimmy Stewart has a ten minute shtick about how they can’t say “panties” in the courtroom without the gallery cracking up. Of course, they also spend half the movie implying Lee Remick deserved to be raped for suggestively nudging a pinball machine.

Panty lines remind me of standing in the checkout at Talbots with my mother. Every woman there had panty lines, and we’re talking big old grandma panty lines. And apparently, once your tush flattens to a certain degree, you lose your ass crack. Talbots is crack-free as a rehab clinic. It’s crazy. I mean, even a Ken Doll at least has an ass crack. Of course, having a nice ass is probably pretty important to old Ken.

Every one of those ladies in Talbots appeared to be wearing diapers. Talbots and Depends should really do some sort of cross-promotional thing – buy a pair of  Talbots’ new “Pancakeass Khakis” and get a free box of Depends or something. I give this nugget of marketing gold to them free of charge.

So, how old is too old for a thong? What if they invent “Ass-crack Defining” thongs for older ladies? Will our retirement homes be filled with thong wearing octogenarians?

Maybe the test should be that you walk into a Victoria’s Secret or other lingerie store, and you ask the girl there where they keep the thongs.  If she happily squeaks “Right over here!” then you are still good to rock the thong.  If she blanches and appears to throw up a little in her mouth, then it is time to steer yourself to the full sized underwear section. Otherwise known as…

…wait for it…

PANTIES!

Secretly, our family with children WANT us living the Kid-Free Life.

It doesn’t matter how many times in their younger days Mommy and Daddy woke up curled around a toilet wondering who the person they are handcuffed to is.  To their kid, they are just a couple of old fogeys with bad hair who totally dork out every time the radio plays an 80’s tune.

When the time comes to talk a niece down off a stripper pole, Mommy and Daddy will be powerless.

On the other hand, Uncle Mikey and Aunt Amy will still have street cred. Our house will be the first stop the eloping couple will take on their way to Vegas – where, as we pretend to be open to the idea of funding this little escapade, we will actually be using Jedi Mind Tricks to talk Wild Neice out of releasing the hand of the guy with “187” tattooed to his cheekbone in old English font.

That’s right. You want us on that wall.

You NEED us on that wall.

So I’m currently writing a novel, because I was SUPPOSED to be a famous writer, and then somewhere along the way I fell into that trap of actual making some money for a living. Mike has mixed feelings about the book – he’s more of a spy thriller kind of a guy and I lean more towards fanciful fiction. But, never to be out done, he announced today he’ll be writing his own book now.

Mike plans to cash in on the vampire crazy by writing a book about a sexy vamp who only dates women on their period.

His title?

Iron and Fish.

Starting a blog because my husband is a cartoon character, my life is often like a sitcom, and because I wanted a place to collect all the things that happen to us. It occurred to me that many of the things that happen to us do so because of the free time we enjoy thanks to being Kid-Free (much to my mother’s chagrin), hence the title. Why should the people with cute drooly kids (who say the darndest things!) have all the fun posting what Widdle Timmy said to the guy in the elevator? Frankly it just sounds to me like widdle timmy is a racist.

Why is my husband a cartoon character? Well… he’s sort of rubbery faced, like Jim Carrey. He’s built like him too – naked from behind he looks like he’s walking around on two giant Q-tips (with each butt cheek the cotton swab). All that helps mold the cartoon persona, but the main reason is that whatever brains the powers that be blessed upon him, he has channeled almost exclusively into driving me insane. He’s like that sibling in the back seat of the car that keeps touching you – stop touching me! (touch) STOP touching me! (touch) STOP TOUCHING ME! (touch.)

This is both good and bad. For instance, I have developed almost ninja-like defensive skills in blocking all his maddening pokes and tweaks. Steven Seagal (Lawman) could come swinging through our window hell-bent on cuffing me and I would stand a fighting chance of getting away, or at the very least giving that stupid ponytail a good yank before I went down.

Did I mention we both work from home, so we’re together 24 hours a day? Did I mention his brother, who is mixed exactly like him with a twist of redneck comes and spends the night at our house once a week to get his drink-on?

I think you’re getting the picture.

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