Saturday, November 15, 2014


The other day as I was butchering some too-good-to-be-true tutorial I found on Pinterest, I began to wonder if there was someone out there laughing at me.  There are so many websites dedicated to Pinterest fails that I'm starting to believe bloggers are making things up for either boosts in website traffic or for their own general amusement.  It's as if they have a bingo machine for ailments and another for household goods.  The first is spun, yellow ping-pong balls flutter and collide like boiling atoms, and out pops a little ball. "Foot fungus," it reads. The next machine spins around and around until it procures a "cure".  Wonderful!  Now they just need a graphic.  Enter stock photo and some bold lettering.

Perrrrfect. Now it's time to write some content.

A Pintrickster likes to give you well-defined steps to make their deception seem legitimate.  These steps often come in odd numbers or in clusters of 6, which is a strong indicator that you are about to embarrass yourself, and Satan will laugh at you.

  1. The first step will always be to wash the afflicted area.  This tricks you, the reader, into thinking the bizarreness that's about to follow is somehow sanctioned medically, herbally, or scientifically.  Sanitizing people are analyzing people, amiright?
  2. Next they will tell you where to put the afflicted area.  Place hand over sink.  Hold nose under faucet. Or in the case of my example: Place foot in large bucket or container.  This manipulates you into thinking the author is your friend because they care about the cleanliness of your abode.  How sweet!
  3. Next they will give you a list of measurements, which is just another way to seem professional.  But when you see '2/3rds', run. 2x3=6 which is the devil's number. Measure out 2/3rds cup of sauce into mixing bowl.
  4. Now they will spring an added ingredient on you.  Mix in 6 tablespoons of cough medicine. This does two things: First, it convinces you of the science behind the tutorial.  The ingredients in the cough medicine activates the anti-fungal properties in the herbs suspended in the anti-oxidant rich tomatoes. Sounds pretty good, no?  Second, it disperses the blame. The more ingredients, the greater the dispersal.  Soon, the Pintrickster is hidden behind a wall of personal doubts. This isn't working; did I purchase the right brand of sauce? Should I have bought the organic? Or the one with the little mushrooms? Fight fungal with fungal.  Pretty sure that's a saying.  Or was it the cough medicine?  I bought the overnight formula.  I knew I should have got Dayquil.  Cherry flavor?  Orange flavor?  Better get both next time to be safe. At this point, is hasn't even occurred to you to question the legitimacy of the author.
  5. This is where some technique comes in.  This is like scam insurance.  When the ridiculous claim they made doesn't work, you will start to wonder if you followed the directions completely.  This may motivate you to repeat the process and even invite a witness to help you perform the procedure perfectly.  Pour sauce mixture over toes in a counterclockwise motion.  Now, use a paint brush to gentle sweep the crimson magic over the entire surface of your foot, concentrating on the toenails and using zigzagging motions.  At this point, even the angels are laughing at you.
  6. This step is for the sole purpose of torturing you.  It is step 6 after all.  Stand with feet apart, pointed at a 66 degree angle, and knees touching. In this position, allow feet to soak in magical sauce tonic until toes are deeply pruney and smell like Italy.
  7. Rinse feet. This step is a mercy step for those would walk around with pizza feet otherwise. (You know who you are.)  This just goes to show you that Pintricksters have a conscience, however small that may be.
  8. This step is to hide that small conscience. Repeat every night until fungus disappears.
  9. In this instance, this final step is mostly a token step just to end the tutorial with an odd number.  It's also subtle mockery.  Enjoy your new, fresh feet!
Take these tips to heart next time you are tempted to dye your hair with soy sauce, remove warts with pie dough, or douse your eye in wheatgrass juice. That's a Pintrickster at work.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Not so great expectations

Do you ever completely dedicate yourself to something only to be disappointed with the results? I haven't been blogging lately because I've been working on a little project. At the end if June I was struck by the lightning of inspiration and flooded with ideas; unshakable ideas that seemed to come from another world, and they chose me to tell their story. So when I returned home from our eventful trip to Illinois I began to write. Every nap time and bedtime I plugged myself in to my laptop and watched chapter after chapter flow from my fingers until it filled my depleted body with life. I felt fulfilled, happy, and more like myself than I'd been in years. Parenting was more enjoyable, my husband was handsomer, and my house almost seemed to have a linen closet. Almost.

Then there was chapter 20, the climax, the pinnacle of prose, the summit of syntax, and I got stuck. Suddenly, the wave of ideas recessed and the low tide left a sandy graveyard of loop holes, questions and doubts. The more I forced myself to muscle through the feeling the more I began to hate all 55,000+ words I'd written. I stepped away from the project and prayed for perspective.

What followed was a couple months of the worst depression of my life as I realize this whole book thing was a metaphor for my experience with motherhood.

Please be gentle with your judgement.

When I was a little girl there were two things I wanted more than anything: to be a teacher, professionally, and to be a mom.  I looked forward to stroking my diploma from BYU, arranging my classroom, tutoring after school, and grading papers in the evenings while snuggled up in my little cottage with a fluffy dog sleeping on my feet. Then when I was old enough to be considered an old maid (by Utah standards) but not so old that I was infertile, I would marry a perfectly obnoxious salesman and quit my job to dedicate the remainder of my days to rearing children. It was a fantastic plan and I couldn't wait to make it happen.

Then life took an unexpected turn.  I got married young, took a hiatus from school, had some babies, and fast-tracked to the motherhood part of the plan with a significantly less obnoxious husband. It doesn't take much digging through the blog archives to see how painful it was for me to give up school and becoming a teacher.  Once Annie entered my life I knew my only option was to stay home till the day I die, never to write on a white board or attend staff meetings or argue with the lady in the copy room about the tests she forgot to copy. (Dramatic much?) However, a little piece of me was okay with making this sacrifice because I thought motherhood would automatically make me content and fill my whiteboard-marker, red-pen, teaching dreams with something as equally satisfying.

It did not. I definitely had good days, especially when it was just me and Annie, but as soon as Sam entered the picture it was like someone flipped a switch, and motherhood became torturous and stifling. You can imagine how much that bothered me. I began to ruminate and obsess and berate myself for not feeling like dancing on pink and blue pastel rainbows as I listened to hours of crying, got out of bed six times a night, and never really had a moment alone expect for the times I spent locked in my closet weeping. I wanted to be like those "normal" mothers who still felt like motherhood was the hardest and best thing to ever happen to them.  I just felt like it was the hardest.

But wait! This is what I've always wanted! This is what I spent my whole life preparing for! Why did I feel so disappointed?

On Sunday we had a lesson in Relief Society about the ten virgins. Five had oil in their lamps, but the other five didn't not. The ladies with oil couldn't share or they would run out themselves before the bridegroom arrived. While I sat in my cushioned chair, the Lord whispered to me, "You are out of oil."

I don't have date night with my husband. Paul works long hours and isn't home much. There are no Girl's Night Outs on my calendar. My children accompany me almost everywhere I go. Annie and Sam both have medical issues and personality quirks that make them high maintenance and exhausting. And I'm so afraid of being a burden on someone else that I can not ask for help.  So there is no one taking care of me, not even me. I'm completely out of oil. Heck, I can't even find my lamp in this mess.

Anyway, I want to start blogging again because I love to write (but not that stupid book; it makes me homicidal).  And I want to take on a few more little projects around the house to keep me busy.  Hopefully, I can conjure up some courage to take people up on babysitting offers too.  I want to enjoy my children again, like really bad. So if it takes a little more effort to make motherhood feel more effortless, then it's worth it.