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Letters from the disgruntled housewife, a series in the making

Letters from the disgruntled housewife, a series in the making

October 10, 2006

These are just things that annoyed me this morning. I have so many more.

Dear Makers of Generic brand Cereal that comes in those large bags with the ziploc top,

Please just do away with the “ziploc” top. It doesn’t work, ever. In fact I think it is a ploy by your company to make us buy more of your cereal. While we try to open the top of the bag in the manner that is instructed, the entire bag tears open and half of the cereal spills onto the floor. The ziploc top is strangely always in tact. I am tired of frantically trying to scoop the cereal off the floor without my children knowing and then telling them the bits of dirt and grass are part of the cereal when they discover it in their bowls.

What? I should sweep my floor better? Have you been talking to my husband?


To my period,

I am really really tired of you and your insistence on arriving every 25 days. I know that after all these years I should be accustum to your visits, but frankly I am still shocked and always sit on the toilet using my math skills to figure out that it really has been 25 days since you last arrived. While muttering expletives under my breath.

And then I hope I had nothing special planned for the next few days that involved wearing white pants, having sex, or being outside of the 50ft ring of a restroom.

I walk down that aisle of the store and am so confused. Wings, no wings, petal soft applicator, no applicator, night time, daytime, light days, party days…. where is the box that says can also be used to sop up a slaughterhouse floor? That’s the one I need.

So what I am saying, period, is that you can move along now and leave me alone. I no longer have any use for you and the uterine shop is closed for business permanently. I thank you for your many years of valued service, but consider this slightly used panty liner your pink slip.

Also, can you please talk to your friend PMS? Because between the two of you I figure I only get about 13 good days a month.


Dear halloween manufacturers,

What the hell is wrong with you? Are there no normal costumes anymore? I do not want any of my children dressing up as a serial killer. I find it especially disturbing in the toddler set of costumes. Where are the cute costumes? The funny ones? The silly ones? And why don’t kids make their own damn costumes anymore, like we used to? Oh, that’s right, I am too lazy and my children have been too programed that they have to buy a certain one at a store.

Is it so weird that in this day and age, when serial killers are all around us, storming into schools and killing children, that I would not want my children dressed up as something that glorifies this behavior? And yet, when I was out shopping this weekend I saw parent after parent buying their child these costumes and it disturbs me.

Both of my little kids left the costume store crying this weekend. And more than one grown up laughed at them while they cried. This disturbed me even more than the inappropriate costumes. Is that what we are collectively teaching our children? Where is the compassion and love? Do we want our children to be so jaded that they don’t find these dripping blood costumes at all frightening by the time they are 8 or 9 yrs old?

And what the hell has happened to childhood as a revered and innocent time of life?

Also, please stop with the tramp costumes for little girls, and I don’t mean that term in the vagabond jumping the rails sense of the word.


Posted by Chris @ 9:35 am  

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  1. Jonathon says:

    I’ve found with those generic cereals, that it’s easiest just to transfer them to large tupperware containers. You know — the ones with lids that you can open at one end only for easy pouring?

    I feel so incredibly lame that I’m able to give that kind of advice.

    But there ya go.

  2. Karen Rani says:

    Amen. Amen. and Amen again.

  3. Erin says:

    Ditto on the period. ;)

    Have you tried the Disney Store online for costumes? Not sure how old your kids are but they have some very cute appropriate ones. And some of them are on sale, which makes it even better. Happy shopping!

  4. Debbie says:

    You dont want your kids to grow up be serial killer sluts?? What’s WRONG with you. Stop being so anally retentive and give your children space to nourish their inner pyscho!!

    Halloween comes but once a year but the leaning towards the macabre that it inculcates lasts a lifetime. Think about that before you come the Mary Poppins routine. Puh-lease.

    (joking for those of you who dont do humour)

  5. Caren says:

    I completely agree. I just bought my son a Dash costume from the Disney online store last night.

  6. Denise says:

    OK I agree with the zip lock top issue on packages of food - those things don’t work, except occasionally the really expensive Schwans zippy things work but only occasionally.

    I also agree with you on the costume thing - for toddlers. That stuff is just weird and when it comes to halloween costumes for toddlers, I am glad I don’t have a toddler. Any other time, I’d give 3 teenagers for a toddler. I’m not as troubled by the costumes for older kids as most people. 15 year old wants to be a tramp for halloween, that’s fine with me. It’s one day and it’s make believe and it gives us lots ot talk about.

    Now about menstruation you need first to be a lesbian and to find a female partner who is in love with menstruation and the whole femaleness of it. Also you need to be a lesbian and have such a partner so you can have an awesome woman calendar in your bathroom (like Breast of Canada!!!) that your awesome girlfriend can keep track of your cycle FOR YOU. So when you’re getting close she can remind me. Or if you’ve got weird cramps out of the blue, for no good reason, you can say “Am I about to menstruate” and she can say “duh, of course you are”. Also, sex during menstruation is excellent and ummm free-bleeding makes those shopping decisions unnecessary… which is probably a lot more info than you expected to get on a blog comment so I’ll just wander off and you can pretend I didn’t comment at all. Ok? heh.

  7. foodmomiac says:

    We were at the Halloween store last night (buying my five-year-old daughter a Wiccan rock star outfit, of course), and they had kids’ costumes that said “sexy.” It was incredibly creepy. I’m just glad that mine prefers witch cults over trampiness. Phew!

  8. Nicki says:


  9. Woman with Kids says:

    I’m right there behind in that aisle… perhaps if we mated a super and the wings and the nighttime, we’d get an appropriate amount of …absorbtion?

  10. Amy says:

    I found my toddler costumes at a Cracker Barrel store–a cowboy and a cowgirl, complete with hats, bandanas, bollos, the works. I was so pleased with the find, that I bought them back in August!

  11. Meredith says:

    AMEN on the costumes. I don’t even have kids yet and I’m horrified by how we’re dressing our children day to day more or less for Halloween!

    When my little brother was 7 he told my mom he wanted to dress up as the scariest thing he could think of. He thought about it for a few days and made a list before coming back to my mom. His announcement, “Door-to-Door Insurance Salesman!” And that is exactly what he was that year.

    After 6 years old we had to come up with our own costume, no more shopping in the stores. He did a great job with one of my dad’s old suits and and a briefcase with pages hanging out all over the place. It was hysterical…no blood, no guts, but every lady that asked him feigned terror at the doorstep before giving him candy!

  12. Lori says:

    Lillian Vernon also sells costumes online. http://www.lillianvernon.com. The toddler costumes are good, but they have their share of trashy ones for the older kids too. I used to buy my son’s costume as soon as they hit the stores because I never wanted him to be anything scary when he was little. It should be about fun and good things, not scaring the *** out of everyone.

  13. Kim says:

    I found really cute costumes at Pottery Barn Kids - expensive but really nice quality and not icky. :)
    I feel your pain on the period issues though. Sigh.

  14. Jen says:

    I found a really cute monkey costume at Old Navy (or Old Gravy, as the 4 yo calls it), but that was in early September, so I’m betting they have out their valentine’s attire by now.

    One of my most favorite costumes of the past was the year of the snowman. White sweatpants and sweatshirt (on sale at K-Mart), three large buttons sewn on the sweatshirt, little red rubber boots, scarf out of felt, and a little felt hat. Oh and stuffing.

    I made the mistake years ago of making costumes. I’ve made…a bear, a Winnie-the-Pooh, a James the red Engine, a plane, the above mentioned snowman, ummm, I’m sure there are more…oh yes, Harry Potter way back when there was only one book and no one knew who he was (that’s a specialty of my childhood, the indecipherable character.

    I am SO in favor of finding a costume to buy, I can’t tell you!

  15. Sara says:

    Best costumes I ever did were when my oldest 2 were 3 and 1. Cows–complete with stuffed udders that my 1 year old son yanked on through the whole neighborhood provoking various comments and eyebrow raising. Second best costumes took me all of 1 hour (probably way less, actually)–leaf piles. I just dressed the kids in all in red or orange sweats and stocking caps and hot glued silk “fall colored” leaves all over them. Damn. Wish I still had those for my 2 youngest.

  16. menoblog says:

    How about the confusion of extra thick mini pads and ultra thin maxi pads????? And do i really want a pad with “peach strips”?

  17. Katie says:

    Ugh, what’s up with the change of period cycles? I used to be 28 days on the dot (ha!) but now I’m more like 25 days too. This means I now have 14 periods a year instead of 13. (Yes I’m a dork and did the math.) It’s like nature is trying to make up for all the months we spent pregnant and nursing.

    Store bought costumes drive me nuts which is why I’m a complete masochist and make my kids’ costumes. From the ads, I’ve noticed everything is “goth”: goth pirates, goth nurses, goth cats, goth cheerleaders. I sport the pale skin, dark hair, dark circle under the eyes look every day, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

  18. Jennifer says:

    Yes, yes, and yes. I so hear you.

    BUT! I got a cute toddler monkey costume for Jack. It was too cute to pass up, so I couldn’t resist even though they don’t do Halloween in Italy. I bought it big and will use it for Carnival in February. Although we’ve already got some use out of it since he loves it and asks to wear it to play in.

    I wasn’t even looking for a costume when I found it…at the GAP. Pricey, but perfect. And I’ll be able to pass it on to friends afterwards.

  19. robiewankenobie says:

    we make our costmes. last year kickass robots out of boxes. this year? rocket men! martha stewart has a lot of easy peasy ideas on her site (really. i mean easy)…you might want to ease on over.

    [and i was totally pissed off the first year i took my kids tricker treating and all those fucking fearmongers were out and about. asshats.]

  20. Jeanelle Paige says:


    We use the cereal keepers for those inmpossible recloseable bags.

    LOVE the pink slip reference!

    And… Kmart has cute toddler Halloween costumes. Here’s one we got last year for my youngest:

    Good luck with the costume hunting!

  21. allysha says:

    Amen on the costumes. And the other stuff, too, but costumes are on the brain right now…

  22. Christine says:

    What cracks me up is the foods that have ziplocs that are OBVIOUSLY single use containers–like a package of hot dogs. We eat two of them. Packages.

    My kids are doing ‘career’ outfits for Halloween that they make themselves. I’m a dork–and can’t see spending tons of money on the costumes. We have a high traffic neighborhood (people come in from the country and drop them HERE) so I already need about 3 cases of candy.

  23. peepnroosmom says:

    I dislike the zip top bags of cereal, too. About half of them split open down the side, not the zip top. I guess maybe I could start buying the name brand cereal in boxes. NOT!
    Some of the costumes for little kids are horrible. I usually make the costumes. Roo is going as a scarecrow this year.

  24. Keri says:

    Ah, Halloween. Not gonna even go there as my 14-month-old could care less. Works for me! ;)

    As for the period issue, I *swear* by Diva Cup! A friend of mine recently convinced me to get it and I just used it for the first time last week. Worked beautifully. No more tampons, no more pads, no leaks, no mess!!! Wheee!


  25. Jean says:

    Loved this one!! LOL, which for me means that it has to be REALLY funny.

    Ditto on the ziplocs.

    Remember,be careful what you wish for. After the periods and PMS comes menopause. No party either.

    My favorite homemade costume was a bunch of grapes. My daughter had a purple sweatsuit and we pinned small purple balloons all over it. I thought it was great. She still whines that she couldn’t sit down all night (this was about 12 years ago). Get over it already!!!

  26. Beth says:

    Whatever happened to a white sheet with eye holes cut out? LOL My dd13 and all her 8th grade friends are all about *sexy* costumes now… it’s disturbing. What’s left? Pole dancers? (for the record, my dd will NOT be wearing a *sexy* anything costume, she actually found a bumblebee costume that she likes! But let’s just say the motto of the rest of the 8th grade cheerleaders is “push the envelope”)

  27. girlymama says:

    yes, what is up with the trampy kids costumes? i FEAR when my girls are in high school because, while looking through the halloween store ad this sunday, i vowed that neither of them would never, ever wear any of those ‘teen’ costumes that were clearly inspired by low-budget porn films.


  28. InterstellarLass says:

    I definitely think I’ll be having my kids design their own costumes this year. Should be pretty easy considering my daughter wants to be a professional soccer player. I think my son is about to out-grow dressing up.

  29. Chookooloonks says:

    RE: the Halloween costumes:

    OH MY GOD I KNOW!!!!!!!!!

  30. Mandy says:

    I got a Party City flier in the mail the other day, and every “teen” costume for girls was a slutty pirate, or trampy cheerleader, or some other midriff-bearing, low-cut costume. I was really shocked! Have I been living under a rock lately? Is this what people expect now of teenage girls? It kind of made me sad.

  31. Maggie says:

    Another gripe of mine about this lovely halloween season is how one cannot even take children into the “special” Halloween stores which open up for this season: they are TOO scarey with every second object shrieking, yelling, grabbing and OOOHing at passersby. My 6 year olds still just want to be princesses and my 12 year old is always putting together indecipherable costumes: Harry Potter one year, a 50’s style cool guy last year…

  32. Izzy says:

    Geez…if we both have our periods at Blogher next year, we could share a Sams Club size pack of Slaughterhouse Flow pads. I have the same problem *sigh*

    And the Halloween costumes…don’t even get me started. you’ve said it all and I love you dearly for it.

    The only thing that makes me feel even the teeniest bit better is that when we were looking at the Oriental Trading catalog’s Halloween costumes, my daughter declared many of them “inappropriate” for children. My six year old has more common sense than many adults.

  33. Jill says:

    My 7-yr-old daughter wants to go as a bat this year. But, not just any bat. Specifically, a Mexican Freetail bat. Her Gramma, who sews and thus is stuck making the costumes every year, was nonplussed. :)

  34. Navhelowife says:

    This year is one of the few that we haven’t made the kids costumes, and I feel your pain.(we’re moving to Italy in 4 months and so something had to go) I would not let my child go out as a psycho dripping blood…or as a scantily dressed preteen whore…
    My favorite one when I was growing up was an old bridesmaid gown of my sisters - made a wand and a tiara and poof! I was a fairy godmother.
    Luckily, my kids don’t want the gruesome or the scary. And they understand that mom is cheap, I mean frugal, so the 50 dollar ones are not a possibility.

  35. Maliavale says:

    The vagabond costume *would* make a nice one, actually. Maybe I’ll be that!

  36. Jenna says:

    Costumes? Buycostumes.com. Mmm, cheap and normal. (Though, serial killers are present.)

    That said, the avg female period is from 24-26 days.

    That said, I ditto the first letter. I’m still finding cheerios from yesterday.

  37. Lilly says:

    Couldn’t agree more about the costumes. If you look at the Lillian Vernon catalogue you see that cute is in until a child is about 6 and then they go directly to trampy and gruesome. My son won’t go into any halloween store even at the advanced age of 10. I made his costumes for years but this year we’ve bought a pretty cool Anakin Skywalker costume.

  38. halloweenlover says:

    I have to admit that one of the most glorious parts of this pregnancy has been the lack of a period. I’m so happy and free! Hurray!

    Why are there no cute halloween costumes? You know how I feel about Halloween and any type of bad behavior will not be tolerated.

  39. judi casey says:

    i concur on the whole halloween costume nightmare. the innocence of childhood seems to be very passe.
    we still only do homemade or costco costumes. family friendly. our 9 year old twins are going as thing1 and thing2 -red clothes a blue wig and a white flannel circle saying thing 1- my kind of costume.
    i don’t ask what my older (college + kids) are going as- some things are better left unknown.

  40. carrien says:

    http://www.onestepahead.com has very cute baby and toddler costumes not one serial killer or trampy little girl in the mix. If you’re still looking.

    I HATE halloweem decorations and having to explain them to be toddlers and be on the lookout for the scary displays to go around, and having to improvise explanations for “what’s that mommy.” My daughter has enough migthmares as it is without adding ghosts, witch skeletons and creepy vampires dripping blood into the mix thank-you very much. We don’t even do anything, I’m just too worn out by the constant vigilance it requires. SO far they’re not complaining.

  41. Tina says:

    This year for Halloween we have 2 parties, dress up day at pre-school and the actual Trick-or-Treating…so the costume must hold up (and idealy be used for dress up later). We went with the Old Navy Lion one, though I was looking for a fireman costume (that wasn’t plastic). Much harder to find, and hard to find ones under $15 that look like they will last. I was afraid if I tried to make one, it’d be in pieces after the first party, and I’d be searching the stores for a replacement the week of Halloween, only to find those creepy ones you talked about left. Just crazy. And I must “ditto” the talk of all the other commenters. (Though the Martha Stewart “No Sew” ones are rather cute!)

  42. Sophie says:

    Thank you again for another great post. I agree with everything! Let’s petition the Halloween costume makers, and the clothes manufacturers, too, while we are at it!

  43. Gretchen says:

    Go ahead and sign my name under yours for all three letters please!

  44. liz says:

    Amen to the costumes.

    Costume idea (not too time-intensive) Cardboard box. White paper. Black paper. Cut black paper into circles. Paste white paper on box. Paste black paper circles on white paper. Cut a hole for child’s head. Tada! A large die. Make two. A pair of dice.

  45. MonkeyJen says:

    Great post… I also agree with the whole Halloween costume nightmare, but what I really want to know is who would spend $80 to dress their child in this cosume:

    Yes, I would like to say that I am the proud parent of Cockroach Child… NOT.

  46. Elizabeth says:

    On the Halloween issue - last year I worked with a woman from India in the fall, and she was *shocked* and dismayed by the whole holiday. Too creepy! Even for an adult!

    On the menstrual issues - I have heard that endometrial ablation is a god-send if you are done having babies. I haven’t had it, just thought I’d bring it up for those who might want to research it.

  47. meredith says:

    Boo, to horror Halloween costumes.

    Yay, to Mirena IUD, no more periods.

  48. Susan says:

    I hear you on the costumes. What is up with the goth/tramp cheerleader outfits for little girls this year?! Cold day in hell!!!

    We found a great costume here http://www.littledressupshop.com and they have FREE shipping! Their costumes are made very nicely, and we got ours in a matter of DAYS from the time we ordered.

  49. Playdate Susan says:

    “where is the box that says can also be used to sop up a slaughterhouse floor? That’s the one I need.”

    Me too. But these days, I need it for TWO WEEKS. Out of every four.


  50. Julie says:

    Slaughterhouse floor. Yes.

  51. rachel says:

    1 - never buy that kind of cereal, but that happens with so many other packages too.

    2 - LOVE my diva cup. yippeeeee.

    3 - AMEN! I’m vaguely disturbed by my 8yo’s desire to be a vampire this year. LOVED it when they wanted to be astronauts & Pluto. The other 2 want to be princesses. I’m too cheap (ok, frugal) to buy premade costumes, so they “get ideas” from the stores. So sad about people laughing at crying kids - I’ve heard this over and over. Very disturbing.

  52. Brigitte says:

    Mine are getting like “Playdate Susan’s” these days as well, even the most massive megamax tampons and pads together aren’t enough to get through the night. Maybe Chris can start selling us the “Slaughterhouse Floor” pads for extra money.

    We made lots of Halloween costumes ourselves in the 70’s for the contests at the firehouse when we were kids. I was a jellyfish one year (big cushion on head with lots of streamers hanging down), a garbage-can (new garbage can with bottom cut out so I could wear it, with pseudo-garbage hanging out), etc. And in ‘76, I cut out and painted two huge discs of cardboard so I could be a Bicentennial Quarter!

  53. Genevieve says:

    I hear ya on the whole costume thing. I happen to like sewing so I won’t have to subject my kids (or myself!) to the barrage of creepiness in those stores.

    Regarding heavy periods: have you ever tried cod liver oil? I have a friend who had problems with severe irregularity and really heavy bleeding. After just one month of taking cod liver oil she noticed a huge difference — it went from like 10 days of slaughterhouse bleeding, as you put it, to 3 days of normal. She swears by the stuff, even tho’ it tastes icky (but you can get capsules too). She uses Blue Ice brand, found at http://www.greenpasture.org.
    Love your site! I want to be you when I grow up. :)

  54. Sarcastic Journalist says:

    Someone laughed at them? LET ME AT THEM. NOW.

  55. amy says:

    I get my kids’ costumes at places like Value Village. And NOT the costumes (well maybe bits of them, like a wig or for example angel wings). Not only is using cheap used clothing well, cheaper, but it enables my kids to use their imaginations. (And they are cheaper, ahem).

    I am 40 and damn if my periods haven’t gotten longer and stronger with every year. I am with you on giving them the pink slip, enough already.

  56. eko says:

    I want NO Ziplocs on any thing - unless I choose to put something in a Ziploc type bag.

    I agree about the costumes, how frickin’ confused are we making our children! Today I read about all the school shootings (there was another today!) and the article mentioned kids must be responsible for recognizing a potential killer. WTF! When are grown ups going to behave like GROWN UPS ~ and be responsible for our/all children!

    I love my period - a time of rest, and excuses of being tired and needing down time :P — Including a break from hubby’s advances :P Hey, a girl needs a break. I love my menstural cup (instead = disposable or the moon/keeper cups or diva…)

    Oh and don’t forget the new PEARL option on tampax. ::sigh::

  57. Becca says:

    One of my favorite costumes that I’ve seen is the ‘pimp and ho’ ensemble. It comes in toddler and child sizes. Just think–a themed Halloween for your family!

    My kids hate going to the grocery store now because of all the truly creepy skeleton decorations. All over the produce section!

  58. Jeff says:

    I think I have an answer for the cereal on the floor issue. Our one year old daughter is allergic to everything, so I have become a crumb nazi. I bought a roomba that is scheduled to clean the kitchen floor every night. Sometimes I run it a second time after messy snacks / lunches. It’s not a replacement for vacumming, but it is excellent for cereal / crumbs.

  59. Mary Tsao says:

    I gave up and now I’m “making” the costumes. Of course, by “making” I mean, I’m buying the various parts and putting them together. No sewing, please, are you nuts?

    Thankfully, my kids are still young and naive. That helps.

  60. Fold My Laundry Please says:

    We get the generic brand, ziploc top cereals all the time. I found that if I wedge my fingernail into the edge of the zip part that it opens up pretty easy. Yes, I too got tired of ripping the zipper out of the bag trying to open it up with my zero ability to focus my eyes for the first hour or so after I wake up while my children wait oh so (im)patiently! Old age, how you mock me!!! What was I talking about again?

  61. Jamie says:

    I’m with you on the period thing. It is so not fun.

    Also I bought my daughter the cutest (yes, cute) witch complete ensemble, with hat no less, on Ebay for less than $10 including shipping. But you have an entire crew to shop for. I do not envy that. My 18-month-old is wearing whatever the heck I can dig up…probably her older sister’s pink tutu over a turtleneck and tights. She’ll never know. Mwaa haa haa haa.

  62. Mom101 says:

    I sooooo HATE the little ho in training costumes. You have no idea. But the blood and gore stuff? Well…I’ve read quite a few articles from child psychologists who say that around 10, 11, that it’s actually a healthy way for boys to act that stuff out, no different than playing with toy guns or swords. Don’t know if I agree but it does make me think.

    But yeah, 8? Too early. Shudder.

  63. daring one says:

    Love you Chris. Let’s go shopping. My kids can’t dress like trashy serial killers until they’re at least 10.

  64. Annalise says:

    I hear you about the 25 day cycle - that is me too, ever since I got my period back after Sophie was born. It is truly annoying.

  65. Miss Misery says:

    Ditto on the period, and the costumes they have out for little kids are disgusting - especially if your in Zellers and you walk down the aisle a little bit and theres the same skanky witch outfit in an adult size…..the online Disney store sounds like a great plan.

    I’ve just started reading your blog, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’m going to bookmark you so I can come back.

  66. Jen says:

    Um - have you tried postpartum pads? Or is that idea just too gross?! And I hear you about the 50ft ring around the bathroom - especially since my son was born. I can hardly leave the house a couple days a month.

    As for the PMT - I get about 19 good days a month - my husband gets about 12 of them ;)