Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spite cheer

I had an incredibly stressful, shitty day at work, so bad that at one point I was literally shaking with anger and frustration. It was an ALL CAPS kind of day. It was terrible, horrible, no-good, AND very bad at times, and to cap off the circus of shitty, the end result is that I have to sit down with an employee very soon and outline why her behavior led to this terrible, horrible, no-good very bad meeting and hope she doesn't make excuses / get loudly defensive / cry. SHITTY. SHITTY DAY. I could go on at length but I won't because (A) blogging about work is a bad plan and (B) probably no one wants to read a bunch of all-caps complaining about work. So, in the spirit of Swistle's brilliant spite charity, here's some spite cheer: some things that made me happy today even though I was also really, really pissed off.

1. I now own this shirt, and even though it's not the best look for my boobs, I care not. Because it's awesome.

2. I ran into my cousin at Old Navy and we ended up having this text conversation as we shopped separately afterward:

3. I carry this cigarette case in my purse to hold gift cards and store customer cards and things that I don't want to cram into my wallet. I got it from my great-aunt's house when she had to move into a nursing home and I just liked the way it looked / found it useful / like to think of her sometimes when I use this small, useful thing. Hilariously, I've had it for years and never realized it was a cigarette case until my officemate saw it last week and asked why I had a cigarette case. Then tonight I got it out at Barnes & Noble and the cashier - who was an adorable hipster Johnny Depp (if so young as to be practically fetal) - thought it was vintage and awesome.

4. I took this photo of Elliott at another touch-a-truck event this past Tuesday morning, and I just love it so much.

5. I caught this A-plus quality air butt last night:

6. I got this from Johnny Depp at the B&N cafe and I ate the whole goddamn thing. My feelings are delicious.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Boys of summer

In the midst of the stolen baby photos cancer scam drama, we actually had a really amazing perfect summer weekend with the boys last Saturday and Sunday. Delayed by my angst / slow watermarking process, here is the evidence:

Touch-a-truck! (They even had a helicopter, which landed right after we arrived. Greatest touch-a-truck ever.)

fire truck is SERIOUS BUSINESS

Panera lunch break / touch-a-truck aftermath:

Water Day at the library:

Bug festival (after dropping off Elliott and MB at home for naps):

Sunday birthday party fun:

On Sunday morning we discovered our butterfly had come out of its chrysalis, so we took it to the public flower garden to release it right before bedtime that night. Nico started to give it an adorable little pep talk: "Mr. Butterfly, here are some flowers! You can go find nectar!" Then he paused and asked, "Do butterflies have ears? Can he hear me talking?" I kind of wish I'd lied so he'd continued with his speech. The butterfly flew away, Nico pushed Elliott's stroller back to the car, and we drove home in the fading evening light. Mischief managed.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


On July 8 I received an email that said, "I am not sure if you have been contacted by others and I apologize in advance if you have been. However, there is a female by the name of Jessica Krutuleski that has been using photos of your son. She has claimed the photos are her child by the name of Jayden. This has been going on for several months and even had lots of people believing this was true. Today her secret was let out after she posted that Jayden had passed away." There was a link to Jessica's personal facebook page, but I didn't see any photos of my kids. I assumed she had taken Elliott's pictures, because there was a post that said "Jayden's first ice cream cone!" and had clearly once included a photo. I was annoyed and irritated, and the fact that she posted his pictures and then said he died gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I try not to be superstitious, but it reminded me of how they say you should never lie about having to go to your grandma's funeral to get out of work, because then your grandma might really die and you'll feel horrible. (Admittedly, that probably wasn't the most rational response.) With no proof of wrongdoing, there was really nothing I could do. I very briefly wondered if I should lock down the blog, but came to the conclusion that it would be a little like locking up the barn after the horse has already wandered off. Plus, honestly, no harm could come to Elliott from this incident - he's anonymous on my blog and I've been pretty careful to keep my real identity and my blog identity separate. There are some longtime twitter friends who now know the real me through facebook, but unless one of them outs me, things should be fine. So I posted some angry tweets, googled Jessica Krutuleski and glowered at her cleaned-up facebook page, and decided to let the whole thing go.

Then on July 17, two more people emailed me. They'd seen Elliott's photos passed off as sick baby "Jayden" and then reverse image-searched them once the lie was exposed. That led them to my blog and this time they provided a link to a facebook community called Jayden's Prayer Warriors that was full of photos of Elliott. She'd been posting them for several months and including updates about "her" baby's illness and chemotherapy. There was an address for people to send cards and a link to a fundraising page (though no one had donated). I got the emails and link on my phone as I was heading back to work and without really thinking about it, I angrily reported the page as a scam. Once I got back to the office I realized I should've waited until after the police had a chance to see it, since I was pretty sure soliciting money using stolen photos and passing them off as a fake kid was at least report-worthy if not actually illegal. I snapped screenshots of everything that seemed relevant and called the police department in the town she gave as her place of residence. I was told since I live elsewhere, I'd need to file a report with my local police and then have them forward it to Lowell PD. I felt a little bit stupid calling the police and saying "Someone stole my baby's photos from my blog," but once I explained it the clerk I talked to was duly horrified and took down all the information for a report with the financial crimes unit.

I spoke to a sergeant in financial crimes on Monday, and while he told me that the use of the photos was really nothing they could deal with, he also took the fraud aspect seriously. He told me he'd forward the report to Lowell and that I should call them after giving it a few days to get there. I called Lowell today and talked to two police officers with awesome Boston accents. Since no one actually gave her any money (that I can find, and I've tried), there's not much they can do, but one said he'd call her and "tell her to knock it off" and the other admitted he'd confronted her last week for doing the same thing with someone else's baby photos. While I'm disappointed it didn't end with her definitely getting arrested for being a colossal douchebag, I'm glad the police took it seriously and that her name is now on record for the inevitable next time she tries to pull something like this.

People who've heard the story as it unfolded have tended to say sympathetic things like "I'm really sorry this is happening to you!" and while I do appreciate the comfort / care, really I do not feel personally attacked or victimized. I firmly believe the only reason Elliott was involved was that she stumbled across his photos and figured he was cute enough to get her the attention she wanted. With luck his name will never be tied to anything that happened, and hopefully she won't try to use his photos again. Perhaps it is a horribly selfish decision, but I have no intention of locking down the blog or stopping the sharing of the kids' pictures. I am experimenting with watermarking my photos, but it's a bit of a time-consuming pain in the ass and I kind of hate the way it looks. I may try to give it a month and see if it's still annoying me. But anyway, I guess the point is, the thing that made me so angry wasn't that she stole my photos, it was that she used them in such a disgusting lie. I kept thinking of Hugo's mom, whom I know from Twitter, and how she'd give almost anything to have her story be made-up, and here was someone lying about it for attention / money. The injustice, the unfairness of it, and knowing she'd probably get away with it, that's what made me furious. I'm still a little furious, though I feel much better now that I know I've done all I can to get her branded as a sleazebag in the eyes of the law.

This one isn't actually Elliott. There were three photos on the site that were very obviously a different baby,
and I'm not sure why she thought people wouldn't notice. Then again she's clearly not a rational person.

Okay, I'll admit it...this last one makes me want to drive to Massachusetts and punch her in the fucking face.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dear Jessica Krutuleski

If you sent money or gifts to Jessica or Jayden Krutuleski, please email me so I can add the information to the police reports: velocibadgergirl at gmail dot com

Stealing my photos isn't a crime, it's just annoying. Lying about your baby dying of cancer isn't a crime, it's just a dickbag thing to do. Soliciting money under false pretenses for a child who doesn't exist...pretty sure that's a crime.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


As much as I miss having a smooshy sweet-smelling newborn in the house, one of the greatest things about my boys getting bigger is the passing of most of the baby-related drudgery. No more pumping sessions or washing dozens of bottles and fiddly breastpump bits. A lot fewer diaper changes and slightly less laundry. The children are reaching a rudimentary level of self-sufficiency in that one can almost entirely feed himself and the other is making a valiant effort. But there are definitely moments that feel Sisyphean, times when I think if I have to sweep this floor / tighten the screws on this play kitchen door / clear this table / pick up these blocks one more time, I'm going to lose it. There is dog hair everywhere, every day, thanks to summer shedding plus what we suspect is fireworks-related stress-shedding. I have to change Elliott's crib sheet nearly every day due to night diaper leaks, and the sheets snag and rip on the crib springs almost every time, no matter how careful I am. Elliott's getting pretty good at playing on his own in the evenings, but his very favorite activity is to dump and spread and strew the toys across the entire living room floor. I suppose some of the disgruntlement with the cleanup of this last bit is my own fault for attempting to keep the toys organized into little bins by type or purpose, rather than throwing everything into one giant toy box and calling it done. I'm still fat and I can't get myself motivated to exercise after the nightly cleanup, nor do I want to take any of the little time I see the kids during the week to do it earlier. I am hoping to get back to boot camp in the fall, but will have to figure out if we can afford a new pair of good gym shoes first. I miss writing, here and otherwise, yet when I do find some time to try, nothing really comes to me.

After all this complaining, I guess the logical conclusion would be that I'm in a rut, I'm cranky, I need a change. And I guess these things are all a little bit true, but as I was lining up my list of grievances earlier while lint rolling dog hair off the cloth play food and sorting plastic blocks into bins and tightening those damn play kitchen doors yet again, I realized that I'm really not unhappy. Sure, there's a fundamental level of boring shit that has to get done every day, but overall, things are going pretty great. Nico is fun and funny and imaginative and curious and kicking ass at all his summer activities. He's building and playing and showing such generosity of spirit and kindness lately. He's still sassy and four and a half but he's also great. Elliott is energetic and smart and bold, he dances and plays and laughs and tries new things. He's defiant and loud but he's also-also great. For every one thing I have to do that is dull and dumb, there are two other things I get to do that I love. That math is pretty good, I think. And anytime anyone asks me how things are or comments that the kids probably keep me busy, I find myself answering honestly that things are awesome. Sometimes exhausting, sometimes maddening, sometimes frustrating. But, they are awesome.


We're trying our luck at raising tadpoles again. Nico seems much more interested in the process this time around. He was very eager to rinse out our aquarium and then fill it with water. I spent about fifteen bucks on a little bubbler pump and air stone that I'm hoping will keep the habitat more hospitable than our previous attempt. We set up the tank last night and then added the tadpoles today. I'm hoping Nico stays curious and the tadpoles stay alive. We're also watching two caterpillars that one of the volunteers at work kindly brought in for Nico. One is a teeny tiny spicebush swallowtail caterpillar that rolls itself up in sassafras leaves. The other is a gnarly-looking dude who eats cottonwood leaves and supposedly will turn into either a viceroy or a red-spotted purple. Today when we got home, gnarly dude was hanging from a leaf by his butt, so I'm eagerly watching to see if there is another development soon.

Reading:  Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich

Playing:  Disc One: All Their Greatest Hits (1991-2001) by Barenaked Ladies