Monday, October 29, 2012

Extreme Pumpkin Carving

Martha Stewart and Pinterest have ruined everything.

We spent most of Sunday doing our annual pumpkin carving. It has never been an activity I've been particularly fond of, but I've actually come to dread it in recent years. Here's why.

These days, if your front porch doesn't look like this on Halloween, you are an embarrassment to the neighborhood.

This used to be a perfectly acceptable jack-o-lantern.

Is this REALLY the best you can do??? What a loser.
Ask for forgiveness and promise to do better next year, you useless slacker.

Okay, so I'm exaggerating. But you've seen those people. Twenty plus pumpkins lining their walks with intricate carvings and etchings and fancy initials making the rest of our sad little jack-o-lanterns feel sub-par. We go trick-or-treating and the kids cry, "Why can't OUR pumpkins look like that?! I want a ghost/black cat/rendition of Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' on our front porch!", as I walk away with my head hung in pumpkin-carving failure shame.

They have seen those carving kits in the grocery store (I am CERTAIN that Martha is behind that racket) and the children consequently INSIST that we do more than triangle-eyed pumpkin heads this year. I look it over, and although it appears to be significantly more time-consuming than I'd hoped, it seems doable so I oblige.

After lunch, Charming set up the pumpkin-carving station IN THE LIVING ROOM. I'm all "WHAT are you doing? It's going to get EVERYWHERE!", and he's all "The Cowboy game is on" and "priorities" and "if you want me to help, then this is where it's happening," so I shut up.

He cut the bottoms out of the pumpkins for us, then the kids and I took them into the yard to clean them out. He usually helps with this part, "but football!" He had a rough week at work so I thought I'd be nice and give him a reprieve on this year's pumpkin gut removal. I made the kids do at least part of theirs, but that (of course) got old in a hurry, so I took over and finished for them.

Dimples abandoned post and took over the supervisor role.

Charming came out at commercial to see how it was going and take pictures. He's such a team player.

Can't you just feel my excitement?!

Half an hour later, I'm elbow-deep in pumpkin guts and we're finally ready to start the actual carving. Everyone had picked out their patterns and were ready to get to work. It wasn't until I had already started that I realized I had picked out a 'Master Level' design. Oh, good. This should end well.

TWO HOURS LATER...all three carving tools broke. We were each about 75% complete, so I was left with little choice other than to go back to the store for more tools. And I might as well get some wine while I'm there.

Another hour or so after I returned, we FINALLY finished. To my surprise, outside of the one break to run around for a while in the backyard, the kids remained on task and did most of the carving all by themselves. A nice change from last year, where Charming and I ended up doing most of the work.

FOUR HOURS of family fun. The jack-o-lanterns will only last 3 days, but the memories will last a lifetime. Or at least until next year when it's time to do this all over again.

So, how'd we do?

Friday, October 26, 2012


I'm fairly certain that fashion designers are on an eternal acid trip and we are left to suffer the consequences of their drug-induced lunacy.

I went on a quick shopping trip yesterday. I wasn't looking for anything in particular...just killing some time browsing. I couldn't help but have a few negative reactions to some of the things I saw. I think I've made it abundantly clear that my wardrobe is what one might describe as...understated. But, I decided to see exactly how off I am by today's fashion standards. So, of course I went straight home and logged on to the fashionista's bible...the 'Vogue' website. Holy stilettos, Batman! I honestly didn't know whether to laugh or cry. According to what I saw, I am so far from chic that I need to burn everything I own and start from scratch. Clinton and Stacy would have an absolute heyday.

I'll start with shoes. Winter is approaching, and I wouldn't want to be caught dead braving the elements looking anything less that fabulous. So the neoprene/rubber numbers I currently own are hereby getting kicked to the curb. No more sensible footwear for this gal. Next time the mercury drops below 40 and there's even a hint that moisture might fall from the heavens, this is what will be toasting my tootsies...

And to think - all this time I thought inclement weather was no place for 6-inch heels!
Silly me.

Lord help me (and anyone that comes in contact with me) on the day I've been jeans shopping.

Charming: "How was your day?"

Me: "I tried on jeans."

Charming: "Oh. Then I'll be upstairs. Here's a glass of wine. Let me know if you need anything."

Ultra low-rise super skinny jeans. Seriously. WTF, you guys?? The misogynistic asshole that came up these needs to be identified and punished. They are a blatant assault on women. That's okay, I don't need to bend down. Or walk. Or breathe. I'll just be right here...frozen in place. Like the tin man. Oil...can...

I feel like I first need to congratulate this lady on her big WIN in the genetics lottery. Good for you! But, talk about the 1%. Out of all the women I know, 3 of them might be able to pull these off. I personally haven't tried because I know better and I don't enjoy crying in public. I DO own a pair of what are technically labeled as "skinny" jeans, but they don't look like these, and this sure as hell is not the end result.

Of course, for those of us with "normal" figures, finding anything in between these and the dreaded "mom jean" proves to be an arduous task. Why, why, WHY? We should not be forced to choose between indecent ass crack exposure or tucking our boobs into our jeans. It's just not right. 

I'm not even going to get into how I should be accessorizing because this research has left me exhausted and depressed. The basics include but are not limited to: Wear scarves and ridiculously large earrings. If you see their likeness in the lighting section at Home Depot, you're on the right track. Carry an extremely large purse (own one in every color). You're doing it right if you can smuggle a small pony out of the petting zoo. At least one ensemble (complete with shoes, gloves, handbag, and sunglasses with lenses the size of a dinner plate) should be made of animal print (faux, of course). I need to lie down.

I made the mistake of reading an article while I was online. Since I didn't feel crappy enough about myself after seeing a pictorial sequence of just how UNexceptional my wardrobe is, I thought I'd go ahead and seal the deal through the magic of the written word. 

I opted for a piece entitled "Bringing Up Baby: How Stylish New Mothers are Dressing for Fall". They interviewed different Vogue department editors to see what they had to say about being a mom while remaining stylish. Of course! NYC fashion magazine editors are probably very in touch with the average moms in America. Although I'm no longer a new mom, my day-to-day routine can get a little monotonous and I'll often find myself feeling less than dazzling. So, I read on because I can always use some advice on how to achieve a quick pick-me-up! Here's a quote from Vogue's Director of Special Events.

"When I'm feeling haggard, red lipstick by Chanel always does the trick!"

Uh-huh. That'll do it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That ONE Kid

I accompanied Dimples and his class on a field trip yesterday. It was to a pumpkin patch, and since it rained the night before through early that morning, I expected it to be a muddy disaster. But, I guess when the ground goes for 4 months without rain, there's not much chance that any of it is going to remain on the surface. Noted. At least Dimples and I were prepared with our knee-high snow boots. We got some funny looks, but you can never be too careful. That's what I always say.

It was a pretty uneventful field trip as far as mishaps are concerned. No one fell off the trailer on the hayride, no one got lost in the corn maze, and no one threw a fit about which pumpkin they were given to take home. Dang. I was hoping to get some good material off this trip.

But there was this one kid. (There's always at least one.) And more specifically...his Dad.

There was a short maze made out of hay bales that the kids were allowed to play in. The only rule (pretty much for the entire place) was that they could not climb ON TOP of the bales. They told us this at the beginning during the "rules session." So, of course, the kids that didn't pay attention to the rules (or didn't give a rats ass), immediately climbed on top and started running a muck along the perimeter. Since there were several different activities in which the children could participate, the teacher was not witness to what was going on. There were a couple of moms standing around that I knew (it wasn't any of their kids), and a Dad I hadn't seen before. He was leaning up against the outside of the maze observing the chaos. Since no one was saying anything, and the motley crew of disobedient children was recruiting members by the second, I stepped in.

"Hey! Kids! They told us that you MAY NOT run on top of the hay bales! Get down before somebody gets hurt."

Most of the kids stopped in their tracks and followed directions. But one little boy - we'll call him Jimmy - looked at me like I was speaking Swahili. I could tell he was contemplating ignoring me. He took a few more steps. Then he looked back over at me and I shot him my "does something about the look on my face or tone in my voice suggest that I'm kidding why don't you just go ahead and try me" glare and he quickly decided to follow suit. But he now has my attention. For eternity.

So, I've got my eye on little Jimmy for the remainder of the outing. There wasn't much left to do except play on the hay bale pyramid (we were told they could climb this to their little hearts' content), and pick up their pumpkins. I'm standing over by the pyramid and little Jimmy runs up with his pumpkin in hand, "Dad! Look at my pumpkin!" He goes up to the guy that was "standing watch" over at the hay maze. What the hell, dude?

My problem with what happened is not that he didn't stop ALL of the kids from breaking the rules. My problem is that he didn't stop his OWN kid from breaking the rules. When I first realized what I had done, I was kind of embarrassed. I reprimanded someone else's kid in front of them. Not something I would normally do. But then I decided that was stupid. Little Jimmy needed to know what was up and if I was the one that had to tell him, then so be it.

Kids push the envelope. They are the envelope pushing MASTERS. It is our job as parents to yank their little asses back into line when they go astray. Fortunately Dimples wasn't one of the second graders gone wild in this scenario. But, I am not for one second suggesting that he hasn't had a moment or two (or ten thousand) of transgression in his little life. Years 3 and 4 were pretty touch and go for us. Anyway...if I'm not there to correct him, I would completely expect (AND SUPPORT!) another adult to step in and (appropriately) do it for me.

Why didn't little Jimmy's Dad stop him? Was he himself not clear on the rules? Does he think the rules didn't apply to his son? I'm perplexed. Get your shit together, Jimmy's Dad. Jimmy needs to follow the rules just like everyone else. What message are you sending to Jimmy by ignoring his behavior? One of entitlement and superiority, that's for sure. "Hi, I'm Jimmy and I do what I want."

When we got home I asked Dimples if Jimmy got in trouble a lot and sure enough he said, "Yeah. Pretty much." Shocking. I'd be willing to bet that Jimmy rules the roost at his house. It's not for my own benefit that I care what Dad lets little Jimmy do. After all, he's not going home with me. Ever. But for Jimmy's sake, and the sake of society, he needs to learn some boundaries.

I'm genuinely terrified of what the future holds. This generation will be in charge one day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Personality Disorder

I have this condition. I'm fairly certain its genetic because my sister seems to suffer from it as well. It's apparently one of those skip-a-generation type deals, because neither one of our parents show signs of it. Perhaps one of my grandparents had it and it's just been kept under wraps all this time. 

I don't think it has an official name, so I've coined it "Inappropriate Reaction Disorder", or IRD. When I have an episode, it makes me seem like an inconsiderate jackass. It's real embarrassing. Because I'm totally not a jackass. Mostly. I sometimes wonder if it could be a mild form of turrets. Instead of shouting out swear words frequently and at grossly inappropriate times, my emotional reactions to certain situations are a

The mildest form is when someone cries in front of me. It would be fair to question whether or not I can hear or see what is happening as I immediately have no social skills whatsoever. I stand there gape-mouthed, eyes glazed and staring into oblivion like a complete idiot. I literally cannot form words. It is not that I don't care. It's not that AT ALL. I just enter a mental state that prohibits me from being able to respond in any way. Terribly inappropriate when a friend is in need of consolation. I apologize if you have experienced this. I truly am not a horrible person. No, really.

But the worst and most severe is when I witness someone fall. Before you judge me, you should know that neither my husband, my children, nor MYSELF can escape it. Everyone receives equal, socially abhorrent treatment. While I realize that laughing when someone falls isn't all that unusual, I think most people are able to pull it together long enough to ask someone if they are okay before they double over howling and snorting at the sight of their fallen comrade. Not this girl. I've tried holding it in, but it almost makes it worse because it then becomes one of those "don't laugh in church" situations where the hissing and chuckling through clenched teeth becomes a bigger scene than just letting it all out would have been.

Once I was sitting in the HR office of my workplace discussing a change in insurance coverage. During our meeting, the woman I was speaking with needed to go ask about something. Upon getting up from her chair, the phone cord somehow got caught on her shoe. She took one step and the phone shot across her desk, sending all the papers, folders, family pictures, calendars, staplers, pens,  pencils, and highlighters airborne. In her attempt to grab at various items, she tripped over her own foot and went tumbling forward. It was one of those times that everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. There were arms and legs flailing about amidst an explosion of office supplies. And I'm sitting in the chair across the room...motionless. I buried my face in my hands, but that didn't do much to cover up the vigorous shaking of my entire body in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. What an asshole, right? I completely agree. There is nothing I can do to prevent this from happening. After a few seconds of her lying stunned and face down on the floor (at least it was carpeted) I was able to pull my shit together and rush (okay...walk - I mean she was only 5 feet away for crying out loud) to her aid. Luckily she was fine - aside from the slightly bruised ego - but it was abundantly clear that I was not one of her favorites. If only I would have told her about my condition! Surely she would have been more understanding. At least she didn't have me fired.

I used to run fairly frequently. I got burned out so I'm currently on sabbatical (I like to take those from virtually everything at some point or another. I think it's healthy.). When I run, I try to stay on the sidewalks whenever possible because drivers in general are maniacs and often completely oblivious to pedestrians, running or otherwise. The problem with running on sidewalks is that there is intermittent unevenness in the pavement. If you're not paying close attention, it is not difficult to catch a toe on the lip of the concrete and wipe out. That's exactly what happened to me. I didn't even know what had happened until I was face down on the concrete. And to make it worse, it happened on one of the busiest roads in town. It was a Saturday morning, so there were about a million cars zipping by to witness my performance. I sat up to get my bearings and assess my injuries. My analysis of the situation suggested I tripped, fell, and attempted to catch myself with my hands. But I instead skid about 5 feet across the sidewalk, hitting hands, then elbows, then stomach, then knees. Rip in each knee of pants. Blood running down knees and legs. Bottom of shirt ripped. Holes at elbow of sleeves. Gashes in the palm of each hand, complete with tiny rocks embedded in all of my wounds. I literally went ALL-THE-WAY down.

I picked myself up and what was left of my dignity and began to walk home. I was about 2 miles away at this point, and given that I was moving a little slower than Ferris Bueller's principal after he got his ass kicked by a teenage girl and a rottweiler, I estimated I could probably make it by nightfall. Then a nice woman in a Cadillac Escalade pulled up to ask if I was okay and wanted a lift home. (Seriously. Ten minutes had passed, along with at least 200 cars by now. I was a conspicuous mess on the side of the road. I mean a real spectacle...and she was the FIRST car to pull over? What the hell?)

Lady: "Are you...alright?"

Me: "Oh, yeah. I'm good. Juuuust out walkin'."

Lady: "Are you sure? You don't really look...alright."

Me: "Well, yeah. I just fell. So, I'm bleeding. But, I can make it. I don't live that far."

Lady: "Please. Let me drive you home. Kids, move over."

Since you can judge whether or not someone is going to murder you by what kind of car they drive and how many teenage cheerleaders are with them (God, can this get ANY more embarrassing) I hesitantly climbed in. Then the pain set in and I barely escaped puking in her $65,000 car. Best. day. ever.

When I got home, I told Charming what happened. In my retelling, I couldn't help but laugh hysterically at how ridiculous I must have looked. I barely got through my story because I found it so hilarious. Now that I think about it, that's probably why no one pulled over. They couldn't stop laughing long enough to offer assistance.  


Clicking on this banner will send a donation to an 
organization searching for a cure for IRD. 
Okay, that was a lie but I'd still appreciate it if you'd click.

Friday, October 19, 2012

It Takes a Facebook Village

My brain melted last night so I don't have much to write about. Forming coherent thoughts is proving to be a challenge so far this morning. My apologies for typos and incomplete sentences. I need coffee. In an i.v.  But I'll share this short story.

Here's what happened: Tink comes to me for help with a math word problem. I read it, and then read it again...and again. I used to be able to process this kind of information. Now it looks very much like this:

WTF. But, exactly.

We work together diligently for at least half an hour trying to arrive at a correct answer. Something about prime numbers and composite numbers and factors and a multitude of other nonsense. I have a few mathematically inclined friends so I decided to put the problem on Facebook. (Facebook can solve anything.) In the middle of doing so, Charming calls.

C: "What's going on with you guys?"

Me: "I'm trying to help Tink with a math problem. We can't figure it out. I'm going to put it on Facebook. Someone will be able to tell us the answer."

C: "That's cheating. Besides, I can figure it out. Read it to me."

Of course he can! It momentarily escaped my attention that I was married to Einstein.
So I read it to him.

C: "Huh? Read it to me again. And WTF is a composite number?"

I google "composite number", read him the definition, then read the problem to him again.

C: "That's bullshit. Nobody cares about prime numbers or composite numbers or any of that other shit in real life. What else is going on?"

I'm so glad he was there for us.

Thankfully, a few of my math whiz FB friends saved the day. Tink will be able to turn in her homework and proudly know that even if her Mom is too stupid to do 6th grade math, at least her Mom's friends aren't. Thanks to those of you that were part of that 53 comment string.

That age old saying is oh so takes a village.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Shame One, Shame All

Since starting this blog, I've spent an above average amount of time on the internet checking out other "Mom blogs" to see what attracts readers. I'm finding that most people are drawn to humor, with a dash of sarcasm and a pinch of self-deprecation. I'm down with that recipe.

There is apparently a new "shaming" trend circling its way around. It started with dog shaming, where owners take pictures of their dogs exhibiting bad behavior. It's funny, and I can relate because we have two 4-legged little assholes that are sure to make their way into a post sooner or later for their antics - like peeing on the leg of my dining room chair or something equally disgusting.

Mommy Shorts did a piece on "baby shaming" . It is frigging fantastic and if you have kids, know anyone that has kids, or have ever seen a kid, you will read it and laugh. If you have no sense of humor, don't bother. Really. Don't. And, why are you here?

As moms, I think in general we work pretty hard to get the job done. We make the lunches, bring the team treats, shuttle to music lessons, attend the school plays, take the pictures (that sometimes never make it out of the land of megapixels but whatever), make sure the homework gets done, plan the birthday parties, clean up the puke, wipe the tears (and noses and rears), give the pep-talks, etc. etc. The list goes on times infinity. And that doesn't even touch the moms that fit in a 40 or more hour work-week, OR the gazillion household chores that come on top of everything else. Sometimes it becomes too much and our give-a-shits plummet to zero.

Cue the "Mom-Shaming". I think I am correctly crediting the source when I say that the brilliantly hilarious Mom over at The Divine Secrets of The Domestic Diva started this new trend. If not, my apologies...I tried. I'm not caught up on all blogging etiquette just yet, so I won't put her mom-shaming picture on my post, but you can see it for yourself here.

There is also a new Facebook page dedicated solely to mom-shaming photos. This trend is catching on! Why do you think that is? Somebody let the cat out of the bag. You don't have to be mom-perfect all the time! What a relief. So, you hid in the closet and ate the entire bag of Halloween candy? So, what! You made the kids stay in the other room and told them you had to "work" so you could catch up on all your DVR'd shows? Ya do whatcha gotta do. These are the moments we can share with one another and realize - we're all moms trying make it through the day, often clinging for dear life to the string of what's left of our sanity. It is so REFRESHING to find out you are not alone in your mom shortcomings! Perhaps the time is finally (though way overdue) approaching where the expectation of total mom-perfection is banished and our flaws, in all their glory, are allowed...even encouraged, to be exposed. One can only hope. Because I can rock mediocrity.

I love a little self-shaming so, of course, I have to get in on this gig. Oh, which moment of mom-shame do I choose? There are just so many.

It was Saturday. I was at the grocery store because it was our turn to bring treats for the soccer team. My cell phone rings.

C: "Where's his soccer uniform?"

Me: "In the closet I guess."

Quick memory jog. Oh no. I remember seeing it when I was sorting laundry. Please tell me I did that load. Shiiiiiiitttttt. I didn't.

Me: "Ahem. Look in his hamper. Please tell me it's not there."

C: "Yup. Here it is."


Me: "I'm a failure. I'll be home in 10 minutes."

Here's what I did (due to time constraints, of course)...

What he doesn't know won't hurt him. (Excuse the blurry photo. This is what happens when you have an 11 year old take your picture.  And having your children help you proclaim your mom shame is probably a shame in and of itself.)

He had no idea until he found the sign I used for this picture. He said, "Mom. Really? Please. Don't do that again. is kind of funny."


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Love and Marriage

A couple of nights ago Charming and I got into an argument over blue cheese crumbles. I shit you not. Blue cheese crumbles! These are the kinds of stupid arguments we have. They are short lived and always end up with us laughing at their utter ridiculousness. But still.

When it comes to major life decisions, we handle it like a couple of champs. Should we have another baby? Major life decision. Let's discuss. How do you feel about moving across the country for my job? That's big. We should talk about it. What should we do for dinner? Brace yourself for World War III.

We were driving down the road over the weekend and saw a couple riding a tandem bicycle.

Me: "We should probably try that."

Charming: "..."

Unanimous laughter.

If we tried this...

 It would no doubt end like this...

The problem is that we are a couple of smartasses. Sarcasm pulses through our veins thicker than the plasma running along beside it.  It only takes one snide comment from one of us for the tongue lashings to commence.

Charming: "Do you think you could knock it off with the smartass remarks and we could discuss this like a couple of adults?"

Me: "Well, I don't know. Is there an adult around here I could speak with?"

Charming: "You're impossible. I'm not having this conversation until you are ready to act like a grown-up."

Me: "Then I guess you won't be having it, because being a grown-up SUCKS. But, I guess you wouldn't know."

It's called maturity. Be amazed.
(I intentionally put me as the "bad guy" here. I could have easily switched the roles around and it still be an accurate retelling.)

There's a little yelling, an hour or so of giving each other the silent treatment, then undoubtedly something will come up that forces us to speak to each other and - without fail - we will end up laughing at how absurd we have behaved. I kind of love that about us. Never a dull moment.

Every couple should know their limits. Charming says tandem biking is ours. "We're not stupid. We know better than that."

He's right. We do.

You know what's NOT stupid? Voting for me in this contest.

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm Not Very Pinteresting

I am too indecisive to appropriately utilize Pinterest.

Not that I haven't wasted hours of my life there, but I am a Pinterest flunkie. I debate with myself for an unreasonable amount of time over whether or not I think something is "pin-worthy". I literally sit with the little pointer finger cursor thingy hovering over the "repin" button, practically breaking a sweat. I therefore have little to show for my "work".

Will I actually buy this, bake this, wear this, paint this, cook this, do this exercise, make this craft...aaaaaah!!! It's too much! Clicking on the Pinterest 'Everything' tab is just short of enough to cause me to seizure.

I will occasionally get an email saying someone has started following my pins on Pinterest. How. Embarrassing. What a disappointment that must be.

"I know her. Her house isn't a TOTAL disaster. She sometimes looks semi-put together. What the hell. I'll follow her." Then they see my "pins".

WTF. This is a trainwreck.

If you are not familiar with Pinterest, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about. And you might want to try spending a little more time on the internet along with the rest of us. Come on. Get your shit together. Anyway, I'll try to break it down as simply as I can.

Boards are categories. Like "Meal Ideas" or "Christmas Decor". You "pin" things from the internet to these boards. Like a recipe for never-fail smorgasbord casserole would go under "Meal Ideas" and a website offering 101 Ways to Decorate with Cinnamon Sticks would go under "Christmas Decor". Good enough explanation. 

Back to why I suck at it. I have been on Pinterest for 6 months. SIX. I have 45 pins. Not 45 boards. 45 pins. And most of those I did the first week I joined because we were in the process of moving and I needed color scheme ideas for the kids' rooms. (None of which I used by the way.)

To put this into sister has 22 boards and 2,400 pins. TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED. And I must say, she's got some pretty interesting shit on there. But, if I look at her boards too long the room starts to spin. Even my mom - who by default should be worse at this than me (generationally speaking) - has 459 pins.

Here's what Pinterest says you can do with their website:

Redecorate your home!
-Right. I'll get on that as soon as I go collect today's bounty from our money tree in the back yard. I think it needs water. And fertilizer. And to exist.

Plan a wedding!
-This one might have come in handy 16 years ago when I was planning a wedding. No, I'm actually kind of glad it wasn't around then. After all, I wouldn't have been able to make any solid decisions. We could have ended up with a western ceremony, Asian-inspired reception, peacock feathers on the wedding cake, and pinecone and holly centerpieces. Our shit would have been a mess.

Find your style!
-If I pieced together items of clothing that actually qualified as an "outfit" more frequently than one day a week, this might come in handy. Even so, I don't think I could pull off a majority of the clothing I've seen on there. I'm shorter than 5'8" and I weigh more than 110 pounds, so 4 layers of shirts with leggings and heels don't really work on me. My boobs are too big to carry a messenger bag. And most importantly, I'm cheap. 

Save your recipes!
-I live with the 3 pickiest eaters on the planet. The list of things they will not eat is extensive and annoying. It is a miracle I manage to come up with anything to feed these people. If it is gets more exotic than a pile of meat and something with cheese in it, all bets are OFF.

I  think I'm going to rename my boards.
  • Don't bother cooking any of this. You know they won't eat it and then you'll be pissed.
  • Can't be found on the clearance rack at TJ Maxx.
  • Who are you kidding? You hate crafting.
  • Furniture, houses, vacation, and other ridiculous shit to purchase the minute you win the lottery.
  • Exercises/pictures of obscenely fit people - could be useful to hang on the dart board. 
  • Things that are [inappropriately] funny. OR E-cards the use the 'F' word. You pick.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I'm Rubber, You're Glue.

Friend: "That is dumb. You are dumb. What you said was dumb and that makes you dumb for having said it."

Me: "Did you really say that?!"

Friend: "Well, no. But I wanted to. And I'm pretty sure she knew that's what I meant."

I had this conversation with a friend the other day about a discussion she had with someone that completely irritated her. It got me to thinking. More frequently than I care to admit, I have to exercise serious self-control in order not to revert to my 5-year-old-self during a conversation.

Here are the top 3 things I wish were socially acceptable to say on at least a weekly basis:

1. "Liar, liar pants on fire."

Sometimes I want to say this to my kids. Less frequently to adults, but it happens.

This morning I discovered half the package of Oreos I purchased ONE DAY AGO was missing.

Tink doesn't care for this particular kind of Oreo so she was in the clear.

Me: "Dimples! Get in here. You ate ALL the Oreos. I said you could have 3. There are (I count the number of empty spaces) 11 missing! I had 2. Which means you ate NINE. Nine is not okay."

Dimples: [Completely straight-faced] "No I didn't. Dad ate them."

I text Charming.
Charming's reponse: "I had 3. He's lying to you."

Dimples finally fesses up. Aaaaah!

"Liar, liar pants on fire!!!" Okay, I admit it...I say this to my kids whenever the opportunity presents itself. I'm certain it was taught in Parenting 101: React immaturely to your children as often as humanly possible.

 2. "You're an idiot."

So my 5-year-old-self probably wouldn't say this. I had years before my idiot radar was fully developed. But, if my 37-year-old-self said it as frequently as I thought it, I would probably get punched in the face a lot. Unfortunately, I have one of those faces that reads exactly what I'm thinking, so I'm pretty lucky that - to date - no one has struck me. Fingers crossed that my luck holds out!

I don't really go around thinking EVERYONE I encounter is an idiot. But, let's face it. If you venture out in public, you are bound to run into one or two (or twenty) people that just shouldn't be allowed to mingle with society. One word. Walmart.

And last but not very favorite...the one that tops them all...

3. "Na-na-na-boo-boo. Stick your head in doo-doo."

Where do I even begin? I had actually forgotten about this one until I was watching a Tosh.O episode a year or so ago (don't judge me) and he said it. I had to rewind it like 50 times because it was so freaking hilarious. I challenge you to find an altercation scenario where this retort would not be successful. You cannot. Because the scenario does not exist.

I dare you to say it without laughing. This is one that Charming and I actually do say to each other. It's SO full of awesome. And it totally blows "I told you so" (and every other comeback in the world) out of the water. Find the opportunity to use it. And do it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Lunch Lady

Today is Thursday. A glorious day in my house. For one, it's pizza Thursday. Don't think I need to elaborate there. Pizza.

But, what makes me really happy, joyful, perhaps even elated about this day is that it's hot lunch day at school. HOORAY! They go to a small school that doesn't have a cafeteria, so once a week they bring in a hot entree from a local fast food restaurant (Yes. Fast food. I don't even care.) that parents have the option of purchasing for $3. I'm all over it.

What's the big deal? It's just packing a lunch. Right? WRONG.

My kids don't like sandwiches. Well, Dimples likes sandwiches, but ONLY from Subway. Really. I have purchased sub rolls, ham, and cheese from the grocery store - exactly what he orders at Subway - and he claims he doesn't like it. What the hell, Dimples? It's exactly the same. "No. It's exactly different." He really did say that to me. I'm gonna go head to head with that one one day. Tink doesn't like sandwiches from anywhere. She will choke down a meatball sub from Subway when given no other choice, but that's pretty much it.

Do you realize how limited the options for lunch packing become when you cut sandwiches out of the equation? Ugh. It taxes my brain every single morning trying to come up with something they will actually eat that is at least slightly nutritious and filling enough to get them through the day. I know I have failed when they come home from school and spend the first 15 minutes raiding the pantry and refrigerator. It is definitely one of my most hated domestic chores.

I try not to surrender to the temptation of the Lunchable too frequently...something about them being really high in sodium. Damn FDA and their nutrition label requirement. But, admittedly, I will sometimes just run out of ideas and use them as my go-to. The kids love those things. Of course.

But, today is Thursday. So, I gave the kids each their $3 (and yes, much of that was in quarters because I never have cash, but who cares because at least I managed to scrape it up), did my happy dance, and sent them off.

Also, it's less that 24 hours until Friday.

Three cheers for Thursday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My kids start talking about what they want to be for Halloween around mid-July. And why shouldn't they? This is America...the country that can't get through one holiday without aggressively marketing all the shit we've imported from China in celebration of the next one. Fourth of July: aisle 15. Halloween: aisles 16-30.

Anyway, I won't let them pick out their costumes in July. I tell them to "Keep thinking about it real hard so you don't regret what you pick. Those things cost like $35 (like hell I'm going to make one myself, which in the end would probably cost me double that, what with having to start over at least twice and all) and once we buy it, you're stuck with it." But by the end of September, I cannot hold them off any longer. The stupid Halloween mega stores have started to pop up around town and it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep them from noticing them.

"Mom! Look! The Halloween store is here! Can we go pick out our costumes? Pleeeeeeaaassse?"

"Oh, I don't think it's actually open yet. Look, all the windows are dark." Hahaha! I'm so clever they don't know that's part of the marketing technique. Darkened windows = scary. Kids are dumb sometimes.

"Yes it is. I just saw someone come out with a bag. Pleeeeeeeaaassse can we go?"


"Fine. We'll go after soccer practice. Do you both know what you're looking for? I am NOT spending more than 15 minutes in that store." So help me I will NOT.

So, later that afternoon I keep my promise and we pull up to the Halloween store. I take a deep breath before we go in, because I know exactly what is going to happen next.

We walk in and both children immediately transform into leeches. They each have a grip on my arms so tight I start to lose feeling in my fingers. Greeting us at the entrance is a floor-to-ceiling display of the creepiest infants you have ever seen. Zombie babies, devil babies, clown babies, monster babies, most of them animatronic with spinning heads. WHAT is wrong with people? These are in no way fun or amusing to me. I cannot wrap my head around the fact that there is obviously more than one person out there willing to spend $54.99 plus tax on this trash. But, whatever.

So, we make it through the aisles of terror and to the back of the store where they keep the children's costumes. Good thinking, management of the Halloween store. Scare the shit out of your largest customer base before they can even get to the appropriate section. Makes the shopping experience super enjoyable for everyone. I lost count of how many kids I heard screaming while we were there.

Tink was unsuccessful in finding anything that interested her. I think she's decided she can easily fashion her own zombie costume (Whatever happened to princesses? Or even a cute little witch?). Oh well. All I have to purchase for her is some white make-up. Yippee!

Dimples was not so easy. He arrived with the notion that he was going to be a werewolf. We knew they carried the costume because he saw it online. We locate it and he INSISTS on trying it on. They had an employee back in that area monitoring our every move, who led us to a dressing room/box. She opens the costume package for us and hands him the furry little shirt thing. He puts it on.

"What about the mask?" he asks.

Lady: "Sorry. We can't let you try on the mask." (It was in it's own sealed plastic bag inside the package.)

Me: "Well, how is he supposed to tell if he likes it?"

Lady: "Sorry. It's policy."

Oh, for crying out loud. I could have given him a flannel shirt to try on at home and been all, "Look! You're a werewolf!"

So, of course, this sends him into an absolute tailspin. His plan has been derailed and we are on the verge of a meltdown. So, we have to go back down every aisle of the boys costumes again. He simply cannot make a decision. Finally, I've had it. I tell him he is getting that werewolf costume or nothing.

"Look at the picture on the package. It's a mask. You are going to look EXACTLY like that picture."

So, he finally commits and we take it to the counter.

"I have a coupon," I tell the cashier. I proudly whip out my phone and pull up the coupon I got through email.

Cashier: "We're not allowed to take coupons off smartphones."


Me: "Why not??"

Cashier: "Well, you could use that one, then go home and print it out and come back to use it again."

Ummm, yeah genius, I could do that. I could also not use the one from my phone but PRINT OUT multiple copies. I am clearly planning to revisit your store as frequently as possible during the 45 day period you are open, and I've got the coupons to prove it. You've figured me out. Oh, no. 

Me: "That makes no sense. You're really not going to let me use it?"

Cashier: "No."

Me: "Okay, then. That's just absurd so I'm not buying it. And I'm not walking through the baby apocalypse over there to put it back." I hand him the costume and give him my best "You're an idiot" face. I'm actually really good at that.

We were in that store for 52 minutes and walked out empty handed. The werewolf costume we went home and ordered ONLINE WITH A COUPON should arrive any day.

Friday, October 5, 2012


A friend of mine had a baby last weekend. He's tiny and precious and brings back lots of sweet memories of when I had my mine. A lot of people I know are having babies these days, actually. And thanks to Facebook, I get to see pictures of the precious bundles starting with the first weigh-in.

Charming and I decided to stop at two. But, all of these sweet pictures tug at the heartstrings, and get the ol' biological clock ticking FOR JUST A MINUTE.

I'm going to see my friend later today, so I need to get my head on straight before I am transported into newborn euphoria. I will now take this time to reflect.

Aside from the elastic waist pants that I made excuses to wear for about 18 months, there wasn't much about pregnancy that I enjoyed. I was pukey, zit-faced, moody, and GINORMOUS. I had no qualms about using that whole "eating for 2" bit to scarf down every morsel that crossed my path. No food was off-limits. I find comfort in hearing other women's stories and learning I was not alone in this state of food whoredom during pregnancy. I have a friend that told me when she was pregnant she once went into the grocery store, bought a cherry pie, and ate it all in the car before she ever left the parking lot. Nodding sympathetically I thought, "I feel your pain, sister. But, I would've gone with lemon." Anyway, you get the picture...I was a real knock-out. And an absolute delight to be around, I'm sure.

Labor was long and intense with both of my kids. I learned my lesson the second time around to keep pushing that epidural button - even when they told me to stop. They said I needed to feel the "urge to push". Sorry, but I disagree. I vaguely remember that sensation from last time. If memory serves correctly, it's not what I would describe as pleasant. Thanks, but I'll pass. And I'm pretty confident that sucker's coming out one way or another...whether I feel it or not. Click.

I did enjoy my stay in the hospital, though. People sent me flowers, brought me presents, and I had an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. After all I was still responsible for feeding two people. We ooh-ed and aah-ed over our little miracles, and when I wanted to nap, I sent her/him to the nursery. I couldn't hear them cry in there. That was neat. If I could re-live the 30 or so hours between the actual delivery, and the hospital forcing me to sign documents saying I'd go home, I'd be all over it.

Then we did go home. And I didn't sleep for 2 years. At least with the first. The second was a little more considerate, but it was still a while before I got my 9 hours. And that wasn't a happy time for anyone.

And then there was nursing. I know many mothers consider that to be "bonding" time with their babies. Not that I hated it, but I felt like a dairy cow. I WAS a dairy cow. I went back to work full time after Tink was born and my boss was a man (single, no children). One day I was sitting in his office and he got a funny, slightly horrified look on his face. I could tell what he was looking at, so I looked down to verify. Yep. I was leaking right through my bra, nursing pad, and shirt. Oh, goody. "Yeah. That happens. were saying?"  

Toddlers, temper-tantrums, and potty training. If you don't hit the bottle during that phase you are either (1) Superwoman, (2) heavily medicated, or (3) lying. Perhaps my children were just exceptionally difficult, but the fact that any of us lived through potty-training is a testament to how much I love them. Seriously. I was one shit-in-the-floor-after-spending-45 minutes-on-the toilet episode away from a severe mental breakdown.

There are times that I am totally jealous of people with big families. I imagine the picture perfect Christmas gathering in 25, dad, 4 or 5 kids, all the grandkids, holding hands around the Christmas tree. Drinking eggnog and singing 'Jingle Bells' and whatnot.

Then I see those families - current day - in the grocery store. The mom with her shopping cart, baby crying in the front, toddler opening up all the food in the back, 4 year old running from aisle to aisle screaming and grabbing shit off shelves.

Meanwhile, I'm browsing leisurely...carefully and thoughtfully making my selections...and my kids are at school.

Well, whaddaya know. I'm cured.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

My Secret is Out

If I don't do laundry today, I'm going to be forced to wear real clothes. That's not cool. I abide to a very strict weekday wardrobe policy of non-matching workout wear, and the situation is getting critical.

We're also out of milk and bread and I have no idea what I'm going to feed my family tonight for dinner, so I'm going to be forced to go to the grocery store.

I also noticed my gas gauge said "4 miles to empty" when I took the kids to school this morning, so I'll have to take the ass-whip of paying $4+ a gallon at the pump today.  I saw a news story this morning saying something about a refinery in California being all jacked up and that gas prices have been rising at steady increments over the last 24 hours, so this errand is sure to put me in a fantastic mood.

I've really been on my A-game this week, as you can tell.

Oh, and Sister called this morning with some stories that are going to require a fair amount of Facebook creeping. Fingers crossed that they forgot to put their settings on "friends only"! (Don't sit there and act like you haven't done this.)

Anyway, all this to say that I don't have a lot of time for a long post today. As much as I hate being productive, life sometimes leaves me no choice.

I did find this e-card last night (when I could have been doing laundry...don't judge me), and thought I'd share. I LOVE E-CARDS. This one recaps one of my blogging conversations with Charming quite nicely.

Oopsie. It kind of is. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


We're newbies to California, and have settled in a "small" town. I use quotations because where I'm from, a town of 70,000 isn't so small, but whatever. That's what they consider it out here. Anyway, this is one of those towns that a large percentage of the population was born here, raised here, and is now raising their families here. It's hard to break in. I know how this kind of place operates, because it is very much like my own small hometown.

Charming and I decided that perhaps a good way to meet some couples/families our age would be to join the local country club. Trust me, it sounds fancier than it is. Remember, I live in a farming community. A few of the tee boxes are located next to corn fields and feeding troughs.

Thanks to our solid and consistent lack of effort, we haven't had much success in it being a venue for meeting new people. But now we have this membership so we should at least make use of it. Usually once a week I try to head out to the golf course.

I was considering going today, but this is my experience from last week and I just don't know if I can muster up the patience.

I like to dress all "golfy" so at least when people see me from across the way they can assume I know what I'm doing since I'm dressed the part. (Because everyone knows that's how you judge someone's athletic ability.) As long as they don't linger, I can totally pull off the illusion. So, I'm in my little golf skirt and top, and I've got my cute purple golf bag and clubs. (Note: I match!) I load up the cart and head out.

I make it through hole 1 and 2 without injuring anyone or quitting. On hole 3, I hit it in the sand right in front of the green. It wasn't a busy day on the course, and I was by myself, so I make the decision to whack at it until I get it out. It only took 9 tries. I'm improving.

I've parked my golf cart in the rough over to the side of the green. It is in no way ON the green. It's not even very close. Or so I thought. As I'm digging my way to China in the bunker, a lady that was playing an adjacent hole comes over to me and says (mind you, she has to walk a good 30 yards for this),
"I just wanted to tell you that you're not supposed to park there. You're too close to the green. Some people (gee, I wonder who) get verrrrry upset about that. I just wanted to tell you."
I just stand there looking at her.
Back to whacking at my ball. A couple of minutes pass. I look up at her because she is STILL standing there.
"I just wanted to let you know you need to move your cart over there to the cart path."

More staring. Give me another 23 swings and I'll take care of it, lady. Please leave. Finally she goes away, disgusted at how unrefined I am. Once I got the ball out of the sand, I obliged and move my cart around to the path. I went on my merry way and didn't run into her again.

I made it through 9 holes. I don't keep score because it's an embarrassment. I return the cart to the parking area, and a guy from the pro shop comes running out.
"Hey! Did someone talk to you about parking on the greens?"
Good Lord.
"Yeah. Some lady (you know, the biotch that obviously tattled) told me I was too close. I wasn't ON the green. Just so you know. And I moved my cart (eventually)."
"Yeah, it's not a big deal. Just make sure you stay on the path when you can. Some people take it pretty seriously."
Who are these "some people" I keep hearing about? We shouldn't meet. 
"Got it."

Of course upon leaving, I immediately called Charming to tell him what happened.

"Guess what happened to me at the golf course today."

"Oh, God. What did you do? Did you hit somebody? Did you wreck a golf cart?"

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, but no. Somebody got on to me for parking too close to the green.  Then she went and told on me at the pro shop."

"Well, did you get in trouble? Are we kicked out? How embarrassing. You need to follow the rules. Do I need to explain golf etiquette to you?"

Ugh. No. You do not.

Next time I'm there, I wish I would have the nerve to find her and bring back Caddy Shack (one of the best movies OF ALL TIME. I think of it and crack up every time we play).
I'd pull out the beer tap in my golf bag and blare Journey on my big ass built-in radio.
"What are you DOING?" she'd say.
"Let's Dance!", I'd say. Everyone else on the course would stop what they were doing and join in.
It would turn her into a raving maniac and most likely get me kicked out. But it would be so awesome.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"Handsy" Manny

Charming travels a lot for his job. The kids are very aware of his absence...especially in the middle of the night. There's almost a 100% guarantee that at some point I'm going to wake up to one of them in the bed with me.

Tink, for the most part, is getting a little too cool for that these days, so Dimples is the usual culprit. I think he plans it when he goes to bed. For all I know he lays in his room and waits until I'm asleep, then immediately sneaks in. He's only 7, so I haven't put the nix on it just yet (although, we're getting really close and if you keep reading you'll understand why). 

He's my snuggler...during the day. At night, he turns into a groping maniac. I feel like I should clarify that this only happens after he's asleep. When he's awake, he's completely appropriate, and stays in his designated area. After he slips into dreamland, all bets are off. Personal space means nothing. Not only is he the kid that spins like a helicopter, turning a king-size bed into 6 square inches of sleeping space, but he also gets a bit handsy.

I'm NOT a snuggler when I sleep. People have sides of the bed for a reason. You stay on yours, I'll stay on mine. See that invisible line right there? Don't cross it. I'll get out the Sharpee if I have to. So, when I wake up to legs and arms and hands and feet all over my body uninvited, it makes me a little crazy.

My reaction when I wake up to this in the middle of the night is to jump out of bed and assess the situation. Okay. It's Dimples. Again. I then attempt to move him without waking him up. Given that I have absolutely no upper body strength and he weighs a little over 50 pounds (which somehow turns into 80 when he's sleeping), that doesn't usually work out. I generally end up walking around the bed, grabbing an arm and a leg, and pulling his body to the other side. Most of the time it ends up being painful enough to startle him awake and he rolls right back over to where we started.

"Will you snuggle me until I fall back asleep?" he asks.

A snuggle I'd be okay with. But, 5 minutes ago you were practically molesting me, which is creepy and all together unacceptable. Plus we would have to repeat the previous scenario and I'm too tired to deal with that at 3 a.m. May seem harsh, but I'm gonna have to give the you a big NEGATIVE on the snuggle.

"Sorry, bud. You know how I feel about you sleeping in here. Your space is over there. Stay in it. Now scooch or you're going back to your room."

I've wisened up, and now when I suspect he's going to end up joining me I build a little blockade in the middle of the bed with a few of the 11 pillows I've collected (really...I have 11...I'm a pillow entirely different post in itself). So far, it works, and he knows it's the rule. If he comes in and I have forgotten to build my wall of safety, he usually builds it himself. Boundaries. They must learn them.

For his sake, I really hope he marries a spooner.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Locked in the Vault

I've been notified by Charming that George Strait is doing a farewell tour next year. He is coming to Central California in January and February and Charming has committed to buying tickets for us to go. Yay! I'm from Texas, an old-school country music fan, and a small-town girl at heart, so this makes me happy.

I find it especially fitting that we attend his farewell tour since we attended one of his first concerts together as kids. We really did. It was probably around 1986 - late Springish, and he played at Arlington Stadium (where the Texas Rangers used to play). We were in 4th grade and he was "my friend who was a boy" that lived across the street. My Dad let me invite him to go with us to the game and then stay for the concert afterward.

So, here we are at the baseball game together. Charming is, and always has been, a HUGE baseball fan. He was loving that part of the outing. I was a 10-year-old girl, so to me it was a total bore. But, I was willing to endure it because George was coming up. GEORGE! I remember this decade vividly as the one in which I was in love with George Strait. I knew every word to every song he sang. My cousin and I would crank our cassette tapes of George up on the old "jam box" and belt that shit out at the top of our lungs. Plus, he was HOT. And, yes, I recognized this when I was 10.

The game is FINALLY over.'s time. George comes out on stage. And I am ecstatic. Elated. I'm cheering and clapping and jumping up and down - like silly 10 year old girls (and grown adult women) do in response to male musicians - while Charming sits in his seat completely uninterested. I, of course, couldn't give less of a shit because we're in 4th grade and completely self-absorbed. I'm happy right now and that is all that matters in the whole entire world.

I'd say he sings 3 or 4 songs when Dad notices Charming's disinterest and asks if we're tired. Are we ready to go home?
Me: "No."
Charming: "Yes."

WHA??? Did he just say "Yes"?! You have got to be kidding me. I sat through an entire professional baseball game and he can't sit through a few songs...that were destined to be country music LEGEND, I might add? If this would have happened present day, it would have gone something like this:
Charming: "I'm bored. I've got other fun things I could be doing and I don't want to stay any longer."
Me: "Guess you better find a ride."
The end.
Of course, at the age of 10 I'm unable to appropriately share my feelings of disgust, so I pout instead.

Me: "Why do you want to leave?"
Charming: "Well, if it's not too late when I get home, I get to go swimming."

Ohmigod. Huh? Swimming? He wants to leave a George Strait concert to go swimming. What. A. Jackass.

Me (to my Dad): "Fine. Let's go."

So, we leave. We didn't speak the whole way home. I keep forgetting to ask him if he did get to go swimming that day. But it's really beside the point.

Back to the original conversation about the farewell tour.

Charming: "George Strait is doing a farewell tour next year. I really want to take you. Tickets go on sale next week so I'm going to buy them."

Me: "Sounds fun! Let's do it."

Approximately 20 seconds pass.

Me (smirking): "You gonna ask to leave early so you can go swimming?"

Charming: "I swear, woman. If you were anyone else, I'd say "F-You" right now."

Me: "I know. But I'm not. So, let this be yet another reminder. Infractions - both big and small - are LOCKED IN THE VAULT. Forever. It's a curse, really."

Charming: "No shit."