Archive of ‘bad parenting’ category

Five Reasons Why I am a Guilty Catholic

When I was a lit­tle girl I stole a pack of Rolos from the gro­cery store. I use the word stole cau­tious­ly because there wasn’t any great pre­med­i­tat­ed plan. The brown roll with the gold­en edges looked deli­cious to my three-year-old eyes, so I grabbed them and head­ed out of the store with my moth­er. Once we were in the car she noticed the silence and real­ized that my mouth was qui­et because it was filled with choco­latey caramel good­ness. I was imme­di­ate­ly marched back in to the store where I pro­ceed­ed to return the half-eat­en stolen mer­chan­dise to the cashier along with a long, drawn our apol­o­gy. Cer­tain that I was faced with eter­nal damna­tion, my Catholic guilt was born that day.

I am not uncom­fort­able in my guilty Catholic skin. As a mat­ter of fact, I kind of like it. I am always dou­ble check­ing what I do or say so that when I have to answer to St. Peter at the gates of heav­en, I will have a decent sto­ry to tell. Make no mis­take, I am doing things wrong all of the time. If you’ve read any­thing else that I have ever writ­ten, you know that. I have learned from my moth­er, St. Mary Mau­r­mi her­self, a few things in my life. I have glad­ly passed the­se ten­ants on to my own chil­dren so that they will grow up to be a bit more decent…ish.…..

My moth­er had this pic­ture tak­en an entire year after I made my First Holy Communion.…Not that she should feel bad­ly about that.…..

1. Do not dis­card any­thing reli­gious- My moth­er has box­es of bro­ken rosaries at her house because she is sure that light­en­ing will strike her dead if she dares put one in the trash. “The­se are blessed, Colleen. You can nev­er get rid of any­thing blessed.” This one state­ment is why I have an Infant of Prague stat­ue with no hands hid­den in my sec­re­tary. I also have funer­al cards of the par­ents of kids who my moth­er went to grade school with in my mem­o­ry box­es. I have nev­er met any of the­se peo­ple. Not a one. I have no idea how in the hell (I am going to hell for just typ­ing that) I got them. But I sure as hell (back down to the firey abyss I go) can’t get rid of them. I say a quick may God bless you to Mrs. Mary Jones, b. 1921 d. 1994, every time I pass that Rub­ber­maid tub in the base­ment.

2. Make the Sign of the Cross when you pass a Catholic church- I live in St. Louis, you sneeze and you’re out­side of a Catholic church. That’s a lot of signs of the cross and plen­ty of time for reflec­tion. Very often when I am dri­ving alone I lis­ten to 90s gang­ster rap. As soon as I pass the church, that quick sign of the cross turns into a Hail Mary seek­ing inter­ces­sion from the Blessed Moth­er so that I will not be con­demned for lis­ten­ing to music filled with curse words, vio­lence and that objec­ti­fies wom­en. I real­ly like rap music so I am often over­whelmed with thoughts that I prob­a­bly shouldn’t be lis­ten­ing at all. Oh, and if I miss a church, then it is a dou­ble sign of the cross fol­lowed by a, “$h!+” and an “I’m sor­ry for curs­ing.” I get so worked up that I am sin­ning like crazy, I shut the rap music down and end up lis­ten­ing to Bar­ry Manilow for the remain­der of the day.

3. Make Sure you are Giv­ing Back- I feel like every sin­gle time I go to the store I am asked if I would like to donate a dol­lar to a cause. Some­times I say yes. Oth­er times I real­ly just don’t have the extra cash, so I decline. I am instant­ly over­come with shame know­ing that when the cashier says, “Receipt with you or in the bag?” She is real­ly think­ing, “Come on lady, you can’t donate just one dol­lar? Don’t you know that the cure would hap­pen if you just gave one dol­lar? But instead, you are enjoy­ing that Peo­ple Mag­a­zine with Richard Sim­mons on the cov­er and that Diet Coke, which, by the way, isn’t help­ing. So, please, take that flam­ing red hair and match­ing lips and go on about your busi­ness know­ing that you have just let down the entire effort. Thanks. Thanks a lot!” I reply, “Bag is fine.” And walk out with my head hung in shame.

4. Don’t For­get the Poor Kids- I hold on to every piece of cloth­ing, toy and book know­ing that there is a poor child that needs them. Shirts, shorts, coats and any­thing worth­while is bagged up and head­ed to those in need and the poor kids are thrilled. But what about the left­overs? The prob­lem is, the poor kids don’t want ten­nis shoes with holes or stained one­sies, but I feel so bad­ly about throw­ing away any­thing use­ful that I keep it in bins in my base­ment. Just in case. My fear that the poor kids will go with­out is not lim­it­ed to the hoard­ing of my children’s cast offs. I bring my sad­ness for the poor kids into the kitchen, too. If I exper­i­ment with a recipe that no one will touch, there is no way that we are throw­ing it out, because peo­ple are starv­ing. So, my hus­band ends up eat­ing the same casserole for lunch every day for a week. Or, he throws it away when he gets to work. Those deci­sions are on him. He’s the one who will go to hell for lying.…and wasting.…not me.

5. Look out for Your Guardian Angel- There is always some­one watch­ing you and it isn’t San­ta Claus. Sure, he sees you when you are sleep­ing and knows when you are awake, but the guardian angel isn’t lim­it­ed to the hol­i­day sea­son. He’s with you 100 per­cent of the time. That angel will pro­tect you when you need it, but he will also give you a quick real­i­ty check when it’s deemed fit­ting. Have you ever smart­ed off to your moth­er or slapped your broth­er and then walked away and tripped, or banged your elbow on the cof­fee table or spilled some­thing on your shirt imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the infrac­tion? That is your guardian angel giv­ing you a shove. Just ask my moth­er. She has ter­ri­fied her four chil­dren and eight grand­chil­dren with this lit­tle fact for years. Next time you do or say some­thing unkind, you’ll fee a swift kick to the back of your knees and fall right over. Mark my words!

There are a lot of things in life that I am guilty about, but my Catholic guilt is not one of them.  My moth­er has forever said, “If you can’t do it in front of me, you prob­a­bly shouldn’t be doing it.” That state­ment has rung true my entire life. My Catholic guilt does not make me a para­noid bas­ket case. Instead, it helps me to make bet­ter choic­es because I am con­cerned about what will hap­pen to me if I don’t. They say (I don’t know who they are but they are filled with help­ful nuggets of infor­ma­tion) good things hap­pen to good peo­ple. Lots of peo­ple call it guilt, oth­ers call it Kar­ma, some say it is blind faith. To me, that guilt is like a warm com­fort­ing blan­ket that makes me feel secure in my choic­es. But I am not too naive to real­ize that blan­ket has the abil­i­ty to spon­ta­neous­ly burst in to flames in case I get off course, so I always keep a bot­tle of water close at hand to fight the flames.… Just in case.…..

My Mom’s Original Gangster Parenting Hacks Would Never Fly Today

My kids are cod­dled like every oth­er child on the plan­et. They get par­tic­i­pa­tion tro­phies. They have gigan­tic water bot­tles so that they won’t ever dehy­drate. They get stick­ers at Tar­get for being in the cart, even though their behav­ior is so deplorable I often threat­en to leave a few behind. That is the way of our world. We as par­ents have become soft. The sec­ond you attempt to assert tough love you are labeled an a-hole par­ent by the rest of the pearl-clutch­ing moth­ers at pick up.

We thir­ty-some­thing moms were raised by a dif­fer­ent pack of wolves. If we didn’t fol­low the rules, it wasn’t about a gen­tle con­se­quence like los­ing a mar­ble from the good girl jar. Our par­ents pulled out the big guns. Today’s sweet and lov­ing Grannies and Grand­pas, whose grand babies can do no wrong, were not kid­ding around thir­ty years ago. They taught us lessons that we will nev­er for­get.

I am a moth­er of three boys and one girl, a mir­ror image of the fam­i­ly that I grew up in. Hav­ing four kids is often chaotic, but I guess because I am from a large fam­i­ly it isn’t the ginor­mous chal­lenge that the world assumes it is. Hav­ing said that, I cer­tain­ly have my fair share of, “What in the world have I got­ten myself into?” days. But when I am at my worst, it is com­fort­ing to know that my mom was in the exact same place and some­how she made it through. I will often reflect on my own child­hood expe­ri­ences and think how lucky I was to have been raised in a lov­ing fam­i­ly in the 1980s because if I pulled any of my par­ents’ OG child-rear­ing hacks today, I’d be in jail. Or at the very least, the con­fes­sion­al.….

Clean up, or else

Today’s child has a chore chart on the wall out­lin­ing their dai­ly respon­si­bil­i­ties with a cor­re­spond­ing mag­net that they can move from one side to the oth­er so as to earn their dai­ly stick­er and, ulti­mate­ly, a prize at the end of the week. In the 1980s you had the, “I swear to God if you don’t clean up this room, I am throw­ing all of your crap out the win­dow,” method. Par­ents didn’t just threat­en, they fol­lowed through. The entire con­tents of my broth­ers’ bed­room went fly­ing from a sec­ond sto­ry win­dow and when my mom said she wouldn’t pick one thing up, she meant it. No,the family’s dirty lit­tle secret was nev­er shared with any­one; but the lesson was learned and noth­ing took flight again. Today, the neigh­bors would whip out their iPhones to cap­ture video, post it on Face­book and my mom would end up on Dr. Phil defend­ing her boot camp-style par­ent­ing.

If you want to leave, go

If a child today threat­ened to run away, par­ents would have a men­tal break­down. Why are you unhap­py? What can I do bet­ter? Is there some­thing that we can do to improve your liv­ing con­di­tions? When I was a kid if you want­ed to move out, your moth­er would help you pack. As a mat­ter of fact, if you were lucky, she’d grab the gigan­tic Sam­sonite from the base­ment. There were no wheels of course, but it was nice and hard and made a great seat when you need­ed a rest. She’d pack up all of your clothes, some­thing fan­cy for church on Sun­day, per­haps a swim­ming suit in the sum­mer, and you’d be on your way. It’s unlike­ly that you’d make it too far past the front stoop car­ry­ing all of your world­ly pos­ses­sions. How­ev­er, you’d have plen­ty of time to think the plan through, just as your moth­er had intend­ed.

You will eat this or starve

If you were a kid in the 1980s you prob­a­bly had the plea­sure of culi­nary delights like Chick­en Tonight, Man­wich or if it was a spe­cial occa­sion Bagel Bites and Totino’s Piz­za Rolls. No mat­ter what was placed on the table, that was the only option. No one was con­cerned that you didn’t like the way it looked, smelled or how it felt in your mouth. Din­ner was served. And if you were hun­gry, you would eat it. If you refused, you would be forced to sit with your cold chick­en and dumplings, under dimmed light­ing, while the rest of the fam­i­ly went to watch ALF with­out you. If you didn’t eat said dumplings, there would be no oth­er food offered until break­fast. You would legit go to bed hun­gry and live to tell the tale the next day

Do as I say, not as I do

Going out to din­ner was a lux­u­ry when I was a kid. Sure there were plen­ty of fast food joints with out­door play places that caused per­ma­nent scar­ring from their met­al joy rides, but a sit-down meal was a treat. When din­ing out, par­ty man­ners were expect­ed, and so help me God; you had bet­ter nev­er let any­one know how old you were. Even if it meant keep­ing your coat on for the entire meal to hide your blos­som­ing chest or duck­ing down real­ly low in your seat, under no cir­cum­stances should the estab­lish­ment ever ques­tion whether or not you were 10 and under. There was no kids eat free with an eli­gi­ble adult in the good old days. Every­one had to pay their own way, but fathers in the know had a plan. Chil­dren were prepped in the car. You are nev­er old­er than the age lim­it for a kid’s meal. Is that clear? You will gra­cious­ly accept a kid’s menu. Do you under­stand? Only water and soda have free refills. Don’t even think about order­ing choco­late milk. Got it? Once you were clear­ly too old, your father became “Mr. I look so young for my old age” and would start order­ing off the senior citizen’s menu to bal­ance things out.

Don’t make me turn this car around

Vaca­tion was a time for the whole fam­i­ly to pack into the sta­tion wag­on and hit the open road while your mom yelled direc­tions from that, “damn Rand McNal­ly,” she could nev­er fold, while your dad took long angry drags from his Salems. There were no five point har­ness per­son­al utopia’s con­tain­ing tablets pre­load­ed with edu­ca­tion­al videos and apps. You played the license plate game and beat the hell out of one anoth­er for a win­dow seat. You’d hope for a quick nap in the car before you checked in to the hotel and spent the next six nights shar­ing a dou­ble bed with all five of your sib­lings. Vaca­tion came with no itin­er­ary, no day trips or jaunts. Your trip con­sist­ed of the hotel pool, third-degree sun­burns, bee stings and you cried when you left because you couldn’t wait for next sum­mer.

It was a sim­pler time with few­er dis­trac­tions. Fam­i­lies were big and weird and so many of them were unbe­liev­ably hap­py. And aside from that one sum­mer when my broth­er fell from the brand new swing set and prob­a­bly broke his foot, but we’ll nev­er know because it was the 4th of July and no one was going to the ER because, “it would be load­ed with idiots who’d burned them­selves with fire­crack­ers!” I think that my par­ents and the rest of the neigh­bor­hood moms and dads were real­ly on to some­thing.……

Keep Smiling, Keep Shining.…..

come

Since the dawn of social media the world has become obsessed with shar­ing. Our lives are open books of pho­tos and text writ­ten for every­one to see. Many of us have con­nect­ed our­selves with large groups of peo­ple, that if it weren’t for the­se sites, we may not have kept up with at all. On any given day I can tell you what peo­ple who I went to grade school with had for lunch. I can spot a friend’s hus­band, who I have nev­er met in my life, at a gas sta­tion but I won’t intro­duce myself because that would be weird. I can name hun­dreds of friends’ children’s names and tell you won­der­ful sto­ries about those chil­dren because I have read all about them, but they don’t even know I exist.

I, myself, tend to be an over shar­er. I like to think that my kids are fun­ny and so I write down their quips and I pub­lish them. I am lousy at baby books,. Those 0–12 months pic­tures always hap­pen a day, or a week late. And, shh, I total­ly throw away papers when my kids go to sleep at night. But, I will absolute­ly Insta­gram a quote about the time some­one told me they hoped they could throw up just to stay home and play with an iPad. That’s my life, day in and day out, and it’s the real life of so many par­ents.

When I was preg­nant with Dar­ling a few months ago, we decid­ed to keep the gen­der a secret until the end. We did this with all of our preg­nan­cies, so it was noth­ing new, but boy did the world want to weigh in on who was grow­ing in my womb. I thor­ough­ly doc­u­ment­ed my preg­nan­cy and the excite­ment that our entire fam­i­ly had dur­ing this spe­cial time.

When my Dar­ling was born, I proud­ly shared her birth sto­ry and the amaz­ing sur­prise that she was for all of us. I was so thrilled to announce my beau­ti­ful baby, I nev­er real­ly took the time to think about how my posts and pic­tures, so many sil­ly and often trite, could be affect­ing oth­ers.

And then this note appeared in my mail­box and stopped me in my tracks.

So I nev­er wrote you- I was going to but it seemed too strange, but you are a strange gal and will prob­a­bly appre­ci­ate this! I was due with a baby last March 2016… exact same time as you! I was busy hold­ing my breath hop­ing and pray­ing that this lit­tle one would stick when you announced #4. Of course I love your posts and was thrilled for you! My sweet lit­tle one was just pass­ing through and for some rea­son I had a REALLY hard time recov­er­ing emo­tion­al­ly from that loss. I sought out sup­port from all dif­fer­ent heal­ers — ther­a­pist, ener­gy work, etc. I KNEW it was a lit­tle girl!

I sort of lived vic­ar­i­ous­ly through your preg­nan­cy updates on Face­book! I just KNEW you were going to have a girl too!

I had a dream the night you went into labor that you had a lit­tle girl and woke up to the news on Face­book announc­ing the arrival of your Dar­ling! I cried. I was so emo­tion­al because I was so hap­py for you and so sad for me — it was real­ly cathar­tic for me to expe­ri­ence the joy you felt wel­com­ing your daugh­ter! Just so beau­ti­ful! So super dog ran­dom that you had NO IDEA that you and your preg­nan­cy played such a role in my heal­ing process!!!!! THANK YOU!

This mes­sage from a real-life friend from school, who lives a few states away and is a moth­er of three her­self, was an eye open­er for me. It made me real­ize that just being me, just being sil­ly and just shar­ing what hap­pens, made some­one else feel good. It made her smile dur­ing a real­ly hard time in her life. I find such plea­sure in read­ing oth­ers’ updates, too. There are a few select peo­ple whom I reli­gious­ly check on because they make me smile, laugh and real­ize that I am total­ly not as bad of a moth­er as they are. I kid, I kid. The real­i­ty is, we are all just try­ing to get through the day and we all serve as great bless­ings to one anoth­er. I am grate­ful to play that role for some of you and equal­ly thank­ful that you are there for me.

And while we may not always care about what that girl, who total­ly told a nun that she hat­ed her math class and walked out sopho­more year (this was absolute­ly a fever-induced demen­tia) did over the week­end, keep her on your friend’s list. She might be just what you need when you least expect it.

Perfect 10

We are a mere nine days from the open­ing cer­e­monies of the Olympic Games in Rio. The sum­mer games are always my favorite. I can watch the swim­mers, divers and gym­nasts for hours and be in the purest state of awe as their bod­ies move in ways that seem almost human­ly impos­si­ble. They are tru­ly glo­ri­ous ath­letes and I will sit, in my own per­son­al glo­ry, and eat lots of snacks and drink Diet Coke while watch­ing them all go for the gold.

I nev­er had aspi­ra­tions of being an Olympiad, which I am sure comes as quite a sur­prise. I was far more con­cerned that the blue and gold rib­bons in my hair matched my uni­form to get too caught up with the actu­al sport that I was par­tic­i­pat­ing in. I attend­ed Catholic school from K-12 and in grade school, I played all of the sports, excelling in none of them. Dur­ing the sum­mer, we belonged to Macken­zie Swim Club, a fond but dis­tant mem­o­ry, and of course, I was on the swim team. There was also a div­ing team, but I was nev­er a part of that. I think the sum­mer that a mem­ber fell through the bars on the high dive, crashed to the ground and broke both of her arms (total­ly sounds like this should have been me) killed any thought my moth­er may have had of get­ting me signed up for anoth­er adven­ture.

swim

 

For as many sum­mers as I can remem­ber, we were at the pool every day. My par­ents had four kids and for a few hun­dred dol­lars a year, this kept every sin­gle one of us hap­pi­ly occu­pied for hours and hours. All of my broth­ers and I grew up to be decent swim­mers with no fear of the water. Our par­ents bought the house that they live in now when we were all young adults and lucky for us, there is an enor­mous pool in the back­yard. As we have grown up, got­ten mar­ried and had chil­dren, Mau­r­mi and Pop Pop’s house is the per­fect sum­mer spot to take our kids for hours on end.

The Hand­somes love to head over to their house when The Grillin’ Fool and I get home from work at night. I nor­mal­ly stay home with Dar­ling, our sweet baby girl, but a few nights ago, he had some evening work to do for a client, so I took the boys for an adven­ture. It’s aver­ag­ing 600 degrees here in the STL, so the water feels like a fresh­ly drawn bath, per­fect for evening swims. Mau­r­mi and I spent our night float­ing and chat­ting with fre­quent inter­rup­tions of, “Mom! Watch this!” “Mau­r­mi, look at me!” and “Hey, this is my best one yet.” Over and over they were in and out of the water doing tricks off of the div­ing board and call­ing us out instant­ly if we hap­pened to blink.

Hand­some #1 made his way over to Mau­r­mi and I in the shal­low water and start­ed doing hand­stands. He went up and down bare­ly keep­ing his skin­ny lit­tle legs togeth­er before top­pling over and splash­ing us.

Shoot! I just can’t keep me legs up,” he com­plained.

You’ll get it bud­dy, you just have to keep prac­tic­ing,” I reas­sured him.

Can you just show me?”

Oh, hon­ey, I haven’t done a hand­stand in 30 years.”

Please!”

When your child, who is so very much like you not only in his looks but in his manip­u­la­tive ways, begs you to help him, you move your aging, expand­ing and some­what sag­ging body to the deep­er water, hold your breath and give it your best shot. I went under, hoist­ed my body up on my arms, attempt­ed to put my legs togeth­er and flopped over on my back. I splashed with such gus­to that I imag­ined the water to be far below the skim­mer when I resur­faced. I was a bit embar­rassed, but fig­ured, I would give it anoth­er shot. Once again I held my breath, said a quick Hail Mary and went under. This time, I got one leg up and plunged for­ward. I came up for air feel­ing defeat­ed, a bit light head­ed and deter­mined to get both legs up and togeth­er. Third time’s a charm, right? I took a deep breath and made a final attempt, but nev­er got my legs ful­ly extend­ed. Instead, my left arm slipped and I went crash­ing down, think Shamu Show in the big tank. I came up for air and was sud­den­ly extreme­ly nau­se­at­ed.

The head rush from my failed attempts at show­ing my chil­dren that I could mas­ter some­thing as an adult that I was nev­er even kind of good at as a kid, was too much. I began gag­ging and head­ed for the steps.

Colleen, what is the mat­ter with you?” Mau­r­mi ques­tioned.

Noth­ing, gag, I am fine, gag, gag, gag.”

Mom, mom, are you OK?” Hand­some #2 yelled from the deep.

I moved from the steps to the side of the pool dry heav­ing and lay­ing my head on the salty, hot con­crete. I was posi­tioned on the ground like a beached whale, wet, flail­ing and dis­ori­ent­ed, just hop­ing that some­one would direct me back to my prop­er place. The fuzzi­ness in my brain rivaled any morn­ing after the very best nights of my life in my ear­ly 20s. I was breath­ing slow­ly in through my nose and out of my mouth. I was afraid to open my eyes, for I was cer­tain that the world was not just spin­ning, but also on fire and laugh­ing at me.

Colleen, are you alright? What in the heck is going on?”

Mom, I am fine! I just got a lit­tle dizzy, I’ll be fine.”

I can’t imag­ine how that hap­pened? Your form was just love­ly,” she smirked.

This com­ing from the wom­an who breaks into tap danc­ing at Hob­by Lob­by, but I digress. It took a cou­ple of min­utes, but I final­ly gained my com­po­sure and was able to get back in the water, my hand­stand days clear­ly over. I grabbed a noodle and float­ed effort­less­ly, not a care in the world. Then, Hand­some #2 yelled from the deep,

Hey, mom! Can you show me how to do a back flip off the board?”

8 High Hopes I Have for My Girl

Hand­some #3 stood on the deck in noth­ing but his Under­oos, his chub­by lit­tle bel­ly pro­trud­ing and a big smile on his face.

Look at him. He is so sweet and hap­py, let­ting it all hang out, not a care in the world. Can you imag­ine hav­ing that kind of self con­fi­dence?” I asked The Grillin’ Fool.

What do you mean? I do!” He said with a smirk.

He was only half jok­ing. If he didn’t think any­one would call the cops, he’d be on the deck in his under­wear too. But instead, he parades around the house in his box­er briefs and a t-shirt with his bird legs danc­ing and doesn’t think twice. I, on the oth­er hand, feel like I should have on Spanx under my night­gown just in case the door bell rings in the mid­dle of the night.

My hus­band has no shame when it comes to his body. He’s a forty-some­thing with four kids just try­ing to make it through the day like every oth­er man sup­port­ing a fam­i­ly. He pur­chas­es zero self-care items and will use any bot­tle in the show­er. He has nev­er in his life looked at a nutri­tion label for sug­ar, fat or calo­rie infor­ma­tion. As long as it doesn’t smell too bad he will wear it. He is so hap­py in his own skin, that noth­ing phas­es him.

I have birthed three sons who are exact­ly like him. Hand­some #1 is thin and lanky. He loves to brush his hair over to the side and lath­er him­self up in body wash. He doesn’t care one bit about what his clothes look like and will let me pick what­ev­er I want from his clos­et. Hand­some #2 is a bit more of a fash­ion­ista. He has a very par­tic­u­lar opin­ion about what to put on,and will fight for a win. Even if that means a sweater vest and a pair of ath­let­ic shorts. He’ll wear that com­bi­na­tion proud­ly. Hand­some #3 has more con­fi­dence in his lit­tle fin­ger than the rest of them com­bined. They are pre­cious, per­fect lit­tle boys and I want to be just like them.

For years, I wor­ried about what would hap­pen if God ever gave me a daugh­ter. How could I pos­si­bly set a good exam­ple of body image and con­fi­dence if that is the one thing that I tru­ly strug­gle with on a dai­ly basis? For my first sev­en years as a mom, I par­ent­ed my three boys know­ing that their father would have a pro­found impact on the type of men they will become, but not wor­ry­ing that my self image would affect them.

Then a sur­prise preg­nan­cy brought the biggest sur­prise of my life, a daugh­ter. I was thrilled beyond thrilled, but equal­ly ter­ri­fied that I would screw her up. I am the one who she will look to for strength and guid­ance. She will come to me for advice and help. I will be her exam­ple of self con­fi­dence and wom­an­hood. I want to do it right.

DMT

Thank­ful­ly, she is only a few months old and I have some time to get my act togeth­er. Gone are the days of look­ing in the mir­ror and list­ing all of things that I hate about my body and face. The inse­cu­ri­ties that have plagued me for years have to die before they begin to rear their ugly face in my daughter’s eyes. When I look at her, I feel inspired to be bet­ter. She is inno­cent and pure and beau­ti­ful. She is so beau­ti­ful. I nev­er want her to doubt that. I do a lot wrong, don’t we all? But, there are a few things that I have picked up along the way that I hope that she might think are worth­while nuggets of advice.

1. Laugh- Laugh Loud­ly and rau­cous­ly even if you are the only one who gets the joke. Most impor­tant­ly, laugh at your­self and know that every­one makes mis­takes. Make oth­ers laugh and know that there is no bet­ter med­i­cine. I would also be extreme­ly proud if you were the third gen­er­a­tion class clown at a cer­tain all girls Catholic high school, but I will not put unfair pres­sure on you to be any­thing that you are not.

2. Fall Hope­less­ly in Love with a Boy Band- There is noth­ing bet­ter than cov­er­ing your bed­room walls with pic­tures of the men that you are cer­tain you will mar­ry one day. I will hap­pi­ly down­load all of their music, buy crazy expen­sive tick­ets and sob with you when you see them in per­son for the first time. Trust me, you will want to keep your t-shirts, ear­rings and every over­priced acces­so­ry you can even when you think you are over that part of your life. I will glad­ly help you hoard them, and hide them from your father, so that when your favorite band goes on tour in 20 years, you can squeeze your post­par­tum body into that shirt and feel like a kid again.

3. Be a Friend- Not just to the cool kids or the pop­u­lar peo­ple, be a friend to every­one who needs it. The shy lit­tle girl in the back of the room wants to play in the game too, invite her. Always be the nice girl, not the mean girl. Years from now peo­ple will remem­ber the slight­est bit of kind­ness that you have shown them. I’m sure at some point, you will feel the wrath of a mean girl, and it will hurt, but please do your best to be kind, to watch your words and to walk away with a smile on your face, it will make you stronger.

4 . Lis­ten- This is a tough one, because you come from a long line of peo­ple who love to talk. But, trust me as much as you may want to speak, wait your turn and let oth­ers talk. It isn’t always about what you have to say, some­times it is about what you don’t say and the time that you take to hear some­one else that makes all the dif­fer­ence.

5. Pray-Every sin­gle day of your life take a moment to talk to God. Thank Him for what you have, who you are and where you are going. Ask for for­give­ness and guid­ance. Your faith will guide you in life’s most dif­fi­cult times. When all else fails, close your eyes and whis­per, Sacred Heart of Jesus, I trust in thee. This has got­ten sev­er­al gen­er­a­tions of wom­en in our fam­i­ly through tougher times than I could ever imag­ine.

6. Wear Red Lip­stick- Wear bright lips, shab­by over­alls, plaid high heel shoes, or pink gloves. Your friends may tell you that it is too bright, or too bold, or too much, but if it makes you feel good, do it! If it makes you feel pret­ty, then wear it, use it and flaunt it often, no mat­ter what it is. You will devel­op a sig­na­ture style that screams your name, make sure to scream it back.

7. If You Can’t Do it in Front of Me, Don’t Do It- This isn’t a threat, and it isn’t meant to be scary, it is just some­thing for you to always think about. I learned this from my own moth­er many, many years ago. And to this day, it still rings true. The old­er you get, the more time you will spend on your own and you will be faced with chal­lenges and choic­es to do things that you may not feel right about. If you would be com­fort­able doing it in front of me, you are gold­en. If not, it’s prob­a­bly not the best idea.

8. Be Hap­py With the Skin You Are In- You are not fat, not today, not tomor­row, not ever! You are gor­geous and per­fect and exact­ly as you were meant to be. Don’t ever let any­one dim your sparkle, espe­cial­ly not some­one who wants you to fit in to some kind of mold. They aren’t worth your time if they think a sin­gle freck­le on your nose needs to change.

As I read over my words, it was very clear to me that this advice is just as impor­tant to my boys as my girl. All I want is to raise chil­dren who are kind, lov­ing and respect­ful mem­bers of soci­ety. Each day I try to be a good mom and I real­ize that par­ent­ing will nev­er end, it will nev­er get eas­ier, it will always change. And it is the great­est chal­lenge I have ever accept­ed as it forces me to set an exam­ple and thought­ful­ly work to be a bet­ter per­son. To my chil­dren, I am so grate­ful and I love you.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What’ca Gonna Do?

I have learned all kinds of things in my last eight years par­ent­ing boys. Frogs, bugs and rep­tiles are a reg­u­lar part of con­ver­sa­tion and I am expect­ed to lis­ten intent­ly and care about the sto­ries being told. Cloth­ing will be filthy by the end of the day and no amount of hand wash­ing, wet wipes or nap­kins on the lap can pre­vent it. Boys will beat the crap out of each oth­er one min­ute and hug it out the next and there are nev­er hard feel­ings, at all. No mat­ter how much I preach about lift­ing the seat and aim­ing, my bath­rooms, despite an inor­di­nate amount of bleach and vine­gar used, will always have a slight uriney smell. I have come to accept, albeit begrudg­ing­ly on the urine thing, all of this. It is a way of life in my house and that house is filled with hap­py, hand­some men.…and a cou­ple of girls.

For the most part, my Hand­somes are well behaved, have decent man­ners and do what they are told with­out much trou­ble. Sure, they all have their moments, but I can hon­est­ly say that I don’t wor­ry too ter­ri­bly much about how they will act when I am not around. I am not a huge list of rules kind of per­son either. We have the basics, be kind to one anoth­er, don’t talk back, put your dirty laun­dry in the bas­ket, please don’t pee on your broth­er while you are both in the tub, all that kind of stuff. But, there is one thing in our house that my sons will unan­i­mous­ly announce as being the ulti­mate don’t cross mom on this one or she will lose her mind rule. I can han­dle any of the afore­men­tioned and hand out a quick, knock if off, but when it comes to the Gold­en Rule in Come on Colleen land, there is no excep­tion.

Pic­ture if you will a love­ly break­fast, lunch or din­ner table. You are per­fect­ly fam­ished and could eat just about any­thing. Thank­ful­ly, there is a deli­cious spread before you, the com­pa­ny is equal­ly as divine and you are feel­ing just delight­ful! Then, out of the cor­ner of your eye, you spot a man at the table in a tank top. He could be the rich­est, kindest, fun­ni­est and most hand­some man on the plan­et, but the sec­ond he lifts his arm to reach for the rolls, you see it. His sweaty, strag­gly, nasty armpit hair is danc­ing in the breeze. Pieces of dried deodor­ant are hang­ing on like the last bit of snow on a rock after the weath­er warms up. No mat­ter how hard you try, you can’t look away and now you have com­plete­ly lost your appetite and are resist­ing the urge to barf all over the table. Just, me? No, prob­a­bly not any more.……

Did you get your tick­ets for the gun show? Nope, no way, not at my table. Not today, not tomor­row, not ever. The Hand­somes know that they absolute­ly must have a shirt on when we are eat­ing. Often times they sleep in their under­wear so that they can be like their idol, The Grillin’ Fool, who inci­den­tal­ly is the only per­son in our house with actu­al armpit hair, and will wan­der down the steps blur­ry eyed and half naked. I don’t even have to say any­thing. A vic­to­ry in and of itself, I have mas­tered, “the look” that sends them scur­ry­ing in to the laun­dry room to find cov­er­age.

And before you get all, “But Colleen, Hand­some #1, your old­est, is only eight years old, he doesn’t even have peach fuzz in those pits.” I gagged just typ­ing that. No, you are right, he sure doesn’t, but, I wouldn’t hand him a Salem Slim Light and a Bud­weis­er, two of my old favorites back in the days when I was fun, so why let him engage in oth­er risky behav­iors that could lead to his mother’s pre­ma­ture pass­ing from gag­ging on her on vom­it at the table lat­er on in life? Just not worth the risk.

This rule is infal­li­ble at our home. As a mat­ter of fact, even when I was pot­ty train­ing my youngest boy, oppo­si­tion was quick­ly squelched my by eldest.
Me- Boys, you know the rule, you must put on a shirt before break­fast.

Hand­some #2- Why? Hand­some #3 isn’t even wear­ing any under­wear!

Me- No, he isn’t, but he is also tucked under the table and no one can see that.

Hand­some #1- Why are you even argu­ing with her on this one? You will nev­er win.

Yes. A vic­to­ry. I won! I won! I won! I felt so val­i­dat­ed. They respect me and love me and know that this is impor­tant to me and a firm rule in our home. My hand­somes are allow­ing me to mold them into strong, respect­ful and respectable young men that will make me proud. I was on cloud nine for exact­ly 11 sec­onds and then I got this series of pic­tures from Mau­r­mi. Remem­ber that whole, I don’t real­ly wor­ry about their behav­ior when I’m not around bolog­na? Well, well, well, appar­ent­ly at my house the min­ute I leave it’s a great big, naked, let your arm pits hang out all over the place buf­fet.…..

 

wow

 

They are lucky they are cute.……

An Open Letter to the Lady at Church

To the hate­ful wom­an at mass,

Today, I was a few min­utes late and snuck in to the sec­ond to last pew with my near­ly three-year-old son after stop­ping at the bath­room. He is very new­ly pot­ty trained and the thought of tin­kling in every toi­let in the city is appeal­ing. He was excit­ed that he had made it to mass and saw his favorite priest on the pul­pit. Nat­u­ral­ly, for a child his age, this caused chat­ter and wav­ing and even a bit of cry­ing and com­plain­ing when he couldn’t see.

He was loud, as most small chil­dren are, but that is why I chose to stay close to the back. I try not to use the cry room or stand in the vestibule because I feel that if my chil­dren are going to behave, they actu­al­ly have to be in the church to learn that lesson. Sad­ly, you dis­agreed and were incred­i­bly out­spo­ken and judge­men­tal. The moment he began to squawk, you imme­di­ate­ly start­ed with the huff­ing and puff­ing and dis­parag­ing glances. I tried to ignore you, but in time I had enough and explained that he is just a baby. This is when you took it upon your­self to advise me that I shouldn’t have my chil­dren in the church if they can­not behave and that I should take them else­where.

Here’s the thing, lady, you have absolute­ly no idea what we were deal­ing with this morn­ing. I was gone all day yes­ter­day and nev­er saw him. He was asleep when I left and in bed when I got home. He has had the rare oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend a lot of one on one time with me late­ly, that he has nev­er had before. He was the youngest of three boys for the last three years and his world was turned upside down eight weeks ago when his baby sis­ter was born. Luck­i­ly, I have been able to soft­en the blow dur­ing my mater­ni­ty leave, but he still wants all of my atten­tion all of the time. And that can be exhaust­ing. I am also a bit more lenient with him because he is adjust­ing to a tremen­dous amount of change that you know noth­ing about.

Per­haps you nev­er had a child, because I can­not imag­ine what they must think of your behav­ior if you did, and are tru­ly igno­rant to how this whole par­ent­ing thing works. Let me give you a bit of insight. Chil­dren are com­plete­ly and total­ly 100 per­cent unpre­dictable. If Jesus Christ him­self had a sched­uled appear­ance this morn­ing and I had pre­pared my chil­dren to meet him and how to act in the pres­ence of the Lord, at best we are work­ing with 50/50 odds in my favor. Kids are con­stant­ly talk­ing and ask­ing ques­tions, and you guessed it, mis­be­hav­ing. But they are also always learn­ing. And I want my chil­dren to learn to be kind and lov­ing and faith­ful and to live their lives as God wants them to. Fun­ny, when it was time for the sign of peace, you com­plete­ly ignored my moth­er when she tried to shake your hand, so incred­i­bly Christ-like.

What if my child had autism, or a brain tumor, or some oth­er kind of ill­ness that caused him to act out? Thank­ful­ly, he is healthy, but I am cer­tain that you would have still cast asper­sions on his behav­ior and my par­ent­ing because for some rea­son you feel enti­tled to judge oth­ers. Sad­ly for you, you missed the entire mes­sage of today’s homi­ly. Had you been pay­ing atten­tion to it, and not my child, you would have heard the priest preach about how impor­tant it is to treat oth­ers with kind­ness, love and respect. It’s about what hap­pens here on earth, not what will hap­pen after you die. But instead of soak­ing the mes­sage in and reflect­ing, you are like­ly sit­ting at home tonight with an ice pack on your neck from all of the head shak­ing.

Until next week­end my friend, when I will be back in that same church with my four chil­dren, I hope that you are able to feel good about what you did, how you act­ed and what mes­sage you walked away with. Remem­ber, if you want the church to con­tin­ue to grow, we must engage the youth and keep the pews filled. And I will always have my pew filled with chil­dren, fruit snacks, scream­ing and yelling and more love than you will ever know.

Sin­cere­ly,

Your worst night­mare that will come back over and over and over againimg_7572.jpg

Ah, Ah, Ah, Ah.…..Stayin’ Alive.….

Yep, the test is pos­i­tive,” the doc­tor said to me with sad eyes.

OMG, I thought. This is all I need right now. I have four kids and I don’t have time for this! Ugh, no! I am not preg­nant, God help us all.  Strep. Hand­some #2 test­ed pos­i­tive for strep. The nasty lit­tle bug that for my chil­dren means not only a high fever and sore throat, but we get the added bonus of vomiting.…awesome! Per­haps I should have believed him when he said he didn’t feel well.

I can­not go to school today, said Hand­some #2, Hooray!

I left the pediatrician’s office to grab Mau­r­mi, Hand­some #3 and the baby and head­ed to the phar­ma­cy to pick up Hand­some #2’s pre­scrip­tion. We made it past the check­out line when all of a sud­den I heard the hor­ri­fy­ing scream­ing.

Ouch. Oh. Ouch. I am so hurt. Ahh­h­h­hh! I have too much blood!”

I looked down to see Hand­some #3 on the floor and huge droplets of red all over the bright white tile.

OMG! What hap­pened?” I screamed.

Mau­r­mi hurt me so bad,” He blub­bered as tears poured down his cheeks and blood ran from his fin­ger.

Colleen! I would nev­er hurt him. OMG, my baby. Nev­er. I would nev­er hurt you.”

Duh.

He got the fin­ger caught in the cart, how, we may nev­er know, and some­how ripped a ginor­mous piece of skin in the process. I thought that we were head­ed to the ER, I mean, So.much.blood. I always react well in emer­gen­cy sit­u­a­tions.

Jesus, mom! OMG. What do we do?”

Colleen! He is hurt.”

I real­ize that. What am I sup­posed to do?”

Colleen! He is hurt!”

What do I do?”

This game of moron who’s on first went on for much longer than it should have, extreme­ly loud­ly and nei­ther one of us real­ly doing any­thing. Mau­r­mi took off to grab nap­kins when a help­ful young man in uni­form appeared to inform me that they had a first aid kit avail­able in case I need­ed it. Nice offer, but I need­ed some­thing imme­di­ate­ly as my child was becom­ing more and more hys­ter­i­cal.

Mau­r­mi returned with her con­tri­bu­tion to the ER effort and I ran to the phar­ma­cy area to grab a box of Band Aids, hop­ing that he would sit still long enough for me to put them on. As I returned to the scene with a box of Paw Patrol ban­dages, there stood a big man with a walkie talkie act­ing very impor­tant.

Yep. I’ve got them. I am here. Yep. Blood. There is blood. Yep. Yep. Got it. Bring on the clean up crew.”

By the look on his face, I was cer­tain that there would be a haz­mat team approach­ing soon. Mau­r­mi did her best to wipe up the floor while big red stood there doing a whole lot of noth­ing.

Excuse me,” I said try­ing to get to my baby.

Ma’am, we have a first aid kit for the­se kinds of the things.”

This is now the sec­ond time that the first aid kit has been offered, but noth­ing has been pro­duced. Per­haps they want­ed me to sign some kind of per­mis­sion slip, but instead I ripped open the box and start­ed to tend to the wound. Thank­ful­ly, my baby boy sat still and I was able to attach the ban­dages tight­ly enough to stop the bleed­ing.

Oh. Ewe, gross,” Said the walkie talkie man.

Thank­ful­ly for him, I bit my tongue and went on about my busi­ness. I want­ed to get Hand­some #2’s med­i­cine and get the heck out there. I head­ed to the phar­ma­cy, still cov­ered in blood myself and look­ing like a seri­al killer, and request­ed the pre­scrip­tion. Not ready.…awesome.… Since the bleed­ing had stopped and I need­ed a few more lunch­box items, I pressed on with my shop­ping.

We wan­dered through the toy depart­ment, the gro­cery area and the baby sec­tion when I noticed that Hand­some #3 was start­ing to act fun­ny. His eyes were droop­ing and he was nod­ding off.

Colleen, what is the mat­ter with him?” Mau­r­mi asked.

I don’t know. This is real­ly odd, ” I replied.

My God, did he hit his head? Or is he in shock from the pain?”

Hand­some #3, wake up! Wake up!” I demand­ed.

Stop talk­ing to me. Don’t look at me. I am so hurt­ing,” he screamed.

Cer­tain that he had some kind of con­cus­sion, again, I start­ed to pan­ic. Mau­r­mi and I stood next to the cart dis­cussing our next course of action, but nei­ther one of us touch­ing him, not want­i­ng to dis­turb him. Had we reached out to com­fort him, per­haps we could have saved the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and real­ized a few min­utes soon­er that he was hot­ter than a fire­crack­er. God help us, anoth­er one bites the dust. Strep is ugly and mean and con­ta­gious as hell!

Thank­ful­ly he had tried to ampu­tate his fin­ger a few min­utes ear­lier and we were still at the store so that I could call the pedi­a­tri­cian and get his med­i­cine called in before I left. I checked in at the phar­ma­cy to make sure they had received the new order and grabbed Hand­some #2’s med­i­cine and gave him a dose right there in the store. The soon­er we attack the bug, the bet­ter, right? Ten min­utes lat­er, Hand­some #3’s med­i­cine was ready, so I dosed him up too and we head­ed to the cafe for a quick drink and a pret­zel.


The fever had tak­en its toll on my bud­dy and he had enough trau­ma for the day, so we head­ed home to get every­one com­fort­able and in bed. As I unload­ed my bags to put away the gro­ceries I found that I was one bot­tle short. Hand­some #2’s med­i­cine was some­how left at the store. Come on! Seri­ous­ly?!?!!?

I wait­ed until the Grillin’ Fool got back from work before I head­ed back to the store, with Mau­r­mi of course, to pick up the new­ly ordered med­i­cine because no one could find it in the store. Mau­r­mi looked through every cart.


We retraced our steps, searched the aisles and shelves, but it was nowhere to be found. I returned to the phar­ma­cy for the third time and promised not to lose it, even putting it in my mother’s purse to ensure it would stay with me.

As we left the store to head home, we walked past the scene of the crime and noticed there was still a bit of blood left. Inter­est­ing­ly, the large fel­la with the walkie talkie was also still there, still hooked up to the walkie.…Having a snack.….

 

Hey, You Guys!

 

Goonies-Movie-Quotes

On June 7, 1985, exact­ly 30 years ago today, ‘The Goonies’ was released. At the time, I was six. My broth­ers were four, three and eight weeks. My mom and dad were 33 and 36, respec­tive­ly. Today, I am 36. My sons are sev­en, five and two. I am the exact age that my father was when he and my moth­er decid­ed to head to the movie the­ater with four and three-year-old boys. Four chil­dren under six, includ­ing a new­born who was left with God only knows that day, would make anyone’s judge­ment a bit lax.

 

The antic­i­pa­tion was incred­i­ble. After what seemed like hours, 15 min­utes real time, we walked in the doors. Can­dy, a huge tub of pop­corn and one soda with four straws lat­er, we were head­ed to the upper bal­cony ready for the Goonies expe­ri­ence.

 

We were all hooked on the tale of friend­ship packed with action, adven­ture and a real­ly creepy guy chained up in the base­ment. Despite our young ages, we sat pret­ty still while devour­ing snacks and slurp­ing drinks, until we didn’t. There was danc­ing down the aisle. Not tap or sal­sa, this looked a bit more like the hus­tle.

 

One-eyed Willy’s boat had just been dis­cov­ered when the real per­for­mance start­ed. A poor, Pep­si-filled tod­dler, began the chant famil­iar to all par­ents,

 

It began soft­ly with a chair squirm. “Um, I have to go. I have to go to the bath­room.” He twist­ed and twirled. “I have to go. I have to go. Dad­dy, I real­ly have to go.”

 

The Fratelli’s just appeared and now a kid is filled with urine up to his eye­balls. Per­fect. With mere min­utes of the movie left, but not want­i­ng to miss a sec­ond, my dad did what any lov­ing par­ent would do. He made the ulti­mate sac­ri­fice. Even though he was real­ly full, he forced him­self to eat the last of the pop­corn, cre­at­ing a makeshift toi­let and told my broth­er to tin­kle. Right there. In the tub. In the the­atre. And he did.

Goonies nev­er say die……

Watch for Falling Idiots

I have nev­er con­sid­ered myself ter­ri­bly proac­tive. I have been known to wait until there are so few gro­ceries in the house that I make my chil­dren “junk lunch­es” to take to school. They call this an adven­ture, I call it a futile attempt to make string cheese, raisins and a hand­ful of cere­al flakes a bal­anced meal. The laun­dry has piled up to the point of no return and rather than tack­le it, I have bought every­one new out­fits. So when the change bat­tery light came on in my car a few weeks ago, I looked at it for 10 sec­onds and then went about my busi­ness. It popped up again last week and I almost got con­cerned, but then for­got that I didn’t care. But when I saw it today a mid­st the snow flur­ries and tem­per­a­tures that make me want to put on what the hand­somes lov­ing­ly refer to as the cov­er­feets and keep them on for the next sev­er­al months, I real­ized that I bet­ter take action.

It was the end of a long day at work and I fig­ured that super big box store that does and sells just about every­thing was just as good a place as any for a quick bat­tery replace­ment. Evi­dent­ly 1/2 of SoCo agreed because the line was way longer than I antic­i­pat­ed. I arrived at about 5:50 and was greet­ed by a gen­tle­man who said that it would be about an hour and that as soon as my car was fin­ished they would page me. No big deal, I could cer­tain­ly fill my cart with gro­ceries and at least $100 worth of oth­er crap that I didn’t need.

I walked the aisles grab­bing bread, bot­tled water, paja­mas, socks, deodor­ant, you know, the usu­al. I was quite enjoy­ing the stroll alone with­out three lit­tle loves nag­ging, err help­ing me. I got lost in the peace and qui­et and before I knew it, it was 7:15. I hadn’t heard my name called, so I strolled back to auto­mo­tive to see how much longer the wait would be.

As I turned the cor­ner, to say that I was sur­prised was an under­state­ment. The depart­ment was dark as night, the reg­is­ters off, the doors closed, not a sole in site. Cer­tain­ly there must have been a pow­er fail­ure back there caus­ing all of the lights to be off because no way in the world could they be closed, right? Wrong.….

I made my way to the ser­vice desk and very calm­ly, even laugh­ing, explained my predica­ment. I mean, real­ly, who comes in to the store in a car, asks to have ser­vice on that car, and doesn’t expect to leave in that car? I might as well have said that I mur­dered a fam­i­ly of pup­pies because the look of hor­ror on their faces was intense. They had no idea what to do. Again, I was calm. They called a super­vi­sor, who sug­gest­ed they call a man­ager. Hmm, no $h!+?!?!? The man­ager then said to call a super­vi­sor. The­se poor wom­en were play­ing a game of who’s on first and I was start­ing to come unhinged.

I could feel myself  ready to explode. I called my hus­band and while mani­a­cal­ly laugh­ing told him what was hap­pen­ing. He wasn’t sure whether to call the man­ager or the police, but ulti­mate­ly laughed and gave me a, “Good luck. Let me know how is works out.” A man­ager final­ly showed up and when I, once again, explained what had hap­pened, I was greet­ed with the look of, “I have no f@#^ing idea how to do my job,” on her face. She dis­ap­peared in to the night, leav­ing me with a cart full of a crap and an old man behind me offer­ing to dri­ve me home in a kind of nice, but I could total­ly be a preda­tor way.

I was final­ly greet­ed by a man who seemed even more con­fused than every­one else in the store because he said that he was back there the whole time and that no one came to get him. At this point, I couldn’t have cared less, I just want­ed to get the hell out of there and home to my babies. A cool $110 for the bat­tery lat­er, I was out the door. I had just dis­cov­ered on my way home from work that Hol­ly was back on satel­lite radio an I was ready to rock the hell out of some Karen Car­pen­ter.

I turned the car on, all sys­tems go. Well, all except the nav­i­ga­tion and sound sys­tems. If there is one thing that is absolute­ly essen­tial in a mini­van to a wom­an like myself who wants noth­ing more than to bless the world with her musi­cal styling,it is a ful­ly-func­tion­ing stereo sys­tem. When I got in the car tonight, instead of see­ing my nav­i­ga­tion and audio menu, I saw this mid­dle fin­ger right in my face.

Ha, Ha, Ha, Idiot…We win, we always win!

Not.a.clue. Not a f%^&!”! clue.….You might as well ask me to pre­dict the Power­ball num­bers because there was just as much of a chance that I would get those cor­rect as my know­ing what the hell this PIN is. I tried every­thing, every com­bi­na­tion of every sig­nif­i­cant and insignif­i­cant num­bers, noth­ing. So instead of singing Christ­mas tunes on the way home, I screamed, cried and beat the steer­ing wheel. Dra­mat­ic? Per­haps, but this on top of the news of Richard Simmon’s depres­sion today. I just can’t even.….If you need me, I’ll be singing along to Sweat­in’ to the Oldies 2 while eat­ing a bowl of Cook­ies n Cream.….

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