Archive of ‘whoops’ category

My Mom’s OG 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.……

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?”

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.….

 

D is for really big idiot

I was sim­ply hor­ri­fied today when I saw that a local gro­cery store, my gro­cery store, my neigh­bor­hood loca­tion was the scene of a rob­bery. Actu­al­ly, it was a bank satel­lite office inside of the bank. Per­haps the rob­ber was look­ing to cash in on Mr. Big Shot $24,000 ATM Slip? I was deter­mined to get to the bot­tom of it, so I threw on my Nan­cy Drew hat and head­ed to the super­mar­ket to sniff out some clues.

OK, so that is a bunch of crap. I was head­ed home from an event at Finnegan’s school and had to stop  to grab a few things for an event at work tomor­row. I gath­ered my items and made my way to the front of the store and head­ed to the only open lane, which hap­pened to be right next to the bank. I con­sid­er myself to be a friend­ly, out­go­ing gal (I hate the word gal, but in the fol­low­ing exchange, it seemed an appro­pri­ate name). Per my ususal, I whipped up the fol­low­ing con­vo with the 17ish male check­er and his trusty side­kick, the bag­ger.

Me: Wow, I can’t believe that some­one would real­ly rob a bank, in a gro­cery store, with all of the­se peo­ple around.
Check­er: Yeah, it was pret­ty dumb.
Me: I know. Who does that and thinks that they can get away with it with all of the­se secu­ri­ty cam­eras?
Check­er: Peo­ple do dumb things all the time.
Me: Walk­ing in here, to the front of the store past all of the cam­eras is like walk­ing in with a big sign around your neck say­ing, remem­ber my face, I am about to rob the place.They are just ask­ing to be picked out of a line­up.
Check­er: Yeah, peo­ple are dumb. They do all kinds of stuff that makes them stick out and makes them mem­o­rable. Some are just like hard to for­get.
Me: I know, peo­ple are just dumb. It’s like they want to get caught. Thanks so much for your help. Have a great night.
Check­er: You too, Mrs. Thomas.

Huh? Did he just call me Mrs. Thomas? I don’t write checks. He didn’t ask for my ID for the Diet Coke and water that I just pur­chased. I guess that I have shopped at this store so many times through­out the last decade that they have come to know me. What a nice young man. Wow, they real­ly are the friend­liest stores in town.

Or.…I am the biggest idiot in town.…you decide.….

Upon get­ting into my mini­van I real­ized that right above my heart was this God­for­sak­en name tag.….I was just ask­ing to be picked out in a line up.….idiot.….

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.…

There is one house­hold chore that I hate. No, not like I hate to do the dish­es, or I hate to pay my bills, or I hate to make din­ner for the­se kids that will like­ly look at it and say, “I HATE this!” No, I would glad­ly do any of those things before I have to change the sea­sons in my children’s clos­ets. I would rather clip their toe­nails with my teeth than take their itty bit­ty shirts, off of itty bit­ty hang­ers and put them in giant rub­ber tubs and then unpack oth­er giant rub­ber tubs filled with things that make me won­der why I ever saved this $h!+ in the first place. How many moms have pulled out one­sies from baby 1, 2, 3 etc. to use on the new child and found them rid­dled with holes and poop stains?  I look at this crap and think, “You are a moron. You would nev­er put this on your sweet baby? Why did you save it?” But as I am fever­ish­ly throw­ing dozens of shirts, shorts, pants and mis­matched socks into a new bin, it is very clear why. If it is locked away in an opaque bin, it is out of my face and I can for­get about it for a num­ber of years. I can stuff it fast, put a lid on it and Scott will glad­ly take it down the steps and hide it so that I quit cry­ing. Yes, there is cry­ing and scream­ing, but no one puts me in time­out for the after­noon and lets me fall asleep just to make me shut up. Oh no, I have to keep work­ing.

Please send the TLC truck away, this is not Hoard­ers. This is just and episode of ” Hey Guys, noth­ing to see here. I just wan­na kill some­one and am cry­ing in the cor­ner.”

While work­ing on my kids’ room this past week­end, I had my iTunes on ran­dom and “A Spoon­ful of Sug­ar” came on. This is quite a change from my nor­mal house-clean­ing sound­track, but the iPad was too far away to press next, so I fig­ured I would give Julie Andrews a shot. As the upbeat tune blared through the speak­er. I was sud­den­ly a bit more cheery and trans­port­ed back to being a kid. As chil­dren, we were all mem­o­rized by Mary Pop­pins. Her sweet smile, beau­ti­ful voice and quick-snap­ping fin­gers made clean­ing your room a game. Remem­ber how the toy sol­diers walked right into the toy box and the blan­kets flew up in the air and land­ed per­fect­ly fold­ed on the bed? Why, just a spoon­ful of sug­ar will make it all bet­ter, right Mary? Wrong! You lied Mary Pop­pins, not a damn thing was going to make this job a game! I could have downed a 5 pound bag of sug­ar this week­end and still need­ed a half a dozen Zoloft to take the edge off. The more I lis­tened the more infu­ri­at­ed I became. No mag­i­cal bird was appear­ing on my finger.No cute lit­tle boys is short sets were there to help? I would have set­tled for filthy Bert com­ing in and toss­ing crap in a bin with soot-cov­ered hands. But, nope, no one came to the res­cue. Sure, peri­od­i­cal­ly I would hear Scott down the hall warn­ing the boys not to come near the bed­room or they may not be seen again…ever.….But that was as much human inter­ac­tion as I saw for days.

It took me what felt like 72 hours to com­plete this one god­for­sak­en room, but when it was fin­ished, I had made a large pile of clothes to give to char­i­ty. But as I was on my way to the Good­will bin, I had the bril­liant idea to take the clothes to a children’s resale shop to see what I could get for them. Most were is good con­di­tion, but old­er styles that I like­ly won’t put on Hand­some #3, and I was tired of stor­ing them. I went to the store and was offered $43 for the haul, which seemed fair. I head­ed to the ATM at Schnucks to make my deposit, feel­ing like a big shot with a cou­ple of Andrew Jack­sons for my trou­bles. I made my deposit and grabbed what I thought was my receipt, but sud­den­ly my big score at the resale shop didn’t seem so great when I saw that the per­son who had vis­it­ed the ATM before me, and left their receipt,  had a mere $24,000 in their check­ing account.

Well look at you Mr. Big Shot! $24,000 in the check­ing, huh? I bet you can hire Mary and her team of snap­ping clowns to come over and clean your house every week can’t you? You think you are so great with your pin­striped suit and mono­grammed cuffs, don’t you? Your fan­cy spec­ta­tor shoes that you wipe off on your wel­come mat before you walk on your fresh­ly-shined wood floors that glow just like that bald head of yours? I quick­ly real­ized that this pompous jerk, who I made up com­plete­ly in my mind and was hat­ing because of his ATM slip, was built in the image of my own hus­band, right down to the lack of hair on his head. Well, except for the actu­al ATM slip and hoard­ing of $24,000. That and the shined floors. That doesn’t hap­pen unless he shi­nes them him­self, I am not a floor per­son. And he does that…pretty much every time that I ask him to. So in actu­al­i­ty, he is a fair, good guy, who I real­ly love, but some­times I need to direct my frus­tra­tion and he is an easy tar­get. Per­haps I had some deep-seed­ed resent­ment for the fact that I cleaned the room alone, and the remark, “You did this to your­self, quit buy­ing them all of this crap.” Some­how in my rage I had made my way through the store and picked up a gal­lon of milk, bananas, a pack­age of tor­tilla wraps, two cans of black beans, an avo­cado and a half gal­lon of ice cream. Whether or not I had a full-on con­ver­sa­tion with myself about the a$$hole who left the ATM receipt or just thought it is unknown.….I did how­ev­er pol­ish off half of the half gal­lon when I got home.….but that can be our lit­tle secret.…..

Peek-A-Boo.…thank God no one saw you.…..

I believe that God gives every per­son unique and spe­cial gifts and that He wants us to use those gifts to help oth­ers and to make the world a bet­ter place. My gifts don’t come in the form that most peo­ple would like­ly con­sid­er spe­cial. For exam­ple, God made Mozart an incred­i­ble musi­cian. I quit tick­ling the ivories after a not-so-unfor­tu­nate fin­ger break in fourth grade. I hat­ed piano lessons and want­ed to die every time I had to go because my teacher, a nun, would drink soda from a can with a straw and burp the entire time. Instead of play­ing my songs in the prac­tice room before my lesson, I would punc­ture the leaves of the aloe plant and watch the clear ooze drip to the floor. The day that my fin­gers bent back was God telling me straight out to quit wast­ing my par­ents mon­ey. I would nev­er ever make it to play­ing “The Enter­tain­er.”

My gift didn’t come in the form of an ath­let­ic abil­i­ty either. No, I was much more con­cerned with hav­ing blue and gold bows in my hair than I was break­ing a sweat. To this day, I day­dream about run­ning a marathon, OK, a 5K. But instead of train­ing, I eat Peanut But­ter M&Ms in bed while sip­ping a Diet Coke and watch­ing a doc­u­men­tary about a run­ner with one leg over­com­ing the odds and I just won­der if I can walk to the kitchen to get more can­dy with one foot asleep.

God didn’t give me those kind of gifts. Nope, it would take me much longer to under­stand what my gifts are and how to best uti­lize them. You see, God made me a sto­ry­teller. He gives me such incred­i­ble mate­ri­al, it is hard not to spin amaz­ing yarns. He fills my days with wacky inspi­ra­tion that he just doesn’t seem to give to oth­er peo­ple. For exam­ple, how many of you have gone for a quick eye exam and left look­ing like Mr. Pota­to Head? Or may­be, you used your Siri text to talk fea­ture when you had a cold and end­ed up with this?

I just don’t think that He gives every­one so much mate­ri­al to work with. Like just last week. I was work­ing, mind­ing my own busi­ness, leav­ing my third appoint­ment, when I felt a lit­tle some­thing on the back of my ankle. It was a brisk fall day and there were beau­ti­ful leaves of crim­son, amber and gold lying on the ground and peri­od­i­cal­ly danc­ing  across the earth with a quick gust of wind. I thought noth­ing of the feel­ing on my leg and got in the car. What began as a slight rub­bing sen­sa­tion began to slip down my leg quick­ly and caused a bit of alarm. I didn’t want to look down because I was sure that some sort of spi­der, or armadil­lo, was crawl­ing down my leg. It was bulky and uncom­fort­able and ter­ri­fy­ing.

When I final­ly got up the nerve to look, I was shocked. I was embar­rassed. I was appalled. I was like WTF? How in the world does this hap­pen? How do you go 3/4 of a work day with no one men­tion­ing it? Who in the hell put him there?

Do you see some­one play­ing peek-a-boo. .

At this point, you are like­ly think­ing that I have lost my mind and you are won­der­ing what it is that you are look­ing at. Kind­ly resist the temp­ta­tion to make the pho­to big­ger. You will be instant­ly offend­ed by the con­di­tion of my heels. Instead, just pull your com­put­er closer to your face. Those lit­tle green spots belong to Per­cy good friend of my good friend, Hand­some #2. Now before you get all, WTF is going on and why in the world would she have those in her pants? Let’s be fair and hon­est. As much as we would all like to pre­tend that we do 86 loads of laun­dry a week sep­a­rat­ed by col­or, fab­ric, tem­per­a­ture set­ting and fam­i­ly mem­ber, any mom with kids knows, you throw as many things into that machine as will fit and press go. Some­times that method caus­es things to get crum­pled up and stuck where they shouldn’t be. And if those crum­ples break free and appear in a pub­lic place where they shouldn’t, then some­times peo­ple get strange looks…or arrested.…Lucky for you, this hap­pened in the car and I lived to tell the tale. Thank­ful­ly, I was able to return them to their right­ful own­er before he noticed they were miss­ing and had an all out hor­ri­fy­ing stage three melt­down.……

I am so much more of a #1 Engine kind of girl, but what­evs.….

It’s Raining Men.….

We are all fierce from the neck up

Since I debut­ed my fiery red faux hawk a cou­ple of months ago, I have got­ten a lot of com­pli­ments. Here is the crazy thing, the­se com­pli­ments haven’t come from my fam­i­ly. They are cer­tain­ly not my father, or even real­ly my hus­band, but from com­plete and total strangers. I am lit­er­al­ly stopped at least once a day and com­pli­ment­ed on my do. As a five-mon­th-post­par­tum moth­er of three boys five and under, I will take any­thing to boost my
con­fi­dence. I was tex­ting with a friend the oth­er night about my phys­i­cal dete­ri­o­ra­tion in the past sev­en years. Now I am not say­ing that I have turned into a com­plete­ly use­less fat sloth who lives in only yoga pants and a Car­di­nal cap, though some days I would like to, but I am not the same per­son that I was at 27 when I walked down the aisle. As I said to him, I am not quite a tro­phy wife, but more of an atten­dance prize. I get up every morn­ing, get peo­ple dressed, make their meals and remem­ber all of their names, that deserves recog­ni­tion. Par­tic­u­lar­ly when I hear them wake up and I am so com­fy and cozy in my bed and I wait, and wait and wait for Scott to jump up, which he total­ly does a lot of the time, but real­ize that he is play­ing the same game and isn’t going any­where, so I make the move. Nor­mal­ly I find the two old­er ones draped limply across the fur­ni­ture look­ing like starv­ing Ethiopi­ans. Every­day it is the same thing, they keep want­i­ng meals, the keep expect­ing me to make them and they keep telling me that Eggo Waf­flers are not accept­able for din­ner. Ugh.…what is wrong with the­se peo­ple?

They keep want­i­ng me to feed them.every.single.day.

As I was say­ing, the com­pli­ments from strangers are abun­dant. But the mass major­i­ty of the admir­ers are teenage boys. Like all teenage boys, every­day. I have had teenage check­ers at Tar­get spell­bound, McDonald’s Dri­ve Thru kids give me a wink while pass­ing the Diet Dr. Pep­per and then there was the boy stock­ing the yogurt at Schnucks who walked across the room to com­pli­ment me. I think if I had stood there three more sec­onds he would have asked me for my num­ber, which is creepy and sort of amaz­ing all rolled in to one. I am no stranger to the love of a teenage boy, but this admi­ra­tion from the mass­es is new. I was nev­er pop­u­lar with teenage boys when I was a teenager. I was so awk­ward and ter­ri­fied that I couldn’t even speak to them. The fact that I wore a larg­er bra then most of their moth­ers was excit­ing and ter­ri­fy­ing to them, so they didn’t talk to me either. They would just stare long­ing­ly. But if we are being frank, had I let them close to me, which nev­er would have hap­pened, they wouldn’t have known what to do with those Dol­ly Par­ton D cups.  Look­ing back, it was a big huge dis­as­ter and I may need to make a quick appoint­ment with a ther­a­pist just to talk this one out. 

Ear­lier this week, I was head­ed to an off­site event for work and feel­ing pret­ty good. My hair was in place, my lips were on straight and my clothes all matched. Win, win and win.

Those lit­tle drops are big trou­ble
I could see the trou­ble brew­ing

While I was inside, Moth­er Nature thought that she would be hilar­i­ous and change things up a bit. The weath­er went from cool and part­ly cloudy to an apoc­a­lyp­tic thun­der­storm. While I may have been a Girl Scout in my younger years, I nev­er bought in to that “be pre­pared” crap. That trans­lates loose­ly to, girl­friend says, “For­get that. I don’t need an umbrel­la.” Per­haps you recall what hap­pens when my pro­duct fails me on a nor­mal day?  My knees were knock­ing at the mere thought of walk­ing out­side, but I knew that at some point a mem­ber of the jan­i­to­ri­al staff was going to sweep me right out the door, so I had to get mov­ing. 

By the time I made my way across the park­ing lot to the car, my hair looked and felt like it had been styled with maple syrup.We all know that water beats fire. It was an epic bat­tle and water was vic­to­ri­ous, leav­ing fire sad and bare­ly flick­er­ing in the cor­ner.…..

Did Lucille Ball have days like this? 

The Bird is the Word

This is an actu­al con­ver­sa­tion that just took place at my house

Scott: Do we have any tape?

Me: Yes, in the draw­er. What For?

Scott: This (hold­ing up a then uniden­ti­fi­able bunch of con­struc­tion paper)

Me: Oh, who made that?

Scott: (Look­ing at me like I was a com­plete idiot) I did. I am now doing a lot of arts and crafts at work.

 Well, aren’t you hilar­i­ous. You look real­ly hilar­i­ous now.…      
Here is the real artist, Hand­some #1
My pre­cious love, Hand­some #3

Sad­ly, Hand­some #2 could not be reached to show his Car­di­nal pride, he was think­ing over the deci­sion to chuck train tracks across the room nar­row­ly miss­ing his infant brother’s head

Go Cards!

You Better Work.…

Sweet Mary Moth­er of God. Have you ever had one of those days when you walk out the door look­ing fierce, or so you think, and in a mat­ter of min­utes you dete­ri­o­rate com­plete­ly. You spend a great deal of time on your look, par­tic­u­lar­ly your hair, because your phys­i­cal appear­ance is impor­tant for your line of work and you need to be on trend and put togeth­er. But, then the plan­ets shift and your are in trou­ble. Not like you for­got your lip­stick, and need a pick me up. No, I am talk­ing more of the holy $h!+ if Sta­cy and Clin­ton saw this they may rein­car­nate “What Not to Wear” just for you.

You catch a glimpse in the rear view and notice a prob­lem

The scarf seemed like a good idea when I left the house, but after fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion the col­or and tie tech­nique is resem­bling an infect­ed goitor. But, that isn’t the worst of my prob­lems. Take a look at that lip­stick. It looks as if I put it on with my feet or let Hand­some #2, my three-year-old, give it a shot.

Hmm, did you style your hair with a fork, Ariel?

Here, you can real­ly see how great that lip­stick appli­ca­tion is.I appear to be hemor­rag­ing, but just on the sides. Some­how, the cen­ter has noth­ing on it, at all. Shall we dis­cuss the hair? I am quite sure that I used AT LEAST five dif­fer­ent prod­ucts to keep my faux hawk in shape, but some­how it looks more like I just got a fresh trim from a flow­bee.

Excuse me Eric Car­men, can we dis­cuss those Hun­gry Eyes

Holy $h!+ this was the shock of the day. I knew that I looked ter­ri­ble, but when in the hell did I devel­op a lazy eye? Look­ing at this makes me ner­vous, I am not sure which one to look at. They both look like they hurt and could induce instant ver­tigo and vomiting.…Make.it.stop.

Just cov­er your whole face and no one will know it’s you

I fig­ured that putting on my sun­glass­es would make things bet­ter. Let’s see about that, idiot. Not only does my hair look like Blanche Dev­ereaux after a romp in the woods, but those damn glass­es are so big, they are near­ly wrap­ping around my head. WTF is going on?

Since there was noth­ing that I could do to make things bet­ter from my car, I did the only rea­son­able thing that I could. I drowned my sor­rows in a 440z Diet Dr. Pep­per, drove to my office and hid. I sup­pose it could have been worse. I could have been stand­ing on the beach in a bikini think­ing that I was real­ly hot stuff.…oh wait.…..

Oh look, an awk­ward boy in a bikini with a popeye.….

There’s no place like home.….well, kind of.….

It is Sun­day in St. Louis, so the boys, Mau­r­mi, Grand­pa and I head­ed to Strange Donuts, a new culi­nary hot spot, for a break­fast treat. As is typ­i­cal for any adven­ture, we weren’t in the car five min­utes before some­one start­ing to tor­ment some­one. Today’s pester fest starred Grand­pa and Hand­some #2.

Hand­some #2: Guess what? We are going to Strange Donuts, Grand­pa.
Grand­pa: No, we are going to famil­iar donuts.
Hand­some #2: No, not fur­mi­lyur, Strange Donuts.
Grand­pa: I think famil­iar sounds good.
Hand­some #2: AGGGGHHHH! Not fur­mi­lyur, we are going to Strange Donuts.
Grand­pa: I think I like famil­iar donuts.
Hand­some #2: (Cry­ing) I hate fur­mi­lyur donuts, Grand­pa.

This went on and on for twen­ty min­utes until we arrived. There was a line out the door and inside was a tight squeeze. The line moved fast, and once wait­ed on, we swift­ly made our selec­tions and were out the door. As we head­ed home, we lis­tened to a Hal­loween CD and attempt­ed to make friend­ly con­ver­sa­tion.

Me: Hand­some #2, how old are you?
Hand­some #2: I am three.
Me: Hand­some #2, when is your birth­day?
Hand­some #2: May 28th.
Me: Hand­some #2 what is your address?
Hand­some #2: I don’t have one.
Hand­some #1: Yes you do! It is XXXX Lol­ly­Dol­ly Lane.
Hand­some #2: No it’s not! I do not have a Lol­ly­Dol­ly! You are a Lol­ly­Dol­ly.
Hand­some #1: Yes it is. We all live there!
Hand­some #2: No!I!Do!Not! I do not have an address, Hand­some #1! Guess what? You are a girl.
Hand­some #1: Mom! Hand­some #2 called me a girl.
Hand­some #2: You are a girl, Flana­gan, with a bow in your hair!

PS: We do not live on Lol­ly­Dol­ly, but I don’t find it nec­es­sary to give the entire Inter­net, or the 25 of you read­ing this, my real address.
PPS: Flana­gan is what Hand­some #2 calls Hand­some #1 when he is real­ly pissed off.
PPPS: A three year old should prob­a­bly not have the cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty to fig­ure out how to real­ly anger his old­er broth­er with name call­ing and use it to his advan­tage every.single.time.
PPPPS: I did noth­ing about the above con­ver­sa­tion but laugh and be sure that I didn’t for­get the good parts. And, yes, I am work­ing real­ly hard for moth­er of the year.

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