Merry Christmas, Richard Simmons!

I am so behind in life right now it’s embar­rass­ing. We are get­ting ready to move in less than a week, it is Decem­ber 17, my Elf hasn’t even shown up yet. There is no Thomas Fam­i­ly Christ­mas Card. I am a mess. But, not too much of a dis­as­ter to wish a very Mer­ry Christ­mas to the man who has made a dif­fer­ence in my life. Slow your roll friends, this is not a sap­py shout out to my hus­band and the father of my Hand­somes, my amaz­ing dad or even any of my broth­ers. But if you know any­thing about me, you know that this sil­ly lit­tle sprite made an impres­sion on my heart 20 years ago and I have nev­er been the same.

June 1995. No Inter­net, no cell phones, a few dozen cable chan­nels and a stack of ads clut­ter­ing the kitchen table. There were no text alerts or emails offer­ing 20 per­cent off a pur­chase in the next 10 min­utes. If you want­ed to know what was hot and on sale, you mulled through page after thin, grimy page of glossy ads. Sec­ond only to the Have You Seen Me? cards that I painstak­ing­ly stud­ied just to be sure that no one in my class was liv­ing with a group of secret psy­chopaths, I loved those ads. I liked to look at Tar­get and Wal­greens, but my very favorite week­ly was Ven­ture. There was some­thing about the black and white stripes that was sort of mem­o­riz­ing.

Richard simmons

One par­tic­u­lar Sun­day as I watched Zach and Kel­ly head to the Max and break up, again, I mind­less­ly scanned the Post Dis­patch. When I got to the mid­dle of the Ven­ture ad I near­ly had a heart attack. There he stood tanned and flash­ing those pearly whites like no one else could. His brown locks posi­tioned per­fect­ly on his head and his brown eyes pierc­ing a hole right into my heart. I was so tak­en aback that his pic­ture was right there in the mid­dle of the women’s cloth­ing spread that I near­ly missed that he would be com­ing to vis­it St. Louis the next week.

Holy hell in a hand­bag! There was no way that my six­teen-year-old self was going to miss this. It was a dream come true and I could hard­ly con­tain myself. In order to make this a real­i­ty, my moth­er had to take the day off of work. But, she too, knew that this was a once-in-a-life­time expe­ri­ence and want­ed in. We recruit­ed two of my three broth­ers and my Nani, who nev­er missed a good time, and we were off.

The appear­ance was sched­uled for noon, but I knew that if we weren’t there when the store opened, there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in fiery hell that we would even be able to get near him. Secu­ri­ty would cer­tain­ly be beefed up for such a big celeb, so we couldn’t risk it! As I round­ed the cor­ner to make my way down the long aisle to the Women’s Depart­ment, I was in a total state of shock. There was only one per­son there! It was the best moment of my life. I was going to be up close and per­son­al and in the front of the line.

After what seemed like hours. It was seri­ous­ly like four, the crowd had mul­ti­plied over and over and it was just about time for him to arrive. I could feel the but­ter­flies in my stom­ach. What would I say? What would I do? OMG, what if he doesn’t like me? Sud­den­ly, there was a burst of sound like a huge thun­der clap. I turned as he appeared at the end of the aisle. It was as if he was sur­round­ed by angels singing and a burst of light beamed from his wings as he began to prance down the aisle. I was over­come, awestruck, I thought I would faint. There was noth­ing that I could do to con­trol myself, the tears just start­ed to fall.

I wasn’t the only one. Legions of fans sur­round­ed him, tot­ing signs, books and VHS tapes. The all want­ed a part of the man who had changed their lives. They want­ed to thank him for mak­ing them smile when they need­ed it the most. They want­ed to hug him and give back the feel­ing of uncon­di­tion­al love and accep­tance that he had shown them. Some even want­ed to rip his short shorts, but their wasn’t enough time. As quick­ly as he had made it down the aisle, he was up on stage singing, laugh­ing and sweat­ing.

The con­sum­mate hap­py man with encour­ag­ing words and a pos­i­tive atti­tude that could rival any man­u­fac­tured tele­vi­sion per­son­al­i­ty was there to do what he did best, make peo­ple smile, and smile we did. Well, some of us ugly cried before we were old enough to tru­ly under­stand what an ugly cry is, but I digress. In that store, in that moment moment in time, we were a unit­ed front of hap­py fans. There was no judge­ment about who we were, what we looked like or what we stood for.One sin­gle per­son was able to make so many peo­ple feel good about them­selves just by being him­self.

As I walked out the door that day I felt blessed. I was hum­bled by the out­pour­ing of love by one per­son for every­one in that line. It was gen­uine car­ing, gen­uine con­cern, the kind that is absolute­ly impos­si­ble to fake. It was a hap­py day for so many, one that we will like­ly nev­er for­get.

Today, I read some­thing that made me sad. Real­ly, real­ly sad. The kind of sad that makes you hurt a lit­tle. Richard Sim­mons has not been seen in near­ly two years. He is suf­fer­ing in some way and is appar­ent­ly no longer leav­ing his home, accord­ing to a sto­ry on TMZ. This man has devot­ed his entire life to mak­ing oth­ers smile, but for some rea­son, his joy is gone. It’s trag­ic, real­ly.

Sure, peo­ple make fun of him because of the way he looks, the way he dress­es and the way he acts. Yep, he is flam­boy­ant. His shorts are short and his tanks are tight. But, his heart is huge. Richard has devot­ed his life to mak­ing oth­er peo­ple feel good and to live a hap­pier and health­ier life. I chal­lenge any one of us to sim­ply treat our own fam­i­ly mem­bers with that kind of com­pas­sion and kind­ness, not an easy task.

I am one fan. One insignif­i­cant per­son with a sto­ry even more insignif­i­cant. I was nev­er mor­bid­ly obe­se. I haven’t been hos­pi­tal­ized because of my weight. I have nev­er been des­per­ate seek­ing help so that I don’t die. Many of the hearts that Richard has touched have been in worse predica­ments than this. I was just inspired by some­one who cares about oth­ers and has a pos­i­tive atti­tude.

When I update my blog, which is embar­rass­ing­ly infre­quent­ly, I nor­mal­ly just talk about my kids and the fun­ny things that the say. Of course, I also point out all of the dumb things I do too, just to be fair. But today, I have a mis­sion, I want to Ral­ly for Richard. He needs love and hugs and prayers. Whether you have nev­er been Sweat­in’ to the Oldies or had to Deal a Meal, I would be will­ing to bet that at the very least, you laughed until you cried when he was on,‘Whose Line is it Any­way?’

 

For the record, the above account, total­ly hap­pened. I cried like a baby, like, I could bare­ly con­sole myself. It was so bad that the only thing that I could do to calm myself down was walk across the Ven­ture park­ing lot to Wendy’s for a quick burg­er, fries and a Frosty to wash it all down.

collrich

Years lat­er Hand­some #1 had his first celeb encoun­ter at Wal­greens

Ain’t too Proud to Brag.….…..

March 16, 1992 I turned 13. I also got the chick­en pox. In all of my new­ly-crowned teenage wis­dom, I picked the first spot that appeared on my face, despite my mother’s warn­ing, “leave it alone or you will make it so much worse.” The pim­ple turned out to be the first of about 5,000 pox that made the next two weeks among the most mis­er­able of my entire life.

I laid on the couch day after day cer­tain that death was impend­ing. The fever and itch­ing and just plain dis­com­fort made each breath resem­ble my last. Per­haps it was my flair for the dra­mat­ic, or the fact that she had three oth­er plague-strick­en chil­dren to take care of, but my moth­er didn’t seem to think that my sit­u­a­tion was quite as dire. Luck­i­ly for me, my then 80-some­thing-year-old Nani dis­agreed and tend­ed to my every need.

As my three broth­ers healed and went back to school, my mom went back to work while I lay con­va­lesc­ing for the sec­ond week with Nani at my side. She brought me Sev­en­teen Mag­a­zi­nes, made me Lip­ton Cup of Soup and watched end­less hours of Press Your Luck Reruns. She was my best friend not just when I was sick, but always. There was noth­ing that she wouldn’t do for me and I sim­ply loved to be with her.

When Press Your Luck turned to the less enter­tain­ing Card Sharks, I would flip the chan­nel to VH1 which played an end­less loop of Vanes­sa Williams’, “Save the Best for Last” and TLC’s, “Ain’t too Proud to Beg.” I don’t know if it was the col­or­ful over­alls or per­haps the con­doms pinned every­where, but she just, couldn’t, “under­stand those dirty girls.” Why would they put on such a “per­for­mance?” And they would look so much nicer in a, “pret­ty dress.” For a solid week every time it came on, she laughed and said, “There they are again. Those crazy girls with those dirty pants on.”

Last Fri­day night while going to see Push the Lim­it, a friend’s band, per­form at Jun­gle Boo­gie at the STL Zoo, I spot­ted one of those crazy girls. T-Boz was there, in the flesh and I was sud­den­ly 13 and starstruck. I can’t lie, I total­ly fol­lowed her, from afar, cer­tain that it was her, but still too shy to approach. With Hand­some #3 in his stroller, I pushed toward the Frag­ile Forest where she stood admir­ing the ani­mals. Sud­den­ly, Mau­r­mi strikes up a casu­al con­ver­sa­tion with her as if she is a vol­un­teer zookeep­er for the day.

She was so kind, so friend­ly and so far from any­thing osten­ta­tious. I made eye con­tact and blurt­ed out with tears in my eyes,

OMG?!?!? Are you who I think you are? You are so beau­ti­ful. I just saw you in con­cert a few months ago. You are just. I am hav­ing a moment. Your music. I just. OMG, can I get a pic­ture with you?”

She gra­cious­ly said, “yes,” ignor­ing my ver­bal diar­rhea. We exchanged pleas­antries and she was on her way. I spent the rest of the evening rev­el­ing in the excite­ment and the fact that my celebri­ty friend list is no longer just Richard Sim­mons!

Ain't Too Proud to Brag

Crazy, Sexy and so insane­ly Cool

I attend­ed a work event on Sat­ur­day morn­ing and made it home just in time to head to Mass before Hand­some #1’s evening soc­cer game. As I sat in church, I saw the date on the bul­let­in, August 8. It was the eight-year anniver­sary of my Nani’s death. My heart broke a lit­tle, as it does every time I think of her, but I found strength in my faith, know­ing that she is with God and her fam­i­ly in heav­en.

I smiled to myself as I pre­pared for com­mu­nion and the organ­ist began to play, “Here I am Lord.” It was the song played at her funer­al and the one that always hap­pens to start the moment that I need it most. I felt her hands on mine and rubbed my thumb over her knuck­les just as I had thou­sands of times in our 28 years togeth­er.

As a tear ran down my cheek, I began to laugh. I could see her in the blue reclin­er eat­ing a bowl of ice cream and giv­ing her dis­ap­prov­ing dis­ser­ta­tion about T-Boz and her clan. I real­ized that she had been with me the night before, that she approved of the nice young wom­an that T-Boz has turned in to and that she still loves me the most. And if she had been there, she would have dis­pensed the fol­low­ing advice.……

Don’t go chas­ing water­falls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or noth­ing at all
But I think you’re mov­ing too fast

It’s Rated Arrg.….….……

I love the Time Hop app. It allows me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to revis­it the adven­tures that I have shared on social media in the last few years. I am often brought to joy­ful tears as I see pic­tures of my beau­ti­ful baby boys and am remind­ed of how fast time goes by.
As a moth­er, I try very hard to instill strong val­ues in my sons encour­ag­ing them to show love and kind­ness to those around them. As my moth­er always did, I am quick to remind them that they must treat each oth­er with the utmost respect and love because in the end, your broth­ers are your very best friends.
Clear­ly, I have been extreme­ly suc­cess­ful in mold­ing young minds, as evi­denced by the con­ver­sa­tion had by my then five and three-year-old sons exact­ly two years ago today.

After leav­ing the Sci­ence Cen­ter today, I noticed a man in the car next to us was wear­ing an eye patch. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, my back­seat crew also saw him.

Hand­some #1- Why is that man wear­ing an eye patch?

Hand­some #2- On account a he’s a pirate, Hand­some #1.

Hand­some #1- So you think every­one with an eye patch is a pirate?

Hand­some #2- Yes, I do.

Hand­some #1- (Gaffaw­ing) So you think Nick Fury, the head of all the Avengers, is a pirate? That is crazy!

Hand­some #2- No, you are crazy you poop head face dum­my! And when I poke you in the eye, you will be a pirate too!

 

 

The Devil Went Down to SoCo

Recent­ly, Hand­some #2 and I had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to spend some time togeth­er, just the two of us. When I have the­se spe­cial moments, I am sure to tell each boy how much I love him and that he is my favorite. I also make him promise that he will nev­er, ever tell his broth­ers. It makes them feel good and each of them tru­ly is my favorite, in very dif­fer­ent ways.

Hand­some #2 and I dined at his first-choice fan­cy restau­rant, Steak n Shake, and then head­ed to a moth­er son event at his school. I was a bit weepy that night, real­iz­ing that he would be in kinder­garten next year, com­plete with blue Tom Sawyer shorts and a crisp white polo. OK, that is a lie. That crisp white polo is just for the first day of school pic­ture. The rest of the school year is slight­ly dingy with a required morn­ing sniff test to see if we can make it one more day.

My sweet sec­ond son was so proud to have me with him and couldn’t wait to show me all around the build­ing. We ate snacks, played games and had a fun pic­ture tak­en.  But, the evening start­ed after 6pm, which is oh so close to the witch­ing hour when all of my hand­somes become blood-lust­ing demons. As the evening pro­gressed, I noticed his eyes glaze and the horns begin to pop from his head.

If I was going to make it home unscathed, I’d have to move fast while he was still smil­ing. We said our good­byes and head­ed to the car, still hap­py and chat­ting about the fun we had. As he climbed over to the third row seat, I put my key into the igni­tion and the horns popped all they way through as his eyes became flecked with flames.

Hand­some #2-Mom, what are you doing? I am not buck­led. Do you hear me? I am not buck­led.

Me-It’s ok, bud­dy. I’m not going any­where, just get­ting the air flow­ing. Buck­le up.

Hand­some #2- Yeah, right. You big dum­my.

Me- Excuse me?

He caught my icy glare in the rear-view mir­ror and began to pan­ic.

Hand­some #2- Oh no. I’m sor­ry, mom­ma. I’m sor­ry. I’m real­ly sor­ry.

Just as I was about to acknowl­edge the apol­o­gy and excuse his moment of tem­po­rary insan­i­ty, his eyes closed and his hands clasped. He implored our Lord for for­give­ness, cer­tain that I was going to mur­der him.

Hand­some #2- In the name of the father, son, holy spir­it. Amen. Bless us, Oh Lord, for the­se thy gifts which we are about to receive from thy boun­ty, through Christ, Our Lord.

Amen.

And just like that, he earned him­self an extra spray of starch on the first day of school.…..

 

bst

Ladies, I’ll be Pressed to Impress on the First Day of Kinder­garten

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……

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Since I scored an amaz­ing Noto­ri­ous B.I.G. shirt at Tar­get last night for a mere $7.48, I was extra moti­vat­ed this morn­ing to get up ear­ly and walk. I hate morn­ings. I hate exer­cise, but I love Big­gie Smalls. So, if I am going to look like one of those rap guy’s girl­friends, I need to get my a$$ mov­ing.

biggie

Some­times the sales just hyp­no­tize me

I start­ed my playlist and ven­tured out the door at 5:45. My neigh­bor­hood is friend­ly. Lots of sil­ver cit­i­zens walk­ing their dogs soon after sun­rise because they get up at 3:30 am and by the time the first rays appear in the sky it is near­ly their lunchtime. I wave, smile and get back to singing out loud not giv­ing a darn what any­one thinks.

There is a house in my sub­di­vi­sion that has a secret club in their garage. Except, it’s not a club and there is noth­ing secret about the­se peo­ple because the door is always open so the nosy neigh­bors con­stant­ly rub­ber­neck. They sit there for hours on end smok­ing cig­a­rettes, drink­ing beer, watch­ing TV and prob­a­bly plot­ting to kill all of us.

I had always thought that hap­py hour start­ed about noon because the par­ty is in full swing by the time I get home from work at 5. Appar­ent­ly, I was wrong this place is a 24-hour all ages show. As I approached the club this morn­ing, the door was open and the table was sur­round­ed. Stand­ing near the door was big black dog that I thought had on a leash. After I inad­ver­tent­ly locked eyes with the beast, I real­ized it was just a crap­py piece of ripped fab­ric dan­gling around its neck.

He came toward me, so I walked a lit­tle faster. Then he walked a lit­tle faster. I crossed the street, he crossed the street. All the while the par­ty barn stared as if they were watch­ing some crap­py karaoke, only half pay­ing atten­tion, but sure to laugh at the per­for­mance. Real­iz­ing that this dog wasn’t going away, I yelled out,

Can you please come and get your dog?”

That’s not our dog.”

Holy $h!+. This dog didn’t belong to the­se peo­ple! It was hun­gry and I was on the menu. It is no secret that I am con­vinced that my death will be the result of an ani­mal attack, but I tru­ly thought that a cat would be my demise. As I gath­ered my thoughts, I con­tin­ued to walk slow­ly and the dog fol­lowed me.I start­ed the Hail Mary. If I was going down, I was going down with the Lord on my side.

For more than a half a mile this dog was with me. I turned around peri­od­i­cal­ly, err every 3 sec­onds, to make sure he wasn’t going to sneak up and maul me right there on the street. I was six hous­es from my own when the beast spot­ted a stop sign and was instant­ly obsessed. This was my shot. If I could get down the hill I could sprint, OK may­be a real­ly fast trot, to my house.

As I made my way to the bot­tom of the hill and spot­ted my front door, I felt a wave of relief come over me. I had made it, unscathed. Sud­den­ly I heard a rustle behind me, fol­lowed by a bark it bark. I sheep­ish­ly peered over my shoul­der and the hound was charg­ing! Holy $h!+!?!?. I stood still sure that if I moved I was dead.

I pre­pared for Heav­en, say­ing good­bye to my chil­dren and hus­band, all sleep­ing sound­ly unaware that I am about to be killed on the front lawn. And then, God him­self appeared on the lawn across the street. Squir­rel! The dog spot­ted it, for­got about me and dis­ap­peared into the com­mon ground. I took off toward my back­yard and slammed the wood­en gate behind me, but not before cry­ing and may­be pee­ing a lit­tle.

My Fit Bit logged 5500 steps before 7am. If the entire neigh­bor­hood could just go ahead and unleash their ani­mals around 6 every morn­ing, I’ll hit my weight loss goals by the end of next week.

I see your Darth Vader and Raise you a Sophia Petrillo

Handsome #1 and Me

Con­stant­ly hav­ing our own lit­tle Clone War

May the force be with you. I know that is from Star Wars. I know that Darth Vader is the father. I can iden­ti­fy Luke, Han, Leia and Yoda and prob­a­bly a Storm Troop­er in a line up, but let’s not push it.

Truth be told, if I didn’t have three sons and a Star Wars Nerd hus­band, I wouldn’t know any of this. Sure, I watched it as a kid, but that too was a result of being the only girl around and some­times you lose.

Hand­some #1 and Hand­some #2 are obsessed with Star Wars. So much so that Hand­some #2 will only wear Star Wars t shirts. He has four and with sev­en days in a week there is a good chance that the one he is wear­ing is on day two or three because I prefer the laun­dry stack to the ceil­ing before I throw a load in.

If they aren’t play­ing the video game, beat­ing one anoth­er up with home­made light sabers or build­ing some kind of weird base that I can’t remem­ber what they call for all of their Lego Star Wars action fig­ures, they are quizzing any­one who wants to lis­ten on Star Wars triv­ia.

Seri­ous­ly, I know noth­ing and don’t real­ly care to learn. But for rea­sons I can­not under­stand, they think that I do. In their minds, I should stay up watch­ing movies or read­ing comic books and fan fic­tion in an effort to learn some­thing before the next quiz. Hand­some #1 in par­tic­u­lar gets extreme­ly agi­tat­ed when I can’t pro­duce an answer. On a recent dri­ve to school, things became par­tic­u­lar­ly heat­ed as we pulled into the park­ing lot.

Hand­some #1: Mom, who is Luke’s father?

Me: Darth Vader.

Hand­some #1: Cor­rect. Now, who is Luke’s sis­ter?

Me: Princess Leia.

Hand­some #1: Exact­ly. What is Jar Jar Binks?

Me: He’s one of the guys they know.
Hand­some #1: No, mom, what is he?

Me: Is he that slug guy?

Hand­some #1: That is Jab­ba the Hut. Come on mom! What is Jar Jar? Is he a Itho­ri­an, Rodi­an, Mon Calarmi­an or a Gun­gun?

Me: I don’t know, let’s lis­ten to the radio.

Hand­some #1: Mom! What is he? This is not that hard!
Me:You tell me, Hand­some #1! Is Rose dumb? Is Dorothy a jerk? What about Blanche, is she a hussy? And what about Sophia? Don’t even get me start­ed on Stan­ley!

Hand­some #1: I have no idea what you are talk­ing about.

Me: Wel­come to my life. Have a nice day, and thank you for being a friend.….

Time is on my side.….maybe.….

Where the hell are my Swatch Watch­es?” I am guess­ing that not a sin­gle one of you spent the bet­ter part of an hour repeat­ing that phrase as you fever­ish­ly tried to find your child­hood stuffed in a box, like me.

Tomor­row, in cel­e­bra­tion of Catholic Schools Week, Hand­some #1 is able to dress out of uni­form in cloth­ing inspired by his favorite decade. Since he is six and hasn’t even been on earth a decade, find­ing a favorite is tough. But, he does have a cou­ple of pastel polos, skin­ny jeans that can be tight rolled and loafers which make him an instant prep­py heart­throb and me a last-min­ute suc­cess. That was, of course, until I had the bril­liant idea to grab a few clas­sic acces­sories to com­plete the look.

I have had a tough time part­ing with many of my child­hood favorites, some call it hoard­ing, I call it, “take my friends away and I will stab you.” I have sev­er­al Rub­ber­maid totes filled with play­bills, book reports, passed notes and cher­ished Bar­bie and Hot Looks dolls. You will also find the occa­sion­al funer­al card from some of grandmother’s friends, who I nev­er met, that I found on the floor as a child and knew that I would be going straight to hell if I tossed them in the trash, so they have found an eter­nal rest­ing place next to my eighth birth­day invi­ta­tions.

I also have my Caboodle, still in tact from 20 years ago, filled with trea­sures from my youth. I ran up the steps to grab my three Swatch Watch­es for Finnegan to wear and was stunned to find that they were not where they should have been. OK, that’s a lie. I wasn’t real­ly stunned. It would be stun­ning that they were lost if I was a metic­u­lous house keep­er and orga­nized my life with the detail of some­one suf­fer­ing from OCD, but that is just a lie that I want to live. Instead, I find great solace in stuff­ing as much %h!+ as I pos­si­bly can into draw­ers, bags and box­es then shut­ting the clos­et door.

Soooo, they should have been in that Caboodle, but they were hid­den some­where else. I began my search in all of the like­ly places. I start­ed in jew­el­ry box­es, no dice. Moved on to mem­o­ry box­es, noth­ing. How about in the boys’ clos­et in the blue con­tain­er with my name and Geese stick­ers that my BFFs mom made me for my birth­day in first grade? Nope! With all of the usu­al sus­pects elim­i­nat­ed, I start­ed to dig deep.

I rifled through beau­ti­ful vel­veteen box­es that look love­ly and orga­nized in my clos­et, but are tru­ly filled with mis­matched socks and unfin­ished needle­point projects. I ven­tured under my bed and found a box con­tain­ing my CT100 final, an envelope of pic­tures from some weird event that I couldn’t iden­ti­fy and my blue Blos­somesque hat, but no watch­es.

I then moved to my dresser and searched among the cos­tume jew­el­ry trays and over­whelm­ing­ly fluffy scarves that filled the top draw­er. Sud­den­ly, my hand felt some­thing plas­tic and my heart skipped. I pulled the trea­sure from the bot­tom of the draw­er and my eyes filled with tears. I held it tight­ly not want­i­ng to let go of the mem­o­ry.

The long white stick with the pink lid had long since lost its two lines. It was utter­ly use­less, even to me, but the feel­ings that it had once given me all came flood­ing back. I was scared, I was excit­ed, I was filled with emo­tions that I had nev­er felt before and I couldn’t bear to toss it then or now. I’ve hid­den that bag from my hus­band, from my kids and from myself. Per­haps it’s gross, per­haps it’s weird, but it’s real and it’s me and it’s what I do and I think more of us than are will­ing to admit it do the­se things too.

I cried a lit­tle, think­ing that I may nev­er see two pink lines again, real­iz­ing that anoth­er stage of my life may be over. God’s plan is always big­ger than mine, so He ulti­mate­ly decides what my fam­i­ly will be, and I’m OK with that. Plus, I am tru­ly excit­ed about first grade, learn­ing more, los­ing teeth and becom­ing inde­pen­dent. I love PreK and those snug­gles and hand holds that come along with that last year of real­ly being lit­tle. Don’t even get my start­ed on not quite two. When some­one runs full speed ahead at your legs, leaps into your arms and cov­ers you with choco­late hugs and kiss­es, life is com­plete.

So as I stuffed that Ziploc back of ten or so EPTs to the back of the draw­er. Yes, ten. I mean, for real, you didn’t think that if I saved one I didn’t save all of them from all three preg­nan­cies, right? I say, if you’re going to do crazy, go big or go home. I con­tin­ued my quest for my hot Swatch Watch­es, but alas, it was time to get kids ready for din­ner so I called the search par­ty off.

Even if I had found the Swatch­es, I am one hun­dred per­cent cer­tain that time is stand­ing still on the faces. But, had Finnegan put them on his arm, it would still be 2015; there is no mag­ic tak­ing us back to 1992. That’s OK. I like it here, right now with my life filled with boys and lots of love sans Swatch.….

I am also hap­py to leave that white mock turtle­neck under a den­im shirt topped with an icy glare in the past, because, well, damn.…..

 

Have Yourself a Merry Little.….……

As a res­i­dent of St. Louis, life has been emo­tion­al the­se past few weeks. It’s sad to see heartache, destruc­tion and fear in a time that is sup­posed to be hap­py and filled with love and fam­i­ly. While I can’t fix the prob­lems in our city, cure dis­ease or stop glob­al warm­ing, I can give you the next best thing.

There is no one, not a sin­gle, soli­tary soul who can make me laugh the way that Mau­r­mi can. She is beau­ti­ful, joy­ful, grate­ful and lov­ing. Even in the low­est of lows, the tough­est of times, she finds a rea­son to smile. She nev­er meets a stranger and is a bit of an impromp­tu ther­a­pist. Whether it be in a wait­ing room, a gro­cery store, the line at the bank, peo­ple see her and begin to unload the worst of their prob­lems on her and she lis­tens, smiles and will say a prayer as they walk away always reflect­ing that life could be worse.
Tonight, as she trimmed the tree, she got some sad and clear­ly star­tling news, and yet she was able to keep in the hol­i­day spir­it.….…
I love her, I admire her and I want to be exact­ly like her.…Well, may­be not exact­ly, I’m more of an alto.…..

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.….

1 2 3 4 5 6