Wednesday, September 17, 2014

And the Short Guy Laughed

Friday evening, I was sitting in my family room and I heard the noise that indicates my kids have turned on the water outside. I yelled out the back door to the kids, “Stop playing with the water! You have 10 minutes before you need to come in and get ready for bed.”

“We’re not playing with the water,” they all chimed.

“Well, just turn it off, please,” I instructed.

They insisted, “But we didn’t turn it on!”

I closed the door and listened more carefully to the sound that I had thought meant the water was running. I followed the noise through the kitchen and traced it to my refrigerator. Uh oh, I thought. My refrigerator is making really strange sounds! I opened and closed the doors a few times (like that was going to stop the sound and make everything okay.) Any technician would agree. “Well it was broken, but since you opened and closed all the doors, you fixed it!”

I decided I’d probably have to call someone to come look at it on Monday. In the meantime, I just plugged in my ear buds and cranked up The Psychadelic Furs. Voila! No more annoying noise.

At some point on Saturday, I asked Jackson to mow the lawn because I was pretty certain if he didn’t mow it soon, he was going to need a scythe just to clear a path to the front door. This is when we discovered that he couldn’t mow the lawn because a small lake had formed on the side of the house. You know, where the water was running. Where the water had been running full blast for nearly 24 hours straight. Yeah, there. Apparently I was right the first time. It wasn’t the refrigerator; it was the water spigot on the outside of the house.

I walked outside my house and was greeted with this sight.


I started hyperventilating, envisioning my water bill. I remembered my parents yelling at me for taking such long showers as a teen. “Do you want to pay the water bill?” they demanded. “You don’t need to take a 30 minute shower!” Ohmygosh, that was nothing compared to this!

I kept calm and tried to figure out the best way to go about stopping the leak. To an outsider, it may have looked like I was running around in circles, flapping my arms like Chicken Little, squawking, “My water’s leaking! My water’s leaking!” But I assure you, I was busy, using my cerebral cortex to formulate a logical plan for curbing the steady flow of water.

Thankfully, my level-headed friend told me to call the emergency number for the water department. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I called, explained my situation, and was informed that some guys were on their way over to check it out.

In the meantime, I figured I could keep the water from gushing out by screwing a spray nozzle onto the hose. I ran across the street (I didn’t actually run. I don’t do that. It’s an expression) to borrow one from my neighbor. I realized I’d have to screw the sprayer onto to the hose with the water rushing from the hose in a torrential stream. I’ll give you a minute to picture this. Yep. 

Me + hose + sprayer = me drenched from head to toe. Just as I realized the sprayer didn’t even fit on the hose, the guys from the water company showed up. They took one look at me, my wet hair stuck like seaweed to my cheeks, my tank top plastered to me, my shorts dripping down my legs, and started laughing. Well, the short guy laughed. A lot. The tall guy was all business.

“Uh yeah, I tried to screw this sprayer on the end of the hose. I didn’t work. It wasn’t one of my better ideas. Then again, it wasn’t my worst idea either,” I stammered.

The short guy laughed some more.

The tall guy screwed some sort of fitting onto the end of my hose. He didn’t get wet at all. Apparently the secret is to fold the hose in half, effectively crimping it and stopping the flow of water while screwing the fitting onto the end. The short guy looked at me as I wiped the mascara from my cheeks and attempted to smooth my dripping hair back off my face, and he laughed some more. Not liking the short dude.

In the end, the guys stopped the surge of water and left. I walked inside so I could change clothes before heading back to the football field. No sooner did I get upstairs than the doorbell rang. I ran back down and answered. The water guys stood there. “I’m sorry to bother you, but you know, instead of calling a plumber, you could just go to Ace and ask for a . . .”

I interrupted at this point. “Thank you, but I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’m pretty sure I can’t fix this, and I’m scared to go to Ace because I’m convinced the guys there all take bets on what crazy fix-it problem I’ll come up with next.


And the short guy laughed again.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

10 Reasons Why I Wish my Kids Grew up in the 80s

I’m proud to say I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Well, I’m not so proud of the plaid, flared pants I wore as a kid, but overall, I think it was a great time to grow up. Come to think of it, it’s pretty amazing that any of us from that time period even survived to adulthood – no seatbelts, second-hand smoke everywhere, heck, cigarettes for sale in vending machines! — running around outside by ourselves with no cell phones until dark, scorching-hot metal playground equipment positioned over asphalt and guaranteed to give you a concussion, 3rd-degree burns, and/or Tetanus, and lawn Jarts (which were basically little spears that children were supposed to throw in a target on the grass, but inevitably ended up impaled in some kid’s skull every summer).

CONTINUE READING HERE!

image: flickr

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I’m a Parent. I’m a Teacher. How Back-to-School Is Putting Me at Odds with Myself

It’s back-to-school time — that most wonderful time of year when the backpacks don’t smell like sour milk, the pencils are sharpened, and the brains are like dry sponges just waiting to soak up all the knowledge their teachers can impart. As a parent, I yearn for this time of year. Don’t get me wrong — I really love spending time with my kids all summer. But when those last couple weeks roll along, it becomes clear that they need to get back to school — for everyone’s sanity!

For the past few years, however, instead of doing a little happy dance when August comes around, I have mixed emotions. Working in a middle school, I know that back-to-school time for my kids also means back-to-school time for me. And although it’s exciting to begin a new year and it’s refreshing to get back on a normal schedule, it can also daunting.

So I find myself conflicted inside. I approach the following same 10 back-to-school themes as two selves — two sometimes opposite, opposing forces — all within the embodiment of just one parent. I meant teacher. I mean person.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I’m Trying to Be Strong, But I’m Drowning in This Single-Parenting Thing

I can’t even begin to adequately describe the overwhelming feeling that threatens to drown me daily. It’s like trying to stand in the ocean. You get your footing, but before you can enjoy the cool water washing over, soothing you, you spot a wave on the horizon. It moves closer and you know it’s going to hit you, but you’re powerless to stop it. You’re in too deep to simply turn around and head toward shore. Sometimes you can dive under it and resurface with only a little water in your nose. Sometimes you can jump up and avoid being swept away with only a spray of salt stinging your eyes. But other times, times when you’re distracted doing something else, the wave sneaks up, hits you, and drags you under, scraping you along the sand and bits of broken shell, pulling you away, twisting you around until you don’t even know which way is up; all you know is that you can’t breathe and you can’t get your footing, and you don’t know if it’ll ever end. And now and then, before you can resurface, a second or third wave knocks you down and keeps dragging you along until you’re not even sure you want to resurface because sometimes it’s just too darn hard to try to remain upright.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Moms and Dads Confess: "The Laziest Thing I've Done as a Parent"

The other day, I washed the same load of laundry for the THIRD time because I was just too lazy to take the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer. Every time I went to switch loads, I realized they had that “stale clothes musty funk” so I re-washed them, only to forget about them for another day or two. And repeat. And repeat.

And then there was the time I was too lazy to iron my son’s shirt so I just went over his collar a little bit with my hair straightener. What? It sort of worked!

It occurred to me that parenting can sometimes look a little like a bad movie about living in a frat house. From the circles under our eyes, our unkempt appearances, our horribly dirty cars, worn socks strewn around our houses and foul smells emanating from our garbage pails, parents might seem half a step removed from uncivilized in their lowest and laziest moments, at least judging by appearances.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tires, Idiots, and Bare Butts: The Story of my Life

My car had been feeling a little funky lately. I didn’t know what was wrong with it, but it just didn’t feel quite right and it sounded a little louder than usual. I stopped for gas a couple weeks ago and decided to check my tires. Maybe they’re low, I thought. That could probably cause it to feel weird. I came up with that idea like I’m some sort of mechanic-y type genius!

I pulled up to the thingamajiggy labeled “air” and read the instructions. Insert one dollar in quarters. After digging in my purse, the cup holders of my van, and the floor, I produced 3 quarters, a gum wrapper, a penny that was stuck with a bonding agent more powerful than super glue (probably Diet Coke), and a broken, melted crayon. Bummer. I grabbed a dollar bill and ran into the gas station to ask for change. The not-so-nice woman behind the counter informed me that she couldn’t give me change unless I bought something. Gee thanks, lady.

I left the building and accosted the passengers of the first car I saw. I popped my head in their open window, holding up my dollar bill and asked, “Do you have change for a single? I need quarters so I can fill my tires.” Judging by the petrified looks I received, the passengers interpreted my question to mean, “Can I have some money for drugs so I don’t have to rob the store?” They acquiesced (probably in an effort to make me leave) and tossed some quarters out the window before quickly rolling them up.

I walked over to the air machine and was really proud of myself for remembering how fill my tires. The only reason I’d ever filled my tires before was because I got stuck while driving on the beach in North Carolina. The beach patrol guy laughed at me, let some air out of my tires, and helped me get off the beach. Then I had to figure out how to fill them up again. At that time, I bought one of those tire thingys that has the little ruler that slides out. Too bad my kids used it as some sort of mini sword and broke it at some point. 

I began filling the tires. Apparently my front tires were really, really, embarrassingly low. So I filled 3 of them, but the fourth one wouldn’t hold air. Every time I checked, the pressure went down a little. What the heck? Is there a hole in my tire, I wondered?  I’m embarrassed (but apparently not too embarrassed since I’m telling the world [or the 10 people who read my blog]) to admit that it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out that my quarters had run out and the machine had turned off. When I texted that little tidbit to my friend, he asked, “Um didn’t you hear that the compressor had turned off??” One would think, but alas no, I hadn’t noticed.

Anyway, fast forward a couple weeks. I’m driving to work when I got a sudden sense of dread deep in my gut. You know that feeling? That feeling you get when something bad is going to happen? I broke out in a cold sweat and started breathing weird as the impending sense of doom overtook me. After several miles of feeling that sense of dread, I suddenly couldn’t drive over 20 miles an hour and my steering wheel was turned halfway around in order to go straight. Oh crap, there’s definitely something wrong here. I pulled over, got out and looked at my tires. Flat. Great.

I called AAA and waited for the tow truck they assured me would arrive within the hour. I work in a bad area so I locked my doors and kept an eye out as I waited. A woman, at a house nearby, took her garbage down to the street while watching me the whole time. She came out a second time. Then a third. Finally, this Haitian woman, with her boob hanging out of her dress, walked up to my car and asked me if I was okay. I rolled down my window and told her I had a flat tire and was just waiting for a tow truck. As she walked away, a gust of wind blew up her dress to reveal to the entire neighborhood that she was going commando. I’m still having nightmares about that. There are just some things you can’t unsee.

My friend and principal was on her way to school from a dentist appointment with her son so she came to pick me up and take me to school. But not before seeing my front tires and exclaiming, “Dawn, they’re bald!” My first inclination was to joke that all tires are bald; tires don’t have hair. It’s what I do when I feel stupid. I had no idea there was anything wrong with my tires. 

So, after a 2 hour wait, the tow truck eventually gets there and takes my car to the shop at Walmart and my friend brought me to school several hours late. Way to start off the year, Dawn! Late already and it’s only the second week.

As soon as I got to my classroom, I called Walmart. “A tow truck is dropping my van off there in a minute. Please change the flat tire. I’ll pick it up after work.”

“We can’t work on your car until you sign our papers.”

“But I’m telling you now, over the phone, please fix the tire.”

“I’m sorry, but we won’t do anything until you come in and sign.”

“GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

I borrowed my friend’s car, drove to Walmart and stomped over to the service center.

“My van was just dropped off by a tow truck. I need a new tire.”

The guy behind the counter looked over his shoulder toward the parking lot and asked, “Are you sure it was dropped off?”

“Yes, it’s right there in the parking lot.”

“Is it invisible?”

I blinked at him a couple times. Then put on my most sarcastic font and said, “Yes, yes, it’s an invisible car. I got it the same place Wonder Woman got her jet and Mermaid Man got his boatmobile.”

He looked confused.

“No, it isn’t invisible! It’s right out there in the parking lot.

“Have you been here before?” he asked. I nodded so he went on. “What's your phone number?”

“847- blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah.” [Editorial note: I did not actually say blah blah blah, but I don’t want to put my phone number out here or I’ll have hundreds of hot, young guys booty calling me at all hours. Oh wait a minute, on second thought . . . No, no I can’t have that.]

“Are you sure your number isn’t 407-blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know my own phone number,” I answered while wondering if this guy was on some sort of “exceptional needs” special work program.

“Okay, so you want us to fix your tire?”

“No, I need a new tire.”

“Are you sure?”

“Ummmm yeah, pretty sure. The tire is shredded. No amount of duct tape is going to fix that baby.”

“What size tire do you need?”

I stared at him blankly. “I don’t know! It’s round!”

He looked up my car and apparently figured it out. Then he asked, “Do you having locking lug nuts?”

“If I knew what a freaking lug nut was, I’d be changing this myself!” I grumbled angrily.

I signed the stupid paper and as I walked away, I texted the entire, true conversation to my friend who just happens to be a cop. He responded with, “I’m afraid you’re going to hit someone. Remember, that’s battery. They’ll fingerprint you and take your picture.”

In the end, I’m happy to report that I did not, in fact, punch anyone in the face. I didn’t get mugged or killed while waiting for the tow truck. I did get new tires. But I still have nightmares about that woman and her bare booty . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Redecorating Made Easy with RoomMates Décor

I recently had the opportunity to try out RoomMates Décor. RoomMates produces peel and stick wall decals for every room in your house. You might remember that I posted here about how my walls are still bare despite the fact that I've lived in this house for 3 years now. I took a look at RoomMates website and became instantly excited about the possibilities! It took me a good week to finally decide on a design because THEY HAVE SO MANY FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE! Oh my gosh, there is something for everyone there! And they partner with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. and more so chances are your kid's favorite character/movie is available. You can even get personalized, custom decals at RoomMates. Although I know there are plenty of decals my kids would love, I chose one from their home decor category to try out.

I wasn't sure how well these decals would work on my walls because I live in Florida and houses down here tend to have textured walls. I wasn't sure they'd stick to my walls since they're so bumpy. I was a little concerned the decals would peel up since the website states that they work best on smooth surfaces, but I gave it a try anyway.


I opted to apply this quote above the arches between my kitchen and family room. It took me less than 10 minutes to apply these (and that includes the time it took me to move my chair/ladder around since I'm "vertically challenged".) Also, I'm not real good with the planning and measuring and making sure things are precise; I just went with my gut and slapped them up there on the wall so when I stood back, I realized a couple of them needed to be repositioned a bit since they were crooked. That's a really AWESOME feature - these are removable! You can easily peel them off and reapply them wherever you want, making it super quick, easy, and affordable to give your room a whole new look in minutes!



It has been about 2 weeks since I applied the decals and they're still sticking beautifully despite my textured walls. They haven't peeled up at all. So, I officially say they can be successfully applied to rough, textured walls too.


Cool, huh? I love these and can't wait to order some of the dry erase ones for my classroom at school!

Here's a special for my readers! Use code RMLOVIN for 15% off your order! This code expires 9/30/14 so check out the huge selection of decals including Frozen, Star Wars, Cars, Rapunzel, and hundreds of others HERE!

Monday, August 18, 2014

“I Am Good Enough”: The Lesson I’m Struggling to Teach Myself (and My Kids)

I looked at myself in the mirror. I turned a bit to the side, sucked in my stomach, put my hand on my hip, raised my head a little, and studied the image peering back at me. Then I let out my breath, dropped my arms, and burst into tears. The voice that resides in my head sneered at me. “You are a fat, ugly, stupid loser. That is why no one will ever want you.” The voice is not nice. In fact, she can be downright callous and mean. I don’t like her. I try to ignore her heartless words, remembering that her cruelty stems from her insecurity. Still, more often than not they find their mark, making me doubt everything I believe about myself.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

6 Ways my "Bad Parenting" is Good for my Kids

I remember walking to school with my sister every day when we were in elementary school. If it was hot out, we wore shorts. If it was raining, we walked with umbrellas. If it was winter, we trudged through the snow wearing boots and snow pants. We walked more than a mile a day, unsupervised, in all weather, five times a week. And guess what? No one thought twice about it. EVERYONE walked!

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gillette's New Subscription Service - One Less Thing for your College Student to Worry About

First off, let me preface this by saying that I do love my college-aged son. I think he has a lot of great qualities. He's creative and artistic, he's sensitive, and he can be very dedicated and persistent when the task at hand is something about which he's passionate. However, he's also, ummm, how to put this nicely . . . well, he can be irresponsible, lazy, aloof, and did I mention irresponsible? I keep telling myself that he's a boy and boys sometimes take a while to mature. (Thinking of a few grown men I know, I believe some of them never quite get there!) Eventually he'll learn to pay his bills on time, and pick his laundry up off the floor and wash it before he's down to a single clean sock, a bathing suit, and a pair of jeans that are 2 sizes too small, yet remain in his closet for some reason. At some point, it'll sink in that work comes before play, right? Right?

I know he'll learn this stuff and he'll grow to be a mature, responsible member of society. (If not, I'll work out an apology to his future wife for my egregious parenting failure.) And I know he's not the only boy going to college and causing his parents a little worry. It's hard to let go and let them learn these lessons on their own. I think as parents we naturally want to help them out however we can. We make sure they have everything they need as they head off to school. But as the econo-box of Ramen runs out, will they eat? When they run out of shampoo, will they buy more or just go with the dreadlock look? How about razor blades? Will they keep shaving with the same, dull blade they left home with, or will they return to you for Christmas vacation looking like one of the Duck Dynasty guys?

Well, Gillette has made that one task much easier. Gillette now offers a blade refill subscription service! It's a practical, hassle-free option that delivers Gillette’s blades directly to your door (or your son's dorm.) And, Gillette’s best blades are more affordable than you might think—only about $1 a week. How cool is that? Now, if everything our sons use offered a subscription service it would be amazing. Or if we parents could send Howlers (those talking messages from Harry Potter) to remind our kids to take care of themselves, that would be even better! Alas, we're left to let our sons out into the world on their own, hoping they remember the lessons we've taught them, giving them the freedom to make mistakes, and trusting they'll be okay. Still, for a $1 a week, we can assure they have one less thing to worry about! And The Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology is the first razor of its kind, with a new handle that adjusts and pivots to respond to the contours of a man’s face for fewer missed hairs. If your son uses the ProGlide already, those same blades fit the new ProGlide FlexBall which is pretty cool! How often does it work that way, right? Never. Usually when a product is updated and improved, it renders all components of the product useless, forcing you to buy new ones.

Do you have any other tips to make life a little easier for your college student? Share them here!

Compensation was provided by Gillette via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Gillette or MomTrends. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Children Are Capable of Changing the World — If We Let Them

Over the years, my kids have asked, on hot summer days, if they could have a lemonade stand. I acquiesced, less than enthusiastically because I know that “lemonade stand” is actually code for making a sticky mess in the kitchen, taking odds and ends from the garage in order to construct a lemonade stand, drinking all of their inventory, then (assuming they actually sell a cup or two) taking the dollar or so that they’ve earned and spending it on candy at the corner gas station — all while leaving everything a giant mess at home. Of course, not all kids run a lemonade stand quite like that. Meet Vivienne, an 8-year-old who sells lemonade to raise money for charity:

CONTINUE READING HERE!

image: courtesy flickr

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Case for Letting Your Kids Fail

You can bet that behind each successful individual is another person who believed in them, cheered them on, and helped them dry their tears when they failed. As parents, we have that opportunity to bolster confidence and assuage fears for our own children each day. We get to teach our kids that failures are a part of life, and that we don’t have to let them be “bad things.” Failures can be wonderful tools that enable us to grow and motivate us to succeed.
Here’s how to help your kids cope with failure:

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