Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just One More Level!

I don’t generally play video games. It’s not because we don’t own a gaming system. It’s not because I don’t like them. It’s not because my kids play 24 hours a day, not giving me a chance to try it out. It’s because, well um, it’s because I may have a major addiction little, small, almost nonexistent problem with self control when it comes to video games.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Better than a Cheeto with a Mustache or Betty White on a Stick

Yesterday, my family spent a Christmas day that was very different. In this case, different is good. Sure, we were alone and didn’t have any family or friends with which to share the day. We didn’t go to anyone’s house and enjoy a nice meal with them. We didn’t have anyone over to our house to share our blessings with them. But, especially when I look back at last year, I’m so very thankful for our calm, quiet Christmas day.

Last year, we didn’t spend time with family either, but it wasn’t because we were living across the country from them; it was because we weren’t invited. Differences weren’t put aside for the holidays and my kids paid the price. Last year, Austin had been in the hospital for most of December and Jackson was still in the hospital.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm NOT Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Although I’ve been a little lot homesick recently, I’m really not dreaming of a white Christmas. I’ve never been a fan of cold and snow. I think it’s awesome being able to go outside in shorts. I love being able to jump in my car without warming it up for 10 minutes first. I love not having to scrape a foot of snow and ice off my car every time I want to go somewhere. And you can’t beat eating dinner outside on the screened-in porch.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Ten Worst Gifts

I didn’t get my act together soon enough to come up with a Must Have Christmas Shopping List, but I still may be able to help you with your shopping. I can provide a What To Never Give For Christmas List. There are a couple more days until Christmas and it’s not too late to go back over your purchases and make sure that none of these are under the tree. Here, in no particular order, is my top ten list of the worst presents you can give or get.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Savor the Season

Growing up, my family always wrapped our Christmas presents in a very unique way. We'd spend more time wrapping the gift than we did shopping for it! Every year, my sister and I looked forward to seeing how our presents would be wrapped way before we even thought about what was in the package. I don't know if I can adequately explain how our presents were wrapped, so I'll show you.

I could only find pictures from one Christmas, but we came up with some really awesome creations year after year. Not only did we have fun thinking of ideas and wrapping the gifts, but unwrapping was a enjoyable, leisurely event. We admired each package and appreciated the time and effort that went into every one. Then we'd take turns, going around the room, slowly unwrapping each gift. It was a huge shock when my family would get together with my ex-inlaws because everyone ripped into their gifts at the same time like it was a race to finish. I never even knew who had gotten what from whom. It was a crazy free-for-all.

This is one tradition we're keeping - taking our time unwrapping our presents and appreciating the time and effort that went into each and every present. Read here about another family who has found a way to slow the unwrapping frenzy so they can savor each moment.

And take a minute to share your family's traditions on Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site for a chance to win a $50 gift card!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

There's no Place Like Home for the Holidays

Yesterday, I wrote a post describing my inner turmoil. I admitted to having self-doubts about this move to Florida. Although there are things I like about Florida and good reasons for moving here, there are also things I hate about Florida and reasons why I wonder if I should’ve stayed in Chicagoland. The post was about my self-doubt and homesickness. Period.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Check out one blended family's obsession with Christmas trees. What started as a way to encompass the traditions of two separate families, turned into a house filled with as many as fourteen trees at once! But the best part of their story is how they get rid of their tree after Christmas. On Subway's Fresh Takes for Family site there's a story about this family along with many other stories and videos of fun, new family traditions. I especially like reading these stories right now because my own family is starting some of our own traditions. In fact, I briefly considered decorating a palm tree instead of an evergreen this year. Hey, when in Florida . . .

What do you guys do Christmas eve? Do you have any unusual traditions? Anything fun you've started doing with your kids. I admit we always do the same ole thing - go to church, leave out cookies and pop for Santa (Santa doesn't like milk in my house), then the kids stay awake forever because they're too excited to sleep and I stay up way too late wrapping presents that should've been wrapped weeks ago. Do you guys do anything fun? I'm in the market for some fun new ideas. And be sure to go over to the Fresh Takes site to share your ideas there! You'll be entered in a drawing for a Subway gift card and could even be chosen to have your story featured on their site!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Joe's Crab Shack Winner

The winner of the $50 gift card from Joe's Crab Shack (chosen randomly with Random Integer Generator) is . . .


Nikki Alvarez said...
We have ever been but would love to try it out!! I follow you on facebook!!

Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who commented! And stay tuned for some more giveaways later this week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Christmas Letter

Last night, I sat down to write a Christmas letter. I thought, especially since we live so far away from our family and friends now, it would be nice to update them. Did you know that writing a Christmas letter is a lot harder than you might think?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eat at Joe's

Recently, Joe’s Crab Shack offered me some gift cards to try out their new kids’ menu. Joe’s Live Well entrees offer healthy alternatives to typical restaurant kids’ meals, including grilled shrimp and crab legs with sides like celery sticks, rice, and corn-on-the-cob. Of course, they also have mac-n-cheese and pizza for those of us who have picky eaters (not naming any names, Brooklyn). You can check out their menus HERE. My kids are huge shrimp lovers so they loved their meals. I ordered pastalaya which has approximately a million calories, but it was so good! And it was huge, so I took half of it home and enjoyed it for lunch the next day.

The atmosphere at Joe’s is fun and friendly. It’s definitely a family restaurant. The one we visited, even had a play area outside for the little kids to explore while the rest of us finished our meals. They played bouncy 80s music, and it wasn't uncommon to see the waiters break out their dance moves throughout the evening.

As with any seafood restaurant, it’s on the pricey side so it’s not a place my family would frequent regularly, however it is a fun place at which to celebrate special occasions. Speaking of pricey, Joe’s Crab Shack is going to help out one family with that. I have a $50 gift card to give away to one lucky reader so you can check out their new kids’ menu yourself. And you’ve got to try their steampots! Huge pots packed full of deliciousness including different combinations of crab legs, scallops, mussels, clams, andouille sausage, corn-on-the-cob with your favorite seasonings. Check them out HERE! Yum-o!

Leave me a comment here, including a way to contact you, and I’ll choose a random winner on Monday, December 12. Good luck!

Contest open to U.S residents, age 18 and older.
Duplicate comments will be deleted.
Random winner will be selected on Monday, 12/12/11 and will be notifying shortly thereafter.
Winner will receive one $50 gift card for Joe’s Crab Shack. Find a location HERE.

I was given gift cards so that I could try out Joe’s Crab Shack myself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boob Jobs and Bad Hair Days

I leave my van outside on the driveway every day. It’s not that I don’t have room in the garage, or that the garage is too messy (although that status changes daily) for me to pull in. It’s that I don’t have a remote garage door opener. I bought one from Sears and programmed it, but learned that the sensors are misaligned or something. Look at me being all technical. I really have no freaking clue what’s wrong with it. I don’t even know if it has sensors! I just make stuff up so I seem smart. I suppose admitting that I make stuff up to sound smart isn’t all that smart though. Hmmm.


Monday, December 5, 2011

You Might be a Blogger If . . .

Recently, I wrote a post about things that set moms apart from the rest of the world. The other day, while sitting in the teacher’s lounge, I commented that I wished I had my good camera so I could take a picture of my lunch. The teachers looked at me like I’d been sniffing dry erase markers. It hit me then that bloggers think a little differently than non-bloggers and I came up with a list of things that set bloggers apart from the rest.

Here, in no particular order, is my top ten list of clues that you might just be a blogger.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Orlando, where crazy, mixed-up people order soda instead of pop, it's your host, the woman who is 100% biodegradable, Dawn Damalas Meehan. Tonight, my special guest star is Johnny Depp.

(This isn't really Johnny Depp. I asked Johnny Depp to be on my blog post, but he said no. I wish him well. Although, this isn't Captain Jack Sparrow, it does look like he has a little captain in him. Let's just go with it.)

And now, here are the answers to your questions. Have a question you want answered? Email me at!

Still going to miss Chicago this winter?
I miss the pizza. I do not miss the weather. I'm sitting outside in shorts as I write this. Why on earth would I miss freezing cold and snow when I have this???

I did a cross country move this past summer too, moving from Maryland to Texas (minus kids, just the other half and two cats). I remember you mentioning lauguage issues. Has there been any word that has really stumped you? I still can't get use to them call grocery bags, sacks. Everytime they ask me if I need another sack or do I need them to sack my groceries for me, I swear I must look at them like they have two heads while it takes 5 or more seconds to realize sack = bag.
It annoys me when people say "soda". Soda is the clear, flavorless, carbonated stuff you add to scotch. Coke, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper are all POP! The kids in my classes say "dress out" instead of "change" for gym class. They also call their "backpacks" book bags. Weird.

How/When can we mere rednecks from Mississippi lure you here to speak??? Please message me w/ your marketing/promo you know, I'm one of your most loyal Fan, I said! NOT stalker, I promise!!! :) In all seriousness, please send me your media info. and such....Thanx!
Sorry, I only speak at events where there are stalkers.
Actually, I have some information up on my website, but will adding a new section with press and speaking info. Check back! :)

OMG~ you're blog header was just on ABC's Nightline! Yea you!!!
I never tire of seeing stuff about me on TV, in magazines, or in the newspaper. And it's still the most awesome thing to see my books on the shelves of stores! It helps feed my delusions of grandeur.

Has the X contacted the kids?
Yeah, he calls now and then. The three youngest kids talk to him sometimes. They talk to my friend, Eric, more often.

Have you made friends in the neighborhood? Are people nice? And have the kids made new friends?
The neighbors all think I'm "that weird mom with all the kids who screams at her kids to go to bed every night". There's a nice family across the street from us. The dad edged my lawn when we first moved in and he's fixed the boys' bikes too. The mom drives Jackson to school some days. Their boys are great kids and I'm glad my kids are friends with them.
I've gotten to know some of the teachers at my school. They go out for drinks on Fridays sometimes. This past Friday, I expressed an interest in joining them, but (coincidentally?) they didn't go out that night. Hmmmm . . . I'm sure it had nothing to do with me saying I wanted to take pictures of my food.

So have you met any special guys yet? Are you ready to date?
When and where am I supposed to meet people? Men are not exactly lined up around the corner to meet an old, fat woman who has 6 kids and issues with slow-drivers, and open-mouth chewers, and people who say "soda", and people who are missing multiple teeth, and stupid people . . .

When's your next book coming out?
Was this written by my agent? Ugh, I would love, really love, to write another book. But I hardly have the time and energy to write a blog post these days. I'm planning to write another book this summer while I'm off work, however. In the meantime, you can buy my books (softcover and Kindle) here. They make great Christmas presents too!

Connect with Dawn on Facebook because she's far too lazy to update her blog every day.

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dork That is Me

It was recently brought to my attention that I’m a dork. I mean, I knew that I was dorky, but I thought I’d done a good job of hiding it from other people. Apparently not. I may do embarrassing things in public with little regard to the horrified stares of bystanders. I may drive around town with my windows open singing loudly (and badly) for all to hear. I may constantly take pictures of random objects wherever I go. I may strike up conversations with perfect strangers in the check-out line of any given store, much to my kids’ chagrin. And I may not have been in fashion since before I had kids the Reagan administration. But that doesn’t mean I’m a dork, does it? (That was hypothetical. Which means – don’t answer it. Don’t. Just don’t.)


Monday, November 28, 2011

Shopping This Time of Year May Actually be Considered a Sport

I’ve come to the realization that I have a very low tolerance for many things. The sound of a person chewing with his mouth open makes my skin crawl until I want to shove his fork down his throat, then punch him in the face. Sharing the road with slow drivers, tailgaters, people who don’t use their turn signal, and people who are too busy playing with their phones to pay attention to the road makes me insane. In fact, it raises my blood pressure until I fantasize about turning green and all Lou Ferrigno-like, and actually picking up their vehicle and tossing it into a ditch. People who don’t know the difference between lose and loose, your and you’re, or their, there, and they’re make me want to gouge my eyes out. (Yes, I know I probably need therapy.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for the Little Things

I had planned to pack a picnic and head to the beach on Thanksgiving, but after looking at the weather forcast earlier this week, I changed my mind. They were predicting a 75 degree day for Thanksgiving so I thought it might be a little chilly to go to the beach. Yes, I know, I know. How things have changed that I would consider 75 degrees “a little chilly”. (I actually think that 75 is delightful, but not for swimming in a cold ocean.) So, we had a quick change of plans and went to the beach on Monday, instead. It was 85 and breezy without a cloud in the sky. We packed a picnic and hung out at the ocean all day and it was awesome! I’d woken up, feeling a little sick on Monday and the fresh, salty air helped me breathe a little easier so it was a nice day all around.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seven-Year-Old Boys Cannot Actually Fly

The other day, while at work, Savannah called me. My last class of the day had just left so I was able to answer my phone.


“Mom, Clayton’s hurt. He’s bleeding all over the place. I mean, he’s really bleeding. He jumped off the bunk beds and smacked into the ceiling fan that was going full-blast. He cut his eyelid. He’s bleeding a lot! We stood him in the bathtub and he’s filling the tub with blood. It won’t stop.”


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turkey for me, Turkey for You

While talking about Thanksgiving traditions a couple weeks ago, I brought up my indecision over what my kids and I were going to do this holiday now that we live across the country from our friends and family. We've decided to go to the beach to celebrate Thanksgiving. I ordered a smoked turkey from the men's group at our church. When I pick it up, I think I'll shred it, mix it with BBQ sauce, and make sandwiches to take to our little picnic. Along with deviled eggs, sweet potato chips, and little pumpkin pie tarts, I think we'll have plenty of Thanksgiving-ish foods to eat while lounging on the beach and soaking up some sunshine.

But what do you do after Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the herald of the official holiday season. Thanksgiving starts off the festivities that will last for more than a month. Do you arm yourself with sales ads, credit cards, and a taser and hit the black Friday sales? Do you put up your Christmas decorations? Do you pull out all the leftovers and make turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pies, turkey soup, turkey sausage, turkey turkey?

We also decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. It's a tradition that I've carried over from my own childhood. I definitely make a bunch of turkey creations with the leftovers. On Subway's Fresh Takes on Family site, there's a great idea/recipe for making pizza with your turkeyday leftovers.
Check it out HERE! I usually make turkey sandwiches with a moist maker, of course.

Now, everyone head over to the
Fresh Takes on Family site and share your after Thanksgiving traditions for a chance to win a $50 gift card and/or have your family's story featured on the site! Go! Now! Or I'll start singing Adam Sandler's song. "Turkey for me, turkey for you. Let's eat turkey in my big brown shoe . . .

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh, the Stories I Could Tell

I went to a banquet for Savannah’s swim team last night. I figured I’d only know one person at the event (the mom of one of Savannah’s friends), and I figured that she’d be busy talking to other friends. I assumed I’d be spending the night sitting in the corner, talking to no one, and making up stories about everyone. When I arrived, Savannah took off to sit with all her friends. I sat down at a table by myself and tried to not to look like a loser. Shortly after, a middle-aged man approached my table, indicated a chair, and asked if anyone was sitting there. I enthusiastically flapped my arms in the general direction of the empty chair and said, “No, no, not at all! Please, sit down!” I was pretty sure he’d selected my table, not for my effervescent personality and wonderful company, but its proximity to the buffet line, but I was determined to supply interesting conversation and laughter nonetheless.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Edamame (and Other Traditions)

This Thanksgiving, I'm not sure what the kids and I are going to do. According to Brooklyn, they talked about Thanksgiving traditions in kindergarten today. Apparently, Brooklyn told her teacher that we eat chicken and edamame for Thanksgiving. Although I cook chicken and occasionally edamame (which is Brooklyn's favorite - weird kid, I know), I'm pretty certain I've never made either for Thanksgiving. Her teacher must think we're nuts.

We're far away from our family and friends, so it's entirely up to us how we spend our day. I suppose I could go the traditional route (minus the relatives) and cook a turkey with all the fixings. We could sit around the table, share the things for which we're thankful, gorge ourselves on the meal over which I slaved all day, then lie around for the rest of the evening. It would seem pretty normal (except for the fact that we'd be alone and it would be warm outside).

Or, since it's just us, we could start a new tradition! We could pack turkey sandwiches and head to the beach for the day. We could order a Thanksgiving pizza and watch movies until our eyes blurred. We could eat Thanksgiving soy beans and play board games for hours. The sky's the limit really.

So, what are some of your Thanksgiving traditions (even if they're non-traditional)? Share them on the new Subway site, Fresh Takes on Family Time, and you could win a $50 gift card! Not only that, but one lucky reader will have their story filmed and shared on the website each month! Right now, there's a great video by Apollo Ohno about his tradition of making and sharing dim sum with his coach and fellow athletes. (I feel this urge to shave that little goatee every time I see him. Is it just me? I may have issues.) Anyway, go watch the video HERE. Then share your traditions for a chance to win!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nothing Says "I love you" Like Poop

I love waking up and heading downstairs to start the ole caffeine drip. Actually, scratch that. I don’t love waking up, especially to an alarm clock that’s set way too early. But I do love the walking downstairs part. Actually, no scratch that too. I seem to have aged a lot in the past year or so because now, when I wake up, my feet and ankles are so stiff and sore that walking downstairs is a pain, and I’m pretty sure I look like an arthritic penguin when I do. But I love seeing what my kids have left me once I get down there. On any given day, I’m bound to be surprised and delighted by the little notes my kids leave around the kitchen.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finally, an Answer to the Age-Old Debate

There’s a certain debate about who has it harder, stay-at-home moms or working moms. “They” say there is no answer to this debate. No one will ever agree on which position is more difficult. This has been going on since caveman days. When a stay-at-home cavemom’s cavehusband came home, she’d complain,”I spent the whole day cleaning, Mister! Do you have any idea how hard it is to sweep the dirt out of this cave when the floor is made of, you know, dirt? And here you come and plop this saber tooth tiger on the floor while you sit down and prop your feet up on a rock because you ‘had a tough day’! You don’t even know what a tough day is, you troglodyte! Do you know hard it is to watch junior and change his loin cloth and keep him in the cave so the pterodactyls don’t carry him off like his brother? And he didn’t eat one bite of the mammoth stew I slaved over! He spit it out and it hit the wall and when I scrubbed it off, the cave drawings came off too and it took me two hours to draw new ones!”


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Stripping

I took the kids trick-or-treating around my neighborhood yesterday. It was the first time since Savannah was a baby that the kids didn't need winter coats. Seriously, the kids carried hand warmers in their coat pockets back home in Chicagoland the last two years.

I've always tried to come up with creative, original costume ideas for my kids. This year, however, I dropped the ball. I just didn't have it in me. Brooklyn wore the Rapunzel dress she got for her birthday. After putting it on, she insisted she needed a frying pan to complete her ensemble (if you've seen the movie Tangled, you know what I'm talking about here).


Friday, October 28, 2011


I’m so fed up with telemarketers. I hate them. Hate. I wish evil things upon them. I know I’m going to get emails from people defending telemarketers, saying, “They’re people too. This is their job.” My response? “I’m people too. And it’s my job to mess with them.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can You Tell me How to Get, How to Get to Poopy Street

And the poopstravaganza continues. Living in Florida, I’m getting used to seeing unusual things while driving around. I saw two armadillos and four chickens on my way to work earlier this week. Whenever I pick up Savannah from swim practice, I see houses that have miscellaneous appliances and broken-down vehicles in their yards. I see food trucks with signs that read “pupusas” on them. I’m sure I’m mispronouncing this, but poo poo sauce does not sound appetizing.

However, the other day, I saw something even stranger, and I knew immediately, who was responsible for it. As I turned into my subdivision, I beheld this sight . . .


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Shoulda Been a Doctor

Brooklyn woke up at 10:30 last night, crying that her throat hurt and her eyes burned. The poor baby was running a fever. I gave her some Motrin and a cool washcloth for her eyes. Then, instead of lying down and cuddling with her like I would’ve done in the past, I lay there worrying that I was going to have to miss another day of work. No work = no pay. It also scares me that the administrators will come to their senses and fire me so they can replace me with someone who isn’t a single mom of six kids.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Those of you who have read my blog for any amount of time know that I don’t do math. I never really understood math back when I was in school. Math people say it’s easy, precise; there’s only one correct answer for each problem. It’s neat and ordered. It makes sense. But for non-math people . . . well, it makes our eyes bleed. At my job, I work with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Most of my sixth graders need help with math. A LOT of help with math. In a weird way, I actually like working with them on math because I remember what it was like to sit there, completely lost, back when I was in school. And the thing about math, is that one skill builds on another. If you don’t understand chapter 3, you’re not going to be able to do chapter 4, and so on. In that way, once a kid is lost, the work snowballs out of control and they simply can’t catch up.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Trip to Old Time Pottery

I don’t know what it is about this store that fascinates me so. The low prices? The eclectic variety of merchandise that makes you wonder if it’s a Frank’s, Walmart, Crate & Barrel, or Michael’s? The great decorating items? Or, more likely, the “made in China” type mistakes on the products. You can see my first installment of Old Time Pottery fails HERE. Go ahead and click the link. It’s worth it. I promise you’ll laugh. Go ahead, I’ll wait.


Monday, October 17, 2011

My Son, Tony Hawk (NOT!)

It had been about three months since I’d taken one of the kids to the emergency room.  I knew we were overdue for a visit, but was hoping against hope that no one would get hurt or sick before my new insurance kicked in. We’d been doing pretty well in my quest to avoid doctors at all costs until this weekend when Jackson got in a fight with his bike. And lost.

Jackson was supposed to be at home, cleaning his room and mopping the kitchen floor. Everyone else had completed their weekend chores, but Jackson kept finding distractions to keep him from his work. I dragged him inside and reminded him of his jobs for the twentieth time. I went upstairs to finish putting sheets on my bed when Savannah walked up to tell me, “Jackson fell off his bike and got hurt.”

I’d like to say that I rushed to his side immediately, but I’ve experienced more than my fair share of “Jackson just got hurt” stories, and I knew from experience, that it probably wasn’t a big deal. I mean, yes, Jackson has had more ER visits than all five of the others combined, but he sustains even more minor injuries on a very regular basis. I asked, “Is he really hurt or is he just trying to get out of doing chores?” Savannah looked a little freaked out and said something was sticking out of his stomach. This can’t be good, I thought to myself and headed downstairs to check out the damage.

I found Jackson lying on the couch, tears making muddy little tracks down his dirt-covered face. He had dirt and sand on his limbs, his hair was matted to his face with sweat and he was crying that he was in pain. “Where does it hurt? What happened? What hurts?” I fired my questions in rapid succession, trying to ascertain how seriously he was injured.

Jackson’s tummy hurt too much to talk, so he explained in short little bursts. “Riding bike.Tried to do a wheelie. Handlebars turned around. Flipped off. Bars jabbed me in stomach.”

He lifted up his shirt and lowered the waist of his shorts to reveal a mass about the size of a baseball sticking out from his abdomen. I decided that either an alien had taken up residence in my son’s stomach and was about to be born by bursting out through his skin which was quickly turning red and purple, or his guts had been rearranged. Each scenario was equally disturbing. This wasn’t an injury that made me wonder, “Hmmm, should I take him to the ER or put some ice on it?” Nope, this was an injury that had me wondering, “Do I rush him to the ER myself or call an ambulance?”

Being new down here, I didn’t know which hospital to go to. I quickly called my friend and asked her where I should take him, while issuing instructions to the rest of my kids. Trying to get Jackson off the couch and into my van proved to be a huge challenge and I was just about to dial 911 when he managed to slowly walk out to my car. Clay hopped in the van and despite my protests that he’d be bored and hungry, insisted he needed to come with us. I stupidly agreed to avoid a fight that would prolong our departure.

When we arrived at the hospital at 5:45, the triage nurse asked me for my insurance information. I had just gotten an insurance card in the mail on Friday. This was Saturday. (I want to jump for joy on the amazing timing, but I’m afraid to jinx it. Although I received my insurance card, I’m afraid the insurance hasn’t quite kicked in yet. If my calculations are correct, it won’t be effective for another week. We’ll see, I guess.)

Anyway, we waited for what seemed like an eternity despite the fact that Jackson was pushed ahead of all the kids with runny noses and the man who had been having chest pains for a week even though he “only smoked 2 packs a day”.

The doctor took a look at Jackson and ordered a CT right away.  While waiting for the CT, a nurse started an IV and took some blood. Generally, getting stuck with any kind of needle, makes Jackson scream loud enough to be heard in the next state. He was in too much pain to care this time. If you know Jackson, that speaks volumes of his pain level. In fact, he kept mentioning things like, “This hurts more than my broken arm. This hurts more than my broken nose. This hurts more than the stitches on the bottom of my foot. This hurts more than my broken toe. This hurts more than the time I fell off the swingset and couldn’t breathe. This hurts more than the time my arm got stomped on in football. This hurts more than . . .” This quite possibly could’ve gone on all night if the technician hadn’t wheeled him back for the CT scan and broken up his train of thought.

The technician who took Jackson for the scan had a strong Jamaican accent and every time he asked Jackson a question, Jax gave him a blank stare, then turned to me for translation. He injected iodine and scanned Jackson’s midsection. Then we went back to the room to wait. And wait. And wait. At around 9:30, after I pestered the nurse a few times, we were finally informed that the huge bump was just a large hematoma (fancy word for bruise).  But, along with the blood and fluid in the muscle and tissue under his skin, there was also some internal bleeding. The CT showed a small amount of fluid and because of this, we were told that a pediatric surgeon needed to take a look and decide if he could go home, or if he needed to spend the night to make sure there weren’t more serious injuries internally.

Around 11:00, they finally managed to get Clay something to eat, and they delivered the news that Jackson would be admitted for the night, but not at that hospital, no. He had to be transferred by ambulance to a different hospital with a pediatric unit. I rushed Clayton home, gave instructions to Austin and Savannah and sped back to the hospital where I found Jackson watching some BMX competition on TV. “Seriously, Jackson, seriously?” I asked, rolling my eyes. He flipped the channel to a Friends rerun. The episode where Joey had a hernia ran through my mind and I couldn’t help laughing. Evidently, Jackson couldn’t stop laughing either and every time he laughed, he’d start to cry in earnest because the pain was so bad, so he flipped to the Food Network until almost 4:00 AM when they finally loaded him up in the ambulance to take him to the other hospital. By this time, the pain meds were starting to wear off and he was running a fever.

I was thinking how much it sucked that I couldn’t go in the ambulance with him, but someone needed to drive the car. And how much it sucked that I had to leave my other kids alone, but someone had to be with Jackson. And how much it sucked that I might have to miss some work. And how much it sucked that I’m not paid if I miss a day. And how much it sucked that none of this might even be covered by insurance. And how much it sucked that we were supposed to go to the beach later that day to meet one of Lexi’s friends from back home who was here on vacation and now we couldn’t do that. And how much it sucked that none of this would’ve even happened if Jackson had listened to me and been doing his chores instead of screwing around on his bike. It’s at times like these when being a single mom to many (especially in a new place without much of a support system) just stinks.

But, on the bright side, the people were nice and attentive at the new hospital, there was a couch that opened into a bed for me, the room looked more like a hotel room than a hospital room, the doctor who saw Jackson there was young and cute, and best of all, his fever went away, he felt a little better the next day, and he didn’t need surgery.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dinner Traditions

My parents are coming to visit us next week. This will be their first time seeing our new house here in Florida. I'm looking forward to visiting with them and showing them all our new favorite spots to eat, shop, walk around, hang out, swim, etc. I'm sure the kids are going to want to show them their new schools and where all the ice cream places are. So, this week, I'm in "Keep the Freaking House Clean" mode. I'm also trying to figure out what to make for dinner while they're here.

I figure we'll just order pizza (or what passes for pizza down here) one night while they're here. Growing up, we always had pizza on Sunday nights. That was the one night my mom would let us watch TV at the dinner table (Wonderful World of Disney, of course.) As a kid though, I was always jealous of my friends who went to their grandparents' house for Sunday dinner. It was a traditional, weekly event for many of my friends. My own grandparents lived out-of-state, however. When I grew up and had kids of my own, I thought my own parents might incorporate a weekly, or even monthly, gathering for dinner, but they never did. I hope to host Sunday dinners at my house when my kids are grown and have kids of their own.

But back to my parents' visit. I think we'll cook out and eat our meals on the lanai so my parents can enjoy the gorgeous weather down here before heading back to the cold. That has become a new tradition for my family - eating outside. We do it several times a week. The weather is just too beautiful to stay inside.

What kinds of dinnertime traditions does your family have? Check out this family's cool, fun tradition of
"Theme Dining" for some fun ideas! And while you're there, share your own stories and ideas on the Fresh Takes on Family Time site. Every time you share, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway. And, more than that, you could be the next lucky family chosen to have their story filmed and featured on their site! One new family is chosen every month! Check it out here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Savannah came home from school and said, "Let's play Pterodactyl!"

"Pterodactyl? That's a game? Seriously? How do you play?" I inquired, one eyebrow raised, wondering where she was going to go with this.

"You just take turns going around the circle. Everyone has to say pterodactyl, but you have to keep your lips over your teeth like this," she demonstrated. "If someone squawks instead of saying pterodactyl, the direction reverses. If you laugh, you lose."

Well, that sounded simple enough. How hard could it be to keep a straight face when all you're doing is saying pterodactyl?

It's VERY stinkin' hard!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What a Dirty, Disgusting River. It's Chocolate!

I should be used to getting up early. I mean, I’ve been doing it for nearly two months now. That’s plenty of time to adjust, right? One would think. But still, I’m exhausted to the point of passing out nearly every night. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve awakened on the couch in the middle of the night, still dressed, makeup smeared across my face, hair plastered to my cheek with drool. I know, I know, I’m totally hot. And every morning, I perform my ritual of blindly flailing my arm around in an attempt to either hit the snooze button, knock the clock off the table, or stop time altogether.

Last night, after helping my kids with their homework, we ate the dinner I cooked, then, I told my kids, “I need you guys to clean up the kitchen because I have work to do.” I took my laptop and retired to my room where I could work in peace. At some point, before finishing, I passed out asleep without even checking on my kids to make sure they’d done what they were told. Big mistake. Big. Huge.

This morning, after playing the snooze game for half an hour, I got a text from Savannah who had just walked out to the bus with Austin. “So, you might be disgusted when you go downstairs.”

I weighed my options. I could simply stay in bed and never set foot downstairs. Yes, that’s my plan! I’ll stay in bed, I decided! Then I remembered I’d have to call the school and let them know I wouldn’t be in today. How would that phone call go over? “Um hi, this is Dawn Meehan. I can’t make it in to work today. What? My kids? Oh no, they’re fine. No, I’m not sick. Oh, well you see, my daughter warned me that I’d be disgusted if I went downstairs so I’m simply avoiding the whole situation. What’s that? Don’t bother coming in tomorrow or the next day either? I’m fired?”

Dreading her response, but firmly believing in being prepared, I texted back, “Why?”

“First of all, the dishes are still out and there are bugs all over them. Someone spilled cocoa powder in the pantry and tried to clean it up by sweeping it all the way to the front door and putting it under the rug so there’s this trail of it still. Annnnnnd, the garage door was open all night.”

That’s all? I thought. I can handle dirty dishes sitting out all night. It wouldn’t be the first time. Although I like things cleaned up before I go to bed, now and then I leave the mess and clean it before I leave for work or give my kids instructions to clean up when they get home from school. I figured Savannah had probably just seen a stray BOUS (bug of unusual size). As far as the cocoa powder, I figured I could sweep that up in an instant.

And then I walked downstairs.

Jackson had spilled the entire, brand-new container of cocoa powder in the pantry. Instead of wiping it up right there, he, with his brilliant thirteen-year-old brain, figured it would be easier to sweep it under the rug. Literally. Never mind that the rug was through the kitchen, down the hall and across the entryway by the front door. And did he use a broom for this endeavor? Nope, that wouldn’t be nearly messy enough. Instead, he used the Swiffer Wet Jet. Here’s a riddle for you. What smells like brownies and floor cleaner? The Willy Wonka style chocolate river o’ sludge that runs through my house!

Then I walked in to the kitchen and saw the mounds of dirty dishes on the table, the island, the countertops, the stove. The crockpot had a couple pieces of chicken floating in a sea of congealed sauce. And ants were crawling over much of it.

You know that scene in The Exorcist where Linda Blair’s head spins around? That was me after I got ahold of myself and calmed down.

I quickly left the kitchen before I completely lost it. Lexi immediately started unloading the dishwasher and cleaning up. I started scrubbing the chocolate-flavored grout between the tiles of my floor. I did that for about ten minutes. You may be wondering why I didn’t wake up Jackson and demand he start cleaning immediately. I needed some time to calm down, and taking my rage out on the discolored grout seemed like a good way to do it. Before I left for work, however, I gave very specific instructions to each and every one of my kids that there was not to be a single dirty dish sitting out or the merest hint of chocolate dust on the floor when I got home from work or they would all be sleeping out on the lanai with the lizards, frogs, turtles, cockroaches, alligators, snakes, and other creatures that would eat them in their sleep. What? My story was no worse than Hansel and Gretel or Little Red Riding Hood!

When I got home this evening, I discovered that Austin had locked Jackson outside and was cleaning the cocoa powder mess himself. When I asked him why he didn’t just make Jackson do it, he said, “Yeah right. If I’d let Jackson inside, he would’ve made a hundred more messes and there would still be chocolatey floors and knowing him, he’d probably smear it on the walls and carpet too somehow!”

“Good point! I mean, don’t lock your brother outside.” Still, little tendrils of anger, nay disappointment, continued to wrap themselves around me, so when the kids asked, “What’s for dinner?” I replied, “Whatever you make because I’m not cooking for you guys if you aren’t going to do your part and help clean up when I ask. You can make sandwiches or have bowls of cereal or soup or whatever you want to make. Whatever you get out and mess up, you WILL clean up, however. They put their heads together and decided on making chicken nuggets because then they’d only have one cookie sheet to clean. After their chicken nuggets, they were still hungry, so they made ham and cheese omelets and toast. And you know what? They cleaned up every last crumb. (I think the Linda Blair thing scared them straight. Nothing like seeing mom’s head spin around to make you shape up.)

And no, I didn’t take pictures this time. I was trying way too hard not to commit homicide to take pictures of the mess.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Fresh Take on Trick-or-Treating

Over at Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site, they've got some great articles with fun fall and Halloween ideas. One that caught my eye was an article named Trunk-or-Treat. It talked about getting your friends together, heading to an empty parking lot, opening your trunks, and letting the kids go from car to car, gathering candy from the tailgates. That idea is okay, but I'd go one step further. That is, I'd go a step further if I was back home in Chicago, surrounded by friends. But since I've recently moved across the country and have no friends, it would be kind of lame for me to try it here.

If I were back in Chicagoland, I'd invite everyone over to my driveway for a potluck. I'd get the fire pit going and roast hotdogs. All my friends and neighbors could enjoy the collection of salads and desserts from everyone. Back in Chicago, since it would undoubtedly be 40 degrees and rainy, we'd bundle up while the kids drank steaming mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows (you know, in case they hadn't ingested enough sugar from their candy). The adults would drink hot toddys or Irish coffee (because Halloween is traditionally known as a drinking holiday). We'd sit back and complain about the cold while we enjoyed each other's company and breathed in the scent of fall in the air - the leaves, the crackling fire, the brisk breeze, and the mist starting to roll in.

But since I'm here in Florida, I guess I'll take my kids around the neighborhood by myself while wearing shorts and sipping a frosty, refreshing pina colada. And I'll enjoy the palm trees and the sunshine and the fact that this year, I won't need to stuff handwarmers in my pockets, or figure out a way to cram winter coats under my kids' costumes.

Check out the
Fresh Takes on Family Time site to add your own story! One lucky family will be chosen every month to have their story filmed and featured on the site! Plus, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway! Check it out today!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Suck at my Job

I hate feeling stupid. Hate it. I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I like being the person that others come to for advice. I like being the one who knows everything; the one others ask for help. I do not like having to ask anyone else for help. Yeah, yeah, it's good to let others help. It makes them feel good. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I still don't like it. And no, I don't have control issues. I just always need to be right. And in charge.

If someone was to ask me a parenting question on nearly any topic, I’d feel confident that I could give an intelligent and constructive answer. That’s an area of my life where I feel like I have some degree of expertise. I may not be perfect at it, but I know what I’m doing. At school, however? I feel like an idiot. I don’t understand the terms they use here. Everyone tosses them around like they’re common knowledge, yet my head spins because they might as well be speaking a foreign language, as far as I’m concerned.

I don't know all the procedures and protocol for doing things here. What do you do if you have a student who is tardy to your class seventeen times? I assumed the attendance people would catch that I was marking him tardy every day and would do something. I guess not. When I brought it up, I was looked at like I was stupid for letting a student get seventeen tardies without saying anything. Sheesh, now that I think about it, maybe I should continue to let the kids get tardies. I should encourage them to take their time getting to my class because it means less time spent here making me insane. Kidding. Just kidding.

But really, I’m not a teacher. I didn’t go to college to be a teacher. I didn’t go to college at all, in fact. I didn’t student teach. I haven’t been doing this for years. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe I’m qualified for my position, but I lack experience and, unfortunately the only thing that can fix that is time.

I’m pretty sure all the eighth grade math teachers hate me. Yesterday, I alienated the eighth grade history teachers as well when I gave a student a copy of a vocabulary quiz with the answers filled in so he could study the words. In hindsight, that was a stupid move. Duh. I have no idea what I was thinking. Clearly, I wasn’t. I should only have gone over the words and never shown the student the test for him to simply memorize. The history teachers have every right to be upset. I was stupid. I hate being stupid.

When I (half) joke about quitting, some teachers nod their heads and commiserate, saying, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t take working with those kids every period, every day.” But, honestly, it’s not even the kids who make me want to quit. They’re not the problem. They are who they are. They do what they do. I try to keep them on track, help them develop organizational skills, encourage them to be responsible. Sometimes it sinks in; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they respond and surprise me; sometimes they don't. It’s more like being a mom to thirty kids than a teacher. I’m fine with that. Yes, it gets discouraging at times. But other times, it’s pretty darn rewarding.

Nope, it’s not the kids. It’s me. I feel like I suck at this job and I don’t enjoy doing things that make me feel all suckish. Sigh.

(Don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. Come back tomorrow for a fun-filled poop extravaganza courtesy of Clayton. Ugh, he's gonna get us kicked out of our neighborhood.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

I love getting comments on my blog posts. I get giddy with excitement when someone takes the time to write to me. Of course, I especially like it when someone finds something I've written humorous, useful, or comforting. I love it when someone tells me that they appreciate the levity or the glimpse into my life because it helps them to see their own life in a different, more positive light. But as much as I love all those comments, I think I particularly like these inane comments the best . . .

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If you're going to leave me spam comments, asking me to check out your online pharmacy for discount Viagra, at least have the sense to learn English or hire a translator. Really, is that too much to ask? I unequivocally thanking you so very many.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Big Book of Poop

When you first have a baby, you spend hours gazing into his/her little face, dreaming about the person they will become. Will they have your way with words? Their dad’s height? Their grandma’s musical ability? Their uncle’s artistic talent? Imagine my pride when I got home from work the other day and saw on the kitchen table, a book written by my own son. Clay had not only written, but had also illustrated his very own book. Yes, I thought, my son is following in my footsteps! He’s going to be an author! Sure, he’s only seven years old now, but he’s undoubtedly destined for greatness! And then I actually looked at the book. Yeah. Let’s just say that I hope Clay has a “Plan B” for future employment.

When you first have a baby, you spend hours gazing into his/her little face, dreaming about the person they will become. Will they have your way with words? Their dad’s height? Their grandma’s musical ability? Their uncle’s artistic talent? Imagine my pride when I got home from work the other day and saw on the kitchen table, a book written by my own son. Clay had not only written, but had also illustrated his very own book. Yes, I thought, my son is following in my footsteps! He’s going to be an author! Sure, he’s only seven years old now, but he’s undoubtedly destined for greatness! And then I actually looked at the book. Yeah. Let’s just say that I hope Clay has a “Plan B” for future employment.

Here’s a sneak peek at Clay’s masterpiece. I may have to take orders for this book as I’m sure you’re all going to want your own copies for your coffee tables.

A favorite word for seven year old boys everywhere.

It's like a Dr. Seuss book. Splat butt poop, it looks like soup.

This is what happens when you don't get enough fiber.

I love how he identified and labeled the undigested corn. Classy.

I think this is what happens when you eat half a dozen Fiber One bars at once.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Zombies Attack

Austin’s English teacher had the kids write letters to their parents, inviting them to the school’s open house next week. The students were told to bring the letters home, get them signed by a parent, and return them to school. Austin thought that I’d be the only one reading the letter. He figured the teacher would glance at it to make sure it had been signed, and then he’d get the credit for it. He didn’t realize the teacher was going to read the letter before he got to take it home and give it to me. Yeah. This is what he wrote.

Dear Mom,

My teacher would like for me to write a letter to you saying you should go to the PTSA Open House on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 6:00 at XXXXXXX High School. Note, you can’t come in 2004. We had to say it was 2011 to clear up any confusion. Also, remember this is 6:00p.m., not a.m., just in case you were wondering.

She says it’s a “good chance” for you to meet all of my teachers, and become familiar with this “school” and see what or who I have to deal with every, single day. It’s not a conference, but I don’t know if I believe that. They could be zombies trying to lure you into a trap. I don’t trust them. She says “some” teachers “might” give extra credit, but again, they might be zombies. She insists on you RSVPing by emailing her at so she knows how many people to invite for brain feasting.

Austin Meehan

That’s my son. I’m not sure how to respond to this. I keep thinking of responses, but I don’t know which I should use.

A. I’ll be attending. Dawn Meehan

B. I’ll be there, but I’m wearing my helmet. You know, just in case. Dawn Meehan

C. Dear Ms. Teacher, I’m sorry you have to deal with Austin in your class this year. I’m just so sorry. So so sorry, Dawn Meehan

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leave the Lipstick at the Door

I read an article on MSNBC today about how a school in England has banned the use of makeup for their 13 – 16 year old students.  Not only have they made it against school rules for girls to wear makeup, but they’ve also removed the mirrors in the bathrooms to prevent vanity.  Maybe they think that if they remove the mirrors, the girls won’t realize how they look without makeup.  According to the article, John McNally, head teacher, says, “The mirror ban is to break a cycle where social groups started to emerge in the bathroom.”  Oh my gosh, no, not social groups!  At a school?!  The horror! 

Apparently, some girls were spending so much time in front of the bathroom mirrors that they were eating lunch in there, so the school decided the mirrors must be removed.  Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be more logical to simply keep the kids in the lunch room while they’re eating?

The article says that the school wants students to focus on more important things like learning.  Tell me, ladies, if you were banned from wearing makeup to school or work, would you be able to concentrate on learning or working more?  I personally would spend every minute of the day obsessing over how scary I look without makeup.  I guess school officials are checking each girls’ face every day for traces of makeup, and offering offenders makeup removal products.  That seems like a good use of time and resources.  If I had to check all my students for evidence of makeup, and then monitor them until they washed if off, I know I’d have plenty more time for those important things like learning.  NOT! 

I personally feel like kids should be able to express themselves.  They will have their whole lives in which to conform and try to fit in for the sake of their jobs and group affiliations.  Who cares if a teen has pink hair, a mohawk, black eyeliner, or a pierced lip?  Those things don’t distract from education as much as teachers having to take time out from their lesson plans to play dress code police.

So what do you think?  Should schools ban makeup?  “Extreme” hairstyles?  Should they insist on school uniforms?  How do you feel and why?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy Money

I was sick last week and, as much as I wanted to blog, I just couldn’t manage to stay awake long enough to compose a single sentence.  Every day, after getting home, helping my kids with their homework, making dinner, and getting my little ones to bed, I lay down, coughed up a lung, and passed out asleep.  I really needed the sleep.  I needed to take care of myself, but, at the same time, I stressed over the fact that I wasn’t writing.  No writing = no income.  But I’m happy to announce that I’ve now solved all my money problems!  My spam filter catches a couple dozen emails a day.  I generally just delete the whole bunch without a second glance, but today, for kicks, I decided to open one and read it.  This is what it said.
GREETINGS TO YOU, (whoever you are, you random person)
IT IS A PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE TO YOU A BUSINESS THAT WILL MAKE THE BEGINNING OF NEVER-ENDING FAMILY RELATIONSHIP AND I HOPE THIS PROPOSAL WILL NOT BE AN INCONVENIENCE OR EMBARRASSMENT TO YOU.  (It’s probably not the wisest idea to introduce a proposal with the disclaimer ‘I hope this won’t be an embarrassment to you.’  Oh, and while we’re at it, let me introduce you to the great art of punctuation.)
I AM ELIZABETH DAJU MORGAN I AM 20YEARS AND THE ONLY CHILD OF LATE DR DAJU ALFY MORGAN   WHO WAS A FAMOUS COCOA MERCHANT. (Does one need a doctorate to be a cocoa merchant?  And once again, you might want to consider using a period or a comma now and then.  Example:  Let’s eat grandma.  Let’s eat, grandma.  Punctuation:  it saves lives.)
IT WAS IN THE HOSPITAL THAT HE SECRETLY DISCLOSED TO ME THE CAUSE OF THE SICKNESS AND ALSO THAT HE DEPOSITED THE SUM OF 16.8M DOLLARS (SIXTEEN MILLION EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS). (Oh good.  Thank you for spelling that out.  I wasn’t sure what 16.8M dollars.  And let me get this straight, he told you he’d been poisoned?  If he knew his buddies were poisoning him, why did he take the poison?  He’s not a very smart guy for a doctor.)
HE THEREFORE ADVISED ME TO LOOK FOR A RELIABLE, TRUST WORTHY AND GOD-FEARING PERSON WHO WILL ASSIST ME TO TRANSFER THIS FUNDS ABROAD STRICTLY FOR INVESTMENT PURPOSES.  (And you immediately thought, ‘Hey, I’ll email some random stranger about this!’  Whenever I need someone trustworthy to help me with a multi-million dollar deal, I generally just do eenie meanie minie mo in the phone book, but the next time I’ll try random email addresses.) 
THIS IS BECAUSE HE DIDN’T WANT HIS ASSOCIATES TO RAISE AN EYEBROW ON HIS FUND. HE ALSO ADVISED US TO AVOID HIS ASSOCIATES WHO WILL BE RUNNING AFTER MY DEAR LIFE; HE FINALLY DIED IN THE HOSPITAL AFTER TWO DAYS OF ADMISSION.  (Good attempt at using a semi-colon, but maybe you should start off with something a little easier.  I really feel compelled to help you now that you mentioned his associates will be running after your dear life.)
I AM SOLICITING FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE TO TRANSFER THE $16.8M INTO YOUR ACCOUNT FOR AN INVESTMENT PURPOSES OVER THERE IN YOUR COUNTRY. I HOPE TO TRAVEL WITH YOU TO YOUR COUNTRY AFTER A SUCCESSFUL TRANSFER OF THIS FUND.  (You want to travel with me to my {insert name of country here}?  How are we going to travel together to my country when I’m already in my country?  Oh I know!  I’ll fly to Africa and then we can meet up and fly back to the U.S. together!  It’s a date!)
THE CONTACT OF THE BANK WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU AS SOON AS YOU SHOW YOUR INTEREST AND WILLINGNESS TO ME.  (I’m interested!  I’m willing!  I mean, it’s a win/win situation, right?  Free money for me!)
MAY I STRONGLY RE-EMPHASIZE THAT THIS TRANSACTION IS HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL, HITCH FREE AND THIS WILL BE SUCCESSFULLY CONCLUDED WITHIN 10 DAYS ACCORDING TO YOUR EFFORTS.  (Oh yeah, hitch-free!  I’m confident this isn’t a scam.  In ten days, I’ll be the proud recipient of 1,680,000!  Then I won’t have to stress out when I’m too tired or sick to blog.  Hallelujah!) 
(Is this where I write my name, address, social security number, and bank information?)

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