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.

I can’t help it.  I try.  I really do.  But when I start playing, I get sucked into the game.  It’s like Tron and I’m IN the game.  I’m no longer sitting on the couch with a controller in my hand, oh no.  I’m not controlling the little guy on the screen, making him move, jump, and shoot bad guys.  My blood pressure goes up, I hyperventilate, and my palms sweat because, clearly, jumping out of the way of balls of boiling hot lava is a matter of life or death.  Not my little video game guy’s life or death, but my life or death.  Running away from guys who are shooting at me, maneuvering my hovercraft around crates of explosives, and balancing on floating rocks perched above a bottomless pit freak me out to the point of cold sweats. 

My kids make fun of me because apparently normal people don’t get so worked up when playing video games.  They like to tell me things like, “Mom, why do you keep lifting the controller up? You know it doesn’t help when you move it like that”, “Mom, it doesn’t help when you hit the buttons that hard”, “Mom, calm down, the vein in your head is bulging out.”

After playing games for hours a short time, I got behind the wheel of my car to go to the doctor. I found myself punching the accelerator while weaving in and out of traffic, looking for tokens on the side of the road to collect. It’s a good thing I wasn’t pulled over for that little jaunt. I don’t know how I would’ve explained that to the police.

I may not know when to quit either. When it’s 3:00 in the morning, my limbs are numb, and I’m half-blind, instead of going to bed, I have a tendency to say in a maniacal voice, “Just one. more. level!”

Starting the same mission for the twentieth time because I keep getting shot sometimes makes me turn into a raving psycho a little frustrated. Yesterday, while I was playing, I got a little upset after dying a million times in a row.  I may have said something along the lines of, “Ohmygosh, I hate this stupid freaking stupid stupid game!”

Brooklyn stopped what she was doing and stared at me in horror looked at me.  “Mom, it’s just a game,” she said in that parental tone reserved for calming a child in the midst of a tantrum.

I’d like to say that I stopped what I was doing, realized how foolish I’d been acting, thanked Brooklyn, and calmed down.  However, I think I told her to shut up as my eyes glazed over and I gripped the controller even tighter.  I’m not sure though.  It’s all a giant blur.

This is why I don’t play.

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.


I remember visiting him Christmas eve. I remember all too well his sadness at being stuck in the psychiatric hospital when all he wanted was to be home with everyone else, going to church, and getting ready for Christmas day. Because of the very strict safety regulations, I couldn’t even bring Jackson a present or cookies or anything. I remember how heartbroken I was and how hard it was to leave him all alone there and make myself walk out the door when visiting hours ended. I remember driving home that night, crying my heart out at how unfair everything was. I remember waking up Christmas morning and only having five of my kids get up to see what Santa had brought. And I remember how difficult it was to even do any holiday shopping what with my very limited funds, mounting medical bills, and several hours a day spent driving back and forth from the hospital multiple times for my boys. It sucked. It really, really sucked. It was about the lowest point I’ve ever experienced. My kids were hurting and I was entirely by myself, trying to hold it all together.

But this year, I had all six of my kids with me and, other than moments of homesickness which strike from time to time, they’re all healthy and doing well. Money may be tight, but God is providing and every time an unexpected bill comes along, a writing job that brings in the exact amount I need comes about. Yeah, we didn’t have family to spend the day with, but we were able to stay in our pajamas and hang out at home all day. We didn’t have to leave by any certain time and we didn’t have to eat on anyone else’s schedule. Instead, we were able to Skype with my family back home which was like being there without being there. We opened gifts from each other while on Skype so we could share the fun and the laughs. And, of course, it was 80-some degrees outside! Who could possibly feel sad when it’s so sunshiny and warm?

And to the mystery person who dropped off that huge stack of presents for us, thank you. I really can’t adequately express my gratitude for your generosity and thoughtfulness. The gifts you picked out suited each of us so well and the kids had such a great time opening all of them! I have pictures of the kids opening the packages on Facebook. It’s killing me not knowing who did this. I want to thank you and repay you so badly. But I do know and understand the power of giving and the awesome way it makes you feel. And in that way, I intend to repay my mystery santa by paying it forward. In the coming year, I feel a need to pay it forward on a very regular basis. In fact, I’ll be presenting you with a weekly challenge to pay it forward with me. I’ll give you suggestions and ideas and encourage you to join me so you too can experience the amazing feeling of giving to others for no particular reason.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

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.

I live in modern-day Mayberry. It may be 80 degrees. There may be palm trees. It may not feel like Christmas, but this little town sure knows how to decorate. Really, I’ve never seen a town quite so lit up. And the other day, Santa drove down our street, throwing out peppermints to the kids. How cool is that?


The following pictures will show why I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas. I’m perfectly happy here in the domain of the Heat Miser. Which is why we really don’t need snow. Really. Not even fake snow. We don’t need it. Ever. Again.

1.  The other night, Santa came to town on a firetruck. We stood outside in shorts, enjoying the warm evening with our neighbors while the kids grabbed the peppermints that Santa threw.

2.  We walked into town to see all the lights. We've never seen a town so lit up!

3.  This guy has been sitting in front of his house, waving to folks and handing out candy canes every night. We walked over and talked to him tonight. He's been doing this for five years.

4.  





CONTINUE READING HERE TO SEE PICTURES OF OUR FAKE SNOW EXTRAVAGANZA!

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.

Gym Membership
The present that says, “Merry Christmas! You’re fat.” Unless the recipient has specifically asked for a gym membership, you want to stay away from this kind of gift.

$5 Box of Crap

The only thing more lame than a $5 box of crap is a $10 box of crap. Or maybe it’s a $2 box of crap. I guess it depends on how you look at it. But I think we can all agree that it’s probably not a good idea to give anything with the word “crap” in the title. (image: prankplace.com)

Regifted Gifts

It’s not cool to regift a gift to the original giver of the gift. (Say that 5 times fast.) Don’t be a Tim Whatley with a Label Baby Junior!

Mustache-Shaped Eggs

Hmmm. For the Tom Selleck lover on your list? (image: stupid.com)

A Monkey

I know monkeys look cute and cuddly, but monkeys never make good gifts. Point in case - Curious George, Dexter, Marcel, King Kong, Mojo Jojo, The Flying Monkeys from the Wizard of Oz, and the scariest one of all, Boots from Dora the Explorer. (image: stupid.com)

Tiny Iron

First, I see no reason for ironing in the first place. But doing it with an iron the size of a hamster? Well, that’s just cruel and unusual (not to mention stupid) punishment. (image: stupid.com)

Pooping Moose Sweatshirt

Nothing says “Christmas cheer” like a sweater covered in feces. Other than my seven-year-old son, I can’t imagine anyone wanting this.

Twirling Fork

If you’re too lazy to physically move your fork, then you don’t need a plate of spaghetti; what you need is a slap. (image: stupid.com)

Underwear Hat

I don’t know what I like most about this product – the fact that it’s underwear you wear on your head, or the fact that the guy in the picture is all, “Excuse me while I take this important business call” while seemingly oblivious to the fact he has underwear on his head. (image: stupid.com)

Fake Snow

This is evil in a bag and I have a new level of hatred for my ex who sent this to my kids for Christmas. This is basically a bag full of those little gel pellets that are in disposable diapers. When you add water to a spoonful of this powder, it expands a million times into a huge pile of puffy, sticky gel that gets everywhere and never goes away. (image: stupid.com)

CONTINUE READING HERE!

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.

Some people took personal offense because I said that the healthcare and schools were worse down here. I’m sorry, but they are. No, I did not say that ALL schools in the south are worse than ALL schools in the north. Someone even suggested that perhaps I should have done my homework and checked out the schools before moving. Seriously? You seriously think I didn’t do that??? It was also brought up several times that I just had a poor attitude and if I was more open to change, things would be fine, but I’m unhappy because I’m choosing to be unhappy. If you know me at all, you know that I’m upbeat and positive 98% of the time. I look on the bright side and see the humor in most every situation. That said, I am human and just like everyone else in this world, I get down now and then. You could plant me just about anywhere and I could adjust, but the fact that my kids don’t like it here breaks my heart. That is what has me questioning every decision I’ve ever made. It was even said that if I wasn’t so negative, my kids would be happy here. Again, those are ludicrous assumptions. You have no idea how hard I work at countering every negative thing my kids say about this place with something positive.

Plus, I had to leave work two hours early yesterday, I got a speeding ticket, I had to wait at the orthopedist’s office for two hours, and I found out that Savannah needs a third surgery on her knee because she’s in constant pain every day. This all added to my feelings of sadness and frustration so I turned to my blog as an outlet.

I’m sorry to anyone I offended with my post yesterday. However, the post was not about you. It was simply about me missing the comfort and familiarity of home and me questioning if I’d made the right decision for my family.

And to everyone who said, “I used to like reading you, but now you’re too (insert word of choice)”, my suggestion to you is this – STOP READING ME! Although I love to entertain and make people laugh, sometimes things are just sucky. If I write a heartfelt post about the not-so-great parts of life, it’s because it’s what’s going on in my life right now. I know a lot of people are experiencing similar circumstances and I know it helps to know you’re not alone. If you don’t like that, don’t read my blog. Find your free entertainment elsewhere. Or maybe start your own blog and see how easy it is to come up with a funny post every day while strangers tell you what you’re doing wrong and how you should write.

And finally, to all my virtual friends and family who are tried and true, thank you for just being there! It means more than you can imagine! :)

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 . . .

#133

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?

Dear family and friends,

The Meehan family has experienced many changes during 2011. The biggest change was our move from Chicagoland to Orlando, Florida. I felt like I needed to uproot my kids and move some place cheaper after their deadbeat dad decided he no longer needed to hold a job. I tore the kids away from everything and everyone they know and love and moved across the country to a place where I could get a job with insurance. After the boys were hospitalized last winter, we felt like we needed to move. We moved because of the weather.

I have a job working with kids who make me want to bang my head against the wall. I go to work every day and come home to kids making messes when I’d much rather stay home, write, and take care of my kids and house. I work at a school down here.

Austin hates Florida and claims that everyone in the state is illiterate. After being without dental insurance for so long, Austin went to the dentist and found out he has fourteen cavities. Austin likes to play video games.

Savannah has an appointment with an orthopedic doctor this week because she still has constant knee pain. Savannah has started driving and she hasn’t had an accident yet. Savannah’s on the swim team.

Jackson is somehow managing to fail band. This summer, Jackson spent a night in the hospital because he thinks he’s Tony Hawk and he flipped off his bike. He hasn’t cleaned his disgustingly, slimy turtle’s tank in months. Jackson likes skateboarding.

Lexi doesn’t like her new school and she misses her friends from back home. Lexi is starting to adjust to Florida.

Clayton is still a spaz and he proved it by jumping off the bunk beds, splitting open his face, and getting stitches. Clay is energetic.

Brooklyn has expanded her personal menu and now eats seven different foods. She makes amazingly huge messes every day. I can’t believe how fast Brooklyn is growing up.

I finished the letter and read the few lines that weren’t crossed out. I looked up. I looked back down at my pathetic excuse for a letter. I crumpled it up and tossed it toward the garbage can. Then I took out a new sheet of paper and scribbled, “Merry Christmas” across the top.


And this is why I don’t write a Christmas letter.

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.

Anyway, none of that really has anything to do with this blog post anyway.  All you need to know is that I park my van outside and in the morning, it’s covered in condensation. As I drop my littles off at school, I have the wipers going, trying to clear the windshield, and I have the windows open so I can see out (and so I can cool off because I’m undoubtedly overheated from running around and drinking large amounts of coffee). After I drop the littles off at their school, I roll up my windows and head to my school.

Only today, my window got stuck. I couldn’t get it to go up. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care. I drive with my windows open most of the time. I love, love, love feeling the breeze through my hair. However, when my hair is wet and I’m on my way to work, I generally keep the windows shut to avoid the Roseanne Roseannadanna factor. 

I could feel my hair whipping around and, deathly afraid of walking into school with Donald Trump hair, kept pounding the button to raise my window. But it didn’t budge. I stopped at a red light and frantically tried to smooth my hair down when the DJ on the radio announced that they were giving away boob jobs for Christmas.  Wha…??? Here I am at a stop light listening with fascination to these people talk about wanting boob jobs for Christmas like it was no different than wanting an iPod or a sweater when I glance over at the car next to me. The passengers were looking at me in horror and I wasn’t sure if it was because of my coiffure or the fact that the phrase boob job was loudly bursting from my radio every few seconds.

I wanted to close the window and continue to listen with morbid curiosity, but since the window still wouldn’t move, I opted to change the station lest look like a freak to other motorists. For the rest of my commute, I listened to Bing dream of a white Christmas while the warm Florida air, uh, styled my hair.

When I arrived at work and walked into the office, the secretary smirked.  “I didn’t know Flock of Seagulls was making a comeback.”

I stopped, turned, and looked at her, eyebrow raised. “Just for that, I’m not getting you a boob job for Christmas.”

I love that secretary.

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.


1.  You take mutliple pictures of your food before taking a bite. Sometimes, you take pictures of every step of the food preparation as well.

2.  When your kids paint themselves and every conceivable surface in the house with Desitin, or color their faces with magic marker, you don't freak out, yell, or start cleaning. You go for your camera.

3.  You're frequently writing blog posts in your head and/or writing little notes to yourself on your iPhone about future posts.

4.  You're an expert at getting your point across in 140 characters or less and think there should be some sort of social media award for having the ability to shorten a 362 character thought into 140 letters.

5.  You have something of an addiction and can't be without access to the internet for more than a couple minutes. I mean, what if someone comments on your amazingly witty Facebook post? This is information you need to know immediately! In addition, you'll fight any person (and win) for a coveted outlet in any given airport.

6.  You get a dozen PR pitches a day and 9 out of 10 are from clueless people who think you'll work for free/for a coupon/for a chance to win a gift card/for the honor of reading their stupid press release.

7.  You know what html is and you can use it to do fun things like cross out words you've written create profound blog posts.

8.  You have more online friends than real friends.

9.  When you go to blogging events, people address you not by your name, but by your blog name or twitter handle. "Oh, hey there, mom2my6pack!" "Oh my gosh, it's Because I Said So! I'm so happy to meet you!"

10.  You have a hard time adjusting from the online world where you're famous, to the real world where you're just an ordinary mom. Sometimes you expect people to roll out a red carpet for you when you walk down the street, and you get a little ticked off when people don't cater to your every whim. I mean, don't they know who you are online?

Now, it’s your turn, my brilliant blogger friends. What sets you apart from the rest?

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 mom2my6pack@aol.com!


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 info...as you know, I'm one of your most loyal stalkers...er...fans. 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 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.)



But, I think this video displays just how much of a doofus I am.  Some of you probably saw this back when Because I Said So came out this past summer.  But those of you who missed it, check it out now.  And make sure you watch it until the end for the bloopers!

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.)

But today I’m addressing the shoppers who are completely oblivious to the rest of the population who has to share the planet with them.  Especially now that we’ve officially entered the holiday shopping season, I think it’s important to go over some ground rules to ensure a pleasant shopping experience for all.

1.  The best way to spread holiday cheer is by not hitting, kicking, spitting upon, or pepper spraying your fellow shoppers.  Believe me, there is nothing so important that you must maim another person to obtain it.  People, this is not Somalia.  You’re not standing in a bread line all day in order to feed your family. As appealing as discount electronics are, unless you’re playing hockey, there’s really no need to smack people against the wall, trip them, pull their clothes up over their heads, or knock out their teeth.  

2.  Use the self check-out aisles if you have less than 80 items, have used them before and/or have the mental capacity to read and follow instructions, and if you don’t mind getting stuck behind some moron who will try to scan the same bottle of prune juice 52 times before realizing he has no clue how to actually turn the bar code toward the scanner.

For more information on self check-outs and how to use them, see my amazingly informational (and not at all condescending) blog post HERE.

3.  Don’t be annoyed by the people who stand in front of your favorite stores while ringing a bell next to that red kettle. Those people are volunteering their time, helping to make a difference in the lives of others. Smile at them and drop some money in the bucket! I don’t care how tight your budget is, everyone can spare a dollar. 
The bucket is not a garbage can. Do not throw your paper latte cup, your crumpled receipt, or your snotty tissue in it. Do not spit your gum into the kettle. Say, “Merry Christmas” or the holiday greeting of your choice, drop in some money and move on. Or, better yet, get the bell ringer some hot chocolate to thank them for their service.

4. The final, yet possibly the most crucial, point is this. Do not block the aisles with your cart, stroller, or body. Don’t stand there comparing the sodium content of various canned meat-like products while your cart blocks the entire aisle. If you do that, other shoppers are completely justified in ramming full-speed into your cart. Don’t stop to make small-talk with that friend whose name you can’t even remember while taking up enough space for an elephant, a limosine, a water buffalo and two chickens. And, if for some reason (there really are no reasons where this is acceptable), you find yourself in that position, at least be aware of your surroundings and when a mom on a mission to get the necessities of milk, bread, wine and chocolate heads toward you, move out of her way!


So, what makes you nuts when shopping (especially this time of year) – people who write checks, have 28 coupons, must count out $4.92 in change, try to negotiate the price on a loaf of bread like they’re in some ancient marketplace? Let me know your pet peeves.

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 forecast 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.

By Thursday, I was feeling awful and had completely lost my voice, so I was happy to stay home and cook instead of driving all the way to the beach. We had a nice meal and we enjoyed eating outside on the lanai, but it really didn’t feel like Thanksgiving. It was no different than any other day. My kids and I eat dinner together every night so, although there was more food than usual, it was just like any other day. I’m not complaining. It was nice. It just felt a little weird. Of course, since it was just us, I didn’t have to worry about my relatives’ reactions when we went around the table and took turns talking about what we were thankful for. Instead of listing things like our  family, our health, our home, beautiful weather, the fact that we’re all together, our freedom, etc., my kids had um, other things for which they expressed thankfulness.

“I’m thankful I’m not as annoying as Austin.”

“”I’m thankful for edamame.”

“I’m thankful for Mom and Lexi, but not really anyone else.”

“I’m thankful I’m not a goat.”

“I’m thankful I don’t sound like Mom (insert lovely Roz impersonation. “I’m watching you, Wazowski. Always watching.”)

“I’m thankful my eyebrows don’t look as stupid as Jackson’s.”

In defense of that last one, for reasons known only to him, Jackson took it upon himself to shape his eyebrows a couple nights ago. He used a razor and shaved the tops off them. His eyebrows actually do look stupid right now. In fact, every time I look at him, I see Joey from Friends . . .


Oh well.  I guess it’s good when you can find a way to be thankful for the little things.  Right?  Just go with me on this.

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.

“Hello?”

“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.”


I somehow remained calm and asked, “How bad is the cut? Does he need stitches? Can you wipe away the blood enough to see? Is it his actual eyelid or more like his eyebrow?”

“I’m pretty sure he needs stitches, Mom,” came Savannah’s answer.

“Okay, I’m leaving now. Just hold a clean washcloth or towel or something on it and press down. Don’t let go.”

You know when you’re confronted with an emergency like this and your mind just goes into one-track mode? You focus on what needs to be done, shutting out everything else. I grabbed my belongings, and as I locked my classroom, I texted the principal to let her know I was leaving because one of my kids just learned some of Newton’s laws of motion the hard way.

I hopped in my car and headed home on autopilot while dialing the school secretary to ask if I could just take him to Centra Care to get stitches. She thought they’d take care of him, no problem. I called home again to see how Clay was doing and update them with my ETA. According to Savannah, the bleeding was finally slowing down.

I got home, grabbed Clay, headed to Centra Care, filled out the paperwork, waited for about an hour, then saw the doctor who promptly claimed, “I can’t stitch him up. I mean, I can do stitches, but he’s a kid and he won’t cooperate with me and since it’s on his face, you really need a pediatric doctor at a hospital because he’ll need to be sedated. You need a pediatric doctor who will sedate him. He won’t cooperate. Kids don’t hold still for stitches. If he moves while I’m stitching on his face, that would be bad. He needs to be sedated.”

I glanced at my son who was lying there, calmly as could be, then I looked back at the doctor who seemed to be totally freaked out at the prospect of throwing a couple sutures in Clay’s cut. Although I knew Clay would be totally fine and certainly didn’t need the extra risk of sedation just for a couple stitches, I agreed that this doctor probably wasn’t cut out to perform the procedure. So, I left and headed downtown to Arnold Palmer. After Jackson’s injury, I’d been told that it was a good kids’ hospital and to bypass all other facilities and head straight there the next time something happened.

We got there at 6:00 pm. We got home at 1:00am. Yeah. As we sat in the waiting room which was overflowing with patients, I wondered why so many people who had arrived after us, were called back way before we were. I could understand if the kids being called back were seriously injured or very sick, but most of them appeared perfectly fine. Clearly, the majority of people were using the ER not as an emergency room, but as their primary care physician. At one point, a couple paramedics delivered a child via ambulance. They pushed the gurney into the waiting room and unbuckled the kid. She hopped down and proceeded to run around the waiting room, playing with the other kids there. Apparently, ambulances are used as taxi service down here.

After several hours, I asked a nurse how much longer she thought it would be. She told me, “Not too much longer, hopefully. The people who are going in before you are fast tracked. We know we can get them in and out really fast because they’re not serious. That’s why they’re being called before you.”

I just stared at her. I wanted to give her a lesson on triage because clearly those people don’t have a clue, but I instinctively knew my lesson would be lost.

Now, I understand why people without insurance would go to the ER instead of their doctor. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense. But, in my opinion, something is very wrong with the healthcare system in this country when a person with an injury requiring a doctor’s care has to wait for six hours while kids with snotty noses and hangnails are seen within minutes of their arrival. I don’t know what the solution is and every plan surely has it’s drawbacks, but these kinds of situations are completely ridiculous and unacceptable.

Anyway, he was finally seen and received four stitches, without sedation, of course. As the doctor was finishing up, he actually had the audacity to say, “Bring him back here in five days to get his stitches removed.” I just laughed at him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I took Clay’s stitches out tonight and his eye is looking good. I think the scar will give him character. Maybe someone will concoct a story about how he obtained his scar one day.

And, in case you were wondering, I asked Clay why he jumped off the bunks.  “Were you trying to fly?” I asked.

“No,” he answered.  “I dropped a blanket on the floor and it was faster to jump down than to use the ladder,” he stated matter-of-factly. 

So, there you have it.  We’ll see if this lesson sinks in.

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.

As we introduced ourselves and made small talk about how well the kids did throughout the swim season, I noticed a tiny, almost invisible scar at the corner of his eyebrow and I wondered how he’d gotten it. I bet it was from an errant hockey puck. But maybe, just maybe the whole hockey thing was just a cover. Actually, he’s a cop. And undercover detective. He got that scar when the blade of the druglord he’d captured, nicked the corner of his eye as he dodged out of the way just in time to keep from losing his eye. He then shifted his weight and used his muscular shoulder to barrel into the fugitive’s chest, knocking him back across the kitchen table, no wait, not a table, but a fallen tree branch because they were in some rainforest in Columbia.  Are there rainforests in Columbia?  I’m pretty sure that’s where drug lords come from.  And coffee.  Oops, back to the story.  He knocked the fugitive druglord back which bought him a couple seconds to reach for his gun . . .

I came out of my little world of imagination to find him staring at me as if awaiting an answer. “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you.” I smiled up at him, gracefully covering for my rude behavior.

Instead of repeating the question, he asked, “What were you thinking about?”

“Hmmm?” I asked, innocently.

“You were staring off into space. What were you thinking about just now?”

“Oh, I was making up a story,” I stammered.

He raised an eyebrow, begging me to expound.

I took a deep breath. I noticed the little scar by your eye and I started creating a story about you being an undercover police officer and getting into a fight with a druglord in the jungle or a kitchen, and then . . .” I trailed off at the mixture of amusement and concern for my mental well-being that was playing across his features. I looked down, a little embarrassed, and finished by quickly spitting out, “I was just making up a story.”

He smiled then, a kind of slow smile that lifted one corner of his mouth, lazily followed by the other as he looked at me with fascination.  It was the kind of quiet, curious fascination you’d express if you were at a dinner party and a guest suddenly stood up on the table and started rubbing pâté on themselves while singing showtunes. Except that curious fascination wasn’t directed at a deranged diner singing showtunes or a person muttering to themselves on the subway; no, it was directed at the freak show that was me.

I’m not sure when I first became aware that normal people don’t make up stories about everything they see. Normal people don’t create backgrounds for the people they meet. They don’t construct bits of dialogue to fit into scenes they view across a crowded room. They don’t feel a breeze, smell something cooking, or see a tree and create a whole scene around it. So, although, I knew on some level that most people don’t have a host of characters and settings and bits of dialogue just rattling around their brains, I’d never given it much thought.

Since I can remember, I’ve done this.  When I was a little kid, I had imaginary friends.  Junie, Rabie, and Aprica were their names.  I know, I know, terribly creative.  (Or seriously warped.)  They were a whole family.  I made up scenes and dialog and played with them for hours.  I’ve never gone a day, nay an hour, without making up stories.  It’s subconscious; as natural and automatic as breathing.  There’s always some story running through my brain and I’d never fully considered the possibility that not only was this not normal, but some people might consider it downright weird.

“Do you do this often?” he inquired, a laugh in his voice.

I squirmed under his amused gaze. I really wasn’t sure if he found the whole thing interesting and wanted to know more, or if he thought I was crazy and wanted to know just how crazy I was. I realized I was quickly scaring away the only other person at the banquet who was at my table. I could just imagine him politely excusing himself to use the bathroom and then making a speedy escape into a crowd of people for whom he’d regal with tales of the crazy lady over there in the green shirt. But I’m nothing if not quick-thinking, so I replied, “Oh yes, we authors do this all the time. It’s how we create our wonderful books. We make up stories and then put them down on paper. It’s an occupational hazard.” I shrugged and gave a nervous little laugh meant to convey I’m confident and not at all weird, and you’re simply uneducated in the ways of writers.


(You want to know just how messed up my writer’s brain is?  None of the above even happened. I made up a story about making up stories! Except for my imaginary friends. They’re real. Or real imaginary. I mean, I really imagined them. Ahem. I may need professional help. Or more wine. Yes, let’s go with the wine.)

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.

Lexi and Brooklyn especially, are known for leaving sweet messages on Post-its in random places around the house.  While my parents were visiting, a few notes from Brooklyn appeared stuck to the kitchen cabinets.  They read, “I love Mom” and “Mom and Brooklyn” and were decorated with little hearts.  Is there anything sweeter than a random reminder that you’re very much loved?  Such little notes and pictures never fail to make me smile.  I mean, it’s pretty darn cool being the object of your child’s greatest affection (You have to enjoy it now because when they hit their teens, you’ll become the dumbest person in the family and they’ll be certain the only goal in your life is to ruin theirs.)

But the other day, I discovered a different kind of note.  Not a cute, flowery, “I love you, Mom” kind of note.  Nope.  I found some notes from Clay.

Ticket: have you seen my poop pet?
I shudder to imagine what a poop pet is, but I'm pretty sure I haven't seen it.

I have my poop missing
I can't imagine how one could have their poop go missing. I like the little "stink waves" emanating off the poop though.

more missing poop

I'm so glad he put these "Lost Poop" posters up all over the house. You know, just in case someone happens along some stray poop - they'll know it belongs to Clay.

good poop

I just shake my head (and wonder how long this poop phase is going to last). Maybe I should start saving for therapy. Hmmm, help me out and buy my books!

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!”

Meanwhile, the working cavemom came home from a hard day at the caveoffice. All she wanted to do was read her stone mail and sip a prehistoric martini while watching Hunting with the Stars for a few minutes. But did she get to do that? Oh no. She had to clean up all the messes that her kids left and she had to butcher a saber-tooth and complain that her lazy cavehusband never does a thing as she picks up his animal hide tunics strewn all over the floor.

Seriously, that’s how it went down in olden times. Ask any paleantologist.  It’s historically accurate.

Now I’m here to solve this debate once and for all. I’ve been on both sides of this equation, and I can say with 100% certainty that it is much harder (and suckier) to be a working mom. There’s nothing to debate. Now, I’m not saying that being a sahm is a picnic. I did that for nearly seventeen years. Especially when the kids are young, it’s a tough, thankless job. The only other people who can understand what it’s like are other stay-at-home parents.

However, there are no words to describe how hard it is to be a working parent. Brooklyn was sick last week and I had to stay home with her. My next paycheck will be cut in half because of it. My bills, however, will not. I wouldn’t wish the overwhelming guilt that floods a working parent when they have to choose their child or their job, on anyone. It sucks.

Coming home to find your mail scattered about the garage floor, Kool-Aid spilled on half of it can make the vein on the side of your neck do funny things. Walking inside to find dirty dishes, papers, a bowl of scooped-out pumpkin goo, and clean, folded laundry on the floor can make the most composed parent lose it. Discovering you missed one child’s conference and learning another child is failing a class because they’re not doing their homework will undoubtedly make any parent feel like a failure. Being bombarded by, “Mom, someone called for you… Mom, I need some posterboard for a project that’s due tomorrow… Mom, can I go to Kenzie’s house? Mom, my tooth is wiggly… Mom, I think I’m getting sick now too… Mom, the nurse said there’s head lice in my classroom… Mom, I need a new outfit… Mom, can I have $50 to get a yearbook… Mom, my computer isn’t working… Mom, can you take me to the store… Mom, what’s for dinner… Mom, there’s water coming out of the toilet upstairs… Mom, Mom, Mom!” can make even the best of parents crumble to their knees/drink excessively/go to bed for the rest of the week.

And it’s never-ending. You can never, ever, ever get caught up. Ever. Working parents are always two steps behind. You get the laundry done, and there are dishes to be washed and bills to be paid. You help your kids with their homework, and there are students’ papers to grade. You go to the grocery store, and there are phone calls to make, errands to run, bathrooms to clean, and a lawn that needs to be mowed.

Going to the bank or the post office, or making doctor or dentist appointments is a big deal when you’re a working parent. You have to get things done during very limited windows of time, or you have to take time off work which means less pay which means you drown in bills a little bit faster.

So, I’m sorry, sahms. I love you and I respect you and I know your job isn’t a walk in the park because I’ve been there and done that, but the working moms have it tougher, hands down. I admit that this is coming from a single mom of six kids.  Perhaps if I was married (and my job provided extra income instead of my kids’ bread and butter, literally), I would feel a little differently.  Perhaps if I had another adult around the house to help out even just a little bit, I’d have a different perspective.  And perhaps if I only had two or three kids, I’d think differently.  But as it is, I stand by my assessment that working moms have it much, much harder.  No need to thank me for settling this age-old debate.  It’s what I do.  You know, when I’m not working or screaming at my kids to pick up after themselves, that is.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Stripping

"I've gotta get me one of those!"
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).

Clay couldn’t decide what he wanted to be until the day before Halloween when he chose Jack Sparrow. In case anyone was wondering, you can’t go out and get the costume you want in the size you need the day before Halloween. You can find dinosaur costumes for your dog. You can find plastic vampire teeth. You can find orange and black spider rings. You can even find a size 3T Spiderman costume. And that’s about it. I did find a Jack Sparrow costume that I thought would be too big for Clay, but figured we could make it work. And by “make it work”, I mean, buy it, take it home, have Clay change his mind and insist he wants to be Darth Vader while Lexi says she doesn’t want to be a cheerleader after all because she absolutely must be Jack Sparrow this year. Thankfully, we had an old Darth Vader costume in our Halloween box so it all worked out.

Savannah and a couple friends came up with the idea to dress like the Power Puff Girls and they used items they had on hand to make their costumes. Jackson wore an old football uniform. Austin and I were party poopers and didn’t dress up at all.

After the first house, Clay whined that he didn’t want to wear his mask. I held it. He continued as a guy in a black cape. After the second house, Brooklyn told me she couldn’t hold the frying pan anymore. I held it. She want on as Rapunzel without a frying pan. After about the seventh house, Brooklyn had a blister on her foot and told me she couldn’t wear the dress-up shoes anymore. I informed her that she needed some kind of shoes to which she retorted, “But Mom, I really should be barefoot because Rapunzel is barefoot!” Sigh. I held her shoes. She continued on as barefoot Rapunzel. After about ten houses, Lexi whined that her hat was itchy. I held it. She continued on as a pirate with a headband. Then Brooklyn cried that her wig was too hot and itchy. I held it. She continued on as a little, barefoot girl in a dress. After another house, Lexi claimed she had a headache because the bandana was too tight. I held it. She went on as a cross-dressing girl with a mustache.

We went to a few more houses while I held a Darth Vader mask, a pair of shoes, a frying pan, a hat, a wig, and a bandana. I was tired of carrying everything so I donned the shoes, wig, mask, and hat, rang a doorbell, and held out the frying pan while saying, “Trick or treat!”

The little old couple who answered the door asked, “Oh and what are you supposed to be?”

“I’m a mom, of course!”

The couple smiled and gave me their entire stash of candy. (Okay, so maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that. Actually, I staggered home, laden with discarded costume pieces. Then I charged my kids for my services. “A Butterfinger, a Baby Ruth, a couple Almond Joys, and a peanut butter cup should cover it, kids.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hello?

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.”

Honestly, I generally just give a slightly irritated, “No thanks” to a telemarketer’s questions. But last night, I’d had just one too many annoying calls. Ticked off that I’d gotten off my butt to answer the phone, only to hear, “Can I talk to Mr. or Mrs. Mayhon?”, I felt compelled to take out my wrath on the caller.

“This is,” I replied.

“Mrs. Mayhon?”

“Close enough.”

“How are you doing this evening?”

“I was doing fine until I got your stupid call.”

“Oh. Um, well, the reason I’m calling is to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

“Thanks?”

“Are you settling in okay?”

“Well, I have some boxes left to unpack. I think I’d like to do some repainting, but I really hate painting and honestly, I can’t afford to mess around with that right now. The yard is looking a lot better than it did when I first moved in. Well, except for the abundance of fruit snack wrappers my kids have left on the lawn. Why do kids do that? I mean the garbage can is just a few feet away! I’d also like to fix the . . .”

“Ma’am, the reason I’m calling is to schedule an appointment so I can come out and drop off your welcome present.”

“You just cut me off. I thought you wanted to know how I was settling in. Or was that just a rhetorical question?”

“Ummm. Uhhh, is there a good time when you and your husband would be available?”

Well, my EX-husband is living somewhere in Chicago, last I heard. If you track him down though, tell him he owes me a lot of money. I suggest you start looking for him in the bars and strip clubs.”

Then the line went dead. I went back to the couch, feeling a little bit better about wasting my time on a telemarketing call.

Until the phone rang again.

“Hello?”

“Hello. Is this Ms. Meachan?”

“Why yes, yes it is! I just spell it like M-E-E-H-A-N to throw people off.”

“Oh, um, well, I’m calling to let you know that you’ve won a free month’s of security monitoring from (company name).”

“Oh boy! A free month! Ohmygosh! I never win anything! I’m so excited! I have to call my friends! Woooooo!!!!!”

“Yes, well, when would a good time be for me to come out and set up your monitoring system?”

“Ooooo, can you come out now? I really need to run some errands. You can babysit my six kids while you’re here. I should be back in about four or five hours, okay?”

“Um, you have to be present, ma’am.”

“What kind of babysitting service is this?” I demanded, outraged.

“This isn’t a babysitting service”, the confused telemarketer stammered.

“Oh, I must have the wrong number.  Sorry,” I said right before I hung up.


I can’t wait for the next call.

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 . . .

The sign of a brilliant criminal - signing your name to the scene of the crime.

Up ahead - poop! What a fabulous welcome home to all the neighbors.

How kind of him to draw arrows to point the way to the poop.

In case you've forgotten, here's a little reminder of what you're heading toward.

More arrows. You know, so you don't accidentally turn into a driveway and miss the poop.

"You are . . .

. . . in the . . .

. . .POOP!"

Here we are, eight houses later and we're still in the poop.

Yep, a giant drawing of poop that spans a city block. Look at the stink waves coming off it. Niiiiice.

I’m awaiting the letter from my Homeowner’s Association kindly requesting we stop defacing public property with feces, or move out of the neighborhood.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

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