Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dear Santa, Here's my Wish List

Dear Santa,

As I sit curled up on my couch in my silent living room admiring the little colored lights twinkling on my beautifully decorated Christmas tree, I can’t help but reflect on the past year. I smile as Bing Crosby’s melodic voice softly fills the air and the scent of freshly baked gingerbread wafts in from my toasty kitchen signaling the commencement of the holiday season. While my kids are sleeping soundly in their beds, I’m sipping creamy eggnog from a crystal glass and taking a few minutes to write to you.

I suppose I should start by saying that the whole first paragraph is a big fat lie. I guess you already know that, huh? What with you being Santa and all. I mean, if you know when we’re sleeping and when we’re awake, then I guess you know that my kids aren’t sleeping soundly in their beds at all. One is passed out on the floor of the living room after throwing a tantrum because I wouldn’t let her eat the gingerbread ornaments she made 3 years ago. Another one is playing Xbox in his room, the sounds of gunfire coming through his closed door. Another couple kids are upstairs fighting about when Jesus was really born, and a couple others are running around the neighborhood playing football in the dark because they don’t understand what language I’m speaking when I say, “It’s time to come inside! And where the crap are your shoes anyway???”

There is no smell of gingerbread because I forgot to go to the store and buy molasses inciting the kids to start chanting, “You ruined Christmas, Mom!” My Christmas tree has 30 ornaments hung from one branch and is about to tip over. It looks like Christmas threw up in my house. A dozen boxes of decorations lay open, their contents spilled across my floors because my kids like to take everything out, but somehow run out of steam when it comes to the actual decorating and packing the empty boxes away. Oh and the “eggnog” I’m drinking from a crystal goblet is pretty much straight rum in a Tupperware container because it’s the only clean dish in the house at the moment. Don’t judge.

Santa, I’m sure you know that I try my best. I’m not a perfect parent. I lose my cool sometimes. I break down and cry now and then. Some days, I’m convinced that I just can’t handle everything one more day. I’ve gone as much as a week without cooking a decent dinner for my family. Sometimes I forget to check homework and sign planners. I haven’t had time to update my students’ grades a time or two. Occasionally I have so much laundry piled up that it’s probably a fire hazard. I’ve been known to take my kids to their football games without first checking that they have things like cleats and pants and helmets. Yeah, I’m that mom.

But still, I get up and do it every day. I try. And for that, I think I deserve a little something in my stocking. This year I’m asking for a new car. Or well, it’s doesn’t have to be new per se; just new for me. And preferably not held together by duct tape. Imagine my embarrassment when my date went to close my van door and the handle, which was duct-taped to the door, fell off in his hand. Oh yeah, and speaking of dates, could I get just one or two dates with a guy who isn’t a big lying liarpants? Perhaps a guy who doesn’t have a bunch of issues? Or well, at least not any more issues than I have?

I’d also like an extra dose of willpower because I’m getting really tired of losing these same 10 pounds again and again, quite frankly. If it isn’t asking too much, maybe you could arrange for my little ones to stop fighting over things like who gets to mix the Kool-Aid (I’m still cleaning that! Do you have any idea how far a gallon of grape Kool-Aid can fly? I do!) Oooo, maybe you could get me a maid to clean the random Kool-Aid spills that happen more often than you think.

And perhaps you can help my son to understand phrases like “Clean your room”, “Put away your laundry”, “Do your homework”, and “Stop hiding that plastic bug around the house or I’m going to have an actual heart attack and leave you an orphan.” Finally, perhaps we can have a family dinner once this year without the topic of poop coming up in conversation.

There are more things I’d like, but I don’t want to be greedy. I know there are a lot of deserving parents out there who are hoping for some goodies in their stockings this year. In fact, let me help you out there too, Santa. In case you don’t know what to get other parents, I have some suggestions. I ask that you bring the gift of happiness to other parents. I hope that parents everywhere will find enjoyment in their children this year. Please let parents get a glimpse of the world through their children’s eyes. If you can, please give parents the ability to see beyond the messes and the chaos to the brilliance that motivates those children to make the messes and create the chaos. Give parents the gift that lets them appreciate all those little things like sticky kisses, big hugs, artwork on whatever surface it appears, long rambling stories that don’t make any sense, gifts made out of PlayDough, and unconditional love. Hmmmm, maybe you better throw a nice bottle of booze in their stockings too. You know, just in case.

Thank you, Santa!

P.S. I promise not to eat all the cookies my kids leave you this year.


Dawn Meehan

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Conversations That Make you Thankful Thanksgiving is Only Once a Year

Thanksgiving, that wonderful time of year. The time when families come together to celebrate, to give thanks, to kick off that most magical season of holidays and parties. The time when everyone gathers around the festively adorned table and Uncle Fred passes gas, Grandpa talks about his hemorrhoids, Aunt Lucy drinks directly from the wine bottle, Mom complains about the consistency of the mashed potatoes, and Cousin Ed announces that he just eloped. With his boyfriend. Who doesn't speak English. And has 3 dozen piercings. And is a communist. It's inevitable. You get family together around a table and the conversation takes off.

My family's conversations usually mirror the dinner scene in the movie While You Were Sleeping. Disjointed conversations about the creaminess of the mashed potatoes, Argentina having good beef, and how tall Dustin Hoffman is all happen simultaneously around my table. Or well, around MY table, the conversations are usually more about the consistency of poop after consuming corn, what kinds of sounds a Pterodactyl makes (including demonstrations of those sounds), and a heated debate as to what the actual lyrics to Bennie and the Jets are.

A Peek at my Family's Trip to St. Augustine

I love spending time with my kids and really enjoy being around them. We always have a good time when we’re together, and I’m thankful that my teens aren’t too cool to hang out with me. I’m thankful that my oldest son is able to continue living at home while attending college as well. I like coming up with fun day trips to take with my gang. Living in Central Florida, there are so many fun things to do within a couple hours of us. We drive to Clearwater Beach, go see the manatees, head to the sponge docks in Tarpon Springs, go to Daytona Beach, and visit the theme parks. This weekend, we took off for St. Augustine, the oldest city in America. It was first explored in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon and was later founded in 1565 by Pedro Menedez de Aviles of Spain and served as the capital of Spanish Florida for 200 years. I couldn’t wait to take my kids and my camera and explore this ancient city.

St. Augustine is brimming with cute shops and a variety of restaurants, e.g. Greek restaurants, bakeries, sandwich shops, seafood restaurants, and tapas spots. Although St. Augustine is pretty “touristy,” it offers some interesting museums and tours. My kids and I toured the Castillo de San Marcos and the oldest wooden schoolhouse while we were there. We can’t wait to go back so we can check out the pirate museum, the lighthouse, and a good tapas restaurant the next time. If you ever get to Central Florida, spend a day in St. Augustine. You’ll be happy you did.

Here’s a little slideshow of our day in St. Augustine. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them!


Friday, November 22, 2013

This is Why You Should Teach Your Kids How to Fix a Toilet

The toilet in my bathroom has been making this trickling sound for a good month now. Water constantly dribbles into the bowl which wouldn’t be so bad, but my bathroom is connected to my bedroom and for someone who has given birth 6 times (thus has no bladder control), the unending sound of running water was causing me to awaken every night. I first tried to fix it by simply closing the door to the bathroom. Voila! No dripping water sounds. After a couple weeks, however, the drip morphed into a steady current. Then it progressed to a torrent. Then I started worrying about my water bill.

Yesterday I decided that I couldn’t put it off any longer. I ran up to Ace after work and walked to the aisle labeled “plumbing/toilets.” I stood there for a minute staring at the shelves as if I had a clue what I needed. When nothing jumped out at me, I admitted that I had no idea what I was doing and I hunted down a helpful hardware man.

“Water keeps trickling from the tank to the bowl of my toilet. Here, I took a picture of the tank,” I stated as I showed him the picture on my phone.

“You need to replace the flapper,” he said handing me a package with a small rubber disc. He continued, “But I would replace the entire thing. You have an old system and you’ll probably have to replace other parts soon. This one,” he indicated a box on the shelf, “is more efficient and will save you water.”

I eyed the box full of parts. “How hard is it to do?” I asked warily.

“It’s pretty easy. You have to take the tank off though.”

“Whaaaat? Take the tank off?! That’s way beyond my capabilities. I think I’ll just replace the flapper,” I said, looking at the package in my hand, wondering if I’d even be able to manage that.

“It’s really not hard to take the tank off. You’ll just need 2 hands so you don’t drop it or it’ll break and it’s hard to find a replacement tank that will fit so you’ll probably need to replace the whole thing if you break it.”

I just stared at him. “Do you need a bunch of tools to fix it?”

“You just need a screwdriver and a crescent wrench.”

“I have no idea what a crescent wrench is. I know what crescent rolls are though. Mmmmm, I could go for some crescent rolls,” I drooled a little. Then, snapping back to the present,”I pretty much only have a butter knife and a shoe.”

Another guy standing in the aisle overheard me and laughed. He laughed! He didn’t offer to come over and fix my toilet for me, no. He laughed.

At this point, the Ace guy changed his mind. “Actually, you should probably just replace the flapper. This is all you need,” he pointed to the package in my hand.

“No. Now it’s a quest! Now, I have to fix it the right way! I have to take it apart or die trying!”

He looked at me, mouth open, brow creased, eyebrows raised.

I shrugged. “I need a blog post.”

So this is how I fixed my toilet.

Everything You Need

Since it says that it includes everything I need, naturally I assumed Ty Pennington was in the box. He wasn’t. Lie #1.


Friday, November 15, 2013

From Divorced to Dating: The (Almost) Completely Normal Progression

introI remember thinking, when I first got divorced, that I'd have time to date every other weekend when my ex had the kids. Well, he's never taken the kids for a night, let alone a weekend so that plan was shot down real fast. Then there was the fact that I wasn't ready to date right away. My attention was on my kids and helping them get through the upheaval, as it well should have been. But now? Well, I've been on my own for 4 years now. I think it's time. Or not. Maybe. I'm not sure. Yes. Maybe later. Okay now!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Preview of my new novel

I turned into the parking lot and pulled in a spot as far away from the entrance as I could get. I figured if the guy turned out to be an ax murderer, I could run out of the restaurant, hop in my car and speed away before he could get the license number and track me down so he could make a suit out of my skin. It’s good to be prepared. You know, just in case. I pulled my visor down to check my makeup one last time. “If I’m going to be killed by an ax murderer, I might as well look good when the police arrive on the scene,” I muttered to myself. I hastily swiped my lip gloss wand across my mouth. Good enough. “Okay, let’s get this over with,” I sighed as I gathered my purse and climbed out of my car.

“Get out there and live a little. Fall in love. You have to experience romance to write about romance she says. Hmph.” Walking into the restaurant, I squinted as my eyes adjusted to the dim lighting. Good call. If we eat in the dark maybe I won’t notice how hideous you are. I mentally glared at myself for being so negative. You’re not even giving the guy a chance. Be open-minded, I reminded myself. Maybe he’ll end up being the love of your life. Tired of my inner pep talk, the realistic part of my brain took over again. Forget the love of your life. Maybe he’ll provide you with just enough material to finish your book.

I noticed someone sitting at the bar and waving in my direction. I blinked a couple times and moved toward the bar, bringing the shadowy figure into focus. Oh my gosh, he’s gorgeous! I blinked again in disbelief. He’s a hunk! He’s Adonis! He’s got all his teeth! My mind played a movie comprised of scenes of the two of us – laughing over dinner, walking hand in hand on the beach, feeding each other toasted marshmallows while sitting around a campfire, walking down the aisle in our wedding finery, sipping eggnog around the Christmas tree with our children, a boy and a girl, dressed in matching Christmas outfits. I couldn’t stop the grin that engulfed my face as I strode toward the bar. Just as I reached him, a heavily perfumed blonde rushed up from behind me and gave him a kiss on the cheek as he wrapped her in his embrace. Of course he wasn’t waving at me. I furtively glanced around to see if anyone had noticed me acting like a fool while fervently praying for an earthquake to open the floor and swallow me. Florida’s not really known for its earthquakes though. Maybe a lightning strike? When it became apparent that no freak act of nature was going to take me out of my misery, I forced myself to continue walking to the bar as if that had been my plan all along. I hoisted myself up onto a barstool and ordered a glass of chardonnay.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's B.B.O.

I left work and walked through the parking lot toward my van. Since my air conditioning doesn't work and I live in Florida where it gets to be fifteen-million degrees, the instant I reach my car, I open the door, thrust the key in the ignition, and roll down the windows before I ever actually set foot in the vehicle. This day was no exception. The only difference was that on this day, when I opened my door, a wave of vomit-scented heatwaves escaped the confines of my van and assaulted my nostrils. What the heck? What is that smell? Did something DIE in here, I wondered. Unfortunately, I was running late for a meeting and didn't have time to investigate further. I drove to my destination, my head hanging out the window, gasping for a breath of air that didn't reek of puke.

When I arrived, I climbed out of my van and walked to the building. I strode through the parking lot and with every step I took, I got another waft of the noxious stench. Is the aroma so deeply embedded in my nose that I'm continuing to smell it? Or has it attached itself to me? My face contorted with a look of horror. I grabbed a lock of hair and brought it to my face, inhaling. Does my hair smell like barf? Ohmygosh, I think it does! I paused outside the door to my meeting. I can't walk in there smelling like vomit! What to do, what to do? I turned on my heel, trotted back to my car, and opened my door once more as another wave of stink hit me. I rummaged in my purse until I found my perfume, then doused myself from head to toe. I wasn't sure if smelling like a perfumery was actually an improvement over smelling like a bathroom during a bout of gastroenteritis, but I was going with the idea that it was.

I retraced my steps back to the building and entered. It could have been my imagination, but I'm pretty sure the other patrons retreated, leaving me a wide berth. And who could blame them? I smelled like perfume-covered puke! I can't be certain, but I think the gentleman with whom I met, wrinkled his nose with distaste more than once. Since this was the first time I'd met him (and so I didn't know his habits), I conceded that it was possible that he just makes random rabbit-nose faces, but I'm convinced he was turning up his nose at the mixture of barf and Miss Dior.

I sat back as far as possible, so as not to offend too much, and debated between pretending like nothing was amiss and confessing to him that my car had leeched its malodorous funk onto every fiber of my clothing, every strand of my hair, and every cell of my body. I chose a third option: babble like an idiot.

"I don't always smell like this. I sprayed a lot of perfume a couple minutes ago. I mean, I didn't do that on purpose. I mean, actually I did do it on purpose, but not because I thought it was a good idea to bathe in perfume. I smelled like barf. I didn't get sick. But maybe someone did. I'm not sure. Something might have died in my van. I don't kill people. I mean, I don't have any dead bodies in there or anything. (Nervous laughter.) I mean, my van smells really bad and I don't know why. It's possible an animal died in there. I have six kids. They do weird things. They might have put a frog or something in my van. My daughter had a frog in her bag of Halloween candy for some reason. Um, I have BBO. That's Beyond B. O. It's a Seinfeld reference. I reference random TV shows. I'll stop talking now."

I'm not sure when the horrified look replaced his pleasant countenance, but somewhere during my circumlocutory speech, his face definitely took on the look of a person morbidly fascinated, yet completely repulsed. I have that effect on people.

After my meeting, I picked up my little kids who immediately cringed and screamed, "Did someone poop in here?!" I drove home, my head hanging out the window like a Labrador. When I pulled into my driveway and cut the engine, we all evacuated the vehicle and began searching for the source of the foul stench. 

"I think I found it!" Clay exclaimed. He held up a small milk jug from McDonalds, the top off, the contents the texture of thick glue, oozed from it. Jackson's milk jug. I thought for a minute, then said in alarm, "I stopped at McDonalds TWO WEEKS ago on the way to that early football game!" That milk has been cooking in here for TWO WEEKS until it exploded its chunky, nasty, pukey contents in my van!" 

I made Jackson use my little carpet steamer in my van. It made no difference. He used it again the next day and followed it up with a good saturation of Febreeze. It made no difference. He cleaned it again. Simultaneously, I was washing my hair. And washing it again. And yet again. I have a feeling we're all going to need to be "sauced."


Who's Visiting My Blog Right Now?

Home About Dawn Blog Books News & Events Press Kit Contact

Dawn Meehan 2008-. All Rights Reserved.
Site Design by Jones House Creative