Sunday, March 27, 2011


Samantha's birthday is coming up, and she has asked for two things.  1) An awesome pillow and, 2) a bow and arrow.  While hanging out in the kitchen just now her dad was curious about her bow and arrow request.  "What in the world do you want a bow and arrow for?"  Without missing a beat she replied, "This coming from the guy who asked for an Obi Wan Kenobi costume for Christmas?  Really?"

I love her more and more every year.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Celebrity Handcart Company

A friend of mine told me that when she gets bored at church she sometimes looks around, sizes people up, and tries to decide who she would want in her handcart company if she ever had to be a pioneer.  I thought it was a genius idea if I ever got bored at church, but since I am far more evolved than my spiritually destitute friend it hasn’t been necessary.  However, sometimes I get bored thinking about going to church and that’s when I let my mind wander to this game, except I expanded the parameters and made a list of who I would want in my handcart company if I had to choose from celebrities.  You know me, I always like to take things a step further.  So, here you go. 


Chuck Norris – Duh.
Milli Vanilli – Making the trek across the plains means there will be rain, followed by mud, and then people will start to get cranky and just when we’re tempted to point fingers and blame each other Milli Vanilli will start singing “Blame It On The Rain”, which is kind of catchy and will put us all in a better mood.  Except, wait.  Maybe we should just bring a copy of “their” CD.
George Clooney – Cliché?  Maybe, but what if polygamy comes back?  Do we want all our kids to be ugly?
MacGyver – Need to borrow some corn from your Indian neighbors but they don’t understand your hand gestures?  Don’t fret, MacGyver knows Cherokee!  Got a bonnet that’s not keeping enough sun from your eyes?  He’ll weave some thread from the silkworm and stitch on a palm frond.  Where does he get the palm frond in the middle of Wyoming?  Silly rabbit, with a magnifying glass and a cow pie.  Don’t you know anything? 
Brian Regan – Ultimately, stick pulling is going to lose its flair and we’re going to need a back up plan.  Not to mention we’re going to need an opener on Family Talent Night.
Keira Knightly – I think if she told me to fetch some water it wouldn’t bother me because I’d be like, “Cool accent!” and I think all the other pioneer women would be the same way.  We would get so much done!  “Hey, grab that chicken by the talons and cut off it’s head.”  We’d run and get the chicken and come back giggling, going, “Say it again!  Say it again!”
Justin Bieber – On a bad day when all the young girls are PMS'ing and have their pantaloons in a twist, you could just be like, “Look!  It’s Justin Bieber!”
Dr. Phil – Because eventually one of the handcarts is going to break down and MacGyver will be all, “Anyone got a safety pin?” and Norris will be like, “Just shoot it!”  Then, “No!  I just need a safety pin!” followed by, “Where’s my rifle?”   
“Safety pin!”
They'll go back and forth, and we’ll need Dr. Phil to be there to say, “I don’t care how flat you make a pancake it’s got two sides.”  He will hear them both out, MacGyver will fix the handcart and then Norris will go get our dinner.  Everybody wins.    
Paula Deen – Not only would she make us awesome scrambled eggs but I think she would be the sort to help me toilet paper Dr. Phil’s tent in the middle of the night.  He’ll think that’s so funny, then Paula and I will become Dr. Phil’s favorites.  This will come in super handy when I have to make the appointment to see him for  my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder when this is all over.

So, what about you?  Who’s in your handcart company?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cheap Art

Things You'll Never Hear A Southerner Say:  "Duct tape won't fix that!" ~ Jeff Foxworthy

I've had a piece of artwork hanging in my entryway for a long time that I am no longer in love with.  It gets a lot of light in the afternoon so it was faded and frankly, I was bored with it.  So I took it out, covered it with a piece of fabric I bought at (I'm afraid to admit it) Wal Mart, and using a highly civilized and technical process called Use As Much Duct Tape As It Takes, it now looks like this:

Cory thinks it's lame, but he's trying to be supportive.  I think it looks even more awesome than the $4.67 I spent on it.  Whose side are you on?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Meant Well

One of my favorite things about the beginning of a school year is the ream of forms a parent is given to fill out about their child.  Name, address, phone number, those are the easy ones.  The two that always manage to trip me up are the Medical Release and the Media Waiver. 

When it comes to the Medical Release, we all know that it asks you to sign the dotted line and give the school permission to make medical decisions for your child should you become unavailable.  Most of the time what this means is, listen, if you’re in TJ Maxx and you turned your ringer off and your kid needs a Tylenol, can we give him one?  I say, sure!  But if it means, “Someone put a double espresso in your daughter’s Capri Sun and she took off running and the last time we saw her she was on I-25 headed north, do you mind if we hit her with a tranquilizer dart?” I’d say, “Send an ice cream truck to the freeway instead and I promise she’ll stop.”  Less invasive and 100% effective.  Only a mother knows these things.

The Media Waiver is another one that gets me.  Basically what they ask is for permission to publish your child’s picture wherever and whenever they want to.  At first I think these forms are mostly to protect children whose identities need to remain elusive.  I imagine abusive parents whose rights have been revoked only to peruse the elementary school websites looking for their child and say, “There he is!  On the monkey bars!  I KNEW it.”  And proceed to kidnap him from school at recess.  So for the last ten years of my children’s education I have always given permission for their pictures to be used and waited year after year to see their sparkly countenances grace the cover of a school district brochure.  Or something.  But last year as I prepared to sign the waiver and it asked to use my child’s picture on the internet I decided, “You know what?  I’m going to say ‘No.’  You never know when some creep might zero in on my kid and try to hunt them down.”  So I checked the box that said, “No thanks” which appropriately translates to, “I’m one of those parents.” 

Last week Drew came home from school and began going over his day.  “We had a cool assembly.  A meteorologist came from the news channel and talked about weather.  He was really funny, and our school is going to be on the news.  Except I had to stand in the hall while they were filming because you signed some paper….”


Friday, March 11, 2011

Another Reason Not To Invite Us To Dinner

Samantha to Drew:  “If there was a dragon that breathed burps, you would fit right in.”   
Drew:  [Belched super loud and long] 
Samantha:  [Pointing at Drew and looking at me.]  “See what I mean?”   
Drew:  [clawing his hands in the air] “Rawr!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hi Dad. You Might Want To Skip This One.

A very nice couple invited us to dinner last night in their brand new home.  Since it was, quite literally, a brand new home and the hostess had denied offers for us to contribute to the meal I thought it would be nice to take some kind of token housewarming…I don’t know…thing.  As I rummaged around the house I remembered that I had some plain, leftover bundt cakes in my freezer that were undecorated, and wouldn’t it be nice to make a tasty buttercream frosting, decorate the cakes and bestow them upon our hostess at our arrival?  Why yes, I thought so too.

I pulled out the cakes to thaw and began mixing my frosting – some cinnamon here, a little almond extract there, and a drip of vanilla to round everything out and I was good to go.  Samantha gussied up a bit of cardboard, we set the cakes side by side and I began to frost.  Five minutes later I looked quizzically at my little creation and tilted my head.  What the tilt of my head was trying to say here was, “Um, Vern?  I know you think you’re all awesome and domestic and everything, but your cakes here LOOK LIKE BREASTS.” 

Friday, March 4, 2011

This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You

Back when they took my ovaries out and I began menopause along with a hormone therapy replacement regimen, I was warned about several side effects. Dry mouth, night sweats, reduced sex drive, increased fantasies of assisted living facilities with Bingo every weekend, etc. It sounded like just another Friday night to me, so I wasn’t too concerned. The problem is they never once, EVER warned me about the possibility of unexpectedly bursting into tears during a Parent Teacher Conference.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Yesterday was chock full of excitement – aside from the normal tantalizing exercises of bathing and rummaging for the good cold cereal, I attended back to back conferences at different schools with both of my children’s teachers. Drew’s began uneventfully with talk of test scores, classroom participation, upcoming projects and then a Ra-Ra lecture to Drew from his teacher about how much she believed in him, that his work habits were great and that she had ZERO concerns about his ability to transfer to middle school. I mumbled under my breath, “Mama might have to go to therapy over it but YOU will be just fine.” I was just trying to be lighthearted, but then the teacher looked at me and asked, “Well, what concerns do you have about him going to middle school?” Without warning the likes of Mount Everest erupted in my esophagus and I felt my eyes begin to burn. I looked away and said, “Oh nothing, I know he’ll be fine.” But as I looked back she was still staring at me, and something about the eye contact felt like an open invitation to “Go ahead Drew’s mom, tell me aaaaaall about your crazy”, and I lost it. “Is he your first?” she asked. “No!” I claimed, “he’s my LAST!”

It takes a special gift to turn a normal meeting into a counseling session, and just when I thought I had run out of gifts….

I’m just not ready. I don’t feel old enough to not have anyone in elementary school anymore – for crying out loud, my mom at my age had just had a baby. I’m not ready to throw a perfectly nice, innocent, wonderful boy into an ocean of filthy language, hormonal behavior and shady influence. It doesn’t matter to me that I believe he can handle it, I don’t want him to have to see it. Boys are different than girls, and I’m not ready to watch adolescence take hold of him and give him acne and armpit hair and prevent him from giving his mom a side hug before climbing onto the bus. I’M NOT READY!

Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? I’ve managed to humiliate my kids and myself in less than a week and I guarantee somewhere along the way my husband has hung his head in shame. For matters of convenience and to further my denial, I’m blaming the hormone pills.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Roam If You Want To, Roam Around The World

It’s time for Spring sports at our high school and my daughter has decided to run track.  Yesterday as I drove to run a quick errand, I spotted her trotting against traffic on the sidewalk with her team and I’m telling you, I wanted to pull over.  “Are you thirsty?  You seem hot.  Why aren’t you wearing shorts in this warm weather?  Are you still self conscious about that mole on your leg?  I was self conscious about being so white, DON’T BE LIKE YOUR MOM!  Oh, that’s right, you are SO not like your mom.  What a relief!  I was (past tense?) such a piece of work.  You’re doing great, honey!  Keep up the pace, but be careful and don’t get separated from the group!  I’m so proud of you.”  It all went through my head.  Instead I just waved and smiled, and watched her narrow, determined form disappear in my rear view mirror.  There are so many truths in this moment.  She’s happy.  She’s working hard.  She’s setting goals and resolving to get the best out of her high school experience.  She’s thriving. 

Her mama, however.  Her mama is grateful, proud, and excited for her.  But still, mama wants to pull over.  Here’s when the hardest but more important truth hits:  It’s not my job to pull over, it’s my job to let her run.

Monday, I needed to stop by the school to write a check to the Athletic Department (another part of my job, just sit down and write checks.   All day long.  The checks never tire of this exercise.)  As it turned out, when I arrived at the school it appeared to be lunch time because kids were everywhere.  Girls giggled and texted in one corner, boys unengaged with headphones in their ears occupied another corner, and as I neared the Athletic office there was a young couple occupied in a heated but hushed exchange on Whatever It Is That Hormonal Teenage Couples Talk About.  I walked past, entered the office to pay our dues and then walked out.  I began to text Samantha to let her know that all the paperwork was in order for her to attend practice after school.  “But wait,” my head said to me.  Just like that.  Sadly, my head doesn’t always have the best instincts.  “But WAIT!  She’s probably right there in the lunch room, I bet I can find her.”  I peered through the window and looked around; some random kid waved and smiled at me as if to say, “I pity the fool on the other end of THAT search”.  I waved back, and then just beyond him I discovered the red sweatshirt I was looking for.

I KNOW.  Poor Samantha. 

I had found her, and I was on my way to her table. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Maybe Tomorrow

So much to talk about, so little time.  Sunday I made an amazing discovery while watching the Oscars during the commercials of Undercover Boss.  You guys, did YOU know that Zachary Levi sang for real?  Like it's not enough to be able to channel Tae Kwon Do in a pinch.  Chuck jumped the shark over a year ago but now that I know the dude can sing I am recommitting. 

Monday was a big day - I went to pick up my hormone pills from the pharmacy and you wouldn't think this to be eventful, but then you obviously don't know my pharmacist because she's a friend of mine, and when I opened my container to pop the pill that helps prevent me from swimming in sweat in my sleep I discovered JELLY BEANS in my bottle mixed in with my real medicine.  People, THAT is a good pharmacist. 

Then today I went running at 6am with my son and after getting him off to school proceeded to make six casseroles.  [cue applause]  That's a real number folks.  I'm not bragging, just stating facts.  Now I'm tired, and while I'd love to expand on the story about how I mortified my daughter at school or wax poetically about how using Dissolv-It on your hair may remove the tree sap incurred on a morning run in with a pine tree, but indeed burns one's scalp, I'll have to save it for another day.  If you're dying for something entertaining to read, head on over for a visit to my buddy Kacy.  She's been dissecting this season's episodes of The Bachelor and if you have ever seen this show, you will wet your pants reading her synopsis.  I haven't even been watching but I am still entertained by her wicked sarcasm and profound wit.  Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, just go read thisNow!