yes,
it really happened

No Joke: How Not To Treat A Volunteer…. Lessons from the Trenches from a Class Mom on Probation

umbridgeWell, I’m not technically on probation, but I am waiting to find out if I’m fired. And no, I’m not kidding.

See, I usually kid and joke about stuff quite a lot. I find it human. I think it’s good stress relief. And most of the time the people around me like it too. Except for, apparently, this time. Half a dozen people told me they liked my funny bit that I included on the form I handed out as Katie’s class mom on back to school night. This is the form where we asked for checks for teacher gifts for holiday, checks for teacher gifts for end of year, checks for PTO dues, and checks for PTO annual fund. That’s a lot of checks. But there was one who whined. And complained. And went to the powers that be to tattle. Because I made a joke. I’m not saying it was a good joke. Sure it was probably in a bit of bad taste, but there were no curse words and I didn’t borrow anything from Louis C.K. I just added a line. “If I write one more check I might kill someone”.

Funny? I thought so. Not to some. OK. I’m sorry. I legitimately am. Not everyone likes edgy humor and I suppose to those who are ultra politically correct killing jokes aren’t funny. I get that. I hate when someone says “Rule of thumb” because its origin was back in the days when there were laws on the books that said a man could beat his wife provided that the stick he used was no wider than his thumb. I hear that line and I cringe, but I recognize that it isn’t a call for action for more domestic violence. It’s just something people say. As far as expressions go, I’ve heard some that are a wee bit worse than that.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…A Back to School Special

alex and katie sand chairThe kids are going back to school. Without me.

Just kidding – I’m sure I’ll need to be there for a PTO meeting, training about how to behave in the library, volunteering in the library, concerts, art shows, art class volunteer duty – here’s your glue, book fair, holiday fair, fair’s fair, the mini marathon what-now, drop off, pick up, rainy days, you forgot your lunch/ boots/ mittens/ hat/ don’t call DYFS I swear I told my kid to dress warmly, pizza day, taco day, what is that on your lunch tray day, and of course, special events day. Because the other events were all not special enough. Am I bitter? Not really. Just tired.

Sometimes people ask me if I like being a stay at home mom. Firstly, if I said “no”, you’d think I was a horrible mother who didn’t love her children, or that I don’t appreciate the opportunity to be with them and not “have” to work. Trust me, I appreciate not having to drag my butt to an office every day. Secondly, I’m not a stay at home mom. I’m a drive all over the place for my kids, run errands, do grocery shopping six times a day, wait I forgot we need propane for the grill head back out, and where are the dogs they need a walk mom. I don’t like it all the time. But I love my kids. Most of the time.

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The Curious Incident of the Dogs and Their Butt Fur

two dogs and alexI have had a near death experience. Not really, don’t panic.

The dogs and I went on an early evening after dinner walk. The kids of course didn’t want to come, and I wasn’t in the mood to argue, so off we went, two dogs and me.  It was still hot (you know, 75 degrees), so the doggies weren’t going to go far. As we were walking I was noticing that Nicky’s butt/back fur looked weird, considering he’d been groomed yesterday. So I started tugging at it. He liked that, a lot, me tugging on his butt/back fur. And out come these giant tufts of fur. I sort of looked at them at first, wondering if I should put it in my pocket, or a poop bag, and then I decided I would be helping the bird population and their future building projects if I just left them on the ground. So I dropped them behind us like a furry version of breadcrumbs and they rolled along the street in the sea breeze like tumbleweeds.  As I looked back over my shoulder it looked a little creepy, like ghost kittens. Or rats. Or ghost rats.

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The 40th Birthday Blog…

40th bday cakeSo I am 40 today. That makes me old, reflective, and writing. I am halfway to 80. I am 20 twice. I am starting to realize that I am a little bit quirky. My husband snorted because I said “a little bit”. Maybe I’m just starting to realize it more as I grow wiser and more introspective. Much wiser. And much more quirky.  At least I’m not yet “Batty” – that’s usually reserved for octogenarians. But me?

I am a Prepper. Not just like the zombies might come and we should have a supply of foods and medicine for everyone in the house and a “go bag” in case we need to bug out. I do all that and have all that. Including gluten-free emergency food packs for Katie. And we have a generator. The kind that powers the entire house in an apocalypse. But I also prep the bathrooms. To me an emergency occurs not when there is no more toilet paper in the bathroom, but before that, when the spare rolls are down to just one. If I could wallpaper the room with spare rolls I would. But in the meantime I have one of those toilet paper storage rolls in every bathroom. And they should always be stocked. If they become empty, everything comes to a grinding halt, and everyone needs to participate in the restocking phenomenon. My kids think this is weird. That’s just another name for quirky.

I hate dirty bathrooms – and germs in general. Or bathrooms that might be dirty. Or bathrooms that were used by someone outside the first generation of our family tree or my closest friends. Or too many people even within that circle. I have cootie issues. I can’t use a use a bathroom after a certain number of guests at a party have used it. Those kinds of odds means someone must have germs. Or syphilis. Same applies if it’s been too many days between a thorough cleaning and a house guest. What if they contracted a horrible disease that hasn’t manifested itself? Like a stomach bug? Or ebola? I will climb numerous flights of stairs to find a clean bathroom instead of using one that looks perfectly fine but might have invisible cooties. Of course I could always clean it. Like now. Good lord let me get my Clorox wipes. Or else hide under my covers. Maybe take a nap.Read More

Real Life House Tours

It’s house tour season. For those of you who have not been on a house tour, let me explain. There are Perfect People with Perfect Houses who are also Generous and Kind, and they open their homes to various charity groups so that they can charge a nominal fee to raise money for good causes. Then voyeurs like me take off their shoes and walk around said Perfect Houses so I can goggle and ooh and ahh and then feel generally inferior about my own house and lack of perfection. And then I shake my head and realize this is indeed a first-world problem and I am a spoiled brat. I like my house. It’s just not quite tour worthy. But I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick reference guide in case anyone ever does want to tour our house. You never know. I could be famous.

Perfect House on Tour: Has a grand front walkway and door and lots of beautiful landscaping as you approach for your ultimate curb appeal.
My House That I Actually Live In: We only open our front door to get our takeout delivery. I used to say there could be a colony of rabbits living on our front porch and I’d never know it. We come in through the garage and into the basement. And remember to be careful not to trip on barbies, legos, fourteen pairs of shoes for two children, random coats and backpacks and leftover snacks and party favors. Last night I hosted book club and my ladies informed me there is a bird living in the pretty wreath on the front door. Not only did I not know we were harboring wildlife, I had forgotten we had a wreath on the front door. I checked it out in the daylight today. It’s not just a mommy bird. There’s baby birds too. Now we are roommates. I don’t evict families.

Perfect House on Tour: Please take your shoes off when you arrive.
My House That I Actually Live In: You better keep your shoes on so you don’t get your feet dirty. We live in a hovel. The dogs are in and out all day long and their dirty feet leave a film of pawprint everywhere they go. Don’t worry though – that little brown round thing in the kitchen on the floor? Definitely not poop. Probably a chocolate covered raisin from snack time. From three days ago. Most definitely not feces. Like 98% sure…just leave your shoes on. For sure.Read More

Winter Crankies – Hello Jersey.

Nicky with Alex's feet car in snow
I do not like winter. And I live in New Jersey, where we have six months of it. Even though we have 12 calendar months and 4 seasons and common core standard math-wise that should mean three months a piece, that is a lie. One big wintery icy lie. Winter lasts forever, like a sadistic Frozen meets Ground Hog Day movie mania.

There are many things that piss me off about winter in NJ and I shall detail some of them here as part of my mental therapy. And because I feel it’s necessary to explain myself like a 30 second public service announcement – yes, I do have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But SAD doesn’t mean just people getting sad, like boo hoo I’m sad. It says I am AFFECTED – which is much more dangerous. It means I am sporting a rage and hate of winter more potent than heroin and I will cut you if you cross me. As long as we are indoors, because if you are outside then I am running to my car or my house and I will ignore you.

Static Electricity: This shit is dangerous and it feels like I am being electrocuted over and over again. Today toast shocked me – not the toaster – the actual bread that is toast inside the toaster. I was nearly electrocuted by carbs. This is part of the Paleo people’s evil plan. I have shocked my children so often that they don’t want to hug me anymore.  The puppy thinks I am torturing him or that his invisible fence collar is haywire. I’ve tried wearing rubber soled shoes, I have only hardwood floors, no carpet, and I’m still starting to twitch. Enough already. And yes I have a whole house humidifier, and yes it is set to winter not summer, and yes it is “working”. Screw you. Don’t touch me.Read More

What I Really Really Want For 2015

rosieTrust me. You want these things too. The only problem is that they haven’t been invented yet. I bet the new year can make it happen.

Christmas (and Hanukkah, and Kwanza, and Yule) has come and gone and I’m still picking up pieces of wrapping paper that have hidden themselves in odd places in the house. Not that the holidaze are all about the presents, but I mean come on. Americans spend $465 BILLION on Christmas each year, give or take a few sheckles.  So with all that money to spend, some of us might want something actually useful. Like, instead of the (insert awful/ annoying/ silly/ not what you would have picked for yourself) gift here, imagine how fabulous life would be if we had:

The Antidote to Whining and Nonsense.
I want to give my daughter a pill to take along with her fluoride vitamin and it would take away the whiny voice, foot stomping, general eye rolling and sassy attitude. Or maybe a vaccine so it’s permanent. Or my favorite idea, some kind of weaponry so I could take aim at her when she’s being annoying and it distributes sparkles and happy thoughts, like fairy dust.

Expert Robot Assistant
Sometimes I’d like a break. I need someone like Rosie from the Jetsons. Someone who can unload the dishwasher, put the groceries away, get the kids dressed and into their coats and shoes on time for school. I’d like to finish my coffee, while it’s still lukewarm.Read More

Pilgrim Stress

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I will admit it. Thanksgiving is stressing me out a little this year.  Don’t get me wrong – I love Thanksgiving – it’s actually my favorite holiday.  If Thanksgiving were the only thing I had to do I’d be fine. But there’s all this other stuff in my life that also requires attention so hosting 30 people for a feast is making me a little wonky.  Of course, I just finished “hosting” 430 people for a local fundraiser, so you’d think I’d keep it in perspective. But sometimes I have trouble with that. So in order to remind myself that my Thanksgiving feast stress is nothing, I’ve decided I’d focus on pilgrim stress instead.

The pilgrims put together a feast for dinner as the highlight of not starving to death. That was a lot of stress, to not die. On the Maslow hierarchy of needs that’s pretty basic.  They were not coordinating sports carpools, they were not keeping track of the school calendar, their children were not begging for more tech time while you tried to mash the potatoes.  The kids were not bored or annoyed by more work because they were happy they had not starved. So let’s compare my modern day issues with pilgrim issues.

 

2014: The turkey is dry/overcooked/undercooked/the gravy sucks.
1621: At least the turkey didn’t attack you and kill you. Or distract you while you were hunting it and you were eaten by a bear or a wild boar. Or attacked by the mean Native American tribe that wouldn’t give you corn unless they were roasting us with some of it.

2014: Aunt Petunia decided to come even though she has a terrible cough and cold and she’s hacking and spraying germs all over the shrimp cocktail and everyone around her.
1621: At least it’s not small pox. Or Ebola, most likely. A cold is annoying. It won’t kill you (or your husband, even if he complains like mine doesRead More

Life with Two (Bernese Mountain) Dogs

two dogsMany of you have been asking me how life is going with two dogs now instead of one. It’s going. It’s chaotic, and insane, and full of fur and just plain nuts most of the time, but it is awfully fun too.

There’s nothing better than having two giant dogs snuggle up and want to be pet at the same time. And nothing better than laughing out loud as the big dog circles around and knocks over the little one. Their personalities are very different. Gryffin, our 3 year old, is a typical first-born. He wants nothing more than to please me, make me happy, and make sure he does everything right. Nicolas, our four month old, still poops in the house on occasion. And then looks at me like it’s my fault. Second-born.

Lots of people don’t know how I do it. Some days I don’t either. I mean, life was chaotic when there was only one dog. If you haven’t read about the Birdseed Incident or Dog Dramyou need to. Now life is double chaos. Like today. Today is one of those days. Yes, I cleaned up pee and poop because Nicolas really can’t seem to get it together and I can’t seem to be maniacal enough to be on him like white on rice in order to get this house-training thing completely buttoned up. But today, on top of that, we had multiple other issues. I shall explain them below:

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Why David Chase is Lying About Tony Soprano

tony sopranoI’m sorry, but I don’t believe David Chase that Tony lives on. I think Tony died in the series finale. And let me tell you 10 reasons why.

(In case you missed it, David Chase was recently interviewed by a publication most have never heard of, not unlike this one, and he said that Tony didn’t die in the finale. Sneeze. BS. Cough.) So, 10 reasons, read on…Read More