Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Horrors

Agh. The older my kids get, the more trauma they put me through come Halloween time every year.

Year before last, I made frantic searches through every flea market, resale shop and junk store in town in an effort to find a gypsy blouse, skirt and scarves. I think that was also the year I drove to Joplin to the very scary costume shop looking for a Lone Ranger mask. They didn't have any, so I went to the adult toy store and the clerk said, "Honey, I have plenty of masks here, but none of them have eye holes."

Occasionally we luck out - like the year I found a Beast costume (From Disney's Beauty and the Beast) at the Disney Store for $10. And last year when both girls wanted to be witches. Or the year Abby was Kim Possible. That was wayyyyyyy easy. She still grumbles about how no one recognized who she was, too.

I don't know why I put myself through this. It's not like when I was a kid - they don't have costume contests at school. I don't know why I strive for such perfection when it comes to Halloween costumes.

I don't know why this year I have probably spent close to $75 on the kids' costumes. Well, not Kady - she going as Tinker Bell and using her cousin's borrowed costume. Totally $0 spent.

The other two - agh, my husband would kill me if he knew how much money I've spent on their stuff. It's a good thing I won at the casino last night. I have to use my gambling addiction money to pay for my irresponsible spending of money at the mall yesterday.

Abby has known for months that she wanted to be Goth for Halloween. And Sam has also known for months that he wanted to be Napoleon Dynamite. And he was so excited about it that he refused to tell anyone at school what he was going to be. I am so thankful for his desire to keep it secret because now his Napoleon dreams have been shattered. Last year you could've choked on the overabundance of Napoleon stuff - this year NOTHING.

Three weeks ago I braved Spencer's on the mall - a store that quite frankly gives me nightmares - and found a ND costume. For an adult, though. But really, the dude wore a Vote For Pedro t-shirt and jeans. Moon boots can be bought at The Friendship House. All I needed was a wig and glasses. Unfortunately they were out, but would be getting some in the next Tuesday. Obviously I missed that Tuesday boat and upon inquiring yesterday of the very scary witch-thing behind the counter, they were out and "You kind of waited till the last minute, didn't you?" If I'd wanted her witchy comments I'd have rammed her broom up her hoohah and asked her.

So I said, "Son? How would you like to be your sister's very scary and depressed Goth little brother?" He was totally on board because he is such a good kid and he could see the panic on his mother's face that oh holy night we are three days away from Halloween and you, my child, have no costume!

So then we began a new search on the mall - for black clothes. My son is a little junior redneck. He wears cowboy-cut Wranglers and cowboy boots. He wears the occasional pair of windpants and tennis shoes. He doesn't own black clothes. He is also a skinny little fart and there are no size 8 slim black jeans or pants anywhere in the SW corner of Missouri or the NE corner of Oklahoma. None.

We went to Hot Topic on the mall. We were lured there by the screaming, raging noise emitting from the speakers and wafting out onto the mall, causing every person above the age of 35 to cut a wide berth around the entrance and shield their small children from the possible corruption in the airwaves. Now, 18 or so years ago, I'd have been all over that store. The noise, the darkness, the bleakness, the utter rebellion in the woodwork - yeah, I'd have brought my sleeping bag and moved into the stockroom just to be a part of the perpetual gloom. I figured we'd hit the jackpot - even if we couldn't find clothes, we'd be able to find accessories and makeup.

Now, for the record, I totally dressed "Mom" yesterday. I normally wear my flare-leg jeans and low-cut tops when I venture out of Daycare Land where the official motto is "All Sweats, All The Time", but yesterday I grabbed the one pair of straight-leg jeans I own and a Halloween t-shirt with a stupid smiling scarecrow on it. I should've gone with my Old Navy Halloween shirt from last year to at least give me some street cred, but nooooooooooooo I had to go with the t-shirt that just screams "I am a 33 year mother of three that now only reads historical romance novels and flosses daily." Seriously. The shirt screamed that. It didn't state plainly that I abhor historical romances and I haven't flossed since the last time I ate a steak and had a piece of meat caught between a couple of molars. It blatantly covered up the fact that I would've SO been Goth had my father not been a Southern Baptist music minister when I was a teen.

So when I asked the pregnant Goth clerk with red eye makeup and approximately 27 piercings (yes, I tried to count) for some help, she looked me up and down and gave me a look that said, "You're friends with my mother, aren't you?" I wanted to show her my tattoos, tell her I secretly desire a tongue piercing and that I dressed as a funeral mourner for Halloween the year I was 18. But instead I said, "Could you help me? I have two kids that want to be Goth for Halloween and you look to be a fairly good source of this kind of information." And instead of just giving me the look, she said, "You're friends with my mother, aren't you?" She - without making eye contact - told me that she didn't have clothing in his size and maybe he should dress up as a Ninja or something. I tried to not be offended. I tried to look impressed and sound cool when she showed me the Bloody Mary brand Goth makeup and I said, "Oooh, this is the best stuff on the market." But instead of sounding cool I sounded like I'd read Consumer Reports.

Finally I just purchased a compact of corpse-white makeup and ran from the store with two very frightened daughters in tow and one head-banging son. When we got out onto the mall again, Abby let out a big breath and said, "Mother. Please. don't. ever. take. me. in. there. again." So I really don't think we have to look forward to a teenagehood of Goth for her. Not if the stores scare her. It took promising Kady something from The Great American Cookie Company just to get her to let go of my leg. She was pale, wide-eyed and shaking. Sam, however, was all but writhing on the floor, yelling, "Mom! Can we get that CD?"

We went to Claire's after that and found Abby a clip-on nose ring and Sam some magnetic skull earrings. We also loaded up on black plastic barbed wire-looking bracelets. At Wal*Mart I found a black turtleneck for Sam, (no pants) got more black plastic bracelets and a chain for Sam. It's actually a women's necklace, but I'm going to rig it up to his wallet somehow and have it hang down his leg. I saw a guy with that at Wal*Mart yesterday and stared at him so long while trying to figure out how it was done, that he looked at me and said, "You're friends with my mother, aren't you?"

Friday, October 27, 2006

Playing dress-up

Abby is going to be Goth for Halloween this year, so tonight Tater and I have been playing with her makeup. I don't have any real Goth-white foundation and Wal*Mart doesn't carry it, so we're using the white greasepaint-type stuff from a Halloween Makeup Kit from Wal*Mart.

Tater put it on Ab's face and instantly we knew it was a bit too much. We're going for a deathly ill pasty look - not mime-a-licious. Tater made a face and said, "Well, Ab, you could always go as a geisha."

Abby shrugged her shoulders and said, "Okay. But do I have to kiss a girl?"

That's my boy

Sam is home sick today with a barking cough that frankly frightens the poo outta me. Kids are not supposed to sound like a bassett hound that has a possum treed. But that's just my opinion.

He's spent the morning so far lying on the couch slipping in and out of consciousness thanks to a liberal dose of Tylenol Sore Throat which is like a double shot of Jim Beam followed by a chaser of vodka and tequila. When his drunk finally wore off he asked if he could play PS2 and I said yes simply because I was just glad he wasn't in a coma.

I've been cleaning house, doing laundry, chasing toddlers and wiping baby butts and haven't paid much attention to him other than to occasionally go in and spray him down with Lysol, but a few minutes ago he found me in the laundry room and asked me to come see something.

The TV screen showed playing cards on the green fabric of a card table, not unlike what you'd see at any regular ol' real-life casino, or the places I otherwise like to call "home". The amount in his account was $4623. I said, "Wow, buddy! You won all that money playing Blackjack!?" He grinned proudly and said, "No, I was playing Snap." I have no idea what Snap is, but he is obviously good at it. I said, "Well, way to go, son. You seem to be pretty good at it." And while I was there I took a moment to kiss his forehead to check for fever, then I roughed up his hair and said, "You look like you're feeling better."

He said, "Yeah. I'm good. Okay, Mom, you can go back to what you were doing. I gotta get back to my gambling. You know, I love me some casino action."

And my heart swelled with so much pride I think I wet myself. Just a little.

Excuses, excuses

I've been sick and busy this week. So sick Tuesday that I actually called in sick. I haven't done that in a long time. I slept all day and felt horrible that I left my daycare parents in the lurch, but agh, I felt like crap. Sam's home today, sounding like a baby bassett hound with all his barking. We're hosting a GS slumber party tonight (was originally supposed to be a camp-out and weenie roast, but the rain has put a royal damper on that) and so in the process of cleaning house and getting ready for that, I'm following Sam around with a can of Lysol in an attempt to rid his wake of germs.

I've gone all the way back to this post to reply to comments, so firstly, I apologize for not replying sooner. And secondly, if you've replied, well, now so have I. Sort of. So start there and work your way forward. I'm slowly but surely getting them all taken care of.

I'll try to be a better blogger. Y'all must really love me to hang around here the way you do.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Speed. I am speed. I also eat paint.

I am so tired of white walls that I simply had to go with a color in Sam's room. I can't wait until I get every room in this house painted a color. I hate white walls! (Paul blames HGTV for my new love of colored walls. My mother-in-law said that if I paint the living room "pumpkin" like I want to, that she'll vomit on the carpet the first time she walks in, guaranteed.) When we made the toyroom the toyroom I took a big jump (for me, at the time) and painted the one sheetrocked wall pink, yellow and green pastels. (Different panels of the wall. I didn't just throw paint all over it willy-nilly.) But now....oh now since HGTV has gotten its claws into me....pastels just aren't enough. I need color!! Bright, vibrant color. My mom painted her dining room brick red and a gorgeous yellow that I just LOVE. So my rants about color's Sam's room:

Still needs curtains and need blinds. Mom's taking care of the curtains and a bedspread for his birthday. Shhh...don't tell.

The vibrantly blue bookcase:

That bookcase has been mine since I was a baby. My Poppy made it for me. Until Friday, it was the same white that it's been since he painted it when he built it.

The Tow Mater poster that was used as a consolation prize since he didn't get a highway painted around his room. I'm still on the lookout for some Route 66 signs. That shouldn't be a problem since we live on old Route 66. It's just a matter of getting them.

The metal on his desk and the wood parts of his chair are going to be painted Lightning McQueen red the next time I get some days off.

And as promised...a picture of me....eating paint.

And then sharing with my nephew and youngest child. Because I'm just really nice that way.

That explains it

Phone call from my mother in law Wednesday morning after the whole Jake debacle -

Martha: I'm sorry to bother you. I know you're kind of upset over Jake right now.

Me: Eh, I'm okay. I'm just pissed off. What'd you need?

Martha: Well, I just got to thinking....maybe we should have a laying-on of hands for ol' Jake. I mean, he's got a spirit of thievery in him and we need to cast out that demon!



Martha: (Laughs hysterically)

Me: (Joins in laughing hysterically. I was worried for a few minutes.)

Martha: Really, though, Kristin. I know why he did it. He's a male and he's frustrated. Paul told me that their dog was in the stock trailer, so of course he was frustrated! I mean, he's a male. He has needs. I guess it'd be only natural that if you're horny and you can't get to what it is you're wanting, you'd chew up a lawnmower seat.

Me: Ya know, now that you mention it.....that explains it.

Martha: What?

Me: I wondered why Paul was out in the barn chewing on the tractor seat the other night. Now I know.

I break for Fall

I've had four glorious days off of work and I haven't rested a bit. Oh, I take that back - I haven't gotten up before 10 every morning except today (I only slept until 9 today), but in my defense I've stayed up rather late every night to balance out the slothfulness of the morning.

Thursday I kept Tater's kids, but left them with Paul while Abby and I went to town for her yearly well-kid checkup. And I know I'm going to get flack on this from Tater, I'm going to say it anyway - Abby is now 4'9" and doesn't have to ride in a carseat anymore!! Tater says I'm making a big deal out of it, but I think it's pretty monumental considering the child has been restrained in a hard plastic seat of some kind since birth. Now she gets to enjoy the freedom that is a seatbelt alone. I think it's a big deal. (So nyah, Tater.)

After her checkup we went to Wal*Mart and bought paint for Sam's room. I traipsed in there with his brand new Cars pillowcase and held the part of the case with 'Mater on it up to many, many paint samples until I found just the right coordinating brown for ol' Tow Mater. Then I bought a quart of blue that just perfectly matches the blue in his sheets to paint the book case and shelves in his closet. Then I bought black to paint a highway around his room, like a border. I'll be taking that black back, btw. I'll explain later.

By the time we got home Paul had taken down Sam's shelves, but that was it. No moving furniture, no taking posters down, no nothing, so I grumbled and started on my own. Thankfully the man came in and helped. Guess he just needed me to get him started. The kids played while we painted. Abby came in and wanted to paint, so we let her have the closet. Then we let Sam have a go, but he got bored with it. Kady had a few swipes at the wall as well, but letting a 4 year old paint....well, my blood pressure couldn't handle that. We finished things up around 4 because we were supposed to go to Dad's to go through Nana's things.

Long story short - no one else in the family showed up, except for Tater and I. I was not real happy about that. The plan was that all family members were supposed to come over at the designated time and place, go through Nana's things, take anything they wanted as a keepsake, memento and then my stepmom and I were going to have a garage sale on Saturday. But the ad didn't get put in the paper, so we didn't do a garage sale Saturday, but I think we've decided to put it in a consignment auction anyway. Less hassle, methinks. I'm still just a hair miffed at the family's lack of help, though.

We visited with Dad and our stepmom awhile, then we came back here to our completely trashed house. I then immediately called Tater to see if she'd watch the kids. I couldn't stay in this horrible house one more second. I cannot believe how much disaster and mayhem the content's of one little boy's room can cause. Paul and I visited with the Not-So-Lucky Turtle then came home to our disastrous house, but I went to sleep so I blocked it from my vision with my closed eyelids.

Friday morning I slept till 10 again, but got right up and got busy with painting the bookshelves in Sam's room, did a second coat on his walls and waited rather impatiently while they dried. The house was beyond bothering me at that point - I was borderline insane. So what did I do since I had a trashed house and tons of things to do? I called Mom and Tater to see if they wanted to have a weenie roast.

Everyone came over around 5:30, Paul cleaned out the fire ring and built us a not-so-blazing fire and we roasted weenies, torched a few marshmallows and yelled at the kids to "STOP RUNNING IN THE FIRE RING!!" Good times. After everything that was scheduled to be roasted was roasted, we came in the house to warm up and Tater and I started taping off the highway that was supposed to run all the way around Sam's room.

See, I just wanted to paint a black highway with white lines all the way around his room, like a wallpaper border, except it wouldn't be wallpaper, it would be painted with love by his mother. I am not a real genius when it comes to measuring. Case in point: Two years ago we got vertical blinds in the living room. Custom-made vertical blinds in the living room. Paul told me to measure and tell the people what we needed. When we got the blinds here, they were 1/4" too long. Dad had to come over and he and Paul had to cut the custom-made blinds. So see? I'm just not the person you call when you need something measured. After much hilarity at me measuring the stupid walls and Tater playing with the laser level, we began taping with painter's tape. Until we got to the first window and we were about 1/4" off from where we'd started. We hollered for Paul who came in and got us back on track, but when you'd stand across the room and look, the tape was just as wavy as all get out. I wasn't going to paint a wavy highway on my son's walls, so I called him back there, told him the highway project was much like many Oklahoma highway projects and would have to be postponed until further notice. But I offered to buy him a new poster, so he was totally cool with it.

Yesterday morning the kids and I got Sam's room put back together. It turned out SO cute! Then we went to Wal*Mart to get organizational stuff. I have been watching entirely too much HGTV - Mission: Organization mainly. Omg, I'm totally addicted to that show. So we loaded up on totes, baskets, drawered organizers, etc. Last night at 10:30 I finished the girls' room, except for Kady's desk. I could've finished it, but Abby was wanting to go to bed. A friend's of Sam's was over and his momma was gonna be late, so after my kids crashed that kid was still going strong. I gave him the DVD remote, told him where to find the kid videos and headed out here to my office. I worked until 12:30 when his momma got here. I have every intention of completely finishing up my office today. We have a GS fundraiser starting this week, so I really kind of HAVE to.

Also today I have to get the toyroom in order because we're completely doing away with the daycare room in the next few weeks. We'll finish out the final weeks of Diva Daycare in my living room with only a few toys. Kind of sucks for the kids, and yeah, it will be cramped, but I have tons of things to do and only a small amount of time to get them done. Thanksgiving and Sam's birthday are quickly approaching, then the annual Christmas Shindig, then the end of the daycare, Kady's birthday, Christmas, New Year's/anniversary and 3 weeks after Christmas we head to Disney World, not to mention I start school right after the first of the year. I have to start getting toys divided out - quite a few of the toys are on loan from the kids' parents, plus a playpen and a crib. I need to start getting those things divided out and sent back, then start paring down the toys that my kids actually own because when the girls' rooms are separated once more they'll have their own toyboxes in their own rooms. WHOO HOO! I'm also fairly certain that Paul won't want to sleep in a room where one wall is painted pastel yellow, pink and green, so I'm going to paint that wall brick red. And also a tall shelf that is now cubbies for the daycare, but will be transformed into some kind of brick-red-colored clothes-holding structure that will be filled with those cloth-covered baskets that they always use on Mission:Organization when they overhaul someone's house. I tell you, I'm addicted.

Wow. I apologize for the torture you just endured by reading this post. I'll try to make it up to you by posting pictures of Sam's new room. Will that make it up to you, my friends? There's one of me pretending to lick the paint brush. I turned Abby loose with my camera and she was barking out orders for us to pose. And we did it. She's a very convcincing 10 year old. And we were all high on paint fumes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If he were my kid, he'd SO be grounded

This morning before 8 I got a phone call from the neighbor up the road. I was online so I called her back from my cell phone. Her voice was shaking. I immediately thought something was wrong with either her or one of the kids. Oh, something was wrong alright, but it was one of my family members causing her to call and be angry.

Jake the dog, not one of the fruits of my loins. Do I even have loins? I guess I do, but I tend to think of loins as primarly male, don't you? And besides, I'm guessing you'd probably already know that my children don't run amuck in the neighborhood all willy-nilly and stuff.

We've had Jake since he was 6 weeks old. We hadn't lived in this house very long when we got him, so he's kind of established his territory as we've established ours. He's a good dog, very protective of the kids, he kept the stinky septic tank guy from viciously attacking me with his smelly work glove and he barks when anyone drives in. He's not so good at protecting us from man-eating racoons and possums, but hey, we all have our faults.

Oh wait....Jake has one more fault - HE CHEWS ON AND STEALS THE NEIGHBOR'S STUFF. For the last year or so, Jake has decided that what is at their house should be at our house and if it's not nailed down, he steals it. Oh, it was cute at first. In fact, in the beginning we couldn't figure out how their daughter's four-square ball kept getting up here. It can get windy sometimes, but there's a little patch of woods between the houses and it isn't that windy. Then one morning we went out to find a decorative scarecrow and a big green watering can. Hmh. Cute. Sure is windy 'round here these days. Windy enough to blow a scarecrow through the woods even. Sometimes we are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier.

One day, the neighbor laughingly said, "You know that Jake steals stuff from us, right?" We replied like all parents/owners in denial reply, "Uhh.....yeah.....ha ha ha....silly dog, isn't he? (Honey, did you know that Jake's stealing from the neighbors? No? Me either.) Yep, that Jake, he's a rascal." A few weeks later, we went out in the morning to find the scarecrow had returned and so had the watering can, along with the cushions off of their outdoor swing, several balls, a length of plastic decorative fence and a cowboy boot. It was then that we loaded up their stuff in the truck, apologized with red faces and gave them permission to shoot our dog in the butt with a shotgun if they caught him up there. And if we caught him bringing anything home, we'd shoot him, too. We've known these people for years and years, we trusted them to not just go all crazy and shoot the dog for no reason. We wanted our dog to stop stealing because if our kids were stealing then by cracky, we'd expect the neighbors to shoot them in the butt with a shotgun, too. Oh wait. No. We wouldn't want them to shoot the kids. Nevermind. Forget I said that.

They were hesitant about shooting our dog and frankly, we understood, but we were adamant. Short of us camping out in their yard so we could catch him ourselves and shoot him ourselves, we didn't know of a better solution. I like camping just as much as the next guy, but copping a squat in their yard all camoed and stealthy-like just wasn't on my agenda.

But this morning ol' Jake crossed a line. I guess last night he chewed up a $50 bottle of horse medicine and then this morning they caught him red-pawed chewing the seat of their brand new lawn tractor to shreds. Shreds, I say!! I asked her if they'd been shooting him when they caught him. She said her husband had popped him with the bb gun a time or two, but no, not the shotgun. Agh. I told her I was sending Paul up immediately and promptly hung up the phone, threw open the front door and to the cowering dog, peeing all over himself at my feet yelled, "YOU ARE SO DEAD!" And of course, this statement sent Kady running to me where she threw her arms around my knees and said, "Jakey's DEAD??? OHHHHH NOOOOOO! Wait. Siwwy Momma, he's wight thewe!"

Paul went up the road and honestly, not that I think my neighbor's a liar or anything, but I was expecting Paul to come home saying that Jake had maybe gnawed a little spot on the seat cover and that things were blown out of proportion. But no, instead Paul called me from his cell phone, his voice shaking now when he said, "That stupid (cursing) tore that seat to shreds!" And of course, because my husband is a man with a very colorful vocabularly, there were many more expletives, descriptive words and curses galore.

We are now going to replace anywhere from $300 to $500 worth of destruction that our stupid canine son has wreaked on their property. It's only right. They've put up with his antics longer than most neighbors would have and I have to give them that, but Paul's patience has run out. Not to mention the fact that we are having a hard time buying our kids new winter clothes, but now we're having to fork over hundreds of dollars to mend not only their things but what might be left of a relationship so that things remain neighborly out here on Hudson Creek.

When he brought Li'l Divinity this morning, I asked Mr. Divinity if he knew much about dogs. Poor guy. He's not a big talker, that man, but his hysterical babysitter attacked him with queries about dogs and property damage this morning. He said that getting him fixed might slow him down, but considering his age, it might not. Dang.

I want to ground him, tie him up awhile. Paul wants to kill him. I hope I win this one.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Crying wolf

Kady has become quite the fibber lately. I don't remember the other two going through a phase like this, but then again, Kady hasn't done much of anything like the other two. I'm getting very tired of it and have really stepped up the consequences of her lying. Mrs. E wrote on her blog last week about a kid who lied in her class and I commented, mentioning that Kady has become a bit of a liar herself. She emailed me back about a book her son had as a child and I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. I know all kids go through a phase where they try their hand at fibbing, but she's getting ridiculous!

Like tonight, we were in her room putting winter clothes into the closet. She was trying on a pair of jeans that we'd missed in the initial trying-on-of-clothes ritual last month and I asked if they felt too big around the waist. She immediately launched into a tall tale about her teacher at school and a dolphin and the police and how Miss Charlene tried to staple her jeans so they'd stay up and then one of her teeth fell out. Now, I have been a little busy lately and a little on the depressed side, but I haven't been so distracted that I've overlooked a missing tooth! And I have yet to find loose staples in the laundry. Her first attempts at lies were small and while detectable, still fairly harmless. Now they're just getting ridiculous.

I'm going to have to get creative in breaking her habit, though. She's entirely too smart for her own good. After hearing the dolphin/missing tooth/stapled jeans story I asked her if she'd ever heard the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf. She said she hadn't. She's not one to pass up a good story, though, so she settled into my lap and curled up, expecting to hear a wonderful fable, I'm sure. I told her the story and she listened intently. When I finished up she didn't say anything for awhile. Finally I said, "So now do you understand why it's so important to always tell the truth?"

She looked off into space very thoughtfully, then said, "Okay, so da boy cwied woof two times before dey stopped bewieving him?" I thought back to how I'd told the story and then nodded. She stood up, flipped her hair over her shoulder and said, "Oh good. So I can wie two times befowe you stop bewieving me."

A quiet day

It's 11:43am on Sunday as I begin typing this. I've spoken three words since 5:15am. Seriously. Mrs. Redneck Chatterbox herself has been eerily quiet. Why? No, I don't have laryngitis and the cat doesn't have my tongue.

I'm alone.

Paul went to work and the little divas spent the night with their Yaya. I got up with Paul at 4:30 this morning, made some blueberry muffins, cleaned the kitchen and really did have every intention of just staying up and cleaning my house, but then I sat down on the couch to watch James Blunt's new video and the next thing I knew it was 9:45. Oops. See, my plan was to get up early, do oodles of cleaning and then take a little nap this afternoon when the rain moved in. But instead I just added my nap to my night's sleep, with a little break in between. No worries, though - I feel amazingly refreshed. I can work in the rain now.

Normally when I'm alone I talk to myself or at least sing, but today I've just enjoyed the quiet. I really have needed quiet. I usually put in my 3-disc Statler Brothers' collection on days when I'm in a cleaning mood, but today I've left the ol' boys in their case. Some other time, fellas. Today I'm listening to the quiet.

The kids and I went clothes shopping yesterday after gymnastics. Poor Sam outgrew everything from last year, save for one pair of sweats and two long-sleeve t-shirts. Seriously. The boy had a major growth spurt this year. He didn't even have any pajamas. So I bought him some new sweats, camo pants, a coat, a Lightning McQueen wind suit (I figure this is the last year I can get away with buying him outfits like that) and that was just at Wal*Mart! At the resale shop I got him 8 Gap and Old Navy button-up shirts that would've cost me an arm and a leg if I'd bought them new, something I refuse to do. I bought Abby one Gap dress when she was a baby because I had money back then. I heartily boycot Gap now. It is not for poor rednecks. I have no aversion to shopping Old Navy, but it's in Joplin and I just don't get there that often.

The girls also got pajamas at Wal*Mart and I, being the magnificent Aunt Kiki and mother that I am, bought all 5 kids a Halloween shirt. I do this every year. It's my thing.

Sam had been in the cart so I could hold clothes up to him without having to squat down so much. When we were done, he wanted out. I had pushed the cart up against a rack of clothes and didn't think anything about him swinging one leg over the side of the cart to get out. All of the sudden I heard a scream. I turned around to see my son white as a sheet, doubled over, but strangely not on the ground. He was floating. Abby said, "Oh my gosh! He's hanging there!" I pushed back the clothes on the rack and sure enough, my son was straddling a clothes rack. I assumed he'd racked himself. Yes, pun intended. Then I heard him gasp, "Cutting's cutting me!"

In that moment I envisioned the ambulance loading my son and his torn-to-shreds nutsack onto a stretcher and whisking him off the hospital where they'd eventually tell me I'd get no grandkids outta that one. I lifted him off of the rack and stood him on the ground and again my overactive imagination envisioned him hemorraghing from the nutsack (I just like typing nutsack, by the way) before the ambulance could even get there. Then I jerked his sweats down right there in the boys department of Wal*Mart so I could scar us both for life.

Fortunately, turns out he just scraped the inside of the back of his thigh. I say "just" scraped it, but really it is nasty looking. It's going to leave a mark for awhile and of course, he's totally playing up the limp that seems to have been caused by his scrotum's near-death experience with a clothes rack.

Friday night, Mom took us all out to dinner at Josie's in Scammon, KS. I don't know where these Kansans learned their Italian cookin' skillz, but they learned them well. Kady was enjoying her spaghetti and ginormous meatball so much that the last bite she took couldn't be swallowed without a couple of those "my stomach is full up to my throat and I must now gag for you". We were all miserable when we left. I mean, so miserable I felt the need to purge.

Paul, Bub and TotTwo rode in one car and we girls rode in the van. On the way home the girls started doing cheers. I am not a big fan of elementary school cheerleading. I find the cheers so annoying that it's almost enough to make me pull my daughters out of public school until they hit Middle School because whether your daughter is a cheerleader or not, they will learn the cheers. A few of Ab's and TotOne's friends are cheerleaders and dammit, our girls have learned the cheers. After having to tell them, "Kiki is my name and blogging is my game/ HTML is my sign and I've got typing on my mind" about 6 or 7 times, I changed the last one to, "Kiki is my name and I hate this cheer/ If we don't stop doing it soon I will crash this van into a chat pile". I decided that we had to change the course of the van's entertainment and mumbled to Tater, "Sing something or I will drive us off of a cliff."

She started signing old Girl Scout Camp songs - the Skunk song, Sippin' Cider, Just a Boy and a Girl, and the timeless Titanic. Oy vey. I hate that Titanic song. When we finished with Titanic there were cries of "Again! Again!" Have I mentioned I hate that Titanic song? So instead I started singing Three Little Fishies. Now, this fishy song has been a favorite of our family for about 30 years. I can remember Mom and Dad singing it in the car on the way home from church or on vacation drives. And as we got older, Tater and I joined in. In harmony. Oh yes, the Singing Basses (How appropriate that we'd choose a fishy song) were quite proficient in the intricate harmonies of the chorus of "Boop boop diddum doddum waddum choo!" We really should have our own show in Branson. So, Mom, Tater and I belted out a few rounds of the fishy song and the girls were happy. All was quiet in the van.

I was thinking back to Girl Scout camp again and broke the silence with, "Hey, Mom? Do you remember 'Running Bear'?"

She replied with, "Oh,'s been so long since I've run bare, I'm not sure that'd be a good idea."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a dark place

In the last week or so I've been on the verge of a really rotten place. I don't know if it's the changing of the seasons or what, but I'm tired of it.

On Dad Gone Mad and Dooce this week, Danny and Heather wrote about their struggles with depression lately, too. I know that people who deal with depression and certain disorders (OCD for one) have a hard time in the winter months, but dangit we just got into autumn. Summer is my blue season. I usually come alive this time of year, but it seems that this year that is not going to be the case. I'm not happy about it. Heck, I'm just not happy. Depression is the suck. Having a brain that chemically malfunctions from time to time sucks rocks.

Both Danny and Heather said that their kids were what was keeping them going. I know that in Tater's dealings with OCD, her kids were her light at the end of the tunnel. This week the only thing I've wanted to do was go to bed. And stay there. Forever. But I haven't. Because of my kids.

They are my reason to keep going. I just want to crawl in a hole, but I know very well that the hole I'm looking for only has room for one. I wouldn't be able to fit my kids in there with me and I wouldn't want to. It's dark there. And there is no Tinker Bell nightlight. So for now, I'm staying out of the rabbit hole of depression that is right outside my back door, calling my name, offering me quiet and darkness and solitude. I walk to it occasionally and even circle it a time or two, but as of yet I haven't jumped in.

And as much as I love Paul, if it were just him and me, I wouldn't think twice about jumping into that hole all by myself. I have before. There are kids involved now, though. Oh, I could just leave the house, the kids, and the responsibilities to him while I wallow in my dark place, I'm choosing not to.

I'm going to stay where it's noisy and light and there is love. And peanut butter. And a refrigerator covered in my 4-year olds latest talent - writing words. Lots of words. Every word known to man. In the light is also a necklace I gave my 10-year old on her birthday. A necklace that was given to me when I was 10. A necklace she wears every day. There's also my son who has discovered the wonder of reading. Not just comic books anymore either - books with chapters and everything. His new Crocs are here, too. Man, he loves those Crocs - but then again, how can you not love camouflage Crocs?

In the dark place is the 15 pounds I've gained in the last few months and has caused all of my winter clothes to not fit, the headache that has been crushing my skull for the last three days, the self-doubt and fear that I'm going to really stink at this college thing, the knowledge that for the next three or so years we are going to be broke because I've quit my job and will be a student, the desk that I can't see the top of because it's covered in papers that need to be filed, the stress I see on my mother's face and hear in her voice because of the cancer that has decided to move back into my papa's lungs. There's lots of bad in the dark place.

I've tried anti-depressants before. They make me more depressed. I've tried two. Neither worked. After walking around with no emotion on my face, feeling like everything I saw was in black and white and utterly lifeless, spending more time than before sleeping or just in bed because I couldn't make myself get up, I decided that was just not how I wanted my kids to remember their mom. I'd rather retain my ability to cry and laugh and on Paxil and Lexapro I couldn't.

I'm sure that in a week or so I'll be fine. This is just how I get sometimes. In the meantime, hang in here with me, okay? Don't wander off to find some other funny redneck who doesn't bring you down. In fact, because I am really good at pretending I'm happy, chances are by this afternoon or at the least tomorrow, I'll post something here that will make you tinkle.

But if you don't mind, while you're waiting, could you pray for me? I could sure use it.

Monday, October 09, 2006


The week in review:

"Teddy Bear Tea a Success!" - Six Girl Scouts and one "mascot" enjoyed decorating their own teddy bear cakes at their first meeting last week. One bystander had this to say - "There was icing EVerywhere!" Their next meeting will involve ghosts made out of liquid starch and muslin. Emergency services will be on stand-by.

"Gymnastics Coach Makes Girls Giggle and Boy Act Like a Total Dork" - The Saturday morning Beginning Tumbling class had a substitute male coach this last week. It was decided among the parents that adding cute adult male testosterone to the mix made the girls giggly, goofy and just plain ridiculous. It also made the one young male act like a total goof-ball.

"Sisters Decide That Professional Photographs of Their Children is a Journey Straight to Hell" - JCPenney Portrait Studio was visited by five adorable cousins on Saturday afternoon. The two sisters who gave birth to the children were ill-prepared for said photo session and had to purchase clothing for all five kids shortly before the shoot was to begin. "It was pretty touch-and-go for a little bit," said one sister. The other sister asked, "WHERE IS THE LIQUOR?" Both women also agreed that from here on out, pictures snapped with a disposable 35mm will have to suffice for all future photographic memories of the children.

"Preschoolers Vomits in AstroVan in Silver Dollar City Parking Lot" - What does one dozen donut holes and nearly an entire bag of gummi bears get a person? Well, for one surprised mother and grandmother on Sunday morning, it got them extra experience in van upholstery cleaning. "I puked in da van!" said the 4-year-old shortly after the incident occured.

"10 Year Old Celebrates Birthday in Branson" - It was a birthday sprinkled with pixie dust for Abby Diva on Sunday. After having Happy Birthday sung to her by a ragtime pianist and Riders in the Sky the tween was floating on Cloud 9. Roller coasters were also involved. The day was finished with dinner at Olive Garden in Branson where the service was so-so, but the pasta bowls were never ending. Her presents had a very TinkerBell-ish kind of theme and she squealed loudly more than once. As the caravan was preparing to leave, the birthday girl was presented with one dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, something she had specifically requested on the birthday list she had printed in triplicate and had strategically placed in her mother's purse and had posted on the refrigerator.

"Exhausted Work-At-Home Mom Wonders if She Has Mental Health Days Figured Into Her Work Schedule" - When asked for comment, the over-tired mother merely said, "Zzzzzzzzz."

To Abby


Yesterday you turned 10 years old. I have a very hard time believing that ten whole years have passed since you entered my world and changed my life. You're growing up so fast now, but at the same time it seems that just yesterday you were a year and a half old, quoting the whole entire book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie in your squeaky little baby voice as if you yourself were the author . And it seems that maybe the day before that you were that tiny, dark-skinned, black-headed indian papoose that spit up all over everything, all the time.

Your daddy and I were so stunned to find out that we were pregnant with you. The doctor had told us to give up and to look into adoption. We found out we were pregnant with you the Saturday before an appointment with an adoption agency in Tulsa. I had bought a pregnancy test and hadn't told your father. I was feeling strange and queasy, but didn't want to get his hopes up, so I kept it a secret. I didn't hardly sleep the night before and finally at 5am I got up, took the test in the bathroom and when the two pink lines showed up telling me that I was pregnant I thought I was still asleep and dreaming! I ran into the bedroom, jumped on top of your sleeping father and shook him until he woke up. I said, "Are you ready to be a daddy?" He looked at his watch then closed his eyes and said, "Not at 5 in the morning, I'm not." Then his eyes flew open and he said, "Are you sh*ttin' me?" Your dad always has had a way with words. We waited as long as we could and at 6am we called your Grammy to give her the news. Then we told YaYa. I don't think there was a happier family that day.

I won't bore you with the details of my pregnancy with you, but I will say that I barfed a lot. It's no wonder you spit up so much when you were a baby - you learned it before you were born.

The first time I held you will forever remain one of my most wonderful memories, along with the first time I held your brother and sister. Dr. Schooler laid you on my chest and I couldn't hold back the tears. You were perfect. You remain perfect to this day - perfect in my eyes. No, you're not flawless - you backtalk, you roll your eyes and sometimes you're clumsy (Okay, more than sometimes...), but still Abby-girl, you are perfect.


You were an amazing baby. You hardly ever cried. Really. If you cried it was serious and you were either very sick or hurt. You were always happy, always smiling and you were such an amazing joy to me. You still are. No one was a stranger to you in your little baby world. You smiled at everyone and jabbered at them like they were a long-lost friend that you hadn't seen in ages. Every day was a complete wonder to you and to me as well. I am so blessed to have been able to stay home with you. I can remember sitting in the floor with you one afternoon when you were about 5 months old, watching you destroy and eat a newspaper and I was in awe of you. Every part of you, everything about you amazed me - your little round baby head, your pudgy little toes, your ability to eat ink and paper like a little machine and the fact that it made you so deliriously happy.


You've always loved books. Of course, you weren't home from the hospital more than an hour before your daddy was reading Goodnight Moon to you. You memorized If You Give a Mouse a Cookie because we read it to you over and over. And over. And over. We were overjoyed when they came out with If You Give a Moose a Muffin, but you didn't seem to be as excited as we were. We never could get you to buy into that one. Now that you're bigger you've moved past reading about rodents and their love of dessert and have graduated to the adventures of Harry Potter and the Babysitter's Club. If we haven't seen you around the house in awhile we know where to find you - curled up on your bed with a book in your face. I love that about you. I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see you reading and loving it so much. You definitely take after me in this respect. Let's just hope you don't get my big butt, too.


As you got older you became more timid and that timidity still lingers in you. You've come out of your shell a lot in the last year alone, but there are still times that the shy little girl makes an appearance. It's hard for me to help you with those shy moments, because I'm not sure I've ever had one, but I'm trying to understand. Although yesterday when Too Slim from Riders in the Sky asked you to stand up so they could sing Happy Birthday to you, you jumped right up and actually looked like you enjoyed standing in the spotlight while 500 or so people looked at your smiling face. I think you're just growing up.

Your daddy didn't want you to be a foo-foo girl, so when you were littler you wore a lot of camo and played with a lot of trucks. But you still had your girlie moments - those were the times we found you wearing dress-up high heels and carrying a purse full of Hot Wheels. Or pushing Barbie around in a dump truck while wearing a feather boa. You have your own way of doing things. You're not one to go with the crowd and as a parent I'm ecstatic about this. I know that sometimes it's hard to be the one not doing what the rest of the group is doing, but I applaud you for not giving in. You're strong, Abby. You've always been strong. You amaze me.


You have an incredible sense of humor, babe. That, paired with your sense of self, will take you far. There are a lot of adults who never master the art of sarcasm, but you, my dear, had a handle on it by the time you were 9. You can rattle off a witty remark quicker than I can and you always manage to do it with such a deadpan look that you crack me up. I totally blame your YaYa for honing your sarcastic skills and if it ever gets you in trouble, call her. She's a pro. You learned from the best.


You're growing up, Abby-girl. You're becoming such a young lady with so much to offer. You're smart, you're beautiful and you're funny. There are mornings that you come out of your room, ready for school and I'm absolutely speechless and stunned at how much you've grown up in the last few months. Your long legs and big brown eyes are two things that I would've given anything to have when I was a kid. I know sometimes you wish you were short and that you had green eyes, but trust me kid, you're just right. Just right.

The world has changed so much since I was a kid. The changes in your school last week prove it. It's not always a pleasant place and not always the kindest place, but Abby if you ever get down, scared, get discouraged or confused you can come to me. I'll always love you no matter what. I may not always like what you do and I may even yell at you from time to time, but that will never change the depth and intensity of my love for you.

I've always known I wanted to be a mom. From the time I was a little girl I knew that being a mommy was the perfect job for me, but I had no idea just how amazing it was going to be until I had you.

Happy 10th birthday, my baby punkin.



Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sometimes I cry

I have been so busy this week that I haven't had time to read blogs at all, but I'm fairly certain, knowing the blogging community, that there are plenty of posts about the recent school shootings. This is going to be one of them.

I heard a quick blurb Monday afternoon about a school shooting, but it wasn't until Monday night that I heard more details. Then Tuesday morning I sat glued to my itty bitty wooden chair in the toyroom, watching the reports and interviews about the shooting in Pennsylvania. I was horrified. And terrified.

Our kids to go a small school, a friendly little school where most of the kids' parents went to a small school. We like it here. We transferred our kids out of the big school district because we both had graduated from a small school in classes of about 40. Our town is quaint and little and everyone knows everyone.

But that doesn't mean we're always safe, does it?

Oh, I'd like to play ostrich and bury my head in the sand and pretend that the world is perfect, but it isn't. The need to remove of all of my kids' appendage pictures from my blog was a grim reminder of how nasty and mean the world can be. Watching those innocent Amish children sit stunned on the grass near their school was another reminder.

All children are innocent for awhile, aren't they? They're tiny and vulnerable and cute and they smile at everybody they see. They crawl about their world with the assumption that everything is for them and about them and fun and that you'll protect them every second of the day. Everything is new to them and they want to explore it all. But then eventually you have to start talking to them about "stranger danger" and "private body" and they change.

And you change. Suddenly the little old man who talks baby talk to your toddler in Wal*Mart isn't a lonely old man who is remembering his children at that age - he becomes someone that you shield your child from, someone that you don't trust in the least. The lady who kneels down in front of your daughter in a public restroom isn't just being helpful when she reaches down to tie your child's shoe - she is just trying to get close to your child so that she can snatch her. It's hard to allow kindness and to teach your children compassion and empathy when you want to just put them in a bubble and lock the world away and you don't trust anyone.

Sam was unloading the dishwasher Tuesday morning before school and as I walked through the kitchen I grabbed him and hugged him and smelled his little-boy-smellin' hair and when he turned his freckled face up to me and grinned, I felt the tears welling up. He's so perfect. Not perfect in that he never does anything wrong, but he's perfect because he's mine and God gave him to me and I am so blessed. I kissed his freckled nose and blinked back tears when he started squirming and said, "Mom. You're're hugging me really hard!" I let go, but I didn't want to. I stood watching him, leaning against the sink and when he finished with the dishwasher he bolted from the kitchen to get some last-minute reading in before school, completely oblivious to my fear. About that time Paul came into the kitchen, walked over to me, wrapped his arms around me and I lost it.

I cried. I cried because I was scared.

Between sobs I spoke muffled words into my husband's shoulder: "I can't let them go to school today. I just can't. Please don't make me." He squeezed me harder and said, "You have to let them go."

Those words hit me hard - let them go. I have to let them go? Who says? I refuse to let them go. Ever.

They did go to school Tuesday. They went with my prayers and with their Grammy's prayers. There were lots of prayers said that morning, I'm sure. They went yesterday as well and learned all of the new procedures that go with attending a school on permanent lock-down.

Abby was complaining that after recess they can't just run back to the classroom anymore. Now they have to line up and go in to the locked building together. I put my arm around her and she laid her head on my shoulder and I told her that even though it's an inconvenience, it's for their own good. I am glad that her school is taking preventative measures to keep my precious children safe. I'm glad that her classroom is locked and the building is locked and now I must check in at the office. I'm glad that they are doing everything they can to protect my children. But at the same time I'm sad. I'm so sad that this is the way it is now. It breaks my heart that my children know about school shootings and lock-downs and the mean people that are out there.

I'm sure my parents went through things like this. I'm sure there were nights that my mother cried because she worried I'd be okay. I'm sure my dad breathed a prayer or two when they sent me out that door. I don't remember being scared.

I hope my kids don't either.


Ever wonder what happens when a fat housewife puts on size small Playtex gloves to clean her bathroom?

Her fingers fall asleep before she cleans the toilet.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Monday night Mom, Tater and I went to Wal*Mart. Mom and I were in the lightbulb aisle, she on a mission for some 15 watt bulbs and me basically just following her around. Tater had said earlier that they're saying everyone should switch to the new twisty lightbulbs, the ones that last 5 years or so. So we were checking them out.

I don't buy GE lightbulbs - I buy Great Value lightbulbs. So far I haven't noticed a difference in the quality of lighting around my house, so when I saw the price on the twisty lightbulbs I gapsed. When you're used to paying $1.50 for four bulbs, you have a hard time grasping the idea of $7.92 for two.

So I said, "Well, I don't see any 3-way bulbs. Do they come in 3-way? Because we have 3-ways in the living room."

Mom kept on browsing the lightbulbs, but said, "Really. I didn't think Paul was into that."


As I've whined before, we have no air conditioner now and this week the temps have been well into the 90's. It's been downright miserable in the house from about 3 in the afternoon until nearly 9 at night. Monday night I was getting ready to leave for Ladies' Night and Paul was complaining about how hot it was. We've got stand fans all over the house, oscillating in every direction possible, trying to circulate as much air as possible. I turned one fan off of oscillate and tilted it until it was blowing directly on him. I asked if that was better. He shooked his head and grumbled, "No, not really. Just turn it back to where it's ovulating."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Okay, to all of my faithful, normal, non-pedophile readers and friends, I owe you an explanation of the post that brought the f-word back to my blog.

Last year I was participating in Half-Nekkid Thursday and posted a couple of pictures of my kids' f33t. Just their f33t. Cute little p1gg1es with chipped toenail polish and t4n lines. Cute little k1d f33t.

Yes, I've resorted to 133t-speak to avoid someone Googling me and pictures of my k1ds' f33t again.

Well, over the last month, and even more disturbingly in the last week, some sickos out there have decided to sent me utterly disgusting emails and comments about said phalanges.

And after vomiting and feeling the need to bleach my computer and the internet itself, I decided to take off all of the pictures that got such responses and replace them with a new declaration. If you search for such pictures on my blog now you will find this:

I will continue to post pictures of my k1ds, but I'll think twice about them from now on because obviously I had no idea that there were such sick f-ers out there. (See, Mrs. E, I am able to control my language!)

Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty open-minded gal and if you've got a fetish, hey groovy. If you want to wrap yourself in green Saran Wrap, dip your pinkies in mayonnaise, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself about while you sing "I'm a Little Teapot", dude, that's alright by me.

Just leave my offspring out of it. For the love of Pete.

Eye Cue

A few weeks ago, Tater, Paul and I were discussing intelligence. We were talking about it because Tater had just taken an IQ test and I was concerned that she might actually be smarter than me. I have serious superiority issues most of the time sometimes. Not that I'm saying Tater isn't smart because, oh gosh, she is! It's just that I want to be smarter. I mean, I'm not asking for much, am I?

We discussed how when it comes to all things numberish and puzzlish, (I just made up two whole new words - see how smart I am?) Tater definitely rocks. I got my very first C, D and F ever in Algebra I and that subject nearly killed me. I can do basic normal math, like balancing my checkbook and counting back change (a skill that no teenager now posesses). We started learning our multiplication tables in 3rd grade, but it wasn't until 6th grade that I had a remote grasp on them. To me, numbers just don't make a whole lot of sense. Yet Tater took some kind of strange math in college - college! *gasp* - and while it looked to me like chicken-scratch and possibly alien communication, she loved the challenge it presented her and went on to take more strange numberish classes. And I took the writing assignments in Comp I at NEO and made tender, literary love to them, honing my future-blogging skills (little did I know) and enjoying every moment I spent composing, among others, a descriptive essay about Bugle Boy jeans. (I was 18, sue me. There wasn't a lot of life-experience there yet.) Paul can add gazillions of numbers in his head and that boggles my mind. I mean, literally. boggles. my. mind. He can also take apart a car engine, fix the holes in the driveway, kill rodents and other furry, evil varmits and help the kids with their math homework. I could never do that. I could also never do those dangSudoku puzzles that Tater and Mom do. I'd rather pull out my liver with salad tongs than try to solve one of those things. Bub can tell you who made a 4th down at 3:46pm on December 4, 1962, which field they were playing on, what kind of turf was on that field and if he'd had a bowel movement earlier in the day.

Of Mom's grandkids in school now, they're all 4 exhibiting strengths and weaknesses in certain areas. Abby can read on a 6th grade level, yet math makes her brain smoke and her stomach hurt. Sam scored a 99% on the math section of the Iowa Basic Skills test last spring. TotOne can draw and decorate and make art out of two pipe cleaners, a tampon and four nickles. TotTwo, well....we haven't found anything that he doesn't excel at yet - he's scary smart.

What I'm getting at is - everyone learns differently at different times in their lives. In some things we excel, in some we fail, in some we thrive, and in others we just get by.

Paul listened quietly while Tater and I discussed the usefulness of studying certain subjects in high school and college. I said that I couldn't wait to start taking some writing courses and that I was excited about Comp II. He asked what Comp II was and I said, "Basically - English."

He snorted a snort of utter disdain and stated, "I ain't never needed no English and I ain't never gonna need no English."

It's a good thing he's cute and can fix things.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Yet another testament of my superb mothering skills

Tonight for dinner my kids ate probably the worst nutritional conglomerations possible.

Abby fixed herself a bowl of Easy Mac. And then treated herself with an ice cream sandwich.

Sam made himself three peanut butter sandwiches, chased them with a few dozen handfulls of Doritos, THEN ate an ice cream sandwich.

Kady had a Go-gurt, then some Princess fruit snacks THEN topped it all off with a Little Debbie cake.

All of this was pre-empted by popsicles as their after-school snack.

Hey, it's hot, we have no air conditioner and cooking anything was going to heat up the house. The not cooking thing - I did it for them.

I ate a thing of string cheese and am on my 4000th glass of iced tea.

Didn't I read somewhere that Fall is supposed to be cool? I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, but I could've sworn that Autumn was supposed to be all about leaves falling, crisp, cool temperatures and frost. Right now we're experiencing a revival of skin-melting hotness which, frankly, SUCKS.

Those pumpkins I sat on the front porch in an attempt to escort fall in properly? They're pies now. Forget carving them, kids - we just have to serve them with Cool Whip.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...