Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne and All That

Here are my reflections from 2009:

* I still don't like going to the dentist.

* Watching an 8 year old girl play basketball is completely different than watching an 11 year old boy play basketball.

* Mullets are funny.

* A John Hughes movie usually makes everything better.

* I'm not sure I will ever stop feeling torn between my parents. They've been divorced nearly 19 years and I still deal with that knot in my guts.

* Orthodontics are wonderful things.

* Giving up traditions is really, really hard.

* I can't fix everything.

* Battling wrinkles, pimples and errant chin hairs is not how I expected to spend the better part of my latter 30's.

* Living with a man who is giving up tobacco is hell on earth.

* If someone really wants to change, they will. However, I have found that more often than not I want them to change more than they do.

* My online friends let me down and hurt me far less than the ones I have in real life. Either that says a lot about my online friends or it says I have a pathetic life.

* Life is full of double-standards.

* Females are cruel.

* Open-mouthed, slobbery kisses from a toddler are just about the best thing going.

* Making my bed is cathartic for me.

* Having a teenager in the house is both rewarding and frustrating - kind of like dieting. I doubt I give up on the teenager, though.

* Everything in existence is fair game to a puppy and is subject to being chewed-upon at any moment.

* A single phone call can make or ruin a day.

* Males are weird. And infuriating. And amusing. And exhausting. And intolerable. And charming. And frustrating. And completely adorable.

* I find that I hinge my self esteem mostly on how I feel I'm doing as a mother. Some days I fly high and feel I've finally got it down. Others are barely worth getting out from under the covers. Fortunately my children are very forgiving - and fickle - creatures.

* Laundry multiplies when no one is looking.

* I tire very easily of drama.

* Judging someone makes you look small and ignorant and is just downright mean. Spreading lies about someone is juvenile. Doing it all in the name of the church or "for God" is deplorable.

* This year I have cried over my children, cried over other people's children, cried because I miss someone so bad it hurts, because I can't make it all better, because I was laughing, cried because things were out of my control, because of words both beautiful and horrible, because I failed and because I didn't.

* It only recently occurred to me that even though I have a seriously hard time letting God handle things, really, He was handling them long before I got involved.

Happy New Year to all of my readers! Thank you for being here through it all. I appreciate every time you drop in and apologize for all the times you did and I hadn't updated. Knowing you're out there gives me the warm fuzzies and I love you all.

Here's to telling 2009 to suck on dryer lint.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry, Merry, Merry!

Christmas Eve brought the promise of a white Christmas to Oklahoma, the likes of which we haven't seen in YEARS. A blizzard warning even! Talk about exciting times. Because of said impending DOOM Paul decided I needed one of my presents early - a 64GB iPod Touch. I cried. Seriously. My mother says it is a true sign of my geekiness that I cried over an electronic device.

Christmas morning I woke up at 3:30. I absolutely could NOT go back to sleep! I checked my Facebook and Twitter from my BRAND NEW ITOUCH, laid there and watched it snow, checked my email, then my Facebook again.....then it occured to me that I had forgotten to bring in one of Ab's presents from the playhouse where it had been housed for the past month so I woke Paul up with a series of jabs to the ribs. And well, since he was awake I figured I'd go ahead and go pee and get a drink. I peeked into Kady's room and saw a mysterious glowing from her bed - she was playing her DS. I asked what she was doing. Without ever taking her eyes from the screen she said, "Can't sleep, playing new game, did Santa come, is it time to get up?" I laughed and said, "Hon, it's 4am. Wanna come get in bed with Daddy and me?" As she was climbing down from her loft I looked in on Sam who was sitting on the side of his bed. Seeing him sitting there made me scream and hearing me scream made him scream. After recovering I said, "Come on, you and Kady both can come get in bed with Daddy and me."

I made them cover their eyes as we walked past the living room then we all three pounced on the bed to make sure Paul knew we had arrived. He groaned, but it was a good-natured groan. We all four settled into the Queen bed that suddenly felt narrow as a church camp bunk bed and we'd all get quiet then bust into giggles. After about 20 minutes of that Paul sighed and said, "Go wake up Abby. I cannot lay here a minute longer with you three morons. I'll go get Ab's present from the playhouse, you go wake her up. You other two? Stay where you are. No peeking." And even though Ab had threatened us with bodily harm if we woke her up a minute before 7:30 I marched into her room and told her to get up. From beneath the quilts, blankets and pillows I heard, "Is it freakin' 1am? Because if it is I am SO hurting you." I said, "Nope. It's just a little after 5. Get up." She flipped the covers back, revealing her cranky face and said, "You have GOT to be KIDDING me. You people are weird."

This is a quick shot of the clock just as we were starting to open presents.

Santa brought gifts in polka-dotted bags this year! It led to some serious mystery, which I liked. Since I KNOW Sam sneaks up front every year to pilfer before anyone else gets up, at least this year it would've been harder for him to do - ya know, if we hadn't ALL gotten up so early.

Most kids complain when they get socks for Christmas. Not Abby - she got a whole entire box of socks. I bet there were 20 pair. She was STOKED. The kids loves her some socks.

Santa apparently has serious connections because he brought four - FOUR! - Zhu Zhu pets to our house! FOUR! He should've brought Kady a comb.

Not only did my teenager love the socks she got from Santa, she also loved the box of books! She got a huge box of Fear Street books by R.L. Stein. She'll be reading until Spring. Or until next week if we keep getting snow.

Even though he had squealed and hollered and whooped like a spider monkey on meth, my son declared this to be The Best Present Ever - a bell from Santa's sleigh. Seriously. No kidding. I cried.

And my skinny-jeans-wearing 13 year old fashionista who abhors all things Country and writhes in anguish if she has to listen to one twang of a song about heartbreak and pickup trucks now owns a pair of camouflage Justin boots. She's nothing if not diverse.

The last-minute gift I threw in for Sam, a Ripley's Believe It or Not book, was a huge hit. Why, I do not know.

And after presents and breakfast and ZhuZhu pets and a nap....Kady played in the snow for only the third time in her little eight years. She was clearly happy.

Hope y'all had a good one, too!

We're expecting 3 more inches of snow tonight and wow, I am so excited I may go perform a root canal on myself to celebrate.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The kids and I watched A Christmas Story the other day and ya know, that is one movie that never gets old and always amuses the heck out of me. I particularly love the dad and his penchant for swearing. I know, it shows a lack of intelligence to swear and all that, but the 12 year old in me still finds cussing absolutely hilarious. The scene at the end of the movie where neighbor Bumpus' dogs bust through the kitchen door and make short work of devouring their turkey is rip-snorting hysterical to me because the dad's cussing is so hilarious.

Tuesday morning Cousin Courtney and Conner came out to make Christmas candy. Okay, really Conner had nothing to do with it; he served to entertain my children, thus keeping them from bugging us in the kitchen. She and I work very well together and just enjoyed dipping and sugaring and melting and stirring and laughing.

We made chocolate-covered marshmallows, chocolate-covered caramel corn, chocolate suckers and some Double Chocolate Ooey Gooey Marshmallow Pillows That Will Surely Put You Into a Diabetic Coma for the Holidays. Courtney also decided to try her hand at peanut butter balls, which she thought were just peanut butter and powdered sugar mixed together. I had no idea, but it sounded good to me. They lacked some substance. We're thinking there might've been another ingredient or two. As she was trying to glop the balls of conglomeration into the molten chocolate they were disintegrating, so I suggested freezing them.

She plopped the gooey messes onto a cookie sheet and because my boy-child was the one who was breezing through the kitchen in search of Koolade at that particular moment he was the one who was nominated to run them to the freezer on the back carport. We carried on with more candy-making and about 45 minutes later she wondered if I thought the peanut butter balls were set up enough to dip and headed to the back door to find out. I visually followed her path through my utility room and as I caught sight of my office window which looks onto the carport noticed something - the freezer door was open.

It's a large stand-up freezer and when the door is open it blocks the window completely. I screamed "THE DOOR IS OPEN!" Courtney jumped and said, "No, the back door's shut, Kristin." I said, "OH MY GOSH THE FREEZER DOOR IS OPEN!" and I all but knocked my itty bitty cousin over as I plowed past her to....well, I don't know what I thought I was going to do.

We both blasted out onto the carport to find frozen Schwan's pizzas all over the ground and as soon as we hit the concrete cats started flying out of the freezer like they were being catapulted. (Get it, CATapulted? Ha! I slay me.) Out flew the gigantic tom cat, Michelle Duggar, that fuzzy black and white thing and the hateful black one with one white whisker - all of them feasting upon the icy delights beheld in my freezer. I of course started cussing. And hollering. And shrieking. And between my wailing I heard Abby say, "OHHHHH SAM! You better get ready because you are about to get BEAT!" I also vaguely remember him saying, "BUT I SHUT IT! I SWEAR!" All that was background to the blood pounding in my ears. I do remember kicking the dog who thought us being there was some kind of permission to continue on what he had been doing, which was gnawing on a frozen package of hamburger. Seriously, dog has some crazy strong teeth to have gotten through half a pound of frozen hamburger.

Courtney was laughing and I knew I should've been, too, but at the time all I could think was why on earth do we have SO MANY CATS? When I finally calmed down enough to see straight and quit verballing threatening my son's behind and the life of every feline on our property I started taking stock of the damage. Half a package of hamburger, gone. One frozen chicken, gnawed on and scratched. I tossed both of those out into the yard. I looked up at the cookie sheet of peanut butter balls and said, "Courtney, I think your peanut butter balls are okay! They look okay!" She, however, was not convinced. She shook her head and said, "Ohhhh, I don't know....that fuzzy cat was right there when got out here....I'm not sure...." I reassured her they were fine, so she pulled the cookie sheet off the shelf. I was still checking out the three rolls of frozen Blue & Gold sausage to make sure there were no teeth marks on any of them when I heard her bust out laughing.

I looked up to find her holding the cookie sheet in my face. She said, "Uhm.....the balls are NOT fine. LOOK!" Sure enough, there were three balls gone and nothing left in their place except for frozen smears with cat-tongue prints in them. At that point, I allowed myself to laugh.

After I secured the freezer and double-checked the door, we went back in the kitchen and it occured to me that I had just been Bumpused. No, it wasn't the Christmas turkey on my dining room table that was obliterated by the neighbor's hounds, but instead my cousin's balls in my freezer by my own cats.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Always An Adventure

As I've mentioned before we have a new puppy named Giblet and Giblet is growing daily from a cuddly, squirmy ball of fuzz into something the size of a small Tyrannosaurus Rex. And being a chocolate lab he also chews on EV. RY. THING. Yesterday afternoon I went outside to get pellets for the stove and I'll be danged if that dog didn't chew the button on my sweater - while I was wearing it. We've had a lab before, but I think Jake was just a special dog because he never chewed on things. Never. We expected it when he was a pup, but Jake never chewed. Every other dog we've brought on the place has all but chewed the walls, but not ol' Jake. Giblet may very well take on the walls and soon he'll be big enough to just plow 'em down before he commences the chewing.

A few mornings ago the kids had already gotten on the bus and Conner wasn't here yet so I took the few moments of free time to start a load of laundry. I heard the front door open as I was stuffing a load of laundry made up of nothing but camouflage clothes into the washer. Then I heard Courtney's voice question, "Kiki? Kiki? Can you come here?" It wasn't her usual vibrant greeting and I crammed the rest of the camo into the washer and hurried to the entryway. She was standing in the doorway with the storm door partially open. I had just let Giblet off the chain for the day and all I could think was that he had gotten in her way and she'd hit him. (We've had that happen before when my ex brother in law came barreling up the drive and killed a pup while my son watched. Yeah, that was good times.) She said, "Come here, please. Would you look at this?" My guts in a knot I stepped onto the porch.

There sat Giblet with something in his mouth, his tail thumping the concrete happily. I hadn't had time to figure out what it was when Courtney said, "Is that a frozen squirrel-cicle in his mouth?" Sure enough, the dog was holding a frozen-stiff dead squirrel in his jaws and that poor squirrel either died a horrifically surprising death or he just happened to freeze solid with his front legs stretched out to the sides, his tail straight up and a look of eternal startle on his furry little face. There was no drooping, no limpness - just solid, stiff squirrel jutting stiffly from my dog's face.

Courtney looked at me and said, "Really? There are things I see here at your house that are not seen anywhere else."

That night when she came to pick Conner up one of the nearly-year-old cats was nursing Michelle Duggar. The cat, not the woman. We might be weird, but we don't get that bizarre around here. This black cat is nearly the size of Michelle and she was just laying there letting that large cat do her thing like it was as normal as a squirrel-cicle. She looked at the cats, cocked her head to one side and asked, "Is that cat nursing?" I just nodded and kicked the cats apart.

She shook her head and said, "Seriously. It's like a whole other world here."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And So She Sparkles

When I worked at DHS one day we were having a conversation about perfume. I chimed in, telling them about the perfume my mother had given me for Christmas. It was from Bath & Body Works and came in a little can that clinked when you shook it because it had a little metal ball in it to stir up the glitter. The label said "Perfumed Glitter Spray" and I LOVED that stuff. I'm not a foo-foo girl, but I took great pleasure in spraying that stuff into the air and walking under it to give myself a little sparkle, but not too much sparkle, ya know.

(Well, I used it until we went to a concert and I saw two 40-something women in line ahead of us with exorbitant amounts of glitter on their sad selves and decided I was too close to 40 to attempt that look any longer and since then the "perfumed glitter spray" has been reserved for my elementary school daughter when she plays dress up and for my middle school daughter who doesn't need a reason to sparkle, duh.)

So anyway, I chimed in the conversation about my perfumed glitter spray and the cutesy little 22 year old new caseworker exclaimed, "YOU have stripper dust?!? YOU? As in YOU?" Mouth agape I said, "WHAT?" and then she told me that perfumed glitter spray is what the strippers use before they go on stage. Everyone had a good laugh about the fact I had no flippin' idea I had been sparkling like a topless dancer since Christmas. Of course, I had to come home that night and inform my family that I OWNED STRIPPER DUST. It's been quite the joke around the house.

Tonight was the kids' Christmas program at school and Kady wore the most beautiful green sparkly dress with a beautiful custom-made sparkly bow in her hot-rolled hair so naturally she needed sparkles all over the rest of her, right? I sparkled her up, sparkled her sister, gave her hair another spritz of hair spray - then I heard Paul and Sam dramatically coughing and hacking out in the hallway. Paul said, "Good gosh, woman. You have made our bathroom smell like a wh*rehouse! Sam, man, give me your Axe, dude," and they proceeded to spray that nasty stuff all over themselves thus making them smell like the middle school locker room after gym class. We all rushed out the door in a cloud of noxious vapors and sparkles.

About halfway to the school Abby sniffed and said, "I'm kind of agreeing with Dad - it does smell like a wh*rehouse in here. Wow." Right after that I heard Kady sniff and snuffle then say, "Aw man....I think I just snorted stripper dust up my left nostril."


One year Mom and Sis went to Disney World around Thanksgiving time and brought us Hoovers back Christmas ornaments in the shape of Mickey's head, all in different colors with our names on them.

Last night as we were decorating the tree I opened the box that has the Disney ornaments in it. The first one was Sam's. I held it out to him and as he took it he said, "Mine's gold - because I'm the golden child!" I busted out laughing and Paul rolled his eyes.

Next was Kady's. Hers is purple. "Purple! Mine's purple because I'm royalty!" she said proudly. But of course - anyone who has insisted her name is Kady Princess from age three on would think of herself as royalty, wouldn't she?

I found the box that held Abby's and opened it. Abby said, "My ornament's red - what does red mean?"

Without missing a beat I put the hanger on it and held it out to her, replying, "Red? It means you're a hooker."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Because We's Smart

Apparently before Thanksgiving the kids in Kady's 2nd grade class each got a feather on which they got to write what they were thankful for and then stick it up the turkey's butt decoratively behind the turkey, thus creating a beautiful and colorful Thanksgiving-esque bulletin board decoration.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we've all moved on to stockings and jingle bells and the fat man himself the teacher sent the feathers home. I went through Kady's papers this weekend and found her beautiful blue feather with the word "SCHOOL" on it.

I chuckled at my youngest child's apparently budding nerdiness and said, "So, of all the things you're thankful for you put "school" on your feather?" Kady looked at me as serious as could be and said, "Well, DUH. If it wasn't for school I'd be dumb as a dang rock!"


Paul's days off are during the week so that means on those two week days Conner and I usually give up watching Dora and The Fresh Beat Band and Hi-5 because Paul has a seriously disturbing penchant for watching trash TV - Jerry Springer, Maury and Steve Wilkos to be specific.

Last week, though, on the second day he was home he'd had enough of Conner going to the TV, standing in the way of the pole dancer trying to decide who her baby daddy was and hollering, "Backpack! Backpack!" over and over, so he gave up and let us Conner watch preschool programming.

Having been involved in childcare for the better part of my life, I have become rather immune to preschool programming. Admittedly, there are times it will bother me and there are other times it just makes me giggle - like the episode of Go Diego Go! where the water buffalo or some other large bovine-ish mammal has a symbiotic friend called the "oxpecker" - but for the most part I hum along with the songs but don't think much about it. Paul, though, likes TV with wild game taking bullets, outlaws taking bullets, crooked cops taking bullets and shows about bullets taking bullets. Preschool programming is just too cutesy for his taste. And there are rarely bullets.

He had watched the first few minutes of Dora the Explorer and didn't say a single word. A little further into the show I heard him "hmph". I tore my eyes from Etsy and asked what was wrong.
He said, "This show. It's stupid. That annoyin' kid is repeating everything she says a hunnerd times. Stupid show." I laughed and went back to Etsy and Conner continued hollering BACKPACK! every few seconds.

Not long after that I realized Paul was quietly counting. He was sitting in his recliner with his denim shirt, goosedown vest and camouflage OU Sooners hat on, spitcup in hand.....counting. "One........two.........three........" I sat here watching him, wondering. He got to seven before I finally had to ask, "What on earth are you counting?"

He spit, never taking his eyes off the TV, then said, "How many times that effin' map of Dora's says 'flower,'" then he spit again and continued with, "....eight.......nine......."

The count got up to thirteen before he finally gave up and grumbling, went outside to shoot something.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sparkly, Twinkly and Possum-y

As we have for the past two years, this year we have a display at Twin Bridges State Park's "Park of Lights". Two years ago it was a hasty, from conception to reality in 36 hours type deal. Last year we put more thought, time and effort into it. This year we spent weeks scoping out a new spot because of those crazy state park squirrels who had certain dietary requirements involving my lights, added some new "fixtures" and recruited my niece, Karissa, to help put it together. We're pretty proud of the results and a girl that graduated with my sister said her husband nearly peed his pants laughing at it the other night. I warms my heart to know we nearly made a grown man wet himself.

Here's a shot of Paul's rump as he was fussing and stewing over the endless network of extension cords all over the ground. The display looks much, much different in the dark. And you can't see it in this picture, but one of the newest additions to the display is just hidden behind that open door on the trailer. No, I'm not telling you. Drive to the park and see for yourself. Nyah.

And really? This shot has no importance whatsoever regarding the display other than the fact that my daddy handed me his electric staple gun and said, "Go have fun" while my mother stood there with her mouth agape. As I skipped off toward the display, looking for things that needed stapling I heard her say, "You do realize you just gave Kristin a staple gun, right dear? You do realize this may result in injury, right?"

I totally got my Tim the Tool Man on stapling that garland to that board. Paul laughed at me the whole time, but I didn't care. I had enough testosterone flowing through my veins I could've taken him. I'm pretty sure.

Now, if you're local or anywhere NEAR local you need to drive your family out to Twin Bridges State Park this weekend and see the display. For one thing, it's just dang time you got into the Christmas spirit. And for another - my crew and I will be working one of the gates Saturday night. I think we'll be at the front gate, but don't hold me to that. (If you don't see an adorable family at the front gate you'll see us at the end.) If this weekend doesn't work for you then Paul and I will be working a gate next Tuesday night as well, sans kids, so come out then. Either way, get thee to the State Park and partake of the Christmas wonders beheld there. And make sure you say hi!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Some things you just can't fix

I know, I know....I say I'm going to post more and I do pretty good for awhile then boom I'm all gone and stuff again. I really did have a good reason this time.

Sunday the kids and I just hung out at the house here, doing laundry and eating gratuitous amounts of Oreos. And I know y'all have days like this, I didn't ever find energy time to shower. It's gross, but some days merit absolute laziness. You know that. When Paul got home I started dinner - I had a plate of hamburger patties done and was in the process of getting another skillet going, the calico potatoes were just starting to sizzle in another and I was feeling ten kinds of relaxed. I was up to my wrists in hamburger meat when my cell phone started ringing the theme to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" which is my biological father. I hollered for someone to come answer it and Abby came to the rescue. I said, "It's Pepaw, answer it." She did then palely handed it to me and said, "He wants to talk to you NOW." I could hear him shouting as I leaned in as she held it.

My father is a stern man who rarely emotes, but I said hello only to hear him say in the most frantic voice I've ever heard come from that man, "Your Aunt Shirlye just went down. We did CPR, she's on her way to Baptist. Come now, kid. Now." I said, "We're on our way," walked into the living room on the verge of quiet hysteria and said, "Aunt Shirlye's on her way to the hospital. They had to do CPR. That's all I know. Get your shoes on." Paul and the kids just did what I said and for like the only time ever no one said anything, asked anything, whined or complained.

I washed my hands (finally) and still fighting back the urge to just sit in the floor and cry for awhile, managed to get my shoes on, run a comb through my greasy hair and put the half-cooked dinner away for whenever. I had Paul call Cousin Courtney to see if the kids could stay with her, still not knowing the situation at the hospital, and then we blew out the door - all this in a matter of probably less than 10 minutes. I still hadn't cried at that point. I wasn't sure if I could stop if I started and I didn't want to walk into that hospital looking skanky AND hysterical.

I pulled up to the ER entrance, got out so Paul could get in and drive the kids to Courtney's and as I was walking toward the door I saw my father waving frantically for me to get in there. I ran as best as a fat girl can run and as soon as I entered the lobby my father put his arm around me and the hospital chaplain ushered him, me and my Uncle Tom into the ER. Still, at this point I had no clue what was going on and we met up with my stepmother as we walked. I raised my eyebrows at her, hoping for a clue. I got none. We were then led into a trauma room to find that Aunt Shirlye didn't had died. Then I cried.

These past few days have been a whirlwind of non-communication, tears, laughter, confusion, acceptance, anger, frustration and memories. Any time I am with my father's side of the family I realize how close we all aren't and it makes me so sad. When Nan passed away and we spent day after day in that hospital room with each other, drinking bad coffee and sodas from the machine in the waiting room and telling stories from our childhood, we all decided we needed to be closer. That was the first of September. It's now the first of December and I can say that one cousin and I are in closer contact now. That's all. When my Papa passed away you could barely drag us away from each other. Every family is different - it just so happens that my two sides are polar opposites. And we haven't even touched on my husband's family. They all think I'm an alien. No, I'm not kidding.

I love my father's family and they all love me, but it's just not a priority to get together I guess. They are just vastly different from my mom's side of the family and I have to realize that rather than get my feelings hurt or be disappointed when I feel like a raucous, loud stranger in a group of non-vocal people who stare at me like they wish I was a mute. My loud sense of humor and desire to make people laugh is wholly appreciated by one side and wholly not by the other. Aha...something just occurred to me - maybe it's ME they're all avoiding! Maybe that's why we never get together - they probably are having family dinners and just not telling me!

I kid, I kid.

I think.

So see? I have a great excuse this time for taking a few days from the blog - I was coming to terms with the fact that I am THAT relative.

This is going to make Christmas so much fun this year! I am going to try doubly hard to live up to expectations! WOOT!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dear Sis

Dear Sis,

Tomorrow you move. I could just add the line "You suck" and call this complete because it sums up my feelings at this moment.

Actually no, it wouldn't be complete because there are so many other things I want to say.

You and I are just about as alike and different as two sisters can be. At times I find it so hard to believe that we share the same set of parents, but at other times it's like we share a brain.

You like asparagus. I personally would rather chew on a dog turd than eat that nasty stuff.

We haven't done it in a long time, but that whole bursting into song IN HARMONY thing? Still freaks me out.

You wear heels and suffer through the pain for the mere sake of fashion. My sneaks and I wouldn't know fashion if it hit us with a Coach bag.

We both love us some Michael Buble'.

You do math puzzles FOR FUN. I used to have Mom write a notebook page full of sentences just so I could diagram them FOR FUN.

You feel like there is so much more out there waiting for you, full of opportunity and adventure. I feel like all that stuff out there is waiting for me so it can chop me up into pieces, stuff me in a 55 gallon drum and bury me in its backyard.

We both love our kids and feel we're doing right by them and anyone who doesn't agree is not only a complete a**hole, but will probably also get mowed over.

For the rest of my days I will remember and be appreciative of the time you took a brussel sprout for me.

I will also remember all those times when we were kids that I shot you down, hurt your feelings and dismissed you because you were annoying.

The night we were dragging Main and you made me laugh SO hard then flipped the seat down so it looked like I was a raving lunatic laughing by myself? Yeah, also a very fond memory.

I slapped a kid for you on the school bus when he kicked you. The week of riding in the front of the bus as punishment was totally worth it.

You were there last summer during the church drama that dented my faith and made me doubt humanity and religion and people as a whole.

When I was about 15 I told you you could just wake up one day gay, not knowing you had OCD and that very thought would terrify you for years. Of course, I also told you that if you pulled your pants and your underwear up at the same time you would get sick, so you should've known I was full of it.

You held onto my arm for dear life the first time I rode the Tower of Terror and made my first trip to Disney World one I will never forget.

You refrained from punching me in the mouth the day I backed you against a wall and screamed in your face. The only thing that saved me from a fat lip that day was the fact I was pregnant. I deserved a fat lip, pregnant or not.

You killed my goldfish.

I probably broke 27 traffic laws driving your orange kitten to the vet after the dog got hold of her and shook her nearly to death. Dad was pretty peeved about that vet bill, but you were so upset I couldn't just do nothing.

You allowed me to be there for your first child's birth and I'm so glad you were there for the birth of my last. You have allowed me to have a very important hand in raising your children and for that I am eternally grateful.

You were and still are one of the few people that acknowledge the baby we lost as a real child, someone to be missed. Everyone else was quick to sweep his death under the rug, but you were an Auntie from the start to a child you never knew.

I haven't been there for you lately and I've already apologized for this, but I feel the need to do it again. It's because of my selfishness and fear that I have pulled back. I hope you can forgive me for doing this. You and I have a very special and unique relationship as sisters and I am terrified that is never going to be the same. I have had so many women say they wish they had the same kind of relationship with their sister that you and I have. I'm scared that putting 200 miles between us is going to change that. I still don't understand your need to go because as I mentioned before that same world out there that seems so welcoming and full of promise and opportunity to you seems cruel and unforgiving to me, but boy how I admire your courage. I always have. I worry, but it's because I'm the big sister and it's my job.

Be good. Always lock your car and apartment. Sleep with your cell phone under your pillow. Call me. Read my blog. Be cautious. Know that because we're broke and can't come see you does not mean we don't have the desire. Take pictures. Play your Wii. Read books. Glee and LOST should still be priorities, as well as calling me during both. Be safe. Take a vitamin every now and then, okay?

The night of the Glenn Thanksgiving last week, when you were here early, both of us in the kitchen, singing songs from Glee and dancing like idiots while the bruschetta baked and your banana pudding mixed will probably be one of my most precious memories ever. I almost said something as it was happening, but decided to keep my mouth shut and just enjoy.

If things get tough, if you've had a bad day, you know where to find me - you know I'm not going anywhere.

I love you,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas, Possums and a Whole Lotta Drama

I said I was going to post here at least every other day, managed ONE POST before I blew it. I am awesome.

Yesterday Paul, my niece Karissa, Conner and I spent the entire day at the state park setting up our display for the Park of Lights. Okay, we took about 45 minutes out of that to go eat deliciously greasy hamburgers at the Turtle Stop Cafe', but the rest of the time we were at that dang park. We couldn't have done it without Karissa - she kept Conner occupied with a seemingly endless supply of Froot Loops and entertainment, plus she kept me amused and entertained by adding "on a steek" and "That's what she said" to the end of virtually every sentence spoken.

Cars have been driving through to see get a preview, I guess. One car stopped and rolled their window down. I stopped what I was doing and looked up, but they just waved and I could see they were laughing. They drove on and next thing I know there's this little kid, about 11 or 12, standing next to my outhouse! His mom asked if she could take his picture next to it. I would've been happier if he'd wanted his picture taken with me but I guess my outhouse is the next best thing.

We left the park around 3 with chapped lips, no fingerprints because of all the duct taping we did (we can embark on a life of crime!) but a sense of accomplishment at what we'd managed to get done. Or maybe we were all just punch-drunk and exhausted.

In fact, that's why I didn't post last night - I just flat fell asleep. I changed in my pj's, sat in my big chair to read Wicked and boom I was out. Sam woke me up laughing and saying, "Mom, if you're going to read you should probably open your eyes." The whole house was in bed by 9. You know the whole household is tired when even the kids are asking to go to bed.

This morning Paul, the kids and I went back to finish up at the park. Courtney called me mid-morning and asked if she could bring Conner to me since Aunt Janet had to have some unexpected surgery. Abby had a great time babysitting him so I could listen to my husband mumble and complain about how he had no idea how we were going to power the display despite the extension cords snaking all over the ground. I ended up driving to Fairland to buy four more cords to satisfy him. He still mumbled, though.

I think the best highlight of the day was when Pops handed me a staple gun and told me to go have fun. My momma works for the county election board and their display is next door to ours. I am probably a pretty bad neighbor because I kept going over and bugging them. I'd gone over to borrow a cup of sugar see if they had a stapler and he gave me an actual staple gun. Oh the power! I probably put WAY more staples in that garland than were necessary, but oh wow did I have fun.

The next-to-best highlight was using his big hammer to drive stakes into the ground. Again, THE POWER! My mom had walked over to bring me a Mountain Dew and got so tickled watching me hammer and punctuate every blow with a word - "GET - IN - THE - GROUND". She said she was about to get misty at the sight of me doing physical labor. She's so funny.

The display is now done except for a pair of socks that Paul's going to have to hang on the line on his way home from work tomorrow afternoon. We're in a bigger spot this year and we're right on the highway. We had to get more lighting because not only did we add a few more large items but we are just spread out more. There are still a lot of trees around us, but hopefully being right on the highway will keep the squirrels at bay and keep them away from our lights. If we start having trouble I'll either call Leslie with OK Tourism or just sic the BACA guys on 'em.

The display opens tomorrow night at 6pm and will be open until 9. Make sure you drive through and see the lights. Heck, drive through many, many times and vote each time! I don't know our display number, but it will be out in front of the display. Really, just keep your eyes peeled for the possums. Ours don't move much, though, so if you see one scurrying it might not be our display.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's THAT Time Again

You know, if the holidays came around in the summer I'd be able to do everything that needs to be done without flirting with a psychotic break. Just sayin'.

I HEREBY PROCLAIM that from now until the first of the year I am going to post something here AT LEAST every other day. It may be something wondrous and splendid and it may be a string of letters and characters from me banging my head on the keyboard. Still, check back. Both could prove to be edutaining and informational.

If my daughter gets an iTouch before I do I will literally throw myself on the ground and scream and cry. Unfortunately it looks like I have a tantrum to perform because my mother-in-law gives the kids $200 apiece for Christmas. And not me. :-(

Last night I stayed up until 1am watching Brokeback Mountain and drinking what may or may not have been an alcoholic drink from a Mason jar.

I have decided that the 21 year old me would find that scenario laughable. She has no idea. have no idea. Oh you know what I mean.

We had our Annual Glenn Family Festivus Planning Meeting Friday night. The bylaws were amended, there was mucho goosing by the Sergent at Arms and while the meeting was very raucous and loud, I think it was the most fun Planning Meeting we've ever had.

To learn more about our Festivus Celebration and see pictures from last year's gathering go here, but be warned: there are pictures there that actually have been used against me by a very angry woman who tried to ruin my reputation. (Yes, seriously.) If you are offended by pictures of a fully-clothed man in a candy g-string and don't have much of a sense of humor you should probably not go look. However, if your family is as crazy as mine you should seriously consider adopting a tradition like that yourselves. The Festivus tradition, not the candy g-string tradition. Unless that's how you roll and if it is, you are awesome.

It has been decided by several family members that over the Christmas break we are going Duggar hunting. We'd like to be able to add "Duggar Sighting" to our list of what we did over the holiday.

We love our Duggars here at the Diva Ranch - so much so we renamed our prolific momma cat (formerly known as Mamacita) Michelle Duggar. She has done as much for the feline population as the human Michelle Duggar has done for the human population. (Maybe even more, but we figured asking the real Michelle Duggar to rename herself Mamacita was out of the question.) We asked Abby if she'd like to be a Duggar someday, seeing as how John David is a teenager and the next male in line to marry, but she said she wasn't willing to give up her skull wardrobe and flat-ironed hair. However, my Kady is totally on board and thinks being a Duggar would be "Duggarific". We now call her J'Kady.

I have rag-rolled Kady's hair several times over the last few years. The first time she looked like the Cowardly Lion. The second time, Little Orphan Annie. For Halloween this year she was a gypsy and I l o o s e l y rag-rolled her hair. The results were beautiful ringlets that lasted two days without making her look like a member of the Jackson 5. So the other night Abby asked if I could roll hers l o o s e l y as well.

Yeah. Something went awry. After sleeping on the rags all night she was excited to see the finished product the next morning. I unrolled the rags and had her flip her head over so I could finger comb the curls out. When I finished I had her flip her head up. Instead of busting out into the loudest BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I had in me at 6:30am like I SO wanted to, I instead grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her toward the mirror. The look on her face was a Kodak moment and I hate it I missed catching it with the camera. When she could speak again she said, "Oh Momma you have to DO SOMETHING!" I pulled the sides back. She made a face. I grabbed it all and pulled it back into a ponytail. Okay, have you ever been to the county fair and walked the area between the cattle barns right before a show? Ever seen those kids take a teasing comb and a bottle of AquaNet to a cow's tail? If you're a city slicker and have no idea what I'm talking about well, you are just going to have to use your imagination because I have Googled every possible combination I can think of to find a picture of a cow's tail before a show and can't find one. Dadgummit.

Anyway, her ponytail was a gigantic ball on the back of her head and she was starting to panic. Next try was me piling it on top of her head. She groaned and said, "Well, just stick a tiara in there and send me to the ball, MOTHER." Oops, my bad. So I grabbed a wide-toothed comb and started trying to relax the curls. Ugh, it just made her hair W I D E, as I kind of though it would. The clock was ticking, she had tears threatening to spill over and at one point declared she was NOT going to school. Finally, I pulled it back into a ponytail again, this time with the curls not so tight and angry-looking, and managed to arrange them and tame them with hairspray.

Word to you mothers: Be ye careful with the rag rolls. For thou knowest not how your child's hair will reacteth. Thus, tryeth the rolling of the rags out on a weekend first. Henceforth. And stuff.

This afternoon, after we get our bellies full of turkey and all that other yumminess, we Hoovahs are headed to the state park to get the ball rolling on our Park of Lights display. As usual, we have procrastinated and lollygagged until we're down to a few days to get it set up, lit and running. We do it every year and I said this year would be different, but life has just kind of gotten in the way as life is wont to do. Stupid, inconvenient life.

(Pictures of the first year's display here. Not sure where last year's display went...)

We are setting up at a different spot this year, right on the highway, in an effort to elude the dadgum squirrels that kept eating our lights in years past. We gave our spot to the nice fellas at BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) because number one, I *heart* them and because number two, if anyone can scare those squirrels into the stopping of the chewing, it's those guys. They're really just big ol' tenderhearted teddy bears, but the squirrels don't know that.

Starting Thanksgiving night you can mosey on our to Twin Bridges State Park by Wyandotte, OK, and get yourself into the Christmas spirit by driving through and seeing the lights everyone has put blood, sweat and tears into for your pleasure. It's free to go through, but you can leave a donation at the end if you so desire. Make sure you look for the outhouse and possums and vote for ME!

Oh and as it gets closer to time I'll let you know when you can drive through and actually SEE US! I know! Seeing bazillions of Christmas lights AND getting to see your favorite hometown Redneck Diva is THE BOMB. Trust me on this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review This

Hey y'all, mosey on over to my review blog and check out the latest!

My reviews of a book, a few CD's, a website for moms and a Cinnabon treat - it's all over there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And now I vomit on my keyboard

Last week was bad. Now, yes, I realize that it could've been worse and technically I have no right to complain and whine around, but it's my blog and you've decided to share in this splendiferous journey known as My Life, so settle in and listen up, childrens. Momma Diva is tellin' a story.

On Halloween my biological dad told me that he has five tumors on his thyroid or parathyroid and they were going to have to do biopsies and surgeries and essentially the doctor said, "You'll have another 20 good years. By then you'll be 78. That should be long enough." Kind of callous and cold if you ask me. While my relationship with my father isn't as close as I'd like it to be, he's still my father and I do love him. Parental mortality isn't a subject I care to dwell on at any time, much less when everything else around me is crap.

I haven't said anything about it here on the blog, but if you're my friend on Facebook you've seen me mentioned a few times that my little sister is moving. As in away from me. I don't like to talk about it because it sucks. I've had many little meltdowns over the past month or two, but Tuesday of last week I just lost my stuff and went and blew a freakin' gasket. Unfortunately I lost that stuff all over my momma and because she is one of the two people I can tell anything to, she got the brunt of every emotion that had been bubbling up inside. There are more issues than just Sis moving and let's just suffice it to say that it all sucks a big ol' bunch of sucking.

Wednesday Sam had an orthodontist appointment to get another round of metal installed in his little mouth and an hour later Kady had an appointment with her PA because her eczema is causing her to scratch like a puppy with mange all the livelong day. I am so tired of her scratching to the point of bleeding and so is she, bless her heart. Because we didn't know how long Sam's appointment would take Paul drove his truck to town, too, just in case I had to leave before Sam was done to take Kady to her appointment. It ended up that timing-wise we were fine so when Sam was done Paul just took him to get ice cream and go home while Kady and I headed across town.

Now, because there are signs all over the waiting room that scream TURN OFF CELL PHONES BEFORE ENTERING EXAM ROOM I did. I really wanted to concentrate on what the PA was saying, too, so really my cell phone was forgotten for the 30 minutes we were in there. With prescriptions in hand Kady, Conner and I made our way to the van and as I reached in my purse to turn my phone off vibrate I felt it going off. Before I flipped it open I noticed there were about eight missed calls. That is never, ever good in my world. I answered with a trepiditious "hello" and was greeted with my husband's voice angrily asking, "DID YOU NOT PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL? Of COURSE you didn't because WE DON'T HAVE POWER!"

See, it's one of those months where it's a decision - pay the electric bill and have power or pay my van payment and have transportation. Oh and throw in food and water and toilet paper. I know we're not the only ones who have had to make such a decision. We can't be. I honestly thought there was enough time to skate by on the electric bill until the next payday, but apparently I was totally wrong. We've received a cut-off notice a time or two in our life, but they've always given plenty of notice of the impending doom and managed to get things righted. Guess they just decided we needed a big ol' wake-up call this time.

I asked Paul how much it was going to take to get it turned back on and he informed me that he had been too angry to ask. He had called to report the outage and was informed that his wife is horrible at pooping money and therefore didn't pay the bill. So I hung up with him, took a deep breath and did what I had to do - I called my momma. I was composed until I heard her voice and that's all it took. I lost my stuff yet again. She didn't judge, she didn't scold, she just said, "How much do you need?" It was 2:35 when I called the power company and was told that if I made the payment before 3:00 I could avoid $60 MORE on top of the insane amount they were already charging to turn it back on. I went from Mom's office to her bank, to my bank, then to a parking lot to call the nice lady at REC who managed to get my payment in at 2:58.

I called Paul back to let him know we'd have power by 5 and apologized for being irresponsible and asked him to please not yell at me because his yelling wasn't going to make me feel any worse than I already felt. He was so sweet and said no, there would be no yelling. Strangely enough, his compassion and understanding made me cry more. So by then I had cried myself into a pounding headache, had managed to calm Kady down who had started crying shortly after I had because she has a strict policy that no one cries alone in her presence and decided that power or no power I needed a Sonic sweet tea. Kady and I scrounged around the van (a fun, distracting game) and found enough change to get me a sweet tea, Cousin Courtney a diet Dr. Pepper and her a cherry slush then we took Conner home where I sat on Courtney's couch and cried for 45 minutes while we waited for Kady's prescriptions to be filled.

That night Paul and I sat down and looked at our spending and made some decisions. Man, it sucks being a grownup.

Last year we bought virtually all of our Christmas online at Walmart using BillMeLater, paying it off with our income tax return. Sunday I sat down to do my shopping and BillMeLater denied the purchase because apparently we have a "seriously delinquency" on our credit report, i.e., the $400 hospital bill we have tried to make payments on and they sent our check back because it wasn't the amount they wanted us to pay.

Fortunately, Paul's momma bailed us out on Christmas. Instead of having ham or turkey for our holiday dinners we're going to be eating humble pie.

While talking to Cousin Courtney this weekend she asked how my NaNoWriMo project was coming. I told her I just couldn't do it and I had quit. She immediately started a supportive and uplifting speech then stopped and said, "Wait, which do you need me to be right now? Supportive and understanding or do you need tough love? I can do either." I love her so much I can't even begin to express it. I told her I needed understanding and that I needed her to tell me that being a mother is more important than writing a novel this month. She wholeheartedly agreed and instead turned her pep talk around to encourage me to try again during a month of MY choosing. Have I mentioned how much I love that woman?

Sam and Kady are both playing basketball this year and from now until February we will be living at the gym at least two nights a week and all day on Saturdays once games start. Not to mention that for the next month Sam has Little Theatre practice as well, meaning that Thursdays you will find one or more member of the Hoover clan at the elementary gym from 3:30 until 7:30pm. I don't begrudge one second of this because this is something our kids want and we will make it happen if it means giving up even more. Those kids are my everything and no novel will ever hug me at night and tell me it loves me more than soup. Everything I do in this life is about them, even when I think it isn't.

Now before anyone gets all preachy at me about money -- Paul and I talked about me going back to work again and it still doesn't pay us for me to do that. We like me being at home and until we get to where we can't feed our kids it will likely stay that way. We're in that uncomfortable spot just under the poverty level where if you stay where you are and scrape by the skin of your teeth, paycheck to paycheck, you keep medical insurance for your kids and free school lunches. If you add another income you lose all that and you pay more than you make in insurance and food and gasoline and clothing. See, I can still wear my old holey sweats and save us money!

We made a choice several years ago to give up any and all credit cards. We do our absolute best to only buy what we need and pay cash. We didn't do as much this last summer, we don't run out and buy the iTouch we want so desperately we can taste it, we only get our highlights touched up every 9 months because we don't have a credit card BUT by March of next year we will also own our vehicles, have no credit card debt and while it's hard now, we know there's a light at the end of this really poor tunnel.

Why am I writing about this? It's not for sympathy. I guess it's to let anyone out there who has had their power cut off, who has had to tell their kids that even Santa is feeling the pinch of a rotten economy, who has had to give up TLC, Disney Channel and Spike which means no more Duggars, Hannah Montana or WWE, who has had to lean on family to get them through.... well, you're not alone. You really aren't. You can ask for help if you have a support system, you can swallow your pride and admit things are tough, you can send me emails and I will cry with you.

This Thanksgiving I think I'm going to be more thankful than I've been in years. Yes, it's tough and I've seen happier days, but I am blessed with three healthy kids, a husband who puts up with my poor budgeting skillz, a roof over my head and no one in this house has ever had to miss a meal.

And my father just called - the biopsy showed no cancer.

Thank God.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo boo boo! Stick your face in doo doo!

I've heard about it for years. I actually looked into it last year. I guess it was just in the natural progression of things that I would actually do it this year.

I am writing a novel this month. I am participating in NaNoWriMo. OH MY GOSH. Please take this moment to put together a Priority Mail Package for me full of Mountain Dew, Xanax, Dunkin Donuts coffee and chocolate Tootsie Pops. I find I can concentrate much better with a chocolate Tootsie Pop crammed in my maw. Yes, seriously. It causes synaptic firing or something. Google it.

People tell me all the time they think I should write a book. However, no one has ever told me to write one in a month. Also, my plans for a book are really more of an Erma Bombeck type format, short stories, essays and the like. (Hey, kind of like my blog! Wow. How creative of me.) So this writing a 50,000 word work of fiction is really causing me to step out of my warm little bubble of security and comfort.

I have set a personal goal of 2000 words a day. I know there will be days I don't get there. Yesterday I wrote 1794 by day's end, but in my defense, yesterday my goal was 1800 words. Today I have written two words so far. Of course, I've also been trying to keep the puppy from using Conner as a chew toy, doing laundry and cleaning up puppy mess. Oh and being interrupted 92 times when my husband finds something on Jerry Springer and Maury SO amusing he must rewind the TV to show me - like how that gal in the g-string pulled out some other chick's weave while their boyfriend threw Cool Whip at them. (Why the boyfriend had Cool Whip on stage in the first place is beyond me, but then again, I don't even pretend to understand half of what happens on those shows.) Plus, all those closets in my house are now in URGENT NEED of being cleaned out and organized. I'm also sick and tired of all those pictures of the kids being just stashed in totes under the beds and those picture albums aren't going to fill themselves, ya know. Oh and? I'm thinking about hand crafting our Christmas cards this year. You know, because I've never done that before and it might be fun and what? No, I'm not avoiding writing. Why do you ask? Oh, because I'm writing a blog post instead of my novel? Hmh. You might have a point.

My friend Cap'n Neurotic said at this point last year he had 10,000 words and he had 4600 last night. I told him he sucks. My friend Delinda had nearly 3500 words last night. She sucks, too. And I also admire them and applaud their progress. Because they are rocking the NaNo, which is only somewhat like rocking the Casbah yet much more fulfilling. My cousin Lori is my favorite cheerleader of all. She was one of the "winners" last year and she's awesome like that. She's a continual source of encouragement and tips. She may find me sobbing on her doorstep one of these nights. (Lori, just give me a Tootsie Pop and I'll go away. Well, I'm pretty sure...)

I have wondered many, many times who the dingbat was that decided NOVEMBER was the right month to crash-write a novel. I mean, does that person not celebrate Thanksgiving? Does that person not have pumpkin pies to bake and a house to clean? Does that person not shop for Christmas presents early? Wait. Wait wait WAIT. I know the answer to these questions. Because that person is obviously not female. That person may very well be my husband.

I considered giving up the night before it all started, so to stop myself from backing out I ordered the t-shirt. Yes, I am that dorky. But I also know that the money in my PayPal account is so precious right now that ordering a t-shirt for a project I weenied out of before I even started was not an option.

And while I think the design is great and I look forward to wearing it I think instead the official t-shirt slogan should be, "I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wild Rumpus

Yesterday was my nephew TotTwo's birthday. He wanted to see Astro Boy, but our little theater wasn't showing it and trekking 45 minutes to Joplin on a school night wasn't an option, so we all loaded up to go see Where the Wild Things Are.

First off, let me just say that I have the rawest emotions right now - my family is in a bit of upheaval, it's been rainy and gloomy for weeks now and my self-diagnosed SAD is kickin' in early this year, we are feeling that $2 an hour pay cut my husband took several months ago (How convenient that we just start to feel it this time of year...), and the holidays are closing in quickly. I cry at stupid stuff, I tend to over-emote over minute details and everything is cataclysmic. Yeah, I'm pretty much a wreck.

When I first saw the trailers for Wild Things I teared up, even though it was previewing before the dang Harry Potter movie I saw with my then 12 year old who merely rolled her eyes are her mother who had the audacity to cry over a TRAILER. I came home gushing over how I HAD to see that movie and Kady immediately picked it as her "And Me" date.

Explanation: Paul and I try very hard to spend one-on-one time with our kids when we can. Whether it's a trip to Walmart with one child, an afternoon making cookies or even a "Hey, I've gotta go pick up a loaf of bread, wanna ride with?" type thing. Not very often we also do an "And Me" night with the kids - you know, Mom and Me, Dad and Me. Get it? Back in the summer Abby and I saw Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Paul and Sam saw both Transformers movies. Sam and I are going to see AstroBoy and Abby and I will see New Moon next month. Kady and I .... wait.....something just occured to me. Our dates should be "And I" date. Dude, my mad grammar skillz are slipping. Oh well. We've called them And Me Dates for so long, why switch now?


Kady and I have planned for months to go see Wild Things but TotTwo's AstroBoy-less birthday party kind of demanded a change in plans. When we got there Kady asked if I was okay with her sitting with the "big girls" (her cousin and her cousin's friend) and I said that was fine by me. Not every day your big bad 7 year old self gets to sit with full-fledged BIG GIRLS WHO ARE NOT YOUR BIG SISTER, ya know. Well, all it took was watching poor Max destroying his big sister's room in a rage of hurt feelings too much for his little self to handle to send Kady running back to me in a blubbering, sobbing mess of tears and emotion. It wasn't that long ago she taped all of her brother's books shut in a fit of frustration and hurt feelings and I'm guessing she totally knew what Max was feeling.

At one point she and I had to get up and leave the theater for a few minutes so she could calm down. She is a very emotional child, to say the least.

I loved every bit of the movie - even the loud, visually intense scenes and was able to enjoy them despite my mother saying, "Oooh I'm getting nauseous from that camera wiggling like that." I was able to dwell internally on the underlying themes of familial conflict and acceptance while my oldest daughter and sister yawned loudly and repeatedly. I was able to nod my head in complete agreement at the unconditional love the Wild Things had for each other even when all they wanted to do was eat each other and run away, even though everyone else around me was checking their cell phones for the time and fidgeting in their seats.

I was riveted. I was mesmerized. I was Max. I was a Wild Thing. I was a mother with my arms wrapped around my sobbing 7 year old, silently crying into her hair, hoping she never grows up and never loses her imagination and always hangs onto those emotions that grab her the way they do right now.

When the movie was over and Kady and I had at least stopped sobbing to the point we could walk, we all got up to leave. Mom patted Kady and said, "Honey, I'm on the verge of tears, too - I paid money to see this movie." Pops chuckled. Mom said, "No, I'm serious. I didn't understand one thing that went on on that screen!" Abby rolled her eyes, flipped open her phone and sent a text updating her Facebook status to say that she had just seen a movie that was dumb and confusing.

Standing in the theater lobby tried to explain to them what they had all just experienced, but they all stared back at me blankly. Finally I gave up and said they were all dumb and shallow-minded. Fortunately, they love me enough to know that I said that in the nicest way possible and don't hold their inability to understand wild rumpuses and gobbling someone up because you love them so against them in any way.

When I tucked Kady in last night she asked if she could be Max for Halloween. I said, "Honey, Halloween is two days away and I just don't have time to sew you a wolf costume by then."

She nodded, yawned and said, "Okay, next year then, Momma...."

I turned her light off and hoped beyond hope that next year she still believes in Wild Things. Really, I hope she always does.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It's Spooky How Awesome I Am At This Mother Thing

Normally when it comes to Halloween and my kids' costumes I am one crazy stage mom. I mean, seriously, in years past those gals on Toddlers and Tiaras would have had NOTHING on me. We don't just dress up - we get into character. We suffer for the sake of the costume. We rehearse. We research. We live and die by the costume. We meaning my kids. See also: the year Abby pushed a shopping cart as a bag lady and nearly had security called on her when she walked into the Library Administration building at the college. Or the year my kids were Goth.

This year I just haven't been feeling it. I was totally in a zombie frame of mind and all three kids were going to be zombies - Abby a zombie cheerleader, Sam and zombie nerd and Kady a zombie ballerina. I already had my little zombie family pictured in my head, we talked about it constantly. But then something happened and suddenly my zombie dreams just staggered out the window and into the path of an oncoming truck.

Abby decided that dressing up was lame. Sam decided that he wanted to be something from Star Wars (which I nixed). Kady said if she was going to be a ballerina she at least wanted to be a clean one that wasn't oozing brains. Apparently, they didn't want the zombie family dream as much as I did.


Plus, with Halloween being on a weekend this year, it would require TWO separate days of costuming and since we have all of three houses to trick or treat I wasn't feeling the whole drama of doing it twice in as many days. The elementary kids will dress up Friday for school and then we'd have to dress up again Saturday night and fight what I fear will be a crazy wicked insane night full of people. People who might be carrying a flu virus!

Yes, our Halloween has been drastically redirected because I am terrified of the pandemic that is upon us. I admit it. Feel free to send your leftover Paxil, Prozac, wellbutrin or Xanax my way since, ya know, I don't have health insurance.

So anyway, I bribed the kids with the promise of exorbitant amounts of candy, DVR'd spooky shows AND A NEW PUPPY.


You can either boo me or send me an award. I figure it could go either way.

I asked Abby last night what she wanted to do on Saturday night. "You want popcorn AND candy? Or just candy? Movies? What?" She looked at me blankly and said, "Play with the new puppy. That's it. Nothing else." Sweet. Saves me money on candy.

Yesterday I made a quick run to Joplin to buy Sam a pair of black, low-top Converse shoes and a Fred t-shirt because he just wants to be Fred now. Please be warned: If you have not yet experienced Fred I hereby disclaim any auditory injury you may incur by clicking that link. Also, don't play it around your 10 year old son, otherwise you, too, will live that life I live right now - where every sentence is spoken in a false-preschool voice and seventy-leven times a day I hear, "HEY, IT'S FRED!"

Kady is resurrecting the gypsy costume her older sister wore in the 2nd grade. She doesn't really understand what a gypsy is, she just knows she gets to wear makeup and gigantic hoop earrings. This morning she asked me, "Exactly what is a gypsy, anyway?" Apparently yesterday she was trying to explain to her friends what a gypsy was.

She told them she's dressing up as someone who dances for money.

I am just glad she didn't ask me if she gets to carry around a pole.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Observations from the Yard

* Saying you'll never have another garage/yard sale doesn't necessarily make it so.

* I used to think that ads saying "NO EARLY SALES" was rude and unnecessary - until we had someone show up at 5:45 this year. Sis and I were bringing things around from the back yard and as we got into the front yard we saw Mom talking to people in a car in the driveway. We said we weren't ready. The driver shouted out the window, "Well, can we just hang out here until you are? We don't have any place else to go!" I felt like I was on a reality show as I finished putting things out with all the watching they were doing.

* There is one lady who comes to EVERY yard sale we've ever had. Over the years we've come to call her Snake Light Lady because one year she showed up before dawn and had a snake light wrapped around her forearm so she could see. She will try to bargain with you on EVERYTHING no matter how cheap you have it priced. I absolutely refuse to come down for her on principle alone. We price yard sale items to sell because we have no desire to bring them back into our houses. Plus, she buys our crap and RE-SELLS it in her own flea market! I think not, Snake Light Lady. I'm onto your clever and cheap ruse.

* I posted this as a Facebook update Saturday morning and it bears repeating: Rude yard sale people that unfold EVERY SET OF SHEETS may get sissy kicked in the back of the head. Yeah, you heard me, grandma. Your bun will not protect you. She didn't even buy any of the dang sheets and I had to refold them all.

* Most disconcerting thing I heard all day: A child barking his head off like he had tuberculosis and as he touched every toy on the table his mom repeatedly put his hood up on his head and said, "Put yer hood up, Johhny. Yer sick, remember?"

* Sometimes a .50 pooping Barbie dog is the best toy a kid could ever get at a garage sale. Just ask my mom's neighbor's daughter.

* Normally on yard sale day we do a sleepover at the host's house, but this year I didn't have it in me to sleep on my sister's couch. Paul was already borderline whizzed at me for having another yard sale to begin with, so we came home around 10:30 Friday night. Also normally, I get up in time enough to shower, fix my hair and put on makeup. This year I didn't. Two cousins, my optometrist's wife, a kid I was in band with in high school, a teacher at my kids' school, a girl I was in youth group with at Picher FBC and several thousand other people I knew came to our garage sale this time. Of course. I looked like a skanky street walker by day's end. Heck, I probably looked that way before 8am.

* I simply cannot - CANNOT - have a garage sale with my sister and not buy something from her. It's something in my DNA. Or maybe I'm just stupid. This sale's booty? Two ginormous coffee mugs that hold roughly 2.6 gallons of liquid apiece because really I need that much coffee at a setting, a copy of The Portable Pediatrician to give to my cousin because it is THE BEST book to have if you're a parent and neurotic like I am and two of my niece's Pixel Chix that are totally going in Kady's stocking this year because I am cheap.

* Some people will bargain with you, not because they are poor or really even looking for a great deal - some bargain with you just to tick you off. You can see it in their eyes. I once had a guy bargain with me for five solid minutes over a food dehydrator. I had it priced at $7 and considering I had used it once, that was a great price. He thought he'd eventually wear me down and maybe that I'd give in just to get rid of him. I did not. I also did not sell the dehydrator and at day's end I hummed a happy tune as I loaded it up to be donated.

* I just remembered I haven't paid Sis for that stuff.

* I will never, ever, EVER have another yard sale.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



The kids do a Career Walk in the 5th grade where they go to school. They pick a career and then dress up and give a short speech over and over and over throughout the day as people come through the building. Abby did it two years ago, my niece did it last year and this year Sam is doing it.

When Abby was Sam's age she wanted to be a gymnastics coach. She was told that was a dream job.

My niece said she wanted to run an orphanage. She was told that was a dream job.

My son wants to go to Julliard. He has dreams of being an actor. He was told yesterday that being an actor is a "dream job."

Now, I realize that choosing a job for this career walk isn't setting in stone their career paths, nor is it feasible to let all the firemen be firemen and the all the teachers be teachers for this project. Then you'd have a room full of firemen and teachers and the waitresses and business owners would be under-represented. I realize this is a project about jobs and careers and it's for enrichment purposes.

But these kids are ten and eleven years old. They are not in college prep courses. Most of them aren't even standing on the front porch of puberty yet, knock knock knockin' to get in. Most still think the opposite sex is gross and holding hands will give you cooties. But they have dreams. When Sam was little he wanted to be Superman. Guess who wore Superman pajamas every night. My cousin wanted to be a dogcatcher. His mom told him it was a noble profession and bought him a net. Someone told me last night that her brother-in-law wanted to be a police dog. Did his parents tell him it wasn't possible? No, they let him sit under the table and bark when someone came in. Did he grow up to be a police dog? No. But for that brief moment in time he totally thought he could. He thought he could until he realized on his own that he truly could not be a dog. My cousin, a Kindergarten teacher, wrapped a little girl's legs in aluminum foil once because she wanted to be a mermaid. She was a mermaid that day.

Joe Don Rooney, a member of the country group Rascal Flatts, is from Picher, OK. Carrie Underwood is from Checotah, OK. Mickey Mantle hailed from Commerce, OK. Jamie McMurray is a NASCAR driver from Joplin, MO. And J. R. Conrad played for the New York Jets and he is from the town where the kids go to school. My cousin is from Picher, as well, and he has done acting on the History Channel, has done standup at the Gotham Comedy Club and has been on other TV shows. They're all from relatively small towns, but that didn't stop them. These people were kids once and they pursued a dream. They didn't give up on it.

If we tell our kids that they should always aim low, they will. We need to point them toward the sky and tell them, "See that? It's yours. THERE IS NO LIMIT."

When I was a kid I wanted to be a mommy. I was told I was selling myself short. I was told I was wasting myself. I was told that because I was settling for motherhood I would amount to nothing. Why, I was college-bound! I scored a 32 on the English section of my ACT! I made straight A's and had scholarships! WHAT WAS I THINKING??

I see those three kids walk up my driveway every afternoon and my breath catches in my chest. They are amazing, they are wonderful, they are full of limitless opportunities....

They are my dreams come true.

Just got off the phone with the school counselor who apologized profusely for the misunderstanding. He assured me he wasn't a dream basher (although I kind of feel like he was making such a title akin to "kitten mangler") and that he wasn't telling the kids they couldn't achieve their dreams, just that they needed a plan B, a way to put food in their mouths until they hit it big. He said he would stop calling them dream jobs and would make doubly sure the kids understood what he meant. I also assured him that I would be having a talk with my extra-sensitive boy-child who apparently got his feelings hurt wayyyyyy too easily over this. A talk that may very well begin with, "Stop acting like your sister. You know, the sister that cries during Annabelle's Wish and at Kodak commercials just like her mother. Wait. You know what, just stop acting like your mother. Oh and by the way you are going to make a GREAT actor, son."

And let me just take a moment to tell you that a personal phone call from a school employee who calls me by name is just one more reason why I'm glad my kids attend this school. I wigged out, sent an email in pure advocacy for my child and wasn't met with criticism or defensiveness, but instead with an apology and an explanation. Let the above post just remind us all to refrain from kitten mangling - I mean, dream bashing.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Mouse Gone Wild

We've lived in this house for eight years now. We live 1/10th of a mile off the road and have 30 acres of field on one side, brush and pasture in the front and back and brush to the side. I think it pretty much goes without too much explanation - we have critters. We have armadillos, coyotes, window possums, mangling raccoons that love dogfood, window snakes, not baby copperheads, closeted yellowjackets and various other varmints. We also have mice. Lots and lots of mice.

At this particular moment in time we have four cats - a tom named Floppsy (because he got caught under the truck and broke his foot and it flopped for awhile), two kittens, Zeeb and Carbon and our rather prolific momma cat, recently renamed Michelle Duggar. (What? She's had like, 174 litters over the past seven years, it just seemed like a good name change.) This merry band of felines usually keep the mouse population from entering our house, but apparently Michelle Duggar has morning sickness or something and one got in our house this week.

Monday morning we were going through our usual routine when the discovery was made. I had been sitting on the edge of the couch for probably a good 20 minutes, fixing Abby's hair and then Kady's. We had VH1 going, I had quizzed Sam on his spelling words; in other words, we were not being quiet or still at all.

The kids had cleared out of the room, leaving me alone to watch that song that Abby says sounds like there are ducks in the background (I don't hear waterfowl in it, but she swears that's what it sounds like) when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. I looked to my left and there stood ....... the mouse.

He was wearing a little cowboy hat and had holsters criss-crossed over his hairy little mousy chest. He stared at me, moving the cigarette dangling from his lip as he grinned casually. Raising his mousy paw, he removed the cigarette and spit on the ground. *patooey!* Small claws tapped slowly on the butt of the gun resting securely in its holster. He winked.

That's when I screamed.

And began shouting expletives as I hoisted myself from the edge of the couch to a standing position on the middle cushion. Of course, all three kids came running up the hall. Suddenly the mouse was naked as he fled under cover of the ottoman, thus ruining my chances of the children witnessing the fact we had a Clint Eastwood look-alike rodent in our house. Dang sneaky mouse.

Abby finally shouted above my screams, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN??" I managed to articulate the word MMMMMMMOUSE!!! and because she is the oldest and the one who likes to control every situation she asked, "What do you want me to do? Who do you want me to call? Daddy? Kevin? (the neighbor) WHO, MOM? WHO??" I shook my head and continued screaming.

Instead of allowing her mother to have a stroke right there on the sofa in front of her two younger siblings, she said, "Sam. Get me the broom. I'm going to kill it."

She. Is. My. Hero.

My daughter who is one day short of being a full-fledged, card-carrying teenager and at that moment had eyeliner on a full 1/4" thick below her eyes, was wearing a shirt that plainly stated, "I didn't slap you. I just high-fived you in the face," and was reeking of Butterfly Flower body splash, grabbed my kitchen broom, kicked the ottoman and when the mouse ran out proceeded to attempt to beat the living snot out of the nasty thing. She got a few hits in, but ya know, those mice are incredibly flexible and if you don't hit 'em hard enough they just kind of squish, they don't die. He eventually managed to flee to the safety of the cabinet that houses Wii, PS2 and board games and the battle was over.

I was disappointed for two reasons: 1. I really wanted Abby to be able to brag about a fresh kill to all her friends, which would in turn make them all squeal and turn pale because Abby is one stylish bad-a*s and 2. because I knew that meant I had to leave the house because there was no way I was staying here with a dadgum battle-weary rodent all day with only a 15 month old to protect me. He's just not coordinated enough to deliver a deadly blow with a broom just yet.

Conner and I did indeed leave the house as soon as the bus picked up the school kids and we didn't come back to the house until noon. I called Paul after I bought snap traps and sticky traps and boy howdy, every person that worked in the vault at the casino that day had a good ol' laugh at my expense, especially after I asked him what I needed to bait the sticky trap with. Hey, I didn't know! In my mind it made complete sense to put a tasty, tempting morsel in the middle of the trap so the little bugger would be more inclined to walk on it. Apparently not. Apparently mice are stupid enough to walk across a sticky piece of cardboard for no reason whatsoever ALL ON THEIR OWN.

So far the mouse is still managing to avoid capture, but late at night when everyone else is asleep and the house is quiet and dark......I swear I can hear the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly being whistled from under the ottoman.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pants on Fire

Sunday Sam went into his little sister's room where the bookshelf is housed to get a book to read because I had just declared the Wii off-limits and apparently he couldn't find his NintendoDS because in case you hadn't heard I am not only the queen of the run-on sentence, but also the cruelest mother on the planet for making him do something as ghastly as READ. After he'd been in there awhile I heard him exclaim, "WHAT THE?" followed by the sound every mother cringes when she hears - "MAWWWWWWM!" It's not the tender sweet sound we long to hear our infants coo at us, it's not the word we hear when our child is hurt and needs us to make it all better - no, it is the sound that makes our spines stiffen, our faces grimace and our eyes squint. It's the sound of tattling.

Here he came, stomping up the hall, waving a Captain Underpants paperback in the air, hell bent for election, ready to gather up a lynch mob and string someone up.

"Mom! Someone taped all of my books shut!"

My initial response? *blink blink* followed by "Huh?"


I was intrigued, to say the least. I went back to the bookshelf and yep, sure enough, Captain Underpants 1-6 were taped soundly shut as well his wimpy kid books and as several others. Funny, no Junie B. Jones books were taped shut. No Judy Moody either. Hmmm...something was fishy.

Now, let me explain the dynamics of sibling relationships in our house these days. Abby is the queen bee, the one-week-away-from-being-a-teenager-I-am-SO-much-better-than-you absolute princess of everything around her. She has very little to do with her younger brother and sister and when she does it's a mere eye-roll, a scathing remark or the toss of her Chi-ironed hair over her shoulder and poof she's gone in a cloud of glitter and body splash. Kady idolizes her and Sam just wants to annoy her to death. She ignores them. However, the two younger children have just one goal in mind from the time their precious eyes open in the morning until their darling little heads hit the pillow at night - to fight with each other. And to do so in such a manner that I now have a streak of gray in the front of my hair that makes me look like Stacy London from What Not to Wear. You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

Now, I know siblings fight. My sister and I fought - so profoundly that apparently, as mother has since told us, there were nights she'd cry herself to sleep wondering where she went wrong and what she did to make us hate each other so. When Abby and Sam didn't fight I figured that being barely two years apart was the key. I should've known that Sam and Kady being three years apart - just like my sister and I - there would be fighting and lots of it. I really should've known.

That all being said, as soon as I became aware of the book-taping escapade I had a pretty good idea of who the taper was. However, I didn't want to accuse wrongly so I simply asked both girls, "Did you tape your brother's books shut?" Abby, of course, scoffed at the mere suggestion of there being a moment of time in her imminently important day to do such an immature act and Kady blinked innocently and said, "Of course not, Momma. I would nevvvvver do something like that."

Bingo. We had our perp.

She is creative and she is sneaky, but she is a horrible liar. I mean, really, really bad. She just can't do it. She's going to have to get better if she's going to utilize the sneakiness to its fullest potential. Just sayin'. So instead of starting a big ruckus right then I simply said, "Well, I can't imagine who would've done it. Maybe TotOne or TotTwo? But why would they do it? Hmmm...." She shrugged and batted her eyelashes again. "Well," I said, "I'll just have to have everyone in the living room for a meeting as soon as y'all get off the bus tomorrow afternoon." That seemed to satisfy Sam who was carefully picking scotch tape from the holy grail of pre-pubescent humor and Kady bit her lip and picked at a piece of paper in the floor.

Yesterday my three kids, the Tots and my friend Kim's daughter, Nattie, got off the bus here and when they got to the house I asked them all to have a seat in the living room. Sam was all business - he just wanted justice. Abby settled in to watch the show with smugness written all over her bad self - probably secretly hoping a flogging was in order for the offender. Kady plopped down primly in the big chair and said nothing. The Tots and Nattie sat down with looks of utter confusion on their faces. I started with The Golden Rule then asked if anyone liked it when someone tore up their toys or books or games. Heads shook all over the room. I then said, "Well, last week someone taped all of Sam's books shut and I would just like to know who that person was." Of course everyone was looking at everyone else as well as declaring, "Wasn't me! Not me!" I went on to say, "The person who did it (as I was looking straight at Kady) isn't in trouble for doing it, I just want that person to know that taping books is disrespectful and could've torn up the books. Anyone wanna tell me anything?"

Nada. I got nothing more than what I'd been getting, "Wasn't me! Not me!"

So then I said, with a heavy sigh that suggested the weight of the world had been set on my shoulders at that very moment, "Well, then until someone confesses and tells the truth no one can play in the bedrooms. Y'all will just have to stay up here. And if no one tells the truth by Christmas break I guess y'all will still be sitting here after school every day." Of course, this brought outrage to everyone in the room - except Kady.

Then I see a hand shoot up quick as lightning and this teeny tiny voice say, "Miss Kristin! I know who did it! It was Kady! Kady did it! I sat there and watched her do it! She said she was mad at Sam and she was going to tape all his books shut! I promise! It was Kady!" All this from little bitty Nattie. Paul and I both bit our lips in order to keep from busting out laughing at the absolute sincerity and desperation in the announcement. Apparently the thought of no toys until Christmas break or beyond was just too much. I looked at Kady and asked, "Kady, did you?"

"NO MOMMA! I WOULDN'T DO THAT! I don't know WHY she'd say that!"

Uhm....because you did it? Just a thought.

So the kids continued to sit and I was so frustrated at Kady's absolute refusal to budge! OH MY GOSH she takes after her father! And in my own frustration I brought out The Big One - God. Because we're Baptist and guilt is pretty much all we know. So with another heavy-hearted sigh I said, "Kids, whoever is not telling the truth, you may be fooling us, everyone in this room, but do you know who you aren't fooling?" I bit my lip again as hands shot up all over the place. "God! You can't fool God, Aunt Kiki!" (Boy howdy, don't I know it.) I confirmed this and reiterated again how lying makes you feel all yucky inside and sometimes you have trouble sleeping and sometimes food doesn't taste right and things that used to be fun aren't anymore because you're all yucky inside.....and everyone looked guilty -everyone except Kady.

And on we sat. And sat....and sat.

The Tots were talking between themselves and I heard, "So....ya think Mom'll carry this on when we get home?"

"Who knows. She could."

"Yeah. That's what I was thinking, too." Then they both sighed.

Courtney and Aunt Janet came to pick up Conner and heard the whole story and both found amusing the stubbornness that was going on and Aunt Janet was just very impressed at the boundless creativity of taping books shut. Aunt Janet always makes me think a different way. I can be angry or frustrated about something my kids did or didn't do or I can be feeling inadequate and inferior about being a parent and she has this knack of helping me see it a different way. I love that about her.

After they left I said, "Okay, ya know what, I'm going into the kitchen to fix a glass of tea. If anyone needs to talk to me, I'll be in the kitchen. Ya know....if anyone needs to confess anything."

Once in the kitchen Paul and I laughingly conferred over where to go at that point. The 7 year old perpetrator wasn't budging. Paul suggested taking them each into a room by themselves. I said, "OOH yeah! And I can shine a light in their face and ask them where they were on the night of January 12th." He blinked at me and flatly asked, "What does January 12th have to do with this?"


So went to the back of the house and called TotOne back first. She hit the door and immediately and vehemently proclaimed her innocence - "Aunt Kiki, you KNOW I didn't do it! I have homework every day and you make me stay up front to do it!" I shushed her and said, "Sweetie, I know who did it. I'm calling everyone back here so the person that did it can tell me in private. I just need you to pretend like you're talking to me so it looks legit." Then, because she is one of the most precious people on earth, she nodded solemnly and then she pretended to talk to me. Like, she moved her mouth like she was talking, but she wasn't. Because she was PRETENDING. Just like I told her. I love that kid more than I could ever express.

Next in the lineup was TotTwo. Again, he hit the door proclaiming innocence. I said, "Dude. Chill. I know who did it. Just hang with me for a minute or two, okay?" and he nodded. Then proceeded to dance for me. I nearly fell in the floor laughing. I'm thinking we should have interrogations every week just for the entertainment value alone.

Next was the tapee, Sam. He was still indignant and did nothing to entertain me because he just wanted a public hanging. Or perhaps a drawing and quartering.

Then I called Kady back there. She walked in like someone had just hollered, "Dead girl walking!", stood there about 2 seconds and busted into a wailing mess of tears and snot and guilt. Somewhere in the midst of it all I heard, "Oh Momma! I'm so sorry! I wanted to tell the truth I really did but I didn't want to do it in front of everyone because I was so embarrassed and I KNEW God was watching and is He sad because I lied? and I disappointed you and OH MOMMA! I'M SORRY!" I hugged her and said, "Okay." She stopped wailing, blinked a few times and her mouth dropped open in a gesture of absolute incredulity. "What?" I smiled and said, "Okay. Thank you for telling me. I told you that whoever did it wasn't in trouble for taping the books. In fact, Aunt Janet said you are a very creative prankster, but let's not do it again, okay? No matter how angry you are at your brother." Relief flooded over her.

Then I took away TV privileges for one day for the lying.

Hey, I'm trying very hard NOT to raise a hey-let's-tell-my-parents-I'm-spending-the-night-at-your-house-while-we-use-our-fake-ID's-to-try-to-get-into-a-bar, lie about my weight on my driver's license kind of person here. She needed to know lying isn't acceptable.

And just because my driver's license says I weigh 125 pounds, it's technically not a lie. I did weigh 125. When I got my first license -- at 15. They've never asked me to change it and I'm not offering. It's not lying. And I don't feel yucky inside about it.

I feel nostalgic about it. But not yucky.

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...