Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pathway to Divorce: Activities Couples Should Avoid

** Originally written in July, 2012*

My relationship with Hubs is a solid one. I love him and the thought of losing my beloved scares all bodily fluids out of me. However, there are some activities even the most dedicated and in love couples should not do together... because simply put, they are the pathway to divorce.

Hang wall paper. My parents almost got divorced over this twenty-six years ago. You can imagine their disappointment when my high school boyfriend decided he should play "butt-pinball" will my baby brother thrown over his shoulder and he bounced my brother's ass off the walls and ultimately straight through the wall and the wallpaper.

Shop for Televisions. Forget about what type to buy. Plasma, LED, LCD... is that even right? I don't know and frankly, my Dear, I don't give a damn. Just get me a tv that is the right size. This is probably the only time you will hear me say, "Smaller is better" unless we're talking about tumors or my dress size, of course.

Assembling Anything. Here it is people. Avoid the AA of marriage. Just don't do it. It'll never come out right and you'll always have extra parts left over. In case your married to a doc too, here's a friendly piece of advice... Don't look at the extra screws in your hand and ask your doctor Hubs if he finds himself with extra parts after surgery. Just don't do it.

Move furniture. Specifically, move furniture upstairs. You have a bad back and your wonderbrain husband tells you, you don't have to "lift" you just have to "slide" the furniture "up" the stairs. You say things don't "slide" up; they slide "down". He say's he'll do the pushing, you just "guide". You see him tilt the damn thing on it's side and you KNOW with CERTAINTY this shananigan will end disastrously. Something is going to break or get damaged...your back, his back, the dresser, the newly textured and painted walls, the new hardwood flooring, stairs, banister, a combo, or quite possibly everthing in its path. You bitch, you moan, you groan, you give the stink eye, you hiss and piss all over this stupid brainchild of your husband. But you unwillingly participate, because if you don't and it all goes to hell, you'll be blamed for your lack of help. You hate him at the bottom of the stairs... and you absolutely detest him at the top of the stairs because, DAMMIT to hell! It worked. Like a charm. But you decide to be mad anyways....because, it was a stupid idea and it should not have worked.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Hairband, The Toilet, & the Toothbrush

I was in a sleepy, Sunday morning, slumber when Hubs stumbled from bed towards the bathroom. I laid in my warm little cocoon trying to find my way back to the sandman.

The door to the bathroom shut (loudly) and just as quickly as he entered, the door re-opened.

"Elaina! Why is you hairband in the toilet?!"

I tried to open my eyes, but all I could muster was a squint as I was bombarded with Sunday morning sunshine.

I wrestled within sleepy myself to find my voice "Ugh! I don't know!" How in the hell am I supposed to know anything at this early hour?

Hubs was already fumbling down the hall to the kids bathroom. "Well, you need to fish it out!"

{Good Morning to you, too, my love. Sleep bully. Sleep bully. Sleep bully!}

The door to the hall bath shuts (loudly).

{Hey, man! I'm trying to sleep! Don't you worry, I'll fish it out. I'll fish it out alright! I know exactly how I'll do it, too!}

Just then I hear the bathroom door open and Hubs yells, "And don't use my toothbrush, either!"


Plan foiled.


Where's his hairbrush?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Thought I Was Done With That

I came home today to find our eldest daughter, a twenty-one year old college student and nanny, and our third daughter, a high school junior, studying together.

After that horrendous first year at an out-of-state college, and bumpy second year, our eldest was ready to return home. While she shares an off-campus apartment with our second college-student daughter, we thoroughly enjoy the fact they spend most of their free time at our house (even if it is just to eat our food).

Eldest is a young lady, going after her degree and working as an after-school nanny for a kindergartner and pre-schooler who live very near our home.

Since she's come home, she seems to be in a better place emotionally and physically. She's hit her stride. Except for about four dinners a week, she no longer needs me. So, tonight threw me back a bit.

I walked in our home from the garage yelling, "Hello???"

Eldest came busting down the stairs. "ELAINA! {She's been my step-daughter since she was ten}I need to ask you to help me with something!!"

She smiled a smile making me apprehensive about blindly agreeing to offer my help. But, I'm the mom, so without regard for my safety, I agreed.

"The kids came home with lice! I need you to check me for lice!"

Ugh. I found myself in the backyard wearing rubber gloves, picking through her hair with a fine tooth comb.

Nit picking for lice... I thought I was done with that.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spousal Chatter (In the Garden)

**Originally written July, 2012**

Bigger than a bridal bouquet

I was out front watering my flowers in the garden, when Hubs came home from the hospital and pulled into the driveway.

After parking the car in the garage, he came back out to say hello and make a close inspection of my and our gardner's work.

He approved of the work, complimenting my green thumb. As he was heading back inside the house, he paused at our juniper...

"Oh, look! He shaved your bush."

Monday, September 30, 2013

The Dish That Broke Me

As a mother, you bust your hiney teaching your kids good manners and healthy habits. By seven, each of our four kids would clear their plates, give them a rinse and stack them in the dishwasher.

Hubs and I were pretty proud of this achievement. Friends and family would marvel as the kids performed this trick as, we, the adults finished dinner or imbibed on another glass of wine around the table.

We considered the war against dishes over.

We were wrong.

Something inexplicable happened.

They turned into teens... and lost their brains.

Apparently, rampant hormones wipe the memory and ability of all teenagers and young adults to accomplish anything more than to beautify and feed themselves on a daily basis.

One would think with two kids living out of the home, the dirty dish stack would diminish, or, at the very least, shorten in height.

Not so.

Our front door is revolving. The Collegiates coming and going... eating as soon as they come in, cooking a "quick and easy meal" and taking food with them as they leave, leaving behind a stack of dishes, glasses, utensils, pots, and pans. To that, add the "littles", our high school junior and 8th grader to the mix, and my sink overfloweth with cruddy dishes.

~Oh, the joy~

Replay this scenario every day. Sometimes, multiple times a day.

~Oh, the effing joy~

One evening last week, after feeding the family, and cleaning the kitchen, I attended a movie with a girlfriend. I came home well past my bedtime, and made a beeline to for bed, passing one Collegiate waiting for her laundry to dry, and High Schooler studying for an exam.

~Oh, to be young and have energy past 10pm!~

In the morning, I stumbled downstairs for coffee, fully expecting to be greeted by my clean and cheery kitchen. Instead, I came face to face with the one dish that broke me.

In a huff, I punched this out...

... and taped it on the window just above the kitchen sink.

High Schooler accused me of being sassy.

8th Grader took his dish and plunked it down per his usual. I yelled him back to the sink, pointing to the sign. He paused to read it, only to suggest, "I didn't even see that there. I think you should laminate that and tape it to the bottom of the sink."

I'm considering it.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

College: A Horrendous First Year

**Originally written July, 2012**

It's frustrating. You pay through the nose for your kids to "grow" through education. Instead, all the grows this the size of your daughter's a** (hey- mine did, too!), her social circle, and her deep appreciation for the damned Red Solo Cup.

You remember Spring Break, don't you? Well, after a stern talk we thought she'd do an about face. Not so. {sigh}

While she's not flunking out, her grades are nothing to write home about. She is capable of so much more. Her grades are definitely not good enough to keep her in the special program she's been enrolled in. She told us not to worry. She had been quite ill during the Spring semester and she was going to pull it around during summer session.

Fine, we believe in her. We support her. We pay the big bucks to keep her at her out-of-state university for the summer.

One week into summer session and she is sick. Very sick. Antibiotics needed and prescribed. Great! No, not great. She phones. She's itchy. She phones again. She's red. She emails Hubs a photo of herself. She's having an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.

She is all alone, incredibly sick and without help. Her recovery will not be quick. I'm thinking she will have to withdraw from Summer session classes. Part of me just wants to go, pack her up, and bring her home.

Let's just call it a year and file this under "life experiences".

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Spousal Chatter: My Homecoming

 You really must read I Effed My Husband Real Good for the background story to this post.

After spending all night wrestling with a restless dog (really, the dog-- not Doc H) in my bed, waking up at 5:30 am, cleaning the vacation home all day until 3pm, and driving 215 miles home in the pimp mobile (a 1997 minivan with gold rims, the most stylish black bra you've ever seen, and a tear the size of Texas in the leather of the driver's side seat) with two dogs, two kids, a box of Red Vines and a frozen, organic, free range ham (don't ask), we finally arrived home to an empty house at 7:30 pm. Doc H was still at the hospital. We hadn't seen him since Sunday morning and have hardly spoken on the phone.

I put the dogs out in the yard and noticed all my flowers and plants have fainted from lack of a clear liquid simply called water. I opened the hose to quench their thirst.

Twenty minutes roll by and a tasmanian devil spins through the front door, and house, and out the back door to our yard only stopping his wreckless spinning to utter in disbelief...

"AGH!!! I just got called to ANOTHER emergency! Hrmpffffff. I GOTTA GO!"

Me: "Ummmmm....... hi?"

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I Effed My Husband Real Good

***written June 11, 2012***

 I try to be forthcoming and truthful on this blog. I have never been one to exaggerate or contort the facts to the benefit of myself... or others.

I blog as if I am a journalist. I'm not a puff ball like Lara Spencer from Good Morning America. I think I'm more along the lines of a Lisa Ling. I get dirty. I sweat bullets over my ground-breaking, earth-shattering, monumentally popular blog. After all, my blog is the must read of all blogs ever written. {ahem}

So, it should come to no one's surprise that I am always quick to deliver hard-hitting news of Hub's missteps, faults if you will, in our marriage. If you remember, I was very quick to point out his forgetfulness which led to a Fruit-of-the-Loom underwear splurge at Rite-Aid. His driving has always been questionable at best. His home repairs always require surgical tape. And lastly, let us not forget the times he has left me high and dry in the name of his scalpel.

In the name of fairness, transparency, and balance,  I feel I must share this tidbit with you, dear Reader.  I preface this admission by reminding you how we wives live a righteous life... one filled with piety, purity, and an overall sanctitude, sacrificing ourselves for our spouses and children. We are last to sit at the dining table. We eat the burnt toast, the bread loaf heels and any other neglected food pieces, all to pleasure and benefit our family. Our sacrificial actions and intentions are always a demonstration of love in its most genuine form. I found myself reminding Hubs of this numerous times this evening.

My intentions and actions were for the benefit of the children... and our dog. All good. All wholesome.

We spent the week at our vacation home. Our third daughter brought a lovely friend and our dog. Said friend had to be home on Friday afternoon. Hubs had time off until Monday. We travelled in two cars, so Hubs could relax and vacation over the weekend by himself. 

While there last week and we traded cars one afternoon, so he could take the teen girls and the dog out and about while I lunched with a friend. 

The next day, I left for home with the girls.

He called four hours into my drive home. 

"Where are my keys?"

"I dunno. I'm driving."

"Where are my keys? In your purse? You drove the car last."


"Hum, en, a...I'm driving. Lots of traffic. Look in house. Must be there somewhere. Bad connection. No can hear you."

CLICK. {sweat. bullets.} SCHEISSE.

I know I have them. I know he's looking. I know I put them in my purse and never put them back. Ohhhh, he's a gonna be mad atta meeeeee........

Yes. Here it is. Here it goes. Brace yourself...

Here are your keys, Honey.
You still love me, right?


Hard-hitting, truthful journalism. 

I will be making the four+ hour drive up tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn with two kids and another dog that doesn't even technically belong to us (step-dog, if you will) in our thirteen year old minivan nicknamed "The Pimp-Mobile".


Hubs should be okay for 24 hours. The house is properly stocked. I know there's no food in the house, but there is wine. Plenty of wine in our wine cabinet. I think he'll survive.

Wait. What's that? The wine cabinet key is on your keychain which is in my possession? And it's locked?

Oh, Honey, I  f*@#ed you real good.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Teen Girls: Here Come The Nuns

If you follow me on Twitter, you know, despite illness, I drove a car full of teen girls to a concert Saturday evening.

True to form, the girls were running late. A couple couldn't decide what to wear, one forgot her make-up and another was decompensating over not having the proper shade of metallic, lavender eyeshadow, while others were furiously texting friends who were already at the concert, yelling the latest news throughout the halls of my house.





"EXCUSE ME?" I say in a tone which suggests correction is needed.


Decorum. A little decorum.

The finally were ready to head out to the car and as they filed past me, I checked their outfits. The jean cutoff shorts were a little too short for my liking. The tanks tops were a little short, but covered the midriff (for the most part). Their makeup was little heavier than what they wore to school, but not much. It was borderline acceptable. I put away my fashion police badge.

We piled in the car and made our way through traffic to the concert venue.

As we approached the drop off area, concert goers began to appear. They were hopping out of their cars and hoofing it towards the arena.

All the girls had their noses buried in their phones as I muttered, "Oh my GAWD."

The dismay in my voice summoned the girls' attention and their heads all popped up and they looked out the car windows.

There, walking beside us, in front of us, and everywhere we looked we saw girls in fishnets andРtheir underwear. The tiniest boyfriend cut panties (apparently gold lam̩ is the all the rage), homemade bedazzled and feathered bras, and make-up jobs intense enough to scare the grim reaper and his sickle back into hiding.

With the girls mouths gaped open, I swung the car into the "passenger drop-off" zone.  Quietly, they all grabbed their phones as they opened the car doors.

I reminded my daughter where I'd be picking them up. As hootchie girls walked past her, she stood just outside the car, poking her head inside the car nodding, "Okay."

With that and her "properly" dressed friends now standing with her, my daughter turned away and yelled, "HERE COME THE NUNS, PEOPLE! HERE COME THE NUNS!" as she shut the car door.

...And I laughed as I drove off solo in my car which is adorned with her high school issued license plate frame which reads, "St. Catherine's Saints".

That Catholic education is finally beginning to pay off.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Romance in a Second Marriage

**Originally written June, 2012**

The notion of romance in my thirties and forties is very different from the romance of my twenties.

In my twenties and in my first marriage, romance was a grand gesture. I was proposed to in front of 325 people. In my thirties, with Hubs, there really was no proposal. This was the second marriage for each of us. We both had children we had to put first and our relationship was second behind their well-being. Instead of a proposal, in the office bedroom of his house with the door closed and our children screaming like monkeys at the zoo just outside the closed door, we made an agreement. 

We agreed to marry, to create a stable environment for our young children, to build a life together, to build a relationship which would withstand life's hardships, to care for each other, nurture each other, forgive each other, support one another, appreciate each other, love each other, and be each other's best friend... and indeed, Hubs IS MY BEST FRIEND.

Having both experienced the feeling of a disintegrating marital relationship, we recognize the easy pitfalls spouses fall into. Even though he's never said as much, he realizes he spends much more of his time on the job than the majority of husbands and he actively works to make up for his absence. Simply put, he spoils me rotten.

I can't name any of my friends who receive weekly flowers, dinners out, and the same level of support from their husbands as I do. Very rarely, do I get any grief from Hubs for any of my decisions.  Who else receives such gorgeous gifts for every gifting occasion? And my ultimate favorite... who else writes such wonderful cards, expressing his love for me, our children, our family, and displays such a sense of gratitude for any and all my efforts? I don't think I will ever find a husband who would send his M-I-L a card on Mother's Day expressing his gratitude to her for birthing his wife and raising her to be the perfect fit for him.

I suppose I could write of the romantic trips we've experienced together, trips to the beach, concerts, breakfasts in bed, or other events in our life, but I really think it's the little things which he does for me time and time again... the cup of coffee he brings up to me while I'm just getting up or in the shower, laughing at my stupid jokes, allowing me to laugh at him, allowing me the freedom to just be me.

While I sometimes wrinkle my nose at the hours Hubs works, or the phone calls and emails he fields in our presence, I honor and support his work. It is his passion, and makes him happy and I want him to be happy, I want  him to laugh. I can only hope Hubs feels my love, just as much as I feel his.

The Hippie Chic Wearing Abercrombie and Fitch

**Originally written June, 2012**
Note: Since this was written there has been outrage over A&F's founder's remarks regarding the type of clientele he sells his clothes to. True to form, upon learning of his outrageous remarks, D3 has passed on her A&F clothes to charity. She no longer owns any A&F, nor cares to.

One of our third daughter's fantastic personality traits is her need for peace and harmony. She is a hippie chic in Abercrombie and Fitch clothing. Whenever there is sibling discord, it is D3 who works behind the scenes to restore and mend the sibling love. She cannot stand what she considers to be the stupidity of sibling rivalry.

D3 (15 years old) is an open and loving person. She sees the good in all, despite the visible and clearly notable faults and flaws. She is quick to give the benefit of the doubt to those who most would judge and render questionable. D3's arms are open and she is ready and willing to love all no matter their color, beliefs, or any other trait which others may find disagreeable.

So, it came as no surprise as she and a friend happily explored an old dark church in a nearby, quaint and sleepy, little downtown area.

Me: I've never been in the church. What did you find?
D3: Inside was a really organic store.
Me: What do you mean organic? They sell organic foods or items?
D3: Lots of foods. And granolas...
Me: Granolas?
D3: Yeah, raw oat granolas and they even have hemp granola.
Me: Ha! Are you serious?
D3: Totally! And you know what? Everyone knew everyone by name in that store!
Me: What made you go in there?
D3: Well, it's an old church covered with rainbow stain glass windows. We thought it was a gay-pride church. We wanted to check it out!

Yup. That's my hippie chick in Abercrombie and Fitch. 
Make love, not war.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm Guessing My Husband Doesn't Read This Blog

**Originally written June 3, 2012**

Hubs has a snarky sense of humor... which I LOVE!

I'm thinking Hubs doesn't read this blog. 
Or, at the very least, understand the premise of this blog.
What do you think?

... And for the record, he drove. 
And we ended up at the wrong place. 

If you ask him, we were given the wrong address.
If you ask me, the outcome would've been the same,
no matter what address we were given.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Tween Tales: Colors

**originally written May 2012**

Our youngest kid, LB, is a twelve year old middle schooler. He is a cute kid and I say this using the number of little girls who have called our home asking for him as my gauge, not the biased mommy meter.

Last night we were on our way home from dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant and decided to stop at a popular frozen yogurt shop for dessert. This shop is a little out of our neighborhood and we had to drive through a section of town we don't usually frequent.

It was dark, and at one particular intersection we came upon a parked police cruiser with its siren lights on alerting motorist to a closed portion of the roadway. Pedestrians were gathered around.

LB sees the commotion and declares, "LOOK! Crime scene, ahead! Are we in an area known for gang activity?"

I assured him we were not and continue, "LB, all those people are holding candles. They must be holding a candlelight vigil for someone who died right there. The police car is just there to make sure no one gets hit by a car."

"Oh, welllllllll... um... did you know you could get shot for accidentally wearing the wrong color in a gang neighborhood? One gang is blue and the other red."

"Yeah, that's crazy and very scary."

"Yeah, so if I ever have to go to {city known for prolific gang violence and daily gang shootings} I'm going to make sure I'm wearing pink.... or purple."

As I look out the window at the other cars, I envision LB sticking out like a sore thumb in such an environment, with his Justin Bieber hair cut, vans and pink outfit. I smile to myself and tell him, "Great idea, LB, that's good."

...Yeah, pink would most definitely keep him safe.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Spousal Chatter {Drive Thru}

Running three hours behind on our road trip, Hubs and I decide to run through a drive-thru. We don't do fast food often, so we really don't know how or what to order. Since Hubs had only slept about 10 hours out of the last 72 hours, I was driving.

Obesity Pusher (OP): Welcome to "We Feed You Pink Slime and Fill Your Arteries with Plaque Build UP". May I take your order?
Me: I'll have a mini-meal.
OP: Which one?
Me: Cheeseburger.
OP: We only have a double cheeseburger mini-meal.
Me: Uhhh, okay, but no mayo. With a plain iced tea, please.
OP: Will you be ordering anything else today?
Me: (to Hubs) What do you want?
Hubs: (half asleep in passenger seat) Get me a #11.
Me: (to OP) I need a #11.
OP: Would you like to up that to a large?
Hubs: (to me, very emphatically and disgusted) NO! That's a heart stopper! (he's awake now)
OP: Excuse me?
Me: (to OP) No, no. No large!
OP: What drink would you like with that?

I turn to Hubs and he quickly yells across me, "I'll have an M&M McFlurry with that!"

Heart Stopper.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Divorce Tale: When Your Teen Daughter Modifies Her Custody Agreement

Once again, we're in transition. My daughter, D3, has decided to modify her custody agreement by moving home for good. I am over-joyed to say the very, very least! Up to this point, she has lived a shared custody agreement. On paper, it's been 50/50. In reality, it's something else. If you're divorced or a step-parent, you know what I'm talking about.

I am proud of D3. She has found her voice. She has found her strength. I understand all too well how difficult her father can be and how scary it must have been for her to broach the subject with her father. Apparently, after the short conversation, he said nothing. She could tell he was mad (most likely hurt). He immediately dropped her off at my home. That was it.

Years ago, my girlfriends who grew up in divorced families all predicted this would happen. They have lived D3's life and collectively agreed one home in high school was best for both them and the custodial parent. They only had to check in with one parent, and didn't have to consult a custody schedule to make social plans with friends. Moreover, they confessed it was harder to get away with teen nonsense. They found they couldn't play each parent off one another or find a way to "slip through the cracks" to go out with friends when one parent said "no". In hindsight, all my girlfriends agreed one home in high school was for the best. 

According to D3, nothing specific has lead to her decision. She simply want all her "stuff" under one roof. She has been living the life a nomad...packing and unpacking...constantly. Who can blame her for wanting to live in one place? 

I'm so excited to have her home...all the time!!!

The Beau Hunk Has Left the Building

Catch up on the Beau Hunk.

....Well, actually the state. Even better.

Our Sunday Mother's Day brunch was fabulous. Fifteen family members and family friends gathered at a large table, eating a lovely brunch, drinking champagne, talking and laughing. Three of our kids were with us (D1 is still away at college) and life was almost perfect. Almost.

D2 sat at the end of the table with her phone in her lap, just hoping and praying the Beau Hunk would call her one last time before he left for the military. She went to prom with someone else. Apparently, he escorted another girl to a prom as well. The promise ring has been returned. The phone did not ring.

It should be a peaceful summer. The Beau Hunk has left.  D2 has just landed her first job. I hope by the end of the summer the Beau Hunk will be a distant memory... for all of us.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Teen Texts

When your home is filled with teens, texting is bound to become your main means of communication. Our older girls indoctrinated us into this new reality and I must say, it is a successful method of communication. They can easily reply to us without alerting their friends and peers that they're talking to mommy and daddy. You remember how uncool that was, right? Yet, when push comes to shove they will relent and dial to make an old fashioned phone call.

This afternoon our high school daughter (#3) took teen texting to a whole new (lower?) level. After arriving home from school and a couple of errands, she went upstairs to her room to start homework. I was downstairs furiously cleaning in anticipation of the in-laws' arrival when my heard my phone vibrating. I answered...

#3: Mumma??
Me: Where are you??
#3: (shy giggle) Upstairs...
Me: Really?! You're calling me on your phone??
#3: Can you please bring up some toilet paper?

Apparently, I missed her text...

Spousal Chatter {Morsels}

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A very rare event took place last night– Hubs and I both went to bed very early.  In our home, that can only mean one thing. Neither of us were feeling well. We had caught #3's cooties.

So, there, laid flat on our backs, sheets up to our necks, sore throats, stuffy noses, croaky voices, and hearing stifled thanks to head congestion, I had a craving.

I say, "I want cake or cookies."

Hubs perks up a bit, and clears his sore throat to question what he just heard, "You want a quickie?"

Rolling my eyes and full of disbelief and sarcasm I retort, "I WANT CAKE OR COOKIES! Yeah. With all this (motioning to my head) going on, I want a quickie!"

"Well that's what I thought you said." He paused to cough and think. Then, he did something he really shouldn't have done. He should know by now. Despite phlegm, he tried to be cute. "Well, I do have some morsels for you."

"Yeah, but they're tiny."

**Badda-bing!! Put one more up on the scoreboard for me!!**

Monday, September 2, 2013

The In-Laws Are Coming! The In-Laws Are Coming!

..With friends! Oh, my holy cow...I'm freaking out! So much to do and just hours left before they arrive.

I love my in-laws. They are wonderful people with open hearts and open minds. They readily accepted both me and my daughter into their family. They are truly lovely people.

If it were just them coming I wouldn't feel the need to impress. They are simple, go with the flow, no judgement passed, happy go lucky, let's laugh at everything type of people. It doesn't get any better than them. Growing up, I thought I lived a Beaver Cleaver life with my family. Then I met my in-laws and realized they make my family look like the Bundy's.

It's the friends, they're flying out with... I must impress them {I know...it's a pressure I'm putting upon myself}. The petunias are in the ground. The impatients are in the baskets. The strawberries are in their jar, the duvets have been washed and (crap! I forgot to call the carpet cleaners) the inside of my refrigerator has been cleaned out.

I have one more day to pull it all together. Paperwork needs to be filed away, minivan needs to get washed, closets organized, bed linens changed, and then the whole house will get a good scrubbing from my cleaning ladies. Why must we clean before the cleaning ladies come over? Why?

Photo Credit
While they scrub, I will shop. Grocery shop, that is. Stock up on foods and drinks....and toilet paper. Who wants to run out of TP with guests in the house. Embarrassing. That reminds me...remove embarrassing medications from medicine cabinet. Oh! And hide any gadgets which have the potential to embarrass.

Crappy-dappy, I don't think I'll get it all done.

Did I forget anything?

Spousal Chatter

We spent the weekend at our vacation home (really future retirement home, but we're in denial... "vacation" sounds more palatable). We have already completed the bulk of the remodel, but we still have a few little odds and ends which need to be completed. Since we have family coming, we drove out for a quick weekend trip hoping we could cross a few items of the "to do" list.

Our new place is located is a somewhat rural area. The closest mall is two hours away. The town's economy is primarily driven by tourism, so we do have some hoi-ty toi-ty boutique-style shops, but certainly no department stores...we do have a RiteAid, though.

These are not Calvin Klein's
Photo Credit
(...driving in the car)
Hubs: I forgot to pack underwear. I have to buy some.
Me: We're here for one more night. Can't you just turn them inside out?
Hubs No! Where can I find some?
Me: I don't think you're going to find any.
Hubs: There's an apparel store! (Brakes, squeal, pulls over, ouch, whip lash...we go inside)

Hubs: Hello, Ms. Saleslady. Do you carry men's underwear?
Saleslady: (frowning) Nooooooo, we don't. Saw-reeeee....
Hubs: Do you know where I can buy some?
Saleslady: Umm... did you try RiteAid???

(back in the car)
Hubs: (despondent and defeated) RiteAid?!!! I'm not wearing under from RITEAID!
Me: Where do all the locals buy their underwear?
Doc H: They must all go commando.


(...trying to mount a bathroom mirror)
Doc H: (getting tired of holding up the heavy mirror and frustrated with my slow mechanical abilities) Did you get it?!!
Me: I can't get it in the hole!
Hubs: Thank God you're not a man.

Co-habitation Tears

I like to consider myself a hip, relaxed, and "with it" type of person rather than a fuddy-duddy, middle-aged woman. I'm pretty easy going. No. Scratch that. I am easy going. I go with the flow. I live and let live. I try very hard not to pass judgement on others. Why waste my time? That's not my job. That's God's and I'm very certain he is much better at it than I am.

Plus, such disdain, disgust, distrust, and general all around negativity just takes too much effort. I simply don't have the energy to be judgemental of others. As long as your not hurting me, my husband, or my children, have a good go at it. Knock yourself out.

So, when two adults decide to co-habitate...no sweat off my back. Have I done it myself? No. Would I? No. But, that's me and my decision. If you want to and you're happy with that situation, I'm happy for you.

However, let's turn back the clock to before I was married the first time around. Do I wish I would've lived with my first husband before saying I do? Hell, YES! But, I didn't and fifteen months after meeting him we were married and I moved in. I stood at that alter knowing I was making a huge mistake. It took me ten years to unravel that one. However, today, I can't call it a mistake...that union brought me a beautiful little girl who I could not live without. So, you can see why I'm completely on the fence on this subject.

So, I'm talking about two adults here. Where I have issues and have a hard time from refraining judgement is when two adults decided to co-habitate with their children from previous marriages/relationships.

You'll have to excuse me, because we're having a moment in our house right now which stems directly from the aforementioned living arrangement. LB spent the afternoon balling his eyes out, sobbing uncontrollably at the news that his former "pseudo-step-father" has just turned over his beloved ex-dog to a rescue shelter without timely notification. Why, you ask? The new girlfriend is allergic and gave ex-pseudo-step-father an ultimatum; her or the dog.

She sounds like a peach, doesn't she? (Anyone else besides me see the red flag waving high in the air?)

I had to remind D2 to watch her mouth. I asked she refer to ex-pseudo-step-father as a jerk rather than an a$$#*%@. It's important we hold ourselves to a certain level of decorum around these parts.

We already went through all the break up drama when in 2010 they sold the house they bought together and co-habitated in for almost 5 years. Over a year later, we are still trying to help the kids deal with the fall out of demise of the failed co-habitation. First, we had to help the kids grapple with the loss of  the pseudo-family unit break up, then it was the slow loss of the pseudo-step-brother/sister relationships (I'll be honest- some hurt more than others), then the loss of their house, and now (years later) it's reared it ugly head again with the dog.

Can you feel my frustration? It's the kids, it all about the kids. Must we screw around with their young, little lives, too?

I'll be the first one to tell you divorce sucks. In my head I tried to come up with a more dignified and eloquent way to phrase that sentiment, but there's not. For the kids, I wish my first marriage was successful. For my step-kids, I wish the marriage of their mother and father worked out. The kids deserve that. That is the perfect idealistic life we all strive for. Too bad the idealism is not realism...for the kids. Our kids are great young people who deserve a cohesive family unit.

My heart is filled with sorrow knowing we weren't successful at providing a cohesive family unit for them. So, I do my best by trying to hug LB's tears away. I rub his back, tell him it's okay to cry, and start making phone calls to other family members who might be able to come to our rescue and take the dog. What more can a step-mother do?

I wanted so much to tell the kids that this is why you never co-habitate when kids are involved. However, I think it might be best if I wait for all the tears to dry.

The Beau Hunk Update

Sometimes, as a mother of teen girls, you are simply left shaking your head. There are no words, no comfort a parent can offer or give a teen daughter who seems to flourish in her own drama. In your heart, you want to help the pain go away, however any efforts will be deemed as "butting in" and "none of your business". Teens. Gotta love 'em.

So what's a (step)mother to do? Stand aside. Watch from the shadows. Text "love you"s and make small talk to avoid the big, bad, ghostly Beau Hunk who's sitting in the middle of the room.

Event #1: Beau Hunk still has not left for boot camp. He's still here. Here's where the miscommunication took place... Hubs and I were told he was leaving for boot camp. To us. that means a flight directly to the military check-in. Pardon us for misunderstanding. Apparently, in teen language, it means he was flying out to spend a couple of months with his father before boot camp. Our bad.

Event #2: The night before "shipping out" to his father's, father and son had an altercation over the phone. Beau Hunk's father cancelled the airline tickets. No visit. At all. Yeah, he's not winning Father of the Year, but lucky us! We get to enjoy the turmoil Beau Hunk inflicts on D2 for two more whole months. We are all certain it will be a pleasurable 61 days.

Event #3: The young couple is blissfully happy for a brief period.

Event #4: Beau Hunk breaks up with D2 for the 17th time. De-friends both her and D1, so neither of them have access to his FB account. Brilliant on his part. His FB page is completely public. Regardless, D2 is devastated. The walls in our home shook as she grieved her loss. Again.

D2 is hopeful the relationship is once again salvageable. She is still wearing the promise ring. After all, why not go for round 18? Where's the harm in that? It seems to be the cycle of teen drama.

I can't wait for May.

A Family Milestone: The First Job

As previously posted, over Spring Break, D1 ran into a bit of a money crunch. It’s an awful and helpless realization knowing one of your kids is broke. My brother even asked if he could offer her money. Her grandparents wanted to wire her money, but we made our position clear and no one bailed her out. 
In high school D1 had a couple of families she would babysit for a few times a month. They paid her well....VERY WELL, sometimes to the tune of over $20 per hour. (Luckily, D2 inherited the jig after D1 left for college. She loves the pay, but hates her little wards call her by D1’s name.) However, D1 never held a “real” job. It wasn’t for lack of trying. She filled out job applications, but with the economy in the dumps, retailers weren’t jumping at the opportunity to hire high school students.
When D1 went off to college and we were trying to decide a monthly allowance for her, Doc H and I were at odds with regards to whether or not D1 should work during her freshman year. I worked my freshman year and, in hindsight, it helped with time management, kept me focused, kept me out of too much trouble and helped with my expenses. Hubs disagreed. He wanted to give D1 everything neither of us had in college; an opportunity to fully concentrate on studies. He did not want her to worry about finances or take time away from the books.
I went along with it despite my gut screaming at me, “She’s going to have too much time during this transition and time of NEW-FOUND FREEDOM!!!” But, what could I do? I’m just the step-mom. If it were D3 (my daughter), I would have lowered the boom and made a job a requirement. But, again, it wasn’t my call.
Now, with no extra money to bail her out and her savings dwindling, D1 took it upon herself to get a job. I am so proud of her!  It is a family milestone-- our first kid with a real job! One step closer to independence! She was giddy with excitement when she called with the news she would be working 3 nights a week as a restaurant hostess close to campus. 
D1 had a meeting with her academic counselor to review her schedule and declare a major. She mentioned she had just secured a part-time job. Her counselor told her that was fantastic. In fact, he told her college students tend to do better in school when they are working. She shared this information with Hubs.
Imagine my disbelief upon hearing Doc H (Mister "I don't think D1 should have to get a job and worry about money") share all this news with my father, and at the end, tag on, “I think it’ll be really good for her to be working. It will help keep her focused on her studies.”
Somebody help me pick my jaw up off the floor, would ‘ya?Oh, how I wanted to scream, “EXCUSE ME???!!!!! I’ve been saying she should get a job from the moment we shipped her car out there! Where's my credit? Where's my 'You were right!'” However, I sat there and bit my tongue. This one just wasn’t worth it. In the end, it worked out how I thought it should. I know Hubs realizes it. All I really care about is D1’s success. 
It would be nice if I heard a “You were right", but I'm not going to hold my breath. Hubs brought me flowers on Thursday just like he does almost every Thursday (I'm spoiled, I know). This week I'm calling them my "you were right" flowers. He just doesn't know it. But, who cares? It works for me!

Look Kids! It's the "Liquid Chicken" Truck!

From the age of 4 to 9, LB would only eat chicken nuggets, corn dogs, pizza, plain pasta and quesadillas. Any efforts to expand his dietary menu options were all in vain. This kid would eat nothing outside his "regulars".

I'm not a complete stickler for organic, homemade meals, but I will admit that I do try my best to put healthy food on the table. I cook from scratch. I like to know what's going into my body. After having a few benign tumors removed from my body, I don't think I need any chemicals or additives in there messing with my healthy cells, you know what I mean? 

At his mother's house, LB would dine on frozen corn dogs, frozen chicken nuggets and frozen pizza bites. I'll never forget the day they came to the house and told me the absolutely love chicken cordon bleu. I thought "Wow! Their mom is a fancy cook! How am I going to compete with that?" (See...that's the step-mama in me talking.) Then they asked if I could buy some from the freezer section of the grocery store next time I'm shopping. Nope. Not gonna happen. I figure if I can't pronounce it, it's not going in my shopping cart.

I hated watching LB and the girls chow down on chicken nuggets. It made my skin crawl. Was that really chicken? I couldn't tell.

One summer, we found ourselves driving from Arkansas to Texas. As usual, all six of us were piled in the minivan; all kids hooked into their electronic i-something gadgets. As we drive down the interstate, I noticed we were gaining on what seemed to be a gasoline tanker truck. Hubs came up behind it and we couldn't believe what we saw....
"Haulin' Liquid Chicken"
Hubs: YUCK!
Kids: What? What is it?
Me: Look at that truck! Read what it says.
Kids: (after reading) EWWW...What's "liquid chicken"
Me: It's what they use to make chicken nuggets.

I don't know if my last statement is true or not, but the words just flowed so effortlessly off my tongue and lips....sounded logical to me. I don't even really know what "liquid chicken" is, but I think all moms will agree "liquid chicken" sounds about as appetizing as a bowl of deep-fried cow patties.

The minivan was filled with the sounds of disgust and disbelief of kids. I'm surprised none of them yacked right there and then.

That was a dietary changing day in our family. If you're trying to wean your kids off the nuggets, I highly suggest you track this truck down. It seems to do the job.

Self-Prescribed Retail Therapy: Apple's Ipad 3

The weekend packed quite a punch around here. I'll go in sequential order...

  • My father had been visiting his family out of the country for 2 months. His plane was scheduled to arrive at 10pm. It came in at 3am.
  • D3 had to be at a track meet at 7am.
  • LB had a sleep-over birthday party at noon.
  • D2's Beau Hunk was scheduled to fly out Saturday. For reasons Doc H and I are still scratching our heads about, he will be in town for another TWO months.
  • D1 called from college begging for our help. Doc H clearly stated over 3 weeks ago a list of action items which needed to be completed before receiving anymore help from us. She failed to comply. She was hoping she could sweet talk Daddy into doing it like before. Apparently she forgot all about her Spring break gone bad.
  • Hubs spent HOURS talking to D2 in private, counseling her and trying to get her to see the big picture with regards to her relationship with Beau Hunk. She mentally exhausted him.
  • Then Hubs spent an inexplicable amount of time on the phone with D1, reprimanding her for not following through with their agreement.

After all that (plus a call from the on-call attending with regards to a ruptured triple A), Hubs had nothing left to give us. He was irritated and tired. He couldn't even bring himself to enjoy our green shamrock shakes and green cupcakes, all made by D3, or watch a movie with us on PPV.

I asked if I could do anything to help. He calmly said, "No, I'm just so frustrated and irritated."

Ok. I guess I'll just watch the movie with the teens.

I watch him go upstairs. I see him come downstairs and out to the garage. An hour later, we're still watching the movie. I'm sitting in the same exact spot as when I last saw him. I see him walk upstairs with a package in his hand.... Could it be? Is it?

Well, yes, it is...
Apple touts the new IPad 3 has Retina display, 5MP camera, and Ultrafast 4G LTE technology.  I need to add another incredible capability the Ipad 3 possesses...

Mood Enhancer.

Since that little piece of technology has made it's way into our home, it been all smiles and "Oh, wow"s, "Honey, check this out...do you have this app on your Ipad?"

I LOVE seeing Hubs smile!

Thank you, Steve Jobs. What a difference an Ipad 3 makes.

Spring Break Gone BAD

Let me tell you, if you're a parent and ever get to the point where you're filling out a FedEx Airbill and holding your "adult" (read 19 y.o.) child's spare key, you know it's Spring Break Gone BAD. Real BAD.

Nothing like getting a phone call almost 10pm telling you she and her roommates decided to leave the state and take a two day drive to a popular college Spring Break destination. And by the way, she's already been there a whole day. Last night the entire wallet was lost along with the car keys at a beach party.

Daughter #1: (After breaking the news) Could you please call the bank and cancel all ATM and credit cards. I lost my car keys, too. Can you FedEx my spare key? Oh, and all forms of identifications are gone also. And, oh, when I left I only had $100 in my bank account so could you send me some money?

Unsanctioned Travel = No Money Honey

So, there I am at 11pm on the phone with the bank canceling cards, making sure there have been no unauthorized charges over the last 24 hour period. In the meantime, after having a rather terse conversation with his ex (D1's bio mom) about the situation at hand, Hubs is doing his best to let it all go so he can concentrate on a very tough case he is performing early in the morning on some poor 81 year old.

Hubs is done bailing out D1. I stand behind him.  Doesn't mean I'm not calling everyone asking if they have heard from her or biting all my nails down to the nub. It's tough love on both sides of the coin.

This is just #1. We still have 2, 3, and 4 to go. Sweet Baby Jeezus save me or at least send me down a bottle of Xanex... I don't think the bottle of vino is going to do it tonight.

Girls, Girls, Girls...Carpool Conversations

Carpool duty landed on me yesterday. I LOVE being carpool mom! I learn more in one car ride about what going on in D3's life in one 45 minute car ride than I do all week long. I'm talking the good stuff...boyfriends, potential dance dates, who's together, who's not, who just broke up at lunch today and why. Isn't that what all moms want to know? We want to stay on top of things before their little young lives go sideways and we have a mess to clean up? It's as if they forget I have ears. I'm basically a fly on the wall and I love it!

Here's what I learned yesterday..Power Couples...in high school. Who knew? Anyone? Not me. One power couple just broke up and D3's friends are trying to encourage her to ask a certain boy to the upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance.

BFF: D3, you should TOTALLY ask Steve to the dance!
D3: No...I don't wanna.
BFF: Why? He's soooooo cute!
D3: I'm going by myself.
BFF: If you and Steve became boyfriend and girlfriend, you guys would be, like, the new Power Couple in school. It'd be so freaking awesome...
D3: EWWWWW! NO!!! Kissing him would be like kissing my brother or something. It's not right. We've known each other since we were, like, 5! Gross.
BFF: You're soooo picky!

I will say, I do think Steve is a cute kid and very well mannered. I wouldn't mind them dating in group situations...plus I know his parents and where they live. But, I'm thrilled D3 feels confident enough to go to dances solo. 

PICKY - a word moms hate when associated to their children...until they become teens.

The Beau Hunk

My husband is too nice to say some things. I'm not.

Case in point:

Beau Hunk look alike
Daughter #2's Beau Hunk. I think it's fair to say no one in our family is particularly fond of him, except for my mother who, after eating dinner with him said, "He's not that bad".  He's GTL all the way. I didn't know what GTL stood for, but LB brought me up to speed - Gym, Tan, Laundry.

Well, I do a little of the G, none of the T (my blood work up says I'm actually vitamin D deficient), and a whole helluva lot of L.

I had always envisioned having the girls' boyfriends around the house, going out to dinner as a big family, laughing and carrying on. I thought we could all enjoy day trips together...maybe get to know his parents well...maybe even a weekend trip. I was going to be a cool mom..a hip mom. I wanted that idyllic picture. I wanted to love (or at least like) my girls' boyfriends.

Well, it's not happening. Nope. Not at all. At least not to this point. D1 never had a high school boyfriend and she's flown the coop. Not going to happen with Beau Hunk, so I have to hang my hopes on D3.

{Originally, I listed all the reasons I take issue with Beau Hunk here in this paragraph. I self-censored my post to save my hide should D2 ever discover my blog. However, I'll give you a clue. Imagine you have a teen daughter...think of all the things you would never want a boyfriend to do to her. That should sum it all up.}

Beau Hunk finally did something positive with his life when he and D2 were on a "break". He joined the Marines. YES! Good for him! He finally did something honorable! I think the military will help him mature and develop a better life perspective. They will break him down and re-build him. He needs that. If their relationship survives this separation, I'm confident he will be a better person after completing his service.

He leaves for boot camp in two weeks. D2 has been asking us to invite him over for dinner. Up to this point, we have been brushing off the dinner. Neither Doc H or I really want to spend time with him, but being that he is leaving soon, we agreed he could come over for dinner.

Dinner day was upon us and I was out running errands with the younger D3 for the afternoon. I return home and ask Hubs where D2 is. He tells me Beau Hunk came by and they decided to take her new promise ring (yes, he gave her one two weeks before he ships out) back to the jewelers to get sized. They'll be back for dinner.

We have other younger ears in the house, so Hubs leans towards me and we whisper the following conversation:

Hubs: He came over just wearing shorts and barely there tank-top.
Me: Did you tell him to go put on some clothes?
Hubs: No, (brushing it all off) it's okay...he's just real immature and doesn't know better.
Me: Well, I'll tell him!
Hubs: No, don't. (Seeeeee.....he's too nice to say anything)
Me: He can't come over to have dinner with us and sit at the table half naked. That's gross! I'll tell D2 to tell him.
Hubs: No, she'll get mad.
Me: No, I'll put it nicely. I'll text her.
Hubs: (sounding defeated) *sigh* I guess.

So I text:
Hi D2, we will be having dinner just after 6pm. Could you please ask Beau Hunk to wear a t-shirt rather than a tank top? I would really appreciate it.

They came back for dinner. He was dressed in clean shorts, a nice t-shirt, and a baseball cap which he remembered to remove half way through dinner after I kept staring at it...on purpose.

It takes a village, people. It takes a village.

Click here to read the next installment of the Beau Hung Saga

The Female Teen Brain: How Does It Work?

I am beyond perplexed.

Obviously, the teen female brain has evolved (I'm not even sure if that is the right word here) since I was a teen. At first I thought it was just me, so I consulted an expert in this field - my mother.  She readily agreed- she was perplexed as well. She confirmed what I already knew... I was nothing like that during my teen years.

I found myself shaking my head in disbelief the other night in the car. Here's what went down:

Teen Daughter:  I have, like, this bump on my head where I got hit during practice.
Hubs:  What happened?
TD:  I got hit by, like, an elbow or something. It hurts. I have a concussion.
Hubs:  You don't have a concussion.
TD:  YES, DAD! I have a concussion!
Hubs:  No, TD, you don't. Did you lose consciousness?
TD:  No, but it's, like, a concussion. I know, 'cause, sooooooo many girls on our squad have concussions!
Hubs:  Really? They all lost consciousness?
TD:  No.
Hubs:  Then they don't have concussions.
TD:  YES, they do!
Hubs:  No, TD, in order to have a concussion you have to lose consciousness.
TD:  NOOOO that's not true.
Hubs:  (laughing) Yes, it is.
TD:  NO, It's not. I know they have concussions. They told me.
Hubs:  They probably have minor contusions.
TD:  NO, DAD! Concussions!

(Little Buddy finally can't take it anymore. He chimes in.)
LB:  TEEN SISTER! He's a DOCTOR! He should know! You're not alway right!
TD:  LB, you don't know what we're, like, even talking about! Mind your own business!

Me:  TD, how can you argue with your father who has a degree in medicine?!
TD:  He's not right!
Me:  You have to learn how to be open to the possibility that you may be wrong from time to time and it's okay to say, "Thanks for explaining that to me."
TD:  Well, that's not right. (sulk, pout, texts away on her phone - probably to her BF telling him how stupid we are.)

We get home. Hubs comes out holding one of his med school textbooks.

Hubs:  Look, TD,  (he reads)..."Concussion affects only mentation, with return of consciousness moments or minutes after impact."
TD:  (rolls her eyes) Whatever, DAD!
Me:  TD, just soak it in and you can teach your cheer friends the difference next time it comes up. They'll think you're so smart! (trying to be positive and upbeat)
TD:  Whatever, it's not like they really care about that anyways. (stomps upstairs)

Dear God, give me patience...