Their Mother Did What?

It’s easy to look at our own parents and think how badly they messed up. But really even at their worst did you ever consider suing them?

There are two adult children (twenty-three and twenty) who tried to sue their mother. Their claim? Emotional distress. That distress came from incidents in which the mother told her son when he was 7 that she was going to call the police if he didn’t buckle his seatbelt. And he also was upset that some of his Birthday cards did not contain cash or a check.

The younger sister apparently had it bad. Her mother once called her a t a homecoming party at midnight and told her to come home. It gets worse-this same mother refused to take her daughter to a car show.

I never thought I’d get hauled into court. I have however worried that my boys will get me on the Dr. Phil show. They’ll both be seated across from me, and Dr. Phil will be between us. One of the boys will refer back to their childhood and say, “Our Mom would get upset and tell us that when we grew up she was gonna come over to our house at 6:30 in the morning, pee in her adult diaper, and cry until we let her in to give her cereal.”

Dr. Phil would suck in his breath and have that 10 second pause for affect. Then his shiny head would turn to me, and in that signature Texan drawl Dr. Phil would ask, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?”

Okay, so if my kids were truly going to take me to court for emotional distress I guess I should prepare my list. Well, I made Miles wear tennis shoes he decided he no longer liked. And they were brand named…poor thing. I told Maxon that hot dogs would no longer be suitable for breakfast. And being the meanie I am, I always insist they both wear helmets when bike riding and skateboarding. I am awful, I know. It’s shameful but I have been a stickler for brushing their teeth and taking vitamins. I can only imagine the lasting torment I bestowed upon them for demanding they wear hats and gloves in the winter.

Man I hate to sound like my parents, but I can’t help it. “Wait til you have your own kids. You’ll see.”

Dirty Book In Aisle four! (Do Moms Really Read This Stuff?)

Two years ago I was thrilled to be asked to join a book club. Not because I like reading. Seriously, I still like picture books. But this group of women is really cool. So, when they asked if I wanted to join I was all over it.
The month Gina was hosting book club she sent out an e-mail about the book she wanted us to read. She said the book had cussing. And crime. And sex.” Great…now our husbands may want to join. The title of the book was G Spot. Gulp.
So there I was, wondering how I was gonna get the book. The library? It would be my luck to get to the check-out and realize my card was expired. Meanwhile, the librarian would have the book on the counter in plain sight while she updated my card. And I could see her giving me quick looks of disapproval, calling me a pervert in her mind.
If I ordered the book in the mail, it would get delivered while I was at work. It wouldn’t fit in the mail slot, so the delivery person would take it to Kyra’s house next door. Then I’d have to get it from her, and before she’d hand it over to me she’d undoubtedly ask what it is. I can here the conversation now. “Oh that looks like a book. What’s the title?”

She’s a huge reader so lying isn’t really an option, so I’d tell her. “It’s called G Spot.”
Then there would be this awkward ten second pause before I’d tell her it’s a gag gift for a bachelorette party. Then she’d smile and tell me that it sounds like the perfect raunchy gift for such an occasion.
Whatever. I decided I would just go to Barne’s and Noble Sunday after church. Yeah. I’ll ask for forgiveness then get to sinning.
There we were, kids in tow at the book store. Charles told me to get the book. I reminded him of the title, and he quickly took the boys to the kids’ section. Okay that part is taken care of. I mean I really don’t need the boys saying, “Hey how come the lady on the cover is kind of naked? I see boobs.”
I had no clue where to find the book, so I headed to the check-out I usually go to. Great. It’s a guy. I suddenly felt really dirty. I asked him, “Um, do you have the book, G Spot?”
He asked for clarification. “The name is G Spot?” Oh God. I should have gone the mail order route.
“Yes, that’s the title.”
He gets on his computer and I’m standing there beginning to get flushed. I mean, it was worse than waiting to see if you have exceeded your credit limit as you make a purchase.
He looks up from his computer and points to another counter that I need to go to. Then he gets on his walkie-talkie thing and says, “Customer assistance lower level.” He said something else that I didn’t understand, and I was convinced that it was code for “dirty book purchase.” Perfect. Now all the employees can look at the forty-something lady that is buying the steamy read.
As I head over to the “dirty book” counter I see an older couple heading over too. I walk slowly, hoping they will go ahead of me, but they motion for me to go first. I meet the new customer service guy. I really don’t want to have to say the name of the book. It’s like a drug deal or something. The best I could muster was, “I was told you could find a book for me.” He gives me a look like he wants to say, “Yeah. That’s what we do here. We sell people books.”
He didn’t say that but did ask me the name of the book. Oh no. And the old people are behind me.
“G Spot.” I tell him. He looks up at me like he doesn’t understand me.
“I’m sorry. Say again?” He asks.
On top of being embarrassed, I am getting upset. I’m thinking to myself, Say again? No I don’t want to say it again! Give me the book!”
I very curtly replied, “It’s called G Spot.”
He began typing away on his computer. It looks like we have a copy. You need to go back to that other counter.”
What the…? Aren’t they paid to get books for people? Oh I get it. If you want a “dirty book” you have to get it yourself. Like bagging your own groceries at the discount grocery stores.
So five minutes into my smut book journey I’m back where I started. Now the first guy to help me sees me at the counter and turns to the shelf behind him. I feel very dirty. Not to mention my kids are in the same store.
At this point I have very little dignity left so I ask the guy,” Is the book back there behind the counter because it’s dirty?”
He told me no. He explained they changed the store around and had to move inventory. That helped salvage some of my dignity.
I’m not a prude. Really. But I kept feeling that as a mom I shouldn’t be reading that kind of stuff. Ridiculous. I know. But I will say searching for, buying and reading a Dr. Seuss book was far less stressful.

Are You Sure You Don’t Have One of Those?

There’s just so much curiosity about bodies with my boys. Which is why I stopped sharing a bathroom stall in public places with them.
I have never been a fan of sending them alone in the men’s room. So, for a while I took them with me into the restroom for women. In order to save time and not have anyone lock themselves in a stall we’d all cram into one.
Well, the last time we did this ritual my youngest son used the toilet first. Then my oldest. Finally it was my turn. As soon as I assumed my squat position my youngest son went to the back of the toilet to get a view-of my back side.
He sounded confused as he asked, “Where’s your penis?”
Oh man. I was just trying to pee without hitting the back of my pants in this cramped position. Suddenly my concentration was broken. In my mind I imagined what the lady in the next stall was thinking, “Well-where is your penis?”
While this line of questioning took place, my oldest was trying to get out of the stall. I had one hand on the door, trying to keep it shut and the other on my youngest pulling him away from behind me as he keeps looking at my butt. It was like a really bad version of the game Twister. Only this version had a child repeatedly saying, “Mom, I wanna see your penis!”
“I don’t have a penis!” I finally told him.
I don’t know if I have the vocabulary to describe the look on his face. I think horrified would be best. “You have to have a penis! Otherwise you can’t pee!”
All I wanted was to get in and out of there as fast as I could. Now I was forced to break down the anatomy of girls and boys. And honestly I wasn’t so sure I was qualified to do that.
So when taking the boys into the women’s restroom became a traveling side show I decided it was time they use the men’s room. Now I stand as close to the door as I legally can, and in a loud voice say, “Hey guys everything okay? There aren’t any wierdos in there are there?” More times than not I get stares from adult men leaving the bathroom, but trust me-it keeps the weirdos away.

Looking for daughters-in-law

I never liked the idea of arranged marriages.  Until I had my own children. I used to go to playgroups and scout possible future dates for my boys.  Oh go ahead and judge me. But before you do, consider this. Social Security will be dried up, this debt ceiling mess will be even worse, and 401K’s and pension plans will barely cover your basic necessities.

My point? I need daughters-in-law.  Really good ones. Boys are wonderful, but who knows when they’ll be back to visit?  When they say, “See you later” they mean later.  Like anytime later.  

I got so frustrated with the boys one day I told them I’d had it with their whining. “When you get your own house, I’m coming over at 6:00 in the morning and I’m gonna pee in my adult diaper and whine and cry, until you let me in and feed me cereal!”

 “That’s just gross,” Max said with a look of disgust on his face. 

Naturally, Miles had to add his two cents. “I’m not gonna let you in.  I know how old people smell.”  Under the bus!   That response confirms my belief that I’m not gonna be in some no-name nursing home, sitting alone in the hall while the underpaid caretakers pass me by.

One of my brothers has already advised me to get in good with my sons’ girlfriends.  Makes total sense to me. He’s got three boys and a Ph D, which is a winning combination in my book.  But I took it a step further.  I’m thinking if I find suitable mates for the boys, I can be sure to get good daughters-in-law!  Then I won’t be sitting alone on the nursing home hallway. 

Ultimately, the boys will choose their own mates.  But I’d be crazy not to try to influence them a bit.  I mean I’m not just gonna pick any floozy.  These are my boys for goodness sake.  I have guidelines.  They have to love my boys, be nice, smart.  All that good stuff.  But they cannot put me in a nursing home. Well, maybe that’s inevitable.  But they have to visit me-and get me out of that hallway! 







It’s Just Age

One thing I have a hard time with is aging.  Not the actual turning one year older, but the physical changes.  Like grey hair.  Except for Michael McDonald,  who looks good with all that grey? And as my hair dresser said, “You have those angry grey hairs.”  Much like foil. And try pulling those buggers out.  It’s like trying to pull those thistle things from your garden.  You can pull them so far out, but you can still see them near the root.

And I’m thinking I need bifocals.  When I read I have to adjust my arm length from my body like 3 times.  What happened?  My eyes were fine just a few months ago.  I called an Optometrist to get some answers.  He asked my age.  I told him 42. He said (without hesitation mind you),”Yep.  You’re at that age. That’s all.”   That’s all?  Dude, my eyesight was 20/20 and them “Bam” everything is blurry.  That’s all?

My knees have begun to make this clicking sound, so I talked with my Doctor about it.   “It’s likely arthritis. Unfortunately it comes with age.”  Here we go again.  It comes with age? Like something on a menu.”That comes with fries or cole slaw.” And who ordered it?  I didn’t!!!

 I guess I would have liked a heads up, you know.  Maybe like a PSA.  “This is a friendly reminder that your body will most certainly fall apart between 40 and 45. This may include, but is not limited to, menopause, mood swings, absent mindedness, decreased hearing, poor eyesight and crackling knees.  You may seek medical attention but really not much can be done.  Do not yell at your Dr.  It is not their fault.  You are aging and possibly you got bad genes.”  I’m adopted so maybe a nice note would have been nice.  Maybe, “We wish you well and hope you enjoy your new family.  Oh, and sorry about the bad knee thing kid.”

Then I realize that I tell my boys that age doesn’t define them.  I tell them, “It doesn’t matter that you are young, there are lots of things you can do.”  So, I guess that I should go by the same idea-that my age doesn’t define me.  Okay fine.    And the leg brace I bought is helping with the knee thing. Plus it gives me sympathy at the gym and around the office.   And I suppose I could see that glasses could be seen as a cool accessory.  But- I’m not gonna stop coloring my hair.  No way no how.

Is it hot in here?

A few months ago I woke up in the middle of the night. I was hot. Like burning from the inside out hot. Like I’d been working out hot. But I hadn’t been working out. I had been enjoying deep sleep until I was so rudely awakened by my hotness. No…unfortunately not hotness like Beyonce or Kate Moss. I’m talking flushed, damp, sweaty hot. Nice visual, huh?

Looking for relief, I kicked off the sheets. No relief there. I turned on the fan. Still hot. Finally, convinced that I had a fever, I dragged my butt out of bed and took my temperature. Exactly 98.6 degrees.

Then I couldn’t sleep, so I did what any wide awake gotta-know-what –is-wrong-with-me-now wife would do. I got back in bed and drove my husband crazy. “Is it warm in here? Do you think the heat is too high?” I asked, waking him up from what was probably a perfectly good night’s sleep. I kept placing my hand on his back looking to see if he had some cool spots. Ahhh…he feels perfect, I thought.

At some point it was suggested that I was having a hot flash. Hot flash? Oh man. Those are reserved for ladies going through menopause, right? I’ve got young kids. I couldn’t be going through menopause. I simply don’t have the time. You know? I have more important things to do.

So the next day, still reeling from the “hot” episode I decided to get to the bottom of things. Yeah, I should have called the Doctor. Instead, I Goolged “Symptoms of Menopause”. Holy….I couldn’t believe it. I’m thinking there’s gonna be like five symptoms. Wrong. The list I found had thirty-five symptoms. That’s five plus thirty! I thought my sweaty legs (or “swegs” as the young interns at work hipped me to) were bad. This list had things I’d never imagined, like “changes in fingernails, itchy, crawly, skin.” How about “disturbing memory lapses, and dry vagina.” Dry vagina? Oh but that’s okay, I might work that out via the “ increased incontinence.”

Obviously, I made a wrong turn by searching the web. But I do remember after giving birth feeling like I could do anything. I’m praying there’s a kernel of truth to that, because if this menopause list is even close to accurate, I’m expecting everything!

Itchy. Crawley. Skin. Really?

Let the shopping begin!

It’s got a list that’s longer than most Holiday shopping lists. It’ll run you half your paycheck. And there’s a good chance your blood pressure, mood and disposition will be affected by it. Yep. Back to school shopping. Please know this is not a rant about schools or teachers. My Mother, Father, husband, brother, and friends are teachers. This, rather is an admission of how suddenly I realize how disorganized and possibly inept I am.

Now, maybe my memory is bad. Yes. It’s definitely bad. But I swear when we were kids all we bought when we went back to school were a few pencils, a couple notebooks and the kind of Elmer’s Glue that got jammed up after the first time you used it.

At first glance the supply list didn’t look menacing. But when I started to read the fine print, it was kinda like a map. Have I mentioned my dislike for maps? I never know where I am and therefore have no idea how to get to my destination. Much like my yearly school supply shopping trip.

Here’s a little sample of the list:

1- pink eraser. They come in packages of 2.
2 -16 pack of Crayola Crayons. This is the 3rd year in a row that I have paced up and down the crayon aisle for at least 15 minutes in search of the 16 pack of crayons before I say screw it-we’re buying the 24 pack. They can take out 8 crayons. Yeah, it can be part of their Math unit.
2 -2 plastic folders with no prongs. No prongs? Please, please let me buy the kind with prongs. That’s all I can find. Please.
1- Ultra fine tip black Sharpie. Do not confuse this with the fine tip Sharpie. Kids with Sharpies? Need I say more?
5- single subject, wide ruled, 70 page notebooks: 2 red, 1 blue, 1 green, and 1 yellow. You have to be kidding. I cannot find a yellow one. I did however buy a lovely purple one. Purple however, is not on the list.

We have been obsessed with finding that yellow notebook. Make that I have become obsessed. My husband went out and bought a 3 subject yellow notebook. After I told him that it needed to be a single subject notebook he tore out the dividers and proudly announced, “There. Problem solved.”

Oh no. Need I remind him of the “bag violation?” It happened 3 years ago when our oldest was entering K-5. We were both at school to see the boys off for their first day. It’s a flurry of activity. Weeping children. Weeping parents. Supplies everywhere. Kids scoping out their new digs for the year.

I was getting our son settled when my husband informed me that the bag we had for his extra clothes was too big. “The teacher said this bag is too big. It will never fit in his cubby.” I could hardly utter a word. How could this be? I searched really hard for that huge, over sized Ziploc bag. Sure, it was like a sandwich bag for King Kong, but all his stuff was in there. I felt like a failure. A bag violation? Poor kid. The wrong bag-on the first day no less. Bad Mommy.

I don’t know if we want things to be perfect for our kids or for us. Or both. I think we just want a smooth transition as a new year begins. And as silly as it seems for some of us that means getting that list right. So we bought a bigger than asked for notebook, a larger crayon box than was on the list and that extra purple notebook. Sounds like a high class problem to me. I can afford the supplies, my kids go to a great school with good teachers, and they like school.

But if I see a single subject, wide ruled, 70 page yellow notebook-I’m grabbing it!

Fire Flies

I’m not certain if it’s because of the heatwave, but I’ve noticed an abundance of fire flies around our yard this year. My youngest, Max was out catching them a few nights back.

After he’d caught one he proudly brought it over to me, and explained, “They light up and they look for girls at night. Did Daddy light up when he was looking for you?” I thought back to that David Sanborn concert 14 years ago. Well, he smiled alot. That’s close to lighting up.

Max was looking at me, waiting for my answer. “Yeah. Daddy did light up for me. Why do you think the fire flies are looking for girls?” I asked, knowing this could be dangerous territory.

Miles, my oldest, very matter-of-factly answered before Max had a chance to. “They’re looking for someone to mate with.” Gulp.

Now I was curious. How much of this “mating” stuff did he understand? My mind panicked with ideas of stuff he may have heard on the street. Did he hear something at camp? Could the sitter have let them watch an R rated movie? Or maybe instead of playing Angry Birds on my iPhone, he was looking at You Tube videos.

I was getting close to the edge now. “Do you know how babies are made?” But inside I was thinking, No! No! Don’t tell me. I can’t take it.

Clueless about my anguish over the situation, he continued, “Well you mix your DNA with Dad’s.” What? That’s it? It was like expecting to get a shot in my arm and instead I got a gentle pat. Yeah. DNA mixing. Kinda like making cookies. A little bit of this. A little bit of that. I like the sounds of that.

“You know Mom-like you and Dad. First you gotta meet someone. Like maybe on the computer. Like the website Zoosk.” What the? I had no idea what he was talking about. Website? What is a Zoosk and how does he know about it? Maybe he meant Dr. Seuss. Now that I’m okay with. You know… Green Eggs and Ham, Fox and Sox, Oh the Places You’ll….

My Dr. Seuss moment was interrupted as the conversation continued. “When I’m older I’m going on Zoosk to find a girlfriend.” And continued. “Can I get a girlfriend in high school if I show them to you? You know to make sure they are nice. Can I?”

Listen here Zoosk. My kid is still a kid. He sleeps with his teddy bear. The only female allowed in his room besides me is the Tooth Fairy. His closet is filled with Legos. He hasn’t lost all his baby teeth yet. Santa trumps you any day. And he doesn’t need a girlfriend-he’s eight! Back off you website thing…or whatever you are. You go back to wherever you came from! We’re going went back to catching fireflies. My husband can teach them how to light up for the ladies. He did just fine if you ask me!

Always an Adventure


 The day of our big vacation I got an email update from the airline stating that our flight   to Denver was delayed.  Nice. We weren’t even on the first leg of the trip and already it was a game of “hurry up and wait.” 

“Holy Shit!!  Our plane is delayed but that’s not all.  We just heard a loud noise and the captain said we are on backup!  I thought getting my period yesterday was bad.”  That was a portion of a frenzied text reply I sent my brother who was already in CO waiting for our arrival. 

The flight from Milwaukee to Minneapoliswas only about 40 minutes, but 15 minutes into the flight we heard a loud bang.  It was one of those what the heck was that kind of banging noises.  I looked across the aisle to my husband who motioned with his hands to stay calm.  While I was working on being calm the Captain came over the loud speaker.  “Folks we’ve had some engine problems.  We are now on the reserve engine.” What the….? I was so freaked out that honestly I’m not even sure what he said after that.  I suppose it was something about how everything was fine and no need to panic.  Before I could digest this new found information he’s back on the loud speaker.  “It looks like everything is going smoothly considering the engine issue.  But just as a precaution we’ve asked the Minneapolis  Fire Department to meet us at the airport upon arrival.”  After that I kept looking out the window and checking out the long stretches of highway and corn fields, thinking  we could land there…that looks good.  

My husband and I decided not to tell the boys what was going on.  They were having a ball, looking at the clouds and thinking of all the adventures that would await them on the rest of the trip. There was no way I could explain that there was a slight chance we’d have to make an emergency landing.  I would have rather told them the tooth fairy wasn’t real or that Santa retired. 

Naturally our trip was an adventure. It was beautiful and scary at the same time. There was a raft trip that made me realize how strong theColorado Riveris, and why driving is my preferred mode of transportation. There was a shiny Momma moose that stared us down so hard we decided it was best not to even glimpse at her cute mooslings or whatever they’re called.  There was a dog bite and 2 Black Widow sightings.  And canyons so beautiful I knew we had to be within inches of Heaven, but so high I could barley look down.  

We’re all in one piece. Maybe it’s just that parental nervousness that takes us away momentarily from the place we’re supposed to be.  But even when things don’t go the way we planned, it makes for some great memories and story telling. And the kids are beginning to see that they can make it through adversity. Now when things get tough my husband and I say, “Suck it up.  We lost and engine.  We can get through this.”

We’re going to Wally World!

Okay we’re not going to Wally World, but we are finally taking a family vacation! All four of us.  This is the first time we will all take a cross-country trip together.  Two years ago I took the boys (then 4 and 5) to see my Grandmother for her 100th Birthday.  They couldn’t wait to ask her if there were  dinosaurs around when she was little. Cute.  The plane ride, however, not so cute.  Miles, my oldest kept going to the bathroom.  He’d go in and just stay there, and I’d end up knocking on the door and try to quietly yell (I know, an oxymoron) “Get out!  There’s a line of other people who need to potty.”   My younger son Max, kept saying, “We’re gonna crash!”  Who needs an in-flight movie when you have us as a traveling side show?

But this time the boys seem more interested in “stuff” for the trip.  I bought them each a red carry-on suitcase.  They rushed home and filled it with all the things they thought they would need on the trip. The next morning Max realized he had packed all his underwear-4 weeks out from the trip!

 I’m a sucker for being prepared, (or faking it well) and I want the kids to have things I think they might need. So I bought them trial sized lotion, sanitizer, baby wipes, and toothpaste and toothbrushes.  You would have thought that I had given them a million bucks as their eyes grew wide with excitement.  Yep.  A million bucks for under 20!  Call me tacky, but I may be going back and buying one of everything I can find in trial size for Christmas!

 So, even though they want to stuff their remote control cars and all the underwear they have in their luggage I’m finding out that letting them be part of the planning is fun for them.  I do have a suspicion that security will have a field day with us. 

Stay tuned…this vacation will be fodder for many more blogs. But let me hear from you too.  If you have a question or a comment, please share it!