Tuesday, November 22, 2016


I really hope when you read that in your head you said, “Number-sign thankful”.  If not, I am not sure we could really be friends.  Sorry, but I never was able to conform to societal norms decades ago when the # symbol was changed to a pound sign.  There is no way in hell I will call it a G. D. hash tag.  It is, was and always will be the number sign to me.
That being said, with Thanksgiving mere hours away I am getting “Number-Sign Thankful” burnout.  It is that time of year again when people’s Facebook news feed gets jammed up with their friends and family posting daily what they are “Number-Sign Thankful” for.  Now I am not a complete Scrooge, I don’t mind seeing people posting they are thankful for their children, family and friends or their health.  I actually think the “Thankful for Us” frame people are putting around pictures of their loved ones is cute; it is the ridiculously superficial ones that make me cringe.  You all know the type I am talking about; “Number-Sign thankful for cozy socks, a mug of steaming Chai and a warm blanket”.  OK, so when posting these things keep in mind your audience.  I actually laugh out loud when I see some of these Norman Rockwellesque posts.  I want to comment back, “Bitch please, I know you!!  That pair of cozy socks is more likely than not a mismatched set of tube socks and I can almost guarantee one of them is your husbands.  That “mug” (wink-wink) of tea you are sipping on is really an environment depleting, re-heated, Styrofoam cup you got through the Dunks drive through 4 hours ago while chauffeuring your ungrateful offspring to their activities.  Oh, and that good book you claim to be reading, I bet your TV is tuned to Bravo and you are watching one of the Real Housewives incarnations. Don’t get me wrong, I watch my fair share of trashy TV, but I can honestly say I have never watched one of those deplorable Real Housewife shows.  Though, this goes without saying, Much Love Andy Cohen!!  Muah!!  See you in April with my boyfriend Anderson!  I am going to see their AC2 show and I can’t wait.  The births of my children, my wedding day and being in the same room with Anderson Cooper have been the most anticipated events in my life.  Don’t ask me to rank them in order because there may be some hurt feelings in my house…

But back to my story… How am I able to read between the lines of a FB post and real life you ask?  Because this is my real-life too!  We are all just a bunch of hot messes trying to survive the day.  So in keeping with that theme and the spirit of the season I am going to let you in on some of the things that I am truly “Number-Sign Thankful” for;

Number-Sign Thankful the Presidential Election is over.  Now, it is not for the reasons you are guessing.  Though, as a registered Independent I am Number-Sign Thankful I am not getting a call from each candidate every two minutes.  But now, hopefully Anderson Cooper can go back to his regular, tried and true format with him sitting at his anchor desk filling me in on the news of the day.  I am sick of the bat-shit crazies, from both sides, that have made up the panel discussions for the past 18 months.  Please bring back the best 5 minutes in television each day, The Ridiculist.  I mean if not for the Ridiculist would the world have ever learned of Prancercizing?  Would we have heard The Coop giggle uncontrollably when saying the name Gerard Depardieu?  Would I have ever heard the death metal song, “Wolf Blitzer?” Probably not.  So Anderson, you have until April to get back in the swing of things or you and I will have a little talk.

Number-Sign Thankful for the Internet.  The internet is one of the most prolific game changers to come along in my life-time.  Not only can we connect with people around the world we would never otherwise come in contact with, we can learn anything and everything on infinite topics with just a click of the mouse, but more than that I can see what every Real World Cast has been up to for the last 20 years.  I can follow Kanye’s meltdown in real time.  I can binge watch Dr. Pimple Popper videos on You Tube—an oddly relaxing pastime Sara and I have spent endless hours bonding over.  Without the internet I would have never known there is a whole subculture dedicated to making slow motion videos of things being flattened in a compressor.  When I am faced with household chores or spending time going down the rabbit hole that is the world wide web I will pick random Buzz Feed Top 10 lists Every. Single. Time.  Forget it when I get on a Joe Santagato kick.  Who knew there were so many Idiots of the Internet?  I did.  You know why?  Because I have watched every one of Santagato’s Idiots of the Internet Videos multiple times over.  So, rhetorical question here…does that make me one?

Number-Sign Thankful the girls’ pediatrician is not my Facebook friend.  He is wonderful and I have the utmost respect for his knowledge and skills, however, I have been lying to him for years.  Well, OK, I lied to his face once, but since then it has been more of a lie of omission.  Two years ago at Emily’s one year appointment he asked if we transitioned her from bottle to cup and I kind of tilted my head, rubbed the sweat off the back of my neck and in a high-pitched voice made a noise that resembled; mm-hmm.  So technically I never truly verbalized a real definitive answer.  I just made a guttural vocalization that when put under cross examination could go either way.  Since it was never brought up subsequent to that conversation I have never offered additional information on the subject.  If he were my Facebook friend I would be Number-Sign Screwed!  Somehow Emily has turned 3 and still uses a bottle at night to fall asleep…I know, right?  The WORST kind of bottle!!  So thank Christ he has never brought it up during an appointment because Emily sees no shame in still using a bottle and would proudly pound one in front of anyone as if it were a pint of Guinness. 

Number-Sign Thankful for Emily’s honesty. So during a recent outing to Bass Pro Shop, or as I like to call it; the poor man’s zoo, Emily made an observation.  She stopped what she was doing, looked me up and down then stared right into my soul and declared to all who would listen, “Mom, you’re fat!”  Sara and Anna stopped in their tracks and looked as if a nuclear bomb was about to go off.  Hmm, I guess you are right Emily, I am fat… I responded.  Thank God she brought it to my attention.  I knew something was off, all my clothes were way too tight, and my double chin is about a double chin and a half at this point, the numbers on the scale for some reason keep climbing in an upward pattern.  Something was up but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  I am so glad she decided, while out in public mind you, to put all the pieces together for me and announce to the world what she discovered.  That child has impeccable timing.

Number-Sign Thankful for Tosh.0.  Whenever life or one of my children gets me down there is nothing like watching an episode of Tosh.0 to pick me up.  It’s like the saying goes; “No matter what, there is always, always something to be grateful for.”  Sometimes not being on an episode with Daniel Tosh is the one something to be grateful for that day.  After watching the complete white-trash, sh$t show that is Tosh.0 makes me not feel so bad about myself.  Speaking of white trash, after our trip to Bass Pro Shop I did come home and watch Tosh On Demand.  I may be going to hell being one of his biggest fans, but hey, at least I will have a smile on my face when I get there.

Number-Sign Thankful for 8 easily accessible toilets in the NICU.  If you have been following my blog for any length of time you know that I have some rather effed up, to put it mildly, GI issues.  I am supposed to be on this ridiculously crazy diet to help control flare-ups but I would be less than honest if I said I followed the diet.  I do religiously follow 2 Low FODMAP Facebook pages so that has to count for something, right?  Now, the thing with my GI issue is that it is completely unpredictable.  I could eat a trigger food and not have an acute reaction to it…I might not get symptoms from the offending food for several days.  That makes for an interesting life.  I could be having a great day and out of the blue, literally from one second to the next, I have to go to the bathroom.  Doesn’t matter if I am driving, talking on the phone or holding a baby at work…I need to go and I need to go now.  There are no second chances to get this right.  If I miss my window of opportunity of making it to the restroom, and let me tell you, I will not be doing any “resting” in there, I will need to move out of the country and join some type of program akin to a Witness Protection Program.  A Shitness Protection Program if you will.  Fortunately at work there are 8 toilets strategically placed around the unit.  From any given spot in the NICU I know how many ass-clenched, speed walking steps I need to take to get to every last one of those toilets.  I have been in the NICU for 7 years now and I have yet to join the Shitness Protection Program and for that I am truly Number-Sign Thankful.

So the moral of this blog is; be thankful for the truly important things in your life; family, friends and health…but know that no matter what kind of fantasy life you try to put out there for others to see, we are all just in this together and when all else fails, be Number-Sign Thankful you are not getting a call from Daniel Tosh’s production company.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

There's a Mole in our house...

Seriously, there was a mole in our house.  I am not talking about the saboteur kind of mole portrayed on the TV show hosted by my imaginary boyfriend in his younger years.   What, you didn't have faith in me  I could work Anderson Cooper into a blog about a rodent?  Oh ye of little faith...Google it!  My little Andy was the host of the reality show called "The Mole" back in the day.   But back to my story...

So about 2 weeks ago I was sitting on the couch watching TV.  Chuck walks in with a clear plastic box and says, "look what I found".  I look over and I see what looks like a cat turd in the box.  I asked why he brought it in and he said because it was crying, I couldn't just leave it there.  Crying?  What?  Turns out it wasn't a cat turd, it was a newborn rodent, less than an inch long!  I need to get my glasses fixed.  Mary Alice, our dog ate my glasses.  Chewed through the lens and everything!  I swear to God my eye doctor thought I was making up a lame excuse as to why I wasn't wearing my glasses, that was until I pulled the eyeglass carcass out of the case...

So Chuck takes the little creature into the kitchen to show the girls.  The 3 of them start "oh-ing" and "aw-ing".  Great, I think.  Now I'm in for it.  They want to keep!  For Christ's sake...  So five minutes in they have it in a plastic little critter cage and are You-Tubing how to feed newborn mice.  So here is my husband, who if he found this little animal a few weeks later when it was full grown would have set a trap to kill it, is now hand feeding it milk from a paintbrush.  Keep in mind, Chuck is NOT a fan of the dog or cats or companion pets in general, yet he has told the girls we can keep this little, fetal looking rodent.  I am thinking, OK, so we keep it but to what end?  Are we going to keep it forever?  Are we going to let it go after we nurture it back to health only to be set free and later eaten by Mary Alice.  She does not have a refined palette by any means.  She has been known to snack on field mice, multiple moles, a baby bunny and oh yeah-sh*t.  Actual sh*t!  She pulled one of Emily's poopy diapers out of the trash and ate a fist sized lump of crap before I could get over to her.  You think for one second she would hesitate before devouring a fellow "pet"?  Plus, by the time the creature, who now has been named Penny-Cookie is able to be released it will be domesticated...even if he escaped Mary Alice's wrath, it wouldn't survive.  There isn't going to be milk soaked paint brushes in the wild for her to suck on.  So I guess we (meaning me) is in it for the long haul.  Yay!!  (said in mockingly triumphant voice, with my arms half-heartedly raised).  

OK, so if you know me at all you know I don't do anything half-assed.  Well, maybe exercising.  That I mail in.  I think I told you all about the time I was trying to get into shape for my wedding and I really wasn't feeling it one day so I changed into my gym clothes in a liquor store parking lot and drove around with my face leaning towards the vents with the heat on full blast.  By the time I got home I was all red and sweaty giving the appearance of a solid workout.  That may or may not have happened more than once.  But I digress....when it comes to taking care of my pets that is a different story.  I remember years ago one of my friends told me when she died she wanted to come back as one of my pets.  What up Shannon?!!  So it was now on me to keep this thing alive.

I ask for advice and I am told I need to keep it warm so I fill a little water bottle with warm water and replace it every few hours.  I also find out I need to "help" it pee and poop.  So as I am wiping it's tiny ass with a warm paper towel I start to contemplate my life and where did it go so wrong that I am sitting alone in my kitchen at 2 in the morning wiping some rodents ass trying to get it to sh*t on me?  Hmm.  Really?  Who was I or what did I do in a past life to deserve this?  Was I Genghis Khan for f*ck's sake? 

So we are one day into running our animal rescue center.  I go to Target to get something and I inexplicably find myself at Petco purchasing a teeny, tiny bottle and cat formula.  I know full well it is not a cat, but I am thinking it is closer to a cat than a cow.  So maybe cat milk is better for it than cow milk?  That decision would of course come back to bite me in the ass. Oh and I decided it was a mole and not a mouse.  It's eyes were funky and when I did a google image search of baby moles it looked just like one, plus, we have a crap ton of moles living in our yard.

So we are on about day three of the rescue mission and my time in the NICU is really starting to show.  I am feeding this thing every two hours....I am diligent about maintaining its temperature even providing modified kangaroo, or skin to skin care....I would hold it between my hands trying to keep it warm but there is no way in hell I would put it on my chest!!  The thing was so tiny it would get lost in there and probably crushed by one of my boobs and how would I explain that to the girls?  Then I notice Penny's belly and I don't like the looks of it.  It looks distended, dusky and then eventually you can see a black blob under the transparent skin.  Great!  I gave the baby mole NEC.  I tuck Penny-Cookie back into her blanket, warm up her water bottle and put her back in the cabinet.  Oh yeah, so we have to keep her in a safe spot away from the cats and dog so Chuck puts her in the cabinet with our drinking glasses.  So while we are saving one beings life I may just be endangering all of ours by exposing my family to the hantavirus.  At one point Anna spiked a fever with no other symptoms...I was prepared to tell the ER to call Dan Riskin from Monsters Inside of Me, that we have an episode for him...

So we get home from picking the girls up at school they  want to feed Penny.  I tell them sure.  Poor Anna gets the critter tank down and makes the discovery.  Poor Penny is dead.  Great!  I didn't even want this thing to begin with and now I am the one home that has to help them process the death and listen to them sob.  I get accused of killing it--why did you give it cat milk and not mole milk?  Yeah, like that was the deciding factor in it's demise.  Anna decorates a jewelry box to bury Penny in.  Sara goes on and on about how this is the worst day ever and instead of validating her feelings I remind her the day Grandma died was maybe a little worse.  That went over like a friggin fart in church!  While sitting in the midst of this chaos I go off into my little happy place in my mind...sitting at Cafe Zurich at the top of the Ramblas in Barcelona, drinking una clarita without a care in the world.  That is short lived because now we have to have a funeral and bury Penny.  Chuck comes home, digs a hole next to our dead cat and bury the rodent.  The irony is not lost on me and I have to stifle a laugh. 

So we all settle in and sit down for dinner.  Our nightly tradition is to go around the table and talk about the best part of our day.  I remind them that even on the saddest days there is always something to be thankful for.  Sara and Anna pass, Chuck and I mutter something corny  and then Emily proudly announces her favorite part of the day was when Penny died.  Serial killer in the making?  Perhaps.  Sh*t stirrer? Absolutely!! 

I know my kids were upset that Penny died, but, I feel like there were some great life lessons--they learned about responsibility, if you take something on you see it through, that all living creatures, no matter how small, deserve a chance and that sometimes, no matter how badly you want something to work out it just might not work out the way you plan. 

So it has been about 2 weeks and Sara and Anna have adjusted and have used this experience as a positive.  But just last night Emily asked me if I was still sad that Penny died and I said yes.  I asked if she was and she gave a resounding "NO"!   I guess two out of three ain't bad. 

Friday, July 1, 2016

Public Service Announcement for Beach Season....

So we have the week off and decided to take the girls to the beach for the day.  We had a great time collecting shells, playing in the waves, constructing "Anna Island"--a family engineering project that consisted of a moat with a channel to the water that was supposed to fill up around an artfully created island complete with seaweed trees.  All in all it was a great day.  However, I am ALWAYS looking out for my blog reading friends....I have come up with a few simple rules to keep in mind when heading to the shore...

 #1.   You will get older.  Your skin will get older.  Ladies, no matter how fit you are there will come a point in your life that you have old lady crepe paper skin.  It just happens.  There is nothing more bizarre, I guess I will go with that word because after several minutes of thinking I can't come up with anything else, than seeing a 70-ish year old lady with saggy crepe paper skin over her entire body with rock hard, taut skinned boobs the size of cantaloupes standing at attention.  God as my witness, I tried to look away, I really did, but I couldn't help but stare.  It didn't help that she had a tiny bikini on putting them on full display.  Maybe disturbing is the word I should have gone with, yeah, it was disturbing.  So young girls if you are contemplating getting breast implants please keep this in mind when choosing what size to get...you too will someday be an old lady trapped in an old lady body with the boobs of a twenty something and it just ain't right!!!

#2  Along those same lines are tattoos.  They seem so cool when you are younger.  Don't get me wrong.  I love tattoos and when done by a really good artist they can be so beautiful.  I have one myself.  But ladies, please for the love of Psamathe (the God of beach sand...I do my research) make sure your choice will fit your lifestyle for LIFE.   For example, a tribal tramp stamp really seems out of place 20 years later when playing in the sand with your kids and digging their PB & J out of your Vera Bradley beach bag.  Or. if you choose to have yourself inked with a cute little rose on your hip it WILL become a rose bush if you have children down the road.  Just a few things to ponder while you are in line at the tattoo parlor.

#3  This is a big one.  If you have an asshole kid at home, I have no doubt they will continue to be an asshole while out in public.  If you have one of these said A-holes, please, please, PLEASE do not, under any circumstance, let them bring a God Damn water squirter to the beach!!  They will be the ISIS of the waterfront, wreaking havoc and leaving destruction in their wake.  One little sh*t ran right through the sand castle we were making and another kept squirting people NOT WITH HIS GROUP with his friggin squirter!  Seriously, if you are going to take your little terrorist to the beach please keep an eye on them and don't give them a weapon.

#4  No body shaming here.  I have put on a good 40 pounds since my mom died a year and a half ago (yes, I did...I have a scale and a mirror, its true).  I ate my feelings, yet, I still wear a bathing suit and participate in life for my kids.  However, as I gained weight I purchased appropriate sized bathing suits to go with my new chubby body.  I am not telling anyone not to go to the beach or not to wear a bathing suit or even to wear a cover up.  Not at all...I think everyone should go and enjoy life just as they are... I just implore you to wear a bathing suit that fits properly!  There were a bunch of bigger girls rocking bikinis yesterday and they looked GREAT!!  You know why?  Because they bought a suit in THEIR SIZE!!!  Sorry, but if you are a size 18, buy a size 18 suit and wear it with pride.  Do not try to stuff it into a size 8.    Some people were just asking way too much of their swimsuits.  A triangle of fabric on just a nipple with everything else hanging loose looks ridiculous.   Sorry, it just does.  Also, try to be age appropriate in your swim suit choices.    If you are a woman of a particular age, keep it simple.  A tiger striped, string bikini should be left for ladies born oh, I don't know, maybe after George Washington left the White House.   

#5  Know when to say when.  The girls and I were in the bathroom and I sh*t you not, Magda from Something About Mary came sashaying out of a stall.  The girls couldn't stop staring.  I have never seen a person resemble an old, worn leather couch so much in all my life.  She had bright white hair to boot.  Soaking wet she probably weighed all of 80 pounds.  The color of her skin was not normal, the consistency of her skin seemed alien.  She looked to be around 78 years old...but who knows maybe she was just a 32 year old sun worshiper.  Whatever the case she needs a new religion...

# 6  I am white.  I am very white.  Once a child told me I was so white I was see through.  My whiteness is on par with the love of my life....Anderson Cooper.  I believe in sunscreen.  I use it faithfully.  I bring an umbrella to the beach and sit in the shade when I am not playing with the girls.   Again,  sunscreen is a must, rash guard shirts are fine, my girls are into them now.   Anyone know why they are called rash guards?  Just curious.  But there are some people that just take it to the extreme.  These are the people who wear pretty much a space suit to the beach.  Again, umbrellas I get, toddlers in a tent? Sure.  But what I don't get is a sun hat as big as a beach umbrella with Urkel like flaps, sun glasses, long sleeve shirt and long pants.  Why?  Just why?  Stay home and put a picture of the beach on the TV with the soundscapes channel on....same experience for your poor kid.

#7  Teenage boys with teenage girls...public service announcement...get a bathing suit that has a little more strength in the fabric to hold "things" in place.  That's it.

#8  This is a huge pet peeve of mine.  People on phones...more specifically  parents on phones when they should be watching their kids.  I am NOT a helicopter parent by any stretch of the imagination.  I don't hover over my kids making sure they never have a negative experience.  However, and this is a BIG however, when there is the potential my child could lose their life I kinda keep an eye on them.  Yesterday I was at the edge of the water collecting shells with my girls.   There was a family next to us.  Both parents were on their phones, texting/playing a game/working/ who knows, but the 3 year old had their 18 month old on a boogie board and was towing her out to sea.  Part of me was like, "serves them right if they go home with one less kid"...but I am not a total jerk and I said loudly "oh, hey you little boy, you might not want to pull your little sister out to far...she could fall off and go under water"...the parents glanced up and brought the kids back to shore.  Then they gave me the stink eye!!  Oh, OK, sorry I interrupted you to save your kids life...so next time do you want me to let your kiddos drown and not interrupt your Candy Crush?  So parents, put your frigging phones down and enjoy/watch your kids...it might just save their life!

#9  Don't go to the beach during shark week!   Big mistake!!! Every odd shaped wave, large piece of seaweed etc. was a flipping shark.  If I had to guess I would say my heart rate was close to 200 every time I stepped in the water.

So there you have it.  9 simple steps to having a fun, safe and enjoyable day at the beach.  You're Welcome!!

Friday, June 17, 2016

"In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.".

Everyone knows Andy Warhol's famous quote.  Well my friends, I came this close to finally having MY 15 minutes of fame, but, like everything else in my life, it turns out to be nothing more than fodder for my blog.

So I call home from work one evening to check on the girls.  Chuck tells me I have a message on the answering machine from a reporter from the Washington Post. She would like to speak with me about a story she is writing.  I didn't give it much thought.  I get home and listen to the message.  Sure enough there is a message, from someone claiming to be from the Washington Post.  I automatically think, great, another scam!  I had recently received an urgent call from the IRS informing me I owe them money and if I didn't pay up marshals would show up my door to arrest me.  Bring it-- I tell them.  I would LOVE a night in jail...I haven't had a decent night's sleep in a good 8 years.  Surprisingly the guy hung up on me.  I also received word via my AOL account (which I finally just parted with) that an African Prince wanted to share his fortune with me!  With me!!  Again, when I called the number and inquired about how many people I could hire for my royal staff I was met with a quick dial tone.  So though I was kind of impressed with the effort in coming up with a new and unique scam, a reporter calling to gather my info, I didn't give it too much thought....at first.

So I give a status update on my FB page about the message I received from a "reporter"...  More to see if anyone else had gotten the same call and to do my civic duty and warn the community about the latest scam.  Well, I guess my Facebook friends are way less cynical.  Someone responded saying I was being contacted because of my blog.  No way I thought...until a few more people made similar comments.  I started to investigate. Thank God for Google, I mean seriously what did we do before Google?   Jessica Contrera is a real reporter for the Washington Post.  The phone number on caller ID was a Washington, DC based number and her actual name was on caller ID also.  Wow, that is total commitment on the scammers part.  Or was it?  Yes my friends, a let myself go there.  In no time flat I could hear Whitney Houston singing "One Moment in Time" in my head...  I was watching myself, in slow motion, walk out onto the ELLEN stage...my blog had blown up and I was the new Erma Bombeck...Ellen was so impressed with me she gave me a brand new Honda Odyssey mini-van with the built in vacuum.  THE BUILT IN VACUUM!!!  So I decide to call her back immediately to get my new found fame rolling.  I leave her a message and now I wait....

While waiting for her return call I start to plan what I will say to Ellen and it hits me, OH MY GOD!!!  What if the Silver Fox wants me on his show???!!!!  I have to get it right this time!  I can't make a fool of myself again.  I kind of blew my other chances at fame.  You see I have been on TV a few times before.  The first was years and years ago when I first became a Child Life Specialist.  I was working in an Emergency Department.  Well, the TV show ER introduced a Child Life Specialist in one of its episodes so the local NBC affiliate asked if I would be willing to film a segment to run on the 11 o'clock news following that episode.  OK, sure.  So they come to the ER and film me.  Mind you, I was really, really new to the field and I didn't give it the justice it deserved, but that is not the worst of it.  They asked me about why I chose the field or something like that.  I had a note in my hand from a former patient and I said, "this...(insert extremely long dramatic pause here), this is what makes it all worthwhile"....UGH!  I just threw up in my mouth a little bit just remembering it.  It was so L.A.M.E.  Thank God the internet wasn't what it is now back then....I can just imagine what the trolls would say about my performance.  My second TV appearance came years later.  It was about 5 years ago.  I had just reconnected with my friend from Japan.  It had been about 20 years since we saw each other, but found each other on Facebook.  Not 2 weeks later did the earthquake/tsunami hit Japan.  I left her a message letting her know she was welcome to come stay with us or support her in anyway.  I didn't hear anything back.  Well the next day I checked my email 10 minutes before I was going to work and I got word from her.  She was safe, thank God!! and she was taking us up on our offer.  Her and her daughter would be arriving on March 16th.  Holy crap!!  That was the next morning!  With the time difference they were already up in the airplane!  So I have to call Chuck and tell him that my friend I just reconnected with a few days ago was on her way to stay with us indefinitely.  He didn't care, he is such a good guy he went online to research where to buy Japanese food for them.  So how does this relate to my blog about being famous?  Well you see, my brother works for one of the local TV channels.  I am forever pitching stories to him.  Not once has he ever taken me up on them.  I guess while I was at work my dad called and told him Miho was coming and it would make a nice news story.  He agreed.  So I get home from work around 8 that evening with the intention of getting my house kind of "house guest ready" in the hour I have before bed.  Well, FOX 25 calls and asks if they can meet us at the airport tomorrow.  They would like to film our reunion.  OK, I guess.  Now on top of getting my house ready I have to find clean clothes (that will look nice on TV for me and the girls...stores are closed at this point so we have to work with what we got)....OK, I think I find something.  The house is somewhat clean, my house may not be immaculate but I have to believe it was a step up from the earthquake and tsunami they were fleeing.  At about 10 p.m. I get a call back from the TV station saying they would also like to film us back at our house after they arrive so they can see where they will be staying.  Oh for Christ sake...now I have to get my house TV ready?  The internet was much more of a factor this go around but I made sure not to read the comments from our story...I can just see them now...family flees natural disaster to stay with them?

So like I said, I was going to get it right this time.  I was already planning in my head what I would wear, what I would say and how I would react when I got my new souped up mini-van.  Hey, a girl can dream!

So the phone rings and it was her!  Yes, her name really was Jessica!  Yes, she really was a reporter for the Washington Post!  Yes, she really is doing a story for the paper!  Yes, she really does want to talk to me!  That is until she didn't.  Turns out she was looking for someone with the same last name as mine.  She somehow found my name during her search and thought I was this girl's mother.  I swear to God I felt like a balloon that suddenly had all its air come rushing out.  Think Erin, Think God Damn It!  I tell her that I don't know her, but since she was only a few towns away I can ask around to see if anyone knows them.  Maybe she would let me be her junior reporter?  No such luck.  She apologizes, thanks me for my time and says good-bye.  Just like that my dream of a vacuum in my mini-van was dashed. 

The next day we don't feel like cooking dinner so we tell the girls we are taking them out to eat.  Most kids would be psyched.  I know I was whenever my parent's would take us out to eat.  I used to love York Steakhouse...you got to push your own tray down the line and pick whatever dessert you wanted!  Not my kids.  45 minutes of them fighting over where we should go.  One wanted Papa Ginos, one wanted Red Robin.  The Red Robin girl said "fine if we go to get pizza it will be really quick because one of us won't be eating".  We are yelling at the kids to get in the car damn it--we ARE going out to eat and WE are picking the place!  Now, normally if my kids behaved that way we would not reward them by going out, but, we really had no food in the house and Chuck and I needed to eat.  So there we were, I am sweating from all the drama, the kids are screaming at us, each other and just in general.  Chuck is moody because he is hungry and  I start to really reflect on my life.  I mean more often than not I use a table cloth to dry off after a shower, I even saw Chuck use a receiving blanket the other day, in a pinch I have used dog shampoo.  I wear Spanx to smooth out my belly not caring about the back fat rolls it creates, I mean if I can't see it does it really even exist?  We have a farmers gate drilled into our kitchen for the dog.   I have a pooping disease that makes wearing white pants a bold, daring move.  I have a dog that ate the Easter Bunny.  I have 3 beautiful girls that often look homeless and my youngest is one step away from being feral.  A family of four could live off the crumbs in my car for a solid year.  I walked out of a public bathroom with toilet paper trailing from my underwear, not my shoe, my friggin underwear...I am almost certain Spanx were involved... and it hits me and I say to Chuck, "why in the name of all that is Holy would we EVER, EVER think someone would want to write a story about this sh*t show?" and we both burst out laughing!!

So not this time Mr. Warhol.  The world still needs to wait for my 15 minutes!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Just three hairs and some air!

Who said that?  Anyone?  Anyone?  I bet Kristy McG. knows who I am talking about!  Why it is Bob Ross.  Yes, THE Bob Ross from the Joy of Painting.  I have been re-watching The Joy of Painting for a few months now.  I would watch it when I was like 12-13 years old or so.  My friend Cathy would come over and we would use poster paints and cardboard canvases and try to follow along. Sadly, our happy little trees never came out as good as his.

So why after all these years have I decided I needed some happy little trees back in my life?  I have insomnia.  I have had it for years.  I decided I didn't want to take meds to help me sleep anymore.  They made me feel like I was in a fog.  My therapist told me I should find a good meditation CD to listen to at night.  Wait?  What?  You thought I was able to get through this crazy life on my own?  Oh, Bless your heart!  I have the best therapist.  It took me a while to find her.  I had some doozies in the past.  One guy was really good.  I liked him a lot but he always used sports analogies I didn't understand.  I would have to try to remember them and in what context he used it then go home and Google it to find out what exactly he was telling me.  Too much work.  One of my first therapists years ago had a lobster hand.  I sh*t you not!  Her hand was shaped like a lobster claw.  It is a hand condition called Ectrodactyly.  Now, if you know me I have no issues with differences or different abilities in people.  But this was a tough situation.  So instead of focusing on getting my mental health needs met, all I could do throughout each session was to make sure I wasn't looking at her hand and focusing on making sure I was not making HER feel uncomfortable.  It was exhausting and instead of working out my issues I was only creating more for myself AND paying big bucks for it.  I only lasted a few sessions with her....

Anyway, I digress...back to my post.  So I tried a few of those relaxation apps with middle aged British ladies describing a babbling brook or long meadow grass blowing gently in the breeze.  I tried I did, but it is not my thing.  So I decided to give Bob Ross a try.  I always found his voice soothing.  Turns out Bob Ross is not as sweet and innocent as I remember.  The fact is, he is a dirty, dirty man. 

 Now I know mostly stoners watch his show and maybe he caters to them.  I mean if you took a drink every time he said "When God made Alaska he was having a good day" you would be tanked in no time.  In one episode he said it 7 times in 27 minutes!!  If you just kind of watch his show you won't notice it.  But, me being me I really listened and oh man, the things he says!!  He is filthy!! Do I think he does it on purpose?  ABSOLUTELY!!!  With over 30 seasons of his show there have to be hundreds of inappropriate things he has said over the years.  Here are just a few examples of what I have heard this week alone!

"it is slick, wet and ready...I hope you are too"  OK, so maybe he was talking about pre-painting the background on his canvas but come on...that is just pre pubescent comedic gold right there!!!

* "Alaska has some of the prettiest little bushes I have ever seen"  Yes, I know he lived in Alaska for 12 years.  He reminds me all the time.  And yes, he may be talking about actually topiaries or is he?  Hmmm....

*  "One day I was in the woods and ran into two happy little bushes...it was a great day"  Come on!!!  He said that, gave a little chuckle and moved on.  Very subtle but Bob, this is me, Erin...I don't miss subtle!  Subtle nuances are my thing!!!...Jane, did you know about this?  (Jane is his wife)  What are your thoughts on all the happy little bushes he runs into?

"Beat the dickens out of it....sometimes I just beat it 'till it's dry"  When he cleans his brush he beats it against the side of his easel to get the excess water/paint off and he always comments on it...beat the dickens out of it...beat the devil out of it....but sometimes he takes it a step further...as shown in my example above.

In addition to his wife Jane, Bob also has a son Steve.  He appears in episodes from time to time.  If you think Bob Ross is a tall drink of water, wait until you see Steve.  He is a sweet, sweet looking man...in that 70's/80's long hair, pornstache kind of way.  His painting technique is a bit more flashy and he is a bit more reckless in his art but, he has his dad's smooth moves when it comes to turning an art tutorial into a soft core porn.  Brown chicken, brown cow....

"Sometimes you need to be rough on it...real rough"  He came out with this gem in the very first episode of his I watched. 

"If your wrist is worn out when you are done you know you were doing something right"  Yeah, I got nothing for this one!!

"I like to use a big one, big ones get the job done...a good 2 inches should do the trick"  I know he was talking about the kind of brush he likes to use, but when you have the sense of humor of a 12 year old boy, this is funny stuff!

So, once again I am caught up in the insomnia trap, but at least I have something to entertain me while I am awake all night.  I don't care that he has already started painting before the list of paint colors comes across the screen, I am not going to try and paint one of his masterpieces.  I don't care that all of his paintings are basically a variation on the same damn scene.  I don't care that his paintings will never hang in a real art museum someday.  All I care is that he makes me giggle like a school girl at 3 in the morning.  So it may not have the desired effect my therapist wanted, but tonight I am going to grab a patchouli candle, my ipad and my sense of humor and laugh until the sun comes up!!  Happy Painting my friends!!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fake it till you make it!

OK, first, sorry no blog post in a long time.  But, unfortunately the state requires I attend to my children from time to time so that is what I have been doing.  Even though I have not been blogging doesn't mean things have been running smoothly.  Let me tell you about one such evening...

So one of my all time favorite doctors asked me to give a presentation at their annual gathering.  "Sure" I said.  I had at least a solid 2 months to put together what I was going to talk about... no problem.  So of course the day of the presentation I am printing off my power point notes at 5:40.  Five friggin forty!!!  The doors for the event were opening at 6!  On another campus!  But that is how I role.  I mean other than cramming for an exam, getting a presentation pulled together or cleaning your house at the 11th hour before a family gathering what the hell was the last minute created for?

So I jump in my car and head to the hotel for the dinner.  Now, let's just back up a bit.  Though I got my presentation done with about 26 seconds to spare, leading up to 5:40 was no picnic!  So even though I am 43 years old, mother to 3 children, a homeowner, a working mom, the secretary for our town's PTA and a Girl Scout Troop leader I do not for one second feel like an adult.  I still feel like a teenager just kind of playing dress up or house.  Not sure if feeling like an adult will ever kick in, or if I really want that feeling to kick in. 

But either way when I was asked to present to this group of doctors I kind of felt like a kid invited to sit at the grown ups table.  I felt like I needed to get it right...I always wonder, since I, myself don't feel like an adult do I come across as one in my various roles at work, within the community, etc?  I have plenty of experience with public speaking and I am pretty comfortable with it, but, this was a different audience and I wanted to make sure I came across as a knowledgeable professional.  Now, if you are worried about me getting all philosophical or zen on you, I want you to stop, take a minute to sum up all my past blog posts, breathe those in and know that sh*t ain't going to happen!  This is me we are talking about for Christ's sake!!

 I have to get the kids off to school.  Get Emily to my in-laws and then volunteer in Anna's class all before heading into work.  You know, just a typical day in the life of a mom.  So I get dressed in a serious looking outfit.  Black dress pants, my fancy black shoes, or at least ones the dog hasn't nibbled on and my black suit jacket....AKA-my wake/funeral outfit.  With the clock hands not in my favor, Emily comes and gives me a big hug.  F*CK NO!!!  Now, I don't want you thinking I don't love when my children express their love for me, but, the little bugga had Nutella toast for breakfast.  She is 2 years old and the furthest thing from clean you can be.  I'm talking polar opposites.  So now I have Nutella hand prints all over my funeral clothes.  Thank Christ Chuck did laundry the night before, so I threw on a pair of meh black pants and a black sweater about as old as the Christ I was thanking.  Not the professional image I wanted to project, but hey lets face it, it could have been worse....I could have been febreezing some wanky clothes from the top of the hamper.  Oh, like none of you haven't done that before!

So I get to the hotel just in the nick of time and all is well with the world.  Well, everyone's world except mine.  There is one major detail I haven't disclosed yet.  If you are a faithful Minivan Mom reader you know that I have had the pleasure of being diagnosed with IBS-D.  For those of you non-medically inclined, let me break it down for you...it is a sh*tting disorder and don't let those cutesy commercials on TV fool you.  It isn't as whimsical as the latest ad showing a lady clad in a body suit with cartoon-like intestines drawn on it following you around.  It is a down and dirty evil, evil character.  Think more  the alien coming out of the stomach in the movie Alien and less like a pretty red-headed lady giggling as she follows the IBS sufferer.  Well my friends, I was in the middle of a full blown (pun intended) flare up...about a week into a 2 week flare.  So as you can expect, things were about to get real exciting...

There is some time to kill before dinner so what do I do?  I get a glass of wine.  Mistake #1.  Mistake #2--I drink it.  The whole thing!  WTF was I thinking?  Oh gee Erin, lets see, you have really, really bad GI issues going on...why not have a glass of wine.  As you can well imagine, that did not end well.

So now as it is getting closer to the time I am supposed to speak to this room full of grown ups it happens.  My stomach feels as though it is being wrung out like a piece of laundry from an old timey washer woman.  The gas building up must have made me look a good 8, 9 months pregnant.  The sweat from the belly issues is greeted by the sweat from drinking an entire glass of wine in about 2 minutes flat.  They meet up and start pouring down my temples.  The back of my hair, you know the fringey ends are now soaking wet.  I looked hot...and not in a good way.  I had no time to go to the bathroom.  Plus it would only make things worse.  It is kind of like when you are drunk and you hold off peeing because you don't want to break the seal because you know from that point on the bathroom will own you?  Yeah...it is exactly like that...but somehow making poop runs to the bathroom isn't quite as cute and pee runs.

So I gingerly make my way to the podium.  Now, I mentioned before I am very comfortable with public speaking.  I actually like it.  But tonight, tonight all bets were off!  I was supposed to give a 45-50 minute presentation and then 10 minutes for questions.  I flew through the presentation in 27 minutes.  I know it was only 27 minutes because the laptop was keeping track of it for me.  Now, I am sure most of the docs in the audience were grateful it was a quick talk, but let me tell you it may well have been the longest 27 minutes of my life!  I was talking so fast I could have substituted for an auctioneer.  I was afraid if I left any gap in my words, even the slightest moment of silence, the microphone would pick up the noises from the sh*t storm brewing in my belly.  I was also very cautious not to make any sudden movements.  I was one wrong posture shift away from recreating the Mya Rudolph scene from Bridesmaids...you know the one when she ends up crapping herself?  Yeah.  That one.  As I clench my ass together with strength I never knew I had...I was already planning in my head where I would be sending my resume to should the unthinkable happen.  There would be no coming back from that.  I get done with the talk in record time and I pray with all my might to any and all walking upright Gods that no one has a question.  Fortunately for me and the hotel cleaning crew no one wanted any further information from me.  For the record Dr. T, you are lucky I love you!  If it had been anyone else I would have bailed and made up some "family emergency" excuse.

I hightail it out of the conference room and head straight for the bathroom.  Just my luck it is full of other conference attendees!  There was no way I go go there.  They all seemed like nice, pleasant people.  They did not deserve to come under attack like that, though it would be friendly fire, I felt they respected me during my talk there was no way I could justify taking them down with me.  I left the bathroom feeling defeated and with more of an urgency to get the hell out of there.  I make the obligatory small talk and I head straight for the minivan.  I drive down 146 like my life and the lives of my children depended on it.  It kind of did.  I felt if anymore gas were to accumulate in my gut I would explode and the poor guys at Jiffy Lube would be scraping whats left of my body parts off the roof and walls of the van.  I pull into a Walmart parking lot and make a beeline for the bathroom inside.  I make it just in the nick of time.  Not that I would care much.  This is the Bad Walmart---the Fire Walmart as my kids call it.  Long story short I went to the register with a pair of kids mittens for a Halloween costume and they tell me they are a fire hazard and refused to sell them to me.  There may or may not have been a slight scene and I may or may not have stormed out loudly declaring I will never shop here again.  Well, payback is a b*tch and I'm baaaaaack! 

Obviously I survived the night and my flare up has subsided.   Life lesson learned;  I don't think I was meant to sit at the grown up table...I don't think I will ever feel like an adult and here is why...all the while this was happening to me aside from praying I don't explode in a public venue, I was thinking how friggin funny it was and how it would make a great blog post!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Auntie Em? Auntie Em is that you?

 I feel like I am crawling out from under a house blown over by a tornado.  Kind of like when the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz dies and they all come peeking out and the black and white turns to Technicolor.  Yeah, that is how I feel, though it is not a tornado that hit us, oh no my friends…it was another kind of storm.  A sh*t storm.  Literally and figuratively a sh*t storm.
My day was going along according to plan.  I switched my schedule to work early so I would be available to volunteer for a PTA event.  I was kicking this day’s ass.  Work/life balance? Check.  Helping out in my community? Check.  I was the mom that had it all.  Until I didn’t.  I was working the ticket booth/snack stand at the school event when it happened.  That one lonely foreboding drip of sweat trickling ever so slowly down the center of my back.  My jaw clenches and saliva begins building in my tightening throat.
Oh God no!  Please God for the love of St. Elmo please just let me be hot!  Oh, by the way you are more than welcome for that ear worm…”I can see the new horizon underneath the blazin' sky…I'll be where the eagle's flying higher and higher…Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels..Take me where my future's lyin', St. Elmo's fire”.  But it wasn’t just the temperature of the room.  It was far more sinister.  I was hit by the stomach bug.  Crap!  I was stuck there for another hour.  I made the best of it, passing out snacks with a forced smile on my face 1.) Because I was grateful for their support of the school …2.) Out of fear because if I opened my mouth I could not guarantee an accompaniment of vomit would not also slip out with the word ‘thank you’…and 3).  Because I had a pretty high degree of certainty I was infecting these poor families that came out for a night of fun.   No need to call the CDC, I know where the outbreak started.  I am patient zero.
The event ends.  I drive home as if Anderson Cooper were waiting for me with a cup of coffee and some snarky gossip.  I run straight to the bathroom and begin to purge.  I was throwing things up I ate days ago.  It would not stop.  I was throwing things up from next week I haven’t even eaten yet.  I have no idea where it was coming from.  I somehow made it to the couch and there I stayed for a good 7 minutes until another round hit.  This cycle continued for 8 hours…then the fun really started, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself just yet.  In the meantime Chuck got bitten by this nasty, nasty bug.  I swear with all the money that goes into these exotic diseases like Zika, why the hell can’t they through a couple of pennies to finding a flippin cure for the stomach bug?  So now the 2 of us are down for the count.  It is the middle of the night so the kids are sleeping; thank the walking up right Gods for that little blessing.  So two of us with one toilet… our 2nd bathroom is in the middle of being redone.  Two adults.  1 toilet.  You do the math.  The stomach bug which has now progressed from vomiting to include the soupy poopy.  You know the saying “sh*t or get off the pot”.  Truer words have never been spoken. 
I was so dehydrated from throwing and going I was having leg/foot cramps.  My bones ached.  The body aches were far worse than the other stuff.  At one point I had to go to the bathroom so bad, at this point the 2 of us were p*ssing water out of our asses, but the leg cramps were so bad I contemplated just sh*tting on the couch and just torch the place when the dust settled.  I mean at this point there was so much methane built up in our house it was not a far stretch of the imagination.  I mean it could happen.  I was waiting for the windows to blow out.  We were one good fart away from disaster.  Oh and speaking of passing gas, that was a tenuous situation at best.  You couldn’t trust the little buggas.  You try to release just a tiny bit of pressure, but you give your ass an inch, it takes a mile….you think you are good with a small release of pressure but it comes out like a flippin’ balloon you just didn’t tie in time.  You know in all those cheesy teen movies when the child actors way overact a scene and their crazy experiment backfires and when the dust settles they are standing there covered in soot and their hair is standing straight up?  Yeah?  It was like that. 
There were noises heard and things seen that my husband and I cannot un-see or un-hear.  I think if you are thinking of marrying someone it should be mandatory you survive a stomach bug together.  Forget the Pre-Cana classes.  The true test is seeing if you can walk in on your spouse mid-sh*t while they are puking and reload the toilet paper.  If you can survive that there is NOTHING you can’t survive.  Now, in an effort to save my marriage I will not be commenting on the Man Flu.  But, if the weather had been a little nicer and the windows open during this plaque upon our house, our poor neighbors would have thought we were porn addicts.  The moaning coming from our house was enough to put Larry Flint to shame.  Anyone with a husband knows EXACTLY what I mean!!
So as the new day dawns and our GI tracts are starting to stabilize I realize at some point I will need to clean that bathroom.  Our poor, poor bathroom… We asked A LOT of it in the previous 24 hours.  I was trying to put a plan in place.  I am going to need a Haz-Mat suit.  But, for reasons I don’t completely understand myself I know for a fact our local medical supply store does NOT carry Haz-Mat suits.  OK, so I could go to Dick’s Sporting Goods and get some of those rubber waders fly fishermen use and a raincoat.  I then remember the last time I went there.  Remember that debacle?  I got stuck in a sports bra for an uncomfortable length of time while Anna stood laughing at me.  See reminds me of that every time we drive by.  I could go to Home Depot and get a respirator at least.  There is a brand new Dollar Tree right next door, I could grab one of those pincher graspers that helps vertically challenged people reach things.  I know I am short, but I am thinking of getting them for my T-Rex arms.  If I try cleaning out that toilet my stubby little arms will be shoulder deep in the vomit/sh*t stew that I am sure if festering in there.  Oh, as a side note, I was at Dollar Tree the other day…as I am most days and they had a help wanted sign-up.  I really wanted to take an application.  I can fake a smile as good as the rest, I know where EVERY ass-aching item is in there and just think, with an employee discount it could very well be 75 cent Tree for me!  A win-win for everyone.  But I digress…I did think of hiring someone specifically to clean just our bathroom.  Unfortunately, that is not in the budget.  It is a tiny bathroom but even if I paid someone 10 million dollars it would not nearly be enough, plus they would need to sign a non-disclosure payment and that runs into all sorts of legal fees.  All while I was contemplating how to make the bathroom safe for humans to enter it again…Chuck comes out and tells me he bleached it down.  Now that, that my friends is true love.  I want to give a special shout out to my mother in law for taking our children overnight.  She saved their lives.  It really was like the Lord of the Flies…they had donuts and candy for breakfast, they were watching God knows what on You Tube and Emily had her white trash uniform on consisting only of a diaper and sticky hair.  And to my fellow PTA moms and anyone I may have come in contact with that night.  I am truly sorry.  If you do come down with this vicious stomach bug all I can say is Godspeed my friends.  Godspeed.