The Hidden Dangers of Fire Safety

I’m the meanest mom in the world. It’s official. This morning it was Boy #2 who bestowed this honor on me. Why, you may ask? What did I do to be worthy of such a title? Did I make him eat All-Bran instead of Cocoa Pebbles? Did I tell him he had to pick up his dirty underwear off the kitchen floor? No–worse. I’m almost too ashamed to even put it in print…Almost.

Here goes. *gulp* I would not let him crawl out his bedroom window (which is on the second floor, mind you) and jump down from the roof. I know, I know. I’m too strict, aren’t I? I’m probably injuring his self-esteem by telling him no…Wow, I really am so mean.

You may be thinking, “This can’t be true. She just made this up because she couldn’t think of anything to write about today.” Well, you’re partly right. I was struggling last night with what I should write about next…so many ideas but none of them really jumping up and down waving their arms going, “Me! Me! Pick me!” That was, until this morning. Leave it up to my kids to provide me with material so rich that the posts practically write themselves. The truth, cliche as it may be, is: I couldn’t make up this s@#t if I tried!

So back to the argument about jumping out the window (Doesn’t every mother have this argument with their 6-year-old? Isn’t it a rite of passage, kind of like arguing with your kid about when she/he can get her/his ears pierced —I am so PC!— or engaging in negotiations about curfews?).

This all started a few nights ago when I was reading a book about firefighters to Boy #2 and Boy #3. I THOUGHT I was being a good mom by initiating the conversation about what we should do in the case of a fire in our house. A house in our neighborhood had recently been destroyed in a fire, so the need for creating a “fire plan” for our family was all too real. So I told Boy #2 that if he couldn’t get out his door, he should climb out the window and wait on the roof for the firefighters to help him down. It was such an innocent comment. Little did I know that it would morph into something ugly and loud a few days later.

Seriously, I told him to get his shoes on and come outside so I could take him and his brother to school. His reply? “I’ll meet you outside. I’m going to go out my window.”

WHAT???!??? At first I thought he was kidding, because my kids often think it’s fun to say things just to stress me out. Then I realized that he was serious–dead serious– or at least jump-off-the-roof-and-break-your-leg-and-get-
out-a-second-story-window serious.

“You can’t jump out the window! What the heck are you thinking?” I so patiently said to #2.

“But you told me I could jump out my window!” he yelled back.

“Yeah, if there’s a FIRE in our house and you can’t use the doors!” I hollered, checking my watch to see just HOW late we’d be this morning.

“Well, I’ll just pretend there’s a fire!” he said.

“You can’t jump out your window! Did you hear me? You will BREAK YOUR LEG! Seriously, why are you being soooo irrational?”

“What’s irrational mean?”

(Why did I use the word irrational with a six-year-old??) “It means you aren’t making sense. Now get your shoes on and GET TO THE VAN!”

“No! I’m not going to school if you don’t let me jump out the window!”

“So I’m going to call your teacher and tell her that you refuse to come to school because I won’t let you crawl out your window and jump down a story off the roof and hurt yourself? Good plan!” (If you’re wondering, NO, I NEVER use sarcasm with my kids. NEVER.)

So on the argument went, and if you’re wondering, yes, I did eventually win. ..If you call winning wasting 10 minutes on a fight about jumping out a window (an argument I’m sure half the neighborhood heard), throwing a six-year-old into a van with his brothers and a dog, peeling out of my driveway, and driving like a maniac (or a manic mom) to the school (only coming to “rolling stops” at stop signs), realizing I was so flustered I didn’t even put a bra on…

Such was my morning. At least it gave me something to write about… Is 9:48 too early to start drinking?

Mr. Sandman Hates Me

Aaah, bedtime. That sweet interlude between a busy day and a restful slumber. Some might even call it–magical. That special quiet time when you can snuggle with your little cherubs and then send them off peacefully to Neverland…

Yeah, right. As I so eloquently expressed it to Husband a few nights ago, “I f-ing hate bedtime.”

For some parents, bedtime signals the beginning of some alone time for mom and dad, a time when they can fire up the TiVo or throw in some laundry or read a book or work on their blog... For me, however, it signals the beginning of a nightly battle, where I will eventually fall asleep in me bed (I just typed “me bed”–who am I, Popeye??) still wearing my clothes from the day, covered up by a small corner of sheet and using my arm as a pillow due to the fact that at least one of my kids is beside me hogging the covers and using my pillow. (This morning I woke up at 5:00 to my dog barking, Boy #2 and Boy#3 laying practically on top of me, and Husband sleeping on the couch…)

If you can’t tell, I’m becoming extremely bitter about bedtime. I keep thinking about the fact that my sister’s oldest, who is the same age as my oldest, just announces every night, “I’m going to bed. Good night!” And that’s it! Grrr…

So, what do the experts have to say? What am I doing wrong to turn this into such a battle? Let’s consult the AP article, “Bed Time Routines for Children” (which happens to have the clever subtitle: “How to Create Bed Time Routines for Children”).

“If you are a parent, you may have a nightmare on your hands each night when you are trying to put your child to bed. This is because a lot of children simply do not want to quit playing and go to bed. [OK, wait, gotta write this down. Kids don’t want to go to bed. Okay, so far so good…]A lot of parents actually say that it takes well over an hour to get their child into bed and then the child simply pops right back out of bed.” [Yes, yes, last night it was about 2 hours. But I’m not sure my kids “pop” right back out of bed. It’s more like a whiny slither…]

When you develop a routine for your child you can eliminate a lot of the bedtime struggles that you normally face. This is because these routines give the child a chance to wind down while having some say as to how this routine will be carried out.” [Okay, well, we do have a bedtime routine. I’ve never just said “Go to bed!” and expected it to happen. Let’s see what else you’ve got to say…]

“Your child’s bedtime routine should begin with a ten-minute warning in which they are told that in ten minutes they are to get on their pajamas. [Two out of my three boys prefer to sleep in their underwear.] At the end of the ten minutes, let your child know that it is time to go put on their pajamas. If you find that this doesn’t work, you can always insert another reminder at the five-minute point.” [Well, my kids know that bedtime is 8:00, and I do give a warning, which is usually followed by protests and pleading, but I stick to my guns…]

“Once your child has their pajamas on, they should then be instructed to brush their teeth.” [Yeah, I’ve got really good intentions on this one…but am I the only one who wakes up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night in the realization that my kids haven’t brushed their teeth in a week? Yes? I’m the only one? That’s disgusting? I was just kidding…I meant to say that my kids LOVE to brush their teeth. They actually beg me to let them brush after every meal. And floss too! The dentist actually told me to lay off the brushing for a while because they were wearing the enamel off their teeth…] “After your child has brushed his/her teeth then your child can pick out a book. It depends upon the child as to whether you want to let your child look through the entire bookcase [In the case of Boy #3, this involves actually REMOVING every book from the bookcase as well.] or if you want to offer your child only three choices. The child can then decide to sit on the floor or bed, or lay down on the bed to have the book read to them. You should have already decided how long you would read to your child. If you read for thirty minutes then do a count down and announce when there is only ten minutes, then only five minutes left.” [In our house, the reading routine usually begins with everyone fighting as to who I’m going to read to first, resulting in someone screaming, “It’s not fair!” and “You ALWAYS read to him first!” and “You hate me!” Then they fight about who gets to be in the room to listen while I read. Right now Boy #2 and Boy #3 both lay in #2’s bed with me squished in the middle and #2 managing every night to somehow elbow me in the chest. (Don’t get me wrong–I love reading to them. We’ve done this every since they were babies. It’s just the insanity leading up to and following this that I could do without.) When I read to Boy #1, I lay on the floor (usually cushioned by a pile of clothes that he refuses to put away) and increase my volume as I try to read over the interruptions (“#3!! Get out of my room!!! Mom–make him get out of my room!! GO TO BED!! Mom–make him get in his bed!!!”). Maybe this explains why I wake up with a sore throat nearly every morning…

“Once you have finished reading a book
to your child, tuck your child into their bed and turn off the lights. It is time for your child to go to sleep.” [Sounds easy enough. Except my kids are never satisfied with the amount of reading I do, either. “Don’t stop there!! No, read more, pleeeeaaaase! Please, Mom, please!! Just two more pages! You never read enough!! It’s not fair!!” Aaah, the rewards of motherhood never end…]

“If you have a child that will not stay in their bed then tell your child that you will be back in five minutes. After five minutes, go back to your child’s room and tell your child that you will be back in ten minutes. After ten minutes, go back. This will help your child develop the trust that you will return.” [Hmmm…okay, but what if your kid DOESN’T stay in bed for the five minutes or ten minutes?]

“While you are establishing this bedtime routine, you need to stick with the times that you state. This is what truly helps develop the routine for your child. This also helps your child know what to expect each night. Of course, this is going to take a lot of patience. However, after a few weeks [Weeks?! Try 10 years!] your child will begin to trust the pattern and stop fighting with you at bedtime. This is because the child is involved in making the choices that are a necessary part of this pattern. Soon enough your bedtime struggles will be completely eliminated.” [My kids do get choices. “#3, you can either get back in that bed or get spanked. Your choice.”]

This is what ensues after I tuck in each boy and give him a kiss (crossing my fingers every night that they will just FALL ASLEEP FAST!
#2: Mom, I need a drink of water!
Me: Okay, just a sec. (I bring #2 a glass of water.) Good night!
#3: Mom, I need a drink of water!
Me: Okay, just a sec. (I bring a glass of water.) Good night!
#1: Mom, will you shut my closet door?
Me: Yes, just a sec. (I shut the closet door.)
#2: Mom, #3 is in my room.
Me: #3, get back in your bed right now.
#3: Is it a school night? (Because he can sometimes lay with #2 if it’s not a school night.)
Me: Yes, it’s a school night. Go back to bed.
#2: Mom, did you know that when you take a drink of water, beer, pop–anything–you stop breathing?
Me: No, I didn’t know that. (I’m still wondering how “beer” got thrown into there.) Did you learn that at school?
#2: No.
Me: Did you figure it out on your own?
#2: Yes.
Me: Well, I’ve never really thought about it, but you might be right. Maybe we can try to find that out tomorrow. Good night.
#2: Good night.
#3: Mom, I need Blankie!
Me: Where is it?
#3: Downstairs!
Me: *sigh* Okay, just a sec. (Tromp downstairs. Tromp back up.) Here you go.
#3: And I need Leonard (his lizard).
Me: (finding Leonard on the floor) Here you go. *kiss* GOOD NIGHT!
(I get 5 minutes to myself downstairs before hearing foosteps.)
Me: #3? Is that you?
#3: I want to sleep with you!
Me: No, you need to sleep in your own bed!
#3: But I’m scared! Pwease, Mommy!

And this is how it goes until I either give in and let him lay in our bed or I lay down on his floor (cushioned by all of the clothes he’s thrown out of his dresser in an attempt to find “the perfect outfit.”) until he falls asleep and I fall asleep too, waking at 2:00 a.m. with a backache and the imprint of the snap from a pair of jeans in my cheek.
And then I wonder why I can’t ever seem to get anything done, don’t want to wake up early to exercise, and can’t kick the caffeine habit.

And we won’t EVEN go into how the DOG fits into all this...Bark! Bark! Bark!

Well, time to jump in the shower so I can face my SECOND-favorite routine: the morning routine! But that’s for another blog…

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Due to technical difficulties, I am unable to bring you the blog I started writing last night. I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but the computer curse struck again! This time, it’s the cord. (Nothing is safe.) If you’re wondering if a three-prong plug will still work if one of the prongs breaks off inside the socket, the answer is–yes, actually, but a bit sporadically. Last night the amputated plug was just not able to pump out enough juice. (If you’re also wondering–yes, I’m pretty sure this is a fire just waiting to happen.) This is seriously about the 17th cord I’ve gone through; I think it’s a conspiracy designed to keep Steve Jobs in designer underwear.

ANYHOO, today, instead, I leave you with these photos to ponder, courtesy of my middle sister (momof2dancers), who happens to live right behind me. She sent me these photos while I was at work one day, sending a chill immediately down my spine. Yes, this is my house, with a huge, black, foreboding bird perched on top.

I’m pretty sure Edgar Allan Poe is buried under the foundation.

Would anyone else take this as a bad omen?

A Schmoopy Mother’s Day Post

Someday, when I’m old and senile, trying to remember if I’ve taken my fiber supplement and if today is pinochle day or bridge day, I hope I never forget these moments from Mother’s Day 2008, arranged birth-orderly by son:

Boy #1
The look of disappointment in your eyes as I walked in on you preparing breakfast in bed for me. We both knew that I’d spoiled the surprise but seemed to come to a silent agreement of “I know nothing!” as I yawned, stretched my arms, and loudly declared, “I’m still tired–I’m going back to bed!” The toast was more like warmed-up bread and the fact that I don’t like Raisin Bran wasn’t helped by the fact that it was Generic Raisin Bran–but still it was the sweetest breakfast I have ever had the pleasure of eating. I didn’t have the heart to tell you that I hadn’t taken my thyroid pill yet and I’m not supposed to eat for an hour after taking it–Neither protesting taste buds nor underactive thyroid would destroy #1’s moment to shine on Mother’s Day. No matter that you called me LAZY twice this week in a prepubescent haze of frustration. Today you are my little boy who just wanted to make Mommy happy. Mission accomplished.

Boy #2
Your adorable I’m-trying-not-to-smile pursed-lip half-smile as you handed me a paper sack and your husky voice said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” I didn’t have the heart to tell you that I’d already eaten breakfast, courtesy of #1, but fortunately the second course of breakfast consisted only of a Special K breakfast bar, a packet of tea, and a picture of me, with my beautiful red pouty lips and brown yarn hair, in bed. Next came two more cards, thanks to a thoughtful and creative kindergarten teacher, and then another card “because I wanted to give you one that I made at home,” this one expressing love the best way that a 6-year-old can: “I love you more than God.” Someday, sweet boy, we’ll discuss that you should really love God MORE than Mommy, but for today, I will take that as my biggest compliment to date.

Boy #3
The aura of independence that surrounded you as you sat on the floor, late in the afternoon, trying to play a game of solitaire Cootie. How you studied that game board, trying to decide what to do and the look of intrigue as you realized the countless combinations of Cootie parts! Then came “Play with me, Mommy!” and I knew there was nothing that I’d rather do with my baby-who’s-no-longer-a-baby on Mother’s Day.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, people, in some ways it was still business as usual: I washed a blanket my dog had peed on in his crate; scrubbed a stock pot with spaghetti from 2 days ago; cleaned up #3 after he announced at the playground, “I’m poopy!”; dug 2 pairs of shoes, 2 magazines, one of my freelance style manuals, and a baseball out from under the couch after #1 and #2 had surprised me by “cleaning” the living room; said, “Well, I don’t feel sorry for you because I told you guys to stop because someone was going to get hurt” at least 14 times; and yelled, “Why are there 5 Tootsie Pop wrappers on the floor?”

BUT, I also spent a beautiful hour watching my three boys at the playground help one another climb up rock walls, race across “river stones” and play a retro game of hide-and-seek. And not one yell, one cry of, “Mom–he hit me!” or “It’s not fair–he won’t let me play!” Not one it’s-so-hard-to-be-the-youngest scream of frustration. Just a blue sky and a good day for being brothers. And a GREAT day for being the mother of brothers.

Thanks, boys, for a laid-back, around-the-house, remember-why-it’s-good-to-be-a-mommy Mother’s Day. From the words of #3: “I love you all the days.”

KREATIV Licensing Gone Wrong…So, So Wrong…

Husband needed a haircut. BAD. He usually goes to a place in the mall, but of course, I had to open my mouth and suggest he go to someplace cheap in town this weekend. How hard can it be to cut a guy’s hair? I thought. Yeah. I was looking forward to seeing him walk in the door because I was really getting tired of the fuzz growing down his neck in the back–plus he usually looks super-cute with a fresh, short cut! USUALLY, being the operative word. No offense to Husband because I love him very much and think he is perpetually sexy, but DAMN, he got screwed. I’m pretty sure the haircut involved placing a bowl on top of his head. Picture this guy, but minus the mullet in the back.
(To the poor guy whose picture I just stole off Google images to exploit for my own (and your) entertainment, I apologize! My only hope is that this was you back in ’88 and that you are now a super hot underwear model and are able to look back on this photo and laugh.)

I asked Husband why he didn’t ask his stylist to take off more in the front. He said, “I did. You should’ve seen it before.” *shudder* Husband said he thinks he got a Cost Cutters trainee, although she must’ve been in her second or third career because she was at least 65. He also said he knew it wasn’t going to be pretty when she kept dropping the scissors and dug the comb so hard into his scalp that it left marks. “Well,” I said, looking for the silver lining in this badly coifed cloud, “at least it didn’t cost too much.” Then Husband revealed that he’d had to pay $16 for his new Amish boy look! What? When did Crap Cutters suddenly get so high-falootin’? Who do they think they are–Fantastic Sam’s?

All this got me to thinking about a topic that’s been kind of a hobby of mine–collecting bad hair salon names. Why the interest? Who knows. I’m sure it started with a bottle of wine and a copy of the Yellow Pages, but at some point I began to notice just how bad the names of the majority of “beauty parlors” (for my readers over the age of 60) are. I’m talking horrible, horrible puns. Puns that should be illegal, or at least should carry a heavy fine. And then there are the misspellings. I’m assuming they’re on purpose, the salon owners taking pride in their creative licensing with the English language, but it’s hard to tell. I’ve compiled a short list of my favorites, categorized for your reading convenience. This list is by no means exhaustive. I anticipate that it will take me the duration of my life to explore all of the gems that exist across the nation. But enjoy this taste of What-Not-to-Name-Your-Salon 101…

Category 1: Puns using the word “cut,” “hair,” “shear,” or “head”
A Cut A-Head
A Hair Bit Better
A Shear Inspiration
Hair A Fair
Hair A-Peal
Hair Daze (Where you get a contact high while getting a trim…)
Hair it IZ (Wow–A clever take on the words “hair” and “here” AND a creative spelling of “is” AND all caps…I don’t know how they do it…)
Hair Port (I get it! It’s like the “airport” only a “hair port”…but no one’s flying or anything…)

Category 2: Spelling “cut” with a “k” or “cuts” with a “z” (Why?? Why??)
Cilla’s Sassy Kuts (I personally like my cut a little sassy!)
Craig’s Kurl-N-Post
Creative CUTZ (I especially like the ALL CAPS)
Crystal Kut-Away
Hair Kraze (Because “Hair Craze” would just be krazy!)
Kasual Kut Barber & Style
Kathy’s Kut & Kurl (Klever!)
KLIP Joint (Sounds like either something you smoke or part of an assault rifle)

Category 3: Never name your salon while drinking
Alley Cut
Angi’s Scissor Shack
2 Pretty Beauty Salon
4 Brothaz & A Sista Barba Salon (No, I did not make this up.)
A Great Cut (Say “Welcome to A Great Cut” in a monotone)
Aqua-Net Beauty Salon (Hmm…naming your salon after our favorite ’80s hair cement…I’m pretty sure I’d come out of there with my teased bangs reaching for the ceiling.)
Carla’s Chop Shop (Free side of pork with every cut.)
Connie’s Beauty Box (Seriously, doesn’t it seem like every hairstylist is named Connie?)
Cow World Hair Salon (Need I say more?)
Hair Arrangement by Norman (What exactly is “hair arrangement”?)
Hair Clinic (Is this the trauma clinic for bad haircuts?)
Hair Corral (Seriously, why the rampant use of “corral” when referring to salons???)
Hair Hut (Ditto for “hut”)
Hair Shack (Ditto for “shack”. You can’t have much pride in your place of business when you refer to it as a “shack,” can you???)
Hair Explosion (Wow. That’s gotta hurt.)
Hair Pen (As in a pigpen or a writing instrument?? So many layers!)

Category 4: Names that are trying waaaay too hard
Alpha & Omega of the Haircut (I’m not sure I think a haircut is worthy of being compared to our Divine Creator…)
Anointed Hands Beauty and Barber (Unless Jesus is giving haircuts, I’d rethink the name)
Annointed Hair (Okay–now I need to add a category: Names dripping in blasphemy!)
Cortex Layer (Sounds like something you’d learn about in anatomy class. “The cortex layer surrounds the brain…” Seriously, maybe it IS really a part of the body…I’ll have to google that.)

I guess part of my fascination stems from my curiosity of…why salons? Why don’t other establishments practice this name-slaughtering ritual? Why not banks? Who wouldn’t want to trust their life savings to The Money Hut or DOLLARZ R Us?

Until next time, dear readerz, stay KOOL…

Multi-Tasking Ain’t for Sissies!

In case you’re wondering, it’s REALLY easy to try to be clever and creative with my 3-year-old in the room. So seriously, abandon all high expectations for this post now. I think it will be best for everyone that way.

Let me just pull you into my world for a few minutes…

[Picture me sitting in my living room with my laptop and monitor I like to refer to as the “conjoined twins.” I’m reading emails and checking out a few other blogs for inspiration as I try to get the creative juices flowing. Boy #3 is playing castle in the room, which really just means he puts a knight, ogre, or even a penguin–no matter–on top of the castle and then knocks it off. Again. And again. All while making “grr” and “roooarrrppphhh” noises.]

Boy #3: Mom, what comes after tres?
Me: Cuatro.
Boy #3: Mom, what comes after cuatro?
Me: Cinco.
Boy #3: Mom, what comes after cinco?
Me: Seis.
Boy #3: Mom, what comes after seis?

I’m sure you can guess the rest…This continued for awhile, with me attempting to read, type, and speak bilingually simultaneously.

Boy #3: What’s “ret”?
Me: What?
Boy #3: What’s ret?
Me: Wet?
Boy #3: No. RET!
Me: Red?
Boy #3: No–ret!
Me: Honey, I don’t know what you’re saying.
Boy #3: Ret!
Me: Ret?
Boy #3: Yes–ret!
Me: Nothing.
Boy #3: Oh.

Seriously, what was that about? I swear he does this on purpose. I mean, he can speak two languages, for crying out loud–you can’t tell me he doesn’t know that “ret” isn’t a word! And of course I get no contextual explanation for this two-minute exchange.

Me: *sigh* Okay, Mommy’s going to get a couple things done, okay?
Boy #3: Okay.

[3-second pause]

Me: Excuse me, you don’t talk to Mommy like that. I’ll get you some milk in a minute.
Boy #3: NO, NOW!!! I SAID I WANT IT NOW!!!

Now this is where a GOOD mom would tell you that she calmly waited out the crying, whining, and screaming to teach him that he was not the boss and didn’t get to make demands to Mommy…You can go ahead and guess what my response was…So after enjoying the 30 seconds of silence that occurred while he drank his chocolate milk, (well, if you don’t count that sound of Barney and his troupe of annoying, overexaggerated kids singing on the TV), I was startled from my creative trance by the sound of cereal spilling and rolling all over the floor.

Boy #3: Mommy, I spilled a “wittle bit of Weeseth Puffth on the fwoor!”

At that moment, I had a flashback of yesterday, when I came home from work to find Boy #3 standing in a manmade mountain of Special K Fruit & Yogurt (MY cereal, of course).

Me: Okay. I’ll clean it up in a minute.

Boy #3: (Having returned to his castle) Mom, this monkey doesn’t have a tail! MONKEYS ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE TAILS!
Me: (Type. Type. Type.)

Boy #3: Mom, are you having a baby?

This I could not ignore.

Me: No, I’m not.
Boy #3: Then why did you get fat?
Me: I don’t know, honey. I guess I thought it would be fun.
Boy #3: Oh.


Boy #3: I wuv you, Mom.

Me: I love you too.

Givin’ the Hoagie Some Love

Happy Hoagie Day! I hope you all had a day jam-packed with hoagierific fun! What? I’m the ONLY one who knew that today was National Hoagie Day? You’ve got to be kidding me! At our house, this ranks right up there with Christmas and National Hairball Awareness Day (April 29 if you’re wondering). I mean, if any sandwich deserves to be celebrated nationwide, it’s the hoagie! C’mon, people, can you stop being so selfish–worrying about the collapsing economy and the escalating death toll in Iraq–and just think of the hoagie for a day? Geesh!

Seriously, though, just who gets to decide “I think I’m going to create a national holiday today”?!? Obviously, anyone with an IQ of at least 30 and a buck in their pocket can. I mean, do we REALLY need a whole day to pay homage to the hoagie? Is it really THAT important? If declaring a national holiday is as easy as it appears to be, I’m announcing right here on this blog that beginning in 2009, I would like to add the following holidays to the calendar.

National Poop Your Pants Day–Actually, my family likes to celebrate this holiday at least every other day. Boy #3 is especially fond of it. And he is soooo generous, he makes sure I don’t miss out on any of the fun. I have a feeling we will continue with the festivities well into the summer–and possibly through middle school at this rate. One can only dream…

National Throw Your Banana Peels on the Floor Day–This seems to be a popular one also around these parts. This holiday can get out of hand quickly, though, and then it can get downright ugly. Case in point: Last week I was gently awakened by the sound of Husband rolling down the last half of the stairs. Culprit? You guessed it–a banana peel. How cliche is that? (I’m pretty sure I saw the exact same thing happen on Tom & Jerry once. Except it ended with Jerry skinning Tom alive and using him as an afghan. Aah, the days of non-violent cartoons!)

National Take Your Cans and Bottles to the Redemption Center Day–You guys JUST missed this holiday. We celebrated on Saturday when we made the first attempt at clearing the jungle of junk that has been growing in our garage by taking back, I swear, 8 1/2 months worth of cans and bottles. For this holiday, I like to give myself a name reminiscent of our Native American ancestors–She-Who-Has-No-Shame. Picture this: My Chrysler Town & Country filled floor to ceiling, front to back, with Coke cans (I already told you once, NO, not Diet!) and an assortment of imported and fancy-pants beer bottles because Husband is apparently too good for Schlitz. I am praying the entire way to the redemption center because I have a vague recollection that it closes at 3:00 on Saturdays, and it is 3:14, and I would rather just leave my van for dead somewhere than drag all of those cans and bottles back into my garage. I think I experienced “giddy” for the first time in my life when I pulled in and saw that it was open until 4! Next came what I like to call “Honyock Aerobics.” This is when you make the 56 trips from your van, up the steps, and into the redemption center to bring in your empties. I just felt so open and vulnerable–I wanted to tell those standing around waiting (because OF COURSE there was a crowd that day), “Yeah, that was one HELLUVA party!” I did tip the poor little Mexican man who had to count all of my cans and bottles. Although he didn’t speak much English, we still managed to communicate as he handed me my $38 (I’m not kidding) and said, “Mucho dinero!” I didn’t know whether to say, “Thank you” or “I’m sorry,” so I just handed him $3, put my tail between my legs, and left. But not before I saw one of my 6-year-old students from AWANA staring at me and the mound of Guinness and Sam Adams behind me. Do I have “role model” written all over my face or what?

National Ignore All Other Responsibilities and Just Blog Day–I seemed to have stumbled upon this holiday last week when I started writing this blog…and it appears this one may last a while, as evidenced from my lack of sleep, Husband just sighing in bed because the light from the monitor and the clicking of the keys is keeping him awake, and the amalgamation of clean and dirty clothes that are now serving as a sort of multicolored rug that takes up my entire bedroom.

Before I eat my midnight snack (a hoagie–what else?) and hit the proverbial hay, I have to give a quick shout out to Husband’s friend Michael. It seems that Michael is under the impression that I’m a real writer and said he wanted a post written about him. Like that’s some sort of prize or honor. So I would like to humor him for humoring me by adding a national holiday for Michael: National Jerry Garcia Tie Day. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how many Jerry Garcia ties he has in his closet. I don’t think I even knew Jerry Garcia designed ties until I met Michael. And we won’t EVEN go into his Hallmark ornament collection…

And since it’s officially May 6 now, I’ll sign off with more holiday well-wishes. Let’s see…May 6…Ooh, ooh! Happy No Diet Day! I ROCK at this one! Have some Ho-Ho’s and Funyuns on me!

I don’t know why they call it Hamburger Helper. It tastes just fine by itself!

Good crack-ass-of-dawn morning to you! Yes, it’s Sunday morning, and I’ve been up since 4:54. I’d like to say that it was because I wanted to get in a 5-mile run before dawn or meditate and write in my gratitude journal, but no, it’s because my dog is trying to kill me. Really. The barking–the incessant barking!–it’s all a plot to push an already mentally fragile woman over the edge once and for all. Somehow Teddy has discovered a frequency that only a woman can hear! That’s got to be it, because every night it’s the same thing.

Teddy: Bark! Bark! Bark bark bark bark bark! barrooooARK! Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark!

Me: (putting the pillow over my head) Okay, I just let him out an hour ago. Maybe he’ll stop barking if I just ignore him.

Teddy: Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark!

Me: (elbowing Husband in the back) Someone else has GOT to hear this. There is no way I’m the only one who’s hearing this. Maybe if I just lay still, someone else will get up and let him out…

Teddy: AaarooooooOOOOOO! Bark! Bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark bark!

It’s got to be a hormone thing. Testosterone must somehow filter the noise. That’s the only way to explain how the same four males can sleep through that racket every…single…night.

So I’m up! Might as well take advantage of it and surf the net without three kids hovering over me asking me when they can play World of Warcraft. Yes, my three-year-old even has a character on WOW. I’m pretty sure he’s the youngest geek on the Internet. I’m not proud.)

In an effort to bring you enlightening and entertaining content, I’ve been stumbling upon other people’s blogs to see what they’re writing about (or to plagiarize from them, either one). Okay, so I just hit this button to randomly find a blog, and seriously, every other one has to do with FOOD! I had no idea that so many people were completely obsessed with food. And not just eating it and writing about it, but taking pictures of it! They must live a completely different life than I, because I can’t imagine ANYONE wanting to read about my culinary experiences! Here are just a few to check out if you’d like to feel really inadequate:

Cupcakes take the cake—This one is all about, you guessed it, cupcakes! All cupcakes, all the time. Who knew there was so much to discuss about cupcakes? The only thing I can think of to debate is whether the multi-colored paper liners or the silver foil liners are best…

Cupcake bake shop by chockylit—What?! Another blog about cupcakes? I must’ve been living under a rock, but I had no idea cupcakes were so hip and complex! Reading the latest post, I don’t think this chick and I could be friends. The recipe is for “chocolate cupcakes stuffed with strawberry chocolate ganache and frosted with chocolate glaze and buttercream” and the entry says, “This one was for a 2 year old’s birthday party.” Excuse me? This is what you serve at your 2 year old’s party? I thought everybody just went to Wal-Mart like I do and bought Blue’s Clues cupcakes with frosting that stains the kids’ teeth. Isn’t that a rite of passage?

Although I do love my cheese, I don’t think I’d really have THAT much to say about it, but apparently someone does—hence Serious Cheese. I wonder what they think about Velveeta…Okay, I just saw a label called “homemade cheese” and had to check it out. Yeah, we soooo do not live in the same world. Here’s what they say: “But one thing this cheese does have going for it is simplicity. Heat milk to temperature, add culture and rennet, mix well, and leave it until tomorrow. Can’t really get much easier.” Can’t it?? Oh, I beg to differ. I’m pretty sure that throwing a package of Kraft cheese slices into your cart is MUCH easier. I mean, seriously. Where does one even find “culture” and “rennet”? I’m fairly certain I’ve never run across them at my local Fareway store …

Let’s get wokking! is a blog written by a stay-at-home mom who cooks all this food for her family. Wow, do I feel like a loser after reading this one. I don’t stay home, but even if I did, I don’t think I’d ever whip this up for my boys:

Were I to have a food blog, this is pretty much what it would look like every day. All you foodies out there–enjoy!

Aah, another recipe for my fellow gourmet cuisine lovers. This one was not only a treat for the palate, but it also cooperated with our fine dining budget…It was inspired by a leisurely trip to the local market. Armed with my environmentally friendly canvas bag (because it’s very convenient to bring 37 of these bags with me to the store each week), I began scouting out the perfect ingredients for a memorable meal. I was starting to perspire, thinking that maybe I had lost my culinary touch, when I spotted it. Aisle 3. Right between the macaroni & cheese and rice–the answer to my prayers. Hamburger Helper. On sale for 10/$10 (or 1 for $1 for those you who don’t want to do the math). But which to choose? There were so many varieties–all colors, flavors, and sodium quantities. I scanned, squeezed, and smelled. I held them up to the light. I tapped on the boxes to see which were freshest. I even opened a few boxes and sampled a bit when no one was looking. And then I made my choice. Cheesy Hashbrowns (Naturally Flavored). Each serving providing 21% of your daily sodium and 30% of your daily fat. What could be better? I think I may send this recipe to Rachel Ray…