The First Day of School Eve

In less than 9 hours, the boys will be whisked off to their first day of 5th and 2nd grades. Part of me is rejoicing that I survived summer with my children 24/7. The other part of me is feeling a bit bitter-sweet that they’re already this old. Those days of innocence are coming to an end I fear. If I’m finding these years challenging, what’s going to happen when the teenage years begin?! I’m screwed.

Today was Supply Drop Off and Meet the Teacher Day. I think I’ve written about this before, but the way our school district does this is completely maniacal and sadistic. There are about 2,000 students among the elementary, intermediate and middle schools which are all clustered together within walking distance of one another. Supplies are to be dropped off, teachers met, lockers found, bus tags gotten, lunch accounts filled etc. For ONE HOUR. For all 2,000 students and their parents. It’s pure, raw hell. When Amazon Warrior Princess starts 1st grade, I’ll have to do this for three children. I better start medicating now.

I have no idea why they do it this way. I’m assuming there is some good reason for it, but perhaps it’s the Administration’s last jab at parents before they are stuck with our kids for the next 9 months. I can’t say I blame them. Educators are all saints in my book, and an hour of revenge seems okay considering.

Other times I think that it’s some annual social experiment in which students and parents are unwitting participants. I picture the principals in some big control room monitoring all the halls and classrooms from a giant screen.

“Okay, turn off the A/C in the 2nd grade hallway. Good! Good! That made the vein on ten mothers’ heads start throbbing! We’ve got a complete melt down in the 1st grade hall! Well done!”

“Cue jams for locker numbers 127, 359 and 785. Wait for it…wait for it! RELEASE! YES!!! Nailed them all in the head! Initiate lingering dead sock smell!”

“We’ve got escapees! How did they get done so fast?! Fire Drill! Time for a Fire Drill!”

After the bedlam has died down, they begin to assess the parents they broke. I picture Count Rugen from “The Princess Bride” after he sucked one year of Wesley’s life away, “So let’s just start with what we have. What did this do to you? Tell me. And remember, this is for posterityso… be honest.” Then they start culling the herd. Only the strong survive.

Whatever the reason they do it this way, I managed to survive another year. Tomorrow is the first day of school. To all the teachers, bus drivers, school nurses, lunch supervisors…God speed. We parents appreciate you more than you can know.

 

 

Chatty Gassy Kathy

We’ve all had that one co-worker whom we’ll never forget. Some are those inspirational people who accomplish more in an hour than you can in a week. Maybe it’s that person who had the most epic creative ideas that made you wonder what drugs they took (and why weren’t they sharing?) Or maybe it’s that boss who was always yelling and throwing chairs. Well, the co-worker I’ll never forget was Chatty Gassy Kathy.

Kathy was near retirement age and was the receptionist in the small office of a non-profit I worked at long before I was married or had children. As I look back, perhaps God put her in my life to help prepare me for what was to come.

I can remember the day I went in to interview for the job. It was right before Christmas, and I walked into the office which was eclectically decorated for the season with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the corner and motion-sensing ho-ho-ing Santa sitting next to it. Kathy greeted me cheerfully and told me to have a seat. She immediately started chatting me up — it was more of a dizzying monologue of sorts.

“I need to go to Sam’s Club tonight after work and get a big pack of nice toilet paper. See my husband and I are going to a Secret Santa party at my niece’s house tonight. The theme this year is ‘comfort’ so Bob decided that he wanted to bring toilet paper. If you’ve got nice soft toilet paper, it’s comforting he said. So off to get toilet paper I go! I better get a big roll of wrapping paper while I’m there too.”

Two things to note here. 1.) Bob is not to be confused with Young Son’s tooth fairy — two totally different guys. 2.) This was not a white elephant party. No. Kathy was going to a Secret Santa party where people were expecting to get a spa gift certificate, a fancy candle, a pair of cozy socks or a bottle of Bailey’s and hot cocoa mix if they were lucky. But no. One poor idiot was going to be stuck with year’s supply of toilet paper from Bob and Kathy.

She continued on, “Do you shop at Sam’s Club? I love it there. You can get the best deals on things. Bob really likes their big containers of beef jerky.” Lucky for me, before she could tell me more, I was rescued by the person with whom I was to interview.

She took me back to her office and said, “I see you’ve experienced Kathy.” I nodded and nervously laughed. In the end, the interview went really well and there was a job offer on my answering machine when I got home. (Yes, I said answering machine… it was that long ago.)

On my first day I was standing next to Kathy’s desk, and she told me all about the party. “There was some real nice stuff. I got a pretty blanket and some gingerbread lotion, but I don’t think I can use that stuff because it made want to lick my hands all day when I tried it.” I asked how her person liked the toilet paper. “Oh, they really appreciated it. I mean who doesn’t need nice toilet paper?”

computerAll the while she was extolling the highlights of the party, her computer was making lots of clucking, grinding and percussive sounds like it was backing up some big file or something. (Remember this was back in the day where computers used 3 1/2″ disks and were the size of a carry-on suitcase.) Come to find out it was not her computer making these sounds. It was Kathy. Turns out Kathy had an epic flatulence issue and this was just the beginning.

She would walk down the hall to deliver a phone message or to refill her vat-like mug with black Folgers coffee, and you could hear her coming. Fart Fart…Fart Fart Fart…all the way. Then she would stand in my doorway and tell a good Bob story, punctuating the exciting parts with a fart or two. (Turns out my friend’s father-in-law does this too. Who knew it was a thing?!) These stories would go on for ages and sometimes I’d just put up my index finger, pick up my phone and start dialing to get her to go away.

Kathy was an equal opportunity farter too. Volunteers, major donors and delivery people would visit the office. She farted for them all. One time I was in the conference room getting a volunteer set up to work on a mailing. Kathy came in and chatted up the volunteer and suddenly let a good one rip while she continued on with her story. The volunteer looked at me wide-eyed, mouth agape. I just closed my eyes, hung my head and slunk back to my office to put my head down on my desk for a few minutes.

One day I’m surprised someone didn’t end up hospitalized. We were all in an endless meeting in the conference room. When it finally wrapped up, Kathy walked out to her desk and unleashed the most horrific, deafening 20-second fart in the history of mankind. We all thought she had died. But no, she was just fine. The rest of us nearly stroked out from stifling gales of laughter.

At first I was concerned Kathy had an underlying health problem causing all her intestinal distress. But no. Turns out Kathy enjoyed a very high fiber diet. Every day for lunch she would eat two pieces of this ridiculously high fiber bread (I think it was guaranteed to have a whole tree ground up in every loaf.) Then she’d eat it open-faced with sliced apples on top, which she’d meticulously cut one by one with a dull paring knife. Every. Day.

double bubbleIn addition to Kathy’s chattiness and gassiness, she chain chewed Double Bubble. You know — that really crappy rock-hard gum in the yellow, blue and red little wrappers. She’d chew piece after piece all day long, spitting it back into its wrapper as soon as all the flavor was chewed out 20 seconds later. By the end of the day she would have about 4″ of spent gum in her trash can. Maybe she had such a high fiber diet because she had a fossilized wad of Double Bubble stuck in her colon and she was trying to dislodge it with methane.

As I look back, I am amazed at how “normal” this all became. Honestly, I probably should have made an anonymous call to the EPA or at least OSHA to file a complaint about toxic air quality in the workplace. I shudder to think about all the Kathy ass-air I inhaled during my tenure there.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “But what about the smell??” Honestly, they were basically benign. Sadly, I’ve given it some thought and I think it was her diet of fiber and Double Bubble which accounted for the lack of odor. Where one gets into trouble is when farts become SBDs (silent-but-deadly) due to a rancid diet. If Kathy were malicious, she would have dropped off a SBD as she did a drive-by of your office. But no. Kathy was pretty forthright in her flatulence.

I have no idea what became of Kathy. For all her quirkiness and insanity, she was a sweet lady. I hope she and Bob are doing well. I imagine them sitting together on their porch snacking on their colon-blow bread and beef jerky from Sam’s Club…and I’m guessing their bathroom is well-stocked with nice toilet paper.

 

 

Running on Fumes

Oh hallelujah! Less than a week until First Born Male Child and Young Son go to school! I feel guilty that I’m so excited for my kids to go back to school, because it feels like I’m wishing away their childhoods. But really it’s more than wanting them out of the house. It’s me wanting some of me back.

You know how I’ve said that as the summer progresses, things just go down hill? June is great because I’ve got plans and ideas…and energy! The kids are drunk with freedom and loving life. But then July comes along and it’s like the 2nd hour of a long car ride. “Are we there yet?!” The movie is over and the snacks were devoured 50 miles ago. August is like hour 6 when lunch was ages ago, car games are boring, fights break out over things like, “Mom! He’s blinking too loudly!” — and everyone has a sore butt from sitting for so long. Just put us out of our misery. Please!

I’ve screwed myself again this summer, and I really wish I’d learn. Instead of keeping myself “fueled” with self-care for me every once in awhile, I put all my energy into keeping the kids busy, happy and not killing each other 24/7. I honestly can’t remember the last time I spent time with a friend. (I’m guessing it was May.) Basically I tried to get in all the miles as I could on one tank of gas, didn’t dole out entertainment for the inmates along the way — basically I blew it all on the first half of the trip. Yep. Total rookie mom mistake and I should know better. Right now my low fuel light is on and my engine light has been flickering for the past 27 miles.

I do enjoy the slower pace of summer and the break from after school activities, homework, strict bedtimes and the spontaneity that affords. But after nearly ten weeks of being with my kids ALL. THE. TIME… I’m burned out. No matter what I’m doing, there’s always a kid in the mix destroying something, fighting, interrupting or doing something weird. Fer crissake — I found a pair of YS’s underwear in the backyard today! HOW and WHY did this HAPPEN!? I swear if I don’t hear or see them doing crazed things, I go on high alert because I know they are plotting. It’s exhausting.

I was trying to write earlier in the day and had to resort to using noise canceling headphones. Our kitchen had turned into the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for Pokémon card trading between YS and his friends. There was yelling, weird hand gestures, paper strewn all over the floor and I think there was a hostile takeover at one point. It was epic. I finally had to ring a bell and banish them outside.

So here I am at 11 PM trying to have a complete thought for the first time today. I just remembered: Bob needs to come tonight. In case you’ve forgotten, Bob is YS’s tooth fairy. Gladys (FBMC’s tooth fairy) has retired since FBMC figured out she was in the same boat as Santa and the Easter Bunny — it’s been a rough year. So here’s what Bob’s leaving tonight. (The Pokémon handbook is FBMC’s.) Lord help me, I hope YS remembered to pick up his Legos before he went to bed!img_20180816_224601775_ll1

Living with Preadolescent Boys. Joy Redefined.

A few posts ago, I wrote about how summer break goes: June is lovely, July is when the boredom kicks in and then August is filled with hatred and homicidal thoughts for all involved. Yep. Right on schedule.

I recently asked a friend who has two daughters, “Do your girls always talk about their vaginas? Because my boys are CONSTANTLY talking about their private parts — penises, balls, junk, butts, buttholes (and even anuses if they’re being all classy about it) … and poop. Oh the poop references. I basically live in a preadolescent frat house. Except for the lack of beer drinking, the smell, filth and mentality are right there.

Here are a few examples of things you’d hear them screaming at our house on any given day:

“If you don’t knock it off, I’m going to punch you in your penis!!”

“Your face looks like a butt crack and your breath smells like a butthole!”

“Hey anus face! I’ve got something for you!” Then FBMC sticks his butt at YS and farts. (He performed this trick on me one day. It did not end well for him. At all.)

“Balls! Balls! Balls! Balls!”

“Hey, FBMC! What does this look like?? POOP!!!” followed by gales and gales of laughter and rolling around the floor while covering his junk. (What’s worse is when my husband stifles a snort of laughter and tries to frown away a smile — this is pure crack for them and then I’m done for.)

If they are being extra creative, it gets set to music like this one sung to the tune of “Do Your Ears Hang Low”

Doooooo your balls hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?
Can you tie them in a knot?
Can you tie them in a bow?
Can you throw them over your shoulder
Like a continental soldier?
Do your Balls. Hang. Low?

At that point I close my eyes, rub my temples and sing quietly to myself while trying not to cry,

Yes Jesus loves me,
Yes Jesus loves me.
Yes Jesus loves me,
for the Bible tells me so.

Some days I try to ignore it. Other days if I’m feeling all Glenda the Good Mommy, I come up with positive reinforcements like, “The person who can last the longest today without saying potty words gets a popsicle.” They can hold out for about 15 seconds until one can’t hold it any longer and a whopper comes flying out. The “winner” goes and gets a popsicle, followed by the “loser” snatching one too (because clearly it was going to be a tie,) and then they run outside with their “rewards” yelling more potty words. At least they’re out of the house at this point. Score one for Glenda. To my neighbors, I tried. I’m sorry.

Other days I send them each to their room (this is one of my favorites because I get a little peace and quiet.) When it gets really bad, I threaten to take away electronics. This however, is a slippery slope fraught with danger. If they keep at it, they lose electronics, which in all actuality means I am the one on the losing end. At least if they’re using electronics, they are not tormenting each other and hurling insults.

I think I’m going to implement a new strategy, sort of like a curse jar. Every time they use potty words, they have to pay $1. I figure by the end of the week they should have their freshman year of college about covered, so I consider this a big win for me. And speaking of college, I hope they get into good ones. I’m guessing one will be a proctologist and the other a urologist based on their current obsessions. This will also end well for me because they’ll be able to put me in a really nice nursing home later on.

So yeah. I’m totally ready for school to start. In case you were wondering, here’s the latest countdown:

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Be strong, fellow mamas. The bus will be here soon! If they don’t kill me by then.

First World Problems

I’ve made it two-thirds of the way through summer “vacation” and still have three children and one husband. There have been a few days where those stats were in doubt, but the cops haven’t been called yet, so I figure that’s a positive. However there are four weeks left and I’m really starting to feel the burn-out of being with my kids All. The. Damned. Time. I really need them to go back to school and leave me alone.

I’ve been wanting some “me” time and it’s been hard to come by lately. During the summer I only get to get away at odd times on the weekends when my husband is home. My usual weekday morning pick-me-up is a trip to my beloved Target sans kids. But even my random weekend trips there aren’t helping lately, and it’s all Target’s fault. My comfortable home-away-from-home is remodeling to give me a “better shopping experience.” Yeah, well I was just perfectly happy with my previous shopping experience, thanks. People who say “change is good” are full of shit.

target cartI used to be able walk in, stop in for a cup of caffeinated happiness at Starbucks and mosey on through the produce section, imagining all the healthy and delicious things I could cook for my beloved family — perhaps a delightful assortment of perfectly sautéed  vegetables alongside some grilled balsamic glazed lean protein with a nice side of quinoa with fresh herbs. Simple yet tasty, right?

Oh who the hell am I kidding? Like the inmates would ever get within 100 feet of that. Even my husband says, “I’m not eating any of that keen … kin… krap wah stuff.” Fine. I mean it’s not like I don’t personally flip off the organic kale as I glide on by it with my cart. (Seriously, people who say they love eating kale are the same ones who say “change is good” — they’re totally full of shit and we will never be friends.)

Never mind. Back to my culinary reality: broccoli and a few pieces of fruit it is and off I wander. I usually end up running into a fellow mom friend — her Starbucks cup in hand, a contented look upon her face, the stress and exhaustion fading away as the caffeine enters her system and soothes her strained vocal cords. We chitchat awhile, mutually complaining about our hateful children and promise to set up a play date soon. (Meh, those don’t happen enough, but it’s the thought that counts.)

If I’m feeling extra leisurely, I drift through the make-up aisle and think I really need to do something more with my eyebrows or something. That thought vanishes quickly as I realize I need to get toothpaste once again since my kids never manage to actually brush their teeth, yet there’s always at least a half tube of toothpaste smeared all over their bathroom. Ahhh. The smell of bubble mint and all the pee that’s missed the toilet. An olfactory delight.

Then I get up to the check-out and look for my favorite Target peeps. (Susan, Kimberly…You know who you are.) We get the quick down-low on each other’s lives as my purchases are effortlessly whisked through the register, have a few laughs, scan my Cartwheel and my Red Card and watch the total ratchet down. Oh the heady rush of a good discount! And then I stroll out to the mom mobile with my cart full of wonderful and a new outlook on life.

target remodelBut no. Now they’re screwing that all up. Instead of the calm that washes over me when I step foot inside Chez Tarjay, I feel dizzy and disoriented. I grab a cart and hold on for dear life as I crash into other dazed customers also looking for some semblance of normalcy. Tarps are blocking some areas, new displays are crammed together and hey! Where the hell is the iceberg lettuce and regular tomatoes? This better not mean I’m expected to buy kale fer crissake! GAWD NO! I continue to stumble through the rat-like maze of sleek new refrigerator units and shelving. Goddamnit! Where’s the f’ing Mrs. Buttersworth syrup and mango lemonade?? Crap! There’s going to be hell to pay if I don’t come home with that shit!

My blood pressure continues to elevate and I start feeling stabby and hostile. Employees try not to make eye contact with me so they don’t have to suffer my wrath, “WHERE’S THE GODDAMNED MRS. BUTTERSWORTH!?! No. NOT that Aunt Jemima shit or that fancy real maple syrup! MIS-SUS BUT-TERS-WORTH! The minions will be revolting in the morning if that crack isn’t on the table! WHERE IS IT?!?!

After violently hurling my cart aimlessly around the store some more with my fellow pissed off shoppers, I pass by the new cosmetics display. The sleek spotlights and mirrors just seem to mock me rather than lure me in to find the magical product that will make me look like I actually have eyebrows. By this time my nostrils are flaring and I’m cursing louder.

I wander over to the checkout lanes only to find 4 staffed lanes and those lines are full.  Since I’m not here during my regular time, a new front end manager approaches and says, “Our self-checkout lanes are open!” I huffed and rolled my eyes, “WHERE THE FUCK IS SUSAN!?!? She would find Kimberly, open a new lane and I would be rung up and outta here!” (I don’t know if I actually said this out loud or if it was just the insanity oozing out of my pores that was off-putting. The person looked nervous.)

I brace myself and head to the corrals of self-checkout registers. I feel like a goddamned veal as I’m forced into the pen of self-sufficiency. Moo!! I struggle to find the UPC codes — aww crap! That rang through twice and now I have to call someone over. *HUFF!* What’s the code for these weird calamari campari tomatoes?? NO! NOT KALE! GODDAMNIT!!!!!

By this time I’m a hot sweaty mess. Children are clutching their mother’s leg as they watch this feral bovine hurl her purchases into her cart. To make matters worse I had forgotten my reusable bags in the car (sorry Mother Earth. I suck.) I manage to blindly make my way to the exit with my receipt angrily clutched in my fist. SHIT! I FORGOT MY CARTWHEEL! Kimberly wouldn’t have forgotten my Cartwheel and would never have had to spun each item around 20 times looking for the stupid UPC. Change. Sucks.

*SIGH*

So yes, dear reader. These are my first world problems all caused by summer vacation and Target. I don’t know what that says about me. 1) My life is really pathetic, or 2) I’m a spoiled brat, or 3) Kale really is the answer and I’m screwed. Crap.

 

 

On Being a Minister’s Kid

My dad was a minister. Yeah. I’m a Preacher’s Kid (or a Theologian’s Offspring if you want to be all snooty.) It explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?

When I was little, I remember asking my mom, “Why does Dad dress up on Sunday and pretend to be Jesus?” I couldn’t figure out why all these people came to see him play dress-up and imagination every week, especially since I thought he wasn’t very good at it and was pretty boring. When she explained to me what he was really doing, I was relieved to know that my dad was not in fact insane.

It’s a strange life sometimes having a minister for a dad. Why is it that the kids of a doctor, a lawyer or a plumber are never expected to know everything about their parent’s trade? Yet having a dad who was a minister, other kids would turn to me and ask me questions about the Bible and religion. Seriously. I never thought to ask them if something looked infected, how to sue someone or how to install a faucet. Yet somehow by birth I was omniscient about God? Adults often expected me to be extra well-behaved because, well…God was watching me more closely or something. I think I was better behaved because I always got “the look” from my mom if I got restless in church and she would cover my hands with hers in my lap. I knew there would be trouble later if I didn’t knock it off. I think it was the other adults who were watching me more closely and Mom knew it.

When I was in middle school, I was talking with a new friend and she refused to believe me that my dad was a minister. “But you don’t wear white all the time.” Uhh, okay. I think that was when I started to wear black a lot and started cursing more. It’s all her fault.

I vividly remember when I learned about death. I was about 4 or 5 at the time and some days I would go to church with my dad while he worked. Lots of times I would go and hang out with his secretary and she would put me to “work” stapling things or using the guillotine-like paper cutter (probably not a wise choice, but we didn’t wear bike helmets back then either, so…) Other times she’d have me fold bulletins for Sunday. I always loved the heady smell of the mimeograph as the pages ker-chunked out into the tray.

When Mrs. Biertzer had enough of me and my dad was busy, I would have free run of the church. I played in the nursery, zig zagged through the pews and ran laps up and down the aisle. Sometimes I played Sunday school teacher or pretended to pass the offering plate.

One day I was in the sanctuary and up in front was an elderly lady sleeping in a fancy box that was half open. I stood in front of it for awhile, admiring the satin lining and pillow, how neatly she slept with her hands clasped on her chest, and how pretty she looked with her hair nicely curled and make up done up. I thought about waking her, but I was afraid I’d startle her and make her scream like my mom did when I went woke her up in the middle of the night. (It always scared the crap out of me and made me think twice about waking her.)

After I decided to let the lady sleep there in the front of the church, I went downstairs to the kitchen where the Ladies Aid was busily preparing the meal for after the funeral. I casually told them about the lady sleeping in the box upstairs. All activity abruptly stopped, pearls were clutched and immediately a ham sandwich and a cookie were shoved in front of me to distract me so I wouldn’t ask questions. I was then quickly shuffled off to go find my dad.

I found him in his office and said, “Dad? There’s a lady sleeping in a box in the front of the church. I went downstairs to ask the ladies about it and they acted all weird when I told them about it.”

He calmly and matter-of-factly answered, “She’s dead.”

“Dead dead?” I asked. “Oh.”

He then went on to tell me about the funeral they were going to have for her that afternoon and answered my questions. As I look back on this, I give my dad a lot of credit for being honest with me and giving me a straight-forward answer instead of trying to spare my questions and avoiding my fear. If he didn’t answer the way he did, I probably would have been scared. I need to remember this more when my kids ask me those tough questions.

I guess I’m thinking about my dad a lot lately because this week will be the two year anniversary of his death. I miss my favorite feeling in the world of how it felt when he enveloped me in a big hug after church as he shook hands with the congregants. He would still be wearing his robe, the one with with the big sleeves and velvet stole with gold crosses embroidered on it.  It was pure heaven and all was right in the world in those moments. Life wasn’t scary and I was the most special girl in the world. Now his robe is tucked away in its carrying case up in my closet. Maybe I’ll get the courage to get it out this week and let the kids admire it with me while we share some good memories of him.

 

 

Stress Baking & Bonfires

img_20180628_114949136.jpgI’ve been doing a lot of stress baking lately. There is something zen about baking for me. Perhaps it’s because it’s an activity that engages all of the senses: hearing the whir of my 6 quart KitchenAid stand mixer, the smell of my favorite Penzey’s vanilla and the aromas coming from the oven, the feel of a perfect dough, the sight of a cookie just kissed with golden brown…and of course taste. I think what clinches it for me is when I can deliver a surprise treat to a friend and it makes their day just a little better. After baking off a double batch of cookies, my blood pressure seems to return to normal. (And the fact that I can bribe my kids for good behavior with said baked goods is a bonus.)
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“So why all this stress baking?” you ask. We’re into week 3 of summer vacation and hell has hit. Already.

Right now the drama between First Born Male Child and Young Son has been over F’ing Pokemon cards. Yes. Pokemon cards. The number of screaming, ranting cage match fights I’ve had to break up ought to earn me a ref’s jersey and whistle. (But I’d have to immediately hide the whistle because those assholes would go crazy and try to shatter each other’s ear drums with it or drown out the other’s voice whenever he spoke….that last one’s not a bad idea, actually….)

Anyway. The fighting usually starts over trades. FBMC gets YS to trade a good card. A little while later YS realizes he’s been bamboozled, the trader’s remorse hits and that’s when the real shit hits the fan. It has gotten to the point where if I hear one word about Pokemon attacks/energy/evolvement/health and other crap, my lip curls back and I start growling and cursing.

What makes all of this crap even worse, is my husband supports this behind my back. He has taken the boys to stores to buy these Statan’s calling cards…multiple times! Then when I lose my shit over the betrayal, he says, “But I made a new rule that all trades need to be approved by me first.” Well, that’s all good, Mr. Boss Man. But considering that all of the back alley trading goes on while you’re at work or out fishing, I’m left to deal with the resulting wreckage and carnage. Thanks for nothing, traitor.

So here’s how I’m dealing with this. I’m going all batshit crazy Mean Mommy Monster. You see, for Father’s Day I got my husband a portable fire pit under the premise of making s’mores and memories. In reality, I plan on using it for Pokemon cards. Anytime the boys fight, I threaten to use their cards for kindling. I’m hoping to get to the point where all I have to do get out the fire starter whenever I need their behavior to do a 180.

So neighbors: if you see smoke coming from my backyard, grab a lawn chair, a skewer for toasting marshmallows and come on over. I’ll supply the stuff for s’mores and will most likely have plenty of baked goods and booze. Oh. Feel free to bring your personal hell and toss it in the fire if you want. We can make a video and post it on YouTube for other moms to use an example to their inmates. Guaranteed to go viral, I say! This may just become my new zen activity…

And for those of you who actually like Pokemon cards, here’s the most powerful, rarest one yet!

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