This Day Needed a Re-set Button


You just know it’s going to be a day when you wake up with an earworm rattling around in your head –“Zombie” by the Cranberries in my case…RIP Dolores O’Riordan. Sorry. It’s going through your head now too, isn’t it?

So yeah. By 9:00 AM I was already done with this day. I got up early so I could actually take a shower this morning. It was a special occasion, as I was supposed to meet a friend for breakfast during my sweet two hours without children. As I was mindlessly singing, “in your heeeaaad, in your hea-ea-ea-ad,” I picked up my phone to find a text from said friend, “I’m out for breakfast. K spent the night throwing up.” Yes. Let’s all take a moment to bow our heads in silent reflection and sympathy for my sister from a different mister. This is the third person in her house to get hit with the plague. Last week, when everyone was gloriously supposed to go back to school, her other daughter and husband were down with it for most of the week. What kind of crappy karma is THAT?! I mean a sick kid is bad enough, but then a husband on top of it?! Eesh! She may need to consider calling in a priest for an exorcism if she has any hope of surviving this.

After texting my condolences, I decided I better start rousting my inmates to get ready for school. My 6 year old is a morning rockstar. His Lego Batman alarm goes off, he gets up, sprints to the bathroom, gets dressed and comes down usually with a smile on his face. My eldest…ehh…not so much. I usually have to brace myself before entering his room — for fear of what tornado of crap I will trip over, or his level of surliness when I wake him. If I smell sulfur, I run. (Maybe my house needs an exorcism…)

As I said, today wasn’t a great day. I opened his door and forced a cheerful voice, “Good morning, young Jedi!”

Evidently the dark side was strong this morning and I got a, “Jeez, woman! Why can’t you let me sleep! Will you just leave me alone?!?” Yep. He had been up late secretly reading. He desperately needs his solid sleep, and every time he messes with it, the world pays.

I went back downstairs to pour my first precious cup of coffee. This mama ain’t dealing with that shit until coffee’s on board. Soon I heard him thunder over to the bathroom, body slam his little brother who was on his way out and snarled at him, “Your face looks like a butt crack!” Young son shoots back, “Well, you smell like one!” [Doors slam.] Is it bad that I inwardly cheered?

My amusement was short-lived when I heard, “You idiot! You forgot to flush the toilet! AAAA-GAIN!” Pummeling ensued.

“Moooo-oooommm! He hit me in the penis!!!”

“He deserved it! He and his stupid junk can’t even flush a dumb toilet!” [Sigh. Pours more coffee. “Baileys would be really f’ing awesome in here this morning,” I thought.]

Now all three of us were surly. Dear daughter threw open her door, came galloping downstairs, hugged my butt, gabbed the Cheerios out of the pantry and sat down in her chair and patiently waited for me to get her a bowl and milk. Well, at least one person in our house hadn’t caught the asshole virus yet.

The boys continued their bickering and hatred for the next twenty minutes while I snarled multiple requests for them to eat their breakfasts, get their shoes on, find a snack and so on.

Meanwhile, I heard my husband in his office on a conference call say, “Guys… Guys!… GUYS!! Hold on! Now, I’m a simple man…can you please explain to me…” So anyone who knows my husband, knows that nothing good EVER comes after his “simple man” line. It’s usually a good cue to keep your head down and hope for the best. Great. Now he’s in a mood too and I’m just waiting for him to come storming out complaining that he can’t hear anything over the nightmare that is going on in the kitchen.

Finally it was five minutes before the bus came, and by this time I was completely worn raw mentally from the shit storm that had been my morning thus far. Young son got ready and went outside while his older brother started yelling at me for yelling at him and demanded I find his shoes. Fine. Backpack, coat and shoes got thrown into the garage and he follows. I’m done. Good luck teachers, they’re all yours.

I turned around to find the warrior princess writing all over the table with the milk she had sloshed out of her bowl. [Sigh.] I cleaned her up, got her dressed for school, wrangled her into her carseat and kicked the tire on the mini van for good measure. Take that.

The hostility of the morning evidently was running rampant in our entire town, as I got tailgated by no less than 3 different people who felt that 10 mph over the speed limit was not nearly fast enough and that stopping at stop signs was for sissies.

I finally arrived at school without getting into an accident or the victim of someone’s road rage. [Deep breath of impending sweet freedom!] Not so fast. My daughter wanted nothing to do with school. We got to the classroom door and she braced herself between me and the classroom door like an angry cat who didn’t want to take a bath. Eventually her dear, sweet teacher pried her off of me and I made a run for it. I locked myself in the mom mobile and just sat there and let the silence wash over me.

I’d like to tell you my day got lots better after that, but sadly it did not. As I type this, everyone in my house is asleep and I should be too. But I’m taking this time to detox, decompress and just plain go numb for awhile until I have to wake up to face yet another day of my little psych ward here. Hey. At least tomorrow’s Friday, right? Oh. Wait. That means it’s the weekend and there’s no school. [sigh] Oh well.

Toys of My Childhood

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately trying to come up with something to write about, so I Googled, “blog writing prompts.” It came back with, “What were your favorite toys as a child? What did you like to create?” As I thought about it, lots of weird things came to mind. Frankly I’m surprised some of them didn’t clue my parents in that I was a bit off, but…

When I was in fourth grade, my parents and I moved from Wisconsin to Bismarck, North Dakota in the dead of winter. Yeah. It was as hellish as you’re probably imagining, and it didn’t get much better over the six years that we lived there. I had gone from having lots of friends in school and in my neighborhood, to a couple of marginal ones at best.

To get through my loneliness, I found myself coming up with more and more elaborate stories for my Barbies, complete with subplots, love triangles and cliffhanger endings until my next play time.

beauty secrets barbie

My favorites involved Beauty Secrets Barbie (what those secrets were, she never told me) and her friends Western Barbie and Ken with horse, Dallas. (Ironically, I think most of my more sordid and scandalous story lines came from watching the show, “Dallas” every Friday night.) At some point, Ken knocked up both Beauty Secrets and Western Barbies. One of my old Little People dolls was the love child. Some days Western Barbie would bitchily gallop off on trusty Dallas, throwing a “F-you, BS Barbie!” wink over her shoulder. (Western Barbie had a button in her back you could push and she would actually wink with her heavily mascara-ed and blue eye-shadowed eye.)

western barbie and dallas        western ken

I never had the Barbie Dream House or tons of accessories — I made those. My Barbies even had a pimpin’ water bed made out of a shoe box and a ZipLoc bag filled with water, complete with custom-made bedding and throw pillows I had sewn out of my mom’s fabric scraps. I probably embroidered it with counted cross stitch. Like I said, I was lonely and bored.

I have no idea what fate befell BS, Western, Ken & Dallas. Maybe they’re in a box somewhere in my mom’s basement. Or maybe they went the way of my husband’s GI Joe with the Kung Fu Grip — there is still a hot debate whether or not his mom gave it away or threw it out. When we were still dating, to help ease my husband’s loss, I bought him his very own vintage GI Joe with the Kung Fu Grip on Ebay.

IMG_20180112_142452852Never in my life have I spent so much money on something so ugly. It was that Christmas that my mother-in-law knew that her son loved me and we were destined to be together. Thinking about these beloved toys, I wonder what my children will look back on as their prized possessions of their childhood.

Now that we finally have Christmas behind us and some semblance of routine back after nearly 3 weeks, going back to school for the boys couldn’t have come soon enough this week. I know I’m not the only mom who did an embarrassing happy dance in the driveway as the bus pulled away on Monday. Just hearing the roar of the engine, the hiss of the brakes and the intoxicating smell of diesel exhaust put an extra skip in my step and twinkle in my eye. But now Monday is yet another day off. Crap. Isn’t this just cruel and unusual punishment? I mean I fully support the MLK holiday and all, but couldn’t we move it a little bit later? My family can’t stand the sight of each other yet, why torture us so soon? I need to find something for the inmates to do so the cops don’t end up getting called. Maybe I’ll give them this mission: “Go through your toys and put aside those things that don’t inspire you. Maybe they can inspire another kid who could use a toy.”

Oh hell. Who am I kidding? I know they’re just going to give me the equivalent of the Western Barbie F-you wink and go back to their electronic devices. *sigh* As long as they’re not killing each other…


My 3 Gs for 2018

Happy New Year!

New Years is always a very thought-filled time for me. I find myself thinking back over the year and ask myself, “Was it a good year? What were the positive things that happened? The negative?” And then I try to take some time to be happy and grateful for those good things, because I’m guessing I didn’t take enough time to do so when they were happening. When I think about the bad things, while I still may feel angry/sad/scared/frustrated/confused about whatever it was, I also try to remind myself that I survived.  Maybe they seemed horrible and hopeless at the time, but when I look back at them, maybe they weren’t such a big deal after all. Or maybe I’m stronger than I think. Just taking the time to acknowledge these things, good and bad, is sort of cathartic I guess.

I stopped making New Years resolutions a long time ago. Instead of being something positive and motivating for me, they always left me feeling defeated or that I was a failure when I wasn’t strong enough in my resolve. To make matters worse, I usually didn’t accomplish what I set out do in the end anyway because I just gave up. [Cue more feelings of failure.]

So instead, I’m going to come up with a list of things I’m hoping I can do better. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Grace. I’m not talking about being poised and elegant (I mean me and roller skating…remember??) No. I’m talking about cutting slack and unclenching about some things — for myself and others. If I think about all the stupid little stuff I get upset about, it starts adding up to a huge pile of yuck. Then I get overwhelmed and even more anxious and angry. Maybe if I let some of those little things go, my life won’t be so cluttered with crap…literally and figuratively.
  2. Gratitude. So often I get all anxious and wrapped up in the things that I think are going wrong, that I forget to be grateful for all those that are going right. I get mad and frustrated with my kids for being ungrateful for all the toys and nice things they have in their seemingly easy lives. Well, duh. No wonder — if their own mother can’t be grateful enough for those wonderful things in her privileged life, why should they? Dope slap. What if I said, “You did a great job putting your clothes away without me even having to ask!” or “I like how you were so kind with your brother when he was feeling sad today.” — instead of the million critical things that usually come spewing out.
  3. Goodness. I’m going to try to acknowledge the good I see in people. Why do I keep nice thoughts to myself? What if I took 5 seconds to say or even text to someone, “I always admire how patient you are with your kids,” or “Thanks for having me over today — the rest of my day has been better because I laughed and got a friend fix.” Or sometimes someone just needs to hear, “You are rockin’ that messy bun today,” or “You have the best laugh…It’s always so contagious!” Sometimes you need to tell your friend’s husband, “Do you know I can always tell when you’ve texted something sweet to your wife? Her eyes always light up and she smiles when she reads it.” Because I know when someone give me a compliment, it always makes me feel better. When it comes on a day when you really need it or when it’s something good you never even saw in yourself, well. That’s worth 20 compliments, now isn’t it? And more often than not, it usually motivates me to keep doing one more good thing.

As I think about these things, I know I won’t remember them every day and little crap will make me furious sometimes. But maybe if over the course of the year, more positive will outweigh the negative. And to you my dear reader — for whom I’m grateful — I wish you a year filled with grace, gratitude and goodness. Pass it on.



Goat Yoga. WTF?!

I am about the farthest thing from a fitness fanatic as you can get. If freaking out on my kids were an olympic sport, I’d be in serious contention for the gold. Hell, I’d be the Michael Phelps of freaking out most likely. Frankly, it should be an olympic sport — if done properly, it takes endurance, anaerobic skill, fast thinking and focus. But I digress…

I do try my best to be open minded and remind myself that what might not be my cup of tea, just may be the panacea that another person needs. To each his/her own, right? But can someone please explain to me why Goat Yoga needs to be a thing? And in case you didn’t know, oh yes, it IS a thing.

You too can do a downward dog with a goat standing on your back, get a little cloven-hooved shiatsu while planking or have a snuggle buddy during child’s pose. I mean I do see how pet therapy can really help people mentally and physically feel better — what’s not to love about a good snuggle, unconditional love and something kind and gentle to take your mind off of a world full of problems. But goats? Hmm. I just don’t see how it ends well.

In addition to eating everything in sight, goats are not the best potty-trained animals. As if yoga doesn’t put you in some of the most vulnerable poses with your butt in the air or twisted like a crazed noodle, then introduce a famished, shitting little beast with sharp feet to it…Really? I can just imagine my humiliation when all the goats fight over who gets to curl up on my extra cushy butt, head butt my boobs or knead my squishy abs like a crazed baker. And if one chews a hole in my favorite yoga pants, that beast’s getting turned into goat curry with a side of samosa faster than I can string 20 curse words together. I will not even go into my thoughts on their toileting habits. No. Just no.

To make things even more whacko, the Denver International Airport now offers Goat Yoga classes between flights.

Yes, to rid yourself of the stress you have endured barely making it to the airport on time, schlepping your baggage 20 miles from the long-term parking lot, standing in an endless line of surly travelers waiting to check their baggage for fee equivalent to the GDP of Zimbabwe, then getting felt up by an over-enthusiastic TSA agent so you could arrive at your gate only to find your flight’s been delayed by a decade. Instead of stressing out (or going to the airport bar like a normal person) — you say, “Hmm… What is that tantalizing barnyard smell? Goat Yoga!! YES! SIGN ME UP PLEASE!”

I mean can’t you just imagine the horror of your fellow passengers after you’ve just been rolling around with goats? They see you lurch down the airplane aisle looking for your seat, a cloud of goat stench and sweat fumes emanating from you, a welt in the shape of a hoof print appearing on your forehead and a big god-knows-what stain on your shirt. I don’t know about you, but I’d be praying that mom with the crazed look in her eye towing her three tantrum-throwing children behind her sits next to me. Even though she gave up her last fuck to give back in Cleveland, I’m guessing she has booze stashed in her diaper bag and she might just share.

Now that I think about it, next time my husband pisses me off, I’m going to secretly hope he gets seated next to a man-spreading, barefoot goat yogi on his next flight to China.

Holiday Gift Giving Guide for My Children

Christmas is bearing down on me like a massive herd of pissed off wildebeests. I haven’t had the courage or time away from my children to bake yet, my house looks like Christmas threw up all over it and I have a bare minimum of presents purchased. Am I shocked or surprised? Obviously not. Stress and hostility fuels my productivity. I hate this trait in me, and I make others suffer right along with my insanity. But after 45 years, I really don’t know if it’s possible to change.

Our family is extremely blessed with generous friends and family, and every year I get asked, “what would your kids like for Christmas?” I’m sure many of you get the same question and probably meet it with the same huge overwhelmed mental sigh that I do. My oldest would adore anything that is Star Wars or Harry Potter related. My 6 year old loves anything with a superhero on it.  And my youngest? Frankly you could wrap up her big brothers in a big box with a bow and she’d lose her mind in pure happiness. (Please don’t wrap them in the same box because they will kill each other and it will be messy…and guess who has to clean up that shit — Yeah. Yours truly.) Actually now that I think about it, just get them socks. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Superhero and sparkly socks. They won’t last long in my house, but it will get me through one more load of laundry with less profanity.

I’m guessing socks is not going to be a satisfactory answer for our blessed gift givers. So this year I’m approaching it from a different angle, and perhaps this may help you too when people ask you the same question. Here’s what NOT to get my kids if you love me at all:


Anything that pees, poops or cries — basically any bodily fluid: There are an alarming number of games on the market that involve farting, peeing, pooping, crying and other nonsense. I deal with this on a daily, if not hourly basis. By the time my youngest will be potty trained, I will have had a kid in diapers for the past ten years. TEN YEARS! Why do I need a pretend version of that, which you KNOW I’ll have to clean up after. No thank you.


baby aliveHave you seen this gem? This little shit cries tears, whines that it’s not feeling good, requires feeding and temperature taking and more. If this thing comes into my house, it’s getting punched.

And then Goliath games. WTF. This company seriously must have an R&D department run by a team of 8 year old boys. Everything they create involves pooping, farting, boogers and more. Okay. So I get that these topics are a real laugh riot to kids (and their dads) — but don’t I put up with enough of that every single fucking day? Come on!

doggie doogooey louiewho tooted

honestly think the powers that be at Goliath must really hate their respective moms and are taking their hostility out on mothers everywhere.


Science kits: I know these seem like a thoughtful, educational gift. “But it says, ‘STEAM’ on it. Isn’t that the big thing these days?” Well yes, to educators it stands for “Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.” To the assholes marketing these “science” kits, it really stands for “Shitty Torture Experiments Against Mothers.” Basically these kits include crude beakers that leak and other sketchy measuring devices, popsicle sticks, mysterious packets of powdered toxic waste and a vague instruction book full of “experiments” that require a trip to Costco to buy baking soda, vinegar and Q-Tips in bulk.


wks_stemvolcano4Then when you finally have everything you supposedly need to jump start your youngster’s love of science, the hell really begins. Before you’ve had a chance to even read the first line of the instruction book, your adorable Neutron Nelly has already torn open all the packets of toxic waste and is madly mixing random things together while his sibling is sprinkling baking soda all over the kitchen like fairy dust. A hole is being eaten through the table by said disaster and radioactive goo is getting all over the kitchen rug.

Once all of the raw materials have been squandered before one experiment has been completed, your budding scientist has completely lost interest and you’re left in a puddle of tears as you take in the mass destruction that has swept through your kitchen like a tornado hit a mad scientist’s dungeon.

So please. NO. This is why my children go to school so they can do this shit there. This is a good case of, “What happens at school ought to stay at school.”


Anything involving glitter or food coloring:  Absolutely not! Glitter is Satan’s sawdust and will make everything in my house look as if a gaggle of lap dancers came over for a rave. Glitter projects should be done at school and not brought home. Instead they should be sent directly to grandparents. I will provide pre-addressed stamped envelopes.



Anything that involves me using food coloring for any reason makes the vein in my forehead throb. This includes homemade play dough (the bane of any preschool parent’s existence,) science experiment kits (yet another reason they are a big NO in my book) and baking projects — need I remind you about my aversion to cut-out cookies?? Getting out the food colors at my house puts my children in mad scientist mode and colors get mixed in alarming quantities, things get spilled, profanity is spewed and the resulting food coloring stains have the half life of bismuth.

Mind you, these are just some general guidelines. Basically I kindly request that when shopping, please keep my mental health in mind. If your gift does not pass the Mommy Sanity Test (I’m working on a patent) — I will file this away in my memory of hateful behavior and use it against you when you are least expecting it. Moms may not be able to remember what the hell they came into the room for, but our memory of bad behavior is razor sharp. So… Grandparents: remember that we get to pick your nursing home. Aunts and uncles: your children will become fair game. Friends who don’t have kids: we will send ours over to your house armed with any non-compliant gifts for you to “enjoy” with our little angels.

You’ve been warned…with gratitude.


Badvent Calendar

I know I’m not alone when I say this: socks are the bane of my existence. Okay, maybe not my entire existence, but certainly when it comes to laundry. Why is it that I can put in 10 complete pairs of socks and only get 9 individual socks out…none of which match?! Where the hell do the others go?! I demand answers.

Is there some sort of sock eating parasite that eats them during each load? More likely I think washing machine manufacturers are colluding with sock companies and are installing some sort of secret sock disposal system so that we are forced to buy more socks. And then they try to sell us that Afresh stuff to get rid of the nasty mildew smell every month. No. That shit’s just to cover the stench of dead, undigested socks.

Another theory is that they are all going down the sewer, joining in the massive party of undissolved wipes, diapers, condoms, cooking grease, gangster corpses and piranhas. They’re a real thing — they’re called “fatbergs.” I bet if they dissected this putrid mass, they’d find enough socks to clothe half of China.

And next time you’re having a crappy day at work or with your kids, be grateful this isn’t your day job to deal with…although some days it really may seem like it.

So I’ve been collecting a huge basket of stray socks in the ridiculous hope that I will one day find matches.

IMG_20171203_193532634Matching socks makes me hostile on a regular basis. Every once in awhile I dump out my basket of hosiery hell and bribe my kids to try to find mates. They poke at the pile halfheartedly for a minute or two and then scurry away like cockroaches to avoid the drudgery. Not that I can blame them.

So after this weekend of holiday decorating (and we all know how that went) I decided to create my very own sanity saver …and better yet,  I don’t have to share with my kids. Voila! My one-of-a-kind “Mommy’s Bad-vent Calendar.”

IMG_20171203_180538367It’s environmentally friendly, as I used a piece of wood one of my kids tried to go Karate Kid on. (It did not end well for neither kid nor board.) To make it a bit more festive, I up-cycled some of the crappy Christmas decorations that my kids have ruined just for a bit of flair and festivity.

IMG_20171203_180730534And then the socks. Finally!! I have a use for these fuckers! The baby socks are the perfect size for mini liquors, kids socks can hold a beer perfectly and adult socks are just right for a bottle of wine (or full-on liquor if you’re having a particularly rough time.) You too can make a custom masterpiece like mine for yourself or your bestie.

IMG_20171203_175910082.jpgI used a variety of booze on mine just to give you some ideas, but the sky’s the limit! If alcohol isn’t your thing, I bet you could up-cycle some holey undies to hold bags of chips, boxes of chocolates…really anything. Go wild!

IMG_20171203_220125479.jpgSo even though it looks like Christmas became violently ill in my house after my kids “decorated” this weekend, this sweet Badvent Calendar fits right in. Tacky? Sure. Ridiculous? Of course! Did I waste a stupid amount of time building this thing? Hell yes! But who the fuck cares?! Not this mama!! And since my dear husband left for a week in China today, I may or may not play a bit of “catch-up” tonight after the inmates are asleep!



Lightning in a Bottle

Today I am not writing with my typical sarcastic, oddball style. Today I write with a heavy heart, but I needed to write nonetheless.

On Monday we received the unfathomable news that Rachel, the 11 year old daughter of our friends, was killed in a freak accident. She was swinging on a tree swing at their family’s farm, a place she adored, when the branch broke. I can’t even type the rest.

I haven’t stopped thinking about and mourning for this family since I heard the news that left me breathless and at a loss for words. It took the long car ride to the funeral this weekend to try to find them.

As humans, we are always seeking to find answers to help us make sense of the world. When I search for an answer of why this ever could have happened to such an amazing girl and her beautiful family, I come up empty. Frankly, I don’t think there ever could be an answer that would satisfy this heartbreaking question.

On our journey to southern Indiana, my husband and I listened to the audiobook of Bill Bryson’s, A Short History of Nearly Everything. In it he talks about the beginning of the universe, the atoms of which everything is made, evolution and the incomprehensible amount of time it took for us as humans to evolve to this point in history. As you take time to think about it and put it into perspective, it’s humbling to realize what a small flash our lives are in the history and space of the world.

But as I think about Rachel, and from listening to the beautiful, funny stories her parents shared at her funeral, I realized that she knew how to live life. She was full of adventure, tenacity, resilience, curiosity and so much love. She took on life full-tilt. My dad would have called her “‘lightning in a bottle” — infinite energy just waiting to escape and do amazing things. She was over-the-moon excited that the Boy Scouts were finally letting girls join, because Boy Scouts got to go on bigger, more exciting adventures than Girl Scouts.

Today I write not only to share the incredible soul our world has lost, but also the lessons I have learned and how we can continue Rachel’s legacy.

I have learned …

  1. I need to go on more adventures with my family. Rachel’s parents encouraged this in her and took Rachel and her brother on camping trips, hikes, new places and just let them explore. I need to do more of this by getting over my anxiety and hangups and just DO things. (Okay, maybe not roller skating again, but…)
  2. I need to let things go. So often I get wrapped up in the little things that I’m not enjoying the big picture. I need to put down my electronic devices, step away from the stupid stuff I get stuck in and just BE with my kids more often.
  3. I need to take more family pictures. As I looked at all the pictures displayed at the visitation, I realized we don’t have enough pictures of our kids and our family. Maybe if we actually went on more adventures, we could solve that problem. Maybe we don’t have enough pictures of memories because we haven’t been making enough of them.

Rachel’s aunt said something very important during the funeral. She knew that Rachel was going to be a woman who would make history, but that potential was taken far too soon. It is our job to make the difference in the world that Rachel won’t be able to. I’m not sure what that is at this very moment, but I’m going to try. I challenge you to do the same.

So as I grieve with our friends as they try to put together the pieces of their lives that have shattered and will never be whole again, I leave you with this reminder: hug your loved ones a little longer, read that extra story at bedtime, forgive more quickly, and live your life with purpose so that we can teach others to do the same. For maybe this will help Rachel’s light to shine on longer.