Unsettling Conversations With My Kid

One of the things I love most about being a mom is simply talking with my boys. We discuss current events, politics, what’s going on at school, their latest fantasy baseball trades, etc. But my absolute favorites are the creative, ridiculous story-weaving “what-if” conversations. Like the time, Andrew spent 10 minutes speculating about the pros and cons of being a bald eagle or other type of raptor.

“Well, I wouldn’t be able to wear socks and regular shoes. Guess I’d be stuck wearing flip flops everyday.”

That conversation evolved into…

“What road rage gestures do birds make when someone cuts them off in traffic?”

“What football team do you think Ayla (our hound) would root for?”

“Well, the Browns, of course!”

Last night’s conversation with my ten-year-old Jack took creative what-if’s to a whole new level of strangeness. On one hand I’m thrilled with his vivid imagination. On the other hand, I’m thinking “Good Lord, Kid! You’re scaring me.

One hand and the other hand. That’s actually what the conversation was about.

JACK: Mom, what if you were holding hands with someone and your hands got stuck together, like so completely stuck together that the only way to separate them was to cut one of them off at the wrist. Would you rather be the person whose hand was amputated at the wrist? Or the other person, the one who had to spend the rest of their life with someone else’s severed hand dangling off of their hand?

ME (wondering if I should schedule an appointment with a child psychiatrist): What a question!!! Can’t say I’ve ever pondered that before. Let me think.

JACK: I’d rather be the one missing my hand at the wrist. It’d be a lot more acceptable in public to be missing a hand than to have an extra one permanently hanging off of your hand. Especially after the separation surgery! You’d have a bloody, severed hand to take care of. It’d ruin your clothes and bed sheets. And you’d probably wind up holding a grudge against the person whose hand you got stuck with.

Imagine trying to clap at a concert! And what if it was attached to your right hand…and you were right handed?

ME: Why couldn’t doctors just remove the extra hand from yours?

JACK: Because that wasn’t part of my question.

ME: Might just be easier to stay permanently connected to the other person.

JACK: I bet the two of you would be BEAST at Red Rover!

ME: See! There’s an upside to everything.

 

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Days 2 and 3: We’re Having Fun! Darn it!

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Tuesday, March 29th

I’m guessing that the people who design RV’s don’t ever bother to ride or sleep in them. Otherwise, our toilet would have a seat belt. I can’t say that somersaulting into the shower when James made that sharp left turn was on my bucket list, but at least I can empathize with others who’ve dealt with this type of trauma.

We’re now barreling west on I-4 from Orlando to Tampa. To see the Yankees play the Pirates at George Steinbrenner Stadium.

Yesterday the RV’s generator stopped working. James spent a good hour staring at it, flipping various switches and cursing. Jenna and I stood a safe distance behind him looking concerned. Because that’s what you do when someone close to you is trying to fix something and you’re incapable of making the situation better. If you’re over 15 and can’t actually help, then you’d better, by gosh, assume the “concerned position.” But under no circumstances should you ask him if he’s consulted the manual or called the RV rental place.

While standing there, staring at the generator, as if it was Uncle Fred in his casket, I couldn’t help noticing our neighbor camper’s x-rated houseplant out of the corner of my eye. What the heck! Put that thing away! I hope I’m never on the road long enough to feel the need to carry houseplants around with me. Especially a cactus! Imagine falling off the toilet onto that thing!

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Killing time before yesterday’s ballgame, we visited Orlando’s Sea Life Aquarium. It was obviously designed as a low budget alternative to Sea World, for vacationers with more time than money.

The first exhibit was simply called Bait.

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As James, Jenna and Jack (the J’s) spent time contemplating each exhibit, reading the educational summaries and having PBS worthy conversations, Andrew and I skipped ahead. As we approached a huge clown fish and blue fish exhibit, I heard a little girl screech

“Nemo!”

“Dory!!!”

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ME: Do you think these fish ever wonder why people always mistake them for someone named Nemo and Dory? Who are these mysterious Nemo and Dory people that they’re always mistaken for? Do they swim up to the glass and make elaborate fin gestures trying to explain to the tourists:

“No! I’m Marianne. And this is Russell! We don’t know these Nemo and Dory people that you speak of.” Of course the humans can’t hear them, which must be terribly frustrating.

ANDREW: Yeah, the people who run the place ought to show them a courtesy viewing of Finding Nemo so they’ll know what’s up. It’s the least they could do.

The next exhibit was all about seahorses and how the males of the species are the ones to get pregnant and give birth.

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I began to wonder if dad seahorses suffer from morning sickness and get all weepy and hormonal, craving strange combinations of plankton and seaweed at 2 am. I wonder if the child bearing role reversal is a strain on seahorse marriages. There’s probably no data on their divorce rates to consult.

Monday, March 28th (sorry for skipping around, but I write whenever I can.)

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We’ve got incredible seats right behind home plate. But being in a new place with such people watching opportunity and my Adderall wearing off, I’m having trouble focusing on the game. Plus, the woman sitting right in front of me has a string in her hair that shifts slightly with every breeze. Andrew dares me to pluck it out. Removing the string without her feeling it should be an easy enough task if it weren’t for her companion who keeps glancing back at us. I wonder if he has a hidden camera and the string was placed there as bait for OCD audience members. If I were to reach for it, would John Stossel pop out of nowhere and congratulate me for being on 20/20 OCD Edition?

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Oh good, it just fell down on its own where I easily retrieved it.

“That’s not fair,” said Andrew. “You were supposed to get it out of her hair, not off her shirt.”

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It’s been raining a lot. And the Tropical Palms Carefree RV Resort would be much more carefree if we were, perhaps, a family of swine.  I’m learning that some lots are muddier than others, so you should ask about drainage when making reservations. It also lacks the lovely canopy of live oak trees and short palms that Nova Family Campground had. If you’re going to name your RV park, Tropical Palms, then it should darn well have some palm trees. This place is like a boggy Nascar overflow parking lot.

Time for lunch. More later.

 

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RV Spring Training Adventure: Days 1-1/2 Update

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We’re not the kind of family that has vacations and special events planned out far in advance, written in coded colors on our calendars. In fact, people who do that make me kind of nervous. Like back in high school when someone would casually mention that they were working on a project that wasn’t due for two whole weeks.

The worst is when another mom asks me, in late January, if we have plans on February 18th, “because, you know, that’s a school holiday.”

“It is?”

“Oh, right. Of course it is! I’ve had February, 2016 planned out since before Andrew was born. “Yes, we’re free that day.”

My stepdaughter, Jenna is one of those admirable left-brained planner types. She just turned 30 and I’m pretty sure she already has a will and her advanced directives written out. She’d probably set a reminder on her phone to do that on her 29th birthday. I’m not making fun. More in awe than anything.

Way back in October, Jenna called to say she was coming from California to spend the boys’ spring break with us…. and had already scored cheap airfare.

I hadn’t even planned dinner. And the only thing I could tell you about spring break was that it’s sometime between winter and summer.

Fast forward to early March.

JAMES: Spring break’s in three weeks. And Jenna’s coming. We should plan something.

ME: How about spaghetti?

JAMES: I was thinking more like renting an RV and driving down to Florida to catch a few spring training games.

ME: Sounds good. I’ll make some garlic bread too.

So that’s the back story on why we’re bouncing through North Carolina on I-95 at 62 mph in a 25-foot RV that sleeps five…but not all at the same time, unless you’re a family of underweight pygmies.

The boys are in their loft, playing on their devices. Jenna is already snoozing, with her head down on the dining table/work station/game table/computer desk/ironing board. James is, of course, driving, sitting proudly upright in his captain’s chair.

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It’s kind of funny the way van and RV commercials always tout “captain’s chairs” as if we’ve always dreamed of feeling like a captain when we’re driving. (Perhaps why a toilet is sometimes called a throne) If a vehicle is going to come with captain’s chairs, then captain’s hats should be included too. And maybe a couple of those fancy jackets with tassels on the shoulders. At least we do have a box of Captain Crunch in the pantry/chest of drawers/dresser/closet/night stand/shower. That should make James feel more captainy.

We’re passing through Dunn, NC. I always chuckle at their oversized billboard, boasting “Dunn, NC, the Dump Truck Body Capital of the World!” I wonder how many towns were competing for that prized distinction.

I picture all the citizens of Belmont, Nebraska being crushed after another year of coming in second in the dump truck body capital contest. The judges were obviously biased.

South of the Border  is still 75 miles away, but we’re already seeing their famous Pedro billboards every half mile. Have you ever stopped at that place? Based on all the roadside fanfare, you’d think you’re pulling into a Mexican Disney World Fiesta Heaven. But it’s almost creepy. A desolate carnival atmosphere with festive, brightly colored buildings, rides for kids, over-sized happy looking animal statues everywhere and dozens of employees operating nearly empty rides, waiting to take your lunch order and cleaning the already immaculate grounds.

But only a sprinkling of visitors. It’s very Twilight Zone-esque, as if everyone else knows to stay away from there, because at the top of every hour they sacrifice any lingering visitors to their God of the Pedro Statue.

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We’re in Florence, SC now.

I have to go to the bathroom, but I’m a little scared to. It’s only about 20 feet behind me, but this drive is so bumpy, there’s a good chance I could fall and break a hip or lose an eye. It reminds me of being drunk and realizing I have to go to the bathroom….but just sober enough to recognize that trying to stand up and walk is probably unwise.

I MADE IT!

Reaching down to flush the toilet, I instinctively braced myself for the abrupt, ear pounding, pressurized flushing of an airplane toilet. How, for a second, you worry it’s going to suck you down and empty you straight out the bottom of the plane.

But this flushing sound was very quiet. Pleasant almost.

Two Hours Later.

We’re back on the road now, having just filled up the RV gas tank.

JAMES: What’s 321 divided by 44?

ME (pulling up my calculator app): 7.2

JAMES: That’s our gas mileage.

We’re now cruising along behind a tractor. In no hurry to pass.  

Monday Morning 7:30 a.m. – Made it to Daytona Beach around 8 last night.

Sleeping in an RV bed provides that refreshing “beaten with a crowbar, while caught in a storm at sea” feeling.

I keep thinking about the phrase “If this van be a-rockin,’ don’t come a-knockin,” referring, of course, to mobile fornication.

What I didn’t expect was that our rented camper would sway and rock dramatically with every footstep, drakatic sigh and sneeze. As many times as I turned over, trying to get comfortable last night, I can only imagine what the neighbors must think of us.

The Nova Family Campground is surprisingly beautiful…with lots to offer families, retirees and fugitives hiding out in plain sight. I don’t know why I keep thinking things like that, eyeing the nice 60-something man across the way, speculating about where he disposed of his victims’ bodies.

The upscale couple next door, sharing sections of the Wall Street Journal embezzled 27-million dollars from the security software company where the husband was a comptroller. They’ve changed their appearances dramatically since absconding. I’d recommend she use some of that bounty to purchase a nicer wig.

The clean cut teenage boy vacuuming the pool was run out of his polygamist community by the elder men who saw him as competition for the upcoming crop of ten year old wives.

Nothing says “I’m so glad you’re here” like accidentally sneezing a mouthful of strawberry PopTart all over your step daughter, which I’ve just accidentally done. Yes, it was the frosted kind. This place is Hell on my nose.

“You’re sneezing up a storm!” observed Jenna, while wiping slimy crumbs off her face and iPad screen.

It would be neat to be able to control the weather with your sneezes. But terribly inconvenient during allergy season. I doubt I’d get invited to too many weddings or sports events.

Jack and I are going sightseeing now. Dark clouds are moving in. And the forecast says thunder showers. I’ve taken a Sudafed, though. Hopefully that’ll help.

We’re heading to a Braves-Astros game at Lake Buena Vista this evening and will be camping at the Tropical Palms RV Resort. I hope I don’t make it storm there too.

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Laxatives, Mammograms, Chimney Sweeps and Obnoxious Bicycle Bells

This is going to be one of those posts in which I purge all the random, strange and sometimes criminal thoughts that’ve been bubbling in my cranial cauldron for the past few months.

And now that I sit down to write, I’ve got nothing. NOTHING! I sit. I stare. I wait. And nothing happens.

Oh, here’s one.

  1. Why hasn’t someone invented a brain laxative for writers? Maybe I’ll pose that challenge to the Technology Club at our local middle school-the one that builds functioning 3-D printed hands for amputees. If those little geniuses can replace limbs, then surely they can find a way to transform the fodder in my mind into award winning prose that flows like an uncrimped garden hose. IMG_5252

2)This was an actual question on the paperwork at my obgyn’s office. Sorry if you’re repulsed. But, seriously! Who keeps a spreadsheet of this kind of thing?

This is the same obgyn who asked if I knew where I got my last mammogram. Not “where did you get your last mammogram?” But “do you know where….?”

They expect me to keep a record of every tampon I use, but remembering where I got my last mammogram would somehow overload the brain?

I mean…it’s a mammogram! Not a slushie from some nameless gas station on a cross-country road trip. Maybe things are different up here in Virginia. I’m still figuring things. Maybe you can get mammograms at convenience stores making it easy for women to forget where their last one was done.

“Hmm, I think my last one was at the Circle K next to Chesterfield Towne Center. Or was it the Flying J right off the Interstate.”

“Let’s see. I’ve got two Red Bulls, a tin of Altoids, a bag of pork rinds. Oh, almost forgot! I need a bag of ice and a mammogram.”

I took a selfie this time for confirmation.

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I never realized how sharp the bridge of my nose is. Did you?

3. Did you know that most chimney sweeps don’t wear black top hats anymore? That’s the most disappointing thing I’ve heard all day. We have to have one come out and unclog the chimney next week. I’ve requested that he wear a hat, but the receptionist wouldn’t make any promises.

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I just read that in the UK, it’s considered good luck for a bride to see a chimney sweep on her wedding day. In fact, some chimney sweeps even hire themselves out for cameo appearances at weddings. That’s according to https://derekhaines.wordpress.com/2010/09/.

“Hey, Dude, are you a real chimney sweep? Or do you just play one at weddings?”

But I digress…

Okay, here it is: According to Weller’s Chimney Service website the wearing of top hats tradition boils down to pride. Way back when being a chimney sweep was considered lowly and dirty, some forward thinking, and perhaps grandiose sweep decided that his profession needed a makeover. Black top hats and coats with tails were the ultimate uniform of success, a fact those in the mortuary industry had already noticed and begun to abide by.

“It is said that chimney sweeps would get discarded clothes from local funeral directors.” This begs the question, discarded how? I can’t help picturing an industrious chimney sweep lying in wait behind a bush at the village public baths where all the local morticians went for a swim everyday at 5.

As chimney sweeps rose in status, funeral directors across Europe became mentally ill with clothing theft paranoia.

If the sweep who comes to our house next week does happen to be wearing a hat and tails, I’ll be sure to ask which mortician he stole them from.

I was planning to tackle way more topics in this post, but it’s almost 2 pm, time to go for a run, where I’ll surely get annoyed by the bicyclists who flock our neighborhood paths, dinging their obnoxious symbols of entitlement “get-out-of-the-way-because-I-own-this-trail” bells.

I’m going to buy my own bell and start ringing it back at them while refusing to move out of their way. Maybe I’ll become the Rosa Parks of the pedestrian civil disobedience movement. There’ll be marches and clashes and history will be made.

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That’d be a good way to ring in 2016. (Yes, pun intended.)

 

 

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Some Rules You Just Have to Break

 

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This was my view today while taking Jack to school. (Yeah, I was within 100 feet, but we were stopped…and I was trying to take a photo, so it was okay.)

I get behind these trucks almost every morning because the school is next to a construction site. I have so many questions about that stupid “work vehicle, do not follow” sign.

1)Why would you want to follow a dump truck? I could see following an ambulance or police car, but a dump truck? Am I missing out on some super fun recreational activity that involves tailgating road equipment? And were so many people following dump trucks that it became a problem?

“Hey, Look! A dump truck! Hurry! Let’s get behind it!!!”

2) Why does the sign specify “work” truck? Are there any other kinds? I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a sport utility dump truck or a racing dump truck.

3) And, if there are other kinds of dump trucks, should we assume that it’s okay to follow them? Or if we see a dump truck that doesn’t have a “do not follow” sign, should we assume that it’s not a “work truck?”

“Now, Kids, remember…don’t just follow any dump truck you see. They have rules for a reason, you know.”

“Yes, Dad!”

4) What if I happen to be behind a work dump truck because we’re going in the same direction? 

I don’t like breaking rules…even accidentally. I wasn’t following the dump truck by choice. It was a two-lane road and I couldn’t pass. I can’t change where my son goes to school. I had to go that way.

Seems to me this sign is asking the impossible!

If I get pulled over because I was following the stupid dump truck, how will I explain to the officer that, yes, I was following it, but I wasn’t following it.

Reminds me of other inexplicable highway department signs.

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Did no one involved in the printing of this sign realize how desperately it needed punctuation?

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“Deaf Child Slow.” Am I supposed to know how slow “deaf child slow” is? 10 mph? 20 mph? I knew a deaf kid in elementary school who could outrun everybody. 

Funny Misspelled Signs, Incorrect Signs, Ironic Signs, Strange Business Names and Other Things to Make You Laugh (or cry, depending on how sensitive you are)

Not even gonna go there.

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Well, I’ll just be damned. 

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July Fly -Take a Little Peak into My Life

Today is my monthly Fly-on-the-Wall post, the one I do with a bunch of other bloggers. You’ll see their links at the bottom of the page. This post captures lots of little moments of life over the past month…ya know, as if you were a fly on the wall of my life, which is a scary thought because I have two boys who make it a sport to kill any unfortunate insect that happens to wander into my house. So, if you were a fly on my wall, just know, you’ll be dead VERY soon. But, thanks for stopping by.

Earlier in the month, we flew to California to celebrate my father-in-law and his wife’s 80th birthdays. The party was a festive luau at my sister-in-law, Penny’s house. People whom I’d seen in photos with names I’d maybe once known came from miles around to celebrate.

I sort of wanted to hide in the bathroom and talk to the animal figurines in Penny’s linen closet because things like this give me social anxiety. And having to carry on a meaningful conversation with someone for more than three minutes feels like juggling plates in the air. It’s like “whoa! look at me! I’m still doing it! Still doing it!!! ‘oh crap, she just asked me a question and I wasn’t listening!’ CRASH! Broken china everywhere!”

Earlier in the day, as we all worked feverishly setting up tables and chairs, hanging decorations and fretting over photo collages, my father-in-law kept walking around reminding us to put out plenty of salmonella candles to keep the mosquitoes away.

The party turned out really great. Most likely because I wasn’t drinking.


A few weeks ago, my older son Andrew and I were in Kroger. He’s got my sense of humor and constantly makes me laugh. Sometimes we just walk around and make fun of things and people. Over in the dairy department, he picked up a gallon of lactose free milk and in his most exaggerated southern old lady voice, said:

“If there’s one thing I won’t tolerate, it’s lactose!!!”

I laughed for the next 20 minutes. (Guess you had to be there.)


This is the same kid who says “Mom, come sit down and relax. Put your feet up on the abdomen.”


I hate it when I comment on someone’s FB photo of their baby, saying “oh, he’s so precious!” but every time auto correct changes precious to previous. And I rarely catch it.


Right now, my younger son, Jack and I are in Raleigh, NC at his baseball all-stars tournament. Why do hotels have square pillows on the beds? Not throw pillows, but the ones you’re supposed to sleep on. They’re about 2/3 the size of a regular pillow. Do they think that your head shrinks when you travel. Who made this decision?

And why are hotels so darn superstitious? No 13th floors. No #13 rooms. I mean, seriously! This is a legitimate question.


My website Travel Ball Parents is gaining more momentum everyday. I’m still a little shocked by this.


Okay, it’s 10 am. Time to hit the publish button. Have a great weekend and take a look at the other bloggers’ fly links below.

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow Me Mome

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/               Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                            Juicebox Confession

http://dinoheromommy.com/                               Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://www.angelaweight.com                                  Sanity Waiting to Happen

http://www.southernbellecharm.com                        Southern Belle Charm

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                      The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                   Searching for Sanity

http://www.gomamao.com                                            Go Mama O

http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/              Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

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June Funny Friday – I Love You to the Moon and Back.

Hi Kids! It’s Funny Friday time again.

If you’ve been a Sanity follower for a while, then you’re familiar with FF. It’s a regular, collaborative feature published on the last Friday of every month.

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Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by the photo.

Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below. Click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.

17 - Momisodes June 2015 (1)

1) JACKSON: “Geez, Laurie, when Mom said she loves us to the moon and back, you just haaad to ask her to prove it!”

LAURIE: “Well, we’ve been stuck up here for two days now! So apparently her love isn’t a round trip”

GRACE: “She’ll be back. She’s just trying to use her credit card to earn enough travel miles to come back and get us.”

2) Jackson made the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first kid to ever wear the Texas flag as a sweater on the moon. That was several years ago, though. People do it all the time now.

3) Shaking my head at the extreme measures some parents will take just to get a little time to themselves. (Honey, why didn’t we think of that?)

4) 2017-“You’re safe now, Mr. American flag. Up here on the moon, you won’t have to worry about being banned by the overly sensitive, easily offended Political Correctness Police.”

5) Dermatology Land, another failed amusement park idea.

Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile.

Someone Else’s Genius

Confessions of a part-time working mom

The Momisodes 

Spatulas on Parade

People Don’t Eat Enough Fudge

The Bergham’s Life Chronicles

Follow me home

Measurements of Merriment

Southern Belle Charm

Silence of the Mom

Baking In A Tornado

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A Fly on the Wall in my House (June Edition)

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 18 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Andrew and Jack have been out of school on summer break for a week now. This means that I’ve lost seven hours of my day. It’s like some off-kilter version of Daylight Savings Time, where instead of springing forward one hour, I’ve sprung forward seven. I call it Daylight Boy Servant Time.

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James and I did sneak away on Saturday night for a John Mellencamp concert. He’s 61 years old and PHENOMENAL!!!!! That guy still puts on such a fantastic performance. He sang all our favorites–Small Town, Cherry Bomb, Check it Out, The Authority Song. And he’s so personable. I love it when artists take the time to talk and joke around with their audience. Mellencamp even told us stories about his 100 year old grandma. Love him!!!

Less than three weeks ago, I started a new website called Travel Ball Parents. Actually, God told me to do so. (I know how ridiculous that may sound to some of you, but I’m not kidding. It’s a great story for a future post.)

I’ve been a blogger for years on my Sanity Waiting to Happen site, grateful to get 200 to 500 views per day and wondering how hard people must work to get something to go viral. I’ve spent hours laboring over posts that I thought would be hysterically funny that hardly received a glance from readers.

Last week, I dashed off a post in like 20 minutes for this new Travel Ball Parents site. The 10 Team Mom Stereotypes. I posted it on the Facebook page, on Twitter and Pinterest and didn’t really think of it again.

Suddenly on Sunday, my stats begin to soar. 20,000 views one day, 50,000 views the next, 82,000 the following day. The next day over 100,000 views of this one post that I literally wrote in the time it takes for an average bathroom visit. I’m getting emails from all these companies wanting me to review their products. It’s insane! I’m still in shock.

Here’s the post, if you want to read it.

10 Travel Ball Mom Types We Know and Love (well, maybe).

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Me and some of the greatest travel ball moms I’ve ever known.

Oh, and please like the Facebook page. We post all kinds of funny stuff throughout the day.

My husband’s new best friend is a 600 pound black bear that he goes to visit every week on our property in Rural Nowhere. Thank God, he’s only seen him on camera so far. But the bear is a bit of a camera hog.

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James’ new BFF, Smokey.


And now onto some funny stuff.

In the Produce Department at Kroger

JACK (age 9): It’s a good thing you don’t have to pick out grapes and blueberries the same way you do apples and cantaloupes. We’d be here all day.

ANDREW (age 14): “Mom, why do you have to go bathing suit shopping?”

ME: “Because I’ve been wearing the same one for four years now.”

ANDREW: “Wow! I can’t believe you haven’t outgrown it.”


ME: “Does my hair look okay?”

ANDREW: “Sure….if you’re trying to attract birds.”

http://www.BakingInATornado.com                          Baking In A Tornado

http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/                          Spatulas on Parade

http://followmehome.shellybean.com                          Follow me home

http://www.menopausalmom.com/                          Menopausal Mother

http://stacysewsandschools.blogspot.com/               Stacy Sews and Schools

http://batteredhope.blogspot.com                                   Battered Hope

http://www.justalittlenutty.com/                                  Just A Little Nutty

http://themomisodes.com                                        The Momisodes

http://www.someoneelsesgenius.com                            Someone Else’s Genius

http://gndisney.wordpress.com                                Disneyland in Kentucky

http://www.juiceboxconfession.com                            Juicebox Confession

http://dinoheromommy.com/                               Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

http://www.angelaweight.com                                  Sanity Waiting to Happen

http://www.southernbellecharm.com                        Southern Belle Charm

http://thesadderbutwisergirl.com                      The Sadder But Wiser Girl

http://singlemumplusone.blogspot.com                   Searching for Sanity

http://www.gomamao.com                                            Go Mama O

http://eileensperpetuallybusy.blogspot.com/              Eileen’s Perpetually Busy

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And Another Thing that Ticks Me Off About the Woodlake HOA!!!!

My husband isn’t allowed to park his camo colored golf cart in the woods behind our house because it doesn’t look nice, according to the homeowners’ association.

However, they have no problem with crap like this on every third mailbox?

sorry, Byrds, you’re just a random example I used.

YOU DON’T MAKE A NAME PLURAL BY ADDING “APOSTROPHE S” TO IT. (That just makes it singular possessive, as in the one Byrd’s mailbox.)

I make punctuation errors from time to time, but they’re not broadcast 24/7 on my mailbox!!!

When I asked about it, the community association secretary told me that it’s a homeowner’s right.

Right to what? Look stupid?

So a golf cart in the woods is an eyesore. But rampant punctuation errors that lower the percieved IQ of the entire development are perfectly acceptable?

The thought of living in an underground bunker, deep in the Ozark wilderness is starting to appeal to me.

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Woodlake HOA Hell and Gestapo Neighbors-Happy One Year Anniversary in VA to Us.

My friend Ron once made a wise statement about neighbors that’s stuck with me for over 20 years now.

“I want a house that’s far enough away from everybody that I can mow the grass naked if I want to.”

polls_lawnmowerman_3833_393497_answer_3_xlarge

SOURCE: Sodahead.com (no, this isn’t Ron…or anyone I know as far as I can tell.)

Ron obviously followed his own advice. His family lives way the heck down a dirt road, almost to the Oconee River in Johnson County, GA. Deliverance music starts to play out of nowhere as you approach his 1800’s era house. He can indeed mow the grass naked if he wants. (I’m not sure if he does and I doubt I’ll ask.)

Sadly, James and I didn’t follow the “mow naked” rule of thumb last year while shopping for a home here in Virginia. We bought a house in a huge development called Woodlake on the Swift Creek Reservoir. We were taken in by its resort-like amenities.

woodlake photoPavilion_Panorama1

“It’ll be like living on vacation!” I boasted cheerfully….naively.

There was one huge element of this “resort living” that we underestimated.

The Homeowners’ Association. (cue the shower scene music from the movie Psycho.)

Not only is mowing the grass naked strictly prohibited. It says so in section 483, chapter 19, page 72, line 569F of the HOA Guidelines Manual. Having pretty much any independent thought is also prohibited. And I have to get approval from the board of directors on what shirt to wear each day (practically).

It all started with James’ utility trailer. He made the mistake of parking it under some trees next to our house, pretty much out of sight…unless you’re a freakin’ busy body neighbor with NOTHING else to do with your time except volunteer as an HOA Gestapo member.

After only five days, we received a polite letter from the board asking us to move the trailer inside the back fence.

James complied, spewing a cloud of curse words that hovered over our neighborhood like creative air pollution.

That was a few months ago.

Up until last week, he had a camo painted golf cart parked amid a thicket of trees, right next to our fence. ON OUR PROPERTY. You’d have to really look hard to see the thing.

And yesterday we received yet another polite letter from the HOA saying that a neighbor “just happened to be walking by on the back trail and noticed it.”

Yeah. RIGHT. They just happened to be walking by. Walking by with a pad and pen, taking note of any potential violations to turn in to the board.

I can assure you, they didn’t have to walk far at all. Do they get freakin’ commission for this stuff?

The letter suggested that we cover the golf cart (that’s already camo, mind you) with a camouflage tarp. Wouldn’t a large, random tarp be more of an eyesore than the golf cart itself? WTH!!!!!!

I’d also like to be able to paint my front door, but we have to submit our color of choice along with a urine specimen for approval at the next board meeting.

And the politics! I swear it’s worse than the federal government. After running the last HOA manager off with torches and pitchforks, the board finally hired a new one. And now all the tightly wound “panties-in-their-crack” housewives are freaking out on Facebook because this new manager is a prolific adult sex novel writer with a huge following of S and M and spanking fans. They’re calling for the resignation of whatever board member signed off on her hiring.

(Everyone grab your torches and pitchforks again!!!! We’ve got another career to ruin!)

With our new black lace wearing manager at the helm, it ought to at least liven up the board meetings. Maybe she’ll use corporal punishment for homeowners who violate HOA codes.

Yep, today marks a year that we’ve been Virginia residents. I miss Georgia where everyone minded their own freaking business.

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