When A Parent Is Sick

Go ahead…turn off my water

I’ve been late on my mortgage payment three times in the past 6 months.  It’s due on the 1st of the month with a two-week grace period.  The due date has swooped into my subconscious each time around 3am (post due-date), disrupting my already anxiety-ridden sleep, sending me downstairs to my laptop in a haze.

When a parent is sick, the rational brain shifts to auto-pilot while it focuses on what it deems important.  My brain has taken the responsibilities that used to reside in the frontal lobe, and re-located them to one of the back burner lobes to make room for new information.  Information such as the effectiveness of drugs that never crossed my radar: Taxotere, Xtandi, Casodex, Newlasta, Eligard, bicalutamide, Tramadol.  Differences between a CAT scan, bone scan, MRI, PET and how to decipher a Gleason Score.

There are good days and bad days, for my Dad…and me.  His good days instantly transform into my good days, which mean laundry will be done and dinner will be on the table.  His bad days, the days where his voice wavers and he didn’t have a good night’s sleep, send my brain back into auto-pilot and I coast through the day being reactive rather than proactive, my three boy’s needs and requests become increasingly irritating.  The daily visit or phone call to my Dad sets the tone.

One year into treatment, my Dad’s disease is getting worse.  To think that this active man, who went for annual physicals without one iota of a raised PSA level is now covered in cancer from his prostate is incomprehensible.  Regularly at the health club or on the golf course, he’s no longer allowed to even cross his legs since his right femur can spontaneously fracture.  Oh- and his spine?  “Think of it as an egg,” the doctor says.

My lens on the world has changed in so many ways.  Seeing a sick child has always tugged at my heart but it now adds justification- I should feel lucky to have so many years with my Dad.  There are parents with children going through similar treatments; children that rarely see their own bedrooms.  But then there are the 80-something men walking around smoking cigarettes in front of taverns- why can’t he be the one?  After all, he’s doing it to himself.  My social circle has narrowed since my Dad has been sick.  My patience for those who talk about nothing other than themselves has dwindled.  I’ve sat on the phone listening to friends rattle on about their new furniture, landscaping, tennis tournaments, etc., without a single “How’s your Dad doing?”  I avoid them like the plague and send brief texts when I must.  Then there are the people that surprise you with their compassion- the people that offer to take your kids, bring you dinner…just know.  Those are the people that have brought me comfort.  Those are my new peeps.

Once an afterthought, enter the ladies in my Dad’s life…women that came into his (our) lives over two decades ago after my parents got divorced.  Always a nuisance when they would show up at family holidays unannounced and try to befriend me, these ladies have become part of the support team.  The “I don’t understand what the hell he sees in her,” mentality has shifted.  We talk on the phone.  They bring him food.  They are with him when I am not.

My multi-tasking Mom brain is asking me questions that I’m not ready to answer about the near future and I don’t know how to make it stop.  Where will he stay when he can no longer be on his own?  Should I get window treatments for our 1st floor office so he can have privacy if he stays with us?  How will I take care of him with a full-time job and the kid’s schedules?  What will my boys wear at the service?  I don’t think they have any dress shoes that fit them.  When the time comes, how do I let everyone know?  I’ve seen friends post obituaries on Facebook and I do not want to go that route.

It’s early and I haven’t checked in yet with my Dad.  The sun is shining through the windows and writing this piece has somehow taken a mini load off my chest.  While my boys are still sleeping, I’m going to turn off my brain and solely play the role as ‘mom’ and make some banana bread.  And while I watch them eat, I will secretly hope that

there will be enough left over for my Dad.

Crappin’ at the Craft Store

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Every time I go, I gotta go.  Every time.

The craft store; one of the greatest places on earth.  Where creativity is fed with shiny tchotchkes awaiting to be applied by a gun spewing hot glue.  Scalding, liquid glue that always leaves my fingers blistered and calloused no matter how carefully I work.  But like childbirth, I forget and move on to the next project.  After all, scorching ones fingers is an accepted occupational hazard by us crafters.

I have the same goal every time I make the trip to the craft store- in and out in 20 minutes with a plastic bag full of creative love swinging from my wrist as I walk through the parking lot back to my car.  In and out- easy breezy.

But upon entrance, my bowels have other plans for me.  Once the electronic door slides open, the craft store scent awakens my digestive system from its dormant state.  My intestines begin to communicate and come to the consensus that they’d like me to see more than aisles full of colorful card stock and acrylic paint…more than ribbon spools of varying widths and tiny bags of gemstones that can add bling to anything.  They’d like me to see the craft store commode.  Again.

Within minutes my stomach turns, pulsates, grumbles and my stool shouts…”We’re at the craft store again and we want out!”

Of course I know where the bathroom is.  It’s in the opposite corner of the store, through the employee break room, past the table where a long-haired lady in a burgundy vest is eating her Ramen.  With butt cheeks clenched, I waddle to the john in a nervous sweat and flick on the fluorescent light.  Why does a store that sells such pretty things have a bathroom the same caliber as a gas station?  Can’t they take some faux flowers from aisle ten and place a nice bouquet right next to the toilet cleaner that is obviously never used?  And who on earth ripped the purse hook off the back of the door?  If someone needed a hook, they could have gone to aisle six where there are several available for purchase.

With no hook to hang my purse, and a tiled floor layered with soot, I have no other choice than to hang my purse around my neck.  It is big and bulky but I am grateful that it blocks my view from what is about to happen down below.  I grab onto the handicap rail for dear life, then squat, hover and explode.  Toilet water ricochets onto my private parts.  A sense of sweet relief and shame overcomes me at the same time.

Once the deed is done, I woefully wipe and flush.  And then flush again to free the streaks.  Standing over the sink, I face the girl in the mirror donning a sweaty forehead and bulky purse hanging from her neck and ask her, “Why?  I thought you were stronger than this.”

Since there is no air freshener, I must leave the bathroom in a less than favorable condition.  I sigh and open the door…it’s now time to face the employee break room music.  I walk through slowly, as if nothing had happened.  The lady in the burgundy vest is disposing of her Ramen and from the sneer she gives me, I assume she cut her meal short because she heard what just went down in the adjacent can.

Apparently, the urge to defecate when visiting a bookstore is a phenomenon,  ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mariko_Aoki_phenomenon ), but I can’t seem to find anything on record about crappin’ at the craft store.  So I leave with this…need not be ashamed if you too share the urgency when surrounded by baubles that move your bowels.  Today, right now, I’m declaring CATCS an official phenomenon.  While only few people (or even just one person) may experience this event, s##t definitely happens.








Crunchy, White Tissue


Rodgers and Hammerstein have nothing on me as I gleefully dance and sing amidst a quiet, empty house cradling an empty laundry basket on my hip in search of stray clothing strewn around by my three boys.  This morning, I will not curse the large globs of toothpaste clogging the sink or the puddle of urine pooled on the back of the toilet seat- nope, not today.  It is the first day of school and I will perform my mundane domestic duties with pleasure; for nobody can ask me any questions for 7 hours.  7 hours!

My 12 year old’s room is always the cleanest so I sashay through it first, collecting only one sock and a pair of boxers lying outside the shower door.  I pause at the bathroom vanity- should I do it or should I just walk away?  I decide to do it.  I run my fingers over the bristles of his toothbrush- YES!  They are wet!  He actually brushed his teeth instead of masking the evening’s film with a minty piece of gum.  I glow with pride.

The comforter on his bed is only partially messed so I flatten it out and straighten his pillows.  And then I catch a glimpse of the object on the other side of his bed.  Only a garbage can, but a garbage can overflowing with wads of tissue placed next to the wooden toy chest illustrating nursery rhymes that used to hold all his little boy toys.  My heart drops to my stomach and emotion chops through my cheerful mood with a Ginsu knife.

I call my husband at work and find no reassurance during our eight second conversation, “Of course he’s doing that.  He’s 12.  I gotta jump- I have another call.”

So what is a distressed mom to do but go online?  I mean- I need to address this issue with him, tell him it’s normal, tell him not to feel bad, then kindly ask him to do it in the shower so I am oblivious to the frequency.  After hours of online browsing, the whole time feeling that I was doing something illegal, I got some good tips on how to talk to my son about masturbation.  I also learned some interesting facts that made the whole uncomfortable search more interesting:

-During the Victorian era, masturbation was seen as a sign of weak moral fiber. Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham invented his famous crackers to suppress sexual urges, and many believed a plain diet would help curb masturbation*

-Male fetuses have been observed grabbing their penises*

-Parents should say: “I promise never to walk in on you in the bathroom or your bedroom when the door is closed unless I knock first.” *

-It does NOT cause blindness or deafness (duh…I know that first hand)

At 3:30, when I see him coming up the driveway my hands instinctively come together and begin to nervously circle each other.  I can’t think about this anymore- I need to get “the talk” over with.  He walks in and grunts avoiding eye contact with me as usual.  I offer him a drink and a snack and he questions my kindness.  He’s really tired and  just wants to go to his room to “rest” before soccer practice.  Yeah sure you do buddy.  I just blurt it out, “I just want you to know that it’s okay to, ya know, to explore your body.  It’s totally normal.  I don’t want you to feel bad about it.”

From the look of disgust on his face you would think I just told him that I am serving up the neighbor’s cat for dinner.  “Whuuuuut are you talking about?”  Then he sneezed.  “Maaaahm, staaahhp.” (Sounding eerily similar to Napoleon Dynamite).

As he walks up the stairs, I continue to reassure him that touching himself is quite all right and that I will always knock first.  Again, he flashes me the “cat for dinner” look, sneezes and asks me why I’m saying all this stuff.

I tell him that I saw all the tissue in the garbage and it’s no big deal but the shower might be a better place to take care of business.

Napoleon Dynamite returns, “Maaahhhm staaahhp.  I was up all night coughing and my nose was running.  Didn’t you hear me? Gaaahhhd.  I used my whole box of tissues last night.”

Oh.  Oops.

* http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/parents/2027-tips-kids-mast

Screw You Rear-View Mirror


Objects In Mirror Are As Old As They Appear

Objects In Mirror Are As Old As They Appear

Affixed to my windshield like a reflective sneer, the thin rectangular mirror has become my nemesis.  Perhaps it is required safety device, but I think it is an asshole.  I could be feeling like a million bucks before I step into my SUV, skittering off to run one of my many exhilarating mom errands and then WHAMMO- I catch a glimpse and I’m instantly decrepit and insecure. It’s a similar process each time; I buckle my seatbelt to contemplate the logistics of my day; dry cleaner, Target, then groceries?  Or dry cleaner last so the clothes don’t get all messed up while I drive around?  And shoot, I need to get a birthday gift and my gas tank is empty.  Re-ordering the list in my head, I come to the realization, once again, that I will not be enriching my mind with a good book today- there just isn’t enough time before school pick-up.

And then I throw it in reverse.  It’s the reversing that makes me stop and do a double-take.  Reflected in my line of vision are my most sensitive flaws: wiry strands of gray sprouting from my dark roots like dilapidated trees in a poorly highlighted forest of blond hair, the number eleven deeply engrained in my globella and the thinning, pink skin under my eyes resembling that of a newborn lizard.  And the wrinkles!  Oh so many wrinkles!  Suddenly the errands I was content with running have become dreadful stops of torture.

Moments like these when I realize that I am no longer a spring chicken end up costing a lot of money.  Appointments are made at the hair salon and dermatologist, followed by a comfort beverage and cookie from a coffee shop.  And then of course there will be add-ons at Target because “I deserve it.”

While I’ve said many times that the “forties” will be my favorite decade, I’ve said it void of a mirror.  When will I accept all the physical changes like all those old ladies on the prescription commercials that are so happy after they take a pill?  Not sure.  And what’s in those pills anyway?

Until that day of self-ratification, I vow to be strong, be confident and look down at my back-up camera while reversing.

My Kid Looks so Adorable through your Tablet


You never know who it will be when you enter the auditorium, so it’s hard to gauge where to sit.  I usually choose a spot behind the older folks; the grandmas and grandpas who came to see their grandchildren perform at the school holiday show.  But alas, the seniors are just as tech savvy as we Moms and Dads of the world and they are also packing tablet heat in their bags.

Like an eternal tourist, I am constantly with a camera.  Although it drives my family crazy that everything is documented, it is I that they turn to when in need of a photograph.  Great uncle Milt died?  Call Violet- she’ll make a collage!  Aunt Gertrude is turning 70?  Violet will put together a video montage!  Maybe it’s experience or maybe just common courtesy, but I always check my surroundings when I bust out the camera at a performance packed with people.

In an effort to avoid being shunned in our small community, I cannot ask these people to lower their devices.  So I bob and weave behind the tablet floating in front of me like a boxer, trying to get a glimpse of my son playing the glockenspiel for the first time.

People, please hear my plea and lower your tablets!  We all want to see our adorable munchkins standing on stage in uncomfortable clothing singing to the classics.  If you must record with a tablet, consider:

  • Standing in the back or on the side
  • Collaborate with other tablet users and elect one person to record the show and then use the power of technology to email the others
  • Record the show with your mind and just enjoy the moment

Whatever you decide, Fa La La La put your f’ing tablet down!  And have a nice holiday.

Lies of the Guardians


Probably a fire hazard

It takes a lot of strength to leave its embrace each morning. It is pure white and full of fluff, like a king-sized cumulonimbus cloud. I do everything in my power to keep my three little boys away from my bed; they are dirty and do not smell cotton-fresh like the sheets.

During the brutal midwest winters, I linger in my ethereal place until someone is bleeding or starving.  One calm Saturday morning in particular, I was able to lay swaddled in my white cocoon longer than usual.  Why?  All was quiet downstairs and I actually remembered to move the Elf on the Shelf the prior evening.

That damn Elf is the bane of my existence every holiday season causing me to run downstairs every morning like a bat out of hell to switch its position.  However, he was relocated in a timely manner the night prior because it was fresh on my mind after the drilling I received from my four-year old during tuck-in, “How does the Elf get back into our house every night?  Can he go through the walls or do we have holes in our house?  Why are his hands stuck together?”

Whenever it came to questions like these, I pleaded ignorance.  Vague answers would impatiently & quickly fly out of my mouth.  I’m not a fan of lying about make-believe characters that visit while we sleep.  On this night, I was even more annoyed with the questions than usual since I was in a rush; the season finale of Homeland was on pause in the family room and a bowl of popcorn awaited my arrival.  “I’m not sure honey, the elf just gets here.  No one is exactly sure.  Now get some sleep.”

He quickly turned over and wrapped himself in his pirate printed comforter, clearly unhappy with my answers.

I felt bad about being impatient with him the night before but figured he was over it by now, most likely basking in the glory of Saturday morning video games.  Enjoying the solitude, I tightened my glorious, white comforter around my neck and began drifting back into la la land.  As I teetered between a conscious and unconscious state, I felt a light brush over my ear followed by an angelic whisper.

Lids still closed, I raised my brows and utter a labored, “Hmmm?”

He whispered more forcefully, “I have poop on my finger.”

Serenity came to a halt as my eyes shot open and my heartbeat accelerated.  I whipped off the comforter in an effort to maintain its pure color and forced his arm skyward like a champion prizefighter. While he lagged behind me all the way to the bathroom sink I was at least grateful that I chose a longer t-shirt from my collection so he couldn’t see my ass jingle jangle all the way down the hall.

After disinfection, I drilled, “How?  Why?”

He replied, “I’m not exactly sure.”

We locked eyes as if in a duel and I flinched first.

Elf, Santa, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny – he was fed up with my lame explanations and used this fecal situation to prove that, just like me, he could be full of shit.

A List For My Husband In Case I Get Kidnapped By A Mexican Drug Cartel

“Moms can’t go to Mexico!” Ben (age 5) pleaded as I happily packed my rollerboard with clothes that only belonged to me.  “Who is babysitting us?”

I explained to the frightened boy that when Dad was in charge it wasn’t considered “babysitting” and I assured him that four days would go by quickly.  Unsatisfied with my answer, I then promised him a cool Mexican souvenir so he’d get off my back.

A delayed flight led to a missed connection, which led the airline to re-book us on the next flight – the next morning.  Desperate to not spend the next 24 hours in Houston, my sister called our travel agent while we stood in the customer service line hoping for another option.  The airline representative gave us two options:

  1. Accept a voucher for a $49 hotel room and $14 of airport food for a night in Houston and leave for Puerto Vallarta the next morning
  2. Take the next flight to Guadalajara, take a taxi to a big pimpin’ shuttle bus which would drive 2 hours to Puerto Vallarta, take another taxi and be at the hotel by 7:30pm

No brainer, right?  If we chose #2, there would still be plenty of time for evening margaritas at the pool.  While my excitement for option #2 grew, my sister was on the phone with the travel agent informing her of our new plan.  The travel agent’s response went a little something like this, “BAD IDEA!  BAD IDEA!  Two clueless girls looking for a random shuttle bus in Guadalajara is a very bad idea.  Please stay in Houston.  Please.”

Due to our travel agent’s insistence, we stayed in Houston.  We later found out that a bus ride from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta would be 4-5 hours.  Our friendly customer service rep. was messing with us.  I know this because she said she was from Mexico and declared, “I take that trip all the time.”   I’m pretty sure that her description of the “scenic, 2 hour trip on a luxurious bus” was enhanced, perhaps her method of entertaining herself while dealing with a line of frustrated travelers.  Although I was grateful we made the right decision, disturbing thoughts kept floating through my head.  I had convinced myself that the airline lady’s boyfriend was part of an organized drug cartel who would have been waiting for us at the airport to either:  a) dismember us and shove us in an abandoned trunk or b) kidnap us and throw us into a life of forced prostitution.  (Thoughts may be a result of my position in the Breaking Bad series).

Thoughts of our averted doom caused me to panic and compile the following list for my husband:

  • Garbage day is on Tuesday
  • Will wears a retainer at night
  • Leather belts must be removed from pants before going in the washer
  • Clumps of chicken pot pie need to be rinsed off the plate before going into the dishwasher
  • Don’t trust that the boys will brush their teeth on command- you have to watch them do it or it won’t happen
  • They also need to floss- supervised as well
  • If you don’t force Will to take a shower, he never will
  • Liam will pretend he’s asleep when you check on him, but he will go on his iPad as soon as you walk away
  • Ben can never go scuba diving because of the VSD (hole in his heart)
  • Liam has a mole on the bottom of his foot- tell him to keep an eye on it throughout his life  (moles on the bottom of the feet are rarely monitored- could’ve saved Bob Marley’s life)
  • Please transfer my Nordstrom notes to my best friend Stacey so she can buy those swanky sunglasses and wear them at my memorial service

When the list was complete I was able to enjoy the flight to Mexico and make a huge dent in the longest book I ever read, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.   The book is beautifully dimensional, magically descriptive and also a reminder that shit happens so make your spouse a list of the things less obvious.


Laundry Room mess

Ay Chiwowa! Maybe Moms shouldn’t be allowed to go to Mexico.

Casting Call My A$$

Two weeks ago, Will decided that he wanted to be an actor.  When this boy gets an idea in his head, ignoring him is not an option.  He began researching acting classes, studying the acting methods of all those insanely rich kids on the Disney Channel and even combing his hair in the morning.  In an effort to not shatter his dream, I said little and patiently waited for him to move on to the next career goal such as professional football player or cosmonaut specializing in the destruction of space junk.

One Saturday afternoon while I was combing the local craft store for unnecessary Halloween décor, my phone started barking like a dog indicating it was a call from home.  My boys have been warned against frivolously calling my cell phone so I figured it must be important.  It was my husband.  As he spoke there was so much commotion in the background that I had to move the phone away from my ear.

“Guys, shhhhh!” he said.  Then continued with, “Sorry, they are just really excited.”

When I asked what the excitement was about, he asked if I’d like to hear the good news or the bad news first.  Naturally, I chose bad news.

“The bad news is that it is on Wednesday night.  The good news is that Will and Ben have an audition for a Disney show!”

This did not excite me for 2 reasons:

  1.  My husband would be out of town and there was already a slew of activities on Wednesday night.
  2.   I smelled a rat.  Why would such a popular network need to seek out stars?

Apparently there was a radio commercial advertising a casting call for aspiring child actors.  This agency was in our town for only one day and could only accommodate a limited number of auditions so it was advised to “CALL NOW!”  Will memorized the number, an audition time was appointed and a script was emailed.  Since I did not want these fragile boys to harbor resentment toward me for the rest of their un-famous lives, I went with it.  I coached them on their script, put them in fancy clothes and drove them to the audition that would “only take an hour.”

Once inside the building, we were directed to the first of many lines.  Will inched along the floor doing his 4th grade homework while Ben kept bothering his 11 year-old brother to take him to the bathroom every 20 minutes.  After about an hour of blaring fluorescent lights and dirty carpet in the wrap-around hallway, we reached a door bolstering a sign that read something along the lines of “Talent and Acting.”  Super unique name, huh?  The room behind the door resembled that of a Department of Motor Vehicles.  There were rows and rows of black, plastic chairs and hundreds of bitter people.  We filled out some forms and the “hostess” led us to our seats explaining that we would be called and told which door to stand behind.

Eventually, the director of the “Talent and Acting” place graced us with his presence and gave a 40 minute speech about people that have made it BIG from this agency.  He gave personal stories that tugged at heartstrings and warned us that we should only be here if we are VERY SERIOUS about modeling and acting.  If we do get chosen, we need to be prepared to move to NY or LA for obvious reasons.  And parents need to be on board because this is a huge commitment.  Without parental support, they were not interested in our children.  He also explained that the agency did not have a “pubic” website- it was more of a “secret” website.  If you were chosen, you would get a secret password to access the secret site.

After his heartfelt speech, the boys (Will in particular) were pumped.  The enthusiasm died down after another hour, but we eventually got called and were told to stand behind door #3.

At this point, Ben just wanted to go home, but Will got his second wind.  When we finally entered door #3 (which was a bare office containing a desk and two chairs), Will began speaking to the woman that introduced herself as Missy but remained seated behind the desk, her only tool being an iPad.  Will paced the room with wide eyes telling Missy how excited and nervous he was and that he really, really wanted to be an actor.  She asked him a few questions, then held up her iPad and said “action.”  Will said every line perfectly with enthusiasm and attitude.  I was quite proud.

Then it was Ben’s turn.  He walked up to the desk, yawned, then looked at me and said, “I don’t know what to say.”

He eventually got his lines out and I was relieved the whole thing was over.

Missy explained that “call backs” would be done tomorrow between 10am-12pm.  She asked me which phone number was best and circled it on the form.  If the agency called and we did not answer, we were out of luck.  Also- she handed me the agency’s marketing brochure and urged me to read it in depth when I got home.  It was very important that I read all the material before the potential phone call in the morning.

Walking to the car, I felt so dirty that I needed a shower.  Will kept chattering on and on about how excited he was and repeatedly reminded me to make sure my phone was charged for tomorrow.  I bought all 3 of them milkshakes at 9pm and explained to Will that becoming a star could not be this easy.  If he wanted to be an actor, this would be one of thousands of auditions.

After putting the boys to bed, I read the agency materials.  If my child was chosen, I could choose between several marketing “packages” ranging from $2,000 up to $7,500.  I did some googling and found this site, which explains it best:  http://actingcareerinfo.com/scam-agencies-vs-real-talent-agencies/

So what happened between 10am-12pm the next day?  Nothing.  However, at 12:10pm, I received a call from an “unknown caller” and I did not answer.  Then 3 hours later I received a text from Missy:

“Congratulations to BEN for making our callback list!  He is one of the few chosen and will have to come for a final audition tonight at 7:15.  Should we choose to work with him, we will explain the marketing process and you will chose the package that you would like to take care of financially today.”                                               

When the boys asked, I told them we never got a call.  Will would have been crushed if he found out his little bro made the cut while practically picking his nose when they called “action.”  I chalked this up to a learning experience and I’m happy to say that Will has re-directed his energy toward his obsession with fantasy football.

Back To School Coffee? Why PTO, Why?




I woke up this morning with a little spring in my step.  In 3 days, my peaceful, boy-free house will be reclaimed for 7 whole hours a day.  Yippee!!  Monday morning I will pop out of bed like a songbird and start belting out, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” (this holiday medley also makes an appearance during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale).  Back to school means back to sanity.

While my computer is booting up, I ponder all the possibilities for Monday morning…should I start with a jog, then shower?  Maybe a bike ride?  Or a massage?  Maybe I can bike ride to my massage.  Or maybe, I will plan nothing and just see how I’m feeling that day!  After 74 days of planning I   could use a break.

My inbox is chock-full of the usual amazing sales and offers and also an email from our elementary school’s PTO.  And then one from our middle school’s PTO:

“Back To School Coffee!  Reconnect with old friends and meet new ones.  Hope to see you at 8:30am!”

Why PTO, why?  I love our Parent-Teacher group dearly and do my part, but am I the only one who doesn’t want to speak to anyone after 74 days of noise and chaos?  I need at least 4 days to decompress, to exterminate the evil, impatient monster that reared its head about 2 weeks ago.

Any other year I could avoid these smiling women by driving slowly through the drop-off lane and pushing the kids out.  But this year is different.  My youngest is starting kindergarten and I need to capture this milestone with about 60 digital photos that will remain on my laptop to never be printed.  I will most likely shed tears behind large, black sunglasses and wonder where the time went.  Then I will go home to my peaceful house and continue belting out, “It’s the most…wonderful…time of the yeeeeaaar” while I contemplate what I should do for the day.

So to parent-teacher organizations everywhere, if your attendance is low for BTS coffee, please understand that their are others like me.  Moms who have lost their shit during the summer and just need some time to recoup their dignity.  May I suggest the following for higher attendance:

  • Back To School Coffee on Friday at 4pm.  With Baileys.  At a local pub.  With lots of Baileys.
  • BTS massages at the Chinese foot bath.  $35 to make us all holla.
  • Alprazolam laced brownies- $5 each 



Yes, I will be at the BTS coffee.

Don’t Leave Home Without Them?

Tomorrow we leave for our weeklong beach vacation.  As I pack, I meticulously check off each item on the list I created 2 weeks ago.  If it weren’t for the list, I would definitely forget the tweezers that may be needed in case of a splinter or the anti-itch cream that will only be needed if I forget to pack it.

Under the “Entertainment” section, I’ve checked off movies, mini-DVD player, playing cards, family games, books, etc.  What I have failed to list is the preferred entertainment for the 3 boys in this household.  The machines tenderly swaddled in plastic, shatter-proof outfits like digital newborns.  The ones that will require early-onset Botox to fix indented glabellas.  The ones whose names begin with a lower-case “i.”

Should I let them bring their devices?  Or should I stand firm and try to execute my fantasy beach vacation; the one where we are all playing games at night, eating popcorn and actually speaking to each other?  Hmmmm….  This thought process requires some further deliberation so I turn to the first person I think of for advice.

“Siri, should I let my boys bring their electronics on vacation?”

She replies, “I’m sorry, Violet, I’m afraid I don’t know what you should do.”

What?  She usually AT LEAST offers to check the web for me.

My next step would be to consult with the family Magic 8 Ball but my husband hid it from me since he thinks it’s a form of witchcraft.  I can’t bear to go online to the slew of parenting websites because I know what the moral solution is:  unplug for the week  (which kind of puts a damper on the Breaking Bad marathon my husband and I intend to have).

What to do….what to do…

So this is what I decided.

So this is what I decided.

I also decided to use the following guidelines:

  • Power down and collect electronics at bedtime to avoid late night shenanigans (does not apply to parents)
  • All boys must be dressed with teeth brushed before electronics are re-distributed (does not apply to parents)
  • No electronics outside or in the car (does not apply to parents)
  • If I have to say “Get Your Shoes On” more than twice, gaming privileges are lost for 24 hours (also applies to husband)

Let the good times roll!