I so freaking love these people

boysTwo brothers, give or take six hours between school and bedtime, so many things to fight about.

Things like:

Who gets shotgun on the ride home.

Who got it last time.

Who had it all last week, for crissake.

Who left the empty Cheetos bag in the back seat for someone else to clean up (righteous indignation being best expressed by flinging said Cheetos bag into the way back – indicating that mom apparently is the “someone else”). (more…)

Earplugs are the coolest accessory

safe_in_sound copyMike and I were at a reception last week for a woman who would deliver the keynote address at a conference the next day. The conference chair and her husband were telling us that our guest of honor had found a note in her room from the hotel manager apologizing in advance for the concert that would be happening that night in the adjacent arena.

“What kind of crazy thing do you think they have going on there?” The woman remarked.

We knew. It was a national music festival, billing itself as 150,000 watts of bass crunch, from a brand of noise they say is so intense “you can touch in the air.” It’s the kind of music Jack and all his friends have been talking about. Dubstep. Electro house hip-hop.

And, I kid you not one freaking bit, the concert promoter recommends earplugs.

Doesn’t that sound just so outrageously awesome awful?

Anyway, we happened to know about it because that’s where we’d dropped our 15 year-old off on the way to the reception. (more…)

Get your own scribbled-in copy

Why yes, I did take this all by myself. Why do you ask?

Why yes, I did take this all by myself. Why?

I said I never do giveaways, but I lied a little bit. I do that.

A few of my friends (okay, maybe one friend) have asked if I’m going to do a book signing for Motherhood May Cause Drowsiness: Funny Stories by Sleepy Moms, and, while I get a little excited about the thought of people one day mowing each other down to see me, and maybe bringing me beer, I’m not all that organized, and putting together an actual THING so I can scribble in a book sounds exhausting.

But, for those of you who would like a scribbled-in book sent directly to you, here’s the deal: I’m going to do a random drawing of all subscribers on October 31, and an autographed copy to some lucky reader.

Wanna play? It’s easy. Subscribe by entering your email in that little box to the left, then click “subscribe.” You’ll get ManicMumbling right in your inbox once a couple times a week, and never miss a post.

Already subscribed? I’m not leaving you out. You’re already entered in the drawing.

Do it now, before you forget…


Want to see something REALLY scary?


Check it out, people. There was a time I did THIS.

I don’t think I’m ever one to second-guess other parents … until Halloween.

On All Hallows Eve, I transform into Judge Judge-y MacJudgerson.

I am that mom. The one who cuts her kids off from trick-or-treating about the time they’re elbowing their way into puberty. I’m not following any developmental guidebook, and I haven’t looked up any studies on kids who later needed therapy because their moms put the kybosh on the candy corn prematurely. It’s just one of the many rules I was raised with that I have arbitrarily selected to enforce on my own progeny.

My own cut-off was sixth grade. Mom thought the age of twelve was awkward enough without shaking down the neighbors with a mask and a pillowcase.

I suggested just doing it for Halloween, but she wouldn’t budge.

So, by fifth-grade, I was one of those mature Hollywood starlets, nearly past her prime at an age anyone else would consider reasonably young, wobbling pathetically around the neighborhood in her pumps and shabby ball gown, jonesing for a bite-sized Snickers, knowing her time is limited.

Hell, even a packet of stale Whoppers from last Easter will work for someone just out looking for attention when the up-and-coming set is perfecting their pitchy “twick or tweeeeet!”

It’s not that I had a huge hankering for candy, but being officially ousted from the circuit was harsh.

But it got worse. In the years after I was no longer trick-or-treating, I was in charge of escorting my little sister. (more…)

Things would be different if I were more into cats

scaleI got off the scale the other morning and let everyone know I’m carrying around an extra six pounds.

“That’s like a whole baby,” I said.

“Not one of our babies,” Mike said. “Maybe a good sized house cat.”

If a shoe had been handy, I’d have thrown it at him. I’m not into cats.

I’ve rarely had any kind of problem with my weight, other than that time during my teens where I wished my thighs wouldn’t brush together and bunch up my gym shorts when I ran laps in PE.

Still, around here, I’m the designated person in charge of everybody’s diet and exercise regimen. The boys need regular prodding and reminders to eat properly in order to keep from turning into puddles of goo. Mike’s a total grouch if he doesn’t take care of himself. This ends up being my problem by virtue of my bossiness and the preference I have for not living with crabby slugs. (more…)

Stegosauri, Scooby, and Snail Mail

steg_laughingOn NPR last week there was the usual litany: Syria, Isis, Ebola and various other dismal subjects that prompt the boys and me to start more pleasant topics in the car, like laying odds on which of us would most likely survive a Zombie Apocalypse (do not bet on mom), or what the boys would do with their allotted millions when Mike or I win the lottery.

Because, surely we’ll dole out a few large to each of them, right?

I always say yes to that one. I’m a giver. Especially with money that I’m far less likely to win than I am to get run over by a reanimated stegosaurus … while street dancing in purple underwear … after being struck by lightening.

I don’t even own purple underwear. (more…)

About that chicken …

chicken_copyWhen Colin was little he was enthusiastic about chicken drumsticks.

“I lo-o-ove this chicken on a bone,” he’d say.

I should mention he was around four, I think, and fond of asking where his food came from – did corn grow on trees? What about potatoes?

Clearly we are an urban household. One that doesn’t engage in many horticultural activities.

Eventually Colin got around to asking “how’d they get this chicken on the bone anyway?”

We explained, in a fairly straightforward manner, how the chicken meat came to be attached to the chicken bone.

It wasn’t a terribly shocking revelation. The boys spent a great deal of time at Mike’s parents’ place out in the boonies, where there had at various times been plenty of chickens, as well as sheep, pigs, horses and whatever castoff household pets had been dropped on their country road by asshats who no longer want to deal with the cost of Kibbles.

I knew Colin wasn’t apt to get sentimental about eating what had once been scratching at bugs in the dirt, but I also hoped our conversation didn’t inadvertently kick off a new thing to be picky about. I tried to couch the whole subject into a circle-of-life conversation.

Because, you know, four year-olds and their existential tendencies.

I wrapped the whole explanation up with “even grandma’s chickens end up as dinner sometimes.”

Colin looked at me over the top of the drumstick.

“Grandma Sylvia,” he said.

Well, yeah, Grandma Sylvia. Of all the grandmas Colin had, she was the one with the livestock. (more…)

So many things I’d rather be doing

Champions league cupI have never been able to get in and out of a Best Buy in fewer than three hours, and without having fended off at least half a dozen sales guys and fielded offers of enough warrantees and insurance to nearly double the cost of whatever I’m buying. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that experience is not unique to me.

I would have rather driven toothpicks under my nails than go on Tuesday, except as I was flying by on the freeway after picking up Jack, I realized he had yet to buy his brother a birthday present for his party the next day.

Colin doesn’t ask for much. He barely even talked about his birthday except when prodded, and then asked his brother specifically for a pair of gaming headphones.

That’s it.

We refer to the shopping mall and everything in a two-mile radius as The Heart of Darkness. That includes the mall proper, and any ancillary chain restaurants, big box movie theaters, massive sporting goods stores and other bastions of excess, harbingers of societal ruin, and brokers of chintzy, mass-produced-on-an-assembly-line crapola. (more…)

My karmic potty break

Potty copyEvery runner I know has a story about an indelicate moment involving bodily functions. This is mine.

It’s not too terribly gross. Safe enough if you happen to be reading this at work – unless you spit coffee on your laptop minutes before you were supposed to forward some report, and then you’ll be mad at me for blowing your cover as a slacker.

You absolutely may not pin your slackerliness on me.

But if that’s not a problem, read on.

It was raining this weekend when Mike and I set out for our latest half marathon. This one was through wine country on weaving country roads. We had a hard time finding the starting line.

The few other times Mike and I had tried to make our way out to this winery, we’d taken wrong turns and ended up lost in wide open space where they pin down the scenery with a house every couple of miles or so. Those other forays were before GPS. This time we thought we were good. (more…)

Employee of the Week

staplerA few months ago I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I told her about Mike’s quitting his job and venturing into the consulting world with me.

She sort of harrumphed and asked how long we’ve been married.

“Twenty-two years,” I said. Sheesh. That made me sound ancient. I did the math… Yup, about right.

“Well, good luck making it to twenty-three,” she said.

I’ve been surprised how people speculate less than I would have thought about Mike’s sanity in leaving an entire career, stable paycheck and benefits, to explore the joys of self-employment with me. Instead, people wonder about the impact of his decision on our marriage.

I guess I kind of get it. Couples have to adjust after kids come along and priorities shift. They go through another adjustment when the kids leave home, and they suddenly realize they hate nothing more than listening to each other chew breakfast cereal. (more…)