No, YOU take a number

DMVThis was the week. I couldn’t put Jack off any longer with the whole driver’s license thing.

It was spring break, so we’d finally be available during the window that the DMV is open for testing. Jack had fulfilled the long list of requirements I had for chauffeuring him to that end of town – very near the Seventh Circle of Hell, otherwise known as The Mall.

I rather thought a trip to that end of town was going to be the worst part about the whole afternoon.

This is the part where you chuckle nervously about my naiveté.  (more…)

Here’s the thing about spring break

Vans Warped Tour - Dallas, TexasIt was about this time last year when I mentioned to our exchange student, Guillermo, that we’d be taking a trip to Argentina next spring and hoped to visit his family.

Ever since I’d left Mike and the kids for a month-long exchange to Buenos Aires, exactly ten years ago, I’ve been itching to go back and experience that very vibrant, exciting part of the world with my family. I think if one could combine New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle into one city where everyone switches randomly from speaking Spanish to Italian to German, it would be a little like Buenos Aires.

Well, here it is spring break, 2015, and airline tickets to Argentina have yet to magically materialize.

There are several reasons for this, the biggest being the fact that it’s freaking expensive to fly an entire family to Argentina.


The dude on the doorstep

Absolutely no soliciting. Even our parents call first…Last weekend, I spent a considerable amount of time mulling over what to put in the subject line for a neighborhood email. What was called for, I think, was just the right amount of urgency tempered with calm concern. I didn’t want to start a panic.

“How about ‘Everybody, grab your pitchforks and meet us at the park?’” Mike said.

When I’m looking for serious suggestions, that’s Mike’s cue to come up with something absurd or sarcastic. Actually, that’s kind of his MO regardless of the situation. He’s usually more focused on being a comic than helpful.

It’s a gift.

At this particular moment, I think he was tossing out quips to keep from throwing something more substantial.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going for with this neighborhood alert, except a little heads up that we had an evangelist making the rounds in our ‘hood, who also happened to be a registered sex offender.

… Yeah, you read that right. (more…)

Crafts that will make your kids hate you: Repurposed pharmacy bags

The other day I realized we were out of brown paper lunch bags for Jack.

Because we’re a family of quasi-hoarders, we had a readily available alternative:

photo (67)There are downsides, of course, to sending your kid to school looking like he’s hauling a bag of prescriptions. Which means Mike and I spent a few minutes debating whether it would be okay to just cross out the label with a sharpie and put “smootchy” or “kissyface” over the top. We know how much Jack loves the opportunity to share our pet names for him with all his hombres at school. (more…)

Orthodontorture actually IS a word

World of Wonders, See Them Now

When I picked the boys up from the dentist the other day the news was good and then … not so good.

“No cavities,” the hygienist said. Then, pointing at Colin: “I wonder if it’s time for him to see an orthodontist.”

I can answer that, just based on my own powers of observation, and since the kid is still able to (a) chew his own food and (b) doesn’t have any obvious snaggle-tooth issues going on yet.

No, it’s not. Nope-ity. Nope. Nope.

I am not speaking, of course, as a professional. I am quite sure that people go to school for a helluva long time in order to tell me whether it’s time to fit my kid with dental ironworks.

My perspective is that of a survivor. (more…)

We never were a Mustachioed Nation

statehouseEsteemed Representative Nuxoll,

I just wanted to drop you a little note to thank you for the interesting family discussions around here recently.

So often, conversations based on the antics of politicians and others of note end up going places I’d rather not. Such was the case with a certain Toronto Mayor last year, and before that a senator with an unfortunate surname and a predilection for smart phone portraits of his mister bits.

But your recent actions weren’t awkward in any sense that has to do with photos of body parts, or what someone may or may not be snorting up his nose. Our conversations about what you had to say recently were just plain interesting.

What’s more, when you stood outside that legislative chamber last week in protest to an opening prayer offered in Hindu, you really owned it. Others offered feeble excuses like being tardy and embarrassed about interrupting a solemn moment.

But not you, Representative. You and at least two others of your disposition stood up for your convictions. Even if doing so showed you to be embarrassingly small-minded, you owned it. Go you.

Talk about a teachable moment. This was a humdinger, lady. (more…)

Hashtag … What Now?

Should I go with the duck lips?

Should I go with the duck lips?

In a week I’ll be conducting a social media workshop for a group of service club leaders. I wouldn’t be nearly as prepared but for a recent schooling I received on the subject from someone half my age.

The impromptu education session wouldn’t have phased me, except for that thing I have with being competitive about stupid stuff. Which is how this is also a story about how my better judgment got a workout, wrestling with the desire to wring a certain college student by the neck.

A brawl would have disrupted our meeting. And you know I’m all about decorum.

The young woman in question doubtlessly thought she was being helpful. She’d been invited by a well-meaning member of our group to introduce our gaggle of middle-aged(ish) ladies to the social media tools she believed were critical to any relevance we hoped to have, whatsoever.

“I went out and did a search for you guys on Twitter,” she said. “People are talking about the stuff you do, but you don’t even have an account.” (more…)

Tattoo Who?


One day, if all goes well, I WILL be on your butt.

“Hey mom, can I ask you a hypothetical question?”

This is Jack’s way of introducing a subject he thinks might provoke a strong response.

He’s also driving. I’m his passenger. The smart thing to do would be to say no. No questions.

But this isn’t the blog you come to for exceptional parenting advice from someone who thinks things through before speaking. If you’ve been here any length of time, you probably know where this is going.

“Hmmm?” I say.

“What would you say about my getting a tattoo?” (more…)

I sought the bra, and the bra won


Dressing like a grown-ass woman starts with the fundamentals

We certainly have our issues, black bra. In fact, this morning was a complete disaster thanks to you.

See, I had it all planned. Today it was going to be the black dress. The wraparound one with the short sleeves. Sure it was a little chilly this morning, but with that dress and a light sweater, and my new boots, I would have killed it all damn day.

Everything else cooperated. The boots, check. The sweater, check. The grandma underpants that keep everything from jiggling in my killer black wraparound dress, check. Even the nude hose were ready.

Did you hear me? I was planning HOSE! Dressing like a grown-ass woman today. It was a power suit kind of day.

Only without the power suit, the only power suits I still own being the kind with shoulder pads. From the 90s. The ones that can say with a straight face: I got a head for business and a bod for sin, is there anything wrong with that?

Indeed there is. Not the look I was going for. (more…)

Let’s just talk about that eye roll


Oh honey, do me the smallest favor and take a mental snapshot of this moment right now.

You can pull it out later, say, in thirty years or so, and remember when you first heard the words that I’m sure will one day be coming out of your mouth.

Only the tables will be turned, as they say. The shoes will be on the other feet. You’ll think “Hey, I know just who I sound like,” and you’ll realize that the person sitting across from you regards you as not just the dim-bulb-on-the-marquee kind of stupid, but dumber-than-a-sack-of-hammers stupid. (more…)