Monday, March 31, 2014

A Few More People You're Most Likely to Meet When Your Kid Starts School


Last week I read this hilarious post on Babble by Jon Taylor (alas, not of Duran Duran, but how cool would that be if he were writing about parenting?) about the parents you will meet when your kid starts school and it was so spot on. I was dying, because this year my daughter started preschool and I have met every single one of the parents he refers to.

And, um, I am one of them. 

I confess. Fiesta Mom, right here, folks. I used to be the social butterfly who went sociopathic from isolation once my baby was born and now I'm all like "WOOO!! My kid is in school! Did someone say BAKE SALE? Can we plan something?? You wanna come over for a playdate? Now? How about in an hour? Should we do dinner?" Yeah, that would be me, except since I don't drink and am Queen Teetotaler, I'm Fiesta Mom Sans Margarita, unless it's frozen, strawberry and virginal.

My sister also thinks I am part Whole Foods Mom, but I swear, I only dabble in the Whole Foods lifestyle. When you have met a full fledged Whole Foods Mom, you know that I'm just a wanna-be skirting around on the quinoa fringe. There may be nutritional yeast in my fridge, but I have to draw the line at kombucha.

That said, the delightful Mr. Taylor, not of Duran Duran, because that one has an 'h," left off a few of the wonderful and fascinating parents that I have met, so I decided to add to his list.

Without further ado:

J Crew Mom

You will know her by her topknot. Her polka dots are perfect. Her shoes, which never match her outfit, actually do match because she's wearing them and she is that stylish. On J Crew Mom, animal prints look classy and she's never without her pearls. She's a Seven Sisters grad, Junior League president and her children are decked in Janie & Jack, not purchased on sale. She often expresses disbelief when others don't go away on fabulous vacations during their school breaks. "What? We got a great deal on that lovely beachfront cottage on St. John. It came with its own 42 foot Hans Christian and a captain! It was only $3,000.00"  Per person, lady. PER PERSON.

Hot Mess Mom

Whenever Hot Mess Mom rolls up in her mini-van and slides open the door to get her kids out of their car seats, an avalanche of old toys, empty, used sippy cups, smashed goldfish, crumpled Chick-fil-a bags, Little Golden Books and possibly even the family dog tumbles out onto the pavement. She's a disaster. She wears nothing yoga pants although she has never once been to a yoga class. Her hair is in a scrappy pony tail, she never volunteers, always looks exhausted or possibly hung over and she brings her kids to school with Pop-Tart remnants on their faces and sprinkles in their hair. What? You don't feed your kids sprinkles for breakfast? Hot Mess Mom just doesn't know how you all do it everyday, but she's proud of her Slacker status, just don't expect a play date invite from her. Her house is too messy and she's beat.  Full disclosure - sometimes I am Hot Mess Mom. Sometimes we are all Hot Mess Mom, so don't judge.


Trailer Trash Mom

Trailer Trash Mom is a good 15 years younger than all the other parents and she rolls up in a hot pink Dodge Neon with a Hello-Kitty sticker, a memorial to a dead friend and a parking sticker from the community college that expired three years ago on the back window. She may also have rims on her car and it's difficult to tell which kids are hers and which are her boyfriend's. Trailer Trash Mom wears Marvin the Martian pajama pants everywhere, especially to Wal-Mart which is where she goes after drop-off and yes, dammit, she's leaving her two pit bulls in the car while she shops for Otter Pops and cases of Mountain Dew for the kids. Don't worry, she'll roll the windows down. Her children have names that make them sound like villains in fantasy novels and of course she has them all tattooed on her shoulder. Her other tattoos are misspelled, but it's okay, y'all. Trailer Trash Mom just wants us to know that "U Have to Beleev in Luv." Also, she may be pregnant again but it might be the Red Hot Cheetos catching up to her. Hard to tell.

Hipster Mom

Hipster Mom is simply pretending to be white trash, you know, ironically. She has a trust fund and that Bettie Page 'do she sports? Those bangs are clipped at the hottest salon in town. Her kids are named Harvey and Stella Mae because old people names are super cool. Hipster Mom has always been cool and always ahead of the trends. She misses her heydays back in the 90s when she got her art degree at Bennington and went to Burning Man before it sold out. You have never heard of any of the music she listens to and don't even try to act like you have because Hipster Mom is clinging hard to her hipness and she will prove that you can still have children and wear vintage Smiths tee shirts and boots that lace up to her knees and dammit, Hipster Mom WILL go to Coachella even though she's 40! Stella Mae, don't even dream of liking Justin Bieber because Mama will disown you. Please, listen to Sigur Ros in your car seat instead, darling.

Pinterest Mom

This woman can do literally anything with a Mason Jar. Anything. She has glass beads drilled into her wood fence, puts Epsom salts on her tomato plants, has all of her slow cooker recipes filed into a hand-made, calico covered, laminated file folder that she sewed by hand and she can make a Halloween costume out of some tulle and toilet paper rolls in about ten seconds flat. She makes her own scented play-do for the love of God. Pinterest Mom has a full crafting room in her house. Okay, actually it's her dining room, but come on, she's making so much money from her Etsy Shop that soon she'll be able to buy a twee farmhouse with a shabby chic chicken coop in the yard! Some moms think Pinterest Mom makes the rest of us look bad. I say, go on with your crafting self, Pinterest Mom. How about you be in charge of the classroom crafts and save me a trip to Michael's? Oh and, can I please use your Silhouette cutting machine? That thing looks awesome!! And yes, I have followed all of her boards.

Stripper Mom  

Her sugar-daddy must have bought her that Mustang and somehow she's managed to fit the car seat in there for her daughter Havyn-Allure. There's simply no way that this woman could have gotten up at the crack of dawn and gotten dressed in...that. No way. She had to have just gotten off of work at the club, ran home and picked up her kid to take her to school. I mean, right? Who wears a leather mini and a, what is that thing, a headband? As a...shirt? Her nipples are barely covered, people!! And whenever Stripper Mom shows up in the pick-up or drop-off she nearly causes several fender benders because all the other parents are trying to crane their necks to look at her and perhaps snap some stealth photos of her because no one can believe that anyone, much less the mother of a preschooler, would ever, in a million years, show up at their daughter's school pretty much naked. True story, readers. Only in South Florida.

Yoga Mom

Yoga Mom is not to be confused with Whole Foods Mom. Entirely different animal. Yoga Mom has never been spotted in anything other than Lululemon apparel. Ever. Even when she's not on her way to her latest hour and a half with Bikram. Which is often. Yoga Mom is fit and her boobs are silicone. She's tanned and may have lip injections - either that or she just naturally looks like a platypus. And honestly, screw that Whole Foods BS. Yoga Mom doesn't eat (food? RUFKM?). She's fueled by skinny soy lattes and she experiences food vicariously through her children, upon whom she lavishes fast food kid's meals because this woman doesn't cook. Her Viking range has never been used. The light in Yoga Mom honors the light in you. Unless you piss her off and then she gets mean. Don't mess with Yoga Mom. She's hungry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday at the Park With Me


Today is a cool, miraculously not humid day in South Florida and my daughter is on Spring Break which means that I am going to spend the entire day at the park drinking enough coffee to give myself cardiac arrhythmia by dinner time. I'm just warning you. I may need an ablation tonight.

Because there is no greater joy for me at this moment in my life than sitting on a bench watching children play while sipping my coffee and for once, not being hot. I know the rest of you all are probably scratching your heads right now, but let me explain. I live in South Florida. It's the tropics. We have two seasons here: hurricane and tourist. So when we have these unexpected cool days all the locals rejoice and run outside cupping hot coffee in shivering hands while wearing sweaters, scarves, Uggs and shorts and yes, it's 65 degrees, but to us, that's effing freezing. We may get hypothermia. Those tourists romping in the ocean? Insane Minnesotans.

But I digress. The park. I love going to the park because my daughter will find a wolf pack of children to join and run her ass off for as long as I will let her, meaning that she will completely wear herself out which means that she will go to bed like a normal human being tonight which then means that I will get to watch TV which actually means that when she goes to bed I will probably just get to go to bed earlier than usual. It's all good.

The funny thing is that I always imagine these wonderfully elaborate scenarios in which my daughter goes to bed early and I get to do ALL KINDS OF THINGS. I picture myself catching up on seasons of all those cool show everyone's talking about on Netflix, Calgon taking me away, mopping my floors, finally putting the laundry away, reading, finishing my second memoir, listening to podcasts, doing a yoga video. I never do shit. I usually just turn the dishwasher on and end up in bed messing with my phone and it feels like a damned vacation. 

So there I was at the day's first installment of the park this morning after breakfast (we are now home for lunch and nap and a coffee refill before we will head back out to a different park to meet some friends). I was basking in the sun, truly loving life, relaxing and then my sister, who was also there with her daughter, decides to get on the swings.

God help us.

I used to be able to swing for hours. Well into my teen years I was a champ on the swings. I loved swinging. Now? Not so much.

I'm truly getting old and it's disheartening. Nowadays, I need to take a freaking Dramamine before getting on a swing. After I wedge my ass into the seat and kick off, swinging about 2 feet in either direction, I'm about ready to hurl. It's pitiful. I'm pretty sure that big pirate ship ride that they always have at amusement parks would likely kill me. I'd be puking before it even started rocking. I'd be like "Nooooo, the motion of the people getting in their seats is too much for me!!! BLEECCCCHHHH."

And I don't think I need to say that my Gravitron days are long over too.

My daughter on the other hand could spend a good 75 percent of her life in a swing. She loves swinging but she's 3 1/2 and hasn't quite managed the concept of pumping her legs, which means that as soon as I get comfortable on my bench I hear:

"MOOOMMMMMYYYYY!!! Can you push me on the swing???"

That also means that I have to put her in the swing and for some reason that always proves cumbersome. I swear, from all the hoisting into the swing and pushing the swing that I do, I don't know why my arms aren't totally ripped. They really should be.

This is very un-politically correct of me to admit, but I really am lazy and don't like pushing the swing. It's boring. Of course, I stop whatever I'm doing and push her. Of course I do that, but I don't really enjoy it.

For one thing, I haven't figured out how to coordinate drinking coffee and pushing the swing at the same time so I end up trying to push the coffee and sipping the swing and naturally I splash coffee from one end of myself to the other.

And like I said, it's boring, which sounds mean but my God, 15 minutes of the same repetitive motion standing in one place listening to a dissonant chorus of off-key three year olds screaming some semblance of "Let It Go" at the top of their lungs is not particularly stimulating for me.

I usually start to want to mess with my phone. It starts off like an itch I can't scratch. I imagine this is how it feels to want a cigarette. But then I start this awful internal dialogue with myself about how I can't mess with the phone. I can't be that awful, awful mom who messes with her phone at the park. All the sanctimommies will look at me like I'm Satan's bride. They will say my daughter needs to be in foster care and ask why I even had her if all I want to do is look at facebook while I'm pushing my child. Jeez, I should be engaging her. I should be teaching her sight words while she swings, because if I don't, she may not get into Harvard, which means she will end up a stripper because those are the only two options in life, you know. You either go to Harvard or you end up a crack addicted stripper. So I sort of try to sneak messing with phone, but that doesn't work because I end up getting hit with the swing that I'm supposed to be pushing. It's a disaster.

My sister suggested that pushing the swing was a good way to get out frustration.

As in - 

PUSH! That's for waking me up at 3am wanting water and then changing your mind and not going back to sleep til 4:30am!!

Push! That's for the fit you threw because I gave you milk in the Rapunzel cup instead of the Cinderella cup!!

Don't freak out. I am only joking. I do not push my daughter on the swing with malice.

Truth of the matter is, I like taking her to the park and I'm glad I get the chance to do it, even if I'm too old to swing without barfing, even if I can't push the swing and drink coffee at the same time and even if when I'm at the park sometimes all I can think about is how much I want to mess with the phone.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

70s Mom Goes on a Roadtrip...


For some reason, which I cannot discern, Bill likes to get up at 4 in the morning whenever we go on a road trip. Drives me crazy. We were only going to my sister Peggy's house for the family reunion/ above ground pool party she's having for the Bicentennial. Peggy lives a total of three hours away. I tried to tell Bill that we didn't need to get to Peggy's house before breakfast being that the party didn't even start until the afternoon, but he insisted we needed to beat the weekend traffic, so he filled his thermos up with coffee from the percolator and loaded up the wood-paneled, Chevy station wagon.

We had to put all the luggage and lawn chairs, plus the red and white cooler in the backseat because the kids insist on going in the "way back" now whenever we go somewhere. Fine with me. It keeps them from crawling over and into the front seat where they might accidentally get burned by a cigarette.

Speaking of which, Kimberly woke up fussing about her skinned knee. She got it yesterday when I sent her down to the store to buy me a pack of cigarettes. I gave her a quarter to get herself and her siblings some candy and even though she came back with a mess of Sugar Babies, Lemonheads and Sixlets that still didn't seem to satisfy her. I put some Absorbine Jr. on her knee last night and she screamed her ass off that it hurt and I told her a tetanus shot would hurt worse so cut it out and when it hurts that just means that it's killing the germs. This morning, I decided to put some mercurochrome on it and said I didn't want to hear another word about it unless it had gangrene in it and not to pick it. 

I fried some eggs in the bacon grease, put on my new jumpsuit (I just love polyester by the way, NO MORE IRONING!), threw the kids in the way back of the wagon and off we went. The sun hadn't even come up yet.

It took about 17 seconds before the children got on my nerves and I was trying to talk to Bill about how I was worried about my Watergate salad holding up before we got to the reunion. I was also concerned that my Impossible Pie was going to get soggy.

"I mean, Bill," I was saying, "There's no crust! You just pour it all into the pan and it makes its own crust! How does it do that?"

Bill just shrugged and drank more coffee while looking at the map he had spread out covering the whole dashboard.

First Jennifer started whining about how I gave her such a weird name.

"Why is my name Jennifer?" she complained.

I told her I named her after that girl who died of leukemia in Love Story and that it was a beautiful film and then I asked her what she'd rather her name be.

"Madison," she said.

Did you ever hear the like in your life? Who in the name of God would ever name their child, a GIRL no less, Madison? That's not even a name. That's a president. And a snack cake. Jennifer is much more original.

Matt had to be a smart ass.

"Too bad your favorite movie wasn't The Exorcist!" he said.

"I didn't like the name Regan," I told him, "Jennifer was much more original. I wanted an original name when I had her."

"Reminds me of Ronald," Bill said and then we had a laugh about that actor Ronald Reagan wanting to get into politics. Ridiculous. Who'd ever take him seriously? Only in California. Thank goodness they finally got rid of him, I told Bill. Now he'll just fade into obscurity. Maybe make an appearance on Merv Griffin and that'll be the end of it.

Then the baby started hollering back there and Kimberly didn't want to hold it anymore back there so as we were going down the highway she tried to climb over the backseat and into the front seat with the baby squawking in her arms. She could've at least let me finish my cigarette. It was a pain in the rear end to try to smoke and give the baby a bottle all at the same time while sliding all over the vinyl on the front seat of the car.

"You should wear your seat belt, Mom. That way you and the baby won't slide off the seat," Matt yelled.

Where do my kids get these crazy ideas? Who on earth wears seat belts? Probably people like the Whitneys down at the end of the cul de sac. They eat granola for breakfast and watch nothing but public television. I mentioned something about Donna Summer to Mrs. Whitney and she had no idea what I was talking about.  

We wound up getting lost because Bill read the map wrong as usual so we were going to be later than expected. Took us forever to find a payphone so I could call Peggy and let her know.

"They should make phones in cars," Kimberly said.

"Impossible," Bill told her.

I just smacked my head. Phones in cars? Where would they put all the cords? And besides, I've got enough junk in the car already without having to worry about where to put the phone book, although I guess the baby could sit on it.

We finally made it to Peggy's house and since we'd left so early, we weren't really late. Bill was pretty smug about this, so when we got there I made him go into the garage with Peggy's husband Harry and look at Harry's new vice grip on his tool bench so Peggy and I could get the food ready. My sister-in-law Gladys was there too and she gets on my nerves something awful, I swear.

Gladys is worried that Sky Lab is going to fall on us during the family reunion. She's also convinced she's going to get Legionnaire's Disease. Actually, she thinks we're all going to get it and die and it's going to be worse than the Spanish Flu.

Peggy turned the radio on so we could listen to Wings while we made deviled eggs and shrimp dip with canned shrimp and soup mix but then the boys had their music in the garage turned up too loud.

"That damn Peter Frampton," Peggy said, "Harry loves him and they better not be smoking P.O.T., let me tell you. Harry got his 8 track out there in the garage and you'd think it was still the 60s with all that rock n roll mess he listens to."

Peggy always liked bad boys. She should've known what she was getting into with Harry. She did meet him at a Jefferson Airplane concert for God's sakes, but I didn't say anything and suggested we make Old Fashioneds instead. Gladys said we were going to end up like Betty Ford.

I asked her to go check on the kids in the pool and see how the baby was doing in its playpen.

Sue showed up about then. She's 9 months pregnant and we all tried to figure out what she was having by the way she's carrying. Then we asked what she was going to name it.

"Crystal if it's a girl and Chad if it's a boy," she said.

But then we got cut off because the kids were tearing through the house like a pack of wild dogs in wet bathing suits and I had to yell at the girls to take their suits off if they're not swimming because I don't want them getting crotch rot. They were begging for Kool-Aid but it wasn't ready yet so we told them to drink out of the hose if they were thirsty and to stay outside so the adults could talk.

"Did you hear about this new thing where you can hook it up to the TV and you put movies into it and you can watch them?" Sue asked.

What in the hell was she talking about? Must be the pregnancy.

"How can you put movies in a TV?" I asked.

"They're like records. Movies on records and it's like a record player for the TV," she said.

Peggy and I always knew Sue was crazy.

"Well, if such a thing exists it would have to cost an arm and a leg and it would never catch on anyway," Peggy said.

I looked out the kitchen window to see what the kids were doing. Peggy's boy Timmy was pretending to be The Fonz and the girls were arguing over the View Master while Matt messed with the Spirograph in the grass.

"Let's rub some iodine all over ourselves and go sit in the sun," I told everyone, "It's a beautiful day."
Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Very Short and Terrifying Story


It is 3am, or 4. You are asleep, but you're a light sleeper so you grumble and mumble a little awake when you feel 10 pounds of cat suddenly land on the comforter with a puff and a sigh. Paws step lightly across the bed. You don't open your eyes because you know the cat is coming to sleep on your head like she always does.

Except she doesn't.

You can feel the cat standing on the mattress. You know she is looking at you. You roll over and try to find her so you can give her a gentle push and go back to sleep but your hands fumble around and can't find her so you ignore it.

Then, on the other side of the house you hear frantic howling; crazed middle of the night meows. They are unmistakably your cat's yowls. She does this sometimes and you have no idea why. It's like she's hallucinating.

But...how is the meowing coming from down the hall if the cat is in your bed?

And you only have one cat.

So what is in your bed?
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lost Cat


Last night before bed I read the absolute, most darling little book and I had to share it immediately. You have got to get and read this book, especially if you are a cat lover, which I hope you are.

I bought  Lost Cat by Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton based on a Facebook recommendation by Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild. I respect Strayed enormously, and I figured she knew what the hell she was talking about when it came to books and I was not disappointed at all.

Lost Cat is a memoir and a bit of a graphic novel (except that it's true) and it's also very sweet, funny and entirely charming. This is the story of two women who take to tracking their cat's mysterious wanderings through the mean streets of San Francisco with a GPS and a collar camera. They then write about and illustrate his adventures, resulting in the most adorable and uplifting thing I've read in ages. It's a petit-four of a book. I read the whole thing in one sitting before bed last night and I went to bed all cozy and happy. Please, do yourself a great favor and read it.

One caveat. I bought the Kindle version and I have the original, old Kindle so the graphics weren't at their finest on my device. I wish I had bought the hardcover version instead. I find that my Kindle doesn't do pictures justice and the illustrations in this book are fantastic and a large part of the story. 

You Know You're From Delaware When...


1. You met your common law husband at the Apple Scrapple Festival.

2. You have to drive at least 45 minutes to get to a mall and going to Christiana is a HUGE big deal. If you want to make a major road trip you'll dare to cross state lines to go to Kinga Prusha.

3. You could get into an argument with someone over thick or thin sliced scrapple on your scrapple sandwich.

4. God damn beach traffic.

5. You blame everything on New Jersey.

6. When you were a kid you loved going to the Blue Hen mall to get a soft pretzel and a cherry slushy.

7. You add at least three extra syllables to every word. 

8. In the summer you see movies at Midway.

9. You go crabbin' in the crick with a chicken neck tied to a string and then put the crabs in a BOOshel basket.

10. Bethany vs. Cape Henlopen vs. Dewey is a major debate.

12. Your parents celebrated every special occasion at the Village Inn or the Blue Coat Inn.

13. If someone tries to make chicken and dumplings and the dumplings are like puffy biscuits you will get seriously pissed. WTF? Dumplings are supposed to be SLIPPERY. You also know that they can come with beef or turkey.

14. You've eaten said slippery dumplings at the FAR hall or the Moose.

15. You take genuine pride in the Smyrna rest area and you want to smack people who call it "Smeeer-na."

16. You know the difference between Route 13 and Route 113.

17. As a kid you couldn't wait for the "Herntn Fer" and it was over way too soon. The live chicks were the best part.

18. You had to learn everything about the Chesapeake Bay in elementary school.

19. When you visit other states you're freaked out by the sales tax.

20. The second you heard the news about Kirby and Hollways burning down your heart broke.

21. You plan your vacations to coincide with Race Weekend.

22. It doesn't seem unusual to you that the Amish people get their own spots to park their buggies out to the Walmarts.

23. Speaking of Walmarts - you hate that damn place but you shop there for everything anyway.

24. Wawa coffee and subs are your obsessions.

25. Grotto Pizza. Period.

26. You can use "Daggoned" and "Daggonit" in a sentence.

27. You pull down your dungarees to "set" on "the hopper."

28. Your house arrived at its current location, a "development" that used to be a soybean field, in two halves on tractor trailers that hurtled down the "dual" highway and blocked traffic for miles.

29. In the summers, your favorite thing to do is to scare the crap out of tourists by chasing them down the beach with a horseshoe crab and you think it's hilarious that most of them don't even know what it is.

30. Muskrat season coincides with Christmas season and you love this fact.

31. You've picked fruit at Fifer's more than once and you can tell what time of year it is by what's in season.

32. You're like a connoisseur of livestock manure. Your nose can easily distinguish between the aromas of chicken shit and cow shit.

33. Several people you know hunt and you know which one of them has the best deer jerky, plus you think nothing of picking the buckshot out of your dinner on occasion.

34. It's CANADA geese, you dumbass, not CANADIAN. And yes, they taste good.

35. The smell of the boardwalk and the bumper cars at Funland never ceases to bring back floods of awesome childhood memories.

36. At some point in your teens or twenties you had a summer job somewhere in Rehoboth.

37. When you were a kid you were lucky enough to go on school trips to DC a couple times a year.

38. Sure, Dolle's is the most famous, but you know the best caramel corn comes from Ibach's.

39. The Dairy Queen in your town was only open in summer and you waited anxiously all winter for opening day in May. The highlight of your entire life as a child was when your parents would actually take you there after dinner and let you sit on the hood of the car and eat your sundae.

40. If someone offers to pick up some Royal Farms on the way over you're like "HELL YEAH!" and you know that they truly love you.

41. You have to go to the "WISSFISS" ATM.

42. For the love of God, UD is in NewARK. NEWerk is in New Jersey and we don't talk about that place.

43. You're counting down the days 'til Punkin Chunkin and you swelled with patriotic pride when it was on the Discovery Channel.

44. You can tell who's rich by who has an above ground pool AND a satellite dish on their trailer.

45. Even more than the Punkin' Chunkin, you're proud that the best beer on earth, Dogfish Head, comes straight from the First State.

46. You make extra money on the side by buying up all the Dogfish 120 and selling it on eBay for 40 bucks a bottle. Your other side business is giving Amish people rides since they can't drive.

47. You get a little creeped out by those big signs that tell you how many people have been killed in car accidents so far this year and each time you see the number go up you usually know exactly which accident it was because you probably drove past it or at least heard the fire whistle going off.

48. One of the greatest moments of your life was when you got your first black and white license plate and it was a pretty low number!! You hate that now they have fake black plates and one day you hope to get an original with a single digit because that's a REAL status symbol.

49. When meeting people from other states, you like to mention how space suits are made outside of Dover. Also, the Dover AFB is the biggest base on the East Coast and the C5 planes it houses are the biggest cargo planes in the world. Look, there's one screaming over your house right now! When you were little you were convinced that the Russians were going to nuke Delaware to destroy the base.

50. If you're thirsty go on ahead and get you a drinka wooder.

51. If an old person asks if "Mung You" are comin' for supper you know what they're saying and answer accordingly. You also know to wear your best slacks and not to get anything on the davenport.

52. You answer the phone with a color. "YELLA?"

Please feel free to add more in the comments! Bring on the First State love.

 Yay for my home state!
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Kid's Birthday Parties, Then and Now - A Lot's Changed.


How to Throw Kid's Birthday Party in the 70s

1. Call up all your friends on the block and tell them to come over around three this Saturday for a birthday party.

2. Get a box of Duncan Hines yellow cake mix and bake it. Decorate with a can of vanilla frosting. Food coloring can be added if desired. Red #2 is quite appealing to children. Sprinkles are also fine but don't go overboard.

3. Don't forget to buy a 5 gallon, clear plastic tub of vanilla ice cream. The kind with no label that costs about $1.50 for the whole thing and melts into a big pile of foam.

4. Twist a few crepe paper streamers and scotch tape them above your picture window in your living room. If you're feeling mighty generous, you may also blow up a few balloons and toss them around the living room. 

5. Haul the card table and folding chairs up from the cellar and set them up. You are now finished decorating for the party.

6. Find a kid with chicken pox and invite him to the party too so that all the other kids will get it and be done with it.

7. Mix up several pitchers of Kool-Aid. Dump potato chips into bowls. Open a can of Planter's Cheese Balls. Be careful not to sever a finger on the metal lid. You are now finished with the party food.

8. See if the Sears catalog has that ridiculous Ice Bird snow cone maker thing your child sees the commercial for after Hong Kong Phooey and keeps fussing about. If they don't have it, oh well. Get her a Slinky and some Silly Putty. You know she's just going to play with it once and get bored anyway and before you know it, she'll be right back to wrapping a bath towel around herself, jumping on the sofa saying she's Isis.

9. Wrap the birthday gift in the funny papers from last week's Sunday Times.

10. At the birthday party, loosely organize a few games. Simon Says is good. Also have the children stand on a chair and attempt to toss clothes pins into a mixing bowl on the floor. After that, play musical chairs to the Grease soundtrack on the record player. That's enough. The kids don't need to get too wound up.

11. Sing "Happy Birthday," cut the cake and take some pictures. Be sure to buy extra flash bulbs for the camera just in case. Serve the cake and ice cream on some paper plates with plastic spoons.

12. Send the kids out into the yard until their parents come to pick them up.

13. Before you child can play with any gifts, make him sit at the kitchen table with a pencil and a pad of paper and write Thank You notes to everyone who came. Tell him if he doesn't hurry up he'll miss Emergency! when it comes on at eight.

14. Go make yourself a White Russian and light up an Eve; freshen yourself up a little so you don't look like a Sleestak.



How to Throw a Kid's Birthday Party Now

1. Decide on an event location. Visit several. Question your Facebook parenting groups accordingly for opinions.

2. Hire an expensive caterer. Ask them to make pizza, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. Even though they are expensive caterers.

3. Attend several cake tastings. Consult Facebook again. Post sample photos of potential cakes to all social media outlets asking for input. Making a decision between fondant and buttercream is hard.

4. Find a handmake cake topper of your child's favorite character on Etsy and order it. The have your baker recreate it out of fondant and spun sugar.

5. Hire a photographer for the event. Show them at least 15 twee mommy blogs whose candid, yet quaintly natural style you'd like to copy. Then show them the Anthropologie catalog and tell them you want the photos to look kind of like that. Yet not. But sort of. You know, right?

6. Obsess over Pinterest for cake table decorating ideas and search desperately for someone to make you a bunting EXACTLY LIKE THIS ONE that you saw on Pinterest. Go buy lots of cake stands and tall glass jars to copy the exact look.

7. Go to a stationery store and pore through books of sample invitations. Choose one and include a professional photo of your child to personalize. Send it out several months before the party actually occurs.

8. Audition entertainers. You want to have at least two costumed characters, face painters and balloon animal makers.

9. Rent your bounce house.

10. On second thought, go ahead and rent a petting zoo too.

11. Worry incessantly over head count. How many parents will be present? Will guests be bringing siblings even if they weren't specifically invited. Is that rude? Wait no, maybe it's rude to not want siblings and all the siblings should be invited too? Oh my God! This is SO STRESSFUL.

12. Take a Xanax. Holy crap, have a Caipirinha too even though you can't even freaking pronounce it. Insist that you see them make it with Splenda. Wait, how many calories are in Cachaca?

13. Begin dieting for party.

14. Have your low-lights touched up, get a gel mani-pedi and spray tan. 

15. Buy an expensive costume for your child to wear. If you have a daughter it must involve an exceptionally large tutu. There must be tulle. Lots of tulle. And a tiara. Possibly wings, but definitely a tiara.

16. Have your party planner assemble themed, gender appropriate goody bags as party favors.

17. Decide at the last minute that you need a separate menu for the adults. Call caterer in hysterics.

18. Oh my God. Call the caterer back. There will also need to be gluten free, dairy free and vegan options of every single menu item and absolutely no peanuts.

19. If Toys R Us is out of the "must-have" toy of the season, go to extreme lengths to make sure you get that toy in time for the party even if this means finding it on eBay for $600 and driving four hours each way to pick it up from a woman named Wanda Lee who lives in a trailer and is a hoarder. Eww.

20. Since Wanda Lee is also an animal hoarder, take home at least one kitten and one puppy from her trailer. You have to save those animals. High tail it out of Leisure Land Central just as the A & E cameras pull up with the 1-800-GOT-JUNK trucks.

21. You totally forgot to call a DJ. Blog about this immediately. Use A LOT OF CAPS LOCK. Post a selfie where you look super upset but your lipstick is perfect, of course.

22. After the party is over, worry if you've tipped the vendors enough.

23. Mail out the pre-printed Thank You cards that all say the exact same thing and have a picture of your kid on them just like the invitations did. Not having to write them out for your child is so so so much less stressful.

24. Leave for a much-needed vacation at a nice all-inclusive in the Bahamas. Be sure to bring the nanny with you.
Thursday, March 06, 2014

If 70s Moms Had Blogs...


This morning I got up and Jennifer and Kimberly were eating Pop Rocks in front of the TV set watching Captain Kangaroo while Matt was already out in the back yard with a glass of Tang. I sat down and had a cigarette. I really wanted to watch my programs but I didn't want to have to get up and change the channel or mess with the antenna to get it to come in clear, so I let the girls continue until I was done my cigarette. I made sure to tell them not to drink any Pepsi for a couple hours so the Pop Rocks wouldn't explode in their stomachs. That happened to some kid on TV, you know.

Then I went into the kitchen and poured them all bowls of Apple Jacks while I had my coffee with sweet n low and another cigarette. Halfway through my smoke, I went and got the baby, changed its Pamper and made it a bottle of formula. Then I put it in the walker so I could vacuum in peace while the other three kids went outside.

About an hour later Matt came back crying that Mrs. Johnson had spanked him because he was throwing rocks at cars.

"Good," I told him, "I hope you learned your lesson. If I hear of you doing that again I'm going to bust your ass too, so you got lucky this time that you only got one whipping."

Then I sent him back outside while I continued to clean.

Little while later, here come the girls saying they're hot because it's 80 degrees and sunny. I gave them some more red Kool-Aid and told them if they were hot to stay in the shade and stop whining about it. 

That gave me the idea to lay out, so I covered myself in baby oil and positioned my plastic chaise lounge right in direct sunlight. I put the baby in the playpen with some blocks while I cracked open a Tab and listened to some Neil Sedaka and Captain and Tenille on my portable radio. Don't worry, I put a bonnet on the baby since she doesn't have hair yet.

Matt had been down at the lake fishing with all the other four year olds and he came back yelling that he had a fishhook caught in his lip so I had to get the pliers and cut it out for him. I gave him some ice, told him to stop crying and sent him back to the lake to fish some more.

Around noon the kids all came back from wherever they were and I made them fried baloney sandwiches on Wonder Bread with some tasty-kakes for dessert. After that we had to go grocery shopping so I put the three older ones in the back of the station wagon and set the baby on the front seat and off we went.

I decided I needed another cigarette when we were in the car, so I lit one up and I've discovered that if you only crack the window instead of rolling it down that the smoke ventilates much better, so I have no idea why the kids were coughing and fussing for me to roll the window all the way down. They were just being dramatic, I swear. Naturally I didn't listen to them.

Bill's going to be so mad at me. I spent an entire $27.00 at the grocery store this week. Prices are so high these days. It's just ridiculous. I don't know how the A&P is going to stay in business. I bet Gerald Ford has something to do with this. Or the Russians.

I sent the kids back outside again. This time I made the girls take the baby with them, which was fine because they were just going into the woods to play. Gave me some time to watch The Edge of Night in peace.

I'm planning a big night out with Bill this weekend for our anniversary. I thought maybe we'd go have fondue, drink some Harvey Wallbangers and go to a disco. I called the eleven year old down the street and told her we'd pay her three whole dollars to babysit all night and not to worry if the baby woke up and cried. I told her if you ignore it, the baby will eventually stop crying and go back to sleep, so just turn the record player up louder or something and that if the other three want to stay up late and watch television, it's okay but make them go to bed after Carol Burnett goes off and if they want some Jiffy Pop, that's fine too. They know how to make it themselves.

Hilda called while I was making dinner (cube steaks and crinkle fries) and we got to talking about playing cards and then she said she liked Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore better than The Godfather II and I had to agree with her. I told her they ought to make a TV show after Alice. She said it would never work. I told her I had to get off the phone because I needed to mix up my Brandy Alexander and the phone cord didn't reach all the way to the liquor cabinet.

Fed the kids and Bill dinner. Then Bill went off to Bob's for poker night and the girls all came over here to play Gin Rummy with me. We had some Chex Mix and Linda brought over her famous pineapple upside down cake, which we had with Sanka. We all talked about what we were going to do for the bicentennial and then Debbie started going on and on about how she likes this Jimmy Carter guy from Georgia for President and she and Doris got into an argument because Doris is a Republican. The kids tried to peek out of their rooms, where I'd put them for the evening, but I yelled at them and told them it was grown-up time and to keep playing Candyland and Lincoln Logs until they fell asleep. I asked Debbie what color she thought I ought to redo the kitchen in - harvest gold or avocado green and she said she thought rust or Colonial blue would be even prettier. Good lord. Too many choices!

After the girls left I had to clean up the kitchen. Thank God for Corelle ware because I keep dropping coffee cups in the sink. This stuff just will not break, I tell you! It's a miracle. I mixed up another pitcher of Tang for breakfast, went and filed my nails into long, pointy ovals and then painted them a new shade called "Shimmering Ecru." When they dried I put on a polyester negligee, touched up my blue eyeshadow and sprayed my hair. Then I added a spritz of Charlie. I feel like celebrating our anniversary a little early! I have an IUD now after all. I'm not really worried about hemorrhaging or getting an infection from it. It's just a bunch of hype like that whole thalidomide scare. I knew lots of women ten years ago who took that and only one of their kids was born with a weird hand. She's not very crippled from it though. The kids in school tease her but middle schoolers are like that and it will build character.

Anyway, I think I'll have a cigarette and read some of Waiting for Mr. Goodbar. Maybe I'll put on a Streisand record until Bill gets home.

Good night!


***Welcome new readers! If you liked this post, you'll definitely be interested in my other writing. Check out my memoir Amateur Night at the Bubblegum Kittikat, available on Kindle, in paperback at Amazon, on Nook and iBooks! I'm also a columnist at elephantjournal.com. You can check out my elephant articles here! Please "Like" my facebook page too. I update there a lot. Hope you enjoy them and hope you'll be back soon!
Monday, March 03, 2014

50 Things I Love About Living in Florida


I've complained heartily about living in Florida for many years, but I've learned to bloom where I was planted in spite of hurricanes, palmetto bugs, elderly tourists from Quebec and men who try to trade live alligators for a case of beer who somehow make the national news with shenanigans like this.

The rest of the country loves to make fun of Florida, but the truth is, this place is pretty darned entertaining and we Floridians get that so we understand your jokes. We're laughing right along with you and partly because we're about to go to the beach while y'all are stuck shoveling snow.

Here are all the reasons why I love living in Florida:

1. The aforementioned going to the beach while the rest of the country is shoveling snow, which is enough reason right there.

2. Moons Over My Hammy.

3. Hey, I need a lemon for my iced tea. Let me go out in the yard and pick one.

4. We never have to deal with hard, tasteless pink tomatoes in winter or any other time of year for that matter.

5. Cuban food.

6. Cuban coffee.

7. Paul & Young Ron

8. The winning trifecta of Dave Barry, Carl Hiaasen and Jimmy Buffett.

9. No matter where you are in the state you can wake up in the morning and decide you really need to go to Disney World and you can be there by lunch. Also, Florida resident passes.

10. Harry Potter World is here too.

11. I can say I share a home state with Zora Neale Hurston.

12. Manatees

13. Freaking out the tourists by ordering dolphin in restaurants. Relax, everyone else calls it mahi mahi. It's not Flipper.

14. Year round flowers.

15. Year round flowers that smell good like gardenias, plumeria and night blooming jasmine.

16. Our ocean is as clear as a swimming pool.

17. Florida lobsters taste better than Maine lobsters and you can just swim out and pick them out of the water for free.

18. Stone crab season.

19. I live on an island.

20. Florida Man.

21. Flori-Duh.

22. Mango Season.

23. Air plants and Staghorn ferns

24. It's very easy to entertain relatives from out of town here.

25. People watching EVERYWHERE. Oh my god, it never gets old or boring.

26. Even our mannequins have ridiculously huge boobs.

27. The Channel 7 News. You just have to see it to believe it. Honestly.

28.  Barrel tiled roofs.

29. Water taxis. I kid you not. You can take a boat taxi just about anywhere you need to go.

30. In high school we had Oceanography classes and actually went snorkeling on class trips.

31. Paddleboarding!

32. You can always find a park to take your kids to.

33.  You can paint your house pink and no one bats an eyelash over it. That's totally normal. I mean, your neighbor's house is turquoise for goodness sakes and the guy down the street painted his house lavender.

34. Have you ever read Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief? Please do so immediately.

35. No state income taxes.

36. You can still talk on the phone and drive here.

37. All nude strip clubs are totally legal. And everywhere.

38. We are probably going to do away with daylight savings time pretty soon, which means no annoying time changes twice a year. We can do this because we are in two time zones. Little known fact.

39. Seaside and Grayton Beach up in the Panhandle. Heaven on earth.

40. Let's not forget Key West, which is essentially its own country anyway.

41. Rainbows are ridiculously common.

42. The Dali museum.

43. We have green parrots and wild monkeys. IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. And it's normal!!

44. Beach yoga.

45. Zoo Miami. It's awesome. Best zoo I've ever been to. Even the National Zoo and San Diego can't compare.

46. Lincoln Road. Everything about it.

47. The garden at the Delano.

48. You can wear flip flops anywhere. They are considered formal attire.

49. The Christmas Boat Parade.

50. Without Florida's craziness, I never would have had the material to write a book like Amateur Night at the Bubblegum Kittikat.




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