Rules of Engagement

dating

Many people remember the instant it happens. And nothing is ever the same. The sun is brighter. Mr. Bluebird lands on your shoulder because you’re just so darned happy. You’ve become so annoying that your closest friends are actually plotting Mr. Bluebird’s untimely demise.

And that’s a sure sign that you are head over heels in love.

Every teenager experiences that universal rite of passage known as falling in love – usually with a person who doesn’t even know they occupy space on planet earth. For me, it was probably best if I remained unnoticed by my high school Crush de Jour. With my unibrow, a space between my front teeth big enough to park a Prius and a wardrobe from the Sears flammable collection, not being noticed was probably best to keep at least one tiny shard of my fragile teenage ego intact.

But eventually those unacknowledged teenage crushes pave the way for Real Life LOVE. It’s On the Job Training for that life changing moment when Cupid runs over you driving that Mack Truck of full of Flaming Amore Arrows. You can’t eat. You can’t sleep. You can’t talk about anything but your One and Only. That special someone has swept you off your feet.

It’s hopeless when you’re smitten. Then it’s all over except for deciding between the FryDaddy Jr. or the George Foreman Grill for the registry. What the heck, you only have a few weddings in this lifetime, make them special. So don’t be greedy, you can ask for the Foreman on the next go round.

Those were the days. [Read more…]

Cell Phone Addict

cell phone woman

When I was a kid and the phone would ring during dinner, my mom would glare at the harvest gold wall mount and yell, “DON’T answer it!” She’d then lower her voice. “Pretend we’re not home,” she’d whisper as if the caller could hear her. According to Mom, there was an appropriate time and place to be connected to the outside world via that 10-foot tangled cord.

Dinner was not one of them.

In the 70s, when it was time to make a long distance call to Grandma, Mom would watch the clock until 7 p.m. when AT&T dropped the rates to fifty-cents a minute. “Talk fast!” Mom would admonish me in the background as the bill ticked higher with every tick of the clock. “Just write a letter!” she’d finally screech as she grabbed the phone from me and slammed it down. If the end-of-the-month budget was especially tight, Mom wasn’t opposed to ringing up Grandma at 11 p.m., when the rates went to a quarter a minute. Although at that time of night we could talk longer, as I recall the musings of a seven-year-old at that hour could not compete with Grandma’s obsession with Johnny Carson’s monologue.

[Read more…]

Axe the Axe

 

 

 

Santa, dear Santa

santa2It’s that time of year

But you showing up

Is now my biggest fear

 

I’m not being critical

Of the stuff that you bring

In fact, I’ll tell you

It’s only one thing

 

Santa, you know

I don’t mean to be mocking

But last time you left

This stuff in the stocking

 

So Santa, my friend

I’ve just one thing to say

Please don’t leave Axe

At my house Christmas Day [Read more…]

Maternal Instinct

holding babySome women are born to be mothers.  Then there’s me.  The tell-tale signs of my lack of maternal instincts started at a tender age.  While other girls fussed and cooed over their plastic baby dolls, I cut all the hair off mine and left it naked in the backyard in the rain for five days.

When it came time to enter the babysitting ranks, my mother lined me up with my very first job.

It was also my last.

I took my young charges to the park to spend a fun-filled afternoon. As far as I was concerned, we had a great time.  So imagine my surprise when I was not only fired, but forever banned from babysitting, by my very own mother.  She informed me that I exhibited less-than good judgment while taking care of her best friend’s children.

I was perplexed. [Read more…]

Jeans for Every Occasion. Seriously.

jeans

Ever since Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss invented them in 1873, workhorse blue jeans have been a part of the American landscape.  The advent of Lady Levis put them on the female fashion radar in 1934.  And we’ve had a love affair with all things denim ever since.

Although we adore our brands with a fierce loyalty, women have endured many incarnations of this iconic wardrobe staple.  We’ve paraded around with Gloria Vanderbilt, Calvin Klein and Jordache stamped on our derrieres. I’ve worn things that would warrant the Black Bar of Fashion Don’t Shame to hide my true identity when I donned trendy, less-than-flattering nightmares like jeggings (jean leggings), jorts (jean shorts) or that too-long denim skirt that made me bear an uncanny resemblance to Ma Ingalls.

In 1947, Wrangler introduced the “new jeans for cowboys.” But recently Wrangler made an inventive effort to reach out to the female consumer. And I bet their latest denim development has Jacob and Levi turning over in their graves – Wrangler Spa Denim Jeans – better known as moisturizing jeans. [Read more…]

Lost – The Home Game

man fridge

By the time I heard the refrigerator door open for the fifth time in less than a minute, I knew what was next.  Footsteps were heading in my direction, just like clockwork.

“Mom,” Older Boy asked, “Where’s the ketchup?”

There are only two possible answers to this question at our house – the fridge or the cabinet. Being in charge of condiment procurement and storage, I knew the correct answer was the fridge.

“Follow me,” I said. I opened the door and scooted the single gallon of milk a mere three inches to the right on the shelf.  This nearly imperceptible move immediately revealed a Costco-sized tankard of Heinz.

“Hmph,” he said grabbing the bright red plastic bottle filled with enough ketchup to liberally douse every French fry served on the 3-11 shift at any McDonalds.  “I didn’t see it.”

The reason, of course, is obvious; I spend my free time moving household items around to confuse him.

But I’m starting to wonder if we need to schedule a family visit at the eye doctor.  Because Younger Boy and The Husband also routinely experience this unique visual disturbance when looking for things.

Just last week, I heard what sounded like cabinet doors opening and closing in the other room.  A few minutes later, Younger Boy entered the room where I was sitting and asked, “Have you seen my tuba?”

Pause for a moment, if you will.

A tuba is not your typical household item.  Nor is it a diminutive and easily misplaced musical instrument like, say, a clarinet or kazoo.  When properly housed in its case, it bears an uncanny resemblance to a Volkswagen parked in a corner of my living room.  So, yes, not only have I seen the tuba, I’ve tripped over it in the middle of the night most notably when Younger Boy deposited it in the center of the room. At those moments in the dark of the night, I’m not usually referring to it as a tuba.

“Follow me,” I told Younger Boy, walking toward the living room.  He nearly tripped over it when we entered the room.

“So that’s where it is,” he said with relief. “I didn’t see it.”

So I wasn’t the least bit surprised the next morning when The Husband walked in the kitchen and asked, “Have you seen my wallet?”

Of course I’d seen it, when I was removing a couple of twenties.

“It’s on your desk.”

“I just looked,” he told me.  “It’s not there.”

“Follow me,” I said.  As we stood in front of his extremely tidy desk, I lifted a file folder to reveal his wallet.

“I didn’t see it,” he said grabbing his wallet and shoving it in his back pocket just before leaving the room.

I don’t know why they come in search of me when it’s time for Household Lost and Found.  Apparently, they believe I’m equipped with a homing device.  Sadly, boys, ovaries are not GPS enabled.

Then it dawned on me, eyesight isn’t the problem.  Their vision is just fine.  And it didn’t take a doctor visit to figure it out.  It’s obvious.

They can always find me.

So I have a plan.  I’m plastering a picture of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model, Kate Upton, on every object they might need to find. I guarantee I’ll never have to look for anything again.

I speak from personal experience; it worked for me.

Because I haven’t misplaced my car keys once, – since I got my Brad Pitt keychain.

It’s October – Get Your Mammogram

It’s breast cancer awareness month. Get your mammogram.  Remind someone you love to get theirs. I double dog dare you.

The New Rules of the Working Mom Reality

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Younger Boy and Older Boy,

As you may or may not have noticed, I’ve been at your beck and call for the last fourteen years.  I, your faithful indentured servant, have been available 24/7.  No lunch money?  I delivered.  Needed a ride?  I was there.  Forgot to clean your room?  It was done.

No doubt, I have been working.  And I’ve been well paid in the currency of stay-at-home momhood – glitter glue cards and spontaneous hugs.

But we’ve entered a new phase.  You’re both in high school and I’m bored.  So I’ve got BIG news. No, it’s NOT a baby brother.  [Read more…]

Still Holding On – and Holding

It was a simple question.  It should have been on the website.  It wasn’t.  So it should have been a quick and easy phone call.  Forty-seven minutes later, I realized I was in hell – that tortured no man’s land of a customer service phone call known as On Hold.

So it was only fitting that the purgatory playlist included Johnny Cash singing Ring of Fire.

But just getting to that loop of music is a herculean task in the customer service Olympics.  Because before you can even to listen to the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive you have to talk to the automated lady who rarely understands whatever words are coming from your lips, regardless of the volume or tone in which you speak.

She starts out nice enough.  “Your call is important to us,” she says sweetly.  Robo Lady tells me to listen carefully because the menu options have changed suggesting that I might have the interest and brain capacity available to have this memorized for reference.

Robo Lady seems committed to getting my call to the proper destination and offers up a detailed array of menu options.  “If you’re calling about warranty questions, say warranty,” she says.  I say, “Warranty.”  “You said technical support, right?” she continues. “Please say yes or no.”  “No, warranty,” I tell her.  “Sorry, I didn’t get that. You said technical support, right?” she says starting to sound annoyed with me.  “NO. NO. NO! WAR-RAN-TEE,” I enunciate slowly and carefully like I’m auditioning for The Actor’s Studio.  “That is not a valid option. Please hold while I transfer you to the next available customer service representative,” she admonishes me now morphing from her once helpful persona into a cranky, peri-menopausal broad with passive-aggressive issues.

[Read more…]

Scarred For Life

I was in the privacy of my own home. The shades were drawn. It was the middle of the day.  There was no chance of getting caught.

Or so I thought.

 In my haste, I overlooked one very important detail – locking the back door.

 I don’t know who was more startled. And I’m not sure exactly how much The Boys witnessed before I realized they were standing there. It was a scene no teenager should ever have to see.

The spectacle they observed was so utterly horrifying, so completely embarrassing for all of us that there is not enough therapy available to wipe that look of disgust off their faces. [Read more…]

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