I'm Full of ... Thanks

So don't be bitterly disappointed, y'all, but this will be my last post until like Monday or something. Because I'm gonna be eating myself into a stupor celebrating my blessings with my family. But, since I can't let Thanksgiving go completely unobserved here at the Frump, I'm giving you a little something extra to be thankful for. That's right: I've written a special* poem just for the occasion.

*And by "special" I mean the same kind of special that I use to describe my son who eats paper products.

Anyway, without further ado, here it is. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!*

*And by "everyone" I mean my American readers who are celebrating Thanksgiving. To the rest of you: happy ... regular day?

It's that time once again, when our thoughts turn to thanks;
And we realize that riches aren't only in banks.
My kids are my own greatest blessings, so here
Are a few of the reasons I'm thankful this year ...

I'm thankful when nobody pees on the floor
And nobody poops on the way out the door.

I'm thankful when ten precious minutes elapse
Without pinches, pushes, tugs, bites, taunts, or slaps.

I'm thankful for finding a dependable sitter
Who'll do projects with bubbles and glue sticks and glitter.

I'm thankful for those rare "good dinner nights"
When they don't spill their milk, and eat more than two bites.

Words aren't enough to express my deep gratitude
For the times they fulfill my requests without attitude.

I'm thankful they're healthy and happy and well,
Even though on occasion they put me through hell.

Which brings us to something no mom can dispute:
They'd better be thankful they're so stinkin' cute!

Working Mother (Effer)

Yesterday Curtis and I were getting all testy and argumentative, also known as doing the budget: the fastest way to make two normally compatible people look like candidates for the Jerry Springer Show. And it became painfully clear that my freelance writing gig just isn't cutting it. I've been doing it for seven years now, and I love to write, but let's face it. Freelance anything is competitive - sometimes I spend more time scouting out jobs than actually doing work - and the pay is not what you'd call reliable. (I once waited a year for a check I was expecting within a month.)

So Curtis dropped the bomb. The J-word ... as in job. As in taking-my-kids-to-daycare, brushing-my-hair-before-noon, non-flexible-scheduling employment. He says it was a "suggestion" and that I shouldn't take it so personally; I say it was a "get-your-ass-out-there-and-do-something-more-lucrative." Potato, potahto. The point is ... it's something I need to think about.

But y'all? I've been a freelance writer for seven years now, and a work-at-home Mom for five of those. I have very little "real world" work experience. I didn't finish college (hoo needs awl that fancey lernin' ennyhow?). And I don't even need to mention the state of the economy and the struggling workforce. If I don't want to work at McDonald's (and just for the record: I don't), I'm going to have to have a decent resume. But what am I supposed to put on it? That I waitressed for six months when I was fourteen? That I had a temp job at a market research firm? That I worked part-time stocking the freezer section of the Ramstein Air Base commissary, and was then promoted to freezer and bread?


I had (magical, cotton-candy-scented-unicorn) dreams of the blog becoming a book deal. Or of someone reading it and being like, "Hey! This chick can write about poop!" and hiring me on-the-spot as a regular parenting columnist somewhere. I know, right? I also dreamed about marrying Prince William, and we all see how that turned out (thanks a lot, Kate Middleton, for ruining my shot at the monarchy).

So before I work on a resume, I'm compiling a list of my skills. Here's what I have so far:

- Writing (duh).
- Typing. Like really really fast.
- Spelling (hey, that's gotta count for something, right?).
- Meeting tight deadlines.
- Coming up with stuff that makes people laugh ... at least some of the time.
- Cleaning up messes that would make most people run screaming.
- Getting two children to nap simultaneously (hey. That IS a skill).
- Making a kick-ass meal ... with dessert.
- Eating aforementioned dessert.
- Pretending that I don't think farts are funny for the purpose of teaching my sons some manners.
- Decoding babyspeak and various childhood speech impediments.
- Planning and executing a menu for an entire month.
- Drawing cartoons (coincidentally, about the perils of working from home in this case).
- Keeping my house generally put-together despite the presence of three rambunctious little boys.
- Speaking in a variety of accents and crazy voices.

Think there's a job out there for me? Maybe someone needs a receptionist who answers one call in a British accent, and the next in the voice of Widget from "Wow Wow Wubbzy." Or a recipe-tester who, like, types them up afterwards. Or an elephant-poop-shoveler.

This is gonna be hard.



How NOT to Potty Train Your Child

When you're ready to take that all-important step and potty train your kid, there's no shortage of informational how-to guides on the Internet. But I'm putting a different spin on that right here at The Frump, y'all. Because I? Am a living, breathing, regretful example of a potty training failure. Which means there's a valuable lesson to be learned here: when it comes to getting Junior to ditch the diapers, do not - I repeat, do not - do what I've done. Just read my story, take note of my method, and then don't ever do it. Your kid should be potty trained in no time, and you can thank me monetarily if you wish. I mean, it IS kind of a huge favor. Me being your personal example and all.

Anyway, as you know if you've read me for any length of time, my middle son Cameron will be turning three years old on January 17th. That's wouldn't be such a disgraceful age to still be wearing Pull-Ups if I hadn't been attempting to potty train him FOR OVER A YEAR.

Are you done laughing? Because I don't have all day.

... There. That's better. Can I finish?


The wheels were set in motion around June of 2009, when I was pregnant with baby #3, henceforth referred to as Coby. At the time of Coby's birth, Cameron would be just shy of two years (20 months old, to be precise). Seeing as a.) my oldest son Colin was completely potty-trained by the time he was 2-1/2, and b.) Cameron had Colin as an example of how to pee in the big-boy potty, I figured it would be easy-peasy to potty train Cameron before the new baby arrived, even though he was a little on the young side.

Now, looking back, I can see how this was flawed logic. But seriously? When you're pregnant and facing the dismal prospect of not one but two babies in diapers? Logic kinda flies out the window.

And in keeping with the "logic out the window" theme, I decided that I would try to potty train him in three days.

Okay, now you can laugh. Because I, too, have to laugh* at the irony of thinking that I'd have him using the toilet consistently in three days, and here I am like a year and a half later and he is STILL not using the toilet consistently.

*And by "laugh" I mean make a weak little sound that resembles a chuckle because if I don't I'll end up crumpled on the floor weeping in great choking sobs.    

Anyway, I found a 3-day training guide on the Internet and gave it a go (pun totally intended). You can find my riveting* day-by-day chronicle of that here.

*And by "riveting" I mean pretty interesting if you like to read about three days' worth of me cleaning up urine and feces from my floor.

Obviously that didn't work. In retrospect, he just wasn't ready and I tried to make him ready. Which was probably the catastrophic mistake that triggered this potty-training failure. So then I thought I'd wait until after the baby was born.

November 4th of LAST YEAR, almost two months after Coby was born, I wrote on this very blog:

"Potty training. Yes, I decided to try it again. WHAT am I THINKING, you guys?!? It's like when the glorious vision of only one child in diapers appears in my mind, I miraculously gloss over the dirty details of getting to that point. And with all this other stuff on my proverbial plate right now? Ugh. I am kicking myself. But potty training isn't the type of thing you can just take lightly. It requires commitment. And unfortunately, my dumb ass committed to it before my brain could say, 'Wait! What are you doing? Noooooooo!!!'"

Yes. I wrote that last year. A year ago. So obviously? It didn't go over so smoothly then, either.

Which brings us to now. Like I said, Cameron is almost three. And I'm at the point where I just want to drag him to the toilet and give him swirlies* until he learns what the damn thing is for.

*And by "give him swirlies" I mean stand there begging and pleading on the verge of tears for him to please, please, for the love of God please learn to go pee-pee in the big boy potty so Mommy doesn't have to sell another organ in order to buy diapers.

See, he does just fine using the toilet ... if he isn't wearing pants. If he gets to run around like a nudist, he goes to the toilet every single time, pee or poop, no accidents. But the minute I cover his naked little heinie with anything - underwear, a Pull-Up, whatever - it's like he's wearing a damn diaper. If he has to go, he just goes in whatever happens to be covering his butt. And I thought maybe after a few times of that, of walking around with this uncomfortable mess in his pants, he'd be broken of the habit - but no.

He couldn't. Care. Less.

And there's no end in sight. We're at a stubborn potty-training impasse. 

So learn from my mistakes, folks. Because only one of us should have to endure the embarrassment of carting a pantsless kid off to college. 

The New-Mom Illusion

Do you ever look at your kids with disbelief and think, "Why are you acting like this?"

No? Well ... you will. I promise. Sorry to tell you this, but your time is coming.

I admit it: in the past, I've been guilty of being a bit (okay, a lot) self-righteous. Because when Colin was a baby, he was a good baby. I mean, really good. He was quiet and smiley and bright, rarely crying unless he legitimately needed something. And we'd go out in public - like to the grocery store - and I'd see a mother with, say, a tantrum-throwing two-year-old and I'd smugly think, "Man, I'm glad my kid's not a brat like that." When the two-year mark passed, and Colin was still well behaved, I was totally riding that parental high horse. (I know. Don't you just want to slap me?!) I was sure we'd bypassed the "terrible twos" thanks to our angelic child and superior parenting skills.

Ha. Hahahahahahaha.

Then late in his twos, closer to three, it began. The meltdowns. The diva-esque behavior. No longer was he happy to obediently go along with what Mommy wanted; now it was all about what Colin wanted, and if our visions didn't line up? Look out.

When Cameron was born, I was relieved. Because he was "good," just like his brother had been. And naively I thought it was a goodness that would last, that even though Colin had "turned to the dark side," Cameron would be the one that was GENUINELY good, like enough to stay that way. Why hadn't I learned my lesson the first time?! I shouldn't have been surprised when, at about two and a half, he started to form opinions and defy things he normally complied with. But I was.

So that brings us to now. I swear, Colin is a fourteen-year-old girl in a five-year-old boy's body: I didn't know a Kindergartener could be that dramatic. He's been getting in some trouble at school for bugging other kids when they're trying to work. And at almost three years old, Cameron is constantly in trouble for a.) sticking his tongue out at us or b.) biting his brothers or c.) a combination of both, and when we do something he doesn't like, we can expect an impassioned exclamation of "You're mean!"

Even my Mii gets pissed at Colin's.

I watch SuperNanny. I read parenting articles out the ying-yang. I am consistent with my discipline. I set clear boundaries for my kids. I keep them on a regular schedule. But y'all? Nothing I do seems to fundamentally change anything. I think it's that way for the vast majority of parents. You can seek the advice, you can apply it, but you can't expect a miracle. Kids will be kids, and kids can be brats sometimes. All kids. No matter how well-behaved they start out to be.

Coby, our 14-month-old, is good. For now. But I give it another ten months or so - a little more, if we're lucky. This time, I didn't even harbor the "new-mom illusion" that he's this extraordinarily placid, docile and obedient child - or that my brand of discipline is naturally perfect (I couldn't even type that line without laughing).

So for any mom who has ever secretly looked down upon another during a public meltdown, while your little bundle of joy sits beaming and quiet in the shopping cart, just wait. Because that angelic little chubster is actually a ticking time bomb.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Horse Pubes & Bumpits & Raisins, Oh My!

Hey you. Yeah, you! I'm glad you're checking out the ol' blog. So ... how'd you get here? Did you find me via Facebook or Twitter? Or did you find me when you were searching for ...

... horse pubes?

Because somebody did. Seriously.

As much as I wish I could say I'm kidding, that is an actual search term from which someone ended up on my blog.

It's fun - though sometimes a bit creepy - to see how people get here. Since I'm on Blogger, I can use Google Analytics to see that type of stuff. And most of these search terms make me LOL ... literally. Here, because I like to share the funny, are some of my recent favorites. Keep in mind, these are actually things people have searched - 100% unedited. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried, y'all.

george costanza baah

make a little stanky stanky

i love my smelly balls

real whores fighting

could my houseplant be haunted

can parrots eat marshmallows

raisins reconstitute in poop

horse pubes

my bumpits dont look nice on me


thank goodness tomorrow is trash day forgot to take it out last week

shook my groove thing and sun came out

big girl feeling not so fresh

my husband's a fat ass

superhuman housewifery

toys r us catalog dirty surprise

I think I can figure out how some of these searches ended up here. I mean - it's pretty obvious to me, for example, where "whore" and "raisins" and "Bumpits" and "smelly balls" came from. Oh yeah, and there was that one time where I accidentally called my husband a fat ass (ACCIDENTALLY! For real!). And I guess I have talked about that "not-so-fresh feeling."

But George Costanza? I'm at a loss there. I don't even watch "Seinfeld."

I'm Losing My Mind

Before seven o'clock this morning, Cameron had a black eye, and there was a bent plastic golf club in the trash.

And that was just the first fiasco.

Actually, you know what? I'm lying. The morning started going downhill at like 5:20 when Colin came into our room - where everybody was sleeping and would have continued to sleep for at least another hour - whining that he couldn't find his notebook.

His. Notebook.

At five. Twenty. In the morning.

"We'll find it when we get up," I hissed. "Now go back to bed for a little while before you wake your brothers."

Of course, that was met with an even louder bawl, which woke the entire household. And when my children wake up early, they act like it's some special occasion on which they get to run around like crazed animals. But not before Cameron said, "I pooped on the sheets!"

There's a special sinking feeling reserved for sentences beginning with "I pooped." Y'all know the feeling. The good news? He had only peed, leaking through his Pull-Up. The bad news? He had leaked on my fresh clean sheets. The same sheets I washed less than twelve hours ago.

So anyway, in the midst of all this, I was just trying to get it together. You know how crappy you feel in the morning when you have a cold? Yeah - that's me today. My chest was itchy and tight, throat scratchy, head congested, mouth parched. Ugh.

I stumbled into the bathroom to put my contacts in, at which point I noticed a rip in one. When I tried to swipe it out of my eye, I ended up swiping it somewhere up under my eyelid where I couldn't even see it any more. And that's when Cameron's black eye happened, Colin swinging that stupid plastic golf club carelessly and whacking his little brother in the face. Of course it had to occur while my contact lens was lost and orbiting my eyeball. Thank goodness Curtis hadn't left for work yet.

The rest of the getting-Colin-ready-for-school process went similarly. Through the one nostril I can (barely) breathe out of, I noticed a poop smell, which I discovered was emanating from not one but two dog piles in the laundry room. While I was cleaning that up, Cameron got into an industrial-sized bottle of baby lotion. Colin whined. I dropped a carton of eggs on the floor (luckily only a few of them broke). I spilled pancake syrup. Colin whined. I couldn't find the kids any clean socks despite the fact that I just had the laundry caught up yesterday. Colin whined. Just as we were ready to walk out the door, it was the baby's turn to frickin' poop.

By the time I got everyone fed, dressed, changed, and ready to load in the car, I was so frazzled that I couldn't think straight. Which is why when I got out of the car at the school to get Colin out, I felt an arctic blast of cold air and realized with horror that I HAD FORGOTTEN TO GET MYSELF DRESSED. Here I was in the dropoff lane, at the busiest time of morning, surrounded by kids. Other parents. Teachers. Wearing ...

... a stretched-out, pancake-batter-encrusted blue camisole ...

... black maternity culottes. Yes. Let me repeat that. MATERNITY. CULOTTES. (I'm not even pregnant.)

... flip-flops.

Did I mention it was like 40 degrees this morning?

I immediately had that "OMG WTF" startled feeling and seriously fought the urge to dash back into the car and hide. I was halfway around the vehicle though, and decided to play it off like I totally meant to come to school in my skimpy, dumpy sleep ensemble. Face burning, I got Colin out of the car, handed him his backpack, and sent him off with a hug and kiss - and then hightailed it back into the Jeep, where I prayed all the way home. Because did I ever tell you about my Jeep? It's a piece of crap. There's something wrong with it but it's too expensive to fix at the moment, so we only drive it back and forth to school since you can't go over like 30 miles per hour or it makes this horrible knocking sound. Every day I stress out as I tootle to the school and back, hoping that my sloppy jalopy won't kick the bucket while I'm en route with three kids in tow.

Anyway, that's been my morning up to this point. And it's only 8:45. So far, since we got home from dropping Colin off, Cameron and Coby have been good and played well together ... but with the way today has gone, I can't help but worry that it's some sort of calm before the storm.

Wish me luck. I think I'm gonna need it.

UPDATE: The rest of the day went a little more smoothly ... until this afternoon when I picked Colin up from school. I won't elaborate on how, lest you think I was smacked upside the head with the "Stupid Stick," but I managed to ...

... lock my two little ones into the car, and myself out of it.

Panicked, I called Curtis. "Help!" I squealed into the phone, and told him what I'd done.

Curtis is always cool and levelheaded even in the face of an extreme freakout - it's one of the things I love most about him (almost making up for the fact that he regularly leaves me stranded without toilet paper). "Use the window, remember?" he said in a calming tone rarely heard outside of a psychiatrist's office.

And that's when I was flooded with relief. Because, you see, sometimes it is actually a blessing that my Jeep is a piece of poo. The front windows are broken, so they don't roll down - the glass is just, like, sitting in there. Sometimes the windows slip down, which is why they are held in place with ... wait for it ... wadded strips of paper. Yes, I know. It's the equivalent of wearing glasses with a big piece of tape over the nosepiece. (Any PayPal donations will go directly to a "fix-my-crappy-Jeep" fund. Promise.)

Today, though, it was actually a GOOD thing - because I shimmied the window right down and was able to unlock the door and get my kids out. Crisis averted.

At least I was dressed this time ...   

Zom-biatch - UPDATED!

Joanne realized with dismay that her expensive anti-aging serum wasn't working after all.

Hi, my name is Rita, and I'm scared of zombies.

I don't mean as in the "Wow, those things are kinda creepy" way. I mean as in the "petrified-when-I-think-about-them, can't-go-to-the-bathroom-alone-after-watching-them-on-TV, nightmares-for-a-week" type of scared. My logical mind knows they don't exist. But the part of my brain that overrides my logical mind? Is a cowardly little bitch when it comes to zombies. In fact, every night before I go to bed, I glance out my bedroom window into the darkness of my yard to make sure there are no zombies lurching their undead way up to my door. Embarrassing true story, y'all. But I can't help it.

And okay, I (sheepishly) admit it: the other day I Googled "is a zombie apocalypse possible."

What? I might need to be, you know, prepared.


I can trace the fear back all the way to my childhood, when I was about five and my parents left me in the care of my teenaged siblings for the afternoon - who decided that a scary movie marathon would be fun. (Way to go, guys.) I'll never forget it: we watched Return of the Living Dead, and ever since then, zombies are the numero-uno way to make my stomach drop and my knees knock.

Oddly enough, though - as scared as I am - zombie movies are my absolute favorite type of horror movie to watch. I was thrilled when AMC debuted its new show The Walking Dead on Halloween night - and apparently I'm in good company, as it was the most-watched episode premiere in history. Now I can't wait for Sunday nights when it comes on. It's my new guilty pleasure. (Anybody else obsessed with that show? Holla!)

My brother Steve and I were having an interesting discussion the other day, and I thought I'd bring it to the blog for some outside opinions. So here it is, the burning question of the day:

If zombies were real, would they poop?

I say they would. I mean, they still walk, and eat - which are basic biological functions. And if you eat, well, you know what happens. But my brother argues that you never see a zombie who has ... shat himself. Here's the exact text he sent me:

Steve: They seem to be lacking in dexterity. I don't think they just drop pants and squat.

After which he added, "More research is required."

I say that you wouldn't even be able to tell if they'd soiled themselves, seeing as they're already gross and decaying and dirty. But Steve insists that you'd be able to see.

Opinions? Lend me your braaaaaaaaaaiiiins ...

UPDATE: So a few hours ago, my brother directed me toward The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. According to author Max Brooks, and page 11-12 of the book:

"Recent evidence has once and for all discounted the theory that human flesh is the fuel for the undead. A zombie's digestive tract is completely dormant. The complex system that processes food, extracts nutrition, and excretes waste does not factor into a zombie's physiology. Autopsies conducted on neutralized undead have shown that their 'food' lies in its original, undigested state at all sections of the tract. This partially chewed, slowly rotting matter will continue to accumulate, as the zombie devours more victims, until it is forced through the anus, or literally bursts through the stomach or intestinal lining. While this more dramatic example of non-digestion is rare, hundreds of eyewitness reports have confirmed undead to have distended bellies. One captured and dissected specimen was found to contain 211 pounds of flesh within its system! Even rarer accounts have confirmed that zombies continue to feed long after their digestive tracts have exploded from within."

So there you have it. "Expert" proof - I mean, at least from a dude who wrote a book - that zombies do not in fact poop (unless the aforementioned food-forcing-through-the-anus thing happens. In which case ... EW!).


Hang onto your hats, y'all, because I'm about to make a very serious announcement:

I don't care if I never see another cupcake.*

*This is probably only about 5% true.

Why the sudden, monumental shift in attitude, you ask? Because I have spent literally all day messing around with cupcakes. And I'm tired of it.

See, it all started when our new neighbors invited us over for dinner. I was really excited because, hello, we could totally become BFF's. We are sorely lacking in friends whose lives are at the same point as ours (i.e., boring married couples with young kids). So when they asked us over for tacos, it was like being asked on a first date: thrilling and nerve-wracking all at the same time.

For a week I've agonized over what kind of dessert to bring. Finally, I opted for chocolate cupcakes: generally a universally pleasing option. But seeing as this is a first-date-with-the-neighbors situation, these couldn't be just any old cupcakes. Oh no. They had to be the best cupcakes evah.

So I used this recipe ... which is called The Best Chocolate Cake Ever. And it seriously is. Just as I knew they would, the cupcakes came out brilliantly: light, fluffy and moist but still deep, rich and chocolatey.

And of course when you have such awesome cupcakes, they simply must be topped with equally awesome frosting - Ina Garten's chocolate buttercream, because forty positive reviews on Food Network.com can't be wrong, y'all.

So I bought the best quality (read: most effin' painfully expensive) chocolate that Hy-Vee had to offer. I carefully followed the directions. It isn't necessarily a difficult recipe, but because I'd never made it before, I floundered a few times.*

*Such as when I decided to save time by adding the vanilla directly to the melted chocolate chips without realizing that they would turn into a solid un-meltable mess that would take a bunch of hot water and stirring until my arm fell off to remedy.  

Finally, though, the chocolate buttercream frosting was finished. And it was a masterpiece. A vision of deliciousness: glossy ripples of chocolate, whipped to silken perfection. Time to sample! I got myself a heaping little spoon and gleefully dug in. And ohhhhhh boy, did it taste ...

... salty?

Dismayed, I racked my brain. WHY did this deceptively gorgeous chocolate buttercream taste like a salt lick? I mean, there was salt in the recipe, but hardly enough to make it taste like that. And then it hit me.

I'd used salted butter. The recipe called for unsalted butter.


So there it went, my beautiful buttercream, into the trash can. And there I went, rushing back to the store, where I spent another small fortune on the necessary frosting supplies for my perfect, new-neighbor-impressing cupcakes.

This time, the process went much more smoothly. I knew what to expect. And when it was finished, it tasted just as it should have: not salty.
So what do you do when you've got delicious cupcakes and perfect frosting and are trying to make a positive impression on your new-neighbors-slash-potential-BFFs? You can't just slather on the frosting with a regular old butter knife. Oh no. You've got to do something fancy.

Unfortunately, I don't own one of those little bags that pipes the frosting onto the cupcake into a neat little swirl. So I improvised: I cut the corner off a Ziploc bag and made my own makeshift frosting-piper-doohickey. And I happily frosted the cupcakes until I realized ... ohmigosh. These look like they're topped with little piles of poop.

Yeah. The brown, the swirl, the whipped consistency, they all conspired to make my cupcakes look unfortunately fecal, like something you'd see on Cake Wrecks (seriously, look at the last picture on that link, and then look at mine):

Mmmmm, feeeeee-ceeeees.

"My cupcakes look like shit!" I wailed to Curtis. "Literally!"

He laughed and agreed that, yeah, they did look a little like piles of poo. And because you can't present your new neighbors with poo-topped cupcakes, I got out the butter knife that I'd refused to use in the first place.

And so my cupcakes ended up looking like this:


Yeah. Because smeary brown haystacks are so much more appetizing.

To add insult to injury, I didn't even get to go to the taco dinner at the new neighbors' because Cameron developed a hacking cough and runny nose, and I didn't want him to give the ick to their little girl. Just as well, though, because at least Curtis could take the cupcakes over when he went - and I wouldn't have to witness the neighbors' reaction.
But let's look on the bright side ...

One batch of chocolate cupcakes: $25.
Having something to blog about: priceless.

... You're welcome.

What a Mouthful!

Last night, my boys snuggled under their covers as I read them a bedtime story, hanging on every word ... or so I thought. Until Colin came out of left field with what can only be described as the most disarming question of the century.

"Mommy, are these testicles in my mouth?"


Come again?

"... Uh, testicles?" I repeated after some hesitation.

"Yes," he said. "These things under my tongue. These little balls. Are they testicles?"

For the record, he was talking about this:

I'm pretty sure "mouth testicles" is the scientific term. ... Or not.

Once the threat of hysterical laughter passed, I told him that no, that's definitely not what those are called.

... Because Lord only knows what would happen if he went to school talking about the testicles in his mouth.

Soused on ... Soup?

... alternately titled, "How I Almost Accidentally Got My Kids Drunk."

Folks, I'm a pretty smart girl (usually) and a pretty decent cook (usually). But you won't believe either of those statements by the end of this post, I guarantee - because what I did last night should qualify for some sort of Stupid Chef Award.

Let me start out by proclaiming how much I love soup ... especially in the fall. I could seriously eat it every night and then reheat the leftovers for breakfast. And last night I decided to make one of my all-time favorites: French onion soup. Oooh la la.

Should I have been forewarned by the fact that the recipe came off the back of this bottle? Probably.

It's cooking sherry, which I rarely use. But I cook with regular drinking wine all the time - some of my favorite recipes call for it. I always have a bottle of cheap Chardonnay stashed in the back of my fridge, exclusively for swilling on extra-stressful nights recipes. And it always evaporates away - as it's supposed to when it cooks - leaving the flavor, but not the "oomph," if you know what I mean.

Anyway, seeing as my husband Curtis and I are gluttons enthusiastic eaters, I decided to double the recipe. Which meant double the sherry. I was thinking there was a lot of sherry in there anyway, before I doubled it, but who am I to argue with a recipe? I mean, that recipe was legit. Printed on a bottle and stuff.

While the soup was cooking, I decided to put some fish sticks in the oven for my kids, just in case. I literally never cook a separate meal for the boys - they always just eat what we eat - but last night, for the first time ever, I decided they might like something else better than what I was cooking.

... Little did I know what a great decision that would turn out to be.

I dished out the soup, giving the boys little bitty bowls alongside their main course. Cameron didn't touch his, opting to eat the fish sticks instead. Colin sifted through his with a spoon, but only to dig out the melted cheese at the bottom. Meanwhile, I scarfed down delicately emptied the contents of my Jethro Bodine-sized bowl.

About three-quarters of the way through, I noticed my face was starting to feel flushed. Not an "I'm-eating-hot-soup" type of flushed, but an "I'm-drinking-an-alcoholic-beverage" flushed. The exact same feeling I get when I drink wine, which incidentally goes right to my head. Soon after that, my thighs began to feel warm: also a hallmark sign of alcohol hitting my bloodstream. (So yeah, maybe that's a weird reaction - but I never claimed to be normal, y'all.)

And then it dawned on me. OMG: my soup was getting me drunk.

I pounced on my kids' (virtually untouched) bowls faster than Paris Hilton can leap in front of a camera. "Let's just take these," I said nervously to Curtis, shuttling the bowls to the sink. "I'm pretty sure that sherry didn't cook out the way it should have."

"I noticed it tastes a little strong," Curtis admitted.

I can't even convey the crazy level of relief I felt at the fact that my kids hadn't eaten their soup - and that I hadn't, heaven forbid, fed any of it to the baby. Can you imagine?! (I mean ... they're hard enough to handle when they're sober.) And I also couldn't believe I had made such a rookie mistake. Cooking FAIL.

Okay, so maybe my soup could've put people over the legal limit. (Or landed my boys in the custody of Child Protective Services!) But it tasted good.

So good, in fact, that after I threw out the kids' portions ...

... I had another bowl. *hic*

Daylight Ravings

So unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii, or outside of the U.S. altogether, you realize that today is the day when we lucky denizens of (most of) the States get to turn our clocks back an hour for the pain in the ass phenomenon known as Daylight Saving Time. And frankly, I'm sick to death of the misleading information I'm hearing about it. Because supposedly - supposedly - turning the clock back leads to an extra hour of sleep. But hear this, you perky newscasters, you chipper radio personalities, you newspaper headlines, all proclaiming that we should enjoy that extra hour: I'm calling you out on your lies. Because for those of us who have small children that don't go by the clock? We'd be more likely to see Pegasus landing on our porches with Santa Claus riding on his back than any so-called "extra" sleep.

My kids are early birds anyway - they woke me up before six today. But thanks to the lovely clock setback, it was before five. And you know what? When you open your eyes and look at the clock and you know you have to wake up even though it only says 4:41, you're automatically dead tired. Stumbling, braindead, holding-your-eyelids-open-with-toothpicks tired. I don't care if your body thinks you've slept until almost six; your brain has registered that it's almost five, and therefore too early to be up, and therefore it's all, "Screw this! I'm going back to sleep!" which is why you try to change the baby with a box of tissues and burn the pancakes black while you zone out staring at the spatula.*

*And by "you" I may or may not mean "me." 

Extra hour my ass. They ought to call it "A-Big-Eff-You-to-the-Parents-of-Small-Children-Day." Because little kids don't have any concept of the clock. They just wake up when they're not tired any more - so if they usually wake up at seven, they wake up at seven. Only now it's six. Thanks a bucket, Daylight Saving Time.

And then? You get to hear about it. On the news, in the paper, all over Facebook, in your Twitter stream. People everywhere, proclaiming how awesome it's gonna be to have an extra hour of sleep and how we should all take advantage of this glorious opportunity and how scientists say that this one extra hour of sleep could, like, make up our entire sleep deficit for the year and boost our IQ by 20 points and possibly even make us immune to disease.*

*This may not be scientifically factual information. 

The only good thing about Daylight Saving Time - the one and only perk - is that now the kids will be ready for bed at seven instead of eight. Which means I have one more hour to catch up on the laundry and the dishes and the clutter.

... Did I actually just call that a perk?

I think I'm moving to Arizona.

Get Your Google Out of My Cranium

I swear that Google can read my mind, y'all. Either that or they're staking out my house.

I'm talking about the targeted advertising that appears at the top of my Gmail. Like, one time I was sitting here staring blankly at my computer screen - which happened to be displaying my email at the time - thinking about how someday, some day, I'll finish the novel I've been working on for oh, like a thousand years now. And then all of a sudden, when my focus returned, I looked at the screen and there was an ad for self-publishing.

WTF, Google? WTF?

But as eerie as that was, the targeted ads reach a new level of uncanny the other day. Because Google reached into the depths of my very heart and soul and pulled out my longest-held desire. My desire for ...

... disco ball pants. (Click on the image if you can't see it very well.)

Why yes, that IS "Puzzle Farter" in my favorites bar.

"Finally," the ad says, "soft, shiny pants that reflect light like a disco ball."

Finally, indeed. Do you know how long I've been waiting for light-reflecting pants, people? If I had a dollar for every time I cried over my sorely lacking wardrobe, well ... let's just say I could snatch up all the disco pants that "betabrand.com" has to offer. I mean, can you imagine what such soft, shiny, eye-dazzling pants would do for cellulite?

I just checked my email again, and this time the ad is for "A Brain Surgeon's Must-Have Gizmos."

Oh Google, you know me too well.

Oh, Police

My five-year-old son, like 99.9% of all the other five-year-old sons out there, adores emergency response personnel and vehicles. Show him anything with lights and a siren and he goes all bug-eyed and slack-jawed. But though he likes them all, he's particularly obsessed with law enforcement.

For Halloween, he dressed up as a police officer, and has worn his costume for at least an hour literally every day since we got the stupid thing. He has downloaded the COPS theme song (you know, "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do ...") onto my phone, and insists that we play it - on continuous loop - on the drive to school each morning. (All I can say about that is thank effin' goodness it's too cool to ride with the windows down, because it was getting a little embarrassing.)  He has begged me to write "POLICE" on the side of every. single. toy car. he owns. Like this:

Sorry for the picture quality, but he took this one himself.

He follows me down the hall making siren sounds, in an attempt to "pull me over." He handcuffs everyone in the house who has two handcuff-able appendages, including the cats, the dog, and the baby. He watches YouTube videos of the most boring police-related stuff ever, like model police cars with flashing lights. Two days ago, when the Toys R' Us Christmas catalog came in the mail, he just about had a heart attack when he saw this:

If anybody wants to chip in, there's a "Donate" button over in the sidebar.

He insists that Santa will bring him the police car if he's a really really good boy (at a hefty $250, "Santa" is gonna have to stand out on the corner with a panhandler's cup. Or, you know, a pimp). He cut the picture out of the catalog and totes it with him wherever he goes. I think he even slept with it under his pillow last night.

I guess I'm not surprised at his police obsession. I mean, this picture - taken when he was probably around a year old - speaks volumes:

He used to haul ass to the TV every time he heard the theme song. Come to think of it, he still does.
I'm so used to all his law-related shenanigans that when he asked me to write "POLICE" on a huge Band-Aid the other day, I didn't even think twice. I figured he was making himself a little name tag or something. Turns out, he was trying to convert our Buick into a sweet police cruiser. 

Awww yeah. Now all we need are some sirens.

Citizen's arrest!

Not Your Mother's Blog. Oh Wait ...

My mom is amazing, y'all. And not just because she graced the earth with The Awesomeness that is Rita (although according to independent studies, that's like, 90% of where her amazing comes from. And by "independent studies" I mean "me"). She has been through so much in her 63 years ... stuff that could rival any soap opera, after-school special, or Nicholas Sparks book. To say she's resilient seems like an understatement. So I think I could best describe her using the very scientific term "tough old broad." 

One of the things on the "Crazy Stuff That Has Happened To My Mom" list is breast cancer. She had it, she survived it, and though it was a hard knock, she has made the best of it. But just because she made it through smiling doesn't mean she came out completely unscathed. After her mastectomy, she had to come to terms with an entirely different body - one that was missing two very important parts.

As a therapeutic outlet for her feelings during the recovery process, and as a supportive resource for other women who may be going through the same thing, Mom has started a blog. It's called Staying "You" and it's about keeping your identity and being true to yourself, not only through breast cancer, but through life in general.   

My mother has a lot of wisdom and insight to share. I know this because I never listen to it until it's too late and then I realize that she was right and I'm all, "Damn, I should've paid attention to Mom." Plus she's new to the blogosphere and needs some virtual friends. So I highly suggest stopping on by her blog, Staying "You", and saying hi.

Because you know she's gotta be cool if she gave birth to this much awesome.

Five Things I Hate About Halloween

So as it turns out, there really was a whore at the door. (Check my last entry if you're confused.) At least in appearance, if not in practice. I'm referring to the legions of pint-sized stripper lookalikes that paraded their hot-costumed heinies across my porch for Halloween candy. I'm talkin' about this type of thing:

Picture via MomLogic. See more examples in their gallery ... ugh!

I swear, some of the costumes I saw really brought out the "crotchety old lady" in me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed a few years' worth of risque Halloween-wear in my heyday (slutty witch, slutty gypsy, slutty somebody-in-an-afro-wig) - but that was when I was an adult. Like twenty-plus. Going to adult parties. Not trick-or-treating. Some of these little girls looked like they'd purchased their costumes at one of those stores that carries penis-shaped ice trays and hats with boobs on the front. I'm no prude, but there's just something inherently wrong about anyone under voting age trying to look drinking age.

That being said, let's delve into some more of my Halloween pet peeves, shall we? (Having had 250+ trick-or-treaters this year, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on this subject ... so feel free to quote me.)

Teenagers Trick-or-Treating. First of all, let me apologize if you're the parent of a teenaged trick-or-treater who has some legitimate reason to be out and about. But I think once you tack "teen" onto your age - fourteen, at the very most - you should leave the costumes to the kiddies and stick to handing out candy or toilet papering people's houses or something. It irritates me when a trick-or-treater comes up to me with a.) cleavage that rivals a breast-augmentation "after" picture, or b.) a deep and masculine voice and/or facial hair. Dude and Dudette, it's obvious that you have already gone through puberty and therefore have no place hanging out among the elementary-aged hobgoblins, so get the hell off my steps. Which brings us to number two ...

A Serious Lack of Manners. This again is mostly something that I notice among the older trick-or-treaters: a complete lack of the fundamental "please" and "thank you." Not only that, but half of them don't even say the requisite "trick or treat," choosing instead to rudely and greedily thrust their open bags in my direction. When I take my kids door to door, I make sure that they use their manners at every. Single. House. If not, we're going home: simple as that. Even my two-year-old is able to follow that rule, so it shouldn't be hard for anyone - especially people who are ten or more years older than he is.

"Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet." In the same vein as a lack of manners, we have this ridiculous and rude little ditty: "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat," and all its stupid ending variations (i.e., "If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear"). I don't hand out candy to kids who say that to me. Period. Call me bitchy, but it's disrespectful. And if your kids say this, shame on you for letting them. And if you actually encourage them to say this - as I heard one father do, urging his two little girls to say it at my house - you should be slapped upside your head. I gave those two little girls candy, but only out of sympathy that they had such a dumbass father. When they left, Colin looked up at me, wide-eyed, and said, "I didn't even laugh. I don't think that was funny." Could I have been any prouder? Probably not. Because I don't think there's anything funny about being rude to people who are generously giving you stuff.

Babies Trick-or-Treating. At the opposite end of the age spectrum are the "trick-or-treating" babies. And by "trick-or-treating" I mean "riding around dressed up in a stroller and sleeping or looking bored while their parents say 'trick-or-treat' for them and collect candy on their behalf." Here's the thing. I have three kids myself, and I know how cute babies look in costumes. I know that you can't wait to dress them up and parade them around, and there's nothing wrong with that. But the whole "getting candy" thing? Is for kids with teeth. Who can say "trick-or-treat!" themselves and walk up to the door and hold their own candy bag. Until my kids are able to do this, I dress them up and maybe take them to the neighbor's house, or my mom's or something - but never door to door. If it's candy you want, parents of babies, maybe try going out and buying some like the rest of us did. Raiding your kids' stash should be a privilege reserved for parents of age-appropriate trick-or-treaters!

So there you have it: five things that bug me about what is, otherwise, one of my favorite holidays. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm stepping off my soapbox ... and right on over to the cabinet, to once again remove all the "unsafe" candy from my boys' hoard.

Just doing my job, folks.


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