We gather here today….

The day Elvis Presley died is etched in my memory.  I wasn’t old enough to understand the significance of his passing.  I just recall my mother crying as she stood staring out the window of our second floor apartment. Through the years she spoke fondly of “The King.” I was a typical teenager and often responded with an eyeroll.  He was just a musician.  

Now, I get it. First there was the untimely death of Michael Jackson and now Prince.  I grew up listening to his music.  We went from whispering in the backseat to shrieking when “1999” came on the car radio.  Prince was playing on a cassette player after our hearts were broken. We danced wildly – if you can call it that – to “Let’s Go Crazy” inside the school gym.  We secretly listened to “Darling Nikki” over and over again because it taught us more than any health teacher ever could.  Prince was with us at sleepovers.  He was in the background during gossip sessions and while we mustered up the courage to call a boy on the phone.  The telephone cord would be tightly wound around your finger when the A-side finished playing. And you still hadn’t pressed the last number on the phone to connect the call.   Prince made me want to wear crop tops, lace and ruffles.  He could rock a pair of heels and black eye liner like no other.  Just like Elvis Presley was to my mother, Prince was more than just a musician.  He was my youth. 

And it is gone. 

  

All I want for Christmas is….

I am out twenty-five bucks.  I had to hide it under my daughter’s pillow in exchange for a baby tooth.  I know that is a lot.  I made a rookie mistake that cost me.  

Being the tooth fairy isn’t easy.  My brain is mush by the time I put my children to bed at night.  Now, I have to low crawl into a room and put cash under a pillow without waking my kid up? I will tackle anyone who makes too much noise after bedtime.  

This time I forgot to make the drop before I fell asleep.  I woke up in a panic.  I creeped into my daughter’s room in the wee hours of the morning.  She was tossing and turning. So, I shoved a $5 bill under her pillow and got the hell out of there.  Heaven forbid my children realize that a tiny fairy doesn’t actually collect their disgusting teeth.  It really is such an odd concept. According to Wikipedia, the tradition actually dates back to 1908 and we know everything on the internet is true.  

My daughter woke up in the morning, discovered the cash and her tooth. Damn it!  I paid money, but left the product behind.   I didn’t expect her next move.  

She wanted to double dip and drafted this note that night:

  

I only had $20 in my wallet.  Since she no longer accepts checks, she scored twenty bills. I was actually behind a woman who wrote a check at the grocery store this week.  There was a collective sigh from the bakery to the meat department.  A few twenty-somethings in line were confused.  “What is she doing?”

My daughter was giddy when she woke up and found more money.  She ran down the hall waving the bill in the air.  “Mommy, I can buy some new Shopkins,” she said with a lisp.  Her toothless smile made my heart skip a beat.  She is growing up so fast.  I would pay $25 and more to make time slow down.   

Memorable vacation

I was foolish to think this story wouldn’t get out.  My children spilled the beans the minute they saw their grandparents.  My son told the neighbor moments after we pulled in the driveway.  So, here goes….

I planned a wonderful vacation for my children.  We were traveling to sunny Florida for spring break.   I would take a second mortgage out on my house to get tickets to a theme park, swim in the pool and spend a day at the beach.   I knew, traveling with three children, it wouldn’t be perfect.  This wasn’t my first rodeo.  They would bicker and whine on occasion, but we would still have fun and make memories.

My children were giddy the morning of our flight.  On route to the airport, they were  talking about what they wanted to do first.  Everyone was all smiles.  I was earning another #1 Mom mug.  My husband, who had work commitments, dropped us off at the airport. He offered to park and escort us into the terminal, but I squashed that.  I’m not paying for  parking when I have an able bodied 16-year-old who could help carry bags.  It’s the least he could do for me since I brought him into this world without an epidural.

We walked up to the counter to check our bags and print our boarding passes.  I gave the attendant our name.  She looked puzzled.  I repeated our name.  She was frantically typing. “I don’t see your reservation,” she said.   “What?” My heart was racing.  “I have the reservation right here.”  I opened the confirmation email on my phone and that is when I saw it.  I was at the wrong airport!   My 8-year-old son got emotional.  “We can’t go to Florida?”

I live 30 minutes from the airport in Buffalo and an equal amount of time from the airport in Rochester.  So,  we use both depending on which has cheaper tickets for our travel dates.  It is often the airport in Buffalo.  So, I simply forgot I purchased tickets in December to fly out of Rochester in March.   It was 2:45 p.m.  We needed to board the plane at 3:30 p.m.  for a flight scheduled to depart that at 4:05 p.m. from a tarmac over an hour away.  Do the math.  I was screwed.  I tried calling my husband to come back.  His phone was dead. My son had unplugged his phone to charge his iPad.  There were no flights available for several days from Buffalo or Rochester.  My tickets to the theme park were non-refundable.  My only shot was to rent a car and pray.   What was supposed to be a relaxing trip turned into a Macaulay Culkin movie.  My children were dragging bags as I ordered them to run through the airport to the car rental counter.  “Let’s go!  Hurry up!”  I loaded the kids and six bags into a Nissan sedan and hit the gas.  I drove faster than I would ever admit.  Let’s just say, if I had been pulled over and issued a ticket,  it would have been costly.  I am not proud of that.  In fact, I am embarrassed.

The angels were watching over us.  Our flight was delayed 15 minutes.  My parents met us at the airport to return the rental car.  We made it to the gate in time to board the plane.  I wanted to make memories.  We made memories alright.

 

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I want it all

They say ‘you can have it all’.  You can work and be a good mother.  I don’t know who they are, but I think they are delusional.  Sacrifices have to be made to do both jobs well.  I was in an awkward position today.  My 6-year-old daughter was vomiting at 4 a.m.  That wake up call is more painful than shopping for a bathing suit or blue jeans.  

I hoped it was just something she ate.  I wanted her to feel better.  I also needed her to go to school.  As much as I want to stay home to care and comfort her – I have a job.  Calling in because you want to be a good parent is generally frowned upon.  It’s a shame, but that’s the way it is.  For goodness sake, the United States is the only developed country in the world that doesn’t mandate some form of paid maternity leave.  If the Family and Medical Leave Act didn’t exist many businesses would want you back before  the afterbirth hits the floor. 

I did not have a choice today.  I could not go to work.  I didn’t have a babysitter and Child Protective Services frowns on leaving a first grader home alone.   I am fortunate that my boss was gracious and understanding.  Still, I  felt guilty and slightly embarrassed that I had to pull the “mom card.”  I know I shouldn’t be ashamed that I am a good mother.  However, in a country where women make 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, we cannot afford to appear weak.   It’s the plight of most working mothers who are trying to juggle careers and children- while maintaining our sanity.  It’s not easy juggling children.  They are heavy.  

As good as it gets

A letter to my children,

I know you think life is hard right now.  I made you brush your teeth twice in one day.  I am also the monster that wouldn’t let you stay up late on a school night to play video games, with Barbies or to watch Netflix.  I had the nerve, because I love you, to make you eat something nutritious for dinner,  denying your request to feast on cookies.

You think everything will be better when you grow up.  You can stay up as late as you want and eat junk food.  The truth is as an adult you will long for sleep and run for miles to burn calories so you don’t end up on a reality TV show called “My 600- lb life” .

You are convinced that, as an adult, you won’t have to do chores and can spend money on whatever you want.   Not only will you do chores, you will do most of them.  You will spend money.  A lot of it ….. on bills.

I wish I could tell you life is better as an adult – that you won’t have to deal with the drama of high school anymore.  That is true until you get a job.   If you thought the kid who didn’t return your text is bad – wait until you meet the co-worker who would eat their young to advance a career.

So, enjoy these carefree days.  This is as good as it gets.

Deanna

Dead Man Walking 

I feel like a dead man walking. There is a violent vomit virus going through our school district.  I hold my breath every time I log on to Facebook. It seems every day someone else has fallen ill.  My initial reaction is sympathy for the sick child.  Well, truth be told, I am concerned about the sick child and how it will affect me.  Did my children come in contact with this kid?  Should I wash everything or burn the house down?  I am not trying to be selfish, but I must be prepared.  Waking up to the sound of a child vomiting is worse than anything that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth.  In case you missed the act in the center ring Thursday night, this GOP presidential candidate actually talked about the size of his penis.  That statement made me puke in my mouth.  

It takes skill to comfort your patient while cleaning chunks of food off the bed, carpet, wall, etc.   A child doesn’t discriminate when he or she is sick.   They will vomit on as many surfaces as humanly possible.  You could place a bucket near his or her face and they will turn and spray something that is labeled ‘Dry Clean Only.’ 

This time I have a game plan.  The designated puke bucket is on a stand outside my room.  
It could happen at any moment or I could get a stay of execution. I am hoping for the latter.  

Express Yourself

You can stop ‘liking’ posts about car accidents, grandma’s funeral and when the children of that guy you sat behind in 7th grade Science class get a puke virus. Facebook is rolling out five new emojjis today.   The instructions on how to access the new emojis were printed in several news articles in between the less important stories about ISIS, the crisis in Syria and a plane crash in Nepal.

 

Hold the “like” button on mobile or hover over the like button on desktop and five animated emoji pop up. Then, tap on love, haha, wow, sad or angry to express your reaction.

Facebook said it wants to give people a fast and simple way to express thoughts or feelings in a positive, supportive way, not to troll friends.  I remember the days when we would actually speak face to face with other human beings to express our feelings.  We actually laughed out loud.  Instead of typing LOL.  I know that is crazy.  Now, you don’t even have to comment. These guys will speak for you:

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It took a year for Facebook to develop these emojis.  Think about that.  A corporation devoted 365 days to create animated stickers.  Facebook tested “Yay” in several countries, but it was dropped after Facebook’s team said it wasn’t universally understood.  There is an emoji for everything.  Many children know how to send a steaming pile of poop in a text message, but haven’t learned cursive.  I am going against ‘the man’ and teaching my children to write their names in cursive.  You can’t sign an important document with a crying cat, cactus or pan of eggs emoji.

Caddyshack

I think I figured out how people choose tattoos.   Some request an intracit piece of artwork, a name or even a symbol because it has meaning.  It represents a moment in time, reminds them of a lost loved one or offers inspiration.  Done right,  a tattoo can truly be a piece of art.  Others walk into a tattoo shop and say, “I’m going to a waterpark next week and I need the ugliest tattoo you got.”  There is an unwritten rule that these tattoos cannot be hidden.  It must be inked on a breast or in the middle of a hairy back.  I saw a few dozen of these tattoos Sunday afternoon.  I took my children to an indoor waterpark.  These are the sacrifices we as parents make on a regular basis.  Our children won’t fully understand until they become parents themselves.   As a child I loved waterparks.  As an adult I feel like I am taking a bath with strangers in luke warm water.   Discarded band aids follow me wherever I go.   But I push through because my children enjoy it and I live to make them happy.   They ran around with their friends laughing and splashing.   They went down the slides over and over again.  I embraced the moment.  At one point I smiled and thought ‘What a great day!’  I was feeling hashtag blessed. Then, all hell broke loose.  A panicked lifeguard began ordering children out of the water.  It was  like a scene out of Caddyshack.   The sprinklers were shut off.  Then, this came out:

 

The manager wasnt catching butterflies.  Someone either dropped a deuce or vomited in the water.  It was difficult to tell and in my opinion this net wasn’t an effective cleaning tool.  A worker informed me that they would put chlorine in the water and the kids could continue playing in one hour.  I have suffered through episodes of Caillou, a cartoon about  a whiny child with unexplained baldness.    I have waited in line for hours in the scorching heat at amusement parks so my children could sit on a ride for three minutes.  However, to quote the musician Meat Loaf  “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that, no I won’t do that.”  And with that we packed up and went home.  

Shop ’till you drop

When I was a kid trolls were pencil toppers and not crazy people who insult you on Twitter and Facebook.   People on the world wide web can be vicious.  The worst offenders more than likely live in their mom’s basement, are highly medicated or both.  

I am constantly lecturing my son to make good decisions for two reasons.   1.) It’s the right thing to do 2.) There is a good chance you could end up on social media.  Case and point, this woman who fell asleep in an unflattering pose at a shopping mall.  A picture of the exhausted shopper has gone viral.  I hope she has a good sense of humor.  Her picture has been photoshopped into different scenes.  I predict she will end up on a national talk show.   These pictures made me chuckle.  Is using the word chuckle a sign that I am getting old?  Before you know it I will be falling asleep on a davenport in a mall atrium.  

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Super Fail

If you didn’t watch the Super Bowl you didn’t miss much.  The game was boring.  The commercials were boring. The halftime show was boring.  There was a ‘dance off’ between Bruno Mars and Beyonce.  Queen Bey almost fell during a squat, thrust dance move.    That would have been an internet meme sensation. During the show the stadium looked like a hippie threw up.  
  

I watched most of the game with my family.  We binged on snacks including taco dip, pizza, candy and soda.   My children looked confused when they saw the junk food laden spread.  She is going to let us eat all of this? 

My 8-year-old got extremely frustrated when we couldn’t fast forward through the commercials.  He rarely watches TV where that option isn’t available.  There was no such thing as On Demamd when I was growing up.  I had to record shows on a VHS player by pressing play and record simultaneously.  It took time to perfect that skill.  You had to apply the exact amount of pressure to both buttons.  Push one harder than the other and the MTV music video you were trying to record wouldn’t be on the tape.   I tried to explain to my son that many people tune in to the Super Bowl just to watch the commercials.  They have historically been creative and funny.  That proved to be untrue during Super Bowl 50.

Doritos had a commercial where an expectant father was eating while his partner was getting an ultrasound.  If this really happened, he would have been punched in the face after the first crunch.  The only thing this commercial made me crave was a  hysterectomy.

 

 

 

Mountain Dew’s commercial featuring “Puppy Monkey Baby” was just  plain weird.   However, it got people talking on Twitter which is how we measure success nowadays.

 

 

There was a commercial about constipation and foot fungus.   Colonial Williamsburg decided to promote itself by using graphic images from 9/11.  

Lady Gaga sang a beautiful rendition of the Nationsl Anthem.  It’s unclear whether or not she performed live.  One thing was certain, she was hosting the Hunger Games afterward.