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.  

  

  
 

King Kong

When my son was little he was obsessed with King Kong.  And not just the modern remake.  He loved the older films.  He is an old soul.  Unique.  I will be honest, I got sick and tired of watching the same movie over and over again.  The graphics in the 1933 film were on par with the Davey and Goliath clay-animated cartoon series. 

 In elementary school my son was assigned  a project to make something using 100 pieces of any object.  It was to commemorate the 100th day of school.  I have no idea what makes day 100 any more special than day 79 or 84 other than it’s an even number. People love even numbers especially when it comes to pumping gasoline.   Anyway, he made the Empire State Building out of Popsicle sticks.  My son would eventually move on to something else.  Living in denial that my baby was maturing,  I packed the King Kong toys in a bin and placed it in a corner in the basement; just in case.  

My son turned 16 on Sunday.   We took a trip to New York City to celebrate.  I drove him, two classmates and my friend, Elizabeth, to Manhattan early Saturday morning.  I couldn’t possibly take this trip alone.  Teenagers can be more difficult to rein in than toddlers.  We were going to visit the Museum of Modern Art and see “Something’s Rotten” on Broadway.  These are things my son is passionate about.  On the drive down we listened to a variety of music.  Elizabeth was in charge of the radio and at one point she turned to the 80’s station.  “Oh, wow.  The oldies,” said one of my son’s friends.  The oldies? I dropped him off a rural road in Pennsylvania and we continued on our  journey. 

We were strolling through the streets of Manhattan when my son asked if we could go to the Empire State Building.  We took a subway near the popular tourist attraction and followed our map.  For those of you under 20 years of age, a map is like a navigator, but it doesn’t talk, have moving graphics or do any of the work for you.   We went down a few blocks and crossed several streets. “I don’t see the building anymore,” Elizabeth said.  I didn’t see it either.   That is, until we looked up.  We were standing at the entrance.   Now, I just had to pay $25 a person to ride an elevator to the top.  I grumbled a bit about adding this additional stop to our itinerary.   That is, until we stepped off the elevator.  The view was spectacular.  The look on my son’s face was even better.  “This reminds me of those King Kong movies I used to  watch.”  We both smiled, but I was fighting back tears.  I could see my little boy running around the house with a King Kong figure in his little hands.  I could hear him playing with the toys, roaring and laughing.   I am proud of the young man my son has become, but I miss those days.  The hardest part of being a parent is when your children grow up.  

#HoverboardFail

I did something I have never done before and will never do again.  I got on a hoverboard.  I like to think I am a smart woman.  I know my left hand from my right.  I don’t put an s on anyway or misuse their, there or they’re.  I have seen viral videos of people getting tossed on their keisters.   There have been enough accidents that someone created a compilation of the most painful falls recorded.  Mike Tyson couldn’t operate one.   I don’t know why that is significant, but his name came up in a Google search so I thought it was worth a mention.   I knew all of this, yet I still stepped on one of these death traps.  I blame my co-worker who  asked  if I could bring it into the office so he could take it for a spin.

It has been sitting in my garage, uncharged since Christmas.  I shelved that sucker the minute stories about hoverboard fires started crossing the news wires.  My children haven’t asked for it.   They take after their mother in the coordination department.  I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 9-years-old.   Nothing boosts your self esteem more than using training wheels in the fourth grade.
Before packing the board in my minivan I decided to step on to make sure it was charged.  As I raised my foot my 6-year-old daughter said, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”  I reminded her that I am an adult  and knew what I was doing.   I try to pull the ‘adult card’ once a month to remind her whose the boss.   It didn’t work for Tony Danza and it doesn’t work for me either.  I ignored her disapproving look, hopped on and it jolted forward.  I tried to jump off, but only one foot made it to the ground.  I was near the pantry and reached, arms flailing for anything to grab on to.  It turns out a box of crackers cannot be used in case of an emergency.  The box fell, sending orange fish flying everywhere.  I reached for a door handle, but missed.   I went down faster than Jeb Bush in the polls after a Republican debate.  I landed hard and sat moaning in agony for a few minutes.  After I caught my breath, I attempted to stand, but struggled like a newborn giraffe.  My 6-year-old was standing above me as I moaned in agony.  “Are you okay?”  I assured her I was fine.  She shook her head, her ponytail swaying from side to side and replied, “I told you so.”  I was hurting the rest of the day.   I iced my back at work and popped Ibuprofen.

You will not see video of my fall online.  I am a grown adult who doesn’t record her mistakes.

Remember ….

My Facebook feed was flooded tonight with pictures of a doting husband and father.  There was a photo snapped at a party, on the sidelines of a football game and in the pool.  The backdrop changed, but one thing remained in each shot: a genuine smile. This was clearly a man who was happiest when surrounded by his wife and two young daughters.  I went to high school with this couple.  That was a long time ago. They were a few years younger than me.  I won’t pretend that I knew him well or could even call him a friend.  However, I know many people who did and are in mourning.  At the young age of 38 the man I’ve heard described time and time again as “one of the nicest guys I know” passed away suddenly.  I was stunned when I heard the news this morning. I have seen this couple around town recently and at school functions.  This isn’t supposed to happen.

 

I cannot begin to imagine how painful it was for his wife to break the news to the children that their father wouldn’t be coming home.  My heart was heavy all day as photo after photo appeared online.  Just days ago, the family posted a shot of a New Year’s Eve celebration.  They had no idea what 2016 would bring. I thought about that a lot today.  The truth is  none of us do, but we get so busy with mundane tasks that we forget that tomorrow isn’t promised. We have no control of the future.  Yet, we forget to be grateful for today. We forget to stop and reflect. We forget to count our blessings.  Then,  tragedy strikes and we remember what truly matters in life.

 

I am guilty of complaining when I should be celebrating.  I have put laundry, dishes and other chores at the top of my priority list.   This as my children waited to play or talk to me.  I did not do that today.  I danced with my daughter and laughed with my son.  I didn’t nag my oldest about leaving his clothes on the floor. I took time to tell family and friends what they mean to me.  Then, I prayed for this grieving family. I prayed for his wife. I prayed for his daughters. And I prayed that I never take another day for granted.   

  

Finding Nemo 

My daughter wanted an aquarium for Christmas.   This is the same little girl who won a fish at a Penny Carnival and kept it for a few days.  Every morning she woke up and asked, “Is the fish still alive?” By day three she couldn’t take the anxiety anymore and asked me to flush the fish down the toilet.  She thought it would end up in the ocean and spend eternity with Nemo.  I wasn’t going to spoil a good Disney movie for her.  

I know what would have happened if we purchased a fish tank.  I would be the one feeding the fish and cleaning the tank. It’s a chore for my children to put their shoes on.  When told to put her clothes in the laundry or make her bed – my daughter has a worse meltdown than a Republican presidential candidate who didn’t get equal air time during a debate .  The bottom line is I didn’t want to give myself more work for Christmas.  I was going to be busy ripping the skin off my fingers trying to get toys out of  boxes.  Many companies still use dozens of hard plastic twist ties to secure toys to the box.  I want to meet the shoplifter who prompted the need for such extreme security.  Was a bandit hitting stores up to steal one Barbie shoe?  

To avoid the fish tank chore we purchased an ecosphere.  What is an ecosphere?

This is the product description:

This fascinating enclosed world contains marine shrimp, algae and micro-organisms. Made from hand blown glass, each EcoSphere is a completely enclosed, self-sustaining little world. The EcoSphere only needs indirect light and comfortable room temperature (between 60F and 80F.) The EcoSphere works on the basis that a closed system recycles its nutrients and does not produce excess waste. 

My heart skipped a beat when I read “does not produce excess waste.” Sold!    The only problem is the ecosphere, which is slightly larger than a baseball, never arrived.   We received an email that the package was delivered.  The company claimed the product was left on our doorstep. 

Fast forward to January 5, 2016 and a man working for the local gas company knocked on the door to read the meter.  I was on my way out to get my son at school and pretended not to hear the doorbell.  I didn’t hide per say, but I stood still until he left.  There isn’t much to read on that meter anyway.  El Niño has saved me a lot of money this winter.  I drove down the street only to be flagged down by the meter man.  It turns out he wanted to do more than read the meter.   Get your mind out of the gutter.  This isn’t a Jackie Collins novel.  The meter man didn’t look like Fabio.  He wanted to tell me that a package addressed to me was on the porch of a house  a block away.  Fed Ex got the house number right, but the wrong street.  That particular house is currently unoccupied.  
  

The box had been on the porch since December 4th.  Inside was the ecosphere: the Elsa edition. 

   

The good news is my daughter won’t lose sleep wondering if the shrimp will survive.  She has a glass globe full of dead sea life.  

So long, farewell 

Hallelujah, he is gone!  I don’t have to see that little bastard for a year.   After I put the kids to bed I’m going to have a glass of wine and relax.  I’m talking about the “Elf on the Shelf.”  I buried that sucker in a box in a closet.   It’s beneath my high school yearbooks and coats from the late 1990s that I’m hanging on to just in case they come back in style.  You never know when the windbreaker will be cool again.  One style I hope never comes back is women  wearing men’s boxer shorts as shorts.  My friends and I would tuck the front of our shirt into the boxers and strut around town like we were something special.   

We didn’t have the Elf on the Shelf until this year.  I  caved  to peer pressure.  I didn’t think it was possible at my age.   I make my own decisions.  I proved the day I bought my minivan that I don’t care if people think I am cool.  However, I do care about my children’s happiness.  My daughter came home  from school on a daily basis asking, “When is the Elf coming to our house?”  She heard tales from friends at school of their toy elf’s shenanigans.  

 So, I bought  the “Elf on the Shelf.”   I spent $30 to give myself even more work this holiday season.  The creepy elf had to be in a different spot every morning.  My daughter was halfway down the stairs on day two of the Elf’s visit before I realized I forgot to move that little sucker.   I panicked and yelled  for her to stop.  The sound of my voice screeching in an otherwise quiet house scared the hell out of her.   The rest of the family was still asleep.  She cried.  I apologized, but am certain that will warrant at least two therapy sessions when she is older.  

One morning the Elf was riding a decorative reindeer.  My daughter giggled with delight.  I patted myself on the back.   By the 21st of December I was out of creative ideas.  The Elf was parked on the tree and didn’t move until today.  I told the kids the Elf was waiting to greet Santa Claus.  Meanwhile, their friends Elf  was putting toy wrestlers in headlocks, pooping out Hershey Kisses and dancing with Barbie.  I don’t have time for this nonsense. Why does the Elf have to move anyway?  It is the Elf ON THE SHELF.   It is not the Elf HANGING FROM A LIGHT FIXTURE or the Elf SITTING ON A TOY CAR.  The instructions are simple.  Quite frankly, I’m a little concerned my children actually believe this toy comes alive, but the rest do not. They saw Toy Story.   I’m not playing this game next year.  They will have to go back to thinking Santa has hidden cameras in the house.   It’s creepy, but doesn’t require me to do anything, but make empty threats.  

True Christmas Spirit

‘Tis the season for my 6-year-old daughter to go around the house gathering her toys, jewelry and crafts made out of toilet paper rolls  to wrap up. She is the queen of re-gifting. I remember going to a birthday party as a kid and one of the guests did something similar.  She re-gifted used earrings. Some of the girls laughed behind her back. Others felt bad that she couldn’t afford something new. As an adult I think differently about that box of tarnished stud earrings. Perhaps, the gift was actually more thoughtful than any of the scrunchies, banana clips or jelly bracelets we purchased. Maybe she sacrificed her prized possession in order to make a friend happy. Today my daughter wrapped one of her favorite teddy bears, football cards and a few crayons for her grandmother. She was so proud to deliver this gift. “Grandma is going to be so happy,” she said skipping to the front door. I patted myself on the back for raising a daughter with such a giving heart. It doesn’t hurt that she saved me $50.  

This video of equally as thoughtful children popped up on my Facebook feed. It was in between a post about a friend frosting Christmas cookies and another demanding I share a post to prove I love my dog. I won’t be bullied into expressing my feelings. My favorite chain letter-eque Facebook post is Share this if you love your children. I think we should be asking people who don’t love their children to ‘like’ a post so Child Protective Services can intervene. Those are the people I’m worried about. Anyway, I ugly-cried watching this video.  In this clip, children were given the option of taking a present on their wish list or one for a member of their family. I know at least two of my children would have done the same thing.

Instagram Husbands

This video is pretty funny.  It’s funny because it happens.   I went to a wedding this past weekend and forced a friend’s boyfriend to retake a photograph a dozen times. (I also may have participated in a dance-off.  A.C. Slater doesn’t have anything on this girl after a few cocktails.)  I blamed the boyfriend’s photography skills.  The truth is the lighting was less than flattering if someone was overdue for a Botox injection.  The camera has to be positioned at the right angle to get the Jennifer Lopez glow and avoid the double-chin shot.  If that doesn’t work you can go with the black and white filter.  In desperate situations you can add the blur effect.  The technology we have is simply amazing.  My children will never have to manually rewind film in a camera.  I miss banana clips and pinning my jeans, but not having to wait for film to be developed.  There was a 50/50 chance a picture would turn out to your liking. Nowadays, we can delete a bad shot in an instant.  Instagram is a gift from above; a middle-aged woman’s best friend.

 

 

 

Victoria’s Secret

I caught the last 20 minutes of the Victoria’s Secret fashion show on TV.  I was flipping through the channels when the musician “The Weekend” caught my attention.  He has an amazing voice, but crazy hair.  It looks like a horn is protruding out of the top of his head.  I don’t know if it is hairspray or a lack of washing that helps keep its form. I wish I had the confidence to leave the house like that.

Over six million people tuned in to watch women walk. That’s it.  Well, actually they walked while wearing angel wings.  They also pointed to the audience and blew kisses.  These ladies must have been exhausted by the end of the night.  I am sure their mothers are proud.  I don’t blame them.  I just hope my daughter doesn’t look up to theirs.  It’s an unrealistic goal.  Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.  

I cannot deny Victoria’s Secret makes quality brassieres.  I usually wear one while sitting on the davenport with my pocketbook on my lap.  The bras are more expensive than those at a big box store.  It’s worth it to avoid an awkward encounter with your elderly neighbor or son’s teacher while searching for a cup size.  The bras also hold up well in the wash and keep the girls from getting scrapes and brush burns on the pavement.  As for the rest of the store?  Lingerie is bait.  Thongs are torture devices.  The end.  

These models are making a fortune because they can put one foot in front of the other.  Meanwhile, somewhere there is a woman working the overnight shift at a factory to make ends meet.  There is a teacher who spends countless hours nurturing young minds who is vastly underpaid.  I know what you are thinking: She is just jealous.   I was jealous when I had to cram my body into a pair of Spanx on a 90 degree day to fit into a dress.  I was sweating profusely.  My body was begging for mercy.  I’m sure these models have never even heard of Spanx.  

Sure, models have rock hard abs and long legs.  They don’t have to push their skin aside to zip up tall boots, but my glass is half full today. Here are a few things I have that the models do not:

1.) The freedom to ask for extra cheese 

2.) The freedom to eat the extra cheese.  

3.) A stomach that is also a comfortable travel pillow for my young children.  

4.) A friendly upper arm that keeps waving when my hand has stopped.    

5.)  I can walk into a room without anyone noticing. 

6.) The acne of a 17-year-old and children to point out each blemish.  It’s a fun game. 

7.) You could light a match on my thigh after a power walk.  It will come in handy during the zombie apocalypse. 

8.) I don’t hesitate when the Barista asks “Do you want whip cream on that?” Hell yeah! 

9.) I get to try on a few dozen pairs of jeans before finding one that fits. It is hours of entertainment.  

10.) My back makes a cool ‘suction cup’ sound when I’m doing sit ups.  

 

 

 

 

 

Neverland

Christmas came early for millions of women (and some men) this weekend.  Ryan Gosling hosted Saturday Night Live.  He broke character in many of the skits, but his giggling was endearing.  He has come a long way from his days on the Mickey Mouse Club.  Many other child actors didn’t fare as well.   I admire parents who encourage their children to pursue the arts.  Unless you were a student on the fictional TV series “Fame”  singing, dancing and acting isn’t usually popular.  My teenage son joined the drama club in 7th grade.  He is generally a quiet kid, but comes out of his shell when he steps on the stage.  It is a beautiful thing to watch.  Plus, the actors are so supportive of one another.  It is a great group of kids.  

His high school drama club performed Peter/Wendy this weekend. The entire cast worked very hard for months and nailed their roles.   The script, however, was not as great.  If I were nice I would describe it as different.  If I were honest I would tell you it was freaky as hell.  There was a scene when the cast was simultaneously listing their  ‘happy thoughts’ while walking in circles.  So, there were about 25 people talking at the same time, but saying different things. I was waiting for Tom Cruise to start jumping on a couch.  Tinker Bell cursed like a trucker in this play.  The characters jump from speaking in first person to third person and back.  There were a few comical scenes. Overall, the  students did an incredible job in his/her perspective roles.  I was blown away at their ability to memorize the script, let alone stay in character through difficult transitions.  They didn’t have props or a grandiose set to use as a crutch.  There was a black back drop with writing and three black boxes on stage.  

  

Being the proud, helicopter mother that I am, I attended all three performances.  Then, I treated myself to a large margarita – which may have been what the playwright was drinking when he crafted this dark interpretation of Peter Pan.

Perhaps one of the students on that high school stage will grow up to be the next Ryan Gosling.  Here is one of my favorite skits from his appearance on SNL:

 

This one was good, too. Kate McKinnon is hysterical in this skit, but Ryan is still pretty.

 

 

and this one…..