The Statue of Liberty Shows Up at the Drive Through Window of the Liquor Store, Signaling the Apocalypse

Yes I’m sober and I truly expect to write a satire tonight. I will use humor, irony, exaggeration and ridicule to expose my own stupidity and vices. I hope that it serves as some kind of catharsis, that I can just expunge all the bad feelings at once in some ceremonial way by typing the words. Join me on my ridiculous satirical journey for the next few moments, and maybe you too can find some kind of release from any stupidity occurring in your own life, preferably of your own making.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…the homeless, tempest tossed to me…etc.” Sound familiar? Just imagine…what if the Statue of Liberty was actually embodied in several of us walking around on this planet, trying to find life partners? And at the base of our feet is written:

“Send me anyone who doesn’t have a chance with a rational human being who respects herself. I will take anyone who initially shows me some kindness and even if he eventually turns into a raging asshole, I will still give him 40 chances because Jesus hung out in the desert for 40 days before his death and I figure if Jesus can do that, then who am I to demand that he be available (mentally and legally), drug free, honest, employed, kind, or law abiding?”

And no, this is not a story about one choice, one chance encounter, or an individual. This is the norm, a pattern, of one truly impaired human being when it comes to love (can we even call it that given the severe nature of her selection handicap?).

So for now, the drive through liquor store cashier is the love of my life. He smiles and calls me sweetie, knows exactly which wine I love, always asks me how I’m doing and knows that my kids want suckers and they have to be the same color so they don’t fight. He’s married, but heck, if he were single and being that nice to me, it would be a sign of the end times.

Good night❤️

I Can’t Keep Go-Gurt in Stock

“Maybe we should go shopping tonight,” my daughter suggested as we walked in the door after returning from the after school program.

“Why shopping? What do you think we need?” I asked.

“We are out of yogurt again,” was the reply.

“Well, it’s not my problem that you and your brother consumed 16 tubes of go-gurt since we went to the store LAST NIGHT!”

“That was 3 nights ago,” says brother.

We have problems with time tracking and targeted consumption at our house. I can’t keep go-gurt in stock. Sour Patch Kids Go-Gurt flies off my refrigerator shelves like box fans at Walmart in August.

These kids get so pinpoint focused on one type of snack or food and then you can’t keep enough of it at home. I like diversity. It’s the key to a good life. With food and my kids however, the name of the game is sameness.

What’s for dinner this week?

Pancakes and sausage. We must eat this every night. If the kids come home and momma’s mixed it up with hamburgers and French fries, all hell breaks loose. This was pancakes and sausage week.

“Momma, what do you have for a snack?”

“Graham crackers.”

“I hate graham crackers. I’ve hated graham crackers forever.”

No, in fact, you haven’t. I thought we were still on graham cracker for snack week. It appears we transitioned to yogurt smoothies week and I didn’t get the memo. The kids only drink yogurt smoothies now. Graham crackers are passé. Hated even.

“Momma, can we have dinosaur chicken nuggets for dinner this week?”

Shocked. “I thought you hated those?”

Look of mild confusion on son’s face.

“No? When did I say that?”

Hm. Ok. It’s dinosaur nuggets and tater tots week. Search back of freezer for dinosaur nuggets to see if they have expired since the kids’ last love affair with dinosaur nuggets.

My freezer is full of once-loved food items, just waiting, like sad, worn toys, to be loved again by my children. Sometimes when I see expiration dates approaching, I will say at dinner time (over pancakes and sausage):

“Hey, remember those turkey meatballs that we loved to eat every night last March? Wouldn’t it be great to have those again?”

Blank stares on children’s faces.

Sigh. Looks like that bag of meatballs won’t be making a comeback before its time is up…

Swimsuit Shopping with #nofilter

In case anyone was wondering about this, don’t ever go swimsuit shopping with young children. I mean, infants through toddlers, probably just fine. But if your kids are old enough to have a vocabulary and they know how to use it, you are in trouble.

This is one of those times when I wish the fitting rooms at Target had a bar. I mean, why not? The girl staffing the place was young enough to be my granddaughter but I think they could make some accommodations to make my shopping experience more enjoyable. The prices at Target for clothing now rival Nordstrom’s or Macy’s, so I think the store could spring for classy older men and women to assist you with your shopping needs.

I was thrilled that Target had a rather decent sized collection of one pieces and tank top suits. I grabbed exactly 14 tops and bottoms and one pieces. I think there was a limit for the fitting room, but the young girl saw me and two monkeys hanging off my cart and waved me in with a gracious smile. She decided to let this one fly.

The first swimsuit tried was “too tight, momma” and both kids erupted in giggles because “we can see your boo boos, momma.”

The second: “looks horrible in the back! It is so gross! Your back looks weird.”

The third: “that is a goblin swimsuit. You look like a goblin, momma.”

And so on. 😔

We finally settled on two suits. One was a two-piece tank type thing that scored a resounding “yes” from my filterless children. The second was a one piece with cut outs that kind of zig zag through it but are still filled in with a transparent fabric. Neither child liked this one but I need a one piece for actual swimming. They thought that my “belly button looks gross, nobody wants to see your gross belly button” and that my back “looks weird.” Both in black. Because it’s a slimming color in any form of clothing, right?

I am hoping these last me at least two seasons. Or that I magically shrink two sizes and find a miracle product that smooths my belly and I can fit into those fabulous bikinis from my pre-children era.

*sigh*

My advice for swimsuit shopping: Leave the kids at home. Even if your babysitter is a 90-pound boxer pitbull mix. 😔

Swimming: “F*cking Sh*t” Momma

I came up out of the water and wiped my eyes off so I could scan the pool. Treading water in the deep end of the rec center pool, I tried to locate my daughter as the waves grew larger. Kids on inner tubes bounced above increasingly larger mountains of water created by the pool’s wave system. It took me a minute to locate her in the shallow end of the pool, bobbing crazily in a red life jacket, her head poking out above a clear, over-inflated inner tube. Our eyes met.

“Fucking shit,” her sweet little mouth formed the words as she glared at me.

Not the last time I would hear those words over the course of the two hours we were at the pool. They have become my daughter’s new favorite way to irk me when I’m not doing what she wants me to do. I’ve discovered that the only ways to reduce her use of these new words is to surprise her with random outbursts of the words in conversation and ignore her when she uses the words. Slowly, their attractiveness as one more way of naughty-making is becoming less appealing.

“Hey Momma! If you don’t come over here and carry me, I’m going to say F-u-c-k,” she announced from the pool stairs.

I swam small laps, as some strange little 6-year old sat on the pool stairs repeating “fuck” over and over. Whose child was that? What a weirdo.

Eventually, the cursing died down and I swam over to her. She hopped on my back and we floated around together. “Momma, I love you more than anything in the world,” she whispered in my ear.

Sigh…

The Light and Fluffy Pre-Holiday Recap

Hey blog. It has been awhile. So much has happened over the past 3 months and instead of happily chatting about it to the world, I’ve decided that large chunks of the time period should just be swept under the rug. Not too much damage done, thankfully, but maybe enough to close out 2017. Let’s do a quick and light recap.

The Tinder Trap: There is actually a lot of material here, as to be expected with an online dating app. Suffice to say I escaped with only a few minor cuts and scrapes, a potential lifelong friend, and another acquaintance whom I enjoyed meeting enough to agree to Facebook friendship for the time being.

The Unexpected Father Meeting: Running into my daughter’s father by chance in a public place, with her in tow. This could have been REALLY awkward. My daughter and her father have never met, until last week. I felt that a meeting like this had the potential to implode, like in Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox traveled back in time and befriended his father in high school and was trying to facilitate the romance of his father with his mother, without vomiting. I watched my daughter and her father together, chatting like old pals, old pals who had the exact same eyes. She only knows him as “Momma’s friend,” but for a chance meeting that could have been disastrous, it was actually very pleasant and peaceful. For those of you who are wondering, there was no miraculous father/daughter reunification, but I’ve been at peace with his absence for awhile now, and so that’s ok.

Skincare and dog care: My businesses are right about where I can manage them at the moment. I would love for both to grow, but my bandwidth this time of year is severely limited by my insecurities around providing great holiday experiences for my children and keeping up with the craziness as a single mom. I am thrilled to have great clients in both areas of work, and a wonderful business partner on the skincare side with whom I’ve reconnected with after almost 20 years. I’m looking forward to some quality time with her in Las Vegas at the end of January, while she is there for work and I’m taking advantage of $70 airfare to catch up with her in person. I’m confident the new year will bring some fabulous experiences and the opportunity to meet and work with many more cool people! I’m so thankful I dived into these side businesses.

Self care: In early summer, I joined a belly dancing class at the local rec center. We just wrapped up our last session for the year. Through this class, I met many amazing women, in particular, two very special ones, and I’m looking forward to continuing to learn and practice this beautiful art form with good friends who are authentic, loving and fun.

And finally, bah humbug: I’m not a fan of this time of year. I know there are many who are not, for so many different reasons. It’s the time of year when being on your own with two children feels like a giant pimple on the end of your nose that is angry and red, and refuses to be fully realized so you can just pop it and be done with it. Just to be able to pop that sucker, so the pus can ooze out, the swelling can go down, and you can feel some relief. Graphic, I know, but this is how I feel being a single parent during the holidays. This will be the first year since 1991 that I will not exchange gifts with some form of a significant other. After several goes of scratching out invisible numbers on the couch beside me, I’ve concluded that it has been 26 years. I’m really looking forward to the handmade items that my kids brought home from school today and were begging me to open. It appears that they are ornaments and have to be opened prior to Christmas, but I’m holding out as long as I can.

The iPhone Police: Quinquagenarian v. Teenage Son

How many government workers does it take to figure out how to restrict a teenager’s access on their iPhone?

I know, a new version of an old joke. I’m so scared to become a parent of a teenager. Only 6 more years. Six more years until I will live in even more of a hyper state of hyper-vigilance. This is how the conversation went this morning between me and my co-worker about policing teen iPhones.

TP (Teen Parent, or Toilet Paper, which is what he really is right now to his seriously tech advantaged son): “I need to delete Instagram and Snapchat from my son’s phone. How do I do that?”

Me: “Hold the home button until the icons shake. There will be little X’s in the corner of each one? Press the X.” (Because at 5 years younger, I have a serious leg up on his tech skills and I know the terminology, like “icons” and “shake”).

TP: “The shortcuts are gone. But they are in his apps. Damn it. I told him to disable his password in the car today and he took his phone and he only had it for like 10 seconds and he was like this.” TP re-enacts son speed typing across the phone and hitting “send” 40 times in under 5 seconds.

Me: “Did you Google it? Google it. That’s what I always do. I don’t know what I did before Google.”

TP: “Yes, I googled it, I can’t find anything.”

Huge sigh from me. These seniors need so much help with their phones. “Ok. Give me a minute, I’ll go look it up.”

I find the information I need back in my office and call him at his desk.

Me: “Come down here. I have an answer for you.”

TP makes his way down to my office after a 60-second debate about why I just can’t go back to his office (we are literally 10 steps away from each other).

I read the instructions off my monitor about how to delete apps from his settings on the phone. He starts reading off apps as he begins deleting the obvious culprits: Instagram and SnapChat.

TP: “What’s Yellow?”

I quickly do a search on Google.

Me: “Looks like it’s the new Tinder for teens.” Scanning and reading aloud headlines about police and parent concern over Yellow, which has taken over every American teenager’s phone. My coworker breaks into a sweat and utters some words that I don’t like to print in my blog.

TP: “What’s Find My Friends?”

Me: “Oh, it’s just a standard iPhone app I think. I don’t use it. Whenever I turn it on, the only person I can find is XXXXX.” Insert name of another coworker who is seriously the only friend I can ever find with the app.

TP: “Ok. So those are all gone. I can give him access to Safari, right? I mean, that’s ok.”

I am starting to get lightheaded with all my tech expertise. What can I mooch from this guy? He really needs my help.

Me: “Wellllll……no. It’s not ok. I mean, all he has to do is go to the homepage of all of those sites and he can log in to them through Safari.”

TP: “I need to restrict access to those sites?” He is tentative, concerned, wide-eyed. Maybe he can buy me coffees for a week in exchange for helping him create a firewall between his son and the outside world. Did I use firewall correctly in that sentence, I wonder as I write this.

Me: “Yes. You will need to do that.” More Googling and giving him the URLs so he can block the sites from his son.

About ten minutes later, TP finally leaves my office, feeling a smug satisfaction, that he, along with the help of his much younger, more attractive and tech savvy coworker, has outfoxed his son this round. To be continued……..

Non-stop!

LOL! After writing about how much I love side gigs, the only downside is that we are even more non-stop than we were in the past. Dog sitting requests are pouring in and each visitor we host captures our hearts. This week, our beloved German Shorthaired Pointer went home. She ended up staying a week longer because her owner was flying standby from Europe. Each day I got a text saying “maybe tomorrow?” And I was always happy to hear that she was delayed yet another day. 

My little old lady, La Vieille Dame, had so many endearing quirks. She would bark at her food every time she ate. I had to remind her to eat it and not talk to it so much. She would dig into my carpet every night and turn a thousand circles before settling down to sleep. She didn’t like my yard, but preferred to go for walks and watch the kids play at the nearby park. Through this business I also find more and more that dogs and owners resemble each other. Her owner, though I wouldn’t consider her old as she is probably only 15 years older than me, is a graceful and beautiful woman. When I interact with her in person, I feel like I am seeing her through a filter, she literally glows and flows softly around the environment. Her dog, though not as graceful, is equally captivating with her personality. 

We have received four sitting requests for future dates this week alone and visited with three of the dogs over the past week to see if we were all a good fit. Two of the four have booked so far and we will know at the end of this week about the other two. The kids are used to frequent “meet and greets” with prospective clients. I am thankful for our busy-ness and love meeting so many new people and the canine members of their families.

Our skincare work also keeps momma very busy, up late at night dreaming up social media posts (besides using the product, this is probably one of my favorite activities), and chatting with partners in crime and potential clients. I am grateful that I love the masks, toners, moisturizers, eye creams, etc. so much that I have no trouble talking to people about the products and business itself when people ask. Sharing with people and seeing them get excited about how the products have made them feel has been good for my soul. 

With all the extra activities, day job and school, we still somehow manage to get lunches made, baths taken (although I’m encouraging more showers as they are quicker), dinners made, stories read, days shared, cuddles had, dishes done, laundry washed, house straightened, groceries bought, and dogs walked and cared for when they are visiting. ❤️💯

Non-stop, content and thankful.

Microblog Monday: 5 Life Changing Reasons!

One of the things that’s freaking me out right now is how much I LOVE having side businesses. I’m hoping one day that I can just become a master of side businesses and a full-time employee of none. Now if I can just get the American healthcare system to play nice with me.

Five life-changing perks for me:

1. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE FEEDS MY SPIRIT!!

Who doesn’t love dogs? There are probably a few people, but through Rover, I get to experience a wide variety of dog personalities which has busted dog breed stereotypes for me. I also get to meet new people, use my business to help my kids learn about respecting animals and being responsible, and get to cuddle with the cuddlers (as I learned from Smoke, not every dog likes to be cuddled).

2. GREAT SKIN AND NEW FRIENDS!!!

I’ve felt like dead woman walking since I had my kids. With R+F, my skin has completely transformed from when I started using it 3 months ago. I love sharing this experience with people. I also have had the unexpected pleasure of reconnecting with friends and acquaintances I have not spoken to in ages and the support and positivity of the women I’ve met in this business is second to none.

3. CONFIDENCE BOOST!

With both of my side gigs, I’ve started to step out of my shell and consequently have gained more confidence and stressed less about what people are thinking of me.

4. 9-5 KILLS MY SOUL!!

I’ve realized how much I appreciate the diversity and energy of having more than one stream of income. I’ve known I’m not a typical 9-5 girl my entire life (ask my co-workers how well I stick to schedules – ugh). Mixing up my day job with other types of work has really boosted my mood – despite some occasional exhaustion from staying up too late because I can’t stop working once the kids are in bed.

5. MY KIDS ARE FEELING IT!!!

Largely because I’m a more positive human being. My daughter has quickly picked up on my entrepreneurial spirit and loves creating things to sell to people. It’s hard to sell things on the curb in my neighborhood, so she’s finishing up some ladybug garden rocks that she wants me to post soon. My son loves helping me create videos for my business. Ultimately, I want them to learn that anything worth doing is worth doing well and that their solo parent (with the help of God, family and good friends!) can carry the day to provide a home that they can thrive in.

 

Weekend Recap: Posh, Pig Roasts, Paris, Pups and Police

This weekend was a bit surreal in terms of experiences.

So, Thursday evening I got a frantic message from a woman saying her mother is leaving for Paris on Friday morning and could I watch her dog for the next 13 days. Upon learning that the dog is a breed I grew up with (German Shorthaired Pointer) and is 13 years old, I agreed, sight unseen, to pick up this dog Friday morning from a loft in Union Station, a very swanky area in downtown Denver. The mother, who I discovered travels frequently to Paris, is a high end interior designer. Her pup, who I have nicknamed "La Vieille Dame," is a lovely and sweet old lady who barks at her dog food and tries to dig holes in my carpet with her front paws to create a comfortable spot for sleeping.

Saturday morning, I woke up to the police knocking at my door to ask me about the "squatters" who have taken over the old grow house next door. Sigh. Dorothy, we're not in Union Station anymore. The officer and my neighbor reported that people have taken over the house, they come to party at night, and did I ever hear them?

The police were going to call in a company to board the house up and try to track down the owner. Mulling over the idea of living next to a boarded up house, I supposed the house couldn't possibly look any worse than it already did with a queen-sized mattress leaning against the garage door and miles of PVC pipe piled up in the driveway next to the overgrown weed fest of a yard. Weed in the actual sense of the word.

Saturday evening we headed over to the wedding reception of one of my daughter's former daycare teachers. A family friend was hosting it at their home. This neighborhood was definitely where some of Colorado's 1% live. My kids jumped out of my car and raced across the exotic xeriscaping of the expansive front yard, stopping only long enough to leave fingerprints all over some gorgeous vehicles in a 4-car garage before running into the house and stopping just short of a well- appointed dessert bar. Yes, don't mind them, they will have one of each. Will you please let the bride know that her guests from south Thornton have arrived?

Later Saturday evening, we drove an hour south to beautiful rolling hills alongside the mountains to a friend and co-worker's home and land for a pig roast. It was like going to Disneyland Colorado style. Beautiful acreage with pigs, cows, woods, tire swings, playgrounds. It was A River Runs Through It minus Brad Pitt. The kids and I hung around the buffet table poking at the fully-intact face of the pig who had been roasted earlier in the evening. Afterwards, we danced and played and listened as some police officers tried their hand at karaoke (stick to fighting crime, guys).

Our weekend wrapped up with church and lunch with grandma and grandpa. Through it all, the kids were superstars. I'm not sure what kool-aid they started the weekend with, but they were model children all weekend. I felt so grateful and blessed to have such diverse friendships and the opportunity to expose my kids to different experiences.

5 Things I Love About Summer!

The title of this blog is meant to come across as positive, exciting and bursting with infectious happy energy! Here is what I’m really thinking about summer right now: I’m tired of living sans air conditioning. The average temperature in my home runs about 85 degrees in the early evening. I swore up and down that this would be the summer of the cooling system installation extravaganza. After obtaining a few estimates that I can’t really afford without taking a loan and discovering that many HVAC companies are booked out at least a few weeks, I’ve decided that this might be the summer where I leisurely explored the idea of installing a cooling system and decided to put it off another year.

Why not? I’ve met some really interesting HVAC guys and a whiney electrician, increased my knowledge of heating and cooling systems exponentially, spent quite a bit of time getting to know my fuse box, and received plenty of bad news about the issues that an old home presents when installing anything major that requires electricity. I can give you the rundown about the options that are available nowadays when it comes to cooling your home and tell you why you should never use a present day GFI testing thingy to check ungrounded GFI outlets in an old home.

Move on, you say. Let’s talk about why summer is so great. Here are the 5 things I love about this summer.

  1. I get to spend one whole day a week hanging out with my children! Through this experience I’ve learned that being an SAHM is probably not the ideal way to go for me, but I wouldn’t trade our Tuesdays for anything. Even when they involve hours and hours of bickering, hearing the word “Momma” a mind-numbing amount of times, and turning down hundreds of requests per day regarding TV, iPad, and iPhone usage.
  2. Above-mentioned children have learned to swim! When we do go to the pool, we don’t have to spend a lot of time in the wading pool where the water is suspiciously warm all the time and toddlers in swim diapers splash and squeal all around you.
  3. Crime seems to have slowed down this summer in our neighborhood! While data shows our area as the most popular place in town for our police force to hang out, our immediate surroundings have remained relatively quiet (knock on wood). 
  4. It is too hot to use the oven in my house which limits our diet to only items that can be eaten straight out of the fridge and prepared on the stove top or in the toaster! Add in picky eaters and the only things I really need to keep readily available are bread, peanut butter, jelly, and cheese and turkey slices. 
  5. Homemade cold brew coffee. With vanilla almond creamer. 

As you can see, the upcoming school year and fall will likely be greeted with some long faces and heavy hearts. Despite the high temps in the house, we’ve managed to have one of the better summers in recent history.