Too much holiday joy may be bad for you!


Today I had lunch with my good friend Brea at Barnes and Noble today. We do our best to have lunch every Friday, and since the weather has gotten colder, we’ve been forced inside. Our Barnes and Noble actually serves a pretty good lunch along with the coffees offered and, as we discovered today, they serve up a little humor with everything else.

We’d just finished lunch, and were having a pretty heavy discussion when an announcement came over the loudspeaker which went something like this:

“Greetings Barnes and Noble shoppers, do you have an excess of holiday joy? If so…”( the rest was blocked by ambient noise).

The lady making the announcement over the loudspeaker sounded to me like one of those people hawking drugs on tv, and the next thing I know it, we’re giggling over possible endings for this announcement.  Pretty soon,we are laughing so hard, it’s a wonder we didn’t fall out of our chairs. I’m pretty sure I bruised a rib. And I snorted, which hardly ever happens. I’m pretty sure Brea’s eyes glassed over with unshed tears due to having too much holiday joy in the moment. Luckily we were done eating or we might have choked to death.

I can’t remember all of what we laughed about, but I’ve thought of a few more as the rest of the day went by.  So, what happens if you find yourself with an excess of holiday joy?

~If you experience holiday joy for more than four hours, seek immediate emergency medical assistance. (I wonder how excessively inflated joy is coded for insurance purposes?)

~Could give you a righteous case of the holiday munchies and weight gain (nom, nom, nom!)

~May cause the desire to chug rum-laden egg nog (Can potentially lead to ‘rum’ goggles)

~May cause explosive diarrhea (Aunt Meg didn’t cook the Turkey long enough)

~Could cause drowsiness and dry mouth (again with the rum-laden egg nog)

~May cause blindness (Cousin Bob threw a buttered lefse at your head)

~May cause restless legs syndrome (too much holiday joy could make you feel like dancing)

~Stop experiencing holiday joy if you have constipation, flatulence, abdominal pain and bloating (See Aunt Meg’s undercooked Turkey)

~Stop eating immediately if you experience painful swallowing, chest pain, or severe and continuing heartburn (Don’t eat the Lutefisk!)

~May cause high blood pressure (Uncle Charlie just can’t let you forget about the time you lost your bathing suit while diving in the city pool, even though it happened when you were 12, and you’re now 30)

~If having too much fun, and eating at the same time, choking to death may occur (See! I told you having too much holiday fun was dangerous!)

I could go on ad nauseam but I think I will let you join in the fun. What other side effects warnings can you come up with for too much holiday joy?

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Keeping my kids off balance, and a blog contest


I read about a blog contest today for the Mom of the Year award, and I actually submitted an entry. Now, mind you, I don’t feel like I am any kind of mother to be deserving of an award, much less be given the title of Mom of the Year.  However, the parameters of the contest made it clear that I might actually have something to contribute. The blog is entitled Slightly Off-Balance, and the contest parameters are as follows:

“I am announcing my Mom of the Year contest to recognize the crazy things you do as you struggle for balance!

But in the spirit of being Slightly Off-Balance, I am not looking for traditional stories of all organic food, no tv, no yelling (these are all amazing qualities, but I don’t want to feel bad about myself!)  You win with humor!

Tell me a story about how you fed your kids McDonald’s for six straight meals or how you ate their cupcakes and told them they were stale.  The more off-balance and funny the better.  I will announce a winner next Monday, October 25th.”(This has since been pushed back to Nov 1st or 2nd)

Since I have so many stories of how I keep my equilibrium by keeping my children off  balance, I thought I’d post an entry, which I’ve pasted below in blue. I hope that many of my readers will make entries as well. Even if you don’t enter, stop by and have a look…there are some funny submissions.

The back-story of following conversation I had with my youngest son is that I wouldn’t let my kids watch Britney Spears on TV. I found Miss “I Don’t Want To Be A Role Model”, quite too racy for my then 9 and 7-year-old boys. Youngest Son is quite a joker, but I got him good on this particular day as he was trying to get revenge on me for not stopping to get him some candy after school. We were having this discussion while in traffic on the way home:

Youngest Son: “You know what? When I grow up, I’m going to marry Britney Spears!”

Me: “Really, you’re going to marry Britney Spears?”

Youngest Son: “That’s right, and we’re going to let our kids do anything they want, and eat anything they want.”

Me: “That’s interesting. Youngest Son, how old do you think you will be when you get married?”

Youngest Son: “I don’t know.”

Me: “We’ll generally, people don’t get married until they’re in their 20’s. You’re only 7 now.”

Youngest Son: “So?”

Me: “Britney is about 21 or so now, and you have to wait 14 years to catch up to that age since you’re only 7 now.

Youngest Son: “Yeah, what about it?”

Me: “Well, while you are aging for 14 years, she will be aging at the same time, which means she will get old and look just like me” (I’m chubby with gray-streaked dark hair).

Youngest Son: “WHAT?”

Me: “You didn’t think she was just going to stay 21 and cute forever did you?”

Youngest Son: [Silence]

**Note: He didn’t say another thing about Britney Spears to me for the rest of that trip home, or for several years after that!

Britney as she was during this conversation

Britney again...several years later.

The Highs and Lows of Pay Day


Yes! Today is pay-day. I love pay-day. It’s wonderful to pull up my bank account and see that the money I’ve worked so hard for has dropped into my account and is just sitting there waiting for me to do something with it.

It’s beautiful!

Wait a minute…what the heck is that?! My balance has suddenly dropped! Who’s messing with my precious paycheck?!! Hm…looks like my automatic withdrawal for my car insurance. Yeah, that’s pretty important…better keep that. And what’s this? There’s something else that’s reducing the shiny loveliness of my paycheck…Hm…that’s the check that just went through from where I bought groceries. Something else I see next to my computer is this stack of paper that needs my attention. Hm. Lights, heat, house payment…I think there’s some kind of communist plot against my poor innocent paycheck. I mean, really, what did my paycheck do to deserve such abrupt decimation?!

Now, it’s no longer so much a glorious, shiny, new paycheck. It’s more like a dull, whimpering nub after all the abuse it’s taken already today.

Oh, but it was glorious while it lasted!

Spitting is NOT manly…ladies, can I hear an “Amen”?!


Tonight I attended Younger Son’s last football game of the season. It was a nice evening, if a little windy, and the boys won the game. Huzzah!

What is the deal with men and spitting?  Sometimes you’ll hear them hawking a loogie from what seems like the roots of their toes, only to spit it forcefully out on the ground in front of whoever is standing in the local area. Other times they just seem to spit, for spitting’s sake. A lot. Especially at sporting events. What really burns my cookies is that the coaches do it too.

I find the male assumption that spitting is an acceptable way to act in public grievously in error. I have news for you men. Spitting isn’t manly. It is not attractive, nor is it necessary unless you end up with a bug or something else in your mouth that just shouldn’t be there.

There are three rules I insist my sons adhere to when it comes to spitting:

1. Do Not Spit In Public, EVER.

2. If you have a something in your mouth that isn’t supposed to be there, do get rid of it in as polite a manner as you can.

3. I don’t care if the other guys do it. Please refer to Rule #1. Do it now.

I know lots of women who tolerate habitual spitting from their male family members. Younger Son, who just came by and read the title of this blog post, insists that he knows lots of girls that spit. Only, he says, they have a harder time doing it because guys slobber more than girls do. (Yeah…I’m shaking my head at that too, and am trying very hard not to think about that statement too much in-depth right now.) Girls, am I alone in this?  Am I overly sensitive because I was raised in a family where spitting was not tolerated, or heads got smacked? Are my expectations too high for male behavior?

…Or…

Are there more out there like me who would like the guys to stick a cork in it? I would bet hard cold cash that I’m not the only one who feels like I should put on a haz-mat suit just to go to my kid’s sporting events? How many of you out there find men more attractive when they aren’t letting fly every 10 minutes for no particular reason? I’m betting I’m not alone.

For all you guys…please, just for a moment imagine what you might think if we girls spit all the time.   If you find the notion of your mothers, aunts and grandmas spitting every time you see them repulsive, then you can understand how we girls might find that not so attractive. Now I want you to imagine all the females in your vicinity spitting  all together and joking amongst themselves about girls stuff that you guys don’t want to know about. Yummy? It gets even better… just imagine your girlfriend  has a wad of chewing tobacco stuffed in her lip, and is busily spitting/drooling tobacco juice to beat the band. I bet you’d love to walk right up to her and give those lips a big old kiss, right? Does that make you feel really hot and bothered? If so, then you’re a really sick puppy and you need to see Sparrow’s Rules for Spitting in Public, as listed above.

Sorry about the sarcastic rant…I think watching Younger Son’s coach spit all evening, providing such a manly role model, got the better of my attitude. So, guys, please keep it dry and clean. If someone needs to water the grass you’re standing on, they’ll get out the hose.

Of Earbugs and Zombies


I’m bad. I’m sooo bad.

I’ve infected a fellow blogger with something terrible. It’s an ear bug. You, know…one of those songs that just won’t get out of your head. I won’t mention the aforementioned insanity-inducing song by name again for fear that someone else might come down with the affliction. Truly, I should just go to the post I mentioned the song in, and scrub it with bleach and steel wool.

So, to my friend over at The Idiot Speaketh, I apologize. I hope the increase in meds has helped.

Anyway, in effort to assist my new friend in getting rid of this ear bug, I’ll post a different song. It’s something pretty benign and the music is actually pretty good. The man singing this song is Jonathan Coulton. He’s a geek. He’s a folk singer. He’s hilarious. He’s just all around fun. Below, I’ve pasted in a you tube video of Jonathan Coulton and his band serenading Wil Wheaton. For those of you who are Star Trek TNG fans, you’ll remember little Wesley Crusher? Well, he’s all grown up now and has a funny bearded man singing him silly songs at the PAX 2009 conference. Apparently  he’s a big internet geek/gamer now, and attends the internet/gamer conventions.

Having said all that, here’s the song…enjoy. And, Redriverpak…I hope this helps you get rid of that nasty ear bug I gave you! And, just in case you are a zombie fan, I included a concert video of Jonathan Coulton singing “Your Brains”. Check it out…love the audience participation!

(Editor’s note: After I finished writing this post, I went out to check out how things are going over at  The Idiot Speaketh. Wouldn’t you know it, he got his revenge. He posted a video featuring the song “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls, and now it’s firmly entrenched in my head. Yeah…after the song I helped get lodged in his head, I deserved that. )

Kids are smarter than we give them credit for


I am a mother of two boys, ages 17 and 15. If I’ve learned anything in the last 17 years, it’s that kids are smart and they will flog you with their unwavering curiosity and intelligence at every opportunity.

What prompts me to write about this today are two blog postings I read concerning people saying things deemed inappropriate for polite consumption. The first, called A One Armed Stripper Ruined my Lunch, talks about a woman who was trying to have a nice lunch with her kids, when the people sitting next to them began to talk about strippers and all manner of topics related, and her reaction to it.  The second one entitled Feel Free To Swear Around My Children, is a differing view on how to react when situations like the one-armed stripper conversation occur.  I encourage you to read them both, as both have valid points. Not that I want to take sides, as I’ve certainly found myself in similar situations as described in both of these blog posts, but I think I have to say that I agree with the 2nd one more.

Several years ago I won tickets to a Vikings game and so the four of us (before I divorced) went to Minneapolis for a night and to watch the game. Of course, the seats were three rows from the top, and so I found it more entertaining to watch the people around me and visit with my family. After half time, two drunk guys came in and sat down directly behind us… and then the F-Bomb-a-polooza began in earnest.  Generally speaking, I try not to eaves drop on other people’s conversations, and if others want to swear that’s their business. However, when you are packed in together like sardines and the F-Bombs are flying free and fiercely into my ears and the ears of my (at the time) young kids from directly behind our heads, I just couldn’t keep it to myself. The conversation with the guy behind me went something like this:

Drunken Idiot: “Blah, blah, f**ker, blah, blahbity blah. F**k that, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, can you f**king believe that?  You’re f**king right, blah, blah, blah… “ (you get the picture)

Me: (I turned around and looked him in the eye) “Sir, I hate to bother you, but could you please tone down the F-bombs? My kids are sitting right in front of you, and hearing everything you’re saying.”

Drunken Idiot: (His eyes got big and round) “Oh my god, ma’am. I’m so sorry. I was so totally not paying attention. Yes, I will stop that right now.”

Me: (Smiling…his embarrassment was gratifying) “Thanks a bunch, we appreciate it!”

So, we continued to watch the ants, er, players run around on the field and the conversation behind us became less of a distraction. Until he slipped, and then things got funny. His getting the hiccups made it even funnier. It went something like this:

Drunken Idiot: Blah, blah, (hiccup) f**king bastard. (he leans closer, addressing me) OOPS! Sorry about that (hiccup)!  Blah, blah, blah…(hiccup) yadda, yadda, yadda. Yackity, yack. Blah, blah blabbity blah, you’re f**king right! OOPS! (hiccup. He leans into my ear again) Oh crap, Ma’am…sorry about that…my bad!”

Needless to say the kids and I just about wet our pants trying not to laugh at the guy. I have to give him credit for at least trying! The point here is that if someone is being offensive, it’s OK  to politely ask them to stop. If they don’t, at least your kids will know that you tried to do something about an offensive situation. At the very least they are watching to see how we adults react to things, whether we speak up about them or not, and they are soaking it all up like little sponges.

Another thing to consider are the questions children ask because they are naturally curious beings. If they weren’t curious enough to ask what most adults deem as embarrassing questions, they wouldn’t be normal.

A very important thing to know about children is that they know bullshit when they hear bullshit, and they will keep asking questions until they feel they have them all answered. If they ask you a direct question, it’s better to just give them a direct answer without any prevarication or squirming. It doesn’t mean you have to tell them everything, but at least a basic and direct response is due. Otherwise you run the risk of being interrogated, and the interrogation will most likely come loudly and in the presence of your grandmother, minister or boss. With your luck, probably all three at the same time.  All kids have an inboard BS-O-Meter, and when you start squirming, try to put them off or tell half-truths when they ask embarrassing questions, it starts pinging in the red zone. This will prompt more questions, each one more embarrassing than the last. Save yourself…just be honest the first time around.

You can fake out the BS-O-Meter sometimes, but the next person who has to answer that question you so successfully avoided will not appreciate it. One example of this is when my kids picked my mom to ask where babies come from. She promptly told them that babies are hatched under cabbage leaves in the garden. She successfully avoided an interrogation by looking them directly in the hairy eyeball and giving them her answer straight from the hip. Being as they were still so young (ages 4 & 6), they took it hook, line and sinker. Later that week when the boys notified me that babies are, in fact,  hatched under cabbage leaves which, of course, is the gospel “because Nana said so”, it was left to me to tell them where babies actually come from.  No explanation from me would break them from their misinformation. Luckily enough, at the time, there were a couple of different networks who constantly showed real birthing stories. So, I made it my business to keep the channel dialed to these kinds of shows and the boys then got an education about how babies are born.  I remember very clearly that Older Son was particularly disgusted with seeing the birthing process, and proclaimed loudly that was gross and he was NOT born like that.

Silly me. I should know that when kids have time to digest information other more insidious questions are then launched…very much like when you cut the head off of a Hydra, two more pop out to take its place. Next questions were, of course, “Why do babies come out of THERE instead of the belly button?” and “How did the baby get in there to begin with?!”

Oh well. Parenting is messy, and if we didn’t want to answer the hard questions we shouldn’t have signed up for the job. That’s what we get paid the big bucks for.

Uhm…yeah…big bucks. I guess I’ll have to quantify my rewards in something other than hard, cold cash! 😉

My to-do list is so daunting, I need a Vincent Price voice over


After getting home at 1am last night, and didn’t fall asleep until about 3:30, I was surprised that I was up and at ’em by 8am today.  It’s ok, though. It’s going to be a big day, and I needed to get up and cracking if I’m going to even get half of it accomplished. Today Older Son is going to Nana’s to help her finish taking stuff downstairs that’s left over from last night’s organization orgy, so it will just be me and Younger Son getting stuff done today at home.

As discussed in a previous post, the carpenter who is supposed to be doing the remodel on my bathroom delayed until tomorrow. I haven’t heard from him yet that he isn’t coming tomorrow, so I will assume that his sister’s surgery went well and that all is a go for Wednesday. Uh…hmm. Hope I didn’t just jinx it by saying that out loud.

Nobody does menacing like Vincent Price!

Anyway, as I am operating under the assumption that the bathroom project is getting under way tomorrow (please, oh please, oh please!), there are certain things that I need to get accomplished before that can happen. So, in the spirit of getting the ball rolling, here is today’s very special edition of (cue Vincent Price echo, crashing thunder and lightning)…  The To-Do List.

  • Scrub out fridge (there’s been a code-four pickle juice spill…Yummy)
  • Do final general pick up and cleaning of upstairs
  • Get Younger to mow and edge the lawn
  • Do more laundry until my washer and dryer beg for mercy
  • Shopping trip to Menards/Wally World to buy a new pedestal sink, bathroom fan, plastic big enough to cover the bedroom/living rooms doors and the kitchen (to keep demolition dust off), expanding spray foam for the crack in the basement wall, and new weed eater.
  • Call the plumber and make an appointment to get my external hose fixed.
  • Call sand and gravel company to put an order in for landscaping rock.
  • Bake Banana Bread…I’ve got some bananas that need to be used up.

If I get all of that done today, it will have been a hugely successful day. I can do it, but I guess I’m going to need to quit flappin’ my gums on the internet and get the show on the road!