Seeing eye kids

Like many of my hormone riddled homies, I get migraines from time to time.  The auras, the nausea, the skull crushing headaches... the works.  I've always been lucky, though, in that I've always gotten them at home or while I'm out with Nick. 

Until Monday morning at 7:30am, when I got one as I was walking into the grocery store.  I had about thirty seconds to get the three kids in the cart, run to the soda cooler and take my medicine before my last speck of clear vision was replaced with a big bright dot and I turned into Stevie Wonder minus the talent. 

It takes about twenty five minutes for my medicine to kick in, and since Helen Keller would have a better chance of getting the kids home alive behind the wheel of a mini van I decided to just play it cool and proceed with my shopping the best I could.

"Excuse me, sir, can you please tell me which aisle your lemon zest is in?"  I asked a giant Peeps display.

Things weren't going well, so I called Nick at work to see if there was anything I could do to make the medicine work faster.

"This is Ron."

Ron is not Nick. 

Ron is our mortgage guy. 

Did I mention I was almost completely blind?  I had just sort of hit some buttons on my phone and hoped Jesus would take the wheel.

"Oh, hi... Ron.  Ummm, er... I was just wondering if the mortgage rate has gone down at all."

"Not since last night."

"Right.  Thanks bye."

I was on my own.  Relying on instinct and pure skill, I tried to remember what was on my grocery list and aimed the cart for the pasta sauce aisle. 

"Ellie... I need you to think back to all those hours I made you watch Sesame Street so Mommy could play her Words With Friends.  What letters are on this can of spaghetti sauce?"


Close enough.  I tossed it in the direction of the cart and hoped it landed. 

I continued to inch forward, praying I didn't run into one of those gigantic wine towers at the end of the frosting aisle.   

"We're going to run into Mommy's medicine!"  Ellie shouted.

I veered right and missed the wine tower by inches. 

Then, like clockwork, the girls began to fight.  They're crammed together in that little car attached to the front of the cart, and I would have better luck putting two cats in a shoebox and asking them not to fight after I poured a pitcher of water on them than putting a 3 and 2-year old in that little car.

I felt my way to the front of the cart, stuck my arm through the windshield and began swiping wildly at the air, hoping to connect with something.  "Stop FIGHTING!  Mommy is SICK!"  I hissed. 

"Actually, on second thought... keep screaming.  That way I know you haven't been kidnapped or run away."

For nearly a half hour I slowly navigated my way through the aisles, walking fast when I heard something fall, faster when I heard something break.  By the time I headed for the checkout, I had left a path of destruction like an F-5 in Oklahoma. 

I could finally see again and it was time for me, my three kids and my twenty cans of frosting to head home. 

The Slippery Slope

Now... I'll be the first to admit that I'm no County Fair beauty pageant queen.  But Imma just say that if you need a quick shot of self esteem the best way to find it is by spending the day at an indoor water park in the Ozarks.  The only way to tell the men from the women was that (most of) the women had the decency to cover their boobs.   

Wee doggies. 

And while I went to bed Saturday night feeling a little more confident in my unfortunate body type than when I had woken up that morning, water parks are far from my idea of the most perfect day ever. 

It may have something to do with the fact that I technically lost my virginity when I was fourteen as the result of a scissor kick gone wrong off of the high dive at Peony Park.  That, and I'm just not really a huge fan of anything 'extreme'.  Especially extreme things involving bathing suits, community water, things squirting me in the face, amped up children running around or a slide that causes me to hit the water with enough force to send my tampon rocketing into my throat. 

No, my idea of the most perfect day ever involves me by myself at a quiet little winery somewhere in Spain with a notebook, a pencil, a good idea, a fresh crock pot full of Rotel and some taco meat.

I would also accept a bar with the words 'Thirsty ______ (insert name of farm animal here)' in the title as a substitute for the winery in Spain.

Anyhoo, my family wasn't really supportive of my idea of me going to a winery in Spain by myself so Ozarkian water park it was. 

Ellie is a huge weenie when it comes to anything involving risk so I anticipated a nice quiet day in the hot tub.  This is by design; I'm Queen Weenie.  But five minutes in she grew a pair and the next thing I knew we were hand in (my) sweaty hand waiting in line to slide down some really tall tube thing.

By the time we finally made it to the top my knees were shaking so hard I could barely stand.  The only thing keeping me going was the fact that she would be on my lap and if things went south I could use her little body as a buffer. 

"Mom goes down first and she'll catch you at the bottom,"  I heard the lifeguard say.


"You can't go down together; you go first and catch her at the bottom."


"Ma'am?  You ready?  You're holding up the line."


"Ma'am, you need to let go of my waist."

"Ellie, we can't go down together.  You have to go down by yourself."

"That's fine."

"What did you say?  You're too scared?  Okay, we can just go back down.  No problem."

"No, it's okay Mom - just catch me at the bottom."

"Well I don't want to force you to do something you don't want to do..."

"Mom.  Go.  You're embarrassing me."

So I had to put on my big girl pants and act like I wasn't terrified.  I flew through pitch black darkness, bracing my vulva for impact the entire time.  My efforts were futile; I hit the water with all the force of a prison rape.

And guess what?  It was all she wanted to do all day.  After roughly time number six I overheard my sister complaining all my nephew wanted to do was sit in the hot tub. 

So, I did the noble thing and offered to switch with her. 

"Hay-Nay-Nay (he calls me Hay Nay Nay), I gotta go pee,"  he said, two minutes into our time in the hot tub. 

"Yeah no shit... that's why I got into the hot tub,"  I said.  "Let her rip."

"Hay-Nay-Nay, I gotta go pee,"  He said, his lower lip quivering. 

"Ugggg fine."

As we walked into the bathroom I realized I know nothing about a 2-year-old boy's anatomy.  I stood him in front of the toilet, that came roughly to his shoulder. 

"Here you go.  You good?  Ship shape.  Welp... I'm freezing.  I'll meet you back at the hot tub; just walk back through the locker room the way we came."

I retreated to the hot tub, closed my eyes, and finally relaxed.  It was the next best thing to being at the Thirsty Duckling. 

Damn you Pinterest! Damn you to hell! Oh, and happy Valentines Day!

So I saw this really cute idea on Pinterest for Valentines Day cards, which I tried to replicate. 

Cute, right? 

Yes, cute until you have to make 29. 



That's cutting out and taping 87 hand prints, cutting out and taping 87 faces, and addressing 29 envelopes. 

I had my own little sweat shop set up in the dining room.  Ellie kept complaining that her hand was hurting from drawing pictures on the covers. 

So I tried to psyche her out by saying, "Only one more!  Only one more!  You can do it!  This one's for Nana!"  In reality there were like 200 more. 

I thought I was free of permanent psychological damage until I inspected her work and saw what was supposed to be her "Happy Valentines Day faces."
Happy Valentines Day everyone!


I've often wondered if I would want to know if something bad was about to happen to me.  You know, like, would I want a little heads up if I were going to break an ankle on Thursday, or -NO GOD NO- Kourtney and Kim Take Miami wasn't renewed for a sixth season? 

And I had come to the conclusion that - no - worrying about something is almost worse than it actually happening, so blind side me away. 

But that was before.  Before the Vomapocalypse 2013.  So much has changed.  The way I look at my kids, at Nick, at myself, at my toilet.  I've seen things, man.  Bad things.  Things that can't be unseen.  Unclean.   

It all started Friday night when Nick's car broke down in a north county Quick Trip parking lot while he was making his 54th Big Gulp stop of the day.  We were supposed to meet some friends for dinner, but instead the girls and I had to make a road trip to the hood to pick him up and drop him off at the rent-a-car place before he spent their college funds on Diet Dr. Pepper. 

We abandoned ship on the dinner, and the girls and I


drove through Taco Bell.  I got my favorite, a


Doritos Locos Taco Supreme with


extra lava sauce and


three packets of fire sauce, and oh well might as well throw in a


Grilled Stuffed Burrito while you're at it. 

Then the girls and I came home and


I spread a blanket on the playroom floor and we had a little Taco Bell picnic


with all of their toys and stuffed animals while we waited for Nick to get home from work in his rent-a-car.

After my Doritos Locos Taco with extra Lava Sauce, and mid-way through my burrito soaked in fire sauce, it happened.  No warning.  No heads up.  Just three girls not interested in their cheese roll-up as their Mom went HAM on some faux Mexican.  Out of nowhere, a forceful spray of vomit flew out of Ellie's mouth and onto every surface within a 3-foot radius.  Which was almost every stuffed animal she owns. 

Then... we had one of those moments

You know, those moments where you just sit, perfectly still, and stare deep into each others eyes because neither of you have any idea where to begin and you pray so hard that it will just magically go away.  Her eyes are looking at you all, "What the heck just happened?"  And your eyes are looking at her all, "I wonder if I can finish this burrito before I have to clean up this shit."

Then, in an effort of self-preservation, I blacked out.  The next thing I knew I was picking chunks out of her hair as the other two kids screamed bloody murder downstairs because I had locked them in something to keep them out of the vomitorium. 

"Maybe this is a one and done,"  I thought to myself, three seconds before she leaned out of the tub and barfed all over my socks. 

Then we went down like a stack of dominoes.  First Ellie, then me, then Nick, then Lila.  The only one left standing was Hadley, which confirms my suspicions that she's a witch.  Nobody is that cute. NOBODY.   

I'll spare you the gory details, but lava sauce is just as spicy coming up as it is going down.  Oh, and did you know that it's possible to dry heave out of your butt?  That's only 30% of the goriest thing that happened Friday night. 

At one point round 2am I was pants down on the toilet, barfing into a trash can, holding a bowl for Ellie to barf into, while Lila was barfing in the bathtub and Nick was barfing in the other bathroom.  And you know what I was thinking?  "That ass hole better get in here and clean up after at least one of these girls."

I woke up the next morning feeling better but a little disoriented, trying to piece together what had happened the night before. 

I was in the guest bed with Ellie and Lila; Supernanny was on the TV.  There were two trash bags filled with unspeakable things at the top of the stairs.  A bucket filled with stuffed animals covered in vomit, begging me to shoot them in the face, was in the garage.  My underwear was on the deck.

My uneaten half burrito on the kitchen counter.  I took one bite before I threw it away because, well, you know, burrito. 

On a positive note, we all look fabulous.  I'm almost down to my pre-wedding weight. 


In six months, Hadley will start pre-school.  Which means that, for TWO WHOLE glorious days a week, I will have two hours and ten minutes all to myself.  I know what you're thinking, and considering that I think of taking my kids to Parents Day Out so I can go get a pap smear a vacation, you bet your ass I'm counting those ten minutes.

That means that for the next two years after that I'll have three mornings a week to myself, and in 2016... five. 

Hang on.  I need to go change my underwear.

I actually had to sketch that out to make it work in my brain, by the way.

I feel like we're on the uphill swing; the fog is starting to lift.  I knew eventually the day would come when I would have some time to myself; it just always seemed so far away.  And the question on everyone's (Nick's) mind is, "What are you going to do?" 

I'm a planner, so I've really started to give this some serious thought.  Go back to working at an ad agency?  Teach a couple of days a week?  Volunteer?  Finish my (now dusty and probably irrelevant) novel?  Take the day shift over at Diamond Cabaret? 

And the answer is:  I don't know yet what the long term will hold.  However, according to my calculations, if the average employee gets four weeks of vacation for working 40 hours a week, and I've been working 24/7 for four years, then I'll be entitled to roughly fifty years of vacation.  But I'll settle for six months off before I have to make a decision about my life's direction. 

In excited anticipation, I've started making a list of things I'm going to do in 2016, on my six month sabbatical from reality. 

So far I've got:

1.  Take banjo lessons
2.  Learn how to do a back spin

It's really a work in progress. 

Snow, man!

For me, snow is one of those things like vegetables or Taylor Swift.  I understand the appeal, and it's tolerable from a distance, but I don't want it anywhere near me or touching my skin.

I'm just not a cold weather person.  I think snow skiing would be way more enjoyable if I could do it while relaxing on a lounge chair on a beach in Mexico somewhere. 

Unfortunately, my kids don't feel the same way.  And not only do I have to go outside and play with them, but getting three little kids (and myself) snow ready is a bitch.  On Sunday I tried to placate them by opening the living room window while I retired to my easy chair by the fire with some mulled wine and a book, but that only worked until they saw the neighbor kids out playing. 

"Hey, you said snow was poison and would burn our faces off if we touched it,"  they said, pointing to their friends making snow angels. 

"Well, I think it's time I told you... parents lie about a lot of stuff,"  I said. 

"Like what?"

"Well, ya know, about stuff like Santa Claus, there really is a place called Disney Land and I'm fairly certain the boogie man actually lives in your closet."

They stared at me blankly and I knew it was time to begin the snow prep.  Four pairs of snow pants.  Four heavy coats.  Four boots.  Four hats.  Four pairs of mittens.  Four tantrums because we all had massive unfixable wedgies.  Four de-robings because what is it about putting on layers that immediately makes your bladder scream for attention? 

I put on each layer slowly, searching for any hint of an urge to pee.  But, like clockwork, the minute I strap on those gloves I'm holding my crotch and hopping on one leg trying to undress in the bathroom. 

Eventually we made it out, made a snowman (sort of) -

- and I taught the girls a little game I like to call "snow smash in face." 

Turns out I'm pretty good at it, and surprisingly they were ready to come inside sooner than I thought.