Laughing Mama's Blog

My inner monologue with myself inside my head put in this blog out in the open for everybody to read.

Blue Hydrangeas (AKA: “Boys poop in trash cans”) March 7, 2018

Filed under: kids,Life,parenting — laughingmama @ 2:23 am

My children are now 17 and 15. A lot of years have passed but not much time. They’re two different things you know. One a line of hours, days and months. The other, the slow steady beat of one’s heart. That difference was illustrated to me today in a beautiful blue brush stroke. Both of my “babies” (and I still call them babies) are involved in theater in their high school. After rehearsal today, into my car piled not only two of my own but two of my friend’s and a new face. “Can we give my friend, Ciara, a ride home?” shouted Drew among the talking and laughing and slinging of backpacks into the “way back” and clicks of levers to release and slide seats to accommodate the masses. This new friend happened to live in our old neighborhood. “Of course!” I said as I made our way to first drop off our friend’s children and then head down the familiar roads we’ve traveled a thousand times.

“Can we show Ciara where we used to live?” begged Drew. An easy request since there is hardly ever a time when I’m in that neighborhood that I don’t drive by the “old house” even though it rarely ever changes. “Sure” I replied and steered my car down our old street into the cul-de-sac. “There it is, on the left, with the American flag on the porch” said my kids. And at first glance it was as it always is.  White with a front porch that extends the length of the house, fence and arbor on the side, a curved pathway to the front door. But as I rounded the cul-de-sac I noticed something on the front porch. A blue hydrangea bush with a blue balloon tied to it. And not just any blue balloon- it was a congratulatory type balloon. One you might get in the hospital. One you might get in the hospital after having a baby. The new owners are new parents. There’s a new baby boy living at 721. And it made me SO happy.

We had met the new owners at the time of our closing. A sweet young couple. She liked to bake and took my Kitchen-Aid mixer on the counter at the time of the home showing as a sign that a fellow baker lived there and loved that kitchen. Since we only moved around the corner, we have seen them from time to time in the grocery store, at local (beer) festivals. I had always hoped they were filling that house with as much love as we put into it and it appears that they were. Almost 4 years later and they welcomed their new baby into the same house we brought our daughter and son home.

“I wonder if he’s sleeping in my room!” our daughter said. And then it struck me. The bones of the house are the same I’m sure unless they’ve undertaken some drastic “Fixer Upper” type home remodel. The kitchen table is different but it’s in the same place I assume. There are only two rooms in which to put the nursery and I bet they chose the room in the back of the house just like we did because the daytime sun wouldn’t filter in through the window and wake a napping baby. Their master bedroom, though decorated differently, is just 6 steps away from that bedroom. I remember being pregnant, having terrible morning sickness and realizing that if I ate first thing- even before I put my feet on the ground- that I would feel better. And I remember the morning I woke up, reached for the box of graham crackers I kept by my bedside and found ants crawling inside. I wonder if the new mom of 721 chucked crackers across her bedroom the way I had.

The thought of a new baby in that house made me smile. There had been so many fun times there raising our children. Interesting ones too.  I wondered if they would sleep on the floor next to the crib to keep their child from crying until they were sure they were asleep and then spend the next hour slowly rolling to the door to make their great escape as to not wake the baby. Or if they would treasure as much as I did walking into their room in the morning to sleepy grins, bed head and outstretched arms that melted into the warmest hugs ever. I wondered if their boy would poop in his trash can the way mine did when we were potty training him. Regardless, the thought of someone else starting the cycle all over seemed right. But the fact that the house was old enough to have a second life meant that WE were older. That our KIDS were older. In fact our oldest is going to be a senior and gets no less than two brochures from colleges in the mail a day. Her new prom dress is hanging in the spare room just off the front hallway. The fact that they are rapidly approaching “adulthood” smacks me in the face daily. But tonight I indulged myself and took a walk down memory lane.

I remembered first steps and countless highchair meals and play dates. Christmas mornings and birthday parties. And so did my kids. Hours, days, months of mundane occurrences and special events.  After we dropped their friend off Drew said, “I miss that house”. After asking what he missed he said the kitchen. “Why?” I prodded. “Because the last time I heard Papa’s voice was in the kitchen.” And then my Mary said the perfect thing, “Memories don’t stay in the house. You take them with you.” The slow, steady beat of your heart keeping them close and feeling like no time has passed. Just like it all happened yesterday.

Leaving that house on the day before we closed was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. We were all crying and I asked my very tired, very stressed out husband if we could take it all back. But it was the right thing to do. It was time to go and leave it to a new family to make new memories and welcome new babies. New life stages are happening here and they’re happening there. We’re all sleep deprived for different reasons. But thinking about the new life in that old house makes me glad I’m part of the circle. And very glad that the upstairs of 721 is used to puke. It’s going to happen.


New School Year, New Start Time (AKA: “The Walking Dead”) September 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 10:27 am

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that I am not a morning person, that I love sleep, I love my bed and I love my pillow. That nothing other than road trips and garage sales and babies has ever gotten me out of bed before 6:00 a.m. And yet here I am waking up at 5:30 for the past 8 weekdays. “Whoa!” you say, “That’s a lot of road trips!” But sadly I haven’t gone anywhere. “Gosh! That must be the longest running garage sale in history! Guinness Book of World Records?” Oh, but if that were true. “OMG! You’re a new mom??!” Nope, I’m an old mom. With a 14 year old baby who just started high school. A high school that has a start time of 7:15. Accounting for traffic and wardrobe showdowns and lunch making and taking the dog out, I calculated our wake-up time had to be… beep boop beep.. half past no time I ever wanted to be aware existed. Ok, I should say here that I KNOW that 5:30 a.m. exists. I’ve stayed up all night and seen it for myself plenty of times. You know why? Because I’m a night owl!! The opposite of a morning person. (See? Mornings are so awful they don’t even have a mascot.)

To add insult to injury, at the same time as I’m waking up before the sun, I also started a carb and sugar free detox. That means no sugar in my coffee. That means no coffee because, ew. The reasons why are long and involved but basically I blame it on my birthday. It was a month ago and I had been celebrating for days. Twenty four of them to be exact. August was my month of “yes”. Dinner out? Yes! Dessert? Yes! Another glass of wine? Yes! Pizza again? Yes! Ice cream? Yes! I’m pretty sure the only thing I said no to was vegetables. Long story short, my body had an idea. Want to shoot pain through Eileen’s abdomen and make her feel like she’s giving birth to a food baby? My stomach’s answer? Yes! The Sunday before high school started I woke up in the middle of the night wondering if maybe I was in labor. Was I pregnant and didn’t know it?? After thoughts like “OMG! My friends will think I’m an idiot!” and “Could an immaculate conception happen AGAIN?!” and “Ugh. I’m going to be the oldest mom on the playground.”, I finally surmised it was probably the Razberitas and garlic knots coming back to say hi. I told you I wasn’t making good choices. But at least I wasn’t pregnant and didn’t know it!

Back to my point, waking up super early and not having access to coffee left me with no ability to care about my appearance. One morning last week, I forget which one- they all run together in a blurry slow-motion blob, we were driving to school. I could feel my daughter’s eyes on me. She said, “So, you’ve got your hair half up, half down. The part that’s down is half curly, half straight. You’ve got nailpolish on only two nails and they’re different colors. And you spilled green tea on your shorts. Mama… you’re kind of a hot mess right now.” I couldn’t deny it.

I am a hot mess. Did I mention my daughter started high school??! I’m emotionally fragile and sleep deprivation doesn’t help. I legit pull over into random parking lots to cry periodically. (And am now using phrases such as “legit” which is a sure sign I need help.) I stare at babies in restaurants and stores and make stupid faces at them to get them to smile because living in a house containing teens, I miss people thinking I’m amusing instead of annoying. I walk out the door without a bra because I can only remember to do two things that early and that day brushing my teeth and putting in my contacts won. (Yes, that means that some days I will only remember a bra and contacts. That’s what they make Altoids for. Also I’ve been wearing my glasses a lot more often lately.) I hit the grocery store at 6:55 with no make-up on and drag myself down the aisles among people with jobs walking with purpose to get their protein bars on the way to work completely put together and in one piece. I guess what I’m saying is please don’t be alarmed when you see me shuffling like a cast member of The Walking Dead with the exact same pallor and fashion sense. I’m ok. I just need a cup of coffee, a pillow and a hug. And a start bell that rings somewhere around 11:30. That would be amazing.


Tis the Season (AKA: “Oooooooh That Smell.”) November 18, 2013

Filed under: Humor,Life,Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 1:32 am
Tags: , , ,

It’s that time of year again. Yes, the time of year when you turn on the seat warmers but by the time your seat heats up five minutes down the road you’ve forgotten you turned them on and when you start feeling a warmth rise beneath you, you panic for a brief second because you think you might have pissed your pants. Rest easy. It’s going to be okay. Or is it? Just walk into any grocery store and you’ll soon realize that NO! It’s not okay.

I don’t know about where you live, but where *I* live my grocery store has a vile holiday custom. A tradition that is an assault on your olfactory system. That’s right. I’m talking about cinnamon pine cones. The time has come to speak out. Too many Thanksgivings and Christmases have gone by while I remained silent. The raping of my nose with this noxious perfume has got to stop.

I get it. Cinnamon says fall. It says comfort. It says fall is comfortable. It reassures everybody that summer is done and it’s time to put away the bathing suits and don a heavy sweater or fleece jacket and hide all the body flaws that have been on display throughout June, July and August. I love cinnamon. I eat it in my oatmeal every morning. It’s like the Italian grandmother who says, “Mangia, principessa. You are too skinny.” Cinnamon is awesome. And has restorative powers.

But why the hell they have to douse pine cones with it and make a pyramid of headache inducing bags of it in the lobby of my grocery store is beyond me. One morning after dropping my son off at elementary school I innocently stopped by the store on my way home only to have my nose violated as soon as I stepped through the doors. What did I do to deserve such punishment? I swear, alongside playing Brittany Spears, filling an interrogation room with cinnamon pine cones is sure to bring even the most devout jihadist to his knees and beg for mercy.

The doors of the store slid open and sure enough the scent of cinnamon didn’t just “waft” enticingly through the air like when you pass a Cinnabon in a mall. No. Cinnamon freaking slapped in you the face like a jealous girlfriend after your phone battery died and she hasn’t been able to contact you in 3 hours. All of a sudden you’re looking around nervously hoping you don’t see anybody you know because your eyes are watering and you’re about to vomit like a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model the night before a cover shoot.

Why??! Now, don’t misunderstand me. Cinnamon pine cones aren’t the problem per se. They are lovely and add a nice homey touch to a fireplace at the right time of year. What I have a problem with is QUANTITY. There is no reason to have 1,248 bags of pine cones and 20 of the pine cone’s statuesque cousin- the cinnamon broom all in the same place. I don’t mind the broom nearly as much as the pine cones because they are a tradition for a lot of people and they could potentially serve a purpose in case Uncle Billy has an unfortunate holiday relapse and breaks a whiskey bottle on your kitchen floor. Pine cones… well, they’re just… pine cones. Pine cones should remain outside for the enjoyment of squirrels. And never should they be doused in cinnamon cologne which would surely burn the squirrels nostrils and cause them severe damage from which they would never recover and likely die since they would no longer be able to sniff out the nuts they’ve stored over the winter after an encounter with such a thing. It’s an environmental issue, really.

But the thing I think about when I walk into my grocery store and get a whiff of that “festive” display is the workers in the factory where these God awful things are produced. I used to work in Kirklands, a home decor store, once upon a time. Part of my duties was to unpack the boxes of goods that were delivered. Unfortunately we sold bags of potpourri. One bag of potpourri is pretty. A box of 500 bags is highly toxic and upon opening, the stench immediately clings to your very pores and every fiber of your clothing and no amount of scrubbing or bleaching can remove the smell until it’s good and ready to depart. That’s not the worst thing in the world when the scent is freesia. I can’t imagine the men who work in the cinnamon pine cone factory are getting laid anytime soon. Nobody comes home from a shift on the line at the Holiday Traditions company and is greeted by an eager spouse ready for a cinnamon stick. No. Those workers are sleeping alone. And most likely in an outhouse.

If the cinnamon pine cone is something you purchase and have in your home, I say kudos to you! I’m sure the ambiance you’re providing for your family is special and they enjoy your effort to create a place of warmth and comfort in their home. Just maybe keep it to one or two bags lest you begin a new and unwanted custom in your household. That being aroma induced migraines. It’s a real thing. I promise you. I get it every time I walk into my grocery store from October-December. Happy Holidays!


So… I Had A Heart Attack (AKA: “Someone gave me a vag shiner”) September 22, 2013

Filed under: Life,Women — laughingmama @ 9:38 pm
Tags: , , ,

Let me start off this post by saying that I’m still having a hard time processing what happened this week. At 41 years old, you don’t really anticipate writing a blog like this. And for those of you who don’t know me, I’m not a huge person who sits on the couch all day eating pork cracklins. I’m certainly no poster child for the physically fit, but as of a month ago I put into place a better diet for myself and my family based on eating “real” food only and have started walking every day. A friend of mine and I had even gotten up to 5.5 miles each time over hilly terrain.  And then came Tuesday.

I’ve been asked a lot what it felt like, what my symptoms were, so let me start there. It was around 2 p.m. I had finished lunch (a southwest grilled chicken salad) about 30 minutes earlier and was watching New Girl on Netflix trying to get myself geared up for a walk before carpool. I started feeling a burning in my chest- right in the middle. It reminded me of heartburn. I take an anti-reflux medication every day so it was a little odd, but not out of the question. As a matter of fact, it had occurred on Sunday as well. Although, on Sunday I was wearing a new bra and thought it might have been too small. After letting the girls free, I felt better so that was that. Until the burning sensation on Tuesday became a little more intense. It got my attention but I still didn’t think anything of it. I was able to walk around, wasn’t short of breath, wasn’t sweaty or clammy or dizzy. The only thing was, it didn’t get better when I laid down (like heartburn usually would), it wasn’t easing after drinking water, and I kind of felt the same burning in my left shoulder for a second and then later in my neck but then it went away. I did have an upset stomach, but wasn’t nauseous in the least. And I felt the need to cough every now and then but so what? All these things I could easily ignore or explain away. And tried to, even though in the back of my mind I was wondering if maybe it was something else. I even thought of calling 911 for a second until I pictured the ambulance screaming down the street and thought about having to make arrangements for someone to pick my kids up at school. For something I was sure was nothing, it didn’t seem like a good idea to me and quickly dismissed it. With my chest still a bit tight, I first picked up my son at his elementary school and then drove to the middle school to retrieve my daughter and her friend. Somewhere in between I decided to text my husband that my chest was tight again and I didn’t feel great. I don’t know why I did that. I think I was looking for validation that it was nothing. Or, I was looking for someone else to make the call so I could blame an overprotective spouse on the embarrassing trip to the ER that produced nothing. Whatever the cause, his response made it clear to me that he wasn’t going to play around. He immediately called me with questions he had obviously pulled up on his computer after most likely searching something like “am I having a heart attack?”. My answers were mostly “no”. Not liking the fact that it had happened just two days earlier too, he left work anyway. By the time he got home, I was in the kitchen opening the mail. Business as usual, right?

Wrong. At the Urgent Care they took me right away. And as I described my “symptoms” to the doctor and answered her questions, her face became more and more serious. Side note: This doctor should NEVER play poker.  She said she was going to send me to a hospital for some blood tests they couldn’t do there because she couldn’t rule out that I had had a cardiac event. But before we left, she had the nurse do an EKG. Approximately 30 seconds after the nurse left the room with the EKG printout the doctor came back into the room swiftly and informed us that she didn’t like the results and that my ride to the ER was going to be infinitely faster than my minivan could take me. Shit got real. Fast.

EMS arrived and were cordial and pleasant. They hooked me up to their EKG machine and compared it to the printout from a few minutes before. Pleasantries were dropped. I heard one of them saying something to my husband about the situation “deteriorating rapidly” while the other one was strapping me onto the stretcher. I remember him stopping, looking me in the eye and telling me, “We’re taking you to the ER, and then you’re going to have a cardiac catheterization today.” I looked at my husband who was being hugged by the nurse. Okaaaayyyy…

This began the totally surreal part of my journey. As we left the parking lot, I saw my husband driving behind us briefly before we pulled away from him, sirens blaring. They had given me baby aspirin at the Urgent Care and I don’t know if that’s why, but I was actually starting to feel better. The tightness was easing and I was baffled as to why everyone seemed to be so panicked. Even as the EMT looked at me and said “Mrs. Sheldon, you are having a heart attack” I was thinking, “Cool. I wonder how long this is going to take. I need to go home and get dinner started.” And that is the scariest part to me. If my husband had not insisted, I would have been cooking dinner, still in denial and (according to the EMT) in big trouble later.

No wonder heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. You always hear it’s different for us. There isn’t going to be that big moment where you clutch your chest and scream for Elizabeth that you’re coming! You most likely will be able to find a reasonable explanation for why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and at least 4 reasons why you don’t have time to get it checked out. Listen to your bodies! Even though my symptoms weren’t severe, they WERE a little different than anything I had felt before. Being consistently at a 0-1 discomfort level on the 0-10 pain scale as you’re going through a heart attack seems completely RIDICULOUS and doesn’t make any sense to me. But that’s what happened.

Having your blood pressure drop in half suddenly is the weirdest sensation. The EMT had given me nitroglycerin and almost immediately after it had dissolved under my tongue, I felt on the verge of passing out and looked at my feet to see my toes turning blue. I was being whisked out of the ambulance and into the waiting arms of 12-15 ER professionals. One of my nurses later likened it to a pit stop in NASCAR. That was a perfect description. To me, the scene was chaotic, but everybody knew what their job was and performed it effortlessly. Moving me to the hospital gurney, asking me again what happened, taking my family history, removing my clothes, sticking the EKG leads on me, explaining what was going on. Through it all, the cardiologist remarked at how comfortable I seemed. I felt fine, better even. If it wasn’t for them making such a fuss over me I would have been perfect!

My husband arrived, signed some paperwork and I was taken to the cath lab. I felt comforted by the fact that it all seemed routine to the doctors and nurses I encountered there. They  were so good about telling me what was going on and what they were doing. I remembered my manners and made sure to say “Thank you.” after every step they informed me of. The cardiologist bantered easily with me and after hearing that I made cupcakes for a living, gushed “That is so CUTE!”. I laughed and then he assured me that it wasn’t the cupcakes that caused this and that I shouldn’t stop baking. Of course I promised to bring  all of them treats.

After seeing 100% blockage in one branch of an artery (my “french fry vein” as later named by my sister-in-law), they placed 2 stents and that was it. Crisis averted and blood flow restored. The doctor said my arteries were all nice and “juicy” and with my age and health, there was no explanation for why I would have had a heart attack. I was labeled an anomaly. Believe me, I’ve never ever wanted to be a storyline for the TV show, House. And it’s not comforting to have the experts shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t know. Bad genes.”.

After the stents the biggest obstacle was putting pressure on the femoral artery in my groin which they used as the highway to travel to my heart. It being a major artery, they didn’t want me to leak any more than necessary. A plastic device was put into place over the site with an adjustable dome to apply the right amount of pressure to stop the bleeding. I was delivered to CICU and into the capable hands of nurse Kelly. As she was checking me over she noted how thoughtful it was of me to make the shaving process easy for the ER. It was super nice of her to comment on my careful grooming. And it was my first clue that I could maybe start to relax and my smiling and joking around wouldn’t be out of place.

Assisting Kelly was the charge nurse, Rose. Rose was much taller and older than Kelly and wore her hair in a thick grey and blonde Katniss style braid over one shoulder. She was a no-nonsense kind of woman. She oversaw Kelly’s removal of my plastic device (called a FemoStop). However, pressure still needed to be applied to the site until my blood clotted and the artery was sealed. That meant pushing on my groin… HARD for several minutes. Unfortunately Kelly had not eaten her Wheaties that morning so I was oozing much more than they wanted. Insert: Rose. I thought I was uncomfortable when Kelly was pressing on me. Rose kicked it up a notch. As I clutched the sheet on my bed and bit my lip to keep from yelling obscenities, Rose looked down at me and said, “Good thing I used to be a mud wrestler.”. While that did not surprise me in the LEAST, I still asked her if that was true. “Yes, honey. In Myrtle Beach! That’s how I paid my way through nursing school. Little bikini and everything! Chest pushed together to get the boys hot!”  I instantly loved Rose. And as she stood there putting all her weight on my crotch we also learned that she makes her own wine- muscadine and scuppernog. And that she had bought her shirt at Cracker Barrel for 90% off- $1.40. That last bit made me feel a little better about the blood that had spurted out of my artery and onto her abdomen.

When Rose and Kelly finally got me situated, I settled in to try to sleep since it was 11:30 and had been quite a day. Before turning off the light Kelly went over to the calendar on the wall at the end of my bed and ripped off the page to reveal Wednesday, September 18th. It was then I got a little emotional. It made me stop and think. What if things had gone wrong and I wasn’t able to see the next day? Never before had that been such a real possibility. I thought about what I had done that day and asked myself if it was my last day on Earth, would it have been a good one? My husband’s grandmother used to say, “Don’t get caught somewhere you wouldn’t want Jesus to find you.” Would Jesus have been proud of how I conducted myself that day? I had made my kids breakfast, packed their lunches and did the carpool routine. I took our neighbor across the street to middle school because she had missed her bus. I had an eye appointment and picked out new glasses and had seen a friend. Insignificant things but I was okay with that. I hadn’t hurt anybody that I know of and hopefully made a couple of people smile.

Over the next couple of days I had wonderful care in the hands of nurses like James and Amy. I had lots of family and friends visit and admonish me for scaring the shit out of them. And I developed one hell of a bruise in my pelvic region. It was as if Rose (or maybe The Hulk) had punched me in the vagina. My skin was deep purple from one hip to the middle. And every time someone new looked at it they always had the same reaction… *sucking in air* “Ooooooooh. You poor thing.” Maybe. But I consider it a small price to pay. 

I was able to go home on Thursday. Walking into the house I encountered my life interrupted. The linens I had folded still sat in the laundry basket by the chair. The remote was where I left it after turning off New Girl. And there was the mail on the counter- some opened, some still sealed. I am so thankful that it was just that, a brief interruption. And eternally grateful for too many reasons to list here. But most of all, for my husband. If it wasn’t for him, I would have stayed home. When the EMT led me to the stretcher, he called me Cinderella and asked me to hop on board my yellow carriage. If Tuesday was some sort of fairy tale, my husband is my knight in shining armor. He claims he was guided. Of that I have no doubt, Prayers are powerful things and there are a few people upstairs who I know interceded for me. But he is a blessing to me and never fails to look out for me and put me and my happiness first. I feel a moment coming on where everyone will just start telling us to get a room but since my lady parts look like they were worked on by a rookie tattoo artist with an epic case of the shakes, I’ll just say thanks, Ace. I’ll demonstrate my gratitude properly in 2 weeks. Also, your superhero is showing.

So here I sit with metal in my heart to keep it healthy, 4 new prescriptions, and an order from my cardiologist to go to cardiac rehab with the other 80 year olds. I’ve been told my experience has been a wake up call for others. It is shocking when a 41 year old has a heart attack (that still doesn’t sound right). And I hope that it made some people pay attention. But I hope that next week, next month it isn’t forgotten and those who feel they need to make a change truly do. I have been deeply touched by the outpouring of love since this happened. And I want you to know I love and care about all of you and wish nothing but good health and well being for all of us. Cent’anni!

And now I leave you with some visual aids:

Image            Image



My kids, my life (AKA: “By the time I’m 16 she’ll be 32 and have 4 kids.”) May 29, 2013

Filed under: Humor,kids,Life,Marriage,parenting — laughingmama @ 11:59 pm

Several people lately have said that they miss my blog. I miss it too. I miss having that voice inside my head saying crazy shit that I have to share with you. It’s not that my life has become any more calm. I had a Brazilian wax several months ago that I never told y’all about. It’s a long story (Surprised? I didn’t think so.) but I couldn’t go full Brazilian (don’t ask why… you don’t wanna know) and the woman who gave me the french bikini lives in my small town (of course she does) EVEN THOUGH we (yes, I went in a group) went to the “big city” to get it done. Humiliations galore and I will never do it again because the results lasted all of about 2 days. That’s all you need to know. It was horrible and embarrassing and expensive and fuck that! I really wanted to act all like “I’m a porn star and yes, you can touch me there stranger and I won’t care, and isn’t this awesome because all my hair is being ripped out and won’t grow back for weeks so who gives a crap!” but really I’m not a blonde, anglo saxon. I’m Irish Italian which means I have shit loads of hair on top of uber sensitive skin so I could really just scrape a razor over my lady bits for an hour on a Friday night, save myself the $60, have the same results and call it a freaking day.

No, that’s not what I’m here to tell you. I’m here to talk about my kids. *SCRATCH… the needle on the record.* I know! I start off a post like that and then want to talk about my kids. It’s kind of all related. Sort of. My life is weird these days and I don’t quite know what to do with myself. I remember when we first had kids. I had a job, not really a career because I never wanted that so I refused to get one. Although, the job I had could have been a kick ass career. I was a website developer. But I always saw that as a (to quote Carrie Underwood) temporary home. I wanted to be a mom more than anything. Always. Since I was a teenager. And I don’t mean I wanted to be a teen mom. I wanted it all. A grown up life with a house and a grown up husband with a job and when the time was right, babies. And thankfully God saw to it that I got all of that. And my days as stay-at-home mom began. And I was happy. I had a purpose bigger than me. I reveled in it. And then something happened. My babies grew up. It was inevitable. I knew it would happen eventually, but you always hear about high school and when they’re 18 and ready to fly the coup. The tween years are rarely covered and can be just as difficult.

My daughter started middle school this year. I always thought I was smart, but I never even considered her kind of smart. I’m ashamed to say she has almost always outwitted me. And I’m SMART dammit!!! But ever since she was 5 years old, I would be perplexed by a problem and she’d saunter into the room with the easiest fucking solution. Like it was absolutely nothing. How do you maintain control when faced with THAT?? Short answer… you don’t. Thank God she also has a good and obedient heart.

And then there’s Drew. He’s incredibly intelligent too, probably not as smart as his sister, but he has something even scarier. He can read people and he knows how to cut to the heart of a situation with innocence and truth and there is just no fucking denying him. It’s aggravating. And liberating all the same time. You can tell him that him talking for 18 minutes straight without a breath is hard to take and he’ll understand because of a self-awareness taught to him by his therapeutic preschool. As long as you are coming from a place of emotional truth and don’t use sarcasm. It’s lost on him and does more damage than it makes you feel good.

I said all this to say, that I miss baby pools. I was at Walmart the other day. It was May and was the first really warm day we were going to have here in NC. I saw a mom with 2 kids putting a plastic baby pool in her car. And I remembered the days when I would do the same thing. I loved the first really warm day of spring. I would venture to Walmart in the morning and get a round, plastic tub myself and put it on the deck. While they were taking their naps I would fill it with water from the hose and let it sit in the sun soaking the warmth from the rays. When they woke up, I would change them into their swim diapers, feed them lunch and then we’d go to the back deck and I’d dunk them in the still tepid water. They would giggle and reach for me and we’d all laugh. I cherished their baby skin in the sun. How they felt wrapped up in freshly washed and dried towels. I could kiss their necks which would bring squeals of delight. Not so anymore.

They’re well past that now. Life happens and changes before you know it. Drew and Mary went to the pool today with a neighbor because I was busy with my new business. When he came home, Drew told me that he had seen a teenage girl there in a bikini. He lamented the fact that he was only 10 and couldn’t flirt with her. He told me that by the time it would be appropriate she would be 32 and have 4 kids already, I’m sure that’s how it seems to him. That’s how it seems to me.

They are so grown. Still young and in need of our guidance, but so grown. I don’t even remember the last time I carried them. When was the last time I held them like a baby? The last time I picked them up and hugged them with their arms around my neck and legs around my waist? It happens too fast and before we know it, it’s gone.

I do appreciate where we are now. I lay down in Mary’s bed sometimes and talk to her before she falls asleep about things that weigh heavy on her mind. But these are big things, not princess things. I don’t have all the answers and it breaks my heart. I miss the days when we would splash in the kiddie pool and I’d give them dinner and kiss them goodnight and be satisfied in the knowledge that they were loved and cared for and wake up the next morning with a bright outlook, ready to take on the day.

It’s different now. It takes more work. Kids are the Brazilians of life- they seem like a good idea, when you’re going though it you’re not sure, and when it’s over you miss what you lost. I wish I could tell you that exfoliating cream could do the trick, but it’s inevitable that you get scars.



Simply, Joe (AKA: “Am I wearing underwear?”) April 2, 2013

Filed under: Humor,Life,Uncategorized — laughingmama @ 12:52 pm
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There’s a new man in my life. Yes, I’m still happily married and no it isn’t a child or an animal. He’s a real, honest to goodness man. Well, I don’t know if he’s honest or good, but he is real. And he’s even employed! He’s the greeter at the grocery entrance to my local Walmart and his name is Joe. Joe is the sort of man you would describe as jolly. He has kind, happy eyes, is on the chubby side, is bald but has a white mustache and always has a smile and a wave for you when you walk in the door. He might also be a pervert. Something I never really thought about until recently.

See, Joe and I have been “buddies” for years now. I’d somehow gotten into the habit of looking him directly in the eyes as I’m saying “Hi” or “Good morning” or “Heyhowreyou?”. Even though I never stopped to actually talk to him, for some reason it felt as if I knew him. As if my acknowledgements of his presence were an invitation to friendship that he gladly accepted. I often wondered if he thought I was weird. Or if I might have been some distant relative he didn’t quite remember. I felt like my greetings were THAT familiar. I could almost picture him thinking, “Is that my cousin Margaret’s step daughter’s son’s wife?” and it always kind of bothered me that I hadn’t just stopped one time and put his questions to rest and said, “You don’t know me but you seem kind and I like to smile because I want everyone to like me.” But too much time had passed for that to happen organically. Kind of like when you’re introduced to someone but immediately forget their name and then you’re too embarrassed to ask again so you’re left calling them “You” or “Honey” or “Love” until 6 months goes by and then it’s too late to ever know their name. No, our friend-ship had sailed and there was no looking back now.

Apparently this was not good enough for Joe. The time had come. And one day a few weeks ago he literally put his hand out and stopped my cart as I walked by smiling. Normally this kind of take charge, macho gesture would set my lady parts aflutter, but this is JOE. “Hi Honey, how are you?” he asked. See? Honey. He didn’t have a clue who I was but he didn’t have the common decency to be embarrassed about it and fake it like everyone else did their entire lives. “I’m good.” I said and I guess I must have sounded tired. “What’s wrong?” he ventured as his sausage fingers held tight to my cart. I guess he fancied himself a kind of Walmart Dr. Phil. “Oh, not a thing! I’ve just been working a lot. I make cakes!” I explained. “Oh, do you?” he responded flatly. I could tell he really didn’t care about my occupation. I guess you get what you pay for with Walmart Dr. Phil. He continued with what I suspected was the real reason he stopped me… “I just have to tell you, you make my day every time I see you walk in here. Your smile is beautiful.” and then he proceeded to get off the stool he leans on and give me a big hug. Awwww! I love hugs! Even if this public display of affection was a bit sudden for us. I told him thank you and realized that with his arms around me he had to let go of my cart, so I took my leave and he said, “Bye, Dear.” just like always.

I went home and posted something on Facebook about it because nothing exciting ever happens to me so this is as good as it gets. I did withhold names to protect the innocent, but someone from my hometown knew exactly who I was talking about anyway. She even said that she thought he mentally undresses every woman who walks in there. WHAT? My Joe? I hadn’t really thought about it before she said that. I always likened Joe to Santa Claus in that he always seemed like a harmless, possibly lonely, sweet old man. I don’t think he lives with elves and makes toys for children.

So, the next time I had the occasion to be in Walmart, the fact that Joe might be a pervert was on my mind. And I must say, even if my friend hadn’t planted that seed, I might have still been able to harvest what Joe was sowing. I walked in as normal and there he was. Again he stood from his stool as I passed and pulled me into a tight embrace. My husband’s family had a friend who would always make noise when he hugged you. It was always a bit disconcerting and made you wonder what he was thinking about. Unfortunately, Joe has this same habit. “Mmmmm… Mmmmmmmm… MMMMMMMMMMM!!!!” was the groan that came out of Joe’s mouth and directly into my ear as he hugged me. As I tried not to burst into nervous laughter, Joe released me slightly and I felt his wet lips on my face! Santa KISSED ME! Bad Santa! I was so shocked! I patted him on the shoulder, returned to my cart and wandered through the produce section in a daze wondering what the hell just happened. And just how many ladies does Joe “greet” in this way every day? And then I was thinking about what my friend said about him mentally undressing women. And wondering how long he had been doing that to me. And then I became curious as to what kind of underwear I’m wearing in Joe’s mind. And then I came to the sickening realization that maybe it’s none. I’m wearing no underwear. And finally I was lamenting the fact that now I’ll have to use the “home and pharmacy entrance” from now on even when I just want groceries. And I might have to invest in a burka.

But it didn’t stop there. Like all relationships, mine and Joe’s had been progressing and he was ready to move to the next level. Unbeknownst to me. Last week with cake orders and Easter on my mind I completely forgot to go to the Walmart in the next town while also wearing a disguise and using a fake ID just in case Joe happened to be transferred to that store. Luckily when I walked in and saw Joe he was busy talking to another man so our contact was limited to him reaching his hand out and me taking it for a brief second as I sprinted past. There was his jolly face again. And the man he was talking to was a veteran and my heart kind of melted for a minute. Maybe he WAS the Walmart Dr. Phil who people could tell their troubles to. Probably mostly because he couldn’t go anywhere. I mean, he was paid to stay there by the door and interact with whoever came in. Regardless, Joe’s a good guy I decided. So when I paid for my groceries and headed for the door and noticed that Joe was still talking to the vet, I gave him a quick SIDE hug so as not to interrupt their conversation and told him “Happy Easter”! Joe hugged me hard in return and said, “I love you”.

Well, there you go. In Facebook terms our relationship is complicated. I don’t even know his last name. Yet on some level he loves me and may or may not picture me in or out of my underwear. Even with that last bit, I think Joe is a harmless, grandpa-like fellow who is probably just longing for human contact. With a lady. Just because one grows older and loses one’s hair doesn’t mean you stop feeling things. Maybe at one point in his younger years before he started taking on the appearance of St. Nick, Joe looked awesome in his underwear. Not that he doesn’t now, but I don’t think of him that way. Ever. Even just then when I said that. I was actually picturing Adam Levine. Anyway, my point is we’re all human. (Except maybe Adam Levine. And Henry Cavill. They’re from the planet “Nobody can possibly look like that and be real”.) And okay, he probably shouldn’t make it a habit of accosting shoppers, but I can forgive him. As long as that’s where it stops. If Joe starts getting handsy well then we’ll have to work out some deal with the North Pole so I can get better loot in my stocking. A Walmart discount at the very least.


Obligatory End of the Year Top 5-10 List Depending On My Material (AKA: “50 Shades of Me”) December 31, 2012

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. And since the world didn’t end on December 21st, I decided to reflect on the past year and come up with some of my favorite moments of 2012. These are not things that happened in the world- I’ll let Yahoo count those down for you. They are personal to me. They could be good, they could be bad and most likely they’re weird. I’m not really sure how many there are which will make counting down fairly difficult. I guess I’ll just wait until the end and number them then. Shall we get started?

8. Chocolate Boob: You’ve heard of Chocolate Rain, right? (If not, congratulations! You are too busy being a productive human being to waste hours of time on YouTube. Let me save you the surfing time: Well, this story has nothing to do with that except that I’m talking about chocolate “too”. I say “too” because I’m not even sure Chocolate Rain is about chocolate per se, but its been a while since I’ve watched the video so maybe it is. Anyway, in June a high school buddy came into town from Japan and a bunch of other high school buddies got together at another high school buddy’s house to see her. Since I’m the “cake lady” I brought cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. But for some reason I didn’t have my usual plastic containers for them. I don’t know, maybe I was out and hadn’t had a chance to go get more. Whatever the reason, I lined a sheet cake pan with pretty fabric and arranged the cupcakes in it. I made my way into the house carrying the pan, saying hello, promising hugs as soon as I put the pan down. Which I did. And the first person I turned to hug looked at me and said, “Hey, Eileen, you’ve got something… right… there. You know… there.” as she motioned to her chest region. I looked down and OF COURSE I had accidentally brushed my left boob over the top of one of the chocolate cupcakes leaving a blob of icing on my shirt. I specify that it was my left boob because that’s the big one and it’s always causing more problems than the right one. I don’t know why they can’t be the same size but I guess it’s kind of good because if they were then I’d have two chocolate boobs. My point is that I had not seen some of these people in several years. And then when I do, instead of entering like Martha Stewart I end up coming at them all smiles with chocolate on my shirt like a 5-year-old. I wonder if Martha ever made an entrance with something in an inappropriate place. I’m picturing a summer party in Nantucket with Martha in her best white clam diggers, greeting guests and mingling and when she turns around there it is… a used condom stuck to her rear end! It’s not uncommon. We had a used condom stuck to our car tire one time. It was not OUR used condom, we picked it up on the road somewhere which makes you wonder… who is flinging used condoms out of car windows on the highway? Maybe that’s what happened to Martha. Wrong place, wrong time. Chocolate boob.

7. Swingers: To be fair, I don’t know if they were swingers or not. For all I know, they were just super creepy to everyone. The story is, I was in Charlotte for my sister’s birthday and we had gone to a local Irish pub for a few drinks. As is the case with me, the more I drink the louder I get. But there is a point wherein I’m sober enough to realize I’m being loud but drunk enough not to care. That’s when I noticed a couple in the respectable “restaurant” section of the pub. I didn’t want to full-on stare at them but I could feel their eyes on me. I was used to general contempt being hurled in my direction from others who were not in my party and therefore didn’t realize how hilarious I am. Therefore I thought nothing of the fact that when I did get an opportunity to glance their way, usually when my head was thrown back in a hugely exaggerated open-mouthed laugh, I saw them leaning towards each other talking and gesturing in my direction. Whatever. I decided to hit the ladies room. While in there I took a second to look in the mirror and adjust something- lip gloss, bra, Spanx, I can’t remember. That’s when the lady of the couple came in and saw me standing there. Instead of scowling, her eyes brightened which confused me greatly. “I just have to tell you that my husband and I think you have the BEST laugh! We have been sitting there enjoying watching you. It’s just infectious and you have that adorable dimple. Your whole face just exudes happiness. You are really beautiful.” ……… Now what the hell are you supposed to say to THAT??!!! “You’re getting it all wrong lady, I’m going for obnoxious, not beautiful.” or “Sorry, I’ve got my eye on this other couple at the bar.” or “This is the ladies room not late night Cinemax.” or “Darn it! I gave up threesomes for Lent.” No, I went with the meek “Thank you” and high tailed it outta there back to my sister who I told immediately and then we laughed loudly again which I’m sure made me even more irresistible to the progressive minded husband and wife.

6. Disney: I turned 40 this year and as a present my wonderful husband planned a trip to Walt Disney World for us and the kids. We had gone 2 years ago and had a wonderful, memorable time and he wanted to repeat that family togetherness. We thought maybe we’d add to that memory and bring my husband’s parents along this time. They had been wanting to go ever since their first grandchild was born and we felt like the time was right. At this point, let me say that we went in October and expected unseasonably warm temperatures since we were in Florida, but we did not expect 90 degrees every day and torrential downpours most of the time. The weather was truly awful. But, we made the most of it and had a wonderful start to the week. My in-laws rode the Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster much to our surprise and had a GREAT time. Then my mother-in-law dislocated her shoulder. It’s not even funny, y’all. She fell on the sidewalk and popped her shoulder right out of its socket!! After a long night in the ER, she finally got some relief in the way of her shoulder returning to its socket and vicodin. God Bless them though, they were troopers and were determined to stick with the program. They met us the next sweltering day and only lasted about an hour before they had to go back to their room. That’s when my father-in-law’s body exploded. I’m not even kidding. The man doesn’t get ill and hasn’t gotten physically sick in over 20 years. Disney worked it’s “magic” on him, though and Mickey’s Revenge took him out. At least for a couple of days. They still wanted to participate as much as they could though and did Hollywood Studios with us the last day. They could not have looked more miserable. It was hot, they were uncomfortable and probably just wanted a bed instead of a sling, a wheelchair and a cool, wet bandana to go around their necks to keep their core temperatures down. It was like Grandparent Bookcamp up in there! But they survived, and the best was their birthday card to my husband a couple of weeks later, “Sure did enjoy Disney” it said. What it didn’t say was, “Glad we don’t have to do it again!”.

5. Magic Mike: So, no 2012 countdown would be complete without Magic Mike. I don’t think it’s any secret that I like boys. Make those boys buff, dance to music I like and take their clothes off… well then you’ve just become my new best friend. I think what we’ve found out this year between Magic Mike and that book someone wrote (I’ll talk about that momentarily) is that women aren’t as coy as they once used to be. Maybe it just took this year to figure out exactly how some of us like sex packaged. Ha! I said package! I digress. I think women are turned on by visual stimuli just as much as men and nothing dispelled the myth that we need plot quite like Magic Mike. Were there words in the movie? And they were brilliant at packaging that to women. (Package count: 2) Hell, one of the special features on the DVD is all of the dance sequences strung together so you don’t even have to fast forward! Take THAT porn industry! My point is, Channing Tatum is beautiful and can dance his beautiful ass off and I thank him for making Magic Mike so I can sit in the comfort of my living room with a package (3) of Oreos and stare at him shaking it and humping the floor and grinding against anything and just generally being sexy as hell. This paragraph was approved by my husband.

4. Tudors: So, while we’re on the topic of sexy men, we also discovered a show called The Tudors this year thanks to Netflix. I know I’m several years behind, but we don’t get anything but basic cable so I have to wait. And The Tudors was so worth it! It’s a great show with wonderful acting, amazing costumes and gorgeous, gorgeous boys. I can’t help it, but it’s not my fault. They keep putting these beautiful men on-screen. Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII is stunning. I love him. He’s like this tortured, brooding, complicated Irish soul with intense eyes that (I would assume if he looked at you in person) make you feel naked even if you’re fully clothed. And then there’s Henry Cavill. Henry Fucking Cavill. I’m pretty sure that’s his middle name. He renders me speechless. (Unless you count a guttural “Umph” every time I gaze upon his wickedness as speech.) I don’t even know what to say. What can I say? There are no words. Except thank you, God. I see Henry Cavill and I know you exist.

3. 50 Shades: I told you I’d talk about THAT book. I was right there with the masses for Magic Mike. I succumbed. And I really tried with 50 Shades of Grey. Until I realized it sucked. If I had to read the words “Oh crap” one more time *I* was going to tie someone up. And once I found out it was born out of Twilight fan fiction that was it for me. I never finished the first book and don’t intend to. I’ve heard the second book is better and has some character development which is good because Ana and Christian in the first book are about as deep as the Frosted Mini Wheats I had for breakfast. I’m not saying it has to be great literature and the fact that it’s not and the only redeeming quality it has in it is tons and tons of sex makes my point about women not being as coy as they once were even more solid. And supposedly they’re going to make a movie. I swear, even with all of the above being said, I will be the first in line to see it if they cast Henry Cavill as Christian Grey. Because Henry Cavill on-screen doing dirty things all over the place just might make my head (and other things) explode from too much sexiness. I mean seriously, I can’t even handle how gorgeous that man is. Oh crap! Maybe I should write a fan fiction about him, turn it into a novel and then make one hundred million dollars. *winky face*!!!!

2. Jacuzzi Tub: My mom has time-share points. Well, she used to have a time-share and now she has points. I think they’re the same thing, but according to my mom points are the devil and I tend to agree because there are a lot of rules I have to help her keep straight and sometimes we lose points because we forget to bank them on the 4th Sunday after the Summer Solstice when Jupiter is in Venus and Charlie Brown finally kicks the football. I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes I can book a vacation for her and we get to tag along. Such was the case this fall. Circumstances presented themselves in such a way that I was able to go by myself with my mom. (Those circumstances were my daughter saying she didn’t want to miss the cow eye dissection in her middle school science class, my son being Switzerland and my husband realizing I needed a break and therefore saying, “Go. Please!”) So there I am in my condo room just me and a tub bigger than I had ever seen. The jets on the side and the dial on the wall alerted me to the fact that this was a jacuzzi tub. So, I gathered my magazine, a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers to try it out. Everything I learned about luxury I learned from Lovey Howell’s discussions on Gilligan’s Island. I followed the directions on the wall and set the timer, started the tub water and got in expecting to push the button to start the jets when it got up to level. Well, I don’t know WHAT happened. Maybe I pushed the button getting in, or maybe housekeeping goes around pushing all the buttons for unsuspecting vacationers as a lark, but I’ll tell you exactly the outcome of the button being pre-pushed… when the water reaches the level of the jets, the jets start to spurt water everywhere in unpredictable directions. It was like the tub was giving me very forceful and really unwanted zerberts in irregular intervals. There I was sitting there, minding my business when all of a sudden “PFFFFTTTTFFFTTT!!!”. I don’t know what made the bigger mess, the spitting jet or my spaz attack at being so startled by the noise and subsequent spray of water on my face. I DO know what was more embarrassing- that would be my mom knocking on my door wondering if I was okay because she heard the commotion. “Yes, fine. Just trying to figure out the jacuzzi tub!” I yelled over the cycle of “PFFFTTTTFFFTTT!!!” and me splashing to get out of the gigantic tub to turn the jets off. As if the jacuzzi tub were some sort of ancient riddle not even the brightest minds could crack. Good God. I finally got it turned off and surveyed the damage… magazine- drenched, wine- waterlogged, cheese and crackers- soggy beyond repair and the floor looked like I had just had an epic water balloon fight with my kids. Ah well, I thought as I got back in the water, even if I don’t use the jets, at least I can have a good soak in a big tub. Yeah. No. I sat there trying to relax in the molded recliner-esque plastic “seat” but my buoyancy kept making me drift away so I was constantly fighting my own body’s natural tendencies to float in order for me to sit in an unnatural position in the water so I could “relax”. I felt like I was floating downriver constantly trying to claw my way back to the stubborn La-Z-Boy which was always upstream from me. I finally gave up when my arm slipped on the handrail and I dunked my whole head underwater. Jacuzzi tubs were clearly meant for someone with more coordination than me.

1. Cake: I’m going to end on cake because cake is what I do and what I live almost daily. My cake business was humming along smoothly this year. I was consistently busy every month which is a relief because when you put yourself out there and say, “Hey world, I think I’m pretty good at this and you’re going to want to pay me money for it!” you kind of hope the world doesn’t say “No thanks”. I had the pleasure of being a part of so many celebrations in 2012. It really is a blessing to be able to do this and meet so many awesome people and wonderful families. I love the look on little ones’ faces when I walk through the door with their birthday cake. Or brides almost crying because their wedding cake is exactly what they wanted. Or people clapping with delight when they’ve given me a seemingly impossible task that I meet. So many opportunities to make people happy which is mostly why I play with sugar and flour. I wish I could work for those smiles alone, but my husband won’t let me.

So there you have it, 2012 (or what I could remember of it) in a nutshell. Of course it’s not everything. There were lots of little moments that make the year memorable. My daughter starting middle school and being asked to her first dance, my son’s face when I sang Bell Biv DeVoe to him, “Never trust a big butt and a smile” and then him saying, “If you only knew. People tell me that all the time, mom.” And the thousand kisses I was lucky enough to receive from my amazing husband. At the dawn of a new year I think about the lyrics to ‘Seasons of Love’ from Rent- 525,600 minutes… how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. There’s definitely been plenty of that lately. But to continue… how about love? I’m wishing you much love in 2013. Share love, give love, spread love. Measure your life in love. Happy New Year!