Striking Out: Has Anyone Seen My Bowling Ball?

Aside from the lost city of Atlantis or the Loch Ness Monster, the hidden treasure that lurks in my child’s school locker is one of the most baffling mysteries of our time.  Every time things in the house go missing, my oldest daughter tells me, “No worries mom, it’s in the locker.”

I’m sitting here wondering how many things could possibly fit in a school locker.  Right now we are missing gym sneakers, a tablet, winter coat, scarf, a pom-pom, pocketbook, tennis racket, boots and a bowling bowl.  Even the fish is gone. 

I am beginning to think that I should consult with Robert Ballard, the famed explorer who found the Titanic in 1985.  I met him at a party at a friend’s house a few years back. He seemed like a fine fellow.  Being an oceanographer, he’s probably good with fish.

But when I called his office today they told me he’s tied up working on bigger projects.  He’s been in the news in recent years,  trying to find evidence of the flood that the Bible says carried Noah’s Ark.  His team claims to have found shells, pottery, and shipwrecks pointing to the flood submerged beneath the surface of the Black Sea off  the coast of Turkey.  Even though Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is legend,  it’s been reported that he doesn’t think he’ll actually ever find Noah’s Ark.   I left him a message, telling him my best bet is that it may be hidden in my child’s school locker, if he can crack the code.

Just Follow the Yellow Brick Road

hunger-413685_960_720I was at the hairdresser reading a magazine when I spotted an article about the inventor of the self-wringing Miracle Mop.  Here was a gadget that could free me from the drudgery of housework.  But the miracle for me would be if someone else actually used it.  I find cleaning my house is as much fun as waiting on a long line at motor vehicle, watching paint dry, or better yet filing my taxes.  I dread it.  I’ve gone from being super mom, to Debbie Downer.   I just can’t find the energy to do anything.   I haven’t cooked a single meal in weeks.

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I’m just not up to much these days.  I haven’t done any laundry in months.

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I’ve done nothing but eat bonbons and watch reruns of the Wizard of Oz.  I feel like a desperate housewife wishing there was a place over the rainbow without ring around the collar or under the toilet bowl.  Brides have no idea what they’re getting into.  On your wedding day, they should come clean and hand you a toilet brush and a bottle of Clorox instead of a bouquet.

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“Fork ’em over,” my oldest daughter said tugging on the pair of ruby red shoes I  snatched from my youngest daughter’s dress-up box.  You’re nuts, face it!” my oldest said as a dozen boxes of Judy Garland memorabilia I ordered on eBay arrived.  “You need help,” she told me.

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I thought I needed help with the dishes, but apparently, that wasn’t what she had in mind.   My doctor has been conducting tests, but my daughter doesn’t think he’s making progress.   She asked the insurance company for a therapist.  They suggested  Dr. Harry Pillsberry.

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“I must say this condition is a new one for me,” he said as he tugged on the stubble on his chin looking me up and down.  I was still wearing the ruby red shoes.  He muttered something about Yellow Brick Road Fever.  He told me that the fever had caused a brain malfunction and said it was common in guilt-ridden mothers who ignore their kids.  “Do you believe that a broomstick will solve all of your problems?” he probed.

“I’m actually thinking of buying a miracle mop,” I said.



Motherhood: It Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

All the way to the doctor’s office, I was fearing what he would tell me since I haven’t  been feeling like myself lately.  “It’s worse than brain fog or cooties,” he told me after administering some tests.

He said I have developed a number of troubling conditions.  They stem from being a mother.  “You have Mad As a Hatter disease,” he told me asking how my head feels.

“It does feel like it’s spinning,” I told him seeing what appeared to be  two doctors in front of me.  He pointed out that in my case it didn’t come from mercury poisoning.  Instead, it came from reading Alice in Wonderland to the kids too many times.

“Are you uttering nonsense?” the doctor probed. “Do you feel you’ve gone mad?”

“Yes I have, according to the kids.”   He advised me to avoid tea parties and magic mushrooms.

He also said I have a rare and sinister condition called the Curse of the Finger Prick that comes from sewing too many patches on Girl Scout vests.  “You should have tried ironing on the patches,” he told me. Unfortunately, this never works and they usually fall off.  The doctor prescribed a glue gun.

I’ve tried to educate the kids about the political process and have started listening to the debates with them.  

The doctor told me that I may have foul-mouth syndrome from listening to too many Republican debates.  What’s a mother to do?   His prescription:have Pepto-Bismol on hand for the next debate.

No More ‘Mrs. Nice Guy’ for Me: Why You Shouldn’t Be Your Kid’s Friend

You never want to rank up there as a mother with Mommie Dearest,  Mean Mom, or Cinderella’s stepmother Lady Tremaine, where your child’s only hope for a ride to the prom is a fairy godmother and a pumpkin.  I have tried everything to get my kids to like me from doing  a break dance headspin, to faking a MineCraft addiction.  “Where’s dinner?” my  starving daughter asks as I play  one of the Mindcraft games on the computer.  “Sorry,” I say, “too busy with the hunger games to feed you.”

 One of my favorite TV stars, Kelly Ripa, doesn’t think being your child’s friend is a good idea. She says she doesn’t care if her  teenage daughter Lola doesn’t like her.  She’s a “Mom” and not a “friend.”  The co-host of  Live with Kelly  and Michael said on The Wendy Williams Show that her daughter lost cell phone privileges for texting on the phone when she was supposed to be studying  Spanish.  I know Ripa is right but I can’t help myself.  I want to BFF (Best Friends Forever) with  my kids.   But even if it’s bad parenting, these efforts have gone in vain.   My kids  think I’m uncool.   They don’t even want to be seen with me.  They  point to the fact that I  wear a bubble cap in the pool,  have a flip phone, and badly need  a tummy tuck.   Ouch!!  

So why do I want to be a friend so badly?  This “friend” culture is fueled by social media.  My kids have threatened to even “defriend” me on Facebook when I post something they don’t like.   My husband  says the kids are walking all over me because I’m trying to be a friend.  “Everyone knows that nice guys finish last,” he scoffs.

“Okay, no more ‘Mrs. Nice Guy’ for me,” I say.  Yes, I’m going to turn a new leaf.  I’m going to lay down the law and set limits.  I’m not saying I’m going to push the envelope too far.   I’m just saying no more sweet Aunt Em to cry out for when evil flying monkeys abduct you.  No more Mary Poppins with a spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down.   So when Ebola zombies rise from the dead in Hong Kong, and King Kong escapes at Universal Studios, who will my youngest daughter call to save her?  Will Lassie save her?  The Lone Ranger and Tonto?  Ghostbusters?  Nobody because I  shut off her cell phone when she was texting Lola and wouldn’t do her Spanish homework.

Move Over George Washington….Mount Rushmore Here I Come

I’m scratching my head wondering why a woman has never been elected president in a country that is all motherhood and apple pie.   The 2016 presidential campaign season is in full swing and the field is mainly crowded with men.   Hillary Clinton is trying to be the first female president again.  She’s  pushing the “Gray Card”  that she’s a grandmother and that she dyes her hair and will continue to do so  in the White House.   But impressive as Hillary Clinton’s hair is, she can’t hold a candle to me.  get-attachment (3)Who else can shoot a basketball behind her back,  breastfeed a  newborn baby,  stand on a skateboard and balance  two SAT review books on her head?   Seriously, have you ever seen Hillary Clinton do that? While I’ll admit I am a “bottle brunette” most of the bottles you’ll find around my house are for the baby.  My slogan will be: “Mothers know best.”  Why should women settle for being added to the ticket  as some sidekick VP candidate  standing with their children  as props at the conventions.

My husband doesn’t like the idea of me running for president.  “Who’ll watch the kids?” he asks glancing up from a football game on television.    He’s worried he might have to.


He also points out that women get made mincemeat out of  when they run for national office. “Remember poor  Sarah Palin,” he reminded me, “Katie Couric  grilled her  about the magazines and newspapers  she read before she was tapped to run for vice president.   You haven’t read a magazine or a newspaper since you retired as a journalist.”  It’s true.   My eyes are so out of focus I can’t read anything without glasses and they would give my age away.

My husband warned me that an  interview with Couric would go  something like this:

Couric:  I was curious, what newspapers and magazines have you  read before deciding to run for president?

Me: I’ve read many of them, you know, the ones I find laying around the house.

Couric: What, specifically?

Me: Um, all of them, particularly TV Guide, Cooking Light and Family Circle.

“Those aren’t news magazines, what happens if she asks your position on global warming?” he asked. “What if she wants to know if you think it’s man -made or not?”

“I’ll just tell her it’s due to all the firewood you’ve burned this winter  and that yes it’s man-made and that’s why a woman should be elected President of the United States of America.”



Tiptoe Through the Turnips: How You Talk to Teens

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There are some things  a parent  really fears hearing  from a teen, like “I’m pregnant,” “I wrecked the car,” or “I got busted.”  Figuring out the mind of a teenager is as easy as trying to shove toothpaste back in the tube. From eye-rolling to back-talking, teens push parents’ buttons.   My buttons have been pushed so many times that they’re broken and I might as well have an “Out of Order” sign on my forehead.  At times, raising a teenager can seem as hopeless as owning a Porsche dealership in Detroit.

I  watched a pundit on a  show today who said the answer is to talk to your teens.   Easier said then done.  The language teens talk  keeps morphing into something else.  I heard my daughter speaking to her friend on her cell phone last night  saying, “DUDE…I just got “chirped.” What am I  doing raising  birds? Getting “chirped,”  in case you’re wondering, is being called out on something.  The “dude” part really bugs me since she was talking to another girl.  Shouldn’t it be “dudette” instead?  But that hasn’t caught on.  “Greycation”  means the  grandparents are coming on vacation.  Moody, snotty, texting teens  can be very snide.  But if you get called “a beast” you haven’t been insulted.  It now means that you’re good at something, not that you’re the Loch Ness monster.

If  you catch them saying “my bad” it means a teen was bad.   Everytime I get a phone call in the middle of the night I fear I’m going to hear something bad.   You just have to suck it up and learn to sleep with one eye open.  Unfortunately, there is no expiration date on being a mother.  When you don’t fall asleep, you sit there with insomnia wondering  why your four children can’t  share a bathroom without arguing, when six kids did on The Brady Bunch and they didn’t even have a toilet?

The age spread between my kids just makes matters worse.  I have had to raise a  baby while dealing with teens.  I’ve  had to listen to baby talk of  goo-goo, gaa-gaa where I don’t have a clue what my child is saying, and at the same time  attitude and middle school drama from a teen daughter.  “It’s not troll Mom, it’s TROLLING!” the baby who is now a tween herself sharply corrects me referring to a new phenomenon on the internet where teens now send troll faces to their friends as a prank.  When I ask for a better explanation, I get sassed.  “Get over yourself Mom, you don’t know anything,” she informs me instead of explaining.  When she doesn’t want to practice her viola for orchestra she calls it “dorkestra.”

I’ve lived through this teen stage.  There is nothing that can surprise me.  You have to figure out what their words mean or you get left behind.  Teens believe that their friends are hip and that parents are as outdated as a 1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible collecting dust in the garage.

As a parent, you barely feel you’ve conquered  thumb-sucking, cleaned out the last Barbie doll with a missing  head from the toy chest, or finished your baby albums when your kids start growing up and testing you.  It’s starts with the “Terrible Twos” with “NO!”  and you just fast forward to the “Terribly Rotten Teens” with “NO!”  “I HATE YOU!” “YOUR THE WORST MOTHER EVER!”   I even got “chirped” by one of my kids last night. At the rate I’m going, it looks like this mother hen will serve worms for dinner tonight.

Here is an article and a post that I found  helpful when I couldn’t pry any more words out of my kids.  Check them out:

20 Examples of Slang Language – Your Dictionary

23 Words Teenagers Love To Use and What They Really Mean – Sam Stryker, BuzzFeed

Is anyone else having trouble talking to teens?  Do you know of a new way a word is being used?   What about punk or chump? I’d like to hear from you!!  


Waiting for the Ball To Drop On Your New Year’s Resolutions

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You say that you’re going to make some New Year’s Resolutions.  You believe you are going to keep them.  Like so many New Year’s Eve revelers waiting for the ball to drop in Times Square, a new year means turning a new leaf. You’ll be up well past midnight enjoying your last indulgences before you wake up  with a major hangover and a list of resolutions scribbled on the back of a cocktail napkin.  You’ll also have no memory of the night before but find terribly embarrassing photos on your iPhone of you doing the funky chicken with a lampshade on your head while a gossipy friend of your boss looks on.  You frantically delete the photos from your phone so your kids won’t find them, except the video of your sister singing an old cry in my beer Taylor Swift country song over the karaoke machine.

You usually make resolutions on New Year’s Eve after having one too many midnight martinis.  You say you’ll  lose the 10 pounds you gained with your last pregnancy, quit smoking, or be nice to homeless people,  stray cats,  and maybe even your mother-in-law.  When someone tells me they are going to make a resolution, I just want to laugh because I never keep mine.

I’ve made my share.   I remember the time I was a chain smoker and went to a hypnotist.  He told me to think of  water every time I wanted a cigarette instead of lighting up.  He told me to keep envisioning a beach scene.  I wound up smoking cigarettes at the beach. “Do you want me to pick up a carton of cigarettes for you?” my husband would ask grinning and say, “surf’s up!”


Call me Blue

 I usually  feel blue after the holidays.   The tree starts wilting,  the Christmas lights blow the circuit, and my older kids  go home to a different part of the country.  All I’m left with is 15 mislabeled  boxes to shove back into the crawl space in the attic.  I try to do this without throwing my back and thinking I’ve got a retinal detachment  from lifting when the light timer switches off and I’m standing in the dark.  My husband is usually conveniently tied up watching a Duke basketball game at this time.   I also always  hit my head on the Saltbox attic ceiling and get a  mild concussion.  I’ve done this at least  200 times in the 20 years that I’ve lived in this house.  

But I think hitting my head so many times has finally knocked some sense into me.  I realize that I don’t have the willpower to hold to any of these resolutions.  If I was a horse named Resolution racing in the Kentucky Derby, I’d be a long shot with odds of 50-1 at winning.