It’s A One-Piece World, Baby! Let’s Go To The Pool!

 

Ladies, I have amazing news for you!  

The one-piece swimsuit is making a come back!!  

Yassss you heard it here first, and no, it’s not just me thinking it’s making a comeback based on the middle-age websites I’ve been shopping on. No, its really making a come back.  Just look at sites like JCrew (ok fine, that’s total suburban mom style) or Cupshe or Roxy (yeah, that’s where the cool girls shop).  One-pieces everywhere!

Now is the time!  Pretend like you are at Costco and buy in bulk! You may never get this chance again to be this cool and this acceptable all at the same time!

And it couldn’t be happening at a better time.  Because one day I was doing ok and holding my own and then the very next day I woke up and I looked like an apple on a stick.   Literally, overnight.

I am one day away from having the sweet darling in the grocery store point to my stomach and say, super loud for all to hear, “BAYBEE!!!”  

And I try these crazy diets, like no wine (I told you; freaking crazy) and I fail like an hour after I start, because, wine.  It’s like a major food group that I cannot do without. And no matter how thin I am–even at my thinnest of my 40s, there simply is loose skin and tired muscles.  

And I have three little ass holes, I mean precious hearts, to thank for that.  Because at some point, post triple children, the skin and muscles around my abdomen just decided to stop trying. Muscles be like, Oh, I’m so tired trying to be firm and strong, I just want to lay down and rest.  And that’s just what they did. And the skin holding in those lazy ass muscles was like, hey, let’s invite our friends, the Fat Family to stay with us! They could move in, with all their shit, and just stay til the end of time!  

And so here I am, with lazy, taking-a-lifetime-nap  abdomen muscles and allllll their friends, skin and fat, just hangin around.  Doin nuthin.

Some women say, “it’s your badge of honor, this beautifully imperfect body you now have in your 40s, for creating the miracle of life multiple times!”  Well that’s lovely, but you can shove your badge. I have wrinkles and thinning hair and a goddamned empty bank account thanks to my “miracles of life.”  

We don’t need no stinkin badges.

What we need are plastic surgeons, which brings me to another point:  Hotties with besties of the MD surgeon kind, we see you. And we know why you look like you do.  You are one lucky beeyatch in your two-piece, too-hot, too-close to me at the pool. Maybe you need your own special section at the pool so you don’t make the rest of us look so bad.  Yeah, we could call it the Special Suction. Ha.

The rest of us mothers of the forties (I mean age group, not century-of), need to grab our one- pieces fast, because they are selling out.  Especially the reasonable sizes.

But please, try to find one with the teensiest amount  of sex appeal so you don’t come full force shlumpadinkin to the pool and embarrass the hell out of your kids. Like, whose Grandma did you come with?

Throw on some wedge flip flops with that one-piece gift from the heavens, and grab a drink poolside.  The suit will gloriously hold in your belly when the bloat sets in, so throw caution to the wind! We will NOT sit in the shade in our clothes and watch all the others have all the fun!  

It’s almost summa! And this year, it’s a one piece world, baby!!

#thisislifeafterforty

CHECK OUT MY ETSY SHOP GOOD TEES CO for fun and fashionable graphic tees for women:

www.goodteesco.etsy.com 

 

 

 

 

Lord Have Mercy. My Teenager Is Driving.

I’m coming to you from the back seat of my own car. 

This is not actually a picture of my teen.  She would kill me if I posted her face. Cuz that would be, like, so lame.

We are headed north for a family ski weekend.  It’s a place I don’t really like to be, the backseat of my own car, that is.  Me, plus no control, equals not happy.  I quickly check my bag to see how much Xanax I have left and if it will last me the whole weekend.  Not enough to share.

See, my teenager is learning to drive. She is currently at the helm of my large SUV, delicately holding the fates of all five members of my precious family in the palm of her reckless hand. Jesus take the wheel. No seriously.  Jesus.  Take the dang wheel.

My husband is sitting shot gun, but as with all things teenager, his approach is much more lackadaisical than I prefer to see. He is making a phone call, looking around, chatting stress free like he is taking a thought-free Uber ride that will automatically be charged to his credit card.  Meanwhile, I am sitting directly behind her, gripping the door handle, knuckles turning white. He thinks it’s funny.  I think he’s an ass.   My head hurts, but maybe that’s from the wine last night.  Point is, I have a headache. 

I can’t keep my mouth shut back here. I have ridden with her in the front seat, and been in control-ish.  I have sat with my eye on the road, on every other person, car and tree around us and given her the driving directions I was sure she needed.  She rolls her eyes and tells me “I know!”  I tell her not to roll her eyes, she needs to keep them on the road. But now, I bring new meaning to backseat driver and its in the form of a controlling mother barking out additional directions to an already stressed out teen driver.

Perfect.

There was a time not too many months ago that I could be quoted as saying something like, “ I can’t wait until my teenager drives. I sure could use the help”.  But here we are, and I’m singing a different tune.  This is the scariest thing I think I have ever done.  The scariest part of mothering a teen so far.  I think about the freedom driving is going to give her and I am both thrilled and petrified.  I will no longer be able to control the when and where she goes, who she’s with, control her safety.  All I can do is put her in the palm of the higher power and pray that she comes home safely every night.

And I realize that learning to drive is only the beginning. Little by little life is making me let go. She is growing up and making some major choices—without me. And each little piece I have to let go of leaves me just a tiny bit emptier.  —Sob! 

We have been driving on the freeway for 20 minutes now, and she has just informed us she is bored.  BORED!!  Yep, it’s one of the many treats of this generation; they are so used to being constantly entertained, that even FUN things like driving bores them. Well suck it up, cupcake. I can think of a hundred more things in life that are far more boring than driving.  No, wait. No, I can’t.  I haven’t been bored since 2003.  I literally don’t even remember what it feels like to be bored.  But I bet it’s awesome. 

Snap back to reality.  I feel like we are going kind of fast.  Just looked at the speedometer from back here.

She’s going 90. 

Not even kidding. 

And yet…she’s bored.  And Dad, in the front seat, is un-phased. 

I just felt a gray hair grow.  A new wrinkle form.  And I most certainly am having heart palpitations. I can only hope we pull over soon to get gas.  It is definitely time to switch drivers. Plus, she’s bored.  Can’t have that.

And here I am.  Just like that, my baby is driving.  And I could cry. Whether from fear or sadness of what it all means, I’m not really sure. But one thing I know for certain, I’m really not entirely ready for this.

But guess what.   #thisislifeafterforty

Oh No, Not Another HoCo ProPo!

Brace yourselves, parents.  By the looks of homecoming, your daughter’s wedding is going to be extremely expensive.

There is this thing going on in our town, and as I researched it I found that it’s not just our town, because there are pages and pages of it on Pinterest. And you know if there are Pinterest pages, it’s a real thing. And the funny thing is, most things on Pinterest are relatively unattainable by mere mortals, so there’s that.

Here’s what it is: there are large productions occurring all over town called “HOCO Proposals.”  It is simply when a boy asks a girl to go to HOCO with them.  

(For those without teenagers or living under a rock, HOCO is teen-short for homecoming.  You’re welcome).

By “large production” I mean, the boy better come up with a witty poster, blow up some balloons, buy some flowers, dress up like an idiot, sort of production.  

Sounds like cute teenage fun, right? Signs, balloons, candy…  But most of all…pressure.  Holy crap the pressure to do this and do this right is unreal.  And I feel really sorry for high school boys right now, because if you can’t rhyme or you aren’t creative and you don’t have markers and poster board at home, and your mom won’t take you to spend $25 on balloons, well, you are dead in the water and you just better plan on going to HOCO SOLO.

And let’s talk about the poor girls for a minute.  Because not all the girls are going to get asked.  Or proposed to. Or whatever the F this has become. Just about every girl (yes, I know there are exceptions, and here’s to you, high school girls with very high self esteem) wants a freaking sign! And it is going to be a disappointing day when this is all over and they were the one left out.  No sign.  No candy.  No balloons. And I get it’s totally acceptable for kids to go in groups with their friends, but you can’t tell me those groups (and everyone else) didn’t notice they didn’t get a freaking sign.

As if these kids don’t already have enough pressure on them to be the fastest, the smartest, the nicest, the prettiest!! .  Now there’s pressure from HOCO for crying out loud! Pressure to ask in a big way and pressure to BE asked. And I’m here to say, kids, and especially parents who push this shit, settle the F down!!

Because guess what. We are at fault.  We did this. (Well, not me. I’m innocent)  But we, as parents –uh, MOMS, did this.  We have made every goshdanged day a freaking holiday for these kids.  

First day of school? Yay! I’ll get you a cake.  

Score a goal in soccer?  Super dooper!! I’ll buy you a new outfit!!

100th day of school? Whoopie!!!  I”ll give you a hundred freaking dollars because gosh, that’s special!  

Holidays that aren’t even holidays are getting celebrated, and now our teenagers think every danged new booger they pick requires a celebration!  

And here’s what’s wrong with it.  The big things suddenly are not the big things anymore.  And the special times are no longer special because special is supposed to denote “hardly ever done”.  Like, once in a lifetime.  Like, you deserve this special moment and they don’t come along often so enjoy the hell out of it.

The Merriam Webster definition of special reads: readily distinguishable from others of the same category :unique.  

But special has become so diluted it’s like the bottle of vodka in your liquor cabinet that is no longer vodka cuz your kid drank it and filled it back up with water. “Special” is THAT diluted. And I’m all for celebration and awesome experiences, but is HOCO really that moment?? I mean, what about prom?  That’s way more specialer than HOCO.  And then there’s the REAL proposal that will come someday when they are an adult.  What are the boys going to be required to do then??

I don’t even want to think of it.  

So guess what.  Thanks to off-the-richter HOCO proposals in high school,  when it comes time for your daughter to get married she’s going to want the goddamned moon. The expectations for each occasion keep rising.  And special isn’t so special anymore, it’s just a HOCO sign.   But I guess there’s nothing wrong with that.

 I just hope you’re good with a lasso, because that moon ain’t going to be easy to catch.

 

Little Shop of Whorrors: Shopping with my Teenage Daughters

 

It’s finally warming up here in Michigan, which means my girls need new clothes.  

Being the shopping lover that I am, I should be excited about shopping with my teenage daughters.  It should be perfect mother-daughter bonding time: shop at the mall, lunch, Starbucks, talk about cute boys….dreamy.

But no.   This shopping experience is dreadful. You see, shopping for a teenage girl is like taking your daughter to the bar and saying, which drunk old pervert should we take home? Because they’re all bad choices, they’re all disgusting, and I don’t want any of it at my house or on my daughter.

If you don’t have teenagers yet, and your biggest exposure to teenage-pregnancy-in-an-outfit is the glittery shine of the store called Justice, brace yourself.  When your daughter outgrows it and moves on to places like Forever 21 or American Eagle, you will wish you could shop at Justice again, and you will wish that glitter was your biggest problem.

Here’s a little list of  six seemingly normal items that you will probably be hoodwinked into buying for your teenage daughter and wish you never had.

  1. Ripped clothes

I mean, trashed.  I can dig the current trend of “distressed” jeans…to a point. But I am over paying for the shit to look like it’s been put in a blender. Because $50 for a pair of teenage jeans that have been cut in half, shredded by a cat, and have holes in, around and on the ass, just ain’t cuttin it for me (see what I did there?)  This crap is so trashed, Goodwill won’t even take it when you’re done with it.

And yet… $50.

Serenity now.

2.  Short shorts

Excuse me, your who-ha is showing.   When you have trouble tucking in your tampon string you know there is a problem.  Too graphic?  Exactly.  

3.  Embroidery

“I love tacos” embroidered near the crotch of shorts that don’t cover the crotch is simply a sign that says…well…it says something I don’t want my daughter wearing in a place I don’t want people trying to read. Plus, my daughter doesn’t love tacos, so it’s an outright lie.  

4.  Short dresses

Sun’s out buns out.  Not in my house.

Hey darling, you forgot your pants.

5.  Cropped shirts

I get it; teenage girls are cute and thin and their stomachs haven’t stretched out yet from having kids and they don’t have the middle aged ponch or stretch marks and you could bounce a quarter off their bellies.  But you still need to put it away, because you can’t couple this type of top with shorts that are being eaten by your ass.  It simply looks like you put your clothes in the dryer four hours too long.

6.  Bikinis

I . Can’t.  Even.

Which side is even the front?

Honestly.   The options given the teenage girls today is troubling.  And I know it’s really nothing new; the styles are recycled and every generation had them (hello daisy dukes and tube tops). But our teenage girls are so incredibly sexualized as it is at such an early age.  And I’m not really sure how to handle it, because I wouldn’t put her through the bullied hell of dressing like a Mennonite (unless that’s her style). But there’s got to be some middle ground here.

So please, makers of teenage clothes, I beg of you, stop making clothes that make our girls look like trashy sluts.  Maybe just an inch more to the length of your clothes and a few less rips near the nether parts, or embroidery that says, “can’t touch this” would be an idea I could fork out some money for.

If it were up to me, I would take her to JJill and sheath her in drapey mom clothes.

But I’m pritty sure that ain’t going to happen .

#thisislifeafterforty

Here’s Why Mother’s Day Should Be On A Monday

 

It was a lovely mother’s day. I slept in, went to church and brunch with my bunch, lounged on the patio for a while.  

My sweet 10 year old son made me a  thoughtful card and poem telling me how great I was and that I was the best mom around.   My twelve year old daughter who still loves me (give her a year), made me bath salts all on her own, so I could sit in the tub that I haven’t sat in in years, and soak away the stress…with all my free time.  And my too-cool-for-school 14 year old daughter who thinks I’m an ass, actually hand-made me a card. She has yet to give it to me because she’s mad at me, but I know she made one.  

The kids picked out cheap flowers that will drop their petals in a day, except for the carnations dyed in various unnatural colors; those bitches are like fruitcakes; they last for-freaking-ever and are about as attractive.

My family  said to me, “Sit and relax, Mama!  Don’t do any work! It’s Mother’s Day!”  So I did, simply so they wouldn’t yell at me and tell me I’m impetuous and controlling.

I did. I sat, and enjoyed the sun, and relaxed all day and they made me dinner  and it was lovely.

And now it’s Monday.  And today sucks ass.

Because all that shit they told me not to do yesterday, didn’t get done.  I woke up to  dishes in the sink and a messy kitchen,  which I enjoy about as much as a surprise punch to the throat.  My kids all bitched because they had no clean clothes to wear to school because I didn’t do laundry yesterday….because they told me not to. There is dog fur gathered in all corners of the living room because the Sunday vacuuming didn’t get done.  The fridge is basically empty because I didn’t get the grocery order in and now the three little royals need to buy hot lunch at school which is like asking them to eat canned spinach for dessert.

All because I was having a Mother’s Day.

So I sent them off to school today wearing dirty clothes and sporting crappy attitudes.  I will spend today catching up from yesterday, and tomorrow catching up from today.  There will be no homemade meals this week because I will be too far behind to plan anything more than Taco Tuesday.

And just like that, I have gone from Mother of the Year to Kate Gosselin.

So here’s what I suggest we do:  let’s move Mother’s day to Monday, when everyone has gone off to school and the hubby is off to work and nobody is bothering me and I can pour a glass of wine at noon and not be scrutinized. Yes, happy Mother’s Day to me, everybody get the eff out of my house. In the mean time, I will be here taking an ACTUAL Mother’s day however the freak I see fit.  I won’t be sitting at soccer games or baseball games, and the laundry will already be done from Sunday and the kitchen will be clean when I wake up because that’s how I roll on Sundays–everything gets done before Monday.  I might even read a book, ok a magazine, ok watch Bravo TV, and I will go shopping and buy myself what I wanted them to buy me but they didn’t because that would make Mother’s Day too damn perfect.  And I will go out to lunch kid-free, with my other mom-friends that are celebrating Mother’s Day on Monday. And we will laugh and drink wine and order salads and not have to shout at little humans to keep their hands to themselves, or order chickey nuggies that don’t get touched. 

So save your cheap flowers (but I’ll keep the adorable hand-made cards and macaroni necklaces because who doesn’t want to wear uncooked painted pasta around their neck), and let me have my Mother’s Day the Mother’s way–free of you people.

That I love, of course.

 But don’t really want around on my day to relax.

Yes, I think Mother’s Day on a Monday would just be perfect.

Is that so much to ask?

 

Happy Day -After -Mother’s Day to all Moms of all types.  You make the world go round.  

#thisislifeafterforty

Why Middle Schoolers are A** holes (And What We Can Do About It)

 

 I remember being in middle school.   I wish I didn’t.  Literally, the worst years of my life.  I was new to my school, had braces, a dorky haircut, and wore no makeup like the other girls did.   

And even though  I was wearing an Esprit sweater and matching sweater skirt  that I thought I was so cool, the actually cool girls with boobs and makeup and Reebok high tops did not think I was cool. And I was bullied. To tears everyday.  And it sucked, big time. Now, thirty-something years later I am literally still scarred by it. To this day,  I hate middle school and I hate middle schoolers.

And now, here I am with not one, but two of my very own, you guessed it, middle schoolers.  I’m in middle school hell all over again.

I have good kids; I really do, and it goes without saying, I love them more than life.  But here’s the truth of the matter:  my middle schoolers can be real assholes.  Like, alot of the time.   They’re ass holes to me, they can be ass holes to their friends, they’re even ass holes to their teachers sometimes.  The thing of it is, they don’t even know what major ass holes they’re being.

And there are reasons for this.

They are in the middle place and it’s uncomfortable

There’s a reason it’s’ called middle school. They truly are in the middle. They are no longer in the safety of their sweet little elementary school, where all the teachers knew their names, and they always knew which table they would sit at during lunch.  They had been in this elementary utopia for their entire educational lives!  And now, they are thrown into a great big middle school of unfamiliar territory.  And the social playing field suddenly leveled out. The kids that were “the populars” are no longer.  Middle schoolers are fighting for a social hierarchy, wondering where they fit.

And on top of all that,  they are straddling this point in time of really needing you but desperately wanting to pull away and test their independence.  Subsequently, one day it’ll be all, ass hole, the next day it’ll be all, I love you mommy.  And then maybe even a few minutes after they love you,  they have suddenly decided you are the biggest idiot ass-hat that ever walked the face of the earth.

 It’s ok.  Let them hate you for a minute. It’ll last as long as their last snap chat.  They’ll be back. Because they still need you.  Let them pull away and explore their independence, but always keep a close eye on their safety.

They have no freaking idea who they are

When one of my middle schoolers was just 7 and in first grade, she had her whole life doped out: get a tennis scholarship to Stanford, major in business and own a cupcake shop, have two kids, lots of dogs and live on some land where it’s warm with a huge vegetable garden. Impressive. She is now 14, and the only thing she’s certain of is that her boobs aren’t big enough, everyone has better clothes than she does, and her mom never let’s her do what she wants.  

Middle schoolers are trying to figure out who they are and how they like their eggs.  They have a hard time thinking for themselves. That’s why they mimic each others’ hair, clothes, talk.  And that’s why their choice of friends at this stage is uber important.

So let them make some of their own decisions.  Let them try new things and discover who they are.  Let go a little.  But always know who they’re with and what they’re doing.

 

 They’re weird, and they kind of know it.

They are.  Their bodies are changing in ways that simply gross them out.  And it grosses us out too.  Their feet and armpits stink.  They have zits the size of Mount Vesuvius. Their voices are changing.  They are growing hair in unspeakable places, and girls begin bleeding from their vaginas, I mean, what the faaaahhhhhk???  They’re gangly and growing and awkward and clumsy and they talk like complete and utter idiots.They think dumb is cool and mean is funny. They speak in code.  They’re weird.  And they know it too. And their weirdness makes them even more awkward.  

Let them be weird.  Have some compassion for their weirdness. They’ll grow out of it. And right now it’s harder on them then it is on you.

 

They are hormonal

Three words: Moody.  Moody.  Moody.  Like, in need of medication moody.  Like, need time with a therapist, moody.  Like, I’d pour you a drink if it were appropriate moody.  They can’t help it.  Their changing bodies are in control and they simply can’t help it. They are up, down and in-between like the ever-changing tides of the ocean. 

 Don’t turn your back on the ocean. Be there for them when they are in a good mood, and be there for them when they are in a bad mood…just maybe from the next room.  

They are obsessed with technology

Eventually I’ll tackle this one in a separate blog post, but I haven’t had the energy yet because the enormity of it almost makes it seem impossible.  We have given our middle schoolers phones and tablets and ipads, under the guise of keeping in touch with them. Our kids are hunched over their devices, unaware of the world around them.  And when it’s time to look up, they’re hardly able to communicate. These little devices have pulled them into a world of secrets and selfies and disappearing texts and inappropriate images and hiding behind texted words, and they’re not capable of handling it. It has given them an endless world of cyber assholiness and we, as parents, are clueless.  If you think you are on top of it because you check their texts (they erase them), or check their Instagram (they’ve moved on from Instagram, Irene) or make them ask before they download an app (it’s downloaded way before they’ve asked), then you are sorely mistaken. And this technology makes them a different middle schooler than we ever were. With different attitudes and different problems,  different social challenges and different safety issues.

The only thing we can do is control time on technology, try to stay current, and talk, talk, talk.  Set the rules, teach them the dangers, and be consistent.

 

So let’s wrap this up.  Middle schoolers are ass holes.  And they have good reason to be.  They’re not trying to be ass holes, they just are.  I’m certainly no parenting guru; I’m trudging along like a ‘s three legged elephant just like you, but I do painfully remember being in middle school and just how much it sucked. So here’s my best advice:  Just be there.  Be there when they stink, be there when they’re mean, be there when you effing hate them.  Listen when they talk, and talk to them when they are listening.  Give them their space when they need it, but steal your moments with them, like in the car on the way to practice, or while they’re scarfing down their fast-food dinner. Let them make some of their own  decisions; let go a little. But don’t drop the rope.  Connect, talk, listen, care.  And hang in there.  They will grow out of it.

The truth of the matter is, they need you now more than ever. THESE are the formative years. Don’t let them go to waste.   

#thisislifeafterforty

 

How I Fell For the St. Patty’s Day BS

 

 

 

It’s St. Patrick’s day today.  When I was a kid, that meant nothing more than wear green and don’t get pinched. And by wear green, I mean, find something green in your closet and throw it on. Not, here’s a special shirt mommy bought for you this year that cost $25 so you can wear it once and never again.

I will confess. When my kids were younger, I fell for it.  The marketing geniuses at Party City had me believing that St. Patrick’s day needed to be celebrated in a way that included something other than green beer. Because, really, as some people believe, everyday should be a freaking holiday.  There is a national something day for everything. I call National Bullshit Day.

So I went to Party City, and I bought gold coins, green confetti, green candy, green gum, green pens, green erasers, green necklaces, green crap galore. And I paid lots of green for it.  And the night before St. Patty’s day, I  carefully put together their pots of gold and candy as if it were an easter basket (except nobody had risen), and hid them in the house. I turned over chairs and hung pictures upside down.  I put green food coloring in the toilet so the kids believed the little green leprechaun rascal took a wizz while messing up our house.

And my kids thought it was wonderful. And I thought I  was wonderful. And the kids would go off to school and damn it, I now had furniture to put back, and freaking confetti all over my floor to vacuum up, and gold coins to sweep into a dust pan, and a toilet that was now stained green. Fan-freaking-tastic.

And I did this year after year.  And then my kids got older, and I got older, and maybe not wiser but definitely tireder (yep, that’s a word), and I would pack up the stuff from the year before, and none of the candy would have been eaten, and the pencils were still unsharpened, and the necklaces unworn, and the gum unchewed so I would throw it all in a box and store it in the basement until the next year when I would get it all out again.  Same shit.  And I swear this year I put a ring pop in a pot of gold for my son that was at least 4 years old.  And my sweet boy who just turned ten and is my last believer, is still holding on to all belief of bullshit like Santa and the Tooth Fairy, and yes, the leprechaun, and my sweet believer of a son says to me, “it’s really weird that we get the same stuff each year.”

Yes, my love, it’s weird.  More like dumb.  Because this dumb mom bought into a holiday that really isn’t a holiday at all and now I’m tired and I just can’t muster up the interest or the strength or quite frankly the dollars to give two shits about a day like St. Patrick’s day.

But I did it anyway, today.   I turned over chairs and threw pillows around and hid the pots of gold and old candy and reused pens and unworn necklaces and 4 year old ring pops.  And although my little guy was maybe not thrilled like he used to be (he’s certainly on to me with the old reused crap), it did make him smile.  And one day (probably next year) my kids will wake up on St. Patrick’s day and the leprechaun will NOT have come.  And there will be no pots of gold and crusty candy, no leprechaun mayhem.  And we will only have memories of the days that were holidays that really weren’t.  And it will make me sad. It will make me really sad.

So Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  Celebrate it while you still can.

Somebody hand me a green beer. 

#thisislifeafterforty

My Least Favorite Day of The Week: A Grocery Store Rant We Can All Relate To

There is a place on this earth that I am required to go at least once a week.  A place that holds so much dread, the mere thought of it makes me want to eat a Xanax.  I’d rather pull out my toe nails one by one with a pair of pliers than traverse this place.

But alas, my weekly visit is a necessity.  My family would literally not survive if I did not go to this place.

The place I’m talking about is the big grocery store.  You know the one: soup to nuts, grapes to pregnancy tests, bread to lipstick. They have it all;  contained in a four acre building-o-fun.

The minute I pull into the gigantic parking lot, my blood pressure spikes.  I am, of course, behind someone driving at a snail’s pace, looking for the closest parking spot available.  God forbid they park in the spot that’s wide open, and walk another 100 feet to get into the store. 

My hand lingers over my horn but I refrain.  Don’t people know I’ve got shit to do? 


As I enter the store, the greeter shouts out, “Good morning!”


Is it? I wonder.  Is it really a good morning??? I mean, I’m HERE, and not getting my nails done or something. How good could it really be?

I go to pull out a cart but end up waiting (very patiently, I might add) behind the mom who is going about settling her three kids into the Suburban XL cart; you know the one; with the full picnic bench on the end, which is what it becomes as she pulls out 7 bags of snacks and hands them to her children (Lord, I do not miss those days).  But not too quickly, after first wiping the entire thing down with a clorox wipe she digs from the depths of her purse (can’t blame her).

What feels like a full five minutes later, she finally has her kids settled and buckled and picnicking away as she turns the cart to head into the produce section. Too much momentum,  and she bangs the cart into me. Thank you.  I’m thrilled to be here too. I’m pritty sure she gave herself a hernia just trying to get headed into the right direction. Again, not missing those days. 

My turn to get a cart. 

It’s stuck.  I move over and yank on the one next to it. It’s stuck too. I start to wiggle and shake it thinking it will pop loose and before I know it, I am rattling the carts like a chimp rattling his cage, hair flapping over my red face.

“F*CK!”  I declare.  Because using the F word is like WD-40; it makes everything work better. I give it one last I-just-came-from-the-gym tug, and it comes loose. 

It has a used kleenex in the bottom of it. 

I stifle a gag and move on.  Ain’t nobody got time fo dat.

Through the aisles I go, my list meticulously written out in the order of which I will find things. I avoid all aisles with men because they don’t know what they are looking for or how to move a cart out of the center of the aisle (seriously, men; move you cart aside; it’s common sense).     

I am ripping through the store at a professional pace, feelin’ pritty dang proud of how efficient I am. I got this licked.

Until. 

I can’t find the marshmallows.  It’s the last thing on the list and I promised my kids I’d make rice crispy treats. Where in God’s name are the marshmallows??  They are always in the baking aisle, but today, of all days, they are not here.  Because since the last time I was here, the powers-that-be at this store got together and said, “how can we screw with our shoppers this week? Oh!  I know!  Let’s move the freaking marshmallows out of the baking aisle, and into the bottom shelf of the last aisle called ‘snacks’ (because that’s what marshmallows are, they are snacks now) and put them right below the boxed jello (because boxed jello is a snack too). Yeah.  That’ll really make our shoppers insane (cue evil laugh).“

I put my last item (marsh-f-ing-mallows) into my cart and wave to the invisible camera above, sure I’m being punk’d.  Found ’em, A- holes.

I head to the check out.   

Two lanes open. 

Two.  Freaking. Lanes. 

There are 25 lanes in this store but pig-be-a-princess if I’ve ever seen more than a few open at a time. Unless, of course you would like to use self-checkout,  taking three minutes per item to find the proper bar code that makes it go beep, have your eggs break at the end of the conveyor belt, and have a red light and sirens go off while you wait to have them check your ID for the 17 bottles of wine you are trying purchase.  No thanks.  I’ll wait right here in this line and read the Enquirer, because Brad and Angelina are having an alien  baby and I want to find out what sex it is. 

I can’t concentrate on my magazine.  The kid in the cart ahead of me is throwing a fit. He’s tired and hungry and probably hates this place as much as I do.  His mom is red faced and literally telling him to shut up or he won’t get to ride the mechanical horse. The checker is babbling away. 

Beep!  Blaaah blaaaah blaaah.  Beep!  Blaaaah blaaaaah blaaah. Beep!

“Oh wait.”  Says the mom.  “That’s supposed to be on sale.” 

For.  Freak.  Sake.

Because you know what that means:

Shut down the lane, call a manager, pull out the ads, look through it for the product, discuss it, override-oh wait that takes a different person, page the override manager, wait.  Wait some more.  Enter the code, new price….beep. 

I literally cannot even make a nice face anymore.  I am all eyes rolling, eyebrows scrunched (as much as they can through my botox), and mouth downturned. Hey everyone.  Look at me.  I’m mad.

The chatty checker (who has thankfully decided not to chat with me, can’t imagine why…) finally gets me through the line.  “Any coupons, bottle slips or StorePerks?”  she says smiling. 

“No.  None of that shit.  The only store perk I can think of is getting me the hell out of here as fast as possible.  That would be a perk,”  is what I WANT to say, but of course, I just mumble, “no.”

She prints out my receipt and waits.  And waits.  And waits.  While the machine spits out enough coupons to pad my cell. I have apparently hit the coupon jackpot. Yip. Eee.  I shove my winnings angrily in my purse and turn towards the door. 

Can’t get out of here fast enough.

I walk past the screaming kid who has been rewarded by riding the horse and now looks very happy. And I think: where’s the horse for the adults?  Because I could really use a happy penny ride right now too.  Or forget the horse, how bout just a wine dispenser.  Grab a 40oz cup and fill ‘er up with red or white.  Or mix them both and make it a Rose,   because you deserve it.

I walk out the sliding doors, wheel my cart out and breathe in the fresh, cool air. 

Deep breaths.  Deep breaths. 

I made it out of there without assaulting anyone.

And although I wish this story ended here, it just simply doesn’t.  I still have a few hours of work ahead, as I head home to unpack all the groceries, which also involves cleaning out the fridge and the pantry (I know, first world problems), and probably finding that my raw chicken has leaked onto my apples or that my loaf of bread has been squished under the cans of soup.   

But worstly (yeah, that’s a word), I know I have to do this all over again next week.

Now which bag are those bottles of wine in….

#thisislifeafterforty

Ten Truths About Traveling Without Children

We’ve just returned from the most amazing, relaxing and gorgeous no-kids vacation we’ve ever been on.  Four nights of Cabo, Mexico bliss, just me and the Hubs.  Coffee on the patio, endless days pool side and on the beach, and cocktails overflowing. Needless to say, re-entry has been a bitch.

We don’t get away just the two of us all that much, but we try.  And over the years of traveling sans children, we’ve learned a few things. Like to hear it? Here it goes…

Ten truths I know about traveling without my children:

1.  Delays and long layovers are NBD.

A long layover, or God forbid, a delay in flight while traveling with children makes my blood pump and skin tingle. You know the feeling. When the announcement is made, your first thought is, “oh shit”.  To have to keep kids happy, fed and entertained in an airport without losing your squash on them may be one of the biggest parenting challenges.  But a delay or long layover when traveling alone? Bring it, bitches. The airport has wine. And shopping. Delay away, my slacker airline friends, because this mama has a credit card and doesn’t have to feed anyone french fries and chicky nuggies. This is my vacation, and your delay at ORD will not kill my dream.

2.  When I’m not with mine, I have no interest in OPK (Other People’s Kids)

In fact, the little fit throwers actually kind of annoy me while traveling.  Don’t’ get me wrong, I will always have nothing but empathy for the parents traveling with kids.  Lord knows, it ain’t easy and I have been there more than I care to remember.  But when I’m traveling without mine, I like to pretend I’m just plain, well…not a mom. I am free and interesting, traveling the world cuz that’s how I roll. I’m even wearing white jeans on the plane. How cool am I? And that screaming kid is simply not my problem. Winning.    

3.  I really do like my husband.

And he likes me. Funny how we can be reminded of that when the smalls are not reminding us otherwise. A chance to be who we were when we first met and had no kids and were fun and cute and young and carefree…it kinda makes you fall in love all over again.  And let’s be honest, when we can share a cocktail together, hold hands without someone weaseling in-between us and have an actual conversation from beginning to end without being interrupted, it’s all good.

4.  The anxiety of leaving the kids never gets easier.

I don’t even think I can make this one funny because, truth. It’s almost crippling. The fear that something will happen to them or to me seems impossible to overcome.  I struggle to keep dry eyes as I kiss and hug them goodbye, my heart pounding in my chest.  And as my husband tosses me a Xanax like tossing a fish to a seal, it’s everything I can do to not jump out of the car while it’s moving and return to my pups. I know this fear and anxiety will subside the instant I sit my ass on the plane (and order my first mini bottle of Chardonnay—so cute!), but still, this fear is real in me, and the older I get the deeper it lies. It’s like that layer of stubborn belly fat; deep down but always puckered at the surface. And I just. Can’t. Get rid of it.

5.  Having people bring me drinks poolside is what my kids must feel like every damn day.

Seriously. It’s the life.  But for adults, it’s called vacation and costs a crap load of money.

6.  I am addicted to cleaning.

I can’t help it. It’s what I do. Here I am, in a great hotel with phenomenal service, no kids shit lying around, no laundry to do, no dishes to wash or vacuum to run, and by day two, I’m making the beds before housekeeping arrives. OCD? Maybe.  But my mind needs that orderliness, even on vacation.  My husband thinks I’m insane, but I guarantee in this one, I am not alone. Toss me another Xanax.

7.  My kids are not the reason I don’t go out and party.

I have spent years blaming my kids for my lack of party ability, but leave it to a vacation to show you the truth:  Here we are with the chance to be out all night and sleep in all day, and what happens?  We’re drunk by 8:30pm, run out of things to talk about by 9:00, and are yawning by 9:30.  At that point, we battle it out to see who will be the first lame-ass that says, “wanna go back to the hotel?”  And the biggest bitch of it all is, we will still wake up at 6:30am the next morning. And there’s not a kid in sight. Bastards.

8.  I like to read.

Yes. A book without pictures. A book without rhymes. A book just for me, I could read it five times. A book with some sex, perhaps Shades of Grey? No Dr. Seuss here, not on this vacay.

9.  There actually ARE enough hours in a day.

I’m not even sure how this one works.  Our daily lives are so insanely busy, there is never enough time in a day to get everything done we need to.  But on vacation!!!  The days are freaking endless! Drink, nap, swim, repeat.  It goes on and on. And you actually start looking at your watch, like, is it time for a meal yet?  Nothing to do, and no limit on time to do it.  It’s freaking glorious.

10. It’s good for your kids to miss you.

Even the most independent and attitudinal teen misses his parents just a little bit while they’re gone.  After-all, nobody does it quite like mom and dad.  Oh, so you like my meals, enjoy clean clothes, appreciate being picked up at the bus stop and want to hug me?  Huh. I need to go away more often.

#thisislifeafterforty

This Is Why Family Vacations Don’t Count

It was the long awaited ski weekend with the family and friends this weekend.

We took on skiing as a family only three years ago, after much whining and complaining on my part: “We live in MICHIGAN!  We MUST ski!!” 

Having grown up in Hawaii, I couldn’t understand why my husband, who grew up in Michigan and is incredibly athletic, didn’t ski. He blamed it on his high school basketball career: if you play basketball, he said, you don’t ski; you could hurt yourself and be out for the season.

Paprikash, I said.  That’s rediculousmont.

So three Christmas’s ago, aiming to please (he’s a good man), my husband forked out the insane amount of dough that’s required to become a “ski family” of five.  Snowboards, skis, ski boots, bindings for all,  new ski jackets, a Thule for the car roof, blah blah blah, boom.  We were a ski family. 

Jump to present day:  Our third time heading up to adorable and beautiful Crystal Mountain, MI for a short, but always fun, family vacation. I spend days shopping for food, making sure everyone has snow gear that fits, getting the skis tuned up and waxed, making arrangements for the dog, getting all the laundry done so everyone has all their choices, pulling the house together,  and packing for everyone, while my husband rushes home from work, throws three pairs of boxers and a sweatshirt in a backpack and says, “are you ready yet?” 

It’s always the same.

The fascinating part of taking the same trip to the same place at about the same time every year is that despite the fact that it’s all the same, it’s always different.  The kids are a whole year older making the entire venture a complete crap shoot.  Who will be the ones that can’t get along (hint: all of them)?  Who will be ok with sleeping on the floor in a “nest” this year (hint: no one)? Who will want to go skiing by themselves and ditch the parents (hint: everyone)?

We arrive at our little ski cottage and begin to get ready to hit the slopes.  It begins:

My gloves are too small.

–Too bad.

Which helmet is mine?

–Just pick one.

Do I have to wear socks?

—   I’m not even answering that.

Where is my ski jacket?

SCREEEEEEECH!!  Pull the needle from the record!  YOU DON’T HAVE YOUR JACKET?  You mean, you showed up to the ski weekend without your jacket?? 

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? (is what I want to squeal, but refrain) 

Deep breaths. 

Seriously.  Take deep breaths.

I happened to have packed an extra jacket (yep, I’m that good), and we manage to avoid a complete losing of the squash. Except now she’s wearing my ski jacket and I’m looking ridiculous skiing in my stylish, not sporty,  puffer jacket.  But alas, we sacrifice for our children.

Little did I know, the worst was yet to come, and a forgotten ski jacket was going to end up mattering about as much as a pin hole in my distressed jeans.

The evening is enjoyable and once the kids get their ski legs under them, we let them go off on their own in a group. Complete and utter freedom. The adults gather, kick back, eat hors d’oeuvres, and cocktail it up.   This independent teenager thing does have it’s perks. It’s a beautiful thing.

Day two.  Wake with headache.  Shit, I’m too old for this.  Eat some advil and get the family on the mountain.  Kids are having a blast and it’s time to go back to the cottage to prepare lunch.  Looking forward to the hair of the dog.  As I pull out the vodka and begin salivating, my phone rings.  It’s my 14 year old.

“Mom,” she says, with an annoyance in her voice as detectable as a silent fart, “can you come get [12 year old sister]?  She hurt her finger. She’s just being dramatic.  I’m sure she’s fine.” 

I set down the vodka (I’ll be back, my love) and head to the base of the mountain, only to find that “come get her” meant “come get her off the ski slope because she took a gnarly spill, is crying her head off, and won’t come down.” I’m sure that’s what my 14 year old meant to say when she called me… Luckily, our friend was there to escort her down, my 12 year old daughter’s hand stretched out awkwardly from her arm, gloves dangling. I walk up to her tear stained, white-as-a-sheet face, take one look at her hand and know: this isn’t good.

I turn to my husband who looks like a cartoon character, red faced and steam coming out of his ears.  You see, this 12 year old girl of ours is, yep, you guessed it, a basketball player. And her middle school season that she has trained so hard for, is just about to begin. I whisk her off to first aid knowing that I better get her out of there before Yosemite Sam pulls his guns. All the reasons he never wanted to be a ski family are slapping me across the face like a backhanded compliment at this moment.  Shit shit shit.

We wander into the ski patrol first aid department where they literally whittle her a splint and sling out of a rolled up magazine, some egg crate, some duct tape and a ripped up sheet (not exaggerating). They send us 25 minutes further north to a hospital that might or might not have all the letters of its name hanging from the building; not feeling super confident about the level of care coming our way.  As we walk through the automatic sliding doors, I feel like we just entered a scene from Zootopia.  You know the scene with the sloughs at the DMV?  Yeah, that one.  As the slough doctor, I mean, provider, asks her what happened, she says, “I was skiing down the hill and I think I tripped on a piece of snow.”  This answer from a 12 year old didn’t phase Dr. Slough, after all it is Northern Michigan, but all I could think of was, you better be able to repeat this implausible story so they don’t call CPS on me. Because tripping on a piece of snow (while skiing) kind of sounds questionable.

Several exhausting hours later, we have a diagnosis of two fractured phalanges (medical word for fingers and so fun to say) at the base knuckle where the fingers, I mean phalanges, meet the hand.  She was fitted with a bona fide fiberglass splint, (without duct tape), and we head back to the ski resort to catch up with the rest of the family and friends and salvage what was left of our ski vacation.

This is the result:  No more skiing for the weekend.   The start of her middle school basketball season done before it began.  I have a husband who won’t stop stewing, I relaxed a total of three hours in three days on this so called vacation, and my ski weekend was cut short as I suddenly became babysitter of the injured. And as much as we wholly realize that things could have been a lot worse, I think we all can agree that this entire day was a complete shit show.

We’re home now, and I’m exhausted.  I need to unpack, do laundry and get groceries, make doctors appointments for the week, but I just don’t have the energy. This is why family vacations don’t count.  They are fun, wonderful bonding times with your people, but let’s be honest, they don’t count as vacations for anyone but the kids.  We’ll have plenty of “remember the time when…” stories, but vacation? No.  From now on, let’s more precisely refer to them simply as family trips.  Cuz, holy shit, this was a trip.

So for now I will sit my ass on the couch with a glass of wine in front of the fire and regroup.  Tomorrow I need to start packing again.  Because in a few days, I’m getting a real vacation someplace warm, just my hubby and me.   Where my kids, God love ‘em, won’t be forgetting essential shit, breaking bones, and generally screwing things up. I will go away for 4 blissful nights, reconnect with my husband, sit pool side and have people bring me drinks.  And I will finally have a chance to miss the hell out of my kids and long to come home.   And THAT, is what we call a vacation.

  

*In all fairness, the hospital in Northern Michigan did good by us and the care was excellent and the people were kind.  Speedy, no.  But kind, yes. Thank you to the staff, nurses and Provider that got us taken care of. Also, thank you to the caring (and ingenious) ski patrol at Crystal Mountain who were so gentle and concerned for my girl.