Ding Dong Ditch

 

Last week, during an evening of bonding with my teen through the ritual of driving practice, she had an ingenious idea!!! More on that soon…

In our state, a prospective driver must be in possession of a learner’s permit, and must also have logged 60 hours of driving before attaining a driver’s license. This driving must be under the supervision of an adult 18 years or older, who also has a driver’s license.  This means parents. Unless you have some benevolent grandparents, other relatives, or a friend that is bound to you by blood covenant. Why else would you get in the car with an inexperienced motorist that is more concerned with finding the right song on the radio than STAYING INSIDE THE WHITE LINE ???!!!
As parents, from the very moment we see their slime covered red faces, we take for granted that we are willing to risk our lives for our wee cherubs. But as a friend or even a blood relation outside of immediate parental units, a passenger/instructor to a student driver is just willingly subjecting themselves to mental anguish for the sake of another teen loosed on the roads. OR they are getting paid a hefty sum as a driving instructor. This hefty sum allots for a large triangular display that is mounted on the hood of the vehicle to WARN inform other surrounding drivers. For this reason, it’s usually the parent you will find in the passenger seat perpetually swatting their teen’s shoulder. This whacking- which usually coincides with cussing- becomes second nature like a form of Tourette’s each time the car in front of you puts on their brakes. Maybe I am the only one that exhibits this hand to shoulder contact throughout our entire time in the car, but I venture to guess there are others.

There’s another way that I recently experienced the opportunity to carry my cross in the passenger seat, with the added challenge of the capacity to sacrifice my reputation in our community. The inherent Payoff was something parents of teens are not often presented with. None other than …BEING ACTUAL COOL – albeit for 5-7 minutes, or until you change the radio station because you can feel Metallica burning your soul.

We were practicing 3-point turns and parallel parking in a local neighborhood when my little darling says… “Hey mom! Watch this. It’s SO fun.” She promptly abandoned the car with me inside and jumped out, leaving the drivers side door ajar, and ran up to the front door of an arbitrary home. I then realized I was an unwitting accomplice to a live-action ding dong ditch.

As if the evening wasn’t eventful enough, (for me anyways), she wanted to replicate this procedure, to which I vehemently objected. We had to exit the neighborhood, and fast, before we got nabbed by the neighborhood watch dog. You KNOW there is ALWAYS is at least one. That person which takes guarding themselves and their neighbors very seriously.  In an upper middle- class subdivision this may entail enforcing edged laws. In a more urban environment, this crusader is oft seen glaring through their mini blinds when thug activity is afoot. These are the informants who can identify height, weight, hair color, and adornment or accessories of any kind worn by perpetrators. They are also keenly informed on all breed of dog, so as to accurately identify any lawn poop that has not been immediately picked up and bagged. This self-imposed position crosses all socio-economic divides and stands to defend and protect the territory surrounding their dwelling.

Wouldn’t you know, that this very individual’s home is the VERY one that my brilliant, Harvard bound, statistically informed offspring arbitrarily chose. I found myself curbside in front of the abode of the neighborhood superintendent. The chieftain. The Shepherd of the neighborhood flock.

Meanwhile, the rush of post “ring and run” adrenaline produced in baby driver a 5-second 100 -meter sprint back to the drivers seat, where the car was immediately shifted to DRIVE and off we went into the … cul-de-sac.
Oh man. That was a lack of foresight. And failure to the notice the word “Court” behind the street name displayed as we frenetically ran through the stop sign. Now we were faced with no choice but to turn around and attempt to pass back by the home unsuspected.
At this time, a wave of revelation came over me, and I was able to offer this sage advice to my young grasshopper : “Stay cool, stay cool. Just follow the speed limit, use your blinkers when turning, and keep driving.” Now, before you say it…I KNOW! I know- How did I have the presence of mind to utter such a pearl of wisdom? I’ve been meditating regularly. Maybe that’s the trick.

This tactic-which is also useful following a five-O spot- was working SWELL. Until we rounded a corner and an oncoming SUV (with some extremely bright headlights, I might add), drove directly up to our vehicle, blocking our way out of the neighborhood. Then the vehicle blocking our path stopped. In front of our car. Headlights to headlights. Like a Disney Pixar Cars face-off. Now, why would a car drive over into the wrong lane and park itself in front of another vehicle driving in the opposite direction? Probably because they were just settling in for an episode of The Bachelor, with popcorn and Pino Grigio when their doorbell rang.  They were forced to drop their remote to answer the front door, but no one was there.

My eldest and I looked at each other with a knowing glance. We had to stop the car. there is no ramming into an oncoming vehicle and then quickly making a get away in a suburban neighborhood like they do on TV. She stopped the car. The driver of the other car exited their vehicle and yet LEFT THEIR GLARING HEADLIGHTS ON to shine in our faces. Surely this was an interrogation technique, meant to illuminate the truth out of us. As the petite blonde neighborhood FBI representative approached our car, I do not think she expected a fellow mother to occupy the passenger seat. She appeared to briefly consider turning around, but with stalwart determination made her way to the driver’s window where she addressed my trepidatious teen. “Are you ding-dong ditching?” She wasted no time getting to the question. No pleasantries, no polite banter or small talk. Mission minded.

Instead of answering the inquisition, sweet baby driver turned and looked directly at me. I immediately knew what had to be done. I must lie. What kind of person leaves behind their evening’s entertainment and abandons the safety and comfort of their couch at 10 pm to run down and apprehend a ring and run suspect? The kind of person that will stop at nothing until justice is served. Not only would this potentially delay my daughter’s reception of her license – which we NEED her to have so she can run to the store and other errands for us without our accompaniment – but as the supervising adult of a driver with a restricted license I saw my vehicular freedom pass before my eyes.

It’s disturbing how quickly our deceptive cahoots kicked in. “No. She is not.” I responded. “We are looking for her friends’ house.” Now that taking the lying approach was established, baby driver wasted no time. “Sorry about that! I had the wrong house! My friend lives in this neighborhood and I realized as soon as I rang the doorbell that it was the wrong address.” The covert agent, with a knowing, yet suspicious look asked, “Oh, who is it that you’re looking for? Maybe I can help you find the right house.” We both knew she was SO onto us, but thinking fast, baby driver said. “Her name is Jenny.” And I immediately followed that with a convincing, “Do you know the Finchers?” Our victim didn’t indeed know the Finchers. Probably because they don’t exist. At least they do not live in her neighborhood … to her knowledge. It was likely my adult verification of the lie caused her to believe that we were indeed searching for Jenny Fincher and simply mistaken about the location of her home. I mean, what 40-year-old mom participates willingly in a prank and then lies to another adult about it??? We do not know anyone named Jenny Fincher, much less an entire Fincher family. We made that up. We are horrible liars and we don’t want to lose our driving privileges. We will never ding-dong ditch again. I suppose I can not speak for baby driver. I will never again be party to a ring and run.

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Well, Absolutely (*100%!)

Can everyone please stop saying ABSOLUTELY ?????!!!!!

Do we know what an absolute is? I do not claim to have writing prowess or a special aptitude for grammar. I am ABSOLUTELY NOT claiming to have the corner on vocabulary or the proper usage of words. Not at all.
Indeed, an actual Pulitzer Prize Winner read my blog and basically told me that it sucks. To be fair, he then softened the blow by saying “But it’s your style, it’s your voice, you’re funny “ …Or something like that. Basically “This is shit writing, but you do you, girl. You do you.” Absolutely!

Will you unload the dishwasher? ABSOLUTELY!
Is it not enough just to agree to accomplish what’s requested of us, in this case, putting away some cups, without unequivocal determination?

May I borrow your pen? ABSOLUTELY!
Is it necessary to grant permission to relinquish our pens to strangers by irrevocably swearing to do so?

Is tomorrow a good day to meet up? ABSOLUTELY!
Now I DERNED -well better show up. That may as well have been followed up by expialidocious.

Let’s look up Absolutely now on dictionary.com-
– without exception; completely; wholly; entirely:
-positively; certainly.
-(used emphatically to express complete agreement or unqualified assent)

Do we really need to COMMIT this wholeheartedly to everyday activities?

Wow. ease up, is all I’m saying. It doesn’t have to be absolute. What if something happens and I can no longer meet up with you tomorrow? Cringe! Thusly, we are in some potential relational disparity because I am ABSOLUTELY NOT going to be there. See now- that sounds like rejection.  Not nice.

* NOTE:  Replacing “Absolutely!” with “100%!” Is now officially overused as well.

Just say “NO” to Xanax in the airport, (and second-hand pot smoke).

My friend and I have traveled together a few times. We’re currently in a small chamber ensemble that performs mostly classical music and occasionally we have to drive a few hours to a performance. We both suffer from the occasional bout with ‘Trail mix onset IBS’, which often leaves our road trips interrupted for a veer off of the road to run screaming into an unsuspecting Walgreens like a scene out of Bridesmaids. (It’s happening! It’s HAPPENING !!!)
For a while we were in a band and provided Background vocals for a local recording artist. We signed on with him to do some studio sessions. This of course, turned into mostly gigging in bars or the occasional festival and getting 20 dollars. This was not the most lucrative engagement. We were, however, gifted with substantial opportunities to enjoy weed, which we politely declined. And yet, somehow; (perhaps due to being in the same room with 3-5 guitarists and drummers openly smoking pipes!) we were usually drawn with tractor beams to the Taco Bell drive through on the way home from band practice. I guess second-hand high IS a thing after all.

To be clear, we always just -say- NO. Which is why we were confident that we’d never appear to be doing otherwise. But this was misplaced confidence:

Our next trip we were headed to sunny LA! Now there is NO way we are hitting that many Walgreens cross-country. Route 66 doesn’t need our overactive colons. However, the plane trip was looking to be such a BORE with zero good in-flight movies. Besides, we both needed a nap! Always COPIOUSLY prepared, my mate had some Xanax in her possession. Sweet! but we needed to split it in half so we could both have a blissful rest, and in doing so, we created a sort of white granular substance. We didn’t want to waste ANY amount of our magic sleeping dust, so we dipped our pinkies into the ziplock bag that the Xanax was stored in, to make sure we left no portion unused.

It was then that my friend remembered that her doctor had advised her to use vaseline or Aquaphor to line her mucus membranes before boarding the flight. Apparently, smearing it inside your nose can trap microscopic bacteria and germs to help keep you from getting sick.

So in an effort to stave off airborne illness, we squeezed Aquaphor on our fingers and stuck them in our nostrils whilst licking a white powdery substance off of our pinky fingers. We were so immersed in securing our rest and immune system function, that we didn’t notice the stares of onlookers. Because we are like virtuous doves, law-abiding citizens, and not to mention somewhat green when it comes to being inconspicuous with drug paraphernalia; it never occurred to us that we appeared to be openly making the flight interesting for ourselves in other ways. But it was too late. We were busted with Xanax on our pinkies and Aquaphor -laden digits in our sneezers.  “Security! Gate 4! Security, Gate 4! We have two adult females, trying to appear wide-eyed and unsuspicious while attempting to persuade us of their innocence by showing us pictures of their children!”

There’s no way to adequately describe how to convince law enforcement officers that you are not high, and there is sincerely Aquaphor in your nose because YOUR DOCTOR TOLD YOU TO!!!! after you’ve already taken a medicine meant to help you relax…a lot.
Fortunately, they still let us on the plane, and we were able to sleep our way to the west coast.

Spring Break Trippin’

Road  Guilt Trip

WHY all of the parent guilt about going somewhere memorable for Spring Break? Do you remember where you went for Spring Break when you were in 4th grade? ME NEITHER.

One of my friends actually answered this question recently. “Yes. I do remember. NOWHERE.”

What has happened? Why are all of my fellow parents taking  kids to Orlando theme Parks? They will only come back and tell my kids the AWESOME parts on Monday morning. We won’t hear about the line for the Harry Potter ride, or the bathroom “incidents” after Splash Mountain. Standing for an hour holding your place to see the character parade won’t be mentioned. Nor will the laborious trip back, full of lofty expectations fulfilled and nowhere to go but home.

Not only does 8 hours in a car not sound like a break of any kind, unless you count my teeth breaking as I grind them in my car sleep, but it’s one entire spring Break day lost to gas station potties and convenience store snacks. (No. My answer is the same as the last Exit. You still can’t have Yoo Hoo and Combos). And about the beach; unless we are going to Florida (again, 8 hours away), the water is going to be cold and the shoreline will not generate a gentle breeze, but straight wind gusts.

Sure, we could fly, which would mean all college savings devoured in round trip airline tickets. Considering our oldest is in 10th grade, do the math. Scholarships are her only hope. “One more lap missy!  That’s a Basic Science class you’re swimming for! And you need to shave .3 seconds off of the time if you want to take that writing course!”

The cost of air travel is the sort of investment I’d like to see more of a return on than expediting my reunion with Mickey.

Might I suggest some advanced planning? Perhaps wait until summer time when youngsters have a whole 2 months to lose a little intensity in the retelling of the saga that was your VACATION, so as to assuage jealousy? Or could you travel “off season” when it’s less of a mob mentality, and more just YOUR family going on a special trip? Do this for us, have pity. Spare me the shaming of a Spring Break spent at home, washing the car in the driveway like a commercial! That’s advertising true happiness. Let us believe all families spend Spring Break happily (sometimes angrily) squirting each other with hoses and throwing sponges.

Let me name the cat, please

          I was thinking about pet names the other day while listening to @stormewarren’s radio show on Sirius XM. Rea-lynn was on, talking about the time her dog got lost. The dog’s name is “Dolly” and got lost in Pigeon Forge, Tennesee. Sounds like a case of Homeward Bound to me. Dollywood or BUST! (Or in the case of Mrs. Parton, BOTH!) The dog was lost and outdoors for 3 whole days!!! Can you imagine??? An ANIMAL having to be OUTSIDE for three days???? That is positively barbaric.

          A couple of years ago we went to the Christmas tree farm for our Christmas tree and came home with a tree and a kitten. Total bonus Christmas cat. The fluffy feline was a “barn cat” at the farm and needed a home for Christmas. We provided, because we are good and kind people with halos. The kids had been begging for ANOTHER animal since last year, and the tiny kitty face was a very good tool of manipulation. In the end, we named her Macy because we brought her home on Thanksgiving Day and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade was on. This was my idea of sub-par naming, but I lost the naming consensus.
Kitten’s adorable fur was brown on brown and she already had an eye infection causing her left eye to be sealed shut. For this reason, I proposed the name “Fetty Wap.” And also because I thought it would be amazing if the cat ever were to get loose. We could run through the neighborhood with flashlights screaming “Fetty Wap! Fetty Wap!”

              That idea got labeled “lame” and “try hard” rather quickly by all 3 kids. So I decided that I’d go with a classic name that I’d been yearning to name a child/pet for ages. Barbara Streisand. Barbara Streisand is a classy, timeless name for a cat, and we’d only be permitted to use her full name at all times. For example, “ Barbara Streisand! Din Dins!” Or, “Wow, someone really needs to change Barbara Streisand’s litter.” See! Her iconic name even makes the most menial and dare-I-say; nastAY of chores seem like something to sing about.
This name also got deemed “so basic” due to a lack of understanding by my offspring of exactly how much Mrs. Streisand has contributed to the art form of music. Uncultivated Philistines. Of course, this led to them being forcefully subjected to multiple listenings of “People,” “The Way We Were”, and “Tell Him,”- the stunning duet with Celine Dion, who they also have no appreciation for. ( GEEZ what is WRONG with you people???!!!!)

Kids these days- I am trying too hard when I want Fetty Wap and not trying hard enough when I want Barbara Streisand. This is the future, and we can not satisfy them with being edgy OR traditional. Sounds like some sort of weird religious organization’s metric:

“How do we satisfy this new generation? Fetty Wap? No- that’s trying to hard, and there is a lot of language we’d have to edit. Barbara Streisand? Definitely a classic with potential to appeal to a broader audience. But rather basic, and too old for the young ones to really appreciate. Ok, what about Macy? Easily remembered, and also is a department store (something for everyone), as well as a parade (lots of giant characters filled with hot air), and you think of it with nostalgia around the holidays.” Macy it is.
We’re now the proud owners of a cat with a pedestrian name.

Furthermore : Pansy Budgets, Sweat Nirvana, and NON necessities

 

Additional thoughts about what exercise is actually good for:

Working out is not only so we can eat stuff that tastes good. It can also be used to replace expensive things like Cognitive Therapy, and Wellbutrin.

Something magical happens when sweat starts pouring. It’s like a sort of nirvana.  Smells like saving money!

I can not count the number of issues that I have solved over the phone with my bff while on the spin bike.  Sure, she has to do most of the talking at times, but she just saved me 150$ an hour on Therapy. We have a LOT of things to take care of in Bike Therapy. We have teenagers in our HOMES. She’s also saved me money that would have otherwise been compensating launderers and cleaners because you can breeze through chores when immersed in dissecting Maroon 5 lyrics.  Levine is DEEP, man.

And I specifically remember the exact day I told my husband that we needed to choose between a Y membership and a Wellbutrin Prescription .  Not in the budget?  Budget is a pansy word.  I HATE the word budget. The notion of a budget is right up there with “sorting toys” and “daily showers.” So unnecessary.  I understand budgeting is useful and ultimately keeps us out of jail. But don’t try to put me in a box! Or spending categories!

Ok we can just take from the grocery budget. We need SANITY more than food right now.  And my kids will kiss me on my FACE if I give them 3$ Velveeta shells and cheese tonight instead of the stuffed peppers I was planning.  Considering the cost of organic peppers and ingredients therein, I’m looking at a 78$ savings, EASY. Win Win.

End game : money is going to be spent. It is either the Y membership, where I sweat out resentment while getting validated via cell phone… or a Wellbutrin prescription. Take your pick!!! $300 a month for the Wellbutrin, (because I don’t care what you say, the generic is NOT the same), or $45 a month for the Y.

Thought so. Flippin’ Budget.  Show you a budget.

Who am I kidding.

There have definitely been some very puke-inducing, closet floor-laying, “what the f@#$*?!!!” – screaming intervals of time when I was both going to the Y and taking Wellbutrin.

I like to call that juncture : “Endorphins & Bliss in the midst of a total sh%&*tstorm.”

Don’t get me wrong, as much as I LOVE Lemongrass essential oils and Chamomile tea, there are times when diffusing lemongrass is just NOT cutting it.  So sorry,  but there is not enough lavender in the WORLD to rub on my temples right now.  And BUMP Chamomile Tea.  Bring me some whiskey.  But see then -alcohol is calories, and so I’m gonna need that gym to spin it off.  See what happened there? Full circle- Bring me to the Y.  Save your money.

The gym is for eating

The gym is for working out. And working out is for eating without consequence.

It’s not the other way around. I’d like to quote the philosopher David Hasslehoff here. Or maybe it was Alec Baldwin. Sometimes I get those two confused. I was reading an interview in which (I think) The Hoff said “You work out so you can eat whatever you want.” This is also my truth, Michael Knight. If I’m committing to the discipline of excercise, I’m going to need some food motivation. I bust my @$$ at the gym so that I can:
a) Drive through Chik-fil-a afterward for lemonade and waffle fries that I will then dip in a very calculated ratio of mayo and ketchup or chik-fil-a sauce.
b)  Go to Chueys for Happy Hour later and drown in a car trunk of chips and salsa, followed by some greasy refried beans.
3)  Polish off the entire pint of Chunky Monkey, while I watch Netflix.

This is very rational, and shows a basic understanding of how the human body works. I do not squeak out those sit ups or will myself to another set of squats so that I can go home to a plate of chicken and broccoli. That is NOT a reward. That is a consequence. That does not motivate me to work out. In fact, it sort of motivates me to cry. And also I’d like to say that sweet potatoes are NOT GOOD. Unless you make them into fries and smother them in the aforementioned calculated ratio of mayo and ketchup.

The notion of “fueling your workout” with bland protein and steamed vegetables is lost on me. My workout fuels my meals. I enjoy some healthy stuff like fresh pico, Avacado toast, (*see footnote regarding Avacado toast below), or crisp salads with almonds, strawberries and a balsamic drizzle as much as the next human. But I fuel my workout with COFFEE. And also, Amazon Prime Video. The time you spend on the stair master will literally FLY if you are entangled in Sneaky Pete’s lies. Just maybe not the show Catastrophe, because gym people think you are weird if you laugh out loud and pee yourself on the treadmill. Take it from me, I’ve done this. No shame. After bearing multiple children, it happens. The bladder is among the first to go. I’m just glad I was wearing the black leggings that day, so I could preserve a shred of dignity.

When I was in high school, I could drive through Taco Bell for a Nachos BellGrande and then straight to the Moonlight Drive-In for their peanut butter milkshake. It makes the perfect pairing for Nachos. I don’t know about which Cabernets’ pair with meat but I know about some good variations of nacho-milkshake combinations, now.
I once could do this drive-by-eating ritual weekly and burn the calories at dance practice or riding my bike to the 7-Eleven for a Banana Slurpee .
It is no longer my moment in time for this sort of careless eating- on- the -drive. I have come to accept that. But the YMCA is here for me, thank you. And I am here at the Y so I can eat. More than eggs and whey protein powder. And not so I can win a contest by bench-pressing 300 lbs. Just why.

* Note on avacado toast : I have deep feelings for Avacados. While I’m passionate about good guacamole, spreading it onto toast is like spreading anything else onto bread that has been DRIED OUT in the toaster. We’ve been spreading jams and jellies, almond butter and cheese on baked grains for centuries now. It’s wet stuff on dry bread. It’s good, agreed. But relax about getting orgasmic over it, please. Quit taking pictures of your green toast and posting it. That’s private. Have some class.

MY Sheets are ON STAGE ???!!!

My sheets are on stage !!!?????

Hold. UP. When you asked if you could use the sheets from my bed for your 4th grade production, I agreed. With Theater Department budget cuts an’ all, I’m glad to do my part to support. (With the exception of giving ACTUAL money, of course- we spent all of that on tuition -ahem- and shin guards, because the sports boosters got to me first).

I thought I’d have the chance to check the linen closet and carefully select which sheets you took to school for your friends to WEAR as costumes in front of the entire student body…and some of their parents!

Among other things, we eat ice cream and chips, along with those amazing Trader Joes peppermint honey candies while watching Netflix in our bed- on those sheets!

Now everyone at school will potentially know that I think Oxi Clean is wasted on laundry items that we don’t typically WEAR IN PUBLIC.  We save that for your school uniform shirts so people respect us in the community!

I don’t pay careful attention to laundry that will essentially be hidden from view.  And this certainly is not the 1940’s.  People do not IRON SHEETS anymore. We barely even get the sheets put on the bed.  Sometimes, while the sheets sit clean and dried yet balled up on the couch, we sleep on the mattress pad while covered in the down comforter (because there are days the effort of stretching a fitted sheet over a pillow top mattress is just TOO MUCH exertion).  So honestly, NEED is a very subjective word when it comes to sheets.

This is a real nail biter.  I am literally sitting here waiting for students to walk across the stage WEARING my sheets to ensure that there are not giant stains all over their “costumes.”  We may need to switch schools.

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