If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Thursday, March 22, 2018

School Mom, The Sequel

I feel like this needs to start with an explanation. The real purpose of this exercise was for the school administrators to gain insight through several outside perspectives and then we met with them Monday evening to give them our feedback. Let me be perfectly clear. I loved our school before Monday. No school is perfect, but in my opinion, our school is exceptional. We may not be "acing the state's report card" but who cares? I certainly don't. Our school is operated under a leadership in such a way that we have no school fees, no sports fees, and free preschool. We have full time Resource Officers, who not only offer our students a high level of protection, but also became their friends. We've managed to avoid the political correct crap, and our school has maintained a small town family feel, and our community is better for it. The very fact that they invited us in to participate in this exercise shows a genuine transparency and desire to serve our students to the best of their ability. But after spending an entire school day on the inside, I can now tell you firsthand how much those teachers care about their students, going above and beyond the educational side of things, and doing their best to make sure their physical, social, and emotional needs are covered as well.

So that's where I stand on that, but I'm sure you're well aware that my objective in participating was two-fold...to go beyond my surroundings, go deeper into my personal experiences in those surroundings, and then write about it. You won't see any teachers' or kids' names, partly to respect their privacy, but mainly because this part isn't really about them. These blog entries are strictly pointing out my observations of me in that environment, and then hopefully give us all something to laugh about, and just maybe, you'll come away feeling really smart in comparison.

When we left off, I was walking out the door to 7th grade, with a backpack lovingly packed by Kearstin, with loose leaf paper and several extra firm mechanical pencils, because apparently people don't use regular pencils anymore, and I tend to squeeze a pencil tight, push down harder than necessary, and break a lot of lead. For some reason, I'm not that shocked by this, are you? Then she threw in a couple of big pink erasers "in case you have Math."

I arrived at the office, received my schedule, and the principal was kind enough to keep my back pack in her office so that I wouldn't have to mess with a locker. One less risk of having to kick something is never a bad thing. Then she walked me to my 1st period class and told me it was "Play dough lab." Are you freakin' kidding me? I'll totally rock play dough lab. Then I was seated at a table facing the wall, with zero signs of play dough in sight, and I could feel the stares of kids around the room boring into my back. Cue the flop sweats. Holy crap, I'm 46 years old, and way too cool to be fighting back tears right now because I'm literally living the 7th grade nightmare. The announcements came on and everyone knew to jump up and face the flag for The Pledge Of Allegiance...except me. I was about 4 beats behind. So now they probably think I'm the old lady weirdo and an unpatriotic one at that. I've never felt so judged by 13 year olds in my entire life. Then we all went back to facing the wall. I looked down at my schedule to see that "Play Dough Lab" is spelled "Plato Lab." That cleared up nothing, but it took away all hope of anything good happening in this room. Fifteen minutes into class, I finally leaned over to the girl beside me and whispered, "What is this class?" She whispered back, "Study hall." Study hall? First periodWho does that? So then I sat there staring at the profile of the girl who answered my question while she pretended not to notice. Wait a minute. Is she...??? Could it be...??? Is that my Zumba bestie's daughter??? So I leaned over and whispered again and it was!! SCORE. I made my first 7th grade friend. *Fist bump*
Okay, they don't fist bump here. Cool. Now I know.

I was late to class. I had to pee and somebody thought it'd be a great idea to put the bathrooms all the way on the other side of the building from the 7th grade wing and 3 minutes goes fast and I'm done explaining myself to you, okay? But the teacher didn't write my name on the board or anything, so that's good, right? I shared a Science table with my new super good friend from Plato and 2 of her super good friends, which means by 8:42am, I had 3 super good friends. They were studying the food chain and we played an interactive game. We each had to draw a piece of paper from a cup to see what energy source we'd be. There were sunflowers, mice, snakes, raccoons, and one cougar. Dear God, I'm a 46 year old woman in a classroom of 13 year olds, please don't let me draw the cougar. I drew a mouse and breathed a sigh of relief. Then we had to walk around the room until it was time to "feed." (Insert images of the Twilight series running through my head here.) If I "ate" somebody, I got 2 energy points. If I got "eaten", I lost 4. Science and Math. That's....um...awesome. *dry heave* In summary, I was a mouse, so I got eaten all the damn time, I found myself armpit deep in negative numbers, had eraser crumbs all over my paper, screwed up my entire chart, and when the teacher looked at me and asked if there was a mouse who'd like to write her numbers on the board, she quickly moved on when I started violently shaking my head back and forth. Bless her.

Here we go. Don't throw up.
She sat me beside a boy who looked at me like I might've drawn the cougar in Science. The boy in front of me turned and slowly looked back and forth between me and the boy next to me, like maybe it was 'bring your mom to school day' and he missed the memo. I broke the awkward silence and said, "I'm not with him. He probably wants you to know that," and then he silently turned back around, thus making it even more awkward. I have that effect on people. Then they got to choose partners one at a time and guess who was last pick? *Flashback to 1983 kickball in gym class* And because levels of awkward can always get higher, I was paired up with the boy in front of me. But back to Math. I don't wanna toot my own horn or anything, and it should be made clear that all credit goes to the teacher, but after only 50 minutes, I can do a dot plot like a boss. No, seriously. I can differentiate the shape, find the median, and compare the spread of 2 different dot plots, and I can tell you what the outliers are, too, but only if you want. Are you impressed? If not, I feel like you might not be comprehending the magnitude of the situation. "Let's make a dot plot!" said no one in real life, ever. But I told my husband the engineer that I'm gonna find a way to use it. He replied, "I use dot plots all the time at work."
Oh. Em. Gee. I could totally do my husband's job now.

If you know how much I suck at Math, you should see me draw things. I single handedly debunk that whole right brain or left brain theory. So Monday we learned how to shade balls. (How was I the only 7th grader in that room snickering?) Technically, it was an orange because the teacher didn't have any balls. (I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.) He worked hard with me. He traced my balls. (Stop. This is serious.) He labeled one and showed me some various shade techniques. Through no fault of his, mine came out looking like a scribbled boob. I blame the mechanical pencil. (So basically, Kearstin.)
  And that concludes the first half of my day. I had no idea this experience would turn into a trilogy. Stay tuned for the second half of my day when I join the choir 7th period and sneak seasonings into the cafeteria at lunch, because I got a little heads up that the school's Asian Chicken "lacked a little something." I'm trusting that "the little something" isn't anything that salt and pepper can't fix...and maybe President Trump if he gets around to undoing that fiasco.

Monday, March 19, 2018

School Mom

Let me give you a brief run down of who I am...and who I'm not. I'm not the "tiger mom" who hammers education into her kids with an iron fist.

No. I'm the mom who says things like, "You're amazing!" and "Nice try!" and "C's look good on the refrigerator too!" I've also been known to say, "Who the crappety crap assigned a freakin science fair??" and "Go find that one in the barn that dad made for Zac 12 years ago." And when it comes to missing school for family vacations, my own personal motto is this: "School is temporary. Family is forever."

Fear not. Ron has prevented all 4 of our kids from becoming morons. It's called balance.

So about a month ago, when the high school principal pulled Ron and me aside at a basketball game and told me I'd been chosen to become "A Student For A Day," I wondered what the heck they're smokin' over there. Either I'm being punked or they got the wrong person. Then she looked me in the eye and stressed the importance of me following the dress code and I knew they had the right person. Ron piped up and volunteered me to ride the bus for "the full experience." Chuckles really needs to learn how to zip it.

I hated school. Like, seriously. I showed up for cheerleading and made good enough grades to allow me to be eligible for cheerleading. Because, cheerleading.

So maybe the learning part wasn't my thing, but I immediately told her yes, because writing. How could I not jump at this opportunity to return to my youth for a day? Have I learned anything? Would it be much different? These are things I need to know. These are things I need to write.

There will be 8 parents acting as students for the day, spread throughout the various grade levels. I wasn't immediately told which grade I'd be assigned, so these past few weeks, I've been speculating various scenarios with some experts...2 of my daughters. Kearstin is a senior and Caymen is a 5th grader and they've been schooling me, you might say. Like a good student, I took notes.
Here's a little of what they had to say.

Kearstin: "Plank Time is study hall. You don't actually plank."
(Damn, the one thing I've been training for.)
Caymen: "4th grade and below, you might be able to make some friends. 7th grade and above, you'll probably be bullied."
Kearstin: "No, I don't think she'd get bullied in high school."
Caymen: "What about 7th and 8th?"
Kearstin: "Yeah, she'd probably get bullied there."
(Hello...I can hear you.)
Caymen: "Remember, you get suspended if you fight."
Kearstin: "And at your age, a restraining order and maybe some jail time."
(So I'm the one getting bullied AND a rap sheet? NOT.FAIR.)
Caymen: "You only have 3 minutes to change classes."
(Ok, it takes me at least 3 minutes to empty my bladder, not even counting pulling my jeans back up.)
Kearstin: "Pretty much everything you wear on a daily basis violates the dress code."
(Probably explains the principal's warning.)
Caymen: "Remember when you couldn't open my locker at open house so you kicked it? You can't do that."
Kearstin: "You can't cuss, either. Or take coffee to class."
Caymen: "And they might make you take band."
(And yet I can't cuss. What the crap kind of sick experiment am I walking into here?)

Ron, on the other hand, fears a possible 'Channing Tatum, 21 Jump Street Part I' situation and I was given strict rules that I'm not allowed to accept invites to any parties. WhatEVER. Dad.

So today I'm one-strapping my backpack and returning to school. I'll report to the office at 7:30am, get my locker number and schedule, and then be thrown into a day in the life of a 7th grader.

I'm ready. I've got my orders. All I have to do is get through the day without cussing, fighting, kicking my locker, being late to class, peeing my pants, getting detention, suspended, accidentally stumbling into a drug ring, or sent to the office and having to choose from the selection of men's clothing in "the dress code violator's box of shame."

So this is where I'll leave you for now, assuming there will be a Part II to this little escapade. I mean, I'm a 46 year old pms-ing, coffee-drinking zumba instructor spending an entire day as a caffeine-free 7th grader. How could there not be a Part II?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Raging FLUnatic

I don't get sick. No, seriously. I.Don't.Get.Sick.

I might get a rampant staph infection in the side of my head, lose vision, and blow a hole in my cornea every once in awhile, but I wouldn't count that as "sick" would you? I didn't think so.
(The blown cornea happened in August when the scar tissue ruptured. I would've written 'Half Staph Part III' and filled you in if I hadn't been so busy lying in the fetal position, sucking my thumb, and repeatedly banging my head against the floor. You understand.)

So back to it. Me no sicky.

Until 4 days ago. Super Bowl Sunday, 2018, to be exact. I arrived home from Kangoo jumping with my friends. Those are spring loaded ski boots you bounce in. If you didn't know that, we maybe shouldn't be friends. Anyhoo, I got home and BAM! Fever. Aches. Chills. Cough. Suicidal thoughts and tendencies...no, never mind, just maybe some slight delirium. No need to go into the details of all the dys-bodily-functions. I had the flu. Fill in the blanks with what that means to you and let's move on.

I spent the first 2 days in bed drinking Fireball, because my daughter-in-law said it would help, and she knows things. Two days straight. Sweat, freeze, sweat, freeze, sweat, freeze...I could go on, but why.

Day 3 showed slight improvement and I graduated from Fireball to Nyquil...until the freakin' This Is Us, Jack's freakin' Funeral episode where I silently freakin' sobbed for an hour and then started my freakin' period because my body didn't know how to handle the sudden overload of Estrogen and it turned against me.
I ain't wired for that sh*t.

Today was Day 4 and things got really dicey. The fever was broken, which sounds like a good thing until you realize that despite feeling better, you're still too weak to get out of bed. Add to that, a snow day for the non-stop-chatty-opera-singing 10 year old, and you've got a recipe for certain disaster.

Can I not simply lay in my bed alone researching whether or not Bruce Springsteen really held a concert on Saturday January 31st, 1998 in hopes of giving myself permission to be utterly disappointed with the inaccuracy of the This Is Us Writers, lose all respect, and write off ever watching another episode again? Is it not enough I've lost trust in my crock pot?? How can I ever fully enter Menopause as long as that Estrogen-inducing crap stays on the air???

But no. Instead, she sat right beside me in my bed, eating pizza in my ear, (mis)reading things out loud over my shoulder, so I decided that washing my hair for the first time in 5 days seemed like a less painful thing to do. So of course she followed me..."Mommy! My birthday is in 36 days! Tomorrow it'll be 35 days! The next day..."
That's when I slammed the bathroom door.
I have no doubt she talked herself all the way down to March 16th. Reading my vibes isn't part of her repertoire yet.

An hour later, I left the bathroom and found my bedroom blessedly empty. I crawled into bed, turned on the tv, and that's when I found it. The new TLC series. Seeking Sister wife. Meet the 3 brand new hot messes of reality tv; the Alldredge's, the Briney's, and the Snowden's.

Kody? What? Brown? Who?

So I binge watched all 3 episodes available. You would've too.

Then Ron came home from work.
"What'd you do today?"

Oh my gosh, you're not even gonna believe it.
Jeff, Vanessa, and Sharis have been video chatting with a new chic that Jeff and Sharis really like but Vanessa isn't sure but she's pregnant so she's not sure about anything right now but when they went to the airport to meet her she never showed up anyway, so win for Vanessa. Drew and his 3 wives just moved into the same house together, Auralee is wife #2 and says she talks with a lisp, but really she just can't say her 'R's' so she lies to people and says she has a Danish accent and she teamed up with wife #3 Angela to gang up against wife #1 April because April wanted to give the used mattresses to Auralee's kids and keep the new mattresses for her own, which I'm not condoning, but I think the deeper issue is April hates polygamy, as she should, and so HashtagTeamApril, and don't even get me started on the Snowdens because all Ashley really wants is a live-in housekeeper and nanny for their kids but Demetri has her convinced that that's called "polygamy" and they just met up for lunch with a 22 year old flight attendant and then Demetri took her out on a date ALONE for dinner that night! It ain't gonna end well. I'll find out for sure Sunday at 10.

Ron: "Wow."
Stop looking at me like that, I have the flu.

Ron: "So are you recording that show now, too?"
It's called follow-through and it's not like I really have a choice at this point.

Don't let him fool ya. He'll be watching it with me.
It'll be good for him to realize how normal he has it by comparison.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Courter of a Century

Last year, I posted about our wedding.
This year, I thought it'd be appropriate to post about our marriage.

There's a big difference, ya know.

If you read my post from last year, you know my regrets about our wedding. Even 25 years later, we still wish we'd eloped by ourselves.

But that same 25 years of marriage later, I can honestly say, I'd do it all over again. I'd do some things differently, but every moment of every day of every one of those 25 years has brought our family to where we are today, and I wouldn't change anything about that.

So if you're single, maybe this can be a heads up. If you're married, maybe this can be a reminder.

You know that show 'Say yes to the dress?' Well that's a bunch of crap.
Believe it or not, that dress is gonna get boxed away, forgotten, faded, outgrown, and one day you're gonna pull it out to show your kids and they're gonna laugh at the 1990's puffy Dynasty sleeves on that dress you dreamed of your daughters wanting to wear someday and then you're gonna realize you have way too much back fat for it to zip properly, you'll emotionally spiral, end up having a pity party with your best friend who's 12 years younger than you, and she'll be standing in your living room wearing her way cooler sleeveless dress eating sympathy pizza together...er, so I've heard...totally hypothetical here...ignore the picture.

So, not to steal your thunder or anything, but when you accept that ring he gives you, you ain't sayin' yes to a dress. Sister, you're sayin' yes to the mess.

Marriage isn't clean. He's a mess. Admit it or not, you're a mess. And together, you make an even bigger mess. And that's before the mess of babies, bodily functions, and then the baby's bodily functions.

On January 30th, 1993 Ron and I both said yes.
On January 30th, 2018, we can both tell you exactly what we said yes to.
Hindsight and all, y'all.

I said yes to a loud eater and drinker.
He said yes to me loudly yelling knock it off during every meal.

We both said yes to occasionally eating a cake by ourselves for dinner. In our bed.
(No regrets.)

He said yes to someone he accuses of "always assuming the worst" because I refuse to answer phone calls.
I said yes to someone who stashes loaded guns around the house, arms himself, and then sits in the rec room until the guys he hired to paint gets it done.

We both said yes to our kids sleeping in our bed with us for an average of 10 years each.
(Okay, we might have a few slight regrets.)

I said yes to an extrovert unable to stop himself from making eye contact with the timeshare salesman standing outside the Walmart in Hilton Head.
He said yes to an introvert with social anxiety who keeps walking with her head down until she gets to the van before realizing her husband is still back there talking to the timeshare guy.

We both said yes to allowing him to decide the length and color of my hair at any given time.
(Not that I had much say in that matter.)

He said yes to a woman whose trust is easily broken.
I said yes to a man who trusts everybody.

We both said yes to me being the one to answer any and all calls from telemarketers. Which means we don't. Ever.

I said yes to Good Cop.
He said yes to Bad Cop.

We both said yes to occasionally switching up roles just to screw with people.

He said yes to a woman who will tell people the blunt, honest, truth if they ask her a question...and sometimes even when they don't.
I said yes to a man who's motto is 'If I can't dazzle them with data, I'll baffle them with bullsh*t."

We both said yes to frequent apologies to each other and to our children.

I said yes to a  man who loves to take me away on getaways.
He said yes to a woman who finagled the Orkin inspector into giving her his private cell number so I could periodically text him pictures of suspicious looking bugs I find in hotel rooms.

We both said yes to lavishing our kids and grandkids with absolute UN-conditional love, no strings attached. Forever. Always. Period.

He said yes to a woman made up of many broken pieces.
I said yes to a man patient enough to stand by my side and help me heal.

We both said yes to saying I love you every single day.

I said yes to a man who shows little emotion.
He said yes to an emotional basket case.

We both said yes to refusing to ever allow our feelings to dictate the success or failure of our marriage.

I said yes to a man who fills up on pop at a restaurant and needs a take home container for his food.
He said yes to a woman who can easily polish off a pound of beef on a bun with one sip of water.

We both said yes to never sharing our meal. Seriously. Reach for a fry, lose a finger. Try me.

I said yes to a man who would get me anything I asked for.
He said yes to a woman who never asks for anything...except sex...and the occasional cosmetic surgery.

We both say yes to the sex...and the occasional cosmetic surgery.

He said yes to choosing to stay married to me through the good, the bad, and the mess.
I said yes to choosing to stay married to him through the good, the bad, and the mess.

We both said yes to making that choice. It's not a choice we made once. It's a choice we each have to make every single day. And trust me, it's not always an easy choice for either of us.

But when we said yes at that "wedding" 25 years ago, we weren't just saying yes to each other. Twenty-five years later, we have 4 children. Two of them are married. Two more that probably will be in the future. We have 4 grandchildren at this point and hopefully many more to come. So that yes isn't just about us and quite frankly, it never was.

That yes was to honor a commitment and covenant...to God, to each other, and to every generation that follows after us. It's not easy. And it's not clean. He's still a mess. And I'll always be a hot mess.

But daaamn...together?...What a perfectly beautiful mess...

Thursday, January 11, 2018


A day in your life can be altered with one phone call.
And yesterday, I received one.

I was having a great day. Sitting in the hospital, happily rocking our newborn granddaughter, while a team of student nurses went through some assessments on my daughter for practice. I was half listening to Aubrey answer their series of questions. They'd just begun asking about any family history of mental illness and/or emotional instability when my phone rang.

Since I know you're wondering, we always answer no to those questions and go ahead and wipe that surprised look off your face why don'tcha.

So my phone rang. I was receiving a call from Sexy. (That'd be my husband, Ron, if you're new here.) He was in Missouri on a business trip, so I quietly answered the call. Then a strange man's loud voice told me that he found that phone in a restaurant and got my number in the contact list. THEN, he demanded that I meet him somewhere with $50 to get it back.

So let's review. Me happy, holding newborn, in front of student nurses, no (documented) family history of mental illness and/or emotional instability, husband out of town, stranger calls from my husband's password protected phone, and demands $50 ransom.

This could only mean one thing. My husband had been kidnapped in Missouri. Obviously.

And I responded appropriately.
Cue hysteria.

I don't remember much of what he said or what I said. I think I asked what restaurant? I think I told him Ron's name?

I've seen kidnap shows. Make him real to the kidnappers. He's a person that I love and his name is Ron, dammit...all the while thinking, I don't know who you are, but I will find you, and I will kill you.

Then I basically broke every rule of negotiating with terrorists and hung up.
CURSES! I should've kept him on the line so we could trace the call! *Shaking my fists to the sky*

I broke down and started sobbing and the student nurses mysteriously vanished, probably to avoid having to investigate that whole "mental illness" line of questioning.

I was trying to tell Aubrey and Nick what had happened and realized I needed to call somebody. I couldn't for the life of me remember what co-workers he was going to Missouri with, had no clue where exactly he was, and wasn't about to call his phone back because I don't talk to strangers.

Take note, kids. 46 years old. Rule still applies.

So I called Ron's boss. He'd know what to do.

While I was doing that, a call from my daughter-in-law's phone beeped in.
I didn't answer it.

Ron's boss's voicemail came on just as Barbara's phone began beeping in again and I thought, what if they got her number out of Ron's phone and called her too?

Without leaving a message, I clicked over to answer her call.

It was my son. Laughing.
"Mom? Did you just receive a prank phone call from me?"

Turns out, he'd been sitting in his house eating a bowl of chili, forgot his dad was in Missouri, forgot that I'd be spending the day at the hospital, of course had no way of knowing I'd be sitting in a room full of student nurses, and he decided to use a prank app on his iPhone to hijack my contact list and send me a pre-recorded male voice who wasn't really having a conversation with me, but it just sure as hell seemed like it. It makes sense, doesn't it?

Then it sent him a recording of how the call went, because what fun would it be not knowing how I responded? And then he listened to it. And heard me hang up before I knew it was a prank.

Had I stayed on the line but 2 seconds longer, I would've heard it say I'd been pranked, butttt, my zero family history of emotional instability combined with domino effect...and well, see, some bells can't be unrung.

So he called me, and when I didn't answer, he knew I'd be on the phone calling somebody else.
Now, who would mom call?

He knew I wouldn't call Ron's phone back, because strangers, which left 2 options.
Ron's boss. Or the police.

Both would be bad. One worse than the other. Debatable which one that would be.

Thankfully, I never got a chance to leave his boss a message.
Unless heavy breathing, semi-silent sobbing, and a hiccup constitutes a message?

Ron, who sat completely clueless and un-kidnapped in Missouri, was shockingly unsympathetic to what our boy had done.

"Why didn't you just call me?"


I think I'm beginning to pinpoint that whole family history of mental illness thing here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Deck The Brawls. Part II

 When we left off, Ron had decorated our house in white Christmas lights and I'd apologized for not finding a wrench because he has two tall toolboxes beside two different garage doors and I'm the bigger person. There. You're officially caught up.

The following morning, I was greeted with the beautiful lights on the house, glowing in the dark of the early morning, when I walked outside to climb into my mini-van (because the mystery death smell did indeed go away), to leave for my annual appointment with my gynecologist.

Granted, you don't really need to know I was on my way to the gynecologist, but considering what happens next, I think knowing I had to then turn around and go get cranked open and violated with a super-long q-tip should garner me a bit of sympathy, so please keep that in mind.

As a cradled my steaming travel mug of coffee, I was gazing up at the lights, took my foot off the brake, and began backing out.

No, I wasn't looking behind me, because why should I? Nothing is ever behind me. It's my driveway. Yes, my new van has sensors that began beeping, but it's also always beeping right now because my oil needs changed, so maybe my mini-van should stop crying wolf. And since you're probably wondering, yes, there is also a camera view that appears on my dash when I'm in reverse, but again, I was looking at Christmas lights, in my own damn driveway, and why do I feel harassed by you right now?!?

When I crunched into something, I snapped out of my Christmas trance, jumped out of my van and that's when I remembered. My daughter Aubrey left her vehicle parked in our driveway the evening before. A luxury, fully-loaded, vehicle. Also, it's not actually hers, but a rental. Probably should've led with that. And I had just scraped the dark burgundy paint off the side with my new van.

A Christmas season laced with profanity. My wish list complete.

So I started frantically rubbing it with my hand, because that obviously makes paint grow back.

Then I gave up and left for my pap smear.
(Your sympathy would be appropriate right about now.)

As the doctor walked me back to the exam room, she asked, "How's your day so far?" And then before I could answer, she followed it up with, "Well, I guess it's only 7:30 in the morning, how bad could it be?"

Oh, you'd be surprised.
So I told her I crunched into my daughter's luxury rental car, then she stood me on the scale, and then took my now hypertensive blood pressure because that's what those people do there. It's almost like that system should be fixed.

On the way home, I called Ron. He told me he'd take care of it and then he earned major supportive husband points when he said, "I almost hit it this morning, too." Then it occurred to us that I should call Kearstin and warn her not to hit it when she left for work. And then I went ahead and texted Zac and Barbara, because what if they decide to come over and ram into it a few times, too? Can't be too careful in our family.

I also broke the news to Aubrey's husband, who took it like the patient and understanding champ that he is, and then he mentioned that Aubrey should have never parked behind me in the first place. I knew I loved that guy.

Later that evening, I came out of Zumba to find a text from Ron that he fixed the rental car.
Wow, how?
"Spray paint."

Remember that part in Meet The Parents when he spray painted the dude's cat and you sit there covering your eyes because you just know that's not gonna end well? Welcome to my life.

Apparently calling our insurance company and filing a claim would've been far too easy. And legal.

For future reference that I hope you never need, spray paint from Walmart will never dry to match the color of a luxury rental vehicle...unless it happens to be Pepto Bismol pink, in which case, maybe.

He worked on that thing for several days and then returned it to Aubrey who looked at it and wasn't convinced. Neither was I. Then he explained his options of either returning it in the dark of night...or he could spray paint the whole car...and that's when I put my foot down. It was time to call in a professional.

My daughter-in-law voiced her concern that it might go against the rental agreement to allow a professional to paint a rental car before returning it. I pointed out that it was probably already breaking the rental agreement to crash into it with a mini-van and spray paint it, too. Some ships have already sailed, my dear. Best just get on board at this point.

So Ron texted Dylan the car salesman.
"My wife ran into my daughter's rental car in our driveway with her mini-van."
Because getting Dylan the car salesman to add 'Total flake' to his ever-growing list of adjectives for me was all Ron wanted for Christmas this year.

Dylan gave him the number to their detailer, Ron scheduled it to get repaired, took 2 hours vacation time, and drove an hour to get there, and then the detailing guy said he didn't have time to do it.

Ron was fuming and everyone involved should rejoice that I wasn't the one who took it there to get fixed, as was the original plan. The odds of me bursting into tears would have been astronomical.

So it sat in our driveway untouched, undecided, and due to be returned to the rental agency whenever they called.

In an unrelated twist, Caymen arrived home predicting the rapture because she heard trumpets at school and she was pretty convinced it was Jesus and not the high school band.

As Ron sat contemplating driving the car through the cornfields to "dust it up," Caymen was explaining to him that Jesus is on His way to pick us up.

Ron replied, "Well, He better hurry, because I need Him to get here before we have to return that car."

So. The rapture hasn't happened yet.
BUT. As it turns out, perfectly timed snow and dirty road salt are an effective disguise for a scraped up, spray painted, luxury rental vehicle.
 And you don't believe in Santa. Psh.

...over salt on the roads,
under hard falling snow,
back to the car rental place they did go.
They dropped it off in the dark,
and then sped outta sight,
Merry Christmas to all,
and to all a good night!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Deck The Brawls. Part I.

Christmas season has been pretty exciting around here. I'm not talking parties and Christmas parades exciting, although we've had a lot of that too. See, when I say exciting, I mean Christmas lights, public fights, and fender benders in our driveway, exciting.
It's the Courter way.

Here's what you need to know. Ron refuses to hang Christmas lights.
He's scared of heights, the lights blow off, the ones that don't blow off need taken back down after Christmas, you get the picture. But I love Christmas lights. ALL white lights. Nothing against the multi-colored lights, but those are obviously Christmas lights. But white lights can pass as 'New Year lights', and as far as I'm concerned, you can squeak by with 'Valentine's lights.'
(That's where I draw the line. 'St Patrick's lights' is stupid. Take 'em down, already.)

Anyhoo, his answer to me is always forget it.
A long time ago in our old house, I tried hanging lights by myself, ended up trapped on our super tall 2-story roof afraid to climb back onto the extension ladder, and begging him to call the fire department. He refused. A fight broke out. Our marriage survived. Barely.

But this year, everything changed with one word. Grandchildren. They hold all the power, in case you didn't know. And on Thanksgiving Day, our neighbor's house lit up with Christmas lights and their little toddler eyes lit up right along with them.

Chuckles, who refuses to be outdone by anyone, came home with bags of Christmas lights the following day. (White ones, obvi.) Then he went to work. He put up his ladder, filled a cooler with the lights, attached it to a long rope, climbed onto the roof of our garage, and pulled his cooler of supplies up to join him. He's slightly redneck, albeit a brilliant one.

Awhile later, I heard him yelling my name from the roof. I figured he needed his cooler refilled, but no. (And here's where the story takes an unfortunate turn.) He remembered that our chimney grate had blown off a few weeks ago and asked me to hand it up to him. No big deal. What became a big deal was when he asked for a wrench. And a certain sized one at that.

*sigh* So he's decided to punish me and test our marriage all in one moment. Merry Christmas.

He gave me detailed instructions: In the big toolbox by the garage door, in the 2nd drawer down, I'd see a set of wrenches neatly fanned out. Then it was simply a matter of choosing the one that fit around the screw he'd tossed down to me from the roof. The screw that I caught. On the first try. Not that I got any credit for that, but let's not digress here.

I went to the toolbox by the door, opened the 2nd drawer down, and found total chaos. Neatly fanned? What the hell's he smokin'? I dug
through, found a few little wrenches, none of which fit around the screw (that I caught on the first try), so I reported back to him. Can't find it.

He then enunciated every word...toolbox. by. the. door. 2nd. drawer. neatly. fanned...he might've still been talking when I walked away. I retraced my steps, followed his instructions (again), and voila. Still a drawer full of crap. So I checked every drawer because maybe he was confused, but all of them were in a state of upheaval.

I went back outside, told him he'd need to come down and find it himself, and that's when the 'Christmas Lights Fight Of 2017' officially broke out. Not to be confused with the 'Christmas Lights Fight Of 2003.' Equal amounts of screaming and yelling, but this time, I was on the ground, and he was on the roof. And just between you and me, I wouldn't have called the fire department if his life depended on it.

Him yelling about my inability to find things.
Me yelling about his piss-poor idea of what neatly fanned means.

Be jealous you're not our neighbors.

Things escalated to a final blow when he said to me, "You're better than this."
Why, you son of a .....

Between gritted teeth, I calmly said, "Get your ass off that roof, come show me your organized wrench drawer, and I'll say I'm sorry right here right now." Then I crossed my arms and waited while he slowly made his way down the ladder, both of us gloating, because he was sure he was about to get an apology from me and I knew we were approaching a major milestone in our marriage and I was about to never ever ever apologize to him about anything ever again. Ever.

Then he walked to the tall toolbox by the door. A different toolbox. A taller toolbox. By a different door.


Then he opened the 2nd drawer down. Of the different taller toolbox, by the different door. And he turned to me and said, "Come here."

I don't wanna play anymore.

But he insisted that I come over and look in his drawer of wrenches that could only be described as neatly fanned, and then I had to tell him I'm sorry because sometimes he's a jerk and marriage isn't fair. 

But our house is trimmed in beautiful white lights, complete with frighteningly bright and distracting rapidly blinking lights around the trees at the end of our driveway that most certainly draw the eyes of our grandchildren, if  not run the risk of receiving a cease and desist letter from the mayor when accidents happen and the Amish start to complain. It's only a matter of time.

And speaking of accidents, you may remember me mentioning a fender bender.
Well, unfortunately this entry is already a bit long and I've starred as the family moron enough for one day, so I think this calls for a Part II.

Tune in soon for tales of collisions, spray paint, Jesus, and more fighting. Because, you know. Christmas.