November 23, 2020

Technologically impaired, not me this time

Coach was teaching a virtual class recently from our house. He told me in advance, but it didn't really register. It sounded like "yadda yadda class yadda." 

The only PT related words I understand apparently are those that might benefit me, like massage. I guess that's it, just the one word.

He showed up at home knowing that he couldn't use our bedroom:  napping twins. During the day we are almost at a 'no-room-in-the-inn' situation with e-learners and babies. We selected the study for him. He put on a tie. Paced. Arranged his notes. Shooed me out of the room. He had done a dry run practice the day before.

The scene of the class. The abandoned tie looks so sad. E-learning stuff is everywhere, thus the algebra book on the floor. He used the white box of clothes that Lad had delivered to the house to prop up his computer. Must be nice to go on shopping sprees when you are basically broke.

It was an hour long class that the PT company he works for asked him to teach. He does occasionally teach for other groups, but this was through 'corporate.' 

When the class was over, he exited the study and suddenly bent at the waist. Loud moaning, followed by many, MANY "Oh, no! No, no, NO! 's - as in this string of the word 'no' was repeated multiple times. I'm more of an 'Ef'-word string-together type myself, but I think we've established that. To each his own.

I looked at Mini and I grimaced. WHAT? - we both asked him, although I was afraid of the answer.

"I never shared my screen. They couldn't see my presentation. At all. Holy shit. They were texting me the entire time, but I was not gonna be one of those easily distracted people, didn't even look at my phone . . . Oh, my computer volume was apparently NOT up, so I couldn't hear them asking questions . . . I just kept talking. WHAT THE HELL DID I DO?!"

Mini and I shared a look. We said small, insignificant things like 'sorry'. 

He had to go back to work, so Mini drove him because later that night I planned to pick the car up from the shop . . . it only took TWO whole MONTHS to replace the engine in the KIA. This way Mini and Tank had cars to go to tennis and whatever the hell Tank does.  *I wrote this over a month ago, but it still holds up because I kid you not - in 2020 we seem to be professionals a-car-in-the-shop people.*

Mini (who was STILL wearing her PJs and it was now 3:00) got back home after dropping him off (it's only 7 minutes away) and shook her head.

Mini: I feel SO bad for him, but how do you not share your screen? He did say that he sent people the slides in advance SO if they wanted maybe they could've been following along. Doubt it though. He's a mess. 

I texted him a few hours later to say that I hoped he would SOMEDAY look back on this day and laugh. 

**Of course I hoped this LAUGH OUR ASS OFF AT YOUR DUMB-ASS-NESS would arrive sooner as opposed to later, but one can never tell. BTW we're all still laughing AT HIM for the car parking incident in my last post.**

Mini came with me to pick up the Kia (our drive is a whole other post and will explain our giggly dispositions when we picked up Coach as we neared home). He was in the backseat. I asked him if he was feeling any better, while secretly squeezing Mini's elbow. We were both wondering, "Too soon to laugh?"

He said he still hadn't heard from the woman from corporate who orchestrated the class. He read us the 6 texts she sent during the class, groaning between each text. (To be clear, in case anyone else is as technologically clueless as me - the people could see him, just not his SCREEN aka slide presentation).

He said he had texted her afterwards apologizing and explaining how he was just SO focused/not looking at his phone, etc. Um, she never responded, 6 hours later.

Mini:  Maybe she's drafting the paperwork to terminate you. (We laughed our butts off here, because that place would fall apart without Mr. I-make-everyone-better-and-people-come-from-miles-away-to-see-me, how's that for job security?)

I stopped at a light:  "I do not like the brakes in the Kia. Like do they need to be replaced? Because they could've done that in the 2 months while they had it." (I hadn't driven the Kia much before it went into the shop, aka kids' car).

ANOTHER groan from the backseat . . .

Coach: Swell, after I read those texts to you guys, I was putting my phone away and then Mommy did her jamming on the breaks thing and I just pocket dialed the woman from corporate (at 8:45 pm).

Whether it was appropriate or not, Mini and I doubled over laughing the rest of the way home. I laugh whispered to Mini that it was as if Daddy had morphed into my elderly parents overnight. 

When I told Mini the subject of this post, she just shook her head."I mean he told me he practiced SO much, but you don't need to practice sharing your screen. It's just a button. How does someone even do that?" 

** Coach just got home (the day after the 'incident') The corporate woman never reached out aside from one message that sort of recapped the disaster of the presentation. He's ticked because she never said THANKS FOR PUTTING THAT TOGETHER FOR ME, etc. I was like, Huh -this was a favor? They weren't paying him extra. I didn't know this. 

Gathering info, practicing on the weekends during time off and no payment? Guess who is now GLAD the ef-ing thing was a debacle. Like I said I'm more of an 'Ef' this type vs the 'Oh no' type. Shock that my business career never took off.

Zoom issues? Technology issues? Like my mom who got a cordless landline in the 90s and thought she could bring it to her school where she taught in case Dad wanted to call her during the day.

November 20, 2020

Coach's epic fails for the family laugh

A while back - the very next weekend after we visited Creighton, we took the four youngest kids to see Ed. He goes to school in Indiana. Just before we left, the powers that be announced Indiana as a do-not-visit state. DAMN.

We went anyway, but instead of eating out, I made chili and we ate in the hotel room. The next day, we walked across the enormous campus wearing masks and ordered lunch and ate outside. That was over a month ago and we all remained healthy. It was a quick visit, but not without entertainment, thanks to Coach.

Before we left, I made 60 cookies and 3 loaves of pumpkin bread for Ed. Mini wrapped the cookies in a box and wrote on the box that it was Ed's birthday so that Ed could walk around his fraternity and pass out his birthday treat - I know, no longer a 1st grader but still! (every kid in fraternity has had covid now, so walking around sharing cookies is OK). 

Mini decorating box 'o cookies with b-day wrap.

I dashed upstairs to finish packing while Mini worked on the cookie box, and Coach asked me if I knew what time we'd leave the next day to come home.

Me:  Um, for what? Church? We can always go on Sunday.

Coach:  No, like what time do we need to arrive at Xavier. 

Me:  Huh?  Xavier is the next weekend. 

We initially were going to see Ed, then drive to Cincinnati to see Xavier and then come home but Xavier didn't offer tours that weekend so we split the weekends up. Coach KNEW this. At one point. 

The day we walked around Ed's campus, Ed insisted on dropping the minivan off in the town. He didn't want us to have to walk 30 minutes back to the fraternity house after lunch. I was FINE with the walk - the weather was brisk but nice, but whatever. 

Campus was fairly empty and this could count as a college visit. Mini might go to school here if she wants to do business. It's really big though. Ed has already decided what sororities he would allow her to enter or forbid her to join based on the fact that some of sorority members rarely eat or they all look and act the same, etc. Nothing like having a big brother to look out for you. For the record, Mini is skittish when it comes to being ranked based on beauty and body type, etc. so she is grateful to have Ed tell her what's what, if it comes to that. 

Ed followed Coach to the town in his roommate's car. Coach parked and I guess Ed picked him up on a different street, then they showed up at the frat house and off we went on our walk. After lunch, we walked towards the car so we could hop in and drive back to the fraternity house. We walked all. over. the. place. 


Mini and Tank (Tank usually prefers to poke fun at me to see if he can get me riled up, he's successful about 50% of the time) both threw their hands up and proclaimed a truth that I now know is understood but not stated OFTEN ENOUGH:


I tried not to enjoy the moment TOO much. I bit my lip to stop smiling excessively and resisted the urge to bow..

Two carloads of Ed's friends parked near where we were standing at 15 minute intervals, well we were circling the area so our standing places moved around. Each time they were like ED, HOW'S IT GOING?

Ed:  Been better. Can't find the car. (lots of chuckling)

Car was found and we listened to Coach explain his theory to Ed about why he thought he was on that 'other' street. 

I could do a whole post on what Reg does to his shoes. Suffice it to say I feel like all I do is buy this kid shoes and yet every time I turn around his shoes look like this. I threatened to leave him in the car for wearing these shoes on our visit to Ed. What on earth? I have since cleared the mudroom and tossed out any shoes that were this crappy.

Last stop was the bookstore. While I got a birthday card for Delilah the day before, I failed to buy one for Ed, so Coach went to get Ed a card and I hit the clearance area on the 2nd floor with our offspring. We Shenanigans are clearance-rack types. 

Tank grabbed a shirt right away and I told him to go downstairs and get in line with Daddy. The rest of us were walking downstairs a few minutes later, and Tank texted me one of my FAVORITE all time text messages.

Tank:  Daddy just asked me how old Ed is. Um, he also forgot where he parked the car. I think we need to stop at an urgent care on the way home and have him assessed.

I died laughing. 

The following weekend was Ohio. Loved the campuses of Xavier and Dayton. Xavier has something called a 'super fan' - like a club of kids who run the spirit section at basketball games. I almost put down a deposit for Tank on the spot.

Taking a tour at Dayton.

For these trips we ate most of our meals in our car - food I brought, all hail the budget. We only bought gas in Ohio. That college tuition is going to hit hard . . . in 2 years we will have 3 in college.

Nothing beats leftovers. I can eat them in a car.
I can eat them when we go far. I'll stop there.

I informed Mini and Tank that they need to agree to go to the same school to make our driving easier. I was NOT serious, but this prompted Tank to turn to Mini and say in his super-cheesy voice:  HEY WANNA ROOM TOGETHER?

What'll we do without his nonsense next year?

Anyone ever forget where you parked, like for a LONG ASS TIME?

November 18, 2020

reinstating Netflix, dripping, and projects

Those of you worried that I wouldn't manage quarantining without Netflix . . .  I reinstated it. Opting not to be deprived while stuck at home. 

I  explained to Coach, who decided after our 30 day free trial that he wasn't going to pay for it, that my vote counts. I make money (well, not for the next few weeks thanks Tank for the positive covid test, not bitter though) and this isn't 1954 and I don't wear pearls to dinner and tuck a cloth napkin under his chin before I feed him a casserole I just whipped up, SO NETFLIX IT IS, DAMN IT

Mini later told that my Netflix address to Daddy was "boss". 

Which reminds me, she recently told me when we were at church that I was dripping. I thought at first that I just couldn't understand her through her mask. I leaned in closer, "Huh?" I was 'dripping' because she liked my outfit. I was hip. Cool. Being a fashionista. 

This is my 'dripping' outfit according to Mini. Who knew? These are my favorite pants that I stalked at the mall in order to get them on sale when Mini behaved like an animatronic creature behind some racks. 
That's when I told her that my grandma and my great aunt used to point out people who were dressed frumpy or who had zero personality as 'drips.' Thankfully, that's not what she meant. A 'drip' and being 'drippy' - different. I'm realizing that she gets a burst of happiness using lingo to make me feel clueless, and I'm OK with it.

I do have several projects to work on during this, our 14 days of hell togetherness. 

1.  I have a dress (think comfy, wear-with-leggings kinda dress, I will post pictures) that I'm going to sew arms on. It has arms, but untimely and unsightly holes popped up in the arm pits. Odd because I didn't wear it all that often and the body of the dress is the SAME fabric, yet not holy - you know what I mean. I swear I wasn't wearing kryptonite for deodorant or anything. Weird as shit, but I loved that dress, think housedress minus the polyester floral print. I assure you, I didn't wear it enough to warrant holes in pits. I bought fabric and everything. Updates as progress warrants, fingers crossed. 

Cute, right? Plus, I love pockets. Add brown
 leggings and boots and it is a cozy winter ensemble.
It's blurry, but you get the idea here. What the hell?

2. My closet. I started cleaning it out during early-on lockdown, but Mini was in a mood and I prefer to utilize the daughters' suggestions so I skipped the thorough overhaul. Working to keep her in a better mood, so I can get her opinion without crossed arms and teenage angst. It's all about timing.

3. Writing:  I vow to get some more writing done. I went back to the Irish dancing book and I found that it was actually fun to edit or write or compile two projects at once. I never thought that would be the case, but it gives my brain a rest from the memoir book and vice versa. Changing it up is awesome as it turns out. 

4. I will have to reschedule Coach's birthday dinner that was planned for Saturday (Nov. 14th) with his brother and sister and their families. My sister-in-law asked me when I initially invited them if I would be inviting his parents. Silly her. The plan was to have FUN, so that'd be a hard NO. 

5. Working out. This'll be so hard for me. I hate missing my classes. It was one thing when NO ONE could go to the health club but NOW - I'm missing out on all the work-till-you-wanna-cry fun five days a week. I hope I'll remember some of the exercises so I can recreate here at home. Nothing like giving my e-learners something to poke fun of me for. My pandemic workouts remind me of the beginning of Bridesmaids when the women are outside working out and trying to 'steal' the moves from the nearby outdoor class. That's me in my family room:  trying to recall the good moves and replicate them.  

6. Ed's brining a friend, Al, home from college for the first few days of Thanksgiving break. Al, who's from California, was supposed to room with Ryland. He'll stay a few days in ED & LAD'S MESSIEST ROOM EVER in order to visit with Ry. before flying to California. Hard to classify it as a 'room' in its current state. Mostly stuff Lad left. He still had bins FILLED with dirty laundry that he never dealt with when he moved home from college in March. I vow not to share anymore, but trust me it's a horrible job. Coach and I spent a few hours in there a few weeks ago. Not gonna lie, it hurt our hearts. I wept a little. It has been hard to carve out time in there. Reg e-learns at the desk and has been sleeping there since Tank tested positive. I'm going back in there TODAY. Wish me luck.

7. The Christmas poem. It's long and goofy and I've decided to try to get a jump start. Needing to rhyme things like:  raccoons in blow up pools, Reg's recent GIANT MESS, the godsend of a ping pong table from Santa, Zoom mishaps (upcoming Coach post), babysitting laughs, misplaced tampons (kidding, but still a fav moment of this year), surviving as a shoemaker's child, lost cars (upcoming post), Mini's twisty turban driving, car juggling, and cancelled trips for dancing to Dublin and Nashville plus ANOTHER rescheduling of Yellowstone

1.  Let me know if I am missing one of your favorite Shenanigan memories from 2020 and I'll add it to my growing list. 

2. Embracing quarantine -if I don't get all this stuff on my list done, I might have to fake a positive to stay holed up at home without babysitting until I clear my list of this shit. (NOT REALLY, BUT TEMPTING) Do you have a favorite accomplishment during lockdown/quarantine?

November 16, 2020

proof that only angels wear halos, no use crying over spilled . . .

Another of our offspring chose to test us while quarantining. As I said earlier, I wasn't sure if we would all come out of this two week stretch unscathed. 

Exhibit A:  

Reg finished the last of a gallon of milk just as I was putting dinner on plates. Mini reminded him that whoever finishes the milk is expected to race down in the basement and retrieve the next gallon from the fridge down there.

Off Reg went.

Curly was on her stage in the basement warming up for a Zoom dancing class. This was one of those nights when I didn't start dinner early enough to accommodate a 6:00 dancing lesson, so Curly ate leftovers beforehand.

I heard Reg on the stairs as he was heading back up. 

I heard Curly gasp and call out:     REG!

I heard liquid. Lots of it. I heard some babbling dialogue. 

Reg:  OH . . NO! HELP. . . I CAN'T. WAIT . . . GOSHHHHH!

Curly: Reg MOVE! GOOOO!

Note the crack BELOW THE HANDLE.

Reg popped up from the stairwell with a broken gallon of milk. To the naked eye, he appeared to be holding a fountain OF MILK

It was still gushing EVERYWHERE.

Coach moments after we started the de-milking process.

It reminded me of when I used to work at Burger King in high school and I was an 'opener.' I had to get there early and set everything up alongside my boss. One morning I was trying to fill the shake machine. The shake mix was in a bag, whose idea was that? I was supposed to hold the bag, remove the screw on lid, and dump the liquid into the machine. I failed to grasp the bag of mixture under the neck of the opening when I removed the lid. I stood there juggling a bag of shake mix and in no time flat I was WEARING said shake mix and wondering how this situation had unraveled so damn quickly. I had to go home and change my clothes before returning to work. Massively embarrassing. 

Back to Reg and the mess that had me momentarily contemplating moving to a different house . . . 

He tried to say he was 'just carrying it up the stairs.' When you have a bunch of siblings, it's hard to get away with that kind of shit. 

Curly corrected him right off the bat: Reg, you were spinning it around your head and when you turned to go up the stairs you bumped it on the low part of the ceiling.

Defense rests, your witness.

I sometimes do a move in my workout classes that is called a HALO. It sounds to me like my 14-year-old son (who is NOT an angel) was performing a halo with a gallon of milk. Lugging it around his head in a tight circle. Focusing on building up his triceps and biceps and not bad for core strength either. I discourage anyone from doing this at home . . .  with a  gallon of 2%.

This is one of those times when I am grateful for the 35 white crappy towels that gradually littered our home during Lad's four high school swim and four high school water polo seasons. Those towels soaked up the milk. 

Coach as he stomped on the white towels on the stairs: IT'S EVERYWHERE. ON ALL THE PICTURES, THE COUCH, THE CEILING. THESE STAIRS ARE SOOO WET.

Then we ate a very surly dinner. 

After dinner Coach had to teach a class on Zoom. He asked me to figure something out. Well, the carpet cleaners weren't likely to come anytime soon since we had a positive covid kid. Reg and I spent some time blotting the carpet (did I mention our basement stairs are carpeted? Insert growl here) with soapy water. Followed by more white towel drying. I thought the bad milk smell was already forming. Now I wonder if I'm just nose-blind to it.

It doesn't look bad, but it feels
crunchy and then there's the smell.
Tank called down from his the tower room where we keep him locked up:  WHAT HAPPENED?

Us:  You don't want to know. 

My feet, Reg's arm. Me barking mad, implied.

I had just started a load of towels before the milk flood, hours later I carried two MORE FULL LOADS OF milky towels up there. 

In more of the Shenanigan folklore that I believe but I do NOT remember, Tank reminded Mini that she was in no position to tease Reg about this mishap. 

Tank: Remember Mini, when you threw a gallon of milk at me and it exploded in the basement?

Mini: Yeah, but that was before Daddy fixed it up and it was just that gross tile and no carpet. 

Check out Elmo photo-bombing in my old Burger King booth in the basement. Reg wore Elmo for a few minutes on Halloween. Yes, Halloween - weeks ago and he has since been told to put Elmo away. When the kids were younger, I'd go in the basement regularly. Now they're SUPPOSEDLY able to carry up a gallon of milk on their own, so I'm a less frequent basement visitor. Crunchy carpet and bad smells threaten me less.

Wait, is she justifying throwing a gallon of milk at someone? I honestly don't remember this other milk gallon incident. Does this mean I will forget this one? Eventually maybe, but not anytime soon. 

The worse mess you ever encountered? Did you move?

November 13, 2020

Zoom laughs with footage of Curly's science class

Mini and Curly were doubled over the other day.  When they could finally breathe, they filled me in on what was so dang hilarious:  Curly's science teacher, Mrs. North.

It just so happens that Mrs. North lives in our cul-de-sac, two doors away from us.  I know, I know, more neighbor news.  As teachers go, she ranks pretty low.  As a neighbor, she's friendly and nice.  We don't really socialize with Mr. and Mrs. North, who are our age, other than to chat in passing.  I imagine she steers clear of fraternizing with parents of school kids.   Or maybe she sees us delivering Mary Ann packages and she's jealous.  

The junior high is blocks away from our house.  Mrs. North rides her bike to school sometimes and since we are on the corner, the back of our house has a great view of people coming and going in and out of the neighborhood.  Over the years my kids have gotten a chuckle out of seeing Mrs. North drive a car or walk her dog, but they especially enjoy seeing her ride her bike to school.  

I'm not gonna lie, someone usually hums Wizard of Oz bike scene music as a backdrop.  I remember as a kid being totally surprised to bump into a teacher outside of school - like the grocery store, but seeing a teacher while playing in your yard brings it to a whole other level.  

Our school had an amazing science teacher for grades 7 & 8, but they didn't replace her a few years ago when she retired.  They rely on Mrs. North, who used to only teach grades 5 & 6, to handle ALL of the science lessons.  She is weak at best.  Nice, but weak.  

Um, her control of a zoom classroom is the stuff sitcoms/movies of the future (when film makers portray 2020) will be made of.  

Curly has been telling me how some teachers suck at zoom.  I am laughing at this but I will be the first to admit that I would be one of the teachers who couldn't figure out the technological side of all of this, so I feel their pain.  

Back in the spring I witnessed the suckiness.  I heard Curly on a social studies zoom while I was at my desktop.  She was sitting behind me on the couch in the study.  

The teacher (not Mrs. North) told students that she had called on more than once in a frustrated tone, "Un-mute yourself," which made me chuckle.  

Then a few minutes later the teacher said something like, "OK, well I guess that's it."  Not sure what happened, but she didn't come back and class still had 15 minutes remaining.

I sat and listened to the students getting unruly and call out to each other across the internet.  It sounded just like a classroom without a teacher despite the fact that it was not taking place in an actual building.  Curly was like 'what the heck?'

Back to Mrs. North . . . Curly explained (while her computer was on mute during her science class) that Mrs. North started class with a guitar, pushing she and Mini over the edge with gut-splitting laughter.  

Mrs. North:  (this bit of dialogue was sung by her while strumming a guitar) Class, sometimes it helps to memorize things if you set it to music.

She went on to explain that she had a guitar with a broken string, so there wasn't much she could do with it, and she doesn't know how to play it anyway.  

Curly then described how Mrs. North doesn't know how to screen share.  She puts something on an overhead on her board and then walks in front of it, making it hard for students to see it. Plus the camera on her computer only captures a portion of what she has on the screen - leaving the kids to guess about the stuff at the perimeter.  

The class was winding down, so Curly asked Mrs. North if she would play the guitar again as a fun way to end the class.  Whose bold child is this?

I took a video of Mrs. North with the guitar and of her walking across the screen.  If you watch the video you can hear Curly scolding me for leaning in too close, fearing that I could be seen videoing the class.  

That's all I need, to get in trouble with yet another neighbor.  

One more e-learning tid-bit . . . 

Last week (this was actually a few months ago, so Tank didn't have covid yet) Tank insisted on driving to Culvers for lunch.  He found a coupon that NEEDED to be used because it was about to expire.  Why not eat the lunch meat that I buy so IT doesn't expire?  When he came back he asked me where Curly was because he bought her lunch.  No idea why Reg was left out of the fast food deal.  He was the only other kid home since Mini usually e-learns at a friend's house.  

Tank:  Where's Curly?

Me:  I think she's upstairs in a gym class.

If you had told me a year ago that those words would have come out of my mouth or that I would be spying on my neighbor playing a 3 string guitar for a bunch of bored 7th graders, I would have thought YOU CRAY-CRAY!

Anyone else have a memorable teacher run-in out side of school from their past?  Or anyone have a zoom story to share? 

Coming next week: the behind the scenes fun while we quarantine and how Reg made the BIGGEST mess ever. I still can't believe it.

November 11, 2020

Vanilla and the video

Turns out Mini's election video on Instagram got some attention. (this election thing happened in late September).

Vanilla, the MOM from across the street, forwarded Mini's video to another mom:  Nettie. Nettie's daughter DeeDee is one of Mini's closest friends. DeeDee and Mini:  best friends at Catholic School, where Mini attended through 2nd grade. Present day:  DeeDee and Mini are at the same high school, and have picked up right where they left off.

Meanwhile, Bean across the street, who attends a different high school (Catholic), knows DeeDee from grade school - which means Nettie and Vanilla know each other.  

Vanilla forwarded Mini's video to Nettie with this message:  SO THIS IS MEAN, RIGHT?

Just so we're all on the same page, a grown-ass woman who lives across the street from us, but doesn't speak to us for no ACTUAL reason . . . contacted another mom (Nettie) and asked her if she thought Mini was being mean. 

Mini makes fun of herself in the video for NOT having a dating life. How was THAT mean?

A mom I sit for (aka Twins' Mom) teaches at the high school. She told me before this election stuff that she wasn't sure which group of girls Mini hangs out with the most because she always sees her with a different group. Many girls are happy to chat with Mini. She has a very close-knit group of friends (BFF, DeeDee, Giggle-puss, Jeanie, and Addison), but she's friendly with most of her class.  

Anyway, I wanted to fight Vanilla. I would totally win. (I have visions of all of you shaking your heads saying, "NOT THE POINT"). I have enough anger about the other stressful shit going on in my life that I have ZERO patience for petty bull shit. 

Maybe Tank isn't the only boxer in the family.
Anyone out there who hasn't read this one? It's pretty humorous.

I MUST confront this woman. Tank is all in- ready to cross the street with me.  

Mini WAS fired up and ready to cross the street that night, but a few days later she became a little hesitant - not wanting to make Nettie look bad. Mini fears that it'll look as if Nettie called us up and told us about Vanilla questioning the video. I told Mini that Nettie can fend for herself. 

I have no problem telling Vanilla that DeeDee was in the room when her mom got the video and was like, "Huh, what's this?" causing DeeDee to bring her up to speed.  

People, hold me back.  This witch already doesn't give us the time of day, so nothing to lose. I might hand deliver her a magazine about available hobbies for her to peruse since she clearly has too much time on her hands.

I assume it's the middle child in me, but I have to speak up. Coach is totally OPPOSED. Don't stoop to her level, blah blah. Stooping to her level would be to ask another mom to weigh in on something Bean was involved in. BUT I DON'T CARE WHAT BEAN DOES.

I say take the bull by the horns.  

Weeks went by. I waited for my chance. I rehearsed my verbal assault while I cleaned the house. Finally one day, Tank came running in the house: 

Vanilla is out walking her dog. It's time. 

The babies had just been picked up. I got my shoes and my coat. I was ready. I invited Mini to join me, but she took a pass. Tank WANTED to join me, but Coach had just called. He was dropping off the Great White to get air in the tire and the people needed him to leave the car (it is all we do lately, get cars fixed). Tank had to go pick him up.

Vanilla walked in the opposite direction. Tank drove away and then called me to say she was heading back around towards us. "Over and out, the eagle flies at midnight."

I marched across the street when I saw her. She started to look a little uncomfortable the closer I got . . . still six feet. 

Me:  Hey, so . . . Mini is friends with DeeDee. DeeDee told her that you sent Mini's video to Nettie to ask her if Mini was mean.

Vanilla:  No, I wondered if the OTHER girl was mean. (So, the other girl, aka Tracey Glick goes to public school, doubt they have ever crossed paths and MINI SAID THERE WAS NO CHANCE SHE WAS CURIOUS ABOUT TRACEY. I believe her).

Me:  Whatever. You were asking about Mini. That's the way you worded it.

Vanilla:  Well, there's no tone in text. (I wanted to say, YOU KNOW WHAT DOES HAVE TONE? MY BICEPS AND YOU'LL KNOW MORE WHEN I KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF . . . kidding, a little).

Me:  I think it's super odd for an adult to follow what teenagers are doing on Instagram and then talk to other adults about it. 

Vanilla:  Well, it's public (Mini later pointed out that IT WASN'T PUBLIC, but Bean had been following her, isn't any longer - she thought it was weird since Bean cannot even say howdy from her yard. Here's where my lack of social media knowledge cost me).

Me:  Listen, Mini isn't mean. Everybody likes her. She has a self-deprecating sense of humor. I find your interest in her Instagram hard to grasp.

Vanilla:  Understood.

Well, that felt good. 

I intended to say 'Get a hobby' but I don't think I did. 


Me: Oh yeah, what're you gonna do about it? 

Kidding, but I have started wearing a black leather jacket and I'm keeping cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of my white t-shirt, and a blade in my sock in case Mary Ann wants to rumble one day.

Anybody else feel like a freak magnet? Where are all the normal people?

November 10, 2020

breaking news: BOUND TO HAPPEN

The inevitable has happened . . . one of us HAS IT. Damn it, this sucks. Big time.

I don't even think I can write about our quest to find him a test. It's still too fresh - and that was Friday . . . this is Monday. I'm not over the locate-a-test nightmare. I wanted to get him a 15 minute deal SO WE KNEW. Those seemed to only be available to people willing to donate a kidney or something. No idea. We didn't find one despite the delightful 4 hours I spent online trying.

Our pediatrician office is at the end of our street. Crazy close. They HAVE the quick tests, hooray - oh, wait . . . 

I switched Tank to our Family Practice awhile ago. The pediatrician wouldn't test him since he is no longer 'their' patient. I was tempted to have him walk in on his knees and hope for foggy medical person's PP gear (I'm calling it this because I don't know the name, Personal Protection gear . . . work with me, I'm stuck at home with ticked off kids and I'm losing a butt load of money, so GROUCHY).

The doc at the Family Practice called us at 1 pm on Friday - after I called there at 8:15 am. Oh, I guess I should point out that Tank started with a fever on Thursday evening. Backing up . . . 

Thursday night went like this:  Tank left his big ass size 15 men's shoes in my kitchen. I SCREAMED his name. Got distracted. Screamed his name again. While I shoveled dinner in my pie hole, Curly took over SCREAMING for him to get to the kitchen. I started to realize he was either dead or he had headphones in.

He walked into the kitchen looking dead. He'd been napping. Huh? At 5:30 pm. Why? He insisted he wasn't sick. 

I drove to my favorite place (Irish dancing). At a stoplight I texted the BRAND NEW FAMILY that was starting the next morning. "Remind me please what time you are dropping off?" 7:15.  Perfect, time to get to my early workout class.

Instead of waiting in my car, I came home. My house was begging to be organized. Tank called me on my way:  "Where do we keep the thermometer?" 


30 minutes later I called the BRAND NEW FAMILY (after I JUST asked them what time they were dropping off) to let them know my son had a fever. 

He couldn't have gotten sick while I was still sitting 3 days a week? Had to wait until I was bumping up to 5 days a week and getting paid 5 days a week? 

This poor family. Her first week back to work after having a baby and WHAMO - lost their babysitting. I feel awful. 

Anyway, the doc said he'd call in an order for Tank to test at a hospital. What if they had called in a test right WHEN I CALLED IN THE MORNING? He said I'd get the results on Sunday. Apparently he meant Monday. So, that was fun.

Hey, at least it was 74 degrees out when we waited in line FOR TWO HOURS.

Boring picture, but this was what it looked like
 once we got to the front of the line.

That's my silver lining.  The 74, not the 2.

Tank waited in the car, because his back hurt. Um, I waited in line for HOURS the previous morning at the DMV so my back felt perfect, thanks for asking. 

This is not much of a photo, but this is the line at the DMV after I was done and in my car. You can't see how far the line went but it was BLOCKS long. Nuts. I got there at 6:07 am and they opened at 7:30 am an I was done at 8:45 am. For all the lines I waited in last week, I could've been having some serious fun in Disney World.

Fast forward to today. Tank admitted that HE called the doctor's office yesterday (Sunday). I was like, huh? Tank:  "It's a doctor's office, they're always open." Sure.

Reggie has moved into Ed and Lad's empty room. Tank has been banished to he and Reg's room, the smallest room in the house. When he leaves his prison, he wears 4 masks on top of each other and uses hand sanitizer. 

I felt a little flush Sunday afternoon. I took my temperature several times. It got up to 99. I laid in my bed for a bit. My eyes felt a little sucked into my head. And my head felt a tad woozy. But all these things can be attributed to an impending lack of iron as I am INCREDIBLY anemic, and Aunt Flo is about to visit. I rallied, and got out of bed and went for a walk. 

Tank escaped last night to beg for more food (he usually texts or video chats to let us know that he needs nourishment and once to ask if he could shower). He shared that he was sort of wishing that I DID have covid because then EVERYONE would get it and he could re-enter shared spaces. 

Then he pointed out that his lamp wasn't working (I've been meaning to replace it, because even a new lightbulb doesn't always work, not reliable). He described how he sits in darkness. Eating his meals on the floor like a dog. He has moved a folding chair in there. In typical Tank style, he had me doubled over. 

If I could be guaranteed that we'd all end up with very mild symptoms like Tank (who had a fever on Thursday and a slight cough, but nothing since), I think we'd all share a cup of juice or a toothbrush or something. 

What if we quarantine, and next month someone else in the fam gets it? Then we have to quarantine all over again. No babysitting, etc. So, I want it but I don't want it. 

I just got the high school to put Reggie in the E group, so he can attend school daily. That guy NEEDS classroom style learning. *sigh*

I guess we will all get tested in a few days to see if anyone has it while symptom free. When I suggested this to Mini, she said, "Well, I mean you'd probably know if you had it because really only young people get it with no symptoms and you are old."

Pray for us, because after comments like that I'm not sure we are going to survive quarantining together. 

On Wednesday, I will return to my neighbor story - it's the finale (although with my neighbors, is it every really OVER?). Get excited. I think you will be surprised and pleased. 

November 9, 2020

enter Vanilla & old-enough kids: why God created windows and independence

In one of the venomous calls from Moody, she accused me of letting my kids play outside while she and the other moms (Vanilla and Wilson) supervised. My kids were now old enough to play without supervision. I can't help that some people park themselves on their driveways and stare at their 10 year old-ish kids. That's why God created windows and independence. 

I later learned that Moody was also upset because Tank had been invited to a kid's lake house for 5 days. Moody was ticked that Chuck hadn't been invited too. The lake house was owned by her good friend, who she doesn't speak to anymore (pattern forming?). The lake house mom (that mom is 'Friend-across-the-street' who still usually invites Tank on spring break with them) was like:  "Typical.  Nothing you can do."

Moody has not spoken to me since-8 years?  All three of her boys are on the golf team with Reg and Tank. Tank tells entertaining stories of their meltdowns and throwing golf clubs and threatening to tell on each other when they get home . . . as high schoolers. 

Moody HAS made it her life mission to convince other people to dislike me.  A mom actually said to me early on in this saga that people were relieved that Moody was fixated on hating me. Moody usually rotated her hating-focus on a different mom about every year (according to urban legend). Supposedly one of the moms was hated in part for wearing pig-tails. Moody was so busy hating me that she left everyone else alone. ** Insert me taking a bow.**

Enter: Ms. Vanilla.  As in, she's never had an original thought. She lives directly across the street from my front door also at the opening of the cul de sac. She has a husband (who is a great guy with a good sense of humor, Coach and I scratch our heads over this - so unfortunate because we would TOTALLY socialize with him, if his wife was not an impressionable poop).   

The Vanillas have two kids, their daughter, Vanilla Bean or just Bean, is the same age as Mini. Bean was friends with Mini when they were in Catholic school together. 

Moody hated Vanilla prior to hating me. Coincidentally, Vanilla's real first name is the same as my real first name. Moody used to say (in the days when she spoke to me):  

We call you good Ernie, and her bad Ernie. 

I didn't get it - is it really worth hating someone because they don't do much of anything and (one of Moody's issues with her) because they don't wave at you as they drive down the street? I was younger then and afraid to rock the boat. I was also the new kid on the block. I kept my mouth shut . . .  I started finding reasons NOT to hang out in the cul de sac with Moody.

The early years:  3 or 4 of my kids hanging in the cul de sac with the neighbors. Mini and Curly are sitting on the green riding car back to back, both with bows. Reg in the back of the red wagon. Might be Tank in front of green car but I think that's one of Moody's kids.

Vanilla and I were never close, chatted here and there.  Friendly-ish.  

When Moody nominated me as her person-to-hate, she took Vanilla under her wing and urged her to go from being somewhat friendly, albeit vacant, to hating me. Lord only knows what Moody said to Vanilla. I sensed Vanilla was super relieved to be off the hate list and on the good-neighbor list. Vanilla's family stopped talking to us, too.  We were no longer at Catholic school so we crossed paths less often.

About 3 years ago, we were out doing yard work. I know, shock. The Vanillas came into their front yard and froze (maybe they were in as much shock as you are), unsure how to proceed. I waved a very exaggerated:  "Hi there!"  They still sort of stood there. It's THAT awkward and we've NEVER done one thing to them. 


Moody's dad was a famous Chicago Blackhawk hockey player years ago. That impressed Vanilla, who probably hoped to score tickets, etc.  

Comparatively:  the day we met when Moody told me:  "My Dad is Mr. Famous" (and I didn't recognize it because I don't follow hockey), I was like:  "Oh, my dad's name is  Ralph." I thought she was just telling me her Dad's name, vs bragging about having a famous dad. Time to stop claiming:  Nothing gets past me.

I know, you've seen this - but I am pretty dang pleased with my little map.

To clarify:
  Mary Ann, and all of her pleasantness, is across from our side-entry driveway (see map), the front of my house faces the cul de sac. So Mary Ann's drama is separate, because life is a freaking party and maybe we should've stayed in geriatric-ville and just put a damn addition on that house.

So, that's the backstory, not as quick to 'splain as I hoped. If you read this you'll be rewarded in the next chapter . . . when Vanilla crosses me. There are also funny singing science teacher zooms on the horizon.

Oh, for 10 years the house behind us was vacant or occasionally rented out short-term.  I would often stare at it and hope for nice neighbors to move in, but I gave up.

Have I convinced you that we lost the neighbor lottery, or are you scratching your head thinking - it must be you?

November 6, 2020

introducing the cul de sac cast of characters

I want to share something, but I realize you need info about 'other' people in the neighborhood first.  We've lived here since Curly was 6 months, so 12 years.  There's been some drama. Honestly, it's the non-existent kind, the perceived, created-by-crazy-people variety. Allow me to summarize.

Shortened clip courtesy of my own crappy editing:  thanks YouTube

Ms. Moody - I wrote a post about this YEARS ago, but I am too lazy to dig it out, and I suspect that it's crazy long.  No one has time for that.  She lives about 4 houses away -  at the far end of the cul de sac, whereas we live at the cul de sac entrance.

Her 3 boys are the same ages as Tank, Mini, and Reg.  When we moved in, that seemed ideal. Fun. We moved from across town in a section of an older neighborhood ripe with original owners. Geriatric central.  

I often walked over with my gang. Ms. Moody and I chatted while the kids played.  She insisted this made more sense than coming to our house, closer to traffic (it was just the light neighborhood variety).  

I noticed that Moody was IN FACT moody as shit. Grouchy. She's what we call an ANGRY ELF. Seriously, she'd take photos of neighbors to report them to the school. People she felt claimed to live in district but registered with a relative's address to use our district/tax dollars.  

Everything made her mad. It was unsettling.  Mental note:  NEVER upset her.

Gradually my kids wandered into the cul de sac while I stayed at the house:  Curly napping, starting dinner, etc.  It made me uncomfortable. I didn't want Moody to think she was 'watching' my kids, but she had a toxic aura and I had stuff to do.  I urged my kids to stay at our house and sometimes I allowed them down by Moody's, telling them I'd head down a few minutes later. My kids were really well behaved, loud maybe - but behaved.  Besides, if one of them acted naughty, their siblings would rat them out. I could see Moody's home out the side living room window (across from the off-the-grid-chair).  I'd peek to check on them between switching laundry loads, etc.  

Fast-forward four years:  Moody's kids showed up to play in our yard FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. I think Reg was about 5 or 6. They were on the swing set. I ran down to the basement to turn on the music for Mini to practice Irish dancing.  By this time we knew that Moody's middle son, Will, (Mini's age) was a real challenge.  He has ODD.  (oppositional defiance disorder)  Our kids hung out together less often, because Will was a handful and the older brother was no picnic. Reg was buddies with the youngest, Timmy, but when Timmy sneered at him one time too many Reg stopped begging to hang out with him. Hardly Timmy's fault - being mean was in their genes.

By the time I came up the basement stairs - like 2 minutes later, Will had beaten the crap out of Reggie, two years his junior. Tank was shook up, sobbing. He felt guilty for not stopping it sooner. Everything happened so fast.  

Will and brothers had showed up with plastic toy handcuffs. Will accused Reg of breaking the cuffs as they played cops and robbers. Later he realized they snapped back together. Will had pinned Reg to the ground and Reg was covered in red, hand-shaped welts, aka '5-stars'. Reg was hysterical.  

Will's older brother, Chuck, ran home and told Moody. I saw her barreling towards my house. She confronted a retreating Will in the street. He raced back to my house, popped up on the deck, and called in my sliding door in a cheerful voice:  "I want to apologize to Reg." 

Me:  (livid) That isn't enough, Will. Hear me now. DON'T YOU EVER LAY A FINGER ON ONE OF MY KIDS AGAIN.  CLEAR?

Moody never called me to apologize or to check on Reg. Not sure if she didn't grasp the magnitude of things? I knew better than to confront her. I made a point to not discuss the incident with any other mom. I told my kids it was unfortunate, but it was over.  

Weeks later:  Tank had a friend over. The kid:  "Let's go play with Chuck."

Tank:  We aren't playing with the Moody kids right now. Chuck's brother has anger management. (not a typo, that's how Tank described it).

The mom was lingering as she dropped off her kid. She looked at me, eyebrows raised. I side-stepped a bit, but said something like, "Well, we're just hanging at our house today." I may have expanded a bit more to the mom. I don't remember.  Looking back, I believe she's one to social climb (despite her attempts, she hasn't gotten up that ridiculous ladder any higher, so sad). I suspect she reported back to Moody.

Moody called me. Bitched me out. Claimed she'd heard from 3 'sources' that I was telling EVERYONE that her kids had anger management issues. I was flabbergasted, knowing I had INTENTIONALLY kept my mouth shut to avoid her wrath.  

It got uglier. She called me multiple times, saying horrible things to me. Claimed I never did anything for anyone. (Even though I had just made dinner for the social climbing mom when she had knee surgery and I drove her daughter to school for 3 weeks).  She brought up things to rub in my face that I had confided in her like how my sister, Ann, didn't talk to me for a year when I named Reg because she already had a Reg.  

Moody:  Now I know why your sister doesn't talk to you.

Oh look, I used Halloween colors without realizing it. Our house is the misshapen 'US' - the dot under 'US' is our front door. The + sign is our side-entry driveway. Vacant really isn't vacant anymore. The owners who never sold the house are back as grandparents. Sell the damn house, still my motto. I even tossed in the egg carton house. The Wilson people will come up soon. North is Curly's science teacher (more to follow). Oh, our church is walking distance down that path covered in blue to the far right of Moody's.

Coach listened into one of the phone calls and just shook his head.  He was like, "There isn't much you can do. She's clearly crazy."  

This is easy to write about ALL THESE YEARS LATER, but this crazy person made me uneasy as hell. I knew she was capable of being horrible. When her next-door neighbor's house went on the market  (years later), school families who were shopping for a house all took a pass. No one wanted to live near her.

When I called her to say we were changing schools from Catholic to public a year after we moved in, she literally said:  "Well, you always acted like you were too good for our public school." Huh? Not at all true. We liked our Catholic school community, but that didn't mean we thought we were too good for public. Guessing she was envious of our school choice and this hit a nerve. 

The next chapter follows. Hope you will tune in even though this was a longer 'recap' than I thought it would be. Next part a bit shorter.

I lived for 3 years in Davenport, Iowa as a tyke and the kids in the hood ran around like a pack. No issues. Anyone else grow up that way?

November 4, 2020

election, no - not THAT election

If you haven't seen the movie 'Election' from 1999 with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick, go watch it and come back . . . wow, that was fast. 

A few weeks ago, Mini showed me her phone. Her face was superimposed on a hamster. The caption:  Vote for Mini, the Gangster Hamster. 

This was NOT Mini's photo, but it's close.
Compliments:  bingee.

She decided to run for junior class president. I thought:  great idea. Last year a girl named 'Tracey Glick' ran for president of the sophomore class, uncontested.  **Yes, Tracey is a nod to Reese's obnoxious character in the movie. Nothing gets past you.** 

Our real life Tracey is a cringe-y, try-hard. She's a major brown nose who plays on the b-ball team with Mini. Last year the coach was complaining that the team didn't know the plays.  After messing up, Tracey turned to the coach mid-practice and exclaimed loudly:  

Coach, I'm gonna go home and write that play out 250 times 'til I learn it.

Mini and the rest of the team almost gagged. Later when Mini described it, I almost gagged. Mini, and most of the other kids in the high school, cannot stand Tracey. She's a major kiss-up who is massively self-involved.

Mini is nice to everyone, and Tracey thinks of Mini as a friend. They see each other at the golf course where they both caddy. When Tracey was elected president last year, UNCONTESTED, she told Mini:  

Next year you should run too.  You can be my vice president.

Mini decided then and there, she'd run this year.  

A few days before the election she posted it on her Instagram. The video:  her friend saying: 

Tracey is running for president, but she's dating someone from (insert name of rival high school).  Do you really want a president who isn't allegiant to our  school?  Vote for Mini.  She doesn't even HAVE a dating life.

Pan to Mini:  

My name is Mini Shenanigan and I approve this ad.  

She was e-learning with her besties when they made the ad. She showed me when I picked her up from tennis.  

**important facts:  Mini has never experienced a day of girl-drama. Ever. She's known for her sense of humor. She's pretty comfortable with herself, remember the driving photos with her in the twisty turban?**

Tracey, unaware Mini was running against her until candidates were announced, wasn't happy. She was irritated when Mini and friends put together the self-deprecating, funny video.  

This is where teen talk totally threw me off.  It ticked Mini off that I wasn't following her Instagram explanations. I was forced to apologize for being old. 

Lost in translation:  Tracey left her unopened. Hours later Tracey and the only girl who can tolerate Tracey responded with their own video on Instagram. Mini slid up, and said ha ha.  

Unopened?  Slip up?  What? 

Their video featured Tracey's sidekick saying:  

Don't you think it's important for a president to be able to walk. Mini struggles with that. I think you should vote for Tracey.  They have footage of Mini attempting  a cartwheel during last year's b-ball season. It's essentially Mini flopping around and looking goofy. Her strong suit. Fortunately, Mini can laugh at herself.  

(Pan over to Tracey, standing on a low wall at the high school) I don't even think Mini could jump off of this wall! (Tracey demonstrates how to jump off the wall). 

I may not get slide up and unopened, but I know lame when I see it. That was lame, but Mini sent back a 'ha, ha, ha'.

Tracey than tagged or linked with Drew who was running for VP. "Drew's my running mate!"  Drew slid up (no idea, if that fits here) and gave a thumbs up.

Mini knows Drew, great kid. She messaged him:  TREASON!

Drew messaged Mini:  I already voted for you, not Tracey. I'm taking down my thumbs up to be her running mate. She posted that without even asking me. Don't tell her. I'm afraid of her.

Mini texted Tracey later something like, NO hard feelings, all in fun.  

Tracey responded with:  You're good girl!  -but Sunday marked the first time Tracey showed up at the caddy shack and didn't come over to Mini and say hello and proceed to talk about how highly she thinks of herself. 

I asked Mini at one point who was going to win the male vote? Mini just kept telling me no one would vote for Tracey because no one liked her. Tank is friends with a lot of the guys in Mini's class and I thought he should encourage them to vote for Mini.  

Mini came home from tennis one day and said her tennis friends who are seniors and know Tank thought he should do a video for Mini where he appeared tied up saying:  Vote for Mini!  There, untie me. I did it.

Mini and I suggested this. Tank told us he has an ACTUAL sense of humor. He couldn't be mixed up in such un-funny things, reputation to uphold, etc.

I really thought this story would end differently. Mini was very confident that she'd win. She said she knew no one who would vote for Tracey.  

The results posted online on Monday night. Tracey won.  

I felt punched in the gut. Poor Mini. She didn't cry. I think she recovered better than I did, because her girlfriends affirmed her and expressed TOTAL shocked.

A few girls shared that Tracey was emailing people full paragraphs trying to convince them to vote for her. These girls voted for Mini, but maybe some people who got those emails figured they'd vote for Tracey because she had experience.  Maybe they don't really know Mini well. Maybe Tracey infiltrated the band kids or some other pocket of kids who are unfamiliar with Mini, who knows. 

Then there's the boy vote.  Tank was like:  Yeah the guys I know didn't even know there was an election.  EXACTLY MY POINT, TANK. I was furious that he didn't urge them to vote. 

Tank ran for senior class secretary, did no campaigning, and won. He was going up against one of his best friends, who he messaged and said "Dude, I will do nothing and I will win." His buddy texted him back:  "Ef off."  

Twin Mom and Mini think the election was weird and went unnoticed because no one was even in the building. Mini realizes that probably lots of kids didn't even open the school email detailing the election. Clearly Tracey hit the campaign trail hard once she saw Mini on the ballot.  

Next year Mini will have her shit together and Tank will be texting all of his younger buddies while he is away at college to make sure they vote for his sister, or else.

 What I'm saying is:  This isn't over.  

I've had this bumper sticker on most of our cars
 since the last election AND SADLY, IT STILL HOLDS UP.

Anyone more bummed about a big loss more than the person losing? Was this more exciting than the presidential election? 

November 2, 2020

DMV made me do it, swim cap, & 'Beware of lady'

My drivers license expires end of December on my, AHEM, 50th birthday. I'm starting to lose hope of celebrating my 50th in any sort of interesting, unique, possible-travel-inspired-warm-weather sort of way. Thanks, Pandemic. Apparently surviving countless birthdays with combo Christmas/birthday gifts wasn't enough.

Last week marks the last week this school year that I'll babysit 3 days a week. Today (Monday) I start my 5 day a week schedule. I'm not gonna lie: dreading it, but I also know I'm great at pivoting. My freshman year b-ball coach would probably agree, pivoting . . . ALL I was good at. I'll adjust to my new 5-days schedule in no time. 

I thought I'd try to renew my license Friday, my last weekday off. I never made it to the bank Thursday to retrieve my birth certificate, etc. Instead I did the bank Friday morning. I figured I'd do the dreaded DMV on Saturday. Maybe Halloween would be less crowded. Fingers crossed.

I didn't want to miss my Saturday am workout class. I decided arriving before lunch would be fine. I brought my book, anticipating a long wait. I ate a bowl of cereal before I went because I feared starvation might end with me passing out if I got stuck there. 

A dietary update:  I've been avoiding eating between meals. Sticking to eating very specific things. I suppose you could call this dieting, but mostly I am just avoiding eating more than necessary. Um, GF cereal - not on my approved list. 

So, now I was off to the DMV with cereal-eating guilt.

I parked and joined the mile long line. The weather was decent. Upper 50s. Sun was out. 

Worker guy positioned at the end of the line WHY ARE YOU HERE?




He went on to explain:  some locations are different, so can't be explained in a letter. 

Me:  I REALLY DON'T GIVE A DAMN. (channeling my inner Scarlet). 


Why is it I can't have a single pleasant DMV experience? (so many questions)

Not wanting to waste another minute of my day, I stormed back to my car. As I drove away, I considered doing a U-turn and driving my fricking minivan THROUGH THE WINDOW OF THE DMV. (like, actually)

Yep. I was THAT mad. I pay taxes. How dare the government not value my time. I wasted 45-50 minutes in my round trip drive. I'M FEELING MORE AND MORE HOW EVERY MINUTE COUNTS AS MY 5-DAY-A-WEEK SITTING LOOMS.

I came home and told the kids that they almost saw me on the news with our minivan inside the DMV. Note:  I'm able to let some things roll, like Tank skipping the ACT - other times, I HAVE NO PATIENCE. AT ALL. 

I attribute the relaxed approach to:  oh, dang pandemic, and the lack of patience to:  HELLISH LADDIE SITUATION. 

I decided to go for a walk to blow off some steam. I recently ordered a hat to wear if I walk in cold/windy weather. My ears get cold, so I needed an ear-covering hat. 

Mini walked into the kitchen as I was tying my shoes:  WHAT'S WRONG? 


Too late, I shout-told the DMV incident all over again. Tank eye-rolled and Mini shrugged:  WELL I DIDN'T KNOW . . .  I ALREADY ASKED BEFORE YOU TOLD ME NOT TO. 

All of this, as if I wasn't in the room. 

Then I put on my new hat. The thing about being ticked off in our family is rage is never allowed to last long. There are always distractions.

Mini bust a gut laughing. She didn't even try to hide that she was laughing at me.




I wish my nose was this cute. If this doesn't scream Halloween, I don't know what does. I was just trying to show the hat, but hard to crop my face out of it. Between the 'swim cap' and the face-lift, I assume this counts as your belly laugh for the day, so you're welcome.

I looked in the mirror and yes, I looked a notch beyond ridiculous. Now we were all  laughing . . . at me. Tank, the wise-ass that he is, congratulated Mini for the swim cap comment as if he's the only one who can champion funny.

I walked with the sweatshirt hood up, hiding my rocking the swim-cap look. I stopped at my folk's patio on my way back and talked to my mom through her sliding glass door. I removed the hood during the walk-too toasty. 

My mom chuckled at the 'enjoy your swim' story. She cringe-laughed at the DMV story and waved at me to stop shouting the 'F' word as I retold it - with her eyes darting around worried neighbors or golfers on the hole behind their house might hear me, as if that would deter me. By the time I told her how the Irish dancing world is threatening to mess with my Yellowstone trip this summer (story to follow), she was tearing up from laughing so hard. 

Happy that my misery serves as a good laugh for my shut-in mother. Just doing  my part. 

Mini sporting the Goldilocks apron I made
her years ago. It's a tad small, but it's also super easy.

We put candy out on a stool on the front porch. I was in the study - steps from the front door. When I heard trick-or-treaters approach, I looked out the window. Little kids with parents, no issue. Punk-ass pre-teen boys:  I hopped from my chair to observe.

One boy helped himself to fistfuls of candy. 


Boy with no manners, pivoting to return candy:  SORRY.


You've seen signs 'BEWARE OF DOG' maybe we 
should've posted 'BEWARE OF ANGRY RESIDENT'

It happened another time, too. I yelled at the next group of boys while Coach cackled away from the family room. He should know better than that. I need no encouragement.

So, if our tires get slashed again we MIGHT have an idea why. Who knew that cereal-guilt combined with a DMV pisser could fire me up like this? 

Anyone out there have a pleasant DMV experience? HOW? Best Halloween costume you wore or you saw?