Monday, October 31, 2011

It's the man with the badge, the PO-lice, the cops, the fuzz, the P-I-...

(Name that movie for 5 million points)

So, first, let me get the obligatory Halloween costume pictures out of the way.

Good? O.K.

So, as you can see, Liam was a policeman. At the very first house we went to, the woman who answered the door jokingly yelled back to her husband, "Hide the weed, the po-po's here!"

Liam has no idea what that means, but he thought it was hilarious.

So hilarious, in fact, that he spent the next hour yelling it through the neighborhood and saying it in lieu of "trick or treat" when he approached a door.


Despite my begging, pleading and threatening, at every door the people of my neighborhood were greeted by a seven year old yelling "Hide the weed, the po-po's here!"

That ought to go over well at the CPS follow up visit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

You know me so well.

So, you guys keep sending me links to videos. Don't ever stop, because they make my day. (Except the new Sassy Gay Friend videos. They've lost something now that they're Mio commercials. So, don't send me those anymore. They just make me miss the pre-monetized SGF videos.)

Anyway, here are a few of the best ones I've been sent lately.

(I almost stopped watching this one after the first minute because it was lame. Stick with it--it gets funny after a minute and a half.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Impulse Buy

Was there ever something that you really wanted as a kid? Something that other people had--something so incredibly awesome that you thought it would change your life if you had one too?

For me, it was a bean bag chair. I was kind of a spoiled kid. I was an only child and an only grandchild (until my sister came along when I was six and ruined my life), so I pretty much got whatever I wanted. But for some reason I never had a bean bag chair. Maybe I just never asked for one, I don't remember.

Point is, I always thought it would be life-changingly awesome to have one.

And today, as I was walking through Wal-Mart, I saw them. The heavens opened and angels sang.

Giant bean bag chairs.

It's not like I haven't seen them for sale during my adult life, but they've always been too expensive, or we didn't have room in our tiny apartment for one, or it would have been a choice between realizing a lifelong dream to own one and buying diapers and formula.

But I had a whole house of my own and a checking account with a little disposable income. (I am the 99%, and I want a bean bag chair with my free college and iPad.)

I debated its practicality for about two seconds, then I loaded that baby on my cart.

It's huge, and it looks ridiculously out of place in our house, but I don't even care. It's the best thing I've ever bought.

And unlike things like EZ Bake Ovens and Snoopy Sno-Cone machines, this realized childhood dream is all I imagined it would be and more.

Now, please excuse me. I have a bean bag chair to make out with.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Hobby Lobby: A Love Letter

Making me stabby in the good way.

Dear Hobby Lobby,

I'm not sure what you're using to scent your entryway (really, I don't--I was practically crawling on the floor looking for the source), but it makes me happy. It's like apples and pumpkin pie and Fall and angel farts all mixed together and magically piped in near the front door.

And while I think July is wee bit early for Christmas displays, I'm glad they're there. You see, most days I think I want to skip decorating this year. I love decorating, but it's just one more thing I'll have to do on my own. But when I walk through your forest of plastic trees and bask in the glow of mini light strands while being watched over by life sized, light up Nativity lawn figures, I suddenly want to find my inner Griswold and go all out.

I love you, dear Hobby Lobby, because even if I walk in feeling a little stabby, it takes no time at all to be lulled into a trance by all the pretty paper and fabric and craft supplies. Instead of thinking about cutting people, I find myself thinking about cutting patterns. Instead of imagining roundhouse kicks to the head, I'm mentally building the most glorious doll house ever created.

And I know that I've occasionally cheated on you with your friends Michael and Jo Ann, but only when you weren't around. You know how it is--if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.

So, thank you, Hobby Lobby, for being there for me when I need you. You're a true friend. You know exactly how to lift me up.


P.S. Could you maybe stop taking so much of my money? It's becoming a problem. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting my (TV) groove back.

So, I used to watch A LOT of TV. Like, a lot a lot. And then kids happened, and living in Europe for four years before the invention of internet connections fast enough to stream shows online. And my TV watching went right out the window. My repertoire dwindled to Thomas the Tank Engine and Teletubbies. I did manage to keep up with Alias for a while, but then I really stopped caring about the Rimbaldi device and quit watching it a couple of seasons before it ended.

Then we moved back from Germany the same week that Lost premiered. Also? I discovered two new-fangled networks that had come into existence while I was gone. HGTV and Bravo.

Why, hello TV. I missed you.

And for the past seven years that's mostly all I watched.

And then Lost ended last year. And then I had the brilliant idea to ditch cable when we moved.

Since then the TV has just become that large, shiny object that my kids watch Netflix on that I have to dust every week.

I've kept up with Project Runway and America's Next Top Model (because there's nothing better for your body image issues than a twice weekly dose of models), but that's been it.

Until last week.

The lonely nights finally got to me and I decided to check out some of the new shows this season.

I've caught up on The New Girl (Love it!), Whitney (Liked it, but starting to hate it. Not all great comedians are also great actors), Up All Night (Love it!), Combat Hospital (Love it!), and my new favorite show, Terra Nova.

I know. Shut up.

I've read the reviews, and I kind of agree with them. The dialog can be lame. The acting not so great. But I don't care. It's like someone took CSI, ER, Sliders, Jurassic Park and Lost, and rolled them all up into one big, cheesy ball and I couldn't be happier. I plan to watch the heck out of this show until it gets canceled.

I'm just hoping it lasts through the rest of this deployment.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Richard Marx: Harbinger of depression.

Enormous head, tiny body.

So, I hit the deployment wall last week. Anyone who's been through a deployment knows what I'm talking about. It's that point where you're done. The deployment isn't over, but you are. The point where if you have to deal with one more crying kid, one more broken thing, one more anything you're going to lose it. The point where you would take your spouse on his most obnoxious and annoying day over not having him there at all, because at least then he could deal with All The Things.

It started when my alarm went off and it just went downhill from there.

By lunch I had cried because there was a load of clothes in the dryer that I forgot was there from the day before, and that meant I still had laundry to fold. Because someone switched the ice maker from crushed to cubed, and obviously cubed ice is of the devil. Because I could only fit in my stretchy pants. Because frigging Wal-Mart was out of my cheese. My cheese!

And then, in my stretchy pants, in the car on my way home from not buying my cheese, the song* came on.

That song. The song that Richard Marx recorded for the sole purpose of ripping the hearts out of everyone who has ever had to spend an extended amount of time away from their significant other.

Love him, hate him, think his head is abnormally large for his wee body--whatever you feel about the man, If you've ever been in that situation, this song will make you cry like a teething baby with a bad case of gas.

Oceans apart day after day
And I slowly go insane.
I hear your voice on the line
But it doesn't stop the pain.

If I see you next to never
How can we say forever?

(Nodding in agreement, tears and snot running down my face) Exactly!

I took for granted all the times
That I thought would last somehow.
I hear the laughter, I taste the tears
But I can't get near you now.

(Sob) I'm sorry I ever complained about you. (Snuffle) I'll never do it again. (Sob)

Wherever you go
Whatever you do
I will be right here waiting for you.
Whatever it takes
Or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you.

(Pulled over on the side of the road, sobbing unintelligibly)

And then I pulled myself together, went home, ate some chocolate (see: stretchy pants), took a nap, and braced myself for three more months.
Richard Marx be damned.

*Journey's "Faithfully" or Lonestar's "I'm Already There" have the same effect.
**Here, I dare you not to cry:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Thank you, karma.

So, remember how someone thought it would be a great idea to call CPS because of a post I wrote about Ben? And remember how a lot of you wrote in the comments that you hoped karma would get them?

Well, karma didn't infect them with syphilis, nasal herpes and a raging case of shingles like I'd hoped. (At least I don't think so, but who knows? Maybe!) BUT karma did see fit to have my post about it catch the attention of BlogHer.

I was contacted earlier today and asked if they could syndicate the post. On their site. Where thousands and thousands of people could read it. Oh, and they'd pay me for it, too.

I know you've already read the post here, but click on over and look at it THERE. Please? I mean, after the disappointment of getting cut from the big OB Tampon article on ABC News, this may be the closest to fame I'll ever get.

Oh, and anonymous CPS reporter? Suck it.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Divine Secrets of the Minivan Sisterhood

Boring! Jazz hands would be so much more fun.

So, why is it that motorcyclists do that sort of low wave to each other when they pass another motorcyclist? That thing where they keep their hand down low and just kind of raise their fingers as they go by?

And who teaches them to do this? Is it part of the course when getting a motorcycle license?

And why is it just motorcyclists?

This needs to change immediately.

I think minivan driving moms need a thing like that.

Like motorcyclists, we have our own culture too. Ours may involve more stretchy pants and less leather, but it's a culture nonetheless.

When I pass another woman driving a minivan, I know a few things for certain. 1. She probably hasn't had enough sleep in at least a year. 2. That van has been vomited in at least once since she's owned it. And 3. At some point since getting that van she has dreamed about running away forever and starting a new life on a beach in South America with an oiled up boy-toy named Julio.

Those things bond us together, and we need a way to acknowledge that sisterhood when we encounter one another on the open road.

I propose Jazz Hands.

Think of how happy you'd be if you in your kid filled minivan passed me in my kid filled standard issue white Toyota Sienna and we gave each other Jazz Hands? Think of the joy we could spread!

We could totally change the world.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


(This was written yesterday. I didn't want to hastily post something in the heat of emotion, so I slept on it. So, every time it says today, it was yesterday.)

I've been sitting here for a couple of hours. Writing. Deleting. Thinking. Fuming. Shaking with rage. Debating. Writing some more. More furious shaking. More deleting. More debating.

I know that logically calling attention to a troll only feeds their ego and gives them ammunition. In this case, however, we're talking about something much more sinister than a troll. We're talking about someone out to hurt a family. My family.

I received a knock on my door this afternoon, and when I answered it I was met by a small, blonde woman who announced that she was from child protective services and she needed to talk to me.

If you've never had that experience (and I hope you never have), let me try to describe how it feels. Your heart starts racing. Your mind starts spinning, frantically trying to recall something--anything--that could warrant a visit from CPS. I was in full panic mode, but trying my very best to hold it together. Or to at least not pass out.

We sat down in my living room and she informed me that the office had received a call from someone claiming that I wrote a blog post that was mentally abusive toward Ben. It was THIS post. Take a moment to read it.

Yes. That caused someone to feel justified to call CPS.

The woman from CPS then said, "I'm not here to take away your kids."

And I couldn't hold it together anymore. I guess just the idea that she could have been there to take them away was too much. I totally lost it.

We talked for awhile about things--she told me she had taken each child from class individually to question them. That she had talked to Ben about it more in depth and with more specifics.

I asked her flat out if she felt I was out of line with the post. She assured me that neither she nor her supervisor felt it was an issue. Certainly not one for CPS to be involved in.

I'm not sure what exactly the person who made the report thought would come of this, but I'd like to tell him or her what did come of it.

Amelia had to be picked up from school because she was too upset. She has never even been spanked, so being taken to the office and asked by a stranger if her parents hit her was confusing and terrifying. Once she had some time to mull it over in her six year old brain after the interview, she became afraid that it meant I would start hitting her.

Amelia is an extremely anxious child by nature. She bites her nails, sucks on fabric to self soothe, and has recently developed trichotillomania. That's when someone pulls out their hair impulsively when stressed. We'd had it somewhat under control, but by the time I got her home from school a three inch by three inch section on the side of her head was completely bald.

Luckily for Liam, his interview took place about the time his meds were wearing off. He apparently rambled on about Legos and cats for most of it. However even he was a little disturbed that a stranger came to school, took him from class and read off a list of punishments and asked which ones he got and when. Because that's not upsetting to a seven year old at all. He also felt really guilty because he told her that he got soap in his mouth a couple of times last year and was worried I would get in trouble. And then he had to lay down for awhile because his chest hurt. His donor vessels are wearing out. Any time he's physically active or upset, he has pain.

Ben is older and smart enough to understand exactly what was going on. He came home extremely upset and feeling guilty. He was afraid that they were all going to be put into foster care, and it would be his fault because if he hadn't traded his calculator for Pokemon cards, I wouldn't have written about it and gotten us all in trouble.

It's been hard enough for them to deal with having a deployed parent for the past nine months. They don't need this as well. Neither does my husband, who has to deal with the daily stress of being at war, need the additional worry.

Because I use real names and because Ben is old enough that it's possible his friends could read the blog, I always let him read any post involving him and get his permission to post it first. He was totally fine with the post in question.

I could understand if there was some indication of imminent danger or actual abuse--be it mental or physical--in that or any post. But there is nothing, NOTHING, in that post to warrant upsetting three children already under the strain of a deployed parent, deteriorating health and anxiety disorders.

I don't want to seem like I'm discouraging people from making reports if they feel they're warranted. It's better to be safe than sorry. But I am asking that you think long and hard about the consequences that may come of it and if those consequences are worse than the thing you're considering reporting.

There are children out there being abused and neglected. Unfortunately, social workers can't focus as much of their attention on finding and helping those kids who truly need it because they're bogged down in following up frivolous and unsubstantiated reports. By law they have to follow up, just in case. This social worker spent an entire day on this, and that doesn't include the mountain of paperwork she'll still have to do, or the required follow up visits later in the month.

No one operates in a vacuum. Everything one does has consequences--often far reaching ones. I always consider the consequences of leading a somewhat public life, especially how my children could be affected by it. I ask all of you to do the same.

I know that many of you only know me as words on a screen, but I'm a real person. My husband is a real person. My children are real children. We all have real feelings. And these are real consequences.