Why Now?

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I’ve been writing for many years about my life and have enjoyed making people laugh at the crazy things that happen to me on a daily basis.  I love to write.  I love my family, friends, community, my job and naps.  My best friend is a Labrador Retriever.  All of those things make me who I am and inspire my writing.  Trust me, every day is an adventure and I trust in Jesus to help me make the right choices.  He has his hands full with me but I do my best.  I can’t make this stuff up.  I am a magnet for strange situations.  So why start a blog now?  I have no idea.  It’s more fun than cleaning my house, which I should be doing right now.

When Mom Was Wonder Woman

Birkenstocks are back and why wouldn’t they be? Peppermint Pattie rocked the heck out of those things back in the day. I’ve also noticed scrunchis and high-waisted mom jeans and I saw a Caboodle at Target yesterday. I literally just threw out those same things when cleaning out the attic. Dang it. I’m holding out for the wooden Dr Scholl’s with the buckle though. I hope those come back. They were great. I remember my mom running and simultaneously trying to take off one shoe so she could threaten to hit my brother with it. She never did but it was still terrifying. 

It would’ve been so cool to be a mom back in the 70’s and 80’s. Moms back then had feathered hair, drank Tab, and drove giant cars. You didn’t disrespect mom. My mom could shut us up with just a look and had the reflexes of a cat. She was like Wonder Woman. She alone was our seatbelt. My kids will never experience the terror of their mom stiff arming them across the chest when she slammed on the brakes to prevent a collision. Somehow she thought she could protect us from certain injury with just her arm, and she did. Imagine the brake power it took to stop a 40-foot powder blue Oldesmobile from rear ending the Buick in front of them. Luckily we didn’t have A/C so we’d stick to the dark blue pleather seats.  That and my mom’s forearm saved my life on many occasions. If I did that my kid would end up with a smartphone down her throat and my plastic car would be ready for recycling. 

I think the alternating threats of violence and fierce protection from harm is how my parents raised four pretty decent kids. I’m not sure that would fly today but seriously we were too scared to mess up and it worked. There wasn’t such a thing as “Use your words”. We shut the heck up. Yeah,  I like being a mom in today’s world just fine but I sure would’ve liked it better back then. 

The Joys of Fortyhood

Ah the joys of forty! And by joys I mean crap that happens to me since I turned forty. No joy. At all. Not only does sneezing make me pee a little, I swear a really good one makes my hair grow just enough to show gray. Seriously?  I already have to dye my hair every two weeks at which time I, A. Look like Dracula for a week with my black stained skin hairline, and 2. My hair is about fried to the point of no return. Mrs. Frizzle coming at you, right here. Another joy of fortyhood is the backwards compliments I get pretty much daily. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take a compliment any way I can get one but sometimes I can’t believe my ears. It was bad enough when my Little asked me if a cobbler made my shoes when I was little. Just this week alone I had a teenager ask me how old I am and then his mouth dropped when I told him. He said he was shocked that I am so old! Whoa pump the brakes buddy, I’m not quite circling the drain yet. I also had a guy tell me I’m the best hygienist he’s ever had because I’m so cool and do the best job on his teeth. Just as I had a huge smile on my face and was about to thank him, he added that I’m probably so good because I’m older so I know what I’m doing. Wait, what? My face slowly fell. Even my newly injected Botox couldn’t hide my expression. Check please! 

One perk of being forty is that I rarely ever get carded when I buy alcohol. However I rarely buy alcohol since one drink makes me go to sleep by 7pm. Thanks 40!  I know how to fill out a postcard, use a pay phone, and who Phil Donahue is. I have 6 Cabbage Patch Dolls and still know all of their names and birthdays. I love you Mavis Marcia with your red cornsilk hair and your heavenly smell. I will never forget the stench of jelly shoes or the pain of skinned toes from running in Flojos, tripping and having them end up half way up my calf. I can still beat the last dragon in the Legend of Zelda, original Nintendo thank you very much, and I can replay the sound the dial-up internet made while connecting in my head perfectly. Dang it get off the phone I’m trying to check my email!  Commodore 64, AOL,You got mail, floppy disks that were actually floppy, and spiral phone cords long enough to reach around the corner and give me privacy. These are the things that built me. 

I’m not ashamed of my age. I’m embracing it. I wouldn’t want to do anything differently because I wouldn’t be who am. I loved growing up in the 80’s and 90’s. I’m really not that different than I was back then. I have just added fake boobs and a mortgage and just so happen to have a big night planned tonight.  I’m off to throw a casserole in the oven, switch laundry, dye my roots, and watch my shows. Life is good. Who wouldn’t want to be me?

What’s for Dinner?

There are a few for sures when you are an Italian mother.  Hair, and lots of it, a rather large nose, talking violently with your hands, and the amazing ability to cook. I am a solid 3 out of those 4 but frequently question if I can truly claim my heritage.  I definitely have the ability to grow hair like nobody’s business.  On command, instantly.  I can grow a more successful mustache than my non-Italian husband and the one day I skipped shaving my legs, a 3 year old pointed at me and told his mom he saw Chewbacca.  Big nose? Definitely. Talking with my hands? Absolutely.  I can have an entire conversation with my hands including emojis without saying a word.  The one area I fail in is cooking.  Miserably.  When people find out that I am Italian they usually make a comment about how I must be able to cook great spaghetti sauce.  I can open a jar, I can work the microwave.  We don’t starve. 

Unfortunately, my kids are always hungry.  Like every day at the most inconvenient times like when I am playing games on my phone (and they know that candy can’t crush itself) or just get in the car to go somewhere. Since my purse is the family trash bin, at any given time I can put together an entire meal with what I find in the bottom of my purse.  I am resourceful.  I am also pretty sure that Chex mix was invented by some busy mom that forgot to pack snacks and dumped out her purse into a Ziplock baggie.  Trail mix was invented by a slightly healthier mom.  It’s all good.  A little fuzz never hurt anyone and if they find something like a paper clip or a hair tie it’s a bonus prize like in a Cracker Jack box. 

What I don’t understand is why everyone has to know what we are having for dinner hours prior to dinner time.  Will it change the course of their day?  Will knowing that we are having pizza rather than meatloaf make for a better day? They already know I am not a good cook.  Maybe they are planning how much they need to eat throughout the day so they won’t need to eat my cooking? Do they even care or is it an automatic reflex when they see me? Whatever reasons they have don’t really matter. As long as the world keeps turning, every day kids will ask “What’s for dinner?” whether they actually want to know or not and moms will be scrambling to figure it out.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper-1, Me-0

April 11, 2018

Today started out OK, busy at work but it made the day fly by. I was tired but no more than I have been for the last 18 years so I decided on my way home that instead of taking a nap when I got there, which was my first choice, I would get all of the house cleaning done and dinner made before succumbing to the chloroform I swear is in the fabric of our couch. I made a quick stop at Albertson’s since coffee creamer is on the Fab 5. I grabbed 5 bottles (yay they have peppermint mocha but I might need to check the expiration date), some Oreos, and then a bunch of bananas to make me look like a good mom. I used the coupon that I got last time for creamer that spits out of the register only after you have just bought some, gave the bagger the Dollar Tree reusable bags I brought with me, put in my debit card number and was out the door. I got home and put away the creamers, bananas, and the half empty package of Oreos and set out to tackle some laundry. I needed to take the 4” memory foam mattress topper off of our bed and put it back in the box to return to Target-darn you Redcard. So, I tore off the blankets and sheets and shoved them in the washer with a Kirkland brand detergent pod without even the slightest urge to eat it. I reluctantly slinked back to our bedroom knowing that I would have to go one-on-one with the memory foam since taking it out of the box was no picnic. Let’s back this up a bit. A few weeks ago I thought it was a good idea to buy a memory foam mattress topper for our bed since our mattress is not very old but unfortunately not very comfortable. I really don’t want to spend a small fortune on a new mattress yet so I went on My Target app and saw that foam toppers were on sale. I read a bunch of reviews, found one that had a bunch of stars filled in and clicked purchase. I bought a king sized 4” memory foam topper. I couldn’t wait for it to arrive! A few days later a small box arrived just inside our gate. I had also ordered some screen protectors for our phones so I assumed that the box contained them. I picked up the box and it was really heavy, 34 pounds actually. I muscled the box into the house and opened it in the living room. The memory foam topper shot out of the box like a rocket and opened to its full width of a king sized bed and height of 4” which threw me against the wall. Stunned, I checked for injuries and stood in disbelief at what had just happened. Not to be discouraged, I folded it in half and pulled it into my bedroom like a giant, really heavy taco. I was still excited to see how this was going to fix my mattress. I took off the mattress cover and struggled the topper onto the bed. I think I mentioned it was heavy. Our current mattress is already pretty high so the topper added another 4” plus the mattress cover, sheets, and the 50 blankets we use left me just inline with the height of the light switch on the wall when I laid on top. Perfect. I waited to see what my husband would say when he got home. He walked in our room and sat in the chair that is next to the bed. I could only see the top of his head from where I was laying way on top of the bed, but I could tell it was slowly shaking side to side. He thinks I’m crazy. I assured him that although it may look ridiculous it was going to be so comfortable and we would finally get good sleep! Well, it didn’t work out so well. It’s really hard to roll over since it is so thick we get stuck, like really stuck, and I’m pretty dehydrated since I don’t want to risk having to pee in the middle of the night because having to get a running start to jump back into bed wakes me up and I can’t fall back to sleep. So I’m returning it. I kept the tiny box that it came in just in case it didn’t work out. I spent a good half hour trying to get it in the box. I burned off most of the Oreos I ate in my attempts and had sweat running down my back. I rolled it up like a sleeping bag and tried to squeeze it into the box. Too big. I folded it in squares and jumped on it to squish it down. It pushed me backwards. Luckily my latest attempt with Nutrisystem was a bust because I needed every pound I had as I straddled it in an effort to keep it squished down to the size of the box. Apparently it has a really good memory because it kept reverting back to a giant menacing square. I never did get it back into the box and I want to meet the person who originally did. I will buy that person a beer and swap stories about our adventures with the memory foam topper. Good times. Currently it’s in my room half on the bed, half up the wall with the now-flattened cardboard box under it. I closed the door to the bedroom and posted a sign to enter at your own risk. That thing has problems. Either my husband nd will deal with it or I will post it for free on Craigslist. For now, I’m off to buy a new mattress.

Embrace the Outtakes

A491BF26-E349-4F97-9833-0D16A2577871December 11, 2017

Embrace the outtakes. Yesterday we took our annual family pictures. With a whopping total of 202 pictures taken there are exactly 4 that are decent. FOUR. Only one of those was a whole-family picture and clearly required help from a higher power since it was taken at church. For those of you that have salvaged more than that I applaud you. If you have more than two kids you deserve public recognition, maybe a monument. Family picture day is the worst. 
Instantly my kids became wild animals. It was like herding feral cats. In most of the pictures I look like I am in pain and my static filled hair is plastered to my face. I guess I haven’t perfected threatening my kids while smiling, seriously I’m not a ventriloquist. I kept thinking, “What is with this weather and who are these primates calling me mom?”
Here’s some of the dialogue from this experience-“Don’t touch me”…“Omg, open your eyes”…“I’m starving”… “Get the dog out of the pool”…“Don’t get my fat arms in the picture” (that was me)…“Stop crying-there better not be tears in these pictures”…“Who smiles like that?”… “Take off your sunglasses”… “Seriously, what is wrong with you?”…and my personal favorite, “Hey Mom! You look pregnant!” Good times.
So, I decided just to post the outtakes. Why not? Everyone posts the best ones. I’d rather post the ones that shows our true selves. We are funny and messy, sassy and obnoxious. We are real. For better or worse-We are The Tart’s.
Merry Christmas from our perfectly imperfect family to yours.

1st Week of School vs. 8th Week of School

September 5, 2012

In honor of the first week of school I have thought about this time of year and realized why it’s called “Fall”. Everything starts out perfect and slowly starts to decline. First week of school vs. Eighth week of school.

For the first week they have all new clothes which are ironed, matching, and with new shoes. By the eighth week the same clothes are worn to donation status and all pants are now high waters. What the heck? It hasn’t even been cold yet. Nothing seems to match anymore and missing buttons on shorts renders them a total loss. Should be claimable on Homeowner’s? Holes in shoes, both feet.

During the first week Mom gets up early to make breakfast because after all it’s the most important meal of the day. By the eighth week, Dad is microwaving bean and cheese burritos.

First week-New backpacks! Eighth week-Broken zipper with a zip tie and some duct tape. The character backpacks are about as sturdy as a Walmart bag which replaces the backpack all together by the end of the year.

First week, hair is done every morning by Mom. Eighth week Dad does hair, AKA bed head with a bow. Oh yes and week one there are lots of hair accessories which are lost forever by week 4 or so. The pack of 1000 bobby pins is down to 4.

In the first week there are healthy lunches brought to school packed the night before in a new lunchbox. By the eight week it’s Skittles and a package of Top Ramen in a paper bag since the lunchbox resembles a petrie dish. When the lunch is forgotten at home, it’s a frantic scavenge of car seats while in the carpool line at school trying to simultaneously count out $1.90 for a school lunch in nickels and lint, and not hit the poor crossing guard.

I am sure that there are lots of other things to bring up. But now I am tired and since it is still the first week of school I have to get up extra early so that all of my kids look and feel their best tomorrow morning! I decided that the first week of school is like a New Year’s resolution without the stress of trying to lose weight. Happy Back to School everyone!

Road Trip

July 24, 2018
We just got back home from a 12 day, 5000 mile road trip. One that 6 months ago my entire family nagged me to let us fly instead of drive. Let’s face it, we are so busy that I don’t get to actually spend much time with my kids so I was looking forward to some quality time on the road with them. We went on this trip to watch one of my 6 nephews get married. When my sister told me he was getting married I almost told her no way. How could this be happening? This is the little boy who thought we was Harry Potter but couldn’t pronounce his Rs so called himself Ha-We and once answered on his homework that milk came from the store instead of from cows. They moved when he was young so that’s how I always picture him. Now I watched him get married. I wanted to tell him “Congraduwations” and almost looked for the Sharpied lighting bolt scar on his forehead. How can a boy who will always be an 8 year old to me get married?

So while the rest of my Facebook friends were vacationing in Hawaii, Costa Rica, Italy, and other exotic places, were were road tripping to Kentucky. To make it more exciting, we planned to head to Iowa for a week after. Giddy up. On the road when I swiped though my social media I saw pictures of my friend’s views out of airplane windows and videos of zip lining through the jungle while I was stuck in a car that smelled like feet and milk farts for days.

I didn’t want to take extra time off of work which meant we’d have to pull an all nighter to get there on time. I don’t see what the problem is with that. I sleep just fine in the car while my husband drives through the wee hours. We set off on our trip driving through the night like we were on the run. My husband asked me to drive around 2am to which I responded yes and then instantly fell asleep for 2 hours. He loves me and I don’t know why.

Driving 30 hours straight is not without adventure. Every stop involved bladder busting sodas, $5 candy, salty heart attack inducing snacks, and a fly in the car. I was happy with my cheese and beef jerky being that I’ve sworn off sugar for the time being. I held cheese like it was a candy bar and bit right off the brick. I also drank a ton of water, and continuously needed to pee, like immediately, and sometimes we had to stop places you only see on an episode of Cops. Especially in the Ozarks at an all-night mini mart. As soon as we parked, swamp people came dragging out of the woods like the Thriller video. I ran into the bathroom before I peed my pants while my son was busy asking a lady with “Die” tattooed on her left knuckles and “Death” on her right which was spelled “Deaf” where the best place around there to go Noodling was. I figured the tattoo artist misunderstood her being that she was missing every third tooth. I had to decide whether I would protect my son or use the bathroom and clearly I chose not to pee my pants. The bathroom wall had peep holes drilled in them in surprisingly conspicuous places so I just did a small finger wave toward the hole at the creep that was for sure watching me. At this point I didn’t even care. We loaded up on our junk food and got back in the car as a 60 year old Eminem look-alike walked out of the mini mart, ripped his shirt off then took a Kiss mask out from his butt crack and put it on. He swaggered over to his car which looked like it was recently in a demolition derby, windshield shattered, and sped off with his head stuck out the window like Ace Ventura. I decided that a dental hygienist’s job there must be cake being that the whole town put together might have enough teeth for a full set.

We arrived in Kentucky just in time to shower and change. I successfully removed the half eaten lollipop stuck in my hair and rogue french fry from my bra which was a mystery since I didn’t eat any. It is extremely humid there so my hair was on point to make Weezey Jefferson jealous. I painted the girls nails and toes while driving so they looked like a 3 year old was offering mani-pedis. We were tired and wrinkled but we were there. On time.

After a few days in Kentucky we headed to Iowa. There we had adventures with mosquitos big enough to put a collar on and a near miss with a tornado. I’ll take earthquakes and rattlesnakes any day compared to that. As my friend and I drove towards the low hanging black swirling clouds an emergency alert rang out of her phone so loud I jumped in my seat and hit my head on the ceiling of her car. I looked over to see her reaction to the alert and she just shrugged and said “Eh, it’s fine”. Like this happens all of the time. Since my only experience with a tornado is watching the movie Twister I was looking around her car for something to use to tie myself to a pole. I was ready to jump out of her moving car any minute with my purse strap fastened around my waist. Luckily, we ended up turning away and headed home shortly after.

The rest of the trip was relaxing and uneventful. We laughed a lot and made great memories. I’d do it all over again to spend that time with my family. It’s always a good time when the Tart’s go on an adventure and I can’t wait until the next one.