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It’s my Birthday.

I’m 44 today. Sometimes I fall off of the earth for a while but always make it back. I think it’s good to do that once in a while. I’m genuine and kind. I’m realistic and can’t handle drama. It makes me nervous.

I have expensive purses but wear a backpack from Target instead. I have good kids, well they aren’t felons, and I wear $6 sunglasses. I’m a very loyal friend and I have a work ethic we don’t see much anymore. I married my high school sweetheart and I still love him to pieces even though we are complete opposites and I want to kill him when he snores. I go to church. I go to bed really early. I do laundry every day and never sort it first. Occasionally I drop F-bombs but mostly I say things that sound like real curse words, but aren’t.

I have wrinkles and cellulite. I don’t know how to use filters but somehow my phone does and I’m grateful. I like to write but found people don’t like to read anymore so occasionally I make a funny meme and post it. I’d love to make some kind of living through my writing someday. I always wanted to be an anesthesiologist or a writer and stand-up comedian but decided to clean teeth instead. I believe in working hard for what I have or I don’t want it. I love my job and I’m really good at it.

On the day I die I’ll complain that I need to lose 10 pounds. I love animals and when I talk to them, I speak in a language that even I don’t understand. I don’t have a lot of friends (on purpose) but I cherish the few I have. I have no sense of direction and a really clean microwave.

One of my longtime friends told me that social media is just the highlight reel of people’s lives and she was right. Once you realize that life is easier.

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 just couldn’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.

East Coast Road Trip

We picked up the cats this weekend. Cats with an “s” like as in more than one. I definitely pictured them running to me in slow motion when they first saw me after missing me for so many weeks but they could’ve cared less. Typical cats. Originally we decided we’d have 2 kids, one boy, one girl, 2 pets, a dog and a cat, and a house that looks like one you drew in kindergarten. Square on the bottom with a triangle top, 2 windows with four panes in each one on either side of the door that was way too big for the house if it were actually to scale. A lot of years went by and things aren’t exactly how we planned. Somehow we ended up with a third kid (another girl) and an extra cat (another boy). If you’d asked me twenty years ago what I’d be doing today I doubt I’d say driving 11 hours home from picking up my 2 cats that my sister has been fostering for 6 weeks. Ok back story. Last year when the world hung up it’s closed sign, we started seriously thinking about moving out of California. I was laid off, my husband was working from home and we had time to think. Don’t get me wrong, I spent the first 2 weeks of the Corona sitting on the couch eating Oreos, watching Tiger King, walking the dog at least 3 times a day, and not really thinking about anything. Who didn’t? After that we realized we needed a change. Things were getting weirder and more difficult every day. Fast forward to late March this year. We drove across the country with everything we owned that we didn’t get rid of in a motorhome with a kid, a large white dog, and 2 cats. We stopped in Kentucky and dropped off the cats with my sister to stay until we could find a house in our new state. Since they were done terrorizing my sister’s neighborhood, we set out on Friday to go get them. Road trips on the right side of the country are way different than the ones we are used to on the left. My husband still yells at other drivers even though they can’t hear him, “Where are you going, Stupid?” and he still quizzes the kids on the state capitals the entire time. Connecticut’s is Hartford. A huge hot damn and hallelujah that he forgot his harmonica this trip. Everything else about driving on this coast is different. For example, leaving San Diego and driving east consists of hours, days, miles of sand. That’s right, sand. Sand and weird smells. Billboards advertise for lawyers that can help you get out of Mexico jail if indeed tequila did make your clothes fall off or for a south of the border dentist if you need a root canal for $6. That goes on for like ever and then you get to where you are going. By then you have a dirty car, you’ve stopped to buy alien jerky, you got a ticket in Gila Bend, AZ, and you finally purchased gas for less than a week’s wages per gallon. East coast road tripping is totally different. On our drive from North Carolina to Kentucky and back we’ve seen about a billion trees, a few hundred lakes and rivers, enough Cracker Barrel’s to last a lifetime and most of the names of the towns end in “ville”. We passed the World’s largest knife store but I’m not sure if they have a ton of knives or one really big knife. One billboard dared us to go to Rock City, no thanks, and another told us to say no to pornography. Noted. We saw 13 billboards that said that Jesus loves us and just as many for an adult bookstore. We bought something called “Sweeter Tea” but threw it out when we read that it provides 137% of daily sugar allowance and we got boiled peanuts but I refuse to eat those soggy things. Gross. Gas is under $3 a gallon and everyone is polite. We definitely love to travel by car. Lots of laughs, junk food, and memories made. By the time we get home we will have put more miles in on road trips this last year than most people do in a lifetime. We love to travel but now I think it’s time to stay home for a bit.

Just another day at the DMV

I went to the DMV again today. Last time I went was 6 weeks ago when we moved to North Carolina. That day I woke up before the sun and made sure I had all of the paperwork I needed. I brought everything from my passport to my secret family recipe for Italian marinara sauce. If they needed proof of who I was, that was it. That day I went after spending 2 hours on my hair, getting a spray tan 2 days earlier, and 2 weeks after some fresh Botox. I was ready for my drivers license picture. I looked good. That day I showed up to an empty parking lot at the DMV and thought I had won the lottery. That day I was turned away at the door by an official North Carolina DMV employee wearing his uniform shirt stretched to the max showing his thinning white T-shirt underneath between each button and a neck tie the size of the one my son wore to his preschool graduation. He wouldn’t let me in. I didn’t have an appointment and that was a no-no according to the governor. But there was no one there. But I was ready for my headshot. I looked good, remember? No bueno. I went back to my car and typed in a DMV website called skipthelineNC into my phone and made an appointment for today. My lucky day. Today I got up 30 minutes before my appointment, I had a 23 minute drive. Today I forgot my passport and recipe but had my old license and found my new NC car insurance info stuffed into my glove box. It would have to do. Today I looked tired and pale, my hair was growing by the minute in the humidity. I haven’t dyed it lately. Today I showed up on time, sort of. The parking lot was full. I mean not one open spot. The line was wrapped halfway around the outside of the building. I parked in front of a dumpster and ignored the sign warning me not to. Anyone that saw my hair would know not to question my decisions today. I hustled to the front of the line since, you know, I had an appointment even though I was a teensy bit late. I was directed to go to the back of the line and wait with all of the other people in line that also had an appointment. Why was the website literally titled “skip the line”? My hair and I trudged to the back of the line and waited. And waited. 45 minutes later we reached the door. Once inside we waited some more and then were given the number A192. The current number on the screen being helped was A188. Then they called A196 then A197. The lady next to me was holding A180. The system was weird. Eventually my number was called and I went to counter number 3. I told the lady I used to live here so she looked me up and verified my information from before. Did I still have brown eyes? Uh yah. Brown hair? Sort of. I stopped her before she told me what my weight was. I told her that I didn’t want to know. That was 18 years ago. A lifetime, plus I thought I was fat then and I’m way bigger now. I had another baby. I haven’t run in a few years, Takis were invented since then. She waited until I stopped talking before patiently telling me that they don’t include weight on driver’s licenses anymore. I told her well that’s just fine it doesn’t really matter to me anyway. Clearly. She took my picture, a close up so my hair in it’s entirety wasn’t included, printed out a temporary copy and sent me on my way. I’m sure she was happy to see me go. On my way out I heard A164 being called. I shook my giant hair and thought, it’s just another day at the DMV.

Letting Go.

I don’t think you can every fully prepare yourself for when your kids leave the house. It’s our second one. It should be easier but it isn’t. My son was different. I knew he’d say goodbye when we dropped him off at college and never look back. He did that the first day of kindergarten at 4 years-old. Why would he be any different at 17? He wasn’t. I was sad then knowing that he’d most likely never live at home again. Three years later and I think there are more sightings of Sasquatch then there are of him. I miss him.

Dropping our daughter off yesterday was hard. We raised all of our kids the same but they are so different from each other. She’s 18 but it seems like yesterday she was a 3 pound preemie that I held in the palm of my hand. I miss her already. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to let her go yet. Did we prepare her enough to be on her own? I read a blog post from a mom giving advice to her daughter as she left for college and got to thinking about what I would say to mine when it was time to say goodbye

Get in a routine. Floss. Always know how to get home from wherever you are. Bring a sweater to class. Empty the water from the steamer after you use it. Pray. Float the river before it gets too cold. Look for the good in people. Call your mom. Study hard but make time for fun. Be the designated driver. Don’t try to pet the geese on campus. Remember who you are and what you believe in. Charge your phone. Nothing good happens after midnight. Check on your little sister every once in a while. Locals pronounce Boise, Boy-See. The dollar menu is your new best friend. Stay true to your values. Don’t wear flip-flops when it’s icy. Don’t watch a scary movie before bed. Carry your Hydroflask everywhere you go in case you are thirsty or need to break someone’s knees. Sonic has the best ice. Check your oil. Remember that we are always here for you. Most importantly, enjoy these years, they will fly by.

The 24th Anniversary is Probably Top Ramen

The 24th anniversary isn’t a milestone, maybe it’s the Top Ramen anniversary, who knows. Sometimes that’s all we had in the pantry and other times there was steak on the grill. All I know is almost a quarter of a century ago we began an adventure and had no idea what we were doing. Maybe we still don’t. We were babies. We moved across the country and lived the military life in Virginia, then moved to North Carolina and Georgia before returning to California. The Navy was good to us, God has been even better. We both have almost died more than once which makes for good stories I wish we weren’t able to tell. We have 3 pretty cool kids that I hope haven’t been distracted too much by the crazy world we live in. We’ve traveled, worked hard, and laughed a lot. Maybe too much. We are probably offensive to some, but we are OK with that. It’s who we are. We’ve hiked the Grand Canyon and explored parts of islands where pirates once hid, but mostly we just stay home. We have nothing and everything in common. We are both a lot. We are crazy and we love each other. It works. Life is a beautiful ride and the occasional flat tire just adds to the adventure. Cheers to forever my Love!

Stay at Home Day Whatever

Body by Oreo and long dog walks. I’ll either be ready for a marathon or My 600lb Life at the end of this. Only time will tell. I run a lot. I eat a lot. I’ve been a faithful ketoer but lately have been cheating too much and having to start over frequently. Either way, any picture taken during these times can eventually be used as a “before” picture. I don’t take the seriousness of the situation lightly. I just cope with humor. We have food, our health, and more time together than we’ve had in years. My dog thinks he won the lottery. My cat wants to move out. My son is home from college which is a rarity and I’m trying to convince him to stay all quarter. Not with my cooking though, because that still sucks. He’s a super-slob but, deep breath, I’m learning to let it go. The only time I can turn off my phone at night is when all of my kids are home and it feels so good! My kids are happy and learning life skills daily. Yesterday they learned to weld and address and stamp a letter. A few days ago they changed the shocks on a car and baked cupcakes although my son put pulled pork in the middle of one of them. I had to tell him that it wasn’t a keto cupcake, he called it a meatcake. He’s weird. Being out of work is scary and depressing. I miss my co-workers and my patients but I’ll never get this time with my kids again. We are healthy, we are the lucky ones. So TGIF, or whatever. No one cares.

Quarantine and Chill

I decided to have a dinner party tonight. No one is invited. I’ll bring out the good dishes, which are gently used paper plates, and whatever utensils are clean. I can’t find any spoons so I won’t be serving soup. Also, I don’t have any soup. No one does. The kitchen table is covered with board games and a half completed 1000 piece puzzle so we will be eating standing up leaning against the walls. The floor is scattered with tossed Monopoly game pieces after a particularly intense game last night, so watch your step, the Scotty dog has sharp edges. I still haven’t decided what to cook for dinner and will be selecting what ingredients I have left at random, setting a timer and seeing what I come up with, just like an episode of Chopped. Bring Tums. I’ve made slightly expired cupcakes for dessert and you can save the wrapper should you need to use the bathroom since we are out of toilet paper. Don’t mind the mess. I actually clean every day but it doesn’t matter. The mess comes back doubled. My iRobot quit and I’m thinking of going with him. Also, the house smells a bit like boredom and adolescence but I have my candles working overtime to try and combat the stink. In an effort to look my best tonight to impress no one, I decided to dye my hair. Since it has been so long, I had to dunk my whole head in a vat of dye like I was bobbing for apples. My hairline looks like Dracula now but no grays, so that’s a win. I’m also planning on wearing my “good sweats” and possibly a bra. I’m so excited to have something to look forward too as I have already watched too many disturbing documentaries on Netflix and every episode of The Golden Girls twice. Oh that Blanche just kills me. It’s going to be a great time. Please RSVP with how many of you will not be coming to the party, so I can plan accordingly. I can’t wait to not see everyone!

DietBet

I’m currently in a DietBet. It’s an app, you can look it up later. So for this bet I pledged $25 to lose 4 percent of my body weight in 4 weeks, with weigh-in being today. Everyone that chose this same bet put their money in a pot. If I lose the weight I get my money back plus I get to split the money from the people that couldn’t lose the weight. Losers. Easy right?  Totally. I’ve done this a bunch of times. The one catch is that you can’t lose too much weight or you won’t get your money back because DietBet encourages you to lose the weight in a healthy way and blah blah blah. For the last 4 weeks I’ve been really good and was actually a little underweight. Until this morning. Dang if I wasn’t 3 pounds more than I was last night. TMI coming your way. Seriously just scroll on unless you want to hear about my morning that you will most likely regret reading about. So here goes, don’t say I didn’t warn you. I didn’t want to lose my money and I totally wanted to take a piece of the Losers money too so I had to figure out how to cut 3 pounds quickly. I found some 12 year old suppositories that I must’ve gotten after my last c-section. Perfect. I used one and whoa that’s gross and waited to see what would happen. I thought it was so old it probably wouldn’t work. Well it did. I spent hours on the toilet. Stuff I ate in the 90’s came out of me. I cancelled plans that I have 2 weeks from now because I’m not sure how this will play out. Long story short, yes I lost the weight I needed to lose, no I won’t be leaving the house anytime soon.  I felt a little bit like a cheater but seriously I’ve worked so hard over the last month. I deserved to win this bet. It was worth the pain. I finally opened the app to log in my weight and the jokes on me since I don’t have to weigh-in until Tuesday. Awesome. 

Mom of the Right Now

I’ll never be Mom of the Year which is fine because it seems like a lot of work and pretty much impossible since at the moment I don’t even know where two of my three kids are. I’d rather be known as Mom of the Right Now.  I’m not the wait in line for 2 days and throat punch someone to get the last Tickle-Me-Elmo kind of mom but I have held a funeral for a bearded dragon and spent an entire night walking around outside searching for a missing cat. I’ve chased down runaway baby chicks with a pool net while the mama chicken tried to kill me and been knocked off of my feet by a baseball to the head while playing catch. I’ve been to the ER, the scene of a roll-over car accident my son was in, also watched him ride a bull, and relocated a 3 year olds Nurse Maids elbow, without freaking out. I might not have a home cooked meal on the table each night but my family never goes hungry. Neither have the horses, pigs, chickens, turkeys, dogs, cats, and reptiles that have lived at our house. I can mod podge stuff and paint foam balls to make them look like planets, at midnight. I’ve been a Girl Scout Leader and the Cookie Mom and don’t even get me started on all of the time I volunteered on the PTA. For years my weekends have been consumed by sports and driving endless miles at the crack of dawn to get to events. I might have permanent marks from metal bleacher seats and irreversible skin damage to prove it.  I’ve watched numerous school plays, dance recitals, tennis matches, baseball games, and karate classes. Traveled miles, once by airplane, to water polo, soccer, and softball tournaments, and sat through hours of blistering hot swim meets just to watch my kids swim for about a minute.  I’ve done my share of snack bar shifts, fundraisers, carpools, and team mom duty all while keeping a full-time job, and I’ve loved every minute of it.  There are so many single moments of mom greatness in the relatively short time that our kids are actually young that go unnoticed. I can’t say that I’m a great mom all year long but I am great Right Now a lot. Yeah, I totally mom the heck out of the Right Now.

My Son’s Apartment

My son isn’t coming home from college for the summer so we decided to take a trip to see him and bring home anything he wouldn’t need for the next few months.  He lives in an apartment on campus and will have to move out in a few weeks once the spring quarter is over.  Since he has a car this year, we didn’t move him in like we did when he was a freshman and lived in the dorms.  This was our first time seeing his apartment.  The building is pretty new and looks like any other apartment complex except there are signs in the elevator teaching them how to deal with a pesky roommate, signs in the hallway about what to do if your friend is super drunk, and a billboard outside the laundry room reminding them about the dangers of chlamydia.  My son is kind of messy but I hadn’t really worried about him this year because the apartment was expensive but worth it. The laundry is free and they have a housekeeper come in regularly. How bad could it be? I walked into his 4th floor apartment that he shares with 3 other guys and stopped in my tracks.  The units are set up like this. There are 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with a small kitchen and living area. The front door leads right into the kitchen. At this point I had only seen the kitchen, which left me stunned in disbelief.  I thought for sure I would get pink eye. At the very least I had the creeps. The place was gross.  Period. I had a look of horror on my face that I was afraid might become permanent if I stayed in there too long. I turned to look at my husband with my eyes wide and my mouth dropped open. I was speechless. He just shook his head.  The sink was full of dirty dishes. The counters permeated with dried food and unidentifiable stains. The dish towel was stained and crusty and the dish sponge looked like a petri dish, black and torn in half. I didn’t even open the fridge since I can’t remember when my last tetanus shot was. There were 3 trash cans and a cardboard box making a wall between the kitchen and hallway overflowing with trash. No trash bags. No paper towels, napkins, hand soap or common knowledge about virus prevention.  It was disgusting.  We climbed over Mt. Trashmore to get to the bedrooms. I stopped at the bathroom because I had to go.  I quickly decided that I could hold it, possibly forever, thankful that I had c-sections. The bathroom was worse than the kitchen.   Once again there was an overflowing trash can . There was also a black grocery store hand basket in there full of trash. What? Every bottle of shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, shaving cream, Pringles tin used in the last 9 months was still there, empty.  The bar of soap was dry with cracks in it. There were several balled up towels, a few single socks, a wet suit, a belt, 1 shoe, a pencil, a pair of spurs, and 7 rolls of toilet paper on the floor along with so much hair I thought it was a sleeping poodle. Typical for 2 Italian boys sharing a bathroom. Ew. Wait, how often does the housekeeper come? Every few nevers? My son told me that it was a man and he came in to clean every two weeks.  Oh that makes sense. Have you seen him lately?  Did he get lost and die in here? I could totally see that happening and it would explain the smell. Where is the case of Clorox wipes I sent to you?  From there I turned around and climbed into his bedroom. At this point relieved that I could at least see the furniture.  His bed was piled high with unfolded laundry that he said not to touch because he knows what is clean and what is dirty.  Whatever. The floor was filled with papers, sunflower seeds that spilled, and other random things like a giant spatula, 8’ PVC pipes-6 of them, that when I accidentally stepped on them rolled me forward like a conveyor belt, and a broken pool umbrella.  He had a black trash bag full of snacks under his bed that he pulled out and told his sisters to close their eyes and reach inside and grab something.  Only my Little was brave enough to do it since she thinks her brother hung the moon and the stars.  She reached in and pulled out a smashed package of Little Debbie’s Christmas tree cakes. I smacked it out of her hands since it was the end of May and I didn’t want her eating them. He called it his surprise snack bag since you never know what you will get out of it.  Food poisoning.  That is what you’ll get.  I threw the entire bag out into the hallway. It’s last stop before the dumpster. The only clean thing I saw in that whole apartment was the vacuum. I turned it over to check the rollers fearing they had sucked up who knows what in it when I discovered that it was brand new and never been used. Figures. After four loads of laundry, washing both clean and dirty stuff because let’s face it, it all stunk, 2 giant bags of trash from his room and a lot of complaining by me, we were done. Our car was loaded with all of the stuff he wouldn’t need and honestly would never see again once I took it. He’ll forget about it. This isn’t my first rodeo, I’m a mom so I’m good at making stuff disappear and denying it later. We said our goodbyes and headed back down the coast for the dreaded drive back to SoCal. I needed a mani/pedi and therapy. It’s been 2 weeks since our trip to see him. Surely by now his room is a pit again.