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.

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.

Car Wash

My son has been home from college a few times this year but we hadn’t been up to see him at all.  So when he sent me a picture of cows thinking his car is a Tic Tac, I thought we better take a trip to do a welfare check on him. We set out early on a Saturday morning to go see him and found out on our way that he needed to be at a rodeo about an hour and a half from campus that night. Since he said his clutch was giving him “a little trouble”, I told him he could take my car once we got there.  We arrived later than we planned because we spent 3 extra hours crawling up the coast of California making our filthy lying Google maps estimate of a 5 ½ hour trip into 8 ½ hours. I have no love lost on the 405, I can tell you that. He was close to being late for the rodeo, so when we got there he kissed me on the cheek, threw his keys at me, yelled over his shoulder not to judge him, and sped off in my shiny new SUV.  Judge him? I turned to find his car and took a minute to locate it.  All I saw was a filthy little maybe white car that couldn’t possibly be his.  I walked closer and yep it was his. That’s what he meant.  Oh I judged him all right.  I opened the door and not only does his car resemble a roller skate, they both smell the same on the inside.  We bought him a tiny car since we know if it were any bigger he’d live in it and thought for sure he can’t mess it up too much since there’s nothing to it.  I get it since he works on two different ranches and rides bulls and living in an apartment keeps his gear in there, but seriously?  The entire car was full of mud with bugs on the grill from who knows how long that were now forever part of the paint. The picture of the cows was accurate.  There were lick marks on all of the windows and the entire windshield.  How in the heck did he even see out of it?  My Middle and I decided to take it straight to a car wash, then head over to my son’s apartment to check it out after. I had to go back a few years to remember how to drive a stick and quickly realized that “a little trouble” with the clutch meant that 1st gear was gone all together.  Not to be discouraged, we bumbled off in 2nd.  We hit the nearest gas station with a car wash and filled up his tank, which is about the size of a Gatorade, and selected the deluxe car wash.  When we came out of the car wash machine I got out to see how well it worked.  It didn’t.  I thought that maybe the car is so small that the machine only reached the top and the sides, which were only marginally cleaner, since the rollers never really touched the front or the back. I went in to ask the attendant if I could run it through again for free since it was still pretty gross.  He didn’t believe me that a car could be too small to get cleaned, but since he didn’t even bother getting off of his high stool behind the counter to look at the car, I wasn’t backing down.  Look Carl, I am stuck in a smelly car and can’t roll down the windows while it’s being washed.  I just drove 8 ½ hours to get here, through LA mind you, and I am hungry and I have to pee. That was all irrelevant at this point but I think it helped my case.  I could tell that he didn’t want to deal with me so he gave me another code to use for the car wash and swiveled away from me. It was all a waste of time and money since even the second run through the wash did absolutely nothing. We decided to take it to one of those self-wash places that was 2 miles away, which seems close but required a ride on the highway using only 2nd and 3rd gear.  We got there finally and pulled into a stall.  I put a dollar in the machine giving me one minute. I decided to spend that time first rinsing it down with water before adding foamy soap. I selected the high pressure water option and pulled the trigger.  The pressure was so hard it knocked me off my feet into a puddle and I shot water about 30 feet in the air.  What the heck?  I got up and realized that I couldn’t wash this tiny car with this thing, it will blow it down the street!  I told my Middle to get back in the car hoping that a little extra weight in it will stop the car from moving. At this point I only had about 40 seconds until I needed another dollar so I rushed around rinsing it down.  I kept putting dollars in the machine running around the car cleaning as fast as I could until $15 later when the car was clean and I was sweaty and exhausted.  My hair was at a new level of frizz, pushing my hair tie to the limit and my butt and leg were wet from falling on the ground.  We puttered out of the car wash stall and over to the vacuums.  We vacuumed for $5 worth and weren’t making any progress so I just threw away his floor mats, ordered new ones from Amazon right then and there and called it a day. You can’t win them all. Leaving the car wash, I drove the wrong way down a one-way street. I freaked out, stalled the car, pushed in the clutch to start it and tried ramming it into the non-existent 1st gear before I realized I needed to start out in 2nd. I didn’t think to turn the car around so I did all of this while jerking the car down the road the wrong way, begging Jesus to take the wheel, and passing a highway patrol car as we went.  I just turned to him, gave a small finger wave and shrugged.  I think he could tell by my hair what kind of day I was having and didn’t even mess with me. From there we went back to the hotel to shower and take a nap. I was done.  I had just spent almost as much money on washing my son’s car as I did buying it in the first place and I didn’t have the energy or mental capacity to see what a disaster his apartment was. That adventure was saved for the next day.

Dear California,

Dear California,
I’m writing to you to express my concern about not making Daylight Saving Time permanent. It’s dumb. Here is my argument proving the dumbness of it. Since we “sprung ahead” last weekend, I am a new person. The fact that I am awake and writing this at 8pm is proof enough. Last week I was in my pajamas ready for bed at 5pm, as I was from November until just this week. I even exercised after work today, which in itself, is a miracle. Now I am actually awake and productive for several more hours per day. You know, making hay while the sun shines. My quality of life has improved so much. I don’t feel like I am alone in this and I know that many people would agree with me. It’s hard to live a normal life slinking around in the dark. A few weeks ago my daughter asked me to take her out for frozen yogurt after dinner and I looked at her as if she’d lost her mind. What? It’s dark! I’ve already showered! Are you nuts? Go to bed! It didn’t matter that it was 6:30pm, it seemed like midnight. I feel like I have put up with a lot from you without complaining too much. I pay a lot to live here and quite frankly with the weather you’ve provided in the last few months, you are not holding up your end of the bargain. You haven’t been very good about making decisions about the laws around here so I thought writing to you might help. I don’t know why you have to continue changing the time and ruining our lives every fall, but you need to figure this out. Let’s ixnay changing clocks back for good OK? As of yet, there is no financial gain from controlling our daylight, so let it go. We need our sun. We are not vampires California. They live in Washington.

Sincerely from SoCal,
Amy

The Real ID, My trip to the DMV

I just left the DMV. My license was expiring next month so I decided that when I renewed I’d get the Real ID. From what I’ve heard, once you get the Real ID the government will know your every move, which for someone like me is probably a good thing since I get lost a lot. I mean really who cares? I’m more worried about Siri. Seriously, I dream about something and the next morning my iPhone shows an advertisement for it.

So here’s what happens when you go to the DMV without an appointment. First, you wait in a long line to be directed to the actual line you are supposed to wait in. Then after the second line, you check in and fill out an application with a lot of personal information. I tried to fill it out electronically but I couldn’t figure out the mouse they had. It was a huge ball with buttons all around it so I filled out the paper application instead. Turns out the computer also had a touch screen but I didn’t know that. I had to answer questions like my hair color, weight, and height. My hair color I think is called 4N but I’m not sure why they need to know that. Weight? I thought the weight I had on my current license sounded good, so I just put “same.” I mean do they want my weight with or without shoes? In the morning? What are they asking here? My height is the only question they asked that doesn’t vary almost daily. I finished filling it out and sat down for about 1 minute before my name was called. I was thinking how cool it was that I didn’t have to wait very long. When I went to the window the lady needed clarification about some of my application answers. Seriously? She asked about my hair color and told me I should have put “brown.” Oh. Then she looked at me and looked at my current license and asked if I meant that I weighed the same as 15 years ago when I got my license last. Yes, Janice, that’s what I meant, geez. I sat back down for about a zillion minutes before I finally got called back to another window to finish up. The lady asked for a ton of paperwork proving who I am. I brought everything. Passport, birth certificate, car registration, social security card, several utility bills, marriage license, Costco card, and the results from my latest pap. I think my grocery list was even in there. I was not going to wait there all day just to be told I didn’t have the right stuff and have to come back. I paid the fee and they retook my picture, which is hideous since I wasn’t prepared for it. I didn’t do my hair and I was wearing a shirt that expresses my love for tacos. I don’t think I can even put that picture in my wallet. I don’t want to disrespect Michael Kors like that.

So that was my experience getting the Real ID. We are all supposed to have one by 2020, so I suggest getting it now. Just make an appointment, gather up all of your paperwork, bring hand sanitizer, and you shouldn’t have a problem. In just a few long hours you too can have your Real ID and a virus, just like I do.

It Takes a Neighborhood

It takes a village.  Or at least in my case it took a neighborhood.  Back in the days when I started my day with Mr. Rogers instead of Mr. Coffee, I was fortunate to grow up in a house that resembled Leave it to Beaver.  Dad worked hard and mom stayed home and took care of us and the house, minus the heels and pearls. She was always working while we were outside playing from sun up until the street lights came on and we stayed within earshot of her, or else.  Dinner was always made at home and was served at 6pm.  We played in a giant Pepper tree, used eucalyptus leaves as currency, and had bikes for transportation.  You didn’t need a phone to communicate with us.  The only text message we knew was typing “boobies” on our calculators, and you could find us by seeing which house had a pile of bikes on the lawn.  We had a neighbor that yelled at us whenever we went in her yard, day or night, but all and all, life was easy.

I had a best friend on each side of my house. On one side there was chain-linked fence between our houses.  We started climbing it around 3 years old and stopped the day I got married and left the neighborhood.  Her and I are 10 days apart in age, which I hated that she was older when I was little but am totally cool with now that we are in our 40’s.  Even as a really little kid she had chores to do before playing and I didn’t. I think it was because I am the youngest of 4 and was able to sneak out on chores. She did things like water plants, sweep the pool and wash cars. Every day I waited impatiently for her to get done so we could play, “Ok but Rainbow Brite was hoping to hang out with Teddy Ruxpin so bring him over when you are done.”  

On the other side of my house, on top of a hill, was my other best friend.  She had 6 siblings.  That house always had a lot of people there so adding one more wasn’t a big deal, and they never locked the door.  I used to show up early in the morning and sneak upstairs to wake her up.  Then we’d lie on the floor of her huge family room and watch TV and play board games until everyone else got up.  

All three of us turned out to be successful, hard-working adults and I know that the neighborhood raised us well. I use the lessons I learned as a kid every day raising my own kids.  They know that working hard and having dinner as a family is important, having chores to do as a kid builds adults with integrity, respecting other people’s property is a must, and locking the doors at night is probably a good idea.  

Ice Cream Man!

The 80’s.  The time when a stranger came to your house and offered you ice cream and candy and your parents were cool with it.  Our ice cream man’s name was Danny.  He wore a pinky ring and a short-sleeved button up shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve that he left open to his mid chest.  He had a tattoo of a naked lady on his right arm and wore his dark hair slicked back like Craterface from Grease. We thought he was so cool although looking back, he was probably straight out of prison. 

We would stop what we were doing when we heard the high-pitched jingle of the ice cream truck’s arrival. We’d yell, “ICE CREAM MAN!” and race to find money and catch him even though he drove only about 5 mph. If we missed him as he drove by, we’d wait for when he came back down the road on the other side.  I wasn’t allowed to cross the street so my brother would carry me piggy-backed to the other side so I wouldn’t miss out. We’d impatiently wait in line hopping from one foot to the other trying to avoid burning our bare feet on the hot asphalt as we waited our turn.  I usually got something that had a rock-solid frozen piece of gum in it or a push-up.  It didn’t matter which one I got since it was so hot any ice cream melted all over my dirty hands before I had a chance to finish it. I loved it anyway.

Those were some of my best summer memories although, as a parent, I can’t help wondering what in the world my parents were thinking?  

Cleaning House

My kids hate it when I watch shows like Hoarders and Tidying Up. They know that right after I’ll be on a cleaning rampage and I don’t communicate with our belongings or thank them. I don’t even want to analyze why we have so much stuff. I don’t care. Thanks to Marie Kondo and Gladis the hoarder from Hoboken, I have donated, sold, and trashed most of our stuff. I can host one of those help messy people clean up shows, I totally could. However, I would take it to the next level. I’ll just grab at random items and sling them over my head into a giant pile without much thought. I could do this so easily and the show wouldn’t take up an entire hour. It would be more like 10 minutes. I’ll call it “I’m Throwing Out Your Crap-You don’t need it, it’s gone, get over it.” Tough love. So, hey, if anyone needs help, I’m your girl. 

Go Ask Your Dad!

There are 3 times in a mom’s life that her kids need her the most. When she’s on the toilet, on the phone, and the instant she turns on the vacuum. When my kids were little it was always something urgent like watching a dance that was made up on the spot or listening to a play by play dialogue of the show they just watched for the first time, again. It always starts with “Hey, Mom?” Followed by a question that could be very easily answered by dad but since he’s watching TV, or sleeping, or doing nothing at all, they don’t want to bother him. Of course not. They bust into the bathroom and ask, “Hey, Mom? Can you sign this?”  Go ask Dad! Come on! He has opposable thumbs and has been signing his name since the third grade.  I’m not sure that they understand “parent signature” includes him. Or when I’m on the phone and I finally get through to an actual human after navigating a thousand options and being on hold for 30 minutes, “Hey, Mom? Can you help me with my math homework?” Did you just walk past your dad to come in here? But my favorite is when I’m vacuuming and my kids, who have basically ignored my existence for the entire day, pick that exact moment to ask me a question. I can’t hear you! I swear if I have to turn the vacuum off for this it better be good. The only time the kids ask dad first is when it involves something cool they want to do that they know I will absolutely say no to. Like my son’s latest, “Hey, Dad? What do you think about me bull riding?” Uh, go ask your mom.