May I see your ID Ma’am?

Alright, this trend of having to show ID to buy everyday things is getting a little out of control.

It started with Sudafed, right?  They have to keep that behind the pharmacy counter now because apparently we could go home and cook meth.  But let’s be clear:  If I have a cold that is so bad that I’m willing to stand in line behind ten other sick people, just to ask for cold medicine, then I don’t have the focus, or the energy, to go home and cook Top Ramen, much less illicit drugs.

And I realize that there are all sorts of laws that have to be followed when it comes to selling alcohol, so maybe I’ll get carded if I’m by myself buying wine coolers and Cheetos at the AM/PM.  However, if I’ve been the super market with my kids for an hour, by the time I reach the check out I’m pretty sure I’m looking every single day of my forty-something years.  So yes, when the checker asks for my driver’s license for a nice bottle of wine that I’m buying along with my  asparagus and box of “Nice and Easy extra gray coverage”, I am a bit surprised.  Frankly, what’s even more surprising is that I didn’t just pop that puppy open in aisle twelve when the bickering started over frosted flakes versus cocoa puffs.

At some point I really think we need to allow cashiers to  use their best judgement. Recently, at the home improvement store, I reached the checkout with a bag of potting soil, a dozen plants and a can of spray paint, and I got carded.  “Sorry Ma’am, but asking for ID deters people from buying paint to use for graffiti or huffing.”

Really?  I’m a middle aged housewife, the last thing I tagged was a crock pot for a yard sale.

And huffing?  Seriously?  I have two prepubescent children, I spend 75% of my time cleaning bathrooms and washing socks, if I thought getting high off of toxic smells was an option I’d be walking around giddy all the time.

This really has become ridiculous.

On second thought, maybe wine coolers and Cheetos isn’t such a bad idea…

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Accident at the satay bar

A night out by ourselves in the city, once again proving that Grandmas are the difference between, “Grammy stayed the night and we got to make cookies!!! “, and a call from Child Protective Services about that silly,  “Don’t leave your kids home alone” law….

Anyway, we had made reservations at one of our favorite restaurants, and I had known for days what I was ordering.   Their satay bar is amazing, we have that, wine keeps coming, and all is well.

But Mike wasn’t so into the satay, and the waiter was really upselling the bass, I mean, he was really pushing it. Like he had a quota to fill or something. I’d ask about something and he’d say, “Well, yes, that is lovely too, but the bass, THAT is really amazing.” I finally gave in and ordered the bass, mostly because my wine glass was empty and I really needed the waiter to focus on something else.

“I don’t even really like bass”, I told Mike after our waiter left, “Why did I cave like that?”

“I’m sure you will like it.”

“Isn’t Sea Bass endangered?  Now I get guilt with my dinner.”

“Settle down, it’s already dead and in the restaurant, it’s not like he is going fishing for it now.”

“He was probably pushing it because everybody else knows it’s endangered, so it’s getting old sitting in the cooler.  Therefore, I’ll get bad fish poisoning AND I’ll get attacked by protesters on the way out, I’ll probably get spray-painted.”

“Spray-painted? Are you planning on wearing the fish skin out of the restaurant?”

…Sometimes these conversations get a little carried away…

We had a good dinner, and the wine kept flowing, and we only briefly commented on the fire truck that pulled up outside.

It wasn’t until we were finishing up our dinner  that we noticed the medics towards the back of the restaurant and saw a man lying on the floor.  I diverted my eyes quickly; I always try not to stare, I certainly wouldn’t want lookie lous peering over me if I was the unfortunate one on the floor, (I’m fairly certain that would not be my best look).

As they carried the patron turned patient to the awaiting ambulance, he looked alert, and there was not an excessive amount of yelling or rushing, so, thankfully, it seemed he was okay.  Must have been a heart attack scare?  Or he choked on some spicy shrimp?  Or maybe he just tripped on the way back from the men’s room, either way, it would certainly suck to end an evening that way.

There was a small back up of concerned looking people waiting at the coat check as we left and somebody said, “Wow, that was scary, I hope he is ok.”

And then the hostess offered up….”Yeah, there was a little accident at the satay bar, but everyone is going to be fine.”.

Say What!?

What kind of “accident” do you have at the satay bar!?  And is that really information you want to pass on to restaurant patrons?  I’m thinking that you want to remain vague and let me go ahead and think that the poor guy was feeling short of breath, because now my imagination is going crazy! Was he sliced?  Burned?  Skewered?

Was it an accident, or do you have an easily angered satay chef?  Did they guy want five shrimp instead of four and end up on the wrong end of an exceptionally sharp bamboo stick?

And how in the world was “a little accident at the satay bar” serious enough to require being carried out on a stretcher accompanied by a half dozen EMT’s and fire fighters?  I’ve had a number of small burns and cuts in my time, and even on occasion met the wrong end of a sharp stick (usually due to my insistence on wearing flip flops while doing yard work),  but never before have any of those been serious enough to warrant  a call to 911 (knock on wood).

Is that why our waiter was pushing the sea bass?  Was he taking pity on me because I looked like someone who would infuriate the satay chef? And that being the case my chances were better with slightly past its prime endangered fish?

Honestly, I really hope the guy is 100% okay, because it was really, really inappropriate of me to be giggling on my way out the door.

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The memories of chairs

There’s a little field that I drive by almost everyday.  It’s framed by an old gray fence and a gravel drive, it’s pretty, but it’s not unlike any of the others around it.  Nothing about it ever set it apart from any of its neighbors.  Until today. Today, on a little hill in the middle of the field, there are two empty chairs.

It’s a funny thing about chairs; they hold a little bit of a story.  Today for the first time that field was different than the rest, today those chairs added a little bit of personality that made me wonder about the tales they’d have to tell. Were they placed there to watch children play, or horses run?  Do they hold the smiles and tears of love, or the laughter and stories of old friends?  Somehow it makes me smile that they were left there.  Maybe their guests will be back; maybe their story isn’t quite done.  Maybe when the playing, or the visiting was over, it was just too late to take them in, so they sat there empty all night, holding onto the shadows of the day before.

Today that field has changed, today it holds a memory.  Those chairs tell us, that at least for a little while, nothing at all was more important than just sitting.  Maybe it was a conversation years in the making, maybe there was no talking at all.

So I drive by, and  my mind wanders back to a couple of chairs sitting on the porch of a little red farm house, and the few short months that nothing in the world was more important than just sitting, and talking.  Time has passed, and in hindsight those days, sitting in those chairs, are some of my most cherished memories.

We spent so many hours in those chairs.  In the spring we watched a doe and her two fawns play on the hill across the road.  And as the summer sun grew warmer we watched the hummingbirds buzz by and the flowers bloom.   I smiled as Grandpa and Grandma watched grandkids play in the puddles and a seven year old show off his lawn mowing skills.

We shared stories and memories, and I wish I could remember every word.  We had coffee in the warm early morning sun, waved at neighbors as they drove by, and we laughed every chance we got.  When darkness came we watched the stars twinkle and wondered in silence what lay beyond in that endless night sky.

That summer I watched the strongest man I’ve ever known smile with pride when a tiny little girl climbed up on his lap and said, “hi Grandpa”, and I prayed that she’d remember sitting there with him.

By the time fall came our chairs were empty, the seasons of life had changed.

What would I see if I were to drive by that little house today?  Are there still chairs on that porch?  Are they filled with the laughter of someone else?  Do they know how important that moment is? Can they still feel our shadows?

Today those empty chairs in that pretty little field hit me hard and I take a deep breath. I fight back the tear that is forcing its way to the surface of my day, and I think about how much I would give for just one more day of sitting with my Dad on that front porch; one more day of stories and memories.  As for the keepers of those chairs, whoever they may be, I hope their story isn’t over.  I hope they come back and sit, talk, listen, laugh, cry, and realize that it just might be one of the most important things they’ve ever done.

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Dear Childhood Development Scholars:

I have read some of your reports that suggest “old fashioned” sit down dinners increase family bonding, decrease behavioral issues, and possibly even help raise smarter, more balanced, kids.

Well, we sit down together almost every night for dinner, which makes me feel qualified to let you know that you might want to head back to the drawing board with that one.

Pretty much every evening, about fifteen minutes before dinner is ready, I start politely asking my children to set the table.  After quite a few minutes of “ignore Mom syndrome” I eventually find a pile of forks (of different sizes) and crumpled napkins in the middle of the table, then I just sit down and yell, “get yourself a glass of milk and come sit!”.

When they finally sit down I see their hands and decide that I really didn’t want them touching our food in the first place, so Mike and I hurry and serve ourselves before they have a chance to grab at anything.

So right there, you can throw out any lesson on manners and etiquette, my kids would just as soon grab a chicken leg and head outside to the fire pit.

And conversation?  Last night my husband, in his very best 1950’s Father Knows Best voice, asked our twelve year old, “So, how was your day?  Did you learn anything at school?”

And our twelve year old, in his very best pre-adolescent-completely-annoyed voice, (and with as close to an eye roll as he dare get while sitting within arms reach of his Dad), said, “Really? That’s a rhetorical question, right?”

“Well no, it isn’t, and considering the fact that you just used the word rhetorical I think you might be learning more in school than you think.”

“No, I’m not, I learned that from my friends.”

“Actually I’ve met some of your friends, and I don’t think you did…”

At which point, our chatty nine year old (clearly feeling left out of the conversation), chimes in with, “We played with a poltergeist in science today.”

“What?”,  the rest of us replied (all with an equal level of confusion).

“A poltergeist.  He was kind of a shadow, but kind of a black blob.”

“Well” said her big brother, apparently now an expert on the supernatural, “that wasn’t a poltergeist then, you can’t see those, they are just kind of evil spirits that throw things or possess your baby dolls, or….”

“That’s enough!”, I jumped in, right after taking a healthy swallow of pinot gris, “You should probably stop right there, unless you plan on being the one sleeping on the floor by her bed tonight.”

It is at this point, Dear Scholars, that I wonder:  Would we not have benefited equally from a nice quiet dinner in front of the TV?

And then, as I met my husbands gaze across the dining room table, he said to me, “So Mama, the kids are going to clean the kitchen for you tonight?”

I just rolled my eyes and answered,  “That’s a rhetorical question, right?”

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Warning: This post contains subject matter that some may find embarrassing and inappropriate. :)

I love a good yard sale, and even a good online buy/sell site.  Our community Facebook yard sale page is handy for all sorts of stuff.  I’ll consider getting rid of something for months, finally decide to do it, throw up a picture and have somebody come take it away by afternoon.  Brilliant!

I’m all about getting rid of furniture or appliances, and I even understand the never ending stream of “gently used” children’s items. But come on people there are some things that maybe you shouldn’t post.

Bras?  No. It’s a small town, ladies, I don’t need to see what’s in your underwear drawer.  If it freaks out your twelve year old to see it in the laundry basket maybe that’s a clue you shouldn’t offer up pictures to a few hundred of your neighbors. “Hey, did your Mom sell that super cute pink number with the lace trim? The one that she “only wore a few times”?”   Yeah, that’s not awkward at all.

Breast pumps?  Yes, these come up a lot, but also, no. Now I realize that when you have a baby they sometimes send you home from the hospital with one of these, and yes, it’s been used before.  But hospitals have things like privacy laws, and disinfecting.  Also, you don’t stand the chance of running into the previous user at peewee soccer practice. There’s a great conversation starter.  If you do feel that you just have to post it up, at least be honest.  Instead of saying “Great condition, only used for a few months”, try the truth, “I have a torturous contraption that I used to painfully extract life sustaining fluid from my breasts, whilst I watched Dr. Phil and ate Funyuns.  How ’bout you pay me twenty bucks for it?”

However, this is my very favorite post so far: “Yoga Pants $12 NEED GONE!”

“NEED GONE!” seems a little extreme for yoga pants, dontcha think?  I mean how could you possibly be that desperate to get rid of yoga pants?  Do they haunt you from your dresser drawer as a little reminder that you don’t actually exercise?  If that’s the case, I really should get rid of mine because not only have I never done yoga, I also haven’t worked out in two weeks.  I did however have two chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, and spandex is my friend, thus, yoga pants.

And why $12?  Did she really want $14, but because “NEED GONE!” she will settle for $12?  Did she not “NEED GONE!” quite so much for $7.50?

Now, if you are trying to get rid of slacks because when you put them on they fit like yoga pants, then that I can understand.

There ya go, just some random thoughts, now I need to go message a lady about some yoga pants…

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Remove old batteries – a public service announcement

Something in the garage was scaring the kids.  “Mom, there is a voice in the garage.  I’ve actually heard it before, but last time it only giggled, this time it said “peek-a-boo, I see you.”

Well that’s not creepy AT ALL, and beings this bit of news came from the kid who is not prone to an over active imagination (which is obvious by the fact that he chose not to tell me when he heard ‘just’ giggling), I decided to do the obvious thing, and just wait until Mike got home.

Mike got home and we poured a glass of wine (as all fearless investigators would) and once again the kids came running in the house, “Mom, we heard it again!”

“It has to be neighbor kids messing around”

“No, it sounds like one of Sister’s toys”

After a glass of Pinot Gris I was feeling a bit more brave, “Ok, let’s go see”.

As a side note:  Never investigate anything, possibly demon possessed or not, with two bickering kids.  It goes like this:

“See did you hear it?”


“SEE!!!!! MOM!!!! There it was again”

“I can’t hear anything except you two, talking.”

“Yeah, SHHHHH”

“No you, SHHHHH”

Honestly, anything that meant harm would be so annoyed it would have just given up and left.

But then they were finally quiet and I DID hear it.  And it DID giggle.  And it DID say “Peek-a-boo I see you”.  And it did sound like a toy, but not one that we had ever purposely brought into our home, and neither kid had had a talking toy in years. But it WAS really flippin’ creepy.

My 1988 inner child, (the one that forced herself to sit through “Chucky”), wanted to run and never look back, but I’m a grown up now, so I stood frozen and said, “Yeah, we gotta find that, ’cause it’s freaking me out.”

And there has never been a forty year old woman tear through “going to Goodwill” boxes with such intensity.

“Shhhhh, everybody stop!”, said my husband, who had just walked in and was clearly under the impression that I had jumped aboard the prepubescent-imagination-crazy-train, but after another “peek-a-boo” and giggle, “WHOA , that’s weird.”.

“Yeah, thanks, we’ve already determined that, what the H-E-double hockey sticks is it???”

I continued to rip into boxes and look under cabinets while being watched by a wide eyed eleven year old and an eight year old who, while still presumably freaked out, had lapsed into frantic giggles.

“It’s coming from the rafters.”

I looked up, and one more creepy giggle came from right above my head, only a thin layer of insulation between me and whatever it was, and I had boxed myself into a corner, blocked off from the rest of my family by upturned boxes of give away dishes and “gently used” clothes.

“But there’s nothing in the rafters except…oh…Halloween decorations.”

“Mom! Remember that little ghost guy that we used to put by the front door, he talked, but we lost the feet so we didn’t use him last year…”.

“Oh for crying out loud!  Well you guys deal with it, I’m going back in the house and finishing my wine.”

And that my friends, is why you always remove the batteries from anything you expect to stay quiet when you store it away.

“We found it Mom, and fixed it.”

“Oh good.  Ummmm…it did have batteries in it right?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Just making sure.”







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Some things should go without saying.

I was in a medical facility recently, and was sitting, and waiting, and I had already read all of the old sticky, ripped, germ filled magazines that interested me, (let’s hear it for AARP The Magazine, and Golf Digest!).  So I started looking around at the signs.  And this particular gem caught my eye, it said, “Please remind your care giver to wash their hands.”

Ummmm….excuse me?  That really seems like something that shouldn’t fall on me.   I have to remind my 8 and 11 year olds that all the time, but their specialty, as children,  is getting dirty and spreading germs.  That’s just what they do, and I certainly wouldn’t let them come at me with a needle, or even a Q-tip.  So if somebody in scrubs is coming at me and I have to say, “Hey, just a reminder, could you wash up, and make sure you sing the ABC song so you know you washed long enough”.  Well, that’s a problem, and because I have an active imagination I start wondering what other things I need to remind them to do, things like, “You changed this paper sheet thing after the last person, right?” And, so many more, much more awful things….

I can kind of understand the food service workers sign in the McDonalds bathroom, honestly the guy I just saw smoking and spitting next to the dumpster might need a hygiene reminder, but anyone who (presumably) has an advanced degree in the medical field?  It kind of seems like cleanliness should be second nature.  Just sayin’

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Retail Impatience

My husband thinks that I have infinite patience, my children strongly disagree, the truth is it’s probably about average.

Christmas shopping, at best, is a test of patience, and I understand that, but last month I found myself very irritated with the woman in front of me in line at Target.  The checker had already apologized for being new, so it probably wouldn’t have killed her to crack a smile.  Listen lady, the extra 5 minutes in your day doesn’t mean near as much to you as a friendly smile would mean to him.  Period.  And if you were so flipping special you wouldn’t be here buying Pampers and Doritos at 2:00 in the afternoon.

So when it’s (finally) my turn to check out, the new checker guy says “Hi, how are you?”

And I’m still feeling bad for him after witnessing the treatment from little miss very-snotty-have-to-hurry-home-to-watch- Real Housewives, so I answer with a friendly, “I’m fine, How are you?”

“I’m fine, I’m really sorry for the wait.  I just started.”

“No problem, you’re doing fine.” (Yep, that’s the Mom in me, positive reinforcement people, would it have killed her to remember that we all started something new once or twice?)

“Well it’s my first day.  Actually I’m not even out of training, I’m supposed to have somebody with me, but she didn’t show, so I’m on my own.”

“Oh, that’s a bummer, I’m sure you will do great.” (but if you could start scanning an item, that would also be great).

“OH! Lego’s, you must have kids!”

“Nope, just feel like spending the afternoon playing Legos” (Ok, that was a joke, although I do like to play with Legos)

“Oh, really?  ……….Oh, no, wait, I think you’re joking, you do have kids right?”

“Yes, I do” (Now if you could scan that box, I promise, no more jokes, apparently they’re distracting).

“Oh great!  So you must be Christmas shopping!”

“Yep…” (Scan.  The.  Box. )

“Ok, great, OH!  Is the toaster for your husband?”

I know you don’t know me, but on what planet would I be buying my husband a toaster for Christmas?  “Hey honey, thanks for the last twelve months of love and support, let’s have toast!”.  That would pretty much guarantee that I receive something equally personal, like a broom, for my birthday.

“No, our’s quit working”  (PLEASE scan the box!)

“Ok, are you buying this water bottle?  Or did you just set it here?”

Why the hell else would I have set it there, Just SCAN THE FLIPPING THING!

“Well I did set it there, because I do want to buy it, preferably before it evaporates.” (patience be damned…looks like my kids are right).

And then I noticed daggers coming my way from the woman in line behind me.  She was, no doubt, wondering what my problem was.  Well, I’ll give you four and a half minutes sister, before your perky smile starts to fade, and as much as I’d love to stick around to hear the dialogue when he starts scanning your feminine products; I’ve got to get home and watch Housewives.


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Animals that go bump in the night

1:00 a.m.:  I gasp, jump, and look around trying to figure out the cause of my sudden state of,  “Why the hell did I just wake up like that”?  I noticed, in my scramble, that Mike was also awake, “Sorry”, I said, assuming that I was the one who had started all of this commotion because of some unremembered dream that had startled me away from my slumber.  However, he wasn’t paying attention to me because he was scrambling for his flashlight.  It became clear that something more was going on than my overactive imagination.

In my half sleep and half panic I fumbled for my glasses, which, as usual, had somehow managed to make their way halfway across the bedroom in the two hours it had been since I took them off and laid them on top of my book three inches from my pillow.  After two attempts at putting them on upside down, one of which nearly resulted in losing an eye, things started coming into focus.  I could see that in the time it took me to figure out which side was up, Mike had not only found his glasses, but also the flashlight, and had it pointed out the window scanning the back deck.  And that, my friends, is why he is the protector.

Turns out he had been laying awake and had heard something outside.  Conveniently the head of our bed is directly under the window (“conveniently” being the nice word for the only place in our tiny bedroom that a bed will fit).  Anyway, by the time my flash light illuminated world came into focus Mike’s head was up against the window and he was scanning the back deck.

“What’s going on?”  I whispered from the safety of the blankets.  Because #1, fluffy blankets protect, and #2 whispering distractions to your protector is totally helpful.

And then it happened, Mike jumped and yelled something that I’m sure was profanity, but it was hard for me to hear clearly with  all those blankets over my head while I was scrambling to the foot of the bed.  Just to reiterate:  Fluffy blankets protect, and the ones at the foot of the bed? That’s like double, just ask any 5 year old.

At this point I figured Mike would either be going for something with more fire power, or at least joining me under my 1200 thread count, goose down, super shelter.  But he wasn’t, he was just grumbling and laying back down.  So once again I muttered the all helpful, “What was it?”.

“It was a darn cat” (“darn” may not have been the actual word he used).

So when I pictured the neighborhood cat on the deck knocking something over, seeing the shiny light from the other side of the window, and thinking that it was pretty cool that the nice human inside was going to play the flash light game with him, it seemed pretty amusing.  The poor cat probably thought it was great, until he jumped up to swat at the light, and then the human yelled which was scary, and kind of odd.  Why play if you are going to get all freaked out about it and then quit?

Well, when I pictured that, it was pretty funny, and then I decided that under the covers was also a pretty good place to be when overcome with giggles in the middle of the night.






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Random Conversation #1

And then we were walking down the sidewalk, on another one of the rare and fabulous nights out in the city.  I must have been gawking at something, like my cute shoes, the ones reserved just for the concrete, because at home I trip on the gravel or a heel sinks in the mud, or I may have been mesmerized by all the super tall buildings, which I don’t see much anymore since we moved out “to the woods”.

There was another couple walking towards us and I guess I was taking up more than my fair share of the sidewalk, as I have yet to master the art of looking at my surroundings AND walking in a straight line.

So Mike gently and politely informed me, “Watch out!  You’re going to run into them.”

“Oh, sorry!”

And I smiled as they passed (’cause I’m nice like that) but they did not smile, at all, definitely no smiling.

“Wow, they looked pretty grumpy”

“Well, you almost ran into them”

“I said sorry.  Maybe they need to “run into” each other more and they wouldn’t be so grumpy”

“Maybe that’s the kind of thing you don’t say quite so loud”

“Oh.  Oops.”

(because by the wide-eyed sideways look the woman shot at me, she totally heard that).

“You really don’t question why we don’t get out more, right?”

“No, guess not….”

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