1

Well we’re driving in the car…

janet2

Did I ever tell you about the time I was in 6th grade and I wanted to get my hair cut short? I wanted it to look like Janet’s from Three’s Company. Janet. From Three’s Company. So I actually hand drew a picture of Janet and her pin straight, choppy, super short hair and brought it into the hairdresser. She was horrified (I couldn’t understand why.) She tried desperately to explain to me that I had curly hair and Janet had straight hair. The cut would look totally different on me. Totally. (She was nice enough not to get into the fact that out of all the tv stars to look like, why on earth had I picked JANET??) But I was insistent. Do it. Cut it. Make it choppy. I just knew that if she cut it correctly I would look SO cute! She knew that no matter how she cut it, I was going to look horrendous. But I insisted, so she did it. About three seconds after she was done cutting and styling my hair I ran out of the salon screaming and crying. I didn’t look like Janet. Not even a little. I looked like Larry…rocking a serious mullet. It was awful. Luckily when I went back to her 3 years later as a freshman in high school with the brilliant idea to get one half of my hair cut to the quick, while leaving the other half long, she absolutely refused.

I think it is safe to say that sometimes one or two of my awesome ideas are not always entirely awesome.

So last summer when I presented my husband with the great idea of piling our five kids into the car and driving all the way to the very very end of Cape Cod, and then basically make a u-turn and heading straight back… that should have raised some serious red flags. What I had suggested was basically a four-hour car ride from hell. If ever there was a time that I needed my hairdresser’s sensibilities, that was it. Even a half hour car ride with the kids can make me go bonkers. From soup to nuts it’s an exercise in torture. There are lots of reasons, but just to name a few:

Actually getting in the car Why is this so difficult? I’ve been telling them all day to go outside and play, and they have refused. But now as we are rushing out the door to get where we need to be they are running all over the yard frolicking to and fro’ as if they’ve just discovered the promise land. What is this glorious magical land you call the “outdoors”, and why have we never heard of it before?

Seatbelts It is a big surprise to some of them that they have to wear a seatbelt. I’m like, is your seatbelt on? And they seemed shocked and surprised as they look around for it. Come on people! It’s not a new invention that I just had installed the night before under the cover of darkness, and am now introducing for the first time. Behold: the seatbelt. The special apparatus that will hopefully keep you safe should I happen to crash the car while I am turned around yelling at you. The seatbelt is our friend. Now put the damn thing on.

Talking over the radio Oh my God! Don’t even get me started on all the annoyances that involve the radio in the car. “I’m just going to hone in on the MOST annoying one. And that is when I hear a Taylor Swift song that I like (and I like them all), so I turn it up and start singing, and then the girls launch into a big plan about who is going to sing what part. And then they are like, “Mom turn down the radio so we can figure it out.” and “Mom stop singing! That’s not your part!” By the time they have it all sorted out the song is over, and beg as they may, I can’t restart it because it is the radio. The RADIO. Not satellite radio. Not my iphone. But a good old fashioned radio that cannot be rewound.

Are we almost there? I don’t even need to expand on this one. We have literally not even left the neighborhood and some fool will ask if we are there yet. Seriously. And then each one of them will continue to ask at annoyingly close intervals until I turn around to tell them that if so much as hear one more peep from them there is going to be big trouble. Huge. I don’t know what that huge trouble is, but it will be awful. Then they all start peeping. Because that’s like wicked funny.

Backseat drivers My kids are little. They don’t drive. The oldest is about 5 years away from getting behind the wheel of a car. And yet, one of them (who shall remain nameless) is a backseat driver. “Mom, you’re going the wrong way.” “Why are you going so slow?” “Are we on a highway?” “Why aren’t we on a highway?” “Don’t go on the highway, I don’t like highways.” “You should go right” “Red means stop. Did you stop?” “Now you’re going really fast.” “Isn’t that the house we are going to?” NO! It is not the house that we are… oh wait…yes it is! Hold on everyone!

Talking to me while I’m ordering at the drive-thru While I’m ordering your special-order Happy Meal is NOT the time to remind me 50 times that you don’t want pickles on your cheeseburger. It’s just not. You already told me. I already acknowledged you. We have made a verbal contract that there are to be no pickles on your cheeseburger. But all the person at the drive-thru can hear is someone shouting pickles in the background instead of me asking for NO pickles. So you’re probably going to get extra pickles. Like tons of them. You have brought this upon yourself. Oh, and while we are on the subject… no one thinks it is funny when you roll down the back window and shout into the speaker that you want a Big Mac while I am at the DUNKIN DONUTS drive-thru ordering my life-saving coffee. I realize your siblings are high-fiving you and patting you on the back like you are a living legend. But I’m not amused. At all.

Getting out of the car Again, this seems like it should be a easy step in the traveling process. We are here. Get out. Exit the vehicle. Move it. But no, they want to sit there all cozy in their seats for some reason. For kids who have been basically complaining about being stuck in the car for so long you would think they would be running away as if the car were about to burst into flame.

That’s it. I can’t go on. I’m not even going to get into the mess, the fighting, the kid who thinks he might puke, everyone who has to pee at different times… I just can’t.

 

2

Saturday Night Party at Walmart

Walmart is really crowded on a Saturday night. It’s true. Like, way more crowded than you would expect. I happen to know this information as first hand fact, because I was there. I was actually, voluntarily at Walmart…on a Saturday night. Yup. What was I doing at Walmart on a Saturday night? Why, thank you for asking. Sit back and I’ll tell you a little tale about how I will literally (clearly) do anything to get my 5-year-old to stop harassing me.

It all started on a Monday. On Monday Jessica decided that she wanted candy. Not just any candy. But a very specific candy. She didn’t know the name of the candy. Couldn’t really describe the candy. And was not exactly sure where the candy could be purchased. But she wanted it. And she wanted it bad. Was it M&Ms? (No) Hershey Kisses? (No) Kit Kat? (No, It’s colorful.) Okay, Skittles? (No) Starburst? (No) Twizzlers? (No) Ummmm….ooookay…. You sure it’s not M&Ms? (MOM!!)

On Tuesday she kinda sorta thought that she may or may not have possibly seen her sister with the same candy immediately following my last trip to Walmart. It was a good clue. It narrowed it down, it made sense…this was information I could work with.

On Wednesday she decided to raise the funds for the mystery coveted candy. She (along with her little mini-me cohort) went about setting up the biggest money maker known to 5-year-olds: A lemonade stand. (In the middle of winter in our living room.) Lemonade juice bags: $10 a pop,  Cash cow: me.

By Thursday she became fixated on getting to Walmart, and the begging began. Can we go to Walmart? (At some point, yes.) When? (I don’t know.) Can we go today? (I’m too busy today.) Why? (I just have a lot to do.) Like what? (Like a lot of house stuff, I’m not taking you to Walmart today.) Can we go tonight? (No, that is almost the same as today.) Can Dad take me? (Dad is not taking you to Walmart to search for some unidentified candy.) Can we go after lunch? (I told you I’m not going to Walmart today.) Why not? (Stop asking me to take you to Walmart.) Can we go tomorrow? (I don’t know, maybe.) Mom!!! (I’ll take you in the next few days, I can’t give you an exact time or day.) Please can we just go today… (You have three seconds to get away from me or my head is going to explode.) And on…and on… and ON…  You don’t know persistence until you have faced a determined 5-year-old. In hindsight I can see that I should have probably been more specific in my answers. But in my defense I was hoping she would forget all about the candy eventually and I could skip making a dreaded trip to Walmart.

By Friday I was a shell of my former self. I couldn’t take it any longer. “FINE!! I’ll take you to Walmart so that we can dodge weird people and search for some mystery candy that probably isn’t even there anymore! FINE!!! But I’m not taking you today. It’s Friday. I’m not going to Walmart on a Friday. I’ll take you tomorrow.” Tomorrow being Saturday. Which somehow seemed better than Friday. But I was still holding out hope that she would forget all about it.

So that brings us to Saturday. She didn’t forget about it. Not even a little. And that is how I ended up at Walmart on a Saturday night. Oh, and by the way, the candy she wanted ended up being Mike & Ikes. After eating one piece she decided that she hated them.

lemonade stand             mike and ike

2

Extremely Important Life Lessons

My brain is crammed with information. Crammed. Sure, most of the information is completely useless and totally irrelevant outside the confines of my own mind. But still, sometimes it’s good to have access to a huge mass of utterly useless knowledge. I like to think of all this data as not just completely idiotic stuff that I have learned since having kids, but more like extremely important life lessons that my most brilliant children have bestowed upon me. For example:

 

1. It’s really sad when someone puts your blankie in the washing machine. Even if your blankie smelled like canned peas and could practically walk around the house by itself.

crying Jess

 

2. Your 11-year-old son may not be interested in this book, but his 5 year old sister will carry it around like it is the Holy Grail.

book

 

3. Giving a three-year-old a chocolate bar in the car is not a good idea. I repeat, it is NOT a good idea.

chocolate hands

 

4. Face paint isn’t just for faces. (Seriously, do know how hard it is to get face paint out of all the nooks and crannies of the human body?)

cooper facepaint

 

5. It’s fun to put a sticker on your cheek. It is NOT fun to take a sticker OFF your cheek.

jess sticker on cheek   jess sticker off cheek

 

6. Burying yourself up to your neck in the sand, while your peers stand around you with shovels, probably only SEEMS like a good idea.

Joey in the sand

 

7. When one son has another son in a sleeper choke hold it is a good time to take a picture.

headlock

 

8. If you can’t find a plate, you can always eat corn out of your hat.

corn in hat

 

9. Painter’s Tape + Boys = THIS  (Don’t feel bad for the taped child…it was his idea.)

taped up Joey

 

10. These two should never be allowed to dress themselves. Seriously. Like, EVER.

jessie outfit2    jess and cass clothes    football game outfit  first day of school cass  cassies clothes  Jess christening bib

 

11. Applying pink lipstick just outside your natural lip line (and on your nose, eye, and chin) will make your lips look fuller…

IMG_4133

 

12. …if you don’t have pink lipstick handy, purple magic marker is perfectly acceptable.

makeup

 

And last but not least…

13. It’s very important to label your candles so you know what they smell like.

shit candle

 

So there you have it. Now my useless info is your useless info. You’re quite welcome!

2

My Very Own Cousin Sharon

fucked up idea

I’m declaring today “Thank Your Cousin Sharon For Being Awesome” day. Go get a pen and jot it down in your calendar. Go on. I’ll wait…

My cousin Sharon is the best. She really is. She’s the kind of person that I would drive 2 hours through a blizzard uphill both ways to go have a cup of coffee with. And I seriously hate driving in the snow. But that’s how awesome she is. I would totally do it just so I could have a cup of broiling hot coffee with her. I would throw a pair of snowshoes in the back of my car just in case, on the way to her house, my car skidded in the snow and did a 180 and became undriveable. I would just be like “whatevs” as I strapped on my snow shoes and started walking the rest of the way (uphill, remember). And if a cop came over to see what my problem was (because I should be staying with my disabled vehicle, but instead I’m trekking down the highway in giant snow shoes) I would just tell him that I’m on my way to see my Cousin Sharon. And he would totally get it.

We all have a Cousin Sharon in our lives. Some people are lucky enough to have two Cousin Sharons. Some peeps even have a little group of Cousin Sharons that they hang with (lucky bastards.) No matter how many you have, Cousin Sharon just makes life a little better. She’s the friend who makes you laugh so hard that your head almost falls off. And it’s not even like she’s trying to be funny on purpose. She’s not telling jokes that have, like, a super funny punchline. She’s just naturally a freaking riot. She’s the friend who would totally drive the getaway car if you ever needed a getaway car for anything. She wouldn’t even ask questions. You could just call her and say, “next Friday at 8:00 pm I’m going to need someone to drive a getaway car,” and she’d be like, “I got your back sistah.” She’s the kind of friend who you can talk to about anything, and she just gets it. And you leave feeling like you’re normal (even if you’re not). And you don’t feel judged (because she would never judge you). Basically in a nutshell, having a Cousin Sharon for a friend feels like you won on a scratch ticket.

So I thought today would be a good day to thank our lucky stars for our own Cousin Sharons. And to let them know that their true friendships make our lives so much more fun than it would ever be without them.