It’s War!

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     The time has come, people.  My dukes are up, and I’m ready and willing to go to war once again with our nut-loving, bushy-tailed neighbors.  I’m talking about the over-populated clan of squirrels that mistakenly think they rule the roost around here.  They have made it very clear that they have a personal vendetta against me, and I refuse to go down without a fight.  These deranged and incredibly ballsy squirrels here have been pushing my buttons for several years now and have earned themselves a number one slot on my all-time shitlist.

     This whole rivalry began when we moved into our house six years ago.  What Florida is to retired folks is what our neighborhood is to squirrels.  With all the ginormous oak and elm trees around here, these bastards are truly living the high life, running rampant and stealing everything in sight. After we’d been living in the house for about a week, I kept on hearing scratching noises in the walls and insisted that something was living in them.  My husband thought I was smoking crack until he was awakened at four in the morning one day to a whimpering sound coming from the wall on his side of the bed. After some Sherlock Holmes type of investigating, we discovered that a massive hole had been chewed in the soffit of our roof.  The little shits were using the ceiling above my son’s bedroom as their friggin’ front door to Partyville.  Since we live in a very tree-hugging community, we had to hire a pest control company to come and set up traps on the roof.  (I would’ve preferred to pick them off with a BB gun, but that’s just me.)  When all was said and done, we ended up paying these money grubbers over $1000 to capture and release the whopping SEVENTEEN squirrels that had infested our walls.  I don’t know about you, but I can think of about a million different ways I’d rather spend that kind of money.  So, as you can hopefully understand, we did not necessarily get off on the right foot with this particular rodent population.

     And from that moment on, it was as if a hit was put out on our family by these acorn a-holes to avenge the “disappearance” of seventeen of their crew members.  They made it their personal mission to terrorize the holy hell out of our family.  They chewed through the seats of two of our strollers that were left on the front porch.  They dug up countless pots of flowers to bury their stupid nuts.  They nibbled a huge gaping hole in the kids’ plastic picnic table.  They even gnawed through our trash cans in the alley to rip our trash apart, causing us to purchase aluminum cans as a result.  But the biggest kick in the ass was when they decided to mess with our Halloween pumpkins.

     The traditional jack-o-lantern carving ritual is something that is pretty sacred in this household.  The kids really get into it, even stripping off their shirts so they can get all down and dirty with the pumpkin guts.  The finished product is always a sight to be seen. However, the degenerate squirrels around here seem to think a decorative pumpkin is their own personal meal ticket.  They absolutely go to freaking town ripping them to shreds.  It breaks my kids’ hearts, as well as my own, when their beloved masterpieces are turned into something like this:

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     And we have tried everything from spraying Pledge to sprinkling cayenne pepper on the pumpkins to deter them, but nothing seems to work.  It’s like they see these preventatives as special seasonings or something, since they still continue to completely devour them.  We have learned the hard way that the Nucking Futs Family simply cannot display our jack-o-lanterns until the actual day of Halloween, which really sucks for getting in the spirit of things.  You can only imagine what pitiful-looking pumpkins we’re left to choose from by that point of the season.

     I’ve decided that I need to hire my own private hit man to settle this bitch once and for all.  Hey, wait, I do believe we just recently added a new member to our little anti-squirrel coalition.  And, coincidentally, I hear that terriers LOVE to hunt squirrels.  And, hey, who am I to stop someone from doing something they LOVE to do? Look out you little furry-footed fiends — there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Wrigley.  Woof!

25 THINGS YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME

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     So, you think you know me, huh?  Well, some of you actually do, quite well, in fact.  But a lot of you may just think you’ve got the 4-1-1 on me cause you’ve read my blog.  Sure, I give you a glimpse into my world five days a week through my writing, but I really only touch the surface.  Perhaps some of you would like to know even more, and perhaps some of you have had more than your fair share of me. Whatever the case, I thought I’d rip off borrow one of Facebook’s little ideas and share with you some of my lesser known quirks and obscurities.

1.  I am very indecisive.  I changed my major four times in college.  

2.  I have a birthmark on my left arm that looks like someone bit me.

3.  I won a six-foot tall stuffed rabbit from a coloring contest in elementary school.

4.  I have never broken a bone in my body.

5.  I am superstitious, so knock on wood.

6.  I sang karaoke with Joey Fatone at a friend’s house in LA.

7.  I have to have something sweet at the end of every meal, even if it’s just a tiny piece of chocolate.

8.  Halloween and Christmas are my all-time favorite holidays.  I could go nuts decorating the house for these occasions.

9.  I ALWAYS carry of pack of Five gum with me and chew it like it’s going out of style.

10.  Cats make me sneeze like a madwoman.

11.  I was threatened once by a cabbie with a tire iron who left me and three others stranded on the side of the road.  

12.  I hardly ever carry cash with me.  Bank card for everything, baby!

13.  I have a permanent retainer on the back of my bottom row of teeth.

14.  I love the beach, but the ocean scares the hell out of me.  Jaws seriously scarred me for life.

15.  I love to draw and have always wanted to take an art class.

16.  I push the lock button twice every time I get out of my car just to be sure it’s locked.

17.  The Giving Tree is one of my all-time favorite books, maybe cause I can so easily relate to the stump at the end.  

18.  I’m a little obsessed with mob movies.

19.  I once finagled my way into getting a free $1200 armoire from Pottery Barn.

20.  In college, I got fired from my job at an ice cream store because I was too hung over from a frat luau — sorry Mom and Dad!

21.  In junior high I had a pet turtle that I named after my boyfriend. My mom made me let it go in the woods behind our house for fear of salmonella.

22.  I may very well be the last person on earth, but I have never seen a Star Wars movie in its entirety.

23.  I still check under the beds before I go to sleep when my hubby’s out of town.  Hey, who you calling a wuss?!

24.  When I tried out for cheerleading my freshman year of high school, my shirt flew up over my head during my back handspring.  I made the team.  😉

25.  My absolute favorite thing in the world to do is to hug my amazingly awesome kids.

 

 

The Block Party

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     This past weekend was our neighborhood’s annual block party, and my kids were so excited I honestly thought they were going to piss themselves.  From the moment they woke up on Saturday morning, they asked if it was time for the block party and proceeded to repeat that same question every five minutes for the next eight hours. When it was finally time to put up the barricades to block down the street, they couldn’t get out the door fast enough to tear up the pavement.

     To them, the absolute coolest part of the block party was the fact that they got to ride their bikes like complete maniacs all around the street without any fear whatsoever of being turned into roadkill by oncoming cars.  So, naturally, they were all about pimping out their rides with the other neighborhood kids for the big pet and bike parade. They used streamers, balloons, cards in the spokes, the whole nine yards till they had some super juiced up looking wheels to strut. And when it was time to march down the street, they happily joined the other whopping ten bikers in the procession, as well as three dogs, a hamster, and a toad.  I was seeing some major competition for the Macy’s Day Parade.  

     And it wouldn’t be a real block party if our kids didn’t gorge themselves on any and all kinds of crap they could get their dirty little hands on.  Our neighbors had rented a popcorn maker and a snow cone machine for all the kids, so, of course, my two munchers absolutely chowed down on multiple servings of each, thus killing any chance whatsoever of them eating anything substantial for dinner later on that night.  My daughter actually even had the balls to try to hide her third snow cone from me, but she clearly forgot about the eyes in the back of my head.  Lucky for her, I was just a little too go-with-the-flow (that’s code for too much Chardonnay) to get my panties all in a bunch over too much junkfood consumption.

     The festivities concluded with an outdoor movie on our front lawn.  We projected “Over the Hedge” onto a sheet hung from our front porch, while all the little shits from the hood sat littering our yard with popcorn and candy wrappings.  One of the other moms had given out glow stick bracelets, so each kid was gleaming with a combination of excitement and exhaustion by that point of the evening.  I was so glad when some other older punk from down the street announced a game of flashlight tag, which sent a good portion of our viewing audience off and running.  My kids were pooped, and so was I.  

     I thought for sure that my tired troops would take the rare opportunity to sleep in after such a long day of fun, but, of course, my kids seem to think that the early bird really does catch that jackass worm so they were up and at ’em, ready to get crackin’ on yet another day.  I have to hand it to the hubby once again for getting up with them and letting Mama get a little more shut-eye, cause I was completely worn out. When I finally did make my way downstairs, though, I happened to notice that a pink glowstick bracelet was sitting smack dab in the center of my dining room table, the table that’s completely off limits to all things kid-related.  

     When I picked up the bracelet, I was unpleasantly surprised to see that the damn thing had exploded from the inside out.  I had a big glob of pink goo staring at me from my beautiful cherry-colored wood table.  And when I tried to wipe up the goo, it decided to take that beautiful cherry color right along with it.  I literally gasped out loud with a “Oh no you didn’t” type of pronouncement when I saw that big glaring colorless streak on the otherwise shiny surface.  I wanted to wring my daughter’s neck for being so careless.  This was one of the last remaining places in the house that didn’t have a kid’s stamp of approval put on it.  I immediately declared the dining room table a no-fly zone for everyone, including my husband.  Nothing shall ever sit on that table again unless it’s a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas ham.

     Despite the glow stick fiasco, however, the block party was an absolute blast.  My kids are already asking when the next one is.  It’s gonna be really hard for them to get used to having to share the street with the cars again.  My son already tried to dash over to the other side on his scooter without even a second thought.  So, I guess we’re all slowly adjusting back to reality again.  For that one day, though, the kids got to rule the road, and to them, that’s a memory worth a thousand glow stick explosions and then some.

The Costume Conundrum

     Since it is now officially Fall and also since the stores are all but shoving the merchandise down our throats, thoughts of Halloween keep creeping into my mind.   It’s gotten me to thinking about the yearly debacle we always seem to have when it comes to finding the perfect costume.  My daughter is typically a piece of cake when it comes to this department.  She usually chooses something easy that I can just order out of a catalog or buy from a store.  My son, on the other hand, is quite the challenge, since for the past three years, he has insisted on dressing like something that can only be handmade. What’s the big freaking deal, you ask?  This mama’s sewing capabilities are about as good as Paris Hilton’s singing abilities.  I suck so badly at it that I actually sewed the pocket shut when trying to repair a button on a coat one time.  So, yeah, it is a big freaking deal when your son insists on having the most imaginative get-up in town.

     The first year that I encountered this predicament was in preschool.  My husband and I must’ve listed every costume known to mankind when trying to get him to settle on something.  We were pushing Spiderman, Batman, and every other superhero under the sun, all to vehement cries that said no way in hell.  The child refused every single idea we came up with and announced pretty emphatically that he was going to be a leaf.  I have absolutely no idea where on earth the boy got this crazy notion, but he was dead set on being a piece of foliage. And he didn’t want to be just any old leaf either — oh no!  He insisted on being an oak leaf.  After hours of Google searching, I came to the dire conclusion that I had no other choice but to make this damn costume myself.  I ended up tracing and cutting two pieces of cardboard into the shape of a leaf and hot-gluing green felt to them. I attached the two leaves with a ribbon so that he could wear it like a walking billboard.  He was adamant that he wanted acorns attached to the leaves, so I also had to glue those little suckers on, as well. When all was said and done, it was truly the most half-assed-looking, pitiful leaf ensemble I’d ever seen — correction, it was the only leaf ensemble I’d ever seen.  Here, you judge for yourself:

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Nevertheless, the kid couldn’t have been more proud to strut his stuff in it. Sadly, he didn’t have the thing on at preschool for more than thirty minutes before acorns started falling off and one of the straps had snapped off his shoulder, resulting in some last minute emergency repairs before trick-or-treating that night.  

     Our next confrontation with the costume challenge was last year for kindergarten. Once again, my son rejected any type of costume that could be bought or slopped together.  Instead, he was dead-set on being a lightbulb, and like the year before, I found  no place on this planet whatsoever that sold a lightbulb outfit.  And because the kindergarteners would be parading through the school in their costumes and wearing them for the remainder of the day, using cardboard was not gonna be a viable option.  After days of agonizing and brain racking, I realized that I was gonna have to just suck it up and get out my needle and thread.  I went to a fabric store and bought a huge piece of foam and cut out two lightbulb shapes.  I then sewed white fabric around them and again made shoulder straps to attach the two shapes together.  This whole thing could then be slipped over his head, thus transforming him miraculously into a human lightbulb.  (Of course, I poked the shit out of my fingers throughout the entire process and even “accidentally” left a couple of red stains on the material as proof of all the blood, sweat and tears that went into its creation.)  At the request of my ingenious son, I took a sharpie and wrote “100 Watt” at the top of each bulb. We then wrapped the skinny bottom part in duct tape and stuck a battery-powered light underneath the costume.  Here was the final result:

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Surprisingly, it actually turned out incredibly cute, and he was by far the most creative costume in the parade.  

     This year, it seems as if he is continuing with this same tradition. He is bound and determined to cut his mama absolutely no slack whatsoever and has made up his mind to be a friggin’ t.v.!!!  So, it looks like the ole’ seamstress will be slaving away once again.  I suppose I gotta hand it to the kid for not being afraid to think outside the box.  He is definitely not what I would catagorize as boring.  The boy sure knows how to put the “wee!” in Halloween, and I gotta give him mad props for that.

Spreading the Love

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     One of the biggest challenges I seem to face as a mama of twins is to always make sure that my kids know that I am equally proud of them. Given that I have boy/girl twins and the actuality that they are, in fact, two VERY different little beings (we’re talking night and day, oil and water, hot and cold different), they are naturally going to excel in different areas.  It’s up to me to fall all over myself singing their individual praises, while at the same time, not making the other one feel like a complete moron for not necessarily keeping up the same pace.

     One of these so-called areas just so happens to be reading.  My son’s brain has just turned on like a lightbulb when it comes to figuring out words.  He’s just naturally getting it — recognizing letters, piecing together sounds.  The dude was able to read the most God-awfully boring book about the sun cover to cover without even batting an eye.  He even had to wake me when it was over, that’s how lame the friggin’ thing was.  The point, though, was that he was even able to whiz through a scientific snooze fest with no help from me whatsoever.  My daughter, on the other hand, has a little more difficulty recognizing sounds, and as a result, gets extremely frustrated when she can’t figure out a word.  And what makes it worse is when her little bookworm brother is standing over her shoulder announcing how unfreakingbelievably easy the word is on which she happens to be stuck.  I can’t even count how many headache-inducing meltdowns this exact scenario has initiated.  In fact, just the other day, she pitched such an enormous hissy fit that she scared the literal piss out of the dog, all because her brother finished his spelling homework before she did.  I’ve learned the hard way to be sure to work one on one with them when it comes to anything to do with reading.

     Another area that is a major parental balancing act is sports.  Both my son and my daughter started playing soccer back in kindergarten. Now that they’re in first grade, they’ve had a good four seasons to get a feel for the game, and I have to say that my daughter is a pretty damn fierce competitor out there on the field. Now, please don’t automatically peg me for the stereotypical “soccer mom”, because I have really tried to just sit back and let the chips fall where they may. However, the girl can really handle the ball and has scored one or more goals at almost every single one of her games.  <TOOT!> Yes, I just tooted her horn, but soccer really does seem to be her thang. With my son, though, the story’s a little bit different.  He typically likes to pick grass when he’s out on the field and actually spent an entire game with his hands shoved down his pants.  (Now, to give him credit, the required uniform shorts are entirely too big, so perhaps his hands were just serving as suspenders.) He has recently started to at least try to make some type of contact with the ball, so I think we’re making progress.  Regardless of his playing skills (or lack thereof), I will love and support him just the same as if he were out there bending it like Beckham on that green.  

     Basically, what it all comes down to is confidence, and that’s what I’m all about instilling.  I want to teach my kids to have the guts to challenge themselves, even if they may fail.  The truth is that they very well may suck at a thousand different things they try, or they may kick ass and take names along the way.  Whatever the case, I am gonna be right there by their side, cheering them on to the point of embarrassment, because that’s what parents do.

Invasion of the Manner Snatchers

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     Is it my imagination or have manners all but become extinct anymore?  Seriously, have we all just decided to become a-holes and only think about ourselves?  I mean, crap, I’ve got places to go and people to see too, but that doesn’t mean I need to stampede the little old lady in front of me to get there any faster.  How am I supposed to teach my kids about manners if nobody anywhere around them seems to have any of their own?

     One of my constant encounters with rudeness takes place each and every week at my favorite yoga class.  There’s this one certain woman who inevitably always plops her shit down right next to my mat.  I cringe every time I think about trying to meditate next to this crazy bitch.  She is like a bull in a china shop.  The woman doesn’t have a clue how to be quiet about anything.  She’s constantly texting on her obnoxiously loud phone (does she not know about the silent feature?!) and every so often even taking calls right in the middle of the freaking class. And she never stays for the duration of the class. She waits until everyone is lying completely still in “savasana,” which is the word for corpse pose, to pack up all her crap without any regard whatsoever to the fact that everyone is supposed to be in a complete state of relaxation by this point of the class.  It’s a little hard to be relaxed when homegirl’s undoing the velcro strap for her mat, digging in her purse for her keys, putting on her clunky shoes, and literally stomping across the width of the room, all so she can be two or three minutes ahead of the crowd.  It really pisses me off, and I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for the instructor to keep her cool. She must be a lot more centered than me.

     Another one of my recent brushes with the rudeness of humankind was as I was leaving CVS the other day.  I needed to turn left out of the parking lot, which was not an easy task, given the super busy street it intersects.  I was like the chicken trying to cross the road, just waiting as patiently as I could for any opening.  Chalk it up to bad timing cause I wasn’t going anywhere fast.  All of a sudden, I heard someone laying on the horn behind me.  I glanced into my rearview mirror to see yet another bad-mannered lunatic screaming and cussing and flailing her arms about in the car behind me. What in holy hell did this insane woman want me to do?  Did she honestly expect me to just go barreling out into oncoming traffic and push the other cars out of the way for her?  When I finally was able to turn, she yelled “Stupid bitch!” and flipped me off through her open window.  Hmmm, seems to me that she’s the one not quite playing with a full deck if she thought causing a multi-car pileup seemed like a reasonable way for her to get where she needed to go more quickly.

     And yet another case of tactlessness with which I continually cross paths takes place right here in my very own neighborhood with other fellow dog owners.  It’s beyond me how some of my neighbors don’t seem to have any qualms at all with allowing their loose dogs to just randomly roam the streets.  This one dog in particular is always wandering around in other people’s yards just looking for the perfect spot to lay a monstrous pile of dung, which of course won’t EVER be poop scooped by his owner since he is MIA.  Then there’s also another sad excuse for a dog that runs amuck through our hood on just three short and stumpy little legs. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s the wisest decision in the world to let a gimpy little mutt hobble about the streets all alone.  Hell, that’s probably how he lost his leg in the first place.  “Lucky,” as my husband and I refer to him, is always causing passersby to stop and question if the poor thing is lost.  And, naturally, he is also leaving little piles of brown surprises in all the neighbor’s yards.  If I, myself, didn’t have any cooth, I would plop our new pup smack dab on their doorsteps to leave a few things of his own behind to thank them for their neighborly ways. But, you see, I actually do have some shreds of decency in my bones, so I will not ever do that.

     I really don’t understand what has happened to our society.  What about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? Have people just become too busy or better yet, too selfish to think about the consequences of their actions?  It seems to me that we all need to take a little lesson from Aretha and start showing some R-E-S-P-E-C-T for one another.

Failing Miserably

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     Well, I guess I’ll just go ahead and address the big fat elephant in the room.  Maybe nobody around here wants to admit it, but I seem to be really sucking ass at my job lately.  I’m trying to juggle way too many balls at once, and who am I kidding?  I don’t even know how to freaking juggle!  So, yes, this is my pity party, so pull up a seat cause you’re all invited.    

     The arrival of our literal little son of a bitch has thrown a big wrench in my ability to get a grip on anything around here.  He takes up so much of my time that I feel like I’m neglecting the kids, who are by far WAY higher up in the pecking order of importance.  I feel like I’m constantly telling them that we’ll have to play that game later or read this book another time so I can deal with the dog.  I’m totally sucking in my role as entertainer.  

     In addition, I’ve also been like a giant road block for my kids’ brain cells.  I totally missed the boat last week on an entire week’s worth of spelling activities for school. Yep, Mama Jackass somehow overlooked a whole list of homework assignments and didn’t even discover this little brain fart until over the weekend.  Oopsy daisy. Luckily, they were just at-home activities that kids were supposed to do each night with their parents, but still, I should’ve been more on top of my game.  

     Then, there’s the whole issue of trying to tame the Tazmanian Devil.  Since I was at my wit’s end with the pooch all last week, the hubs spent a lot of time trying to teach him how to not be a maniac over the weekend.  I made sure to carefully watch his technique so that I could continue with it once he went back to work on Monday. So why is it then that the dog refused to do ANYTHING I asked him to do even though I was doing the exact same thing my husband was doing over the weekend? Does he have something against me or what?  I swear if he had a middle finger, I know for certain that he’d totally be flipping me off.  The dog is clearly trying to tell me to eff off.  All he does is bite me and step in his own shit.  

     Then there’s my inability to be even somewhat of a semi-pleasant wife lately.  I am so frustrated and exhausted by the end of the day that I end up falling asleep by the time my tush finally makes that long-awaited contact with the couch.  I even turned down my husband’s offer to take me on a date over the weekend and opted to order out sushi instead.  How lame am I?   Yeah, I’m just a barrel of fun these days — being with me lately is only slightly more fun than a sharp stick in the eye.  Good God, am I turning into Kate Gosselin?!  

     So, to summarize my efforts around here:  kids = failing, dog = failing, husband = failing.  My report card looks pretty pathetic, don’t ya think?  I am flunking out big time with everything and everybody.  I gotta snap outta this and get back in the driver’s seat cause I am not a fan of spinning out of control.  It makes me dizzy.