from molly to carly in four hours

We had our second annual Wild Turkey Open House yesterday.

imageOur house opened at one, and by two-thirty, nobody was here. Seriously. Nobody. I felt like I was in a Molly Ringwald movie.

But then the peeps started to trickle in, the Wild Turkey 101 started to flow, and by the end of the night (or 6:30PM) I was dancing around with the dogs, singing Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” into a hair brush. By eight o’clock I was in bed…feeling thankful for good friends, good music, and my good Olivia Garden hair brush.

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i know the secret

I  found out how to be an amazing mother. I mean, after all the years of changing more diapers than I can count, all the sleepless nights, struggling to feed my kids balanced meals, taking them to soccer, basketball and t-ball practice, monitoring their grades, refereeing their fights, and setting curfews…all it took was a simple mid-day trip to the DMV.

Who f&%king knew?!

SCORE!

I am an amazing mother y’all. Whew.  I am so relieved. 

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Yes. That’s me.

 

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a memory lane detour

I took a trip down Memory Lane last week. Not purposely.

It was the kind of Memory Lane trip you take when you’re avoiding doing what you’re supposed to be doing, that you really didn’t want to do. Anyway.

Yeah. That.

I couldn’t help it. I stumbled across a big HUGE folder, made to look like an art portfolio, and the ribbon was clearly tied carefully by small hands.

Since We haven’t had small hands in this house for many years, I obviously couldn’t help myself. It was like a shiny object screaming at me LOOK! LOOK! Only it was more valuable than a shiny object. Because I loved those small hands. So I had to take the trip.

The make-shift portfolio harbored my twenty-hang-on-while-I-grab-the-calculator… Three. Twenty-three. Year old son’s “best” art from the fourth grade.

This one was my favorite.

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Naked. People.

I thought this one was pretty awesome too.

He enjoyed freedom from chains…?

He could relate because…?

And then I became every cliché in The Book. I grabbed a box of Kleenex, and I started talking to the dogs (don’t judge, I was home alone)…

I can still picture that fun-loving, body-curious ten-going-on-thirty year old boy in my head like it was yesterday. I can’t believe it’s been thirteen years (I did THAT math in head) already.

Now he is all grown up and he knows what girls look like naked, and he doesn’t care about being free (uh, from chains).

The dogs stared at me. And then walked away.

And I never finished doing what I was supposed to be doing, that I really didn’t want to do. Anyway.

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happy ordinary day

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My husband likes his birthday to be “quiet and low-key, just like any other day.”

And since low-key and quiet doesn’t come naturally to me (I spend a week celebrating my birthday yo) I spent years pushing his birthday-boundary, planning surprise parties, and forcing birthday dinners on him. And the parties and dinners always sucked. As I write this the words disastrous and uncomfortable immediately come to mind…

Anyway.

Over the last several years I wised up. Probably because of aging and all the wisdom that comes with it. Yep. I got birthday wise. And now I just believe him. I know he is happy to do what he wants, and I am happy he is happy, on his (seriously blah) birthday.

On normal weekend days Hubs goes paddle boarding or golfing. So this year when I noticed he had loaded his clubs in the back of his VW, I didn’t think anything of it…I figured he planned to go golfing on his day of birth, after we ran errands.

Normal and boring.

So we left the house early with our list of errands.

First up, new running shoes for me. Four stores later, I found the right fit in an acceptable color (I am not wearing black running shoes. They make me look like the lunchroom lady).

Next was a furniture store; I needed new furniture for my home office (a just-right desk, a comfy desk chair, and a comfy-cheery sleeper chair).

As we left the furniture store a few thousand dollars later, our errand run was interrupted by a phone call from our eighteen year old son. He called and talked to his dad, and told him his car was dead.

Hubs said four words to me: Nic’s car is dead. And then he did a quick freak-out chair dance because he doesn’t know how to fix cars..and he doesn’t do well with vehicular-hiccups. Hubs just kept shaking his head and mumbling “we bought a brand new it-will-survive-a-nuclear-bomb-Toyota so this wouldn’t happen. What could be wrong with it?”

And I quickly went in to problem-solver mode. I did math. I determined the car was still under warranty, and that soothed Hubs a little bit. Then I asked Hubs to tell me exactly what our son said…you know, like what led up to the car’s death..? And the only three words Hubs could recall from the entire fifteen minute conversation with our son…? My. Car. Died.

Seriously? You didn’t ask why? I’m so glad our son isn’t bleeding.

I called our kid and in two minutes I learned that he had spent an hour and a half in the car with the radio and a/c running…but not the engine. B-I-N-G-O

Hubs was back to his coherent and happy self. We drove home to get supplies. Then we drove across town to the college to jump-start (or whatever that is called) our son’s car.

Then we went to the grocery store. The last line-item on our list of errands.

By the time we got home it was late in the day and nearly dark, courtesy of falling back an hour. Hubs’ afternoon of golf was not in the cards.

As I watched Hubs unload his golf clubs from the trunk of his car, I kind of felt sad for him…for a like second. Afterall, this was just a normal day. Quiet and low-key. Exactly what he wanted.

Happy birthday Hubs.

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Spider Power

Today, Hubs and I were driving in the car, on the way home from the grocery store…

Me: I’ve been having really vivid dreams lately. Like with babies and spiders.

Hubs: I’m sure you’re just tired. You’ve had a lot going on lately.

Me: No. Really. I’ve been dreaming a lot about spiders. And we had a baby in my dream last night.

Hubs totally changed the subject, and after a little while he swatted at empty air in front of him…like a ninja driver.

Me: What are you doing?

Hubs: It felt like a spider web just blew into my face.

Me: Huh. Well, your car is probably infested with black widow spiders and they’re building nests and webs in your car.

Hubs: Don’t be silly, black widows can’t live in a car. It’s too hot in Florida.

Me: Yes they can, I read it on the internet. And you probably have a bunch of spider nests in your golf stuff, so the eggs hatched in your car, and now your car is infested. And oh-my-gawd, my dream was a premonition!

Hubs: Don’t be silly. Your dreams are just dreams. I mean, we sure as hell aren’t going to have a baby.

Me: Duh…when you dream about a baby it means death. Holy shit, I’m itchy now.

Hubs (laughing): You’re being a weirdo. Maybe your dream meant that I’m gonna die from a black widow bite.

Me: STOP. That’s not even funny.

About an hour after we got home I heard Hubs rumbling around in the garage…so I looked out the window, and he was hosing down his golf equipment.

Hmmm.

Golf bag caddy.

Golf bag caddy.

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ssssh!

One of my sweet friends called me earlier this week, she wanted to know if it was normal to sit in the car and enjoy the silence…just for a few minutes, before she went in to her house and put on her mom and wife hat.

Of course I told her, it was normal to steal quiet moments, and treasure them.

As an almost-empty-nester, I have become accustomed to the quiet. In fact, I work from home all day, and I never turn on my television. Or radio. My house is silent.

Well, until the UPS guy rings my doorbell. Then all Hell breaks loose as my dogs wake up from their coma, and go ape shit.
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I haven’t figured out why my dogs bark at the UPS guy in broad daylight, and they sleep through a midnight garage explosion next door.

Last weekend I spent the night in a neighboring town, at a new Gulf front hotel for a business function. When I got home Sunday afternoon, Hubs asked me what I thought of the new hotel, and the first thing that spilled out of my mouth was…

It was so loud.
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Hubs looked perplexed, so I explained further…

The waterfall feature at the pool was so noisy, you couldn’t even hear the waves from my Gulf front balcony.

And the lobby is an open-floor-plan style and it houses the bar, the restaurant, the front desk, the elevators, the bell carts, the guest computers and the concierge…without separation. Just one big room with piped-in 80s music. And the floors were tile, so everything echoed.

“Oh,” Hubs said. “Loud.”

Yes my sweet friend, soak up the quiet for as long as you can, anywhere you can find it.

It’s normal. This world is a noisy place.

Especially when you have work, and kids, and husbands, and dogs, and neighbors making biodiesel in their garage.

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i ditched the mom thing today

It’s really cool how parenting morphs into an almost-friendship with your kid when they reach a certain age…like say…mid-twenties.

Two of my sons are on their own, living completely independent, adult-style, twenty-something lives, so I feel like I can relax The Mom routine. A bit. Sometimes.

I feel like I can take a break from being the rule-monger, and ditch the I-am-the-boss-of-you…to just have fun. In a non-Dina-Lohan way.

Today I spent the whole day with my middle son, we had lunch and shopped.
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He bought dri-wick, sports underwear and I embarrassed him in front of the cashier at the check-out. Seriously, those underpants look like man-Spanx and I want grandchildren someday.

He rolled his eyes when I chose blue nail polish, but he is color-blind so I told him it was red.

OPI Russian Navy (or “red”)

He advised me while I tried on nude, high-heel pumps. He preferred I wear an orthopedic style shoe.

And then he waited patiently while I stood in line and bought a dress I’ll never wear.

On the way home we stopped for drinks and we toasted his late grandfather. We laughed, talked about life, and dropped f-bombs. I got Tabasco in my eye.

Tabasco eye

Tabasco eye

We were almost-friends today. And it was cool.
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what mattered today

As I write this, my oldest son is sitting at the bedside of his dying grandfather. And my middle son is driving home, across five states, to be at the beside of his paternal grandfather too. I pray he makes it here. Safely. And in time.

Two days before I heard about my ex-father-in-law’s fate, I learned one of my friends passed away unexpectedly. He was a dear friend, and as our lives took on a different shape over the years, we kept in touch by interacting on Facebook. I will miss him.

Needless to say, over the last few days I’ve thought a lot about death, and what I would do…how I would live if I knew I was at the end. If I was dying.

And so I did the first three things that popped in my head…

First, I told each one of my sons how important they are to me, how proud I am of them, and how very much I love them. And because I tell them these things frequently, they tend to be dismissive, so I used a different tone of voice; I was forceful, and I gave them reasons. Sometimes “I love yous” can be methodical…habitual…commonplace. And I needed my boys to really hear me this time.

Second, I unplugged for the evening. I gave my husband my complete attention when he came home from work. I was fully present. I plan to do this every evening, at least for a few hours.

And third, I ate ice cream for dinner, and I didn’t feel guilty.

Death reminded me that I should strive to live a rich, full and present life. Every day. With ice cream. And probably cupcakes.

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things i learned (the hard way) in ohio

Hubs and I ran the USAF Marathon last Saturday. We built a vacation around our destination-marathon, and lingered in Dayton for a week to spend precious time with a dear friend. It was marvelous. The trip-part was marvelous that is…the marathon…well.

I didn’t know in advance, the course was a Boston and Olympic Qualifier, nor that it was certified by Track and Field (or maybe Road and Track?). Read: it was a hard as f%$k course.

But we finished. Both of us. Hubs did the full, twenty-six-point-two, and I did the half marathon. Both of us PR’d, according to our Garmins…which is what every runner hopes to achieve (unless they’re a Kenyan).

This is my headband.

This is my headband.

And as with every half marathon (this was my fourth), I learned valuable lessons…key-take-aways, like:

1.) Don’t eat a Chipotle’s burrito bowl for dinner the night before you run; twelve hours is not enough time to digest the after-effects of Tex-Mex. Trust me on this.

2.) If you accidentally eat Tex-Mex (because it smells so good) twelve hours before you run a half marathon…make sure to tuck a full roll of Rolaids in your hip-pack…three Rolaids will not be enough. Trust me on this. Too.

3.) Don’t get a pedicure the day before you run thirteen-point-one miles. Even if you tell the pedicurist to leave your hard-earned calluses in place…most of those words will get lost in translation. Trust me here, times three.

You’ll end up with a big fat blister on the bottom of your foot that will hurt more than your muscles and your lower back and your abs all together, after eight miles. And then you’ll still have five more miles to go with painful shit going on in your shoe.

Big. Fat. Blister.

Big. Fat. Blister.

4.) Check out the elevation of your course a few months before you run so you can train appropriately. This should probably be number one because it is especially important if you’re geographically-challenged like me. No Kelly, Ohio isn’t as flat as Florida.

I should have known in advance that my course was super-technical…but noooo. I found out the night before while perusing the program and eating a burrito bowl.

Ohio is not flat.

Ohio is not flat.

(Okay, for marriage-harmony reasons I have to add here that Hubs told me months ago my course was super-technical, but I dismissed him because I had been to Ohio one time before, and I knew shit; like Ohio is in the Eastern Time Zone. Plus, I didn’t remember any serious hills.)

5.) Thirteen miles is a long-ass way, y’all. I mean, it doesn’t seem like it when you’re training and you’ve run it several times…you kind of feel like a bad ass. So I blew it off…it’s only a half. But it is a really long distance to run on short legs, especially when you’re carrying last night’s Chipotle and wearing a big-ass blister.
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So, there you have it. My personal take-away-lessons from the USAF half marathon.

I learn the hard way…yo.

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itsy-bitsy-lonely

“Look what I just killed in our garage.”

My husband just walked in the kitchen and proudly showed me a picture on his phone.

Are you kidding me? That’s a black widow!

“Yep. And I killed it.”

What about her friends and her nest of eggs? Should we call an exterminator!

(laughing) “It was just one. And it’s dead.”

There is never just one. They aren’t loners.

“Yes. They are. Spiders don’t travel in packs.”

How do you know? Oh-my-gawd. Now I’m itchy and I won’t be able to sleep tonight because spiders will probably be crawling all over me.

(shaking his head and walking away) “Why do I tell you these things.”

Because you have to! You’d feel bad if I got bit and dropped dead and left you alone because you kept a secret…I watched Venom ER! Black widow venom is fifteen times stronger than a snake’s venom. This is serious!

(I grabbed my iPad and began Googling)

Hubs! It says online there are probably hundreds more black widows in our garage…and we probably have an infestation…and you need to go hunting for them at night with gloves, boots and a flashlight because they are nocturnal…and their nests are usually along the baseboard by doorways in undisturbed areas and one foot apart…and you can tell by the strength and shape of the web that it’s a black widow. Come on. Get a flashlight and I’ll help you…let’s go!

(rolling his eyes) “Relax. Take a breath. I’ll go and confirm that the one dead spider in our garage is still dead.”

Husband. Father. Spider-slayer. Hero.

Husband. Father. Spider-slayer. Hero.

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