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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Black Friday Madness

It's that time of year again. With the holidays upon us, shopping becomes the norm in our traditional gift giving realm. I decided to scoop up some deals that the national event "Black Friday" had to offer.

Black Friday, indeed. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, I want to say that the idea to go out shopping appealed to me because of the sheer spontaneous thrill of going out shopping PAST MY BEDTIME with my awesome sister-in-law and mother-in-law. There is just something so crazy about chugging a coffee at 10 pm to go shopping. Not just any kind of shopping. Shopping that will most likely make you experience every kind of emotion you can imagine.

Excitement: OOOO! It's so late out! I wonder if I will get everything on my list. I wonder if any brawls will take place? Can't believe I'm doing this!

Anxiety: Holy crap. The roads are seriously bad. Is this worth it? Are we going to die? Seriously. If I am going to die I wish I hadn't just gorged on two turkey dinners. I need to be trim in the after life. Oh? We made it to the store. Sweet. Where are we going to park? Why does everyone coming out of the store look like they bought every single item x 7 in the store? Crap. My Tupperware and comforter sets better still be available. Oh what? There is an alarm going off in the store? What's going on? Shit. This would be a perfect arena for some crazy shooter. We're doomed.

Anger: Those jerks think they are so great buying up eleventeen items of the same damn thing. Well guess what? THAT'S NOT FAIR. You can't see a good deal and just buy up the whole stock of them! I don't like you and you don't like me. It's on. More about this anger later...

Uncomfortable: It's cold. Really cold. And none of us are wearing coats...because extra crud to carry. Really smart. Or extremely dumb.

Insecurity: Holy cow...some of you REALLY seem to know what you are doing. Like, incredibly intense strategic game plans. I am wandering aimlessly and asking every store representative to point me in the direction of the items on my list. All the while using my manners. If there is a world record for the amount of times, "Pardon me" has been used...I think I topped it.

Pride: I DID IT! I got everything on my list, didn't act like a jerk, and saved a bunch of money. SAWEET!

Okay. There's the condensed version of the emotional narrative Black Friday had to offer me. Here's one of the highlighted episodes of the night:

I set out to get my kiddos a duel DVD player for the car. Currently we use just one old portable DVD player on car trips. It usually causes fights over who gets to hold it, and when we rigged up an awesome bungee cord to hold the player between two seats, there are complaints of, "I CAN'T SEE IT VERY WELL!" So...yeah. Somewhat of a selfish Christmas gift, but I think they will enjoy it, and it's an AWESOME PRICE.

So...I do what I have never done. I stand among a mob of other interested people waiting for the clock to turn that magic hour when the price becomes valid.

Standing here, I am definitely anxious. Quick count of the items on the palette and glance of the mob standing around it...crud. People to item ratio is not in my favor.

I feel like I bit off more than I can chew. I am a courteous person. I don't push or shove or put myself over others. I usually take my time with things and when it's my turn it's my turn. Rules apparently change for others on Black Friday. Shit's about to go down in several minutes.

We have about ten minutes to go and I am right behind some lady that has her cart IN FRONT of the palette of desired discounted items. So literally blocking everything. She has other people in her group, one lady who is right by the palette of items with her hand on it. Really?? Their banter with the store representative is starting to piss me off. They are talking about previous Black Fridays like they were vets of 'Nam. WHY IS A CART BLOCKAGE DEVICE ALLOWED??? I don't say that of course, because passive aggressive, ya know? I just grit my teeth and await the designated hour and hope for the best. I engage in comedic exchanges with a girl standing next to me, basically exposing the absolute ridiculousness that we have put ourselves in.

The hands turn on the clock to the moment we were all waiting for. Dude. I was frightened. I stood there and watched the cart lady and her accomplices load up dvd player after dvd player into their strategically placed cart. At this moment, I did not care for this group of Black Friday vets. I went into this gig thinking, well if I get one, I get one...but this display made me want to get this item more than ever. My sister-in-law had found me in the mob earlier. I decided to cash in on the strategic moves and asked her if she would stand on the other side of the mob. She's awesome so she did it.

In this frenzy, I couldn't quite get to the product. Mostly because there was a freaking cart in my way. There was man that was standing close to the palette and had already retrieved his DVD player. He took the opportunity to grab another one and hand it to me. I was floored. THANK YOU KIND SIR! He must have taken pity on me and my handful of $4.00 Spider-Man pajamas. I grabbed my prize, said my thanks, and tried to yell out to my sister-in-law who was in the trenches trying to do her part to get my desired item. She actually got one...so we ended up with two and she gave hers to some random person walking aimlessly.

Holy crap. The thoughts going through my brain. I am actually taking part in this madness. People are effin' NUTS! They have plans drawn up 'n shit. No mercy for whomever may get in their way. Yikes. I don't ever want to be that efficient at Black Friday shopping. Participating somewhat in the mob was shameful enough for me.

In the end, I did get everything I set out to get. Without violence...imagine that! I had more fun just hanging out with my family and cracking jokes about all the other crazies. And in the end, I got my kiddos some pretty cool things for Christmas.

It's the experience, you guys. Try not to take it too seriously...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Growly McGrowlerson - Weird Things Our Bodies Do To Embarrass Us...

I have this awesome cough right now that makes me sound like a wrinkled up smoking bar fly. It's pretty gross, I'm not going to lie. Other than the cough and feeling a bit run down, I'm fine. So hi ho hi ho it's off to work I go. Mamma needs a new pair of shoes, but should probably just pay the electric bill...

Part of my job is answering the phone. Which means I need to carry on a full conversation without sounding like I'm minutes from death.


I received a phone call at work from a company that wanted to talk to us about ad space. It didn't come off as a hum drum run of the mill telemarketing call. "Is *turns business name into a personal name* home?" So I decided to stay on the line. I ask her for more information...and then it happens. I feel the tickle in my throat. We've all been there. At church. A funeral. A wedding. A presentation. Anywhere you are supposed to be quiet. Crap. It's coming. I might commit murder for a lozenge at this point...

I let out a little cough and a "Pardon me." But my body goes. Oh heck no. We're not done yet. Silly girl.

Now comes that critical point where you either let it all out or you do the dumb thing and try to stifle the inevitable.

I did the dumb thing.

The lady is going on with her spiel and I'm making throat clearing noises and guzzling my coffee (probably the only time I've ever "guzzled" coffee) to try and suppress the avalanche of what was coming.

It doesn't take long and I am coughing. Never try to stifle. It comes out like tuberculosis mated with bronchitis and that is just not cool. Trying to utter apologies between breaths. The thing is...she just kept going. I'm trying to act like I'm listening and not, oh I don't know, DYING...and she just ignores the fact that she is talking to a plague ridden monster.

I managed to squeak out, "Do you have a website?" before the raging coughing starts up again. This is horrible. She gives me the website, but since I can't breathe, I scribble half of it down. Screw it. Google should direct me with half the info, right?

I'm trying to get off the phone, so I can escape somewhere private and finish what my lungs seem to think I need to do...AND SHE KEEPS TALKING!! Lady, I'm going to pass out or throw up. Please for the LOVE OF GAWD release me from your sales call.

Since I didn't learn the first time, I'm trying to stifle the rest of the coughs that NEED to come out. My co worker comes into my office, undoubtedly after hearing the miserable exchange I was having, and looks at my red, twisted, teary eyed face...and laughs. NOT FUNNY. Kind of. BUT NOT THEN IT WASN'T. He turns around chuckling. AGAIN. NOT FUNNY.

Finally, I get off the phone with a phone number I *think* is right, half of a website on a Post It note and a first impression that our business employs extras from "Ma's Roadhouse."

After running to the sink and downing water like I was stuck in the desert for days, I did recover.


This got me thinking about all of the times that your body does inappropriate things when you are supposed to be quiet or engaged.

I remember one presentation I went to. It was an hour away and I didn't have anything in my stomach but coffee.

Thirty minutes into the presentation my stomach let out a little "Grrowl."

Oh my. What was that?

5 minutes later another growl that had turned into a menacing howl. FEED ME NOW!!!

Sometimes you can't even believe that the noises you are making are even possible.

Now my stomach probably growls like this all the time, but I just don't notice it when I am not in a quiet setting. When you are in a quiet setting a tiny growl sounds like a building fell down. I'm sure my stomach whines all of the time because for some reason breakfast isn't something I care to partake in. CoffeeCoffeeCoffee!!!

Now I'm fully aware of the power my stomach possess. I feel another growl coming and I clutch my stomach in a firm grasp to show it who's boss.

I'm not even paying attention to the presentation. I'm inside my head locked in a battle between my body and the prospect of calling embarrassing attention to myself. "Who's that girl in the second row? Oh, don't mind her. That's just Growly McGrowlerson." 

A lady across the room started eating a banana. I hated her. If only I could have one BITE I could stop the war inside my belly.

I learned my lesson that day. Any presentation/class I had in the morning I made darn sure I had something in my gullet. Because no one needs stomach growling anxiety.

Our bodies our weird.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"I work out!" (You know the song...)

Well, it's a little late in the game for New Year's resolutions. Screw it. Maybe I'm just proactive in my resolution for next year. The fact of the matter is I decided today I need to start working out again.

Perhaps it was the image of the hippopotamus in an oversized spaghetti sauced stained sweatshirt that breezed past a poorly located hallway mirror that did me in.

Stop. Back up. Good golly. Who ARE you?

That's IT! Hippo no more. Time to think big and make mediocre attempts towards success.

Feeling inspired by my desire to rid of the hideousness, I decide I am going to bring the sexy back. Via clearanced  at home workout videos from my dusty home library. OH YEAH. 

I'm already feeling like I have a head start, seeing as though I didn't even finish my lunch. Truth time. Not because I wasn't starving. Because I found a freaking bone in my tuna sandwich, spit it all out, and gagged to the point of teary eyes. Disgusting. But weight loss friendly. 

I ask Little Dude if he wants to work out with mommy. He's all for it. Sweet. Let's do this.

First things first. Gotta look the part. I dive into the depths of my dresser drawer and resurrect some spandex attire.

I squeeze into my attire. I realize at this very moment that the reason exercise attire is made out of spandex is because you look at yourself busting out of it and see that you have no choice BUT to exercise.

I'm ready to go. Pop in the DVD called, "Cardio Dance Express".

It starts up and I'm half getting the routine down. Okay. Not even half. But ALMOST getting it. Not even close...

I realize the shades are up in my living room. PAUSE. Close all shades. No one I live near needs to see this business. Spandex is enough. Uncoordinated movements creating sweat? I wish that visual on no one.

Start the DVD back up again. I'm diving into the dance routine all clumsy like. I'm getting angry that the instructor is going too fast for my incompetent brain. I raise my arms and hit the ceiling fan above me. The dog thinks I am initiating some playful man's best friend action. He starts barking and circling me inviting me to play. No idiot. I'm feelin' the burn. GO AWAY. Little Dude rapidly gets bored with watching mommy pump up the jam, and he grabs a flashlight and starts shining it in my eyes.

Seriously? This is what a true-life-mom-at-home-workout looks like. Not sexy. Painful spandex. Uncoordinated. Dog-Child-Ceiling-Fan interferences.

I have to stop half way through because Little Dude has a tummy ache and doesn't quite make it to the bathroom. I assist him and 30 minutes later my heart rate is down and I half ass attempt to start the work out again.

My heart just isn't in it now. I'm getting irritated at the skinny cheerful instructor that tells me the Mambo is super easy and that I will be strutting my skinny self on the dance floor before I know it.

Screw you lady. I just cleaned up crap. While you're "Mamboing" your skinny butt all over the place, I'm making Spaghettios and wiping butts. Let's stick to baby steps, shall we?

I get through 20 more minutes miraculously and then decide I need to quit. Why?

A) I'm red faced, out of breath, and the spandex is starting to chafe my skin.

B) The dog won't give up this idea that my uncoordinated movements mean I want to engage in a dog/owner play session.

C) Little Dude is providing unsupportive commentary on my less than awesome performance. "Mom, you're not doing it right..."

Whatever. I did enough.

We will see how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully I'll get back on the horse and give it another try. However these "at home workout videos" were not made to cater to mothers with children, dogs, and a living room arrangement with ceiling fans directly above them. So, I call handicap. I should automatically just get 5 lbs taken off.

Maybe I could tap into this market. Workout really intense for 5 minutes then stop the tape to allow any interruptions that need to be taken care of. Welcome back! Undoubtedly you were dealing with crap, sibling rivalry, or a burning dinner item. Let's get back to getting "Un-Fat". 

Oh well. I am giving it a go. Ultimately, the experience pretty much sucked, though.

Here's my reaction, just after shutting off the video:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Hitchhiking Bird

So, that one time, when I got a bird stuck in my car...

Yeah. You heard me right. I got a bird stuck in my car last month. I am just now getting the chance to write about it, because of course something of that quirky nature would happen when I didn't have a computer to siphon the details of this epic event into.

The kids were out in the driveway with the car door wide open searching for a lost treasure that became victim of the Aztek's voracious appetite for small items and stale french fries. I hear two shrieks and frantic feet pounding the pavement towards the house. 


This caught me off guard as I was expecting this shrieking to be the result of a sibling battle I would have to put to rest. 

My reaction was something like: Silence. Laugh. "WHAT?" 


I venture outside, laughing at this off the wall predicament. 

Sure enough, flapping inside my car is the Cletus Jones of the sparrow world. 

I open all the doors and the hatch, ducking and wincing at the possibility of a bird beak coming in contact with my face. 

After circling the car a few times and doing a few rounds of kicking the interior and then running like a wuss, I SWORE I saw a bird fly out the back. 

Thinking this whole mess was behind us, we went back inside the house and went on with our day. 

Fast forward to evening. My niece came over and I was getting ready to bring the girls to Girl Scouts. I tell the kids to go get in the car. 

As I'm heading outside I hear shrieks again. Crap. 


What the heck?? What do I do? I've never had to trouble shoot bird invasions before. 

The dang bird ups the ante by performing a disappearing act. 

"Did he fly out?? Did anyone see him fly out??"

My niece points to the spot underneath my steering wheel where there is a little hole that goes to the inside of the car. 

"I'm pretty sure I saw him fly in there..."

"WHAT??!!!" Okay. Panic. 

We are already late to Girl Scouts. I send a message to our troop leader that we are running a little late due to a "situation" and we will be there as soon as we can. How do you explain a bird invasion over text without sounding crazy? Too much Hitchcock??

Now I am too afraid to even stick my head inside the car. Instead of productive problem solving, I proceed to pace around the driveway hoping the bird just decides to leave. 

That doesn't happen. 

I am elated to see my husband come home from work. I frantically bombard him with my bird story and tell him it's his job to get the thing out. 

He gets a long pipe and a flashlight. Bird flushing tools, I guess. I can tell he doesn't believe me at first. Partially because of my intuitive sense, and partially because he said, "It probably flew out already." 

He hits the part of the car underneath the steering wheel. I see him suddenly back up. Yeah. Told you. Bird.  In my car. Not crazy. 

About 10 minutes of this tapping and ducking dance goes on and suddenly I hear a curse word and running. 

"Got it!" 


Pretty sure my neighbors think we are nuts. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

French WHAAA???

Remember the day I got blasted with the inquiry of how a baby gets out of a tummy?  Yeah. That was a cake walk compared to this bombshell that Sassy Girl threw at me.

"Hey Mom. I know what French Kissing is." 

She leans back in her chair with a smirk on her face that is way beyond her years. 

I silently curse my decision to let my innocent 7 year old ride the bus. 

Not really wanting to hear her answer, I go ahead and ask her what she thinks it is. 

"It's touching tongues, Mom."

This is where I lock her in her room until she's 30, right?

I die a little inside. WHY are we having this discussion? You still sleep with stuffed animals and I read you bedtime stories.You have tantrums in the toy department every once in a while.  You pronounce spaghetti, "sketty". You dress in the same clothes as your American Girl doll. You believe in Santa Claus and Leprechauns...

Yet, you know about French Kissing?? 

I clear my throat and ask her where she heard this. She is reluctant to give up the name of her informant.  


We have the discussion about it being something that grown ups do if they are in love. 

If I'm this squirmish about discussing French Kissing with my daughter...good golly. I'm in for a bumpy ride when the teen years hit. 

I just don't want to see my kids grow up too fast. I blink and they are another year older. 

Luckily, Little Dude was in the kitchen impersonating a camel by spitting on the floor, so I think I have a little while before he is interested in these "beyond his age" topics. 

Sassy Girl seemed satisfied with the talk we had and scooped up her stuffed animal and I tucked her into bed. 

One day I might be the idiot that doesn't know ANYTHING about ANYTHING, in my kids' eyes. At least now I can make an impact from time to time...even if it makes me want to run away and pee my pants while in the process. 

I guess we will see how often this "French Kissing" topic gets slid into conversation now that Sassy Girl is in the elite grown up club of "in-the-know". 

Pray it doesn't come up on Thanksgiving with all of the extended family for me, will ya? 

"I am thankful for God, and my family, and French Kissing..."