Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shake That Ass... Step It Up

Lately, many of those whom I hold dear have been going though some pretty significant changes in their lives. Changes in their employment, their relationships, their residential location, etc.

For all of us, with change there are moments of fear, uncertainty. The second guessing if the choices we have made are going to pan out the way we had anticipated; had hoped for.

My son, James, has recently taken the leap to make some bold moves to secure a better life for his family. They saved every penny they could, sold off nearly every possession they had, gave notice at work, packed up the cars, strapped in the babies and headed off to the expansive plains of  Iowa.

There were some hiccups along the way; there always are when you travel with little ones. One always seems to come across the less-than-perfect motel along the way, the ever-present stop and interrogation by the bored highway patrol who's noticed the loaded down out-of-state vehicle caravan driving along an abandoned stretch of highway in the middle of the night. And the never-ending pangs of being homesick. Those of us who have made such journeys understand this all too well.

If it's not one thing knocking you down, it's another, it seems. I've been there myself. I know how discouraging it can be. I know how hard it is to try to see the positive in your present circumstances.

But, much like I have been trying to lovingly relay to my son and his wife, if you just shove the negatives aside and try  to see the positives in your situation, there is a glimmer of hope to be found.

Just as I was remembering my own trials survived during cross-country treks in my earlier years, and trying to find the sentiments of support for my kids, I came across this story and wanted to share it.

It's all in how you view things...

One day, a farmer's donkey fell down into a well.The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, the farmer decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

The farmer invited all of his neighbors to come over to help him fill in the well. One by one, they grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried out horribly in protest. Then, to everyone's amazement, the donkey settled down and quieted.

After a few more shovels -full of dirt were thrown into the well, the farmer looked down and was amazed at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that his the donkey's back, the donkey would shake off the dirt and take a step up onto the growing mound of dirt beneath him.

As the neighbors continued to shovel, the donkey continued to shake it off and step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off to the fields.

The moral of the story is this: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the lifes' wells is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles are a stepping stone. We can get out of the deepest well just by not stopping, never giving up.... Shake it off and take a step up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Get In The Boat

 Sometimes, when someone repeatedly asks for God to help show them the direction their life should take, maybe they should consider that he IS answering their prayers in the form of just listening to someone who can offer advice or encouragement. Sometimes the advice or encouragement isn't what you want to hear, but maybe, just maybe, your prayers are being answered and you aren't listening... 


I was reminded of a story I had heard some time ago, and I wanted to share it with you today.

 There was a man drowning in the ocean. He prayed to God to save him. 

A few minutes later a boat came and offered to pick him up and take him to shore. The drowning man refused and the boat left. 

Another boat came along and offered to save the man and he said, "No, God is going to save me." So, the boat left. 

Finally a third boat came and a man said, "I can help you." Once again the drowning man said no. 

When the man finally drowned, he stood before God and said, " I trusted you. I prayed to you! Why didn't you save me??"

God said, "I heard your prayers, I answered your prayers... I sent you three boats. You chose not to get in."

Are you listening? Do you see the boats in your life, but you're waiting for a miracle? Do yourself a favor.... get in the boat.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Big Fish: The One We Wished Had Gotten Away

Today I was to have lunch with all of my coworkers from the Special Education Dept for the school I work for. We had been assigned an entire half of the dining area of an all-you-can-eat buffet at a local luxurious Indian casino.

As we all gathered at the buffet, two coworkers and I were separated while checking in and were seated on the opposite side of the dining room. 

While perusing the salad bar (ok, I'll confess, the dessert bar) I had been approached by our director and it had been suggested that we join the rest of the group. Once I had my salad (brownies) appropriately plated, I made my way to the group but was stopped dead in my tracks as a coworker walked right in front of me with a platter draped and dripping with overwhelmingly stinky King Crab legs......YUCK!!!

the blonde is heartless....right???
I promptly made an about face and distanced myself from the smelly, stinky, exceptionally grossness that was before me. I quite literally let out an involuntarily retching sound as I nearly puked.

As I hastily fled in the opposite direction , I offered an apology from over my shoulder murmuring something about how I can't, I just simply cannot, stand the smell of anything seafood.

The guttural reaction I displayed that day goes back much further than the last few months of my self-imposed vegetarian state of mind. No, this is directly connected to a childhood memory that even the best of psychotherapists will not be able to erase from my mind.

Mitten Mountain in Dolan Springs

When I was 6 or 7 years of age, my family lived in Dolan Springs, Arizona. This open-range cattle-country desert community is located about 72 miles beyond BFE in the middle of nowhere. Chances are, you've never even heard of the place.

A set up similar to what we lived in

My family lived right off the main highway in a single wide trailer void of any modern convenience we take for granted now. We didn't have a city sewer system (we had a septic tank), no running water (we had a water tank that had to be trucked out to be filled every so often... shhhhh, don't tell anyone, but my brother and I swam in that tank all the time not thinking it was our drinking water...ewwww...*giggle), and our electricity was wired in from a line off the telephone pole at the street. I'm not even sure we had a phone. Yeah, we were roughing it!

I can only imagine how depressing it must have been for my mother to live there with her four children. My dad, on the other hand, was able to escape during the week as he worked across the state line at Kaiser Steel in California and would be gone Mon-Fri, returning home on the weekends.

One year, my dad proposed a deep sea fishing trip with the promise to my mother that he would take the rest of the family on a nice, well-deserved vacation far away from the desert's oppressive heat and wind storms when he returned. My mom agreed to the deal and off he went for an adventure on the high seas.

With my dad ~ Summer '73 or '74

He returned a few days later with a grin from ear to ear. I remember how proud my dad was when he returned from that trip with the prize catch of the day. Not only had he snagged the biggest catch of the trip, but he had also won the money pot for doing so! I don't recall how much money he pocketed, but it was nothing compared to how proud he was of the Yellow fin  tuna he carted 200+ miles back home

At some point shortly after this picture of my dad and I was taken, he skillfully cut, sliced, diced, and chopped that poor fish into Tuna Steaks which my mother promptly wrapped in saran wrap and foil and placed into the freezer with the promise of stews, casseroles, salads, and whatever else one does with tuna.

So, with the man trip a distant memory, my parents loaded up the family truck and we headed off  for a family get-away. I don't recall where we went, and I'm certain it wasn't all that great; certainly not Hawaii or anything grand. Most likely, it was a trip to Vegas to visit extended family, which for my mother, probably wasn't much a better Hell than the solitude of the desert. But, the thought of civilization, running water, air conditioning, and adult conversation  would be enough to make a week or more with one's mother-in-law a paradise in and of itself.

If memory serves, we were gone about  two weeks that summer. Not that it's important, really, other than to note that we were gone from the trailer for an extended amount of time. We're not sure when it happened, but at some point while we were away, a summer storm blew through the region and lightning  knocked out all the power to our home.

I will pause here for a moment to let you complete the perhaps not-so-obvious equation in your head:

60 ft long tin can (aka trailer)
- electricity
+ summer temperatures over 100 degrees
+ 50 pounds of tuna in the now defrosting freezer
+ extended fermentation time
= a nose-hair curling stench that permeates the senses and stays with you for the rest of your life !!!

I have the vision clearly ingrained in my mind of my parents opening that trailer door !!!
The stench was unbearable, the reality unimaginable, and I"m sure you can only imagine the reaction !!!

All that tuna had defrosted in the freezer and all those fish juices ran out the drain in the back and all down the coils on the rear side of the fridge.... onto the floor .... through the cracks in the linoleum ..... and into the subfloor... and baked in the hot summer sun the entire time we were away.

We kids had it easy, but my poor parents had to clean that mess up. I don't recall, but certainly, there had to be maggots involved, which would only be a secondary inconvenience to the stench.

We were too poor to simply toss the old fridge and buy another. No, it had to be salvaged and cleaned and every effort was made to rid the fridge and the trailer of the smell. My mother even resorted to burning coffee on a hot plate placed inside the fridge.

I honestly don't know how she survived ... my mother truly is a saint!

So, those of you who know me, and even for those of you who don't ... I hope this provides you with a better understanding of why I won't be joining you at Red Lobster, or a clam bake, or the fish market at the pier.... don't try to convince me that I will like fish if I try it prepared this way or that. I simply don't want it! It's one of those childhood memories that stay with you forever.

I simply cannot stomach it.... and that is no fish story !!!  

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Guidance of One's Path

I have had several moments in my life where I have felt a presence, a guidance of sorts, even warnings, perhaps. 
Some may refer to these instances as Divine Intervention, Women's Intuition, or Deja Vu. Some may even refer to them as something along the lines of the paranormal, or unexplainable, the Heavenly. 

This past April, I had one such moment in my life; one of many. It was my birthday, and the family and I were going to drive from Southern California to Las Vegas, Nevada, to visit my father, whose birthday is the day following mine. 
Those of you who have driven the 15 Freeway to Vegas can attest that, although busy, the road is a desolate one. 
You can go for miles and miles in the desert without seeing anything or anyone except fellow travelers. It is literally in the middle of nowhere, especially once you get past Baker, where the world's largest thermometer is. 
 We were several miles east of Baker, heading up a steep grade, when the dog started getting antsy and let us know she needed a pit stop. My son, Justin, was driving and he was looking for a place to pull over. But when he would start to slow down, I kept saying," no, this doesn't feel right. Keep driving."
Finally, I felt the timing was right to pull over and he did so when I told him to.

The Tamarisk tree where we stopped.
Now, this stretch of desolate highway is littered with nasty, scrubby, brushy tree every so often. Ugly trees called Tamarisks that are natural magnets for all kinds of debris blowing along the highway. Many times, you will find shoes lofted into the higher branches.
 There is such a Tamarisk where we pulled off on this day.... We have passed at least 50 similar trees the past mile or so, but we have stopped at this one.
My son gets out. My husband gets out with the dog. And my granddaughter, who is 8 years old, starts to get out. 
Usually, this is a normal thing for her so she can explore for rocks, etc. I normally wouldn't inhibit this natural curiosity she possesses,  but this time I snapped at her as she reached for the door handle and told her to stay in the car. I didn't feel right about her getting out. She asked why and I told her I just didn't feel safe this time.
I started freaking myself out, becoming increasingly paranoid, telling myself as I looked at the tree in front of me that "wouldn't it be creepy if there was someone under that tree?? " 
It was completely illogical as we were in the middle of nowhere
and it was 100 degrees outside in the desert sun. It just didn't make sense to think that way. I was being silly. 
But, the feeling didn't go away. I stared at the tree and didn't see anything. But was still very uneasy. 
As the feeling continued to linger, I took notice of a large knife my husband had recently purchased. It was stuffed between the truck's driver seat and the center console. And I thought that I could easily grab it if I needed it ... But was worried about how I would get the knife to my son or husband if they needed to defend themselves should there be someone lurking; watching.
 Just when I had told myself for the third or fourth time that I was freaking myself put and to knock it off, my son ran up to my door and opened it yelling at me that he needed my bottle of water because there was a dehydrated, delusional man underneath the tree!!!
Sure enough, somebody HAD been under that tree and I had felt their presence.
So my son took him the water, unarmed, while I gained better access to that knife, just in case. 
My son came back a few moments later, as my husband and I wearily and guardedly watched; on hand on my phone to call 911 should I need to. He returned to me and asked if we had any food for the man. I gave my son some left over donuts we had picked up earlier. (Hmmm...I'm sensing a theme in some of my stories  God & Donuts.. click here
The man had asked Justin to not call the police. He was homeless and was always run out of the places where he sought refuge. Today, he had taken refuge under that tree and thought he'd perhaps die there. I repeatedly asked my son if I needed to call an ambulance, my hand still perched on my phone's keypad.  But, my son said the man was starting to make more sense as he drank the water. 
Obviously, we couldn't offer him a ride with a small child with us. Even had she not been with us, I've seen too many scary movies to take any chances. However, we gave him what we could and assured him we wouldn't call the authorities. I thought long and hard about calling an ambulance, but I didn't sense an urgency to call,  so I didn't. We left him there and pulled back onto the freeway with a sense of WOW, what just happened!!??

Now, as we drove along, I started to take inventory of what had just happened, as well as the moments leading to that decision to pull off the road at that exact location, at that exact time. I realized two extreme factors leading to that moment. 
That morning, on the way out of town, my husband offered to take us to IHOP for my birthday breakfast. I declined,  saying that I was craving donuts. I have not purchased a box of donuts in years!  
Also, we had stopped in Barstow at the McDonalds train tourist trap. My parents had always stopped there when I was a kid, so I wanted to take my granddaughter there. You know, kinda make it a family tradition. We all looked around and got something to drink before heading back to the truck.
 When I travel, I ALWAYS drink Diet Coke.  I always have an extra large fountain drink of diet coke in the cup holder. But this one time, I told my husband that I just really felt like having water. 
I NEVER buy bottled water while traveling. But this day I bought two large bottles of Aquafina.
When we found that man, I had water to offer him (had I purchased a Diet Coke, the sodium would have made him all the more thirsty)
When we found that man, I had food to offer him (had we eaten at IHOP, we wouldn't have taken any leftovers with us). 
I was led to that tree and had what that man needed !!!! 
The realization about the food and water wasn't apparent to me right away. But as we drove along the freeway, the more I thought about things, and the more things fell into place. This is like a weird, paranormal thing I get from time to time. 
I don't always know how to explain such things... God, the Universe, coincidence? I know how I was raised to believe, but much of what I sense sometimes defies the teachings. I just don't know. What  I do know is this was one of the strongest instances I have yet to have experienced. 
I updated facebook as we drove along, relaying the craziness of all that had just unfolded to my fb friends. One by one, they shared their awe. One friend shared a most precious observation: How wonderful a gift it was for my birthday to witness the selflessness of my child as he cared for that man, putting his own safety aside to help one he knew was in need. It was a proud moment, for sure.
My kids, husband, and friends listen to me now when I say I don't feel right about something or if I have a dream.  Much of the time, it is nothing more than a feeling. But there are more than just a few instances that make me realize I'd better heed to this guidance. 
Listen to your feelings, friends, the  guidance of your path may be from a power unseen, but certainly not unfelt.We just need to learn to recognize when the guidance is there.
 "And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."  ~William Shakespeare 

Monday, September 3, 2012

To Gif or Not to Gif

Recently, I have seen, and become entranced, by the use of gifs in other blog postings, particularly a fantabulous posting of a book review for 50 Shades of Grey click here. The gifs, along with the writers snappy sense of humor, are truly what made this book report as awesome as it is!

What is a gif, you may ask? A gif is a graphics interchange format. what does that mean, exactly? I don't

I attempted to use Wikipedia to define, but as 99% of the definition is in computerese, I have no clue how these things truly work, I'm just hoping to use them. So, I am thinking about adding a gif or two to my blog postings as I re-edit and define my styling a little more here and there.

I have already discovered creating my own memes:

I find the ability to create these memes to actually be very therapeutic and I love how I am able to laugh at the WTH  moments in my life.

Now, I am hoping to be able to take the time, research a little, and add some gifs to my stories in an effort to add some more CPM (chuckles per minute) to my postings.

If you're unfamiliar with a gif , as I was just a few short weeks ago, here is a sampling:

 I have founds a few gif sites and am looking for more. So, what are your thoughts? To gif or not to gif, that is the question..

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Heel

Yesterday, I attended a co-ed Wedding Shower for my son and my soon-to-be daughter.   

Together, they are learning the trials and tribulations of life. They've already learned some valuable lessons and will, no doubt, continue to learn more as the days and years go by. 

As tradition will have it, many times family or friends will share with newly married couples the secret to a successful relationship. I always quip, when asked,  that only one spouse is allowed to be crazy at a time. Generally, throughout my 29 year marriage, that statement applied to me. 

Oldies but goodies are the ones we've always heard before about never going to bed angry, always kiss each other goodnight, pray together. 

But during the gathering yesterday, a story was shared  that I had never heard before. It was a touching story and the depth of the message caught many of us off guard. There was nary a dry eye in the house as the last word was uttered..

I researched the web a bit to see if I could find the story so as not to recreate it from memory and perhaps forget an important detail or two. I found several references, but they all paled in comparison to the story that was relayed to us as we sat in the living room of the bride's family. 

So with apologies for any oversights or omissions (thank goodness for the ability to edit should the need arise) and thanks to the lovely woman who shared this rare and priceless gem. It will change the way I look at my own marriage, for certain. I hope it speaks to all who read it here.

The Heel 

A man and woman had been married for more than 60 years; quite an accomplishment in and of itself. Certainly, they had learned and implemented every tool needed to have a loving, successful marriage.

At the end of every day, while the wife prepared their tea, the husband would lovingly toast and butter a piece of bread for each of them so they would have something in their stomachs before retiring for the evening.

For years, as he would reach into the bread loaf  he would occasionally be presented with a regular slice of bread and the heel to toast, butter, and serve with jam. The husband would automatically, and without fail, always place the toasted heel in front of his wife. 

For 60 years, the wife had held her tongue with regards to the fact that she found this to be selfish act which bothered her greatly. She hated the heel !!! But on this day, as she stared at the heel of bread in front of her, she could hold her silence no longer. Maybe it was the stress of the day that gotten to her, maybe she was simply tired, but his giving her the heel of the loaf of bread again had gotten to her, and she was going to let him have a piece of her mind!

  “Why do you always give me the heel when you keep the normal piece of the bread for yourself ?  You have done this our entire marriage, and I can't take it anymore!  How self-centered and selfish of you! I hate the heel!” 

The husband sat  across from his wife, listening, with his head hung low, while she demeaned him for his lack of consideration that had spanned six decades. 

And when she had finished making her point, with tears in his eyes, he lifted his head and he spoke. 

“The heel has always been my favorite piece of bread. I have given you the heel of the loaf all these years because I love you. I thought you liked it. I thought you knew it was my way of showing you how much I loved you.”  

The moral of the story here, dear friends, is just how important the art of communication is... in any relationship. Communicate to each other. Just because something makes perfect sense to you doesn't mean that your friend, family, coworker, or loved one fully understands your intentions.

I'm so thankful that this story was shared with my son and his bride. It is an important lesson and invaluable in the early stages of marriage.  I love you Jacob & Amanda. You're going to be just fine and just remember to leave all the craziness to this mamma <3

Reader: Please feel free to pass this along to those you love....

Friday, June 29, 2012

Do You Forget Who You're Talking To???

Recently, I had a dear friend write me a private message relaying to me her frustration with a day that had just gone wrong.

Her message started with, " So ... do you ever have one of those days where you just feel like you fail at life?! Ugh ... today was THAT day."

She relayed to me the events of her day that, one by one, just fell apart.

When I replied to her, I said, " LOL... Do you forget who you're talking to??? I mean, really!!! My children have glued their siblings to the carpet...we've camped on tarantula mating grounds ... I belong to the "Brotherhood Of The Squirrels" for cripes sake !!!"

I reminded her that I have SO MANY days like the one she described, that it was what inspired me to start this very blog. Even the leader caption for my blog refers to my constant status of days that just go wrong:
"Ever have those days where it feels like the world is pressing in, pushing you down, squeezing in from all sides til you feel like you'll burst like a grape???"

I encouraged my friend to sit back, take a deep breathe, let it all go and  she'd be OK. I also promised her that I would share with her one of my days that stick out in my mind the most... just like it was yesterday.

So, Candy, this post is dedicated to you....

In 1988, I was 21 years old and the young mother of 3 boys, ages 5, 3, and newborn. Our growing family lived in a little triplex in Southern California and I was afforded the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. Although I would strive to become the  little Suzy Homemaker that I felt my family deserved, I generally fell short... far short!

These are not MY little angels, but you get the idea...
The Thomson family mornings would usually start with a frenetic melee of diapers, pajamas, breast feeding, burping, breakfast, school clothes, cartoons, pacifiers, burp rags, more diaper changes, backpacks, tying shoes, locating missing homework assignments, more breast feeding, chasing 5 year old who has removed his shoes and socks, removing pacifier from 3 year old and returning it to 1 month old, retying shoes,opening front door to leave only to realize 3 year old is naked, shutting door, dressing child, open door, go to car, go back to house to retrieve baby you set on the couch to tie shoes, strap baby and 3 year old into car seat, get behind the wheel........ have a 15 to 30 second internal melt-down-brain-fart while staring off into space... get out of car to go back for car keys, etc.

 This particular fall morning was dreary and foggy, with a heavy mist hanging in the air. By the time I actually made it to the point where I got the car started, turned on the headlights and backed out of the driveway, I could already tell this was going to be a challenging day.

I deposited James of at his school and bee-lined it back to the apartment in hopes of getting something, anything, accomplished before I had to complete a half-melee marathon in 3 hours in order to go pick him up. In hindsight, Kindergarten is the most trying time in a young mother's life. There's just something about those half-day schedules that just make it nearly impossible to get anything done !!!

I rushed back home and popped in a VHS of  the vintage cartoons; Felix The Cat, Popeye, etc. Nursed the baby, changed the baby and just when everything was quiet and calm for 3 minutes, I managed a quick shower.

Lather, rinse, no time for repeat ... jump out, dress and get started on some chores.

I had planed a beautiful chuck roast and vegetables for dinner that evening. So while the baby slept and Joshua mimicked Popeye, I lovingly prepared all the ingredients and placed them in a roasting bag, tied it up and popped it into the oven for a low-n-slow cooking method that was sure to make my house smell like Betty Crocker herself had stopped by and invaded my kitchen!
You remember those roasting bags right? They were such a time saver and  made clean up a breeze!

I nursed the baby, changed the baby, did a load of laundry, rewound the video for replay number two or three for the morning and ran back to the bathroom to blow dry and curl my hair before picking up James.

As I start to blow dry my hair, my appliance starts making all these funny noises and the air flow is sporadic. I continue of course, rationalizing that I'm probably going to need to get a new blow dryer next pay day. But, that poor thing had given up the ghost. Before I could even get my hair mildly dry, sparks began shooting out the back and front of the hair dryer causing me to drop the dryer into the bathroom rug. It took me a few seconds to react and unplug the electrical cord from the wall.

Update shopping list... blow dryer AND bathroom rug to be replaced on pay day.

With droopy, mangy, damp hair, I repeat steps 1 thru 42 of my morning's routine, get out to the car to go pick up James from school. I put the key into the ignition, turn the key ......... nothing. Turn off the key, adjust my rear view mirror, check my seat belt, determine just where 10 and 2 were on my steering wheel (I had only been driving legally for 2 months or so... and this was a new-to-me car, so I figured I must be doing something wrong ) ...

All adjusted, I turn the key ... nothing. The car is stone cold dead and I have a 5 year old ADHD child 2.7 miles away from me waiting to be picked up. Even more important was the fact that I had a teacher of a 5 year old ADHD child waiting for me to come pick him up !!!

I call my husband to come rescue me and see why this dumb, unreliable car is dead.... again!

Jim leaves work and stops by the house to give the car a look over.  He has me come outside to see what's wrong. He guides me to the driver's side door...(I comply)... he asks me to get in... (I comply) ... he asks me to turn off the f*&%$#@ headlight switch ... (I comply and slink out of the car without making eye contact and head back into the house as I realize I forgot to turn off the headlights... again!)

I don't recall how I retrieved my little one from school that day (certainly, Jim must have jump-started the car)but I'm certain it involved some finger wagging from an exasperated teacher who was in need of a drink by the time I got there.

Home again, I am welcomed by the smell of the finely seasoned roast. Felix is once again up to no good and probably inspiring my children to attempt a household coup as they munch on an afternoon snack. I nurse the baby...again, and change a diaper...again, and head off to the kitchen to compile a tasty dessert to go with dinner.

Now, I had made this dessert before and the entire family loved it. They loved it SO MUCH that it only made sense to me to double up, or even triple up the recipe. Because I love my family THAT MUCH!!

This was a dessert  made with layers of graham crackers, vanilla pudding, and chocolate ready-made frosting. Simple enough, a dessert resembling a boston cream pie, of sorts...any fool can make it (long pause....)

I lovingly laid out the graham crackers in the bottom of the 9x13 glass baking dish, alternating with layers of chocolate frosting and vanilla pudding. I then slathered two whole tubs of chocolate frosting for the top layer, I slightly melted the frosting in the mic and slathered that frosting on thick! Into the fridge it goes until dinner time.

With my hair in a scrunchy and no time for make up application, I anticipate the arrival of my husband, so I can amaze him with my sumptuous feast.I look out the kitchen window as he pulls into the driveway and approaches my car. He shakes his head and reaches in to turn off the lights ( dammit, again??) ... he wanders over to the trash can to throw away the newspapers left in the drive for the past week and notices the charred remains of the blow dryer. I think I catch him contemplating just getting back on his motorcycle and riding off into the sunset; alone.

But, he doesn't. Poor soul walks into the house greeted by two little faces with peanut butter smeared all the way from the corners of their mouths to their hair and ears, Popeye is chortling in the background, and a hungry, crying, pooping infant. Brave man that he is, he presses forward to his Stepford-wanna-be-wife minus perfect hair and make up and gives me a kiss and a squeeze before realizing that the baby is attempting to suckle him through his shirt and then being karate punched in the wedding tackle by two overly zealous 3-ft ninjas.


I encourage Jim and the boys to go wash up because Mama has made a feast for their enjoyment. The moment arrives. One that is worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting as I reach into the oven.The family gathers round the table as I pull the roast from the oven....and it's not until I set the roasting pan on the counter that I realize that something is wrong... something is very, very wrong.

The roasting bag that was to maintain an optimal roasting environment had split down the middle and was peeled back on both sides. The roast was horribly burnt and the vegetables had been rendered to something just this side of charcoal briquettes. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. Thank God my in-laws were nowhere around to witness this. This was a burnt offering of Biblical proportion.

Jim says nothing (smart man), I am standing there crying and the boys are cheering because they figure we're going to McDonalds ... again! But, Jim gives me the baby and he skillfully locates and carves enough roast and veggies to afford each of us something in our tummies until tomorrow without a visit to Ronald's.

The evening is somewhat saved and I am smiling again when I bring out desert. It looked beautiful! and nothing can make a somewhat defeated woman feel better than a good old dose of chocolate anything. I set four dessert bowls and my masterpiece on the table.  I grabbed my serving spoon and dug in...or attempted to dig in, because my spoon was met with such resistance I nearly bent it in half. Another try at a slightly different angle...nothing. I get a butter knife and find the top frosting layer is impenetrable !!! The act of melting the frosting and adding refrigeration converted my yummy, chocolaty, frosting into a solid mass of polyethylene-like crust!

With butcher knife in hand, I use all my might to break a chunk of dessert free for each of us. It should still taste good. But,the best we could do was suckle on a chocolaty corner and randomly dip that corner in the pudding for added flavor. 

Dinner was ruined. Dessert was ruined. I suck back the tears and decide to bathe the children and put them to bed; no easy feat. I manage to give them a good rinse and get them into their jammies and get them into bed. I nurse and change the baby, again, and head of for a nice warm shower.

I step under the shower head to wash off the days' disappointment; nothing luxurious since I know I won't have much hot water left after bathing the boys. Stepping out of the shower, I dry off and get into my own jammies. I look at my reflection, standing there dripping wet in my WalMart flannel jamjams. Yeah, I'm feeling sexy. 

I brush out my hair and reach into the familiar vanity drawer for the blow dryer. Empty. Defeated, I go to bed with a wet, towel-dried head. I fight back the tears, kiss my already sleeping husband goodnight and close my eyes. Goodnight moon, goodnight family.... 

and the baby wakes for another feeding.

Surely, tomorrow will be a better day.