Thursday, June 28, 2012


In the planning of this wedding, it was my thought that I would be the hit girl for stress so that Maggie wouldn't feel overwhelmed and worn out by the time the big day came.

As someone who gets anxious when I have to go to a different ATM or gas pump, who was I kidding?

In reality, the coolest girl in the room was always the bride.  I, on the other hand, was freaking out daily.  I was not sleeping or eating very well worrying about the details, and repeatedly asked about the logistics like I had short-term amnesia.  When any of those details got changed, which by the way happens constantly in Weddingville, I got the vapors.

The night before the wedding the kids were chatting and Will mentioned that he was meeting Nate in the morning.  MEETING NATE?  YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE HELPING DAD SET UP!  NO.  ABSOLUTELY NOT.  NO, YOU TELL HIM YOU CAN'T BE THERE.

The Bride said the groomsmen were going to Panera for breakfast.  Panera?  Seriously?  I'll buy Panera for all of you, but nobody AND I MEAN NOBODY can leave this house.  To which I was told that there are certain responsibilities involved in standing up in a wedding and apparently danish is one of them.

I paced.  I called The Big Daddy into a consult behind closed doors and he agreed with everything I said.  I might have been shrieking.

Later on, Will came in to tell me that Nate wanted the groomsmen to deliver roses to Maggie in the morning, and so they were going to meet at his apartment, get the roses, bring them by the house and then go about the rest of their day.


When you act like an idiot, sooner or later you will look like one.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The 1st Dance

Maggie and Nate did things a little differently when it came to their first dance.  It was top secret and required lots and lots of practice.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Every friend I have that has had a son or daughter get married has told me I would be knocked flat when it was over.  They were right.  I'm exhausted, my house is trashed, I'm not sure if I paid all the bills, and today wandered down the street looking for room in my neighbor's recycling bins as mine runneth over.

This wedding was beyond our expectations.  Maggie and Nathan know how to throw one awesome party.  I will write when I can gather my many, many thoughts.  While our BELOVED hairdresser came to our house to do the girls hair, Nate arranged for the groomsmen to come one by one to deliver roses to his soon-to-be bride.  He's a keeper.  For sure.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh Happy Day

Until I can sit down and process all my thoughts, this will have to do.  It was perfect.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Done And Done

There's nothing like having a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE AT YOUR HOUSE to light a fire under you to accomplish something instead of just yakking about it.  For instance..........................

Ripping the gross carpet off the stairs and painting them.   Cream w/a faux runner up the middle.  The green paint is called Granny Smith.  It is my favorite apple which is why I picked it. 

When those were finished, I came across this turquoise tin ceiling panel for $22.00.  Yep.

I finally got around to repainting the front door.  The red wasn't doing it any more.  Or ever.

I have had plans for this project for years and it was in Martha Stewart's magazine this month.  Why does she keep copying me?  I have/or have had friends collect sand for me wherever they've been.  This is my collection, bottled and labeled.  Even though there's no beach in the forecast for us this summer (or for many more years until the last tuition payment is made), I get to look at sand every single day.

The clock is fixed and not near the couch so Turd One and Turd Two can't get close and bat at the hands with their naughty paws.

Ready or not, here comes a wedding, and Mallie Bee knows what one of her cats is going to wear.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Patrolling The Streets

When The Big Daddy and I bought this house, there were thirty kids that lived on this street.  Thirty.  My kids were lucky enough to get included in the pack and their memories of growing up here include kick the can, forts, haunted houses, block parties, a remake of the Blair Witch Project, freeze pops, ghost, sprinklers, slip-n-slide, cicadas and lightning bugs.

In time, most families moved out to bigger homes in other neighborhoods and it became a lonesome, little street with no signs of kids.  It was a sad thing to watch, especially knowing how it used to be.

A few years ago, a family with four kids moved in, and now all of a sudden there are probably fifteen kids living on this street.  When the weather is nice and the windows are open, I can hear them outside and it makes me happy........this sound of play.

At the top of the street is a widow who has been a lovely neighbor all these years.  She can also be a pill.  As in why do all these houses have all this crap in front of them?  She stopped me the other day to ask me if I thought these things being left out were going to attract burglars.  Well, tike bikes and plastic pools don't usually bring much at the pawn shop.  It doesn't stop her from walking up and down the street in plastic gloves picking up trash and giving the stinkeye to young parents who are doing their best and likely too exhausted by day's end to care about what's been left out.

This was left in my yard last week.  I'm sure the necktie snake will find his way home one of these days, but for now he is the mascot for the young at heart.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mr. Fix-It

The Big Daddy has never been what you'd call "handy."  He says handy words like torque, stud, and molly bolt, or screams for A PHILLIPS.......I NEED A PHILLIPS, but he pretty much is faking any repair he attempts.  In his efforts, he often uses too much force causing something that was slightly screwed up to becoming permanently screwed up.  That results in me yelling at him and him yelling back about goddamn plastic Chinese parts.

We have a storm door with a retractable screen.  The screen wasn't locking into place so every time somebody would go in or out, the screen would start to slide down.  I asked him to take a look at it since it wasn't doing the AC bill any good.

Aw geez, I don't know, he said.  I'm thinking the house has settled and that door has shifted.  I don't know,  I mean if it's that............geez it could be the foundation.  Always the dark side when it comes to repairs.  Let's give it a try, I said and while he pushed up, I tried locking it into place.  Let me just jimmy this door he said and oh dear God, here he goes, I thought.  Pretty soon The Boy Child came along and together they got it up and locked into place.

An hour later, Mallie Bee decided to call her kittens home, unlocked the screen and pulled it down to which The Big Daddy bellowed............WHAT ARE YOU DOING????  I WORKED ON THAT ALL DAY!!!!!!  Or thirty minutes.

Well, she wasn't aware that Mr. Fix-It had made a fix, so she went into the kitchen and got a fork out of the drawer and jammed up on the track with it while she locked the screen into place.  It took her about thirty seconds start to finish.............

.................and the children shall lead us.  Especially around this cluster.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Going To The Chapel

I am not a crier.  This has a lot to do with The Queen Mum being as strong as they come and having three older brothers.  If you were to cry in front of them growing up it would have been like wading into a school of sharks when your period started.   

That's not to say that I'm not emotional because I am.  I just don't cry like a girl very often.

This weekend when we were at church, I let my mind wander to this wedding that is days away.  I saw Maggie and her dad walking down the aisle.  I saw Nathan waiting at the altar for her.  I saw my mom and Mark's mom next to us, and Nate's parents on the other side of the aisle.  I saw my kids and Joe and Lynn's kids standing beside their sibling.  I saw my sisters who have helped me enormously and my brothers who ended up being my biggest cheerleaders.  I saw friends who listened to my worries and my dreams about this girl of ours, and neighbors who ran from every direction when ambulances were screaming down the road because she had been knocked unconscious in the creek.

I also saw this church that welcomed me many years ago when I had one foot out the door of this faith, with the second close behind..

It was worth a good cry.

The Clinky Counter: Part Deux

Last week, I returned to the Clinky counter at my local Macy's for a pre-wedding makeover.  I have not done one of those in twenty years.  That time I charged about $200.00 worth of products even though I was flat broke, and all these years later, it still gives me an anxiety attack.  Or maybe it's a payment due attack.

However, I needed an update and if I'm going to spend time on anything for myself that morning, I decided it would be make-up.  For the hair is forever and always a crap shoot.  You may remember that my consultant had some family issues when last we spoke, but she was all business when it came to making me over. 

After awhile, Anthony from Lancome wandered over.  I love him.  Everyone loves him.  He is The Makeup Whisperer.  If he tells you something will look good on you, you can take it to the bank.  If Lancome weren't so Cha-Cha-Ching, and I didn't have issues (like losing all effing sense at the makeup counter) I would have had him do my makeup.

Anthony told me he was going back to the small town he grew up in for a wedding.  He had not seen either of his two brothers in more than twenty years.  His older brother started drinking when he was eleven and was as mean as they come.  In an effort to man up his younger brother, he beat him.  Daily.  Anthony was scared of him then and all these years later, he was still scared.

I sat on my big chair and listened to his story and then said, "Anthony, you are great at your job and everybody loves you.  You go to that wedding with your head up because you are a successful person in every sense and I doubt your brother even comes close."

When I finished doling out my wisdom, The Clinky Lady, who was carefully lining my lips said, "I'm his date.  I'll kick his brother's ass if he so much as looks at him."

That could work.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Road Trip

In the spirit of the summer vacation, this is something I wrote a few years ago, and probably Mark's favorite piece.

There is nothing The Big Daddy likes better than a summer road trip with the Fam.    He plots our course and gathers 'round men folk at cocktail parties to discuss our expedition, and all his fellow pioneers weigh in with options so as to make “good time”.  The wives of the men folk ask me why we don’t fly.   The answer to that would be that we are a particularly close family that loves to cram into the car for hours on end and eat fallen Skittles off dirty car mats.  Thus began our journey to Florida.

An avid road man only requires the Rand McNally Atlas of the United States of America and The Big Daddy handed it over to me with as much care as the family heirloom Bible.  With a wink and a nod he said, “Here you go, Honey.  You’re my copilot.”  The problem is, Honey couldn't read a map if her family's life depended on it, was required to break up regularly scheduled back seat fights, and had a really good book she wanted to finish.  Also, Honey didn't like to be disturbed during her afternoon nap.  Nevertheless, this man looked at Honey year after year and said the exact same thing, “What do you mean you can’t read the map?”  I think what I mean is that I can’t read a map, didn’t enroll in map school since the last road trip, don’t understand someone who can look at a map for hours, and believe that my not learning to read a map may be the only perk of marriage.

We left Kansas City at six a.m. sharp, and somewhere in southern Missouri reached our first “panic point” as The Big Daddy referred to it.  This, he said, is a technical term experienced drivers use when things on the road get a little confusing.  Technically, he started yelling at me.  I quickly grabbed the atlas and tried to find our exit.  Looking, looking, looking, still looking, looking up, and looking down.  “You aren’t even on the right state,” he hissed.  “GIVE ME THE ATLAS!”   Missouri and Arkansas look almost exactly the same what with the backwoods and meth and such.  I refused to hand it over as I have witnessed this man on many occasions hurtling down the highway at eighty miles per hour while balancing the atlas on the steering wheel and muttering under his breath.  I was not about to let go of Rand McNally, and he was not about to let go of what looked to me like some very high blood pressure.  From the back seat, The Teacher Girl said, “Why don’t you guys use the GPS?”  Before I had a chance to say, “Why, yes, let's do that,” The Big Daddy dismissed the idea.  The GPS disc was outdated by two years, to which Mallie Bee announced that the atlas we were using was eight years old.  Not to be deterred by common sense, Big Daddy replied, “Listen here, Missy, Rand McNally has gotten me everywhere I’ve ever wanted to go. and some orbiting satellite isn’t going to tell me where I’m supposed to turn.”  Actually, it does tell you exactly where to turn.  Without screaming at you.

Twenty hours later we arrived at our beach rental.  You could probably say that we didn’t make “good time.”  There are many reasons why this is so.  Mainly, it is because it takes about twenty hours to get from Kansas City to the Florida Gulf Coast.  When we finally reached the sunny shores of Florida, it was pitch black and we hobbled out of the car like we’d been given a butt epidural. 

After a lovely week at the ocean, it was decided that the trip home would have to be done over two days, and so we loaded the car, turned in our key and sadly ended our beach vacation.  The driving plan for day one was to take Interstate 10 to Mobile, pick up Highway 98 and then Highway 49 into Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  The drive was uneventful until Highway 49 abruptly ended and we weren’t in Hattiesburg.  The road came to a halt with a large yellow sign with black slashes on it that was probably Braille for, “Hey, Stupid, didn’t you read the map?”  Big Daddy looked at the sign and yelled, “You HAVE got to be kidding me!”  The Boy Child made the fatal error of asking if we were lost.  No, we weren’t lost at all.  We were headed south on Interstate 55 to New Orleans.  New Orleans?'re driving the Chevy to the levee.  With clenched teeth and hands gripping the steering wheel, The BD looked straight ahead and said, “Atlas.”  I passed it over without saying a single word.   Sure enough, the map showed Highway 49 and its demise and the only choice was an interchange onto I-55.

How could this be?  This serious map reader and good and faithful servant of Rand and McNally had gotten it very wrong.  Well, well, well…the nut hadn’t rolled far from the squirrel, so to speak.  When it became apparent that this was a navigation error, he laughed and said I had such bad map reading juju that it was affecting him, but we both knew that at that moment, the tide had turned.  I had what every long and loving marriage needs.  I was the proud owner of leverage.  Years from now I could drive anywhere with him and say, “Snookums, you pay attention to these signs so we don't end up in New Orleans.  Again.”  A diamond lasts forever?  No sirree, leverage is the gift that keeps on giving.       

When we finally arrived in Hattiesburg, we dined at a delightful international restaurant that specializes in pancakes.  The Big Daddy barely spoke and it’s a shame they don’t serve alcohol as a couple of vodka and tonics would have done a world of good for his surly mood.  The waiter made the mistake of asking us if we’d been driving long and I pulled him aside and told him it was probably in his best interest to stay away from the subject since The Big Daddy was on the verge of killing someone.  He understood immediately, and in an effort to lighten the mood relayed stories of Hurricane Katrina refugees coming into town and shooting the cook. 

The details of the rest of our drive home remain foggy as I may have been self-medicating.  A few weeks later, The Teacher Girl got her dad a new atlas for his birthday.  When he opened it he ran his hand over the cover and said, “It’s beautiful, just beautiful.”  And how could it not be?  This edition proclaimed itself “America’s #1 Road Atlas” and promised more fun, more peace of mind and more city maps.  The Big Daddy Explorer took a deep breath, smelled those virgin maps and flipped to Mississippi to see if Highway 49 really did come to an abrupt end.  When he closed the page and said nothing, I knew that until death do us part, I would be enjoying a nice, long nap whenever we took a road trip.  


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I swiped this from one of my favorite blogs.  Things?  Who needs 'em?  Enjoy.............

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Out Of The Blue

The advantage of having a house smack dab on the corner is that it is prone to drive-bys.

That was the case last week when an old friend was riding by on her bike and decided to stop and say hello.  She was in my writers group for awhile, but dropped out and I really miss her input as she was a good problem solver in this writing thing.

She came to tell me that she was leaving her job with the school district, so if I was interested.................  I went on three interviews in the last year with the school district.  Each one I was qualified for and each time I got the "sorry but.........." call.  Three strikes and Sweet Jesus, give me some direction in this job thing because I've been flailing for a year.

We chatted about many things including being of a certain age that is not so employable as the years pass.  She looked around my house and said, "Why aren't you writing a blog about decorating?''   I've thought about it and done a little bit here, but full-on, how-to, before and after...............haven't gone there.

"Well, it's about time you did," she said.  "You're creative, talented and you know how to write.  You have big things on your horizon.  I've always thought that about you."

Oh. My. Goodness.  Could there be a more stellar start to my day than to have a friend drop by and say that?  This corner house that I loved from the minute I saw it keeps giving back, and maybe Sweet Jesus sent a messenger to my door to point me in the right direction.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Comment

On occasion, the kids will remark about something I wrote.  A passing "I liked it" or in Mallie Bee's case "Stop writing everything I say."  Point taken.  They never discuss it any more than that and sheesh, kids, how 'bout you throw your mom a bone once in awhile?   You know, because I gave you that little gift way back when.  What was it again?  Oh yeah, it was your life. 

With the wedding two weeks away, The Teacher Girl and I are spending all kinds of time together.  We went out for lunch the other day and I said, "Have you read my blog lately?"  To which she replied, "I read it every day."  Well, nobody ever comments I said.  I mean, really, a comment once in awhile ESPECIALLY FROM MY CHILDREN would be nice.  What am I supposed to say, she wanted to know.  Oh, I don't know, something OMG my mom's a great writer

The Teacher Girl wasn't interested.  She's got to get to the church on time.

Today there was this...................

Hey, Mom.................I read it ;)

Me who gave the gift of life got a wrapped box of smartass in return.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

News From Around The World

I stopped watching morning news when the birther thoughts of this buffoon became newsworthy.

Gradually, I have stopped watching many news programs because the stupidity is epidemic.  However, I have always been an avid newspaper reader, and so I get most of my information from the printed pages or online news sites.

There seems to be a surge of people or parts of people getting eaten lately.

How disturbing.

Tucked into those stories was a little blurb about Amelia Earhart.  An empty jar of freckle cream was found on an island from which her plane was believed to have crashed, which has renewed interest in solving the mystery of her disappearance.

There was no love lost between her and her freckles and she carried the cream with her wherever she went.  Investigators are certain that it belonged to her given the age and origin of the jar.  Seventy five years later, this gutsy woman pilot who laid the groundwork for all woman to decide for themselves how big they could dream is still a source of admiration.

It would seem that in this toxic, political year where women are reminded daily that men know what is best for them, the spirit of Amelia Earhart has risen up and declared, "Over my dead body."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Make Some Noise

Back in my single days, I worked for a utility company in Chicago.  I was in the employee benefits office where we processed health insurance claims.  It was a parade of employees all day long checking on their deductible, adding a new baby, turning in bills to be paid.

One older guy whose wife was ill came in often.  He carried a couple of pounds of change in his pocket and jingled it constantly while he was talking to you.  Never stopped.  Just kept jingling that change the whole time.  It made me so crazy that I wanted to scream.  Hey, Mr. 'bout you put a lid on the pants pocket concert???!!!

In recent years, The Big Daddy has become a whistler.  He whistles from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed.  Mindless, annoying whistling that makes me want to hit him in the head with a shovel.   Most of the time I can ignore it, but when I'm trying to concentrate or proceeding to checkout it makes me want to scream.  Hey, why don't you hi-ho, hi-ho yourself off to work with the other dwarfs and take that whistle with you???!!!!

I noticed awhile ago that sometimes just before I fall asleep I make this gutteral groaning noise that comes from way back in my throat.  The other day I thought I heard it while I was up and about.  WHAT. THE. HELL.

As God is my witness, I'll suffocate myself before anyone has to do the deed for me.

Source: via Lee on Pinterest

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What's The Plan

I read on this blog that writing a manifesto for your life could change the way you look at things.  What's important to you?  What makes your heart sing?  What do you let stand in the way of doing those things?  I've been mulling that one over for the last week and I intend to write one myself, but I'm not sure if it will ever see the light of day.

I read this one today and nearly every bit of it applies to me.  And probably to you as well.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Miss Pattie

On Sunday, we went to our last dance recital.  We started going sixteen years ago when The Teacher Girl was taking lessons.  Mallie Bee followed soon after and we've been there every year.

When we first started going there weren't many other studios, but that has changed in recent years and now the recital is smaller in scale.  Also back in those early days, was one lone boy who braved this girls world.  Now there are boys of every age and in every class. 

Through it all, Miss Pattie has been front and center as the owner for 58 years.  She handed out perfect attendance awards at the end and highlighted kids who were doing great things with their dance or gymnastics talent.  The year one of her instructors lost her daughter to suicide, she gave a heartbreaking tribute to her.  A few years later, a talented, beloved teacher named Rebecca died after a hard-fought battle with cystic fibrosis.  Miss Pattie has given a scholarship in her honor ever since.  When everything had been handed out or acknowledged, she would thank everyone for coming, for supporting her studio, for sharing their kids.  She would wish everyone a happy and safe summer, that she'd see us all again in September and without fail, she would cry when she said it.  Every single year.

This is the first year that she has not been at a recital since she opened the studio that bears her name.  The woman who has spent a lifetime teaching thousands and thousands of kids how to move now lives with Lou Gehrig's disease.
Source: via Wendy on Pinterest

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Big Sale

I have one photo from the Prairie Girls sale this weekend and it doesn't show much of what we had, but take my word for was a doozy.

From the minute I pulled the garage door up at 7:30 it was crazy.  The first few people were dealers.  Jerks of great magnitude.  One guy told me I was charging retail prices.  Oh, so let me get this want everything dirt cheap so you can charge retail prices. 

It never slowed down the whole day.  Someone even wanted to buy a hanging basket of impatiens that I had bought the day before at a nursery.  I answered dozens and dozens of questions about my hydrangeas.  I have no secret.  I do nothing to them.  Now how 'bout some handsome vintage picnic baskets?   I bartered and got the better end on some deals and the losing end of others.  Every piece of furniture was gone by the end of the day.

Just when we girls thought we lost our picker's eye.............our mojo was restored.  So was our bank account.  And our creative juices.  And we'll do it again and it will be just as grand.

Oh, and the best part?  Nancy introduced me to an old friend of hers who just so happens to be the sister of Claire McCaskill.  Senator Claire McCaskill from Missouri.   

I told you everybody came.