Beloved Takes the Plunge

There are only 5 people who will care about this post. If you are not in that group and your day is busy, you might not want to stop here. But my mother would like to see video of her granddaughter swimming, so I’m posting it here.

I have been trying all summer to get the girl to put her face in the water. In 10 minutes, Grammy got her to do what I couldn’t do in 8 weeks.  Go figure.

Size nothing

It’s funny to me what boys don’t know. They know plenty. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling them stupid and me smart. But there is, on occasion, a dividing line between banks of knowledge. On one side of that dividing line, there is me. I don’t know the difference between pawning and selling an item at a pawn shop. Actually, I understand selling perfectly. I just don’t get the pawning thing. Todd has tried on multiple occasions to explain. Please don’t fill up the comments with information on pawning. I really don’t care that much. On the other side of that dividing line, there is Todd. He doesn’t know girls’ sizes. Boys typically don’t.

Don’t ask me how this transpired, but last night Todd’s mom marched out of the back room carrying her prom dress. A baby blue, very well-preserved taffeta prom dress from 1965. Whoa-za. And with an episode of Pawn Stars playing in the background, we got to chatting about that dress.

Out of nowhere, Todd said, “Missy, go put on that dress.”
What?! No. NO.

“Seriously,” he said. “Go put it on. Just try it on.”

“Todd, have you SEEN pictures of your mom at that age? She was a waif. I cannot fit into her high school dress.” I was right about this. This one time, I was right. He held up the dress in the light.

“This was you in high school,” he argued, nicely.

“No, dear. This was me in 4th grade.” Again, truly. I was right.

This went on for awhile. I adamantly argued on the side of truth and logic. Todd adamantly argued on the side of “try on the dress.”

So I complied. For the sake of the blog, I complied.

I marched off to the bathroom to destroy a perfectly intact 45-year-old dress. As I suspected, and had already stated firmly, I could not zip it. Could barely even squish my arms into the sleeves. Then I wandered back into the main room, taking great care to keep my back away from the crowd…as it was exposed due to the lack of zippage and fittage. The result of this little experiment was raucous, out-of-control howling by all four adults in the house. Also resulting was the following photos. It’s a vision of loveliness, isn’t it.

That was fun.

I’m not as fat as this makes me appear. Really.

Now, Todd. Go  put on your dad’s wedding tux. And then come get in this picture…

Day 3 – Dark Circles

I look like someone delivered bad news to me last night and then I spent the entire night wringing my hands over it. None of that occurred, except for the looks part. Not sure why I look so much like Halloween today. I thought I was sleeping okay.

At any rate, I have only high marks to give the Best Western Richmond in Baton Rouge. The breakfast was a Thanksgiving feast and there were only three people in there eating. For once, we weren’t annoying people. Well, we might have annoyed the three people already in the dining room, but there was enough room for them to move if they didn’t like us. One guy actually did. Whatever, dude.

We were on the road by 9 and I was challenging Louisiana to do its best. It had already thrown the pool in my face and I have a nasty, festering wound to take me through the rest of my vaca to remind me of the ongoing feud. It seems like Louisiana always wins. When we have an altercation, I come away with a speeding ticket, or a festering wound, or a suspended license. Why can’t I win? All I have is the sound of my own complaining and the support of the victimized masses.

Oh well.

We stopped at the big braggadocios welcome station as soon as we crossed into Texas. i felt hugged by it. It was as if they were saying, “Congratulations. You just survived Louisiana. We know how you feel…”

I’m just joking. I don’t know why I’m talking here. I shouldn’t be. I’ll try to come up with some better material for later, I promise.  I will also try to post pictures of the trip thus far, but I am in a valley and I cannot get the pictures to upload.

Have a great day!


Louisiana’s Revenge

It is that time of year. The time of year when we climb into our minivan singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and drive like mad dogs through Louisiana, hoping against all hope that we can gather enough momentum to combat the evil that lurks there under all that soupy marshland.

I told Todd in 1994 that I would never drive through Louisiana again. Ever. I said that I would ONLY fly over it and that I would spit toward the ground each time I did. What stupidity. Spitting toward the ground only hits the plane carpet or, if you are lucky, your own feet. I would be that lucky.

We had four kids.

I retracted my “I will never again” statement. And I am typing these words from a hotel in Baton Rouge. Louisiana. And I drove here. Voluntarily. And I did not spit a single time.

It was a long day, which began with a whopping 3.5 hours of sleep. I slept from 12:30ish until 4 a.m. That’s dumb. Really dumb. But with prayer and the most diligent efforts of my life, I didn’t have any sleeping or safety issues. Twelve long hours later, we pulled up to a very comfy hotel with lots of room to frolic and be inappropriately wild. Full kitchen (not that I need it. I don’t use the one I have in my actual house…), pull out couch in the living room, and a bedroom with two plush queen beds. The bathroom is also swanky-doodle.  There were issues, however. Most of them relate to SnuggleMonkey. She gets the Bull in a China Shop Award for the day.

It was all going pretty well until we stopped at the Dufuniak Springs exit get gas. We were still in FL at this point. It takes a good 6 months to get out of FL. After that, you actually feel like you are going somewhere. I pulled into the Raceway to get gas. If you are ever in Dufuniak Springs and are faced with the choice of BP or Raceway, just swallow that Gulf Oil Spill thing and go to BP. Trust me. In addition to all of the other unsavory things associated with this gas station, on this day, SnuggleMonkey fell out of the van and did a face plant on the concrete. Yikes. I’ve heard that sound before. You never get used to it either. Human head on concrete is just icky. She got over it before the drug lords walked out of the store to check on us. And off we went. Besides hours of kids bop, High School Musical 3, and some loud, uncalled-for noises from the back of the van, the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. It felt like we stopped 13 times while still in FL. But we made up for it by driving a solid 5 hours through AL, MS, and LA.

And then we arrived and checked into our temporary little Utopia. The plan was to eat Subway by the pool and let the kids burn off the last of their fumes and hit the sack early. It was going perfectly until the bathroom requests began pouring in. First it was the girls needing to go. Then Mama’s Boy. When Mama’s Boy needed to go, I stood up to take him and about the time I did that, SnuggleMonkey stepped off the stair and into a part of the pool where she can’t swim. I could see the panic on her face in slow motion. I dropped the towels in my hands, ran across the pool deck in 4 strides and leaped into the water, wearing a white t-shirt, black capris, and my keens. I am not the right person to go swimming in a white t-shirt. Few people are, truly. But definitely not me. That was awkward. Let’s just say I plan to  hit the sit ups harder this week…

Poor girl. She was screaming when I scooped her into my arms, but she wasn’t coughing up water. She had been holding her breath. I held her in the water, trying to comfort her and tell her she handled it well. AG had jumped in with me, but I was faster. He was right by my side, talking to his sister, making sure it was all okay.

We were impressive.

No, we weren’t.

While I was in the water, I was very aware that my leg was sort of adding to this whole conversation. I hit something when I went in. I don’t know if it was the side of the pool or one of the stairs. Whatever it was, I hit it hard. When SnuggleClumsy finally calmed down, I took a look at the complaining limb. I had a nasty goose egg and a bloody abrasion.

It was at this moment that I had my AHA moment. I am in Louisiana. Of COURSE it would happen around a peaceful pool with Subway on the table. Think you can catch me unawares, do you? Think I’m not onto your slimy aggressions? Well, I am. You won’t water log us today.

We slopped back to the hotel room, with my squeaking shoes, and we talked the whole way up the stairs about what a person would or would not do to save another person. My kids asked me, “Would you jump in after us if you were wearing a fancy watch?”

I don’t own a fancy watch, but yeah. For sure. FOR SURE.

Would you jump in after us if you were wearing church clothes?

I would jump in after you if I were wearing a wedding dress, I said.

Would you, could you, with a fox?

Maybe, Baby, with a fox. In a tree, with a flea. You and me.

And because I know tomorrow’s 17 mile bridge will take me 16 hours to cross and I will have to merge 46 times in 2 hours, I am going to bed. Also because if I don’t, I will pass out.

I know this is not my best work. But it’s all I have today. Hope you are all blessed in other states of the union.

LIfe is funny sometimes

My van is in the shop.

Not because it broke down, but because I decided to go much sooner than the Expedition in front of me at a stop light 3 weeks ago. I was tired. Spacing. Always an effective way to drive, I find. In my tired spaciness I saw the light turn green. Then I noted that the people directly on either side of me were moving on. I moved on, too.

Unfortunately, the guy in front of me went nowhere. I crunched into him. Then I spoke to myself harshly on the matter, though I tried very hard to use “green words” as I did so. I will admit that yellow and red words are much more impactful in a situation like this one. Saying, “You idiot!” to yourself as you pull over to inspect the damage is much more natural and effective than saying something like “You daft person! You person of low intellect and navigation skills!” But whatever. I don’t remember what I said. I just know I was pretty stressed out at that point. The girls both began screaming, though I’m not really sure why. I wasn’t screaming. It certainly added to the ambiance to have screaming children in the car.

Also adding to the ambiance was the fact that hardly a word of English could be found in the other car. I actually had the thought, “where is Spemma when I need her? I need SPANISH EMMA.” She was at work, not rear-ending people.  I cast my mind quickly back to the garage sale, to the ladies trying to force a return on a working flashlight. Over and over again, Emma said, “Lo siento.” This morphed into our “no returno, no exchango” policy. But lo siento was legit and I knew it meant “I’m sorry.” That seemed like a perfectly reasonable phrase to use, so I used it. About 15 times. As my luck would have it, there was no damage to the other vehicle. The wife looked grumpy, but everyone else was really nice. The kids were very sweet, probably about the age of my 10 year old. The husband was so adorable I would have invited him to live with us. But that seemed highly inappropriate, especially in light of the fact that I just smashed into him and all.

With a few more lo sientos, I was on my way again. Sigh. I knew from looking at my car that I was in a mess. You can swipe a kleenex against your car hard and end up doing $300 damage. I knew what I’d done was going to be a heap o’ money, or as they say in Mexico, “dinero.” I did not realize HOW MUCH a heap really was. Ouch.

But it’s being fixed now and should come back to me tomorrow. And for some reason I am telling you this story. Maybe because I think it’s funny? No. It’s not that. Because when you flush that much money down the car toilet, it’s not so funny.

Yeah, I don’t know. My van is in the shop. You can have this story for free. Unless you want to send donations to the van fund.

I know now why I drive a van, though. When you cram 4 kids into a sedan, the mom wants to punch people. Every noise is 1000x louder and for some reason all of the children are exponentially more noisy. If Mighty Beanz could yell and live inside your ear canal, that’s what driving in a sedan with my 4 is like. Just like that.

I still don’t remember why I started the van story. It certainly doesn’t paint me in a good light.

Well, anyway.

When I arrived home this afternoon from a free lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (I’m pausing to allow you a few moments to be angry and jealous. If you get too angry or sinfully envious, just remember my van is in the shop and you’ll feel better about being you and not being me. It’s really, really hard to be me.), I saw a package from Oh, how I love to see a book on my front stoop. I ordered a book called How They Croaked: The Awful Deaths of the Awfully Famous. Doesn’t that sound fun? I think it does.

And after I got really excited about the book, I checked my email. There was an email from Google Voice. I don’t really understand how all of this works, but we’ve switched our landline basically off. We can still receive calls to it, but they go straight to Google Voicemail. This can get very interesting, because a software program is trying to listen to the person talking and translate for me in an email message. Let me leave you with two examples that I find funny. If voice recognition software is this advanced, when my van finally dies for the final time, I will probably be able to trade it in for a time machine.

Google Voice:

Hi. This is Justin’s ministry confirming interest appointment for tomorrow, Thursday, June 23rd at 9:30. Also for ensure nothing to eat or drink 2 hours prior. Thank you.

“Justin’s Ministry” is actually Children’s Dentistry. Interest is my oldest boy’s name, and I shall hereafter call him Interest.

Hey, it’s me. Yes, my teacher Gone, and I would, give my two friends need to talk to you You know that I would leave me a a bit awkward looking. Love you guys.

I have no idea what all of that was supposed to be. “You know that I would leave me a bit awkward looking” is quite intriguing, though. I shall attempt to call this one back.

And still, at the end of all of this, I have no idea why I spilled the guts on the van thing.

Chopping Block

I shouldn’t read It’s my version of a soap opera. Apparently I don’t think my own life of tripping over tea parties and wiping up disgusting things is exciting enough. So I borrow trouble. The news is trouble. It either leaves me empty and desperately sad, as in the case of the father who fell to his death at a Texas Rangers game last week while his son watched (I don’t know if I’ll ever get over this one) or it leaves me furious, as in the case of poor Juror #12 in the Casey Anthony trial.

It’s a mistake to talk about the Casey Anthony trial. I know it is. People are hot as fire over this. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone is right. Except the jurors. And according to most people, they are as dumb as bricks or as evil as Jezebel. Mostly they are dumb as bricks. I don’t think that. I think they followed the rules of our court system.

They listened to the information. It looked bad for Casey Anthony. I mean, come ON, she waited 31 days to report her daughter as a missing person? Partying like it’s 1999. Stinky trunk. Oddly content behavior. No mention to anyone of her fears or worries.

Do I think she did it? Yep.

Do I know for sure? Nope.

She knows. God knows. I’m not sure anyone else does.

The jury couldn’t prove a cause of death in the child. If you can’t prove cause of death, it’s pretty difficult to paint a clear image of a crime scene and place a person there as the murderer. And they couldn’t find any real DNA to prove Anthony was there.

So the jury listened to every last detail. And they probably wanted to believe she did it and put her away for the stupid looks on her face. But at the end of the road, they weren’t sure. Because the American justice system that we’re so proud of says that if there’s a reasonable doubt, you have to acquit. And no proof of how this child died leaves a decent gap for a reasonable doubt to walk through.

But that’s not good enough for America. No, they have to take their opinions and write them down in death threats and send them to Juror #12, a 60 year old wife, mother, and grandmother who never wanted to be on a murder trial jury. She just wants to go back to her job at Publix. But she can’t do that now, because it isn’t safe to. So she has gone into hiding with her husband, stating that she’d rather go to jail than be on a jury like this one again. In ways, she is in jail. She can’t go home. She can’t live her life.

We like our freedoms. And, by Sister Sassyfras, we’re entitled to them all. Those freedoms are protected by a justice system, among many other things. This jury gave up weeks of their lives to sit and listen and discern the facts of this case. When they didn’t return the verdict that we were certain was the right one, a whole bunch of people began making death threats.  That makes  a heap of sense, doesn’t it?

That’s not the justice system. That’s a lynch mob.

To Juror #12, on behalf of America, I am very sorry.

When Tiny Towns Parade…

There is an age at which reverse psychology ceases to have any effect on a child. That age is not 3, as is evidenced by the following two photos. In this first one, my SnuggleMonkey made the face she wanted to.

For the second photo, I stood behind camera and used a very dorky tone and said, “Do not smile at me. No. Don’t. Whatever you do, do NOT smile for the camera.” And the result was the following:

So I took a short break to praise her and snarfle her sweaty little neck (she DOES sweat a LOT for a tiny girl…). And then I moved on to another child of mine. And while 3 is not the age of failed reverse psychology, and 5 is also not the age, I believe that 7 is that age. I turned the camera on Mama’s Boy and said, “Boy, don’t smile normal. Do NOT smile normal for me.” And I got this.

The usual. Sigh.

SnuggleMonkey tried to wrestle him over that.

I turned to a few more normal people to see what I could get. Don’t you know George and Martha would be proud of the USA headgear that has come out now?

Well, those went pretty well, so I’ll go back to my own kids again and see what I can shoot.

Yeah, no. That’s just a little bit severe. Well, I’ll isolate the almost 5-year-old and try that.

Nope.  Back to Mama’s Boy. Looking for ONE.GOOD.SHOT.

I hope that wasn’t a real attempt.

Stop it, boy, or I will go get the milk of magnesia out of the car.


About this time, the parade started. It was 900 degrees and sunny. I was sweating like an Olympic wrestler. Every year the kids sit on the curb with their bags for the candy. And each year the candy gets more and more sparse with the “floats” becoming more like Jeb and Daisy just driving their leased Dodge Ram slowly through the parade route.

The above photo is a typical scene from our small-town parade. There are no vehicles in the picture. There are no kids looking, because there is simply nothing to look at. And my Beloved is staring with disgust into her empty candy bag.

Ah, the faces of childhood joy. Positively giddy, they are. Way up at the top of this photo, you can see a golf cart. That was cool. Still no candy. Or anything, really.

A few things started happening, so they stood up. They were poised and ready. For something.

You might notice in the above photo that my daughter is waving to a generic brown truck. Nothing decorated about it and no candy to be seen. SnuggleMonkey appears to be crying, which happened on occasion that day. Her sweet sister gave her more than  half of her own candy, which I loved watching. Even if she only got one piece thrown to her, she’d drop it in her sister’s bag.

And while the parade seems to be declining in quality a great deal, the fireworks on the golf course are not.

They put on an awesome show for a dinky little town. The only drawback I could see was having to answer ‘no’ to the question “was that the grand finale?” more than 67 times in the 30 minute show. I’m not sure I ever got to answer yes to that question, because when the grand finale actually lit up the sky, they didn’t ask.

This is a final shot of the non-camp-attending cousins. I did not dress SnuggleMonkey in a bathing suit like a mother who doesn’t care at ALL. She wet herself. And THAT was the grand finale.

P.S. We do not actually keep Milk of Magnesia in the car. Nobody does that. Nobody.