Stupendously Speedy Stipends

“Thank you for your cooperation.”

Ha!

Like I had much choice in that matter.

I mean, short of bolting off on an attempted high-speed chase.

Which surely would’ve been quickly thwarted by the abundance of farm machinery and construction vehicles that typically dominate the roads out here.

Apparently, going to Walmart wasn’t punishment enough for one day.

I got carded for purchasing canned air as I was checking out.

Little did I know I’d be whipping out my driver’s license again 10 minutes later.

I guess I should’ve stayed home.

Who needs toilet paper and laundry detergent, anyway?

“Do you know why I pulled you over today?”

“Oh my God! Is there somebody under my car?”

Okay, no.

I did not actually say that.

I merely shook my head no in reply.

I don’t drive on the sidewalks.

I don’t plow over pedestrians.

I keep my vehicle out of cow pastures.

I’m fairly cautious, I’d say.

Minutes from home, I’d been driving up and over a teeth-jarring railroad track when I noticed telltale flashing lights in my rearview mirror.

Of course, it would be an unmarked police car.

On a one-lane road.

With no shoulder.

And no place to turn for at least half a mile.

Nothing but a long stretch of nothingness.

What was I supposed to do?

Pull off the road, into a field of hay barrels?

Preferably one full of disgruntled Longhorns?

So I crept along with those obnoxious lights flashing behind me until I pulled up to an industrial park.

Right between the shift from a 30 mph zone to a 45 mph zone, the officer’s trusty radar gun had clocked me at 43 mph.

In the 30 mph zone.

Coming down a steep hill, it’s easy to quickly gain speed if you’re not paying  attention.

He asked for my license, but didn’t bother with proof of insurance or registration.

Must’ve had sufficient time to run my plates as he was coasting along behind me, waiting to see if I’d eventually pull over.

I’m sure the motorcycle endorsement on my driver’s license didn’t earn me any brownie points, either.

Sergeant Scowly Dude didn’t look like a guy who believed in giving people the benefit of the doubt and sending them off with a warning.

I’d never, ever gotten a speeding ticket in my life.

Twelve years ago, I had been pulled over at 4:30 in the morning on the way to my final shift of work before maternity leave by an officer who had been pacing me.

At 39 weeks into pregnancy with my younger son, I nearly knocked myself out by hitting my head on the visor when asked for my license, registration, and insurance.

The officer looked on in a mix of sympathy and pity while toy airplanes and diapers flew out of my glove box as I attempted to dig out the requested paperwork.

In all fairness, I hadn’t slept in nine months, which might have been a factor.

For the whole incident.

That kindhearted officer let me off with a warning.

But this guy?

It wasn’t looking promising.

And with a mess of frizzy hair from an unfortunate combination of high humidity and rain, my typical adorableness wasn’t likely to do the trick, either.

This would’ve been a good time to have my charming kids in the car, surely?

Or my sweet, affection dog?

I’m usually sandwiched in traffic between tractors and cement mixers.

Or the occasional runaway cattle who manages to wedge, squeeze, and squish his way through narrow wire fencing to freedom.

And so I consider myself fairly lucky on days where the opportunity allows me to go more than 15 mph behind a bulldozer.

I’ve actually been passed by a semi truck a time or two.

A semi truck, for God’s sake!

Do I sound like the maniac here?

And yet, I received a whopping $250 fine.

Yikes.

I have nothing against cops.

There are countless decent ones out there who do good deeds and give back in immeasurable ways.

At any rate, I’ve been brainstorming less traditional modes of transportation.

Ooh!

I’ve got it!

Nobody ever gets pulled over on a cow!

At least, not to my knowledge.

Unless, perhaps, by a cop on a galloping horse…

The only problem is, I don’t have a cow.

And I would hate to end up with an even heftier fine, or worse yet, behind bars, for alleged cow-snatching.

Perhaps I ought to find me a Longhorn.

Nobody in their right mind is gonna want to mess with that.

Just strap on a backpack with a skunk inside for extra good measure, and voilà!

Good to go!

As a bonus, fewer suicidal animals would have the opportunity to make me an unwitting accomplice as they attempt to nosedive/hop/slither to their death at the hands (or would it be body?) of my vehicle if I’m not actually in a vehicle.

So there is that.

But I suppose this whole situation could’ve been avoided in the first place if I’d been riding a skunk or an armadillo.

Or if I’d stayed home.

And believe me, I’d be perfectly okay with not going back to Walmart again anytime soon.

~Happy Friday, everyone! Have a great weekend, and drive safely!~

Hint: It's not actually a ticket (or two) to paradise...

Hint: It’s not actually a ticket (or two) to paradise…

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A Breath of Not-So-Fresh Air

Nature freaking sucks.

Seriously.

It hates me.

And the feeling is quickly becoming mutual.

I can’t breathe.

I can’t hear.

I can’t sleep.

I can’t think.

I can’t even go outside without hacking like a geriatric geezer about to keel over on the sidewalk as a single delicate breeze threatens to collapse my lungs and suck the sole remaining ounce of life left in me.

But then, it’d probably be just as well.

After all, I doubt I’d be looking forward to going back indoors to face the equally suffocating mountain of laundry that typically awaits me.

Ah!

There’s nothing quite like a breath of killer fresh air.

Fresh air is good for you, people always say.

Ha!

Fresh air, my ass.

It’s bad for my health.

Plain and simple.

Sneeze, sniffle, honk!

Wheeze, gasp, choke!

It ain’t pretty.

Oh, what’s wrong?

Nature! That’s what’s wrong!

Sure, there are stunning mountains, oceans, and other incredible scenic wonders in this world.

But some days, those natural beauties don’t even begin to balance out whatever toxic crap permeates the air.

Speaking of nature…

The sky is the limit when it comes to the range of possible allergens just waiting to wreak havoc on the already inefficient human body.

What do flowers, cats, and dairy have in common?

They’re all plotting to kill us, that’s what!

From respiratory to food to skin, there’s a unique allergy out there for everyone.

But air?

Seriously?

Air is an essential element of life.

Yet, it’s trying relentlessly to kill me.

(Much like the water I frequently find myself nearly choking to death on whenever I attempt to have a sip.)

I haven’t been able to hear out of my left ear for days.

Then again, I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, what with all the chaos around me.

And I’ve gone through enough tissues this week alone to take out an entire forest.

One thing’s for sure:

There’s no inner peace when one can’t inhale or exhale.

But meditation and guided imagery can be quite helpful, from what I understand.

Except for the fact that all I can envision is hopping on the first flight out of town to a remote tropical island to escape it all. 

I’ve tried everything under the sun for relief.

Lavender and peppermint oil in a diffuser.

Sudafed.

Vicks VapoRub.

But nothing has been working.

At least, not long enough to help get me through the day.

Or the night.

So I shove a pillow over my head.

Suffocation might at least grant me some much-needed rest.

Breathe in, wheeze out. 

Repeat for maximum exhaustion.

I’m beyond help.

And the stress from all those sleepless nights only exacerbates things.

Stress?

Bad for one’s health?

No way!

It’s a proven scientific fact that stress compromises the immune system by lowering immune response.

And the only solution, it seems, is to escape to a land far, far away.

To a peaceful, allergen-free life on that aforementioned deserted island.

Perhaps I ought to wear a full face mask whenever I brave the outdoors.

That ought to make a great impression with the neighbors.

Bird flu?

No, nature.

Here’s the biggest irony of it all:

I don’t litter.

I always recycle.

I’ve been known to pull recyclable objects out of the trash can, rinse them out, and place them in the recycling bin, for God’s sake.

I freaking care about the environment.

I try my damnest to do my part to save the earth.

And, in turn, the environmental does its best to kill me as a way of expressing its gratitude.

The great outdoors ain’t so great when it’s undoubtedly trying to do me in.

But, as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.

So maybe the next time a passenger attempts to toss trash out my car window, I might conveniently pretend not to notice, instead of threatening to stop the car and dump the offending litterbug off on the side of a busy highway.

Take that, nature!

Oh, who am I kidding?

I can’t help myself.

I’ll continue to try to save this freaking planet, even as it continues to try to choke the life out of me.

Sniff, cough, wheeze!

~Happy Friday friends! Hope you have a wonderful, allergy-free weekend!~

Po somehow manages to enjoy a moment of inner peace in nature. Unlike me. There's no peace for me among the pollen.

Po somehow manages to enjoy a moment of inner peace in nature. Unlike me. There’s no peace for me among the pollen.

Gone with the Whim

Experience is the best teacher.

Or so they say.

But do human beings ever truly learn from experience?

Judging by my decision-making skills, I’m gonna go with no.

Had I decided I’d been lacking a sufficient amount of insanity in my life?

Seems to me on any given day, I’m personally not lacking for ways of keeping myself sufficiently occupied.

And yet…

After writing a goofy rant about extravagant child-related expenses last week, my family and I went out and did the most logical thing possible a mere two days later.

Now, we aren’t particularly spontaneous people when it comes to making big decisions that require serious commitment.

But my younger son had recently written a compelling letter about a very specific concern related to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that set the madness into motion.

So, last Sunday afternoon…

We took a drive to a local pet shelter.

Just to look around, of course.

And then we somehow walked out of there with yet another mouth to feed.

We drove home with a delightful Border Collie rolling around in the backseat, wedged between my ecstatic son and me.

What did I know about dogs?

Not a whole hell of a lot, that’s for sure.

Yet once again, I found myself permitted to bring home a living thing…

With no clue as to what I was doing or getting into. 

Sensing a pattern here?

I’d only owned a small handful of pets in my life.

We had a few gerbils and hamsters when I was little.

I thought they were creepy and was terrified to ever go near them.

When I was 12, I desperately wanted a kitten.

And as luck would have it, we ended up getting one for free.

She was part Siamese, and far bigger part crazed alley cat.

When she wasn’t busy trying to stuff live birds and butterflies in her mouth, she’d move on to picking fights with the neighborhood cats.

She also tried to kill us on a daily basis as she hid at the bottom of the stairs with the hope of catching a leg or two on the way down.

And then there was our more recent failed venture in fish ownership.

The first-ever pets for my boys, the never-ending cycle of birth and death in that tank of inbreeding fish should’ve, at the very least, taught us a lesson in setting a solid case for avoiding future pets at all costs.

What were we thinking?

I’ve never been much of a dog person.

Large dogs freak me out.

Loud dogs don’t do much for me, either.

But this guy…

He’s no ordinary dog.

He’s sweet.

He’s quiet.

He stands on his hind legs and gives gentle hugs. 

He’s calm, happy, and entertaining.

He loves to be loved.

He’s our 5 year old puppy.

Most of the other dogs at the shelter were barking their heads off and bouncing off the sides of their cages like crack-fueled maniacs.

But not this guy.

He sat there quietly, gazing at us with a look of pure happiness and contentment.

As if he knew the key to being a winning prospect was simply to not look like a raving lunatic.

And so now here we are, going for walks and peeing in neighbors’ flower beds.

The dog, I mean.

Not me.

Definitely not me.

He’s also taken a liking to pooping in my herb garden.

Well, they do say pets enrich lives.

I guess the extra fertilizer must be the enriching factor.

Hopefully those herbs will really start flourishing now!

For someone who never cared much for dogs, this sweet boy managed to win me over in a heartbeat.

I’m still not sure how to feel about all the face licking and crotch sniffing, though.

But at least he doesn’t ask me when I’m going grocery shopping again since he probably won’t be the one eating us out of the house.

~Happy Friday, friends! If you’d like to read my son’s compelling case for getting a dog, click on the picture below for a larger view. I think he might have a future in persuasive essay writing. Either that, or he’ll make a disturbingly fine attorney… Have a fantastic weekend!~

The letter that led to it all...

The letter that led to it all…

It All Adds Up

Sixty dollars?!?

Are you freaking kidding me?

I’m starting to think I should’ve encouraged my kids to drop out in kindergarten when I had the chance.

You see, when my oldest son was in kindergarten, he took a swing at a fellow classmate on the playground…

For not getting a turn on a swing.

Oh, the irony.

The ensuing suspension was clearly a sign that we should’ve quit while we were ahead.

At any rate…

I (half) jokingly offered to buy this now high school-aged child of mine two middle school yearbooks for the price of one $60 high school yearbook.

Good deal, right?

He respectfully declined.

Apparently, more is not necessarily more.

School is expensive.

And everything is exponentially more expensive once you reach high school.

It’s not enough to own a single pair of Nikes.

A child must cram a minimum of two extra pairs of shoes into his backpack every day.

Just in case Converse or Vans suddenly become more popular 2/3 of the way through the school day.

OMG!

Look at those shoes!

They’re sooooo 2nd period!

Uh, yeah.

Okay.

What do you mean your phone is soooo outdated?

Since when is last year considered The Dark Ages?

And everything has a fee.

Activity fees.

PTO fees.

Booster Club fees.

(What exactly is it that we’re boosting?)

Even volunteering comes with a price tag.

Along with the obligatory background check, they now insist on taking your full set of fingerprints.

In exchange for a cheerful mug that boasts the numerous virtues of volunteering.

I’m still not convinced that was a good trade-off.

Clothes are expensive.

Books are expensive.

You need money for what?

More school pictures?

More broken earbuds?

More pencils?!?

Again?

What the…

Did you eat that last batch?

Speaking of eating…

Food.

Oh my goodness.

The amount of food growing kids require is beyond belief, especially with those never-ending growth spurts.

What do you mean there wasn’t enough food in your lunch today?

What did you think- it was all just one big snack?

My mountainous cart is always one bag of cheese puffs away from overflowing and toppling over whenever I go grocery shopping.

There seems to be some unspoken challenge in our household for attempting to eat $200 worth of groceries right out of the bags.

Bonus points if they can pull it off in under 24 hours.

When are you going shopping again?

Sigh.

I’m seeing stars as money fails to conveniently drop out of the sky.

(On a positive note, I have been saving money recently while tripling my wardrobe in the process. My boys and I are currently close enough in size that some of their shirts fit me quite nicely.)

Money, money, money.

Down the toilet.

Along with my sanity.

Fluuuuush!

~Happy Saturday, my friends! Have a safe and happy weekend!~

Oh, if only money rained from the sky...

Oh, if only money rained from the sky…

Magnificent Mascot Marvels

A promise is a promise.

In honor of my son’s big debut as his high school mascot, I promised him I’d create a special post dedicated to…

Mascots.

Celebrating the vast variety of school mascots.

Highlighting some of the most delightfully far out there, what the hell were they thinking mascot creations.

Presenting the funniest, most unusual school mascots!

Fighting Artichokes

(Scottsdale Community College ~ Scottsdale, AZ)

Sure, Artie the Artichoke looks awfully personable for a so-called fighter. But make no mistake. Every bit as vicious and prickly as a cactus, artichokes are far more dangerous than they appear.

Fighting Okra

(Delta State University ~ Cleveland, MS)

Fear the okra! This fierce (and fiercely detested) vegetable is the school’s unofficial mascot. With as much as okra is reviled, it’s easy to see how this absurd representation could, in fact, be perceived as intimidating.

Fighting Pickles

(UNCSA ~ Winston-Salem, NC)

Sensing a theme here? Unlike some of the previous fighter vegetables, this tutu-wearing pickled cucumber looks far better equipped for a dance off than an all out brawl.

Meloneers

(Rocky Ford High School ~ Rocky Ford, CO)

Sticking with the theme of disgruntled green produce, this muscular melon is not one to be messed with in a town full of… you guessed it.

Cornjerkers

(Hoopeston Area High School ~ Hoopeston, IL)

Jerky the Cornjerker. It’s a suitably corny name for the ear-of-corn mascot who represents The Sweetcorn Capital of the World.

Sugarbeeters

(Chinook High School ~ Chinook, MT)

It’s the stuff of nightmares. Is it a vegetable or a menacing kitchen gadget? Or both? At any rate, it’s disturbing. What is up with all the angry produce? 

Fighting Farmers

(Farmersville High School ~ Farmersville, TX)

With the commendable use of alliteration, Farmersville Fighting Farmers aren’t content to just sit back and let the brawling produce have all the fun.

Pretzels

(New Berlin High School ~ New Berlin, IL)

Finally, a non-produce mascot! Mr. Salty clearly boasts pretzel pride. After all, who wouldn’t be proud to be a…giant pretzel. On second thought, this is neither fierce nor motivating. And now I’m craving carbs.

Dots

(Poca High School ~ Poca, WV)

The Poca Dots. Get it? It’s actually rather clever. This polka dot bears striking resemblance to a red M & M, albeit it a rather menacing, discontented M & M who wants nothing more than to beat you up with his stubby little arms.

 

Monsoons

(Valley Vista High School ~ Surprise, AZ)

This isn’t quite how I envision a mythological almighty Thunder God like Zeus. But this bug-eyed, purple toga-clad dude is certainly intriguing.

Winged Beavers 

(Avon Old Farms School ~ Avon, CT)

Speaking of mythological creatures, perhaps this mascot was meant to be a spin-off of Pegasus, the winged horse. On second thought, it looks more like a buck-toothed Gargoyle with a lacrosse stick…

Unicorns

(New Braunfels High School ~ New  Braunfels, TX)

Well, it never hurts to believe in magic. Enough said.

Galloping Ghosts

(Kaukauna High School ~ Kaukauna, WI)

Would a ghost really gallop like a horse? Probably not. But in all fairness, Levitating Ghosts doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as this alliterating appellation.

Keggy the Keg

(Dartmouth College ~ Hanover, NH)

The unofficial mascot of a prestigious academic institution, Keggy is a perfectly impressive Ivy League school representation, don’t you think?

The Stanford Tree

(Stanford University ~ Stanford, CA)

Yet another unofficial mascot, this animatedly charming tree gives the distinct impression he’s been hanging around with Keggy a wee bit much.

And there you have it.

Vicious fruits and vegetables.

Captivating mythological creatures.

 And an assortment of exceptionally nightmarish innovations.

With any luck, you now have some highly inspired costume ideas for Halloween!

~Happy September, friends! Hope you all enjoyed this wacky compilation. Have a fantastic weekend!~