Driving Mr. Mascot

Who knows?

I might be a better driver than you!

And I won’t get any tickets!

Unlike you…

And if YOU keep talking, you’re going to be riding in the trunk.

Eyes on the road!

The light is green!

Let’s move it!

My oldest son, the high school mascot boy, started Driver’s Ed this week.

I’ve never seen that child take such dedicated interest in learning anything.

Ever.

Granted, the monster was a natural on his dirt bike all those years ago.

And I always pictured him to be a decent driver.

When the time came.

Which, evidently, is right now.

After just one day of class, he was already an expert.

Monitoring my speed.

Correcting my hand position on the steering wheel.

Pointing out all the road signs that I’ll obviously fail to pay attention to.

Suddenly, I have new appreciation for the meaning of driving someone crazy.

Not only won’t I be getting tickets like you, I also have way better sense of direction!

Hey! You’re going over the speed limit again!

OMG! GET OUT!

Of course, I didn’t actually throw him out of the car.

But his future as a pedestrian was looking increasingly appealing.

We coasted along to the ultimate soundtrack to insanity:

Crazy Train.

Gangnam Style.

Hakuna Matata.

The thumping music rattled my brain and bones as the rearview mirror reverberated in concurrence.

Then flashing train lights derailed my thoughts.

Oh, shit!

Not again!

Those trains sometimes take forever to pass.

Or worse yet, they’ll come to a complete stop out of the blue, stranding lines of cars for hours.

So yeah, I was less than pleased.

And so was my son.

But not because of the train.

Apparently, that was the second inappropriate word I’d used in just a matter of minutes.

Figuring I was on a roll, he helpfully downloaded a Bleep app on my phone to censor my  inappropriate moments.

Fortunately, the train passed in a timely manner.

And we were on our way again.

I’m probably already a better driver than you’ll ever be!

I’m tempted to take both hands off the wheel and drive with my mouth.

Just clamp my teeth on the wheel, and see how well that works.

That’ll show him…

Show him what, I don’t exactly know.

At least render him speechless for a moment, perhaps?

But I really can’t afford to drive erratically like that.

Sure, it would set a rather poor example for my child.

And also, I’ve somehow already managed to get pulled over twice in three years in No Man’s Land.

Which amounts to more than I had ever been pulled over in all my years of driving.

Collectively.

There’s a line in my son’s driving handbook that cracked me up when I first read it:

Avoid turning your car into a deadly weapon!

Well, my boy nearly broke protocol the first time ever behind the wheel.

Yesterday, he officially got his Learner’s Permit after acing the written test.

And so on the way to Driver’s Ed this afternoon, my favorite mascot thought he’d surprise me by starting the car before I made my way out the door.

Oh, but that wasn’t all.

He proceeded to throw the car into reverse…

And then panicked as he realized he didn’t actually know how to stop the car.

He barreled out of the garage and down the driveway at Nascar speeds, as I ran after him like a crazed woman being chased by the devil himself.

STOP THE CAR!!!

STOP THE #@&%*# CAR!!!

The car jerked to an abrupt halt straight across the street, halfway up the neighbor’s driveway.

Thank God the neighbor wasn’t home.

That guy never misses a thing.

GET OUT!

YOU ARE DONE!!!

The brake is NOT just a decorative item!

Use it!

Before I drop dead of a heart attack in the middle of this road!

And to think, this is only the beginning.

Did I mention I’m two days into a 14 day detox?

So I can’t even calm my frazzled nerves with a drink.

Oh #@&%!!!

~Happy Friday, friends! Aren’t teenagers the best? Never a dull moment. Have a terrific weekend!~

At this rate, I'm gonna need to wear this thing around my neck like a cowbell.

At this rate, I’m gonna need to wear this thing around my neck like a cowbell.

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Oh, the Things It Could Be!

Google is to a hypochondriac what meth is to a junkie.

Oh, come on.

You know the deal.

You’re suddenly afflicted with sharp stomach pains from hell…

So you turn to Dr. Google to shed some insight.

Inevitably, Google leads you to WebMD for totally reliable self-diagnostic help.

After scanning through symptoms and possible causes, you manage to convince yourself it’s not simply constipation or indigestion.

No.

It’s undoubtedly a raging bout of appendicitis that is about to do you in, right there in the middle of the Summer Fun section at Walmart.

Unless you make a beeline for the nearest hospital right this very minute.

All you know for certain is you’re obviously dying.

I swear, the symptoms for migraines and brain damage are identical.

Ok, well.

Maybe not exactly.

But seriously, have you ever noticed how so many different health issues all have the same set of symptoms?

Oh, the things it could be!

Got a headache?

It’s obviously an aneurysm, and that clock is just a tickin’.

Or it could be head trauma.

What’s that?

Don’t remember hitting your head in the first place?

Well, duh.

Wheezing and coughing?

Could be asthma.

Or a sinus infection.

Or congenital heart failure.

Fatigued?

Could be the flu.

Or Lyme disease.

Or just good ol’ PMS.

Hallucinations?

Could be schizophrenia.

Or epilepsy.

Or just poorly interacting medications.

Irritability?

Could be hypothermia.

Or a sleep disorder.

Or meningitis.

Nauseated?

Could be food poisoning.

Or a heart attack.

Or perhaps you’re pregnant.

(Congratulations!)

Forgetful?

Could be delirium.

Or dementia.

Or head trauma.

(Seriously, quit knocking your head around!)

Oh, the things it could be!

Lucky for me, I have a high pain tolerance.

Which is great, because I’m freakishly allergic to aspirin and Advil.

And apparently, most antibiotics don’t work for me, either.

Hell, I can’t even take Benadryl to counteract an allergic reaction because it knocks me out cold.

But I do take comfort in knowing I can just conk myself over the head with a frying pan to ease the pain and be good to go.

That’s all the so-called healthcare I need.

~Happy Friday, friends! Hope you have a happy and healthy weekend, free of any un-fun doctor or WebMD visits!~

This cute little bear has the right idea. Just stick a band-aid on and call it a day.

This cute little bear has the right idea. Just stick a band-aid on and call it a day.

(Oh, the Things It Could Be originally appeared on Comically Quirky on 8/5/16.)

Dog Days of Summer Break

I’m boooorrred!!!

Go walk the dog.

But it’s too hot!!!

Fine. Read a book.

What is this, some kind of punishment?

Take a walk to the pool and go for a swim.

No. I don’t feel like getting wet.

Okay, then. Clean your room.

What?!? Why?

And that was only day three of summer break.

It’s hard to be a kid.

There’s never anything fun to do.

But somehow, all your friends are doing fun things.

Without you.

You know so.

Because it’s all right there on Snapchat.

And so the only plausible way to entertain yourself is to torment the dog.

I mean, teach the dog new tricks.

Like how to eat his doggie treat while pretending to be the civilized human being that he clearly is not.

At a table.

While sitting in a chair.

Because how could that be a bad idea?

Oh, right.

It’s gonna be a long summer…

Is this your idea of a good time? Seriously? Go back to school, you sadistic kids!

Is this your idea of a good time? Seriously? Go back to school, you sadistic kids!

~Happy Friday, friends! Isn’t summertime the best? Hope you all have a great weekend!~

Much Ado About Lemons

Pop quiz!!!

Oh, relax.

There’s only one question, and no wrong answers.

It’ll be fun!

Here we go…

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU LEMONS, YOU ARE MOST LIKELY TO:

a) Pull on your sweatpants, grab a few pints of Chunky Monkey, and indulge in a three day marathon of tear-jerkers, including John Q and The Pursuit of Happyness, then bawl for days over the myriad of injustices in life.

b) Find your inner peace after thoroughly exhausting yourself by going postal on random objects- the neighbor’s hideous Halloween scarecrow they have yet to take down, the coffee maker that just kicked the bucket, the freakishly large rat scurrying by…

c) Throw those lemons at someone deserving. A few helpful options:  that toxic frenemy you can’t seem to cut loose, a particularly infuriating coworker, or the out-of-control maniac in a semi who just cut you off on the freeway.

d) Use your pent-up aggression to squeeze every last drop of lemon juice out with your bare hands like a Viking masseuse and make a badass (and probably dangerously potent) lemon martini.

e) Other (please elaborate)

While these are all very logical (and highly acceptable) approaches, I’d personally go with option c.

After all, research clearly shows that actively doing something to alleviate troubles can be highly beneficial.

And how much more proactive can one get than hurling objects across the room?

So…which did you choose?

~Happy Friday, everyone! Hope you all have a lemon-free weekend… Unless, of course, you were planning on making a lemon martini!~

No Viking masseuses were available, so I made this one myself.

No Viking masseuses were available, so I had to make this one myself.

(Much Ado About Lemons originally appeared on Comically Quirky on 10/08/2015)

Where the Sheep and Elk Roam

I want to pack my bags and move.

To Montana.

Big Sky Country.

Away from chaos.

Away from people.

Yeah, I know it isn’t quite the beach.

But beach towns tend to be kind of…

Well…

How can I put this delicately?

Peopley.

Yeah.

There are people.

And lots of them.

Like, everywhere.

I want to live under the big open sky.

I want to see the stars twinkling at night.

And I want a Lincoln Log house.

You know, those cool log cabin houses with green roofs.

Well, guess what?

They have real Lincoln Log houses in Montana!

Except those houses have actual walls!

And doors!

And indoor plumbing!

You know what else might be nice to have?

A horse.

That’s right.

Even though I said I never wanted to ride one of those suckers ever again in my life.

But open land calls for animals, and lots of them.

There’s just something calming about wild, untamed natural beauty.

Wide open space.

And animals freely roaming around in all that openness.

Just think:

I could become a rancher!

Yeah.

A cattle rancher.

Or better yet…

A cereal farmer!

Hey, I’m all for learning new things.

Did you know that elk, deer and antelope populations outnumber humans in Montana?

It’s true.

The average square mile of land contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope, and 3.3 deer.

And the density of the state is six people per square mile.

Holy moly!

More animals than people?

Surely that can’t be a bad thing.

No wonder it’s called the Treasure State.

Although Montana does have the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states.

Yikes!

But no state has as many different species of mammals as Montana.

That’s pretty exciting stuff right there.

Speaking of exciting…

It’s always important to become familiar with the laws of the land before venturing into new territory.

Did you know that guiding sheep onto a railroad track with an intent to injure the train can get a person five years in prison in Montana?

Oh, and it’s also illegal to drive with a sheep in the cab of your truck…

Unless you have a chaperone.

Well, so much for that.

I was hoping to haul a shitload of sheep in the back of my truck.

By myself.

Because I’m a rebel like that.

Montana sure is protective of their sheep.

Oooh!

Maybe the sheep are the treasure of The Treasure State.

Say what you want.

There is something appealing about a whole lot of nothingness.

And sheep.

Sheep everywhere.

~Happy Friday, friends! Hope you have a terrific weekend!~

I want a Lincoln Log house just like this one... complete with the funky green cowboy to protect us from disgruntled elk.

I want a Lincoln Log house just like this one… complete with that funky green cowboy to protect us from all the elk I might inadvertently piss off.

Mother’s Day Melee

I’m not gonna lie.

I’m not really feeling the love.

My darling boys almost forgot that Mother’s Day is tomorrow.

Until I reminded them yesterday.

But alas, motherhood is a thankless job.

Fortunately, it’s not without its humorous moments.

So why don’t we take a moment to celebrate the awesomeness of moms?

Because, let’s face it, moms are awesome.

(Yeah. A crazy, multitasking masochist sounds about right.)

(Does going out of my mind count as a vacation?)

(Hellooo!?! Do you think I enjoy talking to myself? I’ll have you know that I do not, in fact, enjoy talking to myself. Are you even listening?!?)

(Because, evidently, nobody else besides mom can see the invisible, overflowing basket of laundry that keeps mysteriously multiplying.)

(Oops, too late. I guess 364 days was too long for my sanity to stick around.)

(Move over, Iron Man! You probably know me as my alter ego, Wonder Woman. Yeah. Take that!)

(Wearing the cape is typically too much of a hassle. And it blows our cover. We’re supposed to be human, after all.)

(Dogs love unconditionally and never back talk. And they’re always so grateful. Unlike some people I know…)

(Oh crap. Who let the cat out of the bag? Was it those darned kids? They’re lying to you! I swear!)

(Mom? Mom who? Okay, so sometimes moms find ourselves in situations where we’re forced to pretend we’ve never seen those angelic creatures before in our lives. It happens.)

(Amen to that! Now where’s my margarita?)

(Quite possibly the most heartfelt way to thank your mom for all that she has ever done for you.)

~Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Hope you get to enjoy a nice margarita and a day off from laundry and all that other domestic nonsense.~

The Force of May Fourth

Happy May 4th!

It’s also Cinco de Mayo Eve…

If such a thing actually exists.

Would that make today Cuatro de Mayo?

Is that a thing?

Well, it is now.

At any rate, Star Wars fans…

Today is your day!

Presenting some of the funniest Star Wars quotes of all time!

(C-3PO has such a classy and charismatic way with words, I can’t help but respect his penchant for comic relief.)

(It’s true; Yoda looks better than most people 1/10th of his age!)

(Would the iconic Nike slogan have the same impact if it boasted, “Just try it”? Case in point.)

(Even I’m disturbed by the myriad of things that Darth Vader finds disturbing. He’s got the proverbial stick up his butt. I mean, would it really kill him to smile occasionally?)

(A fool is a fool is a fool… but my guess it’s more foolish to follow a fool.)

(If only more people would heed this wisdom and think before opening their massive pie-holes, the world would be a better place.)

(Does this apply strictly to droids, or can this approach be used with humans also? Just curious…)

(Size matters not, as Yoda once said. I’m inclined to agree.)

(Naturally, the best remedy for this is to find some type of distraction to drown out the screams of your inner voice of reason and just go with the flow.)

(Ha! Yoda obviously hadn’t met my boys, with their twisted and sadistic senses of humor.)

(A fresh new threat to employ when the kids get too rowdy in the car!)

(Burn! Hmm. Perhaps “burn” isn’t the right word, seeing as how a planet far from the sun probably wouldn’t be hot enough to burn, in any sense of the word. But yelling “freeze!” simply doesn’t have the same impact.)

(I may occasionally misplace my keys, but I can proudly say I’ve never once misplaced a planet.)

(Rogue One, we have a problem! Sure, having no horizon on the horizon is indeed problematic. But killing off the delightfully witty K-2SO? Oh, that was low.)

(I, too, have my moments. I’m not sure what that says about my other non-momentous moments, though..)

Nearly half of these clever gems are from Yoda.

I guess it’s no surprise.

He’s wise and witty.

He and I seem to have quite a bit in common.

Except that I’m not green.

Or half as wise.

Or 900 years old.

Regardless of the fact that my kids might try to tell you otherwise.

~Happy Friday, friends! May the fourth, er, force be with you!~

Taxation Without Education

Where, exactly, are my tax dollars going?

I posed this question to my older son during a game of Trivia Crack after he answered yet another question incorrectly.

His response?

Umm…up your butt?

Hmm.

That’s kinda what I was afraid of.

Incidentally, I just received our 2018 property tax statement.

Let’s just say it ain’t pretty.

Which is precisely why a friendly lunch note reminder seems to be in order:

If nothing more, it’s a helpful lesson in alliteration.

In my son’s defense, though:

I hadn’t learned that yet… I don’t think.

Sigh.

After answering 11 consecutive trivia questions correctly myself, he offered a bit of praise:

You’re not as dumb as I thought!

Thanks.

I think.

Guess you won’t be seeing either of us on Jeopardy anytime soon…

~Happy Friday, friends! No person in history has probably ever been overjoyed about paying taxes. But on that note… Where education is concerned, investing in the future is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment. Have a fantastic weekend!~

The Chaos of Crafting

Making memories?

Priceless.

Creating memorabilia from memorable moments?

Pricey.

And time-consuming.

But fun.

And also kind of stressful, come to think of it.

Remember my recent adventure in ocean snatching?

Well, guess what?

I finally did something productive with all those seashells, ocean water, and sand.

My masterpieces are finally done!

What can I say?

My creative streaks ebb and flow.

(Just like the tides of an ocean!)

It took me a few weeks to envision exactly what I wanted to create with all my awesome ocean loot.

All I knew was that I wanted to recreate a beach scene.

But how, exactly?

I’ve got my very own tropical island oasis right here at home, with a beachy island-themed office room that I’d designed myself.

Complete with an inflatable palm tree.

Yet, figuring out the best way to recreate the ocean at home with real ocean parts is no small feat.

Don’t get me wrong.

I love crafting.

I love making memories.

And I especially love the beach.

It’s a dangerous combination.

Forget all the money spent on the vacation itself…

If you truly want to preserve your memories, you’d best be prepared to shell out even more money with a trip to Hobby Lobby.

But first, let’s talk about glue.

One year, my brother gave my boys a cool sock puppet kit for Christmas.

But there was an awful lot of sewing involved to assemble and accessorize those puppets, and I am not a big fan of sewing.

Why sew when super glue is so much faster?

As glue oozed like a spewing volcano out of the tube, I discovered the sock puppet had become glued shut.

With my hand still inside.

Glue and I clearly have a complicated history.

And so there were all these little factors I had to take into account for my ocean project.

Like how to glue sand and seashells without having shells permanently attached to my fingertips.

And how to ensure ample air ventilation to avoid passing out from toxic glue fumes.

At any rate…

On a burst of creative energy, I was finally ready to turn my collection of goodies from the ocean into a work of art.

Or four.

One combining most of my prized loot into a display:

(A shadow box with a layer of beach sand as the backdrop for my Atlantic seashells, along with a little heart-shaped jar for the ocean water.)

Another for a more sensory-filled experience:

(My little sandy beach jar, with some of the smaller seashells. If sand beneath my feet isn’t an option, then I’ll settle for sand in my hands. Ooh, that rhymes!)

A stress-relief meditation jar:

(No, the glitter and pink water are not from ocean. And it’s also not technically a “jar”. But the seashells on top are indeed from the beach. Besides, it’s something to shake and throttle. What’s not to love?)

And another heart-shaped vial of ocean water:

(Because it seemed wrong to dump the leftover Atlantic Ocean water after all the trouble we went through to collect it. And drinking it just didn’t seem like a very good idea.)

Trying to capture the magnificence of a real beach is damn near impossible.

But if you’re going to steal from the beach, you might as well do something awesome with your loot, right?

Oh, and as for all the glue I used for my projects?

No matter how many times I scrubbed my hands afterward, they were still stickier than a pot of Winnie the Pooh’s honey.

I had to wear cotton socks to bed that night.

On my hands.

Because I was terrified I’d wake up glued to the sheets.

Or somehow stuck to the wall.

Or worse, with my hands permanently attached to my face, like that kid from Home Alone.

Whenever I use glue, I truly seem to have the whole world in my hands.

In the most literal sense possible.

Anyway…

I finally have something to show for my moment of blissful ocean kleptomania!

And yet, I still have 493 pictures from my trip to sort through, organize, and arrange into a scrapbook.

So much for the stress relief of crafting.

Where’s that !&#$ meditation jar when I need it?

~Happy Saturday, friends! Have a great weekend!~

Southern Inhospitality

The struggle of being a former New Yorker/Washingtonian/Arizonan in an excessively friendly southern state is all too real.

One of the hardest things about being a transplant in the south is the challenging adjustment of having to talk to people.

Especially extraordinarily friendly people, because they make me feel like a sorry excuse of an ill-mannered human being.

For someone naturally reserved, such unexpected conversations with enthusiastic random strangers can be grounds for a full-blown anxiety attack.

On an exceptionally good day, I can plaster on my most natural fake smile.

Then I cross my fingers, in hopes that my face won’t actually freeze that way.

Especially if I am unintentionally bearing teeth.

When I’m out walking around my neighborhood and people go beyond the perfunctory wave and vocalize their greeting, or worse, initiate a conversation?

What am I supposed to do then?

The obvious answer, of course, is to make a run for it.

I go outside to throw away the trash in my pjs in broad daylight and the neighbor twelve houses down to the left with the terrifying horse-sized Scottish Deerhound smiles and starts waving a little too enthusiastically.

My typical instinct is to discreetly crouch down and scuttle away like the stealthy ninja that I am.

Suddenly, my brain is rapidly firing off panic signals.

Crap! You made eye contact! What were you thinking?

“How ya doing? Nice day out, don’t ya think?”

Great. Now the neighbor wants to make conversation while you’re standing outside like a fool in your Hello Kitty pajamas!

“A shame about that field being plowed down for another housing development, ain’t it? Where all them cows gonna go now?”

Might as well be standing outside naked. Maybe that’d be less awkward.

Must. Get. Out.

Quick! Excuse yourself! Get out of there NOW!

The last time I had been caught off guard by a neighbor, I managed to back out of there after a record time of 1 minute and 28 seconds.

By pleading a bathroom emergency.

Classy, I know.

But it was the best I could do after my overactive brain presented the pitiful excuse on a silver platter.

Yet once again, my brain is tasked with conjuring up “logical” excuses while my neighbor continues on with his riveting monologue about cows.

I’ve narrowed down my choices.

I have to go because:

a) Dinner is almost ready, and I need to go turn the oven off

b) The house is now on fire because dinner has been in the oven 5 minutes too long

c) The kids are beating each other within inches of their lives with Nerf swords

d) All of the above

While all of these seem like perfectly rational justifications, I naturally go with the most plausible one.

The house is on fire.

Not seeing the thick gray smoke?

Really?

Well, gotta go! See ya later!

~Happy Friday, friends! I’m sure all my fellow introverts out there can relate to this one all too well. Have a fantastic weekend!~

I made eye contact, and now it's all over. This must be the end.

I made eye contact, and now it’s all over. This must be the end.

(Southern Inhospitality originally appeared on Comically Quirky on 8/6/15)