Friday Night Fumble

Is it over yet?

I mean…

Go team!!!

Yeah!!!

High school football.

It’s quite the production in The Lone Star State.

Even people without kids religiously attend every Friday night.

It’s that big a thing out here.

Hell, there’s even a 10 billion member marching band at every single game.

And the marching band is typically more fun to watch than the actual football game itself.

Sort of like the halftime show during The Super Bowl.

At eight dollars a ticket for the privilege of sitting on rock-hard metal bleachers for three to four hours, watching the clock move in slower motion than logically possible…

How could it be anything but exciting?

Right?

I personally pass the time alternately playing on my phone, staring in disbelief at my watch, and glancing at the score board.

But I’m sure some people are actually watching the game.

Probably.

What better way to spend a Friday night?

I mean, besides sleeping.

Never mind the fact that I have to get up at 3 am the next morning for work.

If I’m having such a blast, why do I keep going to these games, you might wonder?

Well, to support my amazing mascot, of course!

But at eight dollars a ticket…

I could go see a movie for that price.

Or at buy a great cocktail.

Especially after sitting on those sadistic ass-numbing, back-breaking bleachers.

Sure, it’d be more cost-effective to stay home in my pajamas, watching reruns on Netflix.

But I suppose it beats sitting at home.

Sometimes, at least.

Especially when things get really exciting.

Between evacuations, stampedes, and near-electrocutions, it has been a fairly exciting season so far.

Almost every home game has kicked off with a lightning evacuation.

During the very first quarter.

Which is especially thrilling when lightning menacingly illuminates the sky and rain comes pouring down in an attempt to recreate Noah’s Ark, right there in the middle of the football field.

The bleachers are at full capacity.

Of course.

Because everyone in town is at the game.

Did I mention the bleachers are metal?

And metal conducts electricity.

Which is ever-so-slightly concerning.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy high school football games enough to risk electrocution.

And so the stampedes begin.

Which is a rather refreshing break from some of those obnoxious, screeching, know-it-all fans.

Yeesh.

Perhaps this is why I never bothered to attend any games when I was in high school.

Nothing against school sports and all the good qualities they help foster.

But sometimes I wonder why I pay to get hit in the head with rogue balls at games where excessively vocal away team fans conduct themselves as though the home team had the audacity to cross into Oakland Raiders territory.

Yikes.

The things we do for our children.

We support our kids.

Even when it risks our last remaining thread of sanity.

Because our kids will always remember that we were there for them.

Especially if we embarrass the hell out of them with our mere presence.

Because embarrassment and support apparently go hand in hand.

Go team, go!

Woooo!!!

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

It's Friday night! Um, yay?

It’s Friday night! Um, yay?

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Frantic Feeding Frenzy

It’s become an unofficial contest.

A challenge of sorts.

How quickly can these two boys of mine eat all the food in the house?

Or better yet…

All the newly purchased groceries?

Before they’re even out of the shopping bags?

Last week, I bought an overflowing cart full of groceries on Saturday.

We were nearly out of food by Tuesday.

Almost nothing left for dinner.

Almost nothing left to pack for school lunches.

One over-dramatic child resorted to drinking from an expired gallon of water from our makeshift storm shelter closet.

(Wait… Water actually expires?!?)

What’s next on the to-eat list, Jett’s dog food?

At least The Bigly Bestest doesn’t eat all his food in one sitting.

Gotta love teenagers.

Especially boys.

The time it takes teenage boys to eat seems to be directly proportionate to the quantity.

For instance:

A box of eight waffles will get devoured in approximately eight seconds.

Which averages out to one second per waffle.

And a six-pack of yogurt cups will last all of six seconds.

This pattern continues in a sickening whirlwind for several minutes.

Until all that’s left are raisins.

And so they move on to rummaging in my purse.

Until they gleefully discover a tin of mints.

Snacking on mints.

Wow.

At least these two haven’t yet resorted to drinking maple syrup out of the jar for a quick pick-me-up.

Sheesh.

They’ll claim that there’s nothing to eat, when clearly there is something still left.

Sure, it may not always be their first choice.

But when you’re snacking on mints, is that really the time to be picky?

How can you tell me you refuse to eat blackberries?

So don’t tell me there’s no food in the house when there are perfectly good berries here.

Eat the damn berries!

Oh, you’re starving?

But not enough to eat that delicious asparagus sauté , huh?

Or some plain yogurt?

Well, that’s fine.

More for me!

And whatever we don’t eat, we apparently save for the ants.

That’s right.

Ants.

Entire freaking colonies of ants.

Because we have yet to master the art of properly closing bags when we’re done snacking.

And so they march across the bottom shelf of the pantry, systematically working their way up the shelves like some kind of microscopic parade.

Until they’ve effectively invaded every last item in the kitchen pantry.

Cereal boxes.

Crackers.

Cheese puffs.

Jett’s special dog treats.

Well.

At least there was hardly any food left to begin with.

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

Actual footage from our mealtime frenzies.

Actual footage from our mealtime frenzies.

Driving Mr. Mascot, Part 2

Slow down.

Slow down!!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SLOW THE @&*% DOWN!!!

With 30 minutes to spare after dropping my younger child off at his guitar lesson…

It was the perfect opportunity to continue working with my older son (a.k.a. Mascot Boy) on his driving skills.

And so he took the wheel.

Figuring it was only three miles from the music school to our house, it wouldn’t necessarily be an unreasonable walk for my younger one if scary driver Mascot Boy and I didn’t make it back alive from driving practice.

Unfortunately, the fact that it’s been unseasonably hot out made it a less than optimal scenario.

But it’s always good to have a plan, right?

Mr. Mascot decided he’d like to practice in a shopping parking lot that day.

Did you know different rules apply in parking lots?

Namely, there are no rules .

Especially in a Walmart parking lot.

Between vehicles blindly pulling out in front of other traffic with no regard to right of way, and overall mayhem in general…

The very notion of safe driving seems to go right down the toilet.

All I knew is that I sure as hell didn’t want to die in the Walmart parking lot.

I’d rather get eaten by my dog.

Not that my precious Jett would ever eat me.

But still.

Dying at Walmart/in the Walmart parking lot is definitely not the way I’d like to go.

Especially with a 16-year-old driver behind the wheel.

And not only does this 16-year-old believe he already knows everything there is possibly to know about driving…

I’ve somehow recently ended up with two backseat drivers whenever I’m driving.

Because even though my 13-year-old hasn’t had any formal driving instruction, he too  believes he now magically knows everything there is to know about driving.

Specifically, that he and his brother know everything.

And I, the driver with two decades of experience, know nothing.

As if I suddenly need coaching on how to safely maneuver a vehicle.

That didn’t feel like a complete stop.

You forgot your turn signal! Right in front of that cop over there!

I’m pretty sure even I have better judgement than you!

Meanwhile, Mr. Mascot has taken a liking to barreling full-speed toward red lights.

I’m starting to think I ought to be wearing a blindfold when I’m in the passenger seat.

He attempted to park next to the only car in the back row of the parking lot.

Which happened to be a BMW vaguely resembling The Batmobile.

Which happened to be one that we really can’t afford to gently nudge from behind or do a drive-by mirror sideswipe on.

After one unsuccessful attempt of parking straight in between the lines, I strongly encouraged him to find a different spot.

Away from other cars.

All other cars.

After surviving the Walmart parking lot, we headed back to the music school to pick up child number two.

We arrived safely.

The parking lot was under heavy construction.

So we soared over a massive mud bump, Dukes of Hazzard style.

But ultimately, we didn’t get pulled over by any cops.

And even more importantly, we survived.

So it’s a win.

I’ve come to realize that my son’s learning to drive comes at a price.

The expense of fuel.

And the expense of my sanity.

Which has long been precariously dangling by a thin thread.

Oh, but at least I’m getting a break from driving, right?

If your idea of a break is anxiety, panic, or a heart attack, then yes.

Thanks to me, my dear child, you are gaining experience.

Thanks to you, my dear child, I seem to be losing experience.

Or my sanity.

One of the two.

Or both.

~Happy Saturday, friends! Click here if you’d like to read Part 1 of our exciting driving experiences. Have a great weekend, and watch out for nervous Student  Drivers and their equally terrified parents! Haha!~

The Danger Zone... it's a real thing.

The Danger Zone… it’s a real thing.

Back to School Blues

It’s that time again.

Back to school time.

Yippee.

More like back to gaaah!

Can you feel the enthusiasm?

Yeah.

Me, neither.

Nobody wants to get out of bed bright and early for school.

Including me.

Especially me.

The novelty has already worn off.

And it hasn’t even been a full week.

Sure, my boys have been complaining of acute boredom for the last ten weeks.

But rarely is a child so bored that they eagerly anticipate returning to school.

My younger son seems especially over it already.

By day two, his alarm clock lay on the floor in pieces, its batteries scattered haphazardly.

It’s no fun for me, either.

There’s the stressful challenge of packing lunches they’ll actually eat.

And having to make sure they’re sanitary enough to be seen in public.

And worst of all…

Homework.

That’s no fun.

For anyone.

Not only that…

Yesterday, we had to do a second round of school supply shopping.

Because once obviously was neither fun enough nor expensive enough.

Or sanity-endangering enough.

Hooray for Walmart and their disorderly heaps of leftover back to school crap!

I mean, supplies.

And so it’s back to battling the clock.

And traffic.

And Walmart.

Yikes.

But now that the kids are back in school, it’s a great time for me to work on catching up on all the things I’d fallen behind on this summer.

Like cleaning.

And writing.

And reading.

And more cleaning.

Oh, who am I kidding?

I’ve somehow managed to fall behind in life as a whole.

I’d probably settle for catching up on sleep, at this point.

But there’s no rest for the weary.

Or the worried.

It’s hard to sleep while my mind gallops off like a crack-addicted race horse.

By the same token…

It’s also hard to accomplish anything that way.

So much to do.

So little motivation to do any of it.

But, hey.

At least my kids are being more productive at the moment.

They’re probably learning something  at school.

Maybe.

Hopefully.

So long, lazy days of summer.

Hello, back to school madness.

If nothing else, it’s back to devising ways of embarrassing my kids at school functions.

I suppose that counts as being productive.

Right?

~Happy weekend, friends! And Happy Birthday to my favorite mascot boy! Woo hoo!~

Augh! Not this again! Didn't summer just start?!

Augh! Not this again! Didn’t summer just start?!

Dog Days of Summer Break, Part 2

Get off the horse!!!

I mean, the dog!

The dog is not a horse!

I don’t care if you’re not actually sitting on him.

Does he look like he’s enjoying himself?!?

Well.

Looks like we’re ending the summer the same way we started it.

By tormenting the poor dog.

Since The Bigly Bestest Doggie hasn’t yet mastered eating at a table while seated in a chair, my boys have evidently moved on to bigger, better things.

Like transforming him into a horse.

Ah, well.

School starts next week.

So while the boys’ summer break is coming to a close…

The doggie’s break is finally about to start.

And just in time.

Who knows?

In another week, they might’ve turned him into a trash-eating goat.

Yikes!

~Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe it’s almost time for school again?! Where does the time go?~

Do I look like a horse? It's back to school for you, boy!

Do I look like a horse? It’s back to school for you, boy!

Perilous Parallels

Turn the wheel!

Keep turning the wheel!

More!!!

And the driving instruction fun continues.

Raise your hand if you remember how to parallel park!

Aww, come on.

It’s just like riding a bike!

Really!

I mean, sort of…

As of three days ago, I still had a vague idea of how to parallel park a car.

More or less.

I hadn’t made any legitimate attempts at parallel parking since my own driving test at the age of 16.

And even then, I’d been instructed to park between two snow banks rather than actual cars.

Which is good, because I likely wouldn’t have passed if I had to wedge myself in between two real cars.

Don’t get me wrong.

I do park in parallel spaces.

But only when I can easily drive right in to them.

(Shhh!)

On particularly rough days, I struggle to park my car straight in between the lines of a parking space…

Yet, I have impressive success backing our large pickup truck into parking spaces with amazing precision.

Go figure.

At any rate, it was time to teach my teenage son the basics of parallel parking.

Because how could that be a bad idea?

And so we drove to a nearby school parking lot.

Here, let me show you how it’s done.

Uh…

Show him what, exactly?

Yikes.

Going purely on instinct rather than any delusion of certainty, I tried.

I missed.

I tried again.

This time, the car was in between the lines.

A flawless execution it was not.

But at least complete and utter mortification was avoided.

For how can one teach what they themselves cannot do?

I must not have done too horrible a job of demonstrating, as my child managed several successful attempts of his own afterward.

My boy has been taking pleasure in using every opportunity to get behind the wheel.

On the bright side, he’s been commenting on my driving with far less frequency.

The tables have turned.

Anyway…

After the sobering knowledge that some of my driving skills might be rusty, I’m tempted to try a few more rounds of parallel parking again.

Totally off topic, but…

Did you know I used to speak French fluently during my teen years?

It’s true!

But then I ceased to continue making the effort to utilize my conversational skills.

So now I sound like I’m speaking Klingon rather than French.

Because skills you don’t use are skills you lose.

So use it or lose it.

~Happy Saturday, friends! Hope you all have a great weekend!~

Parallel parking. Yay.

Parallel parking. Yay.

Summertime Procrastination

Good things come to those who wait.

Well.

If that’s true, why did I just get eaten alive by a tribe of vicious fire ants?

Let me backtrack a moment.

Four years ago, we started a new tradition after moving to No Man’s Land.

My boys wanted to do something epic to celebrate surviving their first chaotic school year here.

With a crazy housing market at the time, we made a major move without being sure where we’d be living, where the kids would go to school, or if I would be homeschooling them…

And this was a mere three weeks before school was set to start.

Yeesh.

But all the pieces eventually fell into place.

And we survived.

So we celebrated.

My older son had enjoyed watching his New England Patriots get doused in massive buckets filled with freakishly neon Gatorade to celebrate their Super Bowl victory earlier that year.

My boys wanted to celebrate their victory of surviving the school year.

And so a new tradition was born.

Every year for the last three years, we did our Gatorade Victory Shower on the last day of school.

Except this year.

It rained heavily and the wind howled like a banshee.

So we decided our celebration could, and probably should, wait a day or two.

Or, you know, five weeks.

Yeah.

First, we inadvertently “floated” my birthday back in April when my husband was out of town for work, with the intention of celebrating that weekend.

And celebrate we did.

Almost a month later.

When I’d practically forgotten about it myself.

Life has a way of keeping us busy, overwhelmed, and overloaded.

But at least we finally got out and enjoyed dinner and drinks.

And an impromptu trip to Toys R Us.

(For the record, I will ALWAYS be a Toys R Us kid. Today is a sad, sad day.)

But anyway, back to our floated Gatorade Shower.

Days passed.

Then weeks.

And then I had a thought.

Maybe we would do the shower for my son’s 13th birthday!

But no.

We’d missed out on that, too.

Maybe we should’ve just started a new tradition with a Back to School Gatorade shower!

But I wanted to do it this summer.

We weren’t moving very fast, though.

We’d keep drinking from our stash of Gatorade.

We’d keep replacing them.

The cycle continued.

Just in case we ever got around to doing the shower.

Which we finally did.

Today!

This morning, I gathered all the Gatorade bottles.

And the Nerf Super Soaker water guns.

Which are great…

Unless your child is gleefully spraying you in the face.

I even splurged on those self-sealing balloons so I wouldn’t spend 30 minutes trying to make and tie a whopping 10 water balloons.

3 easy steps Bunch o Balloons!

None of the steps of which involve me actually reading the directions, it would seem.

The first batch of balloons didn’t go over all that well.

I hadn’t realized they needed to be in water.

Like a fish.

Otherwise, you pretty much get the same end result.

We’d been so ready for this shower for five weeks.

Except not really ready.

Until today.

I can’t be certain, but we might’ve just unintentionally celebrated my older son’s last day of Drivers Ed.

Oh well.

At least we finally had our celebration.

And aside from a few WWE-like moments with flying Gatorade bottles, a good time was had by all.

Until those evil fire ants came along…

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

Our exciting arsenal of melee makers...

Our exciting arsenal of melee makers…

Terribly Terrific Teenagers

Teenagers.

They’re awesome.

Really, really awesome.

Sooo…

Yesterday was my youngest son’s birthday.

He turned 13.

Now I have two teenagers.

With one kid learning to drive and the other playing his new electric guitar around the clock, things are now twice as fun around here!

And that’s not even factoring all the hormonal mayhem and other joys of those delightful teenage years!

(And kids are always complaining they don’t have anything in common with their parents!)

(Well, overwhelmed by something, at any rate…)

(Make that plural. Teenagers. Not one, but two. Twice the woo hoo!)

(Yeah, that. And speaking of wine…)

(Did you know some wine glasses can actually hold an entire bottle of wine? Probably the genius invention of a frazzled, disgruntled mom..)

(It takes my kids a whopping two hours to even realize I’m home from work. Meanwhile, The Bigly Bestest Doggie always eagerly awaits my return. Yeah. Dogs clearly care more.)

(Google takes a backseat to my expert kids and the plethora of factual knowledge they evidentally think they possess.)

(If you’re a fan of unpredictable extremes, then teenagers are totally your people!)

(If you’ve already punished your child by confiscating their electronics, there’s only one thing left to do. Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.)

(Judging by the size of the average teenager, it’s probably far too late to even consider attempting this.)

(Kids don’t realize all that arguing and back-talking is equally exhausting for their parents. And tired and cranky parents are not happy and reasonable parents.)

(Seriously. Don’t mess with me. Mostly because I’m already at the end of my rope…)

Truly, for all that people complain about teenagers, they’re really not so bad.

Except when they’re arguing with you.

Or being irrational.

Or finding ways to endanger both your life and your sanity.

But other than that, they’re the best!

~Happy Friday, friends! Who here has teenagers, or has survived the teen years and lived to tell the tale? I hear there is hope, so I’m fairly optimistic… Have a great weekend!~

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.

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!~