Finding epic in the ordinary this Mother’s Day

Heroic, majestic and impressively great are the words used to define EPIC. Some people are so epic I can’t get enough of being around them. Epic people make you want to be better but they aren’t necessarily heroic, majestic or impressively great. Sometimes epic-ness is subtle. Sometimes it is not.

Being a parent is daily bursts of subtle epic-ness. It is the common thread that keeps all of us sane yet we look for the mountain-top epic-ness, often ignoring the idea that the key to surviving and thriving in this life is merely just taking the next breath. Sometimes as a parent you have to give your children the next breath so that they can go on.

I’m not a fan of parenting websites in general. Most books, websites, blogs and even pamphlets on parenting don’t even scratch the surface of how completely epic it is to be a parent yet I keep reading. I want to be an epic mom. I’m also watching. I’ve learned a LOT about this tricky parenting gig just by observing the behavior of others. What will my kids remember about me when they are grown? When I’m no longer here on earth, what will they say about me? Will they every know how epic is has been for me to be their mother?

I try not to let these thoughts interfere with what I’m doing now, but it’s hard sometimes. Life is about living. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. Don’t play the result. Be in the moment. Blah, blah, blah. Easier said than done.

Don’t play the result. I read an interview with Michael J. Fox, a few years ago and he said those words. DON’T PLAY THE RESULT. We all know how it ends, right? We are born, we live and we die. Life is epic, no matter how it’s lived and no matter how someone tells me to live so why is do l keep seeking some sort of epic, majestic and impressively great advice or wisdom on the right way to live, love or raise my children? The result won’t be favorable if I don’t focus on the process.

Reading those words reminded me that the epic-ness of my life with my kids lies in the moment. Each moment has the potential to be epic, but if I’m not actually there in that moment, then I am merely existing as I await the next grand gesture or memory making moment that they might remember when I’m pushing up daisies.

I remember my mother continuing to smile through my fumblings during midnight mass on Christmas, her hands spotted with dried candle wax. That had to hurt. They way those hands gently scratched my back to soothe me to sleep after getting my heart broken, and seeing her face as she watched my children being born or when I looked for her in the bleachers while I was competing in a sporting event as a kid. I remember watching her gently bury our bloodied puppy in the backyard after he was hit by a car, walking my colicky son in circles for hours, but most of all, I can still see her kneeling at my father’s feet and holding his face between her hands when the pain of his cancer made him cry.

None of these things seemed epic at the time. I have always expected epic-ness from her, yet because Mother’s day is this Sunday these images have been flooding my soul. Mother’s day is Sunday. How do you let the people you love know that an epic gesture isn’t necessary while still acknowledging their epic-ness? I have an epic mom. I can tell you that no material item or words can possibly convey the epic-ness of my feelings for her.

The night my father died was the only night that week that I slept at my own house. My subtle epic mom duties had been neglected; laundry, cleaning, shopping and spending time with my husband and son. I arrived at my parent’s home about an hour after my father had died. My mom had sat at his bedside holding his hand and rubbing his arm and cheek so that when I said my goodbyes, I would not be touching a cold, hard hand or face. She didn’t learn that in a book.

Once again, this Mother’s Day, I’m going to tell her that I think she’s epic. I’ll even write her a letter telling her exactly how I feel. My book is dedicated to her and contains a very long love letter, telling everyone how positively epic she made the ordinary moments of my life. But it never seems like enough.

Happy almost Mother’s Day to you all! Be epic.

Dogs are the best judge of character. My dog is trying to lick the epic off my mom, but it's impossible. She has an endless supply of epic.

Dogs are the best judge of character. My dog is trying to lick the epic off my mom, but it’s impossible. She has an endless supply of epic.

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Glamour, Giving and Goodness – A Girls Night Out

Although I’m practically disabled by ADHD without proper medication, I can focus long enough to help those who CAN focus by completing random tasks they request of me so that they can continue to focus on doing what I could NEVER do on my own, which is to dream up and put together a fundraising event for charity, making that event a reality and making miracles happen for those who are desperately in need of a miracle.

My help usually comes in the form of spattering the news all over the social networks I frequent, blogging and doing whatever it takes to help (as long as whatever it takes is something that I won’t fuck up as a result of my continually sort circuiting brain).

Several friends of mine have done great things for charitable organizations and even started their own! With ever fiber of my being, I admire them and feel grateful that they are among the people in the world who CAN and DO put their gifts to work in a tangible way so that others can be helped during their time of need.

I am not a very political person. At least not publically, however I do believe that we all must understand just how important we as individuals actually are when it comes to contributing to organizations that are absolutely necessary in a country where so many go without. YES WE CAN contribute, and we should! I’m not just talking about treasured cash here, people. I am talking about time and talent too!

TIME – TREASURE – TALENT! All three of these things are needed to make things happen in the world of giving. You don’t have to be the laser beam focused event planner. There are roles for everyone to play and play well! BE A PART OF THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD AND STOP YER WHINING! Let’s do this together, m’kay?

When asked why I don’t form my own not for profit after being told, “If I had your social media presence, I’d use it to do good,” I simply nod and agree. I should use my social media presence for good and I do! I just do well for others who have already established themselves and capable and effective leaders in the world of giving. As I clearly stated in the opening paragraph of this blog post, eloquently I might add, considering the totally lack of respect for proper punctuation and insistence on using ALL CAPS for that extra umph, there are limits to my effectiveness with regard to all things that require single minded focus.

And so, I lend my big mouth, wide reach, time, treasures and talent to the people who request this of me when I can. I am very good at following directions, can life heavy things, make phone calls, run errands, set up, clean up, and shut the hell up when it’s time for me to fade into the background and let the movers and shakers shine.

I am lending my big mouth, wide reach, time, treasures and talent to an event called, “Glamour, Giving and Goodness,” this coming Thursday in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. The organized, passionate and highly skilled and motivated Melisa Matthews, whose motivation is fueled by love for her sister, who at the age of 26 was diagnosed with Fibronectin Glomerulopothy, a rare genetic kidney disease. Doctors are unsure of what her journey will be because her diagnosis is so rare.

So if you can, join us as we have some laughs and eats during a GNO (Girls Night out for those of you who haven’t been following the three part series of posts) this Thursday evening from 6-9PM in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Click HERE for link to the event and to buy tickets. Hop over for an hour if that’s all you can spare, but try to hop for the good of the greater good. Won’t you?

I’ll be there signing books, with another blogger from Indy, Nicole Leigh Shaw (a contributor to one of my favorite Mom Anthologies, “I Want to Pee Alone,”) but hopefully doing much, much more, as I am quite good at using my time, treasures and talents to help the focused people of the world as they play their part in changing it – one GNO at a time!

AWESOME! Check out the Facebook page too for details and updates!

AWESOME! Check out the Facebook page too for details and updates!

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A Procrastination Intervention

I want to be the kind of person who is orGANized and MOtiVATED!

I want to be the girl who gets birthday cards in the mail on time, writes and sends thank you notes in a reasonable period of time (reasonable being defined as?). I want to be able to twerk like Miley Cyrus. I want hot dogs to be heathy. I wanted to wake up this morning and learn that magical elves had taken a heat gun to my floor and removed this shitty linoleum, freeing my husband and I up to have hot, dirty sex – ALL WEEKEND LONG!

Just kidding.

About the sex part, not the linoleum. The linoleum is some stubborn, sticky bulla shittay!

Thanks for NOTHING elves. NOTHING you little shits.

Thanks for NOTHING elves. NOTHING you little shits.

But I woke to find that the elves didn’t visit, one of my very best friend’s daughter is celebrating another birthday without a card from me, and I have a mile high stack on my desk of thank notes, cards, books and other prizes to send out to MWDAS winners. Hot dogs are still just meaty and delicious carcinogen delivery devices and really – CAN ANYBODY TWERK LIKE MILEY? CAN THEY? I think not. 

I want. I wish. But I’m me and me procrastinate (say this in the voice of Ralph Wiggum).

Me fail English? That's unpossible!

Me fail English? That’s unpossible!

I don’t like being a procrastinator, but dammit I AM! It’s a problem and a habit and a way of life and even my house elves are procrastinators. Or oppositional drunks on strike. Maybe they started the project and got so high from that nasty floor glue and snuck out of the house and got hit by a car? Maybe the did try and I’m being unfair? Now I’m worried about my elves.

I’m so off topic here, right? See what I mean? But I do have a point. The point? I’ve got myself in a stress lather over how I have yet to send out books and prizes and cards and whatnot so I’m doing it this weekend!

I’ve decided to get organized and motivated right fucking NOW, so instead of feeling sad about the things that make me feel like I’m the worst, I have decided to put my best foot forward today and set myself up for success. Since my plan is to get the mega-pile of stuff on my desk sent out this weekend and I figured I’d add to the pile.

SIX BOOKS. I AM GIVING AWAY SIX MORE BOOKS.

Did I just say book giveaway?

YUP. And according to Publisher’s Weekly, some readers who took time to review the book online, (thankyouverymuchforthatbecauseit’sreallyimportanttome) and my mom, (who has no reason be biased about my book at all) it “doesn’t suck,” and “showcases my gift for witty observation.” IF YOU WIN, I will send you two books. One for you and one for a friend. Mother’s Day gift? Teacher gift? Baby shower gift? YES to all those things. Or you can just keep them both for yourself because like me, you enjoy even numbers and hoard books like Howard Hughes hoarded his pee pee in jars. You decide.

So how do you win?

In the comments of this blog post, tell me about the first blog post of mine you ever read. It can be an old or new post, serious or silly. I just want to know what you read that made you decided to keep reading! This time, I will choose the winners, quickly, because jaysus crap, the Jenga-style pile on my desk cannot possibly get any higher. It’s mocking me too, a silent pile that represents one of my worst habits – procrastination – so it’s time for this game of loser Jenga to end. Help me be at my best.

And go…..

*If you like my blog – share it, subscribe and consider loaning me your elves, because that linoleum ain’t gonna remove itself thankyouverymuch!*

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The Karma Train to Parentville

Long ago I set the stage for my current situation, which is, if you can imagine, me tied down to some metaphorical railroad tracks while the symbolic karma train runs me over a few dozen times a day on it’s way to wherever it’s going in Parentville. I will tell you that the metaphorical train is one heavy mofo, filled with weighty wisdom. My worst days as a parent are better than my best days before I got lucky enough to get such cool crotchfruit. That being said, I have some bad, bad days as a parent. But somewhere in between the time when my vicious cloud of post partum depression lifted and my father’s dead body was lowered into the ground, I figured how to let go of sadness and cling for dear life to joy.

Ugh but sometimes I don’t. I just can’t hold on anymore and I feel myself slipping into the darkness.

Like everyone, sometimes I need help because there are days when I just cannot do it alone. The karma train is stalled on the tracks right on top of my head, specifically with the wheels over my big, stupid mouth, shutting it for me when I can’t shut it myself. SO I WRITE ABOUT IT. It helps a bit. Sometimes.But other times? NOT. SO. MUCH.  Momma needs more.

And when that happens and I need to laugh or a wee mood lift, you know, to distract me from the train crushing my skull, I go find the funny. I’m very good at finding the fun in the dysfunctional and reaching out for help. If you need a to laugh or a lift today, you are in the right place. I have a photo gallery present just for you. I never thought I was cut out to be a parent. I’m still not sure I am, but I wrote a good goddamn book about this crap and it’s funny and sad and weird and I hope it helps you find your funny.

Am I a good parent? Who the fuck knows? Time will tell. If at least one of my kids reaches the age of 30 without doing time in the pokey or dealing drugs to pre-schoolers – if they can make and maintain long term friendships and enjoy healthy romantic relationships, and hold down a job – if they grow up to be kind citizens of the world who have open minds and kinds hearts – if they forgive others yet don’t forget to stand up for themselves – well, then I’ll give myself a pat on the back for doing something right as a parent. Until then, I’m gonna rely on the wild, whacky, and wise words of others to help me get by. Here are some of my “go-to” parenting giggles and guides. Enjoy. And buy my book, TODAY m’kay? Because today is my PUBLISHING DAY!

 

Read more thought bombs

The Karma Train to Parentville

Long ago I set the stage for my current situation, which is, if you can imagine, me tied down to some metaphorical railroad tracks while the symbolic karma train runs me over a few dozen times a day on it’s way to wherever it’s going in Parentville. I will tell you that the metaphorical train is one heavy mofo, filled with weighty wisdom. My worst days as a parent are better than my best days before I got lucky enough to get such cool crotchfruit. That being said, I have some bad, bad days as a parent. But somewhere in between the time when my vicious cloud of post partum depression lifted and my father’s dead body was lowered into the ground, I figured how to let go of sadness and cling for dear life to joy.

Ugh but sometimes I don’t. I just can’t hold on anymore and I feel myself slipping into the darkness.

Like everyone, sometimes I need help because there are days when I just cannot do it alone. The karma train is stalled on the tracks right on top of my head, specifically with the wheels over my big, stupid mouth, shutting it for me when I can’t shut it myself. SO I WRITE ABOUT IT. It helps a bit. Sometimes.But other times? NOT. SO. MUCH.  Momma needs more.

And when that happens and I need to laugh or a wee mood lift, you know, to distract me from the train crushing my skull, I go find the funny. I’m very good at finding the fun in the dysfunctional and reaching out for help. If you need a to laugh or a lift today, you are in the right place. I have a photo gallery present just for you. I never thought I was cut out to be a parent. I’m still not sure I am, but I wrote a good goddamn book about this crap and it’s funny and sad and weird and I hope it helps you find your funny.

Am I a good parent? Who the fuck knows? Time will tell. If at least one of my kids reaches the age of 30 without doing time in the pokey or dealing drugs to pre-schoolers – if they can make and maintain long term friendships and enjoy healthy romantic relationships, and hold down a job – if they grow up to be kind citizens of the world who have open minds and kinds hearts – if they forgive others yet don’t forget to stand up for themselves – well, then I’ll give myself a pat on the back for doing something right as a parent. Until then, I’m gonna rely on the wild, whacky, and wise words of others to help me get by. Here are some of my “go-to” parenting giggles and guides. Enjoy. And buy my book, TODAY m’kay? Because today is my PUBLISHING DAY!

 

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The Winner’s Circle

THANK YOU TO ALL WHO MADE ME LAUGH UNTIL I CRIED.

Your participation in response to my blog post, was much appreciated! I can’t even tell you how much I laughed and I can’t stress how completely and totally impossible it would have been for me to decide the winners on my own, so thank you all for voting! Each story was just so funny, and I know that you love and cherish the memories of your children, even when the memories include profanity, poop, fire, etc.

Life is full of surprise – LIKE THE HILARIOUS STORIES IN THE COMMENTS ON MY BLOG and hopefully the reactions of the people who won a free copy of my book! You see, when a five year old says, “Calm your tits, Woman,” or a two year old gets mad enough at his popsicle to say, “Fucking popsicle,” some people might balk and think it horrible.

NOT ME!

I think it’s hilarious. And obviously a lot of you do as well. Oh and my GAWD, when a man is man enough to try to clean the oven, but sets it on FIRE, and ends up chillin’ in the front yard with hit two year old waiting for the smoke to clear from his efforts, and his wife comes home and sees him and asks why and the two year old says,” waiting for the fucking fire to go out,” well, THAT is just glorious and hilarious and worth remembering because kids do say the darndest shit and it’s usually because we say it first.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE FOLLOWING WINNERS: 

* Nicole Nohr

* Amanda Smith Schenberger

* Heather Costigan Smith

* Tiffany Martyn

Noelle Atkins Brand

Erin Monroe Green

Rachel J. Landers

Victoria Lynn Millikan

Kimberly Thorn

Jennifer Pendergrass

AND

Rach Flynn

 

Please email me your address at queenofcussinmwdas@gmail.com. You are ALL getting a book. Those of you with a * by your name, get a little extra something with your book, as you received the most “likes.”

Just a few days until my first, but not last book, “Moms Who Drink And Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind,” is officially available in bookstores. I hope you buy it, like it, and feel as if some of the stories could be yours. My favorite essays are probably the ones that will surprise you, as I wrote about how I became me, and the people in my life who love me regardless of just how difficult it can be to be around that me.

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S ONLY A FEW DAYS AWAY. APRIL 2ND, BITCHES!

I’m grateful for all of you who read my blather, participate in the group and have helped to create a community that is precious to me. I share my best and worst moments with you and I hope you will continue to do so with me. Working title of my next book?

“Moms Who Drink And Swear: Group Therapy!”

Image courtesy of www.twogag.com HILARIOUS!

Image courtesy of www.twogag.com HILARIOUS!

Last, but very not least, if you happen to be in the city of Chicago today, I’ll be at the Donna’s Good Things/ St. Baldrick’s head shaving event at the Candlelight Bowl 7452 N. Western Avenue, supporting my dear friend Sheila, who you know as Mary Tyler Mom, and all of the people who are working tirelessly to raise money for pediatric cancer research. You will recognize me as the one wearing pants, hugging people who look uncomfortable and blue in the face as if they are being strangled.

FUCK YOU CANCER.

FUCK YOU CANCER.

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Did you lose your dog? Well, I found her and …..

If you recognize this dog, you probably feel one of two things – relieved or guilty.

Chloe

Chloe

Relieved because she is safe and looks just as beautiful as you remembered? Or guilty because you neglected her and didn’t take care to look for her once you knew she was lost? I don’t know you, but I would believe you if you said she escaped from your backyard, even a nice, fenced in and secure backyard, because girlfriend is a wandering woofer. Well, she was. Now she’s at the Rainbow Bridge and she will never get lost again.

Chloe came to use in the summer of 2000, her ear still healing from what looked like a run in with the dog version of Mike Tyson. The vet estimated her to be about two years old. She was a bit thin, but otherwise sweet, calm, healthy and unbelievably friendly. My son, who was crawling and grabbing at everything in sight, would climb up onto her back and she would lick him until he was dripping with doggy drool.

Lucky! It was a smooth and easy transition, which was NOT the case with our first rescue dog.

Not- at – all.

In 1998, my husband and I adopted a beagle mix named Mona. She was not sweet, calm and healthy. Holy mother of GOD the dog was insane. But we were committed to taking care of her and it didn’t take long before we fell totally in love with her crazy ass (That story is in my book, which you should totally buy. My mom thinks it’s really good).

Best book cover in the history of book covers

Best book cover in the history of book covers

Mona

Mona

Not a smooth transition. And Ka-pow expensive too! But I still felt lucky.

Mona had anxiety, epilepsy and was afraid of men. She needed medication, training and constant mental stimulation. And OYE VE did this mutt have issues with her butt and gut! She was a nervous puker and she was always nervous. If I had a dollar for every pile of stringy bile colored vomit I stepped in over the course of her lifetime, I’d have at least a thousand dollars. Taking care of a pet is expensive, even if they don’t have special needs. Damn I wish I got paid for stepping in her yellow yak.

Chloe’s arrival on the scene changed Mona’s life. Chloe acted as a mother to Mona, socializing her and caring for her as if she was her own. It was meant to be, I think, these beautiful creatures coming to us and making our family whole.

With rescue dogs, you have to be willing to take a leap of faith and commit to doing everything you can to make it work. Some people think it would be easier if dogs could speak, if they could tell us their story. I think they do speak. They just don’t use words and if someone doesn’t speak dog, things can get messy.

This dog? Her name is Holly.

shitmachine-2

Holly is puppy mill rescue that came to use from an Indiana foster home in 2009, just after we said goodbye to Mona. She’s a miniature pinscher/dachshund mix and she has this problem with nervous pooping. She prefers to hunker down under the piano bench and squeeze her nervous turds out there. She loved Chloe and Chloe loved her. When we said goodbye to Chloe this past November, Holly got depressed. I’m not kidding. Girlfriend was bluer than blue and bored. So I asked the people at Midwest Dachshund Rescue if they would let us adopt one of their rescue pups.

They said YES! Meet Brody (Previously known as BB)

Brody

Brody

His sweet nature rivals Chloe’s, but he’s naughty and needs training. If I let him at an entire bag of dog food, he would eat himself to death. He’s also as bow-legged as a rodeo cowboy. I’m sure we are looking at some back surgery in the years to come, but dammit, we are all in. We made a commitment to love and care for this guy and he makes it easy. Holly likes him too.

Holly and Brody watching squirrels

Holly and Brody watching squirrels

It took one week before they were nap buddies

It took one week before they were nap buddies

So here’s my PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU BUY FROM A PET STORE OR ADOPT A RESCUE list of things I hope you will share with others and keep in mind for yourself if you are thinking about getting a pet.

1) Having a pet is expensive. They need regular checkups, heartworm prevention medicine, shots to keep them healthy, grooming, training, healthy food, treats, toys, stuff to chew and LOTS of exercise. If you can’t swing this, don’t get a pet. Last year, including Chloe’s euthanasia, caring for our dogs cost us over $2,000.

2) Please read #1 again. I’ll wait. And yes, that number is accurate.

3) Buying a dog from a pet store often supports the worst of the worst: Puppy Mills. Do you know where the local pet store gets their supply of animals? I once had a neighbor that had a phantom bitch. Yep, he pretended to have two female dogs and over-bred the only one he had. The puppies had problems. He let his cat die of heartworm. The dick made Pinocchio look like an honest boy. If you think watching that horribly sad commercial with the abused dogs with Sarah McLaughlin singing “In the Arms of the Angels,” is hard to watch, well, that’s what some puppy mills and kitty mills are like. Bad news, people. BAD.

4) If you plan to adopt a pet from a shelter or a rescue organization, understand that you are going to have to deal with not only adjustment issues, but most likely behavioral and health issues. Pets get lost, yeah, but many are abandoned and neglected. If you think you are going to get an adorable fur baby that seamlessly blends in to your life, think again. It’s like having a newborn baby. You are starting from scratch with no instruction manual.

5) If you are one of those people who doesn’t think animals have a soul, that they don’t need all the preventative care and proper nutrition that you would provide for a living human, then you don’t deserve a pet. You don’t. Please don’t get a pet. Get a stuffed animal.

6) If you have never had a pet, you need to know how to care properly for a pet and there are many resources out there to help you learn. Please learn before you buy or adopt. BEFORE – NOT AFTER!

7) Spaying and neutering, providing heartworm prevention medication, and micro-chipping your pet are all, unfortunately, not required, but they should be. You suck balls if you don’t do all those things for your pet, unless you plan to breed your pet, but if you plan to do that, then you better also be ready to find good homes for the animals and that’s not always easy to do.

8) If you don’t think you are ready for a pet, you are not ready for a pet. I suggest that you start volunteering at a local shelter or rescue for a month. Spend some time helping and getting familiar with the world of animal care. If after a month, you think you have what it takes, by all means, get you a pet!

9) My dogs are cuter than yours. I am a girl and I love telling people that I have that I two wieners. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right!

10) Please share this blog and in the comment section, I encourage you to share your local animal shelter information, rescue organization or any other information you think will help our furry friends.

Thank you to Midwest Dachshund Rescue for trusting us with the care and keeping of Brody (B.B.) and for loving him until we could take over. Some things are just meant to be.

P.S. Here is a totally unrelated picture of a snack with a name that makes me laugh. Mostly because I’m immature, but even so, I know how to care and love animals and I hope you care enough to do the same.

There are Fighting Cock Nuts. I just wanted you to see them.

There are Fighting Cock Nuts. I just wanted you to see them.

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Super Bowl Sunday is my Fantasy Football

This blog contains a story and it’s a mostly true story too! I can’t say that it is 100% true, because my memory of past events is furry. No, the word furry isn’t a typo. You see, my memories always includes dog hair, hence I use the word furry, and also the word hence, because I have always wanted to use it. But this story is about why Super bowl Sunday means so much to me, and why I consider this game my ultimate football fantasy.

In 1998, (I think) my husband was unable to attend his fantasy football league draft. He was having a man-crisis, which is a lot like a man-cold. For those of you who don’t understand why this is a big deal, not being able to attend your fantasy league draft, and how it could be considered anything like a crisis, just know that for some dudes, (many of them active participants in fantasy sports leagues) this is a crisis situation that ranks right up there with having a chronic pre-mature ejaculation problem.

Where's his helmet? I thought we were talking about football!

Where’s his helmet? I thought we were talking about football!

My guy was panicked. There was no way he could finagle it and so he asked me to go to the draft for him. ME? The me who has the attention span of a gnat and picks favorite teams based on the color of their jerseys and whether I can make up songs that rhyme with their mascot and who has the most hump worthy QB. Yeah that’s me to a T, and although you might think he could have somehow managed to get someone, ANYONE, to stand in for him, you would be thinking wrong. What was he thinking?

A few days before the draft, he went over his picks with me, talking about alternates and creating a spreadsheet (yes, an actual Excel spreadsheet) and a detailed flow chart of how to pick his fantasy team. “Ooooo like a basketball tournament, right?” I asked him. “No, not like March Madness, Nicole,” he replied, exasperated. Gawd, so testy! So I stopped joking and I listened as well as I could, and nodded a lot, but I just kept thinking about stuff like….well, I just thought of other stuff that I like to think about, but like I said, it was 1998 and I can’t remember. I was probably thinking about puppies or work or Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Or Slurpees. We lived right behind a 7-11 at the time. It was very distracting.

On the day of the draft, I showed up with my beverage, (it was BYOB) and a snack to share. I knew all the dweeby guys in my husband’s league, so it wasn’t uncomfortable for me in the sense that I had to do this thing that I had no idea how to do and no interest in doing with strangers, but I still felt squirmy and I didn’t understand why Clark from Tech Support was wearing tube socks with his shorts.

Why Clark? WHY?

Nerd Alert

Nerd Alert

Cliff notes version of the evening – FUBAR. Nikki fucked it up beyond all recognition. I just couldn’t keep up with the lightening fast pace and the sports banter. I might have also been a wee buzzed, but like I said – 1998 people. It was a long time ago.

My husband was not mad, which surprised me, because I thought he was going to be really ticked. He was disappointed, but not mad. I had done my best, hadn’t I? YES, I had, I assured him of this because really, I had! I felt terrible though, because after three previous seasons of winning big in his fantasy league, my fantasy football fanatic spouse lost BIG. It was an expensive league too. To quote my husband, “I’d just as well have wiped my ass with the cash I dropped this year on that league.”

But it was a turning point in our relationship. He didn’t realize HOW bad it would be, even though he knew there was a chance I’d screw up some of his picks despite his carefully crafted instructions. The problem was, well, not THE problem, but one of the problems with this clusterfuck of a situation was that he didn’t know that not only did I not know a thing about the game of football, but I also didn’t know Bam Morris from Bam Bam Rubble. Silly man assumed that because I knew the words to “The Super bowl Shuffle,” and enjoyed listening to Jim Short’s pigskin picks, I must know a little something about the game.

FREEBIRD!

And nope, I didn’t know jack squat! Not really. Aside from knowing that a touchdown is not the same thing as a hat-trick and that Walter Payton was on the Wheaties box (because he was really good at football and like, THE most popular and beloved Chicago Bears player since…um….the Chicago Bears player who was really popular and beloved before him, whoever that was. Mmm…Sweetness!).

“What happened?” he asked. He just didn’t understand how it could have gone so wrong. So I told him that it went wrong because I had no idea what the fuck was going on.

“Why didn’t you tell me you didn’t know what the hell you were doing?” he asked, laughing at his nightmare, I mean FANTASY roster.

“You didn’t ask,” I replied.

And that is the truth. He didn’t.

He was so busy in his fantasy world of foot-ballers; the guy didn’t think to get my input at all. I didn’t offer it either, but in my defense, I had no idea that a fantasy football draft was so cutthroat. Ladies, you just do NOT want to know what happens when a bunch of not for profit accountants and Liberal Arts college professors don’t get any of their top three running back picks. Think about Bruce Banner when he gets angry. HULK SMASH! Don’t even get me talking about what happens when their fantasy team members get injured, or GOD FORBID that injury is a season ender. It’s worse than when your guy gets a man-cold. Way worse.

But like I said, somewhere in this mostly true story, it was a turning point for my husband and I with regard to how we interacted about all things sports related. He stopped assuming I gave a shit about sports at all and no longer talked to me about the details of the game aside from where he was going to be watching it and with who and what time he’d be home if he wasn’t going to be on our sofa drinking beers and screaming at the television.

YAY! And you know football season is long and there are a lot of games, so I had lots of time to do my own thing-a-lang. More YAY! Uninterrupted reading…chick flicks…long baths…out for drinks with the ladies!

The only time he included me in any sporting related activity or conversation was in the weeks leading up to Super bowl Sunday, because I was always invited to the parties.

Ah yes, the yearly Super bowl bash was something I did look forward to with great enthusiasm. We sure have had some good times at these parties and when I say WE, I mean ME, and when I say GOOD TIMES I mean an abundance of good food, and the majority of this food included various types of melted cheese. AND OH MY GOD THE BOOZE WAS (and still is) ALWAYS A FLOWIN’!

So that is my story.

OMG LOOK AT ALL THIS FUCKING CHEESE!

OMG LOOK AT ALL THIS FUCKING CHEESE!

It is mostly true, this story, and the most true part of this story about why Super bowl Sunday means so much to me, is because it’s the one day of the year where I can get food stoned on no less than 10 different appetizers, all of which contain copious amounts of melted cheese, AND the there is a variety of free flowing alcohol for everybody for hours on end. The halftime show is a nice bonus too. Wardrobe malfunction? Yes please! And I don’t give a shit who wins almost ever, because unless it’s the Chicago Bears (and let’s face it that has happened what, ONCE since 1986).

You can see why Super bowl Sunday is MY fantasy football come true now, can’t you?

The end.

TRUTH!

TRUTH!

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Welcome to the Good Moms Club

Calling all moms – Specifically those of you who have been campaigning for the position of President of the Bad Moms Club. Good moms can stay and read too, but really is there such thing as a good mom? From what I can see, the whole lot of us suck.

First of all, I just want to give you super shit-tastic moms a shout out –

HOLLA!

Putting yourself out there is a brave thing to do and I want to acknowledge you for your effort to be recognized for the heap of suck that is YOU.

KaPow Miss Lady and good for you!

You are running a helluva campaign, and I especially applaud those of you who are getting every last skeleton out of your mom closet on your own instead of waiting for your kids to cough up your missteps and failures during family therapy. Honesty is a campaign strategy I can really get behind. Oh, and if you admit your shortcomings, and you beat yourself up over stuff like raising your voice after a long and frustrating day or forgetting to sign a permission slip and having to bring it to school after receiving a panicked call from your 3rd grader, you are teaching your kids that you tolerate nothing less than perfection with regard to your own behavior. Sheesh, hopefully they will apply these same standards to their own behavior. Having an imperfect kid would be the most terrible thing…..(shudder)

Not being perfect? Phooey. Making mistakes? Not in this family! Good job. Keep it up. This world needs more judgment, intolerance and unrealistic expectations thrust upon us. I mean clearly we aren’t hard enough on ourselves, not disciplined so…..good stuff.

TWO VERY BIG THUMBS UP!

Wait a sec...those aren't thumbs, are they?

oneortwofingers.com

Rats! Those aren’t thumbs at all, are they? Imma try again…..

Image from thetvmouse.wordpress.com

Image from thetvmouse.wordpress.com

That’s MUCH better, right? And I meant it when I said “good for you” and “two thumbs up.”

But alas, I so have some bad news for you. There is no Bad Moms Club. It doesn’t exist. It’s a myth, not dissimilar to the one about Ole Saint Nick. Sure the spirit of Christmas is real, the magic of giving and all that feel good crap, but the fat man in a red suit? Ah…..not so much.

The same holds true for this much talked about club of Bad Moms everyone claims to belong to. This spirit of self deprecating and wallowing in guilt is as real as a Christmas carol, but the actual club? Well, I’m sure there are informal meetings being held in crack dens somewhere, maybe even in your neighborhood, but I don’t think serving frozen pizza for dinner two nights in a row qualifies you as a candidate for President of the Bad Moms who are crack whores who neglect their children club, unless you stole the pizza because you spent all the food money on CRACK and let one of your many “boyfriends” abuse your child.

If this describes you, then congratulations – YOU ARE A BAD MOM. YOU SUCK! But officially, you aren’t the worst mom and there is no award for this. You’d be surprised how far you can push the bad mom thing and totally get away with it.

But I said I was sorry! What more do you people want from me?

But I said I was sorry! What more do you people want from me?

See what I mean?

You might ask what brought on this ridiculous rant and so I’ll tell you. An Internet News site recently requested an interview with me to talk about finding humor in the everyday life of a parent. For me this is easy, but it wasn’t always this way and it took some serious life events to smack some sense into me.

There was a time when I thought my son might never stop shitting in his Spiderman undies, and that once I actually got my daughter to the dentist and her all day, every day pacifier habit was revealed, I’d be the front-runner in the campaign for President of Bad Moms who have kids with stinky asses and rotten teeth. What worried me is that I didn’t care. Did this make me a bad mom? Because I didn’t give a rats balls what others thought about the choices I made?

Maybe that did make me a bad parent and a bad person.

Maybe I should care more?

These thoughts were fleeting, but very real and very scary to me. There is nothing like self doubt that is reinforced by a sense of isolation, fear of being judged and a mega-fuck ton of rookie mistakes.

Oye – raising a family! Right and wrong only apply to what works for us specifically, under the roofs of our own houses with the unique souls that make up our individual families. What’s important is that we care about HOW we are doing it. If you care enough to worry that you qualify for an officer position in the non-existent Bad Moms Club, then I have good news for you. You don’t qualify.

I propose that we moms collectively and officially vote to rid the mom vernacular of this ridonkulous bold statement about being a bad mom and being in the bad moms club. Let’s stop listing our qualifications for this “club,” and start focusing on what we do right. Together, we have to stop not only the stinking thinking, but also the smack talking, saying out loud for our children to hear that the mistakes we make, even the whoppers, make us bad moms, because they do not.

They do not.

We need to get rid of the Bad Moms Club and replace it with a motto, a mantra if you will. I vote for something catchy like “YES WE CAN!” What? That’s taken? Hmmm..okay, how about this – PARENTING – PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION.

You likey? Me too. I likey. A lotty.

Some of us (me) tend to be crappy cooks, who raise their voices (me) and ignore their kids for long periods of time on the weekends while curled up with a book and a glass of wine (me again). Some of us (me) forget all sorts of important things and volunteer sporadically. Some of us (not me) tend to be good cooks who whip up nutritious meals from organic food. Some (sometimes me) remain calm under pressure and others (not me) spend most weekends engaged in high quality education activities with their kids. Some moms (not me) and are honored for their volunteer work.

Dammit, I just made a list and I said that we should stop that. Meh, progress not perfection. Despite all this, I know I’m a good mom.

I would like to be a member of a moms club that swaps books and clothes and ideas and hugs. I want to drink wine and play cards and shop for shoes (if the moms I’m with insist on it, otherwise ick to shopping). I want to be in a moms club where we are all equal and our individuality is embraced and even encouraged. My club-mates will all be good moms, because they care enough to worry that they aren’t, but know that’s what makes them good. We will call our club The Good Moms Club and everybody is welcome.

Except the crack whores who are neglecting their kids. And Casey Anthony. Sorry…

Forgive me people, remember what I said about making progress not expecting perfection. I’ve got a long way to go and I may be a jackass sometimes, (a lot of times) but dammit, I am a good mom.

“Moms Who Drink and Swear: True Tales of Loving My Kids While Losing My Mind”

OOOO looky here!  You can click on that image and buy my book! YES YOU CAN!

Photo courtesy of a very good mom, Vered DeLeeuw who blogs at Momgrind.com

Photo credit Vered DeLeeuw who blogs at Momgrind.com

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A Guilt Free Guide to Charitable Giving in 2013

Cub Scouts, Breast Cancer, Brownies and Little League Baseball players – they all want your money.

Premature babies, Veterans, Firefighters and Abandoned animals – the want a piece of you too!

Volunteers desperately needed.

And supplies.

And people who can transport animals.

Oh, and for god sake if you can give your time, treasures and talent, and commit by signing on the dotted line in blood, that would be super.

Speaking of blood, let’s chitchat about he blood banks, shall we? They don’t just want a piece of you; they need a piece of you. The blood supply in this country is dangerously low and they are calling all available donors to action.

Hell yes people, it’s that time of year again – the time of year when you can’t believe that you could possibly feel more like hot garbage, but every day you do! With each phone call, email and knock at your door, you feel the heat and smell the stink radiating off you!

WE WANT YOUR MONEY! COME ON! WE JUST WANT A LITTLE!

Everyone wants it, needs it, gots to have it – your money. And if you are like me, this has the potential to launch you into a mini-panic attack every time you have to decide if you will donate money, time, or bodily fluid and wondering how much you can afford to give is as tricky and frustrating as those goddamn word problems you had to do in 6th grade math.

If you are like me, you want to give and give generously to everyone. My problem is that I just cannot afford to give to everyone who asks, no matter how much they need and no matter how much I want to give them what they need. My kids need to eat, the bills need to be paid, and I only have a limited amount of treasure, time and talent to offer.

A few years ago, I realized that I just couldn’t take it anymore! After hanging up with some dude from the police department who was “disappointed because we really thought we could count on your donation again this year Mrs. Knepper,” I sat at my kitchen table, simmering in guilt. My emotional temperature just kept rising. It was dinnertime, the kids were being cranky jerks and the dogs were barking. Like I said before, I felt like hot garbage. What was wrong with me? How could I say no to giving the coppers $20? Could I really not afford to support the people who serve and protect my community?

The answer was simply no. I could NOT afford to give them $20 that particular month. We had some major expenses on the horizon, bills to pay. I had bought Cub Scout popcorn, Girl Scout cookies, and a coupon book from one PSHS student from the neighborhood and a magazine subscription from another. I had dropped cash at the Misercordia fundraiser in Elmhurst and committed to supporting St. Baldrick’s head shaving events in the spring.

No, I couldn’t afford to give anyone else money and it made me angry that not being able to give made me feel so goddamn guilty! I knew I had to figure out a way to feel good about what I could give and give up the guilt about what I could not. I had to stop beating myself up and feel good about setting limits. So here’s what I did. I hope my plan of attack might be helpful to you this year as a barrage of requests for your time, treasure and talents begin beat you down.

First, I made a list of all the charities I enjoyed supporting and wanted to commit to.

Second, I made a list of when these organizations held events and what it costs to support them at these events and included in this cost is the time and talent that was requested of me.

Third, I looked at my resources and matched them up with the demands on these resources.

And last, but certainly not least, I looked carefully at the list to make sure that I could donate my time, treasures and talent to these organizations without feeling emotionally and financially de-pleated.

I’m not Mother Theresa and neither are you. It is okay to set limits and say NO. It is okay to let the organizations that you do support know that there are limits to what you can give to them based on what you need to survive yourself. I’m not just talking about paying bills either. I’m talking about finding the balance between feeling good about charitable giving and feeling guilty about not giving.

This year, I have already made my commitments. I won’t waver. I can’t waiver. I have a finite amount of time, treasure and talent to give. I have decided what charities I will support and how much I can afford to give them. I suggest that you do the same. I suggest that you take the steps you need to get the guilt monkey off your back if that monkey is hanging out there, smacking you on the head every six seconds with his monkey trash, making you feel guilty about saying NO.

It’s okay to say NO as long as you say yes when you can. It’s seems like it should be simple, but it’s not. At least it isn’t for me, and that is why I wrote this blog post. I hope it helps you. I hope you can find a way to give generously, directing your precious resources to the organizations that touch your heart and mesh with your values without feeling de-pleated and disappointed.

Because it’s that time of year again you know……

Knock, knock, knock! Ring, ring……

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