Free Dinner for Those Buying Cemetery Plots

Recently I received the most peculiar invitation in the mail. This gem contained complimentary admission tickets “good for two” persons for FREE FOOD! Now with the hunger crisis widespread throughout our country, why on earth were they trying to give ME and my plus one a free meal?

At first I was keyed up by the prospect of someone wanting to award me something, especially if that something might include perhaps ice cream; but then I remembered a prophet’s advice, “No one gives out ice cream for free, unless they want something in return.”

So I called my mother, who is the oldest person I talk to on a regular basis, so that puts her closest to prophet status. I asked her, “Do you think this free meal is some kind of a scheme?” Being that she is a savvy retired elementary school educator, she asked, “Who sent these tickets to you, my child?”

I turned back to the not-so-fine print (actually it was in bold, italicized and about a 32-point font). This might be a first warning  to slow down a bit in life, or else bump up to the next level on my cheap drugstore reader glasses.

This is when I should have hung up the phone or claimed I had the wrong number; but I had already announced to my mother who I was, called her by name, and discussed who was coming to a family get-together. So I’m pretty sure she recognized my voice.

I tried to cough, sneeze and mumble at the same time, “A funeral home.”

Although, since she is my mother and can understand every word of mine even if I had all my teeth knocked out and my lips sewn shut, she blurted, “How did you get on THEIR list?”

“Weight Watchers, I can only assume,” I sighed as if receiving an unsatisfactory mark on my report card.

Then to add salt & vinegar potato chips to my wounds, she laughed, “I haven’t even had a funeral home send me invitations yet!” Nice. Coming from a woman who happens to be substantially older than me.

Our conversation morphed into what we thought should be on the menu for such an event to discuss “final-arrangement planning.” Whole grapes? Big chunks of hotdogs? Or would they go the cholesterol-laden route … triple cheeseburgers and a side’s bar of anything fried? We both assumed a fruit and veggie tray wasn’t going to be part of this artery clogging affair.
Since we were on the subject of dying, I thought it an appropriate transition to inform her I had accidentally killed the Cecropia caterpillars she had recently given my children. The science project for the summer was over after one week. Fuzzy and Wuzzy wuz no more.

Too bad the funeral homes don’t take caterpillars. My daughters would have loved a nice service for their beloved 7-day inch-long friends. How to pick your final resting place for caterpillars isn’t a common request, apparently.

However, I do have these two complimentary tickets from experts who “want to ease my family’s emotional burden.” Maybe I will give them a call…

previously published on July 8, 2012 in The Kansas City Star  


Being an “old-ish” mom, somewhere between fitting in Gap clothing and wearing Depends, I have found motherhood has its ups and downs.  Like when trying to remember what it was like when I did things as a child…pretty near impossible!

My oldest daughter asks, “Mom, when did you first ride a bike without training wheels?”

“I’m sure I rode a bike. But to tell you the truth, I haven’t the foggiest!” I say squinting my eyes and searching the ceiling for answers.

Or…the latest, “Mom, how much money did the Tooth Fairy bring you when you lost your first tooth?”

Now I have a mouth full of Big Girl Teeth, so I know I must have lost some baby ones during my younger days; but if you can’t remember them falling out, how can you be expected to retain the cash value for those babies?

“I believe I was given diamonds and rubies,” I retorted.  “A girl’s best friend, you know.”

“MAH-OM!!  You are joking, right?!”  Can’t put anything past this one!

“Honey, the Tooth Fairy is the one who makes these decisions and whatever the going rate is will be what you get.  It’s just exciting you have entered a new phase of tooth-dom!”

“What?” she gives me the look which I know will be repeated way too many times in her adolescence.

“Forget it,” I smile baring all my big girl teeth.  “Congratulations on losing your tooth.  Tomorrow we’ll see what this tooth fairy thing is all about!”

That night Munchkin #1 put her first bloody, hollow tooth into her precious Tooth Fairy pillow and placed it under her regular pink sleeping pillow.  Her younger sister was almost excited for the impending event; but since it wasn’t about her, why should she waste her energy?

The next thing we know it is morning and over the monitor we hear the squawking, “THE TOOTH FAIRY CAME!!!”  Have I ever mentioned how fast that kid can run?  Two-point five seconds later, she is practically beaning me in the head with 2 golden coins.

“Look, Mom!  I got a Sacagawea!” she started in her best high-pitched girl scream.

“First of all…you are in Kindergarten. How do you know who Sacagawea is?” I asked reaching for my glasses.

“And another one with some guy on it – but Sacagawea!!” she said flopping on the bed like she had just won the Powerball.

“That other guy is a U.S. President, not that I can focus on him yet to tell you who he is, but he was famous too.  These are gold coins the Tooth Fairy left you!”
“Gold? How much is it worth?” she eagerly inquired.

Inspecting the coins carefully I whispered, “It’s a gold dollar! Each one is worth ONE dollar.”

“ Kathy got FIVE dollars and she said her cousin got TWENTY dollars from the Tooth Fairy!!” she quipped.

“I hate to be the one to tell you, but you saw that tooth of yours…it was totally hollow.  I bet those other kids had diamonds or rubies in the middle of theirs.”



End of Summer Mama Guilt

At the beginning of May, I saw a cute Pinterest idea for making your children’s summer vacation filled with fun and exciting ideas. Of course, I wanted our family calendar to be monumental – wacky and creative, with a touch of wild memories, and of course costumes. But that’s just me.

So in order to get this project going you had to make a list of the places you wanted to go (aka your adventures) and then you were to print them off from the computer, cover them in a button maker thing and finish it with a magnet on the back – so they could be placed on the fridge for easy viewing for the entire family. Then whenever you were needing something to do, you could go to the fridge and have someone pick your next exotic trip.

Great idea, right?


Last week I found the list which I had created with my daughters that first week of summer. It was buried under a pile of last year’s homework papers that still have not found their place to the proper bins.Phew! At least I found the freakin’ list!Do I even have a button maker or magnets?

NO-WAH! I just found the stinking list! It’s too late for that. Step it up and go to Plan B.

So as I often do, I rewound the cogs in my brain, and rearranged the initial plan. This is one of my gifts. Talents. If I can’t get something done on time, I talk myself into thinking it wasn’t a good idea to start with and then come up with the better solution – Plan B. Thankfully, sometimes Plan B is a better plan, so there was a bit of hope for the kids. I do great under pressure.

This over-rated “May 2013 Pinterest Project” was obviously lame because my brilliant idea on the last full-week before my girls were to go back to school was the idea of all great ideas. And we were going to name this last week (because it’s all about themes at our house) …


Take that and shove it, Pinterest!

Oh, yeah! We took the adventures from the list and assigned them to each day. If the adventure wasn’t long enough or enough to brag about, we would add another item from the list to that day. Two events in one day? Watch out! We were gonna have us some kind of fun.

At first the Munchkins asked if their friends could join us on our adventures because this is usually what we do. Bring the neighborhood gang. I have always believed in the adage, “The more the Merrier.” Plus, then I can have a little adult talk time. But not THIS week.


But then something strange happened. The Munchkins got ultra protective of our time together. Monday, my Hubby wanted to join us for lunch, but the girls who would normally jump for that opportunity –put the kibosh on their paternal intruder.

“It’s just for Mama and us!” they told their father. (Not cool for Dad, but at least the girls were completely into the fun)

Tuesday morning, when our window and door installation men called and said they were able to put in our doors several weeks early, I was thrilled. However, I knew I needed to be home during the entirety of the install and it was to take all day.

No Mama and girls extravaganza already? It was only day two and I was breaking the deal. This wasn’t going to fly. The Munchkins were going to be furious if on the second day I announced, “Today we are going to rearrange the furniture and make snow cones by whacking ice cubes on the counter in Ziplock baggies.”

We were planning on going to the Kansas City children’s museum, Wonderscope which claimed to be wondrous, so we were – scopeful! Crushing the dreams of my children so soon? I couldn’t let this happen. But come on, I really needed the doors installed!

So I called my mother to bail me out. She had a lunch date planned, but she said would be able to cancel it (thanks Karen L.) and relieve me of my duties, so I could stay at home with the work men.

Munchkin #1 even said, “Mama, can’t Grammy stay with the workmen so you can go with us?” Ah, she’s never wanted to ditch Grammy for Mom before.

That is when I knew I truly needed to be doing this makeup week for my girls. They were craving their mother’s undivided attention – away from the phone, away from texts, away from the computer. I may not have been able to give this kind of attention to them the majority of the summer; but as parents, who can?

There is always laundry, cooking, cleaning, errands, diapers, feedings, baths, etc. You know…parenting.

But for this one week, my daughters were getting all of me. Uninterrupted.

Yes, the rest of the week was amazing and we bonded more in this one week than we had probably all year. I would highly recommend doing it if you can.

So now my girls can go off to school this week and I can honestly say I enjoyed my summer with them.

We had incredible adventures – and yes…some of them did involve costumes!

What was the most fun thing you did with your kids this summer? Anything to add to my bucket list for next summer?

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Weekly Wrap up Without the Tortilla

Freakin Fridays
It’s been a great week of learning how to count backwards at our house. Yes, school is almost out and two shorties are quite happy about it. (I am NOT included in that number)

While I’m looking forward to the first 2 ½ days of my precious puddin’ pies being home every day without their father to referee each battle, I know the sun will beat upon their brains and the constant sound of them talking and whining will cause THEM to go batty. No rigid school schedule and lack of peer-pressured discipline will do them in for sure.
I’ll be just fine, but I’m sincerely worried about the kids!

I know on Martin Luther King, Jr. day one year, I took them to school and no one was there since it was a holiday (as it SHOULD be!); and for a split second I thought about leaving them there since I had already packed them a nutritious sack lunch. I talked myself out of it and drove them home. But is that such a bad idea?

Don’t they have summer school anymore? Just because the school drop-off line consists just of one car doesn’t mean they won’t behave and perhaps learn a thing or two. I’ll even pack a lunch…with extra ice packs in them! I LOVE MY KIDS!!!

No, don’t worry we’ll be just fine. But if you see my minivan parked in the circle drive early in the summer morning in front of the school, please don’t just honk and wave.

I’m probably in need of an intervention.

Here is last week’s Facebook update:

Last Friday morning, 8:23am

This morning we are driving down the street to school and the truck in front of us has a duck head decal on the rear window. If I didn’t know the owner of the truck, I would have pondered with such low amounts of caffeine in my system, why on earth anyone would have such a thing on their window. But he is a master hunter of furry things that scurry or flock. We’ll call him Mr. Duck Flocker.

Well, I suppose it isn’t nice to throw stones at other peoples flocking duck decals when I have a rubber ducks harnessed to the top of my ugly, ugly, ugly, awful, pitiful minivan. I know I should be thankful for even having a minivan. There are women in Bahrain who would trade their last mama llama for my scratched up, stained van – so I should quit my scritching. Oh, you want to know WHY I have rubber ducks harnessed to the luggage rack of my van? Don’t most people do this?

I first wanted to make up for the fact I had to drive a boring mobile. I needed something that would make me laugh instead of cry at the fact I had given up my dignity and pride, since as long as I had known what a minivan was, I WASN’T GOING TO OWN ONE!

Back to this morning…Munchkin #1 sees the truck and knows her friend is in it and shouts, “FOLLOW THAT DUCK TRUCK!” Which I thought was really funny for M1 to come up with such a witty line. She’s typically so analytical and I love it when her creativity portion of her brain is stimulated and comes to life!!

It was at this point we realize there is a duck parade going down the street to their school. And we are in it. No one else is aware of this, but it is always all about us, right?! Then I hear whistling from M1 and a drumming noise from Munchkin #2 coming from behind my seat. This goes on for several blocks. Then…

M1: That beat totally doesn’t go with my music. You are messing it up!

M2: I’m the drummer, you are supposed to follow me!

M1: I started the duck parade music. You only followed to be like ME.

M2: I was trying to make it sound better!!!

Oh, how I hate it when my duck parade goes south.

Some-bunny luffs the Mother Ducker

Tuesday Evening, 6:11pm

Couldn’t find Munchkin #2 just now. Yelling all around the house searching for my kiddo who is always late. Can’t believe how late we will be for dance class now!! The hubby had to get involved in the hunt and then I hear a faint voice…

“Mom, What’s taking you so long?” Yeah, she was buckled in her seat the entire time. Glad I’m the one at fault here!

It's always the mom's fault. Say it with me... -

It’s always the mom’s fault. Say it with me… –

Friday Morning, 7:35am

This morning Munchkin #1 had a horrible time getting up. After dragging her buns down the stairs (not by her hair, but in a fun conga line, which she TOTALLY didn’t appreciate), she sat at the breakfast table with the stare of death. Apparently, she wasn’t happy with me getting her up out of bed. I’m clairvoyant when it comes to death stares.

Me: Blah, blah, blah…
Munchkin #1: Huh?
Me: Wah, wah, wah!!!!
M1: ????

She was never getting to school at this rate, so I had to pull out some of my old theater skillz and entertain the child into submission. Every morning I typically read the district’s school lunch selection for the day and M1 & M2 tell me whether they want school lunch or a lunchbox.

It went a little like dis…

Me: …and for the side dishes, a sack of chicks, baby crocodiles and fresh gorillas!

M2: (screaming) A sack of what?
Me: I don’t have my glasses on. I’m having trouble reading this. *giggles from the audience* Sack of chicks.
M1 & M2: NO!!!! (I’ve got ’em in the palm of my hand)
Me: Wait a minute here. Oh, no…snack bag of chips. Sorry.
M2: What about the baby crocodiles?
Me: Yes, that’s what it says. Hold on, wrong again. Baby carrots. That sounds much better.
M2: (jumping in her seat) What’s the gorilla?
Me: Fresh GRAPES!! Goodness me, I’m going blind. But don’t worry kids, no animals were harmed in the making of your school lunch today!!!

Munchkin #1: (finally speaks) Except for all the animals that were killed for the hamburger and chicken patties.

My job here is done. Her brain is up and functioning beautifully! Boy, don’t you love kids?!
And that’s it for the first installment of…
FREAKIN’ FRIDAY MAMA DRAMA!!! ‘Cause with all females in the house, that’s a lot of estrogen!

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Nickelodeon PARENTS CONNECT with Nurse Mommy

For those of you who know me or have been reading my schtuff for any amount of time, know I’m quite a shy and passive kind of gal. So when Nickelodeon (yes, I’m talking about the TV, peoples!!) asked me to join a wackadoodle panel of experts (a handful of co-authors from the book, I Just Want to Pee Alone) to answer some parenting questions and they WANTED sarcasm from me…I yelled from my back deck, “You bet your sweet tookey-tookey I’m on board with that!!” This was also followed by some crazy gyrations that my neighbors may have been blinded from – I owe them.

Nothing but demure.

Nothing but demure.

But what’s REALLY fun is you can join in on the crazy too. “YOU TOO, CAN JOIN THIS PARTY!”

On PARENTS CONNECT website, they have a thing called “message boards.” This is a place that younger readers already know what I’m talking about, but so as not to leave my mother out to dry on the lingo, I will explain…

Message Boards: a location on a website, where readers can ask their darkest, funniest secret mom questions.
For example, “Why do some ladies get three nipples and I’m stuck with only two the size of dinner plates?” eat a beef steak
Then the panel of broads can give their opinions, or answers or just make the crap up. Whatever you get, it will be hilarious!!

So head to this site, and ask your wildest question and hope it gets picked for the PANEL OF EXPERTS!!! (That really doesn’t get old. I’m going to insist my husband start calling me that.)


Hope to see you on the message boards around Mother’s Day when we get to come out of our shells and chat it up!