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Neighborhood Mama

It’s been a week, y’all. I knew yesterday was going to be one of those days when I spent the entire first part of the day fully content it was Friday and looking forward to the weekend. Then I realized it was only Thursday. Outside of teasing myself that the workweek was nearly over and I could plan to get some stuff done around the house before spending a day with the husband, the day went pretty unremarkably for the most part before gearing into high drive.

For starters, a text came in from the mom of one of my daughter’s friends. I only just met her recently, and I met her at a chaotic event. I don’t know her well and am trying to get a feel for what she’s like. She very friendly on one hand, but again, it’s always an odd feeling when you meet new mom friends. Turns out we live close to each other, which made me happy because the girls can play in the summer. She invited my daughter over for a playdate after she got out of school. I figured it would be a nice treat, so I said sure. When my daughter got home, she was super excited to head out to her friend’s, and I said I would walk her over on my break.

I clocked out for lunch, and all hell broke loose. I was just about to head out the door when I saw my friend’s children come running up to my door. I know they are latchkey kids in the afternoon until their mom gets home from work, and it was odd that they would be at my house. I instantly ran to the door and opened it to find her daughter crying. It turns out someone had taken umbrage at a comment my friend made on social media and had had a high schooler threaten my friend’s young kids, who are in elementary school. WHO DOES THAT? I now had two frightened kids at my house, and I knew that their mom didn’t have phone access for about an hour and a half. I put the kids in the car and drove down to see if the person who had threatened them was still there. They weren’t. I went back into the school and explained what had happened to the principal.

The principal sat down and asked my friend’s daughter what happened, carefully taking notes. She then put a call into the police, made some calls, and somehow figured out who the high schooler was. Within minutes, she had his picture, full school record, and more in her hands. I was impressed. I had to email in to my job that I had had a small emergency and would not be returning, as I had to wait for the police to arrive.

The police took ages to get there, but the officer was lovely to the kids. It was nice to see how he handled the situation and spoke with them. He spoke with me and commented how happy he was that the kids had a safe place to go to and a safe adult they knew they could trust.

I won’t lie, it made me happy to know that I’m that neighborhood mama the kids know will look after them. I’m the tough mom, but the mom they know will make sure everything is ok. It also made me feel happy knowing the other parents trust me to tell their kids to come here if they need to. I think it takes a village and it’s always a comfort to know that if my kids need anything, there are some great neighborhood moms that will band together.

While I was at the school getting things sorted, my other neighbor volunteered to take my son to the teen night at the school, which I was inherently grateful for. I had dropped my daughter off at her playdate and the girl’s mom was happy to keep her as late as I needed. I waited at my friend’s house for her to get home so her kids would feel comfortable and unafraid. I got a big hug for looking after her babies, and headed out to collect my kids. I picked up my sweaty, red faced daughter from her friend’s, tired after playing on the trampoline and running around outside. I sat and chatted with her mom a while, and decided she’s pretty cool. I then had to race off to get my son, who called me because he had a migraine. The three of us arrived home and decided to order a pizza to unwind.

While an unfortunate situation happened, I am so grateful for the neighborhood mamas. All of us banded together to take care of kids that weren’t our own, and each played a part in making sure kids were safe, happy, and being kids.

New look, same old me.

Well, as you can see, I’ve updated things a little around here. It’s a learning process so it will be a bit messy for a while. Then again, I’m sure that judging by the name of my blog and the posts, you expect nothing less. I know I do. It was about time to switch things up, and I suppose I’ll continue to until I get things the way I want them. I’ll also be updating my “about me” page, although to be honest, I’m not too much different after all these years (although my television habits have changed quite a bit since I first started this blog). While I’ll update it a bit, I figured there’s no time like the present to lay out a bit about me for the newbies, and even for those who have been reading a while.

First, yes. My house is usually on the messy side. It’s true, and not a schtick. Is it a hoarder house? NO. Would I love it to be magazine perfect in every way? Well, no, not exactly. I’ll never be that girl. My mom was, and I admire her every day for it. But I work full time, have two kids, with multiple interests and things to do. I have a dog, a cat, and two guinea pigs. I have too much stuff. I am always in chaos, always running here and there. I’m the mom who will get it done, maybe not in a pretty way, but it will get done. I am more the mom that screeches into the parking lot at the last minute, and with a wild look in her eye because I’ve had to argue about what my 8 year old will wear, but I’m there. With my husband working opposite hours, even I am impressed by what I DO get done. I can’t get it all done, and unfortunately I’m a little domestically challenged. Balance, my friends. It’s all about balance.

I’m a little bit of an asshole. Just a bit. (Aren’t we all?) Not a full on asshole.I’m bluntly honest (although I’m trying to work on the whole filter thing) and I try to surround myself with people like me. While having VERY blunt friends is often hard, it’s often the best. There is something completely freeing about surrounding yourself with honest, no bullshit, no drama people. If there’s one thing I have no use for, it’s a liar. Why? Because while occasionally my memory fails me on the every day things, if someone lies to me, I don’t forget it. As I’ve gotten older, I’m clearing those types of people right on out of my life and it’s very freeing. I like people that I always know where I stand with them, and vice versa. Anywho, back to me being a bit of an asshole. I have a sarcastic, sometimes dark sense of humor. I don’t stand for nonsense, and I have the mouth of a sailor. I swear a LOT, although I do try hard here not to. Sometimes, like on this post, I relax and they tumble right on out.

To compensate for being a bit of an asshole, I try and do kind things. Not because I think I’ll get into Heaven for it, or because I want accolades, but really because it makes me happy to be able to help people. It makes me happy to see someone’s day be just a little bit brighter because of me or something I did. Imagine if we were all just a little nicer. Wouldn’t things be better all around? Of course. I also try to do kind deeds because I have two kids, and my goal is to raise them up to not be assholes. How can you teach a child to be kind if you don’t model the behavior itself? How can you teach a child that they can make a difference, no matter how old?You show them. So I take on “projects” as we jokingly call them. Sometimes they go amazingly well, and sometimes they blow up in my face. I write about both, and laugh when they fail miserably. Gotta be able to laugh at yourself.

I’ve learned that the only people who are afraid of the truth are those living a lie. Some folks will go to all kinds of extremes to try and prevent you from telling the truth and exposing their bullshit. I’ve learned that I don’t care, I’m going to speak the truth anyway. There is no law against telling the truth. Folks get real nervous when they know they are caught in lies. Sometimes I enjoy watching the show, other times, I prefer to expose it for what it is. I’m a grown woman and I don’t back down to bullies and threats. More on this to come.

I’m a British country girl, living in the suburbs. I used to think I wanted to live on the beach, because I love the water. I’m happiest by the water, to be honest. Oceans, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, a hot jacuzzi….I love it. That being said, after watching some of the destruction after a hurricane, I now wonder if I’m not best suited to rural, more country life. I’d love to live where the life is cheaper, houses are more spread out, and there’s lots of land. The Northeast is expensive and I need a little more space, but not too cold of weather.

If you came here and read I follow Real Housewives, well, I used to. I watched most of the franchises for several years before finally stopping. I liked NJ and BH the best and hung in the longest with NJ, but I missed the last season. I’m not interested in the manufactured drama. If I wanted that, I could have it IRL here. No thanks. I don’t really identify with women who have packed their faces with fillers, have fake friendships, and live in mansions with endless money to blow. That’s their choice, but I struggle to remain interested these days. These days I’m surprisingly into dramas like This Is Us and a Million Little Things. My favorite? RuPaul’s Drag Race. Yes, y’all, I love drag queens. I find it all fascinating. I love the artistry of drag, I love the designs and makeup and wigs. I love all the illusion. I’ve been a fan since season 1, back when it was real basic, and I’ve watched every episode since. I go to Drag Con, I’ve made it to a couple of shows, and am booked in to go to a show in the fall. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing some Drag Race posts here in the future!

So that’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Mother’s Day

Another Mother’s Day is in the books, and I am flat out exhausted. Yesterday was insanity and I managed it purely fueled on caffeine and mom power. My daughter had her annual gymnastic show, which meant a rehearsal at 12, show at 7pm. We arrived in plenty of time for rehearsal, me with a large black coffee in hand. After rehearsal we stopped to visit my husband at work, then headed home to get my son. My son asked he could go hang out with his friends at a park a few towns over. Due to some circumstances I’ll write about later, I said yes, but that meant a 20 minute trip out there. After dropping him off, I took the little one for lunch. That’s when I realized she didn’t have black underwear to go under her leotard. She refused to go commando and declared doing so “so gross, mama”. We then raced 20 minutes to the mall to track some down. Do you know how difficult it can be to find black undies for girls?

Once we arrived at her favorite store, we found the undies, and somehow came home with two bathing suits for her as well (damn you, sale! Damn you!). Then it was a race to drive the 20 minutes back to get the boy, before getting everyone back home, cleaned up, dressed, hair done, and back for her show.

After the show, we grabbed food with family and came home to collapse. That was the plan anyway, and the kids did crash out, but the husband and I had way too much fun being silly with Snapchat filters, and before I knew it, it was 2 am.

I awoke to a little face smiling at me, wishing me a happy Mother’s Day, cuddles and giggles. I opened gifts, and I headed up for a shower. I had to take a few minutes to allow myself to think about my own mom and grandmas. I miss them all terribly and this year, Mother’s Day has been a little harder on that front. I allowed myself a few tears before deciding to do something the kids would love today.

We have sort of started a Mother’s Day tradition, but this year it POURED with rain. Anything outdoors was out of the question. Also, fancy restaurants on Mother’s Day are, as any server will tell you, often hell on earth. I headed downstairs and looked at everyone. They all wanted me to choose today’s plans. Personally I hate being in charge of plans but I felt a little better knowing I actually had something in mind.

“Honestly? I want to go to the diner for a laid back lunch, and then how about we go Go Kart Racing? And to the trampoline park?” I said. And it was on like Donkey Kong.

Lunch was delish, simple, and laid back. This particular diner came very recommended by my brother and sister in law, and their recommendation was spot on. The go Kart place we went to was HUGE. There is the racing downstairs and a trampoline park upstairs. My son and I went to do racing, while my husband and daughter did jumping. My son had a gift certificate for the place from my dad and step mother for Christmas, and for Mother’s Day, all my races were free! It was honestly a blast!

We topped the whole day off with ice cream and headed out for the long drive home. I’m tired, sore, but absolutely content. I’m so very lucky to have my husband and kids. While mommin’ ain’t easy, it sure is worth it.

Wide Eyed, Like, REALLY Wide

Did I ever tell y’all about my bestie’s wedding? I may have. After a while the days start to slide into weeks, and posts come and go. (Yes, I am still working on the big post I keep mentioning. You have no idea how much time and effort it takes to get all the info aligned and put together). In the meantime though, it’s often fun to look back and laugh at all the chaos that life throws at you. Today someone posted a video on FB from Cian Twomey. If you haven’t seen this guy, he’s usually hilarious. He usually performs as a character named Emily. You kind of have to see it to understand, because I’ll never do him justice describing it.

Anywho, the video appears, and Cian is doing his Emily persona, and is doing a makeup tutorial. Cian is in full beard, doing a purposefully terrible job doing the makeup, but talking himself through it. Now I know that made that sound horribly boring and uninteresting, but I promise you might get a chuckle if you go look him up. Anywho, I digress. Cian gets to a point where he attempts to apply false lashes, and it’s just a hot mess. There is glue where it shouldn’t be, the lashes aren’t where they should be, and the whole thing is utter chaos. I laughed way harder than I should have, because it’s a perfect representation of how things went at my friend’s wedding, only he did a better job than I did.

The wedding was a destination wedding, and we couldn’t afford for both my husband and I to go, so I went while he stayed with the kids. I flew down to Florida for Valentine’s weekend. I arrived at the rehearsal dinner immediately after checking into my room and racing to the location. After racing in, I plopped down and my friend came over to sit next to me. “I need a favor….I need you to iron my dress” she said. “You can’t iron a wedding dress!” I laughed. “I have faith in you” she said. She wasn’t joking. Now, I had gave her all the info…how to take the dress on the plane, how to contact the hotel concierge to get it looked after/steamed if necessary, and all the other travelling bride tips I had learned. She did not of it. Instead, she put her wedding dress in a suitcase.

Let me repeat that. She put her wedding dress….IN.A.SUITCASE.

The next day, I headed to the bridal suite. My friend, her sister, and her old best friend from when she was in elementary school were the bridal party. I asked where the dress was. It was an utter disaster. I was armed with a steamer I had purchased from Walgreens. The dress was hanging in a closet. I sat down on the floor and started steaming. I steamed, I steamed, and I steamed some more. The brides sister announced she didn’t want to do a speech. I saw my friend looked panicked. “I’ll do it if you want” I said, and kept working on the dress. My face was bright red, my hair frizzed, and I was sweating heavily, but by the time that dress was done, it was exquisite. Not a wrinkle in sight.

The 3 women were getting hair done and getting prepped. I headed back to my hotel room to get ready. I now had to get glammed up, plus write a speech. That’s when the cramps started, and I ran in the bathroom. Something set my stomach off, and there I was, having to write a speech while on the toilet. Classy lady, I tell ya.

I get myself together, and now feel a lot better, so I hop in the shower to start the process of turning my swamp creature self into something passable enough for a wedding. My makeup looked cute, my dress looked cute, and I had a few extra minutes.

That’s when I got cocky.

I should have known better.

I decided to put on false lashes. Now let me preface this by saying that I rarely wear lashes, and I don’t know how to put them on easily. Every time is difficult, and while I love the look of them, I hate how inept they make me feel. I was about to be a big ol’ hater, because the lashes and I went to war.

I trimmed them, added my glue, and went to apply gently. Something went wrong, and next thing I knew, my eyelash was stuck to my lower lashes, meaning I had effectively glued my eye shut. The glue went into the corner of my eye and then spread across my eyeball. The pain. OMG, the pain. Now I am left trying to pry my eye apart, but it keeps sticking back to itself. I decided to break from that side and try the other. I gently go to apply the last, and I wish I could explain what I did wrong, but all I can say is that the last somehow stuck to my lashes, and then stuck up by my eyebrow.

I now have one eye WIDE open, with the last connected almost to my brow, and one eye almost glued shut, with glue in it. I look like an old, creepy, broken doll. I pry my eyes apart, and somehow manage to get the lashes in the right place, however I still ave glue in my eye so it’s extremely red.

I throw on my dress, my sky high heels, and teeter downstairs. I say teeter because as I said, I am but a jeans and t shirt swamp girl on the daily, and not the high heel wearing goddess I was hoping to be for just one night. I finally get the hang of the heels and I head to the wedding. Or, at least I tried.

The car never came to get me. The hotel called some guy who showed up in a very dirty minivan. I wasn’t sure if he was a serial killer, but I had a wedding to go to so I hoisted myself right in and off we went. The guy drove like a bat out of hell, which I appreciated. I arrived, flustered, red eyed, eyes sticky, but happy, and set out to find the wedding. That’s when I realized the wedding was on the far side of the hotel, and the hotel was HUGE. I slipped off my shoes and started running, not wanting to be late.

I arrive, winded. My chubby, mediocre bodied self huffing and puffing. I am starting to surmise I am not looking as cute as I had attempted to look.

I see a familiar face, and am promptly asked “oh my god, are you ok? why are your eyes so red?”. So there’s that.

The rest of the night? Pretty awesome. Lots of drinking, dancing, celebrating. There was a Cirque de Soleil performer. There was laughter. There was, however, the incident. You know, the one where we are all stumbly drunk and being silly. I am pushing my friend’s aunt in her walker that has a seat on it. She is laughing and yelling, and I am doing a fast walk, until I hit the lip of carpet, and we both toppled over, crashing to the ground. She gets a head wound, I almost broke my foot. The next morning, I awake still drunk, my foot black and blue, and one of my favorite shoes is cracked in half. I pack, sober up, and race off to the airport to fly home. Not my best choice of travel plans, but I digress.

Now, did I mention the part where I am a terrified flier? Ridiculous, I know, especially as I practically grew up on planes. Yet suddenly, I became a scaredy-pants and get very anxious on planes. I am sitting at the gate where I see a handicapped boy in a wheelchair being pushed to the gate. I noticed that periodically he makes a shriek. I suddenly realize that he will likely be sitting near me, which doesn’t bother me at all except I know if he shrieks and it catches me off guard, with me being so tense, I might shriek too, and then I’ll look like an asshole. I get on the plane, and frankly I may still be a little buzzed from the night before. The boy is a couple of rows up. I settle into my seat. I am trying to get my nerves fine before we take off. I look casually to my left and see an Asian woman with a mask on…the kind doctors wear. I glance around and suddenly notice I am surrounded by people with those masks on. I start to wonder why everyone has a mask on. I fall asleep and start to laugh that perhaps my friend is pranking me. I wake up as we are in mid air, and I awake to a shriek by the boy a few seats up. It was also at the exact moment we hit turbulence and the plane dropped a bit. I SCREAMED. Like, fear in all it’s glory scream. All I felt was my seat drop out below me and heard someone scream, so I screamed. Then I realized what happened. I peered around sheepishly and saw an endless sea of masked faces looking at me. Some looked concerned, some looked angry. I realize I now look like I was mocking a handicapped person. I slink down in my seat, cursing my stupid fear.

I arrived home, hobbled with bruises all over my foot and leg, still unable to apply lashes like a grown up, but having had a hell of a time.

Relaxed and Refreshed

I had some personal things to take care of today, so I took a much needed day off of work. After handling some business that needed to be addressed, I had the rest of the morning free. A friend messaged me to see if I wanted to go for coffee, so I headed out for some girl time and much needed conversation. Sometimes, impromptu plans are the best!

This is a newer friend, and it was really great to sit down and chat while sipping coffee, enjoying the day. We did lots of talking and it reminded me how much I missed coffee dates with friends. Years ago, during my stint between jobs, I’d often meet friends mid day for coffee and catch up. I didn’t realize how much I’d taken such a simple luxury for granted, but honestly, I’d missed it. What made it even more fun is that my husband stopped in, purely by coincidence. I bought him a coffee and he headed out to run some errands. After coffee, we headed for a much needed nail appointment. I have gel nails and they were incredibly grown out. I was beyond excited to get them all fixed up. I left there feeling like a million bucks.

It’s amazing how a little thing like some coffee with a friend, or getting your nails done can just revitalize you. I swear I feel like I could take on the world after just a few hours of relaxation, good conversation, and pampering. As parents, we try to give our kids and spouses 100% of ourselves all the time, but it’s true, sometimes we have to take care of ourselves to best take care of the ones we love.

Tonight, I’m looking forward to a BBQ with some family and lots of laughs, and then home to spend some quality time with the husband. All in all, a perfect kind of day.