How To Meet A Fellow Blogger In Real Life

A few weeks ago, I got the most exciting email from Emily at The Waiting. Maybe you know her. She’s been Freshly Pressed a time or three. Anyway, she said she was coming to my town and wondered if we could meet. Um, yeah! So exciting. I’ve never met up with a fellow blogger in person before. So many feelings! Would she like me? Would we find lots to talk about? Would she murder me with chopsticks and stuff me in the trunk of her car? Like being in high school all over again.

Anyway, the lead up was pretty eventful for me.

2 weeks out: Awaken in the middle of the night with the sudden notion that I am actually scheduled to work the night she is in town. It was just a dream, little champ. You work the week before. Go back to sleep.

Ten days out: Where to eat? In this mid-sized town, there are surprisingly few good, local eateries that are easy for a non-native to find. Do we go for small-chain Indian food, or the hipster sandwich joint?

One week out:  Awaken in the middle of the night and ponder what to wear. Something classy, of course. So, Cookie Monster T-shirt or Slytherin Quidditch? This is a question to be settled closer to the event, after consulting a star chart, the Psychic Friends network, and the dirty clothes hamper.

Two days out: Awaken in the middle of the night and remember that one reason I blog is because I am socially awkward and not so good with humans.

The Big Day: 

10am – I have a few hours. With artfully applied sunscreen and a bit of luck, I can even up this farmer’s tan.

11am – I’ve never posted a picture with my regular face before.How will Emily recognize me if I’m not doing this:

Or if I’m dressed as anyone other than Professor Trelawney?



The answer? MoonPies.

4:30 PM : The tire is flat. This is not good. It’s just flat on the bottom, though, the rest of it is still nice and round. Maybe it’s not the worst.

5:00 PM – Tire is going to take two hours to fix. There is no wi-fi here, and therefore no way to contact Emily to tell her I may be late.

5:05 PM – Minor melt-down in the Wal-mart automotive department. People snap a couple of pictures for the People of Wal-Mart website but otherwise just step over me and go on about their business.

6:00 PM – Car is rolled out of the bay. And around the store. And up the block. And I think possibly to the next town over.

6:15 PM – Keys are dumped on the counter and I pay for my two new tires. Because husband likes to buy them in twos. They’re best in twos. I try to use the same logic whenever I buy snakes, but he doesn’t fall for it.

6:45 PM – I’m on my way! I’m on my way! I’m on my way! The restaurant serves hipster with a side of pretension, which is great because I’m starving.

6:46 PM – Crap. I forgot to brush my teeth. Oh, well. I eat a pile of mints. I also forgot to brush my hair. I hope keys work okay in a pinch.

7:00 PM – Butterflies are apparently carniverous and are consuming me from the inside out. Will I be interesting enough? Will I find something to talk about besides the mating habits of Dwarf Malagasy tortoise species? Will I be in the right place? Will she recognize me? Is there toilet paper stuck to the bottom of my shoe? Is my skirt tucked into my waistband? I’m not wearing a skirt. Why am I not wearing a skirt? I look like I’ve been sitting in a Wal-mart automotive department.

7:15 PM – There she is! I would recognize her anywhere! And she’s smiling. And not in the laughing-at-me-on-the-inside kind of way!

And it was great. We met, we talked, we ate, we talked. The food was good, the company even better. I’m happy to say that Emily is just as wonderful, open, gracious and witty as she is on her blog. It’s always wonderful when art imitates life. If you ever get a chance to meet her, I recommend it.

And if you’re in my neck of the woods, look me up. I’m relatively harmless, and I’ll bring Moonpies!

It was the best!

It was the best!

My Eyes Are Opened.

It’s all fun and games until you realize it’s all a sham.

It started out great, everything all new and exciting. It’s easy to have your head turned when someone is so attentive. It was like they went out of their way to really get to know me, what I like, what I love, what I hate. No cue was too subtle. If in a conversation I casually mentioned my dog,  they’d surprise me with all kinds of stuff they knew about dogs. When they knew I was an adventurous eater and loved saagwala, they were eager to and show me some other amazing restaurants I had never even heard of. They introduced me to people. It was really kind of sweet. No one had ever tried harder to please me, to know me, to expand my horizons. No one.

After nearly five years together, I swear we were like an old married couple. Some days it seemed like they could just read my mind. I came to count on them, to assume that they were as invested as I was. After so much time, it was painful to discover that it was all a lie. I only thought they knew me. Turns out, they don’t know me at all.

Gmail, I’m talking to you. Quit sending MoonPie Mike’s blog to spam. If after all this time you think that’s not something I want to read, you will never really know me.

I Can Be Petty

You knew that, right? I’m not lollipops and rainbows all the time. Sometimes I can be petty.

Two wrongs don’t make a right and all that, but sometimes when someone hurts me, my heart shrinks three sizes and I think to myself “Self, two can play at that game.” And sometimes I do. Even if the games we two are playing at aren’t fun. Even if the games are more like missile strikes than Nerf darts. And so it is.

Last week I was betrayed. In a big way. It hurt. I could have taken the high road, but I didn’t. Perhaps my moral compass was using Apple’s I06.  I played dirty, and I don’t feel good about it. Well, maybe a little good. But still betrayed and angry and powerless and frustrated. All without an Oxford comma, or any comma at all. Because, my grammar and punctuation-loving friends, misery loves company. I know that was a low blow, and I will be sorry next week. Really. I will be. I’ll even use extra commas to make up for it. But for the moment, I am comma-less.

You know how it is when you’re in love? And everything is all wonderful and sweet, and you want things to stay just as they are forever? And then you find out that the object of your affection doesn’t feel the same way? Yeah, they’re all about the change. But they don’t come out and tell you directly. They go behind your back, all sneaky-like, and you find out after it’s too late. They’ve started something new, and there’s no going back. That’s what I’m sitting with today.

Last week, I discovered that MoonPies have gone to single deckers. Single. Deckers.  I know. That means instead of there being two layers of marshmallow sandwiched between graham crackers the way God intended, there is only one. What is the point, friends? What is the point?  What if the dudes who built the pyramids had said “Meh, let’s stop with the ground floor and make it a rancher?”  Would anybody have cared about those pharaohs? Probably not. Because those pyramids would have been looted the day after said-dead pharaoh was planted, and Kind Tut would have been just another dried out dead guy.

It’s the same with MoonPies. Without that extra layer of marshmallowy goodness (shut up, spell check. For today, marshmallowy is a word. Can’t you see that I am hurting here?), the freshness is stolen away in a matter of days, dried out like a pharaoh in the Egyptian desert. So instead of buying a box that I can hide for a month or more, I am forced to eat one a day. And I’m getting a little sick of them.

So, MoonPies, you think you can do this to me? You think I can pick up a box and not notice that the pies are exactly 1/3 fewer calories? You thought I wouldn’t care that I’m paying the same money for less product? We’ve met, right? Two can play at this game. I bought a box of Hostess cupcakes. And I like them.

Just remember, MoonPies, you started it.

Students of Life

We’re never too old to learn. Not ever. Each and every day brings us the opportunity to learn something new, to add to our bank of knowledge. Don’t pass up your opportunity! You never know what’s out there. Allow me to share with you the things we learned this weekend.

My husband learned:

If I drop half a candy bar on the movie theater floor, I will wrap it back up, take it home, and put it in the freezer until such time I forget where it has been. In my defense, it was a 100 Grand bar. And sitting in the freezer for ten minutes six months  will kill any germs that may have hopped aboard. Right? This confession does not paint me in a good light, does it? Feel free to forget what you just learned.

You’d have done the same thing, and you know it. Thanks, Wiki, for the picture.

I learned: 

My husband loves coffee so much that not even a felony***  can keep him from his caffeine fix. For real. As we were driving into the parking lot of a nearby coffee shop, half a dozen police cars rushed in, lights flashing. A suspect, already cuffed and waiting to be stuffed was being wrestled to the ground by a pair of undercover cops. I thought perhaps we should skip the coffee altogether. Husband disagreed. His argument? This was now the safest coffee house in town, what with the eight cop cars and all. My favorite part was when the cop stopped beating the bushes for evidence (They really do that. They have a special golf club-looking piece of equipment for it and everything) and gave us a friendly “How ya’ll doin’? Don’t mind me!” wave as we drank our coffee.

My mom learned:

Heights literally scare the poop out of Squish. If you’re taking him to the playground to let him play on the big climbing structure, pack an extra pair of underwear. For him. And yourself, if watching a kid stumble around 8 feet off the ground makes you nervous.

*** suspect would like us to remind you all that at this moment, it is only an alleged felony. 

What Love Looks Like, Volume 2

I hate to talk on the phone. I make a phone call only when there is no way around it, which means about twice a week. The answering machine broke weeks ago. I was distressed about it for about as long as it took me to realize that if people couldn’t leave a message, I need never call them back. In other words, about 4.2 seconds.

As some of you know, my 17 year old cat became ill toward the end of last week and had to be rushed to the vet. She was born around the time my husband and I got married, and she was our first baby. If you’ve ever been owned by a pet, you know that there are times where you pull out all the stops, and this was one.

On my way home from dropping her off at the vet’s, I bought this, just in case the vet called while I was dropping off a kid or picking one up:

Those are hearts. Thanks for asking.

And I figured out how to use hook it up and use it, too. Because I know that was your next question. I’m even brushing up on my Spanish in the process. All in the name of love.

Don’t forget! Today is the last name to suggest names for the baby tortoises on this post.

Ever Have One Of Those Days?

You know. The kind of day where you sigh and say “Wait, why do I have camel food in my car?” Yeah, me, too.

It’s not as if I feed camels everyday. I don’t. They’re on the other side of the zoo from where I work, and I rarely venture that far in a day’s volunteering. But there it is. In the console, waiting to make some camel very happy. Or very sick. That stuff has been in there for at least a year.

The biggest why comes not from the fact that camel food appeared in my car. That would be like asking why there are rocks in my dryer. Duh.  The real question is why it’s still there. My husband cleans out my car all the time. “What a sweetie,” you might say. And he is. But not when it comes to my car. He has very specific ideas about what is allowed to stay in my car and what is not.

Items on the unacceptable list include but are not limited to:

Car books. You know what I’m talking about. Books we keep in the car so we have something to read in the car line at school, etc. They’re too good to throw away, not good enough to devote any real time to.

Napkins. Am I the only parent who stashes fast food napkins in the console for emergencies? Where else am I going to put the boogie that Squish sweetly wipes on my sleeve? I’ve been forced to get creative.

Emergency stash of feminine hygiene products. A napkin is a napkin, no matter how sanitary. I assume these are like kryptonite and must be removed from the little drawer under the passenger’s side seat before it is safe for a guy to drive the car.

The sign with my son’s name on it that allows me to retrieve the kid from school when I am forced to drive.

Any CD by The Wiggles. He may have a point with that one.

Extra pair of shoes for Squish. Seriously. You never know when a sandal is going to go flying out the window break.

Reusable bagsTo be perfectly truthful, these are not removed from the car. They are locked neatly in the trunk, so I think they’ve been left behind.

SunscreenHe might be trying to kill me.

Items that are apparently deemed worthy to stay include:

Any CD by REM. Except for the ones that mysteriously disappear and later turn up in his car.

Camel food.

The only question remaining is why I have not removed it myself. And that’s an easy one. I rarely see it. The bag is usually buried under clean napkins. Maybe I’m not perfect, either.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever found in your car?

What Love Looks Like

I packed a lunch for my husband today as a little surprise. And I treated him to one of my most precious, triple-decker Moon Pies without him even asking. That, my friends, is what love looks like.

What love looks like after nearly 17 years of marriage:

moon pie, relationships, this is what love looks like

Yes. It says "But hands off my stash." Marriage is about accepting one another for who and what we are, and sometimes what we are is a sneaky Moon Pie thief. And these are too big to hide in a tampon box.


Mother Of The Year

As I was walking my son home from school one fall Friday last year, I mentioned “Dad’s coming home from work early tonight. We need to make sure we’re ready to leave the house when he gets here.”

“Cool!” was his cheerful reply. When we got his sister from school, he announced with great glee “We need to be ready by 5 o’clock! Dad’s coming home early!” Girl-child said “Cool!”

At 5pm, the kids scrambled for their shoes. And combed their hair? But who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth. My husband pulled  into the driveway, and the kids tumbled over each other to get into the car. I don’t think I’d ever seen them so cooperative. As my husband joined us, I learned why.

“Dad!” said one. “We’re going out for dinner!” “And ice cream!” piped the second. Wait, what?

Oh. Did I not tell you kids? I never said we’re going to dinner. We’re getting flu shots. I must have left that part out.


Don’t We Look Pretty?

Here’s an opportunity to judge me. I have not had professional family photos taken since 1999. I will wait while all you moms and dads and grandparents take a moment to gasp in horror. Finished? Now we’ll continue.

That’s not to say we don’t have pictures. I take pictures. A lot of them. Each year, I put together a family album of the year’s best photos. Last December, I had 680 to work with. And keep in mind, I said the best photos. That’s not counting the pics that I deleted because they were blurry/redundant/boring. This year, I have already uploaded 450 pictures. In three months. I think I’ve got a few pictures of my kids.

I never saw the sense in paying big bucks to drag my unwilling kids to a studio where we’d spend thirty minutes in awkward and unnatural poses to purchase shots that will never grace our walls. And the smallest portrait package available contains more photos than we could ever possibly give away. Years later, we find the leftovers and are reminded of how much money we wasted and what pathetic, friendless losers we are. No thanks.

MY kind of family portrait.

But we recently sat for one. Because our church is creating a new directory, and they’ll only give copies to people who are in it. A directory is kind of important when you have the facial recognition abilities of a fire ant, and you’re active in a fairly large congregation. To save myself a great deal of “I’m sorry,I know you’ve sat two pews in front of us for the last two years and we served on a project together, but what was your name again?” fun, we got the picture taken. And it was just as exciting as I had expected.

In order to get there on time, I had to leave the zoo where I was watching a tortoise hatch. Smile for the camera! Squish is possessed of a crippling shyness in front of people he doesn’t know, which often manifests itself as a terrifying frown. Let’s capture that forever memory, please. And the Princess of Darkness had spent the entire morning being pummeled by four-year-olds. Is everyone ready to say cheese?

Thanks to the wonders of technology, we were not permitted to crawl away to lick our wounds after the ordeal. We had to take a seat in the waiting area as the pictures were downloaded for our viewing pleasure. Yippee. The moment the images downloaded, we were ushered to a windowless room, ostensibly to better see the computer screen, but I suspect to keep us from leaping to our deaths when we saw to the price tag.

I have been in hard sell situations before, but this one took the taco. The directory photo was free, of course, but the matronly saleswoman, undoubtedly concerned about the preservation of precious memories, didn’t want to take “Where’s the price sheet?” for an answer. She asked “How many grandparents do we need to take care of? And what do you need?” Need. It was on the tip of my tongue to say “Lady, in the best shot you took, my nine-year-old looks like he’s deflating, the girl-child looks like something smells funny, and I’m smiling like someone stuck me in the bum with a pocket knife. How much of this do you think I need?” But I didn’t . Because I have good manners. And I am a coward.

I have decided that the next time we sit for a family portrait, we will do so dressed as Smurfs. I had the chance this time, and I didn’t seize it, and I’m not one to live with regret.

House Rules: the Master Bedroom

1) Hot trumps cold. Get a blanket, put on a parka, turn on your side of the mattress cover, but don’t touch my ceiling fan.

2) If you turn off the alarm instead of hitting the snooze button, you forfeit the right to get back into bed. Come back and wake me up in nine minutes. If I hit you on the head, don’t take it personally. Understand that you have become my snooze button.

3) Sneaky pokes with the elbow are against all rules of decorum. If you are the first to hear the toddler stirring on a Saturday morning, it is decidedly uncool to subtly attempt to wake your partner by poking them with your elbow while you fake sleep in the hopes that they will get up first. The rules of Toddler Poker are as follows: I will see you one sneaky poke and raise you one Hong Kong Phooey “Hi-ya!”

I don't want to. I have to. So keep the elbows to yourself.

4) The size of your pillow does not dictate the amount of mattress real estate you are allowed to occupy. In winter, mattress division will be 50/50. In summer 70/30, my favor. See #1.

5) For the safety of all involved, if the temperature outdoors is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and chili was served for dinner, all bedroom windows must remain open the entire night. If you are cold, you are welcome to add more covers. Just try not to ruffle them too much. Sorry about that.

6) It is inadvisable to look directly at your mate upon waking. Leave your glasses on the nightstand until I have time to put a bag over my head. Keep the magic alive. If you ignore all other advice, just remember to avoid direct eye contact. Taking photos to post on Facebook will not be tolerated.

Avoid the eyes, bring coffee, put down the camera.


photo credits: wikipedia, because my husband is a wise, wise man and abides by rule  #6 as though his life depended on it. Which interestingly enough, it does.