I am so shocked and excited to be nominated for “Humor Writer Of The Month” on Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop! If you’re too young to know who Erma Bombeck is, please Google her, she is a legend! I promise that she will make you laugh!
I’m not sure how you actually win this title but I’m calling on all my family, cousins (I’m Irish Catholic on my father’s side, so I have a lot of cousins) and friends. Please click on the link below, read, LIKE and share from the Erma site so I get credit.
Kevin is taking his girlfriend to her prom in Long Island.
I think that I’m more excited about it than he is. Kevin always keeps a calm, low-key demeanor about most anything exciting that is happening in his life… that’s just how he is and where I pick up the slack.
He is also the king of leaving everything for the last-minute, which always seems to include a lot of running around for all of us.
After a long weekend of doubles,which also included driving around with an 80 pound pig, (see that post for details) I found myself driving Kevin to Men’s Wearhouse to pick out a tux, with only days to spare before the prom.
I was shocked to discover that renting a tuxedo starts at two hundred and fifty dollars. Holy shit! Have I been living under a rock?
Maybe I have or I just haven’t ever had the need to rent a tuxedo or to date a man who wears one, for that matter…
Anyway, after style, color selections and much measuring, we had finally narrowed it down to a black tux with a single button jacket and pink accents to match Kevin’s girlfriend Anna’s pink gown.
“Do you want to wear a cummerbund?” Devin (our sales clerk asked).
“What’s a cummerbund?” Kevin asked, as if he had never heard the word before, while confirming that he most definitely hadn’t.
“A cummerbund goes around your waist.” I stated, “Why don’t you just go with the vest?”
“They call it a crumb catcher.” Devin added.
“I won’t need that.” Kevin replied, with a serious expression.
Devin and I both laughed. I admit I was feeling quite giddy about the whole prom thing and seeing my son in his first tux.
“Mom, can you calm it down a bit.” Kevin suggested, as if my excited mood was embarrassing him.
“Would you like argyle socks?” The sales clerk inquired, “They’re twenty dollars extra.”
“Twenty dollars for a pair of socks?” I laughed, “You’ve got to be kidding me! No, No…we don’t need argyle socks.”
The clerk handed Kevin a shirt, stock tuxedo and a pair of shoes to try on as he pointed him towards the dressing room.
Devin and I talked, joked and exchanged stories while we waited for Kevin to get changed.
Devin walked to the dressing room door and passed something over to Kevin.
“What’s this for?” Kevin shouted out.
“It’s to put on when you try on the dress shoes.” Devin replied.
“What?” Kevin said.
“Kevin, it’s a ped. You know, what you put on your foot to try on shoes… remember you and your brothers pulled them over your faces in Payless Shoes when you were little… you looked like you were going to rob the place…”
Devin was cracking up.
“Mom, can you take it down a notch, please.” Kevin yelled from the dressing room.
When the door finally opened and I saw Kevin in his tux, I couldn’t believe the handsome man who stood before me.
“Kevin, you look gorgeous!” I said with tears in my eyes, “The next time we’ll be doing this there’ll be wedding bells.”
“Mom, please don’t start crying.” Kevin pleaded.
Before finalizing our transaction Devin gave us a thirty dollar discount on the rental.
I paid for the tux (minus the argyle socks). Devin printed our receipt and explained the pick up and return instructions.
We had just enough time to get Kevin to work and I was quite pleased with all we had manged to accomplish in a short time.
As I pulled up in front of Kevin’s place of employment and put the car into park, Kevin leaned over and gave me a tight hug.
“Thank you Mom for paying for my tux. I love you so much.”
“I love you too Kevin. It was my pleasure. You and Anna are going to look beautiful!”
As, I watched Kevin walk into work, I thought, two hundred and fifty dollars isn’t expensive for a tux… in fact, it’s worth every penny.
As moms we try to set the best example and say the right thing when raising our children. We have the best intentions, but sometimes lack of sleep, set of circumstances or just the plain old stress of parenting gets the best of us.
Have you been there?
With three boys, I certainly have.
Being a mom has given me the opportunity to put together sentences that I could never in a lifetime fathom that I would speak.
Mom: “Hi, honey! How is everything going over there?”
Me: ” Okay. What’s new with you? CAN YOU BOYS BE QUIET? I’M ON THE PHONE! Sorry, Mom.”
Mom: “Well, today on Doctor Phil, he had this couple on, you wouldn’t have believed it…”
(COMMOTION AND NOISE IN THE BACKGROUND)
Me: ” Wait would you hold on a minute mom, GET THAT SPATULA AWAY FROM THE CAT! Okay, sorry mom, you were saying?”
Mom: “Never mind honey, maybe I should let you go…”
Me: “Okay Mom. I’ll call you back.”
Having three boys in the back seat of the car while you are driving always makes for warm memories and insightful conversation…
Marc (to Rocky): “Stop touching me with your knee!”
Rocky: “Am not! Stop touching me with your knee!”
Marc: “Are so. Stop it.”
Kevin: “You guys are breathing on me.”
Rocky: “I’m not breathing on you, Marc is!”
Marc: “Uh-Uh, Rocky, you’re breathing on him!”
Rocky: “Am not! You are!”
Kevin: “You’re both breathing on me…and you’re too close Rocky, stop touching me!”
Me: “OKAY, EVERYONE JUST STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER! AND STOP BREATHING!!
Notably not the best advice…but somehow it worked. Well, the kids didn’t stop breathing (Thank God) but I did put an end to the “Touching – Breathing war.”
My mom has always been a class act. She is no longer surprised, or even shocked by my kids, my elevated voice or the bizarre things the come out of my mouth, although she didn’t handle things in the same manner when I was growing up.
One day, my mom was on the phone with a friend when an argument between my sister and I broke out in the livingroom. This was back in the day when you were chained to the kitchen phone by a short phone cord.
I can’t remember what it was that my sister and I were arguing about, but I can remember the scene like it was yesterday. As our voices heightened, my mother didn’t change her expression, pause the conversation or even let on that there was a situation arising in her home.
My mother just continued talking and reached for the nearest available item. She picked it up with one hand without skipping a beat.
She leaned into the hallway where she had a clear shot into the living room. When I glanced over, all I could see was her arm above her head spinning like she had a lasso.
I had no idea what she was holding, yet she continued her conversation with a smile.
The argument with my sister resumed and our voices got even louder.
To both of our surprise, my sister and I simultaneously got hit in the head by a flying object.
We were immediately silenced as we stared at the loaf of Wonderbread at our feet, realizing what it was that hit us. (Damn, my mother is a good shot!)
Then, as girls often do, we broke out into laughter.
I could no longer remember what I was so upset about and I doubt that my sister could either.
Funny thinking of this now and considering my current style of parenting…
I could certainly save myself a ton of ridiculous sentences and a hoarse voice, with a trip to the bakery and a round of Lasso Lessons.
These days, I’m mostly resting in bed with a book or a computer on my lap. I tore a ligament in my knee eleven days ago and this has become my new norm. My boys come in and out of my bedroom often, with questions or just to see how I’m doing.
And, yes they yell “Mom!” from the bottom of the stairs that lead to the third floor when they want to ask me something but they’re too lazy to make the trek.
My son, Kevin is here for a visit from Long Island. I am always happy to see him, but this ultimately leads to late nights for all of my boys.
Last night was one of those nights.
Today when my fifteen year old son, Marc returned from school, he was so tired that he went straight to bed. Kevin and Rocky went out and John went to visit his mother after he had finished preparing dinner.
Finally, peace and quiet.
I read for a while then decided to take a short nap.
I awoke to the sounds of the shower running. It is not abnormal for my boys to shower at whatever time of the day or night that the desire hits them.
I glanced at the clock, 7:00 PM.
I picked up my book and started to read, then paused as I saw Marc pass by in the hallway and disappear into his bedroom.
I went back to my book.
A few minutes later I saw Marc exit his bedroom, fully dressed and then I heard his sneakered footsteps going down the stairs. I called out to him, “Marc where are you going?”
There were some banging sounds coming from the kitchen below. Then Marc yelled up, “Mom, there is chicken and rice on the stove but where is the low carb chicken that John said he would make for me?”
(Note: My three boys are constantly pairing workouts with all sorts of different diets and it’s enough to drive anyone who does the grocery shopping and the cooking right over the edge. This week Marc is going to the gym and eating a low carb diet…translation, there will be no protein left in the house for anyone else.)
“Marc, I can’t go down the stairs. You’re going to have to look around and find the separate meal that John made for you.” I yelled loudly, so that Marc could hear me.
Five minutes later Marc was back in my room. “I can’t find it. Can you Google how many carbs there are in rice?”
I grabbed my phone.
“Forty-six grams.” I stated
Marc replied, “Can’t have that.” and went back downstairs.
(Sigh. Insert eye roll here.) Back to my book.
Then, from the floor below, “Mom, Can you call John and ask him where he put my chicken?”
God forbid this kid ingests a piece of rice. I sent John a text about the location of Marc’s chicken. He immediately replied.
“Marc,” I yelled, “Your grilled chicken with a side of vegetables is in the oven.” (I know, who would have thought to look there.)
Time to reread the same sentence in this book that I read four times before.
Some time passed before Marc was back in my room. I assumed he was downstairs eating his dinner.
I asked, “So, how was your chicken?”
“I packed it.” Marc stated
Before I could ask why he packed his dinner, Marc stared out the window, looking confused. It was then that I noticed that he was wearing a lightweight jacket.
“Mom, why is it so dark?” Marc asked
“What do you mean, why is it so dark? It’s 7:45 PM.” I said
“It is? I just got up and got ready for school. Didn’t you hear me in the shower? And, I packed my own lunch.” Marc said
“Well, if it was twelve hours from now, you actually would have made the bus!” I laughed
Marc sighed and walked out of the room. I guess he didn’t find it as amusing as I did. Let’s see if he can make the bus on time tomorrow…
On a warm, sunny April afternoon, back in 2007 (when My family and I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina) I loaded my boys into the minivan in hopes of tackling the buy one, get one half off sale at our local Payless Shoes Store. My boys went through sneakers at such a rate that taking advantage of a sale was the only way that I could keep them in shoes. Kevin was ten years old, Eric (aka Rocky) was eight and Marc had just turned five. As I write this I miss the pre Jordan and Lebron sneaker shopping days that were much easier on my wallet than they are today with a house full of picky, fashion minded teenagers.
When we arrived at Payless the parking lot was packed. Wow, this must be some sale I thought, forgetting that it was the Sunday before Easter. Once inside I noticed the store was filled with kids…little girls in their “Sunday Best”, straight from church hoping to select the perfect Easter shoes to wear on Easter Sunday. Charlotte is located in the bible belt where people take dressing up for church very seriously, I thought, but I was here on a mission to get my boys new sneakers.
Of course my excited boys went in three different directions scanning the racks of sneakers while calling out to me, “Mom, what size am I?” I struggled to help all three simultaneously, yet somehow managed to get everyone situated with a pair of sneakers to try on.
Kevin was being particularly selective as he had outgrown the appeal of the sneakers with popular Disney characters and super heroes. This was surely going to be Kevin’s last year of shopping at Payless Shoes.
As soon as I finished helping Rocky find the correct size, checking where his big toe was in his shoes and tying Marc’s sneakers, they both took off like a flash. They began running around the crowded and busy store, weaving in and out between the shoppers. I called theirs names to no avail and then resorted to chasing them both down, grabbing each one by the arm.
“Boys, you can not run around in the store!” I instructed.
“But Mom, we just wanted to see if our sneakers were fast enough…” Rocky replied.
“Well, obviously they are,” I stated. “No more running in the store. Let’s go find Kevin.”
To my surprise, Kevin had actually found a pair of sneakers that he liked and a second pair of shoes (Shoes that, unbeknownst to me, he would later glue wooden blocks onto to appear taller to a girl he liked).
Perfect, three pairs of sneakers, one pair of shoes, two pairs half price. I was aware that people were staring at us. I just wanted to get to the check out and get out of this crowded store.
The lines were long and I couldn’t wait until it was our turn to check out. Shopping with three kids was exhausting and I certainly had had enough. The boys put their shoes on the counter. Finally. It was almost over. As the cashier rang up each item, I watched to make sure the second pair of shoes rung up at half price. I paid, completed the transaction and turned to hand the boys the pile of bags.
They were nowhere in sight.
Oh God, where are they? “Kevin, Rocky, Marc!” I yelled directing everyone’s attention to me. I paused to slide my bank card into my wallet.
When I looked up, there they were. Kevin, Rocky and Marc standing at the front of the store with purses hanging on each of their bent arms and peds stockings over their heads and pulled down over their faces.
What in God’s name? They looked like they were about to rob the place. It crossed my mind to just pretend I didn’t know them…that they weren’t MY kids. Nah, too late, there wasn’t a person in the store that didn’t know that I was their mother.
I dragged an armful of bags off of the counter as I approached my boys.
“What are you doing? Take those peds off of your faces!” I demanded.
“What are peds?” Rocky inquired.
“Peds are small stockings that cover your feet so you can try on shoes if you’re not wearing any socks,” I heard myself say.
The boys stared at me as if what had I said made no sense. Never mind.
“But they’re free!” Marc blurted out.
Kevin added, “Yeah, they have little boxes of them at the end of every aisle.”
As they began taking the peds off, I noticed that not only were the purses that they were holding stuffed with peds, so were all of their pockets.
“And put ALL of those back!” I ordered as the show came to an end and the crowd of onlookers began to disperse.
When we got finally got in the car I said, “Well I guess we won’t be shopping at Payless again,” as I turned the key to the ignition.
“Thank God,” Kevin mumbled.
“Why not?” Rocky asked. “It was fun! I like that store!”
Easter is just around the corner. I have friends that love Easter just about as much as they love Christmas. I am the polar opposite. I respect, enjoy and celebrate the religious meaning of Easter and all that it symbolizes… but I truly could do without the expensive Easter baskets full of sugary treats, the plastic toys (that only end up getting stepped on), the green Easter basket grass that can’t be vacuumed up (yet clings to everything) and the one random, colored egg that isn’t found until you open the fireplace for its seasonal debut. Oh, and did I mention that I abhor all of the decorating with pastel colors? Maybe it’s a reflection of my bold, outgoing personality but I love rich colors… pastels, not so much.
I loved Easter as a child and even as an adult, so I’m trying to pinpoint when I first started to dislike Easter. I guess it all started when Kevin was three years old and Eric (aka Rocky) was a baby. I was so excited about taking both of my adorable boys to the mall to have their photo with the Easter Bunny. For some reason the central part of the mall was under renovations that year and a trail of signs lead to the Easter Bunny’s new location in a vacant store.
As we entered through the one available door (both an entrance and an exit), I was relieved that there was no line. We were quickly greeted by one of the four assistants to the Easter Bunny. I smiled as I unbuckled Rocky from the stroller and grabbed Kevin’s hand explaining that they were going to get to meet the Easter Bunny and have their picture taken.
Kevin was so excited he climbed up the two steps that lead to the top of a small platform and sat right on the Easter Bunny’s left leg. That was easy, I thought, as I placed Rocky on the Easter Bunny’s opposite leg and moved out of the way for the photographer. As parents, we understand that with children there is only a small window of opportunity for a good photo. As parents, we also understand (but won’t openly admit) how badly we want this picture of our children to be perfect.
From where I stood on the floor, behind and to the left of the photographer, I could just tell that this was going to be one of those moments… one of those perfectly adorable shots. I secretly smiled my “victory” smile and held my breath as the photographer readied the camera. Hurry up I thought. Then I noticed Kevin looking down at the bunny’s feet, then up at his face and back down at his feet. Oh, please look at the camera, please smile, as I willed Kevin to remain still.
As the camera clicked, signaling the photo was taken, Kevin stood up and began yelling… “Wait a minute, you’re not the Easter Bunny – you’re a people!!!”
“I can see your ankles!” Kevin announced, while pointing at the exposed flesh showing from the gap in the material between the leg of the bunny’s costume and the beginning of the bunny’s feet.
“And I can see your eyes!” Kevin continued as he pointed at the bunny’s massive head and the human eyes visible behind the mask.
“You’re a people! You’re not the Easter Bunny!” Kevin bellowed, turning to address the people working there, as if they didn’t already know.
Rocky began to cry. I ran to retrieve him as I grabbed Kevin’s hand and pulled him off of the small platform. I glanced around nervously and noticed that a line was starting to form. I quickly approached the cashier and fumbled for my wallet.`
“He’s a people! He’s a people!” Kevin yelled.
“Kevin, that’s enough!” I said, “Please lower your voice.”
I grabbed my not so “perfect” Easter photo and managed to mutter an embarrassed “Thank you” to the staff as I strapped the baby in the stroller with one hand while holding onto the hand of a flailing Kevin.
“He’s not the Easter Bunny! He’s a people!” Kevin yelled repeatedly, on a mission to blow the Easter Bunny’s cover and spread the word.
I kept my head down, only glancing up briefly as I headed towards the door. I had no choice but to pass the waiting crowd of parents and children in line to meet the Easter Bunny. The children looked confused and frightened. If the dirty looks that I was getting from the parents were any indication, they were pissed.
Needless to say, that was our last official visit to see the Easter Bunny and quite likely the beginning of my dislike of the Easter Holiday.
And if you think that was a funny yet embarrassing situation, wait until you read what happens in my next Easter post. (Part 2)
It’s too nice of a day to play inside, I thought, as Marc and his friend Angel returned from school and ran up the stairs to Marc’s bedroom. They were both quiet so I figured that I would give them a little time inside before I suggested they make the best of the nice weather and find an outdoor activity.
I was busy cleaning up the kitchen when Marc entered the room with Angel in tow.
“Mom,” Marc called as he extended his right arm and motioned to hand me what appeared to be Angel’s cell phone. “Can you talk to this lady?”
I was a bit caught off guard, not knowing who was on the phone or what I needed to speak to them about.
“Hurry up mom, she’s waiting.” Marc said urgently while moving the phone closer to my ear.
Perplexed, I managed a brief “Hello.”
“Ma’am, was that your son I was just speaking with?” the woman on the phone inquired.
“Yes.” I replied, as I glanced around noticing that both Marc and his friend had left the room. Just great, I thought. I still had no idea about the nature of the phone call.
The woman continued, “Your son, I have to say, is very intelligent and very well spoken…and I do realize that assigned seating on the bus is a very big deal to a fifth grader…but here at the State of Connecticut Legal Department, well, we don’t handle those issues.”
Shocked, I managed a brief, “I understand.” in response.
“Now, you can certainly take the bus seating issue to the principal or to the superintendent, or the board of education if you are unable to get any satisfaction otherwise…” I heard her say, while I contemplated how I even ended up taking part in this conversation.
“Yes, I understand. ” I mumbled.
Before hanging up, the woman added with a laugh, “You have quite a little boy.”
“I know, thank you.” I said before saying goodbye.
I walked to the foot of that stairs and yelled Marc’s name. Before Marc even reached the bottom he had a flurry of questions…
“So, what did she say? Do we still have to have assigned seats on the bus? Can I sit next to Angel now?”
While Marc was excitedly awaiting my reply I said, ” Marc, I have one question…why in the world would you call the Connecticut State Legal Department, on Capitol Hill in Hartford, to complain about seating on your school bus?”
“Well mom, it’s not fair for them to tell us where we have to sit on the bus,” Marc began, “And I just want to sit next to Angel…so I figured I’d start at the TOP.”
“Marc, the lady said we have to call the school,” I stated, “And don’t ever hand me a phone again without telling me who I’m speaking to.”
“Okay, Mom.” Marc said, “I’m sorry.”
The door slammed as they went outside to play and I had to laugh out loud.