Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Revolutions

It’s about that time! Time to make all kinds of promises to yourself that you’ll be breaking by the time January’s rent check clears, which will have you drowning your self-induced heart break in Ben & Jerry’s by MLK day. That’s right…it’s time to make useless New Year’s resolutions.
Well, I’m boycotting it this year. I’ve been pretty successful in carb-loading since Thanksgiving, but I really don’t wanna make any more empty promises to myself. I don’t like lying to me.

So this year, instead of resolutions, why not try an “(Ain’t Got A) Bucket List.” Instead of telling yourself what constraints you’re going to place on yourself and how you’re going to be miserably better for it, why not plan a list of things you’d like to do this year? I’m up for it!

The list of years past would look something like this…
  • Lose 20-30 pounds
  • Eat vegetarian one day a week
  • Walk or exercise every day
  • Stop eating fast food (yes, this means Hardee’s biscuits!)
  • Save $4 billion by couponing

Well, guess what? This New Years will find me fat and sassy, but it’ll find me happy in so many ways.
My 2014 “(Ain’t Got A) Bucket List” is going to be a fun list…things I WANT to do, not things I'm gonna kick my own Irish and German arse for not doing.
  • Start a fire without matches or a lighter (Yep, we watched Castaway this weekend.)
  •  Go fishing with the kids.
  • Visit my friends in Navarre
  • Not go to Wal-Mart for one month
  • Find a huge hill, and roll down it like my hair is on fire.
  • Participate in some sort of redneck outdoors event, whether it be hunting, performing stupid tasks involving ropes and tires, or anything else fun like that. (NO wheelbarrow races. I once broke my butt in a most unfortunate accident involving a wheel barrow and an attempt to break the sound barrier.)
  • Volunteer somewhere.
  • Go hiking. (And by hiking, I mean casually stroll through some place with pretty hills that has plenty of places to sit down along the way.)
  • Do at least 5 stupid things that I'm dared to do.
  • Develop an invisible spit shield for Lou Holtz on ESPN. That guy drivesh me nutsh.
If you haven’t made your bucket list, you’ve GOT to do it. And the bigger, the better!

I made mine a few years ago after my best friend was killed, and I can’t even believe how many things I’ve marked off! It’s not necessarily earth shattering stuff, but stuff that has made me genuinely happy for a little while! I put 100 things on my first list, and I’ve crossed off about 25 of them in four years. So do I go ahead with the next 75? Nope, I add 25 more and keep going!

No, I haven’t been to Europe or Italy yet, and that’s okay. I’ve always wanted to see them, but I’d much rather see my kids faces light up in Disney World than see the Louvre light up at dusk. If they happen one day, that’s great, but I’m okay if they don’t.

I guess if I had to make one resolution for this year, it would be to be happier with what I have, with who I am, and with the opportunities that God has given me.  And if our next family reunion should turn into a virtual redneck edition of non-lethal Hunger Games, then it might just be the best year ever!

Make 2014 the year of truth. Don’t pretend to be a vanilla cupcake with freshly whipped butter-cream if you’re really a fruity-pebbles-and-french-onion-dip kind of girl. Men, don’t pretend to be what you think women want. Be who you are, and even if you don’t find the soul mate you’re looking for, you’ll be happier. The real magic happens when you live as the person you really are.

On December 31, 2014, I want to look back and say I’ve earned my certificate of authenticity. No faking and no camouflaging:  all me, all the time.

If you're looking for somebody to have good, clean, stupid fun with in 2014, give us a call! I'm in no way committing my betrothed to such acts of tomfoolery, but I can guarantee that he'll laugh at whatever I try.

I'll leave you with a few memorable quotes from our joyous Christmas season.

“Momma, your face is as big as daddy’s belly…bigger than the universe.” –Emzilla

“Daddy, I love you more than mommy because you’re my favorite.”

“Mommy, you’re just so big and squishy!”

“Mommy, Chwis Wock died. He was my boyfriend, and he died and now we have to put him in a hole. He died yesterday, too.”

“MOM! I’m supposed to get mawwied today! I’m gonna mawwy daddy because I love him and he’s not yours anymore so you’re gonna have to leave.”

“You and dad are, like, the best parents I’ve ever had.”- Bubby (Wow! Considering those couple of years when we secretly rented him to the Vanderbilt's, this is uh-mazing.)

“It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever had, but you’ve done a lot better. It’s okay…you can try again tomorrow.” –Rae-Rae

Friday, December 27, 2013

When You Ain't Got A Pot to Pee In Or A Window To Throw It Out Of

We’ve all heard rich people say that having a bunch of money doesn’t make you happier. Well, first of all, they’ve obviously never had to choose between toilet paper and a jug of peanut butter.  Second of all, I don’t believe it. Let me walk a mile in your Choo's, and then I’ll deliver my verdict. 

Yet, somehow, I think they’re right.

We’ve all fallen on hard times, and we know what they’re like. If you haven’t, then let me paint a starving artist's Polaroid for you. In the heat of summer, you turn off the air and sit in the dark to try to keep your power bill down. During the dead of winter, you sleep in sweats and wool socks so you can leave the heat shut off. You borrow money from piggy banks until your paycheck hits.

You feel like you’ve won the lottery when the landlord offers to renew your lease. You sit up at night wondering if things will ever get better. You see a change in your kids that even though it hurts like hell to see, it makes you so proud of them you feel like your heart’s gonna explode. Y’all, that’s when character is born.

After our oldest son, was born, we were beyond broke. I’d gone back to school in Alabama, my husband was working a maintenance job for the apartment complex we lived in. We barely had enough gas money to get me to school. But what I remember most are the holidays from that year. Being in a college town, we had several friends that either couldn’t afford to go home or didn’t have a home to go back to.

So we talked about it, and we decided to fix a Thanksgiving dinner in our apartment for our friends in town. Notice I didn’t say feast, I said dinner. Most of it was vegetables straight out of their dented cans. We couldn’t afford a turkey to go with the cornbread dressing; all we could swing was a marked-down pack of chicken legs that I boiled and put in the dressing. We sat our buffet up on the metal table that served as our dining room furniture, and we were more thankful for that meal than we’d been for anything in a long time.

At Christmas time, we got a $5 tabletop Christmas tree from Dollar General, which we decorated with two $1 garlands, two strings of leftover lights, and a box of candy canes. And guess what? We talk about it every Christmas, and there’s no doubt we always will.

Even Santa was struggling that year. Our son, the first of three miracles we were told we would never conceive, woke up on Christmas morning to a little red wagon, a dancing Elmo doll, a children’s Bible, and a coloring book with four crayons.

And guess what? He looked at and played with everything he got. And stranger still, we remember every gift he got that morning. The Hokey Pokey Elmo doll? We were at the store the night they were putting the unpaid layaways back on the shelves. God had somehow come through for us, and we finally had the $20 it took to bring Elmo home.

My heart hurts thinking about how tough those times were, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything. We’ve had ups and downs since then, and while it never gets easier to tell your kids ‘I’m sorry, we just can’t afford it,’ you’d be surprised how much they understand. Kids don’t lose respect for you when you go through
hard times. 

They may get their panties in a bunch when you feed them instant mac-n-cheese (made with water since you can’t buy milk right now) for the third time this week, but they can get glad in the same pair of drawers.

So what if the cable got shut off and they can’t stare at the t.v. all afternoon? Again, they will survive. Make up games with them.  We made one that is probably gonna make us famous one day:  Balling Bowl. It’s kind of like Skee-ball, but requires bouncy balls and mixing bowls.

Yeah, it sucks like a Kirby when the year you said you’d go to Italy, you’re doing good to get to Olive Garden.  Yes, it blows like the hair dryer at the beauty shop when you can’t go on vacation because even if you got a free place to stay, you couldn’t afford the gas to get there.

But y’all, it’s just money. It’s not losing a parent. It’s not a cancer diagnosis. It’s not losing a best friend. It’s not being homeless. It’s not crying a hungry baby to sleep. It’s….just….money.

Today, I am thankful that even though God ain’t shown me the winning Powerball numbers yet, He’s shown me something more important:  how to be happy with what I have. I don’t sit back and pout when we can’t go out for dinner and a movie. We’ll go pick up a $1 movie at the Redbox, and we’ll have “Popcorn Movie Night” in the living room.

I wouldn't trade the blanket-fort-days with our kids for anything. Even if we had the money, we wouldn't buy my kids everything they asked for. Kids that are given everything grow to be adults that expect to be given everything. These people that leave work and run to the school because little Bobbie Sue doesn't like the school lunch that day are creating monsters. It's one lunch, not her last meal on death row! 

Sure, she'll pitch a fit, but guess what, Mommy dearest? You made 'em that way. I feel sorry for my kids because they'll be the ones working alongside your 30-going-on-3 year old brats. But don't worry...when you're used up and can't manipulate the world for them anymore, your butt will be in an old folks home faster than you can say "please pass the oxygen."

But anyway...when life hands you lemons and you ain’t got the sugar for lemonade, don't stand there and tell them they deserve to have lemonade. Teach 'em how to juggle them bad boys, and see if they can't earn enough spare change to go buy some! When you ain’t got a pot to pee in or a window to throw it out of, don't run to the government housing office and get one off of somebody else's dollar. I'm not talking about people that need help getting back on their feet. I'm talking about people that turn welfare into a career. Have some self-respect, people!

Do what you can, don’t give up, and thank your lucky stars you didn’t choose the Hokey Pokey Elmo. If you’re struggling and at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it, climb on that bad boy, and gimme your best Tarzan yell. After all, it’s hard to be down in the dumps when you’re the king of the jungle. 

Christmas Shopping: Transforming Good, Christian Women into Sailor-Mouthed Buggy Assassins

Normally, on Black Friday, my husband is the one to get out and about early, and I sleep in. This year, things worked a little bit differently. He did his shopping online, and in turn, I got $45 Kohl’s cash to spend. Woot woot!

So last night, since he’s out of town, the kids and I headed to Kohl’s to do some shopping for cousins and friends. I triple check to make sure I've got my phone so I can access the Kohl’s cash e-mail on it.

We were there almost two hours. When I look back on it, it will be easy to remember the significance of the trip:  A REMINDER OF WHY I DON’T LEAVE THE HOUSE WITH THREE KIDS BY MYSELF. I always imagine it being the like Brady bunch going to serve cupcakes to the poor. Instead, it more closely resembles the house drop scene in “Wizard of Oz”, my kids being the house and me being a flip-flop wearing witch.

Bubby, who’s 11, is the kind-hearted shopper. He wants to buy the moon, Saturn’s rings and Elvis’s jacket from the '68 special for everybody he’s ever met. Don’t get me wrong…I’m so thankful that he’s loving and generous, but having to tell him 3,000 times that his substitute teacher from 1st grade doesn't need a dog-walking, brow-tweezing, Cappucino maker makes shopping a little tiring.

Then here comes Rae-Rae, who is just dumb-founded at how much Chinese crap costs. I’ll put it this way. When we were shopping for Emma’s birthday last summer, I took them to Toys’R’Us. I knew it was expensive, but we were looking for ideas. She was big into Despicable Me then, and they had this minion toy that talked...for the bargain price of $59.99. 

Rae-Rae was absolutely disgusted by this. This poor sales lady comes over and asks us if we need help, and he guts her like a fish. “Y’all are not gonna sell these. When I come back in a few months, I bet they’ll be at least 50% off ‘cuz nobody’s gonna pay that. I mean, really? It’s plastic! Would you buy this for $60? Is there a manager I can talk to?”


(Just yesterday he brought home this shopping list from the Santa Store at school. When I asked him if he wanted to buy everything he wrote down, he said "God, no! Their prices are ridiculous!")

But on this particular Kohl’s trip, he wanted to find a coffee cup for his coffee-addicted teacher. (Well, she tells them its coffee. I've seen these kids in action, and I’m telling you, there’s got to be a little bonus in that cup every morning…bless her heart.) He wanted to get a Georgia mug but was deeply offended at how much NCAA junk costs. After doing his little cost-benefit analysis, he decided to go with the black, red and silver mug that was 1/3 the price. Good call, my boy.

Then you’ve got *shudder* Emzilla. She’s decided to provide the soundtrack for this joyous excursion.


“Emma, you can sing, but please whisper; the mannequins are starting to twerk.”

“It’s da white time of da night time to knock yer wights away….”

Sweet baby Jesus, please get me to the check-out.

After being mowed down 27 times by the hatchet-faced, old woman stalking the Christmas villages, I’m pullin' a Flo Jo to the check-out.

“Here, Bubby, push the cart while I open my Kohl’s cash, please.”

OF COURSE it won’t open. I’ve got my weekly check-in from Prince Hubbida Bubbida in Nigeria--just checking on my bank transfer-- and a declaration of love from my Farmer soul mate, but the Kohl’s e-mail has disappeared. 

At this point, I’m convinced that these jerk wards have put up an impenetrable force field to block electronic signals and, consequently, e-Kohl’s cash. I’m standing here, all three kids acting a complete fool, and here comes Granny Hatchet again. It was all I could do not to tell Rae-Rae she stole a quarter from him just to see him bring back some of his football skills.

Fine, Mr. Kohl, I may be the loser here, but you’re gonna lose right now. I’M BLOWING THIS JOINT!

*stomp stomp stomp SMACK!*

Great…Emma has run into yet another glass door with her face. Fortunately, she was still rehearsing for the Christmas play so she just stutter-stepped and kept on singing.

“Woo-dolph the wed-nosed, weindee-ah, had a bewwy swimy nose…”

Fast forward…we plow through fogpocalypse and make it the 5 miles home…in 15 minutes. We get home, and of course, the garage door won’t work. @(#$*&!

We get inside, I throw dinner in the oven, and I go online to pull up the Kohl’s cash on my computer so that I can order the same Chinese crap online. Three of the five items I had in the store weren’t available online, so I have to pick substitutes. AWESOME!

I finally get the five gifts picked, and I go to check-out. All over their website, it’s screaming at me to use the promo code “CYBERSAVE” to save 20% on my order. Thank God! That almost makes up for the incident in the store.

Total up my order…$44.55 (phew, that was close!). I enter my Kohl’s cash code, and sure enough…with free shipping my balance due is $0.00! 

This is the only reason I’m buying from you, Kohl’s. You’re going on the poop list as soon as I get my free crap.

*Click, click click….enter code “CYBERSAVE”.*


Are you kidding me? I have a $0.00 balance due with free shipping, and you STILL want my credit card information? Jerks.  I hope you spend Christmas in a small hotel room with Archie Bunker and Al Sharpton.

Fine…I’ll put it in. 

*Type type, clickety-click, CONTINUE…*


I did, you spawn of Satan, dog licking, butt sniffing, monkey seducing son of a ...! Bless your heart.

*Enter card information for the 64th time, enter promo code CYBERSAVE.*


I hope somebody superglues a rib-eye to your a$$ and brings Cujo over to frolic in the Autumn mist...and the pants you just pissed. I’m a Christian woman, but you have pushed me too far. 

So, three hours after leaving for a simple, fun shopping trip, I’m throwing stuff at the Christmas tree, popping chocolate-covered espresso beans like breath mints, and shooting at my laptop screen with a laser-scoped Nerf gun. I’m blowing off some steam, trying not to strangle the young’uns, when Rae-Rae comes up behind me and says “Mom, are you sure you got a good deal on that stuff?”

Father, forgive me for what I'm about to do. Can somebody gimme a "bless your heart"?

The Baths of Mom: When Keester Scrubbing Draws a Crowd

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful, young mother who's love light glowed from within with the radiance of angels. Each day, she and her children would pick wildflowers, sing songs, and bake fresh cookies together. But at the end of each day, when her heart threatened to burst from the daily accumulation of love, she would retire to her private bath where she would take long, hot bubble baths with nothing but the chirping of the crickets and the songs of her heart to fill the silence. She would count down the minutes until she could return to her beloved offspring and tuck them snuggly in their beds.


Oh, hey there. Sorry, that was my crap-o-meter going off.

What is it about announcing to your cohabitants that you're tired, grumpy, and stinky that makes them want to swarm you?

Saturday was a cold yucky day, so I decided that after I finished knitting some Christmas gifts, I was going to treat myself to a homemade spa treatment.

It's times like these that I miss having disposable income. There used to be this spa close to our house that had an aroma- and light-therapy jacuzzi capsule thing. Your head was the only thing sticking out, and the rest of you just melted into the effervescent water disco. But the massages were the best part. I'm not gonna SAY it's because they had a gorgeous Italian guy named Giovanni giving the massages, but something was different about that place. It must've been the fabric softener they used on their towels.  It was....indescribable.

But that was the old days, and Saturday, it was just me and my Pinterest-inspired detox concoction. Don't worry...I am still completely covered by skin, unlike the aftermath of the cinnamon facial I tried the other day.
I tossed in some Epsom salts, baking soda, lavender oil and ginger. It was awesome! Also, I got this neat little color-changing, noise-vomiting alarm clock for $5 the other day, so I decided to recreate the spa days of old.

I turn my little light machine on, hit the play button, and lean back to relax when....OW! Once again, I have mashed Rey Mysterio and Triple H flatter than a flitter. Now, I don't mean to brag, but I do bathe with professional wrestlers at least three times a week.

As I sip my Phineas & Ferb goblet of ice water, I realize my bathtub looks like a Mattel house of ill repute. Naked Barbie is trying to drown Skipper in a tub of body scrub. Hulk Hogan and John Cena are tag-teaming Mr. Bubbles, and apparently the Little Mermaid has offered a full tea service for 24 of her closest water wenches.

But this day, it's all about hot water and a quiet, spirit-renewing environment. I close my eyes and lean my head back as I listen to the sounds of a bubbling brook animals? What the heck?

No wonder my little miracle machine was only $5. The relaxing water sounds are accompanied by an irritable Blue Bell with PMS, sic cock-fighting chickens, and a constipated sheep.

Well, ain't this just a relaxing day in the barnyard? No....just try to relax. The kids are downstairs, on the other side of two locked doors, and I'm in no hurry. Just breathe deep....and relax.

"Mommy! I brought you sum-pin!"

Holy helicopters, how did she get in here? 

"Baby, momma's taking a bath and trying to relax, so go back downstairs, okay?"

"But I bwought you a sup-wise!"  She proceeds to walk towards me with Christmas platter containing a Christmas mint and a half-eaten Hershey's kiss.

"Oooh, Mom, can I pway with some of your toys? I'll be Bah-bie, and you be the wrestlahs."

So much for relaxing. Hey, wait a minute...

"Honey, how did you get in here?"

Big smile...right on cue.

My daughter, while only four years old, could capture Fort Knox with a bowl of Jell-o, a tube sock, and a plastic spork. There is no door lock that she can't pick in the time it takes me to yell "leave me alone"... unless she's on the inside of it, in which case she's stranded for hours. I guess I need to brush up on my lock-picking skills.

"I just opened it, Mommy! Didn't I do so good?"

Yes, honey, you did great. Now excuse me while I submerge my head until the bubbles stop.

"Honey, go back downstairs with daddy while I finish my bath, okay? I'll be down in just a minute."

"Okay, Mommy. I love you!"

Love you, too, baby girl, but for the love of God and your own life,

Finally, peace at last. It's starting to get a little chilly in here, so I grab the plastic cup on the edge to pour some warm water over my shoulders.

Trickle, trickle, splash....SON OF A ....! So much for that glass of ice water I was gonna drink. Dad gum it, now Barbie's gonna have to shave, too.

I'm back to listening to Dolly the cloned sheep rid herself of that pesky intestinal blockage when I hear something at the door.

"Hey, Mom, are you taking a bath?"

No, honey, I'm juggling chainsaws. 

"Baby, I'll be out in a minute."

"But, I just need to ask you a...."

"I'm sorry, but the party you're trying to reach is no longer available. Please try your call later, or leave a message after the beep. BEEP!"

"Uh, hey mom, it's Bubby... I was wondering if I could download this thing....."


Could it be...silence at last?

Knock knock knock....

"If you don't get away from this door, I'm going to shove the first wrestler I can find where the sun don't shine! I told you, I'LL BE DOWN IN A MINUTE!"

"Geez, Mom, sorry. I was gonna tell you I took Emma back downstairs for you."

"Oh....thanks, Rae-Rae. Sorry for yelling. I'll be out in a few minutes."

"Hey, Mom, while I've got your attention, what are we having for dinner?"

The next person that talks to me is gonna have the black-and-blue plate special:  a knuckle sandwich and a big cup of shut-the-heck-up. 

While I didn't get the peace and quiet, the solitude, or the relaxing ambiance I was looking for, I got clean just the same. The clock wound up being worth about $0.25, and I now live in a house with a whole bunch of useless door locks, but at least I had plenty of hot water to drown myself in.

"Okay, kids, I'm out. What did y'all need?"

Chirp, chirp.

When We Said We Do, We Didn't Have No Clue

I used to think it was romantic for couples to renew their vows after 25 or more years of marriage. To pledge your hearts to each other all over again after seeing what lies beneath? That’s powerful stuff right there.

It’s easy to get excited about marriage when you’re young. You get a wear a big fancy dress like the one your Trailer Park Tanya doll used to wear. You get all kinds of neat presents. At our first bridal shower, we got enough gadgets to debone and flambé the entire Chicago Bears football team in 27 seconds flat, enough bath towels to absorb the Mississippi River, and 17 place settings of china that have never been taken out of the box.

Your betrothed is perfect when you’re engaged. He don’t burp or spit or fart or snore, he don’t smoke or chew tobacco no more. He showers daily and shaves his stubble, and he’d never dream of gettin' in trouble.  He dresses for dinner every night, and his beautiful smile smells sweet and shines bright. His dirty clothes don’t stick to the floor, and dirty dishes in the sink? No more!

But let’s be honest…the women transform during the ‘I Do’s’, too. During the engagement period, she won’t face the light of day without her BFF's, Maybelline and Pantene. Exercise shorts are worn during exercise, and yoga pants are worn during yoga. She won’t so much as pump gas unless her bra matches her drawers. And speaking of drawers, she buys the cute ones with the frillies and polka-dots before she walks down the aisle. Her fiancée’s never seen her without make-up, and ponytails are illegal. She wakes up chirping like a bluebird with perfect ivory skin and rosy red lips. She is perfect.

Then the big day comes, and all she can think is God, if you’ll get me through this day, I promise I’ll never get married again. It is the single most stressful day of a woman’s life. In her eyes, every person she’s ever met will either be judging her from the pews, or is huddled in the bushes outside the church like paparazzi, waiting to capture the couple’s first pictures. What she doesn’t realize is that NOBODY CARES. They don’t care who promises to love who after the nuclear fallout ceases, or how you’re gonna live on love when you’ve lost your job and your house, and pawned your first born. They are there so that they can look back on that day, and say “Yeah, I knew they wouldn't gonna make it.”

At least 80% of the guests at any given wedding are there for the entertainment and the refreshments. People go to weddings for the cake, the ice cream punch, and the sausage balls. At your bigger weddings, they go for the alcohol. After all, nothing makes a wedding more memorable than a 6-foot tower of Bud Light beside the groom’s cake…especially when it’s being climbed by the groom’s midget cousin during a rousing, yet ill-timed and more than a little intoxicated, game of Marco Polo.

 But to the bride, every detail determines the course of their entire marriage. Every symbolic mouse fart has to be perfect, else her beloved have a clandestine affair with a transvestite stripper named Claude. The white dress has to be sparkling white, as beige would just scream ‘tramp’. A zit may as well be a gunshot to the head, and should she wake up gassy that day, her children will be destined to work as boar herders in the Yugoslavian circus.

On this day, the gold rings have to shine since they represent the unending circle of love. The daddy has to give the little girl away to her prince so that they may become one. Communion must be taken to show your new, unified commitment to Christ.

That’s all fine and dandy, but there’s a tit to every tat, y’all.  Those gold rings? They just happen to be the same shape as a choke collar….and handcuffs….and a noose. The dad that tears up when he gives his daughter’s hand to this infidel? He’s bleary-eyed cause he just forked over his last tax deduction! And what they don’t tell you is that the groom’s cup of Welch’s is apparently carbonated with eternal bubbles because this here Prince Charming didn’t fart in the years leading up to this ceremony.

And this is the fun of the first go ‘round! Why in the heck would you want to do it again? I recently discovered the answer:  we want to rewrite the vows.

To be continued...

The Post-Christmas, Pre-New Years Week of Awkwardness with Kids

I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas! We did at our house, and to make the feeling of Santa magic last a little longer, I refuse to clean house until after New Years. (Just kidding....kinda.)

I wish I could say that this Christmas brought out my children's good sides, where they went around caroling to the neighbors and spreading Christmas cheer like butter-cream on Aunt Edna's yule log cake. But if I did, my britches would be attracting firefighters from here to Waleska...and that sure ain't happened. 

Christmas Eve night, we always let the kids open one gift. We usually pick the one that has pj's or underwear just for our amusement. But this year, we decided that each of them could open one from one of their siblings. 

Well, it turns out that Bubby and Rae-Rae got each other the same thing:  a Call of Duty poster/ suburban knuckle knocker. They haven't been hung up yet, but they look like they've been in the arena with Bocephus and a six-pack of intoxicated rodeo clowns.

Li'l Blondie picks the one from Bubby to open. She rips the paper open...and sits there with her mouth hanging open. 

"Are you kiddin' me? This is NOT a pwesent! What the heck?"

Nice, kiddo, real nice. I hope Bubby take a deuce in that new Easy Bake Oven you're gettin' tomorrow.

He picked her out this sparkadelic, pom-pom ponytail ornament with red and black tinsel. We both thought she'd love it, but apparently it was shocking to her. She's wearing it today, so it must not be too bad. 

The kids each got something they've been wanting. Rae-Rae got a mini-iPad. (Thank you, baby Jesus, for the bartering corner and trading post area of Craigslist!) Emzilla got an Easy Bake oven and a Princess Barbie house. Bubby got a set of pimp-daddy headphones. Actually, all three kids got a set of headphones of varying degrees of awesomeness. (Epic win for the grown-ups!)

But yesterday, I decided to open Rae-Rae's Clue game he got. I immediately started having flashbacks of sleepovers with my childhood best friend, Katie Ashley (her pen name), and watching the Madeline Kahn cinematic masterpiece over and over and over. 

We get it out, and me, the hubbs, and Rae-Rae set out on a dark investigation of cretinous Crayola killings. Let me say for the record:  playing a board game with anyone in my immediate family is like dumping a milk carton of glitter in on Nemo and Dory, and telling them to just ignore it. Their combined attention span would have to eat Wheaties for a month to hit any recordable, positive integer.

The hubster wins, of course, and Rae-Rae lets out a long, exasperated sigh. 

"It's okay, Rae-Rae, you'll get the hang of it."


"Wow, thank God that's over." He proceeds to run off like he's got jellyfish in his junk.

"Well, FINE, you little mutt! I hate trying to play a game with all of y'all! Y'all can't pay attention to nothing!"

"Mommy, you don't hate me cuz I'm lovely, and my butt cwack is lovely," chimes in my my little psycho princess.

"You're right, honey. I was just kidding. I don't hate any of y'all. I just wish that anybody in this house could focus for more than 3 seconds."

From the cave where the Playstation resides...

"Focus? What happened? Are you talking to me? OOHHH!!! I used the shock paddles on his butt cheeks!" Nice, Bubby, real nice.

So, while miracles happen every Christmas season, the miraculous gift of attention spans has seemed to skip our home once again. 

Oh! Oh! Oh! That special about hunting the Sheepsquatch is on! 

Wait, what was I saying?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas, Y'all!


Man, it's awesome to wake up late on a no school day with no kids and a quiet house. Wait a minute....we only left one of them at Nanny's! AND IT'S QUIET?!?!?!

I quickly throw on the first pants and shirt I find, and tear downstairs when I hear a quiet, sing-songy noise.

"Let it go, let it go!"

Phew, I've found Emma. She's downstairs singing  the song from "Fwo-zing" when I find her. There's about half a platter of cookies missing, a glittery lipstick factory has exploded in her face, and...oh crap! It's the last trash pick-up day before Christmas!

Randomly run through the house collecting the trash, get it together, and haul the 16-foot pile of recyclables out to the my apparel from earlier.

Of course, as I gallop outside in my inside-out exercise shorts, Girlie Girls t-shirt with a pudding stain down the front, my boots, and no bra, the neighbors emerge. Yes, the ones in the Russian mob that run a used car
lot as a front. Yes, the ones that I haven't seen outside since the 4th of July. It's all I could do to keep from screaming "Merry Christmas! The sh!tter's full..."

I guess you could say the Christmas madness has begun. Yesterday was the first of many Christmas gatherings this year. We got together with my mom's side of the family, which is always a hoot! I love watching all the kids together...and by kids, I mean my generation's my uncle and my husband. This year's theme?  Nerfpocalypse 3.0. I think you can figure out the rest.

Well, we get in the truck to go home, and of course Blondie and Rae-Rae are arguing about...I dunno, something. Blondie asks, "Where is Aunt Helen's dad?" (Meaning her husband, who's visitation is memorialized in 'Putting the Fun Back in Funeral'.)

"Honey, he died and he lives in heaven now."

"So, they put him in a hole?"

"Well, his body, yes, but his heart is in heaven with Jesus."

"When he died?"

"Yes, honey."

"Well.....Chwis Wock died."

"Oh no! I am so sorry for your loss. But....I thought he died yesterday?"

"Ugh! Mah-ahm, he died yesterday, and today, and he's gonna die again tomorrow."

"Well, I am so sorry for your loss."

"Why did you say that, Mom?"

"Because it's what you say when you hear about somebody losing someone, or when something really sad like that happens."


"You're welcome, honey. I'm glad he's in heaven now."

*deafening pause of silence*

"Hey mommy, I'm so sowwy for yoh FACE!"

Rae-Rae begins snorting and giggling. "Hey, that was a good one!"


Sorry for the interruption...Blondie's sitting in the floor in her booster seat watching Sophia the First when she leans back and pulls some Shaun White crap. And yes, being the howwible  muthah that I am, I laughed at her.

If I get caught up in the rush and don't post again before Christmas, I hope each and every one of you has a blessed Christmas. Please reach out to someone outside your normal festivities this year. Whether it's a friend that's alone for the first time this Christmas or an elderly neighbor sitting alone and thinking of happier Christmases past, pick up the phone and give them a call. Drop by with a plate of cookies. Take the kids over to ruin their house for a few minutes. What's the worst that could happen? You interrupt the 'A Christmas Story' marathon? But you never know when you may be their lifeline. Just reach out...and bless their hearts.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas: The Ugly Truth

On the first day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
A picture perfect Christmas tree.

On the second day of Christmas, my family needs from me… 
A size 2 model mommy,
And a picture perfect Christmas tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
3 acres of gift-wrapped presents, 
A 6'2" Redwood mommy,
And "Okay! Okay!", a decorated tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
4 hours for visiting old people, 
3 acres of gift-wrapped presents, 
A 2-pound beautiful mommy, 
And a really, really purrty pine tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my family wants from me…
5 dozen gourmet cupcakes, 
4 hours seeing old people, 
3 million ribbon-wrapped presents, 
A disgustingly beautiful woman, 
And a fabulous lookin’ Christmas tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
6 (hundred) five dollar presents, 
5 dozen Snickernut Doodle Dump cupcakes, 
4 visits to people who don’t recognize me, 
3 trips to the store to get tape, 
2 string beans in need of a sandwich, 
And a big green tree…that’s dropping pine needles all OVER the carpet!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
7 people in line ahead of me to check out, 
6 (hundred) five dollar presents (that don’t mention the word “Christmas”), 
5 dozen store bought, hypoallergenic cupcakes, 
4 trips to the nursing home, 
3 dollars for a roll of tape?!,
2 heifers that I guarantee throw up at least 10 times a day, 
And…good Lord, have you seen the mess from this one tree?

On the eighth day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
8 surprise gifts for children, 
7 people in line to check out (and of COURSE they need a price check!),  
6 (hundred) five dollar, religiously unaffiliated presents, 
5 dozen—(sweet Jesus, $8 for a dozen?) cupcakes, 
4 “no, I’m her DAUGHTER”, 
3 acres of unwrapped gifts, 
2 bulimic Norwegians, 
And a “since when are trees sticky? Who’s gonna clean this crap up?” moment with our glorious pine tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my family needs from me… 
9 gingerbread Trump towers, 
8 surprise gifts for…(who are they for, again?), 
7 people needing three separate transactions for couponing purposes, 
6 (hundred) five dollar, vegetarian, gluten-free and religiously unaffiliated presents, 
5 dozen…”you’ve gotta be kidding me…Betty Crocker's an extortionist” cupcakes, 
4 “No, I'm not dead” discussions, 
3 "you did NOT just use the rest of the wrapping paper" lectures, 
2 heroine-shooting, broom-handled Swedes, 
And a “what do you MEAN the lights won’t work on our Christmas tree?"

On the tenth day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
10 handmade silk kimonos for teacher’s aides, librarians, and other unrecognizable people,
9 fresh baked skyscrapers, 
8 surprises for young'uns I don't know, 
7 buggies full of screaming kids, 
6 (hundred) five dollar, vegetarian, gluten-free, religiously unaffiliated presents (new in store packaging), 
5 dozen “I can make these for $4” cupcakes, 
4 “Granny, you can’t smoke on oxygen” reminders, 
3 I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-back-to-the-store-for-more-paper outrages, 
2 my-knee-is-bigger-than-her-head models, 
And a string of Christmas lights with half the bulbs burnt out and of COURSE the other half won’t work on our Christmas tree!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
11 trips to the kids’ schools before lunchtime, 
10 handmade silk kimonos using raw, organic silk from the Order of Celibate Silkworms of Manitoba for a bunch of women my kids can’t even name, 
9 leaning towers, 
8 surprises-in-the-sense-that-I-don’t-remember-what-I-bought, 
7 WIC recipients buying bacon-wrapped filets, hair jewels, and Booty Pop Panties, 
6 (hundred) five dollar, vegetarian, gluten-free, new in store packaging, religiously unaffiliated presents with individual gift receipts, 
5 more batches of HAIRLESS cupcakes,
4 “Granny, that’s my purse, not a bed pan” incidents, 
3 traffic citations on the way to buy wrapping paper, 
2 broomstick wenches, 
And a….smoking Christmas tree?

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my family needs from me…
A 12-course, Little Mermaid-inspired-yet PETA approved- dinner, 
11 million candy canes crushed in my floor board, 
10 “What do you MEAN you said lemonade for silky homos?” meltdowns, 
9 dustpans of gingerbread crumbs, 
8 “just give ‘em some batteries”, 
7 tears falling while I’m stuck in line at the grocery store, 
6 (hundred)  $5 black-label gift cards they can swipe in their butts if they don’t like ‘em, 
5 dozen day-old bakery cupcakes that put $27.50 in the cuss jar,
4 “Wait a minute, you’re not my granny!” mishaps, 
3 years probation for smackin' an 18-year-old Po-Po, 
2 women that are gonna envy my big childbirthin’ hips one day, 
And a hunky firefighter named Daryl putting out the fiery furnace that used to be our Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas y’all.

Are donations tax-deductible if they're mumbling through the duct tape?

Today, as I got the kids ready for school, a question stuck in my mind like a sand spur in a baby's diaper. 

Are donations to orphanages still tax-deductible when they're squirming in the trunk and trying to mumble through the duct tape?

No biggie today, just the normal morning junk. Within four minutes of waking up, li'l Blondie has an ear ache and a stomach ache, claims that I put her shoes on upside down, and has been spiritually dishonored by the seams on her socks. The seam on the toe of your socks? Well, that's her wire hangers button. 

"STWIPES! You put the stwipes on my toes! You can't do that! You ah wuining my wife!"

Rae-Rae is downstairs eating Cheerios in his pajama pants...two minutes before we're supposed to leave. 

Bubby, bless his heart, is trying to be good and get ready, but his incessant need to confess on his siblings' behalf slows down his daily preparation. 

Rae-Rae's Christmas Winter celebration in his class was this morning, and it went really well. You can learn a lot about kids when you sit back and watch them around other kids. 

I walk in about 30 minutes before the party to help set up, and as soon as I walk in the door, 25 children are screaming at me. 

"Feliz Navidad! Aw....."

Have you ever seen 'Big Daddy' with Adam Sandler, where they waste the good surprise on Adam Sandler when he walks into his buddy's surprise party? Well, today I was a middle-aged Jewish comedian. 

Their teacher had gone down the hall to her child's party, and apparently I was supposed to be her.

I couldn't help but laugh at those beautiful Spanish words. They bring back happy memories of when Rae-Rae was little, and he'd run around the house bellering "Police got me down! Police got me down! I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas...."  I used to hate the song, but now?  Not so much.

The party was a hoot, though. The little offensive one I wrote about yesterday turns out to be a really annoying kid. His mom and little sister were there and extremely friendly. Him? Very annoying, but they were really nice, which proves my point:  I'm not prejudiced against their cultural identity. No more than I'm prejudiced against any other smart-mouthed, sassy pants 8-year-olds. 

But I gnawed on some really useful morsels of momdom during this little celebration. 
  1. Rae-Rae actually does like to read. (If I sat beside the annoying kid, I'd probably read a lot, too.)
  2. Eight-year-old boys are demented. Apparently, the boys have been spending their recess time throwing each other off of the monkey bars while singing 'Wrecking Ball.' 
  3. Just because a kid's skinny doesn't mean they don't eat. I saw a 22-pound boy that's taller than me eat 7 pounds of Doritos without so much as a belch. 
  4. All children lie, not just mine. Dorito boy sat there and told a group of adults that he hadn't eaten in three days because his mom doesn't feed him on days when she works. As his class mates pointed out that he'd eaten snack that morning, and snacks and lunches every day that week, he twerked his claim to say "well, except for that."  
  5. There are four girls in his 3rd grade class that are taller than I am. I'm very excited about this.
  6. Girls begin acting like drama-infused, eye-rolling teenagers some time before 3rd grade. 
  7. At their elementary school, wires frequently get crossed. I'm just glad it wasn't me that sent my kid to school in pajamas the day before pajama day. 
  8. Other parents are afraid of large groups of young children, too. By the time these hyperactive Christmas ninjas were finished with the juice, cookies, candy canes, and chips, three of us moms had promised a visiting dad that we were sympathizers and would have his back if the prosecution claimed his actions were premeditated. 
  9. Pretzels topped with Rolo's and M&M's might be the 2013 Pinterest Pin of the Year.
  10. Rae-Rae's teacher also takes random trips to Wal-Mart at odd hours just to enjoy a walk by herself. 
So, to everybody celebrating the holidays with their human pinata offspring, Merry Christmas! Chanukah Sameach! Blow Southerners! Quack Quack, Mr. Robertson. I salute you for standing up for your beliefs and not being afraid of being called a judgmental meanie pants. Go the Prime Minister of Djibouti a hamster smuggling bone bag. It's your prerogative. 

I leave with you today two quotes that seem to ring loud and clear, given the headlines and emergence of whiny-lipped thumb suckers today.

"I don't know what to say, except it's Christmas and we're all in misery." (Ellen Griswold, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.)

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

I'm pretty sure I'll be charged with a hate crime for that one.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Destined to be a Poop Deck Swabber on the Titanic

Do you ever wake up in the morning? I sure hope so.

I wake up late...every morning. We have a regular alarm clock, the barnyard miracle I bathed with on Saturday, and a completely useless inner clock.

I ain't kidding. I've overslept for at least a year and a half now. And WOW, does it set your day up for a great start!

Yesterday was terrible. I don't know what exactly happened, but when my dear husband got home, the children were sitting silently at the dinner table...EATING. That's how scary I'd apparently become since they got home from school.

I don't usually lose control to that extent, but I was ashamedly dropping potty word bombs like candy off a Mardi Gras parade.

I'm sitting here trying to figure out my school crap to figure out what's the quickest way to get out of school with a degree that's good for something more than separating recyclables.  (And no, I haven't found it.)

I'm getting my degree in Elementary Education, and the thought of me being a teacher is nauseating. I'm serious:  I would be the worst teacher ever.

I respect the heck out of teachers. They're given a bunch of demands on how they have to teach math without making the students grieve for the items that disappeared in the cold, hard reality of subtraction. They have to teach history without talking about the human propensity for violence, disagreements and the occasional dismemberment for recreational purposes. They have to teach about how the world was created, but they have to teach something that isn't proven, won't ever be proven, and quite frankly, gets my panties in a wad just thinking about it. They're told that they have been charged with molding the minds of America's future, of stirring the melting pot of international intricacies in order to create a more perfect union.

Well, guess what? I ain't that kind of woman. I don't know what it is, but I can't sell out like that. I can't check who I am at the door and put on my politically correct face. I can't tell 25 students that they have to sit there and ignore li'l Johnny, who's slam dancin' in the book nook because his momma didn't pack the Ding Dong's he wanted for snack. Twenty-five other kids have to be lectured on why Johnny acts this way, and how his mother is clearly neglectful and should seek therapy for her insensitive ways. Li'l Johnny needs his butt tore outta the frame!!!

Don't get me wrong....I really respect and admire people that teach. I honestly don't know how you make it to till 5:00 every day without hitting the bottle. I guess some people are cut out for it, and others aren't.

I'm wrapping up a course called "Foundations of Diversity and Exceptionality" right now. (If that don't scream tree-huggin-conscience-fondlers, I don't know what does.) It's all about how the classroom is the emesis basin for self-expression and individuality. THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG WITH Y'ALL!

Rae-Rae came home telling me about a situation that took place in his class that was all over me like white on rice, and I decided to contact my course mentor. (Yeah, it's not "teacher" or "professor" anymore. I guess that would make me base jump into the Grand Canyon to realize that there is another person in charge that's gonna tell me what to do.)

Better put on your tolerance toboggan right quick.

There's a kid in Rae-Rae's class that is of a different religion and previously hailed from a country in a rather grumpy part of the world. I'd share his first name, but it's so stereotypical that you'd think I was making it up anyway.

Each morning, the kids say the pledge and sing the 'Star Spangled Banner', which actually surprises me. I'm surprised that hasn't offended somebody by now.

But this particular child screeches and makes fun of the lyrics of our national anthem each morning, and sits at his desk and talks to himself during the pledge.

Just hearing this makes me wanna punch the kid. I ain't sayin' he's gotta conform, but he can at least sit there and shut up while the other kids show some respect to their country.

I e-mailed my course mentor, and asked her how this situation should handled, according to our recycled toilet paper-printed textbook. I almost went Ralph Macchio on our picture window when I read her response.

According to her Ph.D. stuffed britches, the class should adapt the pledge and national anthem segment of the morning to accommodate this child. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

She went on to say that his needs are most likely not being met, and he probably feels intimidated and out of place during this daily routine. She said that he should be given the opportunity to acknowledge his home country and rituals and explain them to his classmates.

I don't have a problem with that. kid's just gonna come home and ask why they're still throwing rocks at tanks in this kid's country.

My issue is that as a teacher, I can't tell this little pot licker to sit down and shut up, or go wait in the hall if he's gonna act like a bipolar orangutan. Why is his right to be a butt more important than a lesson in respecting others? Oh, that's right, because HE has to be respected.

I really try not to judge people based on stereotypes, but I'm tired of my kid being told to sit there and accept li'l Jo-Jo's temper tantrums because he's been made to feel uncomfortable.

But anyway...I am so freakin' frustrated with school and trying to finish a degree in brainwashing while sticking to my beliefs. MY beliefs. I don't ask you to sit there and watch me sing "Oh Holy Night" in pig latin because I'm a Christian and it's my right. (Remember? I'm a US-born, Christian, white citizen....I'm lucky I haven't been fined for that trifecta alone.) But if I want to do it in my spare time, I have that right.

I'm not a good candidate for selling-out. If a principal asks why I would be a good teacher, there's a good shot I'm gonna laugh in their face and go into a rant about how their school is teaching my kid calculus in first grade, but they can't tie their shoes.

Maybe that's why writing is so important to me. I don't have to pretend. I don't have to lie. I don't have to beat my head against a wall every day to avoid offending Jo-Jo's three-legged pet frog.

Y'all, please pray for me. I'm getting ready to send my manuscript out to publishers, and if I get sucked back into classroom mode, I'm gonna shove myself up a chimney.

I hope y'all have a great day. I looked back at my to-do list from last night, and I'm thinking I'm gonna have to edit it a li'l bit.

  1. Hog tie Bruce Springsteen and drag him to the roof of Wal-Mart, where he can sing about Santa all he wants to.
  2. Hunt down Michael Bolton and velcro him to the wall of a kindergarten classroom after they've had cupcakes and punch.
  3. Buy 87 candy canes for a bunch of kids who are gonna find them crunched up in their backpacks come Memorial Day. 
  4. Fix a dinner that nobody will eat. 
  5. Oversleep....again. 
  6. Read about how all of my friends are celebrating the holidays together while we're living next door to Russian mobsters disguised as a homeschooling family of car salesmen. 
  7. Drop off Blondie at Pre-K without her backpack, folder and blanket for naptime.
  8. Make sure Rae-Rae takes Mr. T's present to him today. 
Actually, I've done pretty good today. I can cross off numbers 6, 7, and 8. The high point of the morning was definitely see Mr. T run a victory lap around the car rider line with Rae-Rae while pumping their fists like Rocky. That's why he's a good teacher. 

I'm gonna go on Pinterest and see if I can find a DIY cerebral enema to get rid of my lousy mood. Or maybe another face mask...

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mommagration: When Uncle Sam Brings Home a Baby Burrito (and other Assimilational Deficits)

What do Mork from Ork, E.T. and Juan Fernando the Guadalajaran giraffe wrangler have in common? They are all aliens. Some came from the sky in the predecessor to a Denny’s three egg extravaganza. E.T. got Joe Dirt’d by his family. And Juan Fernando? Well, he jumped a fence somewhere along the way.

In America today, there are almost 12 million illegal immigrants. According to, an immigration reform website, illegal immigration costs the U.S. $113 billion per year. Over $50 billion of that is the cost of educating the children of illegal immigrants. But we can’t ask them to speak English?

Let’s stop right there for a second. Our infinitely wise government made the allowance 
which consequently gave birth to anchor babies sans the epidural. (I just love this drawing!)

Yep. If you break the law and come here illegally, we will gladly give your kid a free ride indefinitely. Are you kidding me?!

So, you mean to tell me that wherever you happen to drop a baby is where it gets a free ride?

 If that’s the case, we’re gonna have at least three more kids…one in Disney World, one in a Ford-Lincoln dealership, and one in the Outback Steakhouse.

Now before you go yankin’ my love-for-all-mankind card, hear me out.


If they want to be here, fine! We will gladly bend them over a barrel for their tax dollars, too.

It just don’t make sense that we’ll give you free medicine, free food, and a free cell phone, but we will NOT take your tax dollars. Seriously?

If they want to be citizens, come on over! We’ll fix the world’s biggest burrito bar and hang the biggest dad gum Uncle Sam piñata you’ve ever seen to commemorate the occasion.

Then we’ll lock the gate behind them ‘cuz the first time they do their taxes, they’ll be working their fence climbing skills to sneak back into Mexico. You’ll think it’s a deacon from Westboro Baptist trying to escape an evening with Elton John.

But, by all means, make them citizens. Let them enjoy the wonderful things this country has to offer…at the expense of 30+ percent of their income. At least they’re paying for their own benefits then!

I have no problem with people from other countries…unless they can’t drive or they’re rude. And even then, it ain’t because of where they’re from. It’s because they’re rude.

I don’t care if it’s their home land’s policy to block the whole aisle in the store while looking for organic squid dandruff. You’re here now, so you need to learn some manners. Rude Americans, you need to turn your eco-cycle butts back north, too, ‘cuz lots of y’all have brought your rude, unfriendly ways down here and you’re tainting our water.

It’s hard to smile and bless somebody’s heart when they’ve run over two of my kids, cut me off for a parking place, and cooked my  cat….since yesterday.

I try not to be racist, y’all, but when some four foot nothing, 80 pound monster runs over my ankles with her 2-ton buggy of bok choy and glares at me (at least I think she was glaring) as she speeds by, I just want to throw Chinese pepper flakes in her eyes and yell “Ching chong potato, you bamboo-smoking wench!”

(For the record, I wasn’t sure what spicy Asian thing to reference there, so I googled “spicy Asian.” Y’all, do NOT do that. Father, forgive me. It was an accident, but I need you to perform a miracle and gimme a little skoosh of amnesia or I’ll never see General Tso the same way again.)

I think it was the late, great Harvey Korman that said “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” He was onto something.

You wouldn’t go into a monastery and start faking Tourette’s again. You wouldn’t go into a church and start singing “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson. You wouldn’t go to Captain D’s to preach about the inhumanity of fishing from the front counter. You wouldn’t go to McDonald’s and warn others about the evils of eating chicken. Oh, wait a minute….

But respect the culture of where you’re going…even in the US.

Down here, we help people. We speak to people when we walk by. We make eye contact.

But when it comes to asking our opinions, you better watch it ‘cuz there’s two schools of thought on this subject.

One bunch of us will roll out and deep-fry the truth so that we can sugar it up and call it a Krispy Kreme. We’ll tell you a bit of the truth, but we won’t tell it all because we’re not always good at using our gentle words. This is a skill that takes a while to learn, and kids don’t have it. At least mine don’t.

A few examples…

“I like big houses, our big pool, daddy’s big truck….I like big things. I LOVE you, momma!”

“Momma, I love your big belly ‘cuz it’s soft and squishy like daddy’s.”

“Momma, how do you have so much gray hair…” (pause for moment of realization)… “when you don’t look a day over 21?”  Okay, A for effort….at least he put some tasty lotion on that foot in his mouth.

But then there’s the other school of thought:  unfiltered. If you could were to marinate a pack of filterless, menthols in a 40-oz. slurpee jug of espresso and then pack ‘em in like the biggest chaw of Red Man you’ve ever seen, you’d have the potency of these Shakespearean sociopaths.

If you don’t want their whole, unrestrained, free-range opinion, don’t ask them. But if you wanna laugh, go find one and hang on.

These are the unitoothed, trailer-dwelling tornado wranglers that become local celebrities every Spring.

Jim Cantore comes squealin’ into town in his black tee, and sticks his mike in the face of the first redneck he sees.

“Things are indeed a mess here in Holly Springs. Multiple trees down, massive power outages, and a missing train depot…destruction running amuck. People are wandering up and down Highway 5 like a scene from the Walking Dead.

“Here we have Randy Possumtrot, who is a third generation resident of the Little River mobile home park. Randy, how did you feel when you saw the destruction of this tornadic system?”

“Do what? Are you thick or somethin’? How the heck you thank I felt? I lost my best coon dawg. The neighbor’s trailer is straddlin’ my El Camino, and we still can’t find Granny’s Hoveround. Wait a….dad gum it, has anybody seen granny? Jesus H. Christ…it’s like losin' the Bear all over again. All you dumb sumbitches care about is getting’ yer pictures fer yer fancy tv show, and they ain’t a one of us even GOT cable tv. How do I know you ain’t some Communist pedophile trying to tape me for some kinky video? I know about people like you. You’re on the intranet, ain’t you? Get outta here for I blow you to pieces, purty boy.”

If you’ve ever wondered why Jim Cantore doesn’t cover tornadoes, now you know. His assimilation skills leave a lot to be desired. Bless his heart.