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Dear 2019:

Despite the fact that I likely won’t be awake to officially welcome you (I’m elderly and need my sleep), I really am looking forward to seeing you.

[As for you, 2018, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Good riddance (we did not have the time of our lives).]

Readers who have been with me here for a while know that I’m not a resolution kind of gal. Why wait to make changes you need to make?

I needed to start a diet, so I did — in September.

I needed to rethink some relationships, so I did — in July.

I needed to get a project back on track, so I did — in February.

All that said, the first day of the new year offers a good time to reflect. And I have looked inside myself and found some internal shriveling. Hence (such a good word), here’s how I hope to improve while I’m in you, 2019:

  1. Refrain from strangling Dominic for one more year. It’s so hard. He’s 14; the hormones are strong with this one. Eddie and I take turns playing Good Cop and Bad Cop. Today, Eddie was Bad Cop, telling Dominic to turn in some missing school work. Then I get this text:
  2. Let Gideon hold my hand, even when his hand is clammy. His hand is always clammy. Or sticky. Dear God, WHY is his hand always clammy or sticky?
  3. Stop telling Gideon his hand is clammy/sticky, and that he needs to wash WITH SOAP.
  4. Resist the urge to roll my eyes at Eddie. Ever. No matter what silly thing he is asking/doing/saying. At least where he can see me. And he will do the same for me. (And believe me, I give him plenty of opportunities.)
  5. Avoid being a beer snob. If all they have is Coors Light or PBR, just walk away. Get some water, maybe even out of the garden hose (same difference). No need to make a big deal of it.
  6. Cut down on collecting dead things. Photos of dead things can be fine. And friends posting about dead things on my social media also is fine. And live things too.
  7. Refuse to engage with toxic people. Clearly, I’ll have to give up Twitter. (But then I’ll miss people posting about dead things and live things.)
  8. Write more; talk less. And don’t get sidetracked by Words With Friends. (Is this appropriate? Probably. I don’t know him.)
  9. Seek help for my Amazon Prime addiction. The plus side of this is that Christmas shopping was done by October.
  10. Invite people over. Yes, our apartment is the size of the Keebler tree. No one cares.
  11. Use the following words every chance I get: savory, shank, persnickety, moist, perfunctory, shocking, lollygag, kerfuffle, fracas, soiree, illicit, nefarious, supine, incandescent, degloved and mollycoddle. They just have a remarkable mouthfeel.

As for you, 2019, we will chat again when your 90-day probationary period is up. And mine too, I guess.

Happy new you,
Beth

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Dear Halloween:

You and Christmas Eve are my favorite holidays. For you, I get dressed up and give out candy. For the other, I wait for someone dressed up to give me candy.

Luckily, my family feels the same way about you. Sometimes, we get other people to join us in group costumes.

It’s the one time of year where I let my craft freak flag fly.

Here’s a retrospective of costumes we’ve had over the years.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately, living in an apartment has its drawbacks: All my Halloween paraphernalia is in storage. Plus, I’ll be teaching tonight, so I won’t be able to go all out.

There’s always next year.

Love you!
Beth

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Dear Sons of Mine:

It’s been very weird for me for you to have phones and, with them, social media accounts. You know I gave you phones only because you had good grades and are fairly responsible (and because you not having phones was starting to be a pain for me).

The weirdest conversation so far was this one with you, Gideon, not too long ago:

You: Today is Glenn’s birthday.
Me: Glenn who?
You: Glenn, your boss.
Me: Wait … what? How do you know?
You: We are friends on Facebook.
Me: !!!

But strange conversations are now de rigueur. Behold (this convo comes after your father talked about your baseball team going from “last to first”):

And here is this soon-to-be classic from you, Dominic (you never text me unless you want something):

My head nearly exploded. Please, please pay attention in language arts class and USE PUNCTUATION (or you’ll never again get what you want from me, a grammarian who is a stickler for proper punctuation).

You both make me crazy. And also, I love you.
Mama

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Dear Amazon Stork Prime Returns Department:

When I brought “First-born Son” home, I was so pleased with it. Yes, it did make plenty of noise at first — keeping me up many, many nights in a row (about 240 to be honest) — and it did make somewhat of a mess, but it was adorable. Everyone said so. And it was just what I wanted.

Very cute, right?

My husband and I then enjoyed years of fun with “First-born Son.” Lately, though, this product has started acting up. It started with an eyeroll here and there. Then it began muttering under its breath. The noises coming out of it over the past few weeks, however, are really too much to bear.

We usually only hear “whatever” or “I don’t want to (insert anything except eating Cheez-its and playing Fortnite).” But this weekend, it actually wished me dead.

This can’t be proper behavior of the “First-born Son” product line.

It’s stuck in this position.

I’m not sure what kind of warranty you have on “First-born Son” or refund policy, but I need to find some kind of resolution. Is there at least a master reset button or factory restore I can perform?

Please let me know. Time is of the essence.

Sincerely,
Beth

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Like this, but not as hairy

Elusive creature spotted at community park
From Staff Reports*

BROOKHAVEN, Ga. — A group that claims to track the mythic beast known as “Teenager” through the streets of Atlanta says they finally spotted the creature over the weekend in Dekalb County.

According to the group, the sighting occurred around 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Murphey Candler Park.

A woman named Beth said the creature made its presence known after she and fellow group members set up iPhones preloaded with Fortnite at various locations in an apparent attempt to lure the Teenager in.

“The angle of the sun was shining straight down on the seats on the Major Field and something big stepped into view,” Beth said. “I lifted my sunglasses to see better, and I saw a large bipedal animal covered in peach fuzz and ill-fitting clothes. It took one step into the stands, (then) I took off running toward it.”

The woman said that she and fellow Teenager trackers proceeded to follow what they claim was a large creature marginally recognized by modern science around the field to the concession stand.

“Its face was barely washed with no hair on it,” she said. “Its hands and feet were enormous. It was wearing clothes that looked way too big, but that is apparently the style among these creatures.”

Though not social, the creature did take extreme interest in the iPhone and was willing to sit near humans in the stands of the Major Field for moments at a time. Though it did not speak, the beast did grunt occasionally in response to stimuli.

*Credit/apologies to Travis Hall and Blue Ridge Outdoors for the words I liberally changed.

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EPISODE 3: Bad taste in beverages
Rated G for grandma, giant babies and “Good God, that Guy is … Gregarious!”

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON

ENTER FATHER and TWO KIDS, DOMINIC and GIDEON. MOTHER shows up 30 minutes later after finishing the Season 2 opener of “Jersey Shore Family Vacation.” (Ronnie had a meltdown on social media? Say it isn’t so!) FATHER and MOTHER practically double the average age of pool denizens.

MOTHER
Who are these people (referencing the dozen or so twentysomethings)?

FATHER
No idea.

GIDEON
Can we go home now?

MOTHER
Dude, I just got here!

FATHER (to MOTHER, who is wearing jeans)
Are you swimming?

MOTHER
No.

DOMINIC
Then let’s go.

MOTHER
Here’s the key. We’re going to hang out for a bit.

DOMINIC and GIDEON exit.

FATHER (referencing the cooler MOTHER has brought)
Anything in there for me?

MOTHER (handing him an adult sippy cup)
Yes.

MOTHER plays Words with Friends. FATHER watches a video of a man getting sucked into an escalator in Turkey. MOTHER overhears loud talking from one member of the youngster group.

MOTHER (to FATHER)
Why is there always one loud guy in the group? Which one is it?

FATHER (to MOTHER, whose back is to the group)
Look around. It’s the one you think it is. It’s always that guy.

MOTHER (glancing over her shoulder)
It’s the big guy in the hat, isn’t it?

FATHER
Yup.

LOUD GUY (repeats this phrase three times)
It was the best time of my life.

MOTHER
All right. I’m going to throw this out (references her empty can) and get out of here.

FATHER
Great idea.

MOTHER sees that these children don’t even have good taste in beer.

MOTHER
Bud Light? Ultra? GAH! (The Athena is hers.)

Look at this trash!

MOTHER
You coming?

FATHER
Yeah.

END SCENE

 

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