Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Dear Dad,

The last time I wrote to you here, I had satire on my mind. This time it is to complain. Thanks to you, I feel the need to bleach my entire body. This weekend cleaning out your garage was rough.

Even before you passed, I had marshaled the troops (i.e., your son in law and grandchildren who had no choice) to get your garage hoard somewhat under control. Just one bay of the three took us almost an entire weekend, including two trips in two trucks to both the dump and Goodwill.

Since your September demise, I’ve spent many weekend days inside your house going through mounds of paperwork (Why would you save owner’s manuals for appliances you gave away in the ’90s?), office supplies (so many office supplies) and CDs (Four copies of the same Flatt and Scruggs recording? What the heck?!) in just one room alone. At least I was in air conditioning and relative comfort.

This garage cleaning, though … sheesh. Here’s what I personally handled in just three hours:

1. Empty and near-empty bottles of all manner of small engine fluids
2. Stacks of 78 rpm records
3. Hundreds of jars of dried-up model airplane paint
4. All kinds of outdated technology (a slide projector!)
5. At least 45 different species of spiders and bugs, most of them alive and ready to rumble

Some people (you) might say, “Hold on — that’s valuable stuff!” Well, Dad, not when it has been in a detached garage without climate control and regular roach bombings.

Three more trips to Goodwill and another trip to the dump, and I’m not done yet. I see at least three more days of purging ahead of me. And maybe some therapy to address my new daddy issues.

I know it’s bad form for me to be upset with you when you aren’t physically present to defend yourself. It’s frustrating, though, because I remember the week I spent — using vacation days from work, no less — cleaning this very same garage after Mom died in 2009. And you were not happy about it (even though you asked me to do it).

When I tried to get rid of your model-airplane parts, you yelled at me that you were going to get back into building planes. When I questioned the need for 400 cassettes, you said you still listened to all of them — even though there was not a tape player in sight (the reel-to-reel player doesn’t count). When I started to throw away some dry-rotted Christmas decorations, you claimed you used them “just last year” — a statement we both knew was false when Frosty melted in my hands.

I begged you to be more aggressive in your tossing. I remember saying, “Dad, please don’t leave this all for me to clean up when you die.”

Now it’s almost 10 years later and everything is exactly as I left it. Except you’ve added more. For example, what’s this collection in the corner, Dad?

I really don’t want to put my hands in that pile.

I was not prepared mentally or physically for this garage showdown. For one thing, I forgot to bring gloves, a mask, boxes and industrial-strength garbage bags. When Katherine brought out some trash bags from the house, I felt encouraged that they were laden with “rodent repellent.”*

mint-scented rodent repellent bags

That is, until I got a whiff.

Remember my last post in which I said I have a “titanium stomach and a broken sniffer.” Yeah, well, mint-scented rodent repellent apparently is my kryptonite. I could smell that very well. And my stomach did not approve.

I really needed a hazmat suit, a cheering squad for motivation, and an OSHA-approved eye- and body-wash station. I even considered another trip to the Jeju Sauna. That’s how bad it was.

None of my friends should wonder why I like the show, “Hoarders.” It provides cognizance, comfort and coping skills all in one!

I realized, though, while I was doing an extended-surface and deep-body-cavity cleansing afterward that you are still teaching me even though you have moved on to the great beyond.

The lesson?

Never do this to your kids.

Mine will be lucky to get a footlocker from me, as I plan to chuck almost everything long before I kick it.

You know I love you, but I did not love this.

Sigh.

Say hi to Mom and Gram for me.

Your organized and aggravated daughter,
Beth

* Note that it says it is effective against raccoons. Two things:
1. Hando did not come with me on this adventure, so I guess it works on dead raccoon parts.
2. It does not work on live ones, or at least live rabid ones. Katherine tangled with one on the front porch just moments before we got there. (Ironic, no?) The rabid brethren of Hando then tangled with a car and lost.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Dear Delta Airlines:

It sure would be great if you made sure each seat pocket contained an airsickness bag. I found out the hard way that you don’t.

No one wants to be awakened from a nap with a whack on the leg by a kid saying, “Mama, I need a barf bag!”

Luckily for my nauseated son and the lady in the seat in front of him, I have cat-like reflexes and the mom instinct to save the bag I got when I bought bottled water (no filtered system, Boston Logan? Come ON!).

I also have a titanium stomach and a broken sniffer. My other son, well … not so much. I almost needed two bags.

So much for you being ready when I am.

It was a good thing I found the stray diaper disposal bag in a different seat pocket. The bags one gets with purchased water apparently are not leak proof. It also was a good thing the sick son wasn’t sitting next to his father.

One more thing, Delta, could you please tell your flight attendants not to sneer and recoil in horror when a customer asks where she can dispose of said double-bagged goodness? It’s not something I’ve ever had to ask, so how would I know I had to dispose of it myself in the lavatory?

Your slogan, “Keep climbing,” seemed more like “Keep moving” for them. Not very hospitable.

Anyway, my son is fine, thanks in advance for asking. I’ll remember to bring extra bags for next time in case you don’t heed my advice.

Yours in preparedness,
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers:

Every year, we go on a weeklong cruise with friends.* Four different families are involved, but not all families go every year. This year, three families spent a week on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas. There were 11 of us: six adults and five kids.

Families present:
Patrick, Petra, Ryder (13), Mia (9)
Edgar (aka Eggy), Sophia, Ava (9)
Eddie, me, Dominic (13), Gideon (12)

Here is the week in quotes (all accurate, I swear):

DAY ONE: Port Canaveral
Setting: Four adults and four children are walking in a single-file line down the narrow stateroom hallway on Deck 12 to make way for an old lady on a scooter.
Patrick: “Excuse us.”
Hag: “It’s too late for that now.”
(Note: Were we supposed to spring to the ceiling like spider people to make more room?)

 

DAY TWO: At sea
Setting: Breakfast at Johnny Rockets
Server to Eggy: “You want omelet?”
Eggy: “Sure.”
Server: “Hamchee?”
Eggy: “Hamchee?”
Server: “Hamchee omelet. You can have ham and chee. Or plain ham with chee. Or a little chee with some ham. Ham and chee.”

Setting: One of the many pool areas on Deck 15
Patrick to me as I’m peacefully sipping a fruity drink: “You paid $12.95 for that?”
Me: “Yes, but there is a souvenir glass!”

Setting: Same place, but about 10 minutes later
Server to me: “You want another one?”
Me: “Yes, please.”
Server, holding up rum bottle: “With medication?”
Me: “Lord, yes.”

 

DAY THREE: At sea
Setting: Outside Patrick/Petra’s cabin as we are getting ready to go to lunch
Ryder: Gideon and I just heard a guy knock on the door like this: [Ryder says “Room Service, Room Service” while rhythm knocking on the door]
Gideon and Dominic start doing two different dances from Fortnite: Orange Justice (Dominic) and the Floss (Gideon) while chanting/singing, “Room Service, Room Service.” This becomes a refrain for all of us the rest of the week.

Setting: The first formal night
Angry old guy walking down hallway: “I’m not dressing up for nobody.”

 

DAY FOUR: Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Setting: Our cabin where a medley of children and adults are playing Uno. Dominic is gnawing on candy that just appeared in the room.
Me to Dominic: “Who bought that candy?”
Patrick: “I think Petra did.”
Me to Dominic: “Of course. You never use your money to buy anything.”
Dominic: “I would if you’d let me access my funds.”

DAY FIVE: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Setting: Breakfast at the Windjammer buffet
Me to Sophia: “I realized I didn’t bring enough pants. I guess I’ll just be Pooh-ing it up the rest of the trip.”

Setting: Still breakfast
Server to all: “You want sticky bun?”
All (with variation): “No, thanks.”
Ryder and Gideon using the “Room Service” rhythm after the server leaves: “Sticky Bun, Sticky Bun!”

Setting: Deck chairs near sports pool area after we leave San Juan
Patrick to me: “You aren’t getting a drink?”
Me: “No, it’s $12.95, and there’s not even a souvenir glass.”
(Note: What a difference a few days makes.)

Setting: Evening at the lobster dinner
Patrick to all: “Should we meet later at the Windjammer? The ass jammer?”
Me, after misunderstanding Patrick: “The ass chamber?”

 

DAY SIX: Labadee, Haiti
Setting: Beach after the water park where we were not allowed to bring hats, sunglasses, coverups or a magic cave in which to hide
Patrick to me: “You look a little lobster-y.”
Petra to me, five minutes later: “Uh oh, you got some color.”

Setting: Dazzles bar where the six adults are playing Joking Hazard
Petra to all: “There’s not enough dick talk in here. We should create our own rude game.”

 

DAY SEVEN: At sea
Setting: Breakfast at the newly christened Ass Chamber buffet
Eddie to no one in particular: “I’m getting into the wine at 2 today.”

Setting: Low-stakes blackjack table at the casino
Me to Eggy and Patrick: “Do you want me to get out [of my seat] so you can play?”
Patrick**: You play your game, girlie.

 

DAY EIGHT: Back in port
Setting: The pool at the hotel where we had to stay over before going home
Dominic to Eddie and me: “I’m not going in the lazy river anymore.”
Me: “Why?”
Dominic: “Some kid peed.”
Me: “How do you know?”
Dominic: “You don’t just go up to your sister and say ‘I just peed’ if you didn’t pee.”

More cruise posts to follow, including one about the buffet. (I know you can’t wait!)

Love,
Beth

* Luckily I had paid for this when we were flush — long before our Savannah house sat on the market (and sat and sat and sat). (I haven’t written about that because it is still too painful. Not at the funny point yet.)

** There’s so much from Pat here. It’s because A) he’s funny and B) we are the two in the group who love to play games, so we are together more than most. Most of the others like to work out. Shudder.

Read Full Post »

Dear Apartment Complex Rule Makers:

I received your email (screenshot above) in preparation for Memorial Day weekend. While I appreciate the effort, we need to talk about a couple of these rules:

1.) In order for all residents to have a fair chance to enjoy the pool there is a 2 guest maximum per household. As an example, if your lease agreement includes a total of three leaseholders/occupants, the maximum number of people you are allowed to have at the pool would be 5. This includes your two guests.
I feel like this is the Whole Foods rule. I’m OK with that, but how are you going to check?

2.) When using the amenities all guests must be accompanied by the leaseholder they are visiting.
Even the bathroom? No. Not happening.

3.) Children must be supervised and accompanied by an adult leaseholder when using the pool.
Great idea. Can you also put a noise and/or whine limit on said children? Case in point, this little bastard who screamed bloody murder every time his brother squirted him:

5.) Alcoholic Beverages are not allowed at the pool.
Imma let you finish but
Nevermind. I won’t. What good is having a pool if you can’t have adult beverages around it?

7.) No Horseplay.
I need a definition. Does whacking a friend with a pool noodle count? (Asking for a friend. [A friend who is really my youngest son.]) What about a random dad taking all the kids for a ride on his back? You are going to have to be specific.

This is supposedly the dad of one of our kids’ friends. I don’t know. He could have been the complex pedophile. Were my kids happy? Yes. I was there just in case. Shut up.

8.) No Solo Bathing
What does this mean? I can’t come to the pool by myself? F that. I dare you to say something to me. I’ll sling a nonalcoholic beverage at you. (Or does it mean not washing your solo cup in the pool? Or that Han Solo can’t come over?)

10.) ENJOY!
How is this possible when you hit us with the rules above. Please.

Also, where is the no-doob rule that is clearly needed?

And what about rules for music?

And a loud talker rule?

This guy had a story for everything. No one could top his exploits.

You get an A for effort, but a C- for execution.

Bah.

I’m still going, though. I have stories to write.

See you soon!
Beth

Read Full Post »

Dear William Shakespeare:

May I call you Wills (like a famous best man)? I feel like I’ve gotten to know you better over the past few days. (And you have a beard, which I like.)

My university has a special week-long “school” for professors to do a deep dive into a text to help us better teach it to students. I signed up for “Othello,” as it is even more relevant today (and I hadn’t read it since I was at this university the first time as a student). (Best part: Watching the Mekhi Phifer/Julia Stiles/Josh Hartnett movie version as homework.)

Anyway, you wrote certain lines in your other plays that people really love and quote all the time. Yet I found some in “Othello” that I’m going to start using regularly:

“Being full of supper and distempering draughts, upon malicious bravery dost thou come to start my quiet?”

I plan to use Brabantio’s line (Act 1, Scene 1) the next time Darryl rings the doorbell after 9 p.m.

“O, gentle lady, do not put me to’t, for I am nothing if not critical.”

I’ll channel Iago (Act 2, Scene 1) with Miles’ mom at the pool this weekend.

“I have drunk but one cup tonight, and that was craftily qualified too, and behold what innovation it makes here!”

Cassio knows a good drinking line when he speaks it (Act 2, Scene 3). As do I. Speaking of drinking …

“I learned it in England, where indeed they are most potent in potting.”

Indeed. Iago speaks the truth (Act 2, Scene 3) about folks drinking in a big way.

“Ha, I like not that.”

Iago delivers a line (Act 3, Scene 3) that is perfect for a variety of occasions.

So thanks for putting words in my mouth. It may have been hard to be the bard, but your efforts still resonate more than 400 years later.

Yours in all kindness,
Beth

Read Full Post »

 

Dear Music Lovers:

If you are like me, you have playlists for various occasions. In my case, these playlists correspond to very specific occasions. Here are some examples:

1. Playlist that keeps me from murdering my attitudinal oldest son and burying his body in the shrubs outside our door:

Notes: It’s hard to be mad at your 13 year old when 13-year-old Taylor Hanson is scatting. No, I’m not ashamed to have One Direction on a playlist. Yes, “1985” resonates (I too never got a hand on a member of Duran Duran. Yet.).

2. Playlist that helps me get ready for work when I spent too much time the night before bingeing “Santa Clarita Diet” and drinking wine.

Notes: I dare you to stand still when you hear any of these songs. “Thrift Shop” is one of my youngest son’s favorite songs.

3. Playlist that allows me to let my redneck freak flag fly (and those moments I can ignore over-the-top objectification of women):

Notes: This may surprise you, but my first date with Eddie was a Tim McGraw/Sawyer Brown concert. I was a DJ for a country music radio station at the time. As I also worked as a TV news reporter, I couldn’t use my real name on air at the radio station. I wanted to call myself Moonpie Jones, but my boss wouldn’t let me.

4. Playlist to offer when someone asks you your favorite song from the ’80s.

Notes: How could I choose? So many great songs for so many good reasons. It’s shocking how Bow Wow Wow is undervalued and underplayed.

5. Playlist for when the kids are not in the car:

 

Notes: All great. All NSFW and NSFC. It’s surprising there’s no “E” next to “Crazy Bitch.” It’s definitely “E.” (Sarah K., don’t say a word to me about Buckcherry.)

6. Playlist for stress cleaning your habitat because your house in your old city STILL hasn’t sold.

Notes: It’s been a year. This is better than drinking.

7. Playlist for cooking complicated dishes like Mexican tamales, Puerto Rican pasteles and Japanese gyoza while wishing regular life could be as easy as following a recipe.

Notes: If I’m going to cook, I’m going to COOK (i.e., go all out). All-day cooking makes me feel very counterculture — counter to my usual routine — hence this throwback playlist.

I’m open to new bands. I promise! (I’m just too lazy to go searching.) Send me your top playlist and its best occasion!

Thanks for the recs,
Beth

 

From Instagram. Change 2000s to 1980s.

Read Full Post »

Dear Readers:

I live in the South. That means it’s already summer here (91 degrees today). That also means it’s time for a new season of “Dispatches from the pool.”

Enjoy!
Beth

EPISODE 1: Oh what a tangled web we weave
Rated PG-13 for substance abuse and sexual conduct

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX POOL – LATE AFTERNOON, MOTHER’S DAY

About 20 people have arranged themselves in small groups around the perimeter of the pool. The only people in the pool, though, are FOUR CHILDREN: DOMINIC (13), GIDEON (11), MILES (11) and DARRYL (age unknown, possibly 8).

FATHER OF THE FIRST TWO and MOTHER OF THE THIRD have found themselves lounge chairs in the shade. (No one has ever seen MOTHER OF DARRYL.) MOTHER OF THE FIRST TWO arrives after making these:

Individual pineapple upside-down cakes. Thank you, Food Network!

The moment MOTHER sits down, FATHER and MOTHER OF MILES fills her in on all the pool gossip.

FATHER
You see that girl over there (points at TWENTYSOMETHING on her phone)? She apparently picked up some dudes at Whole Foods and invited them back to the pool.

MOTHER OF MILES
She said, “They seemed cool.”

MOTHER OF DOMINIC AND GIDEON
Wait … What?! Random guys?

MoM
I know, right?!

FATHER
But when they showed up, the girl maybe hadn’t told her fiancé.

MoM
Right. He seemed surprised when they shouted her name.

MoDaG
WHAT?!

Later, MoDaG spots canoodling among WHOLE FOODS DUDES and TWENTYSOMETHING’s friend.

Meanwhile, MOTHER (of D and G) marvels at other characters assembled at the pool, including PREPPY in a button-down long-sleeved shirt and someone who looks like SNOOKI. (Perhaps it is because MOTHER has been inside cooking and watching moreJersey Shore: Family Vacation.”

Isn’t he hot? (As in not dressed appropriately for the season and occasion, not as in hawt.)

Snooki (left) and friend enter the pool.

MOTHER also spies her NEIGHBOR reading an interesting book.

In case you can’t read the title, it is, “Why Men Love Bitches.”

MOTHER thinks whatever NEIGHBOR is doing is working because men are lined up outside her apartment constantly, including a dude in a Ferrari just that morning.

MOTHER is vaguely aware of a large group of people at the round table over her left shoulder. She becomes more aware thanks to MOTHER OF MILES.

MoM
Oh. My. God. That woman is rolling a blunt.

A few moments later, a particular, recognizable smell wafts over the MOTHERS. They look at each other in surprise.*

MoDaG
Really?! It’s a Sunday afternoon at a pool filled with people and kids!

Weed Central (Woman in orange is the Roller in Chief.)

MOTHERS (in unison to the CHILDREN)
Let’s go.

FATHER
What?

MOTHER
I’ll tell you later.

They exit.

* Only low THC oil is legal in Georgia at the moment.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »