A letter to my mom I’ll never send

Dear Mom,

I love you. I really do. But please, please, please, for the love of me, my sanity, and the few naturally-colored hairs I have remaining, STOP BUYING MY KIDS CRAP!!!

I know, I know, you’re Grandma and grandmas are supposed to spoil their grandkids rotten, but seriously, the floorboards are starting to creak from the weight of all the crap you continue to buy and unload here.

Yes, I know it’s your beeswax what you do with your money and yes, I understand that some of what you bring you got at a yard sale. None of that matters! It’s not about your money, it’s about MY HOUSE. Their little rooms are like a toy battlefield. There’s toys everywhere. I know that you think that’d be handled if I were more organized, but truthfully, I can’t be organized because there’s just too much crap to organize!

My kids are all now past the age where they desire to play with toys all day, so please consider buying them an experience: tickets to a concert or event; a subscription to a magazine; admission to a zoo or aquarium; heck even gift cards to the movies would be preferable to cardboard buildable robots or more pieces of hot wheels track.

When they were little, I forced a grin and accepted the mounds of happy meal toys you’d bring each month, but as I look around at all the new doohickeys that are fun to build, but take up space–I’m looking at you Geckobot–I cringe.

So please, do us all a favor and buy them something consumable–and I don’t mean food! (That’ll be another letter. 😉 )

Love,

Imma B.

 

 

 

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Obsession Confession: The Ranch

I recently gave up my satellite subscription because I was tired of pay $100 a month and all that was ever on was reruns of Reba, Last Man Standing, Home Improvement and every now and then Flea Market Flip. (I occasionally watched  HGTV, but I couldn’t stand Tarek and Christina, The Property Brothers or Dave and Hillary. I just can’t relate to the lifestyles they’re living or helping other people live. Just like with those house hunters type shows where people had these astronomical budgets. Hmm, if I had a $600,000 budget, I’d be living in a mansion with a butler and six maids around these parts. Then again, being hick from the stick like I am, my dream home costs less than $200,000. So…)

Being the budget-conscious divorcee that I am, I looked into Netflix and I have to say I absolutely love it! For less than the price of a new paperback, I have more options  that I could ever watch.

My current favorite is The Ranch with Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Debra Winger and Sam Elliott. I wasn’t a huge fan of That 70s Show when it originally aired, but a few years later I watched all the reruns when it came on the CW in huge blocks. It wasn’t a must see, but I did enjoy it. With Kelso and Hyde as the main roles in The Ranch I didn’t start watching with the idea of soon having an addiction.

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Boy was I wrong!

I think it’s hilarious. I don’t love the f-bombs scattered throughout, but the witty jabs between brothers about everything from their personal lives to stupid things they’ve done–either as a kid or just two minutes ago is fantastic. Sam Elliott’s dry, frank humor has me rolling! As do the scenes where the boys are actually doing ranch work. This mainly strikes a funny bone because if these two HAD grown up on a ranch, it wouldn’t be nearly as amusing either to them or us as the audience. What I mean is they wouldn’t be making some of the mistakes that get them into trouble or think it’s gross to impregnate a cow.

 

The writing and acting are topnotch. There is only one, teeny, tiny thing I’d change, but I won’t say it. Instead I’ll ask for anyone else out there who watches it: are you Team Abby or Team Heather?

Daily Word Prompt: Caper

This is totally off-base, so just go with me for a minute. Remember, Imma weird one.

Each morning when I get online, I always click the Reader section of my blog. Why? Because everyone else is far more interesting than me!

Anyway, today on the daily word prompt page the word was caper and my eyes about bugged out. Memories of summer camp, yes, hot, sticky, terrible food summer camp filled my mind.

Why? Because when I went to camp after every meal, each of the cabins had chores. Clean the dining hall, clean the bathrooms, pick up trash, sweep the breezeway, wash dishes, etc, etc.  While the meal was being brought out and put on a buffet table so all of us pigs could run to the trough, the camp director would go up on this little platform and say, “It’s time for capers.”  Then he’d read off a chore and a cabin number, and that cabin would have the shout and cheer like maniacs about the privilege to be the ones to go clean the toilets after they ate.

The cabin who cheered the loudest for whoever chore they had would get to go through the meal line first.

I grew up thinking that “caper” was just a nicer way to say chore. I didn’t realize until I looked it up in the dictionary that it means to leap or skip about in a sprightly manner;prance; frisk; gambol.

Oh, what a misguided childhood I led. 😀

via Daily Prompt: Caper

My kinda luck…

For as long as I live I may never understand why I have such strangely humorous luck.

Or in other words, why it is that people don’t listen to me when I speak.

My latest example is the children’s division coordinator at church asked if I’d do story time one week this month at church. I said yes, but not the second weekend. I won’t be at church. I’ll be traveling for a wedding.

Which weekend was I put on the schedule for?

The second weekend. Of course!

Anyone else out there suffer from this type of craziness? Or is it just me? (I have other examples, too. This happens all the time. This was just the most recent.)

“Mom, can I cut the couch?”

Imagine this…

Monday morning we were at the table chowing down on our cereal.

“Mom,” Linc says between bites of cereal.  “You know how things fall into the cracks on the couch?”

I nodded. The remote to the DVD player is currently MIA and if I had to guess it’s camping out in the company of some spare change and lint in the deep, dark crevices of the sofa. It’s what it is. We’ve all dropped our remote down there and every few days have to fish it out.

I digress.

“So last night Abe and I were moving the couch–”

“Why?”

“Because we wanted to see if when we dropped something behind the cushions if it’d fall straight to the floor.” His matter of fact tone was almost more than I could bear.

“We’ve had that sofa for six years, don’t you think if it worked that way, we wouldn’t have spent so much time blindly groping into the interior of the sofa for lost objects?”

“That’s because there’s a liner,” he says as if he’s just made the greatest discovery in the world.

“Yes, there is.” I tried to keep the sarcasm from my tone, but I’m pretty sure I failed. “Hence, why we have to fish…”

“OK but see, the liner goes so deep down the couch, Abe nor I can reach our hand down there, so…” He shrugs as he trials off.

“And?”

“Well, Abe and I want to cut the bottom of the couch so things just fall out the bottom.”

Mom, can I cut the couch?

I’m sure the look on my face spoke volumes of the annoyance and disbelief I was feeling.

“See, it’ll be great,” Linc says as if he really thinks he’s convincing me of this. “Then we won’t have to reach down in there when we lose stuff, it’ll just fall out the bottom.”

“Uh huh, I see.” I seriously just lied to him. I don’t see. I do see his brother Abe nodding his head in agreement like a bobble head dog. I see Linc looking all excited that he thinks he just won me over. I can almost my blood pressure rising. But what I don’t see is the utility it a huge whole in the bottom of a leather sofa so things that are dropped can fall out the bottom!

“So we can do it?” Abe asks, his brown eyes sparkling with excitement.

“Sure.” I smiled. “Just as soon as you both do enough chores to earn the money to buy that sofa.”

My two youngest boys both looked at me as if I’d just taken away their puppy.

“Sorry, guys,” I started. “There isn’t any use in this modification other than just destroying the furniture.”

Let me pause here to say, at least they asked me first. I do have to give them credit for that. There are several people of my acquaintance who’d be telling this story a little differently–like after they’d discovered a freaking huge hole in the bottom of their sofa. So at least there’s that.

Back to the story…

“But what about not having to reach down into the cracks?” Linc persists. ” Remember the time you found the grilled cheese?”

I think I just threw up a little in my mouth at the memory of the an ancient, cold and partially deteriorated grilled cheese that I once pulled out from the back corner of the sofa. “That’s what I have you guys for. You eat on the couch, you can be the ones to dig in the crumb abyss.” I tried not to grin at their disgusted faces. “The answer is no.”

Linc’s eyes lit again as if he’d just had such a brilliant idea that I couldn’t say no. “What if Mickey gets stuck back there?”

“Son, if you think asking me if your guinea pig crawls around on the couch and gets stuck back behind the cushions and so far down your arm cannot reach is going to convince me to allow you to cut a hole in the bottom of the couch, then I think it’s time to go find her a new home before you can be so negligent.”

And THAT is how you stop the nonsense. I know, I know Imma Mean Mom. But good gravy, what the hell is the obsession with destroying the furniture? I’ve seen so many dang sitcoms I almost feel shamed into having little debates with my kids about things that I’m never going to allow to happen just to be “fair”. However, in my world, no means no and Mom’s word is final.

So, what crazy request have you received from a kid that you felt like an idiot debating? Imma curious and I wanna know so comment below!

Imma B.

Obsession Confession: I like my burritos like I like my chicken…

Fried.

Yes, it’s true and apparently weird that not only do I fry chicken in my house, I also fry my burritos. Now, don’t get too grossed out, I don’t bread them first. 😛

This is how I grew up. I had no idea it wasn’t the “norm”. But apparently nobody else I know, except my mom, fries burritos.

I’m a very, um, shall we say, impatient and basic cook. I don’t  use a lot of spices or steam this, sauté that, bake this and smoke that all to make one dish. Nope, I’m a fewest steps possible to get an end result. I just didn’t learn how to cook.

Anyway, for my burritos, I lay out my tortilla, spread some befriend beans (Taco Bell brand is my favorite), sprinkle on some cheese, then pour on some Taco Bell burrito sauce. That’s it. Then I wrap them up and toss them into the flying pan coated with either butter, vegetable oil or olive oil.

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After a few minutes, I give ’em a flip.

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I know, I know, it’s not everyone’s cuppa, but I rather like it and hey, if you’ve never had burritos this way, give it a go. You just might like it.

What weird/unusual food obsession do you have? Come on, confess it!

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Hell in the Frank Household

I’m currently living in an inferno. It’s bad enough I live in the deep south, but now my air conditioner is on the fritz so it’s definitely become an inferno.

I started to notice the A/C hasn’t been able to keep up at the end of July and August the past two years, but this year it hasn’t kept up at all. In the past it’s just been a little warm in he house. This year…

Trapped in Hell

This has been us this past week. (Well, some of us, I’ll get to the rest in a minute.)

I was thinking it was time to suck it up and get a new unit when one of my boys came up and said, “Mama, I think I’d like a buzz cut.”

His hair isn’t THAT thick. Nor that long. I checked my thermostat. It was 78 in the house. That was with all the fans on and the poor air conditioner blowing as hard as it could, bless its heart.

The final nail in my poor A/C’s coffin came yesterday when I went to pick my eldest son up from summer camp and he was wearing a hoodie. Yes, a hoodie. It was 95 degrees outside and the air conditioner was blowing like crazy in his cabin to keep it 72 degrees in there and he was cold! My poor baby.

Captain Underpants–Yes, I saw the movie

Okay, so the #1 thing about having boys is: tighty whities are no big deal. And neither is potty humor. It just does with the territory.

So of course my youngest son wanted to see Captain Underpants and because I love him, I agreed to not only watch it, but pay the big bucks and see it at the theater!

Trying not to die of humiliation, I proudly walked up to the ticket counter and said, “Um, can I get three tickets to–” my mind totally went blank. “Um, the movie about underbritches.”

The guy had a totally serious look on his face. “We don’t have a movie about underbritches.”

“Yes, you do,” I said, frowning. “The underwear movie.”

Still holding out with a grim face, he shook his head.

My eyes scanned the movie list above his head. “Captain Underpants.” Gracious, he knew what I was talking about and the grin on his face told me he’d been messing with me. How sweet.

He told me a price. I gave him the moola, then cackling, yes he was, cackling, handed me the tickets and said, “Enjoy!”

Trying not to curse the wretched man, I forced a smile and went to go endure what I never thought I’d be subjected to: an animated movie with a superhero whose costume was an oversized pair of underwear.

To be truthful, it wasn’t the a bad movie, and certainly not the worst I’ve ever been subjected to (The Big Lebowski, Spanglish, Home Fries, all come to mind). For what it was, it was actually pretty well done. Obviously it’s a movie, one based on a comic book written and illustrated by two third grade boys, so suspending reality is an absolute must. Graphics were great. And as much as it pains me to say it, the jokes and plays on words were actually rather clever. And…even more painful to admit, I found myself laughing–sometimes at the witty banter, sometimes because I couldn’t believe I was in there watching that and actually entertained. Who knew.

Overall, the plot is simple: cranky principal wants to separate two troublemakers. A bit of magic transpires and the principal becomes Captain Underpants, a nice guy who does whatever the boys want. Until the villain Professor P shows up, then they have a real mission.

I won’t soil…oops…I mean spoil it for all of you who I know are dying to go see it, but overall it was entertaining. I’m not sure if I didn’t have a 10 year old boy (and a big boy 😉  ) who wanted to see it that I’d have gone, but if you have a boy aged 6-12, he’ll love it. Best part, I didn’t have to explain a single sexual innuendo when we left!

Enjoy and be sure to eat tons of popcorn for me!

Imma B.

An Ode to Gas Station Pizza

Fair warning: Poetry isn’t really my forte. But we all have to have a first.  Mine is about some pizza I ate last night. Enjoy!

 

As I filled up at the pump,
I saw your picture, so cheer and your crust so plump.
“Extra Large Pizza for $9.99,” your caption read,
An idea of a pizza and movie night danced in my head.
I whipped out my phone,
To swiftly ordered a pizza of the unknown.

See, I’ve never had a pizza from a gas station,
Not even while on vacation.
I had no idea what was in store,
Or if this would just be the beginning of more.
Ten minutes later it was ready,
The delicious smell so overwhelming and heady.

My mouth watered and my tummy growled,
As I carried that box of intoxicating cheese and spices through the crowd.
The box was warm and had zero grease,
I noted as I set it down upon my car seat.
Upon getting home,
I walked into my house as if I were soldier returning home to Rome.

Pizza! Pizza! the excitement soon spread,
The boys came out to find a movie to watch on the Net.
Mom served the pizza and we all sat on the chairs and couch,
Then we all stuffed our faces, then sudden OUCH!
My gut twisted and my insides squeezed tight,
I pushed a pair of feet off my lap and jumped up with a fright.

Something was happening and it didn’t bode well,
Suddenly, I couldn’t stand the sight of the pizza or even the smell.
My stomach roiled and cheeks squeezed hard,
One of my boys looking horrified, asked if I needed to fart?!
Ignoring the truth of their question I darted from their sight,
Straight to the bathroom, fumbling to switch on the light.

My stomach clenching more painfully than before,
I seriously thought I’d collapse on the floor.
I pressed my palms on the wall to help keep myself braced,
Nausea swirled so heavily within me, sweat streaked my face.
All that pizza that was so warm and cheesy,
Now left me feeling lightheaded, nauseous and queasy.

I’ll spare you all anymore of this ode,
Needless to say, I had to spend the night camped out by the commode.

I know this gave you all fantastic thoughts this morning–you’re welcome!

Imma B.

The Joy Thief

I have this relation who I secretly refer to as the Joy Thief. Why? Because anytime anything good comes my way, she has to cop an attitude for why it didn’t happen to her.

Example: one day one of my novels hit the USA Today Bestsellers list. I shared the news (this was the last time I shared such news with her) and her response, “Oh, that’s nice. It must be nice to have a job you get paid for even when you don’t work.” She was referencing my receiving royalties after the book is released. Uh, excuse me? I worked my ass off to write said book and to market said book to get that many copies sold. It didn’t just happen.

She isn’t a writer so she really doesn’t understand how much time and even money goes into writing a book. Yet, every chance she gets she remarks how jealous she is of me for not having to have a real job. Again, 25 books didn’t just write, publish and market themselves. If she wants to be a writer and collect royalties, then shut up and write a book…or two dozen.

Another circumstance, I got food poisoning from eating at a restaurant with my ex-mother-in-law (a mere coincidence? I’m not sure….). Anyway, I had to cancel my plans to help her move some lawn furniture because I was camped out in the bathroom, calling Huey on the big white phone. Instead of a “Oh no, I hope you’re okay. Is there anything I can bring you?” She texts: “Lucky you. I wish I could have gone to eat at XXXXXXX.”

Really? She really wants to play that card? She goes out to dinner probably 5-6 times per week and only a week ago, she was bitching to me about it because it was making her fat. She’d moved up two bra sizes in the past three months because her husband had been taking her out to eat every night. I eat all my meals at home except two days a week I’ll eat lunch out because I have to travel two hours from home for some medical stuff that takes a few hours before I have to drive two hours back home. Then this particular night I went to a $9/plate large-chain Mexican restaurant because my ex-mother-in-law was in town for one of her two yearly visits and get deathly sick and she’s bitching that she’s never gotten to eat there?! Next time she can take my spot. I don’t know what was more uncomfortable sitting at the table with all my ex-inlaws (my ex-husband wouldn’t take my kids, so I had to and got roped into staying) OR driving home and feeling like three pounds of crushed glass was working its way through my intestines. I’ve never clenched my cheeks so tight in my entire life. I prayed my asshole wouldn’t fail me on the way home.

Thankfully, it didn’t.

The examples could go on and on:

She came with me once to a craft fair. I paid for everything I purchased with cash, she used her credit card for most of hers. She commented how lucky I was to just have money to blow. I spent $75 total (admission, lunch for both of us and a few nicknacks) because that was all I had in my pocket. She came with only $20 in cash used it at the first booth, then fished out her credit card for 3-4 other shops where she bought so much crap we couldn’t carry it all. I’m not lucky, I came prepared and stopped when I reached my limit.

She got in my car once and saw I had a DQ Blizzard cup in my cup holder. “I wish I could have gone with you to Dairy Queen.” I didn’t even eat the damn Blizzard one of my kids did.

I helped her move stuff all day and when we were done I said I was going home. “You’re so lucky you get to go home. I have to stay up all night and unpack.” Well…I did just use my back and my gas to move you. Not to mention it took longer than it was supposed to because she was running late so I had to ask another friend to pick up my kids from school Now I need to get home to my house full of kids and cook dinner and do homework.

I wore a dress to church that I bought from the clearance rack at Dillards three years ago. “Oh, I love your dress. Where did you find it?”  I inwardly cringed. “Dillards.” “It must be nice to go to the mall so much. I buy all of my dresses at yard sales.” That’s an outright lie and I know it. I’ve seen her plunk down $150 for a dress at a department store and at the fair and at a boutique. She also swears flip flops that are at least $40-50 a pair. Who the hell pays that for flip flops??? I clearly got into the wrong business if that’s what people pay for flip flops. I can string you up a pair for that! I honestly don’t care how much her dresses cost compared to mine. I don’t care where she gets hers or where I get mine. I shouldn’t have to justify wearing a department store dress to anyone. Period.

She gets her feelings hurt if someone buys her a greeting card priced below the $3 mark. It’s a freaking piece of paper. In my family, we do The Nana. Meaning we send the wrong cards for different holidays.  Then we just keep them and re-circulate them. It’s great.

If I’ve had a bad day, hers is worse. If someone compliments me on something I bring to a potluck, she has to tell everyone about when she made that same dish and what she uses so I could improve. When I wear anything she hasn’t seen before, she says it’s cute and asks when I went shopping.

I have come to learn not to say anything other than how the weather is. Otherwise, I cannot enjoy a treat. I can’t talk about writing or she’ll bring up how lucky I am not to have a “real job”. I don’t tell her when I’m going anywhere fun or when I’ve done anything fun because she has to suck the fun and joy and life right out of it! And she wonders why she doesn’t have any friends except me…

I’ve bitched for about a 1,000 words to say this, if you’re a fun-sucker and do this crap, stop! You seriously won’t have any friends left. If you have (or had) a friend like this, advice please!!!

May your day be merry and your friends treat you right,

Imma B.