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.

 

 

 

SaveSave

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.)

Daily Post Writing Prompt: “Taper”

I have yet to do one of these Daily Writing Prompt so I shall endeavor to join the ranks of the scores of others who do the post.

Here goes. Not really a story…merely an unnecessary fact about me and a new definition!

Sadly for me, when I was 13 my height hit a plateau or a taper, thus leaving this vertically challenged woman at the impressive height of 1/4 of an inch below 5-feet! But if anyone asks, I am 5 feet tall. I don’t care what the measuring stick says. I am 5-feel tall, I tell you.

Hick from the Sticks Definition of Taper:

When wrapping presents for Christmas with the young’uns, we mamas hold our finger on the seam of the paper and say, “Taper up, hon.”

Life enriching, I know and you’re welcome.

Imma B.

 

 

My Clever Son

In my house we have direct consequences for actions. Usually, they’re very definite consequences and I try very hard to tailor them to the action.

In regards to chores, it goes like this: If your chore isn’t done properly, you get to do it again and again until it’s done properly.

When my kids were toddler and pre-school age, this just consisted of at that moment redoing the chore. Now that my kids are a little older (all of mine are in the double digits-  0_o ) the rules are a little more…er…severe. If you didn’t do a good job of your chores today, you get to do that same chore again tomorrow and whoever was supposed to have it, gets a day off.

Example: you don’t get the laundry washed, dried, folded and put away today, you get to do it tomorrow–and if more has accumulated, guess who gets to do it? YOU! With so may bodies in this house, we have to do a minimum of one load per day. It’s how we manage. I’ve tried having “laundry days” they just don’t pan out because Mt. Laundry forms in my mudroom because nobody has time to fold and put it away.

Another example, if we run out of a certain type of clean dish or eating utensil (plate, bowl, spoon, cup, etc) you get to do dishes again the next day.

This sounds mean, but this rule has really helped my boys to stay on top of their chores and not leave things undone so it falls on someone else the next day. Parenting is about teaching your kids responsibility, right?

So, my youngest child, who, I will openly admit is the academic of the family and fully plans to “use his noodle, not his back” when he grows up–meaning quite frankly, he’ll do anything he can to get out of his chores because he hates work has discovered a way to outwit me (or so he thinks!).

Today, I went to open the silverware drawer to get a spoon for applesauce and found this:

Silverware drawer.JPG

Well played, Son. But do you see that nasty stain on the butterknife? That means, you’ll still be doing the dishes again tomorrow! (And I’ll be adding an addendum to my rulebook: real silverware only.)

Love my kids! Gotta stay one step ahead though! 😀

Imma Boy Mom

I’m a Boy Mom–now for anyone who doesn’t know what this term means (my brother-in-law :-p ) it doesn’t mean that I’m a boy who is a mom. No, glad to say, I am not a man. I am definitely a woman. A woman who is a mom to only boys. In fact, if you include the animals, I am the QUEEN OF THIS CASTLE. Living the last 12, almost 13 years without another woman in the house, I’ll be so crass to say there are twenty sets of balls in this house. Both me and the dog only have one set: eyes; because I’m a (cough, cough, cough) lady (cough, cough, cough) and he’s been neutered.

I live in a constant testosterone title wave.

And I LOVE IT!!!

Nothing is greater than being the only female. Sure, you still have cramps which no one else understands and for the most part my guys are so young–and at just the right height–their little heads smack right into my sore, aching bosoms when it’s my time of the month, but I love them so dearly I just turn my head and grimace.

Part of the awesomeness of being a boy mom is I can get away with things those with   daughters sometimes can’t.

For example, nobody questions it when I wear my hair pulled back in a sloppy bun, or worse have a ratty old ball cap on my head. Which is almost all the time. When I do wear nail polish, people are actually so surprised they always compliment the color–even if it has chips after only a few hours. Cutsie shoes? Don’t have ’em and not a problem. I spend my days in sneakers or boots. Makeup is optional and my perfume is buried in the bottom left cabinet of my bathroom, collecting cobwebs.

IT’S GREAT!!!!

As for “mom things” like Target and Pinterest… Never got into those. I was a young mom who struggled in the poverty pit for years, followed by writing a break-out book series and suddenly having a fledging career develop almost overnight that required 12-hour workdays in order to support my deadbeat (now ex) husband and his irresponsible spending. BUT, now that my kids are getting a little older and I’ve given up the life of a slave to my computer AKA an author, I just might find an interest in frequenting Target. I might even branch out and peek inside Hobby Lobby, too!

Pinterest is a little easier to “visit” as I can do that wearing my yoga pants and a faded t-shirt in my living room. And that is exactly what I did an hour ago. I even created a “Boy Mom Board”. If you’re bored and care to check it out, click here as WP is being a doo-doo head and trying to make me upgrade to “business” plan (costing almost $25/month) in order to install the Pinterest plugin. I THINK NOT. At least not until I have more than just my mom reading my posts on a regular basis. 😀

Anyone else here a Boy Mom? What’s your favorite part? Do you ever feel like you missed out on not having a girl?

Open Letter to the Pharm Tech at Wal-Mart

Dear Sir,

Upon visiting your spot at the pharmacy counter twice within the last six days, I have come to the conclusion that you have a long, gnarly, sharp stick lodged in your posterior.

I am so sorry you suffer from such an affliction and if I were able to, I’d add you to my very costly health insurance policy so you could have it removed, post haste. However, since that isn’t a possibility, I’d like to offer a few suggestions for how to cope with such a condition in a manner that would be most pleasing to your customers:

A. Grin and bear it. As my kindergarten teacher used to say, “Turn that frown upside down!”
B. Quit your job and go to work at McDonald’s. If dealing with customers isn’t your cuppa tea, perhaps you could be a cook?
C. Suck it up, Buttercup.

Yes, sir, I understand options A and C are not that different. So really you have two options: learn a little about customer service and do the job you’re being paid to do (filling prescriptions and selling them to people, keyword, SELLING, not telling me that I need to take it to the front and go stand in the one of two checkout lines open) OR go to work somewhere else.

I do hope you found this letter as useful in career guidance as I did therapeutic to write. May the next time I go pick up an antibiotic I either see your smiling face as you ring me up or learn you’ve moved onto a rewarding career as the janitor at the movie theater.

Sincerely,

Imma B.

Garage Sale from HELL!

In my lowly opinion I think every blog needs to have a regular column. Since every other day I blog about random crap, I think that Fridays should officially be dubbed “From Hell Friday!” in which we have a guest share about a hellish ordeal they’ve suffered. This week I will go first with the day I entered into…

GarageSale HELL
Artem Stepanov | Dreamstime.com image purchased, modified and used with permission

First, let me get this out of the way so when you later see this in my post you don’t feel the need to crucify…er…correct me in the comment section. I don’t call them yard sales, rummage sales, moving sales or even garage sales. No matter what kind of sale it is, I call it a…

Garbage Sale.

No, I know how you read that, but stop and go with me for a minute. In this circumstance, I don’t pronounce garbage like garbage. I make it rhyme with garage. So pronounced more like “gar-bajh”

Yes, I’m weird, however, this term “fits”.

How?

  1. What is 99% of what you find at a garbage sale?
    Unwanted items.
  2.  Where do unwanted items typically go?
    The garbage.

Simple logic. Plus, garbage pronounced gar-bajh actually sounds kind of class, don’t ya think?

Okay, so my advice on hosting a garbage sale:

Don’t. 

That’s very plain and simple. Just don’t.

About two months ago I got a flyer in the mail from the president of my HOA saying that our neighborhood’s annual garage sale weekend was in two weeks.

My first reaction was to cringe. My second was, “Hmm, well, maybe I can offload some of my crap onto someone else and make a little money while making my crap their crap.”

I should have stuck with my initial reaction because before I knew it, I had fallen into the depths of Garage Sale Hell

For two weeks I stayed up late to do research. During the day, I neglected my cleaning to comb through my entire house and attic for things that would hold a value for someone else. Then peeled and created so many price stickers I was starting to see them in my sleep.

I was so super excited. I had done a purge on my house and I was hopeful to have a nice chunk of change at the end of the day.

Then came the “Big Day”.

At 5am, I started dragging all my crap outside. No easy feat considering how much I had gathered in my crap cleanse.

As I was putting stuff out, people started walking up. I was so excited. Not because I’m a natural born salesperson, because I’m not. I couldn’t sell a parka to an eskimo. Never even dream of selling one snow.

First couple came and snapped up 3 of the six children’s life jackets, paying $3 each for them for a total of $9. And THAT was the biggest sale of the day. I’m not even kidding.

From 6:30/7-ish to a little before 10 there was a steady stream of people. From 10-noon, it was dead. There was a minor uptick between 2-3 and not another soul after 3:45. It was miserable and embarrassing. At the end of the day I counted up how much money had been made…$72. Not counting all the hours I worked leading up to the day of the sale, on sale day alone, 12 hours were spent setting up, selling and cleaning up. That equates to $6 per hour which is less than minimum wage. Did I mention this was a miserable and embarrassing experience? Actually humiliating is probably a more accurate adjective.

Was it my location that drove people away? 

Heck no! I was the first house in the subdivision!

Was it that I didn’t have anything worth buying?

I guess it’s possible…I had what a lot of the blogs and sites considered hot sellers: super cheap Christmas decorations, kitchen stuff, kids things, clothes, etc, etc. I even had unopened, new in the package, high-end cosmetics. And I credit one particular sale of said products as the reason I didn’t make $80 instead of $72 😀

This lady who had on more makeup than a clown came up and found my box of makeup. She dinked around in the box for a few minutes, then brought a handful up to me wanting to buy it. Oddly enough ALL, not just some, but ALL of the price stickers from all the makeup in her hand were gone. Had I been smart, I’d have just said, “I’m sorry, that’s not for sale, I need to go fix the prices.” But I’m an idiot, so I told her what I had it all marked as. “Oh, that unused powder isn’t worth $3. It’s been opened. I’ll give you one for it,” she says.

I ground my teeth. That powder had not only been sealed, it had been in a sealed box not five minutes earlier. “Fine,” I said through clenched teeth. “I had these lipsticks,” which I see aren’t sealed any longer, either, “for $1 each.”

The lady sighs, counts the six lipstick tubes, the four things of eyeshadow, four makeup bags, a handful of bottles of nail polish and the powder and says, “I’ll give you six for all of it.”

Just wanting her to go as far away from me as possible since most of that was now unsellable I said, “Fine.”

The lady opens her purse where there is money overflowing from every nook and cranny, throws down a five and says, “I think that’s fair.”

I was livid…and numb. I just said fine as calmly as I could and walked away. There were other people in my driveway, it wouldn’t do to cause a scene and argue with her. But I’ll never forget that and never again will I ever host another garbage sale. I don’t care what people say about making hundreds or even $1,000 from a strategically planned sale. This lady ain’t doing it again. EVER.

What about you? Have you visited the depths of Hell and have a story to tell? If so, we’d love to hear it. It doesn’t have to be this long. 🙂 Just go to my Files from Hell page up at the top and fill out the comment form. It’s that simple. Then look for your story to be featured. 

*Please note: submission does not automatically mean you’ll be featured. To increase your odds of being featured, please read beneath the contact form.*

 

Paying to be Tortured AKA a trip for a pedicure

At the urging of a girlfriend I recently decided to go get a pedicure.

FootSoak…warm, bubbling water; lotion; hot towels wrapped around my lower legs; a long, soothing calf and foot massage all topped off with a new coat of lacquer on the tips of my toes. How could I say no?

With my lips. And that’s exactly what I would have said if I’d known about the other tools of torture they’d pull out…

…cheese graters, oversized needles; a pair of what appeared to be wire cutters…

Each new tool of torture was worse than the last. I’m only 31, my don’t even have scales or crusties yet, the cheese grater was not only unnecessary, it was downright insulting! She shoved that needle thing under the end of my toenails, mostly in the corners. Damn thing hurt! There was even a few little orangish-red spots on the towel that the technician was absolutely certain was a stain from my old toenail polish she’d removed… Oddly enough she folded the towel in half in short order. The wire cutters, I’m sure that’s not really what they were, but they sure looked like it, she used to yank little pieces of I-don’t-know-what from the corners of my toes.

You know what the only thing she DIDN’T use?

Nail clippers! Nope she didn’t clip one single toenail. Weird. Instead she spent the entire time sawing and scrubbing, poking and yanking. I always thought the best part of pedicure would be the pedicure itself, turns out it was waddling out of there in those little green foam flip flops!

The color does look great, though, so I’m excited about that!

What about you? Have you ever paid to be miserable? If so, tell us about it in the comment section! As they say, misery loves company.

Is it time for school to start back yet?

Nope.

My kids have been out of school for two weeks and it already feels like an eeeeteeeerrnittttttty!!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve scoured the internet to find them fun things to do. Only, your kid isn’t interested in any of it. That’s my situation. I’ve found dozens of those 100 summer activities for your kids. Most things on those lists require about 3 hours of prep time by me, followed by 10 minutes of activity time of which only about 2 of those 10 are spent happy to be doing the activity by them.

No, thank you!

So here is MY Summer Activity List I came up with for my kids:

 

Imma B.-2

  1. Read a book.
  2. Run around the backyard 10 times and try to beat your previous time with each lap.
  3. Rollerblade around the block from sunrise until lunch time.
  4.  Get on your bike and go ride around the neighborhood.
  5. Use rocks or larger pieces of mulch to be your “walkie talkies” while you pretend to chase down the bad guys. (The imaginary ones, in your head only–let’s not start our own branch of crime prevention in the neighborhood.)
  6. Play a board game
  7. Scribble down the driveway with sidewalk chalk.
  8. Have a water balloon fight.
  9. Swim.
  10. Find a bug and adopt him as your friend.
  11. Make a mud pie or have a mud fight.
  12. Sort, count and roll your spare change.
  13. Pull your younger sibling or a younger neighbor in a wagon.
  14. Walk with a group of friends down to the closest gas station and buy a popsicle.
  15. Have a dance-off with your friends.
  16. Make a voice recording of yourself–and friends.
  17. Have a lip syncing competition with your friends.
  18. Play soccer, football, kickball, baseball, basketball, etc.
  19. Set up an obstacle course in the backyard.
  20. Recruit some kids and play capture the flag.
  21. Draw.
  22. Write a story.
  23. Run through the sprinklers.
  24. Do flips in the backyard.
  25. Hoola hoop or jump rope.
  26. Take your pillow case outside and use it to bunny hop across the back yard.
  27. Create a new game outside.
  28. Read a magazine.
  29. Give the dog/cat a bath.
  30. Make lemonade, popsicles or ice cream.
  31. Find a cardboard box and “sled” down a grassy hill.
  32. Play with your toys (we all know kids have thousands of them).
  33. Make a bracelet with string and beads.
  34. Learn to play a make-shift instrument.
  35. GET OUTSIDE AND USE YOUR IMAGINATION!!!

 

If none of these suggestions entertain your cherub but you don’t want them in front of a screen all day playing games or watching movies, suggest one of the following and they’ll vanish and entertain themselves no questions asked:

  1. Clean your room
  2. Clean the garage
  3. Pick weeds
  4. Mow the lawn
  5. Dig a ditch

You’re welcome. 😀

These might sound a little “old school”, and well, that’s because they are and guess what, they worked! When I was a kid (and I’m not that old!!) I was outside all day long. My mom shooed us outside as soon as the sun came up, sometimes even before, she hollered for us at midday and when we came we found a paper plate with our lunches waiting on the porch. Then it was back to playing until the sun went down. And ya know what? We liked it!

My kids complain that I’m mean or unfair because I limit their screen time. I do play with them, but not all day long. I’m their mom, not their playmate. I have spent several summers planning and orchestrating a fun activity each day and guess what, I’m plumb worn out. Sure, going to the zoo, aquarium, an amusement park or something similar once a summer is a must–but planning a field trip and scheduling their day all day long, every day is not realistic. Not for me, and honestly not for most moms. So if you’re one of those moms who is trying so hard to do different activities all summer long with their kids, but feel like you’re failing. You’re not. It’s a nearly impossible task. They’re kids and they need to learn to entertain themselves. Don’t feel bad about letting them come up with their own ideas or just being bored for a little bit.

Cheers,

Imma B.

Why is it that…? (Part 1)

I was thinking, and no, thankfully, I didn’t hurt myself, but…

Why is it that you come up with the perfect snarky comeback after you’ve walked away from a demoralizing ass-chewing?

Why is it that a writer can come up with the perfect dialogue banter for their characters while driving 75mph down the highway with both hands on the wheel?

Why is it, that when said author from above gets home they’ve completely forgotten how that conversation came to be or even what half of it is?

Why is it that I have friend requests on Facebook from people I don’t even know and don’t have any mutual friends?

Why is it that when your alarm goes off at 6 a.m., you’re barely able to pry your eyes open, yet three hours earlier were wide awake counting the little popcorn balls on the ceiling?

Why is it that the technician at the nail salon uses something that looks identical to a cheese grater on my feet…even if they aren’t scaly?!

Why is it that at the craft store I can load up my cart with a mountain of craft supplies as a hundred project ideas race through my head only to get home and totally lose heart as I put it away?

Why is it that you can read, re-read, read again the same passage and not find an error, then as soon as you hand it to someone else and start reading over their shoulder, you find three?

Why is it that there is a curling iron that costs one penny shy of $400 that is covered in rhinestones and looks like it belongs in an adult toy shop?! (Don’t believe me, click here)

Why is it that the smaller the bikini, the higher the price?

Why is it that in Tulsa, OK they have these wooden “Up With Trees” signs all around that are supposed to help promote planting trees and taking care of the environment?

Why is it that the number of episodes in a television season keep getting smaller and smaller?

These are things that can keep people awake at night, folks. At least this person.

Have any questions for the universe? Post them below. Not that I’m claiming to be the universe, but it’d be awesome to have more oddities to ponder to keep me awake at night.

Imma B.

(Oh and a bonus, why the heck is there Christmas stuff out already at Hobby Lobby?!)