Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: Warren the 13th

Come to the Warren for the illustrations, but stay for the story. Warren the 13th and the All Seeing Eye hits bookshelves today, and it's a must-give-gift for your book lovers this holiday season.

This is likely to be the most beautiful book you'll see this fall. Gleaming foil embossing kisses the cover and every page...you heard me...EVERY PAGE brings you perfectly vintage feeling illustrations and graphics to unfold this story.

It's beautiful. Find one. Touch it.

Nobody is ever too old for a book with pictures.

This is the brain child of illustrator Will Staehle, whose story lay in his mind and drawings and was brought to life with words lent by Tania del Rio.

Warren is a kid running a dilapidated hotel with his uncle under the menacing watch of his uncle's new wife who seems to have sinister motives. A mysterious guest and ensuing adventures leave questions at every turn.

What Warren lacks in looks, he makes up for in heart.

When I first got it, I flipped through its pages and admired the art. It can only be called that. Art. Staehle is a gifted artist and this book is filled with pages your eyes will enjoy exploring. It carries the weight of an instant classic, a book you feel has been around forever, and one that children love pulling off the shelf time after time because they loved it so much the first seven times. I kept it for myself at first, rendering my children jealouser and jealouser until I snapped it shut with finality.

My favorite illustration. Those are tattoos, BTW.

"OMIGOSH. I cannot BELIEVE it!!! I know the secret of the All Seeing Eye. And you don't."

Yes. I never miss an opportunity to motivate my children to read, even if it's in a very immature neener-neener-chicken-weiner manner.

They fought over who would be the next to read it. I stepped in to referee and offered a solution. I would read it to them together during our usual bedtime reading slot. They both agreed.

It gave us many discussion opportunities for new vocabulary words. Dumbwaiter, ascend, descend. References to some old-timey things. Discussion around Warren himself and how despite how others treat him, he persistently plugs along, always being kind and doing the right thing. Guesses about what will happen next....I have a strict two chapter maximum then it's lights OUT.

Every chapter greets you with clues

A hearty congrats and job well done to del Rio, Staehle, and the people at Quirkbooks for making this story come to life. I urge anyone looking for a fresh literary gift idea to check it out. You'll fall in love.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie for Mediocre Mothers

Trust me, I'm just as surprised as the next guy.

Here at the DayLee Fix I pride myself on setting the bar low. My shorties' expectations correlate with my efforts. Usually. They know better than to ask for too much. Usually.

On occasion, however, they throw out a request that leaves me questioning once again:

"Should I shoot up my face with Botox to control my maniacal expressions?"  

Pro: Would help out in my professional life for those times when I'm able to keep my cake hole shut but my eyebrows betray me.

Con: Couldn't silently give my kids "the look" that has thus far kept me from having to beat the daylights out of them at the Walmart.

Last week, Clayton chose a day that I was knee-deep in my own mucous and wishing for death to depart from their usual cold cereal or untoasted pop tart breakfast. He wanted pancakes and had zero problem seeing through my red and watery eyes and waited patiently for me to finish my coughing jag to approach me with the Bisquick box.

"Are you kidding me right now?"


"Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. FINE. Even though I am DYING, but nevermind that, I'm happy to cater to your every whim."

"Thanks mom, you're the best."

He continued his brown nosing as he shoved those fluffy sticky stacks into his face.

"These are the best pancakes I've ever had in my entire life. They're perfect."

He knows. He knows that even if they taste like the inside of his shoe, he better just slather on another layer of shut the hell up and gag it down and pretend he likes it because I might cook with love, but my secret ingredients are guilt and bitterness.

I thought the pancakes would buy me a week of reverting back to their being happy with frozen Eggo waffles and chicken nuggets.


Sunday, which Esten declared as "official relax and no pants day", Clayton casually approached me with a can of pumpkin guts from the baking cabinet.

Our Inspiration Station, courtesy of Esten (E-Money$)

"Hey mom, can you make a pumpkin pie today?"

WTF? It's less than two weeks until Thanksgiving, and we don't even have any whipped cream, and this kid couldn't care less.

So I give you my recipe for:

Pumpkin Pie for Mediocre Mothers.

Step 1: Log into your Pinterest account. Locate a pin containing a picture that looks good along with recipe titles preferably containing words like "fool proof", "easy", or "three ingredient". Follow the link to the recipe.

Step 2: Never get all the ingredients out at once. I prefer instead to just jump to the instructions, and then refer back to the measurements. For example:

One can of evaporated milk
Locate your evaporated milk. Realize that you have three cans of sweetened condensed milk and zero cans of evaporated milk. Decide to use regular milk instead. Carefully measure  dump however much looks good because there's probably some kind of replacement/conversion information out there but you are just fresh out of f*cks to give.

One can of Pumpkin Guts
Locate your can of pumpkin guts. You know right where this is because it's the thing Clayton has been shoving in your face all morning asking you "when you're going to make the pie". Realize that the can you have came from Costco and is bigger than the recipe calls for. Carefully measure dump however much looks good because you don't want to reach into the utensil drawer for a measuring cup because you'll be pissed if you jab yourself with the corncob holders again like last time AND you have to wash something when you're done.

Butter and Shortening
These go in the freezer. Don't ask why. Remember vaguely that your grandma who kicked ass at pie crust emphasized that everything had to be cold. Which is weird. But her pie was good, so you do it.

Locate the vodka. This shouldn't be difficult, but you find it daunting to sift through the 87 bottles of foo-foo flavored vodka in the liquor cabinet to find the one "plain ol' vodka" bottle. Realize that it is really spendy vodka. Remember that for the last cup of tea you made to burn the phlegm out of your face you couldn't find "plain ol' whiskey" either, only an expensive and gift-worthy brand. Realize that this probably means you are now officially an adult. Carefully measure dump however much looks good into a small cup and have your kid put that in the freezer with the butter and the shortening.

Get into a fight with your kid who doesn't want alcohol in his pie. Tell him if he's going to be obstructive he can get out of your kitchen or you'll tell him how bacon gets made.

Be secretly surprised that you actually have eggs. Be secretly resentful because eggs are the one thing that never let you down when you have to say, "Sorry, I can't make that, we're out of eggs."

Step 3: [Netflix and] Chill the dough for a while, I don't know how long. Long enough for a documentary or three episodes of Hoarding: Buried Alive. Long enough to fight with your kid about why you're not just "continuing to make the pie". Tell him you're not going to touch the pie again until ToddlerBandit takes a nap and if he continues yapping about it and keeping him from going to sleep, then it might just be never.

Step 4: Roll out the dough. Maybe wipe the encrusted cocoa pebble residue off the counter first, or not. Whatever. It doesn't matter how thin or thick you roll it out, there's no way it's going to do what you want it to anyway and it will all fall apart. 

Step 5: Transfer dough to pie pan. Realize you do not own a pie pan. Shit. Well that would have been a good thing to remember before you committed to making A PIE. Don't panic. You own 39 round cake pans. Just use one of those because you are fresh out of f*cks to give. Smooth the crust down evenly apply the crust to the pan in a patchwork manner to create a functional container for the pie juice. Smash remaining scraps around the edge all willy-nilly for a rustic feel.

Step 6: Fill the crust with the liquid mix. Feel like something's missing, like you should have prebaked the crust like you do with the bottom crust of your chicken pot pie. Feel like they're punking you, but do it anyway. It will either turn out or it will not. This is how you learn to "move on" in life.

Step 7: Bake. Know that the instructions will not match your oven. For example, the recipe I followed said to bake at 425 for 15 minutes and then to turn it down to 350 and bake for another 40-50 minutes. I have a convection oven that is the devil, and ended up baking at 425 for 15 minutes and convinced it was going to burn, turned it down to 350 for 30 minutes. Notice how filthy your oven is. Vow to clean it (once it cools) but know in your heart that you will not.

Step 8: Fight with your kid about the fact that the pie has to cool before he can eat it. For like two hours. "No, you can't have any at dinner. Maybe when we get back from hockey. Keep on and maybe you won't get any at all tonight. Maybe I'll throw it in the trash." Etcetera.

Step 9: Serve your pie to your children, issuing your usual warning: "Now then. I don't care what this tastes like, you're eating it and I want zero complaints." Watch them devour it. Hear them ask for seconds. And thirds. Be unsure whether they really like it or whether they know they turned your guilt dial up to ten and they're making sure you don't flat out refuse to cook anything for them in the future. Be secretly pleased that you banged out a half-assed recipe that worked. Forget half of what you did and which pin it was, and know that you'll never be able to replicate it again.

Step 10: Clean your cake pan let your cake pan soak overnight...there's less scrubbing. Especially if your husband happens to get to the dishes before you do.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Happy Holidays, A**holes

I reached my breaking point with humans over the past couple weeks. Before I get too deep into that, and since we're about to dive straight into the depths of Holiday Hell, let's reveal the winner of Jen Mann's latest and greatest: Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat.

My personal list just got longer.

Kamas T. wins this round, which is ironic because she is one of those people that everyone wants to punch in the throat and strangle with her own Christmas lights because she won't settle the hell down about it. She thinks her cat, Pancakes LOVES being dressed in ridiculous holiday outfits, but we all know that poor kitty is just waiting to eat her mommy's face off in her sleep.

I kid. (Not really).

Moving on.

I have the privilege of belonging to a private Facebook group that scouts out customer complaints for the Hope That Helps page. It's run by a trio including Ben Palmer, the man behind the Battman page. It's opened my eyes to the level of ridiculousness and entitlement that folks feel appropriate to bitch about for free stuff, attention, or some other self-serving purpose. On a public forum. For people like me to see. And make fun of.

Then there's the other kind of people. The people who generate false information for distribution amongst the masses that are otherwise too uneducated or lazy to fact find on their own, so they'll perpetuate said information into eternity with emotions getting hotter than a cookie sheet fresh out of the oven with each batch of shares.

This last couple weeks there have been two that stand ahead of the rest. First, American Girl, the six thousand dollar dolls that make me ever thankful that I have boys published a story about adoption from foster care in its November/December magazine issue. People.Freaked.Out.

A family. With love and everything.

One Million Moms (you know, the hate group) published its stance on the issue here, including their call to:


Please use the information we have provided to contact American Girl (owned by Mattel) and strongly encourage the company to remain neutral and not take a position on controversial topics. Tell them as long as American Girl is pushing the homosexual agenda to children, your family will no longer be able to support the company, its magazine, or purchase its products."

What. The. Fresh. Hell?

I only have this to say. THANK YOU to the dads who stepped up to parent these children and give them a forever home. THANK YOU to American Girl, who I probably still won't have an opportunity to support financially, but not due to a boycott, for standing up to and answering almost every individual crotchety asshat who made some vile statement as a visitor on their Facebook page, defending their article and bringing awareness to adoption and foster care in this country.

Even Focus on the Family, who has done so much damage to those who never deserved it seem to get it. Here's their graphic comparing the number of churches to the number of kids in foster care, by state. If one in every three churches had a family willing to adopt, we'd no longer have children waiting:

But by all means, as we head into this gift-giving season, please cross AG dolls off your list because 1MM feels they're pushing the gay agenda onto our youth, and by that I mean they are trying to turn all my kids and your kids and their kids G-A-Y.

While you're out shopping for NOT an AG doll, you might have occasion to stop by for a caffeine fix at Starbucks, where the pretend war on Christmas started last week. #RedCupGate has everyone all up in arms over Sucksbucks introducing of all things, plain red cups to mark the return of their holiday drinks.

Holy shit.

Joshua Feuerstein even posted a video where he really sticks it to Starbucks, having "tricked them" by telling them his name was Merry Christmas so they'd be forced to write it on his otherwise plain red cup. He pushed them even further by unapologetically daring to wear a JESUS shirt in the store and packing a pistol. Because nothing says F*CK YOU like a Yahweh tee stretched over your beer gut and a sidearm.

And of course, everyone who watches that shit just blindly follows along and gets all outraged like he says to.

And of course, every time I see his mug on a video I start watching it because I think that asshole is Kevin James and he's going to say something funny. But he doesn't. And I'm left disappointed beyond measure.

And those Jesus folks don't bother doing any level of fact finding to realize that Starbucks didn't remove Christmas from their cups, it was NEVER THERE. Every year their design changes, and they've never had little baby Jesus in a manger on those things. Go check. I'll wait.

No Jesus, No "Merry Christmas"

No Jesus, No "Merry Christmas"

Still No. Just no.

Let me break this down for you: There is no "war on Christmas". There do exist other religions and whatnot, and you know, Jews are still a thing with their Hanukkah and whatnot. And it's funny how they don't get all spun up about their holiday not getting appropriate recognition in cup design and when store clerks are passing out well wishes.

Because they're not assholes.

Yep. If you are going to get upset over the design on a disposable paper cup, and not do the requisite research to know that they still carry Christmas blend and an Advent calendar before just sharing posts and joining in the chorus of outrage, you sir, are an asshole.

Please go on about how they've taken Christ out of your coffee.

Literally an exclusively Christian item.

This holiday season, let's teach our kids better lessons than getting wound up about stupid shit like plain red cups and adopted kids with two dads. Let's show them how we can give to those in need, how we can share our good fortune with others, and how we can love one another despite our differences. Those are real gifts that will last a lifetime.

Happy Festivus.
Happy Hanukkah.
Happy Kwanzaa.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

DayLeeFix Domestics

If there's one thing I try to be here, on my social media accounts, and in person, it's genuine. I just don't have the energy to be fake at this juncture in life. So much weird and wonderful has happened that I've learned to ignore the bad is to miss out on some of the best and most hilarious memories your heart can hold. I also want other people to learn to laugh at themselves and to put down their walls.

We're all guilty at some point of looking toward other individuals, couples, or families and thinking that they have it all together, and feeling a twinge of jealousy. Of making mental notes to get our own shit together so we can be more like them. My message is this: nobody knows what the hell they're doing. We're all winging it. Quit beating yourself up.

That said, since Hubs doesn't want me to talk about the domestic we almost got into a couple weeks ago when I had to shave his man bits pre-vasectomy, I'll tell you about ridiculous argument we had this morning over hot rice in a sock instead.

Hot rice in a sock.

I would have just used these, but they're packed with the Christmas shit.

Most folks know I have migraine issues and other nerve problems around my head and ear region. Last night I had reached my limit after a week of constant pain on the side of my face, the kind where it hurt to touch it, hurt to have my hair brush against it, felt like it was being scraped by hot needles. I needed a heating pad on it, but my heating pad is too sharp and plastic-y, so I decided to make a hot rice pack.

Knowing he usually has a stash of brand new socks, I ventured into his side of the closet. There I found two pair of new black work socks. I took one, filled it with dry white rice, tied off the end, nuked it for a minute, and settled in to let the warmth begin quieting my nerves. It worked, and I was able to get to sleep quicker than I had the nights before.

This morning, I laid it out on the counter so I could take it to work with me. He rolled in off his graveyard shift, and when he saw it began questioning me.

"What is this?"

"Rice in a sock."

"My sock? 
Why couldn't you use your sock? Gross. It's ruined now."

"No it's not. I needed a new sock, and I didn't have one. It's just dry rice. It's fine."

"No it's not. It's CONTAMINATED."

Contaminated. OK. Let's back up. I was looking for a container for rice. I was going to put said container in the microwave, where we put our food. I was going to put said container on my face. I did not sew the sock shut even, out of courtesy so that he can have it back when I'm done. See how nice I am?

"Um, do you think rice is more gross than your foot? Because I've filed your feet before. And I can say for sure that NO, that rice is not more gross than your foot and that sock is NOT contaminated."

And I know that when I am done with this sock, even if I wash it and fold it back with its mate, he will pitch it in the trash, because in his mind it is contaminated and too disgusting to slip onto his highfalutin fancy foot.

I guess now we're even for last month when, after all this time, I found out it's been HIM rinsing and squeezing all the soap out of the SOS pads, thinking there was some foreign goop in regular steel wool, making every one of my pot scrubbing sessions a mystery that even the Scooby Doo gang couldn't solve.

Yes folks, these are the deep-seated things going on behind closed doors at the House of Lee. We are all weird. We are all winging it. Please keep putting your best (peculiar) foot forward because pretending is too much work.

What dumb stuff gets squabbled about at your house?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I See You, Too-Old Trick or Treater

Image: Freaks and Geeks

I see you, finger hesitant on my doorbell and costume half-hearted.

I see you, never alone, the safety in numbers, fearing a monster much different than that which scares ghouls a full head or more smaller than you.

I see you, your apologetic eyes looking at the ground, your oversized sneakers kicking at my door mat.

I see you, jockeying for a position in the back of your group instead of elbowing your way to my door.

I see you. You're too old to trick or treat.

You're scared of being judged. You're scared that one time, one of these houses, one of these doors will open and you'll be greeted with a hearty "GET OFF MY LAWN!" You weren't going to go this year. You're too old. Your mom told you so. Your dad told you it's for kids. Then, one of your friends called. Came over. Texted you.

"Wanna go get candy?"

And you are relieved for that because you really want to go, and now you're less embarrassed that one of your friends wants to, too.

But what do you wear?

You dig out your football uniform. It's disgusting. It reeks. But who cares? You'll be outside.

Thirty minutes later, you're at my door, being too old to trick or treat.

Except at my house, you'll never hear that. Ever. You'll prowl our neighborhood on this night and you'll have the same sense of responsibility to look out for the younger kids as you do in the day. I depend on you to lead my kids by example, even when it means letting your guard down to have measured and imaginative fun.

The boys especially. We put such pressure on you to grow up, act mature, be tough...you end up hearing that dress up is for babies. Girls seem to look for any excuse to gather in herds in get-ups. They put so much effort into looking like someone they're not every day that what's one more night among 364 others? It's not fair that they get a pass in this deal.

Please let these years linger on as long as you can. The day will come when you'll be stuck in a Halloween waiting room, done making the rounds in a giggling crowd for chocolate, but not old enough to hit the over 21 Halloween parties, heaving with terrible wigs and thighs squishing between the strings of fishnet stockings and men in ever-escalating competitive offensiveness. The saddest of those will refuse to dress up for that party too, always fearing the "costume party" portion of the invite is a trick, a joke that they refuse to be the butt of.

Knocking on my door is not about the candy to you. You could shove enough down your gullet to put you in a sugar coma if you just stayed home and ate it out of your mom's bowl destined for tonight's tiny revelers. No, this is about a part of your heart that's not ready to let go of this one night that you can be what you want, roam the streets after dark, and despite your lack of Celtic/Pagan roots, your soul longs to ring in the official end to Summer and embrace the new day coming in November.

One of my kids asked from the way-back of the car how old was too old to trick or treat. My heart sank a little. They can't possibly be thinking of this yet. My plan is to make them take their little brother when they start feeling like they are (since I have to stay home to give you candy) and to suggest that while they're taking him, they might as well make it fun and dress up, too.

Saturday, I will send them out the door as a trio, two lumberjacks and a pine tree, along with their dad for the first leg, and I will listen dutifully for the ding-dong of the doorbell and the thump-thump-thump of little feet racing along the path to our step, eager for treats. I will be sure that the thump-thump-thump of the big shoes, bigger than your mom's now even, are met at my door with kind eyes and enthusiasm for your participation. It's in your eyes that I see my own shorties in a few painfully quick years, and I only hope that others will treat them gently as they awkwardly navigate their own teenage purgatory.

I will also do this so that you're not pissed at me and smash my pumpkins in retaliation. But mostly it's the first thing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WCW - Is A Man. With Two Ns and Giant Balls.

Today's WCW is...a Man. A Man with two Ns and giant balls.

It's not like she needs the advertising, either. She has a bazillion followers already. I have like, three. Which is fine, that's how I like it. I couldn't write on command or because an editor told me I had to meet a deadline in order to sell widgets anyway. You know I don't endorse much, so when I do it's like a big deal. She tells it like it is and spells shit correctly. She doesn't sugar coat anything and isn't sucking up to anyone just to fit in with the cool kids.

Plus, she looks like one of my most BFF-iest F's in the Universe (who also has giant balls), so I think once I laid my eyes on her I was smitten even after being swayed by her smooth talk.

She took her blog to book form. And it.is.fantastic.

Let's just take a second to appreciate the similarities between
her cover cupcake and my "stand up" Pooh Bear, shall we?

If you asked my children what this was, they'd think I wrote it and that it's just a straight up list of about six thousand specific names including Mr. Mountain Dew Skate Park and the kid who just called Esten "a retard" three days ago. But it's not. It's a great book, digestible one chapter at a time (perfect for moms who can't get through anything thanks to their Offspringus Interruptus).

She is convincing because she is approachable and believable (even the unbelievable parts) and real. She is my people and part of my tribe.

Today she is my lady crush.

I hate e-readers, but I took a chance on the Kindle version because it was on sale. After reading it I almost wanted to log back in and pay full price. It was so worth every penny. Except the time I started laughing and the Kindle fell out of my hand and I dropped it on my face because I read in bed. That sealed PIWTPITT's fate of being the first and last e-book I will purchase.

That said, I did go back and purchase this work again in a glorious stack of cold, dead trees, and I'm going to give it to one of you. All you have to do is comment below here or on the Facebook link about someone YOU recently wanted to punch in the throat (you don't have to name names, unless you want to), and you'll be entered to win. That's it. Plus, you're competing against like...three people so your odds are fantastic. You're so lucky that I'm so unpopular and that half my redneck friends have blocked me and my liberal nonsense from their feeds and whatnot.

I'll let the Lee Boys fight over who's going to draw a winner on September 25 when I get back from Detroit if I don't get stabbed or mugged for my old ugly green carry-on with the busted zipper and my Shopko purse.

You can tell us about as many people as you want because if you're like me, it's tough to narrow down the field of candidates. But you're still only getting entered once. And I'm not responsible for any fights between spouses that want to punch each other in the throat. Nor for husbands who are missing out on this because it's "hunting season" and there's no wi-fi on the mountain. Tough shit, guys.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Retrieving Keys Locked in Your Car - In 10 Steps or Less

I don't typically do tutorials here at the DayLeeFix. It's not really a DIY kind of blog.

You won't find a recipe here (but I'm thinking about sharing a new cookie with you!).

You won't find directions for a craft or sewing project here, though I'm thinking about taking up voodoo doll-making, for no reason in particular.

But today, I'll walk you through a tutorial on how to retrieve keys that have been locked in your car. You may need more or less steps depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Step 1: Lock your keys in your car.

This may seem irrelevant, but the manner in which you complete this step is crucial to the remaining steps in the process. For best results, find a busy parking lot, preferably one outside a store that you don't normally patronize because stepping foot inside makes your skin crawl. This is also best achieved during a short period of time wherein you are trying to multitask and are sort of in a crunch for time.

For example, in my case, after dropping Clayton off at football practice, I decided to remedy our "out of eggs and squash" situation at home. I could run to the store, put the groceries away at home, and be back in plenty of time to pick him up.

On arriving at the entrance of the store, I saw that they had frozen fish on sale. It was a much better deal than our usual store, so two went in the cart. Zucchini, squash, chicken, olives, alfredo sauce, and finally....the eggs. Debit card through the reader. Sack the groceries. Note that ToddlerBandit keeps grabbing my phone out of my purse. Peel it out of his protesting little sausage fingers. Shove it in my back pocket. Dodge traffic out to the car, put the groceries in the open lift gate. Put purse in the open lift gate. Close lift gate.

OK...so here's where things get weird. My car is equipped with this idiot proof feature that will NOT allow you to lock your keys in the car.

Except that apparently this only works with the DOORS, not with.....the lift gate. Once I pushed the automatic close button on the hatch, it slowly lowered and locked. With my keys securely inside. I didn't know this until I tried to open the rear driver door to insert my child snugly in his car seat and realized the door was locked. The lift gate was locked. Every.damn.thing.was.locked.


Step 2: Text your spouse. He has the companion set.

Keep your message precise.

For example:

"Are you anywhere around win I with car keys?"
"Win I"

Stupid goddamn auto correct. Stupid goddamn Winco. I don't even like this store. My phone doesn't want to acknowledge its existence. It never changes COSTCO. It knows Costco, because Costco is not an asshole.

Wait for a response and get no response. Proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Call your spouse. 

Call your spouse. Let it ring. Let it ring and ring and ring. Hear the stupid lady on the outgoing message tell you that the person you are trying to reach isn't answering because he obviously doesn't count you high on his priority list of callers whose calls he would like to accept. Hang up without leaving a message.

Assume that he is busy. He is working, and he's pretty professional, and even though we live in the most goddamn boring town where nothing ever happens (which you are thankful for) some asshole must have picked RIGHT NOW to commit a crime. Or he might just be out of cell range. Since you know that there is a group of women who stalk his every move when he's out of your sight, proceed to step 4.

Step 4: Text the two dispatchers you think MIGHT be working and whose numbers you have in your phone.

Those bitches always know where he's at.

For example:

"Are you working?"

Times two.

Wait for a response and get no response.  Proceed to step 5.

Step 5: Get the Hell out of the sun.

Begin to realize that Fall has arrived, which means you need a scarf in the morning and a thong bikini in the afternoon. The schizophrenic weather pattern (and the stress of the situation) are making you sweat. Wonder if you should switch to Degree pit stick.

Take ToddlerBandit into the far area of the mall that nobody seems to give a shit about. Notice that they have put small tables and chairs in that area for no apparent reason. Notice that Bath and Body Works is having a sale. Remember that your purse is in the car. With fish. Begin a plan to feed your spouse tainted hot car fish for dinner tomorrow.

Let ToddlerBandit push the button on the automatic door repeatedly until he purposely gets his head wedged between the door and the safety rail. Tell him to stop. Watch as he refuses to listen to you. Watch as the two bitches power walking laps around the mall give you side eye like you're a shitty mom. Ignore them. Begin to get anxious about a lack of response from the three texts and one phone call you have made. Begin to wonder if some major event is tying up the law enforcement resources and has the dispatchers shagging more calls than they can handle.

Realize that you're sweating despite the air conditioning. Realize that it's definitely stress-sweat. Realize that you have to pee. Curse the fact that the mall doesn't have a public bathroom and the other fact that you JUST WENT before you left the house and you shouldn't have to pee right now. Wonder whether you might have a UTI and whether you should see a urologist. Decide that no, if anyone is going to see a urologist, it should be your spouse. For a vasectomy. Remember that you've forgotten for the last almost 3 months to make him an appointment. Wonder why he can't make his own goddamn appointment because he is a grown.ass.man. Decide it's best you make the appointment because it's the closest you'll get to cutting him with a scalpel yourself. Wonder whether the urologist would LET you do the cutting. Realize the urologist would still bill your insurance even if he let you do all the work. Asshole.

Proceed to step 6.

Step 6: Text the jailer who you think MIGHT be working and whose number you have in your phone.

That bitch is my backup to the other bitches, she just works a little further away.

For example:

"Are you working?"

Get immediate response that she is, but she is getting ready to leave.

Let her know what your situation is. Read the response that she is on it and know for all the times you have said you don't have any friends, you really have some really great friends who absolutely don't let you down.

Read her response that they located him. At home. Eating his lunch. And that they've radioed him to tell him to call me.

Respond with a litany of words, including the F one.

Vow to kiss her right on the mouth next time you see her anyway.

Proceed to Step 7.

Step 7: Answer call from spouse.

Explain the situation. Know that he is on his way. Except for the stop by the office first. Because he left his keys there. Of course.

Step 8: Wait

After the sweating has subsided, you may return to the outdoors. Find a Red Box. Spend six million hours randomly pointing at letters and numbers in the picture titles while ToddlerBandit rattles them off like he's in the third grade. Accidentally point to a title with a skeleton face on it and spend six million hours calming down a kid screaming "SCAWEEEEEEEYYYYY" at the top of his lungs. Place your hand over the offending title and proceed with your game.

Say "Thank you" to seven hundred and eighty two people who stroll by and remark on how adorable ToddlerBandit's hair is.

Say "Thank you" to the Norse God of Kirkland Diapers for letting him not shit his pants in the past 45 minutes.

Step 9: Receive text from dispatcher #1

Receive text indicating she is not at work. Respond that the crisis is averted. Chat about her upcoming career move. Know that you are really happy for her, but sad for the remaining dispatchers and note that you will need more contacts in dispatch going forward. Obviously.

Step 10: The slow-roll unlock

Once you see your spouse arrive, begin walking toward the car. He will slow-roll next to it and push "unlock" on his fob. He will not get out of his car. You do not run to his window and slobber kisses upon him because people already think he's there to arrest someone and you don't want to look like a skank who is trying to avoid jail. You do not want him to look like the kind of cop who exchanges favors. He is a professional and you help to maintain that standard. Casually talk to him through the passenger door. Tell him "Thank you" and proceed to check the door before he leaves the parking lot again.

And that's it. Ten easy steps. And you can, too! Good luck with YOUR next keys-locked-in-car project. I hope it turns out as successfully as mine.

PS: Step 11: Receive text from dispatcher #2

Who in all fairness was probably sleeping through this whole thing. Thank her anyway. Know that you really, REALLY do have some great friends. Know that you only know them because of your spouse. Add to list of things you love him for. Like rescuing you in your situation. And being a great dad. And opening the really hard jars. Decide to postpone his appointment for a little while longer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WCW - Crista

It's actually Wednesday this time. You know what that means.

No football practice! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Also, it's time to tell you about another wonderful woman, lovely lady, fantastic friend...


She is. Totally.

She makes me so happy it makes me want to give shit away. For real...stick around for that.

I first met Crista when she was one of those behind the scenes heroes that answer our calls for help, one of the women (and for a time maybe a dude, I believe) that kept a watchful ear out for and provided an untold number of annoying status checks to my better half.

"Twenty Five Zero Six, status check."
"Code Four."

We became friends because she has the same care and empathy off the job.  Also, she's a classy broad who says "fuck" a lot.

A lot. Yet just the right amount.

She rolls with the punches and finds humor in the everyday shit storms that can otherwise take a toll on you.  She gets my sense of humor and doesn't get her knickers in a twist too easily.

Her two kidlets, Amazing Alex and Super Sean, are her life. Super Sean, at seven now, once came over for a playdate and was too excited and involved in playing Legos or Ninjas or whatever it is that boys do, and I soon found him in the hallway in need of the speed cycles on my washer and dryer. I quickly found him some loaner drawers and told him to just go play and his clothes would be clean and dry before his mom even knew what happened.

You guys know I'm a sucker for a kid in a dilemma.

This sums up how much cooler of a mom
than me Crista is.

Amazing Alex has Tyrosine Hydroxylase Deficiency, a disorder affecting only about 40 people in the world, but neither Alex nor Crista lets it define her. Crista's supermom skills include making sure Alex gets the most out of life, and that others are able to reap the benefit of knowing her, too.

She up and moved on us in the name of love - falling for an Army Man who all-too-soon received orders for a move to Colorado. She didn't miss a beat, making new friends, learning new things, and growing in her new found role as an Army Wife while never letting go of herself.

I missed her on a visit home last year, so determined to see her beautiful face, I popped by the airport when she was last here just to catch her and  say "HEY" before everyone sucked her into a whirlwind stay that never ever lasts long enough. I was glad for that, since the day our friends gathered to see her fell on a rare and too often at the same time trip out of town for work.

There's nothing she can't do. She bakes up giant batches of bad ass Guinness cupcakes like a pro. She cooks, she sews, she huckleberry moonshines. She slices, she dices, she juliennes.

Just kidding. But it does seem there's nothing that intimidates her. I know that's not true, but at least outwardly, fear would seem to fear her. Even her failures are successes, since she's able to laugh about the lessons learned and share them with others.

She climbs mountains and takes us along for the ride. She keeps us posted on her happenings with her blog, My Worried Face.  She's open and honest and really allows us a peek into her dynamic life and how she manages it. She shows us that life is not all rainbows and puppy dogs, except for Ginger, her four legged partner in most outdoor antics and couch cuddles.

That's a lot of steps.

Her Elf won't stay on the Shelf, and she shares with us so that we might see the magic through children's eyes again.

Bill, proposing to his girlfriend.

She wears her heart on her sleeve, equally being a deeply empathetic and loving person while having zero tolerance for bullshit. She's always a supporter, a cheerleader, and a sound and solid voice in a sometimes chaotic world.

I'm so fortunate to call her a friend. I'm so happy for the way she found her way to our family, and no distance will make me let her go.

So to celebrate my special spotlight lady, I'm going to do my first giveaway here. Leave a comment below or on the Facebook link about either how awesome you think Crista is too, or how you haven't met her but you read this and she is obviously a super cool chick because you believe everything I say, and I will enter your name for a random drawing on September 3 (in honor of our official start of school) for a coffee coozie made by.....


See? She even has her own Etsy shop dedicated to coffee coozies. What caffeine addict doesn't love that? They've been a featured item in Spousebox, a monthly subscription care package for and by military spouses. You can visit her store at CozyCooziesCo or her Facebook page at Cozy Coozies Colorado to purchase these custom creations if you're not a winner. Or, if you are a winner and you decide you want to get your paws on more of these guys. I bet she could even make a Ben and Jerry's coozie if that's your persuasion. No judgement here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

WCW - Stephanie

Oh. It's not Wednesday? Too bad. I wish it was Wednesday. It's about the women more than the day of the week. It's my blog and I'll do what I want.

Now then. Today's WCW is someone whose path crossed mine in the distant past, only briefly, secondarily, and without real consequence, and who the universe brought back around to me in the form of: Cop's Wife.

The "and a half" to J-Flo's badge number, I first met her at some party or another and kept struggling to remember where we'd met before.

I'd never forget a face like this. Yowza.

I asked The Hubs, who is a terrible source of information.

"I don't think you know her. I think she's from Oklahoma, where Jerry's from. I don't know. I think maybe she used to live here, I have no idea."

Thanks to good old Facebook, I finally put the pieces together when a mutual friend joined a conversation.  Seeing the two of them in proximity set off the same reaction that Dory has when she sees the "Sydney" sign.

"ACK!!! NEMO!!!!"

Stephanie had been running the show at our local movie theater when one of my best friends worked there in high school.  I'd seen and talked to her whenever I went to bother visit Angie at work, and I recalled her always being very quiet but kind.

I knew that my friend had later ended up renting Stephanie's prior apartment, the upstairs of a Normal Hill Victorian with a weird closet area that always made me want to hide away from the world there. This may have been just me picking up on the spirit of a child-ghost, who was trying to hide away from the world there, I'm not sure.

I remember always feeling sorry for anyone who had responsibility of wrangling all those unruly teenagers into actually working and not just screwing off and fighting over who would have to switch out the soda canisters or take the garbage out.  I wondered if she ever got really mad, tore someone a new one or fired them, demanding that they leave their tiny vest behind for the next person to wash popcorn oil out of.

Surely not. She seemed too nice and laid back for that.

(For the record, I still don't have any idea, because I've never asked her OR my friend. These were just the dusty old memories I had of her for 20 years or so.)

Getting to "meet" her again, and actually getting to know her this time has been great. We're a lot alike. We're both hard to read. We both hold the same beliefs regarding the inappropriateness of not hearing from your husband by 2:15 when his shift ended at 2:00.  We both generally hate having the focus on ourselves. We're both generally kick-ass.  You get the idea.

She talked me into having family photos done.  And really, if you have a chance to experience that, you should totally do that with her.  She is patient and gentle and makes sure you look amazing.  She brings her posse of assistants with her that made the day fun and miraculously got my children to listen to her direction.

Four of my favorite people, as captured by one of my favorite people.

Here's her photography website.  Go there immediately to check out her work and ask whether she's taking new clients or whatever because she's truly so so great to work with:

It was a devastating blow to learn not many Cop Wife Friend years in, that the Big C had infiltrated her body. Cancer is such an asshole. We just tried to make sure they knew (and mostly in the way that can only be conveyed from one dude to another dude) that we were in the periphery. Fundraisers and schedule shuffles seemed like nothing, but it was what we could do in our roles. They had people closer to them for other support roles, and we held our breath.

Once her cancer returned this go-round, she started treatment in a trial in Seattle. She has bravely and level-headedly walked us through her journey in her own words here:

She (and her doctors) kicked cancer's ass, you guys. She's making history in one of those "forever referenced in medical books" kind of ways. When you hear about this treatment tomorrow or next week or five years from now, when someone you love is no longer under the thumb of that real dick of a disease, know that it was because of people like her willing to take a leap of faith and doctors willing to push for more than the status quo.

She asked The Hubs to take her out on the SS Lee so she could try her hand at surfing. Surfing. On a surfboard. In the water. She is not a "lay down and die" kind of person over here.  She's not a "lay down and just take about a month off after they just told me they cured my cancer" kind of person. She's got shit to do.

So we took her out. Hubs made her a tall cup of Boat Drink (pm me for recipe). He and the kids showed her the ropes (literally). She looked at me.

"If I do this, will you do it too?"

Out loud: "Sure, why not?"

You see, I'm generally what you'd call an "observer" when it comes to water sports (or land sports for that matter). I'll watch. I'll cheer. I'll weight the boat down so you have a sweet sweet wake to surf. I'll toss you the rope until you're ready to quit. I'll toss you a dry towel when you're done. But I'm good not actually...what's the word?  PARTICIPATING.

But I wasn't about to leave her hanging alone.

And she did it. She banged it out like a champ. And I was like, "That's so awesome!!! I'm so proud!!! I'm just going to be over here not taking pictures of you because that's what lady-friends are for!!"

Her hubs was taking pics with his iPhone. But I'm not sure he knew what he was doing. I kind of hope he got some good ones so she can remember how awesome we thought it was for her.

She's really having one bang-up month.  It was a fantastic moment.  I was so happy for her.

When she was done it was apparent she hadn't hit her head hard enough on the surface of the water to forget that I'd committed.


Didn't she know today was about HER?  Can't we focus on that?

Anyway, I figured Hubs would try to drag/drown me about ten times and we could call it a day.  But that didn't happen.  He only tried to drag/drown me about eight times before me and my one good arm finally hoisted my ass up out of the water and to be honest, as many times as I've watched lots of people on the back of our boat, I still thought "Well shit, now what?"

And Stephanie, giant professional camera at the ready, documented that shit. Me. In swimwear. Which gives me hives. But I'm glad for the proof that it happened. And I'm glad that if anyone was going to be taking a picture of that, that it was her. She's basically the only person allowed to do that from now until I die. She's the official photog of me in anything more revealing than a burka.

I hadn't told hubs about the four-page long questionnaire I'd filled out for my doctor in October. The one I saw when I started getting real sleepy eating ice cream. The one that asked me what my goals were and what my timeline was for those goals. The one I'd answered by saying by Summer of 2015 I'd like to finally join the boys in my family in learning something on the end of a rope on our boat other than "tubing". My broken and never-quite-healed-right left arm and my excess weight seemed to be significant enough barriers to keep me from trying again after one other "I'll do it if you do it" moment I'd had with my sister in law. That attempt did not end successfully.

So Saturday, at Stephanie's urging, I did it. And she did it. And for one short day the ladies were rulers of that ship. Both ceremoniously crossing a big to-do off our lists.

(Sidenote: I'm not going to write about Jerry's attempts until I get out of therapy for the PTSD I'm suffering from having watched a grown man sink and appear to be legitimately drowning while wearing an appropriate Coast Guard approved PFD with an attached rape whistle. I thought it was going to turn into a water-rescue-practice kind of thing for a minute, there.)

And today, I don't know about her, but I can't straighten my arms out all the way or lift ToddlerBandit at all. But I got enough movement back in my fingers to use this keyboard to tell all my friends just how cool I think she is. I don't want to wait two more days for that. I'm sure you'll get over it.

PS: She took a TON of pics of my shorties, including this one of Clayton, to work with some new editing tool.  It belongs to her, I stole it (that's the deal with my WCW victims), but I'm putting it here anyway and I think she'll get over it. You definitely should keep her in mind if you have an upcoming need for a photog.

via: Shots By Stephanie - Facebook

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WCW - Ariana Martini

Today's WCW is taking me a bit off course.  All the way to Australia, to be precise.  Today's WCW is Ariana Martini, my 6th grade pen pal.

Ariana's photo not available, please paint a beautiful picture in your mind instead.

For those of you who weren't around for the olden times, there used to be this way of communicating with other humans called "writing letters" where you would put words on a piece of paper, put a stamp on it, and it rode in a jeep and a train and an airplane to be deposited in the box that today is commonly used for bills and birthday cards from your grandma (who had to mail it because you don't come see her often enough).

The year I was in 6th grade, stamps made the jump from 22 cents to a quarter, and boy did all Hell break loose over that.  Three cent stamps were a hot commodity for quite a while to prevent having to use TWO 22 cent stamps and running the risk of "overpaying" the USPS for their services, which was worse than blasphemy around these parts.

Our teacher was retired from the US Army and he let us know every.single.day.  First, by wearing short sleeve shirts and refusing to cover the faded and blurry green ink of his "service tat" on his forearm, and secondly by making us do calisthenics on the grass outside our classroom door.

Burpees in wet grass first thing in the morning has somehow not ever been my strongpoint.

Pantyhose were a thing.  For 6th grade girls.  You know, before they were merely "fat strangulation appliances", they were...socks.  Have you ever tried to do a squat-thrust in a skirt and pantyhose?  Try it, I'll wait....

So much WTF going on in this picture. The only one I have, courtesy of Chris Oglesby, who I'm sure only "accidentally" cropped Kari Harris out. Me and Chanda Smith rocking our pantyhose. Mr. Rooper, badassest teacher ever.

Anyhoo.  Sixth Grade taught us a lot.  We learned about the gunk that builds up in a smoker's lungs, thanks to an unprepared presenter who had his whole setup but...not a cigarette...and Mr. Rooper who let me run home 4 houses to get some from my parents' stash, an inordinate number of cartons obtained on any number of stops on an Indian reservation to or from a visit with relatives.

We learned how to measure a tree's height using a tape measure and a shadow and how to survive in the wilderness.

We learned the most about the importance of Veteran's Day that year when our teacher's tough exterior cracked and faded away with his tears as he addressed the whole school.

I learned that my heinous haircut (and perm) from 5th grade would grow out, even if it was a permullet that year.  There was hope.

I learned of the dark hearts beating in those who would harm our children in the place they should feel safest when a new student shared the terrors she and her siblings had survived in the school in the town where they lived before.

We learned about the world around us, which is where Ariana Martini comes in.

Until then, my view of the world beyond our borders was fed by Dan Rather.  Dinners were often in front of the TV, and it was a blur of somber and shocking events until we heard his signature "That's part of our world tonight" sign off.  Libya, Beirut, Iran, Russia.  It sounded as if everywhere but the US was terrible, and the only clips worth showing were sandy, dirty, bloody.  Fighting.  Yelling.  If the people were brown, they were angry.  They wanted to kill each other.  They wanted to kill everyone in their neighboring countries.  They wanted to kill Americans.  Local news was peppered with grim tales of the Green River Killer. There were never any positive messages coming through the boob tube at dinner time.

Dinner: The evening meal best served saturated in depression sauce with a side of anxiety from your favorite news anchor.

So when we were each assigned a pen pal from a school in another country, my eyes were opened to the possibility that we needed to learn and explore these places outside the 6 o'clock news.  I will readily admit I was a shitty pen pal.  I think I just felt like the person on the other end was so much more interesting, had such a better idea at how she fit into the world than I did, after getting her letters I was simply left with nothing to say.  I probably wrote something stupid like asking her if her toilet flushed backward.

First of all, Ariana Martini.  Her name, even.  Hello.  It's a grown-up glamour beverage.  With a special glass and all.  I went into this encounter fully believing that Australia was truly just covered in red dirt, koalas, and kangaroos, surrounded by an ocean full of great white sharks and crocodiles. We had not yet traveled with Nemo and Marlin and Dory to 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney and the dental office of P. Sherman.  Her words chipped away at my ignorance while forcing me to acknowledge it.

She sent carefully taped coins so I could see what their currency looked like.  She sent a picture of herself, a picture of her family's car, one she was currently upset over her father deciding to sell because all her siblings couldn't fit in and it was no longer practical.  It was a Corvette, black and silver, and it looked like a shark, its shiny underbelly eager to consume its prey.  It was just like one I've seen the last month or so parked on the street on my way to work, which is what's been making me think of her as of late and the sneaky way her very brief presence has influenced my life.

She was automatically the coolest person I'd ever known.

How did they have an American car?  I was flabbergasted.  I thought the only people in foreign countries with American cars were American servicemen who had their Mustangs and their Camaros and their Made in the US of A pick-em-up trucks shipped to them because they refused to drive some "RiceBurner" or "Nazi-KrautWagon" while they were protecting us from the Ruskies in a far away land.

She poured out about her life and her surroundings, carefully explaining that her favorite actress turned new pop star, Kylie Minogue, was as popular there as Madonna was here.  She wrote with intelligence about the things outside of her country in a way that I wasn't used to.  I secretly wished I had an updated set of encyclopedias at home.

Encyclopedia: Again, for you newcomers, it was Google version 1.0.  There were about 38 volumes arranged alphabetically to instantly access information that was at least up to date at time of printing.  They were also useful for pressing flowers and hiding money.  Mine had their own special rack, even.  You could basically decorate your room around where you were deciding to place your encyclopedia shelves.

I held onto her writings for a long time like love letters.  Her words inspiring me to look beyond myself, beyond my comfort zone, to learn more than Dan Rather was offering.

It's a big reason I don't allow my children to watch the news.  Ever.  I want them to know more than the bits of filtered information, sensationalized to sell ad minutes.  I want them to know about Malala Yousafzai and her amazing life as much as I want them to know about the Taliban and their awful manners.  We talked about the Dalai Lama a little over a week ago on his birthday and Clayton only had to be corrected four times when he referred to him as "The Llama Man".

Kids are curious.  They WANT to know about other places, other cultures, other kids like them that may not speak the same language but who feel the same feelings.  We watch documentaries like On the Way to School so they can see that education is SO important to those in other countries that they're willing to endure an unbelievably difficult journey just to get there.

It's streaming on Netflix. Go watch it right now.

And so, Ariana Martini, wherever you are in this world today, I thank you.  For inspiring me as a 6th grader to open her eyes and heart to the world, and as a mother who wants desperately for her kids to not have the same narrow views that I did at their age.  You gave me a window.  You showed me how important it is to let others look through your lens.  You put yourself on paper for judgement and consumption and you did so without apology or hesitation.  It was such a welcome gift.

I'm sorry you got the short end of the stick on our arrangement.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WCW - My Mother In Law

Yeah.  She's WCW worthy you guys.

Sunshine and BadAssery on two wheels right here.
My MIL.  JoAn.

Not Joan. Jo. An.

Bucky.  Grandma Bucky.  The glue that holds our family together.  The pint-sized Polly Pocket that is like concentrated sugar and fireworks and a quilt and leather and a party and love all squished into an impossibly tiny package.

With parents no bigger than a couple of Keebler Elves, it's no wonder you can stash her in a hospital waiting room chair for a long wait for labor...she can sleep anywhere.

She's been there always.  For everything.  For everyone.  The births?  I wasn't there, but I did hear grumblings that one person couldn't brush their teeth and another not allowed to poop for fear that she might be late to a grandchild's arrival.  She takes her attendance track record very seriously.

She makes sure we have traditions.  Each kid for their first Christmas now gets a rocking chair.  To mark their second birthday, their photo on her old rocking horse.

Lucky #13
#12 Rocking It

Everything is fair.  She makes things special not only for everyone and makes sure all are included, but she makes each person feel like the ONLY one.  She has a knack for celebrating the individuality in each of the points of light that makes our family, giving each the attention and nurturing they need to thrive and contribute back, that makes the tapestry so rich.

You wanna rock a pink tux? She'll support you!!

We are a giant, interesting bunch.  And we are chaotic and overwhelming.  And she seems to handle us all with ease like a champ.  I honestly don't know how she does it.

She wrangled us all into one place at one time.

ToddlerBandit was pissed about this, but she was determined to get all 13.
She's fun and funny and is always up for anything and never says no to a plan.  And by "plan" I mean she is always all in for "Do you want to go see Wicked in Spokane?" just the same as "Will you drop everything to watch my barfing kid?"

Always there.  For everyone.  For everything.  The only thing she says NO to is when you tell her not to bring food to your party.  "No."  She always shows up with something.

There's so many of us she can't be everywhere at once, so her calendar is sometimes full, and we laugh when she calls and her questions go like:

"Hey, what do you guys have going on for 4th of July?  2016?  I'm looking at camp spots and wanted to get the best one."

She's a planner, she's organized, she keeps us in line.  She gifts us calendars at Christmastime filled with everyone's pictures from throughout the year with everyone's birthdays and anniversaries marked, including those we are missing but who are still very much in our hearts.

She pre-guts the pumpkins every year.  This alone.....I mean....a pre-gutted pumpkin?

She comes with her own gear, prepared for anything, anytime, all packed in a Trader Joe's bag:

  • 1 box of wine if she thinks you don't "already have one uncorked"
  • Assorted snacks/treats she has baked at various times for holidays to deliver to children
  • Assorted candies because some other grandkid got candy and she felt guilty leaving yours out
  • 1 Quilting project for a baby or an upcoming graduate or other lucky recipient
  • 1 Assorted item that was left at either her house or someone else's house, deliverable to you
  • 1 Bag of assorted clothing hand-me-downs from another person's child to your child
  • 1 Cell phone with an unusually surprising ringtone
  • A cosmetics bag and/or complaints that she has helmet hair if arrival was via motorcycle

I've seen evidence of her skills with the scissors through the years and can confidently say I strive for that same level of excellence with my own children:

This photo will never die.

It's ok - it grew out!!
She has four children but treats us like her eight children.  Four sons and four daughters.  We are equal, we are unique, we are each special to her.  She lets us know that.  There's no distance she won't drive to sit in the rain to watch her grandkids succeed or at least try their hardest, no amount of time that she feels a waste to see that each of us that belongs to her is honored by having her spend her precious time with us.

And her love doesn't stop at the leaves of her own family tree.  Her heart is equally as dedicated to her extended family, her friends, and her community.  She is always there.  For everyone.  Always.

For all of that, I love her tremendously, and I'm so lucky to have her.  Today, my Mother In Law gets this spot this WCW.

(And my FIL. He has a hand in all that punkin' gutting too. And the clean up.
And the presents. He's the man behind the woman.)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WCW - Cop's Wife

Today is WCW, and the woman is actually a group of women, a club, a Sisterhood.  The Cop's Wife.

She is all the cops' wives I know and those I've never met.  The ones I'm friends with and the ones I'll meet one day.  Especially today, she is Lindy Moore, wife of Coeur D'Alene Police Sergeant Greg Moore.

Photo: Amanda Talbott, Cop Wife and Compassionate Jailer, a craft project she'd rather not.

 We hold our collective breath waiting for a glimmer of good news, and when we hear hope is gone, the wind is knocked out of us.  Now we are heartbroken for another member of this Sisterhood, this club that reaches far and wide, its chapters and charters nameless and without meetings or minutes or a guide for newcomers, its dues draining your emotions instead of your wallet.

I purposely stayed away from media as long as I could.  I thought I could will him to pull through by ignoring news updates.  Hubs, out of town this week, asked whether I'd heard any official outlets confirming what he'd heard from someone - the worst - but in our family we've learned to respect the process of official press releases.  It affords officials closest to tragedy the opportunity to inform us of the facts and it's there that we refer when games of telephone get out of hand.

I checked.  Damn.  It was true.  The official end of watch status had been reported.  I forwarded the notice in a screenshot back to him.


The kids were hammering me with questions about dinner or whether I'd seen a slap shot or a rock they found that looked like Abraham Lincoln as we sat in the parking lot at the hockey rink.

"Mom?  Moooom...Mom...Mom...Mom?  Hello?  Mom?"

I knew if I opened my mouth to answer them I'd cry.  If I cried I'd have to tell them why.  That some asshole shot a policeman just like their dad out on a stop at the same time of night their dad works and even though I was really really hoping that the doctors would fix him, they couldn't and he died.  He died and he didn't have to.  And now kids like them didn't have a dad and a wife like me didn't have a husband.  And that asshole was sitting in jail and I wished he would just do everyone a favor and hang himself in his cell with his underwear, but that even if he tried to do that, the jailers would save his worthless fucking life, because they're also compassionate humans with their own job to do.  I had to get my shit together.

That's the other thing about cop wives.  They bend over backward to see that cop kids have fairly normal lives and aren't riddled with anxiety about their dad's work life.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

As much as what one does to earn a living does not define them as a person, cops are different, and so are their mates.  They're held to a higher standard both on and off the job, their personal lives under a microscope and subject to judgement.  We chose this.  Maybe it chose us.  We know that it requires a balance of work and play.  We know that we can't make it without humor, flexibility, and empathy.  We have a different sort of pride, one that we know we can't always show off.  Advertising our status can make us a target and can be counterproductive to keeping the peace.  We are happy to support from the sidelines without ceremony.

We know that sometimes our dinner takes a back seat to criminals.  Sometimes it's a grieving family.  We learn to share our husband with others.  We want him back when they're done, though.  That's the deal.

We are shocked because these are the supermen of our society, the invincible heroes that run toward danger while others run away.  The bravest of the brave fighting forces of evil to protect us.

Nerdy Apple (Sarah) used to write as Cop's Wife before she updated her blog.  Her hubs, The Detective, is never named nor can she show us his undoubtedly handsome face because he deals with the dirtiest dirt bags in his work and can't risk blowing his cover.  She continues to share herself and her shorties with us, including those parts that make her part of the Sisterhood, stretching the web from the Northwest to the Bible Belt.  I am thankful for her, otherwise a stranger, now a sister to me.  Someone who understands what others cannot.

I'm also thankful for Amanda, Ashley, Darcy, Cindie, Stephanie, CodyAnn, Ingrid, Lacie, Dana, Cass, Victoria, Deena, Kit, Andrea, Teresa, Jaclyn, Sara, Erin, and the others who may have griped about the sound of velcro coming off a vest in the middle of the night, but who all actually prefer waking to that than a knock at the door.

She's never really rested from sleeping with one eye open until he's home, but feels guilty for saying so because she knows that he gets less time in bed than she does.  She knows that his fatigue can be a safety issue and it just makes her worry more and sleep even less.  She loves him for the man he is and for the selfless choice he makes to give himself to others every day.

Cop's Wife.  She is us.  We are her.  We grieve with her for her loss.  For our loss.