This Is More Miraculous Than Funny

This weekend, Trifecta challenged us to write 33 words about taking a giant leap in honor of the anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon. In light of the recent tragedy in this country, this is a great time to celebrate a miracle, or two. Bear with me…it’s another poem.

 

Despite the losses

And the fact

that I have a 30% chance

Of having a healthy pregnancy,

We tried again.

Her middle name is “Faith.”

The surprise boy?

“Miracle”

For short.

Ten Things That Just Flip My Skirt.

As you all know, I’m extremely thankful for my family, husband, children, health, house, job, etc. There are some other things for which I am grateful as well. I am listing them for Stasha’s Monday Listicle—on Tuesday.

  1. Patience. Lil’ P. is finessing his prowess with a spoon. This explains why I have applesauce in my eye. I am also thankful for the shower curtain I spread out beneath the high chair. Self-control is another biggie.
  2. Carpet cleaner.
  3. The fact that I’m a multi-tasking GENIUS. This morning, Lil’ K. announced that she needed to pee, launched herself from her bed, and headed for the upstairs bathroom. I was downstairs pulling Lil’ P. off the top of the dining room table, when I heard sudden sobbing and what sounded like a downpour on the dining room ceiling.  She didn’t make it to the toilet. Shit.
  4. The fact that I haven’t put the Exersaucer thingy away. I dropped Lil’ P. into the seat while I went up to see about Lil’ K.’s flood. His legs stretched all the way out from under all the toys, but he was contained.
  5. Bleach and a Shop-Vac.
  6. Cartoons. I used to be thankful for Nick Jr. until those bastards at Viacom decided that Direct TV and I needed to pony up another billion for my few minutes of marketing-free daily sanity. Screw you, Viacom. At least there’s Disney and Sprout and all those stupid Dream Light commercials.
  7. ”Every Sperm Is Sacred” on my iPod for when my kid pees on the floor.
  8. “The Philosopher’s Drinking Song” on my iPod for when I accidently calculate the amount of time I spend cleaning up bodily excretions.
  9. Date nights. Heh Heh.
  10. The fact that I live with such founts of hilarity—there’s no excuse for writer’s block in this house.

Squirrels Eat Tomatoes, Drive Man Nuts

“Mama, can I touch the dead squirrel?” asked my four-year-old, Lil’ K.

Finding a dead squirrel in one’s tomato patch seems rather innocuous, particularly when one owns a ferocious crackhead beagle. In this case, the dog had nothing to do with the squirrel’s untimely end—she’s too bent on eating the air conditioning man. This particular rodent and his friends died because they didn’t take the hint and get the hell out of our tomato patch.

Mr. Jenn takes great pride his garden and in the neighboring wildlife. He always yelled at the dog for digging around his veggie plants and chasing critters. When deer began to nosh on our turnip greens earlier, Crackhead napped on the porch.

“Damn useless dog,” Mr. Jenn, Lord of Mixed Messages, muttered.

He then enlisted Lil’ K.’s help in constructing a scarecrow. The deer moved on.

When the squirrels discovered the ripening tomatoes on the thirty-three vines Mr. Jenn planted, he tried peeing on the scarecrow in hopes that the scent would scare them away.

Later, we found a green tomato with a squirrel-sized bite in it. I looked up into a nearby tree and discovered several more tomatoes sitting on a squirrel feeder Mr. Jenn constructed last winter. My dear husband, who apparently fancied himself Walt-Freaking-Disney or something, had to take action quickly or he was going to lose the several pints of salsa and quarts of tomato juice that I preserve each summer.

He tried putting a fake owl beside the scarecrow. The following day, we found chewed-up tomatoes under the owl.

Shots startled me at the buttcrack of dawn the next morning. My husband had disappeared, so I crept to the garden, making sure the Mayans hadn’t confused their dates. I found Mr. Jenn in his underwear, aiming his .22.

“The little bastards should have left when I asked nicely,” he whispered.

POW! A squirrel and a tomato fell out of the tree. Apparently, Walt-Freakin’-Disney no longer wanted squirrels in this small world!”

Questions About Domestication…and SEX!

This week, Stasha, at Northwest Mommy, posted a meme with interesting questions for us to answer. Enjoy!

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, and find line 4. What is it?

“He teases me with his fingers, my nipple growing hard and elongating under his skillful touch.” Fifty Shades Darker, by E.L. James.

Seems all I’ve read about lately is sex. I’ve finished the first two books in the hormonal Fifty-Shades-of-Cliché trilogy—I still haven’t downloaded the third because I have a family that would like some attention. Despite the repetitive phrases splashed all through it, I found myself chained to my Kindle until I’d finished these two well-lubricated, only moderately kinky romances. I’m not sure if that line is on page 23, but it’s at 23% on my Kindle.

2. How many times a day do you say Hi?

I say, “Hi” every five minutes or so because it’s my toddler’s new favorite word. Lil’ P. says it to me, the dog, his sister, and all the Little People littering the floor. He then runs away laughing his head off. The cuteness factor is off the charts, especially when he and his big sister, Lil’ K. wrestle in the floor. I love summer!

Since we live way back here in the country, it’s customary to wave at everyone we pass on the road to town, If you count waving at people as a “hi” of sorts, I probably “say” it twice more per day.

Since reading the naughty books above, I only greet my husband with clothespins and a canning jar lifter so he doesn’t count.

3. Have you ever worn a uniform?

I wore a uniform for the first nine years of my school career. One would think that a plaid jumper would sort of stifle a young lady’s individuality. Not so. It’s amazing what a pair of Madonna earrings and several lacy head bands tied together will do for a Peter Pan collared shirt.

4. What do you think about the most?

I contemplate writing, strong verbs, characters in humorous situations, and the relative fullness of diapers. And sex.

5. How many keys are on your keyring?

I have one truck key, and the keys I took as souvenirs from my classroom in the school the tornado destroyed. I guess you’re wondering where my house key is, right? For awhile, we didn’t lock our house, so a key wasn’t important. After a series of robberies took place a few miles up the road, we’ve upped security measures considerably. Unfortunately, I locked myself out on several occasions because I kept forgetting that we’d suddenly morphed into Fort Knox. I have the key hidden so that I don’t have to worry about standing in the rain or snow and waiting for someone to rescue me. We really don’t have anything that anyone would want to steal, except a TV with a really sticky remote.

6. What was the last thing you bought?

I downloaded the song “Hell on Heels” by the Pistol Annies. One can wish, right?

7. Are you growing anything these days?

Mr. Jenn planted us a massive garden with tomatoes, green and banana peppers, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, onions, radishes, and snaps (green beans to y’all city folks). I’ve canned ten quarts of snaps and six pints of squash relish. I started a batch of 13 day pickles yesterday. I love preserving food from my garden. And then there are the canning jar lifters…

8. What is under your bed?

I’m afraid to look—probably more children.

9. What is most important in life?

My marriage, children, and family are most important—in that order.

10. What is the strangest word you used this week?

We had a “derecho” over the weekend, which is a windstorm that travels over 240 miles. There were gusts of wind of over 100 miles per hour. Basically, it was like being in a hurricane for about five minutes. We had limbs down, but much less damage than other areas. Big cities are just getting power back as we had storms all weekend that hindered restoration. I’ve seen hurricanes, a major tornado, an earthquake, and now a “derecho” in a place that occasionally had a somewhat wicked thunderstorm. Were the Mayans right?

A Day in the Life Of Lil’ P.

You know you’re the mother of a male toddler when you spend your days trying to avert destruction and certain death within the confines of your own house. Additionally, when you post pictures of said child, you consider Photoshopping the dirt on your floors out of the photos, then realize you don’t have enough skills in this department to even attempt such a mammoth task.

Our day with Lil’ P., the child in question, began after Mr. Jenn took the Big Worrells fishing early one morning. Upon their return, they introduced the Little Worrells to their catch. Lil’ K., having caught some sizable fish of her own, was somewhat unimpressed. Lil’ P., on the other hand, nearly lost his mind with fascination.

Yes, my son made out with the dead fish. We didn’t predict that this would happen. Big A. merely held the fish up for his inspection, and before she could move it, he gave it a great big MUAH. I’ve been trying for months to get him to kiss me like that, to no avail.

It may not seem so unusual to see a little boy playing with a dead fish and spreading slime and scales across a kitchen floor. However, when the fish made it to the spot on the floor by way of the child’s head, things get a little more interesting. In another unpredictable move, Lil’ P. opted to scrub the fish across his head, drop it down his back, and let it slide across the floor so he could try to recapture its floppy slipperiness. Notice the odd part in his hair. The other side is stuck together with fish scales.

Our first bath of the day transpired before ten o’clock. Do you know how hard it is to get fish scales out of a child’s hair?

Mr. Jenn took the kids into the garden while he picked vegetables. In order to keep Lil’ P. happy, he gave him a bucket. Lil’ P. turned the pristine, clear water into this muddled nastiness in about three minutes. On to our next bath–Mr. Jenn may not be gettin’ any tonight.

You know you’re a mother to a boy when you drag him in the bathroom with you so you can pee. He escapes, and by the time you catch him, he’s in imminent danger of cracking his head open. You forget that you didn’t flush until your husband/child/neighbor/mother-in-law/air conditioning man reminds you a few hours later.

How the hell did he get that?

I guess I should have let him keep it.

The bowl might have kept him out of here.

Finally, you know you’re a mother to a boy when you forget you even own thong underwear until your son goes digging in your closet and comes out with a pair on his head.

I’m linking up with http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/blog/ for another wonderful world famous writing prompt this week. Check out the wonderful writers over there!

 

 

Parenting, Mr. Jenn Style!

In honor of Father’s Day, I have to kick Mr. Jenn into the spotlight this weekend and share a few things he’s taught me about parenting. Ever since I ran into him (with my cart) in Wal-Mart and gave him my number (for insurance purposes), we’ve lived life pretty much happily ever after. Okay, I’m kidding about both the cart and the insurance, but we really do have a Wally World love story. I’ve been watching Mr. Jenn parent from the very beginning because he brought along Big T. and Big A. when we got married. They were six and eight when we met, and they will turn 19 and 21 this summer. Since they both live pretty successful lives thus far, I’d say the time he’s spent and the consideration he’s given them have worked.

“They just want attention,” Mr. Jenn would always say when Big A. and Big T. would swing from the ceiling or chase each other around the house with sticks. Mr. Jenn happens to be in law enforcement so he has a commanding presence. He could always shut down bad behavior just by making an appearance in the room, but he also knew that much of the Big Worrells little kid foolishness was just their way of asking for our time and attention. During those nutty times, Mr. Jenn would stop what he was doing, get in the floor, and just play for awhile. Inevitably, Big A. and Big T. would calm right down. The other day, our small children, Lil’ K. and Lil’ P. were creating mayhem of their own while I was trying to clean the house.  Lil’ K. was chasing Lil’ P. with her dragon sword and Lil’ P. whipped around and pulled out a chunk of her hair. After correcting both parties, I took them outside and chased them around (with the dragon sword) for about half an hour until they fell on the ground giggling and went in for a nap. Mr. Jenn has taught me to allow our children to make us put down our adult problems and play for awhile. Even five minutes makes a big difference.

“Mr. Jenn was the best room mother…er…father ever,” sighed one of my colleagues at school the other day.  I had seen Mr. Jenn bringing in cupcakes and cookies to Big A.’s and Big T.’s classes on several occasions before we officially became “an item.” From the time he enrolled the kids in the elementary school where I taught, he was always there. The agency he works for encourages all employees to be active in their children’s schools; upper management also requires officers to do wildlife and law enforcement-related programs for kids. Mr. Jenn would come in to school with deer, bear, and turkey mounts to teach our students about wildlife management. In addition to sweets, he often brought live squirrels or snakes to Big A.’s and Big T.’s classroom parties.

Since we’ve been together, there are few performances or sporting events involving our big kids that he’s missed.

“I just want to be in a parade, though,” he’s been saying. “I want to fix that old truck up [the brown, rolling, jacked-up engine-less turd housed in our basement], hook it to my trailer, and haul a bunch of kids down the road. That truck would look good pulling a float, don’t you think?”

Since Big A.’s and Big T.’s float pulling days are probably over, we’ll have to see if Lil’ P. and Lil’ K. need a trailer in one of our community parades. Hopefully, they won’t mind being pulled by a large cow pie on Mickey Thompson Super Swampers.

Aside from his Room Dad duties, he also coached Big T. in baseball and football. He was also man enough to finally admit that neither sport was Big T.’s thing, so they both took up golf together. On his first attempt at golf in my parents’ back yard, Mr. Jenn launched both the ball and the head of his driver right smack into my dad’s tomato plants. Even though he initially sucked at golf, he was delighted when Big T. made the high school golf team. Mr. Jenn has certainly embraced the sport and plays with Big T. and enjoys free-for-alls and reckless golf cart racing tournaments with all his cop buddies.

Time, attention, and lots of playing seem to have worked with the first wave of Worrell kids. We can only hope that our second two turn out as wonderfully as the older ones. If the first twelve years of parenting with Mr. Jenn are any indication, we are in for a hell of a lot of fun in the next eighteen or so. Happy Father’s Day, Babe! I love you!

Mama’s Losin’ It

33 Words About Assertiveness Training

It wasn’t the first time her uncle had teased her, but it was the first time she’d stood up for herself.  Her daddy was teaching her assertiveness; he hadn’t taught his five-year-old girl to moon anyone, though!

 

 

 

 

 This weekend’s Trifecta Writing Challenge is to write thirty-three words based around the phrase “It wasn’t the first time.” Don’t pick on the above child–oh, wait–she’s all grown up now:)

Finding Time to Write When the Keyboard is Covered in Milk

ImageFinding time to write as I chase small children around the house has proven almost as futile as my cellulite cream applications. My ass still looks like it’s been gently peppered with bird shot, and my son is currently chewing on the kitchen dustpan. I am, however, writing.

I had, at one time, sworn off Diet Cokes, and my butt had a bit more smoothness to it. I then decided to pursue my writing, while adequately performing my day job, removing my daughter from in front of the television and breaking her thumb-sucking habit, and keeping my son out of the trash. My lofty goal requires that I will never again see the back of my eyelids. EVER.

My goal report/writing update reads as follows: I destroyed an entire case of Diet Coke this week, and it’s only Wednesday; my cellulite is literally vibrating from the caffeine. Lil’ P. dumped the trash can full of diapers on the floor and poured milk on my keyboard. The Fresh Beat Band’s “Just Like a Rockstar” is blaring out of my TV, and Lil’ K. is bunched up on the couch with her thumb shoved in her mouth. I did, however, complete five essays, prepare several submissions, and finish these blog posts.     

Here are five strategies I use to insure that nobody dies while I get in some writing each day.

  1. While this one may be so obvious that it’s clichéd at this point, I carry some type of writing implement with me at all times. My weapon of choice is a Kindle Fire with a nifty little word processing app on it. I whip that bad boy out during long wait times, and streams of bullshit some insightful prose emerges.
  2. I take the kids outside and wear them out. Run, play, climb, and chase them; it’s good for all of us. It gets my ass jiggling heart pumping and blood flowing to my brain. Exercise opens my channels so the Muse can download material with ease. I love the inspiration I get when I play. Additionally, the kids are happy, exercised, and healthier. They come in ready for a nap. ‘Nuff said.
  3. Driving time serves as thinking time. I always put in music the kids will like, and I let the words and ideas flow while my kids and I are singing. When I’m turning a wheel, I’m turning over some thoughts. I’ve written several of these posts to the Laurie Berkner Band’s pumping jams.
  4. I substitute caffeine for sleep. This is unhealthy, and hopefully, life will throw me a bone so I can write more during the day. Until then, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
  5. Letting go of certain goals has helped tremendously. I only clean my house when the stench gets too overbearing. I’ve also decided to forgo writing my own version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas a novel at this time. I think in blog posts and short essays. I can throw out 500-1,000 words at a sitting with some level of ease. For right now, a long novel might very well be out of the question. I can, however, find time to edit and expand older manuscripts I have lying around.

Now that I’ve thrown out 500 or so words, I can feel my eyes closing. I think it’s time for another Diet Coke. Have a literary day!       

Male Dominance and Mouse Turds

You may officially call yourself “screwed” when your four-year-old daughter marches right up in the middle of a bunch of kids of the male persuasion, puts her hands on her hips, and says, “Hey, Boys!”

I just shook my head, and Mr. Jenn put his head in his hands and began to moan. Our journey to screwed-dom accelerated as she began to relate the latest Worrell Family Adventure that transpired on our spring camping trip. We trembled as we watched the whole thing unfold on the camp playground.Image

“Boys, have I got a story for you!” she paused and eyed each of them to make sure their eyes rested on her. Said boys kept playing in the sand. One ate a handful and grinned at his brother with sand pebbles in his teeth. Undeterred, Lil’ K. continued her story.

“We-e-e-e-lll,” she said. “It all started when there was a mouse in our camper. We kept stepping on mouse poop, and it was everywhere.” She took one hand off her hip and gestured around her head to make her point. “Everywhere,” she added.

The boy with sand in his teeth perked up at the mention of poop. He faced her.

“Daddy set traps all over the pwace!” she said. “And then we heard a SNAP from under the couch! Daddy was so excited! He looked under the couch, but he didn’t catched the mouse!”

ImageShe lowered her voice and leaned in to the older boys whose heads were still buried in their sand creations. Pebble Teeth watched her with rapt attention.

“All the traps were empty. The mouses got away!” She jabbed her finger in the air for emphasis. Mr. Jenn growled next to me in recollection of his lost rodent battle. “Damnable little bastards,” he muttered quietly to me.

Lil’ K. continued, “And then, Daddy said lots of funny words. You know I can’t say them, but Hoooooo-wwwwwweeeeeeee, they were really funny.”

Mr. Jenn rolled his eyes, and I stifled a snort. A few mice got in our camper and had sex while we stored it during the unusually balmy winter. We thought we had gotten the rodents before we left, but the mouse crap everywhere proved we were still under infestation.

Mr. Jenn looked at me. “Is she going to tell everything we do?” he asked.

“Duh,” I said. “I mean, we’re kind of a storyworthy family. Look!”

I pointed discretely to the little boys who now gaped at Lil’ K. with raised eyebrows.

“She owns them,” I said.

“I must admit, her timing is impeccable,” nodded Mr. Jenn.

“Just what did he say?” one of the older boys asked with a naughty grin.

“Oh, I can’t tell you,” Lil’ K. answered with folded arms, “but it was really hi-war-i-ous. It started with…”

“Okay, that’s enough,” I told her. “Time to move on.”

Disappointed, the boys all went back to their sand creations.

“You forgot to tell them that I did catch the mouse on the sticky stuff,” said Mr. Jenn, so as not to leave the impression with these preadolescent boys that a wily man such as himself could possibly be defeated by a lowly mouse.Image

“Yeah,” said Lil’ K. nodding vigorously, “and Daddy squished him in the sticky stuff, and I bet he exploded.”

Again, all eyes turned to her.

“Were there guts?” the oldest inquired.

“Probably,” Lil’ K. answered. “Daddy folded him up and put him in the trash can. Daddy said, `I gotcha you Son–“

“Enough!” I interrupted. Mr. Jenn’s head again descended into his hands.

“Time to go!” I said.

As I was collecting our things, I heard Lil’ K. say, “My daddy may not have catched a lot of mouses, but he sure is funny.”

“Well, that counts for something,” I nudged Mr. Jenn encouragingly. He just snorted, his mouse-catching manliness called in question in the sandbox.

Anyone could have predicted what happened next. That night, Mr. Jenn launched a mouse campaign so murderous and sinister that it could have caused the extinction of the entire species. He even changed the kind of cheese he used because he thought that a heavier brand might insure proper trap deployment.Image

The next morning, we had one mouse in a sticky trap, and two in snap traps. Mr. Jenn danced around the camper, lording his victory over the rodent kingdom.

“Congratulations,” I said, patting him on the back. “I’m very happy for you.”

“We need to get right and go to the playground,” he said. “we need to find those boys…”

I just linked this post to Yeah Write #53. Check them out!

Worrell Family Adventures: The Making of the Male

Spring just sproinged on the Mid Atlantic this week with 85 degree temperatures collapsing into the 50s ushering in wind gusts that knocked Lil’ P. on his precious, diapered butt this morning. Naturally, this weather change arrived right in time for spring break week, just as we embark on yet another Worrell Family Adventure in our camper.  My family supplies me with endless funny bullshit inspiration, and I’m sure I’ll have much to write about as the week progresses.

Worrell Family Adventures always provide a plethora of WTFs, head shaking, sighs, and a wheelbarrow full of shits and giggles for all. One particular WFA we had earlier in our marriage before the advent of Lil’ K. and Lil’ P.(my bio kids), involved a small catamaran, Big. T., Big A.(my stepkids), and the two people loosely disguised as parents (Mr. Jenn and me). Mr. Jenn was sailing said catamaran, I was perched on the opposite pontoon, and the Bigs were hanging somewhere in the middle. Mr. Jenn allowed as to how much better he would like it if I cuddled up on his pontoon next to him so we could enjoy A Romantic Moment as our sails held hands with the wind and meandered down the river together. I moved gingerly across the cat, carefully plopping my arse next to him, when the wind saw an opportunity to have a bit of merriment with the Worrell clan. No sooner had I wedged my asscheeks next to his, then a monumental gust of wind took cruel advantage of the added weight of my wobbly butt, grabbed our sails, and flipped us on our starboard side. I heard the mast hit bottom then splash back to the surface as I launched over and past Mr. Jenn. He cursed loudly as my knee bashed his temple. I found the river floor, tried to stand, but then sank in the bottomless marsh mud. Big. A. had dropped gracefully into the river and was sputtering a little next to me. Mr. Jenn was rubbing the side of his head and looking around frantically. Three of us were accounted for, but where in the world was Big T.? We called his name in a panic until we heard a little voice from above. Backlit from the bright sunlight, Big T. was wrapped around the port pontoon which was several feet above the surface of the water. We tried gently to convince him to drop down. He shook his blond head and wrapped his arms and legs tighter around his post.

“Son,” Mr. Jenn said, trying to inhale some serenity from the river, “we have to turn this boat over. I need you to come on down. NOW.”

Big T. knew the Voice of Lost Patience, so he cautiously unwrapped first one leg, then the other. He hung there for a seemingly infinite amount of time.

Mr. Jenn sighed. “We are in four feet of water.  This is no big deal.”

Big T., bless his awkward little heart, possessed little insight back then into the physics of his own pre-adolescent body. He tried to pull himself up and over his perch for some unknown reason, but lost his grip. He slid off, legs flailing, and took the lower pontoon right in the ‘nards. He sat strattled, paralyzed in pain, with his mouth wide open in a silent howl.

“Oooooo,” Mr. Jenn winced, crossing his own legs under water. Big A., who had been contemplating tears, began to giggle. Big T. noted her reaction even in his moment of agony, and got all Steve-O from Jackass on us. He grabbed himself and commenced to rocking back and forth with that stupid look men get when they’re trying to make it look like they busted their nuts on purpose to impress some chick. Since Jackass hadn’t yet crashed into our living rooms on its jet-propelled bike and water skis, I assumed that  Big T.’s ability to turn his pain and anguish into a comedy routine was either

  1. Inborn as it seems to be with all males;
  2. Something he learned by watching his dad rip his knee while trying to ride a skimboard into a tide pool at the beach in front of about fifteen families;
  3. Something he learned by watching his dad launch out of a inner tube pulled through a large boat wake. My dad was driving the boat at the time;
  4. Something he learned by watching his dad try to snow ski in the terrain park: Mr. Jenn tried to shred on a rail, but missed and face-planted in the snow;
  5. Something he learned by hearing his dad tell the story of  losing control of a jet ski and winding up in a tree.

Big T. continued rocking for a bit, then fell over the pontoon into the water while proclaiming loudly, “I’m dead!”

By this time, Big A. was howling, and Mr. Jenn was cursing as he attempted to right the boat. He pulled himself up on the upright pontoon and humped it repeatedly until the boat fell back down into the water. The mast popped back up, erect as ever, and all was right with the world.

That particular WFA ended happily, with Mr. Jenn and I hoisting the kids back on the boat and swimming the thing back to shore. Now that Big T. and Big A. are off at college having their own exploits, no doubt, Mr. Jenn and I are creating more opportunities for mayhem and insanity merriment and fun with the Little Worrells. Stay tuned while Lil’ K. and I quietly observe the indoctrination of Lil’ P. into the world of male nut-busting and bullshit social mores and customs during this latest upcoming Worrell Family Adventure. Have a literary day—wear your cup!

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