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Drinking problem

My husband and I have issues.

Over the past few months, we have been working super hard to drop our bear blubber. Because 1) we are simply too fat and 2) we are not actually bears who need to stockpile on a few layers of fat to make it through hibernation season. Hell, the fact is, all this extra cushion does NOT keep me any warmer in winter, no matter how much I try to use that as justification for the weight of a small child being attached to my ass. It’s kinda why it’s important to put polar bears on the endangered species list. How they do that, stay warm AND not develop diabetes is AMAZING — we need to study that. But that’s a different topic.

So to the gym we go. Or, as we call it, the exercise place. Because Jim is Jim, as opposed to gym, and my Jim-gym jokes get very tiring for him, and he began calling it “the exercise place” and he was relentless and I finally gave in. We lift three times a week, we do cardio at least four times a week. Sometimes we play racquetball and dammit is that funny. For real. Drop by the gym with your video camera and Bob Saget will be handing you a $10,000 check before you know it, it’s that entertaining. I once drilled the man right in the ear hole, which was almost as funny as the time I nailed myself in the face.

The result of this has been good. We generally watch what we eat, and we’re not over exercising, so the weight is coming off slowly but surely. Since Christmas, we have both dropped something in the area of 20 pounds. Yeeeee-hoooo! That is nice to see when you strip down completely naked because surely your clothes weight double-digits and  get on the scale.

But we all have our guilty pleasures. We all need our guilty pleasures. And for me and Mr. Wonderful, ours comes in liquid form:

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Time to make the donuts.

I use this image because Homer Simpson truly expresses how the fatty within emerges when Jim and I get our hands on a big, fat, delicious cup o’ Dunkin. Large. 1 cream. 2 Splenda. Oh. My. God.

Tonight, I went to the gym for cardio. We usually go together and drop the kids off at the daycare, but we couldn’t do that tonight because George only has one pair of shoes, and they were in the sink. Don’t ask. So I went first, ran for half an hour, then Jim went and did the death machine stair climber. Then, before returning home in time for the Blackhawks game, he stopped at Dunkin. He walked in the door with a cup in each hand and a big old smile on his face, and I kid you not I fell in love with him all over again! Seriously. Forget the selfless way he loves even the crappiest parts of me, or how he has to be reminded that he was not there when Hank was born because he has simply forgotten that he’s not the child’s biological father, or that he is patient even when I fill up his TiVo memory with episodes of “The Ghost Whisperer,” or that he managed to deliver the sweetest and most awkward marriage proposal ever in my parent’s driveway. It’s the Dunkin Donuts coffee in his hands. This is why he is awesome. 

It is truly the strangest thing ever. Tonight I referred to it as our “36-year-old beer,” because apparently we have reached an age where we do NOT grab a beer first thing when getting set to watch the big game. Of course — there IS beer in the fridge, and I’m sure we’ll both down one soon. It’s not like we’ve turned our backs on frothy-brewed deliciousness. But for whatever reason, there is a new liquid we cannot live without. And its name is Dunkin Donuts coffee.

My cup is currently empty. My coffee is in my belly. I might have to go grab my shoes and see if I can make HIM fall in love with ME all over again.


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Thumbs up

We all know it. We’ve all done it. It’s the international sign of “hey, it’s all cool.” It brings us closer to the Fonz. It’s “thumbs up.”

Back at St. James, when we were occasionally good-natured children (which wasn’t necessarily common for the Class of ’88 but it did sometimes happen), we would be rewarded with a game. “Thumbs Up” or “Thumbs Up 7 Up” or “Heads Up 7 Up” or something like that. The jist of the game was, you put your head on your desk and your thumb in the air while a few people would go around the room. If someone pushed your thumb down, you had to try to figure out who it was. My thumb always, ALWAYS remained in the air unless Jenny or Jacki was one of the thumb-pushers. Then it was fairly obvious who picked me.  I know it’s hard to believe, but despite my current ability to ooze cool, I was once quite the geek.

Anyway, this game played on the irresistable need that children have to stick their thumbs up in the air. Thanks to the arthritis that attacked my right thumb last year, my thumb these days is perpetually sticking up (you should see me try to hold a pen, it’s quite entertaining). But after watching my kids pose for the barrage of pictures I have been taking thanks to the recent nice weather, I am starting to think that giving the thumbs up is as instinctive as breathing or blinking.

Take a look:


I took this photo to demonstrate the ridiculousness that is my nearly 4-year-old still sitting in a stroller designed for a child half his age. But look at his hands.

This photo was taken after I decided to completely and utterly give up on dressing my son. Much like Jim, Hank apparently chooses his clothing by squeezing his eyes as tightly shut as possible, reaching in his closet and grabbing anything he wants. No matter how many times I say, “You don’t match,” he continues to put THIS shirt and THESE pants together. This picture is proof of two things: 1) Even when your mother is mocking you, you will still give the “thumbs up” for a photo, and 2) It’s nurture, not nature.

I’ll give him this one… bubbles ARE cool.

Being encouraged by parents will also create a need to stick that thumb in the air.

This one was tricky. It’s difficult to enjoy your Batman ice cream and give it an “aaayyyyyyyyy” at the same time, but he’s trying.

Then, of course, there is this, which you might recognize from the top of the page:

What you cannot see from the cropped photo up top (other than the fact that they both are wearing Bears hats and that is just cute) is that George has not just one but BOTH thumbs prominently in the air. A double is surely a sign of a good time!

I am not sure what to make of this phenomenon. I can only assume this uncontrollable desire to tell the world that everything is cool is just innate. It makes taking a picture difficult if you are hoping to capture a moment WITHOUT this international symbol of “everything’s all right.” But I suppose that is really the best way to capture their childhood anyway.

What do you think, boys?

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Naked politics

For the past several days, news has been non-stop over the idiotic new scandal irritatingly and ridiculously named, “bondage-gate.” I mean, for real….

Anyway, the jist of the story is, a Republican National Committee staffer spent nearly $2,000 at a naked-nudity bondage lesbian bar (what kind of business license do you think that requires?) called “Voyeur,” turned in her receipts, and got paid back for the expenditure. And OH MY GOD you would have thought she spent the money dipping babies and puppies into vats of acid.

Look, I am about as lefty-liberal as it gets. I puffy heart me some Barack Obama and would personally like to punch Sarah Palin in the face — or at least, punch her stylist in the face because for real, why does she keep wearing Michael Jackson’s clothes? But you have got to be kidding me that there is some sort of scandal involved with taking out “clients” and showing them a good time. Isn’t that all that happened here? The staffer took some potential donors out to a nudity club to show them some fun, get them a few drinks and a lap dance, and hopefully get them to bust out their own checkbooks at the end of the night. I’m not saying I necessarily approve. But it’s hardly a scandal, is it? I mean, am I missing something here? Isn’t the practice of convincing people to give you money by showing them a good time as age-old as nudity bars themselves? It’s not like she bought them hookers.

I was irritated when I heard that the staffer was fired, and get even more irritated with the incessant calls for RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s resignation. I like Steele about as much as I like Sarah Palin (though he dresses much better), and I don’t think he is nearly as smart as he thinks he is. But why should he lose his job because a staffer got people to donate money in a way that raises the collective eyebrows of America’s moral compass? And on top of it all, I have yet to hear if the outing was successful. Did the “bondage for bucks” fundraising effort work? I’ll bet it did.

For real — if you are shocked that ANY political fundraiser would try to raise those funds by taking young-to-middle-aged men to a club where the ladies are spanking each other, then you are pathetically naive. And you know who REALLY knows that? Democrats. Dudes, we practically INVENTED the idea of tricking people into giving us money by showing them a little skin. So let’s try to reign in the false shock and indignation a little, shall we? It just seems like we have a lot bigger things to worry about, and being incensed that people like to look at the boobies is pretty stupid.

I mean really, if there is a lesson here, it is more about the importance of saving your receipts. I mean, that’s just good practice.


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Style is in the eye of the beholder…

Last summer I thought long and hard about starting a blog. I really wanted to. But I have a major confession I must make. The whole concept did not start as an effort to type out my daily rants and ravings over the awesomeness that is my children or the ridiculousness that is GleN Beck. No, my friends, I had one reason and one reason only why I wanted to start posting stuff online on a regular basis: I wanted to expose the clothing disaster that is my husband.

I have no style. For real. When I was a kid, I would throw on whatever pants and whatever shirt were closest to my reach, and present myself to my mother and say, “do I match?” Mom would give it a glance, the kind where she lifts up one eyebrow, and say, “You blend.” Now, I imagine what was going through her mind was, “For the love of God child, how the hell old are you that you cannot figure out that some colors go together and some do NOT? It’s not that hard. Red and Orange and Charcoal are not a good mix unless by some cruel chance they are your school colors and even then you look like a complete dumbass just with a jersey on. I have five kids. FIVE kids! I don’t have time for this shit. I’m not digging through your closet to find the actual pair of pants that match that monstrosity of a shirt and JESUS WOULD YOU BRUSH YOUR HAIR God I cannot wait until you are a little older so I can kick you into the kitchen and make “You blend” me a drink!” Seems like a reasonable train of thought.

Anyhow, I tell that story just to illustrate the fact that I am in no position to be critical of someone else’s wardrobe. But seriously, my husband would be better dressed if we let a blind monkey pick out his clothes.

*note – This only applies to his causal wardrobe. When the man goes to work, he morphs into a regular human being who can pair a nice shirt, a classy tie and a clean pair of pants together. But it’s clearly only a skill he has a grip on Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

So when I wanted to blog, I was seriously planning on calling it, “Does My Husband Match.” I checked, and at least at that time, was available! But, after consideration, and realizing I have MORE to say than to rant about Jim’s outfit choice, I realized that the topic might get tiresome for both readers and author.

But alas, it cannot be ignored.

Here is how March Madness is being watched tonight:

Trust me, he’s not lounging. If we were to suddenly decide to go out and grab some dinner and drinks, this is what he would wear. Brown comfy pants and all.

The Blackhawks jersey is my favorite part. In his defense, he said he was cold, and in hockey, a jersey is actually called a sweater. I only managed this snapshot. I unfortunately didn’t catch it when he put on his Notre Dame Snuggie.


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Talking it up

Back when I was pregnant with Hank, shortly before he made his appearance in this world, I remember being struck with one big fear: what if I don’t like him? I don’t know if all expecting Moms have this or similar fears, but the thoughts alone are generally followed by such an extreme amount of guilt, you are simply too ashamed to even mention it to someone. I mean, what kind of mother does not LIKE her own children? Or even envisions a day when that could be possible? For shame!

Regardless, it was a fear. I also feared that I would not have enough patience, something that, up until the time I had kids of my own, I seriously lacked with those humans of the children variety. I remember once snapping at my niece Hanna, who could not have been more than 7 at the time, for the terrible crime of humming (but in my defense, dudes, it was ANNOYING!).

As it turned out, I was better equipped than I expected to handle the stresses of motherhood. And by stresses, I mean the ones that are a DIRECT result of having a small person scream in your face for much of the day. As both my children and I get older, I have gotten a better handle on situations that would have made me lose my diddy mind just 8 or 9 short years ago. Situations where you have to stop and say to yourself, “Don’t yell at them for laughing,” just because the noise level is getting SO DAMN LOUD. Situations that make you realize that when someone has decorated your walls with crayons and markers, you should be grabbing the camera, not screaming like a prison inmate who’s just been stabbed with a dull spoon. It will wash off.

So, despite my fear that I somehow wouldn’t actually LIKE my children, I have found instead that they have a unique ability to crack me up like nothing else. It’s not just that I like mothering them, I like hanging out with them. I don’t mind listening to Hank rail on and on about Star Wars. I very much enjoy it when George tells me that he is cool, Hank is awesome and I am handsome. I love Phineas and Ferb. I yell at them for shooting Nerf guns at me, but only so I can wrestle said guns away and aim it back at their heads. I LOVE the scare game Hank and I play (he got me good yesterday). I love that every time George has done something seriously bad, he climbs up into my arms and says “I’m your baby” before I even get a chance to yell at him. And even though I do occasionally wish I could play Barbies, I enjoy setting up the Cars racetracks and shooting Lightening McQueen and Mater around the room.

One of my favorite things, however, is watching them interact with each other. This conversation happened in the backseat of the car today:

Hank: Oh man, my foot fell asleep!

George, leaning over and waving his arms at Hank’s foot: BOO!!

Hank: Nope, you didn’t wake him up.

George: Why?

Hank: Because, he’s really tired. And, he doesn’t have ears.

I cannot explain it, but this exchange cracked me up nearly to the point of tears. He doesn’t have ears. Ha!

There was a time when I actually feared that I wouldn’t connect with these children. I am not a person who likes to be wrong, but man am I ever happy I missed the boat on that one.


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Now we’re cookin’

As many people who have received my e-mails or Facebook messages know, I have been completely and utterly duped into hosting a jewelry party. To be fair, I need to stop complaining about it. I mean, if I had TRULY been paying attention to what the saleslady was saying, and not thinking, “Oh, that’s cute!” even though I don’t even WEAR jewelry, then I never would have snatched up the “free” gift that came with a side order of “now you get to host your own party.” So seriously, I should quit my bitching. After all, my mother, my mother-in-law, and my future sister-in-law are coming, so it’s not like I’m going to be stuck here alone. And we all know my brother’s bride is totally only marrying him for his money, but we’ve come to accept it. HI-yow! (’cause my brother is dirt poor, get it?)

So anyway, almost as soon as I asked, I got responses from family and friends that mirrored my own when I was first asked to a jewelry party — sheer and utter horror. But I also got responses that were equally excited about the idea. Apparently, jewelry is loved and accepted by many a female human. Who knew?

But today, I received something that can only work to make my party even BETTER, so much so that I am now looking forward to it. Allow me to introduce Mr. Kenmore:

Let me just take this moment to say, I LOVE SEARS. I love their appliances, their TVs, and despite Kayla’s aggressive attempts to steer me toward more trendy stores, I love their clothes. They are affordable and cute too! Thank you awesomeness that is Sears!

So Jim asked me if he could get a new TV (and no, we do not need one, the man just loves his TV) and I said sure, let’s take a look — only to be swooned and seduced by this here Kenmore. IT HAS TWO OVENS! One. Two. And FIVE BURNERS. I don’t even own five pots! Now I need to go buy some pots! Jim’s TV dreams have been cast aside for the moment, thanks to an appliance saleslady named Linda and a big fat sign that boasted “20% Off All Kenmore Appliances when you use your Sears Card.” AND — Linda didn’t even make me sign up to host a party!

So haters of jewelry parties, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Because I don’t know what’s on the snack list yet for my party, but it’s sure to be five items that can be cooked on a stove top and two things that can be baked AT THE EXACT SAME TIME because dudes I HAVE TWO OVENS!!!!!

I’m not sure when I got to the point in life when a new appliance induced this much happiness, but man do I like it. I wonder if this is what it’s like for women who love Lia Sophia jewelry. Well, no matter which one you like, party’s at Marney’s house! We’re cooking up some snacks and fancy fake jewels!


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Fun with anesthesia

So I got to take the day off yesterday. Not so much for fun and relaxation, however. I was treated instead to minor surgery!

I won’t go too into details about the surgery because:

  1. My brother reads this, and he was violated enough as a child by having to deal with four sisters and not another brother in sight.
  2. My Dad also reads this, and I’m sure his senses were assaulted for years by vivid stories from my mother and her similar problems.

So, let’s just say it was an operation that required stirrups, no pants and a recovery that involves the word “discharge,” and not just instructions that you get from the doc. My husband referred to it as me getting “roto rootered” and suggested that maybe I could have avoided the problem if I had just used some Rid-X. So you get the idea.

So anyway, I was justifiably anxious. Not the kind that required Valium, just a butterfly feeling. And generally when that happens, it’s a sure sign that the 30 minutes you are waiting to get brought into the procedure room is like an eternity. Stare at the ceiling. Wonder if you have some bizarre heart condition that will make you expire right there on the table, and also, if you do, will they be nice enough to take your feet OUT of the stirrups before they let your husband come in and say goodbye. Think about whether you should go ahead and color your hair red again (you know, if you somehow make it out of surgery alive). That kind of stuff.

Then the doc comes in, explains everything that you already knew, then leaves again for another 15 minutes. More waiting. More random fantasizing.

Finally, it’s time. Into the room, up on the table, but not before managing to flash your big old butt to absolutely everyone in the room. Joke about butt. No one laughs. Feel defeated that your butt is obviously so big and heinous you cannot even get a laugh by being self-deprecating. Give up. Drugs start. Doc asks a few questions you are unable to answer. My kids names? What? Beats the hell out of me….

“Marney, wake up.”

Ahh, it’s over.

Let me go on a quick rant here. Who the hell decides what types of “procedures” do and don’t need anesthesia, anyway? I have now been knocked out twice in my life, once for this deep-sea expedition of my lady parts, and once for having my wisdom teeth removed. But — I have also had two children CUT out of me.

I’m trying to imagine a couple of doctors sitting around discussing this. The conversation goes like this:

Doc 1 – Ok, we have oral surgery, we’re going to pull out four completely useless teeth.

Doc 2 – Knock ’em out, definitely.

Doc 1 – Next, we’re going to poke a hole in the hole and be in and out in 90 seconds.

Doc 2 – Out cold, no question.

Doc 1 – Ok, we’ve got a woman who is emotionally and physically exhausted, her mind a jumble between the joy and fear of bringing a new life into this world. We’re going to strip her down naked, lay her out on a slab, cut through her abdomen, lift out her guts, cut open her uterus, pull out a huge baby, pull out some other nastiness, stick the ShopVac in there to suck out some more gross stuff. Stitch her uterus back together, push on her belly a little. Finally, put her guts back in and staple her abs back in place.

Doc 2 – Oh, let’s just give her a spinal. She should be awake for that.


Anyway, back to my own personal off-shore drilling procedure. I was delighted to be alive, obviously. As they sat me up, I tired, several times, to stand. I have no idea why. It was just what I wanted to do, and the nurse needed to apply very little pressure to my shoulders to get me to sit back. At one point, I think one of my feet was still pinned firmly in the stirrup, yet still, I tried to stand.

Then they bring in a wheelchair, and it is HUGE. And again all I can think is, God, is my butt really THAT big?

“You know, I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds,” I announce to the nurse.

“Good job,” she says, pushing me back into sitting position.

“Why don’t I just walk back to my room?” I ask, trying to figure out why it is necessary for them to wrestle this enormous wheelchair into the room when clearly I am fine.

No answer.

“If I stand up right now… will I just fall right down?” I finally say.

“Yup,” the nurse answers, hooking her arms into my armpits and helping me into the fat-chair.

I have no idea how long I stayed in that chair. Jim came in. I think I mumbled at him. I know I laughed a lot. They handed me a granola bar, and within moments I handed BACK an empty wrapper. Apparently, I was ravenous. I know I got myself dressed again, but I don’t know how. Suddenly, the nurse was pushing me out the door, and we were at the front of the building, Jim opening the car door for me.

“That was awesome,” I heard myself say.

By the time we got home, I was thinking clearly, though I felt like I was drunk. Jim was nice enough to get me coffee and turn on a movie in the bedroom so I could lay down and watch. After a day of dozing, I pretty much feel back to normal. But I have to say, I think I have a clearer understanding of why people abuse drugs! Anesthesia is my new BFF.

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Dear public school,


My son came home with a picture in his bag. It was a picture he was proud of, said they were learning about this great guy in history class and they drew pictures and wrote a nice story about this guy’s very important accomplishments. Then he presented the picture to me:

Seriously, what the hell are you teaching my kid?

Two things:

  1. According to the story, this is a picture of Christopher Columbus, who apparently had a famed Hitler mustache that represents a cross between a jack hammer and a carrot, as well as a scorching case of acne.
  2. Anyone wishing to donate to my son’s future private school account, we’re now accepting cash, checks and American Express.

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Young love

I am a horrible mother. Horrible in the sense that I tease my 7-year-old boy with the relentless tenacity of, well, a 7-year-old boy. Especially when it comes to the ladies in his life.

Last year it was young Bella. She could not have been cuter or sweeter, and the way they gazed into each other’s little eyes, I had no choice but to sing out a mocking tune of “Hank has a girlfriend!” as soon as he got in the car every day after school. Did I mention I am a horrible mother?

This year is a new school, which means a whole new squad of girls to woo him with their charms. And the clear winner is one Miss Louisa. Louisa is adorable. So adorable in fact that when I was in charge of the games at the Valentine’s party, and I had to pick a winner out of a classroom of 20 children, I chose Louisa because I like her the best. Keep in mind — I chose her OVER Hank. Back to that horrible mother thing again…

Anyway, Hank does talk about Louisa a lot, so I have no choice but to bring it on. It’s tease time, little man. Get prepared for your mother to cause your blood pressure to rise!

Here is part of the actual conversation that occurred on the way home from school today:

Hank: Good thing we’re walking, because we might see Louisa.

Me: Because she’s your girlfriend?

Hank: No. But we both agree on one thing. We both think you got hit in the head.

Me: Why?

Hank: Because. We aren’t even in LOVE. Besides… a Jedi Knight can’t have attachments.

…and later…

Me: So have you kissed her yet?

Hank: (with a look of disgust) NO! That would be illegal AND inappropriate on school grounds!

Me: Illegal?

Hank: Yeah. Kissing and potty talk are illegal. Oh, and guns.

Me: Potty talk?

Hank: Yeah. You know, like, ‘Hey doc, I need a new butt — this one is cracked!’ That’s ILLEGAL!

Me: But that’s funny!

Hank: I know. But it’s illegal. Kissing and potty talk. And guns.

Kissing, potty talk and guns. Now that’s my tax dollars hard at work in today’s public schools!

Needless to say, we did not catch a glimpse of Louisa on her way home, though Hank did point out which house was hers. Which of course was just another reason for me to ratchet up the teasing a notch — how does he know where she lives? It’s not like he goes out and plays without me knowing where he’s at! Oh well, perhaps tomorrow. As the temperatures continue to rise, we will continue to walk home. And the relentless teasing shall continue!

Did I mention that I am a horrible mother?


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Product placement – literally!

So those of us who tend toward the thrifty side are well acquainted with the “store brand.” Back in the day, these would have just been referred to as “generics.” I remember the Franks Grocery Store — the very one where my older than Dirt sister and her even older husband met back when the 80’s were a brand new decade and feathered hair was a sign of masculinity — had an actual “generic” aisle, where you could buy boxes of goods that were stamped with the product name prominently in black and white: Crackers. Spaghetti. Cereal. Corn Beef Hash.

Loading up your cart with the black and white generics was rather embarrassing, as if you might as well have written across your forehead, “WE ARE SUPER POOR!!!!” Of course, that was until people realized that generics were basically exactly the same as name brand stuff. Then, in an apparent effort to lure in a  kindler, gentler generation of cheapskates, “they” devised an evil genius plan: store brands.

Now, not only has the stigma been lifted from buying the generic brand, but it’s pretty much encouraged. What used to be embarrassing black and white labels are now chic “private labels.” Nice. And you know them by heart. WalMart has “Equate” and “Sam’s Choice” and “Great Value.”  You can pick up products labeled “Equaline” and “Farmstand” and “Shoppers Value” and “O Organics.” And nothing makes me happier than loading up my cart with these cheaper versions of the exact same name-brand items and watching the savings add up.

That said, I’m not real sure that everyone was paying close attention when someone suggested “Up & Up” as a name for a generic brand. Something tells me that when Target picked up this brand for some products sold in their pharmacy, maybe, just maybe, they didn’t really pay attention to what they were actually peddling:

Kind of creates a whole new meaning for the phrase, “product placement,” don’t you think? I’m just sayin’.


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