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Dear public school,

So….

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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Awesome observations from the mouth of the smartest 7-year-old ever

On his mother’s failed attempt to scrub the window in his bedroom:

“You know, it looks like you just spread the dirt all around.”

On Halloween:

“This is MY kind of day!”

On why it is pointless to tease him about not being able to say “conveyor belt.”

Hank: “So when we get to the snow hill, we can take the con-vader-belt to the top.”

Brother Tom: “The con-vader-belt? Like, Darth Vader?”

Hank: “Hah. Good one… ’cause of vader. No, it’s totally different.”

On the difficulty of the 2nd grade spelling test:

“It’s just so hard to be good at EVERYTHING but spelling!”

On alcohol (and also, math):

“You know what happens in 14 years? I’m old enough for beer.”

On his mother’s disgust at the minivan parked way too close to her at school:

“You know what the problem is, Mom? Women drivers.”

On his mother’s request that he please not walk from the bathroom to his bedroom naked:

“It’s not like you haven’t seen it before!”

My boy is so smart. I’m sure there is more to come…

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It’s the bee’s knees

So just a short while ago I asked for warmer weather to get here and to get here soon. Then I went upstairs, where I was greeted with this:

Not quite what I meant, Mother Nature. That guy looks mean and angry as hell to be awake on March 3. I think this is what they mean when they say, “be careful what you wish for.”

PS – yes that is a crappy paint job and cobwebs. Don’t hate.

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Random thoughts for a Wednesday

  • I’m tired of politics. I mean honestly, everyone is so damn nasty.
  • As I get older, I seem to already be losing my memory on certain things. Except for “Baby Got Back.” I still know all the words to that.
  • If you want to get your husband to shut up, it is as easy as muttering two simple words: “vaginal discharge.” If you want him to not only shut up but to leave the room, add the word “bloody” in front of it.
  • I can juggle, something I learned in gym class in high school when I opted for the “Circus Stunts” elective. I wonder how many other former Tigers have kept this skill.
  • Energy drinks taste like feet. And no, I’ve never actually tasted feet. But I’ve sure smelled them. And if I had to pick a taste to go along with the stankiness that is my husband’s feet, it would be Monster. Look, the name even fits.
  • When being sarcastic and trying to crack a funny, always know your audience first. Because when you tell members of the fire department that you’d like to see them add a pole inside the department, because then they could invite adult entertainers over and use it as a fundraising activity, if they don’t KNOW you are kidding, they don’t like it. If you continue on by telling them that poles in a firehouse are as American as apple pie, and then ask them, “Why do you hate America?” and they STILL do not crack a smile, time to back away.
  • Why is it that every person I know from my grade school days stayed thin except for me?
  • I find it extremely annoying that Sarah Palin can memorize an entire monologue for the Tonight Show, but she cannot remember her top three core values without writing them on her hand. But then again, I am also sick of politics, so it’s fairly useless to bring that up.
  • I am never wrong. NEVER.
  • If you do not love Lady Gaga, you should be ashamed.
  • Lady Gaga dresses like a complete and total freak, and one with a bizarre aversion to pants. You do NOT have to love that part of her. Just the music. Unless you dig the freaky shit. Then, love away at the costumes.
  • Did I mention how I am always right? ALWAYS.
  • If you are still looking for ways to annoy your husband, make sure you take everything he says, twist it, then use it against him. Works every time, sometimes even better than mentioning the discharge.
  • I want summer. Hot, sticky summer. I want to open the windows and smell the fresh-cut grass and sweat when I step outside instead of shiver. I need to go for a walk. I need to sit on the porch. I NEED it. Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, let the temperature warm up.
  • One month until Opening Day. Things are looking up already.

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Dear Creepy Gymnast Girl at LA Fitness,

Hello there. Do you remember me? My name is Marney, and I am the older, fatter girl who was in the trainer room last night. You remember me, right? See, I was on the mat, alternating my reverse crunches with my swissball jackknives. Yeah, I know, it’s funny to watch that. But yes, that was me.

I don’t quite know HOW you could have missed me. There I was, getting ready to do my jackknives, which are hard as hell and yes, I occasionally fall off the ball and make quite the thundering sound when my flab smacks the mat. But I always laugh and get back on. Yet for some reason, and despite the fact that you are no bigger than 4-feet tall, you felt the need to come to that same mat, spread your legs in a T-split, and begin to bounce. ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. You literally put your foot directly in front of me, even though my ginormous mass was only taking the spot of ONE person. Yet you were taking the place of 4 people.

Remember what I did? How I almost rolled right over your foot. That was fun for me. You kind of got the picture — you moved to the other mat, but continued to do your bizarre bouncy splits routine. Side splits. Front splits. Side splits. Front splits. Over and over. You know what? While I was back doing reverse crunches, and my butt was pointed at you, I ALMOST squeaked out a fart to get you to go away. But I didn’t. I should have, then maybe you would have stopped what I can only describe as acrobatic pornography. At one point, you began to thrust.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I too know how much fun it can be to grab the attention of the male species at the gym. I have, from time to time, realized that a young handsome meathead was staring at my vast chest, and purposely dipped just a little further over during my deadlifts. Seriously, especially when he is like, 22. Sure, maybe he has a Mommy complex, but still, it’s fun to be ogled, even though the feminist hiding in the back of my head is shouting STOP IT! I read Cosmo. I get it.

Remember when I left the mats? I went upstairs to run on the treadmill. I ran for 30 minutes. And when I was done, and I came back down the stairs, there you were, still on the mats, still in the splits. You know what? We get it. You are super flexible. You can jump from standing into a T-split. You know what? Dudes don’t dig that. Do you think they want you to stand over them and do that? You will snap their junk right off, sister! Stop it already.

Then I went into the sauna. I admit, I have no idea what the sauna is supposed to do. I just like the feeling of a good warm sweat. Also, I was the only one in there, which meant that I could sing along with the array of songs stacked on my MP3 player — Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Trisha Yearwood, all mashed together. Though I really belted it out to “Walking in Memphis,” the Marc Cohn version, not that crappy country release. I emerged 15 minutes later, and there you were. In the locker room. With one leg up on the counter in a display of flexibility. You were talking on your phone. Apparently, the person you were talking with really, really wanted to hear you sing the dance-mix version of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” which was playing over the gym’s speakers. Because you sure did sing it loud. Into your phone. While doing the splits on the makeup counter.

I noticed at this point that you caught my eye. I’m sorry, you were right. I was staring at you. More specifically, I was trying to will you to shut the hell up and leave. It didn’t work.

Well, creepy gymnast girl at LA Fitness, I hope you are feeling good and limber this morning, I don’t really know how you could feel anything else. You sure are stretchy. But I do hope that I don’t have to deal with your flexing and thrusting again anytime soon. My husband was not there with me, but he would have told you to move your skinny ass out of his space. For some reason, he’s not shy at the gym. I just hope I get skinny and awesomely buff soon, because I’m not sure I can take that shit ever again.

Thanks for your time,

Marney

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