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See you in September…

If you blinked you missed it. It’s already a day until October! Holy crap!

I’ve mentioned before my true and utter love of any and all things summer, and how fall might as well be renamed “crush” for the way that it depresses my spirits and horrifies me worse than the time I walked into my parent’s bedroom at an inopportune time. I  hate cold weather. I hate it. With a passion. My friends on the face page who live in Florida and Texas are all like “OH MY GOD Y’ALL IT IS SO HOT” and I would like to punch them in the groins.

I’ve made several attempts to savor what it left of the warm weather, but I cannot help the fact that the stars are clearly facing the wrong direction and I can envision the snow piled up all over the sidewalks. I HATE WINTER.

But I have made the best of September I think. It started like this:

That is me in the grey shirt in the center there. What am I doing you ask? Well, I am completing a half-marathon, that is what I am doing! Yes, I started September by running 13.1 miles. ON PURPOSE.

I’ll have you know that this run (well, trot) was not just about proving to myself that I could do it. I decided to make this run after Brendan killed himself, kind of as a tribute to him, but also to really challenge myself and try and see what I could make my body do. And it does not do it fast, but my body sure can push itself. I’d like to think it was a nice tribute to Brendan, even though I was all alone. Although I suppose if there is a heaven, and he was up there watching me do that, he probably thought, “what the hell are you doing?” No one was even chasing me.

But the running bug may be spreading:

If we don’t watch ourselves, we’ll stop being fatties any day now!

Starting off the month with a 13 mile jaunt makes the start of fall just a little better. Here are some of the things I have learned throughout the month:

  • Back to school rocks. I have not worked my way up to walking around the house naked yet, but I do bask in the quiet.
  • School band sounds super exciting. Until you realize the instrument your kid wants is $900. He better be gifted.
  • If you let your friends know that you are fashion stupid, they will turn into Cher and Dion from Clueless and you get to be Brittany Murphy (the alive version of her) and try on gobs of clothes. And even if you don’t totally love that, playing dress up is always fun.
  • When in doubt on your husband’s birthday, a t-shirt featuring Darth Vader on a motorcycle is a sure bet as a present.
  • High school football is fun, even if you feel a little like a creeper at the game since you have no high school aged children.
  • College football is better, because you can daydream about what those boys are capable of doing without truly be a creeper, as they are of age.
  • Fall smells pretty.

Now let’s get on with October. I’ve got another 10-mile run coming up, and have to build up my snow shoveling muscles. Summer will be back before we know it!

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August 17…

No one becomes a grandfather, without first being a little boy.

Then and now…

Happy Birthday to my Daddy!

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Remembering those memories, part II

If the Valentine’s story was not enough, I also found this, a true and vivid picture of my exemplary job as a mother. Entitled “Our day at the pumpkin patch,” this one came from October 16, 2007:

Here’s a little story about a day in the life of this Mom and her boys.

 Yesterday, we all head over to the fabulous Dollinger’s Pumpkin Farm for an afterschool field trip.  First, we rode the train.  It sure was nice of the Pumpkin Farm Lady to put me, Hank and George in the caboose.  The caboose that was designed for 5 year olds.  I was sooooooo excited that I got to crawl into a tiny little car while attempting to drag George behind me.  Good thing I was wearing my low-rise jeans so everyone could get a good look at my crack!
So, after the ride, and after I gracefully squeeze my way back out of the caboose, we head over to the pumpkin patch and park.  Hank wants to touch farm animals.  Well, you can take the girl out of the suburbs, but you cannot take the suburbs out of the girl.  “No way, man, that’s disgusting” I announce to my child.  Naturally, I say it loud enough for all to hear.  The other mothers, whose children are practically embracing the goats, look at me in disgust, as I have just announced that I am better than they are.  I slink away.
Off to the playground.   While Hank is off running around with his friends, me and George explore the playhouse.  Little Thomas, a preschooler, decides to play too.  Thomas thinks that pushing an 18 month old is FUN!  “Don’t do that,” I say nice and stern to Thomas.  I look around.  His mother cannot be found.  I assume she is off smoking a cigarette somewhere (what else would a woman who is 7 months pregnant be doing?).  Thomas pushes George again and tries to slam the door of the playhouse on him.  I turn into the protective Mama bear.  I yell at Thomas loud enough that his mother looks up from taking another drag with one hand while rubbing her belly with the other.  Thomas runs away.  I smile with satisfaction, hoping that the pregnant slacker smoker will say something ridiculous like “don’t yell at my child!”  She does not.
Hank has now disappeared to the sandbox, where he is pretty much taking up all the room and the smaller children cannot play.  “Come out of there!” I shout.  “Go play in the haystacks with your friends!”  He obeys.  Hank runs to the haystacks, where he, Kyle and Nickolas decide to play king of the hill.  Hank is doing quite well, he even pushes off a 4th grader!  Woo hoo!  Well, Kyle has had enough of losing.  He gives Hank a good old heave.  Hank tumbles over the side…. and promptly screams bloody murder.
Ever the loving mother, I snap at him to stop screaming and calm down.  His cries are more of annoyance than pain, and he is clearly just having a fit.  “Knock it off or we’re leaving” I growl at the child.  A few teachers come over.  “He’s fine,” I let them know.  Well, he won’t quit his complaining, so off we go, NO PUMPKIN FOR YOU!!!!
During the ride home, the wailing really revs up.  “Calm down, Hank” I nag over and over.  Halfway home, I turn to look at him.  He is crying silently, in sheer pain.  “Oh crap” I say.  We wait at home for half an hour for Jim to get home from work, then I get Hank back in the car to travel to the mystical city of Kankakee, to a wonderous place called the ER.  The radiologist calls him in, and there on his wrist, obvious enough for even me to see, is a crack.  The child has broken his wrist.
Out of guilt, he gets McDonald’s.  Out of pity for myself for being the mean mother, I too get McDonald’s.
And that is what a day at the Pumpkin Farm is like for the family.

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Remembering those memories

A friend of mine on the facepage made a suggestion to me and some other gals: Wouldn’t it be fun to post some side-by-side pictures of our kids, then and now, just to really see how much they’ve grown?

Uh, YEAH! I thought to myself. And *joy of joys* Jim just bought a fancy new scanner/printer so I can use all those photos I have on film (since I am a total hag).

BUT WAIT! I might have some pictures of the boy as a baby after all, saved in a file in my e-mail. So I start scouring through the old e-mail folders. And what I discovered is, I was blogging before I was blogging.

Here, a story I wrote and sent to some relatives and friends about the special men in my life, back on February 15, 2005:

After a long two weeks of working several double shifts at the United Center, I finally had Monday off.  And how perfect:  Valentine’s Day!  I decide that because he is such a good man to put up with me and all my “special moods”, I should make Jim a nice dinner.  So, after running a few errands and a quick visit to Grandma’s house, I decide to get started.
First, I put Hank at the table for a late lunch of chicken nuggets, corn and milk, yummy!  Then I pull some frozen whiting out of the refrigerator, planning a delicious meal of broiled lemon-peppered fish, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. A smile crosses my face as I realize we even have an unopened bottle of wine, hooray!
I turn to check on Hank, still happily eating his lunch.  But he is instead picking his nose.
“Stop that,” I say, in a motherly tone with no profanities at all, of course.
I turn back to my fish, which I realize I still have to scale.  But, that’s ok!  I look again at Hank, his pointer finger wedged far up his right nostril.  “Stop that,” I hear myself say again.  Ahh, these two pieces of fish are perfect.  I better check on him one more time.  This time, pointer finger and thumb wedged into that tiny right nostril.
“That’s it,” I say, walking over to him.  It is then that I notice there is something in his nose.  I lean over, and upon further inspection of my beautiful child, it is not simply a little snot, but several pieces of corn wedged up his nose.
“Mumble, mumble,” I say.  I proceed to push on the sides of his nose, sending kernels of corn shooting out of his nostrils as if they were tiny cannons.  At one point, he sneezes, sending two yellow bullets out of each nostril, landing on my shirt.  After several are ejected, I look into his nose, only to see one piece that is hopelessly lodged deep inside.  He is now crying, coughing and a little bit scared.  So into the car and off to the ER we go.
The ER is completely congested with cases of the flu and a few broken limbs.  “My son shoved corn up his nose,” I say as quietly as possible to the triage nurse.  She makes me repeat myself, louder.  She laughs.  I sulk away to a seat, realizing at this point that I hurried out of the house, and my hands still smell like raw, unscalled fish.  About an hour later, not having been called yet, my angel points to his nose.  I look up, and joy of joys, that kernel has worked its way down, enough for me to squeeze his nose and send the last bit shooting out.  Several people around me laugh.  I consider making the child eat the remaining piece of corn, but, fearing that he will think it tastes good, I wrap it in a tissue instead.  It is at this point, our name is finally called, but we do not need to see the doctor.
Upon our arrival at home, Jim was forced to order and pick up his own pizza.  The wine remained unopened and the fish went back into the freezer.  Valentine’s Day has never been so romantic.
Love, Marney
PS, there was no lesson learned by young Hank, by the way.  Just a few hours after this incident, I caught him trying to shove Cheerios up his nose.  Boys are gross.

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Summertime, Summertime…

Sum-sum-summertime!

Oh how I love summer. Long and glorious summer!

Today on the facepage some friends were commenting about how they were excited about the impending fall. And I thought — bleh. SUMMER!

Jim and I had this conversation just the other day, how I have actual anxiety each year as fall approaches. Now let me first say, I very much appreciate living somewhere where the seasons change EXACTLY as they are meant to. Winter is white, spring is rainy and full of pretty flowers, summer is hot-hot-hot and fall is seriously beautiful changing of the colors. And while I hate being COLD, I don’t really hate winter. I strangely enjoy shoveling the driveway, and as the kids grow, so do the amount of outdoor winter activities in which we get to participate. Sledding = yay!!

Still, summer is my absolute favorite. Ab. So. Lute. And it makes me feel sad when it goes away.

This year I didn’t want summer to skip on past. So I literally worked on a daily basis to try to pack a lot of stuff into it. Which was not easy since it was about 100 degrees each and every day in the month of July. But we got lots of lake time, pool time, outdoor time when we could.  We tasted Chicago. We took actual tours of touristy stuff. Baseball was plentiful. We managed to take TWO trips that required a hotel stay, something which the boys find most awesome.

Then in July, I serioulsy mucked up my marriage:

Y’all! (that’s Louisiana for “Oh my God, guess what you guys!?” Easier to say, huh?) 

We ran. Three miles. Through mud and obstacles. Military style obstacles. I have never fallen down so hard and laughed so hard in my life.

We participated in the “Mudathlon” in Valparaiso, Indiana. When I ran the Shamrock Shuffle in the spring with my sister, there was a flyer for the Mudathlon in my swag bag. So I brought it home to Jim and said let’s do this. And since he’s never run a race before in his life, he was like, uh, ok.

There were points in this race where we were actually swimming. And once I fell so hard that Jim was torn between asking if I was okay and grabbing hold of his junk to prevent the laughter-inspired pee from coming out.

Y’all! (again — it’s a good expression)

This was POST-shower. The only horror of the entire race actually WAS the post shower. See, the Mudathlon people provide what is essentially a great big cage with water spitting down at you, so that you can make a feeble attempt to rinse yourself off before getting back in your car. And we rinsed here and there and got most of it off our faces, but knew there would be no real way to extract all of the caked on mud until we got home and could give ourselves a soak in our own showers.

So we thought.

As I entered the Mudathlon shower-cage, I ended up smack in front of a woman who had stripped down to her bra and underwear (no biggie, there were girls in bikinis, after all). But I swear to God, she moved her underwear to the side and began to AGGRESSIVELY clean out all her front side lady bits. Right. There. Rub-rub-rub. I think she might have pinched it. I chose to turn around and run for cover before she moaned with pleasure, only to see that Jim had already found a different spot far, far away.

So to recap – race = awesome. Accidental Hedonism = scary as hell.

Needless to say, my shower once I returned home also involved me washing out my eyeballs.

But July wasn’t over yet! My kids got their first taste of my previous profession — television news:

Oh my God, how cute is this?

Kayla came for a visit, but this time, she flew to Milwaukee. So she got us all a tour at her station’s SISTER station, WTMJ. Where the boys were not at all shy about plopping themselves on the set. I’m sorry, but they look like total naturals!

We spent a long weekend at my folk’s house at The Happy Place, but went to a Cubs-Brewers game while we were at it.

I can barely get Jim to even SMILE when he takes a picture with me. But bring along Kayla and her blonde hair and her long legs and suddenly he’s all kissy faced…

 
 
 
 
If that doesn’t look like fun times to you, well then… you are stupid.
 
And so has gone the summer. With scenes like these peppering it all over the place. And man, have I had fun.
 
School starts in a few days, and I am definitely still a little sad and anxious about the season coming to an end shortly. But dammit, I had a good time.
 
Bring on football.

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Meet me in St. Louis

We had our first summer 2011 get-away weekend recently. We went to the deep south. And as anyone who is from the general Chicagoland area knows, everything south of I-80 is the deep south.

So we headed to the land of rednecks and poo-holes known to us northerners as St. Louis. There are a few important things to know about St. Louis.

  1. The people there hate everyone from Illinois, even when they live on the Illinois side.
  2. The people there need a map.
  3. The people there think the most important thing in life is wearing t-shirts that are anti-Chicago.

Okay, maybe I am over-generalizing. It was Cubs-Cards weekend, and the Cardinals officially handed the Cubs their asses on a stick. I’m just saying — Jackie — you’d think that would be enough. I’m just letting you know — Kyle — your “How many rebuilding years can the Cubs have” t-shirts are stupid. That’s all I’m saying.

But I digress.

The trip to St. Louis had us worried, as it seemed this was going to LITERALLY be the crappiest weekend ever. And I don’t believe in using the word “literally” unless I mean it. Because one minute it was all this:

“WOO HOO WE’RE TAKING A TRIP!!”

And the next thing we knew, little George there got a look of complete and utter fear on his face. Followed by the runs. And when five-year-olds get a case of the runs, they don’t squeeze their butt cheeks together real tight and hold on until the next stop. They wait until you are two milliseconds past the point when you could reasonably take the exit without flipping the Kia Sportage, chit their pants, try to lie about it as if we cannot smell that nonsense, and suddenly there’s a good ten miles between the next stop and where you sit now in your stinky, nasty car.

Finally. We make it. Lincoln, Illinois.

We would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to the people of Lincoln who entered the bathroom at the Wendy’s and had to smell that. Score for Jim for biting the bullet on taking care of this.

Wipe. Clean. Throw away underpants and put on fresh ones. Back in the car.

30. Minutes. Later….. Bomb #2.

We would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to the people of Williamsville, Illinois who entered the bathroom at the McDonald’s and had to smell that. Score TWO for Jim for biting the bullet and taking care of this.  I took this opportunity to go to the convenience store, where I picked up a bottle of Pepto, read the label, clearly saw it said not to give it to children under six, and gave it to my five-year-old anyway.

Wipe. Clean. Throw away underpants and put on fresh ones. Back in the car.

I kid you not… 30. Minutes. Later….. Bomb #3.

I wish I had taken a photo of Jim’s face. He pulls off into Middle of Nowhere, Illinois, into a lovely gas station that was slightly nicer than what I assume hell looks like, put the car in park, and stared straight ahead. Clearly it was my turn. I retrieved the LAST pair of underwear from George’s suitcase, helped him waddle into a bathroom that even Britney Spears would find gross, and proceeded to used every disinfecting wipe I had to clean various surfaces (to no avail). Wipe. Wipe. WIPE. Holy balls, people, it was wrapped around his balls! It’s bad enough changing the diaper of a two-year-old. A five-year-old with the runs might as well be YOU with the runs. I swear to God, the child does not have enough lower intestine to produce that much crap, but out it catapulted from his ass.

We would like to take this opportunity to formally apologize to the people of Wherever-the-hell-that-was-south-of-Springfield, Illinois who entered the bathroom at the gas station closest to the highway and had to smell that. Especially the three terrified looking women who were standing there when I opened the door after ten minutes and my child still had a little dookie stuck to the back of his leg. I had to clean it with a sunscreen wipe. But, in my defense, minus the smell, I think I left that bathroom cleaner than I found it.

More Pepto and a quick prayer — we are out of underwear.

30. Minutes. Later.

Okay, this time their was no rear-end explosion. But the child does suddenly say, “I have to pee!”

Come on, now! Again, barely a foot past a safe place to turn off the highway.

Jim takes the next exit. We probably should have noticed that the sign said, “Exit to Terror Land, HERE!” At this exit there were two things — a gas station/liquor store complete with a woman smacking her child and a man picking his teeth with a knife… and a Venture. You know what does a fast U-turn? A 37-year-old man driving a Kia Sportage.

At this time, Jim distracts George by telling him he can see the arch. Nevermind the kid had no idea what the arch was up until that point. It’s RIGHT THERE! (we can’t see it yet). LOOK THERE IT IS! (still can’t see it). THE ARCH!! (finally!)

Over the river, into town, toward the ballpark, suddenly turn into tourists (LOOK! *point* THE STADIUM *point-point* TALL BUILDINGS! pointy-point-point* THAT WAS OUR TURN BACK THERE *backwards point*).

Parking. Hotel. Check-in. Poops seem to have passed, so hell, let’s get in the pool. It’s dark. No one will notice if George takes another un-toileted shat (he didn’t).

Back to a quick rant of the Cardinals here — This was Friday. The game ended shortly after we got to the hotel, 6-1 Cards. And I found myself alone in the elevator with several drunk, overly cologned 20-somethings, letting me know, “THE CUBS WERE RAPED TONIGHT. UN-CON-SENSUAL RAPE!!!” Then there were some bro-hugs and bro-fives. Honestly Jackie. This excuses your choice of a DE-troit fan, because two Cardinal fans would be unacceptable at Mr. E’s place in Wisconsin. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, with the backseat blowouts safely behind us, we got to the business of enjoying the rest of the weekend, which frankly, was awesome.

Foot of the arch!

Totally artsy picture of Hank.

View from our seats!

Balloon hats!

View from the completely unnecessary tower of terror arch.

Feeding the fish at Union Station.

Complete and utter exhaustion.

Cruel and unusual punishment.

Seriously. That bigger one there — three separate trips to the hospital, eighty-bizzilion hours of labor before a c-section, single parenting. I went WITHOUT health insurance so I could afford it for him. And the little one — ten months of refusing to be held at feeding time by anyone but me and my right boob. Poor righty was all full and sore and nasty because he wouldn’t take lefty. Not to mention the ABOVE DESCRIBED POOP TRIP 2011. And this is the thanks I get.

Little monster children.

Just let it be known, if you two EVER yell in an elevator that the Cardinals have just raped the Cubs, I will seriously have you removed from the will.

Happy summer!

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Creepy crawlies

The following is an actual conversation from this morning:

Me, spotting a little black spider lowering itself by the stairs: “Oh. Icky. A spider.”

Him: “Just swipe it away.”

Me: “Eeewwwweeeeeee…. Get me a tissue.”

Him, handing me TWO squares of toilet paper: “Here.”

Me: “That’s NOT ENOUGH.”

Him, eyes rolling: “Yes it is.”

Me: “No, I’ll be able to touch it!”

Him, brushing past me and snatching up the toilet paper: “Sheesh.”

Me: “FLUSH IT DOWN THE TOILET!”

Him, flushing the defenseless and squished spider down the loo: “You women…”

And for clarity:

Me = 37-year-old Marney

Him = 9-year-old Hank

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This MAY be the best month ever!

I’ve been absent this month. And Lord knows it’s not because I have nothing to say. Ask my husband. The talk is non-stop out of my mouth, particularly when we are having an argument and he wishes I would just shut up already.

But my absence here at my ultra fabulous blog is not for lack of anything to tell to you — my adoring fans. It is because I am clearly having the BEST MONTH EVER.

Let’s start by getting the bad parts out of the way. I’m still a fat fat fatty. I’m not getting any younger. And I still have to wash my face with anti-acne soap then follow it up by slathering on the anti-aging cream. Why, Lord? For real? My face goes in a cycle of month-long splotchery, clears for a day, then starts again. And I am pretty sure you could step into my pores. I think if I have any words of wisdom to pass on to the younger generation, they would be USE SPF 15 MOISTURIZER. Every. Day.

But seriously, bad skin and a big butt aside, my month has been GREAT.

First — it got warm.

And when I say warm, I mean WARM. Like, it was hot one day. Which I LOVE.

Of course, it hasn’t stayed hot, but the presence of a handful of stifling days in May is always encouraging.

Then, it was Mother’s Day. And while I appreciate the World’s Coolest Mom t-shirt that Jim got me because it was the last thing available 12 hours before Mother’s Day at WalMart he truly appreciates me, it paled in comparison to THIS:

HOW COOL IS THAT?

You’ll recognize this phone from the T-Mobile commercials with the girl so freakishly skinny you kind of wish someone would just give her a sandwich already. It’s one of those phones that came with the movie “Inception” on it, which is so incredibly unnecessary I cannot hide my giddiness. I haven’t even watched it yet. I just think it’s cool that it is there. Jim and I have now become those people we despise — the ones who play on their phones instead of talking to each other and “check in” everywhere on Facebook as if my old high school buddies give a crap where I am eating dinner. I have an endless array of mobile uploads on the face page already, and a game called Lightsaber that literally is just a lightsaber with sounds. I finally know what Angry Birds are. It’s SOOOOOO cool to be part of the hip crowd.

Then, there was this cuteness:

Good Lord the cute might actually kill me.

But before this, we had “touch a truck” day at preschool, where the kids got to climb up into garbage trucks and Bobcats and fire engines. Of course, I was only interested in the police car, and making my child do this:

Then this:

Because that’s just good parenting.

Of course then it was birthday time for Hank.

The child won’t eat cake, so I got him an ice cream cake. And since gluttony is my very favorite of the seven deadly sins, he got an ice cream cone too:

Not only did we stuff ourselves with ice cream, I think this is officially my favorite photo of the two of them ever (well, for now at least). We also took him to a White Sox game. And while Peavy had a great game and they won, it is the Sox. No need to assault your eyes with the photos from that game.

But wait, there’s more. I told you — best month ever!

Then it was time for our anniversary. Six years. Which is a record for Jim, way to go Pookie Bear!

*sidenote — I really call him Pookie Bear. Call him that some time. He’ll answer.

So we went to a restaurant called Grill Marx. We figured it was our kind of place, what being lefty liberal Obama lovers, anything with the word “Marx” in it must be good, right? Well let me tell you — it was:

This was called “Sombrero Chicken,” because it had a tortilla chip shaped like a sombrero in the middle of it And holy crap was it good. I didn’t think the garlic mashed potatoes would necessarily go well with it, but they were outstanding. This plus a bucket of beer and an appetizer called “drunken nachos” made for a truly outstanding anniversary dinner.

And as long as baseball has begun, we took a trip to see the Joliet Jackhammers. Only, seems the guy who owned the Jackhammers didn’t do important things like pay the rent. He even bounced a check to The Chicken after a visit late last summer. So he did the most fiscally responsible thing possible.. walked away from his debt like it was that girl he did after a night of partying only turns out she’s ugly, so the next day he pretends he never knew her. The Jackhammers were sold, but in their place…

The Joliet Slammers.

Same thing. Just a different team. And you know what’s awesome? Non-affiliated minor-league baseball tickets for $5 a piece on firework night:

New matching Slammers hats!

 

Fireworks!

Of course, fireworks also meant a big flake of something flew directly into my eye. And when Jim stopped at the WalMart on the way home to get me some eye drops, the clerk told him, “Oh, man, those have gotten me out of a couple tickets!” Stay classy, stereotypical WalMart cashier!

Another piece of awesome for the month of May (up to this point, at least). The school project of all school projects. The volcano:

I never got to do a volcano, so I was super excited about Hank’s. We went for color. And apparently, dripping blood? I don’t really know what the child was doing here. Truth is, the end result looks a little bit rated-R for some reason. But we used up every piece of modeling clay, and it is awesome. I used a smaller Pepsi bottle to do a demonstration for the kids, and George almost tinkled himself he thought it was so awesome.

One last thing.

Cementing why May 2011 has been the best month ever, my husband came home with this:

And let me tell you something, am I ever on the edge of glory, indeed. Because Ms. Stephani here and Justin Timberlake on SNL made my day. Some of this album actually creeps me out. But I still love it. LOVE IT. Plus, I know what to get my Dad for Father’s Day.

I suppose some of these things seem incredibly lame to you. But I’ll tell you, combined, they made the best month. EVER.

I can’t help how I feel about it, though. I’m on the right track baby. I was born this way.

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The thoughts that I think

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. Taking it all in. Inhaling the universe. Being all observation-y.

Wanna hear about it? Here goes:

*Tonight we went to Subway, me, Jim and George. And I found myself splashed over with sadness just ever so briefly at the fact that Hank wasn’t there. This happens to me a lot when Hank is off for the weekend with his “second dad.” The family moves on without him, and suddenly I miss him so badly it can make me want to cry.

Then, as I was lost in thought about my eldest child, I looked up to realize that George was standing on his seat, licking the picture of lettuce that was bolted to the Subway wall. Suddenly, I had more important things to do than wallow — I had to hide my head in shame.

*As has been well documented, I tend to really hate commercials. Not because they ruin my favorite episodes of Fringe and Law & Order and whatever Kardashian show is on, but because anything can pass as plausible ad material these days. Yesterday, I saw a spot about the new, hip designs for Playtex packaging. Because nothing says “man I love when my uterine lining leaks out my lady parts in a bloody shower of nastiness” like neon colors on my tampon wrapper.

*Speaking of commercials, has anyone noticed how HAPPY men are when they have erectile dysfunction? Commercials seriously make me want herpes and my period every second of every day, while my husband battles with rising to the occasion and how his gray hair prevents him from getting a job. Because with all those issues, we would be a couple of dancing, cartwheeling, bike riding, road tripping, laughing, walking on the beach fools! Oh the joy!

*Bud Select 55 isn’t just light on calories and taste. It’s light on standards for the bottle. Because if you drop one of those babies, it will shatter into 8,000 tiny pieces… right before your bare feet.

*It’s totally cool to be excited about spending your Saturday night watching House Hunters.

*There’s such a thing as too comfortable with someone. And it’s when you apologize to them, and they have to wait to figure out what it is for. Only to find out it was for your stinky fart that you know is wafting their way. Too. Comfortable.

*According to some random website that no one in their right mind should ever look at (except for those growing children in their enormous bellies), the most popular girl name last year was Isabella. There are also several other names that seem to be on the list most years — Emily, Grace, Ava, Sophia. All names I really, really like. But you know what’s never on there? Marney.

Growing up, I actually was fond of having an uncommon name. Marney is not common, but doesn’t sound so unusual as to make people think “wow, how much pot did your parents smoke?” Which, we all know, is untrue anyway. Mom is a boozer, not a druggie.

But the consequence of having an uncommon name is that you are then associated with every person who shares that name, as if the common trait of your moniker makes you somehow connected to that person.

There was the Alfred Hitchcock movie, “Marnie,” where Tippi Hedren plays a thief and a total lunatic named, well, Marnie. And she is always lying about her name, but when she finally confesses that her real name is Marnie, her psychiatrist, played by Sean Connery, scoffs at her, “Well, that fits.”

WHAT THE HELL, SEAN CONNERY?

I thought it had reached a pinnacle with the infamous Marney Thanksgiving Letter, the one that people really thought was from me. But no.

Enter Marni Yang. Several weeks ago, Marni Yang was convicted of murdering the pregnant girlfriend of former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle. And let me tell you — this woman is a prime WACKO. Total freakshow land. Killed this woman out of some weird fit of jealousy, but she was crazy obsessed with Shaun Gayle.

Of course, the story of the murder and arrest and trial was top news here. But last night, it was featured on an episode of 20/20. Once again, Marni Yang — MARNI — is on my teevee.

My favorite part was when the interviewer, one Ms. Juju Chang, first said her name.

“Marni,” Juju says, sarcastically, raising both an eyebrow AND the corner of her lip, apparently disgusted.

“Marni!” repeats Shaun Gayle, equally disturbed at the sound of her name.

PEOPLE. She is not a crazy person because her name is Marni. And for real — Juju? Someone named Juju is cocking her head funny to the name Marni? Juju. I’m not 100 percent certain, but it’s possible that just saying Ms. Chang’s first name is slightly racist, but she sneers to Marni.

Gah!

I heard many times from various folks, ohhhhhhh, the murderer is named MARNI. Oooohhhhhh! Oh my! Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh yeah shut the hell up.

When my sister named her son — the family’s FIRST grandson — Jonathan, no one shrieked, “Oh my God, you’re naming him Jon? But what about John Wayne Gacey? OH THE HUMANITY.”

No one ever stared an interview with Ted Kennedy by saying, “So… Ted. You and Ted Bundy. That’s a rough one, huh?”

No one ever said, upon learning that my husband is named Jim, “Oh my God, you mean like the Jonestown Massacre? Don’t trust HIM with the Kool-Aid.”

But somehow, Marney = Marni Yang.

“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare wrote.

Well, apparently, if the name is Marni/Marnie/Marney/Marny/Marnee, what’s in that name is a murderous, lying, thieving, villainous psychopath.

Of course, Shakespeare should have known better. Being named Bill, he obviously knows that THAT name carries a lot of weight with the ladies.

*My husband and I Tivo Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant. What the hell?

*Beer can help you sleep. Sleeping pills can also help you sleep. Mixing them will make you sleep until 1 p.m., and will make your husband really pissed off at you.

*When ordering food through a drive-thru window, you shouldn’t be allowed to even GO to that drive-thru unless your window rolls down. You know what is aggravating? Waiting for the mom with 18 kids and equally as many bags and drinks try to collect all that stuff from the cracked open door of her 1999 rusty beige Suburban which she naturally pulled a little to close to the window number two. Seriously woman, get your tie-dye wearing, scrunchie-haired self INSIDE the restaurant. You’re holding up the line.

*My baby is turning five years old this week. I suppose it’s time to stop blaming the little bastard innocent boy for my big fat ass.

*My other baby will be nine in just about a month. So while I REALLY can’t blame him for my big fat ass, I am going to start blaming him for my gray hair.

I read somewhere that there’s a special place in heaven for a mother of boys. And someday, I hope my friends and family members with boys will leave heaven to visit me in hell to let me know what that place is like.

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Working those mom skills

I have been super busy these days.

The truth of it is, there is an election coming up. And while I have no idea which of the candidates in my own town who are best suited for the job, it’s the election in the fabulous city that I cover for the local newspaper that is keeping me stressed and excited all at once. Tuesday isn’t just election day, it’s the day we lay out the paper. So my usual one-week deadline has dissipated, and it’s like I’m back in big news-land, where I have to get my reporting as accurate and quickly as possible.

Why this has me so wound up I do not know, it’s not like I cannot handle it. But I think part of the issue is the fact that while the election has been smooth sailing for months, it appears that in the last three weeks or so, someone trucked in a big bucket of mud and all the candidates picked up their best shovels and started tossing. It’s typical, on one hand, but still creates a lot of excess news for me. When it comes to small town news, there is a fine line between news and gossip. And I am standing on it like it’s a freakishly thin tightrope.

Anyway, it’s my preparations for next week that have turned me into the mother of the year. Because you know what? It’s spring break, and Wii is a good babysitter. Jim pointed out that there is a picture of Anakin Skywalker from the new Lego Star Wars game burned into the TV screen. I replied by telling him off. He did not like that.

Today, I let them play while I was doing some other various work, when I suddenly realized that the smell in the room was, in fact, me. So I hopped in the shower, and when I got out, I realized that the one really cute part of my body — my toes — needed some work. So for the first time since last summer, I slapped a coat of paint on my little piggies. Instant cuteness. If it wasn’t so chilly, I’d put sandals on.

So I head down to where the boys were being babysat by Wii again. The conversation went like this:

Hank: “Man, do we have to turn it off already?”

Me: “No. Look at my toes.”

Hank, not looking at my toes: “Looks good.”

Me: “You didn’t even LOOK, look at my toes!”

Hank, glancing down briefly: “Yeah, looks good.”

Me: “YOU ARE NOT EVEN LOOKING AT THEM! Don’t they look cute?”

George: “They look BEAUTIFUL mom!”

Me: “See, that’s how you answer! Who’s winning the favorite son award today?”

Hank: “They look good.”

And that’s how you torture your kids.

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