What’s the New Normal?

Masks drawn up over your face. No smiles except for the wrinkles at the corners of your eyes, unless you’ve had Mario Lopez surgery — I swear his skin is so tight he’s forced to grin. But all of this is normal.

Bring a single parent is hard work when you’re the “lone wolf “ taking care off everyone and a crisis like Corona virus strikes. Is bad enough the pandemic started, but they have to name it after an appetizing alcoholic drink? They should have named it the “bourbon virus,” because that’s a strong and unrelenting beverage that leaves the ultimate bad taste in your mouth.

Even through it all, my kids and I managed to purchase a property. That’s correct! I’m in my very first home for the first time. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true, but it’s been awhile since I’ve shedded a skin I’ll refer to as Todd. I’m not going to go into that life much, because I’m glad Life’s experience allowed me to limp away with valuable lessons. However, we did venture into home ownership for about a year before we lost it. He knew about the unpaid payments for months. You may imagine my shock and bewilderment, making my half of the payment every month to him, when we received the foreclosure notice. Trust again? Nope!

And this home is a condo, or a permanent apartment, we now own. Not brag worthy, but somewhat inspiring nonetheless. The kids’ responses were different. Nikki was ecstatic in having her own room and equally as excited to paint the room black so she could add nite-glo stars to the walls.

With Cameron, the story was different. He stayed off by telling me how disappointed he was to see a room to small to hold his futon, etc, and then ended the conversation with an announcement. He’s joining the Marines. My guess is he really hates his room a lot.

The worst part is I’ll lose my employee discount for cable television, phone, and internet to pay a $125 fee for internet only. A bit bummed about that—but it’s inspired a negotiation in three years.

Flipping houses can be considered normal, as is investing. But a lot of new normals are arising in society because of the pandemic. For example, for the first time ever, everyone will vote online rather than in booths. People are picking up the art of paper-saving bidets, and some corporations have abandoned their typical processes to make toilet paper. Weird right? And social distancing is about to make this situation get real. We’re becoming accustomed to some of the new laws. And as long as people are presently dealing with changes, there’s no going back.

Change is necessary and continues whether we like it or not. Our question is what changed have you made to cope. For example, in the groceries ladies room, why would someone take the time to lather up before gripping the germ-infested door handle after wiping them? Gross!

So remember, my fellow Earth dwellers, anything that happens on a regular basis becomes normal after a while. Who knows, perhaps copulation for offspring may become a thing of the past! Designer children futuristic. Now there’s something to consider! Until next time—wash your hands, and don’t touch anything in public. Be a Mother in the Jungle of Survival.

Can Coronavirus Stop Us?

No one likes admitting they are overpowered. And let’s face it, sometimes we have no choice—when we’re unprepared. And preparation proves to be a huge part of survival. Are we prepared? I’m not talking about three weeks ago when the scare was exciting…. shopping! I mean, it wasn’t completely fun, because the change wasn’t a choice. But you’ve gotta admit, shaking up our normalcy broke the monotony—for a minute. But after a while, reality set in. It’s no longer the semi-fun game of survival.

Kids and adults alike battle for privacy.

People we know now are affected or even dying. All ages; no one is exempt, primarily our healthcare workers. Others take advantage by using the “my roommate died, and I’m closing her account to open my own” card. (Forget the fact the account is 4 months delinquent without any supportive documents.) Clearly, everyone has their own coping mechanism under such dire circumstances.

Our kids are home all day—playing on their phones, listening to music, watching the “boob tube,” as my father used to call it. (Not to be confused with the dated Tube Tops.) If we’re fortunate enough to maintain our working positions, most of us have a makeshift office at the kitchen table. Others brave the public, each and every day attending our public sectors and risking their own family’s safety in exchange for food, supplies, and a residence. Some aren’t so lucky.

Since we moved into our apartment nine months ago, as many people have moved out in the past two weeks as have in the months prior. Where will they go? Living with others who risk their own wellbeing by allowing potential carriers who may infect their own to join them? In their vehicles without a place to park? A shelter perhaps, crawling with addicts whose fix precedes anyone’s health?

Lines for fuel and groceries were up to an hour long in some states. This is only the beginning.

As heartless as it sounds, my own experience a few weeks ago still haunts me—and the virus wasn’t as prominent as it is now. I’d ordered some books for my daughter from Barnes and Noble. A salesgirl from the front to my car. My daughter hopped out and addressed an elderly woman who stood confused as the sales girl returned to the safety inside. The other woman yelled something to my daughter as I commanded her to get into the car and close the door.

“That lady needs your help,” Nikki murmured as she strapped into the seatbelt. Glancing out my window, the woman remained between our vehicles, arm outstretched, with a small, black box in her hand. Her lips were moving as she exaggeratedly repeated the same words. “What’s wrong with her?” I asked, noting the sheer panic on the old woman’s face.

Except for our two vehicles, the lot was empty, and there wasn’t anyone nearby. I got out, keeping my own safe distance, and the woman informed me she couldn’t get her SUV started. She’d called her son, but he wasn’t answering. This clearly meant she had no husband, at least, available.

I prompted her to turn the key while I listened and heard a clicking sound. “Sounds like either your alternator or battery,” I suggested. It clearly wasn’t getting power. “Can you look and see?” she asked with pleading eyes. I’m definitely no mechanic. And I damn sure have no familiarity with a high end BMW vehicle like the one in front of me. Plus, she was elderly. Everyone knows the older generation is even more susceptible to the virus, and I didn’t want to get near her. She continued clicking her device in an attempt to start it up. “Stop doing that and call your son again,” I told her. “Tell him you’re not getting power. At least then he can be better prepared.”

I hurried back to my car and got in before she could say anything more. Rolling down my window, with the situation of her being an elderly woman in an expensive vehicle by herself, I rolled my window down and hollered, “Get in your truck, lock the doors, and don’t open them until he arrives.”

Putting my window up, I drove past her and saw her following my instructions. “We’re just leaving her?” I heard my daughter, but couldn’t say anything. I was ashamed. I was doing all the things against what I’d taught her for years as she grew up. We drove home without a word. I kept hearing a voice in my head advising me to protect my kids and myself. I’m the sole income. If I get sick, our ship is sunk. And then I thought about how cold our world is becoming—not out of selfishness, but out of self- preservation.

My mind returned to a few days before, my daughter and I had stopped at the grocer for some quick dinner ideas. While we were there, a huge collection of people gathered with one store employee raising his arms above his head. “Okay, when I open it, the max you can have is two!” he shouted. Creeping closer, I saw a pallet of toilet paper, still wrapped in shrink wrap. It reminded me of the Black Fridays I avoid like the plague. But as he rose with plastic streaming from one hand and a box cutter in the other, that pallet was empty within a solid minute. By the time I took five steps, there were only two remaining with a man grasping both packages. Our eyes met and he handed me a package. “Thank you,” I said.

Even SNL continues under quarantine.

These days are different. No one had a clue even a month ago that all of these changes would happen. And it isn’t all temporary. When it’s finally gone, we’ll be able to see the inside of businesses that aren’t stores again, like banks, schools, our offices—old or new. But these next few months will have a tremendous bearing on the rest of our lives. Even churches and television continue fighting for survival. Saturday Night Live aired a show worth remembering on April 11, with the host none other than Tom Hanks, America’s first movie celeb infected with COVID-19. Tom and his wife have healed, as he offers humor and hope for our future.

With as much being said of how quickly our lives can change, how are we prepared for the following months? How have our priorities changed? Are our relationships with friends, romance, and families changing?

Remember this, in order to have ANYTHING improve, it must first change.

How have your days changed? What permanent changes can you see in your own life and beliefs as a result? Share. You are not alone.

Well wishes to your family and friends. My 13-year-old remains by my side, making lunch while I work tirelessly at the dining table. My 18-year-old, fearlessly (or stupidly) insists on continuing his visits to friends in another city. After warning him, I’ve had to ban him for the sake of my daughter’s and my health.

Please share. We truly are in this together—even separately.

Clandestine Life under the Silent Snow

fallen snow
A delicate blanket of freshly fallen snow

When the seasons change, we often find ourselves changing right along with them, and we can either fight against the adversity or utilize the revision.

Our family, like most, go through these modifications on a fairly regular basis. Read the breakdown, and then stop and think about your own family. Will you fight, or will experience mold your loved ones?

My daughter Nikki continues with a mind set on the military ranks, and attends Utah Military Academy, (UMA), but refuses to fall in line. The uniform is donned each day, but her individuality sometimes gets in the way. I’m not sure if it’s because I give in too much or if it’s because I’m never here. Either way, she argues. Thirteen going on thirty–in her dreams. However, Nikki comes to me when she needs money or “special instructions” on growing up, which is a good thing. If anyone’s opinion is used in urging her through life, I’m glad it’s mine. And for her future? Nikki loves animals and is extremely curious about many things.

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A “Whisperer” of sorts, Nikki communicates with animals

Nikki’s an information forager like her mom. Highly gifted, extremely intelligent, and a bit too giving, I hope she realizes these things herself.

My near adult son Cameron, a senior in high school, seems to feel he has a fairly good grasp on life. It’s more than I can say for myself. I’m still scratching my head because his father makes twice the money as me as a construction worker when I have a degree and $100k of debt.

I imagined responsibility and trust when I purchased a box of “protection” for him, but then I refuse giving him a place to “roost.” I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that he’s going to be an adult within two months. I’ve tried explaining some of the Rules of Adulthood my parents never took the time to teach me, such as finances, but he probably doesn’t want to take my word for it. I’m not exactly eating at La Caille on a nightly basis. For example, since he’s helping with the rent each pay period, I determined it best to set up Bill Pay with legitimate receipts of his payments. Seeing finances at work before being out on your own seems like a no-brainer if given the opportunity. I’m not sure how much his father teaches him, but he’s a genius with finances. And it’s true I butt in. I’m concerned. I’ve read that the medulla oblongata isn’t fully developed yet. I used to think that’s what determines the choices we make, but that is the lateral habenula.

It actually regulates the respiration and circulatory systems. Not a big surprise that kids who smoke young have a higher chance of disease, including stroke and heart attacks. Although I am not a smoker, I hope Cameron has stopped rolling the dice.

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A harder worker won’t be found than Cameron

We’ve had discussions about the damage smoking can cause, but he doesn’t appear to hear me. And I fail to dismiss him when he attempts educating me of smoking benefits. But there are a truckload of wonderful things I can say about Cameron. He thinks for himself, and even though the end results don’t particularly jive with my opinion, he researches to discover answers for himself without taking the word of someone else–most times. He loves to make people laugh, which is highly effective in communicating. There have to be times when he wants to scream, duck under his bed and never come out. I appreciate the support he gives by being a role model–which clearly isn’t something he signed up to be. Cameron’s working so hard on being responsible under so much stress, even working at Market Street Broiler. I honestly wish it didn’t have to be this way and he could just be a kid.

As for myself, in my early 20’s, a doctor prescribed a drug to me when I was there for a routine physical for work. I was always raised to trust doctors, so I did, regardless of never having met this particular doctor previously. Mistake. Retrograde and anterograde amnesia took over, separating me from my employ and negating my attendance in school for a degree in law.

A few years later, I dated a handsome hairdresser named Eric. Because the amnesia interfered with both my job and attending school, I became an exotic dancer to support myself. I didn’t have to be extremely brilliant for that career. I attempted school several more times but couldn’t retain the information enough to remain enrolled. Immediately following a session of lovemaking, it happened again. I remember staring up at the ceiling with my boyfriend Eric leaning over me and panicking. His roommate, Thomas, blasted into the room saying some sort of prayer while rubbing my face with his hands. I was revived and seemed fine afterwards, never putting the two incidents together.

About a decade ago, I worked at the state prison, and with the pressures of single parenting two tiny kids, while trying to please a supervisor who never did like me, I cracked and had another episode. Unable to recall who had my kids, I was fortunate enough to have a co-worker, Renata, scroll through my phone, reciting the names until I remembered the daycare. Renata called my brother to get the kids and hustled me off to the hospital. I was told it was a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or a mini-stroke. The chances of someone experiencing this has a one in three chance of experiencing a stroke. Thank goodness ways exist in helping prevent a stroke for those who have heard “warning shots.” 

Since, I’ve had spells of breathing incidents, which I thought were asthma, until last week on November 19th, when it happened again. This neurological episode was a bit worse. I was awake but unresponsive after crashing to the floor next to my desk. It took a while before I could respond, although I could hear and see everything that crossed in front of my staring eyes. Later, the doctor explained I’d had yet another TIA. Each time, the effects are different but the outcome is the same. I cannot communicate, but I can see and hear. There is no feeling beneath my skin, when I get injections, etc, but I can feel fingers gripping my arms. It’s very much like being in a dead body with my eyes open.

The doctor suggested I get the flu shot, even though I’m opposed to having the government inject their newly fashioned liquids into my body, because she said a tango with the flu right now could kill me. I’m borderline stroke/heart attack, pre-diabetic, and have extremely high cholesterol.

Pine needles
Enjoy the temporary softness before the needles protrude again

I’m 53 now. Better make the final years count by having deliberate life changes and appreciating time with my kids. After all, life sings daily about love, acceptance, learning, and togetherness.

So, in lieu of the holiday season, I give you a delightful scene from our balcony. Beautiful, white, gently fallen snow. You may look with wonder–but do not touch. You see, if you peer closely, you’ll see that beneath the eye-catching crystallized white are small, green, frozen needles that can stab into your fingers. The needles are permanent and the snow creates a temporary softening. You can take advantage of the temporary beauty or eagerly await the arrival of the pine needles. It’s all in how you envision your life.

When is SLEEPY time?

As a single parent who’s already strung a little tighter than a banjo string, other single parents have to relate to me when I say, “There is no such thing as ‘me time’.” Single parents have to borrow time to borrow time by making so many promises to people that the next thing you know, imaginary friends and mentors are insisting on taking up portions of time as well. Single parents MUST be both parents most of the time. Even if you’re a single parent, I’ll bet you haven’t given this much thought — mostly because you haven’t TIME to think about it. Twice as many tasks in half the time with little thanks.

As a single parent, you’re probably the ONLY one the kids have to get parental advice from–twice as many interruptions. As a single parent, you’re more than likely the one running the errands whether taking the kids to doctor appointments or special activities. No lie, yesterday I took the day from work for three doctor appointments. I had to work the previous Sunday so I could afford the time, which meant even less time with the kids. If I’d have known I wouldn’t be able to spend any time with them, I would’ve handed my pass to some rich old biddy who had all the time in the world–and time for cosmetics. I have no time for applying them, much less buying them. My daughter refuses to paint her face with stuff needing to wash off before bed anyway. But she’s a different sort.

My 13-year-old daughter is involved in the military and as ecstatic as one can imagine

Nikki Ready for Service
Foraging her own path.

that her uncle is coming into town this weekend, as he is in the same branch of the service–Navy. He’s promised to accompany her to her special congressional segment on Saturday at 7:00 a.m. Even though her father won’t see her, her uncle from Cali will. And she’ll be wearing her dress whites. She’s very excited for that. As cute and proper as she appears, her attitude sucks rotten eggs. I sure as hell hope it’s a temporary phase. And by “temporary,” I’d be satisfied in knowing it will only be for three to five years. I feel as if I’ve just condemned myself to a prison sentence with hard core criminals who aren’t serving as much time and dedication. I sure hope to feel some sort of exoneration will take place.

My son, however, managed to entertain me last Friday — yep, another half a day from the office–made it up by working Saturday. (Single parents don’t ever get a day off.) But his entertainment was a once-in-a-lifetime pass to hours of unprecedented fun. I can’t bear to go into all the details, so I’ll just show the video and follow up with our trip after.

Now imagine this kid, looking just as he is, except with bloody drool leaking from the side of his smiling mouth. That’s how he was at Jamba Juice after he showed me his certificate from the dentist allowing him a free drink. Granted, his mouth was so numb that he couldn’t taste anything anyway. But that didn’t stop this young, annihilated and mentally scrapped Don Juan from trying to work his magic. Imagine my speechlessness, while ordering his drink, of turning to check on him and he’s giving one of those finger-wiggling waves to someone beyond me–and don’t forget the gauze, wrap, and dangling drool. Turning to my left, I saw a horrified young girl donning headphones with the appearance of having seen a ghost. It was clear she had a moment of deciding if she really wanted a drink after all. I suppose she felt safety in numbers because she stayed.

And then there’s our cat Lucius, the one that made me so proud by being trained to use the plumbing. Yep, I was so proud of that–until she became angry at me for not combing her one night. Okay, okay, I ignored her. I had a lot on my list of things to do that night.

I get it, don’t worry. I know how everyone thinks she is the most lovable feline ever. But don’t be fooled. For every Yin there’s a Yang. And believe me, she has a very large Yang! Check her out in my foam-filled chair that allows me to plop down after a hard-day’s work to fall immediately into a field of slumber. See how she enjoys it with the tv remote all to herself? Yessir, she’s the queen!

Lucius owns the roost
See her here on my extremely large foam-filled chair? Just about every night I plop into it, I’m out within 15 minutes. But the other night, another “plop” beat me to it.

One particular night, she was upset that I didn’t comb and cater to her after a nearly 12-hour shift. After finally making it to to bed and climbing in, I heard Cameron scream, “Bad kitty! Bad, bad kitty!” I dragged myself into the living room to see the gift she’d left in gratitude of all the attention she wanted to return to me–right in the center of my huge, heaven-sent, foam-filled chair. With a well-hidden energy, I sprang into action and crawled beneath Cameron’s bed, grappling with remaining calm, getting the cat, and still being able to get up when I was done making an ass of myself red-faced and breathing like a fireplace bellow.

Speaking of making an ass of myself, the big showdown will be this weekend. I got four passes to Lagoon. With three of us, I figured one of the kids could bring a friend. With four of us, no one would have to ride alone–pretty genius, eh? I had them play a game for the fourth ticket and my son won. The following day, Cameron announced Will had a season pass and would join him. I could either throw the other ticket away or allow Nikki to invite her friend. Actually, I couldn’t because she already took the liberty. She invited the last friend I’d hoped she’d invite. Still, I gotta remember that Lagoon is for having fun. If I say it over and over again while riding some death-defying ride alone, perhaps I’ll believe it. Then again, I may very well fall asleep. Lagoon may be just the nap I need.

 

Labor Day? Push for it!

Stop! Look around you. Aren’t you lucky? Look at everything you have and have goals to work toward for even better things in your life. And the most magical part is that you finally figured out what you deserve, right? There’s nothing stopping you but you!

Cameron Old Spaghetti Factory
Getting his licks in to become a gourmet chef!

Since we’ve moved, things are changing for the better. Cameron was working at The Old Spaghetti Factory as a busser and interviewed for a host position at Market Street Grill. He’s shared his intention of planning a career as a professional chef. He starts next week!

My little soldier Nikki is developing her career in the military by setting the stones in her future. Her goal is to eventually take full advantage of the ROTC after she graduates. With the method of moving up in ranks in school, Nikki won’t be a frontrunner when she joins the service because she’ll have a higher rank.

Nikki Ready for Service
GI Jane ain’t got nuthin’ on Nikki

Okay, as far as the cat goes, I know you’re dying to find out she’s more and more like a dog every day. Now, she meows and waits for people to do her bidding before she ceases. And yes, we’ve had to lock her out of the bedroom due to midnight calls of demand. But she absolutely loves watching the neighborhood dogs from the safe location of the balcony.

Me? Well, I’m contemplating if going back to school is a good idea. According to TED Talks, only about 25% of graduates actually go into their course of study as a line of work. I’m proof of that already. Customer Service does NOT require a $78,000 degree in writing. But, that’s what I’ve got. So I thought, which would be more lucrative, working hard on what I know for the next year or starting a new chapter from fresh and seeing where I land? I’m thinking it seems fairly obvious.

On a very happy note — we’ve started our Labor Day activities Saturday at the zoo. I know everyone has their own version of celebrating the fruits of their labor, but my celebration is a little different. Labor Day is the day after my mother’s serious work as a professional pusher in giving birth. (Breathing Techniques). I was born on the lord’s day of rest previous to man’s celebration of hard work, on a Sunday. We began our festivities this year by attending Hogle Zoo. We may have saved an animal’s life. You be the judge.

Please share your family’s summer fun with us, and I know it’s an oxymoron to say “have a Happy Labor Day,” but that’s my goal — to finally have a career I enjoy. And what will you do to celebrate your weekend?

 

Remain Wary of Google Reviews

As you may know, my kids and I have had our fair share of “adventure” this past year. We’ve relocated three times due to catastrophes. This last move is due to a wonderful setting in Cottonwood Heights called Hillrise Apartments. Unless it’s Halloween and you’re in for a creepy scare of not knowing what lurks behind the shadows, I wouldn’t suggest going there at all. Here is a video from the 2nd time we were flooded within a month–there was periodic flooding before this from under the floor. Know any lawyers seeking a bit of publicity? How about Get Gephardt from KUTV? Perhaps.

After already having missed several days of work for ridiculous repairs, such as our front doorknob literally falling from its socket THREE times and waiting for repairs, getting help in this scenario proved just as tedious. After alerting the manager of the first flood from upstairs, she gave me the tenant’s phone number (CPNI violation) and told me to call her myself, reciting that from now on, any calls I made after hours would cost me $50! Aubrey went on to tell me that a flood is not considered an emergency–an event is only considered an emergency if there’s a possibility someone may die. I suppose if your apartment burns to the ground, but no one’s inside, it’s not an emergency.

On this particular day my son, Cameron called the office with no response. He knocked on the door upstairs with the same result. And then, he called me. Hearing dripping in the background and remembering the flood a month ago, I said with dry humor, “Got flood?” Unfortunately, that’s exactly why he was calling. On my way home from work early yet again, I called our good ol’ government for the second time–and then I called the fire department. They showed up and made a report.

Fire Dept Report

Clearly, no one wanted to help a single mother in Utah.

Get this, Randy Williams, the Environment Protection Agent I called (before the fire department broke in) didn’t come over until the next day, a couple of hours before the third maintenance worker in our six months, Phillipe, arrived with a wet vac.

Phillipe casually explained, with a smile stretched across his face, that we would pay for his services. None of these shinanigans surprised me, as Randy had barely made it when I called him the month prior. He clearly didn’t want to get involved. He called sixteen hours later, stating there couldn’t be anything for him to see since the water had certainly been cleaned up by now. I described the puckering walls and drenched carpet. When Randy finally made it, he remarked the brown carpet appeared dry and the swelling on the walls was purely cosmetic. There’d be no reason to worry about mold if I used a fan to dry the carpets. Furthermore, he sees nothing wrong with my two children and me staying there, despite the visible mold growth and rotting walls. He said it is harmless and shouldn’t be a problem for us to remain. (Remember kids, he’s paid with your tax dollars.)

After taking out a loan, we almost have enough money to move — we ended up “borrowing” money from additional funds that we shouldn’t have, but we had to move as the 100+ degree heat and the stench made me ill enough that I eventually went to the hospital, but still don’t feel much better. Our move got messed up because our rental truck was “lost,” which ended up costing us our movers after paying a $100 deposit. OUCH!IMG-1213

My daughter ended up “celebrating” her thirteenth birthday on July 24th, helping pack loads up to the apartment rather than the night at the movies with her friends, thanks to A-1 International Distributors, the company that supposedly owns this drug-dealers’ haven where we resided. My daughter was ultimately bummed her first teenage birthday was such a dud. Can’t say I blame her. I was crushed watching her haul her clothing in garbage bags up the steps to her new home in 103-degree weather. A-1 International Distributors and Hillrise Apartments should be deeply ashamed of themselves for feeding off struggling tenants.

We wound up with two super-duper high school studs helping us move with the use of several U-Haul trucks over the course of over a week. Okay, my son and his friend, Orion, moved our entire apartment up three flights of stairs! And pictured below are our new digs. Nice change, eh? We no longer live in the basement but on the third floor.

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My week’s vacation from work was supposed to have been used much differently than working my butt off. I still have severe headaches and nausea, but we’re free at last!

Oh yeah, apartment manager, Aubrey did return my call — 11 days later — to inform me that without 30 day’s notice, I am required to pay for the month of August as well. In the event you’re wondering why Google has such great reviews on this complex, it’s because Aubrey will take $25 off of each person’s rent for a five-star review, whether or not anyone gives the review a thumbs up or not.

What’s your worst apartment experience, and how did you handle it?

Another One Bites the Dust

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Freddie Mercury of Queen

Queen has always been a great band, and brings about the glorious memories of high school–when I was considered “cool.” Okay, I was cool in the sense I was an uncover cool kid masquerading as a geek, but no knew the true me. I recall the substitute bus driver playing Another One Bites the Dust during the last week of school one year and the whole bus chimed in, pounding on the seats and bellowing with their heads out the windows. No, I didn’t say it was safe, but it certainly was memorable. We should all have memories like that when paying a mortgage is the last thing on your mind.

 

Speaking of stressful situations, my teenage son has his drivers license. He got it last week. And while Cameron is extremely thoughtful, sometimes it doesn’t pay off. For example, I asked him to make a U-turn after he missed a driveway. Pulling into the center lane, he paused and then cranked the wheel while accelerating. My face smooshed against the window while we whipped around. I clawed at the door the way a cat does entering a vet’s office, desperately grabbing at the handle as Cameron spun the car around to the parallel lane the other direction. “What the hell was that?” I screamed after catching my breath, “You’re supposed to turn into the outside lane on a U-turn!” Cameron got angry and flustered at the same time. “But this car can do it easily,” he said. I explained that all cars must follow the same rules of the road. Now I ride in the middle of the back when he drives. But if anyone asks, I still say Cameron’s a good driver.

Cameron and I have also had conversations about how good drivers are born from experience, not just the manuals, classrooms, and illustrations with arrows on a board. There are a lot of “unwritten rules” as well; rules like, if you’re in an accident, never immediately admit fault because often times people will take advantage and claim injuries that aren’t real for the sake of garnering a higher settlement.

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Big brother will get paid for serving sister.

They don’t teach that wisdom in school! They also don’t teach some of the maneuvers I do while driving that my kids refer to as “stunt driving.” There are times and places where what I do has a legitimate purpose—such as realizing I entered the exit with tire rippers and quickly back up for a do-over in the correct lane. They don’t teach that at driving school. As much as I want to protect my son, he’s going to drive. He is maturing with a job now working at The Old Spaghetti Factory–on his road to pro chef success.

 

Since Nikki will be thirteen in about a week, she has begun planning ahead for those “special” moments and I’ve only experienced one so far. The screaming rage and arguing are more than any mother should have to endure–it’s worse than when I menstruated! On the dresser is a pair of clean underwear with a pad carefully inserted. Disgusted, I asked her if her season hadn’t ended the beginning of the month. She said it had, but she wanted to be prepared for when it hits again. Typically, this is not something I would advocate, but I’m relieved she’s finally planning ahead. I’ll take whatever I can get.

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What do you think Lucius is thinking?

Did I hear you ask about Lucius the Wonder Cat? We got all excited yesterday–the kids actually texted me–to tell me she took a dump on the toilet. Yeah! I boasted her up yesterday when I hung her photo up on the pet board for Pet Week. And everyone told me how beautiful and brilliant she is, trained and all. I’d prefer to have them think I’m some sort of lion tamer by not revealing the gift she left this morning. It’s better that way.

 

New about me? I’ve begun studying The Inner Temple of Witchcraft by Christopher Penczak. Don’t worry, I only use it for medicinal, meditation, and peaceful purposes. And I’m considering creating videos instead of typing–I don’t have the amazing images of other YouTube star moms, but I have humor! BTW, screw those companies that don’t want to hire me as a quizzer at the bars, even though drunks laugh at anything until you tell them it’s closing time.

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“Screw balance!” Kristina Kuzmic says.

 Juggling work, school, and kids (not to mention the pooping cat) are about all I can handle. But now, we’re preparing to move–AGAIN! A bittersweet notion. Moving is not something I ever look forward to, but this time it’s an exception–that’s how miserable it is getting situated. After the flooding in days of yore, the health department coming to take a look at the growing mold, and those little gnats that have roosted throughout the apartment, I can’t imagine the 100+ heat with no air conditioning! So, we’ll let you know the final results with photos later.

 

Whether we’re talking about Queen, Cameron’s amazing driving, the cat’s remaining 8 lives, or this crappy apartment being left in the rearview mirror–it’s clear that another one MUST bite the dust! Sayonara, sweetie!