the ride along…


If you were to ride along with me to run errands, you would see I travel down pretty much the same old streets day in/day out, unless of course I’m detoured by orange barrels. The other day, Mrs. K, my sweet and lovable 93-year old companion (twice a week), accompanied me on a quest to find the doll a plain black pullover sweatshirt–which was much harder than I imagined, but I digress. As we traveled down the city streets, Mrs. K. began making comments about the local businesses along the roadway, trying to entice patronage into their stores.

“What kind of name is Permanently Scarred?” She remarked with a giggle. “Oh, that’s a tattoo and piercing parlor…” I explained. “Well, I understand that, but you would think they would rather sell the tattoo as art rather than a scar?” She eloquently replied. “Perhaps they were simply going for a catchy name,” I said in reply. “Yes, the kind you catch and throw in the trash can before anyone can see”. She quickly responded which caused us both to break out in laughter.

A little further down the road, while waiting at a stop light, she saw a carwash off to the right and made note of signage on the building facing the street that read, “Clean Car Exit”. “I wonder if on the other side of the building it says “Dirty Car Entrance?” She remarked, causing us both to laugh. “Do you want me to maneuver over and see?” I asked, but she declined.

A little while later I received a phone call, which thanks to Bluetooth technology plays through my car radio speakers; from my sister asking me about my impending split with Mary Alice. “Well she’s become more difficult for you, hasn’t she?” My sister asked. “No, no, Mary Alice is easy…” I replied and then Mrs. K. interjected herself into the call, “Unlike this old lady sitting next to her right now”. “What?” My sister replied unaware Mrs. K was listening in on our conversation. Laughing out loud I faux slapped Mrs. K’s knee before quickly ending the phone call. “You’re bad…” I said after getting my laughter under control. “Perhaps”. She replied which brought us more laughter to accompany our travels.

the hero or the goat…


As the Mean Mommy, my children’s views of me can change at the drop of the hat.  Sometimes I’m the hero, other times the goat. Sometimes I can even be both, within the span of a few seconds/minutes. Of course, the same can be said of them though I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t appreciate my characterizations, thus making me a goat forevermore.


The doll has the uncanny ability to only talk to me about “stuff”, when I’m busy doing something else, like reading, watching Castle, or writing a blog, for example. As such, if I’m engrossed in whatever I’m doing, I tend not to listen very carefully to what she is saying. Having said that however, I do know for the last few months she has been counting down to the release date of Rick Riordan’s latest book, Magnus Chase. Every once in a while she’d exclaim, “Only so and so more days until Magnus Chase! I can hardly wait!!” To which I, her unattentive mother would reply, “Oh that’s nice”. Without really caring (Mean Mommy Moment) what the hell she was so excited about.

Monday night she looked at me and said, “Oh My God!! Tomorrow mom, tomorrow!!” To which I replied, “Huh?” “Why does it not surprise me you’re not listening to me?” She scolded. “Doll all you said was tomorrow? How am I supposed to know what that means?” I argued back. “MAGNUS CHASE MOM!! The book is being released tomorrow!!” And as typical Mean mommy fashion I replied, “Oh that’s nice.” Using an exaggerated eye roll, she replied, “Would it kill ya to be happy for me?” Conpletely lost I replied, “Happy that you’re going to read another book?” “OOOMPF!!!” She over chastised me and said, “Nevermind!”

In that moment I was a goat. I failed to acknowledge how excited she was that the story she loves was within “hours” of reach. Way to go Mom!


Yesterday Mrs. K accompanied me on the many errands I run for my household of unappreciating children. As we walked into Costco, there greating us at the entrance to the store was a Magnus Chase book display. Stopping for a moment I grabbed a book to peruse. “Oh this book was released today. That’s why the doll asked me if her father could take her to the bookstore later; this morning…” I said as much to myself as to Mrs. K. Weighing whether to pick up the book now or make the doll to wait and get for herself, I absently placed the book in the cart and then moved on to finish my shopping.

Stopping briefly at home to drop off my groceries, I dropped the book on the loveseat with a note attached for the doll to call me. “MOM!!” She said into the receiver. “Hey doll, how was school?” “It was good!!” She said in a very excited voice. “Hey, the dishwasher needs to be dried and emptied and if you could throw your dirty clothes down the clothes shoot I’d appreciate it…” I explained. “OK MOM!!” She replied, the excitment in her voice palapable. After not hearing anything for a few seconds I said, “Anything else?” “Thank you for the book! I’ve already texted all my friends and they can’t believe you did this!” Having re-secured my Hero status with my doll, I explained, “Mrs. K and I saw the display at Costco and I figured the price would be better there than at the booktore”. “I still can’t believe you remembered!” She said before thanking me again and hanging up the phone.



inching forward….


So stuff is happening that I can’t talk about. Stuff that involves my family, my kids, my life and yet, I can’t talk about them, because I don’t have all the information surrounding them. But because this is happening, my mind has been flooded with all sorts of concerns which has limited my ability to focus in on something to write about today.

In an effort to try…

I spent the last ten minutes looking in the kids bedrooms for a spark of genius and instead all I found was dirty clothing littering their floors. #must remember to leave notes instructing them to throw down their dirty clothes before leaving for work… (check!)

Sounds like a boring blog to me. Or…

I could lament about my dirty household as well, but heck, where’s the fun in that? #Leave reminder’s to kids to pick up the kitchen and unload the dishwasher. (check!)

The boy has recently confided to me that I’m a lousy cook since I’m now preparing healthier meals. “That food tastes like horse shit!” He tells me all the time, which always makes me wonder when did he ever have the pleasure of eating horse shit?

Can’t compare without a taste test…

Just saying…

In the meantime, the doll is gearing up for a lot of stuff happening in the next few weeks…High School shadow days–she wants to shadow at two schools, Halloween parties, sleepovers, costumes, tattoos (thankfully not real) etc. But her number one focus right now is the impending rock concert one month from today. “Mom can we spray color my hair blue?” She asked. Considering that junk washes out the next day, I replied ‘YES” and then began to say “I don’t understand why you would want to cover that beautiful head of hair with blue…” before I realized I sounded like, gasp!! A MOTHER. “Whatever doll,” I replied instead.

And there you have it.

We’re holding steady at the moment.

Inching forward just like everyone else.


confident doll…


If you recall, a few weeks back, the doll, when faced with not having much playing time on her volleyball team asked me why she was even playing. “To help make the team better. In addition, there may come a time when someone is sick or injured and cannot play. Then you’ll be given a chance to shine”. I offered, hoping to bolster up her resolve to stay on the team. She shrugged her shoulders and then walked away not sure if she believed me. Later as we walked home following the matches she said, “Mom, forget what I said before” “I was having a “pity-me” party. But after talking with my friends, they convinced me you were right”.”Care to repeat that doll?” I said and was slapped across my arm instead. Since then the subject has never come back up, until this past Saturday, that is.

When we arrived for the first of two matches, we found that one teammate was absent and another injured, forcing the doll to play the majority of both matches. Now my kid is not the most talented of players out there, but seeing her hit the ball effectively and score some points with her serves has done wonders for her confidence. “Mom I hurt my wrist on that one miss-hit.” She said after I noticed her constant wrist shaking. “Well you can’t be taken out–just see if you can ignore it” I said inbetween matches–which she did.

In the end, the girls lost the first match in a 3-game nail biter, but won the second match 2-0, in the same fashion; the doll scoring several points off her serve in both matches. As we drove home I said to her “Now do you understand why you’re a member of this team?” I asked. “I thought I hit the ball fairly well,” She replied. “That, and if you weren’t here, your team would have had to forfeit both games. Instead you went 1-1 and that first match was close. In a sense, you won that second game on your own…” I said. “Seriously mom?” She replied with an eye roll and a guffaw. “Well, you know what I mean…” I replied. “I’m just happy I didn’t look really bad out there”. “Nope you looked like a teammate, a valuable one at that.” I said before she changed the subject.



changing tides…


Next year the boy  will be a Senior in high school and if that isn’t frightening enough, my doll will be a Freshman. How in the world did she go from learning to be toilet trained (to attend preschool) to here in such a short time?


As many of you are aware, my children attend parochial schools here in our fair city. We’ve worked hard, applied for scholarships, pushed and stretched our budgets to the max in order to afford giving them a better quality education (in our opinion), than one they would have received through our area’s public school system. For the past two days, the doll and the other eighth-grade students  from the various parochial schools from around the area, participated in “Discovery Days” at the Four area parochial high schools, as a way to get an idea about where they might want to attend school next year.

“Mom I wish we could go to another school tomorrow,”  the doll said  afterward. “Well, heck who wouldn’t?” I replied. “This was so much more fun than our regular school day,” She remarked only to have me say in reply, “Duh, really?”

On Wednesday the boys and girls were separated so they could each visit the two single sex schools. I chose not to go (I didn’t want to present a bias toward them) but did take Thursday off so I could  attend the two co-ed schools with them. “Mom I loved that place!” The doll gushed on the ride home. “I had a feeling you would…” I said, as she’s been telling me for three years she’s wanted to attend school there. “What interesting stuff did you see on your tour?” I asked since (at both schools) parents and prospective students were separated; the kids were given tours, the parents were given delicious cookies AND the hard sell on why this school was better than the rest. “We were given a tour of the various classrooms and did a science experiment-mine kind of failed, but the intensity level of all the students made me feel really welcomed. Mom,  I really really feel comfortable here”. She exclaimed. “What about the other one?” I asked. (In fairness, I liked the first one’s presentation more than the second one. “Nope. The place felt like middle school. I didn’t get a good vibe while I was there.”

So now we’re making plans for her to “shadow” a freshman at two high schools, one all girls and one coed, just so she will have no regrets about her choice. This morning she said “After giving it some thought, I’m leaning more toward the coed school mom, just to let you know.” “Okay” I replied nonplussed, simply because I know wherever she winds up, she’ll be happy. 

Pistol packin’ mama…


Yesterday morning as Mary Alice and I made our way back to her bedroom, from the bathroom, I began to sing the old 40’s standard “Pistol Packin’ Mama” to help put her at ease while she got dressed. On most mornings I hum a variation of the “Odd Couple” theme song or some other jazzy tune because in her former life, she loved to dance. But yesterday as I began to sing, she gave me a smile and began to happily sing along, essentially telling me we were going to have a good day.

And in fact, we had a very good day at that.

But at the end of this month, my good days with Mary Alice will come to an end. Her family is moving across town; thirty minutes away, which on paper doesn’t look so bad. But when considering the harsh winters we’ve endured the past few years, in addition to travel time to and from, winter weather advisories school delays, et cetera, et cetera…all added together and conspired against me.

Monday afternoon her daughter Karen and I weighed the pros and cons of my continuing and came to the same conclusions. “I never imagined everything that would change as the result of our moving” she told me. “I totally understand and I wish we could have figured this out, but I’m so worried I’ll be late arriving forcing you to be late and or any other number of scenarios that could crop up”. I replied. Then we both sat there trying our best not to cry at the mutual decision, we never wanted to make. 

So moving forward I’ll try to cherish  Mary Alice a little more by  enjoying our horrible singing, catch playing, rosary praying days for a few more weeks. Then I’ll bid her a fond farewell with a laugh and a horribly sung 40’s standard, “Pistol Packin’ Mama, lay your pistol down.”



Yesterday was National coffee day, which did not escape my daughter’s notice, “Mom, how can I celebrate my favorite beverage if we don’t have any coffee in the house?” She asked me. Amused, I replied, “Considering we’ve never had coffee in the house, I would have thought you already knew the answer.” “But I just don’t get it, how can you not like coffee?” She asked me for possibly the millionth time.”It’s so good. You don’t know what you’re missing!!” She implored. “You don’t miss what you don’t know and frankly I don’t care to know coffee”. I replied.

When I was thirteen, my drink of choice was not coffee, but rather the soft drink Mountain Dew, which at the time had the largest concentration of caffeine (and sugar) you could find in a beverage. While my parents drank instant coffee for their morning caffeine, I relied on sugary drinks, which in my opinion offered a better overall taste value. By the time I reached college, I imagined late night study sessions would introduce me to coffee, but instead, the only change I made came from switching over to Pepsi, when I finally tired of Mountain Dew’s over the top sweetness. I eventually quit drinking caffeinated soft drinks back in the late 90’s, leading me to where I am today-preferring only water (with a slice of lemon) on most days. Though I concede, during the winter months, there are times when I will imbibe caffeine in the form of hot tea, (a comfort food), especially when I’m not feeling well. 


“Couldn’t you just buy some coffee for me to drink?” The doll asked and I ignored. “Seriously mom, it’s really good!” she tried again. “Who taught you how to drink that crap? Tell me so I can stop inviting them over…” I said and she laughed. “Mom, all my friends drink coffee. In fact, all my friends parents drink it too. You’re the anomaly here.” Shaking my head, I replied, “Well they all can’t be perfect like me”. The doll began to feign choking, coughed and then laughed saying “Hardly, otherwise you’d be drinking coffee”

Everyone is a critic.