Get this Boy a Bucket

November 30, 2007

Bad news.

I think I have one of those kids who is extra sensitive to refined sugar. Really, that's just a nice way of saying I have one of those kids who acts like the spawn of a depressed Richard Simmons and Rambo at the mere sight of a gum drop. You know--kind of weepy, a little bit off-the-wall, and just plain violent.

I wish I could say that I'm surprised by this behavior, but unfortunately, I'm not. I know just where he gets it from--his mother. When I was a child, two drops of orange soda or one sniff of an Oreo cookie would send me into a tailspin. I'd turn from the funny-looking-girl-with-the bowl-cut-and-the-extra-wide-gap-in-her-teeth to the nasty-little-gremlin-child-with-the bucket-on-her-head in two seconds flat.

Unfortunately, the sugar tirades are one of my clearest childhood memories--the urge to rip my own hair out by the root, the desire to kick the back of the driver seat until it came loose from the floor bolts, and of course, the overwhelming need to karate chop my sister in the kidneys until she screamed for mercy and surrendered whatever Barbie she had in her possession at that moment. Actually, now that I think about it, the whole scene was very, very similar to my PMS symptoms as of late. And let me tell you, Katy still can't handle my lethal karate chops.

I also remember the sweet relief that I gained from my bucket. It was big, it was red, and I'm quite sure that it wasn't designed to be worn on the head. But that sand bucket--oooohhhh that sand bucket--it was the only thing on this planet that could help me gain my composure. When I'd feel a "moment" coming on, I would take that pail, put it on my head, use the handle as my chin strap, admire the red plasticy glow, and listen to the muffled sound of phrases like "what's wrong with her?"

And my poor, sweet mother would drive around town with her bucket-child strapped securely into the backseat. Can you imagine the looks she got? The comments? The whispers? But my mom was the wise one--she knew that it was far better to push a child through the grocery store with a sand pail on her head, than it was to watch that four year old get hauled off to jail for disturbing the peace...or disorderly conduct...or kicking a children's librarian in the shins.

I also remember using the bucket on long car trips. One time, when I was about four or five years old, we were making the four hour road trip to a cottage on Cape Cod. And somehow, I managed to finagle an orange soda out of my father at a road side vending machine. Holy crap people, once we were back on the road, that Ford Escort could barely contain me. It was totally driving down the Mass Pike on its back two wheels as I pinned my sister to the maroon vinyl seat and plucked out her eyelashes one by one. And not a moment too soon, my mother whipped that red bucket out from under the seat, tossed it onto my head, and peace was restored to the Earth.

When we arrived at the beach house that afternoon, my mom opened the back door of the car, gently knocked on my bucket, and was like, "We're here, Amy. Would you like to take that sand pail off of your head and use it at the beach?"

I was like, "No." And I think I stayed in the backseat of the station wagon until bedtime.

I was a lovely child. And now, I'm a lovely adult--who often has the urge to stick my head in the nearest picnic basket, or Fry-Daddy, or cement mixer at the first sign of stress.

Like yesterday for example, after James ate a sugar cookie with multicolored sprinkles from the food court at the mall, I tried to fit my head into my purse. Unfortunately, it was too small.

Fun Club Meeting Tonight

November 29, 2007

Did you know that I'm in a book club? Yeah, me neither. I haven't been to one of my book club meetings in almost six months--because, let's face it, I'm way too much of a dumba** to read anything other than People, US Weekly, or the instructions on a tampon box. I love the girls in the club, I just hate that we have to read to be a member. I'd rather be in a poo-shoveling club or a rock stacking club. Really, I would.

For more details on my feelings towards this social commitment, please read this old post. It's short, and in my opinion, it's kind of funny. At the very least, it will give you a glimpse into the early days of The Lawsons do Dallas!

Now close your eyes, get creative, and just imagine my distress when I realized that it's my turn to host book club at my apartment and lead the discussion on not one, but two pieces of literature...tonight!

I'm so not ready for this.

Based on the fact that I haven't read either of the two books, I've cancelled book club for the evening and renamed it "Fun Club." Tonight we'll be baking cookies, eating appetizers, having a fart competition, and watching funny YouTube videos.

I've promised funny YouTube videos. So please, for the love of my clean reputation, please leave some YouTube suggestions in the comments.

Thank you!

A few items of business...

November 28, 2007

Item 1. An Explanation
Yes, that's an advertisement in the right hand column of my blog. So why did I do it? Why did I sell out to the BlogHer ad network? Because it will bring in enough cash to cover my car payment every month. That's all there is to it.

Item 2. Some Relationship Advice
When your toddler goes to bed before 7, your spouse gets home around 7:15, and the apartment is spotless and clean, it could be a good night for some romance.

I'd suggest a quiet dinner, a fire in the fireplace, champagne glasses filled with purple KoolAid, and a new lovetastic play list on your iPod.

Just be sure to double check that the song "Baby Got Back" by Sir MixaLot doesn't inadvertently make it onto the play list somewhere between "Angel" and "Crash into Me." Because if it did, that could make for a very awkward moment.

But that's just a guess, because it's never happened to me before. Really, it hasn't.

Item 3. A Complaint
I have to leave for work now. Have a great day, everyone!

An Instructional Post:

How to Write a Christmas Letter
November 27, 2007

I'm thrilled to let you know that I've already gotten a fantastic response to my Christmas letter post from this past weekend. I'll be sending tons of jolly Christmas correspondence to my readers this year, and I couldn't be happier--the more the merrier!

So far, I have noticed two major concerns emerging in your email requests, so I'd like to take a moment to respond to them both.

Concern Number One: I'd like to receive a Lawson Family Christmas Letter (with accompanying photo) in the mail, but I don't want you to spend 41 cents on a stamp and 19 cents on a photo print.

Amy's Response: Um...I appreciate the concern, but really folks, let's not be so silly. I'm planning to take the stamps right out of my mom's pocketbook--she keeps them tucked inside her checkbook holder. And if that won't be enough, then I'll hit up her secret postage stash in the kitchen pantry.

And the pictures? My sister will pay for those. Here's the plan: I'll convince her to pick up the photos from my local CVS, with the "promise" of paying her back. Every time she begins to mention the twenty bucks that I owe her, I will break into show tunes and sing about my hopeless student loan situation. As an alternative, I will offer to pay her back in dance lessons. She'll feel slightly bullied, and reluctantly accept the deal, but by the end of the evening I'll still have my twenty bucks and she'll be dancing the Roger Rabbit like it's her part-time job.

Really guys, the plan is flawless, so let's not worry about the cash.

Concern Number Two: I would like to send you a Christmas letter, but I don't know how to write one, so I'll just send you a card.

Amy's Response: A card is boring, no one needs another image of an oil-painted snowman with a sorry-ass little signature in their mailbox. They want to know about your life. So, in order to get you started, I'm going to lay down the rules for Christmas letter writing, and provide you with some fool-proof tips for holiday letter success.

Rule #1: No one likes a show-off.
Mentioning the brand new BMW SUV in your driveway will not win you any friends, it will only make your existing pals talk some nasty crap behind your back. We are shallow human beings my friends, so the same goes for expensive jewelry, exotic vacations, and pricey home remodeling projects.

If you want to keep your popular status, then take the high road and pretend that you've gained so much weight that you can no longer fit into the driver's seat of your Kia sedan. Tell your friends that you do your paper route in a 1976 Winnebago, and your husband left you for an okay looking nineteen-year-old pancake waitress named Sabrina.

While you're at it, just forget about your recent trip to the coast of Italy. Tell your friends that you're permanently on vacation, since you now live in your RV full time. Tell them how much you love sleeping in the parking lot of various WalMart stores, and how truly blessed you are, since every trip to the manicurist is like its own mini-vacation. Hell, a kitchen table that doubles as a full sized bed makes every day ten times more fun.

Rule #2: No one likes a show-off.
Speaking in detail about Joey's first semester at Princeton and Molly's impeccable performance as the lead in the school musical will elicit one reaction from your friends--they will hate you. So, instead of losing your long-lost buddies, I once again urge you to make stuff up.

Tell your friends that Joey was thrown out of Princeton for using counterfeit money in the dining hall. Let them know that he's doing exceptionally well in his new role as a carnie/tilt-a-whirl operator, and his wedding to the bearded lady is scheduled for June. And then--I don't know--let them know that Molly is due in March. Trust me, your friends will love that.

Rule #3: No one like a show-off.
You made partner in your law firm?! Well congratulations! keep it to yourself. Why in the world would your underemployed friend want to know that you're raking in 300-grand a year? They might ask you to co-sign on their loan for a used VW Beetle, but trust me folks, that will be the extent of their warm feelings for your upward mobility.

Tell them you were fired...for not completing assignment in a timely manner...because you were too busy making out with the pest control the trunk of his busted-up Cadillac. Oh man, your friends will get so excited over that. Then, in the next sentence, mention his pet bobcat named Sex-Kitten. Just be sure to let your friends know that your safety is not in jeopardy, as Sex-Kitten has been declawed and detoothed.

Rule #4: End the letter with an invitation.
End by extending an invitation to your friends and family. Why not invite them to a cookout next to the RV, or for a ride on Joey's tilt-a-whirl, or to meet Sex-Kitten at the local petting zoo? Trust me, you'll have the best turn out ever. Stock up on sauerkraut my friends, because no one is going to turn down the opportunity to peek into your awesome, new life.

So, happy writing my faithful readers! Oh, and do me a favor...send me a copy of your Christmas letter, I'm just dying to read it.

Luxury Cars are Built to Last

November 27, 2007

James has a new trick in his repertoire. It's hanging--as in hanging from monkey bars, hanging from towel bars, and unfortunately, hanging from my ponytail.

Trust me, I know what you're thinking..."My two-and-a-half-year-old has been hanging for months."

Sure, maybe your kid has been able to support his own body weight for weeks and weeks, but I can guarantee that your child hasn't inherited the terrible combination of my upper-body strength and my cinder-blockish body density. I swear, if I ever witness James doing chin-ups in phys ed class, I will faint on the spot and choke on my own spittle. His genetic disposition for chin-up ability really is that bad.

This afternoon, I had the wild idea of dress shopping. You see, in three weeks, Jared and I will attend his HOLY CRAP, I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M ACTUALLY DOCTOR LAWSON banquet--at least that's what I've been calling it. It's an evening affair, on the forty-seventh floor of a downtown skyscraper, and it most definitely requires some type of stylish formal wear.

After four stops at four different shopping centers, and seven thousand trips hundreds of different fitting room, I finally found my dress--and let me tell you, it's fabulous. The only accessory that this gown needs is one-hundred-and-fifty-pounds of Amy B. Lawson.

As I walked back to the parking lot, I held the dress in my right hand, and James's hand in my left. We cautiously crossed the street, and when we arrived at the car, I knelt down to James's level, looked him bang in the eye, and said, "You stand right here. Mommy has to hang her dress, and then I'll get you into your car seat. This is a busy parking lot, so DO NOT MOVE."

As I leaned into the passenger side door of my Toyota wagon, I was startled when the alarm on the car parked next to mine began to sound. Approximately one seventeenth of a second after the alarm went off, I heard James beckoning. "Moyee," he said, "Yook at me! Yook at me!"

So I swallowed hard, and turned slowly--afraid of what I might find. And sure enough, there was my son, preforming his brand new trick from the side view mirror of a shiny, black Mercedes Benz. His fingers were desperately clenching the fiberglass, his tongue was hanging from the side of his mouth, and his feet were lifted about two inches above the parking lot asphalt.

"I hangeng," he proudly panted, as the siren wailed in the background.

"Oh @#$% James," I said, as I interrupted the stunt. "We don't hang from luxery vehicles! Now get in the car!" He was strapped safely into his five point harness within three nano-seconds, and we were one the road without so much as a witness.

Looking back on the whole experience, I've got to admit that I'm glad he chose a Mercedes. I'm really not sure that the side view mirror on a Nissan or a Ford could have withstood my child's body weight.

I asked for a smile...

November 25, 2007

I asked for a smile, and I got this:

I was like, "James, come look at this picture. Does that smile look pretty?"

"No" he said, shaking his big, puffy head. "Es an upside up smiyo." (translation: No. It's an upside up smile.)

"Then why did you smile like that, buddy?"

"Ummmm... To make my moyee fewo cwazy?" (translation: To make my mommy feel crazy?)

Well, once he put it that way, the smile didn't bother me quite so much. After all, I still smile like that every time my mother tries to take my picture. Seriously, I do. You should have heard the lecture I earned before my sister's wedding--it was major. And since the wedding photographer cost almost eleventeen-thousand dollars an hour, I only smiled like that in seven or eight of the family shots.

But my cousin's wedding? Now that was another story. My aunt understands that I'm a grown woman, expected more of me, and spared me the drawn out lecture. So, in appreciation for her kindness, I provided my signature smile in almost every single shot. It was really awesome.

Second Annual Christmas Letter

November 24, 2007

Question: Do you know how The Lawsons do Dallas! got started?

Answer: It all started with a Christmas letter. You can click here to read it.

Well, okay, not exactly. But last year's Christmas letter was the very first time I realized that I had any sense of humor. Before the Christmas letter, I was a sad and lonely girl who spent four to six hours a week shedding gallons of desperate tears onto my dinosaur shaped pillow.

Okay, again, not exactly true--I do sleep with a dinosaur shaped pillow, but I didn't cry nearly that much.

The positive feedback I received from the Christmas letter gave me the idea and motivation to start this blog. And now, thanks to that off-the-cuff correspondence and a really crappy family photo, I have approximately one-thousand-two-hundred-and-seventy-two cyber friends, one disgruntled/sarcastic/cynical anonymous commenter, and more self-esteem than I know what to do with.

I'm grateful for that Christmas letter, and in an effort to honor it, I'd like to keep the tradition alive and special. So here's the deal...

If you'd like to receive your very own Second Annual Lawson Family Christmas Letter (with accompanying photo) in your mail box, then email me your mailing address with the phrase "Christmas Letter" as the subject heading.

If you're afraid of sending your mailing address because you think I might peek into your windows and sleep on the roof of your car, then I think you're a tad over-cautious. But nonetheless, I will respect your privacy. So, if you'd like to receive your very own Second Annual Lawson Family Christmas Letter (with accompanying photo) in your email inbox, then send me an email and FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS: put the phrase "Christmas Letter Email" in the subject heading and put your email address in the body of the email. Got that? Now please, if you fail to follow directions, then I can't guarantee you and your family any Christmas joy this season...and wouldn't that be a shame?

If you're scared of sending me your mailing address or your email address, then I can be of no help to you. Trust me, I will only come by your house if you send me a round-trip airline ticket, a voucher for three nights at a hotel with an indoor pool, and sixty bucks in Chuck E. Cheese gift certificates.

If you would love to have a Christmas letter, but you're too embarrassed to let me know that you read this blog (e.g. ex-boyfriends, ex-boyfriend's girlfriends, bosses who've fired me, church leaders, government officials, etc.), then get over it and send me your address. You know you want a Christmas letter!

And finally, if you'd like to send me a Christmas letter, I might be okay with it. For example, if you comment on this blog regularly and you seem normal, then that's fine. But if you email me and say that you're name is Dorris McDingleNutTickler or Alvin P. I'mTotallyInLoveWithYouAndReallyWantYourAddress or Mrs. CreepyAssWagger, then no--you may not send me a Christmas Card. I'll probably just give you that ex-boyfriend's address instead.

Please note that the cards might not arrive before the Christmas holiday. Just ask the haiku contest winners--they're still waiting for their prizes (I haven't forgotten you guys).

And also, please don't assume that I have your address--even if you're my best friend, in my ward, my husband, or my cousin--I probably don't know where you live.

I think that's everything.

Long live the Christmas letter! Hooray!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, troops. I'm quickly recovering from yesterday's illness (high temperature of 103--can you believe that?!), and I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to eat some Thanksgiving food by later this afternoon.

Thank goodness, because I really do love this holiday. In fact, it's my favorite. I enjoy Thanksgiving because it's not as commercialized the other major days--no bunnies, no presents, no bottle rockets. Thanksgiving focuses on the truly important things in life--like family, a parade featuring people dressed as cinnamon rolls, gratitude, food, and gratitude for food.

That's why every year on this special day, I start my morning prayer by saying something like:

Dear Lord, it's me Amy. Today I'm especially grateful for The Olive Garden, The Cracker Barrel, double Cool-Whip coupons, the Wendy's 99-cent Super Value Menu, Krispy Kreme donuts, The State Fair of Texas...and so on and so forth.

You see, on normal days, I'll only include two or three of my favorite eateries in my daily supplication.

I'm just so glad to be feeling better, because I really don't want to miss this meal--mostly because of my pure love of gravy. If it were socially acceptable, I would forgo the sparkling cider and drink a whole cup of gravy straight out of my Flintstones mug. Then, when dessert time rolled around, I would take the gravy boat--my favorite piece of china--and hug it tightly against my chest. Once I had shown they turkey juice some adequate lovin', I'd douse the daylights out of my pumpkin pie, and eat it all up without the help of a fork. Seriously folks, that thought alone leaves me drooling like a teething pit-bull puppy.

**Side Note: I totally don't care if you think I'm disgusting. I'm quite sure that I could find several unappetizing things that you dream about, too.**

Now, in the spirit of this most lovely holiday, I'd like to share a list of things that I am thankful for:

1. I am thankful that God decided to give my child a course & curly afro instead of limp, lifeless, silky hair.

2. I am thankful that I am no longer boofing through the night.

3. I am thankful for my Uncle Rich, who taught me that it is quite possible to fit eight different desserts onto one plate at the same time. (hint: the key is opting out of the sad little dessert plates, and reusing your full-sized dinner plate--friggin' brilliant!)

4. I am thankful for my 1989 Blazer because it's sleek, it's beautiful, and if the mood ever strikes me, I'm pretty sure that I could run over your car/RV/boat/house with very little effort.

5. I'm thankful to outweigh my husband.

6. I'm thankful that the Red Sox won the World Series. I'm thankful that the Yankees suck.

7. I'm thankful to live in a bright-yellow, stucco building that bears a striking resemblance to a Nike shoe box. I never thought that a girl like me would have this type of opportunity.

8. I'm thankful for windows and doors and they way they open and close. Seriously guys, have you ever stopped to think about that?

9. I'm thankful for deep-fried meats, cheeses, vegetables, and desserts.

10. And finally, I'm thankful for the cleaning lady who I plan to hire as soon as we have a half-decent income. Who ever you are...where ever you are my heart song, and I love you already.

Happy eating everyone! What are you thankful for on this glorious, parade-filled day?

Amy's house

November 21, 2007

This is what happens when your skinny, persuasive, and very boisterous friend talks you into giving up your user name and password. You get your first guest poster, whether you like it or not.

I have no idea what the word "rupe" means--so obviously, I did not write this little story-ette.

So, without any further hesitation, here is a post by my dear friend Catherine:

Today I show up at Amy's house to add to the fragrant aroma cocktail. Jared is changed James who no longer is constipated. Amy is vegging on the couch and stewing in the stale remnants of rupe. Catherine is burping sweet potato heaven into the air. Grace is laying on the floor farting and wondering why God had to curse her with a nine inch long nose.

I love this place. S0metimes churchy types talk about feeling the spirit when they walk in to a home. I definitely prefer to smell the spirit.

These are my sort of people.

By the way, this might all be one big lie.

I'm So Sick

November 21, 2007

Holy-crapper-moly. I'm so sick, you guys. I'll spare you the nastylicious details, but it's the worst stomach bug I can ever remember having. Last night I was begging Jared to put me on some sort of a respirator or life support machine, just so he could unplug it and let me go in peace.

He wouldn't do it.

I still think it was a reasonable idea.

Cara, Sweet Cara

November 20, 2007

On Saturday afternoon, I went to a friend's going away party. We're not super close, but she was the very first friend I made when we moved to Dallas, so of course, I'll miss her. Her name is Kate, we used to live three houses apart, and we were in the same church congregation for two and a half years.

Kate has three daughters, and I know that I really shouldn't say this, but her youngest is my favorite--by a long shot. I know, it's a very bold and somewhat terrible thing to say, but I just love that child. She's six months older than James, her name is Cara, and she's the biggest little contradiction that you'll ever meet.

Allow me to explain...

Cara is ridiculously cute. She has bleach blond hair, skinny little legs, and often runs around in red, high top sneakers. She looks like a living, walking story book character and I don't think I'd be the tiniest bit surprised if she sprouted some wings and began to fly around the room like a fairy. She's small in stature, and surprisingly light--like picking up an empty gallon of milk, when you honestly thought it was full.

If you saw Cara sitting in the cart at your local grocery story you'd likely stop, take a deep breath as you place your hand upon your heart and let out a long, loud "aaawwwwww." And then, in response, Cara would probably flash you a nasty little scowl and say something like, "Stop looking at me, Lady.......Now."

She has a raspy, little voice that falls somewhere between a disgruntled bridge troll and an elderly female smoker. Actually, it's strikingly similar to the way you'd imagine the woman in the picture to sound.

Are you beginning to see why I can't help but love this child?

At the party on Saturday, she traipsed up to me and violently tugged on my pant leg. I looked down, and was thrilled to be greeted by her snagle-toothed little smirk. "Put me in the swing," she demanded.

"This one" I asked, pointing to the baby swings?

"Yeah. Put me in it."

"Ok," I replied as I hoisted her into the swing.

"Now give me a push."

So I stepped back, put on the silliest face that I possibly could, and gave her a nice, swift push. As the swing returned, and I held out my hand to push her a second time, she looked me in the eye and said, "Ok. Now go."

"Cara honey," I replied, "I can't just leave you here. You can't get out of this swing by yourself."

"I said go."

"Really Cara?"


So I went. I left the kid stranded in the swing. I checked back every now and again, but every time she caught me looking her way, she'd flash her baby teeth and exude a protective little growl. I wasn't about to cross her path. For all I know, that child could still be sitting in that baby swing at the park, threatening to bite any good Samaritans who try and offer up some help.

I sure do enjoy that little fairy-troll-cigar-pixie-child. It's kind of hard to tell, but I think she likes me, too.
(I actually love all three girls the same, but this incident temporarily moved Cara to the top of the list)

Zoo Report

November 20, 2007

For the most part, the zoo was fantastic. There was no monkey-poop hurling, no primate backpack humping, and as you can see, James was able to hold hands with his favorite girl all day long.

I don't want to be the parent who's all, "Oh look! They're gonna get married someday!" But really guys, they might get married someday. It's not the excessive hugging or handholding that leads me to this conclusion. I base this assertion on the fact that Sophia prefers to micromanage James's playtime, James like to steal Sophia's food, and they fight with a fiery passion. And really folks, those are the things that make a marriage.

Aside from the blatant cuteness of James's giggle, and the time I confidently told Beth that the primary difference between a monkey and a gorilla is language, my favorite part of the zoo was the clear, strong reminder that toddlers are completely clueless to the standards and expectations of adults.

Here is a non-zoo example: James and his friends think our apartment is amazing because it has two stories and a balcony. Yes, the balcony overlooks a trash-filled creek and our downstairs neighbor works the night shift at 7-11--but to a toddler, an occasional free slurpee at 7:30am is far superior to owning a four bedroom, three bath home that overlooks Whiterock Lake.

Here's another non-zoo example: James sat in a Dodge Viper at the State Fair of Texas. If I understand correctly, James believes that our Toyota wagon is sportier than the Viper because it has more cup holders, a car seat, and a place to put your quarters.

Well James, believe what you will, but your adorable little world is really kind of warped.

The zoo was no exception to this trend. James was nose to nose with an enormous, peaceful ape. Instead of drinking in the wonders of natures, he ran in the opposite direction to chase a boy with light-up shoes.

He was obsessed with the goldfish pond, but vehemently refused to gaze upon the area filled with florescent pink flamingos whose knees were bending in the absolute wrong direction. I was like, "LOOK at their JOINTS James. That's weird. DON'T YA THINK?"

And as we watched an elephant use its trunk to enthusiastically play some basketball, I heard James begin to whimper. I bent down and asked, "What's wrong pal?"

"Moyee," he said. "I wan see kitta cats. Is der kitta cats at da soo?" (translation: Mommy. I want to see kitty cats. Is there kitty cats at the zoo?)

I wanted to say something like, "Nope, no kitties. Because cats are everywhere, James--in our parking lot, in our gutters, in peoples' houses, in animal shelters. Elephants and anteaters are way cooler than cats, buddies. Cats really aren't so special."

But of course, I held my tongue. James has no idea that there's a difference in coolness between squirrels and meekrats, apartments and houses, no-names and Nikes--and I want to keep that attitude alive for as long as I possibly can.

It truly was a tender moment of motherhood. Unfortunately, it was quickly broken when I said "no" to a ride on the merry-go-round. In response to my refusal, James threw a temper tantrum that caught the attention of every penguin, snack vendor and mother within a one-hundred-and-fifty yard radius.

It was cute.

That was sarcastic.

As I walked to the car, carrying thirty-nine pounds of screaming, thrashing toddler, I thought to myself, "Well, that proves it. I still don't like the zoo."

You Might Need a Vacation if...

November 18, 2007

I was driving home from an appointment this afternoon on I-30W through Dallas. James was at a friend's house, I was a few minutes late to pick him up, and traffic was heavy. Just as things began to move, a minivan full of elderly women merged in front of me and proceeded to crawl along at 38 miles per hour.

As nice as they seemed, I sincerely didn't want to find myself sitting in their third row of seats, so I held my breath and mashed on the breaks. Luckily, I didn't rear end them, and now that I was only two inches behind their rear bumper, I was finally able to read that darned bumper sticker--how convenient.

It said: I'M GLAD TO BE PRESBYTERIAN, and it featured a lovely graphic of a smiling goldfish.

Well great. I couldn't very well beep and curse and rage at a car full of elderly Presbyterians. Elderly vegetarians? Maybe. Super old magicians? Sure. But aged Presbyterian ladies? Certainly not.

So in the comfort and privacy of my own Toyota wagon I screamed, "I'M GLAD YOU'RE PRESBYTERIAN, TOO! BUT LEARN HOW TO DRIVE THAT DAMN BIG-RIG OF YOURS!"

And then, as I passed them on the right, I smiled and waved as kindly as I possibly could. If there was a universal hand signal for Presbyterianism, I totally would have flashed it. But unfortunately, there's not.

As soon as they were out of sight, which took--oh--about one seventh of a second considering their speed, I honked, I cursed, and I raged. At no one at all. It felt fantastic.

Ohmicrap. I need a vacation.

Off to the Zoo

November 19, 2007

I have one very strange childhood memory. It deals with three apes at the National Zoo in Washington DC. When my parents planned the zoo as a fun activity on our family vacation, I'm quite sure they didn't realize what an inappropriate spectacle those gorillas would be. One ape was drinking his own urine, the second ape was throwing his poop at innocent spectators, and the third ape was taking drags from a discarded cigarette.

It was really messed up. Does anyone else have creepy kid memories like that?
I seriously kind of hate zoos, but my friend Beth really wants to go--and I don't want to deny James any trippy childhood flashbacks. I'll be sure to post some pictures when I get back this afternoon.

Have a fantastic morning, troops!

Happy Belated Birthday, Gracie

November 16, 2007

You might have noticed that I have a dog. Her name is Gracie, she's a brindle colored greyhound, and she's eight years old.

Don't get me wrong here--I like my dog, but I'm definitely not the type to gush about an animal. Hell, I don't even gush about my husband or my kid. I leave the really yummy emotional stuff for the finer things in life--like Slurpees, and fudge, and car-wash coupons.

Gracie gets walked anywhere between three and six miles a day, she eats all-natural-premium dog food, and I do whatever I can to keep her alive--so I'm a good dog owner. I don't however, feed her from the table, dress her up in princess costumes, and it's never even occurred to me to refer to her as my "child" or "baby" or even as my "fur-baby." So I guess I'm not a lovey-dovey dog owner.

She's my dog, she lies around breathing, and that's all there is to it.

Today, as I walked Gracie around the park, I ran into a mom who I recognize from the neighborhood. I really should know her name, but I don't--that's how close we are. She was pushing a stroller containing her toddler daughter and walking a chocolate lab. She saw me, I saw her, and we waved to each other from a distance.

We approached one another, and I said something to her like, "Hi! How are you guys today?!" as I made a goofy face at the little girl.

She seemed to be in a really good mood and replied, "We're so great! It's Carly's second birthday today!"

So of course, I pretended to be excited, smiled at the baby and said, "Wow! Happy birthday Carly! You're such a big girl."

I looked up at the mother and was met with a serious, straight face. "Um," she said, "That's Kate. This is Carly." as she pointed to the lab, who was vigorously sniffing my dog's rectal opening.

"Great," I said. Trying my very hardest to act as though I cared about someone else's dog's birthday. "Are you guys doing anything special?"

Wow. Were they ever. She went on to tell me about rawhide bones, a squeaky toy that resembled a t-bone steak, a custom designed dog cake, bone-shaped balloons and wait...that's not all...a birthday party with Carly's brother who *gasp* happens to live in the neighborhood.

As I listened to the drawn-out story of discovering Carly's long lost litter mate, it occurred to me that Gracie's birthday is also in November. So as we talked, I flipped back my dog's ear and deciphered the blurry old tattoo that all racing greyhounds have.

Sure enough, there it was: 11-15-99. Gracie's birthday was yesterday, and I completely forgot about it. There was no party, no presents, no cocktails--not even an unneutered male stripper!

I can tell that Gracie's more than upset about my ridiculously insensitive oversight. She's barely gotten out of bed today, and she's been giving me the silent treatment all morning long.

Just This Once

November 15, 2007

We all know that it's not nice to laugh at another person's expense. But c'mon, just this once, let's laugh at Stacey Hedger--Miss Douglas. I'm sure she's over it by now anyway.

Thanks for posting this Michelle! I desperately needed to snort today.

And the award goes to...

November 15, 2007

Wow. I am seriously exhausted. I was up for hours in the middle of the night, tending to my sick little two-year-old. We had seven different puke incidents last night, and three so far today--one on James's bed, one down my back, and one all over my left arm.

Every time James can feel it coming on, he runs to me for a comforting hug. And then I get boofed on. It's getting very gross.

The arm incident happened this morning, around 8:30, while I was still wearing my pajamas. James toddled up to me, began his unmistakable puke cough, nuzzled his head against my chest, and let 'er rip. Unfortunately, he threw-up into the neck opening of my pajama top, and all of the throw-up slid down my arm and out of the wrist-hole of my beloved plaid flannels.

Right after it happened, James looked at me with wide, regret-filled eyes and said, "Oh. Moyee es all wet. I so sowee, Moyee. You stinky, too. I sowee." (translation: Oh. Mommy is all wet. I'm so sorry, Mommy. You're stinky, too. I'm sorry.)

"Oh James," I said. "Don't be sorry! I'm your Mommy. This is my job!" And we shared a big, long, wretched smelling hug.

It may sound strange, but in a twisted way, I'm grateful for these moments. These are the times when I forget about the fact that I let James watch too much TV, or eat too many snacks, or that he doesn't know the difference between the colors yellow and green. These are the moments when I forgive myself for my sometimes crappy parenting, and know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I am the best damn mother that this universe has ever seen.

And in this fleeting moment of overtired, curdled-milk-covered, mother-of-the-yearness, I'd like to announce the winners of the haiku contest!

I'm happy to say that we had over forty fantastic submissions. Many contestants adhered to the 5/7/5 rule of traditional Asian haiku poetry. And a large percentage were closer to what I would describe poetry?

Either way, I was very impressed with everyone's efforts. It was difficult to decide, but I've narrowed it down to my three favorite poems.

The third place award goes to heyitsmejen, for this awe inspiring piece:

Haikus make headaches
I've been counting for an hour
I deserve a prize

Clearly, Jen is a trophy ho, just like me. She worked on this thing for an hour, and it genuinely made me laugh out loud. Clearly, she really does deserve a prize.

The second place award goes to Amy, for this little gem:

Jump hop skip dance prance
Richard Simmons in short pants
What a manly man

Read that one out loud, folks. Now read it again. If you don't agree that it's the most flowing verse of poetry since Every Rose has its Thorn by Poison, then you my friend, are nothing but a heartless infidel--whatever that means.

And the grand prize goes to my cousin Kelly, for her inarguable poetic genius:

Gustados are great
Stop and Shop's imitation
but they were recalled

This girl managed to pack more information, mystery, and emotion in to seventeen syllables than I ever thought was possible. We don't know what a Gustado is--a hot pocket? a pizza? a mafia-inspired maxi-pad?--but we sure know how she feels about them. Thank you, Kelly. Thank you for sharing your God-given gift for prose with us common-folk. And I'm so sorry about the recall.

Each of the winners will be receiving one piece of original artwork from Tuesday's post, Marathon Training: Incident #5. The pieces, which are done in pencil and Sharpie on resume paper, are signed, dated, and numbered by the artist. They fit beautifully in a matted frame, on a refrigerator door with magnets, or in any municipal recycling bin.

If you'd like to claim your prize, just email me your mailing address. And as always, once I know your place of residence, I reserve the right to drive by three times daily yelling I LOVE YOU MORE THAN YOU'LL EVER UNDERSTAND! over my new megaphone that I purchased in an eBay auction. Won't that be fun?

Seriously though, if you'd like your prize, drop me a line. Oh, and Kelly. This will double as your Christmas present--got that?

Please Stand By...

November 15, 2007

Please stand by, folks. The winners of the haiku contest will be announced later today. Just to review, a haiku has five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. We had some very creative interpretations!

In the mean time, I have a sick James to attend to. Last night we unfortunately found ourselves smack in the middle of Toddler Vomitfest 2007--not my idea of a good time. Never being one to withhold the details, I'll let you know that we had 4 pajama changes, 5 sheet changes, 7 pillowcase changes, and a zillion blanket changes. By the end of the night, James was sleeping on top of bath sheets and using beach towels for blankets.

Poor kid.

I'll be back in a little while.

Bringing Home the Bacon

November 14, 2007

I'm off to work, and I'm feeling kind of bummed about it. You see, lazy crappers like me don't like to go to work. We'd rather just sit at home all day, sipping Sonic milkshakes and reflect upon how guilty we feel for not doing laundry.

I'll get my post up tonight. But in the mean time, here are a few original haikus for your reading pleasure:

I love Doritos
I would eat them every day
But it costs too much

My friend Beth is great
She babysat James last night
And gave him a bath

I don't like pork chops
Pork chops for dinner tonight
Life is very tough

One more:

Happy twenty-sixth
Have a beer for the Mormon
My dear Kristina

And now, you can go ahead and leave an original haiku in the comment section. The writers of my three favorite poems will each win a fabulous prize!

Marathon Training: Incident #5

November 13, 2007

There's a sizable group of runners who read this blog. There's a large group of non-runners who read this blog as well. In an effort to cater to both groups, I try as hard as I possibly can to keep the running related posts completely nontechnical and universally funny. Pictures generally help.

So here, my friends, is Marathon Training: Incident #5--complete with fabulously detailed illustrations to enhance your reading experience. Enjoy!...

Last night, I decided to head to the YMCA for a six mile run on the treadmill. Yes, it's true, I hate to run on the treadmill. But do you know what I hate even more than doing my mileage indoors? Missing the skin-tight, shiny outfits on Dancing with the Stars--the thought alone puts my stomach into knots.

I wasn't about to miss Marie Osmond shaking her thang to the rumba in sexy, navy-blue sequins, so I opted to combine my two activities.

I plugged my headphones into the sound jack, set the miniature television to the correct angle, and I was happily on my way. The show distracted me beautifully, and all was well...until Cameron and Edyta began to dance the waltz. Just as they were about to execute their first dramatic dip, I had the strong and sudden urge to pass some gas.

Before I let loose, I evaluated my surroundings. The treadmill to my right was empty and the treadmill to my left was occupied by a man with headphones. I figured it was safe, so I let her rip (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

After I did the deed, it occurred to me that there might be a person on the stairmaster directly behind my treadmill. I did a quick glance over my left shoulder, and sure enough it was occupied.

I immediately recognized the middle-aged man who was stepping his way to fitness--I see him at the gym several times a week. He seems to be about 55 years old, always wears t-shirts from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and his glasses make him look like a stereotypical smart person. Call me crazy folks, but I'm quite certain that people of this social stature never, ever fart.

Much to my dismay, the man on the stairmaster wasn't wearing headphones, so I'd have to try and keep the gas silent for the remainder of my workout.

It didn't work out so well (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Well, I thought it was going well until this happened:

That's right. I couldn't hear myself honking, because I was plugged into my headphones. I only found out because a tall, lanky, poorly-mannered teenager stopped behind my treadmill, heard my wicked toots, and vociferously summonsed his friend over to join the fun.

Apparently, my assumption was incorrect--deliberate, silent farting is not a part of my skill set. I will adjust my resume accordingly.


November 12, 2007

Somebody talk me off of this ledge.

Why am I standing on a ledge you ask?

Because I'm angry. I'm SO ANGRY. I AM SOOOO FREAKING MAD!!!

As I was throwing some laundry into the washing machine this morning, I came across a peculiar sight. It was a priceless family heirloom haphazardly stuffed into a ball and thrown into the dirty clothes hamper.

That's right. The shorts from James's hand-sewn Richard Simmons halloween costume were wedged between a pair of pee-soaked footy pajamas and a stinky-old, wet dishrag.

I fished the shorty-shorts out of the hamper, caught my breath, and lovingly laid them on top of the dryer--inspecting them closely for any apparent damage. Aside from some moderate-to-severe wrinkling and a bit of pom-pom discoloration, they were okay.

"Thank goodness," I though. And then it occurred to me, "The matching shirt?! Where is the matching muscle tank!?"

I caught a glimpse of the empty hamper and realized that it was already in the washing machine, which was filling up with water. I threw my body over the dryer and was barely able to reach the STOP button with the tip of my middle finger.

I opened the washing machine and was relieved to find that the muscle tee had remained relatively dry. The felt stars, you see, are not machine washable. Neither are the crafty little pom-poms or the golden glitter accents.

I am, however, very sad to report that the tank top did not fare as well as the coordinating shorts. It's severely wrinkled, has several small stains, and the stars are falling off.

I'm not sure you understand the degree of angst that I'm experiencing as a result of this loss. I was proud of that hand-made costume. That circa-1970s white edging was attached with love--every single stitch was sewn in a caring effort to make my kid a little bit more special than the rest.

I wanted all of my kids to wear it. And I wanted all of their kids to wear it, too.

My hope is gone. My dreams are dashed. And my "helpful" husband will be sleeping on the balcony until he can either learn to reproduce the Richard Simmons costume stitch for stitch, or he begins earning a six-figure salary...which ever comes first.

Thank You!

November 11, 2007

It's no secret, I stink at sending thank you notes. Just ask anyone who's ever given me a gift. I get the gift, I love the gift, it changes my life and I vow to treasure if for time and all eternity--but the giver will probably never know, because I'll likely never tell them.

My mother, on the other hand, will send a thank you note to the bank teller who let her borrow a pen to fill out a deposit slip.

I'm a total and utter disgrace.

I'd like to take this opportunity to send some overdue thank you messages to friends and loved ones across the map:

To Aunt Cheryl: Thank you for the ten zillion generous gifts you've sent to me, Jared and James. I sure hope that the thank you emails expressed my gratitude sufficiently. I love you even more than I love skipping church.

To Aunt Jill: I love all of the outfits you buy for James from Lord & Taylor. I like to dress him in your high-end gifts on Wednesdays. It's his cleanest day of the week.

To Lynda: I honestly can't remember if I ever sent a grateful little note for James's hand sewn Spiderman vest and hat, but he loves them both. He's under the impression that the vest makes him run faster and jump higher. I'm like, "believe whatever you want to, kid!"

To Mrs. Ward: I sincerely hope that I sent you a thank you note for the graduation check. You really didn't have to send that, but I sure did appreciate it. We used it to pay for a lovely post-graduation date at a trendy Thai restaurant. I wish you had been able to come to dinner with me that night, because those fresh rolls gave Jared the farts something wicked. That wouldn't have happened to you.

To Jared's entire extended family: Sorry if you never received a thank you note for the wedding gifts that you sent. The notes were Jared's responsibility, so it's his fault. Take it up with your nephew.

And finally,

To my faithful blog readers everywhere: Thanks a million for your votes in the recent Weblog Award Contest. I ended up placing a very respectable sixth in the funniest blog competition. Barring the fact that six is the devil's number, it's not a bad place to end up as a newbie blogger.

Next year, I hope to take sixth place in the national presidential election. I'll be sure to keep you posted on my progress.

Words of Wisdom from James

November 11, 2007

James walked into the kitchen this morning with a very serious look on his face. His teeth, lips, and chin were covered in the waxy residue of a black crayloa crayon. His afro was filled with large, sticky chunks of mushed up banana.

Me: Wow James. What happened?

James: Moyee. Cwayons es not fo eating. Bwanas es fo eating. (translastion: Mommy. Crayons are not for eating. Bananas is for eating.)

Me: Well it looks like you learned that the hard way.

James: Um...yeah.

Once again, Tuesday's bath just can't come soon enough.

Seeking One Over Enthusiastic Cheerleader Type

November 10, 2007

I don't know what my problem has been, but for that last couple of days I just can't seem to get out of my own way. I'm way tired, I'm totally cranky, and I'm less motivated than--I don't know--my high school aged brother-in-law? (I love you, Bryan)

Seriously guys, you could throw me into a pot of boiling hot clam chowder and I'd be too lazy to even think about finding my way out. I'd probably just reflect upon how much I love creamy soups, curse at the universe, and go down with the ship.

I think it's a combination of a cross country move, a raging case of PMS, and training for a marathon.

Marathon training. What a ridiculous, time consuming, energy zapping hobby. Seriously, who thought this shiz up?

Three months ago, my friend Sarah was like, "Let's spend three hours running every single Saturday for the whole season of Autumn! And then, when that's all over, we can run twenty-six miles to celebrate! And then we'll eat a piece of cheesecake that night!"

And I was like, "Wow! That's the coolest idea ever! I'm gonna get chocolate cheesecake!"

I don't know, looking back on it, we could have said something like, "Let's cut one of our toes off each week with a rusty old pocket knife! And then, when that's all over, we'll celebrate by cutting our midsections in half with a band-saw!" It would have been almost the same.

I'll tell ya what. I could have spent every single Saturday for the last three months driving my ass to the Cheesecake Factory and eating a whole plate-load of creamy frosted goodness. Those waitresses don't ask if you just ran 26 miles before they'll serve you a piece of cheesecake, they just want to know if you're paying with cash or credit.

A few weeks ago, I got a Runner's World magazine in the mail, and the headline article said something like LEARN TO LOVE EVERY RUN! And the sub-headline, or whatever in the hell it's called said TEN TIPS TO REGAIN YOUR PASSION FOR RUNNING.

Jared picked it up and was like, "What?! Seriously--they're trying to convince you to ENJOY your HOBBY?! That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever read! My fly fishing magazine never tries to talk me in to liking my selected form of recreation. BECAUSE IT'S FUN."

He's right. This is crazy. Running is dumb.

Now can someone go ahead and give me a little pep talk? I need some good-old-fashioned cheerleading today. But please, don't do your hair like Peggy Pom-Pom up there. She's totally creepy.

The Tropicana

November 9, 2007

I totally stood you guys up yesterday. I promised a post, and I never delivered.

I'm feeling a lot like the absentee uncle who promised his seven little nephews a fishing trip to Florida, but pissed all of his money away on Bud Light and Marlboros. So instead, he takes them to a seedy local motel where they use dental floss and paperclips to fish for Orange Crush cans off the bottom of the pool.

How embarrassing.

Speaking of shady motels, we have one right behind our apartment complex--you can clearly see the florescent sign from our master bedroom window. It's called The Tropicana, everything about it is painted pastel pink, and for some reason, my friend Beth and I walk past it every single morning.

It's not like The Tropicana is on our way to anything--there are six-thousand and one routes we could take to avoid the hot-sheet dive--but every single morning, we strut by with our high-end strollers and casually assess the goings on.

Our next step is to start carrying binoculars.

We've seen a lot of typically trashtastic things at The Tropicana--old wood-paneled caravans held together with nothing but duct-tape and string, dollar-store thongs littering the street like Big Mac wrappers, and the obvious aftermath of a high school rager.

We've seen a variety of disgusting things at "The Pink Palace" as well. A raccoon hopping off the reception desk and scurrying out the front door of the lobby comes to mind.

And, of course, we've seen a lot of strange things, too. Like a prostitute dressed as a stereotypical librarian, a man driving off in a head-to-toe gorilla suit, and a maid exiting a room with a clear trash bag full of basketballs (?).

But yesterday morning, I saw the first thing that ever really bothered me at The Tropicana. It was two unsupervised children playing alone in the parking lot. They looked to be about nine or ten years old. One was a boy and one was a girl, and they were having a contest to see who could jump further off the trunk of a beaten-up purple Dodge Neon. The contest seemed to be pretty competitive, and the little girl had quite obviously inherited the majority of the jumping genes.

The fact that a parent or caretaker would leave two children alone in the parking lot of a pay-by-the-hour dive is nothing short of infuriating. At the very least, they're exposing those kids to the hustle and bustle of illegal and immoral activity. At the very most, they've inadvertently converted those children into unsuspecting, vulnerable, and friendly little targets.

I watched, as the man who owns the nursery next store waved the kids over and put them to work tossing overripe pumpkins and big, wilted mums into the nearby dumpster. They were excited to help, and I know he was relieved to have them out of harm's way.

As I walked down the street and began to head home, I felt grateful that the boy and the girl were safe for the next little while. But I couldn't help but wonder--if they were lured away so quickly with a pile of rotted-out pumpkins, how easy would it be to lure them away with candy bars or video games?

It's a really, really terrible thought.
(sorry for the doomsday post--but it's been on my mind)
I have lots of odds and ends to do today, so I won't be able to post until this afternoon. Hopefully something funny happens between now and then.

In the mean time, don't forget to vote! The polls close today, and I'm only ten votes ahead of the seventh place blog. They're trying to edge us out...we can't let it happen.

Have a great day, troops!
Seven Fun Facts About Me
November 7, 2007

Yesterday, I was tagged by Heather. I'm supposed to write down seven random and interesting facts about myself.
This is a whole lot harder than it sounds, you guys. I share my personal little factoids with you every single day--there's really not much left. But I love having predetermined blog topics, so I'm going for it.

1. I weigh 150 pounds whether I'm wearing a snowsuit and boots or flip flops and a bathing suit. I weigh 150 pounds whether I'm training for a marathon or sitting on my can eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts. I weigh 150 pounds whether I'm a size eight or a size twelve. I weigh 150 pounds with a load of moonrocks in my pants. I will always weigh 150 pounds.

2. I love spicy food. I add jalapenos or hot sauce to just about everything.

3. I have the attention span of a four-month-old cocker spaniel. I hate sitting through movies and won't even attempt it unless the movie is a chick flick, is animated, or features Will Ferrell. Seriously, don't bother asking me if I've seem a film unless it meets at least one of those three criteria.

4. I had to have a c-section with James because he was breech. When they cut me open and pulled the baby out, Jared popped his head around the curtain to check on me. I thought he was going to tell me how beautiful our child was and fall to his knees in gratitude. Instead, he flashed me an excited smile and said, "Wow! I can see the inside of your uterus! It's really red and shiny!"

5. Did you know that I'm a finalist for a funniest blog award? The contest ends tomorrow, so don't forget to vote! (sorry--had to slip that in somewhere)

6. I think that pretzels are a terrible waste of space in the snack-food isle at the grocery store. Unsalted pretzels are a total abomination.

7. My very biggest turn-off is men who can't drive a stick shift. Back in the day, when a guy picked me up in an automatic, there was never a second date. No exceptions.

And now I get to tag seven people. Let's see, I'll pick:
Katy -- because she's the greatest sister ever
Kelly -- because she's taught me everything I know
Mom -- for her all around sexiness
Penny --because she voted in a real election yesterday
Michelle -- because she's totally smart and sophisticated
Berta -- for her awesome stories
and Catherine -- for her soup making skills and her perpetual state of wonderfulness

Now you guys get to write seven fun facts about yourself and tag seven more blog friends.

I kind of like this game!
Contest Update
November 6, 2007

I'm in sixth place by only thirteen votes. Nice work edging out the competition! If a little Baptist Church in Bradley, Maine can rasie $15,000 in one month, then I can at least settle into the top five.

And poop on the iVillage administrator who spanked my sister for spamming her message board. POOP ON YOU! I love my iVillage snowflake moms and expectant mom readers--thanks for all the votes!

Wow, this message probably makes zero sense to the general public. Sorry!

Don't forget to vote by clicking here. It's easy, just select 'funniest blog' and then pick me.
Potted Plants and Snowbanks
November 6, 2007

My husband has a bladder the size of a thumbtack. I would describe it was the size of a walnut, except that would be cliche...and terribly inaccurate. He would gladly trade up for a walnut-sized pee sack. I know he would.

Unless you or your spouse suffer from a mini-little-bladder, it's hard to understand how much this issue can affect your quality of life. On several occasions, I've watched Jared stop to pee on a rock/tree/dirt pile on his way to the toilet. Even if the bathroom's in plain sight, the man can't hold it for another nano-second--he MUST PEE ON THE HYDRANGEA PLANT NOW. Or behind the port-o-potty, because the simple illusion of a line can make this man let loose and wet his pants.

Poor Jared.

The first year we were married, we lived in a nasty old apartment near Bangor Maine. We had no washer/dryer hookups in our unit, and the laundry room could only be reached by walking outside, down the fire escape, and through a hatchway door to the basement.

One Saturday, in the middle of the winter, I ran outside to switch our laundry to the dryer. When I reached the hatchway door, I was completely repulsed because SOMEONE had been PEEING in the snowbank! Sure we lived in the nastiest apartment building in the heart of a college town, but somehow, I managed to believe that frat boys had at least a portion of a shred of dignity.

I switched the laundry, walked out of the hatchway, and disgustedly studied the pee patterns. That's when I noticed something interesting--the pee patterns were not simple dots or stripes, they were letters:


My husband had peed his initials into the snowbank. How very classy.

There's a good reason that this five-year-old story is on my mind today. You see, Jared has the fourth part of his board exams this weekend. If he passes this round, he earns himself the right to diagnose strange conditions, adjust people's bones, operate an x-ray machine with no supervision, and GET PAID TO DO IT!

If he passes this section, my husband will be Dr. Lawson.

This morning, as Jared was reading through his instruction packet for the exam, he let out a long, dramatic, worried sounding sigh. Assuming he was overwhelmed at the prospect of a three-day test, I put my hand on his shoulder and said, "Nervous?"

"Amy," he replied. "There's going to be a two and a half hour section with no pee breaks allowed. What am I gonna do?!"

As he walked toward the door, I could hear Jared using some positive self-talk. He was like, "Ok, I can do this. No water, no coke, no juice. I could pee in a Gatorade bottle, a potted plant, not a water fountain..."

Trust me people, you want this man to be your chiropractor.

Keep 'em coming...
November 5, 2007

Please don't stop voting! And please start voting if you haven't already!

I'm not in ninth place anymore...last time I checked, I'm in eighth. Just a few more votes and I could move up to sixth!

Please. Keep. Voting.
It's easy! Just click here, select 'funniest blog,' and then pick me!
A Sensory Experience
November 5, 2007

We were two minutes late for church on Sunday morning. Sure we had an extra hour to get ready on account of daylight savings, but I'm quite sure the world would have tilted off its regular axis if we had been on time.

As Jared was unstrapping James from his carseat, he poked his head over the car's roofrack and asked, "Amy, what's all over his shirt and pants?"

I came around and took a look, but to be quite honest, I wasn't sure exactly what the crusty, white residue was--it certainly wasn't there when I dressed him fifteen minutes earlier.

"Banana" I said. It was probably banana. Or snot. Either way, it wasn't coming off with a baby wipe.

As we ran toward the church building, Jared turned to me and said, "Amy, I'm kind of embarrassed, James looks terrible. Should we take him home to change?" Jared wasn't acting even a hint over dramatic, James looked totally gross.

I agreed with Jared. I wanted to change James's outfit, too. But in true Lawson fashion, our laundry pile was almost touching the ceiling, so we didn't have much to change him into. It would have been either the Richard Simmons costume, a snowsuit, or a Nike basketball uniform--none of which are entirely appropriate for Sunday services.

We walked quickly into the chapel during the opening hymn, avoiding eye contact with every single member of the congregation, and settled into the third row from the front. James likes to keep himself occupied by flipping through the hymnal, so I wasn't surprised when I saw him pick it up. I was, however, surprised to hear the sound of paper rustling and ripping and James pleading for my help.

I looked down, and there was my child, freaking out because his sticky little fingers were stuck to Jared's favorite hymn: A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.

As I began to unstick his hand, Jared gave me a disapproving look, scooted up next to me and whispered, "Amy. Why's he so sticky? When's the last time this kid had a bath?!"

I thought for a moment. "Tuesday," I replied.

"Tuesday?! You're disgusting."

I was offended, so I was like, "No, YOU'RE disgusting."

As it turns out, neither one of us is the truly disgusting member of the Lawson family--that honor very clearly belongs to James. Because thirty seconds later, we were greeted with a super nasty, recognizable smell...toddler poop.

James always denies his poops. Seriously, this kid could have a load in his pants the size of Las Vegas and he'll never own up to it. So instead of wasting my breath and asking about the treasure, I peeked into his pants.

No poop. Just a raging toot! I could hardly believe it.

Of course my husband failed to agree with my report and had to assess the situation for himself. He scooped James into his lap, pulled the diaper away from his back, and just as Jared inserted his nose, James let one rip.

It was loud, and it was nasty. You could literally hear the people sitting around us let out an expressive OHHHH! when it happened--you know, the same kind of OHHHH! you used to let out when your favorite contestant on Double Dare lost his balance and fell into the pool of jello. It's sort of like surprise, disgust and delight all wrapped into one.

And then, right on cue, James began to rightfully deny the existence of a poop. With great vigor.


At that point, we could bear no further humiliation, and had to remove our child from the chapel. Our loud, smelly, dirty, sticky child. And I bet, if we had licked him, he would have tasted kind of sour, too.

When we were safely in the hall, Jared didn't stop. He continued walking right to the men's bathroom where he proceeded to bathe James with hand soap and papertowels. When they finally emerged, about fifteen minutes later, Jared was looking pretty worn out, but still managed to wear a very satisfied looking smile.

"Well, you look proud" I said.

"I am" he replied. "I'm no longer embarrassed to be this kid's father."

I, on the other hand, am not quite over it just yet. Next Tuesday's bath can't come soon enough.