The Lawson Family Debates

January 31, 2008

There has been a major shift in the Lawson family, and all of the sudden I'm married to a political junkie. Jared just can't seem to get enough of this stuff. When I come home in the afternoon the man is usually watching C-SPAN or CNN or some ugly old guy talking about what happened on C-SPAN or CNN. I'm usually like, "Real men watch HGTV Jared. If you want to stay informed, switch it to channel 32. You'll learn how to match crown molding to a bed skirt."

He never goes for it, and consequently, I'm in the process of losing my mind.

Now that he's a stay-at-home-dad, Jared has used his time to teach James how to march around like a wind-up toy and chant, "Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!" In retaliation, my mother has taught James to get that dreamy look in his two-year-old eye and say, "I looooove Hillary." And me? I just sit back and watch them confuse the hell out of my innocent little toddler. Every now and again I'll muster up the energy to interject and say, "James, don't listen to either of them. You're two, and the only thing you need to know is how to order a Snickers Blizzard at the Dairy Queen window. You can form your own opinion when you're old enough to drive a motor scooter." That usually quiets the masses.

It's really no wonder that James is receiving so many mixed messages. I was raised by a long, hard line of staunch Democratic supporters. Once my Grandfather earned his American citizenship, it didn't matter if the left-wing candidate wore underpants on his head and his running mate was a full-bred Shetland pony--he voted straight Democratic every single time.

And my in-law's? They'd vote for the Republican kazoo player named Mr. Pickles without a moment's hesitation--because let's face it folks, if you want the Earth to remain on its axis, a right-winged vote is the only sensible way to go.

And then there's me. I'm like, "Mmmmmm..I'm voting for the brown hooker boots. Those ballet flats make her calves look really fat even though they're TOTALLY NOT!"

I like The Style Network.

Last night, Jared had the nerve to switch off American Idol so he could watch another Presidential debate. And I swear on my package of Breath Saver mints, that this is the seventh or eighth debate we've watched in the last couple of weeks. After a few minutes of the same old stuff, I stood up and announced that I'd be watching the Idol auditions upstairs.

In retaliation of my viewing selection, Jared informed me that it's not only fun, but it's also my patriotic duty to watch the debates and learn something meaningful. Far be it from me--the professional public servant--to ignore my nationalistic obligations, so I plopped my rear back on the couch and decided to "get something out of it." More specifically, I paid close attention to the candidates' style of interpersonal communication, and sharpened my skills of debate.

Get a load of this.

Jared: Amy, why'd you leave your dish in the sink?
Amy: I don't see why you have a problem with that; after all, YOU left YOUR dishes in the sink for twenty-four straight hours last August.

Jared: Did you eat the rest of the chocolate cake?
Amy: First, let's discuss the fact that YOU ate the rest of the cookie dough ICE CREAM!

Jared: Look at this credit card bill! Did you seriously spend eighty-eight dollars on a pair of jeans?
Amy: I'd watch what you say, Mister three-hundred-dollar-fishing
-pole! And no, you're way off the mark, they were $87.50. Get your facts straight.

Jared: Can you put some gas in the car?
Amy: Can you get a haircut and do a few push-ups?

And that's that, folks--I'm officially off the hook for the rest of the primaries, and probably the rest of my life, too. Next week we're totally watching American Idol.

Sing a Song of Pooping

January 29, 2008

We're in the throws of potty training James, and I hate to say it, but so far not so good. For a child who's mastered all of the developmental milestones at the appropriate times (with virtually no guidance from his lazy-sack-of-a-mother), things are surprisingly different. Even the singing potty doesn't seem to help.

Yes, that's right, it's a singing potty--much different from the coffee cans that we were all trained on. It can sense when the child sits down and it's all like:

PEE ON ME something something.
GET A PRIZE yadda yadda yadda.

You get the idea. It also has a victory song for successful attempts. At least that's what the box says.we haven't heard it yet.

As if the singing isn't cool enough, this potty also has a shiny silver target at the bottom of the bowl, stars that flash and sparkle when you do your business, and an automatic sticker dispenser on the side.

He just doesn't seem to get it.

He'll sit on his potty with a look of bold determination on his face, while his eyes are fixed firmly on the prize--a medium-sized Tupperware container filled to the brim with big, fat, Peanut M&Ms. He'll try with all of his might to make something happen--he'll tap his hands and feet, hum the tune to Eye of the Tiger (I taught him that), and give himself pep talks--but nothing does the trick.

And then, after he gets tired of trying, the same thing happens every time--he'll hop off his potty, pull up his Sponge Bob underoos, and resume playing. Within three minutes we'll hear a chorus of sad sobs coming from his room--after all, it's a real bummer when you pee in the bed of your dump truck.or on your newly built block tower.or in your pet greyhound's ear.

So today my dear readers, I come before you, humbly seeking your advice. One reader has shared her successful potty training technique with me, but what about the rest of you--how did you teach your kids to hit the singing target? How did you get your husband to stop eating the reward M&Ms?

James will be three in April--am I pushing him too hard? Am I letting him off the hook too easily? Should I trade him in the newer model?

I don't care if you're young or old, male or female, a parent or childless--I need some input and ideas, people. Help a girl out.

Drunk Dialing

January 26, 2008

I've been out of college for almost six years, so I haven't thought about drunk dialing in quite some time. In case you're not familiar with the concept of the drunk dial (i.e. you're old, a BYU graduate, boring, a non-phone-user, etc.), then I'll take a moment to explain.

Drunk dialing occurs when a person has consumed too much alcohol and has the strong and sudden urge to call every person on his or her cell phone contact list--excluding parents, of course. The calls almost always serve one of three distinct purposes:

1) To express feelings of strong, undying love to a friend or ex-love.
2) To express feelings of strong, undying dislike to a friend or ex-love.
3) To be honest with a friend by letting them know that they looked awful today and should lose seven pounds immediately.

I've rarely witnessed a drunk dial phone call that's conveyed an idea that isn't listed above--and yesterday, my friends, was no exception.

Allow me to explain...

Yesterday afternoon, my eighteen-year-old brother-in-law had oral surgery, and Jared and I were lucky enough to be in town for the whole extravaganza. Why did he have surgery you ask? Well, a few years ago Bryan knocked out one of his front teeth in a ski jumping accident, and for the last little while he's been forced to think about the consequences of that event every time he wears his retainer with the fabulous fake tooth attachment.

Poor kid.

Bryan was voted "Best Dressed" in his senior class by an overwhelming margin, so he obviously takes some concern in how he looks. Whenever he gets ready for a date with his girlfriend he'll stand in front of the full length mirror and be like, "I've got my trendy hat, my awesome jeans, my sexy new sweater from American Eagle, and my faux tooth is firmly in place. I think I'm ready to pick her up." Yesterday, much to his relief, Bryan was able to undergo the first step of having a permanent fake tooth--a bone graft in his mouth.

Apparently, a bone graft is no small deal--because as far as I could tell, it required approximately sixty-seven gallons of heavy duty anesthesia to put this child under. After the procedure...well, I should rephrase that...right after Bryan proceeded to call every member of the medical staff a bastard, my mother-in-law dropped him off at home and headed to the pharmacy to pick up the pain medication.

As soon as she pulled out of the driveway, Bryan decided to watch some television. I observed with great interest as he tried again and again to change the channel with the butt end of the remote control. When I suggested that he should turn the clicker around, Bryan looked at me with a set of crazed, piercing eyes and snapped, "Shut up, Monica. I can do it myself. I can do it MYSELF." Then he tossed the remote across the room, rolled over dramatically, and began snoring like my '89 Blazer.

Fifteen minutes later, when he came to, I noticed that Bryan was fiddling around with his cell phone. I was like, "Dude, what are you doing?"

"I'm calling people," he moaned. "I'm calling my girl."

At that moment, I was overcome with a great deal of joy and anticipation. I COULDN'T FREAKING WAIT to hear what he had to say. When his girlfriend finally picked up, Bryan was all, "Ha Emmmmmmmmma. I. I. I. I. I. I just luff you. I just luff you. And my skis. Yer so pretty and very much hot. Later." And he hung up on her.

Then he called her again, and said something like, "My mouth hurts like a....I don't know...never mind." And he hung up on her again.

He dialed her up one more time and rambled for a few minutes about NASCAR, basketball, and some other senseless shiz. At that point, for the sake of Emma, I decided to confiscate his phone. Consequently, I was quickly added his expanding list of bastards.

"Just for that," I replied, "I'm gonna take your picture." But before I could steal a photo, my mother-in-law pulled into the driveway with a bag full of narcotics.


So I threw the camera under the coach, and the moment I heard the front door open, I knelt by Bryan's side, began to stroke his hair and said something sweet like, "Oh friend, I'd like to ease your pain. What can I get for you?"

Meredith was all, "Oh, thanks for being so great, Amy. Thanks for taking care of my boy. I'm going to get his medication ready."

"Great," I replied. "He really needs it."

After he took the meds, I patiently waited for the codeine to kick in, positioned the phone back into his limp, lifeless fist and said, "Ummm...Emma called, she wants you to call her back."

Let me tell you--It was awesome.

Freedom on Wheels

January 24, 2008

I don't know about you, but in the midst of my daydreams, I often find myself planning the intricate details of my retirement years. Not the financial details of course, only the fun parts.

When I graduated from college a few years back, everyone seemed to ask the very same question, "So... now that you've graduated what are your plans?" And I'd usually give the same reply, "I’m planning to skip the work thing all together and head straight for the golden years of retirement." For some reason, most of my friends and family members thought I was joking around—definitely not the case.
Obviously things haven't fallen into place exactly as I’d hoped, but I've crunched some numbers and we've adapted the dream accordingly.
Here's a rundown of the updated plan:

At age 62, Jared and I will sell our house, our Blazer, and our dog. We'll use the profits from our house to do the only sensible thing—buy a gently used RV. And we'll use the profits from our car to do the only other sensible thing—commission an airbrush aficionado to trick out the exterior with a custom piece of artwork. We're talking six-foot-tall caricatures of Jared and me, arm wrestling our ‘lil cartoon hearts out, while we wear matching t-shirts that boast the slogan "FREEDOM ON WHEELS." And finally—last but certainly not least—we'll use the profits from the sale of the dog to eat at the Cracker Barrel five or six times.

Our outfits have been well thought out, too. We will have seven matching his & hers wind suits (one for each day of the week), bright white Reebok sneakers, and sensible haircuts that are oh-so-easy to maintain. We'll live in the rig full time, and drive that beauty from coast to coast as we visit grandchildren, ride every roller coaster in the continental United States, and stop at a Will Ferrell movie every chance we get.

I just started this job, and I like it pretty well, so you’re probably wondering why I have retirement on the brain this afternoon. The answer my friends, is very simple—I just finished chatting with our local electrical inspector, Joe. Joe works four days a week, in two different towns, inspecting the electrical systems in new and renovated buildings, and get this—Joe is eighty-eight years old!!! According to our conversation, he's retired three different times, he has pensions coming at him from four different sources, and he just can't stand the thought of sitting around at home. Obviously, he’s one hell of a guy.

So tell me this...Are you an Amy or are you a Joe? Do you dream about work or do you dream about play? If you tend toward the side of sweat and toil, feel free to spare me the details. But if you dream about shuffleboard at the senior center, then I want to hear all about it. What do you plan to do with your golden years?

A Few Items of Business

January 23, 2008

I’ve got a few items of business to cover on this lovely winter morning.

First, I’d like to say hello to all of my new readers and commenters out there. It’s really very nice to see a few new faces in those tiny little boxes next to the comments. I’ve noticed that you all have exceptionally nice hair. Keep up the good work.

Second, I’d like to say hello to all of my old cyber friends out there. I’m sorry if it seems like I’ve lost touch lately—I have. Tragically, I’m without an internet connection at home these days. It’s absolutely horrible and I can barely believe it myself. In order to read and post blogs I’ve been sitting in my station wagon, in the dead of winter, in the parking lot of a Chinese restaurant, poaching their wireless signal. To top it all off, my laptop battery carries about thirty-three minutes on a full charge.

Before you get carried away with your crying, I’m happy to inform you that there is hope—we found a house, and our offer has been accepted. It’s a nice house, suitable for grown-ups, and we’re very excited about it. This place has a dishwasher that works, windows that open and close, and enough wall space for my impressive collection of Beyonce posters—because she really is bootylicious. It also has a nice, sturdy garage that will suitably protect my ’89 Blazer from the harsh winter elements, and a finished basement that tends to bring Hell to mind. You know—dark wood paneling from the ‘70’s, bright red carpet, and the creepiest looking wood stove you’ve ever seen. When we were looking at the house, the agent was like, “What do you think of the woodstove?” And I was all, “Uuummmm. It looks like something out of the scary part of a Disney movie. Like you could throw all of the misbehaving furniture into it.” He looked at me with a very confused expression and replied, “So you don’t like it then?” And I was like, “No. Why would you think that? I totally like it.”

And finally, this is the last item of business on my list today. Please note, that even in the most casual of offices, it is never appropriate to sign emails to your boss’s boss with the terms “Stay Cool” or “Over and Out.” Although I haven’t received confirmation on this, I feel it’s safe to assume that you should avoid the phrase “Smell Ya Later” as well.

Have a great one, troops!


January 21, 2008

Guess what I’m doing today.

I’m sitting in a recliner, twirling my greyhound’s fur, eating chocolate-covered cherries, and GETTING PAID FOR IT! Can you believe that?! I’m also watching Days of Our Lives and GETTING PAID FOR IT! And—oh yeah—I’m bossing my husband around like a drill sergeant with PMS….and I’M GETTING PAID FOR IT!

I’m sure that 99% of you are also enjoying a paid day off, but in case you haven’t caught on, this current gig is the first ‘real job’ I’ve ever had, and the benefits are blowing my freaking mind. So play along, okay?

I hope you’ll excuse the boasting, but here’s a list of the employment perks that are entirely responsible for the pee running down my inner thigh:

Health insurance that is accepted by a number of reputable, licensed medical practitioners within fifty miles of my dwelling place.
Life insurance with a hefty enough payout to purchase glitter (to decorate my casket), a new resting outfit from the Gap (not from the clearance rack), and three Dunkin’ Donut (to cheer up my grieving husband).
Paid holidays.
Paid vacation days.
A flexible schedule.
Unrestricted use of the department’s hard hat.
And—get this—an employer matched, tax deferred investment plan (whatever in the hell that means).

Ok, I know what you’re thinking… “Hate to break it to you, Amy, but I get all of those benefits, too. And so does everyone else in the world.” Yes, I know. Most gown-ups work a job with a benefit or two, but this is a first for me, and I’m feeling very, very important.

After all, my last job was as a babysitter—I changed poo, broke up toddler fights, and my only benefit was unrestricted access to the contents of someone else’s refrigerator. And prior to that, I spent a few months working in a doctor’s office. We had no paid vacation, no sick time, and—believe it or not—no health coverage. We did, however, get a 25% discount on pizza from the restaurant next door, half priced vitamins, and an occasional view of the outdoors when we were instructed to wash the boss’s car. I hated that job.

I know full well that work tends to fall on the sucky side of the spectrum, but excuse me just this once, as I have a happy little question for you today—what’s your very favorite employment benefit? Do you have access to a company car? Do you have a smokin’ hot secretary? Are you encouraged to drink three vodka-tonics at every business lunch?

Go ahead and force yourself to look at the bright side, because I want to hear all about your very favorite perks.

Happy Martin Luther King Day, troops!

The Circus Cannon

January 18, 2007

Does anyone know where I can get my hands on a cannon that’s suitable for launching 140 pound adult males? If so, just shoot me a quick email outlining the details. Thanks.

Maybe those first few lines gave it away, I really don’t know. But just in case they didn’t, let me bring you up to speed—Jared’s on my schnit list. If you’re curious about the events that led to this spousal classification, then read on my friends. Read on.

Until we settle into a place of our own, we’re living in a house that’s completely furnished. It’s a total bonus, considering the fact that the bulk of our own furniture has either come from Ikea, Target, yard sales, or generally sketchy circumstances. For example, we once bought a couch and a love seat, brand new, for five hundred dollars. We bought them from Dallas Furniture Warehouse—you know, the kind of store that had the same faded GRAND OPENING sign hanging in the front window for three and a half years.

After we paid for the furniture, we were like, “Hey. You gave us an awesome deal on this furniture. How can you sell stuff for this cheap and still make money?” The salesman stalled in answering our question as his eyes fearfully widened. Then he slowly looked over each shoulder—you know—just to make sure there weren’t any cops listening, and he was like, “I can’t tell you how we get our stuff, but if you want a deal on some coffee tables, come back next Tuesday at nine-thirty…PM.”

We went home and promptly cancelled that credit card.

Maybe the furniture was stolen, maybe not. But either way, the couch kind of sucked. It was totally squeaky, and the arm fell off of it when we moved four blocks a few years ago. We left the set in Texas with our friends Matt and Shayli—lucky dogs. And right now, if they’re reading, I’d like to let them know that we claim absolutely no responsibility for any accidents that occur as a result of using that crappily made furniture. If the couch has fleas, smells like onions, or falls to pieces when your ninety pound Grandma sits down, then take it up with John and Carl and the Dallas Furniture Warehouse, not us.

The bottom line is this…with the exception of our bed, every piece of furniture that we own stinks. So living in a nicely furnished place is riveting, captivating, exciting, and just plain awesometronic. The only problem we’ve come across so far is the bed. We’ve been reduced from our queen sized pillow top to a full-size mattress that was produced in—oh, I don’t know—1904?

It’s small, it’s cramped, and it has a divot in the middle that tends to bring the Grand Canyon to mind. And seriously folks, I don’t care if you’re thinner than a damn piece of angel hair spaghetti, a full size bed is not suitable for two grown adults—especially a full sized bed with a divot.

You see, the divot in this mattress is only large enough for one of us to land in, leaving the displaced spouse with two options: 1) Sleep on top of the spouse in the divot; or 2) Fall asleep while balancing on the uphill portion—or edge—of the bed.

Jared is a total divot hog. Last night—and every night that we’ve been here for that matter—he’s settled into the divot, staunchly refused to move, and gotten very, very angry any time I’d accidentally roll into his coveted dent. And last night, around 3:30, I rolled into his divot for the very last time. You see, I lost my balance from my perch on the edge of the bed, rolled into his sunken space, and in one sleepy motion Jared pushed me off the bed, into the air, and onto the floor.

Yes, I fell out of bed. Well no—I was pushed out of bed, and dang y’all, 150 pounds hitting wall-to-wall carpet is louder than loud.

So, this new turn of events leaves me—the displaced spouse—with two options: 1) Sleep on the couch; or 2) Get rid of Jared and officially make the divot my territory.

So seriously, does anyone know where I can get my hands on a circus cannon?

Trash Day

January 17, 2007

I mentioned that I work for an offbeat town, didn’t I? Well, let me just take a moment to clarify and let you know how offbeat it really is.

Yesterday afternoon I was called to participate in an impromptu meeting. You know the type—four people, gathered in a hallway, whispering about the whiny local who’s requesting a permit to build a glass-encased bathroom on his roof. You concur that the local has mental problems, you talk for a moment about his grandmother—who also had mental problems, and then you all giggle in unison as the building commissioner stamps a big, red REJECTED label on the permit application.

After the meeting had dissipated, I began to walk back to my desk as I overheard the following conversation:

Ann: Are you going to trash day in February?
Barbara: Oh, you mean naked trash day?
Walter: What’s that?
Ann: It’s when everyone gets together and picks up the trash on the beach.
Barbara: Naked.
Ann: Yeah, that’s right, they clean up the trash naked. It’s a fun event.
Walter: Is it in town?
Barbara: No, it’s in the next town over.
Walter: Can you get me the date on that? Maybe we can ride together.

Even though I snarfed V8 all over my favorite white sweater, I’m happy here. I really, really love this job.

Jared Lawson DC, SAHD

January 15, 2007

Well that’s a lot of letters behind my husbands name, huh? Pretty freakin’ impressive if I do say so myself. Jared’ not just a Doctor of Chiropractic anymore, he’s also earned his license and credentials as a full-time Stay at Home Dad. As of yesterday, I’ve become an all-American working mom, and until he gets his practice up and running, Jared is holding down the fort and staying home with James.

Yesterday was our first day of this arrangement and I’ve got to admit that Jared is kicking my mother-lovin’ trash in the housespouse department. I came home last night to find a clean child, clean laundry, clean dishes, and a low-fat/high-fiber dinner on the table. Jared, on the other hand, used to come home to a pile of dirty laundry shoved under the bed, a kid with a majorly plumped up diaper, a personal pizza in the toaster oven, and a wife with one very well-crafted excuse.

To cap it all off, Jared voluntarily moved ‘Potty Training’ to the top of his to-do list. I really do love this man.

Life has taken a dramatic change of direction in the last week or so. I’ve graduated from my former role as a babysitter, and I’m currently working as the affordable housing director for a small, off-beat, coastal town. It’s day two on the job, and so far I’m settling in quite nicely. I should also note that I was required to wear a hardhat to several job sites today. I was unaware that hardhats were a part of the job, so when my boss handed me that yellow piece of plastic beauty—I swear on my hamster’s grave—I just about crapped my pants.

I love hardhats, and it's always been a dream of mine to wear one to work. I was so excited about my new equipment, that I actually wore the hat in my car as I drove to the first construction site. Every time I stopped at an intersection I’d look at a pedestrian...or a stop sign...or a stray dog, I’d point to my hat, and confidently nod my head as I mouthed the words “It’s a hardhat b*tch.”

I’ve been out of the workforce for almost three years now, so I really wasn't sure what to expect when I stepped into town hall yesterday morning. The closest thing I have to recent work experience is the fact that I’m a big fan of the show The Office. And for all of you fellow Office fans out there, I’m please to let you know that we also have an administrative assistant named Pam. The Pams look nothing alike, and my Pam happens to be a lesbian—but other than that, they’re totally the same.

So that's my job in a nutshell. Perhaps later in the week I'll tell you about Dennis. He's an old bearded man who wears flannels, jean, and suspenders and has a ridiculous obsession with celebrity gossip. His obsession includes--but is not limited to--the cosmetic procedures that stars have had and should have. Honestly, I had no idea about Meg Ryan's botched lip job until today--poor thing.

Let's Do It Lawson Style

January 13, 2007

It’s official. My kid needs friends—very, very badly. If there’s one thing I really miss about our time in Texas, it’s the overabundance of children. We had a well used park one block from our apartment, we had dozens of kids in our church congregation, and I had a twice weekly babysitting job that was more like a play date. Seriously folks, everywhere I turned, there was another little angel just waiting to lick the upholstery of my car. I miss that, and so does James.

Since we’ve moved—and been in an unyielding state of upheaval—James has had very sporadic contact with children. And whooo boy, it’s really beginning to show.

Last Friday, we spent the day looking at houses with a real estate agent. Based on the fact that I had promised him a lollipop, James behaved remarkably well. After the showings were over, we headed to the corner store and let him pick a pop. When James entered the candy section, I mistakenly assumed that he would give some sort of a normal reaction. You know—hopping up and down, humming the tune of Endless Love, or wagging his imaginary tail.

Well, no. James didn’t do any of the above. Instead, he gazed lovingly at the piece of candy, hugged it close to his heart and said, “Hewo pop! Is you my fwend?” (translation: Hello pop. Is you my friend?) And in a grumbly, bear-like voice James made the lollipop reply: “Yes, I es yo fwend. I here to pway wet you, Dames.” (translation: Yes, I is your friend. I’m here to play with you, James.) And James and the lollipop proceeded to have a twenty minute play date in the backseat of the Toyota wagon.

They played guessing games, they took turns singing songs, and James pretended to tickle the lollipop stick until it farted, fainted, and eventually went missing on the floor of the backseat. As I attempted to calm an inconsolable two-year-old, it occurred to me—James was crying over the loss of a cardboard stick. I had one very lonely kid on my hands.

As soon as James gained his composure, I called Jared on his cell phone and said, “Listen. It’s been a month, and we’ve got to get back in the habit of going to church.” You see, where there are Mormons there are kids—lots and lots of poop-in-the-pants, booger-nosed kids. Just the way James likes ‘em.

So this morning, for this first time in a month, we got ourselves to the nine o’clock service. We walked into the building and settled into a pew behind a stiff-looking senior missionary couple. From our brief chat, I gathered that they were in their early seventies, they were fairly new missionaries, and with the exception of a family vacation or two, they had never left the boundaries of Salt Lake County, Utah. And I won’t lie—they seemed a little put off when I described the drive from Texas to New England as a “long ass trip.”

But, you know, I figured I should break them in early. After all, they’re serving in the Boston area for two-long years, and I’m minor compared to most of the Mass-holes they’ll cross paths with.

As the service began and the organ piped in, James broke out in a major case of the wiggles. Within ten seconds, he had bounced his miniature Hummer of the back of the male missionary’s head. I apologized profusely, and gave one of those faces where you clench your teeth, raise your eyebrows, and shrug your shoulders as if to say, “Kids. They do the darndest things.” Ten second later, James did it again. Obviously, I repeated my apology and did the whole embarrassed face thing again.

But after the third and final truck tossing, I gave up. I simply took the Hummer, parked it in my purse, and gave the old gentleman a somber nod. I got the distinct feeling that the kind senior missionary and I come from very different worlds. He probably raised nine children who all play the violin and sang harmonious musical numbers during Sunday service. And us? Well, we’re the Lawsons. When we come to church, we throw s*!&.

Comment of the Week

January 10, 2007

No doubt about it--the comment of the week goes to my faithful reader Allison. Get a load of this:

amy, as a faithful blog reader.. i've missed you!!! i hope you get settled soon, and get back to your frequent postings!!! (im hoping for more than once a day ;) )

Thanks Allison, I'm so glad to know that I've been missed because there's certainly been a void in my life without the frequent, compulsive posting. My daily blog habits down in Texas provided me with feelings of self-worth, inner-peace, and a very convincing--albeit false--sense of productivity. I genuinely hope to return to my habits in the next couple of weeks, and regain my identity as an over educated babysitter who loves to share the delicate details of her husband's personal grooming habits.

In the mean time, I'd like to give you, my faithful readers, a comprehensive update on my life. I realize that I've left you largely in the dark, and I'd like to offer you an apology and a well-crafted excuse. So here goes...

A few weeks before we left Texas, I had blogging on the brain big time. I was wondering if I should change my title, I was developing strategies to increase my readership, and I was starting to worry that I share too many details of my life with total strangers. My fearful feelings were induced by two of my favorite bloggers, Sue and Hollywood, who went through some major pains to make their blogs anonymous. They both assumed false identities, gave fake names to their children and spouse, and altered every single post to meet their new criteria.

And then there was me. My blog was all--Hi. My name is Amy Lawson. I live in Dallas, I drive an '89 Blazer, and I like to grocery shop at the Albertsons on Mockingbird Lane. I'm usually there on Thursday nights at seven, and I generally wear a red sweatsuit while shopping. If you'd like to see me in a jean skirt, you can find me at the Mormon church off of Ross Avenue on Sunday mornings. And if you'd like to see me in spandex pants, just peek into the windows of the YMCA by White Rock Lake--I'll be the one farting on the treadmill. Happy hunting, perverts!

Not good. But since I was moving across the country, I really didn't see the need to go back and make my blog anonymous. I simply decided that once we settled in New England, I would be more selective about the personal details that I disclose.

For example, I'm not going to let you know what town we decide to live in. You see, most towns in Maine have less than 5,000 people. Finding me would be as simple as stopping at the gas station, and asking the cashier how to find the new girl from Texas with the kid who's still in diapers. You'd have the name of my mailman, a hand drawn map to my doublewide, and a free Pepsi within sixteen seconds--I guarantee it.

I've also decided that I won't tell you about the new vehicle that we've purchased. After all, it's very unique and highly identifiable. Seriously folks, have you ever see an orange and black striped snowmobile with an airbrushed tiger face on the front? It's got an enclosed trailer on the back for James to ride in, and we all wear neon green helmets that say "BAD ASS" on the side.

Ok fine--that detail was fabricated. You really shouldn't look for a vehicle matching that description unless you want to find my father-in-law.

So that's excuse number one for my lack of posts--I've been trying to keep my life a little bit more private.

And my second excuse is equally valid--we're completely unsettled and still haven't found a place to live. We've been bouncing back and forth between my parents' house, my in-laws' house, and a family beach house that remains vacant through most of the winter.

There's no internet connection at the beach, my mom and dad just installed a wireless router at their house, and I really don't want my in-laws to think that I'm a lazy turd who lets my kid watch TV while I sit around and blog all day...even though I am. Right now, for example, I'm writing from my mother-in-law's bathroom and she thinks I've spent the last thirty minutes pooping. But really, there's only so much pooping a girl can do, so my blog time is very limited.

And there you have it, those are the only excuses I've got. Now--if you're still reading--I'll give you a brief update on our lives.

We're in the middle of an all-out real estate hunt in Maine. We're looking for a well-priced house, and a nice piece of office space within commuting distance of one another--and there's got to be room in the community for another chiropractor. That might sound easy to those of you who live in cities and suburbs, but it's quite the challenge up here in Maine.

In all seriousness, we looked at a nice house in our price range, only to find out that the neighbor two doors down runs an at-home business called "Maine Chemical and Explosive Disposal Service." I looked at my real estate agent, and I was like, "I don't care how many bathrooms this place has. I refuse to get exploded when I'm trying to paint m'damn fence!" We also looked at some office space in a "medical building" that had carpeted walls and concrete floors. I was all, "Unless that doctorate taught you how to walk perpendicular, we are not renting this place, Jared."

So the property hunt continues, the nomadic lifestyle continues, and unfortunately, the blogging drought might continue for a while, too. But I'm hopeful that we'll figure everything out in the next week or two--after all, I think my in-laws are ready to stick a bag on my head and dump me in the woods. And honestly, I can't say I blame 'em.

I'm Voting for Dogs

January 8, 2007

This blog has never been used as a platform for political discussion. I've never endorsed a candidate, I've never made reference to a party affiliation, and I've never criticized an elected official. I've purposefully avoided these topics for three reasons: 1) Voicing political opinions opens the door for a great deal of personal criticism--and we all know that I handle criticism as well as I handle fire ants in my underwear; 2) I think it's perfectly appropriate to keep my political opinions to myself; and 3) Politics don't bring out the passion in me--those fiery feelings are reserved for HGTV and barbecue flavored potato chips, thank you very much.

And you know what? You can bet your step-uncle's ass that I'm not about to get all political on you this Tuesday morning. I will remain opinionless, voiceless, and you can just keep on guessing how I feel about our presidential candidates.

Despite my lack of desire to share my thoughts, I can't deny that I've got politics on the brain. And who can blame me? I've spent the last few weeks hanging out in states that border New Hampshire, my brother-in-law begged for a Mitt t-shirt for Christmas, and my other brother-in-law spits rat poison at the mention of anything Republican. I've been inundated with opinions and questions about my candidate of choice--and wow--I'm shocked by the sweeping generalizations that people have pinned on me.

I've heard each of the following at least three times:

Generalization: You're Mormon, so I'm sure you're voting for Mitt Romney.
My response: I'm Mormon, but if I vote for Mitt it will only be on account of his great hair. It's also obvious that he works out, and I value that in a candidate.

Generalization: You're a woman, so I bet you're voting for Hillary.
My response: Who told you that I'm a woman? And even if I was a woman, I'd only vote for Hillary because I believe that her pantsuits fit well.

Generalization: You're young. Aren't you voting for Obama?
My response: He's hot, so yeah, probably. Thanks for the advice.

Generalization: You're Mormon, so you have to be a Republican.
My response: Wow, you're sharp. I still don't understand how Harry Reid is getting away with it. Do you?

So there you have it. This post was my long way of saying: No, I won't endorse a candidate on this blog. Well, I take that back...Vote for Pedro, he seems nice.

Every Mile a Memory

January 4, 2008

Life has been a whirlwind lately.

We're currently in the process of finalizing a town for Jared's practice, finding suitable office space, choosing a house, trying to secure a part-time gig for Jared, deciding whether or not to accept a job that's been offered to me, and gaining eight pounds. I'm still without a cell phone, I've completely run out of clean underwear, and come to think of it, I have no idea where my child is right now. I don't think I've seen him since Tuesday. I kind of miss the little guy.

In the midst of all of this chaos, the blog has fallen by the wayside, and I can't even remember which details I've shared with you about our recent move to New England. For example, did I tell you that I peed my pants laughing at a Blue Collar Comedy CD in Knoxville? Or did I write about Jared and I perfecting the Mockingbird song (think Dumb & Dumber, folks) by the time we hit West Virginia? Or wait--here's a good one--Did I already write about the fact that we paid big bucks to have our '89 Blazer shipped from Texas to Connecticut on a tractor-trailer truck? I don't think I did.

But now that I've shared those personal tidbits with you, I know exactly what you're thinking: Didn't it cost more to ship that Blazer than the car is actually worth?

Well, yes you stank-ass-smarty-pants, it did. If you want to nickle and dime it, my good old SUV is worth roughly sixty-eight dollars. But if you're more like me, and you measure the worth of goods in emotional memories, then my Blazer is priceless. In my last ten years--college, marriage, ten moves in four states, etc.--my car has been my constant, reliable companion. She's never left me stranded, and I love her more than I love my husband. Seriously.

When it came time to plan the move, Jared and I both understood that the Blazer would have a hard time making the voyage on its own merit, so we coughed up the cash and had it shipped.

When I dropped off the car at the shipping company, I slipped the guy a five dollar bill and whispered, "Merry Christmas. Try to put it on the top, okay? I don't want anything dripping onto its roof." He looked at me, he looked at the car, and then he looked back at me. "They'll never let me do that," he said. "We put the nice cars on top. But thanks for the tip."

And then, as I held back my offended tears, the guy said, "Walk around the car with me. We have to make a note of every dent, ding, and scratch on the body of the vehicle." So off we went, stepping slowly, as he scribbled, and noted, and drew in his notebook. Twenty minutes later, he ripped off the carbon copy, handed it to me and asked, "Did I miss anything?"

Here is a photo of the actual carbon copy:

Sweet wheels, huh? Check it out, he colored in the entire roof!

The Blazer arrived yesterday, and I'm pleased to report that there are no new dents, dings, or scratches. It looks just as crappy as it did in Dallas, and I'm so glad that it's home.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2008

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm not sure how you rang in 2008, but I celebrated by watching my one hundred pound brother-in-law do a killer back flip off the roof of his parents' house at the stroke of midnight. He was wearing nothing but long johns and a homemade tank top that sported the slogan "Happy New Year Suckers."

We capped off the night by testing a canine shock collar on my innocent, sleeping husband. And just in case you're wondering, a shock collar set to "7" does in fact pack enough punch to make a full grown Mormon man swear like an eighth grade sailor.

I have a sneaking suspicion that 2008 is going to be one of my best years ever. Yes, I'm basing this assumption entirely on recent fortune cookie readings, but they've been unbelievably accurate as of late, so cut me a frigging break.

For example, on opening day of baseball season, my fortune said: YOUR SPORTS TEAM WILL EXPERIENCE GREAT SUCCESS THIS YEAR. And then, several months later, the Sox went all the way to win the World Series in a four game stomping. Trust me folks, the little strip of paper containing that bit of optimistic confidence has been archived into my "Thank You Very Much" file.

And get a load of this...the night before Jared's graduation, my fortune cookie said: A FOUR WHEELED ADVENTURE WILL SOON BRING YOU GREAT JOY. Well, we moved across the country in a Budget rental truck, and so far I'm simply spitting with joy. That crappin' little cooking was right again. Dang!

And on that very same night--I kid you not--Jared's fortune said: YOU WOULD BE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL AS A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. Maybe my mother-in-law rigged that cookie, I don't know. But either way it's convinced me that things are looking up, and some where, down the road, Jared Lawson will finally earn a paycheck. Hallelujah.

Allow me to leave you with one more fantastically encouraging experience. This afternoon, as I sauntered through my in-laws' kitchen wearing my Alf slippers and my 2008 tiara, I spotted a heaping pile of--what else?--fortune cookies. With a happy little prayer in my heart, I selected one from the middle of the pile, split it in half, and removed this miniature note of encouragement: YOUR TALENTS WILL BE RECOGNIZED AND SUITABLY REWARDED. As I read those words, I honestly had to fight back a tear or two. After I pulled myself together, I clasped that fortune in my hand, held my fist against my heart and thought, "I'm gonna win thirty-five bucks in a pie eating contest. How fantastic!"

According to the almighty power of Chinese superstition, the Lawsons are about to hit the big time. It's only been twenty-one hours, but so far, I'm really loving 2008.

Oh, and I think my New Year's resolution is pretty flapping obvious--I'm trying to lay off the Chinese food.
Happy New Year everyone!