Too Blessed to Be Stressed

June 30, 2008

I saw that on a bumper sticker once, and I thought it was totally cute but not at all appropriate to my life. My bumper sticker would say: BLESSED, BUT STILL STRESSED!

Jared's gorgeous (and I don't use that word lightly) new practice is now officially open for biznitch. The steps are oiled, the floors are greased to perfection, and the invisible wires are strung at a six inch height. In other words, our marketing plan is well and good. You know--if they don't have back problems, you can bet yer coot that they will soon!

I would post some pictures, but I'm way too busy watching The Jeffersons and sucking the butter off half a loaf of garlic bread. You know the kind...bakery section...silver solid inch of butter...a split-second glance into the heavens.

After a solid week of eighteen-hour work days, I'm finally having my moment.

So lay off, I'll post some pictures tomorrow.

Now go throw your back out!

Kidding... Kidding... I wouldn't wish that type of misfortune upon anybody.

Just crink your neck in your sleep or something.

Is Anybody Out There?

June 26, 2008


Is this thing on?

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. My name is Amy Lawson and I stand before you this morning to vent my fair share of frustration. Before I go any further, I would like to make a clear, solid point--and that is, nobody likes a whiner. I fully understanding that I am assuming the role of a whiner, and as such, I stand to lose popularity.

Today, my friends and ex-friends, I am willing to take this risk. You see, I am stressed--very, very stressed. And I know only three successful strategies for dealing with pressured situations:
1. Write about them.
2. Eat pounds and pounds of carbohydrates.
3. Draw pictures of my friends, co-workers, and neighbors in the nude.

Unfortunately I have eaten every granola bar, bread product, and Goldfish Cracker in the house and my husband is insistent that the nudie pics are inappropriate and "a law-suit waiting to happen." As such, I am left with no option but to express my feelings in writing.

My husband Jared is a chiropractor--a chiropractor who is in significant need of a new adjusting table. Yesterday afternoon, we drove a couple of hours south to pick up a table that was kindly given to us by a fellow practitioner. The tables was described as "beautiful" and "modern" and "in excellent condition." We wondered why this chiropractor was willing to part with this self-described "work of art," but chose to believe her assertion that she was nearing retirement, had reduced her hours, and wanted to give something back to the profession.

She didn't mention that the table was over thirty years old. And spring loaded. And dangerous. And looked like it had tetanus. And would probably send patients running in the other direction. Or catapult them through the store front window. Or eat them.

When I first laid eyes on the table, I wasn't sure what to say or how to react, so I walked down the hall, stepped in the restroom, grabbed my hair at the root and yelled....."YOOOOOOO!!!!!" When I stepped back out of the restroom I sort of looked around the waiting area, made an apologetic face, pointed to my rear, and mouthed the word "hemorrhoid." I got a lot of sympathetic nods from those sweet, shuffling Medicare subscribers.

When I walked back to find Jared, he was standing alone in the room with the torture device and he was obviously feigning optimism.

"So what do you think?" he asked, forcing half of a smile.

"I think you should get a lab coat, some circle shaped glasses, a lightening machine, and perform experimental monster brain surgery on this table. I mean seriously, if you want to do that, this thing is totally perfect."

To which Jared replied, "Well great! I'll back the truck up to the door."

We left the experimental laboratory (pronounced la-BOR-a-try) and preceded to Portland, Maine where we had arranged to pick up a few room dividers and a reception desk. I'll keep a long story short by letting you know that the cubicle dividers were the color of cat-regurgitated-stroganoff. But that wasn't the problem--in fact I have no problem with feline boof. The room dividers couldn't stand without the aid of a large metal desk, and as much as I like desks, we don't need four of them spread throughout Jared's treatment space.

And the reception station? Well the reception station was larger than our entire waiting room, and despite my calculations, I simply couldn't figure out a way to fit it through the front door of the office.

Based on yesterday's unsuccessful eighteen-hour workday, the newest item on my to-do list is, "Buy a front desk, some room dividers, and an adjusting table all for less than $17.96 by Saturday." And therein lies the root-cause of my current state of freaking-outage.

I'd like to express my sincere gratitude for your attention through this, the Annual State of the Lawsons Address.

I feel a great deal of relief from this opportunity to vent my frustrations. But if you'd be so kind as to send me a head-to-toe photo, so I can draw you walking next to the Statue of Liberty naked, I think I could make a full recovery.
Thank you.

Fill in the Blank

June 25, 2008

In the last week we've had six old friends come to visit, and each of them has asked the very same question: Amy, why is/are there _____________________ on your dining room wall?

Post your best guess in the comment section.

Monday Mocabulary Lesson

June 23, 2008

You might already know this, but MORMON + VOCABULARY = MOCABULARY

Today's Mocabulary word is Sunbeam.

Sunbeam (sŭn'bēm')
1. A three or four year old Sunday School student who accidentally spits in their teacher's mouth. Twice.
2. A young child who walks out of the restroom carrying his pants rather than wearing them.
3. A preschool-aged person who likes to lick the teacher's shin repeatedly.
4. A short human being who is incapable of successfully executing The Hammer Dance, The Cabbage Patch, or Jazz Hands.

Chain Reaction

June 20, 2008

Last Friday night, I took James swimming at the lake. When we arrived home he staunchly refused to change out of his damp Spider Man swim trunks--which I could totally understand, because they really are radtastic. Being the lazy mother that I am, I didn't feel like chasing James around and around and around, so I decided to forget about the swimsuit and resume the battle at pajama time.

'After all, what's a little bit of lake water going to hurt?' I reasoned.

Well, lake water in and of itself isn't going to hurt anything. But lake water, combined with a runny poop, mashed into a high-end sofa? That's surely going to hurt something. Like my spirit.

Apparently, James had an accident in his britches and didn't want me to know about it--hence the refusal to change his shorts. He sat on the couch, acting as though nothing had happened, all the while letting watery poo soak into the fibers of my furniture.

It took one Rug Doctor, and three bottles of cleaning solution to remediate the very smelly mess. And since we had the Rug Doctor for 24-hours, we decided to steam-clean every steam-cleanable surface in our home: the couch, the chair, the futon, the rug in the den, and the carpet in the living room.

With the exception of my husband's frequent and severe gas, it totally smells like a hotel in here.

I've been loving the freshness of my home this week.

Well, I had been loving the freshness of my home until I caught James taking a whiz on the living room carpet last night.

I scooped him up mid-tinkle, rushed him to the bathroom, whipped down his pants, and intended to put him on the potty--but that last, highly crucial step was made impossible. When I whipped down his pants, you see, a giant poo rolled down the leg of his shorts, bounced off my shin, and landed right on the top of my foot.

I was like, "OH!" and "NO!" and "HAVE SOME MERCY!"

And James, my sweet little level-headed James, said, "It's otay Mom. I hewp you cween dis up."

And help he did. Before I knew it, James had picked up the messy underpants, plopped them into the toilet, and flushed them away to the municipal sewer system.

I stood there. Speechless. Jaw hanging. Imagining the plumber's invoice.

James on the other hand, offered me a very happy smile. His shoulders were scrunched up around his chin and he bobbed back and forth from his heels to his tip-toes.

"Mom," he shyly muttered, "I hewped. I fwushed my Sponch Bob undawoos down the toy-wet!"

I watched in silence as his smile faded, his lips began to quiver, and tears suddenly spurted from his eyes.

"I fwushed my Sponch Bob undawoos and I well not see dem again. Oh Mom....I AM SO SAD! I AM SO SO SAD....DAY ES GONE!!!!!!"

I was sad, too. Sad about the state of my plumbing system. Sad that there was a pile of poo sitting on my foot. Sad that there was a spot of pee on my fresh, clean carpet. And sad to see my kid so sad.
Well, thank goodness Target stays open until 10 o'clock, because now we have four brand new pair of Sponge Bob underpants to flush away.

Pop Quiz

June 19, 2008

I sure hope you've been paying attention to this blog, because today I'm giving you a pop quiz.

Good luck.

Question 1.
This is a photo of our property line. Please identify which side of the yard belongs to Amy & Jared, and which side of the yard belongs to George & Marion.

Question 2.
Carefully study the three images below. Then determine if the photo was taken in Amy & Jared's yard or George & Marion's yard.

Question 3.
This is a photo of Amy & Jared's and George & Marion's backyards. Please indicate whether Amy & Jared's yard is in the foreground or the background of the picture.

Honestly, was it too hard?

My Friend Jen

June 17, 2008

Every now and again I feel the strong and sudden urge to write a tribute to a friend, and today is one of those days. I'm willing to bet a million-and-ten bucks that after you read this post, you'll wish that Jen was your friend, too.

Jennifer and I went to UMaine together, fell out of touch, and six years later we randomly found ourselves living two blocks apart in a town that has no traffic light. What are the chances?

We have a highly unique friendship as Jen is my Yin and I am her Yang. Here's why:

1) I'm a Mormon, Jen is an ex-Mormon. But we're both fluent in Mocabulary (Mormon + vocabulary = Mocabulary), so we can have some really great conversations.

For example: Oh my heck, I'm really excited that the Relief Society chorister and the Second Counselor in the Bishopric are getting sealed in St. George on Saturday. They're having a reception in the Cultural Hall next weekend, and I bought them matching CTR t-shirts for a gift.

See? Most of you have no frigging clue what I'm talking about. But my friend Jen? She knows.

2) I'm a hopeless gardener, but I swear up and down that Jen has a touch of carrot DNA flowing through her veins. I have a yard with a garden, Jennifer does not. Consequently, Jennifer has become my "hippy on call" and I have a beautiful vegetable garden to show for it. When neighbors stop to ask for tips on growing broccoli, I give them Jen's cell phone number. She's fine with that.

3) I lost my greyhound and Jen found my greyhound. I made her some bacon as a thank-you gift.

4) Jen is a very cautious eater. I am not. I make her try new things like avocados, mangoes, grapefruit, gooseberries and tabouli. Sometimes she likes my food and sometimes she doesn't, but despite our differences we do share a common passion for Twinkies, ice cream, Oreos, etc.

5) Jennifer doesn't own a TV. I can watch the home shopping network until my eyes melt out of their sockets. We still haven't really settled that one.

6) Jen knits her own socks. I buy my socks in a 42-pack from KMart. She's trying to teach me to knit my own clothing, but it's not panning out so well. Last I checked, it's completely unlawful to walk around town wearing nothing but a wool purse and a half-finished hat.

7) Jen clearly annunciates her Ts, Ds, and Ns. I just like to swear a lot.

Jen is a passionate, dedicated educator. I'm still a little foggy on what I do for work. She reads the classics, I read gab mags. But somehow, somehow, it just works out. She may be oil and I may be vinegar, but seriously, between the two of us we make one kick-ass vinaigrette.

See? Aren't you a little bit jealous?

Childhood Journals: Part Two

June 16, 2008

In honor of Gracie's safe return home, I'd like to post another childhood journal entry.

In sifting through my stack of old notebooks, I quickly realized that my penchant for inappropriateness extended far beyond my kindergarten year and well into the second grade. You'll notice that my captions, illustrations, and--um--understanding of the human anatomy had progressed a great deal in a three year span.

In 1985, my repertoire consisted mainly of boobies, nude animals, and bikinis. By '88 I had moved on to the almighty set o' schnuts.

Even I'm a bit thrown off by this illustration. I honestly don't recall learning anything about the family jewels until 'Puberty Movie Day' in fifth grade. I do, however, have a vague memory of my classmate Antonio helping me draw the accessories.

CAPTION: April fools day is when people play jokes on other people. Last year I said there was a mouse in the cellar. Then my dad ran down stairs in his underwear. Then I said April Fools Day!

Good News!

June 15, 2008

After twelve long hours of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, Gracie has been found.


I'll post the details later....but in the mean time, thank you, thank you, thank you for the kind thoughts.

Gracie is Lost

June 15, 2007

Gracie slipped out the back door around midnight and we haven't seen her since. She has never been allowed off-leash, has a brain the size of a walnut, and is an all-around bad candidate for being lost in the woods of Maine.

Fortunately she's microchipped.

Unfortunately she's not wearing tags. I recently bought her a new, pink collar and hadn't switched them over yet. Please call me an idiot in the comments. And if we run into each other in town, slug me in the gut. I deserve it.

I've been up all night searching and I'm worried sick. I've also experienced brief bouts of hysteria.

Please keep your fingers, toes, and paws crossed that she makes it home safely.


June 13, 2008

I'm having one of those weeks where I just want to ball myself up in Mrs. Butterworth's lap and let her twirl my hair into teeny-tiny knots. She would tell me stories about farm animals and muffins and syrup-making, and I would tell her all about my estimated quarterly tax payment that's due on Monday. I'd ramble on about the contractor who installed the wrong carpet in Jared's office, the woman who forgot to cut me a paycheck before her week-long vacation to Cape Cod, and my leaky front window. Then, when I had exhausted my list of concerns, she'd pull an unopened bag of mini-marshmallows out from under her apron and feed them to me one by one by one.

Yes, it's true. I fantasize about cuddling with Mrs. Butterworth.

And Big Bird.

And Bill Cosby.

And Dr. Oz from the Oprah Show.

Cut me a break you guys, it's been a really long week.

Fraternal Hubcaps

June 11, 2008

I live in a town without a stop light. But what we lack in traffic signals we make up for in lakes, ponies-for-sale, and hubcaps. Yes, that's correct. Hubcaps.

Every morning, as I drive to my office, I pass a mobile home on the right side of the road with a pile of hubcaps so large that it could literally fill the single-wide trailer three times over.

The first time I saw the pile, I was driving with a very well-mannered coworker. She glared at the large metallic mountain, raised a nostril in disgust and limply pointed with her pinkie as she uttered, " disgusting. I wish the town would do something about that slob."

I've made it my personal policy to never lie with my lips, so I offered up a flat smile and nodded my head in sympathetic, albeit fake, agreement. Because honestly, I thought the pile was pretty neat. I sort of wanted to update my tetanus shot and swim around in it for a minute or two.

You see, for the past 365 days I've been driving a Toyota wagon with two missing hubcaps. Before you scoff at the appearance of my automobile, go ahead and answer me this: Do you have any idea how expensive those suckers are? I replaced each of the hubcaps one time, promptly lost the replacements, and completely abandoned all hope.

I hadn't planned on regaining a sparkle of hope until my husband started collecting forty-million bucks annually, but I can't lie, that single-wide trailer rekindled my flame.

It took a few months, but last week I finally worked up the guts to stop on my way home from work and ask the property owner about hubcap pricing. I took a deep breath, applied blinker, and pulled into the U-shaped driveway.

The property owner was a very pleasant, middle-aged man. He evaluated the condition of my wheels, approached my car window and said, "Welp. I ain't got a thang that matches."

"Oh," I replied, trying to mask the disappointment in my voice.

He shouted over his shoulder as he disappeared into the pile..."But I do got some sets of two that would look nice on yer car."

He emerged a few moments later carrying four sets of two. One set was obviously emblazoned with the Buick emblem. Another set had a lot of spokes, and appeared to belong on a Lincoln Town Car. I didn't pay much attention to the last two sets. Instead, I interrupted the man in the middle of his sales pitch and said, "This is a Toyota, none of those hubcaps match my car."

"That's true," he said. "But yer missing both hubcaps on the passenger side of yer ve-hicle. You can replace 'em with anything you want."

I offered him a long, silent, confused stare.

"No one can see both sides of yer car at the same time, Ma'am. You cin put different ones on this side. As long as they match front 'n back, yer all set!"

"Oooohhhhh," I replied, giving the man an honest smile. "Let me talk to my husband about it, and I'll be back."

My goodness, the man was right. What's the big deal if I have late-model Toyota hubcaps on the driver's side of my car and 1986 Buick Regal hubcaps on the passenger's side?

Well, if I do it my husband says he'll leave me. I guess that's the big deal.

Potty Training Update

June 10, 2008

Jared and I received a note from James's daycare provider yesterday afternoon. When I read the note I instantly felt the blood drain out of my face and had a very strange tingling sensation in all of my appendages. Jared, on the other hand, nodded his head in a smug, approving sort of way and mouthed the word "Awesome" over and over again.

The note read:

Amy & Jared,
I thought I should let you know that James has been pulling down his pants and peeing on the playground in front of all the other friends. When I ask him about it he tells me that it's cool to pee outside. I don't mind, but I thought you should know.

I wrote back:

I'm so embarrassed that I think I want to die. My husband taught James that it's "manly" to pee in the woods. I'm guessing that James is having a hard time distinguishing between wooden trees and wooden playground equipment--but trust me, we're working on it. I've talked to James and Jared both. James will apologize to all of the friends today, and Jared is setting up his new apartment in our storage room.

I'll let this one slide, but if James ever decides to drop his drawers and pee in the Target parking lot I'm moving somewhere tropical. Without the boys.

Kindergarten Journals: Part 1

June 8, 2008

I had a bit of a sad trip to Connecticut this past weekend. My parents, you see, have sold my childhood home to a man with the last name "Wiener" and it's my job to pretend to be okay with that. My father is so emotional about the sale, that the mere sight of a footlong hotdog will bring him close to tears. So I've been acting as my dad's emotional rock. In other words, I've been telling lots and lots of wiener jokes.

While I was sadly sorting through a stack of boxes in the attic on Saturday, my mood was quickly lightened when I found a stack of childhood journals that I referred to in a post a couple of days ago. They were even more risque and fabulous than I had previously remembered.

I'm happy to say that there is no shortage of my 5-year-old nudie drawings, so I'll spread them out over the next few weeks.

And now, without further delay, I present you with solid evidence that I haven't changed much since 1985.

Exhibit A:

This is a drawing of my friend Judy. According to the caption, she is naked in her Halloween costume. Judy's parents must have been on a budget that year.

Exhibit B:

This drawing is a little more difficult to make out, as it incorporates crayon and pencil illustration. The caption reads, "The lady is going to have a baby and she's crying. She's naked. She's crying." For a five-year-old, I'd say I summed up childbirth pretty well.

On the left side of the page you can see a OB/GYN happily reaching above the cabinets for a pot of boiling water. On the right side of the page you'll find the patient: a sad woman in labor, with a rockin' set of purple tee-tees.

In the last twenty years, I have switched from paper to the computer, but other than that, my journalistic style has never ever wavered.

Stuck. Still Stuck.

June 4, 2008

I recently received an email from a nice reader named Dave who is 'getting kind of tired of all the pictures and videos of James.' Apparently he wants more stories, more writing, and more Sharpie-drawn illustrations of my sensitive, embarrassing moments.

Well Dave, let's make a deal. Today I'll post THREE videos of my kid. But to make it up to you, next time I experience childbirth I'll illustrate the whole thing for you with my trusty Sharpie marker. Sound good?

And besides, James is like the cutest 42 pound creature on the planet. Seems like you might need glasses. Or a brain transplant. Or a heart.

Anywho, without further hesitation, here are three thirty second videos of James. Please be sure to watch them in sequence. And as always, please ignore the mess, the unpainted trim work, and my voice.

What he lacks in guts, he makes up for in whining power. Right?

Another Near Death Experience

June 2, 2008

It's official. My mother-in-law is trying to kill me.

You may or may not recall my post on May 8th entitled Near Death Experience. It recapped my very unfortunate experience with my mother-in-law's bathroom, a feisty hemorrhoid, and a poorly placed container of Lysol wipes. She came darn close to doing me in that time, but holy heart attack, she came a whole lot closer last night. I never should have trusted her when she sweetly uttered the words, “Have a seat on the porch swing, Amy. Really, have a seat.”

Well, I did have a seat on the porch swing—and about four minutes later I had a very painful seat on a triangle shaped rock, which makes me think: Maybe Meredith's not trying to kill me dead, maybe she just has an issue with my buttocks-region. And believe you me, if that woman ever decides to buy me a 12-pack of cotton briefs I'm throwing them over my shoulder and running the opposite direction. The last thing I need are 12 pairs of 'factory reject' underpants with Brillo pads 'accidentally' sewn into the crotch.

That's right Meredith, I'm totally onto you.

Yesterday afternoon, we spent some time at the in-law's house. James and his cousins were riding their bikes in the driveway while a few of the adults watched from the front porch. As more and more grownups filtered onto the porch I graciously gave up my sturdy seat in a rocking chair for a somewhat questionable seat on the porch swing.

I should note that this was only the second time in five years that I had the courage to sit on that quaint little swing. It's always looked sort of rickety and fragile to me—like if I ate one too many chicken nuggets the whole thing would come crashing down. But I chose to live by faith rather than fear (mistake number one), sat down, and chatted with the family as I cautiously swung back and forth.

A minute or two later, James and his cousin Carson barreled up onto the porch, crawled onto the swing and insisted that we go higher. Never wanting to miss the opportunity to claim my spot as 'the favorite aunt' we swung a little harder. And a little faster. And a little higher.

And then, as the chains broke loose from the porch ceiling we were swinging just about as high as you can get on one of those things.

The next few seconds were a complete blur, but I was snapped back into the present when I realized there was a rock up my bum, I was pig-piled under two little boys, and my skirt was bunched up around my waist. On a side note, I have gained a steadfast testimony of the old advice to 'always wear a clean pair of underwear.' Because seriously, you never know when your father-in-law is going to see 'em.

I made sure the boys were okay, and they were fine. Luckily they were still wearing their bicycle helmets. I, on the other hand, was not wearing protective body wear of any type. I came away with a bloody head, two big bumps above my eye, some double vision, and a bruise on my hip that's the size of Minneapolis.

I do have a few nasty pictures of the bruise, but you're only allowed to see them if we're related, we're real-life friends, or you're willing to pay me a-hundred-and-ten bucks.

And seriously, don't worry about me. I'm fine. You know what they always say... “There's nothing like a six-foot fall to cap off a lovely spring weekend!”

Or maybe that's the mild concussion talking.