Friday, March 11, 2016


Turns out, an at home DNA test isn't a good baby shower gift.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Summer's Coming - Ugh.

There’s Cherokee blood in my family, but I didn’t inherit my dad’s skin tone. In fact, I’m so white, I glow in the dark. Having been told that too much sun is bad for you, I avoid sunlight like a vampire. Still, I want to look tanned, and have at least some resemblance of my heritageSo, if I can’t get it from the sun, I’m getting it myself from a bottle.

Knowing that almost every ill conceived, hair brained idea I’ve ever had came from thinking I could duplicate a professional, you’d think I’d learn.

My first foray into the world of sunless tanners left me with striped orange and white legs; I was a human version of Tony the Tiger. It took several days for the effect to finally wear off. I walked around in jeans instead of shorts in the middle of a heat wave to hide them. So much for claims such as “won’t streak” or “won’t turn you orange”. 

decided that maybe going to a professional would be the best way to go (I know, it boggles the mind that I gave up my DIY mindset). Off I went to tanning salon and paid a good amount of money to be spray tanned. They called it something like “UV free tanning” but honestly, that’s a nice way to say that like a wall, you’re getting spray painted. The professional results were nice, but in order to maintain the look, I was instructed to return every 5-6 days. That would be a pain in the butt, not to mention expensive; so that was out.

DIY was back in. Sigh.

I went online and searched for professional products to duplicate my salon experience; I stumbled upon an airbrushing system. It looked terrific, and the website crowed that it was almost the same system the salons use. Sadly, I knew there was no way to justify $1,500 so I can sport a tan. Well, I could - Matt, not so much. He’s all practical & stuff, which annoys the daylights out of me.

Then, I hit gold.

I came across something that purported to be a spray tan in a can. It, too, claimed that I would experience salon results without the expense; they backed it up with glowing recommendations & lengthy testimonials. Sadly, as you may know if you’ve read my drivel for any length of time, I believe just about anything. I placed my order for the buy one, get one free product and watched the mail like a child waiting for the ice cream truck.

When it finally came, I could almost see the clouds part and hear the angels sing. I just knew that I’d found the perfect product that would bestow a golden California tan on my milky white limbs. 

Even though I had the flu and was running a fever of 101°, I didn’t care. I was getting started right then. I pulled out the instructions, as I meant to follow every single one of them. For once.

The first step was to strip my body of previous sunless tanning product. Matt suggested we get in the hot tub, a cornucopia of chemicals that would almost surely rid my body of layers upon layers of assorted tanners. To be sure, after that, I took a shower and scrubbed, hard, with a combination of an exfoliator and a loofah. 

If the desired outcome was to be bright pink, then call me Porky. 

Next, Matt “volunteered” to be the spray painter. He explained that he could see any streaks and had a much better chance of distributing the product evenly.

Ladies, I don’t think I have to tell you this, but between us, it’s just easier to pretend we buy the load of crap they shovel our way.

I was de-tanned and scrubbed; I got into the shower and Matt began to spray. To my horror, the spray turned into little balls that streaked down my skin. Of course, I blamed Matt; I thought he didn’t shake the can hard enough. He shook it again, took aim, and sprayed. I gasped as little balls of golden tan were rolling down my legs. Over and over he sprayed but the solution kept balling up, streaking down my body like an out of control luge. I figured that the can must be defective, so I made Matt get the other bottle and try again. I was NOT giving up.

At this point, the room was so hazy, China looked like the ambassadors of clean air and the fumes could choke a horse. We could hardly see or breathe. Matt started worrying about black lung, and I was ready to kill Matt.

“Look,” I hissed, “YOU were the one who just had to spray me. Stop complaining, ya’ big baby. Besides, it won’t be black lung; it’ll be bronze. Big difference - tanned is healthy”.

What was supposed to be a quick glazing had turned into a nightmare. Matt wanted to stop, and even tried to flee the room. Seeing my face, he gave the other can a try, with the same results. The floor, walls, ceiling and shower curtain, however, were a beautiful golden brown. Even Matt had the beginnings of a beautiful tan. Brown streaks were running all over me, pooling at my feet.

I looked like an albino seal struggling to get out of an oil spill.

The next morning, I wrote an email to the company. As one would imagine, it was a complaint. Shortly after I fired off my snotty little email, I got a lovely note back from the company. A sweet girl named Janessa asked me what type of exfoliator I had used.

Turns out, the brand I used left a moisturizing layer of Vaseline; I was a human slip and slide. Not even commercial grade paint could have gotten through.


After a good sandblasting, I tried it again. To my great joy, the elusive golden brown sun goddess tan was finally mine. Well, mostly. Matt turned out to be right; when I sprayed myself, I ended up with dark patches here and there. I didn’t care, though. At least it stuck this time. And for once, I wasn’t so white that I’d be invisible in a snow storm. 

Now, if only I could remember where I got it.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Matt said the spark between us was gone. . . . so I tasered him.
I'll ask him again when he wakes up.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Don't ask me for childcare advice unless you want nuggets of wisdom like "always punch holes in the box so they can breathe." (wink)

Friday, September 5, 2014

More password problems.

My AOL account was hacked, which is rich when you consider that I have NO idea what the password was. To make things even more enjoyable, Matt bought me an awesome new computer that I'm still trying to learn cause it has Windows 8.1 (which is the epitome of joy when I barely figured out Windows 7 - but still the computer is really awesome). I had to go thru a bunch of documents to find my master password list. Unfortunately, I must have changed the password, because the one I had written on the master password list didn't work. Then I had to reset the stupid thing, which required me to log into my Gmail account - but I couldn't remember the password for that account.

To make things even more fun, Matt told me that the new computer was coming in soon, and reminded me that it was going to have the new version of Windows. So, there I sat for most of 2 days, watching youTube videos, reading articles (many of them how to make the new windows look like the old windows), and trying to get as informed as I could before the anticipated arrival of a computer that was built in this decade. And then it came in & the Heavens parted while angels sang Hallelujah; we got it out of the packaging & Matt set it up. However, the screen looked nothing like the screens I'd spent so much time studying.

Turns out, Matt meant Windows 8.1 - I had been studying Windows 8.0 which was a very, very different animal.

Shoot . . . . me . . . . . now.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Texting - ugh.

There’s nerds, dorks, and geeks. I’m all of them in one; I’m a Nerdorgeek. Actually, I’m the Queen of Nerdorgeeks. While many think that implies being technically savvy, it doesn’t always. It also means those who have absolutely no prowess when it comes to any type of grasp on the technological pulse.

Still, that hasn’t stopped me from diving into the hi-tech pool head first without stopping to notice there’s no water. Some of my many faux pas have to do with learning the shorthand language of texting and emailing. And, like a lot my blunders, things usually start or have something to do with my minions; or, as others might refer to them, my children.

Texting and emailing proved to be no different.

The kids’ “phone” plan (I put phone in quotation marks because they don’t use them to talk to anyone) had minimal amounts of actual air time, and unlimited texting. They made me crazy because when I called them they’d be mad that I was using up their minutes. They had a point, as Matt and I make them pay for their own plans. Still, I couldn’t resist noting that they wasted at least 30 of their precious seconds every time I called to remind me that I’m wasting their seconds. This usually results in another wasted 30 seconds of them complaining that I pointed that out, which makes me giggle.

I’m hoping that other parents will think that’s funny. In order to survive our kids, we have to have a sense of humor, mixed with a tiny streak of evil and a heaping helping of being easily amused. Either that or I’m going straight to hell.

At first, I didn’t see what they saw in typing on tiny keyboards. Then, one night, we were watching a movie and the girls spent half the show texting. I asked who in the world they were texting. They were writing private messages back and forth to each other. Part of me thought they were being rude. But the other part knew that if my sister, Jill, and I had that ability growing up, we’d be texting each other every minute as well. And probably doing the same thing my kids were - laughing at our parents.

As for my cell, I’d always had a decent-sized clam shell flip top phone, and liked it very much. Then a few years ago, it died and I was introduced to the world of Blackberry. Sadly, we never became good friends. No matter how many emails they sent, crowing about all the things I could do with it, I wasn’t impressed. As far as I was concerned, I needed it for one thing. Phone calls.

The kids, on the other hand, were thrilled since now they had a reason to force me to text them. I looked at the miniature keyboard and (correctly) saw nothing but trouble ahead.

At first, I had no idea what they were saying when the first flurry of texts came through. They use abbreviations, or, texting shorthand. I told them that I didn’t understand much of what they were writing, but they insisted that I join the 21st century, and learn them. Once, Aubrie sent me a message with several abbreviations, but I had no earthly idea what she was talking about.

I knew that Elyse was in her room, so I called up the stairs, “What do “IDR, LYL, and TTYL” mean?” She yelled back, “I don’t remember, love you lots, talk to you later”. So I said, “Oh, OK, I’ll ask Aubrie when she gets home.”

I thought Elyse was going to hurt herself, she was laughing so hard.

Another time, I had to send some bad news to several members of the family. Matt saw the message and asked why I thought it was funny. I was confused. He pointed to the “LOL” I’d put at the end of the message, and said, “That means laughing out loud.” I had thought it meant lots of love.

I spent the rest of that afternoon on the phone calling everyone who received the email.

It’s been a few years, and I’m getting the hang of texting. Well, when I have my reading glasses handy; which isn’t all that often. Still, we homeschooled the kids, so we’re all pretty adept at deciphering odd messages – for the most part.

What the kids don’t know, however, is that since I hate texting, I figured out a way to get them to call me. I start punching random letters and spaces and hit “send.” The phone usually rings in less than a minute with a kid saying, “Mom, what the heck are you talking about?”

And every once in a while, my inner evil streak rears its head as I answer, “IDR.” It’s good to be Queen.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Down the Shore

For the almost 26 years I’ve been a member of the very large Kells family, we’ve vacationed together in Ocean City, NJ, over an extended Mother’s Day weekend. We'd all get down there on a Thursday, and stay until Sunday or Monday; pretty much inhabiting an entire floor of the resort.

Perhaps the word “inhabit” is a bit tame. Take a loud Polish/Irish Catholic family, throw in some beer & other assorted alcohol, house them in cramped quarters, & let's just say that things can get pretty rowdy.

Occasionally, an errant family had the misfortune to be wedged in a room between our very vocal clan. We just did what Star Trek's master race, the “Borg”, would do and assimilated them; it was the only humane thing to do. Besides, resistance would have been futile.

Something that has plagued our Mother's Day vacation almost every year has been rain. Not just any rain, a passing shower, or even a thunderstorm. I'm talking about torrential, coming down sideways, build an ark type of rain. Of course, on the day we're scheduled to leave, the sun comes out accompanied by perfect 80 degree weather and a balmy breeze.

One year, however, we watched in awe as a forecaster promised a sunny weekend.  Not willing to get our hopes up, we still packed our ponchos, umbrellas, and assorted ark building supplies. To our great surprise, the weather held. We walked around as dumbfounded as Pavarotti at a rap concert. We were convinced, however, that a freak monsoon, complete with a tsunami, was on its way.

To our utter amazement, the monsoon blew in on the day we left. For once.

Having so many people gathered in one area, we've had a few “incidents” over the years. But nothing beats the time that fire played a starring role during our vacation.

As a result of the ever present rain, every time we'd come back to the condo, we'd be soaked. Due to the lack of laundry facilities, we'd often turn to my mother-in-law, Gretchen, who is a highly skilled oven-drying virtuoso. After the kids would peel their clothes off, she'd have them dried in no time.

One afternoon, my daughter, Elyse, came home drenched. Unfortunately, she couldn't find Gretchen. So, she stuck her favorite pair of jeans in the oven and began the drying process. The only thing was, being a novice, she put the jeans directly on the heating element. Then, to speed the drying time, she turned the oven on to 450 degrees.

Thankfully, the room came equipped with a fire extinguisher.

The fireball was doused in short order, but Elyse's jeans were no more. Sadly, that wasn't our only brush with fire that particular weekend.

Two days after we'd checked in, we met our neighbor, Roseanne. She seemed pleasant enough; at first.  We never saw her during the daytime after our original meeting, though. The few rays of sun peeking through the clouds must have been toxic for her; or maybe they made her shimmer.

But when the sun went down, she turned into Katie Couric on crack; up all hours of the night entertaining quite the variety of visitors. We knew this because her door was constantly being slammed open or closed. And for some reason, she didn't seem to like her apartment in the evening hours, as the shared hallways held some odd fascination for her and her plethora of drunk, obnoxious friends.

None of them seemed to have a decent grasp of the English language, either. I have never heard curse words strung together with such stunning consistency, gleeful abandon and utter ignorance of all the other non-offensive words in the English language in my many years. I kind of felt sorry for all the other verbs, nouns, and adjectives that must have died from neglect within their limited vocabulary.

But I digress.

One evening after dinner, I smelled something. It smelled like fire, which of course I'd just smelled the day before following the oven drying/burning incident. Sadly, I’ve also lit our home kitchen on fire a few times - I'm becoming a connoisseur of the scent.

I looked out our window and discovered that our neighbor (who we'd taken to calling various names, such as Elvira) had brought along her hibachi. Problem was, she didn't seem to be knowledgeable of the correct (and safe) way to get the coals going.

I say that because the hibachi appeared to be engulfed in fire; white hot flames were leaping to the second floor. Although I'm no expert, I'm guessing that the reason for the fireball may have involved copious amounts of lighter fluid - the acrid smell was a bit of a give away. Add to that the fact that under normal circumstances, throwing a shrimp on the barbie doesn't require the services of the fire department, and you get why I suspected lighter fluid's involvement.

To my dismay, Vampira was no where in sight – probably because it was still light out. Not wanting to be marshmallows in our neighbor's bonfire, I began packing furiously. Matt and several others were battling to keep the fire contained, and thankfully, were successful.

Blessedly, the fire department didn't have to come out after all and no one was hurt. We couldn't help but remark that this just had to be the only clear day of the vacation.

And that's when God proved He has a sense of humor; dark clouds gathered and rain came teeming down.

Thankfully, the next few days passed by uneventfully. True to form, the little rainstorm that began after we'd successfully avoided being the main course at the Princess of Darkness' cook out lingered. We also had a lightning storm, but it was a breathtaking sight as it lit up the ocean.

Turns out, God's also an amazing artist.

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy
She was pretty dumb.