Monday, February 27, 2012

My latest!

Good news! My main editor (and amazing woman), Theresa Katalinas, of the Hatboro Patch, wrote to me over the weekend. Apparently, they like me - they really like me. (You are now free to go & hurl)  Anyway, I'm being picked up in four more cities. Hopefully, I'm catching the attention of the higher ups at Patch. We'll see. I guess it could be wishful thinking. Keep your fingers crossed!

To see it live on the site, go to:

Sticking to My List (Maybe)

My friend, Ann, said that she went to the store for chips and milk, but ended up spending $120. It started a whole discussion from several women who reported the same thing. I can’t tell you how happy I was to know that I’m not the only woman to suffer from this condition.
I excel in keeping a list of things we’ve run out of; I even bought neon-colored paper so that the list would be noticeable. I’m proud to say I have rarely left the house without it. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t taking it; it’s keeping it and sticking to the items on it.
After watching TLC’s “Extreme Couponing,” I decided my next trip to the grocery store was going to be well-planned and thought out. My goal was to collect and clip coupons to put in an organizer. I resolved to go through grocery stores’ flyers to determine which store had the most sales to match the coupons I had.
I also planned to eat a good breakfast, because you should never go to the grocery store hungry. I’d then gather my list, coupons, check book and head out the door to reap the benefits of thrifty coupon savings.
Sadly, here’s what actually happened.
I woke up late because I’d been on Facebook until 2 a.m. I wish I could report that my friends and I were discussing something important, like brokering peace in the Middle East. Sadly, our discussion was about the best restaurant within a 30-mile radius. The talk of food reminded me that I hadn’t checked the weekly circulars, but I figured I could do it before my trip the next day.
Regrettably, I hadn’t taken into account that I would be running late. By the time I was dressed, checked my emails and touched base with my Facebook pals, it was almost 1 p.m. Frantically, I tried to locate the local sales flyers but they were already lining the ferret’s cage.
Instead of clipping coupons as I’d planed, I’d gotten distracted by photos of animals up for adoption at a new animal shelter. I knew I could go online to get some, but a quick glance at my watch told me that I needed to get going if we were going to have something to eat that didn’t revolve around Girl Scout cookies, canned soup, and stale bread.
I grabbed my list, checked to be sure my wallet was in my purse, when I realized I hadn’t eaten anything. Not wanting to break my cardinal rule of going to the store hungry (yeah, THAT’S the rule I won’t break), I grabbed a handful of Thin Mints and a bottle of water. I figured that if doughnuts were considered breakfast food, Thin Mints would do in a pinch.
First up, the produce section. As I was buying peppers and onions, I noticed that strawberries were buy one, get one free. Not wanting to pass that bargain up, I put them in my cart.
I passed the salad bar on my way to the deli for lunch meat when I noticed they had marinated mozzarella and tomatoes. I’d planned to have spaghetti with salad for dinner that night; what could be a more perfect addition than mozzarella? I scooped out a container and added that to my cart.
I got to the canned goods aisle, and suddenly realized I couldn’t find my bright pink list. I rifled through the items in my cart, but it was nowhere to be found. I stood there with my mouth agape, staring at can after can, knowing that among them was something I needed. Since I use a lot of canned goods, I reasoned that I’d buy things that I normally use and loaded my cart. Aisle after aisle, I stared at hundreds of products, not remembering what was on my list but throwing items in the cart.
Over at the meats section, turkey breast was on sale, which my family loves no matter what time of the year. I grabbed a few, and then remembered that I’d better get stuffing. I turned around and got that. But what if I didn’t have time to make gravy? I went down that aisle and grabbed a jar or two. I started to head back to get the ground beef and sausage we needed for that night’s spaghetti sauce, when I remembered cranberries. I went back after them as well.
Nearing the frozen goods section, there was a nice lady handing out micro-waved samples of some type of bagel pizza. My stomach had begun to growl, so I gladly accepted the free sample and accompanying coupon. Thinking it was pretty good for frozen pizza, and justifying it because it came with a coupon, I tossed a few boxes in the cart.
By the time I headed to check out, it was almost 3:30 and my cart was so full I was concerned it would tip over when rounding corners. I got my wallet out of my purse, and realized I had used the last check at the dentist and forgot to replenish it. I had to use my credit card, knowing Matt’s head would explode once he saw the bill.
I got home and began to put my haul away, when I spotted it – my bright pink grocery list; it was wedged under the marinated mozzarella. I couldn’t bring myself to go through it, as I was fairly sure there wasn’t anything on it I didn’t blindly buy.
Later, as I begin to assemble ingredients for that nights’ dinner, I realized that I had, in fact, failed to buy the most important ingredient and the main reason I’d gone to the store in the first place: Spaghetti.
Thank goodness for microwave bagel pizza.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can you dress your teen?

I'm updating this website to include my most recent articles. Thankfully, I'm doing well in all the cities that are carrying my drivel. Here's my latest, which I originally titled, "Can you Dress your Teen?" It ran, however, as, "Has your teen revoked your cool card?" You decide!

This is the photo that ran with the story in 7 cities. It's of Boy.

If you are the proud owner of a teen type, then I’m not telling you anything new. Your “cool card” has been irrefutably revoked. In fact, your teens don’t think that there was ever a time in your life when you were cool. I tried telling them that their mom used to sing in a rock band; they all laughed really hard.

Boy asked if it was back when the Rolling Stones were just Drifting Pebbles.

Nowhere is your nonexistent grasp on the pulse of all things cool more glaring than when it comes to clothes. Suddenly, I’ve turned into Grandma Moses and my outfits belong to someone from Little House on the Prairie.

Apparently, I shouldn’t even be allowed to dress a mannequin for long storage in the attic.

I remember, fondly, when they were little and I would buy their little wardrobes. For the girls, if it was pink or yellow, had sequins and/or tulle, or was adorned by a smiling Disney Princess, it was worthy to be worn. Heck, sometimes they’d squeal with delight.

For Boy, if it was cowboy boots, had a cape, some type of belt that was capable of holding a light saber, a sword, a Power Rangers blaster or any combination thereof, he’d wear it. And, if it had Spiderman’s signature web slinging design emblazoned anywhere on it, he was thrilled. I actually have a picture of him wearing his cowboy hat and boots; and nothing else. I often taunt him with empty threats (and he knows it) that I plan to show the photo to his future girlfriends. That might explain why he won’t even watch a western anymore.

Moms are easily amused.

Fast forward to their adolescence, and I was able to purchase a limited amount of clothing with some hope that they might wear it. I refer to that period as the Land Before Teen Time.

Now that they’re almost fully cooked humans, or as they prefer to be called, teens, buying them anything without them standing next to you is an exercise in futility. It doesn’t matter that they picked out an almost identical thing; according to them, there were glaring differences between the one I’d picked and the one they had. You know, something huge, like a stripe being 1/36th of an inch wider on the one I was holding.

Knowing all of this, I’m calling what happened last week, “Miracle at Kohl’s in the Land After Teen Time”.

I had an appointment and afterwards, I toddled over to Kohl’s; one of my favorite places to experience Nirvana. When they have a big sale, I don’t even have to pick up the paper to alert me. My Kohl’s spidey senses begin to tingle and won’t stop until I’m basking in the glow of clearance merchandise.

I walked in the store, and the first thing that caught my eye was the men’s clearance rack; a hoodie that I knew my son had been looking for was before my eyes. I shook my head as I went over to the rack to touch it, fearing it was some type of “mom”tical illusion. Nothing has ever been that easy in my life. Rack after glorious rack held clothes that I was almost sure Boy would love.

And at 80% off the original price; then an extra 20% off that price. I was absolutely giddy.

After several hours, I took my treasure and headed for the register. As the sales lady was checking me out, she remarked that I had good taste. When I confided that Boy was very picky and modeled his look after GQ magazine, she shared that her son would wear anything she brought home.

I was torn between being extremely jealous or telling her that she was like a Goddess to me. The jealous side was winning that argument, so not wanting to hiss and meow, I kept my mouth shut

On the way home, and out of the glorious spell that is Kohl’s, I began to get nervous. Visions of my GQ son examining what I’d spent so much time to pick out began to go through my head. He’s a good kid, and he would never say anything to me other than thank you. But after he’d modeled the clothes, they would disappear to the back of his closet, never to be seen again.

I got home, called for the boy and held my breath. As he picked up each piece, he seemed genuinely happy. In fact, he immediately put the hoodie that had started the quest on his very own person. I was wary as he continued, but to my surprise, the words, “good job, mom” continued to flow from his mouth. I was in mommy heaven.

I know that this was a fluke, and that the odds are I’ll never pick out another piece of clothing that Boy will consider wearable. But for that one day, I was the Queen of the Garment Quest; or, Queen of GQ. That will stay with me forever. Another part of me is hopeful that I’ve entered into a new era with my kids; one where my cool card has been stamped and returned to me.

Did I mention that Moms are also eternally optimistic?

The Curious Case of the Brunette Lucy

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