Pockets

My name is Carmen Maria Hernandez, and I am NOT a recovering iPhone addict.

* Step 1 – I admit I am powerless over iProducts – BUT my life has become more manageable because of them.

Even as we speak, or read, I am using my iPhone memo app to write this post in the bathroom, my second office.

The bathroom is probably a commonplace for iPhone, iPad or other smart-device use; however, my usage doesn’t stop there.

I take my iPhone everywhere. I lay it on the counter closest to the shower; thankfully, I have the Life-proof case, so I can answer in the event of an emergency. In my car, it is in the cup-holder, charging or readily accessible on the door sill, where I also keep my menudo (pocket change). At work, it’s on my desk, or in my pocket. At the gym, it is in my hand throughout my cardio; I go to my cubby in between sets and hit the home button, just itching for a notification. I generally wear clothing with pockets to ensure I can keep my phone on me at all times; I am also a Levi’s 535 Legging Jeans ADDICT. I suffer when I have to wear a dress, skirt, or other apparel than does not have pockets. And, unfortunately, I don’t have breasts big enough to stash my phone in my bra. It would be all phone.

I never stray more than 10 feet away from it, or I start beeping like a portable phone that’s too far from it’s base. It is my pacemaker. I check it no less than every 10 minutes for updates in email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WordPress, and so on. Those little red circles and white numbers in the corners of an app are an instant energy boost.

I am taking the first step—admitting I have a problem. I normally don’t point out problems, unless I have some sort of plausible solution. In this case, I don’t know that I WANT to have a solution.

Unless… I can surgically attach the iPhone to my wrist!

* Step 2 – Come to believe that a Power greater than the iProducts could restore me to sanity.

Wait, there is something GREATER than the iPhone?!?!?!

My husband thinks I have a problem. His solution is to delete Facebook, and all the other social media apps, that keep me replying ,”uh huh, yea, ok” in many unattended conversations. But mainly, he just refrains from social media use of any type.

He DOES NOT want to know if so and so is “In a relationship” or if “It’s complicated”. He does not want to deal with the emotional ramifications of being unfriended on Facebook, muted on twitter, or unfollowed on Instagram.

He does not wish to “like” a status about so and so checking in at Flannigans; or get unsolicited reminders to download Candy Crush. He does not want that random friend request message,”Oh my God. I haven’t seen you in years!”

Yea? There’s a reason for that.

He does not want to Tumble through pics and clips of Lebron dunking, although he loves that; hot chicks in panties, although he loves that, too; nor far away exotic bungalows overlooking a crystalline sea that he dreams about, but most probably will never travel to.

He does not care about Lil Wayne’s latest tweet, Rihanna’s raunchy pics, or a clever retweet of what some Grumpy Cat wannabe said.

You may be wondering what he does do with his iPhone???

Well, he does make and receive phone calls and texts…sparingly. He is anti, social media; but, probably, a little anti-social, as well. Think one word responses, and, in some instances, grumbling and mumbling. I love him to death, but sometimes it’s like listening to someone and not knowing if they answered you in Spanish or English because your brain could not process a single sound? #MiamiProblems

He also checks the occasional email, and plays Dice with Buddies regularly.

Oh, and he does stay up to the minute on the latest headlines with the CNN app. So, he gets some points for that.

Don’t misunderstand me. My husband is by no means lacking in intelligence, joy, or the desire for innovation. He just does not waste any time on “an electronic tracking device” (his words verbatim) disguised as a tool for social growth or acceptance. Yes, there are useful and educational apps, but let’s face it, we do spend a good majority of the time checking status updates.

My husband can probably go two days without charging his phone, while I can’t go two hours.

So, who is right?

In any case, I suppose extremes are bad either way.

And here I am, 6% battery left on my iPad, and I’m suffering because the charging cable is not long enough for me to charge and type.

Better wrap it up.

* Step 3 – Make a decision to turn my will and life over to the care of God as I understand Him.

Now, that one I can check off as a given.

——–

This post is in no way meant to belittle the struggle with alcoholism or poke fun at Alcoholics Anonymous. I believe alcoholism is a serious issue, specifically, more and more in today’s youth.

The actual first three steps to recovery from alcoholism are:

* Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.

* Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

* Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.

The 12 Steps

This is a recent AA story I read by Roger Ebert.

Coconuts

This is not my usual type of post. But I was inspired by an incident at the office.

Enjoy.

Sabrina was running late, as usual. She passed the Stanley Steamer crew who’d been cleaning the offices for the past week, without even a good morning nod. In her rush to get to her desk before her boss noticed her latest tardiness, she tripped over a brown box by the door. She managed to catch herself, but still spilled coffee all over her jacket, and the freshly cleaned carpeting.

Perfect, I’m late and I ruined the carpet!

Linda, didn’t budge to help, but muttered something in her native tongue.

“What’d you say?” Sabrina asked

“Rosetta. Stone.”

Bitch. It’s never easy working with your boss’s kid.

Linda and Ralph were watching some breaking news on her computer.

“Seven decapitated cats have been found in just the past three days. Police believe the perpetrator is a male in his late twenties. They fear these violent tendencies could manifest onto humans, and are doing everything they can to apprehend the individual, before the violence escalates. Unfortunately, there are no leads, prints, or other evidence of any kind to point them in the right direction. Authorities are asking anyone with information to call the hotline, 555-1234.

In other news, an infestation of…”

Pretty creepy, she thought as she blotted the stain with paper towels. She recalled how the police had questioned her on her way out of the house this morning.

“We’re just asking everyone in the neighborhood to be extra vigilant. Are any of your pets missing?”

“Pets? No, I live here alone.”

Alone…The word tasted bitter.

“It’s just me and my plants.” She added, realizing how much more pathetic that sounded.

She had been a little irked by the whole thing. Police had been going door to door…

A shadow towered over her.

“Coffee stain, already?”

No, “Good morning, or nice hair,” she thought.

“Yes. Sir, I…”

Ralph interjected. “It was me, sir. I apologize. I bumped into that box and spilled the coffee. I’ll pay the cleaning bill.”

Mr. Kim frowned. “Well,you did a great job of keeping your shirt clean. Sabrina, be sure to pass the bill along to Ralph.”

“Yes sir.” She said, hunching over slightly to hide the stain on her jacket.

“Ralph, come to my office. We have other matters to discuss.”

She looked at Ralph as Mr. Kim turned his back and mouthed,”Thank you”.

Linda glared at her, thinking,”You won’t be so lucky next time.”

Sabrina would pay the bill, of course, but at least she had avoided another reason for Mr. Kim to fire her. He never needed many reasons to let someone go, and Linda was no help. She had the hots for Ralph, and he was more interested in Sabrina. They had gone out on a date once, when Sabrina first started at the office. But there was nothing there, at least for her.

Forever alone, she thought. Why am I so picky? Ralph is a great guy. At least I wouldn’t be alone if I had just given him a chance.

Thinking about going home to that empty house with some creepazoid on the loose, and picturing those headless cats made her shudder.

She tossed the paper towel in the wastebasket, hung her ruined jacket on the back of her chair, and sat down at her desk.

Where’s my purse? She wondered, looking around. She had left it on top of the box, the culprit.

She lifted her bag and one of the straps pulled a flap open. The box didn’t have any labels. And, of course, Linda wasn’t paying any mind to it; too busy on Facebook. Sabrina leaned over the box and pulled back the flaps to investigate.

Hundreds of roaches squirmed all over some THING inside the box. She covered her face in horror and screamed, jumping away from the box.

Linda didn’t know what was going on, but was already standing on top of her chair, when Ralph ran into the office looking around for signs of trouble.

“What happened?”

“The box,” Sabrina cried pointing. “There are hundreds of roaches. There’s something dead in there!”

Sabrina had never been afraid of the pesky creatures, but she was disgusted at the sight of so many. And, she thought she had seen something hairy beneath the stampede of bugs.

Ralph dried his suddenly sweaty palms on the side of his pants and approached the box cautiously. He carefully grabbed the lid and threw it back. One lonely cockroach straggled out of the box. Ralph squashed it under his foot and reached into the box laughing.

“One cockroach, not hundreds; and look,” he grabbed something from inside the box and held it up to demonstrate,”Coconuts.”

Mr. Kim was peering in at the door. “Case closed, get back to work.”

Linda got down from her chair, and adjusted her skirt,”I’m going to the ladies room.”

“Geez, Sabrina. I didn’t know you had a phobia of roaches. You must really need a cup of coffee. I’ll go get you another from the break-room.”

She couldn’t speak. That hair standing on the back of your neck feeling wouldn’t go away.

Marta, the cleaning lady came in at that moment, wringing a washcloth nervously in her hands.

“I sorry,” she said in her broken English. “Agua de coco, good. Long life.”

Sabrina didn’t care what this nutcase was telling her, she just wanted that box out of her “life”.

Marta seemed to understand and placed the box on her cleaning cart.

Sabrina sat at her desk cupping her head in her hands. “Seriously. Ralph is right. Get it together!”

She started answering emails and worked on some paperwork from the day before. Made the usual calls, sent some faxes, and printed out a few reports for Mr. Kim.

She never noticed the other small roach that had crawled out of the box. It peered at her from beneath Linda’s desk.

Sooner than she expected,it was 7 o’clock. Everyone else had left at five, except for the cleaning crew who stay ’til nine. She had stayed to finish backed up work from being out sick earlier in the week.

Sabrina yawned as she shut off the lights & closed the doors behind her.

Darkness engulfed the office.

Two red beady eyes began to glow in the dark, then 6, 20, over 100. From all around the room they converged in a pile in the middle of the office, climbing and racing one on top of the other. Just then, Marta came in to dump out the wastebaskets. She didn’t hit the lights and the door closed behind her. There was a momentary shriek.

Sabrina looked into her side mirror. “Was that a scream?” In her peripheral, she saw red lights, but when she looked in the rearview, they were gone.

Nobody else had gotten off the elevator, and Marta’s car was the only other car still in the parking garage.

She shrugged her shoulders and started the car.

The next morning her car was still running in space 136. Ralph always parked next to her. He leaned forward to peer into her car through the tinted windows, and heard a tiny crushing sound.

He looked down and turned his shoe over, only to see more dead roach guts. “Damn roaches.”

He leaned forward again. This time closer to the glass as he reached for the door handle. Then stopped.

He covered his mouth and backed away from the car gasping for breath. He pushed back, sliding away against the side of his car until he was about 15 feet from Sabrina’s car.

He fumbled for his phone, and dialed.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“It’s gone.”

“I’m sorry, sir. What’s the emergency? What’s gone?”

“Her head!”

Tentacles

My son and oldest daughter drew these pictures of me.
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You may have guessed my 4 year old boy, Gaby, drew the one on the left.

“Mommy, it’s you. You have 14 legs.”

If you count, there are actually fifteen tentacles, which is good because that means I’ve got at least one arm. I look like I belong a thousand leagues under the sea. I don’t know if he’s comparing me to Ursula or Oswald. In any case, I suspect I look fat.

Sofy gave me brown hair and nice big eyelashes—those are real, by the way. I’m also wearing what appears to be a red robe. Am I a disciple? Am I late for supper?

I’d never compare my self to Jesus or even esteem myself in the same league, but you have to admit, there appears to be a biblical reference here. Mary Magdalene? Perhaps. My middle name is Maria. Interestingly enough, my daughter didn’t give me any feet at all. AND, I also have only one hand in her drawing.

Should I be concerned about these too completely contrasting images? Despite the age difference and creative development of the artists, I can’t help but read into it. On one hand, I could be pretty speedy with all those feet. I could potentially get a lot accomplished, except I’ve only got that one hand. On the other foot, (I’ve only got the one hand) I ain’t goin’ anywhere without feet. But, I do have hair, full red lips (at least a bottom lip), and a flattering red robe that was hip circa 33 AD. AGAIN with the one hand thing. I’m probably hiding candy from them in the other.

What their drawings also have in common is a big smile. Phew, that’s a relief. More often than not, I find myself rushing the kids to get dressed, or brush their teeth; scolding them for tattle taleing, biting each other, yelling or making a mess with the toys. I begin to worry they’ll think I’m always mad, at them. It’s hard to keep a happy face at the end of a strenuous workday, but they have been anxiously waiting for me to get home. And they are happily obedient, as long as I devote every waking second to them.

It’s hard to divide your attention equally with each child, so I try to read and pray with them collectively each night.

Tonight, I read them a short book about the rainforest and some of its native inhabitants. Sofy was all ears, asking questions about the animals beyond the stated facts. For the most part, I couldn’t answer, and I wouldn’t make the answers up either.

20130424-012905.jpg

Parenting Tip: Kids are like elephants. (I never quite understood this phrase so I googled it) They never forget anything you say to them, so try your best to always give them true and simple facts, and peanuts if they’re not allergic.

While I was reading about Orangutans, my youngest, Vicky kept interrupting me, “Mommy….Mommy, I’m! Not! Sleepy!”

“O! Kay!,” I’d say and continue reading despite her unhappy disclaimer.

“Mommy, can I have leche? Two leches.”

“Yes, Gaby, as soon as I finish the story.” I proceed to read about the Toucans, Lemurs and Tarsiers, careful to show them each pictured animal before reading its name and factoid.

“Mommy, I’m scared,” Vicky whined, covering her face with her blanky as I started reading about the Green Tree Python. Sofy helped assuage her fears by adding wide eyed, “Those are REALLY dangerous.”

“Mommy, can I sleep here,” Gaby asked.

“Sure, climb up to bed.” Sofy has a bunk bed; although Gaby has his own room, he sleeps on the top bunk for the most part.

“No, I wanna sleep here,” he groans and points to the floor next to Sofy’s bed.

I want to argue against this, but it really can’t hurt. I try to let them enjoy the silly, harmless, though sometimes messy, things that seem to bring them such genuine joy—i.e. Play-Doh, bubbles, camping on the floor in your sister’s room.

“Mommy, I’m not sleepy,” a less energetic Vicky insists.

“Vicky, just count sheep. Count ten sheep like this, 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep.” Sofy demonstrated, but yawned after 5 sheep. Is this actually working?

I finally wrap up the story, and prepare a makeshift sleeping bag on the floor for Gaby.

“Ok, everybody, let’s pray.” I thanked God for each of them; for daddy; “for Abuela Gladys,” my son interjected; “for ALL the family, Gaby,” Sofy corrected; I thanked Him for school, toys, crayons; “for M&Ms,” Gaby added excitedly, “and the new house!” We prayed for Mima’s health, for “Daddy ’cause he has a cough”, and “for Nicole’s hair to keep growing”.

Every night, Sofy prays for her friend who was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the first grade year. Thankfully, Nicole is in remission. Sofy was very excited when she saw that her friend’s hair was growing back.

When everyone seemed satisfied that we had prayed for, and been thankful for EVERYTHING, they still weren’t “sleepy”.

“Okay, I’ll sing you guys a song.” Nobody made a peep, so I started in right away.

Twinkle Twinkle is an obvious favorite for them, but I have several songs I enjoyed singing to them as infants, and even now. The Beatles, ‘A Hard Day’s Night‘; ‘The Way You Look Tonight‘ as performed by Frank Sinatra; and ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow‘ from The Wizard of Oz, are my personal favorites.

By the time I’m done singing, Vicky and Sofy are fast asleep. Gaby, quickly gives up camping, and shadows me as I first carry Vicky to her bed, then head to my room to shower and go to sleep, or rather, to write this blog.

He sits quietly in the bathroom until I am done with my shower, even though he can lay down with his dad who is already in bed.

“Mommy, can I sleep with you?”

“Of course,” I say wrapping my tentacles around him.

“I’m going to drink my leche and go to sleep, so I can snore like daddy,” he says grinning from ear to ear.

I smile and quietly say a quick prayer, “Dear Lord, Please don’t make me share a bed with the Predator AND Chewbacca. AMEN.”

Move Over, Me

As I lay in bed last night by my husband, fully clothed (this is relevant later), iPad propped up on my knees while I worked on this blog, my iPhone vibrated. It was my turn to roll in Dice with Buddies.

Is this what relationships have come to…electronic conversations and gaming, side by side with your partner?

YES! Five-of-a-kind! I take great pleasure in this roll worth 50 points, because my husband beats me all the time. In the game, he beats me in the game.

Marriage Tip: A little competition is healthy, heck, maybe even necessary in a relationship. It can keep things interesting, especially if you spice up the deal; loser cooks dinner; loser gets up if the kids start crying—null if more than one child is crying; or loser grants winner some other “special favor”.

::insert winky face::

Anyhow, I have been a practicing nurse, negotiator, singer, storyteller, and professional butt-wiper for almost seven years now. I have a 6 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, and a 2 year old girl who is thankfully almost potty trained. I have a full-time job operating a retail clothing-shoes-hair accessories-luggage-toys-watches-perfumes-custome jewelry-among other things, store.

::insert self promotion here:: VALSAN

I am married with children and have 3 dogs, Kobe, Konan, and Kay (Karl was recently deceased)—”every kiss begins with ‘K’ay, our favorite jeweler’s jingle. We also care for a spunky (that means loud) cockatoo, Mango; Maria Sofia the pet turtle who shares a tank with an orange parrot and other colorful cichlids; another tank decorated with disney and spongebob figurines that houses pleccos, a brainy goldfish, which my daughter claims is very smart, and 2 angel fish, who contrary to their name, can be rather vicious and territorial. A lonesome fighting fish keeps us company in the kitchen. A recently acquired lizard—and by acquired I mean I caught it in a red solo cup in my patio as the kids cheered me on—Mrs. Stripes, peers at the fighting fish, from atop her faux cactus. Thankful, the dwarf hamster, does cardio on his wheel in the laundry room. Hamsters are nocturnal, by the way.

Parenting Tip: If you should ever make the mistake of promising a hamster to your child if they behave well, and they will, be sure to grease the hamster’s wheel, or it’ll be squeaking ALL NIGHT LONG!

For those of you that don’t have kids or pets yet, I’ll even warrant that some plants need caregivers too, here’s a little heads up: MOM is an acronym for Move Over, Me.

In other words, whatever you enjoyed doing prior to having kids, or pets, and yes, in some cases plants, such as—falling asleep naked after a romantic evening; or, enjoying a romantic evening at all; driving to Krispy Kreme after midnight for a fresh, warm snack; vomiting out your friends SUV window, AND all along the side of the car, after a night of dancing and drinking; or just simple things like taking a hot bubble bath, quietly reading the latest bestseller on your toilet, sleeping through breakfast on a lazy Sunday; all of this and more, takes a backseat to your kid’s needs.

I never particularly enjoyed sleeping in the nude. I’m too friolenta (easily prone to being cold); I need a shirt, pajama pants, socks, a bed sheet, blanket and comforter. As I warm up throughout the night, I get decidedly provocative and start stripping; although, I never quite make it to ‘R’ rated nudity, nor do I have a sexy dance number, as I am not very limber.

I never cared much for staying out late either, partying it up on a random Tuesday. Who goes out on a Tuesday you ask…

Lot’s of people! Young, carefree, childless people; maybe careless, but also free of child.

When it’s just you and your husband, or significant other, you can pick up and go anywhere, anytime, with or without a plan.

Oftentimes, I pry my eyes open in the wee morning hours. After snoozing for 9 minutes, I get up to get my daughter ready for school, myself ready for work, my gym bag ready, then wake the other kids to take them to Abuela’s house, and I think, “Again?” Is it yesterday or tomorrow? Whenday?

I brush my teeth and shower every day, and that’s okay. You gotta eat regularly, and drink: 64 oz of water, half your body weight, or whatever the doctors are recommending now a days. You have to work, a lot. Occasionally get some exercise in, like at the gym; on a treadmill; or lifting weights; NOT at the office exercising your jaw chismosiando with the girls, that’s Spanish for gossiping. Then, I come home, eat dinner, play with the kids, read to them and tuck them in, before a quick shower. Wiggle in some time with my husband, at least cuddling for a bit before he’s fast asleep snoring. Then I find myself enjoying my new endeavor, blogging; or at least trying to between nudging him every couple of minutes when his snoring begins to resemble the snarl of the Predator. Finally, I’ll get a text from my sister, scolding me to, “GO TO SLEEP!” because she caught me Pinteresting. I fall asleep about 10 minutes later, after checking Facebook, Instagram, my email and WordPress one last time. Then to do it all again the next day.

This broken record feeling is NOT because of the kids; we’re just all grown up. It’s called life, and it’s not a simple game of rolling the dice.

For a while, I thought the spontaneity would be gone from my life once I had kids, but I was wrong. What’s more spontaneous than a child—throwing up curdled milk on you, and then some remnants of the macaroni and cheese from dinner, just when you thought they had evacuated completely; your son peeing at you and your surroundings while you change his diaper; your daughter cutting her hair to imitate Tangled, thankfully, hers does grow back; how about your youngest repeating a curse word after you yell at a veering motorist.

The truth is, you don’t realize until after you have kids, not so much with pets and plants, sorry, that there was something missing in your life. Kids occupy a special, messy and sometimes smelly, place in your heart.

There’s nothing more spontaneous than a sweet hug and “I love you” from your toddler after reading her a story; a heart shaped drawing left on your nightstand addressed to Mom; a genuine prayer, “for all my family members. I don’t know how many I have, but please bless all of them”; an innocent voice asking you to lay in his bed and give him cosquilla until he falls asleep…

Today, I accompanied my sister to get an ultrasound; she is 20 weeks pregnant with her first child.

Looking at an ultrasound most people wonder, “what is that,” while all along nodding and smiling as the technician points out the right foot, kidneys, and ,”oh look at the nose!”

Nose? I thought that was the sex of the baby. I guess it’s not a boy. O_o

Regardless of what our eyes interpret, every mother sees a vision of perfection; innocence and purity embodied in this tiny human she is blessed to carry for 9 months, and care for all her life.

Only God knows the plans that he has for each parent and child, but I believe they all include, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11

I’ll admit, it doesn’t say anything about getting peed or pooped on; staying up late with a sick and cranky child; or giving up JayZ when the kids are in the car.

What it does say is that a child gives much more than it takes. So, Move Over, Me; let your child teach you about living.

Typer or Writer?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

I mean, I suppose I’ve been writing my whole life…

Neatly at the top of my homework paper; filling in bubbles on a scantron; five paragraph persuasive essays; love notes folded into neat little footballs to kick back and forth during class; letters mailed to friends on my Lisa Frank stationery,even though I’d see them every day at school.

Remember CURSIVE O_o ::insert dusty wind and a tumbleweed doing its thing::

Then beepers came along, and suddenly, rather than blush and fawn over a special love poem or note, we were all googoo gaga over 07734, 143, 50538. Gosh, we were such romantics.

And just when 55378008 seemed like the longest word we could beep with…
Computers and the INTERNET became readily available! AOL–the beginning of acronym hell.

Now, I just backspace, tab, delete, shift and return; ctrl alt del every now and again.

We’ve certainly come a long way from chipping away at stones. I don’t know how they did it in Moses’ day.

*Quick side note, I think we can all agree that the Commandments could use some updating:

-Though shalt not make Duck Face.
-No bathroom Selfies.
-Honour thy father and mother and your future husband, i.e. “Stop showing everyone your A$$, 55378008!”

So, in a nutshell, I want to be a writer. I want to write a book, an amazing book, at least 300 pages, maybe a couple of kick ass illustrations like in the Stephen King novels. It’s gonna be about life, love, and loss, and it’s gonna change your whole outlook on existence. That’s what I want, to make an impact on people’s lives.

HA! Who am I kidding? No one will believe that. I want to make an impact on your pocket! CaChing!

No, but seriously, that’s really what this blog is all about—expressing my thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences. My intention is that you pick up something useful, and if not, I hope my posts at least put a smile on your face.

Thanks for reading.

Immortality?

Men… Warning: The short that follows is about “That Time of the Month”. Which time? The annoying, bitchy, PMSy time, when all you men do is mess things up for us. And, NO, we don’t act like that ALL the time! Well…

I was 9 when I first discovered I was immortal. I mean how else could I lose that much blood and still be walking and talking. (I warned you.) Maybe it hadn’t been a dream, and I had been bitten by Brad Pitt in the middle of the night.

I was turning! ::DUM Dum dum::

Oddly enough, I had no trouble walking about in the daylight; although it felt nearly impossible to get out of bed to go to school.

Maybe I’d sleep better once I had my own coffin.

I still enjoyed eating Frosted Flakes, despite the pack of bloody liver steaks I had seen in the fridge—they were for the dogs, big dogs.

Needless to say, I was not a vampire; I was becoming a woman.

I wonder if Eve is up there laughing every time a girl gets her period for the first time. “Oops, did I do that?” All Steve Urkel like.

It was the beginning of all my insecurities and uncertainties.

I started to grow these awkward little peaks; the flimsy cotton bras from JByron’s offered no kind of support, physical OR emotional.

Then…the hair.

When my 6 year old daughter recently asked me why I had hair on my butt, I found myself stifling laughter.

“When am I gonna get hair on my butt?” She continued to investigate, staring at me with her head to the side like I was some freak show exhibit. I didn’t want to explain that it’s not called a butt, so I simply answered, “When you’re bigger.”

“When I’m 16?”

“Probably sooner.”

“When I’m 7?” She asked wide eyed with concern because her birthday is only a few months away.

“No, not yet! We’ll talk about it another day.” I ended the conversation abruptly, frustrated that I didn’t have all the answers despite the fact that WE did bite the apple from the tree of Knowledge.

I’m convinced that before that ill-fated day, we didn’t have to shave our legs or pluck our eyebrows. We became angry, bushy beasts after that cursed serpent came along.

Don’t get me wrong, men have it bad, too. They get easily excited by fully clothed women, even not so good looking women. Imagine how hard it was, literally, being naked with us all the time. Poor Adam…

Back to my immortality!

So, you’ve got some semblance of boobs, hair everywhere, your hormones are out of control and you start getting pimples.

Let’s not forget the significant discomfort of “Flo”, the corny nickname says it all; the accompanying cramps and headaches, and the “fun” accessories we have to carry around for most of our lives.

“Mommy, is that you diaper,” my two year old, yes TWO year old, asked mockingly one day, grinning and covering her face with her yellow blanky.

I do try to hide these things, but when you have 3 kids, it becomes increasingly difficult to do anything in privacy. A NY THING. If you don’t lock the door, you’re bound to have an audience.

Marriage/Parenting Tip: always lock the door before engaging in any physical activity that might otherwise require Daddy explaining to the kids that he wasn’t hurting Mommy.

Thankfully, they didn’t just invent those white bulky mattresses we call “Pads”, but also, TAMPONS!

::insert a sun rising and birds chirping happy day here::

Yes, tampons changed my life. No more embarrassing bulge in those unflattering P.E. shorts. No more missing fun pool parties or the beach days when your friends decided to skip school.

Tampons, did not actually give me the nerve to do that, BUT the choice was there!

Tampons were great. Even after some of the stories I heard.
For example, My best friend’s mom told us how one time she finished her period as usual, but then noticed a foul smell several days later. She FORGOT to remove the last tampon!

“Oh, man!” I thought, “That could never happen to me. I’m not immortal, but I’m not a complete idiot either.”

Well, funny story…

A Shooting Star

November 25, 2012

Last night I saw a shooting star.

Bright & hopeful, it ascended.

I followed its orange-gold trail as it
rocketed across the sky, and smiled in wonderment at this message from Above.

A few, too brief seconds.

I thought about my wish as my eyes descended upon the lake.

They followed the icicle lights along the fence, past the luminous Framboyan tree, until I was looking around the patio.

Music played.

My newly-wed sister, danced by the pool, carefree, with her equally jubilant husband.

Laughter resonated from the bar where friends exchanged, drinks, numbers and mustaches.

Cigar smoke billowed near my father’s table. Whiskey and tales of yore I can only aspire to.

Floating candles and rose petals highlighted the dessert table. Strawberries, brownies, rum cake – pure decadence.

One of the kids ran back into the house “before” I could spot them outside barefoot.

My husband walked towards me.
I hugged his arm and said,”I JUST saw a shooting star!” He smiled & kissed me.

In that moment, I realized my wish was already true.

Matthew 2:10
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

The Night my Husband was Right

March 23, 2013

::Law and Order Voice:: This is a true story. The names have not been changed because nobody got murdered or hurt; victimized, maybe.

Oh what a night…. Last night to be exact.

It all started when I finally got all the kids to sleep. It was 10:30 pm, and I got this crazy notion that I could shower, wash my hair, and unwind a little, before bundling into bed early.

I get my comfy pjs ready and undo my hair, when my husband says,”The toilet’s not flushing.”

“What? Did you try the plunger.”

“Yep.”

“Let me try,” I say, because you know how hard it is to use a plunger. It requires speed, strength, and just the right angle to pop a clogged drain.

After SEVERAL strenuous attempts, I can confirm “There’s definitely something wrong. I’m gonna try to flush it again.” The water is going nowhere, well, except maybe a little. “Hmmm, It seems to be gurgling up into the big tub.”

“What?!? Did I hear you just try to flush the toilet again?”

“Knowing” this was just a little scare and that the water would go down on its own, I pretend not to hear him and jump in the shower; however, fearing the worst, I proceed to wash my hair as quickly and terribly as ever before. In no time, I am standing in an inch and a half of bubbly backed up water; it’s clean if there’s soap in it, right?

My husband, who had earlier warned me not to try to flush the toilet since it hadn’t been working, stares at me through the shower door. His bedroom eyes say,”This is your fault,” before he leaves the bathroom to call miami-dade water and sewer.

I get out of the shower. The tub continues to fill, and I ponder a bath, but decide I should probably clean up the mess first, or at least contain it.

To my wonderful surprise, water starts to leak from the bidet’s pipes, but just slowly enough for me to run down the hall to the linen closet.

As I start to build a towel fortress to contain the advancing smelly sewage, I realize I am quickly depleting my resources. I make sure not to use the towel we bought on our honeymoon, even though it is tattered along one edge & has a hole in it- dryer must be a smoker.

Suddenly, “The other bathrooms!”

I walk quickly, but calmly to my daughter’s bathroom, hoping my composed demeanor will strike fear into any mischievous pipes. But my tactics fail, and there is already a frightful puddle gaining on the door, almost horror-movie-like, i.e. the blob.

Another mini-fortress is built; I lose several good beach towels in this battle.
The girl’s shower is also making a good effort to creep towards the brim in an attempt to overflow and knock down my stronghold.

THANKFULLY, my son’s bathroom is behaving. No leaking pipes, although the bathtub is half full, or half empty… At this point I am taking whatever positive angle I can find.

The guest bathroom presents no problems either.

11:12 pm – MDWSD was OTW. Acronyms I am glad to hear. But it could be an hour or two of smelling the sweet aroma that is permeating the bedrooms and hallways.

After shutting off all the valves, I do suicides down the hall between the 3 bathrooms to make sure everything stays under control until the sewer gods arrive.

The towels darken as they soak up the pungent waters.

12:10 am – Normally, I would complain when a noisy engine revs out-front, but tonight it is the sound of music. “The sewers are aliiiive…”

I demurely peek through the family room curtains and watch two men uncover a manhole in the street near my front gate.

The truck beeps as they reposition it near the hole.

I run to my bathroom and stare at the murky water in the tub, willing it to go down. Hours pass… Okay it was just minutes, but long eternal minutes.

The truck starts pumping sewage from the line. “We hope this will clear the problem,” they tell my husband.

“Hope?” We think, looking at each other.

I return to our bathroom.

“Nothing. Is. Happening.” I think, downtrodden. I close my eyes and realize my new house will be inundated by stink dirty water; the smell will never come out, even after we mop the floor a thousand times, and tear out the ruined, rotting baseboards.

“That’s it. We are going to have to move! We just got this house. I just unpacked more boxes, and hung up several frames. I’m having a party here on Sunday. Omg! I’m having a PARTY. HERE. in 3 days!”

I close my eyes. My train of thought is spiraling dramatically, when suddenly, a loud slurping sound.

The water in the tub and shower is receding.

Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! ::insert happy dance here::

To quote a friend, “Longer story short,” It worked. They unclogged the pipes, and the water returned to the rightful home of the sewer creatures, who thankfully did not make an appearance in this story.

I’ll leave out the part where I clean up the two bathrooms for the next hour or so. I was happy to do it, and afterwards…

I took a nice, hot relaxing bath. I snuggled into some fresh pajamas, and crept into bed at 1:30am.

I slept soundly for about 2 hours, until my youngest woke up crying with a stomachache; more plumbing issues. O_O but that’s a story for another day.

The Loo

April 7, 2013

The kids are asleep. I often begin this way because once you become a parent most of your time revolves around work or your kids; any free time is precious and worth talking about, hence the interesting story that follows.

“I’m gonna take a shower,” I tell my husband.

As I walk down the hallway to my bedroom, I know I’m going to enjoy every quiet, steaming hot moment; I’m referring solely to the temperature and not the “heat of the moment” of my nakedness. I’ve birthed three children, there’s nothing “hot” about this scene. Although my husband will say otherwise, it has become painfully evident that he is legally blind. I could probably get one of those handicap signs… Nope, too lazy. I never got the “Stroller Parking” permit either. Then again, I had a BABY, I didn’t lose a limb.

“I’m gonna take a shower”, I had said, which, come on ladies, we all know it’s really code for I’m going to Sh… Shave, I’m going to shave my legs.
Oh, STOP kidding yourself, you are going to use the toilet, abuse it even.

I had my Tina Fey book and my iPhone, although with only 8% battery life it offered little promise for entertainment.

Frankly, I don’t know if my process takes so long because I suffer from constipation, or I inadvertently sidetrack my intestinal functions with reading, pinning, and “look what she posted on Facebook, AGAIN” texts— a “Social Crap” one might say.

“PERFECT!” I exclaim reaching for my Sudoku book. Just enough time for a quick game without any kidmercial interruptions.

GASP! Was that the hall door?

My husband is coming. I said I was going to shower 20 minutes ago! Toss the sudoku back into the corner, wipe, flush, aaaand jump in the shower. Only to realize I’m still wearing my glasses. Well, that won’t seem believable. I awkwardly reach my arm out, smooshing my face against the glass door because surely the floor has cooties, and drop them on the counter.

Act casual when he walks past the shower door, like you’ve been in here for a while. It’s not like he knows your Ew de Toilet after all these years.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been married for almost 9 nine years. That doesn’t seem long to older couples like our parents, but I guarantee it’s long enough for the mystery to be gone. We ALL pee, and poop, and fart; sometimes, all at once. Don’t blush, gasp, or jaw drop. Ladies, you can only hide behind that air freshener for so long.

Shower done. I towel dry and get dressed. Brush my teeth—marriage tip, always shower and brush your teeth before bed, ESPECIALLY if you have kids. You need to be prepared for any “opportunities” that might open up (insert pun here).

I sort of toss my hair around a little bit. I AM exhausted, and I’m sort of hoping he’s already asleep; but if he’s not, I wanna look half decent; although for the most part your husband’s libido always thinks you look great.

Turns out, it WAS him in the hallway. He went out the garage to walk the dogs, and back to the living room to watch the game. It was a false alarm.

“Gosh, I skipped my loo for nothing,” I think as I bundle up under the covers.

That guacamole from earlier is still doing a number on me. My stomach rumbles, and I deem it an opportune moment to pass gas.

GASP! Was that the hall door?

Buried Treasure

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Yesterday morning, was the first of three days I took off from work to enjoy my daughter’s spring break with her and her younger siblings.

I had lots of fun activities planned for those three days: the Youth Fair, I couldn’t wait to eat an elephant ear, though not literally; the Miami Seaquarium; the Zoo, where we’d actually see elephant ears, and hopefully the rest of the elephant, but not eat them; maybe catch a movie, eat some junk food, and finally, goof around at Chuck E. Cheese, PLEASE!

It seemed like a lot for 3 days, but I rarely took time off, so really it was just like Make-up Work at school.

We had eaten breakfast together and decided to go out to the lake to see if there were any fish or turtles.

But you know kids, they are easily distracted and find joy in the little things: a gift bag, an empty toilet paper roll, an old box. So, of course, the many sticks and branches the wind had been snapping off the Flamboyant tree instantly became swords, bats, and golf clubs.

After many a close call swinging at an old tennis ball, I decided it looked more like they were aiming at their brother’s head, and called the game. Instead, we started digging for treasure with the fallen branches, I mean shovels.

We poked around near the fence, and I heard a rustling in the neighbor’s hedges.

I probably saw about half of it before it’s charcoal grey body slithered away beneath the brush.

Not wanting to frighten the kids, or end up with a snake up my pants, I calmly watched the bushes, leaves & shadows for signs of the snake’s destination or return; but there was no second act. It was gone. Before I could even see the whole thing, identify it, or examine it, it had slipped away.

“Mommy, help us find the treasure.” They called me back to the small dirt pile we had been digging through. We’d found nothing more than snail shells, small rocks, more dirt, of course, and some beetles.

I smiled at my son and daughters as they grew more and more joyous over these little discoveries. I couldn’t picture a better time or place to be than here in the crisp fresh air, getting dirt in my nails and on my jeans; pondering the impending danger of an anaconda from my neighbor’s bushes; and just playing treasure hunt with the kids. I wanted to hold onto them and this moment, forever.

Life is gone in an instant; before you have a chance to weed out what you are doing wrong, or dig up a way to do it right.

Don’t let it slip away.

Originally posted March 28, 2013