Monday, June 27, 2011

Romance and the Redneck

Our 4th wedding anniversary is fast approaching and I have been dropping some gentle reminders about it to The Firefighter.   Such as the following text messages:

Me:  Our anniversary is in 11 days.  You better have something good planned, damn it!  Love you Daddy-o :)

Hubby: I know.  I'm gonna take you to McDonald's and you don't even have to order off the dollar menu.

Me:  Ha Ha...

Hubby:  Anything for you, Baby.

(Note:  I amended The Firefighter's spelling....if I didn't it would have read something like Egyptian hieroglyphics.)

I have also left notes like this:

 Yes, Subtlety is my middle name.

Don't get me wrong.  I knew what I was getting into when I married The Firefighter.  I labor under no delusions of him suddenly turning into a hopeless romantic.  In fact, I think I would be annoyed if he did.    I generally think of flowers as waste of money, and "fancy fine dinning" as crap too.  However, I do want just one day a year, that he puts some effort into it.  Is that really too much to ask?

I given this quite a bit of thought to this over the years, and I think the problem is motivation.  How do you motivate a guy that is happy to spend his anniversary at home, in front of the TV or a bonfire, pizza and beer in hand, with the promise of later "entertainments"?

In years past, I've tried getting all dolled up to motivate him, but have been met with responses such as
(Before Kids)
"Why'd you have to put that junk on your face?" (I believe I only had on mascara and chapstick)

"Why'd you waste your time, it's only gonna end up on the floor." (Ahem - this was about 5 margaritas in)

(After kids)
"I know you wanna go out, but can we just stay home?"  (Followed by ZZZZZZZ less than 5 minutes later)

Rednecks may not be romantic, but there is an honesty to their love.  I appreciate being loved so completely that The Firefighter couldn't care less whether I'm done to the nines, or laying around the house in my ancient Mickey Mouse night shirt because nothing else will fit over this dang baby belly.  He never fails to tell me I'm beautiful at the times I feel the least so.  I can be my most "real" with him.  It's comforting to know that how I look doesn't change his opinion of me in the least.  How often, in today's society, can we say that?

Still - If you know The Firefighter, feel free to text him any anniversary suggestions.....seriously, the boy needs help!

The Miss Phoebe Chronicles - Volume 1

Today has already been a day and it's not even noon because Miss Phoebe decided to pay a surprise visit.

For those of you who don't know who Miss Phoebe is, let me back up and start at the beginning.  My little Miss Chatterbox was not an easy baby.  She was an angry little being with male pattern balding (sorry, honey, but it's true - I have pictures), pissed off about being forcefully ejected from her comfortable womb.  It was like she already knew she was going to have a hard road.....first she had jaundice, then colic, then a long hospitalization for RSV and multiple hospitalizations for asthma control before she was 8 months old.  

Not surprisingly, the result was that Miss Chatterbox was NOT a people person.  She was soooo sensitive  (to everything)  and so easily overstimulated that bringing her out in public or around large family gatherings was TORTURE.  She would just scream and scream and scream.  I remember thinking, "Please don't let this be my child's personality."  There came a point ,when I was ready to have an exorcism performed to get the little demon out of the sweet child I knew had to be in there somewhere.

However, my mom just laughed at me.  Having already been down this road, she knew it was temporary  and that with a little love and patience - this too would pass.  When I half jokingly mentioned the exorcism to my mom, she just hee hawed and said, "there will come a day when you will want her to have a little Phoebe in her."  And so, Phoebe, became the nickname for Miss Chatterbox's "disgruntled" side.

As my mom predicted, with a little bit of time and patience, Miss Chatterbox became a loving, happy, smiling and cheerful little toddler.  Gradually, we saw less and less of Miss Phoebe, more and more of Miss Chatterbox.  However, occasionally Miss Phoebe likes to remind me that she is still there and BOY was today a whopper of a visit.

Today had to be an errand running day.  I try not to have to do that because it's just asking for trouble with a 2 year old in tow, but sometimes you have to be like Nike, and just do it.

First on the list was a visit to the bank....we began with demanding a sucker, and whining until we got it.

Next was the DMV....Despite my every attempt to keep Miss Chatterbox entertained, after an hour, she had had enough.  She knocked over the chair she was sitting in, right into a potted plant, then before I could fix that, ran off and pulled a magazine rack off of the wall and starting flinging them everywhere.  Ha! People were ducking out of her way, because for a 2 year old, she has a mad crazy fast ball.  Yeah, they were happy to see me go, clearing a path as I went....I guess I"ll just have to drive around with an expired license for a little while longer.

After a visit home for lunch and nap, Miss Chatterbox seemed renewed and calm, and since I was worried the nutrition Nazis would have my hide based on the lack of food in my house, I decide to brave the grocery store.  Free cookies kept her pacified...which lulled me into a false sense of security.  I decided to run to one more store....

I should have known better, but vanity got in the way.  My belly has began to outgrow The Firefighter's t-shirts, so in desperation, I stopped at a store called Palmetto Moon for a couple of cheap ones.  I wasn't in the store 2 minutes before Miss Chatterbox had taken off running, knocked over a display of tervis tumblers, one of crocs, broken two wine glasses and pulled down a table with over 200 folded shirts on it.  

I don't believe in spanking, but I've never been so close to it.

We also aren't welcome at Palmetto Moon anymore...

 I just couldn't do anything but laugh.... Gotta love a southern girl with spunk!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Symptoms have been mounting for some time in The Firefighter and can no longer be ignored.

It's official...The Firefighter has Redneck-itis.

While no test exists that can conclusively diagnosis Redneck-itis, vigilant, citified family members can be on the look out for the earliest warning signs - and curb this highly contagious disease before it spreads.  Do not be frightened, only a small percentage of people with both genetic factors and environmental triggers, such as location, will succumb to this disease.  Redneck-itis proceeds in three distinct stages.

Stage 1

If the subject is genetically predisposed to Redneck-its, the earliest symptoms mimic general civility.  Let's use The Firefighter as our example.  First, you will notice his frequent use of the words Sir, Ma'am, bo, Y'all, darlin', and baby.  He will also open all doors,  and carry things for you.  He will be exceedingly polite to your momma and daddy and in general seem to be a "really nice young gentleman".  Do not be fooled ladies, this is where they hook ya!

Stage 2

Stage 2 is where my warning bells began to faintly tinkle in the back of my head.  As I spent more time with The Firefighter, I began to notice more symptoms.
- His F-350 diesel duely crew cab extended bed truck.
- His REALLY foul mouth when he thinks your not listening.
- His blue collar 40 (or in his case 51)
- His "off duty uniform" of khaki or green fatigue shorts and "fish" t-shirts.
- His disdain of anything better than Texas Roadhouse and Miller Lite as "fancy fine dining crap".
- His love of his "huntin' dogs" that are never actually used for hunting -because they may get hurt.
- His slightly super human seeming abilities to fix just about anything, run into burning buildings without fear, build just about anything, shoot his own food, grow his own groceries and be completely nonchalant about it.
- He is extremely smart and went to college for awhile, but you wouldn't know it from his speech or spelling.
- His absolutely straight forward, honest and loyal demeanor - what you see is what you get.  He doesn't play games - nor does he know how.  Department politics will always confuse and frustrate him.
- He may like the convenience of suburbia and love you enough to live there for your sake, but he's always yearning for some land and a little distance from the city.

Stage 2 is the most dangerous.  If you're like me, you will have already fallen in love with him and be willing to overlook his Redneck-itis as charmingly eccentric behavior.  This is where Redneck-itis is the most contagious.  You may even begin to think about how "cute" it would be to live out in the country and start using some of his charming colloquialisms.

Stage 3

It was too late for me by Stage 3, I was already infected when the most horrifying symptoms began to manifest in The Firefighter.

- He is about as romantic as a spoon - as evidenced when The Firefighter proposed to me in the bathroom of a cruise ship.
- His table manners can be horrifying....he will open a can of peas, eat out of it, and call it breakfast.
- When asked to get the squirrels out of the attic, he decides the best way is to sit dressed in camo, in the attic ,with a BB gun....because poison or traps would be no fun.
- He has more tools than I have clothes.
- I'm pretty sure he doesn't look in the mirror everyday.
- His idea of foreplay consists of putting "sex" in the google calendar and sending me a reminder email.
- He just can't fathom why it takes me so long to pick a paint color or why I hate his awful leather recliner.
- He tried to teach our daughter to say "wuz up" and "firetruck" before anything else.  (Though that backfired when Miss Chatterbox said, "Dadu, Firecock". Ha Ha...justice!)

Perhaps, worst of all, was when I caught myself barefoot, in my most ragged clothes, preggo belly sticking out, 2 year old on my hip hollering at him, "to get his damn junk out of the yard, before the neighbors complain about us being white trash".....

Apparently, there is no cure for Redneck-itis.  It is a lifelong affliction.

To all the Rednecks like us out there.... Can I get a Hell Yeah?!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Keeping Me On My Toes....and Butter On the Toast.

First and foremost - I must apologize for being negligent in my entertainment blogging duties!  It's been a busy and hectic month, but I'm back on the ball....and on to the fun.

Today, life has come full circle.  Miss Chatterbox has officially proven herself to be my child beyond any doubt.  Not that me or my neither regions doubt that she is mine, but this goes way past genetics.  Every family has "that" story that lives on in infamy and in our case it includes butter - lots of it.  

When I was approximately Miss Chatterbox's age, my poor mother made the mistake of sleeping a little too deeply one morning (Jeez - can't imagine why she would, I was such a quiet, lovely child - ha ha).   Rather than awaken her, my 2 year old brain decided that I would "help" my mommy.  I decided that the windows needed cleaning, and I would do it - with butter.  So when she did wake up, she found me on the couch, butter in hand smearing it all over the windows, proudly shouting, "I help Mommy, I help Mommy."

It was just a funny story....until today.

We have been lucky.  5 months ago, when we put Miss Chatterbox in her "big girl bed",  she blissfully didn't understand that she could get in and out without help.   We chose not to enlighten her....I'm not a mean mommy, really, I just thought she would learn on her own soon enough.  Well folks, that morning finally came.  I slept just a little too hard this morning.....and awoke to Miss Chatterbox - tub of Country Crock in hand - saying, "I make toast, Mommy!" as she buttered my sheets while I laid on them.

Yes, we did make toast for breakfast....then learned all about the washing machine.

Have a good weekend, Y'all!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Four Years Ago Today.....

Four years ago today, 9 brave men died in the Sofa Super Store Fire in Charleston, SC.  And our world changed forever.  Enough can't ever be said about their sacrifice and loss of some excellent people.  I don't really have the words to do them justice, so will just tell my story.

I was not there.  I am not a widow.  My story isn't uncommon, but it's rarely spoken about.  Some people believe it's time to move on, however, no other event has as drastically affected my life as this one (not even the births of my daughters - though those are a close second) and it would be hard to let this day pass and not acknowledge it in some way.   In fact, I even categorize my life as "Before The Fire" and "After The Fire".

Thinking about that day can still bring tears to my eyes and I'm not exactly a cry at the drop of hat kind of girl.  And not simply because some good men died, my emotions attached to it are so much more complex than that.  I cry because of how much pain it's caused and continues to cause The Firefighter.  I cry for what I feel it's stolen from me.  I cry for the loss of our youth, laughter, and innocence.  I cry because I'm worn out on it and I wonder how much longer it's going to take for "time" to heal our wounds.

The day after The Fire, I remember simply feeling intense relief that The Firefighter was coming home, after a night spent awake imagining the worst.  I remember feeling intensely sad for those who couldn't say the same.  I remember naively thinking that, "it was gonna suck for awhile, but give it a couple of months, and we will be fine."  Oh, how wrong I was.

At barely 27 years old, I did not still believe that I was invincible, and I was not as careless as I was in my teen years, but I still thought that it was "unlikely" anything bad would happen to me or my loved ones.  We were two weeks away from our wedding and the next big journey in life, and I never thought that it may not be just the way I imagined.   In many ways, it was devastating when those blinders were ripped away.  I began to see danger around every corner and it was hard to keep it from being paralyzing.    I can say, without a doubt,  I am much more cautious and serious now than I ever was before.

At 27 years old, we still believed, (I admit naively so), that those in charge knew what they were doing and had our best interests at heart.  Again, it was demoralizing to learn that those same people didn't and were, to some degree, the cause of all the tragedy.

Then, there was the crushing realization that some close friends and family simply didn't understand or care about what we were going through.  A number of betrayals caused intense feelings of mistrust - sometimes making it feel like it was just The Firefighter and I against the world.

It was hard to learn to laugh again.

Lastly, and perhaps most challenging of all, I had to learn to help The Firefighter cope with his constantly alternating feelings of intense anger and sadness, while smothering my own feelings....  Not gonna lie, there have been many nights I've felt alone in my marriage wondering when we were going to "get to normal".  There have been days I absolutely HATE the fire department, everything about it, and would kill to not have to see or hear anything related to it - I sometimes go as far as to hide those ever present t-shirts and knick knacks.


While I learned many tough lessons in a short period of time, leaving me more jaded, realistic, mistrusting, cautious and serious, there has been GOOD  that came out of this too.

I learned life isn't fair, but it does go on and the sun will shine again.

I learned to not take anything for granted and to enjoy each day to the fullest.

I learned to trust myself, my abilities and that I had more strength than I ever imagined.

Laughter can be the best medicine.

I learned lobbying for change can be both futile and rewarding (and senators can be a royal pain in the ....)

The Firefighter and I learned that we can trust and depend on each other above all else and I believe our love is stronger than it may have been otherwise.

We learned to stand up for what we believe is right and say what we believe is the truth, even if it is unpopular or others are afraid to say it.

Life will continue to challenge and change you - adaptation is the name of the game.

It's not been an easy road, and I don't know what lies ahead, but I do know we will get through it - together.

                            6-17-2007        WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grocery Stores are NOT for Wimps

I used to not be bothered by grocery stores....until I had kids.  Here are my top ten reasons how I know grocery stores where not created by a momma.

10.  There is nothing like a grocery store temperature gradient to make you feel pre-menopausal.  You practically need a bathing suit next to the deli, while it's snowing next to the milk.

9.  The "kid friendly" buggies, you know, the ones with a race car attached - who designed these things?  They have 0 maneuverability, take up practically the entire aisle, and have a tiny basket that only fits about 3 jars of baby food.

8.  All the friendly people who want to touch, talk to, or play with your child - thus turning on my warning bells AND making the trip longer.  However, Miss Chatterbox can hold her own, and once told a bothersome man he was "stinky".

7.  All the pretty packaging that attracts my child's go go gadget arms - like the KY warming jelly that prompted my kid to throw three in the basket.  The look the cashier gave me when I handed them to her and pointed to my belly and said "no vacancy" was priceless...

6.  The husband effect - There is something about the grocery store that makes them all disappear down another aisle, leaving you with the kids and the precariously balanced basket only to return at checkout with a pile of junk food in their hands.

5.  The not so bright cashier......"Is this your first pregnancy?" (while staring at Miss Chatterbox sitting in the cart)

4.  The stinking "club cards" -  Why can't a sale, just be a sale?  It's like the "in group" in high school all over agin.

3.  The cart cowboys -  Yes, I would like you to take my cart out, but I won't let you.   Let's be honest - it's mainly because I don't want you to see how messy my car is.

2.  Candy at checkout -  because that won't prompt any tantrums.

1. Store layout- Who put the milk, eggs, bread and cheese in the farthest corner of the store?  What about the marshmellows - Have you ever noticed that it's like freaking Where's Waldo to find them?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with the grocery store?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Nothing says Summertime Like Pee in the Neighborhood Pool

With temperatures reaching the triple digits, it is nearly impossible to be outside unless you are in or near water.  In our area, poolside is the place to be.  Our neighborhood consists primarily of young families with lots of small kids...which makes pool time conversation interesting, to say the least.

Last week, The Firefighter was able to accompany Miss Chatterbox and I to the pool.  I relish these rare occurrences because it means I am OFF DUTY.  The Firefighter can take his turn chasing Miss Chatterbox all over the pool while I take up residence on a pool float, watch and laugh.

Sidebar:  Do you know how hard it is to tan the back of your legs when you can't lay on your stomach?  Ya, and don't get the bright idea to try even it out with self tanner....  now the front of my legs are tan (OK, OK, a slightly darker shade of pale white), and the backs are orange.  Though, Miss Chatterbox is ecstatic that she now has her own personal "Tigger Mommy".  But I digress.

Anyways, I was watching The Firefighter try to teach Miss Chatterbox to float on her back and inwardly debating telling him the futility of it (Nah, let him learn on his own), when another little girl approaches him.   I slowly start to paddle closer, knowing this was gonna be good.

The girl gets right up in The Firefighters face and asks, "What color are your eyes?"
The Firefighter answers, "Green."
The girl, getting even closer, said, "Green is my favorite color.  Are my eyes pretty?"

The Firefighter gives me a look that clearly screams, HELP!   I fall off the float, I'm trying so hard not to laugh, because I realized the little girl, who is no more than 5, is FLIRTING with The Firefighter.  ( I don't blame you darling - I couldn't resist a man in uniform either).

I decide to go bail him out, and as I approach, the little girl turns to me and asked, "Are you two married?"
I said, "Yes, honey, we are."
She replied, "OH! Sorry, I'm not really trying to steal your man."  Then swims away.

Not to be outdone, Miss Chatterbox, who is now sitting on The Firefighter's lap, chooses that moment to announce, "I pee pee, Dadu!"

Gotta love the pool in the summertime!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Roaches and Spiders and Horseflies....Oh My!

After yesterday, I'm pretty sure Miss Chatterbox thinks her mommy is crazy...

Here in the Deep South, we are blessed with beautiful beaches, and sunny weather year round, but all that beauty comes at a price.....BUGS.  We have TONS of enormous insects.  Picture mosquitoes that can be mistaken for birds, banana spiders the size of dinner plates, and cockroaches the size of your palm - that CAN FLY (though 'round these parts we like to call them palmetto bugs - it sounds nicer).

So, as you may have gathered, I don't care for creatures of the entomological kind.  I'm not squeamish really, I just prefer for the outdoors to stay outdoors.  My idea of "roughing it" is staying in a Motel 6 rather than a Hampton Inn.  And camping....forget it, unless it is the motorized kind.

Recently, we moved into a new place and usually one of the first things I do is set up professional pest control, because with insects of this quantity and magnitude - it ain't a DIY job.  However, when I did the pre-move clean, I didn't notice anything that indicated that any insects had taken up residence and as we needed to move quickly, I postponed the required phone call....until yesterday.

During breakfast, I noticed a black spot, about the size of a quarter, moving across the wall.  So I grab a paper towel and quickly move in for the kill because no dang spider is going to live in my house!  I get the spider on the first try, and you know how you always look, just to make sure you squished it well enough - It turns out this spider was a momma.  All of a sudden, I had about a million tiny baby spiders
crawling all over my hand!  Yuck!  At this point, I'm doing the "oh bleep" (keepin' it clean, folks- my momma reads this blog!) dance as I race to the bathroom, with Miss Chatterbox on my heels, laughing hysterically at mommy's new game.  I shake them all off into the toilet, flush, then pour vinegar down the drain for good measure.  Phew....but now the "oh bleep" dance is the new family craze.

 Where I live, the horseflies are horrible this year.  For those of you who don't know, horseflies are the 'roided out Arnold Schwarzenegger (pre-govenator) of flies .  They are huge, fast, and their bites HURT.  After the spider fiasco, our day was proceeding normally, until I decided to take out the garbage.  This stupid horsefly hanging around the trashcan would NOT leave me alone.  I was swatting it away and I decide to slip quickly into the house.  Much to my chagrin, the fly was fast enough to make it inside with me.  Gross - c'mon the stupid thing was hanging around a GARBAGE CAN (do you know how many diseases they can carry- YUCK).  So I spent the next hour with a flip flop in my hand, literally sprinting like an olympic racer around my house trying to smash this thing, with Miss Chatterbox happily chanting, "shoo shoo fly away" while jumping on the coach.  Finally, I managed to chase it back out the door it came in.  Phew...I throw myself onto the sofa to catch a breather (with Miss Chatterbox saying, "again mommy again!") when I spot it....

My arch nemesis, the cockroach.  I'm not ashamed to admit, I squealed like a little girl.   I HATE roaches.  Anything that can survive a nuclear holocaust unscathed, should be exterminated.  Not to mention, I really can't stand the crunching sound they make when they get smashed - it sends shivers up my spine just thinking about it.  Now, this roach was the mac daddy of all roaches.  It was huge, had wings and I would swear it was staring me down.  I could practically hear it saying, "my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die." So, I prepared for battle.  I covered my hands with rubber dish gloves, put a bandanna over my nose and mouth (Yes, unnecessary, I know - but it made me feel better) a giant wad of paper towels and stationed Miss Chatterbox on the coffee table as a spotter and cheerleader (go mommy go!).   Then I stared at the roach and waited for it to make it's move.  I knew if it  took flight, I would never catch it, so I feigned a move to the right, causing it  to move to the left, and I went in for the quick KO.   I barely get the gloves off my hands before I'm dialing the exterminator.

I'm pleased to report...not a bug in sight today.  My house is also spotless - a rare occurrence ( I couldn't have those bug germs hanging around).

Not so pleased to report that Miss Chatterbox's now delights in startling me by pointing to any brown/black spec of dirt and saying, "Mommy, Mommy buggy, buggy...kill it, kill it, yuck!"

Happy Summer, Y'all!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Keepin' it Real: The Marks of Motherhood (FYI TMI ATC)

Yesterday, I took Miss Chatterbox to the beach and was confronted with one of the unfair truths about pregnancy - It doesn't affect all women equally.  It's been said that all children leave indelible prints on their mothers' bodies, but judging by the moms at the beach, their obedient spawn wrote in washable finger paints, while my rebels did so in permanent marker.

Mind you, I'm not really complaining - I certainly wouldn't trade my girls (though I might give my right eye) for Heidi Klum's body.  It's just interesting that there really isn't a very open dialogue among women about the "ugly" parts of pregnancy.  


I have to say, very shortly after giving birth to Miss Chatterbox, I realized I felt betrayed by my fellow women (but hey it could also have been the GALLON of bendryl- epinephrine I had been given).  I knew all about stretch marks, labor horror stories and weight battles.   But why didn't anyone tell me I would have to push for 3 HOURS or that my business would swell to the size of a baseball and I would have to sit on ice for a week or how about temporary incontinence - BOY was that a surprise.   I had been told to expect some hormonal moodiness - but the blubbering, nervous mess I became was a real shock to The Firefighter.  

As far as I can tell, there are only two reasons we (women) don't talk about it.  
1. It's a matter of survival.  If we did, the world population of 7 billion would die out in one generation.
2. We are all individuals and just as no two children are alike - neither are any two pregnancies.  Not all women experience it in the same way.  

A friend of mine put it best - "Your stretch marks and spider veins are your battle scars.  They just mean your on the front lines of motherhood.  Those other moms - they must be sitting safe on base.  At least now you know to stock up on Kotex pads."

Have another great day in the trenches, Mommas!