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Before yesterdaythe psycho mother

I Can Still Make the Grade

11 August 2021 at 16:58

If you have been keeping up, then you already know that I have gone back to school at the University of Georgia to finish my undergraduate degree that I started back in 1989.  You know how people would joke about being on “the 6 year plan” or “the 7 year plan”? I seem to be on “the 32 year, maybe longer, plan”.

I just completed my first class! It was a short summer semester online class called Digital Storytelling. When I first signed up for the class, I thought to myself….hmm, I’ve been writing my own blog for over 5 years now…this will be easy peasy.  NOT.

I had to set up another blog, yes, and that part would have been easy peasy; however, the server that was hosting my account crashed twice and I lost all of my work…twice.  Thankfully, my professor had graded my work prior to the second crash, and she did not require me to re-do it for a third time.  From then on, I wrote everything on a google doc and then copied and pasted.

I learned SO MUCH.  I had NO IDEA what a “Listicle” was! I’m not going to tell you, either. You can look it up.  I also had no idea that anything like “Twitterature” or “Twitter Fiction” even existed!  I learned how to use google slides and make a slide show AND add music!!!! Lucky for me, Mini Me writes and records some of his own music, and he allowed me to use one of his songs-free of charge.

We had to come up with a “Digital Story Project” that we would work on throughout the short semester.  The idea was to use a media that we were not familiar with before taking the class.  I chose Podcasting.

I purchased the Podcasting Plus theme on WordPress.  I bought an external USB microphone.  I learned how to use Audacity and also Garage Band.  My subject would be HAMILCAMP: Stories from the Sidewalk of West 46th Street.  The Middle Child and I still keep in touch with some of the friends we made while sleeping on the sidewalk for Hamilton tickets back in 2016.  You can read about that experience HERE  . I contacted some of them, and they agreed to do podcasts with me about their own experiences in the Cancellation Line.

I obsessed over this project and over the other assignments in the class like I have never obsessed over classwork before.  It was important to me. That is a new thing. I do feel like I have a leg up because I am 50.  I may not have taken these classes before, but I have learned a thing or three in my old age.

We were at the beach when final grades were being posted.  I think I must have checked 15 times.  I think the biggest thing I learned this summer is that it doesn’t matter how old I am.  I can still make the grade.

You can access my podcasting website HERE .

If you check it out, be sure to check out my “About the Author” section.  I’m really proud of that! 😉

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New Old Student

3 June 2021 at 18:27

I know this will come as a shock, but I am going back to school! Again! THIS TIME, I am GOING to finish WHAT I started (an English degree, now with an emphasis on Creative Writing), WHERE I started it (The University of Georgia).  I am very excited!  I get more excited when I get emails from my advisor.  He probably puts his head in his hands when he gets emails from me.

I needed to email him back and I wasn’t sure how to address him. He signs his name “Jim”, but his full name is at the bottom of his email.  I sign my email “Jennifer”, but my full name is at the bottom of mine. I asked JC, who happened to be in the room, “How do I address my Advisor??? Do I say Mr. So and So? What if he has a PhD? It doesn’t say so. He signs his name “Jim”. Help!”  I was not prepared for JC’s response.  He smiled and said, “You address him the way he signs his name to you.  In fact, you are most likely older than he is.”   DO NOT SAY THAT! I screamed.

I do not like my age.  I haven’t liked it for several years before I got to it.  I cannot accept it and actually, completely reject it.  I refuse to be 50.  In my distorted view, I can’t possibly be older than 23. In reality, my oldest child turns 23 at the end of June.

Things have changed a lot at UGA since 1989.  Like registration.  I have no clue what I am doing.  My advisor asked me what section of such and such I wanted to be in for fall.  I had to say,” Look here, Jim, I’m sorry. It’s going to take me a minute to get acclimated to this scheduling stuff. By ‘section’, do you mean day and time the class meets, or are there different sections of the same class, or just what the hell are you talking about, Jim?”  I can tell that Jim and I are going to be best friends by the end of this.  I already love Jim because he said that for now, we could just avoid math.

I have not a single issue with going to school with a bunch of college age students.  I cannot wait to be back in Park Hall!  I made some of my very best friends at UGA-some of the people that I love the most-that I would do anything for-and we are still friends today. I do not expect that to happen this time. That would be weird.

I have already started warning my family.  When it’s time for me to graduate (in a  couple of years, because, hey, I am commuting from Atlanta) they will get to sit in the hot, full Sanford Stadium and watch me, at age 52 or 53, walk to receive my diploma!  Nobody seems very excited about that part.

I do hope that maybe I can help someone who may be struggling.  Seriously. Who wants to be 50 and going back to finish their undergrad? Don’t get me wrong! I am grateful that I am able to do so. I am also grateful that I want to! I think a lot of people would say, “what is the point?”

I’ll tell you what the point is.  I was taught to finish what I start.  And I did not finish this.  It has bothered me for over 30 years. The only way for me to deal with it is the right way: to finish it.

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Nike 9.5

24 April 2021 at 19:19

Today, I took The Baby to Lenox Square.  I cannot stand to go to Lenox Square, but The Baby wanted to go to the Nike store, so we went.

It took us over 20 minutes find a parking place. I’m serious. It is April whatever, 2021, and at 4:30pm, a normal person cannot find a parking spot at Lenox Square. WTF

I think The Baby thought we should leave and go home when we could not find a place to park the car. I said, “I DID NOT DRIVE ALL THE WAY DOWN HERE TO LEAVE AND GO HOME!”

Finally, we found a spot.

When we walked into Lenox, I immediately lost my sense of direction. Maybe they have moved things-maybe it has been too long since I have been there. I KNOW Nike is on the FRONT of the mall. Of course, I took us in the wrong direction immediately.  We went to the complete opposite end of the mall and had to walk all the way back.

It was SO crowded. It’s still COVID! I could not figure out what the attraction was, and I was quite certain I wanted to get the hell out of there ASAP.

We finally made it to Nike.  There was a huge ass line. The Baby said, “ARE YOU FOR REAL?” I said, “Yes, Miss Jackson”. We waited.

Many times, we have set out to the Nike store, only to be disappointed by the selection of shoes they had to offer.  I had not bothered to ask The Baby if he had called and made sure they had what we were looking for. I guess it really did not matter.

I said, “what is the name of the shoe again?” The Baby said something about a blazer or a laser. I could not hear him because it was so damn crowded, AND of course we had on masks.

We stood there for a few minutes…looking a little out of place…not sure why, because I have always been a Nike Girl.

Finally, I spotted the shoe.  “There it is! ” I said.  I think The Baby wanted me to SHUT UP.  He walked right to it. “Alabama colors?” I said.  The Baby assured me it was only because he liked that version of the shoe. He was not choosing Alabama over Georgia.  I did not care at that point.  All I cared about was getting the hell out of there and back to my car.

We asked for an 8.5 and a 9.  Neither fit.  I just bought my 13 year old baby child a size 9.5 Nike shoe.

I am going to need a minute or 5 to process.

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Thirteen

6 March 2021 at 18:03

We celebrated The Baby’s 13th birthday this past weekend. His actual birthday is February 29, 2008, so until 2024, he will celebrate fake birthdays.  I prefer to celebrate on February 28, since he was born in February.  This year, he wants a new computer desk.  He has a perfectly good, L-shaped computer desk; however, Santa thought it would be a great idea to fulfill The Baby’s dream of duel monitors to go with the special gaming computer that The Baby and The Baby’s Daddy built together. Yes, I did just say that. Or typed it. Whatever. So now, The Baby’s desk is extremely crowded and I must say that he does need a new one.

I found several desks online. Baby’s Daddy was quick to show my why none of them would work in Baby’s room.  I was quick to anger. I am still looking.

It just so happens that The Baby is one of our easier children to please.  He wanted BBQ for supper. Done.  He wanted The Middle Child to make him her homemade angel food cake. Done.  He is our “no frills” kid.  His godmother gave him a Nike sweatshirt that he picked out, and I bought him some Nike sweatpants and a stress ball kit.  “Why?” said Mini Me, “because he is under sooooo much stress? He was 12 yesterday.”  I said, “NO. MiMi gave him a skeleton head stress ball a while back and when you squeezed it, the eyes popped out. It recently exploded. I thought he might like to make his own.”  Mini Me shrugged. He is most definitely not our “no frills” kid, but he doesn’t really care for gadgety items.

The Baby’s best buddy Joe came over to eat with us.  He would have missed out, had I not come to from my daily comatose state and remembered that I had invited him.  It was around 4:30.  I texted his mother and said OMG! I forgot about JOE! Can he still come over??? She brought him over.  The Baby and Joe have been friends since birth.  They are 3 weeks apart.   We have always likened them to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito in the old movie “Twins”, only this year, The Baby grew a true 5 inches taller and has really widened the gap.

13 is just different for boys.  I am sitting here in my room, writing this post.  I just heard The Baby whisper “oh shit” to his computer friends in his room across the hall. I’m not quite sure what that means exactly. Well, maybe I do. I suppose it means only one thing for me, and that is OH SHIT.

Truman’s 13th Birthday

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Pandemonium

16 January 2021 at 13:48

I have not written in quite a while, and this is well overdue.  There was just so much to say, and so much not to say.  I would never want you to worry that I had become the Mayor of Crazy Town instead of the Psychomother that I really am.

The Pandemic shell-shocked us, as it did everyone. Our first heartbreak was the realization that the Middle Child would not actually have a formal graduation from high school. “Cry Me a River” was basically our, um, I mean, my, theme song for about three months. I could not stop crying.  I did not handle any of it well at all.

The Middle Child had to take 5 AP tests online, and let’s just say that was a hot mess.

The DeKalb School of the Arts Class of 2020 had to miss their Senior Prom, Senior Awards Night, getting their Senior Year Books and being able to sign them, Musical, Senior Week, Fringe Festival, Senior Locker Decoration, Final Performances at Graduation, and, well, “Graduation” was basically held very casually in the school parking lot, which, in the grand scheme of things seemed better than nothing at all.

There were no graduation parties or grand send-off’s.  

The Middle Child worked so hard for all of her cords, her Beta Club and NHS sashes. I wanted her to be able to walk across the stage and show it all off. I will just show it off here:

(Unfortunately, the National Honor Society sashes has not come in when I took this picture!)

The Middle Child got a great scholarship to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. She was also accepted into the Honors Program.  She decided to defer this year, due to the Coronavirus (and who wants to take theatre classes online?!)  and Point Park has held everything for her until she gets there this coming August.

Meanwhile, she is taking a couple of classes online at GA State, and will likely start as a Sophomore in the fall.  

We spent a few more weeks at the beach this year than we usually do, but it helped take our minds off of things.  

Mini Me has been able to start playing some gigs now that the restrictions have been lifted a little. 

We hardly see The Baby anymore.  He is going to school hybrid and virtual, and then gaming with his double screen get-up that Santa brought. 

JC is working hard from his home office. 

I am trying to keep the drama to a minimum, which, as we all know, is not what I do best 😉 …especially since I turned 50 in October! LOL  

At this point, anything less than pandemonium is acceptable. 

 

 

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The Ride

11 October 2020 at 11:27

I have four days left. Not to live, though you might think that is the case-the way I am acting (from time to time)- four days left until my fiftieth birthday. I am very happy to be alive, but not so happy about turning a half-century old. This is not about complaining….more contemplative…. 😉

Time is a cruel concept to learn…

Time is a cruel concept to learn. We do not learn it quickly, either. I can remember, as a child, thinking that days went by sooooo slowly. It took Christmas forever to get here. The school year was sooooo long-things like that. The older I got, the more time seemed to speed up. Time slowed down a little when my children were young, thank God, but only for about 10 years! Now, time speeds by like the flash of light-it’s so fast, I have to hold on for The Ride.

My children have grown up right before my very eyes….

It seems like only yesterday when Mini Me was starting Pre-K. He is 22 now, and actually looks like a man! You know how teenagers-boys-go all of a sudden from child to man, seemingly overnight?! I look at him sometimes and I think, is this seriously my kid? I know he is. Not to mention that he looks just like me.

I think about The Middle Child. It seems like yesterday that she was singing Mahalia’s “Precious Lord” in front of Mimi’s whole church the Easter of second grade, or even saying the Pledge on stage, IN FRENCH, at the end of 5th grade. She just graduated from high school!

And then, of course, I cannot leave out The Baby. It seems like just yesterday that he was even born! My little side-kick. I love watching our videos of his baby self singing, “I Love Rock & Roll” and others-while Jack played guitar and Eliza played the bongo drum. The Baby is taller than I am now, by over an inch! He is TWELVE! His little voice is changing. He is getting lanky and looking like a teenager.

How did it all go by so fast?

The thing is this: How did it all go by so fast? I wasn’t expecting it to be here so soon. The Ride started out like a slow Merry-Go-Round. Now, it seems like a roller coaster. I still think of myself as about 23-24 years old – carefree and full of dreams for the future. There is a specific photograph in my mind. I look in the mirror and search for that girl. I wonder where she went, because I can’t see her anymore. Someone close to me tells me to look harder and deeper because she is still there….

It’s about the journey, the ride, and what we learn along the way….

Believe me. I know the more mature version of myself is a better one. I remember who I was at 23! Nobody needs to remind me 😉 While I will still complain about the number, I am grateful to God, and the many important people in my life who helped me get here. And isn’t that what is all about, anyway? The Ride? The Journey? No, it hasn’t been all fun and games, but it wasn’t supposed to be. At times, it has been downright painful. It’s about making mistakes and cleaning them up. It’s about lessons and learning and how we react to things or not react, and it’s especially how we treat other people. That’s a big one. Treating other people with kindness. Some of us have to learn some of these lessons many times before we actually “get” them. I know I am not finished learning yet, and I know that just because I will be 50 years old, doesn’t mean I don’t have time. I still have all the time left in the world.

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Of Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails….

22 September 2020 at 12:03

We are making some changes to the inside of our home. I believe it was just two or three years ago when I painted the “Space is the Place” mural on The Baby’s wall and bought the matching comforter…..Yes, he loves space and wants to be an astronomer, but it was also my tribute to the late, great Colonel Bruce Hampton.

The Baby, now age 12.5 and in 7th grade, almost 2 inches taller than I am, recently decided that he wanted his room to be Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray (like the rest of the house).

(We did not come to agree on Agreeable Gray very easily. I first went to Home Depot and bought some gray paint that I liked. I went around the house and painted some of this gray on various walls. Nobody liked it-including me. This led to JC researching gray paint colors on the internet and reading information to me as I nodded off to sleep. I did not really care, I just wanted the color so I could start painting. We agreed on Agreeable Gray, and it is very agreeable. Everyone loves it. )

The Baby’s room was a job. First of all, he is in virtual school. I cannot work in his room when he is in class. The room needed some sheet rock repair, which meant it would also need some sanding. There is also way too much stuff in his room, so I needed to move furniture out as well as cover everything with plastic. I had to put a coat of Kilz on the mural wall first, because it would have taken 10 coats of Agreeable Gray to cover that thing.

When I was finally able to sand in there, my asthmatic self should have worn my big Breaking Bad mask, because I was coughing and hacking and sounding like I was going to die at any moment. It took hours for all of that dust to settle, and when it did, everything in that room was white. Then I had to clean all of that up.

I did not start out to write about painting. When I finally finished painting, I was left with the job of cleaning up and throwing things away. Some of the things I found really reminded me of the old “of snips and snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of”….there were rocks and feathers and things I could not identify. Then, I opened a drawer and what I found in there brought tears to my overly-emotional-somewhere-between-pre-and-menopausal-eyes. There was a little pile of teeth in that drawer. I picked the teeth up and held them in my hand and cried. I realized that The Baby did not really get to be the baby as long as his siblings who are 10 and 7 years older than he is, respectively. I don’t mean that they told him about the Tooth Fairy. He just figured all of that out on his own. When he lost those teeth, he didn’t want to bother me with it and he didn’t know what to do with them.

At bedtime, I found our silver baby teeth holder thingy that goes under the pillow and has a blue satin cord attached to a silver star. This makes it easier for the Tooth Fairy to locate in the night. I brought it into his room and he watched me put those teeth into the little circle box thingy that holds the teeth. I stuck it under his pillow with the star hanging out. I kissed him and hugged him and told him goodnight.

The next morning, after we had been awake a bit, I asked The Baby if the Tooth Fairy had come. He had not even thought about it. He went to look. “MOM!” he said, as he threw himself onto his bed, “you didn’t have to do that”. “I know that, ” I said, “but that is for the little boy who did not get to believe as long as he should have, and the little boy who just didn’t want to say anything about it to his mother because he knows how much she loves all of that!”

The Baby sat up and hugged me. He may be 12.5 and taller than I am, but he will always be my Baby.

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MIA: One Elf and One Reindeer

1 December 2019 at 18:30

I’m dragging, people. Badly.  I am really not feeling this Christmas thing.  My asthma is not great, so I had to go buy a new respirator mask from Home Depot-just to go into the attic and retrieve the 20 some odd boxes of Christmas shit.

IMG_6292

 

First, I decided I would do the outdoor decorations.  I got them all out of the shed in the backyard.  I was not exactly looking forward to this task.  Last year, I bought a gigantic Eiffel Tower.  It is fantastique; however, the lights that came with it were about to give all of us, and anyone driving down the street, an epileptic seizure.  They would not stop blinking, and they blinked at a speed so rapide that….well, let’s just say, the Eiffel Tower was not plugged in all season.  So…when I packed the outdoor decorations away last year, I cut out all of the lights inside the Eiffel Tower, and dismantled it completely, vowing to buy new lights to install this year. I did that.  I found and bought (what I thought) was the perfect set of fairy lights, complete with a remote control for blinking and whatnot.  I installed the lights into each section of La Tour Eiffel.  There were not enough lights. That was bad enough.  When I decided to just look at the lights I had installed, I found that they did not work! La Tour Eiffel is lying in the carport, under a blanket currently.  I was afraid I might throw her down the street.  I am going to have to purchase new lights and undo everything that I did yesterday, complete with zip ties and the whole works. Today was just not that day.

After I masked up and brought everything down from the attic, I suddenly really just did not care what was in the boxes. I wanted to lie down and read my book.  Then it hit me right square between the eyeballs: WHERE WAS THE ELF?  I was sure he was in my bedside table.  I ran upstairs and found the bag. I was sadly mistaken. I found 2 bags. One has the Alexander Hamilelf costume in it. The other has all of his other outfits: his leather jacket, hockey jersey, ski suit and accessories….BUT NO ELF! Why does this happen to me? YEAR AFTER YEAR. And last year it was not my fault! I had just had major foot surgery. I cannot be blamed for this! I have looked everywhere I can think of to look.  YES, everybody here is old enough to live without the Elf, except ME!!! I NEED THE ELF!! I already have presents for the Elf to bring the children! Not only is the Elf missing, but so is his reindeer!!!!  JC keeps saying they will turn up. I’m not sure where they will turn up, but I guess I’m going to have to turn this place upside down tomorrow while everyone is at school. I think that if I could find the Elf, I might be able to get myself in the mood to fix the Eiffel Tower….

 

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The Fan

6 November 2019 at 17:28

Mini Me has the hottest room in our house.  We have a classic split-level home, built in the 1960’s.  The HVAC system is in the crawl space, situated right next to Mini Me’s room.  It’s fine in the spring and summer months, but once we fire the heat up, it’s like hell down there.

I tried to fix the problem a couple of years ago.  I bought new vents and put the magnet/block thingies in them-to block his vents.  The HVAC guy had to come for some reason and he told me I was heating the entire crawl space.  I had to remove those things. It was a mess. I was going through a caulk stage and had caulked the new vents to the wall.

Mini Me has a habit of turning the air conditioning on in the night, if he is burning up.  We have woken to the house at 50 degrees before, thinking that the heat was broken. Soooooo, when we recently turned the heat on, and he started complaining about how hot it is downstairs, I decided to buy him a ceiling fan.  I am not sure why I had not thought of that before.

Mothah was here, so she and I went to Home Depot.  Mothah wanted the fan to be white and only have a single light attachment, unlike the one in our kitchen that has three separate light things.  The only two white fans they had were 42″ fans, and I quickly deemed them too small.  The one I had seen online was a Hunter fan that had gray-white-washed looking blades, was 46″ inches, and had one light attachment.  It was only $119.  They had that fan at Home Depot.  Mothah said she thought that was just too much money and we should go home and look online.  Against my better judgment, that’s what we did.

I found a 44″ white fan with one light attachment on the Home Depot website for $49.97 and I ordered it-against my better judgment.  It came the next day and sat in the dining room on (top of some giant speakers that need to be moved down to the playroom) for over a week.  It started to get colder outside and I started to worry about waking up to 50 degrees inside, so day before yesterday, I decided to hang the damn fan.

I know how to hang ceiling fans. I hung the one in our kitchen. I moved one from one room to another.  I know how to swap out light fixtures. Electricity does not scare me.  I took my ladder and my electric screwdriver and some other tools down to Mini Me’s room.  I had to stand on his bed part of the time, which was a real pain in the ass because he has this real cushiony mattress topper that Mothah bought him, and my feet kept sinking into it like I was walking in snow.  Also, I don’t have the best control over my hands anymore-either carpal tunnel or arthritis-so I kept dropping screws and having to get down on the floor and search for them.

I finally got the fan up there.  I cleaned up the mess before I even tried it out-because-I knew it was going to work.  I turned it on and pulled the light cord. The light worked. No surprise there.  I pulled the fan cord.  It started up and was making a terrible noise. Damnation. I got the directions out and read the troubleshooting tips.  It said that any noises should go away in 24 hours.  This noise did not sound like any noise that was going away in 24 hours.  It also said that I should take it all apart and tighten the motor and the housing and whatnot.  Oh, fuckety-fuck me. Ok. This meant I had to take all the blades off and everything. I took it all down and tightened it all up and put it back.  The noise was still there.  I could not accept this noise. I took the damn thing apart AGAIN, checked it all, tightened it all, and put it all back.  The noise was STILL there. I collapsed on Mini Me’s bed. He walked in a few minutes later.  “Oh! a fan!” he said. Then, we both started laughing because the noise was really loud.  I told him that I simply could not take the fan down again right then and I would deal with it tomorrow, because, you know-after all, tomorrow is another day.

So, yesterday, I was in my bed, thinking about having to take that damn fan down.  My husband was working from home and it was about 10am. He came upstairs and asked what I was doing-I guess, you know, since it was 10am and I was still in bed and it was Tuesday.  I told him that I was just laying there, dreading taking the fan down.  He laughed and said, “well, you could just pull the covers up over your head.”  So I did that for about 10 more minutes.

I got my ass up and took the damn fan down and packed it back in the box and went to Home Depot.  The girl in the “Returns” department asked me why I was returning the fan. “Because it makes an abhorrent sound!” I said, completely exasperated.  She started laughing.  I smiled.  She started typing something into her computer.  “You know,” she said, “I think that is the best reason I have ever heard for anybody bringing anything back-because it makes an abhorrent sound!”  I realized that she was typing my reason for returning it into the computer.  In less than five minutes, I was headed back to the ceiling fan department.

I left Home Depot that day with the original Hunter fan that I was going to buy in the first place, as well as the huge medallion I would need to cover the ceiling where the light fixture had once been.  When I got home, I just did not have it in me to hang it.  I asked Mini Me if I could just wait until tomorrow because-you know– after all, tomorrow is another day. He said fine.

This morning we woke up to the house being 50 degrees. I mean we were freezing.  We thought the heat was broken.  JC went to check the thermostat.  When he came upstairs, he said, “I think you will need to talk to Mini Me about turning on the AC”….. There was no question about whether I would hang the new damn fan or not.  I hung it.  It was heavier. It was a little more complicated, but man, is it pretty.  The inside of the lighting attachment is ceramic.  The light cover is actual glass! The other abhorrent fan had a plastic light cover.  I was dropping screws left and right and cussing a blue streak.  Luckily, nobody was here but me and the cat.  When that fan was up, I cleaned up my mess before I tried it, because, again, I knew it was going to work. I turned on the switch on the wall and pulled the light cord.  It came on. No surprise there. I pulled the fan cord. That fan started up, smooth as silk. No noise whatsoever.  I only had to hang it ONCE, and it is sheer perfection.  I’m telling you-you get what you pay for. Oh, and Mini Me and I decided we like the dark side of the blades best! 🙂

 

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Snake Bit

29 October 2019 at 17:10

 

We have lived in our house for eleven and a half years. We moved in when The Baby was two months old, and I was still a raging psychopath from his birth.  It took at least a year for me to unpack.

Even though that little voice that I have that nudges me in the right or wrong direction, was nudging me to run like hell, we bought our house because it has a swimming pool.  I must say, that even though we have sunk thousands upon thousands of dollars into that pool, I have enjoyed it immensely.   We have had to put two new liners in the damn thing-in 11 years.  The last big work we did on it, we also had a main drain and a light installed.  This year, it had a leak.  We were sure it had something to do with the way we closed it last year (which you will read about later), so we had a pool-guy-diver come and  get in the pool with food coloring for several hours, trying to find a leak in the liner. He never found anything, which was a real blessing. The leak ended up being in the waste line, underground, and we would never have seen it anyway.

It has taken us 11 years to get our backyard the way that we want it – or at least, the way we can enjoy it and live with it.  I ripped out the 30 year old deck with a crow bar one day while JC was at work.

Of course we would like to do more to it. Is anyone ever finished with their back yard?  I have sunk pavers into the sod myself.  Today, I finished sinking the ones that go up to the fire pit after I blew all the leaves off the yard while JC dug all the leaves out of the swimming pool.

JC and I have never closed the pool well together. We don’t really know why.  It’s not fun. We always wait until the last possible minute. In our defense, Fall is a busy time for all of us. By the time we get to the pool, it is always full of leaves. We always ends up in a fight. Last year, we had cleaned the pool, had a brand new pool cover still in the box, and we were getting ready to leave for New York.  The Middle Child and I ran out and threw a giant tarp over the pool and put things around the edge of it-like rocks, my terra-cotta pumpkins, flower pots, etc. to hold it on.  We had all intentions of putting the brand new cover on it as soon as we got back from NYC, but that  brand new cover remained in its box until today, a little over a year later.

In fact, when we went to open the pool this summer, one of my terra cotta pumpkins had fallen into the middle of the tarp-where there was so much dank water that it could not be seen.  Rocks had fallen in.  There were polywogs and all kinds of swamp trash living in the pool. It was a complete disaster.  We worked all day, and by the evening, JC and I ripped that tarp off-just as our next door neighbors and their family were sitting down to a BBQ in their back yard.  The smell was enough to knock somebody out.  The neighbors said that the wind must have been blowing in the opposite direction because they didn’t notice a thing.  I think they may have just been being nice.

It was that night, that JC and I had a serious talk about us doing it right at the end of the season this year.  The end of September came and went.  It was still 90 degrees anyway, though none of us had any time to swim with school back in session.

So, today, October 26, 2019, the two of us went out to the back yard to successfully cover the pool with the brand new cover we bought last year.  By the time we had everything ready, my back was killing me and both knees felt like they were going to collapse.  Mini Me was outside trying to help us.  JC is very particular and wanted to fold the cover this way and that way and then turn it and flip it and then he was sure it would go on exactly right. Mini Me and I do not work that way.

While the two of them were flipping and flopping and turning, I walked over to the pool and started counting the anchors that are set in the pool deck to strap the cover to.  That’s when it hit me that the cover was not going to fit.  The new cover needed one less anchor on each of its four sides.  This meant that we had four extra anchors in the pool deck.  The only anchors that matched up were the ones in each of the four corners.  When I pointed this out, JC said let’s just put it on the pool and see how bad it is. I was hopeful.  Maybe it wasn’t going to be that bad.  I was dead wrong.

We got the cover off the pool.  We had worked all day.  It was going to rain in 30 minutes and the pool and the yard would be full of leaves, yet again. I helped flip the damn thing once, but I started crying, so  I let Mini Me help JC flip and flop and turn and twist the cover back into the box.  I must hand it to Mini Me-he did not lose his temper.

I’ve had a shower now, and I am enjoying a glass of wine before dinner.  We aren’t sure what we are going to do about the pool cover. The pool is so old, they probably don’t make covers to exactly fit it. I think I am going to have to go buy a hammer drill and a 3/4 masonry hammer drill bit and drill new holes for new anchors in the pool deck. And when I say, “I”, I mean exactly that.   Don’t get me wrong-I don’t mind doing it.  I like being handy.  It’s just that I sometimes wish that we could go through a long period of time without having a major clusterfuck.  Sorry, Mothah, but that’s the only word to describe things sometimes.  As my Daddy would say,  “I guess I’m just snake bit” 😉

 

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Grocery Store

13 October 2019 at 11:09

Day before yesterday, I actually made a trip to the grocery store. I hate going to the grocery store, so I normally order groceries and have them delivered. Now, I know how that sounds.  It sounds all fancy and ooh la la. It’s really not.  In fact, when I order groceries, I tend to spend less money than when I actually go to the store myself.

The real reason that I decided to just go was that I had to pick up some prescriptions and some wine. The delivery services don’t bring that stuff to your door.  Since I had not actually done the shopping in, well, months, I decided I would just bite the bullet and do it.  I was not excited.

I entered the store with my buggy (I got the big one and not the tiny one-I knew it was going to be a big trip).  I had two lists. One list was in the notes section of my phone and the other was a screen shot of a recipe in my photos.  Also, since I was there….I saw lots of random things that we had not had in a while, so I chucked those items into the buggy as well….see, I told you: it’s cheaper for me to order groceries.

I started to get frustrated when I kept having to backtrack. I do not like having to backtrack in the store.  I was forgetting things that were on aisles I had either passed or already been down.  This was going to take forever, but on the bright side, I did keep finding things that we needed that were not on the list!

The extreme frustration came when I could not find the damn candy corn! I love candy corn. I wheeled the buggy around the circle of Halloween candy four times. I was talking to myself the whole time. I was also looking for my favorite Halloween M&M’s, but all I could find was the new Pumpkin Spice flavor. YUCK.  Finally, on my fourth trip around (which was going to be the last one) I found the candy corn.  I only like Brach’s, by the way.  I was hoping they would also have a bag of mellocream pumpkins. They did not. There were some pumpkins mixed in a bag called “Autumn Harvest” or something like that, but I hate that candy corn that has brown on it, and that was also in “Autumn Harvest”, so no pumpkins for me this year.  I don’t need them anyway.  Truth be told, I do not need the candy corn and should have given up the search party after the first go round.

When I finally had (or thought I had) everything I came for and more, I went to check out. All of the self-checkout lanes were full and there was a line, so I passed them and went to the regular check out lanes. Of course, there was one regular lane open.  The cashier was chatting with the elderly lady who was writing a check at the register.  There was another elderly lady (think late 80’s here, people) after her, and then another lady, then me.  It was going to be the slowest line in history.  We were right next to the Express 15 Items or Less line.  Nobody was in that line. The cashier motioned for me to come over to her lane. With my 327 items.

I started unloading everything quickly, lest another customer with the right amount of items come up.  The cashier said, “Ma’am, you don’t have to worry.  I told you to come over here.” I said that I knew that, but still!  She was ringing stuff up and bagging and I was taking the bags and loading as fast as humanly possible.  We would have made a great team if we were in a contest.  She was about 3/4 of the way through my 327 items when an elderly man walked up with his four or five items.  He was staring at my items. I whispered to the cashier, “He is counting my items!” The cashier whispered back to me, “I told you, you are fine! I told you to come over here in the first place!”

I got everything loaded up, and the man looked at me and said, “Can I ask you a question?” I was sure it was going to be “why do you think you can get in the Express Lane with 327 items?”, but it was not.  I said, “absolutely!” He said, “What kind of wine do you like?” The cashier had bagged the wine last.  “Pinot Noir is my favorite, but I like most reds,” I answered. Then the man, the cashier, and I stood there for 5 minutes chatting about wine. Go figure.

I got home, unloaded and put away the 327 items and realized I had totally forgotten the damn toothpaste. And it was ON THE LIST!

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It WAS All Good.

2 September 2019 at 19:39

Nothing was going to keep me away, and I. Meant. NOTHING. I had been looking forward to this blessed event for several months. I did not care what happened, I was going. My brother and sister in law joined us. The Middle Child and The Baby were perfectly fine, staying at home and babysitting the nephdogs (this is one of the perks of children getting older).

Original Shirt Found…

A couple of days before, I found my original t-shirt. We took pictures of it and posted them on Facebook. There was no way I would actually wear it. It was a bit thin and not exactly white anymore. There were only a handful of those shirts made, and I wonder how many actually still exist. My brother was only too happy to wear it for me!

A Night to Remember…if that was possible 😉 (of course it was)

It ended up being a blissful night-one I cannot completely describe to you. My ex-step-sister of 30 years, Doola, came. We partied like it was 1991. Okay, not really. What I mean by that is that we let our hair down and we danced and screamed like it was 1991 and we were at The Georgia Theater in Athens, Georgia, hearing The Allgood Music Company on any Friday night. I felt 21 again. Corky Jones was up there on stage at The Vista Room, with his short hair, but that is not how I saw him. I saw him with his long hair, hat, and his cowboy boots. Lord have mercy, or as Doola would say, “He sure is one tall drink o’ watah”.

We remembered EVERY word….

Friends from UGA that I had not seen in a while were there-with us-screaming our heads off on the front row. We knew every word to every single song. You won’t be forgiven if they find out you’ve been livin’ in the Funky House….. Or Then you’ll have to face yourself alone….someday you’ll have to face yourself alone…. And of course the favorite…Well bless my soul, it’s time to roll…I got to move before I get too old!

The next day, I almost had no voice at all. It was so totally worth it. I think I had “Allgood let down” for a few days-because I had been looking so forward to it and now it was over.

The Next Generation….

I knew that Mini Me had the opportunity to see Allgood in Nashville the following weekend, and I offered to buy him tickets. He wasn’t sure if he was going to be in town or not. By Friday, the day of the show, he was texting me that he was going to see Allgood. His Dad and I were at the Braves game when Mini Me started texting me. I told him to be sure and wait and meet the band and that he must tell them that his mother was and is their biggest fan. I was getting a lot of “LOL” responses from him. I told him to try to talk to Corky and remind him that my brother and I had talked to Corky after the Vista Room show, and my brother had worn my original t-shirt.

A little while later, while I was texting with Mini Me, I got a text from my BFF. It said, “I guess you don’t care about the Braves changing pitchers LOL. I just saw you on tv and you were on your phone!” Mini Me and his photo with Corky was far more important to me. I received this photo and this caption: “He told me to tell you hey and he really enjoyed the Vista show a bunch!” I cared a WHOLE lot more about reading THAT than I cared about the Braves’ pitcher change! 😉 Allgood Music Company, I have loved you since 1987. My wifi router is named for you. My children have grown up listening to Ride the Bee. YOU ROCK. You always have, always will. Thank you for your music. Thank you for all the good times-I will never forget them. Thank you, Corky, for being kind to my kid! (How in the hell am I old enough to even say that??????) #allgood #corkyjones

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Rockstud

7 June 2019 at 16:28

Most people who really know me, know that I have a great love for shoes. Unfortunately, my great love for shoes does not span far and wide and it does not include any and all shoes. I will admit that I am a bit of a shoe snob; however, I do have limits. I absolutely will not buy shoes at Wal-Mart, Target or Payless. T.J. Maxx stopped carrying “good stuff” a long time ago, and Marshall’s was never even on my list. I have terrible feet. I recently had extreme foot surgery. I had a tendon completely removed, a FDL transfer, a hole in my arch repaired, and a complete bunionectomy-all at the same time and all on the same foot. The recovery has been long and arduous. Lately, I have only been in the market for athletic shoes, even though I have been able to be anything but athletic.

I should probably be ashamed to say that you will not find an off-brand shoe in my closet , and yes, I know how heinous that sounds. Even my rubber flip-flops are J.Crew. I’ve worn those babies for years and years. I am madly in love with three pair of Tory Burch sandals. One pair I have owned for at least 6 years (they are starting to really show my love for them) and the other two for at least 3. They are all flat, flat, flat. They all have wrap around ankle straps, and they are all CLASSIC and can, and will be, worn until they fall off of my feet. Yes, they were pricey, but I have taken immaculate care of them.

I tried to wear Tory Burch rubber flip flops. I especially liked the wedge flip flops, but they kept breaking! Finally, after I had returned the third pair, a salesgirl at Nordstrom told me that Tory Burch shoes are THE most returned item at Nordstrom. This was after I had already purchased the three pairs of ankle strap, flat, flat, flat sandals that I adore. I stopped buying Tory Burch shoes after she told me that. They are seriously over priced, and the ballet flats are even more seriously uncomfortable.

In addition to my Tory Burch sandals, my closet is full of things like Frye Boots, Uggs, Vionic, Kate Spade, Louise et Cie, and my prized Robert Clerégie platform sandals that I bought in Paris two years ago. I might actually lay my life down for those things. They are the bomb diggity. I think I might even be cremated while wearing those things-especially since I want my ashes taken to France and spread over Jim Morrison’s grave at Père la Chaise…. I guess I need to put that in writing…

All of the shoes I have mentioned can be afforded, if wanted badly enough, by average people-especially shoe snobs like myself. These shoes are in somewhat of a “middle class”. Maybe that sounds naïve. Maybe those shoes are haute couture for some people and I have no idea what I am talking about. Who knows? What I do know is this: My dream shoe will never, ever be mine.

Like any random female, I like to sit on the couch, glass of wine by my side and MacBook in my lap, perusing the Nordstrom shoe collection from time to time. This is not an every day event-just something I happen to do when I am not washing clothes or cooking dinner or driving children to and from various events like school and whatnot. It was during one of these random shoe-perusing occasions that I came upon the holy, divine, example of sheer perfection that shall never be mine: The Valentino Rockstud Collection.

I have coveted the Rockstuds from afar for a couple of years now. There is the Rockstud Block Heel; The Rockstud Espadrille, The Rockstud Caged Pump; The Rockstud Slingback; The Rockstud Caged Ballet Flat; The Rockstud Ankle Strap Ballet Flat; The Rockstud Ankle Strap Sandal; The Rockstud Flat Flip-Flop Sandal; The Rockstud Bootie; The Rockstud Jellie Flip Flop; and the list goes on and on and on. AND there are purses to match, of course! The Rockstuds start at around $1100. The Rockstud Jellie collection starts around $500.

Recently, I had the rare opportunity to try on some Rockstuds. I was as excited as a little girl. I am not joking. My husband and I were at the mall for some strange reason that I cannot remember now. He humored me and allowed me the small pleasure of trying on a pair of Rockstuds. I was anxious while we were waiting on the salesman to bring them out. I knew we were not going to buy them and I felt badly for making the poor man bring them out for me. When he came out, he only had one pair in my size. He slid them on my feet. They were waaayyyyyy too wide. I could have fit my entire hand between the straps and my foot. “Thank God for that” I heard my husband say under his breath. The salesman simply said, “Well, the Rockstud is simply not for you.” I breathed out a deflated breath. No, the Rockstud is not for me-in more ways than one.

Oh, Valentino Rockstud, how I have loved you from afar. How I have obsessed over you! You are still my favorite and the most fabulous shoe on the planet, but I could have saved myself all of that angst if I had just tried you on in the first place! Then I would have known that you are definitely NOT the shoe for me. Ha.

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Old Me

4 June 2019 at 17:40

How is it that, no matter who you morph into over time, one of your kids ends up being the exact old you? I am talking about the old you that you wouldn’t wish upon anyone. The old you who did not think about anybody else but yourself. The old you who would do the wrong thing, just because. I’m mean the old you who did things that you do not like to think about (much less talk about) today because you are horrified that you would ever make such choices and you cannot believe that you ever did any of those things??? (Well, let me not say the exact old me. I must clarify that said child has not completely measured up to the old me-there are some differences. Said child is not as heinous as I think of the old me as being, once upon a time; however, there are a LOT of startling similarities). Anyway. I am sure you get the picture: The old you that you are glad you are no more….

That Old Me came home this weekend. I knew that Old Me was coming, because we had shared a few texts and I knew about some things that Old Me had talked to his dad about. I guess the beginning was the shitty semester that Old Me had at school this past spring. The actual old me is no stranger to shitty semesters. Oh, Right! They were shitty quarters back in my day. Old Me is about to turn 21 at the end of the month. Coincidentally, I recently obtained a copy of my transcript from UGA. The data suggests that I began to fall apart in 1990-1991. Guess how old I was? 20-21. Wow, Old Me! (and actual old me!)

Anyway. Old Me was not here for a family visit. He was here for two nights of Trey Anastasio with his dad. On Sunday, we called Old Me into our bedroom for a chat. We already knew that Old Me wanted to take time off from school. We asked Old Me what we could do to help him. Old Me looked us square in the face and said, “nothing. I don’t want your help.” OUCH, Old ME! I’m not sure that actual old me would have said that. Old Me went on to tell us that he really doesn’t think a degree is going to help him much. He doesn’t want to graduate and go into an entry-level position. Also, he is tired of answering to anyone. He wants his independence. Oh MY GOD, OLD ME!! I mean REALLY! Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. WTH? You have NO CLUE how good you’ve got it!!! We are paying for EVERYTHING and ONLY asking YOU to go to class and do your work! What MORE could you possibly ask for???? The actual old me had it that good too, and I couldn’t seem to make it work either. In fact, I am pretty sure that most of the dumbass, contradictory statements that I made back in 1990-1991 actually came out of Old Me’s mouth on Sunday. I felt like I was watching a video of myself 30 years ago. Well, except Old Me has much better hair than actual old me did 30 years ago.

We ended the conversation with the old, “we are here if you need us”. I was crying by then. Old Me hugged me and told me it was nothing we had done or not done. Old Me’s dad told him he would be sending him an itemized list of everything that we pay for. That made me snort, then cry harder. Then, Old Me left. I spent the entire afternoon remembering the actual, for real, old me. I cried harder. I used to think that growing up was the hardest thing. It’s not. Watching your kids grow up is. I love you, Old Me, more than you can possibly know.

“Everybody knows-it hurts to grow up-And everybody does-It’s so weird to be back here-Let me tell you what-The years go on and on-We’re still fighting it-We’re still fighting it-And you’re so much like me….I’m Sorry” Ben Folds

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I Promise Not To….

29 May 2019 at 18:36

Today I was reminded of something funny. I had to email the principal of The Middle Child’s school (who was also the principal of Mini Me’s school) to let her know that The Middle Child will miss the entire first week of school in August because she will be finishing up the Berklee School of Music 5 Week Summer Program. The principal already knew The Middle Child was going, but she has to have it in writing. I typed out the email and then thought to add, “I promise not to enter any contests that might cause The Middle Child to miss anymore school ;)”

When Mini Me went to the Berklee 5 Week, his dad flew up with him and then I flew up to get him and bring him home. This sounds ridiculous, but he had to take more than one guitar and other musical equipment, so if one of us went on each leg of the trip, we could carry on an instrument or whatever. When I got to the airport in Atlanta, I was playing on my phone-checking Facebook and whatnot, and I noticed that Third Man Records was having a contest for Platinum Vault Members–a listening party for 20 people and they could each bring a guest. Guess who happens to be a Platinum Vault Member??? Moi. The Dead Weather was going to be there! That meant that Jack White would be there! I entered and forgot about it because I never win anything. I arrived in Boston and went to my hotel. I went to the gym, came back to my room and showered. I was drying my hair when I thought to check my email. I HAD WON A SPOT AT THE LISTENING PARTY! Yes, I have written about this before. I won’t bore you with it again, but I will say that one of the hardest, most uncomfortable phone calls I have ever had to make was to the principal….to tell her that Mini Me was not actually coming to school on Monday of the second week of school, because that’s when the listening party was. She was very understanding and kind about it. Mini Me and I flew back to Boston and then re-packed and drove to Nashville. He was at school on Tuesday. It was totally worth it. I just don’t want to push my luck 😉

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Was Cool Once.

19 April 2019 at 16:54

I’m a legend in my own mind, of course. Isn’t everyone? I am not enjoying the aging process. I need to lose 30 pounds. My estrogen is high. My thyroid meds were askew. My foot still hurts. The only thing I’ve got going on right now is that I was cool once. I think. Maybe 😉

(Shirt by ScaryMommy)

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Where the Woozle Wasn’t

17 April 2019 at 18:51

We took the kids to NYC in the fall. The Middle Child wants to go to NYU and wanted to do a college visit. The boys had never been to NYC. We decided to make a fun, long weekend out of it. We stayed with old friends in Pelham and took the train into the city. One day, we visited the NYC Library. The original Winnie the Pooh is in the children’s section. They have the original Pooh stuffed bears in a glass case. There is a map on the wall that shows the Hundred Acre Wood where Pooh, Piglet, Eyore, and Rabbit lived. Down in the bottom left of the map was marked “Where the Woozle Wasn’t”. We all got excited because Mini Me’s band is named “Woozle” – after the Woozle in the Pooh stories by A.A. Milne. I told Mini Me that he would one day need to name an album or a song: “Where We Wasn’t”. We all laughed.

Yesterday, Woozle released their single: Where We Wasn’t. I feel a bit honored 😉 https://youtu.be/tBKXWQOmN3Y

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