Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

25 Reflections for 2014

2014…What a ride!

1) I published a book this year. To this lover of words, it was a huge accomplishment. “A Cradle of Hope” is embedded with a piece of my soul, no doubt.

2) Took my three boys to see Imagine Dragons in concert in Dallas this past February. Without a doubt, it birthed the bubbling fire of love for the art of music in my youngest son. Can’t wait to see where this takes him.

3) Started drinking coffee every single morning. I was always a tea drinker in the mornings, but I’ve been driven to the dark side by coffee grounds and caramel creamer.

4) Went to Daytona Beach Florida. Watched it rain for three days straight. Grew to love Bloody Mary’s because of it. Rain at the beach = binge drinking.

5) Universal Studios Florida this past May. Harry Potter is, and will forever be, a love of mine. There is something so electric about visiting this extraordinary world in person.

6) Butterbeer is sinful. Particularly when drinking it while standing in Diagon Alley.

7) Three words: THE GLITCH MOB

8) A viral WordPress post with over 90,000 views this past March thanks to The Glitch Mob. I dig you boys to the moon and back again.

9) Meeting “The Mob” twice this year. Because frankly, we consider them family. They’ve not only changed the lives of my kids, but mine.

10) A pretty spectacular friendship was birthed because of “The Mob”. She knows who she is, that I adore her, and that fate is real. I love ya, soul baller. Mean it.

11) Chocolate truffles are wicked. I will NEVER tell how many I’ve eaten this year. NEVER…

12) Fell in love with the Mara Dyer book series by Michelle Hodkin. Have you read them? You should. They are amazing.

13) New York City with my sister in law for a long weekend. This city…I will never grow tired of it.

14) Realized the beach is my calling. Someday I must live on one. There is something that stirs my soul when I’m there.

15) Was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. That was extremely devastating to me. I had a hard time coming to terms with it, but with the help of family and close friends, I’ve prevailed and will continue to.

16) Got my first tattoo. I’m pretty sure I’m now infinitely hooked to ink. I’ll be back in the chair before long. 🙂

17) Made crepes for the first time this year. I will never do it again. Why? Don’t ask.

18) Realized that daily “quiet time” and meditation makes a huge difference in my life. As a busy mother and wife, I never realized how much I internalized my stress. We should all take some time each day to release.

19) “The Art of Stillness”. Incredible book gifted to me by a friend. Will change your life. It certainly changed mine. Add it to your 2015 reading list. Mean it.

20) Am now pen pals with the author of “The Art of Stillness” Pico Iyer. Amazing man. He has a true gift with words. We’re tight.

21) Discovered Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey. Word.

22) Went another year of having to show my ID for purchases, whether it was for alcohol, markers, or spray paint. Considering I’m 15 years past the age of 21, I’ll take it with a side of awesome sauce.

23) A new avid collector of vinyl records. My childhood has come alive, and all the memories of days spent going through my father’s records has risen. My kids are now fascinated with vinyls.

24) Mother of the Year for #23.

25) Booked a dream vacation. One that I have dreamt about for years. Hubby and I finally took the plunge, and surprised our kids. April 2015. Bucket list item checked off.

Turks
Turks & Caicos

 

Una Vita. Vivat. – One Life. Live It.

Cheers to 2015 ~

V.S.K.

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Verizon Is Run By Monkeys From Outer Space

verizonmonkey

Holy freaking bananas…this week has been utterly 100% ridiculous.

You know the saying, “When it rains, it pours”. I have been drenched to the core this week from all angles.

From strep throat that has overtaken our house, being stranded in the Walgreens parking lot with a dead car battery, incompetent people at Aetna insurance who failed to enter prescription drug coverage for my children despite the $4,000,000 we pay them each month in premiums AS A FAMILY, and Verizon FIOS….Oh Verizon FIOS…

As a busy wife, working mom and homeschooling aficionado, when things happen I need a solution. A remedy to get our family back on track.

1) The disgusting strep bug is now under control thanks to antibiotics and copious amounts of Lysol and Purell.

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2) While standing in line talking to Steven the gum-smacking moron at Walgreens about WHY my antibiotics are not covered by insurance, I found myself fueled with the “I Don’t Have Time For This” energy only mothers know. The energy of trembling hands, fuzzy vision and the sound of blood pumping against your ear drums at an astounding pace as you try and remain cool in front of a slew of sick strangers. The “Your Husband Is At Work, and Doesn’t Have Enough Cash For Bail Money” in his wallet reasoning that you try so hard to grasp onto. I kept my cool, I paid for my antibiotics OUT OF POCKET, and then I bought a Voodoo doll across the street to seek my revenge. No not really. Yes, we’ll say that for now…

3) When I walked out into the parking lot of Walgreens to drive across the street to get my Voodoo doll go home, my car was dead as a doornail. <—- What does that even mean, “Dead as a doornail?” What is a doornail? Moving on…I am standing in the parking lot, hood open, tears in my tired eyes, my husband unavailable as he was in training for a new job position and not answering his phone this ONE time, as I seriously considered hitchhiking to Canada with a total stranger, Voodoo doll purse under my arm. A man pulls up in a pickup truck, sees the ragged mother in faded yoga pants and a nine year old t-shirt with a mustard stain, and asks if I needed help. I obliged, even though my mother told me not to talk to strangers, I’m in a public place and I’m desperate. He finds the problem, grabs his toolbox from the back of his truck, and has my car up and running in less than 5 minutes. Good people still exist in this world.  For that, I am ever so grateful.

4) Aetna insurance never fixed the pharmacy coverage for my kids. At this point, I let it slide after talking to Martha for more than 45 minutes. Even after all that time, she still didn’t fix the issue. Seriously? We change health insurance on Monday. Thank heavens! And the country wonders why our health care industry is in such ruin…Incompetency, plain and simple.

5) Verizon FIOS will forever be on my naughty list. I have informed Santa Claus to NEVER deliver any toys to them from here until eternity. We upgraded our internet speed on Monday, and ever since then, we have been unable to access secure websites (i.e. Capital One, Bank of America, Chase, etc.). After HOURS of tech support, and even a technician visit, we were repeatedly told that our issue was our devices NOT our internet service. I was desperate. Peeved. Sleep-deprived. And my Voodoo doll was already too full of pins head was throbbing. My 13 year old son, who loves computers, researched the issue all morning, created a fix on his own, and our internet has been working beautifully ever since.

My teenager fixed something trained employees couldn’t do at Verizon. I am not one to seek revenge, but Verizon has wasted so much of my time over the past three days that I decided to make one final phone call to explain the issue for the 1,563rd time to a tech support specialist, not mentioning that my son had actually already fixed the problem. I was told by the tech support specialist that there was an outage in my area. An outage that was affecting YouTube, Capital One, Bank of America, and several other websites, and the inability to load secured webpages while using FIOS. In other wards, I was blatantly lied to. WOW.

I am convinced, that in fact, Verizon FIOS is run by monkeys from outer space. And if you don’t believe me, visit your local zoo and ask any Orangoutang or Chimpanzee there. More than likely they have family members working in the Verizon technical support office. I PROMISE. Just ask for “Bob” or “Larry”…

I Hate Verizon ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

The Ice Apocalypse…and Other Reasons to Drink…

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A half an inch of ice my rear end…We have nearly three inches, and it’s not melting. At least, not fast enough for my liking.

You know those times when you REALLY want to see some beautiful white covering the ground during the holidays, so you can feel all “holiday-ish”? I feel more like Scrooge than an elf clicking his heels together as the season of Christmas draws near.

We haven’t gotten mail in two days.

I have no newspaper to read.

My kids are driving me nuts.

I’m tired of cooking.

The laundry is done. There is nothing else to wash, even the dog’s sweater smells like lilacs on a warm summer day.

I have learned to play SkyRim on XBOX 360…and I don’t even like XBOX. Don’t even ask me what the point of SkyRim is because I’m convinced there isn’t one.

I may sell my youngest child on eBay if we are still cooped up in this house tomorrow.

Yes, I have written like any good author should when he or she is stuck in the house. But you can only keep your creative juices flowing for so long as your children beg for something to eat, drink, do, fold, demolish, sled on or hit…

I’ve watched The Hobbit, Men In Black, Source Code, and countless episodes of International Living on HGTV. I want to move to New Zealand and live in tree house on a hill for the low price of 1.8 million. Let me know if you’d like to fund my move.

I have hang nails the size of orange peels thanks to the cold, dry air. I have hands of a carpenter. Gorgeous.

I’m tired of homemade pumpkin lentil soup. It was great on Friday. Today it makes me nauseous. I want a 4,000 calorie cheeseburger and fries from a drive thru window.

I simply want to DRIVE.

Ice play for my youngest has gone from sledding on Friday to dragging his entire body across the icy driveway today. When I went outside to ask him what he was doing, thinking he was hurt, he said he was teaching himself to “body sled”. His pants and gloves are soaked, but he refuses to come in. At least he is entertained…

I’ve rearranged the ornaments on the tree. Twice. For no good reason other than to keep from having a Clark W. Griswold moment…

Conversations with my children have become completely monotonous and annoying over the past four days. I love my kids, at this point, more than a cheap bottle of wine from Aldi that was meant for decoration but I decided to drink since I’m out of Dr. Pepper…

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Last Friday ~

Little A: “Can we go sledding outside, Mommy? Isn’t the white beautiful?”

Me: “Yes, let’s go sledding! Here are your gloves, sweetheart! Now let me go find the sled in the attic. Meet you outside!”

Today ~

Little A: “Is the ice melting? The temperature says 31, so it’s still below freezing. Do you think it will melt today though? Do you, do you, doooo yooouuuu? Can I have the stale half of a cookie I found in the pantry behind the empty bag of chips Middle A put back on the shelf because he’s too lazy to throw it away?”

Me: “Whatever. Eat the cookie. I wish the ice would melt. Please go find something to do.”

It’s amazing that when we are STUCK in the house, we are unmotivated and can’t find a darn thing to do. NOTHING.

Yet when we choose to stay home, we reorganize closets, dust the baseboards, paint murals and build a shed in the backyard for no good reason.

Little A: “Can you tell me what I can go do? I’m bored.”

Me: You bet I can tell you what to go do…”I don’t know, go play Legos or something. Watch a movie. Play Jenga. Pet the dog…”

Little A: “I don’t want to do any of that.” <—Said while lying on the ground, face first, hands outstretched like an annoying toddler…except he’s 9.

Me: “Then I don’t know what to tell you. Use your imagination.”

Little A: “What’s imaginotation?”

Me: “Never mind.”

Little A: “Never mind, what?”

Me: “Why don’t you go see what your brothers are doing. Maybe they’ll do something with you.”

Little A: “I don’t want to play with them. They say they are too old for “playing”. They say they “hang out” not play.”

Me: “Then go “hang out” with them.”

Little A: “Big A told me I was too young to do that, so he told me to come ask you what to do.” He picks his nose.

Me: “Do you need a Kleenex?”

Little A: “No.” <—While wiping said booger on his sleeve.

Me: “Glad we’ve got that covered…”

Little A: “Got what covered? The ground is still covered in ice. Is that what you mean, Mommy?”

Me: Thinking…….”Yes.”

He turns around and runs away. I give it twelve minutes before he’s back. I’ve never been so ready to grocery shop in all my life! Or even go and get gas…sounds like a freakin’ dream…

Stir crazy and utterly unamused with the ice anymore,

VSK

Holiday Songs

Politically Incorrect Christmas Carols – Day 1 – “Baby It’s Cold Outside”

kilt

Today I was listening to Pandora while putting up Christmas decorations with my kids. Yes, it is only November 13th. Yes, perhaps that’s a little crazy, but I decided to roll with it.

I LOVE Christmas music. Let me get that straight upfront before you accuse me of being a holiday hater. As a woman of words who feeds off of books, song lyrics and scripts I started listening. Like, REALLY LISTENING, to the lyrics of some of the holiday songs that we sing like well-trained carolers every year for roughly two months, before tucking them away and turning back to Roar by Katy Perry.

For the next month and a half, I’d like to break down the lines to some of our favorites. Humorously. But I think we owe it to ourselves to know WHAT exactly we are singing about as we stand in a 4 mile long line to check out at Walmart, a cart full of cr@p (you came in for two gift baskets, and you’re leaving with a box of 4800 candy canes, a Santa Claus dressed in a hawaiian shirt, reindeer slippers that jingle when you walk, and an angel dressed in camo holding a rifle), with a credit card in your hand while humming Jingle Bells as the lady in front of you picks her nose, and wipes it on the flannel sleeve of her plaid shirt. Welcome to the holidays. 🙂

Let’s break this down shall we? Up first…

baby-its-cold-outside

I really can’t stay (Baby, it’s cold outside) <—- Where is she in a hurry to? The grocery store, to donate blood, another date? I think we need this information upfront before singing about it.

I’ve got to go ‘way (Baby, it’s cold outside) <—– It’s AWAY, not ‘way. This is not 1995. No way! Way…

The evening has been (I’ve been hopin’ that you’d drop in) <—– Has been….delightful? Magical? Horrible? Weird? Awkward? Why didn’t she call before coming over? I smell a sinful secret here.

So very nice (I’ll hold your hand, they’re just like ice) <—- If your hands are ice cold, I refuse to hold them. Warm them up, then we’ll talk.

My mother will start to worry (Hey beautiful, what’s your hurry) <—-33 and living with your mom. It’s sweet of you to leave without telling her in the first place. Apparently you don’t own a cell phone.

And father will be pacing the floor (Listen to that fireplace roar) <—-My dad would have already called the cops by now. The fireplace doesn’t roar, it crackles. If it roars, apparently you are talking to Sirius Black in Harry Potter.

So really, I’d better scurry (Beautiful, please don’t hurry) <—-Rats scurry. I skip. If you scurry away, apparently you have no sense of direction. 

Well, maybe just a half a drink more (Put some music on while I pour) <—-Let’s keep drinking so I can get behind the wheel. Sounds like a stellar idea. Music? I’ll put some AC/DC on….

The neighbors might think (Baby, it’s bad out there) <—-Alright, you two are definitely cheating. It is bad out there. Especially if his wife comes home early.

Say, what’s in this drink (No cabs to be had out there) <—-Xanex. Enjoy.

I wish I knew how (Your eyes are like starlight now) <—-How to what? Tie your shoes, ride a bike, kill a cockroach, juggle oranges? Your eyes look like starlights because you’ve been drinking for the past hour. Duh.

To break this spell (I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell) <—-Okay, now I’m beginning to think we are dealing with Mary Poppins. Yes. It’s Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. I KNEW it.

I oughtta say no, no, no sir (You mind if I move in closer) <—-She said no, bro! What up? She didn’t invite you to “move in closer”. She said, no, no, no. That usually means…NO.

At least I’m gonna say that I tried (And what’s the sense in hurting my pride) <—-A slap across the cheek usually works. Or yelling. Or running…running is good.

I really can’t stay (Oh baby, don’t hold out) <—-You’ve been saying that for a while, but you are still here. I bet your mother is hysterical and your dad is fuming by now. Just a guess, sweetie.

Oh, but it’s cold outside <—-Put a coat on. Just a suggestion. Or a Snuggie.

My sister will be suspicious (Your lips look delicious) <—- I knew it! It’s your sister’s husband! Ah-ha! 

My brother will be there at the door (I ain’t worried about you brother) <—- Whoa. What kind of family IS this?!

My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious (That ol’ biddy, she ain’t gonna bother me) <—- Is this an episode of Downton Abbey? Or maybe an episode of Real Housewives of Orange County? I think we’ll go with Jerry Springer on this one.

Well maybe just a cigarette more (You don’t need no cigarette, it’s smokin’ plenty up in here) <—- Smoking, drinking, canoodling, cheating….if this isn’t the perfect picture of a happy holiday family, I don’t know what is…

I’ve got to get home (Baby, you’ll freeze out there) <—- Seriously, put on a coat. Should I spell that for you? Or better yet, have you ever heard of a jacket? Sweater? Housecoat?

Say, lend me a comb (It’s up to your knees out there) <—- You need to brush your hair? What if he has lice? “Say, this has been such a romantic evening I feel like brushing my hair.” Best turn on line EVER. 

You’ve really been grand (I thrill when you touch my hand) <—- You’ve been a jerk and pushed her boundaries. Please don’t call her tomorrow.

Oh, but don’t you see (How can you do this thing to me) <—- See what? Oh wait, yikes…things are getting a little too personal here. Cue the chorus….

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow (Well, think of my lifelong sorrow) <—- Ya think?! You had it coming. Your mom is worried and your dad is pacing. You’re cheating with your sister’s husband, your brother is about to show up, and the neighbors are spying.  I assume it will sound more like yelling than talking though by the time this is over…

At least there will be plenty implied (If you caught pneumonia and died) <—- Happy thoughts. Way to end a song. With death after a fantastic night. Warms my heart like lumpy gravy.

I really can’t stay (Get over that hold out) <—-Get over that hold out? Apparently you need to put the bottle down, sweetheart.

Oh, but baby it’s cold outside <—- {sigh} We’ve discussed this. We. Have. Discussed. This.

Happiness All Around ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

What It’s Like To Punch A Credit Card Representative

operator

I’ve developed a low tolerance for people lately. Perhaps my standards are just too high, or I’ve been eating too much Halloween candy out of my 9 year old’s bag when he isn’t looking. This could also have something to do with the individuals who tested my patience last week. (See last week’s post!)

So my husband has a cracked credit card. Perhaps it’s related to his back injury, and the Hunchback of Notre Dame lean he’s had for the past two weeks. Plastic can only tolerate so much “leaning”. Whatever the reason, I told him I’d order a new credit card for him. I’m a great credit card orderer after today. Let me know if you need my services. I’m quite costly though…

Rep: “Thank you for calling **** today. Can I have your first and last name?”

Me: “Sure. Valerie King.”

Rep: “And how are you today, Voldemort?” Did she just call me Voldemort?! Alright, I’ll roll with it…

Me: “I’m fine, thanks. You?”

Rep: Looonnnggg sigh “I’ve been better. I have a cold, and I have a sick baby at home.”

Me: “I’m sorry to hear that.”

Rep: “Yeah, me too, Voldemort. My mind is a little foggy today. Took some NyQuil.” Do you mean DayQuil? Oh geez, this is going to be a stellar conversation…

Me: “Okay. Well, um, hope you feel better.”

Rep: MONSTROUS Sneeze “Wow, that came out of nowhere. What’s your social security number?” Do I give this to her in her condition?

Rep: “How can I help you today, Voldemort?” Blowing nose

Me: “Well, I need to order a new credit card for my husband. His is split down the middle, and needs a new one. Can you send one out please?”

Rep: “Oooohhh, well no, I’m sorry. You’re not the primary on the account. So, your husband will need to call in and say he needs a new one, unless he’s there so I can speak with him.”

Me: “We are married with a joint account. We have the same credit card number, and pay the bill as a couple. Why can’t you just send out a new card?”

Rep: “Well, I’m sorry Voldemort, but although you are his wife, he has to request a new card. Company policy. A spouse can’t ask for a new card replacement for their husband or wife.”

Me: Seriously? I’m not asking for a kidney, I’m asking for a new card! “Really, well that’s an interesting policy I’ve never heard of before.”

Rep: Coughing “It is kind of a weird policy, but I have to follow it or I could risk losing my job. We all know we need our jobs these days! I’m sure you understand since your husband is primary on the account.”

Alright smarta$*, he may go to work, but so do I. I homeschool my kids, I’m a Social Media Director for a large corporation, I write books, I clean toilets, and I wipe snotty noses aside from yours. You wanna play, credit card rep in Rhode Island?! Well then, let’s play….

Me: “Can we request a new card online through your website?”

Rep: “Oh yes, YOUR HUSBAND, can request a new card online.”

Me: Laughing “Perfect. I’ll just log into our account online…here we go…with my husband’s user name and password to request the card then. Done and done! You’ve been a big help. I’ll let my HUSBAND know that I’ve ordered HIS new card.”

Rep: “Well….Is there anything else I can help you with Voldemort?” Cough, cough

Me: “I’m not sure ‘helping’ is the right word, but I hope you feel better soon. I need to get back to work. I have a very busy job. We all know we need our jobs these days!”

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This also goes along with the woman talking on her cellphone, windows rolled down, driving 45mph when she suddenly decides she needs to throw out the contents of her full plastic cup that consists of water and large ice cubes. What possesses someone to think, “Geez, this water is bugging the he!! out of me, so I better throw it out before it grows arms and strangles me while I jabber on about glue sticks to Sarah!”

It lands on my $16.99 carwash that I had just gotten several hours earlier. If only I would have had a wand…..IF ONLY.

Caution-This-Sign-Has-Sharp-Edges

Now where is that bag of Skittles I stole out of Little A’s bag earlier….

Patient, but Intolerable At Times ~

VSK

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

The Curse of the Lizard & Toys R Us Weirdos

Talking Lizard

 

Oh my gosh, where do I start….

Yesterday. Let’s start with yesterday. Yes, let’s…

So my better half is having back issues. For the last four nights we have eaten dinner in bed. I’ve had to change the sheets everyday to remove the cracker crumbs, chip remnants and salad dressing stain. We’re classy like that.

I got him to agree to try a chiropractor yesterday. I hear they’re “quacks”. Not in ducks. I love ducks….

No disrespect if you are a chiropractor, married to a chiropractor, or stalk a chiropractor, but that’s word on the street. But desperation has set in, so we made an appointment with a local chiropractor for yesterday morning. We show up 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. Mind you, the paperwork is on a computer, that you have to stand hunched over to fill out. I believe this was the first sign that perhaps this particular doc was a quack.

Severe back pain? Please stand hunched over while you experience shooting pains down your legs and numbness in your buttocks while you tell us WHAT causes your back pain! Standing was an option. Sweet.

Second sign Dr. McQuackenstock was not really “with it”. After standing over the computer to fill out the ridiculously long essay on the history of back pain and when it was invented, we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Did you know we waited?

Oh, we waited while the office staff ate donuts and fixed their router. I also learned that Sarah was planning on wearing her dark angel costume tonight to Brad’s party over in Irving where Taylor was going to be. You know, the guy with the dark wavy hair and “to die for” eyes! {Giggle!!}

“Oh my gaw, he is like BEA-U-TIFUL. Seriously, I mean, movie beautiful.” Stop giggling with the wad of donut in your mouth. That is NOT beautiful.

What the heck is movie beautiful anyway? I’m not sure I want a movie “beautiful” dude. My husband is hot, not beautiful. He’s handsome, not fantabulous. He’s HAND-SOME like, totally, and ridiculous eye candy.  And he’s mine.”

So we wait. And then we leave, because apparently having a donut campout about how sweets make you fat, but everyone continues to eat them anyway, is more important than the guy in the waiting room in complete agony. Dr. McQuackenstock follows us out and apologizes. We move on, he continues talking with a half eaten chocolate donut in his hand. No lie. Um….DONE.

We find a new chiropractor. He has hubby in and out in 30 minutes. Improvement, but we still have a ways to go. At least they weren’t eating donuts when we arrived….

Today. I tell the kids, “No homeschool. Let’s rock.” <— This is code for, “We need a break. I NEED A BREAK. Let’s go drink overpriced Starbucks coffee, shop for clothes we don’t need, and hang out at Barnes & Noble where the cool people are. Cool people hang out in bookstores. Just sayin’…

This is ONE of the many reasons why I love homeschool. My schedule, my time, my call. We spent the day together and it was epic. Lots of laughs, music, lunch, memories…this is life for me. This is what I relish. Time with my kids. Every ounce of it. I can’t imagine not having my kids with me. I love hanging out with them, and they feel the same way. 18 years isn’t that long when you think about it. In a blink of an eye, they’ll be on their own. For now, I want to be mom. The mom who pushes hard for her kids to get great grades, to explore opportunity, to instill values, but to also nurture and hang with, because without family, we have nothing.

Little A wanted to spend some of his allowance at Toys R Us. So we go. We walk. I watch a kid eat his booger, and a mother drag her two year old away from the Spiderman figures by his arm, snot running down his face. Good times…

So Little A picks an Angry Birds game. We stand in line to check out.

Our turn.

crazypeople

Checker: “Is this all today?”

Me: “Yes.”

Checker: “Do you have a rewards card.”

Me: “No.”

Checker: “Do you want to sign up for one?”

Me: “No thanks.”

Checker: “Do you want to donate a dollar to Toys for Tots?”

Me: “No thanks.”

Checker: “Do you want to buy a two year warranty for $8 for this set?”

Me: The set costs $14. An $8 warranty? Really? “Um, no thanks.”

Checker: “Do you want a free hamster?”

Me: “No.”

Checker:  “How about a free Samurai sword that can found on aisle 3?”

Me: Only if I can stab you in the eye with it.

Checker: “Do you want to pay $5 to receive $6 worth of free Willy Wonka candy? How about a bucket of edible slime that tastes like broccoli? A bicycle with a rabid dog? A clown with squeaky shoes? A monster with a lisp? A free credit card with a 56784% interest rate? A trumpet that plays 75 songs about pooping in the potty? A grasshopper with earrings? A toy truck that can also be used as an iron? A One Direction poster that glows in the dark? A scooter that flies sideways? Roller-skates that smell like strawberries when your feet sweat?”

She then prints off a receipt the length of my arm for one item. Seriously. Way to save trees, Toys R Us. Re-donk…..

We arrive home. Mr. Geico Lizard follows us in. He jumps on the washer. We try to catch the d#$^ thing. He runs. Hides. Sticks his tongue out at me. I am sweating as I beat the side of the washer with a broom handle to scare the daylights out of him. He jumps on the broom, then Little A’s foot. His tail falls off. Nasty x100.

We spend 40 minutes chasing the dad-gum thing around. He finally leaves, but not before trying to sell me car insurance. Stupid lizard….

I’m totally beat. But we still have trick or treating. Joy.

Can you carry wine while trick or treating? I am. I’ll tell them it’s vampire blood. Yeah, I’m going with that….

Happy Halloween! Oh, and CHEERS!

VSK

 

 

Random Thoughts From An Avid Author

Las Vegas, Where For Art Thou? Seriously…Where Are You?!

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Las Vegas with my better half is in 11 days. Thank you, sweet, beloved, amazingly awesome JESUS!

I know you’re wondering what the heck the picture is above, and what it has to do with Vegas. Nothing, actually. But it was today’s science project with Little A. He’s learning about ecosystems in science, so we decided to make our very own ecosystem. It’s kinda cool, actually. It’s like a separate little world within a mason jar. Tiny people live in there. I’m kidding…It’s not Avatar, folks….

My son is smitten with his “planet”. My dog on the other hand, hates it. She has been staring at it for an hour. I have no idea why. I guess she wishes she could live inside the jar. Dogs are weird. Especially mine. Sometimes she watches the dust float around in the air when the sun filters through our living room windows just right. I have a feeling her head isn’t screwed on tight enough. Or maybe she just wishes she was a scientist. Like Phineas and Ferb. Now those two dudes are COOL.

Then there’s  me. I’m a mess. Not in terms of “causing trouble”, at least not today…

But in terms of my body is a complete disaster area. So I tried to be this crafty mom last Thursday. I took the boys and met a friend of mine and her son at a nature preserve across town to take pictures. I’m too cheap to pay for a real photographer, so I thought I’d do my own work. I have to say, I think I did pretty good, but I’m being paid back for being crafty. Dang it. Never again.

By Saturday morning I had large red welts that itched like holy heaven along my torso and back. Even my armpits. Joy.

Mosquito bites? Nah, too easy. Try chigger bites. I haven’t had chigger bites in like, 30 years. I forgot how freakin’ awful they are too. I mean, re-donk.

Then my kids start complaining they itch, and they are covered as well. NOTHING CURES CHIGGER BITES.

I have tried everything except cutting them off with a steak knife. That’s next…

My husband has been working like a fool for the past week. That’s a whole other story I won’t get into. But his schedule has been brutal. So Saturday afternoon, with my chigger bites in tow, I mowed the lawn. No biggie. I’ve done it before. Sometimes mowing with my headphones on is therapy. I needed a distraction from the awful itchiness…you feel me?

Saturday night, my lower back feels like someone kicked me repeatedly with a pair of old cowboy boots. It hurts. Aleve does nothing. Not even Aleve taken with a glass of wine. Maybe two glasses.

I go to bed. I can’t turn over. If I try, my breath leaves my lungs when my muscles tense. I NEVER have back problems. Word up?!

I sleep terrible. My husband snores. I think about things in the dark. Like, if someone breaks in tonight and tries to kill me, they will. My back hurts too much to move.

I need to pee. I refuse to get out of bed. I finally give in after half an hour of trying to talk myself out of it. It takes me ten minutes to scoot off the side of the bed. By the time I get back from the bathroom half an hour later, I’m wide awake. Getting back into bed takes another ten minutes. This is what old must feel like. I hate it. I think about ordering a Hoveround and Life Alert. Maybe these things really ARE awesome…

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(Do you like the spotted background? I did it as an honor to my chigger bites that make me want to chew my skin off.)

Today things aren’t much better. At 2pm this afternoon, I announce to my kids that I’m going to take a bath. They look at me weird.

Big A – “It’s the middle of the day.”

I nod.

Big A – “So, like, when was the last time you actually USED that bathtub, Mom?”

Me – “Probably 3 or 4 years ago.”

Middle A – “Does the whirlpool tub still ACTUALLY work?” I shrug. Guess we’ll find out whether or not I get electrocuted when I push the power button.

I hobble off, bent over like an old woman, scratching her chigger bites.

I fill the tub. I grab a book, a glass of tea, some chocolate covered raisins and some old bubble bath I found stuffed in the back of my bathroom cabinet. Does bubble bath go bad? I sniff it. Smells fine. A little “cabinet” like, but it’ll do. I figure, if I’m going to take a bath in the middle of the day on a Monday, I might as well make it count.  We’re going all out, folks.

Fifteen minutes in, I break out in a sweat. This is why I hate taking baths. They make you sweat. What’s the point of even bathing if you’re going to sweat through the whole darn thing?

I wipe my brow and continue reading while I eat my snack. The jets feel heavenly on my back. Thirty minutes later I have to get out, or risk suffering a heat stroke.

So where is Vegas?! Seriously…Where.Is.It? I can’t wait to leave. To get out of here and pretend to be someone else for a while. You know you do the same when you go to Vegas, don’t lie.

You leave work behind, family, friends, kids, chores, dirty toilets…and it’s epic.

You lay by the pool and read uninterrupted, and drink something vodka infused and fruity at 9am without ever blinking an eye.

You sleep in. You wave at strangers and eat Subway sandwiches at three in the morning just because you can. And that sandwich costs you $900 dollars (that’s Vegas pricing), but it tastes better than any Subway sandwich back home. Ever.

You go to see a show at 10pm at The Mirage, and drink Red Bull to stay awake because you’re old and you can’t stay up past ten anymore without nodding off during a re-run of ‘Cheers’.

You laugh, eat, reminisce and fall in love all over again with your better half. I do, each and every time. We are so alike. We enjoy being together, making fun of people in the shops of Caesar’s Palace, ordering room service while getting dressed to GO OUT and eat again, playing $.01 slot machines and winning nothing, but it doesn’t matter because you’re together.

And this is why I love Las Vegas. Because it’s just the two of us. That’s it. It’s that simple. We love our yearly trip to this crazy city just to reignite the “crazy” in both of us. Because life is short. And it’s worth living, savoring…all of it. So that’s what we do. Together.

Hopefully by the time we leave, the dog will have stopped staring at the terrarium, and my back and bites will have dissipated. One can only hope. I have eleven days. Eleven days to buy that Hoveround….

Itchin’ and Hurtin’ For Vegas ~

VSK