Thursday, February 14, 2013

Joe Loves Me and Here's How I Know It

I was driving down the expressway this week and noticed a billboard that some guy rented to profess his love and say Happy Valentine’s Day to his wife/girlfriend/babymama. I’m sure women in the cars around me were driving off the road swooning over this guy’s grand gesture, but I was only thinking one thing.

If my husband wasted our money on that, I would get really murder-y, really fast.

I’m not immune to grand gestures. I love Lloyd Dobbler and his boombox as much as any other gal. Come on, I’m not a cyborg. But I get nothing from a billboard, especially a digital one that changes to a new ad every ten seconds.  What are the chances she even sees it? And if she does what does it convey? I love you but only in very short bursts, sandwiched between ads for Metro Chevrolet and Fox 2 News?

I am 100% sure Joe loves me, and it’s not because he spends a lot of money proving it. I spent the rest of my trip the other day thinking about him, after I saw the think-fast-love-you-mean-it billboard. He is practical with his love, but that doesn’t make it any less special. It makes it way better. Here’s a few reasons why. 

Almost every single workday morning when I get to work, there’s an email waiting from him and it’s always titled “Good Morning” (even on the hellish days). He tells me how dropping off our youngest went (little E is not such a fan of preschool on some mornings), and goes over that day’s schedule so we’re on the same page, our kids get where they need to be and no one gets lost in the shuffle. He usually ends with something funny, like a crazy thought he had during his commute, or a link to something ridiculous he found online.

What’s amazing to me is that a man who can never remember where he left his car keys manages to remember that email 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time he can be easily reminded by a message simply titled “where the hell is my good morning email?” And if I don’t respond right away, I get a message simply titled “are you dead?” To me that spells d-e-v-o-t-i-o-n folks. 

Every weekend, he gets up, throws on some clothes and drives into town to get mama a McMuffin. It’s a mail service-type of commitment: he’ll go whether rain, sleet, snow or crazy-ass low temps. That’s really saying something when you live in Michigan. This might be a teensy bit selfish since he knows the day will go easier on him and the entire family if I’m well fed, but as long as he keeps delivering the sausage eggy goodness, I’m happy. 

He has my back against this constantly-churning, rambunctious freakshow we affectionately call our family. We have great boys, but there are a lot of them (whose idea was it to have all these kids?!) and they have inherited sarcasm from both of us (double dose of smartass genes!).

Sometimes they talk back, sometimes they don’t do as they’re told, and they are always, always farting. I can handle all that. But on occasion they will say something really rude or really really inappropriate in front of me. That’s when Joe steps in with what I call his “Vince McMahon” voice. If you're not familiar with the wrestling icon, it looks and sounds like this:

And that’s when shit gets REAL, folks. 

He doesn't pretend to understand my strange Taylor Swift addiction, but he defend it to the death. There's not a TS song in existence I don't love so he will not let ANYONE change the channel when we’re in the car and she comes on the radio. He rolls his eyes along with the boys, but he guards that radio with his life. I hope Taylor never finds a guy like him or her music will STOP, y’all. 

He makes fun of people who make me mad and/or make me sad. Even if he doesn’t know them and even if I’m being irrational, he will faithfully trot out his crazy brand of humor and risk the gates of hell to make me laugh. Seriously, the guy is wicked funny but sometimes he’ll say things that make me fear for his mortal soul. If you ever do or say anything mean to me and later feel a cold shiver up your spine, that's JD, talking smack about you. You've been warned. 

And last (but oh so definitely not least), he knows the lyrics to an absolutely filthy Tenacious D song and he will whisper them into my ear in times of high stress, just because he knows I can’t hear them and NOT giggle. And that’s probably all that needs to be said on that topic.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Gettin' Thrifty

It takes a little something special for my kids to rattle me anymore, but I'll admit I was surprised when our four-year-old started asking me "Is that your grandma's coat?" every time I put my jacket on. And he said it in such a sassy voice that I started to think I was missing something.

So I went to what is usually the source - his brothers. After they stopped laughing, they clued me in on a newish rap song called "Thrift Shop." What's surprising is that the title isn't slang for any kind of kinkiness (as you would expect from a rap song). It truly is about a thrift shop, and getting great deals on such items as broken keyboards, house slippers, and "dookie brown leather jackets". Seriously. It ends with a little kid laughing and asking, "Is that your grandma's coat?"


Alas, the hazards of having a preschooler as well as teenagers - the little guy sucks up big-boy lyrics like they're cherry Kool-Aid. I can only hope and pray he heard the clean radio edit of the song and not the original which is definitely NOT kid-friendly. But I wouldn't bet my life on it. I'm not sure I'd even bet a glass of cherry Kool-Aid on it.

Now that I'm in on the joke, I understand why little E has been strolling around the house talking about poppin' tags and lookin' incredible. But the absorption of catchy lyrics goes both ways, and what's too bad for the older kids is that preschool songs are sooooo much tougher to get out of your head. When one of the older boys gets called out by their friends for singing the theme song to Team Umizoomi while strolling along the high school halls, that will be payback enough.

Here's the earwig now:

THRIFT SHOP (PG Radio Edit Clean version) - MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FEAT. WANZ from Garrett Wesley Gibbons on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Beware of Nerds with Assault Rifles

Disclaimer: I am a nerd and I looooove nerds: I married one and together he and I have produced four more, doing our part to ensure that the nerd dynasty lives on for generations to come. And the best thing about being a nerd is recognizing nerdy traits in others, and then making fun of them for it. At our house we do a lot of this:

Today was a red-letter day for all the denizens of Gamer Nerdom. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was released at 12:00 a.m. (I pride myself that I actually had to Google the exact name of the game.) This is the kind of event that brings the nerds out in droves, standing in line for the stroke of midnight, then running home giggling in geeky glee to begin the massacre.

Cameron’s birthday was last Saturday, but we gave him an IOU for COD as part of his gift. We had reserved it in advance and Joe planned to pick it up after work. Then last night Cam’s sweet, nerdy dad decided to pull an audible and pick it up early so little nerd could
start playing right after school, without having to wait for Joe to get home. While we were out getting groceries we went by Nerd World to pay for the game so Joe would just have to stop in after midnight and swap his receipt for the grail. I mean…the game.

I have to say, I’ve got his back on this one. I’ve always thought that the most fun parts of parenting are saying yes when the kids are sure you’ll say no and surprising the heck out of them with something they never saw coming.

When we pulled up around 7:00 p.m., there were already about 25 people in line.

Disclaimer #2: Sometimes when I post conversations between me and Joe, I embellish my lines just a little. It’s the only time in my life when I get to be the funny one and Joe has to be the straight guy (huh-huh…)

Me (with great excitement): Oh. My. Gawd. I will give you 50 bucks if you lean out of the car and holler, “Nerrrrrrrds!!!”

: That offer would be a lot more enticing if we didn’t share a bank account. I’d basically be paying myself to get jumped by a crowd of nerds.

Me: So, if you can pay for your game in advance, then lollygag back in here after midnight, why are all these nerds in line?

Joe: It’s the experience. They’re excited and want to hang out with other fans.

Me: That’s great, but if any nerd-on-nerd action breaks out, I’m outta here. In fact, I think I’m going to just wait in the car.

Joe: Oh come on, I’m the one coming back up here at midnight, the least you can do is come in with me now.

Me (eyeing the crowd uneasily): I’m not sure any of these nerds have actually seen a girl before. I fear for my safety.

Joe: Oh, they’ve seen girls alright. That’s what the internet is for.

We go inside, which surprisingly doesn’t smell like nerds. I remember back in the day video game stores smelled like someone’s basement after ten stinky geeks were down there playing D&D all night.

Me: Nerd World must have a helluva ventilation system.

Joe: It’s not just unwashed, socially-inept geeks who play video games anymore. It’s high school kids like Cam, college students, even supercool dads.

Me: Awesome! Where are the supercool dads?

It went on and on like this all night. Bottom line: Cam not only got his game right after midnight, he convinced his dad to let him stay up and tag along to the store, then play two hours of COD before finally going to bed. Sorry, Cam’s teachers: he may not be his best today, but he’ll be in class. That’s more than I can say for some kids, who were actually allowed to actually stay home from school to play all day long. Their parents must be Nerds of a Higher Level.

Joe said the nerd-watching experience was worth staying up late. “I wish I had thought to bring the camera. Those were some high-quality nerds.”

Let me leave you with this thought to ponder. The guy working at Nerd World told us they expected 400 people to pick up their games at or soon after midnight. And that’s just in our small, suburban town’s branch of Nerd World. Extrapolate that out and you’ve got literally jillions of nerds worldwide. Cool people better beware. Nerds now how sniping skills.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Party Rock in the Kitchen Last Night

Sometimes songs get trapped in my head. It’s my experience that the only way to get them out is to pass them on to someone else.

Cam was washing the dishes last night when I walked up, gave him a hip bump and said, “Stop!”

He instantly replied, “Collaborate and listen,” at the exact same time I said, “Hatin’s bad.”

Then we looked each other, eyebrows shooting up, mouths slowly curving into smiles.

I don’t know who was more impressed: me, that my 13-year-old totally rocked out some vintage Vanilla Ice, or him, that his mom knew that LMFAO is more than just what you type when something online amuses you.

Either way, we’re both kind of badass.

Do yourself a favor and watch the Party Rockers video.
It's all kinds of silly, and everyone needs a little of that.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Stupid Little TABLE! Tale

This morning I needed to lug our six-foot, portable banquet table into work. Long story, but the most important part is that it was important. As in, crucial enough that if I forgot it, I would have to turn around and come back home for it, even if I was 59 minutes into my hour-long drive.

So last night I did what I always do when I need to remember something: I put a large, obnoxious sign on the back hallway door leading into the garage, and this time the sign read: TABLE!

Clever, huh?

Sweet Beezo saw it as he was getting ready for school (the boys’ getting-ready supplies have been banished to the bathroom off the kitchen to streamline the whole six-people-trying-to-get-out-the-door effort) and asked me if I wanted him to bring it up from the basement.

He’s thoughtful like that and it made me want to grab him by his elf-like ears and plant a big kiss on him. So I did. Then I smiled sweetly and reminded my little boy that the table probably outweighs him and I didn’t think his scrawny bag of bones could wrestle it up the staircase. But I did ask him to scout out our cavernous basement, as simply pre-locating the damn thing would add several minutes to my morning.

Soon he was back, delivering the four most-uttered words in our house, the ones that usually make me blind with fury: “I couldn’t find it. “ But he was doing me a solid by looking, so I thanked him and sent him along to the bus.

Fifteen minutes and every nook and cranny in the basement later, I was saying the same four words, as well as many others I probably shouldn’t publish here. I gave up and left a message for Joe asking him if he had seen it.

He called right back.

“Did you find it?”

“I left you a message fifteen seconds ago. Of course I haven’t found it.”

“Did you look everywhere?”

“Everywhere it’s logical for a six-foot *#&$!) table to be.”

“Did you look…in the backseat of your car?”


Morals of the story: Be nice to people when they’re doing you a favor. And when you’re the one doing the favor, such as hauling a heavy table to the car for your wife, be nice enough to tell her where the *#(&!@ it is.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This Project RULES

I’m pretty good at memory keeping – I have a zillion scrapbooks commemorating family life, tons of memorabilia packed away, and at one point even contemplated trying to preserve one of the boys’ umbilical cords, until the cat took advantage of my hesitation and ate it.

True story. Really gross, but true.

One thing I dropped the ball on was a growth chart. I kept meaning to put one up…and kept forgetting to. I could have just marked the wall, but I was holding out for something detachable that we could take with us when we moved. And it seems like there were always a million more things to do and to buy that took precedence.

Then one day I turned around and my oldest son was looking me dead in the eye. And he wasn’t standing on anything or hanging from anything – in his bare feet Cam is inching up closer and closer to my height. He’s in the middle of a monster growth spurt and I realized it was now or never for the growth chart.

I searched around and everything seemed a little too young to bridge the gap between a 13-year-old and a 2-year old, and a little too girly to keep my boys’ eyes from rolling. So I decided to make my own, based on something awesome I saw at my brother and sister-in-law’s house.

Behold – Super Ruler.

Super Ruler was actually super easy to make. Our shopping list consisted of:

8-inch wide by 1-inch thick by 10-foot long slab of lumber, like one of these.

We almost bought a 6-foot board. We knew we were going to hang it 6 inches above the floor to clear the baseboard, so it would actually measure up to 6 and a half feet tall. Then I remembered I come from a family of giants and realized that there’s a small chance that 6 and a half might not be enough for our boys, so I went with the 10-foot board and cut it down to 7 feet. If one of my kids ends up taller than 7 and half feet, we probably won’t be able afford to feed him, and he should just move out. :)

Snazzy yellow spray paint. For some reason I was thinking rulers are generally yellow. I was probably thinking of pencils, since rulers can be any color, but we went with yellow anyway, just because it’s happy.

Eighth of an inch art tape. I found this near the dry erase boards at Staples after a long search. Joe thought it might be one of those things I dream up that don’t actually exist in the real world, but I hunted it down. I used a ruler and pencil to line off the spray-painted board at half-inch increments, then went over them with the tape so they really stand out.

The grand finale of any project – Modge Podge! I went over everything with a few thin coats to seal it all up. I could have used a spray shellac or something, but this was more fun. Remember putting Elmer’s glue on your hands in elementary school, waiting for it to dry, then ripping it off like you’re a zombie pulling off your own skin?

If you’re wrinkling your nose up right now and thinking, “Noooo, I most certainly did not,” you are just no fun and probably shouldn’t be reading this blog. Use the extra time to try the zombie trick I just taught you. You’ll be glad you did.

And that’s it! You end up with a beautiful, ginormous ruler, fit to measure even the most freakishly tall child. This child isn’t freakishly tall (yet), but he lends a very Vanna-like zing to the big reveal:

And he’s super cute.

The only drawback to finally having a growth chart is that there’s obvious proof of this:

I’m a little over 5’9” and I thought it would be years and years before one of my kids got anywhere close to my height. At Cam’s alarming growth rate, he might pass me by Christmas.

At least I know this little guy will be cuddle-sized for at least another decade.


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