Mom vs. Kid Fitness Challenge

It comes every year, as constant as death and taxes. And for me, just as dreaded. I’m not talking about 1040s. I’m talking the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge. The program has lasted far longer than any president, which in my opinion is too bad. I have fond memories of failing …

Meanest Mom Says No to Cell Phones for Kids

This classified ad recently made national news: OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet. It ain’t …

Help! I’m Married to a Geek

I married a geek before geeks were cool. Now suddenly they are hot stuff. I don’t know when exactly the tide turned. Was it the underdog appeal of Napoleon Dynamite, achieving the impossible in The 40 Year Old Virgin, or the childlike appeal of Will Farrell? The tide has turned …

Someone Has To Do The Dirty Work

Hanging out in middle school is like traveling to a foreign country you didn’t really want to visit. The culture is mysterious, the language is strange, and the people dress funny. And as I learned recently under the pulsating strobe lights of the Marco Forster sixth grade sock hop, they …

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Mom’s Adventure : Shopping for Mattress

December 15, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

mattress-momsThere should be a 12-Step program for the commitment-phobic. It’s just so hard to clutch to my iPod Touch when I know the next generation will be out—and out-of-stock–by Christmas. I’ll be stuck lusting in my heart for bells and whistles I can never have. Better to wait.

That’s why it took me ten years to buy a mattress. How could I ever know if we were truly compatible from a five-minute showroom speed date? Yeah, the old one was shot. But we fit. We knew each other’s failings. We kept each other’s secrets. We both knew it could be worse. Finally, I sent the pitiful old queen packing and started flirting with some studly kings. It was a new experience!

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House Cleaning: It Ain’t Easy Being Green

December 10, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

Even Shrek would admit it ain’t easy being green. The eco-friendly bandwagon has arrived in town and I am holding on by my fingernails. I sure miss the good ol’ days of conspicuous consumption.

I’ve tried to show my support for the cause by turning down any flight in a private jet, refusing to wear bowling ball sized diamonds mined in Africa, and dumping any friend who lives in a house larger than 3,000 square feet. But they just want more, more, more. It’s so hard to change.

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Real Age and Other Motherly Lies

November 12, 2009 Humor No Comments

The Internet is a useful tool. Sure, everyone knows it’s great for breaking news about celebrities in rehab. But when I get enough dirt on Britney’s eternal quest for self-improvement, there are lots of great sites where I can focus on my own.

I stumbled across a site that offers a quiz that is supposed to tell my “real age” as opposed to my actual age. Dont believe me?  “Real” meaning how many miles I’ve got on my odometer so to speak vs. the number of hours I’ve got on the clock. So in theory, a person can be 40 going on 72 or 40 going on 34. Take your pick.

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Things Moms Can Learn in Traffic School

October 31, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

Busted. Not for the first time either. Usually I get nailed for speeding, but this time I forked up $187 and eight precious hours of my life for a “California Roll.” That’s vehicle code for the maneuver where my full and complete stop was slightly lacking in the full and complete department.

I just want to say, in my defense, that it was a right turn in a residential neighborhood—with no traffic. Well, there was one motorcycle cop, but I didn’t see him hiding in the bushes. I would have cried if I thought it might have helped. But MotoCop was a tough nut, and it wasn’t worth scaring the children.

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Kid’s Birthday: Dumb Things Not To Do

October 27, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

File this one under “Dumb Things Not to Do. As a teacher, I planned my pregnancies around the school calendar. I aimed for a June baby each time and ended up with three kids with birthdays only days apart. You probably are thinking I’m a little schizo in the scheduling department and someone should take away my DayTimer. I just wish you had said something ten years ago before I sealed my doom. That’s how I became the unintended Queen of the Girly Birthday Parties. What can I say?

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Meanest Mom Says No to Cell Phones for Kids

October 20, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

This classified ad recently made national news: OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet.

It ain’t easy being mean. As a bonafide school teacher, I learned all my mean tricks teaching high school. After all, with forty of them and one of you, you’d better be wily. I had one colleague who was so exasperated with students asking to use the rest room during class that he used a real toilet seat as a bathroom pass. Mean, yes. Humiliating? Hopefully. Did it cut down on the problem. You bet. I watched. I learned. I implemented.

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Mom’s Most Embarrassing Kid Moments

October 16, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

You don’t know me. At least I hope you wouldn’t recognize me around Dana Point. It’s nothing nefarious. I’m not bouncing checks at Rite Aid or dodging speed traps at the “Senior Center.” OK, I do dodge the speed traps, but that is strictly a matter of principle. No, I hope you can’t put a name to my face because usually I am involved in some humiliating situation involving small children, namely my own.

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Envy – A Four Letter Word !

October 11, 2009 Humor No Comments

Life is too short to spend on envy. For the most part I don’t covet other people’s stuff. It seems like too much work.  So Rhonda’s going to Costa Rica? Have a great time! Patti got a cool new designer handbag? You go, girl. Sharon bought a stunning new piano? Play on, baby. But then Karen had to go and ruin my Zen-like approach to life.

She got a cleaning lady! Of course, I had to act like I’m happy for her. But really, I was so green with envy I could spit. I wanted a cleaning lady too. I wanted a cleaning lady bad. I wanted someone else to do all the time-consuming and unappreciated grunt work around here that I do for free.

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Survival of the Fittest – A Mom’s Camping Journey

October 7, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

Three things I once said I would never do: drive a minivan, camp in a RV, or vacation with my in-laws.

So here I am, spending a week of motor home and minivan bliss with the entire Payne clan. Today is Day 1 of “The Golden Anniversary Reunion Tour” celebrating the senior Payne’s 50 years of wedded bliss. Shoot, they’ve been together almost as long as the Rolling Stones.

All seventeen of us have circled our various trailers and Cruise Americas in a pine forest campground flanking Lake Tahoe. We are not far from Donner Pass. If you recall, the Donner Party ate each other. They were probably having a family reunion too. So far we are only showing signs of baring fangs, chewing and spitting…and we still have seven days to go. Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the Fittest” is coming to my mind.

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Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?

October 5, 2009 Humor No Comments

Are you smarter than a fifth grader? Maybe you are. Maybe you aren’t. I thought I was. But now, I’m not so sure. I’ve got a fifth grader and it is causing a lot of undue stress. Every day I feel like I have to explain something complicated, something I’m not even sure I understand myself. “What does explicit mean?” “What’s a primary?” “What was the Trail of Tears?” It never stops. Now the fifth graders are tackling persuasive writing. Finally, something I know. Persuasive writing is simply talking someone into something that if they were thinking clearly, they would never do. But if the words are lined up just so–like tequila shots in a Tijuana bar–everything will seem like a very good idea. Ole! Anyway that’s how it’s supposed to work, although it is not actually worded that way on the state writing exam.

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