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Forget Being the Norm. I Would Much Rather Be the Carla. Or the Woody. Maybe Not the Woody…

I was reading the Sunday paper and came across this quote in an article about the recent spate of parenting books written by inept moms, “There wasn’t this acceptance about being this sort of less-than-perfect mother, but all of a sudden it feels like that is becoming the norm, rather than the exception.”  This was spoken by Jill Smokler of

Well, that explains what I’ve been doing wrong.  I need to stop talking about what I’m doing wrong, and start talking about what I’m doing right because there are far too many other people who are talking about what they are doing wrong, and they are doing it far better than I am.  The wrong, I mean.  Well, and the talking.

So, from now on I pledge to stand out from the pack and tell you all of the things that I am doing right as a mom.  Starting today.

1.)  My daughter has eaten hamburgers three days in a row.

Why is this right?  Well, I am so glad you asked.  Even though I would think it should be obvious.  It’s right because my daughter has eaten three days in a row.  Duh.  Plus, she loves lettuce and cheese on her hamburger.  So, there you have it – all 10 food groups in one meal.  Three times.  Two more and I will have Food Bingo.

2.)  I bought my daughter a dress for her 5th grade graduation while we were shopping for clothes for me on Mother’s Day.

Why is this right?  This is another no-brainer.  We made one trip to the mall, and now I don’t have to make another trip to the mall until August.  Possibly even September if I can find a post on Pinterest on how to transform a yellow lacy dress into a backpack.

3.)  Oh. My. God.  That is the best idea.  Ever.  I am going to quit my job and support my daughter by making Graduation Dress Backpacks.

Why is this right?  Because my daughter will see how important it is to pursue your passion in life instead of saving up for retirement.

And then, she will be happy to support me in my twilight years (although I may have to explain that this is a different kind of “Twilight”) as she pursues her lifelong passion to teach bulldogs synchronized swimming.

And then we will bond even more.

I rock.

Wonderbutt pays close attention to his coach during his first synchro lesson.  To a layperson this may appear unsynchronized, but they are both actually doing the same exact thing - ignoring me.

Wonderbutt pays close attention to his coach during his first synchro lesson. To a layperson this may appear unsynchronized, but they are both actually doing the same exact thing – ignoring me.


You Should Call Them “Fun to Laugh at People Who Think They’re Ever Going To Save Money With These” Cards

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I am beginning to hate shopping. Actually, I still like shopping; it’s the purchasing part that I’ve come to dread. Lately, it’s feeling more and more like I’m subjecting myself to a final exam every time I walk up to the cash register – and not only didn’t I study for it, but I slept through every lecture.

“May I have your phone number?”

“I don’t give that out.”

“Well, do you receive our offers by mail?”

“Yes.” (No, I don’t. But I don’t want you to ask me for my address.)

“Because it’s all tied in to your phone number.”

“I don’t give that out.”

She eyes me suspiciously.  “Okay, well do you have the Fun Cards we gave you last time?”

“No, I thought I couldn’t use them today because you’re having a sale.”

“Oh, you can’t. I was just asking.” Uh huh. You were trying to trick me into trying to use them. But I can’t use them anyway. Not only because you are having a sale, but because they are expired – and I lost them anyway.

“So, is this all together?”

“No, my daughter is paying for that pile, and I am paying for the one that I am holding and haven’t put on the counter yet.”

“Well, we could do them both together.”

“I kind of separated them for a reason.” I don’t want to do them all together. But I guess that’s not the right answer either…

“That’s okay. I can ring them all up at the same time.”

“But she is paying with cash, and I am paying with my debit card.”

“That’s okay. We can still do them together. It’s no problem, really.”

So my daughter and I (and the three people standing behind me) wait, while she uses a calculator to figure out how much my daughter’s share is, then rings up mine, and uses a calculator to figure out what my grade share is. After cash is handed over, change is returned, debit card is swiped, and receipt is signed, our purchase is finally bagged.

“There! Now, you’ve earned 100,000,000 dollars in Fun Cards and you can use them starting April 1st. You can even use them together.”

“Thank you. I will put these in my wallet, and I will be sure, on April Fool’s Day, to make a special trip to your store so I can buy an entire wardrobe of inappropriate attire for my daughter.”

“Thank you for shopping with us.”

Thank you for taking the joy out of my day and making the people behind me hate me for taking so long.

“Mom, now let’s go to Bath and Body Works!  We can use those coupons you threw away in the garbage and I fished out.”


You Will Avoid Huge Ships if You Sit on a Wood Toilet Seat in China Listening to Your David Hufflepuff C.D.

I want to thank all of the people who keep me from doing stupid things.  At least, they keep me from doing more stupid things than I might do if it weren’t for their input.  These people, namely the people who review products on the internet, are my heroes.

As we catapult into the holiday season, and I start doing my on-line shopping, I find myself eternally grateful for the invisible cyber shoppers everywhere who add their two cents to virtually every product available.  For example, I would have bought the new Harry Potter Kinect game for Dimples if it weren’t for Nathaniel, who left this grammatically incorrect, but insightful comment on Amazon, “me and my wife had really high hopes for this game after seeing the trailer and couldnt wait to get it. this game was a tragic fail.”  Even though Krazzy4Harry seemed to have mostly good things to say, it appeared that he was one of the very few who felt that his wizarding experience was satisfactory.  Cross that one off the list.

Speaking of Harry Potter, I found a wonderful bit of praise from bookwormgeekgirl for a David Hasselhoff c.d. that makes me wonder if I should get that for a stocking stuffer for Dimples instead:  ” I can see now why J.K. Rowling named one of her houses “Hufflepuff” — David Hufflepuff is clearly a master artist of our time.”

I was about to stick that gem of a gift in my shopping cart until I read this alternative point of view from hotshot, “I now own three CD’s “looking for – Best of David Hasselhof (which is an import – i.e. I imported it from elsewhere) David Hasselhof – The very best” and “The best of David Hasselhof” I also own a table, a chair, a tea set left to me by my gran, a curtain, three pair of underpants, a small fridge that doen not work, a black and white television, a bicycle pump, a shirt, two pairs of grey trousers, a tin of sweetcorn and a hedgehog shaped shoe scraper. I own a knife a fork and a coffee cup, a tie (black) a pair of odd socks and a pair of matched socks, one cassette of calming sounds designed to help me stop smoking (I have never smoked) a newspaper from june 1987, a carrier bag from the co-op, a plastic wallet in which I keep my bus pass and any money I ever obtain through whatever means (usually favours to desperate men), a towel, a bar of imperial leather dating from 1996 and a pair of brown shoes.  I think when I get a cd player I will like this album most out of all of my posessions because the reviews of it are so good.  If I ever have any more possessions I will try to let you know.”

I like the detail that hotshot included in his review, so I’m going to wait until he gets a cd player before I jump to any conclusions about this c.d.  Maybe I’ll put it on the list for next year.

Unfortunately, I do not have enough in my holiday budget to purchase the highly rated book, How to Avoid Huge Ships. $339.56  seems a bit steep for a book, even though it is new.  After reading the reviews, I am convinced that my sister, Crash, would greatly benefit from this book.  One avid reader wrote, “I bought How to Avoid Huge Ships as a companion to Captain Trimmer’s other excellent titles: How to Avoid a Train, and How to Avoid the Empire State Building. These books are fast paced, well written and the hard won knowledge found in them is as inspirational as it is informational. After reading them I haven’t been hit by anything bigger than a diesel bus. Thanks captain!”  It’s too bad that Crash and I promised not to get each other gifts this year.  If she gets hit by a huge ship in 2013, I’m going to feel very guilty.

I would like to point out that the above book is not nearly as pricey as the coveted The 2009-2014 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater Chinawhich currently retails (in paperback) for $495, and is eligible for Free Shipping.  According to Sybilla Goodall, this book is “Even Better Than 50 Shades of Grey”, which says it all right there.  Coincidentally, since 2008, I have been extremely worried about the prospect for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater China, and if there is anyone out there who cares an iota for my well-being, you would do well to stick this under the tree with my name on it.  Then, maybe, I’d finally be able to stop taking my anti-anxiety medication once and for all.

Uranium Ore would make a great stocking stuffer for Dimples. She can finally develop the super powers she has always wanted.  For more holiday gift ideas, you may want to check out this fabulous list curated by Shannon at Amazon 😉

How the Heck Does Trapper Keeper Stay in Business?

So, what was on your school supply list when you were a kid?  Pencils, notebooks, the usual, right?  Yeah, me too.

I went to Catholic school, so getting clothes was a minor stage of the whole Back-to-School Shopping Blitz.  Because we had uniforms, the school supplies were where we could really show our personalities off.  But, the nuns got wise to this pretty quickly.  Our list of things we could NOT buy for school soon surpassed the quantity of things we were required to buy.

Erasermate Pens were one such item.  We weren’t allowed to write in pen.  But that was because you couldn’t erase it.  So, what was the rationale, I wonder, for banning the brand new invention of pens with erasable ink?  I’m pretty sure the Sistahs are the reason that remarkable innovation isn’t in the drawers of every office desk today.

Another way to get yourself detention at my school was to walk in with a Trapper Keeper.  Those amazing organizational tools were the bane of every teaching nun’s existence.  The Party Line was that the bulk of the darn things pretty much made it impossible for them to co-exist in the same desk as our massive textbooks.  But I think that Sister Mary Quite Contrary was more fearful of the far too many sinfully secular designs that appeared on the covers and each interchangeable piece.

It killed me not to get a Trapper Keeper.  Every year, I would wistfully pull one out of the display case, showing my mother The Dukes of Hazzard or the less controversial horse racing through a green field, and begging her to buy me one – pretending to be completely oblivious to the Trapper Keeper Commandment.

No sale.

Now, it’s 2012.  My daughter is 9.  She goes to public school.  We have spent 3 exhausting days looking for clothes and mandatory school supplies.  And even though she has a lot more freedom to make a statement with both her fashion and her various notebooks and writing utensils, she does not feel that is enough.

We have gone to three different stores looking for the perfect nail polish color for the first day of school.  Yesterday, I spent an hour in Sephora as she painted each nail on her hands a different color.  Oh, she knew which one she wanted by the fourth, but she needed to finish up the job once started, apparently.

Erasermate should invent some erasable nail polish pens.  Now, there’s a bestseller.

God, I wish there had been a Sephora around when I was a kid.  Those nuns would have had a lot less time to worry about Trapper Keepers…

Anyway, why, you may ask, did I allow my child to spend an hour decorating her digits, and to buy a $10 bottle of nail polish when that is not on any school supply list and she is not starring on a reality show?

Because, even now, 35 years later, I still have a little bit of Catholic School rebel in me.

And, even now, 35 years later, you still can’t bring Trapper Keepers to school.

2012-2013 School Supply List (PUBLIC SCHOOL!)

Can You Buy Me a Finger? You Know Which One…

When I married Cap’n Firepants, I did not realize that there was an extra bonus to this relationship – he enjoys grocery shopping.

I hate grocery shopping.  Despise it.  It bores the heck out of me and the store is always freezing and it depresses me to spend all of that money on food instead of a good pair of shoes.

So, Cap’n Firepants does our household shopping.

We used to have a pretty good system using an app on both of our phones that allowed us to add to the list.  But then we started getting out of sync with each other and one person would have the list finished and the other person would delete it because he/she I thought it was the list from last week.  And then someone would be a bit upset.  So then someone else stopped adding things to the list.

Cap’n Firepants likes to shop early on weekend mornings.  When I am still asleep.  Before he leaves, our conversation goes like this:

“I’m leaving for the store.”

I have a pillow over my head and vaguely hear something.  He taps me on my shoulder.  I whip the pillow off.

“I’m leaving,” he repeats.

I slowly focus on what he is saying.  “Peach Propel,” I say, and put the pillow back over my head.

I am here to tell you that this method does not work very well.

The Cap’n does get the one thing I managed to voice before he left.  And the other things that we always get.  But, then, he goes off the reservation.  And starts buying things that he hasn’t bought in awhile, thinking that we must surely be out of them since he hasn’t bought them in awhile.  It does not occur to him that he has not bought them in awhile because we still have a huge stock of them and don’t need any more.

This is why we have 4 packages of hot dogs in our refrigerator, 3 bottles of Miralax in our medicine cabinet, and 5 thousand packages of shredded cheddar cheese.

It has occurred to me that the solution to this problem is to make a Don’t Buy This Ever Again, or at Least in the Foreseeable Future List.  It would include:

  • hot dogs
  • cheddar cheese
  • Miralax
  • potatoes
  • mattresses
  • anything you expect me to cook that does not have directions on the package

But then I would have to maintain that list.  And, eventually, I will want one of the things on that list, and then we will have a fight over which list is the list of things to buy and which is the list of things to avoid.  And then Cap’n Firepants might decide to put me on a list – of People He No Longer Shops For.

And that would be a disaster for the entire Firepants household.  Because a house without hot dogs or  Miralax and with 5 thousand bags of cheddar cheese is not a house you want to enter.  Trust me.

I now know that there is a whole website dedicated to grocery lists. And they have even published a book. And if anyone can figure out why someone would put “Toe” on a grocery list, then I would love to hear your answer.
courtesy of:

You Can’t Find this Stuff at Macy’s

Although Fredericksburg may not compare to Rodeo Drive in California, it is known for being a Texas Hill Country shopping mecca.  After heartily imbibing Grape Creek wine on Saturday, we returned to downtown to be certain we did not miss out on any one-of-a-kind-items-that-must-be-had-at-any-price.

I think Cap’n Firepants and Mr. Globetrotter made it one block before they ditched Mrs. Globetrotter and I for another round at Fredericksburg Brewing Company.

What do they sell in Fredericksburg?  These signs will give you an idea.

It seems that after "Couture", the sign maker realized that he was being too specific, and decided just to close up his summary with "Everything."

It seems that after "Couture", the sign maker realized that he was being too specific, and decided just to close up his summary of available items with "Everything."

One place Mrs. Globetrotter and I had to investigate was Dogologie, which, I suppose, fits into the “Everything” category -although it does sell canine couture.  That’s where we met the cute pup I featured in Sunday’s post.  You can probably guess from the name of the store what type of products are sold there.  I was actually shopping for a gift for Mrs. P.I.B. (who turned 11 on April 1st) that would be Wonderbutt-proof.  I am hoping it will be another candidate for a P.A.W. Award from Wonderbutt.

Cute pup from Sunday's post. Or a short-nosed, long legged rat. You decide.

It turns out that Dogologie is not the only animal-friendly store in Fredericksburg.  Several stores have resident canines.

This beauty was NOT excited about having her picture taken.

One even had some newborn kittens.

Potential Parenting Problem Miraculously Avoided by Absence of Feline-Addicted Firepants Family Member

Our animal encounters were the only part of our weekend get-away that Dimples was sorry she missed (other than seeing our Globetrotter cousins).  The Cap’n and I were thankful that Dimples was not present during the kitten sighting.  That could have resulted in a major schism in the Firepants family from which we, and the town of Fredericksburg, might not have been able to recover…


Holster that Camera there, Cowboy

Dimples had one primary goal when we went to Houston – shopping.  So, our hostess, Mrs. Globetrotter, kindly escorted us to the most famous shopping mall in Houston – the Galleria.  As soon as we walked in, and Dimples saw that this mall was not just about shopping, she quickly forgot her mission.  She declared, “I want to go ice-skating.”  The kid’s inner circuits almost suffered from a meltdown with this sudden overload of favorite stores and second favorite hobby (swimming being the first).  As her mother, it was my job to guide her through this difficult time.

“No,” I said.  She had talked about shopping for two friggin’ weeks, been making lists of what she wanted, and made me take her to the bank the morning we left to turn in her change – so I was not about to let her get sidetracked by a giant piece of ice in the middle of the food court.

It mattered not that the two stores Dimples most wanted to see actually exist, in several locations, in San Antonio.  She had put shopping at the top  of the list of Houston attractions, and shopping we would do.

After we made our way to Justice and Bath and Body Works (where Dimples bought as many Wallflowers as she could to cover up the scent of Wonderbutt), Mrs. Globetrotter led us to one of the few spots you cannot find in San Antonio – XXX Candy Bar.

Now, before you get too excited, it was not an Adult candy store.  I used the Triple X in place of the name.  And in a feeble attempt to attract more readers to my blog.

The reason that I did not use the actual name of the candy store is because they apparently do not like free advertising.  I know this because I was about to take a phone pic of their luscious brownies to send to Cap’n Firepants, and the Brownie Lady nearly leaped over the glass to shut me down.  “No pictures in here except for in front of the Giant Chocolate Bunny.”

I have never owned a gun, and have never carried one.  But I think I now know how it feels to pull one out in the middle of a crowded store in the mall.  The only thing missing from this lovely experience was Brownie Lady leaping over her delicious confections to tackle me to the floor and hold me down until someone disarmed me of my 2nd generation iPhone with .1 megapixel resolution.

“O-o-o-kay,” I said, slowly backing away from the brownie counter and surreptitiously sliding my phone back into my purse.

I don’t know if I inadvertently discovered the front for a secret government spy organization or if the Brownie Lady is that concerned that I will steal her business (an amusing thought if you have ever tasted my cooking).  But I feel that it is my duty to warn all of you potential picture takers out there that you are taking your life in your hands if you are not standing in front of the Giant Chocolate Bunny.

Oh, and to the 96,000 people out there who have already posted your images of this famous store (minus the Giant Chocolate Bunny) on Google: you better start checking your rear view mirror for Brownie Lady.  She is a woman on a mission.

I would like to see this man square off with the Brownie Lady. Actually, the little girl in the foreground looks pretty formidable, too. photo credit: technikhil via photopin cc

It’s Not all About His Pirate Booty

I feel sorry for any woman who is not married to a pirate.

My own swashbuckling buccaneer rescued me once again this weekend.

I hate having to be rescued.  And I really hate asking to be rescued.  But if it has to happen, thank goodness I have Cap’n Firepants to do the rescuing.

Cap’n Firepants may not be a pirate in real life, but no genuine pirate would be fierce enough to face my husband’s daily trials.  Forget scurvy, rotting teeth, and cut-throat shipmates; Cap’n Firepants has to deal with Wonderbutt and me.

At the conclusion of my not-so-great birthday week, Cap’n Firepants sensed that my dissatisfaction with the lack of fireworks and parades in my honor could only be alleviated by one thing – an afternoon of shopping.  So he generously volunteered to usher Dimples to her synchronized swimming practice and remain for the entire 2 1/2 hours since she might or might not be feeling well enough to survive the rigors of stretches, laps, and rehearsal for an upcoming show.

I embarked on my afternoon of freedom with high hopes of finding some brown ankle boots to replace the pair that I’ve had for 10 years.  Before heading to every woman’s shoe Mecca – Nordstrom’s – I made a quick stop at a mega shoe store across the highway.  I scanned the aisles for something that fit my simple criteria: brown, sexy, comfortable, classy, appropriate for work, appropriate for a night out on the town, the envy of all women on earth, reasonably priced.


With that background research accomplished, I now felt I was justified in making a trip to Nordstrom’s.  I headed back out to my car to continue my journey.

And my trusty red Rav wouldn’t start.

A few things went through my mind – the first being, “Of course.  How else could I end this less than stellar birthday week, but with a disappointing afternoon stranded in the parking lot of a store I’ve already scoured up and down?”

Because it’s all about me, People.

Over the years, Cap’n Firepants has had to: change at least two of my tires, drive home from work to let me into the house, drive home from work to take me to the hospital, stay up until 1 A.M. trying to fix a garage door that I broke (not even ours – long story for another time), and drive to my school because I took the wrong set of keys (his).  He has never once complained, called me an idiot, or in any way shape or form used any of these situations to make me feel guilty.

And he didn’t start now.

After I explained the situation, and we decided that I wasn’t exactly in dire straits, being stranded in the parking lot of a major mall in broad daylight with a SuperTarget across the street, he offered to finish up supervising Dimples’ practice, swing by the auto store to get a new battery, swing by our house to pick up his tools, and drive the 20 miles to where my pitiful car that he hates waited to spit grease all over him.

He didn’t even yell at me when it started raining as he began the delicate operation of attaching wires to the new battery.  We’re in a SEVERE DROUGHT, People.  And it started raining right during the five minute time period that was pretty much the only moment in the last 6 months we would have asked for it to NOT start raining.

The testament to his true nature, though, is that, when he was finished, drenched and filthy, he never even questioned the thought that I was going to continue my shopping.

I defy any Knight in Shining Armor or Swashbuckling Pirate to be more chivalrous than that.

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