Don’t Go In There! Or, Why Living With a Toddler is Like Living in a Scary Movie

Reader, I’m going to be real with you for a minute.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m being followed.  And sometimes, I feel like I’m two seconds away from having my face ripped off.  Sound like the sequel to some terrifying horror movie?  Guess again.  This…is life with a toddler.  I’ve compiled 5 reasons why living with a toddler is just like–if not worse than–being stuck in a scary movie.

1.  Grab Hands

One of my favorite things to do is hide in my bathroom and browse Pinterest (that sounded less pathetic in my head).  Afterward, I’ll hop in the shower, shave and start washing my hair.  But, thanks to having a toddler, even the most relaxing activities turn into a scene from the Bates Motel.  I’ll hear something, open my eyes in a panic, and while they’re burning with soap, I’ll throw back the shower curtain just in time to see hands.  Little, pale, pudgy, grabby hands with their marker-stained (probably blood) fingernails clawing under the door.  Reaching for me.  Trying to take away all the things that make me happy.  Like Pinterest.  And silence.  And a moment to myself.

2. Don’t Go In There

When the house is finally quiet, and JD and I are just about to drift off to dreamland, we’ll hear sounds coming from our toddler’s room.  We don’t know if they’re sweet, sleeping baby sounds, or choking on vomit sounds, and I’d just assume we wait until morning to find out, but JD with his, “What if she needs us?” save the planet bullshit just has to go check on the tot.  I plead with him, “Please! Don’t go in there!” with my best whisper yell, grabbing at the back of his shirt in hopes he’ll come to his senses.  But, he forges on, much like the dumb hot blonde girl who goes into the abandoned house, and as he opens the door, the most chilling words you’ll ever hear as a parent come from the nightlight-soaked room, “Daddy?  Daddy! I go downstairs and play.  Now.”  **shivers at the thought**

3. Two Words: Paranormal Activity

One of the greatest and most horrifying gifts you can give new parents is a video monitor.  I tell you this because it’s wonderful to check in on a sweet sleeping newborn, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, looks the same when it’s seen through night vision.  That’s why an entire scary movie franchise has been built around the horror witnessed through video monitors.  And yet, somehow, the gods of Babies R Us thought it was appropriate for parents to watch their children in this same light.  Just when I think Sienna is asleep, and I check the monitor, it’s like she knows, and her eyes fly open, and I can see the little beady pupils glowing in the dark.  Scary shit.  Oh! And even worse: I once saw the ghost of a dead person with long,flowing hair (kind of Beyonce meets Taylor Swift-style hair…sit down, Kanye) hovering next to Sienna.  I jumped out of bed, preparing to run in there and fistfight a spirit, but I came to my senses and quickly remembered that ghosts are the fucking worst.  And I have two kids.  And if the ghost is taking one…Well…I’ve got a spare.  However, after a second look at the video monitor from Hell, I realized the ghost was a curtain, and the heat was coming through the vent under the window, and ghosts with really pretty hair aren’t trying to steal my kid.

4.  Climbing Over the Bad Guy

You know how in all those horror movies, there’s always that inevitable moment where the surviving hero has to climb over the limp, presumably lifeless body of the villain, ONLY TO BE GRABBED AND AT LEAST HAVE THEIR FOOT CHOPPED OFF.  Well, having a toddler: Same thing.  If you’ve ever had a toddler fall asleep on you, or next to you on a couch, in a bed, anywhere, you know this feeling all too well.  You start to sweat as you realize that now is your chance to escape.  You look around, planning your route, which couch cushion you can brace off of, scanning the floor to see what noise-making toys lay between you and freedom.  Impossible, you think.  But I have to try.  So you time your movements to the exhales of the toddler’s breath, one hand on the side of the couch, then a big toe grazing the ground, you lift up in a quick, silent maneuver, hand sliding gracefully from under the sweat-soaked tendrils of your kid’s curly hair…and you’re free. You’re free! You hop up, ready to tiptoe into another room, when suddenly…from under the couch cushion…you hear a ring.  FOOL! You forgot about the phone.  It slid out of your sweatshirt pocket as you made your escape.  Please! Please STOP ringing! But your prayers go unanswered as up from the depths of dreamland Hell, the toddler rises.  Hair floating off the top of her head because of equal parts static and madness.  And you thought you were safe…

5. The Exorcist

One of the most horrific parts of living with a toddler is never knowing when your child is about to vomit. Everywhere.  Like headspinning, take cover, shit is literally hitting the fan, vomit.  But this isn’t something you just call a priest to come take care of with some holy water and a cross.  Oh, no.  This takes grit.  Survival of the fittest.  These are the moments in horror movies where the lone survivor is in a tattered, dirty white tank top, limping down the gravel road, with some ridiculous weapon (preferably a farm tool) dragging the ground.  Sienna has had a stomach virus for two days, and just when you think it’s safe to give her a bite of toast, or a sip of juice, the floodgates open and the fury is unleashed.  You never know when it’s going to happen, and you have no clue how long it will last.  We’re out of towels, out of clean sheets and we’ve been using stuffed animals as pillows.  But we have survived.  Or have we?

So there you have it.  Those are just 5 of the many reasons living with a toddler is like being permanently stuck in a horror film.  I’m sure there are plenty of other qualifying examples for this, but you’ll just have to wait until the sequel.

Don’t Turn Off The Lights,


Wit’s End

I’ve had it. JD’s just strutting around, making me feel shitty about myself.  And he doesn’t even know it…Look at him over there, with his smug grin, his showered, smell-good hair, his pants with an actual button and non-elastic waistband.  Prick.

What in the Hell, you may ask, is happening?  Get ready, Reader, ’cause I’m about to get on my soapbox.

JD’s wrestling season just ended.  He spent all of last week in Oklahoma City for Nationals, and he has decided to take this week off from work.  Because spending five days in another state getting to sleep in, eat like a king, and drink like a frigging pirate is TOUGH.  And did I mention his gout flare-up?  Oh yeah.  That happened, too.  Frankly, I’m surprised he even made it through the experience, what with the grueling nature of it all.  Anywho…

So basically there’s been a role-reversal in our household.  Even though I work, I’m typically the first one home.  And whenever there’s some type of holiday or extended break, I’m home with the kids while he’s at work.  But now, I’m bringing home the bacon (vegan, of course), and JD is playing Mr. Mom.  This whole week, I’ve been anticipating one thing:  That moment that every mom has when she’s reached the “I’d never sell my kid on Craigslist like those other crazy bitches, but I get it. I get it.”  Except instead of this moment happening to me, it was going to hit JD harder than that time I bag-tagged him during a wrestling team hog roast.  And in true, life-ruining fashion, it hasn’t happened.  I shit you not.  This son of a bitch has kept it together, and even managed to maintain personal hygiene at the same time.

Do you hear that, Reader?  That’s the sound of me getting bag-tagged.  KARMA bag-tagged.  JD’s ability to survive like a chameleon during the transition from working dad to stay-at-home dad punched me in my nuts. (I think my original intention for this post was to actually compliment JD for his impressive run as a stay-at-home..Hmm.)  Need specifics?  Let’s take a look at some of the key moments from Mr. Mom:

  • Laundry:  Don’t get me wrong, JD is the laundry king in this house.  He handles all things garment-related (except for lookin’ damn fine in everything…that title goes to yours truly).  But the other day when I arrived home from work, JD said he needed to talk to me about the laundry situation, and I felt certain this was the beginning of the end for JD’s run as best stay-at-home parent ever.  “Babe, we need to talk about the laundry,” he sighed.  “Oh?” I asked, all the while masking my elation over impending failure.  “Here’s the deal,” he started.  “I’ll do all of the laundry in the house, if…” I cut him off.  “Sex?  You want sex, don’t you?  Deal.” I was prepared to do whatever it took to keep me away from the laundry room.  I saw the wheels turning in his head as he quickly revised his plan.  “Yes.  Sex, and you have to make sure you actually put the dirty clothes in the laundry basket.”  “Okay,” I retorted. “Clothes in the basket, but as per your request, I will be too busy doing this to meet my previous offer of after-hours entertainment.”  JD had managed to master not only the laundry hurricane that is our bedroom, but also one of the many fine arts of the stay-at-home.  I was FURIOUS.
  • Bedtime:  Once again, JD has always participated in the bedtime routine.  When Chase was just a little fart, we decided to take turns each night with putting him to bed, and it has worked for us.  But when that demon Sienna joined the mix, we had to switch up our gameplan.  It can be pure chaos; just tonight I was putting Si-Si to bed, only to discover that she’d found her way out of her room and into the toilet, which she has deemed her own personal drinking fountain.  Is this what they meant by the “Fountain of Youth?” Just some big-ass toilet that all the little kids shove their hands in before smearing those same hands all over their faces and tongues?  There have been many nights when Joe is out of town and I’ve been exhausted enough to just strap a bottle onto our dog Mac’s collar and hope that as he runs from Sienna, he’ll miraculously lure her into her bedroom, then place her in her crib (or even on the changing table…It’s padded), turn on her lullaby CD, and watch her as she falls asleep.  Oftentimes, I realize this hasn’t worked only after just starting to catch up on missed episodes of “Chopped,” at which point all hope is lost and I just take the Si-Si Bear up on the couch and pray she’ll pass out in time for me to see who is on the chopping block.  But do you know that this JD character has managed to single-handedly put our kids to bed?  Without any toilet water issues?  No bloody noses.  No “Hey did Sienna already drink that bottle?  ‘Cause I think this milk is bad.”  Seriously.  Disgusting.
  • Shower Power:  When JD is out of town, the closest I’m getting to a shower is when Sienna slaps me in the face with a dirty baby wipe.  Somehow, though, every day that I’ve arrived home from work, JD’s completely showered, and even mildly attractive in the right lighting.  Not only that, he’s wearing an outfit.  With matching colors.  And pants that button.  And a shirt that can’t be found in the pajama section of any store.  I once managed to put together an entire grocery shopping ensemble that didn’t even belong to me!  I had JD’s old sweatpants on, his sweatshirt, and a pair of slippers.  I couldn’t be bothered to find underwear (thank God for pants with a drawstring).  My hair was so greasy I had to pin it back to keep it from sticking to my face, and I had to use one of Sienna’s princess hair bows because I’d lost all of my bobby pins.  Doesn’t JD realize he’s upsetting the stay-at-home universal truth that all is fair in hygiene and attire?  Asshole.
  • Attitude:  Last but not least, it’s Thursday and JD’s still happy-go-fucking-lucky.  A kiss on the cheek when I walk through the door, a hug as I’m making dinner, a smile and giggle as Sienna shoves a fistful of dog food in her mouth for the third time today.  After three days of parenting by myself, I’m at the point of no return.  If the weather is nice outside, I won’t even open my windows out of fear that the neighbors might overhear one of my classic phrases, such as, “Chase!  I swear to God if you don’t take that singlet off and get in bed, I’m going to punch you in the leg!”  And who could forget, “Mac!  You son of a bitch!  I just let you out to go pee yesterday!”  Oh, and what about this little gem, “I’m sorry Si-Si, but we’re out of milk.  This half & half is like the same thing…basically.”  72 hours of being the only adult in the house can make a person do crazy things.  I once called up a friend on Skype and left them in charge of the kids while I took a nap.  (They were fine.)  So the fact that JD is not only still here, but also seemingly enjoying this experience…He makes me sick.

Well, there you have it Reader.  I’m sure you can clearly see why JD is a horrible person for making me feel so inadequate as a wife, a parent, and a human being.  It’s just one of the many ways he continues to ruin my life, day in and day out.

I’ll see you in the trenches.


A random collection of shit…

One of the toughest things for me, as a writer, is having 5,000 ideas floating in my head all at the same time, but never feeling like they’re “just right.”  This means I don’t put them down on paper, so they just keep floating around, and I feel too overwhelmed to sit down and do what I need to in order to remove the mental chaos, which is write.  So, with that being said, here’s a collection of some shit that is stuck in my brain and worth laughing about, because otherwise…It’s just depressing.

1. What happens in Vegas lands you in a New Jersey Urgent Care

Back in July, JD and I flew to Vegas to cheer on our friend as he fought for the UFC title.  Prior to this, I’d decided that, due to the unpredictability of teaching employment, I should prepare myself for the fact that I could someday lose my job.  The only sensible profession to take up if this ever happens, I’ve realized, is fighting.  So, with a career goal in mind, I signed up at a local MMA gym, and I LOVED it.  Three nights a week, I’d take all my frustration to class, beat it out of others (or more realistically, have it beaten out of me), and then come home with a smile on my face and a few choke-holds to practice on an unsuspecting JD.

When we went to Vegas to root for our pal and he, against the odds, won the title, I was more than excited.  We all planned to go out to celebrate the day after the victory with a few of our buddies who’d also flown out.  As we waited for one of those friends to get ready at the Hooters hotel, JD punched me.  Really hard.  In the face.  And then I attacked him full-on, like a banshee.  (There’s a slight chance the first part of that never happened, and that I just went into attack mode for no reason, but it’s already been put out there, and I don’t want to confuse you by backtracking.)  Faced with the impending embarrassment of his friend coming out of the bathroom and seeing JD being worked by his teeny-tiny wife, my husband saw no other option but to throw me away from him and onto a nearby bed.  This plan went to crap, however, when upon picking me up, JD straight up broke my rib.

I did a pretty great job of keeping my shit together during dinner, but the minute we parted ways with our friends, I started crying.  Hard.  Which made my rib hurt even worse.  I barely survived the flight home, and as the pain worsened over the next few days, I finally had to go to an Urgent Care.  “So, how did you hurt your rib?” the doctor asked.  “Um, well, I fight MMA, and I did it at practice.”  I’d already taken on the battered-spouse role (since that’s what I am), and had worked out a solid backstory in the waiting room.  The doctor gave an unconvincing “Uh huh,” and told me I’d need X-rays.  The results came back, the rib was fractured, and the moral of the story is don’t attack your husband at a Hooters hotel because two weeks of MMA training does not make you a badass.  

2. I have no chance in the real life Hunger Games

Let me just start by saying that, despite the story I just told you, I’m decently tough.  And I can talk a pretty good game, which works as a deterrent in most situations where I’d otherwise get my ass kicked.  But none of that applies when you’re driving down the NJ turnpike in the middle of the night and you break down.  It also doesn’t apply when you’ve got your 11-month-old baby in the car and there’s no heat because by car, I mean JD’s shitbox Audi, and by shitbox Audi, I mean hobo box with wheels and no heat.  You see, Reader, I was just driving along, singing some jams, when suddenly, the car just said, “Fuck you, I quit,” without any prior notice.  I think that’s really rude, seeing how I’ve always given a two-week notice when I’m about to quit a job (assuming they haven’t fired me first).  I was able to coast to the emergency lane, and then I called JD.  “Use your AAA card, Jaimie.  That’s what it’s for,” he quickly replied.  And that’s true, which is why it wasn’t a great idea that I had taken it out of my wallet because I was running out of room for all of the cards I have, and I’d just gotten a credit card to The Loft.  They always have incredible sales, so I never know when I’m going to need it, and it made sense that if I had to choose between it and the AAA card, AAA just wasn’t making the cut.  The plus side of this, since I’m such an optimist, is I just scored a great deal on some corduroy pants the other day.  

Anywho, JD ended up having to call the state police, who said they’d send a tow truck but it would be about thirty minutes.  And that is when I lost it.  “Thirty minutes?!” I screamed.  “The baby’s going to freeze to death!  I’m going to freeze to death!  And then a truck’s going to hit us!”  In the moment, all of these thoughts seemed completely logical.  JD assured me it’d be okay, and told me to just hold tight until help arrived.  I climbed into the backseat of the car, covered the baby and myself with every piece of clothing I could find (I told you the car is like a hobo box, and hobos definitely keep clothes in their boxes), and prayed.  Then, I rummaged through the diaper bag to find any food since we were on the brink of starvation.  All I could locate was a container of Gerber baby cereal puffs, so I ate most of them and the baby ate four pieces (she’s way smaller than me and I needed the nourishment in order to make all of the important decisions).  That took up about the first 10 minutes of our thirty minute wait for help, and so I just spent the next 20 minutes crying and calling loved ones to tell them I loved them and that I forgive them for anything they’ve ever done to me.  I didn’t want my battery on my phone to die before I’d called everyone I needed to, so I didn’t have time during each phone call to apologize for anything I’ve ever done to each person.  You understand.

Finally, I realized that I could just call JD’s uncle, whose house I’d just stopped at to pick up the baby.  He was able to get to us in about ten minutes, and everything was fine.  So, if the shit hits the fan tomorrow, and we have to start dealing with a national crisis Hunger Games-style, don’t try to form an alliance with me…You’ll only bring me down.

3. Last call

This week, I lost my phone for the first time.  Aside from the total meltdown that ensued, I think I’ve handled it pretty well.  On Friday, when it happened, I scoured the building I work in for a good 45 minutes.  I finally gave up, and hoped I’d accidentally left the phone in a friend’s car that I’d traveled in on the way to lunch that day.  While driving home, and thinking things this week couldn’t get any worse (following the breakdown, meaning the car and emotional), I suddenly remembered that I needed to pick up Chase and it was already 15 minutes after school ended for him.  I panicked and jerked the car into the nearest gas station parking lot.  I ran to an attendant and begged to use his phone.  “Sorry, it’s a pay as you go phone,” he sighed as he showed me the screen, which indicated that he only had about 14 minutes remaining on the phone.  “I don’t care, I’ll pay you!”  I pulled out the only money I had, noticed I still hadn’t put my AAA card in my wallet, and threw a ten dollar bill at the guy.  He spoke limited English, but tossed me the phone, and I called my mother-in-law.  Fortunately, since she’s well aware of my and JD’s total incompetence as adults, she’d already picked Chase up.  I handed the guy back his phone, did my best to tell him he was an angel in Spanish (meaning that I said, “You are Los Angeles,”) and drove off.  Once I got home, the hits just kept coming.   JD needed a ride home since we only have one car, and he couldn’t get in touch with me due to the missing phone.  I called him from our house phone, he yelled at me and said that I must have been wasting time at work considering I’d just now gotten home, and then I screamed back at him, in my most adult behavior, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!  I HAD TO PAY A NICE MEXICAN GUY TO USE HIS PAY-AS-YOU-GO PHONE AND THEN I CALLED HIM A CITY IN FUCKING CALIFORNIA!”  JD only responded with, “Well, I didn’t know that.  I’ll get a ride,” and then hung up the phone.

So, in a nutshell, these are a few of the things that have been on my mind lately.  Oh, and turns out my phone is in my friend’s car and I’ll have it on Monday. Silver lining, folks. Silver. Lining.

Teaching a Lesson

Someone said to me today, “I should have been a teacher! I hate working evenings and weekends.” Let me tell you: Teaching is not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a 5 to 9 job. I get excited when we have a vacation or a two-day break so I can catch up on all of the grading/planning I need to do. I love being a teacher, and I’ve chosen this field, but I refuse to let others tell us that we’ve got it easy. 

I go home every night and grade, and the nights that I don’t grade, I go to bed feeling guilty about it because that’s one more day I have to hold out progress updates from my kids and their parents. Teachers spend more time with children than parents do (and I’m saying that as a parent also, because it’s true). I teach an 80-minute class, so 5 out of 7 days a week, I talk to a child more in one class period than that child speaks to the parent all day. 

And we’re broke. Not broke because we don’t get paid enough, but because we frequently spend $20 here or there to stock up on index cards, posterboard, highlighters, books our kids would love but the library doesn’t have. I buy bananas the mornings of big tests because I’m afraid some of my kids haven’t eaten since lunch yesterday. And even when I get lucky enough to find a book on Amazon for $1.50, the shipping costs triple the amount.

And teachers worry; holy shit, do we worry. We worry about the kid who goes home and takes care of himself and three siblings. We worry about the child who’s magically slipped through the cracks of the system and has shown up at our door with a 3rd grade reading level. We worry about the boy whose dad is overseas defending the country. We worry for the girl who thinks she might be pregnant, and she’s only 13. We worry that we didn’t teach a topic the right way, or that when an administrator walked in, we didn’t have the date written up on the board. We worry whether the copier is going to work because, “What the hell am I going to do with empty hands and 27 eyes just staring at me?” We’re hard on ourselves, too hard, all the time, because we never make it far enough through a lesson, we didn’t get through to one kid, we promised a child we’d find a certain book for him and we forgot.

But teachers keep coming back, day after day, because we love those kids like they’re our own. Teachers have hearts like a cow has stomachs, one for our own family and 3 more for all of the class periods we teach (some teachers have even more). We’ve picked this profession, but we were given 40, or 70, or 200 kids because they need us as much as we need them.

So, to the person who said she wants to be an educator so she has weekends and evenings off, I’d say teaching probably isn’t the right profession for her.



The Meanest Nice Thing I’ve Ever Done…Or the Nicest Mean Thing I’ve Ever Done

I have this obsession.  It’s frozen yogurt.  So, when a new Fro-Yo (are we still saying this?) opened up near our house, I had no choice but to take the Chase Man for an evening treat.  The night started out with going to K-Mart to scavenge the leftover Halloween costumes.  I don’t have anything to wear yet, and tomorrow’s the big day.  K-Mart ended up being a total bust, but Chase thought the trip was a success after happening upon Nicki Minaj’s new clothing line, which comes with spikey hats and an assortment of large bracelets.  After telling him that no, Nicki Minaj does not make jewelry and hats for boys…Sorry, we started walking toward the exit.  This was abruptly ended when I noticed that Chase had a handful of Chapstick in different flavors.  Then we had to have the You’re totally going to jail if you don’t put that shit back talk…Again. Once that issue was sorted out, we left.

The next, and final, stop on our list was that new Fro-Yo place.  We found the closest parking spot we could, ran quickly to the entrance before they closed (it was 7:40 and the place closed at 8), and risked our lives “Frogger” style as we zig-zagged between mini-vans vying for the next available parking space.

If you’ve ever seen “The Wizard of Oz,” then you’ll understand what it was like to suddenly walk into the brightest, greenest, most amazing place ever.  “Welcome to Let’s Yo!” smiled the waitress, and she handed us our yogurt cups to fill to the brim with mounds of creamy chocolate and happiness.  I was certain that life could not be better than it was at that moment, but that’s when we saw the iPads.  Oh, that’s right.  I said iPads.  There were at least 8 of them, all mounted on fluorescent lime displays, all waiting to be played with.  Chase and I pulled up two chairs, yogurt in hand, and began Candy Crushing our way through the night.  Then, a stroke of genius hit me like one of those mini-vans still searching for a parking spot.  “Let’s send Dad a video of us eating yogurt!”  I exclaimed.  “Great idea!”  Chase replied, which should have been the first indication that it was actually a terrible idea, because this is the same guy that thought rubbing his thumbs across a razor in the bathtub was a great idea.  

You know what they say, though, hindsight is 20/20.  So, we turned on the camera, hit “video” and started filming ourselves shoving frozen goodness into our mouths.  I hit “Send,” and JD had received it by the time we made it home.

Now, Reader, you’re probably already realizing that this was a really stupid decision.  You must understand, I’m not normally this dumb, but something came over me in the excitement of the moment and my better judgment all but vanished.  

I’d forgotten about even going to get frozen yogurt last night, so when I came home today to JD just staring at me, I was a tad confused.  

“Hey there! How was your day?” I asked.

“Hey.  Oh, it was great,” he replied.  But something in his voice said that wasn’t true.  Oh that’s right, it’s called him sounding like a sarcastic jerk face.

“What’s going on?” 

“Well, Jaimie, a lot…A lot is going on.  A lot of text messages,” he stated matter-of-factly.


“That little video you sent from the yogurt place?  Well, turns out now everyone who gets on that iPad has my phone number.  So I keep getting texts…Let’s see here.  Um. Oh, here’s one:  Poop. Here’s another one:  Pee.  Oh and we can’t forget about this gem:  Poop you.  And, just to make sure I got their point:  I hope you have a poop day.  So thanks, Jaimie.  Thanks.”

Reader, when I tell you that I’ve never laughed so hard in my life, I’m giving you the God’s honest truth.  Some people almost piss their pants when they’re laughing hard; I thought I was going to shit mine.

And right in the middle of this glorious conversation, Someone. Called. JD.  

“Answer it!” I implored.

Loud girl talking.
“This is Joe.”
Loud girl talking.  Multiple girls shrieking with laughter.  Dial-tone.

“What’d they say?” I waited in anticipation.
“They said Wrong number, and then starting laughing, Jaimie.  DAMNIT!”
The only logical thing I could think to do was call my mom and burst out into an uproarious laughter.  So I did.

Then, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Reader.  Just as I was starting to type this post, JD called out to me from upstairs: “Jaimie, son of bitch!  They’re trying to video chat with me!”

And that is why I’m having a Happy Halloween :)



Fight Club…Or, Why JD’s car has a restraining order against him

Believe it or not, I’m typically a pretty easygoing person.  But one thing I can’t stand is when someone voluntarily provides you with a time frame, and then totally drops the ball.  For example, don’t tell me you’ll be home by 7, and then come rollin’ in around 8:30.  You’ll see me go real ape-shit crazy, real fast.

This (not showing up when you say you will) happens to be one of JD’s strengths.  He’s really, really good at giving me an ETA and then blowing that shit straight out of the water with a 2 hour delay.  Don’t get me wrong, he typically has a reason, it’s just the reasons tend to start with, “I forgot that after practice I normally take a 45 minute poop and a 23 minute shower.”

So tonight, when he assured the Chase Man and me that he’d be home from wrestling club at 8:30, I wasn’t entirely optimistic.  The mental math I was throwing together was something along the lines of Well, if JD finishes at 8 o’ clock, and then takes 8 minutes to blow his nose and check himself out in the mirror, then another 4 minutes digging in both ears to see what treasures he’ll find, and then a 17 minute poop, hmm…Let’s see…Carry the 3, add 6 onto that… I came up with about a 9 pm arrival time, and a train that makes it to New Mexico at 5 because I was never good with word problems.

While he was gone, I cleaned the house some, put the Si-Si Bear down to bed, and yelled at the dog (I took the kids for a walk earlier today, leaving the dog alone in the house, and when I came back Mac had taken my bra on a fieldtrip through the house, but hadn’t actually eaten it.  I was impressed, until I realized that there was dog fur All. Over. My. Couch.  He’d intentionally set up a false crime scene with a misplaced but perfectly intact bra, in a sick attempt to divert my attention from the true crime of sleeping on my couch).

At 8:30, no JD.  Chase got in the shower, and I secretly shoveled stove-top-toasted-marshmallows into my mouth.  At 9 pm, JD came strolling in.  Shirtless and disheveled.  Most sensible women would have automatically assumed their husbands were sleeping with dirty whores (like Miley Cyrus circa last night’s VMA performance), but I knew better.

“Did you get my text?” JD asked. “No,” I replied nonchalantly.  “I was busy getting the kids ready for bed and doing other important domestic duties.” I wiped the sticky marshmallow goop from the corner of my mouth.
“Oh, well I texted you like a half an hour ago.  My freaking car…” was all he said.

I came to the conclusion that his shitbox of a vehicle must have broken down, and that he, upon not getting in touch with me, was forced to get a ride from someone.

“The key wouldn’t go in the ignition again,” he sighed.  We’ve had this problem before; it can take a few minutes to get the key in sometimes.  But this time was different, and as JD continued with his story, an exhausted blank stare morphed into an outraged, maddened glow.  A moment passed and when he started to speak again, he came out guns blazing.

“I just kept trying to jam the key in, y’know? But it wouldn’t go in.  It just wouldn’t.  So I punched the ignition.  And when that didn’t work, I started kicking it.  Jaim, I was in the driver’s seat, throwin’ my leg over to the side and just kicking the shit out of the ignition.”

I was at once speechless and enthralled.  The morning yoga’s really paying off for him.

“I tried the key again after all the punching and kicking, but it didn’t work.  So I kept hitting the steering column with my palm.  But, nothing.  NOTHING.  So I ran to the trunk, and you know what I found?  Guess. GUESS!  A SCREWDRIVER, JAIMIE.  Then, I walked back to the steering wheel.  I knew what had to be done, so I did it.  I ripped the whole ignition cover off, and then I started jamming that fucking screwdriver right in there.  RIGHT IN THERE!

By this point, JD was panting so hard I thought he might pass out with these bizarre bruises all over his hands and legs.  I decided that even if I couldn’t bring him back to consciousness, I wouldn’t call 911 because it would look pretty suspicious.

“Then, I took the screwdriver out, and put the key back in, and the car started,” he finished.
“Wow!  Why are you shirtless, though?” I questioned.
“I just beat the shit out of my car for thirty minutes.  I got sweaty.”
“Oh,” I replied.

And just when I thought the conversation was over, JD said one last thing:  “From now on, the key stays in the ignition.  I took it off my keyring.  I don’t give a shit.  It stays in.  Don’t ever take it out.”

Going the distance…Or, please don’t call Child Protective Services

*Update:  Our fiasco made the local newspaper!  Read the article to see a picture of Chase finishing his race and me looking absolutely miserable (but for the record, I only look like I’m dying because I was screaming at Chase for the last 50 meters).


Quick background:  About a month ago, the Chase Man told my mother-in-law, “Mom doesn’t love me as much as dad does.”  Pretty self-explanatory.

In an effort to spend more time with my son and simultaneously prove to him that I do in fact love him, I’ve tried to come up with some stuff we can do together that won’t make me want to punch myself in the throat.  In other words, I’d like to avoid playing with army men for three hours straight, and I’m not very into smashing mini NFL helmets into each other, either.  In the world of a 5-year-old boy, this is entirely too limiting.  So, I thought about things I already do that I could just force him include him in, and I came up with gardening.  As I write this, the gardening supplies are still stacked against the house, which is where I placed them three weeks ago.  Then, it hit me!  Chase never stops moving, and I love to run, so let’s just work out together!  I took him with me to the track that I frequent, and after a few visits, he was all about running.

I decided that Chase’s competitive nature combined with his running ability would fare well in a little race, so a couple of weeks ago, I signed us up for a 1-mile fun run in a nearby town.  JD and Little Miss (Sienna) came along to cheer for us, and the balmy morning’s weather could not have been more perfect.  As we approached the starting line, Chase noticed that a lot of the kids running in the race were older than him, and I explained to him that this was just for fun.  Deep down, I was already planning on tripping most of those brats as soon as we got out of the crowd’s view, so I wasn’t concerned about age being a factor.  

The gun went off, and we started the race.  All of the kids blasted off, and Chase tried to keep up, but I quickly reminded him that we had a full mile to run.  Within just a few seconds, those same kids were walking and hobbling down the path.  Some had completely quit.  Chase and I trotted right past them, as I reassured him, “See, I told you they wouldn’t last long.”  Soon, we reached a hill, and my little man pumped his arms, working that incline like nobody’s business.  Then, it was the final roundabout.  As we turned a corner, the finish line was in the distance, and JD was there with Little Miss, cheering us on.  Chase’s momentum picked up, and suddenly his cruise control turned into a full-on sprint.  The crowd was rooting for him, and as he crossed the finish, I saw that his official time was 9:30.  Immediately, we were approached by the race official, who told us that Chase had won his age group!  A few minutes later, they were announcing Chase’s name over a loudspeaker in front of a huge audience, and presenting him with a first place ribbon.  People in the crowd high-fived him, and someone took his picture.  It was freaking adorable, and I felt like a total badass.

The day had gone so perfectly, and Chase wanted to go enjoy some of the festivities they’d set up for after the race.  There was a bounce house, and a face-painting station, so I took his ribbon, placed it in the little cell phone holder on the baby’s stroller, and didn’t think another thing about it.  Which turned out to be a huge frigging problem when we got home and realized no one had the ribbon.  “Holy shit, what did you do?” was JD’s initial response. “What did I do?!  didn’t even have pockets!  You know, I ran a race, too.  I was practically exhausted when I put that ribbon in the stroller, so of course I didn’t notice that it was missing before we got in the car.  This is basically your fault,” I replied.  Then Chase walked up to us and said, “Did you guys find my ribbon?”  “Oh!” I slapped my head like I’d just remembered something.  “You know what?  I bet it’s in the car!”  I laughed as I grabbed my keys and wallet, and bolted out to the car.  I snuck out of the driveway and headed off to find a new ribbon.

I wish this was the part of the story where I find the ribbon stuck between the front seats of the car, right next to a crushed can of week-old Red Bull.  But, instead, this is the part where I tell you, dear Reader, that I drove around for two hours, going from party supply stores to sporting goods places, all to no avail.

I finally had to give up and head home.  When I walked in, I told Chase that it wasn’t in the car (thank God little kids have no sense of time), and that I got a call from the people back at the race, that they’d found the ribbon and would be mailing it to us.  In the meantime, I jumped onto Ebay and ordered a pack of ribbons so I could replace the one we’d lost.  Chase wasn’t the only one who’d won an award that day; I was the proud recipient of the “Shittiest Mother Ever” trophy.

I’m not even going to waste much time on the fact that my mom came up with the idea of just sending me one of my old ribbons from my high school track days to replace the one we’d lost.  This was a great idea, until I got it and saw that she’d actually taped back the corners of the ribbon to give it a point like the one Chase had gotten.  And that it said “Girls’ Track” on it.  And the year was 2004.  And there was a female runner on it.  Needless to say, we decided to just wait for the Ebay ones.

Then, this past weekend, I found my chance to redeem myself.  There was a mile fun race happening on Saturday at a town just a few minutes away.  This little race was actually part of a 5K race (3.1 miles), and would start as the same time as the 5K.   JD and Little Miss would tag along.  When we woke up that morning, the weather was perfect, and I knew this day was going to erase the trainwreck from the week before.  The age group this time was for kids 14 and under, so I told Chase that this race was just for practice and that we weren’t going to wait around for the awards ceremony later.  I also explained that it was perfectly okay to lose to a kid who had a beard, and to not lose any sleep over it.  So, the plan was: Run the race, finish in about 10 minutes, walk to the car, head home.  Easy Peasy.

The officials called everyone up to the starting line, and as the gun sounded the runners took off in a mass.  Chase and I weaved our way through the crowd, working to the outside so as not to get split up in the pack.  “We are definitely in last place,” sighed Chase.  “Remember, this is just for practice.  Maybe we can beat our time from last week; let’s make that our goal,” I said cheerfully.  With that, Chase’s focus was on running a better time, and we pushed through the first hill.

Now, for all of you non-runners out there, typically during a 1-mile race that’s started at the same time as a 5K race, there will be signs about a half-mile into the run, indicating that the 5K runners should go one way, and the 1-milers should turn back and head to the finish line.  After a good 5 minutes, there were no “turn around” or detour signs for the 1-milers, and that should have been a sign that something fishy was happening.  But, I’m an idiot, and we kept going.  Finally, there was a hydration station, where people hand out water to the runners.  I asked one of the women at the station if we were going the right way for the 1-mile race and she assured me that we were.  Let me inform you, Reader, that this woman was in fact, full of shit.

By the time we reached the next water station, I realized we had somehow ended up in the 5K race.  At this point, there was no sense in turning back, because we’d end up running even more than if we just stuck out the race we’d started.  I made the executive decision not to tell Chase what was going on, and as he exclaimed, “This is the longest race ever!” I just laughed uncomfortably and said, “What?  You’re crazy!  I like you, but you’re crazy!  This is the same distance as last week’s race, Captain Crazy Ass!”

With only a half-mile to go, Chase started to hold his stomach.  I did the math, and realized there was about a 98% chance that Chase was going to vomit everywhere, which meant there was a 100% chance that Child Protective Services would be called on me because there ain’t no way in Hell I’m carrying a puke-covered kid a half-mile…meaning his vomity ass was gonna’ have to walk the rest of the race.

Just when all hope of finishing the race seemed lost, a quick promise to take Chase anywhere and buy him anything he wanted gave him just the motivation he needed to finish strong.  We reached the last leg of the race, and Chase took off sprinting as the crowd rooted him forward.

He crossed the line at 31:40 seconds.  That means this little badass ran less than 11-minute miles for 3 miles.  He was AMAZING.

Now, all this time, poor JD was stuck with Little Miss, just standing at the finish line, waiting for us to come by.  After about 15 minutes, he assumed Chase had morphed into a limp noodle mid-race and refused to finish, so I must have been stuck dragging this kid along for the entirety of the 1-mile run.  You and I, of course, know this was not the case, and I quickly informed him of that fact as well.

Remember, Reader, how I told Chase that we would just walk to the car after the race was over and head home, since there was no way we were going to win?  Well, we didn’t win, so I’ll save you the suspense on that one.  But, all of these people came up and told Chase that he was their inspiration, and was amazing, and that they couldn’t believe he made it through that whole race.  Some guy told Chase that if you divided his race time by his age, or vice versa (I can’t really remember which, because I don’t know what the hell he was talking about), he would have technically won the entire race.  Not sure if that’s true, but it sounded pretty legitimate.

A news reporter even came up and interviewed him, then took his picture!  When the woman asked me why we weren’t wearing the traditional race numbers they give to all of the competitors, I explained to her that we weren’t supposed to be competing in the race, but had somehow gotten lost in the mix and ended up running the full 5K instead of the 1-mile.  I followed that comment up with an assurance that I would never, ever force my child to run 3 miles, and that I would like to be quoted on that in the article as well.

When I explained the whole situation to JD, he was dumbfounded, but thankful that we hadn’t gotten a ribbon, which we certainly would have lost immediately.  He was also somewhat relieved, I assume (though he did not say it), that I was alive and well, and that Chase did not turn into some lazy-ass brat five seconds into the race.

Oh, and as for those Ebay ribbons?  They were in the mail, waiting for us when we got home from the race.  The fact that they came in a pack of three ended up working out well, because I lied and told Chase he’d won first place at the race we’d just run, and that they’d mailed us that ribbon, too.

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