A Letter To My Adult Children Somewhere in the Distant Future,

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Firstly, may I offer my condolences to you. I’d too be pissed if I had me for a mother.  I hope you accept and love me regardless of how much therapy you need now.   I beg your forgiveness, pray you boys married capable women and baby girl learned how to fold laundry under her Dad’s tutelage.

My transgressions ran aplenty, allow me to beg your forgiveness on the following:

*  Apologies on the ironing situation.  Really, it is such a long and arduous chore and you immediately wrinkled your clothing back up, so really, I didn’t hardly ever bother.  It was far simpler to throw ironable clothing into Dad’s drycleaning bin.  He never did notice…

*  Terribly sorry super tasty meals weren’t provided.    No one in the history of time has botched blue box macaroni and cheese worse than me.  Now if you had been good little bambinos and liked chicken proscuitto lasagna …   My heart hurts to think you will have come home from college for holiday break and your homecooked meal will be raspberries and shredded rotisserie chicken.

*  I am aptly apologetic that as young children you were aware of Walking Dead plotlines and were schooled on how to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse that  never came to the suburbs of Philadelphia.

* I am regretful of my tone.  I hope you weren’t too scarred by my “outside yelly voice” that I used inside. A. Lot….aka All of the time.

*  I am sorry you showed up at every birthday party you were invited to with a movie theatre gift card.   Really, who has time to buy and wrap presents for other peoples children?

*  Do ya’ll still have potty mouths? I guess I should have played the part of the grownup and not laughed at all the toilet humor. Or said dammit so much.  Oops.

*  Firstborn, do you remember the time when you were 9 years old and we were on our way back from another hellacious “field trip” (do I get bonus points for going on those migraine inducing ventures) and you cried tears of joy when upon inquiry I told you that all we were doing that Friday night was watching a movie? Yikes on the overscheduling.  I am guessing you quit all your atheletic and musical pursuits by middle school due to overexposure.

*  I do you hope you don’t still eat food that was dropped on the floor.  We had a 30 second rule during your childhood…as long as you could grab the Cheez It before the ants did…

Happy Mother’s day to me, a low-average mother of questionable parenting.  Much Love, Mom

P.S. Under no circumstances do I apologize for being the Mega Homework Nag. Ya’ll should be leaders of the free world…

Dear Mother Nature,

As March commences, we are hit with another 2 hour delay tomorrow.Oh, hell no, (the Bostonians are shouting a string of much more creative expletives…) you didn’t! But of course you did!  The Philadelphia suburbs and apparently all of Washington D.C. would like to graciously thank you for today’s ice storm, which put the lingering 3 inches of dirty grey snow on our yards in ice lock down.  On March 1st. Super.  Can we cry Uncle??

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I guess today begins the unofficial miserable ending to the coldest winter in the northeast in 36 years. Thanks, by the way, not sure how super helpful record breaking cold is, but it sure kept all of our kids housebound for the last 2 months.  Begins the ending, you say? Yes, if we are to look at your track record we can only deduce that this is the dawn of an approximate month-long Springtease. (By the way, you’ve had the Floridians in a frenzy. You gave it to them good- making them endure days in the 40’s.  I hope you were checking your social media to see how upset they were.  Next year, they’d like some snow.  Just for fun.) This has been a doozy. Clearly, the pharmacuetical lobbyists have gotten to you (too!).  Was this the year of record numbers of northeasterners crushing up any seratonin producing pharmaceutical in sight???

At this point, the weather channel has run out of edgy, masculine storm names. They’ve been reduced to envoking ancient battle states. We are onto Sparta, which probably has dads invoking Gerard Butler’s Leonidas shouting to the children, “Spartans, ready your snowshovels!”

Here’s the deal.  Rita’s Water Ice opened today.  We’d like to start enjoying the real stuff without having the option of chipping it off of our gutters.  This is tremendously torturous … throw us a bone!

Love ‘N Stuff,

The Entire East Coast

Resolutions … Fuhgeddaboudit!

Happy New Year!

Know this, all evidence of our holiday was eviscerated from our living quarters and banished to the arctic chill of the attic as of December 27 th.  This is not shocking when one is wed to a supremely organized human and his order taking minnion, The Firstborn.  The rest of us try to avoid them at all cost during “Christmas clean-up”and can be found hiding in the laundry room snacking on stale mini saltines whilst perusing www.loveandknuckles.com.

Due to this unexpected gift of extra time, what did I accomplish during the last few days of break?  I have been ferociously brainstorming a 2015 New Year’s Resolution List.  The irony of the fact that it is January 4 th is not lost.  In my mind, as New Year’s Day fell on a Thursday, the annexed weekend simply does not count as the new year. A fresh 2015 begins for me Monday morning, January 8 th.  That was 4 BONUS days to imbibe on my bad habits.

If you can’t be bothered to generate one or are simply too busy, I am here for you.  As a courtesy to my readers, I have banged out a few resolutions for you that are guarenteed to ensure a happy 2015.

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8.  Do less housework! Why fold laundry and do dishes when you could be reading a trashy celeb mag or getting your nails done? Rally the children. Why else did you create them?  Pretend it’s 1940’s in rural Idaho where a child’s purpose was do do farm work.  Culturally, we are way too soft on this generation of offspring.  Gather up your toilet brushes and get your kids a’ scrubbin’. 

7.  Be disorganized. Studies show that sloppy people have creative, sparkly minds that shouldn’t be supressed.

6.  Eat very fatty meat.  There are so many toxins in pesticides these days, you are probably doing more harm to yourself eating blackberries and kale.  Organic pig product on the other hand, while full of artery clogging fats, is tasty and full of protein.

5.  Mental Well being!  No complaining about snow, ice and other treacherous weather.  Better living through chemistry- go get a happy pill script and a monthly tanning bed package.   

4.  Stop doing hard excercise classes.  It’s silly, really. Alternatively, because you must take advantage of your gym’s free babysitting, jump on the treadmill for a nice leasurely walk. Don’t go too fast, you need to be able to safely access your social media so you can see pictures of all the parties you weren’t invited to last holiday season.

3. Sleep more! If you just train your oldest child how to use the microwave to make organic pig products for breakfast and leave the milk in the easiest accessable shelf on your fridge, you could sleep in at least an extra 45 minutes every morning.

2.  Be present!  Stop nagging/yelling at kids.  Instead, perfect the pulverizing above rear elbow pinch when they behave badly.  They will be paralyzed and if you are swift, no one else will notice your ninja pinch move.

1.  Stop drinking wine!  It’s much, much too caloric.  But, by all means, don’t stop drinking.  Rum on the rocks or with diet coke is a healthy alternative. Don’t forget gluten free vodka, because we all know if it doesn’t have gluten, it is automatically healthy. 

Godspeed, friends!

Rosalita

This post has been sitting in my draft folder for almost 2 months.  I click back to it every week or so, finding myself staring at my screen in doubt.  It’s one of those emotional posts that I always hesitate to click “publish”.  After all, I know people who have lost a daughter, sister, husband, father, son, grandfather this year.  It seems perhaps innapropriate to wallow in pity over the loss of a very sick 12 year old Chihuahua.    But recently, my friend Kim had to put her beloved LuLu to sleep, and I thought it maybe it is time to revisit this post.   I hereby declare it is ok to be sad about missing a dog, even in the midst of others suffering worse pain.  To Rosie and LuLu, together may you be drinking bacon grease from the doggie dishes on the Rainbow Bridge! You are so very missed.

12 years ago, I dragged my reluctant (on a lot of levels) Then Boyfriend/Now Husband into Haines City, Florida, looking to acquire a prized pedigree white tea cup chihuahua as a companion for Meester Fernandez, my very cranky chi purchased from a bucolic town in Georgia 2 years prior.  As the internet presented, I was under the assumption we were going to an esteemed breeder. Instead, we stumbled into a trailer park with 88 chihuahuas stuffed into 3 metal crates presided over by a lady with an overstuffed doll collection and a decades younger boyfriend.  To this day, I still regret not calling the authorities.

While we were presented the 1 lb “Brenda’s Beguiled Beastly Love”, who I initally inquired about and who was lying on a satin pillow in a baby crib, (YES THIS PLACE WAS UBER CREEPY) I couldn’t help but notice a crate in the kitchen with a few dejected puppies.  When I inquired, I was told those pups were unfit for sale- runts,rejects, deformities, etc.  When I asked her what would become of them, she whipped her greasy, wiry ankle length braid over her shoulders and gave me a “whatever” face.  I looked hard at My Then Boyfriend/Now Husband.  There was a tiny puppy in the corner…she was whimpering, had a gash on her side, and mites were crawling out of her ears.  I don’t know much but I knew then we had to take her and save her from becoming chihuahua potpie.

And save her, we did.  Every day was a gift – she went to the vet in Tampa, and I was scolded for buying her from a puppy mill. The normal inoculations sent her to the ER as she filled up like a puffer fish and needed Benadryl to get through the night.  Ever tear your ACL?  Well, Rosie blew out three of four and we never go them fixed.  Named after the protagonist in the Springsteen song Rosalita, she took on that artist’s penchant for blue collar strife – seemed like every day was really a gift as this dog was always up against it in the early days….

…..fast forward 11 mostly glorious years ….three kids have shown up, and all she did was kiss and love all over them….never once losing her cool….

After a recent rapid weight loss and near constant thirst, the formerly obese Rosie was diagnosed with diabetes during the Thanksgiving holiday in 2013.  The day of her diagnosis, I tearfully made a promise to care for her as an atonement for the neglect she suffered as each new baby popped into our lives.  I spent the following 11 months dutifully giving her twice daily insulin shots which left her yelping in agony and always flinching when she heard me coming to fetch her in the laundry room.  And now I was the scary monster from whom my dog cowered.

Her anxiety level, which was always high, skyrocketed in the beginning of the summer.  We started hearing repeated ramming on the laundry room door at 4 AM.  Over and over again.  Rosie was ramming her head into the door to get out.  I would rush downstairs to let her out, to just watch her amble back onto her bedding.  Our compassionate and wonderful veterinarian (by the way- what veterarian have you met that isn’t an amazing human being?) told us that was a sign of the beginning stages of doggie dementia.  On top of diabetes. On top of blindness, on top of just being a severly nervous dog.

How agonizing for her.

I had to make a choice on her behalf.  A choice that I avoided making at Thanksgiving.   But we I waited.  I knew she was never going to recover, but the fact that I was deciding to extend or cease her life was a burden to my conscience.  And it had to be my call, because Rosie was truly The Husband’s dog…

The morning we called the vet to bring her in, I intended to spend the day holding and caring for her.  Telling her how loved she was, thanking her for always adoring the next baby I brought home, giving away that one more slice of our love and attention.  It was easier to sit at my kitchen table and look at her as she lay sunning herself.  I remembered how she loved the backyard sun of our Tampa house and the warm saltillo tiles.  How I emailed my mother-in-law every day of our honeymoon checking in on her and Meester dog.  How nothing made her more happy than hearing The Husband come home- well, maybe bacon grease poured over her dog food.  How she tried to attack the armadillos that used to nose around our shubbery in Tallahassee during her last patrol of the evening.  For the record, she hated snow the most.

As torturous as the decision to put our pet down was, the process was completely peaceful.  She would be the last appointment of the day.   She was given an overdose of barbiturates, and before the plunger was even halfway down, she was gone – in the arms of The Husband.  It happens so fast and all at once, I lost control of the situation.  Rosie was gone.

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The Husband, My Dad and I buried her at my parents’ Pet Cemetary (of course they have one), wrapped in The Middle’s favorite green tattered shirt, right inbetween Luca and Bear, much more ferocious dogs who are helping her defeat the evil armadillos that may be lurking at the Rainbow Bridge.

Rosie lived a great life, considering how unfortunate it began.  In retrospect, I wish I had the courage to end her pain earlier than I did, but feel solace in the fact that she is at peace.

 

Put Some Klass in Your Christmas; A 5 Step How-To Guide

After 14 years of constant sunshine in the state of Florida I made the questionable decision to return to my hometown in suburban Philadelphia. Although I am pretty sure I may be suffering from a mild case of seasonal depression, I still look forward to the Christmas holiday when I can embarrass my neighbors by decorating my home like I am contestant on TLC’s Invasion of the Christmas Lights.

If you want to set your house apart you have to take several crucial steps. I have compiled them in what I refer to as the Colley-Holgate Family Christmas Extravaganza.

  1. You need a staff.  

Staff is crucial to the expedition of this project. ENTHUSIASTIC staff. Luckily, mine comes in the form of The Husband and my-over-eager-people-pleaser- firstborn.  If you possess neither of these types of people, there are overly expensive landscaping companies you can pay to decorate.

  1.  Forget the white lights.

Embrace trashy. The secret lies in diversity.  While Target is the place to go for twinkly, purple LED strings of blinking icicle lights, you are going to have to frequent a few more joints if you want some real nitty gritty old skool illumination.  Where else can you purchase “Merry Brite” glitter candles but on the dusty back shelf of aisle 8 at CVS?  Think outside the box: Walgreens, Costco, the Christmas section at Boscov’s.  SPRING YARD SALES! Bingo. Know what is hanging on my backyard fireplace? A set of red chili pepper string lights purchased from a drug store in Tallahassee, Florida 10 years ago.

  1. Fake spray snow. 

Remember that fake spray snow of yonder year they used to sell at Kmart?  (My mother used to find me sniffing the snow-encrusted pine needles).  Guess what, doll? THEY STILL MAKE IT.  Buy cans of it and turn your pristine Evergreen into a chemical laden flurried tree looking as if it was shipped in from Switzerland.

  1. Tinsel. 

Here. There. Everywhere. BOOM.  Bonus points for purple with gold strands weaved throughout.

  1. Large inflatables and plastic characters.

We have yet to purchase the nativity inflatables, but rock pretty much every available kind. The plastic 4 foot Snow men might be harder to come by, I found ours in my cousin Amy’s attic. The kids in your ‘hood will be sure to envy your Spongebob and R2D2 flapping in the wind, and that neighbor across the way who is only allowed to put up and extra large wreath will surely be jealous of your A Christmas Story Leg Lamp…

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Happy Decorating!

The Hyphenista


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