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We’ve Hit A New Phase

September 25, 2019

As kids grow, they hit many milestones along the way. We record all the amazing firsts – crawling, speaking, walking, teething, etc. There are many, many momentous occasions through those first years of life. Just like all kids are different, the milestones they hit and when they hit them are all different. But then you get to a point, where those big milestone moments stop coming for a while. It’s all status quo.  Then one day, those moments start up again with first day of school. First failed test. First fight with a friend. First tastes of success in sports or band of classrooms. First disappointments. You know what I mean. The moments change as the kids grow.

Well, as the mom I have hit a new milestone in my kids life. What ever could it be? I know you are all dying to know. What did those girls do now? Which teacher are you calling out for being dumb? Which coach is making you crazy?

Well, friends, the milestone we’ve hit this time of year is one that hurts the wallet the most. Yes, friends I can no longer survive a week on one tank of gas.

Let that sink in. Remember we live in California, home of the highest gas prices in the country. For as long as I can remember (at least the last 8 years or so since I started driving a Mom-Mobile) I could go a whole week on one tank of gas. We have a routine. On Sundays, we go to church. The Husband drives my car and fills up my gas tank. That’s just the way that is goes. Sunday is “get gas” day.

Well last week on Saturday morning as I got in the car with the Little One to head to synchronized swimming practice (YES! That is a real thing!), I knew we had a problem. My gas gauge was well below a ¼ of a tank.

{Side note: I am THAT person. When the gas gauge hits ¼ I begin to panic. Don’t judge me!}

So, I knew I needed to get gas before we hit the freeway to get to practice. Of course, we live right around the corner from a 7-11 with a gas station, so much to the Husband’s chagrin I filled up. Yes, I paid $3.85/gallon. OUCH! Normally we get gas at Costco or on base as those are the two cheapest options. But on Saturday at 8:05 am, when synchro practice starts at 8:30 am I didn’t have time to go in the complete opposite direction to hit either the base or Costco, so 7-11 was my choice.  And yes, I paid the price… literally of being a taxi driver.

So, I jacked up the system by getting gas on Saturday. I knew it would throw everything off but what choice did I have?

Well, here’s the thing, yes it gets worse. Both girls needed new tennis shoes. As if I am not driving enough each week – getting kids to school, getting to work, band practice, swim practice, synchro practice, volleyball practice….. the list goes on. Now we have to drive to the Border to get tennis shoes. Yes, there are other stores that sell shoes, but we are cheap and we like the outlets at the border. So  after an added bonus of a trip to Mexico (basically it’s true). The kids got new shoes, but guess what? Today is WEDNESDAY….. let that sink in for a moment.

Remember Sunday is get gas day….. today is W.E.D.N.E.S.D.A.Y  and just look at this….









*Sigh* Yes, it’s a new milestone week for us.

High School Tips

August 21, 2019

class of 2023Ok, y’all it’s been a really long time since I attended high school. I mean like ancient times to many of you. I know it was a whole different world today than it was way back in the late 80’s, but I am certain that some things remain the same.

The Big One starts high school next week. WHAT? How is that possible, I know! Yesterday was registration day, so as I waited in the seemingly endless line at the finance office yesterday to pay for the Big One’s ASB card, yearbook, PE clothes, etc I had the pleasure of listening to and witnessing a few things. I was not intentionally being creeping eavesdropping on the teenage girls behind me or the teenage boys in front of me. It just happened with my place in the line. I was standing alone just trying to take it all in. (The Big One was off getting her yearbook photo and ID card created.)


High School Tip #1
The girls behind me were talking about dating. I gathered that they, like the Big One, are incoming freshman. One girl said that another friend said she would begin dating this year. But here’s the thing, the girl said, “She will only date guys with straight A’s.” I was cool with that. But then the next statement was, “OH! and he must be good looking.”  I tried not to chuckle at the restrictions being placed on these pending relationships.  One of the other girls responded, “Well, she’s going to have a hard time with that, guys who get straight A’s are NOT good looking… EVER.”  So here’s my tip #1… dating is hard. Finding someone who treats you well and cares about you is what matters. Preconceived notions will not get you far. Take the rules away and focus on someone who is kind. Someone who is genuine. Someone who helps build others up, not tears them down.


High School Tip #2
The girls jumped from dating to Instagram. One girl asked the other, “Do your parents check your Instagram?”  Horrified the other girl says, “NO WAY!” I cringed at this one too.  The first girl then says, “Well you are giving the middle finger wrong!”  What the heck does that even mean? Number one, pictures of you “giving the middle finger”… WHY? Nobody looks good giving the middle finger.  So, here’s my tip #2… It’s the grandma rule. Would you give your grandma the middle finger? Would you frame a picture of yourself flipping someone off and give it to your grandma? No, you most likely wouldn’t so don’t put in on Instagram or any other social media. If it’s not appropriate for grandma’s eyes, it’s not appropriate for social media. And just a side note, parents, you need to check your kids’ Instagram. I don’t care how that makes you feel. You need to know what your kids are posting, sharing, liking, following, etc.


High School Tip #3
I know some of you are going to really roll your eyes at this one, but I am going to say it anyway…. Put your boobies away. Oh my goodness, I am a curmudgeon, apparently. The shorty shorts I have accepted are here to stay. Every store carries them. In fact, we’ve struggled to find shorts that my girls are comfortable wearing. But the super tight body suits paired with the shorty shorts are not okay for school. I saw way more flesh yesterday among the incoming freshman than I care to remember. I know that your bodies are changing. For some of you, the growing boobs are a novelty and you want to share them with the world. Just please keep them contained. I really was concerned that if some of the girls sneezed, things would have gotten a little out of control. So tip #3…. Can you sneeze safely in that outfit? Will any sudden movement cause an embarrassing shift in your clothing? If so, reconsider it.


High School Tip #4
Be who you are. The group in front of me included two boys and a girl. One of the boys started the day in a sweatshirt. He got hot, but didn’t want to wear his sweatshirt tied around his waist. “That looks stupid!” he told the others, as he stood there with the sweatshirt around his neck instead. (Not draped over his shoulders like a preppy kid from the 80’s, but literally around his neck. Basically, he took his arms out but kept the rest of it on).  Now in my mind, it looked a bit strange and seemed like it would not do much to make him cooler, but whatever. He felt more comfortable that way, so be it. His friends ribbed him a little bit (agreeing with my internal dialogue), but they quickly moved on and let him be himself. So tip #4…. We’ve all got issues. We’ve all got opinions and ideas on what’s cool and what isn’t cool. Let your friends be a little weird. It’s all good. This kid wearing his sweatshirt around his neck had no negative impact on anyone, so be like his friends, and let him be.


High School Tip #5 – Infinity
There are 500+ incoming freshman at the Big One’s school (about 2,500 total students). That’s huge. Most of these kids are coming from middle schools with about 1,000 students. So, life is changing in a big way for them.  They will all be facing so many new challenges. New experiences. New choices that they have to make. The big difference is that now more than ever, their choices can have life-long consequences.  So, tip #5…  Please remember to be kind. Everyone will make mistakes. Everyone says dumb things once in a while. Everyone will make tough choices. Through it all just remember kindness is key. You have literally no idea what each person has been through in life. You have no idea what their family is like. You have no idea their fears. You have no idea their goals and dreams. So just be kind. Support them through the good, the bad and the ugly. Tearing someone else down will NEVER EVER solve your own problems. Ask for help if you need it. Love one another. Treat everyone the way you hope to be treated. Smile at someone, you just might change their life.


The Day Has Finally Come

February 14, 2019

That kiddo up on top would have let me bring the cookies to her classroom!

For several years now I’ve seen my friends go through it. I’ve smugly stood back and enjoyed that we have not experienced it. I mean, it’s a right of passage. I knew the day would come eventually. But admit that secretly I had enjoyed avoiding this one. I mean is it really that bad to be seen at school with your mom?

Yes, today the Big One crushed my heart just a little bit. Last night at the board meeting for the school band foundation, the girls’ teacher mentioned to me that nobody had asked him if he wanted to buy Girl Scout Cookies. Now the Little One told me that she had asked all of her teachers, well apparently, she asked all of her A day teachers…. And missed her one different B day teacher (our 6th graders have a two-hour English block, as a result their PE and elective class alternate days).

So, when I got home, I told both girls they needed to ask him if he wanted to buy cookies. Just a side note my dad has been in the hospital for 23 days now, so cookies have not been our priority. When we have a built-in easy sale, these girls need to get on it!

Fast forward to this morning, the Little One woke up with a fever and snot so she is home from school. That means the Big One has to ask Mr. Band Teacher. She is not real big on asking her teachers about cookies, but it comfortable with this teacher so she agreed.

Typically on Fridays the girls stay after school to help clean up the band room. Since tomorrow is a holiday the Big One asked if she could stay after today. I told her yes, she could and she could text me what type of cookies she needed for her teacher I could bring them after school. She agreed this was a good plan.

It’s raining today so I drove the Big One to school, as we planned out the day the conversation when like this:

BIG ONE: “So I’ll ask Mr. Band Teacher what cookies he wants after school and then I’ll text you what to bring.”

FIXITMOMMY: “Okay sounds like a plan. I’ll make sure I am home from work to get what you need.”

BIG ONE: “Okay…. Ummmmm after I text you….. ummm should I just come out to the parking lot to wait for the cookies……ummm yeah, is that okay?”

FIXITMOMMY: “ Sure that’s fine! What’s wrong you don’t want your mom walking into the band room to deliver?”

BIG ONE: “Ummmmmm well, I mean you ummmmm could… or I can just come get them and take them to Mr. Band Teacher ummmmm ‘kay?”

FIXITMOMMY: “Dude, you don’t want your mom strolling in after school with cookies?”

BIG ONE: “No, it’s okay, I’ll come out to you. Okay, thanks Love you….” As she practically raced away from my car out into the rain.

So there you have it. It’s cool to be a band nerd. It’s cool to hang out in the band room cleaning up after school. It’s cool to be a Girl Scout. It’s cool to sell cookies. But it is definitely not cool for your mom to bring Girl Scout Cookies to the band room!


Just in case you need some cookies, you can order them online here!

A Call from the Principal

December 14, 2018

If only this was on her person and not on the kitchen counter today…

So when you have a kiddo like the Little One and the school calls during the day, you tend to lose a few years off your life. Granted the last time the school called me during the day, it was actually the Big One who got nailed in the face with a ball. She was the bloody, injured one. The Little One has been injury free for almost one full year (c’mon December 26!) So I really do need to cut her some slack.

Today, I was just minding my own business making cookies for a cookie exchange that I am attending tomorrow when my phone rang. As soon as I saw the number, my heart rate increased and a large pit began instantly forming in my gut.

This is how it went:


PRINCIPAL: Hello, is this Mrs. FIXITMOMMY?

FIXITMOMMY: Yeeeessssss

PRINCIPAL: Hi, this is Mr. PRINCIPAL, principal at XYZ School. First let me say all of your children are healthy, safe and okay. Nobody is hurt. They are all good.

FIXITMOMMY: Okkkkaaaaayyyyy

PRINCIPAL: Well, you know today Little One went on the field trip lunch reward to In-N-Out. Well, there was a little incident.

FIXITMOMMY: uhhhh-huhhhhh

FIXITMOMMY’s BRAIN: Oh dear God, she puked at In-n-Out

PRINCIPAL: Well, Little One ate and at some point got up to go to the restroom…

FIXITMOMMY’s BRAIN: OH MY GOSH!, She was pooping at In-N-Out and missed the limo bus back to school. She got left at In-n-Out! Oh that kid!

PRINCIPAL: She apparently put her retainer on her food tray. So while she was in the restroom one of the In-N-Out workers bussed her tray and… you know where this is going.

FIXITMOMMY: Retainer in the trash can…

PRINCIPAL:  Now the later group is still there with one of my vice principals. There are a couple In-N-Out employees going through the trash bags  right now trying to find it. If they find it, the vice principal will bring it back with her.

FIXITMOMMY: UGH! I’ll kill her

PRINCIPAL’S BRAIN: Great, now I cannot in good conscience send this poor child home today.

FIXITMOMMY: {starts with a giggle and then starts laughing really hard.}  Nobody needs to go through the trash. That is just plain gross! It’s just a retainer.

PRINCIPAL: Well, I am glad we can laugh about this. I have kids who had retainers, those things are not cheap. And well, they were willing to look for it.

FIXITMOMMY: No, they are not cheap and that is why I bought insurance for the things.

PRINCIPAL: Ohhhhhhhh well, they are insured. That’s why you can laugh about it. (talking to Little One) Your mom says they are insured. It’s okay.

FIXITMOMMY: {Still laughing.} Yeah she’s fine. It’s just a retainer.

PRINCIPAL: Well, we were REALLY nervous to make this phone call. Would you like to talk to her?

FIXITMOMMY: {Still laughing}  of course I’ll talk to her

LITTLE ONE:  Hi Moooommmmyyyy  *sniffle sniffle*

FIXITMOMMY: DUDE! It’s a retainer. It’s not the end of the world. Daddy will be ticked, but that’s why we bought insurance. It’s all good.

LITTLE ONE: I know, why do you think I told them to call you?


So that’s that, a retainer in the trash can at In-N-Out. We’ve survived another call from the school that did not result in an emergency room trip. Hooray for small miracles.

** Clearly names have been changed to protect the innocent. And I have taken the liberty of putting words in the principal’s brain.

How to Lose Your Dog’s Trust in Two Minutes

December 12, 2018

Gracie is 11. She is no spring chicken in dog years. Most days you would never know she is 11. She runs, plays, and jumps like a puppy. Last week she was acting a bit off.

On Monday, she didn’t eat or drink anything.

On Tuesday, she didn’t eat or drink anything.

On Wednesday, she couldn’t get out of bed.

Really it all started on Tuesday evening.  She was fine one minute and then the next she was walking all funky. Her back was arched and she was contorted a bit. She was walking with her body almost in a “C” shape. She wasn’t crying or whimpering or anything, she just seemed really stiff and uncomfortable. We decided to head to bed and see if she was better in the morning.

So, Wednesday morning rolled around. The Husband’s alarm went off at 4:30. And Gracie didn’t move. Normally as soon as his alarm goes off, she is bouncing like a kangaroo at his feet anticipating her morning walk. Not this day. She didn’t move from her bed.

My alarm went off at 5:30. Again Gracie didn’t move. I got in the shower, normally she comes in to make sure that I have not gone out via the secret escape hatch (she is convinced there is a secret escape, why else would she follow me every time I go in the bathroom??).

After my shower, I tried to coax her out of bed. She tried to get up, but each time she just couldn’t do it. It was almost as if someone had glued her down. She attempted to rise but couldn’t get her body up.

I decided to check to see if she had eaten or drank anything over night. She had not, so I decided to try to get some fluid in her as a first step. I made some rice and chicken broth. By the time it was done, she had managed to rise and walk out to the kitchen where I was. She inhaled the ½ cup of “soup” that I gave her. That was a good sign. I called the Vet. They didn’t have any openings so I made the first available appointment which was Thursday morning.

Gracie didn’t seem to be in distress, so I was okay with waiting 24 hours. In fact, she perked up quite a bit after eating. And she started walking normal again too.

We went to the Vet Thursday. The Vet does her exam and is fairly confident that it is probably just arthritis in Gracie’s back that caused all the issues. Just in case we decided to do a full blood panel. So, they took Gracie back to take her blood. The Vet said when they take a urine sample, they have to flip the dog over onto her back to extract it. But since Gracie’s back was hurting she didn’t want to put her through it. So instead the Vet entrusted me with getting a urine sample. “It’s really easy,” she told me. “Just put her leash on her, walk her outside, and when she squats put this little plastic tray under her to catch it.”

Sure, I thought, easier said than done.

I admit I waited a week. I was avoiding the task, but today was the day. I tried several times to get Gracie in the backyard to piddle. She was not having it. She mis-trusted me for some reason. I can’t imagine why. I mean for the last 11 years I haven’t cared when she goes out to pee so why on earth was it so important today?  She is no dummy.

So, the only other thing I could think of was to go for a “walk.”

I grabbed her leash and we headed out the front door. Normally she always stops in our next-door neighbor’s yard. Not today. She was dragging me down the street on a mission. Finally, we got to the corner. She stopped to sniff around the stop sign. I did my best to pull up the slack on the leash and get into position. Thankfully Gracie was fully enthralled in whatever she was smelling so that when she squatted, I swooped in behind her, placed the plastic tray under her and rejoiced as I heard the liquid hit the plastic (Don’t judge me. You have to celebrate the small moments sometimes).

Success! Gross, I know, but life is gross sometimes.

Here is where it got bad. I was praising her up and down for peeing.

She was looking at me like I was crazy.

Cars were driving by, wondering what in the hell the crazy lady squatting behind her dog was doing. It was a sight.

We both rose back to the upright position. Gracie went one way (to continue the walk) and I went the other way (towards home).

Now the dog was really confused. We just started there was no way we were going home already.

Ummm, as the person holding the steaming plastic tray of dog pee, we were most definitely not going for a walk, we were going home to get this sample in the appropriate vessel to get it to the Vet.

As I guided her back towards home (okay, maybe dragged her the first couple feet) I knew that Gracie has lost all trust me. She is not buying whatever I am selling today.

Poor dog. Yes, I am a terrible dog mom for the bait and switch. But sometimes you do what you gotta do.


Carpool Questions

December 7, 2018

So the girls typically walk to school with two friends, so it’s a group of four. We live in Southern California, weather is very rarely a problem. On occasion it’s blazing hot or as has been the case the last two days, it’s been pouring down rain. Being the nice mom that I am, I have picked the girls up to spare them from some of the rain (I say some, because I do not get really close to the school because those parents are crazy! The girls still have to walk a little bit, but I save them from most of the 15- minute walk home).

Each day when I pick-up the girls, there is inevitably an argument about who sits where in the Mom-Mobile 2.0.  There is a bench seat in the very back that sits three. A split row in the middle and, of course the shot-gun seat next to me. OH! I forgot after school we often pick-up a 5th girl and drop her off at the neighborhood elementary school where her mom works.

The way this works is the Little One always calls shot-gun. The Big One always sits in “her seat,” the seat behind the driver’s seat, because this is where the AC/heat control is for the back of the car. The Big One must always be in control (we all have issues).

So that leaves the seat behind the passenger and the back bench open. On the days that we have the 5th friend, she gets middle seat next to the Big One because A) she is in 8th grade like the Big One so she sits closer to the Big One, B) she is the first one to get out so it’s easier for her to not climb over everyone and their gear, and C) because she is always polite and grateful for the ride so I don’t expect her to climb in the back.

On the days we only have the four main girls, an argument always erupts about who gets to sit where. Girl A often attempts to call shot-gun and will literally race Little One to the car in an attempt to get in the front seat of MY car. When Little One wins the race, Girl A then refuses to get in the very back bench seat. So that leaves Girl B to always have to climb all the way into the back. Normally she doesn’t mind. She is a rockstar and just climbs back there. But on some days she is not feeling it. Yesterday was one of those days. It was pouring rain so the girls all had their huge backpacks and dripping wet umbrellas as the arguing began.

I should preface this, the day before it was raining even harder. While there was no arguing neither Girl A or Girl B said “thank you” for the ride. I was a little miffed at them to begin with. The other girl (let’s call her Girl 5) said thank you at least three times during the 4-minute drive. She was so gracious and grateful.

I admit, yesterday had been a long day at work. I was tired and stressed from the traffic, rain and everything else so I was in a bit of a rotten mood when I picked up the girls. As the arguing began, I was just not feeling it. Again, it was raining, they were wet, all their stuff was wet, the sliding door to my car was open so my car was getting even more wet and these girls are arguing about where to sit in the darn car. Are you kidding me?

I snapped, I don’t like barking at other people’s kids, but c’mon get in the damn car. Eventually Girl B climbed all the way in the back, while Girl A sat next to the Big One. I went on a mini-tirade about being grateful for the ride. That which seat you sit in really doesn’t matter. You will all get where you need to be. And, by the way, neither of you said thank you for the ride the day before so they needed to straighten up their attitude and manners or they could just walk home every day.

Not my best moment, I admit it.

So here are my questions, when you drive everyone’s kids everywhere are there arguments about who sits where? Is this just a weird thing we deal with? How do you avoid it?

My frame of reference is from my own childhood, of course. Yes, the days of walking up hill in the snow, blah, blah, blah. I did live in Virginia for a few years, so there were definite snow and rain days to deal with. On the very rare occasion someone’s parent offered to drive us to or from school I just got in the car. I didn’t care which seat I sat in. I was just grateful to be out of the elements and in somebody’s car. Yes, there were days when I was stuck in that backwards facing station wagon hatchback jump seat. Yes, I tend to get car sick, but I didn’t complain. I just got in the car and accepted the ride. Have times changed that much? Maybe I am the weird one, I don’t know anymore.

Relax. It’s just a bite of cheese

November 30, 2018

So today we are talking Costco samples. I am not judging anyone. I’ve sampled my fair share of amazing goodness at Costco. The Husband and the Little One have had many a “free lunch” at Costco skipping from sample booth to sample booth. But sometimes, y’all need to keep your heads about you. It’s often a tiny bite, hardly enough to fill your seemingly ravish hunger pains.

Now, a little background, I typically go to Costco during the week right when they open. This way I can avoid the starved zombies walking around at the lunch hour. Today I went at lunch time and here is a snippet of what I experienced.

It was very crowded. Almost like a Saturday morning crowded. There was a large crowd gathered around a station set-up sampling a variety of cheese dips with gluten-free crackers. I was waiting my turn to squeeze through the small space that remained uninhabited in the giant walkaway. It had become completely congested so that only one cart could fit through at a time.  There was a man behind me who I could sense was getting really impatient. I could hear his breathing and a slight grumble growing as I continued to wait my turn. Then I heard the man let loose…

GRUMPY MAN: “Why do they do that? They just park their damn kid in the middle of the aisle just to get a damn cracker!”

FIXITMOMMY:  Quietly giggling to myself because the man sounds and looks a lot like my dad.

WIFE OF GRUMPY MAN: “It’ll just be a minute,” in a calm soothing voice. I could just imagine her patting his arm behind me.

Now there was a slight break in the traffic. I moved one step forward, the grumpy man moved about four steps forward to my one.

Then I blew it.

I hesitated.

Totally my fault.

I own it.

I chickened out and let someone coming at us go through. Now the Grumpy Man was at my hip, he was not longer behind me.

As the traffic cleared again, Grumpy Man spoke to me, “Well, are you going to go?”

Before I could reply, his wife, shrugged her shoulders at me and mouthed, “I’m so sorry.”

At which point, my inner child was trying so hard to not laugh because this cute couple could very well have been my own mom and dad.

Not wanting to cause a scene by laughing at the situation, I said, “How about you lead the way and I’ll follow.”

After thinking for half a second says, “OKAY, are you ready? Stay close. I got you!”

I kid you not, y’all I was dying. It was so funny. We were in war with the lookie-loo samplers and my new friend who started off annoyed with my timidness had my back.

His wife grabbed the back of his coat, reached for my cart and said, “Stay with us,” as she giggled with me.

He peeked over his should, saw I was there and said, “here we go!” and away we went through the crowd.

We successfully emerged on the other side of the sample station and I exclaimed, “Thank you for blazing a trail for me!”

At which point, the Grumpy Man, nodded my way and then pressed on towards the pallets of Kleenex and toilet paper.

So today, I salute my new trailblazer friend at Costco. There are still people good in the world.

But seriously, y’all need to chill and keep the traffic flowing during the Costco lunch hour adventures. Please for the love of humanity, don’t leave your “damn kid in the middle of the aisle.” Just pull off to the side and eat all the gluten-free, cheese dipped crackers you want.

Thank You Jesus!

May 2, 2018

It is a well-documented fact that for military spouses, without fail, you can count on the sh!t hitting the fan when the service member is gone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a long deployment, short TDY or just an extended weekend of Drill (for those of us living the Reserves lifestyle). You can count on something going wrong. The car will break down. A kid will break a bone. The dog will puke all over the house. A major appliance will crap out. It happens. It’s part of the military lifestyle. I don’t want to brag, but it makes us spouses left behind become tough as nails… usually.

Well, the Husband is out of the country, returning very soon (hooray!) so of course stuff had to happen. A couple nights before he left, we heard something in the laundry/kitchen area. Of course, we looked at each other and said, “what the hell was that?” But neither of us did anything about it. So, the morning after the Husband left, I got up and made my way to the kitchen to start some coffee. It was 5:45 AM, so it was still a bit dark.  Well, let me tell you that no matter how badly you thought you needed coffee there is one thing that will scare the desire straight outta ya…

As I reached for the kitchen light switch, I saw it…A huge freaking rat running across my kitchen counter. I kid you not. I about wet myself as I watched it scurry across the counter and dive behind the stove. The thing was huge. It had been happily chomping on my just bought hamburger buns right next to my coffee pot.  Needless to say, coffee was no longer the first thing on my mind. So, I did what any sane person would do. I quickly retreated from the kitchen, plopped down on the couch and started to cry. All the while trying to get my heart rate back to normal so that I didn’t die right then and there. I knew the Little One would be up any minute and I had to pull myself together so as to not freak her out.

Somehow, I managed to calm myself down long enough to get the girls both to school. Then I started searching for evidence. I found droppings behind my washer and dryer and behind my stove. No problem, I can handle this I thought. I pulled out my one electronic zapper trap from a couple years ago when we had a rat in the garage. I also went to Home Depot and bought a second trap. I loaded them with dog food and prayed for a green light the next morning. Didn’t happen. So, I started cleaning everything off the counters. I purged the pantry. I scrubbed the kitchen floor.

As I was scrubbing the kitchen floor, I noticed a puddle of water coming from under the refrigerator. Remember I told you, the sh!t hits the fan sometimes. I freaked out again. Sat on the couch and cried again. My biggest fear was that the rats had chewed through the wires and really jacked up the refrigerator. So, I called my brother-in-law for help. I was beginning to fear this was not just one rat acting alone. My brother-in-law, God bless him, came over and helped seal up some openings on the outside of the house that we thought might be access points. He looked at the fridge and wasn’t sure the problem so I called a repairman.

Gabriel, the Samsung fridge specialist, arrived a few hours later. He pulled out the fridge and determined that the water that was now oozing from the inside of the fridge and bottom was really a malfunction with the fridge, not rat damage. Thank you sweet baby Jesus! It ended up being a $355 repair versus $1000+ that a new fridge would have been.

After he left I started researching rodent control companies. I read hundreds of YELP! reviews and found one that sounded promising. I called and they had a tech available that afternoon, so I waited. I should tell you this is now five days after the initial sighting. I had not eaten or slept the entire time. I was emotionally, physically and psychologically exhausted. The Little One was terrified to go to bed each night. The Big One was, thankfully, very chill about the whole thing.

So JD and his trainee, Henry, arrived Tuesday afternoon and began their inspection. JD was amazing. He was so confident and kind. He reassured me that things would be okay despite the fact that I had a meltdown when he told me the cost of the services. I cried. I wish I could say that I handled this like a champ. That my “tough as nails” comment earlier rang true. But it did not. I cried, openly, freaking out in front of the kids and these poor pest guys. I managed to ask about a military discount, he offered me a “coupon” for $75 off which was a better deal than the 10% military discount. I gave him my credit card and they began setting traps.

I was living under this false idea that my rat friend was just chilling in my kitchen. Then JD and crew lifted up my couch and loveseat, revealing more droppings than I ever cared to see in my lifetime. They inspected the rest of the house and, thankfully only found droppings in the attic and crawl space. The bedrooms and bathrooms had not yet been infested.

They set about 15 different traps in the attic, crawl space, living room, dining room and kitchen. JD gave me his cell phone number and said to call or text anytime day or night if we heard anything. About 45 minutes after they left, the girls and I were just watching TV. I think we were all afraid to move, when suddenly we heard the loudest clapping, thud noise followed by a few seconds of a horrendous dragging coming from the attic. I’m sure it lasted all of 4 seconds but it seemed like forever. We all freaked out. I was shaking, the Little One was about to cry, even the Big One was a little startled. I texted JD, my new best friend, and told him what we heard. He assured me that was good news and said they would be out first thing in the morning to check the traps. (it was about 6:30 pm when I texted him)

Longest night of my life

I tried my best to sleep. Despite being utterly exhausted, I lied in bed listening. I’m not sure how much of the “noises” I heard were legit and how much were just echoing fears inside my brain. Many of them, I’m sure were simply the pounding of my heart that came each time the dog moved or a plane flew over or a car drove by. I suddenly had supersonic bat-like ears. This newfound skill was not serving me well. My white noise machine of crashing waves and squawking seagulls was doing nothing at all to block out all the other things I was hearing. It was terrible.

Morning finally came, I got the girls to school and waited for the guys to arrive. This time it was Henry, and his supervisor, Pablo, who came to the rescue. (JD is actually the district manager. I just got lucky that he came out the first time). Henry and Pablo went up the attic and found the first rat. Then they checked the other traps to see if anyone held had been captured. They found one under the loveseat in the living room. JD predicted that would be the first spot.  They re-baited the traps and went on their merry way. I found some relief after seeing the dead rat in the living room. I finally felt comfortable in my own house again. It had been a week since the initial sighting. The girls were relieved that two rats had been captured as well. That night, I finally slept for a few hours, enjoying the sweet relief that my problem maybe had an end in sight.

That joy was short lived as I got up the next morning and found more droppings in the dining room area and behind the couch. There were more in my house. So, I was on edge again. Every time the Husband called, I cried. I am afraid to eat, cook and open any cupboards for fear of what I would find. So far, I’ve lost seven pounds. And gained countless gray hairs. We continue to do our best to normalize our lives. It is really difficult when you are uncomfortable in your own home. It’s not cool. I know lots of people have dealt with rats and survived. I know that we will get though this as well, but I admit that I am really struggling with this. I thought I was tougher, but this had made me feel like a wimp. It’s just so gross to think that these damn things are cruising around pooping and peeing on everything. They are on my stuff. They are chewing up books and I think, now one of my cabinets. (I found little pieces of wood yesterday).

The Big One heard a trap go off on Saturday night. I had a trap inspection scheduled for Monday so I just waited. JD and Henry came as scheduled found another dead one in the crawl space under the house. They added a new trap to the outside barbecue based on more droppings found. They re-baited and moved some of the interior house traps. And we wait again.

Since the traps are out and can be accessible to Gracie.  I’ve been keeping her locked in the bedroom with me at night. I don’t want her getting her nose stuck in a trap and honestly, I do not want her chasing a rat into any other parts of the house. She’s been really good about it, but last night was different. She started pacing about 1:30 am. I listened but didn’t hear anything other than her pacing. I tried to ignore it, to no avail. Finally, at about 3:00 AM she stood by my head whining and whimpering. As my heartrate increased I weighed ignoring her and possibly having to clean up dog pee or poop, versus the odds of her chasing a rat into my bedroom. Since she had been pacing so long, I finally figured she just needed to go, so I opened the door and she took off like a rocket through the house and out the dog door.

I waited for her to return to the house. She was taking forever. Again, my heartrate was through the roof, my blood pressure I am certain should have resulted in hospitalization. I kept waiting. I tried looking out my bedroom window but couldn’t see her in the yard. I really did not want to stroke out so I sat on my bed and took some deep breaths. I again prayed for a dead rat (Don’t judge my prayers, you’d do the same thing!).  Finally after several minutes, I heard the joyous sound of the magnet flap on the dog door engaging as Gracie ran back into the house. It should take just a few seconds for her to return to my room, but she wasn’t coming. I so did not want to have to go out into the living room, yet there I was walking down the hallway. As I reached the end of the hallway, I could see Gracie just standing there staring at me. I whispered her name and thankfully she ran towards me and back into the bedroom. It was 3:19 AM now. Seriously, a 19-minute bathroom break?  Damn dog, was all I thought. By the grace of God I finally fell asleep and woke to the sounds of birds chirping at about 5:30. I was shocked and relieved to have slept for two hours, at least.

As I do now every morning, I make as much noise as humanly possible when I roll out of bed. My bedroom wall is shared with the kitchen. I wanted to make sure that Mr. or Mrs. Rat know that I am awake and they need to vacate the visible premises. The Little One now waits for me to wake up and get to the living room before she emerges from her room. She wants me to scare anyone away so she doesn’t have to. I totally get it.

So today, is Wednesday, we are one week into the trapping and removal service. I check the usual spots for droppings or other evidence I didn’t see any. I wish that I could say that brought relief, in reality that only brought more fears. Where are they now? It didn’t take too long for me to find out. I made my coffee and sat down at my computer to check my e-mail. There were droppings on my desk. DAMNIT! I thought. I don’t want the girls to freak out so I quietly clean it up and act normal. I peek at the two easily visible traps and found nothing. Disappointed, I tried to not show it. I don’t want the girls to start freaking out like I am on the inside. I got them to school and then returned home.

I think deep down I am an optimist, sometimes it’s hard to see that, so I grabbed the flashlight and began inspecting the floor where I have been finding droppings. I don’t see any. So, I go in for what has been the ultimate letdown for the last seven mornings. I lie down on the floor behind the couch and shine the light. As the light bounces around under the couch, something it different. The bright yellow bait square is what I usually see. I don’t see yellow….

HOLY CRAP! There is a rat in the trap. You all have absolutely no idea the euphoria that I felt seeing that damn thing squashed in the trap. Trust me, I know how truly gross and disgusting this all sounds. I admit that I stood up and then dropped back to my knees and cried. I sobbed like a big old baby. I was trembling as I grabbed my phone and texted my best friend JD that I needed them to come check the traps. Now I am waiting for them to come.

I know that this joy is temporary. I know that tonight after the girls go to bed I will sit stiffly on the couch listening and just waiting for the moment that I too can head to bed. I will wake tomorrow morning filled with fear and trepidation as I do my morning droppings and destruction checks. But for now, I am trying to find the joy in the moment. I am trying to breath easy. I am trying to get through this day stronger than I was yesterday.

Boundaries, Cookies, Marijuana Oh my!

February 5, 2018

So, you all know that it’s Girl Scout cookie season. What many of you may not know is how cutthroat cookie sales can be for some families. It can get intense. It can get heated. It can get ugly.

For our family, cookie season is intense, but we do our best to keep it fun. We do our best to keep things fair. We follow the rules. We don’t push the boundaries. We try to remember that cookie sales are not really about cookies. Cookie sales are about teaching the girls critical life skills – goal setting, business ethics, decision making, money management and people skills.

In life there are always people who push boundaries. There are people who bend the rules. We all know people who skirt around rules and boundaries just for fun. And we all also know people who stay as far away from boundaries as possible.

So when one of the local news stations aired a story about a Girl Scout selling cookies in front of a marijuana dispensary the gloves came off so to speak. My Facebook groups were full of people commenting, accusing, blaming, cursing and generally being not nice with regards to whether this girl was breaking the rules or not. People were judging her parents for allowing her to sell in such a place. As we walked around our neighborhood with our wagon, I would estimate that about one third of the people we met asked us about the news story. There were people who thought it was “genius” and others who shook their heads in disbelief.

The Husband and I were discussing the “fairness” and “legality” of this girls’ sale, and we disagree. (which is totally okay!)  In San Diego booth sales (sales where girls typically set up tables in front of stores) don’t begin until February 9. So to sell right now, we are allowed to do “walkabouts” or “standabouts.” Walkabout are when we walk with a wagon or some other mobile cookie mover to sell cookies. Standabouts are where we can set-up a table in our own front yard and sell cookies.

The rules provided by our local council are vague to say the least. For example, we have always been told that we can sell at the beach or parks as long as we are “moving.” We have to have a wagon or some other means of making forward progress. We cannot set-up a table and chairs to sell. But our cookie manual states that sales are not allowed on “properties or sites used by the general public.” What the heck does that even mean? Sidewalks in our neighborhoods are used by the general public, so we can’t sell on our own streets?

Our manual also tells us that sales are not allowed on “commercial properties.” In the case of the girl at the marijuana store some reports say she was on the sidewalk outside the business. So where does the “commercial property” line get drawn?

I have always operated on the idea that the sidewalks in front of stores, malls or other retail locations are off limits. But a representative from our Council stated on the news that this girl was within boundaries because she was on the sidewalk “in her community.” Again, how do we interpret “community?” The location of this particular dispensary is not in a residential area by any means. There is no housing around. It’s actually a large commercial location (there are several large stores in the same parking lot area).

I don’t have any answers or anything really profound to say on the subject. I know my opinion and The Husband’s opinion. What’s yours?

Regardless where you fall in this debate, our local Council needs to do some serious thinking about how to better establish and communicate the guidelines for all girls. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best with what we believe to be fair to all because after all it’s not really about cookies, it’s a lesson in life.

In This Episode of When My Tires Get Slashed…

January 18, 2018

I’ve got no one to blame but myself.

Let me just say that it’s been a week. Between worrying about the Little One’s leg and the impending government shut down, add on that I’ve had a terrible migraine for three days, let’s just say I am over it. Done. Let’s just end the week today.

So that’s where I am at when this happened…

The Little One and I were just chilling after school. The Big One was still at school (today was yoga club after school) when a gaggle of 10-12 middle schoolers from a neighborhood school came walking up our street. They were loud. They were using vulgar language. They were strutting down the middle of the street like they owned it. The Little One said, “What the heck? Did you see all those kids? Who were they?”

I was in the kitchen so I didn’t see them, I just heard them. I told her I wasn’t sure but went out on the front porch to see who they were and where they were headed. About half of them were wearing black sweatshirts, while the rest of them were wearing their school uniform so I knew where they came from.

They stopped a couple houses past mine and were getting increasingly louder. I was chatting with the men working next door when a couple of the kids started fighting in the middle of my street. I watched the other kids circle around the fighters while another appeared to be videotaping the fight with his cell phone.

Not cool.

So I began walking towards them to put a stop to the behavior. As soon as one of them noticed me coming, they shouted something I couldn’t understand and then the others all took off running. One kid had left his backpack on the sidewalk, I got to it before he did.

As he sheepishly approached me, he began apologizing. Saying he didn’t know who the kids were. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I admit I didn’t handle this one too well. I busted out my mom voice and gave this kid an earful about being disrespectful and making stupid decisions. I let him know that he and his friends need to keep their antics off my street.

I gave him his backpack as he continued to apologize.

It was time to go pick up the Big One so I did. After I picked her up (from a different school than these kids go to) I decided to drive around the block. I wondered if the kids were dumb enough to go back to their school. Of course, they were. So, I parked my car and approached the group.

I told them that they were fighting and acting up in front of my house. I told them that it was not acceptable behavior. I told them it wasn’t funny. A few of them wandered off as soon as I told them who I was.

I thanked the ones who stuck around to listen to me. I also acknowledged the one kid who was brave enough to look me in the eye. He was very agreeable. He told me I was right about everything I said. Then I asked them if their moms, dads, teachers, siblings, etc would be proud of the way they were acting. All but one them looked me in the eye and said no.

I again acknowledged them for looking me in the eye and being honest. I told them it gave me a little bit of hope that maybe, just maybe they would think before they acted stupid again.

They probably won’t, but I am trying to remain hopeful.

And to the kid who left his or her blank tri-fold presentation board behind, I’d be happy to return it to you if you have the courage to apologize. It might be easier than admitting to your parents or teacher why you couldn’t finish your project.