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Category Archives: Life Experiences

This is Not About Sliced Bread

Sliced bread. It seems like a given for any grocery store visit for me. It’s not until you get a bread maker or bake corn bread that you realize how precious sliced bread is. I’m not a good cook, so even a sheet of corn bread can be a challenge. When I cut those little squares, the corners of my mouth begin to curl up from the warm even cuts I create. When I slide the slidy thing underneath, the corners of my eyes curl down at the array of crumbs that scatter away, almost screaming in disappointment. Oh how I wish there were a loaf of sliced warm cornbread.

Don’t get me started on loaves and slicing.

Too late…

I used to have a bread maker. Our favorite bread to make was sourdough! If you’ve ever had a bread maker like mine, you might agree that the most satisfying feeling was when you turned over the metal container and had the chance to feel and hear the bread slide out in one whisp. When you examined your loaf, it was sleek and soft with the exception of the crevice where the mixer had to live briefly. This experience happened for me once. For the remainder of time that I owned the bread maker, there were some interesting sounds that came out of that metal portal: glop, plop, flurp, dut-tuh-dut-tup-farst. Although entertaining, these sounds were not due to loafy perfection.

And of course, there was no longer the scar of the crevice.  There were jagged half-loaves and three-quarter loaves. Basically, a giant chunk always wanted to hide up in the canister. It wanted to hide from the eternal bread making novice outside that would peek in and say, “What is your problem, bread?” when clearly she was the problem. Once I could get any portion of my homemade bread onto a cutting board, I made numerous attempts to slice the bread for sandwiches.

There’s no shame in having multiple sized slices of bread, nor is there any reason to be upset about the inability to cut down vertically with a bread knife. There is, however, quite a bit of discomfort when you try to feed giant bread slices to your family with the typical amount of meat, cheese, lettuce and tomato. And if you know kids like mine, you’ll find that keeping out the lettuce and tomato only makes the idea of homemade sliced bread more awkward. What I ended up with were behemoth sandwiches: Sandwiches stuffed with enough meat and cheese to compensate for the massive trapezoids of bread. And if you know any kids, most of them have little faces with little mouths. Mine dealt with the overcomings of my sliced bread with a smile by opening the sandwich and eating the innards like finger food, defeating the purpose of my home cooked slices of love.

Well, don’t try and give me tips or magic tricks on how to make the perfect corn bread or how to use a bread maker properly (like consistently following the instructions). Remember, this entry is NOT about bread. It’s not about sliced bread either. It’s about THE GREATEST THING since sliced bread, and you know how important sliced bread is…

The greatest thing since sliced bread is the invention of the Bitmoji!

StayTuned

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

RAGBRAI

The new route for RAGBRAI has been determined for the year 2012. I am SO jealous of all the people that will be there this year. I know that, one day, my family and I will ride RAGBRAI again. We rode it in 2008 with my husband’s Uncle Greg. We called him G-reg. After he passed away in 2009 I wrote a story about our trip. The following is an edited version that focuses on the trip itself. If you don’t already know what RAGBRAI is, the story will give you an idea, but you can also google it up. If you ever experience it for yourself, I promise, it’s something you’ll never forget.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

 

RAGBRA

Written in May of 2010

Greg is gone. But who am I to be the one who can’t take much more of this?  Visitations. Memorial Services. Funerals. Celebrations of life. No matter what, when you keep losing people this way, you realize that ribbons couldn’t save them. I’m tired of raising money, tired of using those causes to soothe my own soul. I was always doing that, wasn’t I? Leaning on a purpose, trying to find a connection with the deceased. Validating my attachment to people.

Two years ago, Greg was the pesty uncle who had to tell us about RAGBRAI. He was an instigator by nature. When my husband turned to me and said, “You should come along,” Greg shittily agreed. So I was in. But not because they wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. It was just to prove a 7-day bike ride across the state of Iowa with a 0.8 and a 5-year-old could not be done and, “Y’all better recognize, I’m not there to be your servant.” A mother of two could not handle support driver. She would be too preoccupied to successfully travel from one town to the next, find an acceptable campsite, pitch tents, locate food and do it over and over again for five more days. They would be let down.  One year ago, Greg was my friend and my memory, the pain-in-my-ass uncle who proved RAGBRA would be impossible to return to without him. And Greg always called it RAGBRA. I was jealous of that joke only because it was an easy laugh. “RAGBRA, RAGBRA, Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

Greg’s steed of choice for RAGBRAI: Hybrid Cannondale. Canary Yellow and cute.

My pony: Kia Sedona. More of a Clydsdale. It was not a clever bus with loyal hardcores leading rookies. (How can I get me one-a those?) 

My husband’s purebred mistress: Specialized Tarmac Pro, cherry red, no spoiler.
 

We would do this again. I kept notes.

Day One – evaluate the day ahead. Collect newspapers, maps, free souveniers (i.e. little ziploc of dirt from current camp).  

Day Two – stay away from stables containing manure and horse flies. Always stake down tents and always expect 2am tornado/thunderstorm warning.

Day three was my hump day. I caught on quick.

Day Three – Find schools or gyms. When team leaves, you leave, don’t dilly, just leave. Document, take pictures, park anywhere and look like it’s your business. Park such as no one can block you in and be prepared to maneuver in reverse from the route. If you’ve done it right you have time to hand out snacks, pull out cowbells and get ready to shout like all hell. Wave, wave, snapsnapsnap. Get back in the freaking Clydesdale and mooove. Drive, drive, drive. Set up camp. Find spot central to pool, town square and next day’s route. This spot exists in every town but everyone knows it. Make sure phone is charged. Locate food.

By this day, the arrangement in the back of the Sedona was unfamiliar, yet still organized. It smelled of tarp and cold, cold mud. The kind packed up with morning dew.

It was all a cluster and the first half is still a blur. But, I was thriving. You could get lost here but the Iowan’s wouldn’t let that happen during this amazing week. By day three you wait for your riders, Clydesdale leaning over in a cornfield ditch. While you wait, you cheer for the unicyclist and woot-woot the traveling mini bar team. They are all your unofficial friends this week. Don’t forget the dives you ate at, the neighbors who invite you to their fire pit. Record the weather. Buy an umbrella. It’s all significant.

Day Four – Rest towns offer every food imaginable on a stick. Meet riders. Socialize with gear grinders dressed like bananas. Hosting towns and traveling vendors provide music, turkey legs, homemade ice cream, port-o-potty’s.

  • PURCHASE WINDOW PAINT!
  • Fly swatter
  • Bug Spray

We can’t ride that route again without Greg. Why would we? It won’t bring him back. Besides, it’s sacred.

Day Five – Consider booking hotel ahead of time for day five. Four days of humidity + rain = crabby kids = crabby men.

Day Six – The Finish Line.

On day six at RAGBRAI, the riders were my mission and the kids were under my spell. But I became overly confident as I left the comfort of the air-conditioned hotel to meet my riders at the end. Somewhere in-between carbs for lunch and carbs which would come in a can, my grocery getter drove into a T where RAGBRAI would cut me off. The country road transformed into a one-way with waves of riders gushing by. And for vehicles, for me, the only way was R, reverse, back it up, you don’t belong here.

This wasn’t happening. I would miss the finish line if I steered away from the herd. Going around could cost me the moments I worked so hard for. The role of support driver would be a joke if we weren’t there to meet them. The thought was sickening. My sadness suggested to my stomach that it could not take much more of this. What was I even doing here? Why would Greg choose to ride across Iowa with a family of four? He could have had it all to himself. He was perfectly capable. Independent. And now I was involved. So deep in it, I found myself suffocating in my desire to share the glory. Already suffering the loss my riders would soon feel if I couldn’t find a way to grow wings on this bitch and just get there.

My eyes clouded as I lowered my head down in shame. Sulking. Feeling sorry for myself. A tap on my window snapped me back at attention and I leaned away to find a broad shouldered shadow blocking the high sun. My reaction caused the form to take a courteous step back revealing a traffic director sporting a reflective vest. We stared at each other, sharing a brief moment of confusion, and he threw an unexpected shrug at me. “Whichwayyougoin?” said the shrug. Unbelievable. I had a choice? My tummy jumped back snuggly into place and it didn’t take but a second to gather up the guts to release my grip on the steering wheel, lift one finger and point left.

My savior did not question the rotund machinery I was operating. He pounced into action, with a hefty gait over to the route to take advantage of an immediate gap for us to enter. I chugged in carefully, gazing and entranced by the constant waving in of his arm as it welcomed us back. As we puttered away, the white words “RAGBRAI Take Us Home” written on the rear hatch window would be the last he would see of us.

As we floated into line, a climb began. We huffed just under 4 miles an hour uphill with a group of nearly sixty bikes directly in front, most of which were a team blazing identical jerseys. Behind me was an ocean of riders filling in, standing on their pedals, and riding straight into my rear view mirror. Ducking my head and squeezing my shoulders inward, I attempted to blend in and be of as little nuisance as possible. I was surrounded by concentration on the faces of amateurs, professionals, thrill seekers and leisure finders. They found a rhythm and with each pump to the left and then to the right their waves carried me up. I read their thoughts and became nothing less than a large bicycle for over a mile.

 

And, in the end, relief and sadness came over me as I reached an intersection and was sent away from the pack. I found a parallel path as the kids waved goodbye to the riders. I sat up straight and told myself to breathe again. A smile smeared on my face as I accelerated, determined to reach the river’s edge with time to spare.

Day Six – The Finish Line – Beer. Always have beer ready when your riders come through.

 

 

I Kid You Not! – Pants Scared Offeth

The accounts of the following events are all factual. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, you could make this stuff up, I suppose. But I didn’t. This really did happen. I know, some movies claim they are based on true events, then you find out the only true events were that a man and a woman were in a house and the rest is fiction. None of this is fiction, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. If you dare…

So, last year, I was going to blog about some old-school stuff we had in the house that I love so much that I will never part with them. One was a toy, another was a CD and the last was a book. This particular book is called “The Sick of Being Sick Book”. It’s one of my favorites because it’s a unique book of humor and quips about how to be sick when you’re sick. The reason this book played a big part in my life was because, well, I was always sick. I had asthma as a child and usually spent time at my Grandma’s house on sick days so my mom could still go to work. “The Sick of Being Sick Book” was one of my favorites to bring along with me and so I read it over and over and over. As I said, I was going to write about this book, a CD and a toy last year, but then the holidays hit and the three items were just sort of floating around the house. Not literally. That would be creepy.

Eventually, the CD made its way to the entertainment center cabinet. The toy, an extremely annoying toy, made it to the basement. (I’ve kept it for sentimental reasons.) And the book, well, I kept it out for my 9-year-old son, who had read it a few years back but is rarely sick, and maybe he would want to read it again sometime soon. So here’s this really old book just jumping around the house for the last two months…

I love books! So much that I follow some of the most intriguing children’s authors on Twitter and, once in a while, pester them with my bizarre and insightful comments or questions. Earlier this week, my four-year-old wanted to play with a gently used solar system kit we purchased at a second hand store. He loves it because each planet has two pieces you snap together, so he likes to put things inside the planets and pretend that gives them special “powers”. For this activity, I wanted to play in the dining room, which is usually reserved for puzzles and holiday dinner set up. So, it’s been a while since we’ve spent time in this room.

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As my son became more involved in his imaginary play, and my purpose of snapping all the planets together had withered away, I decided to catch up on my email, Twitter and Facebook on my iPhone.

I followed author R.L. Stine one day, a while back, for one reason and one reason only, I once knew a kid who was obsessed with the “Goosebumps” series. I had never read any of the books but I do remember when the television series started on Friday nights. So, I followed R.L. Stine.

I enjoy his Tweets daily. He often Tweets random shots of information that I like to repeat to my family in a clever fashion. For example, he Tweeted that you have to get permission from both countries before being allowed to tightrope across Niagara Falls. That’s cool stuff to spout out, if you ask me.

So, while I was perusing my Twitter Timeline on this particular day, I caught R.L. Stine’s Tweet this week saying this:

Is this the worst TV interview show ever?

Why am I on it?? http://tinyurl.com/7r6n2v4

It made me snicker, of course. And I had to see what it was all about.

However, my iPhone hates me. I have stored way too many videos of my kids on it, and my computer refuses to download them because of their size. So any time I try to watch a YouTube video, I plan to go make myself a sandwich while waiting for it to load. Then I eat the sandwich and sometimes, just sometimes, I go grab a kosher pickle as well. The other day I wanted to hear the Ants/Picnic song from Garfield and Friends and I gave up after 2 minutes because I wasn’t hungry.

On this particular day that I was sitting with my child, who was perfectly happy telling each planet what their powers were, I decided to tap on the link R.L. Stine provided and find out what the heck his comment was referring to. I wondered, “Was Mr. Stine interviewed without his knowledge?” and then thought, “Does he not remember being interviewed?”

I had to know. So I waited as the link turned to YouTube and I was mesmerized by the blinking asterisk of death in the lower right hand corner of my phone. As YouTube opened up, I dropped my shoulders and began to pout. The first thing I thought was, “Nevermind, I’ll just watch it later on my laptop,” which I knew would never happen. I looked over at my happy child swinging Uranus by a string and making whoosh whoosh sounds and something in me decided to go ahead and wait for the video to load. With no time to grab a sandwich, the video loaded! I found this odd. Now, if you click on that link above, the one that R.L. Stine tempted the Twitter world with, you’ll be taken to an interview between Mr. Stine himself and a gentleman by the name of George Kareman. I thought the interview was hilarious, but I have a disturbed sense of humor so you’ll have to decide for yourself.

The crazy part about this interview was the small bit of information I learned from it. Information so unexpected that I felt compelled to Tweet back to R.L. Stine. Mr. Kareman brings up the fact that R.L. Stine was a comedy writer before writing the “Goosebumps” series. Stine confirms this and says that his joke books were written under the name Jovial Bob Stine.

I was totally surprised! Not only did I know the name Jovial Bob Stine, I knew I had some of his joke books as a kid! I was so excited to learn this that I Tweeted to R.L. Stine that I was excited to learn this! Ohmagosh!

Now, I don’t usually expect people on Twitter to respond so I just sat there trying to think of where those books were now. (My poor mom is always on the hunt for things I remember randomly.) As I sat there thinking about it and listening to whoosh whoosh and pzzzt pzzzt from my four year old, I looked down and focused on a book sitting on the table in front of me – a table I rarely sit at. It was the book that has been floating around my house for the last two months. Remember that book? It’s called “The Sick of Being Sick Book” and it’s written by Jovial Bob Stine and Jane Stine.

Talk about getting goosebumps! I was Fer-Reaking out! I mean, what are the odds that I’m sitting directly in front of this book at this particular moment only to find that this particular author on this particular day shares this particular interview containing this particular bit of information pertaining to said book? This is no joke!

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It was so freaky that I had to call my mom and ask her why this was happening to me! I needed to be pinched, pretty hard. I also had to take a picture of the book and Tweet it off to R.L. Stine. He was nice enough to respond, Tweeting:

@MarthaaaFish Wow. I haven’t seen that book in a long, long time! How strange.

Strange for him or strange for me? I was weirded out the remainder of the morning and I’m weirded out just recalling it now. I must have picked that book up a hundred times to make sure it was real. I just picked it up again. Yes, it’s real. So now I have a second reason for never getting rid of this book. You just can’t make up a creepy story like this, you know. Well, you could. But I didn’t.

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

P.S. My son has not read a “Goosebumps” book yet. If I tell him this story, he may never read one. I’ll hold off a little longer. When I’m ready for waking up to screaming in the middle of the night, then I’ll encourage him to give one a chance. For now, I’ll enjoy my sleep.

 

Ho Ho Horror: My life with Santa

Hey! I’ve just been notified that this is my 50th blog post! And to celebrate such another glorious occasion, I am going to complain about something my Mother-in-Law gave to me.

I don’t remember how long ago it was, but I know I had at least one child when my Mother-in-Law gave us something for the Christmas holiday that, to this day, I will never be able to get used to. The worst part about this “thing” is that my husband will not let a year go by without bringing it out for Christmas! The only logical explanation of why my husband would want to keep this thing around? —> Just because I wanted it gone.

This is what the “thing” is:

It’s a four-foot-tall jolly Santa Clause that not only sings and dances, but it doubles as a karaoke machine.

The Jolly Man

Now, I believe my Mother-in-Law when she said she was giving it to us because the kids would love it. They truly do. But after the encounters I have had with this thing, I would have preferred one of the following for my kids:

5 billion Legos

Old school playdough that never comes out of the carpet

A box of Sharpie markers

Cymbals

For the most part, Santa is a docile and harmless Christmas decoration. But, for the most part, I am terrified of animatronics, especially those that are humanesque. I received a large doll when I was little and the thing was as big as me. And when I saw it for the first time, I ran screaming to the bathroom and shut the door.

When I was young, I watched The Twilight Zone. There are two episodes I fear the most:

“Living Doll” – where a guy can’t get a child’s doll to shut up

“The After Hours” – where a lady gets trapped in a department store and all the mannequins come to life

OH, I just Googled it, and apparently I have a slight case of Automatonophobia.

So, let’s go back to Santa. For the most part, I am at home during the day. Although it’s bright and sunny outside, it is also pin drop quiet in the house. Sometimes my kids like to turn Santa on before they go to school and sometimes they forget to shut him off. Did I mention that Santa has a motion activation setting? Did I mention if someone walks by our house, my dog walks to the window (where Santa is standing) and sets Santa off?

There’s nothing more frightening, in the middle of the day, than sitting in a quiet house and then suddenly hearing a VERY deep voice in the house with you. It freaks me out every time. Talk about ‘Fight or Flight’, I’m usually half-way out the back door before I realize where the voice is coming from.

There’s two more things that scare me about our Santa. Let me skip forward to storage time. We keep Santa in a storage box for the year until it’s time to take him out again. And, trust me, not a year goes by that someone doesn’t remember to take him out. He’s not even in a green and red bin. What I put him in (what he fits in) is a long blue bin about 3.5 feet long. Santa can be shortened to half a Santa and he fits perfectly in this bin. Let me tell you, every year I put Santa in this blue, very coffin-like, container and place him in the dark corner of our basement. And every November I am almost certain that, if he should come alive, he will jump out of that coffin and be very angry at me for putting him there. I honestly must admit that it crosses my mind every year when I go to take him out.

Okay, here’s the last reason why Santa is my most unfavorite decoration in the world. If you stand at the sink in the kitchen at my house, turn two notches to the right and look toward the hallway. This is what you see:

He's thinking about eating my brains

This is the first time my Mother-in-Law will read about the terror she has caused me, but I do have to say that good old creepy Santa is probably still here because I’m starting to feel a little attached to him. I mean, he’s been with us for at least 5 years now. I guess you could say he’s just another Christmas Tradition to add to the list.

It's not his fault I'm a wuss

Besides, if I really wanted Santa gone, there are plenty of “accidents” that could have happened by now.

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Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

P.S. No Mother-in-Laws were hurt in the writing of this blog. I warned her before posting and she said we can still keep Santa.

 

What I Told Judy Blume

Dancing a *Happy Dance* for @Scholastic wasn’t too terrible. Especially since I only surrendered still photos. But if you’re wondering what my deal was with Judy Blume, I’m about to confess it now. When I was a kid, I read “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”, “Superfudge”, and “Fudge-a-mania”. These are books that, of course, I can’t get rid of and my 8 year old has already enjoyed them as well. When @rachelvailbooks tweeted that she’d be having a live phone conversation with Judy Blume via Book Talk Nation, I was intrigued. What happened next can only be blamed on my sentimental attachment to literature.

@rachelvailbooks then asked this question on Twitter: “What did you learn from @judyblume’s books?”

And for some insane reason I answered with this: “lol, many things + where to pee when the bathroom was occupied!”

This started a short series of me explaining to Rachel Vail and, for some crazy reason including, @judyblume about how one of her books gave me the idea to pee in my grandma’s kitchen sink.

Yes, it’s true. But this is my blog, so I get to explain myself.

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First of all, I told Rachel Vail that I thought the book I read it in was “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” but I double checked, and it was actually “Superfudge”.

In the book, protagonist Peter Hatcher comes home from school with the strong need to use the restroom. His little brother, Fudge, is already occupying the toilet in a slow manner, causing Peter to actually consider peeing in a house plant.

The difference between Peter and I? Fudge finishes just in time and Peter doesn’t have to pee in an undesignated receptacle.

So here’s my side of my story. The same one I had to tell my 8 year old when he could not BELIEVE I would ever pee in a kitchen sink.

When I was young, I spent summer days at my grandparents house while my mother was at work. On one particular day, I had been playing at my friend’s house but was sent home when she had to leave with her mother to run errands. I casually walked across the street to my grandparents mobile home with all intentions to use the restroom. As I walked into the house, I could see the bathroom door was closed and I knew that my grandpa was already in there. Here’s the thing, my poor grandpa had suffered from a stroke years before and, since I can remember, he had always had difficulty walking and he moved slowly. If he had to use the restroom, he would usually give you a warning so you could hit the head before he got there, because he knew he’d be a while. Well, I had no idea when he had gone in because I just got there and I had no idea how long he would be in there. I decided not to bother him and simply hold it in till he was done. I never had the heart to knock and rush him. But usually, when you have it in your head that you have to go, it’s impossible to think about anything else. I started pacing the house and crossing my legs as I walked. I began to sweat. And then panic set in. It was then that I thought of, my hero, Peter Hatcher and his brilliant idea. My worry was that the small plants in the house would never contain enough room for how much I had to go. I really just needed somewhere to sit. And then I thought of the sink! I mean, it’s similar to a toilet bowl, it has a drain, it can be “flushed” in a sense, and it goes to the sewer. I was a kid! It was all very clear then.

Here’s what I knew. My grandmother was out at the grocery store and, if my grandpa finished up in the restroom, I would still have plenty of time between the sound of the flush and the time it would take him to wash his hands. So, YES, I did climb up on the sink, use it as a potty, and YES I ran scalding hot water and squirted half the dish soap down with it. I even ran the disposal which, looking back, wasn’t necessary.

It’s not my proudest moment but I knew, from then on out, what my Plan B was for the summer. Luckily for me, I never had to do it again.

Did I ever tell my grandma? NO!

Did I ever tell my mom? NO!

Did I tell Judy Blume and Rachel Vail? YES!

So after spilling the beans to two complete strangers and the world of Twitter, there was only one thing I could do:

I took advantage of an opportunity. I asked Rachel Vail if she could ask Judy Blume if the Peter Hatcher-Plant-Pee incident was based on true events.

Why not?
I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Love,
Marthaaaaaaa

 

To Cross or Not to Cross, What was the Question?

Right after Thanksgiving there’s a little portion of the year I like to call “Chaos is Everywhere”. After January 1st I will breathe easy knowing that, once again, there are special times of the week where I can go shopping for groceries, puchase clothing, browse books, have lunch and mail parcel and there will be under 20 people in these places at one time. But for now, these times do not exist. I have it easy being a stay at home mom, so my heart goes out to those who have to use lunch time, take days off, or EVEN WORSE, go out on the weekend. It is a MADHOUSE! I went to my local superstore this weekend and noticed that part of my stress of going out there begins with the simple task of making it through the parking lot without hurting anyone. And once I park my car, the roles are switched and I’m playing frogger for my life!

My coping mechanism in life is humor, so I found that I was less anxious to hurry up if I just observed the people around me trying to survive in the same jungle as me. I found that we all have different ways of communicating with eachother in the parking lot. So tell me, what kind of parking lot crosswalker are you?

The Confident Pedestrian – This is the person who walks from store to lot or lot to store without ever looking at the oncoming cars and soley relying on the right of way. No matter if they get hit, they know it will be your fault and so be it.

The Glancer – With one foot already in the cross walk, this fella will make eye contact with you and before you know it, he’s gone.

The Two Stepper – Wait for it… Now GO! No STOP! No WAIT! okay GO! STOP! This person is either too sweet to make you stop or too fearful to go. Either way, you get caught up in the “you go, no you go, no you go” situation and when you’re both out of breath, you shut your car off right there and finally let this person cross.

The Easter Island – This person refuses to ever cross in front of an oncoming car. Their stone face and refusal to move or look at you let’s you know your good deed is not welcome here. Although it’s an awkward situation to come across, it can also be considered a courteous gesture. So, don’t take it personal.

The Theme Park Crosser – This is the person who has been in the store for hours. When they exit the store they have no recollection of where the car is parked or if they even came out the right door. If you let them cross, they will. However, they will zig zag in front of you on their tippie toes. For some reason they pause in front of you with that ‘hmmm’ look on their face, then the ‘ummm’ look, and finally the ‘oh yeah!” look. And then they finish crossing.

The Crossing Guard – I love this one. There’s always a kind soul out there who finds it necessary to hold their hand out to the driver while the rest of the family makes their way across the crosswalk. This person is usually between the ages of 5 and 10 and they are cute as a button.

Now, tell me, what kind of parking lot motorist are you?

The Giver – For people who hold doors open for others, this is referred to as ‘The Doorstop’. These are the people who generously let one person go and while that person is walking another person approaches. The motorist then gives that new person the ‘you too’ wave. The Giver is often the most patient of motorists. He/She wants to be fair to all people who approach the crosswalk while it is still occupied. This could go on forever. But the Giver has all day.

The Creeper – This is a version of the Giver that, in most cases, does NOT have all day. After letting the flood gates open, The Creeper must then find an opening to inch into letting the first half of the crosswalkers continue but let the second half of the crosswalkers know that they have missed the generosity train. This can be awkward if you have to stop mid-crosswalk and end up with the denied crossers staring into your side window.

The Taker – Crosswalkers sometimes take their time approaching the crosswalk and The Taker notices this immediately and takes the right of way, never to look back.

The Shy Yet Courteous – This motorist wants to let people go and won’t take no for an answer. However, they are too shy to make eye contact let alone tell people what to do. So this motorist pretends they are preoccupied with their purse, radio, children in the backseat until the crosswalker takes advantage and crosses.

The Enforcer – The Enforcer not only wants you to cross, The Enforcer MAKES you cross. They stare you dead in the eye and wave you across to the point where you feel they could literally pick you up from one side and place you on the other with their mind.

As always, share your thoughts.
I know there’s more. YOU know there’s more.

Love,
Marthaaaaaaa

 

Ask Marthaaa: He’s A Keeper

Via my facebook page Robin asked me this question:

Marthaa- are you still giving advice??? I have a 4 year old who wrote the things he was thankful for… One being GIRLS? Already at age 4? Am I in trouble or what? 🙂 He also drew a picture. We won’t go into that on Facebook. HELP!

Dear Robin,

Of course I’m still giving advice! If you ask me a question, it’s like lighting a fuse. So let’s get started before I explode.

There are several things that we can credit with making our little boys adore little girls at the age of 4. I hope you took my temporary advice to avoid letting your 4 year old watch The Lifetime Movie Channel, Soap Operas and the feature film “The Little Rascals”.

Another great reason you shouldn’t let kids come across The Lifetime Movie Channel? They will think every future roomate will want to steal their life and therefore may never go to college or move out of your house.

I was surprised that you mentioned this to me:

His Grandpa Phil loves the Lifetime Channel; so could it be hereditary? True Story. (Phil really watches it all the time- which is really funny if you know Phil to think he watches Lifetime….) But that is a whole other family issue. 🙂

I absolutely feel that the cause of your troubles could be hereditary. However, in the tradition of Nature vs. Nurture, you and your husband must be prepared to take some responsibility. Don’t try to pawn it all off on the sappy, innocent Grandpa.

So, instead of just assuming I know what’s going on in the head of your sweet little Don Juan of a child. I’m going to give you a few options. Then you pick the one you think applies to you. Then you can try out some counter tactics and see if we can get Romeo back on track until the next round hits. Which, believe it or not, is just around the corner.

Scenario 1: You and your husband are too loveable in front of your impressionable son.

Try This: You and your husband stage a loving hug and kiss when you greet eachother each evening. After you leave the room, Daddy should go to the kitchen sink and wash his hands and face. He then says to your son, “Where does mommy keep the cootie syrup?” Then he should gargle with Listerine.

Scenario 2: If your son is in the stage where he is competing with your husband to become Alpha Male, he may be looking to sublty let your husband know that there’s a new Rooster in the Coop.

Try This: This is when your husband surrenders, tells your son he’s the man in charge, and then hands him the pooper scooper. He says to your son, “Part of being the man of the house is doing what the woman tells you to.” Reverse Psychology is an amazing tactic. Then see how many girls your son can’t wait to marry.

Scenario 3: I’m curious to know if talk of Santa came just before this letter. If your son has a sister, the number one rule to staying on Santa’s good side is being nice to your siblings. Just until Christmas is over. Have you considered that maybe your son is a Seasonal Santa Brown-Noser by declaring love for ALL little girls? There’s no doubt my 4 year old son is a SSBN. Every time he fights with his brother, then has to say sorry and give him a hug, he then asks in a desperate voice, “When is CHRISTMAS already?”

Try This: There’s no solution here. Take advantage of his pretend adoration for little girls for the next 20-something days.

Scenario 4: Your son thinks girls are the bees knees. His favorite girls remind him of mommy. He already knows who he wants to take to prom. He would get married today if you let him.

Try This: Give your son a dollar in the form of a hundred pennies. When he holds it in his hands and his eyes light up, take 99 of those pennies away and stick it in a jar labeled, “GIRLS”. Then tell him to be thankful for the 1 penny that he gets to keep. Be careful, this could be a traumatic experience for him. If he starts hiding his allowance you may have to confess that you were only using scare tactics.

Don’t worry, Robin, your son will fall in love with his new favorite girl(s) at the beginning of every school year. We are a powerful force. Soon enough, he will deny thinking any girl is pretty, maybe start a “no girls allowed” club, and ask for his own bottle of “cootie syrup” to keep by his toothbrush (blue gatorade works well for this). In the meantime, you can try these entertaining (and often ineffective) tips to try and avoid a Preschool Marriage Proposal.

And someday, when he’s all growed up and proposes to one very lucky young woman, you can finally run to your scrapbook and show her the things he was thankful for when he was 4. Illustrations and all…

Love,

Marthaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa