Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More Postcards from Kate #3

Just because Kate is at the beach, it doesn't make her fancy. As she demonstrates once again...

Email Subject: I'm being thematic...

There's something about this place and bodily functions. It's one of those rare times and places when teaching Lefty to read was a *bad* idea. We bought a book called Everyone Farts...except for me. Obviously.

Oh, and I bought this shirt...for you. You're welcome.

xoxo Kate

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

K & L's Favorite Songs of This Summer

Summer is winding down and we're feeling a little nostaligic.  You know we love music and that we're weird and random about it.  We thought we'd share some of the randomness we've been listening to with our kiddos this summer.

A little note: Feel free to click, all the links are to Youtube videos. Except for one song that is not a link.  It actually refused to let us link to it. We've tried every possible contortionist whacktacular method we know. We've decided that God is trying to spare us all that particular song. God is right.

Oh...not all the videos are OK for small eyes but all are safe for work.

Backyard Beach by Phinneas and Ferb [Lydia is not ashamed to say that she loves this song.  Or Squirrels in My Pants, which is also completely awesome and hilarious.]

Fireflies by Owl City [Thumbelina and her little cronies went ape schmidt for this one.]

Here Comes the Hotstepper by Ini Kamoze [Because we are lyrical gangsters. And our buddy Ellen reminded us how bad ass this song is.]

When the Day Met the Night by Panic at the Disco [Hawk and Thumbelina sing this one with their eyes closed.]
Great Day by the Fresh Beat Band [This is one of Happy's favorites and he thinks the rapping white kid is awesome. Happy is four. Kate has already proffered her thoughts on this particular "rapper."] [Hint hint: This is the one that won't embed...see? That's what we call Divine Intervention.]

Hey Soul Sister by Train [Lydia hates this song like its poison for her earholes.  But Thumbelina can't get enough of it.]

Shark in the Water by V V Brown [McGee and Thumbelina have a couple of epic dance offs to this song.]

The Saga Begins by Weird Al Yankovic [This is Hawk's favorite song in the history of the world.  It's about Star Wars.  And Lydia thinks Weird Al is a genius.  If you don't believe her, go watch the White & Nerdy video.  This video pioneered the genre nerdcore.  That's right... NERDCORE.]

Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant [Lydia has rocked out to this song with alarming consistancy since she was about 11.]

California Gurls by Katy Perry [Another Happy favorite.  His big sister McGee and her friends taught him some orginal choreography to the "daisy dukes/bikinis on top" part.  Just use your imagination.]

Looks Like We Made It by Barry Manilow* [No. This isn't a joke. Barry is Kate's all time favorite without any irony at all.  Whenever she's out in the yard, she and the IHPs look at the tomatoes and sing to them: "LOOKS LIKE TOMATOES!".  The tomatoes are all dead.  I guess they don't like Barry Manilow either.]
Dear Kate, We *hate* Barry Manilow. Can we make that any clearer? Please stop singing that song. xoxo, The Tomatoes

Nothing on You by BOB and Bruno Mars [Hawk attempts the rapping part and it's almost as funny as when Lydia does it.  Because is there anything more awesome than an overweight, suburban mom in a mini-van rapping?  Yes.  There are many things.  The first one that comes to mind is a monkey with cymbals.]

Footloose by Kenny Loggins [This song was one of the ones they played constantly at Kate's pool this summer.  So she and kids would do more choreography - the whole heel/toe dance move - in public.]

There are lots and lots more.  If we've missed an essential classic, please let us know.

xo,  Lydia

*In honor of Kate's selection of Mr. Manilow's masterpiece, the Cap'n suggested that we post another song by Senor Manilow as a perfect jingle to help old men get that tingle...  Just listen, and if you work for Viagra or Cialis or Levitra - we just got you a big promotion - you're welcome.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Overheard at the Beach

So, she had to go hundreds of miles from home to hone her Mad Sharpie/Newspaper Skills...fortunately for Kate, no one knew what she was doing. It. Was. Epic.

Kid: Mom! Did you know that pee tastes like salt?
Mom: What? How do you --?
Kid: So, I had to go...so I went. And then I jumped in the ocean and it was all salty. I didn't know pee was salty, but it IS!
Mom: You jumped in right where you peed?
Kid: Ummm, no.

Boy, to sister: Can I have the shovel?
Girl: Hold on. I'm using it.
Boy, yelling to father: DAD! Kelly won't share the shovel!
Dad: One more minute son, and then it's your turn.
Boy: NO FAIR! She's gonna use up all the sand.

Woman, to friend at surfside bar: This might not be our best idea.
Friend: What? Oh. You mean vodka at noon when it's 90 degrees outside?
Woman: Yeah. Maybe we should get something to hydrate ourselves.
Friend, to bartender: Can we see the wine list? [to woman] I'm thinking white...right?

Man: Hon, where are the waters?
Woman: In the cooler.
Man: Where's the cooler?
Woman: [points] There. Jeez.
Man: I can't get it open. How do you work this damn thing?
Woman: Jesus, Michael. I'm trying to have a f**king vacation here. Can you shut up already?

Girl: Mom, can you help me? I have sand everywhere.
Mom: We'll shower when we get home.
Girl: Mooooooommmmm. It's in my --you know.
Mom, stifling laughter: Go rinse off in the surf. And, kinda hold out your swimsuit so the water can rinse it out.
Girl: I already tried that. And then I fell. And now there's more in there. I'm all grindy.

Lefty: When we get home, I'm riding the elevator. By. My. Self.
McGee: That's fine. I'm going to go watch Twilight in the theater room.
Lefty: The elevator is way better than the theater. We need that at our house.
McGee: Our house is lame.
Lefty: I know. No elevator. No theater. And that little refrigerator that has just wine for mom.
McGee: We do have one of those at home. By the big windows.
Lefty: No we don't.
McGee: Uh-huh. It's just empty all the time.
Lefty: OH! Yeah.

[couple riding this singularly *awesome* family bicycle with two seats in front, two in back -- all with pedals -- and two little kids in the jump seat in front of the parents.]

Boy: Daddy! Go faster!
Dad: I'm trying son. [looks at wife] This is harder than I thought.
Mom: Turn around.
[Dad looks at the grandparents in the back, who are doing nothing]
Dad: Ummm, hey Dad? Could use a little help here...
Grandpa: I don't think we need to go any faster. Does that help?

[Editor's Note: Kate was literally speed walking along to keep up with this conversation. And wrote it on her arm because she didn't have a newspaper. You'd have thought they would have bicycled faster just to get away from her. But, no.]

Guy, to two women sitting at a bar: Do you all know a good place for us to go for more drinks? Maybe with music? [Leers a little bit, while staring at her chest]
Woman: Gay or straight?
Guy: Straight. [pauses, looks at his friend] Straight? [friend does the open hand WTF gesture] Yeah, definitely straight.
Woman: Spuma is fun.
Guy: Spuma?
Woman: Yeah, it means sea foam in Portuguese.
Guy: So, what, you have to be *Portuguese* to get in there or something?
Woman: Uhh, no. You just have to be *well read.* [under breath] Jackass.
Woman's friend, after the guys leave: You should have sent them to the wrong bar.
Woman:  I did.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Some Pig: Funniest F**king Thing I Heard All Day

Recently on vacation, the Cap'n and I took the family to the West Virgina State Fair.  It was wonderful.  Our day was comprised of beautiful weather, livestock, crafts, delicious fried food, thrilling rides, carnie folk, games of chance, and *sigh* a bunch of professional cowboys in town for the rodeo.

This summer, my children have both seen and read "Charlotte's Web".  They couldn't wait to go see the pigs at the Fair and wondered hopefully if there would be a little runt in the corner with a magical spiderweb in the corner of his pen proclaiming "humble" or some other miraculous display.

Miraculous display...

When my five year old son Hawk walked into the pig area, he was so excited.  Then all of a sudden he stopped and went rigid and started screaming: "MOM AND DAD AND THUMBELINA!  HOLY CRAP! EVERYONE! LOOK AT THAT PIG!  LOOK AT THAT PIG!"

And he brought the entire bustling barn, filled with people and critters, to a standstill.  This is what he was pointing at. 

When Hawk was sure we had all gotten a good look, he started giggling.  Then he said in his loudest outside voice: "Those balls are awesome."

Then everyone in the barn gawked at my charming family, all of whom were staring, horrified at a huge set of porcine onions.  And then my head caught on fire because I was so embarrassed.

The. End.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

SGW: A Homeschooling Rant

Today's rant comes from Kathy Kennedy, a homeschooling mother of six.  Her blog handle is MamaJulep (you may have read her comments here) and her blog is called "Trying to live Proverbs 31 with Just as many Excuses: One mom who's pointing her kids to Heaven... but most days can't seem to get them to flush the toilet". 

And just in case you think she must be an uptight, Jesus-freaky, righteous sniffing, Perfect Christian Mommy with a bump-it style bun and a denim jumper - hold onto your t-box.  She's a wine-sipping, former career girl and a total MILF with a great sense of humor.  Plus Kate and I like to associate with her because she's all good and sweet and Olivia Newton-John-ish and it makes us feel like Rizzo and Marty in pink satin jackets, smoking and chewing gum at the same time because we're so bad ass.

And she's about to do for homeschoolers what other guest writers have done for adoption, special needs and only children

Many people view homeschooling as they do mothers of sextuplets or something... a little freaked and weirded out, but 'can't take your eyes off the train wreck' kind of fascination. I guess that's why they feel free to ask you all sorts of questions, usually combined with snippy comments on their uneducated opinion of homeschooling. It's a good thing I'm old and stove up or I might not have the gumption to deal with their nonsense, but after having a six pack of kids, and especially after having my trio of babies nine years ago, I've witnessed nosiness to its extreme.

I have to pause here and say that I've never made a big thing over having triplets, as if it's the thing that defined me, I'm all about their individuality, always have been, but I do get that it's a little curious to most, and I never mind the benign comment here and there. But, when people find out I have triplets, often they become incredibly intrusive, frequently insensitive that my babes are all within earshot.

"Were they natural?"
"Yes, I believe he was on top that night."

This is my new snitchy comment since, after nearly ten years, I'm growing tired of being interviewed on the Little Debbies aisle in Target.

"Are they identical?"
"No honey, the girl has a vagina. Did you skip school during biology class?".

I think these comments are well deserved for nosy nuisances, and I'm just not as nice as I used to be, but mostly I'm geared up because my kids are standing right there. They have feelings and a brain. They are not science projects. And we aren't here to entertain you. I'd like to get home and drink some wine, mostly because I have to deal with people like you every time I need groceries.

But this is another post. We're talking about homeschool nosiness today. Sorry.

So here's my top three stupid questions I get asked about homeschooling.

Aren't you worried about socialization?
This is at the top because it always comes up when I'm being "interviewed" and I guess is the most fascinating because of its ridiculousness. So to answer.. No, I am not worried about socialization. Given the fact that all my kids are involved in activities to the ridiculous level that we leave the house daily for their activity schedule, not mine, to the point that I have to work to make sure school gets in to accommodate all their nonsense of auditions, concerts, rehearsals, academic clubs, SOCIAL clubs and regular outings with pals. Not to freakin mention that we live in a family of eight, so we get plenty of opportunities to learn about social skills...and there is a difference between social skills and socialization, and THAT is often what you are getting at, right?

My kids know well how to socialize because we are not animals and their parents have taught them since they were babes, what is appropriate and what is not. For example, they would never interview a stranger at Target and ask them the very personal questions you are asking me. And by the way, the "real world" is not a place where everyone the same age and level of learning are at the same job, shop at the same stores. We all work and live around a diverse culture of people with different ages and skills, so knowing how to "socialize" through homeschooling is actually more "real world" than your model. Oh, and I've seen the social model in schools, my kids were there for a few years, and yes, many of my pals send their kids to schools and are awesome parents and have awesome kids, but get real, the school setting is not exactly the example of excellence as far as socialization goes. This is where my kids learned some things I wish they hadn't, so don't try and sell me on school over this socialization nonsense because it ain't gonna happen.

This is where Kathy gets off her soap box.

What makes you qualified to teach your children?
This question takes many forms..."are you a teacher", "how are you gonna teach chemistry", "what if you don't know something", "aren't you worried you can't do everything". The other day-in Walmart- at 9:00 in the morning, a woman asked me why my kids weren't in school, so do you see why I'm this way? Can I just buy my milk and bread and go home please? So I told her that we homeschool and then turned my head back to my shopping. She continued, "oh, what curriculum do you use?" I said, "Are you a teacher?" and she said "no". So I'm thinking, "then what the hell are you asking me about curriculum for because you probably don't know a damn thing about curriculum, so I may as well talk to you about string theory- which you probably have never heard of either". So I ignored her after she admitted her ignorance and walked off. What she really was doing was testing me to see if I really do teach my kids or if I just spend my days with them in Walmart. Yea! I want to keep my kids out of school because I love dealing with their nonsense 24 hours a day, with no. freakin. break. ever.

And if you question whether I can teach my children, whom you can obviously tell are in elementary and middle school, then I suggest you really have doubts about what you grasped in your traditional school setting, because I am quite confident I can master those subjects just fine. As for high school, in case you ask that one, unless you can discuss calculus based physics I suggest you don't get into a conversation which you know nothing about. And by the way, they make these things, cutting edge stuff...they're called "Teacher's Manuals", and they can be quite helpful if the two of you hit a roadblock. Something you won't have when your child comes home from school asking for your help with science homework, and having no such manual can only spend the next 12 hours searching for help on the Internet and weeding through college papers just to find out the meaning of the probability of a blue eyed girl with brown eyed parents.

Please don't question my intelligence and expect anything but sarcasm.

You must be religious, Catholic, (ie: extreme religious nutcase) to want to homeschool.
This is another comment with hidden meaning because what you are really saying is "if you weren't a religious nutcase, you'd have your kids in school, so you must be a lunatic". Not all homeschoolers homeschool for spiritual reasons, in fact, it is just one part of our decision to homeschool- so we could teach our children their faith and know that they got it, so they'd be prepared spiritually as well as academically for life. We're weird that way, but we haven't joined a cult, don't wear denim skirts-unless their fashionable, and don't sit around the table polishing our guns every day-only on special occasions!

We happen to like this lifestyle of being with our crew. We tried school and it was too hectic and had too much nonsense for us. We think it's great for you, really. Just because you think what I do is weird doesn't mean I feel the same way about you, but recognize that I don't stop you in Target and ask why you send your kids to public school and aren't you worried about the socialization they get there and aren't you worried they won't get what they need academically, because I could SO ask you the same things. We are all called to various positions in life and mine is just a little different from yours. Please don't use the excuse that you could never make your kids do school because you struggle with getting them to put on clean clothes everyday, because I struggle with the same stuff too. Homeschooling is rather natural, I mean, I already am the boss at home anyway so I just carry it over into school work. That has never been any more of a struggle than regular family nonsense. And please don't assume that my kids are all geniuses or that I'm super intelligent because many days I find myself beating my head against the wall because this homeschooling lifestyle is not for sissies! Keep in mind that I sacrificed my lucrative career so I could stay home with my sweathogs and teach them myself. This means I also sacrificed having things, going anywhere, or saving any money, so I must be pretty passionate about this. I also have to pay for my own books, chemistry sets, and everything myself. There are no tax breaks for homeschoolers, but I do have to pay taxes to send your kids to school so if anyone should ask the questions, it should be me!

And my kids get to do awesome things, like attend things that are fun and not crowded because you all are at school while my kids are enjoying no lines at the fair or the pool at the Y or something like that. We have wonderful social things because we don't rely on the school for our clubs. My boys are in a club for boys and their dads to meet and learn about the virtues and awesomeness of becoming a man in this world. My 12 year old girl is in a group of other pre-teens, run by a recent homeschool grad, who talks to them about how to be a teen without giving in to all the nonsense of the culture these days like dressing like Miley Cyrus, and it's way better than just hearing it from me, because she is a COLLEGE girl and is loved by these girls. My little girls are in a similar group for them called Little Flowers, where they earn a petal of a flower when they learn a virtue like honesty or charity, and then make flower badges for their sashes.

So the next time you see me getting my oil changed at 10:00 in the morning when there's no lines and my six pack is with me, don't presume to know my situation or tell me how to live my life because I'm just trying to mind my own business, which you are making hard for me to do, and living the life I chose to live for my family. But if you really want to know what it's all about because you might want to live this awesome life too, then please come sit next to me so I can tell you how rewarding it is and how at peace I am in my decision to live this weird life as a homeschool family.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Postcards from Kate #2

Kate went on vacation with McLovin and the IHPs...so, no tattoo parlors this time. But, this snitch can find weird stuff no matter where she goes.

Email Subject: Well, I think the search is over...

It's not enough to just sell it. You have to *advertise* that you sell it. Of course, we went in the store. Obviously.

xoxo Kate

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We'll Be Enriching Ourselves Through...

You voted!  We promised!  So starting this Fall, Kate and Lydia will be...

Tapping their way to fame and fortune!  It is going to be so awesome.  The outfits!  The shoes!  The performances!  This is going to be public humiliation for Lydia on a whole new level.

We had many options for you to choose from and this is what you picked for us.  Although, I think one commenter had a really great idea for us and we might have to try it in the Spring.  She thought Kate should take Intro to Swashbuckling (Fencing and Historical Swordsmanship) and I should take Samurai 101 (Historical Japanese Swordsmanship) and at the end of the classes, we should have a Battle Royale.  Cap'n Coupon thinks we should call it "The Battle Royale With Cheese".  He also strongly encourages us to do it sober. 

Silly Cap'n!

But that's for the Spring.  This Fall, tap is on tap.  But... We might try and take Krav Maga, too.  For four extremely important reasons:

(1) Because the combination of dancing in special shiny shoes and lethal Isreali hand-to-hand combat techniques is a perfect fit for us.
(2) As spies and crime fighters, we think we may need both skill sets.
(3) Full contact tap dancing doesn't exist. Yet.
(4) We had an imaginary conversation with Dule Hill (our tap sensai) and he told us he strongly approved of this plan.

So we're off to register for classes and purchase our new tap shoes!  Stay tuned for what comes next!

xo, Kate & Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seriously? Whuck?: The Funniest F*cking Thing I Heard All Day

Our awesome friend Jessica just wrote us:

This is what was just delivered to my door, thanks to my son's godfather. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.


But one thing's for sure, he (said godfather) is a single gay man with no dependants and a six-figure salary. The next dental bill is on HIM.

The. End.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

MommyLand After Dark: Driving with Inappropriate Alertness

You all know we like to call people things like ass hat and douche.  But just a warning for the prudish sorts, this has to do with the Hello Kitty products we won't sell.  Consider yourselves warned.

I just read something that made me go: WHUCK?!

In Cincinnati, Ohio last week a woman was driving erratically (and her car had illegally tinted windows).  So a policeman pulled her over.  She wasn't drunk.  She was driving with an operative sex toy in her lap with her pants unzipped.  While her friend, riding shotgun, held up a laptop with an adult video playing so that she could watch it.  While she was driving.

She was charged with "Driving with Inappropriate Alertness". 

Don't believe me?  It's true.  I couldn't make that up if I tried.  Now I haven't slept in almost 8 years, so I said goodbye to mental alertness a long time ago.  And I everything I do and think and say and blog is inappropriate.  So I have to say that I think the best part of this story is what she was charged with: Inappropriate Alertness.

I have a couple of alternatives and suggestions for the Police if this should ever happen again:

  • "Driving while Overstimulated"
  • "Driving Under the Influence of D-Cell Batteries"
  • "Operating Machinery while umm... Operating Machinery"
  • "Inappropriate Multi-Tasking"
  • "First Degree Count of Hilarious Grossness"
  • "Failure to Observe the Speed Limit and All Known Social Boundaries"

And with that, I'm out.
xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Happy Birthday: The Funniest F**king Thing I Heard All Day:

So I take McGee to her BFFs house for a birthday sleepover and I'm chatting up the mom.  And the boys are running around like they've been cooped up for the last 23 hours and its recreation time and you know when they leave the dog is going to finally collapse because they were all over her for a half hour. And then they say things like "Mom, can we get a dog that's fun like this? Our dog is old and -- oh, I just stepped in poop. Let's go home" and immediately get into my just-cleaned-vacuumed-shampooed car and who am I kidding thinking I can keep my car poop-free for 8 minutes?

The point is, I look around the house and it's strangely quiet.

Me: Where's [older sister] Marsha?
Birthday Mom: Gone.
Me: Really? And, [older brother] Greg?
Birthday Mom: Nope. Not here either.
Me: Dad?
Birthday Mom: Nuh-uh. That's what Jan wanted for her birthday present. For all of us to leave. Well, I can't leave, but I'm supposed to pretend I'm not here.
Me: *gasps* She's a genius.
Birthday Mom: Yeah. I'm totally asking for that for my birthday next year.

The. End.
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

A DaddyLand Rant: Lemonade - The Last Stand

Today we have a Very Special Guest Writer, Eric Ruhalter from The Kid Dictionary.  The words about kids and parenting that he makes up are HILARIOUS.  The videos are AWESOME.  If you don't know about The KidDictionary, you'll thank us. 


The Lemonade Stand. It’s a childhood classic, Last weekend amidst the dog days of summer, my kids approached their mother and I, asking if they could set up a Lemonade stand. Sure, why not? So their mom got to mixing up a few pitchers of Newman’s Lemonade and baking some brownies, while they stood entirely too close to her and repeatedly asked her if they were ready yet.

Then they started working on fixing a price. Their first instinct was to charge exorbitant sums of money for their wares. Lemonade at 10 bucks per cup, 20 bucks for a brownie. That way they could sell 2 cups of lemonade and 1 brownie and have a pretty substantial net profit. Thusly allowing them to polish off the rest of the lemonade and brownies themselves with their pockets fat with cash. But we talked them through their faulty understanding of Supply and Demand and ultimately settled on 25 cents per glass of lemonade, 50 cents per brownie. Very reasonable. Especially since their overhead came, not out of their profits, but out of our grocery bill.

Next we set up shop at the end of the driveway. We made a table from a piece of plywood and two saw horses. The cash till was a dirty bucket from the sandbox. The brownies and pitcher of lemonade sat beside it, beckoning to customers. They made large illustrative signs to lure people in who might be driving, walking or bicycling by.

Like police checkpoints, they should be forced to post notice of their lemonade stand in the papers to warn people. Some might want to alter their route to avoid this lemonade stand. Lots of pressure. The second a car or pedestrian or bicyclist dared to set foot on our street, the harassment began – “LEMONAAAAAADE!!!!! AND BROWNIES!!!!! BUY SOME LEMONADE!!!! AND BROWNIES!!!!!!!” All up in everyone’s grill like a Krishna at the airport.

Their kill ratio was high. Most people like a good cup of lemonade and a brownie. And everyone else is probably willing to flip them a quarter in order to shut them up.

Crosby, my 8 year old set out to stroll the neighborhood’s adjacent streets to alert every resident about his lemonade stand. And they came out in droves to purchase their goods. When all was said and done they had more than 40 bucks in their till. Not a bad haul. Show me a grownup who can sell that many brownies with one hand in their nose and the other in their pants.

I think that large corporations should take note of this phenomenon – People will buy anything from a kid. The Girl Scouts organization is definitely hip to this, but perhaps some brokerage on Wall St. should follow the lead and see what happens if they set up a first-grader to make cold calls for mutual funds. They’d probably do it for a cup of lemonade and a brownie.


Eric Ruhalter is the creator of the hilarious gift book series “The KidDictionary: Words Parents Need To Describe Their Kids.” Check it out at http://www.thekiddictionary.com/.

Here’s a peek inside:

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Funniest F*cking Thing I Heard All Day: Really OLD Navy

The following funniest f*cking thing you've heard all day has been brought to you by Amy at Pregnant Chicken, who is more awesome than should be allowed.


I was shopping in Old Navy because I love it as much as butter and they were having a sale on kids clothes. I spotted a pirate t-shirt for $2 that would fit my son next year. I quickly snapped it up and added it to my clothing bounty. What a score! What a great day!
I got up to the cash and the perky young cashier came across the t-shirt and said "OOoooo, I love this t-shirt. It's soooo cute" I excitedly replied "I know! He just loves pirates too." Then she said "It's so sweet. Is it for your grandson?"

For an instant I was flattered that she thought I could be somebody's grandmother then it hit me: no,no, sweet mother tucker, that's bad! I quickly said "Er, no it's for my son". She just shrugged then handed me my change and I left.

I was walking though the mall in a fog. Holy crap somebody thinks I'm old enough to have grandchildren. This is like a pivotal moment in my life. I don't think I'll ever be the same.

I quickly called my husband to tell him about my horrible encounter and how my life is changed forever. Surely he'll be able to put this into perspective for me.

He laughed his ass off and said "Holy crap. The only thing that would have been worse is if she'd said "Have a nice day, sir."

The. End.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Lipstick Moments

I walked down the hall last week just in time to see my 11 year old daughter McGee pressing her lips together after putting on lipgloss. She was staring in the mirror and didn't see me, as everything but her reflection had just been tuned out. So, in that regard, she's completely like me. But in that two seconds, I saw my little girl do something she'll probably do almost every day of her grown up life.  And in the last two months, I've seen her change from being a little girl into something else entirely. 

So I've started watching them all a little more carefully. For those moments when something happens. And, for the first time, I turned my mad sharpie and newspaper skills to use on myself -- well, OK, and sorta my kids, too -- to see what happens in those moments. 
  • We got in the car and all three of them slammed their doors in quick succession. SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! And then looked at each other like they had made magic happen.
  • Happy, answering the phone, smiling and then saying "Hi Daddy!"
  • Lefty's face right after he jumped off the diving board, and right before he hit the water.
  • McGee teaching her brothers the Cotton Eyed Joe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oktoberfest: Funniest F*cking Thing I Heard All Day

My husband, the now infamous Cap'n Coupon, was forced to fend for himself for dinner last week.  The kids and I arrived home from our swim meet and were greeted with the olfactory equivalent of a slap in the face.  No.  Make that a square up in steel toed boots right in the old taco.

And I am a woman who is forced to ask: "WHAT IS THAT SMELL?" at least fifteen times per day.  But this was bad.  This was the aroma of sauerkraut and German sausage and German beer.  The Cap'n was enjoying an hour of being home alone with a Man Meal and a ball game.  And he'd smoked a cigar on his way home in anticipation.  The pan that had been used to cook this hideous concoction was now sitting on the stove - unwashed - perfuming my entire house. 

With no little trepidation, I took a look at the pan.  A few tendrils of  cabbage remained and the residual heat had crisped them dark brown.  The idea of crispy, slightly blackened sauerkraut is much less disgusting than its actual smell.  You should know that. 

But one thing smells worse.

Your shared boudoir the next morning, when you feel certain you've woken up face-down on the sticky floor of the Hofbrau Haus in Munich on November 1st.  We've come to expect the inanity of Christmas in July.  I was not expecting Oktoberfest in August. 
The. End.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Aunt Mary and the Righteous Sniff

Recently, my Aunt Mary came to visit.  Now, my Aunt Mary is ten kinds of awesome and you know that.  She was very fun to hang out with and extremely helpful around the house.  And also understanding, because my house is not clean.  I don't even shoot for clean anymore.  I shoot for not embarrassing.  

And since even that fails most of the time, I just try and make sure my friends have really low expectations where my house is concerned.  That was working out pretty well for me, until Aunt Mary came to visit.  Now I have been shamed into trying harder.  Here's what happened.

Right after she arrived, we were sitting around the table eating lunch and giggling and she started telling me about what it was like when her mom would come over to her house.  No matter how clean Aunt Mary's house was, it was never clean enough.  She would spend hours tidying and mopping and scrubbing and getting my cousins to scurry around helping her.  And it was always still a little too dirty.  Her mom would walk in the front door, look around, give a righteous sniff of disapproval and shake her head slowly as if to say "Well, I can see you didn't bother to clean on my account..."

I know the feeling. Except I barely even try anymore. It must be very disheartening to make the effort and still fall short.  Part of the reason I don't try very often (other than the TOTAL, SOUL-SUCKING FUTILITY) is because I usually get my B on when I'm in a cleaning frenzy.  Everyone in my house, while happy to have clean bathrooms, is not so happy to deal with the Mean Mommy Voice that comes with sparkling toilets.  And even on the rare occasions when my house is "clean", it's never grandma clean.

You see, in Aunt Mary's world there are two kinds of clean: regular clean and grandma clean.

"Regular clean" is the kind of cleaning my sorry house receives maybe twice a year, usually right before we have visitors.  Or host Thanksgiving.  Or my husband's boss comes to dinner.  But that's how clean her house is every day.

"Grandma clean" represents a completely whackadoodle, OCD level of hygenic perfection that no sane person can possibly achieve.  No offense to Aunt Mary's mother.  One of the examples I was given included scrubbing the inside of the hood over her stove once a week so that it always remained white glove spotless.  I was like: "Whuck?  You're supposed to clean that?  I had no idea..."

Aunt Mary didn't look surprised when I said that. 

But Aunt Mary is not judgmental.  She's the sort of person who falls asleep on park benches and she's fine with that.  She's also a very useful and helpful kind of lady.  She asked me if I would get offended if she cleaned some things while visiting my house and I was like: "HELL NO. Go on with your bad self." 

So now the glass in my light fixtures is polished.  Again, I don't think that was ever on my radar.  I mean, I'm just trying to keep the carpet from being crunchy.  Polishing things is not on my list.  And my kitchen floor is mopped and the the floorboards have been scrubbed.  Also, I caught her teaching Thumbelina to wipe down walls with hot water and clean rags. 

Wow.  I know.  I have clean rags?

Actually, she bought them for me at Target but that's beside the point.  Aunt Mary never made me feel bad about it because she kept telling me that when she visited people with small kids, she didn't want to make them feel like they had to bend over backwards to make the house perfect.  It was more fun just to hang out and play.  And if she got bored, maybe she'd clean something.  And I believed her and I was so relieved because I tried to clean up for her, honestly I did.  But it was just such a cluster of Cheerios clinging to everything and trash not being taken out and random pairs of Spiderman underpants of questionable vintage sticking out from under the couch that it wasn't possible.  It was gross.

God bless her.  She didn't seem to care.  She just knitted mittens and colored with the kids and cracked jokes and occasionally cleaned something.

On the last day she was here, we were out running errands and stopped for gas.  She looked up and saw a sign and said, "I bet your van wishes that sign was in front of you all the time!"  Here's the sign:

I was shocked and said: "Aunt Mary, are you saying my car wants to be clean?  Did you just give my van the righteous sniff.  OH. MY. GAWD. You totally just righteous sniffed me."

She looked a little sorry and was like: "Well, the house I understand...  But this?  This is pretty bad."

And then she and all three of my kids laughed their heads off at me while making sniffing sounds.  And I made the made the mistake of telling Kate about it later and she was like: "You sort of deserve the righteous sniff.  The Big White Tampon is vile.  The last time I was in there I accidentally sat on an old grape juice box and I'm pretty sure wine came out."


That's true.  And the old Ford Tampon smells a lot worse in heat of the summer.  Wait, that was gross wasn't it?  I don't even care.  I've officially hit rock bottom.  I'm starting a 12 step program for filthy van owners called "Victims of the Righteous Sniff".

"Hi. My name is Lydia and my van is disgusting and I have to go clean it now". 

All together now...

"Hi Lydia."

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Postcards from Kate #1

Lydia just got back from Amish land and the FarmFarmFarmittyFarm [Yes, we agree, it's totally the same place...] and now Kate is off again with McLovin and the IHPs on vacation. Which, she keeps pointing out, is NOT a vacation, it's work just someplace else.
Email Subject: Best. Bar. Ever.

Or it would be, if it was open. Which it isn't. Obviously.

 xoxo Kate

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

The People v. IHPs

I'm done punishing them. They're evil all the time and they do things to deliberately be mean to each other. And what do I get for my involvement, my intervention, my concern and my - ultimately - form of punishment? Scorn, resentment and, most shockingly, a group-therapy session between my kids that now I'm the enemy.

Lefty would do something evil to his big sister McGee, make her cry or whatever. I'd punish him and then she'd go to him when he was crying in his room from my total freak out fest about not hitting or something and be like, "I know. Mommy is soooooooo mean sometimes, isn't she?" WHUCK?! How did I become the bad guy here?

So, I retired. And told them so. And made it clear that, from now on, they. will. be. punishing. each. other. And, they are way more creative than I could ever dream to be.

"In the Indoor Homeless People justice system, the mothers are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the children, who commit the crime, and their siblings, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories." [DUN-DUN]

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kate & Lydia's Enrichment Program: The Election

So, as you've probably already read, we have the. best. county. programs. in the history of ever. It's completely possible that we could start our day by learning how to Make Our Own Erik Northman Jewelry, followed by Israeli Martial Arts, Tap Dancing, Communicating with Your Captors, and then ending with Underwater SharkAssKicking. Though there's a good chance Kate would f**k up the whole thing and wind up punching the dance instructor in the throat while yelling "Ver Tema!"* and putting a pendant on a hammerhead. Because she's special...

Don't you think you should have the chance to pick? Umm, hello. Even YESSER! Vote early and often, girls, because the TOP TWO, we'll do. [Editor's Note: I hate when you rhyme, you stupid hooker. -Lydia]

Besides, we're stupid and combative and snitchy cheaters, so Lydia keeps trying to convince Kate that Viking Jewelry Making it totally winning, and Kate is adamant about hanging out with people who need four hours of case study before picking out eye wear. Plus, she wants to make Lydia look like Dame Edna.

So Ladies...What's it going to be?

*Oh, it means "awesome" in Farsi. Which is Totally. Ver. Tema.

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Kate and Lydia's Enrichment and Fitness Program

Kate and I were discussing how much of our time and money go towards enrichment activities for our kids.  Karate, swimming, tennis, baseball, scouts, choir...  Our kids are more enriched than Wonder Bread.  But what about us?  What about mommy?  Why don't we get any enrichment?  I want to take piano and tennis.  I want to swim all winter in an Olympic-sized pool.  But of course not!  Why would we spend and time and money on ourselves?  To become healthier, smarter, more well-rounded people?  That's crazy talk.

Well we just happen to love crazy talk.

We have decided to take advantage of the plethora of enrichment opportunities our community provides that are intended for adults.  At first I was confused.  Who takes these classes?  Adults with free time and extra cash?  Do such people exist?  Are they all retired?  Incarcerated?  When someone says: "I took some classes from the County and they really taught me a lot" - doesn't it sort of sound like they were court-ordered?

We're going to take some classes and they will not be court ordered!  Not this time!  And we need your help to pick what we're going to take.  Because it's us - Kate and Lydia - so we will not be taking Zumba or Jazzercise.  We're going to take something AWESOME.  Rest assured - all these classes are real and we will do whatever we can to enroll in the one you decide to send us to.

Beginner Tap Dancing
Because we would have to buy tap shoes.  I have been waiting my whole damn life to get a pair of tap shoes.  And you know what?  We would insist on a recital at the end of the class and we would wear matching special hats and bedazzled vests and sticky-outy skirts and it would be more amazing than anything anyone has ever seen in a long, long time.  Plus, Gus does it on Psych so you know its bad ass.

Fencing and Historical Swordsmanship
I'm pretty sure that "Historical Swordsmanship" would include some swashbuckling.  I feel that Kate has a pronounced aptitude for swashbuckling because she can be very ruthless.  In her pursuit of high end footwear and the world-wide destruction of clogs.  Imagine if there was a part of class on Highlanders, I would totally ace that test.  There can be only one.

Beginner Skateboarding
We would need to buy some of those black and white checkerboard Vans.  And some "cool" t-shirts.  And maybe one of those hats that Ashton Kutcher used to wear...  And I'm pretty sure it would be us and a bunch of 11 year old boys.  But whatever.  It would be rad.

Conversational Farsi for Beginners
The Cap'n says we will need this so we can communicate with our captors after we get lost hiking.

Krav Maga
Do you know what Krav Maga is?  It's a martial art/hand-to-hand combat/bad ass personal defense thingy that the Israeli military does.  And it's supposed to be "known for its extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks, as it is also taught to elite special forces around the world".  HOLY CRAP, Y'ALL.  I'm pretty sure this is what I've been looking for since late 1997: my opportunity to finally become a Vampire Slayer. 

Viking Wire Knitting
This class is 5 hours long and teaches you how to make jewelry.  Lydia would like to take it on the off chance that Eric Northman is actually real and not a fictional character so that if she ever runs into him they can have something nice to chat about.

Restaurant Menu Design
We love food and eating out and we are really bad at spelling.  I think we could come up with something pretty special for our final project. And because we totally want to make Stick-on-Chicken with Cunny Sauce and Bell Peepers.

Aqua Kick Boxing
In case we need to defeat the mer-people. Or sharks.  Or the manta ray that killed Steve Irwin because it is still out there. Waiting and swimming. [Too soon? Maybe? Oh.]

Make People Like You Within 90 Seconds!
This class has an exclamation point in its title so you know it's special.  But I would probably meet the instructor and not be able to help myself and the first thing I would say would be "Hi, I'm Lydia. Your class has an exclamation point in the title.  Did you ever wonder about that?" And then the instructor would hate me in the first 90 seconds and I would fail the class. 

Experience the Magic of Phyllo
This class title didn't have an exclamation point but it totally should have.::MAGIC!::. Kate is doing jazz hands and spirit fingers as she says that.  It feels like we might be whisked away to the kitchens at Hogwarts or something.  That would be so great.  I initially would have preferred a different cooking class. One called Vegetarian Lebanese Cuisine but Kate claims she likes meat and prefers men and I was all - Isn't that the same thing?

Classical Japanese Swordsmanship
We could be The Last Samurai.  And in doing so, it would be like saying "Suck it, Tom Cruise." We could wear kimonos and kabuki make-up and pretend when we talk that we're in a badly-dubbed Kurasawa movie and we could this all the time - not just to class. And then we can go to Starbucks and everyone will hate us in 90 seconds.

Choosing Flattering Eyglasses
Setting aside the fact that I don't wear eyeglasses, this class is very intriguing for me.  Because the class is two sessions and four hours long.  The class description says that part of picking the right glasses is to make sure they fit.  And harmonize with your coloring.  And the shape of your face.  This discussion takes four hours?   Kate should teach this glass because she could do it in three minutes: "Hi, I'm Kate, your instructor.  They are the wrong glasses if they make you look ugly and keep falling off.  The End."  I want to go to this class just to meet the other people who signed up for it.  Except that I would be all: "I'm Lydia.  Are you here for the irony?  No? Oh... Sorry." and they would hate me within the 90 seconds.  

Want to send us to a particular class? VOTE HERE!

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Postcards from Lydia #4

Lydia. Is. Still. Not. Back. I mean, how many days can one person spend away from their home? Doesn't the Cap'n have a job or something? She needs to get back...in the meantime, she keeps bringing the awesome.

Email Subject: I *love* the Amish

There's "be careful out there among the English" kind of warning...and then there's this -- way WAY scarier.

you'll never believe what's inside the peekhole! xoxo Lydia

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