Thursday, October 31, 2013

Your trick. My treat.

Never get between a woman and her chocolate.


Or you’ll soon discover just how scary a female can be...whether it’s Halloween or not.


“Where’s the chocolate?” I asked my husband one afternoon as I desperately searched through the kitchen pantry.

“Why?” he replied with no great concern.

As if the reason is in any way relevant to my query. 

It’s like asking why the sky is blue or why Congress is stupid.

Some things just are.

I shrugged and said, “I always eat chocolate when I write something really important.”

He looked stunned, “What? How did I not know that?”

In his defense, how often do I write anything important?

But I digress.

So I continued, “I’m a complicated person, one who needs chocolate for truly great inspiration.” I paused then snarked, “Now where is my chocolate, dammit?!”

And before my head started performing 360’s ala Linda Blair in “The Exorcist,” a bag of Halloween candy was flying through the air at my head.

Smart man.

That’s more like it. 105 pieces of chocolate goodness.

Your trick.

My treat.


Then the howling started.


My husband’s screamed curse must have been heard halfway around the world.

Or at least within a three-block radius.

I went flying down the stairs, clutching the Louisville Slugger bat in one hand and a kickass attitude to swing at anything larger than a chipmunk in the other, and skidded at the bottom of the landing where my husband stood by the front door looking as if he had stared death in the face.

Or had just seen our most recent electric bill.

“WHAT’S THE MATTER?!” I screamed. I spun in a circle, daring danger to show its ugly face. A quick perusal of the area showed...absolutely nothing.

My shoulders slumped and the bat fell to the floor with a loud thud. 

“Was it a spider? I know you hate spiders. I’ll go get the cat. She’ll take care of it,” I said to my husband, who was standing there looking more than a little embarrassed.

He shivered and answered, “No, it wasn’t a spider. It was that!” He pointed toward the front door where a large, bulky shape appeared through the glass.

“That” was the Grim Reaper decoration I had hung up earlier in the day. In my husband’s defense, it did seem that a person was standing right outside the door, peering inside in a ghastly I WANT TO KILL YOU kinda way. If you caught it just right, out of the corner of your eye as my husband had, it was more than a little freaky.

I smiled, patted him on the shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, honey. Death doesn’t ring the doorbell.” 

But before I let him get too comfy, I added with an evil little smile, “He comes while you’re in the shower. Naked. Just like the spiders.”

Then I ran like hell.


Is there anything cuter than an 8-year-old singing in the shower?

No, not really.

Unless you are pranking an 8-year-old singing in the shower....

While our son was scrubbing all his spots clean, my husband decided to have a little fun. 

Our master bath is next door to our son’s bathroom, which means they share plumbing.

A vital clue to the upcoming performance about to begin.

My husband walked into the master bath, stopped at the sink and turned on the hot water tap.
About three seconds later we heard our son howl, “COLD! COLD! COLD! COLD!” He had no clue what was causing the change in temperature. 

A mother should feel some remorse for her poor child’s misfortune, but Holy Mother of God, it was hilarious. “Do it again!” I pointed at my husband then at the tap.

So he did. 

‘Cuz he’s just as mean as I am.

“COLD! COLD! COLD! COLD!” blared from our son’s open bathroom door.

Oh. My. God. This stuff was better than cable. We were both laughing so hard that there was a good chance we’d accidentally induce a coronary (him) or pee our pants (me).

And one would think our little trick would get old after, say, 10 times.

But, no.

It was a treat that delivered every. single. time.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's OK. I have a spare.

This is the end.

Right here. How it all plays out.

I didn’t picture it this way. I envisioned something more along the lines of a graceful exit, quietly surrounded by loved ones when I was, oh, say, around 101.

Peacefully IN my bed...rather than UNDER it.


“There’s a good chance I didn’t think this through properly,” I muttered to myself, half squashed beneath my bed’s large, memory foam mattress.

“Uh, a ‘good chance’?” my conscience yelled back at me like an angry biker chick who just discovered her Chinese tattoo really meant “Fluffy Butternuts” instead of “One Tough Momma.”

Like all great trials, I started out with good intentions: painting the trim in the master bedroom.

And like all great wives, I was gonna do it without informing my husband.

In my defense, I knew how that conversation was gonna go....

Me: “I’m going to paint the trim in our bedroom.”

Husband: “I am putting crown molding up. I’m just gonna rip out what’s in there now, so don’t waste your time.”

Me: “With all due respect, my dear husband, you’ve been saying that for five years. There is a good chance, by the time it really happens, pigs will have discovered a way to fly.”

Husband: “Speaking of flying animals....” and flips me the bird.

So, excuuuuuuse me if this was a conversation I wished to avoid.

As soon as his car pulled out of the driveway for a weekend trip out of town, I grabbed the paintbrush and headed upstairs.


Like many couples, we purchased new bedroom furniture when we got married.

I’m not sure when this tradition started. Perhaps with the lovely Neanderthals who felt the cave needed a little sprucing up, an upgrade from the musty, stuffed mammoth wedged in the corner.

In any case, people get married. People buy new furniture. It’s universal. Who are we to argue with the universe?

But what did we get? Furniture so large that a friggin’ mammoth could have slept on it without sending it crashing through the floor.

Not that I minded, mind you. Normally the large furniture doesn’t cause any trouble.

That is, until I attempted to move it by myself. Because I couldn’t very well have asked my husband to help me do it before he left ‘cuz I was in stealth mode and this was a top-secret undercover make-over mission.

But when I looked down at the bed, hands fisted on my hips, and thought, “I’d have better luck moving a mammoth,” I knew I was in trouble.

I leaned down, grabbed one corner of the bed frame, took a deep breath then...did absolutely nothing.

‘Cuz let’s be honest.

I haven’t lifted anything heavier than a Snickers bar in six months and there was no way in hell my puny, flabby grandma arms were gonna lift a large bed frame with a name-brand, memory foam mattress and platform system weighing a gazillion pounds.

So....I took a brief moment to throw up ‘cuz the only heaving I accomplished was in my stomach. 

And once feeling returned to my beleaguered arms, I decided to take a different route and remove the mattress first.

Smart, right?

Well, smart would have been thinking to do that BEFORE I threw up, but let’s not digress.

New plan: I’ll just heave the mattress onto its side and lean it up against the dresser.

I gave it a giant heave...and blew out a kidney.

But it’s OK. I have a spare.

Uh, note to self: One might move a large memory foam mattress an inch or two.

But one does NOT heave a large memory foam mattress anywhere.

But after taking into account leverage and fulcrum points (how’s that for fancy physics talk, my friends?)...I managed to get the mattress lifted half off the bed.

But then I was distracted by the half-eaten Snickers bar I had apparently shoved under the bed once upon a time and completely forgotten about.

Without thinking about the consequences, I reached down for the candy bar and....


So this is where you find me, half trapped beneath my mattress, patiently waiting for my husband to return home.

There is a really good chance he’s gonna be really mad. But all is not lost. 

At least I’ve got a snack while I wait.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Off the hook

“Better you than me.”

When a wife poses the question of possible electrocution, that sentence is really not something a gal wants to hear from her loving husband.

But, hey, the joke’s on him.

The life insurance on me is barely enough to buy him beer for the week.

...Good luck with that, babe.


Like most DIY projects, it seemed like a simple one at first - to install a decorative bracket to hold back the long curtains hanging by the door to the deck.

I’d like to boast I was attempting to channel my inner designer diva, to bring a little class to the Baldwin Casa.

But, nooooo. When the door was open, the darn curtains kept billowing out in the breeze and blocking the television from view.

A girl has gotta be able to watch “Castle” without such distractions. Am I right?!

So I marched right out to the garage and began pulling out drawers to the utility cabinet, looking for an extra curtain hook.

And if YOUR utility cabinet is anything like OUR utility cabinet, then you can probably guess how easy it is to find something in there.

I’d have better luck locating a Starbucks on the moon (which quite possibly could happen by the time this is published).

But I knew that curtain hook was in there. My organizational skills might suck, but my memory is stellar. And I remembered seeing an extra curtain hook in that cabinet about six months ago.

Yup. I’m that good. I’m like Rain Man...with blonde hair and a slight Diet Coke addiction.

“Whatcha doing?” my husband asked, peeking over my shoulder into the abyss of the open drawer in front of me. 

It held an open pack of pipe cleaners, a dented can of automotive touch-up paint, a tube of glue that was hard enough to break a foot if I were fool enough to drop it and what could possibly be a crystal from the planet of Mygeeta in “Star Wars.”

Or it could be a rock my 8-year-old son stuck in there for safe keeping.

A girl could dream.

“Uh, I’m looking for a curtain hook,” I informed  my husband, Mr. Nosy Pants. I crouched down and reached into the very back of the drawer and - hot darn! - found just what I was looking for.

I grabbed the decorative hook, pulled my hand out and waved my bounty in front of his face. “I’m gonna put this up.”

He immediately said, “You’ll need the drill. And the little box with the drill bits. And a hammer. And a screwdriver. Are you using wall anchors? And what about ---,” the rest of his response was bitten off when I slapped my hand over his Mr. Know-It-All mouth.

“Got it covered,” I said, gesturing toward the pile of stuff I’d already accumulated. 


You cause one little cave-in inside the master closet when installing a hanging shoe caddy and your name is forever mud in the world of home improvement.


And that’s when I discovered a potential problem - a light switch thisclose to where I hoped to install the curtain hook.

And if I remember correctly, light switches run on electricity.

Which is carried through wires.

Which are run through walls.

(Pointing at my head) - Not just a hat rack, my friends.

So I said, “Hmmmm,” which is DIY-er speak for “We could have a very expensive and/or life-endangering problem here.”

That’s when I realized my husband had followed me into the living room. I turned to him and asked innocently, “What are the chances I could hit a live wire when drilling the holes for the hook and electrocuting myself, leaving you to raise our child alone, forever despondent over my untimely death?”

And his response?

You guessed it - “Better you than me.”

Stand back, ladies. He’s all mine.


OK. In his defense, he laughed when he said it, which softened the blow.

Then he removed the switch plate and rummaged through the tool box and found the little thingamajig that detects current in the wall, carefully mapping out where the wires met the electrical box so I could safely navigate the drill around them.

Then he suggested turning off the electricity (I wasn’t allowed to live dangerously).

All in all, it was a great team effort that allowed me to install a curtain hook in Baldwin Casa.

...Just don’t ask me about the shoe caddy.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's just a Creeper

There is always an exception to every rule.

Well, at least most rules.

Like playing ball in the house.

Sure, it’s a big no-no when it involves a rowdy group of excitable 8-year-old boys.

But when there’s no one else to play with (the curse of a single child) and said child is all “I don’t have anyone to play with and I’m so aloooooone”’s up to Mom to step up and take one for the team.

But, dammit. It was like 136 degrees outside. And a cool and comfortable 72 degrees INSIDE.

....Math is the universal truth. And math said it was OK to bounce the ball in the house.

So who am I to go against the universe?

Just saying.


All was fine and dandy ‘til the dog decided to get in on the action.

For the record, when you add a 90-pound golden retriever to the mix, one that likes to chase balls and there are a lot of breakable items in the immediate vicinity, that’s when math goes horribly, horribly wrong.

“No, Bear!” my son yelled at our dog that chased after the bouncing ball and interrupted our play for the 20th time that afternoon.

Poor thing thought it was a tennis ball. Imagine her shock when she finally snagged it and - to her horror - discovered it was a rubber ball for racquetball.

She promptly spit it out. Doggy drool dripped down the sides and seeped onto the floor.

My son chuckled, “She doesn’t like the taste of rubber balls?”

I snorted, “Please. She eats dog crap. It’s not like she has a discerning palette.”

Then she shocked us all by snagging the ball once again, drool and all, and running down the hallway. Never to be seen again.

“What can I say?” I shrugged at her escape. “She’s a complicated soul.”


So the dog stole the ball, which meant we had to move our fun to video games. And, for the record, this mom stinks at all video games created after 1982.

Sure. I ROCKED Pac Man back in the day. But it’s been downhill ever since.

And the controllers have gotten just as complicated as the games. Seriously, there aren’t enough hands in the world to maneuver all the buttons and joysticks and slots and lights.

“Uh, mom, what are you doing?” my son asked, standing over me where I had crashed onto the couch and begun taking off my shoes and socks.

“Freeing up my feet,” I answered, gesturing toward the NASA-inspired game controller. “‘Cuz I have a feeling two hands aren’t gonna get it done.”


“What’s that noise?” I asked in trepidation about 20 minutes later.

My son just shrugged, “Don’t worry,” he assured me. “It’s nothing important.”

I looked at him in fear. “Uh, we just walked up to the entrance of a dark and scary cave and I definitely heard some kind of moaning grrrr noise inside. Believe me, I’m worried.”

He rolled his eyes and insisted I was overreacting.

Oh, I don’t think so.

“Listen here, Mister,” I said. “My dad was a U.S. Marine, so I understand and respect the importance of reconnaissance.”

And before my son could ask what in the heck “reconnaissance” meant, I added, “So believe you me, I’m gonna find out what’s in a dark and scary cave before I stick my neck in some dark and scary cave and get eaten by some dark and scary bear.”

His eyes got THIS BIG then he said, “Geesh, relax, Mom. It’s just a Creeper.”

Oh. That sounded waaaay worse than a bear.

Where’s Pac Man when you need him?