Sagging Stupendous!

Daily Prompt: Game of Groans

Think about an object, an activity, or a cultural phenomenon you really don’t like. Now write a post (tongue in cheek or not — your call!) about why it’s the best thing ever.

I personally think every male on the planet should start “sagging”.

What is sagging, you ask?

Why its only the greatest cultural phenomenon ever!

According to Wikipedia, sagging is defined as: a manner of wearing trousers or jeans which sag so that the top is significantly below the waist, sometimes revealing much of the underwear. Sagging is predominantly a male fashion.

I, however, believe sagging is best defined here:

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You see, they just can’t help it. Their elongated torsos make it difficult to wear their pants in some normal, boring, mainstream manner.

Ooo la la…Am I right ladies? Nothing hotter than a scrawny butt sticking out from over the top of some seriously huge jeans. Add a belt around the knees, and the ensemble goes from daytime casual to evening wear in and instant. It’s a great look for frequent trips to the ATM, pawn shops, liquor stores, job interviews, first dates…

When I see this look I instantly think, “Wow. That young man right there has it all together. He has a bright future ahead of him for sure.”

Just think of all the perks that this phenomenon brings with it, too, girls. I mean, you know exactly what you’re getting because you can see it all gloriously displayed over the top of their sagging South Poles.

Oh! And If you ever decide you just need a little break from your doting sagger, a brisk walk in the opposite direction will provide sufficient alone time. Pretty hard to give chase with your pants around your ankles.

Also, imagine all of that extra storage space they have for wallets, afro picks, guns, knives, your jewelry, a refreshing 40 oz. malt beverage…there’s just so much room in those over-sized jeans! Saggers are like the SUV’s of the fashion world! And if you’re ever tired of walking, ladies, you can just hop right into those size 80 jeans and hitch a ride because there’s plenty of room.

And a note to saggers everywhere: Please, by all means, continue to approach my gorgeous daughters with your pants around your ankles, sideways hat, and an ample handful of that which you are over-compensating for with your oozing charm.

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It makes me all warm and fuzzy right down to my toes when you dashing gentlemen shout things at them from across a parking lot like, “Ooo gurlll…let me holla at you fo’ a minute” and then, to make absolute certain you have their full attention, follow it up with “What? Where you goin’ gurrlll. I just wanna axe’k you sumfin.”

That right there has ‘future son in law’ written all over it.

I’m sure my husband would agree, too.

Now waddle on over and give us a hug.

Welcome to the family, son.

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Collaborating With My Kid

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On a recent trip to Michigan to visit my parents that included my husband, daughter, son, and one of my step-daughters, we found ourselves attending my cousin’s college graduation party. It was just a simple outdoor gathering with a barbecue style buffet spread.

While there, there was an item made available to the gathered guests and children that caught my ever-artistic daughter’s eye:

Sidewalk chalk.

She proceeded to grab the bucket of chalk and set to work doodling on the cement driveway.

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This eventually led to her working on a detailed picture of one of her favorite things to draw:

Her “Mushies”.

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Being the huge Alice in Wonderland fanatic that she is, she loves mushrooms, and she loves to draw colorful and creative pictures of whatever toadstools her imagination can work up; among other things, of course. She has a very vivid imagination.

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So there she was down on her knees, diligently working on her chalky cement creation while other party-goers were slowly packing up and heading out one by one. The party was coming to an end, and my husband and parents were trying to hurry my daughter along so that we could leave soon ourselves.

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My child, however, takes after her mother in that she’s not only an artist, but a perfectionist as well, and walking away from an unfinished work of art just isn’t an option for her. I understand this incessant need to finish a masterpiece while others may not.

In a crunch for time, however, I bent down and asked, “Would you like me to help?”

She responded with a relieved “yes,” and we proceeded to finish the creation together that she had started herself.

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Now, in the artistic world, one does not simply allow other people to dip their hands into one’s creative cookie jar. This is especially true with me and my daughter, considering how seriously we take each project that we set our minds to. There has to be complete trust in another person’s artistic abilities to even consider allowing them to touch your own masterpiece.

My daughter and I share a bond that goes deeper than just mother and child, though. We share an artistic bond, in that we have almost the exact same sense of artistic style, imagination, and ability. We have complete trust in one another artistically, and often times, we’ll find ourselves working together or running ideas by each other on any given project.

We collaborate well, and we complement each other quite nicely. It means a lot to me that I’m the only one on this earth that she trusts enough to touch her work. This goes both ways.

We recently worked together on a project to rework a beat up old gun rack that had been kicking around the thrift store for almost a year into a sword rack for my step-son. My husband screwed a wooden plaque on the front for us, and I painted the whole thing black. I had intended to paint some sort of Asian dragon design on it, but I asked my daughter if she would be willing to do it instead, because I knew it would turn out just as well if she did it.

And it did.

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I look forward to collaborating on many more future projects with my kiddo. As a matter of fact, we’re wracking our brains even now trying to come up with something amazing that we can work on together. I have a few ideas. You’ll have to stick around if you want to see what we come up with.

I told her yesterday that I was throwing her out of my art class. Not because I don’t love her, of course, but because she’s just way too advanced. Then I decided to let her stay, but only as my assistant. I think that would be a much better arrangement, don’t you?

Oxymorons and Such

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I have admittedly been suffering from writers block for the last two weeks. Well that’s not entirely true, because the words still seem to flow when I’m given a topic assignment that interests me, so maybe writers block isn’t exactly what I’d call it. It’s more or less been a lack of imagination. Creative Constipation. I’ve simply had an inability lately to think up good writing topics on my own.

So, I’ll go to the Daily Prompt each day and look it over. Lately they haven’t appealed to me much, but occasionally I’ll say, “Ooo, that’s a good one.” Then I’ll get sucked into some TV series on Netflix, and writing goes out the window for the day. Sad, I know, but it happens.

I used to try and write something daily, but I’ve been pretty unmotivated for whatever reason these past couple of weeks, so it’s been more like twice a week. I suppose I can blame my allergies. I’ve had an almost continuous sinus headache that has kept me feeling pretty crappy and has sapped my focus.

When I have written lately, it’s usually turned out to be something sad and depressing. When I wrote the previous post, my husband came home that evening and said, “Would you warn me before you’re gonna post stuff that makes me cry? I can’t be bawling like a baby at work.”

He’s right. I have been getting further and further away from the lighthearted humor that I used to try to fit into all of my posts. I’d rather be funny than depressing. I was just trying to keep it real. Didn’t mean to make anyone shed tears on my account. Don’t cry my adoring fans, don’t cry. There, there.

I mean sure, it’s all true stuff about my life and the emotions that past events have brought about, but all one and a half of you don’t want that sappy junk. You want the good stuff. You’re humor junkies, shaking in the ultraviolet glow of your electronic devices until you get your next fix. “Show me the funny,” I can hear you say. I’m telepathic like that. I’m watching you with my mind’s eye right now. You’re looking good. Have you lost a few pounds? I have to be honest, though, pink isn’t your color, and it’s about time you had a haircut.

Anyway, in the interest of lightening the mood for a change, I thought I’d grace you with a few of the crazy things that my kids have done or said that have made me chuckle over the years. Having offspring, while a full time, exhausting job most days, isn’t without its entertainment value, after all.

A couple of years ago, my daughter and I were discussing the fact that my son will walk around with sticky, gooey hands and a dirty face, and it doesn’t bother him in the least. So, in an effort to sound all motherly and intelligent, she turned to him and said, “You’d better wash your hands more often, or you’ll get Glaucoma.” I about died laughing. She of course knows what that is now, and I, being the compassionate, loving mom that I am, bring it up from time and time just to agitate her. It always works. She’s easy to rile up, though. It usually takes little to no effort to push her buttons. I think it’s a redhead thing. Or maybe a teenager thing. Probably both.

Then a few months back, my husband, who refused to cut his hair for whatever reason, decided to slick back his unruly mane with hair gel one day. I looked at him on the ride home and said, “Nice hair.” He said, “You think? I was going for a Bella Lugosi look.” I responded with, “Well, I think you more or less have Fonzie pegged.” My son vehemently disagreed from the back seat. I said, “Son, do you even know who  Fonzie is?” “Yeah. He’s that guy from the Muppets,” he replied.  My husband and I both laughed out loud.

This is also the same boy that was bored one day while we were running the thrift store, so he decided to go out and dance in the rain with a stuffed buffalo. I peeked around the corner out of the big roll up door at him spinning around with his buffalo, and said, “Son, should you have that buffalo out in the rain?” His response to me was, “Yeah, it’s fine. He’s a water buffalo.” I love my son.

Many years ago, when my oldest step daughter was about 11, her younger brother decided to shut the door in her face while we they were getting out of the minivan. A small argument ensued between the 2 once she made it out of the vehicle, which resulted in her eventually calling him a ‘stupid genius.’ I looked at her and said, “He can’t be stupid and a genius. That’s an oxymoron.” She put her little hand on her hip, gave me a cocky glare, and said, “I am NOT a moron.” I laughed until my sides ached.

Several years later, we all went to Krystal after church to get burgers; all 7 of us. On our way out, that same child thought that one of the large, sectioned windows next to the door actually was the door, and walked right smack into it. She stood there for a second and then said, “Oh. This one must be locked.” The whole family witnessed this display, and we all burst out laughing. This resulted in my quick witted self turning the situation into a joke. “How do you confuse a blond?” I asked. “You put a window where a door should be!” Everyone laughed, but I got a slug in the arm for that one from the blond in question. That whole scene still haunts her from time to time to this very day. Only because I bring it up, of course.

My kids.

They’re crazy, but I love them, all five of them; two that I gave birth to and three that I married into. When we’re all out and about people will say, “Are all of those your kids?!” I just smile and say, “Yep, never a dull moment in my house.”

And I mean it.

Luxury? What’s that?

Daily Prompt: Luxurious

What’s the one luxury you can’t live without?

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Disclaimer: Due to the pathetic nature of this post, tears of pity for the author may be shed. Please have tissues on hand.

Luxury? What is that?

We pretty much live at poverty level with 5 kids. My husband is paid a fraction of what he should be making after 15 years of property management service with the company he works for. So, my idea of luxury probably isn’t what everyone else’s idea of luxury may be. I don’t think of luxury as fancy cars and expensive jewelry and the finer things in life. No, I consider luxury to be what others may just think of as standard living. I can’t pinpoint any one specific thing that I’d put above any others, though, so I’ll just list a few items that I consider to be luxuries.

Personal space. Now there’s a luxury. We live in a small 3 bedroom condo, which doesn’t seem bad in theory because we at least have a roof over our heads while many others don’t. It’s a nice place, too, so I’m not complaining about my home. It isn’t falling apart or run down or anything and it’s in a fairly decent area of the crime infested city we live in. However, when 3 teenage girls are crammed into a bedroom that isn’t even large enough to park a car in, it does become…problematic. The oldest is moving out next month, though, because she’ll be 18, so the 2 remaining girls will have a bit more space.

Then there’s food. Food is a luxury. This saddens me deeply, because I love to ingest food. What would I do for a Klondike Bar? Start selling off children or body parts because that’s about what it would take for me to get one.

We’re often forced to have small portions to make meals stretch, which often leads to whines and complaints from the kids because they’re still hungry after a meal. Well, of course they’re still hungry, they’re teenagers. They’d eat the furniture if it were deep fried and covered in ketchup.

We can’t afford decent food, either, because we’d have to take out a loan and put our vital organs up as collateral to buy fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. No, we can only afford the cheap, unhealthy junk. Our weekly meals consist of stuff like hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, ramen, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and French fries. I can’t recall the last time any name brand items crossed our threshold, either. I have fantasies about Kraft macaroni and cheese, because that generic stuff, while not only a lovely shade of florescent orange when you mix in the powder, is like chewing on a dirty shoe. I stopped wondering why my intestines light up like a glow worm a long time ago, and assumed it must just be the generic macaroni and cheese.

Our kids are so sick of eating ramen for lunch every day (that isn’t an exaggeration), that they’ve started experimenting with different ways to make it. My daughter will boil it, microwave it, or sometimes fry it. She’ll mix it with teriyaki sauce, sugar, frozen vegetables, butter, or anything else she can think of to try. They have learned not to whine to my husband about how sick of it they are, though, after hearing, “You’ll eat anything if you’re hungry enough” any time that they do.

New clothing is a luxury, too. I have to admit, though, that it’s been nice working at a thrift store because we haven’t really had to worry about how we were going to get clothes for the kids. I’ll usually just tell them to bring in their outgrown items and exchange them for clothing that fits. We’ll be lost when we don’t have the thrift store helping us out with clothing anymore.

Now underwear, that junk is definitely a luxury. I’ve worn my sports bras right down to the point that they look like Swiss cheese. The elastic will be shot in my “drawahs” (that’s southern for underpants) and those suckers will be hanging to my knees before I finally get some new ones. Then my eyes light up like a kid on Christmas morning when I get that new pack of Fruit of the Looms.

Having a laptop and Internet to go with it is beyond luxury. It’s straight up extravagance. Lucy, my beloved laptop, is getting up there in years though. She’s an old girl as far as computers go. She’s like…5 or something. She’s a hand-me-down from my husband because he needed a new laptop for work. I’m happy to have her, though, she’s my baby. My husband has thought about cutting off the internet a few times to save money, but we don’t have cable, so if he did that we might actually be forced to…oh I don’t know…have conversations or spend time together and junk. How horrible would that be?

We do get to go on a cruise at least once a year compliments of my husband’s company. That’s a huge luxury for us. They take us every October, so that trip is coming up, too. I’m excited.

Through all the things I’m lacking, though, I’m content. Contentment is being satisfied with what you have and not longing for more. I don’t sit around in misery all day and say, “I wish I had this or that”. I like my home. I like the things in it. Sure, the kitchen table is in rough shape, but I found a nice table runner at the dollar store. Problem solved. Man, have I learned to solve some problems over the years with nothing but spare change, too…

I don’t look at what other people are driving and long for something better, either. I like Bessie, my minivan with the wired on bumper from getting rear ended by a texting taxi driver. She’s a sturdy old gal. Now if I could just get my kids to stop thinking she’s a trash can and laundry hamper on wheels…

Sure I get frustrated sometimes if there’s a need that can’t be met financially. I haven’t been able to visit a doctor in years due to lack of insurance, which is hard because I’m getting older and problems that I’ve had for awhile are becoming more prominent. We just can’t afford insurance, though, and I don’t qualify for Medicaid. So, I suck it up and cope when I have a medical issue. Ibuprofin is one of my closest friends.

I’m sad for the kids more than anything because they’ve had to miss field trips, birthday parties, and other events due to our financial situation over the years. They’ve gone without birthday presents for as long as I can remember and have pretty meager Christmases sometimes because we just can’t afford to buy them luxurious things.

For the most part, they understand, though, and they don’t complain as often as they have reason to. I think they know that we do the best we can with what we’ve got.

We get by, and that’s what matters.

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An Open Letter to My 16 Year Old Daughter

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To Amber, my “Berber” Baby…

Where do I even begin with the hopes and dreams that I have for your future? There are just so many things that I’d wish for your life; paths that I’d choose for you, if I were allowed to. Your life is your own, however, and though there may be rules and guidelines for you to follow now in an effort to steer you in the right direction, soon all I’ll be able to offer you is motherly advice. It will then be your choice to either heed or ignore it.

So as far as hopes go, I’ll start with the hope that you can one day see the beauty that lies in forgiveness. Finding the ability to forgive has been a huge struggle that you’ve faced for a while now. Let go of your anger toward others. You’ll love how free it will make you feel.  Always remember that people are just that; people. Imperfect beings. They will screw up. Try not to hold anyone to a higher standard than you would hold yourself. You don’t want to become a bitter, lonely woman someday because you have placed excessively high expectations on others, and are unable to forgive them when they can’t meet those expectations. There’s a saying that goes, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” This is very true. It will only hurt you if you can’t learn to let it go. I’d hate to see you leave nothing but a slew of failed relationships behind you because you’re unable to finally see what it means to forgive.

I also hope you dare to dream, but hope you never have that dream where you’re standing in the high school hallway naked while the other kids laugh and point. That’s a terrible dream. Yeah, don’t have that. Dream good dreams instead and focus them into your artwork. You’re an amazing artist already, and I’m in awe of your extraordinary imagination. You can do great things and go far with your God-given talent. Speaking of God, and I know you’ll probably just roll your eyes at what’s to come so I’ll try not to draw it out…

I hope you’ll one day turn to God and seek a relationship with Him. Desire His will for your life and know that He’s genuinely there for you and wants to bless you. I know that several “Christians” have hurt you in the past and have proven to be terrible examples of His love and compassion. Now you don’t want to even consider a relationship with God because you’re afraid that every move you’d make as a believer would cause you to be thrown under a microscope and judged, so you’ve turned away from faith completely. This all goes back to forgiveness, though, and how people are just people. The ones that point fingers are no better than anyone else. Remember that. It’s not about them, anyway. It’s about you and Him. God himself is not a bad dude, he’s just misunderstood.

I’m not going to go on to tell you that I hope you find someone…a partner in life that makes you happy. Happiness lies within you, and no single person on this earth can give that to you. I do, however, hope that you find someone that treats you with the respect that you deserve. You’re beautiful, inside and out. I’m aware that you know it, now, but I hope that no one ever crosses your path that makes you forget it. Never settle, either. Your perfect guy is out there, and he’ll be worth waiting for. Remember what I said about forgiveness when you do find him. You’ll need that to make it work.

At the same time, though, don’t allow yourself to become someone else’s punching bag, either physical or emotional. Learn where to draw the line. Never ever accept abuse as a way of life.

Last but not least, I hope you strive to be something more than I was. Advance your career. Make something of yourself. Never give up. More importantly, though, if you don’t happen to achieve all that you have planned, don’t allow yourself to be filled with regret. Try not to dwell on the “what ifs” like I have done. They’ll just tear you apart.

Do you remember the 6 years that I left you from the ages of 6 to 12? Yeah, so do I. I doubt I’ll ever forget. Your dad and I both wanted you. We always have. You weren’t some possession that I could just keep in my pocket, though, and the judge said that you were better off staying where you were, with him. I left anyway. You were in good hands. They just weren’t my hands.

I’m not sorry for that pivotal turning point in my life. I can’t apologize for the choice that I made to follow my heart.  I am loved more than I ever could have dreamed. I’ve found the other half that makes me whole. I will, however, always regret that we couldn’t be together during that time because, while I may have found one piece of my heart, I left another behind with you.

I’d call you during that time we were apart, and we would sing “You Are My Sunshine” together over the phone. Remember? We may not sing together anymore, but we talk now, and it’s nice, those heart to hearts. Mother daughter bonding chats. It can’t make up for the time that we lost, but I enjoy our close relationship now more than you’ll ever know. You’re still, and always will be the sunshine that brightens my life.

I’m pleased to see that you have finally grown into your own person. I have to admit that when you were younger, you simply, and blindly, followed the pack. What the crowd did, you did. How the crowd dressed, you dressed. What the crowd liked, you liked. Now, you’ve developed your own sense of style. You have your own likes and dislikes. You form your own opinions and have developed your own personality.  You have become you.

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While I cradled you in my arms as a baby, I daydreamed of who and what you would become. Where would your life lead you? I can honestly say that while you may not fit the exact profile of the future daughter I had created in my head then, you’re even better. You’ve grown to be even more beautiful, funny, talented, and loving than I had dreamed. You’ve become a young woman that I am very proud to call daughter.

My pride and love for you will always be there. You’ve already done things that have left me disappointed in you and there will likely be more as time goes on. We’re all human beings, though. We’ve all made mistakes. Lord knows I’ve made my fair share. For me to hold yours against you would make me hypocritical at best, and not fit to call myself a mother at worst. My love for you is unconditional. There’s nothing on this earth that you could do that would make me stop loving you.

Yes, you will make bad decisions, and you will fall. I won’t always be there to catch you, either. You’ll be 17 in 3 short months, and then, before you know it, you’ll be out in this vast world seeking your own adventures and riding the wind in whatever direction it takes you.

Unfortunately, though, life doesn’t come with bumper pads, like the Winnie the Pooh ones that used to line your crib. I hope that you’ll always be able to pick yourself up and dust yourself off when life knocks you down. That’s how we become stronger. That’s how we build character. When you do fall, please try not to stay down for too long. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, so make the most of today.

I’ll leave you with a reminder of the greatest words of wisdom that your dear old mom has ever spoken.

Quite frankly, it is what it is.

And in keeping true to your German roots,

Ich leibe dich.

-Momsie

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The Art of the Open Letter

The Rubber Band Effect Has Snapped

Well, here we are again.

Willie Nelson sang a hit song back in his glory days that pretty much sums up this situation. ‘On the Road Again’ is what we are, although I’m not entirely sure that I agree with the ‘just can’t wait to get’ part. The Hubster and I, 3 kids, and Ray Darr, the rabbit that even Elmer Fudd wouldn’t bother to chase, all stuck in a vehicle for 19 hours. No, this is definitely not ranking high on my list of formulas for fun and excitement. I put the experience on par with…oh…stapling my eyelids to my bottom lip. I have my feet comfortably propped up on the dashboard, though. My hubby absolutely loves it when I do that.

Ray smells like onions and armpit, as usual, therefore, the aroma wafting toward me from the back of the minivan is about the equivalent of a Saturday night Rave party at a Taco Bell. There has to be something wrong with this rabbit.  I’ve raised rabbits before. The cute little, fluffy, cuddly dwarf ones, though. I suppose the fact that Ray is a massive, hulking beast might explain the reason for his enormous stench. He’s so large, that my mom and dad’s 5 full grown Collies ran in fear when we first let him out of his cage. We’re thinking of investing in a saddle and riding him, since gas prices are so high.

Needless to say, Ray did have a big-time bunny blast on this trip, being a general nuisance and doing what rabbits do. See for yourself:

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Rotten Ray strikes again.

Good ol’ Ray Darr. My dad will likely be filling in yard holes for the next week or two. The local gopher population is probably scratching their fuzzy little heads right now and thinking, “What in the world? This is not our handy work.”

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The aftermath. Well, some of it, anyway.

So…

My husband swears by what he calls “The Rubber Band Effect.” That’s where it supposedly always takes less time getting back to point A from point B than it originally took to get to point B to begin with, like a rubber band snapping back into place after it’s been stretched out. I think it might just be wishful thinking on his part. We won’t be proving his theory correct this time, anyway, thanks mostly in part to yours truly.

Here’s a tip for you future travelers out there: Don’t eat greasy carnival food the night before you have to embark on an excruciatingly long road trip. We’ve had to stop every 45 minutes since we left 8 hours ago, and I’ve left a wake of destruction behind in several McDonald’s restrooms along the way. I’ll just leave it at that. I’m sure your imagination can fill in the rest. You can thank me later for imparting this helpful information.

I have to admit, though, that the Pronto Pups might just have been worth the pain.

What is a Pronto Pup, you ask? Well, let me show you:

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Hellloooo Gorgeous x 3!

Now then. Let me explain the awesomeness that can only be summed up as local legend and Yankee tradition in the town where I was born and raised. Don’t you dare say that it’s ‘just a corn dog’, either.

The quaint little waterfront stand that sells these delicacies hasn’t changed a bit in the 66 years since the amazing Chuck Nelson sold his first secret recipe serving of awesome on a stick. The stand is still family owned and operated today by Chuck’s son, Carl, and Carl’s wife and kids.

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The Famous Pronto Pup Stand

In the summertime, people flock in droves from miles around, even from the neighboring towns, to partake of the yumminess that is the Pronto Pup. The line usually spans at least a city block or more. If you mention the name of this tasty treat to anyone within a 50 mile radius, they immediately know what you’re talking about and have likely eaten one…or one hundred… in their lifetime.

They’re made with top of the line frankfurters flown in in huge quantities. When the stand first started, Chuck had searched the world over to find the perfect frank. Many years ago, the brand that he used was discontinued, so, once again, he searched high and low to find a match to his traditional dog. He finally found one that came pretty close, and, because his little stand was so popular with the locals, he sold SO many of them that the owners of the frankfurter company flew in to see exactly who was purchasing such a massive amount of weenies. They took one look at the itty bitty waterfront hovel and said, “are you serious?!”

Now, years later, this little seasonal stand is still so insanely popular, that they open up for one week during the winter so that their thousands of demanding fans can get their Pronto Pup fix. You can get them naked, with ketchup, with mustard, or both. I opted for just ketchup. I’m such a rebel, what can I say…

In other, not so amazing news, I did realize on this trip that my teenage girls believe that they are supermodels, and any and every new location that they set foot upon instantly becomes the setting for an impromptu photo shoot:

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Amazing Amber

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Glorious Grace

Oh em gee, mom…Instagram…helllooo!

Apparently, to the under 18 crowd, I’m what you’d call “lame”. This point was proven true when the girls were floating around on rafts in front of the dock, and I said, “Come on, ya’ll. Get out of my fishin’ hole,” to which my daughter responded with, “Geez mom, give us a sec.” Without really thinking it through, I said, “I’ve given you lots of secs.” This resulted in 4 sets of jaws hanging agape for a second or two. I say 4 sets because those within ear shot not only included the girls, but also my son, and Matt; the teenage neighbor boy that followed the girls around ceaselessly, and that I now apparently looked like an idiot in front of. Their shocked expressions were immediately followed by peals of uncontrollable laughter from them, and a really red face from me. Rotten kids. They know what I meant!

Well then. I have to admit that I slightly dread walking in the door when I get home. The bugs probably realized that we were gone after the first 24 hours and threw a wild party. The spiders likely tipped off the cockroaches, and then things got completely out of hand I’m sure.

I can’t wait to crawl into my big, comfy, king sized 4 poster bed, though. I’ve missed my mattress. Well, my back has missed my mattress, anyway. I think that through a sleep induced haze I vaguely recall a caveman standing over my parents’ guest bed demanding his boulder back.

As far as I’m concerned, aside from unpacking Ray Darr and his rabbit paraphernalia, the rest can wait until my bed and I get reacquainted for a while. That could take at least a day or 2.

Don’t wait up!

How Can I Embarrass Thee?

Let me count the ways…

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I’ve made it my life’s work to embarrass my children any time the opportunity presents itself, as is my right as a parent. The job is quite fulfilling. It keeps them on their toes, because they’ll never know when one of my maniacal mom moments will present itself, and I like to keep them guessing.

After a total of 41 hours of grunting, sweating labor, 8,760 dirty diapers, and having to walk out of a restaurant, miss part of a movie, or cut a trip to the grocery store short 324 times due to screeching temper tantrums (those still happen even now in the teen years), I figure I’m entitled to some sort of emotional compensation. The thrill of watching them squirm for a change pretty much covers that cost. One might argue that parenthood itself is its own reward. I’ll agree, of course. I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world, but the added bonus of having the ability to turn their faces 50 shades of red at any given moment is quite lovely.

This venture has gotten even more joyous as they’ve gotten older, considering the fact that just having the parental units in close proximity or, Heaven forbid, addressing them with real live words in a public setting is borderline traumatizing to your average teenager.

You, too, have the power to be a general nuisance in the eyes of your overly dramatic offspring. It’s quite simple, and can provide hours of free entertainment. You’ll also have a few fun stories to file away for your grandchildren someday.

Here I offer up several teen stressing recipes, some of which I’ve already tried, and with great success. They all require one teenager (or more for flavor) a dash of drama, a spoonful of sass, and an eye roll or 2. The ones that I haven’t attempted yet are on my bucket list, of course. They’ll happen eventually, all in good time.

1. When you’re out with your teenager and spouse at a crowded restaurant, point to something on your spouse’s plate and say, “Hey, can I have a bite of that?” Then, as your spouse makes a motion to shovel the bite of food into your mouth, bounce up and down in your seat a little and exclaim very loudly, “Ooo! Ooo! Do the airplane!” Watch teenager’s eyes widen in horror as your spouse makes buzzing noises and twirls the bite of food into your gaping maw.

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2. Take your teenager with you into a public restroom to use the facilities. After spending a quiet moment or 2 sitting alone in a stall reflecting the meaning of life or reading about who’s vowed to love whom forever written on the stall door, stand up and excitedly say, “Hey, you’ve gotta see this one! It looks like a weiner dog!” Listen as the footfalls scramble to make their way out of the restroom with Cheetah-like swiftness.

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3. Wear very colorful socks with flip flops in public. Your teenager, especially the female budding fashionista types like mine, will make it a point to walk at least 5 paces ahead of you in an effort to make it look like you couldn’t possibly be together. Who’s the crazy person behind me? I have no idea. I’ll just shrug, screw my face into a highly disgusted expression, and pretend I don’t know why they’re addressing me as “honey”.

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4. While out driving around with your teenager, don some cheap aviator sunglasses and a backward baseball cap. Roll down the windows in the minivan, and blast the latest Justin Bieber song as loudly as possible without blowing out the speaker system. When you’re stopped at a red light, slowly turn to the vehicle next to you, stick your arm out the window and with a completely serious face, whip them a peace sign with your left hand. Look puzzled as mortified teenager hunkers down in the passenger seat in an effort to disappear.

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5. Take your teenager grocery shopping, and kindly request that they push the cart for you. Now, if you’re feeling particularly daring and energetic, climb into the main basket, or, if you’re just not feeling athletic enough to attempt such a feat, simply hop up onto the end of the cart and excitedly request, “Push me! Push me!” with a large cheeky grin on your face. Sadly wave good-bye as exasperated teen flees for the electronics section.

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6. While also out grocery shopping with your teenager, as you’re in the check-out lane loading your mac and cheese, ramen, and hot dogs (5 kids, remember?) onto the conveyor belt, burst into a stirring (and loud enough for people 3 or 4 lanes over to hear) rendition of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Look around you at the other people in the lane and urge, “Everybody now!” Once impromptu sing along is finished, ask for assistance scraping flattened teenager up off the floor because they’ve dropped dead from embarrassment.

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7. Arrive an hour earlier than the originally agreed upon time to pick up your teenager from the mall. Locate teenager amidst the gaggle of verbally challenged, hygienically questionable, sagging pantsed youth. (Head for Hot Topic, you’ll likely find them there.) Approach teenager and loudly proclaim, “I thought I should take you home early. If you keep skipping your antibiotics, that THING will never go away.” Watch as teenager tries to save face by pretending that you don’t exist. Notice remaining youth trying to puzzle out the meaning of ‘antibiotics.’ Such a big word…

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8. Bring your teenager along on one of your frequent pain reliever runs to the local pharmacy. Hey, the fact that you even have a teenager means that you go often for those economy sized bottles of Tylenol and you know it. While there, look for an employee, preferably a youthful one not much older than the teenager in tow. Drag and position said employee in front of the gleaming wall of adult diapers. Point at the packages of spongy undergarments and very loudly ask, “Do these come in super absorbency? I tend to sneeze ALOT.” After the youthful lad points out what you’re looking for while stifling a chuckle, apologize for needing the assistance because, well…”with age, your eyesight just isn’t what it used to be.” Locate agitated teenager that managed to scoot a distance of 5 isles over within 2 tenths of a second and is currently trying to act nonchalant while thumbing through a magazine.

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9. While your teenager has a friend over, enter their room with panic in your voice, and exclaim, “I think I just found a grey nose hair!” Then tilt your head slightly back, flare your nostrils, point to your nose, and say, “Look! It’s right there! Can you see it?! Tell me if you think that’s grey.” Listen to teenager heave an irritated sigh and try to calmly explain to their friend that they are actually adopted, and that their birth parents are really wealthy movie stars that will return to claim them some day.

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10. Take your teenager to Wal Mart in the middle of the afternoon wearing pajamas, slippers, curlers, and some type of beauty facial mask. While you will likely blend in with the rest of the Walmartian community, your teenager still won’t want to be seen with you. Then again, you could dress in your Sunday best, and they still won’t want to be seen with you…

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I hope that this study guide helps get you started on the road to A+ embarrassment. Feel free to grace me with your own personal stories of creative situations in which you’ve made your teenager want to slink away and bury their head in shame. You know, like… speaking to them out loud instead of attempting to communicate telepathically…or …blinking…breathing… existing…

Until next time, readers… stay dramatic.