Hooker Heels and a Hess Station

The things we do for our kids.

I have always enjoyed helping my daughter get ready for the prom or homecoming or cotillion or the annual pig festival dance or whatever formal occasion we had on next on the calendar. There’s a lot that goes in to preparing for these events… that is if you have a girl. Boys take about 27 minutes. Girls? 27 hours. But I love it. I love it until I find myself in hooker heels in a Hess station.

It was prom night. Her hair was done in a beautiful up-do. She had a french manicure and pedicure. Her makeup was just right. She had the perfect yellow dress acquired after days of shopping. Subsequent to the selection of that dress, I had purchased a 100 ft roll of “flash tape” to ensure the dress stayed in all the right places. She had 4 inch high silver heels that accented the dress perfectly.  Once the earrings and bracelet were added, she was ready to head to the marathon photo session at a downtown park.

Of course I took all the photos she wanted. Standing. Sitting. On the stairs. Near the water. With the boy. With the group. With the boy and the group.

Hundreds of photos later, the happy couple got in the back of my limo and I chauffeured them to the glitzy and glamorous hotel in Orlando. Yes, I know. How painful that mom had to drive them. But their real limo plans fell through and neither was allowed to drive that far just yet so here is mom to save the day. They actually didn’t mind since I let them play the music as loud as they wanted. And told them jokes. Ok maybe I went overboard with that, but I laugh at myself so I was entertained. Heck, I’m driving. And I had worked hard to get to this point. There was a lot invested in this evening. She was gorgeous. I was proud.

I dropped them off at the door. As they strolled in to Prom Night 2014, I zoomed off to kill time for two hours until my next assignment – get them to the afterparty. I proceed to review the 500 photos we just took.

When I arrived to retrieve the happy couple, half of the happy couple did not look so happy. My daughter proclaimed her shoes to be the absolute spawns of satan, adding that she could no longer wear them or it would make the evening unbearable. “OK just change into your flats you brought.” What flats?  You mean you forgot your flats? I saw my evening going a lot differently as I slipped off my flat sandals and handed them over.

10155559_10152448583601995_1290038631909199581_nBut what was I to do. I’m a mom. I wanted her to have a fun time. As she goes on to the post Prom celebration now able to walk again,  I knew this was going to be a late night.  I settled into the car with my computer, a book, snacks, drink and my heated seats. Party time for mom. Continue reading

I’m Not Qualified for Key Fob Repair

There are times when we try to “help” and we actually make things worse. Ever done that? I may have. Once. OK maybe twice.

One morning on my drive to work, my car tells me the battery in my key fob is low. “Hmm,” I thought. “I better take the appropriate measures to resolve this potential issue before it causes me to be stranded in an unsafe area. Thanks for the warning Car.”  OK OK, it may have sounded more like, “Oh snap, it has a battery? Who’s got time to worry about that?”

Naturally I did relay this breaking news report to my darling Hubby who promptly responded with a detailed answer – “OK”. He’s a man of few words. Efficient, I believe he calls it.

After arriving at work I decided that as a seasoned marketing executive I could research this issue, create a plan to address it, execute the plan flawlessly, analyze the results and report key learnings and next steps back to the team. After all it would be a help to the hubby.  I deemed myself qualified with ceremonial flair and proceeded to Google the situation at hand.


A YouTube video promptly appeared on my screen. This 12-year-old boy said replacing the battery was a piece of cake. Awesome. Just to be sure, I watched the second video. Due diligence they call it. Good use of buzz words, I thought. An older guy says it’s simple and he will give me step by step instructions. Perfect. I assembled the necessary tools, i.e. a quarter, rubber gloves, face mask, fire extinguisher… Preparation is one of my strong points.

I proceeded through the steps, identified the location of the battery, obtained the information for the type of battery I needed to purchase and then attempted to put the key fob back together again to make the car driveable so I could acquire said battery.

“Snap the two halves back together,” he says. “It’s easy,” he says. “It’s painfully simple,” he says. Well, “he” is wrong.

Nothing would make the two halves of this key fob go back together. These two pieces that were one just moments ago are now seemingly so completely incompatible it’s as if they were never meant to be attached at all. I tried using force, the sneak attack, the standing up approach, the spin-in-my-chair-and-pray-gravity-draws-them-back-together approach. Nothing.

And then things got worse.

Continue reading

Are You Ready?

When it comes to hurricane preparedness, my husband is a master.

Having a master hurricane preparer has come in really handy this week as our family, along with the rest of the eastern U.S., braced for the arrival of Hurricane Matthew. My darling hubby has numerous detailed and specific disaster preparedness levels. Make no mistake…there’s a certain process to preparing for a hurricane that starts the moment the storm is named. Some things must be done in stage 1 while others are more important in stage “code red”. This week we went through each one of the stages – all the way to “hunker down”.  My apologies to the fellow citizens of Lakeland who may not have found a battery or flashlight in our local Lowes. We have them all.


Family shenanigans during hurricane Charley in 2004. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love how wonderful he is about protecting our family and working hard to ensure we not only have what we need, but that we are as comfortable as possible. (Poor guy knows how I need my climate control. If mama is hot… run!) I just get a kick out of picking at him. Shocking I know.

“Hey honey, we only have 48 AAA batteries. You may want to pick up some today.”

“Sweet pea, we need more duct tape. Only 3 rolls in here.”

“Yo honey bun, we have 12 flashlights, but no lanterns. We definitely need a lantern. Oh and while you’re there could you get me that new ceiling fan I want? I don’t see how we could weather this storm without that.”

I know what you’re thinking. I’m taking advantage of his good nature. But I’ve been wanting that fan for a long time.  Continue reading

Thou Shalt Not Grumble

It took me nearly 2 hours to get home from work Friday night and I was in a great mood when I got home. My hubby was shocked. So was I.

Just a few days ago this would have sent me spiraling. Ever been through one of those times when nothing… literally nothing… makes you happy? And the slightest thing sets you off? You find yourself grumbling and complaining from sunrise to bedtime and no matter how much you understand this is a rotten way to exist, you can’t stop.  Anybody? Anyone? Ok, so just me?  Ha. Well I perfected it.grumble-2

I’m admitting that I have spent the past few months (many more than I care to acknowledge) as the leader of the U.S. Grumblers Society. You name it – I hated it. I had complaints loaded and ready to fire at unsuspecting family and friends at all hours of the day and night. I was aggravated, irritated and frustrated. It didn’t matter whether the sun was shining or if it was raining cats and dogs, I was unhappy. I wanted to change my house, my car, my phone, my job and my hair color. I didn’t feel good about my life, my church, my family, my fitness level or the products I used to clean my floor. No matter what situation I found myself in, I didn’t like it. Sadly, I told anyone who would listen. Continue reading

Where Does Your Help Come From?

Psalm 121I’m not proud of the fact that when walking into the garage one night,  I shoved my daughter into the path of an evil, demonic critter while running for my life.

There’s one sure-fire way to send me into sheer terror and everyone close to me knows not to even say the word. In fact in our home, we spell the name of the beast, quietly and only if absolutely necessary — s-n-a-k-e.

Each and every day of my life I check for them everywhere. I look around corners, on the floor, in the bushes, on the porch, in the car, on the sidewalk, in the toilet {thanks to the person who just HAD to tell me their story}. It’s become such a part of my routine I am not consciously aware that I’m doing it.  Full scale s-word reconnaissance is simply step 1 of my plan to defend myself. Step 2 involves attempting to retain consciousness. Step 3 is apparently sacrificing my family if necessary. Subsequent steps all involve self-preservation while securing assistance to exterminate the vermin. #thereisnogoodsnake

Walking the neighborhood today, I found myself scanning the ground in my usual way, eyes like s-word radar. As I visually verified the tubular object at my 2 o’clock was indeed a stick, a thought occurred to me. As I walked step after step, I was completely focused on my fear. My eyes and my mind were concentrating solely on the thing I feared most. Continue reading

Running on Empty

Much to my husband’s dismay, I rarely put gas in my car until there is nothing short of a prayer left in the tank. I consider it efficient time management as I prioritize the tasks on my list. Getting gas becomes the top “to-do” when the warning light comes on. Until then, I have baseball pants to clean and a prom dress to acquire.


My rationale is lost on my darling hubby. To him, running the tank too low is not only dangerous, it’s bad for the car. Safety factor noted. Yet, I question his “damaging to the car theory” noting the existence of the alert system, the capacity of the large gas tank, the design of the fuel injection system and applicable theories of quantum physics….as he just shakes his head. Continue reading

A Fire, the Dog and a Basket of Junk Mail

You always hear people talking about what items they would grab from their home if there was ever a fire. With only minutes to get out of your house losing everything you own, what would you save? I’ve pondered this question numerous times over the years and assuming the family was all safe, I figured I’d reach for items like the kids’ baby books, photo albums, wedding photos, other precious mementos that can’t be replaced.

But evidently I was completely wrong.

Running from a burning house on Saturday I didn’t grab any of those things. Continue reading

Did You Get My Text About Your Voice Mail?

Awhile back I developed a habit of checking my blackberry first thing every morning. It was also the last thing I did every night. I became addicted to answering every email within minutes as if it could not possibly wait even an hour much less until the next morning.

Worse than me, my husband has two phones: one for work and one for personal use. He checks both all day too. Our kids each have a phone. They have theirs permanently stuck to their hands. Evidently they enjoy the sound of texting 24/7 which sounds like a bunch of tic tacs clicking together and makes me twitch uncontrollably…. but I digress. Continue reading


My son wasn’t feeling well after school that day. He sent me a text message asking to be picked up as soon as the 3:10 pm bell rang. I knew he had basketball practice but I also knew he had been sniffling and coughing that morning. I figured he felt pretty lousy if he wanted to skip practice so I responded I would be there right away.

A few minutes later I received another text from him. It was a simple text with one word yet 92 letters. Continue reading

Notes in Lunch Boxes

Another Encore Week post…. This one is my favorite because it’s one of my fondest memories of my mom and of my kids…

I enjoy celebrating special occasions as much as the next person but I also enjoy making ordinary days more memorable with simple unexpected gestures. To my son that may mean the smell of bacon from the downstairs kitchen when he gets up in the morning for school. Give that boy two slices of hickory smoked bacon and he is in “hog” heaven. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Let him take an extra slice or two in his pocket to school and he is on cloud nine.

I do this now because my mom did it for me. She used to put notes in my lunch box every day when I was in elementary school. She would have tea parties for us in the afternoons and whenever you needed cheering up, she always had some little trinket ready. The little things she did made such a difference in my life. I often find myself thinking of something she said or did and I use the idea with my own family. Continue reading