Monday, July 18, 2011

I can't win in Vegas on many levels it seems

Basically I've been avoiding Legionnaires Disease my entire life.

I know that sounds like a rather random pursuit--and it is--but let me assure you it's entirely true. I blame on my mother, because I have never known anyone with this affliction, am not personally familiar with any of the affects, nor really know exactly what it is, but I do have an unreasonable fear of theme park misters and water parks. And I swore early on that if I ever became First Lady, the eradication of this disease would be my personal Betty Ford Clinic.

After a lifetime of holding my breath past Splash Mountain and resisting the urge to hurling those stupid spray bottle fans that always seem to mist me in line for a churro by sweating strangers, I have now been exposed to my worst nightmare of dying a slow and painful death in a VFW lodge, and I was no where near a log flume.

Yep, we were in the freaking Aria Hotel in Vegas on the dates in question.

The only possible upside I can find in this situation is that so far Sean nor I haven't experienced any symptoms yet and when I do finally become First Lady my charitable foundation won't seem nearly as hollow now.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Super Road Trip

Every summer I like to plan a family road trip. Every fall I realize that my husband and I have totally different thoughts on what exactly that means.

Me: When I said I wanted to go on a road trip to an exotic locale, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

Husband: What could be more exotic than Metropolis? It’s the home of Superman!

Me: Somehow I think the comic book was referring to some other major fictitious city, not Metropolis, Illinois.

Husband: I know. We lucked out that it existed just a few hours drive from home.

Me: (Staring up at giant plastic Superman statue in the town square.) Not sure if “lucky” is the word I’d use....

Husband: Go stand there in front of it and I’ll take your picture.

Me: As much as I’d love using that image as my Facebook profile picture, how about we go into the museum instead?

Husband: Way ahead of you there, honey. I’ve got V.I.P. tickets right here!

Me: (Inspecting dilapidated building we are about to enter.) Did you say, V.I.P. or OMG?

Husband: (Ignoring me, completely engrossed in the gross.) What was that, dear?

Me: Oh nothing. Say, was that substance Superman was susceptible to?

Husband: Kryptonite?

Me: (Noticing the falling ceiling tiles.) How did he do with asbestos?

Husband: (Again, ignoring me and now stumbling into the 1970’s Superman popular merchandise exhibit.) I had that same lunch box when I was in the third grade!

Me: Hmm, very authentic. I don’t think it’s been dusted since then. (Surveying the dingy surroundings.) You know, I saw Superman I, 2 and 3, and not once did Krypton look like some creepy guy’s basement.

Husband: I know, isn’t it great that all of this precious memorabilia could be preserved like this and not thrown away by a wife who has watched too many hours of HGTV...

Me: (My turn to ignore. I am captivated by the Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist’s puppet on a unicycle dressed in Underoos hat seems to follow me with its wooden eyes around the room.)

In unison: I wonder if anything (I hope nothing) in here is for sale....

Me: If you take one more step toward that case of Justice League replica signet rings, you’ll be sleeping in your own Fortress of Solitude.

Husband: Why don’t you go outside and wait by that empty phone booth? You never know when you might run into Clark Kent.

A few more bad super hero puns, a bag of nostalgic novelties and five ice cream ringed smiles later, he and the kids emerge giggling and triumphant.

It is then I realize that he may not be more powerful than a locomotive or leap buildings in a single bound, but when it comes to fun family road trips, he is Mr. Fantastic.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ottomans don't make good stocking stuffers

Every time I hear the phrase, “Christmas in July,” I want to punch someone in the throat. I apologize to all the furniture and mattress salesman for my violent outburst, but it must be said.

If we set aside all of the obvious and significant religious, cultural and historical differences, Christmas and the 4th of July have absolutely nothing in common so I’m not sure why retailers insist on linking the two. With the exception of the freshest corn on the cob and best-looking steaks in the case, there is no buying frenzy on the Fourth. And while “Crazy Louie” at the fireworks stand may strike a resemblance to Santa, I’m pretty sure that his big white beard is mange and that’s a prison jumpsuit. (And you don’t even want to know what’s in that sack.)

It’s not that I don’t love Christmas, I do. A reindeer tattoo on my left ankle almost proved that before I realized that “Blitzen” might be construed as overindulgence on egg nog rather than my affinity for yuletide woodland animals. Nevertheless, I do love Christmastime. I just have a finite fondness that lasts for the month of December and don’t appreciate being reminded of it during the lazy days of summer. The only trees I want to see decorated are with tire swings and fireflies and fruitcake should only refer to cherry pie.

Christmas is also one of the most obligated-laden days of the year. There are so many “have-tos” it’s kind of nice to have a holiday where the only must is watching a parade. No one ever says, “I really must get my Independence Day cards out earlier this year,” because the only reason to ever take an awkward family picture in July is for your passport photo to Barbados.

So while I appreciate the need to stimulate the economy prior to Black Friday, let’s lay off the yuletide references on this Red, White and Blue Monday. Just because I still have my Christmas lights up doesn’t necessarily mean I’m ready to buy a mattress. A ladder and a case of egg nog, perhaps, but not a mattress.

(But now I know what to ask for from Santa this year...)

©2011 Tracey Henry

You can Divamail me those Independence Day cards if you want to....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Just another week in Music City

Some of these summer days have been spent kicking it with the country stars in my never-ending quest to hob-knob with Nashville's famous and replace the top search of my blog with something other than Kenny Chesney's headwear or lack thereof. Here are just a few recent photos from the CMT awards and from the Grand Ole Opry.

Carrie Underwood belting it out on the Opry stage.

Darius Rucker, or Hootie if you're old school.

This is how close we were to Nicole and Keith on the Red Carpet at the CMT's.

But here are the real stars...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Summer finally arrived and we are enjoying it immensely. We have filled the days with a whole lot of nothing, and that's just fine with me. It is time for nothing.

People keep telling me how hot it is here in the summer, and just wait till I feel that humidity. I smile and nod, but inside I'm thinking, "Are you kidding me? I lived in Florida for 10 years, I think I know a thing or two about humidity. I am three inches taller south of Gainesville from the frizz of my hair. I know wet heat." But I take the note of caution and skip the passive-aggressiveness without displaying the 3rd degree burns on the backs of my thighs from getting into a car. In January.

But the cicadas have gone and the fireflies are out and I'm ready for a Tennessee summer. Bring it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

They've got critters here too

From a recent email alert from our anal-retentive Homeowner's Association:

We don’t want to alarm people, but feel we have an obligation to remind you and especially parents of young children, that poisonous snakes are indigenous to Tennessee and have been found in the neighborhood. In order to ensure safety as best we can, we have hired a wildlife management company to assess the situation in the neighborhood. Both garden snakes and poisonous snakes have been found in the water behind the clubhouse and around the pond. Fur-n-Feathers will be out in the community on a regular basis over the next three months eradicating as many snakes as possible. As with most wildlife, snakes are more scared of you and tend to hide if they sense human activity, but please use caution when you are near the rocks and edges of the ponds.

Then, a week later:

Our wildlife management company has been out in the community trying to set traps to catch the poisonous snakes in the area. Unfortunately, seven of his traps have been stolen from around the pond area. This vandalism costs the HOA money and hinders our efforts to eradicate the poisonous snakes. If you know who may be tampering with the snake program, please contact the property management office.

Looks like that snake problem might continue for a few more weeks.

And that our HOA fees will increase.

Monday, May 16, 2011

And then there were two...

...weeks, that is. Until the blessed end of this school year.

A lot is packed into these last two weeks, but it's what's not there that is significant. No move. No new classrooms or classmates. No doctor's visits (God-willing), no surgeries, no injuries. No new uniforms, books or roads to learn. No new paths to figure out.

When I look back to the beginning of this school year it seems like years ago that we were entering a new high school; new teachers and experiences in first and fifth grades. We've packed a lot of life into these last six months, and I'm proud of my kids for giving it their all even on days that it was the hardest thing in the world to do. They are truly wonders of resilience.

I look forward to every summer, but this is one I relish most. They have earned this break and I'm looking forward to being in closer awe of them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I have yet to find my local sommelier...

If you know me, you know where I like to shop for wine in my old hood. I never had a bad bottle there--a couple labels were deadly to Sean, but they weren't bad--and I could always count on them for the best recommendations. And they gave you a glass while you shopped.

Here? Notsomuch.

Me: Yes, I'm looking for a nice bottle of red for a stuffed leg of lamb for Easter dinner. Do you have any suggestions?

Dude Working the counter of the wine and spirits store. (Which doesn't smell like wine, or fruit or oak barrels. It smells like wet cement and broken dreams.) ?

Me: (Thinking his confusion was the menu.) Well, it's stuffed with a homemade sausage and rosemary stuffing with scallion and a hint of orange zest. I then wrap it in pastry and roast for another 45 minutes.

Dude: Fascinating. Let me check. (Consults laminated placard behind register.) Looks like Merlot will do it. (Rhymes with Mer-snot.)

Me: That says "ham," not "lamb."

Dude: (Squinting.) So it does. You want me to find a bottle?

Me: I think I can take it from here.

I'm kind of glad they didn't offer me a glass of Mersnot while I shopped..

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April showers bring May dollars

Negotiating with landscapers was so much simpler in Florida than it is in the north....

SD: So what’s all that green stuff all over the yard?

Landscaper: Um, grass....

SD: Well that’s weird. It certainly doesn’t look like the grass I’m used to in Florida. Are you allowed to walk on it?

Landscaper: Yes, that is its designed purpose.

SD: Barefoot with no threat of lacerations or tetanus?

Landscaper: I’ve never heard of anyone getting lockjaw from a shoeless stroll in Kentucky Bluegrass, so I think you’d be okay.

SD: Wow. What about this? (Pointing to dead brown things under bushes.)

Landscaper: Ma’am, those are leaves.

SD: Even I know that! But what are they doing all over the ground?

Landscaper: Um, they fell from the trees back in the fall like they tend to do every year. For another $500 we can clean them up for you.

SD: Seems a little steep for something you know is going to happen every year....

Landscaper: Where’d you say you were from again? Jupiter?

SD: No, silly, that’s on the other coast. Now, I want to ask you about these trees over here. I already know they’re Bradford Pears, but so far they haven’t produced any fruit. They may need to be replaced.

Landscaper: They are not like citrus trees, they don’t actually grow edible pears.

SD: Great. And now I suppose those Japanese Maples aren’t going to produce wasabi syrup?

Landscaper: No, and the dogwoods won’t be having puppies either.

SD: (Scowling.) Well, since you’re also an apparent expert in animal husbandry, maybe you could tell me what’s hatching over here in the flower bed?

Landscaper: (Looking closely.) Ma’am, that’s a tulip. (Shaking head.) Don’t tell me you don’t have any spring bulbs down there? Crocuses? Irises?

SD: (Thinking.) We have bullfrogs and cataract surgery. Look, this is as fruitless (and disappointing) as that mimosa tree I had back in Tampa. Can you just give me a price on yard maintenance until I can learn my way around?

Landscaper writes numbers furiously on the back of a seed packet.

SD: (Choking back a sob.) Well, at least I know why weeping willows thrive here.

©2011 Tracey Henry

Divamail me the Burpee seed catalog!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Because we hate cancer and love the playoffs

Beard-a-thon, Baby!

Some good has to come out of this beard thing-- vote for Sean's beard and/or pledge some $ to help fight cancer if you can.

P.S. If you love the playoffs, hate cancer and have a particular fondness for Yukon Cornelius, then make another vote for the Intern's beard.....

Monday, April 11, 2011

B Kind 2 Earth Day--April 22

Coming from a place of green alligators and long-necked geese, we are more than a little curious as to what native critters are in these parts.

In addition to the coyote I know I saw driving home late one night, (either that or dogs are really big here and they have lax leash laws) there are a lot of birds, squirrels, and horses. (Which I’m not sure are technically “native” but act like they own the place, so there you go.) There are also a number of trees, flowers and plant life that look vaguely familiar, but it’s been a decade since I’ve seen a tulip growing in the spring.

That’s why to celebrate B Kind 2 Earth Day on April 22, the kids and I will be visiting our local nature center at Warner Park to learn more about and appreciate our local flora and fauna.

Liking the B Kind to Earth Day page on Facebook is your way of making a commitment to be kind to our planet in your own way. It can be a trip to the nature center, or riding your bike or cloth instead of paper or plastic. Filling a bird feeder or planting a garden or whatever your family chooses to be conscious and kind to our earth on this special day. There are many fantastic partners in this cause, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to make a difference.

So like it, love it and be a part of it.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Suburban Diva's Top 5 Country Stars Based Nothing on Music But Only My Warped Sense of Priorities:

5. Barbara Mandrell. I met her and she made a very witty joke while she was drinking something with a lime in it. We could totally hang.

4. Kenny Chesney because he brings me hundreds of hits on my blog everyday.

3. Alan Jackson. He's my neighbor and it's always 5 o'clock on our street.

2. Carrie Underwood. Her husband Mike Fisher is an awesome hockey player who is going to help bring the Cup to Nashville.

And my new number one favorite?

Kix Brooks. Country music legend, Preds fan, and gentleman. AND HE OWNS HIS OWN WINERY.

(Note to Garth Brooks or Brad Paisley: You could totally take over the number one position with a cupcake stand and decent Margarita mix.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


One of the very best parts of living in Nashville are the slumber parties.

That's what I call the sudden influx of overnight visitors, anyhow.

Back in Florida we really didn't have the room to house the many guests that travelled south to Disney or the beach. Here, the living quarters are a bit larger so that everyone who comes bunks down for the weekend and we can have fun 24 hours a day.

This past weekend we had a dozen more added to our seven (don't forget the Intern), and every weekend in April we will be having people come in who we would not normally get to spend so much time with. Team that with hockey games and events like wine-tastings and concerts, and Nashville weekends become very special. Busy and sleepless, but special.

If I could just find a wine vendor and a take-out BBQ spot to keep up with our entertaining demands, life would damn near be perfect two days a week.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Suburban Diva goes country

"Are you ever going to update your blog?"

I get that a lot.

The answer is, I guess.

I've been writing this blog since 2004 when no one even knew what a blog was, including me. It sort of started as a way to journal motherhood, life--in a publicly-censored sort of way. Then it became a bulletin board to family and friends who knew me and wanted updates into what was going on. I even started to get sponsors who weren't paying me for posts, but who invested some cash and prizes for my readers.

Lately, though, it doesn't do much except attract visitors who want to know what Kenny Chesney looks like without a hat. (That's one of my top Google searches.)

You're welcome.

I'm lucky that I get to journal motherhood over on Whoa Momma a few times a week. I get to talk about my love of books in the World Of Westchase. I get to post my column there and still on my own site which I love. I keep up with people I know on Facebook and email. That leaves this blog as a very lonely bandwidth collector of late.

As blogging has evolved, so has my family. It's not always easy to write of the latest happenings in a public forum without potentially embarrassing or disclosing something that has no business being out there. I leave out 98% of real life things (shocking that I do have a filter) because that's just how it needs to be. And that's okay.

So I started really thinking of what the next step is in this blog, and I realized that the one topic I don't really have an outlet for at the moment is this move--this town--and life as a suburban mouse who goes to the country.

Which is not to make fun of Nashvillians or Tennesseans at all. That would somehow elevate Florida to a position of normalcy which is absolutely the biggest lie ever, because Florida is the capital of Crazy, USA. No, in fact, everywhere I've ever lived or visited has its own unique form of crazy and part of the challengefun is navigating through native crazy with foreign straight jackets. So I think I'll focus on this place for a while.

I think all I've really talked about our new home is the weather, which is technically crazy, but redundant after a while. (Florida, you win on that score.) And since the weather is breaking a little (still was 44 yesterday which felt like -28 when you're ready to see tulips) there is a lot more to talk about.

Like driving 10 miles to find a gas station. Or our never-ending quest to find the best BBQ. (Coincidentally also in a gas station.) Or road-kill. (On the way to the gas station.)

And even stalking country music stars.

Hat or no hat.

So meet me in Nashville for the next few weeks. I'd love to show you around.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's DST o'clock, do you know where your sanity is?

How are you doing, Buddy?

I’m just checking in on this Monday morning after Daylight Savings Time to see how you’re holding up? It looks like that lost hour of sleep was a bit hard on you. No offense.

The important thing to keep in mind is that you survived. The initial cardiac arrest threat when you woke up in the middle of the night instead of your normal too early alarm has passed now, so you can just skip right to the being pissed off part. Hit the snooze button just a few more times out of spite, and then make a big pot of coffee while scowling. It’s perfectly normal.

I know it’s hard, but you’re going to have to move those clocks ahead now. All of them. Even that one that you keep hopefully on the real time so that every time you look at it you can remember why you feel so crappy. It will be difficult, but it’s time to rip the Band-Aid off.

And no, you can’t move to Indiana or Arizona where they don’t participate in Daylight Savings Time. You’ve got responsibilities here--a life--albeit an hour shorter one. Besides, you don’t want to be a contrarian. People in those states are just sleep-deprived from the fall when we all got our extra hour.

Look at the bright side. (That won’t come until about 11:00 a.m. when the sun finally comes up, but still.) You can use this as a perfect excuse to your boss, teacher, spouse or IRS agent. “I was going to do ___________ last night about 2 am, but the government took that time away from me so I couldn’t. It’s a conspiracy.” Because it totally is.

No one ever said messing with the space time continuum was going to be easy. Did you think Christopher Lloyd looked like that before he invented the flux capacitor? It’s an ugly, messy business. There’s bound to be some sleeplessness with that. Just ask February 29th.

Wow, this is worse than I thought. Look, I wasn’t going to mention this but since you’re so bad off just think--only 244 more days until it ends! Fall Back! You can sleep in again in November.

I didn’t mean to make you cry.

Ok, how about a joke to cheer you up?

Knock knock.
This is the part you say, Who’s there?
Spring ahead.
Spring ahead who?
Some spring a heads are going to roll if I don’t get a nap soon.

You’re right. That wasn’t funny.

At all.

But with all of my nonsense combined with that extra hour we’ve been grieving, it’s almost Tuesday.

You can repay me by doing the same for me tomorrow when I’m still running late and sleep-deprived and realize the joke is on me.

Happy DST.

©2011 Tracey Henry

Here’s where to send your support tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


The after effects of a concussion are remarkably similar to normal teenaged behavior.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The fun of fundraising

File this somewhere between "I should know better by now," and "Guaranteed to offend everyone I know," but I am about to get loud over Silent Auctions.

Unless you're a native Aborigine (and then the word is gabi gabi tok tok, meaning, "to screw your fellow villager",) you’re certainly familiar with the Silent Auction fundraising model. Strategically located near the open bar, several donated goods and services are lined up with bid sheets below. The highest bid at the end of the evening "wins" that particular item, and all of the proceeds go to that charity.

I am not singling out any organization or abused chairperson--everyone does it the same way and if I criticize too much, I run the risk of being saddled with the hapless job of coming up with a new method. Which in my case would most certainly involve several high interest loans, a border run, and a guy with no last name who always refers to himself in the third person. This is probably not what the founders of the Orphaned Baby Alpacas had envisioned for their 50's night at the Holiday Inn. So we are all stuck with this this auction-based form of fundraising for the very far future.

We've recently attended a number of these events, and from what I remember of them, they are a unique experience. The best part of any auction is that you don't "buy" anything, you "win" it. Curiously, the "winner" is the guy that paid the most money for crap he didn’t want in the first place. This would be the purchasing equivalent of finding an item at a store that you had no interest in, waiting for it to go off-sale, and then checking back three or four times to make sure you had paid the highest inflated value. Sort of like shopping at Pottery Barn.

If you insert the phrase, "But it's for a good cause," in front of any item at an auction, you can rationalize your way through the most ridiculous purchases. If you punctuate the sentence with another glass of punch, you will end up to be more charitable than Mother Theresa. As you probably have guessed, I have recently "won" a set of cookware for a good cause. And because "it goes to charity," a teeth whitening session from a local dentist. And a Cracker Barrel rocking chair with a bunch of signatures on it. And a leaf blower. And eleventy-billion Legos. And a case of off-brand Riesling. And a gift certificate for a car wash. And a decorative clock. And buyer's remorse. And a hangover.

But it was for a good cause, right? RIGHT?!!??!

And so will my defense fund when I break in to the Orphaned Baby Alpaca Headquarters and steal my check back.

Give generously.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

My fresh hell as a mother


Twice the hits and half the pads as hockey.

Two minutes into his very first game and a grade 2 concussion.

I can't believe I'm saying this--but hockey is a gentlemen's sport.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Intern Returns...

I don't think we can technically call him the Intern anymore since he's had full time (and salaried) employment for years now, but he'll always be the Intern around here.

And he's back!

New job, new city, but familiar living arrangements as he stays with us while he gets settled in Music City.

So we're loading up the fridge and adding a few routes to sporting events to his new landscape.

And nothing says welcome like a murky fish tank, so guess what his room-warming present is?

(This fish flakes are under your pillow, Dan. Welcome to Nashville.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

How to prepare for a snow storm if you live anywhere south of Lake Erie

I have exactly 4.2 minutes to pen this as I have to pick up my children early from school today due to possible snow.

True, it’s currently 65 degrees and sunny outside, but we are expecting 3/8 of an inch of snow later this evening so apparently we must have ample time to prepare. As far as I can see, this includes the following steps and complex processes.

1.) Snow must fall at a faster rate in the south than in the north, because we shut down the state long before the first flake is predicted to fall. If the front is forecasted to move in at 4:00 for example, southerners think this means by 4:02 there will be 8 feet of snow on the ground and all thoroughfares will be rendered immediately impassable.

2.) Roads probably will be rendered immediately impassable because the entire southern hemisphere shares 4 snow plows. Which means instead of actual snow removal, southern departments of transportation "brine" the roads. This mysterious and completely useless process includes salting the roads before any hint of precipitation. You still can’t drive safely on a brined road, but it does cure a mean corned beef.

3.) Do not buy anything useful for impending storms like snow shovels, road salt or margarita mix--buy bananas. Bananas have scientifically unproven and unfounded effects on all weather events, but make us feel better, much like a meteorological magnet bracelet that golfers wear or pajama jeans.

(If you can’t find bananas at your grocery store, [and you won’t because they will be sold out] you may substitute milk and/or Wonder Bread.)

4.) Be sure to drop the words black ice in a hushed tone at least 10 times in every conversation. When you question why school is closed for the 8th day in a row when we’re mowing the lawn, wait for the look of horror and the words black ice spat out to you like an exorcism. Just for fun, say, "But it’s above freezing outside." In response, get the sneered, "But that’s what makes it so dangerous, you can’t see black ice. Moron." Answer, "Then how do you know it’s there?"

5.) Lose all the new friends you worked so hard to make in the fall.

6.) For every inch of snow predicted, the negative amount will actually accumulate.

7.) On the day of the anticipated storm, watch for the school closings reeling along the bottom of your television screen. This is actually a complete waste of time, because if one school closes, every single learning institution and dry cleaner will follow within the hour.

(Except my son’s elementary school that must have administrators from Nunavut and won’t cancel school unless the students’ desks are frozen shut and they used up all the butane on freeing up the chalkboard erasers.)

8.) And speaking of watching television, the Channel 5 doppler radar in Nashville, Tennessee has the prognosticating capabilities of Nostradmous. It is capable of crippling an entire municipal government at the mere mention of the white stuff weeks before in a 5 p.m. newscast. People unwaveringly entrust their entire lives to what that computer graphic depicts. It can not only predict snow, but the next 10 Super Bowl and Idol winners. (Which kind of begs the question why aren't the folks at NOAA tuned into this super, southern-exclusive technology? Or at least the KGB and ESPN.)

9.) If any snow actually makes it to the ground, it will certainly melt before the 4th hour of the Today Show. After your kids make mud men, mud-gloos and have mudball fights, you may want to rethink that big pot of chili served in front of the fire for dinner. Serve popsicles and ice water instead.

10.) Make banana bread for dessert.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

First attempt to take over the world. Or at least North America

We are now in our 3rd day of hosting our Canadian exchange students, and I think it's going fairly well.

We really don't have a whole lot of time together--during the day they are busy seeing the sights of Nashville and eating at chain restaurants, and I really only have bonding time to and from hockey games. So far we've discusses the crazy large amount of churches here and the local liquor laws, which I swear they initiated, not me. (Not appropriate for 11th graders.) I have tried to steer the conversation toward country music star stalking and pushing my own personal agenda to take over the world.

And then I realized I had no such agenda but I didn't want to miss this once in a life time opportunity so I made one up: McPudding and Ordinal Numbers.

First off, I've noticed they don't use ordinal numbers often so I've helpfully put them in bold throughout this post to show how helpful they are in verbal and written expression. You're welcome, Canada.

Secondly, If you don't know the McPudding story basically my husband orders the fictitious McPudding at every McDonald's he visits in hopes to get it on the menu. He believes it is his legacy for our children. This drives me insane since it requires an extra long explanation at the drive-thru and fits of laughter from the back seat. So I thought that perhaps our Canadian friends could take up this cause and then it would truly be a global effort.

But then I realized "pudding" means something totally different in traditional, non-American English cuisine and has precious little to do with Bill Cosby and more to do with Yorkshire and figgy.

Which is totally gross and not at all in keeping with the true spirit of the McPudding movement.

So it looks like McPudding will eventually remain a strictly state-side national treasure.

You're welcome, Canada.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Honey, you shouldn't have

The traditional gift for the nineteenth wedding anniversary is bronze.

My husband got me a fish tank.

He pointed to goldfish swimming in the corner, and said, “See? This one looks sort of bronze.”

I think it was more of a Ph imbalance in the tank causing the discoloration, but I digress. The point is we are not fish people. We had a brief and tragic experience with a beta we won at a carnival after which our fishing license was permanently revoked. I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my husband doesn’t know me AT ALL after two decades to warrant such an inappropriate gift. If he’s going to spend $350 on something that swims, it better be my bar tab at the pool bar at the JW Marriott.

He gave me the line, “but this is something the kids can take care of on their own,” which upon uttering hundreds of angelfish shuddered and lost their fins.

To their credit, they tried. The toddler “fed” the fish. By dumping the entire contents of the fish food bottle into the tank. This put visibility at .06 millimeters and a toxic glow emitting from the glass.

So we cleaned it. And by we, I mean me. Removing the ceramic Spongebob housing which must have recently gone co-op since all of the fish hid inside the pineapple under the sea, I proceeded to empty, rinse, and repeat before putting the fish back into the tank, ignoring my instinct to put them out of my misery by flushing them into the Cumberland river.

While the water was somewhat improved, it was still slightly gauzy, so I decided to buy another fish--one that is biologically engineered to clean tanks such as this. Choking back the vomit that had formed in the back of my mouth at the mere thought of this, I went back to the fish store and got said cleaner fish. And another bottle of food flakes.

The check-out girl said, “You have goldfish, eh?”

“Yes. Very dirty goldfish.”

She nodded in agreement. “You know they go a lot.”

“Excuse me?”

“Ah, defecate? Goldfish defecate a lot more than other fish.”

Another choke back of bile. “Really? I thought maybe mine just had overactive colons--I was going to tell them to lay off the bran muffins.”

After scolding me for feeding my fish baked goods, I went home and dumped the cleaner fish into the dump. Of, ahem, dump.

A more cynical wife might say that my husband got me scat for our anniversary, but I’d like to think it was unintentional.

Besides, with next year being our twentieth and the traditional gift of china, I don’t want him buying me a panda.

We all know what they do in the woods.

(Cross-posted at

Friday, January 28, 2011

Our foreign exchange students. Ish.

In the same vein as when people tell me they're going on a "mission trip" to Paris or Tahiti, we're hosting two foreign exchange students.


Only it's not really an exchange, because I'm not sending anyone. And they technically aren't students since they aren't going to school here, they are playing hockey. And it doesn't last a semester, only 5 days.

So really it's just driving around high school hockey players for a week and washing their jerseys.

Which I do everyday, so that's really not foreign in any sense of the word.

Which means this experience isn't nearly as exotic as it was when I began this post, so never mind.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I write the songs that make the whole world sneeze

Because I had the unmitigated gaul to post this little diddy on not knowing the difference between the cold and the flu, the germ gods decided to give me both illnesses back to back.

I hate the germ gods.

On my two day hiatus in between the sickies, we managed to make it down to Tampa for a concert and for some sun fun. While I don't think I'm much of a Barry Manilow fan, I am a fan of the friends I got to spend the weekend with. I miss them and how much they make me laugh.

I would write here that I am back at my lame attempts to getting on a schedule and in a Tennessee routine, but I think we all know that's a big lie and I could sue myself for libel. We've had more snow days, another couple of trips planned and more visitors on the way. Life is day-to-day, hour-by-hour, snow fall to snow fall, and germ god blasphemy to germ god blasphemy.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Post 1,001 and the first of 2011. EIther I talk too much or not enough. Or a little of both.

Since last we blogged, we were invaded, partied, and were abandoned by 50 Tampaites who braved the ice and snow and snow and ice to ring in 2011 with us. It was such a wonderful week of non-stop partying, that we have yet to recover. We didn't venture out much--some hockey games and restaurants--but instead spent our days and nights hanging out old school style with games and food and drink. I don't think a more perfect week could have been planned.

They left, and we all got sick. We spent our first week back to school with varying attendance and doctor's visits, and by Friday half of us were on antibiotics and the other half was hacking away. (I wrote about that sickness here.) We took down the Christmas decorations (my least favorite job of the year) and otherwise tried to put things back in place.

We still haven't gotten back into a routine--we were hit with a few inches of snow on Monday that shut down the entire town except for my kids' schools. Seriously, on Tuesday every school in the state of Tennessee was closed and only our kids had to go to school. The public schools are still out today. I am trying to console them by explaining that they will appreciate this at the end of the year when they don't have any days to make up, but when you're staring at a snow day, all summer bets fly out the window.

And so the two weeks of 2011 are still incubating, waiting to shape up after we finish digging, thawing and straightening ourselves out.