I Got It From My Mama

Most of the people who read this blog know that I am a list person. When I was still in Grad School I had a running list on a dry erase board in my office of all the things I needed to do. It was even color coordinator for job, internship, school and personal. I was balancing a lot of different hats and this put it all in one place so I didn’t forget anything, which I did quite often without said list. I got made fun of for it too, mostly for the “do ass. paper” task. Now, in my defense, it was short for assessment and yes, I am aware that is not the proper abbreviation for assessment, but I didn’t really care about being grammatically correct, it made sense to me and I was busy!

But, this blog isn’t about me. Well, okay, it’s been about me a little bit, but you’ll forgive me right? Anyway, I walked into my parent’s room earlier this morning and my Mom was sitting at her desk staring intently at something on her computer screen and mumbling under her breath. When I asked her what she was doing she said she was updating her to-do list. (SEE, this is where I get it from! Blame my Mom!)

So, there is my Mom, sitting at her computer, staring intently at her computer screen, randomly clicking open one task, then another to change the status to ‘In Progress”, “Waiting on Someone Else” or “Completed”. I mean she was REALLY concentrating! Then she starts mumbling to herself again, saying things like…

“That should really say ‘repair Silver Beaver picture’” *deletes the previous wording and changes it more to her liking*

“…and that should say ‘replace glass in living room picture’” *deletes the previous wording in her attempt to make her to do-list more grammatically correct*

“….this one is really like 75% done, not 70%”. *Okay, now this is getting ridiculous!*

…Okay, I admit, that last one was me, but come on! She was obsessing over how close it was to being done!

And the lesson here is: No matter how crazy you think you are, your parents probably do it better than you.

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The Nerf Football Incident

Step parents.

It’s a hard thing to deal with on all sides. I mean, here he was, coming into our lives after my Bio Dad left thinking he could take his place. Five-year-old me was having none of that! (In hindsight, five-year-old me was pretty dumb).

My Dad? Well, he never wanted kids. In fact, that was the reason he divorced his first wife (well that, and she was nuttier than a sack of hammers). Then fate lead him to my mom, and indirectly to my brother and I. He fell in love with all of us and decided this kid thing wasn’t so bad.

Now, when you all of a sudden find yourself living with a woman and her two small children, one five and one 2, and you have never in life been around kids or had any of your own, I can imagine you would be extremely clueless and overwhelmed. When you add on the fact that woman is my mother who had just gotten out of a marriage with an abusive, control freak and has severe trust issues so she kicks you out every other week, that overwhelming feeling probably doubles.

He tried, really hard to keep this family together in the beginning. When my mom would kick him out, he would climb in her bedroom window at night just to get her to talk to him. She almost threw an iron at him on many occasions, or so I am told. Really, it bordered on stalking. I would feel sad for him if he didn’t make my mom so damn happy.

How did he win the hearts of her two children you ask? At first, he would give me things. One such item was a Nerf football. It was before they cool and had tails and spun in the air when you threw them, but I loved it in spite of the shortcomings it would later have compared to the cool new ones. It was just a basic black and lime green foam football and he gave it to me over a breakfast of Applejacks. After breakfast, he took me outside and taught me how to throw it. This is one of those days I have always remembered because I think it was the first time I thought this guy was okay, until he shattered it all the next time my mom threw him out and took my new football with him! Jerk.

He brought it back three days later, but the point is, he took it and broke my little five-year-old heart! He more than made up for it latter though, flying us to bed at night on his shoulders, taking us to the movies and the park, playing catch with me in the backyard and taking me to the bating cage during my softball days, even playing soccer with me during that one unfortunate season. He was there the first time a boy kissed me and I didn’t like it and I cried for an hour. He was there, with a banana milkshake (my favorite), when I busted my head open playing hide-and-seek in the dark at a Girl Scout meeting. He was there when I graduated High School and College (both times) and he will be there for all the other major events of my life. But, he will never live down the day he took away my Nerf football!!

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How a Dickpunch Made My Night

Unlike most families we still eat family dinners together every night. Even on Monday when it is technically Fend For Yourself Night where we are all in charge of getting out own dinners, we usually end up cooking at the same time and sitting down together to eat and talk about our days. Our conversation could be anything from politics, to bitching at each other about something that is bothering us or it could include interactions like the one that happened tonight.

See, my dad likes to make comments like “I don’t ask for permission, you do as I say” or leaning over to my brother and I to whisper “Your mom is acting tough now, but you should see her when we are alone. It’s all yes sir and right away sir!” I am only half convinced he does this for a laugh. Tonight was no different. After dinner, when we were clearing off the table, it happened. The moment that made my night, possibly even my week.

First we have to go back to the actual dinner conversation. Dinner tonight was spaghetti! It was very delicious! Anyway, I told my dad that his affinity for harming small animals as a small child was very similar to that of a serial killer, which he defended by saying that not only did he harm small animals when he was a child he also shot his sister and we shouldn’t forget that fact! (He shot her in the behind with a BB Gun after she tried repeatedly to save some birds from being shot) So far, he wasn’t really supporting his case. He went on to tell us that it was really her fault, so he guessed that didn’t count.

I know what you are thinking, because I was thinking it too, who asks to be shot? She wasn’t, she was trying to save the poor defenseless birds but to my dad, he gave her a choice, to let him shoot the birds or he would shoot her. He also gave her a five second head start BEFORE he shot her, so really it was all her fault she got shot. Amazing logic my dad has.

So, I tried to explain how illogicial his logic was by comparing it to the Civil Rights Movement and how just because the police officers gave the protesters ample warning that what they were doing was against the law and they would take physical action against them, that the protestors did it anyway because it was what was right. Brilliant argument, right? He just looked at me like I had two heads and started clearing the table. Well, actually, he tried to order my mom to clear the table for him. Here is how it happened.

Mom: “Yeah right”
Dad: “That would be ‘Yes Sir’ to you”
Mom: *Dickpunch* Yes Sir!
Me and Mom: *Die laughing*
Dad: “THAT WASN’T FUNNY!”

It was pretty damn funny.

Disclaimer: No male testicles were harmed in the writing of this blog. They weren’t harmed in the story told in this blog either. It was really more like a tap, unless you ask my dad who still insists his balls are red and swollen to which my mom responds “No they are not, but if you want I can make them that way”. I should also clarify that “harming small animals” was just him doing stupid normal boy stuff like kicking the neighbor’s cat and burning ants with a magnified glass but we like to give him shit about it anyway.

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The Work Out

My mom was diagnoses with high blood pressure about two years ago. After denying that it was a problem for about a year and taking medication for the second year, she has decided to start eating better and exercising in order to lose weight. I heard a exercise tape playing in my living room a little bit ago and I thought “oh, good for her!”

I walked through the living room, toward the end of the video, to get to the kitchen for some water. This is what I saw.

It is usually more effective to do the exercises along with the video instead of just watching the video! lol

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The Stand-off

My dad and I are currently in a stand-off. I refuse to step foot in our garage and he refuses to bomb our garage.

I should back up a little bit.

The other day, while my dad was fixing the stucco on the side of our house (I am pleased to report he was clothed during this exhibition. If you want to know why this is pleasing, go here) he noticed, what he thought was, a little spider scurrying across the garage floor and heading for our trash can. He grabbed the spider spray and went to move the trash can thinking he would kill the offensive little thing and then go about his day.

Little did he know, it was not a little harmless spider, oh no, it was a baby black widow spider and when he moved that trash can, there were dozens more little baby black widow spiders and a Big Mama Black Widow spider. What he did next was either really brave, or really really dumb, I can’t decide. He jumped back a little bit and a started spraying!!! How he didn’t die, I will never know.

He came into the house later to inform/tease me, telling me he got most of them, that only a few of the baby black widow spiders got away. If you have ever seen the movie Arachnophobia, the scene where the spiders come crawling out of every inch of the house and corner the dad in a room, then you can understand what I picture every time I see or hear about a spider. In my head, it is part of some kind of secret army that is hell bent on destroying the world and if I kill it, it’s army buddies will kill me for revenge. It’s irrational. I know. But you trying watching that movie at five years old and not developing a complex!

Now, my dad tells me that there are a few baby black widow spiders lose in our garage and he expects me to be okay with this. This is a bone-fide baby spider army made up of one of the most deadly spiders in the WORLD!!! I am far from okay, we are talking full on panic mode here!

I asked very nicely for him to bomb the garage, he said he would next weekend. So, now, I am refusing to step foot in the garage, including taking out the trash, until he bombs it. I am not going out in that garage to die. No sir, not happening!

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Can’t Find Something at my House…Check my Dad’s Engine!

Have you ever set something down and just cannot, for the life of you remember, where you put it?

Has this item ever been your wallet?

Then you can probably sympathize with what happened to my dad about five years ago.

He was working on his car one day, probably replacing the spark plugs (it seems like he replaced those damn spark plugs 100 times) and had to run to the store, but he couldn’t find his wallet ANYWHERE. We searched high and low for hours! In fact, we must have turned the house upside down looking for this damn wallet. Under couches, chairs, beds, in vases and decorative bowls, behind the fishtanks, in clothes pockets and in couch/chair cushions.

Finally, Mom and Dad decided to call and cancel the credit cards, he got a new license and did all the other things you do when you can’t find your wallet. After a few weeks, we all just forgot about it. After giving Mister-Perfect-Who-Never-Loses-Anything-Ever a hard time of course!

About a year later, my dad opens up the hood of his car. He had opened it several times in the last year, but this day was special. This day, he found his lost wallet, chillin on the engine of his car like it owned the place.

How it had survived a year sitting on his engine. We will never know.

How he didn’t see it the other times he opened the hood of his car. We will, unfortunately, never know (but we have several guesses)!

How it ended up on the engine in the first place. We REALLY want to know!

How long it will be before he lives it down….NEVER!

The moral of this story is…next time you lose something, make sure to check the engine of your car first! Who knows, it may be there!

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I Am Not the Only One That Thinks My Dad is Comparable to a Drill Sergeant!

My parents don’t exactly know about this blog. They know I put things up on plurk for all my friend’s list to see, but they don’t know I have turned it into a blog. More importantly, for the purposes of this post, they don’t know about this post.

So, imagine my surprise when we were sitting at dinner tonight and the following conversation took place between my parents:

Dad (addressing my mom): “When you get done eating, I need you to unload the dishwasher so Brittany can do the dishes”

Mom: *salutes* Yes sir, Sergeant Chore Chart sir!

I almost died laughing.

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Sergeant Soprano Does Housework

Yesterday was house cleaning day at my house. House cleaning day is always oh so fun! The kind of fun one has when, oh lets say, ripping your eyeballs out with a rusty spoon, for instance! In order to get a good idea of how intense my dad gets about this cleaning business, imagine that Tony Soprano and a drill sergeant had a love child that later grew up, married my mother and then developed OCD tendencies and a sliiiggghtt case of neuroses.

About three days before this “epic” day, my dad marches around informing us about 473 times that HOUSE-CLEANING DAY IS UPON US and we will clean…or ELSE! After 20 years, you would think I would be used to cleaning day. But, my dad uses gorilla-style tactics and strikes when you least expect him. This brings us back to yesterday.

Before I could make it the 2 feet from my bedroom to the bathroom in my usual morning wakeup routine, Sargaent Soprano (as he shall henceforth be called!) pounced! He had been waiting for me. I could tell! In fact, he probably started patrolling outside my bedroom door at 0500 waiting for any signs of life. I futilely try to avoid eye contact, hopelessly clinging to the childish notion of I CAN’T SEE YOU, SO YOU CAN’T SEE ME…but it doesn’t work.

Sergeant Soprano marches up to me and somehow manages to deliver the following question as a demand. “When are you planning on cleaning the living room (I secretly think, in his head, he adds maggot here)?” My natural instinct is to reply with “I don’t know, I just woke and I haven’t thought about it yet” but then I would appear weak. I’ve known about house-cleaning day for three whole days now. I should have it planned out…better yet, already finished!!!! With my childish notions crushed, my inner child is now cowering in a corner, drooling and crying hysterically, the rational part of my brain is still asleep and I just panic and say the first arbitrary time that pops into my head. “I will have it cleaned by 5pm!”

He cornered me at 9:36 am and by 10:04 he was on my ass like white on rice! It was an endless string of “Why haven’t you started cleaning yet?” “When do you actually plan on cleaning?” “You’re running out of time to clean!” and of, course “You better get it done (maggot) before 5 o’clock or you can’t eat dinner!” My inner child decided to stop being a coward and suited up to fight back. She is a growing girl after all, she *needs* her recommended daily allowance of all dietary nutrients…and yeah, okay, she just wanted chocolate.

My inner child is now screaming “I am not 12! I am 25 years old and if you think you can, for one second, withhold dinner from me, then you have another thing coming Sergeant Dumbo!” inside my skull and I have to distract her with a mental image of a shiny object so I can think rationally enough to tell Sergeant Soprano that I’m just going to start now.

Now that Sergeant Soprano is reassured that I am actually going to clean the living room instead of letting it fall into the enemy hands of the diabolical dust bunnies, he turns on his heels and marches away and I sigh in relief. At least until I realize that he has decided now he shall clean the room that he has assigned himself for the week! In a last-ditch effort to rid me of all my sanity, he takes ALL the cleaning supplies with him, probably as prisoners of war. My inner child is back in the corner, drooling and screaming YOU CAN’T CLEAN WITHOUT CLEANING SUPPLIES! And the rational part of my brain is screaming back, I KNOW!! And right when the rational part of my brain begins to seriously considering joining my inner child in the corner, my dad finally gets done cleaning enough of his room that he feels he can release the cleaning supplies. RELIEF!

Except that means he is going to come out of his room and I haven’t cleaned anything! I consider just blowing the dust off the table for a brief moment hoping he wont notice that I haven’t done anything, but Sergeant Soprano is too smart for that and I know it. He marches into the living room and begins to clean, glaring at me with a look that could reduce Ganges Kahn to a weeping man-child. I try to reassure him that I will clean the living room, I just need the cleaning supplies but it is too late. He has already seen my weakness. He continues cleaning furiously, and I muster up the last ounce of strength I have and insist that I can get the job done if he would just surrender the cleaning supplies! He glares at me again, considering my request and somehow decides that I am trustworthy and relinquishes the pledge and dust rag, turns promptly around and marches toward the kitchen to whip my mom into shape.

Then he spends the rest of the day playing the martyr because he had to clean the WHOLE HOUSE by himself. I know that doesn’t sound very Sergeant-like of him but…GORILLA TACTICS! I am sure he has ulterior motives.

Coming soon: My dad’s neurotic cleaning techniques! Hint: You know how Danny Tanner cleaned in Full House? Imagine that with about 114 times less efficiency.

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What? At least I didn’t ask you to sniff my butt!

Last night, my mom and I were driving to Charlie’s Chicken/McAlisters/Panera to get dinner. While sitting in line at Charlie’s Chicken waiting for my dad’s fried chicken chunks my mom decides to suddenly thrust her hand in my face. Based on the fact that she said nothing while doing this, I am assuming I was supposed to know what fuck was going on, but, alas I did not. So I was like “What the eff mom?”

And she was like “My hands smell like Vinegar!” Which is apparently very exciting. I didn’t think so.

So, I was like “Warnings. Consider them.”

To which she responds “What? At least I didn’t ask you to sniff my butt!” like she considered it, but decided to spare me that particular torture so I should be grateful.

And I am.

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6 Steps to Home Renovation: Mom & Dad style!

I have all these amazing ideas for blog posts but I don’t know which one to write about and it is really overwhelming and stressful so I just decided to copy/paste something I told my friends on Skype yesterday (and then edit the crap out of it, so really, it’s like a brand new post anyway, so TAKE THAT STRESS MONSTER!!).

Here are the 6 stages of home repair in my house, mom and dad style! (I feel like I need a karate chop here for dramatic effect).

Step 1: Realizing that Something is Broken
The thing about my parents is, they like to live in a constant state of denial when it comes to things like this. I can’t decide if it is because they are lazy and don’t want to spend the time and money to fix it, or if it is because subconsciously they both know they are about to go through stages 2-5 to get to stage 6 and that is too stressful for them. Therefore, they ignore the problem until a) someone gets hurt b) something gets so broken that fixing it becomes a matter of life and death (i.e. the air conditioner shutting off in the middle of July in OK after making strange noises and leaking for MONTHS) or c) my dad gets so stressed about it being broken that he rushes in with a half-assed plan to fix it just so it wont be broken anymore.

Step 2: Developing a Plan of Attack
Once my parents decide to actually fix something, there moto is “GO HARD OR GO HOME!” They get all these grand ideas and plans (that are usually referenced by episodes of some show on HGTV) and their grand plans usually involve them “doing it themselves because it would be easy and save them soooo much money.” You will see why this is their first mistake in a minute. To compound matters even further, my parents can never agree on anything so, this stage usually takes about 1 week to 1 year depending on the severity of the thing needing to be fixed. It also involves several heated arguments where they each try to defend their own superiority to the other because they are both right and compromise is not in their vocabulary. Things are usually thrown and divorce is usually threatened. We can finally move onto the next stage after someone throws in the towel, pouts and stomps off. This is usually my mother. At this point, I imagine my dad doing a Mr. Burns impression from The Simpsons and making an “I just pulled one over on you” face. He probably doesn’t, but in my head he does.

Step 3: Buying Materials
This stage involves more decisions, which means more fighting. The fighting usually only escalates until they find something they either both like or my mom beats my dad into submission with a frying pan. Okay, she doesn’t actually beat him into submission with a frying pan, but she does pull the whole towel, pout, stomp routine and again and she gets her way.

Step 4: Doing the Actual Work
So, you remember how in Step 2, my mom pouted and my dad pretended to let her win? Well, he didn’t let her win because he knew that he gets home from work three hours before she does. Which gives him three hours to do the home repair HIS WAY. That will show her! Or at least he thinks it will.

Step 5: Retribution
Mom comes home, sees the non-functioning mess that my dad created and makes him redo it. He does, but again, his way while she watches TV. Mom yells some more, divorce is threatened again and more things are thrown. Cycle repeates about 12 times until Mom finally goes and supervises him. I asked her once why this stage existed, why she didn’t just do it herself or I don’t know, help him from the beginning and she said “One day, when you are married, and your husband needs to have his self-worth validated on a constant basis, you will understand.” It seems more like This Is What Not To Do advice rather than valid Here Is How To Make Your Relationship Thrive advice to me, but she insists she knows what she is talking about.

Step 6: THANK THE LORD IT IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Somehow, and I really am not sure how, the project actually gets done. Or at least they think it has and they find out six months later that step they decided not to follow because they were smarter than the directions and it wasn’t really that important anyway comes up to bit them in the ass and they have to go back to Step 4 and they don’t get to pass Go and get $200 because they have used it all redoing the same project 12 times.

The moral of this story. My Mom always wins! Or they both lose. I am not really sure which.

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