Thoughts in the Car Line

Some of you may remember, from my earlier days, that I did a regular little ditty called, Thoughts in the Car Line wherein I waxed intellectual on a number of topics while I waited to pick Jackson up from school. At the beginning of my years in the car line I was always very early so I could be up near the front, which is in fact, a total waste of time. BUT, I did get a lot of writing and reading done in those times, and they will always be fond memories for me. Still confused? Let me show you a bit of what I mean with some classic Thoughts in the Car Line Moments:

  • I think Jon Bon Jovi lived on more than a prayer. Cocaine, y’all. He lived on cocaine. 
  • I bet I’d run more efficiently on cocaine. 
  • We’d all run more efficiently on cocaine. 
  • I’m not sure if the family behind me doesn’t enjoy my dancing or if they just hate Dwight Yoakam in general. 
  • There are men out here “surveying”. I keep yelling, “Hey, why don’t y’all come survey this” and then I pull my shirt down really low, but they just don’t seem interested. It must be the sports bra. 
  • This guy looks like he might be named Eddie.
  • Maybe I shouldn’t harass men? 
  • I dunno. I’m so conflicted y’all. It’s like, cocaine is bad, but then it’s good. 
  • What if Mumford doesn’t even have any sons and it’s all a damn lie?
  • I used to like Eddie Murphy. I thought he made a great donkey, but then he got all high and mighty and I was kind of like, you know what Eddie Murphy, I’m done with you. But I still like Donkey.
  • Butyraceous: Of the nature of resembling or containing butter. New stage name. Missy “Butyraceous” Goodnight. One woman act. I roll in butter while I scream “Suck it, Paula Dean!” Tickets can be purchased at Food Lion for $5 and one pound of butter.  
  • I’m not a scientist, but I feel what I lack in common sense I make up for by drinking copious amounts of wine. 
  • “I have a dancer’s body. In the trunk.” That would be a good bumper sticker. 
  • Some parents suck. Some are great. And some listen to Rod Stewart.
  • It snowed in North Carolina the other day and my mom called from Kansas to tell me that she saw Dale Earnhardt and he said not to drive on the roads, and I didn’t know if she meant that she saw the ghost of Dale Earnhardt or if she ran into Jr. at the Walmarts and he told her to tell me that the roads in North Carolina were bad, but I decided it could go either way, and everyone knows you should always trust a ghost who wants to share traffic advisories.  
  • How many raisins can I fit into my mouth?
  • 32. I fit 32 raisins in my mouth. 
  • I ate Jackson’s snack. It was raisins. 
  • If you’ve never bought a comforter from TJ Maxx are you even an adult?

As you can see, they get pretty intense. Luckily for you guys, I got to Jackson’s school a bit early to pick him up from Robotics practice the other day, and I created a new list of thoughts in the car line. No need to thank me, your kindness to each other is thanks enough.

Thoughts in the Car Line:

  • Does Santa drink egg nog every morning? Like does he just get up and dab a little bit in his coffee, then think, you know what I’m just gonna take a little sip straight out the bottle, then he takes a little nip and before he knows it he drank a bottle of egg nog? Then an hour later, when he’s laying over the toilet feeling like he bout to vomit, Mrs. Clause walks in and she’s all, “Sonofabitch, Kris, I told you not to drink a whole bottle of egg nog again. Christ, you need to be at the shop in a tight fifteen!” And he can’t look up from the commode, so he just makes little noises to himself and his white hair starts to fall from around his face, kinda dip into the water a little bit. Then she starts to get all sad that he lacks willpower and self-control, so she sits on her old, creaky knees on the heated bathroom tile next to him, and starts to rub his back in a half-hearted attempt to burp him, while he cries into the toilet bowl, and she remembers the man in college named Damien Demancus who offered her a life of luxury on his boat docked at the Margaritaville in Key West, and she sighs a little to herself. Is that, umm, probably what happens?
  • I’ve never been to Key West. I want to go, but I’m also scared to go. Cause I have been to Miami. And I have been to the Bahamas. And I sort of feel like Key West is a mixture of the two places. And I didn’t like either of them THAT much. So…
  • I think I just tooted, but like inside my intestines. That was weird.
  • There’s a Margarittaville in Tennessee. It’s over yonder by the Dollywood. I’m sure there is more than one Margarittaville in Tennessee. I just haven’t seen them all. But there are people who have. And those people are named Ricky. Not Richard. Ricky.
  • Do elves brush their teeth? All that sugar! I hope so.
  • One time on a cruise ship, we were at sea for two days because we were going from Puerto Rico to some island way the fuck out there and I had nothing to do so I went to the casino and taught myself how to play roulette. Then I taught Jackson how to play. He was in second grade. Rules are lax in the ocean. We won $700. Then we lost $900. Then I got pissed off, cause I was obviously drunk, and I threw my gin and tonic at Red #32 because I thought it was evil. But I think Jackson learned a valuable lesson: Always go find Daddy when Mommy forces him into a casino in second grade.
  • “We can’t go on together, with suspicious miiiiiinds…”
  • I wonder if they’d let me into Tyler Perry Studios? Worth a shot. Helllller!
  • Do I need to make banners for the robotics competition? And bring a megaphone? Or is it not that kinda deal? What about a charcuterie board? There’s always time for a charcuterie board.
  • Jackson can now play Jingle Bells on his trumpet. But I can play Mary Had a Little Lamb on a touchtone phone, so, who’s the real musician?

M.

Let Us Alone: My Close Call with Florida

We’ve been dealing with a little scare the last few months. Jerimiah was told back in September that they were moving him from the place he has been supporting, Baton Rouge, to a different location. First we were told we would most likely have to actually move again, which meant we would have been in Georgia for less than a year. A couple options were thrown at us, and neither of them were good. In fact, they were sorta crappy. One was New Orleans and one was Tampa, Florida. Yeah. Sure, there are worst places to live than New Orleans, like anywhere in the state of Florida. And if we have to move again we would really rather it be a move OUT of the South. But you know us, we looked at each other, took a big sigh, and braced for impact.

Part of bracing for impact meant that we decided that wherever we ended up, we were not all moving together at once. Because Jackson HAS to finish fifth grade in one school. Quite specifically this school, the coolest, most awesome school we have been in, with the coolest, most awesome teacher he has ever had. Which meant chances were good that Jackson and I would be living alone for several months in our house, and Jerimiah would be living in a roach-infested, cheap apartment in a bad part of either New Orleans or Tampa. Cause two house payments is not a thing we can do. But, here comes the happy ending: We got word last week that we don’t have to move! He is still supporting Tampa rather than Baton Rouge, but they want him to stay in the ATL because he has growth here (and if I may, he scored the highest score on this totally obscure, weirdo test they give people that his boss has ever seen #SmartestGuyEver) and for that we are thankful.

But when I was deep down in the shit last month, thinking we might have to move, and kinda sad about it, I started finding ways to make myself happy. When I thought of New Orleans, I pushed the idea of swampy, pathetic, poor-economic, low test scores, rampant racism, and flooding out of my mind and tried to focus on the good. Which boiled down to three things: Living in a historically-rich area, cheap housing prices, and visitors. Right now we have about two friends and our moms who visit us with regularity. I’m not mad, y’all, just disappointed. I thought since a lot of people consider New Orleans a “cool vacation spot” maybe we would get more traffic.

Florida was a little tougher. Sure there are the beaches (Tampa is on the Gulf side though, so it doesn’t count), and discounted Disney tickets, but it’s still fucking Florida. It’s like saying we were moving to Texas, but at least in Florida there’s diversity. In order to humor myself I started thinking up headlines that I may find myself in one day. You know the whole Florida Man thing. Well these are Florida Woman headlines, more specifically ones that I might be involved with like “Florida Woman Fends off Would-be Attacker with a Wine Bottle and a Matted-up Poodle” or “Florida Woman Loses $20 at the Roulette Table, Attacks Row of Penny Slots Convinced they were Betting Against Her”. You know, stuff like that. So without further ado, I present to you (in a very happy way because I don’t have to move any further South than I am right now):

Florida Woman Headlines, Missy Edition

  • Florida Woman Robs Convenient Store, Stealing Only Over-priced Lunchables
  • Florida Woman Hires Exorcist for Tampa-area Home, Attempting to Rid Ghost of WWF Wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow
  • Florida Woman Exchanges Humorous Texts with 65-year-old Retiree, She Believed was a Dolphin
  • Florida Woman Covers Hers Dog in Bologna, Attempts to Lure Baby Alligators to Backyard
  • Florida Woman Places Order for 157 Pounds of Chicken Wings and One Diet Coke
  • Florida Woman Attaches 10 Baby Alligators to Her Fingertips, Tells Everyone “Got my nails did!” is Escorted from Walmart
  • Florida Woman Claims she Found an “Endangered Owl” in her Backyard, Refuses to Give Live Owl to Authorities
  • Florida Woman Loses Bingo Jackpot, Flips Tables at Senior Center
  • Florida Woman Outside Piggly Wiggly with Llama, is “Unpaid, Unsolicited Endorsement” says Grocery Chain, When Reached for Comment, Florida Woman Mounted Llama and Rode Away
  • Florida Woman Makes Children Uncomfortable at Bus Stop, After Approaching with Phone Demanding they Tell her What “Flakka” is
  • Florida Woman Drunk at PTO Meeting, Demands Repayment for “Check she sent in Last Week”, PTO President says “She doesn’t even go here”

Okay, okay, you know I kid, y’all. I would never harm any animals. Not even a baby alligator. But I thought I might leave you with a bit of knowledge about this state that we despise so much. This is a true story, so true in fact, I am adding the link to the bottom of the page.

In 1845, the State of Florida decided on their flag and motto. The flag passed, but the motto: “Let Us Alone” did not, and because of the way it all went down, it would seem that nothing was actually, lawfully passed. Which is why years later Florida got a different flag. But this was what they originally wanted to be their flag. Sans the motto, but if you ask me, they should have just let them have it. And we should all heed their warnings…

Florida State Flag History from 1845

M.

Boys Will Be Boys

I read an article in Esquire that a friend shared on Facebook. It was about the uptick of boys in America diagnosed with ADHD, and put on medications like Ritalin. I’m including a link to the article at the bottom of this post so you can read it for yourself, because I am about to get all sorts of off track here, because I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. Not the article, I get what they were trying to say, misdiagnosis is prevalent and our boys should not be medicated like they are. What I took a bit of offense to, I guess it was offense, was the part about how “Boys are just more rambunctious than girls” and that’s that. That’s also why boys are diagnosed and medicated more. I get that too, I see the correlation. Or maybe it’s causation. But what hit me hard, and always does when I read about “Boys being boys” or hear someone say, “Boys will be boys” because I just don’t think that is true.

I’m a #BoyMom. Is that hashtag still a thing? It was for a bit in the early teens, and I’m always a little behind. That is to say that I have an 11-year-old son. I was also raised alongside lots of boys. By the time I was in high school I had seven nephews that all lived within walking distance of me, and trust, they were rotten sometimes. Like when they would hit each other, or ride their bikes into car doors, or scream at the top of their lungs for no reason, my sisters and my mom would says things like, “Boys will be boys” and “Oh, that’s just how boys are.” They woulds say these things, instead of correcting them. They might yell, “Hey stop hitting your brother,” but they never consistently did anything to change that behavior, hoping instead they would “grow out of it.”

But the thing is, boys are not inherently more destructive, obscene, carefree, or ludicrous than girls are. Let me stop for a minute, cause I can already see you getting all upset. Yes, there are real differences between an X and a Y chromosome*. And yes, those differences make boys and girls different, but here I am talking about mainly toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school kids. Pre-puberty stuff, and how living by the whole “let boys be boys” will not do right by them when the real shit hits the fan during puberty. And trust, with an 11-year-old I’m fast approaching this and I am seeing changes in my son. But he is still not “crazy” or a “Little Monster” and he never will be, why? Because my husband and I don’t ascribe to the prevailing attitude that boys are “little monsters.” Because we think it’s just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have a boy. And yes, he was rambunctious as a toddler and even a preschooler, because most toddlers and preschoolers are. But he was not a rambunctious, grab the dog’s tail, laugh when someone is hurt, throw toys at his friends, kinda kid. He could have been, he showed signs of it by the age of two, he was around other kids that were (friends’ kids, neighborhood kids, preschool classmates), but we simply didn’t allow him to be like those other kids. It’s not rocket science, y’all. It’s not even math. If it was, I’d suck at it. It’s just consistent, consistent, consistent parenting. Let me repeat that again, consistent. Nothing in parenting is more important than consistency, well except showing love, but that’s a whole other post. Consistency and patience. And we found out how important this was early on.

  • Then there was the weening of the bottle. We did it in one day. How? Consistency. On his first birthday we filled his bottle with water at bedtime. We gave it to him. He took a drink, screamed, and threw it at us. Then we handed it back to him. He took a drink, screamed, and threw it at us. This went on for about four hours. We would intermittently offer him a sippy cup. Until finally, he accepted the sippy cup, and the next day I donated all the bottles.
  • What about him sleeping in his own bed? Every, single, time he toddled into our room as an adorable, little, two-year-old with his blanket and tried to climb into bed with us, we walked him back. We took turns. We put a gate on his door. He climbed over it. Were took him back. We closed his door. He flipped his light on. We took his light bulb out. We took turns sitting outside his door, sometimes all night long, just to open his door and put him back in his bed when we would hear the patter of his feet on the carpet. I’m not kidding.
  • He pulled the dog’s tail. We put him in time out. Explained, yes explained, to a two-year-old that it hurts the dog. He got out of timeout and pulled the dog’s tail. We put him back in timeout and explained, yes explained, to a two-year-old that it hurts the dog. He got out of timeout and pulled the dog’s tail. Two days later he stopped pulling the dog’s tail.

Consistency. Consistency. Consistency. We never backed down. You can’t back down with a toddler, it’s like negotiating with terrorists! If you want your own damn bed you have to fight for it. You want them to potty in the toilet, fight for it. And yes, walk them to the bathroom 38 times a day. Does it suck? Oh fo sho, but if you don’t you will have a “Little, cover stealing, pooping in his pants in preschool, pulling the dog’s tail, screaming for no reason mess” on your hands. Regardless of gender. Trust. I HAVE SEEN THEM!

Jackson had a little friend who legit just walked around and screamed. No reason whatsoever. Her dad would go, “I dunno, she just does that. A lot of pent up energy I guess. Weird, huh?” No, not weird for a toddler, but annoying as hell. That don’t fly with Missy. As soon as Jackson started to pick up on that behavior we squashed that shit. Squashed it, like it was beef with Biggie and Tupac. Oh no, I won’t have a little one who walks around screaming at Target for no reason. No, no. Cause that shit leads to screaming as a child. Then screaming as a teen. Then screaming as an adult. Screaming when they are frustrated, screaming when they are tired, screaming when they want attention. Oh nay, nay! There are consequences to your actions, and bet my two-year-old figured that out real quick. How? I beat him. NO I DIDN’T, YOU ASSHOLES. I never once spanked my son. Neither did his daddy. But we were some “timeout” motherfuckers.

Guess what happened to screaming girl when her mom got tired of the screaming? A spanking. Guess what happened to Jackson when his mommy got tired of him yelling at her because he wanted milk in his sippy cup, but he knows he doesn’t get milk in his sippy cup, because you only get milk from a damn glass like a big boy? His ass went to timeout. A minute for every year of his age. Those were some of the longest three minutes of my life, y’all. LONGEST THREE MINUTES. “How do you get him to stay in that chair for three minutes?” Screaming kid’s mom would ask. Simple, I spent four days in a row walking his ass back over to the chair every time he got up. Now he knows. Magic! Nope, just CONSISTENCY!

Look it, I know I sound like I am tooting my own horn here, and it’s cause I am. Every time we go somewhere with Jackson, since he was a toddler, we get compliments about his behavior, his demeanor, his attitude, his pleasant nature. People are actually SURPRISED that a young boy can act like a civilized person. My own family thought something was wrong with him. They were all, “Why is he not trying to stuff pancakes into the DVD player?” Uhh, cause he tried that a couple of times, and then he learned. That’s a damn problem, y’all. Not the pancake in the DVD player, they come out pretty easily if you just hold it upside down and shake it, it’s a damn problem that people in society don’t know how to react when they see a well-behaved boy.

Now listen, this took me years to figure out. In fact, as recently as six months ago when someone would say, “Jackson is the sweetest kid, how did you do that?” I would smile and say, “We just got lucky!” That’s BULLSHIT! WE WORKED OUR ASSES OFF, EARLY ON, FOR THIS KID TO BE THIS WAY. Parenting is the HARDEST job I’ve ever had. It’s also the hardest job you’ll ever have. And if you don’t look at it like a job, like a requirement, like something you have to be part of, a working relationship with your partner, your extended family, your caregivers, your children, you will fail. FAIL. You will end up with a Little Monster. Boy or girl, it doesn’t matter. You have to take parenting seriously. It HAS to be your number one priority to raise a healthy, happy, adjusted, kind, child.

So how do you do it? Consistency, consistency, consistency. You have to show up, every day, sometimes all day, sometimes all night, for your kids. You have to be willing to change tactics. You can’t rely on the same old tricks you were raised with. You have to be willing to GASP! tell grandma that no, it is not okay for her to swat at his hands when he touches something she doesn’t want him to. Because swatting is hitting, and hitting begets hitting. It’s learned behavior. You have to be solid in your parenting foundation, in your choices, in how you want to see your child being raised. You have to have a plan, share it with everyone who has a part in their life, and you have to follow through. Bottom line.

And yes, I know, I know. Every child is different. I know this. In fact, I know that some of these kids that are on Ritalin should be. That it helps them. Calms their minds because they can’t calm them alone. They don’t know how yet. Their parents can’t help. And I also know, and maybe you should too, that I come from a place of privilege when I say all of this. I am the parent of one child, who had my full attention. I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s how it happened. I also had the privilege to quit my job when Jackson was a baby and devote myself full time to being his mom. And that helped me and him. It allowed me to focus solely on him (kind of, I was still in college most of his toddler years, and in grad school by the time he was in kindergarten), but Jerimiah and I made a choice, a choice for me to be home with our son, a choice that has probably, definitely, financially burdened us at times, but it was a choice we were capable of making. And I know some do not get that choice. But good, consistent choices can still be made. You can still envision how you want your kid to be and make it so. You can still try new tactics, still be open to new ideas. You can read about parenting topics you don’t know about, you can take parenting classes, for real that’s a thing! “Love and Logic” parenting class survivors right here! We were the only ones in the group who weren’t court-ordered to be there, but that’s okay. We learned so much about parenting that was never shown to us either growing up, or watching people raise their children around us.

I know it seems like I got off topic, I told you I thought I would, but I promise I didn’t. You see, parenting shows itself, good and bad. There are a million reasons why it might have happened, but most of them lead back to you as a parent. And man, I know that is tough to hear, but right or wrong, we have to take responsibility for our parenting, and stop blaming other people and things. And no, it’s not because he’s a boy, or she’s a girl. Boys are not inherently “bad.” More energy does not equate to bad behavior. I think what ends up happening is that we subconsciously play rougher with boys, lean them into more physical play, and expect them to be all-around rough-housers, which leads them into that behavior. Likewise, girls are not inherently “good.” We make them that way by expecting shyness and dependency from them. By leaning them into less physical activities like coloring, dolls, or ballet. (My son played with, and actually owned, dolls and Barbies! That’s a whole other post about gender stereotyping though…) But I know plenty of girls who are being raised to speak up for themselves. And I know plenty of boys who are kind, and helpful, and gentle with people. And I have hope that it will get better, not worse. But it absolutely starts at home with us as parents, and shaking off the views of the people before us.

M.

*I’ve been looking into the science behind why people say “Boys are different”, help me out if you can. I’m not finding credible stuff about boys actually being “different” at a young age. I’m interested in finding how/if hormones factor in before puberty.

ADHD Article from Esquire

We're All Mad Here

One of my favorite subscriptions, Creative Nonfiction, is having a huge sale. They are unexpectedly moving from the location they have been for many years, and are selling off their inventory and back issues at LOW, LOW prices. Naturally I perused their “Clearance” section for good deals. Y’all know I love a good deal, and the good deals were bountiful. Many books from Lee Gutkind, many back issues of their magazine, and even some anthologies, all for an average price of about five buckaroos. As I started to look deeper into the back issues, I noticed that most of the ones I wanted were already sold out. I was all, what gives? So I started looking for patterns and lo and behold they came, as they usually do. The sold out copies were centered around two themes: Finding joy in dark times and mental illness. So, there you have it. We’re all fucked up.

I know you know this already. But damn it’s hard to see sometimes. Especially when you’re down there, in the thick of it. And I also know that my little, let’s call it a gathering of intel (as it wasn’t really research) about what people are buying in a very specific holiday sale, at a very specific, pretty unknown publication, isn’t a tell-all about the state of the world, but… but… is it though?

On of my favorite stories is Alice in Wonderland. I love it so much, that I can overlook Carroll’s opium use (just adds to this particular story), his penchant for young girls (let’s call it pedophilia), and the hookah-smoking caterpillar. And yes, a deep dive into that bitch can elicit a million different readings. It’s about growing up, obviously, it’s about puberty quite specifically, it’s about social climbing, sure. It’s about desire, idyllic beauty, innocence. Then all the really DARK stuff too. But, one of my favorite parts is when Alice is talking to Cheshire Cat and she’s all whiny and bitchy (hormones) and she says, “Buuuuut I don’t want to go among mad peopllllllle.” And Cheshire Cat is all, “Bitch. We all mad here.” I’m paraphrasing. Alice goes on in her bitchy way to be all, “How u know I’m mad, asshole?” And he’s all, “U here ain’t u?” End scene.

In the Disney version Cheshire Cat says something quite different when Alice says she doesn’t want to go among mad people. He says, “Ohh, you can’t help that. Most everyone is mad here.” Then he laughs his weirdo laugh. See the difference? In the real, shroom-enlightened brain of Lewis Carroll, we’re all mad. In Disney’s version just some of us are. Which can really fuck with you, because Disney’s dead wrong. We’re ALL mad here.

I don’t know a single person in my life that isn’t a little cuckoo-bananas. Sure, they might be cool as a cucumber most of the time, but every, single person I know has a thing. Maybe just one. Maybe several. Usually several, but they have at least one thing that makes others go, “Hmmm…” And that’s normal, y’all. It’s okay. In fact, it’s preferred. Because what would this here world be like if we all were great and wonderful all the time? If none of us were looking for joy in dark times? If there were no dark times? If none of us were struggling daily with mental illness, or trauma, or just trying to make the ends meet? It would be a shitty, shitty world I’ll tell you that.

Of course Disney is linking to something deeper here. Now mind you, I’m talking about the original Alice in Wonderland from Disney in 1951. So I’m talking about a time in American History where shit was real bad. Not for everyone, pause, not for all white people, but for most white people. Black people and other minorities, well they weren’t even “people,” so there’s that. I’m also talking about a time when your run-of-the-mill mental illness could get you locked away for all eternity. Like, for real. This was pre-prozac. This was when mental illness was not considered a thing. Maybe you were sad sometimes. That’s okay. Pull up those bootstraps and go on. The sad, sad reality is, there are still a lot of people who think this way. Now, most of them are dying out, but still we have them in our lives. We see them everyday. They are running our country. These people who don’t think mental illness is real. These people who believe they are not afflicted by it. These people who hand-to-whateverGod think this is just all made up, fanciful, Lewis Carroll shit. Hmpf.

Imma stop. Y’all know me. I can get going down a rabbit hole, way bigger than Alice’s, about mental illness. About trying to find joy among the wreckage. And for the most part, you know what I’m gonna say. Keep on keeping. Keep up the good work. Go to therapy. Get your meds right. Talk to people. Check on your people. YES! Even your people who make mad fun of you for going to therapy or taking meds. Because the chances are good that they are in the same boat as you, but with no raft to throw on shore, y’all. Their ego, their pride, their family members or friends, their own mental illness is making it hard for them to talk openly about their own mental illness. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s true. It’s so very true. And sure, Alice in Wonderland isn’t real. There are no Queen Cards coming to life, there are no rabbits who are late, late, for a very important date. But mental illness is real. And trying to find and create joy in this shitbag, upside-down world is real (and here is a link to the Creative Nonficiton sale to prove it: Holiday Sale at Creative Nonfiction). And pedophilia is real (watch yo kids!) and opioid addiction is real. But you know what else is real? Help is real. Talking about mental illness helps. That is real. I’m living proof. And also I’m here. If you need me.

M.

The Tale of Three Trees

We bought a Christmas tree at Target the other night. Let me stop there, this involves a bit of backstory that I know you guys are super excited about! First off, I’m a real tree kinda girl. Always have been. I wasn’t raised with them because I had the kinda mom who would hate having to sweep up needles everyday, and the kind of mom who couldn’t afford to go out and buy a new tree year after year, when a perfectly good artificial tree sat in her bedroom closet waiting to be unboxed, with long strands of silver tinsel wound tightly around old, fake, metal limbs. I always felt like I needed a tetanus shot when we pulled that bitch out. So I mean to say as an adult, I’ve always had real trees. Until last year when Jackson visited the allergist, was pricked a million times, and we were told that he’s allergic to horses, cats, mold, and about 387 types of trees. And you guessed it, my beautiful Douglas Fir was on top of the list. Bah humbug!

Enter artificial trees. Last year we were in Charlotte for Christmas, which means we were in the “Little house.” So the “Little house,” though conveniently located about five minutes from Uptown, was, well, little. Very little. It was 1200 square feet. We had moved into it after living for three years in “The Big House,” which for comparison was 3,500 square feet, with a 31,000 gallon swimming pool in the backyard, situated on a one-acre lot. I tell you all this to say that “The Big House” was too fucking big. It was obscene and unnecessary. So when we moved into the city, we decided to downsize. It’s just that maybe we downsized too good. Yes. Too good. So there we were, in need of an artificial tree, after years of full, real, trees that were, on average, 8 feet tall. Our tree last year had to be much smaller. So we settled on an adorable six footer, pre-lit, and it filled the space perfectly. Below was our last “big tree” at the “Big House” in which, against my better judgment, I allowed them to use colored lights on…

Fast forward to this year. And we certainly learned our lesson with houses. We are comfortably in about 2200 square feet now, with a large great room. We pulled the old six-footer out of the attic this week, set it up next to the fireplace, and looked at each and just knew we needed a new one. It was depressing as shit. Like for real, it looked sickly. And I was all, how is this the same tree as last year? Here, look at “The Little House” in Charlotte, in the heart of Villa Heights.

And Jackson in front of our adorable little tree in our adorable, little great room. Perfect.

So as you can imagine when we stuck the six-footer in this house, we were very disappointed. I wish I had taken a picture of it before I freaked out and was forced to go buy a new one, but I didn’t. I did however take a picture when we got the new one home and set up for comparison.

Ignore the mess, instead focus on the adorable, little tree. Aww, she was cute. PS… the new eight-footer has the price tag on because Target sold us the display tree. A little-known secret coming atcha now: Target can’t sell display trees, say if they are out of stock, UNLESS they are discontinued. We discovered that when we, along with like five other people, were asking if they had any of this particular Douglas fir in stock. Of course when they didn’t we decided to go online and purchase it and just have it shipped to us for free (Target Red Card holder here, huzzah!) But it wasn’t for sale on their website. So when other people heard that they gave up and went on with their lives. Not us! Never us! We called a manager over and asked why it wasn’t for sale. That’s when we found out it was discontinued, and that’s when we found out we were buying a $200 tree for $50! Cha-ching. Have I mentioned that I LOVE Target?! I’m sure I have.

The “Little Tree” did end up finding a home. We stuck it downstairs in our family room. See pics below. Jackson decorated it himself. He also decorated a mini tree for his room, of which he is very proud.

Um, yeah, that’s him in a Sonic shirt, with Harry Potter decorations in his room, and what’s that? Yes, that’s a weather radio he found at a thrift store and HAD to have for his room. He’s such a nerd. But it’s cute tho.

So, I guess this is all to say that we have three Christmas trees in our house this year. I didn’t want three Christmas trees, I wanted one. I’m not one of those crazy Christmas people. I like one tree to place presents under, one mantel all snug as a bug in a rug, and maybe some cute dinner napkins. That’s it. Now I have three trees. But, I’m honestly not sure how much longer we have of Elf on the Shelf (that’s a whole other post) and Santa squeezing his fat-ass down our chimney, so I have decided to embrace all things Christmas this year!

There it is. The tale of three trees. I hope you got your decorations up, whatever they may be, with much less hassle than we did, and I hope you have the merriest of seasons, however you celebrate! Happy Holidays! ❤

M.

Silly Scandinavians!

Well Fuck a Duck! My mom used to say that when I was a kid. Back before she stopped using “bad words” and certainly before she found Jesus. She also used to say, “Well fuck me runnin’.” That’s sweet. Do you know how many times Little Missy imagined what that might look like in a literal sense? Yeah, kids are literal. So I assumed someone, somewhere, had fucked a duck and that’s why that was a thing. And as an adult I KNOW someone, somewhere has at least TRIED to fuck a duck, and that’s disturbing. Oh sometimes I wish to be Little Missy again.

Anywho, now that I’ve totally disturbed your week with some dangling images to fall asleep to, let’s talk about this “bad word.” You know as an English girl, and a writer, and a dabbler in all things linguistic, I love words. And I’m from the camp that there is no such thing as a “bad” word. Words are not inherently bad, people are bad. The power we sometimes give words is bad. But the word itself isn’t. Can’t be. That’s not how any of this works.

So sure, I say “Fuck.” Always have. You aren’t raised in a house where your mom yells, “Well FUCK ME RUNNIN’” and come out with a holier than thou attitude about “bad words.” Now is my mom proud of that now? No. But that was some shit she should have considered back then, ya dig? I used to be very selective with whom I said the word to. In fact, I was so selective people started to think I never spoke “like that” and I realized I was giving the wrong impression. Here’s the best thing I can say about that word, know your audience. I’m gonna leave it at that.

So where does “Fuck” come from anyway? Great question, I’m glad you asked! Fuck’s etymology is a bit hard to pin down, mainly because it was labeled a “bad word” many moons ago, therefore rendering large blank spots in its history, in fact the word doesn’t appear in any English dictionary from the late 18th century to 1965. Which is no way to treat such a versatile word, in my opinion.

So where do people think it came from? Well there’s some varying thoughts. First it’s believed this word has been around for a looooong time. Like back before the 14th century, but that it’s always had negative connotations, so it was rarely written and certainly not published, which means we have a lack of evidence now. But there is this fun little poem written in bastard Latin from the 15th century titled “Flen Flyys” that has a variant of the word. Allow me to share a line.

“Non sunt in celi, quia fuccant uuiuys of heli.”

“They [the monks] are not in heaven because they fuck the wives of [the town of] Ely.”

Okay, that’s good stuff. Damn monks. I never trusted them, not once. So here the word is “fuccant.” It’s some form of Latin, but no idea where it came from.

One of the other schools of thought is that the word comes from the Norwegian word “fukka” which straight up means “to copulate” or the Swedish word “focka” which means to strike or push, and “Fock” which just means penis. Listen, I’m not a betting lady, but if I were, the Scandinavians are the real winners here. Fucking bless you, you damn silly Scandinavians!

So there you have if. Some of it, anyway. Now go forth and use your secret favorite word today. And if someone gives you grief about it, inform them of the long history of the word, and then tell them to fuck off. You don’t need that kinda negativity in your life.

M.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

Seasonal depression! Sing it with me! Everywhere you go! You know what it is, it’s the lack of the GD sunshine. It’s the lack of the GD sunshine, and the lack of other people’s common sense. It’s a lack of boundaries from family members. It’s a lack of confidence. That feeling of not being able to keep up with the people around you. That feeling that no, I won’t spend $500 on my child for Christmas because spending $500 on a child for Christmas is nuts, but if I don’t spend $500 on my child for Christmas will other mommies judge me? Maybe. Probably. But you know what I like to wish I could say, “Fuck them!”

This is a stressful time of year, regardless of how you slice it. Slice it six ways, slice it eight, it all slices down to stress, anxiety, lack of boundaries and control, crappy weather, and usually feeling some sort of weight pressing down on you. Maybe it’s mounting credit card debt. Maybe it’s disappointing your family because you’re not coming home for the holidays, maybe it’s disappointing your children because they want more than you can give. But it’s always there, pressing down, down, down, until you feel like you can’t breathe.

Normally I’m already crazy by December 1st, but I gotta be honest, I’m not this year. I think there are two things at work here: 1. My new medication is AMAZING! I highly recommend it if you can swing it. It’s called Trintellix and it’s done a number on my reactionary nature. And 2. I’m easing into this mindset of gratitude. I’ve realized I have sort of always lived this way, the way of the grateful, mainly because I’m a big, empathic, nerd. And usually speaking, not always, but usually, being an empath brings with it gratitude. Because we see and feel the pain of others, and sometimes we clearly see that we are not in those shoes, even though sometimes we feel like we are. Here’s an example.

Last weekend Jackson and I ran to Kroger to pick up a couple of things. When we walked inside there was a man asking for money near the entrance. He had a sad story, sure, they usually do. And Jackson usually falls for it, hook, line, and sinker. He’s eleven. This man needed money to get home for the holidays. That was his story, and maybe it was true, but most likely it was not. Jackson was very upset when I told the man sorry, but I didn’t have cash. That part was true, but Jackson asked why I couldn’t get cash when I checked out. Oh this child of mine!

So I said maybe I’d get an extra $5 out for the guy. But Jackson said $5 wasn’t enough to get the man where he needed to go. I said I knew that, but I wasn’t going to pay for a airline ticket for this guy. Jackson thought on this as we strolled through the store. Later at checkout I got the $5 out and we walked outside to find him, but he was gone. Jackson suggested we keep the $5 in the glove box in case we run into him again, or someone else who might need the $5. Later that night Jackson ran down stairs upset about that man, but also very grateful. He recognized that we were also far away from what we consider to be “home” and that if we want to go “home” for the holidays we can. Sometimes we just choose not to. Because honestly #MyOwnBed, #StabilizingMyMentalHealth, and what not. See that empathetic nature giving way into gratitude.

So yeah, it’s a thing around here. The other thing that is helping me stave off seasonal depression is regular therapy. Which by the way Patsy says I need to give myself some credit. That’s it’s not just therapy and medication, but I’m working hard too. But I’m not ready to credit myself for anything. It’s a slow process.

So what am I saying here, y’all? Christ Missy, what are you ever saying besides a bunch of nonsensical nonsense like you live in damn Whoville! I mean, isn’t the Grinch just plagued by SAD? I know. I know. I think what I’m saying is maybe this holiday season you should say, “Fuck it!” I dunno, it sometimes works. If that’s not your thing then maybe try gratitude? Nah, can’t do it? I get it, how about this. How about you ship your family members to Alberta, and you take your happy-ass down to Aruba? That’s always been a dream of mine, a tropical christmas. I mean, the sunshine might just do you good!

Whatever you do, wherever you are, just remember that you’re not alone. There are people out there struggling like you are. Most people in fact. We all might struggle in different ways, but this season brings struggles. So don’t feel all alone. And be kind to everyone you meet.

M.