Christmas at the Goodnight House

When Jackson was born we decided we’d always spend Christmas at home. We aren’t into the lugging of gifts cross country, and the logistics of Santa visiting hotels, or relatives’ houses. We’ve always said our door is open to whomever would like to spend Christmas with us, and for several years we had grandparents come visit, and a couple of times friends stopped in a few days later, but for the last two years it’s been just the three of us, and Sir Duke, and while we missed our family (and enjoyed the pics they all shared from gatherings in the Midwest) we had another nice, little Christmas at home this year. Our first one in Georgia!

It’s a byproduct of living away from family, the quiet, small Christmases. And having a child who’s still young enough to lay out milk and cookies for Santa helps. Maybe, as we move into the teen years we can travel more, but until then, although I know our family misses us at Christmastime, we will be at our house, but our door is always open. Just be warned, it goes something like this:

This year Jackson woke us up at 6:00 am on the nose, and we dug in. Santa brought great gifts, including a new Nerf gun which exploded into a full-on Nerf Gun war between the three of us, running and screaming through the house while being pelted with rubber and foam. Ahh, Christmas morn.

We played with cars, we played with Jackson’s new video drone (which he promptly flew into one of the giant Georgia Pines that overlook our house). Sir Duke and I dozed in the afternoon, while the boys played a new Lego game on the PS4.

It was nearly 70 degrees, so we grilled steaks and shrimp for Christmas dinner, while Jackson took aim at his new Red Ryder targets, and Duke chased a brand-new tennis ball. We anticipated our upcoming trip over dinner, while we reminisced about the last time the three of us were in NYC together. After dinner we listened to my new record player (my old one had died), played with cars some more, than ended the night with a chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (four more to go)! And mind you, we did this all in matching pajamas. Ha!

By 10:30 we were all beat, including Sir Duke Barkington who had quite the assortment of gas-inducing treats. Whew! However, it was the merriest of Christmases at the Goodnight house. We hope it was the same for you!

M.

Ps… My favorite present was an antique globe for my office. 😍

Christmastime Indolence

A general sense of indolence takes over this time of year. For me anyway. The last few days before Christmas. Whew, it’s difficult for me to get it together. I’m usually ahead of the game, having gotten all my shopping, decorating, and wrapping done a week or so before, then I sit, plant my ass firmly on the sofa for three or four days. We all do it. The four of us (I’m including the dog here) all breathe in a long sigh of relief. The parties, the meetings, the lunches, the chaos if over. We watch Christmas movies, we eat cheese and crackers, we bake cookies, and we play board games, Monopoly, Risk, Bunny Kingdom, Gin Rummy, Life, you name it, we play it. And we sit, did I mention that we sit?

Yesterday, the day of the Winter Solstice, the day of our wedding anniversary, was our first official day of pure laziness. We did a lot of nothing. We didn’t strain ourselves, except maybe when I sat up quickly to grab the last piece of cheese off the charcuterie board before my husband. Our mothers both called us to wish us a happy anniversary. They asked what our big plans were for the day. Monopoly and Home Alone 1 and 2. Those were our big plans.

Today we watched Die Hard because yes it is a Christmas movie. Tomorrow? Who knows! Maybe A Christmas Story and Exploding Kittens. Maybe, maybe we will venture out at 8:00 pm, not showered, in pajamas, to look at Christmas lights. On Christmas Eve we might bake some cookies. We might bake them, and put them in festive tins, and deliver them to our all our neighbors in the cul-de-sac. Maybe. I wouldn’t want to overdo it.

Then on Christmas, well, I might not shower until after my second nap. But I’m sure I will shower, eventually. And steak and shrimp are on the dinner menu that day, which means someone, ahem, someone has to fire up the grill. 1, 2, 3, Not me!

I do love this time of year, the time of year doing nothing with my husband, our son, and our pup. We don’t take it for granted, of course. And we know that we are lucky. Not everyone can afford indolence this time of year, and ours ends on December 28th when we load up the family sleigh and head on a whirlwind eight-day vacation, but until then, well until then we plan on finishing Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, and maybe, maybe three or four more Christmas movies, you know, if we have the time between all the snacking and the napping.

Here’s to an easy holiday, enjoying family time, and napping. May you all have the ability to go forth in napping today!

Happy Holidays!

M.

Duke’s Christmas List

If you’re new here, Duke is my standard poodle. His full name is Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte (even though he was born in South Carolina, shh, he doesn’t like to talk about that). We named him Duke for three very different reasons. Jerimiah chose Duke because he’d always wanted a dog named Duke. He said it was a “cool dog name.” Granted, he always envisioned naming a kick-ass dog like a German Shepherd that name, but instead he got a poodle. Jackson picked the name Duke because of the big, brown, fluffy dog in the movie “The Secret Life of Pets” (our Duke is also big, brown, and fluffy), and I chose Duke because of John Wayne, obviously. Sir, because he’s French nobility (so he thinks), Barkington because that’s one awesome surname, and “of Charlotte” as one does with royal lines.

Duke, as we refer to him in casual company, is big, and goofy, and recently neutered so he’s working through some stuff. But I did sit down with him yesterday and ask him to write out a Christmas list to send “Baby Jesus.” He’s very confused about Christmas, and Santa, and religion, and well, most things. This might be a good time to tell you he’s also a Republican. He was just born that way. There’s no conversion therapy. Believe me, I’ve checked. And not that this is an excuse, but again, he was born in South Carolina.

Anyway, I asked Duke what he wanted Santa, err, Baby Jesus to bring him and he proceeded to write Baby Jesus a letter and I’m sharing it with you today just in case you have a big, brown, fluffy, Republican dog to buy for too. You’re welcome.

M.

From the Desk of Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte

Dear Baby Jesus,

Remember last year, when my family put the Christmas tree up as a sacrifice to quench your thirst for plastic? And remember when I immediately took it down, chewed up the light cord, and ate three or four of Mommy’s presents? You still gave my gifts! Remember that?! You still, even though I destroyed your sacrifice, stuffed my stocking with treats and tennis balls. Since I wasn’t the best boy last year and you still gave me gifts, well, I can tell Baby Jesus that you are a generous soul, like me! I haven’t torn the tree up once this year. Even though Mommy had my testicles removed to teach me a lesson. What the lesson was, I don’t know, but I’m trying to be better.

So in the spirit of goodness and forgiveness I bring forth my list of Christmas demands wishes. Thank you. In Baby Jesus Jeff Session’s name we pray. Merry men!

Duke’s Christmas List

  • My testicles back, if not possible then the testicles of the doctor who took mine away.
  • A Cabbage Patch Doll, sourced locally from the Cabbage Patch General Hospital, with an additional 287 Cabbage Patch Doll heads. Not cabbage heads. I may know the difference.
  • A device that allows me to get into the lid of the trash can, can be creative, one-of-a-kind device. Must be operated by mouth and frustration.
  • Box of paper clips along with a detailed description of what they are, what they do, and why they make my gums bleed when I eat them.
  • A surefire win for President Trump in the 2020 elections. Nothing with Ukraine though, we’ve tried that.
  • Seven cases of whipped cream. Can be any brand except Starbucks, I don’t shop there anymore, since they didn’t put “Merry Christmas” on their cups seven years ago.
  • Socks. Just lots of socks, no questions asked.
  • A Chick-Fil-A gift card.
  • 700 tennis balls, the good kind, you know which kind I’m talking about, don’t cheap out.
  • A wife. She can be any breed as long as she’s a standard poodle. Must be white and from the United States. No French speakers.
  • A full spa day where Mommy doesn’t remind me 50 times that what she pays for my haircuts is ten times what she pays for her own, so I “better not stay outside too long in the damn rain.”
  • A rainstorm.
  • A stuffed Grinch. I saw it at Petsmart, but Mommy wouldn’t buy it for me. She said it cost too much. I get the sneaking suspicion that my stuffies come from secondhand stores. That’s not fair. I want brand new stuffies to rip apart in less than a minute.
  • Unrestricted access to all the bathrooms in the house. And any subsequent house I find myself.
  • A Trump Chiapet.

Thanks you Baby Jesus Santa, I look forward to our time together in a few weeks, wherein you attempt to come down the chimney and I stand at the bottom and wait to bite you. Your cookies will be long gone. Better bring a taser.

Love,

Duke

Bump in the Night

Two nights ago we had one of those nights where we just couldn’t get it together. Firstly, I’m sick. Like coughing up things, blowing my nose constantly, NyQuil advertisement sick. (Yes, I had my flu shot two months ago, no it’s not the flu. But while we’re on the topic, please get a flu shot. No it doesn’t give you autism. No it doesn’t give you the flu.) Ahem, so I’m sick. Jackson’s been a little funky too, but no fever, so he’s been hitting school hard, and so far no signs from Jerimiah of sickness, which is good. Regardless, we were all a little off two nights ago.

First, my NyQuil dose wore off prematurely. Which (Jerimiah likes to remind me) probably wouldn’t happen if I took the correct dosage and didn’t just chug the bottle until it “felt right.” Okay, I’ll give him that. But that wasn’t helpful advice at 3:00 am, when I was wide awake and hearing things. The “things” I was hearing turned out to be wind. Some crazy, cold wind (the temp was in the twenties). Sir Duke Barkingotn heard them too, which meant that he jumped up at 3:00 am and started doing his “I’m the damn dog in this house, and I shall protect you all from the murderous noises!” He was barking and sniffing and being generally annoying.

Of course Jerimiah was fast asleep, so I woke him up to go check the house. He groggily walked around, in pajama pants and a grimace, until both Sir Duke and he both agreed all was fine. Then right as he was about to get back into bed, I implored him to check on Jackson. When he walked into Jackson’s room, Jackson thought it was time for school and freaked out. I suppose the barking had woken him up. A conversation ensued, in which I strained to hear, then Jerimiah got back into bed. All the moving around gave my tummy the rumbles, and I had to run to the bathroom for what felt like an hour.

So at this point it’s 4:30 am, let’s say. I’m back in bed, and almost asleep, you know that moment where it could go one of two ways: You could either go over the edge into sleepy land or violently wake yourself up. I woke up. But only because I “felt” someone standing in the hallway. I was right. It was Jackson. He was standing upright in the hallway, I could see his shadow. I called to him. He said he had to go to the bathroom. Then he went into the bathroom and closed the door.

At 4:45 I went to check on him. He said he was fine, but that his belly was upset. I started worrying about food poisoning.

At 5:00 am Jackson was back in bed and I was going over the edge to sleepy land again and boom, he’s back in the bathroom like a shot. Now I’m convinced I’ve killed us all with my rice, taco bowls. Jesus, have we ate at Chipotle lately? I wondered to myself, feeling Jerimiah twitch, it’s only a matter of time before he hops up to use the bathroom.

By 5:30 am I’d convinced myself I was up for the day, sort of. I was almost asleep again when Sir Duke heard more of that murderous wind.

By 5:45 I was asleep. Fast asleep. So asleep that I didn’t hear anyone up for school, didn’t hear the murderous wind anymore, didn’t even hear Sir Duke on morning patrol. In fact, I slept until 11:00 am. Unfortunately, Jerimiah and Jackson did not get to sleep in, but Duke and I were cool.

What’s the point of all this? There isn’t one. Except to say maybe my dog is annoying, or a really good watchdog. My kid seems fine. I’ve resigned to using the little cup for my NyQuil dosage, and Jerimiah can literally sleep through anything.

M.

Arizona Time

I’m still on Arizona time, which is three hours behind our time. Which is why I’m wide awake at 2:00 am, contemplating life, as I stare at the light coming through the crack in the curtain. Well, it’s part of the reason. There are other reasons.

Like, my child is going on his first-field trip alone tomorrow. He won’t be alone, alone, just without me. I’ve ALWAYS chaperoned his field trips, but I didn’t this one, and I’m nervous. It’s to the Holocaust Museum at Kennesaw State. I’m not worried about the subject matter (we took him to the Smithsonian one in Washington, DC earlier this year), it’s all the other things that worry me. Will he take the time to stop and eat his lunch? Will he be mindful of his actions? Will he be respectful of the history? Will he ask pointed and thoughtful questions? Will he let his best buddies get him off track? Will the bus be safe on the highway? Will his teacher be nearby if gets sad? I have concerns.

Then there’s all the other things of life. My work I’ve been putting off, with the deadline this week. My mom’s last three days in town with us. Halloween. Spirit Night. Field Day. Husband leaving for another week of work. Dentist appointment. Therapy. It’s all happening this week. And it’s all piling on top of the fact that I was gone for five days. There’s guilt there, right? Even though there shouldn’t be. Even though my husband and son haven’t said anything about it. It’s just there. In my head. Mom guilt.

Today I told my husband I’m always afraid when I leave, that they will realize they get along fine without me. Worst fear, right? That you’re not the glue that holds the family together. He was shocked. He scoffed a little and said, “Yeah, we get by. But that’s all we do. Get by.” Then he hugged me and told me he was glad to have me home. The dog, he informed me, had been depressed. This I could believe.

So yeah. I’m wide awake at 2:00 am. But it’s only 11:00 pm in Tucson. So, it’s not too bad.

M.

Bump, Bump, Bump

I fell down my stairs on my birthday. Let me back up and first say, I am not a “clumsy” person. I don’t fall down, or drop things, or run into walls, or whatever it is people do in infomercials when they are trying to open a tight jar lid and they accidentally throw it through their kitchen window. I am pretty steady on my feet, my wide, long, feet. (Unless I am on ice skates, but we shan’t talk about that today.) I have never in my life fallen down stairs or steps (unless for comedic effect or because I had skates on my feet and wanted to “try it”). Then, on the morning of my 38th birthday I fell. And it hurt like hell.

Our house is one of these mid-century split levels that have been booming in the renovation market lately. It’s been renovated, but the foundation of the house hasn’t changed. So we have two stair cases. One goes down from the main level to the family room and guest area, and one goes up to the bedrooms in the house. I tell you this so you know that I only fell down six steps. Six. That’s it. But that was more than enough steps to wreck havoc on my body. Christ Missy, what happened?

I have no idea. I keep replaying it over and over in my head, both because I am in awe that it happened, and because I don’t know what happened. I had just come inside from riding my bike to drop Jackson off at school. When I walked inside I told Sir Duke Barkington that I would take him for a walk. Then I remembered that I left his lead upstairs by my bed, because I had taken it off when he was up there the night before. Then when it wasn’t on my bedside table I remembered that I had taken it back downstairs the day before. So I headed downstairs.

I wasn’t in a hurry. I wasn’t mad or frustrated, it was my birthday! I had just come home from a bike ride. I was feeling nice. I had on my “good” shoes, which are my trusty Salomon XR Mission’s (that I recommend to anyone who suffers from plantar fasciitis). Jesus. I feel old just typing that. Anyhoo, I got to the top of the step and kind of just, fell. I fell directly on my left side, first my butt hit, then my back, then I half-heartedly reached for the handrail. Why didn’t I reach again? Why did I only sort of stick my hand out? Maybe I thought I wasn’t really going to slide all the way down the stairs, but I did. Bump. Bump, Bump. At least three times, hardwood stairs to butt, hardwood to back. Ouch.

I sat, in shock, for a minute then decided I was done for the day. Like my immediate reaction was, That’s it, Missy. Today sucks, this is how it will be. But then I remembered it was my birthday and I was like, No Missy, we can’t take this lying down. Even though I really wanted to lay down. So I got up and took the damn dog on his walk. Then I got home and worked and wrote some things. Made some calls, fielded way more birthday wishes than I deserve, and even rode my bike back to school to get Jackson that afternoon. Then, about 4:00 pm, after I had done all I needed to absolutely do that day I sat down and the pain came. And the swelling. And the reminder that I fell down my stairs that day. And that I am another year older. And that old people fall sometimes. Then I laughed at myself like I normally do, and enjoyed my evening with my boys.

The thing is, when I really think about it, my 38th year can only go up from here. It can only go up from the bottom of my stairs. So I think I have a lot to look forward to. 🙂

Stay safe out there, y’all. Use handrails.

M.

Poodles Are Crazy

One thing I wish someone would have told me before we adopted Sir Duke Barkington, is that poodles are fucking crazy. Of course, it would have been hard to tell me that, because I woke up one day and was all, Hey Missy, let’s get a poodle today! And so we did (because my husband truly gets me all the things I want, and for the most part goes along with all my crazy plans. He really needs to stop that. Someone needs to knock some sense into me.) So there’s that. Although, come to think of it, maybe Duke is just exhibiting behavior he has learned from me? That’s neither here nor there, let me tell you about car line.

Jerimiah usually drops Jackson off at school in the mornings on his way to work. It would be a nice little sleep-in kinda deal for me, if it weren’t for the damn dog. Sir Duke REALLY likes car rides, so when he watches them leave in the morning he freaks out. Like, freaks out. Goes from window to window to see them drive away, then goes to the front door and cries as they pass by the porch. Why do I know this? Why am I not fast asleep in bed? Because if I sleep in, then the damn dog “acts out” after they leave. Usually this means going through the trash, or tearing apart one of my books he has managed to nose off the bookshelves. So I have to be up and at ’em in the morning, or else.

When Jerimiah is away, I have to take Jackson to school, which is totes fine as it is a three-minute drive (which is much better than the 25-minute drive we used to do in Charlotte up and down the highway each morning.) BUT, that means Sir Duke Barkington either gets left outside or gets to come along. This week he caught on pretty quickly that if he gets put outside before we leave, we aren’t letting him back in. And he has to stand at the gate and whine and watch us as we pull out of the driveway. So on Friday, he guilted me into taking him. How? His eyes, his deep, brown, soulful eyes. Here, look:

Oh, oops. Sorry, that is a picture of his balls hanging freely. So sorry, big mistake. Trust me, he has soulful eyes. BTW: He still has these bad boys for another month, so if you know any, ahem, pretty SPOO or DOOD ladies… He’s looking. #Thumbs Up #WinkyFace #NoPreferenceWhatsoever

Anyway, this sonofabitch followed me around all morning and whined at my feet, refused to go outside, and just as I was slipping Jackson’s lunch box into his book bag, he ran over, sat politely, and stared at his leash. See what I mean? Guilt. So we took him.

You know how sometimes you feel like people are watching you, or looking at you, or judging you in some way? But really they aren’t. You just feel that way because we are all self-centered, when in reality we are all too busy thinking the same thing about ourselves to be actually paying each other any attention? When I’m in the car with Duke, people really are looking at us and judging.

First, he’s adorable. No, for real, here look:

Oh, Jesus, I’m sorry, it’s a zoomed in balls picture, I’m so sorry! How did that happen?! Okay, trust me with the next one:

Okay, okay. See what I mean? Really sorry about the other picture. Not sure what happened.

So, yeah, not gonna lie, he’s totes adorbs. And people want to pet him. And he wants people to pet him. He LOVES people and pets. Unless he is in the car. Something happens to him when he’s in the car. He goes into “Batshit Crazy Poodle mode,” as I refer to it. I have only ever seen this type of behavior in more protective, aggressive breeds like German Shepherds and Chihuahuas. The car, like his house, is his domain to protect and he does just that. It’s just that, say, at the carline at school, or in the line at the bank, it kinda sucks to have to roll all the windows up, and have your giant Standard Poodle barking ferociously over your shoulder at whomever you are talking to. And in the carline, when the teachers—or in the case of today—when the PRINCIPAL opens the car door for Jackson, and he lunges at the tiny woman from the backseat, which makes you nervous and you let off the brakes a little while the car door is still open and she says, “Ohhhh,” well, it can be embarrassing.

So what is my point here? Don’t adopt a Standard Poodle?! Oh, no! Adopt one, they are amazing, here, just look at him when he was a puppers:

You were sorta scared to look, huh? I said you can trust me now, you guys! Adopt away, just know that they are crazy-ass mofos who feed off your anxiety and worry. They are SUPER smart and also SUPER stubborn, so while they know that you want them to calm the fuck down, they refuse to do it. You won’t be telling them what to do, rather they will be telling you what to do. But in return, if you obey their demands, you get a ton, a ton, of cuddles. Like, probably more than you want. But don’t complain, or they will attack the mailman.

Smoochie booches!

M. and Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte

Ding Dong Chicken

Whenever I miss our old home in Charlotte, North Carolina I start to crave Ding Dong Chicken. For those of you who have never experienced the awesomeness that is Ding Dong Chicken, follow me down this rabbit hole, you won’t be sorry. I first discovered Ding Dong Chicken at a local place in Uptown Charlotte called Pinky’s Westside Grill. This is one of our favorite restaurants in Charlotte, but we have a rocky history together.

The first time Jerimiah and I met for lunch at Pinky’s we ran across it while we were exploring Uptown not long after we moved to the Charlotte area. At the time we lived one county over, in a small town called Denver, NC that lacks any real places to eat good food. There were the local favorites like the Mexican place by Aldi’s or the Sports Page, but if you wanted one-of-a-kind, cool, new food you had to go to Charlotte.

Jerimiah had just started his new job and was making the 40 minute drive into Uptown everyday. On Fridays I would sometimes meet him for lunch, once school started and Jackson was securely in his fun, safe kindergarten class all day. These occasional lunch meetings were good for both of us. At the time I was considering applying to grad school in Charlotte, he was just learning the area, and we had started to think about moving into the city. We originally stumbled upon Pinky’s because of the VW Beetle that sits on the roof of the place. We liked the outward appearance of the place and we just knew the food would be tasty.

But we didn’t go that day, we went somewhere else. It wasn’t until some of the people at Jerimiah’s office were telling him he had to try Pinky’s that we actually went in one day. On this particular day it was spring, and just starting to get warm outside. The restaurant was full, which is normal at lunchtime, so we opted for the outside patio so we could get seated immediately. We don’t normally sit on patios, so I was feeling a little off already. Then there was the fact that it was our first time there, there were so many options on the menu, and I’m not great with options, and the fact that I could see inside and it looked cool and fun, and we felt banished to the patio. I dunno, I guess I am saying I let all these things get to me when I ordered, so I did what a naive person does, I sorta freaked out and ordered something I wouldn’t normally order: A tuna melt. Even Jerimiah looked at me and said, “Tuna?” Like, I don’t even really eat tuna, ever. I shook my head frantically and handed the menu back to the server. A few minutes later my tuna salad sandwich came out, along with Jerimiah’s awesome-looking turkey burger and I quickly resented my decision. I was mad at myself and at Pinky’s. But I didn’t give up.

Below is a sample of their menu, maybe you can see my frustration.

So the next time we went to Pinky’s we waited for a table inside. We soaked in the fun, cool atmosphere. We asked the server what to get. And she said, “Anything, as long as it is Ding Dong Style.” Well I had no idea what that meant but I said, “I’ll have the Ding Dong Chicken!” And my life was transformed.

Listen, I know this sounds nuts. Like Missy, a damn chicken sandwich can’t change your life, but if you’ve been following this Popeyes v. Chick-fil-a thing, you know it can. PS… Had the Popeyes sandwich, and yeah, it’s awesome. Way better than those Chick-fil-a sandwiches dripping in closeted homophobia and kindness. But still, neither are better than the Ding Dong Chicken at Pinky’s. Allow me to introduce you:

What is that, Missy?! It is a marinated and grilled chicken breast, free from antibiotics and all the gross stuff. It is smack dab between a yummy sesame seed bun (though your bread options are immense, even gluten-free if you are one of those nutcases). Then it is topped with crunchy peanut butter, sriracha, and coleslaw. It is important to know that everything is topped in coleslaw in North Carolina. I’m not a fan of coleslaw, but this one is a cilantro-honey slaw, and it’s amazeballs.

So what do I do now, that I live so very far away from my Ding Dong Chicken? I make it at home, duh! Here’s how I do it, if you want to try it yourself.

10 Easy Steps to Homemade Ding Dong Chicken

  1. First you go to your favorite place to get chicken breasts. Mine is wherever they are on sale that week, usually Kroger. Then you buy your meat. Then you marinate your meat in either a Thai marinate, or in Teriyaki. Both seem to give the flavor you are looking for.
  2. Then one evening, while you are trying to do a bunch of things, remember that you have that chicken you are marinating and you have to cook it that night or it will go bad. So run outside and fire up the grill.
  3. Keep the dog away from you by shouting, “Get back, asshole” whenever he approaches. Throw a ball if need be.
  4. Once you think the grill is hot enough (because your thermostat thing has been broken for like seven years) throw the marinated chicken on the grill.
  5. Close the grill, throw the ball, and continue to spray paint that bookshelf you bought at the Goodwill. Remember to only spray paint in the grass because you can just mow it. Don’t do it on your deck, lest you accidentally get your thrift store patio furniture covered in white chalk paint. You realize you paid more for the paint than you did the actual shelf, right? Nevermind, what’s the dog licking on the ground by the grill?
  6. Check on the chicken. Ohhh, it smells good. Okay, flip it.
  7. Go back to spray painting. Should you be using a mask? Are you getting a little high off this spray paint? How do people get high off it? Is that called huffing? Is that how people get high really quickly? What was the K2 stuff someone was talking to you about the other day? Hey did you get crunchy peanut butter at Kroger?
  8. Yell for your kid or partner or cat to bring you a platter so you can put the chicken on it to take it inside. Abandon the bookshelf, you will finish it before the next hurricane comes through.
  9. Plate the chicken. Here is where you can really let your personality shine. Do you want to use your nice Fiestaware? Or do you prefer that plate you got to help you with portion control? No, that one will just depress you. Just use the platter.
  10. Spoon out some crunchy peanut butter that you found in the back of the pantry (scrape off the marshmallow fluff that is stuck to the top of it, or don’t your call, might be good). Then grab the sriracha from the fridge and squirt it over the top. About this time other people will start to walk into the kitchen because the smell is so good. Your partner may say something like, “What did you make?” Take the platter, grab a knife, yell something about how you are the only one who has any damn sense in this house, and run into the laundry room to eat your Ding Dong Chicken in peace and quiet.

Oh yeah, add coleslaw if you live in North Carolina.

You’re welcome.

M.

Tech-free Day

Yesterday the boys and I did our first official Tech-free Day! Woohoo! It was Jerimiah’s idea and we weren’t sure how it would go, so we laid some ground rules. Rule #1: Phones away for the day if you are anxious (like yours truly) you can check them a couple of times to see if anyone called because someone may have died. Rule #2: If Morgan can play Minecraft, then Jackson can hop on and play. Morgan is Jackson’s BFF, but she happens to live in Rhode Island, so for now, their playdates have been Minecraft dates with a side Google Hangout video chat. We decided this was okay because they don’t get to do this often, only when all the stars align, and it really is a playdate. Kinda cool that he gets to have one with her when she’s hundreds of miles away. When we lived in Charlotte Morgan was part of one of our tech-free mornings and she didn’t mind, so she knows what’s up. (We’ve been doing tech-free weekend mornings for about a year now, they have been awesome.) Rule #3: Music! We can turn the Apple HomePod on for music. Case closed. Gotta have music.

So what in the hell did we do?! Well, Jackson and Jerimiah let me sleep in, which was nice because I was up all night staring at the ceiling thinking of all the shit I have to do this week. While I slept, Jerimiah taught Jackson how to make eggs with one of those silicone egg shapers we bought him to practice with. That turned into a whole breakfast, of which they surprised me in bed with and then joined me. Honestly, it was past eleven by the time we even got back out of bed from eating, talking, and playing with the damn dog.

Then we cleaned up breakfast and all sat down to write some letters. WHAT?! Like old-fashioned letters?! Yep. Jackson wrote four and a thank-you card for Mr. Charlie, our neighbor who gave up fresh figs on Friday. I wrote a letter to three friends, Jerimiah wrote two, but he did it with his calligraphy pen, so extra points. Then we decorated all the envelopes, pulled out our wax seal with the “G” on it and had fun sealing the envelopes. We are pretty much nerds, did you get that yet?

Then we started on our “projects”. The boys had bought car models to put together and I have been working on my “plates”. Listen, it’s best to not ask about “the plates” just yet, I’ll share when I am all finished. Then we had a late lunch and talked some more. The talking was much needed.

After lunch Jerimiah and played Bunny Kingdom, our favorite board game, but Jackson (who was a little antsy at this point) opted to build Legos and clean his desk. This is also when he realized he missed a call from Morgan about playing Minecraft four hours before! He freaked out a bit and we allowed him to text her to see if she could play, but she couldn’t, so he walked around bummed for a bit while we finished our game.

Jackson cleaned his desk up and organized some Legos, then Jerimiah and him went out to work on the garden while I maid dinner, Jackson’s request: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. We ended the night cleaning the house for about an hour, all hands on deck, emptying trash cans for the week, getting all laundry to the laundry room (it was really nice to not have to do it myself), then we played a game of “cars”, Jackson’s favorite, then ended the evening reading the next chapter in Harry Potter. We are in book six, for those wondering. We’ve been reading the series as a family over the past year.

So, that was that. Not at all bad, and actually a really productive day. We didn’t get any yard work done, but man it was hot, so now we have to work on the yard in the evenings, but it was worth it, trust me.

So here is wishing you all a fun, relaxing day with your families sometimes soon. And if you are up for it, try it tech-free, it might be awesome!

M.

Beaches/Casinos

I’m back down in the bayou this week (and next) to end summer vacation. This is where we began summer vacation too. You can get yourself up to speed here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/06/13/deep-deep-south/ Why are you in Baton Rouge so much, Missy? Do you just love it there? Uhh, no. In fact there is not one Dunkin’ Donuts in the whole city. Not kidding. Not exaggerating because the closest one is a ten minute drive, being totally serious here, y’all. And that is just problem number one. (Link to the only thing I have found on the topic: https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_bf1dec3c-0222-11e8-858d-7f14b7b662c5.html) I’m here because the husband works for the Baton Rouge unit, but in a sick twist of fate, his area makes them work remotely.

Here it is. The husband works his nine to five in Georgia, then once a month he travels down here because this is actually the business unit he supports out of his Georgia office. This is the only area in the company to do it this way and I think they just want to “try it.” But this summer he’s been called longer than one week at a time, therein lies the problem. We don’t mind when he gets on a plane on Monday morning and is home by dinnertime on Friday, but when you throw in a weekend, a Sunday travel day, and two full weeks, well that is when things get a little weird. We are a tight family unit. Too tight? Maybe, but no one is complaining. It works for us. So when Daddy is away, things feel wonky. Throw in the fact that this is Jackson’s last two weeks of summer vacation, and we always plan to squeeze in a little fun there, and you have yourself a problem. So we did what any normal Missy, Jerimiah, or Jackson would do: We changed plans last minute, rented a car, and drove the whole family back down here for the two weeks of work. After all, we sorta all work for the company now. Ehh.

Last time we were here we did all the things. We did New Orleans, we did the airboat tour, we even did LSU, and Mike the Tiger, and fried alligator. We went all out because we suspected Jackson and Duke and I would not be back. Ho hum. So this time I am stretching things a bit for something to do. Yesterday we went shopping for back to school clothes, because that is just a necessity, so we got to see the cool exciting worlds of both Kohls and Old Navy. Ohhhh. Ahhhhh! Okay, now what? You guessed it, Target for school supplies, but let’s leave that excitement for next week shall we?

On the seven hour drive down here, I started frantically looking for things to do that were both fun and educational because school starts in two weeks and I don’t want his first day to go like this:

Teacher: What did you do on summer vacation, Jackson?

Jackson: Listened to my mom complain about the heat in Baton Rouge.

You know, top of mind and what not.

So I started to Google cool things around Baton Rouge. I kept going further and further out, swiping right, yelling, “No! No! No!” Then I ended up in Houston. Whaaaa?! I know what you are thinking now. Missy, you HATE Texas! Yes I do, that part has not changed. BUT, Houston has NASA, and NASA is cool as shit, as long as there is no “Space Force” involved. So I dunno, maybe I will take my kid to Texas this weekend to get a tour of the Johnson Space Center. Should I make him watch Apollo 13 first? Probably. Or maybe I will take him across the street to the Blue Bayou waterpark. Because the only thing left for us to do here is drop a ton of money at a casino. Because that is Louisiana. Beaches and casinos. So, the world may never know what we decide on… Until Friday, I really have to decide by then. Wish me luck!

Have a great week!

M.

Things are Going Well

Day two of my child being 700 miles away at grandparent summer camp.

Me: It’s too quiet.

Dog: Shush, I’m napping.

Me: But don’t you miss him?

Dog: Yes, of course, I’m napping.

Me: Ohhhh, Dukers cuddle with me like Jackson would.

Dog: No. Stop it. Get your hands off of me.

Me: You hate me… (crying)

Dog: Jesus. Here let me hop onto your face, does this help?

Me: Get off my face you nutso.

Dog: I don’t get you, I mean honestly.

Me: What is your problem? Get away from me.

Dog: Fine, I’ll just walk over her and nap again.

Me: WHY ARE YOU LEAVING ME?!

Dog: …

This Week in Georgia

As y’all probably know I currently live in the Atlanta-metro area (just like Ludacris and Elton John) and today I was thinking since we share a border with Florida, the craziest state in the union, I wonder if weird stuff happens here too? And yeah, it does. Here is a list of shit that happened this week in Georgia. Enjoy!

  • The doors of an armored truck opened on The Perimeter and approx. $175,000 flew out onto the highway
  • I pooped seven or eight times a day, on average
  • A landlord evicted tenants for inviting black friends over, denies claim by saying: “Some of the best friends I got is colored folk.”
  • A Wendy’s was shut down when several employees tested positive for Hep B
  • A woman ordered a “Moana” cake, but her accent was so thick that the baker thought she said “Marijuana” so she got a cake with high My Little Ponies and a huge pot leaf
  • A Bibb County deputy was arrested for leading a racketeering scheme that involved gas station slot machines
  • The man who was accused of killing his mom for “Driving him crazy” was arrested at the ATL Airport
  • I filled up the hot tub with super-cold water and floated around in it while I drank spiked seltzer waters, listened to Adele, and had a very real conversation with an imaginary character in the book I am reading
  • A slow-moving triangular aircraft traveling under the cover of darkness was reported in Marietta
  • It was revealed that the highest number of military enlistees come from Georgia
  • A couple of teenagers staged a kidnapping at a mall for a YouTube video. People thought it was real, chaos ensued.
  • “Hipster Mayor” of Clarkston, Ted Terry, is running for senate (he’s the guy from “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” turned mayor, actually, yeah, for real)
  • My neighbor Ginger, tried to give me a sheet cake that someone gave her
  • A homeowner shot a man who was breaking into his house carrying a machete
  • “The Peach Truck” is on sale on Amazon. It is a cookbook made by the guy who drives all over the country selling Georgia peaches from the back of his pick-up
  • A 30-year-old man tossed a 13-year-old girl out of the car window during a low-speed police chase. He met her online for sex. While this happened in South Carolina, the man was from Georgia, so it counts.
  • It was discovered that the Starcourt Mall in Stranger Things 3 (an actual mall in Gwinnett County) may not be around for that much longer. A sports aficionado wants to bulldoze it and turn it into a Cricket stadium with 20,000 seats.
  • The Georgia Poison Control Center says no on essential oils, too dangerous especially for kids under 5. But for real, did you not know that? Put the damn essential oils down, Karen and go to the doctor.
  • Mr. Kim’s cat ran into my backyard and tried to eat peaches from my tree, when I let the dog out to chase the cat away my damn dog didn’t see the cat and the cat froze like a statue and I thought the cat was dead, like terrified straight, then about 14 squirrels who were hiding in the tree came out at once and distracted my damn dog and the cat got away

A Glimpse into My Life

“Mommy!”

“Mommy!”

“Mommy.”

(Barking)

“Mommy…”

“Mommy.” (Eye roll)

“Mommy!!!”

“Mom…eeeeeeeeeeee.”

“Mom. Mom. Mommy. Mom.”

(Loud barking from the hallway)

“Mommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmy!”

Bark. Bark. Bark. (Skid across the floor) Bark. Bark.

Breakfast time.

Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark. Bark…

You get the picture.

M.

Laundry

Here’s the thing: I hate laundry. Hate. It. But somedays I am in the laundry room, folding clothes, sorting socks, and hanging up dresses, and I am all, Wow, you rock, Momma! You do all this for your family. You take care of your people. You show love with acts of service to others. They might not realize all you do, but you know, in your heart, that you will always care for them in this way. Laundry is but a window into your loving soul, and you are the best one to do this all. Then the next day when I am in the laundry room, folding clothes, sorting socks, and hanging up dresses, I am all, Fuck this shit, I’m moving to a nudest colony! You sons-a-bitches don’t deserve me! Yeah, I said it. A nudest colony. And you might think that I don’t have the courage to do that, but I do. I have already looked them up. And yeah, they are all mainly in Florida. And yeah, that means small, wrinkly, old man penis in my face all the time, but look at me! LOOK AT ME! I am a Goddess and they would LOVE to have me there, and you know what (laughs crazily), you know what, they would WORSHIP me! Worship me, you pile of dirty-sock, poop-stained underwear-wearing assholes! Those old, wrinkly men would WORSHIP me!

And then I apologize to my dog for yelling at him and I finish up the laundry.

M.

Snapped

Over the last few weeks when I was not writing, I was still snapping photos. And I figure what better way to share them than on my bloggy-blog with all you unsuspecting souls. In short, when I get creatively blocked I go in search of my lost creativity. Sometimes I find it, sometimes I do not, but it is worth a shot (see what I did there, oh I make myself giggle). Anyhoo, here are some pics I snapped in Oklahoma last week. I took a short, unexpected trip to the Tulsa area and came back with these puppies. It was an interesting landscape. The raw, rural midwest in all its weathered glory. And I do mean weathered. There had been mass flooding and storms in the region, but we happened upon it on an overcast day with only small storms. The pictures of my husband and son are on a plot of land in central Oklahoma that belonged to my husband’s late uncle J.R., whom both my husband and son share the initials of (Jerimiah Robert and Jackson Riker). My father-in-law lives at his brother’s house now and we spent a few hours out there while Jackson and Sir Duke explored. Jackson is a car guy, if you don’t know, so he enjoyed fiddling with his Papa’s Chevy Blazer, then checking out some old cars his cousin has out back. He asked for pictures with the “cool” cars. 🙂 Honestly, it was nice to capture some shots of a place that means a lot to my husband. He used to spend summers out at “JRs place” and though Jackson never made it to meet his great uncle before he passed away, we think they would have hit it off.

The other pictures are from my wonderings around a few small towns in the area, and of a park in Tulsa that Sir Duke and I walked in, right before a storm blew through. If you have never spent a lot of time in rural Oklahoma, maybe this will help you want to visit! Or maybe run far away from it. Either way, it helped me stay creative when I couldn’t quite put pen to paper.

I hope you enjoy.

M.