The letter O.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate.

Is there any other O than Oh?

In high school, I worked at a day care. A red-headed mom picked up her 4-year-old red-headed son. Her son said something to her that made her laugh. She looked me in the eye and said, “when you have your own kids, write down the funny things they say. You’ll forget as soon as they say them so write them down. I keep a notebook in my purse. It’s hilarious.”

My 17-year-old self never forgot that motherly advise. That little boy is 22 years old now. I always wonder if his mom kept her notebook all these years. I don’t remember their names and even if I did, I doubt she remembers me. I hope that 22-year-old red-haired boy has a book of his own quotes to read.

I’ve been writing down what my daughters say since Emma was two. It started as an email to family members then found its way to my blog. The mom was right – I forget almost as soon as it’s said. I have to write it down fast.

This is my 80th blog post titled Oh Emma, Oh Kate. I always wonder if it will be the last. I worry one day I’ll wake up and Emma and Kate will be adults. The world won’t be funny anymore.

Yet, somehow they seem to top themselves without ever trying.

The letter O.

Oh Emma, Oh Kate. 80th edition.

___________

Emma: Let’s play hide and seek in the dark outside.

Kate: Hold on, let me download this heat sensor app on my iPod.

___________

Me: Emma! Where are your soccer cleats? Help me look. Do you know where they are?

Emma: Do I look like Siri?

___________

Kate started rolling her tongue.

Me: Where did you learn that?

Kate: (rolling tongue) Beginning of a Pitbull song.

___________

Kate busted into my room on a Saturday morning.

Kate: WAKE UP!

Me: UGH.

Kate: Mommy! Look!

She walked up to the side of my bed.

Me: Kate, I don’t have my contacts in. I can’t see you that well. Get closer.

Kate rests her stuffed boobs next to my head.

Me: What the?

Kate: Grew me some big ‘ole boobies! HA!

Me: Put my bra away, NOW. Get out.

___________

The girls needed some new flip flops for summer. I took them to Old Navy for some cheap pairs.

Kate: UGH. Why did you take me here?

Me: You need some flip flops and they’re cheap here. And I don’t know your shoe size unless you come with me. Your feet keep growing.

Kate: I mean, why did you take me HERE? I want everything. I want this. This too. Oh, and this. These are cute. This was a bad decision to take me shopping with you.

___________

Inside Old Navy’s dressing room.

Me: Cute shirt, Kate! Let’s get this one. A little cold shoulder top. Love it. Clearance too!

Kate: Yeah! (Kate shimmies)

Me: Are you shimmying?

Kate: I love shimmying in this shirt.

Later that night. Kate wore her new shirt.

Me: Show daddy your shirt.

Kate shimmied.

Scott: Are you shimmying? Do you know what that is? Don’t do that.

Kate: I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m just showing my shoulders.

Scott walked off. Kate shimmied at him behind his back.

___________

I was writing on my laptop in bed one afternoon. I could see the girls playing hopscotch from my window.

Emma: YOU LOSE, KATE! I WIN!

Kate: (stares at Emma. Walks off to my outside master door. Drags the welcome mat over near Emma, hurls the mat at Emma’s back, then crosses her arms.)

Me: KATE! I SAW THAT!

Emma: MOOOM!

Me: I know. I saw. Kate, did you just hit Emma in the back with a welcome mat because you lost?

Kate: No. I hit her because she won.

___________

I took Kate on a sushi date. We talked while we waited on our sushi.

Kate: Let’s play truth or dare.

Me: Ok, truth.

Kate: Have you or dad ever picked your butt in front of a video camera?

Me: No.

Kate: Wrong. I saw an old video of you picking your butt.

___________

We were at Scott’s parents for dinner.

Kate: Daddy and I were playing softball in the house and daddy hit the sailfish on the wall with a softball.

Me: SCOTT!

Nana: Oh, Scott.

Scott: Kate, why would you tattle on me?

Kate: Because I can tattle to your mom too.

___________

Me: Hey! Emma! Girlfriend, bring your empty plate to the sink!

Emma: Oh, I thought someone would do it for me.

___________

Scott practices softball with Kate every night.

Scott: Ok, so what is your take away for tonight?

Kate: That I like myself.

___________

Scott sent a video of Kate hitting softballs to his friend, Hunter.

Scott: Hunter said Kate hits better than his own son.

Kate: Obviously.

___________

I poured myself a glass of wine in a darkened kitchen after the kids were in bed.

Emma: Seriously, mom?

Me: AH! You scared me, Emma!

Emma: This is what you do when we sleep?

___________

Me: Go to bed.

Kate: No.

Me: Uh, yes. Go to bed.

Kate: You wanna make an ice cream run?

Me:

Kate: You like that, don’t ya?

___________

Me: Go to bed!

Emma: No!

Me: Yes. It’s 8:30.

Emma: It’s really 7:30 with the time change.

___________

The girls went upstairs after school one day. It was silent for about 20 minutes.

Me: Scott, do you hear how quiet they are? They’ve been so good lately. No fights.

Emma: KNOCK IT OFF, KATE OR I WILL HOLD YOU DOWN AND FART IN YOUR FACE!

___________

Kate: Mom! Stella got into your bathroom trash and now there’s those white things you put up your butt all over!

(Tampons)

___________

Emma: Wouldn’t it be cool to paint on toilet seats?

Me: Huh?

Emma: Like quotes in pretty handwriting. Like, “Have a seat. Take your time.”

___________

Our neighbors’ were out of town. But their kids were home with their grandma. She’s a good grandma. She always plans some kind of activity for all the cul-de-sac kids to participate in. We received a note at our door.

Me: Cool! A St. Patrick’s Day breakfast! Have the kids come by anytime from 7 am to 9 am on St. Patrick’s morning for a green breakfast!

Kate: 7 AM? I’ll be sleepin’. Guess, I’m coming over at 9.

___________

Kate walked in my room, brushing her teeth with my toothbrush.

Me: Gross! Kate! That’s my toothbrush!

Kate: Emma put my toothbrush in the toilet so I’m using yours.

___________

Kate: Can we make a leprechaun trap?

Me: A what?

Kate: You make a trap and the leprechaun leaves you money.

Me: Uh, we’re not Irish.

Kate: Our neighbors do it.

Me: Are they Irish?

Kate: They’re from Colorado or something.

___________

Scott: Kate, pick up your shoes!

Kate: Knock it off. You’re mommy’s teenage son and don’t pick up either.

___________

I pushed through radio stations in the car.

Me: Ugh, Justin Bieber. I don’t like him.

Kate: Why?

Me: He’s doesn’t seem very nice.

Kate: Well, his music makes me feel nice.

___________

Kate: Hey mom! Will you check my cursive on the computer?

___________

Scott put Kate to bed.

Scott: Good night, Baby Got Back Becky.

Kate: Good night, little nipples.

___________

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The letter N.

Good evening and happy Easter to you.

I know you’re taking the time out of your day to read this. For that, I would like to say thank you. It’s a school and work night so I’m going to make this short and sweet because I’m a nice person.

The letter N.

Nice.

Do you know who else is nice on this Easter Sunday? My daughter, Kate.

Emma is ten and Kate is seven. Those two ages bring a lot of new responsibility. They’re becoming independent from Scott and me. They can make their own school lunch. They take their own showers. If I need to run a quick errand, Emma and Kate are good at watching themselves at the house.

They’re still kids. They love the outdoors. When they’re not playing soccer, softball, or gymnastics, they’re outside playing, exploring, pulling each other’s hair out, and tripping each other in the grass.

But with the outdoors brings bugs. Bug bites. Kate, in particular. The bugs love her skin.

Calamine lotion didn’t seem to help the itching on Kate’s legs last night. This morning, I suggested she could try a baking soda and water paste. I said I would make her some after I went to the bathroom.

** KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. **

Me: What Kate?

Kate: How did you know it was me?

Me: I know your knock. What do you want?

Kate: I made my own baking soda and water paste!

I opened the door.

Me: Let me see. Oh, that’s nice of you! Good job! Now spread that on the bites on your legs. You should feel better.

What a nice kid. She let me go to the bathroom while she made her own bug bite paste. Sure, she decided to annoy me with the bathroom disturbance but overall, it was a nice gesture. A nice start to Easter Sunday.

** KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK. **

Me: Yeah, Kate?

Kate: Open the door.

I opened the door.

Me: What do you need?

Kate: Need some vag cream? I have extra.

She’s here for the next 11 years, folks. Have a nice night.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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The letter M.

Me: I decided my next blog post is about John “Motherfucker” Burton.

Scott: OH, COME ON! MY GRANDMA READS YOUR BLOG!

This post is dedicated to Scott’s grandma.

M is an easy letter – motherhood, monarch butterflies, makeup, monkeys jumping on the bed, mud, middle child, marriage, motherfucker.

Motherfucker. It was my first thought this morning. I hate mornings. But there it was – motherfucker – hanging like a piece of forbidden fruit. You know, I wasn’t going to go there. Like I said, I had plenty of other M words to write about today. But a quick google search changed my mind.

The letter M.

Motherfucker.

Crawl through the depths of my google search history. Do it.

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I’ll tell you where it came from – from a Burton. Burton. Hi, I’m Julie Burton. I’m married to Scott Burton. Scott is the son of his dad, a Burton. And Scott’s dad is the son of another Burton – Scott’s grandmother.

I wouldn’t dedicate this post out of disrespect to Scott’s grandmother. I mean, if you’re offended by the word motherfucker, then don’t read it. Hopefully she’s still reading because this is a family history lesson.

Gather.

Fuck is of Germanic origin. Fuck comes from the German, Dutch, and Swedish words for “to strike” or “to move back and forth.”

You need to go back to 1528 to find the first fuck written. An anonymous monk was reading a book on moral conduct. This book of conduct pissed him off in some way. He wrote, “O d fuckin Abbot” on the page as a side note. Historians don’t know if he meant “fuckin” meaning “the Abbot was having sex even though he’s a monk” sort of way or if he meant “fuckin” in the “intensifier word” sort of way. Fuckin’ Abbot.

The Abbot the anonymous monk was referring to – a man named John Burton. He was shady as fuck. Apparently he had questionable morals. It must run in the family.

My source: Huffington Post. A F*cking Short History of the F-Word. By Melissa Mohr

And there you go. A family history lesson on the name Burton. A name I married into – Julie “Motherfucker” Burton.

___________

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The letter L.

There’s a problem in suburban America.

It’s the pedal to the metal. It’s hightailing it home. Full throttle. It’s the valet guys taking Cameron’s dad’s red car in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

The letter L.

Lead foot driving.

I’m not talking about the local teenagers drag racing down the street. Although, I don’t like that either. Stop it – you’re going to wake up my kids and probably kill yourself. I’m talking about daddy and mommy dearest flying through neighborhoods.

Being an adult mostly sucks but being an adult also means you don’t have to be lectured anymore.

Until now.

Are you guilty of Fast and Furious’ing through your neighborhood? Yes. We all are. Were you trying to kill an innocent child, jogger, or dog? No. None of us are.

I get it. I do. I’m human. I can feel the lead in my feet. I did speed up to try and kill a coyote running across the road. It was a normal street, not a residential one. And by speed, I mean I just didn’t bother to slow down. Before you judge, a coyote tried to kill my dog. I merely played karma with an engine. I also don’t swerve for roadkill. I run over it and make it more flat. Scott thinks this is psychotic but I don’t think so. Bumpbump. You’re welcome.

I’m good at driving slow through neighborhoods. I used to live on a busy street. I know how much it sucks. I rarely let the kids play in the front yard because of the traffic. If one of our dogs took off, the first spot I checked was for a smashed dog in the street. I could stand and yell at drivers all day to slow down and no one would listen. Like damn children.

I live on a cul-de-sac now. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made. Fast traffic doesn’t exist and my neighbors cross dress which is awesome. But I still see the fast drivers. I see the little preschoolers. Dogs are still at risk.

I can spill out stats on pedestrian fatalities or tell you a sad story about someone accidentally hitting and killing a small child. It’s rare but it happens. One of the first lessons we teach children is to look both ways before crossing a street; you can’t trust drivers. As parents, we never stop repeating this phrase.

But sometimes the adult needs a lesson too. Slow down in residential neighborhoods; you can’t trust a child. I can’t sit shotgun in your car to slap you and remind you to slow down. You’re going to have to calm your ass down by yourself as you turn into your neighborhood.

I thought of some helpful reminders.

  • Let Beethoven bring it home. Classical music has a relaxing effect on our minds. Turn that shit up once you turn into a neighborhood. Roll in like a boss.
  • Observe your neighbors’ houses. Go ahead, slow way down to a crawl. Take landscaping notes. Determine who has the greenest yard. Take a peek to see who’s grilling. Wave. Stop and say hello. But still watch the road. Observe your neighbors. Because they’re observing you and your driving speed.
  • Spray lavender in your car before you pull into the neighborhood. Lavender calms the mind and hopefully your lead foot. I hope it doesn’t make you sneeze because nothing is more reckless than sneezing while driving.
  • Pretend you’re driving a boat. Residential streets are ‘no wake’ zones. I don’t know, I’m getting desperate for ideas here.
  • Pretend your kids, your dogs, your cats, your grandma all live in your neighborhood and BOOM RUN OUT IN FRONT OF YOU.
  • When you turn into your neighborhood, remember that blog post you found on Facebook by some girl named Julie or something. She’s kinda funny and she speeds too and she was very nice about asking the general public to slow down where you live. She knows deep down inside you’re not a murderer.

I know, sometimes your mind wanders and you forget to slow down. I’ve been reminded by the green plastic man and orange cones too.

If it were up to me I would make kid and dog ghost holograms dancing in the street straight up from The Haunted Mansion in Disney World. If you hit a ghost, I would send the ghost home with you and haunt your ass.

No one needs to speed home. Don’t let your lead foot down.

This is my public service announcement.

___________

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The letter K.

She came into the world with a middle finger up.

The wild child. She never did take a bottle. Her toddler nickname was “the bulldog.” She wouldn’t let me feed her baby food; she had to feed herself. She refuses to “fake” smile for pictures. The kid doesn’t take shit from anyone. Scott and I can tell which daughter is walking into our room at night based off the heavy footsteps of confidence. I’m scared shitless for her teenage years.

There’s only one.

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The letter K.

Kate.

Coming from a family of four kids, I knew what I was getting into with two kids. You need balance. Equality. Treat all kids the same or you will pay. I hope Kate never realizes we took Emma to Disney World for her 5th birthday and all Kate got a Kansas City theme park.

I wrote a blog post for the letter E – Emma.

I asked Kate if I could interview her for the letter K on my blog.

She told me to go straight to hell. I’m kidding. But she did tell me no one needs to know her business which is the 7-year-old equivalent of telling me to go straight to hell.

That’s fine. I expected this answer so I told her she could interview me. She agreed.

An Interview with Julie Burton by Kate Burton

Kate: What makes you cry?

Me: Geez, Kate. Well, when someone in my family is hurt or sick. I don’t like that.

Kate: That’s boring. Think of something else like the time Stella bit your earring off your ear.

Me: Yes, physical pain can make me cry too.

Kate: What is your favorite thing about yourself?

Me: Being your mom.

Kate: Correct. Next question. If you were two animals mixed, which two would you be?

Me: A fish and a human. I’d be a mermaid chasing a blue marlin.

Kate: Mom. Stop it. You can’t pick a human. Ok, new question – what is love?

Me: What is love? What kind of question is this? This is kinda abstract. Ok, let me try to put this in words. It’s a feeling. No. It’s, like, a strong desire to protect someone and you would do anything for. You love the soul.

Kate: You’re not answering the question right.

Me: Ugh! KATE.

Kate: If you could change anything on your body, what would it be?

Me: My honest answer? I’ve always wished I had smaller boobs.

Kate: Oh yeah. You got those big ‘ole boobies hangin’.

Me: Stop it.

Kate: If you owned a country, what would it be called?

Me: Uh, I’ve never really thought about…

Kate: NEXT! If you had a million dollars to spend, what would you buy?

Me: I’m not sure how big of a house it would buy – but I would love to own a vacation home in the Florida Keys. Right on the water. I would spend any money I had left on a boat. I’d be there all the time. Writing and fishing.

Kate: Correct. Work on that cuz I’m comin’ with ya. What is the best joke you’ve told?

Me: Oh. Ok, let me think…

Kate: Mom, you have bad jokes. You can skip this one.

Me: Wait, I tell bad jokes?

Kate: Mom. You’re not funny. If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Me: I would love to fly. Travel to places like a bird.

Kate: Uh, no. You should have said snap your fingers and the house be clean.

Me: I thought you were interviewing me. You’re not supposed to change my answers!

Kate: Name some of your best friends. I’ll start for you – Christine.

Me: Ha! Yes, Christine. Cody.

Kate: Correct.

Me: KATE! This isn’t a right or wrong question!

Kate: Uh, yeah it is. It’s my interview.

___________

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The letter J.

Oh, the pervs of the Internet.

Search engines play a role in driving traffic to your blog or website. Businesses know this and will invest in what’s called SEO – search engine optimization. Imagine how many companies show up after googling, “car rental companies.” If you owned a car rental company wouldn’t you want to be the first on Google’s list? You’re going to have to pay for that.

I don’t pay for crap.

I don’t know my long-term plan with this blog. I give you free entertainment and you listen. But I would write to myself, really. Believe me, if any of this started to feel like “work” then I’d shut this thing down. As far as branding myself – it would take an investment in SEO, for sure. But I’m just a woman with a laptop and a life.

I’m rambling about myself. I’ll stop.

The letter J.

No, it’s not Julie.

What was I talking about? Oh. Yes. Perverts. If my blog shows up because of something you googled – I can see your google search term. Most google search terms are obvious which blog post got the hit.

Recently, “Charlie Engleman” shows up every Saturday. That would be my National Geographic’s Weird But True post.

Or every November I see, “Thanksgiving birthday.” I got your back, google searcher. Thanksgiving Steals My Birthday Thunder.

But sometimes I see the perverts. “Sexy man in jockstrap” or “man on man jockstraps” or “woman wearing jockstrap.”

Get out of here, I didn’t wear a jockstrap. But I did write about one. I had questions. Scott had answers. This post still receives hits almost every month.

The letter J.

The Jockstrap. Written April 16, 2014.

__________

Scott doesn’t read my blog.

I know, it’s a little surprising. He will read a post if I ask him to read it. He will also read a post if it gets a lot of attention from his friends on Facebook. His response to not reading my blog is –

“I live the blog.”

Scott won’t read this post.

You guys, he wears lingerie clips when he plays hockey.

I was laying in bed with Scott last night. We were watching baseball. My eyes fell to the cute pitcher’s butt. I mean, it’s like right there.

Hm. I wonder if baseball players wear jockstraps? I can’t tell from the TV. I should ask Scott. Wait. Don’t ask Scott. He’ll think I’m dumb. They’d have to wear them. The flying ball might hit the hanging balls. Right?

Me: Do you have a jockstrap?

Scott: Yeah, it’s in my hockey bag.

Me: Can I see it?

Scott: What?

Me: I don’t think I’ve ever seen one.

Scott: It’s a piece of plastic.

Me: Go get it.

Scott: No! It smells like hockey gear.

Me: You don’t wash your jockstrap?

Scott: I don’t know. Yeah, I’m sure it’s been washed.

Me: Does it cover everything hanging? Like all cupped up in a ball of plastic?

Scott: (raises his eyebrows) Are you serious? I slip the plastic piece inside the strap and it covers everything.

Me: Doesn’t it, like, chafe? That can’t be comfortable.

Scott: No, it doesn’t really chafe. It’s not the most comfortable thing.

Me: If I were a guy, I would just go without it. That’s got to be annoying.

Scott: If you were a guy, you would be wearing one if you knew what a blow to the balls feels like.

Me: Are there sizes?

Scott: Yes.

Me: And….

Scott:

Me: May I ask what size you are?

Scott: I don’t know, it’s based on underwear size.

Me: So like a medium.

Scott: MEDIUM?!

Me: LARGE! Sorry, large. I forgot you’re a large. So you wear a large size jockstrap. Is that the biggest one?

Scott: I’m done talking to you.

Me: Wait, wait. I don’t know these things! I’m a girl. I’m fascinated. We don’t have sons. I’ll never know. How does it stay there? You’d have to have a thong for it to stay down over the balls.

Scott: No. I don’t have a string up my butt. I put my legs through the straps and it sits on my hips.

Me: I’m so confused. Go get it.

Scott: No. You can go in the garage and get my hockey bag off the wall if you want to see it.

Me: Don’t make me google image search this.

Scott: Ok. It has a waist band, the straps go here on my hips to hold it up. There’s a slip here to put the plastic cup in. My socks that hold my shin guards go up over my knee. I clip the straps to the socks.

Me: STOP. You clip straps to the socks?

Scott: Yes.

Me: You mean tell me you wear those bra strap looking things on your legs? Like when you see a woman in full lingerie. Those clips that hold the panty hose up. The clips that men drool over.

Scott: I’m sorry. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen lingerie so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me: You know exactly what I’m talking about. I didn’t know they made lingerie clips for hockey players! HA!

Scott: What are you laughing at?

Me: All those hockey players wear lingerie straps! This just puts whole new perspective on the fighting. Don’t you feel sexy throwing punches? Hey, these are kinda hot.

Scott: What are you doing?

Me: Google image search.

Scott: Is this a porn site?

Me: No, it’s google image search: jockstrap. This is what shows up. Where’s the sexy clips?

Scott: You’re going to get viruses on your computer.

Me: It’s a google image search! Maybe I’m looking for a new jockstrap for my husband or son. Google doesn’t know why I’m googling jockstraps. Oh, wait. They have a separate section for hockey jockstraps. Ah, here we go. Oooo sexy clips for the hockey playa. You men. You want women to dress in these yet here you are wearing them with other men.

Scott: It’s a JOCKSTRAP. MEN WEAR JOCKSTRAPS. I’m going to bed.

Me: Wait, do baseball players wear them?

Scott: Good night.

_________

Three years later, I realize that I, too, am a pervert of the Internet googling “jockstraps.”

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

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The letter I.

ICE CREAM.

It’s ice cream.

The letter I. 

My favorite food in the entire world is ice cream. Ice cream sounds good on a full stomach. Ice cream sounds better on an empty stomach. My death row final meal – ice cream. My pat-on-the-back treat every night for not killing anyone? Ice cream. Who screams for ice cream? That would be me if one of my piglet family members eats the last of my ice cream in the freezer.

I once chased an ice cream truck for two blocks in my old neighborhood. This probably sounds slightly psychotic for a grown woman to chase an ice cream truck but to top it off, I also carried a 2-year-old on my hip and I was 9 months pregnant with Kate. I damn near went into labor. Baby Kate enjoyed her chocolate Sundae Crunch Bar that day. She didn’t arrive until a week later when she was finally ready to meet the mother that built her bones via a solid stream of ice cream.

She later broke her tibia bone at age one but that’s besides the point.

It was just this January, almost eight years later, when Kate gave me a lesson in motherhood. It’s a lesson I won’t forget, mainly because it involves ice cream.

This particular January night’s excuse for ice cream was because the night fell on one of the coldest nights of the season. That means the ice cream won’t melt.

Kate: Can we get some ice cream?

Scott: I’m not taking you. Ask your mother.

Me: Yes! Let’s try that new Freezing Moo place. They roll the ice cream from liquid in front of you. I heard it’s good. Go put some pants on over your leotard.

Kate: Why do I need pants?

Me: Because I’ll look like a terrible mother if I brought you inside an ice cream store with no pants on. It’s 13 degrees out.

Kate: But you ARE a terrible mother.

Me: WHAT?!

Kate: Your reason should be because I’ll get cold, not what others think of you.

And that’s how Kate became a better mom than me over a shared cup of ice cream.

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___________

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The letter H.

Hello.

Hello?

It’s the weekend. From a blogging standpoint, the weekend means no one is reading this. No one is reading this because weekends are for running errands, shopping, day drinking, or sitting in a folding chair somewhere on a sideline watching recreational kids sports.

The letter H.

Hairy butts.

It’s technically furry butts but I used the letter F on my husband’s weather woman crush.

The shit I deal with.

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This is Belle and me earlier today. We were in line, waiting to exit the soccer park. Exiting the soccer park is like leaving a parking lot after a concert only you’re excited to get the hell out of there because you have errands to run. But before those errands you have to go home and wash your dog’s asshole. I’m praying her asshole isn’t touching my sleeve.

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What is this photo I’m showing you?

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That would be my father-in-law and Belle. They’re watching Emma’s soccer game. No one is around them because they’re standing in the Burton shit storm of 2017.

Scott is Emma’s soccer coach. Scott and Emma have to be at the field early to warm up. That leaves me to bring Kate. I decided to bring our yorkie poo, Belle, to the game.

In my typical life fashion – shit happened. I brought a baggie and some paper towels because this ain’t my first rodeo.

As soon as Kate, Belle, and I stepped on grass, Belle hovered her hips.

“Kate, stop. Belle’s pooping.”

Belle continued to walk and hover.

“Come on, Belle. Pick a spot. We’re late.”

I pulled out my baggie and the paper towels. Belle stood hovering. Then she sat.

“Kate, did she go? Where is it? Where’s the poop?”

“I don’t think she pooped, Mom.”

Belle sat and watched a crowd of people walk by.

“Belle, come on.”

Belle looked up at me with her eyes without moving her head. She wouldn’t walk towards me. Kate pulled her leash. She stood like a statue.

“Dammit.”

I dropped our folding chairs on the grass. I picked up Belle’s hips. A golf ball sized turd hung under her tail like a damn Christmas ornament. The wind picked up and the scent of shit blew around us. I took a paper towel and grabbed the turd. Belle whined.

“Oh, no. Kate. It’s stuck. I might have take her home. Do you want to sit with Nana and Papa or go home with me?”

“I want to stay with Nana and Papa.”

“Ok, I need to get this off her before she gets in my car. Stay here for a sec and I’ll take you to the sideline with the other parents.”

A little boy walked up to us.

“Can I pet your puppy?”

“Oh, she’s not feeling that well…”

“Peeeewwww!”

The boy ran off. I picked up Belle’s hips again. I grabbed a new paper towel.

“Ok. Count of three. One. Two. Three.”

I squeezed and pulled. Belle whined. The golfball turd collapsed into thick paste. I tried again.

“EWWW! Mom!”

Let me try to wipe her up. I wiped her with a third paper towel. By the time I was done, Belle was waddling back and forth like a damn penguin and her whole backside looked like she sat in a pile of spicy mustard.

“Here. Ok, let me throw these paper towels away and I’ll drop you off with Nana. I can’t take Belle to the game. I’ll take her home.”

I walked Kate to the sidelines. The other parents pulled their shirts over the noses as we passed.

“Hey, I have to go. Will you watch Kate? Belle took a steamy dump and it got stuck and it’s smeared all over and oh! Don’t let her jump on you! She’ll want to sit on our laps if I stay. Oh no, she’s butt dragging. It’s bad.”

My father-in-law took the leash from me.

“I’ll take her!”

“Are you sure? You need to keep her far away from us.”

“Ok, we’ll stay away.”

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20 minutes. I spent 20 minutes of my life shampooing, snipping, and scrubbing a dog’s hairy ass.

The letter H – hairy butts. Don’t let your butt hair grow out of control. Or fur. Whatever.

___________

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The letter G.

A – B – C – D – E – F – G

G.

I had to sing that. We’re on letter G today.

You know what else I have to sing? The times table song. Also Monday through Sunday in Spanish. And Pizza Shuttle’s phone number in Manhattan, Kansas – home of my college days and drunk eating pizza.

I’m not a smart woman. I’m just not.

There are life skills I struggle with such as filing taxes, not falling for the car mechanic’s lies, how to raise kids, cooking, speaking intelligently in front of others, and by the way – will someone explain why looking up at the stars isn’t looking north?

One of my biggest struggles is nutrition. I don’t understand what I should be eating. It’s a basic instinct and a requirement if I want to live. As a kid, I would just eat what my parents gave me. If I didn’t like it, I would wait and ask my dad for ice cream later. He’d always cave. As an adult and parent, oh the pressure. 

The letter G.

Grocery stores.

I’m so confused.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a terrible eater. And honestly, I don’t even know what that means anymore – a terrible eater. I’m not on a mission to lose weight. I just want to be healthy.

The grocery store doesn’t have a section labeled this is good for you. It’s like a scavenger hunt. I have to find the good because nothing seems healthy. The damn place is trying to kill us all.

Produce – Easy. Fruits and vegetables. We should all eat more of them. But not that GMO corn. And not those huge, ripe apples either. Those are bad for you. I need to get the tiny, organic baby apples. Plum sized apples, yes. Ten dollars each. That sounds reasonable. Oh, and cauliflower rice. Is that what we’re doing now? Do you know what that sounds like? That sounds like my adult children writing about me on their future blogs that I’m the world’s worst mother. No, I still haven’t tried it yet. 

Fruit juice – 100% fruit juice. Perfect for the kids’ lunches. Flashback to the kids’ last pediatrician wellness exams – “How much juice do they drink a day? Ok, well we like to tell parents to cut back on juice. Fruit juice is still sugar.”

Bakery – The section hits me like a truck. The smell of warm, crusty loaves of bread. Breadsticks. Garlic bread. Pretzel buns. Mmmm donuts. It’s my favorite section. Don’t mind if I…slap your momma. I drop the bread. The newest, most deadliest food on the planet – the bread. Gluten, carbohydrates, wheat, rye, barley, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad. 

Dairy – Got milk? Let’s kick some osteoporosis ass. Protein, vitamin D, calcium, BOOM. I can’t get skim milk, it tastes like water. I can’t get whole milk because they say that’s too much fat. 2% sounds good. STOP. The choices – almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, oh these must be for lactose intolerant people. Oat milk, cashew milk, goat milk, but where’s human? And why am I drinking from a cow’s big, fat, swollen udder anyway? Is this bad for me? Screw it, I’ll just drink water and grab this hunk of cheese because cheese doesn’t look like it came dripping from a cow’s teet. Hm, and why is cheese yellow?

Meat – Ta-da! It’s filling. There’s protein. Beef – it’s what’s for dinner. Wait. Hormone free. Antibiotic free. Grass-fed beef? I don’t want to know my meat’s last meal, thank you. I already switched Bertha’s teet juice for some nut juice. And I’m pretty sure red meat is bad for your heart and I read somewhere that red meat turns all cancer-y. I’ll go with these dink chicken breasts for $25 each.

Boxed and canned foods – Don’t do it. It’s processed food. It’s fake food. It’s been sitting on the shelf for years. Hm, “made with real cheese.” What marketing genius puts that on a box? Uh, when was it NOT real cheese? Processed food doesn’t even taste that good. Except for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Tortilla chips. Oh, and Pop Tarts. Not the Low Fat Pop Tarts because that doesn’t sound chemically altered. Does oatmeal count as processed? What is an oat anyway?

Coffee – Caffeine. Yes, I know. I don’t care.

Wine and beer – Grocery shopping stresses me out.

You see? I’m a terrible eater. But why? That’s what confuses me.

What is eating healthy?

The grocery store is covered in labels. And every single one of them makes me feel guilty. They’re everywhere – fat free, sugar free, GMO free, hormone free, gluten free, nut free, dairy free. What are we left with? Are we better off drinking water, growing a garden, and shooting a chicken you raised in your yard? Is that the perfect meal? That sounds like a mess to clean.

Life was much easier when I learned how to sing the ABCs.

___________

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The letter F.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Scott’s not.

The letter F.

Fifth grade.

This isn’t a post about Emma’s 5th grade homework. But it is about Scott failing.

After school today, Emma told me they had a meteorologist from Kansas City’s KSHB 41 Action News talk to her class. The fifth grade is finishing up their weather unit.

Emma: And guess what? She said Gary Lezak works with her. He is the chief meteorologist. When she asked the class for questions, I told her that you interviewed Gary Lezak for your magazine!

Me: You did?! What did she say?

Emma: She asked which magazine and I told her Simply KC. And you’re a writer. She said that is cool.

Me: Aw, that’s fun! Hey Scott! Emma said that female meteorologist from Channel 41 came to their school. Emma told her I interviewed Gary. Isn’t that funny?

Scott: Which meteorologist?

Me: I assume that morning one. Really pretty. Hey, Emma! Did she say what time she wakes up in the morning?

Emma: She wakes up at 1:30 in the morning.

Me: Oh, yeah. It was her then.

Scott: Lindsey Anderson?!

Me: How do you remember her name?

Scott: Emma, is she really tall?

Me: How do you know she’s tall?

Scott: Here, I’ll pull up a picture. I don’t know. She seems like she would be tall.

Scott smiled at his phone.

Me: Hm, I never notice people’s height, I guess. Tall?

Scott: Here. Is this her, Emma? Daddy’s favorite forecast lady? The one I watch first thing in the morning? Sometimes twice.

Me: WHAT.

Scott: Here, look. Lindsey Anderson.

Emma: Yeah, that’s her.

Scott: Yeah, my favorite. I wish I would have known that. I would have taken you lunch. See, look how much taller she is than everyone else standing with her. I knew it. She’s tall.

Me:

Emma: She’s really nice.

Scott: She seems like it.

Me: Give me your phone.

Scott: No.

Me: Give it to me.

Scott: No. Why didn’t you tell me Emma was having a guest speaker today?

Me: I didn’t know that. I hear you watch the weather every morning but I didn’t know that you’re watching Lindsey Anderson.

Scott: I know when she repeats her outfits now.

Me: WHAT! Are you giddy?

Scott: She’s my new crush.

Fifth grade.

I’m married to a fifth grade boy.

And I’m tall too, Scott.

___________

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