It was my idea to get a dog.  I mean, we did discuss it together, but I pushed for it-the way that I do-for most things that I want or want for ‘the children’ or ‘our family’.  JC did all the research and we settled on a labradoodle for breed, then set out to find the actual dog.  It wasn’t long before we found the Warbington family in North Georgia.  We went to meet them and their dogs and puppies.   I remember that it was instantly clear that Beau was meant to be ‘ours’.  We could not take him home right then, as he was not quite old enough.  Mini Me and The Middle Child were so excited.  We were all so excited. The Baby would be one at the end of February-just after Beau would come to live with us.  We had done lots of research to make sure that a labradoodle would do well with children-most especially a baby-who would be pulling his hair and tugging on him most of the time.  We needed a dog that was 100% kid friendly.  We bought an extra large dog crate because Beau’s father was huge and we knew that meant that Beau had the potential to also be huge.  We readied our home for Beau just like any expectant parents and counted down the days until his arrival.  While we were waiting, we caught one of those unexpected curve balls that life has such a bad reputation for throwing at the most inopportune times.  JC lost his job. I questioned whether we should actually go ahead and get the dog-but only for a brief moment. We had already met Beau! The children would be completely heartbroken if we just up and canceled their puppy! Of course we forged ahead and brought Beau home. We knew that everything we would work out, and guess what? It did!

The first few nights, I wondered what the hell I had gotten us into.  We had decided to crate-train Beau.  I likened this to teaching a baby how to sleep in his or her own bed-something I had not been successful at with Mini Me, and was already proving to be a colossal failure at with The Baby ( The Middle Child slept on her own, from day one). We put the crate in our kitchen and Beau cried and cried the first couple of nights. It was pure torture (for me, at least) to hear him crying and yelping.  Unlike either of our human baby boys, Beau’s crying lessened with each night that passed, until one night-maybe just five or so in, he curled up in his crate and just went to sleep! The thought crossed my mind that perhaps I should purchase a crate for The Baby since his crib was not working at all

Beau had a sensitive stomach from Day One.  He threw up a lot.  I don’t do throw up-human or canine! I find myself gagging and dry heaving while trying to clean it up! The fact that JC was not working was an added bonus! (Of course, JC did not see it that way! LOL)  We finally found a food that would work for Beau. It was, of course, a special, organic, $60-per-bag, food that we could only buy at a particular store that was nowhere near our house.  Go figure.  I bitched about this constantly.  I will stand behind my right to bitch because I was trying to raise three children.  One of those children was a year old.  The other two children were in two different schools.  I had lost over two liters of blood during the birth of The Baby, and had been given no blood transfusion.  I had been pretty much a maniac for about 6 months, and was still running around half-cocked most of the time (I know, I know-what has changed?).   All I needed was a high-maintenance puppy. I was high-maintenance enough, myself! I certainly did not need any competition.  I really think that we should have taken Beau to obedience school, but we opted to ‘train’ him ourselves.  He let The Baby pull on him and hang on him and hit him and poke him and pinch him and do all the torturous things that a one year old will do to a dog.  Beau never, ever even so much as growled at The Baby (he growled at me quite a few times LOL).  In the first few years, we really had to be careful about leaving the door open, because if he got out, he would tear off down the street and we could not catch him. He was faster than a bolt of lightning.  He would run and literally bounce up and down the street.  We had an elderly neighbor who he would undoubtedly run to if he got out, and he would scare the shit out of her-every time.  He would jump up on her and then bounce around her.  We would run out of the house, calling his name and yelling for him, and our neighbor would be yelling…it got to be quite funny-to us- after the first time or two ( I don’t think our neighbor ever found it to be very humorous).  Beau wouldn’t have hurt a fly.  His size and energy scared people who were easily frightened  by dogs.  When he had just been groomed, he was majestic.  If I had him out with me on my walk, I usually had at least one person stop and ask about him.  He loved to ride in the car, too. JC would say, “You wanna go for a ride, Beau?”, and he would run to the door. He liked to ride in the front seat.  It was pretty hilarious.  He always looked like a really tall person with really good posture, sitting there in the passenger seat.img_3804

Beau would come and tell me when he needed to go out.  I swear, I thought that one day, he would actually say to me, “I need to go out”.  He would come to me and step from side to side on his front feet and look at me, really intently.  If I was doing something and not paying attention to him, he would growl, but not a mean growl, it was a growl-talk. I am serious-I really expected him to talk one day! If I did not get up at the growl-talk,  he would eventually bark, but it was rare that he had to do that.  I seemed to be the only one he could communicate with that way, but I did not know that for years.  I thought that surely he went to the kids or JC the same way, but he did not-only me.  He would circle the inside of the house and go downstairs if he needed to go out and I was not there, but the growl-talk was special for me.  When he would come and growl-talk to me, I would say, “you need to go out, Beau?” and he would turn around and run down to the door.  We understood each other perfectly.

Beau pretty much sucked at “Catch”.  I mean he did not get it at all.  He wanted to get it.  He loved to have the ball thrown for him to go get, but he did not want to give the ball back!  In fact, he refused to give the ball back.  We had to always have two balls. We would throw one and Beau would go catch it and come back with it in his mouth, but he refused to let go of it. We would have to throw the other ball and then he would release the original ball. It was always very frustrating for the human side 😉beau

Beau had a very bad sweet tooth.  We found this out one day when I had made a cheesecake for a family gathering.  I had set it on the top of the stove to cool.  I had pushed it all the way to the back.  Beau was only about 8 months old at the time, and I thought nothing of leaving the cheesecake out while I ran upstairs for five minutes.  I came back downstairs and found a completely empty springform pan!  Not a crumb was left anywhere.  It was as if I had not even made the cheesecake at all, and had simply placed the springform pan on top of the stove!  At first, I could not figure out where the cheesecake had gone.  This had never happened before.  It took me a few minutes to put two and two together and figure out that Beau had pulled the pan to the front of the stove and devoured the cheesecake, in its entirety, leaving nary a crumb.  Needless to say, I was thoroughly pissed off.  Now, I had to make another damn cheesecake! This meant I had to go to the grocery store, re-buy the ingredients, and re-make the whole damn thing! Damn IT, Dog!!! UGH!!!  I did it, though.  A couple of days later, Beau ate half of a Hershey Bar Cake that was on the counter.  Neither the cheesecake nor the Hershey Bar Cake made him sick.  We had to train the children to hide their Halloween, Christmas, Valentines, and Easter candy.  If Beau was in too big of a hurry, he would not unwrap the candy and we would come home to piles of dog throw up with candy wrappers all in it.  If he could manage to control himself long enough to unwrap the candy, he did not get sick.  It was always a dead giveaway when Beau had unwrapped the candy because he left smeared chocolate on the wrappers, and I guess it was just too much for him to throw the wrappers in the trash can LOL 😉  Usually the children put their wrappers in the trash.  I came home one day, to a dozen Rice Krispie Treat wrappers in and around Beau’s crate.  Somebody had left the laundry room door open and Beau had helped himself to a large snack.  I always took great pleasure in snapping pics of the evidence and texting them to JC while he was at work, usually with the caption “YOUR GD DOG!!!”….img_3898

Beau loved the water.  We could not let him out when we were using the pool because somebody would have had to get him out every single time, and eventually he was too big for that.  His paws would have sliced the pool liner up.  He could swim the length of the pool very quickly!  If he got out of the house, and the kids were swimming, he would just jump right in.beau-in-pool

Most of his life, Beau threw up occasionally.  My brother has Beau’s brother and my daddy has Beau’s half-brother.  They also throw up occasionally.  Our vet knew about the throwing up, and was not concerned.  When the throwing up got worse this fall, I changed his food.  It helped for a few days.  I changed it again-this time to gluten free.  I really thought I was on to something.  I was not.  It got worse.  We took Beau to a new vet, who said that he was healthy. His blood work was perfect.  We tried a new, fresh food that was only good for four days! The last time he ate anything was December 12 or so.  We took him back to the vet and let them do an ultrasound and x-rays.  This time, the vet found a mass in his stomach and it was determined to be cancer.  We decided to bring Beau home and take things day by day.  The vet said that she thought we would know when it ‘was time’.  On Friday, December 30, 2016, we took our beloved Beau to Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists.  We got to go in a room with him that was cozy-with a lamp and some chairs.  They brought in a dog bed and a blanket.  We each hugged him and talked to him.  The doctor came in and explained what she was going to do and asked if we had any questions. We didn’t.  We had all been crying since before we got there.  She left the room and came back a few minutes later.  She gave Beau a sedative shot.  He sat down on the dog bed.  He had on his red sweater.  The doctor asked us if we wanted it.  We said no.  I had just gotten him that sweater a few weeks earlier.  We really just wanted his collar-NO!-we really just wanted HIM.  Beau was getting sleepy and she gave him the other shot.  He went down slowly, just like he was going to sleep.  The doctor checked for his heartbeat and it was gone.  She left the room.  The Middle Child threw herself on the floor with Beau and I thought I might die. I could hear The Baby crying.  I looked up and saw Mini Me’s sweet  face, and my heart was breaking over and over again.    The walk to the car was like walking the green mile-only our sentence was going home without our Beau.

I can’t bring myself to put Beau’s dishes away-they are still in the kitchen.  His crate is still in our bedroom.  If I talk about him for more than a few minutes, I will cry.  I didn’t know how attached to Beau I was.  I complained about him all the time.  I was the one who who did everything for him.  I let him out, and back in.  I took him to the vet.  I fed him and made sure he had water.  I was the one who cleaned up after him.  I did not like the way he smelled.  I did not like it when he barked at people walking down the street. I did not like it when he got on my bed.  I am ashamed to say that I was one of those people who would scroll through my Facebook feed and every time I saw a post of someone else’s dog or cat, I would roll my eyes and say, “don’t they have anything else to post about? ”   I am no longer such a horribly insensitive Cruella DeVille. When we took Beau to be put down, I felt as though we were putting down one of our children.  We had him one year less than we’ve had The Baby! He was part of our family.  The worst part of it is that I don’t get a chance to change and be a better human for Beau. He really was a good dog-a sweet dog. I wish that I could come home and catch him on my bed…maybe with a bunch of Rice Krispie Treat wrappers all over the floor…..







Here it is, a week before Christmas, and I just finished decorating.  I don’t think that has ever happened before.  I managed to twist Mini Me’s arm enough so that he and his friend (and bandmate) Jody (who will now be known to us as ‘Cody’ because the music teacher, who is also a friend of mine, kept calling him that)  played guitar for the 4th grade program at my school yesterday.  They even participated in our “tacky holiday/winter wear dress-up day” and wore ugly sweaters.  I am pretty sure that the kids loved them.  I do not think that Mini Me and Cody will be fulfilling my dream of them playing in the lunchroom on Tuesday, though…. Mini Me’s expression tells it all.img_3685

This is the first year that I have truly considered not buying a Christmas Tree.  Of course, this was only in my head and not discussed with anyone else in my household, and we did get a real tree.  Mini Me, The Middle Child, and The Baby each have a fake tree in their bedrooms, so it’s not like I was going to deprive anyone of anything.  I was just feeling particularly grinchy  and not in the mood. You see, I am the one who goes into the attic each year and gets out the 10 red and green Rubbermaid containers of Christmas shit. Usually, there is nobody standing at the bottom of the attic stairs to hand the containers to. I am the one who puts up every tree, decorates every tree, puts all of the empty containers back into the attic, and then gets them all down after Christmas is over, and undecorates every tree and puts it all back again.  I am the one who gets the bigger Rubbermaid containers out of the shed in the backyard and carries them to the front yard.  I am the one who puts up all of our outdoor decorations and lights, and I am the one who has to take it all down and put it all back.  JC does not enjoy getting ready for Christmas-that is what he told me when I once asked him to ‘get into the holiday spirit’ and ‘let’s put the outdoor decorations up together’.   Quite frankly, it is all a big pain in the ass.  When I was a little younger, and the kids were a little younger, all of this brought me great joy-they would get so very excited.   Now? not so much.  Now, it brings me sciatica and nerve pain in my back, and makes my toes numb and tingly.  The kids don’t give a rat’s ass if their trees are up- otherwise they would help me decorate them.  That, alone, should be the sign that I should stop. Yet…this year, I did it once again.  ‘Tradition’, I called it, (in my head).  This year, I threw something new, albeit a little creepy, into my dining room decor.  I dressed up all 12 of our American Girl dolls- in holidayish attire, and set them out around the hearth and dining room tree.  That was all fun and games until The Middle Child came to me and said, “Mom, when my friends come over for my gingerbread house party next week, you have to put my dolls up.  It’s embarrassing.” Damn It.  I told her there was nothing embarrassing about her dolls-they are her damn dolls! And, they are not moving! She stomped off.  I spent hours dressing those bitches! Do you know how long it took me to find all the fucking shoes????? And I did their hair!!!! For the love of GRINCHMAS, they are staying the hell out!!!! And The Middle Child can just get the hell over it!!

I am about over our Elf.  It’s so boring.  I can’t really tell if The Baby still believes or not.  He goes down to find Elvis, and then he will be like ” oh, yeah, he hides there every year-whatever”.  And I am like well, shit. I got up out of my warm ass bed to go move this fucker…. I really think the jig is up, but I will keep on keepin’ on….I do think I am going to have to start getting creative again, but I am just so damn tired and I don’t really want to make a mess am going to have to clean up!!! img_3697

Mini Me sent his grandparents his Christmas List. I think the cheapest thing on the list was $400. This was their response, prior to them asking for an updated list, which he did send.  img_3682

Christmas was once my favorite time of year.  I think I have moved on and now Summer is my favorite time of year.  Nobody has any special performances.  Nobody has to take special gifts or food anywhere.  I am not expected to be anywhere at any certain time, with any particular food items, for any specific length of time…Yep. Summer is where it’s at for me. Zero obligations. I am now in the “gotta get through the holidays” mode.  I miss the olden days.

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rock-paper-scissors                        court-rochambeau_0


I will never forget it.  It was Tuesday night, November 8, 2016.  Election Day, of all days.  We were in my family room. Mothah was on the small couch.  JC was on the big couch.  I was in my chair.  The Baby was sitting between me and JC, on the arm of the big couch, belting out songs from Hamilton, nearly at the top of his little lungs.  JC was on his laptop, trying to figure out Mothah’s Hilton Honors account, as she had no recollection of even opening that account or filling out any information regarding Hilton or Honors of any kind, yet there was a Hilton Honors account- in her name– associated with our upcoming reservation at the Midtown Manhattan Hilton. Go figure.  We needed that damn number, or we were going to be sans internet for three whole days.  I was on my laptop, trying to escape the chaos-at least in my mind.  The Election was on the television.  This was a lot going on, if I even need to point that out.  I was trying like hell to block out the noise of The Baby’s singing and the television, when Mothah said, “Jennifah, I need to talk with you about my Advance Directive.”  I looked up, over my glasses and across the room. “WHAT?” I said. “I want to talk to you about my Advance Directive,” Mothah said again. “RIGHT NOW?” I said, having to raising my voice over my little Daveed Diggs, who was mid- What’d I Miss? in my right ear.  “Jennifah, it’s nevah a good time, so I figure that now is just as good a time as any”,  she said.  I had to admit that she had a good point.  Lately, it seemed I had had zero time to talk to anyone but myself, and when, was it, really, good time to talk about anyone’s Advance Directive???  I told The Baby to hush the Hamilton for a few, and turned down the television.  Mothah began:  Alright. I have finished my Advance Directive.  This is in case I evah have to be on life support or any decisions regarding my life have to be made without my input-all of the directions are in my Advance Directive.  It’s all taken care of and you don’t need to worry about a thing, Jennifah.   “Okay,” I said, wondering if I was supposed to feel some relief at this declaration.  I need to tell you something about it-something that is in the Advance Directive, Mothah went on.  She had my complete attention.  If, at any time, you and youah (your) brothah cannot agree on ‘when to pull the plug’ , “MOTHER!,” I interrupted, as The Baby was listening, wide-eyed and completely enrapt in the conversation. No, Jennifah, it’s fine if he hears this! she said. I backed down, simply because I still do what she tells me to (most of the time) and she continued:  If there comes a time when you and Eli (my brother) cannot agree to ‘pull the plug’, you are to play Rochambeau until one of  “WHAT?!” I practically yelled, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? ROCHAMBEAU?!”   YES, JENNIFAH, ROCHAMBEAU!! she yelled back at me.  Now, let me just tell you, in case you do not know, because I have found that many do not know, that Rochambeau is another name for ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’.  (Now, I am not going to go into the many theories of why this is, because there are too many, and, well, the truth is that nobody really knows why.  If you are interested in learning about some of the theories, then Google it. It’s a very interesting read if you have nothing better to do! )  I had this sudden mental image of Eli and myself…standing at Mothah’s hospital bedside, where she would be all hooked up to monitors, and with tubes coming out and going in everywhere, her hair looking like Kramer on Seinfeld….and the two of us playing ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ to see who would get to decide when to ‘pull the plug’.  I started laughing.  Surely she was not serious!  But she was serious.  Dead Serious (pun intended) LOL.  I MEAN IT, JENNIFAH! IT’S IN THE PAPAH’S! AND IT HAS BEEN NOTORIZED! Mothah said. Oh Lord. That meant somebody outside of our extended family had actually witnessed this!  Mothah had more to say about it:  Now, Jennifah, I came to this decision because I realized that if I was on life suppoht, that Eli might be ready to ‘pull the plug’ aftah, say, seven days, but then you would want to give me a few m0re weeks, and y’all would get into a fight.  Rochambeau will keep you from fighting with each othah.  You have to do it, Jennifah, because it is in my Advance Directive.  “Okay”, I said, “We will. Can we stop this now?” Yes, Mothah said, laughing.  She knows I hate talking about the mere possibility of her not being immortal.  The Baby started up another Hamilton song and JC turned the tv volume back up.  He had managed to locate Mothah’s Hilton Honors account, somehow. I sat in my chair, realizing yet again, that I have bat-shit-crazy blood running through my veins, and thinking that perhaps (in 25 years or so) I should start honing my ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ skills….. Seriously, people.  I could not make this shit up if I tried.



img_3351A few weeks ago, my fellow Hamilton-obsessed friend told me about Daveed Diggs’ band, Clipping, coming to The Earl on November 2. Tickets were $12. I immediately bought two online.  It was on a Wednesday night.  I would have to go to work the next day, but I figured what the hell? It was Daveed! I’d missed him in Hamilton.  He hadn’t left the show yet on July 6, when The Middle Child and I saw it, but he was not performing that day.  THIS, I decided, THIS, was my chance to see Daveed Diggs.  JC has taken Mini Me to many concerts-often waiting behind the venue with other fans for an autograph or a photo.  I figured we could just do the same thing for moi… 

There were three bands playing on November 2, and the order in which they were going to play got changed around a time or two.  When I found out that Clipping was not going on until 11:00 pm, yes, I said, PM, I thought I might have to pass on Daveed.  I sat in my chair at work and thought about how late 11:00 PM was, and how tired I was going to be the next day, and how early I like to go to bed.  Who, exactly, was I trying to kid, here? I was never gonna make it.  I realized that I had not left the house to go to an event that started that late since, well, perhaps…1994?!  Here was the quandary:  either I man up and stay up and maybe meet Daveed Diggs, OR I wuss out and be my normal, boring self and stay at home and go to bed by 10:00.  Which would it be? It wasn’t that hard of a decision-for someone who flew to NYC and slept on the damn sidewalk for 2.5 days to see Hamilton?! Of course I manned the hell up.  I could not, for the life of me, figure out what to wear to The Earl.  I had never been there before.  JC said not to wear any good shoes-it was like a fraternity house. Oh Lort! He said I should expect tattoos and nose rings and such.  Tattoos? I said to him.  I have five of those! I’d fit right in!   I finally settled on this cute little black dress that I bought at J.Crew in Chicago. I know you are already laughing.  I paired it with my leopard print cardigan.  It is still hot here in Atlanta, but I wore my flat, tall, black biker boots that zip up the back.   My purse has a studded strap, so I thought with that and the couple of tattoos that would be visible, I might sort of fit in-maybe. (No. Nada. Nein. Never. Not even a little bit)The Shankman’s picked us up about 8:30.  I was already yawning.  When we walked into The Earl, I gasped. As in for my life.  JC told me it was an all smoking place-one of the few left here.  I had told myself I could handle it.  No asthmatic can handle it.  In fact, only heavy smokers could truly handle that.  Thank God I remembered my inhaler.  The front part of The Earl is a restaurant and bar, and we were going to eat first, so we were seated at a booth.  We seemed to be the only table having to use the iPhone flashlight to read the menu.  Lauren was sitting across from me and Scott, across from JC.  About 5 minutes into it, Daveed walks out into the bar.  OMG.  We were dying. Just me and Lauren, of course.  Scott and JC were trying to talk to us and we were totally not even paying them any attention.  We decided that we would not bother Daveed while he was so obviously trying to order food.  I did get JC to snap a pic of him from the back. LOL.img_3358 (He is standing at the bar and has on red Chuck Taylor’s)  Youth Code was playing before Clipping.  We decided to go in and see what they were all about.  That lasted about 3 minutes.  I could feel my heart beating outside of my body.  We went back into the restaurant part of The Earl to wait for Clipping. The last game of the World Series was on in the bar, so that was enough entertainment for us old people.  Finally, 11:00 rolled around, and it was time!  I am 46 years old.  My brother was a devout listener of RunDMC and Eazy-E, Boyz-N-The-Hood, NWA, all the old school Rap–or what I consider old school Rap.  I saw Straight Outta Compton and it made me cry.  I like to think that I know what Rap is. I knew that Clipping was Rap; HOWEVER, and this is a great, big, GIANT, however: I did not bother to check it out beforehand.  Nope. Did not even listen to a single song.  Not a one.  So, there we all are, and there is a huge screen with nothing but static playing on it on the stage, and Daveed Diggs comes out and everyone starts screaming, and he says, “Yo! ATL, What the fuck is UP?!” and I thought to myself, this is SO not Hamilton!  Right after I had that thought, I felt incredibly guilty for having it.  I know Daveed Diggs does not want to be identified as “that guy from Hamilton” for the rest of his life.  He was not at The Earl to perform selections from Hamilton.  I knew it wasn’t going to be Hamilton.  I don’t know exactly what I expected, since I never bothered to check it out before we got there!!!  The show starts, and it is Rap, but it is a very eclectic style of Rap-almost as if he is rapping, well, clippings of news reels? During the first song, I did not know if I could make it for an hour.  By the third song, I was developing an ear for it.  By the time we got to Shooter, I was in love.  Daveed would say “Shooter” into the mic and we would whisper it back to him: shooter… Just imagine me, in my little J.Crew dress, with my left hand up in the air, moving to this:

Cause he got guns and that shit gon’ bang>Yeah, the shooter brought guns and the shit go bang, hands up>Got guns in this bitch, go bang>Motherfucker better run when this shit go

This my favorite Clipping song.  It is awesome.   At one point, I had to go to the restroom, but I really did not want to, for fear that I might miss something.  I heard a bunch of screaming, DAMN IT. I knew it!  When I came out, Daveed had taken his shirt off!! Look, people, for women my age, that is hot entertainment.  At one point, he came down into the audience and I was one person away and I thought to myself that I could reach out and touch him.  Of course, I did not do it, as that would have been completely inappropriate.  He had his shirt on again by then anyway.  When he was out in the audience, people kept taking pictures of him with their flashes on! I could not believe it! They were practically blinding the poor man.  The girl standing next to me did it three or four times.  I really wanted to reach over and knock her phone out of her hand.  I think it would have been really easy to do because she looked pretty drunk.  Her big doofus husband or boyfriend had broken in front of me and was blocking my view.  I took the high road and decided that they were going to feel shitty enough the next morning.

These guys are what I call intellectual rappers. Clipping is made up of William Hutson (Rale),  Jonathan Snipes (Captain Ahab) , and Daveed Diggs.  If the information I found online is correct, Hutson and Snipes both attended UCLA and Diggs went to Brown.  Snipes is a stage sound designer. Hutson has a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies.  Daveed Diggs has recently been on “Black-ish”, in addition to his Tony winning year long run as Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette in Hamilton.  Clipping’s songs are about real life, but in a way that I have never heard lyrics written before.  It’s artsy and beautiful.  I know you are looking at the refrain I wrote out for you above and thinking to yourself, “yeah, right, I don’t see anything artsy and beautiful about that”.  I gave you that particular section so that you could imagine me in my little outfit, at that particular show. There is a difference!  How about this:

Got a towel on his face, mophead>Gettin’ money in the desert, hot bread>Wish he had a way home, bread crumbs>Drink himself into a coma, red rum>Soldier’s eyes playin’ tricks, sandwich>Need to get more info, bandwith>Bunch of signs there to read, pamphlets>But that was not to be, Hamlet…..

Same song.  I’m telling you, I really think Clipping is great.  When it was over,  JC and Scott went back into the bar of The Earl to catch some more of the ball game, since it was into extra innings.  Lauren and I waited to see if Daveed was going to come out to greet his stalker fans. We were trying to play it cool-you know-as if we look like we hang out regularly at The Earl.  After about 10 minutes, right when we were going to call it a night, he walked out! A line immediately formed and he was giving autographs and taking pictures.  Scott and JC came back in with our Clipping  LP’s we had bought earlier.  I had Sharpie’s in my purse.  I know to always come prepared to a show.  Hell, I had tried to bring both of our Hamiltome’s,a19gf6jjo1l but changed my mind at the last minute.  Those things are huge.  Plus, The Middle Child said, “Mom, do you really want to be the creepy lady with the Hamilton tattoo and two Hamiltome’s in her purse?”  The answer was HELL NO, I DID NOT.  When it was my turn, I had my phone ready.  I showed Daveed the picture of The Baby, dressed as him for Halloween.  He cracked up and asked me if I had to make all of that.  I got to tell him about me and The Middle Child going to NYC and sleeping on the sidewalk.  He could not believe it.   Then, after we had our photo made, I showed him my pièce de résistance….my tattoo.  He emphatically exclaimed that I was:  hardcore!  We both laughed and I thanked him and told him how wonderful he was and is and then our little group walked back into the bar of The Earl, where we watched the ball game for another 15 minutes.  On the way to the car, Lauren and I happened to glance to our right and there was Daveed and the band-loading their van. We stood there, watching them load music equipment …until JC and Scott brought us back to reality with their arm waving and yelling at us to come on-they were several hundred feet ahead of us.  At the same time, we heard cheering coming from both sides of the street.  The Cubs had just won the Series.  We went into the closest open bar to watch the excitement on screen.  We got home about 1:15am. I bolted upright when my alarm went off at 5:00am, petrified I would be late to work-knowing everyone would know where I had been, as it was chronicled on Facebook. I made it through the work day, counting the minutes until I could go home.  I still felt as though I was breathing in the smoky air of The Earl.  I have been sober for 14 years, so I was not hungover from drinking–only from lack of sleep and an over rush of adrenaline, which will still put a hurtin’ on me.  Several times, throughout the day, I had asked myself the question: was it worth it?  The answer then, and now, remains the same: HELL YES! and I would do it again!  I will always remember what I was doing the night the Chicago Cubs won the World Series after 108 years:  I had just met Daveed Diggs, but was actually standing in an alley watching him load his van- just like a stalker. Go figure.








God, I hate Halloween.  I really do.  It is a colossal waste of money and time.  Yet, I continue  to participate in it year after year after year….what’s the definition of insanity again? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Hmmm….. Halloween = Insanity.  Yep. That is exactly right.

A few months ago (yes, months), The Baby decided he wanted to be Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton Style, for Halloween.fullsizerender-8  HELL YES!!! The Middle Child and I exclaimed!!! I would make the costume in all of my spare time!!!  When dost thou thinkest I started??? Thou wouldst be correct if thou guessed about two weeks before Halloween! Why? thou might asketh…Because that’s howeth  I rolleth.   I ordered the perfect purplish stretch velveteen and satin a couple of months ago, and it sat on the dining room table.  I like to tell myself such bullshit like: I work best under pressure…Yeah, yeah, yeah. When will I ever learn? I have been telling myself that shit for years.  I found the Colonial shoes online.  They were only $27 or something.  The buckles weren’t quite as big as I would have liked, but they’d have to do.  I mean seriously, it was a costume, not an outfit for an event!  I had trouble finding the perfect buttons.  Daveed Diggs’ buttons are purple and gold.  I finally found some that would have to suffice, on Etsy.  They were plastic, but again, it was a costume… There were only 25 of them.  I was worried that was not going to be enough.  Daveed has a ton of buttons on his get-up.  I made the vest and knickers first, then the shirt.  The vest was a pain in the ass, but nothing compared to the royal pain that was the purple satin Colonial coat! Oh. My. Lord. I had never sewn on satin before.  I shall never again.  If it slipped through my fingertips once, it slipped through them 307 times.  I had to pin everything with 6,000 pins.  The collar would not stand up for love or money.  I used several different weights of interfacing, but was not going back to Jo-Ann even if my life depended on it. I was going to put cardboard in it, but I finally said to hell with it and decided that it just wasn’t necessary.  I was juggling this costume around work, hernia surgery, and a fit of fibromyalgia.  I had to be finished with it the Thursday before Halloween, because The Baby needed to wear it to school on Friday for “Storybook Character Day” of “Peace Week”.   Two weeks earlier, as we were riding down the road, Hamilton soundtrack playing as usual, The Baby and I got into a conversation about Thomas Jefferson, and I felt the need to make sure that The Baby knew that Thomas Jefferson was not, indeed, African American, like Daveed Diggs who played him in the original cast of Hamilton.  The Baby replied that yes, he did know that.  I followed up by saying that Thomas Jefferson probably did not wear purple satin and velvet, either.  We had had this conversation before. Many times.  This time, though, was different. WHAT? The Baby screamed.  HE DIDN’T?  WHY AM I BEING THOMAS JEFFERSON? IF HE ISN’T IN A BOOK DRESSED LIKE THAT, THEN IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!  Oh. My. Lord.  I thought I might just run off the damn road.  The kid knew good and damn well that Thomas Jefferson did not wear purple satin and velvet!  Luckily, I had my wits about me-a rarity these days-and I immediately thought of The Hamiltome.  I pointed out that he could take his Hamiltome to school and show the pictures of Daveed, dressed in purple satin and velvet.  That calmed the storm instantly.   Crisis averted.  Thursday night, we ordered pizza and watched Hamilton’s America on PBS while I braided The Baby’s hair in teeny tiny braids all over his head.  He wanted his hair to be wavy and fluffy like Daveed’s.  He was up at 5am on Friday, excited to see what it would look like.img_3287 I was shocked that The Baby, normally quiet and shy at school, was willing to go to school dressed in this loud costume, with his hair all funky.  I was a little bit worried.  That afternoon, he was quite disheveled.  He said his Colonial shoes were not good for P.E.  Damn. I had not thought about P. E.  I guessed they weren’t! He had rolled his ankle in them.  His giant bow was untied, his shoes were all scuffed up, and he announced that he had lost two buttons.  TWO BUTTONS?! I said, I hope to GOD you have them! He said that he DID have them.  I breathed a sigh of relief because there had been no extra buttons-I had put all 25 on the outfit! I calmed myself down and assured him that I could fix everything before Monday.  Now, during all of this, The Middle Child wanted me to make the Eliza Schuyler Hamilton dress. fullsizerender-9 I must’ve been out of my God-damned mind  when I agreed.  I went on the ultimate quest for the perfect sea foam green taffeta.  I could not find it anywhere.  I found it a week before Halloween.  I wasn’t finished with the purple satin Colonial coat when The Middle Child strode through the dining room one day and casually asked me if her Eliza Dress would be ready for school on Friday.  I burst out laughing and then said um HELL NO! She never told me she needed anything for Friday.  It was Monday.  Thank God for Amazon Prime.  She was Wednesday Addams on Friday.  As it were, I did not finish with the purple satin coat until Thursday…I started the Eliza Dress on Saturday.  I got it all put together, but with no zipper, no hem, no details.  I did make the covered buttons, but did not sew them on…because…  I could see the disappointment on her face.  I had another day of work to put in, and I was willing to do it.  It wasn’t that.  I knew what it was.  It wasn’t perfect enough.  I am not a seamstress or a tailor.  The Middle Child is a perfectionist of the worst sort.  She wants everything to be exact.  I explained to her, before I embarked on this project, that this dress would not be exact.  In fact, it would be anything but.  I thought we were clear on that, but apparently we were not.   I’ll be damned, I’ll be damned.  It was a costume, not a ball gown – at least in my eyes, but not in the eyes of The Middle Child.  There was not a harsh word or a tear, and I’m not quite sure how that came to be.  We came to a mutual understanding that she would never be Satisfied by this dress.  I, unwilling to throw it away, packed it up and cleaned up the dining room.  I still say that the damn thing is better than a lot of shit at Party City.  Hell, it’s better than a lot of shit at Target.  Damn It.

I had Thomas Jefferson’s outfit ready to go for Monday.  JC polished the shoes.  I washed the shirt and ironed it.  I sewed the two missing buttons back into their places.  The Middle Child’s plans fell through at the last minute, but she found something else to do.  I rallied and dressed up, myself, which I never do.  I bought a 3/8 inch curling iron over the weekend, to curl The Baby’s hair with, so that he wouldn’t have to sleep on braids again.  I was on it.  Then, Sunday afternoon, The Baby was not feeling well.  We went to the movie, and I thought he was better, but in the night, he got up with his temp at 103.  Damn It.  It figured. I would make that whole costume and then he would get sick and not be able to go trick or treating!   I took him to the doctor on Monday morning.  Since he did not have flu or strep, the doc said he could go trick or treating if he felt like it, and luckily, he felt like it.  Of course, he rolled his ankle at the second house and immediately started crying.  I asked him what happened and he told me and then I heard JC say,  yeah and now he has sprained his ankle for the rest of the night and the rest of the week! like it was my fault or like I had forced the kid to wear the damn Colonial shoes! I was standing there, in front of my friends, dressed as Eleven from Stranger Things, looking like a complete idiot,  carrying an empty Eggo box, with fake blood coming out of my nose, and I was thinking about how fucking much I had put into Hallofuckingween, and how fucking much I was NOT getting out of it.  I was D.O.N.E.  Give me the keys, I said to JC, will go home and get him some more shoes. He handed me the keys and I started for the car with my Eggo box.  I got almost to the car and my phone rang.  It was him calling me, asking me to come back and not go get the shoes.  I did.  I was still D.O.N.E.  We got home before 8:30, and I made JC answer the door for any trick or treaters who came by while I washed Thomas Jefferson’s hair.  He was pleased that some people knew who he was.  One lady thought he was Beethoven, and even when he told her he wasn’t Beethoven, he heard her say, “I’ve never seen a Beethoven before” bwahahaha.  I have to say, for an 8 year old, he is a mighty good sport to dress up like he did.  His best friend at school told him he just wanted to show off and be fancy.  I told him no, that wasn’t him, it was me… 😉




This is a tale that begs to be told, heinous though it may be.  Prepare yourselves. It is a tad vulgar.  Just a few years ago, when I was in the ninth grade,  it was a Thursday night and I was getting ready to go to the first JV football game of the season.  JV stands for ‘junior varsity’.  We lived in Greenville, South Carolina at the time.  I had a new outfit to wear. In retrospect, it was hideous.  It was Ocean Pacific.  Purple and gray-cropped pants and a matching vest. I had new gray Mia shoes with the thatched pattern, and I am 99.9% sure that I wore my John Taylor straw hat.  I wore that damn thing all the time.  The phone rang. “Jennifah, telephone!”, Mothah yelled from the kitchen.  Our phone had a really, super long cord, and it would reach all the way into my bedroom.  I said “hello”, and this strange, male voice on the other end said, “hey, Jennifer, can you talk until I come?” I said, “Who is this?” and the voice said, “Roger”.  “Roger who?” I said.  I did not know anyone named Roger.  Then it hit me.  There was a Roger in my math class.  He was a senior. I was a freshman! “I said , can you talk until I come?” he said again.  “Well, when are you going to get here?” I asked with hesitation. I really did not want Roger from math class to come over.  He cracked up laughing and hung up.  Weird, I thought.  I hung up the phone and went back to getting ready.  The phone rang again.  “Jennifaaaaahhhh! Telephone!”, Mothah bellowed.  Damn it. Who now? “Hello?” I said. “Jennifer, will you talk until I come?” It was Roger again.  “I said when are you coming over!”  Again, Roger started cracking up and hung up on me.  About that time, Mothah appeared in my door way.  “What is going on, Jennifah?”, she asked.  I told her about the strange phone calls.  Mothah hung her head and started laughing.  I thought I heard her say “Oh. My. God.” under her breath.  She made me sit down and she explained what Roger really meant.  Roger wasn’t really coming over.  I was horrified.  “Don’t give it anothah thought, Jennifah.  If Rojah calls back, I will take care of it.” Mothah said.  I was scared.  I went to the ball game with my friends and forgot about old Roger. When I walked through the door, Mothah was waiting for me on the couch.  She had a smirk on her face.  “What?” I asked.  “Rojah called,” Mothah said, “and he asked me if I would talk until he came”.   Oh. My. God.  “What did you say?”, I asked, terrified to hear the answer.  “Jennifah, you won’t have to worry about Rojah calling again.  I told him if he evah called heah again, I would wack his dick off with a sledgehammah!”  OH. SHIT.  Mothah said dick? I did not even know she knew that word!  “MOTHER!”, I said.  “Well, Jennifah, I would! I would knock it flat as a pancake!”, she said. And I knew she meant it.  Lucky for Roger, he never called back.

Don’t Blink, Mama



I have been scrolling, or better yet, trolling, through my Facebook feed as of late…usually right before I go to sleep, holding onto my College Freshman’s blanket that he left here on his bed in his bedroom…sometimes even crying myself to sleep, remembering the little boy that he used to be, not so long ago, if only in my mind….AND….I see all the cute little pictures of the little pre-k’ers and the little kindergartners and the captions from their mothers about how sad they are to see their babies go off to school! Oh, how they never knew how hard this day would be! Oh how hard it was for them!  etc. etc.  Let me tell you mothers something. Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. Immediately, if not sooner. YOU, Madame,  do not have a fucking clue of what is to come, and in your not-too-distant-future! In fact, one morning, little Junior is leaving for Pre-K, and the next morning, he is a Senior in high school.  Yes, ma’am, that is exactly how it happens.   You are enjoying his little baby hair, and his little smocked john-john’s now, but enjoy it while it lasts, Mama. Junior is going to grow up, fast.  Your ass is gonna be shopping at Abercrombie and Fitch for the muscle fit polo, crew neck, and v neck: ASAP.img_2733

It comes in solids and stripes-all color combinations you can possibly think of.  And be prepared.  That place reeks of eau de teen.  You will want to vomit about 20 feet outside the store.  Carry a paper bag in your purse–you can use it to breathe into.  Enjoy the little saddle shoes and English sandals too, Mama, because Junior is gonna go for nothing but Chuck Taylor’s. High and Low.  Mostly in black.  Because what doesn’t go with black?  And Mama, while you are at it, enjoy little Junior’s longish hair….because he is going to have a Mohawk one day.  A big one.  And you are gonna need to flat iron that bitch with a shit load of Got2B Spiked Up Gel.

While you are at it, Mama, enjoy little Junior liking YOU, because eventually, he is going to pretty much hate your fucking guts.  Everything you do is gonna be wrong….what you say and how you say it….even the way you look out of your eyeballs at him.  I can hear you right now, Mama, “not my little Junior!” That will be one big platter of bullshit for you, Mama!  Just you wait…. Right now, your little Junior wants to be by your side every minute of every day, and he wants to talk to you…But in just a few very short years, little Junior is gonna shut himself in his room and never come out. Except to go to school, and only then because you will tell him about the evil, awful truant officer who will come and get him if he doesn’t come out.  And soon after that, the only word you will ever hear from Junior is “whatever” or possibly “no”.   I know I have scared you, Mama.  You should be scared.  It does level out a bit, around the end of 11th grade.  That’s when they realize they are almost outta here and you realize you are about to lose them forever.  They are finally happy! And you, Mama, you are holding on to whatever time you’ve got left with Junior, and at that point, it ain’t much at all.  I cried when all 3 of mine went to Pre-K and Kindergarten.  It is nothing in comparison to what it feels like when a child goes off to college and you have to wake up and realize that, for the most part, as far as day to day living is concerned, with that onethat kid, your ass is done. Finished. It’s over.  It feels like my heart has been pulled out of my body and run over by a Mack truck over and over again and then stabbed with a razor sharp butcher knife and then cut up into tiny pieces and then put into the Cuisinart.  That is how much it hurts.  The only consolation prizes are things like knowing that my kid is a good kid, and he has survived having me for his mother and still loves me.   So, Mama, cry in your beer over your baby going to Pre-K or Kindergarten. You don’t know it yet, but that’s not really why you are crying.  You are crying because it’s already the beginning of the end.   I’m over here at my house rolling my eyes at you and wishing my big baby just walked out the door for Pre-K or Kindergarten.  I’m over here at my house, clutching my big baby’s blanket and crying myself to sleep at night because he doesn’t really live here anymore.  And you, Mama, do not feel sorry for me.  You have no more time with your little Junior than I had with mine.  Don’t blink.  You’re up next.