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.

Elvis Has Left the Building

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Preface: I am well aware that this is entirely too long😉 I actually cut some of it out and left the best parts, so just be thankful for that

Sunday was a week since we moved Mini Me to college. I think I have tried to write this story a hundred times.  I feel like I am missing a limb.  The first time I cooked dinner and went to set the table, I realized that I only needed to set four places, and the knife, that was plunged into my heart last weekend, twisted again.  It was not that Mini Me has eaten every single meal with us all of his life, it was that that time was different.  It seemed more permanent.  Like for real.  I am going to tell you about taking Mini Me to Belmont last weekend, and it is not like the beautiful, sweet stories people have been sending me on Facebook.  Please don’t misunderstand me–I appreciate all of the well wishes and kind words and thoughts, more than anyone knows.  It helps to know that people are thinking of me.  But….I really need to tell you that most of those stories are exactly that: Stories. And that is just a nice way of me calling a real loud and clear ‘BULLSHIT’.  I am here to tell you the truth. 

I have gone back to work, after an 8.5 year leave.  This has not proven to be the easiest task on the planet, but despite my best efforts, I am actually enjoying the hell out of it.  This job thing does get in the way of a lot of my would-be normal, day to day activities.  I could not just randomly gather all of the shit that Mini Me needed, whenever I felt like it, on my random, every other day trips to Target.  Those no longer exist.  I also could not just give Mini Me my debit card and say, here ya’ go, sonny! Go get whatever you think you might need!  I never have the energy to go to Target after dinner, and somehow, the weekends preceding his departure had been filled with other things, sooooo the morning of the day we left, I ran to Target to do some last-minute-Mini-Me shopping.IMG_2555

My list was relatively short.  I ended up with two shopping carts and a grand total of just under $400.  It took me over an hour and a half because I kept getting text messages from all three children.  Most of these were unnecessary.  I do not need a text message response of “NP” or “OK” or “THX” or “It would be really cool if you would bring home Starbucks”. This only makes my shopping trip longer, with me having to dig for my phone in my black hole of a purse.  If the important points of our textversation are over, then, for the love of God, just leave it alone.   When I got home, I backed the car into the carport so that I could unload all of the shit I had just bought, only to take it inside the house, repack it and then reload it into the same car.  Mini Me and I had decided to try to pack the car before JC got home.  We knew that if we had the car half loaded when he got there, he would make us unload it and he would start over.  JC likes to load the car.  In his defense, he is a good car-loader.  BUT….we had a LOT of stuff to load and we knew, from many previous packing experiences, that JC would require one or more of us to bring all of the shit out to the car, and stay out there and watch while he thought about what would be loaded and when.  Then, if he changed his mind and thought of a better plan, he would make us help unload it and start over. This may happen multiple times before he got it right.  This sort of perfectionism drives me insane, and I refuse to take part in it.  Mini Me and I started haulin’ ass.  We actually got most of it done before JC got home.   Since all 5 of us were going to Nashville, it was decided that Mini Me and JC would ride in the other car, and I would drive The Middle Child and The Baby in the minivan, that was packed so full that I could not see out of the rear view mirror.  We were getting ready to walk out the door and JC and Mini Me and I were in the kitchen alone.  I burst into tears, realizing that this was it.  This was the last time we would be here, in our house, like this.  Mini Me grabbed me and hugged me hard.

We hit Atlanta rush hour and Chattanooga rush hour, which was par for the course.  Somewhere beyond Adairsville, Georgia, when I had started to make up some time, I came upon a Scion, riding leisurely in the left hand lane.  Left lane riders really piss me off.  Also, about this time, The Middle Child and The Baby were starting to bitch at each other.  Unable to pass on the right, my road rage took over, and I rode the Scion’s bumper for about 10 minutes.  When I could finally pass on the right, I happened to glance over at Scion, to give a scowl, and saw a Native American woman shooting me a bird….her giant dream catcher dangling from her rear view mirror.  I thought to myself that there was seriously something wrong with that picture. Bitch.  I blew her doors off and traveled onward.  The Middle Child and The Baby and I were having a lot of fun between fights.  We were listening to the only thing we listen to, ever: The Hamilton Soundtrack.  We tested ourselves and we made it almost 1 hour without listening to it.  We then decided that there was simply nothing better to listen to, so we just turned it back on and never considered listening to anything else again.    I now have to make sure that I remind The Baby, each and every morning, before he gets out of the car at school, that he may under no circumstances be caught singing under his breath (or at the top of his lungs) any of the following lyrics: How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore….;  ….he’s been kicking ass as the ambassador to France; …..Sittin’ there, useless as two shits, hey, turn around, bend over, I’ll show you where my shoe fits!;  or the ever so great: Southern Mother Fuckin’ Democratic Republicans, OH!  I am seriously just waiting on the school to call me.  Two out of three of my children sing incessantly.  I think they don’t even know they do it about 95% of the time. I’m telling you….the call is coming.  “Broadway Musical Soundtrack” had best be enough to get us both off the shit list.  Anyway,   we found ourselves to be a little hungry, and were overjoyed to realize that the bag of Mini Me’s snack foods was, indeed, in the minivan, and also easily accessible!  The 3 of us put back an entire big bag of Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn in less than 30 minutes.    With traffic and rain, it took us 5 full hours to get to Nashville. And guess what? We arrived in the nick of time for JC and Mini Me to get to the Butch Walker concert.  Imagine that! So guess what else? The Middle Child, The Baby, and I ordered room service for dinner. Imagine that!

We had to be at Belmont the next morning at a specified time. I can no longer remember what that specified time was, but sure as hell, we were running late.  I was the last one to get ready, so everyone just left me in the room and told me they would see me in the car as they ran out of the door.   I told them if they left me, I’d kill every damn one of them.  We managed to pull up within 5 or so minutes of our designated time frame.  There was a team of students, all dressed in Belmont shirts, waiting to greet us at the front door of Kennedy Hall.  They immediately asked for our student’s name, which we provided, not realizing, that when we opened all of the doors of the minivan, the team of Belmont students would start cheering his name and clapping for him.  The most fun thing to watch was the Belmont students unloading my car! Within 5-7 minutes, my entire Honda Odyssey had been completely emptied, and the only thing I’d carried was the Ryan Adams Boxed Vinyl Set. Things got a little testy in the dorm room, what with all 5 of us in there, trying to help unpack and give helpful decorating and organizing tips of how we would do it.  Eventually, 4 of us were banished to the lobby for 15 minutes so that Mini Me could collect himself, because he was on the verge of cussing us all out.  It had already become abundantly clear that my little ‘last minute’ jaunt to Target just hadn’t cut the mustard, and we would be making another trip after lunch at Edley’s.   I really thought that if we could just raise our blood sugar a tad, we would all be much better off. Oh, how wrong I was.  All 5 of us fought our way through Target.  To be fair, Target had about 2500 customers, and all of us seemed to be in the same general vicinity: lamps, rugs, towels, white boards, printers, food, school supplies, household goods….basically the entire store.  It was a clusterfuck of such gigantic proportions, that I thought I might have a panic attack at any moment.   Those times make me really bitchy and snappish.  JC said we should have gone to Wal-Mart.  He was right. And, damn it, I cannot think of any time I have ever made the statement that ‘we should have gone to Wal-Mart’.   It really pissed me off that he said it because I felt like he was blaming me for us being in Target!  I said You were driving the damn car! Why didn’t you just drive us to the damn Wal-Mart if you wanted to go there so bad? Huh? He said because you said go to Target. And I said, well, I’d a heap rather go to a Target any damn day before a damn  Wal-Mart! ( knowing, as the words were coming out of my mouth, that at that moment, I probably looked as though I belonged at a Wal-Mart) And The Middle Child was all like PARENTS! STOP IT!  So, we did.  We had only about $179.87 worth of shit in the shopping cart, so we just checked on out of Target and guess where we went to get the last 3-5 items on the list?  YOU GOT IT! Wal-Mart.  It was nice to shop for those 3-5 things in a less clustered atmosphere, I do have to admit.  By the end of that shopping extravaganza, most of us were just plain done.  I dropped JC and Mini Me off at the dorm and I took The Middle Child and The Baby back to the Hilton. We ended up ordering pizza and watching some completely inappropriate crime show-Dateline or something-before calling it a night.  JC ubered back to the hotel, and Mini Me was spending the night in his dorm, but we would spend the day with him the next day.

The next day, we ate lunch at Edley’s.  I know I said we did that the day before.  We did do it the day before.  And we did it again.  We really like Edley’s. So what?  Then, we went and picked up this red, microfiber futon we found on Craigslist, for the dorm room.  It was brand new, in the box.  It was really awesome.  What was not really awesome was that when we got in the car to leave, all the doors to the van had been open while we were loading the damn thing, and the van was now full of baby yellow jackets.  Like we were parked on a yellow jacket nest or something….Nobody got stung, and it only took us about 5 minutes of riding with all the windows down and the sunroof open and screaming to get them all out. In fact, I am quite sure that the screaming was the main factor that contributed to getting them out.   Fun times, I am talking about, People, fun times.  We went to Carter Vintage Guitar.  It is one of our Nashville Rituals.  Mini Me loves to go in there and play guitars.  I decided to sit in the car with The Baby, who was screaming about how much he hates Carter Vintage Guitar, and how boring it is to go in there, and how much he did not want to go in there, and why were we making him do such an awful, miserable thing like going into Carter Vintage Guitar when he so really, really did not want to go? I damn sure did not want to go into Carter Vintage Guitar and have to listen to that whiny bullshit. I’d just assume sit and listen to it in the comfort of the van.  We also had promised The Baby that we would take him to Third Man Records-another one of our Nashville rituals.  The longer we sat in the car, the later it got, and the whinier The Baby got.  OH MY GOD! When are they gonna come out? This is awful. I can’t stand this. Please go get them. Please make them leave. Can’t we just leave them here….I told you I did not want to come to Carter Vintage Guitar!!!! As you can imagine,  I really wanted to bitch slap The Baby, but he had a point.   I looked at the clock on my phone and was shocked to see that it was almost 5:00pm, Nashville time.  That meant it was almost 6:00pm, Atlanta time.  I had to work the next day.  The kids had school.  We had to get this show on the road.  I started texting The Middle Child, and JC.  They came out a few minutes later.  Mini Me jumped into the front seat and slammed the door like he might break the damn thing off it’s hinges. He then went off on a tirade about some guitar that was apparently like the Holy Grail of guitars.   He was really pissed off.  I finally pieced together what had happened.  He was enjoying playing guitars, and then JC handed him this fancy schmancy one to play, and it was like the bomb.  Like a $7-8000.00 bomb, which is really not all that big of a bomb in the world of guitars.   He was thoroughly pissed off that JC would actually hand him a guitar to play that we had no intentions of buying.  Now, this whole situation was ridiculous.  Mini Me has gone in Carter Vintage and Gruhn’s and played instruments that cost a whole lot more than this guitar I am telling you about, and he has known every time that nobody was buying a damn thing, unless it was a time when we were looking to buy a damn thing.  He knew this particular day, that nobody was buying a damn thing.  But he went off  like the spawn of satan. He said some things that I am not going to repeat–mostly because I think he regretted them the instant they came out of his mouth, the second time he said them, since he said them more than once😉   I sat there and thought to myself that just maybe, this whole leaving him here at college, 4 hours away from home, was not going to be as hard as I had imagined…little fucker.  In fact, I thought we might just ought to leave his ass right there, in the parking lot of Carter Vintage Guitar  and let him walk his ass back to his dorm!   We went to Third Man Records and JC sat in the car.  His feelings were hurt by the awful things that had come out of the spawn of satan’s mouth. Usually, all of us are pretty quick to apologize when we have done something we know is wrong.  That apology we were waiting on did not come until we were headed back to the dorm a little while later, but when it came, it was very sincere.  I had heard about this ‘spawn of satan’ behavior.  It is apparently a quite common defense mechanism…..I had hoped we would be able to avoid it, but I should have seen it coming a mile away.  After we unloaded the futon and put it together, we asked Mini Me to come outside to tell us goodbye.FullSizeRender (15)

I really thought I was going to be fine. I really did.  I did not feel the least bit weepy.  Then, I turned around and saw Mini Me hug The Middle Child, and I heard an audible sob come from her, and that–that was all she wrote.  

I sobbed most of the way home, but managed to belt out a few Hamilton songs with The Middle Child in between breakdowns.  I called Mothah and Daddy.  JC had The Baby with him in the other car.  I think he knew that after our stint in the van at Carter Vintage Guitar,  The Baby and I needed a small break from each other.  When we pulled into our driveway, I felt this surge of sadness come over me because we had actually come home without Mini Me.  He really was not here.  I went straight to his room and the tears just kept falling.  It seemed so empty without him. I grabbed the gray blanket off his bed and carried it with me (I have slept with it every night since).   I went into the playroom and looked at the side that was and is his side–the music side.  There were still a few guitars hanging on the wall, and of course the piano is there, but the cables and mic’s and amp’s-all that stuff is gone.  And my Mini Me is not there.  Elvis has left the building.



am one great big contradiction.  What you see, is most definitely not what you get.  I think I dress fairly normal.  Sometimes I dress a little funky and sometimes I wear things that are considered super preppy.  Sometimes I mix funky and super preppy because I have eclectic taste.  When JC and I were engaged and planning our wedding, we went to pick out our china.  I had already picked out my silver pattern and basically told him he could like it or not: Repousse by Kirk Stieff. We went to this little boutique shop in Sandy Springs, and the lady kept telling me that I simply could not put Repousse with Kusumam by Rosenthal.  It was so horrible a faux pas, it was practically illegal. Wellllllll, you know how I love me some illegal anything… I was waiting for someone to walk out and make a Citizen’s Arrest.  We left that little boutique that day, fully registered for Kusumam by Rosenthal, as well as Repousse by Kirk Stieff.  The lady was horrified.  I did not give a rat’s ass.  It was not her future table I was going to be setting, It was mine, and  I was not even going to be inviting her to dinner.  Why did she care what I chose? It was none of her damn business which china I wanted to put with Repousse by Kirk Stieff! Who really gives a shit what china I put with Repousse by Kirk Stieff? I bet Kirk Stieff would not give a shit which china I wanted to put with Repousse.  I would have left that shop, but it was the only place we could find Kusumam by Rosenthal.  Go figure.  The picture has to be big, so you can see how big the wine goblets are.  I still drank wine back then, and I chose the largest goblets known to man.  You can fit a half bottle of wine in those suckers.  IMG_2536.JPG

Even with my eccentricities, I am not sure that “let me tell you about my first tattoo” is something that most people expect to ever hear me say.  And, to be fair, I do not actually say that-ever!  The story is mortifying and I don’t really like telling it, but I will, because it is necessary.   I did not even get my first tattoo until I was 33 or 34, and had been sober for a couple of years.  My husband and I went to San Francisco, and for some strange reason, I got this idea in my head that I was going to get a tattoo in the Haight-Ashbury area of San Francisco.  JC was like: Whatever.  He knows how I am.  When I get an idea in my head, there is just no turning back.  We found a tattoo parlor (I hate that word: parlor ) that looked decent and the artist gave me some stuff to look at since I had not yet decided what I wanted my tattoo to be. Now that was a problem. Tattoos are very personal.  I should have known what I wanted before going in.  I learned that lesson and did not need to learn it again.  All of my other tattoos have a reason behind them.  We learn from our mistakes, I suppose.  I picked out a yellow crescent moon and some stars.  The location was the middle of my lower back.  I decided this would be the best spot because I could cover it up easily.  It did not hurt as badly as I had expected.  Don’t get me wrong–it hurt! But I had been afraid that I might cry, and it just wasn’t that kind of pain.    A few days after we got home, I was driving down the road, listening to a local radio show.  I felt my face turn red, as I picked up on the conversation…something about a tramp stamp.  I had never heard this term before, but it did not take me long to realize that I now had one.  Fuckety fuck me.  Of course I did.  Of course I had a fucking tramp stamp!  Great.  Later that week,  I almost ran off the road as I had a sickening revelation that my lovely tramp stamp looked very much- too much –like the logo for the Crescent Moon Diner…fuckety fuck me AGAIN. Since it was located on my back, if I wanted to look at it there, I had to look in a mirror.  I could pretty much forget about the damn thing and pretend it never even happened….well…unless I was bending over to get something out of my bag at the kids’ school and my shirt and my jeans were separated for that split second that Suzy Q. Homemaker from the neighborhood happened to be looking down my way.  Those little incidents were so much fun, they almost made me want to wear things that invited the opportunity.  I loved hearing the shock in their voices. “YOU have a tattoo?!” It was almost too much for some of them.  I did actually get,” Jennifer, is it REAL? “ several times, as if I would actually apply a fake tramp stamp just for the hell of it.  Seriously, people? Is it real?  Come on.  When I clocked in at a hefty 225 the day before The Baby was born, it looked like it was the size of a paper plate.  There have been lots of times when I would have made a different decision regarding that particular tattoo. The good thing about it is that  I don’t have to look at it, and neither do you, so we are all good.   I have a Sons of Anarchy tattoo on the inside of my right forearm.  I got that one at Kat Von D’s L.A. Ink.  It’s about the size of a quarter.  I have a Buddhist symbol for mindfulness on the inside of my left ankle and a skull and crossbones on the outside of my right ankle. All three of those tattoos have meaning for me.  Nothing is larger than a half dollar. When Mini Me started talking about getting a tattoo awhile back, I was not surprised.  I expected it, actually.  What I did not expect, was for him to ask permission to get it.  I think I just thought he would go to college and show up with one someday.    Tuesday, I got a text from Mini Me, saying he really needed to talk to me about something, but wanted to make sure he wasn’t bothering me at work.  This sort of text is not usually a good sign, as it means I might go ape-shit, so he wants to make sure I am not around other people who would matter.  Finally, he asked me if I would mind if he went and got his tattoo. I was disappointed.  I had secretly envisioned the two of us going to Liberty Tattoo together, on a mother/son field trip before he leaves for college next weekend.  We could get tattoos together!  It would be so much fun! What 18 year old boy wouldn’t want to go get a tattoo with his mother??? I sent him a text with my idea and asked him if he would just consider it.  He responded that it had to be today because it was the anniversary of Jerry’s death. Today was not an option for me. Even though I was disappointed that our little tattoo bonding experience would not be happening (yet! ;) ,  I totally understood this utmost importance and pressing need.      Mothah remembers where she was when JFK was shot.  I remember where I was when it was announced that Jerry Garcia died.  It was like 6:00am.  JC and I were dating.  We had stayed up all night with JC’s brother, re-decorating their mother’s kitchen as a surprise.  She was due in from a trip later that day.  I had made an early morning Krispy Kreme run.  This was before cell phones, so I had to actually wait until I got back to the house to let anyone else know this tragic news.  My kids think that is the worst part of that story-that I could not call people and share the news on my way home.   I told Mini Me that I had to tell (warn) his father that he was going to get a tattoo, so I texted this information to my husband and got no response.  I got tired of waiting, so I called him.  His response was this: I do not have time to deal with this.  Oh, okay. I knew he was coming home late. I told him that I had to be up extra early for work and asked him not to wake me up when he got home.  A little while later, I was getting ready to go to bed and Mini Me texted me a picture of his tattoo.  I thought I might pass out.  It was HUGE.  It looked like it might be 4 or 5 inches long. Mother of GOD.  I asked him if he was happy. He was, and very.  I asked him if it hurt and he said HELL YES.  I told him that I did not expect it to be that big, and I am pretty damn sure that he knew all along that I had no idea how big that thing was going to be.  And now, as a result,  Tuesday night, August 9, will now be forever known as The Night FUUUCK  Was Heard ‘Round the Neighborhood.  JC got home, got in bed, and got on his Instagram,  and saw a photo of  Mini Me’s tattoo.  I was awakened to FUUUCK!!! GOD DAMN IT! The kind when you are so mad that it sounds like: GOT TAM IT!  JENNIFER!  WAKE UP! Have you seen this? OH MY GOD! etc. etc.  I was livid. Of course I had seen it.  It wasn’t my favorite thing in the world, but it wasn’t worth all of this drama queen bullshit.  The ONE thing I had asked–was that I not be awakened, and damn it, here I was, awakened.    I know it is supposed to be Jerry Garcia’s hand print, but I can’t help it.  To me, it looks like it could be Harambe the Gorilla’s hand print.  I am sure it will be much better when Mini Me’s skin calms down.  One can hope… As for the size, Mini Me originally said, and I quote, “as small as possible”.  I assumed  (obviously incorrectly) that this meant he could get it as small as my quarter-sized tattoos.  This is as small as he could get this tattoo, and now that I think about it, I really should have known that this would be a design that could never go a small as a quarter! It’s way too intricate.  It’s someone’s actual hand print. but that is really my only issue with it.  Like I said before, tattoos are very personal.  It does not matter to me if you like my tattoos or not-they are not for you, they are for me.  Mini Me’s tattoo is not for me. It’s for Mini Me. If it makes him happy, then he can rock right on with his bad ass self, and it’s really nobody else’s damn business.  As for me, I can certainly say that Jerry Garcia has, posthumously, left an indelible mark on my son, and I am not exactly sure what to think about that!😉