Saturday, November 24, 2018

Maude VS Buyer’s Remorse

Ugh.  You guys.  Never ever ever ever shop Amazon Prime after two glasses of wine.  Just don’t.

They say alcohol leads to poor choices and for the most part in my life I’m like 75/25 on that.  As a grown woman rounding the age corner and barreling at full speed towards  50 I assumed that I was past that stage.

I was wrong.

I readily acknowledge I’m not the first to post the mantra “never prime while drinking” and I know without a shadow of a doubt I won’t be the last.  But if this confessional saves even one person from my fate it will have been worth it in the end.

As Cher likes to say “if I could turn back time” I would NOT check my phone/Facebook at 10:15pm before heading to bed.  If only Amazon had a time machine on their lightning deals…..sigh.

But alas my brain is programmed to see what the world is up to before I drift into a fitful sleep of hot flashes and all night peeing.  There was, and I am not making this up, a post informing the world that the 8 quart instant pot was on sale on Amazon for $69.99.  People, if you do not know that is like STEALING the instant pot you must have been living under a rock.

I don’t have any money right now.  Like none.  My husband started his own business so I’m the only person who is depositing cash into our checking account every two weeks  and I work for a nonprofit so like, just do the math.  And it’s Christmas so what the f*!k was I thinking purchasing this item?

Two glasses of wine took all the hesitation away and I got all wrapped up in the lightning deal.  CURSES to YOU Amazon.  CURSES.

As soon as I clicked “place order” I was overcome with instant-regret.  Again, WTF was I thinking?

My kids will now only receive the gift of instant pot meals this holiday season.

And maybe some socks. And underwear.  Can’t forget the underwear.  Santa’s a giver…..

I went to bed thinking that I would wake up excited and start googling recipes or feel terrible and try to cancel the order.  So I did both.  I am an exceptional multi-tasker.  As evidence I give you exhibit A: my new instant pot ordered while drinking AND goofing off on my phone….

So anyhoozer I spent time on an instant pot recipe exchange facebook page and with Amazon simultaneously.  For reals I attempted to cancel the order all while googling recipes.  You know, keeping my options open.

Unfortunately it was a lightning deal so they were lightning fast in processing the damn thing so come Tuesday evening no later than 8pm it will be on my porch.

I’m still a little angry that I drank and primed, but all my friends assure me that I’ll love this new appliance.  I mean if it cooks food for my family in a fraction of the time I might make out with it.

Hell, if it cleans up after itself, empties the dishwasher on occasion and does all the grocery shopping I just might marry it.

I remain cautiously optimistic that this will have been a solid purchase but I have yet to find recipes that meet my very specific criteria:  easy, healthy, one step, quick, delicious, family friendly, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, carb free, cashew free instant pot recipes for dummies.  (this is literally from one of my facebook pleas for help)

So it is 100% with mixed emotions that I welcome this new cooking appliance into my home.  Anticipation that it will allow me to place healthy food on the table for my family in a fraction of the time and absolute dread that it will end up on the shelf in my pantry like the rice cooker, crock pot, kitchen aid mixer……..

In closing, friends don’t let friends drink and Prime.  Peace, OUT.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Maude VS the bathtub

Parenting a 14.5 year old is not for the weak.  Parenting an exhausted 14.5 year old FEMALE requires the expertise and precision of a seasoned brain surgeon.  I have neither.  

I am screwed.

All I have, really, is my level 1 street smarts and the ability to out-stubborn even the most stubborn  of living creatures.

As you might well know the transition from lazy summers to crazy fall is as easy as a “simple Martha Stewart recipe”.  Just 12 simple ingredients, two hours of prep time, 8 different dishes and 14 cooking utensils later…….

My fledging high school freshman is also that kid that requires some down time each day to recharge her batteries.  She’s not like me in the sense that I’ll just go and go and go and go until I sit down and pass out.  Sleep is my battery re-charge (and the occasional adult beverage).

When you don’t get down time, you find yourself being angry and rude to your parents, like all the time….

Unfortunately for a newbie high schooler the day goes like this:
1. Wake up at the ass crack of dawn
2. Lay in bed and wait for your mom’s “get out of bed” prompts to reach new levels of hysteria
3. Drag yourself out of bed and wait for your breakfast to magically appear
4. Sigh heavily and make instant oatmeal because you get tired of waiting
5. Check cell phone in case you missed any texts while you wait for your mom’s “put your cell phone down and get ready” prompts to reach new levels of hysteria
6. Drag your feet as long as possible so the following tasks must be completed in ten minutes or less, and half-assed at best: brush hair, brush teeth, put on clothes and make up, make lunch but run out of time and beg for hot lunch money
7. Check cell phone some more, text friends things like “are you going to school” or “my mom is so annoying” stuff that doesn’t need to be typed into a phone at 6:45am.  This is done instead of gathering backpack and putting on shoes…
8. Wait for mom to start yelling to get in the car, waiting until her yelling reaches new levels of hysteria.  Perhaps she honks the horn from the driveway.  That is the signal that it is indeed time to gather up the backpack, books, laptop and shoes, send three more texts to friends (things like LOL, OMG, TTYL and “ugh my mom won’t stop honking the horn”), forget the cross country bag with running shoes, run back into the house while rolling eyes at your mom. 
9. Listen to mom lecture about being ready on time during the 20 minute drive to the private school mom and dad are scraping by to pay for but only half listen because, well that’s what you do.  It’s exhausting.  Ugh.
10. Spend the day at school like learning and stuff.  Talk and text friends at lunches and breaks, and on occasion during class time.  Hoping mom doesn’t turn off the ability to use the phone during the day, because you know, she can. 
11. Go to cross country, run a lot, socialize and dilly dally at the river when you are supposed to be taking an ice bath but really you are flirting relentlessly in your running shorts and sports bra even though your mother asked you a thousand times to please keep your shirt on because, well, BOYS.  But you don’t because like, it’s hot mom, DUH! And your mom is like “whatever” no boy needs to see YOUR SPORTS BRA KID!
12. Get picked up and home late because see item #11.  Wolf down dinner and then spend two hours doing homework and flirting with the neighbor kid under the guise of “helping him with his homework” even though your mom isn’t a total idiot.
13. Realize it it’s now 9:30pm and you’ve wasted the entire evening yet feel it necessary to take a shower RIGHT NOW even though your mom told you that you couldn’t if you didn’t get in before 9pm.

This is where the true heart of my story begins.  This was last night.  And while I have tried to keep my blog fairly anonymous since that Australian freak show started trolling me in 2012 many of my close friends know who I am.  They also know that my kid is two inches taller than I am.

This is all pertinent information to the story because this child as always pushed things and up until about a year ago I could literally manhandle her and put her in bed.  I can no longer do so because she outsizes me by a decent margin and is nothing but arms and legs that can grab onto door frames and prevent me from doing my parental duties of literally tossing her tired ass in bed and turning off the lights.

So again, back to last night.  When you are 14, tired and most likely hungry and you REALLY want a shower, there is almost nothing a parent can do to stop you.  Almost nothing…  

As I mentioned I’m the most stubborn of them all.  My children, God bless them, haven’t quite gotten the memo that I can, and will, outlast them every day and twice on Sunday.  Case in point, I’ll link a previous post from the summer of 2010 where I out-stubborned Brady over taking dinner seconds and not eating them by pouring a massive glass of wine and opening a GIANT novel to page 1. 

Fast forward to last evening:  after five minutes of back and forth “can please take a shower” followed by “no you may nots” which increased in hysteria with each passing second.   I realized I had nothing.  I could not physically move her to her bed and save for my physical presence in the bathroom, I could not do anything to stop her.

I can’t say “you can’t take a shower” and then go to bed in my own room, because she would have taken a shower anyway and been in there for DAYS ON END. (like really, what DO they do all that time in the shower?!?!).

So I pulled a rabbit out of my hat and said “I feel so strongly that you need to go to bed right now because you are tired that I’m going to sleep in the bathtub tonight.”  Yes, yes I so totally did that.  I literally took the bathmats, put them in the tub, laid down and closed the curtain.

My husband calls me borderline narcoleptic in the sense that I do have the innate ability to sleep anywhere any time (I once fell asleep eating spaghetti at a restaurant in !).  So she knew she was screwed.  Even so it took her about five minutes to give in.  I heard her LOUDLY brush hair and teeth, wash her face (checking off everything I would have badgered her about from behind the curtain) and then leave the bathroom LIGHTS ON with the FAUCET RUNNING (clever, clever girl).

I waited her out for about five minutes about the time I knew hoped would be in her PJs and in bed.  I wasn’t born yesterday, so I was prepared for the worst.  

I got up, turned out the lights and turned the faucet off and snuck out of the bathroom.  
I KNEW she was just lying in wait for me like a cat waiting to pounce and destroy its unsuspecting prey.  Little did she knew I was soooooo ready……

She went all ninja on me and jumped at me asking “so can I take a shower now?” and I just smiled and showed her the giant bundle of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor and shaving cream I removed on my way out.  “Not without this stuff!” I said as I headed for my room, with a wink and a smile.

“Well played mom, well played” was all she said as I walked away.  

The good news is she went to bed ON TIME last night.  

The bad news is I cannot turn my head properly either direction this morning. I clearly jacked up my neck laying in that damn tub, I guess parenting a teenager and getting old is a shit combination.  

But, worth it.  Totally worth it.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Maude VS the sex shop

I'm sure now that my headline has GOT YOUR ATTENTION.  You're welcome.  And yes, this is a post about a sex shop.  But I've got to lay down some back story before I get to the good stuff.

Life is full of ups and downs.  We all know this, we're living it.

Currently in my life I've only got a few things on my plate: an ill parent, husband starting his own business and me becoming the sole breadwinner on a nonprofit executive salary (WTF were we thinking??!!), eldest child entering high school (when the F did I get old enough to have a high school student living in and messing up my house?), my elder bro-turkey and his genetic offspring are relocating to my town so I'm pitching in to help out during the transition because of said ill parent requiring other parent to be super busy, and also, I have a job.

I think.

I might be fired?  I'm not sure yet, haven't been there much.  Staff assures me things are running fine without me, that's either good or bad depending on how you look at it.

I'm barely half-assing any aspect of my life (Ron Swanson would not approve) so I'm almost always on auto-pilot which doesn't bode well for my driving abilities - cars beware, there's an incredibly harried, over-stressed, emotional hot mess piloting a large SUV around town.  Oh wait, that describes basically almost any mom.  Touche.

But I digress.  As usual.

Last night said parent needed to be taken to the emergency room which meant I got to take my older brother to the airport leaving me with his precocious and very adorable 8 year old human.

Now, this child is incredibly smart and funny and wise beyond her years.  Yet, when she gets her mind rolling on something, it's hard to derail it.  Like basically impossible.  From constant conversations about hatchimals to kitty cats you can sometimes never get a word in edge-wise.  More on this shortly.

As you might imagine one parent taking the other to the hospital meant my evening unraveled a bit like a ball of yarn in the care of a feral kitten on catnip trapped in a bathtub full of water.  This was a good thing in the sense that I was able to rescue my high school child from having to sit outside of her school for two hours during parent meetings about sports (and telling us to donate what little cash we have left to their programs....hoping the jar of coins on my husband's dresser will suffice).....

It also meant rescuing one of her best friends, a 14 year old boy who lives down the street and whose parents are dear friends of ours.  (I offered for the record because his mom is as busy as I am!)

Again, just laying the ground work here folks.  The 14 year old friend (we will refer to him as Carpool Kid to protect his anonymity) was placed in the back seat with a very chatty 8 year old girl possessing no verbal filter whatsoever.

I really have to go deep in the weeds here to really set this whole situation up.

My 14 year old daughter was still only wearing a sports bra after cross country, mind you I warned her like 80 times that Carpool Kid was riding with us and for the love of GOD and all that is good and holy put ON your shirt.  A 14 year old boy (friend or not) doesn't need to see you in a BRA.  Er. Mah. Gerd.  Turns out the sports bra was the LEAST of my concern this fine evening....

Eventually I convinced the girl to put "a damn shirt on" (she mimicked me brilliantly all with an expert eye roll thrown in for good measure).  It looked like this: And sounded like this: "FINE, MOM I'll put my DAMN shirt on"....note the proper emphasis on things in all caps.  She's got mad skills, yo.

14 year olds, they're a hoot. Especially when hangry.

So her food of choice was a Subway foot long and I quickly googled the closest one on my way home.  We set off in that direction and I offered the 8 year old the opportunity for a kids meal.  That was a mistake.  A BIG mistake.

The next ten minutes driving to said Subway were filled with her graphic descriptions (and these were REPEATED OVER AND OVER FOR GOOD MEASURE) about how Subway gives her diarrhea.  And I mean OVER and OVER. Nonstop.

I know I mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating: once this kid gets on a topic, you CANNOT derail her thought process.  You just can't.  Not even if you ask her about cats or hatchimals.

Carpool kid was about to vomit (he wasn't hungry after a 2.5 hour practice in football pads, 97 degree heat and unrelenting sun) and I kept trying to distract the smaller child with talk about something else.

Our conversation went like this:

Carpool kid: "Oh my god.  I think I might puke.  Can you talk about something else?"

Me: "Tell your cousin and her friend what school you are going to?" (praying to GOD this would derail her thoughts)

Small child: "I'm going to Discovery! They have tablets. I'm excited.  Subway gives me diarrhea."

I drove past the Subway.  I didn't even see it.  Two more minutes of poop talk while I turned the car around and pulled in the parking lot.  The ONLY thing I could think of was getting the small child OUT of the car, thus relieving the 14 year olds of more talk about bowel movements.

As I got out of the car and told small child to unbuckle, a grateful Carpool kid mouthed "THANK YOU" to me because I was pretty sure one more minute and I would have had a vomiting 14 year old, an annoyed and hangry 14 year old and an 8 year old talking about vomit AND sharting out her butt.

The only thing I noticed when I pulled into the lot was the title loan store next to the Subway.  I dragged said small child past their door (closing sign went up as it was 6pm on the NOSE!) and we entered the cool, crisp Subway restaurant and I just prayed that small child would not bring up her poopy problems while we ordered food, given the long line of people behind us.  She didn't, for the record.

At this point my only concerns were A) parent in emergency room, B) parked by title loan store, C) Subway food and sodas, and D) putting a pin in the liquid poo conversation.  The two fourteen year olds were happily rapping to an Eminem song "Lose Yourself" and I figured music would keep them entertained.

I was wrong.

DEAD wrong.

I brought the food and beverage back, helped buckle small child in her booster seat and sat in the drivers seat with a heavy sign only to realize AT THAT VERY MOMENT that for the past ten minutes while I was in the Subway store, my daughter and her 14 year old friend (who is a boy) were staring at the following store front:

I circled the car and the face of my daughter for your convenience.
I circled the name of the store and the two most prominent items in the window display, in case you missed them.

I spent the other 20 minutes of the drive home intermittently apologizing to my daughter and Carpool Kid who both assured me that they indeed are scarred for life, likely beyond any help of any sort.

So folks, this is my life.  I'm so sorry.  I apologized to Carpool Kid's mom with a text of these images and a plea to send me the therapy bill.

I drowned my sorrows and embarrassment in a glass of tonic and lime. 

A few lessons were learned: Never, EVER go to this Subway again with children, 14 year olds cannot be convinced that Adam & Eve is a faith based retail adventure and our decision not to have three children was a solid one.

That's all I can say.  Really.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Maude VS Herself

I remember so clearly the day the pain in my chest had become so unbearable that I thought I was having a heart attack.  Over time the chest pains had gotten worse and worse.  There was a definite pattern to them, by Friday they were unbearable, but by Sunday night they were all but gone.  Come Monday morning they would start to creep up on my drive in to work.

I assumed that, despite being in my mid-30s at the time, the stress of my job was placing stress on my heart.  The day it all came crashing down was in the summer, late on a Friday afternoon.  I felt that there was a sumo-wrestler sitting on my chest and I could no longer breathe.  I drove myself to the emergency room, not even cluing in at that moment that were I able to drive a car the pains were likely not due to heart strain.

I was immediately wheeled into the cardiac room of Bonner General Hospital.  Lesson learned, you tell people your chest hurts and before you can say “there’s no place like home” you’re on a table, stripped to your undies & hooked up to every monitoring device within reach.

Not a heart attack.  That’s what they told me.  Your heart is fine.  Seriously?  But I can’t breathe.  My chest hurts.  No, you are having an anxiety attack.  A what?  That’s ludicrous I thought.  I’ve never had that happen before.  They showed me the tape from the heart monitoring device.  No problems.  It’s your brain.  I couldn’t process.  They sent me home and told me to contact my GP for an appointment.

A week later I was in her office and she confirmed that it was anxiety.  How was I feeling now?  The same.  She wrote a prescription for Xanax and suggested I might give that a try when things got too bad. I never did.   Instead, I simply changed jobs.  I figured the root of my anxiety was the stress of my job and for a time it helped, as did the regular exercise I started.

I wish I could say that things got better.  They didn’t.  I went from full blown anxiety to total depression in a matter of months.  It got so bad I remember telling my husband that maybe it would be better for our family if I were dead.  This is not a joke.  I remember it was in Ponderay, Idaho, just five minutes from the Walmart on our grocery shopping trip.  It was a sunny day and I remember feeling relief about getting that off my chest.

At the time my husband was incredulous, and asked if I were serious and really thought that was true.  My gut check told me that yes, I did.  I felt I was a terrible mother, terrible wife and terrible at my job.  I was miserable in our town and in my job (yes, this was after taking a new job that I ultimately LOVED).

Over time he began to see that I was slipping.  My thoughts about my inadequacies as a human being took dominance over any positive thoughts I could have had.  The mental tug of war between the angel and the devil was exhausting.

I became disengaged from everything and my anxiety came back.  At the time I did not recognize that trying to drown my anxiety with alcohol was amplifying my depression.  I can see clearly now.

One Saturday, as almost every Saturday, I drove the mile long bridge from Sagle to Sandpoint for a grocery store trip and I saw a semi-truck coming from the other direction.  I clearly remember thinking to myself “I wish that truck would slide on the ice and push me into the icy waters below.  Then everything would be OK.”

That was, in that moment, my lowest point.  That evening, after a verbal altercation with my husband he said the words I needed most to hear: you need to talk to a therapist.  Thankfully he recognized that my behavior was not directed at him, but a product of a mental imbalance I was incapable of getting myself out of.  On Monday morning I made an appointment and by that Friday I was on Lexapro.

It took weeks, months really, for me to return to normal.  But I will admit to feeling the clouds lift even after just about a week on my meds.  I continued therapy for several months until my therapist moved to Montana.  I continued on Lexapro from 2008-2011.  Under doctor’s supervision in June 2011 I slowly ended my dependency on antidepressants.  And it was good and I am OK.

The hardest part of being on meds is the stigma that is attached to them.  People always assume you can “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” which is absolute bullshit when you’re depressed unless you can turn your bootstraps into a noose.  Mental illness is a real thing and it’s worth as much empathy, support and understanding as cancer or pneumonia.  And yes, sometimes good medicine.

Obviously I’ve decided to share my story again because of the recent news.  I was saddened to see the passing of two notable celebrities in two days.  And I am sorry for their families.  At the same time I am grateful that this has caused a light to shine on the dark places of our lives.  Yet people every day grapple with mental health issues and it’s something that is bigger than Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

In two days from now the news media will have some other tragedy or political scandal to talk about, Kate & Anthony will be a memory.

Please don’t forget them or the millions of other people who struggle from mental illness.  Please keep the conversation going on forever.

Tell your story without shame. 

Hold out your hand. 






Mental illness comes in so many shapes and forms.  There’s no shame in having it and no shame in getting help.  And no shame in talking about it.

I share my story and I hope others will share theirs.  And let’s continue to shine a light on all those dark places so we can work to remove the stigma that mental health is simply “all in our heads.”

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Maude VS The Marathon

I know this is my first post in about 30 years and I'm sorry.  The last time I posted I think I had just moved back to Idaho.  The past four years have been busy, crazy, scary, fun, amazing, adventure filled and also sad.  Life, you know?

I've got several stories to tell, many funny others not so much.  And as soon as life stops moving at the speed of light I'll start writing again.  But for now, this post will have to do, and I hope you read it.

As you know I was diagnosed with and survived breast cancer in 2012.  What you don't know is the aftermath.  While I did not endure chemo, the past several years have not been awesome.  After the double mastectomy and complete hysterectomy and all the anti-hormone meds I had to take, my health hasn't been perfect.  I'm not dead, so you know, there's that.

One of the most frustrating and unfortunate issues is the fact that I have experienced significant bone loss.  So significant that my running days are all but over.  I'm at the point now where most 70+ year old women are with osteoporosis.  So yeah, I guess you could say I might break a hip.

I really didn't decide to write this blog to whine about my brittle old lady bones though, I really want to share that I'm running a marathon (my first, last and only) on Saturday May 19.  Most sane people with bone density issues would shy away from attempting such a feat, but I'm not really sane so there you go.

I battled a stress fracture (again, thanks cancer you're a real peach!) for about 2 years and finally got it healed.  I decided that I better go ahead and run a marathon now while I'm not in a walker.

But I picked the marathon specifically for two reasons, well really three: 1) I want to cross it off my bucket list and 2) I am honoring a friend who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2017.  Oh, and the third reason is that I have no common sense.

Mostly I'm running for Martha Munoz Armitage, a better wife, mother and friend than I could ever be.  We were diagnosed within a month of each other.  When I saw her post treatment I had already gotten my new rack installed and she was just growing out her hair.

Martha had a more aggressive form than I did and required chemo bombs, all while taking care of three children, one of them very small.

The next time I saw her was the summer of 2016 and she was radiant.  Her hair had grown back, she looked healthy and beautiful (how I wish you could see those amazing green eyes of hers).  By all rights she was going to reach the 5 year survivor mark along with me in less than a year.

Both Martha and I had running and triathlons in common.  Neither of us had tackled a marathon yet.  Martha had begun training for a marathon late summer 2016.   She noticed that after her long runs she was tired, run down and more so than you would normally expect.  I'll cut to the chase and tell you that they discovered the cancer had come back.  Her prognosis was not good.  I could not believe that healthy beautiful woman I had just been able to hug was sick again.

The rest of the story is heartbreaking so I'll leave it at this: Martha passed away with her beloved husband by her side in early 2017.  And I cannot imagine what that was like, or how things have been for her husband and children in the months since she passed.  They are all doing as well as can be expected.

But I have thought about her almost every day since her passing and wondered why Martha and not me?  How does cancer decide who it will take and who it will leave behind?  Why did she have to go through all of that treatment only to have her life taken from her in the end?

And why did I get off relatively scott free (new front porch & wavy hair that I always wanted), aside from the minor issues I have to deal with.  I mean let's face it, death is way worse than brittle bones......

I don't know, and I'll never know.  And that breaks my own little black shriveled up heart.  From the moment she passed away I have had it in my head that I would run a marathon in memory of her.  I just had to heal that stress fracture.  And I did, finally.

For Christmas the kids and my husband bought be a bib to race in the Idaho Potato Marathon (could it be any more campy or appropriately named?!) on Saturday.

I have, for the most part, kept this part of my training to myself.  Martha has been my inspiration.  I wanted to do this for her.

If you knew Martha you would know why her death was hard.  If you didn't, well all I can say is that I wish you had been able to know her.  She was an amazing woman.

Every solo step of my training she has been on my mind, and I never came out and said anything because I feared the inevitable injury during training that would prevent me from running.  And, sadly, something did happen.

I have a new stress fracture on my other shin, which tells me that this will be my first, last and only marathon.  My bones simply cannot handle this kind of extensive running any more.  Sure, I'll be able to knock out a few miles here and there and I will.

But this marathon, the one for Martha, will be the only one I get to run.  And to be honest, I'm OK with that.

The reality of the privilege it will be for me to actually get to run those 26.2 miles is not lost.   I could be a memory, but I'm still here.  And I'm thankful.

So I will run 26.2 miles with my BRF and enjoy the hell out of every single one.  I only get to do this once so I'm gonna make it count.

I thought long and hard about a way to honor Martha and I'll probably carry a sign with her name on it through the race, but I decided to fund raise for a local nonprofit called Expedition Inspiration, which is a breast cancer research fund.

I picked them not only because their efforts likely saved my life, but because their continued work can save more lives like Martha's in the future.

I am donating $26 - $1 for every every mile I get to run that she won't.  I hope you will join me whether you knew her or not.  You can give $26, $5, $10, whatever is in your heart.  Thank you for helping me honor her memory.  I can't wait to run for Martha on Saturday.

You can find the link to the fundraiser here: