Flowers for Hurricane and Lessons Learned

Seven years ago I found out that I just don’t handle hurricanes well.

I had to Google search the name of the one this week, Isaac.

It isn’t that I don’t read the news or keep abreast of current events.

Seven years ago today Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on our southern coast and I watched, with the rest of the country, its progress on television. I am not watching Isaac descend on the anniversary of Katrina.

Katrina was in the background while I was cooking and cleaning and folding clothes. There were reporters interviewing residents. They asked people if they were staying and riding the storm out or evacuating. Reporters told us that seafood prices would rise and that power could be out for days and that residents were being told to leave New Orleans.

New Orleans. I had not been to New Orleans but I had always been excited to visit the city one day. We had recently relocated to the south and New Orleans was on our list of cities to explore on a long weekend trip.

A few of the news programs I was surfing, as Katrina was approaching, were highlighting the levees and they were interviewing civil engineers. I sat and listened as one engineer spoke with such concern that the levees would never be able to handle a storm this size. He then talked about a study using a model to show what would happen to New Orleans and the surrounding areas if ever a hurricane of Katrina’s size hit land.

It was a devastating scenario.

Just then Jim walked into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee and say goodbye before heading to the hospital to work.

I began sobbing.

I kept thinking about all the people who said they were going to ride the storm out and the danger they would be placed in if this man was right. I thought about the rescue people who would also be put in harms way while having to save people. I began thinking about the people who really didn’t have any place to go or the means to get there. The old people whom neighbors barely noticed were shuffling around their houses, inside. Who would offer them a place to go and a way to get there. Who will look for them when the storm passes?

Jim gave me a kiss and a hug. He told me that sometimes these storms fizzle out as they make landfall and he mentioned this was one persons opinion of a possible situation. We talked briefly that there is nothing I can do in my kitchen in North Carolina and he went off to work.

I sat at the kitchen table and said a prayer.

A little while later a delivery man rang my doorbell. He handed me the prettiest bouquet of flowers.

The card in the flowers told me I was sweet and that Jim loved me.

I couldn’t do a thing before Katrina devastated so many people and their families.

We pay taxes and we pay insurance and we hope the government and the media outlets inform people when they need to evacuate.

I grew up in the midwest and in fear that a tornado could form quickly and in the middle of the night. A tornado can give no warning and they are hard to track. We moved to North Carolina during hurricane season. We even bought our first house here without a basement.

It seems like such a gift that we know when a hurricane is coming, days in advance.

Katrina made me think.

  • I learned that Mother Nature sometimes likes to show us that she is smarter than us and our fancy engineers.
  • I learned that government isn’t perfect but from mistakes, lessons are learned.
  • People should value their lives more and their property less. After all, our possessions and even our property can be washed away in a day.
  • Keep a close watch and offer help to those that live around me, if everyone did just that then everyone would have someone watching out for them.
  • Know what is coming and if it’s headed your way, MOVE.
  • If your fortunate enough to not be in a disaster then help those who have.
  • I learned that getting flowers does make you feel better.

Happy 15th Anniversary Jim (tomorrow) and thanks for not sending me flowers seven years ago a day later but instead you sent me “hurricane flowers.”

You knew just what would make me feel better.

Abbie Gale

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Introducing Us

“You did WHAT Boys?

That is me, Abbie, and that is what I say, a lot.

What you cannot see on the floor behind me is my constant pile of clothes I am trying to fold, at all times.

Let me help you.

 I should be happy to be folding clothes because that would mean I am not pulling a slug off of someone or cleaning milkshake off the ceiling again…

or for that matter, getting the legos out of the blender.

I can help you with that one too.

I started sharing my favorite stories February 29, 2012.

I have written our stories down for years and I take pictures of everything, clearly.


Avery is really is not happy

because I am taking a picture

instead of helping him

get the bag off of his head

He is 4 in this photo



Avery is the “oldest” of the twins and likes to say since they are identical twins and came from the same egg he “made” Mitchell.   Avery is now 12.






Mitchell just happy I’m taking

his picture despite not being able

to get the bag stuck on his head.

He is 4 in this photo. 





Mitchell is 12 now and he says he is a “chick maggot”.  Mitchell thinks he is a middle child?







This is our Peter.

Enough said.

Peter is four in this photo.






Peter is now eight…

…and has had an entire post dedicated to things he has said called,

“The $hit my kid says is funnier than the $hit your dad says.”




Jim is my husband and while he was in medical school I began emailing him stories of our kids for him to read when he had a minute or two, knowing he was missing out on these “priceless” moments.


It may have also have been to explain my future trip to the nut house that I didn’t realize was an unobtainable goal.

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I would send our favorite story in our annual Christmas letter.  People began requesting I add them to the growing mailing list to receive the “DREADED” Christmas letter I decided this may be a better idea.

She doesn’t care where she sleeps as long as it’s on me.

Our Mutt Lilly (if she could talk)  “My brothers have found a new way to entertain themselves… When I am outside they yell, “Lilly in the house!” The funny part to them and not me is when I barrel through the yard and leap up the stairs and…this is the part that makes them laugh…I slam face first into a SHUT door. I don’t mind. I like making them laugh but our mom made them stop.

If you need a laugh today…

Ten Things We Learned This Weekend

Another Holiday That Tries to Turn Me Into a Liar

I have some serious stories to tell too.

Not Everyone had a Mother to Celebrate

What I cannot figure out is why they have reality shows called “The Real Housewives of…” but no one has a reality show of what a REAL housewife’s life is like. We have the most crazy, fun, REAL times in a crazy, fun, real, gated community with our families.  The best part is that we know how abnormal it all is and we go with it.

Here I am with our traveling Nutcracker, In August.

He enjoys Grey Goose and brunettes.


I write down our stories because, let’s face it, I am never going to make a scrap-book.

“If you would just smile she would STOP taking our picture!”  

Our Norman Rockwell moment.

I just started February 29, 2012 and so far I feel like I’m giving birth…mostly that legs apart and up in the air while naked in a well-lit room with strangers…feeling.

“Look mom!”

“You keep an eye out Peter while we sneak a kiss.”

“Those aren’t real boobies mom!  They just have sponges under the shirt!”

The stories I write are to give our kids one day.  Having a forum* to share our “funnies” encourages me to write them down so that when they have children of their own…

I can show them that they will only get to the brink of insanity.

Ha, take that!  The “nut house” would be a vacation and God needs parents to stay home and take care of their kids!  I will be sitting back laughing at my grandchildren’s “funnies” while watching my own grown kids squeegee the cooking oil off the floor.

I’m pretty sure their kids will one day POUR COOKING OIL ON THE FLOOR to slide around on or POUR A GALLON OF MILK INTO THE CARPET to see if it makes its way to the pipes that we should have NEVER told them run all over under the floors.

Peter is Tom Sawyer.  I can prove it.

So I may be new to blogging but I have years worth of stories that I will try to deliver daily to make you smile, laugh, think, love and possibly occasionally cry.

* My parents were hippies and I may not have made it to school as often as I should have to learn grammar and punctuation.

That is your warning.

I write as I think and am already aware I do not know how to use a comma or most punctuation.  Up until now I made my husband proofread our Christmas letter which was the extent of anyone seeing my thoughts fall onto paper.  Jim likes to tell me my writing is like an ugly porn star and my punctuation is the ugly part.  Thank God he finds my inadequacies cute.  Oh, and thank God for spell check.

Please don’t make me regret this thing yet.

What have I gotten myself into?

People like to tell me my kids are funny. I always reply with all kids are funny. It is wrapping your mind around the moment and finding the humor.

Halloween 2011 and yes, that is Doogie Howser, MD and Vinny.

 Mitchell and Avery are IDENTICAL twins and this is how much they looked alike before the can of black hairspray.

I believe in having a grateful heart and being joyful mother of children.  I am trying my best to instill in my children that we have to find things to be grateful for in order to be happy.  I am also sarcastic and not afraid to laugh AT MY KIDS, as well as with them.  I also think it is important for my kids to see adults having fun.  I want them to look forward to growing up as well as enjoying each stage.

“Oh no Bat Baby, have mercy!”

I want to create a place for people to check after they have read the day’s news in the car pickup line at school or on the side of a practice field and now you need a smile.

“Mom, the baby is eating dirt…don’t worry he likes it!”

-Abbie Gale,

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Funny Ending to AWKWARD and a Lesson For Us All


I decided to contact the mom from my kid’s school who sent me the AWKWARD AS HECK NAKED PHOTO OF HERSELF to my phone.

I am soooooo glad I did and so glad I didn’t have to tell her I am not into girls, that way.

I think we can all take away a BIG lesson from what happened to her, (and don’t forget me, as I was handed this AWESOME situation to write about.)

I just copied the text conversation I had with the mom who sent me naked pictures of her boobies this week.


The sliver of the photo and white bubbles are from her.  It took me HOURS to reply, (in blue.)  I get a boobie picture on my phone and “It took forever to get up the nerve to take this” and I am pacing the house chanting…

“What the heck do I do?  What does this mean?  

Ahhhhhh who can I share this freaking hilarious situation with?”

And so I shared it with y’all a couple of days ago.

The first half of the story here Awkward!  What do I do Now?

The aftermath and explanation below.

Deep thoughts by Abbie: 
We all get things in our teeth.  We all get boogers.  We all have boobies.  Just don’t have pictures of your OWN things as in food in teeth, boogers in nose or YOUR boobies on YOUR phone.  OH, and NEVER, ever,  leave your phone with a group of teenagers without a password on it.


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All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

PS  I promise I wont send you pictures of my boobies.  I may at any time send a picture of something in my teeth or an exceptional booger.  Stop it!  We all get boogers!


Ten Stupid Things I Learned at BlogHer 2012

Ten Things I Learned from Attending BlogHer in NYC

1. Turn off your phone and do not even answer if it is your kids. Chances are they will only call when you are talking to a “cloth diaper mom.” You will find yourself yelling into the phone, “NO, YOU MAY NOT WATCH THE HANGOVER 2! WHERE IS YOUR FRIENDS MOM? THAT MOVIE IS RATED R TOO! LET ME JUST SAY THAT NO MOVIE THAT IS RATED R IS APPROPRIATE!” The other mom with small children will look at you as if you are raising barbarians. Secretly, you are so happy your three boys called before they saw a woman in a movie shooting Ping-Pong balls out of her “place between where the babies exit out,” (you can click that blue link to find out why I wouldn’t teach my boys the word vagina.) You also secretly cannot wait until this woman’s kids are older and she gets hers.

2. That 5% of the 5,100 people who attended BlogHer in 2012 are the long time bloggers that really know what they are doing and have learned through their own successes and failures. Then there were approximately 3,000 people there with the objective to get something for free, go somewhere for free, get a discount on something back home to make it almost free or build a relationship with a vendor who will start sending them something for free. Those women had a pretty good offensive line. Then there were the rest of us.

Just in case we didn’t meet and because I suck at passing my cards out to people and then wish that I had and because there were 5,100 people there and I only had 100 cards and I came home with 80.

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The rest of us wandered and occasionally bumped into one another. We wished we had someone with more experience to talk to but it turns out those with more experience were out together trying to get away from the people trying to “crack into their nut.” I get it. I have long time girlfriends too and I am sure these women have amazing relationships. Do I sound jealous? I am not because I really do get it. They have worked very hard to learn what they have learned and I am sure they had some bumps and bruises along the way. I am thankful for the sessions I attended and I did learn things. I am looking forward to catching a few of the other sessions I couldn’t attend, online.

3. It is IMPOSSIBLE to blow dry your hair and paint your toenails, at the same time. I am sorry Hilton and way to plan for everything with that polka dot carpet! We will call it even stevens since I paid $450 a night for a room with broken seals in the windows and I couldn’t even see out my premium priced views.

4. I may just have to accept the fact that I will never fit in with 5,000 women, as hard as I try. I never rushed a sorority, joined a mom’s group, or went on a “girls night out.” I like mixed company and I like men and frankly they were passing out plush vaginas and I won’t even teach my three sons the word “vagina.” When a table of women hear me say that I wont teach my boys “vagina” and that I refer to it as “the place between where the babies exit out,” they will looked at me like I just said women should not be allowed to vote. BTW, I didn’t get a plush vagina and I would have really loved one. I am the sole vagina bearer in my house and it would have been nice to bring it out on occasions and let it vote during family voting issues.

I need a man in the group, who used to be a boy, to get my sense of humor. I need a man to understand that it is a lot harder for little boys to yell at one another, “You’re a giant place between where the babies exit out!” versus “You’re a giant vagina!” I don’t need Judgy Judy looks and for you to whisper, “My children know the appropriate terminology” to your girlfriend. I just need you to chuckle or a smirk, that is what I do when I get that the person is being sarcastic. My husband is a doc and we all know the proper terms. My mom called mine my, “kitty cat” and I am not a stripper. She did give me a sense of humor because it is freaking hilarious when I hear a little girl get off a slide at the park screaming, “My vagina hurts!”

5. Mc Donald’s employees in NYC are paid wayyyy more than Mc Donald’s employees anywhere else, as evident by the McDonalds employee that sat down next to me and wolfed down a $24 cheeseburger.

6. You need to make connections before you go to the conference to meet people. If you don’t you will find yourself spending an evening listening to a woman tell you about the sex toy lock box business that she tells me is thriving. This leads me to the next thing I learned.

7. You need to be able to keep a straight face or get Botox everywhere so when the “naughty box lock lady” starts talking you don’t immediately begin making weird astonished faces and then decide to fist bump her? Ok, Botox arms as well.

8. If you work for a sex toy lock box company they train you to not blink when you talk about your products. Not one blink. Not one blink. I pay attention to blinks, (my story here about fast blinkers versus slow blinkers.) My guess is there was way too much giggling at training sessions so they just Botoxed their eyelids open. This whole sex-toy-lock-box episode has given me so much to think about and when I say that I am “thinking about” something it means I am hashing it out in public to anyone who will listen, that mean you reading too. I mean, have women not heard of a lock on their drawers? You put a locked box in my house and that is like giving my kids a challenge. That box would end up on a dark road waiting for someone to run it over for my little boys to find out what is inside and in their heads it would be gold coins and Skittles. Locked boxes are asking for trouble in my house.

9. Just because you took off your name badge off, Abbie, it doesn’t mean that it is OK to harass a vendor on an elevator. “But, why do we need to kill bad germs in the air now? Don’t we need to be exposed to germs? And how exactly do you know you are only killing the bad germs? We get new information all the time like, what if a germ we thought was bad turns out to be good for something else?” When the poor man finally breaks down and says his dad invented it, you can’t just say, “Oh, you will sell them gang busters because new moms are sleep deprived will buy anything for their babies” and then try to fist bump him, again…what is with me?

(Yes, my name is really Abbie Gale, (I said this 25 times.) My parents were hippies and they named me after the MAN Abbie Hoffman who spent his entire life trying to get pot legalized. He wrote the book, “Steal This Book.” My middle name is really Gale because they were babies having babies and they thought it was cute and they were lazy. Gale, as in a gust of wind hitting a sail because they also liked to sail. I am not giving you my last name, unless you want to hire me. I have high standards for my boys and hope that they get into college one day but if the school learns of their concerns over sperm diameter and whether or not this “sperm” I told them about is a liquid or a solid I will have to home-college them and I don’t even know how to form a proper paragraph.)

10. Wear a vendor badge so people will talk to you. Wear a vibrator company badge and women will chase you down like you have a key to Christian Grey’s house. I may do this next conference because I am much smarter now and very good with PhotoShop. I just have to make up a ridiculous vibrator company name. I am open to ideas. Anyone?

I think I will just keep on writing and keep on building the relationships I have on the computer and if it leads to more, than great. Perhaps one day I will be asked to sit with the “big dogs” but probably not until I learn to use a comma.

Hey, all you BlogHer chicks I didn’t meet, you missed out. I am much better in person as you cannot see my poor punctuation when I am speaking. I also had a rubber alligator in my purse my son sent with me. That is always a guaranteed good time.

You Tube Link (Click here if video above doesn’t work, because I never plan to run for public office)


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When Did I Lose Faith in Myself?

I worked in corporate America until I was put on bed rest with my twins, now twelve.

Companies would send their private jets to a little airstrip, by my home, and I would fly up to a factory and be back home in time for dinner.  I was young and feisty and I could keep a project together from idea to market.  I could negotiate a price and delivery date from China to the eventual chain of outdoor stores or military base.

I was on a product development team for a major boot company.  I was a woman in a business of men.  When passed a cigar to enjoy, I did.  I was comfortable there.

In college I worked in a steel mill running a blowtorch and assisting the crane operator.  I don’t remember another woman who worked there, but I know they did in the offices.  I weighed about 100 pounds and I wore three layers of flame retardant clothing, steel toe boots, safety glasses and a hard hat.  I fit in there.

I started blogging February 29th of this year.

I recently started calling myself a blogger.

I AM a blogger.

Bloggers need to go to conferences.  They need to meet others that proudly say they are bloggers.  They need to network and meet with publishers and find out how to monetize and find their people.  I need to find my peeps.

BlogHer ’12 is in New York City August 2-4.

I have looked at plane tickets.  I talked about going to the conference to my husband.  He has told me it would be awesome for me to go and encouraged me to do so.

I have no excuse not to go to BlogHer ’12, but I cannot get myself to do it.


The idea of going to a meeting full of women terrifies me.

Please don’t chastise me.  I know this is a counterproductive statement for women.

Hear me out on this.  I have always had a little secret motto in my head that goes like this…

“If a man can do it, I am sure I can.”

Women, for most of my life, have been harder to gel with.  I have girlfriends, but most of them would probably also get along with guys better than girls.

Where is that Abbie that would stomp around a factory floor asking the foreman questions?  Where is that Abbie that hopped on a plane and negotiated the price of thousands of sides of leather?  Have I gotten soft since having kids and no longer have an edge or a belief in myself?

If a man can walk into a conference full of women, why can’t I?

I feel stuck in limbo.  I am stuck between the person in the workplace full of men and the reality of my life now as a mom raising three little men.

BlogHer announced a contest today.  They are giving goodie bags to people who are NOT going to BlogHer ’12.  I wrote this to enter into the contest.  I was writing this post in my head though before I even knew about the conference.

Here I am on BlogHer

I have been thinking that if by chance I were to be chosen for a goodie bag I would like to request, rather rudely, that I would much rather go to the conference.

But I need a mentor. 

I would much rather see BlogHer run a contest granting one newbie the chance to shadow a BlogHer team member, DURING BLOGHER.

We would be instant chums.  She would tell me she appreciates my brass ba!!s when it comes to what I want to post and yet understands why I spell inappropriate words with symbols.  She would give me the inside scoop on how things really work and tell me plainly what I am doing wrong and how I can improve. She would share my fondness of vodka and love of desserts.  She would tell me there is a place for me and that I am not like everyone else that calls herself a blogger.  She would offer me a cigar.

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

“That is Because Their Parents Don’t Love Them.”

“That is because their parents don’t love them.” -Me. *(See Below)

“That is NOT true.  Caleb has a TV in his room and his mom loves him.” -Peter.

“I happen to know, because I am a parent and parents tell each other their secrets, that the only reason you put a TV in your kid’s bedroom is to get rid of your kids.” -Me again.

The Family Room is Good Enough

“Well, Mrs East must REALLY want to get rid of Caleb because they put a flatscreen on his wall and hooked up an XBOX.”  -Peter

“They are also, obviously, not concerned about him developing mashed potato brains if he can play video games in his bedroom.” -Yep, me again.

When it is 95 Degrees Outside I Have No Issues WIth a Video Game That You Move To

“Mom, no one can really get mashed potato brains because there is no such thing as mashed potato brains and why don’t you ever want to get rid of me?” -Peter.

“Peter, go to you room and read a book. See, I love you AND I want to get rid of you” -Me.

Keep Digging Peter

* I threw all other parents under the bus out of frustration he wouldn’t stop asking for a television in his bedroom.  Each child is different as is each circumstance.  I am not one to judge, as I know I am doing the best I can, this day.  So if you have put a TV in your kids bedroom, I am sure you still love them and know that our boys have a “kids living room” with a TV in it in the center of their bedrooms.  I think a TV in their rooms would be redundant. 🙂


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The Trouble With Trends

I will only let our son wear “this” at home and when no one else is around.

The trouble with trends is they come back.  They are cyclical.  A swing of a pendulum and we go from neons to pastels and from pointy high heels to round toe ballet shoes.

Or a trend can come back because an eight year-old boys saw a picture of a guy with a ponytail and he thought he looked tough.

Peter brought this tassel he found in a drawer and asked me to stick it to his head with one of my “things.”  When I asked him what he meant he held it to the nape of his neck and said,

“Here, like the way some boys have.”

I deserve this after I put my hair “feathers” onto unsuspecting people at a concert, (and then took a picture.)

Are there “good taste” camps that I can send my boys off to?

I think a camp that teaches our kids good taste such as…

– Watching Sponge Bob will ruin any future ability you may have to create anything of beauty.

– Listening to Niki Minage may possibly cause your ears to not be able to distinguish between a cat dying, a jack hammer, or actual singing.

– Crazy hair will only cause you to have 5 years of your life being unable to prove due to picture frames spontaneously combusting upon having to hold that ugly a$$ photo of you from 1989.

– “That song” you think will define your summer and generation will actually be just another summer song that the record producers release with planned calculations and you were simply putty in the radio stations hands.

– That you shouldn’t take any new trend too far or invest in it too heavily, (ehhhem…tattoos) because most things go terribly out of style the stronger that they were in style.

I guess I will just let my boys be who they are and try silly things when they are kids, even if it is wearing curtain trim in your hair.

I shaved the left side of my head in seventh grade.  I looked like Richard Simmons after being hazed at a fraternity house.

I try my best to teach our boys to be who they are and march to their own drum.

I have been repeating this quote a lot lately with twin twelve year-olds…

“Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel Because 
Those Who Mind Don’t Matter 
and Those Who Matter Don’t Mind.”
– Dr. Seuss

So here I am housebound until my child who thinks he is Antonio Banderas moves onto something else he thinks makes him cool.  😉

Thanks for letting me share with you and I hope I made you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.


The Father I Used to Have (and Sea Monkeys)

My dad is Simon Cowell, not really, but that is how I often describe his demeanor.  I get that from him.  It is far less attractive on a woman, I am told. He is part of who made me and I like myself, even if I tend to “talk like a man.”

He is straight forward in business and in raising two girls.  He is Simon Cowel if Simon were raised in the midwest and literally worked his fingers to the bone.  But he isn’t the strong silent type that daughters often describe their dads as.

He is the kind of man that when a microphone needs to be passed to someone who is good with words he can step up and rustle up an instant speech that will make you laugh and cry.

Everyone will be looking at him with a smile, head tilt and with a tear.

My dad in Michigan is a funny mix of sarcasm, tough as nails, strong as an ox and as anal retentive about cleanliness as Monk and with an extra heaping of smart ass.

He never used my expression, “act like a butt and people will think your a butt” but he taught it to me.

He would call you out if you needed it and when I needed a summer job in college I wasn’t sent to the steel mill’s office to file, he sent me out with a blowtorch and steel toe boots to cut samples over the “cooling beds” of red hot rebar.  He sent me to the noisy “shear” to catch samples of steel bars to grind down for seam allowance tests and to the “yard” to find bundles of rebar to cut and bring back on a fork lift to the lab and inspect.

The guys who worked for him for 20 years would say, “He is about the meanest man I have ever met but he knows what he is doing and I respect him.”  They would also say, “Your dad sent little old you to do THIS job?”

I am sure that the 98 pounds of me with three layers of flame retardant clothing, steel toed boots, protective ear gear and face mask had to look a little funny on me.

He also never said another of my favorite phrases but he taught it to me, “for the love of God, I figure if a man can do it, I surely can.”

When family emergencies arise and you have to be in a hospital waiting room you have to find the humor in this 6′ 3″ man who wont touch the arm rests on the chairs.   Yes, he is that “Monk” from the TV show who doesn’t like germs.

When I was a teenager I came home and discovered my shower head was missing from my bathtub.  I went to tell him thinking we’d been robbed of plumbing fixtures.  He informed me I was “grounded from showers” for not “squeeging” the ceramic tile after I showered to keep water spots from forming…INSIDE THE SHOWER.

He is the kind of man that really does sleep three to four hours a night and carries a bottle of bleach around with him in case anything needs a good scrubbing.

This is why this story will never get old to tell. I

may have been eight years-old. My dad had just mowed the yard and he is hot and thirsty.

My sea monkeys that I mailed away for, that took six weeks to arrive because there was not internet ordering back then, were on our kitchen table.

These were going to be my new pets.  I couldn’t be allergic to sea monkeys, right?  They are underwater and they are cute and the cartoons on the box show them smiling and waiting to be my petsll!  

I am going to be the luckiest girl in town with my own little Sea Monkey Circus.

Photo from “the yeti speaks” here.

My dad had just come in from mowing the yard and grabbed the closest glass of water to the door. He began drinking and I began the phenomenon that occurs when you cannot speak because you are so mortified.

I did the action movie arm outstretched with a slow motion face of “AAoooowwwwaaa!!!!” then “Noooooo!…!…!”

He is downing the glass with his eyes closed and enjoying the cool, refreshing glass of water while sweating and visibly tired from yard work. As he opens his eyes and sets the empty glass down I finally reach him and am sobbing while tugging at his arm.

I am looking to be consoled.

He is looking at me like I have gone mad.

I finally am able to inhale enough to exhale a sentence from my hypervenhilating…


His face.

My God…his face.

His eyes were huge and his head led his body into the kitchen sink.

Turning knob for water. 

Face, mouth, and eyes looking up at ceiling, allowing water to run in and out.

Other hand’s desperate blind feel for the little black levered sprayer.

He is now spraying the water directly into his teeth.

I am silent as he begins the rabid gurgling and spitting.

My tears of horror and sadness are now tears of laughter as this grown man is using his fingernails to pick between each and every tooth.

Will telling this story ever get old?


Me laughing 30 years later…

Once, when I was in college, he asked me NOT to park my dirty car, (boyfriend lived on a dirt road) in his driveway.  He owned a couple of car washes and he said it was as if he were a barber and I was walking around town with a bad haircut.  BTW, I never got a free carwash.

He taught me to work, and that too, I am grateful for.

He also taught me to love unconditionally my children, because in the end, he didn’t. In the end, when my mother died and he remarried he decided he wasn’t my father anymore.  He adopted me when I was three, when my mother married him.  He was the only father I knew for 21 years and I have always loved him.

Even with the rift between my dad that has now spanned 18 years I am still grateful for the gifts he gave me that made me who I am.

I am also grateful that I know to tell my boys that I will love them forever and that they will always be my children.

Happy Father’s Day to my husband Jim and thank you for being the best dad to our boys.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there and to both of mine.  Happy Father’s Day to all of the people that don’t have their dads anymore or may have never had one and may you, too, find the blessings of the father figures you have had in your life and be thankful for them.

Abbie,  All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry or cry laughing.

Who Taught You Everything Bad?

Everything BAD I ever learned, I learned from a cousin!

First Cigarette

My cousin was 16 and I was 12 and she had to drive me somewhere.  She pulled over and stuck a cigarette in my hand and said, “You’re going to smoke this.  I am going to smoke a cigarette and if I do you will tell on me, so your going to smoke one too.”

Birds and the Bees and Other Stuff

I knew where babies came from long before my friends at school and then I knew about all the stuff middle schoolers do before they even think about making babies.  My older cousins told me about what was happening in junior high.   It terrified me as an elementary school kid.  It is also probably why I was scared into not even having a boyfriend until 9th grade.

First Encounter With Police Officer

It was the Fourth of July and a different cousin and I were using cigars to light fireworks down a dirt rural road. I found out that night that not only were we too young to smoke even a cigar but fireworks were illegal in Michigan.

Sneaking Out

I learned to push my car down the driveway so that we didn’t wake up the parents.  I also learned to push start a stick shift, which is no easy feat for a 15 year-old and a 16 year-old that weighed less that 100 pounds.

Sneaking Into Bars and Getting Served at 16 

This was easy back in 1988.  Hair was huge and makeup went on with a putty knife.  They couldn’t see how old you were through the layers of on gunk on our faces and shoulder pads definitely make a young girl look older.

Trip to Canada Requires a 24 Hour Alibi 

You could drive 50 minutes and all you needed was a drivers license to cross the border.  There were no cell phones so you just needed to “sleep over at a friends.”

Blonds Have More Fun (I know better now)

A gallon of pool chlorine dumped on your hair will give you a “sun-kissed” hairstyle for summer.

There is even so many more things like, you can drain a chocolate covered cherry with a toothpick and spit in it and feed it to your babysitter.  Want to get even with your sister?  Put neon poster board in your house windows that announce when your sister started her period just before her afternoon school bus goes by.  Stay out past dark and know you are in trouble?  Just toll around in the dirt and smear lightening bugs all over you and tell your mom you were abducted by aliens and that is why you didn’t make it home before the street lights came on.  Moms can’t yell if they are laughing.

I have said it a million times, long line of wack-a-moles is where I have derived my lineage.

This all was learned through cousins, (who probably learned a lot of it from my mom who acted like THEIR older cousin..

Your friends are afraid of your parents.  Your cousins aren’t, at least mine were not.  My mom was passing many of these “gems” onto the cousins that eventually taught me.

This is why we live ten hours away from my own kids cousins.

They are all OUR CHILDREN and Lord knows we were bad, bad, bad.

We heard regularly how bad our mothers were from anyone in town.

I am not telling my kids.  They think we come from a long line of book readers and college class takers.

I am breaking the cycle with silence and denial.

These kids all think I am so boring and square.  They say things like, “You want some NUTS and then they all giggle like I don’t get it.”  They make up songs about drinking beer because it rhymes with Brittany Spears.

Peter confessed and told me a limerick he learned on the bus.

I was so disappointed.

Cannot believe I am saying this but, I would have made my Mom proud.  The one he told me was so boring I couldn’t have him walking around teaching other kids this lame rhyme.  I gave him a good one to share on the bus the next morning.

Yes, my Mom taught it to me & it has “ding dong” in it. I’ve yet to be called by the school  office for any of them…but this one, I thought I might.

Then he asked me who King Kong is.  Never mind.


We have cousins in town this week.  Three girls and I am in heaven.  I know they are all telling each other things they don’t want me to hear and I know they are all learning bad things.  I know this because I hear them upstairs after midnight giggling uncontrollably.

I realize I have to let them have a little fun, but we have all been having a LOT OF FUN!

We stayed at a minor league ball game until almost 11 last night.  Mitchell caught a ball and then stood at the dugout and had a player sign it and then he gave it to his cousin, Eileen who is in 3rd grade.  I was so proud.

Who did they chase down to have their picture taken with?  A police officer.  Such smart kids!  I once convinced an entire Detroit Swat team to let me and a car load of boys go, return our alcohol, (driver was not drinking) and write down directions to the club we were going to, when I was 16.  I told them that when I told my dad that they stuck a gun in my face and frisked me he would not be happy.  I also told them it would be insane to think that a 16 year-old girl could be stealing cars and taking them into a Detroit alley to be chopped.  I mean, really, a helicopter with a spotlight on us?!

See, my kids do not need to hear ANY of these stories!

-Abbie, All that makes you smile, laugh, think, love, cry, and hopefully cry laughing.

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Worry and Worry Junior Have a Talk

We worry. That’s what parents do.

You can have a child who has “a worry.”

I do.

I have to pretend to not worry because I tell him everything is ok…all day long.

Then I began to worry that he got the worry from me.

Then I remind him, and myself, that our “worry” really means we are aware of how blessed we are.

It is a blessing to be aware of your gifts. It makes you work harder to be worthy.

We complete our homework because we worry about what it would do to our grades if we don’t. I tell him.

It is the people that worry that get things done.

The same way that chocolate goes with vanilla, worry goes with success.

There are people who are paralyzed by worry and sometimes they never leave their homes. I tell him that fear can be like a disease.

We talk about, talking about worrying and I tell him how healthy that is.

I am thankful for my worry, and for being aware of it, and thankful it does not cripple me.

Teaching your children how to find their blessing sometimes helps us just as much as it helps them.

What do you do to keep your worries in check and have you had a little worrier of your own?  Do you tell your kids to just relax or do you teach them how to listen to their fears? 

Abbie, All that makes you…

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