Mama Diaries

Monday, March 31, 2014

Winner of the Giveaway and A Noisy Pad

First order of business is to announce the Robin at Your Daily Dose is the winner of Tara Tyler's book, Pop Travel.  Congratulations, Robin!

Second order of business is to tell you what my A-Z challenge theme  is.  This is the first time I'm doing it on this blog.  It was a whole lot easier on my gardening blog, because I was able to plan.  This blog is random.  Which is pretty much the story of my life as a mom.  So the "plan" is to have a word for each letter of the alphabet and apply it to my mom experiences.  I might share a few stories from the past, or, if it so happens, I'll share a current story using the letter of the day.  We'll see how it all works out.

Now for the story:

My husband decided to tackle the big job of replacing our hot water tank. (I think we had all had enough of cold showers!)    This is not an easy job, and quite frankly, I'm amazed that he was able to do it.  Anyway, after the tank was in place, we tried running our water.  Let me just say, it sounded like a mega freighter blowing a fog horn in my house.  It was unbelievable!

"What is that?" I asked.

"Probably just some air in the pipes," my husband said.

The sound persisted through the evening, into the night, and was still there the next day. It obviously wasn't air in the pipes.

"Maybe it's the pressure regulator," my husband said.

I shrugged my shoulders.  "I don't know. But can you fix it?"

"Yep."  My husband got out his blow torch.

I went upstairs.  Two minutes later, the fire alarms went off. I covered my ears, got the dog out of the house, and went to check on the hubby.  "You okay?" I yelled over the shrieks of the alarms and the blow of the fog horn.

"Yeah.  No fire.  Just sensitive alarms that don't like blow torches," he yelled back.


After the alarms shut off, I went outside and stood in front of the house.  The fog horn blew again, and I just started laughing.  I think we won the prize for the noisiest neighbors on the block!

(Meanwhile, my teenage daughter was up in her room, in bed, trying to sleep through all of this. Unbelievable!  And in case you're interested, the problem that caused the noise was the expansion tank, which my husband fixed.  We no longer have a fog horn blowing in our house. Thank God!)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Giveaway and D'ya Gotta Bay?

Product DetailsYesterday, my blog buddy, Tara Tyler, came to Atlanta to do a book signing for her awesome book, Pop Travel. Naturally, I had to stop by and see her.  It's always great to see a blog friend in person!  Since I already have her awesome book, I decided to do a giveaway for her on my blog.  So, if you would like a chance to win a free, autographed copy of Pop Travel, please leave a comment below.  I'll pick a winner on Monday. 

Now for the story:

I was driving my teenage daughter when she started singing rap music.  I looked over at her and shook my head. "What the heck are you saying?"

She repeated it.

"Sorry," I said. "I still don't understand.  Would you please slow it down a bit?"

After several tries, I finally got it:  "D'ya Gotta Bay?"

"Do you have a bay?" I translated. "What does that mean?  Do you have a horse?"

My daughter looked at me and laughed.  "No, Mom, it doesn't mean that.  You're so silly!"

I tried again.  "Do you have a large body of water?"

She shook her head. "Mom, don't you know what a bay is?"

"No.  Apparently after over forty years of living on this planet, I have no idea what a bay is."

"It's a boyfriend!"

Oh.  Right.  A horse boyfriend.

(I think I'm going to have to relearn the English language if I'm going to be able to communicate with my daughter for the next six years!)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Serious Business

A couple days ago, my son had discussed the possibility of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records.  Apparently, it's still on his mind.

"Mama, I have another idea for how to get in the Guinness Book of World Records."

"Really?" I said.  "I hope this one is better than your last (which was causing the most destruction with his hands in two minutes)."

"It is.  Do you want to know what it is?"

"Sure, Bubba.  What is it?"

"Do you know those guards that don't smile in England?  The ones who guard the castles?"

I nodded my head.

"I'm going to be the first person to make them giggle!"

I couldn't help but smile at that. "Oh yeah, Bubba?  How are you going to do that?"

"I'm going to get a feather and tickle them!"

Okay.  So ladies and gentlemen, if you see on the news that the guards at Buckingham Palace have started cracking smiles, look for a young boy, about three and a half feet tall, running around with a feather.  That would be my son.  And he's on a mission!  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Tickle Saw

My son got his cast off yesterday.  He was thrilled!  But he was a little apprehensive when he saw the saw used to remove it.

"Are you going to cut my arm off?" he asked the nurse.

The nurse laughed. "No. We fixed your arm.  Why would we cut it off?"

"I don't know.  Maybe if you goofed, you'll have to saw it off," he answered.

"We're not going to saw off your arm."

"Okay. But is it going to hurt?" My son was not convinced that the saw thing was a good thing.

The nurse shook her head.  She turned on the saw and held the blade against her own hand. "No. It won't hurt you even if it touches your skin." She explained how the saw action was a back and forth vibrating movement.

He looked at her skeptically. "But it's loud like a regular saw!"

She held it against her hand again.  "See.  It doesn't hurt!"

"Okay."  Bubba let the nurse take his arm and saw off the cast. She was very careful, but Bubba must've felt something when the saw came in contact with his arm. He giggled. "You're right. It's not a bad saw.  It's a tickle saw!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Setting a Record

"Mama?" my nine-year-old son asked.  "Do you think I'll ever be in the Guinness Book of World Records?"

"Um, I don't know," I said. "Maybe. What record do you want to set?"

He shrugged. "I don't know."

"Well, Bubba, if you want to set a record, you have to set a goal and work towards it.  Otherwise nothing is going to happen."

He thought about that. "I'm going to build at 10,000 foot building and be the first person to jump off with a parachute."

"I'm not sure that's such a great idea, Bubba.  Jumping off a building is a recipe for disaster.  You'd better think of something else."

He did.  "I've got it, Mama.  I'm going to set the record for causing the most destruction with my hands in two minutes!"

I looked at the kid, wondering where the heck he came up with that.  "Oh yeah, Bubba?  If you do, I'm going to end up in the Guinness Book of World Records as the Grouchiest Mama on the Planet!"  


Monday, March 24, 2014

The Relaxation Kit

My family knows that I don't relax much.  I zoom from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed. Yesterday evening, I did something a little unusual. I sat down in front of the television to watch the science channel with my son.  My son was already parked comfortably, surrounded by pillows and covered with a blanket.

He saw me sitting on the edge of the sofa, like I was ready to take off and do something, and shook his head.  "Mama, you need a relaxation kit!"

"A what?" I asked.

He got up and found some pillows and another blanket.  "Sit back, Mama!"

I did as he said, and watched as he carefully placed the pillows around me and covered me with the blanket.  Then he got the remote and handed it to me.  "There you go.  The remote completes the kit. Now you can relax!"  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Master Gardener

It's that time of year when gardening begins.  This year, I've started a lot of vegetable plants from seed. Usually, I just buy the plant from the nursery and shove it into the ground.  But I happen to have some wonderful heirloom tomato, pepper, and squash seeds I wanted to try, so I'm doing things differently.

I purchased some seed germination kits and planted my seeds.  Since the weather had not been so great, I kept them in the house. But yesterday, I decided to put them on the deck, in an inconspicuous place, so they could get some sun.   Bad idea.

Mr. Nose, aka our German Shepherd named Schultz, found them.  And of course he had to give them a big sniff. Unfortunately, that was not all he did.  He wanted to find what he was sniffing. By the time I discovered it, the dirt was all over the deck.

"Schultz!" I bellowed. "What did you do?"

He looked at the dirt. And then he looked at me. Then he stuck his nose in the dirt and uncovered a squash seed. He did a little wag of the tail. Apparently he thought he was a good boy for finding the seed.

I just shook my head.  "Oy gewalt, dog!  Next time leave the gardening to me!"  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Best Food in the World

Last night, Bubba and I went to International Night at his school. Tables were set up in the cafeteria, loaded with trays of food from around the world.

"Okay, Bubba," I said.  "Load up your plate and try some of this stuff!"

He did.  He piled funny fried things, rice things, stinky things, chicken things, and numerous other unidentifiable things.  And then he found the American stand - hot dogs and potato chips.  Of course he had to get those.

Then he sat down at a table to sample the things.  He bit into a fried thing from the India table and made a face.  "Yuck!"  He gave me the other one.

I tried it.  "It's made with curry," I said.

He tried a chicken thing from South Korea and gave a little nod.  "This is okay."

He tried things from Turkey, China, Hungary, Mexico, Argentina, and Greece. Then he tried the hot dog.  He grinned after he took a bite of that.  "Mama, America has the best food in the world!"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

School in the Olden - Days

First of all, I'd like to thank Lynda Dietz for her brilliant suggestion for cleaning my burnt pot.  After two days of scrubbing, I could not clean the burnt remnants of Matzoh ball soup off of it.  Then I read Lynda's comment:  Boil equal parts of water and vinegar in it, and then add baking soda when you're ready to scrub.  It worked like a charm.  Thank you, Lynda!  And thanks to those of you who suggested using baking soda. The pot is good as new, now!

And now for the story:

"Mama," my nine-year-old son said. "I wish school was like how it was in the seventies."

"Why is that, Bubba?" I asked.

"Because in the seventies, you only had to go to school for an hour.  And all you had to do was count sticks."

I looked at the boy quizzically.  "Dude, I grew up in the seventies, and went to school in the seventies.  I assure you, we did not sit in school for an hour and count sticks!"

My boys's eyes got wide.  "You grew up in the seventies?"

"Yes, Bubba.  The nineteen seventies."

Bubba breathed a sigh of relief.  "That's good.  Because you'd be really old if you grew up in the seventies."

I squinted my eyes at the kid.  "Are you talking 70 AD?"

"Of course, Mama.  When else would they go to school and count sticks?"

Right.  Silly me!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Present for the Mama

I came home last night for orchestra rehearsal and smelled something awful.  Clearly someone had burned something.  And this time it wasn't me!

I didn't see anything on the stove that gave an indication of what might have happened.  I went in search of my husband to ascertain what had transpired during my absence.  He was parked in our home theater, watching a movie.

"Hi," I said.  "There's a rather fowl odor upstairs.  What happened?"

He glanced at me.  "Oh, that. I tried to warm up the Matzoh ball soup, and it kind of burned.  There's a present for you in the sink."

I couldn't wait to see what it was.  Sure enough, one of our stainless steel pots was sitting in the sink, covered with calcified black ash.  Kind of burned? I had no idea soup could burn that badly!  (Fortunately, the husband was attempting to soak it.)

So here I am, still trying to clean that pot.  All I have to say is, Oy gewalt!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Bad Kitty

Usually Bootsy, our cat, stays out of the limelight. The worst he does is hiss or scratch at the dog.  Well, he did something pretty significant this time.

My husband went outside to fire up the grill.  He was planning to make dinner.  Unfortunately, he wasn't able to. The propane tank was empty.  "Didn't I just fill this thing?"

"Yeah, you did," my daughter confirmed.

"I know what happened," said my son, Bubba.  "The cat turned on the grill when he sat on the side where the knobs are.  He drained the tank!"

Bubba was right. That's exactly what he did.  Bad Kitty!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Schultz's Big Greeting

Schultz, our hundred-pound German Shepherd, is a rather friendly creature.  He loves everybody.

Yesterday, my husband and I took the beast to the dog park.  There are always at least ten dogs running around in that place.  Schultz was thrilled.  He squealed and wagged his tail at the sight of all the people and their quadrupeds.

Like most dogs, Schultz has a penchant for sniffing butts.  I suppose it's a friendly dog way to say, "Hi."  Unfortunately, all this sniffing causes excessive drool for Schultz. Strings of slobber hang from his jowls as he goes from dog to dog.  It's very unattractive.

I shook my head at his slobber.  "Schultz, go get a drink of water!  You're a pathetic sight for a pedigree!"

But Schultz didn't want to get a drink of water.  He wanted to go greet a human. He trotted over to a nice man sitting on a bench.  He stood in front of the nice man and gave himself a big shake.  A huge string of slobber flew off his giant face, right into the poor man's lap.

I was mortified.  "Oh my gosh, I am so sorry!" I said.

Fortunately the guy was cool about it.  "That's okay.  The big boy was just giving a big hello!"

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Cabbage Challenge

My son came home from school with a potted plant in his hand. "Here, Mama.  You need to keep this alive."

I looked at the boy and wrinkled my brows. "What do you mean I have to keep this alive?"

"It's a cabbage plant, and there's a contest at school to see who can keep their plant alive the longest and grow the biggest cabbage."

"Bubba," I said.  "I believe the challenge is for you to keep it alive.  Not me."

He made a frown face.  "But Mama, I'm not as experienced as you.  You're the Mama, and you take care of everything.  It's your job to keep things alive!"

(Uh.  Right.  Excuse me while I go consult my Mama Manual to see if it is my responsibility to keep school cabbages alive!)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cow Talk

My son got off the bus after school and started a rather interesting conversation.  "Moo!" he said.

I looked at him quizzically.  "Moo?"

"Moo, moo."

"Moo, moo?"


"Moo?"  I shook my head.  "Bubba, what the heck are you talking about?  I can't understand a word you're saying."

"But you're the Mama Moo Moo Mama. You should've understood every word, because I was speaking your language!"

Uh, right.  Moo.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sand Heads

My nine-year-old son had a school project to create a product that kids would want to buy.  This product had to be made with things around the house.  After a huge search, we found balloons and sand.

"Let's make balloon heads!" he said.

That sounded like a plan.

My son attempted to fill the balloons, but with a broken wrist, it was a little difficult.  "Mama, can you do this?"

I nodded and grabbed a funnel.  It was quite a job filling those things.  And after each one was filled, I had to blow up the balloon in order to distribute the sand evenly.  Of course that resulted in a mouth full of sand.

"Blah!" I said.  "Eating sand is not fun!"

Bubba looked at me with a serious expression on his face.  "Mama, you should be grateful. At least your whole head isn't full of sand like these guys!"


Monday, March 10, 2014

Going Around in Circles

I have returned.  I spent the last few days in Louisville, Kentucky at a string teacher conference.   It was a lot of fun, but I had some serious problems trying to get out of the parking garage.

Let me tell you about it.

I parked on the lowest level (this lot went down instead of up).  Amazingly, I had no problem remembering where I parked.  The problem was navigating out of that thing.  I followed the exit signs, as any somewhat intelligent homosapien would do.  I made it to the next level.  And the next level.

But then something weird happened.  I went around in a circle, following the exit signs.  I drove past Indiana license plates, admiring how lovely they were (yes, I happen to like Indiana license plates) and then realized on the third time around, that they were on the same cars. Wait a minute, I thought. Didn't I just pass these vehicles?  I looked to my my right.  There was the elevator to go up to the hotel. I hadn't gone up another level!

But I didn't see another exit.  What's the problem? I thought.  Must I drive around admiring Indiana license plates for eternity?  

I went around again, looking for an alternative exit.  I found one.  But it must've been a pedestrian exit sign, because I ended up at a dead-end.  I got my car out of there after some very careful maneuvering and headed back to the cars with the lovely Indiana license plates.  There had to be a way out!

That's when I noticed another exit sign.  But this one had a one way sign on the wall next to it.  At that way wasn't the way I wanted to go.  Should I go that way? I considered the possibilities:  Wander around in that garage for the rest of my life, or face a head-long collision.

I opted for the head-long collision.

I turned down that one way ramp, and rounded the corner, fully expecting to see a pair of headlights coming my way.  But there wasn't.  Instead, there was a wide, two-way ramp going up and out!  

All I have to say is, somebody must've drank a little too much bourbon when he put that sign up, and thought it would be absolutely hilarious to mess with my head!  Darn Kentuckian!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

What Heads are For

"Mama," my nine-year-old son said.  "Do you know why we have heads?"

I tried to suppress a grin. "No, Bubba.  I have no idea why we have heads."

"They hold our brains."

"Oh.  Well, I lost my mind a long time ago, so I probably don't need my head," I said.

"But you need it to blink your eyes.  And swallow.  And sometimes sneeze."

I looked at the boy.  "But Bubba, don't you need a brain to be able to do all those things?  I don't have a brain.  So why do I need a head?"

He took his hooded jacket and placed the hood over the top of my head.  "To hold my jacket!"

Of course.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's All About Gratitude Blog Hop and Big Ambitions

It’s All About Gratitude Bloghop

Today, I'm participating in the All About Gratitude Blog Hop hosted by SA Larsen.  

There are so many things I am grateful for – my family, my friends, the talents God has given me… and for all of you.  I wish I could give each of you a big hug to let you know how much I appreciate your friendship and support! 

Gratitude is such an important virtue.  To quote Steve Maraboli, "If you want to find happiness, find gratitude."  It's so important to recognize that you are where you are in life, because of all the people and blessings that are in it!

What has gratitude done for you? 

Now for the story:

My nine-year-old son was reading an inspirational book for kids.  "Mama, listen to this," he said as he read from the book.  "You can do anything you want.  There are not limits to the possibilities..."

He stopped to think.  "Mama, do you know what I'm doing to do?"

"No, Bubba.  What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to be a scientist and travel to Mars."

"That sounds pretty good."

"What are you going to do, Mama?" he asked.

"The laundry!"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Digging for Shark Teeth

My son had gotten one of those kits where you can excavate for hidden things in a block of plaster.  This particular block of plaster contained shark teeth.  Three of them.  He laid everything out on the kitchen table and began digging. Soon he was covered in fine powder.

"Uh, Bubba," I said.  "Perhaps this idea is not so good, since you're wearing a cast, which is now completely filthy."

Bubba looked at his arm.  Then he looked at me.  "Mama, can you help?"

I knew I'd get suckered into this.  I took the excavating tools and began scraping.  And scraping.  And scraping.  Forty-five minutes later, there was a hole all the way through the block of plaster, but no shark teeth.

"Mama," my son said.  "I think they did this just to stress you out."

I scowled and scraped some more.  Soon the whole thing was a pulverized pile of plaster powder.  Except for five small clumps.

"Did they forget to put the teeth in?" Bubba asked.

I shrugged and picked up one of the clumps.  I scraped it gently, and discovered something.  A tooth?  I scraped a little more.  Sure enough, it was a tiger shark tooth.

"Great, Mama!  Only two  more to find!"

I picked up another small clump.  I scraped away on that one.  And yes - discovered another tooth.

I was on a roll.  Next clump.  I scraped that one and found nothing.

Then I tried another.  No deal.

Last clump.  I scraped, and scraped.  And there it was.  The last tooth!

I cleaned it off and handed it to Bubba. "Dude, that's the last Dr. Cool kit I'm doing!  Next time you want a shark tooth, we're going to a beach in South Carolina to find one!"