Taco Bell Tantrums

My teenagers and I decided to splurge and order a party pack from Taco Bell.

(As a side note: I discovered they have very good iced coffee at Taco Bell, available right now for a dollar, and their powdered creamer is some strange thing like “ecostix” or something and it didn’t have any fake, chemical or soy taste. Kudos, Taco Bell.)

But upon getting the party pack home, we discovered the most ridiculous thing.

Remember the whole gag with the cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?

Well my cockatoo apparently has tantrums for Taco Bell.

YouTube: Tantrums for Taco Bell

Of mufflers and magic

The last few days have been emotional, challenging and at times full of mirth… so as expected, it is the full moon.

I attended a few trainings and meetings and will be (or was) on the county council meeting agenda to serve on the drug and alcohol task force. I also sat in on a meeting of the YWCA of Bethlehem’s Empowerment and Justice Committee.

Today was the first Friends of Pete mixer since the pandemic started!

But let me not get ahead of myself.

I did two loads of laundry, tended some pets, had coffee with a neighbor, vacuumed my room, tried to get information on my unemployment claim (tried two different agencies and could get through to neither), went for a walk with another neighbor… and learned some high school physics.

And then Sarah, my lead intern in the communications department at ASPIRE to Autonomy visited! It was our first in person meeting despite working virtually practically side by side since June.

She knows the delightful crazy in my house— the naughty cockatoo, the sibling grey cats, the visiting dogs, the foster kittens, marching band, teenagers 1 & 2, the blind poet friend, etc. She’s seen & heard a lot of silly and strange things via video chat.

And now she drove 90 miles to see the real thing. Maybe a should start my own reality television show… and then run for President.

Teenager #1 proclaimed that Sarah was “even prettier in real life.”

She tried to make friends with Nala, met lots of cats, and then I went to take her on a tour of my neighborhood.

And there was construction blocking on end of the street and no lie a MUFFLER and TAILPIPE at the other. To get out of my street, we had to move part of an exhaust system. To which Sarah merely said, “I am not even surprised.”

View from my garage

I drive her to the teenagers school, show her Easton Area High School (the size of which blew her mind), and (don’t judge) visited two Dunkin’ Donuts out of the six within 2.5 miles of my house. We only got drinks at one. Note: Sarah uses almond milk.

We drop the car off and take a walk around the neighborhood which she enjoys because she can’t go anywhere on foot at her house. And she asked a lot of good questions discovering the history of the Dixie cup along the way.

We return to the house because I told Sarah we were going to light a few candles. Apparently I had never mention to Sarah that I was an animist pagan (or in practical terms a witch).

Oops.

Luckily, she has a history as a Catholic and Catholics light as many candles, burn as much incense and if you consider a prayer a spell, then do as magic as witches do.

So around 4:15, we did a candle burning ritual to coincide with the 5:05 full moon. I gave teenager 1 a white candle to draw the positive light to us and keep our intentions pure. I gave teenager 2 a purple candle as I want her to draw peace, calm, and safety into her life. I gave Sarah a blue candle as her friend had cancer surgery today and we wanted to pray for her healing. My candle was green. I need money, a job or some sort of resources.

After Sarah’s first ritual, we left for the Friends of Pete mixer— the Pandemic Breakout Networking event— in downtown Easton. I also showed her my old office at ProJeCt of Easton and then we drove by the new office for ASPIRE.

I reconnected with some old acquaintances— including Gil Bean of InFlow Advisory and Pete Reinke. I met some new people and got to have drinks with my ASPIRE peers. And forgot to finish explaining to Amber, the co-founder of ASPIRE the difference between a Wiccan, a pagan and a witch.

I had a gin-elderberry-lime-berry cocktail and calamari at Ocean. I’d dined at all the other restaurants on the list so it was nice to finally try Ocean.

But let me back up and explain— Friends of Pete is a Lehigh Valley networking group that has a strong LinkedIn presence, a weekly Zoom check in and used to have monthly mixers.

It is how I met Darnell in August 2019.

And Sarah realized she’d been to Easton before— to visit The Crayola Factory. Which I had written the original press release when Binney & Smith first remodeled the old Orr’s store and launched that attraction more than 20 years ago.

Barometer of mood

Earlier this week and late last week I was struggling emotionally— my financial status growing more precarious and my friends feeling distant, etc. Nothing any more serious than what many other people are going through.

And then Tuesday happened.

That was yesterday I think.

I had Zoom meetings, Google Meets, programs and in person meetings from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. After a coffee meet with a marketing client, I accompanied an ASPIRE peer to our new office space in downtown Easton. I’m not sure it’s official official yet so I can’t provide details.

But I went to use the restroom.

And I forgot I had car keys in my pocket and they fell into the flushing toilet. Whooooop— right down the hole.

Well.

My first thought was, “What do I do????”

And then I realized I have the only electronic key fob currently in existence for my car.

So I stuck my hand into the toilet. Thank heavens they were there. Pulled them out, covered a paper towel with some sanitizer, wiped it down and popped the fob apart to try and dry it.

And I laughed at the situation. A few days earlier I would have cried.

In other silly news, my crew had some fun with musical instruments. YouTube videos here:

Low brass and bass drummer playing without the whole band (teenagers 1 & 2)

Recorder lesson from a blind lady and euphonium in background

Seven Nation Army

Coffee mugs

The teenager started it. She bought me a mug for Mother’s Day 2019. Of course, she bought it with my Target Red Card. It had a lid, so she didn’t have to worry about me spilling hot coffee on myself while going up the stairs.

I received a fun coffee mug for Christmas 2018 as part of a Secret Santa— it was a Magic 8-ball (I used to take one to work and have my fellow Target team members ask it questions).

But in recent months, the teenager and I have impulse bought a few at The Dollar Tree. She bought herself “I love dogs” and the companion “I love cats” for me.

Most recently I got the “smile and nod” and coffee hug mugs because they bring humor into my early mornings.

And that is the best way to start each day.

#TheDrunkAtTheEndofTheBar

There’s a ridiculous hashtag trending on the internet.

You take a photo of your pet, #TheDrunkAtTheEndoftheBar, and state what your pet is doing.

Well, here’s Nala, my naughty Goffin’s cockatoo:

The Drunk at the End of the Bar pooped on me and tried to eat my new laptop.

And Mr. Mistofelees — the formerly feral kitten has an entry too:

The Drunk at the End of the Bar is chewing on a cardboard box.

Roomba: the vacuuming toddler

I asked for and received a roomba for Christmas.

First surprise was that he’s an older roomba and he can’t recognize 5G internet. So my internet service is too good for him. We’ve hooked him up to my neighbor’s network instead.

And now I find myself child proofing my house in order to vacuum.

I thought the roomba could help keep up with the mess from the pets and the teen.

But man, I had no idea what a maze we had in our house.

I’ve spent the last couple days observing it and trying to map its habits and paths. Because it’s a machine. There has to be a pattern.

I named him Isaac after Isaac Asimov.

Isaac goes straight until he hits something then turns 45-degrees and goes straight again. That’s the pattern.

He misses a lot of bigger things and it’s like a toddler vacuuming. He’s going back and forth but he can’t really see what he’s doing. When he’s done, he’s usually bumped a few things I need to put back and I need to pick up all the wrappers and large objects he pushed out of hiding.

I moved his home base to my bedroom. He vacuumed my room yesterday and did a pretty impressive job, and that’s where the budgies are.

I let him loose in there again today. The featured photo in this entry is the amount of hair, seed and dirt he picked up after one day.

That made me stop judging his toddler style.

The joys so easy to miss

If you’ve read some of this blog, you probably know that I have a relatively new job in a brand new field that is giving me tremendous potential to grow as an individual and a professional. It’s challenging and rewarding and it allows me to do some good in the world.

But in any new job there comes a learning curve and change can be exhausting. On top of my career change, my husband and I separated six months ago.

So that’s another part of my life in flux.

Last night, I went to the podiatrist as my toe has been bothering me. It’s the same toe on which I dropped a 15-pound dumbbell almost 2 years ago. I also broke that ankle 4 years ago now.

I was fairly certain I just had a blister in a weird spot that went a little wrong but with my cerebral palsy I didn’t want to take chances.

When I got to the doctor, after waiting a week to get the appointment, I realized I forgot my wallet. Luckily I had ways to pay them and my daughter texted me the information in my wallet but that stressed me.

And then the doctor trimmed my toe nails and removed all the pretty nail polish from my recent pedicure. Now I know that is something he needed to do, but it made me very very sad.

Then he prescribed me an antibiotic because it looked like the toe did have a blister, got infected, and maybe it was going to be fine but why take the chance.

So I had to go home, get my wallet, and go to CVS.

My daughter came with my and as we waited, read this joke book to me:

I laughed at a few, despite my best attempts not to.

When they built the Great Wall of China where did they go for supplies?

Wall-Mart

And then she begged for the book, and the cashier pointed out I had a 30% off coupon on my CVS card so now we own a $3 joke book.

And she’s been reading me jokes ever since.

Surviving Life With Baby

My daughter, photo taken by me

My daughter, photo taken by me

A humorous list of survival techniques for parents welcoming their first child.

Surviving Life with Baby

  1. You may think you have no idea what you’re doing. You don’t, but neither does baby. Baby is just as new at this as you are.
  2. The “book” may say not to put baby in the swing for more than 30 minutes at a time, twice a day. Other moms say: If it saves your sanity, do it.
  3. It’s normal to consider selling the baby on eBay. (As my husband says, “SIDS is just an excuse for parents who smother their infants.”)
  4. Rock, swing, swaddle, sing, feed, diaper. Repeat.
  5. Week four is easier than week three, and so on.
  6. For the firsts few weeks, make lists of everything. A “to do” list may include your own basic hygiene.  (Hint: conveniently leave list of chores where friends or relatives, who “want to help” will see it.)
  7. There will be days when you don’t brush your teeth until two in the afternoon.
  8. Sometimes, running the dishwasher makes it a good day. Sometimes, running and emptying the dishwasher constitutes a good week.
  9. Make your own rules, then decide which ones to break. (I said no pacifiers, but rescinded for nap time when my mother-in-law babysat, but I insist on the No TV rule. I like putting the baby to bed at a set time every night, but sometimes my friend keeps her baby up if her husband works late so they can have family time.)
  10. Listen to your heart, not your neighbor’s advice. Same goes for mothers and other relatives. If it doesn’t feel right to you, don’t do it.
  11. You will understand Baby’s cries. Suddenly, around eight weeks, you just know what the baby wants. And you’re not sure when it happened.
  12. Your life will start to return to normal—in about six months.
  13. If breastfeeding, remember: It can be uncomfortable for the first four to six weeks. Then, it’s the easiest thing in the world. Even in public. As my friend and peer mom says, “it’s not a breast anymore, it’s like whipping out a bag of potato chips.”
  14. It’s not just poop. It’s a major event. After a while, it requires a Richter scale. “That’s the biggest 10 I’ve ever seen!”
  15. Call your friends. Have a friend or relative who you can call at any hour. Or make sure your spouse has a cell phone on. There will be days when you feel like you’re going crazy and you need someone who has had a baby and understands. These days get fewer as baby grows, but they still happen.
  16. Sleep when the baby is sleeping sounds good but it doesn’t always work. I recommend going to bed at night when the baby goes to bed, even if it is 6:30 or seven o’clock. You may need to do this for a couple months to prevent utter and sheer exhaustion.
  17. If you cook, double the recipe and freeze some. Label well.
  18. Prioritize. I do dishes and laundry every other day. But the toilets—I try to do them once a week. If I make every other week, that’s more realistic. Until baby moves, vacuuming is a low priority. (But a good one if visitors want to be helpful. Just leave the vacuum where friends and family will see it.)
  19. Pace yourself. Even if you feel great, don’t overdo it. Take it as easy as you can until that post-partum check-up. And if your guests/relatives/visitors annoy you—ask for some space or hide. You can take the baby with you or not. Hormones do go crazy. Blame them.
  20. If baby is inconsolable, go for a ride in the car, a walk around the block or try the swing. Motion works wonders.  Sometimes, you need fresh air, too.
  21. MOST IMPORTANTLY: On the very worst days, the baby will do something really cute to remind you why you’re doing this. Don’t forget to watch for it.

Humor: Baby, just sit in the swing!

My life is usually funny. When things go wrong, they don’t go average wrong. They go Charlie Chaplin style wrong. I did an entry on my writing blog about this tendency of my life because my friends are always pushing me to be the Erma Bombeck of my age. And I do love the classic Erma!

Here’s a newspaper clipping about my daughter that I think falls under humor.

 

One of my first humor pieces on motherhood

One of my first humor pieces on motherhood