I cringe when I see orange Dial soap in soap dispensers in a public restroom. I know it works and it’s great–but it stinks. Then, every time I put my hands to my face all I can smell is soap. Soap and whatever food I am bringing to my mouth. Ew.


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Halloween around here is a big deal. Of course, when I was little, trick-or-treating was a big deal. Halloween was still an innocent holiday focused on dressing up, pumpkins, and of course candy. In recent years, it has seem to become a religious holiday–according to those who don’t celebrate it.

I never ever remember someone when we were little not celebrating Halloween because “its the devil’s holiday.” But, today it seems to be a hobby of many evangelical to share the good news with the children of the world that Halloween is the devil’s holiday. Please, spare yourself. My kids love it and as long as I can keep that influence away from them, I will. It is amazing but true, after trick-or-treating my whole life, I am still not a Satan worshiper.

And so the adventure begins…Pumpkins? Check. Scary porch? Check. Costumes for the kids? Check. Costumes for mom and dad? Check.

Yes…I have started to dress up again. Part of the fun for me was always creating the costume and making it myself, whatever it was. I was Diana Ross, a punk rocker, a giant baby, a pair of dice with my friend, and even a sequined belly dancer that I sewed myself (couldn’t have been older than thirteen at the time). Of course, I quit dressing up for a long time until two years ago when Phillip asked me what I was going to be. You think I need to dress up, I asked. Oh yes, he replied. And there folks, is where I was reunited with my love for costume creation.

Halloween is also a big deal around here because it is Samuel’s birthday. I tried so hard to push him out before midnight, I really didn’t want a Halloween baby, but it has turned out just fine. In the late afternoon we opened presents, here he is with his new soccer ball. He wanted this thing forever!


Then, we had buttermilk pancakes for dinner (his request), got our outfits on, sang happy birthday and ate cake. I made Samuel an ice cream cake–it has birthday cake smashed inside of it; inspired by Cold Stone Creamery’s Birthday Cake ice cream.


Then lots of pictures and heading out for trick-or-treating. Nevermind the appearance of the porch. It is new and currently under construction (hence the absence of cedar siding around the front door). Andrew is in a police costume I originally sewed for Phillip (Sam wore it too). He kept pointing at it saying, “Daddy.” Yes, I would tell him, you look just like Daddy!


Jeff was a cowboy, but it was so cold, he had to wear a coat. And here is my costume…(Mary, doesn’t this remind you of that time we..okay…I put that wig on in Philly and we took all of those crazy pictures…only this time, I wasn’t smoking anything). Pajamas, bathroom, face mask, slippers and curlers.


It was funny, as I could tell many kids were unsure if it was a costume or not. Phillip originally told me not to do it, as it would “be too embarrassing.” But, I was warm, comfy, cleared away blackheads and rehydrated my skin with an avocado mask. Sweet little Andrew, so confused by the whirlwind of celebrations would say “Happy Birthday” instead of trick-or-treat.

We had a steady flow of tricker-treaters here. Once the boys returned they were in charge of the door. They enjoyed that just as much as going out. One would open the door, one would scoop out the candy and put it in the bags and the littlest one would stand behind them and go “whooohoooo” at the costumes, with a little “Happy Birthday” thrown in there every once in a while.

At the end of it all, the boys sort their candy. They have yet to do that this year because we couldn’t keep Andrew out of it long enough for them to sort it. That will have to be done one day during Andrew’s nap or in a separate room under lock and key. I don’t think I have ever seen a two-year-old so nuts about candy! So, anyway, they sort into two piles: keep and Candy Fairy. They turn the Candy Fairy bag in to us and we take it to Toys R’ Us where the Candy Fairy lives and exchange it for a toy. The more the bag weighs, the bigger the toy they get. Hmm…works quite nicely for all holidays involving excessive candy.

At the end of the day, I tucked Samuel into bed and he said, “I had the happiest birthday” and planted a big wet kiss on my lips. What a wonderful boy.

2014-10-19 16.00.37

I have this friend, Becky. We carpool together for soccer, have for about a year and a half. Our boys are friends outside of soccer and we are friends with Becky and her husband. But, I have a feeling, after most encounters with me, Becky wonders to herself how I ever make it through a single day.

Becky, bless her heart (she is from south of the Mason Dixon Line…well, more like on the Line, but it counts—she would like that), puts up with a lot from me and just smiles. For example, here is a typical text exchange:

Me: Can you drive both ways to soccer on Tuesday?

Becky: You mean Monday? Practice is still on Monday nights.

Me: Nevermind 🙂

And then there are these (notice, that statement is plural, not then there was this but instead these):

Me: Does L need a ride to the game?

Becky: SHIT! We have a game today?!?!?!

Me: Yeah, in Zionsville.

Becky: You sure?

Me: Oh, nevermind. I read the schedule wrong.

Becky is used to this kind of crazy. I mean, honestly, I have my shit together most of the time. But, I am able to laugh at my own mistakes here. I mean, let’s be honest. I have three boys, at three schools each doing different sports and work full time. So, suck it. I try.

But Becky understands (I think). Except, this one may have taken her opinion of my smarts over the line.

I am sending out an Evite for a small birthday party for Andy’s 10th birthday. As you have probably experienced (and one day I will tell the story of the worst birthday party ever that almost cost as much as a mortgage payment), they can quickly get out of control. Since that epic failure mentioned above, I keep a tight reign on the party planning.

I get Andy to narrow down the list to 10 boys. My goal is 10 at the party. I know all ten he invites won’t be able to come, but he has two brothers standing by eagerly waiting to join his party and play laser tag. He’s got a few from soccer, a few from his old school, a few from his new school and a neighborhood friend.

I am working through the soccer kids when I realize I am not totally sure of this one kid’s last name. I think I see it on an email distribution list, but not sure. I text Becky. She texts me back a name that is very close to the name I think it is. It must be a Stupid Siri mistake I tell myself and go with the name I think it is.

I keep the Evite in draft form until I can call the laser tag place the next day to schedule the party. I had hoped to do it from 3:30-5:30 but they could only accommodate us at 2:30. That means 2:30-4:30. I book it and click send on the Evite.

A series of events that plays out over the next week, and which I will skip over to protect the innocent (which is clearly not me in this scenario) finally bring to light that I picked the wrong last name. And, in fact while Andy likes the boy I invited, it was not the boy I had intended to invite. Strike one.

Fortunately, I see the mother of the boy I was supposed to invite at a game on Saturday and her son can in fact make it to the party. Recovered from strike one.

Meanwhile I am telling this story to Becky and she is…well, let’s just say underwhelmed and I am sure thinking “par for the course” with you, girl.

The party day is finally here. I roll in just before 2:30, which is the beauty of paying someone else to do the party. I used to do these elaborate parties at home. All kinds of special details, lots of preparations, etc. then I realized all my kids really wanted to do was go be wild someplace else. It was like my years of insisting we make our Halloween costumes and all they wanted to do was wear a crappy plastic mask. I gave in, but I think this year I have them convinced on two homemade costumes. So excited!

Sorry, off topic. We walk in and there are already two moms there dropping off kids. We chat, say hello and I see a few more folks further in the room. I say bye to those two moms and move on to the next crowd of parents.

We exchange pleasantries and the dad says, “Thanks for taking my kid for the next three hours. I will be back at 5:30.”

“Wait…” I said. “You mean 4:30. The party is over at 4:30.”

Another mom who is standing right next to us confirms the horrible news. “The invitation said 5:30.”

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. When I called to make the reservations and they switched the time to 2:30, I must not have updated the pickup time to match. It must have still be at 5:30 instead of 4:30.

I explain my error to the parents and ask that they kindly pick up at 4:30. I would go insane and broke if I had to stay at this place for three hours with 10 boys. They both agree the pickup time is fine.

I tell all the remaining parents of my mistake and update the pickup time to 4:30. I have to text the two moms who I encountered when I first walked in and ask if they can please pick up at 4:30 instead of 5:30. Everyone graciously agrees. Thank freaking God.

The party progresses and of course by the end, they have played all the laser tag, eaten all the cake and used all their tokens (I even bought tons of extras). Yet that last 10 minutes hanging out waiting on parents was the most painful of the whole day.

“This sure is weird not having any tokens and being around all these games” one kid says to me.

He wasn’t the only kid saying things like that. And, I wish I was one of those parents who could just let that stuff go, but I can’t and I am not.

I lock eyes with the one kid and say, “Listen, I spent a lot of money already. There are no more tokens period. Next time, don’t play at those stupid games of chance that cost 8 tokens and you will have tokens left over.”

Party’s over; I think I am ready to go.

2014-10-22 09.42.25 HDR

When we left off last time, Sam had avoided calling me from the nurse’s office at school.  But, he was still having pain.  And, when I picked him up, he had the sling on, but wasn’t using it.  So glad we took the extra time to get that sling.

After wrapping up a Lego project the other night, Sam came in to the kitchen holding his shoulder again. He said it was getting worse.

Jeff looked, and then had him take his shirt off. Then, my phone rang.   I answered it. It was a work-ish call.

Jeff has Sam place one hand on each side of the doorway to the laundry room and runs him through a serious of shoulder stretches. Sam is moaning in pain. I am sure the person on the other end is thinking my background music is so soothing (or I am torturing small animals).

He then runs his fingers around the shoulder and when I hang up reminds of that time Sam broke his ankle at our neighbors one night. We were over there for dinner and he road his bike down their hilly drive with no shoes, a huge Nerf gun in one hand and probably wearing a cape.

That was my, “Oh, you’re fine” moment. Jeff thought there was something else going on and finally took him to Urgent Care. Broken ankle. I think every parent has at least one story like that. I mean, kids are like the worst wolf-criers on the planet.

As a result, I took him to the walk-in clinic at the sports medicine group at the hospital. If you have boys and don’t know about this place, you need to look one up. So much more effective and efficient than the emergency room.

An exam, a set of x-rays, all inconclusive. He said he didn’t know. Bones looked fine, but his exam showed something was not right. He ordered physical therapy and for Sam to come back in one week.  He gave him a better sling, too and said no hockey this week. Plus, he wrote a note for a ban on band until further notice. No trumpet. He’s most upset about that because he has his first concert coming up.

I asked him if he was concerned it was something more serious and his answer was, “I don’t know what’s going on.” He said we will try these things and see if there is any improvement. If no improvement, then we go to next steps for trying to find the problem.

Meanwhile, it sounds like he wore the sling all day at school. He had scribes in his classes and help carrying books. But, he is home now and I saw him riding his unicycle without the sling. And then, putting up Halloween decorations…using a hammer with this right hand. So basically recovery is going super awesome.

2014-10-22 09.42.25 HDR

…and I am not talking about the headband (that’s his latest thing.  Wears it all day).  This guy has something causing him pain in his shoulder and upper arm.

It’s been going on for a few weeks and I really think it’s a use injury, like from starting hockey again or something. I had something similar once when I was swimming. The pain was overwhelming and would sort of come and go, like his, depending on how I moved. I applied heat continuously, took Aleve and went to a deep tissue guy to get it worked out.

I have tried almost everything I can think of on Sam. First, I gave him the heating pad. Then, I gave him Tylenol. Then, I started giving him Advil.   He was still complaining.

He was complaining while playing his trumpet, riding his unicycle, hanging from the door frames, literally popping up from under the covers on his bed to say “Good Morning” as loud as he can each morning, while using a screw driver to put together a new Lego set. Get the point? He was complaining, but clearly still active.

Sunday rolled around and he started complaining more…of course, since the next day was Monday. “You are going to school.” I said.

He had hockey Monday night and used his arm. He came home in even more pain and did seem a little beaten down by it—he only wanted one peanut butter and jelly sandwich instead of two. I coaxed him in to a hot shower and fired up the heating pad in his bed. He got out, rested his arm on the pad and I gave him Advil. He slept all night (and has the whole time, which with him—he isn’t much of a sleeper—needs to be defined as he didn’t come in to my room and get me).

The next morning, he was seriously complaining again. “You are going to school I said as soon as he opened his mouth and reached his hand across his chest to grab his shoulder.

I come back from dropping Andy at school (part of my 2 hour morning routine delivering my little people to where they belong) and say, “Hey, let’s run to the store on the way to school. We can get some stuff for your arm. “ He was eager to go and we rushed out the door to hit the store, get gas and still get him to school and me to gym on time.

We are in Kroger and after I grab a few things on my list, we head to the first aid section. I suggest two boxes of those adhesive heat pad things. He agrees. I suggest Icy Hot or Tiger Balm. He likes Tiger Balm. I grab it. He looks through the braces, but sees nothing that will do the trick for him—and even if there was something, he is the size of a 7 year old, there is no way it would fit.

“I think that’s it.” I say and he agrees. “Now, this means you absolutely promise not to go to the nurse and call me, right?”

Now, what do I have against the school nurse? Well, besides the obvious, which is sometimes there are legit sick kids in there and I hate germs, the school nurse calls usually go a little like this:

“Hi, is this Mrs. Parmelee?”


“This is the nurse calling from [insert school]. I have [my kid] in the nurses office.”

“Oh dear. What’s going on?”

“He is itching his arm. He seems to have a patch of something irritated and is scratching it pretty hard.”

“Okay. Yes, I know what it is. It’s Molluscum.”

“What’s that?” she asks sounding concerned.

“A virus on the skin that is extremely common among student athletes. It’s totally harmless. He gets it from sweaty pads and locker rooms.” I am slightly concerned that she doesn’t know what this is. It’s like adolescent boy medicine 101.

“Oh. What would you like me to do with it?”

“Uhm, just put some cortisone cream on it.”

“I am not allowed to apply Cortisone cream without you providing it or being here to provide it.”

“Okay. How about putting on some bacitracin?”

“Sorry, I cannot put that on either. You can come in and do it if you would like.”

“No, that’s not an option right now. Do you have bacitracin?”


“Do you have those long swabs?”


“Put the bacitracin on the swab…

(I am sorry but I must interrupt here. In our house, anytime someone says “put the” on anything, someone follows up with “lotion on the skin.”  So, “…lotion on the skin”… habit. It’s from Silence of the Lambs).

Anyway, “Put the bacitracin on the swab and then put the swab on [my kid’s] skin.”

“I am not allowed.”

Awesome. So, I tell her do nothing, and send him back to class.

That’s a typical nurse call. So, I went out of my way to make sure he wasn’t going to go to the nurse, who would call me and not be able to do anything without me being physically present with her in the same room (or drop the supplies off myself).

“Oh, wait.” Sam declares. “You know what would help? I need a sling. A sling would work.”

No slings at Kroger. He even asked the pharmacist. Already foreseeing the phone call, I conceded and said if we hurried, we could make a stop at the drug store across the street to grab one. But first, we have to get gas.

The clock is running out. There is no way I am going to make it to the gym on time and he’s cutting it close to get to school on time. I pull up and do the business required (all 14 questions) to get the pump in the car and the gas flowing. I run around to his side, open the door and start rubbing the Tiger Balm on his arm. He winces, but it smells delicious. I wanted to eat it, but I didn’t.

The gas clicks off and I pull away and drop the $7.00 quarter-sized jar of Tiger Balm on the ground. It rolls under the car. I try to reach it, but it’s dead center under the car. I finish up the gas pump stuff (sorry person after me who had a weird sensation and smell on their hands after touching the pump. It’s just Tiger Balm, I promise).

I pull the car up a bit to get the Tiger Balm. Then, screech out of the lot and across the intersection to the drug store. I run in, find the sling and pay. Of course, the guy in front of me just converted to KeyRing and couldn’t get his CVS card to work, which was critical for the 20 cents off he received of his ace bandage.

I jump in the car, cut through the parking lot and head down to the nearest spot I can conceivably pull out from this intersection during rush hour—a stoplight.   I struggle to put the sling on him at the light, but for once in my life, it quickly turns green. I continue to unravel, set, secure straps, Velcro, make adjustments, etc. while driving with my knees. Safe.

We turn the corner toward school and he realizes he put the sling on with his seatbelt on, so he’s trapped in. “Fine.” By now I am exasperated and totally self-consumed with being late for my workout. It was apparently the single most important thing to me at that moment.   “Next time you are a little shit to me, you better remember how hard I worked to make sure your arm felt good today!” Yes, I said that. Whatever.

I pull in to the lot, park and redo the sling. The last words I yelled were, “Remember, you better not call me from the nurse’s office!”

First thing he said to me when I picked him up? “Mom, I didn’t call you from the nurses office!”

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

We had some long-time friends over for dinner last night with their little girl. We enjoyed a nice meal, had some great conversation, shared some wine and the kids happily played together. When they were leaving, my friend said next, we come to her house. We both looked at each other and sort of laughed.

A nice life they have indeed, a beautiful and sweet mild-mannered two-year old in a pretty house–all seemingly manageable. Here? Three boys in often loud, chaos that involves weapons, a sharp eye for anything breakable, plenty of wrestling and always farts. Do you really want to have us over?

While I concede we don’t always make great company at “your house” it isn’t just the kids. I spend my entire visit at someone else’s house scanning the room for potential towering launch pads for bodies, breakable treasures that seem to have blinking lights on them flashing “Get me, Sam!” and apologizing profusely. A good time had by all? Most often not.

Maybe we should go more places so they learn to behave, but I am sure that will come in time. For now, they are little boys and too many rules just makes for lots of conflict. Conflict makes for frustration and frustration makes for punching! Don’t even ask me to take them to a restaurant, I will likely laugh right in your face (unless there is outdoor seating).

While I don’t usually enjoy myself at the home of others (unless the kids are home with the babysitter), it sure is nice to be invited. We do a fair amount of entertaining here, which I love. I have shared before how much I love to have a great meal with friends. But, it seems as most often, the invitation to someone else’s house is never extended.

I try to think that not everyone likes to entertain like I do, but then, being the obsessively-insecure-about-any-kind-of-relationship-outside-of-my-marriage kind of girl that I am, I obsess and think they don’t like us. I think they came over here, we chatted over dinner and they didn’t have a good time and decided they didn’t like us. But really, I think it is more that people just don’t like to have people over any more.

Do you keep score? (That is a hint to comment, all you stealth blog-readers). Do you expect a return invitation if you welcome someone in your home? I certainly don’t want the invitation if it is nothing more than a formality, a “now we have to have them over to our house.” Trust me, it is no picnic in the park to have us over (unless we are outdoors, then all of the above doesn’t apply and the boys are great). So, the invitation itself has become just as good as the actual event.

In other words, just getting invited makes me feel validated. Then, I usually talk them in to coming back over here. Not a martyr, just want to actually enjoy myself and that is most often done in our own home where anything they break, I know I already paid for.

Why do I do this to myself?

2014-09-26 10.59.40

Really, all I have to do is take about 10 steps to the hall closet and get a new deodorant out.  But no, I continually torture myself with this one–plastic scraping my armpits like a dull razor.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Two funny things I wanted to share…

Phillip recently played at his friend Graham’s house and accidentally (or so he says) brought one of Graham’s toys home, as he had it in the basket on his bike.

“Is that a sword?” I asked of this cell-phone looking device that transforms into some sort of weapon.

Knowing how I can be about weapons, he quickly and emphatically replied, “No, its a wand,” and made me listen closely to the magical wand noise it makes.

“Okay, you sold me,” which he knew meant he passed the test.

Next, Samuel called down to us last night after he went to bed that he had to poop. Okay, call us when you are done we said. He did. I go up to help him (despite the fact that he wants to wipe on his own, he isn’t ready to do that).

We are washing our hands when I see something on his pajama shirt. “Sam, is that poop on your shirt?”

“No,” he replies. “I think it is a gas pain.”