You’ll fancy me a madwoman. But the event in question I am about to relay has sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them.
Above all was the sense of acute hearing. Even prior to this dark episode, my ears have long been able to detect a baby’s snuffle during the darkest parts of night, suss out a dog preparing to vomit on the only carpeted room in the house, and predict the utter destruction that is about to occur in the sudden space of a toddler’s silence.
Alas, it was upon the happy occasion of my youngest child’s 6th birthday that this ability of mine took a nightmarish turn. My beloved, in the throes of a celebratory whimsy, purchased a musical flower candle to place atop our daughter’s traditional confectionery treat. One small flame, and the candle burst into abundant light and song, mesmerizing us all with its electronic birthday tune.
A short while later, our faces besmirched by frosting, we went our separate ways, mine to the kitchen to confront the towering heaps of dishes that were in dire need of a soapy hand. I had yet to even roll up my sleeves when I first heard it. The familiar song sung by the unfamiliar electromechanical voice. It was the candle, now darkened, now purposeless, waiting for me while still robustly wishing many more upon a child who was now absent.
My blood ran cold. I searched, searched again, oh how I pursued the button that would end this tedious melody sung by no one. Swallowing my panic, I brought the accursed object to my good husband, who had no better luck than I turning it off. On and on it sang.
Cautiously, oh so cautiously I carried it back into the kitchen.
What to do?
You should have seen how wisely I proceeded–with what foresight–with what dissimulation–I went to work. Oh, you would have laughed at how cunningly I hid that candle inside the fridge. Behind the milk, to the left of the spicy pickles. Ha! Would a madwoman have been so wise as this?
That night, however, the devil’s hour itself and none other, there came to my ears a high-pitched cheery sound, such as a haunted candle would make when enveloped by refrigerator staples. Slowly, the sound became more distinct. ‘Ere long I felt myself getting pale. It continued and gained definiteness. I gasped for breath yet my family heard it not.
For seven long nights this continued, keeping me awake, frantic. It grew louder and louder! Every night, louder than the last! And yet my children would not let me throw the demon torch out for they had grown attached to the unnatural artifact. I even began to hear its sinister song during the day, my children’s endless foraging for snacks (as is the custom during the summer season) bringing fresh sound waves of horror to my senses.
Upon the eighth night, I discovered what I must do. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. That it would all end soon. That I could MAKE it end. To think that there I was, slowly lowering the knife, no one in the house even dreaming of my secret thoughts or deeds. I fairly chuckled manically at the idea, which is perhaps how my husband heard me and upon seeing my form bent over the still singing candle, and knowing my personality intimately, immediately figured out what was going on and grabbed the knife from my hand.
“What the hell are you doing?” quoth the husband.
“Making it stop,” quoth I.
“How do you even stab a candle?”
“You can stab anything if you’re sleep deprived enough.”
“I’m getting worried about you.”
The husband led me gentle back to the bedchamber, assuring me the battery would run out soon. By morning he proved correct, the unholy candle making sound no more. I heard it not that day.
But as darkness fell, there it was again. Plain as day. (But at night.) How the candle mocked me. Have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but an over-acuteness of the senses? It grew louder, I say, louder every moment. Oh god, what could I do? I foamed, I raved, I swore! A LOT. Still my family continued living as though nothing was amiss. Was it possible they still heard not?
Now a new anxiety seized me. It would never end. Thus, I dug out the waxy corpse from the trash, removing it, examining it. Yes, it was stone, stone dead. And yet…
“Nevermore…” I whispered to myself.
“Where the hell did you get a crowbar!?” quoth the husband when he found me with the crowbar.
“NEVERMORE!” I shouted gleefully, still hunched over, trying to figure out how a crowbar actually worked. Because anything was better than this agony. Anything more tolerable. I must bury it beneath the floorboards!
“Here, honey, have some wine,” quoth the very handsome, smart husband.
Swiftly I gave in, dropped the crowbar and had a glass (two). For what else could I do?
Alas, I can still hear it. That cursed thing. That melodic device from the bowels of Hell itself. Even now, three (four) wine glasses in, I hear it.
Well friends, we almost made it. Just a few more days left of school! Who is ready for summer!?
Summer school, that is! Yay! Oh yes, I know you kids were looking forward to a carefree summer full of sun and fun but learning never stops. Especially when you will be home for the next three months, wreaking havoc on my home and sanity. So welcome to Mama’s Summer School for Wayward (and Slightly Feral) Children! Get ready for exciting learning opportunities, such as:
Are These Socks Dirty or Clean? A Symposium On Hampers
When Pants Attack! A Lecture Series On When Pants Are Optional & When They Are Mandatory
This Is Called A Dishwasher
Proper Aluminum Foil Application On Leftovers
There Is Pee All Over The Floor: Who Should Do Something About It (YOU!) & When (IMMEDIATELY!)
Nutrition 101: If You Were Really Hungry, You’d Eat The Apple I Already Offered
Nutrition 102: No, You Cannot Have Another Snack
The Planet Is Boiling Alive & You Have Irish Peasant DNA: Sunscreen Basics For Genetic RedHeads
This Is Called A Broom
Wet Towel Math: How To Calculate How Many More Times I Need To Yell At You To Pick Up Your Wet Towel Before You Are Grounded
You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream About Screen Time: A Seminar On How To Earn Back Your Tablet
And later this summer, we’re going to take some refresher courses before you head back to actual school, such as:
Why We Don’t Wait Until The Second-To-Last Day Of School To Tell Mom About All The Missing Library Books
Where Is Your Snack Bag From Last Year: Fun With Hazardous Materials
You Need How Many Cupcakes!? When!? Son Of A…: School Fundraiser FUNdamentals
Curse Words Belong In The Home, Not In The Classroom
Please Learn To Tie Your Shoes, People Are Going To Start Judging Me
A standing ovation every time I put all the laundry away. And while we’re at it, roses thrown at my feet every time I clean the bathroom. Which you then scurry about and pick up so I don’t have to.
Acknowledgement in the form of a shiny trophy or perhaps a gift card to the snooty fancy wine shop for being the Carrier of the Mental and Emotional Load for the family. Complete with a heartfelt speech about how stoically I carry this burden and ask for nothing in return.
A legally binding contract, signed and notarized, that any and all sibling fights from henceforth shall occur out of my direct eyesight and earshot.
Gasps of wonderment on a regular basis at my mastery of taking ordinary ingredients from the kitchen and transforming them into a meal, NAY! a feast! every. single. day. A feast where every dish is overflowing with love (and butter) no matter how meager the contents of my fridge. I want you so in awe at this otherworldly power of mine that you are tempted to point at me and shout “WITCH!” because how could anyone take something as simple and common as a potato and turn it into a towering mound of pure comforting flavor using merely heat (and butter) if they weren’t the bride of Satan?
For you to bend the knee like I am Khaleesi, Mother of Ungrateful Dragons. I want you to cower in awe at my ability to rip apart my own body so that you could be freed from the captivity of the womb. I want you to gaze in reverence at my tireless efforts to then help you gain independence even though you curse me and call me a she-devil, and marvel at my self control in continuing to rule benignly and not fall into the easy trap of tyranny because you refuse to brush your teeth every morning.
And then! Then I want you to straighten the knee so I can pull these godforsaken ballet tights up because putting on ballet tights is a life skill you refuse to learn.
Piggybacking on that former request, I would also like a dragon.
And a fur-lined cape.
And lastly, the ability to summon from my very cells, from my very core, the pure, staggering, unconditional love I feel for you until I am so overwhelmed by the power of this deep affection that I transform into a fearsome goddess-like entity, with eyes ablaze and lightning crackling between my fingertips. And I will rise into the air, a terrifying and beautiful manifestation of pure maternal being, and in a reverberant voice I will declare “BEHOLD!” as I place my hands upon your brow so that you, for a brief moment, can see yourself as I see you. As the most perfect creature to ever grace this plane of existence despite your inability to ever pick up your socks and put them in the hamper.
What I will actually get for Mother’s Day:
A breakfast at 6:30 a.m. consisting of PopTarts and a questionable looking banana, two homemade cards with adorably misspelled words, and a macaroni necklace held together by glue that is still wet.
Hello everybody! And welcome to what is bound to be another epic Family Fight Night! We’re your announcers for the evening, Stan Boomvoice and Tucker McThundercords.
It’s going to be hard to top last night’s bout, with its triple battle royale over the bathroom light, the Nintendo Switch AND Mom’s meatloaf, Tucker.
It is indeed, Stan. Oh! And speak of a certain devil, here she comes, ‘ol El Diablo herself, aka The Cleaner, aka The Diva of Devastation, aka The Salty Witch with a Wine Glass. Trust us, you don’t want to mess with this mama. She’s coming out strong from the kitchen, carrying what appears to be…is that…a homemade casserole, Stan?
I believe it is, Tucker. You can definitely smell what she’s cooking. Gutsy move, that’s a gutsy move. Especially in light of her big finish last night, The Maternal Flex. I mean throwing the entire dinner into the trash can after everyone complained! I tell ya, Tucker, no one saw that coming! At this point one has to wonder if she’s simply just taunting her family with these meals made from scratch when they clearly prefer Burger King every single time.
I’m inclined to agree, Stan. Oh-ho, and what do we have here? Looks like it’s Daddy, straight from the bathroom, aka The Pillar, aka The Keyboard Smasher, aka the Zoom of Doom. Standing tall at 6’2” and weighing in at a respectable post-pandemic weight of 180, he is every inch the mild-mannered father at the moment but when he whips out his famous Dad Voice Stunner, look out!
Wait, wait, wait! Do you hear that? Sounds like the Second Grader Crusader, aka Doomfist, aka The Silent Fart Assassin, is making quite the stomping entrance from his room, fresh off a punishment for unsanctioned brawling with his sister before dinner. Look at his face, Tucker. You can tell he’s just itching for a fight tonight. If there is one thing The Crusader believes in, it’s extreme fairness and something in his expression makes me think he feels he’s been wronged.
And from the corner, literally, it’s the Kindergarten Killer, aka the Cutthroat Cutie, aka Princess Black Heart. Don’t let the abundance of pink and glitter fool you, folks. She’s mini but mighty. That’s not the pitter patter of little feet you’re hearing. That’s the thump of war drums.
And we’re off! The Crusader is coming out strong with his patented Fairness Doctrine, which is deflected easily by Mom. You know she had to be expecting this, Tucker. I talked with her before dinner about her strategy for tonight and she said, in no uncertain terms, “Who the hell are you? Get out of my kitchen!”
Those are strong words, Stan. Strong words from a strong lady. Oh! But The Crusader isn’t done yet. He’s gearing up for the Guilt Powerbomb, accusing her of not even caring about him! I can’t believe he went there!
Looks like Princess Black Heart is seeing an opportunity and might be hoping for a tag team here, Tucker. Despite the fact that she was also disciplined for her part in the earlier melee, she’s pulling out The Unexpected Apology followed by Siding With Mom! Talk about gutsy. She must get it from her mama, oh my! What do you think Mom will do next, Tucker?
She’s in a tricky position alright, Stan. Even just being perceived as using the illegal Playing Favorites move can bring her down and bring her down quick. …Oh! But what’s this? I can’t believe it! The Crusader just executed the perfect Subtle Elbow right into his sister’s ribs! Oof, that’s gotta hurt!
But he wasn’t quick enough, Tucker! Looks like Daddy saw and is now entering the ring. And he is NOT happy.
No he is not, Stan. He only uses the What Did You Just Do Repeater on rare occasions. And it’s clear Princess Black Heart knows her role here, playing up her apparently extensive injuries to the audience.
Wow, they are really going at it! The Crusader with the Moral Outrage and The Pillar with the Moral High Ground. Do you think Mom will step in here, Tucker?
She’s on her second glass of wine, it’s not looking good, Stan.
Looks like Dad is getting ready to throw the hammer down with the Reality Check…except wait…what’s this? OH! The Crusader, out of nowhere, with the Tattle Tale! Princess Black Heart has been stealing flowers from the neighbor’s garden to make a witches brew in a hidden bucket full of water under her bed. Which is where the weird smell permeating through the entire house is coming from! Oh, I tell ya, Tucker, now the Diva of Devastation is paying attention!
I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Princess Black Heart, in a desperate move, is pulling out the ‘ol Play the Parents Off Each Other Hail Mary. OH! It’s a high risk move, but one with high rewards if she can pull it off, Stan. …BUT NO! NO! It backfired spectacularly! Oh, the humanity!
And it looks like Mom and Dad are gonna tag team it for the final blows of the night, Just Desserts Means No Dessert followed by the crushingly effective Brush Your Teeth, It’s BedTime!
Wow! I mean wow. What a fight, Stan! What a fight. Truly a bout for the ages.
At least until tomorrow night, Tucker!
Right you are, Stan. Right you are. Goodnight everybody!
Bikini that requires extensive de-hairing techniques
Giant bottle of baby oil
1 sundress, 2 tank tops, shorts with university logo
Impractical wedge sandal
Makeup box that holds approximately 37 pounds of makeup
Cute purse that is big enough to hold 4 wine coolers
When you’re 40:
1920’s-style swimsuit so you can do the “lazy” shave
4 kinds of sunscreen
3 giant old lady hats, because you now have a sun allergy
3 Morticia-level beach coverups because you now have to get your moles checked out twice a year by a dermatologist
Giant tub of soothing lotion for when you DO break out into your sun allergy rash even though the lotion really doesn’t do anything
Flip flops you bought 7(?) years ago
Sunglasses that cover two-thirds of your face
1 bottle of Aleve
1 bottle of Ibuprofen
1 bottle of Tylenol
Claritin for seasonal allergies
Benadryl in case the Claritin needs backup
Pepto because any sip of water that is not from your specific area code now gives you diarrhea for some reason
Tums in case the Pepto needs back up
1 tube of that long-lasting red lipstick that you have to reapply every day because you have yet to find a makeup remover that can actually remove it
Giant purse that can hold four bottles of wine, two bottles of the medium affordable whiskey and a wide variety of snacks in case anyone gets hungry (also holds bandaids, giant tub of hand sanitizer and three sticks your 5-year-old asked you to carry for her last time you went to the park)
Extra plastic baggies because you never know when they could come in handy
Expensive electric toothbrush, regular floss, waterpiks, mouthwash, tongue scraper, dry mouth lozenges recommended by your dentist
Hey, guess what? Did you know that my kids had this entire week off school? Yeah! ‘Cause we live in New England where someone at some point inexplicably thought it’d be a great idea to send all the children back to their parents during February, the coldest and most miserable time of the year.
Oh! And hey guys! Did you know that my youngest also got sick this week? Which meant we couldn’t leave the house. But that’s OK. It gave us time to learn lots of new things! Like, did you guys know that ancient Egypt is in Africa and they have mummies and they pulled the mummy’s brain out through their nose?
Through their nose!
And did you know that kitties are the cutest animals? Followed by puppies followed by unicorns, no WAIT, followed by baby unicorns followed by unicorns followed by baby foxes.
Oh! And um, did you know the difference between mummies and zombies is that zombies are of right NOW and mummies are from long ago. Also mummies don’t eat brains.
King Tut is from Egypt. Bet you didn’t know that. You know what else is cool? Ancient Greece. The Parenthesis is in ancient Greece.
Oh, and hey, um…did you know…uh, did you…know…that, um, oh no, I forgot! YOU GUYS MADE ME FORGET! This is all your fault! This is the worst vacation EV…oh wait, I remember. Hey, um, do you guys think unicorns are real? Because they are. My daughter saw one one time.
Also, it is too called the Parenthesis! It was in a book my son read so it has to be true.
Oh, and hey! Guess what! My daughter’s one classmate never listens to the teacher and sometimes makes poor choices but that doesn’t make them a bad kid they just get in trouble sometimes and one time my daughter was on the swing and they wanted the swing so they pushed her out of the swing and she got a boo-boo but you can’t see it anymore but it was a big boo-boo, like really big, and Wednesday is pizza day and her reading buddy’s name is Tristan.
Anyone want to hear a real quick fast fact? Dinosaurs did not live in ancient Greece.
Also, dinosaurs are cool. But not as cool as baby unicorns. Everyone knows that. It’s literally a FACT.
Oh! And here is something I learned that my kids didn’t teach me. Did you know a buttload is a real thing? Yeah, it’s a now obsolete but once very real measurement of weight that equaled about 384 gallons. Cool, huh?
OK, well, I’m off to go drink a buttload of wine right now! Bye!
First off, let me begin by thanking you all for making time in your busy schedules to attend this Family Meeting. I know that since the acquisition of the Nintendo Switch last quarter, many of us have been swamped with Mario Kart and the subsequent onslaught of Mario Kart trash talking.
However, with a new year upon us, I thought it would be a good time for the four of us to sit down and assess, as a family, how we’re doing. Especially as we enter, let’s see… *checks clipboard* …yup, year three of this godforsaken pandemic.
Now, we’ve pushed this off for far too long, so to help keep us on track, I will be using this free employee performance review template I found online. I think we can all agree we don’t want this meeting to devolve into the Good Winners & Losers Discussion/Tater Tot Dodgeball Disaster of 2020.
Alright, let’s see, let’s see. How about we start with something easy? Ah, here we are…
Attendance. Well, pffft. I mean, I think it’s fair to say we’ve all excelled at that. What with all the remote schooling you two did last year, and Daddy working from home since…forever? With his office just RIGHT HERE in the living room. Always typing. And talking with his ZOOM VOICE. When are you going back to the office again, sweetie? Not until spring now? Ah. Awesome. Awesome. Well, it’s a good thing that constantly being around each other in a somehow eternally shrinking house makes the heart grow fonder then.
Okey-dokey, moving on…
Demonstration of core values: Hmm. Do we have core values as a family? Honesty? Meh, I suppose. Cheese? Is that a core value? We did expand to two cheese drawers in the fridge last year. One for fancy cheese and one for peasant cheese. That counts, right?
Communicates clearly: Oh, well, overall I’d say we’ve done pretty well with this one. We are definitely loud. In fact, it’s hard not to hear all the communicating, as our neighbors have informed us many, many times. …What’s that? Ah, yeah, I suppose I could growl less at you. It just gets the point across so effectively, you know? Can I at least hiss? Yes, you can hiss back.
Requires minimum supervision: Nope. Fail. You all fail. Moving on.
Responsiveness in a timely manner: FAIL. Moving on. …Oh, you disagree? Really? Remember when I asked you to clean all the comic books out from under your bed? Three months ago? MOVING. ON.
Works to full potential: Ugh. Who has the time? Next…
Problem solving: This one I feel we actually did pretty decently. We fixed the off-balance dishwasher with the sugar canister and those two menus from Pini’s. The duct tape is holding up the towel rack quite nicely and you can hardly notice the big hole in the ceiling since we glued that piece of cardboard up there.
Takes initiative: I’d like to give a special shoutout to our kindergartner on this one. She definitely took the lead in demonstrating that you can both figuratively AND literally climb the walls if you have a wanton disregard for any and all household items. AND that swinging from the chandelier is not just a fun expression for having a good time. Yes, you’re still grounded.
Deals with conflict: I’ll be honest, we could all use less swords in this area. And Nerf crossbows. Speaking of which, how did we amass so many crossbows? Eighteen seems a bit excessive.
Listens and shows respect toward fellow group members: Again, this is an area that could use significantly fewer weapons.
Suggested areas of improvement: All? Probably starting with pants. We should definitely be wearing them. Oh, and how about screen time? I’m told there should be limits. And our eating habits could use some tweaking. You guys call cherry tomatoes those gross red grapes. Well, yes, I agree, they are super gross but the point is to at least make the effort. I mean, haha, we can’t always behave like we’re living through a pandemic.
What’s that? The numbers are going up? Oh, record high numbers, in fact. Everything is in danger of shutting down again? Hospitals overflowing because of the Omicron variant? Wait, what? Now there is talk of a fused “deltacron” strain?
BIG CURSE WORD.
No, you can’t repeat that.
Alright everyone. Pants back off. Who wants a brick of cheese for dinner? Brick of cheese? Brick of cheese? Maybe with a side of box o’ wine for mama? Of course we can play Mario Kart while we eat. I look forward to crushing all you losers. But first, has anyone seen my sword?
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(Based on an Actual True Story) (With only Minimal Exaggeration) (…And Mild Plagiarism) You’ll fancy me a madwoman. But the event in question I am about to relay has sharpened my senses–not destroyed–not dulled them. Above all was the sense … Continue reading →
Well friends, we almost made it. Just a few more days left of school! Who is ready for summer!? Summer school, that is! Yay! Oh yes, I know you kids were looking forward to a carefree summer full of sun … Continue reading →
What I really want for Mother’s Day: A standing ovation every time I put all the laundry away. And while we’re at it, roses thrown at my feet every time I clean the bathroom. Which you then scurry about and … Continue reading →
Hello everybody! And welcome to what is bound to be another epic Family Fight Night! We’re your announcers for the evening, Stan Boomvoice and Tucker McThundercords. It’s going to be hard to top last night’s bout, with its triple battle … Continue reading →