Category Archives: Family

Welcome to summer school, kiddos

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

What I really want for Mother’s Day

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 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. 

Or three. 

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. 

What I will say:

I love it. It’s just what I wanted. 

What I will mean: 

I love it. It’s just what I wanted. 

Welcome to Family Fight Night!

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! 

What I learned on my kids’ school vacation

Hey! Hi! 

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!  

Everyone should learn a foreign language

2022 Family Performance Review

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?

Ah. 

Well.

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? 

Dungeons & Dragons for Delinquents & Dummies

In a misty corner of the Forgotten Realm, on an old road leading into the city of Neverwinter, three strangers meet at a crossroad. Each is coming into the city for the same reason, having been summoned by a dwarf named Gundren Rockseeker. 

“Greetings. I am Anneke, an Eladrin Ranger.”

“Hi! My name is Princess! Princess the Princess Daring!”

“I’m Orko and I’m a wizard. But you can’t see me because I cast a spell of invisibility. And I have lasers in my eyes.”

Alas, the wizard was wrong. He had neither the spell for invisibility yet nor did he have lasers in his eyes. 

“Aw, man. Not fair.”

The quest is a seemingly simple, if mysterious, one. The adventurers are to bring a wagonload of provisions to the settlement of Phandalin, with Gundren offering ten gold pieces each. The dwarf is secretive about the reasons for the trip but ten gold pieces has put no one in the mood to ask questions. 

And so, the ranger, the wizard and the cleric…

“What’s a cleric?”

The ranger, the wizard and the priest are walking along the High Road when they veer east along the Triboar Trail. Soon they spot two dead horses in the road, each riddled with arrows. 

“How many arrows? Where are the arrows?”

“What color are the arrows?”

The arrows are numerous and normal arrow colored. They have hit the horses from behind in the rear.

“Rear means butt.”

“Hahahahaha! You said ‘butt!’” 

“We approach the so help me if you don’t stop picking your nose go get a tissue dead horses.”

Suddenly four goblins run out of the bushes and attack. The adventurers…

“Hit them in the eye. With an arrow. Two arrows! Ninety-seven fifty eight arrows!”

Princess the Princess Daring hits a goblin in the eye with one arrow. 

“I throw more arrows at his face!”

The goblin with the arrow in his eye is already dead. 

“But I want to do more things to the goblin!”

“Since I’m a wizard, can I do magic to bring the goblin back to life? So we can kill him again? Using the spell Banana Poop Poop?”

“Hahaha…poop.”

Orko the Wizard tries to cast the spell Banana Poop Poop to bring the goblin back to life but the goblin is still dead. 

“That’s not fair!”

“YEAH. I WANT TO DO MORE KILL-Y STUFF.”

“Alright, well, I’m going to make a side quest to the kitchen to get more wine.”

While Anneke goes off on a noble side quest to refill her comically and unnecessarily large wine glass… 

“…I heard that…”

…the remaining goblins continue to attack. Princess the Princess Daring…

“Can I throw art supplies at them?”

“Art supplies? That’s dumb. You’re a dumb princess.”

“You’re dumb!”

“No, you are!”

“I throw eighty billion forty twenty seven arrows at your eye!”

“I’m back. What did I miss?”

“I throw an ax at Princess the Princess Daring’s head!”

“I punch Orko in his stupid face!”

“Oh yeah, this is definitely bringing us closer together as a family.”

“Can we play this again tomorrow?”

“Where did Daddy…I mean the Dungeon Master go?”

“If I roll a 20, you guys want to see me chug this wine?”

“Yeah!”

“Yeah!” 

To Be Continued…

Probably. 

How to play with your kids in the snow

There are some people in this world who will tell you that there is no “right” way to play with your children in the snow. These people are wrong. And probably serve their children fruit as “dessert.” 

There is a right way. Oh sure, a few details might vary and there is some accounting for individual family quirks, but on the whole, no matter how good of a parent you are, snow days follow an almost scientific formula. At least according to the data I have collected over the last seven years. 

First, any proper snow day begins by the children waking up at dawn, looking outside their window and then immediately running into your room, where they jump on your face and loudly ask if they can go play in the snow. They will then repeat this question every five minutes and whine “but you PROMISED!” over and over and over again until you finally roar “FINE!” at the top of your lungs and they scamper away squealing with delight like the relentless, adorable gaslighters they are. 

Then begins the thankless task of gathering all the outerwear, which were scattered to the distant four corners of your house the last time your children played in the snow. In between muttering obscenities about missing gloves and yelling about how in the world can all the snow boots only consist of the left snow boot, you remind everyone to go potty. Because once all these layers are on you are NOT taking them all off again. 

The next half hour is a blur of stuffing tiny humans into snowpants and socks and sweaters and hoodies and hats and one glove while still looking for the other stupid glove and sunglasses for the kid who can’t go anywhere without sunglasses and scarves and ya’ll peed, right, because I’m not taking all this off again and ah-HA! there is that other stupid glove and what do you mean you lost the first glove, it was literally on your hand, and coats with stuck zippers and I told you the other snowboots were probably by the door and push harder, when did your feet grow, why are you growing all the time, and HEY, I found the glove, it was in mommy and daddy’s room, I told you stay out of our room.

Finally everyone is ready. 

Everyone has to pee. 

Repeat. Repeat it ALL. 

Now if you have a big backyard and can simply open the door and release these loud toddling bundles into the wintry wild, stop reading here. Go contentedly sigh and enjoy a glass of wine in your dumb peaceful house or something.

For those of you who are like me and have small children in a city and thus need to “go somewhere” such as a park to play in the snow, the worst is yet to come. 

Once you finally “get somewhere” (which, regardless of how you get there, will include many complaints and gritted teeth threats) there will be approximately ten minutes of pure, unadulterated joy. This is the brief moment in time where you remember why you decided to have children in the first place and why you love them and your family and your life and how did you possibly get so lucky as to be able to share a life with these people? 

Then, just like the cheap plastic sled they sit upon, it all swiftly goes downhill. 

Soon, someone will run over someone else with their sled because the kid on the sled didn’t listen and the kid climbing back up the hill didn’t listen. Everyone is crying. 

They need a distraction. LET’S BUILD A SNOWMAN! Is there any activity that is more wholesome? Nope. At least for the next three minutes, after which you realize that you are the only one actually building the snowman and you can no longer feel your fingers. 

Luckily, someone will always, inevitably, suggest a snowball fight. What could go wrong? 

No aiming for the face, you yell over and over again. Surprisingly the kids abide. Eventually, however, you will hit one of the children in the face. By “accident” of course and not some subconscious urge. They will cry. You will feel awful (mostly). You will offer cookies and hot chocolate as consolation when you go back home. They will accept and immediately pop up like nothing happened. 

You stay until both feet are completely numb and you’re pretty sure you’ve already lost three fingers to frostbite. When you finally can’t take it anymore, you give a five minute warning. May as well have been announcing you murdered Memaw AND Grandma AND Daniel Tiger. The wailing. The keening. The dramatic protestations that if you really loved them you would let them play for just a little longer. 

Through sheer force of will (and some light dragging), you eventually wrangle them home and inside. Everyone violently disrobes, snow and ice and boots and gloves and hats flying, everything wet and gross and dirty. You are too tired to gather them all up even though you know you will later regret this. 

It’s over. You survived. 

Only a thousand more days until spring. 

Dino Nuggets with Sprinkles

It was still dark when I opened my eyes. Which was unsurprising. It’s always dark whenever I open my eyes these days. Now is the winter of our discontent and raging insomnia, as the old saying goes.

Or something like that. 

But this dark was a different kind of dark. This wasn’t my usual infernal and endless 2 a.m. dark. I didn’t recognize this dark. This dark had a bit of, was that, no…a hint of dimness? I started to turn over in bed to look at the clock, ruthlessly crushing the hope that was struggling to rise in my chest on my way. 

6:07 

In the A.M. 

No. Impossible. 

I had slept through the night?

I looked at the clock again. 

I had slept through the night. 

I slowly sat up, careful not to disturb my husband lest his symphony of snores prematurely end before the big fart finale. I shuffled to the kitchen in my slippers. I started making the coffee, almost as though in a daze.

What is this odd feeling? 

Is this…not tired?

Is this what feeling well-rested is like?

Like waking up not wanting to punch the world in the face?

As the last of my peaceful drowsiness wore off, I realized that was indeed what I was feeling. I smiled. This is what it must feel like to be a Disney princess. Those birds singing outside? That chubby squirrel eating a stolen bagel outside my window? Any moment now they would beg to come inside so they could help me get dressed. 

Soon thereafter my kids woke up, rubbing their eyes and scratching at their bedhead. 

“Good morning, my babies!” I cheerfully bellowed.

The kids froze, confused. Who was this creature smiling an authentic smile in front of them? And what happened to the swamp witch they called Mom? 

Then, to really terrify them, I made an actual breakfast. Using the actual stove. And pots! And pans!

When the kids threw dual tantrums over being told to brush their teeth (a daily morning ritual) I did NOT scream back this time. I just gave them space to have those Big Feelings. Like one of those parents who actually read a parenting book. 

My husband made three dad jokes that morning. I laughed at all three. And pinched his butt when he walked by me to get more coffee. 

Later, we went to the library to pick up a stack of books. 

“Can we stop at a playground on the way home?” the kids asked, already bracing themselves for the obvious “no” headed their way because one, it was 28 degrees outside and two, I wasn’t wearing my out-in-public “good” sweatpants.

“Sure!” I exclaimed.

“Really!?” they exclaimed right back. 

“Really!”

We got home. I made hot cocoa. And popcorn. And let them have cookies because life is meant to be lived! 

“You’re the best mom ever!” my son yelled as he threw his arms around my waist.

“I know, right!” I happily hollered back. “Now, what do y’all want for dinner?”

“Dino nuggets?”

“Absolutely!”

“Can I have sprinkles on mine?” asked my daughter, allowing a bit of hope to slip into her voice.

“You bet your sweet redheaded tuchus you can!”

She jumped up and hugged me too. 

Oh, the person I could be if I got a good night’s sleep every night, I thought to myself as I did ALL THE VOICES during bedtime storytime. If I didn’t have to ration my energy throughout the day. If I could regulate my emotions (or even just one emotion occasionally). If my brain worked as designed instead of being held together by metaphorical duct tape and Elmer’s glue.  

Maybe it won’t always be this bad, I tell myself as I get ready for bed. These are extraordinary times, and not in the good way. But maybe it’s getting better. Maybe I can be my old self soon. 

Maybe sleep will stay this time.

Maybe every day can be like today.

I close my eyes. 

And welcome the dark. 

Hey Randy!

In this age of Larger-Than-Life characters, there lurks in the shadows another archetype. One that often gets overlooked in all the noise and chaos. Yet, they are content to stoically remain on the sidelines, emerging only in times of great need. 

The Quiet Hero. 

They can be any gender, any race, any age. The only thing they have in common is that they ask for nothing in return. They are the mythic ones whose mild mannered alter-ego is exactly the same as their mild-mannered superhero persona. 

Which brings me to Randy. He’s our landlord’s loyal handyman. Randy the Handyman, if you will.  We’ve known him for almost a decade now. We’ve known his assistant, Jacob, for quite a few years now too. It was these two Quiet Heroes who strode bravely into our house yesterday, on a mission to fix our garbage disposal, unaware of the hurricane they were about to enter. For, unbeknownst to them, our preschooler and first grader haven’t seen the inside of a school since March. They haven’t had a sleepover in almost a year. They haven’t been to a birthday party or attended a family reunion or been to a festival or gone on vacation in a long, long time. In short, they were desperate for socialization. 

It was the perfect storm. 

And so, in honor of these noble yet unsuspecting gentlemen, I immediately got out my laptop and transcribed what followed as accurately as I possibly could. 

*knock at door*

Hi! Randy! Hi! Hey Randy!

Hey! Hey Randy! Look at my toy! Randy! 

What’s that other guy’s name again?

Hey! Hi Jacob! Jacob, hey, hi! 

Randy, I lost four teeth!

I have pink headphones, want to see?

I have blue ones!

Have you ever read the book “Too Many Toys”? Hey Randy, have you ever read the book “Too Many Toys”?

I said I have blue ones! Blue headphones! Hey Randy!

Hey Jacob! Have you ever read “Too Many Toys”?

Hey Randy, I plug my headphones into the little hole on my tablet. Just like this. 

There’s a funny part where the mom goes “Spencer, you have TOO MANY TOYS!” What are you guys doing?

Hey Randy! Do you want to see the comic book I wrote?

Hey, our dog died. 

Yeah, our dog died. 

Can I play with your tools?

What’s that thing do?

Hey Jacob, can I have this?

What’s a garbage disposal?

Did they teach you how to fix this in school?

Hey, we just learned about germs today. 

Hey! Guys! Look what I can do!

Look at my purse! Hey Randy! I keep all the shiny stuff in here. Do you guys like shiny stuff? 

I made a spaceship out of Legos! Or maybe it’s a boat. 

Hey Jacob, are you a cowboy? You look like a cowboy.

How old are you, Randy? Because you look old. 

Hey! Watch me do this! Are you watching? Watch. 

Where are you putting the old…what’s that thing called again? 

Can I help?

Yeah, hey, can I help?

Did you know when dogs die they go over the rainbow bridge?

My favorite food is mac and cheese! What’s your favorite food? Is it cupcakes?

This went on for over an hour. And not only did these two men not slaughter my entire family with a socket wrench, they actually listened to everything my kids hurled rapid-fire at them and answered all their questions and stopped numerous times to “watch this!” 

All while also trying to do their jobs. 

All while keeping big smiles on their faces. 

Yes, not all heroes wear capes. Some simply wear a toolbelt and give some kindly attention to two little kids bravely trying to weather a pandemic. 

Hey Randy. 

Hey Jacob. 

Thank you.