Breakfast with the boy. Mom, the kitchens on fire.

On occasion I take my kids on breakfast dates. The time over a meal we share is priceless. It’s a mommy and me session with a teenager, one on one time without arguing kids. It’s lovely.

Plus there is coffee. I need that in my life.

Today it was my son’s turn. He was able to pick the place, had to be local but still anyplace he wanted. I do the same for my daughter and she usually picks someplace with real menus. Nice places with fancy pancake options and flavored coffee with frothy tops. The places with real napkins and actual eating utensils. With servers and a laid back, take your time, savor your freshly squeezed orange juice, atmosphere.

Not my boy though.

No. Not this time. He wanted a breakfast burrito stuffed with every animal available on the morning menu topped with eggs and cheese. He a added a side of deep fried potato and a fountain soda to make it “perfection” … sure kid.

A plastic, paper lined basket filled with food sure to clog his arteries some day. I’m not complaining. Not even a little. For under $20 I had a date with my youngest child. The one most like me most days, sarcastic and inquisitive. He makes me laugh and he also makes me want to sell him on the black market. Sometimes both in the same day.

We sat in the way back chowing down in mostly content silence. Occasionally giving each other dirty looks when all of a sudden from the back kitchen we hear someone yelling.

It was mostly words we couldn’t make out in frantic voices.

“Fire!” We heard that one loud and clear.

We looked at each other, mouths full of burrito and wondered if it meant what we thought it meant. There was more yelling before he swallowed his bite and wondered out loud if we should take our breakfast to go.

I gazed out the window at the miserable rain and chilly air and sighed deeply. Weighing my options there was but a single choice.

I decided it was probably just a small manageable issue.

Kitchens have fires all the time. There was no alarm going off so I thought it was probably fine to continue to sip my soda calmly.

It was then a member of the staff ran from the kitchen to grab an extinguisher from the counter under the register. I mention this to the boy in comical amazement. He seems to be much more aware of danger than I. He turns to me and asks if it was “probably protocol to evacuate customers when there was a fire” which really is a good question.

We pondered this for a good 3 minutes before a frazzled woman in a restaurant uniform wearing a crooked headset booked it out the front door. She didn’t make eye contact and didn’t stop to say a word to patrons eating in the dining room.

We declared it clearly wasn’t a thing. There would be no evacuation. Whatever had happened in that back kitchen stayed there. Like Vegas but with eggs and bacon. We can only wonder what poor sap was served a charcoal biscuit.

What exactly the employee did with that extinquisher and why exactly there was no concern to leave the building is still a mystery.

All I know is it may be a little while before I feel the need to conquer a burrito for breakfast. Our next date most surely will be in an establishment with forks.

We might ask about the protocol in the event of a fire too. You know, just in case.

The time things got up close and personal with the TSA agent

This weekend the kids were scheduled to fly in from a long summer visit at dad’s. The excitement was in the air from the minute I woke up. 

I put on a sundress and remembered the last time I tried to get past security in a comfortably fashionable covering.

 It wasn’t a good idea.

Apparently a long flowing maxi dress makes you look like you might have strapped explosives to your thighs. Not that I have much room … you know with all that thigh gap I don’t have. I could start a fire with the way these thighs rub. No flammable substance down there – I promise. 

Let’s just say I attributed my outfit choice to it not going over well last summer with airport sercurity.

So this year I decided to keep it super simple. A simple Folly Beach Tee and short cotton shorts. Sporty pull on style bottoms with no belts or buttons or zippers or anything that could set off alarm bells or blinking lights … or cause anyone to pull on some blue latex gloves for a pat down. 

I left my untamed curls loose, no bun, no hat, no chance for weapons hidden in there. I was thinking of all the ways I could have gone wrong last time.

I’m usually a flip flop or sandal girl in summer but bare feet in an international airport is down right frightening. I paired my simple outfit with some no show socks and a pair of Nikes. I made a joke to the wife I looked like the typical lesbian stereotype, totally not my style. 

I was slightly uncomfortable in this outfit of choice. I looked like a different person but not a psycho hell bent on distruction. 

Or so I thought.

Even though I generally wouldn’t be seen outside the gym or lounging at home like this I figured I was covered just enough while still being transparent. Or enough to not be stopped in security for suspect I’m about to do something terrible with my clearance pass. The one I was provided to pick up my unaccompanied minors. 

I get to the security line, remove my shoes, put my belongings in the bin. No pockets, no purse, no flowing outfit, no bare feet. I’m good. Right? 


The nice TSA agent waves me into the time machine looking thing. It reminds me of the banking drive thru things that suck the capsules into the building and back. The agent tells me to step into the giant capsule and spread my legs to put my feet on the outside the yellow shoe prints painted on the flooring area. No problem. I do as I’m told and put my hands up in front of me just like the directions show.

I may have even smiled for my virtual strip search picture session. 

I’m waved out and asked to stand to the side. I didn’t realize what was happening. I’m still smiling. Then the body image shows up on the screen with a yellow box on my groin area in the back. What the hell. The lady agent informs me she will have to ask me to turn around and she will need to pat down my “bottom” … seriously? She tells me what she’s doing while I stand there to be frisked for whatever they think they picked up in my naked x-ray. 

To be clear there was NO reason for abnormalities in my groin area .. or any area. No reason for yellow boxes or pat downs. I am certainly not the next lady panty bomber. 

To make things worse after the friendly grope session I had to be further checked for terroristic tendencies. 

Lady agent advised me to turn to face her, palms up so she could wipe this small white strip all over my palms and fingers. They plugged it into a machine and I was told to wait. Once it came back all clear the agents smiled at me and told me I could go. 

I was slightly terrified at this point. Mostly because I wasn’t sure why I needed to be patted and what was wrong with my hands.

 Let’s be honest … I just really wanted to know what kind abnormalities are going on in my shorts. 

I grabbed my belongings and put my shoes on. Totally bewildered and feeling equally embarrassed and violated I headed to find a beer. I ordered and connected to the wifi for a little research while I waited for the kids plane to land. 

I read horror stories about other people having the same things happen. Not at the same time, but nobody could be that lucky. It seems the abnormality in my shorts could have been anything. Or nothing. The hand wipe situation was likely checking for traces of explosives. 

Good thing I wasn’t recently blowing up mines in the backyard. 

All in all I learned it probably doesn’t matter what you wear. 

It doesn’t matter that your lady bits aren’t boarding a plane and you’re just trying to pick up your kids. 

It probably doesn’t matter how you style your hair or what shoes you have to put in the bin.

 It doesn’t matter if you look like you might be on a murderous rampage or if you just want to see your kids get safely off a plane.

The agents have a job to do and no amount of time spent on trying to look innocent makes you any less a threat to the friendly skies. If nothing else I feel a little safer putting my babies on a plane next summer because of all the security. Also I know to arrive early and bring extra cash for the drink I will need once I make it past the pat down and swab. 

I’m convinced at this rate my next trip past security will involve walking to a private room and dropping pants for a personal show and tell.

I’m a little concerned about my relationship with TSA but it appears it is all in an effort for my kids to safely fly across the country 2x a year. It’s worth it. 

Parenthood. We are probably doing it wrong.

There is a lot of noise on social media lately about motherhood. Not really about fatherhood, not really calling out the dads. I think there are flows every now and again where we the people get on our platforms and proclaim to the world that they are doing “it” wrong, whatever the new “it” thing happens to be.

Right now it happens to be parenting.

Aimed directly at mothers to be precise.

We have heard about the zoo incident where the young boy climbed into a gorilla pit. The one where seemingly the mother had no eye on her child for the entire time he climbed a fence and other security measures to find himself face to face, in a pit, with a 400 lb gorilla.

While I wasn’t there and I am by no means one to judge another mother I find it extremely frightening that this teeny tot was unsupervised in a public place. Surrounded by strangers and more danger than one could possibly imagine.I am infuriated by this parents lack of concern for where her child was until it was too late. I am appalled other adults must have seen this happening and said nothing. Did nothing. Stood back in judgement? Wonder? Horror?

How does the child escape the watchful eye of a parent?

I will tell you how. Mothers are human too. We are expected to be on a constant watch for our offspring, for potential pain, possible death. While I managed to watch mine for as many years as it takes to basically not fall into a pit at the zoo … I wasn’t exactly perfect.

Pick up any parenting magazine or surf a parenting website and try not to be persuaded to read about the struggle of working parents vs those who stay at home and how hard it is to make a life choice to be either.

Or the blogger who I briefly scanned proclaiming BS on stay at home moms who title themselves super human and their children saints.

I have been on both sides here. When my brood was teeny I stayed at home with them. We budgeted to the last dollar and we never had much but I was home.

Are my children saints because I was there 24/7? No.

Was I some kind of super human for making a choice to stay home? No. I was barely human. Have you seen The Walking Dead? I was the mommy version.

Mostly I was a mess chasing toddlers around in my pajamas from yesterday, wiping faces and picking Cheerios out of my hair. I usually didn’t know what day it was and I didn’t care as long as my family was fed and alive.

Once they were older I worked, I went to school, I got a better job, I found a career and I love it. I can provide things I never had, that they never had, and sometimes that means I work alot of hours.

Do vacations and big screen TV’s make me a better mother? No. If you ask my kids they think I’m pretty cool but that would only be so they can go back to playing video games on the new console.

Are my kids saints because I work to support them? Hell no. They spend alot of time being grounded for not helping with the dishes.

Then there are the celebrity parents on social media. Those with cute little baby pictures on Instagram followed up with attacks on parenting. Everything from when it might be alright to leave your newborn for a dinner out to how to dress a toddler or style their hair. Or those adopted kids to gay parents and how they can possibly be thriving in such an environment.

I received my fair share of parenting advice, lucky for me I could just hang up the phone or close my front door and not hear it if I didn’t want to. Social media seems to have closed that gap. There are plenty of opinions on everything. I have mine too but generally I just scroll on or unfriend or unfollow people who irritate me.

I simply don’t subscribe to those I can not seem to pass by without voicing a negative opinion.

I am well aware nobody wants to me to point out those dirty little kid faces in every photo posted. (please wipe your kids face, seriously)

Do I have cute little food face photos tucked away somewhere to embarrass my kids later? You bet.

The point is parenting is hard enough without someone in your face telling you that you are doing it wrong.

You probably are.

I probably am too.

…. but since nobody handed us a manual with our newborn we have to make it up as we go along. Be a good person. Wipe your kids faces and don’t let them wander off in dangerous places and you will be just fine as a parent.

Try not to judge others out loud and you will be an excellent mother. Kudos.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil





Parenthood: tales of the lesbian step-mom

My kids are amazing. My wife is amazing. Together they are sorta a train wreck and today I feel a little like a helpless damsel in distress tied to the train tracks with nobody to save me.

This is how it all happened …

My youngest son (preteen) and my youngest daughter (barely a teen) live with my wife (acts like a teen sometimes) and I (always the mean mom) in our lovely rural home while their father lives across the country (we like it like that). This means for the bulk of the year we co-parent in my household with 2 moms. One of those moms never had an actual human child before this relationship, let alone a pair of prepubescent know it alls.

My kids love her, she is an amazing step-mom. She does everything I do as a parent plus more, mostly without complaining.

Like I said she is ahhh-mazing.

The kids absolutely agree, her meals taste better, she is more fun … she yells less. Whatever.

Then there are the days, like today. I get a text as a I exit the shower that the boy child is home. He didn’t catch the ride to school with his sister.

I wonder to myself what happened … is he sick? Should I check on him?

Then the real questions begin …. did I bring a robe to the bathroom?

Is this towel big enough to cover me if he is lurking in the hall?

Will he see me sprint naked and afraid the 3 steps from our bathroom to the bedroom door?

After the wife arrives home from the obligatory school drop off she begins to tell me the tale of 2 children. Of how the female child was dressed, back pack and shoes ready while her younger brother was most definitely not.

She describes for me in detail what happened with the boy.

He was standing in wrinkled shorts and holding his arms wide, in a gesture we can only guess was to make himself look bigger and scarier, like a grizzly bear in an old western movie. He stood there defiantly in support of his inaction this morning, making some desperate argument about why it is he wasn’t out of bed and ready to go. He stood there insanely ranting, thin arms spread wide, arguing about whether he did or did not wake in time to leave by 7:15.

As this was unfolding the wife was processing the entire scene in her head.

This kid was wasting precious teeth brushing time. In her infinite mom wisdom she decides the boy shall stay home. The punishment stood and she left him, in his sleep clothes, red eyed and cranky.

When she returned she checked in on him and found him playing video games. Like any kid home from school (as punishment?) would be doing. I didn’t have the time to argue as I slipped a cardigan over my shoulders and grabbed my bag for work.

A few hours into my work day I receive a Skype from the wife, not abnormal as we communicate periodically like this during my work day. This time it wasn’t about after work plans or when we were scheduled to take the car in for an oil change. No. This time it read like this:

[11:42:14 AM] Wife: Your son is up here looking for borax and glue
[11:58:44 AM] Me: uhhh, no?
[11:58:48 AM] Me: for why?
[12:00:01 PM] Wife: Making messes. Aka slime.
[12:00:14 PM] Me: No.
[12:00:29 PM] Me: Welcome to parenting boys 101
[12:00:35 PM] Wife: He was about to get into the Tide. I said no.
[12:01:09 PM] Me: this is the shit I need to blog about
[12:01:24 PM] Wife: Ha.
[12:02:02 PM] Wife: Yeah. I told him we aren’t making messes today.

I am 99% sure I am going to go home this evening to find no detergent for my laundry this weekend, a slime coating on my kitchen table, an empty potato chip bag and some soda cans mixed in with a beer bottle or few, and my kid still sitting in the same wrinkled shorts playing video games.

The truth is I really don’t think I want it any other way. Except maybe if they didn’t use all the Tide for slime and maybe tossed the dirty socks into the washing matching instead of kicking them under the couch. That would be good.

That seems like the perfect equivalent to untying the distressed damsel from the train tracks …

These people are my heart. They make me laugh, make me cry. Mostly though they make me shrug my shoulders and smile.




What the hell is “Idiotic Bliss” and what does it mean?

It’s a fair question and I am going to do my very best to answer it for you.

It all started a little over 2 years ago when I met the woman who would be my wife. It hasn’t been easy, because nothing ever is when you add in real life. Someone asked me once what it meant and I said very confidently “It’s love. It’s our love” and that it is.

This was our first ever photo together. Still my favorite!

Although the original written phrase and context has since been lost, I can assure you the first time I wrote the words “Idiotic Bliss” they seemed to magically fit. It all made perfect sense and has stuck since, literally.

I wish I had kept all the messages that started it all, the emails, texts and voice mails. Sadly that was several technological advances ago and they have all been lost in broken phones and fried hard drives.

We started out long distance but several thousand (million, gazillion?) messages later we were inseparable. Mostly. It has been a long and sometimes rocky road. We are both stubborn and we can both be a little hard to live with. However, we meant it when we said “we do” and as a couple we are in it for the long haul. Mostly, but not always, at the same time. We aren’t perfect and I’m not afraid to be imperfect. That’s what the “idiotic” is all about after all.

The “bliss” is just that. It is the motto of our marriage, it’s the title of our story. It is the definition of our family and of our lives. It works for us and if you have ever been deeply and truly in love, idiotic bliss has probably worked for you too.