How I Missed 18 Years of Pop Music

When I was 12 years old, my mother threw away a cassette tape of George Michael’s leather-jacketed masterpiece, Faith.

The tape did not, in fact, belong to me. It belonged to a friend. I foolishly left it on my dresser and once my mother saw “I Want Your Sex,” it was all over but the screaming (mine). She not only threw it away, she pulled the ribbon apart with such savagery that no amount of pencil twirling would fix it.

It was a massacre.

In our house, we weren’t allowed to listen to secular music. For the non-religious, that means Music of the World, or That Which Shall Not Be Played Lest We Burn in Hell. In other words, normal music.

We did have an approved list of secular music that was deemed appropriate, for reasons that were never fully explained. The Approved Secular Music List, in no particular order:

  • Neil Diamond
  • Alabama
  • The Carpenters
  • John Denver
  • U2 (I think my mom has a weird crush on Bono)
  • Chicago
  • Oldies (50s, 60s & 70s)
  • Big Band
  • Movie soundtracks (subject to scrutiny—Grease didn’t make the cut)

So while my peers were listening to Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Guns & Roses, I was stuck with the above list or —shudder—80s Christian rock. If you don’t know what that sounds like, imagine 80s rock, then strip away all the cool stuff and add super-cheesy lyrics about loving Jesus.

It’s the musical equivalent of whatever this is.

To be clear, I have no problem with the sentiment of loving Jesus, it was the musical execution I objected to.­­ I just found it painful and embarrassing to listen to songs that sounded like love songs but were not. At all.

It was almost impossible to even sneak a listen to normal music because my parents (especially my mother) had a highly tuned ear for shenanigans. Any time my radio dial turned to our local Top 40s station, she would suddenly pop around the corner like a disapproving Jack-in-the Box.

So where did that leave me? An 80s and 90s adolescent who had no idea who Boy George and Kurt Cobain were but could sing the entire Music Man soundtrack.

But looking back with the blurry vision of my adult self (I’m too chicken for LASIK), that restriction sort of…freed me?

Because once I turned 18, I joined the once-great enterprise of Columbia Record Club and bought about 50 CDs for a penny (or whatever honeypot they used to lure music fans into their sticky web of Too Good to Be True). But unlike 99% of members, I actually came back and purchased full-price CDs every month until…they went out of business, I guess??*

If you listen closely, you can still hear Debi in Accounting chortling with glee.

This was the 90-iest time of the entire decade and I wanted it all: TLC. Nirvana. Jewel. Paula Cole. Sarah McLaughlin. Live. Offspring. Green Day. Beck. Bjork. Alanis Morisette.  Salt-N-Pepa. Blues Travelers. Mazzy Star. Rusted Root. Dave Matthews Band. Weezer. Tori Amos. Toni Braxton.

I bought countless CDs, from every genre.

So when people dismiss certain genres or musicians with a sneer worthy of Elvis Presley (whom my mother also disliked), I can’t understand it. Or when people hate an artist just because they’re mainstream.

And it’s not because I’m an old grouch, shaking my fist about kids today and whatnot. I mean, I am. But my bafflement comes from 18 years of being left out of everything mainstream. Of everyone talking about New Kids on the Block when I’d only kind of heard one of their songs. Slumber parties were a nightmare. Do you know how hard it is to fake-sing lyrics in a roomful of 11-year old girls?

As if tween girls singing “Pour Some Sugar on Me” isn’t awkward enough.

However, being forced to listen to her parents’ favorite music doesn’t mean she can’t learn to appreciate it.

Because (twist!), I love musicals. I love oldies music. Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans” is one of my favorite songs. Chicago is one of the greatest bands of all time. Anyone who’s ever heard Karen Carpenter’s rich contralto vocals must admit her voice is like a cozy blanket for your ears. And it’s kind of cool (?) that I’m one of the few Gen X-ers who can sing a Skeeter Davis song in its entirety.

While I’m still bitter about missing the popular music of my childhood, I have to admit my expanded musical tastes would never have happened otherwise.

But don’t tell my parents that.

*Apparently Columbia Records didn’t go out of business until 2009. Props for long outstaying their welcome, like an elderly aunt who can’t read social cues.

Some Thoughts About NYC

Previously published on A Writer Who Fashions, May 12, 2019. Some updates have been made. 

I know y’all have been hitting that refresh button every 30 seconds in anticipation of this moment. Well, hold on to your mouth-flapper, folks, ’cause it’s about to DROP.


Where’s my freaking trophy because I have achieved professional packing status with this trip. I actually did the thing that magazine articles have been telling me to do for years: I packed only what I needed and made multiple outfits from only a few items.

Pictured: Anna Wintour’s slow nod of approval.

I can feel your disbelief from here. “Whaaaaat?!” you screech while spitting coffee at your computer screen. “Are you telling me,” you continue, uncaring of the comical amount of liquid dribbling down your shirt, “that you didn’t overpack this time? You didn’t close your suitcase by sitting on it and bouncing up and down as it hilariously strains against its outlandish girth?”

No, my friends. Not this time.

What I had to get past was the idea that I needed a completely unique outfit for every day of my trip. That I, for some reason, might need those weird-colored shoes that I never wear, just in case Vacation Jessie would suddenly be gasping to wear salmon sandals that MATCH NOTHING I OWN. (Drunk-shopping is not a joke, friends.)

In fact, I made an actual list of what outfits I would wear each day, and stuck to it as if deviating even slightly would cause my suitcase to explode. Like the movie Speed, only with even more sexual tension.

So hot.


For the record, we had a blast. Now that the boys are older, we don’t get to hang out with them as much as we’d like.

So spending time as a family was much needed. And NYC was definitely cool. A vibrant, buzzing atmosphere of diversity and culture. And the occasional helpful subway crackhead. (True story. We were about to get on the wrong train and a suspiciously cheerful gentleman pointed us in the right direction. Thank you, kind sir! Please enjoy an extra hit on us.)

But it was also exhausting and expensive. There’s so much to see and as anyone who has ever traveled with a group knows, it’s impossible to do everything everyone wants to do. And it’s been so long since we’ve been on vacation as a family I somehow forgot that my husband is not exactly a “go-go-go” kind of traveler. He’s more “I’m on vacation so I’m going to move infuriatingly slow” whereas I’m “we paid all this money to be here so quit dicking around and LET’S GOOOOOO,” so there were some moments. 

“Hahahaha, isn’t it funny how I’m choking you?”


When the boat pulled up next to the ole gal, I just started thinking of my German grandpa, who emigrated when he was only a little tyke. I imagined my great-grandparents holding him, all excited and nervous about starting over in the land of opportunity. It legit got me choked up. The boat was filled with tourists from all over the world and watching them eagerly take pictures made me realize how iconic she is, and not just to Americans.

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels. (All my photos contained European tourists.)

There are so many more stories I could tell:

How I accidentally ordered sushi but it ended up being my favorite meal in NYC. (Courtesy of the rooftop restaurant at Sanctuary Hotel).

How our first night there my husband went to a little shop to get snacks and a guy pulled a knife on the shop owner (who was unimpressed, but only because it turns out they were friends and the guy was messing with him and/or gullible tourists like my husband).

How the boys let themselves be caught by one of those flyer-flapping dudes and Eric and I mocked them mercilessly for blocks. (“You made eye contact?! Rookie mistake!”)

But I’ve rambled on way too long, so until next time… here’s a tightly cropped shot of us at the Empire State Building because there were approximately 894789 other people all waiting to stand in this exact spot. 


The Grinch Who Stole Pingle Christmas

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I would love to say it’s because I’ve been lounging on a beach while husky bronzed man-servants brought me fruity cocktails. Alas, the real reason is sadly bereft of oiled muscles and sexy coconuts.

Last month, whilst wearing a green visor and using an old-fashioned adding machine to balance my checkbook (as everyone does), I discovered a thief had absconded with a large amount of my hard-earned money.

The description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.
Description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.

Somehow, someone way smarter than me hacked into a bunch of debit card numbers. My card and my husband’s card were included in this nefarious plot to ruin Christmas. I have no idea how this person got both of us. What I know about hackers is what I see in TV and movies, and somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as they make it seem.

"Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD."         "I don't think that's how it works."
“Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD ” “Um… I don’t think that’s how it works.”

What really, really sucked is that it was our debit cards, so it was like, real money. They drained our checking account. So we basically woke up and Christmas was gone. The Grinch snuck into our checking account and cleared out the place. He got the presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! The tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings! The bags!

Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?
Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?

I just felt so… violated. Did I bring this on myself with my sexy online purchases? Did we drop our poor, innocent debit card into a shady part of the internet and just walk away? All I know is that our debit card is now curled in a corner of the shower sucking its thumb. That’s on you, hackers. How do you sleep at night?

"Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually."
“Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually.”

Anyway, I don’t know how it happened, but it happened at the worst time possible. Not that there’s a good time to get money stolen, but right before we go on the biggest shopping spree of the entire year? Kind of bad timing, guys.

Our bank credited back our money eventually but we had to get through the entire month of December with nothing in our account. The week of Christmas we finally got our money back. THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS. My husband and I were both in our busy time of year at work; we couldn’t take any days off, so he did all the shopping on Christmas Eve while I worked from home. Shopping and wrapping all the presents on Christmas Eve? Not fun. Luckily there was plenty of wine left over from Thanksgiving or I would have been very grinchy indeed.

Christmas Eve, basically.
Christmas Eve, basically.

Needless to say, it was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this season, and no one was happier than me when it was time to kick Santa’s big butt out the door.

For my husband and me, 2015 looks to be filled with paranoia and lots of hiding money behind toilets. Maybe not even our toilets. By the way, don’t look behind your toilet.


Nothing to see, folks.

Staying home on Black Friday: Better than free unicorns

Here’s a little-known fact about me: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. But immediately following a lovely day of gorging myself into a coma is my least favorite day—Black Friday.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Christmas shopping. Leisurely strolling through stores, sipping on my Starbucks Peppermint Mocha,  hand-in-hand with The Hubs, finding the perfect gift for my loved ones… that’s what I like.

I know. We're adorable.
I know. We’re adorable.

Black Friday is pretty much the opposite of that. As much as I enjoy a good bargain, I’m not willing to sacrifice sleep, family and my sanity to get it. (Notice I put sleep first? Not an accident.)

And the people who set up camp at midnight or whatever… all for a cheap Christmas present? Are you kidding me? They could be giving away free unicorns, you guys. And that still wouldn’t convince me to give up my nice comfy bed and 8+ hours of sleep I so rightfully deserve. (I NEED MY SLEEP, PEOPLE.)


But I get that for some people, the bargain-getting part is fun for them… or, more likely, gives them a high that nothing else (legally, that is) can compare. I’m convinced that for some, searching for a good bargain is like a drug addict looking to score. And once they find it, it’s like the euphoria of the first… snort? Smoke?  Whatever the kids do nowadays.

Something with eggs? That's a thing, right?
Something with eggs? That’s a thing, right?

Think I’m exaggerating? Have you seen people on Black Friday? Compare them to a crazy-eyed drug addict and tell me what the difference is. I dare you.

This is actually a picture of a drug dealer's house.
This is actually a picture of a drug deal.

But for me, everything about it just turns me off to the point that I refuse to even leave my house on Black Friday.  Since my husband and I host Thanksgiving, I use that day to recover from my hostess duties, aka lie on the couch so long that we weld together and create a human/couch hybrid. This year my cat joined us and we created a never-seen-before human/couch/feline hybrid. I expect a call from National Geographic any day now.

Take that, free unicorns.

The Fun Continues: His ’n Her Heart Attacks!

This has been an interesting six weeks, folks. You may remember that at the end of September my dad had a heart attack. Not to be outdone, a few weeks later my mom had her own heart attack. Because in case you haven’t heard, society, women can do anything men can do.

“Um… this isn’t what I had in mind.”

Yes, both my parents had heart attacks within a few weeks of each other. After approximately 150 years of marriage, my parents do everything together and that includes His ’n Her heart attacks. Now that’s romance.

The medicine-pushers (or “doctors,” if you’re a non-believer in conspiracy theories) think her heart attack was brought on by stress. A lot of women don’t have pain with heart attacks and she probably would have never known she even had one. But she was in the hospital for bronchitis when it happened, which was… lucky, I guess?

"Thanks, bronchitis!"
“Thanks, bronchitis!”

After I heard the news, I rushed in to see Mom only to find her sitting up in the hospital bed eating lunch and lecturing Dad to take his cough medicine. (Dad had bronchitis at the same time, because of course he did.)

Let me tell you, people do not have heart attacks in real life like they do on TV. There was no dramatic chest-clutching or yelling at dead relatives in the sky.  But there was Jell-O, so that’s something. What is it with hospitals and Jell-O, anyway? Are they being blackmailed by Bill Cosby?

“There’s always room for Jell-O. Or else.”

The doctors declared Mom good to go and released her the next day. And, just this morning, Dad had the second stent put in to fix his other blocked artery and was sitting up and eating (Jell-O obviously, eh, Bill?) a couple hours later.

So the Heart Attack Twins are doing well. Hopefully they will follow doctor’s orders and take it easy. Next time, let’s try doing less heart attacky activities. Flying over the Bermuda Triangle, perhaps?  Or how about standing in the front row of a black cat parade?

"Yeah. Like you could get us to participate in a parade."
“That doesn’t even make sense. Cats HATE parades.”

Cooking Without Salt Is Apparently A Thing

For those who don’t personally know me, a couple weeks ago my dad had a heart attack. Well, actually THREE heart attacks, because my dad is nothing if not thorough. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s called work ethic, guys.

"Only one heart attack? That's not the kind of ethic we look for at THIS company."
“Only one heart attack? That kind of half-assery has no place in THIS company.”

Hopefully you can tell by my jocular tone that he is fine. Or maybe you just think I’m an awful person. Well, either way you’re in luck because both those things are true: My dad is doing fine and yes, I can be pretty awful. Not like, Internet awful. Just normal awful.

Like one time I made a joke to my mom on the phone about drowning in paperwork by saying, “I’m like Natalie Wood over here!” She was not amused.

What was I talking about? Oh, my dad! Yes, he’s good but getting really tired of grilled chicken.

Because, you see, after a heart attack you have to change your diet, if your diet is the thing that caused your heart attack. And he’s 100% German, which means it’s not a meal if there’s no red meat and potatoes. And salt. Lots of salt.

"Is this all the salt we have?"
“Is this all the salt we have?”

Because I am awful yet also a wonderful daughter, I’m trying to think of meals I can make him that are German-approved and heart-healthy. To the Googles!

*cue hold music*
*cue hold music*

Okay, I found “7 Festive German Recipes” on a website called LifeScript. Not only German but festive German? Things are about to get wild, y’all.

If it’s not a German party with accordions, then it’s not a party AT ALL.

Now all I need to do is go to the store, buy all the stuff, find time to cook… Huh. These recipes call for a LOT of ingredients.

“Reduced-sodium chicken broth?” Is that even a thing? “No-salt-added tomato sauce?” That sounds gro… I mean delicious, Dad! It sounds delicious.  What does salt even do, really? Clogs arteries, that’s what. And, you know, adds flavor. But I’m sure it will be fi… chicken sausage? Now they’re just screwing with me, right?

And fennel? What’s a fennel? It sounds like a Dr. Suess character. I’m not feeding my father a beloved cartoon creation, no matter how delicious, Mr. LifeScript! What kind of monster do you think I… wait. Oh. Apparently a fennel is in the celery family. I didn’t know celery HAD a family.

Why did I volunteer for this again?


Oh, yeah. I love my dad. Guten tag, everyone.

My uterus is still fine, thank you.

So, in case you didn’t read my About page, I married a divorced dad of two boys who didn’t want any more kids. In fact, he took extreme measures to ensure no more youngins would henceforth be birthed from his loins; this involved a doctor, some Valium and a little snip-snip (respectful pause while all men reading this wince and squirm a little).

Despite society’s best attempts to brainwash me, a part of me always knew that the whole Mom thing wasn’t really my jam.

A long time ago my former brother-in-law told me I was “selfish” when I said I didn’t really want to have kids.

Let me set the scene: I’m in my early 20’s, about as far from adulthood as I could possibly be and still feed myself. That evening I was most likely hungover and taking a reprieve from my regularly scheduled debauchery.

My nephew (now 15) was just a baby at this time. I was rocking him to sleep and even as I gazed at his tiny little face with auntly love (how is “auntly” NOT a word? Screw you, Spell Check!), after a few minutes of gentle rocking a part of me thought: Huh. This is kind of boring. I experienced no pangs in my ovaries, no maternal longing. Just… boredom. Plus I was getting sweaty. Holding babies is wonderful until you realize that one baby can reach the approximate core temperature of the sun. And have you ever walked with a baby? How a 10 lb. baby can end up feeling like you’re carrying a lead-based laundry basket full of wet towels is something science should really figure out.

And the longer you’re around babies, you realize that their whole existence consists of forever making noises and smells and spewing liquid goosh from every orifice. Why are you so disgusting, babies? 

Anyway, back to my nephew. I told my brother-in-law that I didn’t think I wanted kids. Not that I impulsively decided this while holding my nephew. It wasn’t like, I held him for five minutes and then shoved him back, saying, “Blech! That was awful. You actually like this thing?”

No. But it was something that had been stirring for a while and I finally voiced it, unfortunately to the wrongggg person. I forget his exact words, but it was something along the lines of, “Only a selfish piece of crap would not want children because that means you’re only living to please yourself and you will die alone after a bitter, sterile existence.”

Awesome. Great talk, bro. Okay, back to me.

Now, I know some mothers who used to feel the same way I do. Having your own is a totally different thing, I get that. And I know that if by some weird cosmic force, I became pregnant and had my own baby, I’d pimp-slap anyone who said my baby was less than a miracle delivered by unicorns straight from heaven and wrapped in rainbows.

But—overall I’m thankful that I never hopped on board the Baby Express. My uterus has no regrets.

When my hubby and I first got married, a lot of my girlfriends and even people I didn’t know were aghast when I said we weren’t going to have our “own” kids. Everyone said, “You’ll change your mind!” (I actually wrote a blog post about this a long time ago entitled, “Congratulations On your Wedding, Now What About Your Uterus?” Hence the title of this post. If anyone wants to read it, I can try to dig it up. The blog post, not my uterus.)

Well, it’s been almost 10 years, I’m now 37 and my mind remains unchanged.  I get to experience motherhood-by-proxy with my stepsons. They were tiny little guys when Eric and I started dating, just 4 and 7. I feel very blessed that I got to experience most of their childhood “firsts.”

Although I must admit that at the time I mostly thought, “Wow, boys are loud, like, all the time. Why do they get up so early? They sure do talk a lot. Can’t they fix their own breakfast? Is that crying or laughing? What is all that screaming?”

Eric remained maddeningly calm while I clumsily maneuvered my way through stepmotherhood. Eventually I figured it out and now that the boys are teenagers, I can look back on those days with longing (much like every other parent with teenagers, I have forgotten the horrors of raising small children).

Sometimes I ask myself: If my husband didn’t already have kids would we have had our own? It’s an unanswerable question. But I think God put me exactly where I was meant to be. I’m pretty sure He knew I was probably better off not having kids around 24/7.

I picture Him watching 20-something me stumbling out of various clubs, looking blankly at my girlfriends and slurring, “Which one of us drove again?”

Shaking His head in exasperation, “Oh, Me. No, no, no, no, this one should definitely NOT procreate.”

Zap! “Here’s a divorced dad, in like-new condition…. he comes with two pre-packaged kids, no delivery required. His sperm is disabled, but no worries! Everything works properly. I think he’s perfect for you. Now stop that. Stop that, I say.”

It’s like a fairy tale, right? And we all lived happily ever after.

Anything goes… as long as it’s funny

It’s very strange having two kids who are teenagers. When my husband and I got married and I officially became a stepmom, the boys were only four and seven. They were adorable and innocent and now I wish I had started this blog back then so I had a record of all the cute things they used to say.

For instance, whenever they broke something they would say plaintively, “It was on an accident” instead of “It was an accident,” which we always found funny. (They did not, because even though they were cute, they would still get in trouble. Parents are jerks, right?)

Once Gunnar found a stray cat outside our apartment (that he named “Sprinkles” even though it was tiger-striped) and when Eric wouldn’t let him bring the cat inside, Gunnar cried, “You hate God’s creatures!” (Eric countered with, “I don’t hate them; I  just find them filthy and dirty.” Gunnar was not appeased.)

When Gunnar experienced the dreaded “special” health class in fifth grade, he came home and said, “I know all about how babies are made.” Then, with a meaningful look at us: “It’s disgusting.” (“Don’t look at me,” I protested. “I’ve never made babies.”)

At our old apartment, our bedroom’s vent connected with the boys’ vent. So whenever they needed us they would just holler through the vent like it was an intercom: “Dadddyyyyyyy… Jesssssieeeee… we’re hungryyyyyyy.”

Of course, this meant they could also hear us. Whether we wanted them to or not, ifyouknowwhatImean. I still remember Caleb saying to us disapprovingly over breakfast, “I could hear you guys kissing.”

And sometimes we’d watch movies that were funny but probably not age-appropriate. For instance, one night when Eric wasn’t home, the boys and I watched “Dodgeball.” Fairly harmless, but I forgot about the ending when Christine Taylor’s character kisses another girl and says, “I’m not a lesbian, I’m bisexual!” and then proceeds to make out with Vince Vaughn’s character. Not exactly pearl-clutching dialogue, but at the time both boys said, “Ewww!”

Then came the inevitable question: “What’s bisexual?” Gunnar asked.

Oh, dear.  But, amazingly, I came up with a diplomatic answer: “It’s when you like both boys and girls.”

“Oh,” they said solemnly. Then, “Ewww.” (This was in the good old days when the thought of anyone kissing anyone was gross and hilarious.)

Blondie- Gunnar Thug stance- Caleb Grinning fool- me.
Blondie: Gunnar. Thug stance: Caleb. Grinning fool: me.

Now, if we were to watch it and that scene came on, they’d both be like, “All right!” Then they’d probably rewind it and watch the scene again. Ugh.

I think that’s what bothers me most: not that it’s awkward to watch that stuff with the kids, but now there’s no need to explain/avoid explaining what it means.

The other night we all watched Louis CK perform stand-up. My rule has always been: If it’s funny and not tooooo inappropriate, then it’s okay to watch. Since I’m a comedy writer, I try not to censor too much when it comes to comedies.

For example, Tosh.0 gets on all of my nerves, but I don’t forbid the boys to watch it; I just don’t want to be around when they do. (Although Eric claims he’s heard me laughing while it was on. Filthy lies.) But on the other hand, a few years ago I watched one of Dane Cook’s stand-up routines and not only was it incredibly vulgar, it wasn’t even funny. Unforgivable. So I banned them from watching that.

I have weird rules, you guys. Deal with it.

For some reason that night Caleb was being all grumpy and teenagery. The whole time Louis CK was on he kept interrupting and saying things like, “Oh, it’s funny when he says the “F” word…”

After he had interrupted approximately five million times, Gunnar  hit “pause” with pointed emphasis, looked over at Caleb and said sarcastically, “Anything else you’d like to say? Any other comments? Come on! Get ‘em out now!” which for some reason I thought was just as funny as the comedian. It’s hard to convey in blog form how funny Gunnar is because it’s all in his expression and the way he says things. I’d post a picture of him but I think he’d literally kill me. So just trust me… it was funny.

Everyone quieted down and, after glaring at all of us, Gunnar hit “play.” And we watched a brilliant comedian and laughed our butts off… as a family.  Anything we can all enjoy together is a rare and precious gift during these dark teenaged times.

So if I have to watch a guy tell hilariously inappropriate jokes just to hang out with my boys… I’ll take it. Even if now the boys insist on explaining the jokes to me. 


Present day. (Well, 6 months ago.)
Present day. (Well, 6 months ago.) *Still* thrilled to have their picture taken, clearly.

And this is why candy is bad for you

So a few nights ago, Caleb decided he wanted to make eggs. At 10:30 at night. For a “snack.”

“You are NOT making eggs for a snack!” Eric and I said.

Caleb was indignant. “Why not?”

“Well, for starters, you had a double Baconator and fries for dinner,” I said.

Caleb waved his hands dismissively. “That was hours ago.”

“No,” I repeated.

“But there’s nothing here to eat for a snack!” said Caleb in the same tone one might say, “But there’s no ammunition left and we’re surrounded by zombies!”

“And,” he went on triumphantly, “it’s too late! I already broke the eggs and put milk in the bowl.”

“Oh, no,” I said in mock horror. “There’s no turning back now!”  I jabbed a pointed finger at the bowl. “Just wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator. You can eat them in the morning.”

Gunnar chimed in from across the room. “Won’t that cause problems? I mean, what if he wakes up in the morning and it’s like a mutated chicken?”

“I don’t think you understand how eggs work,” I said.

“Wait a minute,” Eric said suddenly. “Why don’t we have any snack food? Didn’t we have like three containers of ice cream?”

“That was from a week ago,” Caleb claimed.

“No, it wasn’t!” we both exclaimed.

“Caleb, that was Saturday.” I counted on my fingers. “Four days ago!”

Eric’s face turned deadly. “My Reese’s cups better still be in the freezer,” he said threateningly.

Let me pause to explain something here. My 40-year old husband has the sweet tooth of all the children in Willy Wonka combined.  Ever since I’ve known him, he has guarded his “snacky treats” with the vigilance of the Lucky Charms leprechaun. His sister loves telling the story of the time she babysat for the boys and Eric forbade her to eat any of his Oreos. He will count them, you guys. And woe to the hapless child (or wife)  who eats them without his knowledge. “There were twelve Oreos in here and now there are only eight. Who ate four Oreos?” I’m surprised he doesn’t have a security camera set up in front of our pantry, maybe with an electrified net to catch nefarious cookie-snatchers.

My husband's worst nightmare.
My husband’s worst nightmare.

Okay, so back to the story.

“Oh, I ate one, honey,” I said.


There are not enough punctuation marks in the English language to convey how angry he sounded in that moment. But luckily I was able to draw a quick sketch:

Uncanny likeness, right?

I stiffened at his tone and turned around. “What?”

He ignored me. “Well, how many are left?!?”

“There are three left. It was a king-sized.” I glared at him. “Are you yelling at me about candy?”

He huffed and puffed. “Well…” he started.

Oh, I don’t think so, mister.  “You know that thing you wanted to do tonight?” I asked. “Not happening.” I made a sassy “Nu-UH, honey!” gesture and flounced out of the room.

Gunnar and Caleb looked horrified.

“I don’t think I want a snack after hearing that,” Caleb said.