A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life

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Summer Job Board for Teenagers

The other day, I was browsing through the time suck that is Pinterest…or was it the time suck that is Facebook? Either way, my time was sucked.

I came across this image of (to be read in your most cheerful, sing-songy voice) a clever way to get your kids to help out with chores all Summer:


Which made me do this:


And not because I was stoned. Or because Kelso said something funny.

It was because I have teenagers. Teenage boys, to be specific. Their idea of a Summer “chore” is having to make their own lunch by ripping into a box of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. Or scooping out the proper number of cups from a box of potato flakes so they can (fake) carb load for lunch.

But the image got me thinking about my ideal Summer job board for my teenage sons. Here it is:


And when it comes to “Mom’s Choice”, this is how I roll:

Moms Choice

Got some great ideas for chores? Create your own job board stickies here.

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My Mom Interest Survey

At the beginning of each school  year, my kids have to fill out forms with answers to a bunch of questions so that the teachers will know who the potential trouble-makers are have a sense of the personalities in their classroom.

My youngest started 8th grade this year and filled out the form. He showed it to me and you can certainly understand why I was looking for an eraser after reading it:


In case you can’t read it, the second of the two common activities he does when he gets home is watch YouTube. Just another check mark in the #ParentingWin column, folks.

I did have to admit, though…it is Nick. 100%.

It also got me thinking. How would I fill out a form like this today? So I typed up a copy of the same questions, printed it out, and started writing in my answers.


Hard to read? Here, let me make it easier for you to get a peek into my psychosis psyche.



What this really tells you about me is:

  • I keep telling myself every day “50 is the new 40”
  • I think this election has been a shit show, and out of 350 million people, I can’t believe these two yahoos are the best candidates we have to put forward
  • I’m a snob about the tequila I drink
  • I must have skipped the chapter on parent/teacher conferences in What to Expect When You’re Expecting
  • I read too much People magazine
  • At best, my taste in movies is questionable and relatively non-Oscar worthy
  • I shouldn’t be in charge of the music playlist at a kids’ dance
  • I am deluded into thinking “perfect” wives cook, clean, and do laundry
  • I fully acknowledge my husband didn’t get the perfect wife (but you shouldn’t feel too bad for him — because I’m so awesome in spite of not cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. And humble. I’m very humble.)
  • And finally, I think karma needs to step up its game against people with no/a very questionable moral compass

I’m looking at you Trump, Hillary, and  fuzz-out .


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Look, Let’s Get Real

Last week, we had no baseball practices, tournaments, warm ups or the like.  Little league baseball season ended for my 11 year old in the semi-final game of the 11U State Tournament, and for my 10 year old in the quarter-final game of the 9U State Tournament the previous week.

But that didn’t mean we had no sports going on last week. Because it was the start of football conditioning camp.

You might think in frustration I would have plucked out all the grey hairs on my head about having no down time between sports. But, 1) it would take me longer than a week to pull out all the grey hairs even after a Root Touch-Up, and 2) I didn’t have to be at football practice.   That’s because this year 1)  I’m employed, and 2) my husband is going to be a coach.

And that, dear readers, means from now until when school starts, I have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night to myself from 6:00pm – 8:30pm (ish) as football conditioning camp and practices get underway.  Sweet Jesus, what’s a gal to do with all the down time?

My husband and boys have some definite ideas about what they think I should be doing with all my “free” time.

Husband & boys’ fantasy:  Think I should make a gourmet meal each night, and have it on the way to the table the second they get in the door.

Freakin’ reality: Look, ‘peel back foil to expose tater tots’ is as fancy as it gets around here for dinner.  And I hope by ‘table’ you mean the tray table in front of the ginormous TV in the family room so you can ignore me and watch ESPN ad-nauseum.

Husband & boys’ fantasy:   Think I should fold laundry.

Freakin’ reality:  Look, we’re lucky that the loads of laundry I wash over and over because I forget about them, actually smell less moldy after the third wash. And if I do remember to move it from washer to dryer, it’s a Festivus miracle. So fold your own damn underwear.

Husband & boys’ fantasy: Think I should take the dog for a walk.

Freakin’ reality: Look, the damn dog can walk out onto the deck, down the steps and into the yard without my help. And if you want your tater tots on the tray table as your sweaty asses walk through the door, there will be no dog walking.

Husband & boys’ fantasy: Think I should find personal fulfillment and motherhood nirvana by cleaning the bathroom

Freakin’ reality: Look, try to aim better you bunch of firing range rejects.  And for the love of Charmin, put the effin’ seat down when you are done.

Look, here’s the reality of what I do while they are sweatin’ it out on the gridiron:

  • Shout “hells yeah, you sorry bitches”, confirming — to no one other than our dog — my agreement with Judge Judy’s rulings
  • Cuss and swear at Level 65 on Candy Crush
  • Clip coupons for Root Touch Up
  • Think of indictments to add to the list for the Giudices
  • Rewatch seasons 1 – 10 of Project Runaway.  Rerank best Michael Kors disses.
  • Think about working on the next great American novel “Confessions of a Concession Stand Captive” (based on a semi-true story of a mom and the soul-sucking volunteerism of little league)
  • Ignore the cease and desist orders from a variety of brands that don’t appreciate the non-marketing approach I take to name-checking their products in my blog posts
  • Ignore the messages from “Super Duper Luber”, as I am not interested in promoting their product that (supposedly) allows any sexy encounter to “go down a little slower and/or easier” (perhaps Whitesnake ought to look into Super Duper Luber’s marketing copy and file a complaint)
  • Think very hard about things I can blog about, and fear I will end up with brain sprain
  • Ice my head due to intense migraine. Or perhaps it’s brain strain.  Will Super Duper Luber help with that?

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How-to MANual

I’m pretty sure the men in my family think I’m starting to slack in the home upkeep arena. Otherwise, why would they be leaving me all these helpful hints around the house about what needs to be done?  Like …

…how will I ever be able to find the washer and know that football gear needs to be washed?  MANual answer — leave mom a trail of dirty, smelly jock straps, underthings, jerseys and pants so she can still find the washing machine.

Just so you know boys, the washing machine hasn’t moved since the last time I used it

…how will I ever know when it’s time to buy more chocolate milk?  MANual answer — leave the empty milk container on the counter overnight so that if the visual doesn’t help her, the smell certainly will.

Can you smell that we are out of milk?

…how will I ever know where to find the bandages?  MANual answer — keep them on the kitchen counter so mom can see them without having to rummage through the medicine cabinet where she might mistake either the expired Pepto or the mega bottle of Midol for a non-Band-Aid brand band-aid.

Let’s just keep EVERYTHING on the counter so we can always find what we need.

…how will I ever know when it’s time to clean up from dinner?  MANual answer — shouldn’t mom just know that after she has purchased the food, prepped and served us dinner, the dirty pan used to make the BBQ chicken on the stove means it’s time for her to tidy up?

Using foil to line the pan means I don’t need to wash it, right?

…how will I ever know when my husband needs his shirts taken to the cleaners?  MANual answer — hang them on the bottom of the stair railing so the wife can see them on the 459 trips she makes up and down the stairs each day.

Light starch, if you don’t mind

…how will I ever know when my husband needs more deodorant?  MANual answer — just leave the fast-drying, cool wave clear gel on the computer desk.  She’ll get the hint.

If I hit the “ESC” button, will it go away?

One thing I do know…it’s not just the empty milk jugs that stink around here.


Dear Rice Family

The other day, a professional cleaning company sent this direct mail piece to my home:
This stock photo looks nothing like us, except for the dad's bushy eyebrows that DO resemble mine if I haven't had 'em waxed in a while
The stock photo looks nothing like us: we have two boys and I’m not a blond. But I must admit that my eyebrows do look like the dad’s if I haven’t had ’em waxed in a while.

As a marketer, I was intrigued by the personalization of the self-mailer. RICE Family was all over the place. And a portion of our street name was on the sign:

However, the house on the brochure looked freakily similar to our neighbor’s house:

After a careful review of the brochure contents, I’d have to say this company is not really focused on who makes the decisions when it comes to cleaning — or to be more accurate, not cleaning — our house:

Because MICHAEL only makes the decisions about the tough stuff … like where to buy the jock straps and cleats for the boys. And whether or not I’m due for an eyebrow wax.


I Need to Brush up on My Martian

Let’s face it. That book published in the early 90s with the silly sounding title was right. Men define things a lot differently than women.

Take the phrase “I’ll clean up from dinner”, for instance. When women utter these words at the conclusion of a meal, it is usually to an empty room because the rest of the family — including the dog — has vanished. They disappear faster than my IQ points when I’m watching an episode of Jerseylicious.

When a man utters these words, it is usually after the table has been cleared, with the utensils, plates and cups safely stowed in the dishwasher. Since we [women] all know the worst part of clean up is the dirty dishes used to prep all the food (a.k.a. “microwave safe container” in my house), we [women] welcome the opportunity to not have to scrub pots and pans. Right?

Except in my house, here’s what “clean up from dinner” looks like when the phrase is uttered by my husband:

Visual #1:

The stove top, the morning after I made enchiladas — and not from a kit. I made the filling, rolled the tortillas and baked them myself. That’s b-a-k-e-d, not n-u-k-e-d, people. This dinner took me 45 minutes longer to prepare than my normal dinner. Which is to say, I had to spend a whole 50 minutes in the kitchen. When I asked why all the leftover enchiladas were not tupperwared up and placed in the frig, he said “well I figured you’d get tired of eating so many enchilada leftovers for lunch this week, so why save them all? But I did cluster the pans on the oven because they needed time to soak”. Si, senor, however it would have been nice if you added a little agua to the pans to assist in the overnight soaking.

Visual #2:

The sink and counter, the morning after I made tacos. While I appreciate my husband’s ingenuity at the hanging frying pan over the sink, I really wish he would have just washed it out with the scrubber sponge, dish soap and warm water that are always available. At least this time, he put water in the pan, as well as the bowl to the left of the pan with ice cream remnants.

What’s Martian for “I need a margarita”?


When Did I Become Becky Crocker?

It is no great surprise to anyone that I do not like to cook. My husband knows it. My mother (who makes every frickin’ thing from scratch) knows it. My sisters – one of whom made her own baby food – know it. My kids know it. My facebook and Twitter friends/followers know it. Even the dog knows I can barely bring myself to fill her dish with dog food in the evening.

When you are faced with this type of commentary when you cook…

  • “This doesn’t taste like a Glory Days hotdog” when my kids are presented with boiled Oscar Mayer weiners
  • “Is this supposed to be so runny?”, when my family is presented with my meatloaf
  • “These suck compared to McDonald’s cheeseburgers”, when I attempt to glue the pieces of hamburger together with cheese, to disguise the fact that the damn patty stuck to the grill under my watch

…it’s no wonder I am always looking to redeem myself in the kitchen.

Working my way backward to find out how this all started, I see that I have actually morphed into my friends’ and family’s go-to dessert maker.

There were these recently commissioned (!) cakes, for two of the kids on my son’s little league team:

This Memorial Day cake for a family picnic, along with homemade chocolate candies in red, white and blue:

This was my first commissioned (!) cake and cupcakes for a local girls’ softball team (Go Mystics!):

This Easter cake, made from two round cakes with icing and M&Ms:

This birthday cake for my son Alex, with candy stars made by me:

This birthday cake and cupcakes for our friend Brian Henigin’s Led Zeppelin-themed party (his self-designed birthday logo is there to the left of the cake). The sprinkle cupcake is for his adorable daughter Samantha, who loves it when Miss Becky shows up with goodies:

A sampling of the yummy red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for a friend’s 40th birthday bash – hand decorated by yours truly:

This SuperBowl cake – can you figure out who we were rooting for?:

These New Year’s Eve cookies (there were many more – each one decorated differently)

Goodies for various Pittsburgh Steeler watching parties:

A Halloween-themed Pittsburgh Steeler watching party at our friend’s the Henigins:

But I think it all started when I took a Friday off, in celebration of homecoming weekend for our local high school. Our one son was playing on the mini-pony team in town, and they got to be part of the homecoming parade on Friday night. So, I decided to do something special for the kids’ game the next day. I made 60+ helmet cookies, and hand decorated them with icing and their team name (Go Lions!), individual numbers and names. I also made cookies for the coaches and some generic ones for the cheerleaders.

The day after the football game, I received the following e-mail from a dad/coach:
Thank you so much for the time and effort that you put into the cookies you have provided the Coaches and Players. Not only do they look Great but they taste phenomenal !!!!!! Ian appreciated his so much, I couldn’t get him to eat it. He gingerly put his in a tupperware bowl, sealed it with tape, and promptly put it in the freezer upon our arrival home. He did, however, munch on mine (which incidentally didn’t make it out of the parking lot before I had to split it with him). Once again, Thank you for your efforts.

And Becky Crocker was born.

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Me vs. the Mower

Today, I decided to tackle our back yard. By tackle, I mean nothing as glamorous or suburban-tastic as meeting with an architect to plan our exciting new outdoor patio/friend entertaining space. Or planting gobs of flowers to embellish our home’s rear view. No, I mean roll out the mower and tackle the hayfield that is our back yard.

Our kids’ weekend baseball games leave us precious little time to maintain our not-much-bigger-than-a-postage-stamp sized yard. But when I saw that our dog – if she was green – would be nearly imperceptible given the current height of the grass, I knew it was time to stop folding laundry/loading the dishwasher/searching for a job and really do some work around the house.

So you know that scene from the movie Mr. Mom where he discovers the vacuum cleaner? That’s what it was like when I opened the garage door to wrestle the lawn mower out and get to the task at hand.

And based on what happened next, here’s some lawn maintenance wisdom I’ll impart upon you:

  • You won’t see the wiffle ball bat in grass (as high as ours was) until it is too late
  • Trees can not move and get out of your way. And evergreens with low hanging branches will scratch the crap out of you, in some sort of “that’s what you get for chopping us down in December to be used as your indoor ugly decoration holders” solidarity action
  • Wet grass is harder to mow than dry grass
  • Wet grass clogs the blades and makes the motor cut out
  • You will have to turn the mower on its side and scoop out the grass clogging the blades
  • Your hand will turn green from the wet grass lumps you are scooping out of the underbelly of the mower
  • No amount of dish soap will get the green stain off your hand; your manicure will be ruined
  • You will burn more calories than an Olympic marathoner in your attempt to restart the mower once the blades are free of grass clogs
  • You will give up trying to restart the mower 15 minutes later and push it into the garage as fast as possible because it has started raining again
  • You will tell the neighbors that you are experimenting with the hottest thing in home ownership – lawn designs by mowing

And finally, you won’t see all the dog poop in the yard to clean up before you start, but you will smell the dog poop you missed, that ended up on your shoes. Later on after you have walked on your carpets.

Mower: 1 Me: 0


What Color Is My Parachute?

I’m back in the market for a job. After a week at home during which I assessed what’s so amazing about me, I’ve come up with a list of jobs I am most definitely qualified for:

  • Chief baker of cookies, cupcakes, pies and cakes for my husband and kids, office parties and special occasions
  • Master of snarkiness regarding the freak show that is a train/bus/metro commute
  • Facebook friender, liker, note writer, game player, status updater, and commenter
  • Ignorer of laundry
  • Reader of Us Weekly, People and Star magazine, while getting a pedicure and foot massage (multi-tasker!)
  • Watcher of A Baby Story
  • League leader in shoes downstairs (or so says my husband, however, I do not believe ESPN really keeps stats on this)
  • Sharer of funny and embarrassing family stories
  • Cheerer on of league little teams
  • Replacer of toilet paper once a roll runs out (evidently, there are no other qualified replacers in my house)

It is not gonna change itself, fellas

It’s equally important that I recognize and acknowledge the jobs I am totally not qualified for:

  • Stay-at-home mom
  • Twitter master
  • Little League concession stand helper
  • Day care worker
  • Dinner maker
  • Vacuumer
  • Duster
  • Dish washer
  • Anything that requires patience
  • Anything that requires not cussing
  • iPhone figure-outer
  • Parent of the Year
  • Carbohydrate passer upper
  • Comedy writer
  • Tequila hater, based on the parting gifts I received from colleagues.
  • The perfect job search kit

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It’s Time to Play ‘Who Said That’? (Spring Break Edition)

Becky is spending Spring Break at home with her boys this year. So far – and only 2 days in – it’s been a true test of patience. Everyone’s.

When patience is tested, people say the darndest things. So, if you think you know the Rice family, see if you can guess who said it – Becky, her husband or her boys!

Who said: “Why do I have to load the dryer all by myself?”
If you said Becky, you would be correct. If you said her boys, you didn’t realize they were born without the laundry gene. More irrefutable proof they are their father’s sons.

Who said: “Get off of me!”
If you said Becky’s boys as they wrestle and grab-ass for the millionth time, you would be correct. If you said Becky as she attempted to shoo away a multitude of stink bugs that got in after the boys left the sliding door open, you would also be correct.

Who said: “How ’bout some lunch?”
If you said Becky, you would be wrong. If you said her son Nick, as he stood in front of the TV at about 2:00pm blocking Becky’s view of a Jerseylicious marathon in order to get her attention, you would be correct.

Who said: “Whose shoes are these?”
If you said Becky, you would be wrong. If you said her husband who often complains that Becky leads the league in shoes downstairs, you would be correct.

Who said: “Who made this mess?”
If you said the boys – after Becky attempted to make dinner – you would be correct.

Who said: “Do you think we are made of money?”
If you said Becky, you would be wrong. If you said her husband, in response to her sobbing pleas that child care should be secured immediately and at whatever cost for the remainder of Spring Break after only two days at home with the boys, you would be correct.

Who said: “F*ck”
If you said her son Alex as he sang the not-so-radio-friendly version of CeeLo’s hit song, you would be correct. If you said her husband when he got home to find that Becky had forgotten about a little league practice, you would also be correct. If you said Nick, you would be wrong. He only used the word “ass”, as in “Mom, Alex said I was an ass”. Which was immediately followed by Becky saying “F*ck”.

Who said: “You are supposed to share!”
If you said Becky, you would be wrong. If you said the boys when Becky wouldn’t give back the controller after she kicked ass playing 100 pin bowling on Wii, you would be correct.

Who said: “What do you want for dinner?”
If you said Becky, you would be wrong. If you said her husband, you would be wrong. If you said the waitress at Glory Days, you would be correct (and you know Becky too well).

Who said: “The Monday after Easter is a Holiday too!”
Trick question! If you said Becky you would be wrong. It was actually the boys who are very excited about an extra day off. If it was Becky, the sentence would end with a question mark, followed an exclamation point of desperation/frustration. Plus, the sentence would have started with “F*ck”.