A Side of Rice

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


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Fashion Weak

As the mother of two boys, I resigned myself long ago to the fact that when it comes to clothing, my choices to outfit them would be limited to dinosaurs, animals, super heroes, planes, construction equipment, stripes, and sports.  As they have gotten older, the choices narrowed even further to plain, minimal stripes, and (the very expensive) sports team/logo wear.

My boys hate the feel of jeans, so when we find a pair of sweatpants/shorts that fit and are deemed cool enough to be seen it, we buy them in every color they come in. Which brings us back to limits once again, as the color choices they have started gravitating to in their teen years are shades of grey, navy, and black. Hooray for the neutrals, because they will go with any of the outrageously expensive logo wear/sports team tops they pick up from the floor and sniff before shrugging their shoulders and putting on the offensive smelling item anyway.

Recently, we relented and went shopping for Fall/Winter clothes for our oldest and a few items to fill in the gaps of the hand-me-downs for our youngest. Because who doesn’t want to spend a Saturday evening in crowded rural mall, shopping with two teenage boys who could care less about clothing?

thisgirl

Our first stop was Old Navy. My husband and I spent a lot of time trying to decipher what “I dunno”, “whatever” and “sure” really meant as we held up options for our 14 year old to decide on. It got even tougher to tell what he thought as he moved into the non-verbal responses of “major eyeroll”, “shrug”, and “heavy sigh while snapping one’s head back”.

Which pretty much made me do this:

eyeroll

After finding a few sweatpants styles and some long sleeve shirts that fit – and buying them in the three neutral colors available – we headed to H&M. I’d heard the clothing was affordably priced. What I hadn’t heard about was how much I wouldn’t be hearing after being in a store that blasts hipster emo tunes. #OldPeopleProblems

The clothing options were minimal at best and we quickly determined that our decidedly non-emo sons would not find anything of interest. On our way out, I spotted this:

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$30 for a sweatshirt that comes with holes already in it? Uh…that’s a big “fuck no.”

I immediately snapped a picture and commented, “If you boys want something like this, I’ll take you to my parent’s house and you can pick one from granddad’s closet. For free.”

Next it was on to American Eagle, where I spotted this and told my husband “if you become a stripper and wear these sparkly blue underwear, perhaps we can afford all these clothes we have to buy the kids.”

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The salesgirl smirked and asked if she could help me find them in my husband’s size. My husband then rolled his eyes, shrugged, and let out a heavy sigh while snapping his head back as he headed toward the door.

By the time we got to the fourth store, my sons’ and husband’s enthusiasm for the whole shopping excursion had really waned (as if it going lower than from where it started could even be a possibility). Their diminished enthusiasm was almost inversely proportional to their growing hunger for dinner. My oldest spent a solid three minutes in the store, where he picked out 3 shirts (same style, different colors) and quickly made a beeline for the exit to discuss restaurant options with his dad and younger brother.

Our shopping trip had taken less than an hour and a half. I think we spent more time on dinner at the restaurant when you count driving to it, waiting for a seat, ordering, eating, paying the check, and driving home.

Fast forward to last night and just three weeks after buying the new clothes. My oldest walked through the family room and I yelled “Stop!”.

“Are those a pair of your new sweatpants?”, I inquired.

“Yes,” was his response.

My close to 6′ tall, size 13 shoe-wearing oldest stood while I took a photo. The new sweatpants are already too short.

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He’ll just have to hope he doesn’t grow any taller because I can’t update his wardrobe with new navy/grey/black sweatpants every three weeks.

Boys’ fashion is certainly not for the weak of heart. Or the weak of wallet.

 

 


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You Had One Job

In January of 1965, my parents were married.

Mom’s friend she met as a freshman at Georgetown Visitation College in 1960, Susan Carozza, was one of her bridesmaids, along with her sister Becky (my namesake), and her cousin Mary Anne.

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Left to right: Aunt Becky, Mom, Susan, and Aunt Mary Anne

My dad’s groomsmen consisted of his older brother Jerry and some young men he now describes as “the scrubs I ran around the county drinking with.” Charming.

One of those drinking buddies guys also happened to be my mom’s cousin Al. During the wedding, Al walked my grandmother down the aisle, as mom’s family entered the church.

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Susan led the bridesmaids as they entered the church.

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In the wedding party photo, it just so happened that Al stood behind Susan.

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It was at my parent’s wedding that Al and Sue met, and began their own love story. They married the year after my parents.

My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2015. There was a nice party in January, and we celebrated as a family with a vacation that Summer.

This past weekend, my Uncle Al and Aunt Sue also celebrated 50 years of marriage. Their son decided to create a video, and had asked for family and friends to record video congrats, find pictures, etc., to be sent to him so he could put it together.

I taped a number of people offering anniversary congratulations wishes:

Like, my sister Susan.

Sue

My Aunt Mary Anne, who was one of the bridesmaids at my parent’s wedding, also offered well wishes.

Mary Anne

My mom’s brothers and their wives sent wishes, including my Uncle Frank and Aunt Lorrie, as well as my Uncle Bill and Aunt Barbara.

Frank and Lorrie

Bill and Barbara

And then? Well, there’s these two yahoos.Mom and dad

The couple who unintentionally played matchmakers for the Goughs over 50 years ago had one job.

One fucking job.

And I’m pretty sure they nailed it.

Happy Anniversary Uncle Al and Aunt Sue!

Al and Sue Wedding Day

Al and Sue Anniversary Party

Photo courtesy of Mike Oswald Photography.  www.mikeoswaldphotography.com

 


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My 20/20 Vision Sometimes Gets a Little Blurry

Today is Alex’s first day of high school. I was able to obtain the obligatory first day of school picture. Evidently, once you hit high school (or teenager status), smiling is no longer allowed  cool  something you do, just so you can annoy the snot out of your mother.

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This is my happy face, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents of 8th graders were jammed into a school gym with no air conditioning to celebrate the milestone of middle school graduation? Editor’s note: Sorry for the quality of the video – that’s what happens when you are a lame parent and don’t think to film the entire room, so you have to steal  swipe  use some fancy technology to copy as best as possible an uploaded version to Facebook by a parent who does have their shit together  was thinking it would be a good idea.

Was it only a few short months ago that my kid was already practicing his ‘we shant smile for anything when mom asks’ look, so that it took at least three tries to get a semi-usable photo of him next to the school mascot?

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This is as happy as my face gets, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the video compilation of pictures moms and dads submitted was played at the ceremony?

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents, grandparents, and guardians in attendance realized there was one problem?

Tshirt

You see, our 20/20 vision for these kids’ future was a bit blurry. Because tears of pride will do that to you.

Whole class

Walkersville High School Lions Class of 2020


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Naked and Afraid … We’ll Never Have A/C Again

Seven years ago, my parents gifted us with a portion of some found money from an inheritance. We took our unexpected windfall and bought this:

Our island

That’s right – a poster of a tropical island. We hung it above the master bathroom tub and began dreaming about what it would be like to enjoy amazing alcoholic drinks on the beach in the picture.

Which, in my mind, would be something classy like this:

Classy drinking gif

But would actually turn out like this:

Cinderella gif

With the money left over after the poster purchase, we decided to buy something that would really up our street cred as cool parents. Our kids thought that meant a family vacation to Atlantis.

What we actually invested in was a new furnace and A/C unit. So, as you can image, the kids were totally on board:

Wait-say-what-GIF

Fast forward to Thursday of this past week — which also happened to be the hottest/most humid day of the year so far. I got this text from my husband:

Text Message

You would totally understand my WTF, if you knew our history with this particular unit (Carrier sucks). It’s gone up on us three times (Carrier sucks) in the 6 years we’ve had it (Carrier sucks). Twice it happened right after the technician came for the semi-annual check (Carrier sucks).

Per the beleaguered technician who showed up, the upgraded unit we had been convinced to purchase has “known issues”, but not well known enough for Carrier (sucks) to replace it. Upon his inspection, our “options” were:

  1. Stretch your hammies, because you are about to bend over and grab your ankles. Hard.
  2. Have the compressor replaced, but pay for the labor and cross your fingers nothing else goes wrong before the warranty totally expires. And if something else does go wrong, you’ll still have to pay for the labor. Even though Carrier (sucks) knows there is a problem with this unit.
  3. Buy a new unit, that will come with a new warranty. Don’t forget to be grateful that the new unit is being offered to you at a greatly reduced price, as a favor from Carrier (sucks) because they are aware of the problems with this unit.

"Rock, Hard Place" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

We opted for the new unit at the cost of a family vacation we won’t be taking this Summer for a consumer-screwing “generously reduced” price. To add insult to injury we had to wait until the following Tuesday — six miserably hot days — for the new unit to be installed.

But the experience wasn’t a total downer. Actually, we learned quite a bit. And I’m happy to share my new-found knowledge with you:

  1. Get naked! Or as close to naked as you are comfortable with. Because temperatures outside when there is no breeze will mean the main floor of your house will be about 89 degrees in the evening after a day in the mid-90s with high humidity.
  2. Sleep naked! Your upstairs bedroom is probably 10 degrees hotter than downstairs, and the beast that sleeps in between you and your partner is 75 pounds and wears a fur coat all year. Or, you could sleep naked and downstairs, where it is 10 degrees cooler. Unfortunately, there’s really only enough room for your kids on the couch.IMG_1557
  3. Save electricity! Turn off every light in the house to reduce heat production. Besides, you’ll need to save some money for the new “greatly reduced” A/C unit you are purchasing, and for the unexpected expenses of #9 you will now be incurring.
  4. No cooking! There’s no reason to add even more heat to the house by turning on the oven to make dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Which is pretty much my motto, even when the A/C is working.
  5. Don’t obsess! It’s hot. It’s fucking hot. Checking the thermostat every 1/2 hour won’t change that. And it will just make you more angry every time you see that “system malfunction” message. System Malfunction
  6. Go swimming! If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in your backyard, your community, or one close by with pretty lax security so there’s little chance you’ll be arrested if you break in, go get wet. No pool access or don’t need another blemish on your rap sheet? Take a cold shower.
  7. Have empathy! Take special pity on the members of your family who can’t get any more naked than they are. We fed the dogs ice constantly.  And we tried not to complain too much when they were hogging the fans.
  8. Get creative! Remember that ice bucket your parents gave you as a Christmas gift last year? Fill it with a large bag of ice and place a fan behind it to blow cool air across the room. Stand in front of it and bitch about how it’s barely cooling the room off, let alone your naked body. Then notice the light of your neighbor’s fire pit and fantasize about how it’s probably cooler by their fire pit than it is standing naked in your family room in front of a big tub of ice. IMG_1553
  9. Spend Money! The first night of being A/C-less, we ran out and bought two big fans that cost us $60. IMG_1552We spent money on ice (see #7 and #8) twice a day. We ate dinner out. And for some reason (probably because we were delusional from the heat), we went to an air-conditioned sports mega-store and bought our youngest son a bike, along with a bike rack to haul around all four of our family bikes.
  10. Avoid sex! Because hot, grumpy, and miserable is the least sexy thing you can imagine. Which — in an ironic twist — is a waste of the whole naked thing, I’m afraid.

 


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The Adventures of Collar Crusher and Broken Boy

While it sounds like this is the latest offering from Disney channel, starring a line-up of soon-to-be-hot-messes, it’s not. Well, the hot messes part is on target, but this is the painfully non-Disney like story of my sons Alex and Nick. Who might as well be named ‘Jesus, you outweigh your brother by 70 pounds’, and ‘for fuck’s sake, we told you tackle football was a bad idea’.

Last Sunday, my husband’s brother invited us to watch the opening day of NFL football. Also invited were his other brother, and a few friends they had grown up with. It seemed like a relatively benign way to spend a Sunday. If you define benign as ‘ha ha, life’s about to mess with you’.

During the games, our boys decided to go outside and toss a football around. I do believe my husband’s instructions were something along the lines of “be careful.”  I was more to the point. “I am not interested in spending my Sunday afternoon or evening at the emergency room, so don’t be stupid.”

Turns out ‘careful’ and ‘don’t be stupid’ took a holiday.

At around 6:30pm, my husband jumped off the couch and headed to the patio door that led to the backyard. He grumbled something like “Nick isn’t getting up.”  My husband’s brother said “it looks like he may be hurt”, and went outside to help. I figured they had everything under control.

If you define control as ”oh shit, party’s over.

My husband came back inside about 5 minutes later and growled “get your shit, we’re leaving.” I quickly grabbed the container of cookies I had made, and headed toward the door, thanking my sister-in-law for the hospitality.

When I got to the car, one thing was clear. Karma was letting me know my little snark about not visiting emergency rooms was not going to be tolerated. Nick was completely silent, with his right shoulder very obviously slumped forward and his eyes closed. His brother Alex was sitting next to him — equally as silent — with tears running down his cheeks.

We stopped at an urgent care near our home. My husband dropped Nick and I off, and took Alex home to walk the dogs. And probably to chew on his ass a little more.

They took Nick back to the x-ray room right away. During the initial medical review, Nick heard the words ‘surgery’ and ‘pins’ and turned pale. He said, “I think I may throw up.”  His blood pressure dropped and they laid him down on the exam table. I kept my cool and told him everything was going to be ok.

Once he was stable, they got him ready for the x-ray. By this time, my husband had returned. And my cool had departed. Because this showed up on screen:

I'm no doctor, but that doesn't look right...

I’m no doctor, but…

Which I think made my face do one of these:

*Cue audible gasp of horror*

*Cue audible gasp of horror*

And my mouth made a very loud noise, something like “ooowwwweeewwwwughhhhhhhh!”  My husband shot me a “shut it!” look, because there was no point in freaking Nick out any more than necessary. So I sat there silently, with my hand over my mouth, as tears started to flow.

Turns out Alex had fallen on Nick after tackling him, and the ball was under Nick’s shoulder. Nick’s shoulder gave way to the pressure of being squeezed between the football and his brother. Nick’s collar bone was broken. Broken completely in half.

Because when the Rices do something, they don’t do it half-assed, bitches.

We were given a print out of the x-ray, a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for the next day, and prescription for Tylenol with codeine. Since our normal pharmacy was already closed, we went to the only 24 hour pharmacy in town. Yay – they were out of the prescription and wouldn’t be able to get any before Tuesday. But they told us we could try the next closest 24 hour pharmacy, which was about 45 minutes away.

Being the loving, caring parents we are, we said the hell with that bought liquid ibuprofen and Tylenol, doubling the recommended dose once we got him home.

The next morning, all four of us piled into the car and headed to the doctor’s office. It was pretty busy, but we were grateful they had been able to fit in our emergency appointment. Of course, the waiting is always the hardest part:

Nick looks like he's stoned, doesn't he?

Nick looks like he’s stoned, doesn’t he?

It’s the hardest part until you end up seeing the doctor and he examines you, touching your very injured shoulder in a sneak attack that makes you your son jump and yelp.

And the examination is the hardest part until the tech comes in and has to reset the bone, then put on the brace and sling, causing you, your oldest son, and (most importantly) the injured son to start crying. This episode of The Adventures of Collar Crusher and Broken Boy brought to you by Kleenex.

After all the drama of Sunday and Monday, this popped up on my Facebook feed Tuesday morning:

My ballers

My ballers

This memory reminded me that when times are good, my boys love and support one another. And this experience let me know that when things are tough, they will empathize with and definitely support one another.

When it comes to The Adventures of Collar Crusher and Broken Boy, Disney couldn’t have scripted a better ending to this episode.


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From Now On, We’ll Use the Proper Slang

This Summer, my parents paid for a vacation for my siblings and our families. While it wasn’t exactly the beachy vacation of our dreams, it was great for all 16 of us to be together.

And 6 days was just enough time to enjoy each other’s company before we began to question parenting skills, spousal choices, and various personality quirks. There are only so many ‘party of 16’ dinners in a row that sane people kin can stand before the whole damn experience is ruined by way too much togetherness.

The kids had a great time on multiple afternoons at the pool. They enjoyed the slide and I was in the pool to capture video with my new iPhone6.

I was trying out the new slo-mo feature for the first time and caught the kids as they came down the tunnel on the slide and into the pool. I was able to do a screen grab for a photo of the fun…

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My nephew Jonas comes down the slide and shows us that it’s always ok for fake gun play.

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My niece Callie does the ‘hold the nose’ pose as she splashes down

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My nephew Will shows nothing buy joy when he hits the water

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My son Alex gets no style points for his splashdown

However, it was my son Nick who provided the best slo-mo and screen capture of a slide. Of course, I didn’t see it at full speed. But when I reviewed it in the slo-mo, this is what I saw…(wait for it…wait for it…)

And because my Parent of the Year Award is long overdue, I never miss an opportunity to make fun of myself and my parenting skills, I posted this to Facebook:

Nick on Slide

Facebook likes my many parenting triumphs fails.

One week later, our family gathered for the annual Cousins and Crabs feast. Over a pile of steaming, delicious hard crabs, my cousin Joe from Florida told me that his family had coined a new phrase. “We now call it ‘Nicking someone off’ whenever we see someone giving the finger”.

Which made me want to do this:

Hot damn...Best. Parent. EVER.

Hot damn…Best. Parent. EVER.

So, anyone who disagrees with my parenting style in the future…well I’m just going to Nick them off.


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Not the Caribbean

My parents are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year. About 2 years ago, my mom said to my three sisters and I:

“I’m thinking we should do something special as a family for our 50th wedding anniversary in 2015. Your dad I would like take all of you kids and the grandkids on a nice vacation. Someplace like the Caribbean or a cruise the week between Christmas and New Years.”

Which made us feel like:

keep-calm-we-re-going-to-the-caribbean-bitchesand

kristen-wiig-gif-party

Our kids (there are seven kids among the three of us who have them) were also very excited, because they had visions of Atlantis and Disney cruises dancing in their heads:

Swim with dolphins - hell to the yeah.

Swim with dolphins in Atlantis? Hell to the yeah.

Awesome waterslide on a Disney cruise? More hell to the yeah!

Awesome waterslide on a Disney cruise? Even more hell to the yeah!

Last year, a couple of us asked mom if plans for the trip were starting to gel since we would need to request time off from work for dipping our toes in the sand and soaking our livers in alcohol. And that’s when we got a huge shock:

“Girls…I’ve picked the location. Your dad and I are very excited — next July, we are going to the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, VA!”

Wait...what...I think I misheard you. Did you say Beach or Boar's? And you meant Virgin Islands, not Virginia, right?

Wait…what…I think I misheard you. Did you say Beach or Boar’s? And you meant Virgin Islands, not Virginia, right?

Each of my sisters and I had a similar reaction:

Me: I think I need a longer Q-tip because my ears think they heard we are not going anywhere beachy.

Me: “My ears must be fucking clogged, because I swear I just heard we are not going anywhere near a beach or copious amounts of rum drinks served by cabana boys husbands.”

Diane: I live in Canada...you are fucking with me about this July in the humid backwoods of Virginia, right?

Diane: “I live in Canada. You are fucking with me about this whole July in the humid backwoods of Virginia, and not a sunny beach in the dead of Winter, right?”

Nancy: "I don't have kids or a husband, but I do know a vacation buzz kill when I hear one."

Nancy: “I don’t have kids or a husband, but I do know a vacation buzz kill when I fucking hear one.”

Susan: "Are you kidding me with this? I already had my bikinis picked out."

Susan: “Are you fucking kidding me with this? I already had my bikinis picked out.”

So, we started a new mantra:

keep-calm-it-s-not-the-caribbean-bitches

We explained to our kids that the destination their grandparents picked (and were paying for) didn’t have dolphin swims, water slides, and beaches. But we reassured them that a high-end, adult resort would be just as fun with none of those things golf, tennis, and a swimming pool.

Since my sisters and I have done such a good job of raising our kids, my teenage and pre-teen nieces reacted fine:

If I was on a beach I wouldn't care if I couldn't snapchat with my friends.

If I was on a beach I wouldn’t care if I couldn’t Snapchat with my friends. 

And my sons and nephews were calm about the change of plans:

No water slides and no dolphins? UGH!

No water slides and no dolphins? And probably no ESPN either. UGH!

I just don’t understand where our kids get this attitude from…

Sign up on my office at work.

Sign I put up on my office at work. A co-worker tried to make me feel better by pointing out how overrated sun, sand, and rum drinks really are.

OK…so maybe my sisters and I need to adjust our attitudes a bit. This place does have 3 pools. There is sand in the traps on the golf course. And I’m sure they will overcharge us for yummy rum drinks, just like they would on an island or a cruise ship.

So, even though it’s not the Caribbean…

This. This right here.

This. This right here.