A Side of Rice

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


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Photo Bombs

Every year, it’s the same thing. I get a shitload of grief about the holiday pictures I like to take and include in the gazillion Christmas Cards I send out.

When the boys were younger, we headed to JC Penney for a massive migraine-inducing photo session, exacerbated by 1) the behavior of very young boys who wouldn’t sit still for photos, 2) the snarking of the husband about how long it took me to pick photos, and 3) the cashier telling me how much I owed for the photos.

A year ago, I decided to take my own photos and pay Walmart to make the prints for a fraction of the cost, at a fraction of the wait time, at a fraction of the migraine.  That turned out pretty well, except for the fact that photo pick up is the same place as ship-to-store pick up. And Walmart only puts one cashier at that checkout.

The other downside is my husband barks about having to put the tree up so early, so I can use that as the background in my photos. Just drag the damn tree up from the basement already, Grinch-o.

This year Nick was up first, but he’s a difficult picture taker when it’s posed. And here’s the proof of that:

But then I got the money shot:

IMG_9012A

Of course, I had to crop his hands out, which were stuck in his pockets:

IMG_9012

Alex is a great picture taker, so it only took three attempts to get his:

IMG_9010

Good

IMG_9009

Better

IMG_9011

Best

A picture of the two of them is always such a delight to pull together. Because with two pre-teen boys there’s absolutely no fooling around, or forgetting to smile, of course:

It only took 2 ibuprofen to get two good shots, although you see what I mean by Nick and his posed expressions. But I love the impish look in the second picture and I couldn’t resist ordering it:

IMG_9014AIMG_9016A

For the record, the best picture taker of the day was Mocha and I don’t even get prints made of her:

IMG_9023

One and done, bitches

One final insult…when I placed my order, I messed up. I ordered double the number of wallets of each pose that I needed, because I obviously suck a basic math. So, everyone gets two Rice poses in their card this year.

But at least I only use a fraction of the ibuprofen I used to.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 


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Thanksgiving Redux: Travelog Stardate 11-24-10

This year, we won’t be making the 5 1/2 hour trek to Charleston, WV to my father-in-law and his wife’s house. Six hours, if you add in the fine dining stop just outside of Morgantown, WV at any one of a variety of eating establishments that offer drive-thru as an ordering option.

Because those losers they are spending this Thanksgiving in Myrtle Beach. And we are going to be suffering through Snowgiving here in the mid-Atlantic.

So, I dusted off an old blog post about our first trip there five years, 1 dog, and 1 Honda Odyssey ago.  May your Thanksgiving travel adventures go as smoothly.

Well, technically for my family it was Christmas when the cops got called...(true story)

Well, technically for my family it was Christmas when the cops got called…(true story)

Originally posted November 25, 2010

Away we go to the grandparent’s house!

10:00am Scheduled departure time.

10:15am Search ends for the extra DS stylus so that both boys can play their units at the same time. Mommy successfully convinces at least one kid that an Egyptian Mossy Nile eyeliner pencil can make Mario jump higher than ever (cap ON please!).

10:27am Actual departure time.

10:28am Mommy passes tissue back to Alex to remove the Egyptian Mossy Nile eyeliner that is now covering his DS screen. Eff’ing CAP ON is the revised instruction.

10:30am Nick asks how many more minutes until we get there. Mommy laughs and tells Nick “It’s a 5 hour trip honey. We have a ways to go”.

11:02am Nick asks how many more minutes until we get there. Mommy smirks and says “It’s only been a half hour Nick. 270 more to go!”

11:05am Mommy suggests we play the “I spy” alphabet game.

11:16am Mommy is disappointed at how quickly the alphabet game ended, having just refereed whether a “Z” in Quiznos sign found by Nick or on a license plate found by Alex was the first spied and shouted out. Mommy calls it a tie.

11:21am Daddy finds the real “Z” when his snoring commences. Mommy is left to multi-task, driving and try to decipher the directions daddy wrote down.

11:46am Mommy wakes daddy to ask about the directions he wrote down, as the 12 mile distance has come and gone and Route 79 South has not yet materialized. Daddy points out that what he wrote clearly says 112 miles so we have quite a distance to go before we hit Route 79 South. He then returns to snoring. 12 with some scribble in front of it — or 112? You decide:

Directions

12 or 112? You decide

11:58am Nick asks when we are going to have lunch. Mommy promises in 45 minutes she will wake daddy up so we can stop and have lunch.

12:09pm We pass Pigs Ear Road. Really? Out here in the country all the Main Streets and Elm Blvds had been used up and you were only left with Pigs Ear Road? Extra disappointed this is spotted while we are still in Maryland and not after we have crossed into West Virginia.

12:17pm Dog farts. Dog pants in the direction of mommy which smells like farts.

12:17:01pm Mommy makes mental note to buy SuperSaver bag of breath buster treats for dog.

12:45pm Nick asks how many more minutes until we stop for lunch. Mommy replies “the minute I see the next fast food sign”.

12:50pm Family lunches at Burger King. Everyone takes potty break. Mommy determines that even with a 3-layer paper seat protector, it is the coldest (but cleanest!) public toilet she has ever had to sit on.

1:25pm Nick asks how many more minutes; Mommy clenches teeth and says “at least 2 1/2 hours – convert it to minutes yourself”.

1:25:01pm – 4:00pm Nick does not ask how many more minutes are left.

2:04pm Mommy spots bumper sticker “Paddle faster. I hear banjo music”. Mommy laughs out loud.

2:04:03pm Mommy realizes bumper sticker is probably a friendly warning to visitors in the area. Bumper sticker suddenly not as funny as mommy first thought.

2:37pm Queen’s We Will Rock You/We are the Champions comes on the radio. Alex and Nick sing along.

2:37:15pm Freddie Mercury turns in his grave. Surviving members of Queen contact copyright attorney to file lawsuit.

2:49pm Alex asks to stop for a potty break. We pick the next Rest Area and I say to Alex “I want you to go in the ladies room with me since dad is going to walk the dog. Sometimes there are strange people at rest stops”. To which Nick says “You mean like people who smoke?”.

3:07pm Alex points out the second set of heavenward pointing hooves he has spotted in the back of a pickup truck in the last five minutes. Mommy explains that some people like venison as much as turkey on Thanksgiving. Nick asks if any of the dead deer are related to Bambi’s mom.

3:16pm Mommy observes many pickup trucks on the side of the highway and thinks that Senator Byrd should have worked harder to push for better automechanic legislative guidelines in his state, given all the broken down pick up trucks.

3:17pm While passing another group of pickup trucks on the side of the road, mommy realizes the mechanics in West Virginia are not substandard as originally thought. Rather, this is where the hunters are parking as they go off into the woods on the side of the highway. Her first clue? All the guys in camo and bright orange with their guns slung over their shoulder, pointing in the direction of the highway.

3:17:01pm Mommy says a silent prayer that none of these yahoos gets turned around in the woods and fires in the direction of the highway, mistaking a Buick in need of a new muffler for 10-point buck that would feed a family of 8.

3:30pm Charleston is spotted on the horizon. Alex asks if they get the NFL and RedZone channels “way out here”.

3:45pm Unplanned stop at gas station when Google directions indicate a left turn onto Angel Terrace. Angel Terrace is actually spotted on the right. Call placed to grandad who informs us that Angel Terrace does not factor into the directions at all. Mommy makes mental note to fire off nasty letter to Google map coders, a la the infamous “Always Letter”.

4:00pm Arrive at Grandad and Granny Lori’s house.

4:00:01pm Realize that on Friday, we get to do it all again. In reverse.


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Party City Pooper

After a year off, our boys decided they want to go trick or treating this Halloween. Because — in their words — “why would we eat your homemade Rolo-stuffed snickerdoodle cookies, when there’s lots of free chocolate we could get?”

Is it wrong that I hope they get nothing but pretzels and Jolly Ranchers when they make the trek through our neighborhood this October 31?

On Saturday after my son Nick’s football bowl game, we went to Party City to make costume selections. Much to my husband’s annoyance, I had painted a royal blue paw on my face in support of Nick’s team for the game. I saw another mom in the store with not only face paint, but sparkles in her face paint. I said to my husband, “at least I don’t go that crazy.”  My husband grumbled back something to the effect of “any crazy is still crazy.”

While I searched the store for white M&Ms for a baking project, my husband took charge of the costume procurement. After an unsuccessful search for M&Ms, I returned to the back of the store, which was pretty much a costume clusterfuck, late Saturday afternoon, just 6 days before Halloween.

Nick was busy trying to select which ninja he would like to be. I scanned the photos of the costumes on the wall. When I noticed the prices, I remarked “I can make you a ninja costume out of a black bedsheet. We can spend the $40 we’d save on whatever chocolate you want.”

No sale.

I asked my husband where Alex was, and he said “Oh, he’s already picked his. Alex, come show mom your costume.”

And Alex showed me the package, which had this picture on it:

um...no

um…no

 

At which point I may have snapped my head in the direction of his dad and hissed:

Verbatim.

Verbatim.

 

My husband looked at me like this:

Except my husband isn't Iron Man

My husband has mastered the eye roll, but he’s no Iron Man

And said “what the hell is wrong with this thing … (grabbing the costume package from Alex and reading the name) … this SlenderMan thing?”

I muttered at my husband, “those girls…stabbing…a friend…inspired by SlenderMan,” was the best I could do through clenched teeth. Alex was puzzled, having no idea why this black and white costume with the funny long fingers was causing such an issue.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” my husband said. “He doesn’t even know about that.”

Luckily, my head didn’t explode and I was able to respond. Not through clenched teeth. Not because I was PMSing (ok, I was, but that’s not why this had lit my fuse). Not because I’m the meanest mom ever. Not because I was trying to be difficult and prolong the shopping experience for my husband, who didn’t want to buy costumes anyway.

But because this costume represents something that was related to a story so vile…so mind-numbing…so unbelievable. And so close to home, given that the perpetrators of the horrific crime were the same age as my son.

And my 12 year old son was not going to glorify that in any way. Nor was anyone responsible for SlenderMan going to profit from my purse.

I turned to my son and explained — more calmly than I felt —  “Alex, this costume is related to a very bad story in the media. Some young kids your age used this character as a role model in a disgusting way to hurt one of their friends. And I can’t in good faith let you go out dressed like this for Halloween.”

My husband quietly said “go pick something else, Alex.”

And without any complaining (aside from how long it would take to get the new selection since there were so many people also in desperate search of a costume), Alex picked a ninja morph suit.

Some may call me a real party pooper. And to them I say,  I’ll take being a party pooper any day, over being someone who doesn’t give a shit at all.


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Shon Me the Money

Earlier in December, this showed up in my Facebook newsfeed:

A wedding AND Journey preforming? Do you take credit cards?

A wedding AND Journey preforming…for only $14.95! Where’s my credit card?

I’m wondering if the very special guests included Neal and Michaele’s plastic surgeon. Maybe that’s the next pay-per-view event the newly married Shons will share with us. From Winter Wonderland Wedding to Surgery & Suture Spectacular.

It got me thinking … could the Rice family generate a little revenue by PPVing our life?

And I realized — once I created some ads — that we might generate a little revenue. A very little revenue.

Because who the hell wants to see this, when they can probably watch it play out in their own family. For free:

Why don't I have piles of money in my family room, instead of piles of laundry?

Why don’t I have piles of money in my family room, instead of piles of laundry?

Fuck a la la la ... is pretty much how my husband feels about all my Christmas decorations

Fuck a la la la … is pretty much how my husband feels about all my Christmas decorations

The boys be ballin'. The parents be bawlin'.

The boys be ballin’. The parents be bawlin’.

Yep, a Rice Pay-Per-View life wouldn’t generate a damn dime. Who’s crying now?


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Picture Perfect

For the past 11  years — with the exception of 2012 — I have dragged the kids and husband joyfully planned a trip to a professional photography studio to get the annual Christmas photos of the kids.

I do this because I tuck wallet size copies into each of the 140+ Christmas cards I mail each year. I always receive compliments on how nice the photos turn out. Unfortunately, the compliments never outnumber the total times my husband reminds me that “Stamps aren’t free, for fuck’s sake. Can’t you just send e-mails?”

I must admit that the photos have turned out marvelously each year. If only family and friends could see the back story of how we get to ‘cheerful holiday grins’ from ‘DEF-CON level 1’.

Imagine if you will:

  • Two boys, who as they have grown older, prefer not to touch each other, lean toward one another, or behave nicely toward one another as the photographer is trying to pose them.
  • A mom who bribes her children with the promise of milkshakes at Red Robin if they will just sit still for one freakin’ minute so we can get the damn picture already.
  • A wife who bribes her husband with the promise of unlimited sports watching for the remainder of the weekend if he will just clam the ‘ef up already about how much he hates doing the pictures each year.
  • A husband who mutters under his breath so that his wife can’t understand what he is saying, but she knows for sure (based on his tone) how much he hates the whole production. Note that the clarity of the muttering tends to increase sporadically so that words and phrases like “stupid”, “waste of time”, “missing the game”, and “not worth it” are what his wife does hear.
  • Making the JC Penney Portrait Studios staff and customers there for holiday photos completely uncomfortable as the mom does not mutter — but snaps at her husband very clearly — “Jesus Christ! I’m not asking you to lop off a nut. I only do this once a year. Stop being such a damn Grinch.”

To avoid DEF-CON 1 this year, I decided I would take the photo myself. I ordered wallets for pick-up at a local discount store that promised photos from online orders in an hour.

And here’s how the do-it-myself photo shoot improved things:

  • Realizing that just because we aren’t being watched carefully by store security, we still have two boys, who as they have grown older, prefer not to touch each other, lean toward one another, or behave nicely toward one another as the photographer is trying to pose them.
  • A mom who barks at — and is no longer willing to bribe — her kids to just sit still for one freakin’ minute so we can get the damn picture already.
  • A wife who bribes her husband with the promise of unlimited sports watching for the remainder of the weekend if he will just clam the ‘ef up already about how much he hates having to put the tree up earlier than usual so that his wife can take the picture herself.
  • A husband who mutters under his breath so that his wife can’t understand what he is saying, but she knows for sure (based on his tone) how much he hates the whole production. Note that the clarity of the muttering tends to increase sporadically so that the words and phrases “stupid”, “waste of time”, “better be cheaper”, and “not worth it” are what his wife does hear.
  • Making the staff at Walmart Photo Center pick up line completely uncomfortable as the mom does not mutter — but enunciates very clearly — “Jesus Christ! I’m not asking you to lop off a nut. I just need you to save my place in line while I go get some gingerbread M&Ms. Stop being such a damn Grinch.”

Here are the fruits of my photography labors. Happy Holidays, readers!


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Heart Break

I saw tons of great heart-inspired photos on Facebook today.

Photo courtesy of Smirnoff Ice

Photo courtesy of Smirnoff Ice

Photo courtesy of Top Chef

Photo courtesy of Top Chef

Photo courtesy of Lab Rescue, LRCP

Photo courtesy of Lab Rescue, LRCP

But then these two photos showed up in my news feed*, one right after the other.
*Names of my friends have been edited out.

sigh

sigh

The photo on the bottom is certainly an expression of free speech — evidently God, Guns, and Free Speech’s right to free speech, on Facebook. The other is an expression of sorrow and loss of lives gone too soon. I can only get behind one of these causes (Sandy Hook), even though both causes were posted by friends of mine.

It reminded me that while there are things that should bring us together, there are still many more things that tear us apart.

And that, on this Valentine’s Day, just breaks my heart.


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Rice with a Side of Mocha

We had lost our family pet back in May, after 12 wonderful years with her.  Our boys had recently been talking about getting another dog, and my husband and I decided we would do just that. It would be a surprise Christmas gift for the boys.

Last Sunday, we told Alex and Nick we were going to Bed Bath and Beyond because I had some things to pick up.  Oh, the wailing and gnashing of teeth that commenced.  “Geez!”, Alex cried out.  “Do we have to go? Mom takes FORever in that store. She looks at EVERYthing — some things more than once.  It takes her HOURS to make a decision about what to buy. And it’s filled with boring stuff like kitchen crap.  Cookie and cake pans — like, who cares?”.  Nick offered this succinct suggestion, “Can us boys go next door to Sports Authority with dad instead, because Bed Bath and Beyond is stupid for kids”.

As we pulled into the parking lot that morning, I said “Boys, we have a surprise for you. We’re not going to Bed Bath and Beyond.  We are going next door to PetSmart because they are having a dog adoption event.”  There were whoops of happiness from the backseat as we parked the minivan.  I can’t be sure — were they more excited we were getting a dog, or that they weren’t going to be dragged into Bed Bath and Beyond?

We ended up selecting a 10 month old female chocolate lab, whose name was Galaxy.  Our first order of business — after dropping a bunch of money at PetSmart — was to rename our new dog.  Later that evening after careful consideration and a number of helpful outbursts from my husband like “holy crap, that’s a ridiculous name for a dog”, Alex came up with the name Mocha.

However, after a week of living with the not-yet adult dog, it is clear we could have come up with names that are more clever than another name for chocolate. And a more appropriate description of her behavior. Here’s my list of suggestions:

  • Get that out of your mouth
  • Get off the couch
  • Husband: "No way is this dog getting up on the couch."   How's that working out for ya, honey?

    Husband: “No way is this dog getting up on the couch.” How’s that working out for ya, honey?

  • Stop licking yourself there
  • Stop licking yourself there while you are on the couch
  • Socks are not chew toys
  • Christmas decorations are not chew toys
  • Shoes are not chew toys
  • I am not a chew toy
  • Why can’t you chew that ugly “disco snowman” decoration we got from our in-laws?
  • Drop it
  • DROP IT
  • DROP IT, DAMN IT
  • People food is not for dogs
  • She must be a chocolate lab, based on her interest in the ice cream all over Alex's face

    She must be a chocolate lab, based on her interest in the ice cream all over Alex’s face

  • Paws off the counter
  • Paws and snout off the counter
  • Get your snout out of the pizza on the counter!
  • Just move the cheese around and give that slice to dad since he didn’t see anything
  • Get off the bed
  • THIS is your bed.  Not the one I sleep in.

    THIS is your bed. I don’t want to share mine.

  • Get off my side of the bed
  • Get off my side of the bed if you are going to lick yourself there
  • Get the hell off my side of the bed if you are going to lick yourself there at 4:00am
  • Bring me paper towels
  • Bring me the carpet cleaner
  • This one’s a doozy…bring me the wet vac
  • Go outside and play with Luna – wear yourself out
  • Mocha and Luna have become fast fence friends

    Mocha and Luna have become fast fence friends

  • Who destroyed this baseball?
  • Who destroyed this frisbee?
  • Who’s brilliant idea was it to get a dog?
Welcome home Mocha

Welcome home Mocha

Thanks to Lab Rescue for our wonderful new family member, Mocha.