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?

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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:

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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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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:

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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.

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

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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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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?

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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:

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But would actually turn out like this:

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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:

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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:

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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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Some Ground Rules for Summer Vacation

The beginning of the kids’ summer vacation happens to coincide with the week of my husband’s annual golfing vacation with his dad and brothers. How convenient is that for everyone…other than me?

So in order to give myself a little more convenience, I have decided to institute the following rules after only one day into the decidedly too-short break from someone else  watching my kids school.

Rule #1: When you are asked to clean the lint out of the dryer before the next load goes in, the lint goes one place. And that place is not on top of the dryer you were just asked to clean it out of.  By not putting lint in the trashcan, you have just moved the potential fire hazard from inside the dryer to on top of the dryer. Gross. And no.IMG_1425

Rule #2: When you are asked to help with the laundry (and once you have the whole lint thing figured out), “taking care of it” does not mean shoving the clean clothes into baskets and dropping them in the middle of the family room floor as you race back to the to play on your iPad. While I’m thrilled you can kick ass at whatever game you are playing or that you can delight in watching inappropriate videos/Vines, I would much rather have you take pride in kicking ass at folding laundry and putting it away. IMG_1427

Rule #3: We don’t need to pull out every cooler we own to figure out which one to use when we go to the pool. And once we do decide which cooler to use, we need to put away all the others before mom cracks her toe on one of them because she couldn’t see it, from carrying the last basket of clean clothes you ‘forgot about’ and left in the laundry room.IMG_1424

Rule #4: We don’t leave our size 12 canoes slides near the dogs’ dishes. Unless, of course, you like chasing Mocha and Jake in the backyard when they grab one and decide a game of keep away from the owner is the funnest damn thing ever. Which IT IS NOT.IMG_1426

Rule #5: This is a double whammy because backpacks taste like rawhide to dogs AND they cause quite the stumbling hazard for moms with that laundry basket you ‘forgot about’. Pick yours up from the middle of the floor and put it out-of-sight. Make sure it’s somewhere you won’t remember, so we can freak out the night before school starts in the fall, yelling at each other in a total panic about whose fault it is no one can remember where the #$%&-ing backpack was put for safe keeping just 9 weeks earlier.IMG_1428

Rule #6: All that shit that was in your backpack? It does not belong in the foyer. Or the floor of the foyer. Or my dining room table, the kitchen table, shoved in your closet, behind a dresser, or any other location you deem appropriate. It belongs in the trash. Because I don’t scrapbook, so just get rid of it.

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Rule #7: While I’m always excited about the prospect for new decorating ideas on the mantle in the family room, empty chocolate milk glasses ARE NOT DECORATION. They leave marks. They smell bad. They are tough to get clean once the milk and chocolate mixture has time to set. We can avoid all this by you putting it in the dishwasher the millisecond you are done drinking it. Or I can just stop buying chocolate syrup for milk altogether. Your choice.IMG_1431

Rule #8: iPads can be stored in a number of places. The recliner that the dog likes to jump on and sit in is not one of them.  You are tempting fate.

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Rule #8.5: If rule #8 is not adhered to and the dog does decide to jump in the recliner, breaking/ruining/scratching or otherwise rendering your iPad useless, it will not be replaced. And no, I will not download all those apps to my phone so you can use that instead.

I’m probably too busy cleaning lint off the top of the dryer to download apps, anyway.


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My 2016 Resolutions

Here’s my list of resolutions for the coming year. There are 16 in honor of the year 2016. And I’m going to own all these bitches.

  1. I resolve to find out why our HOA thinks building a basketball court in our neighborhood will attract the ‘wrong element’. Because — quite frankly — every time I pass the penis spray-painted on the sidewalk outside my home when I walk the dogs, I’m reminded that some of the ‘elements’ already in this neighborhood are wrong. Perhaps if the little fuckers had a basketball court, they’d have more time for slam dunking and less time for vandalism.
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    Maybe it’s just me, but a basketball court would leave neighborhood kids with less time to craft their pornographic spray-painting skills

  2. I resolve to only drink margaritas made with Patrón. Even if my husband barks about the cost (“$50 for one fucking bottle? That’s got to be a damn misprint.”). Because for whatever reason, many  a $15 margaritas made with the good stuff (almost) never gives me a headache the next day.                          .
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    I’ve done lots of research on this – hangovers are almost non-existent when you drink the top shelf shit.

  3. I resolve to not watch Bridget Jones’ Diary every time it comes on a movie channel. Even though it does clear the family room of boys who only want to watch NFL and NCAA football, MLB baseball, NCAA softball, NBA and NCAA basketball, NHL hockey, and SportsCenter. The following movies also clear the room: Hope Floats, Mean Girls, Magic Mike, and The Devil Wears Prada because they are all chick flicks. And even the dude comedies: Dodgeball: An Underdog Story, Role Models, Old School, 21 and 22 Jump Street, and (embarrassingly enough) Get Him to the Greek elicit a “how many damn times can you watch this movie?” inquiry, followed by a quick exodus. Another go-to for room-clearing is any of the Dateline, 20/20, 48 Hours Mystery re-runs on Investigation Discovery. If I resolve to do this, I don’t know how the hell any of the clean clothes will get folded.
  4. I resolve to fold and put away my clothes the minute they are out of the dryer. Which is in complete conflict with resolution #3, because if I’m doing mindless chores, I need some mindless entertainment. Regardless of available mindless entertainment, I really should be motivated — because grabbing a pair of fresh, folded underwear out of a drawer is much easier than digging it out of a basket of clean clothes I can’t see because it is so damn dark at 5:30am.
  5. I resolve to pay less money to the owners of Proctor and Gamble for cotton and cardboard. Though — truthfully — at age 49, Mother Nature may be taking care of that for me.
  6. I resolve to take and post on Facebook fewer covert photos (with snotty commentary) of the freaks I encounter on my Metro rides to and from work.  I mean, if you can’t say something nice, post it on Snapchat, so it doesn’t live forever and there is less of a chance you’ll be sued. Am I right?
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    Barefoot on the Metro. #SmellsLikeTeenFeet

  7. I resolve to try and figure out why Keeping Up With the Kardashians is so popular and makes Ryan Seacrest ass-loads of money. And why Keeping Up With the Rices wouldn’t even generate a sponsorship from Febreze (though — trust me when I tell you — Febreze would be interested if they had to ride in the car that hauls around the Rice boys’ football gear every Summer and Fall).
    Football gear in the van

    Smells like teen spirit funk

  8. I resolve to spend less time at urgent care for possible teenage broken bones. I hope my boys will comply. Because if not, I may have to kick their asses.
  9. I resolve to not schedule doctor’s appointments when my kids have games. Otherwise I might miss a melee when a parent from the other team goes after a parent from our team in the stands that results in a holiday tournament game being cancelled in the middle of the 3rd quarter. True fucking story that I had to hear about second hand (damn it) when it happened to my oldest son’s middle school basketball team. M.I.D.D.L.E. school, people.
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    If you can’t do either, just stay the fuck home.

  10. I resolve to have more alone time with my husband. Don’t we all resolve to do this each year, attempting to find couple time amidst going to work, kids’ sports, community obligations, chores, events, yard work, volunteer activities, etc? If someone can share the secret to doing this, I’m all ears. And my husband sends his thanks in advance.
  11. I resolve to let our dogs know: a) they don’t rule this house, b) the humans are in control, and c) that we won’t succumb to their every demand. I’ll let you know how that works out for us.

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  12. I resolve to try and explain again to my son Nick why he should not raise his middle finger every time he gets the urge. And I’ll try not to find it funny or post the evidence of him doing it on Facebook and Instagram, further cementing another year without a win in the Parent of the Year competition for me.

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  13. I resolve to try not to raise my middle finger every time I get the urge. However, it might be easier for me to abolish the word ‘fuck’ from my vocabulary. On second thought, fuck that.
  14. I resolve to spend more time making dinner and less time baking desserts. Well, let’s not kid ourselves. My family would be eating Chef Boyardee and cereal for dinner if it was up to me to nuke  order  actually make it.
  15. I resolve to not to fall for any more of those click-bait links. Except the quizzes…because I must know what type of unicorn fart I smell like, what Downton Abbey character I am most likely to marry, and what vegetable best personifies my sexual prowess. And I don’t want to miss the important stories about the 17 horribly aged celebrities, the top 10 creepiest family photos, the 30 awkward child stars who are now incredibly hot, the 16 awesome celebrity prom pictures, those 19 incredible movie mistakes, 12 celebrities I didn’t know went to Ivy League schools, the 36 incredible photos that will make my stomach drop, 13 kids with enough money to retire at age 18, and the rare photos that reveal the lives of men ruined by the Kardashians. (All real click-bait headlines!)
  16. I resolve to let you know next New Year’s Eve which of these resolutions I was able to keep. You should resolve not to hold your breath waiting for me to succeed at any of them.

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I Have Some Serious Kobe Numbers…Maybe I Should Retire Also

Basketball has never been my favorite sport. Not when I’m watching it on TV (college or NBA), or sitting in a smelly gym on sub-standard bleachers getting splinters in my ass while middle school teen boys make their best effort to score points and impress the middle school girls who have come to watch.

But I am impressed with Kobe Bryant’s incredible run with one team (his inability to stay faithful to one wife; not so impressive).  And his stats are amazing for what will be a 20-year career when he finally walks away from it all.

This week, he announced that he’s made the decision at the ripe old age of 37 and with a net worth of $360 million (give or take), to retire at the end of this season. At the ripe old age of 49, I believe I’ve got a net worth of $360 worth of glitter glue I will never use on projects I wish I had the time for.

With a solid decade on Kobe in terms of age, I decided to compare his career in basketball to my career in being a parent to kids who play sports. What I’ve found is that I have definitely put in some serious time, banked some serious numbers, and frankly, I should technically be ready for some serious retirement.

How ’bout we let the numbers speak for themselves:

Well, there you have it. Kobe’s 20 year career as a basketball pro vs my 13 year career as a mom. Look at the numbers I’ve amassed — and 7 years faster than Kobe. What a sparkling, shining, and shimmering example of pro motherhood.

Seems all that glitters is not just crafting glue.