A Side of Rice

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

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10 Keys to a Great Vacation

You know it’s gonna be a great vacation when the morning you are scheduled to leave starts like this:

  • Husband: “who moved my keys?”
  • Me: “Last I saw them was on the table, as I was packing the car.”
  • Oldest Son, as he yanks earbuds out: “Huh?”
  • Youngest Son, as he watches a YouTube video: “Not me.”

Which led to this from my husband: Annoyed dad

So — a half an hour of frantic searching, much cussing and still no keys later — we were on our way to Myrtle Beach, SC. I believe the infamous shoving off pronouncement was “you people better hope you remember which one of you moved my keys and where you put them by the time we get home”, which generated the following response from me:


And the following responses from our boys:

  • Oldest Son, as he yanks earbuds out: “What?”
  • Youngest Son, as he watches a YouTube video: “OK.”

The first full day of our vacation, as all the electronic device chargers/cords were unpacked, my husband sheepishly said “Oh, I found my keys. Someone must have grabbed them with all the cords and thrown them in this bag.”

Which generated the following response from me:


And the following responses from our boys:

  • Oldest Son, as he yanks earbuds out: “No thanks.”
  • Youngest Son, as he watches a YouTube video: “Sure.”

Later in the week, after a day at the beach, the second key to the rental condo went missing. My husband’s questions were “Oh for fuck’s sake, who took the key to the beach?”, “Why did we buy a beach bag without zipper compartments?”, and the always helpful “Can any of you remember where you put the damn key?”

Which generated this from me:


And the following responses from our boys:

  • Oldest Son, as he yanks earbuds out: “I’m not.”
  • Youngest Son, as he watches a YouTube video: “In a minute.”

Finally, on our last night, after thoroughly checking each beach bag, tearing the cushions off the sofa, and pulling everything out of the car to search for the key, I queried my husband with “did you check the pockets of all your shorts?”

Which generated this from him:


And the following responses from our boys:

  • Oldest Son, as he yanks earbuds out: “I’ll take a Hot Pocket.”
  • Youngest Son, as he watches a YouTube video: “I don’t like Hot Pockets, can we have something else?”

And this response from me, when — lo and behold — the missing key was found in a pair of his shorts.


And our kids were quick to pile on:

  • Oldest Son, as he yanks earbuds out: “Nick did it.”
  • Youngest Son, as he watches a YouTube video: “Wait…what?”

So, aside from not losing your actual keys or your rented condo keys, the proverbial keys to a great vacation are as follows:

  1. Don’t be surprised by everyone sleeping through the early morning trek to your destination, especially when traffic is at a complete standstill

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2. Let your kid ham it up whenever possible for the best photo ops IMG_1669

3. Feed teenagers on a regular basis, as they appear their happiest when they are eating.IMG_1673

4. Embrace the fact that you’re raising goof ballsIMG_1713

5. Your mantra for the week should be “Shut up liver. You’re fine.”IMG_1678.JPG

6. Be ready for rounds of golf taking longer than normal with non-pros in your foursome

7. In addition to feeding teenagers, a sure way to get a thumbs-up is with a day at the water park IMG_1686

8. Don’t over-stress picture taking…you won’t have to work very hard to get photos where your kids appear as if they actually like one another (light up ferris wheel and water park not always included)IMG_1759

9. Eat dessert


Limoncello cake with mascarpone frosting at Sole Restaurant in Myrtle Beach, SC

10. Be silly IMG_1762

Because that’s always better than taking silly things too seriously. Like “lost” keys, for instance.


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My Husband Has Some Set of Stones


On the way home from a week-long vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC, we stopped about 2 hours from home to grab dinner and get gas for the final leg of the trip. My husband ran into the bathroom and told us to order something, that he wasn’t hungry.

We ordered, ate and as we were clearing our trays he dashed out of the bathroom, through the side door and out to the car. I didn’t want to guess about why he felt so guilty scurrying out of the public restroom, so we headed to the car.

My husband was in the passenger seat when we got to the car and said “I’m not feeling so good. You’re going to have to drive.”

We had just gotten back on the interstate when he started moaning and groaning about his stomach and told me to get off again at the next exit. We spent another 20 minutes in the car, waiting for him to come out of the fast food restaurant we had stopped at.

When he finally emerged and got back into the car, he said to the kids “one of you dig around for a beach towel in the back and pass it up here. Fast!”

I’m pretty sure my face did this:


…because — frankly — I had no idea which end of him he needed it for.

He started retching into the towel. I asked him if he wanted me to find the closest emergency room and wincing, he coughed out “no, just get me home.”

And so we drove the remaining hour and a half home, with him periodically coughing/spitting into the towel that I would be burning once we got home. The moaning and groaning continued at a pretty consistent pace.

When we arrived home, he jumped out of the car and ran to unlock the door. He headed upstairs to the bathroom. The boys and I unloaded the bikes, as well as all the suitcases and gear we had packed into the car for the trek home.

We had finished bringing everything in and my ass had literally just hit the cushion of the chair after a nearly 10 hour drive home, when my husband called downstairs, “Becky, you’re going to need to take me to the ER.”

So, on a Saturday night at 10:00pm I drove my husband to the ER. I dropped him off at the front door, found a parking spot, and rushed in. Though, just 8 weeks post-surgery to rebuild my Achilles, my rush was more like an interesting Frankenstein-ish fast hop-walk.

When I got into the ER, they were already checking him in. We headed back to the triage area and our own bay. The basic testing began with the collection of blood and urine.

I found the atmosphere quite interesting on a Saturday night:

  • There was the guy in a bay around the corner arguing loudly with the nurses, security officers, custodian — anyone who happened by his bay, really — about what a “crock of shit you fuckers are for not giving me some meds.” He added as many cuss words to every sentence as he possibly could and elevated his voice to levels any Real Housewife would be proud of. And he also repeatedly demanded the badge number of the security officers and told the nurse he was “the kind of man to make her dreams come true.” Which made my face do this:NeeNeeGif
  • There was the couple in the bay next to us who were arguing over who would get the next body piercing when the insurance check from the settlement came in. And my face responded appropriately:JJudy

And then there was my husband. He couldn’t sit still. He couldn’t stand up. He couldn’t lay down. Nothing was comfortable. He blurted out “don’t they know I could possibly be dying here?!”  Which made me want to do this:


But instead, I said “honey, they have your test results and if there was any indication in your initial blood work of a need to be admitted to the hospital, I’m sure they’d be on it. It’s Saturday night and there are many sick people here.”

The pain continued, bad enough at two separate points that two different nurses poked their heads in and asked if everything was ok. The second time, my husband snapped “no, or I wouldn’t be complaining.” Which I’m sure made the nurse feel like:


and me feel like:


The nurse said to him “You know, any time I’ve seen a man in the ER in this kind of pain and with these symptoms, it turns out to be kidney stones.” She then turned to me and said “which people say is very similar to the labor pains a woman experiences during delivery.”

And I’m not sure if it was the delirium of being in so much pain or just stupidity, but my husband blurted out “well she had two c-sections, so it’s not the same.”

And then my face did a whole bunch of this:


I couldn’t believe the set of stones on nerve of this dude. So I quickly blurted out “Oh, you’re right honey. Slicing directly into my abdomen, shoving internal organs aside, jerking/yanking out a baby, and sewing me back up — twice — is not the same at all.” I couldn’t help but add “and let’s not forget that in December, I drove myself to the ER at 1am with a bulging disc, severe sciatica and numbness in half of my foot.”

I then turned to the nurse and said “maybe some pain meds will help ease his discomfort and keep his yap shut. Can ya hook him up?”

A nurse administered a quick shot of morphine, but it didn’t do much. Finally, his attending nurse came in to administer a pain killer through an IV, which did three things:

  1. relieved his pain
  2. made him sleepy
  3. shut him the hell up

He was wheeled to radiology for a sonogram of his mid-section which gave us confirmation of the initial diagnosis from labs and presenting symptoms. And the nurse had been correct, my husband was the only person ever to have pain and need relief had a kidney stone.

We were sent home with a prescription for Percocet, an antibiotic, FLOWMAX and instructions to drink lots of water.

Within 48 hours he passed the two stones. Without pain. Without moaning/groaning.

And without too much empathy from me. Because — both literally and metaphorically — that set of stones on my husband is not something I ever want to deal with again.





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…


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


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


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


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.


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:



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:


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.


What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

In April, I found myself in the very unexpected position of being unemployed. Luckily, I had my husband to reassure me during my job search with such uplifting encouragement like — “suck it up, don’t get comfortable being an effin’ mooch and put that MBA from Hopkins to good use”.

Because I was on the hunt for a job, my Summer turned out to be nothing like I had anticipated. I no longer had to subject myself to the daily freak show that is the commuter bus/train/metro experience. I had the opportunity to really assess my professional strengths and weaknesses. And I was forced to delighted to volunteer for my kids’ activities at school.

In just 114 days, I found a new job. And not a moment too soon. Because here’s what I learned during my Summer vacation:

  • Once I harvest multiple moonstones, I don’t have enough coins to buy special gems in Bejeweled Blitz.
  • The parents of the kids on my son’s little league team seem to like my cookies better than the actual kids on my son’s little league team. They now refer to me as “cookie lady”, which makes me feel like someone being featured on Hoarders who can’t find her kitchen due to having the world’s largest collection of Girl Scout cookie boxes.
  • Having to handwash dishes is a real bitch on my manicure.
  • I should be thankful I only have two kids to take shoe shopping.
  • It takes an average of 20 hours a week to conduct a successful job search. It takes another 4,354,567 hours per week to accomplish all the other things that need to get done when you are “not working”.
  • No offense to Wendi Aarons, but she really needs to work on her benefits plan if she wants someone to apply for this job.
  • The inferno frog power in Zuma Blitz eats up my mojo points, but getting one extra inferno frog shot is soooo worth it.
  • Stay-at-home parent is code for hardest working person on the planet.
  • The average time it takes for my 8 and 9 year old to begin fighting over whose turn it is to play the xBox is about .0001 of a second before my head explodes.
  • There is more than one famous Beyonce on planet Earth.
  • Tequilla tastes good. And it doesn’t even ruin the taste when you add margarita mix, ice cubes and salt.
  • I am not the only person who gets her important world news from weekly magazines.
  • If I check the American Express bill statement carefully enough, I will notice that my husband bought $10 worth of facebook credits for all the games he plays.
  • When my husband checks the American Express bill statement, he won’t notice all the mani/pedi appointments I had while I was unemployed. Because I charged them all on the Visa bill. Which he doesn’t look at.