Funny Tips to Survive Family Events (aka Betrayal Times 6!)

Funny Tips to Survive a Family Get-Together #funny #family #graduation #party #college #school #humor

So then…I smile that “oh-I’m-so-happy-to-be-here-but-secretly-I’m-dying-inside” smile at my sister’s family as I settle down into the metal folding chair for my nephew Brian’s graduation ceremony from a large Florida university.

A four-hour graduation ceremony.

Four hours of the college admin officials reading off names of the 732 college seniors that I don’t know, just so we can witness the 16 seconds it takes for my nephew’s name to be called and for him to accept the diploma.

I’ve flown cross-country for the event and have truly enjoyed spending time with my Mom and my sister’s family all weekend – and I’m delighted to witness my nephew’s accomplishment – but now is the hot, sweaty, mind-numbingly boring ceremony that I have to suffer through in the name of being a good auntie, sister, and daughter.

I had actually toyed with the idea of bringing a book! I love to read — and had, in fact, been reading a great book on the plane over to Florida which I could easily bring into the auditorium with me today.

But I could just imagine the shocked, stern look from my mother if I dared pull out a book at such a special occasion. And I could just imagine the hurt look on my sister’s face as I casually perused my tome while her first-born achieved his highest academic accomplishment. Not to mention, I would be a horrible role model for my other two nephews who are high school-aged. And I worry I’d get that disappointed shake of the head from my sister’s husband.

So I settle in for the long road ahead, on my hard metal chair, in the balcony, peering over the rail at the 732 college seniors on the main floor with my nephew. Their caps and gowns are a bright blue, against the backdrop of the thousands of friends and families who came to witness the momentous event.

As the speeches drone on, I am so out of my mind with boredom, I want to stick hot pokers in my eyes.

Then I see my youngest nephew next to me open a paperback and start reading!

My head snaps down the row to my sister to see if she has noticed this affront! But she is busy digging in her purse for her book! She hands a running magazine to her husband and her other son mumbles, “Where’s mine?” My sister reaches into her purse and hands him his book!

What the what! Are you kidding me?

I whip my head around to my Mom, to see if she is as shocked as I am – and she is fumbling in her purse for her book.

I kid you not.

My own mother. My upstanding, respectful, always appropriate mother. Et tu, Brute’?

The entire frikkin’ family each brought their own book to cope with this four-hour dull-athon – and I’m the only moron who was polite enough and caring enough and sweet enough to think I was supposed to pay respectful attention to the whole damn ceremony!

And did any of them think to let ME know their plan? Noooo.
And did any of them think to bring ME some reading material? Noooo.

I should ask my sister just like her son asked: “Where’s mine?” In fact, I should shout it LOUD in front of all these students and their families! WHERE IS MINE??!!

MINE is sitting on the table back in my frikkity-frik hotel room!

Oh the injustice.

So instead, I channel all my righteous indignation and outrage into paying SUPER CLOSE attention to everything that happens in the speeches, the ceremony, the calling of the graduates’ names.

I send telepathic messages to my nephew Brian, “I’m here for you, buddy. The rest of your family doesn’t care about you – they’re all reading BOOKS and MAGAZINES. But I’M paying attention. I’ll be able to converse with you about all the details of your special day. I’m on HYPER ALERT for you, buddy!”

When the ceremony finally ends, my ass has fallen asleep, and I am bored out of my skull — but I have painstakingly gathered all sorts of witty tidbits and thoughtful reflections to share with my graduating nephew.

I smile a little smugly as we exit the auditorium – me and the readers.

When we reach Brian, we all hug and congratulate him. Just as I am about to impress him with my observations, my sister asks him, “What’d you think of the ceremony?” —

— to which he replies, “Oh, it was so long! Thank God I had my book!”

I am not frikkin’ kidding.

This is a completely true story.

And I am still bitter about it.

*****
Always bring a book with you. Always. I don’t care if it’s a graduation, a recital, a wedding, or a frikkin’ funeral – BRING A FRIKKIN’ BOOK.

— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Mary Chowdhury

(Tell me your tales of graduations, recitals, and ceremonies that made you want to gouge your eyes out. How did YOU pass the time? Did YOU bring books? And if so, why the hell didn’t you tell ME to bring a book to that Florida graduation?) 

Mortified — in Public — in CHURCH!

MORTIFIED in Church!  Hilarious Humiliation in Front of the Whole Congregation! #funny #kids #parenting #Church #profanity #school #humor

So then…the little 2nd-graders march respectfully up the aisle and step up to surround the altar. They turn to face the congregation and we all smile at the girls in their sweet little white dresses and the boys in their handsome miniature suits.

It’s a gaggle of 20 kids in their Sunday best, hair slicked back, bows and veils, new bracelets, tiny ties, and shiny shoes. Today is the culmination of a year of religious study so they can now receive their First Holy Communion.

David and I beam at our son Tucker as he stands quietly, but fidgety, amongst his fellow Communicants. I’m dying to take a photo of Tucker, age 6 — but it’s frowned upon to do so in Church, during the Mass itself – and I don’t want to call any attention to myself, so I resist.

We have a great view because we snagged seats in a pew close to the altar on the right hand side. David and I are dressed up, proud as can be, and looking forward to celebrating with friends at brunch after Mass. Chloe’s three years old, so she’s “reading” a hymn book upside down.

Father Tom’s finishing up his sermon about the importance of First Holy Communion, which the children are only able to receive after they have completed the Sacrament of Reconciliation — the confessing of their sins.

He tells the parishioners, “It’s always interesting to hear the confessions of “sins” of 2nd-graders! They’re so young; they don’t get up to much mischief at this age!”

Everyone smiles.

Father Tom gently teases the congregation by saying, “However, I will say that some of the children confessed to using some very bad swear words — and I wonder where they heard that kind of language?”

Everyone grins.

Then Tucker, who is standing on the altar in front of the whole congregation, turns to face our side of the Church and POINTS HIS FINGER directly, and accusingly, at David and me.

Everyone bursts out laughing.

And stares directly at us.  (Us, the vile heathens who spew profanity in front of our impressionable young son.)

David and I are mortified. We scrunch down as low as possible in the pew.

Tucker is surprised at the reaction. His expression is basically: Father Tom asked a question – and I answered it – what’s the big deal?

I am going to kill him.

And yes, I will confess it to Father Tom.

And he’ll absolve me because it’s a purely justified homicide. Three Hail Mary’s and one Our Father, and I’m good to go.

— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Stefano Marchio

(Have your kids embarrassed YOU in public? Any mishaps in church or synagogue? Do YOUR kids know some salty swear words?)

What the Truck?

What the Truck Crop
So then…I walk out of the store to my car — and I see an advertising flyer stuck under my windshield wiper. I hate those.

I don’t want it in my car — and I don’t want to litter – and I’m too lazy to walk all the way to the trashcan — so I just put it under the windshield wiper of the truck next to me.

But as I turn to get into my car, I see a man exiting the store looking straight at me, frowning – and he is heading for the truck.

Oh, hell. He saw me!

What if he asks me, “Hey, what did you put on my truck?”

Should I say innocently, “Oh, I thought you might want that flyer.”

But I didn’t read the flyer, so what if it’s an ad for Weight Loss?

– or Hair Plugs?

– or Penile Implants?

– or For a Good Time Call…?

I don’t give him a chance to ask.

I just jump in my car and peel out of the parking lot!

— Darcy Perdu

(Have you been caught red-handed doing something you shouldn’t – or something embarrassing? Do you hate those flyers too? Do tell in the Comments Section!)

That Special Joy When Another Mom Notifies You Just How Oblivious Your Kid Is

That Special Joy When Another Mom Notifies You Just How Oblivious Your Kid Is -- Honestly, are ALL kids procrastinators or do some kids have a special knack for being COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS? SoThenStories.com #funny

So then…she nibbles the walnut brownie I baked and comments on how nicely Tucker and her son Andrew, both age 11, are playing basketball in our backyard.

I beam. This is the first time Linda’s son has come over.  (I’d even tidied up the house and baked some “get-to-know-you” brownies.)

“They’ve had a great afternoon,” I say. “Thanks for letting Andrew come home with us after school. Tucker’s really enjoyed hanging out with him.”

Linda nods, picks up Andrew’s backpack, and heads for the patio door to collect her son. She says, “Yeah, I almost had to cancel though, because Andrew hadn’t made enough progress on his International Fair project yet. But he did a lot last night, so he’s in pretty good shape.”

My pulse quickens. What International Fair project? I ask.

She looks at me as though I’m joking. “The one that’s due Monday.”

Today is Friday.

“Oh, is that, like an optional project, like for a Science Fair, or something?” I ask hopefully.

She turns to me, backpack on her shoulder, and says, “No, this is the big 6th grade History project they’ve supposed to have been working on all semester. Surely Tucker’s told you about it?”

I’m sure I’m turning bright red from embarrassment – and bright white from panic.

“Um, no, he hasn’t mentioned it. What’s due on Monday?”

Well, now she sets the backpack down and turns her attention completely toward me, and braces herself to tell me some very bad news.

“OK, each child picks a country, then they need to write a report on 6 topics of that country, like climate, cuisine, politics, religion, stuff like that.”

I gulp.  Sweat forms on my brow.

International Fair Darcy Concern
“Each report has to be typed up and pasted on a tri-fold poster board with artwork and photos,” she continues.

“Well, um, OK,” I stammer. “I..I think we can work on that this weekend. I can run to the crafts store for the poster board. We can probab-“

“Get the flag materials there too,” she interrupts.

“There’s a flag?” I ask.

“Yes, and a costume.”

“WHAT?”

“Yes, this is why they gave the kids all semester to work on it! They need to make that country’s flag out of fabric and put it on a stick because they’ll carry it in the procession. Then they also need to wear a costume that’s native to the country – it can be homemade, or maybe you have a friend or family member who has something from that country, or—“

She stops as she sees me sit down, about to hyperventilate.

I whisper, “I don’t even know what his country is.”

She winces.

International Fair Linda Explains
“OK, look, I hate to keep going, but you should know the kids also need to cook an authentic dish from their country.” She blurts it out very quickly like she’s ripping off a band-aid. “And they need to have enough bite-size servings for 40 students because all the 6th graders and their parents are invited to the International Fair – which is Monday.” Then super-fast she says, “And it’s 25% of their grade.”

She picks up the backpack again and turns toward the patio door. She looks back at me and I see indecision on her face. Should she flee the scene? Grab her son and run away, kissing him all over for having the good sense to tell her about the International Fair project months ago?

Or should she stay and comfort a fallen comrade in the Mommy Wars?

Please, my eyes beg her. Don’t abandon me. Explain more about this International Fair of which you speak. Help me, guide me, tell me my son’s frikking country, something, anything, for God’s sake. What’s your son’s country? Can our sons choose the same country? Can my son join your son and share his flag and his tri-fold and his cuisine? I beg of you…

Of course I don’t say any of those words out loud. But she can see them in my eyes. So she pats me on the shoulder, opens the patio door, and calls for Andrew.

The boys come running in. Linda says a nervous goodbye to an oblivious Tucker, hastily thanks me, hustles Andrew out the door, and snags another brownie on her way out.

Bitch. She annihilates me AND still has time to take a treat?

I shouldn’t have thought that. Of course she’s not a bitch. Why shoot the messenger when there is somebody much more appropriate to receive my wrath?

As the front door closes, I turn to Tucker, narrow my eyes, and ask in a chillingly low voice, “Did you know there was an International Fair project due on Monday?”

He stuffs a brownie bite in his mouth and says brightly, “Yeah, but it’s like a Science Fair or something – it’s optional.

I grip the handles of the chair. “Tucker.It.Is.Not.Optional.It.Is.25%.Of.Your.Grade!”

He shrugs, says, “Huh,” and takes another bite.

I look at him with wonder that this truly carefree child emanated from the womb of a Type A hyper-organized, compulsive pre-planner like myself.

“Linda said the teachers have been talking about this International Fair all semester. Did you think they would spend that much time talking about an optional project?” I ask.

He screws up his face and lifts his shoulders in a gesture of Hey, who knows what’s on the minds of those crazy teachers?

International Fair Tucker Shrugging
I take a breath. “Tucker,” I say. “Do you even know what country you have? And if you chose a country, what did you think you were choosing it FOR, since you thought the project was optional?

He finishes the last bite of the brownie and says, “Oh yeah, I chose Mexico. I thought it was like ‘Hey, where would you like to visit if you could pick any country?’ And I picked Mexico because I love Mexican food.”

“Well, I’m glad you do, Tucker. I’m glad you do. Because you are going to be making Mexican food all weekend. And a flag and a costume and 6 reports! YOU ARE GOING TO BE ALL MEXICO ALL THE TIME FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS!!”

And thus began one of the most painful, stressful weekends in the history of school projects.

Ay Caramba!

International Fair Tucker Color
— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustrations for So Then Stories created by Shelly at Shell Graphics

(Any projects that snuck up on you or your kids? Any surprise tests? Or how about the “oh-yeah-I-need-36-cupcakes-for-school-tomorrow-Mom” at 9:00 at night? Share your Stories and Comments below! I LOVE to read them!)

International Fair Hearing the News Color

Vaginas on Parade

Vaginas on Parade!  #funny #parade #holiday #humor

So then…my sister (who lives up north) and I try to find a week during the summer for us to get together with our kids. Here is our email exchange, starting with my sister Della – and ending with a HILARIOUSLY DISTURBING photo:

Can’t wait to see you guys this summer. We’re available June 21 – July 31. We’re not available Labor Day weekend. The kids have sports camps the first half of June – then I’m helping chaperone a camping trip for 12 kids from July 4-7. (Pray for me!) Thanks for organizing a get-together for us!
–Della

When is Labor Day?
–Darcy

Seriously? Don’t you own a calendar? September 2. We’re not available for Labor Day because we’ll be in Kansas.
–Della

OK, well, just FYI, we’re not available for Groundhog’s Day.
Or Summer Solstice.
Or Vaginal Itching Day.
Oh yeah, I’m sure you know when those dates are.
–Darcy

Isn’t every day Vaginal Itching Day?
–Della

Omigod, you’re hilarious! Yes, every day IS Vaginal Itching Day!
Did I mention that I’m saving our emails so I can publish them in a book?
–Darcy

Oh, snap. I take it back.
–Della

So then I decide to share the emails on this website – and I try to figure out what picture I could use to illustrate the story.

I know there can’t possibly be an actual “Vaginal Itching Day” – much less a Parade to celebrate it – but just for sh*ts and giggles, I Google it anyway – and I find this photo:

Parade Vagina

Oh.My.God.

Now I’m not saying that this is a Vaginal Itching Day Parade — but it does appear to be a parade of some kind — and vaginas do seem to figure prominently.

I love the internet.

So there you have it. Apparently there IS some sort of Vagina Day that we need to put on our calendars. So plan your summer vacation around THAT, everybody!

— Darcy Perdu

 to your Humor Board!

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(Will you be parading YOUR vagina this summer?  How will you decorate your float?)

Funny Difference between Boys & Girls – or Perhaps Personality Types?

Funniest Difference between Boys and Girls (The time those crazy dames made my son's head explode!)  #funny #boys #girls #school #humor

So then…Chloe gleefully slathers the glue all over the “roof” of the cardboard box, while her 5th grade classmate Hailey meticulously presses small stones and rocks into the glue.

The kitchen table is strewn with art materials, scissors, markers, cardboard, and enough rocks to fill a quarry.

The girls are in all their glory, painstakingly affixing the rocks one by one to cover the entire 17th century “house” for the school’s historical village project. It’s taking them hours — and they could not be happier.

Tucker, 7th grade, walks in the kitchen to grab a snack bar, sees the massive array of art materials scattered everywhere and asks, “Is that due tomorrow?”

(In Tucker’s world, one would never THINK of starting a project unless, in fact, it IS due tomorrow.) (Or sometimes even — due last week.)

Chloe, fingers dripping glue, looks up and says, “No, it’s due next month.”

Tucker’s face is perplexed. His brain is having difficulty grasping that concept.

He moves over to the table and looks closer at the stone house. He asks, “It’s for history, huh?”

Chloe places a white stone near the little chimney and says, “Yeah, it’s for extra credit.”

Now Tucker’s face depicts utter confusion.

His little brain is screaming: “What? Doing a project a month BEFORE it’s due — and you don’t even HAVE to do the project? WHAAAAAT?!?

He’s like one of those broken robots that keeps ramming its head into the wall, with arms robotically flailing, muttering, “THIS.DOES.NOT.COMPUTE. THIS.DOES.NOT.COMPUTE.”

His brain is literally about to EXPLODE.

Finally, he calms himself with the knowledge that no such absurdity would befall him.

He shakes his head at the folly of these little girls, slips a couple of the stones in his pocket unnoticed, takes a bite of the snack bar, and strolls out into his carefree life.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Is this a common difference between boys and girls? Or just the difference between personality types? Which category do your kids fall into – and do they get that from YOU?)

Illustrated for So Then Stories by Stefano Marchio

My Daughter’s Playdate is Driving Me BATTY!

So then…they stop squealing and giggling long enough for me to ask, “Would you like to eat at home or go out to lunch?”

Chloe and her first-grade classmate Penny shout “Go out to lunch!”

I rattle off some choices and when I mention an Italian restaurant, Penny exclaims, “I LOVE Italian food! Let’s go there!”

I’m delighted she’s voiced an opinion. She’s a rather quiet girl and this is our first real playdate with her, so I’m pleased she’s excited about this restaurant option.

When we arrive and review the menus, I wonder if she’ll go for the lasagna — or spaghetti and meatballs — or something really adventurous like gnocchi.
Playdate Italian Meals

Penny orders, “Noodles with no sauce and no butter.”
Playdate Plain Pasta(Seriously? We came all this way to an Italian restaurant so you could order plain noodles that I could have made for you at home in 10 minutes for about 10 cents? Um, OK.)

I say this to myself, while outwardly I smile cheerfully.

After lunch, we walk around the fountains and visit the bookstore. Then I offer, “Do you guys want to go to the drugstore for ice cream or Baskin-Robbins?”

Chloe shrugs to indicate either one is fine by her, but Penny says, “Baskin-Robbins! They have 31 flavors!”

Playdate 31 Flavors

Yep, you guessed it. At Baskin-Robbins, Penny chooses Vanilla.
Playdate Vanilla Ice Cream

OK, fine. Perhaps she has a tender palate. She’s only 6. I force myself not to judge her lack of creativity.

So then, we enter Color Me Mine for our afternoon activity of painting ceramics. I tell the girls they can choose anything they want from all the ceramics on the shelves – and not to even look at the pricing. (‘Cause I’m a big spender like that.)

Chloe excitedly checks out the heart-shaped vases, cow-shaped cookie jars, kitten-shaped banks – and finally chooses a tall fairy princess with big beautiful wings that she can paint with millions of different colors.

Playdate Color Me Mine Choices                        Some of the choices at Color Me Mine

Penny chooses a flat square tile.

I am not kidding you.

You know those flat 4” x 4” tiles that are the most blah item you can buy in a ceramics place?

The flat tile that’s about 3 bucks — and everything else is $15 to $30 in the store?

Playdate Color Me Mine Flat Square Tile   Penny’s choice: one flat tile

I say, “Oh really, Penny, don’t worry about the price. You can have anything you want to paint. How about a jewelry case with flowers on it? Or this peace sign that’s also a bank? Or maybe this puppy in a wheelbarrow? Something 3-dimensional you can really get in there and paint it up?”

“Oh, no,” she says. “I just want this square tile.”

I say hopefully, “Well, that’s so small, honey, it won’t take you very long to paint it. Let me buy you a few of those tiles to paint.”

“No, just one, thank you.”

What a polite little bugger she is.

She joins Chloe at the paint station. Chloe squeezes six bold, brazen colors onto her palette – lime green, wild purple, hot pink, electric blue, bright orange, and berry red.

Playdate Color Me Mine Colors

Penny’s hand hovers over the colors. If she picks white to color her flat square already-white tile, I swear I will call her a therapist immediately.

Instead, she chooses a pale blue and squeezes it into each of the six indentations of her palette.

Playdate Color Me Mine Pale Blue

And so while Chloe takes 40 minutes to painstakingly paint each and every crevice of her tall princess fairy, Penny is finished painting her square tile blue in about 60 seconds.

So she spends the rest of the time watching Chloe paint and chatting quietly and amiably.

And I need to be OK with that.

Of course, I want to tell her she lives in the most amazing country in the world – in the most spectacular age of all ages – with the widest variety of choices available at her fingertips – and that she should sample and experiment and try new things and take the plunge and GO WILD!

But then I remind myself that she also lives in the Land of the Free — where she is free to make the choices that feel right to her.

And so even if I am a “spicy shrimp pasta diablo with jamoca almond fudge ice cream type who would paint an awesome ceramic wicked witch with fiery cauldron” – she is a “plain noodles with vanilla ice cream type who would paint a flat square tile.”

And I need to be OK with that.

And who knows? She’s only 6. By the time she grows up, she might be a heavily-tattoo-ed, globe-trotting, raw-octopus-eating, flame-throwing performance artist who creates clothing out of beer bottle caps and shellfish.

And I would definitely be OK with that!

— Darcy Perdu

(Have you encountered such a child on your playdates? Share some funny or interesting playdate experiences in the Comments section! I would love to read them!)

My Daughter's Playdate is Driving Me BATTY P

Just Another TAME Night Out with the “Girls”

Just Another TAME Night Out with The "Girls" - funny true tale of our big night out #humor #girlsmightout #firemen #dancing #moms #funny

So then…I mock the other moms (aka the “Margarita Mamas”) for bailing so early after dining at a local restaurant. “It’s only 8:30! It’s too early to go home to our kids and husbands!”

But we’ve finished dinner and some of them blame extreme fatigue from a week of working all day and corralling kids all night.

Kate says, “To hell with you guys, Darcy and I are goin’ to the Cantina to drink!”

We don’t.

Truth is, we’re pretty tired from working all day and corralling kids all night too.

But the other moms don’t know that.

So later that night, when one of the Mamas, Mindy, sends me an email with the contact info for the orthodontist she had recommended earlier at our dinner, I reply:

Mindy:
THANK YOU for the orthodontist referral — I will call him!
–Darcy
P.S. Kate and I are still out clubbing. I’m emailing you from the bathroom where I’m snorting coke with a motorcycle gang. Kate’s dancing topless on a table with a fireman.

Mindy takes this in stride and simply emails back:
OK, send pics….

For pics of our wild night, click here*

— Darcy Perdu

(*If link doesn’t work, it’s possible Kate and I didn’t go out drinking after dinner after all. In fact, I mentioned that above. Were you not paying attention? Did you actually click here to see pics? I’m worried about you.)

(What do YOU do on YOUR Girls Night Out? Do you get up to mischief — or is everyone too pooped to pop? Have you, in fact, danced topless with a fireman? I’m sort of obsessed with firemen. So definitely send pics. Of the firemen.  Not your topless dance.)

Original Illustration by Innovative Ocean (www.innovativeocean.com) for So Then Stories

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Does He Get Up Early Just To Get It So Wrong?

Mother's Day Cake Pans
So then…I give big hugs and kisses to Tucker, 7, and Chloe, 4, for their homemade Mother’s Day gifts and thank them for the gorgeous flowers in the vase next to the cupcakes they made.

And now for the store-bought gift. I unwrap the gift with delight, knowing that at long last, I will receive something I truly want for Mother’s Day. Because this time, I told David exactly what I want. Specifically. Precisely. As in the make, model, serial number, price, and store.

Past birthdays and Mother’s Days have included gifts that have less to do with function or fashion – and more to do with being available at retail establishments in close proximity to David’s favorite coffee shop.

His beloved Starbucks is in a small retail center that houses a book store (countless gift cards) and a Hawaiian clothing shop (over the years: 1 dress, 2 shirts, 1 vest – a Hawaiian vest, people!).

So this Mother’s Day, I ask for something very simple and specific.

I need new cake pans. I love to bake and my old cake pans are pretty dinged up. So I ask for two 9” round cake pans from Target for $6.99 each. Which I mention repeatedly — and even point out to David when we were at Target a couple weeks ago.

So all of us are grinning with anticipation as I open the box since we all know that I am going to LOVE this gift. Come to mama, 9” round cake pans!

The box contains:

Two 8” round cake pans from Williams & Sonoma
Two 10” round cake pans from Williams & Sonoma

Honestly, it’s like he has to get up early just to get it so wrong.

I immediately exclaim, “Omigosh! They’re perfect! I love them!” The kids beam.

Dave shoots me a smug smile and a self-satisfied nod of the head that means, “Hey, no mass merchandise store for my wife – I went to upscale Williams and Sonoma. Only the best, baby.”

I sneak a peek at the price sticker on the bottom of the pans. $19.99 – each!

The two 8” rounds are too small to contain a standard size box of cake mix.

The two 10” rounds are too big to fit in my oven side by side on the same rack.

This is why 9” is the perfect size. This is why I asked for 9” rounds.

And believe me, I’m grateful to receive gifts at all.

But instead of two 9” rounds from Target for a total of 14 bucks –
I now have $80 worth of cake pans that do not work.

But being a good mother means kissing and thanking everyone, gushing over the fantastic cake pans –

then at the earliest opportunity during the week – sneaking over to Williams and Sonoma to return the bizarre-sized cake pans and buying the 9” rounds at Target – confident that no one in my family will ever discern the difference between these rounds and the gift rounds.

The exchange leaves me with $66 leftover which I blow on a manicure, a new mystery novel, and a long lunch at Tito’s Taco Bar, downing margaritas with my friend Melissa whose Mother’s Day gift was a Handi-Vac.

— Darcy Perdu

(Out with it, ladies:  share the worst – or most puzzling – gifts you’ve received for Mother’s Day, Birthday, Christmas, Hannukah, Valentine’s, Anniversary, Arbor Day. Yes, Arbor Day IS a gift-giving holiday! Have you not been receiving gifts that day? Hmmm. Share in the Comments Section!)

Put Another Dime in the JUICE BOX, Baby!

Dime and Juice Box
So then…Chloe, age 3, and Tucker, age 6, are dancing around the living room, singing at the top of their lungs:

“I LOVE ROCK N ROLL! Put another dime in the juice box, baby!”

And it makes complete sense.

Because they drink from juice boxes all the time. But they’ve never even seen a juke box.

(Of course, one might wonder why they would need to put a dime in a juice box, because, after all, I don’t charge the kids for their drinks.)

(Although — note to self: consider charging kids for their drinks. And their food. Medicine and baths are free. Charge double for desserts.)

When I share my observation about the mistaken lyrics with my friend, she tells me that her kids keep using the expression “it’s like a bowl in a china shop” when it’s supposed to be “it’s like a bull in a china shop.”

And that makes sense too. Isn’t it more likely that there would be a bowl in a china shop than a bull? Although, I suppose that’s the whole point of the expression!

(Surely you can share a story about mistaken lyrics or expressions by you or your kids? Come on, people, I know you got ‘em – so ‘fess up in the Comment section!)

— Darcy Perdu

Seriously — WORST Carpool Ever!

WORST Carpool EVER!  #funny #parents #carpool #school #kids #humor

So then…the mom on the phone says that she saw our name on the “Interested in Carpooling List” for the middle school.

“Yes,” I confirm. “We’d love to carpool, but our 7th grade son needs to be at school an hour early every day because he’s in Concert Band.”

“Great,” she says. “Our son’s ALSO in 7th grade and ALSO in Concert Band, so he has to be there at 7:00 each morning, just like your son.”

Booh-yah!

“That’s terrific!” I say.

(I’m so excited! The middle school is a half hour drive from our home, so it will be awesome to take turns enduring the one-hour roundtrip drive with another mom whose child has the same schedule as ours.)

Then she says, “I should tell you though, that we have three other children that we need to drive to their schools so we can’t actually drive to our son’s school.”

“Huh?”

“Yeah, we can drop our son off at your house so you can drive him and your son to school by 7:00 am, but we won’t be able to take turns driving to the school itself.” She laughs a little. “So I guess it’s not really much of a ‘carpool’ situation, is it?”

(Um, no. I’d have to agree. That’s not much of a “carpool” situation – that’s more of a “chauffeur” situation.)

So basically she’s calling to ask if we can drive her son to school every day!

And because I’m a sap — and I feel sorry for her that she has so many other kids to drive to school — and I’m hoping maybe her son and my son can enjoy bonding time and become friendly on the drive each day – and I figure it’s good for the environment — I say yes.

I consider wearing a little chauffeur’s cap, opening the door for her son, and greeting him each day with “Mornin’, Guvnor, where to?

But instead I delegate the driving to David so he can enjoy “father&son&son’s-bandmate bonding time” on that drive to school each day.

Booh-yah!

— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustration by Mary Chowdhury for So Then Stories

(Any strange carpool situations out there? Or other moms who try to take advantage – or who don’t pull their fair share? Share your funny “parent volunteer” stories from school events, carnivals, and fundraisers!)

We’ve Been Robbed! (And My Husband’s Ready to Name Names!)

We've Been Robbed! And My Husband's Ready to Name Names!  But... #funny #robbery #theft #HOA #humor

So then…his hand shoots up and the neighborhood HOA president calls on him. My husband David stands up at the homeowners meeting and announces: “We’ve been robbed!”

Two gasps and a shudder from the assembled homeowners.

They’re alarmed by this news since we live in a safe neighborhood, behind a guard-gated entry. It’s a newly-constructed neighborhood and so far, crime-free.

“What happened?” asks the HOA president.

“Well, I just wanted to tell the other residents to be cautious because our TIVO DVR machine was stolen right out of our living room,” David explains.

When did it happen?” asks another HOA board member.

“I’m not sure exactly, but sometime in the last few days. The TIVO machine was right there on top of the big screen TV and now it’s gone. Someone stole it right out of our house,” he says.

“Did they take anything else?” a homeowner asks.

“No, just that. But we called the TIVO headquarters and they said if the thief tries to use it, they can try to trace the phone number on the line and maybe find out who took it. We sometimes leave the garage open so the gardeners can access our sprinkler system controls. I think it might be our gardener’s new assistant.”

“What?” I hiss at him. “Don’t accuse someone!”

“Well, I’m just sayin’ — he appeared around the same time that the TIVO machine disappeared…”

I glare at him. (It seems odd that a robber would come into our living room to steal only the TIVO machine that records TV shows — and nothing else.) But now David’s tossing out potential suspects?

Homeowners murmur nervously amongst themselves, discussing the robbery and the relative safety of our neighborhood.

The president calls everyone to order, cautions them to keep their garage doors closed and to be vigilant for any suspicious activity in the neighborhood.

On Monday, TIVO calls us to say that the current phone number on the TIVO is — OUR PHONE NUMBER! Yikes! It’s like the story when the operator tells the babysitter that the scary “phone calls are coming from INSIDE the house – run, RUN!!”

But David says maybe the thief hasn’t hooked it up yet to his own home, so that’s why it’s still showing our phone number.

Meanwhile, I call George, our AV tech guy, to ask him if we can buy a new TIVO machine and can he hook it up for us. (We’re not very savvy with tech stuff, so George usually sets up all the computers, TVs, stereos, etc.)

He comes over with a new TIVO and asks which TV we want to connect to it. David tells him it’s for the living room TV because a thief stole the old one.

George looks at us funny and says, “Nobody stole your old one. It’s in the garage where I put it the last time I was here.”

“What?”

“Yeah, last time I was here installing something, I moved the TIVO to the garage and hooked up the remote so it can work from there – this way it doesn’t clutter the top of your big screen TV,” he says proudly.

David says, “But the TIVO doesn’t work. Are you sure?”

George looks around and asks, “Did someone move this desk? The cord to the TIVO must have got unplugged, but look — I just plugged it in — and now — it’s working fine.”

We look at the cord. We look at the desk that David moved a couple weeks ago. We look at the TIVO screen that’s now working. We look at the TIVO machine on a shelf in the garage.

I raise my eyebrow at David.

“So Matlock, did you want to trace that phone number again?” I ask. “Maybe fingerprint the gardener’s assistant, just in case? Anything else you’re missing? Your shoes maybe? Haven’t seen your sunglasses lately? Let’s run some DNA tests!”

He has the good sense to look sheepish.

I waste no time in lifting the veil of suspicion from our assistant gardener and the whole neighborhood in general. I don’t even wait ‘til the next HOA meeting.

I just immediately start telling the story to my neighbors and ask them to spread the word.

In fact, it’s such a funny story, I even tell it to people who don’t live in our neighborhood. I tell my co-workers, my family, party guests, the mailman, anyone who’ll listen.

As you can imagine, this pleases David no end. But I don’t feel bad since I am usually the one who’s jumping to conclusions (Creepy Stalker Dude’s Tye-Dyed Pillow) and making assumptions (Sex in a Pan).

So I’m delighted that for once, he can take the blame for being the bonehead.

For months afterward, party guests ask to see the Infamous Garage-Mounted TIVO Machine. Bwahaha!

— Darcy Perdu

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Illustration for So Then Stories by Innovative Ocean (www.innovativeocean.com)

(Anything gone missing in YOUR house?  Any other spouses who jump to conclusions on things? Any funny tales about neighborhood meetings, gardeners, or unexplained occurrences in YOUR house?)