Now THAT’S a Breach in Security!

Now THAT'S a Breach in Security
So then…I scoop more corn on their plates and triumphantly finish my lecture about online safety with this reassuring conclusion, “So remember, NEVER EVER share ANY personal information online, no matter HOW innocent or insignificant it might be — because cyber criminals have A LOT of time on their hands to troll the internet, piecing together all the details about you and where you live. And you don’t want the criminals to (ominous voice) KNOW.WHERE.YOU.LIVE, right?”

Chloe, age 8, stares at me, solemn and bug-eyed, no doubt in fear of the afore-mentioned crafty criminals.

Tucker, age 11, nods his head emphatically and says, “Of course, Mom, they tell us about that at school too. You should never talk about going on vacation on Facebook or anything ‘cuz then the robbers will know when to come to your house and steal your stuff.”

Now Chloe stares at him, solemn and bug-eyed.

“That’s right, Tucker, you can never be too careful.” I say. “That’s why we don’t even print your names on your backpacks or shirts because then someone could call out your name and pretend they know you.”

“Right,” he says. “And NEVER get in a van with a man who says he needs help finding a puppy!”

Yep, that’s right, he even knows about pedophiles.

And ever since Tucker received an email address, I’ve been drilling it into his head never to share ANY identifying information online.

Cut to – a week later…

I open an email from Tucker that he’s forwarded to me and some of his pals that invites us to play a fun game someone sent him called “Favorites of Your Favorite Friends!”

It starts out innocently enough asking your favorite TV show, band, sports team, breakfast food…
Then asks things like your favorite burger place, elementary school, grade, town, state…

It practically asks what time your parents are out running an errand and you’re all by yourself in your big empty house!!

And of course Tucker has enthusiastically answered all these questions and forwarded them to all his email contacts – so they can answer the questions and forward the game to all their email contacts!

“Tucker! Come in here, please!”

He lopes in and I show him the screen.

“Tucker! Didn’t we just have a discussion about how you never give out any identifying information about yourself online?”

He says, “Oh, yeah. But this is just about your favorite things so you can see if your friends have the same favorites you do.”

“Tucker, you listed the town and state where you live, what school you attend, what grade you’re in, the nearest burger place, hair color, eye color! This is IDENTIFYING information!”

“Oh, yeaaaaah,” he says, realizing his error. “But I didn’t think this was from a bad guy; it just looks like a game.

Exactly, Tucker! What did you expect? That you’d get an email from someone saying:
‘Dear Kid,
Hi my name is Paul.
I am a pedophile.
Please send me your identifying information.
Sincerely, Paul (you know — Paul the Pedophile)’”

Tucker laughs.

I continue, “Good Lord, son, of course the criminals are going to figure out clever ways to get info about you! They’ll disguise it as a game — or make it look official — or whatever they think will get you to spill the beans! So when you get a survey like this, you don’t answer it and you don’t forward it! Are we clear?”

“Yes, yes, we’re clear!” he says. He walks out, chuckling and murmuring “Paul the Pedophile.”

Honestly, this kid! It’s a wonder he doesn’t come home with magic beans or a deed to swampland.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do YOUR kids SEEM like they listen to your lectures, then do the exact opposite? Any funny examples when your kids seemed to miss the point — or interpret you too literally? Any accidental breaches in online security at YOUR house? Do tell in the Comments section!)
Now THAT'S a Breach in Security P

Falling Off the Wagon, Into a Big Vat of Warm, Gooey…

Falling Off the Wagon, Into A Big Vat
So then…a tiny window of time pops up during my role as Chauffeur to the World’s Youngest Passengers Who Never Tip, Sometimes Fart, and Always Giggle. I have an hour before my next pickup, so I’m alone, right outside Universal City Walk on a beautiful sunny winter day.

I can either walk around this lovely outdoor complex, burning up some calories – or listen to my rumbly tummy and eat up some calories. The latter, please.

But I want to be health-conscious, so I walk to the left, looking for a nutritious salad place when suddenly what to my wondering eyes should appear? TONY ROMA’S.

Ribs.

Well, protein IS one of the requirements of my new diet healthy lifestyle torture regime.

And ribs are protein.

And it’s right here.

And I’m hungry.

And ribs.

So I ask for a table near the window and vow to keep this simple and healthy.

When the server asks for my order, I say primly, “Baby back ribs, please.”

She asks, “Roma Rack or Full Slab?”

“Oh, just the Roma,” I say. (No need to be a piggy about eating this piggy.)

She jots it down, then asks, “What side would you like?”

“Hmm, what is your vegetable of the day?” I ask, conscientiously.

“Broccoli.”

“Lightly steamed?” I ask hopefully.

Snort. “No, microwaved,” she replies – then laughs and laughs and laughs.

I’m not sure if she’s laughing at the expression on my face when she said “microwaved” – or laughing at the very idea of her establishment “lightly steaming” anything! It is, after all, an unabashed rib joint.

She imbued that snort with the unspoken barb, “Whaddaya think – you’re havin’ tea with the Queen at the Ritz?

Either way, her laughter is infectious and I find myself joining in.

“Fine,” I finally say, using my tone of voice to indicate that “microwaving” the broccoli simply won’t do.

I glance at the menu, then make the only other logical healthy choice, “Bacon Macaroni and Cheese.”

She grins wide, nodding in deference to a truly brilliant side selection.

And now, the ribs and the warm, gooey Bacon Macaroni and Cheese arrive – and let me tell you, it is deeeee-licious.

— Darcy Perdu

P.S. And yes, I do know Tony Roma’s also offers grilled salmon. What’s your point?

Please pop your email address into the purple box below so you can receive my new funny posts twice a week!

(Have you fallen off the wagon this holiday season yet? What’s YOUR kryptonite? Mine is obviously ribs & bacon mac & cheese – but I also go weak-kneed for warm chocolate baked goods smothered in cool ice cream. So ‘fess up – if you indulge this holiday, what’s your tempting treat?)
Falling Off the Wagon P

Inappropriate Holiday Party Behavior

Christmas 2013So then…I bound off to celebrate the holidays with eggnog copious amounts of wine, chestnuts s’mores roasting over an open fire, cherubic children surly teens, and a big fat man with a white beard (oh, wait, that’s me).  To entertain you while I’m gone, I’m posting this true story you may have missed when I originally posted it.  Happy Merry Jolly, y’all!
Larceny at the Christmas Party
Larceny at the Christmas Party

So then…she offers me a tray of hors d’oeuvres – little warm puff pastries of cheesy-mushroom goodness. I pop a puff and say, “Wow – what a great Christmas party, Angie. Your home is so beautifully decorated — and the food is delicious!”

It’s a genuine “grown-up” holiday party with Christmas carols playing in the background while we enjoy a dinner buffet, eggnog, and decorated Christmas cookies.

(I’m in my 20’s — so most of the parties I attend are just booze-soaked excuses for people to hook up – the biggest nod to the Christmas spirit might be stacking the red Solo cups next to the green Heineken bottles.)

Angie smiles and says, “Thank you. I’m so glad you guys could make it! I’ve heard a lot about you from Matt.”

She points to her husband Matt who’s at the bar with my boyfriend, so we wave.

Then Carla and Ed, the couple who drove with us to the party, join us in the living room.

Angie juggles her tray to give them a one-armed hug since they’ve known each other from back in New York.

Carla says, “Angie, the decorations are great! And this tree is amazing!”

We turn to gaze at the beautiful Christmas ornaments tucked into the branches amongst the twinkly lights. It really is gorgeous.

We all chat a bit, then Angie says she needs to return to the kitchen for more appetizers.

As soon as her back is turned, Ed plucks a snowman ornament from the tree and slips it in his pocket!

Just then Angie turns back around to ask if we want more wine. I’m so surprised, I can’t speak but Ed casually says, “No thanks, we’re good.”

When Angie turns her back again, Ed pulls out the snowman and tosses it to Carla who scoops it up and slips it into her purse!

I look to the left and look to the right – but the other partygoers haven’t seen the ornament hurtling through the air, so they just keep right on talking, laughing, and drinking.

I don’t know Carla and Ed very well, but I’m the only witness, so I feel compelled to hiss, “What the hell?”

Ed says nonchalantly, “Oh, it’s a tradition.”

Carla nods.

I say, “What’s a tradition? Stealing an ornament is a tradition?”

Carla says, “Yeah. We do it at every Christmas party we attend.”

I furrow my brow. “Are you serious? You steal ornaments at every Christmas party you attend?”

Ed says, “Just one ornament.”

Carla shoots Ed a look like I’m the crazy one. “Yeah, just one ornament per party. Jeesh, Darcy.”

I sputter, “But, but, but…isn’t that wrong?”

My Catholic school-trained brain is about to overload. A) This is stealing. And B) This is stealing a decoration celebrating Jesus’ birthday! And C) THIS IS STEALING!

Carla waves her hand dismissively. “Oh, they’ll never miss it. Look how many ornaments they have! It’s just one little one.”

Oh My God, I’m pretty sure this is the same rationalization for heinous crimes perpetrated against humanity the world over.

“But what if it’s a special one – or they realize it’s missing?” I ask.

Ed says, “By the time people put their decorations away, they can’t remember every ornament.”

Carla concurs. “And besides, we never take a special one – like something personalized – like Baby’s First Christmas with the date on it — or like a touristy one from a vacation spot or something.”

Ed chimes in, “And we don’t take ones that look antique. We just take normal stuff like elves, Santas, angels, candy canes, penguins—”

Carla laughs, “Penguins! Oh my God, we have tons of penguins!”

Ed nods, sips his beer, and chuckles – “Tons of penguins!”

“What do you do with the ornaments?” I ask.

“Oh, we take them home and put them on our tree. We have quite a collection. Some really cool stuff. We’ve been doing this for years,” he says.

“Yeah,” says Carla, looking at Ed fondly. “Ever since we started dating.”

He smiles back at her. In their minds, this is simply a sweet little holiday tradition that they share.

To me, it borders on sacrilege! Their Christmas tree is laden with the profit of their sins! They’ve plundered the goodwill of their friends and neighbors to beautify their own home!

I ask, “But what happens when some of those people come to your house for a Christmas party? Won’t they see their ornaments on your tree and recognize them?!”

They look at me with bewilderment.

“Oh, we’d never have a party at our house,” says Carla.

“Yeah,” says Ed. “Someone might steal something.”

— Darcy Perdu

Please pop your email address into the purple box below so you can receive my new funny posts twice a week!

(Unlike Carla and Ed’s sacrilegious thievery — MY holiday traditions include cookies and milk for Santa who writes only in BLOCK letters and opening one gift on Christmas Eve. What are some of YOUR Christmas traditions or funny holiday memories? Ever witnessed any larceny or questionable behavior around the holidays?  Share them in the Comments Section!)

Embarrassing Mom Fail at the Book Club Meeting

Embarrassing Mom Fail at the Book Club Meeting
So then…I say sweetly into the phone, “Of course, no problem, Ashley — I completely understand.”

I hang up and scowl at the phone. (No, I do not understand, Ashley. How could you forget you have a Chem test tomorrow? Didn’t you know this when you agreed to babysit tonight? And where are your priorities anyway, Ashley? What’s more important – your academic career – or me getting my drink on with the Book Club girls? Sigh. I swear – the youth of today.)

I call out to Chloe, age 9, in the other room. “Honey, Ashley can’t babysit so I’ll skip Book Club tonight.”

She pokes her head around the corner and says, “But you like Book Club.”

She’s right – I do. I think many of us enjoy a night out with the gals for some laughs.

My older sister had a Stitch & Bitch group that got together to crochet and gossip. My younger sister belongs to a Bunco group that gathers to play cards and enjoy a few boatload of cocktails.

(The other day my hair stylist told me her customer attends a Switch & Bitch group. “What the hell is that?” I asked. She said, “It’s when women get together and switch their accessories, purses, and clothes rather than buy new things.” I said, “Oh when you said ‘switch,’ I thought you meant ‘swap’ — like a wife-swapping club! But I guess that’d be Switch THE Bitch.”)

Anyway, I tell Chloe that I don’t want to leave her home alone while I go to our neighborhood clubhouse for the Book Club meeting.

“I’ll just come with you!” she says.

“Noooo,” I say, “It’s just for adults.”

“Why?”

“Oh, we talk about…um…lady things.”

“But I’m a lady too!” she says.

“Yes, but a 9-year-old lady,” I reply. “Besides, you haven’t had dinner yet. Ashley was going to give you dinner and now there’s no time before the meeting.”

“Come on, Mom, I’ll just grab something to eat – and I can read my own book on the other side of the room. You won’t even know I’m there.” She smiles brightly.

“Welllll, OK.”

So we run around the house, grab our stuff, and drive up to the clubhouse. I figure it won’t be so bad if she eats a snack now, then I can feed her something more substantial when we get home.

I set her up at a chair and table on the other side of the big main room in our clubhouse, right in my eyesight.

The ladies and I gather with our refreshments at the couches and chairs at the other end, just out of earshot. One of the members brought sodas and wine; another brought a cheese tray and cupcakes.

Just as we start discussing the book, I hear a “pop-hissssss.” I look over to Chloe who is sitting there reading Harry Potter – while eating cold corn — OUT OF A CAN.

I repeat — eating cold corn — OUT OF A CAN.

With a spoon.

Happy as a clam.

So she didn’t grab an energy bar, or a small bag of chips, or even an apple.

She grabbed a can of corn with the pop top – and a spoon – and dug in.

She looks like a little hobo on a Depression-era train.

And for some reason, it freaks me out.

I don’t USUALLY worry about what other people will think – but NOW all I CAN think about is “What will the other Book Club ladies think when they see my daughter eating COLD corn out of a can? Am I the worst mother ever? Making my daughter come with me, just so I can enjoy some social interaction – and making her eat cold canned goods because I can’t even fix a proper meal for her?”

So I do what every other sane mother would do. I call out to her and say, “Chloe! Put down that cold corn and come over here and have a cupcake!”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do your kids have an unnatural affinity for vegetables? As a preschooler, Chloe told me she loves broccoli so much she wants to marry it. What snack would your kid have grabbed? Would you have been embarrassed if your kid was chowin’ down on cold canned corn – or am I just weird that way? Do you belong to any fun women’s groups, book clubs, or swappin’ and switchin’ groups?)
Embarrassin Mom Fail at the Book Club Meeting P

Who SAYS It’s Christmas BRIBERY?

Who Says It's Christmas BRIBERY
So then…he pours another glass of wine and asks, “Did everyone else get the anti-Christmas letter from Wal-Mart?”

We look up from our rubber-chicken dinners at this industry event — and laugh at Richard’s question.

We’re all salespeople for various auto accessory companies so we call on clients like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, and automotive chains.

Todd, a sales guy from Atlanta, says, “Well, it’s not exactly ANTI-Christmas. It just reminds us salespeople that we can’t give any gifts to our Wal-Mart buyers for the holiday.”

I say, “I told my Wal-Mart buyer that shouldn’t prevent HIM from getting ME a gift.”

They laugh. Ten of us are eating dinner at this round table in the hotel ballroom, waiting for the speeches to start on the dais.

Nick, an older grizzled sales veteran (and a New Yorker), knocks back a slug of Jack Daniels and grouses, “It’s ridiculous. What’s wrong with giving gifts to your clients? We’ve done it for years — and now all of a sudden, all these chains are telling us we can’t take our buyers to dinner, can’t take ‘em to shows, can’t –”

“Take ‘em DRINKING?” interrupts Todd.

More laughs. Nick snorts. “Hell, YEAH, take ‘em drinking! What the hell else you gonna do in Bentonville, Arkansas, for God’s sake?”

Several of the men nod, picturing that sleepy little town that houses the Wal-Mart headquarters.

The chains have become very strict about salespeople potentially influencing purchase decisions of the buyers with lavish gifts or vacations. Apparently, back in the day, vendor salesmen were pretty fast and loose with incentives to buyers to ensure their product lines were chosen for distribution in the stores.

Another salesman pipes in, “I get that they don’t want you “bribing” the buyers to carry your product line, but how are you supposed to establish a relationship with a buyer if you can’t even share a meal together?”

“Yeah,” says Todd. “I even told my Target buyer we could split the check for dinner, but he doesn’t even want to be seen out with a vendor in case someone thinks he’s getting a free meal!”

“I heard they have hidden video cameras in the vendor meeting rooms so they can make sure salespeople aren’t bribing the buyers!” says another salesman.

“This summer, I was calling on Wal-Mart to show our new automotive cooler, so I stocked it with snacks and sodas to demonstrate how it keeps things cool,” I say. “My buyer comes in and says, ‘I’m dying of thirst and that soda can looks so cold.” So I say, ‘Help yourself! It’s just for the demonstration!’ He looks around the room – I swear he’s acting like there are cameras in there! Then he says, ‘Well, I should pay for it first.’ Then he digs in his pocket and slides a quarter over to me before taking the soda!”

“No way!” says Todd.

“That’s ridiculous!” says Nick.

“I know!” I say. “I wanted to tell him, ‘Hey, I paid 50 cents for that soda, ya cheapskate!’”

They laugh.

Nick takes another hit of his Jack Daniels and says, “Many years ago, back when I was first starting out in sales – and when the chains weren’t so uptight, I had this buyer at a national auto chain based in Philadelphia. This guy was great – carried tons of our products in his stores – he bought literally millions and millions of dollars of our stuff. We took him out to dinners and shows, gave him some great gifts for the holidays, even treated him and his wife to a few weekend getaways.”

We lean in to hear better. The other tables at this event are pretty noisy.

“So one day, I’m presenting our new line of seat covers,” continues Nick. “And my buyer says, ‘Let’s go try these out.’ I look at him like he’s crazy because he’s never cared about seeing how the products actually work in the car before. But I say ‘sure,’ and off we go. So he’s barely noticing how nice the seat covers are, but he’s saying things like, ‘Hey, let’s turn left up here’ and ‘yeah, swing around to the right.’”

I exchange anticipatory looks with Todd and a couple of the other salespeople at our table.

“Before I know it,” says Nick, “We’re at the river and my buyer points to a new condo building that’s built right there, overlooking the water. He says he’s heard those condos are really great — and they cost $90,000 – and he and his wife have been looking for someplace in the city to move – and how he’s thinking about adding another section of seat covers to the stores. And finally I realize — he wants my company to buy him one of these $90,000 condos!!”

“Oh my God!” I say.

“And we DO!” announces Nick, raising his drink in the air.

“Oh my God!” I say again.

A couple of the guys laugh. A couple shake their heads in amazement.

One of them says, “Wow – well, you certainly can’t do something like that these days!

“Of course not,” says Nick. “You’d never be able to find a condo on the river today for just $90,000!”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Does your company permit holiday gifts to be given and/or received? One of my past companies let us accept gifts from vendors – as long as the gifts were edible and could be shared with all the other employees. But I am not a “sharer” – especially when it comes to Christmas treats! Holla! Share your Christmas gift tales in the Comments!)
Who Says It's Christmas BRIBERY P

SERIOUSLY? Lady, You’re Killin’ Me Here!

YIKES!  Playdate Disaster - My Fault or Hers?  "Seriously, Lady, You're Killin Me Here!"  #funny #playdate #mom #kids #humor #sothenstories.

So then…I toss a couple toys behind the couch and shove the countertop contents into the junk drawer, just as the doorbell rings.

“They’re here! They’re here!” I shout, racing for the door.

But I’m the only one dashing, since my 1st grader Tucker is engrossed in his Legos-Hot Wheels concoction and not nearly as excited about this playdate as I am.

I’m eager to make new friends at his new school, for him AND for me, so I took the plunge and invited Carla and her son Steven over this weekend for lunch and playtime.

I open the door and they spill into the house, Steven running over to Tucker and his toys – Carla trailing me to the kitchen.

We chat amiably while I putter around, taking out dishes, turning on the oven. I love hosting people at my house, but I’m always anxious about what to serve – I’m worried they may not like it or I didn’t cook it long enough.

But I know today will be a homerun because I served this same lunch to my family last week and they loved it!

I place ham and cheese on French bread wedges, then slide them into the oven to get all warm and toasty.

I turn around with a flourish and a smile – only to see Carla’s face fall.

Uh-oh. What’s up?

I’m talking FANCY DELUXE ham (no Oscar Mayer, people!)

and FANCY DELUXE cheese (no Velveeta slices, y’all!)

and FANCY DELUXE French bread (no Wonder bread sandwich slices, friends!)

We’re talking PRIMO sandwich fixin’s! And I’m TOASTING them in the OVEN!

I even have regular mustard for the kids and FANCY DELUXE Grey Poupon for the moms.

GREY.POUPON.PEOPLE!

Carla says, “Uh…we’re Jewish so we don’t eat ham.”

Ack. Blunder #1.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” I blurt.

She blanches.

“Well, no, I mean…I’m not sorry you’re Jewish! I’m sorry I’m serving ham!” I say.

I quickly grab the remaining French bread. “How about just cheese then?” I ask brightly. “Kinda like a grilled cheese sandwich on French bread?”

Carla grimaces. “Well, it’s just that Steven is lactose-intolerant…”

Ack. Blunder #2.

Omigod. Now I’m panicking because my fridge and cupboards are not well-stocked, so I don’t have a lot of choices.

Lightbulb!

I fling open the pantry door and pull out every kid’s favorite: Peanut butter!

Carla’s expression says it all…

I sigh, resigned. “He’s allergic to peanuts, isn’t he?” I ask.

“Yep.”

Ack. Blunder #3.

“Oh, OK, heh, heh,” I say, laughing weakly. “I guess that leaves us with the French bread. So how does he feel about toast?

(If she says he has a gluten-free diet, I will commit hari-kari with this spatula right now.)

She smiles. “Toast is fine.”

I quickly scour the kitchen for side dishes and come up with grapes, baby carrots, and Oreos (which are a HUGE hit, by the way.)

And so, as I serve our first 1st-grade playdate toast, I cycle through these emotions:

1) I am the worst hostess in the world.

2) If her kid has this many dietary restrictions, couldn’t she maybe give me a heads up when accepting a lunch invitation? Come on, Carla, help a sister out! If my kid had these restrictions, I’m so obsessive, I’d probably travel with a constant supply of doctor-approved, rabbi-approved foods in individual hermetically-sealed packages, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice! Or at least I’d mention it when accepting an invitation to a meal!

3) What kind of rookie am I that I don’t have a few alternatives available like turkey or pasta, for Pete’s sake? And would it kill me to ASK guests if they have any dietary needs when I invite them to a meal? Get with the program, Darcy!

But as I watch Tucker and Steven laugh and talk and run and play – I realize what’s really important:

the “Day I Served My Guests Toast” is also the “Day Tucker Made a New Friend at His New School.” And that’s all that matters.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any culinary catastrophes on your playdates? Or food-related faux pas with guests at your parties, BBQs, or dinners? One time I put BBQ sauce on chicken breasts and BAKED them – and they all came out a weird shade of PINK so all my guests skipped that dish on the buffet table! Share any funny moments from your parties or playdates!)

Bring Cash, Tell No One, Be Cool

MUST-HAVE BIRTHDAY GIFTS -- Bring cash, Tell no one, Be cool.  # funny #birthday #gifts #shoes #humor #kids

So then…he whispers into the phone, “I’ll bring the package to you, but you must bring cash.”

“OK, OK,” I say. “But dude, why are you whispering?

Pause. “I don’t want my boss to hear me.”

“Oh, right, right,” I agree. Definitely don’t tell your boss.”

At this, my 10-year-old daughter Chloe lifts her head and looks at me quizzically. I wave her off and go back to my clandestine meeting arrangements.

“So I’ll meet you tomorrow at 2:00,” he whispers.

“OK, great,” I say. “My address is-”

“MOM!!” Chloe shouts.

“Hang on,” I say into the phone, and put him on hold. I turn to Chloe and ask, “What, what?”

She jumps up and comes over. “Mom, you can’t give that guy your HOME address! That’s not safe! You said never give out our home address! You don’t even know this guy! He could be a murderer!

Hmm. She’s right, of course. I have told her and her brother Tucker never to give out our home address to strangers.

So I say, “Yes, you’re right. But he’s driving all the way down here so I need to meet him somewhere. How about Barnes & Noble — will that make you feel better?”

“Yeah, I guess so,” she says reluctantly.

So I hop on the phone and “arrange the meet.”

Chloe grills me about this top secret meeting. So I confide in her:

“Look, I’ve searched high and low for a pair of purple and black checkered Vans sneakers your brother desperately wants for his birthday. But they discontinued that style and I can’t get them in the stores or online. But I found a Vans outlet that has ONE PAIR left in his size, but they aren’t allowed to ship from there – you have to GO to the outlet – and it’s 2 hours away!”

“Can’t he just pick a different style?” she asks.

“Have you met your brother?” I ask.

“Oh, yeah, right,” she replies.

“And with work being so busy this week, I just don’t have time to make a 4-hour roundtrip to drive to the outlet to get the shoes. But this super nice guy named Dylan who works there offered to buy the shoes himself, then drive them here, and then go hang out in LA for the night to go see some friends. He said if I reimbursed him for the shoes and gas money, he’d make the trip so I could have the shoes in time for Tucker’s birthday! Isn’t that great?”

“But what if he’s a murderer!?

(Honestly, what is with this kid? Is she watching Law & Order behind my back?)

“Chloe, what are the chances that the guy who just happens to answer the phone at the Vans outlet is a murderer waiting for someone to call with a desperate need for a birthday gift for a style of shoe that they have only one pair left in that size?”

“How do you know they only have one pair left? How do you know they can’t ship from there?” she asks.

“Well…Dylan told me.”

She shoots me a look like: “Exactly.”

Omigod, I’m raising a master criminal. I hadn’t even thought of that.

I reassure her that I’ll be safe at the “public meet.”

But the next day, when I slink over to Barnes and Noble at the appointed time by myself, Chloe’s trepidation has clearly influenced me. I hover nervously near the cash registers, on the look-out for Dylan (if that’s his real name).

I walk over to the little Starbucks café in the corner of the store and pull up a chair. My cell phone rings.

“Are you alone?” asks Dylan.

Omigod, that’s an ominous question!

I stammer, “Um, no, NO, I’m NOT alone. My uhh husband is here with me.”

“Oh,” he says. “I thought it was you sitting alone at a Starbucks table ‘cause you said you’d be in a blue sweater, but I guess that’s someone else. Where are you?”

Ohhhhh. He meant “are you SITTING alone” so I can identify you – NOT “ARE YOU ALONE” so that I can kidnap you, skin you, and make a human suit from your flesh.

“Oh, um, yeah, that IS me, sitting at Starbucks,” I babble. “My um husband is uhh elsewhere. In the store! Definitely in the store. Um looking at books. Sports books.”

Omigod, I’m giving too much detail. He’s gonna know I’m lying!

“I’m coming down the escalator,” he says. “My friend is up here looking at stuff. I’ll be right down.”

I look up to see Dylan (still not sure if it’s the real name) on the escalator – black jacket, late 20s, tall, longish brown hair. (Giving you the description in case I disappear so you can alert the authorities.)

As he approaches holding the shoe box, I wonder about his friend who was staying upstairs to “look at stuff.” Who is this friend? He didn’t say anything about bringing a friend. And why isn’t the friend coming down to meet me? Is he deliberately ensuring I can’t identity his face when the two of them secretly follow me from Barnes and Noble back to my house to kill and cook me?

Or…did Dylan just make up a pretend friend in the store, just like I pretended my husband was here too? Is it possible that Dylan is afraid of ME? Were his friends saying, “What? You’re gonna drive 2 hours to meet some crazy lady who’s promised you cash? What if she’s a psycho? What if we never see you again? What would we tell the police? All we know is Barnes & Noble, blue sweater, and Darcy (if that’s her real name).”

He sits down and slides the shoe box across the table. I slide the envelope of cash toward him.

We both inspect the contents of our respective packages. I’m suddenly feeling all Sopranos-y.

I’m wondering what passersby must think of this little transaction. (Totally looks like a drug buy. Suburban mama gettin’ her fix from her long-haired dealer.)

I want to stand up and loudly explain to everyone about the purple sneakers birthday gift.

But I decide it’s way cooler to look all mysterious.

I thank Dylan profusely for making the trip down with the beloved shoes. I tell him the cash covers the merchandise, gas money, and some extra for him to enjoy his night out in LA (presumably with the “friend”) – (who we’re still not sure is real or imaginary.)

I’m truly grateful he’s made the trip – I would’ve happily paid overnight shipping fees to get the shoes on time for the birthday – so gas money and a little bonus are a fair deal.

In fact, I’m so overcome with gratitude — and he seems like such a nice guy, I actually HUG him when we part.

I can just imagine the other Starbucks patrons thinking, “Ah, how sweet — that suburban junkie mama really loves her dealer.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Anything odd you’ve done to ensure you got the birthday/Christmas gift you simply HAD to have for someone? Ever meet a stranger to exchange cash for goods or services? (Check the statute of limitations before you answer that.) Share any funny tales about shoes, gifts, or feeling like a super secret agent in the Comments!)

Calling All Smug Tweens

Calling All Smug Tweens!  So funny when our teens & tweens try to mock us -- but misfire!  #humor #kids #teens

So then…I plop on the sofa, nearly toppling 3 tweens in the process, as I balance my plate of delectable desserts from the buffet table.

I toss a couple Lemon Squares and a Brownie onto my friend Tracy’s plate as we chatter away amongst her relatives and friends at her party.

Music’s playing, people are laughing, the adults are talking…it’s a fun time.

But I notice all the tweens sitting and standing around are mesmerized by their Iphone screens instead of…you know…talking to each other like we did when we were their age. So I point this out, in the most tactful and delicate way possible, of course. (Ha!)

Whereupon, my tween daughter Chloe interrupts me to say in her most exasperated, long-suffering tone of voice, “Mom, we know, we know – when you grew up, all 7 of your family had to share a rodeo phone!”

Silence.

Then all the adults within earshot burst out laughing.

Chloe asks, “What? What? What’s so funny?”

I’m practically choking on my Lemon Bar.

I ask, “Did you say ‘all 7 of you had to share a RODEO phone?’”

“Yeah,” she says with a confused look. “That’s what it was called, right?”

Tracy says, “Rotary, Chloe – it was called a ROTARY phone.”

Chloe waves her hand dismissively – “Rotary – rodeo – same thing.”

We laugh some more. “No, not the same thing!”

Can you imagine? How cool would that have been to really have a RODEO phone?

“Calling all clowns!”

“Hello, I’d like to speak to the bull, please.”

“Any cute cowboys on the line today?”

Of course we never let Chloe forget her faux pas – and we bring up the “Rodeo Phone” whenever possible –

mainly because she delivered her line with so much cocky gusto, trying to tease me about my antiquated communications notions, and she was so dreadfully wrong about the correct terminology.

So of course you can imagine how delighted we were when David Letterman asked Justin Bieber not to tattoo his arms like those people who practically ink whole murals of the Sistine Chapel – and Justin cockily retorted that he’d never get a tattoo of the “Sixteenth Chapel!”

Justin honestly had no idea what the Sistine Chapel was – and tried to mock David for suggesting such an absurd idea for a tattoo — the Sixteenth Chapel!  You could see Justin’s confused, annoyed expression like why are you even saying the 16th chapel, Dave — what about chapels 1 through 15?  You’re so weird!

When I saw that video clip, I was crying with laughter! I couldn’t wait to hop on my Rodeo Phone and tell Chloe all about it!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any of your kids or co-workers mispronounce a word — or bungle song lyrics? How about YOU? Time to fess up! I always thought Yosemite Sam was pronounced “Yossa-Might” Sam. My sister read the entire book Gone with the Wind thinking that Sue Ellen’s name was pronounced as one word (SueEllen like Suede) so she called her “Swalene.” Share your misconceptions — and those of your friends and family!)

That Dirty Little Traitor!

That Dirty Little TraitorSo then…she gently adjusts my bib and slowly reclines the plush leather chair, so I can more easily see the ceiling-mounted TV.

Tina, the new hygienist, hands me the remote and recommends a few shows to watch while she cleans my teeth.

We have a lovely time together. She has a light touch, so I barely notice her work while I surf the shows. Occasionally, she asks if certain areas are a little sore or tender – or commiserates that it’s hard to reach those out-of-the-way places with the toothbrush.

She’s quick to dab my mouth if a little water spills out – frequently checks to ensure I’m not in any discomfort — and telepathically anticipates my every need – a cup of water to rinse, an increase in TV volume during the polishing, a sympathetic ear.

We share a laugh or two about the shows – and enjoy some small talk.

Tina is truly a pleasant, thoughtful hygienist. I feel safe and comfortable here with her.

Then the dentist enters.

Tina immediately announces: “Patient has gum erosion in bicuspid 3; exposed root on canine 2, and two cavities in rear molars.”

WHAT!?

What’s exposed? What’s eroding?

First of all – “Patient?” What the hell, Tina? We’ve been besties for 45 minutes now – on a first name basis – Darcy and Tina – Tina and Darcy – and now all of a sudden, I’m just an impersonal noun to you? We bonded over the Rachel-Ross relationship fiasco in that vintage Friends episode! I confided my OWN relationship fiasco to you, Tina! We compared artichoke dip recipes! And now – sob – I’m just “Patient” to you?

Second of all, don’t rat me out to the dentist! Those sore and tender moments were PRIVATE between us! He don’t need to know ‘bout none a’ my “gum erosion and exposed root” all up in here! Girl, you trippin! You KNOW he gonna make me deal with that sh*t if you TELL him about it! Keep it on the down low, sister!

Do I go tellin’ him about all your dirty little secrets? No, I do not.

I don’t even know what your secrets are – but I can sure as hell make some up right now if you gon’ play dat way.

(How ‘bout I tell him you don’t change gloves between patients! You steal dental floss! You sneak into the office at night with your boyfriend to get high on nitrous and have hot wild animal sex! in the leather dental chairs! while wearing dental masks!)

Don’t make me get creative, girl!

I shoot her a look of abject loathing for her treachery – mingled with the wounded look of betrayal for our doomed fleeting friendship.

She returns a cool gaze.

The dentist raises his eyebrows expectantly; no doubt wondering about my response to the heinous accusations hurled my way.

I sputter, “Well, that Tina’s a big fat Tattle Tale, Dr. Porter. I wouldn’t trust a word she says.”

He laughs good-naturedly and rolls his chair over for a closer look.

He confirms her claims and asks me to book a follow-up appointment (to deal with all the apparent calamities occurring in my mouth).

I delicately tiptoe over to pick up my purse, avoiding eye contact with my former bestie – hating myself for realizing I’ll request her for my next cleaning since she’s so gentle and skilled – and knowing in my heart that she’ll sell me out at the drop of a hat. Damn you, Tina — damn you.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have you ever bonded with someone, only to be surprised when they act all official? Did the friendly ticket taker refuse to let you take your own food into the movies? Did the cable guy rat you out for “sharing” your neighbor’s cable wires? Did the giggling child who secretly shared a snack with you suddenly announce to everyone that you ate 5 cookies before supper? Share your tales of betrayal and woe, my friends. Add your funny dental stories too. We shall plan our vengeance together!)
That Dirty Little Traitor P