What Happens when the Elf reports MOM’S bad behavior?

Ellington, Elf on the Shelf, turns his tattle-tale focus on MOM this Christmas -- and you won't BELIEVE what he's tellin' Santa!  #funny #sexy #Christmas @SoThenStories

So then…I wake up at 3 am to the sound of click-clacking. I pop downstairs, peer round the corner, and see two tiny red felt feet scurry out of sight. My laptop screen is glowing, so I cross the room, lean in…and what to my wondering eyes should appear – but EMAILS from Ellington, our Elf on the Shelf, to SANTA!

Hey Santa,
Ellington the Elf here, reporting from the Perdu household! My vertigo’s still acting up, so rather than fly back and forth to the North Pole, I’ll just email you my reports!

Day 1
So excited to meet my new family, Darcy (Mom) and David (Dad) and their darling kids, Tucker, age 8, and Chloe, age 5. I’ll be on the lookout for any naughty or nice behavior to report back to you!

Day 2
Look, Santa, I don’t want to tell you your business, but the naughty ones in this house are NOT the kids. Oh sure, they bicker and whine a bit, with the occasional fib – but the one I REALLY need to keep an eye on is the Mom!

When she made breakfast this morning, the Dad asked, “Are these real eggs and bacon?” “Of course,” she replied. Nope. Egg Beaters and Turkey Bacon. He asked for regular coffee and she snuck in Decaf. For dinner, she assured the kids she served “real” hamburgers. Nope. Veggie Burgers. So she’s a liar. Maybe for a good cause – but still – a liar.

Day 3
When the class mom called for volunteers to collate papers at school today, Darcy, the Mom, said she couldn’t because she had a “doctor’s appointment.”

Then she watched the Dr. Oz show on the DVR. That is NOT an appointment.

Day 4
She straight up lied to the kids today on the way home from school. There’s no way Chuck E Cheese, Toys R Us, AND Game Stop are ALL closed for renovations.

Plus she gossiped at great length with her friend about Mrs. Kobar, one of Chloe’s teachers who’s allegedly very short-tempered and cancels recess when the kids are rowdy.

Day 5
While watching TV tonight she passed gas with such a foul stench, I had to gasp for air. She blamed the dog.

They do not even HAVE a dog.

Day 6
She tells the kids never to swear, but when she was alone on the freeway today, she let loose a string of expletives that would make a sailor blush. Honestly, Santa, I cannot even TYPE them for fear my hands will go straight to hell. Omigod, now she has ME swearing! She’s corrupting me, Santa!

Day 7
The Mom does do lots of nice stuff with the kids. She helps with homework, makes crafts with them, and plays silly games.

But tonight when she was baking cookies with Chloe for teacher gifts, I noticed she set aside all the misshapen, over-cooked ones for Mrs. Kobar.

Day 8
She’s not terribly organized. Before bedtime tonight, when Chloe suggested pulling out her old 1,001 Deluxe Bead Craft Kit and Tucker requested his 99 Paints & Goop Set, the Mom said she couldn’t find them in the toy closet. I suspect foul play.

Day 9
The neighborhood association called today for volunteers to deliver ballots door-to-door, but she said she had a “doctor’s appointment.”

Yep, you guessed – Dr. Phil on DVR. And the irony? The episode was “Nasty Neighbors” about residents who sue, sully, or sex each other up! It was scandalous and provocative! Honestly, after the third time, I could hardly watch it anymore.

Day 10
While rummaging in the closet for wrapping paper, she found the fancy toiletry bag-shaving kit she bought her husband last Christmas. It had never been used! She uttered some profanity and was about to bring it downstairs to confront him – but then she smiled, dusted it off, and wrapped it to give him THIS year!

Day 11
A new low. She stole quarters from Tucker’s piggy bank for the parking meter in front of the manicure place.

(And that polish is too pink for her skin tone. I’m just saying.)

Day 12
Possible redemption? She donated 3 bags of items to Goodwill today!

But guess what’s in the first bag? Yep! Chloe’s 1,001 Bead Craft Kit and Tucker’s 99 Paints & Goop Set!

Day 13
When her husband asked about his DVR recordings, she innocently said, “Oh, I don’t know how your golf tournaments got deleted.”

I know how, Santa. And I know WHO. Her head’s tilting accusingly toward the kids, but we all know who’s deleting shows to make room for Scandal and Outlander!

Day 14
She told a telemarketer she couldn’t talk on the phone because she had to go walk the dog. Still no dog, Santa.  NO DOG.

She works from home so she has lots of conference calls. The other people on the line think she’s studying the spreadsheets when she’s saying “yes, good point” and “mm-hmm” but she’s really reading Facebook updates!

Day 15
When her family mentioned they’re running out of clean clothes, she said she’d planned to do laundry last night but got sidetracked by other “important things.” I’m no detective, Santa, but that empty bottle of red wine might be a clue.

Day 16
Whenever her husband asks what she wants for Christmas, she smiles and says she has everything she needs: a loving family and a lovely home; she just wants everyone to have a happy, healthy holiday. But then she turns up the volume on all the jewelry commercials – and leaves catalogs lying around, open to pages showing beautiful tennis bracelets. She does not even PLAY tennis, Santa!

Day 17
When Tucker yelled downstairs that he’d accidentally knocked over all his Legos for the 4th time today, she hid in the pantry eating Oreos until her husband went up to clean up the mess. She was giggling, Santa. GIGGLING!

Day 18
Her friend tried to make her join her for a Zumba class, but she said she had a “doctor’s appointment.”

She watched GREY’S ANATOMY on NETFLIX. Oh come on! She’s not even trying anymore. Those aren’t even REAL doctors! Have you no shame, woman?

Day 19
Darcy called the relatives today about Christmas Eve dinner at her house. She “confided” in Aunt Bernice that Darcy’s sister Della really doesn’t care for Aunt Bernice’s jello fruit salad and could she please bring Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes instead.

Then she “confided” in Auntie Fran that Della made some uncomplimentary remarks about Auntie Fran’s zucchini bread loaf, so could she please bring Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes instead. Della said no such things!

Day 20
The kids rarely fight, but tonight I think the Mom and Dad got into a huge fight after drinking some after-dinner wine! They went right to their bedroom and locked the door – played music to cover the sounds, I guess, but I could hear them wrestling and moaning and exclaiming, “Oh God, Oh God!” I think they even knocked over a lamp!

Day 21
The gift she brought for today’s Book Club Secret Santa exchange looks suspiciously like the one she received at last week’s Neighborhood Secret Santa exchange! Regifting alert!

Day 22
When the kids asked for dessert, she swore there was no ice cream left. As soon as the kids were asleep, she opened a bag of frozen peas that concealed a pint of Ben & Jerry’s!

Day 23
She sang lots of Christmas Carols with the kids while seeing the lights on Candy Cane Lane tonight. But after 9 renditions of “Let It Go,” she claimed she couldn’t remember the words anymore. How does THAT happen?

Day 24
About 18 relatives came to Christmas Eve dinner at the Perdu house. I’m actually impressed — she’s been cooking all day; the house is decorated; the gifts are wrapped.

Aunt Bernice and Auntie Fran gave a bewildered Della the stink eye. Darcy just smiled sweetly and shoveled in some more Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes.

At the Christmas Eve dinner, she loudly let one rip and exclaimed, “Tucker!” Tucker protested his innocence while the adults shook their heads and the kids giggled. Tucker laughed too — but Santa, you and I both know who’s passin’ Brown-Sugar-scented gas tonight!

After dinner when it was time for clean-up, she told her husband she had “digestion difficulties” and was going to use the upstairs bathroom for privacy.

But while the relatives were cleaning the kitchen downstairs, she went upstairs to her bedroom instead! She locked the door, pulled out some book about colors – something about shades of grey? – and reached for some kind of strange magic wand — and you’re NOT gonna BELIEVE where she PUT the–

OH NO, she saw me! I’ve got to skedaddle lickety-split. More later, Santa!

–Ellington the Elf

I narrow my eyes. That little son-of-a…

With arched brow, and malice on my mind, I coaxingly call out, “Oh, Ellington? Little Elfie, where are youuu?”

–Darcy Perdu

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All posts on So Then Stories are true, with only the names changed – except THIS post which is completely fiction. I mean, come on, y’all – you know I never pass wind! Ne-vah!

(If Elf on the Shelf reports YOUR naughty behavior to Santa, what would the report say?)

Parenthood’s an Art — AND a Science!

Science of Parenthood

So then…I meet two witty, hilarious broads at a writing conference and find out they’re the masterminds behind the amazing blog, Science of Parenthood.  I was a big fan already because their illustrations, captions, and posts about parenting are so funny and SO TRUE!  I was very excited to meet Norine Dworkin-McDaniel & Jessica Ziegler in person and discover they’re both really chill and friendly.

So of course I’m delighted to announce they just published a fabulous Science of Parenthood book just in time for the holidays!  If you’re looking for an awesome gift for you, your friends & family – check out this colorful, fun, funny book of cartoons, stories, and quizzes.  You’ll nod your head in recognition of so many parenting scenarios — shake your head at the unpredictability of kids — and literally laugh out loud!

Enjoy this Q&A with Norine & Jessica, then go buy the book right HERE!

Q & A with Norine Dworkin-McDaniel & Jessica Ziegler

Our book, Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, is like our blog … but like our blog on STEROIDS! We utilized the blog to road test–perhaps we should say “field test”–material, and now the book contains the kinds of cartoons and writing that fans love to find at Science of Parenthood, along with all new cartoons, infographics, flowcharts pie charts and quizzes that we created just for the book. About 90 percent of the book is brand new material.

Divided into four sections–biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics–the book lives in the chasm that exists between our collective hopes and dreams and expectations of what parenting will be like … and the brutal, slap-you-upside-the-head reality of what parenting actually is. We cover all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the hilarious frustrations that come with early childhood (tantrums, picky eating, diaper blowouts, illness, sleep issues, play dates, toy creep, homework battles and encounters with crazy parents (not you, of course, we mean other parents). And you know what? You don’t even need to be a scientist to “get” it.

Our goal is just to make parents laugh. Because when you’re a parent, you NEED to laugh. Humor is a survival tool. After your tot has gotten the top off a jar of Vaseline and smeared every surface within reach–as happened to our friend Gail–or tried to “help” you paint a room and ended up covered in blue paint–as happened to Norine’s sister Shari–you have to laugh. Or you’ll end up sobbing. Or wearing one of those fancy white jackets that buckles up in the back.

Why science? Are either of you scientists?

Not at all. We’re moms dealing with the same kind of crazy stuff everyone else is. Science just makes a great metaphor for the frustration, exasperation and humiliation that comes with everyday parenting. Think about Einstein and how he explained his theory of relativity: “Sit on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour; sit with a pretty girl with an hour and it feels like a minute. That’s relativity.” Well, that’s parenthood too. One minute you’ve got a newborn covered in goo and then next, you’re watching teary-eyed as they skip into kindergarten without even a backward glance or a kiss goodbye. And yet, when you’re into your third hour of Candy Land on a rainy day, time seems to stand still. (If you haven’t played Candy Land with your toddler yet, trust us on this. The scars never really heal.)

Where did you get the idea for Science of Parenthood?

Our “eureka” moment came when Norine’s son, Fletcher, came home from school talking about one of Newton’s laws of force and motion: An object at rest stays at rest unless acted on by an external force.

Says Norine: “That instantly reminded me of Fletcher with his video games. He’d sit on the couch and play games all day if I didn’t confiscate the iPad. I jotted down, Newton’s First Law of Parenting: A child at rest will remain at rest until you want your iPad back. Later, I posted that on Facebook. It got a good response, so I started posting other parenting observations and giving them a math or science twist, like Sleep Geometry Theorem: A child will always sleep perpendicular to any adult laying next to them. Both of these are fan favorites and two of the very few cartoons we pulled from the blog to include in the book.

“As a writer, I’m always looking for new ways to tell stories. And in that eureka moment, it struck me that math and science make fantastic metaphors for telling the universal stories of parenting. Like scientists, we parents are always fumbling in the dark, searching for answers, wondering if we’re on the right track and second-guessing our methods. And because a picture is still worth a thousand words, I knew that these science-y quips would be a lot more popular on social media if they were illustrated. So I called Jessica and asked if she wanted to illustrate a book of these funny observations.

“Jessica was the one who saw that Science of Parenthood could be much bigger than a single book. She saw the potential for a blog and a social media presence and ancillary products. She quickly secured a domain name for us and created a Facebook page and Twitter feed. She began illustrating the observations I had already banked. Two weeks later, we debuted on Facebook; a week after that we rolled out the blog. Now we’re three years in, and along with Science of Parenthood, the book, we have mugs and magnets and posters featuring our images. Earlier this year we published two collections of humorous parenting tweets—The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets.

Where can readers find Science of Parenthood?

Science of Parenthood is available as a soft-cover and e-book on Amazon right now and in bookstores. (http://amzn.to/1DcVllh).

And you can always find Science of Parenthood on Facebook (www.facebook.com/scienceofparenthood), Twitter (www.twitter.com/sciofparenthood), Pinterest (www.pinterest/sciofparenthood) and Instagram (www.Instagram.com/scienceofparenthood).

About The Authors

Norine is the primary writer for Science of Parenthood, the blog, and Science of Parenthood, the book. A longtime freelance magazine writer, Norine’s articles have appeared in just about every women’s magazine you can buy at supermarket checkout as well as on The Huffington Post, Parenting.com, iVillage, Lifescript and Scary Mommy websites. Norine is the co-author of You Know He’s a Keeper…You Know He’s a Loser: Happy Endings and Horror Stories from Real Life Relationships (Perigee), Food Cures (Reader’s Digest) and a contributor to several humor anthologies, including Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding (Demeter Press). She lives with her husband and 9-year-old son in Orlando.

The daughter of famed New Yorker cartoonist Jack Ziegler, Jessica is Science of Parenthood’s co-creator, illustrator, web designer and contributing writer. In her “off hours,” Jessica is the director of social web design for VestorLogic and the writer/illustrator of StoryTots, a series of customizable children’s books. Her writing and illustration have been published on The Huffington Post, Vegas.com, InThePowderRoom.com and in Las Vegas Life and Las Vegas Weekly. Jessica was named a 2014 Humor Voice of the Year by BlogHer/SheKnows Media. She lives with her husband and 11-year-old son in Denver.

Together Jessica and Norine published The Big Book of Parenting Tweets and The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets earlier in 2015.

If you would like Norine and Jessica to visit your book group, contact Norine at norine@scienceofparenthood.

Oh, SOMEONE’S bein’ SASSY!

So then…I figure I’d best share some o’ my Memes so you can see some of the funny stuff goin’ on over on my So Then Stories Facebook page (which you should totally follow!)

Tools Used When My Teen & I Disagree

You know that funny character in the movie...?

 

Wait - I'm in the Russian Bride Club?

 

For a Healthy (or FUN) Halloween...?

 

Parenting for the WIN!

 

Oh your belly can only support a ring?

 

Wanna make your son speechless?

And as you know — there’s a CAKE for that!
AND a PARADE!

— Darcy Perdu

If you enjoyed this post, receive NEW funny posts by subscribing HERE!

(Go ahead – make my day!  Tell me your favorite!)

Sometimes, Only My Kids Really “Get” Me

Sometimes Only My Kids Get Me FINAL
So then…we cozy up to the teppanyaki table to celebrate Chloe’s 16th birthday — for our family dinner with her brother Tucker (18), her dad David, and me.

And since these Japanese restaurants pair you with other diners at the communal tables, we squeeze in next to a family of four also celebrating a birthday.

We quickly make friends with them, of course – ‘cause we’re charming like that.

Our tableside chef is slicing and dicing veggies – while shrimp, beef, chicken and fried rice are sizzling all across the hot grill – creating the most tantalizing aromas!

It’s such an impressive array of colors and scents, I say, “I wish I had one of these teppanyaki tables in my kitchen!  It’d be so cool to chop and grill all these delicious foods at home!”

My family members raise skeptical eyebrows.

“Mom, you’re not exactly known for your cooking,” says Chloe.

(She’s right.)

“Well, maybe I could get a job here – and they’d train me how to cook like this!” I say.

“I’m not sure you can be trusted with all those sharp knives, Mom,” says Tucker.  “You’d probably cut your hand off!”

We all laugh.

I say, “Yeah, but if I could still cook after something like that—”

My son brightens and says, “Hey, yeah, that could be what you’re known for—”

“Exactly,” I say.  “That could be my hook!”

Pause.

Then we suddenly realize my unintended pun – “that could be my hook” – like my claim to fameand like my missing hand would be an actual hook

My kids and I BUST UP LAUGHING.

David and the other family just stare us.

Which makes us laugh MORE.

WE CANNOT STOP LAUGHING.

“That could be my hook.”

“My HOOK!”  Bwahahaha!

Oh my God.

We’re snickering over that for hours.

Much to the dismay of everyone around us.

Sigh.  Sometimes only my kids get me.

— Darcy Perdu

If you enjoyed this post, receive NEW funny posts by subscribing HERE!

(Wouldn’t you love a teppanyaki grill table in YOUR house? And wouldn’t YOU laugh at the accidental hook joke? Wouldn’t you, seriously now!?)

Would You Like Some Vagina…Cake?

So then…we’re celebrating my daughter Chloe’s 16th birthday today — but she bought ME a cake!

Before our celebration plans tonight, she and her old brother Tucker snuck off to the store so she could order this cake for me:

Vagina Cake (RAW)

I die laughing.

I love Chloe’s sense of humor!

And I can only imagine the baker’s expression as he was asked to write:

“Thanks for pushing me out your Vagina.”

First of all, what choice did I have?  I certainly couldn’t keep her in there!

And second of all, why did the baker capitalize “Vagina?”

Does he think that’s someone’s name?  (I guess it could be a car’s name – like, “Thanks for pushing me out your Toyota before the train hit us.”)

Either way, those rapscallion kids of mine are snickering up a storm as they hand me the cake.  And I must say – it is delicious.

Several visitors have been in and out of the house today – and yes, we ask everyone who arrives:

“Would you like some vagina…

cake?”

Horrified looks quickly give way to laughter when they see the cake.

But it does raise an interesting point.

Why AREN’T we sending cakes and gifts to our moms on our birthdays?  After all, it’s the anniversary of the day they spent hours in agonizing labor to grant us life!

So am I suggesting that my kids should give me cakes and gifts on Mother’s Day…AND on my birthday…AND on their birthdays?

Why, yes – yes, I am.

Who’s with me?

— Darcy Perdu

If you enjoyed this post, receive NEW funny posts by subscribing HERE!

(Do you agree we moms should get cards and gifts on our KIDS’ birthdays too? What goofy shenanigans do YOUR kids get up to?)

What Diabolical Bedevilment Is This Kid Up To NOW?

What Diabolical Plan Is My Kid Plotting Now? #funny #alarming @SoThenStories.com

So then…my teen son Tucker asks me to print a strange attachment. I’m busy on the computer so I just glance at it briefly, but it looks to be an IRS penalty letter and a flight itinerary to New York.

I snort because surely the IRS can’t be hounding my son to pay income taxes for a job – since HE DOESN’T HAVE ONE. (not that I’m bitter and resentful about that at all – not that I sweated my balls off working at Grandell’s Amusement Park in Louisiana’s hot humid heat when I was a teen – not that I think he should fill out a few more applications to be gainfully employed for the summer – cough cough)

So I print the attachment and go on about my business in my home office.

Tucker continues his flurry of activities throughout the house, occasionally calling out a question.

I try not to be a helicopter parent, but after awhile, I wonder if I should be concerned by his inquiries over the past few hours:

“Do we have a Polaroid camera for an instant picture?”

“Can you print out a W2 form please?”

“Where’s my passport?”

“Do we have any balloons?”

“Where’s the duct tape?”

What the hell?

Is he running away from home?

Is he an international fugitive?

Is he taking HOSTAGES?

Am I one of the hostages?

Just now he said, “Don’t come in the pantry, please.”

Trust me, buddy, I won’t.

I continue my phone calls and work emails, while posting some of the above questions on Facebook to see what my pals think. Comments range from:

“LMAO”

to

“I’d go in the pantry if I were you”

to

“Are you alive? Should we call the police?”

I figure I’d better check out what nefarious activities he’s up to, so I pop in his bedroom and find this:

You're Snorting What with My WHAT? #funny @SoThenStories.com

Tucker’s not there – just a bunch of foreign currency and his passport.

What country accepts euros AND pesos AND quetzals?

Hmm, maybe I SHOULD go see what’s in the pantry.

As I enter the kitchen, I see this:

You're Snorting What with My WHAT? #funny @SoThenStories.com

I die laughing because it appears to be the cocaine serving for a Sweet Suburban Housewife!

Please note the cocaine lines are cut with a BARNES & NOBLE GIFT CARD!

(not a Gold Am Ex card – a bookstore gift card!)

Apparently the cocaine’ll be snorted with a rolled-up BED, BATH & BEYOND COUPON!

(not a hundred dollar bill – a linen store coupon!)

And the baggie containing the cocaine is helpfully labelled, “Cocaine. Keep until June 2016”

That’s exactly how I label all my dry goods!

But I promise you, THIS IS NOT MY COCAINE!

First of all, I’d never tamper with a Bed, Bath & Beyond 20% Off Coupon – those things are like GOLD to me!

Second of all, IS there an expiration date for cocaine?

Third of all, I don’t do cocaine!

I do Ben & Jerry’s.

(which is FAR superior to cocaine)

So clearly, this little scene is my son’s handiwork.

And yes, the “cocaine” is flour.

But it’s oddly gratifying to know that even if my son were the ring leader of an international drug cartel, he’d be organized enough to LABEL his drugs and provide an EXPIRATION date.

I imagine that’d be quite impressive – and a real time-saver – when the cops bust him and take the drugs into evidence.

The last thing you want is a lab tech to stick his pinky in the powder and declare with a grimace, “Tsk, this cocaine’s gone bad” – or for the British cop to shout “Oi! Sarge, come sample da heroin – seems a bit off, don’t it?”

Finally I locate my fugitive – caught red-handed with scissors and a fake W2 form.

“Whatcha workin’ on there, buddy? Somethin’ for your kitchen cocaine?”

He laughs.

“Yes!” he exclaims. “It’s so funny! I’m working on a SnapChat story about a guy whose IRS fines are so huge, he has to turn to a life of crime to pay the government!”

And sure enough, a few moments later, he shows me his SnapChat photos and text which are pretty frikkin’ hilarious!

Of course, it seems a little implausible that someone would obscenely violate drug laws in order to comply with an income tax law – but hey, who am I to question the motivation of the lead character in a fictional SnapChat story?

I’m a mother — and I’m duty-bound to support my son in all his creative endeavors — even if a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon is sacrificed in the process.

(stifles a sob)

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any creative mini-filmmakers or clever storytellers out there? How about kids who ask questions so bizarre, you’re almost afraid to find out why they want to know? DO you agree Ben & Jerry’s is far superior to cocaine?)

Signs Your Daughter MIGHT Have Borrowed YOUR Shower…

So then…I pop into my bathroom, when I see something that makes me suspect that my teen Chloe MIGHT have borrowed MY shower to shave her legs.

I spy this upon the shower wall:

Signs Your Kid MIGHT Have Borrowed Your Shower #funny @SoThenStories.com

1st Thought:

Aww, how sweet.

2nd Thought:

Hey, that’s a lot of shaving lotion.

Then I see this written underneath:

Signs Your Kid MIGHT Have Borrowed Your Shower #funny #kids @SoThenStories.com

Ha!

When I see her later, I give her a hug and say:

Me: “I loved my surprise message in the shower today! That was hilarious!”

Chloe, grinning: “Well, I do love you.”

Me: “Why didn’t you finish the second sentence?”

Chloe: “The one that says ‘Sorry for wasting?’”

Me: “Yeah, why didn’t you write ‘Sorry for wasting shaving lotion?’”

Chloe: “Because I ran out of shaving lotion!”

Bwahahaha!

‘Tis no matter. I can always buy more shaving lotion –

And I always love to receive love notes from my family!

Of course, this isn’t the strangest thing I’ve found in my shower! 

— Darcy Perdu

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(What or who is the strangest thing you’ve found in YOUR shower? Do your kids leave you little love notes?)

HOME HERO

HomeHero Ad 429

If you know an elderly relative or friend who could use some home help, but you’re not sure where to find pleasant, reliable, capable staff, you might want to check out HomeHero.

When you don’t live in the same town as your loved ones, it’s difficult to find someone you trust to help them out when they’re not physically able to handle certain things.

The company was created when founders Kyle Hill and Mike Townsend saw how much their parents struggled when interviewing, hiring, and managing in-home care for their grandparents.

Frustrated by the antiquated home care system, Kyle and Mark used technology to consolidate this highly-fragmented market. They created video interviews of candidates and developed smart systems to find, interview, hire, manage, and pay the caregivers.

They already have 800 caregivers onboard – and they’ve helped hundreds of families across Southern California find senior care for their loved-ones. If you’re looking for affordable quality home care, check them out at HomeHero. 

(This is a sponsored post with Mums the Word Blogger Network and HomeHero. All opinions are my own.)

EMBARRASSING Teen Texts – from My Own Teen!

So then…my teen daughter shoots me the glare of a thousand blazing suns and motions for me to BEHAVE.

And for no reason!

I’m merely sighing, foot tapping, and looking pointedly at the clock in a subtle effort to indicate to the two employees sitting behind the desk of this tutor center that it’s well past our appointed appointment time.

Chloe, age 15, whispers, “Stop that!” and nods her head toward the employees.

I whisper mock-seriously, “It’s fifteen minutes past our appointment with the manager! I’m a super-important busy woman with super-important things to do!”

Chloe whispers, “Shhhh!” then texts me fast and furiously on her phone so the staff can’t hear us:

TextAAAA1

Tsk – she’s worried I might embarrass her when we meet with the center manager. How about the appalling lack of punctuation and grammar in that text she just sent?

Chloe took the mock SAT test earlier this week, so today the center manager will tell us the test results, recommend which areas Chloe needs to strengthen, and try to sell us on a package of SAT prep tutoring sessions. Many of Chloe’s classmates study for the SAT and ACT at this center.

If you’re wondering why on earth Chloe thinks I might embarrass her in the meeting…

1) I’m a mimic.

Not in a mean way. Just in a “that-seems-cool/fun/awesome-I-want-to-do-it-too” sort of way.

So if we’re on the dance floor and you’re bustin’ some sweet moves, I will instantly copy those moves. Not to make fun of you. Just because it looks cool and I want to do it too!

If you’re humming a song when I pass you in the grocery store, I’ll still be humming that same tune 3 aisles later.

If you have an accent, I will speak in that accent. To your face. I don’t even realize that I’m doing it. It’s an unconscious mimic reflex!

If you’re Southern, a slight drawl will creep into my inflection.

It’s undetectable at first, but eventually my speech pattern will emulate yours, even if you’re from New Yawk or Bah-ston.

Now if your accent is British, French, or Australian – my involuntary imitation of your manner of speech is either adorable – or awkward – or mildly annoying.

But if your accent is Spanish or Asian – my unintentional simulation can come off as slightly racist.

But I swear I’m not racist!

Honestly I’m not! You can ask my ethnically-diverse friends and relatives!

I genuinely make an effort to curb this inadvertent replication, but every once in awhile, I slip. My kids are there to shoot daggers if I do.

So Chloe might be nervous about our upcoming meeting since the manager and two employees of this education center are all Asian.

2) I like lemon.

Well, that’s fascinating, Darcy, but what the hell does lemon have to do with anything?

At restaurants, I always order “a Diet Coke and a water, with lemons, lots of lemons.” Usually I get no lemons. Or one tiny lemon slice in each drink. But I like LOTS of lemons.

So I’ve learned that if I say, “May I please have a Diet Coke and a water – with a little tray of lemons?” accompanied by hand motions that form a little tray, the server knows exactly what I want – and they bring me a little plate covered in lemon slices.

I’m thrilled – and my children are mortified.

“Why do you have to make the hand motions?!?”

“It’s the only way to get the plate of lemon slices. I’ve scientifically experimented with, and without, the hand motions. It’s the only way.”

“It is NOT the only way!”

“Shut up and eat your bowl of pasta I could’ve made at home for 79 cents.”

3) I like discounts.

Look, I’m not a fanatic. I’m not price-haggling every merchant like a loon.

But if I find myself buying something at Bed Bath & Beyond when my 20% off coupon is still back home on the kitchen counter, you’re gonna hear about it. All day long. And possibly into next week.

And if someone’s trying to sell me hundreds of dollars of SAT prep classes, you can bet I’m going to inquire about a discount – or at least ask if my friend Yvette can get a discount on her daughter’s classes since they referred us to this center!

So now you know the context behind these texts:

Chloe’s texts are on the left in grey – and my responses are on the right in green or blue.

Since she told me to behave at the meeting, I reply:

TextA2A

Chloe looks horrified!

I text:

TextA2B

TextA3

I giggle a bit.

TextA4

Chloe smirks, so I respond with:

TextA4B

TextA5

I crack up laughing.

TextA6

At this point, Chloe snatches my phone and texts me on my own phone:

TextA7

Just then the door opens. The manager says, “Thank you for waiting. Please come in.”

Chloe fires me a warning look. I smile innocently. We follow the manager into her office.

— Darcy Perdu

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(What are your favorite ways to embarrass YOUR kids? Anybody else out there with “involuntary accent mimic syndrome?”)

EMBARRASSING Teen Texts - FROM My Teen! #funny @SoThenStories.com

Perfectly Reasonable — or Daddy’s Double Standard?

So then…my husband David suggests that we try to eat dinner around 5:30 pm every day, otherwise our kids (age 3 & 5) tend to get a little hanky (hungry-cranky).

Good idea. So we follow that schedule.

Cut to three weeks later:

I let David know that I need to work late this evening. No problem, he says.

I come home at 7:30 pm to a completely clean kitchen.

Awesome! He must have fed the kids, then cleaned up afterwa—

Wait a minute.

I enter the family room where the kids and he are watching TV.

I greet everyone – hugs, kisses – and inquire about their days.

Then, when the kids are out of earshot…

Me:  Did you feed the kids?

Him: Oh. Nah. (shrugs) They didn’t seem hungry.

Me:  They said they weren’t hungry?

Him: I didn’t ask them. They just didn’t seem hungry.

Me:  They didn’t SEEM hungry? You mean they weren’t writhing on the floor, clutching their bellies, begging for sustenance? They didn’t faint of malnutrition right in front of you? They didn’t collapse in front of the refrigerator with their tiny little fingers clawing at the door? OK, let’s just not feed them until they SEEM hungry. That sounds like a splendid plan!

He grins at my melodramatic contortions, but still attempts a lame, “Well, it’s OK to miss a meal once in awhile…”

Uh-huh. Hmmm. How interesting that the “once in awhile” happens to coincide with the one night I’m working late and he’s in charge of feeding them.

So if I’m around, dinner should be at 5:30 – but when he’s at the helm, dinner should be when the tykes send him an engraved invitation?

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great Dad – and usually pretty helpful with the kids – but this time, it’s a bit of a double standard, right?

Or do I just need to train my kids to pound their silverware on the table and chant “FOOD, FOOD, FOOD!” like li’l prison convicts when they’re hungry?
Hmm, seems like a Daddy Double Standard if you ask ME -- but YOU decide! #funny @SoThenStories.com
— Darcy Perdu

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(Any double standards at YOUR house with YOUR spouse? Lay it on us!)

Who’s Singin’ the “How the Hell Is This School Project Gettin’ Done in Time” Blues?

So then…both my kids announce brand new huge projects that must be completed before the school year ends — which is just a couple weeks away — and I suspect these projects weren’t assigned today.

Of course, this reminds me of the School Project to End All School Projects, so I’ll share this here just in case any of you are singin’ the “How the Hell Is This School Project Gettin’ Done in Time” Blues!

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

Do I Embarrass Myself in Front of Celebrities? Why Yes, Yes I Do!

Backstage Bungle -- funny & embarrassing story!  @SoThenStories

So then…I confess that I neglected to share a rather embarrassing tale from my recent trip to Vegas with my two teen kids and their three pals.

Oh sure, I shared our shenanigans and hypnotized hilarity – but of course, no trip is complete without my own personal embarrassment…

THE BACKSTAGE BUNGLE
Our friend arranges for us to see a comedian friend of his, so the teens and I get awesome free seats and an opportunity to meet the comedian backstage afterwards.

The show’s hilarious! We love it!

Afterwards, an usher brings us to an attractive guy named Jim who’s the comedian’s assistant or road manager or something. He takes us backstage to a waiting room, then into the comedian’s dressing room.

The kids and I greet the comedian and thank him for the seats.

While the kids are talking to the comedian, I go off to the side with Jim. I gesture toward the kids with my Iphone and whisper to him, “Do you think it’s OK if I take a picture?”

“Sure!” he says, “That’s flattering!”

“Oh, OK,” I say shyly. “I never know. I don’t want to ask a celeb for a photo if it’s too pushy or something.”

“Not at all!” says Jim, smiling. “I’m happy to take a photo with them. They probably won’t know who I am though!”

Huh?

I look at him strangely. They won’t know who you are? I don’t know who you are, either!

So I’m looking at this Jim guy totally confused, when suddenly –

LIGHTBULB!

Oh, damn. Now I remember! The comedian mentioned during the show that his friend was in the audience – a singer from a popular boy band in the late 90’s.

Oh, damn, damn, damn. Jim’s not the comedian’s assistant! He’s the friend – who’s also a celeb! And he thinks I’m asking for HIS picture!

I quickly try to recover gracefully, nodding my head enthusiastically, like yes yes that’s exactly what I intended all along please by all means get in this photo you delicious little former boy-bander you!

So then follows a horribly awkward photo shoot where I’m directing my kids and their friends to all smush together in pics with the comedian and the hottie 90’s singer-dancer.

Argh!

Could I just make it through ONE WEEK without embarrassing myself?

Nope.

As we leave the theater, walking along, I stop dead in my tracks and gasp!

Because now I remember something that makes me wince with fresh new embarrassment.

Before we went to the comedian’s dressing room, about 10 of us were squeezed into a tiny waiting room — me, the 5 teens with me, a few friends of the comedian, and Jim.

Jim was standing and the rest of us were sitting on two benches facing each other – smashed in so close, our knees were touching the people seated opposite us!

After awhile, conversation petered out a bit, so one of the adults said, “We need some entertainment while we’re waiting” and someone said something to Jim like, “Are you humming over there?”

He grinned — so I asked, “Oh, do you sing?” in that tone of voice you use when you discover someone who has one job — has just been revealed to have another talent.

Like the tone of voice I’d use if my plumber glanced longingly at my piano and I said with a tinge of surprise, “Oh, do you play?”

I was thinking, “Oh, Jim the assistant also happens to sing.  That’s cool.”

And when I asked “Oh, do you sing?” — Jim and the others laughed which I took to mean “Good God, no!” which is the same response I’d give – because I’m a dreadful singer (even the nuns say so).

Just then, the door opened and we filed out to the comedian’s dressing room.  One of the women smiled at me and murmured, “That’s a good one.”

NOW it all makes sense. She and the others thought I KNEW Jim was a famous former boy bander so they interpreted my question to be “faux innocent” – like I was ribbing him or teasing him!

Like batting my eyelashes and asking Kobe Bryant, “Oh, do you play ball?”
Or asking Meryl Streep, “Oh, do you act?”
Asking Miley Cyrus, “Oh, do you twerk?”
Asking that old Vatican guy with the funny hat, “Oh, are you religious?”

So Jim and the other adults all thought I was being clever and coy and maybe even flirtatious!

But I was just being completely clueless – which, I suppose, is its own special talent.

Embarrassing myself being yet another special talent I possess.

So, former boy bander, if you ever read this post – just know that you’re still smokin’ hot and I’d love to hear you croon anytime, baby!

— Darcy Perdu

PS I changed his name for this post so as not to embarrass him – or myself – any further!

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(Ever embarrassed yourself in front of a celeb? Do you know all the 90’s boy banders by sight?)

For hilarious tales from the front lines of parenting — and my story of the most embarrassing thing I’ve EVER done — buy this rockin’ new book, I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone!
I Still Just Want To Pee Alone at Amazon.com




Click the Buy Now button for an autographed copy mailed right to your door!

Dispatches from Spring Break Vegas Trip

So then…I consider all the educational, enriching, cultural landmarks I can visit with my kids on Spring Break – and instantly choose VEGAS!

Dispatches from Spring Break Vegas Trip

That’s right, I’m taking my two teens and three of their teen friends to Vegas for Spring Break!

Gambling! Drinking! Strip Clubs!

Oh wait. That’s for my business trips to Vegas.

This is a family-friendly trip! Recalculating, recalculating…

Still a go!
Tucker & Chloe, their 3 pals, and I head off to Nevada!
And now, here are Dispatches from Our Vegas Trip:

PLANNING OUR WEEK
Me: OK Kids, what would you like to do in Vegas?

Maggie (daughter’s friend): Oh! I’d love to see a hypnotist show & swim in the wave pool at Mandalay Bay & go to the buffet at Aria & — well, if I wasn’t anti-MGM—

Me: Why are you anti-MGM?

Maggie: Because they have lions in captivity in their hotel lobby! That’s so cruel!

Me: Oh, OK. Well, if you weren’t anti-MGM, what would you wanna do there?

Maggie (quietly, sheepishly): See the lions.

Me: *blink*

Maggie: What?

Me: Ha! I thought you were going to say, eat at MGM’s Rainforest Café or see a certain show there – but the thing you’d want to see there is the very thing that prevents you from going there? You’re hilarious!

Maggie: Um…thank you?

(PS We did end up at Rainforest Café later, but we respectfully averted our eyes from any potentially captive lobby lions.)

1 Dispatches Pool 429

POOLSIDE FUN
Heading down to the pool – but first, I’m in the shower –
shaving legs, underarms…and now toes? TOES? Holy Hell!

Where did these Hairy Hobbit Hooves come from?
Am I the only one with this affliction? I gotta shave those li’l puppies!
But I can’t even touch my toes on dry land!
How am I gonna reach ‘em in a slippery shower wielding a sharp razor?
Oh Lordy – pray for me!
Two band-aids later…

1 Dispatches Michael_Jackson_One_graphic 429

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL – MICHAEL JACKSON ONE
There are about 87 Cirque du Soleil shows in this town. This one features Michael Jackson. I thought he was no longer with us but hey, this is Vegas – anything’s possible.

Wow, awesome show! These performers are phenomenally talented! Not sure if that last dancer was actually Michael – or a hologram – but either way, damn, can he dance!

1 Dispatches Michael hologram

PS: Quitting my job to become trampoline-artist with Cirque du Soleil! Those guys have a blast! I’m uniquely qualified for this job! When I fall, I bounce! Sign me up!

1 Dispatches Trampoline

ARIA BUFFET
All the foods. All over the world. All at once. All in mah belly!
Deee-lish!

1 Dispatches Buffet Seafood

FREMONT STREET
Wade into the wild, wonderful sea of humanity in downtown Las Vegas? Sure!

1 Dispatches Fremont Sign
Yes, kids, you can zip line down Fremont Street over the heads of all these drunk tourists and street performers, but be careful of pickpockets and affectionate lushes as we make our way to the zip line.

Don’t get too close to anyone or you’ll end up mugged and pregnant with an STD and a meth addiction.

1 Dispatches Fremont Zip Line

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Dispatches from Spring Break Vegas Trip…
— Darcy Perdu

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(Seriously, what the hell with the toe hair? Anybody, anybody? Meanwhile, what’s your favorite thing to do in Vegas?)

For hilarious tales from the front lines of parenting — and my story of the most embarrassing thing I’ve EVER done — buy this rockin’ new book, I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone!
I Still Just Want To Pee Alone at Amazon.com




Click the Buy Now button for an autographed copy mailed right to your door!

Gimme a Call

Gimme a Call - No, Seriously, If You Know What's Good For Ya, Kid - CALL ME!! #funny @SoThenStories

So then…my high school freshman Tucker excitedly hops on the bus with his bassoon.

He smiles broadly, joining the rest of the school’s concert band on their way to the airport.

It’s his first time taking a trip on his own without our family.

They’re flying from L.A. for a week in NEW YORK CITY!

He’s thrilled!

I’m terrified!

As he takes his seat on the bus, I throw myself to the ground, writhing and moaning – clutching rosary beads and amulets to my chest — chanting spells, praying invocations – waving my talisman and lucky charms in the air – begging the gods to watch over my first-born as he zips 3000 miles away.

Or at least that’s how it feels.

I console myself with the knowledge that today’s amazing technology allows me to stay in constant touch with the fruit of my womb.

He never goes anywhere without his cell phone — so I’ll just call him to ensure he’s OK, having fun, and remembering to wear underwear.

The transcript from our calls:

Day 1:
Me: Hi honey! How are—
T, whispering: Can’t talk – we’re entering Lincoln Center for a class.

Day 2:
Me: Hey, how—
T, whispering: We’re just about to go into the Broadway show.

Day 3:
Me: How’s it go—
T, whispering: We’re eating dinner, then we’re performing. Gotta go.

OH MY GOD!

So I haul my ass over to the computer, study their itinerary backwards and forwards, and plan my phone call for EXACTLY the perfect time:

Day 4:
Me: Hello! How are—
T, whispering: Can’t talk. We’re on the bus.
Me: I KNOW you’re on the bus! That’s why I called you right now!
You’re IN BETWEEN activities! So we can talk now!
T, whispering: But we’re on the bus. Doing…bus things. I can’t talk NOW.

Bus things? What are bus things?

I’m starting to think my kid’s avoiding me.

Is he interviewing new families on the East Coast? Is he enrolling in school out there?

Will I EVER get my baby back?

Sob!

Now to be fair, he does occasionally text.

I’ll text something like “Are you having fun?”
And he’ll text “Yeah!”
Then I’ll text “What are you guys doing today?”
And he’ll text “Stuff!”

Maybe he’s been kidnapped. And his captors don’t speak English well. So they can only text one word answers.

I consider texting, “Have you been kidnapped?”
But he’d just text back “Nah” — (and that’s EXACTLY what kidnappers would say!)

I’m about to speed dial a private eye, psychic, and a witch doctor, but then I realize Tucker’s probably just having such a blast, he doesn’t have the time or inclination for chitter-chatter.

But I’m also wondering if it’s a BOY thing. Because when my daughter goes on a trip, she can’t wait to tell me every detail – even if I have to insult a neighbor to hear it!

Finally the day of pick-up arrives!

As families mill about the school parking lot waiting for the airport shuttle, David (Tucker’s dad) asks other parents if their kids stayed in touch during the trip.

The parents laugh and start complaining about the same lack of communication.

One dad says, “My kid was gone a whole week. I only got two calls – and one of those was a BUTT-DIAL!”

— Darcy Perdu

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(So is this a BOY thing? Or a TEEN thing? Or a I’m-Having-Too-Much-Fun-Quit-BUGGIN’-Me-Mom thing?)

When Your Own MOM is Tougher than the COPS!

When Your Own MOM is Tougher than the COPS!  Would you do this to your kid?  #funny SoThenStories.com

So then…I finish my shift and drive home. Yeah, that’s right – I’ve got a job – and I’m only a TEENAGER. Yep. (trying to act casual, but super stoked!)

(I’d been so nervous during my interview at Grandell’s Amusement Park, but honestly – how could they resist my professional interview outfit: pastel teal polyester pants with a striped collared shirt – and get this, one of the stripes was the exact same shade as the pastel teal pants! No, seriously. I like to think it’s that kind of meticulous attention to detail that impressed them to hire me immediately.)

All summer, my teen coworkers toil outside in the broiling Louisiana sun, running the carnival games and operating the rides.

But I serve chili-cheese-dogs in an old-timey train caboose – the ONLY air-conditioned spot in the entire amusement park!

The teen boys who work here are always hanging around my caboose – (the TRAIN caboose – git yer mind outta the gutter!) – and I’m fairly certain their constant presence is a testament to my charming personality – OR the air-conditioning. Whatevs. Potato Po-tah-to.

Anyway, I’m happily singing along to my car radio as I turn the corner and pull up outside my house. I park on the street, wave to my Dad in the backyard, then stroll up the sidewalk to our front door.

I’m halfway there when I hear a man’s voice behind me say, “Excuse me.”

Someone must need directions. I turn around, saying, “Yes, can I help y—”

There is a cop. Standing in front of his cop car.

This cop needs directions from me? That’s weird. It’s usually the other way around.

“Do you know why I’m here?” he asks.

Oh dear, this cop is having a really bad day. He doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing.

“No,” I say gently, wondering how I can contact his sergeant to return him safely to the precinct.

“I’m here because you blew through two stop signs right in front of me.”

Oh.

Oh, I see.

Suddenly the whole picture becomes painfully clear to me.

“Well, I’m not sure I’d say “blew” through them, maybe I “stop-rolled” through them?”

His expression indicates he’s not interested in parsing semantics with me.

“I can’t believe you ran a second stop sign right in front of me while I was following you for the first one. Didn’t you see me in your rear-view mirror?” he asks, pulling out his ticket book.

I furrow my brow. Does he mean the make-up mirror? That thing in the middle of the windshield I use to apply thick coats of Maybelline mascara?

“Well, why didn’t you have your sirens on?” I ask. “I would’ve noticed you then.”

He looks flummoxed, like he can’t believe I’m trying to turn this around on him being at fault.

Just then my mom comes tearing out of the front door.

“Oh my God, Darcy! What have you done now?”

(What have I done “now?” Good God, she makes it sound like I’m a regular juvenile delinquent!)

I say ruefully, “Narcotics again, Mom.”

Mom is NOT amused.

“DARCY! Don’t you dare joke about this, young lady!”

She turns to the cop and says, “What did she do?”

He says, “She failed to come to a complete stop so I – wait, is that you, Meredith? It’s me, Tommy – Tommy Renaldi.”

She takes a couple steps closer and recognizes the young cop. Mom works as Deputy Clerk of Court so she knows most of the cops who come in and out of the courthouse.

“Oh, hey Tommy. I mean, Officer Renaldi,” she says quickly, trying to highlight his authority for my sake.

“Meredith, I didn’t know this was your daughter.” He closes his ticket book. “No need for a citation. I’ll just let it go with a warn—”

“No!” she says vehemently. “No daughter of mine’s getting a free pass just because I work at the courthouse! She commits a crime, she pays the consequences! You throw the book at her!”

“Aww, Mommmm,” I say plaintively.

“Aww, Mommmm,” the cop echoes in solidarity. He grins at her optimistically.

She shoots us both a look that smacks the smiles right off our faces and the hope out of our hearts.

She points a finger at me and says, “When you’re finished here, come inside for a ‘talk.’”

And with that, she spins on her heel and strides back into the house.

The cop looks at me with sympathy – and a fearful shudder.

“Oh, man,” he says, “That’s gonna be some talk.” He writes in his book. “Here, I’m just gonna cite you for the one stop sign – so at least it’s $50 instead of $100.”

I’m appreciative – but dammit, do you know how many chili-cheese-dogs I gotta sell to clear $50 bucks?

I mumble “thank you” as I mournfully take the ticket.

As I trudge back up the sidewalk to my front door, I can only imagine him thinking, “Dead Man Walking…”

Note 1 – MY MOM:
First, I need to tell you that my Mom is actually one of the warmest, funniest, most compassionate people you’ll ever meet. Quick to offer a lending hand, a sympathetic ear, a strong shoulder to lean on – she is literally my role model for motherhood! But damnation, if you try to slide something by that woman — and she thinks you need to learn your lesson – well, by God, you.will.learn.that.lesson! Another reason she’s a great Mom!

Note 2 – MY DAD:
Second, I find it absolutely hilarious that my Dad simply waved at me from the backyard. I mean, his teenage daughter pulls up, followed by a cop car, but he just waves and goes about his business! To be fair, he was working on the “Yellow Cracker Box.” This was our affectionate name for the bizarre box-shaped yellow rehabilitation vehicle he bought used, then retrofitted it to include a table, bathroom, and pull-out beds so our family of 7 could go on camping trips and road trips all across the South. He was quite fond of that Yellow Cracker Box, so he may have been distracted by whatever he was tinkering with or fixing.

I like to think he just assumed, “Oh, that Darcy’s a clever one – if the cops are after her, I’m sure she’ll figure a way out of it.” Of course, more than likely, he probably just figured my Mom’s “Spidey Sense” would alert her that one of the 5 kids was in legal trouble – and that she’d rush to ensure the kid was prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Note 3 – MY NEXT COP:
Fortunately my next summer job provided me with a hilarious way to get out of speeding tickets as this true tale will attest: Funniest Way to Get Out of a Ticket. 

Note 4 – MY NEXT CRIME:
Recently my Book Club read The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty (great book BTW) about a wife’s dilemma when she learns her loving husband of about 15 years and terrific father to her kids actually secretly killed a girl when he was a teen. Should she turn him in or not?

When I asked my Book Club friends if they’d turn in their husbands in a similar situation, most said they’d keep the secret! But you can clearly see that if I pulled something like that, my MOM would not only CALL THE COPS on me — she’d swab my DNA, track down the buried body, and gather all the damning evidence into a compelling PowerPoint for the judge and jury!

Note to self: do NOT invite Mom to help dispose of any bodies. My Dad, on the other hand, would’ve pulled up in the Yellow Cracker Box, tossed the body inside, and headed to the desert with a shovel. Which kind of parent are YOU?

— Darcy Perdu

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(How would your parents react if you showed up at your house with the cops? What would you do if it were YOUR teen – let the cop issue a warning – or insist on a ticket? Any funny cop stories?)

Celine and the Fireman’s HOSE (Embarrassing Celebrity Story)

Celine and the Fireman's HOSE - Embarrassing Celebrity Story!  #funny @SoThenStories

So then…my friend and I pop into our seats in the flashy Vegas theater to see Celine Dion perform.

We’re not huge Celine fans, per se, but my company had bought tickets for an international client whose flight was cancelled, so my boss told me to take the tickets myself.

I’m not familiar with all of Celine’s music, but I do like that Love Boat song:

“Love, exciting and new — Come Aboard. We’re expecting you…”

Oh wait – not that one. The Sinking Love Boat song:

“Near, far, wherever you are — I believe that the heart does go on…”

So the show starts – Celine belts out some powerhouse hits – dancers dazzle us with complicated choreography – and a huge mime in a tiny top hat wanders around the stage, freaking me out a bit.

I have no idea how he plays into this performance as he literally DOES NOT SING – DOES NOT DANCE – and PERFORMS NO DISCERNABLE TRICKS.

He doesn’t even seem like he belongs in the cast. This 6 foot 6 inch guy just wanders around the back of the stage all night long, striking creepy poses in his mime outfit, white-face, and tiny top hat.

(For all I know, he’s NOT in the cast. Maybe he’s just a stalker with a clever ruse to get close to Celine.)

Anyway, about half way through her set, Celine stops to chat with her audience. It’s a bit awkward because it doesn’t come across as natural or conversational.

It’s as though a PR person has told her, “You appear to be an elite aloof ice cold Canadian perfectionist. You need to CONNECT with the little people – make yourself more human, so they can relate to you.”

Her set list probably says, “Insert charming stories about your family here.”

So she tells us about how much her son Rene’-Charles (4 years old at the time) loves Hot Wheels cars. Audience members smile – they can relate to this. Their tykes like Hot Wheels too!

Then she says he loves to ride those little coin-operated vibrating cars outside the toy store. Audience members nod their heads. Their kids enjoy that too!

Then she says she flew her son to NASCAR so he could ride laps in the winning car after the race.

BAM! That little tenuous connection to the audience immediately SNAPS!

Audience members are like, “Um, nope, can’t relate to that at all. Don’t have a private jet. Don’t know anyone at NASCAR to arrange a private lap in an actual NASCAR car. But….um….ya know, how lovely for YOU.”

Then she tries to share how cute it is when she kisses her son goodbye to go to work each night, when the helicopter lands in her yard to take her to the Vegas strip.

Um, OK. We get it, you’re rich. “Helicopter-In-The-Yard” Rich.

But my favorite is when she shares the story of the time they emptied their pool to install new decorative tiles.

(Please read this next part with your best French-Canadian accent):

“When zee work wuzz ‘finis,’ we put zee hose in da pool to feell it back up. But it wuzz taking so long because my pool – it izz ENORMOUS! SO BEEG! And poor little Rene’-Charles wuzz so hot! He wanted to swim so badly, but I jezz didn’t know whut to do!”

Here she pauses dramatically to shrug helplessly – and mime Rene’-Charles’ sadness.

“Zen I have zee wonderful idea! I call zee fire department and tell them about poor little Rene’-Charles and zey come right away! Vite! Vite! Zee fire trucks come to my house and zey put the giant FIRE hoses in my pool and ta-da – it feells to the top!”

Here she claps and hops like a giggly schoolgirl.

“All za firemenzz is so nice to Rene’-Charles to fill zee pool and now my boy can swim! Eez wonderful, yes?”

She beams.

We furrow our brows.

Um…yeah…we guess so.

I dunno, though. I like to please my kid as much as the next mom, but if my 4-year-old was whining that the pool wasn’t filling up fast enough, I’d probably pop him in the bathtub or squirt him with the hose.

I’m not sure I’d call the FIRE DEPARTMENT to come use city water and city equipment to fill my pool. Maybe they do that in certain areas, but I’m not sure that’s the best use of city resources. (Fire dispatcher: “Sorry we can’t put out your 4-alarm fire, sir, we’re filling Rene’-Charles’ pool! He eez so hot!”)

To be fair, if I had Celine’s talent and wealth, I might well bathe my children in monks’ tears and feed them fresh-squeezed unicorn milk.

But I do worry that Rene’-Charles (RC) might develop a bit of an “immediate-gratification” issue if this is the MO:

RC: “Me like Hot Wheels.”
Celine: “Lezz hop zee jet to NASCAR for a lap in zee winning car!”

RC: “Me want swim.”
Celine: “Call the fire department! Feell thiz pool quick-quick!”

What’s next?

RC: “Playground kid gave me mean look.”
Celine: “Call the National Guard!”

RC: “My ice cream tastes icky.”
Celine: “Fly Ben & Jerry here immediately to make a fresh batch!”

RC: “Me sleepy. Sing lullaby.”
Celine: “Quick, get Beyonce and Taylor Swift over here NOW!”

Um, wait, Celine, aren’t YOU a singer too?

Celine: “Oh, yeah, right, right – I guess I could do zat one myself. — Get me a mic and my tiny top hat mime STAT!”

— Darcy Perdu

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Let’s hope Rene’-Charles’ parents don’t try to top each other for birthday parties like these two insanely-wealthy competitive parents!

(Is that totally normal to have the fire department fill up your ENORMOUS pool? Ever see celebs try to “relate” to us commoners? If YOU had unlimited wealth, what extravagance would you indulge in with happy abandon?)

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