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?)

Remember All Those Cool Vacations You Took with Your Young Kids? Well, THEY Don’t. Nope. Nada.

Remember all those cool vacations you took with your young kids?  Well, THEY don't.  Nope.  Nada.  #funny SoThenStories.com #vacation

So then…a sailboat skims the lake on a TV show and my son, Tucker, age 12, says, “That looks cool. I want to go sailing someday.”

I pause the TV. “You DID go sailing! Don’t you remember? At Club Med!”

“What’s Club Med?” he asks.

“Omigod, you don’t remember that? We went to Club Med a few years ago on vacation – and you went sailing – and jet skiing!”

Blank look.

***
A few months later, a neighbor kid talks about losing her first tooth, so I say, “Tucker lost his first tooth at the Alamo!” Tucker laughs and says, “Yeah, while eating popcorn!”

My daughter, Chloe, age 9, says, “You guys went to the Alamo? Isn’t that in Texas?”

“Yes! You were there too! Don’t you remember?” I ask.

“No. Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure! Don’t you remember the Texas family reunion – and we all toured the Alamo?”

Blank look.

***
A few months later, we talk about buying raffle tickets for the school fundraiser. Chloe says, “Nah, I never win anything.”

“Sure you do,” I say. “Remember when you won bingo on that cruise a few years ago?”

“Cruise?” she says.

Oh.My.God.

***
Why in the world am I saving up all my pennies to pay for vacations for these kids when they don’t even remember GOING on the vacations?

Sure, they were young back then, but REALLY? Those were some of the coolest, most fun, most special family memories – and they don’t even recall BEING there?

At the time, they had a blast! But now, they act like anything earlier than a couple years ago is just a blurry fog.

How did we go from “this is the best vacation ever!” — to “what vacation?”

Nemo’s Dory has a better memory than these kids!

They seem so skeptical, I pull out the photo albums for evidence!

“Here you are at the family reunion on the beach! Yes, that little guy on the raft is YOU!”
“Look, here you are – smiling and laughing on a Disneyworld roller coaster!”
“Here you are on a jet ski! No really, that’s you. That is NOT photoshop. I SWEAR that’s you!”

Honestly, when I think of all the money I had to save to afford going to cool places –

the finagling to get time off work –

the stress of travelling/what do you mean your tummy hurts?/ahh! pass the barf bag –

and the hassle of packing/unpacking/where are those friggin’ water wings? –

And they don’t even REMEMBER that we went on the vacation?!

It makes me wonder why I went to all that bother!

Oh yes, yes, I know that it was probably great for their brain development to go new places and do new activities when they were early grade schoolers, toddlers, tots, and wee ones – even if they can’t remember it now.

And yes, of course, we’re lucky to go on a vacation at all.

And yes, yes, it was enjoyable for us as a family to spend that quality time together.

But whatEVER, people!

A more clever mama WOULD have just photoshopped their kids’ pics into exciting locales and PRETENDED to have vacationed there!

I could’ve saved a bundle!

From now on, I’ll just sprinkle FAKE MEMORIES into my conversations — and the kids will likely believe me since they can’t remember anything anyway!

“These croissants are delicious! Reminds me of that time we all vacationed in Paris.”

“Hey, remember when we cruised up to Alaska and went glacier-hopping?”

“Wow, it’s so hot today – just like our tour of those Hawaiian volcanoes – remember?”

And if they look skeptical, I’m just gonna keep selling it, like it’s totally real.

“This pizza’s almost as good as the pizza we had in Italy. Yeah, we vacationed in Italy. You don’t remember? Oh, sure you do. We went rollerskating at the Sistine Chapel? The Pope stopped by to play badminton? Then Johhny Depp flew us to his private island – and Beyonce came by for paintball? You don’t remember that? Omogish, SO much fun. Pass the pizza, honey.”

Then I’ll just stare off dreamily, smiling – while they look at each other, completely confused.

And if they ask for photographic proof – oh, I will make it, baby –
I WILL MAKE IT!

Remember all those cool vaacations you took with your young kids?  Well THEY don.t. Nope. Nada.  #funny #vacation SoThenStories.com

— Darcy Perdu

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(OK, seriously, when do kid memories kick in? And why didn’t someone tell me? I would’ve just plopped them in a sandbox until THAT age — THEN take them on cool vacations! Am I the only one whose kids don’t remember all the awesome stuff that happened in their early years?)

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?)

Easier to Wrangle a Vampire at a Blood Bank than a Kid at a Grocery Store

Isn't It Easier to Wrangle a Vampire at a Blood Bank than a Kid at the Grocery Store? #funny @sothenstories

So then…I try to navigate the brightly-lit food aisles with my daughter, who’s enthusiastically belting out constant demands:

“I want ice cream!”
“Let’s get cookies!”
“Fruit roll-ups!”
“I want ALL these cereals!!”
“Please? Pleeeeeeeeease!? MOM!! PLEASE!!!!!”

Perfectly understandable toddler behavior.

But she’s not 4.

She’s 15.

Why are kids such sugar-fiends, no matter how old they are?

We’re in Costco, so I’m pushing the cart in between 8 million shoppers as I try to grab a few quick things.

But every time we pass something sweet, Chloe starts yammering about how much she NEEDS to have it.

“Mom! Look! I love this ice cream! We have to get it!”

She runs over to the freezer door, pointing and making sweet puppy dog eyes.

“Chloe, that’s COSTCO-sized ice cream! Those containers are huge! That’ll last us 3 months!”

“No, it won’t! I promise I’ll eat it before 3 months.”

“That’s what I’m afraid of!” I retort.

Now believe me, my daughter gets plenty of sugary treats in her life. She also eats pretty healthy meals and she’s in good shape.

When it comes to dessert, I’m not too strict – and I’m not too lax. But she’s driving me batty with all her plaintive pleas today.

In fact, she’s relishing the role, practically swooning when we pass the cereal aisle.

“Omigod, Mom, look at all the cereals you won’t let me have!”

“Cereal? You mean ‘Sugar in a Bowl?’”

“Mommmmmmmmmmm!” she says, dragging out the syllable and rolling her eyes.

We’re laughing as I push the cart to a different section to distract her.

“Forget about all the sugary food, Chloe! Let’s go over here. Do you need underwear?”

“No, just sugar.”

“How about this section — do you need school supplies?”

“Are they made of sugar?”

“Oh, look! Books! You love reading! Let’s look in the book section!” I say, wheeling the cart over to the display.

“I hate books,” she says, mock petulantly.

“What? You do not! You love books!” I roll the cart down the book aisle, looking at the covers.

“I do not!”

“You used to! Don’t you remember?” I ask.  “You used to get in trouble a couple years ago for reading too late at night!”

Chloe follows me as I push the cart along.  I say wistfully, “Don’t you remember? I’d have to come in and pry the book out of your hands! That girl LOVED to read! I really liked that girl! She was so nice and sweet. Whatever happened to that girl?”

“I a—” Bwahahaha!

Chloe’s laughing so hard, she can’t finish her sentence.

“I a—” Bwahahaha!

Now I’M laughing because I realize she’s trying to say “I ATE her!”

We both stop in the middle of the aisle, laughing so hard, tears are running down our cheeks. I’m literally crossing my legs so I don’t pee my pants.

And the two of us just keep saying “I a—” over and over, dissolving into fits of laughter.

Shoppers weave around us, giving us a curious glance, wondering what the hell is so damn funny over by the book section.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do your kids drive you batty with their pleas for sugary treats when you shop with them? When do they grow out of that? DO they grow out of that? Or are you smart enough to shop WITHOUT them? And let’s be honest, do some sugary treats find their way into your cart even when you ARE shopping alone? What’s your weakness? Mine is anything produced by those dastardly devilishly delectable boys, Ben & Jerry!)

Hey, Remember That Time We…

So then…we wake the kids by bellowing, “Dizzz-neee-laaaaaaand!”

8:00 am

Remember 180 8 am

They pop right out of bed, super excited to return to their favorite place. Chloe, age 5, and Tucker, age 8, get dressed and hustle downstairs for breakfast.

We live in LA, so it’s only 1.5 hours to drive to Anaheim to Disneyland. We pack up the minivan, ensuring our backpack contains all 832 essentials for surviving a long day at the park – and off we go!

9:00 am

Remember 900 new black new 180 180

We’re zipping along the 101 Freeway.

Zip! Zip! Zip!
Zap! Zaaaap. Zaaaaaap.
Zerp.
STOP.

What the hell?

We were careening down this freeway, and now we’ve STOPPED DEAD, smack dab in the middle of a 6-lane gridlock, with cars stretching as far as the eye can see.

How did this happen so fast? It’s like someone sent a mass group text to every driver in California with an urgent message: “Hop in car! Rush to 101 Freeway! Surround the Perdu Family Vehicle. Ensure no escape!”

And BAM!
EVERYBODY WHO HAS EVER LIVED IN CALIFORNIA IS NOW ON THE FREEWAY WITH US!

David and I slowly turn our heads to look at each other.

His eyes say: “Let’s cut our losses, go home, and watch football.”

My eyes say, “Yes! Abort! Abort the mission! Turn around and go home!”

Then we turn to look at Tucker and Chloe in the back seat happily chatting about which Disneyland rides they’re most excited about riding.

We slowly turn back to look at each other.

Now my eyes say beseechingly, “We must go! Look how excited they are!”

His eyes say, “Football.”

“No, David, we have to keep going,” I say out loud. “It’s just a little traffic! It’ll be fine.”

9:30 am

Remember 180 930 am

He agrees – but it’s quickly evident that the 1.5 hour trip’s going to be a 3 hour trip.

Unspoken tensions are running high – but with each mile, it seems crazy to turn back – so we push valiantly onward.

We hit the parking lot, which is bulging with cars. Honestly, did EVERYONE decide to go to Disneyland today?

12:30 pm

Remember 180 1230 blue clock

After an excruciating hunt for a parking spot, we finally disembark the car to find the shuttle to take us to the park.

We wait an hour for the shuttle.

Let’s say that again just so we fully appreciate the agony of standing there after a long car ride:

We wait an hour for the shuttle.

Finally! We hop aboard and head to the entrance.

I’m overly cheerful to compensate for the flagging spirits of my crew. Grinning broadly, I say, “Won’t this be fun!? We had a little bit of a late start, but now we’re here and we’re gonna have a blast!”

1:30 pm

Remember 180 130 pm

The shuttle drops us off at the entrance, which is obscured by engorged lines of people snaking out in all directions.
Just as we approach, the intercom announces, “I’m sorry, folks, Disneyland is full. No more entries today.”

Full?

FULL?

What do you mean Disneyland is FULL?

We just spent 4 hours to get here! And what about all the people who FLEW to get here? And all the people who saved for months for this trip to pay for your stupid crappy $6 hot dogs and $16 Mickey hats! How dare you shutter your doors!? What about the children? What…about…sob…the childrennnnnn?

(I’m in full meltdown mode — but my kids are actually taking the disappointment pretty well. David is another matter altogether. I can actually see him squeezing his eyes shut and concentrating fiercely — trying desperately to time travel back to that point on the freeway when we could’ve abandoned the mission and returned home.)

“I’m hungry,” says Chloe.

“Me too,” says Tucker.

I’m starving.

David and I look to the left. Literally thousands of dejected people are leaving the park entrance to line up for the shuttles.

We look to the right. Thousands more are walking to the souvenir shops and restaurants just outside Disneyland.

We look at the backpack. Its snacks were depleted long ago on our long-ass car ride.

We look at the children. They appear edible.

That will solve everything. I will eat my children.

They will satisfy my hunger and I won’t have to deal with their disappointment about missing Disneyland.

I’m just about to explain my plan to David when he points toward the shops and restaurants.

“It’ll take us hours to get back to our car and find someplace to eat, so we might as well line up over here,” he says.

We reluctantly join the huddled masses, yearning to be fed – shuffling from restaurant to restaurant looking for a line that looks to be less than a 2-hour wait.

3:30 pm

Remember 330 brown

Out of desperation, we finally settle on a pizza place which is so packed we have to eat our cold cheese slices standing up between hordes of other families standing up, eating their cold cheese slices.

All the adults look a bit dazed. Like, “How did this happen?” We all expected a spectacular day at the Magic Kingdom — and now we’re standing in line for almost 2 hours just to get a slice of crappy pizza.

Then we trudge back to the shuttle line, wait an hour and a half, walk a million miles to our car, then drive with 4 billion people on the freeway through rush hour traffic, and finally reach home where we collapse – as exhausted as though we’d just climbed the Himalayas.

9:00 pm

Remenber 180 900 green new

Our roundtrip is 12 agonizing hours.

We promise the kids we’ll return to Disneyland soon – and we do – and it’s wonderful and glorious and all the things it’s supposed to be.

As for today? Well, today is the day we refer to as:

“Hey, remember that time we drove 12 hours for pizza? Ah. Good times. Good times.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do you have an example of a “Hey, remember that time we…” experience? Something fun that ended up NOT so fun?  Ever show up someplace that was “full” or “closed?”)

Ah, good times (NOT!) - hilarious true tale of a trip gone awry #funny #Disney

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Family Dinner Fiasco: Comedy AND Tragedy in 3 Short Funny Acts

So then…I’m literally so excited about this lasagna I’m making, I text a photo to show the family how amazing dinner’s going to be!

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #lasagna #humor

LOOK! Warm and delicious homemade food! Yahoo!

Everyone has a generous helping and agrees it’s scrumptious — and I’m even more excited that we’ll have leftovers for the next night! Double Yahoo! No cooking! Just heating up! I’m a fabulous heater-upper!

So the next night, I’m in my home office when my daughter Chloe, age 15, texts me from the dining room to ask, “Will you please rub my back while I’m doing homework?”

Now before you accuse me of potentially spoiling my daughter, I can assure you, she’s ALREADY spoiled! That train left the station a long time ago, my friends. As I’ve mentioned, I’d be a much better mother if I had 6 kids like my pal, but I only have 2, so I spoil them 3 times as much.

Besides, Chloe may be a bit spoiled, but she’s also pretty awesome, loving, funny, smart, and helpful.

And she handles her academic career completely on her own – and makes A’s – so if you give me a choice between actually helping her DO the Chemistry homework vs. just rubbing her back a few minutes while SHE does the Chemistry homework – I think you can guess what this mama’d rather do.

So I text “Sure,” then walk through the kitchen, figuring I’ll take the luscious lasagna out of the fridge on my way to the dining room.

But just as I pull the tray out, it pings the side of the fridge, DROPS

and SHATTERS INTO A MILLION PIECES –

ONTO MY BELOVED WOOD FLOOR!

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #lasagna #humor

I’m devastated!

I don’t know what’s more distressing:

The loss of our delicious home-cooked meal –
The loss of my favorite glass serving dish –
The marks on my cherished wood floor –
Or
The fact I now have to SWEEP.

I glance desperately at the lasagna on the ground. 5 second rule? Can I just scoop it up quickly? “Hey, family, just eat around the glass shards!”

I huff and puff, stomping off to retrieve the broom and dustpan – colorful profanities spewing in my wake.

Just as I round the corner back into the kitchen — I hear a click, a giggle, and the tiny pitter-patter of footsteps fleeing the scene.

“CHLOE! Did you just take a PICTURE of my floor lasagna!?!?!”

From the other room: *Giggle* “No, Mom, what’re you talking about?”

“CHLOE! Are you texting and Tweeting and Instagramming this!?!”

From the other room: *Snort Giggle* “No! Of course not!”

“OMIGOD, CHLOE, THIS IS NOT FUNNY!”

From the other room: *Muffled laughter* “I know, I know. Do you need any *laugh* help?”

“NO! Just stay there. You’ll just cut up your feet and then I’ll have to take you to the hospital!” I say, in my Angry Martyr voice. Far better for me to clean this up myself — and make everyone else feel guilty about it.

Of course, I DO see the humor in it, so naturally, I snap a pic and post it on Facebook to generate some sympathy. Several people post compassionate words and similar mishaps — and my cyber-buddy Don Re posts, “The lasagna looks a bit dry anyway. Is that helpful?” And perversely enough, that DOES make me feel better.

But now I have nothing to serve for dinner and I want someone to deliver some GOTT-DAMN homemade lasagna to my front door!

Just then I get a text from Chloe saying, “Um…about that back rub…?”

I text back, “Too soon! Give me a minute to mourn, for God’s sake!”

So she texts me this:

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #card #humor

What a wise ass.

I head to the kitchen and holler, “I don’t have time for backrubs! Now I have to MAKE DINNER!”

We don’t have much in the way of ingredients, so I whip this together:

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #Elvis #humor

Inspired Brilliance – or a Cry for Help?

(I actually ate this the other day and IT.WAS.DEEE-LICIOUS.)

I’m definitely making these for my Dinner with Elvis in the After Life. I’ll be like, “Look, El, peanut butter and banana sandwiches are so 1969. The kids today are rockin’ it with Candy Corn.” I know he’ll dig it.

Meanwhile, the mere mortals down here are none too impressed.

So I stuff some ham and cheese in those little crescent rolls and call it a day.

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #rolls #humor

As for Mama — this is MY dinner:

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #icecream #humor

And well-deserved, if I do say so myself.

— Darcy Perdu
(She of many skills, but much maligned for her comical cooking incompetence.)

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(Any kitchen mishaps to make me feel better about mine? What else pairs nicely with peanut butter? What dishes will you cook with YOUR fave celebs & historical figures in the After Life?)

Just as I slide my HOMEMADE lasagna out, it shatters in a million pieces and triggers a family fiasco! #funny #dinner #comedy #tragedy #humor

HUGE Funny Surprise When I Opened My Baby Book!

Mom cleaned her attic & mailed me my Baby Book!  Imagine my SURPRISE when I looked inside and saw...uh-oh  #funny #baby #babybook #pregnancy #humor

So then…I see the package on my front step and jump with excitement!

My older sister Dawn’s helping our Mom clean out her attic, so she’s mailing my Baby Book across the country to me!

What? A book about ME?

That’s my FAVORITE topic! I can’t wait to see the photos and notes my Mom penned about the mini-me!

I rip open the package and see a sweet little old-fashioned baby book.

ADORABLE!

I gently open the book to see my name lovingly inscribed there. Awwww.

I tenderly turn the pages – which are EMPTY.

COMPLETELY EMPTY.

What!?

I call my sister. “What the hell, Dawn?! My Baby Book is EMPTY!”

“Well, you were the THIRD child out of five,” she says. “Our parents were pretty busy.”

“Oh, easy for you to say. You’re the second. Is YOURS filled in?”

“Um…yes,” she admits sheepishly.

“Well, why’d you even bother to mail mine if it was EMPTY?”

“I dunno,” she retorts. “I’m mailing Mom’s attic stuff all over the country – I don’t have time to open everything! Just be glad you got a book at all! The 4th and 5th kids didn’t!”

It reminds me of the time my friend Angie confided a secret:

One night over drinks, Angie says, “I lied to my daughter.”

“Why?” I ask.

“Well, the damn teacher asked the kids to bring their Baby Books to school so all the third graders could ‘get to know each other,’” she says, sipping her mojito. “What the hell do they need to do that for?”

“Uh-oh,” I say, smiling. “Sounds like someone’s a bit defensive.”

“Damn right I’m defensive!” she says. “I never made a Baby Book for her! I have one for my first kid – it’s packed with all sorts of his photos and crap – but by the time I popped out the next kid, I didn’t have time for that! I was chasing a toddler and trying to grab my baby off my titties long enough to sleep for an hour!”

I’m laughing because she’s acting out her words, boob-pulling and all!

“So what’d you tell her?” I ask.

Angie looks guilty. “I told her it’s packed away and I’ll have to get it out later.”

“Um…okay?” I ask, “So how—”

“I bought a new one!” she says boldly. “Yep, I just marched into the store and bought a brand new Baby Book. I found some old baby pics of her and glued ’em right in.”

“You did not!” I laugh.

She nods emphatically.

“But how’d you fill in stuff like ‘What was baby’s first word?’ or ‘When was baby’s first step?’ How can you remember so long ago?”

“I just made shit up!” She slugs the last of her mojito and motions to the server for another. “First word? How about ‘ball?’ First steps? I dunno — a year maybe? So I put 11 months. She’s a go-getter so she was probably early. Why not boost her self-esteem a little?”

Angie dips a chip and continues her rant, punctuating her words by pointing her chip in the air:

“First baby food? Sweet potatoes! Favorite baby food? Apricots!”

“Apricots?” I interject. “Are you sure that’s a baby foo—?”

“Shut up, Darcy! She’ll never know!” she laughs. “Favorite toy? How about a green ARMADILLO!?”

I gasp-laugh. “What if she asks to SEE the green armadillo!?”

She says mournfully, “It was accidentally sucked out of our minivan window when we made a sharp turn into Disneyland.” She makes sorrowful puppy eyes.

“You just made that shit up right now!” I accuse her.

“Yes, yes, I did. And I’ll tell her the same thing if she asks me. ‘Cause I love my daughter — but I didn’t have time to create a damn Baby Book back when she was a baby! And I’m sure as hell not gonna let her walk into that classroom empty-handed! So I made the whole damn thing up and passed it off as totally real – and she bought it – hook, line, and sinker!”

Angie looks me straight in the eye, defiantly – almost daring me to object to her deceitful little ruse.

I clink my glass to hers, smile, and say, “Honey, you’re an AWESOME mother!”

— Darcy Perdu

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(And yes, I’ve changed her name for this post — and her daughter does not read my blog, so the secret is still safe!)

(Speaking of secrets, here’s the HORRIFYING & HILARIOUS SECRET everyone knew but me…)

(Did you make a Baby Book for each of your kids, with the exact same attention to detail? Would you “fudge” some things like Angie?  Do you still have your OWN Baby Book? I have mine. It’s empty. Did I mention that? COMPLETELY empty. I’m not bitter or anything. Cough. Should I mail it back to my Mom so she can make up some shit about me?)

Is This Tutor Messin’ with Me? Oh yes. Yes, he IS, that little…

Am I paranoid?  Or is this guy totally messin' with me?  #funny #tutor #homework #humor

So then…my son Tucker slips through the dining room door into the kitchen and whispers, “Mom, I think the tutor’s asleep.”

I look up from the crockpot and whisper, “What?”

We both tiptoe to the dining room door, ease it open a crack, and peer through to see the Biology tutor sitting at the table before an open book, chin on his chest, head down, eyes closed.

Tucker and I look at each other and suppress a giggle. We ease the door shut, then scurry to the opposite end of the kitchen to confer.

“What happened?” I ask.

“I dunno. He was kinda quiet so I looked over and he was sound asleep!”

“Did he just doze off in the middle of a sentence?”

“No, no, he was explaining something, then I started filling in the worksheet, and the next thing I knew – ‘’ (he mimes shutting his eyes and snoring, getting progressively louder and more dramatic with his snores)

“Stop that!” I say, laughing softly. “You’re gonna wake him up!”

“Well, shouldn’t he be awake if he’s going to help teach me Biology?”

Hmm, good point.

“OK,” I say. “I’ll go wake him up. You stay in here and pretend to get a snack or something. I don’t want to embarrass the guy!”

Tucker happily invades the pantry for a snack.

I ease open the door and clear my throat.

Nothing.

I don’t want to startle him. He’s a very nice man. He teaches science at a school in another district during the day – plus he and his wife have 3 kids, including a new baby — AND he tutors after school – so he’s probably exhausted.

And let’s face it, Biology is not exactly riveting.

If I were a Biology tutor, I’d fall asleep as soon as you opened the Biology book, much less if I had to discuss it!

In fact, I’d fall asleep as soon as you said the word, “Biolo— ” Zzzzzzzzz.
See? It just happened.

Now if I were a tutor on the “best TV series to binge-watch” – or the “relative composition of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavors by deliciousness of ingredients” – or the “statistical likelihood of Ryan Gosling’s car breaking down outside my house, in a rainstorm, and needing immediate medical attention and a warm bath” – I’d be WIDE AWAKE for the entire session!

So I certainly don’t blame the guy for falling asleep, but I should wake him.

So I cough.

Nothing.

I tiptoe out of the room, then walk back in, very loudly clicking my shoes on the floor. The tutor does not move.

Good God, I hope he’s not dead.

That’d be incredibly awkward.

I have delicious French Dip beef simmering in the crockpot, more homework to supervise, then a slew of shows on the DVR. Tonight’s schedule is not ideal for an untimely death in my dining room.

Next Thursday, sure. But tonight, no. Definitely not.

I approach the slumbering tutor so I can call his name, but then I realize I don’t KNOW his name!

That may sound odd since he’s been tutoring Tucker for about 6 sessions or so.

But he has a very thick accent and when he introduced himself, I thought he said his name was Farooq Malik.

But then the next time he came, I could swear he introduced himself to my friend as Marooq Falik. Or maybe it was Malik Farooq?

I’m terrible with names anyway, especially if the names could be interchangeable. If you tell me your name is Henry James, I’ll likely call you James half the time and Henry the other half!

Two of my friends both have a “v” in their names so I’m constantly calling them by each other’s names – and I’ve known them for years!

I once knew a Carla that I routinely called Sharon because oh-my-God-you-guys, she just seemed like a Sharon, you know?

So whenever I try to address the tutor, I hesitate, stumble, or mumble. I think he’s on to me.

Recently, I asked him something, and said, “Right, Malik?” and he corrected me by saying “Farooq.” And I could swear he’s corrected me the opposite way too. And he’ll smile mischievously, like he knows that I can’t keep his name straight.

So now I don’t know if I just have a bad memory –

or if he’s just Farooq-ing with me.

My son comes back in the room with chips and sits down.

I cough and say, “Mister…Malik? Farooq? Hello?”

He opens his eyes, shifts in his seat, glances at the book, then looks at Tucker and calmly says,

“And that’s the difference between prokaryote and eukaryote organisms.”

Wow. Didn’t even skip a beat.

Nicely played, Farooq.

Or Malik.

Or whatever the Farooq your name is!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Are you terrible at remembering names too? Any funny tutoring stories? IS he just messing with me? And should I serve strong black coffee whenever he tutors?)

When the Toddler Rats Out the Nanny — It IS Pretty Funny!

Uh-Oh! When the Toddler Rats Out the Nanny, It IS Pretty Funny!  #kids #nanny #humor

So then…David parks the minivan in the carnival parking lot, removes the key from the ignition, and pops the trunk.

I unbuckle our son Tucker, age 2 and a half, then join David at the back so we can grab the stroller and bag.

Tucker climbs into the driver’s seat and pretends to “drive.”

He waves to us and says, “Look everybody! I’m Remy!” (Remy’s our nanny.)

And with that, he puts one hand on the steering wheel, beeps the horn loudly, and shouts in a Hispanic accent, “Hey, HEY, STUPIDO!” Then he collapses into giggles.

David and I look at each other…

pause…

then burst into laughter.

We are equal parts delighted that our toddler’s already doing comedic impressions at such a young age –

And equal parts horrified that our nanny’s roadside manner is not as courteous as we had thought.

When hiring our bilingual nanny, (whom we adore because she’s awesome) — we had hoped she might teach our son some Spanish words…but, uh…this isn’t exactly what we had in mind…

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have your kids done funny “impressions” of someone? Or learned any words you wished they hadn’t?)

Like to read another short funny nanny story? This one’s a doozy!

Most BRILLIANT Craft Fail

Most Brilliant Craft in the History of All Crafts -- but then something goes TERRIBLY awry... #FUNNY #playdate #party #kids #paint #arts&crafts #DIY #humor

So then…I dart around the craft table, setting out supplies in a wild-eyed frenzy.

It’s Group Playdate Prep Time — and I’m a whirling dervish setting up the kids’ activity for the 12 excitable 4-year-olds about to come crashing onto my patio for festive frolicking!

Sweat forms on my upper lip as I ensure I’ve thought of EVERYTHING.

I shall not be like my sweet friend Kim — who innocently packed her son’s adorable cow piñata with those individually-wrapped miniature chocolate bites — then hung the piñata on a backyard tree – 6 hours before the party — on a 102 degree day.

She unknowingly created a veritable cow “crockpot” where those little chocolates simmered and boiled and broiled. By the time the kids had all whacked and thwacked that poor cow, it burst open, spewing melted chocolate all over the place. It was HILARIOUS – to us, of course — but not so much to Kim – especially when her son gleefully yelled, “My piñata’s POOPING!”

And I shall not be like me — when I provided darling little treasure chest craft kits to the kids at the group playdate I hosted last summer. How was I to know the jewels intended for decorating the chests looked like delicious little candies, causing all the moms to hover nervously to ensure no one ingested a ruby or sapphire? A swallowed gem would mean a mom’s on poop patrol to reclaim that little “treasure.”

Nope, this time, I shall prevail. No Poop Patrols. No Pooping Piñatas!

I’ve cleverly purchased white t-shirts (in a variety of sizes!),

NON-toxic fabric paints (in a variety of colors!),

and brushes (in plentiful supply!)

plus stencils of amazing shapes and designs –

and plastic aprons for everyone!

I am “BRILLIANT CRAFT MOM!”

My sweet 4 year old Chloe and her pals have a blast decorating the white t-shirts.

Moms ooh and ahh over the stenciled hearts, flowers, and moons.

Kids painstakingly create intricate designs with many colors.

Moms and kids make adorable HANDPRINTS and stencil their NAMES on their shirts.

This craft is going over fabulously!

I take a moment to bask in my brilliance.

After snacks and games, my playdate guests make their way home, excitedly holding their personalized crafts aloft so the shirts can dry.

A spectacular success!

The next week, Chloe asks, “Can I wear my painted shirt tomorrow?” Sure!

I toss it in the washer, then when the cycle’s done, I pull it out – and the shirt’s completely WHITE.

WHERE THE HELL did the paint go? Where’s the butterfly – the rainbow – the lopsided flowers – the stenciled “Chloe?”

I look in the washing machine. No paint.

So now I have a frikkin’ plain white t-shirt.

I’m holding the thing in complete shock, wondering what I’m gonna tell Chloe.

And then I gasp because I realize that if this happened to OUR shirt – it probably happened to the shirts of our 12 playdate guests!

Oh.My.God. HOW EMBARRASSING!

Did I buy the wrong paint? The wrong shirts?

I Google “fabric paint washed off shirts WTF!” — and see directions about PRE-washing the shirts – ensuring they’re 100% cotton – IRONING the painted designs with wax paper to SET the paint before washing it – and all SORTS of other things that might’ve prevented my DISAPPEARING DESIGN FIASCO.

I explain it all to Chloe and throw myself on the mercy of the court. She’s quickly mollified by a rousing game of hide and seek and 3 Oreos, so the UN-painted shirt is quickly forgotten.

But here’s the odd thing. I don’t receive one phone call or text about the disappearing paint from ANY of the moms who attended the playdate!

So help me solve the mystery:

a) They’ve never WASHED the shirts – they just let their tykes re-wear the painted shirts over and over without cleaning them!

b) Their kid hasn’t WORN the shirt yet, so it’s a little surprise time bomb just waiting to go off as soon as they try to wash it.

c) The moms have ALREADY washed the shirts, discovered the paint disappeared, and are much too polite to ever mention it to me.

c) Mine’s the ONLY shirt that turned white.  (IhopeIhopeIhope)

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any similar disasters at your parties or playdates? Can you solve the mystery of the silent moms?  Give me your best conspiracy theories!)

I Do NOT Want My Nipples There, Please

Oh - the sunglasses on my boobs?  Yeah - I can explain...  #funny  #kids #parenting #games #questions #crockpot #humor

So then…I’m standing there, minding my own business, slaving over an impressive gourmet dinner (aka checking the crockpot) – when my tween daughter Chloe enters and asks, “Would you rather have eyes for nipples – or nipples for eyes?”

Silence.

I look up from the crockpot, spoon in hand – furrow on brow.

“What?”

She sighs impatiently as if this is a matter of great urgency.

“MOM! Would you rather have EYES FOR NIPPLES – or NIPPLES FOR EYES?”

Omigod. Is this a decision I have to make right now? Is this a real thing?

My eyes dart around the kitchen. What does she know that I don’t know?

Is some grand master wizard — or satanic demon — or demented plastic surgeon about to burst in here and make me CHOOSE?

And really — what a dreadful choice!

How could people look me in the face if my nipples are where my eyes should be? I’d have to wear a face bra!

And if my nipples were eyes? Well, based on my low-hangin’ swingin’ bosoms, my eyes would be somewhere around belt-level. That would really limit my vision.

And how awkward when I’m talking to people. It would flip that whole “Hey buddy, my eyes are up here” upside down. “Yo dude, my eyes are DOWN here.”

And I wouldn’t be able to SEE anything if my tatas were covered, so I’d have to go topless everywhere – totally creeping everyone out with my eyeball on each boobie.

And I wear GLASSES to drive, for God’s sake! How will I strap the glasses to my boob eyes? I won’t even be able to see out the windshield anyway — since my boob eyes will be resting in my lap!

Really this whole switch thing is stressing me out.

“MOM! Answer the question!” she says.

“Why, Chloe? Why must I decide? Those are both appalling options!” I say.

“It’s a game!” she says. “It’s called Wouldja Rather. My friends and I play it all the time. Like ‘Wouldja rather have 3 toes on each foot and have to wear sandals everyday – or wouldja rather have only one giant nostril?”

I make the I-just-smelled-bad-cheese face.

“Or,” she continues, “a famous You-Tuber likes to ask ‘Wouldja rather change genders each time you sneeze – or not be able to tell the difference between a baby and a muffin?’”

OK, first of all – there are famous You-Tubers?

Second of all, changing genders each time I sneeze could get real awkward real fast.

What if I’m breastfeeding at the time? Or competing in a Miss America pageant? (Stop laughing. I could so compete in a Miss America pageant.)

And with my allergic multiple sneeze attacks — God forbid my sexual partner brings flowers into the boudoir – he-ey! It’s about to get ALL crazy up in here! I’m a chick! I’m a dude! I’m a chick again! Nope, a dude! Hell-o!

Third of all, who comes UP with such a bizarre notion that someone couldn’t tell the difference between a baby and a muffin? And I DO love me some muffins. If that’s the case, though — I tell you what, if someone sprinkles blueberries on that kid, he’s a goner.

“Chloe,” I say, “These choices are—”

“Oh!” she says, “Or how about THIS one? Wouldja rather slide into an erupting volcano — or jump blindfolded into a tank of sharks?’”

I put the spoon down and fold my arms. “Neither! Neither, Chloe! I do not want to do ANY of those things! I am anxious just THINKING about those things!”

She laughs and says, “Mom! It’s just a game! It’s fun to see what people choose and the reasons why. My friends and I debate the pros and cons. It’s fun!”

Honestly, what is wrong with these kids? Why can’t they just hot-wire cars and knock over liquor stores like normal teens?

“Chloe, why are all these choices so dire?”  I put on a cheerful voice and ask:  “Why not ‘Wouldja rather win a brand new beach house – or find a million dollars in your sweater pocket?’”

She rolls her eyes. “Oh Mom!” She picks up her books and goes into the living room.

I follow her, waving my spoon. “Or how about ‘Wouldja rather vacation in Paris — or Rome?’”

“Mo-om! You don’t get it!”

“Or ‘Wouldja rather dance with George Clooney — or bake cookies with Ryan Gosling?’”

She huffs, but starts grinning. “Stop, Mom! Just stop.”

I return to the crockpot, glad I’ve made my point.

But tonight, I’m CERTAIN I’ll have nightmares of sharks chasing me into volcanoes, while I hyperventilate through my one nostril — with my eyeball-boobies flapping in all directions!

— Darcy Perdu

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(OK, what choices would YOU make in the above “Wouldja Rather” options? And do your kids play this wackadoodle game?)

AWKWARD! Mom Forbids Me to Do This Unless A Nun Approves!

AWKWARD!  Mom FORBIDS It; Makes Me Ask the NUN for Permission!  #humor #school #backtoschool #teacher #student #Bible #earrings #funny

So then… she says “Absolutely not,” with an air of such finality, it would stop Attila the Hun in his tracks.

Because when my Mom says, “no,” she means “NOOOO!”

But I’m a 16-year-old girl desperate to have my ears pierced.

I’ve been lusting after the earrings at the mall for weeks. They have little gold knots – and darling little hoops – and butterflies! Dainty little gold butterflies, people! MUST HAVE.

Attila ain’t got nothin’ on me. I shall not cease my relentless campaign! I shall scourge the earth and annihilate all obstacles until VICTORY IS MINE! – and those precious butterflies adorn my earlobes!

I follow my Mom into the kitchen, where she’s preparing dinner.

I set the table and say, “Mom, WHY can’t I get my ears pierced? I saved up my babysitting money – and I’ll make sure the piercings won’t get infected – and the mall is just—”

“It’s against the Bible.”

“What? The Bible says I can’t get my ears pierced?” I ask.

“Yes,” she says.

(I’m no theologian, but I don’t remember either of the testaments discussing ear jewelry!)

“Where does it say that?” I ask.

She stirs the spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and says, “The Bible says it’s a sin to self-mutilate.”

Self-mutilate!? I’m not mutilating myself!”

“Well, you want to cut holes into your ears, don’t you?”

“Mom, that’s not the same thing! The Bible just doesn’t want you to hack off your hand or something!”

She arches her eyebrows in that “you say potato; I say po-tah-to” sort of way and returns to her sauce.

Seriously! It’s not that she’s a religious fanatic – I mean we go to Church every Sunday, but she’s not a zealot. But she was raised in a pretty strict Catholic family, back in the days when the Mass was said in Latin.

Lots of hellfire and brimstone in those days.

Lots of hard and fast rules – with clear cut consequences leading straight to eternal damnation.

Pierced ears = self-mutilation = grievous sin = loose morals = immediate downward spiral into prostitution, pregnancy, tattoos, heroin addiction, and *gasp* — skipping Easter Mass.

So I beg and plead and debate and beg some more.

She is resolute. It’s like trying to move Mt. Rushmore just a couple inches to the left. She will not budge.

It’s a sin. It’s a sin. It’s a sin.

I insist that the self-mutilation in the Bible DOES NOT refer to pierced ears! Did.I.mention.the.butterflies.Mom?The.earring.butterflies.are.ADORABLE!

FINALLY, she agrees to CONSIDER it – IF and ONLY IF I consult with a priest or nun to CONFIRM that ear piercing does NOT qualify for Biblical self-mutilation.

Ahhhh! The clouds part, the angels sing: HALLELUJAH! HALLELUJAH!

Quick! Get thee to a nunnery! Find the youngest, hippest, coolest nun you can find!

All night long, I rack my brain to think who I can ask. My very life depends upon it.

Should I ask our parish priest at Mass on Sunday?

Should I ask one of the nuns who teaches at the Catholic school I attend?

Do I choose the youngest nun – the nicest nun – or the nun who teaches the class with my highest grade?

Finally, I settle on Sr. Rita. She’s not young, but she’s an awesome teacher and I love her class.

All day long, I fidget in my blue plaid skirt and white blouse, my legs shaking a mile a minute.

Finally the last bell rings. The rest of the students file out and I stay behind to timidly say, “Sr. Rita, may I please ask you a question?”

She looks up from her papers and says, “Sure.”

Suddenly I lose my nerve. Maybe my Mom is right! Maybe this IS a sin! I don’t want Sr. Rita to think poorly of me.

“Um…um,” I stammer, looking at my shoes.

“What is it, child?” she asks.

“Well, um, my Mom says that something I want to do is a VERY BAD SIN – and that I had to ask your permission before I could do it,” I say.

Sr. Rita raises her eyebrows, crosses her arms, and stares at me intently. “What’s the sin?” she asks.

“I want to…I want to…get my ears pierced!”

Sr. Rita suppresses a grin, her eyes crinkling, as she sighs with relief.

In retrospect, I now realize she probably thought I was going to ask about having sex — or doing drugs — or committing homicide!

In comparison, piercing ears hardly makes a “ding” on the Sin-o-Meter!

She pats my shoulder and says, “Yes, dear, yes. You may pierce your ears. It’s not sinful at all!”

I beam from ear to ear – (soon to be punctured ear to ear) – and thank her profusely!

I fairly explode with happiness! I share the good news with my Mom, who, trooper that she is, lives up to her promise to take me to the mall now that we have a religious blessing.

And I ensure that Sr. Rita is one of the first to see my darling little earring butterflies!

(Of course, I still end up a coke-addict junkie whore – but that’s completely unrelated to the pierced ears.)

Ha! OK, just kidding! Fear not, Sr. Rita, where ever you are: your decree was sound and just. I’ve not squandered your blessing. My pierced ears and I will see you in Heaven one day. (It may take some pretty heavy-duty negotiating to get me on the admit-list, but I aim to rock & roll up there in the Great Beyond!)

— Darcy Perdu

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(Anything YOU wanted as a kid that was impacted by parental reluctance, outright disapproval, or religious beliefs?  Do you remember back when you got YOUR piercings?)

Is This a Playdate Fail by Dad — or Perfectly Reasonable Behavior?

Did this Dad Make a Playdate Faux Pas? Is this a funny blunder or WHAT?  #humor #playdate #dad #baby #embarrassing #funny #kids

So then…I plop on the hotel bed, moving my files over so I can chat with my 9-year-old daughter Chloe back home.

Me: I’m so happy I’m almost done with my business trip! How was your day, honey?

Chloe: Great! After school, I went for a playdate at Maggie’s house!

I furrow my brow. That can’t be right.

Me: You mean Layla’s house?

Chloe: No, Maggie’s house.

Me: You mean Ashley’s house?

Chloe: No, MAGGIE’S house!

Me: You don’t mean the Maggie whose mom just had a BABY?

Chloe: Yes! Today was the first day they brought the baby home and I got to meet her!

Me: You had a playdate at Maggie’s house the SAME DAY HER MOM BROUGHT HOME HER BRAND NEW BABY?

Chloe: Yes! It was great! The baby’s so cute! I got to stay for dinner!

She prattles on and on about the baby –

and of course I make all the appropriate responses to share in her glee.

But the whole time I’m thinking: What the HELL?

When we finish, she puts her dad on the phone.

“Um…did you know you accidentally let Chloe have a playdate at Maggie’s house the same day her mom brought home the new baby?I ask, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“Oh, that was no accident,” he says proudly. “Chloe asked if she could go see Maggie’s new sister, so I dropped her right off!”

“Did Maggie’s parents know about it first?” I ask.

“I dunno,” he says. 

“David! Don’t you think the last thing a sleep-deprived, just-endured-childbirth mom wants to see at her house on her first day home is someone else’s kid?”

“Oh come on,” he says. “It’s her 4th baby. She probably didn’t even notice our kid was there.”

Oh my God.

David’s a terrific dad, but sometimes I wonder if he understands basic social graces.

When someone has a new baby, you drop off a casserole.

Or a gift.

NOT your kid.

And CERTAINLY not for dinner!

To be fair, David’s the type who wouldn’t mind at all if the roles were reversed. If HE popped out a baby, he’d probably invite the whole neighborhood over as soon as we pulled in the driveway so he could proudly display his creation: “Tap a keg, grill some burgers, look what I just pushed out of my hoo-ha!” (or he-ha, as the case may be)

He was raised in a free-range neighborhood where kids constantly meandered in and out of each other’s homes, mooching meals whenever they were hungry, and everyone was cool with it.

I was taught that you don’t even call someone’s house before 10 am or after 8 pm – and never during dinner time – MUCH LESS just SHOW UP at their house!

Consequently David’s fine with anyone coming over anytime no matter what’s happening at our house. It’s practically like this:

“We’re having construction done at the house today – but come on over!”
“Sure, the kids all have the flu — but that’s ok — pop on by!”
“Don’t mind the termite fumigation tent – we’ll just barbecue in the backyard!”

OK, maybe not quite that extreme, but you get the picture.

And as moms go, Maggie’s mom is very chill.

When my kids take a tumble and bleed – I rush to console them, disinfect the entire limb, bandage it carefully, and mollycoddle the child endlessly, while surreptitiously checking WebMD on my phone to insure no signs of sepsis.

When her kids report scrapes and cuts, Maggie’s mom just says, “You know where the band-aids are.”

And damn, if her kids aren’t much more resilient and independent than mine!

(I’ll be bandaging my kids’ paper cuts when they’re 45 and still living in my basement.)

Maybe it’s the large quantity of kids that makes these moms so chill?

As soon as I return to town, I drop off a beautiful gift, coo over the darling new baby, and make apologies for the awkward timing of the surprise playdate.

Maggie’s mom just smiles and shrugs – no big deal. The new baby in her arms starts to fuss, so she shoots her a look, like “Hey, you know where the boobies are.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Who’s more observant of social graces – you or your spouse? Any funny examples? Am I crazy to think HE’S crazy for letting her have a playdate on Bring-Home-the-Baby Day?)

The Funny Secret the Nun Told Me

Funny Secret the Nun Told Me #humor #sing #church #nun  #school #kids

So then…I perk up as soon as I hear the opening notes of my favorite song. I immediately stop fidgeting with my blue plaid Catholic school uniform.

I grin widely. I love this song! I LOOOOVE this song!

I straighten my shoulders and stand proudly amongst the other 5th graders in our pews in Friday morning Mass.

Here it is, here it is! I joyously sing the awesomely odd lyrics to my favorite hymn:

Sons of God, hear His Holy Word
Gather ‘round the table of our Lord

Eat His body, Drink His blood
Now we’ll sing a song of love

Allelu
Allelu
Allelu
Allelu-u-ujah!

Of course it doesn’t even occur to me that the song’s a bit morbid…
and perhaps even a bit cannibalistic…
what with all the talk of “eating His body and drinking His blood.”

But to a 10-year-old, it makes perfect sense that we’d gobble Him up – then “sing a song of love.” Nom nom nom. La lala lala.

And you have to remember that “Twilight,” “True Blood,” and “Vampire Diaries” had not yet burst onto the scene with their lustful carnal blood-suckery

so this was all just common, everyday slurpin’ up some Jesus juice.

Nothing bizarre here, folks. Just a friendly invite:

Gather ‘round the table of our Lord
Eat His body, Drink His blood
Now we’ll sing a song of love

It’s really just like saying, “Hey everybody, come on over to my house and pull up a chair. Let’s eat Swanson chicken pot pies and drink some Tang – then break out the guitar and sing Kumbaya!”

I smile happily at all the students and teachers crowded into this chapel at our school.

My brunette curls jingle-jangle as I boisterously belt out the chorus of the song.

I LOVE the “Allelu’s.”

I’m really getting’ into it – hips swayin’, face scrunched, eyes closed, crooning away.

Now granted, I possess much more ENTHUSIASM than TALENT –

and, in fact, it’s widely known in my family that I’m tone-deaf –

but I still roar that tune LOUDLY and PROUDLY.

As we file out of the chapel, one of the nuns sidles up next to me, puts a caring hand on my shoulder, smiles kindly, and whispers gently, “You know, God loves the lip-synchers too.”

Oh.My.God.

Did she just say that to me?

Yes – yes, she did!

Is she an Angel of God? My own personal Celestial Messenger, with a note from above –

“The Lord hears ya, babe, and while He appreciates the effort – please remember He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent – so no need to actually VOCALIZE your tribute – He can hear you telepathically. So go easy on the eardrums of your fellow humans and just THINK the lyrics, mmmkay?”

At least, that’s how I interpret her remark: “You know, God loves the lip-synchers too.”

Of course at age 10, I don’t realize how hilarious this is – so I just nod piously, with big eyes. I harbor no ill will toward the dear old nun – she is, afterall, the music teacher, quite elderly, with sensitive ears, and seated directly next to my boisterous bellowing at the chapel.

I pledge a secret vow of silence whenever singing is required at Mass – which lasts exactly one week until the next Mass – when I gleefully and loudly rock out to…

Allelu
Allelu
Allelu
Allelu-u-ujah!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Are you a wonderful warbler – or musically-challenged like me? Regardless of your skill level, what’s a song that you blissfully belt out with joyful abandon? Any teachers/coaches offer you some “helpful” hints when you were a kid?)

Be VERY Careful What You Ask Your Teen Daughter

Be Very Careful What You Ask Your Teen Daughter!  #funny #cook #crockpot #turkey #humor #parenting

So then…I take a bite of Pralines & Cream at our little neighborhood Baskin-Robbins shop and ask my daughter Chloe, age 13, “So what do you think I should cook for dinner when the Donnellys come over Saturday?”

She nearly chokes on her Oreo 31 Below.

I shoot her a sharp glance.

She tries to recover quickly.

She loves me dearly but knows that cooking is not my forte.

“Um…let’s see,” she stalls. “There are lots of things you could make…um…”

“Well, what do you like that I cook?” I ask.

“Oh, I love your cookies and cakes and brownies and—”

“No, not what I bake. What I cook. What do you like that I cook?

She pales.

To be fair, my cooking repertoire IS fairly limited. I’m a woman of many talents, gifts, and skills (FAR too many to detail here) – but cooking’s not one of them. In fact, the main reason I’m asking her opinion is that I’m a bit anxious about cooking for the Donnelly family (or anyone, for that matter.) For potlucks, I always bake dessert. For my own dinner parties, I often order in or even (gasp) cater for the special occasions!

I’ve long envied the women who can whip up a delicious meal on a moment’s notice with the ingredients already in their pantry and fridge. I could try that – but it’d need to be meal that includes the typical staples in my house (Nestles chocolate morsels, mayonnaise, peanut butter, and delicious cheeses.)

My other cooking issue is that I have a fanatical fear of undercooking the meat. It probably stems from the first turkey I ever tried to cook — it simply WOULD.NOT.COOK. It was in that oven for hours and hours and hours – and no matter what, it never fully cooked. Honestly, it was traumatizing! The next year, I even ordered a PRE-COOKED turkey so all I had to do was heat it up — and it STILL didn’t cook through! Ever since then, I ensure we invite cooking relatives to our house for Thanksgiving — or invite ourselves to their homes. We’re working our way across America for each Thanksgiving and will probably be at your home soon.

So this is why I always order steaks/burgers/fish/etc well done at restaurants. And this is why I started crock-potting. Because if you put something in there at 8 am, it’s usually cooked through by 6 pm. In fact, some might say a little TOO cooked through. (And to them I say, “Well, fine, more for me, my friend. Help yo’self to the peanut butter and delicious cheeses.”)

Actually I make a fabulous tuna casserole.

My daughter Chloe abhors tuna.

She ate it maybe ONE time when she was about 5 – and to this day, anytime she can’t readily identify what I serve her, she’ll suspiciously ask me, “Is this tuna?

“No!” I’ll say. She’ll poke it a bit, and ask plaintively, “Are you sure it’s not tuna?” As if I were serving her potentially poisonous pufferfish!

Honestly, I’ve never served that child tuna again since she was 5 – but she asks me at least once a month, with an accusatory tone, “Is this tuna?”

Add to this that Chloe’s a picky eater, so there isn’t much that she likes anyway. (Of course, her being a picky eater MIGHT be related to my culinary malfeasance…)

So you can see that this innocent conversation about what to serve the Donnellys on Saturday is a virtual minefield that Chloe’s trying to tiptoe through, so as not to offend my feelings – or God forbid, trigger a tuna dish.

“Well,” she says, “I like your porkchops.” (crock pot recipe)

“Yes, go on.”

“Um, I like your French Dip beef.” (crock pot recipe)

“And what else?” I ask.

“Um, your green bean casserole?”

“What!? You never eat my green bean casserole!” I say.

“Yeah, but I’ve heard it’s really good!” she says brightly.

“From whom?” I ask skeptically.

“From you!” she says.

“Oh, for God’s sake. Seriously? After all these years, that’s all you can come up with?” I ask.

“Well, I was gonna say, ‘You open a mean can of corn,’ but I didn’t want to offend.”

I bust out laughing. “Chloe!”

“Or ‘you order Honeybaked Ham well,’” she offers.

We both guffaw.

She’s right, of course. And she does love her some corn (as evidenced in the Embarrassing Book Club Incident)

We finish our ice cream and finalize the menu for Saturday:

crockpot chicken,
green bean casserole,
canned corn –
and 3 – count ‘em, 3 – scrumptious homemade baked desserts!
Get ready, Donnellys, you’re in for a treat!

— Darcy Perdu

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(Is your child terrified of tuna? Or some other innocuous food? Are you a culinary master — or more of a baker like me? Can we come to your house for Thanksgiving this year?)