The More Things Change…

When I first met Gary, Crow had dragged the kids to live with her parents in what was supposed to be a temporary arrangement.  Briefly living with someone to get back on your feet is one thing.  Reverting back to a spoiled child and expecting your parents to pay all your bills and take care of your kids for you is quite another.  Instead of working for a better life for herself and the kids, Crow stayed right there for the next seven years.  Living with her parents in her 40’s somehow, astoundingly, did not embarrass her in the least.  The ambition to stand on her own two feet is not strong in this one.

In fact, she would still be there if Hitler (my pet name for her father) hadn’t finally arranged a forced marriage between Crow and Uncle Fester, the only monosyllabic Cro-Magnon desperate enough to get hitched to a homely, dead-weight lunatic still living with the folks.  But two losers came together and found love, and lived happily ever, the end, right?

Well, not so much.  Turns out that just maybe, Gary is not the only man who would rather leap off a cliff into molten lava than stay married to Crow.

I’m not certain exactly what is happening, and to be honest I don’t care much except how it impacts the kids, but last night, we were asked to drop the kids off at Crow’s daddy’s house.  Again.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  It’s been just a few years since we dropped the kids off there.  The kids are, of course, a good bit bigger now.  Hell, Wolverine is 19 and I suppose not even a kid anymore.

But the stage, the setting, the plot, are all pretty much the same.  Standing in that cluttered driveway again, I almost wanted to laugh.  We’re back to this?

I personally couldn’t stand it.  When I got divorced, I was still pretty young, barely 25.   I got my own small apartment, hunted down a new job, and moved on to better things.  You know…like an adult.

I cringe at the example being set for the kids by Crow, the girls especially.  What is the message here? That females can’t take care of themselves? They have seen their mother living with her parents for most of their young lives.  They have seen their mother let her parents pay her bills for her.  They see her go to the church that her father tells her to go to, wear what her parents tell her to, follow orders like a well-trained dog.  How are they supposed to respect someone who can’t take care of her own crap or make her own decisions?

I have never had any respect for Crow.  I’m sure that is evident and goes without saying.  Her behavior and her choices have defined her as selfish, immature, absolutely worthless.  Forcing the kids back into this situation to please herself, to hold out her mooching hands for pay-outs from her daddy, is low even for her.

So much has changed since the last time we all stood in that driveway.  Gary and I are married now, and we bought a home.  Wolverine has graduated and is working.  The other three kids are at least several feet taller, taking on new sports and different activities, learning new skills and talents, developing into their own unique identities.

All of that makes what hasn’t changed stand out even more, in stark contrast, glaring in its sadness, its stagnancy, its rot.  All of us have changed, grown, moved on, advanced in some way, with one pitiable exception.  One of us hasn’t advanced at all.  One of hasn’t learned anything, developed anything new, moved forward even one shuffling step.

Crow has not, sadly, over ten years, gone anywhere at all.


Live with Parents

Posted in bad mother, crazy bitch, crazy ex-wife, divorce, kids deserve better, losers, moochers, pathetic | 2 Comments

Bomb Threat

downloadWhen I visited my mom recently, she had a small pile of colorfully-wrapped Christmas presents for me, Gary, and the kids.  I hate traveling, and packing or unpacking, or waiting at baggage claim forever for a suitcase, so I had crammed everything into one carry-on suitcase and a tote bag, figuring if it didn’t fit, I didn’t need it.  I had shipped her presents to her before my trip so I didn’t need to worry about stuffing them into my luggage.

A lot of good that did, when my mother insisted I could fit these presents into my sparse carry-on luggage for my journey home.  I jammed a few small packages into the already-cramped suitcase, which was now threatening to burst at the seams, and one remaining box had to go into the tote bag.   Good to go, right?

I researched TSA’s website to make sure I could take wrapped presents in my carry-ons.  On my trip home, I confidently marched up to airport security, ready to zip through security like a pro and be on my merry way.

Not so fast.  As soon as my tote bag rolled through their fancy x-ray machine, the TSA agent frowned, seized my bag, and called another agent over to “verify”.  Uh-oh.  I mentally jogged through everything in that bag, but I couldn’t think of anything that would raise red flags.  I had already asked my mom if the wrapped presents had any liquids or anything sharp, and she wouldn’t lead her own innocent daughter astray, would she?

Two agents asked me to step aside while they yanked everything out of my neatly and precisely packed bag.  I bit my tongue and watched them tug my items out, willy-nilly, not keeping anything in any order, swabbing everything, before pouncing hungrily on the happily-wrapped present and demanding, “What is this?”

What the hell does it look like?  My nightie?

“A Christmas present from my mom,” I said, wisely ignoring the sarcastic and irritated voices in my head.

The agent eyed me suspiciously.  “From your mom?”

She sounded like she believed “my mom” was code for “my internationally-feared terrorist”.  I confirmed that “my mom” meant “my mom” and nothing more.  She didn’t look convinced.

With gloved hands, she attempted to unwrap the present.  I say “attempted” because my mother is fond of tape. A lot of tape.  Every possible loose edge was cemented down with a thick strip of clear adhesive.  I managed not to laugh as the agent grunted and muttered, “Mom likes tape.”

When a tiny corner was finally freed, she removed the wrapping paper, all intact in one sheet, making me wonder if she is one of those people who can peel an orange in one continuous piece.  I quickly looked away, since after all, it was a Christmas present, and I was trying to preserve the surprise.

No such luck.  When the offending box was opened and thoroughly swabbed, the agent bellowed at the top of her lungs to another agent, “It’s a clock.

Just to be sure, they turned it over several times, ascertaining that it indeed was clock-like, hunting for dripping black powder or a sputtering fuse or a timer counting down to imminent doom, I’m not sure exactly. I was too busy being horrified that my own mother sent me through airport security with the one item in the whole wide world that most closely and alarmingly resembles a bomb, for the love of all that is holy.  Moving parts, ticking, sealed box, what could possibly go wrong?

When the TSA agents were relatively certain I was not, in fact, deviously scheming to blow up the entire airport, they packed the clock back into the box, (seemingly disappointed at the missed opportunity to wrestle me forcibly to the floor while beating me into submission), unceremoniously dumped my personal belongings back into my tote bag in a decidedly random fashion, and graciously handed me the now-useless, crumpled wrapping paper.

I was already trying to organize my things in my bag in something at least resembling an organized manner.  “Can you please throw that away?” I asked.

Well, no, actually this particular TSA agent would not throw away the wrapping paper.  She claimed she would get into trouble if she threw it away.  Okay, okay.   I stuffed the paper into my tote bag so I could personally deliver it to a trash can.

Good thing I had left early for the airport.  As I sat at my gate, I wasted no time pulling out my phone (which was not mistaken for a bomb during my security check) and sent my mother an e-mail, thanking her for making my trip that much more eventful.  I’m sure she got a good laugh out of it.

As for me, I got a story to tell Gary and a public service announcement for my blog readers: if the brilliant notion occurs to you to gift-wrap a ticking clock and bestow it upon someone who will soon be passing through airport security…well, go ahead, so we can compare stories later!

Posted in Christmas, flight, funny, my mother, travel | Leave a comment

32 Saves

Are you here today for yet another hockey post?  I hope so, because that is what I am serving up this morning.

Over the weekend, my Tampa Bay Lightning (still miraculously ranked #1) played the Winnipeg Jets, who used to be ranked #2.  I was worried my Lightning couldn’t pull off a win against such a strong team, and it was a tense game (i.e., there was a lot of yelling and cussing from my general direction), but in the end, Tampa won in overtime, 4-3.

Yesterday, the Lightning played the St. Louis Blues, who had moved up to the #2 spot when the Jets dropped.  My team rose to the occasion, and then some, with a hard-fought win of 3-0.  Don’t let the score fool you: it was not an easy win.  But we had good ol’ Vasilevskiy (our goalie) in our arsenal.  I mean, check this guy out:

He made 32 saves during that game, including a breakaway.  Did you know he leads the NHL in wins, with 20?  Or that he is only the sixth goalie in NHL history to reach a 20-win mark in his first 25 appearances in a season?  Aren’t you glad you read my blog to learn these things?

I’m trying not to get too excited here.  It’s not unheard of for my team to suddenly develop amnesia and start playing like they have never heard of hockey.  Inconsistency is their middle name.  But maybe that’s changing.  Maybe this is their year.  If they keep playing like they played last night (and that’s a big “if”), then they sure as hell have a shot.

Posted in Andrei Vasilevskiy, hockey, I love hockey, Tampa Bay Lightning | Leave a comment


20160824__SJM-FIREPLACE-08241When we first started looking at houses a few years ago, my list of must-haves included practical features like a recent roof, relatively new air conditioning unit, a safe neighborhood, windowsills wide enough for my fat cats, you know, typical things like that.

Every now and then we’d walk through a house with a fireplace, and I’d shrug.  Who cares?  Just something else to clean.  I figured even if we ended up with a house with a fireplace, it would be a nice place to decorate, but we’d never actually use it.

The house I grew up in didn’t have a fireplace.  My parents had to get mighty creative when a too-curious, inquisitive young me asked how Santa Claus got into our house, but beyond that, I don’t recall feeling like I missed anything crucial in life by not having a fireplace.

Then we walked into this house for the first time.  The fireplace is gorgeous, no doubt about that.  It’s definitely the first thing I noticed when I strolled through the door.  Stone up to the ceiling, thick wood mantel, very striking.  We fell in love with the house and the yard, and that fireplace came along for the ride as the house became ours.

Gary was much more excited about the fireplace than I was.  He had the fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected so we would be good to go for a roaring fire, the first chance we got.

*Yawn.*  I still didn’t see what the big deal was all about.

We finally had a cold night, and Sunflower helped Gary light a fire in the fireplace.  And I had to admit, it was beautiful, and relaxing, and peaceful, the glow of the fire, the crackling of the burning wood, the hypnotic dancing of the flames.  I was hooked.  I ended up taking pictures of our fireplace, like a complete dork.  And I learned, at last, just what all the hype is about.

Now I can’t imagine living in a house without a fireplace.  The kids love it.  Even when it’s 90 degrees outside, they start dropping hints about being chilly and needing a fire.  They’ve even suggested turning up the a/c so we can build a fire.  (Okay, I considered it, but having to keep up appearances of being practical and sensible adults, we reluctantly had to nix that idea.)

I’m not at all into wanna-be fireplaces, though. Give me a real fire, with wood, and actual flames.  Not a gas pretender, or worst of all, a fake, plug-in “fireplace heater” that is little more than a TV broadcast of a fire in the shape of a fireplace.  Ummm, just no.  May as well just go with this lovely contraption:


Fake fireplace, anyone?  Not me!

Then again, if fake fireplaces are truly your thing, don’t worry, I will hook you up, my friend.  Don’t say I never gave you anything!  For behold, here is an article complete with full instructions on building your very own cardboard fireplace: 12 Tutorials to Make a Cardboard Fireplace.

Of course, if you build one, I want to see pictures, please!

Posted in fireplace, home, house shopping, our home, our house | 3 Comments

Dare I Say It?

LightningOkay, lean in.  Closer.  A little closer, please.  I’m almost afraid to say this in anything but the faintest of whispers.

Could this be the year…just possibly…just maybe…that my Lightning clinch another Stanley Cup?

Stamkos is finally healthy and back on the ice.  Kucherov is on fire, a scoring machine.  We finally have a consistent goalie in Vasilevskiy.  Are things finally lined up just right for my team to not only make a rare appearance in the play-offs, but win the whole darn thing?

They haven’t won since 2004.  That’s before I even met Gary or knew he existed on this Earth.  I was living in Tampa at the time and wasn’t at the final Stanley Cup game, but any living creature with functional ear drums in a one-mile radius of my apartment that night had no doubt as to the outcome of that game.  (Or else they just thought someone was being murdered in my place, due to the blood-curdling screams and mostly unintelligible shouting at the top of my lungs).

I don’t want to jinx us.  I have loved and hated, cheered with and hollered at, my Lightning long before they even had a Stanley Cup under their belts.  I have cursed them and called them creative, fiendish names during the bad seasons (of which there have been many), and I have talked the ears off of anyone I can capture during the good seasons about hockey, about my team, about their chances of going all the way.

This one is shaping up to be a good one.  A damn good one.  I don’t want to get too excited just yet, but…damn, too late.  I am already clearing a space in my closet for a championship t-shirt, hockey jersey, hat, maybe even some Tampa Bay Lightning underwear.  Did you know that even existed? Well, now you do.  You can thank me while you search for your credit card to order some of your own!

Posted in hockey, I love hockey, Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay Lightning | Leave a comment


Hey!  Hey, you!  Over here!  Come quick!  Take a look at this!  Hurry! *waving at you frantically*

Screenshot 2017-12-01 12.00.04

What is that, you ask?  Seriously?  What does it look like?  Oh yeah, not everyone is a hockey fan.  (How do you live, exactly?)

Well, behold the wonder and spectacle before you, and bask in its fantastic and joyous grace: my team, my Tampa Bay Lightning, is currently #1 in the entire National Hockey League!

It won’t last long, so take a quick peek while you can.  I caught part of that game against Boston, and it was tear-inducing.  I can still barely speak about it above a whisper and a choked sob.

But for now, for right now, my team is #1.  I am going to enjoy it while I can!

Posted in hockey, I love hockey, Tampa Bay Lightning | 1 Comment

Is She Proud?

After being a part of the kids’ lives for over 11 years, they are bound to pick up at least some of my habits, mannerisms, and ways of doing things.  Sometimes it’s completely awesome (like Sunflower organizing her dresser drawers by color), and sometimes just hilarious, like the kids playing along with certain jokes, taking things 100% literally, hopping out of a room like a bunny rabbit when Gary asks them to hop out for a minute.  (This is always followed by Gary’s deep, exasperated sigh and a dirty look shot in my general direction, while the kids and I laugh).

Sometimes I hear them talking in another room, and I catch a pet phrase and have to smile a little, because it’s like listening to them read straight from the Book of Smirking Cat.  Occasionally it’s even delivered in the same tone of voice.

I feel happy and proud when they imitate me or repeat something I’ve said or retell a joke I’ve shared.  I find myself doing the same, picking up on certain jokes or turns of phrase or specific gestures.  It’s like we share pieces of each other, in some small way.

That makes me wonder how Crow feels when one of the kids tells a lie, or takes something that isn’t theirs, or shrugs their shoulders flippantly and demands a hand-out they didn’t earn yet still expect.  I know these things happen, because they tell us about them, usually tattling on each other, and not surprisingly, they happen almost exclusively in Hickville, surrounded by the in-bred gaggle of sanity-challenged nitwits they are forced to live among there.

Is she one proud egg donor when one of the kids emulate her and lie straight to her wrinkled face?  Does she burst with joy when she recognizes petty and selfish actions birthed from her own filth?  Or does she get pissed off that the shitty behavior she has taught them over the years is getting turned around and used on her?

I’m guessing the last option.  Crow believes that being an insufferable asshole is her exclusive right, no matter how unoriginal or trite her tactics may be.

I’ve always believed the kids are better than her.  We most certainly teach them better than that.  It’s hard to accept that it’s largely out of our hands, though.  They are either going to open their eyes to what she really is, and decide that they want rise above that, or they are going keep their eyes squeezed tightly shut and blindly follow the same polluted path to being a liar, a cheat, a thief, a coward.  Just like her.

Posted in bad mother, better than her, disgusting, kids deserve better, liars, lying | 2 Comments