Wednesday, June 23, 2010


No, not the show.

In fact, I never even saw the show Lost. Never. Ever.

I mean lost like lost. Like I hope someone comes out looking for me soon lost. All. Day. Long.

The day started out fine...I was running a bit late, but was looking forward to meeting with one of my advertising clients that I had not seen in a while. It was perfect timing, as my meeting was to be followed by another meeting with a new advertiser, who happened to be located right around the corner from her. They are both located in Litchfield, Maine. Litchfield is further away in my "territory," per say, and I don't travel to the town very often. Hence, I am not as familiar as I am in other towns, but am pretty confident in my inner "GPS."

So as I was leaving Petal Pushers Garden Place, (for all of you gardeners, this place is AMAZING)! I asked Lynn, the owner, for directions to my next appointment. She pointed out that it was right down the road...easy to find. And she was right!

My next meeting went perfectly, and I was pretty happy about my morning. I was ahead of schedule, and had to go Lisbon, which SHOULD have been a snap to get to, from where I was...



Remember what it was like BEFORE "GPS?" When we relied on maps or the help of a store clerk or street walker to point us in the right direction? Remember that feeling of...Right????Left????Straight???? You might be a person who has never taken a wrong turn(literally or figuratively) but let me just say that I have(literally and figuratively). But usually, when I do make a wrong turn, I can backtrack quickly and get to where I need to be.

Not today.

No effing way.

I am going to let you know right now that if you think I have a bit of a potty mouth, you had better believe that words came out of my mouth today that I surprised myself. I am not going to print them, but instead interject with #$^%&&*! when necessary. Also know that throughout most of my journey, the words were in my head, if not flying out yelling at my imaginary passenger.

So from the second appointment, I went left. Confidently left. I was sure that was the way I got there. It was pretty soon, however, that I noticed the road and houses on it did not look familiar. It was when I passed this little miniature lighthouse that I knew I had made a mistake. I had gone so far at this point that I knew I was doomed. Then I saw the sign that I had entered Bowdoin.


I checked the Turner Publishing coverage map. It was right on my seat, and really, don't remember the last time I opened up a real paper map. If I was in Bowdoin, I had a 50/50 shot at ending up in Lisbon. IF and only IF I was heading West.

As I passed a "EAST RT. 10something or other."


Then "Welcome to Richmond."

The complete OPPOSITE direction than I need to be in.

Mo#$%^ F&*^%$.

And wouldn't you know that suddenly the huge iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts kicked in. And I don't mean that I was feeling energized.

Yes. I had to peeeeeeee!!!!!!

AND the air conditioner decided to take a break today. Fan-freaking-tastic.

I was on an endless road. No cell service.

But at least I was heading to Gardiner, a little town I am very familiar with, and, trying to look on the bright side, knew I could get to Lisbon from there. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts, again, and ran as fast as you have ever seen a woman in heels run into the ladies room. (I know this might be TMI, but, if you're gonna keep reading this blog, I'm gonna keep sharing. With no apologies. Because, well, it's my blog)! Anyway, I barely made it. Thankfully, (Bryan) I didn't have to pull over.

So it was off to Lisbon...even though I had literally made a huge, un-necessary circle, I felt okay! The sun was coming out, it was breezy, I had made it to the ladies room, and I was on my way!

I called my work-wife, Joy and happily reported that I was on the right track. LaLaLa!!!

But was I?

Why was I seeing signs for the TURNPIKE? I did not want to be on the turnpike! How did I get there!

Holy $%^&. I was on the turnpike!

Getting lost once in a day is one thing...but, TWICE?!?!

God give me strength if I was heading North...

Then I saw the sign that I could go SOUTH. I definitely wanted South. FFFFEEEEEEE-UUUUU.

At least I could get to Lewiston.


Not on my plan for the day, but at this point, I had no other choice!

I was determined to get to....


Then I actually saw an exit for LISBON!

It may be new a new exit...I'm not sure. I had never used the turnpike to get to Lisbon, so I just may have never looked for it. OR...maybe its a new thing?

I still don't know, but if it said Lisbon, I was going to take it!

I felt like Clark Griswold..."Look kids, Big Ben...Parliament...I can't get left..."

And the sunny, breezy relief that I felt AN HOUR before in Gardiner had now turned into a shaky, low-blood-sugar stupor. I was sweating and cursing the as^%ole air conditioner and contemplating using my empty iced coffee cup for another reason...

Then, at the end of the LONGEST exit road EVER, I came to a fork.

If I remember correctly, left went to Lisbon, right to Sabattus. OR something like that. I was so hot and hungry, maybe I wasn't thinking straight. I went left.

Nothing looked familiar, even at that point.

I came to an intersection that I saw an old general store...maybe it was open for business...maybe not, but I couldn't risk it. It looked pretty deserted. A little scary.

And no road signs. Anywhere. Where in hell was I?

I took another left. At this point, I had been on the road for two hours. I think I became a little delirious.

Then I saw this:


And just like that, I was on a dirt road. W.t.f.

I drove on. Stubbornly thinking that this couldn't go on forever! Corner after corner, but NOTHING BUT DIRT.

I finally got a signal on my phone.
I called the office.

"I'm lost."

Now, I may be known as a bit of a "clown." And maybe even a little "dramatic."

So, naturally, Duane thought I was kidding around.

"Nope. Really. Lost." #$%^ ^&*    $%^^&%%.

"Where are you?" He asked. Now concerned.

"Um, Duane? I. Don't. Even. Know." Its like when you say you lost your keys or shoes and someone asks you, "Where did you lose them?"

I couldn't give him any info...I told him the name of the last road I was on, but wasn't sure of what town that was in...I actually felt worse for him! He tried to help, but I told him I was going to turn WAAAAY around and just head back to the unknown town on the unknown road. At this point, I was thinking I had crossed the border into CANADA and would be screwed because my driver's license is still MIA.

$%^^&  ^^%$!

I had to pee again.

I turned back, and finally made it to the first intersection.

Okay. The moment of truth.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..."

I literally parked my car and  "looked down one as far as I could,"(Robert Frost, if you're wondering. Thanks, Mrs. Nickless).

I know I had gone left before, so, even though it didn't SEEM that-right-would-be-right-I-went-right.

That's right.

When I saw the sign for Rt. 196 I think a tear of joy sprang to my eye. Oh, wait. No. That was rain coming in my window. Plus, I think I was dehydrated, so there would be no tears. But I was pretty effing thrilled.

I almost expected to be escorted in by the Sheriff of something...I had lost communication with ground control at Turner Publishing Headquarters...


I was so happy I made it to my customer's parking lot I jumped out of the truck and started telling my harrowing story to the poor ladies that had come to pick up their dry-cleaning. They had  NO idea what to make of this wild-eyed crazy lady that was breathless with excitement at just being in a familiar Laundromat parking lot in Lisbon, Maine!


I was back, baby!

So that's it. The story of my day.

I made it to all of my appointments, got a good deal accomplished, and learned a ton about "off-roading."

What A Day!

Hope yours was better.

It must have been.

"Two Roads Diverged in a Yellow Wood
And Sorry I could not travel both
And Be One Traveller long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the under growth~"

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is one of my favorites. We had to memorize it during my Junior year at Jay High School. Mrs. Dobie Nickless was one of the best teachers I ever had. I thought of this poem as I thought back on my day and my life, and how true each line is. Literally and Figuratively.

Thanks for Reading.


Friday, June 18, 2010

Thanks, Dad

Usually I write my blogs at the spur of the moment. When something funny happens, when my kids say or do something hilarious, or if a certain memory is on my mind.

I have written about some crazy incidents, I've touched on some sensitive subjects. I have written a few little poems.

But I have been pondering what to write for Father's Day for a while now.

I could go on and on about how much I love and admire my dad. But that is not really what you all want to read about, right? And I know HE knows how his whole family feels about him, and how grateful we are every single day for EVERYTHING he does, and the selfless, generous manner in which he does it.

So how was I going to incorporate the funny, the crazy, the slightly unbelievable stories and weave them into a dedication to my dad?

Hahaha...well...let's take a look back...

I have some beautiful memories of my childhood. But, like most, it was my years as a teen that I started wrinkling the smooth fabric that was our life.

I got my permit to drive when I was 16. I learned from "Tib" in Wilton, Maine. I drove a safe little sedan that the driving school had, and by the time the "school" was over and the written tests were passed, I was pretty sure that I was an expert in yielding, keeping my hands at 10 and 2, looking in all the mirrors, and even the dreaded parallel parking. Please. I had it in the bag.

At the time, my parents had two vehicles, and "back then" one of the coolest cars was the "Cougar." As they do today, they had a "nice" car, that my mom usually drives, and a "truck," that is more my dad's vehicle(please see the story, "Sweat Shops/Labor Union"). They had a Mercury Cougar. It was a silver, two door, shiny wheeled beauty, that went reeeeeeally fast. That is what I remember. That was what I had envisioned driving around, "cruising town" in.

My Dad did not envision that.

He wanted me to learn how to drive "a stick." You know what I mean? A standard. My dad had a little grey Dodge Ram at the time. I remember that so clearly. It was KIND of a cool looking little pick-up, it was not the Silver Liner, but it had a red stripe down the side, and really was the perfect size...

He reasoned that it was one of the most basic,valuable skills a person can have. To drive a stick shift meant that in any situation, I would be able to drive whatever vehicle necessary. Did I care about necessity at sixteen? Was I pissed off and a little bitter when he made me go to the high school parking lot to learn how to stop and go and slow down and shift and reverse? Yip. But I did it. And he was proud.

So the day came that he laid out the "final" lesson: STOPPING ON A HILL.

Say, what?

Anyone who drives a stick shift knows that the feeling of stopping and starting on a hill is a weird one. It feels like you will go rolling backwards, out of control, until you floor the gas and "let up" on the clutch just right. It's scary.

Growing up in a small town, by the time you are sixteen, you think you know every street, off-road, dead end there is to know. But I did NOT know about Butter Factory Hill.

It is (or was) or just might as well have been, VERTICAL. Up and Down. Due North. Whatever. It was steep.

"Okay. Stop." He said from the passenger seat.

"Here?!?!No Way!"


"DAD! I can't!"


We were already yelling. I was a wreck. He was sweating. We never yelled at each other. This was not good.

I started to turn around. I think he grabbed the wheel.

I think the yelling turned to screaming.

"I don't need to learn this! I promise to never drive up any hills!" And I meant that.

"Just stop and start! It's just like being flat!"


We sat there in the heat of the summer, engine running. My feet shaking on the pedals. It felt like hours.

He was trying to explain how to let up and push down and shift from was like listening Charlie Brown's teacher drone on and on...I was petrified.

"Just Do It!"

And then I guess I did. I gunned it and left rubber marks and billowing smoke in my wake. I was so absolutely furious at him for making me do that, I went 70 miles an hour all the way home, my cobalt blue lined eyes bawling, my sizzled sun-in-ed hair standing on end due to the down windows and two cans of Aqua Net. Yelling at each other the whole entire way. (By the way, it was the best I ever drove that stick, I was so focused on my sheer anger that I never thought about me feet)! So screaming at each other down the quiet street to our house had neighbors coming to the road to see what the yelling was about! My mother heard us coming up the road and met us in the driveway, still screaming at each other. She refused to let us in the house until we stopped. I think silently, she was mad at him for torturing me like that. She did not ever learn to drive a stick and survived just fine. I was a blithering mess. I'm pretty sure that is the first time I saw my Dad drink a Martini.

But you know what? I learned how to drive a stick. And you know what else? It is one of the best skills to have. Thanks, Dad.

Through my college years, I'm sure I put a few wrinkles on his face. From the very first "Parents Weekend" when I was a Freshman and my folks walked in to my dorm to see a HUGE pair of sneakers, clearly NOT mine, sticking out from under my bed. Now, I had my fair share of boyfriends in college, but these did not belong to one of them. They happened to belong to my dear friend, who happened to be a VERY tall basketball player from New Jersey. He strolled in (doors were always open in Dunn Hall) to retrieve the shoes.

"How y'all doin?" He was so laid back and friendly. I remember the look on my Mom's face.(heehee). But my Dad took it all in stride, shook his (very large) hand and started up a conversation with him like he had known him for years. Through later years at UMAINE, Dan Hillman called my parents Mom and Dad, too.

My Dad taught me to treat everyone as a friend. Even strangers. Thanks, Dad.

It was another episode in college that I vividly remember...

Along with boyfriends came a few heartbreaks. I'll try to make this one quick...

My freshman year I had my first serious boyfriend. He was a football player (some of you know EXACTLY who I am talking about). I was convinced that we were going to be together forever. He was from New York, and through the first summer, we found a way to see each other almost every weekend. (Yes. We both would travel by car, train, boat, bus, you name it to get back and forth from Maine to New York...crazy).

At the end of the summer, he told me that he was not coming back to UMAINE, but would be staying in New York to play for a school close to his home.

That was pretty much the end.

Until my Junior year...when he called to confess his love for me and invite me down to this big, important formal, because I was the love of his life and he couldn't possibly take anyone else! Well! Of Course I Would! I would spend all of my rent on a dress and I would skip a final and I would make it up during May term and I would pay for a bus ticket into the city and I would meet him again after two years!

Well, I am just going to say what the facts were. This cannot be denied or refuted: He may even be reading this, who knows? But he was a huge jerk from the second I arrived. He left me in a bar and had his roommate bring me home. I went to his stupid formal, but didn't even sit with him at his table. When we got back to his room, he told me that his real girlfriend had to go to a funeral or something, that is why he asked me to come down, but she was on her way and I had to leave. I.WAS.IN.NEW.YORK.

He wouldn't even let me use his phone. It was 4am, I was on Long Island. I had to figure out how to get from there to Grand Central. My ticket wasn't until Monday, and it was Saturday. wtf.

I could only think of one person to call.

My Dad.

There was no panic on his end. Just direction. I took a cab to the city. I waited at the station for my bus. I rode the bus from New York to Portland. Where my Dad picked me up. Was he pissed and worried and more pissed and more worried? I am sure he was. But he NEVER said a word. I was pissed at myself and embarrassed and heartbroken. He knew it. I knew he knew it. Thanks, Dad.

There was another day in college that will live on forever in my mind.

The day after my 21st Birthday.

Not the actual birthday.

(WARNING: This is kind of gross)

My parents and my grandparents were making the drive all the way to Orono, Maine, to take me and my roommates out for lunch to celebrate my birthday. The night before had been fun, as 21st birthdays usually are. Did I drink? Yes. Did I drink to much? Yes. Was I sick? Nope. Not really.

Until we got in the car.

I started feeling a little sick on the way to the restaurant. We were all crowded into the backseat, everyone chatting around me. The bright February sun was shining directly into my eyes. I started feeling hot. Shaky. You know what I mean.

We got to the restaurant, all 8 of us...Mom, Dad, Grammy, Grampa, Me, my roommates, my sister...conversation flowed, I felt okay.  As the waiter came to take our drink order, I started to order a ginger-ale...but words were replace by projectile vomit. Sorry. I know. So unbelievably disgusting!

In a crowded restaurant on a Sunday.

My Mother. My Grandfather. My Grandmother! All horrified. The waiter, shocked.

My sister laughing. My roomies unfazed...

My dad? Silent.

"Oh! My! She is so sick! The poor thing! She must have the flu! Food poisoning!" My Mother. My Grandfather. My Grandmother exclaimed as I fled the scene to the ladies room.

I returned to the table to the many diagnoses...Flu? Food Poisoning? I already felt much better. Happy Birthday.

"She doesn't have the flu, Linda." Was all my Dad said.

He always understands. Thanks, Dad.

How about getting THIS call.

"I'm moving to St. John."

"What are you talking about?! Where the hell is St. John?"

This was the initial conversation when I called to tell my parents that I was quitting my job, selling my stuff, and moving to the beautiful island of St. John in the Virgin Islands to tend bar and paint tee-shirts.

This was NOT in the plan. I had recently graduated from college (Yes. I made it through). I had a decent job as a retail sales manager. I was on my own with a cute apartment and new car. The world was in the palm of my hand. Or was it? Was this it forever?

I had this amazing opportunity to move to a different place, meet new people, and live a little irresponsibly for a while. How long? Not sure.

My Mom was in absolute shock. Of course she was! I would have been, too! No one had really ever heard of St. John. I had always lived within driving distance of my family. But I was an adult, and I had made my decision. I was going. To the islands.

Was my Dad shocked? Yes. Worried? Yes.

Supportive? Yes. Absolutely.

Thanks, Dad.

Dad is the one I call when I need to bypass any drama or worry, and just need a resolution.

He has helped many get through life's tough situations. He does it without many words. He just does it.

My sister frequently calls me "the crazy one," and though I point out that at times, she is just as wacky as I am, I will admit, I have probably put my poor parents through more stress than they care to recall. And where my sister is the one I call to tell my crazy stories to, it is my wonderful, quiet, brilliant father, that I have called in the worst, trickiest situations.

We are so lucky, huh Kate?

So Happy Father's Day. To all of you Dads and Grandads and "Step"Dads and Father Figures out there. And to my friends who's Fathers are angels that love and protect from above, prayers and thoughts to you.

P.S. My parents traded the Cougar for a nice, reliable, not so flashy car before I went for my actual license. I got it on the first try with the Chrysler LeBaron. But, I ended up driving the truck more, and still prefer a "stick."

Thanks, Dad.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bird is the Word

The other day I was thanking my husband for marrying me, and for his unwavering patience with my craziness. I AM a little crazy. A little moody. Usually tired. Sometimes know, girl stuff.

He just stared out the window as I spoke, seemingly tuning me out...

Was he thinking of a romantic response? To tell me that HE was the lucky one for finding me? What a WONDERFUL wife and mother I am? And that he wouldn't change anything about me?

"Honey?" I asked gently. "Babe? Are you okay?"

"Those damned squirrels are in the feeder again!" Followed by some expletives, he called for the dog to chase them off the yard. He flung the door open and all I could hear were the screaming squirrels, the dog barking madly, and my husband yelling "GIT! GIT!" (not "shoo," or "get out of here," but "GIT" in that crazy hushed whisper.)...

THAT was what he was distracted by. His beloved BIRD FEEDERS.

And so I bring you, "Bird is the Word."

I have probably shared some of the wacky wildlife stories that have unfolded during my life...some during my travels, but most right here at Crazy Road.

Frogs, mice, huge water bugs trapped in casserole dishes, moose, turkeys, get the picture, are a part of the fabric of my life!

But it is the birds, the birds I tell you, that are playing a major role in my ever growing craziness.

It started a couple of years ago, my husband seemed fascinated by the birds that came to the feeder and the old bird house that were hanging in the front window.

They were here when we moved in, and likely had been hanging there since the house was build over fifty years ago.

Now honestly, I could not care less about birds, but I know that the kids were mildly amused by the first robins in the spring, and the cute little chick-a-dees that would sit and peck away at the flying seeds that hit the window. I really only got a bit of a kick when one would fly directly into the picture window, dive-bomb style, and feathers flew everywhere...I know that seems sinister, but its funny to me.

The squirrels were an issue even then, as there were big trees/shrubs that framed the window, making it easy for the rodents to jump on and off.

As the years went by, my husband hung more and more feeders around the yard. I didn't think much of it, until THIS year...

I noticed that both of the feeders in the front were new. Not just new, but they look like luxury condos for birds with brass and wood trim...filled to the brim with seeds.

There is one in the back window. There is another on the corner of the pool-house. There is another on the other corner in the back of the house, and yet another hanging on the pole on the corner of the pool fence. All.Brand.New.

Are you counting?

It seems like every time I leave him home, I return to find ANOTHER bird feeder!

Wasn't one or two enough? Does anyone remember this debacle?

Look closely. That is a bird INSIDE one of the feeders.

I came home one day last summer and looked out the window. I looked again. And went out and looked AGAIN. Yes. There was a bird that had SOMEHOW got inside the feeder, which, amazingly, was closed. How in the world?...

So, with great trepidation, I climbed up and took the feeder down. Now I am NOT stupid, but I could not for the life of me figure out how to get the top off. I didn't want to call my husband for fear of getting the "are you kidding me with this?" But the top was closed, and I did not see how it opened. Chris took care of filling the feeders, I really wanted nothing to do with them. And, for as much as I took evil pleasure in watching birds fly at full speed into my windows, I of course did NOT want to witness one suffocating in the very food that I provide! I had to get that thing out of there!

I carefully examined the top, the bottom, the sides. Where was the opening?! I was sweating. Talking to the birdie. "It's okay..." I comforted. I had flashbacks from the Perry incident. Do birds talk to each other? Had the bird word spread that I was a hater? Crap.

"I'll get you out." But time was ticking. How long had he been in there? I moved it to a chair in the shade. Meanwhile, poor Casey was freaking out.

It was about a half hour of pure nerves....Then I finally found the lever to release the trap door that must have been open for Chris to pour the seeds into.

But how did it close after the bird fell in?

No matter. I opened the the top and ran for my life. Surely that bird was going to fly out at the instant he knew he was saved.

But he didn't.

He couldn't.

He just kept jumping up and down and tweeting and chirping and bird yelling. He.was.stuck.

Effing great.

Casey was having a nervous breakdown. As was the little tweeter.

As was I.

I had to figure out how to get the whole top of the feeder off, without tipping it over. I know it seems like a no-brainer, but it was hot, I was panicked, and clearly a bit freaked.
I went over to the feeder and pryed the top off.

The bird. looked at me. I looked at it.


I ran in the other direction as he finally flew off. What was I afraid of? I had visions of him flying at my head squawking bird obscenities at me. After all, I would have been pissed off, too.

So here we are in the present day, and my hubby's obsession is now, I'm afraid, a little out of control.

Just this past weekend we went on an "adventure" shopping day to Marden's, Wal-Mart, you know, to get "stuff."

In Wal-Mart, I went one way, he went another. He was supposed to get paper towels, Swiffer pads, and milk.

When we met up, I noticed in the cart a bag of seeds, and a big box that looked like it had another bird feeder in it.

"Babe. Not another feeder!"

"It's not a feeder. It's a hanging birdbath!"

"A WHAT? Where are you planning on putting THIS contraption?"

I mean really. A HANGING BIRD BATH? Aren't they creatures of nature? Don't they bathe in puddles or other naturally occurring bodies of water?

I did not want to argue about it in the store, and we were having such a fun day...

So when we arrived home, he bolted from the truck with his new treasure in hand.

I was left to bring in and put away the groceries, get the kids settled, and whatever...while HE went out back to hang the feeder, I mean bath, in the middle of the other two feeders hanging from the pool house.

THEN I lost him again.

I thought he was cleaning the pool, or fixing the de-constructed wall that needs fixing, or starting to burn the pile of brush in the middle of the yard...

I was starting to make dinner, when he came in looking like the, well, the cat who ate the canary.
He had the jar of "bag balm" and his hands were covered in the waxy, slimy stuff.

"What the hell are you doing?"

"I'm greasing the pole so the squirrels can't get up it. The WD-40 didn't work."

"So you used bag-balm?"

"Uh. Huh." Then he proceeded to keep watch out the back window, waiting to see if the big, fat squirrels would try to get up the pole.

hee.hee. They did.

I mean come on now.

So I decided to have the talk. Intervention style.

"I really think your bird lovin' is a bit out of control."

And this is what he said:

"Kristen. I love them. I come down in the morning and sit with my coffee and watch them. I listen to them. I love to listen to them sing...I don't drink. I don't smoke. You said that when we moved here you had control of the inside and I had control of the outside. You don't let me hang my stuff or put my Buddah fountains out. I like birds. They relax me."


Well then.

I guess that I will deal with it.

I'll respond to the "Kristen! Come here and see!" To see the "tuxedo" birds, the yellow birds, the blue birds, the hanging chipmunks and the squirrels climbing up the pool fence to get to the seeds.

I won't say a word when he cusses at the rodents who defy the odds and make it up the thrice-greased fence pole.

I will likely end up rescuing his beloved feathered friends from something in a wild kind of daring feat.

I'll watch the birds bathe in the hanging bath - in the spot where I planned to hang geraniums.

I'll support his hobby. He doesn't drink. Or smoke. Or go out with the guys much. Or leave for long weekends of fishing or golfing. He has a stressful job~and a crazy wife.

He likes to stay home with us. His nutty family. And his little tweeters.

So, doggone it, that is the BIRD story.

Hope you liked it.

Thanks For Reading.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The...

People often ask me how I can find so many things to write about, or if I worry about running out of ideas...


Here are just a few things that have happened recently in my life that have made me laugh out loud, giggle quietly to myself, or stopped me in my tracks in amazement at the universe...

You already have a pretty good idea that my kids are funny. They say funny things, they make funny faces, they sing Beatles songs word for word, and can bring me to tears with their rendition of Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind..."

They each have their own little speech impetiments, that of course they will grow out of, but until it is absolutely necessary, I'm not going to correct...

Mackenzie calls Butterflies-"Butter-slies" and any other word with "fl" she pronounces "sl." She also says the word "mind" instead of "mine," in sentences like, "Tyler can't play with that doll, it's MIND."

Of course, Tyler repeats everything she says, so he talks the same way. Like the sound "v" as in love, shove, ever, they both replace with a "b."

So the other day, they were eating breakfast and Tyler started yelling, "MAMAMAMMA!!!!" Wook! Dayas a DUB on Daddys Booodfeedah!"

I looked to see a huge pigeon-y looking bird sitting on the feeder(one of the many that my husband is obsessed with, hanging in random spots around the yard)~

I couldn't help giggling at this.

"Oh! You mean a DOVE!"

"Yes, Momma." Kiki chimed in..."Look! Now there's TWO DUBs!"

heeheehee. DUBS. I make them tell the story over and over. It makes me laugh every time. I lub it.

Tyler will be four in August. He has been potty-trained for well over a year now, but occasionally still needs help in the, ahem, cleaning up department...

He will yell relentlessly after pooping, insisting I come and look at not only the, well, poop, but to check his bum to make sure he is "clean as a whistle."

Sometimes I get frustrated, because I am forced to stop whatever it I'm doing and repond to Tylers POOP 911.

When I feel frustrated, sometimes "bad" words slip. I know, I know, I need to watch what I say, but after years and years of diapers and poop, I am ready to move on.

I am sure I've said words like "DAMN-IT" and "Sh@#." And I am sure my sweet cherubs have repeated these words, even without me present, but the other day...

My husband was in the bathroom, door closed.

When he came out, Tyler was waiting.

"Did you go poop, Daddy?" (Nothing is sacred around here).

"Yes, Tyler." He replied.

"Did you wipe your own ass?"

(I know you are laughing at this).

The other day, the same kid had one of those "rough" days. He fell down the stairs, and took a knee in the face while "playing" with Nick. He never cried, even though the bump under his eye looked pretty ugly.

He blew it off and went outside to play.

I went back to work...

I heard doors opening and closing. Footsteps up and down the stairs. TV on.

A few minutes went by, I went upstairs to check on everyone...

I found Tyler laying on the couch with a wrapped ice-pack over his forehead.

"What happened?"

"Oh, I bumped into a twee."


"Me and Keek were wunning awound and I ran into a twee." He said, never letting up on the ice-pack.

"Wook. Dayas a ho-el."

And on his forehead WAS a hole! Swollen and red, with a cut...

"Did Nick get the ice pack for you?"

"No. I did."

"Did he help you?"

"No. I got it in da fwidge and wapped it in da towel."


"I'm gonna west now, Mama. I'm beat."

And he laid back down, with his ice-pack, and closed his eyes.


Now, when I talk about how amazing this universe is, I mean it.

I know there are books out there like "The Secret" and others that theorize that the universe will bring to you what you bring to it.

If this is true, I am definitely giving it some kind of crazy.

Someday, I will write the story of the amazing way that I met my truly is a story of missed opportunities and being in the right place at the right time...6 years later, something must be working...

Anyway, the other day, I was at a trade show. It was packed from the moment the doors opened. It was stuffy and crowded, and I was exhausted.
You know when you get so tired and hungry that all you can think about is eating? And you crave something so specific that nothing else will do?

Sometimes its sweet. Sometimes its salty. Sometimes, its more than that. Like something you haven't had in a long time.

Like an ITALIAN sandwich.

By the way, for anyone from "away," an Italian is a long sandwich with ham or salami, cheese, pickles, tomato, onion, peppers, olives, oil/salt/pepper. (Of Course, any of these can be eliminated, extra-d, or whatever, depending on taste)...

I mean, I would't say that Italian sandwiches are a favorite of min(d).

I'll eat one once in a while, but it's not something I would run out to buy for lunch, blah-blah-blah, you get what I'm talking about.

Except for this day.

I was on my way to the ladies room, and I specifically went the long way, trying to avoid seeing anyone I knew. I was so tired from talkingtalkingtalking, i just wanted to pee and get back to break down the booth.

Of course, I passed a booth with some of my clients/friends, and stopped to chat.

"How are you doing?" He asked.

"I am sooooo hungry!" Was the first thing that flew out of my mouth.

"We have some candy...want a Snickers?"

"Nah. No, thanks. I want something, you know...goood."

"There's a concession stand..." he was trying to be helpful. I know. But I had visions of...

"I want FREE. I want to walk by the SAM'S booth or something and have them offer me a free ITALIAN or something..."

Now, the aisles were buzzing with people. It was loud and crowded. I said this in a normal tone, no one else could have heard me say this to my friend...

I felt a tap on my shoulder...

I turned to see this stranger, clearly a rep from an attending business...

He had his company's logo...he was from the booth across the aisle...

"We have some sandwiches left over...would you like one or two?"

"Are you KIDDING?!?!?!??!"

He led me across to his booth and opened a cooler, packed with wrapped-up, huge ITALIAN sandwiches!!!!!

"Our kitchen packed this for us, but we never got a chance to eat them. I'd hate for them to go to waste..."

He was new bff.

My face, my jumping around yelling, my bugging eyes...

He had no idea why an Italian sandwich would make this weirdo behave as though she had just won a BILLION DOLLARS...

I explained that I had just pretty much asked the universe to deliver, and it did...

I should have asked for a car...

What are the chances?

I have re-told this story several times, mostly to my family, who simply aren't as surprised as I was.

"These things ALWAYS happen to you, Kris."

I guess they do.

Which is why I most likely will NOT run out of things to write about.

Really, not a day goes by that something doesn't make me laugh, even chuckle a bit, at the antics of strangers, my kids funny way of looking at life, my hilarious friends and family, or how this universe brings amazing, fascinating, wonderfully funny events to our lives, if we just watch, listen, and find the humor.

Thanks for Reading.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Are You Flippin Kidding Me?

Things that make you go HHHHMMMM...

This world is crazy, isn't it?

Every day, we see and hear things that make us shake our heads with dismay, or confusion, or just plain shock. We watch the news and surf the web, we listen to the radio, and sometimes get hooked on a ridiculous "reality" show.

But there are the little things, too, that happen every day in our own little lives, in our own little houses, with our own little jobs, that make us who we are, and determines what is okay...and what is not okay.

Like this ad, for example. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a joke:


I've received some disappointing gifts in my life. Like the sixty bags of "jaxs" that I would get year after year in the "yankee swap" elementary school Christmas parties. Not to sound ungrateful, but if I woke up on Christmas morning, after two months of planning and gift buying, stressing over the financial burden of being Santa, freaking out when hearing my daughter pray for the "talking doll house" the night before and actually getting online at midnight to see if Santa could actually get one before a gift of a scheduled PAP SMEAR under my carefully decorated tree?

I think not.

I get the intent, but come on.

Now, what about these telemarketing calls that put YOU on hold when you pick up?

Have you had this happen?


"Please hold for an important message about your..."


I am so surprised by this, I freeze up, and actually wait to hear what the hell the message is! From a company that is so busy to put ME on hold...

The other day, I waited to the tune of "Celebrate Good Times, Come On..."
Until a gentleman came on the other end...

"Thank You for Calling 'abc company,' Can I help you?"

"You called me. Can you help me?" Now I am pissed.

"Oh. Let me pull up your account so I can see why we called."

"Really? I thought there was an important message."

"Well Ma'am..."

Oh, man. Poor guy.

"You know what? This is poor service and a huge nuisance! It is dinner time, I've got three screaming kids. YOU CALLED ME! And then put ME on hold? If there is an important message, you should have the information ready the second I answer the call!"


"I know this isn't your fault, son. I know you probably hate these calls as much as I do, but I have HAD IT!"


"Is there a problem with my account?"

"No. Ma'am?"

"Then put a letter in the mail. The mail doesn't ring or ding or put me on hold without asking permission. I will read the letter in peace and quiet when I am not too busy."


I flew off the handle. I know this. But being in the customer service field for most of my "career" life, I expect to be treated with the same sort of service that I provide.

My disdain for rotten service stems from years ago while working in retail.

I remember vividly one day in the mall, I was going to get muffins for the store staff, as we had a new manager starting.

I called down to the "French-bread place" at the other end of the mall. I ordered a dozen bagels.

"Anything specific?" The bread maker asked.

"Anything BUT onion. Please NO ONION."

So I hiked the 1/2 mile through the mall in my massively high heeled shoes, picked up the bag, the jams and butters, the juices and coffees, and hiked back to the other end of the mall.

Michelle Gagne, this one's for you:

"OOOH! Thanks!

I opened the bag to the potent odor of....onion.

"You have got to be kidding. ALL onion?"

I dialed the French-Bread Place.

"Hi. Yes, I just picked up my order, and it's full of onion bagels."

Now, I would have expected the bread guy to assure me that he would hurry down to my store with another bag full of non-onion bagels. Right?


I had to truck it back. Again. In those stupid shoes. To get my onion-less treasures.

Here is the deal breaker:

There was no apology. But there WAS a reprimand from the bread guy.

"You really should check your order before you leave."


The can of whoopass that was opened up will live forever in infamy, and remains one of those funny go-to memories that have bonded Michelle and I for years. It was also a reminder to me that the customer is always right, no matter how really wrong they are.

Which brings me to my next little "OMG this could only happen to me" moment:

I have worked for a publishing company for a few years now. I have been in advertising sales for the better part of a decade, and let me tell you, its not always easy. Advertising is tough, all businesses need it, but none want to pay for is intangible. It is expensive. So taking care of customers, and doing what is necessary for their ads to be successful is very important. And sometimes exhausting. Sometimes clients are rude and demanding. Some are just plain strange. For the most part, I love it, but there are days when I ask myself, "is this really okay?"

I had traveled WWWWAAAAY out of the way to visit this little deli/vegetable stand/cafe.

They were having trouble getting their business off the ground and I was going out to take some pictures and do a story on them.

The owner was a "character," to say the least. He was a large guy, probably 6'5, but to me, anyone over 5 feet is standing beside him I maybe cleared his ummmm, belly.

He and his staff were excited to see me. I think they were excited to see ANYONE. It was a cold snowy/rainy morning, and I had not had enough coffee yet...

I gathered enough information for a story and then pulled out my camera to snap some pictures.

"OH! I have a great idea for a picture!" He exclaimed, as he skipped out of sight...(heehee)

I waited for a few minutes as I heard doors opening and closing, and hushed whispers. What the heck were they up to?

I walked around the corner...

HE was laying on the floor and his staff was piling fruits and vegetables all over his body and head, so that only his face was peeking out of the mountain of produce.

What the...?

"Now, Kirstee(no one ever says my name right), I want you to STRADDLE me and take the pictures from above..."

"Are you flippin kidding me?"

Was he serious? Not only was the pile of natures bounty too high for me to "straddle," but I was wearing a skirt!!

"I.I.I really don't think..."

"Oh, come on. I did this for the "rival newspaper" and people loved it!" He said, pulling a carrot out of the pile and crunching on it.

Now I had to find a way to get the shot.

So I got a step stool and carefully placed myself over this person, who was clearly not thinking that this was even a little strange.

Thankfully, my skirt was long enough so there was nothing to fear...

I got the pictures.

I guess they came out pretty good.

It was just one of those situations you can't possible prepare for. And until it unfolds, you never know how you will react.

I do know this:

I do not want a pap smear for Christmas.
I will always check my orders.
I have a pretty good idea what is okay and what is not okay with me.

And I still do not like onion bagels.

Thanks For Reading.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just When You Think...

AAAhh, June.

For many, the month of June conjures lovely memories...Weddings, Graduations, the beginnng of school vacation and the promise of a glorious summer ahead...

For me, the month of June always makes me grateful that my life turned out the way it did. For it was the month of June, 6 years ago, that I thought, "THIS CANNOT GET ANY WORSE."

If you have read any of my stories, or have known me for any length of time, you know that I often experience crazy, sometimes stupid situations. Whether its a nutty deli owner that lays on the floor, covers himself in vegetables and asked me to "straddle" him to take his picture for the paper, or the recent pedicure that went terribly awry and I ended up with a bejewelled, glittered Georgia O'Keefe mural on one toe, complete with pollen and what looked like a marijuana plant, and a blue gemstone in the middle of a flourescent pink "daisy." (This of course was due to the significant language barrier, and the fact that the mural would have spanned BOTH feet, had she not rolled over my foot when going to sit under the dryer, smudging the intricate work of art she had painstakingly created, while I looked on in dismay...)I digress. This story will be for another blog...

Now, where was I? Ah, yes...June.

Just when you think things are going swell...Sh#$ hits the fan and it rolls downhill from there.

I had been in my new home for almost a year after my divorce. It was exactly what I wanted, and needed for myself and Nick. It was a safe neighborhood, I had a little yard, Nick had a cool bedroom, and I got to live there happily, peacefully.

Financially, it was a bit of a struggle, but I was determined to make it work. I can usually make things happen, and I knew if I kept working hard, I would be able to build back a nest-egg, and everything would be fine.

Things were not perfect, I obviously had to deal with "divorce" stuff, I hated the time without Nick, work in radio sales was up and down, I was a single mom and dating was the last thing on my priority list. There was a bit of pressure from many directions, but someone once commented that I had a KEVLAR heart, and I would survive whatever the world had in store.

It was one sunny day in June, that gave the term "bad day" a new meaning.

It was the Friday before Fathers day, in fact, and I had planned on heading to Jay to visit with my family for the weekend.

I got the mail that day, disheartened again at the stack of bills. I would have put the pile away for the time being, and almost didn't open a letter from my mortgage company, as I had just paid my mortgage and assumed it was some refinance offer.

I don't even remember why I opened it, but I did, and glanced at the content of the letter, not really interested, it looked like another standard customer service letter...

I had promised Nick we would go to AMATO's, and was looking forward to one of their famous "ITALIANS." (LoveLoveLove the pickles).

We drove the 1/2 mile into town, picked up our lunches and headed back to our cute little yellow house. We were going to have lunch on the back deck, maybe take a ride to the beach later...

He settled in to eat, I begrudgingly picked up the pile of bills, the opened mortgage letter on top.

I read it.

It basically said that my current mortgage payment was going to increase about $800 due to a property tax adjustment.


"This must be a mistake." I said out loud. I left my sandwich on the table and picked up the phone.

After several "may I please speak to a supervisors," and "I'm sorry I can't help you-s," I hung up, and slumped into the chair.

There was no way I could afford that payment.

For the first time in more than a year, I cried.

Not only did I cry, I sobbed. I sobbed so hard that I threw up.

Poor Nick was so worried.

"Mama? Whats wrong?"

"Nothing, Honey. I think I ate a bad pickle."

(To this day, Nick always points out that pickles make me sick, and be careful when I eat them. I love pickles. Someday I'll tell him the real story).

So, like I always do when things start going to hell, I called my parents.
I still couldn't believe the situation. I was going to have to get another job! This was a nightmare.

My mom calmed me down, and insisted that I come up early. We would figure something out. But I was (and am) stubborn, and accepting help was out of the question.

Meanwhile, Nick's plans had changed and was now spending the weekend with me. That, was at least, a bright spot for me.

So I hastily packed a bag, put Nick's bike into the trunk and sped off to Jay. I already felt better, just getting out of town.

When I arrived, it was early evening. Nick was excited to show Nanny and Bup his new bike-riding skills.

What happened next led to a domino effect of crazy, horrible events, that now...I laugh about.

Nick was MAMAMAMAMA-ing me to get his bike out, while I tried to explain the mortgage thing to my parents. I can't really remember how or why this happened, but I think I pushed the trunk button, set my keys down (somewhere)and pulled the bike from the trunk. Then I am pretty sure I shut the trunk.



So started the quest to get the keys.

I had a JETTA. Loved that car. It had that flick-y-Star-Trek-key that flipped up. What it also had was automatic locks and windows, so that when TRIPLE-A showed up to assist, I was S.O.L.

The guy was nice enough, but ultimately, he left. I was keyless.

So that meant one thing...I would have to go back to Gorham, break into my house, and hunt for the spare set. I had NO idea where they were. I mean, I had enough on my mind at the time...where the little black key was-was anyone's guess.

It was late at this point, so the hour trip to Gorham to bust into the house would have to wait until the next day.

Sleep that night? HAHAHAHA. Nope.

The next morning I jumped into my Dad's (newish)Jimmy. Yes, the one that I almost delivered Tyler in...I refused to let anyone come with me...I needed to do this alone.

I arrived at my house, still feeling sick. I got into my house through the screen door in the back. Damage? Can't even remember.

I started ransacking my house, top to bottom. That key was not in there.

Sweating, cussing, cussing, sweating. I was the picture of the woman I had NEVER wanted to be. Desperate, Confused, Frightened. What the hell was I going to do?

Then my phone rang.

"WE FOUND THE KEY!!!!" It was my mom.

"It was under the back of the car near the tire!"

It must have fallen when I put it down to get the bike.

SWEET RELIEF!I was saved.

I was so happy about the key that I had almost forgotten about the mortgage issue.

I hopped in my dad's vehicle and headed North, once again.

Guess what. I got stopped for speeding. But I did NOT get a ticket.

When I got to Auburn, I swear I was even singing. I knew so well the number of stop lights, and how long each was. I drove that route so often.

At the last light, I slowed cautiously.


What the hell was that?

There was a truck ahead of me, what the hell had I run over?

The light turned green...


What in the world?

I noticed the truck in front of me had an old trailer for a boat or whatever that extended from the back...did I? NAH. I drove ahead...

I stopped at McDonalds to pee and get gift certificates for my Grandfather(love you, Grampa)for Father's Day.

And went about my trip.

When I pulled into the driveway, there were my parents and Nick, happily riding his bike.

I jumped out of the truck, but the look on my Dad's face stopped me in my tracks.

"What did you do to my truck?"

"Huh?" I really had no idea what he was talking about.

Then I remembered, the truck trailer and that noise.

The front of my Dad's bumper was totally dented and scratched.


I felt the pickles coming up again. It was the last thing I had eaten, why not?

VEEERRRY long story short, I somehow got my mortgage payment fixed, I got two new sets of key made and my Dad forgave me for busting Jimmy. (oh, a Father's love).

Okay. Thats the end of the story. Nothing else happened that weekend. I mean, what the heck else could? But I learned some very valuable lessons.

Never believe for a second that life won't throw you a curveball once in a while.

It's okay to ask for help when that happens.

If you pray for strength, look for it in the events that occur in your life. The strength you find to survive could very well be the answer to that prayer.

Oh, and stupid things happen.

That's why I write this blog.

P.S. To all of the 2010 Graduates and your families, Congratulations! Life is hard, live honest...that is the key to success.

P.P.S. The other key was in my purse the whole effing time.

Thanks For Reading.