Telling Tales: The Baby

My youngest is mad at me…again.

When we pulled out old family movies and started the stroll down memory lane, something (or someone) was missing. We watched my oldest coo, eat solids, laugh, roll over, crawl, walk, “go potty” and fall all for the first time. Halfway through watching his big brother delight at an ape at Animal Kingdom came the first, “Hey! Where am I?”

While the sounds of his big brother jumping in a swimming pool shouting out, “Look daddy, I fimmin (swimming),” Jackson pulled the covers over his head saying with certainty, “You don’t have any tapes of me, do you?” As if I don’t feel guilty enough for not breastfeeding him for very long, now I must live with the fact that we forgot to document this precious little boy’s monumental steps. How could I?

I swore I would not be one of those parents. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The kind who document every milestone of the 1st child and forget about the second, third and fourth. The kind of parent who completes the My 1st Year baby book for the oldest, but forgets about subsequent children. The kind of parent who can tell you exactly how much the oldest weighed at birth but doesn’t remember the day the other children were born. You know, like my parents.

Being the 4th of 6 children, the only evidence that I even existed was my birth certificate. There was one snapshot of me when I was a baby with my dad’s mother holding me. When I was a senior in high school, my sisters warned me against submitting that photo to be published in the yearbook since the baby in that picture was my oldest sister. It wasn’t until this moment I realized what a genius my mom was.

We almost had Jackson convinced it was him I was holding in a swimming pool. But then my husband-who was operating the camera-started saying, “Good job, Jacob! Show the camera how you can swim to mommy.” Jackson was crushed. But before I could say, “You will be the first to get a car, Jackson” he pointed at the screen and said, “Who’s the fat lady holding Jacob?” I let him have that one.

What were we going to do? I didn’t want this to be one of those stories kids tell their friends (or therapist) when they reach adulthood. As the youngest, he already feels slighted because he doesn’t have the freedom his big brother has. Would we be forced to hire baby actors and shoot pseudo family movies so our oversight wouldn’t confirm Jacksons belief that he was somehow switched at birth?

Luckily, we found one. It wasn’t of his first steps or laugh, but it was still perfect. When it started a little speckled boy of 2 years old sat on a plane with his Lightening McQueen slippers on. I remembered that he insisted on wearing those house shoes everywhere. As the video rolled, we watched that little boy who had the chubby face of a toddler, but eyes that were wise beyond his years. And for the first time since we started this stroll down memory lane Jackson was content as he stepped out from his big brother’s shadow. He was satisfied. When the tape was over he looked at me and I prepared to hear him say how much he loves me and daddy.

“Mom?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Why didn’t you take me to Disney World?”

Telling Tales: Lessons Learned

Graduation is almost upon us. That said, I’m pulling one of my favorite columns out of the vault. Having written this article almost two years ago, I now know our kids survive when they leave us and so do we. And that is a true lesson learned.  

A feeling of both melancholy and excitement prevails in the Kane household as letter after letter arrives for our oldest, from colleges near and far.  As I watch her open each one, I distinctly remember being her age, knowing very little about life, yet believing I knew everything.

As she readies for her journey into this big, wide open world, there is so much I want to be sure I say to her, teach her, show her before she takes off, while deep down I know the real lessons in life will come from figuring it out on her own.

And yet, if she were to indulge me, I’d write it all down for her, place a copy in her suitcase and hope that when she came to that fork in the road, she’d pull out my map of lessons learned and they’d help guide her home.

  1. SAY YES! This is your time, say yes to it. Say yes, to staying up all night, eating fattening foods and laughing with friends until tears stream down your face. Say yes, to unknown places, unknown people, unknown ways of thinking. Say yes to opportunities that make no sense, jobs you may not think you’ll like, invitations to events you’d rather not attend. Say yes to roller coasters, dancing on tables, foods you can’t pronounce, trips that consist of only a backpack and a map. Take in all the Yes moments, as those are the ones that’ll teach who you are and who you’re not.
  2. SAY NO! Follow your instincts and if you feel the word No deep within your gut, then be sure to shout it out, as loudly as you can! You’ll be amazed how strong that word can make you feel. Never do anything that feels wrong, hurts others or hurts yourself. There is no shame in not joining with the crowd, but there is no greater shame than knowing you did something your parent’s can’t be proud of. The word No can be the loneliest word in the world and yet you will grow to be the person you are meant to be, more so in the No moments, than even in the Yes moments.
  3. MISTAKES HAPPEN. No one is perfect and those who profess to be are usually the most flawed. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, the kind that still make me cringe. Don’t dwell on them though. So you said it, did it, meant it at the time and now know to never do it again. Admit it, accept it and move on. Believe me, there is always someone that will follow, that’ll earn an even bigger headline than you did.
  4. SAY I’M SORRY. I’ve learned this little gem after almost two decades of practicing law. I see it every day. People can save themselves so many headaches and heartaches by saying two simple words – I’m sorry. Say it and mean it. If the person doesn’t accept it, then show them you mean it. If they still can’t forgive you then know that some things can’t be forgiven but forgive yourself and do better next time.
  5. MARRY THE NICE GUY. Boys, boys boys! There are lots out there and you will meet many. Some will have the better cars and country club credentials, others will be cocky and crazed, some will be stupid and mean but look past all of them and find the nice guy sitting back, taking it all in. Your friends will all like him, your Mother will adore him, your Dad will respect him, he’ll love you even on your meanest, fattest, ugliest of days because he only sees the you, you are meant to be. Marrying a nice guy means a life filled with very few worries. He will always treat you as his equal, he will always work just as hard as you will to make your dreams come true, he will always be as kind to you as he is to others.
  6. NEVER SAY THE WORDS – I WANT TO MARRY A DOCTOR OR LAWYER. Instead be the lawyer, doctor, teacher, social worker or x-ray tech! If I’ve taught you anything, I hope it’s been that girls can do anything! You are smart, composed and brave. Education is more than just learning, it’s the power to create your own destiny.
  7. THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO, UNLESS YOU ASK. Believe me, I know it’s hard to ask people for a job, a favor, a piece of advice but you’ll be amazed by what you will learn if you just ask. And then never forget to pay it forward. People are going to help you along the way which means that one day you will be tasked with returning those favors, two-fold, to someone less fortunate.
  8. PICK YOUR TEAM. Nothing gets your old Mom more worked up than people who don’t pick their team. Not everyone will be on your team and not everyone will pick you for their team, but don’t ever sit on the fence. Pick your team and then fight for that team. Stay loyal, have their back, stay informed, this is your world and if you don’t take a stand for it, then you can’t complain about it.
  9. BE KIND, WORK HARD, LAUGH OFTEN. If you remember nothing else please remember these three things. Be kind to everyone you meet, even your enemies because that totally wigs them out. Be kind to people from all walks of life, because but for a few wrong choices or a few unlucky breaks, you could be them. Work hard. Nothing in life comes easy. You have to work for it, you have to work sometimes till the words on the paper become blurry and your bones become sore. You will come to find, however, that there is no better feeling than accomplishing a goal you earned on your own. Then Laugh. Enjoy this world, laugh out loud, smile, giggle, be funny and have fun. A good laugh can make even the worst of days, worst of experiences, worst of situations, 1000 times better.
  10. GOOD GUYS FINISH FIRST. I promise you they do! Yes, there are awful, untrustworthy people in this world and sometimes it seems they rule the roost. No doubt, mean girl clicks and good ole’ boy networks do exist. So what? Create your own. There are always more of us than them. Find those others, stand together, and you’ll be amazed what good people can do when they join forces.

And above all else, close your eyes and jump! You may tumble and fall but eventually you’ll stand on your own two feet and those same feet will carry you home.

Telling Tales: How the Other Half Lives

Spring break is upon us! And the “us” I’m talking about is the collective group of parents who, yet again, did the unthinkable. As usual, our kids are going nowhere! A fact that you would think, by now, wouldn’t surprise them.

We are not spring breakers. But that’s ok. Because what we are, are spring cleaners!

So for the next two weeks while most other families are sunning and surfing, skiing and socializing, the Kane kids will be otherwise occupied.

Nothing makes me happier than spring cleaning. Out with the old, in with the new. Baseboards will shine, tupperware will be organized and all those socks will finally find their match. Who needs sand, surf and all you can eat shrimp buffets, when you can spend your days reorganizing closets?

 

And should you see my children at Walmart making a resupply run, don’t let them fool you, they love it just as much as I do!

That glazed look they might give you, is nothing more than a Pine-Sol stupor, because at our house we go old school. While “green” may be all the rage, unless it smells like over-powering chemicals burning a hole through your lungs, we don’t consider it clean.

Sure, we may not have those beachside photos or ski resort photo ops, but we make our own memories just the same. And just because we don’t choose to flaunt them on social media doesn’t make them any less fun. Because in my book, fun begins and ends with a toothbrush, a room filled with dirty grout and my two kids and I making it shine.

Of course, when the school doors reopen after break, our kids are always more excited than most to be back at school. Do I take it personally? Not a bit.

You see, growing up, I was one of those kids who always went to the beach for Spring Break. Gulf Shores was our family’s destination of choice. Dad would load us up, Mom would have sandwiches made for the 10-hour car ride and off we would go. My favorite stop along the way was Stuckey’s and Shoney’s. Once we got to the beach, my brother and I would build sand castles and play in the waves day in and day out. Day in and day out. Day in and day out!

Until we finally returned home burned to a crisp, sand within every crevice of our station wagon, and ready to murder each other.

It’s how the other half lives.

No thank you! I’ll take clean grout and matching socks any day.

Telling Tales: But Boys Are Easier Than Girls

Every so often while in conversation with another mom or dad, one will say, “Be glad you have boys. At least you don’t have to worry about” fill in the blank. We are usually talking about teenage hormones, self-esteem or dating. I’m positive no one ever makes statements like that to minimize the effort, patience and sometimes obscene amounts of chocolate and unhealthy carbohydrates it takes to raise a boy.

Hormones
Yes, teenage boys experience their fair share of hormones. The difference between boys and girls on the hormonal front? Where shall I begin? Clint Eastwood, UFC and ESPN has convinced our lads, and probably our lad’s dads, that to be tough, the showing of emotions is a “no-no.” Some days I feel like a computer antivirus trying to delete sexist spam that gets through their firewall. Sure, there are a few sports legends and movie stars that break outside of that box and shed a tear every now and then. But I’ll bet they didn’t show so much as an eye twitch as a 15-year-old boy with acne and no makeup to cover it up with.

Dating
This has been a tough one. As the mother of boys, there’s an expectation that I should be laid back about this. You know, because I have boys. If laid back means my husband and I talking to our boys about things that our parents never did — like explaining that consequences of bad behavior can be far more life changing than early parenthood OR waiting until WE feel our little Johnny Hormone is ready emotionally for dating then, yes, we are laid back. Keep in mind, that with all our effort, our boys may still do things they shouldn’t when it comes to dating — girls do too.

Self-esteem
While it’s been said that men are simple creatures, teenage boys are not. They can be just as mysterious as their female counterparts. You know why? BECAUSE THEY WON’T TALK TO YOU ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS! This is the worst. As past president and volunteer social secretary of the Low Self Esteem Club, I’m probably hypersensitive to early warning signs of LSE… when it comes to women. But with boys, it’s totally different. Because even in 2015, girls are taught to express their feelings while boys are often (but not always) encouraged to suck it up. So, when boys feel bad, they don’t “talk it out.” Because to acknowledge “feelings” would be admitting weakness. Trying to teach my boys that it’s OK to talk things out isn’t always an easy task. It gets a lot of eye rolls when I start in on this topic.

Encouraging my sons through the awkward hormonal years, being strict about dating and making sure they know that it’s OK to be different is just as important to me as it is for you to teach your daughters to be empowered.

The truth is, I can’t be laid back about certain things. I want this boy to grow up into a wonderfully kind man who shows respect to all people. But shows the most respect to those living in his home.

Comments? Email Becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com or post them below!

Telling Tales: Wit & Wisdom

During the past three years, I’ve learned so many things about my dad. But two stand out the most.

One, it is essential to find humor in dark situations.

Two, nothing, AND I MEAN NOTHING, is more important than regular bowel movements. Besides talking about those bowel movements.

So it’s 6:45 Thursday morning. Coffee is ready, the Western Channel is playing “Gunsmoke” loud enough to shake my mother’s urn and Ralph is stalling.

This disease has taken him a bit further down the rabbit hole making changes to his routine upsetting. But today’s appointment at an area specialty center is essential. This evaluation will help determine if it’s safe for him to continue driving.

“Now why do I have to go to this appointment? I know how to drive! I drive all the time. In fact, the last time I took a driver’s test, they told me I never had to take it again. I was THAT good. I have a routine. This is screwing up my whole day. And I couldn’t sleep last night after you told me about this! I haven’t gone to the bathroom yet. And if I don’t have a BM — that’s a bowel movement, Becky — in the morning, I’ll get constipated.”

“I know what a BM is. Let’s not talk about that now,” I countered. “You have to go. They just have to make sure your reflexes are still sharp. And the insurance company needs to make sure it’s still safe for you to drive.”

“What insurance? I go there all the time. They love me. In fact, they said I have the best driving record of anyone. They said I can drive as long as I want. NO. QUESTIONS. ASKED!”

“This isn’t up to the insurance company dad. We need to make sure you are good to continue driving. You won’t have to take the test for another year.”

“What the hell do you mean? I have to take it again next year?! Let me call them. They aren’t going to jack me around and mess up my BM routine just because they need something to do. I’ll tell them. I don’t mind at all.”

“You have to go, Dad.”

“Why? My reflexes are great. They are just trying to squeeze money out of me. The jokes on them! I don’t have any money, dammit!”

“It’s because of your neuropathy, dad.”

“My what? I don’t have that. I don’t have any opathys!”

It’s now 7:20. Dad still hasn’t taken a shower or had a… whatever. If we leave right now, we’d still be late. I call and get the OK that we can be 30 minutes late. I’m sure they’ve dealt with situations like this. So now I have one hour and 10 minutes to make this happen.

Dad starts another stall tactic.

“Did I show the pictures Mikey sent?” Mikey being my big brother.

“No, I didn’t. I’ll look at them while you get ready to go. Hurry, Dad, we have to leave. Laura just texted and said she’s stuck in traffic.”

“Why would I care if she’s in traffic? Did you tell her what you’re making me do?”

“She’s meeting us there, so she’s well aware of the appointment.”

He finally retreats to his bathroom to get ready.

At 8:10 AM, he’s ready. I called the office again to tell them we would be later than 8:30. That’s when I get the news that we will have to reschedule his appointment.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My sister and I have to go through this again in 14 days. We scheduled this appointment for three o’clock in the afternoon. This will make it easier for all of us. My sister and I will be able to work a half day before taking him, and dad won’t have to worry about his BMs getting off track.

When I tell dad that we’ve missed the appointment, he’s as happy as a clam. When I phone my sister and tell her we’ve missed it, she is pissed. She was on the elevator at the hospital where Dad’s appointment is scheduled.

“You tell him that I sat in traffic for an hour and 15 minutes to get to his appointment!”

So I did.

“Hold on. Dad, Laura said to tell you she sat in traffic for over an hour trying to get to your appointment. This has really upset her day.”

He takes the phone from me.

“Laura, hi honey, it’s Dad. You know when I go to Nashville, I take Lebanon Road. It’s stupid to take the interstate during rush hour. Don’t do that again. Love you, honey. Here’s your sister again.”

We’ve scheduled a new appointment, and to be safe until then we’re replacing fruits, vegetables and fiber of any kind with cheese and milk.

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

Telling Tales: Doing What We Can

So this morning, much to the chagrin of my 14-year-old son, I was making chocolate protein balls — basically water, chocolate protein powder and almond butter. (No licking the bowl at our house anymore!)

The conversation went something like this:

Neill – (with a look of horror) “What are you making?”

Me – “Protein balls.” (also with a look of horror)

Neill – “Why? You’ve made it this far.”

Me – “Made it this far? What does that mean?”

Neill – “I mean you’ve lived this far already. Why start eating like this now?”

Why indeed?

The good thing about my chocolate balls is that when I put these babies in the fridge, no one, and I mean no one, steals one. (Yeah me!)

Hey, at least I’m trying.

Not the best motto to live by, but not the worst either.

I take my vitamins when I remember.

Go to kickboxing if I can fit it in between work and a ballgame.

Eat hummus and veggies at the office, so long as I don’t forget to pack my lunch.

And contemplate giving up soda, white bread and processed food at least three times each week.

Recently, a group of my 40-something friends has been on a serious health kick. Exercising together, eating super healthy, encouraging each other in a group called “Lean 13”.

The ladies group has their own messaging app and all day long are texting and encouraging each other with recipes, workout meet-ups and motivational memes.

Some days, I watch intently as my phone blows up with their messages and then I force myself to go work out with them. Other days, I turn off the group notifications because I’m sure they can somehow see me making a doughnut run while sipping on my full-fat caramel mocha latte.

This morning I turned the girls back on.

I took my vitamins, ran at the park and then made my protein balls. And being it’s a good day. I’m also contemplating not cracking open that cold sprite in the fridge.

Tomorrow, I may not be as good. And that’s OK. Because the next day I might be again.

As my wise 14-year-old said, I’ve made it this far. And I’m going to try my best to make it a little farther.

Telling Tales: No More Leftovers

It’s no secret to my friends, family and anyone wandering the cleaning aisle of the local grocery that I don’t enjoy cleaning. I enjoy cooking, eating, reading, reading about eating and cooking and so on. I do not enjoy cleaning. It’s a necessary evil that can’t be avoided. While cleaning, the only time I stop complaining is when I’m gagging while cleaning my boys’ bathroom. (I will never understand how a man can be trained to hit a target at 1,000 yards away but hitting the space inside a toilet eludes him?)

It’s the time it takes to clean that bugs me most. When I go at it, I go at it with both barrels. (Just like when I doubled down on the freshmen 15 in college.) Everything gets cleaned and organized — even the toothpaste cap and pantry. There are times when someone “pops” over without notice or I agree to host a jewelry/cooking tool/clothing party when I must rush the cleaning process. This is what I call giving my home the “illusion of clean.” Don’t open a door, you might get hurt.

My youngest child is very much like his dad. Major Type A personality. He knows where his shoes are and probably yours. His room is always clean. He’s the child that’s with me when I lose my car keys, can’t find a pen or run out of gas (don’t ask!). When he shows me that my keys are hanging in the front door lock or points to a pen stuck behind my ear, there’s always a note of sarcasm in his gestures and a look in his eyes that say, “When I’m old enough, I’m putting you in a home.”

With three teenagers, we are always rushing. That being said, there are times when cleaning the refrigerator out gets overlooked… many, many times. So a few days ago, I decided it was time. Mostly, because I had run out of plastic storage containers and it was either buy more or clean out the fridge.

If it were a crime to purchase produce, take it home and let it sit in the back of the fridge until it changes colors and shrivels to half its normal size; I’d be serving a life sentence in prison.

After spending two hours throwing away, washing out and swearing that this will be the last time I ever wait this long to clean it out, the task was complete. It’s amazing how much brighter that interior light is when there’s not so much stuff crammed in. I don’t mean to brag, but it looked brand new.

A few minutes later, I heard my boys bound down the stairs most likely heading to the kitchen to get a snack. When the pantry door shut I knew the fridge was next on their quest for sustenance. Suddenly I heard my youngest scream out in a terrified voice, “WE’VE BEEN ROBBED! WE’VE BEEN ROBBED!” My husband and I ran into the kitchen where he was standing in front of the open fridge with a very confused look on his face.

When he saw me he said, “Where’s all the food?” I had the opportunity to tell him the truth. That this is the way a refrigerator is meant to look. But, that would mean I’d probably get that all too familiar look from him. So I did what I had to do.

“Jackson, WE’VE BEEN ROBBED!”

Telling Tales: Losing My Religion

Even though my spiritual upbringing was not ideal, the ritual and ceremony of practicing faith has always appealed to me. But at the same time, it scared the crap out of me. Because, while learning about the world through religion can be a beautiful, hopeful practice, learning about the world through religion, taught by fanatics on either side of any debate, can make one (see: Becky) become somewhat of a skeptic.

Years ago, I’d made up my mind that sleeping in on Sundays and relaxing was the way to go. So we (by this time I was married to my equal when it comes to religious skepticism) went on about our happy little life. We couldn’t be bothered with all that “stuff.”

Then…we had a boy.

Cliché as it sounds, this boy, our firstborn, forced us to see the world in a different way. Suddenly, his mama who had spent her college years and now four years of professional life focused on “reporting the news,” couldn’t watch or listen to anything that mentioned the words, “child,” “abduction,” “gun,” “hostage” or “Y2K” (Don’t judge. It was the 90s). The world didn’t make sense. And the reality of motherhood meant I needed it to make sense NOW. Who else but the Divine could help?

We were in no way qualified to be a spiritual guide to this innocent little being. So we searched. And searched. And searched some more. It was like we were on a town square-sponsored bar crawl. We would try out the menu of Church A and move on to Church B and C. The pressure was on. Soon, our little sprout may want to know more about that tiny little Bible our neighbor sent upon hearing of his birth. The only thing I could offer on it now was its blue jacket coordinated with his nursery wallpaper perfectly.

It’s mostly my fault that it took us so long. Everything would be going smoothly. We’re understanding, we’re belonging, then, BOOM! Someone practicing the same faith we’re considering would tell me all the reasons two people shouldn’t get married. The word “abomination” is mentioned. That signals the end of those visits. I just found it hard to take someone seriously who one minute says, “God loves you no matter what” and the next “But you will seriously burn in a fiery hell of your own making if you do X, Y and Z.” It would leave me feeling like either God has slight chemical imbalance or some of His church leaders might.

Then one day, our little guy started to pray. It’s not what you think. It wasn’t one of those strangely emotional, “PLEASE MAKE MAMA AND DADDY BELIEVE IN YOU, LORD!” prayers. We did believe. It was out of the blue before leaving for preschool. He clasped his chubby little hands together, closed his eyes and said, “Dear God, please bring me the new NFL Fever XBOX game. Amen.” That’s when I explained that he had Santa and God mixed up. He just laughed and said, “You pray like you pray. I pray like I pray. He understands what we mean.”

All this time, I’d been silently judging every move, word, gesture, prayer from those I’d placed on this imaginary pedestal. Yes, they were flawed, and God knows — no pun intended — I am too. Yes, they sometimes interpreted things wrong, but who doesn’t? They even drive in cars with two big, metal Jesus fish on the back bumper and flip off yours truly. In the midst of all those screw ups, they are also trying to be better. They are trying to help those less fortunate. They are trying to spend more time listening instead of talking. They are doing beautiful things.

The way I understand it is, it doesn’t matter which faith you identify with. Having a certain religious or professional pedigree doesn’t guarantee your admittance into whichever “Promised Land” you believe in any more than running everyday makes you an Olympic athlete. Try to do the right thing. And the right thing can be not telling complete strangers how bad your Bible says they are screwing up.

God, His Son and that Ghost character makes complete sense to me now. You could say I never really lost my religion. I just had to find a way for it to make sense to me. And right now I’m on the right track. Not the one to hell…I hope.

Telling Tales: The Plague

Neill and I sat transfixed intensely listening to the news correspondent speak. We knew this day would come.

Although my youngest is the spitting image of his father, he definitely carries a double dose of my family’s genes. That means when a crisis hits, be it a weather occurrence, an unprecedented dip in the Dow, or a health epidemic, he and I are the first to react.

My brother and I are the first to admit that we come from a long line of alarmists. Our ability to immediately become transfixed on any sign of possible danger goes centuries back in our DNA structure.

Our spouses scoff and our friends make fun, but to this day, our uncanny ability to sense danger miles ahead, has resulted in four decades without a broken bone, hospital stay or anything more than a cough!

When this new antibiotic resistant bacteria makes its way to Tennessee – few will survive, so as I see it, you are either going to be with me or against me.

As the correspondent explained the details of this dangerous, new bacteria having just reached the U.S., I started making a mental checklist: canned goods, hand sanitizer, face masks, batteries, chocolate, flashlight, bunker.

All very doable except for the bunker, which with every crisis, is always my Achilles heal.

But although we do not have a bunker we do live far out in the country, which is basically a bunker.

“We’ll be ok Neill. We have a creek so you and daddy can fish for food and we will live off the land. We’ll be fine.”

“Live off the land? You don’t even cook!” remarked my eldest who carries only Kane genes. Calm, cool, collected….she can be extremely annoying at times.

Neill and I just turned up the television volume, as we didn’t need any commentary from someone who obviously hadn’t watched the movie “Contagion” as many times as we had.

We continued to watch and listen as the correspondent explained the symptoms of the latest microbe: body aches, chills, fever and vomiting. I tried not to panic.

While I had yet to experience chills, fever and vomiting, I couldn’t deny I was feeling a little achy.

“Madison, go get my i-Pad, I need to google what they mean by body aches.”

“You are not serious. How many people with multi-drug resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis have you come in contact with in Lebanon?”

And while she definitely had a point….my ancestral gene pool had not come this far to be thwarted by rational thinking and common sense.

“And while you’re at it, bring me a pen. Neill and I are staying in tonight to start on our list of …. who is with us or against us!”

– Written By Angel Kane

And so it begins again…

By Angel Kane

I think back to school shopping should be an Olympic sport.

Because nothing, and I mean nothing, tests my endurance more than looking for an 8 1/2 x 11, three pronged Plastic Portfolio Pocket Folder WITHOUT holes. Not to be confused, mind you, with the Mead Five Star Laminated Paper Folder, which we all know comes with three hole punches, four internal pockets and absolutely no prongs!

After years and years of shopping for this elusive product and many others like it, I’ve come to realize that the “back to school supply list” is a test of wits, patience and perseverance in order for teachers to weed out the children that are truly loved by their parents and those that are not. Either that, or a sadistic inside joke that all teachers are part of.

But jokes on them because on Monday my children and their folders, with or without holes, and their back packs filled to capacity with notebook paper, multiple boxes of Number 2 pencils and enough Elmer Glue sticks to cause massive amounts of destruction, will all be promptly delivered to the school house doors… way before 8 a.m.

Let the new school year begin!

And by that I mean, college applications, ACT’s, soccer, tutors, football, promposals, reading assignments, strep throat, flu shots, retreats and the dreaded weekend science projects.

I, for one, could not be happier to get back to the school year routine.

On Saturday evening as I sat through our first middle school football scrimmage of the season, swatting mosquitoes, talking shop with the other mamas (aka, ‘what color did you decide to paint your den this summer Jennifer?’), I could smell the pre-teen sweat waft through the air. A familiar smell that means routine and normalcy will soon follow. A smell that also instantly reminds me to pick up more Febreze Sport next time I’m at Kroger.

Like everyone else this week, we intend to start the year with the best of intentions. School clothes are washed and ironed and ready for the week, the makings of a healthy lunch is waiting in the fridge, my alarm is set so I that can be up early to cook eggs and toast for the kids on their first morning back.

And then by next Monday, the real routine kicks in –  two sips of milk, an untoasted pop tart and a Flintstone vitamin and we are out the door! A text message will appear on my phone promptly at 8:45 that someone has forgotten something that they must have immediately or the world will surely end. Another text by lunch to remind me I once again forgot to add lunch money to their account and they are now mortified because the lunch lady said something to them about it.  A quick call between their dad and I after school, coordinating who has the lawn chairs, water bottles and what game we have where and who has which child when. Followed by a series of texts and calls about — what’s for dinner?

And so it begins…again.

With one in college now and my other two quickly catching up to her, I’ll happily be there!

To read more of Angel’s and Becky’s columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com.

 

One year later… for the graduates

By Angel Kane

One year ago this week, our oldest graduated from high school. A few months later we dropped her off at her college dorm and I cried all the way home. I wrote about the experience in one of my articles and soon after, while walking at the park, one of our readers, who I didn’t know, shouted out to me “She will be ok. More than ok. I promise it gets easier.” 

She was right. Our oldest, now home for the summer, did just fine. And you know what? We survived too.

Right before I left her dorm that first time, I took a Telling Tales column I had written for her and taped it to her wall. In honor of all our local graduates who are about to venture out into this big world, we are reprinting the article again.

We are so proud of all of you! Remember to work hard & dream big and the rest will take care of itself.

 A feeling of both melancholy and excitement has prevailed in the Kane household for the last year. Senior year has been upon us.

Each month, each memory, each minute has been cherished like no other, knowing that our job (at least for now) is done. Hoping we taught her all the right lessons, while wishing we had often set a better example.

There has been so much I’ve wanted to say to her, teach her, show her this last year, all the while understanding that the real lessons in life will come from figuring it out on her own.

And yet, if she were to indulge me, I’d write it all down for her, place a copy in her suitcase and hope that when she came to that fork in the road, she’d pull out my map of lessons learned and they’d help guide her home.

 

  1. SAY YES! This is your time, say yes to it. Say yes, to staying up all night, eating fattening foods and laughing with friends until tears stream down your face. Say yes, to unknown places, unknown people, unknown ways of thinking. Say yes to opportunities that make no sense, jobs you may not think you’ll like, invitations to events you’d rather not attend. Say yes to roller coasters, dancing on tables, foods you can’t pronounce, trips that consist of only a backpack and a map. Take in all the Yes moments, as those are the ones that’ll teach who you are and who you’re not.
  1. SAY NO! Follow your instincts and if you feel the word No deep within your gut, then be sure to shout it out, as loudly as you can! You’ll be amazed how strong that word can make you feel. Never do anything that feels wrong, hurts others or hurts yourself. There is no shame in not joining the crowd but there is no greater shame than knowing you did something you can’t be proud of. The word No can be the loneliest word in the world and yet you will grow to be the person you are meant to be, more so in the No moments, than even in the Yes moments.
  1. MISTAKES HAPPEN. No one is perfect and those who profess to be are usually the most flawed. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, the kind that still make me cringe. Don’t dwell on them. So you said it, did it, meant it at the time and now know to never do it again. Admit it, accept it and move on. Believe me, there is always someone that will follow, that’ll earn an even bigger headline than you did.
  1. SAY I’M SORRY. I’ve learned this little gem after almost two decades of practicing law. I see it every day. People can save themselves so many headaches and heartaches by saying two simple words – I’m sorry. Say it and mean it. If the person doesn’t accept it, then show them you mean it. If they still can’t forgive you then know that some things can’t be forgiven but forgive yourself and do better next time.
  1. MARRY THE NICE GUY. Boys, boys boys! There are lots out there and you will meet many. Some will have country club credentials, others will be cocky and crazed, but look past all of them and find the nice guy sitting back, taking it all in. Your friends will all like him, your Mother will adore him, your Dad will respect him, he’ll love you even on your meanest, fattest, ugliest of days because he only sees the you, you are meant to be. Marrying a nice guy means a life filled with very few worries. He will always treat you as his equal, he will always work just as hard as you will to make your dreams come true, he will always be as kind to you as he is to others.
  1. NEVER SAY THE WORDSI WANT TO MARRY A DOCTOR OR LAWYER. Instead be the lawyer, doctor, teacher, social worker or x-ray tech! If I’ve taught you anything, I hope it’s been that girls can do anything. You are smart, composed and brave. Education is more than just learning, it’s the power to create your own destiny.
  1. THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO, UNLESS YOU ASK. I know it’s tough to ask people for a job, a favor, a piece of advice but you’ll be amazed by what you’ll learn if you just ask. And then never forget to pay it forward. People are going to help you along the way which means one day you’ll be tasked with returning those favors, two-fold, to someone less fortunate.
  1. PICK YOUR TEAM. Nothing gets your old Mom more worked up than people who don’t pick their team. Not everyone will be on your team and not everyone will pick you for their team, but don’t ever sit on the fence. Pick your team and then fight for that team. Stay loyal, be relentless, stay informed. This is your world and if you don’t take a stand for it, then you can’t complain about it.
  1. BE KIND, WORK HARD, LAUGH OFTEN. If you remember nothing else please remember these three things. Be kind to everyone you meet, even your enemies because it’s never about them, but about you. Be kind to people from all walks of life, because, but for a few wrong choices or a few unlucky breaks, you could be them. Work hard. Nothing in life comes easy. You have to work for it, you have to work sometimes till the words on the paper become blurry and your bones become sore. You will come to find, however, that there is no better feeling than accomplishing a goal you earned on your own. Then Laugh. Enjoy this world, laugh out loud, smile, giggle, be funny and have fun. A good laugh can make even the worst of days, worst of experiences, worst of situations, 1000 times better.

And above all else, this is your time to close your eyes and jump!

You may tumble and fall but eventually you’ll stand on your own two feet and those same feet will one day carry you home.

Angel Kane can be reached at angel@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

No Escape

Telling Tales

By Angel Kane

For several years we’ve been blessed to be friends with a fun group of people. We’ve traveled together, celebrated birthdays together and spent countless hours together at various children’s functions,

But as life gets busier and busier, our get togethers have become less frequent.

A few weeks back however, we got the old group back together to try a new adventure called Escape Nashville.

The concept seemed to be a good one. We had not seen each other in weeks and this place seemed like something right up our ally.

You lock 10 people in a room, give them clues and together they try solve the riddle that finally leads them to a key which unlocks the door.

Problem 1. The concept is such a good one that most everyone is signing up, so the only slot available for our group began at midnight. Not a good idea for folks whose definition of adventure is staying up to watch the first half of Saturday Night Live. By 11 pm, our after dinner small talk became incoherent mutterings about how sleepy we all were.

Problem 2. When we got there, we found that Escape Nashville was run by a group of young, hip 22 year olds. Their job was to take our money and mock anyone over 30 who dared to come out to play the “game.” And rightfully so, since it was now past midnight and we should have all been home asleep!

Problem 3. The hipsters watch the players with surveillance cameras from outside the locked room. They are not to interact with the players unless players ask for a clue. I’m assuming that for a small fee we can buy back our video so it doesn’t show up on Youtube one day.

Problem 4. The game began! The doors were locked and four out of the nine of us just wanted to go home.

Problem 5. The other five were game lovers. You know the type: love Trivial Pursuit, won’t let you get up from a game of Monopoly until they win, blurt out answers before the contestants on Jeopardy hit their buzzer.

Problem 6. Escape Nashville should be called Lord of the Flies Is Alive and Well in Nashville. The groups soon became divided into the “I want to go home, this game is silly, I’m tired” group vs. the “get out of my way, don’t just sit there, look for a clue, if we lose I am blaming you” group.

It got downright nasty!

Problem 7. The 20 something’s wanted to go home because it was now almost 1 am and even they were tired! So even though we weren’t asking, they kept feeding us clues over the intercom.

Problem 8. We still lost. Miserably!! Four out of the nine of us didn’t care. The other five turned on us.

Problem 9. If you win you get a T-shirt that says “I escaped Nashville”. If you lose you get a bumper sticker that says “I almost escaped Nashville”.

Problem 10.  Nine out of nine of us were not about to line up for the 22 year old hipster, holding up our bumper sticker, so he could take a photo for Facebook.

What’s in a word

swear

swearEverybody has their favorite. Be it, heck, darn, or &^%$#, there is something to be said about being able to express yourself with just one word.

One fabulous, mind blowing, descriptive word that tells the world how you… REALLY, REALLY FEEL.

I, for one, have no problem with almost any word. As I explain to all who take issue with my word usage…’I was an English major, with a concentration in British Literature. I’m classically trained to use the English language in all sorts of ways.’

A line I first used on my dad after he had just paid for four years of college. Boy, you should have heard the words he used… and he wasn’t even classically trained like I was!

But most everybody also has that invisible line in their bad word lexicon that they won’t cross.

Mine is *&(^%.

No matter how mad I might be, I don’t ever use THAT word.

Becky uses it.  A bunch.

She knows I don’t. Ever.

A fact that brings her perverse pleasure, often using the word over and over until I crack!

For whatever reason, to me, that word sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I cringe, wince and look physically pained when anyone uses it. Which is odd, considering very little else offends me.

But like many things, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. This is a point I may have finally reached.  My 14 year old reminds me daily now that “Hello?? There are children in the room.”

My co-workers are at that point as well, instituting a potty-mouth jar requiring anyone who uses an offensive word to pay up. Upon being told about the jar, I proceeded to inform them what they could do with their silly jar but didn’t use the word “silly,” instead I came up with a much more flowery word… which promptly cost me $2.00!

“Who made you the *&*^% police?” I asked.

That one cost me $5.00.

And now even my husband has chimed in, informing me that my expert use of the English language is bordering on verbal abuse.

So from this point forward, I’m going on a bad word fast. Instead I’ll be limiting myself to ‘gosh darn’, ‘for pete’s sake’ or ‘fudge’.

Just knowing this, however, causes me extreme anxiety.

I fear without ‘my words’ I won’t be able to fully explain how that driver cut me off, how that supermom wears me out or how very, very badly my toe hurts.

Just listen…

‘Gosh darn, my toe hurts’, doesn’t quite depict the excruciating pain I feel whenever Neill nails my pinkie toe while wearing his soccer cleats. Whereas ‘&%$#!!!  my toe!’ succinctly encapsulates all that I am feeling and more.

But for the sake of all those I live and work with, I’m going to give this fast a shot.

One question, do ‘flowery’ words in a foreign language count? I only ask because Spanish was my minor, so technically, I’m trained in those words too.

To read more of Telling Tales or other Wilson Living Magazine blogs by our other writers go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

 

God Bless America

 

By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

 

July 4th is always a big holiday at our house. We start with a late afternoon BBQ of burgers and hot-dogs, followed with Brody and a few other Dads shooting off fireworks while the Moms and kids all Oooh, Ahhh and scream “Neill, get back!!”, over and over.

 

This year, however, we will sadly be missing all the festivities as we are out of the country. And nothing makes you appreciate America more…than not being there! So, in honor of July 4th and all things great about America, we Kanes have compiled a list. It should be noted that as I’m typing this column, Brody and the kids are still shouting out things to add to my list, however, since Telling Tales isn’t up to two full pages just yet – I’m going to stick with the …

 

Top Five Things Americans Do Better

 

Ice

 

I don’t know who invented the ice cube but I’ve got a  hunch it was an American! That’s because, in Europe, ice is basically outlawed. No matter what the drink, be it a Coke or juice, every drink is served a few degrees cooler than room temperature. It’s become my “thing” to ask for ice, which is usually met with a sneer, followed with “No Ice, … sorry!” But I don’t believe any one of them are truly sorry. For one, their tone clearly indicates otherwise, but mostly because, seriously, how hard is it to freeze water in an ice cub tray?!! No, after two weeks of practically begging for a cold drink, I’m convinced whoever did invent ice somehow insulted the entire continent of Europe and his product has been permanently banned.

 

To that end, as soon as we land, I’m finding a Sonic and ordering the biggest cup of crushed ice that they sell. Actually, I’m going to order three, one for each hand and one just to stick my face into!

 

The Big Cup

 

While we are on this topic, let’s talk about their big cups or lack thereof. So, I know most Europeans are thinner than us, claiming it’s because they walk everywhere. Well, they are liars! Their lack of weight gain is the direct result of the fact that they can’t drink their calories, like we can. And that’s because every cup here is tiny, from my morning coffee to my evening Sprite, their cups are basically shot glasses. I’m certain I could make millions here by opening a kiosk serving only ice in big cups! I’m not kidding, they may have given us democracy, but once I give them ice in a big sonic cup, we’re going to be even. In fact, at that point, I’m thinking they owe us!

 

Driving

 

Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not the best driver, but these people over here…they really, really, really can’t drive! It’s as if they get in their cars each morning – with one thought – I’m going to run Angel over! And, who knows, maybe they  heard about my “ice thing” and are really gunning for me. But I’m guessing I’m not the first westerner to ask for ice, so I’m hoping it’s not personal. Driving here is definitely at your own risk, so is crossing the road or even walking down the street. At this point, I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes so many times, I no longer fear death.

 

Clothing

 

How is it that the women over here can wear the craziest outfits and look positively posh, but if you saw me wearing the same thing, you’d call Brody to tell him “she is walking around Walmart, wearing tights, wedge heels, a jersey dress with holes cut into it, a leather satchel and a scarf. I’m sure she’s had some sort of mental breakdown, come get her quickly.” Whereas you can spot the Americans, here, from a mile away. We are the ones in shorts, tank tops and our $5.99 flip flops!  And while the natives do look 1000 times more fashionably forward than me, they also look HOT! So hot that I want to cry out “Hey people, ice, big cup, lose the scarf!” I mean its July- who wears scarves in July!

 

Restrooms

 

They charge one Euro ($1.40) to use their public restrooms and some of them consist of nothing but a hole in the ground. When you enter the “water closet” there’s usually a rather large woman sitting there, smoking, as she takes your money and hands you a tiny square of toilet paper. And let me tell you from first hand experience, there isn’t any amount of my precious American hand sanitizer, that I lugged all the way over from the U.S., that can fix this mess!

 

So on this greatest of American holidays, when our country celebrates it’s independence, we Kanes are immensely grateful…more grateful than we’ve ever been before, that our forefathers won that war! Because I’ve seen what life would have been like had they not, and believe me, while we would’ve all been incredibly thin and stylish, we would also be unbelievably hot and thirsty and I’d still be “holding it” until we could get home!

 

To read more of Becky and Angel’s columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlviingmagazine.com.

God Bless America

By Angel Kane

July 4th is always a big holiday at our house. We start with a late afternoon BBQ of burgers and hot-dogs, followed with Brody and a few other Dads shooting off fireworks while the Moms and kids all Oooh, Ahhh and scream “Neill, get back!!”, over and over.

 

This year, however, we will sadly be missing all the festivities as we are out of the country. And nothing makes you appreciate America more…than not being there! So, in honor of July 4th and all things great about America, we Kanes have compiled a list. It should be noted that as I’m typing this column, Brody and the kids are still shouting out things to add to my list, however, since Telling Tales isn’t up to two full pages just yet – I’m going to stick with the …

 

Top Five Things Americans Do Better

 

Ice

 

I don’t know who invented the ice cube but I’ve got a  hunch it was an American! That’s because, in Europe, ice is basically outlawed. No matter what the drink, be it a Coke or juice, every drink is served a few degrees cooler than room temperature. It’s become my “thing” to ask for ice, which is usually met with a sneer, followed with “No Ice, … sorry!” But I don’t believe any one of them are truly sorry. For one, their tone clearly indicates otherwise, but mostly because, seriously, how hard is it to freeze water in an ice cub tray?!! No, after two weeks of practically begging for a cold drink, I’m convinced whoever did invent ice somehow insulted the entire continent of Europe and his product has been permanently banned.

 

To that end, as soon as we land, I’m finding a Sonic and ordering the biggest cup of crushed ice that they sell. Actually, I’m going to order three, one for each hand and one just to stick my face into!

 

The Big Cup

 

While we are on this topic, let’s talk about their big cups or lack thereof. So, I know most Europeans are thinner than us, claiming it’s because they walk everywhere. Well, they are liars! Their lack of weight gain is the direct result of the fact that they can’t drink their calories, like we can. And that’s because every cup here is tiny, from my morning coffee to my evening Sprite, their cups are basically shot glasses. I’m certain I could make millions here by opening a kiosk serving only ice in big cups! I’m not kidding, they may have given us democracy, but once I give them ice in a big sonic cup, we’re going to be even. In fact, at that point, I’m thinking they owe us!

 

Driving

 

Okay, I’ll admit, I’m not the best driver, but these people over here…they really, really, really can’t drive! It’s as if they get in their cars each morning – with one thought – I’m going to run Angel over! And, who knows, maybe they  heard about my “ice thing” and are really gunning for me. But I’m guessing I’m not the first westerner to ask for ice, so I’m hoping it’s not personal. Driving here is definitely at your own risk, so is crossing the road or even walking down the street. At this point, I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes so many times, I no longer fear death.

 

Clothing

 

How is it that the women over here can wear the craziest outfits and look positively posh, but if you saw me wearing the same thing, you’d call Brody to tell him “she is walking around Walmart, wearing tights, wedge heels, a jersey dress with holes cut into it, a leather satchel and a scarf. I’m sure she’s had some sort of mental breakdown, come get her quickly.” Whereas you can spot the Americans, here, from a mile away. We are the ones in shorts, tank tops and our $5.99 flip flops!  And while the natives do look 1000 times more fashionably forward than me, they also look HOT! So hot that I want to cry out “Hey people, ice, big cup, lose the scarf!” I mean its July- who wears scarves in July!

 

Restrooms

 

They charge one Euro ($1.40) to use their public restrooms and some of them consist of nothing but a hole in the ground. When you enter the “water closet” there’s usually a rather large woman sitting there, smoking, as she takes your money and hands you a tiny square of toilet paper. And let me tell you from first hand experience, there isn’t any amount of my precious American hand sanitizer, that I lugged all the way over from the U.S., that can fix this mess!

 

So on this greatest of American holidays, when our country celebrates it’s independence, we Kanes are

immensely grateful…more grateful than we’ve ever been before, that our forefathers won that war! Because I’ve seen what life would have been like had they not, and believe me, while we would’ve all been incredibly thin and stylish, we would also be unbelievably hot and thirsty and I’d still be “holding it” until we could get home!

 

To read more of Becky and Angel’s columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlviingmagazine.com.

The Real World You vs. The Social Media You

By Becky Andrews

According to Social Media (for most of us):

We have more than two hundred friends or followers.

Never taken a bad picture (unless a “friend” tags an unapproved shot. In that case, the picture is deleted and the friend “unfriended”).

Family vacations are filled with nothing but laughter, delicious food, and perfect weather.

Our children make straight A’s and never talk back. They are star athletes, self-taught musicians, blindingly attractive, adored by everyone, and have never gone through an awkward phase.

We feed our family organic fruits and vegetables, cook gourmet meals and eat together at least once a week. In some cases, we post pictures of said meals to prove it.

We are cool enough to be friends with our teenager’s friends.

We are way cooler than our parents were!

Never more beautiful than when pregnant.

Marriage is perfect and even after all this time, he/she still gives you butterflies.

The house is always meticulous.

40 is the new 30.

We either think the Kardashians are a disgrace to humanity or we “have no idea” who they are.

We knew about Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style before our kids.

And according to social media, because I’m a wannabe writer some assume I draw inspiration from the morose writings of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf and Emily Bronte’.

In reality (for me):

Besides my brothers and sisters, there’s only a handful of people who will tell me if I have a piece of spinach in my teeth. Ironically, those same people would also let me talk to a group of people with that same piece of spinach in my teeth just to get a laugh.

Having my picture taken creates so much internal anxiety, I would gladly spearhead a bill that would require a license and background check before one can purchase a camera.

On our family vacations, the kids are fighting before we hit the road, the food is overpriced and if we’re lucky, we get 2 days of sunshine.

Straight A’s as a young student doesn’t automatically spell success as an adult any more than memorizing a Julia Child cookbook will make you an award winning chef. Plus, it’s more important to teach our kids to like themselves before worrying about who does or does not like them.

Gourmet cooking is a waste of time, and if eating Ball Park food on the bleachers counts as family meal time, my family has been doing that for years.

My kids don’t want to be my friend, follower or fan and their friends don’t even use the account they’ve friended you on.

I could care less if a smart alec, little twit thinks I’m cool, I know I am!

I gained 80 pounds when I was pregnant.

While my husband makes me happy on most days, I’d gladly trade him for a housekeeper.

If 40 is the new 30, is 80 the new 70?  40 is 40 and 30 is 30, get used to it!

The Kardashians make my family look totally normal and that’s the only reason I know who they are.

I actually did know about the Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style before my kids. Only because I work in an office full of 20 something’s.

I really am a wannabe writer however, I prefer the less serious musings of Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Roseanne, Amy Sedaris and of course my favorite, Erma Bombeck. Besides, laughter can drown out the negative dialogue in your head.

Social media has its place but, instead of friend, follower or fan, I’d much rather you call me the other F word, FUNNY!

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

Check out more “Tales” at www.tellingtalesblog.com

 

Leave it to the professionals…

 

Pinterest has created a lot of arrogance. Making us think turning an old door into a headboard for the guest room is a piece of cake or turning old wine bottles into tea glasses is an easy task. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at many things. Sometimes with success-hello boeuf bourguignon and other times, not so much-at home hair highlight. Because we all seem to be in a hurry when it comes to…EVERYTHING, I’ve compiled a list of things you shouldn’t waste your time trying at home! And please trust me on this, I’ve done the leg work. So here it goes:

1.      Self-tanner. Unless you like to walk around looking like Lindsay Lohan, visit a spray tan booth. And not the machine operated kind. I tried this once and the noise was so loud I couldn’t hear the prompts to turn around. Needless to say I wound up looking like an extra in a revival of The Wizard of Oz.

2.      Bikini wax (or any wax!)- This will be short and sweet. Do yourself a favor and invest in a razor, tweezers or get a laser treatment (Although, I’ve heard that is equally painful!). If you insist on it, bring a pillow to scream into and plan on drinking heavily after.

3.      Duck en croute. If you aren’t Julia Child or seasoned chef, stick with an easier duck recipe. I was determined to make this one weekend and it took me 8 hours from start to finish. I didn’t even bone the duck. The realization that it was a mistake came when my husband who will eat anything, (Seriously, he’s eaten frog eggs) picked at the meat stuffing and commented on how the pastry shell made no sense. It would have been cheaper to pay someone to cook it for me.

4.      Divorce- I’ve not been through a divorce. But, I’ve heard it’s a bad idea from friends who have trusted their post marital future with a site found through the Google search engine. Unless you like living in your car and eating cat food.

5.      Groom your pet- Just because you own a pair of clippers, doesn’t make you a groomer. I tried it once and my friendly little puppy wouldn’t look at me for 3 days. Don’t ever give an Australian shepherd “The Chihuahua.” It’s not a good look.

6.      Painting- The only time I ever seriously considered number four. That being said, it’s cheaper and less stressful to wait until you can afford to pay someone to paint for you. This also goes for trying to imitate a painting you’ve seen. I wish I had a dime for every time someone within ear shot has said, “I bet I could make that!”

7.      Repurposing ANYTHING but especially furniture-I know the fools on Pinterest make it look easy. That’s because to them, it probably is. I have two ways you can repurpose that old dresser. 1. Give it away before you spend $400 on supplies OR 2. Call my friend Mandy Pryor and pay her to do it. She knows what she’s doing and actually enjoys it.

8.      Make any Disney or Nickelodeon themed birthday cake. Buying a cake pan in the shape of Buzz Lightyear doesn’t make you Duff Goldman any more than buying a pair of skinny jeans makes you skinny.

 

So before you pick up that pallet of ceramic tile because it’s on clearance, it’s important that you slam your hand in a door and drop a cast iron skillet on your foot. If after all of this you still think retiling the spare bathroom is the perfect weekend job for you and your husband, call me and I’ll give you the name and number of the perfect divorce attorney.

 

Want to add to this list? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

 

Check out all of Becky and Angel’s blogs on www.tellingtalesblog.com

 

 

Bikini waxes and other tasks that are better left to professionals…

 

 

By Becky Andrews

Pinterest has created a lot of arrogance by making us think turning an old door into a headboard for the guest room or turning empty wine bottles into tea glasses is an easy task. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at many things. Sometimes with success-hello boeuf bourguignon and other times, not so much-at home hair highlight. Because we all seem to be in a hurry when it comes to…EVERYTHING, I’ve compiled a list of things you shouldn’t waste your time trying at home! And please trust me on this, I’ve done the leg work. So here it goes:

 

1.     Self-tanner. Unless you like to walk around looking like Lindsay Lohan, visit a spray tan booth. And not the machine operated kind. I tried this once and the noise was so loud I couldn’t hear the prompts to turn around. Needless to say I wound up looking like an extra in a revival of The Wizard of Oz.

 

2.     Bikini wax (or any wax!)- This will be short and sweet. Do yourself a favor and invest in a razor, tweezers or get a laser treatment (Although, I’ve heard that is equally painful!). If you insist on it, bring a pillow to scream into and plan on drinking heavily after.

 

3.     Duck en croute. If you aren’t Julia Child or seasoned chef, stick with an easier duck recipe. I was determined to make this one weekend and it took me 8 hours from start to finish. I didn’t even bone the duck. The realization that it was a mistake came when my husband who will eat anything, (Seriously, he’s eaten frog eggs) picked at the meat stuffing and commented on how the pastry shell made no sense. It would have been cheaper to pay someone to cook it for me.

 

4.     Divorce- I’ve not been through a divorce. But, I’ve heard it’s a bad idea from friends who have trusted their post marital future with a site found through the Google search engine. Unless you like living in your car and eating cat food, hire an attorney.

 

5.     Groom your pet- Just because you own a pair of clippers, doesn’t make you a groomer. I tried it once and my friendly little puppy wouldn’t look at me for 3 days. Don’t ever give an Australian shepherd “The Chihuahua.” It’s not a good look.

 

6.     Painting- The only time I ever seriously considered number four. That being said, it’s cheaper and less stressful to wait until you can afford to pay someone to paint for you. This also goes for trying to imitate a painting you’ve seen. I wish I had a dime for every time someone within ear shot has said, “I bet I could make that!”

 

7.     Repurposing ANYTHING but especially furniture-I know the fools on Pinterest make it look easy. That’s because to them, it probably is. I have two ways you can repurpose that old dresser. 1. Give it away before you spend $400 on supplies OR 2. Call my friend Mandy Pryor and pay her to do it. She knows what she’s doing and actually enjoys it.

 

8.     Make any Disney or Nickelodeon themed birthday cake. Buying a cake pan in the shape of Buzz Lightyear doesn’t make you Duff Goldman any more than buying a pair of skinny jeans makes you skinny.

 

 

 

So before you pick up that pallet of ceramic tile because it’s on clearance, it’s important that you slam your hand in a door and drop a cast iron skillet on your foot. If after all of this you still think retiling the spare bathroom is the perfect weekend job for you and your husband, call me and I’ll give you the name and number of the perfect divorce attorney.

 

 

 

Want to add to this list? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

 

 

 

Check out all of Becky and Angel’s blogs on www.tellingtalesblog.com

 

 

 

 

 

Telling Tales – Mid Life Prices

By BECKY ANDREWS

WLM - Telling TalesI’ve hit mid life. While my older sister disagrees saying she’s not even mid life, I know it’s here. I can feel it in my bones, in my digestive track and I can see it in the crow’s feet once thought to be laugh lines. I seem to be traveling fairly rapidly up the metaphorical hill so that one day I can dig my heels in to prevent from sliding down. It appears that not only is my age increasing in years and months but the cost to keep those years and months not too noticeable is increasing as well.

In the beginning, I had Noxzema and Sebreeze, Baby oil and iodine, Aqua net and electric blue mascara. I could eat a Big Mac, large fries and apple pie everyday for a week and not gain an ounce. I could sleep in my makeup and seldom breakout. And music had to be LOUD in order to be appreciated. Now I’ve spent more on skin care than I paid for my first car. Most of it used to correct the damage caused by the baby oil I used to maintain a “healthy Glow”.

Between haircuts, hi-lights, low-lights, shampoo and conditioners (without sulfates), and anti frizz treatments, I could have started my own wig line. My husband says anyone who spends good money on a curling iron AND flat iron must be suffering from some type of mental disorder.

When it comes to food, it’s even worse. Just looking at a Big Mac and fries makes me gain 5 pounds. I’ve traded in my flavored oatmeal for steel cut oats- that takes 10 times longer to cook! And broccoli is now my enemy no matter how or if it’s cooked. Years ago I didn’t care who saw me eating a doughnut. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve actually stuffed a doughnut in my mouth before anyone could see me eating it.

Music seems so loud these days. I need a flashlight and earplugs when shopping for my children in stores like Abercrombie or Hollister.

Not long ago, I was on the floor playing with my boys. At once both boys hopped up to run into another room. When I tried to do the same, I realized my body didn’t work quite as fast as it did when I was younger. Now I remember a time when I thought 37 years old was ‘Like super old’. Mid life meant nothing to me then. For now I’ll listen to my older and wiser sister who insists she’s not even mid-life yet. Because according to her theory that would mean the average life expectancy for a female is around 92. I like the sound of that.

Becky can be reached by email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

Telling Tales – One of THOSE Moms

Not being an athlete, I’ve spent most of my life…in the stands.

When I was younger, I remember attending my brother’s soccer games. And it went something like this…

We’d walk in. Dad would pay for Mom and I. Mom would find her spot on the bleachers. Dad and I would sit three rows behind her.

The game would start…which meant within minutes…so would my mother!

She would be up and down in her seat all through the game. Screaming at the Ref, the other players, our players and then …the most excruciating part would come …watching her pretend to be kicking the ball.

“Come on Gerry, kick the ball! (insert picture here of my mother standing up and pretending to kick an invisible ball) What is wrong with you today boys? Can’t you see we are losing!!!”

It was a complete N-I-G-H-T-M-A-R-E!

The best part, however, was watching my Dad. He would act as if he did not know her. When other parents would argue with her because of the outrageous things she was saying, he’d just keep watching the game.

“Dad, make her stop,” I’d whisper – not wanting the mob to know we were with her.

“No. She can handle it,” he’d say and just keep watching.

 And like all teenagers – I promised myself I would never be like my mother.

So, I was shocked and dismayed in Sunday school, a few weeks ago, when the topic turned to “those mothers” who act completely inappropriately during games. And my husband and daughter both turned to me, pointed and started… laughing.

After Church, I demanded to know what they were talking about.

“Oh my God Mom, you are so loud at the games. And you don’t even play a sport but are always telling us to …get the ball, …be more aggressive, …take the shot now!” (insert picture here of ungrateful children mocking their mother who provides for all their needs on a daily basis to the detriment of her own life and dreams)

I was M-O-R-T-I-F-I-E-D!

So, this past Saturday we attended a day-long soccer tournament in Whitehouse.

I tried really, really, really hard to be good.  

But we were losing…so I… 

(insert picture here of me telling my mother how sorry I am for criticizing her when, in reality, she was just being a supportive parent who was inspiring my brother and his team to do better…and was merely pointing out the obvious…the other team was made up of cheats and the Ref was blind)

by Angel Kane

 

To read more of Angel and Becky’s Columns go to www.wilsonpost.com and hit BLOGS