Tuesday, June 06, 2017


Geez what a DAY!

I got a call from Jay's callbox at 6:30 this morning. Usually when someone calls that early I know it's urgent.

So, I call to listen in to the messages and there are actually 2 messages. The first one is someone that needs some toad training. They called at 4:22 PM yesterday. The 2nd call was the same person and at first I was like, "Geez! Give me a break! I'll call you in a minute!", but they were frantic because now there were toads in their pool and their dog was going insane trying to get to them.

I can't reach Jay (if you know Jay, you know this is normal) and I know he's not going there anytime soon because he's in Pinal today doing Euth evaluations. I don't know if he has any toads yet.

I call these people back and they're telling me that they've called 6 or 7 places and no one will get the toads and they don't know what to do with it and the Sheriff said they couldn't shoot them but gave them Jay's phone number and they really need someone to get the toads now......

They sounded so desperate and I decided that I would go get the toads but warned them it would take me an hour to get there because they live so fucking far away. They were fine with that. They were appreciative and thankful.

So, not even knowing if Jay has toads and not knowing for sure if these are really Colorado River Toads I decide I'm waking the kids up and we're going. It totally screwed up my day but I said to myself, "It's our first summer adventure."

Both kids are asleep in bed. That took a few minutes to get them up and moving. I didn't even have to bribe them with anything. That's how half asleep they were.

Trent grabs the rubber gloves and we're off to Walmart to buy a bucket. Before we leave, I ask Trent to get a screwdriver so we can poke holes in the lid.

20 minutes later, we're standing in the parking lot of Walmart at the trunk of our mini van with a screwdriver stabbing holes in the lid of big, blue bucket.

40 minutes after that, we pull up to our location.

The lady comes out and lets us in the backyard. She tells me they're in the pool skimmer. She's looking a little nervous.

Trent and I don our gloves and I take the lid off the skimmer. I immediately slam it back down in place and look at her and say, "Those are really big!"

and they were!

They took up the entire interior of the skimmer!!!!

Even after I slammed the lid on the skimmer and hearing my reaction, Trent goes in next for the grab. The toad starts making noises and then Trent's hand recoils without a toad and he says, "Oh, they're still together!"

Yes, the toads were mating. And they weren't going to stop just because we were there.

Or because we wanted them out of the skimmer.

Now that we both know what we're dealing with, I tell Trent to get the bucket ready. We gotta look cool in front of this lady. I don't want her to know this is our first time retrieving a toad(s) from a pool skimmer. I think Kat is standing on the other side of the pool, trembling.

Trent puts the bucket next to the skimmer, I reach in and grab the male (obviously because he's smaller and has his arms wrapped around the larger, good looking toad). He immediately starts making his weird noises but he's not letting go.

and this time, I'm not either.

I pick him up, he keeps his firm grip on her and they both go in the bucket.

15 minutes later, I finally reach Jay on the phone. He says he doesn't have any toads and I say, "You do now!".

The last thing Jay says to me is, "Don't let them die. Feed 'em crickets."

17 minutes later, we pull up at Petsmart. Kat can't even go inside because the thought of crickets is making her squeal and her body is contorting in ways I've never seen.

She doesn't like it 5 minutes later when I throw a bag of 25 crickets at her.

No, I didn't really do that but I thought about it.

At home, I get a big rock to put in the bucket for the happy crickets to live on before they are eaten.

We arrange the bucket in the back of my scrapbook room. The lady at Petsmart said that the crickets couldn't live in the bag for long and that I could just put them all in the bucket at once.

So, that's what I did.

I opened the lid and the toads were still mating. Ok. Whatever.

I dump the crickets on their rock island. Some jump onto the toads. Some decide to end their life on their terms and jump off the rock into the water. Some are already dead. 

Good thing I didn't wait long before releasing them. 

Even though Kat is whining about having to go shopping for workout clothes, I have to take Manny to the vet. He needs shots. He's late and I can't wait another day. Kat will have to wait.

Manny won't enter the vet's office. I have to pick him up and carry him in.

Before I can even get to the counter, I feel something hot on my stomach. I look at another customer and ask, "Did he just pee on me?"

"Yes, and he still is",  was her reply.

I know if I leave now, Manny wins. So, I stay.

I go to the bathroom and wipe off as much as I can. However, it's on my shirt, my shorts, rolled down my leg and is in my socks and shoes.

I try and find a seat and I wait.

2 hours later, I'm home and I check on the toads. They're still mating and every single god damn cricket is dead, floating in the water. 

What the hell? I felt like I just threw away $3.50. I was pissed. Kat wants to go shopping NOW!

Will they eat dead crickets? What do I do? I try looking for answers on Google.

I try calling Jay. No answer. Doesn't return texts.

I take a shower and I take Kat to Walmart because she needs new workout clothes TODAY! NOW! THIS VERY SECOND! And if you were paying any attention to this story, you knew in the first five minutes that I am no good at saying, "NO!"

90 minutes later, we're back and I check on the toads. They're STILL MATING.

I'm feeling really sorry for the female toad. I want to pull him off of her and give her a break. I'm feeling suffocated. I'm finding it hard to breathe.

So I try calling Jay again. No answer. I text him. No return text. I try looking for answers on Google.

I ask Trent to get his gloves on because at the very least, we're going to clean the dead crickets out of the bucket and get them fresh water. It can't be good for any living thing to have dead things floating in the same water they're mating in, right?

Ewww, infection.

Outside in the sunshine, I pull the lid off and once again, I gasp in horror.

It's not because the crickets look a little bloated at this point.
It's not because the toads are STILL MATING. (give it up already, will you?)

It's because there are strings and strings of black eggs everywhere.

Now I'm the one that's frantic because I don't know what I'm supposed to do with these baby toads. I don't want to be the one to make this decision.

I can't pour them out into the gravel because I know damn well we'll have a rainstorm and these babies will turn into tadpoles, then toads and terrorize every neighbor dog we have.

I can't throw them away. They're living creatures.

5 minutes later, I've made my decision and I have separated the toads and given the female a 20 second break from her annoying mate. I can see in her eyes that she is relieved and thankful I did this for her. I felt a toad fist pump would have been possible if the whiny male would have just shut up for a second but he didn't.

I put them back in the bucket and gave them fresh water and a clean rock. The male wastes no time wrapping his slimy arms around her. I think I see her shudder in disgust.

I leave to take Kat to her workout.

90 minutes later, we're back and I check on the toads. They're still at it. And there are more eggs.

And now at this point, Jay's phone isn't even ringing. It goes straight to his voice mail. He knows.

..and who shoots toads anyway?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

178 days

Well, here we go again. Each year I do this and it gets tougher and tougher.

I started last night by insisting that the kids find the shirts they wore on the first day of school. For such a simple task, there was a lot of eye rolling, grunts and stomping.

Blaming, too. Lots of blaming.

Eventually, oh, about 20 minutes later, both kids came into the kitchen, each extending an arm with a wrinkled black t-shirt clutched in their fists. These were the shirts they wore on first day of school 178 days ago.

"Are they clean?"

"Clean enough" was the response.

Very good. Be prepared to wear your shirts and get pictures taken. That means, Trent, do not sneak into the shower until I have your photo.


This morning.

Kat is already up.

Trent is still in bed. "TRENT! You have 2 minutes to get your shirt on and outside. You knew this was coming."

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

Ok! Smile!

"I'm going in."

"No Trent. You're not. We can stay out here forever. Don't care.

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

I take a few snaps. This is all they'll give me. So, you tell me. Is the first picture from today or 178 days ago?

I'm going in.
Fine, Trent.

More grumbling.
More loud noises.
More "GEEZ!"
More "STUPID!"

Trent in 10, Kat in 7th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


I'm so tired. It's the day before the last day of school. My daughter is bringing over the grand kids.

Did I mention I was tired?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

1 star = aweome

I must have missed the email from Norton Family that the subscription was up. It expired 3/25.

That means my kids have been alone on the internet for almost 2 months.

I did a quick "random phone check" and luckily I found nothing.

Not being so thrilled with Norton, I started looking around at other products. I didn't want to spend long doing it because I wanted something on the kids' phones immediately.

I wanted something that monitored time, monitored Chrome, Google photos and private messages in social media. I learned the hard way that some apps like Skype and Instagram have private messaging and is NOT monitored by Norton. Google photos seems to be a free for all (but at least at Norton I they tell me what they're searching for) and NOTHING on Chrome is monitored but it does tell me when they get on Chrome.

24 hours later I went back to Norton and renewed my subscription. I couldn't find anything that did all of that and since everyone already had Norton on their phone, I just did renewed.

I was looking at the number of stars on the Norton Family app and noticed that they had way more 1 star reviews than any other. Why? Were other people having the same issues? It only has a 2.8 review!??

I go to read some of the reviews and find this:

It seems that so many of these 1 star reviews are from kids that have it installed.

That means it must work better than I thought.

I signed up for another year.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


So Kat is at silks and I hear Trent in the kitchen making himself dinner. It's probably a quesadilla.

I ask him what he's making but he ignores me.

Oh, I know what he's doing. I hear the crash of silverware on the counter. He's emptying the dishwasher.


I asked him to do that an hour ago.

I have nothing to write about.

No cute stories come to mind.

I'm just here. Existing.

I haven't made a scrapbook page in decades.

Ok, maybe not decades.

The other day, Katrina wanted to play a song for me.

She was excited to share.

I hear:

"Twenty twenty twenty four hours to go..."

"KAT!" I say loudly.

"THAT IS THE RAMONES! You've heard this before."

"I have?"

Yes, she's heard it many times. Maybe it's been a decade, though, since she has heard it.

When Trent was a toddler, we'd play the Ramones constantly. He would sing along in his car seat, "HEY HO LET'S GO!..."

I think the first time I ever heard the Ramones was from the movie Times Square. I was just a teenager and looking up the movie now, I see it was rated R. Why my parents allowed me AND my younger sister to watch a rated R movie is unknown. To this day, I've never seen all of Animal House or Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Sometimes I would sneak into my parent's room and turn on HBO and just hope that some rated R movie was on because it was oh-so-restricted. I would watch short segments of the above mentioned movies and then quickly change it to Popeye when I saw the shadow of my mother coming down the hallway.

Once I was old enough to watch rated R movies, the novelty of the forbidden quickly wore off and so that is why I never got around to watching the movies I mentioned above.

Anyway, back to Times Square. I still wonder why I was allowed to watch that movie. I fell in love with that movie. And thinking about it now, I don't think it was because of the movie but because of the music.

I'd like to say that the movie made a shift in my life but that sounds so dramatic. But I was dramatic at 13. It was the music that made the shift and changed the course of my life to where it is today. And I don't mean "sitting in bed in my underwear, Hot Bench on the TV in the background and typing this" today.

Let me just give you a brief rundown of what was on that soundtrack that made its impact on my 13 year old little self:

The Pretenders "Talk of the Town"
Roxy Music "Same old Scene"
Gary Numan "Down in the Park"
Talking Heads "Life During Wartime"
Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated"
The Ruts "Babylon's Burning"
Lou Reed "Walk on the Wild Side"
The Cure "Grinding Halt"
Patti Smith Group "Pissing in the River"

This was a type of music that I had never heard before. It hit my ears, dripped into my brain and then scratched some itch in my chest that I didn't even knew existed. It ran down the veins in my arms and wrapped itself around me. It was mine and it was personal.

and the worst part was...

I couldn't have it

I scraped up enough money so I could buy the soundtrack on a cassette tape at Gemco. My parents seemed proud that I had found something that I loved so much.

I got it home and played it.

I wanted to play it again. It wouldn't play.

I was upset. Very upset. But my parents knew that this was important to me so they took me back to Gemco for an exchange.

That fucking cassette didn't work either.

I took it back, too. The store was out. There was no replacement. My father asked about ordering it. Nope. No vinyl. No cassette. No music. No scratch on my itch.

I wanted to keep the cassette that didn't work. I guess I thought if I held onto it long enough that I could still hear the music. Or maybe I could fix it. Or maybe my Uncle could fix it. Or maybe...

I had run out of "maybes". There weren't a lot of options back then.

I was devastated. It's not like they play those songs on the radio.

(Remember listening to the radio with two fingers on your cassette recorder? Just waiting for your favorite song to come on so you can record it. Damn. I would spend hours waiting for songs to come on so I could record them.)

I NEVER forgot that soundtrack.

It made such an impact on my very existence and reason for living that I could never forget.

So dramatic, huh?

Well, now decades later I have access to that music, to those songs that I still feel changed the course of my life.

(Is that possible? Can music change the course of your life?)

I have downloaded all those songs (and more) and made my own little Times Square Soundtrack playlist.

and now my itch is scratched and I don't have to worry about never hearing the music again.

and decades from now my kids will still be listening to the Ramones because it will remind them of me and maybe their childhood.

Their childhood that was filled with lots and lots and lots of music. 

And even Ashley will hear The Residents and it will remind her of me.

 yes, decades later

and wow. I found something to write about.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Show Must Go ON

So, here I am.
I'm old.
I'm not feeling well.
My kids don't need me as much as they used to.

I find myself frequently thinking about when they were little and how much fun we had.

Now they want nothing to do with me.

I'm sad and stuck in the past. My therapist says it's because I have only identified myself as a mother.

Ashley has her own family.

Trent can't wait until he's done with school and can move out.

Kat told me she's not having kids. EVER.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do when my kids go away.

I had a horrible time during my teen years.  My mother was always trying to get me to think of the future and a goal to work towards. Most of my thoughts and answers included me being happily married with children. At the time she asked, it was the 1970's so I may have also said something along the lines of "changing the wallpaper every 3 months".

Yeah, so what happens when the children get big and go away? I don't know what I want. What happens now?

Trent ignoring me

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

It's not just another day

As some of you know, I have taken the position of "Campus Monitor" and "Crossing Guard" at one of my local elementary schools.

We are short a monitor and I was asked to come up with some realistic situations we could use to test the potential candidates during the interview.

Here is what I came up with. Tell me what you think YOU would do:

The following situations are taken from REAL case files of playground incidents at Blah Blah Blah Elementary. Please note that names have been changed to protect the privacy and safety of the innocent.

Case File #1029876543

"Julie" comes to you in tears. She says that her friends are being mean to her. Before you can ask a question, her friends rush up behind her saying the same thing. 

"Julie is being mean to us! She's not telling the truth."

You have three girls crying, talking louder and louder and the accusations are flying like a flock of birds in a tornado.

Before long, you have 38 other children crowding around, most of them curious about what's going on. Some children have other issues they feel are more important than Julie and her friends.

They say:

"Ms. Bertha, my ball is over the fence and my dad is going to kill me if I don't get it." or,
"Come look at this pile of sand I built", or
"I picked you a flower", (and really it's not even a flower. It's a stick with leaves on it), or
"I counted to 47 on the swings and "Junior" won't get off", or
"How much longer 'till we go inside?", or
"I pulled some weeds and now I can't breathe well"

Julie is getting pushed from behind from the crowd of children fighting to get your attention. Her tears grow larger and then someone reaches for your whistle....

What do you do?

Case File #1029376545

You have just helped a child up off the ground that slipped on the wet grass. You look at their pants and note that they are soaked. You call the nurse and report that "Justin" is going to need dry pants and a jacket. 

All of a sudden, there are 18 children around you offering to take "Justin" to the nurse's office. When you look up to say, "Thank you children. But "Justin" can make it himself", you happen to notice all the children on the field in the distance.

You are shocked at what you see. Your eyes grow larger and your mouth opens in horror. Children are jumping in puddles, splashing each other and picking up tadpoles and trying to shove them in their pockets. Some children have found pieces of garbage and are "transporting" hurt tadpoles to a Tadpole Recovery Area that another child has set up. 

Other children have taken off their shoes, filling them with water trying to make a Tadpole Fish Tank to take home to their moms.

When you look back at "Justin", there are 3 children taking him to the nurse. Those 3 children have ignored you. 15 have left to hunt for tadpoles because when you looked up at the field, they saw the panic in your eyes and wanted to check it out for themselves.

What do you do....

I think I've set up a pretty realistic scenario on what it's like on the playground.
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