The Right to Remain Silent in Bathroom Fixtures, Aisle 7

My old hand-held showerhead was a champ. It outlasted one dishwasher, two refrigerators, three cooktops and four kitchen faucets. Hubby and I weren’t the only ones using it, either: for several years it was the power tool I used to scrub the boys squeaky-clean — until the sad day they realized they could outrun me.

Now they’re lots stinkier than they were back when I was in charge of hosing them down. I think my old showerhead died of despair.

I needed a new one, but the Home Depot guy was getting kind of personal about it.

“Before I can recommend a hand-held model, I need to know something,” he said. “What do you DO in your shower?”

“Hunh? I, uh … I … shower… in the shower.”


It was just such a weird question. What do people do with hand-held showerheads in showers besides shower? Before I knew it, I was blushing.

“I, uh … I … wash the dog! Really!”

“Umm hmmm?”

He wanted more?

“I … I use the hand-held to wash the shower walls down!”

“Ummm hmmmm?”

“And, I, um, shower?”

He looked at me carefully. “Do you shave your legs?”

I didn’t know this guy from Adam, and here he was quizzing me about my hygiene. I crossed my arms in front of my chest. Just then the store air conditioners went off — the heat radiating off my face probably tripped the thermostat.

“Um, yeah, well, yeah. I do that, too.”

Satisfied, he turned. “Okay. Then I recommend these models over here.” He waved at a small selection in the corner of the display. “Anything else I can help you with?”

I shook my head, even though I was also supposed to get a new toilet seat. There’s only so much grilling a woman can take at the hardware store.

My Chicharones

I was sweating like the proverbial porker. Crammed into a tiny dressing room with a 75-watt bulb set on stun, I attempted to stuff my hams into a casing the locals call a wetsuit.

“It’s supposed to fit tight,” Witt called out from behind the door. “Like a second skin.”

Second skin my chicharones. This baby was tighter than my first skin, twenty pounds ago. The truth is, wetsuits are nothing but full-body pantyhose on steroids.

I cracked open the dressing room door. “Where are my kids?”

“See for yourself!” Witt said proudly, indicating two neoprene-clad figures bouncing alongside the rash guards. Not only did the boys squeak into their wetsuits at Warp 8, they could move freely in them.

My wetsuit wasn’t past my knees yet but I could already tell I wouldn’t do much more than waddle once I got it on.

“Uh,” I told Witt, “I need more time.”

He understood. “No problem,” he said. “Hey, boys, want some free stickers for your boards?”

I liked that guy. In fact, I was trying on his wetsuits because of his friendly and knowledgeable attitude. (Translation: he was the first surf shop salesman I met older than the used wetsuits he was selling.)

Ten minutes later I was slick with perspiration, but the wetsuit refused to budge past my hips. Defeat was imminent.

I cracked the door open again. “Witt, I’m just too big to boogie board.”

You would’ve thought I uttered a foul heresy. “No,” Witt said grimly. “I won’t believe it. Mind if I take a look?”

I guess I didn’t. The lower part of me was squished into the world’s largest girdle. The upper was still modestly covered by my swimsuit. And Witt is a pretty decent guy, like a friendly big brother surfer, if you happen to have one.

I opened the door and he examined my semi-metamorphosed state: half-woman, half-wetsuit.

“Not bad!” he crowed. “You got farther than most first-timers.”

“Really?” I felt better immediately.

“Sure! Now pull that flap up over your left knee.”

I pulled. He pointed out another flap and I jerked on that one. I sweated, pulled and jerked with his step-by-step coaching until I wrenched into the arms.

Unfortunately, I was stuck in a crouched position, unable to straighten up.

“It’s hopeless,” I insisted.

“There’s only one way to do this,” he answered, and I knew what he meant. Swallowing my modesty, I grabbed the doorpost with both hands.

“Pardon me,” said Witt, and grabbed the fold of neoprene hanging south of my derriere. He pulled hard — both my feet flew right off the floor.

Sepia portrait of Aunt Lottie
My Great Aunt Lottie probably would not have approved of wetsuits.

My great Aunt Lottie performed a similar maneuver in order to lace her customers into corsets. As they sucked in their breath, they could read the crewel sampler hanging on her dress shop wall: “What the Lord hath forgotten, we shall fill out with cotton.”

In the case of my rear end, the Lord hath remembered too much.

I replanted my feet. “Ready!”

He jerked again and I was completely in the suit. Contrary to my expectations, I could move.

I made my way to the rash guards, where the boys stopped frolicking to look me over. All that rubber-coated activity, and they still looked as cool as cucumbers.

“Yeah! Mom!” said the oldest. My youngest took some time before he finally nodded. “Cool!”

High praise, coming from the Style Kings of Carlsbad.

“I’ll take it!” I said.

That afternoon the three of us boogied in the surf, me blessing Witt with every wave I caught. If you can package your bacon for the beach, you can do anything.

Stray Cat Struts His Stuff

While I complete a few projects I let slide in the last year, I’m dusting off some of my older posts. You know, just to make the old blog look like somebody’s actually home.

“Lookin’ good, baby,” said the hunk, but not to me.

I hadn’t visited Las Vegas since the 80s. Back then, Duran Duran was hungry like the wolf and this pool-side stud guzzled his bottles as fast as I could hand them to him.

A lot changes in 18 years.

“Baby, c’mere and meet my aunt. She changed my diapers.

Meet my nephew, the Wolf. And that was supposed to be my line, but somehow it didn’t sound as funny as it did when I said it.

Grumbling, I smeared on 50+ sunscreen while Wolfie continued his running commentary on the prospective conquests floating by in rental tubes.

“Oh, yeah! Looking fine, baby. Come to ME, baby!”

It was hard to take him seriously, seeing as how I knew him when he barely came to my kneecap. But this boy wasn’t just talking big. Women were clutching at his trawling line as if it was a life preserver and they were going under for the third time.

“See that sexy older babe over there?” Wolfie sucked his breath through his teeth. “We went out last night. ”

I put on my prescription sunglasses to better examine this cradle-robbing senior. When I focused, I gasped. Older women were supposed to be… older… than me. But this gal was thirty if she was a day, and had a body that qualified her for Baywatch duty.

She smiled and winked at Wolfie.

“She’s twenty-eight,” he said reverently as he waved back. “She knows a lot.

Sipping my mineral water, I carefully noted her leopard-print bikini, her deep, golden tan, her gravity-defying… Thompson Twins… just in case I needed to pick her out of a lineup of child predators.

“Yeah,” Wolfie added meaningfully, doing that breath thing again with his teeth, “I took her back to my room last night.”

The mineral water burst out of my nose. “You what!

He frowned. “But Mom and Dad wouldn’t let me keep her.”

“Well, she’s not a lost kitten, for crying out loud!”

“No, she’s a German kitten. And in Germany, older kittens appreciate younger men.”

If any more kittens appreciated this young man he’d be classified as a Pet Shop Boy. “Do they appreciate getting tossed out of hotel rooms?”

Wolfie sighed, no doubt wishing he could get his money for nothing and his chicks for free. But Mom and Dad were paying for this trip.

“Oh, baby,” he suddenly said, and not to me. “You da bomb! Bomb, baby!”

Bomb Baby whipped around, her hands planted firmly on what couldn’t been more than 33-inch hips as she disdainfully surveyed the dude who dared lay lustful eyes upon her. Her eyes narrowed dangerously and I ducked.

Wolfie intensified his monologue. “Oh, yeah, baby, bomb! You vain, baby. You something else.” Not only was he disposing of all conventional verbs, he was growling. “Come on, baby, turn around! Gimme a look at that prime merchandise.”

“Stop it!” I hissed from under People’s “Where are they now?” section, where my zinc-oxided nose was smearing Boy George’s makeup.

“Oh, yeah, you fine! You bomb!” Wolfie threw back his head and howled.

I grabbed my towel, ready to run.

But Bomb Baby didn’t attack. Her head and shoulders began to bob, like one of those toy dogs in the rear windows of cars. A sly smile spread over her lips.

Wolfie’s head bobbed up and down, too. Bomb Baby bobbed. Wolfie bobbed. For a moment I was confused. Didn’t I just see this on Animal Planet?

Then Bomb Baby slowly turned and began to walk away, all of her bob-bob-bobbing along as she gave Wolfie the requested scenery.

“Oooohhh!” he moaned, “Oh, yeah. Ohhh yea-AAAAAGH!”

He fell back on his chaise lounge, spent.

“Are you through?” I snapped. “Do you want a cigarette?”

He popped up again. “You are so funny, Aunt Bonnie. You know I don’t smoke. But–” he used the tone he used when he was six and wanted a Popsicle from the ice cream truck, “how ’bout a beer?”

I didn’t care if the 80s were long gone. The only bottle I’d let this cub guzzle was root beer.

Norman Bates doesn’t live here anymore, so get your own towels

While I complete a few projects I let slide in the last year, I’m dusting off some of my older posts.

“This better be important!” I hollered. “I’m talking blood! Or fire!”

The door pounding stopped and I resumed my shower.

As usual, I can never shower by myself. If it isn’t a knock at the door, it’s one of those noisy split-personality debates Hubby says I should never tell anybody about.

This particular debate was between the Mother and the Woman.

“What if,” asked the Mother, “the pounding stopped because a psychopathic killer entered the house and the child had to run for it?”

The razor skidded to a halt on my knee as I considered this.

“Ha!” snickered the Woman. “More likely the kid remembered you keep the milk in the refrigerator. Or maybe his brother threatened to feed oatmeal to the dog.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” mused the Mother. “Remember reading about that deranged drug-user who broke into a house with a shovel? Thank goodness the parents were home, heard their kids’ cries for help and saved them before he–”

“Come on!” groaned the Woman. “How many times do we have to stop showering, using the toilet or whatever, just so we can answer a pint-sized door pounder who wants to know ‘which is worse, eating a live scorpion or being attacked by killer bees?'”

The Mother chuckled. “Wasn’t that cute! They’re so imaginative, so young, so… defenseless… If there is a psychopath in the house brandishing a large garden tool, they’ll be –”

“They’ll be toast!” blasted the Woman. “Does Peter and the Wolf ring a bell? I refuse to answer that door! They’ve cried wolf too many times.”

“How cruel you are,” sniffed the Mother. “All you care about is shaving these legs which, by the way, have proven time and time again that they reforest themselves within 24 hours. But the grief and suffering of a bloody aftermath? That lasts FOREVER.”

When the Woman didn’t respond, the Mother pressed on.

“Interrupt our shower and what have we lost? A minute! But what’s a minute to two small boys, clinging to each other in fear, holding up their little arms in one last, brave effort to deflect the blows of a maniac wielding a pick axe?”

The three of us stumbled over each other in a crazed attempt to get out of the shower and throw on a towel.

“I’m coming, boys!” I cried, unlocking the door and rushing into the empty living room.

“Now that’s just great!” swore the Woman. “Just clue Mr. Maniac into the fact that you’re here!”

“No gore on the walls or the carpet,” whispered the Mother. “That’s a good sign.”

I grabbed my son’s chess trophy off the piano and crept up the stairs, my eye on the closed bedroom door.

It was too quiet. Throwing all caution downstairs, I burst through their door.

The boys looked up at me from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

“Yeah, Mom?”

The Mother sighed in relief. The Woman slapped her forehead in disgust.

“Who,” I asked through gritted teeth, “pounded on my door?”

They looked confused. Then the oldest brightened.

“Oh! That was me, Mom. I needed some underwear but then I realized you were taking a shower so I looked in my drawer and found some.”

“Hey, Mom!” said my youngest, poking at my shin with his index finger. “You got shaving cream all over your legs!”

As I embarked upon one of my loudest lectures (entitled, “Why We Save Pounding on a Locked Bathroom Door for Emergencies, Unless We Want to Hear a Lot of French”) the Mother began another internal debate.

“What if–”

“Oh, shut up!” snapped the Woman.

Super Sabado: Let’s forget about getting older, okay?

One thing about growing older that really bothers me is losing my brain power. Lately I forget everything unless I put it in writing, and then I turn around and forget the list.

That’s why I was stuck in the mall restroom, peering at the feminine hygiene products dispenser—because I forgot to bring some of my own supplies from home.

In similar situations in my youthful, sharp-eyed past, I’d just pick the right product, insert the coin, and voila! Problem solved.

But I could barely read the front of this machine, which brings me to the second thing about growing older that really bothers me: my diminishing eyesight.

There were obviously three products for sale, but they were kind of blurry, even after I cleaned my glasses and put them back on my nose. I finally figured out the product on the right: it was “O.B.”—a brand I’ve never liked much.

What made things even more difficult was how low the dispenser was hung on the wall. Probably the installers hung it that low to make it wheelchair accessible, but they totally forgot about those of us with outdated optical prescriptions.

I scrunched down and tilted my head back so my bifocals could get a better view. Success! The middle product turned out to be Advil.

I didn’t need Advil.

The third product label described something about a “Colorful Assortment.” What the heck?

I knelt down to get a better look.

“A Colorful Assortment of Body Jewels”? What in the world were “Body Jewels”? And what were their colorful assortment properties doing in a feminine hygiene products dispenser?

Eh, I guessed I was stuck with O.B. I put my three quarters into the coin slot and turned the knob.

It wouldn’t budge. I wiggled it, tapped it, tried to loosen it, but no luck. I tried my usually successful pinball shimmy and even my mayo jar lid twist, but the dispenser knob refused to move. Frustrated, I leaned on it and pushed. Hard.

“Lady, I’ve got a better one than that stuff in the dispenser. And I’ll give it to you, lady. For free.”

I turned and looked behind me. Three females were watching me with careful but hesitant concern, as if they expected me to rip the machine off the wall, throw it at them and then climb through the hole into the next dimension.

That’s when I realized I was on my knees in a public restroom, wrestling with a feminine hygiene products dispenser. I scrambled to my feet.

The gal who’d spoken was a petite little teenager who obviously wasn’t old enough to know not to speak to agitated strangers in the bathroom, much less agitated strangers fighting with inanimate objects.

Or maybe I just looked like her confused, oldest auntie, who was mystified by yet another new-fangled machine—and she felt sorry for me. Either way, I was very glad she was willing to help out my half-blind and overly forgetful self.

So today I lift my margarita glass to the younger generation: braver than their mothers and willing to offer aid and comfort to other women in need of feminine hygiene products.

Today’s Super Sábado is about Continue reading “Super Sabado: Let’s forget about getting older, okay?”

Super Sabado: The man, he is IRKSOME

If I’ve learned one thing from my man’s recent knee surgery, it’s this:

The day he retires is the day I move out.

I mean, he’s sweet enough, all right. He’s my man, and he’s injured. I want to take care of him.

It’s just that… he can be so … ANNOYING.

BONNIE: Your omelet is right here, sweetie. And it’s a beauty. Here’s a fork and a napkin, too. You’re all set!

HUBBY: Thanks! It looks great! Um, you forgot the salt.

BONNIE: Right there beside you, dear.

HUBBY: Oh! Thanks. How about the pepper?

BONNIE: Next to the salt.

HUBBY: Boy, aren’t you efficient! Heh! And the coffee?

BONNIE: If that coffee pot was a snake, it woulda bit ya. Darling.

HUBBY: And the cream?


HUBBY: Huffy, huffy! Okay, I see it. Thanks. And now… I’m looking… I’m looking… I’m looking… but I don’t see what I’m looking for…

BONNIE: Just tell me! What is it you want now?

HUBBY: The tabasco sauce?

BONNIE: ARRRRRGHHHHHHHH! (goes the refrigerator, gets the tabasco sauce, and slams it on the TV tray)

HUBBY: What? What’d I do?

When he’s slaving away in the office, he comes home and the laundry is done, dinner is ready, and the sweatshirt he left on the floor has mysteriously made its way back to a hanger in the closet.

But for some reason he seems to feel that since he’s home and can watch the process, the magic won’t work. Therefore, the household is going to fall apart unless he tells me how to do everything.

HUBBY: I was afraid we wouldn’t get up in time today so I set the alarm.

BONNIE: Really? I didn’t hear the alarm go off.

HUBBY: That’s because we got up on time after all! But then I forgot to turn the alarm off. I think it’s going off now. Would you mind going upstairs and turning it off?

BONNIE: Sure! (starts upstairs)

HUBBY: (calling from downstairs) There’s a little slider button on top of the alarm clock, right now it’s slid over to the position marked ON. You just slide it to the left, to where it says OFF.

BONNIE: I’m gonna kill him.

Lucky for me, I have several hours a day out of the house, where I wait at the pool for swim practice to finish, otherwise I might’ve committed Hubbicide this week.

HUBBY: Where are you right now?

BONNIE: I’m at the pool. Why?

HUBBY: Oh, nothing. I’m just wondering… are we going to eat dinner tonight?

BONNIE: (growling)

HUBBY: What was that? I couldn’t hear what you said.

BONNIE: Of course we’re going to eat dinner! We eat dinner EVERY NIGHT!

HUBBY: How am I supposed to know that? You’re not home, nobody’s home, and nothing is cooking right now!

Oh lordy, I do hope I get a female judge.

Today’s Super Sabado is still about Continue reading “Super Sabado: The man, he is IRKSOME”

Super Sabado: That would be running, not jogging, which is different

The boys are away on a travel meet, and everybody we run into keeps asking Hubby and me the same question:

You’re alone this weekend? How come you guys aren’t running around the house, naked?

First of all, the questioner seems to assume that not only have you NOT been doing any running around the house, naked, but also that you do not expect to do any running around the house, naked, EVER.

And all of a sudden you realize that empty-nesters everywhere must have built up this huge reputation for running around the house, naked, and that you’re going to have to live up to it, too, or nobody will ever ask you over for dinner again.

And if this question is asked in, say, the grocery store, you wonder if perhaps the questioner is thinking your grocery shopping is more important to you than running around the house, naked!

And then you’re torn between reassuring them that yes, you do expect to be running around the house, naked, as soon as you get home and unload the groceries… or telling them flat out to mind their own beeswax, at which point you just KNOW they’ll think you never intended to run around the house, naked, and poor Hubby.

So. What to answer back?

Appropriate Response if Asked In the Grocery Store

BONNIE: (blushes) Well, um, I, uh….

And then there’s the problem of knowing that the two of you really did plan to run around the house, naked, but were just trying to get in a few errands first.

Appropriate Response if Your Evening Plans Do Include Running Around the House, Naked

BONNIE: (blushes) Well, um, I, uh….

HUBBY: (puts fingers to head in imitation of bull horns, and paws at the floor with his feet)

And what if you’ve already done a little running around, naked, and hope to do a little more, later, but you really feel like it’s too much information to share with, you know, the WHOLE WORLD.

Appropriate Response if You’ve Already Done a Little Running Around the House, Naked

BONNIE: Ummm… (starts blushing)

HUBBY: (puts fingers to head in imitation of bull horns, and paws at the floor with his feet)

BONNIE: (hits him) Stop that!

Okay, so I’ve put the groceries away… and I am now trying to finish up this Super Sabado, and I’ve got to hurry, for reasons you might be able to guess… Continue reading “Super Sabado: That would be running, not jogging, which is different”

Hubby and I come into some serious pwnage

“So,” I told Hubby, “I asked Squirt if he turned his report and he tells me he forgot! AGAIN.”

“Are you telling me that boy missed another deadline? He’ll be kicked out of the program!”

“Nope. It turns out he was just kidding me. But holy cow, I really blew up at him.”

“Ha!” Hubby bellowed. “Face it, babe, you got pwned.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“‘Pwned’? ‘PWNED’? You’re gonna use gamer lingo on ME? And whose side are you on, anyway?”

Hubby started to do a bobble thing with head as he wagged his finger at me. “Babe,” he said, “I am hippest of the hip. The coolest of the cool. And take it from me: you got pwned.”

What a turncoat. I mean, really, is it too much for me to expect my man to back me up when I need it? Especially when he supplied half the DNA to a kid who forgets deadlines as frequently as he scarfs down chow?

The kids came in at that moment so I could say no more, but the battle lines had been drawn.

Hubby knew it, too. He smiled.

I smiled right back. Heh! I’d show HIM pwning.

“So dad,” said Squirt, “Grandma just told me she’s mad because she lost money on you.”


“Yeah! Grandma says she bet Kat that you could figure out how to replace the fuses on the Halloween lights before Mom could, but Mom beat you to it and Grandma had to pay up.”

It took me some seconds to get past my mother-in-law’s lack of faith in my fuse-changing abilities. But then I realized my opportunity for retaliation had popped up much more quickly than I’d expected.

“Face it, babe,” I told Hubby, “you got PWNED.”

“Ugh! Mom!” said Tiger. “You can’t say ‘pwned’.”

“What?” I was indignant. “Why not?”

“You’re too—er, um… you just don’t know how to use it right.”

Hubby smiled. “Oh, she knows how to use it,” he said. “In fact, your mother was just telling me how SQUIRT PWNED HER YESTERDAY.”

Tiger cringed again. “Ugh! You shouldn’t use it, either, Dad.”

Hubby looked at me with raised eyebrows. He apparently expected the two of us to deal as allies against this blatant age discrimination. Yeah, right. Like I’d EVER collaborate with a traitor.

Hubby’s head began bobbling again. He wagged his finger at Tiger. “Yo, boy! In case you haven’t noticed, I am hippest of the hip. The coolest of the cool. And if I say you are pwned, YOU ARE PWNED.”

Squirt shuddered. “You’re right,” he told Tiger, “somehow it sounds wrong when they say it.”

“Hello!” thundered Hubby. “I am THE PWNER!”

The boys grimaced and squirmed. I have to admit, I was enjoying their ageist discomfort. Hubby was a turncoat, sure, but these pups were trying to curtail our right to free speech!

“Yeah!” I said, brushing aside my plot to leave Hubby to the teenage wolves. “You might say Dad is the original opPWNent.”

“Ha!” Hubby roared. “Good one, babe!” We high-fived each other. “Just call me MR. PWN!”

The boys rolled their eyes, but Hubby was just warming up. “I am the pwnER, not the pwnEE!”

“Look what you’ve started,” said Squirt.

“Right,” said Tiger, “like you didn’t pwn Mom in the first place.”

I am he,” Hubby proclaimed loud enough for the entire cul-de-sac to hear, “WHO PWNS UNCEASINGLY!

Indeed. The man may need to work on his marital teamwork skills, but when it comes to unceasing pwnage, nobody can squelch teen rebellion with it like he can.

How to Fend off the Halloween Candy Bag and Save Your Bottom from Growing to Enormous Proportions

Picture of candy bags saying

The one eternal truth we moms have known ever since Eve candied her first apple is this: Halloween represents the start of our Annual Holiday Weight Gain. And we can blame it all on those bags of candy we’re supposedly buying for trick-or-treaters, but which we end up opening WAY before Halloween and …


You know the rest.

That’s why I offer you the following pointers—tips based on my many years of warfare with Halloween candy bags, which in my opinion are the biggest threat to face American hips, thighs and bottoms since those insidious little fruit and nut eggs got passed around last Easter.

Pay attention! The size of your bottom on New Year’s Day depends on it!

Tip No. 1: Buy Candy You Hate

If you buy stuff you like, you’re just asking for extra poundage. Minutes after you unload those groceries that candy will start singing its evil siren song: “You know you want me / come and get me / oooh wah / oooh wah.” And the next thing you know, you’ve got 62-inch hips.

Don’t let this happen to you! Only buy the stuff that disgusts you. (Like licorice. Bleah!)

Tip No. 2: Buy Cheap Candy

Expensive candy typically sings the most seductive siren song, whereas cheap candy has much weaker vocal cords.

If you still hear singing coming out of a bag of cheap candy, then you are in serious danger and must take steps to protect yourself immediately! (In fact, maybe you shouldn’t be in the possession of any candy bags at all. Proceed immediately to Tip No. 3.)

Tip No 3: If You Feel Yourself Weakening

TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION. The safest course is to sling ALL bags of candy into the direction of any nearby teenage males. Teenage males will quickly inhale even the cheapest candy and are unlikely to share it with you, even if you threaten to take away the Xbox.

Tip No. 4: If Teenage Males are Not Available

If you find yourself in the middle of an unexpected teenager shortage, throw the candy bags into the street and drive over them several times. Flat candy has never been known to sing very loudly.

Tip No. 5: Do Not Open Any Bags of Candy Prematurely!

Wait until the first trick-or-treater rings your doorbell! This tip can NOT be over overemphasized.

At first glance your unopened candy may appear as if it is only restrained by a cheap plastic bag, but that plastic bag has several protective properties, including a dampening effect that helps to muffle the sound of any singing candy.

Holes in the bag are worrisome, but only considered dangerous if they are larger than the smallest piece of candy.

Tip No. 6: Dealing With Surprise Attacks

If another member of your household has ambushed you with an open candy bag, do not panic. Yes, the surprise attack may be the hardest to defend against, but it is not impossible. Mental clarity is key.

Take a deep breath, grab the candy bag and fling it into your neighbor’s back yard. (This method is even more effective if the neighboring household has teenage males.)

Tip No. 7: Failure is Not an Option! However…

… if you have already succumbed to the Curse of the Halloween Candy Bag That Was Opened Too Soon and have already scarfed down a pound or two of candy—please, do not panic.

Years of experience with this situation has shown me the best way to handle it:

  1. Follow the emergency steps outlined in Tip No. 6.
  2. Hide the wrappers.
  3. Blame the dog.

Works every time.

The spirit is willing, but the recall is weak

We’re supposed to be filling out the school registration packets. We got them weeks ago and—surprise! They’re due tomorrow!

In my defense, I blame this situation on our long-standing family policy regarding To Do items, namely, “If it isn’t on fire, bleeding profusely, or emptying its body cavities on the rug, it can wait.”

And yet despite our impending deadline, the boys keep getting distracted.

TIGER: Ha! Your Zombie Outbreak Survival Club is on the school’s list of student organizations!


TIGER: Are you going to be a member this year?

SQUIRT: Nah. There’s not much more you can do with it. I mean, we’ve already watched all the movies. What else is there to learn?

If it came down to choosing between fighting zombies or filling out paperwork, I’d think I’d pick the undead.

In fact, I panicked when I remembered these registration packets, but then I realized that if my kids are old enough to order a Double-Double all by themselves, then they’re certainly old enough to help me fill out school paperwork—or at the very least buy me a chocolate shake.

Besides, the way my brain’s been working lately, I need all the help I can get.

BONNIE: (waving a release form) You call this completed? Hel-LO! Name? Address? Do you even know what your address is, Squ— I mean, Hub— I mean, Moj… WHOEVER YOU ARE!

TIGER: (raises one eyebrow) “Whoever you are?” (takes paper) Just for that, dear Mother, I’m putting my address down as living across the street. At least THEY know who I am.

Theoretically, there’s no reason the boys can’t fill everything out. Theoretically, all I should have to do is sign my name in the spaces marked “Parent Signature.”

Unfortunately, the gap between theory and practical application is huge—especially when one member of your team tosses aside the “Student Code of Conduct” in order to reenact the shower scene from Psycho with his pen.


TIGER: (calmly) Mom.

BONNIE: (not so calmly) Tig— I mean, Hub— I mean, Moj— I mean… (waves at Squirt)

TIGER: (leans over and whispers) “Squirt.”


Now, maybe my brain isn’t what it used to be, but even in its prime it never ran at the high production level exhibited by Squirt’s intestinal tract.

SQUIRT: (primly) I must go to the bathroom. (puts down Psycho pen and leaves)

BONNIE: Figures! Whenever there’s any work to be done! (calls after him) And don’t use my bathroom!

(Bonnie and Tiger look at each other.)

TIGER: You must forgive him, Mom. It was… his bulging colon.


TIGER: (warming up) It was controlling him.


TIGER: (intoning) It was BULGING to EXTREME limits. It was his COLON’S fault.

BONNIE: Heh! “Colon Boy.”

TIGER: That’s the spirit. And frankly, it’ll be easier to remember than “Squirt.”