Getting pulled over … causes mom to pause

I couldn’t locate the cash box anywhere in the house. And it was driving me crazy. After looking in everyone’s closet and in the basement, I decided it was either loaned out or simply stolen.

I needed more tables. The tables set up in the garage were already filled with old board games, decorations, bedding, clothes and knick-knacks.

And soccer practice started at 6 p.m.

Dinner had to be made. Dishes had to be washed. The cats needed fed. You name it, it needed to be done.

Add into that the twins were talking to me non-stop all day about the impending garage sale.

“What time does it start?” “Can we make muffins to sell?” “I don’t want to sell my toys, but can I still keep some money?” “What if no one comes?”

I was beyond stressed out and my mind was literally spinning in 100 damn directions.

“Let’s go NOW,” I screamed to my 14-year-old son.

And off we went to soccer practice 4 miles always, my spinning mind and all. The fact is, we left the house early. We had plenty of time to make it to the soccer fields.

But I was in a hurry.

Driving down the road, my mind wasn’t on the drive at all. I wasn’t paying attention at all. I make the 4 mile drive to the community park, once, if not twice per day. I was driving on auto-pilot.

But then I saw the lights go off … and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a finger pointing to me to pull over immediately.

I was caught.

Nearly 1.5 miles from my house, a county sheriff pulled me over.

“I clocked you going 68 miles per hour …” he told me.

I couldn’t even complain as my mind was still racing about what else I had to do that evening for the garage sale.

Digging through my purse, I found my driver’s license and then by some grace of God, I actually put the insurance card in my van the day before, so I pulled that out along with the registration papers.

I have lived in the same county for 16 years and have never had so much as a parking ticket.

My only response was, “Yup, OK. Sorry.”

I know I looked like a trainwreck. I had Jazzercised that morning, and taking a shower was an afterthought to getting the sale ready. I didn’t care how I looked.

Maybe that actually helped my cause? You know the look – hair pulled over with a clip, yoga pants on, coupled with a work-out tank and gym shoes, all sans makeup. I may have had deodorant on, but who knows. Thank God I tossed on  my prescription sunglasses – I am required by the State of Ohio to wear glasses due to my poor vision that over the years has worsened due to being pregnant with the kid(s) I taxi all over the place. So, I actually had on two pairs of sunglasses – my Dollar Tree pair on the top of my head and the $100 pair covering my eyes.

I was a hot mess.

As I sat in the car, looking at my teenage son, I saw the sheriff sitting in his car too. He was running my plates through the system. I knew he’d find nothing on me since I am boring-stay-at-home-mom-turned-taxi-service-in-the-summer.

Making his way back to my vehicle, I knew I was gonna get a lecture about safe driving. I was right. “Doesn’t it bother you when drivers speed down this road? And you have kids! It bothers me and you live on this road, just like me!”


The truth is, yes, it bothers me a lot when motorists speed down my road. But, on the flip side, my kids don’t play in or even near the road. I am more worried about a driver losing control and hitting a tree head on than hitting a kid. I dread the day when I hear a crash only to run out to my front yard to find someone incapacitated. That scares me. That bothers me.

Thankfully, the sheriff only gave me a warning. But it was a warning that changed my life. Ever since that day, I have set my speedometer on 55 miles per hour. I’d rather be late than get pulled over again. It’s just not worth it.



Alia Bailey — A fighter for all of us


I was there.

I saw the wreckage with my own two eyes.

Air-bags deployed from all sides.

Fuel emitted onto the roadway. Flowing like lava until a solution was applied to soak it up.

Eventually, a tow-truck arrived to take the damaged vehicle away.

A SUV with all windows broken – like someone’s heart. Smashed. Destroyed. Gone.

Off to the southeast side of the intersection sat a red truck. I didn’t even know it was involved in the wreck until later on in the day. To me, it looked like it belonged there. Maybe to a rescue unit? I wasn’t sure.

But that red truck destroyed a life. Or rather, the driver of the truck destroyed a family.

A mom and a daughter were on their way to eat a late lunch at Long John Silvers. For all we know, their day had been perfect up until 2 p.m. on Jan. 22.

Maybe they went to church. Maybe they didn’t.

Maybe they slept in late and cuddled underneath the covers.

Maybe they just wanted “mom and daughter time.”

Regardless of the situation, they will never have “mom and daughter time” again.

Today, at 6:34 p.m., 6-year-old Alia Bailey died. Her mother, Nancy Burnett is still recovering from major surgery. Her father, Juan Bailey is doing all he can to hold it together.

Today is also my birthday.

My friends wanted me to go out. I thought about it, but then, I changed my mind.

Something inside of me was telling me “No, don’t go.”

So for once, I listened to the voice.

Instead, I stayed home. We ate Burger King for dinner; my husband and I drank wine; and I opened my awesome gifts – a water container and fluffy socks from the kids and two pairs of shoes from Seth. I didn’t need anything.

After we ate, the five of us sat around the kitchen table playing “The Bean Boozled Challenge.” To sum it up, we ate gross Jelly-Belly Beans. Rotten egg; spoiled milk; stinky socks; and dog food. It was gross. We had a blast. After that, the kids shared cupcakes and later on, cheesecake.

It was perfect – plus, we watched The Alaskan Bush People – who doesn’t love Noah, Gabe, Matt, Bird and the rest of the Brown Gang.

I know it wasn’t the perfect way to celebrate my 39th birthday, but for me, it was perfect. We were all under one roof. And that is something the driver of the red truck took away from the Bailey-Burnett family forever. There will be no more birthdays, no more Christmases and no more Halloweens for little Alia. Her family on Earth is left to mourn her, and remember the girl who loved the Cleveland Cavs.

If Alia could do anything, it would be to never have another child go through what she went through for the past five days. Now, the family has set up a benefit in her memory.

For more information on the event, please visit

For you Alia, I send all of my birthday wishes to you sweet girl.




Finding balance in fitness

Finding balance in fitness

Let me preface this blog with this statement: I’ve never been an athlete – unless you consider marching while carrying a saxophone “athletic.” So please, do not think for one minute that I am a “balls-to-the-wall-fitness-chick.” I am the farthest thing from it. But I do like working out.

But it wasn’t always that way.

Growing up, if the sport had a “ball” of any kind – basketball, volleyball or softball – you can bet I was opting out. Lacking coordination and gumption, the idea of having balls fly in the air around my head scared me.

Cross country and track were never options because those required running. The only time I ran as a young girl or teenager was after the ice cream truck in my neighborhood.

What was a “good time” was swimming and dance (As in the kind where my parents paid an arm and a leg for me to learn how to use “jazz hands” while making “jazz squares” in overly-priced costumes that I loved!).

Eventually, I grew up – maybe.

But as we age, our bodies change and the way we worked out in our 20s and 30s doesn’t help – at least not for me. Cardio used to be “my go-to” form of workout. Raise the heart-rate and burn calories.

And it worked.

Until it didn’t.

My metabolism isn’t what it used to be. I have to pay attention to every single piece of food or drink that goes into my body.

It sucks.

The days of eating bread, pasta and any other “bad” carbs are gone. Those items are reserved for “special cheat days.” And I love pasta!! Who doesn’t?

The days of eating processed food are gone. I barely even go into my pantry any more unless it’s to get my kids something for a snack. The less I go in there, the less processed food will magically find my mouth.

It’s just better for everyone if they get their own damn snack now.

So, now not only do I just stare inside my refrigerator for endless minutes at a time trying to decide which fruit or vegetable to eat, but I am working out differently too.

Inside the LaGrange Yoga Studio is a fierce-force-of-nature. Most days by the end of planking, squatting, push-up-ing, burpeeing and whatever else this force of nature throws at us, I just want to cry or melt into the floor. Sometimes both. Sweat pools in places it shouldn’t; and it also drips off of my body like rain drops falling from the sky, splatting on the floor beneath me.

But, this fierce-force-of-nature is the best motivator I have ever met since moving out to BFE. Julie is kind, compassionate and doesn’t judge. She inspires and keeps it real.

I know making the decision to work out is a tough one.

I know that saying you will exercise is easier than actually driving to a fitness center to workout. And, some schedules allow for people to only work out in the early mornings while others are only able to work out at night. Plus, adding in family time — exercising gets pushed to the back burner until eventually, it’s off the stovetop all together.

And yes, I know that it costs money to workout when so many people have treadmills or exercise videos at home. I give you credit, lots of it, if you workout at home. I literally work from home, and somehow I have taught my brain to shut off “mom/wife brain” for several hours a day while I write. However, I cannot shut that part of my brain off long enough to workout. My brain wanders into the far corners of my basement where clothes need sorted and toys need to be tossed into a bin to go to Goodwill. The kittens walk all over my yoga mat and then nip at my legs while I am crunching The phone rings. You name it – I am doing everything BUT working out.

So, yes, for me, paying a fee to workout is my motivation. I split my time between MetaFit classes; simple fitness classes; “Fit and Fab 50” classes; and today, I even stuck around for a Silver Sneakers class. (Don’t let the name fool you – those ladies are anything but “silver …”)

It’s not cheap, but really … what’s your life worth to you?


Personal hygiene and kids – don’t mix


Kids are gross.

I just spent 10 minutes, maneuvering my body in ways I never imaged while on my son’s top bunk. There I proceeded to scrape snot off the walls.

True story. I even used a SOS-type pad to remove even the hardest stuck-on goo.

Apparently walking the four steps to the ground is too much for him. Plus, he would have to walk an extra five steps to the bathroom where the tissues are kept.

It’s just too much for a tired 8-year-old boy.

Now, he has a mini tissue box stuffed in the corner of his bunkbed. Mounds of tissue will begin to accumulate any night now and will litter the bed like freshly fallen snow.

This comes about three hours after I asked my daughter, KK, why her hair has been greasy ever since Dec. 20.

To which she replied, “I only wash it with conditioner … that way I only have to touch my hair once, instead of twice.”

She now has “shampoo-plus-conditioner in one” now to avoid any confusion on whether or not she needs to wash or just conditioner her curly hair.

(Blame all goes to my husband, Seth, on this one. I have straight-thin-as-an-arrow-hair while he has the beautiful, thick curly hair that our oldest, Ethan and KK inherited.)

I’m not entirely sure what happened over Christmas break, but my husband and I learned a lot about our children.

Mainly, they would rather do anything than worry or care about personal hygiene.

Even the teenager is tossed into the mix.

He is on a mission to grow his hair. I’m not sure how long this will last, but I have told him repeatedly that if he grows his hair long enough, I will cut it and make it into a usable wig for myself.

I give him to the end of this week before he is begging for a trip to the local barbershop. (Peer pressure from his classmates is going to win this non-battle-battle of haircare.)

Usually lack of personal hygiene care only shows its dirty head in the summer months.

But, in the summer, noses rarely run and since we have a swimming pool, showers, hence hair-washing, only takes place every couple days.

Don’t judge – in our house, if you are in the pool for an extended period of time, especially within the hour before bed, there’s no need for a real shower. Sure, sure, I know all about chlorine … but sometimes, kids just need to be kids. Besides, I survived just fine. Yes, my hair may have tinted a slight green but back in the 1980s my mom banned me from doing anything to my hair except getting a perm, so having it turn green was kinda cool in my book.

Ah, but now we are back into our routine; and new rules are being enforced (such as using a tissue for snot and washing hair with shampoo which I assumed they knew all along, but I was wrong).

Now if only I can convince my teenage son to actually grow his hair until the summer, I may just have enough to cut and use as a ponytail!


Melissa Linebrink is a columnist and award-winning part-time reporter for The Chronicle-Telegram. Read her award-winning blog at She can be reached at or 329-7243. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.






Melissa Linebrink

The Chronicle-Telegram


440-315-7303 (cell)

440-355-6494 (M-Th – home; Friday – office)

440-329-7243 (office)


My December Saturday

My December Saturday

The clock read 8:15 a.m.

I finally had the chance to sleep in today. It was wonderful.

After saying fare-thee-well to my in-laws (who are awesome), I drank two cups of coffee and did two crossword puzzles (I am slowly becoming my grandparents).

I did all of that while sitting on my ass in front of the television where Seth and I began pondering on whether or not we outta buy the Pressure Cooker XL. (We didn’t buy it … but we thought long and hard … figured the nearly $200 investment wasn’t that great for something that got mixed reviews.) Plus, will it really make me want to actually COOK? That’s not a risk I am willing to take.

Eventually, I got off my ass and showered.

That’s all I did. I didn’t do my hair or “put on my face.” It’s all natural baby! Don’t be jelly!

And then something happened.

A co-worker thinks I have adult ADHD. It’s a running joke in our newsroom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a joking matter, but if you have been following me for the past five years or so, you know me well enough to know that he telling me this doesn’t offend me. I also know that it’s a real medical condition and that people suffer from it (don’t read more into this than you outta …).

Anywho, I decided against my better judgement to bake cookies. My grandma used to bake the most mouth-watering treats. We’d literally would fight over her cookies. She doesn’t bake anymore, so I attempted to bake sugar cookies today.

Dear heavens above, they were the most ass-tasting cookies I have EVER made!

After I baked the ass-cookies, the twins decorated them. Then they tried them – over the trash can – where the cookies ultimately ended up after the tasting. My oldest ate his over the trash, told me it was gross and finished it anyways.

He must love me … a lot.

The ass-cookies are now on a plate – awaiting the arrival of my aunt and uncle who promised to try them. I have a legal form ready for them to sign in case they get food poisoning.

After that crappy experience, I decided to make home-made Christmas gifts. Fucking Pinterest hates me.

I had two wine bottles … that I painted and then wrote the words “Noel” and “Snow” on them. I ended up having to repaint “Noel” because a kindergarten student has better handwriting skills than I will ever possess. The “Snow” bottle remained.

Then I opted to make my brother and cousin signs for their house.

Um … thank God for extra paint, because those bitches have been repainted more times than I can count since I had to write on the blank canvases (see the above paragraph).

But you know what, I had a fantastic day with my family. And that is all that truly matters in December.

Gym etiquette gone by the … “waist”side

I now believe I hold the key that unlocks the mystery of why people avoid working out in gyms.

It’s because of those individuals who believe tai chi is the ONLY FORM of exercise. And if you aren’t with their specific program, you are against them.

Today, I was against them.

They breath, wave their hands in circles, bend over and sweep the floor. They work on breathing techniques that mimic Lamaze. Ultimately they find their “inner peace” and “positive energy.”

And today, I wasn’t going to let them have either of those.

Before opening the door to the sacred tai chi room – which is really the common room at the facility unless you have reservations – I asked the lady at the counter if I was allowed to go in there. She told me yes.

I have been working out at this gym for two years. And for two years, I have been at odds with these six ladies.

Today, I stood my ground.

I waltzed into the room, water tumbler in my hand and arm band holding my phone with my earbuds.

“You can’t be in here. We are having a class,” the tai chi bitch leader told me.

“Yes, I can. The lady at the counter told me you have not reserved the common room, so I have the right to be here,” I replied walking to a corner, far-far away from the center where they were gathering in a circle formation while what appeared to be waving flies away overhead.

“Are you the LOUD exerciser?” the tai chi bitch leader asked me.

“Excuse me?” I said, holding my earbuds inches from my ears to drown out their God-awful peaceful-Zen shit.

“Are you the one who is loud when she works out?” she asked again.
“No,” I said – thinking in my head, I guess I won’t snap my fingers today while I work out. 
(I was willing to bend my rules a little.)

“Well, we are going to be walking here soon,” another chimed in.

At this point, I was getting pissed. They were chit-chatting during their tai chi and all I wanted to do was workout.

“Fine, go ahead,” I said, again, thinking in my head, I can bust all of your asses with one swift roundhouse kick.

For 10 minutes I worked out in peace.

And then, then it was time for them to fucking meditate.

I saw the one lady from the corner of my eye with her ugly sweater, shirt and brown shoes. She walked toward me and stood there, waiting with her arms folded.

 Again, she interrupted my workout. Nothing pisses me off more than bringing my heartrate down during a workout. I have calories to burn damnit in order to lose 20 pounds in two weeks before vacation.

“What?” I said, sweat dripping down my face.
“Um, we need to meditate now. You have to go,” she said.

“JESUS CHRIST! I pay the same fee you ladies do to use this room. You have not reserved it. It’s the COMMON ROOM! I’m going to the front counter!” I shouted, grabbing my water tumbler.

All six followed suit.

It was six against one. I was bound to lose, but I didn’t go down without a fight. My mama didn’t raise a quitter. And my dad, well, he doesn’t take any shit from anyone.

That’s when the gym manager was flagged down.

They told her they wanted to meditate in peace. She wanted to know who their instructor was – if you have an instructor that means the room is reserved.

“We don’t have an instructor,” they replied.

No shit!

They complained to her that I ruined their “inner peace” and “positive energy.” I kept my mouth shut. That alone took skill on my part.

Until they complained about how I danced. Apparently, my feet are too loud and I breathe.

Oh the horror!
“I didn’t even snap my fingers or sing! I just did my thing in the tiny corner!” I yelled. “This has been going on for two years!”
The tai chi bitch leader stared at me. She didn’t believe me.

“It’s true. You ladies close that door, blare your music and NO ONE feels like they can go in there and some days, some days I want to use different equipment! Like a kettle bell, BUT I CAN’T! You dominate that room! And some days, I don’t want to lug the mat, kettle bells and weights to the gym!”

“We will help you,” one said.
The fuck you will.

“No, I will take care of myself. I always have,” I yelled as I walked away, moving myself to the gym.

Everyone there knows I bust-a-move on the floor. I get along with everyone there – except the tai chi bitches. They are a special breed.

They should just be happy I don’t know any karate.


Losing her shit in the bathroom

Dear Softball Mom,

It was the bottom of the 4th inning of my son’s never-ending baseball game in the scorching summer heat. I guzzled water from a tumbler like I was on a 10-mile trek through the desert.

So, naturally, I had to … go to the bathroom.

After pulling my sweaty thighs away from the chair (minus a layer of skin too), I walked to the bathroom that was air conditioned.

That was a bonus.

And then, just as I was taking a leak, you, dear softball mom, marched your daughter into the bathroom and proceeded to lose your shit.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVE TO GO THE BATHROOM! HURRY UP!” you screamed at your daughter.

“WHAT ARE YOU DDDDOOOOIINNNGGG IN THERE? WHAT IS TAKING SOOOO LONG?” you demanded as you banged on the bathroom stall strong enough that my metal door also began shaking.

I saw you as you strained your neck to peak into the bathroom through the half-inch separation.


You never once told her she was doing great. You never once congratulated her on her playtime. The only thing you did was continually scream at her because she had to use the bathroom.

I’m a mom and sure, I am forever and always telling my kids to “hurry up!” but my God, I have never acted like an ass in public (at least that I can recall …).

You have won that title.

Shame on you for not even allowing your daughter to take a piss. Maybe she had a stomach cramp? Maybe she had to pee so bad it hurt to move (I’ve been there, done that).

Either way, I had enough. It was time for my voice to be heard.

“Calm down, she had to go to the bathroom!” I said to you as I bolted out of the bathroom stall, zipping up my zipper in the process.

You didn’t like me interfering in your shitty fight; and told me so. I didn’t give a shit.

I continued to explain, in a loud voice, that again your daughter just had to use the bathroom.

Eventually your husband heard the commotion coming from the commode.

“What is going on?” he asked you.

“This WITCH, who I don’t even know, was yelling at me,” you told him.

And that’s where you went wrong.

“Uh, your daughter had to go to the bathroom and by the way you do know me,” I said to you, calling you by your name, while removing the sunglasses hiding my true identity of a same-city parent.

No, I was not some “Random Mom” using the bathroom. I recognized you and your family.

And then I looked at your husband.

Silence fell.

Yes, you both know me – I only wished you didn’t. I don’t care that I spoke up. Someone had to.

I typically avoid confrontation at all costs – except for bathroom trips. That shit is real. I have had too many instances where I have had to piss so badly that it hurt to actually piss when I sat on a toilet.

Plus, bladder infections are a bitch to deal with for anyone … kinda like you, softball mom.