Talking on the phone – now vs. when I was 15


In 1993, I had a best-friend.

I’d rush home from the bus stop (Yes, I rode the bus home in high school – that’s because we had busing back then and my parents worked.) and immediately run toward her.

I held her in my hand, sitting at the kitchen table and pure magic happened right there.

I’d punch in the phone number of my other best-friends, and from 3 until 4 p.m., I’d just sit there and talk, talk, talk.

I’d talk my life away – literally – seconds and minutes would tick by and I didn’t care. That was the one hour of ME time. My parents were still at work and my brother, still at school. I was the ONLY one home.

And then, oh, and then, when three-way calling was invented – Oh Lord – that was the best thing since Rave Hairspray at the time. No, of course, I didn’t have three-way calling (I didn’t even have a phone in my room, despite my constant begging and pleading) – but my friends did.

The kicker was … I had just seen my friends all day at high school, but there was something extraordinary about talking on the phone.

And I loved it.

I loved it so much that eventually even though I never had a phone in my room, my dad did buy a 10-foot phone cord that I stretched all the way into my room – choking anyone who walked in the hallway.

That three-way calling came in handy when my one friend called the boy I liked and had him on the other line, and I was there too – secretly listening in their conversation.

“So, would you go out with Melissa if she asked …?” “Do you LIKE anyone in your English class?” “What about a dance … would you dance with her IF she asked you?”

Girls these days have no flippin’ idea what it was like growing up in the 1990s. We didn’t have texting, or email for that matter. We were forced to talk to people either in person, on the phone or by way of a folded-up piece of paper that looked like a triangle.

And now, the world of communication is wide open.

Cell phones that text or even voice-text; email; and social media messages.

Gone are the days of me having to use a phone to actually converse with another human being.

Now that I am adult … when I can go into any room in my house and carry my phone with me to chat, I refuse to do it. The thrill of talking on the phone is gone. The excitement of “having the phone call be for ME” has vanished. I’d rather NOT have the phone call be for me.

Am I the only one who is openly admitting that “I hope you can’t hear me now?”


Hell is indeed freezing over

snow flake

Parents from the Midwest to the East Coast are currently at the threshold of hell.

And it’s all thanks to Mother Nature and Old Man Winter. I think they are having one hell of a fight over something because according to Time Magazine, a “BOMB CYCLONE” has formed off the East Cast that “could bring the coldest temperatures in 100 years.”

According to the article, a bomb cyclone brews over the water where drops in barometric pressure can make it an EXTRA forceful weather event. The article also noted the “storm” could trap the “bone-chilling cold” and put the United States in a deep freeze over the Atlantic coastline.

Really, all they needed to say was “Hell is Close to Freezing Over – Be Prepared/Stock Up on Alcohol and Milk.”

But, meteorologists actually gave this hell-freezing-over a name – “Winter Storm Grayson.”

I used to like the name Grayson, until about two seconds ago.

Grayson has forced schools to close; flights to be either delayed or canceled; and amusement parks in Florida to close.

It’s actually SNOWING in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. It hasn’t snowed in those states in nearly 30 years! Kids who have never seen snow are now making snow angels and having snow ball fights according to Twitter.

Do you know what kids in Ohio are doing today? Well, for starters, they are not in school. Nearly 100 schools have been closed in Northeast Ohio alone.

And while some parents are absolutely thrilled with the extended winter break, I am “this close” to hiding in a closet with my Kindle and “share-size” bag of Skittles that I found in my pantry. I don’t even care how long they have been there because as the day goes on, I plan on dropping a few into a wine glass to give my Pinot Grigio an extra KICK.

The last time my kids stepped foot inside a classroom was Dec. 20. It’s now Jan. 4. You do the math.

All I know, it feels like it has been forever-and-a-day since they have opened a text book.

Currently, my near 15-year-old is still sleeping; and he’ll be that way until I go into his room, turn on the light and unleash the hounds known as the twins in his room. The twins are playing a new version of “hide-and-seek” using their cell phones. They are using the GPS-type function to locate each other within the 2,400-square-foot house that as the week has dragged on really feels like a 400-square-foot studio apartment. The good news, we have already taken down Christmas inside the house (so, it’s slightly less cluttered), but as a friend of mine said, taking down the lights and decorations outside, well, that probably won’t be happening until JUNE at this rate.

And to everyone telling me to “take them someplace FUN” – It’s OHIO. There is nothing to do here. And even if I opted to take them to one of those indoor trampoline parks, I am THAT mother who will indeed turn into a HELICOPTER PARENT because I can honestly close my eyes and visualize one of my kids landing on a trampoline the wrong way and breaking an arm or a leg. Which would end up costing me an arm and a leg at the ER. I don’t even watch when my kids ride bikes. I am that crazy – but at least I can admit it.

And I can’t send them outside because it’s so damn cold that their snot would freeze inside their nose. (That was my husband’s idea – and he also wanted them to shovel and chisel the driveway, but only if I put the space heater on in the garage where they could go and warm their hands when needed. Yeah, OK … that sounds like a wonderful idea!)

Sure, I could take them to see a movie, but we can do that here IN the house and save myself $50 in snack food money. Plus, I also need gas in my van and there is no way in hell I am standing at the pump to even insert my credit card into the machine, let alone pump the gas.

So, I’m at a stand-still … a holding-pattern if you will … of just sitting in my house while looking out my frosted-over windows at hell literally freezing over outside.



Top 10 things you should experience before parenthood

Parenthood is not a walk in the park. Is it rewarding? Absolutely – especially as your children age and you realize you didn’t scar them for life.

But, before embarking on the longest journey of your life, there are a few things to consider, or experience:


#10: Find a First Grade Math book and start studying it now. Common Core is the worst form of math ever created. Start learning it now, before you have kids. Maybe by the time you child enters first grade, you will understand it enough to form a support group in your kid’s school. You will have a bigger following than the school’s PTA.

#9: Store a container of milk on the kitchen counter. Leave it there for a week. After it’s set out in the heat, open it up and take a whiff. That is will be the same odor you will smell after you realize your kid dropped their sippy cup in the car, and you can’t find it for a week or longer. It will smell like death, and probably, so will your car.

#8: Ask a friend to borrow a bin of Legos. Drop them over your floor. Walk on them without shoes. Walking on Legos is a rite of passage into parenthood. If you can walk over Legos with bare feet and not bat an eyelash, you will survive parenthood.

#7: Borrow a child. Attempt to take a shower or simply go to the bathroom. Listen as that child screams “MOM” or “DAD” 10,000 times in a matter of minutes. That will be how you use the bathroom for the rest of your life. Enjoy showering and peeing in peace now.

#6: Buy stock in the following items: tissues, toilet paper, napkins, Band-Aids, plastic cups, diapers, baby wipes, milk and hot dogs. Those items will magically disappear right before your eyes. And if you think you have “one more gallon of milk stored away” – think again. Eventually, a neighbor may see your FB post about being out of milk … yet again … and they will drive down to give you theirs.

#5: Be prepared to no longer have a social life with friends. Your social life will now consist of playdates, baseball games, softball games, tournaments and birthday parties. The days of making a split decision to grab a nice dinner and movie are gone … at least until you can afford a babysitter and escape for four hours.

#4: Learn how to control your gut instinct to throw up at the first sight of … well, throw up. Kids cannot control their bodily fluids. It doesn’t matter if the trash can is right next to their bed. They will miss and the vomit will end up on their floor. Hold your breath and pray as you are forced to clean up the mess at 2 a.m. (Because that is when kids get sick the most often – in the middle of the night.)

#3: Take a class in negotiation. It doesn’t matter how many children you have … you will be forced to bribe them to do the most mundane activities – like brush their teeth, pee before bed or get dressed.

#2: Take a VACATION with your partner. Once you have children, and you take them with you, it’s no longer a VACATION. It becomes a TRIP.

#1: Before having kids, set your alarm for every three hours. This is how often you will be up once you bring a newborn home – probably less in reality. And you will never get a full night of sleep again.

Melissa Linebrink is an award-winning blogger. Read her blog at Follow her on Twitter @train_crazy or Facebook at



If it slithers, creeps or crawls …

Apparently my kids never got the memo about my strong dislike for nature.

It should be noted that I live in the country with a creek running behind my house, surrounded by farmland.

For most, this would be paradise. And 80 percent of the time it IS paradise.

Until I start seeing creatures that slither, creep along and otherwise scare the living daylights out of me.

Last night was perfect for a stroll through the park. Trees, fishing ponds and benches dot the two-mile loop of the paved path.

It was perfect until I saw something flopping out of the corner of my eye near the tree-line.

I screamed and did that pathetic “girly move” where I moved my hands up and down in a super quick motion while jumping in place. I was trying to make the creature more afraid of me.

I looked like an idiot.

My friends walking behind us quipped up, “You OK??”

“Yup, sure am … it was a bird!” I said picking up the pace.

Later that same evening, while sitting on our deck underneath the pergola with twinkling white lights, our son presented us with a gift.

The tiniest frog known to man-kind.

I moved away in my chair. My husband gathered the small frog in between his two fingers and put it on my friend’s toe.

She also screamed.

And all of us live within a country-block of each other. You’d think by now we’d know what to expect living out here.

Snakes are slithering through our yards. A craw-daddy with large claws has taken up residence in a mud-hole behind our basketball hoop. The coyotes hold nightly conventions in the woods behind our house.

Two weeks ago, while on her riding lawn mower, my friend ran over a snake.

This week, I almost stepped on a snake in our yard.

And granted these snakes are mostly your small, yard snakes that eat bugs, but a snake is a snake is a snake.

Why did I think moving to the country would be an ideal environment to raise our children?

And now we have tiny frogs that are multiplying in and around our house at lightning speed. And our son has a keen eye to find them.

“Hey mom!! Quick!! GET ME A JAR!”

Then he plopped the frog inside. I thought it was dead … until it hopped … and scared me half-to-death.

I hate living out here in BFE.

The author, Melissa Linebrink, was recently awarded first place in 2017 Ohio’s Best Journalism in the “Best Overall Blog” category. She also placed first in the same category in 2016 for her blog, “Parenthood: The New Crazy Train.”



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.


Decorating on a budget — THE SPRING FLIP



The wrought-iron, faded bench had been sitting on my front porch since the spring of 2007.

No one ever really sat on it for the fear of getting a splinter in their butt-cheek.

On occasion, I would toss a basket of flowers on the poor, sad, discolored bench, but it didn’t bring it to life.

And then came Pinterest.

I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. Some ideas are right up my crafty-alley. Others are just flops.

But as of lately, Pinterest and I are just simply getting along.

First came the wall of faces on my newly painted gray walls. It’s really a photo wall using a combination of white, black and darker gray frames that I refurbished from Good Will. For $10 I was able to buy eight different frames.

Next came the painted wine bottles with various words of encouragement. My favorite is the wine bottle that was at first going to end up in the trash after the white paint dried a bit too rough for my liking. But then I added a splash of gray paint over it and it resembles a newspaper with words “HOPE” and “INSPIRE” painted alongside the bottle. Those were wonderful Christmas presents.

And that leads us to spring, and my sad bench.

Well, the bench isn’t sad anymore.

Using old purple paint (from another project) stored in the basement, I painted the seats and then using my new favorite product – SPRAY PAINT – I painted the backside of the bench teal.

It is gorgeous and provides just enough color. It will soon be placed in my new flower garden where it will be surrounded by Shasta daisies and lavender plants.

Once I find a cute table to repaint, the flower garden will become my favorite spot in the yard to relax, read a book and sip a glass of vino.

It’s amazing how something old and tarnished can be refurbished to look like new.

All you need sometimes, is Pinterest … and old paint.


Am I selling myself short?


Am I selling myself short?

I am looking to branch out my blogging self.

The kicker is, I need a THING to write about. Or a BRAND. Or a PRODUCT.

I can’t write about being a MOM anymore because that ship has sailed on the Scary Mommy Yacht, Huffington Post Parents Sailboat and every other parenting blog known to the blogsphere.

I thought, well maybe I could write about being a mom to a teenager. After all, I do have one of those living in my basement at the moment. But, since he rarely talks to me, he doesn’t give me enough material to write a daily blog about his life. No cash there.

Oh, and then TWINS. Thought maybe I’d struck gold with that BOGO that took place nearly nine years ago. But here’s the thing, no one cares. No one cares that I had twins. Now, they did care when I was PREGNANT with them. I was the talk of the town, mall and OB facility.

“What are you having?” – them.

“A boy … and a girl …” – me as they looked at me, their mouth wide open and eyes as big as the moon.

“Really? Oh how fun! – them.

“Super …” – me, thinking to myself, “I pee every 15 minutes, my entire body hurts and I have a map of the world on my stomach from stretch lines. Do you need to know how to get to New York? Here, let me look …”

BUT NOW, now that they are almost 9 years old, that novelty has worn off. No one even asks me, “Are they twins?” anymore. It’s a bummer really. I shoulda blogged then, but … that wasn’t a thing and I was too tired.

So, then what am I left with? My marriage.

Do people really want to know how we live our lives in the mid-west?

Do people really care that the other night, I was walking around my 2-acre property, in the pouring down rain, looking for the shed key that I APPRENTLY lost while my husband stayed inside, my guess is watching me run around like a duck all the while the key was behind the microwave? I only went out in the storm because I thought he was gonna’ divorce me for losing the ONLY shed key that we own. Stupid Melissa.

Do people really care that we text each other about the most mundane daily events … like when he forgot to uncover the OLD CAT’S SHITTER and then the OLD CAT TOOK A SHIT NEXT TO THE BOX ON THE GARAGE FLOOR because we have to COVER THE OLD CAT’S SHITTER because he HATES IT WHEN THE KITTENS USE HIS SHITTER AS THEIR SHITTER. I too have forgotten to open Jerry’s SHITTER at night to find a pile of shit and a blob of piss on the garage floor. I’d prefer the days when he actually left us rodents by the front door.

And, do people really care that when we are driving on the highway, he feels it is the perfect time to lecture me about pool usage in the summer as if I am his teenage daughter, rather than his 39-year-old wife of nearly 17 years. “If I come home from work and the backyard is a mess …” … Seriously, I think we can all GUESS what I told him as he began THAT sentence.

Hmmmmmmm … maybe I outta change my blog page to simply “MELISSA’S FOLLIES” and leave it at that. It’s not super witty, but maybe I will become a household name among parents …

“Did you read Melissa’s Follies yet today? Her kids are on spring break … and she’s at her breaking point. Today, she tried to scare birds away from their nests as they chirped at her and nearly pecked her eyes out! She’s a hot mess that Melissa!”