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.

Damn.

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-ass 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

bench

 

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!”

 

 

Alia Bailey — A fighter for all of us

alia

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 https://www.gofundme.com/3a5d5sg.

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?

fitness

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 athttp://parenthoodthenewcrazytrain.com. She can be reached at mlinebrink@chroniclet.com or 329-7243. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.

 

 

 

 

 

Melissa Linebrink

The Chronicle-Telegram

Reporter/Columnist

440-315-7303 (cell)

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

440-329-7243 (office)

mlinebrink@chroniclet.com

mlinebrink@yahoo.com