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.”




‘Tit for Tat’ and a little of ‘This and That’


A few weeks ago, my parents became stranded in my neck of the woods.

This past weekend, I returned the favor and extended my stay at their house due to inclement weather.

For a set of parents and a daughter who lives 2.5 hours away from each other, we have seen each other A LOT lately.

It’s kind of a joke now when we text each other and end with, “I miss you!” because honestly, we really don’t.

Being stuck under the same roof for extended period of is enough for anyone to go insane. I don’t know how hermits do it day in and day out. Maybe the cure for them could be living with my parents? Or living with me? I think either way, but the end of 24 hours, the hermit would be cured and running for the hills – far, far away.

I have always thought our lives would be a cure-all for many of “society’s problems.”

What do I mean, you ask?

Well, for example, “Should we live in the country if we are used to living in the city?” a couple may ask themselves.

“Let’s check out what Mom of Three Living in BFE has been up too …” they reply to each other.

At present time if they were to check my life out, they would see I am currently in the process of building a second version of Noah’s Ark in preparation for the impending “Great Thaw” and “Spring Thunderstorm in Winter.”

Honestly, I am just praying our sump pump and the back-up battery are in tip-top shape to keep up with today’s weather.

Another example could be for teenagers.

“Should we fool around and go all the way?” – they may ask each other. (Yes, I know this is not how it generally happens – I do have three kids!)

And one of them, if not both, better say, “Let’s check out Mom of Three Living in BFE’s way of life!” (Maybe I should become an APP?)

My daily circus life, minus the circus, should be a clue to not have sex.

Despite the popular show, “Teen Mom” that somehow has managed to glamorize parenthood, being a mom is the hardest, most demanding job on the planet. Sure, you can be a CEO or president of a multi-million dollar company, but honestly, as a mom (or a parent really), you are tested every single day by your “employees.”

I challenge a CEO or president of a company to step foot into my world on any given day. Unless that CEO or president is a hands-on-parent off-the-clock, he/she most likely would be “all thumbs” in my house.

There are no paid vacations (or any vacations really, because even ON vacation, you are still a parent, unless you are one of those parents who allow their children to run uncontrollably through a resort and inevitably just ruin MY vacation.).

There are no sick days – unless you count the days your kids are sick and you are the one in charge of making them feel better in between bouts of cleaning up barf and wiping runny noses.

And, as my parents can attest, you never really stop being a parent.

The other day, despite the fact the weather was improving, I was forbidden to drive back home. My dad pulled out his “FATHER” card and used the “TONE” with me. I didn’t even fight him this time around. I used up all of my back-talk days when I lived at home with them, and all that did was get me grounded and sent to my room where I would blare my stereo.

My room doesn’t even have a boom-box anymore … but it does have a bed, an antique table, an antique-type quilt holder and some big-ass piece of furniture that holds all of my mom’s sweaters.

Which brings me to my final point today, for all of you adults who live with your parents, perhaps because you are their caregiver or because of a financial situation – YOU ARE MY HEROES! I could never do YOUR job or be in your shoes.

Cheers to you!

Protecting your children means you have to learn how to protect them yourself

I own a weapon.
To be specific, it’s a small handgun, but before ya’ll go judging me for owning a weapon, let me tell you what has happened to me in the past six years living in BFE.
Before we moved out to BFE, we had neighbors so close to our house, we could easily hear them eating dinner in their dining room while we were grilling on our deck. We lived in a “cookie cutter house” in a “cookie cutter development.”
We hated it.
So, when we saw the chance to move, before the housing market crashed, we took it and ran. We sold our house within six months, to some clueless people wanting to escape an even worse community than we were trying to leave. The community from where we came from wasn’t bad, I just knew I didn’t want to live there forever.
We found our house on a popular “country road.” I no longer heard our neighbors devouring their meals. But, I can see a house to my right, left and across the street.
However, I don’t associate with my neighbors on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis – unless it’s to call the local sheriff department when a horse escapes its pasture – and yes, that has happened at least four times.
Therefore, the way I see it, if anything were to happen on my 2.6 acres of land, no one would be running to my rescue.
We are surrounded by farm land behind our house and across the street.
But where we live isn’t the reason behind the weapon – it’s more related to the number of odd people who have rung our doorbell; knocked on our door; or driven onto our property.
There are 365 days in a year. Of those, my husband works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and sometimes he works over. That means five days a week, I am the only adult in this house during “normal-working business hours.”
And let me tell you, if you thought living in the city was scary, you ain’t heard nothing yet folks.
Example A:
Shortly after moving here, a man pulled up into our driveway, knocked on the garage door, asking me if I had any GOLF BALLS to sell him. Apparently the man who lived here before us used to scour golf courses for used golf balls and he would wash them and resell them for profit. I looked at this man as if he was from another planet and told him through a screen, “No, I don’t have any golf balls.”
Example B:
A woman knocked on our garage door (you’d think by this time I would have learned to close the garage), announcing she was “here.” I looked at her as if she was an alien as well, and told her I had no idea who she was or why she was “here.” She left with a look of utter confusion, much like the one my own face showed.
Example C:
Oh, this is the worst!
After having the twins, one fall day, I pulled into my garage (left the door open), when a vehicle pulled in directly behind mine (allowing no room for escape) and a young girl stepped out of her car, begging me to “smell her hand soap.” This brought out my inner bitch (all of us moms have this gene). In my oh-you-have-got-to-be-freaking-kidding-me tone, I told her to leave immediately. She tried to get me to smell it again and almost tossed her ass off my property. The only thing stopping me was the fact she had two men in the car with her, trying to “sell the soap.” I immediately called 911 and gave the description of them and the vehicle they were driving. Since that time, I have been told how some people try to get women to “smell the soap” and then kidnap them. After I called 911, I also called my other “country friends” and told them to not answer their door.
Example D:
The meat selling man in a truck.
Yes, this man knocked on my front door, I did not open the screen, but spoke to him via the closed door. “No, I do not want any meat.”
I also called 911 and gave them a description of that man and his “meat packing” truck.
Example E:
Our wacky neighbor despises us for calling the local sheriff on him and his horses. He also hates the fact my dad planted pine trees on our property line. If this man ever knocks on our door, I will run with the kids and hide in my bedroom, with my weapon close by.
Example F & G:
You would be surprised at the number of people who randomly stop in our driveway. We have had a car simply “die” (lucky for this woman, I interviewed her for a story and she was 90 years old); we have had an older gentleman run over a bush down the road, preventing his car from moving any further down our road than our driveway; and recently, a car ran out of gas. For all of these “incidents,” my husband has been home.
But for the other times, I have been here with either my oldest or all three of my children. Since we live in the country, it can take a sheriff deputy almost 5 minutes to reach our house, unless he is patrolling another area close by and reach us sooner. A lot can happen in 5 minutes – we have all heard what happened in 5 minutes in the community of Sandy Hook, Conn.
I have no problem calling 911, and I trust them, but when it comes down to protecting my children, I will stop at nothing to make sure they are safe. It’s my job as their mom to protect them. The gun is in a safe, locked away from our children. But knowing it’s there provides me with peace of mind, and in the world we live in today, I need that reminder.