My annual apology letter to my kids’ new teachers.

It’s that time of year again where I write an apology letter to the new teachers that have the pleasure of teaching my children for the 2017-2018 school year.

(If you missed my last two letters, you can read them below.)

An early apology letter to my kid’s teacher

Another apology letter for a new school year.

Dear Vinnie’s Teachers,

Vinnie is now a Junior. As you know, we are trying a different path with him. This path will lead us all to the same destination, which is our end goal.

Vinnie is a good kid, very motivated by making money, very business savvy. He gets easily distracted, while sometimes allowing “peer pressure” to dictate his path. If you can look beyond his baggy jeans and tendency to mumble, you will see he has the ability to be successful.

I need you to see the bigger picture, I need you to see that despite circumstances, he can go places. While I am at home helping Vinnie see his own potential, I would ask of you to believe in him just as I do. Vinnie needs that one person, aside from Mom and Dad to see he is capable of so much more than whatever statistic society may have laid upon him. I am here for him, I am here for you. Together, I believe we can do great things.


Dear Gracie’s Teachers,

Second verse, same as the first! You guys know how I am. You know me, you know Gracie. You know what works and you know what doesn’t. My biggest fear with Gracie is that she and her IEP will get lost in the system. I cannot have that. Gracie is a freaking genius, you just have to find that different way of teaching to light that spark.

Art. If you want to know Gracie, give her a pen, paper, maybe a few markers, and she will go to town. If you look closely enough, you will see what she is trying to say. Find that connection, you will not regret it.

Do not let the seizures intimidate you. Look, I know it’s scary. Truth be told you have seen more seizures than I have. Continue what you are doing, while being aware that Gracie needs routine, she needs to feel comfortable, and most importantly, she needs to find that connection, that extra something that may not be the norm. I believe you have it. I will do my part, I believe in Gracie, and I believe in you and her team…..together, we can do great things.
Dear Sofia’s Teacher,

Oh you are going to get so sick of me. I can already see it. Somehow you picked the short straw and got stuck with me as a parent. As you know, I am at your school daily. As you also know you have a student in your class who likes to pick on Sofia. I need to trust you. I need to be able to know that you have my daughters back. Sofia has dealt with this kid since kindergarten. While I am teaching Sofia to find her voice and be more assertive, I need to know you will have my back. Allow Sofia to have her voice.

This is her last year of elementary school. I want her to go out with a bang. Give Sofia her wings for middle school, and in return, I will back you up. A united front. I will do my part, and all I ask is you do not allow Sofia, with her soft voice and shy demeanor to get lost in the crowd….together, the three of us can do great things.


Dear Teachers & Staff,

For those days that are challenging, whether it is a student, a parent, or maybe a coworker. For the days that you just want to call it quits, throw in the towel, the days that you go home at night and ask yourself “what is the point, I no longer enjoy this.” I am here to tell you, push through. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You make a difference. You have made a difference with me, you have made difference with my own children….and I know I am not the only parent.

It can be a simple “Hey, how are you doing today?” It can be “Jack, how’s it going at home?” It can be as simple as asking the right question at the right time, every single one of you make a difference. I appreciate you all, I believe in you, I know you do not have it easy, I also know you have made a difference, and you will continue to do great things….because it is in your heart, it is in your core, and you, each one of you who are reading this, you are the real MVP. You have not only changed me, you have changed my children. You have been that spark….and you will continue to do so.




Jen & Christin Get Fired From Wal-Mart (On the same day)

As long time readers of the blog, many of you will remember that Christin and I used to work at Wal-Mart at the same time. Collectively, we have so many interesting , borderline traumatizing Wal-Mart Stories just sitting on the back burner, waiting to be shared. This is one of them.

As long time readers of the blog, it will come as no surprise to you that interestingly enough, Christin and I happened to get fired from Wal-Mart on the exact same day. The reason we were wrongfully terminated will be saved for another time. This particular story picks up directly after we both were fired, again, on the same day.

Minutes apart.


As I am being escorted out of the store by a member of management, I am trying hard to plead my case. The challenge was making these idiots realize that they were just plain wrong in terminating me. I realize it sounds like I am making excuses, I assure you I am not. It was almost as if they had it planned all along.

My (now former) manager wanted to hear nothing. She was kinda a bitch that way. I mean at one point as were we walking down the aisle, I believe she was applying her lipstick. This is what I am dealing with.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spot Christin in the Infant Department. She was zoning, looked at me, looked at my (now former) manager, and gave me the “What the hell” look.


I was working in my department just like any other day, when I looked up and saw Jen being escorted out by the bitchy assistant Manager who also happened to be name Jennifer. As we made eye contact, Jen screamed “They are firing us! Get ready you’re next! Meet me in the parking lot!”

I had no idea what was going on. Fired for what? I was a few months pregnant with my
2nd child and was having a terrible time with morning sickness, could that be why? I anxiously awaited for them to call me back to the office, which inevitable came 5 minutes later.

“Department Manager Christin, please come to the office” echoed through the store.

I slowly made my way back to the office.

5 minutes later I was also being escorted out of the building per company policy when one is getting fired for something utterly ridiculous.

Jen was waiting in the parking lot, sipping on her diet Dr Pepper.

“What the fuck just happened?” I said, trying to process the last 10 minutes of events.


Sitting in our respective cars in the Wal-Mart parking lot, wondering what the hell just
happened,  both realizing the all-too true fact that we were now screwed, we headed over to Target. Not to apply for a job, but to have a mental breakdown in the parking lot.

Christin was a single mom, and newly pregnant. I had the boys. Joe was already working two jobs. The loss of my income would hit us hard. I was worried Joe would be mad, disappointed me. I knew I had to tell him, and decided to do so by taking the easy way out. With Christin sitting behind the drivers wheel, I mustered the courage to walk my now jobless ass to the pay phone. It just so happened it was his day off.

Jen ~ I have to tell you something, but you will get mad.

Joe ~ What’s wrong?

Jen ~ Well, Christin and I kinda got fired and I am sorry, I have no idea what to do!

Joe ~ Don’t worry about it, come home and we will figure it out.

I jumped back into Christin’s car. As she drove me to my car I told her how Joe seemed to be supportive. For me, that was one obstacle down. There would however be many more in my path.


Still in shock, I dropped Jen off at her car and drove home. I needed some time to think. About a month before, I had broken up with my boyfriend ( the baby’s dad), which resulted in him moving out. A week later, I found out I was pregnant. Timing has never been my thing. Clearly.

Later that afternoon, I called Jen over to the apartment.

“What are we going to do?”
“I don’t know. We need to come up with a plan,” Jen said. But first you need to tell Will (baby’s dad).

I called Will up and told him he needed to come to the apartment ASAP.

And for the first time, he actually listened.


After Joe assured me that everything will be fine, telling me he will pick up a second job if need be, I headed over to Christin’s apartment, which was just the next building over. Joe had done so much, I could not add to his already full plate. And Christin, she had her hands full. Being newly single, then newly pregnant, and now newly fired, and then there was me. I will be turning 30 in a few days (which ironically turned out to be the least of my worries) I was more newly pregnant than Christin (although despite popular belief, we did not plan it that way) and now we can add newly fired on our list of screw ups. I had to come up with a plan to help take the weight off of everyone’s shoulder.

I walked in Christin’s apartment and knew I had my work cut out for me. Quickly I made a pot of coffee for myself, while pouring her a glass of ice water.

“What are we going to do?” An irrational Christin asked.

“I do not know, I will come up with a plan. First things first, you need to call Will.

Half an hour later I am on my second cup of coffee watching Christin pace the carpet back and forth, back and forth. Will walks in the door.

“What’s going on?”

Hysterically, Christin gives him the rundown of the last four hours.

“Shit! What are you going to do?”

I give the guy a pass. He was in the apartment of his newly ex girlfriend who was barely into her pregnancy. I am not sure what the proper form of etiquette is in a situation like this, although I am certain “Oh Shit!” is not one of them.

Giving them their space, I silently sipped on my coffee while listening to their extremely awkward conversation.

“That’s it Will, we just need to get back together. You need to move back in ASAP!”

It was at this point that I spat my coffee all over my shirt.

“Christin, we are not getting back together. You need to calm down. In your heart you know that us getting back together would not work out.”

He treated her with kid gloves, which was exactly the right approach at this very moment.

Christin had made her way over to her treadmill of all places, a treadmill that made an excellent coat rack and had a complete break down. I will put aside the fact that this is the first time I had ever seen her on the damn thing, and chalk it up to pregnancy hormones.

“That’s it!” I said, “Will, go clean up the coffee I just spilled on the floor. Christin, you need to get yourself together. This is what we are going to do. Tomorrow, we will wake up at the same time we do every day. We will get dressed, making sure to look both professional and classy. We will take our kids to daycare and school just like we do every day. We will go to Wal-mart to pick up our final check. We will walk in there with our heads held high. We will not be embarrassed. We will get out of this. After Wal-Mart, we will make our way to the welfare office to see if we can qualify for any benefits to hold us over until we either find another job, or our unemployment kicks in, and we will do it all with a smile on our face.”

And that is exactly what we did the following morning.


If had not been for Jen, I would still be laying lifeless on my barely used treadmill. Luckily for me, she wouldn’t have allowed me to wallow in my self-pity for too long. I didn’t have a choice, I would follow her plan.

The next morning, I mustered up all the energy one would have after being fired, a single mom AND a few months pregnant, put on my Sunday best and walked out of my apartment feeling like a million bucks. We dropped our kids off at their respective schools and daycare, stopped at Starbucks to get our caffeine fixes and just like Thelma & Louise, we were on a mission.

We pulled up in the Wal-Mart parking lot, ready to rumble. We had three things to complete on our mission while we were here: 1) Pick up our checks 2) Talk to 2 specific people who could possibly get us our jobs back  3) Prove to the asshole(s) that got us fired in the first place, that we were untouchable.

Side by side, we walked in the store, heads held high, smiles on our face. As we were walking to the back, we got stopped about 10 times…”What happened? and “Where have you guys been? were the questions being asked. Unfortunately, Thelma and I didn’t have many answers ourselves, just yet. We made our way back to personnel where we picked up our checks, not before Jen announced “Have a nice day!” to the snakes in the office.  We cashed our checks in the front while an employee that shall remain nameless came out of her UPC office, appearing to watch as we made our way out of the store.


The only time I became emotional while making that last trip to Wal-Mart to pick up our check, was in the parking lot. I had history there. This is the parking lot where Joe would walk me to my car on his last day of work. (He left on his own terms.) Joe had made me a cd and gave it to me right there in that very parking lot. The smoking section off to the right was the first time Joe and I spoke two words to each other. The beginning of “Us” began at that store. With me being such a sentimental sap, I had to hold it together for the sake of Christin.

As soon as Christin and I walked into the welfare office we knew we were out of our element. Both of us dressed to the nines, making sure we look professional enough to apply for welfare benefits. Guess what. Apparently the welfare office does not enforce a dress code. Nor do they care if you saunter in wearing last nights sleep attire. Who knew? All heads turned our way as we made our way to the front counter. Leaving the scent of Channel #5 lingering around us. Even the lady at the front counter had to stifle a laugh. Who could blame her? Christin and I looked like a couple of Park Avenue Bitches, and let me tell you, the welfare office was not the place to make a statement.

“Hi! Were are here to see what possible benefits we could qualify for. Not for long-term or anything, just temporary until we get back on our feet. Separately, we are together but not together, together.”

“Pick a number, fill out the paperwork, wait for your number to be called.”

Christin and I found seats together, sat down with clipboard in hand and started filling out the twenty papers that would soon let us know if we would qualify for food stamps.

“I do not know about this Jen, there has to be another way?”

“Do not worry it will be fine. We are in this together, just follow my lead.”

So…..imagine our surprise when they separated Christin and I.


As we were waiting for our number to be called, it took everything I had not to run out. My ego was telling me that I didn’t belong there, while Jen convinced me that we needed to be there. My number was called and then, they took me to a room in the back. Expecting Jen to come in behind me, I  kept watching the door. She never came. Instead I was met with Pajama wearing folks that just looked like they rolled out of bed.

I pulled out my notebook and pen, then began taking notes. What did I need to do next? Who did I need to talk to? I scribbled everything down as the girl next to me took a nap. I was going to come out of this better than ever, right? An hour later, the class was over and we were excused.

I met Jen in the lobby.
“Ok, now what do we do?” I asked. “What’s the next step?”


I had no idea why Christin was called back and I wasn’t. All this time I had told her I would be there, and now look who was not there. I asked my lovely  friend at the front counter why we were not called back together. She gave me the five second stare down, rolled her eyes, “Because the other girl is applying for rent assistance and you are applying for food assistance.”

Okay so she had a point. It’s not like there were any step by step instructions on how to do this. I took my seat, touched up my makeup, and before I knew it, I was called back.

My situation was a little bit different from Christin’s. Christin went back alone, where as I went back with a group of twenty. We were  told to all take a seat around this large conference table. A lady who seemed to be in her late fifties entered the room and immediately started talking about the food stamp card, what can and cannot be purchased. Without missing a beat, I grabbed my notebook and pen from my oversized purse. I started to scribble down every single word that was being said. If I am going to do this, I am going to do it right, and take notes, and who knows if there will be a test at the end but if there was, surely I would pass, because it seems I was the only one taking notes.

At one point during the lecture, I lost my place within my notes. The speaker went from “Your  benefits will be loaded on your card depending on the first letter of your last name.” To “If your card is lost or stolen, you must report it as soon as possible.”

Quickly and efficiently I raised my hand.


“Just one quick question, according to my notes I lost my place and I need to know what happens after the benefits are loaded on to the card.”

The entire room looks at me. Naturally I am pretty proud of myself for asking such an important question. The gentleman sitting beside me, who may have smelled like tequila looks at me, then looks at the speaker.

“Aw Man, is she for real?”

“Uh, yeah I am for real. This is pretty important stuff. Do we need to log in, do we need to have a grocery list prepared? What exactly happens after the benefits are loaded onto the card.”

In unison, the entire room shouted “YOU USE THE CARD!”

It gets better.

As the speaker was closing her final words, she asked “Are there any last questions?”

All twenty people look at me, expecting me to have a question.

I did.

“So my final question is, how does the tax returns work? What exactly needs to be reported and what doesn’t”

There was about a ten second silence before our speaker yelled “Class dismissed!”

I gathered up my notes while everyone else was fighting their way out the door. By the time I returned to the lobby, Christin was already waiting. She looks at me and asked “What’s the next step?”

Confidently as ever I said

“Our next step is getting our job back.”


Getting our jobs back was easier said than done. We did fight for our jobs in every way possible. We even filed an unlawful termination suit against Wal-Mart but had to retreat because of Jen’s high risk pregnancy. We did what we could and we lost.  In the end, much more was gained than lost. We eventually found our true passions that had absolutely nothing to do with cranky customers and stocking shelves. It was truly the best thing that ever happened even if for a short time we had to swallow our pride and ask for help.

Side Note: Several years later we found out who got us fired. She still works at Wal-Mart. It turns out we won.


There is no doubt in my mind that if we continued the fight, we would have won against Wal-Mart. In the end, I chose the health of my baby over the stress of a lawsuit.

Christin and I  may have lost the battle, but we did not lose the war.

That afternoon when Christin and I put on our armor, faced our fears, our insecurities, stereotypes, heading into the Welfare office, that was a beginning for us. A beginning to many more battles, many more wars, and many victories.

In the end, victory is ours.

Sidenote ~ I never did tell Joe about our morning apent at the Welfare office. He was very against it, just for our family, not for anyone else. One of these days I will write a blog on just how I managed to keep it a secret from him…you just can’t tell him.



So we dodged a bullet…


One of the things no one tells you when you write a book is that there is SO MUCH research involved. Even writing a memoir about a two-year period in my own life warrants research. That’s probably the part I hate the most. I am good at doing research, especially if I have to do the research for other people, but when it comes to myself, well the research is hard, and frustrating, and leaves me asking myself “Why am I doing this?”

Christin on the other hand, well she thrives on it. She can find your long-lost cousin twice removed that you were not even aware you had. She is good, and she truly enjoys it. I cannot tell you how many times our collective research has paid off.

Monday morning was one of those mornings where there was just too much to do and not enough time. Trying to cram in the Real Housewives of New York Season 7 Reunion, while trying to stalk Sebastian Bach on Twitter, and folding a few loads of three-day old laundry all before Joe comes home is not as easy I make it sound. Multitasking at it’s finest!

As soon as I heard the familiar “ding” from my phone, alerting me that I had a message, I just knew I had my work cut out for me. My Housewives got put on hold, just when Bethenny was going in hard on Sonja, Sebastian Bach had to take a backseat, and the laundry….oh yeah, I still need to tend to that. I saw a message from Christin. “Hmm, that’s weird. A little early for her to be up.” I opened the message and saw in big bold print “CHECK THIS OUT.” Immediately I knew whatever it was that I had to “check out” had to do with the book. Slowly, I scrolled down to the link that was included in her message. I was both curious and anxious. What on earth did she find at this ungodly hour of the morning?

I clicked on the link, and found myself in complete and utter shock.



I woke up Monday morning with the thoughts of the book chapter I was editing for the 10th time from the night before. Without giving it all away, it was an intense chapter for both Jen and I.

Scenes were flashing through my head as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. My normal routine of making breakfast, feeding the cat and checking on my sleeping teenage kids would have to wait. I was on a mission to find our past.

I didn’t want to let her in on the search, just in case I didn’t turn up anything. I will be the first one to tell you, digging up the bones from our past isn’t easy. Almost 15 years have gone by, for all we know these fools could be dead, which really wouldn’t be a shocker. As I flipped open the laptop, I typed in the names. 30 minutes later, I had mug shots, pictures, and was piecing together what appeared to be remnants from a very rocky and somewhat criminal past.

I pondered what to do with this newfound information. Should I call Jen? Maybe she was still asleep. I will just send her the link and let her decide what to do with this.



There, in the link that was embedded in Christin’s message to me, was a mug shot staring back at me. I threw my phone down much the same way one would do if they picked up a hot plate, or a grenade. Was I really looking at pictures from my past? I slowly grabbed my phone and took a second look. There was no doubt it was Him, and fifty plus extra pounds. The eyes. If you look closely enough you can see the evil. The “attitude” came shining through the mug shot. I already knew He would have about twenty reasons why it was not his fault he got arrested……again. And, when I say “again” I mean all sixty-five times.

Yes, you read that correctly. In the span of 15 years, this idiot has been arrested SIXTY FIVE times! Christin had found it all. Every single mug shot was there, watching me. Every single inmate number. I had no idea how she did it, yet here it all was.

Aside from the obvious question of “What were you thinking Jen?” to the more obvious answer of “I wasn’t.” I had some thoughts to reflect on.

I am a nice person. Catch me on the right day I can be a charming person.

Why did He never see that about me?

For the longest time I blamed myself. If someone who claims to care about me ends up hitting me, then what does that say about me?

It says nothing about me (aside from my very bad choices in men) and everything about him.

Also, I think we can all agree I dodged a bullet with that one. A fast paced bullet that giving the opportunity, would aim right for my heart….and it would not miss.



It’s true, I found 65 mugshots of Jen’s ex. As I scrolled through the charges, which ranged from charges of disorderly conduct to more serious charges of possession of a dangerous drug with intent to sell. These charges came out of several different states with some indication that he was using aliases along the way.

It was now time, to do some research on my own ex, that would be starring in the same chapter as Jen’s ex. I thought I would dig up some mugshots of him. He’d always lived on edge, so without a doubts, there had to be something.

My research could not turn up any inmate numbers or stints in the pen but pictures revealed that he was still Living La Vida Loca at 45 years old. That’s right folks, he’s spent his 20’s, 30’s and 40’s living like a Rockstar and boy does it show. The Fred Durst look-alike that I used to know now looks more like Fred Flinstone on a bender. Let the records show that I dodged a bullet on this one, more ways than you all will ever know.



“What the hell were we thinking?!”


“Well he looks nice…”


“I call this…My walk of shame”


“I cannot even use drugs as an excuse for this one.”


“Fred Flintstone on a bender.”


“Party on! 45 year old man…”


“Still keepin’ it classy…”


And there you have it. Look, Christin and I know we made way too many mistakes to count. Never once do we want to make excuses for ourselves. That’s the thing though when you revisit your past. You have two options. You can blame everyone else, or you can own your very bad descisions, take a shot, and move on.

We chose the latter.

~ Vodka Calling.

This is our circus and these are our monkeys.


In March of 2004 I experienced a horrible miscarriage at 16 weeks gestation. Aside from the emotional aspect of it all, the physical pain was horrible. I lost a lot of blood, to the point where my doctor was having problems controlling it. Unfortunately the baby was not “passing” on its own, therefore I had to have an emergency D&C.

Vinnie was 3 and AJ was 10. I had no idea how I was going to recover while taking care of two boys. Thankfully, due to a friendship that began three years prior, I did not have to worry about that.

Enter Christin and Will. Christin & Will, lived in the next building over. Both worked at Wal-Mart at the time. Christin was the one who took me to the hospital when I started to bleed profusely in her living room. She was the one who called Joe, and she stayed by my side until Joe was able to make his way over to the doctor.

Once I was home, drugged up on god knows what, Christin called and offered to take AJ and Vinnie for a few days while I recovered. Now keep in mind, she had her own daughter at the time, and Will had his son from a previous relationship. They were getting ready to tackle on parenting four kids, and Joe and I could not have been more grateful.


It was the least I – we could do. She nearly bled to death in my livingroom. I drove as fast as I could to get her to the hospital, but it wasn’t fast enough. Jen and Joe had lost a baby, a baby they both dearly wanted. I had to do something to help my good friend.

Will and I quickly discussed having AJ and Vinnie stay with us for a while, just until they could recover, both physically and emotionally. Joe and Jen took us up on our offer, an offer that clearly, I did not think all the way through. Thankfully, Will is just a big kid at heart, he handled it like a pro.

“I’m going to take the kids outside” Will said. “You want to cook up some mac n cheese and hotdogs?”

“Sure.” I said, knowing the reason he said that because it was the only thing I could cook at the time.

I watched as he helped the younger kids get their shoes on and with AJ in toe, the 5 of the made their way outside to the playground. An hour later, they returned, muddy from head to toe.

“What happened?” I asked, grabbing towels from the closet.

“We went puddle jumping” he said, laughing.

One by one, each one of them, took a bath. I threw their clothes in the little stackable washer and dryer, while Will found some shirt for them to wear until their clothes were done. AJ and Vinnie ate their mac n cheese in shirts down to their toes, while Will put in a movie “Daddy Day Care”. How fitting. He was only 20 years old himself, yet knew how to entertain 1,2,3 and 10 year olds.

I watched as Will stretched out on the floor, with all the kids surrounding him as they watched Eddie Murphy succumb to the tortures of 8 five-year olds. We laid out sleeping bags for the boys while Kharizma and Taylor were tucked into their cribs. Will stayed out with the boys, just in case they woke up in the middle of the night. They fell asleep to the singing of Veggie Tales that night. The next few days flew by. 4 kids was a lot of work. I decided then and there, I didn’t want more kids.

I couldn’t have done it without Will. He was the true hero in all of this. Even though he and I didn’t always see eye to eye, he was always good with the kids. Not to mention, a great entertainer.


Once I recovered (3-4 days I believe) Christin and Will brought the boys back. Christin was now contemplating getting her tubes tied, because, four kids, that’s a lot of work!

Time went on, and pay attention because everything from this point happens pretty fast.

Christin and Will broke up. Boo!
Christin and Will found out they were pregnant. Yay!
Christin and Will went through a “rough patch.”
A pregnant Christin moves about four hours away to Moses Lake.
Her doctor’s appointment were still here in Federal Way.
I was at the hospital when her son was born.
I was also very pregnant with Gracie.
(Many years have now passed)
Christin and Will “put up with each other” for the sake of their son.
Christin is now pissed at Will.
Will is now pissed at Christin.
Christin and Will are now able to have friendly communication!
Will still lives in the same town as I do.
Christin lives across the water.

I have to say, and Christin has no idea that I am writing this – even though we discuss our blogs, even the ones we write together. I am so proud of these two. Both of them have their strength and weakness. They will be the first to tell you they work better as friends, as co-parents to their son. And they are doing it. No, it’s not perfect, it’s a work in progress. At their core though, they both care about each other a lot, (they will not admit to this.)


I would like to tell you that Will and I have a perfect co-parenting relationship, however we don’t. He’s made mistakes and so have I. We were young back then but I think we’ve done the best we could considering the circumstances.

Our son is good kid, however I must admit, he’s got his dad’s warped sense of humor. God help me. At the end of the day, if I needed Will, I know without a doubt, he would be there. He’s been there when I needed to vent. I’ve been on the other end of the phone when he needed a listening ear. We get each other, more than either of us would ever admit.

Jen would tell you that Will and I are more alike than different. She played the middle man for our short-lived relationship. Will would go to her apartment and complain that I didn’t clean out the cat litter box that day. I would go complain that Will didn’t clean anything. She was our underpaid therapist but never judged us once. We’ve come along way since then, but still she has good, sound (most of the time), advice.


All of us, Christin, Will me and Joe…well not Joe he has always had his shit together, but the three of us have come such a long way from the days of Wal-Mart. From the days when Christin and Will had my two boys, living it up watching “Daddy Daycare” in their messy, toy infested, Cheetos smashed into the carpet living room.

We all have come so far.

AJ, who will be 24 this year, is heading out on the same path we were all on back in 2004. Through an unusual turn of events, AJ will now be working for Will. I have no words to express how happy this makes me, because aside from Joe, AJ could not have a better person watching after him, teaching him, and rooting for him all along the way.

And I know that Christin will be on top of Will making sure everything runs smoothly.

We may not have taken the traditional route, but this little dysfunctional family of friendship, well, it makes me happy.




A post about nothing….

It’s been a busy week. Christin and I are working non stop, trying to get these final edits complete. Not always easy an easy process when we still have our respective families to tend to. We are doing it though. Of course we look like hell from all the late nights. Something that our children feel the need to point out to us daily.

Part of the editing process is taking advantage of Beta Readers. Beata Readers help writers out, give them their opinions, help with grammar, punctuation, make sure the story flows. Usually Beta Readers are used in-between different edits, before the final edit goes off to the Big Guys. Yesterday, Christin and I produced three options for a Prologue. Option four would be no Prologue. We presented these options to a group of Beta Readers. One schmuck had this to say. “I do not understand memoirs. If you have not led a full life then you should not write a memoir.” I wanted to punch him in the face. First of all, a memoir consist of a short period in your life. Dumb ass was thinking of a biography. Secondly, we were not asking his opinion on a memoir, we were asking his thoughts on a Prologue. Huge difference. I told Christin “Handle it or I will go off on him.” I am not very patient that way. I know his comment is going to be one of hundreds of negative feedback Christin and I will receive. I know not everyone will enjoy the book. Hell, I even have a family member who refuses to read the blog, so I get it. I just need to learn how to better prepare myself. Otherwise I will be finished before I even get started.

Everyone has heard by now that Chester Bennington, the front man for Linkin Park, committed suicide this week. A loss that hit many pretty hard. It just goes to show that depression along with mental illness, does not discriminate. I have read comments on social media that just make me sick. “With all the money he had how could he not be happy?” Yeah, it does not work that way.

Linkin Park’s album “Hybrid Theory” is  a huge centerpiece in our book Vodka Calling:Apt. B-303. “Hybrid Theory” was there for us each and every step of the way. That’s the beauty of music, always there for you. Rest in Love Chester, you will be missed, but never forgotten.

A couple of nights ago Vinnie (my 16 yr old) and I had a little disagreement. By “disagreement” I mean I was right, he was wrong. I will give you the cliff note version. In the end, you will be on my side anyway.

Vinnie wanted to go hang out at a friend’s house around Not a problem. I gave him bus money, which is typical for the teenagers around here. Obviously, the plan was for him to take the bus home as well.

Hours later, it was time for him to come home. Two hours later he was still on the bus. He was lying to me. I know he was lying to me because 1. I am not an idiot, and 2. The busses were already shut down for the night. Over text message, arguing back and forth I tell him “Send me a picture of you on the bus.”

This is what he sends me.


Yeah. My son thinks I am an idiot.

When he finally made it home, I went off. Remember, I am not very patient, especially when it comes to stupidity. Basically, what happened is he missed the bus, ended up walking home, and did not want to tell me he had to walk home.

I know what you are thinking, so many things wrong. First and foremost, I told him no matter what, you always call. Call and someone will come get you. He was seriously walking the streets at 2am, while telling me he was on the bus. Put aside the lying, there is a safety issue. Vinnie has this really cool hair, (and bear with me because I know I sound crazy) but if you were to see him from a distance, you may think he was of mixed race. Many people have asked me that before. I do not want him walking the streets at night, come up on some police officer who shoots first and asks questions later. We have all seen the news. We know what’s going on.

I am also disappointed in Vinnie that he really expected me to believe he was on the bus. I thought he was more creative than that.

We dealt with it. Number one rule, if you are in trouble, you call no matter what. Number two rule, no lying.

“Vinnie, I have been there and done that. All the lies you are going to try to pull on me, I invented them. I am the best of the best and if you do not believe me, ask your grandparents.”

Hopefully the message will get through.


How about you guys, how was your week?

Stay tune for updates regarding Vodka Calling:B-303

In a few short weeks, we will be doing limited giveaways!

I know you will be waiting with bated breath,

or Vodka.


~ Jennifer


Happy Birthday to Us!

We have an important announcement!

Over the last sixteen years, Christin and I have shared many of things.
Everything from roommates, bills, makeup, and clothes. We shared fights, we shared reconciliations. At one point we even shared the same guy, although this particular guy neglected to tell us he was being shared. We even share a birthday.

Most importantly, Christin and I share the same views. The core of who we are, what keeps us going with our writing, the reason why it is we write, “Everyone has a story to tell, and your story is worth hearing.”

This is why, today, on our birthday, it gives us both a sense of excitement and pride to announce to you, our loyal readers that our long-awaited memoir…

“Vodka Calling
Apt. B-303″

Will be available late September of this year. If you follow the blog, you will have a few chances to win a free copy as well.

What does this mean you may ask? Well, it means that our book is ready to go. Seriously, it is ready. All that is left is for us to turn in our final edits. In no time at all, our book, what kept us going for the last year, will be available on both paper back and Amazon Kindle.




I started this little piece of sanity back in 2010. After numerous attempts of trying my hand at different blogs (“Blogging it Out” “Write here” “Again With Jen” and “Dear Blog”) I just was not cutting it. Something was not right. I was not “feeling it.”

Little did I know it was just the name. Somehow blogging on a blog titled “Dear Blog” was not cutting it for me. I felt like Sandra Dee writing to Danny Zuko, about the trials of being stranded at the drive-in. (Grease reference for the younger crowd.)

The name “Vodka Calling” came to me so easily. It was a winner, and together we would set out on this new journey.

I blogged about everything. Marriage, kids, challenges, autism diagnosis, school, you name it I blogged about it in an honest authentic way. Some would say a little too honest.

April 2016 

Christin enters the picture. Christin and I share a 16 year friendship. A friendship that began when we were least expecting it. A friendship that neither one of us were interested in. Until, we became invested.

Together, we knew we had so many stories to share. Some of our stories are cringe worthy, some are feel good ones. Of course you have a handful that is neither here nor there. Christin and I put our heads together and decided to bring our “roaring twenties” to the blog. We believed we had a story to tell. We believe everyone has a story to tell. Christin and I are just crazy enough to blog about ours.


The past year and a half found both Christin and I being tested in ways we never thought we would be tested. Many times, our book was placed on the back burner. Between our children, Christin’s college courses, Gracie’s epilepsy diagnosis, hospital visits and finals, we were not sure if “Vodka Calling, Apt. B-303” would ever happen. We had many late nights, writing, editing, and re writing. We spent our days just surviving off of coffee while trying to get through our day-to-day commitments.

Personally, I have dealt with the old-time favorite “Oh, you are a stay at home Mom, you have all the time in the world.” Yeah…

Going back into the time machine, writing about the days of our yester-year was not always an easy process. I remember a time when I finished a specific chapter, and immediately called Christin. That is a habit of ours, we finish a chapter, send it to the other to proof read, then call. “My God I had no idea this would be so emotional.” Christin got it. She had many chapters that left her the same.

The writing process is both draining and uplifting. Both tedious and eventful. Writing put a big fancy mirror in front of us, forcing us to go back and face our past, our demons. That same mirror would also show us the light. The light that we needed to continue on this journey, the light that would give us closure, the light that was there all along, we just did not see it back then.

Today, the light is on.



From Christin…

If you had told me 16 years ago that Jen and I would be writing a book about our 20’s, I would have laughed in your face while taking a drink of my Long Island Iced Tea.

Here we are 16 years later, I have traded my Long Island’s in for Ice water with lemon, and still I can’t believe we actually did it.

About a year and a half ago, Jen and I started this journey together.

I will always be grateful to her for inviting me to write on the Vodka Calling blog with her. It was through this, that we came up with an idea to write a book about our experiences as roommates and friends. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy opening up about some of our real-life accounts of some very intense moments.

In the beginning of our journey, I expressed my hesitation in telling everyone our very personal, sometimes emotional times of our lives.

And then Jen told me something very profound, “Don’t worry about what other people think. These are our stories and we need to tell them.”

Still I had my reservations, primarily because I had moved on. At least I thought I had.

I had successfully burned all the bridges that led to that part of my life. Gasoline, a match and that was it. Up in smoke were the bad decisions, bad people, bad everything. Gone. Nothing left but a little bit of the rubble, which I could sweep away and move on. Never did I look back.

Little by little, Jen and I went back to the rubble. Unearthing the things, we hadn’t seen in almost 20 years. The people, the times where we thought we just might not make it out alive, and of course, the moments that made us feel like we were in a bad 90’s comedy show. Everything. Uncensored and raw.

That’s when everything changed for me. Maybe we could help someone who has been through it, just as we had.

So, we wrote and wrote. I didn’t think we would ever stop writing. We wrote until the middle of the night, sometimes all day. We never stopped writing. Phone calls every day, all day. In between my college classes and Jen’s PTA meetings and activities, we wrote. After we made dinner for our families, we wrote. Before the kids’ activities, we wrote. After the kids were in bed, we wrote.

We made it happen. And then we got rejection after rejection letters. “This is not what we are looking to publish at this time…blah blah blah.

We could have given up but this meant too much to both of us. We got up, dusted ourselves off and continued fighting. I never doubted for a minute that we would finish what we started, I just never knew how long it would take. So, we kept writing and editing. Some days I was tempted to throw my laptop out the window because I was so DONE.

Eventually, we found our way, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And guess what? At the end of the tunnel, we looked out and no longer saw the rubble we had left behind so many years ago. The junk that was left behind has been restored to an heirloom, that both Jen and I  will carry with us to remind us of what we were, and now, after some work and a lot of repair, of who we are.

So, with that, it’s our birthday and we have completed our book “Vodka Calling: Apt. B-303”. I could not be prouder of this book that we poured our blood, sweat and tears into. Literally. I hope we can inspire just one person that has been kicked while their down, to get back up just one more time. Thank-you to those that have supported us and Vodka Calling. Final edits and a few last changes are being made as I write this and so I would encourage you to purchase “Vodka Calling: Apt. B-303” when it becomes available. We will be posting the information very soon.

Happy Birthday to US!!


Vodka Calling: Apt. B-303 

Vodka Calling: Apt. B-303 begins in a little apartment, overlooking the Puget Sound in the suburbs of Seattle, WA in 2001. Meeting in circumstances beyond their control, Christin and Jennifer are drawn to one another because of their shared shortcomings. With both young women bearing emotional baggage from their past, Jennifer and Christin find a friendship and comradery with one another that is both unlikely and unexpected.

Vodka Calling: Apt. B-303 appeals to all women.  From women that have experienced obstacles in their life to young women just starting out. Young, old and everyone in between can take away something from the book. Compassion, hope, maybe even a few good laughs will bring readers to embrace the misadventures of Jennifer and Christin.

Vodka Calling: B-303 stands alone amongst the countless memoirs in many ways. First, it presents two viewpoints in two very different voices. Allowing the reader to enjoy both authors’ renditions, Vodka Calling: B-303 demonstrates how there are two sides to every situation. Another aspect that makes the book unique is the intricate story-telling between two friends over almost 2 decades. The way it is written allows the readers to feel like they are actually inside the stories, rather than just an outsider looking in. Vodka Calling: B-303 can be read as a stand-alone memoir or read with its companion pieces in a three-part series.


Disclaimer: This post contains explicit content, that involves sexual abuse. 

1989. Madonna took over the air waves with her controversial hit “Just Like a Prayer.” Young pre-teen girls found themselves wishing they could be Debbie Gibson. Aerosmith’s notorious “Love in an Elevator” was every young boys fantasy, and the ever popular, Skid Row, my first of many “Hair Band” groups that I would come to both love and worship,came out with their number one single “18 and Life.” That summer, you could not go anywhere without hearing the infamous line of..

“Eighteen and life you got it
Eighteen and life you know
Your crime is time and it’s
Eighteen and life to go.”


I have mentioned before that I never had any friends at school. Church, however was a different story. I actually had a few friends. Friends, that for whatever reason actually liked me. I enjoyed going to church. I was a different person at church than I was at school, and I was able to separate the two. If my church friends knew how I really was in school, they most likely would have not wanted to be my friend. This was my logic anyway, the logic of an insecure 14-year-old girl.

Melissa and Michelle were two sisters who also went to my church. In a short period of time we became friends. After church on Sundays we would hang out together, until it was time for evening service. Also, by “hanging out” I mean walking the streets of the trailer park in which they lived, hitting up the local 7-11 for nachos and hot dogs. Their parents were pretty strict, and because of that, they were never allowed to hang out at my house. It probably took me a good three months to convince my parents to let me hang out with the sisters in the trailer park. Eventually my parents gave in. I was a good kid, never got into any serious trouble, and just enjoyed having someone to actually hang out with.

Summer of 1989.

I was now allowed to hang out with the sisters on a more frequent basis (meaning not just on Sundays!) I would get dropped off by my parents, and hours later, picked up. One of the rules was I had to make sure I called to “check in.” Something I was always pretty good at. Slowly, I started to meet the friends of Melissa and Michelle. Since everyone lived in the same trailer park, there was a large group, and somehow, I fit in nicely. It was now at the point where I did not necessarily need Melissa or Michele to be there to hang out. If they were busy, or grounded, I would just hang out with someone else….my new friends.

Carly and I hit it off pretty fast. It was just  Carly and her mom. On occasion I would spend the night over at Carly’s place and her mother would make us the best scrambled eggs for breakfast. Seriously, to this day, I still try to recreate those blasted eggs and I just cannot do it. I always felt very welcomed at their house, and because Carly’s mom had a thick NY accent, it made me feel at ease.

One day Carly and I were just hanging out at her place. A few of the local kids would come and go, but for the most part it was just Carly and I sitting at her kitchen table listening to music and gossiping about the latest drama that took over the trailer park.

Carly had a huge crush on Luke. She was just waiting for him to ask her out. I kind of thought Ryan was cute, but I knew there was no way my parents would allow me to date. Plus, he was too popular, a guy like him would never like a girl like me.

As Carly and I were sitting there at her kitchen table, trying to come up with ways for Carly to get Luke to ask her out, there was a quick knock on the screen door. Without waiting for a “come in” reply,  Luke, Ryan, Jesse, Zach, and Matt came in. Pretty typical. “The Guys” were just cruising the neighbourhood on their bikes, wanting to see what we were up to. Zach was the older brother of Matt. He drove and damn was he popular. He was always with a drop dead gorgeous girl, always coming and going, and pretty much was the leader of the pack. If “The Guys” were up to no good, Zach would put them in their place real quick. I assume because he was the oldest….the “man of the house.” it was just Zach, his brother Matt, and their mom…. but I could be wrong.

There we all were, just hanging out in Carly’s kitchen. Zach had to leave for a bit and told “The Guys” he would catch-them-later. Luke asked Carly if they could talk privately in the bedroom. I mean even I knew that was not the best of ideas, but off Carly and Luke went to the bedroom, which left me there with Ryan, Jesse and Matt. Not a big deal. I mean there was an awkward silence for a second or two, but that was it. Ten minutes passed. In that time Ryan did a horrible lyp sync version to, you guessed it, Skid Row’s “18 and Life.” Then, evverything changed.

From the bedroom we heard Luke. “Hey, Come here.”

Ryan, Jesse, Matt and I all looked at each other wondering who it was Luke was talking to. Well it sure as hell wasn’t me.

The three guys went back to the bedroom and I remained at the table, trying to find a better  station on Carly’s table top radio.

I hear screaming.

I hear laughing.

“Bro, what are you doing?”

I hear wrestling type of movements.

Something or someone fell.

I get up from the table and slowly walk toward the bedroom.

“What’s going on?” I ask.

Matt comes out, stopping me from going in.

“Don’t go in there.”

“What is happening?”

More screaming.


I was able to get a quick glimpse into the room. Carly is laying on the bed, spread eagle. Luke is between her legs.

They were not having sex.

He was kneeling between her legs.


Now it was Ryan.

Same thing. Between her legs.

I asked Matt what was happening.

“Don’t worry, she is enjoying it.”

Luke comes out, looks at me.

“Do you want a turn?”

“Nah dude, not her.” Matt says as he lights up a cigarrette.

“Fuck you.” And I just knew, I knew in my mind that despite what was happening 10 feet in front of me, I knew I would get in trouble for saying “Fuck you.” Not from The Guys, but from my parents. We were not allowed to curse.

Jesse. Damn not Jesse too.

Jesse was between Carly’s legs.

He was inserting something.

Ryan and Matt were with me in the hallway.

They were smelling their fingers….then smelling each others fingers.

Holy shit this is not good.

They were laughing.

They were bragging on how easy it was.

The front door opens.

“Where’s everyone at?”

Zach. He is back.

As soon as “The Guys” heard his voice, they left. Jesse got up from in between Carly’s legs. Matt left my side, quickly followed by Ryan.

“We were just leaving, meet us at Pops.”

I am standing there frozen.

Carly is still on the bed….also frozen.

Zach comes over to me.

“Is everything okay?”

He looks over my shoulder, he sees Carly on the bed. Zach sees Carly slowly getting herself up from the bed. He looks at me. I look at him. He knows, I know he knows just by the look of fear in my eyes he knows.

“Can you take care of this?”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but I assumed it was Carly.


“I’ll be back.”


Carly came out of the bedroom, adjusting her clothes.

I had no idea what to say. Her hands covered her face. Was she crying? She hugged me. I hugged her. No words needed to be said. We knew. I sent her to the bathroom to clean up.

I went into her bedroom. The bed was a mess. There was a baton laying on the bed. A pack of unopened condoms.

I knock on the bathroom door.”Carly?”

Carly comes up out with a tear stained face. “I do not know what to do?”

“Okay, we need to talk.”


Shortly there after Carly’s mom came home. Carly did a quick clean up making it look as nothing ever happened. She took the dishes of the kitchen table and threw her comforter on her bed. “Hey Mom!”

My parents picked me up not too long after and as far as I know this incident was never talked about again.

I should have told someone.

It was soon after that I stopped going to the trailer park. I was changed. Carly was changed. Things would never be the same.


Only recently have I thought about Carly. Did I have a part in this? I know I should have told someone. I should have told my parents because I know they would have been able to do something. But, I didn’t it.

Carly and I bottled it up and placed it in the very deepest and darkest places of out heart that we could find…..and life went on.

Except, did it?

I do not know what happened to Carly. I do not know if she got married and had some kids, or one of the other worse case scenarios.

My wish, I want nothing but the best for Carly. I am sorry I was not more of a voice. I should have been your voice when you did not have one. We should have told.

We should have told.

These words will haunt me until the day I die.