Olive The Octopus

Sofia has her “Girls on the Run” 5k on Sunday. These young girls, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders have been training for three months.

Each girl will have a “running buddy” to run with them the entire three miles. This is done for both safety and to build confidence. “C’mon Sofia, you can do it. We are almost there!” You know the drill.

These girls were encouraged to ask a teacher at their school to be their running buddy. Sofia wanted to ask her teacher, however, her teacher would be running with two classmates of Sofia, and Sofia being Sofia, does not exactly like her fellow classmates.

On to Plan B! Plan B was to ask another 5th-grade teacher. Miss Scott.

Miss Scott is young, pretty, in shape, and will have no problem running with Sofia. Miss Scott is also BFF’s with Sofia’s teacher Mr. Miles. It was the perfect plan, if I do say so myself.

Miss Scott was very gracious and jumped on being Sofia’s running buddy. I am humbled. These teachers are taking time out of their weekend to spend with these girls, to run with these girls, to encourage these girls.

I decided that when Miss Scott and Sofia cross the finish line, I would like to have a small gift for both of them. The only problem, I have no idea what Miss Scott likes. So, I went to Mr. Miles and told him my plan.

“So basically, I need you to tell me what she likes!”

“Oh, she is a nerd! She likes comic books, fantasy romance, and octopus’.”


“Yes, you know, the animal.” (cue the hand gestures that I guess was suppose to resemble an octopus.)

Screw that. I will have better luck finding a damn comic book then I would an octopus. And, I am not even sure I know what “fantasy romance” is.

During a quick break at the school, I ran to the store “just to see” what I could find. I also needed a new purse because the strap on mine broke.

I started out in the toy section trying to find any sort of octopus thing. I found nothing. Well, I did find a purse, so there is that.

Time was slowly getting away from me. I wanted to check one last place before I made my way to the cashier. I scanned the aisles of the Home Goods section “just to see” if there was maybe an octopus nicknack or even a picture. There was nothing.

I was ready to throw in the towel when I spotted the clearance section. The heavens opened, the angels were singing. Right before my eyes, was the ugliest, tackiest, yet kinda cute, glass octopus I had ever seen, and it was like 75% off. SCORE!!!!

I grabbed the oddly shaped octopus, whom I quickly named Olive, and threw her in my cart. Now, trying to find a gift bag for Olive, well that was another story.

Back at the school.

I was quite proud of myself for finding an octopus in the middle of May. Excitedly, I told Mr. Connor, the teacher who graciously allows me in his classroom, about my find. I told him the story of Miss Scott, Mr. Miles since they are both co-workers of his, I figured he would have some insight on whether I did well or not.

As soon as I mentioned the word “octopus” he starts to laugh.

“An octopus?”

“Yes, an octopus!”

More laughter.

“Wouldn’t it be funny if you were being set up?”

It took me a moment for this to sink in. I mean Sofia’s teacher and I have a good relationship. Nothing special, yet more than the typical parent/teacher relationship. Mr. Miles thinks I am young, hip, and knows who Kendrick Lamar is. Two outta three ain’t bad!

We have talked about “Netflix and Chill” without me realizing what “Netflix and Chill” really means. Also, Mr. Miles and I share a love for whiskey. So, I mean he could potentially try to pull one over on me, but I was not convinced. What mattered most was if Miss Scott really does indeed like octopus’.

I asked Mr. Connor: “So, you need to do me a favor, can you find out if Miss Scott really likes octopus’?”

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”

School eventually lets out. Sofia and I are driving home. I fill Sofia in on Olive and Miss Scott. The first thing she does when I tell her that her teacher told me Miss Scott likes octopus’ is burst out laughing. “Oh Mom, I think my teacher is playing a joke on you!”


I come home, show Joe Olive the Octopus. He tells me it is ugly. I explain it is not for me, and for the fourth time today, repeat the same story. Now, for those of you who do not know Joe, he is a pretty serious guy who always tries to find the positive in things. Joe starts laughing. “Umm, Jen, do you think Sofia’s teacher was being serious?”

Double Crap!

My next step is to stalk Miss Scott’s Facebook. She has it pretty locked down. I have no idea if I can find out anything.

Ah, wait. There is a picture of Miss Scott doing “fish lips.” Let’s read the comments!

Someone made the comment: “You are a fish without fins!”

Wait for it……

Miss Scott replied back: “I could be a jellyfish or an octopus!”

BOOM! There it is. She mentioned an octopus.

Okay, so it is not much to go on, but it is all I have right now. I mean, if she does love octopus’ then she will love Olive. If she does not care for octopus’, well, Sofia is signing the card so I can blame her.

At the writing of this post, I have no idea the fate of Olive the Octopus. I try to think of it this way. I love cats. If someone were to gift me a tacky large glass cat, I would love it and treasure it and name him Tristian (Legends of the Fall.)

However, if someone gifted me, oh, I do not know, an octopus maybe, I would put on my fake smile. “Oh how cute, thank you so much.” and then most likely regift it in one of my Buy Nothing Facebook groups.

Stay tuned for Sunday, when we will know the fate of Olive.






Jen’s annual “I hate Mother’s Day” post.

Correction, it’s not “just” Mother’s Day. It’s all holidays, and not all holidays in real life, just all holidays on social media. I need to learn to differentiate between the two.

To prove my point, just read my past post. Not much has changed.



Screw them all!

It just seems like it is all a big contest. “My husband loves me the best because he bought me a dozen red roses.”

“I have the perfecet children who cooked me the perfect breakfast in my perfect bedroom with my DIY dresser.”

I mean half the time the “Husband” is not even on Facebook. So who is it you are posting for? Because let me tell you, I have a feeling your husband is sitting right beside you on your DIY sofa while you are uploading your pics of flowers and eggs to Facebook.

Now, as always, I will keep it real here on the Vodka Calling blog. I am well aware of the fact that perhaps my issues with holidays and social media comes from the fact that I am married to a man who was never shown “how” to do holidays.

Joe comes from a wonderful, old-school Samoan family who struggled a lot. There was never a Santa, Tooth Fairy, or Easter Bunny in Joe’s childhood. If they were lucky, they would get “a” gift for Christmas and birthdays. Many times it was hand-me-downs. Joe’s parents were never affectionate with each other. Joe grew up never seeing his father give his mother a kiss on the cheek, a hug, nothing like that. Also, because money was so tight, Joe never saw his father buy his mother anything.

Sometimes it is hard for me. I mean I know without a doubt I can tell Joe “For my birthday, I want to go to Redondo and eat at Salty’s, then I want to walk the boardwalk and get ice cream for dessert.” I can plan it all out and he will give it to me. Hell, I could tell him “For Christmas this year I want to go visit my family, so we need to start saving money for six plane tickets.” And, he would most likely take on a second job just to make sure I would have what I want because that is the kind of guy he is. Which, is why I married him. Joe is just not too good at taking the initiative, and when he does, it just does not work out too well. (See the above post “2017)

He came home from work today. I was laying on the sofa, watching “Real Housewives of New York” not doing a damn thing. I already decided I was going to order pizza for dinner, simply because it is too damn hot to cook. Joe comes home. “Happy Mother’s Day. I did not get you anything but I figured we could go out on Thursday.”

Of course, we cannot go out on Thursday. I have my test, Sofia has her last 5k practice, it’s just not a good day, but that is okay. He is trying. “Sorry, I did not do anything today, I relaxing.”

He unbuttons his button-down work shirt. “That’s okay, relax!” Joe starts washing the dishes. After the dishes he does the bathrooms, then the litter boxes. Before I knew it the whole damn apartment was clean.

I did not whip my phone out and take pictures or anything. He was cleaning for me, not for me to put on a show on Facebook.

When he was finished, I thanked him. We sat together on our old but so so comfortable sofa. He was playing his game while I bit the bullet and jumped on Facebook with my phone.

I was rolling my eyes and about 90% of the post in my newsfeed, but that is what I do. He was tuning me out as he was playing the game, oblivious to the whole social media thing.

When the pizza came, he jumped up, opened the door, signed for the pizza, dealt with the crazy pizza girl who was asking him to give her a high five. She is seriously lucky I was not wearing a bra, otherwise, my ass would have gotten up and told her to “high five this” because I am classy that way.

He took the pizza, hurridly place it on the counter, again, oblivious to the face that Pizza Girl was borderline flirting with him. He comes back to the sofa, picks up his game controller, “Damn, she talked too much, now I am going to die.”

I debated on whether I  should push the “Dude, she was flirting with you” argument, and just went back to watching my animal videos on Facebook.

All in all, it was a good day.

anniversary blog 5





Most of my day today consisted of me watching animal videos on Facebook. If you are Facebook friends with me, you know this to be true.

I mean I took Vinnie to work, went to the store, did the whole dinner thing, made the bed, hung up some clothes, but the majority of the time, I was on Facebook watching cute animal videos. I need an intervention.

Here is the problem. I am taking my Paraeducator test on Thursday. If you remember correctly, I had to reschedule it last month. Now that the stars have aligned, meaning I gave strict orders for Joe and the kids to fend for themselves this Thursday between the hours of 8-12, it is coming down to crunch time. I need to pass this test. I need to study for this test and not be watching cute little animal videos on my “day off.”

I mean I am kinda doing my part. In the third grade classroom I hang out in, I do the math lessons right along with the other kiddos. Most of the time I get it right. But, this is third-grade people! I am going to just assume that the math part of this test goes beyond third-grade math. God help me.

As soon as I pass the test, I can officially upload my application and resume to the district website. (Shout out to Christin who will be helping me with that!) And hopefully, find a job.

It is more important than ever that I find a job. Our rent has been raised 300.00 a month. I will pause while you let that sink in.

The area where I live is just crazy expensive. We have an influx of homeless people that come from Seattle. Give it a few more months and I guarantee we will have more. Our housing market is crazy.

Last week at the school was “Teacher Appreciation” week.  Friday, it was recess. I was hanging out in the classroom I have adopted for myself. Two students were in there. Due to behavior issues, they were not allowed to go to recess. The teacher was talking to these two students who have a love/hate relationship with each other, trying to make some sort of sense on why it was they were arguing with the other.

I am standing off to the side listening to one of the students, let’s call him “Kenny.”

“Why do the teachers get appreciation and the students don’t?” “That’s not fair” “We should get something too.”

At this point, another third-grade teacher comes in the room. She stands next to me, asking “What’s going on?” There was no explanation needed, she knew exactly what was going on five seconds into the student/teacher conversation.

Kenny is not letting up. “It’s not fair!” “Why did you become a teacher?” “Why do you want to work here Mrs. Pedro?” “This school is stupid.” “Everyone lies.”

I was getting annoyed. And, as my close friends and family know, I am not good at hiding my annoyance. I am in this particular classroom most days. I have been ever since September. Some days I am there an hour or two, some days only half an hour, some days all day. Either way, I feel I know this classroom.

Quickly, I formed my words, being mindful I am talking to a troubled third grader. “We do this for our teachers to thank them for an amazing job they do teaching you guys.”

I was cut off by the teacher. “Don’t even bother, it’s not going to go anywhere.”

Frustrated, I took my place back by the side of the other third-grade teacher who came into the room. I looked at and her, and whispered: “I may need to rethink this Para thing.”

Kenny was still going. “It’s stupid.” “This school is not fair.” “Why can’t I go to recess?” All the time the teacher was doing what he does best. Teaching.

I only have twenty-some school days left at this school, then I am off to the next chapter of my life, as are many of the teachers at this particular school.

So many thoughts I have running through my head. None that I can verbalize, because even though I am not in a paid position, this teacher is my “boss” and in order for me to continue to have the privilege of being in the classroom, I have to abide by what is asked of me. I needed to keep my mouth shut.

Later that night, I thought about Kenny. I fast forwarded about nine years in my head. Kenny will be a Senior. Now, I have my own theories on what goes on at home. Unfortunately, I believe Kenny has been taught not to respect people who are a different race than he is. This is just my opinion and my opinion alone.

I hope to God Kenny makes it to a high school Senior. I have my doubts, I worry, but I also have hope. I have hope that one day, Kenny will be able to look back and realize that years ago when he was a third grader, something will click with him. As Kenny is on the varsity football team or head of the debate club, something will click and he will get it. “Oh yeah, that teacher was a legit teacher, he did care.”

This is one of the very few reasons I am going to forge ahead and take the Para test. Because, even though I was so tempted to tell Kenny in a stern and powerful voice “I do not know who you are talking to or why it is you think you can get away with that tone of voice, you need to turn to your teacher RIGHT NOW and apologize for your entitled little attitude that will get you nowhere in life.” I have to realize that in the bigger picture of this thing called life, maybe things will turn out better for all the Kenny’s out there.

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A Walk Through Time

Vinnie and I are driving home from his school. Even though it is only a ten-minute drive, we take our time, driving the scenic route that takes us through a cute little beachfront community. It’s our one on one time together during the day.

We are at a stop sign. There is one car in front of us. A cute young couple is trying to cross the street. They looked to be maybe seniors in high school. The girl was stunning. Her long dark hair was flowing in the light breeze. The young man was handsome in his own way. They were holding hands and looked completely and utterly content. The car in front of us motioned for them to go ahead and cross. The young girl, still holding hands with her partner, smiles, and waves at the car in front of us with her free hand in a “thank you” sort of way. I am not sure if she was happy they were able to cross the street, or she was happy because she was on the boardwalk, or perhaps she was just happy. It was sweet.

The young man looked equally happy. He held her hand, and they crossed the street together. The girl could not see the young man’s face. I wish she could have. The way he looked at her, beaming with pride, with love, with something magical made me stop. I looked at Vinnie and said, “Awww, look at them, young love.”

Vinnie was too busy doing his snap chat thing to pay attention. I watched the young couple walk off to their car. I hope he never stops looking at her that way.


As they say their goodbyes as they go off to different colleges, I hope the last thing she sees as she hops in her car is that look in her rearview mirror.

When she comes home on Thanksgiving break, I hope the first thing she notices as they greet each other face to face for the first time in three months is that look.

And, if one day they make it down to the altar, as she is standing there in her white gown, I hope that look is at the end of the aisle waiting for her. Because as time moves forward, that look will be more challenging to find. It’s easy to have that look in good times, the others, well, that takes a little more work.


Joe used to look at me that way. I probably have a picture laying around somewhere that proves that. On our first date, as he said goodbye, and thanked me “for a wonderful time” he gave me that look.

The first time we told each other “I love you” standing outside my old apartment, B-303, he gave me that look. I always knew where I stood with him, not because of materialistic things, but because of that look.

As he would introduce me to new people “This is my wife.” There was a sense of pride not in his voice, but in his eyes.

When we had our first fight as a married couple, I got a different kind of look. It was not until we sat down and talked about it, that I got the look that made me fall in love with him.

I can actually remember the exact day I fell in love with him. We were sitting at my dining room table, just talking, getting to know each other. I could physically feel myself falling in love with him. Hopefully, he was able to see that look in my eyes.

On our wedding day, dealing with every sort of stress imaginable, he had that look.

On our honeymoon night, and this is a true story, my father called me because he lost his wallet at Joe’s family house. Without saying a word, Joe gets up, kisses me goodbye, while giving me that look, as he and my dad went looking for his lost wallet.

When I was scared to death to tell him I was pregnant he gave me that look. It was that look that told me there was nothing to be afraid of. Until there was.

As I was laying on the hospital table, going through a miscarriage, he was there holding my hand, giving me that very same look.

The birth of our subsequent children, me bringing God knows how many cats home, he would still give me that look. I mean sometimes that look would entail some eye rolling, but always, there was that look.

Days spent at the NICU, overdrawn bank accounts, forgetting to pay the power bill, if I looked hard enough, that look would always be there. But, I did have to look for it.

We have been through a lot as a couple, and I know many more obstacles are up the road ahead. I just hope, that even through the worst of it, sickness, feelings of disconnect, loneliness, I hope that he will never forget where we began. Where we all usually begin, with a look.


“Mom, what are you waiting for go!”

I was snapped out of my trance, of my walk through time so to speak. I turned to my left, searching for the couple one last time. He was opening the car door for her, she returned his look.

Slowly, I took my foot off the brake and pushed the gas ever so gently.

Well, it was good while it lasted, the whole car door thing, that won’t last.








Jen’s going to”throw down” in Wal-mart.

Despite my protest, I had to go to Walmart this morning. The simple fact is, they have the best prices on certain drinks that the girls use for their school lunches.

We had a sort of “plot this” this morning. Gracie wanted to come with me, but Sofia did not. According to Sofia “I cannot go, Mom, I am in training for Girls on the Run and I need my rest.” What she really means is “I want to play the game without Gracie interrupting me.”

I figured it would be a good chance for Gracie and me to spend some one on one time together. Gracie very rarely goes anywhere without either Sofia or Vinnie. In a way, they are her security blanket. This was a huge step for her.

First, we hit up Chick-Fil-A and stocked up on some grilled chicken nuggets. Gracie and I are now on the same Keto diet. She is on it to keep seizures away, I am on it for weight loss.

After our grilled nuggets, off to Walmart, we went.

Now let me explain something. Gracie tends to walk behind me wherever we go. Not too far behind, just a couple feet. She walks and fidgets with her hands. It’s a coping mechanism for her and a total autism thing. I have trained myself to follow her shadow, to listen closely to her necklaces dangling, and of course, I physically turn around to make sure she is there. If we happen to pass a group of men, I do not care what they look like, three-piece suits or sagging pants, you bet my ass I will turn around to make sure nothing is said.

As we are walking the aisles of Walmart, this time is no different,  she is always about three feet behind. I was able to grab Gracie some short sleeve polos for school. We grabbed the special drinks that I can only find at Walmart for a decent price, picked up some odds and ends.

On our way to the checkout stand, Gracie and I stop a look at the large display of fans that were on an end cap. This end cap was in the area directly across from the registers. Plenty of walking room. As we are looking at the fans, I pulled my cart to the side, making sure it is out of the way. Gracie is still about three feet behind. When I stop, she stops. When I walk, she walks. I am debating if I should buy a fan now, or wait for the one week in Summer where we hit 90 degrees.

As we are looking at the fans, I notice this washed up looking middle age borderline morbidly obese wannabe “Biker Chick” walk past Gracie. She was wearing a sleeveless Lynard Skynard black concert t-shirt, and “Mom Shorts.” As she walks past Gracie, I hear her say “How stupid can you be, yeah stop in the middle of the aisle.”

You guys, something just snapped in me. Quickly, I turned around.

“Ya know, instead of pretending to mumble under your breath, a simple “excuse me” would suffice!”

The washed up middle aged Biker Chick stops in her tracks. She looks at me, I return her evil gaze and raise her a smart ass comment. “Yeah, I have heard it works well.” She takes a step towards me. I see her step and raise her a “What, do you have something to say?”

She takes her cart, turns around and mumbles “Why should I say excuse me when….”

I did not hear her final words.

People are looking at me. As soon as I make eye contact with them, they turn around and carry on with their business. Gracie is still standing there, fidgeting with her hands.

I calm myself down, turn to Gracie “Okay, you ready to pay for our items?”

Gracie throws up her hands “What the heck just happened?”

Now, what I wanted to say is “Well, you just had your first encounter with an entitled Bitch.”

However, what I said instead was “The lady was rude, and I used my voice.”

Well, I was not done yet. Instead of going directly to the cashier, I wanted to find this woman. I wanted to have a word with her one on one. I wanted to tell her “You threw a little hissy fit in front of my autistic daughter. Do you even know what it took for her to come out today without any of her siblings?”

I looked for her. Gracie had no idea I was looking for her but I did. It’s probably best I did not find her, because, between you and I, I was still mad.

With all that being said, let me put this out there. I know sometimes shopping, specifically at Walmart, can be anything but relaxing. You will encounter quite the diverse crowd. What I need some people to understand is that many many times, there is more going on behind the scenes.

Be kind.

Just be kind.


Ooops I did it again…

I drive the scenic route to take Vinnie to school every day. It took me awhile to figure out the best route to take, based on traffic and the logistics of dropping Gracie off. The scenic route involves driving through a multi-million dollar community on narrow winding roads that eventually takes you down to Redondo Beach. After spread sheets and stop watches, we decided the scenic route was the way to go.

Redondo Beach is a small community that borders on my town and the town that Vinnie’s school is in. There is a boardwalk about a mile long, the beautiful Puget Sound on one side, and beautiful yet simple beach houses on the other.

There is one stop light in town. A “Salty’s Resturant” and a cute little stand-alone coffee shop. There is also a questionable looking shack that claims it offers seafood, but I think I am going to stay away from that one.

On any given day the boardwalk is full of people and dogs. On days like today where we hit 82 degrees, you will find people sitting on the beach. This place is seriously my heaven on earth.

I told Vinnie I want to live there. Apparently, it is also a retirement community (so he says) but I do not care, I want to live there and already picked out my house.

Every day, when I make the short ten-minute commute, as soon as my car rounds the corner, and we make the descent to Redondo, I am happy. In a way, it’s almost magical. One of these days I am going to make the walk on the boardwalk while grabbing a coffee from the stand-alone coffee stand, and walk my dog, Jack.

Of course, a few things have to happen first.

Summer! While the girls are enjoying their summer break, Vinnie still has to go to school. Redondo Beach is the perfect place to go on magical adventures while Vinnie is killing it in school.

Also, I need a dog, because for some reason I just cannot see any of my cats allowing me to put them on a leash while walking the boardwalk. My poor cat would make a jump into Puget Sound, so I just need a dog. A dog named Jack.

Lastly, I need to get my arms in shape because I cannot be walking the boardwalk wearing my traditional black jacket because I hate my arms.

Speaking of my arms….

Sofia had her afterschool program today. On these days I do not pick her up until 5:15. Sometimes I just hang out at the school and wait for her. Today was not one of those days. I had a busy day of dropping off kids, picking them up, cleaning, phone calls, you know the drill.  Since I was not at the school today, I really did not put any effort into my appearance. No makeup, messy hair and a tank top. Specifically a white tank top with a black bra. I could have been an extra on the show “Cops” or “People of Walmart.” It is important to note I have a love/hate relationship with tank tops. I love them in this 80-degree weather we had today, I hate them because I do not always think they are an appropriate attire to wear in public. It’s a #JenLogic thing.

Well, I figured I was not going to see anyone today. My day would be spent driving and cleaning. I will make the tank top work and hopefully get some sun. I pull up into the school parking lot with about twenty minutes to spare before Sofia comes out. I park my car in front of the school so Sofia cannot miss me. I have “Imagine Dragons” blaring from the radio, but that is okay because no one is out there. I am Facebooking and waiting.

Shortly thereafter, a certain “click” of teachers come out, one of them being Sofia’s teacher.

Crap! I think to myself “Do not make eye contact. Do not make eye contact, Look busy, Do not make eye contact.” So, I don’t. While they are carrying on their conversation, I continue to listen to my music while waiting for Sofia. I do not want to see anyone, I do not want to talk to anyone. I look like hell, and although it sounds irrational, I do not want any teachers to see me in a tank top. #JenLogic

Naturally, Sofia is the last one to come out, because she had to use the restroom.

I wave to Sofia, she comes to the car and we are good….so I thought.

Before I knew it Sofia’s teacher makes his way to the car. I see him walking, but hope he does not see me. I tell Sofia “Hurry up, we have to go, I really do not want to talk to anyone!”

Sofia, of course, takes her time getting in the car.

Next thing I know her teacher has his head in my passenger’s side window.


I try to cover up. Cover up what, I am not exactly sure, but I am out of my comfort zone. He is chatting, it’s all good, but I do not like the way I feel about my arms or the fact that I most likely look like a washed up housewife who may have just turned a trick or two.

We all say our goodbyes, I drive off and, well, I realize I am being stupid. Like seriously stupid. If I do not like my arms, then I need to do something about it. Me complaining about my arms and wearing coverups will not change anything, me being proactive and doing what I know I need to do to get my arms in shape, well that will bring change. “Be the change you want to see.” Yeah, my change is to have Michelle Obama arms.

We come home. I give Sofia dinner, dinner which she did not eat, because, hello, I suck at cooking. She made pizza bites instead.

I decide to go take a shower.

My bathroom is huge. It can seriously fit five people and three cats comfortably. Not that I have tried the people thing, but the cat thing totally works. My bathroom is also in the very back of my apartment. Safley secure away from all the happenings in the front. Far enough away to where, hmmmm, like if I were to fall or something, no one would hear me. Except one of my cats.

I am in the bathroom. I decide what better time than now to start getting my arms in shape. Once again, I will explain. I am a firm believer in pushups. I believe it is one of the best exercises you can do to work your entire body. I am also a realist and know that someone like me has to start off with “counter pushups.” Just as effective, the only difference in counter pushups you are literally only working your arms, but it does work.

Counter pushups it is!

I clear my bathroom counter and get to work. 1-2-3-…………11-12-13……I am really feeling it. My arms are burning, but that is what we want. Feel the burn! Proper form! I got this, I got this, I got this……I  have Blue Oyter Cults’ “Burnin For You” playing on my phone, because you know, it seems appropriate.

and then, somehow, my arms slipped off the counter.

Before my very eyes, while looking at myself in the mirror, thinking I look all cute as I am doing the counter pushups, I lost my grip. I am inclined to say it was from water that Joe did not wipe up from when he shaved, but between us, it was most likely from the condesation of my vodka and diet coke that I had sitting on said counter.

I fell hard. It was by the grace of God that I did not bust my chin on the counter, otherwise instead of making cookies at the school tomorrow,  I would be at the dentist being fit for dentures. My elbow hit the tile, my legs did some weird sort of contortment thing, which in any other scenario would be pretty bad ass. I seriously could not move.

My cat is looking at me, she is looking at me in a way that says “dumbass, that’s what you get.”

My phone along with my vodka and diet is still on the counter. I cannot reach either. I am seriously going to die on the bathroom floor while doing counter pushups, and if my cat does not get out, she will soon feed on my dead, lifeless body, because apparently that is what cats do, and if you do not believe me, Google, but Google at your own risk.

Slowly and painfully I turn myself on to my back. Everything hurts. I am by myself, just me and my cat, my cat who looks hungry.

I must have been laying there a good twenty minutes. Shout out to Joe for checking on me. #Sarcasm.

I am in this alone, good arms or not, none of that matters now. My phone, which is still on the counter, is playing the soundtrack to “Karate Kid.”

Joe Esposito’s “Youre the Best Around” starts to play on my crappy old phone.

I got this. If Daniel Larusso can beat Johnny, then surely I can pull myself up off the bathroom floor.

Painfully, I make my way up.

I can already see the brusies forming.

Screw the tank tops.

Screw the Michelle Obama arms.

My ass goes straight to my closet and pulls out my favorite long sleeve Giants sweatshirt.

Lesson learned.

Do not try to fix what is not broken.

Because, in the end, the people that matter, they are the ones who have seen you at your worst, and they will already know, you are the best.

youre the best


Friday night coupons and fancy things….

Joe, Vinnie and I are standing in and around our open kitchen. It has not been an easy few days. Currently, we are in the middle of our most recent crisis, leaving the three of us trying to coordinate our schedules to make sure we are all on the same page at the same time.

In about half an hour, I am dropping Vinnie off at work, while Joe stays home with the girls, making sure Sofia does not eat one too many bags of “Hot Cheetos.”

On the kitchen counter is a coupon book I received as a gift for the most recent school fundraiser I put together. It’s a nice size book that contains many local and national coupons. Everything from fast food chains, restaurants, and even car rentals. I am thinking McDonald’s sounds good. As I am flipping through the pages, Joe and Vinnie are now talking about work. The Chef at Vinnie’s restaurant dropped him off the other night. It sounds like the Chef has taken Vinnie under his wing. I am impressed.

As I am flipping through the coupon book, I notice two coupons for the very restaurant Vinnie works at. Excitedly, I interrupt Joe and Vinnie’s conversation.

“Look! I have two coupons for your restaurant!”

Vinnie is standing there, with a deadpan look on his face.

Joe picks up on my excitement.

“You do? What kind of coupons?”

Vinnie, nor his face, has moved.

I may have jumped up and down a bit in my excitement of coupons.

“You and your guest are cordially invited to enjoy one complimentary entree of your choice with the purchase of a Lunch or Dinner Entree of equal or lesser value.”

Joe comes a little closer to me, looking over my shoulder as if I would make up the coupons for Vinnie’s restaurant.

“Let me see that. We should go. What is an entree?”

Vinnie takes his hands and runs them through his hair. A move he does when he is both frustrated and/or stressed, yet he still says nothing.

“You know, an entree is a fancy name for food, they just call it an entree in fancy places.”


Joe goes off on a small rant about how the English language has too many words that mean the same thing.

“And look you guys, the other coupon is for $5.00 off of your lunch check or $10.00 off of your dinner check. We could do it Friday, take the girls?”

Vinnie continues to stand in one place. Looking at me, back to Joe, back to me.

Sofia and Gracie emerge from their bedroom.

“You guys want to go eat at Vinnie’s restaurant on Friday?”

Sofia~ “What kind of food do they have?”
Gracie~ “Vinnie’s restaurant? I thought he just washes dishes?”

My lovely daughters.

Vinnie is now pacing back and forth while still running his hands through his hair.

“Mom, this place is fancy. It’s not like Denny’s or Shari’s. They have a fireplace and make everything homemade. And there’s a lot of white people there, people who look like that show you watch where they are always fighting.”

(He is referring to the Real Housewives of New York.)

“I mean it’s cool you guys want to come, but can you please leave the coupons at home, or at least not tell anyone I am your son.”

I know feel as if I am in the middle of an old episode of “Roseanne.”

“Vinnie! Give us more credit than that, we are not going to come into your restaurant expecting the “Blue Light Special” on the pasta primavera. We got this!”

Joe is now confused.
Sofia is rummaging through the fridge for food.
Gracie is rolling her eyes at us all.

“Mom, seriously, I mean this place is not going to be my career or anything, but I would like to move up at some point.”

Silently, I am laughing inside. I am proud of this kid. It’s also fun to mess with him. Sometimes he makes it so easy. Although, next time, I should probably clue Joe in.

“Vinnie, I am very familiar with your restaurant. One Friday night about seventeen years ago, Me, Christin, Alphonso and Pat, we kinda took over the bar at your restaurant. I mean we did not mean to, but yeah, many years ago, your mother, well, she kinda ran that place for one Friday night.”

Both Vinnie and Joe are looking at me.

In unison, they take a step back. Most likely for different reasons, but they took a step back.

“What happened Friday night?”
“You never told me about this?”

To be continued…….