Monday, April 29, 2013

Kids and the Zombie Apocalypse

Out of all the scary monsters, I like zombies the best. Many of you already know that I am kind of a chicken shit (re: My Dark Secret), but I'm learning to face my fears. From "Night of the Living Dead" to "Dawn of the Dead" to "Shaun of the Dead," The Hub and I have seen our fair share of cheesy and scary movies. We are die hard "The Walking Dead" fans. We've spent countless hours talking about how an outbreak could possibly happen. We also have a pretty decent zombie apocalypse survival plan. We've discussed what we'll need, where we'll go, how we'll get there, and who we want on our team. On the surface, we look pretty prepared. But, let's be honest here. If a zombie apocalypse ever happens, we won't survive. We have kids.

Top 7 Ways Our Kids Will Get Us Killed in a Zombie Apocalypse

1. Food: If I have a hard time convincing my kids to eat regular food, there is no way I'm going to get them to eat grubs and wild mushrooms once our supplies run out. "Honey, eat your squirrel before it gets cold." I can hear the whining already... and so will the zombies. Mark my words, I will be bitten while searching for the last remaining box of Cheerios.

2. Volume Control: Ever try to watch a movie with a 3 year old? How about sit through a family wedding with a fussy toddler on your lap? How often can you make a phone call in peace? Now consider what it will be like when you are hiding in an old abandoned house with a hoard of zombies near by and even the slightest squeak will call attention to your location. Do you really think a three year old will sit quietly for mommy? Not mine. Even if I bribe her with the last Twinkie on earth, my noisy kid will give us away.

3. Speed: It takes an average of 20 minutes to get the kids out of the house and into their car seats on a regular day. If we need to leave our safe house during the zombie apocalypse, our kids will still lose a shoe, forget their blankie or favorite toy (which will cause tantrums galore... see #2), or fuss about sitting in their car seats. A zombie could easily bite one of us on the butt while we're struggling to buckle a seat bealt. Some of you will say, "Forget the seat belts and get in the car!" With zombies crowding the streets, seat belts are of the utmost importance. Haven't you seen "Zombieland?"

4. Hiding: Both my kids are scared of the dark. They cannot go to sleep unless we plug in four nightlights and turn on the hall light. If we do that during a zombie apocalypse and we might as well hang a "All You Can Eat" buffet sign over our front door. We're so screwed.

5. Going Unnoticed: If my kids see a zombified neighbor stumbling down the road, they will yell out, "Hey Mommy! Look! It's our neighbor! Hey neighbor! Let's say 'hi' to our neighbor, Mommy!" They do that all the time to me in the grocery store, especially when I just want to get a gallon of milk and get the hell out of there without being seen in grungy sweatpants and with a make-up free face.

6. Agility: Kids fall down. A lot. I'm not sure why kids have such horrible balance, but I've watched my kids fall down while standing still. If we have to make a mad dash and our kids are running with us, I guarantee one of us is going down. You see it all the time in the movies: A cute klutzy girl twists her ankle and some poor chump goes back to save her from the clutches of the undead only to become zombie chow. Well, our kids are the cute klutzy girls and we're the poor chumps.

Photo Credit:

7. Combat: We went to a birthday party at a bowling alley/arcade this past weekend. It had a large room for laser tag and both girls wanted to give it a try. The Hub took the girls into the dark room armed with oversized vests and laser guns. Our younger daughter clung to The Hub's leg and screamed. Our older daughter became disoriented and got lost behind a neon painted partition and cried for her daddy. He was so distracted with finding his kids, he was unable to ward off the crowd of seven year olds shooting laser beams at the target on his vest. If the laser tag debacle is any indication of how our kids will handle a battle with zombies, bite me... it's over.

So while it's fun to daydream about surviving a zombie apocalypse and believing we are smart enough, strong enough, and brave enough to outlive the masses, I really hope it doesn't happen. But, if it does, I hope it doesn't happen for at least another ten years. The kids should be ready by then.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Our Flag Was Still There

I pushed the full grocery cart through the parking lot with my two kids in tow. It was close to 6:00 P.M. and I was mentally checking my "To Do" list which included cooking, cleaning, packing, organizing and other tedious whatnots. The day was getting away from me fast.

"Mommy? Why is it so low?"

My eldest daughter, S, was looking past the car at the large American Flag in the Kroger parking lot. It was at half-mast.

"Oh, uh... they lowered it for the bombing in Boston."


Okay, mama....This is one of those learning moments... try to give her a good answer. "Well, it's the country's way of saying that we're sad. Many people were hurt yesterday. Some people even died. We lower the flag to let them know that the country supports them."

My youngest daughter, B, smiled her mischievous smile and said, "I want to touch it."

Knowing she would attempt to climb the pole to touch the flag if I let her get a step closer, I said, "No, you can't touch the flag. But, you can put your hand over your heart and say the Pledge of Allegiance. You know the pledge, right?"

So there we were, in the Kroger parking lot, hands over hearts, saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

On the drive home, S stated that she knows the American song.

'You mean the National Anthem?"

She tilted her head back and sang, "Oooooooooh say can you seeeeeeeee by the dawn's early lightttttt! What so proudly we hail by the gleaming stars!!!"

"Close, baby. I'll sing it for you." And I started singing. Badly. And I'm pretty sure I messed up a line or two. But, I was trying. I've sung The Star-Spangled Banner at ball games. I had to sing it a few times when I was in the elementary school chorus when the music teacher was forgiving and perhaps a little tone deaf. It's a hard song to sing. My girls giggled from the backseat when I hit a few sour notes. I didn't mind and kept going. Then I got to the line:

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

My eyes filled with tears. My voice cracked and I couldn't keep singing. I always get a little choked up when I hear that line and I could never figure out why. I guess I always thought it was the swell of the music and not the words that touched a nerve. But, today I finally figured it out.

Yesterday, The Hub called me when he heard the news about the Boston marathon bombing. It was still early and we knew less details than the little we know now. There were two bombs at the finish line. At the time, there were two deaths reported and many critical injuries which included severed limbs. This hit home for The Hub because he was born in Massachusetts. His entire family lives or has lived there at one time or another. When we came home from work, we ate dinner in front of the T.V. and watched the news reports. It was awful. It was scary. It was unreal. Once again, I had to explain to my little girls that the world is filled with evil people and sometimes bad things happen to good people and I don't know why. I fell asleep with fear in my heart again.

But, it was business as usual this morning. Get up, get ready, get the kids ready, get to work, do my job, drive home, get the kids, run errands and get ready for another day. Even though I listened to the radio shows talk about Boston and their feelings on the matter, I felt numb to it all. I suppose it was my way of moving on and "not letting the bad guy win." Maybe I didn't dwell on it because I was afraid I might jinx my good fortune for not being one of the victims. Maybe I just didn't want to believe that someone could wake up one morning and decide that today was a good day to hurt other people. It wasn't until I sang that line that it dawned on me why I wasn't scared to leave my house this morning and how I was able to keep on keeping on even though there was no way I could be certain that my world wouldn't end today.

Our flag was still there.

Francis Scott Key did not see the rocket's red glare and the bombs bursting in air as "the end." The light from the explosions lit up the night sky so he could see the flag. Every flash gave him a glimpse of hope. As long as that flag was there, we were still there. What a beautiful thought. Even in the most devastating moments, there is hope. The flag is a grand symbol of our county. The flag is also the grand symbol of us. The flag is the first responders who ran into the blast. The flag is the stranger holding another stranger on Boylston Street. The flag is a nation in mourning for the pain and suffering that was placed upon group of regular everyday people cheering on marathon runners and celebrating Patriot's Day. Whether it is a bomb burst, an airplane crash, a gun shot, or a freak accident, these tragedies light up the darkness and give proof that We, the People are still good. The flag is still there. As long as we stand together and help each other, we are still there.

I know our country is not perfect. There is a lot of feuding about what's fair and what's right. We are not in the best way financially and there are times when it doesn't seem like we're going to get out of the hole. Everyone has an opinion and there isn't a lot of compromise. We have a lot to work on.  But, we're a family. I love my family even though there are things I don't like about my family. But, heaven help anyone who tries to mess with my family. We might not be perfect, but we stand together when things get tough. The same brothers who throw punches at each other will band together and love each other. We are a big dysfunctional family and I am so very proud to be part of it. We will mourn the ones we lost yesterday. We will try to make sense of what happened and why. We will celebrate the heroes. We will try to find the bad guys and bring them to justice. We will carry on and remember what we learned from this horrific event. And with time, we will be fine.

To my brothers and sisters in Boston: We love and support you. We are still here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Letter to a Pound Pup

Dear New Pup,

Welcome to our home! I hope you like it here. I know this is a very exciting time for you. New smells, new people, new places to explore... I'm sure it can be a bit overwhelming. I'm going to be honest with you, I was a little nervous, too. With only a picture from the county shelter website and a brief introduction in the meeting area, we were really relying on first impressions and gut instinct. We don't know how you landed in doggie prison, other than you were wandering around in the wrong place at the wrong time. We posted your bail, paid for your spay, and promised we will take care of you for the rest of your life. By the way, we think you are about one or two years old so we're expecting to spend many years with you.

Doing hard time in the Big House
Bustin' out of the slammer

To make this transition easier for both you and the rest of the group, I thought I'd give you a heads up on the house rules.

1. Play with your human sisters. I know they are loud and run around like monkeys on crack, but they are good kids. They like to throw the tennis ball down the hall. Please play along and grab it. You'll get bonus points if you bring it back to them. Every once in a while, be sure to give them a lick. They love that stuff. I see that you've already claimed my youngest daughter as your favorite. My heart melted when you laid beside her when she had a little stomach virus this weekend and refused to leave her side. Good girl. You're a good girl.

2. I know you have a bad hind leg. We see the scars and the x-ray confirms you have pretty severe arthritis in your knee. They think you might have suffered blunt force trauma there at one point in your young age. Please be patent with us as we try to manage your pain and make the best decision as to how to make it better. The vet said we have a few options, but it's pretty much guaranteed that we'll have to amputate your hind leg when you get older. I know it sounds horrible, but you're already learning to not use that leg as much and I think you would really rock the tripod look. Whatever we have to do, we'll always place your comfort and quality of life as top priority. For now, we'll try the other options and see how that works for you.

3. With that being said, it looks like the couch and the end of our bed are off limits to you. I don't think it's a good idea for you to try to climb up on or off of those high places. Please don't think that because your older fur sister, Bailey Grace, sprawls out like a pampered princess on our furniture that she is the golden child. We love you both equally. Feel free to sleep in any room you wish. I'll move your bed around for you.

4. As soon as the staples from your spay are removed and we can take off "The Cone of Shame," be prepared for a really thorough bath. You still smell like prison. I want to wash the past out of your fur. Bailey loves baths and loves being toweled off even more. I hope you feel the same. If not, I'll be quick and avoid getting water in your eyes.

I pulled at my stitches. Now I wear the "Cone of Shame."

5. Be patient with Bailey. Even though she's almost two years old, she's still a stupid puppy. She lost her older fur brother, Malcolm Reynolds, five months ago and she really missed his company. She might get a little too rambunctious when she wants to play because he was twice her size and he could handle it. You are twenty pounds lighter than her so let her know when she gets to be too much. She might pout for a while, but she'll always look out for you, just like she does for her human family. Last night, you cried out in your sleep. Bailey jumped off the bed and laid with you until you settled down. Once she knew you were okay, she jumped back on the bed and fell asleep. She doesn't know what you went through to earn those horrible scars around your chest and across your back, but she'll be there to help you move on. P.S. She'll always give up her bone or tennis ball to you. She's kind of a wimp. Please don't take advantage of that. P.P.S. I don't get why she needs to sniff your butt as much as she does... if that bothers you, feel free to tell her to knock it off.

This happened for at least 3 hours the first day. Bailey, you're such a perv.

6. Don't eat anything that is not food. Just don't. I'll keep the house clean to eliminate the temptation, but do me a solid and stick to dog food.

7. At least pretend to feel guilty about farting. We all know it was you.

8. Remember to suck up to the extended family, our friends, the vet, and neighbors. Show them that you are a good dog with a gentle disposition. (I've seen it first hand and I know that even with the abuse from your past, you still love people. I don't know if I could be that forgiving.) They will be the first ones to speak up against the media driven stereotype of pit bulls and the fear of rescuing animals from a shelter. You're our second pit bull and our third rescue from our county shelter. If more people witness what amazing companions you truly are, maybe more of your kind will find good homes. I will do my part to be a good owner and together we'll change opinions one good interaction at a time.


I know it sounds like a lot, but we'll work with you while you get adjusted to your new life here. I'm sorry I don't know your real name. The family decided on the name "Sidney Ray." We chose "Ray" for your middle name, because since you entered our home, you have been a ray of sunshine. Thank you for you sweet kisses and little grunts when I walk through the door each day. Thank you for loving my daughters and checking on them when they cry. Thank you for keeping Bailey company while we are at work and school. Thank you for making the decision to adopt another dog an easy one.

Your New Mommy

**Please support your local animal shelter. I bet you it's full and many wonderful animals are running out of time. You can adopt, foster, or donate. Sidney Ray was adopted from Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in Lawrenceville, GA. Thank you to the Helping Animals at Gwinnett County Shelter
 facebook page for posting that picture of Sidney. You did more than just save an animal that day.

Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered. - Bob Barker