Friday, August 28, 2015

Super Summer Guest Post: Beth Blacker of Call Me Crazy

     I am very pleased to introduce to you today my last summer guest blogger, Beth Blacker….Call Me Crazy (gotta love the name of her site!!). I "met" Beth through Facebook when she messaged me about post that I wrote. We have been talking ever since, and I was delighted to learn that she lives in Florida! Being mid-lifers, we share very similar experiences in growing up, marriage and raising kids. When I checked out her blog, I found it to be funny and totally relatable. Which means you'll like her as much as I do! In today's post about raising teens,  young adults and questioning our parenting skills, I found myself nodding in agreement over the three points if activities that a mom usually finds herself doing…..see if you agree!

     Please welcome Beth to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love. Thanks!


While these lyrics were written over 55 years ago, there's no arguing they still hold true today...well, except us parents thinking we were really all that perfect. But still, there's no denying, the problems seem to be exponentially greater than previous generations.
Can I hear a hell ya?????
Don't leave me hanging people.
Anyway, a recent conversation with my daughter went something like this:
Daughter: Hey, I just thought I'd let you know that my wallet was stolen and the AMEX card I have that is connected to your account was in it.
Me: Did you call AMEX and report it as stolen?
Daughter: No, that's why I'm calling you.
Me: I gave you the card because I consider you responsible enough to manage all aspects of it and that does include calling to report it stolen.
Daughter: I'm really busy.
Me: And so am I. Make the call.
Daughter: I've never called AMEX before.
Me: There's a first time for everything. By the way, when was it stolen?
Daughter: Yesterday.
Me: Seriously? Why didn't you call yesterday?
Daughter: I told you I'm really busy.
Me: You do understand that in the past 24 hours the person that stole it may have charged a bazillion things?
Daughter: What do people like in omelets?
Me: What?
Daughter: I'm in charge of craft services this week, I'm at the grocery store and need to get stuff to make omelets.
Me: I think we're you, bye bye
A few days later my son finally sat down to write his thank you cards for the graduation gifts he received and this conversation took place...
Son: How do you address an envelope?
Me: You're kidding right?
Son: No, can't you just tell me without making a big deal about it.
Me: You're kidding right? 
Son: Mom!
Me: Son! 
Son: Mom stop!
Me: No you stop!
Son: Oh my G-d you're ridiculous
Me: No you're ridiculous
Yep, call me crazy but...I could have continued that forever.
However, at some point I did actually stop and started to feel like I have totally failed as a parent. I mean if my 21 year old daughter doesn't know how to call a credit card company and my 18 year old son doesn't know how to address an envelope I need to seriously re-evaluate what exactly it was that I was doing with them all of these years.
I know they are both really smart and I'm not sharing these stories to embarrass them, but attention to the common sense details of life just seem to be escaping their entire generation. I suppose one could argue that there will come a point in time when their smart phones will be so smart that they won't have to worry about such mundane tasks and everything will magically happen for them thanks to some app created, no doubt, by a 16 year old. For now, though, what's a mother to do?
Well, this mom usually ends up...
#1 - Counting to 10 or practicing some serious yoga breathing whenever one of my kids asks me to help them with something I think they are more than capable of handling but clearly are looking for me to just deal with it. This usually leads to...
#2 - Inserting humor...well, more like sarcasm...into the situation. In my mind, most of these moments call for laughter. My kids, however, tend not to appreciate my sense of humor/sarcasm which means they press on and I'm left with...
#3  - Looking at the clock to determine if it is too early for alcohol.  That doesn't really help them much but at that point, I'm good.
Look, I was raised to be a very independent, stand on my own two feet kind of gal. My parents were relatively hands off until it was really obvious I had run out of options for how to maneuver my way through a particular situation. It has, I believe, served me very well in life. I tried to more or less raise my kids the same way.
Society, though, has messed with that plan big time.
The sense of entitlement surrounding my children's generation is astounding and the overwhelming number of distractions that take them away from dealing with a task at hand is absurd to say the least. I'm not sure any amount of deep breathing, witty comebacks or it's 5 o'clock somewhere behavior will solve the problem. Unfortunately, I don't have the answers and feel like I am left with just crossing my fingers so tightly I am cutting off my circulation.
A week before the conversation with my daughter, I witnessed the filming of her senior thesis. I've mentioned before in a previous blog that she is a student at Florida State's Film School, a very intense and highly competitive program. I have listened to countless conversations about the grueling schedule and demands, seen the end result in her sophomore and junior year projects, but being on set with her for 3 days watching her take control of a crew of about 30 other film students, actors and volunteers? I was blown away!
And yet the conversation about her wallet still happened a week later.
I had dinner with a friend the other night and as I shared my feelings with her about these types of situations, here's the conversation that pursued...
Friend:  How many times have you found yourself without any toilet paper after you've already gone to the bathroom and how does it make you feel?
Me:  Ummm...where's this going?
Friend:  Think about amount of shaking, jiggling, whatever is going to make you feel good about the situation you are in. 
Me:  Uh huh
Friend:  So what do you do? 
Me:  Yell to my husband to bring me another roll.
Friend:  But what if he's not around?
Me:  Swear at myself for not looking before I sat down.
Friend:  Exactly but hopefully not make the same mistake repeatedly right?
Me: One would hope.
Friend:  Bottom line, most young adults aren't going to realize just how important it is to take care of the little things until they really are left to their own devices. If your daughter's wallet ever gets lost or stolen again, she'll probably call you again until everything in her wallet is hers and hers alone. Your son, on the other hand, will no doubt remember now how to address an envelope.
Me:  Again, one would hope.
Until then, I have alcohol ;)
That's it for now...#BlackerOut!


Beth Blacker is the Director of Strategic Relationships and Community Outreach for OJ Mortgage in Clearwater, FL. She also considers herself a networking "maven" and strives to help every business person she connects with grow and succeed. A native Michigander (Go Blue!), she has lived in NYC where she pursued a career in food service, Louisville where she pursued a Southern accent and now currently lives in Tampa where she just wants to snuggle with her rescue Beagle, Gavin, and have a glass of wine at the end of the day. Oh and she has two kids who are both in college (Go Empty Nesters!) plus her man child husband who really keeps her on her toes. Her blog, Beth Blacker...Call Me Crazy, is her way to keep everything in her life a little more real one day at a time. Follow her on FacebookTwitterPinterest,Instagram and LinkedIn. And you can also find her on Google+ but not that often even though she has been told repeatedly how much it will help with SEO. 

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA?? This week you can catch my featured posts on Mock Mom:   and Better After 50:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fly On The Wall In A Home For Lunatics

     Welcome to another edition of the Fly On The Wall group posts, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today 14 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you'd see if you were a fly on the wall in their homes.

     There are days when I feel like I'm living with lunatics, but let's be honest---life would be pretty dull around here if I didn't have my crazy family around to give me the inspiration for my blog posts. Here are a few snippets of conversation that were floating around my house this week. Yeah, I know…the fly is shaking his head at me, too.

"I can't sleep. I'm thinking about coleslaw."
"You're hungry?"
"No, I just wanna know why it's called 'Coleslaw' instead of 'Coldslaw.'
"You woke me at 2:00 a.m. to ask me about coleslaw??"
"Yeah, because it's bothering me."
"I have the answer. It's called GOOGLE."

"Throwing up while wearing a mouth guard is right up there on the list of the worst things that I've had happen to me. "

"Have you seen my mind? I think I've lost it."
"Yes, you left it at the hospital after the last kid was born."

"That dog turns into a piranha pug when she sleeps in our bed. If you accidentally bump into her, she snaps. I'm too afraid to reach down and grab the covers because I might lose a limb and end up with nothing but a stub for an arm."

"I'm fat."
"I'm chafed."
"That sounds like a law firm to me. 'Got into an auto accident? Call Fat and Chafin.' Injury at work? Call the lawyers at Fat and Chafin'….. 1-800-CHUBS.'"

"Shopping at a discount grocery store that has potato chips in the same aisle with dairy products is like having an enema without the tube. Nothing is in the right place."

"We're almost empty nesters but we can't get the last egg out of the nest. It just keeps rolling back in."

"Why aren't you dancing?"
"Because I need to poop, and I'm afraid if I jiggle too hard, something is going to fall out."

"The folds of fat on my body have a dual purpose. They serve as a storage shelf for peanut M&Ms. Melt in your mouth, not in your fat fold."

"Forget calling that wedding picture you just posted on your Facebook wall as your 'Throw Back Thursday' photo. That picture should be called your 'Throw Back to the Jurassic Era photo'."

And that, folks, is just another day in the lunatic house that I call home.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA??? Just like the fly, I've been buzzing around a lot of different websites this week, sharing the funny. Here is where you can catch more of my nonsense:

*VIBRANT NATION: A Mother's Advice To Her Son On The Eve Of His Departure For College
*SAMMICHES & PSYCH MEDS: 8 People I Love To Hate At The Gym…/
*TEN TO TWENTY PARENTING: 6 Good Things About Raising Teen Boys
*DAM BLOGGERS: A Mother's Advice To Her Son On The Eve Of His Departure For College:
*THE GLASS HOUSE GIRLS: **The sequel to the boys, this one is "A Letter To My Daughter On The Eve Of Her Departure For College:

<<<<IN OTHER NEWS>>>>  My book, "Who Stole My Spandex?" is going to be reprinted---a second edition---which was picked up by the publishing house Booktrope!! I'm over the moon happy about this----it's something I've been hoping would happen for a long time. I'm looking forward to this next step as a writer and will post updates as we ride along on this crazy and wonderful publishing journey. Thank you ALL for the love and support you have given me. Meno Mama would not exist without you!!  <<HUGS>>

Please stop by and read all the funny Fly On The Wall posts by my sisters in humor:

htt                          Baking In A Tornado                          Spatulas on Parade                          Follow me home                          Menopausal Mother                                   Never Ever Give Up Hope                                  Just A Little Nutty                                        The Momisodes                            Someone Else’s Genius                                  Sanity Waiting to Happen                      Southern Belle Charm                       Searching for Sanity                              Juicebox Confession                                           Go Mama O                                      Dinosaur Superhero Mommy   

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Mother's Advice To Her Son On The Eve Of His Departure For College

  It's hard to believe that you'll soon be heading off to college. This is the moment your father and I have been preparing you for, but that doesn't make it any easier to let you go. It has been an honor guiding you through the first eighteen years of your life.

     Although I’m excited to see you begin this new chapter, I can’t help but think of the void you’ll leave behind. I’ll miss the army of teenagers that followed you home to camp out on our sofas and rummage through our pantry. With the amount of food eaten and the space taken up, I could have charged more than Motel 6 on a Saturday night.

      I'm also going to miss playing mattress tag with Mr. Insomnia during those long nights when you skipped your curfew. I really enjoyed checking my phone every five minutes for a text and watching the news for accident updates in our area. God knows,  you've entertained me for years with exciting games such as "No officer, I didn't mean to drive seventy miles per hour through a school zone" and "Let's hop on a bus bound for Orlando without telling Mom." If I hadn't experienced those heart stopping moments, I never would have discovered how easily gray hair can be covered up with blonde dye. 

      You’ve always kept me on my toes and challenged my patience when it came to household chores. A bathroom with algae growing in the shower. Milk cartons and soggy gym shorts emitting foul odors from under your bed. Without a sink full of crusty dishes and a mile-high pile of dirty clothes, I'll have far too much time on my hands. This might be the perfect time to turn our empty nest into an alpaca farm.

       Before the chaos of moving day begins, I'd like to leave you with some parting words:

     Eat healthy. Visit the salad bar more than once a week to counteract the mass quantities of burgers, pizza and chicken wings you are sure to inhale. But stock up on peanut butter and bread----you never know when the daily special at the cafeteria will be calves' liver and Brussels sprouts.

     Good hygiene is important. Do not forgo the shower and coat yourself in Axe body spray to mask the smell of your morning jog. Antibacterial soap was invented for a reason.

     It will also be helpful to keep a box of Q-tips handy at all times. Girls will notice if you're farming sweet potatoes in your ears. The same goes for your teeth. Always floss and brush. It's not normal for your teeth to look and feel like they're wearing sweaters. And, for the love of God, don't forget to trim your toenails. Unless you plan on joining a commune of nocturnal creatures, your nails shouldn't resemble the Hobbit’s feet.

     Be courteous to others. Obey the campus noise ordinance rule and keep the volume of your music down. Even though you own speakers the size of box cars, this does not give you license to play rap music loud enough to make the Resident Assistant's ears bleed. If the bass vibrations are causing the paint to peel from your walls, it's time to lower the noise a few decibels.

     Another thing about being courteous---it doesn't matter if you have the appetite of a Viking--- you don't need to prove this by entering every binge eating contest on campus (especially the ones involving beans). This is not the way to start a friendship with the guy you'll be sharing a twelve-by-fifteen-foot dorm room with. Methane gas explosions are grounds for solitary confinement in an underground bunker.
  Sexual relationships. The safest sex is NO sex, but until they invent a male chastity belt, this advice cannot be repeated enough: USE CONDOMS PROPERLY. Don't inflate them into giraffes or ribbed monkeys for the party crowd. This will not impress the ladies.

      Don't give in to peer pressure. No matter what anyone tells you, chugging shots of Tobasco sauce on a dare by your frat buddies will NOT score you popularity points. You'll forever be known as the gullible freshman who spent quality time on the crapper screaming, "FIRE IN THE HOLE!"

     Be grateful for what you have.  It doesn't matter if your friends are driving new Mustangs or tricked-out trucks that belong in a Monster Jam show. There's no shame in driving a 1999 Honda Odyssey with missing hubcaps, as long as the engine still runs. Look on the bright side—at least your Flintstone mobile has a floorboard and a gas pedal.

       Budget your money wisely. If your beer expenses exceed your yearly tuition, you're doing it wrong.

       Maintain a clean living space. Empty the trash regularly. Discard old pizza crusts hidden under your bed before they become an all-you-can-eat bug buffet. German cockroaches and bull ants are NOT considered exotic pets.

        Another word of advice: If your bathroom looks like a petri dish experiment gone awry and smells like a dumpster behind a Chinese restaurant, it's time for a hazmat suit and a bottle of bleach to attack the fungus growing around your toilet. 

        Study, study, study. This MUST come before you party, party, party. or else you'll flunk, flunk, flunk.

        Don't rush into a romantic relationship with the first coed you meet. Enjoy your freedom and date a variety of girls until you find the right one. It doesn't matter how pretty she is or whether or not she can ride the mechanical bull longer than seven seconds. Sharing several rounds of tequila with a woman you hardly know will land your ass at a drive-thru wedding chapel in Las Vegas.
   Always be prepared. Stock up on Gatorade, aspirin, and potato chips—the trifecta of hangover remedies. Keep a pillow in your backpack at all times, too. You never know when you might end up sleeping on a fraternity house roof in your best friend's bath tub.

         Don't do stupid shit. If you participate in an office chair relay race down a major highway, don't expect me to post your bail. Knowing your fondness for lighter fluid and matches, just remember that it's all fun and games until someone tosses a homemade flame thrower on the Dean's front lawn.

        Cherish your good friends. These are the buddies who will pick you up at 5:00 a.m. from a dive bar on the outskirts of town. And they'll never tell a soul that you were wearing Hello Kitty duct tape underwear when they found you passed out on the bathroom floor.

       Always keep your sense of humor. If you wake one morning to Post-it Notes covering your bedroom walls and your vehicle cocooned in bubble wrap, learn to laugh it off. Knowing you as I do, your roommates will find out soon enough what the true meaning of karmic retribution is.

 Your father and I are thrilled to see you test your independence with the tools you've been given. We love you so much and we're proud of you. We also have every confidence in your abilities and judgment. But if you do happen to get caught with a flame thrower on the Dean's lawn, please call your siblings to post your bail. Your father and I will be too busy running with the bulls at the AARP convention in Kalamazoo.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? This has been a crazy week for me----I've been hopping all around the internet! I'm honored to have several posts featured on three different sites this time--- YAY!  First up was my toddler post on Mom Babble which you can read here: Next up was my Neighbors From Hell post that BLUNTmoms picked up, which you can also read here: And lastly, my post, "The Box", was featured on The Good Mother Project, which you can read here:

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Neighbors From Hell

      I love my neighborhood. The majority of families on my street are friendly and helpful. We’ve been through hurricanes together, survived marital squabbles, conquered a flu epidemic, and dealt with a bout of head lice that kept everyone quarantined and scratching their heads for months.

There is a cozy feeling of unity among us, and I’m fortunate to live in such a peaceful community. But it wasn’t always this way. I once lived next to psycho neighbors who snipped our Christmas lights, poisoned our plants, and filmed us whenever we ventured outside. The day those whackadoodles moved was the day I did a little happy dance in the yard as their U-Haul pulled away from the curb.

They say fences make good neighbors. This is especially true if you’re dealing with any of these characters on your block:

The Nosy Neighbors. These people spy on the comings and goings of everyone on the street. They know what you ate for dinner, who your favorite drinking buddies are, where your kids spent the night, and how much you spent to sod your yard. A ten-foot fence isn’t high enough to keep their nose out of your business.

The Partiers. I love a good party, just not at 3:00 a.m., right outside my bedroom window. Loud karaoke, swimming pools, and cheap booze do not mix.

The Trash Collector. This neighbor’s yard is the eyesore of the street. His property is a graveyard for broken-down cars, rust-bucket boats, and dilapidated trailers, all hiding in grass that hasn’t seen a mower since the Clinton administration. If you’re looking for a used stove or refrigerator, you’ll find plenty on his front lawn.

The Noise Maker. Oblivious that some people actually need sleep, this guy starts revving his diesel truck well before the sun comes up, eliminating the neighborhood’s need for alarm clocks. He also mows his lawn, trims the hedges, and pressure cleans the house before you’ve had your first sip of coffee. Somebody needs to slip a Valium into this joker’s cup of java.

The Pot Stirrers. These troublemakers have too much time and alcohol on their hands, and they thrive on stirring up trouble. Their goal is to pit neighbor against neighbor and husband against wife by spreading lies and nasty rumors. Obviously they missed their true calling—as scriptwriters for Telemundo soaps.

The Pet Hoarders. Forget stamp collecting. These people collect unneutered dogs and cats, who roam the streets and mate faster than mice in a pet store. These flea-infested pets howl and bark all night, keeping the entire block awake.

If you have neighbors like this, my advice is that you install air gun turrets on your roof and keep watch with night vision goggles and an infrared scope. Welcome to the neighborhood!

*This post originally appeared on In The Powder Room and in my book, Who Stole My Spandex? 

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I'm up on The Huffington Post this week AND Vibrant Nationtalking about the Eight Things I Never Knew About Raising Adult Children. You can read it here: and here:


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