Tag Archives: humor

Hoosier’s Relaxing Retirement Takes Radical Turn

by Viv Sade

INDIANAPOLIS – So there I was, for the first time in my life, with seven other women who, for the first time in their lives, marched for a cause, surrounded by thousands of others — many who rallied for the first time in their lives — to join in solidarity on our promise to “never go back.”

It was the day after the presidential inauguration, Jan. 21, and we traveled two hours south to join other women (and many men and children) in a protest on the outside terrace and walkways of the State House in Indianapolis. We rallied in support of the main march in Washington, D.C., which drew between 440,000 and half a million people in support of women’s rights and against the Trump presidency. We were joined by hundreds of thousands of supporters from more than 60 countries and at cities throughout the U.S.

Turns out I was not alone in my fears for humanity. viv-sign-rally-1-21-17

It was a very peaceful, inspiring and, at times, emotional afternoon. But here’s the thing: I had numerous other things I would rather have been doing. What I resent the most about the Trump administration is not any of the hot topics that quickly come to the minds of the majority of people who voted against him (nearly 3 million, but who’s counting?)

After a major health crisis, I decided life was too short. I took an early retirement six months ago so I could spend time doing the things I love: hosting and attending get-togethers with family and friends, playing with my grandchildren, writing a novel, gardening, bird-watching, visiting wineries and reading the many books I have not yet had time to read.

At the age where I should be in a hammock somewhere — anywhere — warmer than Indiana, kicking back with a margarita (or two) and reading “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus,” I instead find myself forced into the role of an activist — attending rallies, joining women’s groups and calling state and national representatives every week to speak out on various issues. What the heck?

I got my first job at the age of 14 and, with the exception of a few short maternity leaves, have been working ever since, at times holding down two or three jobs at a time. I’ve been working and paying taxes for 50 years.

And then the Electoral College made Donald Trump President of the United States.

Damn it.

I wanted to take Garrison Keillor’s advice, which he outlined in a column shortly after the election: “…spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long , brisk walk and smell the roses.”jane-pam-rally-1-21-17

I tried, to no avail. For one thing, I don’t drink beer. For another thing, I live in northern Indiana where there’s a very small, climatic window for smelling roses.

Turns out I care about the rights of all people, no matter their race, ethnicity or birthplace. I don’t care what their choice of faith is, or isn’t, unless it harms others. (Think Leah Remini and her crusade against the Church Cult of Scientology, yet another cause which, alas, I feel compelled to join.) I care about the rights of relatives and friends in the LGBT community and often fear for their safety. I care about the quality of the air, water and land and protecting this beautiful world for future generations. I care about the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and other tribes who have been disrespected and disregarded for too long. And, don’t even get me started on the First Amendment.

You get my drift. There just aren’t enough margaritas or artisan beers to dispel my concerns. Sigh.

And, that’s how I found myself in Indianapolis with thousands of others on an unusually warm January day.

Regardless of the balmy, springlike weather, I bundled up like I was joining the entire population of Antarctica — 30 people — at their women’s rally. Because, more terrifying than thinking about the future effects of climate change, was the fact that I could not afford to get pneumonia, since the first thing the new president did was issue an executive death order to deep-six my and my husband’s ACA healthcare coverage.

“Give him a chance,” the pro-Trump people said. I was prepared to, but he effectively ended any chances within two hours of taking office.

That’s when I grabbed my walking stick and started marching.great-group-shot-1-21-17rally

 

 

 

 

 

Wild and Crazy: All in the Eyes of the Beholder

by Viv Sade

I am no so much bothered by getting old − I much prefer it to the alternative − but I am extremely bothered by getting boring.

Take tonight, the 64th anniversary of my husband’s birth in LaPorte, Indiana — Home of the Slicers (a required phrase after the word “LaPorte,” according to Indiana statute).

We decided to use some gift cards we received for Christmas and take in a movie and then dine at a local steakhouse — not something we do very often.  We were both psyched.

In the old days, on a date like this, we would have whispered sweet nothings to each other in the theatre, left without the faintest idea as to the name of the movie, had two or three cocktails at the restaurant, skipped dinner altogether and hurried home because we could barely keep our hands off of one another.

brian-viv-tacky-tourists-ps
The author and her husband no longer think it’s funny to pose as Tacky Senior Tourists, since they are now living as TSTs.

As it was, we went to an early afternoon matinée, got the senior discount, waited in a loooong line behind other cost-conscious Baby Boomers, and shuffled into the theater, complaining to one another that it must be Senior Cinema Discount Day — until we realized that we were the seniors.

The movie was good, but one man in the back of the theater laughed loudly at every scene, and since it was not a comedy, this began to annoy my husband. He would roll his eyes and grumble under his breath every time the man chortled, which made me laugh out loud, causing me to became the Second Inappropriate Laugher.

Most theaters now have nice, cozy recliners instead of those uncomfortable plastic bucket seats, which would have been nice in my youth, but these days, after I recline and use my coat as a blanket, I start to nod off just minutes into the previews.

We tried to identify the Inappropriate Laugher on the way out of the theater, but it was impossible. Besides, people were nudging each other and casting sideway glances in our direction, obviously identifying me as the Second Inappropriate Laugher, so we ducked our heads and scurried out.

On the way to the restaurant, I told my husband not to try and turn left unless he went to the nearby stoplight, which he did not do, and I inhaled sharply and might have screamed just a little as he pulled out in front of a truck and veered into the right lane. He yelled and forbade me from ever breathing or inhaling loudly — or for God’s sake, screaming — anytime he is driving.

It unnerves him, he said.

Not as much as pulling into four lanes of heavy traffic unnerves me, I thought but did not say. It was his birthday, after all.

Alive against all odds and seated in the restaurant, I ordered the sirloin steak dinner and the spouse ordered grilled swordfish, since beef always precludes a bout of no-doubt gout.

It was good, except that the Chef’s Special swordfish came with a side dish of white beans and kale. I’m a kale lover, but my husband often refers to the leafy green as “punishment.” So when I saw the fish atop a heap of beans and kale, I laughed, even as he narrowed his eyes and stared longingly at my loaded baked potato. I instinctively moved it closer to my side of the table.

On the drive home, we both looked at the dash clock in awe. By the time we drove the 20 miles or so home and pulled into our driveway, it was exactly 5:05 p.m. What a lurid night — well, afternoon, really — of debauchery and reckless adventure!

This led to a Senior Reminisce Moment. Remember when we would drink too many gin and tonics, sit on the same side of the booth in restaurants, forget to eat, stay up talking and laughing until 3 in the morning and then go to work three hours later?

Collective sigh from the two young-at-heart seniors in the front seat of the Buick LeSabre parked in their driveway.

As it was, we roused ourselves from our melancholy and simultaneously gave each other “that look.” We both knew what the other yearned for and wanted so badly. We could not wait a minute more to get into the house, run to the bedroom, tear our clothes off and …

… put on our pajamas and slippers and watch the latest episode of “Shameless.”

 

 

 

 

 

Pillow talk leads to marital discord

by viv sade

My day does not go smoothly if the bed is not made to perfection every morning.

The guy who lives with me — only ’cause I guess that’s what married people do (who knew?)— would crawl out of the same heap of sweaty sheets and covers every day of the year and never smooth the linens, fluff the pillows, straighten the comforter or arrange the decorative pillows if he had his way. He would never, ever launder them.

“Why? We’re just going to mess them up again in 16 hours,” he says with real sincerity.

Bed making is a habit instilled in me by a mother who grew up during the Great Depression and had few luxuries like sheets, pillowcases or bedspreads. She would spend the rest of her life buying an excessive amount of linen while honing —  and teaching her children — the fine art of dscn5389quality bed making.

Here’s the rule: The first one downstairs in the morning feeds the cats and cleans out the litter box. The last one out of the bed makes the bed.

I am an early riser and the Significant Other is a late nighter so the bed making usually falls to him. He is not happy about this.

He reasons that while sustaining life (as in feeding the cats) is a necessity, making the bed is not. Besides, as he often points out, there are enough pillows to equip an entire Army Guard infantry regiment.dscn5386

The Sig Other is of the same opinion as Hoosier comedian Jim Gaffigan when it comes to making beds: “Making the bed is like re-tying your shoelaces after removing your shoes.”

I quit listening to S.O.’s grumblings years ago, so when I recently redecorated, he resorted to leaving notes stating his displeasure at the new comforter and decorative pillows.

The first note said, “I have had no formal training on what to do with this pillow. Zero!”pillow-note-bg

He later decided to rearrange the pillows according to his Man Eye, which is useless when it comes to chic decor concepts.

Instead of the casual, yet symmetrical combination of colors, textures and placement that I had pre-approved, he had mixed clashing hues and fabrics in an asymmetrical jumble.

My OCD went into overdrive. But since I also have ADD, it didn’t last long. pillow-talk

Our intimate, heartfelt pillow talks have continued over the years, although admittedly we have never resolved this issue.

Our pillow talks usually morph into colorful — yet chic and asymmetrical —pillow fights, and always end with S.O.’s astonished cry of, “You’ve got to be kidding me — another $#@%ing pillow?!”

 

 

 

 

Paleo vegetarian serves up a lot of BS

by viv sade

I have a friend who is a vegetarian, which is Latin for plantslayer. is-3

Between her and me — a 10-year gluten-free freak, which is Latin for painintheass — going to a restaurant is a big deal for us and an ordeal for the waitress.

We tip well. We have to, otherwise there would be toenails and saliva and god knows what else in our vegetable-oil-sauted-organic-gluten-free-tofu-steaks.

My friend— uh, let’s call her Becky — (NOTE: all names similar to or the exact same as my real friends are purely coincidental) — not only avoids all meat, but inquires as to whether or not the food is prepared with any animal products, such as a chicken stock base.  That’s too much work for me. Being gluten free is like following a paleo (think: Caveman) diet. This is Indiana. Throw a half a cow on a platter and call it a day. Double-deep fry a stick of butter in pig fat and I’m good to go.is-5

Becky is not a vegetarian because she loves animals. She is a vegetarian because she hates plants.

I’ve never been able to diet and I suck at exercising. The second I think “D-I-E-T,” I crave a triple Big Mac with double bacon. And, I get enough exercise just pushing my luck.

I know people who swear by the Atkins Diet and have lost a tremendous amount of weight, which is nothing short of a miracle. I mean, geesh, have you seen what those people eat?!is-1

Daily Atkins Menu

Breakfast: Deep fried sow, scrambled eggs in heavy cream sauce and a dozen cheese sticks

A.M. snack: Four pounds of bacon and a wheel of Colby with whipped cream

Lunch: Two lambs, three ducks and a partridge in a pear tree

P.M. snack: Pork crackling nachos with whale blubber and ostrich egg and butter salsa

Dinner: A black Angus steer and two cheesecakes with pork rind crusts

Bedtime snack: Elk pate′ and two 24-inch cheese crust pizzas topped with hamburger, ham, pepperoni, sausage, a triple layer of  mozarella and a large bowl of whipping creamis-2

Atkins followers are single-handedly to blame for the extinction of the animal species.

I have to admit, at recent dinner parties I have been serving Atkins-type meals. My plan is to fatten up everyone else around me so that I will look thinner.

This is not hard to do when one considers that the casket adds 165 pounds to the ones who have keeled over with a heart attack.

 

 

 

HOW LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES ARE BORN; OR THE WAR OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH

viv sade

It all began at the Teamsters Union hall party at Christmas, when my brothers and I would receive a bag of oranges, a bag of candy and visit with Santa Claus. Dad, a commercial truck driver and Teamster member, once brought home a 10-pound bag of cashews from the party and my brothers and I gorged ourselves until we threw up. I’ve been pro-union and anti-cashew ever since.

Then in fifth grade I fell madly in love. He was dreamy. A “cool cat.” When he smiled or spoke I melted. I wanted to run away, or at the very least, hold hands — with President John F. Kennedy.

The very first page in my elementary scrapbook is a picture of the president that I cut out of Life Magazine. My leanings were established. My feet were firmly planted and took root on the Democratic yellow brick road.

I didn’t really think about politics as a child or even as teen or young adult. In fifth grade, I only worried if the boy I secretly liked would say “ugh,” when he saw my new hairdo — or worse, not even notice my new hairdo.

But I was aware there were some bad things going on. Dad was reading, “How to Build a Family Bomb Shelter,” there seemed to be a fight with a bay of pigs on some island far away and children — like me, except for the color of their skin — could not go to school with white people.

The photo of the pretty little girl with the sad face who was dressed in a frilly white dress as police escorted her to school through a crowd of mean people yelling horrible things — she was just a little girl! — was forever etched into my young, impressible brain. It is on page two in the scrapbook.

I was a liberal by President Kennedy’s and Webster’s definition: “one who is open-minded or not strict in the observance of orthodox, traditional, or established forms or ways.” But I would not come to terms with this label until I was well into my thirties.

To top it off, I lived in northeast (READ: very-Republican) Indiana. No one had the courage to tell me I had a hard row to hoe.

Recently, I asked Elizabeth, the 20-something youngest daughter of my first cousin in Arkansas, to explain why she is a conservative.

Her father and I hung out as kids when I was in the South visiting our grandmother. We rode bikes all over the Ozarks (those hills!), went swimming in creeks and stone quarries and stole watermelons out of nearby farmers’ fields. At night, we would lay side-by-side in the grass on Grandma’s front lawn and talk while gazing at the stars and moon.

We have always had a lot in common and still do.

Other than he named one of his six daughters Reagan after “the greatest president who ever lived,” and I have a niece and nephew named Kennedy and Truman.

For the past eight years when we visited I’ve had to listen to my cousin blame President Obama for a tornado that took out his barn and two shade trees, a recently acquired toenail fungus and the high price of a gallon of milk.

But that’s payback.

He had to listen to me rant during the G.W. Bush years.

His daughter, Elizabeth, told me that some people (mostly liberal Yankees — no names, please) may think her parents dropped her on her head as a baby, but that is not the case.

“I, a true conservative, can tell you the actual haunting reasons for my swing to the right started on a hot summer’s day in 1997. I was six-years-old and kicked out of the house, along with my older sisters, so Mommy could have her “Fox News Time” (also known as wine and soap opera hour),” Elizabeth recounted.

Liz SMith Peru 2016
Elizabeth is shown spending time with some local children on a mission trip to Peru.

“We played basketball in the front yard, chased each other with sticks that had cow manure firmly attached to the end (something all southern conservatives know about) and fought among ourselves until we almost killed each other. The true test came when we got thirsty.”

Knowing we couldn’t enter the house without stern yelling for interrupting Bill O’Reilly, we took turns slurping long drinks from the water hose. There was something in that water that I blame to this day for being a conservative. Maybe it was the taste of freedom that the cold water brought to a hot July day. Or the way the water made you scream, “Merica” when someone would intentionally spray you in the face,” she said.

“I do know that when my liberal Yankee cousins came to visit they always avoided the hose. I am sure it didn’t have anything to do with how redneck we looked; maybe one day when I visit them I will try their water.”

Viv Hippie Janet unknowing
1975: The author’s liberal ways seem to horrify her little sister, or was it the bell bottoms?

Elizabeth and her sisters are educated women who are beautiful inside and out. Elizabeth is a missionary and very involved in her church. She recently returned from a mission trip to Peru.

She is a person who will, and has, made a difference.

My chosen passion is writing and my only hope is that I have made people laugh, smile or think with a piece I’ve written.

We’re from opposite ends when it comes to age and political leanings, but our values are the same — we both want to do good, help our fellow man and contribute.

I believe that in the end, politics will not matter at all — whether a person is a Democrat, Republican, Independent, Libertarian, Green Ticket, voted for Stewart/Colbert or does not even know the name of the current president of the United States.

All that will really matter is if you were kind, considerate, forgiving (especially of the Yankee liberals, Liz) and tolerant of others.

Note: The author is still a bit miffed that Cuz Liz is a funnier writer than she is and that may be the only thing the liberal in her cannot tolerate.

When it comes to creating passwords, I’ll pass

by Viv Sade

When my oldest son — who works in security in Washington, D.C.— comes to visit, he is always completely aghast at my total lack of anything remotely resembling security.

web1_9.16-CBN-viv-column-2c-c
Identity theft can happen to anyone who is not aware.

He runs around securing the premises every night, locking doors, planning the escape route in case of a midnight emergency, stocking up on bottled water and 20-pound cans of beans and wearing cammo and SWAT gear to take out my garbage.

Normally, my nightly security routine consists of getting up at 2 a.m. and shutting the front door after I fall asleep on the couch watching “Intervention.”

What drives my son the craziest, though, is a document on my computer desktop titled “PASSWORDS.”

Actually, there are now two documents — one entitled “NEW PASSWORDS” and another called “OLD PASSWORDS.”

“Mom,” he admonishes, “Tell me you do not put your passwords to every account you have out there for the whole world to see?!”

So I tell him, “Don’t be silly. Of course I don’t. I’ve never had the whole world stop by and want to use my computer. Just you or one of the other kids.”

My kids know better than to try and steal my credit or lack thereof. And God help any thief who swipes my identity. The joke is clearly on him. He’s not laughing all the way to the bank. The bank is laughing him all the way out of the bank.

The problem is that I often forget my password and am forced to come up with a new password — so I continue to keep a list of OLD and NEW passwords. For that reason, I try to K.I.S.S. when it comes to passwords.

I prefer easy-to-remember passwords like “password,” “vivspassword” or “mypassword.”

But because of security measures, that usually does not pass the muster. As a result, I can sometimes spend an entire afternoon on the computer, just trying to come up with an acceptable password.

My son, on the other hand, will change his password every five or six days just to make sure he is secure. One week he changed it from “<>catinhatprobe?/{678}=&!^%2jack@$$esDRAG78men2Jail<>” to “<>hatincatprobe?/{678}=&!^%2jack@$$esDRAG79men2Jail<>.”

When I wanted to use his laptop, it took three days and two nights just for him to relay the password.

Seriously — who’s got that kind of time? I’m not a young woman.

This is how I create a password:

web1_9.16-CBN-viv-column2-2c-c
To be creative when developing new passwords, one must first unlock the Windows of his mind.

WINDOWS: Please enter your new password.

VIV: password

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must be more than 8 characters.

VIV: passwords

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one numerical character.

VIV: 1password

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot begin with a numerical character.

VIV: password1

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one symbol.

VIV: password1!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password must contain at least one upper case character.

USER: password1DAMMit!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot use more than one upper case character consecutively.

VIV: DAMN password1 and I hate you!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain blank spaces.

VIV: IamdrivingtoWINDOWScity, whereIwillstranglethelifeoutofyou-andleaveyou4dead!

WINDOWS: Sorry, the password cannot contain punctuation or hyphens.

VIV: IHATEU!IHATEU!IH8U!

WINDOWS: Sorry, you have already used that password and must create a new password.

VIV: @#$%!&1*@#$%@&&!HATEHATEHATEyou!

WINDOWS: That password is already taken.

— Viv Sade lives in Churubusco and is a lifetime member of the International Identity Thieves Do-Not-Call List.

Five Easy Tips for Non-parenting Teens

1. Hide food.  This will prevent those overgrown children who live upstairs from consuming a week’s worth of groceries in one sitting. Store chips under the bed. Hang cookies or brownies on hangers in the back of a closet, where they will never look. Stash frozen pizza under five-pound bags of broccoli and carrots. Any type of snack items fit well inside heater vents. (Caution: Use only during summer months.) Fresh fruits and vegetables may be left in plain sight. people-in-the-sea-at-the-sunset-1061951-m

2. Never replace toilet paper on the spindle. While you use your private, hidden stash, it will teach your teens a valuable lesson in self-reliance. If the last square of tissue remains on the cardboard roll for more than 7 days, or your teen is spending a lot of time at the corner convenience store, or rolls of  paper towels and shop rags are disappearing, it’s time to break down and replace the tissue. Albeit, with much pandemonium and cursing.

3. Parents and teens cannot be “buddies.” That skateboard might look like fun and exciting for trying to “olly a half pipe,” but a broken hip is forever. Their music may seem interesting, but bleeding from the ears is no laughing matter. And trying to decipher the meaning of T-shirts or tattoos has been known to cause aggressive oozing of inner brain matter.

4. Teens who are more than two hours late for their curfew should just report in at the local police station to save time. That’s where they will find their mother — sobbing and filling out missing person reports. If more than three hours past curfew, the belated teen may want to check out the website: onyourown.com.teens-995276-m

5. Allow unlimited access to television shows, games and the Internet in 75 percent of the rooms. That way, no one (least of all — and this is important — the parents) can be held responsible for anyone’s personal idea of entertainment. After all, it was in the room and it was turned on; the overgrown people upstairs just happened to walk in and stay for seven hours playing, “Violence Squared: The Sequel.”  Not your fault.

Cold case insomnia causes consistent cussing

The number of years I was a single parent outnumber the years I was married.

I’m not braggin’ or complainin’ – I’m ‘splaining.

I became quite adept at “manning up” – except for the times I was paranoid and psychotic – which was often.

Those times were usually preempted by a marathon TV viewing of true crime shows.

After watching six hours of serial killers and sociopaths methodically torture , murder and dump dead bodies – always in a sleepy little Midwestern town exactly like the one I lived in – I would lie in bed, wide-eyed and listening to what sounded like some random psychopath jimmying the deadlock bolt on my back door.

I scared myself senseless.

The interlobular, fraidy-cat nerve stimuli of my brain would multiply like rabbits – evil rabbits who pushed me into a black hole and caused me to dance with the (Stephen) King of Hearts.

Brain waves collided, noises amplified, shadows lurked, insomnia intensified, sanity imploded.

I wonder if the back door is locked? I need to double check – again.

1:38 a.m. I have got to go to sleep.

I never got that rebate check for the printer I bought last year. I know I sent that form in.

I wonder if the front door is double-bolted. I’ll check.

I need to cook that chicken before it goes bad.

Should I buy a gun?

Nah, I’d probably grab it instead of the alarm clock and blow my head off like that idiot who made all the headlines last year.

2:16 a.m. I’ve got to go to sleep.

Damn. What’s that silhouette on the window?

It looks just like that vampire kid who floated up to the third floor of a mansion in that Stephen King movie. Oooh, creepy; don’t think about it …

Is it wrong to pay one credit card with another?

No good. That vampire kid is outside my window, tapping on the glass and beckoning me with bloody fangs the size of barbecue tongs. Jeesh, think of something else …

What’s the difference between epoxy and glue, anyway?

Oh, I’d love to be an Oscar Mayer Wiener …

Damn. What was that?

Sounded like heavy breathing.

Some Scott Peterson-type just slithered through the kitchen and is on the staircase landing outside my door, waiting to slit my throat from ear to ear and throw my lifeless body in the bay.

Damn. It’s just the cat.

We don’t have a bay.

I’m going to stop cussing, starting tomorrow.

Damn. It is tomorrow.

2:59 a.m. – WIDE awake. WTF?

Do acronyms count as cussing?

The central, most powerful and all-encompassing dictator, indicator and ruler of government is the sewer system infrastructure.

OMG. The shadow on the wall is moving.

That cheesy, bacony, dippy thing Peggy made yesterday was really good. Wonder if she used mild or sharp cheddar?

That is what I’d really like to be …

Maybe I should go grab a butcher knife, just in case?

Maybe a strand of garlic?

3:33 a.m. – OK, seriously, I have GOT to Go. To. Sleep. Now.

Maybe I should get the kids up and go over our Family Emergency Evacuation Plan?

Cause if I was an Oscar Mayer Wiener …

I have way too many windows in this house. I should board up a few.

4:22 a.m. – Damn. Maybe I should just get up?

That life-size walking doll I had when I was 9 had really scary eyes. Like the vampire kid outside my window, wait, don’t think about it …

The eyes followed me and each time I entered my room, that damn toy was sitting in a different spot.

Smiling.

I need a new black purse.

Everyone would be in love with me …

5:23 a.m. Damn. Just get up.

by viv sade

—   “I’ve always envied people who sleep easily.
Their brains must be cleaner,
the floorboards of the skull well swept,
all the little monsters closed up in
a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.”
David Benioff, City of Thieves

Post-it Parenting: Raising Kids by the Letter

Due to busy and conflicting schedules, and because I was a working, single mom for many years, my children and I had to take a lot of shortcuts.

Shortcuts, by the way, is Latin for “single parent.”

We communicated by writing a lot of notes to each other. After deciding in fifth grade that I was a writer, it just seemed logical to communicate with my offspring through the written word.

Mom, Please don’t take the trampoline down. We are still using it. Thanks. –Chris

During summers, when the kids were out of school, those notes turned into a Tolstoy novel.

As I often remind my kids – it could be worse. What if I was a professional roller derby athlete? Those women don’t mess around with leaving notes. When their kids misbehave, I’m sure it’s a quick elbow to the guts or an expertly maneuvered roll over the shins that brings them to their senses. And knees.

I prefer jotting over jabbing, which goes something like this:

Kids: Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful. All of the bath towels are missing. Find them and put them in the laundry room. ALL of the glasses and cups are missing. Find them. Wash them. Use dish soap, not bar soap like last time. The principal called. Do not wear my Stray Dog Tavern T-shirt to school again. You know better.  Return it to me at once! One of you see if Grandma needs her yard mowed. Don’t take any money for doing it, no matter what she says. Love you, Mom.

P.S. ALL glasses, cups and towels must be recovered or no allowances this weekend.

Mom, Jumped off a cliff today. Kidding. Ha. –Ben

Mom — Jammin’ at Steve-O’s. No towels in my room. I’ll check my car and trunk later. Promise. All the glasses from my room are in the sink. Ben took the rest. I had to go to work and did not have time to wash them. Make Ben do it. I need $5 for gas. Took it from the money jar. My check was short this week. I’ll pay you back. Promise. Love you. Don’t have your shirt. Ben probably stole it. — Chris

Mom, I mowed Grandma’s yard, so I did not have time to look for glasses and towels. Chris didn’t do anything. I do everything. Can I borrow $5? I’ll pay you back. Promise. Gatt’s dad is taking us to Hooter’s. We can go in cause we’re not drinking beer or nothing and Gatt’s dad said the buffalo wings are good. Harpo borrowed your dog drinking shirt. I told him to bring it back.

P.S. Grandma MADE me take some money. I begged her not to.

Boys: Chris, get my towels out of your car! AND the glasses and cups. No jammin’ with Steve-O today until your chores are done. Do not take your guitar amps outside. The neighbor will call the cops again. Ben, stop taking my white socks! Do your own laundry – you learned how in 4-H last year, remember? No going to Hooter’s. The wings, among other things, are not real. We’ll talk later. Get my dog bar shirt back from Harpo and do not loan my clothing to your friends. Beaner still has my Life is a Beach hat. Get that back, too. Love you guys. Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful. — Mom

Mom, Can I go to the Withered Craniums Morgue concert in Cincinnati this weekend? I’ll do all my jobs. Promise. I’ll be good. And respectful. Can I borrow $55 for the ticket? I’ll pay you back. Promise. Harpo’s mom called for you. All the glasses and cups are back in the cupboards. I found all the dirty towels in the upstairs closet. Ben should have to wash them cause he put them there. I didn’t. I should get a reward for finding them. $55 would be good. Love, Chris

Mom, All my socks are gone. Chris stole them. He’s a but. Went to Hooter’s. Kidding. Ha. Can I spend the night and watch movies at Murk’s and Mel’s Saturday? Took $2 out of money jar. Will pay you back. Promise. Chris is letting me practice drive in the driveway. There’s a lot of glasses and cups in his car. There was one under my foot and I almost drove into the neighbor’s house. I’ll be 16 in 2 years, you know. Did you hide some pop? Where? Love, Ben.

Chris: Cincinnati?! I don’t think so. Cincinnati is a BIG city. Besides, for $55, it should be the Rolling Stones or Beatles, not the Shriveled Deadheads or whoever. We’ll talk later. If you have Ben’s socks, give them back — he’s wearing mine. Do your laundry! Feed the cat! –Mom

Ben: Butt has two ts, BUT don’t call people that. Yes, I hid the pop. Look up the meaning of “hide” in Webster’s. Also hid the money jar. By the way, is Mel Murk’s brother – or is Mel Murk’s sister? You are too young to date–you know that. No more overnights at Murk’s if Mel is Femel. We’ll talk later. Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful, especially to Mel. –Mom

Mom: Aren’t the Beatles dead? Are the Rolling Pepples those old guys with bad skin? The Withered Craniums Morgue is so much cooler and so much awesomer! I can drive to Cincinnati. I have a map. I will be 18 next summer. You had a baby and lived in California when you were 18. I must go to that concert! Please? I’ll be good. And respectful. I won’t have a baby. Please? Can I borrow $20 for gas? I think Ben stole my money. I can’t find the money jar. I think he stole that, too. I’ll pay you back. Promise. Love, Chris.

Mom, Chris stole my new DVD. He’s a but with two ts. Mel is a guy, Murk and Gatt are girls. Ha. Kidding. I found the pop in the dryer. Bet you thought I’d never find it there? I was looking for some money. I only drank two. Chris stole the rest. Going to mall with Gatt. Harpo’s grounded and he can’t go. I’ll be good. –Ben

P.S. Who’s Webster?

BOYS!! Harpo’s mom is mad. We’ll talk later. You guys are in trouble. I strongly suggest you do ALL of the chores on your list. Chris: I was married, living in California and had your sister three weeks before I turned 19! But I was never allowed to drive to a rock concert in Cincinnati at that age. The Rolling Stones are TRUE rock and roll. Never speak ill of them again Why are you are spending so much on gas? You work two blocks away. Ben: I found your new DVD – the one you accused Chris of stealing – in my sock drawer … WHO DRANK ALL THE POP? It’s gone. Saying “but with two ts” is no less rude. Keep the house clean. Be good. Be respectful. Love, Mom.

P.S. No glasses in the cupboard AGAIN. Find them! Today!

By Viv Sade

Originally published June 24, 2005.