Just The Four Of Us.

This past weekend we tried something new.

We prefer doing what we know works – we’re not the type to be like “hey let’s try this new big thing with our kids! I bet they’re old enough to not make it miserable!” No. We wait until we are solidly sure that they are absolutely more than old enough to do whatever new thing is out there.

And that’s how we found ourselves, for the first time, at the beach – just the four of us.

We prefer traveling in a herd. With family or friends…more adults staying in our vacation abode than just us. When toddlers need naps and babies scream and everybody needs food all the time, the more adults the better. But now we have a 6 and 10 year old. They fix their own food. They entertain themselves on car trips. Life is easy. Clearly we waited too long for this step.

Chris’ Aunt and Uncle (who live at the beach) have a new rental condo in Gulf Shores that we were excited to visit. It’s a one bedroom, but had bunks in the hallway for the kids. All of our beach trips the last few years have been off-beach to save on money (traveling in herds = more bedrooms = more money), but since this is a one bedroom, it was totally affordable and made us realize how much we missed being RIGHT THERE. The walk was easy (no football-field-sized boardwalk or blocks of neighborhood), we sat on the balcony and listened to the waves at night, and everything was just lovely.

We like lovely.

We tromped out to the beach the first day, and Ali immediately ran to the water to enjoy the waves. Noah, on the other hand, was perfectly content to dig holes and bury his father.

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In fact, it became clear fairly quickly that he had decided he disliked the ocean.

Scared, he said.

This was as close as he’d get.

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And this was not okay.

No, no, no.

We have two more beach trips this summer with other people and the kid MUST like the ocean. It’s a Callahan rule.

Chris and I agreed that Immersion Therapy was in order. Which was correct because we both received honorary Psychiatry degrees upon procreation.

So we told both kids we were going out past the waves as a family. We were ALL going, EVERYONE would be safe, and there would be NO complaining.

We were ankle deep when Noah started panicking.

Chris picked him up and carried him, assuring him it was FINE, we were completely in CONTROL of the situation. The waves were perfectly tame.

God chose this moment to teach the lesson that parents are not always correct, and sent The Mother Wave at us. I mean seriously – we did not see another wave like it all weekend but it just HAD TO COME at that exact moment.

It knocked Ali off her feet. It knocked me off my feet. It knocked Chris-holding-Noah off his feet – partially because a thrashing panicking child is quite a bit unhelpful for balance. Furthermore, it immediately stripped Chris and I both of our sunglasses, and we all came up gargling and screaming.

But The Mother Wave showed no mercy. She decisively carried both pairs of sunglasses to Ariel, where she is thrilled with our tandem fish hula hoops, or whatever she’s using them for.

After a good bit of walking up and down the beach hopefully staring at the waves (while Noah quickly retreated to his sand holes), Chris walked across the street to buy us both new, much cheaper sunglasses (the general store across the street became an instantly important perk to our vacation.)

While he was gone, I talked Noah up.

“We’re going to try again. You must not be afraid of the ocean. We won’t make you go far. But we’re all going out.”

He continued to be an Ocean Denier.

I pulled out my phone. I googled up four years of my own blog posts.

“Look. Here you are enjoying the ocean when you were 5. And look at you under the water and laughing when you were 4! And when you were 3, you were happy to fall into the waves!!”

“Oh…wow…”

I felt my words had finally had impact. A near-adult six year old could not be more of a wuss than his 3 year old self. Right?

Chris returned with a pair of glasses and a strap for each of us – we would not be losing our sun protection during anymore forays into Forced Child Fun.

And we set out again. Not far – but far enough. And I am here to testify: it might cost a false start and the loss of two pairs of sunglasses, but Immersion Therapy works.

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For the rest of the day, Noah jumped waves and squealed with glee, getting deeper and deeper into the ocean after each jump.

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He told everyone that it was the most fun he’d ever had. And even gave it a rousing “Best Day Ever!!” by the end.

That night, after dinner with Uncle Leo and Aunt Kitty (okay we totally hung out with them a lot so I guess we still prefer being with other people on vacation after all),

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we stepped out onto the beach for a beautiful sunset walk, again remembering how nice it is to be RIGHT THERE on the beach.

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After the initial “What?? A Walk??”, the kids became quick fans.

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Noah even rewarded me with a surprised “Wow mom! This walk is a lot more un-boring than I thought it would be!!”

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It’s amazing how right parents can be. About all the things.

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…Maybe one day he’ll just believe me the first time I say something.

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Highly doubtful, though.

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After a good long walk,

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We ran back to our room and settled everyone down.

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And then started all over the next day.

Sand holes and all.

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Except this time, Noah remembered how fun the ocean was and didn’t bury his head in the sand.

Can’t say the same for the rest of his body, though.

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Shameless plug: Kitty and Leo’s condo truly is delightful and low-maintenance and an inexpensive family beach weekend and right across the street from a restaurant, an ice cream parlor, and an emergency grocery store that sells surprisingly nice sunglasses. I get absolutely nothing for plugging it, but I do recommend it if you’re looking for that kind of thing. You can see it here.

An Alabama Fairytale.

For those of you who live in Alabama, you may have had enough already of this story. Or maybe you’ve been avoiding it and waiting for the overview. But I’ve had a lot of people – locally and not – ask me “what exactly happened down there?”, so I felt it my duty, since I have read pretty much every article about it and a good chunk of the impeachment report, depositions, and exhibits, to write it out as a happy little story for all of you.

~~~~~~~~~

Once upon a time in a State far, far, away, the people elected a Grandpa for Governor.

The State had been plagued by scandal and corruption and sending Governors to jail, and they wanted to try something different. So Grandpa Gov – a Deacon, Sunday School Teacher, Dermatologist who had clearly never once been so vain as to use any youth-renewing items on his own skin, and doting husband of 45 years to the Sweetest Southern Lady You Ever Did See, became the supreme ruler of The State.

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Everything was fine and dandy. Grandpa Gov was kindly and wore his ill-fitting khakis, scoffing at those who suggested he dress like the Governor. He interacted with his staff as if they were his equals and his dearest acquaintances. He continued to teach Sunday School at his home church and would often discuss his Sunday School lessons with his staff. Sure, he looked ever-so-slightly like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, but he was so down-home and innocent that you hardly noticed. Yes, 2010 Grandpa Gov was the heart-warming trustworthy man that The State needed.

A few years went by, and Grandpa had a couple Grandpa goofs as non-career politicians often do. But overall, he was forgiven by his state because hey – at least he wasn’t getting thrown into the slammer. I mean – he wasn’t even taking a salary as Governor – so clearly, Grandpa Gov was delightfully incorruptible.

Then along came New Girl. No one knows exactly how or why or who was behind her appearance into the fairytale land of state government, but oh, are there theories. Theories that, if printed, would be considered libelous. So use your own imaginations. But what we do know is that he met New Girl and her husband at Church. And gave them both jobs at The Capitol.

New Girl competed in Miss State many years prior, and now had three kids. But New Girl was still young. New Girl was pretty. New Girl was good with the flattery.

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Before long, Grandpa Gov started dressing differently. All of a sudden, he had suits that fit. He walked with more authority and more than a little bit of pride. He demanded deference to his position and quit chit-chatting with the staff. And, perhaps most odd, he became the flippinest-floppinest Governor ever on his reelection campaign positions – right after being soundly reelected.

NO NEW TAXES.
(How about a few hundred million of new taxes?)

NO LOTTERY.
(How about a state lottery?)

Yes, it seemed that Grandpa Gov had been replaced by Slick Gov. Or someone had attached some puppet strings to Granpa Gov’s old shoulders.

And then the rumors started.

Nasty rumors.

Open rumors.

Seems like the entire capitol city knew about it.

And apparently Grandpa Gov / New Girl’s Church knew, as they both got their memberships revoked.

Surely not! Not Grandpa. He was such a good husband! Loving and kind and doting and all that. And have you seen his wife? She’s the most delightful, joyful looking little southern lady you ever did see.

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She’s basically Tweety Bird’s Granny but with better hair.

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But as more rumors flew about Grandpa Gov’s misdeeds, all of a sudden the likeness to Mr. Burns became more obvious. And the possibility that New Girl was actually into Grandpa Gov just seemed nonexistent. Clearly she had some devious motivations.

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And then, less than a year after his reelection and soon after their 50th wedding anniversary, The Sweetest First Lady You Ever Did See….

Filed for divorce.

What. The. What. Governors don’t get divorced while in office.

Rumors started becoming very thick. Now the entire state knew what was up.

But it wasn’t until six months later that the people of The State got to hear the truth.

And I do literally mean HEAR.

Right after a previous employee came out and said that indeed, Grandpa Gov and New Girl had been getting it on, a CD of Grandpa Gov’s disgusting phone calls were dropped, behind a gas station, for the press to blare loudly.

No one in The State will ever be able to scrub this from their ears, no matter how hard they try.

Because no one wants to hear Grandpa say…

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When I stand behind you, and I put my arms around you, and I put my hands on your breasts, and I put my hands (
unintelligible) and just pull you real close. I love that, too.

It was The Lord Above that blurred that unintelligible bit. He knew The State could only take so much.

It didn’t take long for it to come out that it was actually The Sweetest Ex-First Lady You Ever Did See who had made the recordings, simply by “going on a walk,” but leaving her phone behind and recording – it took less than a minute for Grandpa Gov to ring New Girl.

Nor, once the tapes leaked, did it take long for Grandpa Gov to finish completely trashing his kindly reputation by denying the relationship – saying it was just dirty talk – nothing actually happened.

Uh, yeah. Because Governors call me all the time and say things like that just for fun – and I let them – politics and usual here.

New Girl resigned to “spend more time with her family” (although her husband kept his $90K government job and she seemed to still have credentials to come and go as she pleased – for “consulting”, which is apparently what the Grandpas are calling it these days), and there were many more details over the months, but let’s bullet point a bit for sake of time.

  • The State Attorney General promised an Impeachment investigation, because it seemed that Grandpa and New Girl used state resources to aid and protect their dalliances. (They especially seemed to like state plane rides…ew.)
  • But then, A State Senator got put on the short list to be the National Attorney General…
  • And The State Attorney General suspended the Impeachment Investigation in high hopes…
  • And The State Senator did get the National Attorney General Gig…
  • And Grandpa Gov promoted that State Attorney General to Senator. A gift, if you will. No strings attached, obviously.
  • Magically, for just a second, everyone said “What Impeachment? Nobody said anything about an impeachment. Nothing to see here.”
  • But I guess the rest of the AG office was jealous that they didn’t get rewarded so they picked back up the investigation.

And things got boiling.

A little after a year after the trauma of The Tapes, Impeachment rumblings started happening. And furthermore, the State Ethics Commission found probably cause that Grandpa Gov violated the state ethics law and the campaign finance law, and would probably be in super big jailtime trouble.

Grandpa, meanwhile, continued to say “Nope – didn’t do nothin’ – won’t resign. I won’t I won’t I won’t!”

He fought hard to keep all the proof from coming out into the public’s view, but he lost.

And two weeks ago, an entire website dropped – with a thick report and some serious exhibits of Grandpa’s misdeeds.

As it turns out, Grandpa didn’t understand The Cloud. And he didn’t at all realize that his texts on his Government-issued iPhone were duplicated on the Government-issued iPad that he’d handed down to The Sweetest Wife (now Ex-Wife) You Ever Did See.

And she, again, kept the receipts.

We got to read along as New Girl tried to hide her frustration at Grandpa Gov not knowing how to use his burner phone…

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We got to see when Grandpa Gov first learned how to use the Emoji Keyboard…

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And a combination of the both.

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And most traumatically, we got to see New Girl pen The New State greeting.

Move over, “Roll Tide.” Move over, “Hey y’all! How you doing?”

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From now on, expect residents of The State to yell out that greeting. And you better believe there’s already a cross-stitch pattern.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 2.56.51 PMSomebody please put this on a throw pillow for me.

And I made this for you, so that you can always remember Grandpa Gov as he wanted to be remembered…

Bless Our Hearts and Other Parts

But by far the most gaggable moments were when New Girl had to bring God into it – presumably when they started getting caught and were just sooo sad about being mistreated.

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(Based on that last text, New Girl missed out on reading huge swaths of the bible (like, say, The Ten Commandments) where God highly recommends not messing around with other people’s spouses.)

All of the above conversations were interspersed with vomits like this…

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So much ew.

Sadly, we also got the text message to The Sweetest Wife You Ever Did See where Grandpa Gov accidentally called her by New Girl’s Name. Then tried to just move on.

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…And then deny that anything at all was going on when trying to convince The Sweetest Wife You Ever Did See to come to his second inauguration.

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I cannot imagine how The Sweetest Wife must have felt dealing with all this. But kudos to her for keeping her head and the proof, therefore being completely responsible for the undoing of her husband’s grotesque misdeeds. As it should be.

But Grandpa Gov didn’t think The Sweetest Wife was “smart enough” to have compiled information on him, and so he assumed that her Chief of Staff was actually behind it all. And so, after a few nasty threat-laced conversations with Sweetest Wife’s Chief of Staff (including telling her that he was Governor and everyone “bowed down to his throne”), she found a rock through her house window and her car vandalized, incidentally right around the time she was giving a deposition to the Ethics Commission.Screen Shot 2017-04-11 at 4.44.46 PM

Yeah. Um. That escalated quickly, Grandpa.

Other “gems” from the impeachment documents included this description of New Girl’s office rearranging…

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And what New Girl had the nerve to tell the Sweetest Lady’s Chief of Staff…

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Why is there a Mr. Burns screenshot for every Grandpa Gov move. It’s as if it was sent to us as a prophecy.

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And this, which was submitted as a typical day on Grandpa Gov’s calendar – the one he quit letting The Sweetest Wife You Ever Did See have access to – and the one for which everyone in his office knew exactly what “Hold Time” was –

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Let me do the math for you. That’s one hour and forty five minutes of actually being the Governor and four hours of Hold Time. What do you do for Four and a Half Hours?

Mayberry and Chill, one can only assume.

There’s so much more to this story, such as

  • The Sweetest Wife coming to the Capitol to take a picture of “The Love Bench” in the courtyard,
  • While trying to justify moving Wanda’s Desk (which happened to be too close to Grandpa Gov’s office for comfort,) Grandpa Gov explained that he was pretty sure Wanda had “a thing” for him. Pretty sure Wanda threw up in her mouth a little.
  • When confronted by a dear friend and State Trooper about “the situation”, Grandpa Gov asked him to go break up with New Girl for him. Which he did. But then Grandpa Gov walked in the room and told her “it’s gonna be okay – nevermind.”sterilebackground
  • Grandpa Gov’s sons attempted to trick him into getting on a plane so that they could have him tested for dementia, due to the extreme nature of his personality change. Let’s hope it can all be blamed on dementia, but more likely it’s blamed on Viagra: the tool that lets men be tools for decades past their ability to run fast enough to flee temptation. (Drug companies should really hire me to write slogans for them.)

But we don’t have time for every detail here.

So let’s jump to the happy part of this Fairytale.

On one fateful Monday, the Impeachment hearing began. And Grandpa finally saw that he could deny no longer. So by the end of the day, Grandpa Gov had negotiated a resignation, which included this mugshot and a booking into the county jail.

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Just as was prophesied.

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You win some (not being put in jail on much worse charges), you lose some (your wife, your house, your beach house, your state retirement, your security detail, your job, your dignity, your kid’s respect, your….oh that’s long enough.)

There was an hour between the resignation of Grandpa Gov and the swearing in of his replacement. And that one, glorious hour was The Fairytale for The State.

For one, amazing, delightful, fantastic, dreamy, carefree hour, The State was ungoverned.

And that was the best governing they’d ever had.

And for that one hour, everyone lived Happily Ever After.

The End.

It’s Hard Work Being His Favorite.

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“Mommy, You’re the Best.”

“Hey Mommy………..I love you.”

I hear each of those phrases at least forty-eight times a day.

Noah likes me. A lot.

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And by a lot I mean he really prefers to be with me at all moments.

It’s utterly precious until it’s not.

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All the honest Moms out there say “here, here.”

“Not” starts somewhere around 10am in the morning when I need just a second or two by myself.

But that is an unreasonable request, he quickly lets me know.

And I have to ask…

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So to have a tiny second to myself, I try gifting him with the lovely bonus of a break from school. And I steal away to my room for just a second of silence from his incessant talking and questions and talking and questions.

But he comes and finds me.

During break time.

It’s as if he doesn’t understand that break times are for Mommies.

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So I do what any normal mom would do.

I take a shower.

Thinking that this is the one place I can have a moment alone.

Until I start to get out of said shower.

And notice a tiny set of blue eyes peeking from the other side of the cracked door.

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I scream.

Naturally.

Because my brain doesn’t immediately compute that it’s the stalker I birthed from my own body and not some other more nefarious stalker.

Which makes my tiny stalker cry.

“Mommy! You scared me!”

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Yeah. Because I wasn’t scared at all.

So we get in the car to do errands.

Where it becomes most apparent that he can only process thought if and only if he thinks out loud with the preface of “Hey Mommy….?”

After which he’ll wait 3 seconds for an interested answer.

I don’t give it. Because I only have so many interested answers a day and he’s already used them up before I get out of bed.

So he continues without feedback.

“Hey Mommy….did you know I once forgot to put my goggles on when I went down the slide at the pool?”

“Hey Mommy…I really like Pokemon.”

“Hey Mommy…you should really see mine and Ali’s city on Minecraft.”

After the first few Hey Mommys my brain feels like Louis C.K.

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After ten more Hey Mommys (and we haven’t even gotten out of the neighborhood yet) I feel like Klum.

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At Hey Mommy number 25 (we might have made it to the interstate by now) my insides are full-on Snape.

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Halfway through our 20 minute trip we reach Hey Mommy number 53 and all I hear and see and feel and am is Schwarzenegger.

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It’s rough being so thoroughly loved. But it’s precisely why we become Mommies.