Top 10 Rules When Mom’s Out Of Town

Top 10 Rules When Mom’s Out Of Town …Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I got home this past weekend & it’s already time to pack for my next business trip. While I was writing out instructions for my pack, this post came to mind. Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Rules When Mom’s Out Of Town ...Gina's Favorites Travel

I have the privilege of hanging out with some amazing writers next week at a conference on the other side of the country.

I’m looking forward to meeting people whose work I have long read and admired, and to laughing with new friends, as well.

I’m not looking forward to trying to parent my 7 children from 2200 miles away.

I travel twice a month, so I know my family needs more specific guidelines than “be good” and “don’t burn the house down.” I’ll be leaving them a list of rules.

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town

#10.  Call me only if there’s an emergency. An emergency is when someone or something is on fire, or someone is bleeding profusely from the head.

#9.  No one may make any flame of any kind in any way at any point for any reason. If there is a power outage, birthday, or zombie apocalypse just sit there in the dark until I get home.

#8.  Feed the dog only dog food. Yes, the dog likes ice cream, candy, and pizza, but ice cream, candy, and pizza do not like the dog, as evidenced by the projectile diarrhea he produced during my last trip.

#7.  The dog having projectile diarrhea is not an emergency. Do not call me to tell me about it. Do not send me pictures.

#6.  You must wear shoes to school every day, and they must be shoes that fit you, belong to you, and were purchased by me for you.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Rules When Mom’s Out Of Town ...Gina's Favorites Travel#5.  Your dad is not allowed to play basketball with you. The last time he played basketball with you he broke his ankle. The time before that he dislocated his hip. If your dad is on crutches when I get back, you’re all grounded. Including your dad.

#4.  The babysitter feeding you jar spaghetti sauce is not an emergency. Do not call me to complain about it.

#3.  Stay out of my room.  If you think you need to go in my room, stay out of my room. If you absolutely, positively must go in my room, stay out of my room.

#2.  Wanting to go in my room is not an emergency. Do not call to ask me if you can go in my room.

#1.  If it involves the phrase “Watch this, you guys!” don’t do it.  Don’t even think about doing it.

In other words, be good.

And, don’t burn the house down.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What instructions do you leave for your family when you travel without them? Do they give out your cell phone number to salespeople who call? Has your family done something goofy while you were away? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right?

Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right?

by Gina Valley

Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?

There are a lot of different answers I expect to hear when I ask one of my children “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?

Just pack and shower and find the bag of hamster food.”  Isn’t that all you needed to do in the first place?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right? TravelDo I have to bring underwear and socks?”  No, but you’ll have to ride in a trash bag, strapped to the roof of the plane.

I don’t see why I have to go.  I’m missing the party of the year.”  That’s another reason you have to come with us.

I can’t find any of my left shoes.”  How are your hopping skills?

What trip?”  The one we have been discussing in secret family meetings for the last 3 months, so we could keep it from you, just to mess you up.

These are but a few of the multitude of variations I’ve heard.  In fact, I think the only answer I have never heard to the question “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?” is “Nothing.  I’m all ready to go.”  I haven’t even heard that when we are on the plane at 25000 feet halfway to our destination.  We usually get home from a trip before we’re all ready to go.

But, of all the answers my pack has given me, I realized there was one other answer none of them had ever given me before.  Until last night:

I said to Son#1, my eldest, most organized, best shot at being ready-to-go offspring, “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?”

And, he said, “Find my pet snake.”

Find my pet snake?

I opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  “Find her?  When did you lose her?” I asked in what was not a completely calm voice.

“Four days ago. She was there when I went to bed, but she was gone when I woke up,” Son#1 answered way too calmly.  “I kind of forgot to lock her tank.  But, just that one time.  I always lock it.”

Son#1 had been asking for a pet snake for…I don’t know exactly how long… I think since he learned how to talk.

He is, in general, very responsible and careful with pets.  His dog, Trixie passed away recently, and he gently cared for her through the end.  He has a pet catfish that he got several years ago when it was 1 ½ inches long.  It’s now nearly 2 ½ feet long, and eats fish that are 5 or 6 inches long for lunch. When I was a kid I couldn’t keep a fish alive long enough to get it home from the store.

So, he’s good with pets.  Usually.  Excluding this “left the tank unlocked just this one time” thing.

“Four days ago?” I asked, remembering all of the guests and pop-in holiday visitors we’d hosted over the past 4 days.  I thought about what would have happened if the snake had shown up in the bathroom while my mother-in-law was in there…processing.  It wouldn’t have been pretty.  She’s from the Old Country.  She’d have made us Snake Stew without batting an eye.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right? Travel

“When,” I asked, “were you planning to tell me this?”

After I found her,” Son#1 answered. “That’s why I cleaned out my whole room yesterday.”

Great.  Another myth shattered.  First, I find out this Santa thing is a farce.  Now the Tale of the Cleans His Room For No Reason Kid is debunked. What’s next? Is someone gonna tell me that chocolate doesn’t burn calories?  Oh the humanity!

I stood there wondering where the snake was, and blaming my sister.

This reptile was just the latest in a string of critters she’s added to our family.  I remember the ducklings she’d delivered one Easter, and the water turtle that showed up for a birthday. Of course, there was the time 2 baby hamsters traveled the skies in Son#2’s back pack on his return flight from visiting with her.  I can hardly believe the TSA x-ray guy didn’t even say anything about them.  She’d sent the snake home with Son#1 after our last visit.

How was I supposed to explain to our house sitter, who had already expressed less than great joy at the prospect of living in the same house as the snake for a week, that she might want to double check under the covers before climbing into the guest room bed each night?  I shuddered at the thought that I should have been doing that the last 3 nights and didn’t know it.

Clearly, I’d need to mention a bonus first, then tell our house sitter about the free-range reptile.  Hopefully, she’d still be willing to take the job.  Otherwise, I hated to think what the odds were of coming up with a good house sitter at the last minute the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

But, there was no time to panic.

So, I decided to handle this like the mature adult I am.

I’ll get out our Maglite and start searching the house.

And, I’m shipping a pregnant water buffalo to my sister.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Had any pet trouble?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel about snakes?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Stuck In the Car All Day

Stuck In the Car All Day

by Gina Valley

I’m hanging out with the fun folks over at Voiceboks today, laughing about what transpires when we’re stuck in the car all day with our family on a road trip. I hope you’ll click on over and join me there.

Here’s snippet of the giggles you’ll find there:

Great Things About Being Stuck In The Car All Day

School starts soon in our neck of the woods. I thought it’d be fun to squeeze in a quick, end of summer road trip to see the actual woods before school slips fully into gear. So, we, my pack and I, will be spending a couple days in the car.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Stuck In the Car All Day Road TripSome people complain about being stuck in the car all day. In fact, many of the people in our car complain about being stuck in the car all day. And, I’m not just talking about the kids.

But, I consider myself to be a positive person most of the time, or at least when I’ve had enough sleep, or have mysteriously lost a pound, despite eating more chocolate the night before than I’m willing to admit to. And, positive person that I am, I can see many great things about being stuck in the car all day.

First of all, there’s no need to nag children to do their chores. They have no chores. They’re stuck in the car. It’s wonderful to have a break from that source of stress. Now granted, there are still a few things that need to be done, even when we’re in transit all day. But, the closest thing we have to doing dishes and vacuuming is throwing out Happy Meal bags, and brushing crumbs off of the seat and out the door.

Plus, when you’re in the car all day you get to play everyone’s favorite travel game Guess Which Side The Next Nose-Picker Will Drive By On. This simple game is great fun for all ages, from toddler to grandparent, and everyone in between. It does require some concentration, as nosepickers tend to race by at top speed (Why are nose pickers always in such a hurry? Is there some sort of Nose Pickers Anonymous meeting they’re all late for? I hope they don’t greet each other with a handshake).

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Stuck In the Car All Day Road TripWhen you spend all day in the car, no matter where you go, eventually you’ll see some cows. I think the highway department sticks a herd out next to the highway every hundred miles or so to help keep things interesting. But, the great thing about cows is, if you do it just right, when you moo at them, they’ll moo back at you.

I learned that as a kid. We took lots of road trips. My dad would moo at the cows every time we saw some. Every time he did it, the cows would moo back at him, and my mom would say, “Stop that, Gino! You don’t even know what you’re saying to them.” From the way he’d smile, I think maybe he did know.

Spending the day stuck in the car is also a great way to ensure your children will behave well…a few years down the road. At some point during any all-day driving experience, every child falls asleep. If you make a point to snap tons of great Look How Funny You Looked Sleeping Sitting Up pictures, you’ll find them to be very useful for blackmailing your children when they become teenagers…

Click on over to Voiceboks to see all of my Great Things About Being Stuck In the Car All Day post.

And, remember, as always, the extra click to counts as cardio.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What “games” does your family play while stuck in the car? Do you have a favorite road trip memory? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town …Gina’s Favorites

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town …Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m taking this week off to deal with some family issues, so I’ve lined up some of my favorite posts to keep you giggling.
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town

I have the privilege of hanging out with some amazing writers next week at a conference on the other side of the country.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town ...Gina's FavoritesI’m looking forward to meeting people whose work I have long read and admired, and to laughing with new friends, as well.

I’m not looking forward to trying to parent my 7 children from 2200 miles away.

I travel several times a year, so I know my family needs more specific guidelines than “be good” and “don’t burn the house down.” I’ll be leaving them a list of rules.

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town

#10.  Call me only if there’s an emergency. An emergency is when someone or something is on fire, or someone is bleeding profusely from the head.

#9.  No one may make any flame of any kind in any way at any point for any reason. If there is a power outage, birthday, or zombie apocalypse just sit there in the dark until I get home.

#8.  Feed the dog only dog food. Yes, the dog likes ice cream, candy, and pizza, but ice cream, candy, and pizza do not like the dog, as evidenced by the projectile diarrhea he produced during my last trip.

#7.  The dog having projectile diarrhea is not an emergency. Do not call me to tell me about it. Do not send me pictures.

#6.  You must wear shoes to school every day, and they must be shoes that fit you, belong to you, and were purchased by me for you.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town ...Gina's Favorites#5.  Your dad is not allowed to play basketball with you. The last time he played basketball with you he broke his ankle. The time before that he dislocated his hip. If your dad is on crutches when I get back, you’re all grounded. Including your dad.

#4.  The babysitter feeding you jar spaghetti sauce is not an emergency. Do not call me to complain about it.

#3.  Stay out of my room.  If you think you need to go in my room, stay out of my room. If you absolutely, positively must go in my room, stay out of my room.

#2.  Wanting to go in my room is not an emergency. Do not call to ask me if you can go in my room.

#1.  If it involves the phrase “Watch this, you guys!” don’t do it.  Don’t even think about doing it.

In other words, be good.

And, don’t burn the house down.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you leave instructions behind for your family when you travel without them? Do they give out your cell phone number to salespeople who call? Has your family done something goofy while you were away? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Where The Heck’s Miss Manners?…Gina’s Favorites

Where The Heck’s Miss Manners?…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m traveling with my family this week, so, to keep you in giggles, I’ve qued up some of my favorite past posts.
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites Throwback post.

Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?

I don’t like to offend people.  Most of the time.

I try to do the right thing.  Almost always.

But, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do.  Some situations present themselves at a time or place where Googling “What the heck should I do now?” isn’t a viable option.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?...Gina's Favorites Travel Etiquette Where is Miss Manners when I need her?

I’ve got some questions.  I need some answers.

What is the etiquette when the woman 2 rows in front of me at my nephew’s basketball game announces loudly, “But, I shaved my armpits”?  Did someone ask her?  Should I offer congratulations? Am I supposed to issue a fur status report about myself in response?

What is proper toilet paper etiquette when I’m traveling? What am I supposed to do when the tube is empty at my mom’s house?  I have come to realize it’s my sworn duty as a mom to change empty toilet paper tubes, but she’s a mom, too.  Which of us should change it?  It’s her house, but it was used up by my kids. Should I change the roll, or switch into kid mode and pretend I didn’t notice it was empty?  Is there some middle ground, like setting a new roll on top of the empty roll?  I don’t want to step on her toes.

What am I supposed to do according to public bathroom etiquette when a woman comes out of the stall in the bathroom at the filling station, bypasses the sink, grabs a paper towel, and heads out the door?

Do I start singing Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness in an effort to jolt her out of her filthy reality and back to the sink and soap?  When I see her preparing a chili dog for herself in the station’s minimart is it wrong to grab my children and run out screaming?  Is it acceptable to spray her with Purell?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?...Gina's Favorites Travel Etiquette And, when I get outside and back to our van and the woman at the gasoline pump in front of ours is smoking an extra-long menthol while she fills up her Rambler, am I required by etiquette to run over her to ensure her genes will be out of the gene pool?  Or, is it ok if we just get out of the blast zone as quickly as we can?

What does etiquette require I do when my youngest nephew says, “This sandwich is the best one I ever had, Auntie G! It’s even better than the ones my mummy makes!”?   Am I allowed to call and gloat, I mean share the cuteness, with my sister?  Or, should I just post it on Facebook for the whole world to see?

What am I supposed to do when I’m going through the line at the Big Red Store with my 2 year old and he takes a good long look at the extremely large cashier, and says, “Whoo, that’s a big one!”?   Am I supposed to dig my own hole to crawl into to die from embarrassment in, or will that be dug for me?  Should I bolt out of the store? Or should I stay and tell everyone that’s he’s a neighbor’s kid?

If you see Miss Manners, get her cell number so I can text her.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What questionable etiquette situations have you been in?  What did you do?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s Favorites

Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m traveling with my family this week, so, to keep you in giggles, I’ve loaded up some of my favorite past posts. 
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites Throwback post.

The Secret Life Of Road Signs

Ahh, the holidays!  The season of road trips is upon us.  Perhaps you’re planning a peaceful, family driving adventure over your kids’ school break, too. Here’s a little secret – Road signs are NOT there to help or inform you.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s FavoritesRoad signs are the highway department’s little joke.

It’s a laugh on you.

Fortunately, because of my significant series of sojourns, I have decoded the true meaning of some vital signs, and I’m going to give you the inside scoop. I’m a giver like that.

That large, low, peeling billboard advertising Frank-n-Nittie’s Truck Stop & Taxidermy isn’t there to help you find something to eat and something to gross out your kids.  It’s conveniently placed there so your friendly state trooper has a hiding place to aid in nailing you for speeding.

That sign that says “Rest stop 1 mile.  Next rest stop 55 miles” is not there so you can conveniently off-load and stretch your legs before what will be a long interval until your next opportunity.  On the contrary, it’s there to get your hopes up, your family awake, and the shoe hunt started.

After you wake your sleepers and convince them they have to go, whether they had to go or not, after the shoes are on, the seats are in a fully upright position with their tray tables folded away, and the DVD is paused, you will find the exit is blocked by bright orange cones and another sign ‘cause they are “working to improve for your convenience.” Excellent!

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s FavoritesAt this point everyone in your car, and heaven help you if you’re part of a caravan, will suddenly have urgent off-loading needs, and you’ll have to stop at Frank-n-Nittie’s Truck Stop & Taxidermy to use their facilities. Of course, their facilities are only open to paying customers, which is why, for the rest of your trip, Reggie The Rigid Squirrel will be wedged in next to your seat.  Make sure you get a receipt.  They will ask at the border.

That merging traffic sign, you know the one, is a sneaky bugger.  It looks like two arrows are performing some sort of act that’s illegal in 23 states.  It’s supposed to provide you with advanced warning that a lane is going to join the road and then merge into your lane.  In theory this would give you time to plan ahead to ensure a smooth, stress-free merge experience with the other vehicles.

But, what it really means is there’ll be no vehicle as far as the eye can see in either direction until you get to the merging point. At that very instant a 45 foot long motorhome will suddenly materialize and try to occupy the very piece of asphalt your vehicle is currently occupying, a Porsche Cabriolet will suddenly appear doing close to Mach 1 to pass you, and a tractor trailer will suddenly be coming head-on toward you as he attempts to pass the Prius in his lane.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s FavoritesOn a positive note, you won’t need coffee to stay awake after that.  You might need an off-loading facility, though.  Hopefully, you’re near Frank-n-Nittie’s.

Lastly for today is that “Slow traffic keep right” sign, which means it’s time to choose between being sandwiched by angry, tailgating big rigs in the right lane or to have your rear run over by the Millennium Falcon as it cruises by ready to make the jump to light speed in the left lane.  Potato. Potahto.  It’s really your call.

Be sure to commit these to memory.  They will be on the test, or at least on the road.

Happy Trails!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What was your last road trip? Do you travel around the holidays? I’m looking forward to hearing all about it! Be sure to shoot me a comment!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

My Flab Is Snickering Again…Gina’s Favorites

My Flab Is Snickering Again…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m traveling with my family this week, so to keep you in giggles, I’ve loaded up some of my favorite travel posts.  Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites throwback.

My Flab Is Snickering Again

See all those sad people around you?  They’re the ones trying to adopt healthy habits.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley My Flab Is Snickering Again...Gina's Favorites

This time of year nearly everyone is trying to get healthy.  That’s why there’s so much road rage on the freeways, at the grocery store, and in the Jelly Belly Factory parking Lot.

I’ve been caught up in The War Against Flab just like everyone else.

In the name of Good Health, I parked in the farthest space from the door when we went to the ice cream parlor.

When we returned, our van was boxed in by two 18-wheelers, a Prius, and a minivan. I almost threw my triple cone at them.  Almost.

I’m pretty sure I heard my flab snickering.

Again in the name of Good Health, I decided to take the stairs instead of the escalator to get to my gym.

It took the combined power of me and 2 trainers to shove the door to the stairway open.  One of the trainers remarked that he didn’t think anyone had opened that door since the building was constructed.  Since the stairs inside were covered with enough cobwebs to be a set for the next Indiana Jones movie, I was inclined to believe him.

The other trainer said, “I’m not sure those stairs even work.”  I think he may have dropped a barbell on his head earlier.

I’m pretty sure I heard my flab snickering.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley My Flab Is Snickering Again...Gina's Favorites And, in the name of Good Health, while I was at Costco I bought some canned soup to use as a quick lunch back up for those days when I don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch, and I don’t have a lunch date (I also noted that I really need to get more lunch dates).  I bought the healthy, low-fat, low-salt soup.

The soup wasn’t bad. I admit that, before you heat it up, it’s a little bland, kind of reminiscent of tepid water. But, after you heat it up, it takes on a whole new attitude. It tastes just like chunky hot water. Did I really buy a pack of 10 cans of this? Stupid CostCo.

It’s going to take a big handful of cheese, 6 or 8 crackers, and a spoonful of salt to make it almost palatable.

I definitely heard my flab snickering that time.

Laugh Out loud!

-gina

What’s you strategy for fighting the battle of the bulge?  Are you winning?  Do you take the stairs or the escalator?  And, why does the hand rail move faster than the steps on those things?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Hello, Officer…Gina’s Favorites


As I’m traveling to visit my family this week, today’s post is one of my favorites from the past. – gina

Hello, Officer…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I heard the COPS theme song blasting in my head so loud that my head was involuntarily bouncing along.

Bad boys, bad boys

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you

I blame Gabriel Iglesias.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Hello, Officer...Gina's Favorites Traveling Speeding

He’s hysterical, but that was totally his fault.  I know I was only thinking about that song because of his Road Trip story, and his playing the COPS theme in it.  If he’d been sitting next to me, he would have been laughing.

But, he wasn’t there.

It was just me.

And, my soundly-sleeping-not-going-to-even-believe-this-happened-until-I-show-them-the-ticket-and-maybe-not-even-then pack and The Professor.

And, what appears to be Arnold Schwarzen-cop. This guy was big.  Gym big.  Gym giant.  And, he did not look happy.  I wasn’t sure, but I thought he might be unhappy because there was a tiny chance that I was accidentally traveling just a tad over the speed limit.  And, by tad, I mean, I have no idea how much over the speed limit I was going.

But, it wasn’t my fault.

I blame the state of California.  The speed limit along the 5 north changes constantly.  I’d seen everything from 45 MPH to 70 MPH.  I knew he was going to ask me what the speed limit was for that stretch of highway, and I honestly had no idea.  I just knew that I was not pulling a trailer, so I was supposed to know what the top sign said.  Which I kind of didn’t.

I blame Bon Jovi.  It’s My Life was playing.  How do you not accidentally speed when that’s blasting on the radio?  It would be un-patriotic not to.  I was just trying to be a good citizen.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Hello, Officer...Gina's Favorites Traveling SpeedingI blame the cows.  They were all lined up along the fence by the highway, and it looked like they were heckling the cars as we all drove by.  It was hysterical.  I swear they were calling out to the cars and laughing.  I was transfixed. How could I possibly be expected to keep an eye on the speedometer with that type of clearly deliberately distracting behavior going on?

I blame the speedometer.  When I noticed that officer Schwartze-cop had taken notice of me, I did what any generally law-abiding citizen would do.  I assumed I was doing something wrong, and checked the speedometer to see exactly how wrong I was.

Well, our speedometer has something of a “defect,” so I was unable to determine exactly how fast I was going. I knew he was going to ask me if I knew.  Should I have told him that I didn’t know because my speedometer is only labeled up to 99MPH and the pointy thing was way past that?   Maybe I should have kept that to myself.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Hello, Officer...Gina's Favorites Traveling SpeedingI was a bit nervous, because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go with this officer.  I just knew that I had to get the COPS theme song out of my head, or I was going to bust out laughing when he got to my window and end up standing on the side of the road trying to walk a straight line while my whole pack and The Professor sleep through the entire thing.

He was very polite and professional and merciful.

I received a ticket for a much lessor offense than it could have been.

And, I got through the whole thing without blurting out “Come with me if you want to live.”

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you messed up anything recently?  Do you find yourself in hot water when you get distracted?  Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

I want to make it clear that I have nothing but respect for peace officers and the important work they do.  I could never do it, and I am thankful that they do.

I have deliberately not mentioned any identifying information about this officer to protect his privacy.  And, also because I have several friends who are California Highway Patrol Officers and when they figure out whom this officer is, they will be taking him out for drinks to celebrate for a year, and I will never hear the end of it.

Can You Ship A Water Buffalo?

Can You Ship A Water Buffalo?

by Gina Valley

As I’m desperately trying to get my family to get ready to leave for a visit to my parents’ and sister’s homes, I figured that my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post would be perfect for Throwback Day this week.

Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?

There are a lot of different answers I expect to hear when I ask one of my children “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?

Just pack and shower and find the bag of hamster food.”  Isn’t that all you needed to do in the first place?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Amazon Ships Water Buffalos, Right?

Do I have to bring underwear and socks?”  No, but you’ll have to ride in a trash bag, strapped to the roof of the plane.

I don’t see why I have to go.  I’m missing the party of the year.”  That’s another reason you have to come with us.

I can’t find any of my left shoes.”  How are your hopping skills?

What trip?”  The one we have been discussing in secret family meetings for the last 3 months, so we could keep it from you, just to mess you up.

These are but a few of the multitude of variations I’ve heard.  In fact, I think the only answer I have never heard to the question “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?” is “Nothing.  I’m all ready to go.”  I haven’t even heard that when we are on the plane at 25000 feet halfway to our destination.  We usually get home from a trip before we’re all ready to go.

But, of all the answers my pack has given me, I realized there was one other answer none of them had ever given me before.  Until last night:

I said to Son#1, my eldest, most organized, best shot at being ready-to-go offspring, “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?”

And, he said, “Find my pet snake.”

Find my pet snake?

I opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  “Find her?  When did you lose her?” I asked in what was not a completely calm voice.

“Four days ago. She was there when I went to bed, but she was gone when I woke up,” Son#1 answered way too calmly.  “I kind of forgot to lock her tank.  But, just that one time.  I always lock it.”

Son#1 had been asking for a pet snake for…I don’t know exactly how long… I think since he learned how to talk.

He is, in general, very responsible and careful with pets.  His dog, Trixie passed away recently, and he gently cared for her through the end.  He has a pet catfish that he got several years ago when it was 1 ½ inches long.  It’s now nearly 2 ½ feet long, and eats fish that are 5 or 6 inches long for lunch. When I was a kid I couldn’t keep a fish alive long enough to get it home from the store.

So, he’s good with pets.  Usually.  Excluding this “left the tank unlocked just this one time” thing.

“Four days ago?” I asked, remembering all of the guests and pop-in holiday visitors we’d hosted over the past 4 days.  I thought about what would have happened if the snake had shown up in the bathroom while my mother-in-law was in there…processing.  It wouldn’t have been pretty.  She’s from the Old Country.  She’d have made us Snake Stew without batting an eye.

“When,” I asked, “were you planning to tell me this?”

After I found her,” Son#1 answered. “That’s why I cleaned out my whole room yesterday.”

Great.  Another myth shattered.  First, I find out this Santa thing is a farce.  Now the Tale of the Cleans His Room For No Reason Kid is debunked. What’s next? Is someone gonna tell me that chocolate doesn’t burn calories?  Oh the humanity!

I stood there wondering where the snake was, and blaming my sister.

This reptile was just the latest in a string of critters she’s added to our family.  I remember the ducklings she’d delivered one Easter, and the water turtle that showed up for a birthday. Of course, there was the time 2 baby hamsters traveled the skies in Son#2’s back pack on his return flight from visiting with her.  I can hardly believe the TSA x-ray guy didn’t even say anything about them.  She’d sent the snake home with Son#1 after our last visit.

How was I supposed to explain to our house sitter, who had already expressed less than great joy at the prospect of living in the same house as the snake for a week, that she might want to double check under the covers before climbing into the guest room bed each night?  I shuddered at the thought that I should have been doing that the last 3 nights and didn’t know it.

Clearly, I’d need to mention a bonus first, then tell our house sitter about the free-range reptile.  Hopefully, she’d still be willing to take the job.  Otherwise, I hated to think what the odds were of coming up with a good house sitter at the last minute the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

But, there was no time to panic.

So, I decided to handle this like the mature adult I am.

I’ll get out our Maglite and start searching the house.

And, I’m shipping a pregnant water buffalo to my sister.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Had any pet trouble?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel about snakes?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Top 5 Things You DON’T Want To Hear On A Road Trip

Top 5 Things You DON’T Want To Hear On A Road Trip

by Gina Valley

Road trips always sound like such a simple thing.

I don’t know why.  They’re not.  They absolutely are not.

I’m always concerned about what we have forgotten to bring with us or to do before we left.  I know there’re many things on that list, but I cling to the hope that none are “turn back” worthy.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 5 Things You Don't Want To Hear On A Road Trip

We’ve been road tripping it this week.  Nothing quite like quality time in the van with my pack.

My children provide a running commentary as we travel down the road, on everything from how many nose pickers have driven by to which great-aunt has the bushiest mustache to reports on who is sneaking snacks from the lunch I packed.  I enjoy both the giggle-worthy and the cringe-inducing comments.

But, there are some things I don’t want to hear. Here’s my Top 5, all of which I’ve heard while travelling. A couple of them, I’ve heard many times.

Top 5 Things You DON’T Want To Hear On A Road Trip

#5.  “Did you know your credit card will fit down the window slot?”  – I do now. I also know that insurance doesn’t cover the cost of having the door panel removed to retrieve said credit card. And, it’s hard to convince the mechanic to remove the door panel to retrieve the credit card, when you can’t pay him to remove it until he removes it to retrieve the aforementioned credit card.

#4.  “Look how far my shoe bounced!” – This is heard immediately after I have hollered toward the back of the van, “Who just opened the window?”  My first thought was “Wow! I’m so glad you remembered to bring shoes for this trip!” But, my joy was short-lived, as I saw the sneaker bouncing in my rearview mirror.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 5 Things You Don't Want To Hear On A Road Trip

#3.  “Do you think they sell inhalers at the hotel?  This is really code for “I forgot to bring the inhaler I have to keep with me at all times, and I lost the one you keep as an emergency back-up for me in your purse, but forgot to tell you.” No, they don’t sell them.  But, our pharmacy will messenger one to our hotel for a tiny convenience fee equal to about 10 times the cost of the inhaler.

#2.  I saw your phone on top of the car before we left.  This phrase is never uttered while in sight of the departure point. In fact, it’s usually not uttered until we have crossed several county lines, and need to retrieve some vital information stored in the phone, such as the name and address of the hotel we’re heading to.

#1.  “I don’t need to go to the bathroom anymore.” – This phrase rings out after many repetitions of “I have to go to the bathroom. I have to go to the bathroom! I can’t wait!” are uttered while our vehicle is stuck in traffic, and no facilities are in sight. It’s also the reason we have a no-beverages-for-12-hours-prior-to-departure rule.

Not my first time at this rodeo.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What phrases strike terror into your heart when you hear them while traveling? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.