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

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

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

It’s Hard To Wash Barf Off A Lanyard

It’s Hard To Wash Barf Off A Lanyard

by Gina Valley

I’m not saying she had a bad time, I’m just saying that it didn’t go exactly like she thought it would.

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 It’s Hard To Wash Barf Off A Lanyard Mishaps

One thing we learn as we start stacking up the decades is that “according to plan” is just a way to make God laugh. Most teens are a long way from reaching that point, and my daughter’s right there with them.

My 16 year old daughter spent the weekend at a drama convention. I mean a real drama convention, not just a bunch of teenage girls hanging around being dramatic.

She was looking forward to competing and attending workshops and meeting new people.  She was excited about hanging out with her friends and the fancy hotel and trying new restaurants.

I kissed her goodbye, and she promised to call me that night.

Everything seemed to be perfectly planned as my daughter and her friends drove out of sight, while I waved from their high school parking lot.

My daughter called me that night.  As it turns out, this drama convention was located very close to the city of Upland, California, which was the epicenter for a moderate earthquake that evening. The earthquake was felt quite strongly by my daughter and her friends, and it was a bit scary for her.  I assured her that the next day would be a much better day. I told her that I was sure she’d laugh about this someday.

She told me she’d call me in the morning.

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 It’s Hard To Wash Barf Off A Lanyard Mishaps

The next morning she called me around 11. Thankfully, her concern about earthquakes was all gone. Unfortunately, the reason it was gone was because her breakfast had made an encore appearance, and it “encored” all over her clothes and name badge.

She’d changed her clothes, but the lanyard and name badge had taken near direct hits, and were quiet pungent. The conference officials didn’t have a way to make her another badge, and didn’t have any extra lanyards. Moreover, as security was tight, they required her to wear her now stinky one at all times.

She washed the lanyard.  She rubbed it with Purell.  She even squirted it with someone’s perfume, but it still stank.  I assured her that her day would get better. I told her that she’d probably laugh about this someday.

She told me she’d call me later.

She called me at 2 o’clock. She’d just finished an ad lib workshop. Somehow one of the participants had tripped, and as he fell, his elbow had smacked my daughter right between her eyes, snapping her sunglasses in two and bruising her head.

At this point she felt perhaps she was not going to have a good day. I assured her that things had to get better.  I told her that maybe, in time, she might look back on all of this and laugh.  In my mind, I wondered how things could possibly get worse. Never wonder that.

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 It’s Hard To Wash Barf Off A Lanyard Mishaps

She called me at 7:30pm.  Her group had just finished taking part in a series of trust exercises.  When it was her team’s turn to do the catching, her friend had fallen crookedly, and her fingernail had scraped into my daughters arm, leaving two horrified teenagers, and a long, bloody gash (which my daughter said that the first aid lady assured her “probably didn’t need stitches”). Blood had dripped on her favorite jeans, and her already stinky name-badge lanyard.

I bit my tongue to keep from asking her if the blood had washed away any of the barf smell.

She seemed to be in pretty good spirits when I told her that I was sure the next day would be a better day.  I was thinking that it would be hard to imagine it being any worse. I did not mention laughing about it.

She said that she figured the next day probably would be better, and that she wasn’t going to call me in the morning or in the afternoon. She was just going to text me when it was time to pick her up at her high school instead.

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 It’s Hard To Wash Barf Off A Lanyard Mishaps

I asked her why she didn’t want to call.

She said, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, mom, but every time I plan to call you, something worse happens. I’m afraid I might lose an arm or catch on fire or something if I plan to call you tomorrow.”

It was ridiculous logic, of course.

But, it made sense to me.

I told her, “Just to be on the safe side, don’t even text me.”

I went to the parking lot of her school just before the time they thought they’d be there, and waited until they showed up.  I didn’t mind waiting a bit, if it helped her feel more secure.

Plus, I put the time to good use.

I Googled “how to get barf out of a lanyard.”

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you ever had one of those times when everything seems to go wrong? Has your child had one? How did you handle it to keep from falling apart?  Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

PS – Don’t worry. She’s already laughing about it.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town

Top 10 Rules While Mom’s Out Of Town

by Gina Valley

I have the privilege of hanging out with some amazing writers next week at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio.

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

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 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#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

Hello, Officer…Gina’s Favorites


As I’m spending extra time celebrating with my family, 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 Totally Hello, Officer…Gina’s Favorites Road Trip Family Travel

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 Totally Hello, Officer…Gina’s Favorites Road Trip Family Travel

I 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 a 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 had no idea how fast I was going, and 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 Totally Hello, Officer…Gina’s Favorites Road Trip Family Travel

I 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 I would 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.

Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On?…Gina’s Favorites

Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On?…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m spending the weekend with my family.  I’m guessing we’re not the only ones trying to squeeze a little bit of extra summer into these waning weeks.

While I was packing, I was reminded of my Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On? post, and knew it would be a great Gina’s Favorites post to keep you in laughs until I get back.  You can read my Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On? post below in its entirety, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links to read Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On? in its original location.

Either way, I’ll meet you at Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On?.  You bring the sunscreen.  I’ll bring the laughs.

Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On?

Maybe the person who wrote the article I just almost read is a parent.

Maybe.

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 Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On? Gina’s Favorites Travel Parenting Advice Airplane AirlineI’m not saying it’s not possible the person who wrote the article is a parent.  I’m just saying that when I saw the title, 50 Ways To Entertain Kids On A Plane, I figured it was written by either a parent or some other individual who has spent a lot of time traveling with children on planes.

But, the second I saw Way #1 To Entertain A Kid On A Plane I gave up wondering if the author was a parent, and started wondering if the author had ever even met a child, much less been inside a plane with one.

The first idea was to “play a gentle game of catch.”  Seriously.  That’s what it said to do.  On the plane.

I gotta say, playing catch on the plane, not a good idea.  In fact not a good idea for so many reasons that I think I could write an entire book just on why not to do that. I think that most people, parents or otherwise, could.

Here’s a tip for the author: in general, while on a plane with a child, it’s the goal of all adults, not just said child’s parents, to do the following:  1. Keep the kid from crying.  2. Keep the kid from throwing things.

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 Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On? Gina’s Favorites Travel Parenting Advice Airplane Airline

So, if you’re going to play catch with the child, you might as well poke him or her in the eye, and get the crying thing out of the way, too.

I should have kept reading.  Maybe #10 was “Start a small fire to look at the pretty lights it makes.”

Perhaps #17 was “Shoot marbles in the aisle,” with a special note that the game is even more fun if done while the drink cart is cruising around.

Or maybe #23 was “Alternate giving your child giant cookies and & 7Up until she vomits so much that you think she’ll turn inside out” (I was across the aisle from that “entertainment” once.   It was awesome.  Made a 2 hour flight to Washington feel like we’d changed our minds, and decided to do the 15 hour jig to the land down under.  But, when we got off the plane, there were no koala bears.  Just a horrible vomit smell wafting off of every passenger from the flight).

I wonder if #37 was “Bring a dowel so your child can poke the guy seated in front of him,” because sometimes just kicking their seat isn’t nearly enough entertainment.

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 Did We Put The Kids In The Carry-On? Gina’s Favorites Travel Parenting Advice Airplane Airline

Do you think #43 might have been a reminder to, if you’re traveling with more than one child, “Bring only one of each item, because the time will pass so much faster if your kids can bicker over whose turn it is to hold the Etch A Sketch” (which, by the way, is a really good thing to bring on the plane).

I’m almost certain that #48 would have been “Place rolls of caps onto your tray table and strike with a hammer for a fun auditory and olfactory experience.”

How many hammers does the TSA let you bring in your carry-on these days?

And, do they need to be in a Ziploc bag?

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What’s your favorite piece of dumb parenting advice some “expert” offered?  What fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants idea did you find that works great for your family?   Shoot me a comment with all the details.  I’m looking forward to hearing about it.

Not So Much Goodwill Hunting

Not So Much Goodwill Hunting

by Gina Valley

So, I finally got through what appeared to be at least a 17-way intersection downtown (gotta love driving in the heart of San Francisco).  Traffic was, big surprise, moving at nearly the speed of a slow crawl.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Not So Much Goodwill Hunting Traffic Stupid Crime

This may be hard to believe, but I really do love driving through the downtown streets of San Francisco.  Freeway traffic is mind numbing wherever you are, but surface streets in a big city are lined with fun as far as I’m concerned.  The more traffic the better (as long as I’m not going to be late), because it gives me time to check out all of the craziness going on right outside my vehicle.

After finally clearing the maze-like intersection I was surprised to find that traffic did not exhibit its usual post-intersection momentary speed pick up.

We actually slowed down so much that pedestrians and snails were passing us.

I killed time by checking out the cool pumps this guy wearing a tiger-print, halter-top, pant suit was wearing, and debating with myself whether the black patent leather stilettos he’d donned were too conservative a choice for the wild outfit, or an artful contrast to the funky jungle wear.

I also contributed to the greater good while nearly parked on whatever street that was by reminding people going into stores that they needed to bring their own bags.  I’m a giver like that.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Not So Much Goodwill Hunting Traffic Stupid CrimeAs we were barreling down the street at nearly 5 miles per hour (hard to say exactly how fast you’re going when the needle on the speedometer hasn’t reached the numbers yet) I became aware that the problem was not the standard big city afternoon traffic.

Up ahead I could see we were approaching, ever so slowly, another intersection.  This one was, shockingly for San Francisco, of the standard, boring 4 way type.  But, the problem was not people rubber necking the rare, standard intersection.

What they were looking at was the giant Goodwill Store on one of the corners of the intersection.  Or, perhaps more accurately, the 3 police cruisers double parked out in front of it.  Before I’d been able to get past the store, another squad car came screeching in to join the others.

Apparently, the Goodwill Store was being robbed.

Seriously.

Sort of gives Good Will Hunting a whole other meaning, huh?

Who robs the Goodwill?  I mean, wasn’t this stuff just one step above trash yesterday?  They could’ve  probably just had it, if they asked nicely.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Not So Much Goodwill Hunting Traffic Stupid CrimeDon’t get me wrong.  I love Goodwill and other thrift stores.  They’re the ultimate in re-purposers, and they do a lot of good.   I’ve found some great stuff at thrift stores.  My daughters love to look for “vintage” clothes, and I’ve been known to bag one-of-a-kind tea cups for my collection.  I once found a first edition Superman comic book for The Professor.  And, one of my favorite handbags is actually a leather camera bag from the 50’s that I got at a thrift store years ago, while scouting for baby clothes.

The fact that they’re willing to take all my junk, and thus save me the embarrassment of having a yard sale and admitting I own the stuff, is just icing on the cake.

Nonetheless, if we’re really honest about it, all of that stuff truly would have been dumpster bound, were it not for this last group home for orphaned stuff.

It’s not like there’s some sort of wholesale cost to re-coop on it.  This stuff arrived in a trash bag.  Did they really think they needed to steal it?

I was hoping they would haul one of the masterminds behind this inane assault out to one of the squad cars while traffic was forcing me to linger nearby.  But it’s probably better that they didn’t.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Not So Much Goodwill Hunting Traffic Stupid Crime

I probably would’ve abandoned my vehicle right there in the middle of traffic in my rush to get to the perpetrator.   I would have grabbed him (you just know it was a guy.  No woman is going to risk getting caught robbing anything but Macy’s or Saks) and asked, “What were you thinking?!?!  Is this what you want to do with your life?  Puleeze!  Have some pride.  Have some self-respect.  Good grief, man, there’s a Best Buy right down the street.”

I don’t care what anyone says, if you’re robbing a Goodwill, it’s time to re-evaluate your life choices.

Of course, if you’re sitting outside the Goodwill in traffic that hasn’t move for 20 minutes hoping that you’ll get a chance to interrogate the perpetrators, you might need to do a bit of introspection as well.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Seen anything weird lately?  Do you ever find yourself wishing you could ask people what on earth they were thinking when they did something clearly stupid?  Ever wonder where a giant guy finds a tiger print halter top pant suit in his size?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.