Category Archives: Family

The End of the Blog Hiatus

I

I tried to stop time. But time won.

The problem with having a blog called Very VERY Busy Mom is that it implies that if I am busy enough to warrant the second VERY in the title, when the heck do I find time to write a blog?

Exactly.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry’s gal pal Hermione Granger uses a device called a “time turner” which transports her to the past so she can double up her class schedule.

I’d love to win lotto one day, but I would trade those millions for my very own time turner. I’d get my work done with no stress at all, then use the time turner to spend time with my kids, hang out with my husband, exercise regularly, clean my house, and maybe have coffee with a friend.

But after a day or two of time turning, I’d want to tear out my lawn and put in drought-resistant plants, learn to speak Spanish fluently, write a book, start a small business, and train for marathon.

Don’t get me started on travel or getting a few more degrees.

I could never be happy with just two time turners. I would need two. Or three. Or infinity.

When other busy moms are taking a little “me” time – getting a mani-pedi, munching on a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels while watching Oprah (or possibly full seasons of Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones in a single sitting), or taking a little 5150 vacation in a psyche ward, I prefer to be productive. And write. My blog is my creative outlet, my little pick-me-up, and my own “Mommy’s Little Helper” without the hangover in the morning.

But for the past seven months, Very VERY Busy Mom has fallen by the wayside in favor of other pleasant pastimes like occasional exercise, a minimum sleep requirement and establishing a regular dog poop pickup routine before my backyard earns the nickname “Lord of the Flies.”

I decided to take a break for a week, which turned into a month, then turned into over half a year, and I felt like quite the loser whenever friends would come up to me and say, “Hey, Very VERY Busy Mom! I haven’t seen a new blog lately!” Their intention was encouraging and good-natured, but the translation into my insecure brain was “You’re a slacker! Show me your collection of bed sores!”

Instead of writing blog posts, I ended up finishing my third season editing dialogue on the ABC fairy tale drama Once Upon a Time (if you haven’t seen it yet, add it to your Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones marathon). The lack of time spent writing blogs enabled me to get my show done without it getting bounced from the stage – a term synonymous with “you’ll never work in this town again.”

My year-long obsession researching colleges, scholarships, and ACT & SAT prep for my 17-yeat old has culminated with her acceptance to the perfect college for her (Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois – known for its attraction of quirky kids ), but on the flipside, I haven’t practiced driving with Emily often enough to be certain she’s a safe enough driver to earn her license. Not that LA drivers generally are considerate enough to warrant a license, but I want her to be somewhat prepared for the cockfight.

I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time behind the wheel of my minivan transporting my 13-year old social butterfly to probably two dozen Bar and Bat Mitzvahs (even though we don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in our veins – Mary is loved by all races, creeds, and religions), and more social events than a Presidential candidate campaigning for a tight seat.

Although I’ve been making it a priority to read Harry Potter to my 7-year old every night (we’re now on #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) my son unfortunately has received the dregs of any free time I had left, so I missed a few of his baseball games and Cub Scout activities. Fortunately my Prince of a Husband picked up the slack as baseball coach and Assistant Den Master and managed to be the token parent there for absolutely every event. My hubby also loves it when I mention him favorably in my blog, so I’m glad he gave me something to write about.

I still love volunteering at the kids’ schools and in the community, but there have been whole weeks when I’ve gone completely AWOL and the other very VERY busy moms, dads and community do-gooders manage to get everything done even without my indispensable help. Proof that no one – even mwah (not sure how to spell this one correctly since it’s not really a word) is irreplaceable.

This is not the post I envisioned after a long hiatus from writing. I would rather have penned “How I Invested My Lotto Winnings,” or “Reflections as a Staff Writer on The Daily Show,” but unfortunately, that’s not how I’ve spent my last seven absent months.

I’ve just been very VERY busy.

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Filed under Career, Family, Humor, Husband, Kids, Multitasking, Parenting, Teenagers, Volunteering

The Problem With Costco? How Do You Get All That Crap Home?

IMG_2885Costco. The mere whisper of its name conjures images of big, bigger, and so-big-there’s-no-way-in-hell-you’ll-ever-finish-it-before-it-goes-bad mega-big. It wasn’t that long ago when in their wildest dreams Americans could never have imagined the wonders of this super-duper-store. Why in the world would you ever need a half-gallon of shampoo, 500 Styrofoam dinner plates and tortilla chips in a bag that’s bigger than your torso? Yet today, we wouldn’t consider buying a single pound of ground beef at Ralph’s when we can go to a mega warehouse and buy the whole cow. You never know when a boatload of your closest friends might drop by unexpectedly and expect you to whip up an impromptu barbeque.

The sheer enormity of Costco hits you well before you enter the store. Costco parking lots are the size of small amusement parks, and still they miraculously tend to fill up – particularly in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Parking vultures will wait 15 minutes hovering over a customer loading up his vehicle rather than hoof it from an open spot that’s so far away it lies in another zip code. I don’t mind the trek, and figure that the walk to and from the warehouse will do me good, burning a few of the many calories I plan to consume from the numerous free samples. You could go to Costco every day of the week, never spend a dime, and still eat like a king – that is if kings enjoy nibbling on a smorgasbord of pomegranate juice, Cajun sausages, waffle bites, and spinach dip.

Samples are a daily surprise at Costco.

Because of my distant parking spot, I’m very appreciative that Costco hasn’t yet installed those brakes that lock the wheels of the shopping cart when they reach the parking lot boundary. Frankly, I’m a little surprised. If I was a homeless person, Costco would definitely be my cart of choice. You can probably hold 20 dozen more cans in its roomy basket, and unlike the carts with the missing bottom available at 2-story Targets so they can travel up their own person-less escalator, Costco carts have big bottom racks that could possibly fit all three of my homeless children in case I needed to transport them up and down the boulevard.

Is it just me, or did anyone else do a double-take over the line big bottom racks?

The Costco powers-that-be were absolutely brilliant in their decision to remove compact-sized parking spots from their parking lots. Have you ever seen a Smart Car pull into the lot? Not very often, if ever. They had better bring along some bungee cords and rope if they plan to strap that 12-pack of paper towels to their roof like a Douglas fir leaving the Christmas tree lot.

There’s a reason there’s no bicycle racks or motorcycle parking, because there’s not a single thing sold at Costco that’s small enough to strap into your backpack, with the exception of a gift card to Spafinder or one of Costco’s special Road Show events selling engagement rings. Somehow I figure if someone’s wealthy enough to afford a fabulous sea salt scrub or planning to pop the question to the girl of his or her dreams, they’re probably not going to do it while riding a 10-speed. However, you can actually buy a bicycle or motorcycle at Costco and park your 2-wheeler in the store while you shop (the motorcycle is on display in the store and available at Costco.com). However, don’t plan to do any additional shopping unless you arrange to pick everything up later in your proper minivan or U-Haul trailer.

IMG_2887There have been days when I have filled up the back end of my 8-person minivan from floor to ceiling and still had to invade the middle row and passenger seat for the rest of my purchases. I start to feel like that classic I Love Lucy episode where Fred loads up the car for the move to California and has to tie golf clubs and conga drums to the hood to make everything fit.

I wish a trip to Costco felt like a zany screwball comedy. It doesn’t.

photoweek114bIt’s not just the 2 hours of shopping and cart maneuvering, retracing my steps to the far end of the store for the forgotten frozen pizzas, the 35 minute line at the register which is so long it snakes into the snacks aisle, the brainpower needed to strategically place all the items in my car so the 50-lb. bag of dog food is not resting on the giant pumpkin pie, or having to drive 15 miles below the speed limit so the entire pile doesn’t entomb me during a sudden stop. Just when I think my long Costco journey is over, I am now faced with the prospect of making 20 separate trips hauling the load from my driveway into my house. Because I hate making multiple trips to and from the car, I turn this job of 20 into just 4 trips, hauling so many heavy items stuffed into my reusable bags across my forearms that the embedded dents in my flesh become nearly permanent.  I place the 80 cup pack of Newman’s Own Keurig coffee cups on top of the 24 rolls of Charmin bathroom tissue on top of the 32-pack of diet Coke, then cradle the triple pack of Kellogg’s cereal between my right elbow and hip, the box of 250 Bounce fabric softener sheets between my left elbow and hip, and balance the entire load like a tightrope walker.

I don’t usually make it to the kitchen without dropping everything, but I keep trying, telling myself that next time it will be different.

After I transport everything into the house, I spend another hour slicing open those plastic containers that are tighter than Fort Knox and ripping apart the cardboard boxes that enclose 90% of everything sold at Costco. Next I have to somehow defy the laws of matter to find space in my refrigerator and cupboards to store everything. My rule of thumb: If it fits, that’s where it goes. Then I slam the door hard before everything falls out.

I’m finally done. Or am I?

Like every single slasher film ever made, even this is a false ending, because then I have to flatten all those boxes and get them to fit in our over-sized recycling bin. Some trips to Costco take two weeks for the garbage man to finally collect it all.

But the very worst thing about Costco? Getting my Costco American Express bill three weeks later, totaling only slightly less than the gross domestic product of a small country.

You’d think would be the nail in the coffin to get me to quit shopping at Costco… but no.

The last time I went, I noticed that they actually sell coffins at Costco.

I wonder if my car is big enough to get it home.

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Filed under Anxiety, Debt, Family, Humor

Happy Father’s Day to the Guy Who Knocked Me Up!

happy-fathers-day-knocked-up-mom-fathers_day-ecards-someecards Life was pretty simple for Tom in the fall of 2004. He owned a tiny, unkempt home in Van Nuys and his three dogs happily roamed the huge yard filled with knee-high weeds. His roommate Travis was a barrel of laughs and they’d have cigar-infused poker games beginning at 10:30 pm on Friday nights and lasting until the wee hours of Saturday. Tom spent his free time watching ballgames and blaring Black Sabbath as he tooled around in his little sports-like car.

IMG_1953“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends would say. “It’s a shame he can’t find a nice girl.”

It never occurred to me that I might be that nice girl.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.03.29 PM

Emily & Mary 2003

In 1995, I became friends with Tom and his soon-to-be wife, who became his soon-to-be ex.  My ex-husband and I split up in May of 2004 when my daughters were 3 and 7 years old, and six months later, I was frustrated that I couldn’t get the internet to work. I knew Tom was great with computers, so I asked if he could set up my  Mac and offered to make him dinner in exchange.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.05.33 PM

Tom & Baby Jake

Apparently he could run rings around a PC, but he’d never touched a Mac. Tom’s roommate gave him a crash course before he came over so he could fake it.

Tom never did get me online, but a year later we were married, and three months after our wedding day I was pregnant. I was already 43 and in perimenopause. He was 38 and apparently had some tenacious swimmers.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.06.48 PM

Tom and 4-year old Mary

Suddenly Tom had a new home in a different part of the valley – one where the lawn was expected to be short and the mess shouldn’t be chokeable to young children. He became an instant step dad to my two little girls, and his life was no longer his own.

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.09.53 PM

Tom & 8-year old Emily

There were constant play dates, slumber parties, and endless backyard karaoke performances with pop songs and show tunes that would make his ears bleed. Tom knew nothing about decorating Barbie’s Dream House, putting on Fashion Polly gowns, or watching predictable Disney Channel sitcoms with overbearing laugh tracks. But he learned.

Today Tom is blaring the brand new Black Sabbath album, but now it’s from his family-friendly mini SUV. The late night cigar-infused poker games are few and far between, but he attended one last night and won a whopping 70 bucks. Tom still has 3 dogs (2 of them replaced the other 2 that died), but he now has 3 kids added to the mix.

Tom Jake Raingutter Regata

Tom & Jake at the Cub Scout’s Raingutter Regatta

Tom became the treasurer of our local elementary school even before his own son was a student, and the assistant den leader for Jake’s Cub Scout Pack. It’s a fairly odd turn for a man whose favorite song lyrics come from a guy known for biting the head off a bat.  He also became the head coach for Jake’s Toluca Baseball team. Tom Jake Toluca GrettelTom even built a batting cage in our backyard driveway, complete with enclosed netting, and he pitches wiffle balls to Jake after work.

His life has become much busier than I’m sure he ever dreamed it could be. Tom started his own blog Middle Age Metal HeadParenting With a Heavy Metal Twist. Although I doubt that he’s fond of Talking Heads (probably too conventional), the common theme running through his blog seems to be like the band’s Once in a Lifetime lyric: How did I get here?

Screen shot 2013-06-16 at 8.18.35 PMTom doesn’t spend all weekend watching ballgames anymore. Instead, he mows the lawn and takes out the trash. He washes the dogs, shaves the Australian shepherd’s hairy, poopy butt, and fixes anything that breaks, including the 83-year old brass doorknobs that fall off weekly.

Tom Mary pool

Tom & Mary in our above-ground pool

He sets up our above ground pool in May, takes it down in October and plays water volleyball with Mary and Jake most summer evenings. He’s teaching Emily how to drive and play guitar. He makes us delicious, healthy meals and guides us in 20-minute workout sessions. During family dinners, he has us each go around the dinner table and say the three things we did well, the one thing we wish we could do better, and what we could do to get better at that thing.Tom Jake cowboys

Tom has a twisted sense of humor, and never ceases to make us all laugh. We never get sick of him saying, “We’re off like a prom dress,” or his friend Joe’s line, “Don’t sweat the petty stuff; pet the sweaty stuff.” Tom doesn’t hold a grudge, always tries to get us to look on the bright side, and has a never-ending faith that no matter what happens, together we can walk through anything.

Tom Jake“Tom’s such a nice guy,” his friends still say.

How lucky I am to have become his nice girl.

Note: Thank you to someecards for their inspiration for the title of this blog post. For Father’s Day, I sent Tom their “Happy You-Knocked-Up-Mom Day” e-card. He thanked me by saying he’s happy to oblige any time.

Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

Today: Emily, Cathy, Tom Mary & Jake. Thank you to Grettel Cortes for the fabulous photo!

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Parenting, Volunteering

Falling Asleep at the Burnt Out Class

falling asleep

I love school! If I won lotto tomorrow, I would just plan to take classes for the rest of my life, whether or not I could earn a degree for it. I don’t care if it’s on auto repair or astrophysics or how to put up an astrological horoscope, if there’s learning involved, sign me up.

Unfortunately, my work schedule during the tv season virtually prohibits the commitment to a regular class schedule. In 2008 I went back to school taking online classes from Clarion University in Pennsylvania, and even though I was working at the time, in 2010 I earned my Master’s degree in Library Science.

It nearly killed me.

I felt like I fell off the face of the earth for two years as I concentrated solely on work, school, and kids – unfortunately in that order. It’s a learning experience I’ll never get from a classroom – even an online classroom. And it’s one I don’t wish to ever repeat.

Now I save my learning fix for hiatus and then search for classes like a dog with a bone. I finished up my last stage fix for Once Upon a Time on Monday night. Only 26 hours later I began a 12-week series of seminars for small business owners which takes place downtown for three hours every Tuesday and Thursday night.

Do I own a small business? No. But if I start one up, I’ll know what to do.

My medical insurance plan offers several workshops throughout the year on everything from nutrition to stress management to CPR so I signed up for three upcoming classes.

I was especially looking forward to Wednesday evening’s “On Empty and Burnt Out” which asked: Feeling as if you are running on empty? … Learn a new approach to your busy life – one in which you will be able to repair mentally, physically, psychologically and emotionally.

For anyone who knows me, I thrive on being productive, and I get a real rush when I have a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately this rush was causing incidences of embarrassing short-term memory loss, occasional crying fits and the feeling like someone should just shoot me in the head.

Not something I would advocate, even if I do have a blog called Very VERY Busy Mom.

Frankly, I was hoping they would give me some tools to enable me to multitask more efficiently, offer advice so I don’t feel like such a flake if I have to let something go, and ways to make my sleep more productive so I could get by on 4 hours instead of 6.

Instead, the other potentially burnt out attendees and I were greeted with the advice we didn’t want to hear:

  • Get 8-9 hours of sleep each night
  • Remove all sodas, processed foods and refined sugar from your diet
  • Choose one day a week to slow down and perhaps make it a day of pampering
  • Exercise by walking or running 20-30 minutes each day, practicing yoga 3-5 times each week, and lifting weights 10 minutes each day

This is another great reason why I would like to win lotto. If I had time to do all this, I wouldn’t need to take a class called “On Empty and Burnt Out.” As much as I was excited to attend this class and enjoyed learning the information, I was having an extremely serious problem that was holding me back.

I kept dozing off.

The instructor wasn’t boring. She wasn’t repeating herself. She was knowledgeable and passed along information that would be incredibly beneficial to enriching my life.

I was just tired. Beat to my bones. And I was kicking myself that I made myself too busy that afternoon to grab a Monster Energy Drink, and the seminar didn’t have a coffee pot in sight. As I fought to pay attention to the lecturer, I performed wake up tricks like pinching my ears, pressing the web between my thumb and forefinger, tightening my Kegels and flexing my hamstrings – all to no avail.

I probably came across looking seriously ADHD.

It wasn’t until the next morning, after my first full 8 hours of sleep in weeks, that the lesson of the “On Empty and Burnt Out” class hit home.

Whether I’m working beaucoup hours or not, my tendency is to fill up every waking minute with something. The trick is, now that I’m on hiatus, it’s the perfect time to try to put these habits into place. Perhaps I should try sleeping for 8-9 hours, cutting out the things I shouldn’t be consuming, exercising every day, and taking a day to relax.

If I can do that, maybe then my short-term memory won’t be so shot to hell that I forget to do sleep, eat right, exercise and relax in the first place.

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Filed under Anxiety, Career, Family, Humor, Kids, Learning, Multitasking, Parenting

Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t Give Me Cooties!

no romantic dinner Restaurants, florists and jewelry shops would like to convince you that Valentine’s Day is for lovers. And that passion will grow if you just fork out a fortune at a crowded restaurant, buy a dozen long stemmed roses on the most expensive day of the year, or purchase an overpriced diamond that has a used street value that’s less than a non-Smart cell phone.

Valentine’s Day does serve that minute population of those who are newly in love – those optimistic souls who met on Match.com within the past two or three months and whose relationship is still at the stage where they lock the bathroom door when they use the toilet. For the other 99.9% who are in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is kind of a hassle – especially when it falls on a weeknight as it does this year. The rest of us are too exhausted to go out and celebrate, and if we do, we’re too sleepy and bloated to consummate the evening after a big fancy meal.

This year my husband Tom and I will do what we do every year: buy each other a funny card. He’ll make his famous jambalaya, which is tastier than any restaurant, and for a fraction of the cost. We’ll celebrate the most romantic night of the year by dining with our three children. Jake will complain that he doesn’t like it, so he’ll get a bowl of white rice. Emily the vegetarian will have a separate meatless bowl, and Mary will try to nab the last piece of garlic bread. Our meal will be served in the kitchen. There will be no candles. No romantic music. And I will do the dishes.

We have a special event this year on Valentine’s Day evening. Jake is having a Cub Scout Pack meeting. Tom and I will celebrate by giving each other a little smooch during the event, then wait for the cubs to mutter “Eeewwww! Gross!”

The demographic that really caters to Valentine’s Day are children 12 and under. They celebrate by buying Valentine’s Day cards for every member of their classroom. They’re not allowed to just bring something for the boy or girl they have a crush on. They must also deliver a card to the boy that creeps them out or the girl who’s a big tattletale. Even the kids who give other kids cooties receive cards asking “Will You Be My Valentine?” Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when you can tell that girl who doesn’t bathe often that she’s as sweet as Snow White, and she won’t think you’re hot for her. And although boys bring cards for boys and girls bring cards for girls, that doesn’t make them gay. Although it’s ok with me if they are.

kids cards

Kids’ Valentine’s Day cards come in a huge assortment, advertising hit Pixar or Dreamworks movies and Disney or Nickelodeon tv shows, and they usually have some accompanying prize attached. This year they include Brave cards with pencils, Phineas & Ferb cards with tattoos, Star Wars cards with glow sticks, and Transformers cards with erasers. I didn’t see Family Guy valentines, which is a good thing since Jake would have chosen them and all the elementary school parents would know that I’m a bad mom for letting him watch a show that would be rated R if it was live action.

Somehow I just don’t see the romance in Transformers. What kind of wish do they give the recipient? “Have a Apocalyptic Valentine’s Day?” “Be My Disastrous Demolition Valentine?”

tween cards

For the tween set, there’s Justin Bieber with tattoos that say “I heart JB,” Twilight Breaking Dawn with stickers, and Mustache cards with tattoos (where did this big craze about mustaches come from? Charlie Chaplin? Burt Reynolds? Hitler? Fodder for another blog).

mustaches

Jake picked out the cards from the movie Madagascar 3. It features Valentine’s Day wishes combined with circus advertisements for the cast. “May Your Valentine’s Day be Just Darling” also hawks “Gloria – the World’s Most Graceful Hippo.” I doubt Jake gave any thought as to whom he should give this card. However, if I was an overweight girl, I would be terribly offended.Madagascar 3

Crafty moms make hand-cut cards and fancy treat baggies, downloading ideas from Pinterest, Etsy, and Martha Stewart. I’m not one of those moms. Even if I had time on my hands I wouldn’t be one of those moms. I’m not creative or crafty, so whenever my kids have to build a class project like a Leprechaun Trap or a Spanish mission, I pimp out my oldest daughter Emily who lives her life outside of the box.

Most of the kids tape some sort of treat to the bag, usually SweeTarts or chocolate kisses – the official candies of Valentine’s Day. I might steal the kisses from my kids, but the SweeTarts get tossed into the candy bin that holds all the Easter, Halloween, birthday piñata candy, and a lone half-sucked on Christmas candy cane.

Jake’s teacher this year is forbidding treats of any kind, which will most likely cause a riot on the playground at recess with those kids nabbing candy from the students with more lenient teachers. Jake’s Valentine’s Day card package included temporary tattoos of all the Madagascar 3 characters. I’m hoping that Jake’s teacher doesn’t classify non-edible items as treats and allows them as gifts. On the other hand, even though tattoos and stickers may be classified as non-edible items, there is a good chance that some of the kids will still try to eat them – especially if it is something of the scratch & sniff variety.

By coincidence, on Valentine’s Day this year, Dr. To (pronounced “toe”), our local pediatric dentist, is coming to all the kindergarten classes to show kids the proper way to brush (follow the link in her name. She’s Jake’s dentist and we love her!). Then on Friday she’s doing the same for the 1st grade classes. This is perfect timing, since other than the day after Halloween, the day after Valentine’s Day will be the day most likely for rampant sugar to rot baby teeth.

Although Jake’s friends possibly spend hours addressing Valentine’s Day cards (or their parents whole minutes), I’m never sure what to with all those grams after the holiday. Jake and I read them together, and before the weekend they’ll magically disappear into our recycling bin.

Isn’t that romantic?

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Filed under Family, Holidays, Humor, Husband, Kids, Public Schools, Teenagers

How Do You Feed 50,000 Visitors?

188868068It’s time to stock up on lemonade and homemade muffins because as of around noon yesterday, I have had 50,000 visitors.

It’s a good thing I have a lemon tree.

To a website like The Huffington Post or The Onion, 50,000 is small potatoes, but for my little mommy-turned-humor blog this is a miraculous feat. I am fortunate to know a boatload of people, but I doubt I’m acquainted more than a couple thousand.

I didn't quite capture the exact 50,000 mark.

I didn’t quite capture the exact 50,000 mark.

But 50,000? Who are these people?

How did they find Very VERY Busy Mom?

What lures them to my site? It’s probably not my new posts, since I’ve I only written three new ones this month – a record low. Yet somehow my viewership keeps going up.

If you stretched all my readers end to end on their backs, with stinky feet touching greasy heads (or pedicured toes grazing coifed up-dos, depending on my demographic) that line would reach an astounding 52 miles!

I doubt my readers would be particularly gung ho to venture out on that experiment. Still, it sounds like a bunch!

Granted, this 50,000 total doesn’t include individual people but rather daily visits. So if my husband, my mom and I were the only ones logging on, it would collectively take us nearly 47 years to reach that number.

By then I’ll most likely be either dead, too senile to write a blog, or too dim to log on at all. However by 2060, there probably won’t be blogs but rather mini-mind readings.

Hopefully you’ll just think of me and laugh. The way you do now anyway.

But if you’re not my husband, my mom, or someone who has a vested interest in my happiness (which leaves just my husband and my mom) why do you log on to Very VERY Busy Mom?

Some readers come when I announce a new post on Facebook. Half of me wants to hug and kiss these people for taking a moment out of their day to read what I have to say. The other half of me pities them, hoping that they’ll get a life that includes something more productive than trolling on Facebook.

Other readers are friends and acquaintances who receive an email from me announcing that I have a new post. I often assume that these people have given me my very own folder in their inbox. This folder is called “Spam.”

Another 318 people have signed up for automatic emails whenever I post a new blog. I wish I could buy a gift for everyone who’s done this, but they are all a mystery to me. For all I know, it could be one stalker with 318 different email addresses: iheartveryverybusymom@gmail.com; veryverybusymomismysexslave@yahoo.com; veryverybusymomstalker@nystateprison.com; etc.

Sometimes Google sends viewers my way. The most popular search terms involve Once Upon a Time. As the show’s dialogue editor, I spend 50 or more hours cutting each episode – more hours than I spend doing anything else including sleep – so I occasionally tend to write blogs about the show. Some of my favorite search terms are “once upon a time lesbian” (110 queries), “once upon a time lesbian kiss,” and “regina mills sexy.” I hope these webs surfers are not too disappointed when they land on my blog rather than something extra juicy.

Here are some other search terms my readers like to use:

“shingles face”

“school toilet”

“colon cleanse”

“sleepover party”

“too much poop”

“work at home mum makes $10,397/month part-time”

“is 50 shades of grey nasty”

“my husband loves me too much”

“sexy rubber gloves”

“trough sink at Costco”

“busy mom porn”

I have no idea who’s googling “busy mom porn,” and how they ended up on my website, but it kind of creeps me out.

Although there’s a “mom” in the title of “Very VERY Busy Mom,” there’s not one search term for “coupons,” “recipes,” “crafts,” or “cleaning.” Probably because I’ve never written about them. Well… maybe cleaning, or rather the lack thereof. Hence the “too much poop” search term.

If you’re reading my blog this very minute and it’s Wednesday, January 30, 2013, you are approximately my 50,235th viewer.

If it’s the year 2020, you’re either #6,547,289,136 or you’ve reached something called “Page Not Found.”

Will I put up a McDonald’s sign? “6,547,289,136 Viewers Served!”

What will I feed them all?

Apparently a few more Once Upon a Time predictions and something I can prepare with sexy rubber gloves.

I appreciate you stopping by Very VERY Busy Mom today. Have a muffin and some lemonade on your way out. I’m off to plant a second lemon tree.

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Filed under Career, Family, Friends, Humor, Husband, Kids, Parenting

Baby, It’s Freakin’ Cold Outside!

39 degreesI was born to be born in sunny Southern California, but man oh man, it has been really cold lately. Not just cold for me and my abnormally warm blood, but so cold it’s the main topic of conversation, or at least a close second to Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes speech. The weather anchors call it a cold snap, which seems to be the phrase they’re all using instead of cold spell. Cold snap certainly sounds more frozen, as if all of Los Angeles was a block of dry ice that could snap. If it could spell, the letters would be “F-R-E-A-K-I-N’ C-O-L-D!!!”

I’m writing this blog just before midnight, and according to NBC Weather it’s currently 39° and expected to drop to a low of 33°. I admit that I’m a cold weather wimp, but for even you East Coast and Midwest transplants, you’ve got to agree that unless you’re a Navy Seal or one of those hearty Little House on the Prairie women who couldn’t be broken by 24’s Jack Bauer, this transformed tundra has become truly uninhabitable.

It doesn’t help that our house has virtually no insulation. It was built in 1930 with lath and plaster construction, which means that there’s none of that fancy, fluffy padding protecting my delicate body from the harsh elements. Fortunately we installed new energy efficient windows a few years ago, but the heating unit is a joke. Apparently some penny-wise pound-foolish previous owner decided to install a central air and heating system that was meant for a home that was 70% smaller. They justified it by not installing vents in the kitchen or the bathrooms. Needless to say, in the summer butter liquefies in seconds in our blazing kitchen, and in the winter the bathroom is so cold you might consider wearing a Depends rather than venture onto that cold throne in the middle of the night.

My husband Tom has been up coughing the last two evenings, and because he’s a true prince, he has been considerate enough to toss and turn and cough and hack up a lung on the living room sofa rather than in bed with me. He probably knows that in two day’s time, I’d just end up writing a nasty blog about how he Typhoid Maryed me with his pneumonia and all our mutual friends will give him crap about it. It’s better to be known as a prince than the contagion carrier. He just grabs a few blankets and cowboys up. Plus, he prefers the temperature a little nippy. Frankly, I think he’s got a little Navy Seal blood in him. Or perhaps some of that hearty Little House on the Prairie just-suck-it-up-or-I’ll-really give-you-something-to cry-about blood.

The thermostat is in the living room, which is the farthest point from the furnace and therefore the coldest room in the house in the winter – that is, the coldest room that is lucky enough to have a vent. But the living room is a good 10-20° colder than the bedrooms. If Tom turns up the heat in the living room, the bedrooms are sweltering – especially for Mary who sleeps on the top bunk in direct line with the vent.

I’ve mostly closed off the vents in the bedrooms while Tom’s having his little bout of germ spewing. A swivel tower air conditioner is strung horizontally up on the wall above Mary’s bed so she can cool herself if it gets too hot. My little Mary is like a delicate flower that is wilting at night. This is a nice way of saying she’s a wimpy girl without the Navy Seal or hearty Little House on the Prairie blood.

So now we have our slipshod heater trying to force itself through mostly-closed vents in the bedrooms as it chugs its way to the living room trying to warm my ailing husband. We’re paying a hefty price for gas, electricity, and power for Mary’s makeshift air conditioning unit. And still, it’s probably 65° in the living room and 95° in Mary’s room.

My 2007 Honda Odyssey has a nifty feature – a thermostat that reads the outside temperature. I’m not brave enough to go out this second to see if it’s really 39° right now. But I wish I could use the feature to accurately measure the temperature indoors. I’d like to squeeze my minivan in through the front door to see if there really is a 10, 20 or even 30° difference between Tom’s sofa and Mary’s top bunk.

Despite the frigid temperature outside and the vast array of climates inside, this cold snap has left me with a tremendous sense of gratitude – gratitude that our family is not homeless, gratitude that I will most likely be able to pay both the electric and gas bill this month, and gratitude that we have cozy blankets and heaters to keep us warm. But at this moment I’m mostly grateful that my prince of a husband is coughing on the couch instead of into my immune system.

Baby, it’s a cold. Outside! ( I don’t want to catch it!).

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