Tag Archive | humor

I Am an Uncool Parent

I’m not sure when I became the uncool parent. There had to be a specific moment where I lost my touch; although, I’m at a loss to know exactly when that was. Once upon a time, my kids thought I was the hippest chick on the planet. Everything I did made them laugh. Everything I said was funny. They wanted to hang out with me 24/7 and couldn’t imagine ever growing up and leaving me. I swear, I’m not making this up. They told me that themselves.

Let’s flash forward a few years. My children no longer want to be seen with me in public. If I go to the mall with my two youngest daughters these days (twenty and thirteen-years-old respectively), they walk two paces behind me pretending not to know me…unless of course there’s something they want. Then suddenly they run toward me in slow motion, as if in a bad movie montage, hands outreached toward me as they reach for my wallet. Typically, that is the moment when they tell me they love me. But five minutes later, they’re back to trailing behind like they’ve never even met me.

 

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Me and my 3 daughters. I’m the incredibly lame one, 2nd from the left.

Now, there are times where I say something incredibly witty and charming, something that most people would find humorous and potentially life-altering. Something an adult would slap me on the back for and say, “You’re so funny. I think I peed a little!” But instead of realizing my potential as a possible stand-up comic, able to humor the masses and cause people to piddle themselves, my children will turn to me and say, with a deadpanned expression, “You’re not funny. Don’t do that.”

It’s a no-win situation.

I’d like to think it’s because they’re not cool and out of touch with the rest of mankind. But I’m fairly certain it’s because I’m not Angelina Jolie or Sarah Jessica Parker, instead stuck with a boring woman who wears nothing but sweat pants every day, doing nothing but typing on a laptop all day. I’m not glamorous or exciting.

Or maybe it’s just that I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am

…..Nah

But I digress.

At some point, I lost the title of “cool mom”. Apparently, I walk too loud. I talk too much. And I say certain words wrong. (In my defense, I grew up thinking there was an R in the middle of the word “wash”.) But I don’t even have to say anything anymore. Even a sideways glance from me can be a potential deal breaker when we’re in public, with one of the girls mumbling under her breath, “Stop embarrassing us.”

 

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Birthday dinner for the one on the right. I believe after this photo was taken, one of them threatened to flush my phone if I took one more picture.

I wonder if Madonna’s kids are embarrassed by her past antics? Do you think Jennifer Garner’s children roll their eyes every time they see her on one of those credit card commercials? I’d bet money that Tina Fey’s kids will eventually be mortified whenever they accidentally come across one of her old SNL skits. I’m thinking (and hoping) that I’m not alone in this personal hell. I have to assume that all parents go through this eventually.

I remember the good old days when all I had to do was talk like a duck and cross my eyes, and my daughters would nearly pee themselves from laughter. And those moments where I was able to spread peanut butter evenly without ripping the slice of bread or fixing a broken zipper? I never felt more accomplished than when my children looked up at me, mouth wide in awe, utterly impressed at my obvious superhuman abilities. But the stakes have now been raised to an impossible level. Nothing I do is impressive or funny. I could shoot lightning out of my fingers to start a fire or fart a rainbow, and my daughters would shrug and go back to staring at their phones, completely indifferent to my personal achievements.

 

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I wanted to take professional mother/daughter photos a few years ago. They were incredibly embarrassed, but I still managed to get them to smile for the camera.

It’s my own fault, really. I was lulled into a false sense of security over the years, my children constantly showing me affection, saying cute little things like, “You funny mama” or “You the best mama ever.” Turns out, children are fickle things, only seeing their parents as amusing playthings until they’re old enough to see through our lame façade. Truth is, in their eyes, I’ve turned into old gum that’s lost it flavor, spit out and stuck to someone’s shoe.

Okay…maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the picture.

And no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get the cool-factor back. It doesn’t matter how many books I publish, who I know, or what I’ve done. I doubt there’s anything I could do to impress my offspring these days. My husband and I often joke that even if I manage to pull off the dream of all dreams and write something that ends up on the big screen and am invited to the red-carpet premiere, I’d still manage to barely find myself a blip on their radar of “cool”. Unless, of course, I somehow managed to get them photos with their Hollywood faves…someone like Andy Samburg, Charlie Hunnam, or Gal Gadot. Then, my status as greatest-mom-ever would rise to its highest ranking in years…at least until the next day when I say something amusing while strolling down the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They would ultimately roll their eyes and fall-in behind me, two paces back, and pretend as if they don’t know me. And even then, if I remind them I was the one responsible for them meeting Andy, Charlie, and Gal, they’d reply with, “Well, that was yesterday. This is now.”

Recently, I thought back to my own adolescence, remembering how embarrassing my mother was on a daily basis. Was I judging her too harshly? Was she actually cool, and was I just too hypercritical to see it? But then I look at old photos of us and remember how she tried to dress me like a fifty-year-old woman and forced me to tuck my shirts into my underwear. And let’s not forget the time she forced me to dress like a pumpkin when I was thirteen-years-old for a Halloween party. I’ll never forget the horror of cute boys talking to every girl there…except me. Or the multiple times she dressed me as Uncle Sam to sing patriotic tunes to the elderly at retirement centers…and I realize I was justified at my embarrassment.

 

Embarassing 4th

You thought I was kidding…

But I’m much cooler, right? Right? Am I delusional?

Probably.

The only satisfaction I gain from all of this is that one day, my children’s own children will repay the favor. One day, they’ll be flying high, thinking they’re the best parent in the world, their child worshipping the ground they walk on. The next, their teenager will stare at their handheld holo-phone and mutter, “You’re not funny. Don’t do that.”

A girl can dream.

*Disclaimer: This post was written tongue-in-cheek. My kids are great…the ungrateful brats.

 

 

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Typing 101

It all began many years ago – first period of my freshman year of high school. Typing 101. Now for those of you from the younger generation following along, let me explain what a typewriter is. It’s a box with a keyboard…kind of like a computer keyboard…only different. And instead of a screen you put blank paper into it and press really hard on the keys. And you didn’t need a printer to print what you just typed, and if you made a mistake…there was a white paint in a bottle you used to cover up the mistake on the paper. Crazy, I know. Well, during this class we learned many things, one of which was you were to never look at your fingers while typing. Also, you always (and I cannot stress this enough) ALWAYS put 2 spaces after each period before starting the next sentence.

This was how I learned to type. Now, none of my kids have taken a typing class…they’ve taken computer classes where they learn the ins and outs of a computer but not how to actually type on the keyboard.  Instead, they hunt and peck, and after about an hour of typing one page, they beg me to type the rest of their paper so they don’t have to stay up all night to type it themselves. I’m sorry…what happened to Typing 101?

This is a portable typewriter...the original laptop.

This is a portable typewriter…the original laptop.

But I digress.

Thanks to this typing class some (mumble) years ago, I’m able to type out my thoughts at breakneck speed. I still pound the keys of the laptop keyboard as if I’m punching the keys on a typewriter. I have had to teach myself that it is no longer acceptable to place 2 spaces after each period. But this class…this simple high school course…has ultimately given me the ability to do what I do. Write.

So, I’d like to publicly thank my typing teacher, Mrs. Syrkel, for giving me the tools to type quickly and effectively. Thanks.

A Day in the Life of a Debut Author

So, you want to know what a burgeoning author does during a typical day? Are you sure? All right. Fine. You asked for it.

(This is where I place a disclaimer stating that if you are easily bored or fall asleep while reading, continue at your own risk.)

I’d like to say that I spend all day long perched before my trusty laptop sipping coffee while birds chirp outside my window. I’d also like to tell you I have a housekeeper who comes in every week and thoroughly scrubs my beautiful, luxurious home and a nanny who arrives each morning to make breakfast and leaves every night after making dinner. Lastly, I would love to say I have a bank account in Switzerland and drive a new car every year.

But just because I’d like to say those things doesn’t make them real.

My typical day begins in the morning after I wake up my youngest daughter for school. I get her breakfast which is usually a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. Then I eat something and pour myself the first of 2 large travel mugs of coffee. I turn on the television and watch GMA until it’s time to drive my kid to the bus stop.

The gym is next where I generally do 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of circuit training. (Need to get into book signing shape.)  Then it’s home to take a quick shower and get ready for work.  After my allotted hours earning my paycheck, the drive home is the only time, other than breakfast, where I have time to decompress and relax.

When I get home, I either make dinner and we eat as a family or (if I’m lucky) my hubby has dinner waiting for me. While someone else does the dishes and cleans up, I head off to my laptop and begin working on either my latest book or the edits from my lovely editor.

Now, when I have the occasional day off I usually do multiple loads of laundry, go grocery shopping, hit the gym and continue to work on my book and/or edits.

That’s it. Fun, right?

But you may notice some things are missing.

What?! This ISN'T the litter box?

What?! This ISN’T the litter box?

My bathrooms rarely get cleaned. I can’t tell you the last time I vacuumed my house. My daughter’s school paperwork piles up for weeks until I finally go through it and realize we missed a meeting or school event. I couldn’t tell you where we keep our feather duster.  I play Schroedinger’s Cat with the mailbox until the mailman starts giving me dirty looks. My cats remind me that I haven’t cleaned their litter in days by leaving me presents on the floor outside the cat box. My DIY projects, including my new dresser and daughter’s bed frame, have been collecting dust for weeks. And while my husband usually reads, watches TV or plays with our daughter, I’m sequestered, hunched over my 5-year-old laptop, trying to follow my dreams.

Do-it-yourself project that I started over 4 months ago. There are 4 other projects that are waiting to be started taking up room in my garage.

Do-it-yourself project that I started over 4 months ago. There are 4 other projects that are waiting to be started taking up room in my garage.

It isn’t the glamorous life most think of when they think “author”, but mine is the reality that is shared by numerous other writers. Most writers aren’t lucky enough to become a J.K. Rowling, Stephen King or Stephanie Meyer. Most of us keep full-time jobs and write in our spare time. We don’t have maids, nannies or even personal trainers. Thankfully, I’m lucky enough to have a husband who doesn’t mind picking up the slack around the house so I can follow my dreams.

The one thing all new authors share is the desire to get our stories out there to the people who want to read them. Most of us don’t get into writing to become millionaires. In fact, some end up losing money during the process. But there is one thing no one can take away from authors like me…a sense of accomplishment at seeing our dream through to fruition.

Success is all in the eye of the beholder.

Hurry Up and Wait

All right folks. We’re approximately three months away from the release of my debut novel, “Haunting”. The first round of edits will be arriving soon, my stress level has started to rise and my sense of reality has taken a back seat to the possibilities of publication. All in all, I’m in the same situation as every other debut author.

See that empty spot? That's where "Haunting" by BJ Sheldon will go on library shelves.

See that empty spot? That’s where “Haunting” by BJ Sheldon will go on library shelves.

Now that the initial shock and excitement has worn off, the real work begins. Already working on the sequel, there never seems to be enough days in the week to get it all done. My husband and daughters as well as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and my website have all been seriously neglected in lieu of going to a “real” job by day and writing by night.  Only God knows how I’m going to find time to do the essential things in life, like eat and sleep, when my lovely editor, Jennifer, starts sending the edits in the next week or two. I may need to invest in some serious under-eye-dark-circle creams and strong coffee to get me through the next few months. It’s times like this where I wish magic was real…where is Hermione’s time turner when I need it?!

I can’t really spend a straight 24 hours hunched over my laptop. While it’s a lovely concept to be able to sit and write all day long, it’s not realistic. So, time management is now rearing its ugly head and is forcing me to rethink my daily schedule in order to fit in more writing time and prepare for the forthcoming edits…reprioritize, if you will. The problem is this…everything demands my attention and wants to be first on my list. My children, my husband, the gym, laundry…you get the picture. But in the end, that’s what life is…finding time to do everything you need to do in a 24-hour day.

Being an Army wife, I am very familiar with the phrase, “Hurry up and wait.” Anyone who has ever been in, or married to, the military knows how true this can be. The same can be said for the process of publishing.

1) Receive offer of publication – Check

2) Accept offer of publication – Check

3) Wait – Check

4) Wait some more – Check

5) Work on the sequel while waiting for edits – Check

6) Continue to wait for edits and dream about what the final cover art will be – Check

For a person who has had a lifelong struggle with patience, the entire publishing process has proved to be pure torture, to say the least. But as I say quite often, this too shall pass. In a few short months, my edits will be complete, my cover reveal will be promoted, and my book signings will be planned. As each days comes to an end, I have to remind myself that I am another day closer to the end goal. People will download my book onto their eReaders or will be flipping through the pages of a bound copy of “Haunting”…and they will be reading the words that I lovingly and painstakingly put to paper night after night with nothing but a pad of paper and a used laptop. The characters created through my ridiculous imagination will come to life every time someone decides to read my story. And therein lies the reason I began to write again after all those years…to make people smile, cry and inspire each of them to search their own imaginations.

This is the face of 40.

This is the face of 40.

This year, I turn 41. Yes…41. Call me a late bloomer if you want, but here’s the point I wanted to make.  I’ve waited my entire life for this opportunity. I’ve essentially waited nearly 23 years to see my dream of becoming a published author come to fruition. Go take a look at yourself in the mirror.  How old are you? What are your dreams?  What’s holding you back?  Why are you waiting?  The time for excuses has passed, and now it’s time to take an honest look at where you want to go and who you want to be.  If a woman entering into “middle-aged” territory can finally realize her dream, why can’t you?

So hurry up and get started…just be prepared to wait.

Liebster Blog Award and Nominations

Liebster

Well, what do you know? I received a Liebster Blog Award! I’d like to take the opportunity to thank my friend & fellow blogger, Stephanie Neighbour, for nominating me. I encourage you all to check out Stephanie‘s blog.  She’s funny and an overall goofball…which I love. Now, here’s how it works:

–       I list 11 random facts about myself.

–       I’ll answer the 11 questions asked of me by the person who nominated me.

–       I will then nominate my 5 picks (normally you’re supposed to choose 11, but I’m a rebel and never follow the rules) for the award along with my 11 questions for them to answer when they post a response.

–       If you’re nominated, your name/link will appear at the bottom of this post along with your questions. Follow the same format; paste the award badge to your blog, give us 11 random facts about yourself, answer my 11 questions, and choose your nominees…but you cannot nominate the blog who nominated you.

11 Random facts about me:

1) I am a Whovian. How did I spend my Christmas day?  By watching all of the Doctor Who Christmas specials on BBC America and topping it off with the newest Christmas special. What can I say?  I’m a giant nerd!

2) When I was a little girl, I dreamed of playing the lead in “Annie” on Broadway. I was angry with my parents for months when they wouldn’t sell their farm in Iowa and move to New York City so I could become a famous Broadway star.

3) As a child, I once had a dog named Rubbers. She was our farm dog…a beautiful reddish dog with black feet. It looked like she had black, rubber boots on her feet, hence the name.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

4) Growing up, I also had a horse named Woody. (I’m beginning to think there was something wrong with my family.)

5) I have an enormous fear of frogs.  Yes…frogs.  They’re slimy, gross and have the ability to hop up your pant leg if they so desire. I understand that being afraid of frogs is irrational, but that’s what an irrational fear is, isn’t it? Being afraid of something that isn’t rational. But I stick by my guns…because I have no desire to hop around and scream like a child just because I didn’t take caution around a leg-climbing frog. Don’t judge me.

Embarassing 4th

Smiling on the outside, dying on the inside

6) I used to perform in retirement homes when I was little, singing various holiday-themed songs to elderly people and their staff. My mom would sew my costumes and force me to sing in character. The worst one was when she used to make me perform around the 4th of July in a red, white and blue polyester monstrosity complete with a white beard. I was supposed to look like Uncle Sam. I looked ridiculous…but the elderly audience loved it. Oh, the things I did back then for fame.

7) My parents didn’t allow me to watch the show “Facts of Life” as a kid because they didn’t approve of the title. Yep.

8) One day, I’d love to ride in a custom, luxury RV, traveling from one end of the country to the other. My  husband hates that idea.

9) I started college twice before finally getting a degree in Business of Project Management.  The first time, I majored in music and had to drop out due to illness. The second time, I majored in English and dropped out because I met my first husband. The third time was a charm.

10) I work out about 5 days a week. My goal is to lose 47 pounds by this time next year. I’m completely okay with getting older, but nothing says I can’t try and look good for my age.

11) My mother used to keep everything while I was growing up. My hair, my baby shoes and even the scab from my small pox shot. It’s in my baby book under a bunch of tape. (How I wish I was making that up.)

– Stephanie’s Questions:

-What hobby would you like to learn but have put off trying? – I would love to try my hand at photography, but it isn’t a cheap hobby by any means. Maybe one day…

-If you could write in another genre, what would it be and why? – I love writing in the young adult paranormal romance genre, but I would love to try my hand at young adult sci-fi. It’s a tricky genre, but when done well can be an extremely good read. I wrote a sci-fi short story aimed at teens and thoroughly enjoyed the entire process. Perhaps once the “Haunting” trilogy has been completed, I may need to do some soul-searching and look at changing things up.

-You can have a two-hour lunch with anyone, famous or not. Who would it be and why? – Stephen King. I’m not a huge fan of his books, but he knows how to develop a story that sells. I can only imagine the wisdom and advice I could ascertain in a two-hour period.

-Music or television? – Television. I’m addicted to BBC America and “Doctor Who”. I will also watch pretty much anything on the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. My youngest daughter and I have discovered “The Incredible Dr. Pol” and also love  watching “Oddities” together as well. If it’s a smart, intelligent show, we’ll watch it.  If it’s “Honey Boo Boo” or “Jersey Shore”…it’ll never happen.

-What time of the day do you find you are most creative? – Between 9:00 pm and 9:05 pm. (You asked!)

-What is your biggest vice and do you plan to give it up or stay with it? – I have no vices, but if I did, I’M NOT A QUITTER!

-Mac or PC – The last time I used a Mac was in high school…and that was a long, long, long, long time ago.  So, I’ll go with PC.

-What in your life are you most proud of? – My three daughters are my biggest accomplishment.  The fact that I haven’t completely ruined them for life is a huge achievement. Each one is distinctly different. My oldest works with kids with special needs and works part-time in a day care. My middle daughter is an amazing artist and writer. (Perhaps a children’s book author in our future?) And my youngest, a third grader, has a big heart and stands up for her friends.  I’m a very proud mom.

My three greatest accomplishments

-If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be? – The one thing I’d change is my college career.  If I could go back and do things differently, I would major in American Literature and get a Masters in Library Sciences. Then, I would have spent the last 13 years working as a Librarian rather than in the corporate world. Maybe one day I can still get my Masters…only time will tell.

-What is your idea of a perfect vacation? – Universal Studios. Harry Potter. My entire family. Perfection.

-What was the impetus for you to begin writing and do you think this is something you will always pursue? – As a child, I read book after book to escape my childhood.  As I got older, I began to write for the same reason. In 2009, I lost my job and needed something to do during the day between job interviews. One day, I picked up a pen and a pad of paper and began to write.  I wasn’t even sure where I was going with the story. Before you knew it, I was transcribing the scribbles onto an old laptop and the rest was history. My first attempt at a whole manuscript was a middle-grade fantasy that I dedicated to my oldest daughter for her fifteenth birthday. I look back at it now, and it wasn’t very good…but I’m proud of the accomplishment nonetheless. It lit that fuse inside me again that had gone out long ago, not to mention shook off the dust and cobwebs inside my brain. Now, I can’t imagine my life without the stories and my laptop. Undoubtedly, I will keep writing as long as my mind allows.

Here are my nominations. Click on their names below and the link will take you to their websites.

Joshua Johnson

C.A. Kunz

Kelley Harvey

L.E. Pate

Courtney Farrell

Nominees, here are your 11 questions:

-Dogs or cats?

-Who is your favorite author?

-What is your favorite classic novel and why?

-If there was on person, either dead or alive, you could spend the day with, who would it be and why?

-Book or eReader?

-If they turned your life into a big screen movie, who would play you?

-What was it that drew you to become a writer?

-What is your idea of the perfect day?

-What is the name of the person who inspired you the most growing up? How did they inspire you?

-Who is your hero and why?

-Where do you hope to be as a writer in ten years?

Enjoy!!