Lessons

My parents hit 35 years married this week. Accordingly, I present this list. By no means comprehensive. Just a lil nugget.

Things My Parents Have Taught Me

(In no particular order)

1. The Nuance of the Brake Pedal: My dad always beat the rule into my head—When using the parking brake, FIRST apply brake, THEN put the car in park. Better for the transmission. I’m so rigid about following this, you’d think it was written in the Bible.

2. “No good deed goes unpunished.” My mom says this all the time. It’s her way of reminding us that we live in a world that takes advantage of kindness. So be judicious about what, how and who you go above and beyond for.

3. The Nuance Of The Kitchen Utensil: My mom is all too happy to tell you that there IS a difference between a normal spoon and a spaghetti spoon. And hell if I’ll ever be able to figure it out.

4. Appreciate your siblings. Both my parents have younger brothers who died ahead of their time. When we’re getting petty with one another, one of them always plays that card. “I used to have a brother, and now I don’t.”

5. How to bargain shop. My mom is famous for saying, “50% off of Too Much is still Too Much.” I have since re-purposed that phrase and often throw it at her. “50% off of Shit We Don’t Need is still SHIT WE DON’T NEED.” She usually cracks up at me and then proceeds to buy it anyway.

6.Think before you speak. (Some of us are better at that than others.)

A conversation between my dad and a middle school-aged Blair:

B: *singing at the top of her lungs*

Dad: Hey, B. What ever happened to those voice lessons I paid for?

B: DAD! I AM STILL TAKING THEM!!

Dad: Whoops.

7. Immunity to Embarrassment. My dad has a corvette that I absolutely loathed when I was a child because it was so loud and drew so much attention and I do NOT like to be the center of attention. Dad knew this and only drove it around me if absolutely necessary. Like when the Greasers and the Socs had a knife fight and the tires on every single one of our everyday vehicles was slashed in the kerfuffle. One time he drove it to pick me up from tennis practice. I could hear it coming from about a half-mile away. I put my head in my hands, devastated, and said, “Oh, no. Here comes my father.” My tennis coach looked at me quizzically and said, “is he coming in an airplane?” WANTED. TO. DIE.

8. Hard Work. No excuses. My dad would always tell me that working your hardest at a job you really hate will speak volumes about your character. I don’t ever recall my dad missing a day of work. My mom always told us there is very little in life you can’t do if you are willing to work hard for it.

9. Stick Together. Whenever the three of us were off to do something in public, my dad would always warn: “Stay together. Don’t wander off from the group. Keep an eye on each other.” I pretty much knew that meant, "Taylor, don’t let these boneheads out of your sight."

10. Have fun above all. My mom’s famous last words before we were off to do something in public was ALWAYS, ALWAYS, “HAVE FUN!!!!” I pretty much knew that meant, "Taylor, don’t let these boneheads out of your sight."

11. The Importance of Modesty. In high school and college, I could always tell when my issues of Rolling Stone magazine had come in the mail because as my dad rummaged through the days drop, I could hear him yelling. “WHAT IS THIS SMUT?!?!” “WHAT A HO!!” “PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!” “HOW IS THIS MUSIC?!?!?” “TAYLOR! WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE??” (Things changed drastically once I introduced him to Matt Taibbi, though. I’d come home and he’d practically have all the political articles highlighted and underlined. “You gotta read this one. I don’t know how that guy gets away with saying half the stuff he does. He just GOES AFTER them!”)

12. Loyalty. My dad has been a Washington Redskins fan since the 1970’s. He sticks with them through all their line-up changes, decades of disastrous seasons, coaching changes, bad management, you name it.

13. Loyalty. Part II. My dad has been a Chevy guy since, well, forever. His dad was also a Chevy man. We ventured out, only once, buying a Dodge that we didn’t really care for, and that was that. Ever since then, it’s General Motors or nothing. We regularly get 10 or so years out of each car; 200,000 miles, and they all do everything we ask of them. I remember him telling me once, “Chevy’s take a lot of shit because they’re just bread and butter cars. There is nothing flashy about them.” As I left that conversation, I thought, “that makes perfect sense, cuz that’s who my dad is. A real bread and butter kind of guy.”

14. How to stay young. My parents keep up to date on trends, current music, encyclopedic knowledge of movies, celebrities, pop culture, slang, etc.

-My mom has facebook, tumblr, twitter, instagram and snap chat. She may not always know how to use it correctly, but she makes sure she stays in the conversation.

-My brother came to me one day to tell me about what he’d just witnessed as he watched my dad get ready for a party:

"So, dad grabs this jacket out of his closet and puts it on and walks down stairs. As he gets to the mirror, he looks himself over and shakes his head. Then, with perfect inflection, usage, everything, he rips the jacket off and says, ‘This jacket is whack. I’m not wearing this.’"

And, I think it’s important to note, even when I thought my parents were demons from hell out to ruin my life, I never, ever went through that phase where you’re embarrassed of them and don’t want them to socialize with your friends.

15. Stay Curious. My dad loves to work out and has tried everything. Yoga, Tae kwon do, Kung Fu, Ballroom dance, jogging, swimming, tai chi, meditation. Anything he thinks he might like, he’ll try. My mom has volunteered at our local theatre, works all kinds of festivals for the free tickets, likes water aerobics, and, God help us all, took a spin at a tap dance class.

…….And ta-da! That’s how you end up with the 4 weirdo children that are my siblings and I.

IT’S HOODIE SEASON, BIATCHES!!

My first visit to Chicago’s Navy Pier in 2012 was so fun.  It’s a neat little place with everything: ferris wheel, indoor plaza boutiques, hot dog stands from many renowned vendors, museum of stained glass windows, a rainforest cafe thingy.


The thing that most caught my eye? A little make-your-own-t-shirt shop.I will NEVER, EVER buy from one of these places again…

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…Not after a little mishap I experienced on the Jersey Shore in the fall of 2011.

So, my brother has all these cool “ILL” shirts, which are meant to represent the Philadelphia Phillies. I love the logo and all the different colors/iterations that he has. On the Jersey Shore boardwalk, I can find one cheap and have my pick of colors.

I decide on a hoodie, cuz I could get the “ILL” logo across the front AND a smaller graphic of the logo on the actual hood. I ask the vendor how much the sweatshirts ran. He tells me they are $19.95 and I’m all like, “awww sweet, right up a cheap-ass, back alley that I CAN and WILL spring for.” I choose a grey/silver logo for both the hood and the main logo, on a black sweatshirt (colors that go with everything). (And by “everything” I mean “all 400 pairs of sneakers that I own.”)


After I pick everything out and take it to the counter, I watch in awe as the vendor goes to work affixing the logos, steaming them on, and then putting a protective coating over the top (to help keep it from fading and wearing in the laundry or with typical wear and tear). It’s truly fascinating to watch.


Hoodie all hooked up; signed sealed delivered; dude hands it to me, asks me if it was to my liking. I like. I say so. He then rapidly switches gears from “Friendly-Sweatshirt-Presser” to “Flim-Flam-Man.” Rings up numbers and numbers and numbers while I just stand there, befuddled. Totals it up:

FIFTY

MOTHER

FRUGGIN

DOLLARS

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point, my sister and brother are out on the boardwalk stuffing their gluttonous faces with ice cream (I say gluttonous cuz they literally ate their way down the entire boardwalk. I’m surprised they didn’t tear the actual boardwalk planks off, sprinkle Parm cheese on them, unhinge their jaws, and go to town). Their fried frenzy coming to a close, they top it all off with some frozen fat at an ice stand several doors down from the vendor I visit. They SWEAR that at this point, they hear me gasp when the vendor tells me it was 50 dollars total for what I originally thought was a $19.95 investment.

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What the Slime Ball/Profit Genius didn’t tell me was that ONLY the sweatshirt itself was $19.95. Everything else was extra. But it was too late, I’m already invested and in love with the sweatshirt. I take the cash out of my wallet, grab the bag, huff and puff my way out, grab Tweedle Dough and Tweedle Danish, and inform them our outing is over and that we are going home.


The upshot is that I wear that sweatshirt from the minute the temperature drops below 50 and don’t take that stank sucker off til it rises above 50.

P.S. As we walked back to our shore house, my brother was all, “You know, I could have taken you to the actual Philly stadium and probably gotten you an authentic sweatshirt with that logo AND with Cliff Lee’s autograph on it for less than you paid for your knock off.”


Tweedle Danish almost got cut for that remark.

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(I will wear this thing til it is merely just a raggedy hood with a barely legible graphic on it, BEST BALEE DAT!)

Artists procrastinate. They also persist. What is certain is that we carry ideas around for longer than we know, and part of the artistic venture is unearthing the source.
Avery Erwin (via screenandscripts)

(via screenandscripts)

huffingtonpostwomen:

Thank you, @TechnicallyRon. Thank you.

LMAO, I literally JUST threw an unread, brand new cosmo directly into the recycling bin and said, “I need more than this crap in my life.” (And then immediately thought, “god, I sound like my parents.”)

huffingtonpostwomen:

Thank you, @TechnicallyRon. Thank you.

LMAO, I literally JUST threw an unread, brand new cosmo directly into the recycling bin and said, “I need more than this crap in my life.” (And then immediately thought, “god, I sound like my parents.”)

(via huffingtonpost)

Happy Tenth!

My Biffle and her hubs celebrate ten years today. We’ve had such fun. Some of my favorite moments over the last ten years.

-First time I watched E Auto Cross

-First Trip to the Public Market w/ Chelle as Quasi-Adults

-Family Dinners

-First trip to see Thunder National Monster Trucks (E knows how to treat the ladies.)

-Second trip to see Thunder Nationals (They had a kid, we had a legitimate excuse this time.)

-My brother’s 22nd birthday.  My friend Jen came off the dance floor all pissed off.  She pointed me and Chelle out and started screaming at us both: “ASSAULTED! ON THE DANCE FLOOR! (Points at me) BY YOUR BROTHER.  (Points at Chelle) BY YOUR HUSBAND.  DING. DANG. DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

-First trip to Wegmans with a weeks-old baby. (People kept coming up to me and asking me all about my baby; I decided a lot of people assumed that Chelle and I were his “moms.”)

First time I was the DD for the two of them: It was Dollar Drink Night at one of our local bars.  I got the message on my phone from Chelle.  “IT IS DOLLAR DRINK NIGHT I GOT A TWENTY AND THIS BITCH IS WAAASTTTEDDD.” I was supposed to meet them out and join in on the merriment.  But as soon as I showed up, I could clearly see that they needed to stop drinking and offered to take them home.  We haggled a bit about cars and who would follow who and E nearly had me convinced he was fine to drive.  Until we started walking toward his jeep and A) he headed in the complete opposite direction from Chelle and I; and B) he let out a hiccup so voluminous I knew that I had been taken for a fool by his sobriety act. 

The Night Their Son Was Born: This may be my favorite interaction between E and I, ever.  The nurses in the maternity ward directed me to the actual birthing room when all I wanted was the family waiting room where I knew everyone would be gathered.  I broke out into a cold sweat once I realized I was right outside the door of the Hot Zone and I furiously scrambled for a way out.  With no idea where I was in the hospital and no one else around (it was midnight), I knew I had to man up and just knock on the door and pray that from there, Jesus would take the wheel. I described the scene in a previous post:

"[E] answered and we just stared at each other with an intensity only matched by two naive teenagers drafted into Vietnam. Not sure of much, just that A) we’d never be the same after this; and, B) this might actually be a nice place to visit under different circumstances."

My Favorite Conversation: Chelle probably hates this one but E and I still reference it all. the. time.  It was just the three of us in their first apartment.  Chelle was cooking dinner and E and I were in charge of picking out a movie.  Every choice Chelle mentioned I shot down as one either I wouldn’t watch or one I’d already watched and hated.  E yelled out, “man, T has MUCH COOLER tastes in movies, I should have married her instead!”  Chelle yelled, “SHUT UP” in such a heated voice that we all knew she wasn’t kidding.  The room fell funeral silent.  Still looking at the shelf of movies, and more to myself than anyone, I whispered “…..aawwkkkkkkkkwwwwaaaarrrrrrrrrddddd.” But, the two of them both heard me and all three of us BUSTED out laughing. 

I’m not going to elaborate on this one too much, but one year my whole posse (boys and girls) went out to a strip club in Canada for my birthday and THE WHOLE THING WAS THEIR IDEA.  They still argue about if it was E’s idea or Chelle’s, and I really can’t remember who to give credit to.  But it was their idea.  I credit them together. The funniest part of that night was finally locating Chelle in the club; we ran to each other and started discussing how appropriately we were dressed.  She looked at me concerned.  “I kept wondering that all day…..’how does one dress for a strip club??’”

My FIRST Ever Speeding Ticket: In 2011, I was leaving Chelle and E’s garage.  Chelle had just handed me bags of Thyme she grew in her garden to bring to my mom.  We were joking about how I better not get pulled over with such suspicious looking contraband in baggies on my seat. E and I were going back and forth like we usually do.  “I’M TOO PRETTY FOR JAIL!!” “DON’T ARREST ME! PLEASE! I’M TOO SOFT, I’LL NEVER MAKE IT!” And then we were doubled over laughing at how stupid we both are.  Literally two minutes later, I got pulled over and struggled to keep a straight face through the whole interaction.  (Which was totally affable and friendly, BTDUbs.  The cop was mad chill.) In an interesting turn of events, I went to traffic court on E’s birthday that year. 

This barely scratches the surface. 

There have been many more, there will be many more. 

Happy Tenth, Ya Crazy Kids!!!

Prove To Dad I’m Not A Fool

Some Things to Keep in Mind for Back to School

  • Rage Against The Machine called; their next album is titled “The School Bus.” Cut out the cherubic faces and tiny footsteps and strip the bus down to it’s bare essentials.  A lumbering whale of a vehicle that you’re OBLIGATED to stop for and penalized if you don’t. Some apathetic bus driver flicks one loose switch and suddenly you’re staring down a stop sign that at best makes you late for work and at worst sends you to the Judicial Purgatory that is Traffic Court. Two minutes inside a school bus tells you the kids are out of control, there is no supervision, and even NWA is like, “whoa, playa, someone call da police!!!” A school bus is a hell box on wheels.
  • Listen.  About these new gadgets. Too much responsibility for a kid.  Don’t send them to school with iPhones and Google Glass and Hubble Telescope Lenses on their watches and all that. Back in my day, I had 3 mini strokes if the zipper broke on my pencil case. If you need to stay connected in the event of an emergency, skip the tablets and the iClouds and just send them with pencils, paper, and a homing pigeon.  Anything else is strapping too much anxiety to such a little soul.

  • ALWAYS splurge on crayons. And by this I mean: CRAYOLA. Crayola crayons or nothing at all. I don’t need you “adults” who think you’re “smarter” than me blowing smoke up my ass with these overly waxy, jenkity Rose Art crayons. It’s like, look, an artist is only as good as her tools. Don’t bullshit me.

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  • So, about lunch time.  The closer you can get your child’s lunch box to resemble Willy Wonka on a Juvenile Diabetes Vision Quest, the more popular they’ll be. 
  • Anything but Payless Shoe Source.  Please.  I beg of you.

At the risk of sounding like a complete misanthrope, I have to say that I really resent being made to recycle.  Like, the Goose is cooked.  Why do I personally have to sort through the feathers just to ease Post-Industrial corporate guilt? Nope.

I’m not happy when I’m writing, but I’m more unhappy when I’m not.
Fannie Hurst (via writingquotes)
You only live once! (And, let's face it: once is too much.)

Writing & humor is how I process all things. (Perplexing topic #1: Mi Redunkulous Familias)

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