Category Archives: Family Ties

S.O.S.! “Some Outrageous Sh*t” you won’t believe!

Earlier this summer, my parents went on a long-awaited Alaskan cruise. It had taken my father until his retirement to convince my mom, the infamous Babs, to set foot on the next Titanic.

She readied herself with Dramamine and shock therapy and off they went. Over the coming days, she sent fun updates and spectacular pictures.


My siblings and I were delighted to see things going so well. On the last night of their cruise, I noticed a mysterious post on Facebook:


I chose to remain optimistic. Perhaps they’d won a “Meet the New Kids On the Block in Anchorage!” giveaway, or at the very least, had had to stay an extra week and fold towel swans to pay off their bar tab.

Then? I got this:


Like…”severed” severed?

Because Babs was fighting for time on one of the ship’s few computers at 75 cents per minute, I didn’t get any more details. I only had time for one quick response.


I let Babs’ boss know she might not be back in the office until the following week, and added that I’d also let him know when we could safely begin the pun-off. He immediately texted Babs,

“I hope you can still catch your flight. Would hate to see you have to thumb your way home.”


Once Babs had proper access to cell towers and data, I learned that my dad had amputated his left thumb from the nail up that morning by leaving his hand in the door frame of their bathroom. The doors were made of Black Sabbath-level heavy metal and could swing shut from their sheer girth.

Now known as the guillotine.

Now known as The Guillotine.

The cruise ship medic said there was no saving the tip of his thumb, though Babs had dutifully brought it with them to the infirmary.

Hang on, Babs. You forgot the straw paper heart.

Hang on, Babs. You forgot the straw paper heart.

They eventually made it to the nearest hand surgeon in Anchorage, four hours away by bus, where doctors the doctor said my father would fare just as well coming home to New Jersey for surgery. No surprise, since their facilities were straight out of Northern Exposure.

Any John Corbett fans out there?

Any John Corbett fans out there?

I expected to see an ashen-faced version of my father, loopy on pain meds, when they finally landed back home. Instead, he was completely lucid and trying to carry his suitcase. Which is when he spotted my welcome home gift:


Babs needed sleep the way I need bacon-flavored vodka and compliments, so I drove my dad to a nearby Urgent Care center, part of Summit Medical Group, for a proper evaluation.

Another fantastic pun courtesy of Babs' boss.

More fantastic wordplay, courtesy of Babs’ boss.

It’s been a little over two months, and Pops has made a pretty full recovery. Did you know they offer physical therapy to the digitally disabled?

And since he’s doing so well?

Bring on the puns.

Bring on the puns. You know you want to.

You know you want to.

Do you have any vacation FIASCO STORIES HAND-Y?


Oh F%#&. My Mom Got A Smart Phone.


You heard correctly, Chipmunks:

My mom, Babs, got her first smart phone!

Sticking with this would have been smart.

Sticking with this would have been smart.

The adventure started when my dad gave her a Radio Shack gift certificate for Christmas, intending to let me help Babs actually purchase the phone. Because he never really loved me.

Now, I love my iPhone, but wouldn’t exactly call myself a smart phone expert. My only solid advice was, “Get the gold one, it’s pretty.”

Wow, I really need to stop biting my nails.

Wow, I really need to stop biting my nails.

Two hours at Radio Shack and the death of my soul later, Babs got her first lesson from me:

“See this blue icon with the A? That’s your app store. Click it and type in Macy’s.”

Any good teacher knows you have to speak your student's language.

Any good teacher knows you have to speak your student’s language.

While she took to the shopping apps like nobody’s business, the past few weeks have looked like this:




And my very favorite:


…Wait for it…


I [just called to say I] love you, Babs. Thanks for letting me use those screen shots for the world’s amusement.

How do you/your parents fare with technology? Any gadget gift fails?

P.S. – I suck royally for not responding to recent comments. Rest assured my absence has only made my heart grow fonder, and I totally want to have 10,000 of your babies.


So Wrong, It’s Right.

So things in hell are going well, thanks for asking. Selling your house For Sale By Owner during the holidays is super fun and festive.

I especially like it when the tree topper falls off and more lights go out every five g.d. seconds.


Ah, Scrooge it. It’s only two days ’til Christmas.

Speaking of tree toppers… Every year, my mom, Babs, decorates a beautiful, live tree and places her beloved star on top.

Not a star star, of course. Don’t be ridiculous.


Edward Cullen.


Justin Bieber.


My blog mascot, a chipmunk (featuring my former blog name).

Babs likes to stay current, as you can see, and was hemming and hawing over this year’s “star.”

“I just don’t know,” she sighed.

“Miley,” my dad replied, turning back to his New York Times and coffee.

Yes. The man who seemingly only put up with this tradition out of a desire to pick his battles, proved himself the fourth wise man of Christmas 2013.



Well done, Mom & Pop. Well done.

Merry Christmas, Chipmunks!


I Am Thankful For %&$*#@!

Oy vey.

I love the holidays, but deciding to sell my house during them?

Oy. To the. Freaking. Vey.

“Oh, but I lost my job, I’ll have so much time to do everything myself!” -Me, 5 weeks ago, being a dumbass.

“Surely I can just sand that chipped paint on the bathroom ceiling!”


Oh… that’s not paint… it’s like, like… giant chunks of plaster…


…and now it’s everywhere.

“Oh, I’ll just buy a new french door lock from Home Depot!”


“I AM NEVER F&#$%^^* coming off, so just go eat some more turkey and leave me alone.” -Door Lock

“It’s sooo cheap to get a truckload of mulch! Amazing!”


5 -literally- full days of mulching and this eye sore still remains at the foot of the driveway.

“What a great opportunity to declutter!”



“Free boxes from someone on Craigslist! Yay!”


Do you think I can get rid of these 57 extra boxes on Craigslist before the first open house?

“I’ll just spackle over those holes downstairs!”


Spackle dust doesn’t actually stay in your lungs, does it?

“That swing set out back is so old, it’ll just come apart with a good shove!”


3 weeks later.

And the latest and greatest, the pièce de résistance, my attempt to clean a carpet yesterday:


I can’t even talk about this one.

What also happened yesterday? Babs (mom) sent a picture of my niece’s latest art project. She had to list her favorite relative:


Booya. Right up there with chickin.

I guess I do have a lot to be thankful for.


Got any house selling tips? This is a first for me. …Clearly.


How To Peel An Apple Like A Boss By Babs


Whoamygod. Today is [my mom] Babs’ birthday!

And because Babs is the Mommasita Extraordinaire, she’s giving YOU a gift instead.

Prepare to be amazed. Again.

Any burning questions for Babs? Did your parents perform any wizardry when you were growing up? 

P.S. – You still have one more week to enter my Custom Jack-o-Lantern Giveaway Contest! It’s so easy and fun you’ll think you did something both easy and fun!

Dear Aunt and Uncle: You Didn’t Like That Wall Anyway, Right?

There’s something you should know about me.

I mean, just something I want to warn you about, should we ever vacation together.

I like to do things.

Come back! I like to do things, too!

Come back! I like to do things, too!

I’m not the Energizer bunny or anything, but to me, going on trips is more synonymous with adventure than relaxation. If you take me to the beach, I’m going to try to book one of those wave runner or zip lining excursions. If you take me to the city, I’m going to look up event calendars and comedy clubs.

And if you take me out to dinner after all of this doing of things, I’m going to drink. A lot.

I know everyone says they have great taste and a sense of humor, but seriously. My taste is phenomenal.

I know everyone says they have great taste and a sense of humor, but seriously. My taste is phenomenal.

And after I drink a lot, I might look around and think, “That wall should be blue. I mean, like a really classy, Nautica-looking navy blue.”

And before you know it, I’ll be painting your vacation home.

This is precisely what happened when first Hub, Peppermeister, and I, stayed in my aunt and uncle’s summer house in Long Island last week.

“Are you sure you want to PAINT on your vacation?” Peppermeister asked.

“It’ll be done before you wake up.”

“I don’t know why I asked.”







I may have made a few other adjustments…

...bought candles and a of couple K's, painting one to match the new wall...

…Bought candles and a of couple K’s (my aunt and uncle’s names both start with K), painting one to match the new wall…

...and turned some of their trivets into a cool coffee table centerpiece. Oh and let's not forget the pillows, table runner and flowers! TA DA!

…turned some of their trivets into a cool coffee table centerpiece. Oh and let’s not forget the new pillows, table runner and flowers…

...and swapped the gray curtains with a spare bedroom's bright, cheery, gold curtains. TA DA!

…and swapped the gray curtains with a spare bedroom’s bright, cheery, gold curtains. TA DA!

So what do my aunt and uncle think of my impromptu makeover?

Good question.

I haven’t heard from them in days.

What kind of vacationer are you? Less is more or go-go-go? (For more of my Long Island adventures, check out how I almost died!)

Disclaimer: Though my aunt and uncle own it now, this is an old family home, and I checked with my parents before painting. It’s not as funny with the disclaimer, is it? I should’ve just let you think I was a presumptuous asshat. Dammit.


My Boat Capsized and All I Got Was This Tiny T-Shirt

“I can’t wait to rent a boat in Long Island!” my first husband, Peppermeister, said several times before we headed east last week.

Once again, my aunt and uncle were generously letting us stay in their vacation home for our anniversary. We had fond memories of relaxing bay side, playing mini golf and binge drinking waterfront dining.


“Let’s scope out this place, The Station,” Peppermeister said. “They serve food and rent boats.”

More importantly, they serve Tröegs on tap.

More importantly, they serve Tröegs on tap.

While recreating one of the menu photos…


…we noticed an entertaining boat name:


I swear on snot rockets and turd buckets, this detail becomes important later.

“Do you think that’s the boat they rent?” I asked.

“Nah, that one’s too nice,” Peppermeister replied. “They probably rent those.”

He pointed to the glorified row boats on either side of Butthead. I quickly let go of my mai tai drinking, bow bathing fantasies.

“We’ll come back on Monday – the weather’s supposed to be beautiful.”

And the weather finally WAS beautiful, on Wednesday. The young man preparing our boat barely put down his sandwich to attach the motor. Knowing nothing about boats, I brushed off my first thought: “Is that from a lawn mower?”

At 10:15am, we were finally ready to hit the open seas Shinnecock Bay.


In between bites, our boat hand, who shall henceforth be referred to as “Boris,” explained where to fish for fluke, and gave us a map with the emergency phone numbers on it.

What's that? This paper looks like it got wet? Huh. Spoiler alert.

What’s that? This paper looks like it got wet? Huh. Spoiler alert!

We didn’t even make it out of the marina before the motor stalled and we drifted into sand. We shoved ourselves off with our one sturdy oar, and Peppermeister got us going again.

The weather was so flawless, I paid little mind to the hiccup.

Wheeee! We must be going 2.3 knots, by now!

Wheeee! We must be going 2.3 knots by now! Surely we’ll never need those life jackets!

We cruised steadily west while Peppermeister grabbed a beer and we tried to pick out our own marina.


Hey, did you leave the porch light on?

About 45 minutes into our cruise, the motor cut out again.


When it happened for the third time, we Peppermeister spent 20 minutes trying to start it.

“I’m just going to call the guy to come get us. This is a waste of time.” He fished out his cell phone from the Ziploc bag in his backpack.

Here’s a summary of how that went down:

“Landmarks? …Yes, there are buildings nearby! THERE ARE HOUSES EVERYWHERE!”




I tried to help, too.


One hour and five phone calls later, Boris arrived in none other than…



He, of course, managed to get our motor going, and told us to follow him back. The motor stalled a minute later, and it took him three minutes to notice we weren’t following. He circled back to tow us.

He tangled up his lines in his motor, and then attached one line to the front of our boat.

“He’s doing it wrong,” Peppermeister muttered. “You’re supposed to tow with two lines.”

We lurched forward, and Boris started swerving Butthead left to right, right to left, while we tipped from side to side in our boat.


I should probably say something.

I leaned forward and backward in the opposite direction of his swerving, trying to keep the boat level.

About halfway to the marina, the water grew increasingly choppy, as did Boris’s driving, and gallons of water sloshed into our boat. We tried bailing it out with our one bucket, a bleach bottle with the bottom cut out.

Peppermeister whistled loudly. Boris, who’d never once looked back to check on us, raised his eyebrows in mild surprise.

“Every time you turn, more water comes in! We’ve been trying to empty it this whole time!” Peppermeister shouted. “Will this boat sink?”

“No,” he replied, and kept driving, staring straight ahead.

Titanic-orchestraThe water rushed past our calves, almost as high as the seats.

Peppermeister whistled again and Boris stood there gawking.

Everything next happened in slow motion.

Peppermeister yelled, “You need to get off!”

With my brain still saying, “This boat’s not actually SINKING,” I grabbed our precious cargo -the backpack- and held it above my head. Suddenly, half the boat was under water. Good call on the Ziploc bags. As it capsized, my left leg got pinned beneath, allowing me to appreciate its sturdiness. Wow. No. I kicked off my flip-flops and paddled away, shouting,

“Here! The backpack! Get it on Butthead! Get it on Butthead!”

Because I’d be DAMNED if I was losing my cell phone and car keys over this little snafu.

Peppermeister threw the backpack at Boris, who let it hit his chest and slide to the floor. I swam for a second or two, watching the contents of the boat drift south (due south! Of Tiana Bay! Towards the dunes! In case you were wondering).

“Don’t worry about the boat! Don’t worry about it! Leave the stuff!” Boris called, finally looking rattled.

“Get a life jacket!” Peppermeister cried, and I grabbed the only one still within reach, passing it to him, confused.

Ooh, the water feels nice. It’s not as hard to swim in a denim jacket as I thought it would be. Bet I could swim back pretty fast. Great exercise.

“Do you need it? Put it on!” Peppermeister said frantically.

I took one look at his face and his next statement answered my unspoken question, “I’m freakin’ out a little.”

“It’s fine,” I replied. “It’s fine. We’re in a bay. You know how to swim.”

“I know, I know,” he said. “You get on first.”

Shouldn’t we get the stuff?

“Don’t worry about the stuff!” Boris called again.

“Go! Use our boat!” Peppermeister urged.

Our overturned boat was creating, I realized, a handy step up onto Butthead. Boris grabbed my arm firmly, “I got you, I got you.”

Man, I always thought that would be impossible, I thought as I tumbled onboard.

Once Peppermeister and I were safely seated, we began our 45-minute slog back to the marina. I didn’t realize why it took so long until much later.

Boris was towing our boat.

Upside down.


The Station owner was waiting for us on the dock when we returned.

“A ‘small’ problem?” he asked, glancing between Boris and his sodden passengers.

Boris stared at the ground while Peppermeister and I disembarked. Moments later, he handed us a full refund and two t-shirts.

“I’m so sorry about this,” he said.

He walked away, shoulders slumped, and I looked at Peppermeister.

“That. Was. AWESOME.”


Have you ever had any vacation mishaps?


“Don’t Lick the Minivan” Giveaway Winner!

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, I was toiling away at Babs’ house, helping her with a garage sale. She’d decided to use the day as an opportunity to enslave all three of her children.

Note Babs' halo. This will become relevant in a moment.

Note Babs’ halo. This will become relevant in a moment.

Aside from the joys of sweating and haggling spending time with my darling mother, I got to giggle at your incoming comment submissions for the “Don’t Lick the Minivan” book giveaway.


I asked you to share a favorite ‘Mom quote’ – either something you’ve said as a mother that you never thought you would, or something your own mother said that you never forgot. Most of you chose the latter. They were all spectacular. Thank you!

Before I announce the winner, though, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite Mom bomb…

Growing up, my parents enjoyed their evening cocktails…

…but Babs always likened drugs and smoking to the worst kind of criminal act. I’d have been better off robbing a bank than sneaking a cigarette.

“I never did drugs,” she told us, time and time again, as we watched our favorite childhood stars get busted for their evil indulgences. “And smoking is the most foul, disgusting habit in the world. Your breath smells and your teeth rot and if you ever take up smoking, well…” She couldn’t even finish that sentence.

Years passed and her three children grew up. What went on behind Pearl Jam poster-covered dorm room doors was a mystery, as far as Babs was concerned.

In my early 20s, thinking maybe the playing field had leveled, I decided to probe.

“So you’re telling me you grew up in the 60s, and you NEVER smoked pot?”

I was sure I knew what was coming. Sweet, innocent Babs paused and then said,

“Oh. Well. Pot’s not a drug.”

I knew it, Babs. I always knew it.


And the winner of “Don’t Lick the Minivan” is…

Hiddeninsight from Persuaded2Go!

Hiddeninsight’s entry:

I was taking my friend’s 6-year old son out for a walk a few weeks ago to give her a break (leaving her with the other three…shall I explain why? I think not.)

This is our conversation within the first two minutes.

He pulls a tiny grey stick sword out of his pocket and “lights it” with a red piece of lego. “I don’t normally smoke in front of people…” he says, exhaling long and slow.

Because I’m way cooler than him, I replied. “Oh. I see. Wait a minute…I’m a person!”

He thinks. He inhales another drag on the tiny sword and says, “No you’re not, you’re a woman!”

And that. right. there. is why he quit smoking his toys…giving up the habit in record time.

Happy Mother’s Day (if you’re a real person, that is!)

Congratulations, Hiddeninsight! You slayed me with this one. I’ll be in touch via email!


Mother’s Day is NOT an Excuse for Licking Minivans (GIVEAWAY!)

Babs-I-love-Mom***DISCLAIMER: As with most Go Jules Go giveaways, this one is sponsored by yours truly. All opinions expressed belong to Numero Uno.***

Happy Mother’s Day, Childbearing Chipmunks!

I know I just wrote about how much I prefer dogs to kids, but I’m glad not everyone feels that way.

Babs Sheet Go Jules Go

Like Babs.

Last Mother’s Day, I went the epic haiku route, which as we all know, is impossible to top.

Or is it? (In one case, yes.)

Don't do it, Jules...

Don’t do it, Jules…

One of my favorite moms, Leanne Shirtliffe of Ironic, has a NEW BOOK out this month! An actual book! She’s living the bloggy dream! Even The Bloggess is touting it, unsurprisingly, as “awesome.”

But… but…

Like any wise parent, Leanne knows the best reason for having kids is the writing material. Don’t Lick the Minivan (and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kidsfeatures uproarious tales from Leanne’s wild and wacky twin-filled world. I’m particularly excited to read about the birthday party where neighborhood kids took home skin rashes from the second-hand face paint she applied.

She really used a bowl. I swear.

She really used a bowl. I swear.

While Babs never gave me any skin rashes, she did subject all three of her children to the infamous bowl haircut. And in a stroke of cruel genius, this year, she decided to have a garage sale on Mother’s Day, thereby guaranteeing slave labor during one of the hottest, muggiest Mother’s Day weekends on record.

So while my brother, sister and I are haggling, sweating and hopefully drinking from cleverly disguised water bottle-flasks, I thought I’d reward you fine folks with a giveaway! At least one of us should have some fun today.



One (1) copy of Don’t Lick the Minivan (and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say to My Kids) by Leanne Shirtliffe. Will be shipped on or after May 22, 2013.


Simply leave a comment below describing a favorite ‘mom quote’ moment – either something your mother said (or loves to say…repeatedly…), or something you’ve said as a mom that you never thought you would. (For more great ‘mom quote’ moments, head over to Ironic Mom!)

I’ll ever-so-subjectively pick a winner based on humor and originality.


Sunday, May 19, 2013, 12pm NOON EST. Winner announced Monday, May 20, 2013, 7am EST.


You’ve Got Mail! I Think. I Don’t Know. This Is Your Mother. Are You Seeing This?

I'm sure you remember Jenn.

Obviously you remember Jenn.

You know you’ve got the perfect best friend when she not only emails you blog ideas, but good blog ideas – and the makings of your next post!

Like all of us, my BFF, Jenn, was inspired by my mom, Babs, and Babs’ recent emails re: dead deer and faceless Cabbage Patch dolls.

This week, Jenn forwarded an email from her mom, and trust me, there’s more where this came from.

To: Jenn (a.k.a. “Butter”…because, well, Jenn won’t tell me why)

From: Jenn’s Mom (a.k.a. “Moth”)

Butter: I  understand you sent a reply to my last email, but someone (I won’t say who) Managed to delete it—-I’m sorry, could you please forward it again–thanks!!!Not only does someone (I won’t say who) read my emails, but deletes them (unintentionally), I’ m sure!!!!”Retirement in winter “—–leaves a lot of time on someone’s hands, while your mother is at your grandmother’s cleaning her apartment…..Hope you’re having a good day Butter !!!!I pray to the dear Lord for winter strength-(-till someone has more to do )…….THANKS—–Hugs

And a few minutes later:

No need to send it again sweetheart, just found it in “trash” …..

Thanks, Moth

Got any emails from your old lady you’d like to share? Jenn and I think there could be a new blog feature here. Send them to:!



***BONUS BACON-FILLED POST: Rachel’s Table is showcasing mspicy turkey meatloaf recipe today! I know. All this [facial hairand I can cook. I figured I needed a fall-back plan in case my Glee audition doesn’t pan out. Oh, also? If you’re not subscribing to Rachel’s Table, you just made a baby chipmunk cry.***