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Florida Native Mom



Notes on being a sassy Florida native, a mom, stepmom, sister and friend.



Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 17:03:58 +0000

 



Benefits of Friendship

Wed, 24 Oct 2012 20:12:00 +0000

Being my friend means there's a good chance you'll be written about here at some point. Just sayin'





Red Ribbon Week - It isn't always what you think

Tue, 23 Oct 2012 16:48:00 +0000

So this week is Red Ribbon Week in the public schools. It's a national campaign to discourage kids from using drugs. MiniMe's school is engaging the students by letting them dress according to a different theme each day. Yesterday was wacky sunglasses day. Today was Twins day. Tomorrow is crazy sock day.

I asked MiniMe if she had a Twin for the day.

"No basically I'm a loner."

You've got plenty of friends! None of them wanted to dress the same with you?

"No, no one wanted to be my twin."

Just then we stop in the parent drop off line. An eighth grade boy gets out of the truck in front of us. MiniMe says "That's Thor."

His name is Thor?

"Yes and he's always high. I didn't think he'd come to school during Red Ribbon Week since he comes to school high every day."

Well maybe, since he's high, he misunderstood what Red Ribbon Week was all about.

MiniMe laughs "Yea he's like, Dude!?! I thought this was the week students got drugs. Not cool."



Bikes Take Over Daytona Beach

Wed, 17 Oct 2012 16:26:00 +0000

It's Biketoberfest in my little slice of the world. Many people grumble about it but I get out among the visitors  and have a good time. Bikers are friendly people. And they're not afraid to show it.Yesterday my friend SandArt (in the photo on the right) and I went around to several Biketoberfest locations to get photos to post on the Biketoberfest website and Facebook page (that's one of my jobs, really). You rarely see two single ladies wandering around alone (with no mans) at Biketoberfest (unless they're attractive young Jägermeister girls). We were not young nor were we selling shots.Anyway, back to Bikers being friendly. When returning to my car after one of our stops, I found a few guys standing around their bikes and they were blocking in my Hyundai. As we approached I said "I like your bike" to the one parked up against my bumper. This was my Southern Lady way of saying "Move your ass."They guys all start chatting us up and one asks "Where are your bikes?"I say, "We're in the Hyundai-Davidson today."Bumper guy says, "Well it looks good." and as I turn my back to climb into my car he says "That looks real good." Meaning my butt. See what I mean about them being a friendly bunch?At our next stop SandArt and I plop down on a couple of rocking chairs on the bar's porch where we had a great view of the comings and goings. This is a new establishment, only open a week. It's called the "Beaver Bar." Yea, I know.So I say to SandArt "They've really spruced this place up and I love the rocking chairs. In fact, you can tell they're freshly painted."At that point the guy sitting next to me and his buddies say "These are freshly painted and I think yours might still be wet.""No," I say,"it's fine."They keep insisting the chair is wet and finally one stands up, grabs my arm and "gently" pulls me out of the chair. At that point the other guys all crane their necks and say "yep, you got paint on you."I say, "No I don't but I hope you enjoyed checking out my ass."They were very pleased with themselves. Then bought us a beer. See, hospitable group and sooooo friendly.[...]



Mom On Strike!

Thu, 04 Oct 2012 13:37:00 +0000


A few years ago one of my best friends "Voice of Reason" went on strike. Her kids were giving her a hard time, not doing their chores, etc. We've all been there, right?

There's also a time when all of us reach our limit. Yesterday was mine. I am now officially on strike.

MiniMe has ignored my requests to help out around the house and do her chores. I'm tired of telling her the same thing over and over and over again. So last night when she blew off my request to do one simple thing and instead went to her room to watch tv and sleep, I declared my independence.

When she came downstairs an hour later and had the nerve to ask me when I was going to have dinner ready because she was starving, I said "Well I ate already, but you can make your dinner whenever you want."

Quizzical look from MiniMe. "You're not making dinner."

Whyshould I make you dinner when you didn't do what I asked you to do 3 hours ago? In fact I asked you 3 times.

With a look of horror settling in "I was going to do it after dinner."

Well, you still can, I said, only I'm not making dinner. Tonight or any other night until you start pulling your wait around here.

"What do you mean? You're not cooking this week?"

I mean I'm on Strike! I'm not cooking, not making your breakfast, not washing and folding your clothes (which you just plop on the floor in a big pile anyway), not driving you to the bus stop.

We've been in an icy cold stalemate ever since.

I'm not worried. Voice of Reason said her strike lasted about a week, or until the bread and peanut butter ran out.




Reality Show Squared

Mon, 01 Oct 2012 23:53:00 +0000

Hello, my name is Native Mom and I'm addicted to TLC's "Say Yes to the Dress."

First let me say I hate reality shows. Second, I'm kinda getting sucked in to watching episode after episode of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. This is a show where young ladies bring their families along to find the perfect wedding dress at several different upscale wedding dress shoppes across the country.

Third, since I'm recently divorced, this fascination with a show about wedding dress shopping is either extremely ironic or kinda psychotic. I say, maybe a bit of both.

What sucks me in to this show is how many people the brides-to-be bring with them to shop for a dress. The show Entourage comes to mind.

And did I mention the budget? $5,000 for a wedding dress?!? You know, when you're buying your first house, banks don't accept used overpriced designer wedding dresses as part of your down payment.

Wha't's up with the strapless gown. Why does every single bride want a strapless gown? I think the halter dress neckline is highly underrated.

So tonight I watched an episode of New Jersey Medium (it came on after Say Yes to the Dress and I didn't change the channel quick enough).

But it led to a brilliant idea. What if TLC combined Say Yes to the Dress and New Jersey Medium? Potential brides would have to go through a private reading with the medium before shopping. Possible advice from the medium ...

"Don't take the advice of your bridesmaids. The dress they like really looks horrible on you."

"Tell your wedding dress consultant in no uncertain terms not to bring you a dress that's $1,500 over your budget!"

"What were you thinking bringing your gay best friend with you? He won't like anything subtle or traditional."

They could call the show The Spirits Say Yes to the Dress. It could be  big hit.



Friday is Mermaid Day!

Thu, 16 Aug 2012 22:33:00 +0000

If any day of the week should be deemed "Mermaid Day" it's Friday. I'll be spending my Friday at Weeki Wachee springs where MiniMe and I will enjoy the iconic mermaid show while swimming and exploring the springs.

What's Weeki Wachee you ask? One of Florida's first tourist attractions, Weeki Wachee combines Florida kitsch with the natural beauty of the Sunshine State. It's located at the intersection of US 19 and Hwy 50 and opened in the late 40s. It's best known for its underwater theatre where guests watch "mermaids" perform. The mermaids are beautiful women, strong swimmers with a flair for the theatric. They wear a variety of outfits including the traditional mermaid tail. See more at www.weekiwachee.com

It's the first Florida attraction I remember going to as a child. I mean what little girl could possible forget seeing real live mermaids? Especially when they're drinking Coca-Cola underwater! Mickey Mouse who?





My Home is Mine . . . Again

Fri, 27 Jul 2012 16:54:00 +0000

I embarked on what would prove to be one of my most challenging endeavors thus far in my adulthood a few months ago. Skydiving? No. Marathon? No. Learning a different language? No.

I refinanced my home.

This process challenged me on every level. I had to be organized to provide the mountain of paperwork requested. I had to track down documents I wasn't even sure existed (my detective skills are now finely honed). I had to conform to all the rules and policies. Stay within the lines and jump through all the hoops. I had to stay patient. I had to be positive, professional and not kill anyone. This last one proved to be the most challenging of all.

I'm now convinced that loan officers and underwriters are more evil than terrorists. At least I feel like I've been interrogated and survived cruel and unusual punishment. We need to add refinancing to the acts covered under the Geneva Convention. In fact, at some point in the process, I started referring to the underwriter as an undertaker.

After 3 months of good behavior under torturous conditions, I finally snapped and rebelled. I started saying "No!" to requests for yet more information that actually duplicated what they already had. In one of my last acts of defiance, I sent the undertaker the info they requested in a file named "UnderWriterIsAnIdiot.pdf."

After 3 long months, I finally closed on the loan last night. Then drank a well deserved bottle . . .er .  .. glass of wine.



Random Things

Thu, 19 Jul 2012 17:59:00 +0000

No particular topic today.

I have been trying to refinance my house. I didn't expect it to be easy, but I also didn't expect it to take 3 months now (and counting) and so much paperwork I think an entire forest has been lost. At this point, I'm so frustrated that I've started calling the Underwriter "Undertaker." This may inhibit my ability to close (if Underwriters have feelings that can be hurt by name calling - which is highly unlikely as I don't think they have feelings), but it makes me feel better. Childish maybe, but stress relieving.

Anyone reading 50 Shades of Gray? If so, I'm sorry. I got tricked into reading it, too. 3 hours of my life I'll never get back. And they say eating bacon shortens your life span. I firmly believe reading bad books takes minutes off your life. For all of you who read it and liked it, I'm glad. You keep your future life minutes. However, I'm a writer and I found the writing in this book to be atrocious. It's times like this when I see this book holding the bestseller list hostage that I think my dream of writing a book one day is futile. Actually, I could write it, but the chances that it would get published now seem about the same as me winning the lottery (and I don't play the lottery).

MiniMe and her friends have been in the pool a lot this week. Here's a tip - don't spend the money on a camera that is touted as waterproof. My teenager took her video camera, put it in a Ziploc bag and got clear footage underwater. Try it. (Bad for Kodak, great for Ziploc brand!)



My Pool is Hopping!

Mon, 02 Jul 2012 18:12:00 +0000


Lots of activity in and around my pool this summer. Today's pool guest was a turtle from the nearby pond. A big one, too. At first I tried to lure it out with some bread. When that didn't work (and let's face it, it was a stupid idea anyway), I had to chase it down and scoop it out with the net. You might think "chasing" a turtle would be pretty easy - turtles having a reputation for being slow and all. But they're a lot faster in the water.

The other "wild life" we had at the pool last week was my new pool boy. A young man I'll call Cabana Carl to protect the innocent was passing out fliers in my neighborhood last week for his pool business. I've been struggling to keep my pool from turning green for months. I've dumped so many chemicals in it that it is a miracle that turtle didn't turn into the creature from the black lagoon. For what I've spent on chemicals, I could have taken a nice little vacation.

Then along comes Cabana Carl. His price was great - less than what I spent on chemicals last month. But what sealed the deal was MiniMe who said "Hire him Mom! He's hot!" as she peaked through the windows swooning. "So Cabana Carl," I said. "When can you start?"

He showed up the next day with his younger brother to clean the pool. MiniMe was beyond excited to see not one but two "hot" guys cleaning the pool. First thing she said was "Will they be taking their shirts off when they clean the pool?" No, I replied. It's not very hot today. "I hope next Wednesday there's a heatwave!" she exclaimed as she ran off to try and get pictures of the boys with her iPhone without them spying her.

I fully expect every teenage girl in the neighborhood will be at my house on Cabana Carl's next visit.



They Don't Make a Cream for That

Tue, 19 Jun 2012 15:22:00 +0000

Don't you hate having to wait an hour or more for a scheduled appointment with your doctor? My sister - AKA Sissy - had to do that this week and woe be to the dermatologist that dealt with her after that.

Sissy was there to get a spot checked on her face. The dermatologist zapped it, checked her out and was done - took about 5 mins. But then, she made a big mistake. The "upsell."

According to Sissy this is what happened (and folks please do not try this at home!)

The dermatologist says to her, "You  know your face is looking bad. We have a laser treatment that would really help or we have a cream that you can use and you'd really begin to see a difference in your skin."

While Sissy is thinking "I only wanted my pre-cancerous spot zapped and no, I don't want your $400 cream." Here's what she actually said.

"I know my face looks bad. I'm 40 years old, I never get enough sleep because I have a baby at home, I work to support my family, and I've just wasted an hour of my day waiting for my scheduled appointment with you. YOU DON'T MAKE A CREAM FOR THAT!!!!"

So true!





Summer Reading List

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 19:08:00 +0000

The summer reading list is always a hot topic (excuse the pun) this time of year. I've seen and heard features on the best picks for summer reading online, on the radio, in magazines, etc. I probably won't get around to reading anything other than my students' papers this summer. But one can dream!


I stared longingly at my bookshelf this week with all this talk of summer reading. I wondered what my choice of books says about me. You decide.

Two entire shelves of cookbooks, including everything Rachel Ray has written. I think this says "I like to eat."

An entire shelf of books about Florida, from back road guides to history. This says "My state is better than your state, waa haa."

Everything Alice Hoffman ever wrote. This says "I could turn out to be a stalker of this amazing writer."

Travel guides for Paris, Florence and Greece. This says "I used to travel to wonderful places, but now I have kids."

A non-fiction book "The Secret Life of Lobsters: How Fishermen and Scientists are Unraveling the Mysteries of our Favorite Crustacean" by Trevor Corson. Again "I like to eat."

You won't find any self-help books. This says "I'm beyond help."

What does your bookshelf say about you?




A Mean Pirouette

Wed, 13 Jun 2012 03:19:00 +0000

Soccer. Wrestling. Swimming. All things at which my stepkids both enjoyed and excelled.

This week and next MiniMe is experiencing dance camp. Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical. Finally something I know and can identify with.

I hold no illusions that MiniMe will embrace dancing. She's made it perfectly clear this is not her "thing." Which means I also have absolutely zero chance of living vicariously through my daughter. Damn! Isn't that one of the joys of parenthood? Again, I'm robbed.

My stepkids enjoyed competitive sports. I will admit I didn't always understand - the games I mean. I still don't know how to recognize "off sides" in a soccer game. But if they enjoyed it, I supported them.

I myself was a gymnast and dancer growing up. Instead of competitive sports, I was a cheerleader in high school. I can't throw, I can't hit, I can't run. But I can do a mean pirouette. 

So I'm thoroughly enjoying the reports at the end of the day from MiniMe on dance camp. And tonight she came home and showed me some of the dances she was learning. Made me remember all those nights I spent tap dancing in the kitchen. God bless my parents for not yelling "keep it down!" when I was in the middle of a step-ball-change.

Do we all hope that our kids turn out just like us, only better? Or do we want them to become their own person with different interests and abilities. Maybe it's a little of both if I have to be honest. Mostly, I just enjoy seeing her happy. No matter how enthusiastically she can pirouette.



The Unholy Refrigerator

Tue, 12 Jun 2012 00:17:00 +0000

I was recently at the home of a friend of a friend. It's a beautiful home. Well appointed. Smartly decorated. Neat and tidy. Immaculately clean. I was impressed and maybe just a little jealous. Until I saw the refrigerator.

Here's what my refrigerator looks like.


As you can see, there are pictures of my daughter and my dogs. My daughter's school schedule. A funny cartoon I cut from the paper. Some coupons I keep forgetting to use. A card my sister sent me. And this is just the front of the fridge. There's even more stuff on the side.

If you ask me (and no one did, but it's my blog so I'm gonna tell you anyway), this is a normal person's refrigerator. A typical family refrigerator.

So how much crazy are you if you have absolutely nothing stuck to the front of your state-of-the-art stainless steel refrigerator? I stopped feeling unworthy of a Better Homes and Gardens type life in this friend-of-a-friend's home the minute I saw she had absolutely nothing on her fridge. Not a single magnet. Not a photo. Not a "to do" list. Not a recipe. No photos of her family. Nothing! Not even a fingerprint.

I found this so odd, actually disturbing would be more like it, that I began to wonder if she had frozen heads in the freezer. The head of the last person who gave her a magnet for her refrigerator, for instance.



The Return of Florida Native Mom!

Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:00:00 +0000

Captain's Log Stardate 2012.6.7

It's been nearly a year since my last blog post so I kinda felt like I should start this one with some sort of significant log-in. Not a Trekkie fan? How about this.

Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been 10 months since my last . . . blog post.

While I'm not a Catholic, I survived 12 years of Catholic school so I think that gives me a pass on mocking the confessional.

Speaking of confessions, I have to confess I have missed my blog. But I've also had major writer's block. That's because 10 months ago my whole world changed and it's been hard to find my voice. Namely, my cast of characters changed. Beloved moved on to greener pastures. The Big Kids have all left the nest. It's just Mini-Me and me, Florida Native Mom, left to wander around this big house. But as Mini-Me said when all this change went down "Mom, it's like a new adventure."

Thus the Star Trek reference.

I would say I'm now boldly going where I've never gone before. But truth is, I've been divorced and a single mom before. So it's kind of like being stuck in a time warp and not in a Rocky Horror Picture Show kind of way.

But now I'm ready to come back to the blogosphere and be my same old wisecracking, sassy self. So here goes.

(image) Florida is home to some weird people. Maybe THE home to weird people (myself included). After living here 40plus years, I thought I'd seen everything. Turns out "thought I'd seen it all" is not a phrase you can ever use in Florida. A few weeks ago, I saw a man riding a moped. Not a scooter or a motorcycle, but a 70s era moped. Big deal, right? Only he had a huge cage strapped to the back with his Macaw in it. A man and his Macaw on a moped. At least I hope it was his bird and he hadn't just swiped it! The bird wasn't crying "Help!" so it was probably all on the up and up.

Wish I had a picture to share but I was just too flabbergasted to react quickly enough, and despite the fact that it was an old moped, that guy sure did move! Leaving me without an opportunity to stop and get a shot.

I would have loved to know where they were going . . .





What does your family look like?

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 14:50:00 +0000

Stuck in the parent drop off loop this morning at MiniMe's school, we're behind one of those cars that has their family represented in stickers across the back window.


 I say to MiniMe, "You'll never see stickers like that on my car. I guess I'm just not that kind of mom."

MiniMe says "Yea but if you had stickers that showed our family they wouldn't look like that. The two boys would be fighting, the dog would be scratching his fleas, you'd have a glass of wine in your hand and Dad wouldn't be in the line-up because he'd be out riding his motorcycle."

Which gave me the giggles!



Leave Me Alone?

Tue, 23 Aug 2011 14:42:00 +0000

I was riding my bike yesterday morning when I spied a man playing tennis . . . alone. It struck me as funny that he'd be out hitting tennis balls on the court by himself because tennis usually requires at least 2 players. Now I know he was probably just practicing his serve, but you can see how this would strike me as unusual. Then again, I was out exercising alone myself - but I was on a bike, which doesn't require a partner.

This reminded me of something my friend's son recently told her. He said "Mom, I'm glad I'm an only child," which made her happy since there would be no other buns springing from her oven. MiniMe was an only child until she gained step brothers and a step sister. She loved it when the "big kids," as she called them, joined the family because I think she was a little lonely.

The reason I think this is because she used to play hide and seek with her guinea pig.

(image) When she was about 2 years old, I got her a guinea pig. She and Sugar were inseparable. She would go out to the front yard and "hide" the pig behind a tree or in her wagon. Then she'd come back to the front porch to "count" (which at that age she only knew her numbers up to about 5) and then go searching for the pig.

The good thing about this game of hide and seek was that you could put that pig someplace and come back an hour later and she'd still be there. She never moved. So I wasn't worried that Sugar would somehow escape during this game. I think secretly MiniMe hoped the pig would run and find some other hiding spot because that would have been more fun. But that was a dependably unmoving pig.




I'm Not That Kind of Mom

Tue, 12 Jul 2011 21:38:00 +0000

I write a monthly column for a local parent magazine. However, what I write is more like an Erma Bombeck column because I offer no real advice or useful information, just observation and satire (kind of like this blog only much more sanitized). I leave it up to the other writers who are parents to provide parenting tips and advice.

So my deadline is this week for the Back to School issue. I'm stumped. I've done Back to School columns several times. So I go to Facebook and ask my "friends" to give me some ideas on what I should cover in my Back to School themed column.

It was hilarious! The suggestions I got were all well-meaning and actually good suggestions. But I couldn't help thinking "Do these people know me?!?"

Since my loyal readers of the blog know that I'm a slacker mom who has a free-range parenting style, I thought I'd share some of the suggestions I got and what I thought about each.

Suggestion No. 1: Write about non-traditional school options like homeschooling 
Me: Homeschooling? My goal is to get my daughter OUT of the house. I happily pay my school taxes and then some for the saving grace that is someone else dealing with her 5 days a week.

Suggestion No. 2: Ways you can help your child's teacher like buying supplies or helping out in the classroom.
Me: I buy plenty of supplies for the classroom every year and don't mind doing so. But I've learned to stick to the supply list ever since those little child-sized straight jackets I sent were not well received. As far as helping out in the classroom, see my answer to question number 1.

Suggestion No. 3: Recommend that parents let their children ride their bikes to school this year. The kids will get exercise and the parents can save money on gas. 
Me: Now, this is an idea I can embrace! I'm an old fashion parent in that I DON'T think my child will get snatched if she plays in the front yard without me watching her every move. However, I can only imagine how much hate mail the magazine would receive if one of their writers actually suggested that parents not only let their child walk to a bus stop, but actually (GASP!!) ride their bike to school (I mean, that's actually beyond the cul de sac!). The editor just doesn't deserve to attract the ire of the helicopter moms.

By the way that last suggestion came from a friend who has no children.

I'll let you know what I come up with.



The Notebook

Thu, 07 Jul 2011 16:48:00 +0000

"I found the notebook Amy wanted," my favorite middle stepson tells me yesterday, very proud of himself. Amy is a girl who is a "friend," who everyone else knows is just in love with favorite middle stepson. He chooses to ignore this fact.

Why does Amy need a notebook, I ask.

"Today's her birthday so I got her the notebook. I found it at Wal-Mart."

Is this some special notebook?

"No, the MOVIE. She wanted that movie The Notebook, so I got it for her birthday. We're having a birthday party for her tonight."


Have you ever watched The Notebook, I inquire.

"No, but it's probably some sort of chick flick, right?"

You're not going to like it. There are no zombies and no aliens.

"Great," he says with a sigh. "Does anyone get punched?"

No, no one gets punched.



One Legged Chicken - The Other White Meat

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 14:07:00 +0000

Beloved, MiniMe and I went to my mom & dad's place in St. Augustine on Sunday for a cookout. For all of you who don't know, and for those of you who do - a reminder, I'm a vegetarian and have been for about 4 years. However, I NEVER ask anyone to cook anything special for me, nor do I ever say anything if we're at someone's home for dinner and it's a Meat-A-Saurus meal.

Back to my story.

We get there and my mom says "We're having ribs and I bought chicken for you since you don't eat meat."

Here we go again. After 4 years, my mom still thinks that if she serves me chicken or turkey, that's vegetarian.

MiniMe looks at me with an expression that conveys "Am I missing something here?" Go ahead, I tell her, you explain it.


"Mimi, chicken is meat, mom doesn't eat meat."

"You don't eat chicken? Well I thought you ate chicken?"

I say to MiniMe "Give her the 2 and 4 leg explanation."

MiniMe recites my mantra "Mom doesn't eat anything with 2 or 4 legs. Chickens have 2 legs," and smiles because she's getting to "correct" an adult.

"Well!" my mom huffs, "This was a one-legged chicken so I guess you can eat it!"



Must be the Heat

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 22:01:00 +0000

Saw two things today that I thought were a little odd. I would have gotten photos to share, but I was driving. I'm already a terrible photographer, so it wasn't worth risking a traffic accident.

Strange Item No. 1 "You Go Boy!"
Man, age 30ish, riding a bicycle while simultaneously eating one of the biggest hamburgers I've ever seen. Do you think he was reasoning that as long as he was pedaling, eating a greasy 2,000 plus calorie burger was good for him?

Strange Item No. 2 "You Should Be Ashamed!"
A man and his kids in their bedraggled van at the corner of a busy intersection. On a large piece of cardboard taped to the side of his van was written "Rotie Puppies." He was standing next to it holding one of the puppies like he was hawking fake watches on the streets of New York. (Now this guy I would have run over while taking a photo, but I didn't want to hurt the innocent puppy or the children).



The Good, The Bad and the IRS

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:31:00 +0000

I run my own business and yesterday I got a certified letter from the IRS saying I had an outstanding balance on my tax payment from last year. I probably don't have to tell you that the letter was a little threatening in its tone.I've decided that I'll consider the rest of this story of my interaction with the IRS to be hilarious rather than painful. So, here goes.I knew I had paid this. I knew the check number and date it had been sent. I even checked and yes, the check had been cashed. Even so, I thought I'd better call and be sure they had corrected the error.I call the 800 number. I spend 3 minutes punching all my info into the automated phone system. I wait patiently through 15 minutes on hold. When the IRS agent finally answered (No 'hello, this is Marcy, how I can help you today?') she had an attitude. I'll spare you the details, but it ended up with her "terminating" my call because at one point I said "Well, damn, I didn't know that was what you were asking me for!" I got cut off for using the word "Damn". If  I'd known I would be cut off, I wouldn't have wasted my offensive language with 'damn', there are much better words.So off I go to my local IRS office. This is where it gets really bizarre!As soon as I walk in the door, the security guard, who is sitting chatting with one of the customers, says to me in a rapid fire monotone "any weapons, cell phone, cameras or recording devices?"  Um, a cell phone, I answer. "You've got to turn it off, no cell phones allowed."  Um, ok, and hello to you, too.I take a number from the weird machine that makes you choose a "reason" why you're there before it spits out your number. Now, there are only 2 other people in the waiting room besides me. My number, 502. I look at the "now serving" light and it says 957. WTF? I immediately think I must be in that waiting room from Beetlejuice or something.The next number is called and one of the two women goes into the cubicle not 12 ft from where I'm sitting. The TV in the waiting room is on the Spike TV channel. Just about every surface of the walls are covered by posters and notices that say "No Weapons" "No Cell Phones" "No Cameras or Recording Devices" in multiple languages (even Japanese, I swear!).The woman now leaves the cubicle and it turns out the other lady is with her, so I'm next! But before she leaves, the security guard returns her box cutter. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP!Now I'm alone with the security guard and the one lone IRS agent in the cubicle 12 feet away. Ding, the "next served" number changes to 502 (that's me!). I decide it is completely ridiculous to post my number on the electronic sign when I'm the ONLY person in the waiting room, and he can clearly see this. So I decide to mess with him. (I know, this is what got me terminated the last time).I sit there. "Number 502" he calls out. I look at my number slip, I look at the sign announcing my number is next, I look back at my number slip. I sit there. "Number 502! 502, is that You?!? You're next, wake up!"Tee-hee-hee . . . .Trying to be friendly, I ask if he's ever seen the movie Beetlejuice. "Yes" he says. "Your waiting room reminds of the waiting room in Beetlejuice," I say with a laugh. He just stares at me. So I hand over my ID and paperwork. It takes him exactly 45 seconds to pull up my record and confirm that the error has been corrected. Then he says "Oh, Beetlejuice! I know what you're talking about now" and kinda chuckles.This one is a real Einstein, I think but do not say out loud. On my way out t[...]



Bloggers in Demand

Mon, 13 Jun 2011 14:05:00 +0000

One of the best things about being a part of the blogger community is getting to see a place from the blogger's local perspective. That's why I follow so many Florida bloggers. There's nothing better than visiting a place and knowing all the "secrets" from the locals about what to do, where to eat, where to stay, etc.

As a blogger, I've been tapped a few times by online and traditional publications looking for a writer with local knowledge. My most recent piece on the outdoor offerings in Daytona Beach came out this week in the June issue of the Visit Florida e-newsletter. See here

If you're doing some guest blogging or freelance writing, I'd love to read my blogging friends' work. Please send me a link and I'd be interested in sharing them with my followers. 

Happy Monday!



Your Baby Can't Read

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 00:19:00 +0000

Anyone else other than me tired of those "Your Baby Can Read" commercials? Not only do they play constantly on every radio station I listen to, they're ridiculous. Who's buying this product? Is it the same parents who made the Baby Einstein folks rich beyond measure? I think even the Baby Einstein consumers didn't actually believe their babies would start playing Mozart or solving equations because they got parked in front of a video.

I'm here to proclaim that NO, YOUR BABY CANNOT READ!!!!

In addition to this concept being completely asinine, why would you want your baby to read? Is this a sinister component of the Florida FCAT? Are the No Child Left Behind people a sponsor of this ridiculous product?

Every time I hear one of these commercials I feel like screaming "IF YOU READ TO YOUR BABY AND TODDLER, YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THEIR COGNITIVE ABILITIES!!!"


Whatever happened to reading to your child? Now there's a video and online game for everything. Heck, there's probably even a Your Baby Can Read App. (Gag).

I may not be a perfect mom but I know that spending quality time reading to your child can only help. So why would you spend money on a product that lets someone else do it for you?

NO, your baby cannot read. But YOU can read to your baby!



Official Sign of Summer

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 20:30:00 +0000

It is officially summer. I know this because today my dog Scout chewed all the beads off my new flip flops. Actually, he chewed the beads off only one shoe in the pair.

I look forward to getting a new pair of flip flops each summer. Scout looks forward to "breaking them in" for me. It's a good thing I don't spend much money on my flip flops. The frustrating thing is this smelly dog never chews anyone else's flip flops. Only mine!

I thought I was safe because he usually is attracted to sparkly things. These were just multi-colored beads, no sparkles. I guess he decided he'd chew up anything in a pinch - sparkles or not.

I've tried to make sure I keep my shoes in my closet and not just laying around the house. Didn't help. He just slunk into my closet for a flip flop snack.


Pictured: Bad Dog Scout on the left with Good Dog Radley on the right. No matter how hard Radley has tried to be a good influence, Scout is incorrigible.



Big events - Only in Florida

Wed, 01 Jun 2011 17:47:00 +0000

June 1 has been replete with events that for the most part only all of us in Florida experience.

Today marks the first day of Hurricane Season. Do you think it is some sort of sign that today was also the first day my home - the greater Daytona Beach area - has gotten any rain in weeks?

The space shuttle landed. Did the double sonic boom wake you around 2:30 a.m.?

We've got approximately 250 wildfires burning across the state as of today. Have I mentioned how much we love our firefighters in the Sunshine State?

By my calendar, the first official day of summer is June 21. But to me, June 1 is the official Florida day of summer.