Summertime: Then Vs. Now

9 Aug

If you were a kid in the 70s, you too probably remember a more chill, carefree time–where kids played outdoors, unsupervised from sun up to sundown. I love to reminisce about being a kid and am overly nostalgic about my mostly unchaperoned, dysfunctional up-bringing. It’s somewhat curious that I’m so fond of my own childhood yet do things completely different with my own kiddos. ‘Tis a sign of the times I suppose. Anyhoo, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and compare my summer days of the 70s and early 80s with my own over-scheduled offspring.

Who’s In Charge? Oh Yeah, No-One!

Summertime when I was a kid was a time of wanderlust. It was a time of discovery and a time to explore. It wasn’t a time to stay indoors. We were wise enough to know to get out of the house quick in the morning in order to avoid a long To-Do list of unpleasant chores, parents who believed in spanking, yelled, and knew how to say No.

Our main mode of transportation was our bikes. We rode our bikes everywhere. Sans helmet. We rode to the play ground, we rode to our friends’ houses, we rode to the store. We rode to wherever we needed to go.

We would hit one back yard after another, where we’d create elaborate imaginative games. Tree houses would become our pirate ships or caves. Tire swings would be our air crafts to the moon. We’d play whiffle ball for hours. Lunch time was spontaneous, to be enjoyed in the kitchen of the nearest house. If we were lucky we’d get Pizza Rolls or Spaghetti O’s and a Hostess snack cake. If not, bologna or pb&j. White Wonder bread was pretty much guaranteed. Trans-fat and high fructose corn syrup–why not? Hawaiian Punch or Kool-Aid were likely served. As soon as we finished we’d be back on the streets. Possibly pretending to “drive our cars” (our bikes) to meet “our boyfriends.” Where we’d pretend to make-out. Or, maybe we’d ride to the river and go for a swim. No life guard, no parents, often no towel, probably no sun screen.

When we hit the convenient store for a much-needed snack (after all we’d rode our bikes for miles) we loaded up on candy bars and chips–Pringles, oh yes, we had the fever. Charleston Chew was good because it was so big. Sugar Daddy lasted a long time and was cheap. Pop Rocks and tiny Chiclettes were also a solid choice. But alas, that snappy Hey, you got your peanut butter in my chocolate, No, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter ad would probably win out. (Reese’s are delicious.) We’d get as much crap as we could afford and divvy it up. One “graveyard” Super Big Gulp would do, as several kids would share the mammoth drink. With one straw. We weren’t worried about germs so much back then.

After 8-10 hours of being accountable to no one, we’d finally wander back to the neighborhood. Where eventually the mothers would yell out the front door, “dinner time,” to which we’d unenthusiatically head home. But wait. Was it a ‘Three’s Company’ night or ‘Solid Gold?’ After all, we hadn’t watched TV all day. Pong and Asteroids hadn’t been played for several days.

If it was the weekend, maybe we’d get dropped off at the roller rink. More time unsupervised. Yay! After arcade games, more junk food, and couples’ skates we’d head home where we’d catch some ‘Friday Night Videos,’ or the’ Twilight Zone’ until the TV turned to color block lines and eventually static. And the next day, we’d get up and do it all again. A new day meant a new adventure. The unknown. Anything was possible…

Micro-Managed Every Minute!

Summer time for my kids and most of their friends means day camps or lessons. Nowadays we have a camp for every type of kid. We have science camps, horse camps, dance camps, sports camps, arts & crafts camps, leadership camps–you name it they have a camp for it.

If our kids want to go somewhere, we drive them. If they want a snack it’s most likely healthy, whole grain, possibly gluten-free and accompanied by good old water, maybe lemonade. They might get a fro-yo if they’re lucky. If they want to ride their bikes out of the hood, parents watch or ride alongside. They always have their helmets strapped on tight.

If our kids want to go for a swim, it’s likely at a private/member’s only pool. Of course a parental will be present at all times along with several certified life guards. SPF 50 will be applied and re-applied. Rash guards, aka swim shirts, are on hand if swimming will be for an extended period of time. Swimming without goggles would not go over well.

Our kids have cell phones and iTouches and can communicate with us at all times. On a rare occasion where they may be off on their own, not being closely monitored, we know we can track them down in seconds.

Our kids have been well-trained to use their hand sanitizer that’s been strapped to their packs or bags. They know better than to share a drink. They all have their own water bottles. BPA free. The water went through the Brita prior to being poured. They would never drink from the hose.

Our kids rather enjoy being at home–probably because they’re over scheduled. We say Yes as often as possible. (My kids only chore is to feed the fish, which they complain about. Their responsibilities include reading, and being kind & respectful kids. They have hundreds of toys, in every room.)

If our kids want to watch TV, they can find any show or cartoon at any time of the day. They can BE the video game. If our kids go to the movies, we are in tow. Our kids go to bed tonight knowing that tomorrow will be much like today. Another day of structured, heavily supervised activities…

Sometimes I worry that all this over parenting is doing them a dis-service. Will they be boring because they had such a “normal” up bringing? A little dysfunction builds character–after all look at me! I sometimes fear I’m doing too damn good of  a job. Although, I’m probably fucking things up that I haven’t even thought about. I suppose only time will tell…

Until then we may as well enjoy re-living the good old days. Here’s an old favorite that’ll take ya back. I’ve been obsessed with this song lately. The whole almost 40 thing, ya know. Ta!

Better Than a Hungry Heart, I Suppose…

30 Jul

Update! If you follow RTM and read ‘What Is It About the Dodge Charger?’ which can be found under Stories from the Past, you probably know The Husband had been lusting after a Dodge Charger for months. Many of you also know this is not the first time a man in my life has had it bad for this silly vehicle. 

Anyway, in case you were curious, he did get his American muscle car. I figured since he was turning 40 and was likely having some sort of mid-life crisis, he deserved it. After all, I’m about to turn 40 now (wtf, how can that be?) so I’ve been busy dreaming up what inappropriate gift should be mine. So far, I haven’t come up with anything, but I am open to suggestions.

Back to the car. “The Panty Dropper” makes him happy. (Although the type of women who turn to see who’s driving the throw back vehicle, blasting Van Halen circa 1984, or worse current Van Halen–if you haven’t heard the song “Tattoo” consider yourself  lucky, are neither hot nor threatening.) So, even though I’m still a bit embarrassed by it, things could be worse. His mid-life crisis could have included taking a lover half my age, or going out for a ride and never comin’ back. I suppose I got off easy. And, so you know it isn’t just me, here’s an amusing comment that came from my daughter’s little friend. As she was getting in the car, she gave it a funny look. She looked at my husband and said, “This is a um…er… a nice car. Is it a rental?” Ha! I could hardly contain my hysterics! Ouch. Even he had to chuckle. A little.

So, if you see a Dodge Charger coming your way and it seems to be picking up speed don’t worry, it’s probably not an under cover cop, but rather my husband re-living his youth. Somewhere, my grandpa is chuckling and smiling down on me. Karmic payback for all those years I was embarrassed to be picked up by him? Probably…

Enjoy this rare footage of VH back in the day. I admit it, I do loves me some old school Dave. Nobody rocks a pair of assless chaps quite like he.

Birds of a Feather

27 Jul

HaHa! Maybe, but we would definitely have a kick-ass time at  Happy Hour.

Random Thoughts from the 4-Year-Old (This Week)

26 Jul

4-year-old: “Mommy, we can’t look at the Sun because it will hurt your eyes and you’ll have to go to the Doctor.”

Me: “That’s right, baby. Don’t look at the Sun.”

4-year-old: “But we can look at Jesus even though He’s a Sun in the sky too.”

Me: “Um, hmmm… Yes, but He’s a different kind of SON. You know, like you’re my son?”

4-year-old: No response. Quizzical look. Distracted by drawing.

Next Thought

4-year-old: “Mommy, how does the baby get out of your tummy?”

Me: “Uh, well, how do you think it gets out?”

Big Sis: “Mom, just tell him the truth.”

Me: (Sensing no way around it…) “Well, it comes out of the woman’s vagina.”

4-year-old: “Cha China, Cha China, Cha China, it comes out your Ch China!?  What’s a Cha China?”

Next Thought

4-year-old: (Looks in underwear, says with shock.) “Mommy, WHY is my wiener so big… AGAIN?”

Me: (Fighting laughter) “Don’t worry, baby. It’s totally fine. It will go back to normal in a minute.”

4-year-old: (30 minutes later, with alarm) “But, Mommy! It’s still SO BIG!”


24 Jul


Yep. Been thinkin’ this since I was a kid.

Fifty Shades of Fun

20 Jul

If you haven’t read the Fifty Shades series I have to ask, Why not? I admit that at first I was a little turned off at the premise. But, then I remembered that when you don’t actually read something for yourself and know the whole story, you really shouldn’t voice an opinion. (Although, I’m a total hypocrite as I never read the Twilight series because, you know vampires are ridiculous and I’m not a fourteen year old boy. And yes, many of my friends LOVED it. I know. I also never read The Hunger Games because the story line disgusted me, especially since it’s about children. And again, I’ve heard from many sources that it’s great.) Back to the point. If you don’t read the book that everyone is talking about you kind of feel left out. You can’t contribute to the conversation at the water cooler and you really don’t know what all the hub-bub is.

So, if you’re still holding out, might I suggest your book club read the trilogy. If you “book club,” that is. I do not. Book clubs are stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I love to read. I just don’t want to have to sit around with a bunch of people and say, What did you think of the book? Oh, yes. And what did you think of the book? And, what about that symbolism, and wasn’t that ironic, and blah, blah, blah… Nope, not for me. I just want to read my book, think about it myself and move onto the next. Now, before you say that you only do book clubs as an excuse to get out of the house, hang out with the girls and drink wine, I have to wonder, why do you need an excuse? Just go hang out with your friends and get liquored up, duh. But, I’m not judging. If you love your book club and your excuse– more power to ya!

Now, back to the topic. Fifty Shades is kinda fabulous. I liked the second and third better than the first. They have less of the “kinky fuckery” if you’re a bit prude. You also come to really understand why Mr. Christian Grey is the way he is. He’s actually a rather likeable dude with some mad skills. It’s a page turner, for sure. The only down side is when you finish it’s hard to find a book that you’re as enthusiastic about. Costco has the box set for cheap, so no more excuses!

If you haven’t seen this video yet, it’s a must. Totes Hi-larie! It’s worth the quick detour to youtube. (Thanks, Jill.)

In the words of Christian… Laters, baby!

My Kiddos’ Rooms

20 Jul

My duaghter calls her room “Flower Garden.” This is a rare look at it clean.

My son calls his room “Surf’s Up!” Again, it never looks like this.

These are my kids…

And this is what they really do to their spaces, and the rest of the house…

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