Humorous thoughts on adulthood – thank goodness for chocolate, drinks, friends, and duck tape!

WWBD? (What Will Bolton Do?) – Life after Teaching

You just gotta Jump!

You just gotta Jump!

Decision, decisions, decisions.  Oh, how I hate to make them!  Are you that way, too?  I don’t mind the “where-are-we-eating-tonight” kind.  Those are easy (and the answer is Johnny’s Café), but I hate the big ones like deciding to get married or moving to a 3rd world country to make two million dollars.  I’m talking those kind. Lol.

 

Recently, I made the decision to leave my job after having been in that same building for 20 years.   And yes, I am a habitual ready-for-a-vacation kind of girl so it probably seems that I am more than ready to ditch my job (which if you looked at the same snot on the bathroom stall you might want to, too).  The truth of the matter is that it’s really hard to leave.  Not because of the snot (lol), but partly because of the people I’ve met along the way and partly because I don’t want to be a statistic of another teacher leaving teaching and partly because I hope I’ve made a difference in the world somewhere along the way.  So why am I leaving?  A lot of reasons, but they start with my little girl.

 

Last spring, we debated about buying a house in our hometown.  Finally, we decided to put a bid in.  There ended up being 3 other bids.  I said I was leaving it in God’s hands.  If we got it, it was meant to be.  If we didn’t, there was time for something else.  We got the house.

 

It was about that time that I started hearing that Zac Brown song on the radio.  Clearly, it was meant to be.  And every time I seem to be having doubts over whether it’s time to go home or not, it finds its way to my radio.

(Thanks Vevo, Zac Brown Band and YouTube)

So when it came time to decide whether to stick it out in teaching or move on, I stressed out again.  Could I drive from there?  Yes.  I probably would have a quicker commute than some of the people who live in West O going through 3000 stoplights.  Believe me, I squandered an entire summer overthinking, worrying, and contemplating what to do.  It was the day that I realized that I would have to drive 12 more years and that, in that time, my little girl would go from a toddler to a teenager.  Not only that, but there will be bagels with mom breakfasts and Read Across America book-a-thons to see and I want to see them!  But I wouldn’t if I was driving because I would believe that work had to come first, even when I didn’t feel that way.  So what was the solution?  Get out.

 

What’s next?  I don’t know.  I wanna be creative.  I wanna be respected for what I do.  I wanna help Mrs. Strickland get Oakland back to good, too.   But here’s what I do know:  About a year and half ago, I saw this Steve Harvey video, and it spoke to me.  (I might be watching this at 2 in the morning next August with tears and a carton of How I Love Thee Reese Peanut Butter Cup ice cream panicking, but…)

(Thanks to Steve Harvey and YouTube for the clip!)

I’m not a gutsy person.  I like my safe and secure world, but I do think I was put on this earth for a reason and I want to make damn sure I figure out what my gift is.  So… I’m “jumping.”   Ready…or not (mostly or not) here I come.

 

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Have you been in my place?  Any advice?  What’s your talent or calling? Any success stories to tell me?  Feelings about the videos or just a comment?  Let me hear ’em.

I’m at home on Loserville Lane again tonight…

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Pasty skin? Blood-shot eyes? Just rolled out of bed fashion statement? I thought I had that look going for me pre-child. I realize it was only the beginning. I officially understand what they mean when people say they “lose themselves” when they have kids. I have a whole new admiration for the likes of Nancy Finnegan with her 9 children. I have one and I feel rockstar if I manage to get moisturizer on and text a friend all in one day!

 

I feel bad for those people that do lose themselves. I totally get how it happens. Yes, I may be in total denial, but I feel I haven’t really lost myself so much as hid her away for a few years until she’s allowed out to play again. And I admit it has happened. I know sometimes people don’t realize it’s happening to them. I realized. I just couldn’t stop it. I know they say you shouldn’t let it happen, but well, they either have a lot more money than I do to pay for a manny or they were kinda boring and didn’t have much of a life to begin with. That’s the conclusion I have come to.

 

Here’s the thing: I know you are supposed to keep some of your hobbies and your girls’ nights out and your “me” time reading 50 Shades of Grey on the side. I get it. What I don’t get is how you make that happen. There’s just not enough time in the day to write a blog, take some pictures, read a book, call my friend, check facebook, and still make breakfast, lunch, dinner, do laundry, pick up the 5000 wrappers my daughter took out of the trashcan, read her books, play airplane with her, and do our daily neighborhood watch from the top of the couch. Just sayin’. I admit defeat. And when it comes to whether I screw her up for life or give up my chapter of smut, I ere on the side of a non-messed up child. Now, I can’t make any promises, but at least I’m trying.

 

Everyone tells me it will get easier. And maybe it will. If nothing else, I’m sure there will be practices that I can sit in Baa Baa Black Sheep (our black Honda Pilot) and check Facebook on my phone. In the meantime, I am sad that I can’t bring you a regularly scheduled blog and the ratio of diaper-changes to strawberry daiquiris is pretty one-sided,  but when she pats me on the cheek and gives me a hug, well, I remember that I’ve made worse mistakes along the way.

 

Should you do what I have done? No. Not if you can help it. If you can’t help it and you know it’s happening, well, join the club. We don’t actually meet because we don’t have time, but we do feel sympathy for those in the sinking ship with us.

 

Oh, P.S. – if you’re feeling bad for me, feel free to offer to be a free babysitter. I won’t say no. ☺

Rio’s calling and I’m answering. How ’bout you?

 

USA! USA! USA!

USA! USA! USA!

I feel like Paul Revere – “The Olympics are coming!  The Olympics are coming!”  I’m so freaking excited!  I love the Olympics and the fact that it coincides with me going back to work is even better.  A little mental distraction from the loss of my summer is always good.  Plus, who couldn’t use something fun in their newsfeed instead of politics and misery?  Ug.

 

So do you have a favorite event or are you just a whatever-is-on-and-involves-sweating-bodies-is-fine-with-me kind?  Are you a track and field person?  Or a gymnastics person?  Or a Bob Costas giving their historic rise to fame backstory person?  Oh, or are you the obvious choice:  a sand volleyball person? (Yeah, we all know why you love the sand volleyball competition…)  I pretty much love everything, except maybe that pentathlon one.  They’re all too skinny and it just looks painful.  I have a hard time getting behind that, but I’m game otherwise.

 

If I were actually capable, I’d want to be on the Saber team.  First off, they are expected to win.  Secondly, they compete one day and have the rest of the time to see the sights, cheer on the other Americans, and make questionable decisions in the Olympic village. lol.  Of course, I’m also stoked to see Phelps carry in the flag.  It’s amazing how a family and sobriety change your perspective and get you involved.  And I will definitely be watching the ladies do floor exercise.  Holy crap can they jump!

 

Luckily, my husband likes sports so he’s generally willing to watch with me and it appears my daughter is the same.  However, by second week, my husband is usually complaining he needs his NCIS fix and that we’ve seen the same segment about Hussein Bolt 50 times.  I can’t get enough of it.  I’m a fanatic and proud of it.

 

I love to watch sports anyway, but the Olympics is more than that.  I value it because it’s about heart, dedication, work ethic, and dreamers.  You don’t get to the Olympics without all of that.  And I love a success story.  I really do.  I had goose bumps with Kerri Strug landed on one foot, when Michael Phelps got that last medal, and when Gabby Douglas won the all-around.  I like perseverance.

 

What else do I like?  I like that for two weeks we are not complaining about what’s wrong with our country or tearing other people down, we are a united front.  We are Americans.  We are happy to see any American holding our flag and singing “The Star Spangled Banner” on a podium.  It matters not what race you are or which backwoods town you came from, it only matters than you are an American.  That, my friends, makes me happy.

 

Beyond that, I like good sportsmanship.  I like the stories of athletes helping each other out.  I like families sitting around a TV watching the Olympics and seeing people break records and cheer and console and be happy just to have the experience.  I like unity of the athletes, of the families sitting at home watching, and all of us as Americans.  Yes, I know that makes me sound like Suzy Sunshine.  I’m okay with it.

 

So here’s to filling up your DVR with Olympic dreams and a cold one on the couch getting caught up!  If you want to rehash, I’m pretty sure you know where to find me.

 

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Do you have a favorite sport to watch?  Do you have a favorite memory?  Have you actually been to an Olympic event?  Talk to me.

Red Corvettes, Y2K, and Peaches – RIP Prince

RIP Prince

RIP Prince

I know it’s true. I continue to see it – Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and now Prince. The true geniuses leave our world too early. They make a defining exit. But while others will be mourning in Purple Rain, I won’t be. I never liked When Doves Cry or Purple Rain. Yes, you can tell me that’s sacrilege. You can tell me I’m not a true fan. You can tell me I’m not a child of the 80’s, but you’d be wrong. I liked him for the fun. And for that, I will only speak of fun!

 

 

Prince made me smile.

 

 

Although I shook my head a LOT, it still made me smile that he wore more make-up than me, higher heels than me, and more ruffles than me, but damn, could he sing!

 

 

At 12:01am January 1, 2000, I smiled when I finished screaming Party Like it’s 1999 at the top of my lungs standing in Arthur’s bar alive and having survived Y2K with friends I still have today.

 

 

I smiled when I called him Tafkap. For every lawsuit he won with tafkap or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince and every joke I made about it, I loved him more.

 

 

I smiled when I realized he was a Minnesotan and neighboring Midwesterner willing to put on free concerts for his “homies” at Paisley Park. Midwesterner nice, baby!

 

 

For every song on his greatest hits album that I car-danced to in my little white tank top in my 20’s, I smiled for all the truck drivers to see and l loved him more.

 

 

I smiled when I blasted Peach in my car bouncing my way home from work to my single apartment with its dirty words and feel-good-about-yourself beat.

 

 

As a mom learning to say “sheesh” and “dang it” instead of what I really want to say, I still worship his way with words. For every dirty lyric, I loved him more and smiled more.

 

 

Truly, it makes me smile every time Raspberry Beret comes on the Oldies station despite the fact that it makes me old and despite the fact that I know I will have to fight my non-Prince-loving husband that I married in spite of that tidbit of info.

 

 

And to this day, I smile when I hear (and, of course, sing poorly) Little Red Corvette because I have flashbacks to staying up late to hear it on the radio on the Top 10 at 10 so I could tape it on my recordable cassette tape.

 

 

But mostly, I smile because after having been unable to get my mind focused enough to start blogging again, the words came out on the paper for a man who, even in his death, managed to inspire me.

 

 

I smile because Prince would have wanted me to.

 

 

Thank you, Prince, for that.   And thank you for leaving a mark on my youth.

 

 

There will never be another like you…

 

 

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Got any fave Prince songs I missed? Got any stories of things you associate with Prince? Want to argue my points (go ahead, but I’m always right)? Let’s hear what you have to say. It’s been too long since I did.

Summer bucket lists for Adults that don’t have time for bucket lists!

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Okay, thanks to a good friend’s do-gooder-soapy-clean-PG summer bucket list, I was inspired to make my own (cough, cough) Rated R (for Rarely gets to happen when you’re an adult) summer list.  I will be living vicariously through you this summer.  Make me proud!

  • Read Grey (yes, the dirty one by E.L. James)
  • Make pudding shots (now there’s a pinterest project I like!)
  • Roadtrip! Go to KC to shop at the outlets. Go to Carhenge in NE.  Go take selfies under the spider in Avoca. Lol.
  • Watch Magic Mike to prep for Magic Mike 2 (oh, you gotta love a no-shirt sequel!)
  • Drink one of the new added-citrus beers
  • Have a late-night water gun shoot-out with friends
  • Drop your kids off to sleep in your old bed at your mom and dad’s (woo-hoo!)
  • Sit in your lawn chair in your back yard 5 days in a row
  • Grill brats (no, not your bratty children, the processed meat kind – and get the Tiefenthaler ones from Iowa – To. Die. For.)
  • Do the Taco Ride or if you’re not local, find a beer tent. Stat.
  • Break out the little white tank-top. (Guys, not so much.)
  • Re-enact some scene/part from Saved by the Bell when they summered at the beach. (You know you know some!)
  • Read a magazine from the large pile collecting dust on your end table.
  • Have banana splits – the banana makes them completely healthy!
  • Take the back-roads – roll down your windows with your air on and sing with the radio. (Fishin’ in the Dark, baby!)
  • Car-dance with the sun roof open (get those truckers honkin’)
  • Play bocce ball or croquet – in the dark or drunk. Take your pick.
  • Go to Shakespeare on the Green or one of those outdoor concert series shows
  • Buy new flip-flops.
  • Go to a county fair (preferably the East Pottawattamie County Fair in Avoca – we’d love to see you)
  • Float down the river or paddleboat around a lake.
  • Take selfies in a floppy hat or cool sunglasses.
  • Host a BBQ – make sure you have plenty of wieners!
  • Text your friends “wish you were here” pics of you drinking, laying out, or taking a nap! (who wouldn’t be jealous of that????)
  • Have a lemonade with a friend you haven’t seen in at least a few months
  • Invite the neighbors over, whether you like ‘em or not.
  • Go to a parade. (Figured I’d give you an easy one you can knock out this week!)
  • Buy sun tan lotion, bug spray, and Cool Whip. (Happy Summer!)

 

Got any to add?  Let’s hear ‘em.  Got a comment about one of my ideas, go ahead.  Or even better, tell me how many of these you’ve done this summer!

Flounder, Mother’s Day, and Why I envy Carol Brady!

Blogging takes backseat - see photo for reason

Blogging takes backseat – see photo for reason

You know how they name that guy Flounder on Animal House? I’m identifying all too well with him.

I used to know who I was.  I may not have always been a very good me, but I was me.  I was an aspiring if not progressing writer, blogger, photographer, teacher, aunt, wife, and gunner.  I think I have officially turned into a mom and a mom alone.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t take that lightly.  It’s a huge effing accomplishment to just survive motherhood, if you ask me!  I can’t freaking imagine a mother out there who doesn’t agree!  In fact, I now fully understand why Mother’s Day was created!
I remember when I was on maternity leave and Jimmy Fallon had just had his second child and he said his greatest accomplishment was being a dad.  No shit.  I’ve walked beans with a bean hook.  I have washed the balls of a bull.  I have worked in the hood and eaten at the Burger King on 30th and Ames at night.  In all of my life, NOTHING has been scarier, harder, or more challenging than being a parent.  Wait. I take that back..  The damn rope in PE was much harder.  I never could do that damn thing.  But other than that – hardest task ever!  Is it worth it?  Hell to the yeah.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I feel like I should say what no one else has the guts to.  Everyday, I hear people spouting off about how glorious motherhood is and how it is the most rewarding thing in the world and it makes them glow.  Well, I call bullshit.  It is the most frustrating, guilt-ridden, time-consuming thing ever.  Do I love her smiles, giggles, and blowing bubbles?  Most definitely.  When she’s sick, do I feel helpless and like the worst mom ever?  Um, yeah, but when she grabs for my hand when she’s coughing, nothing makes me feel more needed.  Do I feel like I’m failing miserably at everything else?  Most definitely.  It’s hard to be a mom.  It’s exhausting and terrifying and everything in between.  I’ve been through more bacon, ice cream, and chocolate than I care to think about.  I love my daughter dearly.  You couldn’t pry her out of my cold, dead hands, but parenting is not for the weak and pathetic.  Holy crap on a diaper, a shoe, and a cracker!
I saw how much work my sisters put in.  I saw that Carol Brady desperately needed Alice.  I put off being a parent for years telling my spouse it was too hard and I wouldn’t be good at it.    He changed my mind and thank God for that. However, people be warned, if you texted me, emailed me, called me, or told me 2700 times about something, I’m probably still going to forget it!  If you knew me pre-baby, you know I am a control freak, anal retentive, on-top-of-things kind of person.  That blew up on me like a zit on an oily teenager!  I have forgotten meetings I was in charge of.  I have paid bills via credit card so they wouldn’t be late.  I have gone multiple weeks without shaving my legs.  I have a list of tasks longer than Santa’s and my only excuse is a 16 pound slobbering, chattering squiggleworm that trumps everything.  But here’s what I’ve concluded:  after spending all of second semester trying to finish Helen Fielding’s Mad About the Boy, I realized she was speaking to me, that my focus on little girl and my inability to keep up with anything else was the answer.
The quote was:  “I just sat there and thought, ‘This will just have to do.  Me.  The kid(s).  Just let the days flow by.’  I didn’t feel sad, really.  I couldn’t remember the feeling of not having to do the next thing.  Not having to squeeze the last second out of the day.  Or find out why the fridge was making that noise.  
And I’d love to say something marvellous came out of it.  But it didn’t, really.  My bum probably got fatter or something.  But I sensed a sort of mental clarity emerging.  A sense that what I needed to do now was find some peace.”
Exactly.  Maybe I was trying too hard to be too many things… Or maybe I wasn’t…Maybe that’s just who I am…mom or not.  So this is me – the new me – squeezing the life out of the last seconds of the day – trying to return to the living, blogging world and the working mom world and the creative-for-a-cause-in-Oakland world and the student world as I try to take classes to make more money at my job and the wife world who makes sugar-free chocolates just because OR, on any given day, I might be the complete contradiction because, well, that seems to be how I’m rolling these days and I might be in my just-saying-no-because-I-have-a-kid world because, ultimately, I may be going back to my hectic ways, but she’s still going to matter most.
So should you be prepared for me to screw up some of it?  Should you expect me to forget to pick up milk or not text you back?  Should you expect fewer blogs than the old Bolton Carley?  Yes – on all fronts.  Should you still expect to laugh at me and with me?  I sure as hell hope so.  And in the meantime, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who’ve made it through!  You deserve a chocolate bar and a cool mill.  Sorry, I can’t give it to you.  I’m too busy Spray ‘n Washing spit-up!
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Do you have a piece of advice?  Do you have an epic fail or success due to your children to share?  Do you have something to say about me being dumb enough to still try to overachieve?  Well, let’s hear it.

Bolton’s Brief Rule #141: freak flag waver

freak flagger

freak flagger

 

Hey, if there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that we’re all a lot more understanding and nice when we know the score.  So wave it high and boldly.  It’s best if we can see you comin’!