School Days, Sharp and Ready

My newly appointed middle-schooler asked me if he could have $50 as a going-to-school present. Excuse me? Is this the latest?

I’ve heard of gifts and wads of money being thrown into the air to celebrate the end of school, for good grades and graduation. I usually celebrate with smiles, hugs, and pats on the back. For what could be more memorable than that?

Besides, getting the kids ready for school these days will set parents back a few bills. It’s important to keep this in mind throughout your preparations:

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Let’s just start with the basics: The Backpack

My kids tell me that last year’s backpack is worthless; those zippers don’t work, it’s yucky, and that they need a sparkling new one. If I don’t buy my kids this, evidently they will be screwed for the entire year. Best to not mess with this scenario. You don’t want this on your head all year. Of course, darlings, whatever backpack you need.

My younger son wanted this one:

This backpack reportedly goes for $1 million dollars.
This backpack reportedly goes for $1 million dollars.

A backpack must accommodate a whole locker’s worth of material. It’s helpful if you are the Incredible Hulk.

But suppose you’re not. Enter the rolling backpack:

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Bonus, it doubles as a stylish piece of luggage, suitable for overnight trips.

I realize I’m happier knowing my kids will not have lockers, considering all the things that can go in them. The rolling backpack it is. It’s sensible and multi-purpose. Any future disappointments cannot be traced to this backpack. A good choice, and it better be, because he’s stuck with it.

Now on to something of which we have absolutely no choice: The Supplies List

If you have a child with multiple teachers, expect multiple lists. There is no gentle beginning. Kindergarteners and pre-schoolers are not off the hook. They, too, will have supplies to gather. While each year the supply list will closely resemble the previous year’s requests…oh, did I say requests, hmm…responsibilities….you will be faced with this same challenge each year:

Do I search throughout the house for supplies in cabinets and miscellaneous piles and bags, scattered here there and everywhere? 

It’s this:

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What are the chances of finding a complete set of anything?

I rationalize: Glue sticks and markers will be dried up, not all the colors will be represented, and the pencils won’t be sharp. We had a sharpener, but that broke, and who has time for the manual sharpening, because you know they will need a full pack of colored pencils on the first day, as well as that protractor I can’t seem to find. We had a ruler once, but I think it’s under the refrigerator. Speaking of, we’ll need new lunchboxes so lunch can be fun and fresh. Folders are cracked and unusable. The highlighters most certainly will be dull….

Should I…should I…just go for brand new supplies?

They’ll look like this:

Yes, that does say presharpened. They know what's up.
Yes, that does say presharpened. They know what’s up.

Don’t worry, they have thought of everything for you:

I made sure my kids didn't see pencils in the jumbo, swirl variety. That would set a precedent for future supply list wishes.
I made sure my kids didn’t see pencils in the jumbo, swirl variety. That would set a precedent for future supply list wishes.

Look at the little pretties:

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Primped and ready for school. So sharp.

If you think I’m over-excited and lazy, I’m not going to argue. And, kid, this cost more than fifty bucks. You’re welcome.

Confetti Cake and My Inefficient Blogging Habits

Nothing says impromptu like buying fluffy socks at the grocery store. It just puts me in the mood to buy sandwich bags, milk, etc.

I can't resist, especially the  adorable ribbon.
I can’t resist. I’m ready for winter.

Oh. Are you waiting for meaningful content? Well, how about this?…

This is my 200th blog post!!!!

I just threw my own surprise party there. Did you see how I did that? Exclamation marks abound and…confetti cake all over my computer. Are you as excited as I am?

Or, are you a closet inefficient blogger looking for hope and useful information?

Is it a coincidence that my 200th blog post is about inefficient blogging habits?

The truth is I like to make full use of my time. And don’t you? While standing in line at the grocery store, I am most likely reading one of your blog posts on my smart phone. With the power of electromagnetic forces, I am your faithful reader no matter where I am. Fancy that.

While in line at the store, I may even finish reading your post and most likely have enough time to log in and appear in the “Like” line on your blog. If the grocery line is extra long, I may even go the distance and attempt a comment.

With my head just bursting with thoughts I want to share, I type my comment with my pixie fingers small as pins. Because whenever I start typing on my phone, my fingers magically become a mere 2 centimeters wide. After I correct it…and make sure it’s coherent, I put a period on it and then this happens…

Purchase Interruptus…

The clerk expects payment for groceries. But don’t you see I’m in the middle of reading a blog post. The nerve.

Sitting in my car, I try to complete the thought that is still circling my brain. I retype the comment, only to read this on my phone:

ERROR (blah blah blah…it’s too little to read)

ERROR? But it made sense. It was decent. It was, was… You broke the rules. You were not logged in properly. You lose! You stole Fizzy Lifting Drinks….but, but…I never laid eyes on an everlasting gobstobber…and my ice cream is melting.

Back home in my kitchen, multi-tasking, putting away groceries and blog reading, I return a text message.

I attempt to write:

I am capable and my comment is worthwhile.

This is autocorrected into:

Ivan Cupcake and my comet if Wiki.

Who the hell is Ivan Cupcake? Cupcake? Do I have cupcakes?

Do I have a sweet tooth while I’m writing this?

I just love the colors.
I just love the colors.

Now in my fluffy socks and lounging comfortably, both panels of email and WordPress open and waiting…I am hit with a mass of posts. I read like a hungry bear, snaking on your posts, ready for more, more, more….my brain overstuffed with comments to be divulged, shared.

But then this happens:

Cat Interruptus…

Yes, I'm talking to you, kitty. Why don't you go drag in a bloody bird instead?
Yes, I’m talking to you, kitty. Why don’t you go drag in a bloody bird instead?


Child Interruptus

I don’t care what that fox says.

“Mom, do you want to watch it again with me?”

“Um, okay.”

It won’t kill me I guess…or it might…

The fox says nothing, okay. (credit:

So now you know why I may like your post and reply with a comment hours later. You have learned that I’m a little scattered. Sometimes, I can only read in small doses, but witness my dedication.

On another note, if I missed your post and you’d like me to read it, show me the way. Tell me in the comments or email me (thebumblefiles at gmail dot com).

Thanks for sticking with me, stopping by, commenting, all of it. It means so much to me. Thank you!

All Because of a Dress – Friday Fictioneers – 09/20/13

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Today’s photo is courtesy of John Nixon. Thanks Rochelle for all your gracious time.

You’ll find more stories from the Fictioneers here.

Genre: General Fiction (100)

Copyright – John Nixon

All Because of A Dress

Every Sunday, George and Trudy scouted thrift stores for knickknacks. George liked the exercise, while Trudy lingered at every store, collecting glass animals.

George suspected trouble when he saw the wedding dress in the window. Trudy beelined for the dress, practically knocking over the woman who held its fabric between her fingers.

“Trudy, you don’t need that. No one we know needs a dress.”

Dejected, Trudy walked away.

Before the woman left, she invited Trudy and George to her wedding.

Later, they doted on the woman’s firstborn, lavishing the child with stuffed animals. No one cared that they were secondhand.

Do You Want a Little Smackerel of Something?

How about a cracker? Sometimes it’s the only thing you need, the only thing that will satisfy. You may have your heart set on a certain kind of cracker or want to try something new.

I can assure you the Cheez-It brand, baked snack cracker extraordinaire, hopes for the latter. Unless, of course, you are already a loyal Cheez-It fan.

I really threw that at you. Let me settle in and explain.

The other day, I shopped at one of those mega grocery stores. It’s at least two football fields long. It’s one of the places where you really need to gauge whether it’s worth the half mile trek if, indeed, you happened to forget something. Jelly, for example. No, the kids can handle a peanut butter sans jelly sandwich. Eggs? The ones in the fridge are probably fine. You catch my drift.

This grocery warehouse deliverers variety. I know this is typically something we can appreciate, but even I have my limits. So, I was walking down the cracker aisle and I was absolutely bombarded with a preposterous amount of varieties of Cheez-It crackers. Now what would you think would be a reasonable number of varieties for a brand to offer its customers? What say you? Four? Five? That’s seems reasonable enough. Well, brace yourselves, friends…try 17 varieties of crackers. Yes, seventeen. I spelled that out in case you think I made a typo.

Don’t believe me? Well, I have evidence. See for yourselves.

Cheez-It offer the following 17 choices in cracker (in no particular order):

  1. Cheez-It – regular (the one we all know and love)
  2. Snack Mix – regular
  3. Snack Mix Double Cheese
  4. Reduced Fat
  5. White cheddar
  6. Colby
  7. Baby Swiss
  8. Pepper Jack
  9. Cheddar Jack
  10. Four Cheese
  11. Duoz – Sharp Cheddar/Parmesan
  12. Duoz – Smoked Cheddar/Monterey Jack
  13. “BIG” Mozzarella – Creamy and Mild
  14. Hot and Spicy
  15. Scrabble Junior
  16. Spiderman
  17. Family Size- albeit the same as #1, but still another offering

Jiminy Crickets, Cheez-Its! Have you gone insane? Clearly, this little cracker has lost its mind.

Grab a hold of yourself, Cheez-Its. You’ve always been one of my favorite, tried and true, but lately I don’t feel like I can relate to you. When people see this lavish display, Cheez-Its, they just want to run in the other direction.

What are you trying to prove anyway? You’re assuming everyone likes crackers in the first place, which just isn’t true.

Only H-U-N-N-Y will do.

Some people prefer chips. I mean do you really think you can capture every niche market.

Zombie Baby doesn’t like crackers.

You can’t! That’s just impossible. This is a desperate act.

Because I care so much about you, I’m going to give you some guidance. Pay attention Cheez-Its. There’s still hope for you.

1. The “BIG” cracker: Listen, you are the little cracker! Little, little, little. That’s what people love about you. Quit trying to be something you’re not. Do you think that by being “BIG” you’ll attract those people who want actual cheese on their cracker. Well, you won’t. These people will buy more sophisticated crackers and buy real cheese, actual cheese for their snacking habit, like a Roquefort or a Manchego. C’mon, face the music.

2. Blatant Extravagance: Customers who suffer from periodic hormonal mood swings (no one I know), will be so distraught by this abundant spectacle of crackers, they are likely to not be able to make any decision, and will leave the store in tears, empty-handed. They will be forced to eat their reject, stale crackers at home. Cheez-Its, you need to be more sensitive.

3. Hot and Spicy: Do you think you’re a chip now? You’re not. Enough said.

4. Family Fare:  Scrabble Jr. and Spiderman. We know Spiderman’s web can stick to the surface of any object, and with great power comes responsibility. Blah blah blah.What you have here is a stressed out mom and a couple of kids pitted against each other. Family infighting ensues and a pissed off mom leaves the aisle empty-handed with kids in tears. Sound familiar. See Item 2.

5. Snack Mix: Clearly you’re attempting to zero in on the Chex Mix market. Chex has this territory wrapped. A waste of your time.

6. Duoz: Are you trying to be bilingual? Is this the wizard’s cracker? Is this your attempt at cute?

Oh, I think I’m done! I don’t know what more I can do for you, Cheez-Its.

Just stick to your guns. You’re a positively good, little cracker. You don’t need all these gimmicks. You don’t need to show off.  Now go forward and be the best baked snack cracker you can be.  I believe in you, Cheez-Its.

Alice likes you just the way you are.

Dear readers, say it with me: Cheez-Its, you’re a winner. We like you just the way you are.

photo credits: sortofbreakit via photopin ccExpress Monorail via photopin ccFr Antunes via photopin cc

Chick Moments

I’m calling Chick Moments things that don’t happen to guys. So guys, if I haven’t already turned away, you might want to stay and have a peek into the inner workings of a chick moment. There’s nothing wrong with getting in touch with your feminine side. Gals, you can let me know if any of this rings true.

Have you ever found yourself in a circle of women discussing the “chick” topics: purses, shoes, hair, manicures, pedicures, etc. I think we all have. This is the scene: Women gather, pheromones blend into the perfect formation, and a chick connection is made. Sassy Queen Estrogen flies in and makes her presence, taking notes on hair styles and makeup.

Can you tell I don’t like this? And, yet, I participate with the best of them. It’s as if the pheromonal air is acting as glue, holding the circle in one cohesive unit. Sometimes I feel that I almost can’t leave, and if I want to leave, I need to run. No bolt. I find myself commenting when actually I don’t care that much. Now let me pause for a moment. If it’s a close friend who asks for my opinion on something personal, this is a completely different story.

It’s the mindless bantering, chit-chattering about purses and shoes. Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a shopper. Shopping to me is usually about finding a specific item for a particular purpose within a confined budget. This is more of an assignment really. Shopping is only fun when you have money to burn and don’t need anything. This never happens. Still, if I had extra money, I probably still wouldn’t enjoy it. I’d prefer to be given clothes that fit perfectly and look great on me. I guess, who wouldn’t?

Purses and shoes are one thing, but it’s hair….hair color, hair styles, hair length…this is where there is more common ground. The chit chat about hair, indeed, surfaces.  The worst thing that can happen is if you make a noticeable change to your hair, and you get NO RESPONSE.

Case in point. Get ready for a disastrous Bumble. Once, in the process of getting my hair colored, the hairdresser said to me, “I’m just following your file here,” as she poured color or toner (or what?!) all over my hair.

Panic sets in. Was she kidding me? “File?” I ask. “I’ve never had my hair colored here before.”

She stopped with the chemicals. “Are you sure?” Is she doubting me? Mind you, we did have the pre-color talk. We already agreed on the color and the direction we were going. I guess that went out the window with evidence of the file.

After she rinsed out the chemicals, she promptly grabbed more bottles of toner (I think) and she poured them all over my head; rinsing, more pouring, more rinsing. My head felt raw.

The moment arrived on the chair in front of the mirror. How bad was it? She pulled off the towel, and all I could say was, “Oh, oh, wow…it’s, uh, brassy.”  Inside I was screaming, What did she fucking do to my hair? Why me? Why, oh why? The color was like the brassy gold of a door knob, with tinges of orange. I wasn’t going for the chic, Cindy Lauper. I couldn’t pull that off even if I wanted to.

But at that point, I pretended I was looking at someone else in the mirror. Who was that strange girl? Then denial set in. It won’t be that bad once she blow dries my hair. It will lighten up and with a few shampoos, indeed, it will tone down. Sure. I was in shock and actually paid for the color.

I was promptly taken back to reality when I arrived on school grounds to retrieve my children. Certainly, my female acquaintances noticed. Sure they did. I got the big NOTHING. I got the glances and the head turning in the opposite direction, or my favorite, the flat out stare directly into my eyes and then ZILCH.

Honestly, I should have worn a hat. The following week, I got, “You colored your hair,” and then NADA. They collectively knew they could not fake this.

You could say I’m out of the blond phase. As this happened a few years ago the brass has been replaced by my more natural brown tones. You can always fix hair. That’s a good thing.

photo credit: porschelinn via photopin cc

For My Sister

While helping my dad move over the weekend, I came across a poem my oldest sister had written years ago. Her poem was so powerful and it caught me off guard. It inspired me to write a poem of my own.

Also many years ago, my little sister and I stayed with our big sister for a whole month in Santa Cruz, California during our summer vacation. I have nothing but fond memories. This one I hold close. I hope it brings a smile to her face.

For my sister Holly

Sand in our toes
Salt on our lips
While shopping for breakfast
We spy bagger Kip

Ocean-soaked skin
Glows in our gaze
We shop with conviction
He could charm me for days

He’s coming, don’t look
Hushed giggles, we trip
Our leader, so fierce, beams
It’s only Kip

Sun-tousled hair
He peeks under, a shy smile
His eyes blue I flutter
I would walk for miles

For him
He’s only dreaming
of his next big wave

His bagging halted, he’s gleaming
We’re short, we must choose
Essential or desire
Which one will we will lose?

Coffee goes without saying
Nothing needed more
Toilet paper, doughnuts
Chocolate ones, of course

What escapes her lips next
Scarlet flush, I want to hide
Our big sister quips
We’ll use old TV Guides

photo credit: Jaimito Cartero via photo pin cc

Stop the Madness!

I’d like to think of myself as a sensible, reasonable person. Not a whiner. Not a complainer. Don’t think for one second I’m complaining. I just want my life to make sense. So, please explain this to me because it makes zero sense.

Explain to me why I must pick out my swim suit in the month of January. As I recall, this is when the swim suits made their first appearance in the stores. Now I’m trying to pick out a suit in mid-June on account of my suit from last year went missing. This missing suit I purchased at the end of last summer was on sale. It was such a bargain. I was saving money and it was a likeable suit. All my careful planning, dashed! In the few stores I dragged myself to today, I had to ask the salesperson where the swim suits were. They were tucked away by the intimates. Oh, look! There’s two in my size and they’re hideous. Unwearable! Off I march to another store and more bad luck.

Now I may be forced to buy a swim suit from an expensive catalog. While the suits are usually attractive, you always take that chance on the size. Or, maybe it does fit but the cut is wrong, you don’t like the fabric, the design of the fabric looks strange on your body, and so on.  And then, there’s the matter of the shipping costs. Usually, they give free shipping if you spend over X amount of dollars, which as we know, usually isn’t a problem with the swim suits as they usually far exceed this X price! But if you send it back, then you must pay full shipping costs. So, then you find yourself in a conundrum. Am I really this picky? Can I live with this suit? It’s okay if half my boobs stick out, right? I’ll just wear a cover up. Let’s just say, it’s risky.

Now this would not happen if the stores just let things flow naturally. What I’d like to do is have a moment with the store manager. Any major department store or retailer will do.

“Why, why!” I’ll say to him/her. “Why can’t you get you these seasons straight? Can’t you see I’m confused? Can’t you see my head is spinning? I just want a normal, simple existence!!!”

I realize the current practices make sense to some qualified person with a fancy title in the fashion world or the automobile industry. At some point in time, someone thought it would be loads of fun to put out this year’s model last year. Oh, and that winter coat, let’s show it off at the beginning of summer. And, now the retailers have followed suit, trying to rush our year along and push us past the seasons before we’re even in them.

What are we supposed to do if we don’t want to buy that Valentine’s Day card on New’s Year Day? I think from now on, I’ll simply roll with it.

Oh sorry, honey, I couldn’t quite find the right Valentine’s Day card, but here’s a rockin’ Saint Paddy’s Day card. Happy Shamrock Day! Kiss, kiss. Now let’s go have ourselves that green beer.

You’re in trouble if you’re reduced to what’s left in the half aisle alloted for throwaway rejects come any holiday. Sorry, kids. It looks like the Easter Bunny ran out of bunnies. But look, he brought you some American flags and patriotic confetti! Hooray! Candy for Halloween? Here’s some minty fresh candy canes.

I still have hope that I will find a sensible, cute suit that looks perfect on me and doesn’t break the bank. Just in case, I may get that cozy fleece jacket. Maybe it can double for a cover up.