Friday, August 28, 2015

How Going to the Dentist Reminded Me of Marriage

I went to the dentist yesterday.

The hygienist asked if I’d noticed any “issues” with my teeth.

I decided to admit that I’d had some pain in the lower gum area by my jaw teeth.

I was also quick to confess that Monte brought home 
a big bag of taffy and a few boxes of Bit o’ Honey 
and I’d been hitting both pretty hard.

He was so proud of his purchases, he sent me a picture from the store.

I was ecstatic.
It’s the little things, people.
Especially when the little things are sweet and sticky and chewy.

Back to the dentist chair…

The hygienist, who is the most cheerful, bubbly personality ever,

seriously, she could make Santa seem like a dry wit,

let me know that with my history of dental work, 
my days of sticky, chewy candy are over.

[Insert sad music here]

Then she told me stories of people pulling out their crowns with candy.

Some less fortunate ones swallowed their crowns,

sifted through their own waste to find their swallowed crown,

then brought the crown back into the dentist so it could be 

I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor when she told me that last part.

“Oh, we sterilize it before putting it back in.

She said.

Matter of factly.

Like digging in your own ka-ka for your tooth 
is something that can really ever be scrubbed clean
from your memory
or your soul.

I .

Luckily, everything was just fine and I had no cavities or permanent damage, just a slight pulling away of my gums from my cow-like chewing.


I called Monte on the way home to tell him of my new taffy and Bit O’ Honey-less diet.

I told him under no circumstances 
would I EVER 
put something in my mouth that came out of my behind.

I didn't care the cost!

He assured me that he’d spring for a new crown if such a need arose.

Good man.

You know, it’s this type of situation that needs to be brought up in premarital counseling.

Like flash cards presented to the betrothed:

Quick! If your wife pulls off her crown and swallows it 
with some salt water taffy do you:

A) Buy her a new crown, no hesitation?
B) Wait it out and see if the crown “turns up”?

Because knowing how frugal Monte was (and still is), 

before we were married, his stance could’ve easily leaned toward 
pushing me to pull on the kitchen gloves 
and dig for my lost crown to save several hundred dollars.

And I am here to tell you, 
this is KEY information a bride-to-be needs.


Along with:

Who will clean up the vomit when the kids are sick?

Who will plunge the toilets when things are shoved in it 
that don’t belong?

Who will pull the ball of hair out of the drain that is so big 
you will think it’s a mouse for just a second?

Who will empty the mouse traps?

Who will go see what the noise is downstairs at 4:00 am?

Who will tolerate being awakened in the middle of the night 

Who will call the fire department when there’s a 
strange noise coming from your fireplace?

Who won’t make the other feel bad when the 
strange noise was just her microphone toy?

I think I’m on to something here. 

Giving an engaged couple a flash card deck of “Who Will…?” questions BEFORE the I do’s are said will show them important sides of each other that they didn’t know existed.

But most definitely NEED to know exist.

That is unless you want to risk it and 19 years later
be forced to go through your own waste 
and literally become a “potty mouth”.

Just saying.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Taking a Breath

It’s been hard to keep to any sort of writing schedule these past few weeks.

We’ve had text book pick up days.

School pictures.

Journalism Camp.
(Yes, it’s a thing.)

Mentor training.



Checks to write.

In the midst of it, we took off for my parent’s house for a VERY ABBREVIATED (thanks to the above list) Camp Indiana.

Yesterday and today the girls started school.

McDaniel pointing and laughing at Ellie who had to start
school an entire day earlier than her.
We’ve been walking them to school since

Waiting to pick up Ellie from school.
I don’t know how the flag figured in but McDaniel
felt the need to wave it out of the sun roof until Ellie
got into the car.
 This morning, McDaniel started school.

Claire and McDaniel.
Neighbors and buddies since diapers.

Just a week ago, we were doing fun things like this at Camp Indiana:

McDaniel playing basketball at my old elementary school
with a corn field across the street.

Ellie not mowing the grass but just driving
the mower around. For fun.
The girls love going to the farmer’s market/petting zoo.

This year they added a 9-hole miniature golf course--right by the chickens.

McDaniel and Ellie posing by the miniature horse named Meg.
You can’t tell by this picture but she was having a bad hair day.

Noah the llama wouldn’t look at us. Seriously pouting about something.

I just realized that today is Nigel’s birthday.

He’s 8.

And terribly excited about it.

So I hope to get back to some sort of routine soon.

Today, I’m filling in the calendar with too many things,
taking a much needed deep breath
and enjoying a wonderfully quiet house 
all. by. myself.


Monday, August 10, 2015

15 Seconds of Fame

I’m going to interrupt my regularly scheduled Fripp Trip recap to bring you this fun little tidbit.

My husband, Monte, got mentioned on 
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon!

He did!

He really, really did!

Let me explain.

Jimmy does this thing on Wednesdays where he tweets out on Twitter a hashtag to invite people to send in their best stories that correspond to that hashtag. Like, #mydadusedtosay or #worstdateever.

Jimmy reads the best tweets on the air.

Monte and I always talk about tweeting in something but ultimately we each forget to check what the hashtag is for that week and we rarely stay up late enough to watch The Tonight Show each night.

We just watch clips of it on You Tube.
Doesn’t everyone?

Well, Monte was sitting in a hotel room alone in Pittsburgh for business all last week and found out that the hashtag prompt for the week was #worstsummerjobs.

Monte instantly knew he was going to write about 
his job at Chuck E. Cheese.

He wasn’t even sure how to tweet something that included a hashtag.

But he did it.

Then he forgot about it.

He casually mentioned it to me when he got home on Thursday.

I read it, thought it was funny and forgot about it too.

We pushed the limits of our bedtime by watching the Republican debate.

When we did go to bed, we flipped on The Tonight Show but it was already into the interview portion of the show so we turned it off and fell asleep.

We both forgot that Jimmy would be reading 
the best tweets on Thursday night’s show.

The next day, Monte noticed at lunch that his Twitter account had all kinds of activity going on.

So he went to The Tonight Show website, found a clip of the #worstsummerjob responses that were read and 

what do you know,

Monte’s was the first one read!

It’s been fun to hear from people who actually watched Monte’s tweet being read thinking,

“Hey! I’ve heard that story before.

The very next night, the girls were teasing Monte about not being cool when Monte replied,

“Jimmy thinks I’m funny!”

Then I heard him at church tell someone,

“Karmen’s the writer in the family, 
but Jimmy read my tweet on television."

That’s when I realized that Monte is going 
to ride this horse until it dies.

And then maybe a little bit more after that.

Friday, August 07, 2015

More of our Fripp Trip

On the Monday of our vacation, Ellie turned 13.

We celebrated her 1st birthday at Fripp (I remember seeing a double rainbow that year from our balcony)

so it seemed so fitting that we usher in 
her teenage years at Fripp too.

We’ve celebrated more of Ellie’s birthdays 
on that island than not.

We always decorate whatever beach house we are in after she’s gone to bed so she’s surprised on the morning of her birthday.

My brother thought the pearlized color of the
gum balls looked like mermaid eggs.
 There were chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

Monte decided at the last minute to buy Ellie a selfie stick.

It ended up being the hit of the week.

Mimi and the girls.

Gramp and Monte.

The dunes on the beach are protected and wild in parts.

We went on a walk one night and this deer kept following us.

I am not much of a baker. So when Ellie mentioned wanting cookie cups for ice cream instead of a traditional birthday cake, I felt up for the challenge.

I had to throw away the first batch because Pinterest said to put the dough on the UNDERSIDE of a muffin tin to form them into bowls.

Didn’t work.
Pinterest FAIL.

Not sure if that had to do with 
the gluten-free cookie mix 
I bought by mistake.

Putting the dough in the bottom and sides of the muffin tin (like a pie crust) worked much better!

Ellie’s creation. Isn’t it beautiful?

I forgot birthday candles so my dad came up with a solution.

 Ellie not sure how this is going to play out while we sang to her.

My brother, Kwin, my mom, me and the girls with our cookie bowls.

McDaniel “hammocks” now. It’s what she does with her friends all around town. They go to a park and set up their hammocks and literally “hang out”. 

While I don’t get “hammocking” in a gazebo in Ohio, I truly do get “hammocking” between two palm trees while vacationing at the beach. 

I’m pretty sure that’s how God 
and the makers of hammocks 
intended it to be.

McDaniel, Ellie and my dad have taken a picture on this gator statue since they’ve been old enough to climb up on it.

This is what McDaniel and I thought of Sharknado 3.

I love this picture of the girls, although it’s dark. It’s on one of Fripp’s golf courses that we sneak onto at dusk to peak at one of our favorite spots.


It’s a fuzzy picture but these trees house numerous egrets. They make the most interesting sound. 

I have to come here every year. It’s one of my happy spots. I have many happy spots on Fripp.

Dad and Monte before their morning walk on the beach.

This is a marsh view. It smells amazing. The pluff mud has a distinct smell.  I roll my windows down to breathe it in when we drive onto the island for the first time each trip. 

It’s the smell of relaxation. 

Put that on a t-shirt.

Ellie wasn’t as excited to pose by the pirate in the food court this year. She used to LOVE it.

Nan taking a shot in the park.
In flip flops.

Stay tuned to hear about the baby turtles we saw on the beach.


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Fripp Trip

We got back from the beach over a week ago but had to hit the ground running with our lives so I’ve had precious little time or energy to post anything.

My dear sweet sister-in-law, Gretchen, texted me that enough was enough and it was time to blog again.

Since I received her text while Monte and I were singing our karaoke best of
Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” I couldn’t argue. 

Or was it “Torn” by Natalie Imbruglia?

Doesn’t matter, 
we totally nailed both songs.

But Gretchen had a point.

Time to get back to it.

She even gave me the topic:  vacation.

Can you tell she’s a teacher?

We really felt like we left an entirely different weather season for awesome summer temperatures and sunshine once we left the state of Ohio.

It was just the pick-me-up we all needed to start to air out our stinky moldy souls.

On our drive to the beach we made many stops at those truck stop/fast food/convenient store/mall plazas. They are Monte’s favorite.

The girls and I walked out of the bathroom of one such place to this:

I almost didn’t recognize Monte.

 The girls did immediately.

Ellie started to walk right back into the bathroom.

Which was not a great environment 
if memory properly serves.

I must have shook my head at Monte because a guy who’s name HAD to be Bubba, walked by and said,

“Don’t you worry about it, buy it anyway. 
In fact, buy two and give me one!”

 His fist may have been raised as he
 walked into the men’s restroom.

Monte felt empowered to do just that until he saw the jacket was $69.

So it has now been determined that Monte is more thrifty than he is tacky.

Thank you, Lord.

Later that evening we stopped at our favorite southern chicken restaurant, Zaxby’s.


Monte felt we hadn’t made good enough time on the road, so he announced that we would be eating our food in the car.

The girls and I always get the house salad with grilled chicken.

It sounds boring but I assure you it is not. 
The crunchy fried onions take it to a whole new salad level.

I asked the lady taking our order if the vinaigrette they served was raspberry and she said it was not.

I found out in the car once we were back on the road 
that she was mistaken.

It was very much a raspberry vinaigrette, 
which I very much do not like.

I placed the open dressing packet back into the bag as neatly as I could.

On stop 1,473, Monte dropped us off at the front of a very crowded gas station so we could unload all our dinner/snack trash wrappers.

Ellie got stuck with the paper sack that contained my now leaking raspberry vinaigrette packet.

As she walked around the front of the car, the bottom of the paper sack gave way, soaking the front of her shorts and legs with salad dressing.

A full unused packet of dressing fell on the ground next to the car.

I was laughing at Ellie’s mess as McDaniel and I 
shoved our stuff into a full trash can.

I started to walk over to pick up the fallen dressing when a woman walked up and said, in a less than grace-filled voice, that my daughter was a mess and I needed to clean her up.

I was going to kindly ask her what possible business it was of hers,

but I was laughing too hard.

Just then, Monte drove off slowly, running over the dropped salad dressing packet causing it to projectile explode like a gun shot.

Sounded like it too.

A LOT like it.

I screamed when I saw it about to happen thinking I could get him to stop.

Monte thought he ran over a kid 
or there had been a drive-by 
and slammed on the brakes.

The snarky lady just kept on walking, not at all grateful she narrowly missed smelling like raspberry vinaigrette for the rest of the evening.

The girls and I collapsed over the trash can in laughter.

Then we went to clean up Ellie which involved strategic positioning of the hand dryers in the bathroom on her shorts.

There was a limit to what we could do in a gas station bathroom so she remained sticky and smelling like raspberry the rest of the night.

We always stop in Beaufort, South Carolina for lunch and shopping before getting a week’s worth of groceries and pulling onto Fripp Island.

It’s 18 miles to the nearest grocery store from Fripp. We have it down to a science how to buy for the 7-10 people that usually go on our Fripp trips.

This year, Monte decided that he needed a holder to fit onto his prescription sunglasses so he could wear them around his neck until he needed them.

Translation:  a necklace so he wouldn’t lose his sunglasses.

He looked all over the stores of Beaufort and only found one purple sunglasses holder. Thus, cementing to all of us that he was indeed looking for a necklace.

He found one at the grocery store.


They were inseparable at the beach and on the way home.

Since I haven’t really even gotten to our vacation yet, I will break this up into a few posts.

It will be worth it, I promise.

I have an entire post brewing in my head 
about the baby turtles we saw.

To be continued…

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