Tag Archives: parents

Is That Weird? – Shit I Did as a Kid

Image-1I know I look innocent. But underneath the red hair and camera-ready smile lurks the mind of a madwoman.

Do you ever think back to all the weird stuff you did as a kid and go, “How did my parents NOT sell me to the gypsies?”

I grew up watching Heidi, so that was a viable threat in my house. And believe me, my siblings sure tried!

I was a weird kid. I mean the complete opposite of the well-rounded, well-mannered adult you find here at the Happiness Project.

*crickets*

Just roll with it, ok guys? I’m trying to be well-rounded and well-mannered. Some of us just have to work harder than others.

Anyway, I was a weird kid. And for your amusement, I’ve compiled a list of examples. Feel free to chime in with a “I’ve done that too!” or “That’s the work of a completely sane person!” while reading.

Shit I Did as a Kid

1) One time I was mad at my mom for something I can’t remember so I stabbed a big hole in the dining room tablecloth with a letter opener. 

This took me months of tooth fairy money to pay back. Can you imagine praying your teeth would fall out just so you could get debt free with your ma?

2) I really liked to cut the hair off my Barbie dolls, but I knew my mom would yell at me if she saw, so I hid the hair in her JC Penney’s catalog. 

Ok, first, that was a stupid hiding place because she read that thing cover to cover. And second, hindsight is 20/20. Yes, I think opening up a shopping magazine only to have a bunch of hair fall in your lap is creepy as shit, but I was like six or seven so I just picked the largest catalog under the coffee table and shoved it in.

3) I was really into pen pals and wrote letters to our priest by dropping them in the collection basket at church. 

See, I’ve redeemed myself a little from #2 haven’t I?

4) I set a small patch of our living room carpet on fire by testing if kleenex was flammable. 

It is.

5) My favorite thing to be when playing “pretend” was an orphan. 

Orphans and underdogs were my heroes, and most of them could talk to animals, so I thought it sounded pretty good.

6) I was scared to go into our basement alone because I thought E.T. lived there, and I didn’t like his “sausage fingers.”

Go google image search “E.T. phone home” and look at those phalanges. They’re creepy.

7) It’s quite possible one of my Cabbage Patch Dolls has mold growing inside it, but I refused to let my mother take it from me. 

My baby Cabbage Patch, whose name was Adelle Patti, but I couldn’t pronounce Adelle at the time, so we always called her Patti developed some weird greenish grayish spots on her baby powder-scented head. I think my sister wanted us to send the doll in and see if they would “fix” her, but she was my favorite, and no one was getting near her.

8) I cut off the tip of my right index finger when I was three by sticking it in that thingy you use to hold screen doors open.

It’s still one of the only times my dad ever swore.

9) I really liked talking with different accents and voices, and I practiced them by reading out loud, alternating my voice with each page. 

To be fair, I did this when I was home alone, so I wasn’t bothering anyone.

10) When I couldn’t sleep at night, I would close my eyes then lift my eyelids up. Then when I opened my eyes, the lids make a clicking noise. 

One of my nieces does this now. My sister was telling me about how her daughter made these weird noises with her eyes, and I was like “You mean this?” And she was all “OMG! Yes, that’s disgusting.”

So tell me, is that weird?
You do these things too, don’t you? 

Want more shit I did as a kid? Want more awkward and funny stories? Want more signs I have no shame?

Then vote for me as Funniest Blog in The Indie Chicks’ Badass Blog Awards! Polls are open through Friday, and every vote (you get one a day) counts!

Oh, and please put in a good word for the illustrious August McLaughlin, author and radio host of the #GirlBoner series. She’s up for Best Blunt Blog and totally worthy.

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What if I Turn Into…My Parents?

Are you guilty of making age demands of yourself? You know the ambiguous “Before I turn 30, I will…” kind of to-do list. I am.

Hello, my name is Jess, and I thought I’d be famous before I was 30. I suffer from delusions of grandeur and I’m sorry.

I blame Anne of Green Gables. I daydreamed that I was going to be a visionary of my time, and all anyone knows me for is an ad about baking powder…

You know what I mean.

I made a few too many expectations of myself and where I’d be in life by the time I turned 30. The big 3-0 is just six months away and I’m radically looking at my goals and having to rewrite them. Which is, to say the least, disheartening. But it needed to happen. I know that now.

As I’m reevaluating where I’m going and where I’ve come from, a scary thought crossed my mind. What if I turn into…my parents?

DSCN0259

This is them. Note, the matching polos. I REFUSE to wear a polo shirt. Ever. 

I’m serious, you guys. What if I start gifting my friends with bottles of free butt soap instead of actually going shopping for them? (my dad)

What if I start wearing sneakers so white the coast guard asks me to stop interfering with their light house schedule? (my mom and dad)

What if I start writing letters to people and fill them with grammar notes? (like my mom)

What if I start eating one bite of a fun size candy bar and I’m still eating the same candy bar days later? (like my dad)

Where will it end?

I mean none of you are gonna read a blog about arthritis and egg shell infused gardening dirt. Are you? I need to know because it could come to that.

Am I having a quarter-life crisis? This is just a quarter-life crisis, isn’t it?

But what if I’m older than a quarter-life crisis? Is this a pre-mid-life-post-quarter-life crisis? What do I do in case of emergency?

Do I need to get into the basement? Does this require a transistor radio? I know what my mother would do. She’d put pillows in all the windows so when the glass breaks it won’t gouge out my eyes.

At least I’ll have time to edit my to do list.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the basement.
I’ve got one bag of fun size Snickers bars,
so I’m guessing I can survive the next 30 years.

What was your irrational goal before 30?

Throwback Thursday: Pajama Party

Meet my parents.

Here’s another glimpse into my writing project this week. I’ve spent more time editing the chapters about my family’s restaurant than any other chapters. So much to fit in.

This throwback thursday features another themed New Year’s Eve Party – pajama jammer. My pops wore long underwear, and if I know him, the butt flap was probably open. (But he would have had undies underneath!) At least, I hope so.

I’m pretty sure I had a Christmas dress at one point that matched my mother’s nightgown.

And you can see I’m modeling a very similar plaid ensemble. (pronounced un-some-bleh)

I’m calling this shot…Escanaba in da Moonlight meets The Berenstein Bears.

Pajama Party

What’s a funny memory you have of your parents?
Can’t think of one…what about the way they dressed you? Huh, huh?

Have Seniors? Will Travel.

Back in the Mighty Midwest again! I survived vacationing with my parents in Boston for a week.

DSCN0259This is them.

They did me a solid by dressing alike so I told them they didn’t have to wear the leash backpacks. This time.

You know the ones.

The week went fast touring Beantown and we did it triumphantly – with senior discounts and 90° weather!

Traveling with my parents was so fun. Every day we spent together was like deja vu memory making.

Boston Harbor

*Note to Readers Who May Be Thinking of Traveling With Their Senior Citizen Parents*

Bedtime is at 9 o’clock. If you thought you were going to get some writing done or read that book you brought with you, think again. By 9:15 the snoring will become so loud you will pray that a masked stranger will break into your room and club you to death. At least then there will be silence.

Conversely, you will never have to set an alarm because your father will wake you up between 5 and 6 every morning. (And let’s just remember that Boston’s an hour AHEAD).

So,

What does one do exactly with senior citizens on vacation?

Trolley Rides!

Trolley Ride

Admire Other Old People’s Clothes!

John Hancock's Suit

Help Them Meet New People!

Sailors

Take Them to Places That Serve Soft Foods

Dinner Out

Major Successes of the Trip:

  • Did not lose one or both parent(s) in airport/airplane/subway system/trolley ride/hotel elevator/commuter rail/taxi cab despite their being prone to wandering off. (Especially the old man – keep your eye on that one.)
  • Mom completed her first ever subway ride, and said she will “NOT miss it when she’s home.”
  • No one lost any teeth, glass eyes, or hearing aids.
  • Drank some Sam Adams lager with my Pops.
  • Tried fried clams for the first time – Taste good, look disgusting…like fried snot.
  • No one fell overboard on any of the boats we went on.
  • I only thought about leaving my parents to fend for themselves once. In the airport on the way home. And let me tell you, Dad would have never made it out of Philadelphia.
  • All said and done, we’re still talking to one another!

That was my week! How was yours?

What tips do you have for traveling with seniors?

Holy Cannoli, I’m Back from Boston

Cannoli

Hello Everyone! I’m back! I survived a week long vacation with my parents!

Boston was wonderful! It was great to be back in the city and visiting so many historical sites. Despite the 90 degree weather we had all week, you’ll be happy to know not a one of us pooped our pants! We did, however, enjoy parts of the Freedom Trail, touring the U.S.S. Constitution – “Old Ironsides”, a whale watch, Plimoth Plantation, our ancestor’s home the Howland House, the J.F.K. Library and Museum, and the New England Aquarium.

I also got a great fill of seafood and made sure we visited Little Italy for some Italian food and cannoli! Boy do I wish I could’ve packed some of that to take home!

There’s lots more to share, and I promise to do so, but I’ve got some writing to do and a suitcase to unpack! Be back real soon! In the meantime, have a very Happy 4th of July!!!

Wish you were here,

Jess

How to Play the Game “Orphan”

I am the youngest of four children.  A “surprise” if you ask my parents, a “mistake” if you ask my siblings, and a “party crasher” if you ask me.  Being seven years younger than my closest sibling, much of my childhood was spent watching movies, reading mystery books, and writing fantastical short stories to be later performed as a one woman puppet show in my room.

Seeing as I had only myself for entertainment, my imagination ran wild with adventure and tales of great woe.  Seeing as my parents were the age of my classmates’ grandparents, I was convinced they would be dead before I graduated eighth grade.  I thought, I’d better prepare myself for how to live alone.  Thus began the many escapades of Jess, lone street rat and orphan girl, hiding out by day in her makeshift cave and creeping by night stealing fruit snacks from the pantry cupboards.  She was not to be toyed with!

The stairwell in our house had a banister at the top with a few bars running horizontally for looks and structural support.  The space between the stairs and the first bar became the secret crevice to enter my hideaway and had to be crawled through on one’s stomach.  Once safely in my room, a string or jump rope was tied from the dresser handle across the room to the plant stand which doubled as a storage unit for my mass quantity of Cabbage Patch Dolls (Annette, Lanny, Paula, Patti, Heather, Tay, Humphrey, Barney, Keri Ann, Sara, Sloane, Chrissy, Pat, Camilla and Suzette).  After the string was tied, blankets were thrown over the line creating a secret canvas covered hideout or puppet show theater depending on your mood.  Hidden behind these draperies the cries from the streets of “Riffraff!” and “Scoundrel!” could not harm me.

The challenge while playing orphan was to go as long as possible being unseen.  So, to sneak food, one had to crawl through the secret crevice over the stairwell, descend the steps, slide down the frame of the door, quickly crawl under the dining room table and wait until opportunity came.  Then, you crab walked into the kitchen, silently opened the pantry door, pulled out a fruit roll-up or box of croutons, and crab walked back under the table to delight in your stolen afternoon snack.

Another challenge in the game of orphan could only be played when left alone in the house for short periods of time.  The game was called “don’t touch the carpet” and it counted how many times you could get around the living room using only the furniture before you slipped or fell onto the carpet.  Here’s how an expert at this game does it.

  1. Begin on the couch.
  2. Bounce across its cushions.
  3. Step onto the end table, avoid coasters and magazine piles.
  4. Jump onto the loveseat.
  5. Repeat step 2.
  6. Stretch legs to the rocking chair and go!
  7. Steady yourself, or pretend to surf for awhile.
  8. Stretch onto the smaller end table.
  9. Move to the chair in the corner.
  10. *Note:  The final task is extremely difficult if playing in sock feet, proceed with caution.  Step 10.  Crawl onto the TV, and cling for dear life on the frame around the screen, when a good distance jump is there, jump back to the couch.  Repeat steps 1-10.

One thing I learned while playing orphan is that you get lonely.  You really need a sidekick.  Soon I had two, a cat named Carmel and a dog named Tipper.  Make sure your sidekick is someone you can trust with secrets, such as your hideaway whereabouts.  Sometimes when you’re an orphan, a secret language must be developed so you can leave written messages to your pals without an invader knowing what it means.  These can then be conveniently pinned to your canvas with a clothespin.

So if you’re thinking about playing the game Orphan, here’s a list of supplies you may want to include.

  1. blankets to build your hideaway/take a nap
  2. stuffed animals/dolls for trusty sidekicks
  3. junk food for the road, the days are long are arduous as an orphan
  4. paper and pens/markers because orphans are extremely intelligent and creative
  5. a tape recorder and microphone because orphans are known to burst into song when they’re safely hidden in their getaway home

What sort of games did you play as a child?  Who would you take as your sidekick?

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