The Tooth Collector

Emma lost another tooth Friday night. It had been loose for a while but the fact that she hit herself in the face with a ball helped a lot.

Here's the thing about me and loose teeth - I can't handle it. It's a good thing Kevin has no issue pulling teeth out because if it was up to me the kids would be walking around like extras in The Walking Dead ... loose teeth hanging out all over the place.

It wouldn't be pretty.

I hate loose teeth.
Want to gross me out? Wiggle a loose tooth. 
The thought of pulling teeth out makes me queasy.


I save the kids' teeth.
Every single one of them.

I'm totally serious.

When Kevin played tooth fairy Friday night he came into our bedroom and said "where do I put the tooth?" To which I replied, "Open that small jewelry box and put it in there with the rest of them."

With. The. Rest. Of. Them.

Yep. That's my tooth stash.

One would think I'm some sort of midwestern Voodoo priestess with all the baby teeth stored in that little jewelry box. Those few teeth in the pic (sorry about that pic if you just ate) are the tip of the tooth-berg.

I have no idea why I keep their teeth. It started innocently enough with keeping their first lost tooth. But now I'm all "omigod I can't throw them out!"

Because you know, they'll come in handy centuries from now when someone wants to clone my kids.

Oh and those pennies stashed in there with the teeth? Yeah those would be pennies from the years they were born. To put in their shoes on their wedding day.

Honestly I'm totally weird. I know it.

So back to the teeth. I suppose I need to start throwing them out rather than saving them. I mean what the hell am I going to do with a bunch of random baby teeth that aren't even separated into "Olivia" and "Emma" piles?

"Here kids! I saved all your baby teeth when you were little. Merry Christmas!"

Yeah. I don't think so.
Must. Let. Go.
Time to toss the teeth.

But first tell me - do you save your kid's teeth?


How to Fail at Leadership

Clearly today has been "a day."

Aside from the fact that this is the third blog post I've written today I also would like to eat ice cream straight from the container and drink a very large bottle of wine. At the same time. Which would probably be really gross.


I've been sitting here thinking - what would a good leader do when faced with an issue like food allergies at school?

A good leader would (1) set up a meeting with ALL THE PARENTS of kids with food allergies at the school, (2) listen to the concerns of those parents, and (3) formulate a plan that would include ALL THE KIDS at the school when it came to special events and/or parties.

A good leader would never tell a parent they reacted the way they did because they were still mad about something that happened a month ago. (Oh and that "something" was advocating for the safety of a child and questioning the leader. Yeah. Really super bad evil stuff ya know.)

A good leader would never accuse a parent of something that never happened. Repeatedly accuse the parent of something that didn't happen.

A good leader would not take offense when a parent contacts the school principal to voice her concern.

A good leader would call that parent and set up a meeting to figure out plan.

A good leader would not send a private Facebook message that falsely accuses a parent of something and in the next breath says "hey, will you help us?"

And when the parent says "I would have helped you if today's events never happened and you hadn't shown your true colors, but since today did happen there is no way in hell that I will ever help you and thank goodness my child will be done at that school in June"....

...a good leader doesn't respond with "Ok, sounds good."

Leadership fail.

More Food Allergy "Fun"

So today has been one of "those" days when I really just want to punch something. Or someone. Or both.

After my post this morning about the Halloween party at school...well let's just put it this way:

The initial response from the PTO president was followed by many other not-so-nice comments and accusations from other parents.

My favorite: You're being mean and unfair to the other kids. 

OK. Let's just stop here for a minute.

Advocating for the safety of ALL KIDS WITH FOOD ALLERGIES is not being "mean" or "unfair" to other students and for you to think that it is just shows how stupid you really are.

But I think perhaps my favorite tidbit from the whole day was when the PTO president emailed me to tell me that she acted like she did because .... wait for it ... SHE WAS MAD ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN SEPTEMBER.

Yeah. She was MAD AT ME because I DARED to question her decision to serve chocolate chip cookies during a school event therefore leaving kids with food allergies no safe snack.

Let me repeat. She was MAD AT ME for advocating for my child and emailing the principal. And so she basically told me to go to hell in the school Facebook page.

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

My response to her was this: I can't even fathom being angry at a parent for advocating for their child's safety. I just can't.

I was also told that "other parents" didn't take their kid's food allergies as seriously as I did and that my "level of concern" was making it into a "big issue."

Um, hello?

In case you missed the memo food allergies (all kinds) are a big issues. They're a big issue that can kill. But you know because other parents are "less serious" about I should be too.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

Oh and then she asked for my idea for school events and food so that they could "vote on it." My suggestion? Always have a nut-free alternative on hand OR just don't pass out food items at certain school-wide events.

The response I got in return: Sorry we can't come to a compromise but feel free to contact other [PTO] officers in the future. 

I think it's safe to say that the PTO can kiss my backside.

Food Allergies and Halloween Parties

I am so angry right now and my hands are shaking so hard that I can barely type.

Once again I am dealing with stupid people who have no idea what it is like to have a child with food allergies.

The school's PTO president asked for parents to donate candy for the school-wide Halloween party.

I offered this suggestion: For any parent looking to donate a bag of "peanut free" candy please note that chocolate candy bars are not safe for kids with peanut allergies. This includes Kit Kat, 3 Musketeers, plain M&Ms, and even mini Hershey bars. They all contain a peanut warning - whether it is "processed in the same facility" or as an ingredient. Even if a candy bar has no nuts in it they are normally not safe for anyone with peanut allergies. Nut free candy includes: Dum Dum suckers, Charms suckers, Smarties, Skittles, Starburst, Dots, Tootsie brand candies, Junior Mints, Lifesavers, etc. If you want a list of nut free candy you can find it at this link (scroll to page 11): http://snacksafely.com/snacklist.pdf

And this was the response I received via Facebook: Two of my children have choked on hard candy (i.e., not breathing and Heimlich Maneuver), so I don't see most of the listed alternatives as safer options. I asked for issues to be presented as SPO agenda items and have had no response, so we are going with what was decided at last night's meeting, which includes any candy as long as it does not have peanuts as an ingredient.

That response was from the PTO president. 
The. PTO. President. 

Her kids can't handle "hard candy" so my kid with a life threatening peanut and tree nut allergy is filed under "too damn bad" and "sorry about your luck." 

Just once I would like a parent of a child without food allergies to WALK IN OLIVIA'S SHOES. I would like them to cry over cookies that can't be eaten. I would like them to go to a friend's birthday party and NOT be able to eat the cake and feel left out and "different." I would like them to go trick-or-treating on Halloween and NOT BE ABLE TO EAT MOST OF THE CANDY. 

I want them to cry over not being able to eat something because that particular food item could cause them to go into anaphylaxis. I want them to feel different. I want them to feel scared.

And then I'd like them to tell me how it feels to be left out. To be excluded. To be treated differently because their body decided to revolt and treat peanuts and tree nuts as the enemy. I want these people to understand just how upsetting, frustrating, and SCARY a food allergy is. 

What I don't need is other parents telling me that I'm being "mean" or "unfair" to the other kids in school because I'M TRYING TO PROTECT MY CHILD. 

What I want to say to those parents is this: HOW DARE YOU? How dare you accuse me of being "unfair" to your child. 

You know what is unfair? It's unfair that my child can't enjoy that cupcake your kid brought in for her birthday. It's unfair that my kid has to carry EpiPens with her EVERYWHERE and that we have to tell her that she can't eat things she likes. It is unfair that my daughter could eat a cookie, cupcake, cracker, or candy bar and go into anaphylaxis and be rushed to the emergency room. It is unfair that food allergies are life threatening. 

My job is to advocate for my daughter and quite frankly I don't give a damn if you think I'm being "mean" or "unfair" to the other kids. 

In this day and age with the prevalence of food allergies I think it is about time that school parties stop being about the food and the candy and start being about the kids. All of the kids. Not just the kids who can eat the candy and cookies. 


Are YOU Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

Today was one of THOSE days when I want to punch the people who came up with Common Core right in the throat.


Olivia is in fifth grade. She has 109% in math according to her mid-term grade card. She's sort of a math whiz kid.

Except when this happens:

I mean seriously.

I have two college degrees (journalism and law) and I can't figure it out. My husband has one college degree (bachelor of science in business). He spent MORE THAN AN HOUR with Olivia trying to figure out the answer.

We called my dad - a CPA with two college degrees. He was somewhat stumped and said he'll work on it and call us back. That was an hour ago.

I took to Facebook and asked for help. A friend sent her answer. Another friend said she used algebra to figure out the answer (which is great, except fifth graders don't use algebra - but damn, wouldn't that impress the teacher!?!).

Olivia thinks she found the right answer - and it was the same as my friend's so we have that going for us.

Then, there was this spelling homework:

Olivia is supposed to use FOUR of the "challenge words" to write about what it would be like if she went on a trip to study an unusual animal. Because, you know, words like "forfeit," "orchestra," and "hoard" really make me think ANIMALS.

It took every ounce of self control that I have to not be SNARKY and have Olivia write some totally off the wall sentences. Like: "I used to hoard cats when I was a child. But I had to forfeit them when animal control came to my house. So the fact that I get to visit Australia to study the platypus is a rarity. I sure hope I get to stop in Sydney and see the orchestra play."

I thought that might be a bit TOO much.

So we settled on this instead:

Suck it Common Core.
Suck. It.


Don't Be a Jerk

I've written several versions of this post over the past couple of weeks and each time I find myself getting so annoyed and angry that I have to stop writing.

Here's my gripe - I am so sick and tired of all the negative, nasty, bitchy, and just downright rude comments on social media.

Seriously. Freaking. Done.

Someone can post "Oh my gosh it's such a beautiful day" and inevitably some asshat comments with "Ugh. I hate sunny days. Today sucks."

Seriously. Why do you have to be such a jerk?

I really want to ask these people - would you say that to this person if you were standing in front of her? Would you be such a bitch if you were having a face-to-face conversation with this person?

I'm going to go out on a shaky limb here and guess that the answer would be "No. Probably not."

It's the same thing over on Twitter. There are people who only exist on Twitter to make fun of other people. And it's stupid. And childish. And very rude.

We get it. You're an unhappy, bitter, jealous person who has nothing better to do with your life than belittle the hard work that other people put out there. But you know what? If you're going to be a smart ass first you have to be SMART. Otherwise you're just an ASS.

I really don't understand the need, the desire to be rude on Facebook and Twitter. What are you trying to prove by posting a jerky comment on an otherwise fun and positive status update? Are you trying to be witty? If so, you have failed miserably. Or maybe you're just unhappy and bitter and jealous and maybe you need a break from social media.

Here are a few tips:
1. If you wouldn't say something in person maybe you shouldn't post it as a comment on Facebook.
2. Think before you type.
3. If you can't say anything nice, shut the hell up.

I feel a little better now.


Stupid Doctors. Stupid Heartburn.

Look, I'm normally in a good mood.
Really, I am.

Although my most recent blog posts might make you believe otherwise, I am generally a happy person.

However, certain things really annoy me. Bad grammar. Overuse of exclamation points. And being told that I HAVE to do something that I don't want to do (or don't feel that I should be required to do).

Case in point: being told that I HAVE to schedule a "well check" with my primary care physician just so that I can get a refill on a prescription medication.

Oh and that medication? Yeah that would be Nexium. That little purple pill that is a miracle of modern science and keeps me from having horrific heartburn on a daily basis.

Apparently - according to my "doctor" - the "new healthcare regulations" REQUIRE a "well visit" EVERY SIX MONTHS in order to "assess the need" for the medication.


Every. Six. Months.

I don't have to visit my OB-Gyn every six months to "assess the need" for birth control. Once a year is fine and dandy with them.

But heartburn? Yeah that needs assessment. Every. Six. Months. Because after suffering from chronic heartburn for the last EIGHT YEARS I'm sure it's going to suddenly change in the next six months.

Here's a suggestion - give me a bowl of spicy chili on a day when I don't take my Nexium and record what happens. There's an assessment for ya.

Not happy with the statement that was read to me by the doctor's office - stating that she could lose her license if she doesn't have a note in my medical files that I need Nexium - I said "fine, I'll come in for a flu shot next week and then I'll tell the doctor how stupid HER policy is."

Because I'm quite certain this is a policy being handed down by the powerhouse medical firm that essentially owns Toledo. "Hey! Let's force everyone to pay a co-pay EVERY SIX MONTHS in order to refill a prescription for heartburn medicine THAT THEY CAN BUY OVER THE COUNTER."

Yes, that's right. I CAN buy Nexium OTC. But it's not as strong as the Rx version - and I need the strong stuff.

So I'll play their game for now. I'll go in next week for my "well visit" during which time they'll weigh me (yeah, I know I'm overweight), measure my height (because at age 41 1/2 I'm SURE I've gotten taller), and take my BP. And then when they ask "so why are you here today?" I'll say "so I can get my Nexim refilled so can you just give me my flu shot and call in the refill so I can go home."

I. Hate. Doctors.



You ever have one of those week where you're in a bad mood but can't explain why?

There's no full moon.

In fact there isn't a valid reason to be a bad mood.
The mood is just here.

It's as if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed Monday morning and haven't recovered.

And now it's Wednesday.

People are annoying me.

I have come THISCLOSE to correcting grammar mistakes on Facebook this week. As in - I wanted to leave many, many comments like this: "Your is not the same as you're. Please learn the difference."

Or this:

However, I have restrained myself.
A lot.

Maybe it IS all the bad grammar that has put me in this craptastic mood.

I saw a comment on a friend's post today that had so many misspelled words and abbreviations that my brain actually HURT when I read it. It wasn't English, it was even "text speak"....it was just horrible.

And all I can wonder is - WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU WANT TO SOUND LIKE THAT? Even if it IS Facebook?

I'm not trying to be mean but seriously...if my fifth grader knows the difference between their, there, and they're....then it should be safe to assume that adults would know the difference too.

I would like to blame my mood on something - but since the moon and my hormones are out of the question I'm just going to blame it on people.

Not all people. But some people.
Apparently this week I am NOT a people person.
Maybe next week will be better.

Until then I'm going to eat a lot of chocolate.
That might help. 


Random Weekend Musings

For the first time in forever I have the house all to myself on a weekend.

Sure, I work from home which means I'm here all by myself Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. But to be home, all alone on a weekend? It's kind of nice.

Of course I am sitting at my computer getting ready to write some stories for work but at least I have a few hours of silence where I can actually get work done.

But as I'm sitting here attempting to work through the writer's block that has me stuck on a headline (I can't start writing the story until I have a headline and I'm stuck), I figured it was as good a time as any to get a few thoughts out here on the ol' blog.

The Fishbowl celebrated its 9th birthday this week. Yep, that's right I've been doing this thing called blogging for nine years. Woot.

The weather has turned much, much colder around here in the past couple of days. Last week it was HOT and even at the beginning of this past week I had the A/C running. And now? It's 67 degrees INSIDE my house (and a mere 59 degrees outside) and I'm TOTALLY FREEZING.

But I refuse to turn on the heat. It's only September 13. The heat is NOT being turned on until at least October. I hope.

Speaking of fall...all things pumpkin spice are back. I had my first PSL from Starbucks this week and it was heavenly. I can't say the same about the Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. Those are just weird. I want to like them but I can bring myself to eat more than a few at a time. I think I'll stick to the peanut M&Ms.

I'm also discovering that I'm a lot less tolerant of people lately. I'm so completely done with people being rude online that it's making me crazy. I have seen so many nasty, negative, mean-spirited Facebook comments and/or tweets lately that it makes me want to do a massive social media cleanse.

Now this isn't to say that these are people I'm friends with...most of the time it's friends of friends and I just shake my head and wonder what gives those people the right to act that way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all about sarcasm and snark and I have no problem throwing out a sarcastic post but I don't do it to be mean. And I've seen more than my fair share of mean online lately. Think before you post people - would you say it to that person in real life? If not, then perhaps you shouldn't post it online. Use your brains.

Also, someone said there are only 18 Fridays until Christmas. Just stop the madness. Let's get through Halloween before we start any kind of countdown to Christmas. One holiday at a time people. One at a time.


Go Ahead. Unfriend Me.

I find social media to be so very amusing lately.

Everyone takes everything so freaking seriously. Everyone is so offended. Everyone needs to get a freaking grip.

Honestly. The funniest thing about Facebook is when someone (namely a "family" member who was more of a "Christmas card family member" than a "hey let's hang out sometime" family member) unfriends you.

It really makes me laugh.

Like I mean I literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD about it tonight. For at least 15 minutes.

Oh don't get me wrong. I've unfriended several people over the years - former friends, former cousins, former co-workers. They all deserved to be unfriended for various reasons. And I don't miss them.

But tonight I just found it totally and completely hilarious when I discovered that a particular person unfriended me. Funny because there was NO reason for me to be unfriended ... I mean other than the fact that....yeah, there was no reason.

So OH MY GOD my friend list went from 607 to 606. Ouch that hurts.

Not really.

Just means I have to buy one less stamp at Christmas time.


True Dud - Otherwise Known as My Thoughts on the Less-Than-Stellar Series Finale of 'True Blood'


If you have not yet watched the season finale (or any episode of this season's True Blood) you need to stop reading. Right. Freaking. Now. You have been warned. 

I'm a very fickle television watcher and it's a rare thing when a show can hold my interest for more than a season or two.

I used to watch Grey's Anatomy. Then I stopped and never really went back. I was a HUGE fan of LOST when it started and then it sort of jumped the shark and I quit. But then I went back and it sort of redeemed itself with a not-too-bad finale.

The Sopranos? Watched it all. Hated the finale. Seriously a fade-to-black ending. Not OK..even with a kick ass song playing. Sex and the City? Great ending. And two movies to really wrap it up (one was WAY better than the other).

Other shows I have stuck with - Breaking Bad (binge watched...GREAT finale), The Walking Dead, Bones, and well that's about it. Like I said...I'm fickle.

But there is ONE show that kept me interested for SEVEN YEARS.

True Blood.

I read the books first, then binge watched the first season on DVD before "binge watching" was cool. And...I. Was. Hooked.

Vampire Bill. Eric the Viking. Sookie. Pam. Lafayette. They were my people for the last seven years even through a couple really, really horrid seasons. I had high hopes for the series finale after the last few episodes this season.

I initially wanted Sookie to end up with Bill because that's how it should be.

(In retrospect I now think she should have ended up with Alcide in the end but since they killed him off midway through the season that wasn't happening. Stupid writers.)

What I didn't want was the train wreck, feel good, everyone-but-Bill gets a happy ending nonsense that we were served last night.

What the hell were the writer's thinking? We had maybe FIVE MINUTES of Eric and Pam in the whole finale. Five freaking minutes for the Norse vampire god? Not acceptable. (Although the scene of him in the car was priceless). And maybe 20 seconds of Lafayette? Hello? He was the best thing in every episode he was part of ... he deserved more than a passing glance at the end.

And that brings us to Sookie and Bill. ("Sookeh is MINE"...still my favorite line).

I get (sort of) that giving them a happily ever after might not have worked. But they could have ended it in several ways: (1) Let Sookie use her "fairy light" but instead of killing Bill it humanizes him. Not so far-fetched if you look at the history of weirdness that is True Blood. Or, (2) Have Sookie kill Bill. But, instead of offing Alcide a few episodes ago they could have kept him (since the vampire and the fairy weren't ending up together!) and he could have come back to Sookie and they could have ended up together having werewolf/fae babies, living happily ever after.

Anything would have been better than the stake-Bill-in-his-coffin-flashforward-three-years-stupidity that we were served up last night.

It was as satisfying as a warm bottle of New Blood would be.


In the history of series finales last night's True Blood debacle ranks at the top of the crap pile. I demand a re-write. Or at least a movie so we can figure out who the nameless, faceless dude is that Sookie ends up marrying.

RIP Vampire Bill.


Back to School

Today is the day.
Back to school.

Somehow I have a second grader and a fifth grader. Not sure how that happened...other than the fact that time flies when you're having fun.

The house is strangely quiet this morning. As a work-at-home mom I get used to having the kids at home all summer...watching Disney Channel, playing in their rooms, building forts in the basement.

This summer was full of fun and adventure and was the busiest summer we've had. And now it's back to the daily grind of wake up early, pack lunches, wait for the bus, and homework.

But the kids are excited to head back to school ... and I have to admit it'll be nice to get back to my "school year work from home" routine.

Here's to a great school year!