Under the Influence

A car swerved into my lane, missing me narrowly.

I laid on my horn, which always brings the boys to high alert in the backseat.  (Not that I pound on my horn as a matter of routine.)

“Mommy!  What happened?  What’s going on?”

“That guy wasn’t watching, and he came into our lane and got a little too close.”

“He probably drank too much Fanta.”

Got Milk?

Some moms go to the grocery store when they’re out of milk.

Others defrost frozen concentrate limemade mix from the freezer for a creative breakfast drink.

I load my kids up and go to McDonald’s on the way to school.

Tomato, tomahto.

TGI Fridays and Saved by the Bell

I’m on a date with myself. Which means I’m going to act like I’m on a date with someone important to me, someone who wants to show me a nice evening, not a scattered mom who could just as easily drink her dinner from a coffee cup.

I followed an employee into TGI Friday’s. I know she works here because she was wearing her bold red stripes right out there in the parking lot.

I thought about saying, “You know, I used to work here. Back when it was the cool place to be after Friday night football games. When we were always on a wait on a Saturday night, well past 11:00.

“Of course, when I worked here, we wore flair – 16 pieces at the minimum, thank you very much. I wore my late uncle’s flair from his days at Fridays, way back when it was even cooler, in the late 1980s. I wore his collection of pins boasting the cast of the Wizard of Oz, and I wore his rainbow striped suspenders – pretty much until the bartenders let me know I was making a personal statement to dozens of tables all evening long.

“But I have to say, when I worked here, we weren’t allowed to wear our ‘stripes’ in the parking lot. No, ma’am. We had to keep a t-shirt, sweatshirt, trench coat or swimsuit cover-up ever at the ready. Walking straight to or from the car, all willy-nilly, was like ‘breaking curtain’ before a live performance. We took ourselves seriously.

“Some of my skinniest years were the ones I shared with TGI Fridays, since I could stay on my feet for a 9-hour shift and get by with a mere parmesan breadstick (Let’s just take a moment for the parmesan breadstick. May she rest in peace.) It was all part of my college experience.

“Except for one time, and I think I can confess this now without repercussions, when I was waiting on a young couple I knew. They only ate half of their Oreo Madness. I mean, really. I couldn’t throw the other cookie away. Actually, I could have. It’s what I was expected to do. But I knew the people who had held the forks that broke off the bites of the other cookie that was on this plate. I’m so eating these leftovers. So I did. I refilled the beverages of my every guest, and then I sat in the breakroom that smelled like cigarettes and treated myself to dessert. I counted it as part of their tip.”

I was going to say all of these things, with this huffy attitude like I knew all the popular kids on Saved by the Bell.

But then I turned back into a respectable human being and simply followed her inside.


He is a master of blame.


It was my fault when he couldn’t eat all of his noodles.

It was my fault when he didn’t have enough noodles.

It was my fault when he stepped in dog poop in the yard.

It was my fault when his training wheels were too high.

It was my fault when his seat belt was too tight.

It was my fault when he left his bike in the yard overnight.


But this… this one?  Oh, this one is his best yet.


“Mommy, did you eat cake at your wedding?”


“Yes, I did.  And it was a beautiful and delicious cake.”


“And did you eat cake while you were pregnant with Tucker?”




“So, would you say you ate junk food while you were growing a baby?”


What is this, a deposition? “Yes, you could definitely say that I did.”


“I think that’s why Tucker has asthma.  It’s because you ate junk food while he was growing inside you.”


Listen, pal.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just referred to DNA in this morning’s episode, and I thank them for the softball lead into this discussion.  Asthma is in our family, in our DNA.  Poppa has it, Uncle Rob has it, now Tucker has it.  No, I don’t know why Uncle Rob has it and I don’t; I don’t know why Tucker has it and Tyler doesn’t.  DNA, kiddo.


And if you’re interested in looking thoroughly at the effects of junk food in one’s diet, then we can begin experimenting with yours.  Beginning today.





The MotherLoaded Tavern  

103 S Main Street

Breckenridge, Colorado


I come here every time I visit Breckenridge, except for one sad day during mud-season when they were closed for a month or something else eternally long.  But today they are open, and thus I am here.


The silverware is clustered on the table in a Family Size can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup.

The salt and pepper are in old-timey Coke bottles.

My water pitcher is a square green bottle, no label.  Just pouring myself a glass of water, I felt like Miss Hannigan pouring vodka in her knickers.


The restaurant raises her glass in honor of mothers and grandmothers everywhere, those who have fixed us our favorite meals that have never tasted quite so good since we left home.

The decor boasts framed pictures of random moms with random kids, and quotable words on the wall.


“All Mothers are Working Mothers.”

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?”

“A Freudian slip is when you say one thing and mean your mother.”


The menu is just incredible, really.


Naturally, they’ve got homemade mac ‘n cheese, meatloaf, and chicken fried chicken, but they also have fried chicken waffles, deep fried pickles, and The Pregnant Elvis burger (complete with peanut butter, bacon, and pickles).  The list goes on.


I’m having a Monte Cristo Panini, grilled and encrusted with Cap’n Crunch dust.


And you bet your sweet bippy I’m saving room for the Fried Twinkie for dessert.  Unless I opt for the strawberry cobbler or the make-my-own s’mores over a hibachi at my table.


But really, I think I’ll go with the Twinkie.


Eat here.  It’ll change your life.