How To Raise A Little Geek

In case you missed my 256 announcements yesterday, I’m guest writing on Quirk Books in their Raising Quirk Community. I’d love for you to go over and take a look and maybe leave a comment.


Hello, My Name Is….

I don’t know how I tricked them, but the awesome folks at Aiming Low have published another post by me. Please feel free to read it and add any other quirks you think my computer friends might need to know about before meeting me in person.

The In-Law Holiday Survival Guide

The was my very first ever guest post. It appeared on The Curvy Girl Guide.

Ok, what I’m about to tell you needs to be kept hush-hush.  Because if my in-laws hear this, I may be attacked.  Again. Also, this stuff is pretty life-changing, and I’m only telling you because I like you.  Don’t tell the others.

I married a fabulous man.  My boys and I are his top priority, and he loves us very much.  But, his parents are… challenging.

They are divorced, not only from each other, but from two, three or four other people.  They are both currently remarried, and, as an added bonus, hate each other with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.  We don’t mingle with both of them at the same time.  That means holidays are a fun time if you enjoy juggling the schedules of two of the world’s biggest egomaniacs.  Oh, and my family needs to get some time too.  It’s enough to make a girl up her meds.

Don’t have access to your psychiatrist just now?  That’s okay.  Let me help you get through these holidays sans chemicals.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #1: Limit The Alcohol, Yours and Theirs

A little wine keeps me from being so tense I make diamonds in my butt (Wine isn’t a chemical, right?).  The second glass or more?  I babble like it’s my job.  And my volume hits 11.  It is probably amusing to watch, but it does nothing to make dealing with giant personalities easier.  It may be tempting to loosen up the whole damn group, but trust me, this never ends well.  My friend who works in the medical examiner’s office can confirm this.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #2: Listen Like A Child

So, your kid only hears every third word or so.  We know this because they hear, “Jump on the couch,” when you really say, “Please don’t jump on the couch ever.”  It works out well for them, and it can help you, too!  Does your MIL tend to drone on and on about how you’re doing everything wrong?  Only half pay attention to that, and it won’t bother you.  You’ll hear, “Clean house, healthy food,” instead of, “I know working and being a mom is a good excuse to not have a clean house, but…Also, I think your kids may eat more if you serve them healthy food.”  Go to your mental happy place instead of your actual very sad and annoying one.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #3: Man, The Kids Sure Do Need Me In The Other Room…

This one may give your family more ammo, but, what do you care?  You’ll be in another room.  If you have a babe who is still taking the boob juice, God bless you and your ready-made excuse to get to another room.  Don’t despair if your kids are too old for that; older kids can be useful too.  Surely your kid enjoys having a book read to them in quiet?  Or maybe a very important school project you’d love to supervise.  Even the fake kind will work.

Holiday Sanity Saver Tip #4: Lean On Your Spouse

My husband and I have very knowing glances that take the edge off.  (Think Jim looking into the camera after Michael Scott says something Michael Scott-like on The Office.)  In our brief moments alone, we release all the pent-up snark and giggle.  We also know each other’s biggest triggers, and work hard to either prevent the gun from going off, or taking the bullet if we can.  For example, my husband cannot stand the way a certain family member asks him 547 questions about crap he could not care less about, like landscaping.  I see him reaching his limit and jump in with fake interest and random approving words about plant spacing.  This is when you have to help each other.  I can’t imagine getting through it any other way.

Listen, holidays are supposed to be fun.  We all know there are a million ways to make them not so much.  Spending time with people who challenge your very faith in human beings is certainly not great, but it’s only awful if you let it be.  It seems odd to do so, but sometimes you have to work to be happy.

StephanieCurvy Girl Guide Contributor, Stephanie Ross, is a SAHM of twin 4 year-old boys.  A former middle school English teacher, she loves to tell people what they are doing wrong when it comes to writing and other basic forms of communication.  In an odd twist, she also loves the crappiest reality TV she can find.  (Lookin’ at you Real Housewives of Atlanta.)  Her husband’s job has the family living in Poland until 2013, not that anyone is counting down.  She stinks at taking care of her children’s nutritional needs, but is sure it will all work out fine in the end because at least they love books.  You can find Stephanie on her blog, Talking is My Primary Function, as well as on twitter!

The Five Stages of Family Vacationing

This article appeared on Aiming Low, which, like visiting Disney, was a dream come true.

My husband, twin four-year-old sons, and I just returned from Disneyland Paris, and I’m happy to report we are still married and still claiming the children.

All families who visit Disneyland are contractually obligated to take a picture like this.

Though this was not our first family vacation, I was still rocked by the stress of it. I foolishly believed we had finally figured out how to enjoy vacation time as a family and would be creating wonderful memories whilst also mocking the other parents who were doing it wrong. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the Five Stages of Family Vacationing that we all must go through, novices and experts alike.

Stage One: Happy, Happy! Joy, Joy!

Your bags are packed! The sun is shining! Your children wake up with a smile! This is when you believe you are about to have a great time and maybe even reduce stress.

This is going to be so fun!

Stage Two: Tired, But Still Optimistic

You arrive at your destination. Maybe there were some hiccups to the travel process, evidenced by the poopy underpants you are carrying in a baggie in your purse, but you know a quick rest will set you on the right track. Possibly a child gets ill. That’s okay though; they will be better with a little dinner and some hotel bed jumping. It’s possible the crabby feelings and maybe some food strikes last into your first full day. But it’s okay! You have time to adjust.

Stage Three: What Have We Done?

You realize you are raising ungrateful, screaming lunatics who are pleased only when Mommy and Daddy are yell-whispering threats. Suddenly the children are scared of animatronic figures and fake rain. All the pizza places are closed though that’s the meal you’ve promised. In short, this has all gone to pot, and you vow to never vacation as a family again.

Exhibit A: Child will eat none of that food in front of him nor will he be seated in this restaurant due to evil Disney characters lurking all around.

Stage Four: Parents, Banded Together in Defeat

We eventually gave up on seeing Paris and just toured the twins’ favorite Disney sites. We started to laugh at the remarkable tantrums erupting all around us. One father literally just had a seat as his daughter flailed on the concrete. At this stage, you forget about what you wanted to do and just make the best of what you are doing. And you use sarcasm to cope. So much sarcasm.

The closest we came to the Eiffel Tower.

Stage Five: Where To Next?

You arrive home safe and sound with a pocket full of new experiences (like having a hotel doctor come to your room at 3am) and happy memories. Your kids hoot and holler as you pull souvenirs out of suitcases. Then your husband sends you a link to Legoland in Florida saying it looks fun.  You promise yourself the next vacation will be the easiest one yet.

A Fairly Unreliable Medical Primer

This post was on my friend Kim’s site, All Work and No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something. She was out of commission getting her evil gallbladder removed.


The first rule of Gallbladder Club is you don’t talk about Gallbladder Club.  That’s because any talk of gallbladder dysfunction leads to talk of ‘bathroom’ dysfunction, and no one but your gastroenterologist and the internets want to hear about that.

Anyway, Gallbladder Club is a terrible club.  You do NOT want to join, but gallbladders are insidious, and you cannot stop them from their evil plan to keep you away from popcorn at the movies.  (This was one of the things my evil gallbladder tried to deny me.  It did not work.  I’d rather eat popcorn while watching a movie like a normal person and then bitch about the pain later.)

As you may or may not know, dear Kimberly is but one more unwilling member of this club.  She has the added distinction of having a tumor on hers, so she gets a free t-shirt.

No, it is a tumor. God, you never listen.

When I had my gallbladder removed, it was basically the only thing the idiot gastronenterologist could think to do to get me to stop coming to his office.  He had already put my gallbladder through a testing program more vigorous than what they put astronauts through before shooting them into space.  I had of course had an endoscopy (tube down my throat) and a colonoscopy (tube up the other end).  I actually had them both the same day, and I asked the doctor to please do the one in my mouth first, for obvious reasons.  Doctor Asshole told me he found some polyps and just removed them but not to worry.  Okay, sure.  But it still hurt when I ate anything more exotic than white rice.

I had taken medicine for ulcers just in case that was the problem.  It wasn’t.  I had this freaky test where I had to drink approximately 458 gallons of liquid chalk and then some dude watched it inch its way through my digestive system.  The only thing I got out of that one was a broken toilet and a day off work.

My least favorite test was the MRI.  It was actually what I call an Extreme MRI because it required them to shoot nuclear waste (Or something, I wasn’t listening.) into my body via an IV.  My veins are bigger jerks than my gallbladder, so this required multiple stabs before the IV was in place.  Once I was on the table with a needle in my arm about to be shoved into the machine, the nurse tells me that I will have to also hold my breath.  Multiple times.  While not moving and staring at 2 tons of medical equipment hanging over me.  Also?  My arms were strapped down over my head.  Being a somewhat wayward Christian, the only prayer or hymn I could recall was the Our Father, and I said it in my head 210 times until the Extreme MRI was over.  I’m pretty sure Doctor Asshole made up that test because he hated me.

Now, I’m sure Kimberly has asked many questions and is fully prepared for dealing with the aftermath of a gallbladder exorcism.  I did not and was not.  My mother had asked me what would happen after it was removed, and I told her that I’d be able to eat chicken wings and cheesy fries again.  She was skeptical.  And smarter than I.

Turns out your gallbladder is not exactly like your appendix. (Just a little FYI, I don’t have that anymore either.  Some day I’ll tell you a story of how it ended up in a bucket with about five inches of my intestines.)

Here is what WebMD says about your friend the gallbladder:

“The gallbladder is a small pouch that sits just under the liver. The gallbladder stores bile produced by the liver. After meals, the gallbladder is empty and flat, like a deflated balloon. Before a meal, the gallbladder may be full of bile and about the size of a small pear.

In response to signals, the gallbladder squeezes stored bile into the small intestine through a series of tubes called ducts. Bile helps digest fats, but the gallbladder itself is not essential. Removing the gallbladder in an otherwise healthy individual typically causes no observable problems with health or digestion yet there may be a small risk of diarrhea and fat malabsorption.”

Um, how about you change that to a 100% chance?  For six months I lived as I had before, terrified of fatty foods and always on the look-out for the nearest bathroom.  It’s like the ghost of my gallbladder was haunting me.

Eventually I was able to eat a more regular diet and get back to shoveling crap into my gaping pie hole to both celebrate the good and cope with the bad.  I can do this with only twice the normal dosage of antacids, a huge improvement.

I hope this surgery gets Kimberly back on her feet and downing fatty foods again.  I hope she pees fast after the procedure so she can get the catheter out.  I hope they give her good pain meds.  I hope I haven’t cost her more than one or two readers.

So, I was going to wrap this post up with another Fight Club reference, the “I am Jack’s raging bile duct” quote, and a picture of Edward Norton. Then I saw this picture of Ed and got distracted. You’re welcome.

Better Than Dr. Google

You know who gives good medical advice?  People with medical problems.  And, dude, I got ’em.  Unfortunately, so does my friend Kimberly from All Work And No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Something.  Her gallbladder is being a real punk and needs to be eradicated.  While she’s recovering, she’s graciously allowed me to guest post on her site.

So, in order to help my friend, please head over to her site and see what I’m up to.  You can bet it’s no good, but, you know, funny no good.