All posts by Yo-yo Mama

I've been blogging since 2005. I'm a geek trying to be cool. I hate cheesecake. I swear. A lot.

I remember…Debbie

DebbieI don’t know why I’m starting with Debbie. She’s not first alphabetically. She wasn’t a friend. She wasn’t a stand-out student academically or athletically. In fact, she was probably the lowest girl on the peer totem in my class.Don’t judge. I say that because she was likely why I wasn’t on the bottom instead.

As I look at her picture in the yearbook, I wonder why. She was pretty enough. I remember her as slender and tall. She wore glasses, but back then we all did (contact lenses weren’t the norm). I think she was likely a victim of socio-economically judged. Her family had no land, and in a small town where the only people who lived in town were retired farmers who could afford to let their children or hired-hands reside at the farm or families who couldn’t afford land in the first place and worked 9-5 in a tiny town with one bank, one grocery store, a post office, and a motel. Strangely, I don’t ever remember meeting or seeing her parents or siblings. I have no idea who was in her family.

One of my other classmates told me a story he remembered from when we were kindergarteners so the following is more of a “I remember when he remembered”. He said when we were in kindergarten, we were suppose to be napping. Instead I took Debbie’s shoes away from her and threw them into the hallway.

Unfortunately, she often was my target. That was probably my first interaction. One of my last was the time was in high school when I got my hands on some tiny plastic bags. In one I put a small amount of flour, and placed it in her locker in plain sight. When the bell rang, everyone went to their lockers, including Debbie. I watched from a safe distance away for the moment she found the suspicious looking baggie.

She did of course, and her actions were opposite of what I expected her to do. You see, as we grew from asshole elementary children who teased each other, we grew into asshole teens who bullied. Rumors made peers into sluts and drug dealers. What I didn’t understand then is that rumors are often baseless and used to justify the bullying. When Debbie saw that little baggie, she didn’t pick it up and then secretly pocket it while casting a suspicious eye over shoulder. Nope, she picked up in horror and went straight into the nearest classroom and handed it to the teacher.

Probably the most memorable part of this story is what the teacher did next. Since Debbie’s reaction wasn’t discreet, everyone gathered excitedly around the teacher’s desk as he held the baggie of suspicious white powder. First he eyeballed it. Then he opened the zip, stuck his pinkie in his mouth to wet the tip, dipped it into the white powder and tasted it! He announced that is was flour.

No one asked how he knew it was only flour. No one thought twice about what in hindsight an experienced drug-dealer would do. No one thought to call in authorities or parents. No announcements were made. Today a thoughtless stunt like that could force a school into a lock-down.

For what it’s worth, Debbie, I’m sorry. I don’t know where you are or who you’ve become. I hope you’ve found happiness despite having me as a classmate.

Upcoming Feature Film!! (not really)

MemoriesA couple years ago I started a new category for “I remember ” that consisted of posts I’d written about childhood memories. The idea, or the project – if you will, has recently re-implanted in my head. Last week my mom was moved to a “memory center” located nearly four hours away. My children haven’t seen their grandmother J. in almost two months. I plan on visiting in a couple weeks, and I thought I would let my daughter, who is now 7, interview her to foster some bonding. Of course, life events like this make me realize how little my children know about me beyond what they see right now.

I have always accepted that someday this blog would be for my kids to read. I hope it’s after I’m dead so the reciprocal embarrassment is not an issue. I also want them to read a post, turn to each other with eyes wide, and remark, “I had never heard that story!”

This series of “I remember…” will be centered on what I remember about all of the kids I went to school with. Our graduating class consisted of approximately 22 students. Some of their names and faces I can see as clear as the screen in front of me; others not so much. 90% of them I haven’t seen or talked to in 30 years. While it’s a given that all of the posts I’ve already written are personal, these upcoming posts will be so personal, it’s unlikely to mean anything to anyone other than to the two people I’m writing it for. Fair warning.

I plan on using real names except I’ll omit last names. This is not out of courtesy for the person I’ll be writing about, but out of the continued desire for privacy on my part. You will never see my real name in a byline on my blog or the names of my husband or children. Each story will center around one person. I’ll admit that may mean I might squeeze out only a couple of sentences. On the other hand, some stories might be 1,000+ words. I would love to include pictures, except by a cruel twist of fate, nearly all my personal photos from my childhood as well as my yearbooks were stolen from me by a housemate in an act of revenge almost three decades ago and were never recovered.

God, that nearly makes me cry just writing it out.

ETA: My children won’t even be able to read any of this if I can’t even remember the URL or username of my blog. Don’t even ask me how many attempts it took to log in.

I thought I’d get serious and write something I would think is profound, but life is already too damn serious, what with death looming. I mean not that it’s looming closer than it was the last time I wrote, which is when I updated with the news of my dad’s unexpected death. It’s just I simply have to accept that right now, I mean RIGHT. NOW. is the youngest I will ever be for the rest of my life. And shit, I’m getting old!

My daughter, Aitch, constantly asks how old I am. I make her guess. If I don’t like her number, I tell her to guess lower. On the other hand, if she’s lower or close, I congratulate her for getting it right. Unfortunately, with all the math she’s learning in the second grade, she’s figured out that there’s no way I can be 45 one time and 43 the next.

Speaking of school, Dood, my son with ADHD, is already counting DOWN how many more years he has left in school: 4 1/2. He’s got facial hair. Just this weekend I told my husband it’s time to show him how to shave. If he doesn’t, I will, and seriously? I’m pretty sure that’s not the memory he wants to have in his head for the next twenty years until he reaches that point where he thinks, “Damn! My MOM taught me how to shave!” Frankly, between Sparring Partner and myself, who is more qualified: The guy who shaves once or twice a week the area of a sheet of paper, or the woman who shaves at least four times a week the area of six sheets of paper? Duh.

My MIL still walks/rolls the earth. My mom does too. Both women are the center of a their own familial tropical storms. Too deep and complicated.

I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary at work. Every day has been so challenging, and many times I not only questioned my decision to accept the position, but I’ve literally questioned my superior on HER decision to hire me. She’s a good boss.

Oh, the most exciting thing that happened these past recent months is that Aitch broke the big bone in her lower arm (radius) when she fell from the school’s monkey bars and landed with her arm under her. She told me that she knew she had broke it when she heard it snap. She underwent two surgeries: one to implant a bone rod; one to remove the hardware. I think she would have healed more quickly without the surgeries, but hey, my medical degree is limited to reproductive endocrinology, and even those facts I remember very little of.

Until the next time, which could be tomorrow or it could be another year: Later, Bitches.


Funny how I said I was going to update my blog more, and then I didn’t. Actually it’s not funny.

You see, my dad died unexpectedly in February. No chronic illness or condition that gave us time to prepare for the inevitable, unless you count life and aging, which as you may or may not know, continues only up until you die.

My father was in his 80s. I won’t go into too many details because while the trend continues to become less and less anonymous on-line, I still keep this place as much as a retreat as I can. I add more and more in-real-life acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, etc. to my Facebook friend list and find myself posting less and less for fear of offending or alienating.

I found out my dad died when my mother, who if you’ll remember has Alzheimer’s, called me while my car’s hands-free system was active and my kids were in the car to tell me that he’d “been sitting in the chair all day and I think he’s dead.”

It’s “funny” that even though I told my mom to call 9-1-1 that once she hung up with me, she forgot to do so.

It’s “funny” that I had to call my sister-in-law and ask her to do this favor I can never repay and that’s drive the five minutes to the farm to see if my dad was indeed dead because I couldn’t.

It’s “funny” that my husband happen to be out of state attending his uncle’s funeral.

It’s “funny” I had to use Facebook to finally get a message to my husband’s family that if someone sees him to call me about a family emergency because he wasn’t answering his phone.

There’s been both your typical and atypical family drama that comes with the patriarch’s death.

And to make things really interesting, I accepted an executive staff position, which is at the minimum, full-time. Simply making a transition back to full-time has been hard enough, but the endless projects and responsibilities are…well…endless.

Plus? While the finishing of our basement project started off strong, it has ground to a near-halt because my husband, Sparring Partner, couldn’t be bothered to look at fixtures. There’s a light at the end of that tunnel, and I hope by June 1st when they set the island’s countertop, it is the end of phone calls and appointments and decisions. I swear, even choosing the shape and color of the outlets left me feeling overwhelmed.

Into the Remodel: Day 7

Sure. I say I’m going to journal more and then I make like a fart.

We “broke ground” a week ago. Suddenly the plans to finish the basement, which have been stalling out every year for the past seven, have grown legs. And wings. And a jet pack. Like “vrROOOOMMM, Bitchezz!!”

One day last week, I had the plumber, the furnace-r, an electrician, a furniture deliverer (we had ordered new recliners), and a furniture buyer (I sold an old recliner) show up basically at the same time.

Jackhammers were involved for a couple of days, one of which was a snow day so the kids and I were all cooped up in the master bedroom trying to escape the noise and vibrations. It was awesome.

No. No, it wasn’t.

It only took one week for Sparring Partner and I mutually decide that we will not finish our basement because obviously one of us is not on the same page as the other (Lord, have we ever been??). By Sunday evening, the plans were back on. I conceded and agreed that we do not need a dishwasher or an ice-maker for the basement bar. He conceded and agreed…to nothing.


I am biding my time, rubbing my hands maniacally as I plot. I will get a goddamn broom closet even if I have to refer to it as a “Pantry” for the rest of my natural days and label it using a woodburning tool right onto the cabinet door, sohelpmegod!

Thumbs Down

We just returned home from my son’s appointment scheduled two weeks after he broke his thumb. This doctor is Dood’s pediatrician as the doctor who originally diagnosed and braced his thumb practices at an urgent care clinic.

The wait between the nurse and the pediatrician was long. The wait for the radiologist to take a new x-ray was long. The wait for the radiologist and pediatrician to read the results was long. And then the wait for the nurse to return and give Dood the last of third Gardisil vaccinations AND the second half of his Hep A vaccination (SURPRISE!) wasn’t long enough, according to my needle-phobic son.

Two hours later, he is fully vaccinated until who knows when. That’s the good news. The bad is that the fracture is not healing as well as the doc would like. The aluminum thumb splint has been replaced with a soft cast that immobilized his thumb and wrist. We also have another appointment in two weeks to check it again. If the progress is still not ideal, we may get ourselves a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and thumb screws. (See what I did there?)

For as rock’em and sock’em my daughter is, I know she will never enter a medical-related field. A friend of hers at school had to have a tonsillectomy, so I enthusiastically showed her images from google. She fanned her face delicately, averted her eyes and said to show her no more. Occasionally the topic of my Caesarean come up. She is quick to say she will never have children while she wrinkles her nose in disgust. And today, as she watched Dood get his shots, one to each arm, she first flushed and then quickly blanched.

If I had been considerably smarter, I would have loved to go into medicine.


My daughter, Aitch (6), came to me asking for a mid-afternoon snack. I asked her what she wanted. Her reply, “Marshmallows!” When I told her no, she asked why then was the bag was already opened.

It’s a new bag, brought home Christmas Eve, and it’s the s’more style, which are rectangular in shape (genius, right?!). Both children are sneak-snackers and pantry-raiders. I have to keep candies hidden. I usually find out that the stash has been discovered when wrappers are found stuffed between couch cushions, in their bedroom trash cans, or under the coffee table.

I called both of them to the kitchen counter and explained very simply that neither of them was to get out of their seats until someone had confessed to opening the bag of marshmallows without permission. The accusations and denials streamed out of them, even going so far as to blame dad, who in fact loathes marshmallows.

As for me, I made good use of the time by emptying the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen. After ten minutes, I was impressed neither had caved. By twenty, I was wondering if in fact the mice had somehow learned to coop their resources and used the scissors to open the bag. After all, It was crudely cut open…

Doodicus (13) worked the angle that if Aitch would just admit to the crime, her punishment wouldn’t be as severe. Aitch’s defense centered around Dood being a self-confessed sweetaholic. I had nearly cleaned up everything in the kitchen when Aitch confessed as dramatically as one could when admitting to opening a bag of marshmallows without permission after 30 minutes of duress.

I dismissed Dood from the counter. I asked Aitch to bring the bag of marshmallows over to where I stood by the sink. Once she did, I opened the cabinet to the trash and instructed her to throw them away. I saw the flush of humiliation immediately bloom from her neck to brow line. She let out a plaintive whine, “Why??” I calmly explained that it was her punishment. A couple of minutes of silence passed as she stared into what must have appeared a shiny white maw of a monster slurping eagerly for its unexpected treat; I stood looking down at the part in her hair, now also very pink with rage.

She threw the full bag into the trash and ran from the kitchen in tears.

A few minutes later, she returned to tell me that because I had made her cry, it had given her a sore throat and now hurt to talk. I said nothing. My throat hurt too.