Friday, September 30, 2016

Chester's competition

So I visited a friend recently and realized that Chester totally has some competition.  I know shocking right!?  All this time, I falsely believed that Chester was coasting in the lead by miles (or pounds of food) over the competition, and in that moment I realized I was WRONG. Seriously, her freezer was so full that it made Chester look slim, and empty, and barren. Of course, you realize, this is no small task because Chester looks just like this.

  So my friend shall remain unnamed as to protect his or her identity, but I really had to share because until that precise moment in time, I thought Chester was all alone-- way in the lead-- during the freezer food storage olympics, but I stand correct.  Chester has some serious competition.  He may even lose.

SO I don't own a smart phone or a decent camera, plus I wouldn't want someone to identify my friend by providing real pictures of his or her freezer, so this is the closest picture I could find to impersonate my friend's freezer (who is unnamed I might add!).  I know that is crazy that such an impressive freezer lacks a name, but it is true!

Oh and when I went searching for freezer pictures this is the coolest image I found. I want to do this--you know fill Chester to the rim with nothing but popsicles-- just because it is so FUN and my kids would finally think I am COOL!  However, I am a responsible adult so I shall practice some basic self control and not do this...yet anyways.  Maybe if we ever reach our goal to empty Chester, this is how I will fill him up!

And while searching for cool freezer pictures, I came to learn that apparently there is an entire science that is the proper organization of a freezer.  This is very disturbing to me, the fly by the seat of her pants girl that I am.  How can there be so very many images, rules and diagrams to help organize a dadgum freezer!  Ain't nobody got time for that!

Vern out

Friday, September 16, 2016


Yes we are still alive and yes so is Chester, but I swear these appliances are trying to push me over the edge!  They are trying to sabotage my good parenting and wifing skills one catastrophe at a time!

Here's the proof:

In the short 3.75 years we have lived in our house (with all brand new appliances mind you) we have had the following occur:

  • Washing Machine replaced because it died (you read that story some time ago)
  • Stove worked on to the tune of $200 some odd dollars
  • Recent incident with the dish washer (you will hear more about it later)
  • Fridge didn't work and had to be replaced early on as well

So we have appliances that are horrible.  Out-of-Control, that's what we all are.  The appliances. The kids.  The parents. The political commercials.  Out. Of. Control.

So I am just tired...honestly I am just tired...

But a quick update is called for to:

  •  prove we are still alive
  •  allow me to dedicate it to my good friend Mary (yes that is her real name!)
  • account for all the damn appliances!

Roll call

Chester is out of control.  He has so much (mostly processed) food in him right now that we truly do not need to shop until 2018. It is pretty scary actually.

Rita has control issues.  Like my eldest child, she really would prefer if I just let her be in charge, but a vacuum cleaner running our household might not end well. Or maybe it would be an improvement over me... I dunno?!? But it is a risk I am not willing to take.  What if I were out performed by a vacuum cleaner?  That would be scandalous and that's one scandal I am not willing to put my family through!

Victor has actually been helping out despite his retirement because of Rita's control issues and because I always did prefer his vacuuming style.  And because he is kind of cute and talks to be nicely.

Blake the new blender (who replaced Brenda because of an unfortunate near fire incident)  been busy mixing up malts and smoothies all summer long and most recently we've moved on to margaritas!  It is back-to-school season which is pretty much synonymous with margarita/wine/beer season!

Wanda the washer has been working quadruple time. 24/7/362 Yes, she basically works non-stop and with little reward or thanks.  I occasionally sneak her a couple of Blake's margaritas to keep her happy.  Yes I am basically a glorified bar wench to my washing machine!

Ted the toaster is happy, happy happy.  Back to school means he gets to be used again!  For pop tarts, toast and anything else that needs a quick heat up (I don't recommend butter though...I hear it melts and makes a mess).  But Ted he is happy and I have to say I am quite pleased with his performance so far!

Irma She and I are still not on speaking terms.  I realize we have a relationship problem, but I just don't care.  Therapy is not going to help me become an Ironer and it is not going to help her cooperate  with me so...Things are too frazzled to care about wrinkled clothes people.  I am moving on!  I locked Irma up in the cupboard (cell) above Wanda and that is where she may well stay until the day I die.

Dusty the dishwasher is a new character to you, but he has been with us for nearly four years now.  Well he went ahead and had a bunch of error messages and tried to quit working.  So I kicked him and possibly swore a few times and yelled (not while the children were home of course) and then he started working again so Dusty and I are good, but please do not call APS (Appliance Protective Services).  I really don't have time to deal with an investigation right now.

Dusty the dishwasher mug shot!

I think that is all the appliances who have troubled me of recent.  Besides that my five minutes is up!

Mary, thank you for your friendship.  It means the world to me!  And thanks for encouraging me to update the blog.  Lord knows we need it since the last post was in April!

Vern Out

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Had to lighten things up a bit after yesterday's post!  So here you go a light and fun read to start your Wacky Wednesday!

When we were kids, I made my younger brother and sister Licenses to Be Like Vern-They were so Freakin Cool--fashioned after the Pepsi License to Chill Cards: historical information for those youngsters out there...License to Chills went viral before viral meant anything other than some type of unfortunate infection. They were pretty popular back in the day and basically were given to Pepsi drinkers as some ploy to build brand loyalty.  I have no idea how successful the campaign was and to be completely honest, I always preferred Coke. However, back in the olden days these Licenses to Chill were pretty COOL.
 Sample License To Chill

Well I made these super cool "License to be Like Vern (LTBLV)" cards and gave them to my brother and sister circa 1991-ish.  You know because I was cool and quite simply they wanted to be cool too. Just. Like. Me.  Well while sorting boxes of old stuff my little sister recently found her LTBLV card and she said it made her smile a lot!

Flash forward to the present day and I find my children will go to great lengths to cause one another pain and suffering and generally to irritate one another. Yet like me, Kara is so cool in the eyes of her little brother and sister.  They want to be just like her.  I hope someday she is mass producing "Licenses to be like Kara" cards because she is a pretty awesome big sister, she really is and I honestly I am sick of the fighting already.

On an unrelated, but important topic, bargain shopping usually is my thing.  I love to get a good deal and oftentimes find myself buying stuff merely because it is such a great bargain not because I actually need it.  However, recently I learned an extremely valuable lesson regarding bargain shopping so I must share.  Do not go off brand on feminine hygiene products. Don't. do. it.  I recently made such a blunder and I have been paying for it since because I refuse to throw them out and I am experiencing my second period this month. Here are the problems with off brand pads:
  • they leak out the sides
  • they move around
  • they do not absorb 
  • because they move they cause irritation
  • they are a horrible, horrible product and should be banned 
So with most things like crackers, cereal, yogurt and sour cream the off brand is every bit as good as the name brand only cheaper.  Buying these generic products totally makes sense.  Just do it!  With Aunt Flo products this is not so.  Do not skimp on these items or you will pay the terrible, painful, awful price.

Vern out  

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Truth, or dare

This is long past due; I have been working on it since shortly after I returned from Haiti.  I have been like an artist, working slowly to get it just right.  Well it is not perfect and never will be, but it is honest, raw and hopefully somewhat encapsulates my thoughts about life post Haiti. Enjoy!

Remember that childhood game of Truth or Dare.  I have always been willing to take risks so I usually picked dare.  As a result, I occasionally found myself running naked through the snow, eating disgusting things or swimming in cow manure.  Well today I am mixing it up and picking Truth...

The truth.  Who am I?  It seems like such a simple question with an equally simple answer.  I am Vern, Veronica, Mom or V. I am a mother, a runner, a reader, and at times a writer. But who am I really?  After visiting Haiti for eleven days, I don't really know. I feel like a new person and I am questioning many of the roles, decisions and habits pre Haiti. To be honest, my whole view of life and the world has been forever changed.  I can't go back and honestly I wouldn't want to, but I am struggling as to how to move forward knowing the truths that I now understand more intimately than before:

  • There are millions of people starving in the world
  • There are thousands of orphans needing a home (US and abroad)
  • There are still millions of people who live without water, toilets and electricity
  • There are good people dying everyday simply because they lack basic healthcare
  • Haitians are generally happy with what they have... which is also generally very little
  • Obesity is an epidemic in the US
  • Rates of diabetes in the US are at all time high
  • People in US spend more on date night than the average Haitian family annual income
  • Depression rates is US are higher than in Haiti
I could go on and on and on with other truths, but I will stop there.  Just think about these facts for a few minutes.  It just seems like there is a real imbalance of resources in the world.  While people starve to death in Haiti and Africa, Americans struggle with obesity, diabetes, depression and other related health issues that are often times related to or caused by excess--too much.  And unlike what most would have you believe,  just because you have a lot of stuff or money or you happen to be skinny does not mean you are necessarily healthy or happy. Here in the US most people want more than they have and in reality we already have more than we could ever use in our lifetime.  And yet many Americans are still unhappy and ungrateful for the blessings in their lives...

Another Truth and this one is personal...
With the money I spent to send Jeff to the Cotton Bowl, a Haitian family could have lived for an entire year.  A WHOLE DAMN YEAR PEOPLE!!!  And for that I feel a bit ashamed and embarrassed.  I get it; people say it is the American Way to participate in such events and festivities. And we had the money to go and we worked hard for our money and we live frugally blah blah blah. But still I feel like it is excessive and my mind wanders to the people I could have helped with that money.  I can't undo that though so I must exhale and let it go.

I do not have it all figured out yet, not even close.  I am not sure who I am today, but I do know this: I am going to do better.  I am going to think more about my spending habits.  I am going to donate more to organizations helping those in underdeveloped countries or even right here in the US.  Places like God's Littlest Angels who are truly doing God's work in helping those less fortunate, the orphaned children of Haiti. And I am going to figure out a way to get back to Haiti as soon as possible.  God has a plan for me, I am just not completely clear on exactly what it is.

 A cheap beach ball brought so much joy to so many!

As a volunteer, I was treated like a celebrity and welcomed with open arms, enthusiasm and acceptance; I was truly blessed to serve these orphans. 

So who am I right now?  Right now, I am a woman considering major lifestyle changes that more than likely will take place without the support of my husband.  I won't lie, it is a scary person to be. Someone on the edge of their life, considering jumping off the cliff into a new way of living.

 I will leave you with this:

Vern out

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The exorcist

Our Ice Maker, Ivy, is possessed.  I wish I was kidding, but the evidence is just too strong to ignore the symptoms any longer.  There are unexplainable noises.  And unexplainable messes.  Oh the horror.  I actually wonder if there is someone being held against their will inside Ivy, but that seems unlikely, but still the sounds lead me to believe it is true!

We have an exorcism planned later this week.  There are priests involved.  There are hymns rehearsed.  That is all.

A message in a bottle, from Ivy herself!

PS Stay safe my friends. This is a dangerous, dangerous world we live in and now we have to worry about our appliances breathing violence into it as well.

Vern Out

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Waffle Pizza...What!??

Wondering what to make for dinner?  Thinking of ordering a pizza or serving the family breakfast for supper?  Think again:

A step by step instruction on the art of making Waffle Pizza!
Thaw bread dough in fridge over night
then flatten the bread dough with a rolling pin if you are normal
or with a full pop can if you are us because we don't own a rolling pin.  Then place dough in waffle iron for 3-5 minutes until perfectly browned!

Add your own selection of delicious toppings.
After you Remove from waffle Iron of course!

Place on a cookie sheet and bake in 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted.  The best part of this meal is that everyone and I mean EVERYONE is happy.  And everyone is also happy to help make the meal because it is so much fun!  Now if only I could get everyone to be as enthusiastic about clean up time!!!

Waffle Pizza...It's what's for dinner, people!
Bon Apetit!

Vern Out

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Forget About Throw Back Thursday

THIS IS FRESH and it's...

What is your favorite day of the week?  I bet most of you probably answered Saturday or Sunday with maybe a few Fridays mixed in for fun.  Not me, or my family, our favorite day is Thursday because it is Grandma Day*.   This post is dedicated in honor of Grandmas all over this globe. Grandmas are certainly one of the most important individuals in the whole entire world!  FOR REALS.  Grandmas really do know best!

*Grandma Day was founded by my mother-in-law, Karla when her first grand baby (Haleigh Jane) was born. On that day, she declared Thursday to be Grandma Day.  I think this is so cool she dedicates an entire day of the week just to spend time with her grandkids.  Over the years it has evolved.  At first she was snuggling babies and changing diapers, then she had to keep them safe through the toddler years and introduce them to play doh and now she is picking kids up from school or practice and overseeing homework.  One constant remains: Grandma Day is sacred in our family.  If Karla is in the state of Michigan, on a Thursday, she can be found happily playing among her tribe of Grand kids.  

First of all, I wanted to share this from one of my most favorite writers, Jenny Lawson.  Jenny fringes on the edge of unacceptable dark and somewhat offensive humor, but still I love her for who she is:  Someone brave enough to talk about her very personal mental health struggles, openly, honestly and without apologizing.  She really should be the spokesperson for Mental Health Alliance, she is that good (and funny).  And while she isn't religious by the typical standards of modern organized religion, I still think she is in her own way because she helps other people overcome adversity. She lifts up those less fortunate, gives voice to vulnerable, often ignored, forgotten or devalued people who struggle with mental health issues and the best part is, she is sincere, honest and oh so funny while she does this.  If you want to check out her writing, unlike me, she is famous and her blog is The Blogess Jenny also has a super cool Grandma who offers solid advice like this...

So don't be shitty about some stupid bullshit! 

I feel badly that some people never get to experience Grandma time. It makes me extremely sad. It is a true travesty. Or tragedy. Or both.  It just plain stinks.  As for my kids, they won the Grandma lottery! BIG TIME... TWICE. They are extremely blessed with not only one, but two, wonderful grandmas and a bunch of amazing great grandmas to boot!  

Our kids have Grandma Karla who is willing to take them anywhere, do anything with them and knows everything there is to know about fashion and travel.   She is also organized, detail-oriented and no nonsense about all things always.   Time with her is efficient, structured and yet fun because she insists everyone has a good time.  They are learning about fashion, planning and other important organizational skills from her. Skills I would NEVER be able to teach them because I don't have any of those particular skills.  Karla

And they have Grandma Neva (Grandma Smith as she prefers to be called) who is eternally patient, knows a lot about childhood development, is hard working, down-to-earth and exposes them to all things natural: farming, canning, gardening and other various outdoor activities to name just a few.  She likes to teach them about responsibility, making good decisions and being generally decent human beings; and the best part is she does so in a sneaky way; the kids don't even realize they are in manners school. It really is amazing. She teaches them that sometimes staying home for the day can be every bit as fun as going to the amusement park, if you just use your imagination, keep a positive attitude and for the love of God be nice to each other!  Grandma Smith

See what I mean?! They totally won the Grandma lottery!  TWICE.

Yes, I think grandmothers are extremely special people. They give kids extra love, hope, confidence and one-on-one attention that parents are often unable to provide (or even if parents are providing it Grandmas do it better).  And they are such important members of our family.  I hate to even consider a world where our kids didn't have the grandmas they have; because they would be lonelier, the world would be scarier and I would certainly be a whole lot crazier.  
And let's be honest when Grandma is involved this is how it tends to go.  Grandma is after all the Supreme Court of the modern day family unit.

Many days I feel like this...
And in those moments, I am so very thankful for Grandmas (and my mom) and Grandpas (and the rest of our damn extended family) because people it really does take a village to raise these kids! And while Thursdays are all about Grandma Karla, my mom serves in more of an ongoing support roll.  She bravely stands by, always on-call, awaiting emergencies like this...

Happy Grandma Day and God Bless!!!

  Vern Out