Emoticons Are Free And 4 Other Things I Learned

Over the weekend, I learned a few things that I felt may be beneficial for others to know. They aren’t necessarily mind blowing revelations, but small butt nuggets that may come in handy if you plan on keeping flowers alive or sending your kids to summer camp. It’s important that I am learning something new all the time, even if it’s just a new recipe or an easier way to clean a toilet because one of the many things that freaks me the fuck out about getting old is that one day I’ll stop learning and start telling the same damn story over and over again. So here is what I learned….get ready to be blown away. Or not.

1. Emoticons are free. My dad just got a smart phone, so my life now includes conversations with him about all the amazing things his phone can do and all the shit he just can’t figure out. Day three of his smartphone found me hooking him up to WiFi, setting him up with an email account and showing him how to get on the web. That internet thing nearly sent him into cardiac arrest. In order to explain how he could search any website he wanted, I loaded my website into his browser and showed him the screen.

“Hey, that’s your kitchen. And there’s a picture of you on this phone.”

“Yes Dad, I have a website. That’s where I write all that stuff I have been telling you about.”

“Well, that’s pretty neat. Look…that’s your name right there.” And so it goes…and goes…and goes. This weekend Mr. 8 and I headed to my dad’s house to enjoy a campfire and some s’mores and apparently to help school my father on his phone…again. Dad wanted to know how to send a picture through text (even though I had explained it over the phone last week), so for 20 minutes I went over in detail how to attach a picture. Once he had typed his message (four hours later) he said “Did you know that you can put as many of this little faces on here as you want? These things are free.” He proceeded to add around 1,500 emoticons to his message. Because why not….they’re free. He also ended up sending that message to a complete stranger in Alaska, received a call from the guy and we had to update his address book with correct phone numbers. Can someone pass me the beer funnel?

2. I will always find something to feel guilty about. When I signed my kids up for summer camps in April, we were all thrilled. (Some of us almost boisterous.) This was the first year that I have ever sent my kids away from home during the summer and I was giddy with excitement about the fact that I would have a whole entire summer month to work on my book, query agents and drink wine on my porch without hearing “There is nothing to do at our stupid house.” Last week began our journey with Miss 11 heading to girl’s camp and Mr. 8 attending day camp at the Boys and Girls club…..man, those first three days were great. Writing, relaxing, reading, and drinking wine at 11 am. Then I started to feel…wait for it….GUILTY. Yes, I felt guilty for being home and sending my kids away. Even though I could justify my solitude by working, I also went to lunch, sat on my porch and wandered around my very quiet kitchen wondering why there wasn’t anyone climbing the pantry shelves looking for a Pop Tart. I missed the hovering, the boobing, the snacking and the incessant whining that makes summer bearable. Yes, bearable. It was lonely and quiet and there was no one running through the sprinklers, screeching with glee. Even though they are having a blast and it’s sorta, kinda nice to have some quiet time to work, I miss them. Then I started thinking about the really scary day when there won’t be anyone to send to summer camp or to find sunscreen for. We have five summers until Miss 11 graduates from high school. Five fucking summers until my baby girl flies the coop. And that makes me feel more lonely than I could have ever imagined. And of course, guilty.

Tripod Garbage

That hairspray cap that keeps falling in the sink can become a useful part of your daily life.

3. You can make an iPhone tripod out of garbage. I’ve been working on building up enough confidence to tackle vlogging (video blogging), because I obviously don’t have enough shit to worry about right now. I’ve also been researching equipment, video editing software and the millions of other things I need in order to produce mediocre videos that will get less views than someone popping a giant zit. Guess what? This video shit is expensive. So, in an attempt to stick with my vlogging budget, which is roughly 50 cents, I came across this dude who claimed that you could make an iPhone tripod out of a plastic cap and a water bottle. You say no? Well, you would be wrong. It fucking works. I gave up on the water bottle part of it because…..not an engineer. But the cap is perfection and my plan is to prop it on some books and start making some video blogs. Here’s a link to the video if you are interested in your own high quality, earth friendly iPhone tripod. You’re welcome.

4. If this writing thing fails, I have options. I’m never going to make it as a heart surgeon or a diesel mechanic and if this writing thing doesn’t pan out….I have options. This weekend I was reminded of my high aptitude for painting. Not on canvas, but on walls. My sister had a room she was ready to remodel, so we hauled ass to her place for a painting party yesterday. After a quick taping and prepping session, we got down to business and let me just say…I have some mad skills with a roller. I knocked out two walls in about seven minutes with my mom tackling the tedious job of edging. Including our porch sitting, bratwurst eating and wine drinking, we finished that room in about three hours. One hour of which was actual work. When I fail as an author, look for me in your local yellow pages under ‘Mommy And Me Painting’. We service the Wasatch Front and surrounding areas. And we always bring our own wine.

This is $100 worth of tomatoes. If you are a gardener like me.

This is $100 worth of tomatoes. If you are a gardener like me.

5. Plants are more work than kids. Last year I attempted to grow tomatoes. After hundreds of dollars invested in soil, plants, containers, plant food and a watering can, I became really excited and started planning for what I would do with the thousands of tomatoes that would eventually grow in my backyard. I watered, fed and nurtured those fuckers all summer long, only to be left with twenty five marble sized vegetables (or fruits). Through my tears, I added them to one salad and enjoyed the most expensive dinner I have ever eaten. This year, I vowed to forgo growing my own food in favor of buying it from people who actually know how to grow food. But I still filled those fucking containers…with flowers. And guess what? They need water every god damned day. My summer life revolves around making sure my containers get watered every morning, but not too watered. One plant is a limp dick because I unintentionally over watered it and another one has dried petals because I forgot to water it at all. Gardening is harder than raising kids in my book. I can pretty much guarantee that my kids will be alive by the end of the summer….these flowers….not so much.

These will all be dead soon. I should have just flushed $200 down the toilet, it would have been less work.

These will all be dead soon. I should have just flushed $200 down the toilet, it would have been less work.

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