The One Where I Try Things From the Internet

Buckle up, y’all. This one’s a doozy.

So, a few weeks back my mother in law sent me the following video (I think halfway joking, but one can never be sure with that one…) saying that I ought to try it on our dog.

A word about our dog.

His name is Oliver, he’s a miniature labradoodle, and a complete and total brat. Y’all, I don’t even have words for this dog except to say that he is the definition of “extra.” If you accidentally step on his tail or foot, he howls and dramatically limps around as though he’s just been hobbled by Kathy Bates. He is SO dramatic and gets his feelings hurt easily. I am not making this up. Once, when we were on vacation and he was spending the week with our friend Diane and her dogs, he wanted to play with another pup. The other dog wasn’t having it and kind of bark/growled at Ollie. Diane said that Oliver literally ran to her lap and cried about it for 15 minutes. He sat on that woman and whimper/cried because someone didn’t want to play. Lawd.

Oliver is absolutely absurd about any sort of grooming, particularly about getting his nails trimmed. Once, I took him to the vet for a checkup and asked if they’d clip his nails because he won’t cooperate for me. At all. Ever. He put on an Oscar-worthy demonstration of theatrics until finally they took him in the back to do it because he was causing such a scene. He was back out in two minutes because the vet tech said, “He was totally fine once he was out of your eyesight.” Cue side eye from me.

Aaaand cut to yesterday!

I tried it. Y’all, I wrapped my head in plastic, smeared on some peanut butter, and went to work…because I’m not one to question the wisdom of the internet and also I’m desperate. And bored.

I’ll let the pictorial evidence speak for itself. (I apologize in advance for the cleavage, it can’t be helped.)

So, yeah. That happened. I can report that I successfully clipped four of his nails. This is four more than I usually clip so I’m counting it as a win. Gracious.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to upload the video footage of this delightful scenario directly to the blog because WordPress wants me to upgrade and I’m not sure this is fifty dollars worth of solid filmmaking, no offense to my ten year old cinematographer. I will, however attempt to post it to my Instastories and Facebook story because I have no shame and feel that it should be recorded for posterity, if only for 24 hours.

So, that’s a thing we did and I highly suggest that you try it and publicly share your results preferably in picture and/or video format. You know…for the inspiration of others.

The Delagrange School for Wayward Children Salon and Day Spa, Inc.

Since last I wrote, I’m happy to report that my life has seriously increased in the glamour department.

When the initial stay at home order began, I had great aspirations of what I was going to accomplish with all my “free time.”

Y’all, we have established the fact that I am a liar, but let us also make it clear that I am not smart.

I have been a parent for ten years now, so I have no excuse as to why I foolishly thought that this time of intense social distancing would be the magic moment I’ve been waiting for to get my shit together. I have no other explanation than to say that clearly I was either in denial or delusional or both when I energetically and optimistically told my husband that, “The house is going to be spotless! I’m going to deep clean the kitchen! There will be purging! It’ll be cleaner than ever!” Incidentally, I also told him that my goal was to be skinnier at the end of the mandated social distancing than at the beginning, but based on the fact that I’m super dedicated into the Quarantine Carb Diet of 2020, the odds of that happening are decidedly not in my favor. Cest la vie.

Obv, we know that my house has never been grubbier. ‘Grubbier’ is a euphemism for “looks like a crap hole.” Y’all, there are sprinkles on my kitchen counter that were spilled in a freak cabinet avalanche over a week ago. I have no intention of cleaning them up. That’s just beyond my skill set at this point. I may, however, create a tiny memorial wreath to place upon the sprinkle pile to honor those sparkly bits of sugar lost in the accident, may they shine on in eternity. That seems prudent.

The other day, I did reach the point of cabin fever in which I rearranged the entire living room by myself and all of the electronics are still in working order, so I’ve got that going for me. But, suffice it to say, things around here have been…tenuous. I seem to vacillate between being on top of the laundry and using it to barricade the front door. I mean, why fold clean clothes and put them away when you can block any would be visitors from entry? It seems like a logical next step in social distancing to me and as my husband said, probably also filters all the air coming in through the gaps in the door, so win-win!

Aaanyway, since it’s Holy Week and since the kids have a bit of a break from school work, they’ve been exercising their imaginations and have been very resourceful in their play. That, combined with the fact that I clearly have lost all reason and gave them free rein of the nail polish allows me to happily inform you that the Delagrange School for Wayward Children now hosts its own Salon and Day Spa.

We. Are. Fancy.

Yesterday, I was able to visit the gym (aka, work out in peace while the kids painted their nails/the table) and then I received a full spa treatment that really upped my relaxation game. Please, feast your eyes:

“Get ready to feel relaxed.” Or “relayed.” Either way, get ready.

When I entered the spacious spa facility I was greeted by three attendants, one of whom was a dog, another who was an overzealous intern, and the last of whom was highly tolerant of her co-workers. She’s gonna get a shout out on Yelp, for sure.

I was treated to a nice warm water fingertip soak and a facial treatment that included a soaking wet towel that I was assured was warm at some point, but was decidedly chilled when it reached my pores. ‘Twas quite refreshing. I then enjoyed a lovely massage and hair brushing experience that was both unique and effective. What can I say? I’m a new woman now.

We followed up our spa treatment with a trip out of doors to enjoy the fine weather and go “Honking” which means we walk to the overpass near our house and try to get all the trucks to honk at us. It works best if you fight over which truck is “yours” while simultaneously screaming, “HONK!!! HONK!!! HOOOONNNKKKKK!!!!!!!” at the top of your lungs. (In case anyone is wondering, my smart watch did in fact give me a warning about my loud environment potentially damaging my hearing. That ship has sailed, dear watch.)

So, yeah. That’s our current situation. Day spa-ing it up, honking all the trucks, and we also had our own small Tenebrae service last night, which was genuinely really lovely. Because after all of the bickering and messes and tense emotions of the day, seeing your babes bathed in candlelight and reading the Old Testament is really a beautiful way to end the day.

I hope you’re finding ways to keep adapting and smile as you make your way through Holy Week, my friends. There is so much good to be seen, so much we’ve been given. You are loved!

Mary Susan

Note: At the time of publication, there is actual snow falling from the sky. And so the Lentiest Lent that ever Lented continues to get Lentier. But there is a pair of cardinals visiting our fairy garden in the snow, so life can’t be all that bad. Stay well, dear friends…Peace and perseverance in all things!

Additional postscript: A concerned reader just reached out to check on my tweezer situation. I am relieved to report that my saintly mother mailed me a pair of tweezers, so the facial hair dilemma has finally been resolved. Thank you for your support and understanding during this difficult time. I will update you in the future if we ever return to that perilous state.

Seven Things: Part 4

Note: I had this post all wrapped up and ready to go, minus a few pictures when Real Life stepped in. Oh. My. Lord. Y’all, all I have to say is that it’s pretty much feast or famine on the poop front around here. This is probably oversharing, but if I’m not dealing with a constipated baby, I’m cleaning up the after-effects of canine consumption of month-old bratwurst. That is nothing to shake a stick at, I can tell you. At least he spared the carpet. And apparently the whole experience turned me into an old person because I just said, “shake a stick at.”


Anyway…I hope you’ve all had a great week! Here’s what’s been going on around our crazy house!


1.) Christmas came early! The Hubz got me some new Scentsy smells and a holiday warmer!  He says it’s cause he loves me, but I’m pretty sure he’d love to rid our house of garbage smell since I missed trash day last week, hence the availability of month-old bratwurst. Whoopsie! Anyway, we now smell like a Christmas Cottage around here which goes really well with the smell of…


2.)…Glue! (You thought I was going to mention the dog again…ha!) Mags and I are making our very own Thankfulness Turkey, or “Funny Turkey” as she calls it. I found the idea on Pinterest (Follow me!) and I larrve it! We’re writing something that we’re thankful for on each of our turkey’s feathers and then we’ll hang him on the door for all to see. Pictures to come!


3.) And speaking of crafty things, you should totally spray paint a pumpkin! I happened to have a couple of pumpkins lying around since we never got around to carving them this Halloween (shameful), so I decided to spray them gold…Mainly because I saw it in a shop window and fell in love, but also ’cause we’re classy like that.


That’s not a Christmas tree…it’s a rosemary plant that shaped like a Christmas tree. And it’s awesome. And I love it. That’s all.


It made a really pretty centerpiece on the table we discovered under all of the old mail and cereal bowls we keep in the dining room. Who knew! I think I’m going to get some little pumpkins and paint ’em up for Thanksgiving place cards. Totally cute, right?


4.) I finally watched Moonrise Kingdom. Finally. I loved it so much I can’t even stand it. I might watch it again right now. Wes Anderson, I don’t know how you get me so well, but man do you get me. Also, it reinforced my love for Bill Murray. Awkward Celebrity Crush still going strong…


5.) Mags is perfecting her newest skill, which is jumping on one leg. There’s a future there…


6.) I just learned how to clear the cashe on our computer. I had to click a button that literally said, “Obliterate all items from the beginning of time.” It seemed so…permanent. I’m sort of on a power trip now.


7.) From the mouths of babes:

-As Vin and I were walking down the steps we heard a little voice behind us calling, “Wait for me, kids!”

-While waiting at the doctor’s office, Dr. Maggie gave Lily a checkup. When I asked what her diagnosis was, she said very matter of factly, “We’ve got to shock her.” I asked to see her credentials.

-After leaving the vet’s office (Mags has done a lot of waiting in medical offices this week) I asked her if she wanted to be an animal doctor someday, to which she replied, “Yeah, sure. I’d like to be an animal.”


The morning after trick-or-treating.


Have a great weekend everybody!


Birthday Round Two

So this is what I look like the morning after Maggie’s 2nd birthday.



I’m prepared to eat birthday cake for breakfast to rectify the situation.


Here are a few highlights from the celebration:


We opened presents!

Return of Elmo!!


Disney Princess ATV. You know you want one. You also probably know how to steer, a skill which Margaret has yet to master.


Hipsters beware.


We went to the zoo!

Elephants! (Siblings need not mention the fact that I almost completely block out the elephant in the picture. It has been noted. Also, those present all agreed that it was a rather small elephant.)


Telling her daddy all about the giraffes.


And then we went to see the cutest month-old grizzly bears I’ve ever in my life encountered. They were also the only month-old grizzly bears I’ve ever in my life encountered. These little guys were playing non-stop and they were incredibly fun to watch. They tumbled all over their environment and rolled around and played in water. It was precious!



And then my husband pointed out a little cub who he referred to as, “the Mary Susan bear.”

You can guess which one the hubz was referring to...


Yep. He’s the doofus twiddling his thumbs and eating mulch while full-fledged bear-fight carnage goes on behind him. Even I cannot deny the similarities.


And then we saw a polar bear who looked just like our dog, Banjo!

Except, Banjo doesn't have ferocious fangs or giant claws capable of mangling a human in one swipe. He does, however, enjoy lounging in the sun all day.


If you’re ever in Cleveland, please, please promise me that you’ll visit the zoo. It’s really wonderful and very well-done. There’s also a whole rain forest section that’s great, too! If you don’t live in Cleveland, please, please promise me that you’ll visit the closest zoo to you. Zoos are good for the spirit, I say!


After the zoo, we went home and played on the brand new “slide ground” that Nana and Papa had installed in the backyard! (And by “had installed”, I mean that my sweet husband spent hours and hours cursing, changing drill bits, cursing, and hammering. Then he spent hours and hours with his father, presumably cursing and changing more drill bits. Bless their hearts, the person who wrote those instructions obviously doesn’t live a life based on logic. Or chronological order.)


Perfect craftsmanship, I might add!


And, later, we went to eat noodles, the Birthday Girl’s favorite dinner!


A very dignified time was had by all. Especially that guy in the back.


Then we sang and ate cake!




Yes, that's my child eating icing directly off of her cake. Remember when I said it scares me when she copies me? Yeah...


It was pretty much the best birthday I could have requested for my little girl. I’m very much enjoying being on the giving side of the birthday magic. My own parents always gave us the best birthdays and I have a lot of really special birthday memories: slumber parties, trips to exotic Amarillo to spend the weekend with my big sis, my surprise 16th party that wasn’t supposed to happen because I had a C in algebra (still incredibly grateful for that one!). I’m really looking forward to many more years of birthdays with my girls!


So, in order to keep the birthday spirit going, I’d like to propose a question! What are your favorite birthday memories? Feel free to share your best childhood birthday or the best birthday you planned for your child. Where’d you have the best piece of cake and what was your favorite present? I’m anxiously awaiting your replies, as I plan to rip off your good ideas and claim them for my own. In the meantime, I’ll just be eating cake…

Texas Trip Part 2: Party Time

So we got Mags an Elmo pinata for the birthday party at Granny’s house. As we were checking out at the grocery store, we noticed that Elmo had quite the collection of colorful ribbons arranged on his hindquarters. This is apparently because the uppity-ups in the pinata industry have realized that some consumers might perceive whacking the business out of your child’s favorite character to be a bit barbaric. I, however, say that there’s nothing more fun than beating a kids’ TV star senseless…in pinata effigy of course. I’d be indescribably happy if I could get my hands on a Clarabelle pinata. If you’ve been remiss and haven’t watched Mickey Mouse Club House lately, there is absolutely no way you can understand how great is my dislike for that cow. But I digress.


These days, instead of the violence of beating characters – and probably as a wise attempt to avoid lawsuits stemming from blindfolded children waving sticks around like Don Quixote – the makers of pinatas have attached several multicolored ribbons to the pinata. The idea is that the kids get to take turns pulling on the ribbons and eventually a hole forms, from which the treasure is dispersed. As previously mentioned, the ribbons on our Elmo pinata were attached to his bum. And I must say there’s nothing like a whole bunch of chocolate candy falling out of Elmo’s butt to make a party complete!


It's almost as if he knows he's about to be beaten and then ripped a new one.


I will say, though, that it was good that the ribbons were there because Mags really wasn’t too sold on hitting Elmo with a stick. She’s a sensitive soul, that one.


No caption would be good enough, so I won't even try.


Mags loved picking up candy. She also loved sharing with Orange Kitty, which I think is superbly sweet.


Sweet girl.


Orange Kitty was intrigued, to be certain.


The party also included kite flying, which was kind of intimidating since the wind was blowing about a zilliondy miles an hour. I pretty much let the hubz do the work, as I did not want to be held responsible if the clown fish kite ended up in the next town over. Or, worse yet, Oklahoma. I’d never forgive myself.



Mags was not allowed to hold the kite string by herself since she would most certainly end up in Oklahoma.


We also had presents and cuppincakes. Mom and I made the cupcakes and, I’m gonna be honest, they were precious. We’re available for hire, just so’s you know.



Mags was super-stoked about having the birthday song sung to her and loved blowing out her candle even more. So much so that we had to complete the entire process three times, which was nice since it allowed me to actually get some good pictures. Enjoy!


A good time was had by all.

…Sleeps With the Fishes

To celebrate the recent 40th anniversary of The Godfather I shall now relate a true life crime story.




It all started on Valentine’s Day, which is pretty appropriate because the hubz decided that this year, instead of celebrating Valentine’s like every one else does with flowers/chocolate/miscellaneous romantical sundries (which we never do anyway), we should celebrate the anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.


Makes you want to eat a romantic dinner with the one you love, right? No?? Hmm...


He’s a real Casanova, folks.


I really didn’t know much about the whole Massacre thing, but after doing some research, I’ve decided that I’m glad I didn’t live in Chicago back then. Those guys were hard core. Wikipedia it. It’s fascinating and gory…just like any celebration of love should be!


So after we’ve had our St. Valentine’s (Massacre) dinner, Nana presented Mags with the best surprise the little lass has ever seen. It was a goldfish and we named her immediately. It was a tough race between “Dorothy” and “Fish” but eventually “Dorothy” won out. You see, Elmo has a fish named Dorothy and one must emulate Elmo as much as possible. Obviously.


Things were going really well. We got Dorothy set up in her new “house,” we visited her every morning, we fed her and screamed the correct pronunciation of her name, “Doofy, DOOOOFFY!!” every time we saw her. And then things went south. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a photo of Dorothy before she met with her demise. The cause of death was unknown, but we just chalked it up to the fact that the fish was, well, a fish. These things happen, right?


I must say, my father-in-law pulled off the most perfect fish switch-out I’ve ever seen. In a matter of hours, Dorothy 1 was replaced with Dorothy 2 and a friend for back up. He even added a castle to Dorothy’s house to sweeten the deal. The man’s a master. These new fish were a heartier breed called platies. They’re smaller than goldfish, but still quite orange so as to fool any unsuspecting two-year-old’s you’re trying to pull one over on. Just file that one back in your memory bank in case you ever need it. And you will need it…oh, yes, you will.


Okay, so they're not exactly like goldfish, but they're fish and they're gold-ish and they'll do in a pinch.


Since one of the new fish was already named Dorothy and the other fish had spots on it, I asked Mags if Dorothy’s friend was named Spot. Seemed pretty harmless. She looked at me as though I were the single most idiotic person in the world and said, “No, Mama. Pat.”


I stand corrected.


What's that? It's Pat!


So, for a while there, Dorothy and Pat were doing really well. Until the other morning when we realized that Pat really does sleep with the fishes now. Eeeesh. Dorothy was going kind of crazy and I personally think, based on her swim patterns, she was trying to communicate something about “leaving the gun and taking the cannoli,” but I really can’t be too sure.


At this point I’ve learned to be pretty pessimistic about these fish…and I’ve also begun to think that there may be a killer among us. Especially since the hubz woke me up this morning with a coded message. (We speak in code now when referring to the abysmal state of the fish tank in order to keep Mags out of the loop and also to sound cool.)


The message this morning was, “The swimmer has drowned.” You’d think my brief stint at the Disney aquarium would’ve prepared me for taking care of fish in my own home, but this just isn’t so. Poor, poor Dorothy. May she ever rest in peace.


At this juncture we’ve just turned the light out in the ‘ole fish tank and stopped talking about fish in general. I doubt that any replacement fish will be purchased before some serious researching has been done. Hubz has already started on it, so I’m sure we’ll learn far more about fish than we ever wanted to.


At least the girl has her dog…



Come to think of it, he looks a bit suspicious there, doesn’t he?


"They're on to it cool!"



"Remember: You know NOTHING."




Don’t you worry, folks. We’ve got the very best investigators looking into it…