Why I Hate My Rental Car

While my car is getting put back together at the body shop after a recent collision, I’m driving a rental car that my insurance company hooked me up with. And I hate this car.

Wait, I really shouldn’t use the word “hate”.

How about, “vehemently detest.”

Yeah, that’s right, Gift Horse. I see your mouth. And I’m looking right at it.

Because here’s what I experienced in getting a free rental as a loaner car from my insurance company: having no say whatsoever in what I was given.

When I asked what my $40 a day coverage would get me, the rental company assured me that I would be getting a premium car.

And by premium, they probably meant that the interior is luxurious and spacious, and that they were doing me a favor by “upgrading” me to this line of rentals. So, for that, I am grateful they didn’t put me in a well-soiled box car.

But I think “premium” really means a sedan with enough leg and head room to house a small basketball team.

Let me interrupt this little rant by saying that, on a good day, when my spine is feeling sprite and lively, I stand five feet one inch tall.

Not a giant person am I.

So, when I first dipped in to the Chevy Impala after they pulled it up to the curb, I had to spend about an hour adjusting the seat and mirrors so that I could see anything, anything out of the windows.

Because this car is clearly made for someone much taller, more beefy, and perhaps even more manly than I am.

With my seat raised as high and as far forward as it can possibly go, I can’t see the tail of my car out the rear view window. Or the front of my car out the front windshield. Or any side of the car out of any window or mirror at all.

It’s like I need to sit on a freakin’ phonebook, or, even more embarrassing, a booster seat to see what I’m doing.

I am a grown adult, dammit! Though, in this case, I guess I’m taking “grown” a little too far.

You want to know what else makes me feel like a midget in this car? The window base sits higher than my shoulder, so the mere thought of resting my left arm on the ledge is nearly impossible without needing a visit to the chiropractor.  I can barely see the speedometer through the steering wheel. My head doesn’t even come in close proximity to the headrest.

I’m surprised the cops haven’t pulled me over for thinking I’m a tween who likes to break the law.

I’m sure that if I were a large male who liked to sit all low in my seat, with my legs stretched as long as they could go to air out the Family Jewels, this car would be fine and dandy.  But I am a 40-something petite mother of two who would like to be able to see if I’m about to sideswipe the minivan next to me at car line.

The engine roars at the slightest press of the gas pedal like a muscle car, making me blush with embarrassment when I start to accelerate at a green light.  I’m sorry, but that kind of horsepower just screams “I’M OVERCOMPENSATING FOR THE SIZE OF MY MAN PARTS WITH A LARGE AND INTENSELY LOUD ENGINE!”

I’ll just come right out and say it: When I drive this car, I feel compelled to sport a mullet, a muscle shirt and crank up heavy metal music in this car, with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth.

Not. A. Fan.

My kids, however, love the rental car. LOVE. IT.

Mostly because it’s new and different and has a nice, clean, untouched interior. It’s probably the same feeling pioneers experienced when they came upon the western plains.

Plus, the dashboard has this weird little box in the front that goes up and down at the push of a button that my kids love to play with.

What the heck are you supposed to put in this magical little hidey hole?

Probably your weed. To hide it from the po-po, I guess.

Because it’s just that kind of a car.

I know I shouldn’t complain, considering my insurance company is footing the bill. And this massive beast of a car is only temporary.  But I’ll be more than relieved to get my old car back and kick this Impala to the curb.

Until then, does anyone have a copy of The Yellow Pages I can borrow?



What’s In Your Bracket?

I’m teetering dangerously towards the bottom of our 100+ person tournament pool.  But I can’t really take all the credit, as my son helped me pick this year.  Normally, I choose by what mascot I like best.  His choice? What state’s he’s been to.

To each his own.

So, with that time of year again, I thought I’d drag this out again.  The Tantrum Tournament, broken down in bracket style, complete with seeds and everything.  What’s in YOUR bracket?

2014 tantrum tournament.jpg



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5 Signs You Might Be a Winter Olympics Junkie

Adapted from a post originally published in August, 2012.

Every year I tell myself I’m not going to get sucked in to watching hours upon hours of Olympics coverage.  And then I find myself gravitating towards NBC every night like a bad addiction I can’t quit.

It doesn’t even matter that I have no clue what to look for when watching a good bobsledder or what the difference is between a Super G or the Giant Slalom.  My prowess at skiing proceeds me.  But regardless, I just can’t stop myself from watching and following Team USA these Winter Olympics.

Luckily, I have faced this addiction before and am equipped to recognize the signs, but you may need help to determine if you, too, are a Winter Olympics junkie:

Winter Olympics Junkie

5)  Like a bleery-eyed newborn parent making coffee without even thinking in the morning, you reach for your gadget de jour as soon as your feet hit the floor, searching for the day’s newest results, perusing the agenda for the day’s events, and hoping to find out the status of Bob Costas’ eyes.

7597065_s4)  Despite knowing full well that those little alarm clocks called preschoolers will wake you up at 6am, you stay up way past midnight watching the day’s competitions.  It’s easy to get sucked in.  That little tease right before commercial…”Next up, Ted Ligety sets an Olympic record for skiing backwards while reading a phone book” hooks you in, and before you know it, you’ve wasted away six hours of your night that should have been spent cleaning up dinner, “reconnecting” with your partner, or getting some sleep.  Besides, those dramatic commentators on the men’s skeleton event are just too good to pass up.

3)  People avoid you all day because they know you constantly check your phone for the latest medal count.  Everyone knows you, YOU, are The Spoiler Alert.   In an effort to be the most up-to-date expert on what’s happening with the Olympics, you have ruined others’ efforts to avoid finding out what happened before they get home to watch the highlights in primetime.  You just couldn’t keep your mouth shut about Shaun White, could you?  Jerk.

2)  You’ve gone beyond the realm of enthusiast and have created an alternate reality for yourself where You Are An Olympic Athlete!  You can’t stop yourself from sliding breakfast plates over to the kids with the craft of a skilled curler.   Your neighbors are getting a kick out watching you speed skate to the mailbox.  In sneakers.  Then there’s the TWIZZLING!  In the Shower!

1)  The half-pipe you’ve constructed out of the frozen tundra in your backyard is an accident waiting to happen.  If you’ve made it this far, you’ve gone over the edge.  Get yourself an intervention.  Take solace in the fact that this madness will come to an end this weekend and you’ll be forced to deal with your addiction cold turkey, or turn your attention elsewhere (like the kids?  work?  making a normal dinner?  Rats.)  Have no fear, The next Summer Olympics are but a mere 18-months away…

Be honest.  Are you obsessed?  What’s your favorite Winter Olympic event?

Eyebombing: I Only Have Eyes For You

On a recent flight to Denver, my daughter pulled out the airplane emergency thingy and started cackling.  I thought perhaps it was because she was amused at safety procedure.  Or that she found the layout of a 747 to be a riot. Or that someone had drawn a mustache on every face in the brochure.

But it was none of these.

My daughter was giggling because some genius had done this:

EyebombingI thought it was pretty funny, snapped a photo, showed it to the rest of my family and then didn’t think much about it again.

Then at Christmas, someone started talking about googly eyes.  You know, how creepy they thought they were.  How there’s a whole group of folks who also find it creepy, like those faction of the population that want to band the word MOIST from our vocabulary.

Then, one day whilst bored, I found THIS SITE on the interwebs.



All I could think was…

Dear Lord, this is a THING.

Apparently, eyebombing is the new street art.  Created by a couple of Danish guys who felt that there was a niche missing in street art, it’s a quick and simple process.  People go around sticking googly eyes on anything that looks like it could turn in to a face, giving life to inanimate objects and hopefully making someone smile in the process.

But, make no mistake; there are rules to be followed.  Like, your eyebomb has to be in a public space.  It can’t be a round sticker with black circles drawn on it, it has to the jiggly, crafty kind of any size.  And it has to be removable so as not to be considered vandalism.

Okay, so the rules of eyebombing would give a big thumbs-down to the airplane bandit and that left my daughter a treat in seat 14B.  But I’ll take the laugh anyway.

Heck, even the BBC did a piece on it:

It begs the question, “What’s next?”

There’s already guerrilla knitting, which can be pretty visually appealing and adds some punch and fun to ordinary spaces.  But, let’s face it, it’s YARN.  The mere thought of touching wet, stinky, dirty yarn on a stairway rail makes me want to coat myself in a thick layer of hand sanitizer.

And, stopping short of Christo‎ wrapping my entire town in soft and supple saffron chiffon, there’s not a whole lot that I think I’d be interesting in seeing.

Except those goofy, whimsical googly eyes staring up at me from a parking meter as I feed it a tasty snack of quarters.  Because, really, who wouldn’t like to be a little more lighthearted as you’re forking over money.



I think I’ve found a new hobby.



American Girl for Real Girls

We could not fight it anymore.  Resistance was futile.  We knew our daughter would get exposed to this at some point.  That pressure from her friends would prove too great.

I’m talking about the American Girl phenomena.

American Girl

After lots of hint-dropping and flat-out bold requests, my four year-old daughter received an American Girl from Santa.   Before she met with the Man With the Bag, she scoured American Girl catalogs and even took a trip to our nearby store to chose the right doll for her.

She first gravitated towards the historical dolls.  Kaya, the brave and outgoing Native American girl who wants to lead her people one day.   Addy, the African American girl who endured the Civil War, and Josephina, the New Mexican girl who has just lost her mother; all of them captured my daughter’s heart.

But then she stumbled in to the My American Girl section and was mesmerized.  She could find a girl that looks JUST. LIKE. HER?  I can’t tell you how many Oh My Goshes I heard at this realization.

She perused the case of identically dressed dolls in a variety of skin tones, eye color, hair styles and shades and settled on one that she thought most resembled her.  And then, armed with her product code, she asked Santa for her first American Girl doll.

And boy did Santa deliver.

I wish I could bottle up my daughter’s delight and excitement when she unwrapped her American Girl doll and save it for a rainy day.  Watching her gaze sweetly at the face of her “girl” was priceless.  Totally worth it.

But about five minutes after my daughter opened up her doll on Christmas morning, she made a discovery.   Her doll, the one that was supposed to look as close to her own likeness as possible, was missing something.

There was no birthmark on her cheek.  Or, as we refer to it, a beauty mark.

Knowing beforehand that this might be an issue, I called our local American Girl store and asked them if they were able to give girls things like birthmarks, in addition to the countless other “personalizations” they provide like pierced ears, braces or glasses.  And I was told no.

So there I sat on Christmas morning with a brown Sharpie, carefully…oh so fucking carefully…putting a brown beauty mark on this tiny cheek of expensive porcelain-like skin.

American Girl

And when I told friends this story, they were dumbfounded. “Why can’t they put a birthmark on one of their dolls?”  I have no idea.  I contacted the American Girl website to inquire with the same question and received this in response:

Though we currently offer 40 different combinations of eye color, hair color, and skin tone in our My American Girl® line, we are unable to make any changes to the dolls or provide customization at this time. We apologize for any  disappointment this may cause.

Although we are unable to create a doll with your daughter’s unique  birthmark, we hope you will be able to select a doll that will bring her many years of enjoyment.

And yes, I’m sure she will enjoy her adorable doll for years.

However, when news spread about an online petition to have American Girl release a Girl of the Year with a disability, I wasn’t surprised.

Because, yes, the opportunity is available to purchase external, and often temporary, items like crutches, wheelchairs and other options for dolls.  Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can buy dolls without hair or have their existing doll’s head replaced with a head that has no hair.  Dolls can even get hearing aid implants.

But the chance to make your doll look exactly like you when other issues are at stake just doesn’t exist yet.

For my daughter, that beauty mark is as every bit essential to why she thinks she’s unique as her eyes, hair and skin tone.  It won’t wash away with a facecloth.   She identifies herself with that beauty mark.

So why not be able to put one on?

As a matter of fact, why not produce girls that some of us in the non-perfect category of the population can relate to?  Like Excema Emily, whose skin isn’t as silky smooth all over like the rest of the girls.  Or Acne Alison, whose complexion doesn’t look airbrushed.  Or Chipped Tooth Cindy, who will be stuck with that crooked smile until she’s old enough for braces and veneers.

I say this somewhat jokingly, but all kidding aside, I would hope that a company that appears to be all-inclusive could step out of its rigid mold for a while, sit in someone else’s mangled shoes, and see what the rest of us see.

That our real life American Girls are gorgeous – disabilities, birthmarks and all.

Do you have a daughter that has an American Girl doll?  If so, did she chose one that resembled her or did she go a different route?