Labor Day Flags and a Song


I never thought of Labor Day as a patriotic holiday, but the people who live in a certain house in our neighborhood definitely do. They have fifty flags on their front lawn. Today when I passed their house while walking the dog, I wondered if their flag display really did have anything to do with Labor Day. Maybe they’ve simply decided that they want to have a bunch of flags on their lawn all year round. Maybe they’ll stick some Jack O’ Lanterns out with their flags for Halloween, or a big inflatable snowman for Christmas.

Maybe I should buy a bunch of flags to put out on our lawn. My stepson would certainly like that. Instead of American flags though, we could have pirate flags. I was thinking about building a model pirate ship out of all the pennies we’ve collected and putting it on the front lawn too. What else are pennies good for anyway? I’m trying to class up the neighborhood, but that’s me, classing it up everywhere I go.

I decided to post this version of My Country, ‘Tis of Thee on the blog today in honor of Labor Day, the house with the flags, and The Queen. Everyone really knows that the song is just God Save the Queen with different lyrics … God save her. I know because I thought I had to learn it a few years ago. Now I’m glad I did because I sing it everyday in the shower.

My husband put on his Tom Waits hat before recording this song. That hat didn’t really look good on him either. Some people just can’t pull off hats, but the the song sounds good.

I’m a Brand Ambassador


I have an official announcement to make. Here at the Mooch we like to keep you informed that’s why we do all our informing in the form of official announcements. But first I need to tell you a story about a little girl with a serious expression and crooked pigtails. I’m too lazy to scan a picture so I drew one instead.


Great likeness, don’t you think?

This little girl dreamed of traveling the world. She dreamed of speaking eight languages and having a passport with so many stamps that it needed to get extra pages added. One way she thought she could do that was by becoming a US Ambassador.

She would be able to go to lavish parties in foreign countries and meet heads of state. She would be worldly and sophisticated.

As she matured, she realized that in order to become an ambassador she’d have to take a test. She hated tests and never really did well on them.

She’d also need certain connections to certain powerful people. When she found out that the fact that Steve Wynn nearly sat in her father’s lap once and her mother once dated a relative of Chubby Checker weren’t the right kind of connections, she gave up on her dream. “They probably don’t like ambassadors to be silly anyway,” she thought as she took her place on the factory floor making Thingymajigs and Whatsamabobs.

Have you ever heard the saying a cat on a tin roof is probably really uncomfortable? No … neither have I. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying never give up on a dream though, right?

Well that little girl with crooked pigtails and a serious expression became a woman with fuzzy hair and a face, and on this very day she also became a brand ambassador for Cottonelle’s #LetsTalkBums campaign. That means that Cottonelle will pay her some cash moneys to step away from the Thingymajig and Whatsamabob assembly line to talk about wiping bums. Don’t be embarrassed. We all have bums, and hopefully we all wipe them at some point. If you don’t I really don’t want to know.

Thanks Cottonelle for not taking wiping too seriously and thanks Mooch readers for actually wiping. We all really appreciate it. Let the ambassading begin.

Note: Yes I’m aware that ambassading isn’t a word, but since when has anything like that stopped me. I just used hashtags in my post title for goodness sakes. I’m letting it all hang out today.

Life Without Internet is Like Stabbing Myself in the Eye with a Pencil


As I write this post I am suffering one of the greatest hardships known to modern humankind. I have no internet. I called my internet provider and heard a happy little message about how there is an interruption of service in my area, but it should be restored within two hours.

Two hours!? I sat with the phone against my ear wondering how my new computerized phone buddy could be so cheerful at a time like this. How will I see Lady Gaga’s VMA performance without the interwebs? How will I keep up with the Tweets on the Twitter? How will I know that the world continues to exist? How will I not shrivel into at lonely forgotten ball of emptiness?

I can hear my stepson cooking his breakfast and I think, who eats at a time like this? Who eats when what you should be doing is laying on your bed in fetal position sobbing? “Interwebs, oh interwebs it’s been thirty whole minutes and I miss you so,” I lament. The dog opens his eyes and sighs. I know he just wants me to shut up so he can continue his nap, but he’s only napping because it’s hard to use a computer when you have paws.

That’s when I had a brilliant idea. Why not use this time without distraction to do something useful, like meditate. Okay, that’s not necessarily useful, but it’s something.

But wait … I can’t meditate because I need someone to guide me through a meditation and all of those people live in the You Tube which I can’t get to because I have no interwebs. “Life is so hard without the internet,” I say with my head in my hands.

I guess I could read a book, or take a nap, or … I’ve got nothing. That’s a problem isn’t it. I’m not too worried about it though because the longest two hours ever should be over in what feels like five million years, and then I can get on with my life.

Mow the Lawn … Again

lawmowerBecause my husband and I are absolute geniuses, we bought a manual push mower to take care of our lawn. We thought it was a good idea because it’s carbon neutral. (Notice how I seriously wrote that like the words carbon neutral have ever come out of my mouth to describe anything.) It would also help us get the exercise we need to avoid becoming giant blobs of quivering flesh that can’t even walk as far as the front door.

Let’s just say that the whole manual mower thing didn’t quite work out. We’d take turns mowing the lawn. I’d mow the back and he’d mow the front because I didn’t want the neighbors to see me struggling to push that stupid machine. As far as exercise goes, I haven’t noticed a difference.

After three months of using that lawn mower my arms are still trying to grow bat wings. That’s not entirely true. If I were sprouting actual bat wings that would be kind of cool, and I’m sure I’d get to appear on the local news. My arms are continuing to develop a hanging mass of flesh that wiggles all around when I wave. Eventually, it might become so long and droopy that I could hit myself in the face with it. I’ve done pushups to try to remedy the situation, but after doing roughly six pushups over the course of three weeks still no change. This post isn’t about my arms though, so let me stop.

At some point our mower stopped being quite so mowy. Maybe it’s because the grass thickened up for the summer. Maybe the blades just got too dull. Maybe it decided to go on strike. I don’t know why it happened, all I know is one day it started taking me twice as long to cut the grass, and the darn thing refused to cut some of the grass at all.

None of that matters now because some friends were nice enough to let us borrow their electric mower and now cutting the lawn is like a game of Russian roulette where the extension cord is the gun and the mower blades are the bullets, or maybe that should be the other way around. Can mowing the lawn be any scarier? Don’t I fall down enough in my life already? The orange extension cord trailing along after the mower doesn’t seem to think so that’s for sure.

Now mowing is strictly my husband’s responsibility because my stepson and I can’t deal with extension cords and sharp objects at once. Just thinking about it makes my brain short circuit. Now every time I hear my husband start the lawn mower I sit in the house and worry that he’s going to electrocute himself.

Photo by r.nial.bradshaw

Coffee and Thunderstorms

I have difficulty sleeping. I lay in bed for hours tossing and turning. Every little sound wakes me up. It’s always been that way. Not sleeping well has become part of my personality. I’m shy. I’m quirky. I’m a bad sleeper. That’s why when my husband started claiming that I was just dreaming about not sleeping instead of not sleeping in reality, it really threw me for a loop.

My husband claims that on all those nights that I didn’t sleep a wink, I was snoring away. Yes, sometimes I snore, but it’s a very nice lady-like snore that sounds like fluttering angel wings.

Recently, the dog has been keeping me up. If he sleeps in our room he moves around and breathes too much, and if he sleeps someplace else in the house he still moves around and breathes. When I ask my husband if all that moving around and breathing bothers him he just looks at me like I’m crazy. “Would you rather he didn’t move or breathe because maybe we should’ve gotten a stuffed dog instead.”

He’s got a point. I never considered the stuff dog option before–less walking, less feeding, less poop. The downside is that I’d have to work a whole lot harder to annoy a stuffed dog, and everyone knows I like to work as little as possible.

Last night I swore I smelled the dog brewing coffee in the kitchen. I sat bolt upright in bed and said to my husband, “He’s making coffee.”

My husband groaned and rolled over, and I ran to the kitchen. The dog was in there, but he was just wagging his tail. There didn’t seem to be any coffee brewing, but he could’ve have been hiding it.

After that I kept smelling coffee, and then there was a thunderstorm. I just couldn’t get back to sleep.

My husband thinks this was all a dream, but why would I dream about the dog making coffee? It really happened. That’s why my brain has been mush all day. That’s why I can’t seem to form complete sentences. At least that’s what I’m telling people when they ask. I’m tired because there was a thunderstorm and my dog kept making coffee last night. It makes sense, right?

The Dinner Party

dinnerpartyI always say that I want to have a dinner party now that we’re living in our own house, but I just never get around to it. Right now, my excuse is that we still don’t have a dining table. How can I have a dinner party if there is no place to sit down and eat?

In reality, we probably don’t have a dining table because then I’d have no excuse not to have a dinner party. I can fool anyone into thinking I’m a party animal because I’m well versed in trickery, but in reality I hate parties.

I’m socially awkward. You never would’ve guessed, because the last time you saw me at a party and I introduced myself to you for the third time that night, you were thinking, “Wow, this woman must be talking to a lot of people because she doesn’t remember that she introduced herself to me twice already this evening. Either that or she’s wasted.”

The truth is neither of those are the case. You’re the only person I talked to that evening. I kept introducing myself to you and asking your name, because we’ve had that conversation once already and I’m pretty sure I know how it will turn out. It’s like watching a movie you’ve already. At least you know it’s good and no one will get decapitated in the end.

So don’t be offended, I know your name. I just like the comfort of hearing you say it again … and again … and again. It reminds me of watching Back to the Future or shopping for dining tables online.

That’s basically why I haven’t had a dinner party yet. I like routine, I don’t have a dining table, and I’m anti-decapitation.

Picture by manhhai.

The Sting of Defeat

paperwaspI was stung by a paper wasp last week, and I did nothing to deserve it. They’ve taken up resistance somewhere beneath the siding of the house near the front window. I was minding my own business checking out the progress of some herbs I planted when suddenly one of those evil little creatures decided to sting me. What? Was I a little to close to the rosemary for you? Did I touch the Holy Basil in the wrong way?

That wasp sting hurt so badly that it prompted a spontaneous dance of pain and a short sprint up the sidewalk. I still bare the scars of the assault, but my husband just keeps saying, “I was stung by a yellow jacket once and it really wasn’t that bad.”

Because I was tired of hearing that I decided to look up the yellow jacket and the paper wasp on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. Yes, there is a man who went around the world getting stung by insects so he could rate the pain of the sting on a scale from one to four. You can hear all about him on this episode of Radiolab. I’m grateful for his suffering because without him I would be unable to prove to my husband that I have suffered more than him.

According to the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, a yellow jacket sting is a lowly two on the pain scale. A two is just one step away from a one which, when you think about it, might as well be a zero. A paper wasp, on the other hand, is a three which is one step from being a four which might as well be like being stung a million bullet ants.

When I told my husband that he protested. “But it was a European yellow jacket,” he said.

“Yep, still a two,” I said.

Looks like I won that one. The taste of victory is sweet even when I have a red, blister-covered sting on my side.

Photo by touterse

The Mosquito

superheroI’ve recently decided that I should quit this whole blogging thing and dedicate my life to fighting crime. I don’t want to be a police officer or anything like that, I’m thinking more along the lines of becoming a superhero. I’ve been trying to think of a good superhero name and the only thing I’ve been able to come up with is The Mosquito. The name is appropriate for Florida and whenever I’m outside I attract so many mosquitoes that I honestly don’t understand how I’ve managed not to get West Nile Virus or Malaria.

As a superhero, I’d fly to places where crime is taking place and buzz around the bad guys until they become so annoyed that they can’t commit a crime. If my buzzing around doesn’t distract them enough, I’d bite them infecting them with West Nile Virus.

Now that I have a name and a superpower, I need to come up with an outfit. The outfit is the hard part. Of course I’ll have a cape. What’s the point in being a superhero if you don’t have a cape? The problem with superhero outfits is that they are way too revealing. Wonder Woman looks like a stripper. I was thinking about going with the skintight rubbery outfit like Batman. But I’m not into skintight. I have a bit of a belly. So then I was thinking I could keep the rubbery look, but the outfit could be loose and sack-like.

The problem is this is Florida and I’m sure that rubbery stuff doesn’t breathe very well. I’d probably be sweating up a storm in my rubbery superhero suit. All the sweat would collect and I’d be sloshing around like a big water balloon. It would probably totally prevent me from flying. Why does being a superhero have to be so hard? Now I know why Batman never smiles.

Maybe being a superhero isn’t such a good idea. I guess I’ll stick with blogging for now.

Picture by morningshadow.

How to be the Life of the Party Every Time

partyI have a pretty big announcement for you. I went to a party yesterday. I don’t mean to pat myself on the back, but I’m patting myself on the back. Wait there’s more … I went to a party, and I smiled, and I may have even talked to two people I didn’t really know. Amazing, isn’t it?

Now that I have all this partying and socializing stuff down, I thought it would be good to help some of you out by giving you some handy dandy advice you can use at the next social gathering you attend.

1. Arrive late. Nothing says cool like showing up at least an hour late. Being late lets people know that you really aren’t that eager to please. You have other things to do and haven’t spent the whole day sitting around worrying about having to attend this party. If you want to look even cooler show up with your parents in tow and mascara smeared under your eyes.

2. Sit away from the crowd. This makes you stand out drawing people over to speak to you. Sitting a few yards from the other people at the party is good. It’s even better if you sit by the fire pit alone right in the path of all the smoke. People will think, “Who is that fascinating person sitting by the fire pit shrouded in mystery? I must get to know her.”

3. Eat and drink as much as you can. If you have food in your mouth or a cup at your lips no one really expects you to say anything. Taking a sip of your drink during awkward silences does a lot to ease tension. Even better, eat something red and spill it on your favorite white shirt. This will give you an excuse to hide in the bathroom for a few minutes under the guise of removing a stain.

4. Nod and smile. Conversations will most probably happen around you. At parties this is hard to avoid. If someone starts speaking in your general direction nod and smile while avoiding eye contact. It doesn’t matter what they say. Just nod and smile. It works in every situation.

“Hi. I’m Laura. I don’t think we’ve met. What’s your name?”

Nod and smile while sticking a large forkful of beet salad into your mouth. Be sure to let some beet juice dribble down your chin onto your shirt. Now you have the perfect reason to excuse yourself.

5. Leave early without saying goodbye. Face it. Nobody really wants to say goodbye to you. You smell of smoke and have beet juice splattered on your shirt. Besides, they’re all deeply engrossed in conversation. It’s best if you just slip out the door without a word. If someone notices you leaving avoid eye contact and move a bit faster. They probably won’t be able to catch you before you make it to your car.

Now that you know how it’s done you too can be the life of any party. Keep these tips a secret. Not everyone can be as popular and charming as we are.

Picture by Kiwi Morado.

Accidently Braless

Somehow my bra came unfastened in the grocery store. For the life of me I can’t figure out how it happened. I was in the dog food aisle when I felt a pop. As I continued to walk around the store things just didn’t feel right. I was somehow freer, but I couldn’t figure out what was different.

Then the straps started sliding down my shoulders when I was walking to checkout. It was like I was being molested by some kind of ghost who is attracted to women with fuzzy hair and smudged glasses. I said to my husband, “I think my bra is falling off.”

He laughed and took a good long look at me. “Something’s definitely going on.” Of course that wasn’t enough. He always has something silly to say. For this occasion it was, “Look at you boobing all around Publix.”

When something embarrassing like this happens to me I tend to talk way more than usual. It’s like I think that drawing more attention to myself will somehow divert attention away from myself. It doesn’t make any sense, I know.

As soon as we got to the register I started loudly joking with the cashier. I was hoping that ridiculing myself would draw attention away from my swaying breasts. Did it work? Who knows. I do know it didn’t stop the guy in the pickup truck parked a few spaces away from staring at me as I fastened my bra once we got in the car.

I probably should’ve just gone to the bathroom to take care of the situation, but I was too frazzled to think of that. If I can’t think straight when my bra comes undone in the store imagine how much of a mess I am when a real crisis strikes.