Once In A Lifetime America

We are persevering in unprecedented times and it's fricking exhausting! 2020 is a record-breaking year for every American. In the midst of an out of control global pandemic we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to vote for leadership as if our livelihoods depended on it. As parents, we never dreamt a once in a lifetime global pandemic would force us to supervise online learning for our four children. Here we are again, months later, battling for patience as our children struggle to stay virtually engaged with teachers. Screen-time limits, forgeddaboutit, kids socialize virtually now and parents need a fricking break! It takes executive functioning to manage back-to-school this year between three schools, twenty-five teachers, and school communication via texts, emails and phone calls. God bless the teachers trying to manage learning benchmarks this year! Never mind the hurdles of technology widening the achievement gap, growing public school class sizes and budget cuts, or the …

Jedi Mind Tricks of Reptilian Proportions

I prefer to admire reptiles from afar, so scaly and cold-blooded, with unpredictable movements that give me the heebie-jeebies. I'd sooner have another baby than one more pet to remind my kids to feed, until now. It seems our 10-year-old son made us an offer we couldn't refuse like my husband on our Cancun vacation, and now I find us with one more mouth to feed and wondering how we got here!

It's key to put the question up front, or was that the answer? Regardless, he had my attention. Employing basic salesmanship 101 techniques, the kid hit us right between parenting guilt and Covid-19 pandemic. Though I'll admit I'm a sucker for a Google Docs presentation during 'summer brain drain' with more facts than the White House press secretary. 
Sure, my youngest son and his 15-year-old brother had tried before, from snakes to lizards. The answer was always Hell No. We had no time for that! 
Honestly, when you got down to brass tacks, the fourth child was vying for s…

The Natives Are Restless - RV Life Day #21

The pooch ate our breakfast. With dwindling supplies, the muffins I made yesterday would've sustained us another morning until we restocked our wagon. The bitch is a thief and you think we'd have learned by now not to store food on the gas stove next to the pleather couch when the natives are restless!

During our month-long RV trip, Mayzie, the middle-aged black Schnoodle with the gap-tooth smile, has consumed a half-loaf of bread, two dozen of grandma's chocolate chip cookies, my son's Doritos Locos taco from Taco Bell and a dozen cinnamon sugar sweet Raisin Bran muffins, wrappers and all. I can picture our two-year-old, eight-pound Schnoodle Ozzie watching her peruse the veritable buffet from below, lacking the fortitude to jump that high. I'm sure Mayzie didn't allow a scrap to fall as there's only one Schnoodle who needed the outdoor shower to shamingly hose off her hindquarters. Did she learn her lesson? No! So much for doggie FOMO (fear of missing own…

Making Covid Quarantine Look Easy - RV Life Day #16

What was I thinking? RV life for a family of six makes Covid-quarantine at home look easy. I’ll admit, I viewed traveling to national parks, visiting 10 states in 26 days and logging over 4800 miles with rose-colored glasses. Like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music I pictured us hiking Yosemite mountains and biking Glenwood Canyon along the Colorado River, in harmony. Other than the techno music from my son’s iPad game, the RV is barely humming on day 16 and the whine more plentiful than wine. 

RV life is even more confining without a working generator and air conditioning on the road. An $800 consolation prize concession from the RV owner no longer worth the inconvenience when forced to reroute and forgo simple pleasures like the Glenwood Hot Springs pool, unable to leave our barking Schnoodles to overheat in an RV. 

The novelty of hauling 30 pounds of panting tail uphill on bike (both ways) was beginning to wear off when Annie damn near accosted me on the Glenwood Springs, CO bike …

Be Careful What You Wish For - RV Life Day #13

Be careful what you wish for, I'm reminded time and again on our RV extravaganza. The newness has worn off and we're now in it for the long-haul. From 115 degrees in Las Vegas, Nevada, to Portland-rain-soaked Bryce Canyon, Utah today with thunder, lightning and flash flood warnings. We wished it was cooler as the kids grew nauseous driving in the back of the bus, windows open and papers blowing from Paris to New York down the Las Vegas Strip without a generator for air conditioning, now I only hope this boat can float!

I had cherished the RV resorts without WiFi when our four kids had no choice but to swim in the refreshingly cool waters of Lake Mead, or bike ride the red-orange canyons of Zion National Park. Of course our Schnoodles were along for the ride, whether doggy paddling after ducks or barking away the menacing deer, we turned Covid-frowns upside down with canines in bike baskets, ears flapping in the breeze.

Besides, Schnoodles suffer from a serious case of FOMO (fr…

Wild West Adventures - RV Life Day #10

You haven't lived unless you've traveled to Beatty, NV with a 32 foot RV and bike trailer!

California state road 168 headed east was not the route I would've chosen jockeying for speed in Pole Position! Twisting and turning, uphill, downhill in the desert canyon between the posted 25 and 35 miles per hour left me white-knuckled. I remember mounting a hill, trusting that the invisible downhill would not be too steep, bottoming out the RV and leaving our bike rack behind.

Road narrows and one-way traffic ahead? You've gotta be frickin' kidding me! I wondered should I sound the horn driving a house on wheels with no shoulder room for error? A BMW sped ahead, leaving me in the desert dust as I tried to maneuver yet another loop de loop. Wheee! Downshifting the recreational vehicle into third gear doesn't pack the same punch. He's surely in pole position now.

"I think I'm going to throw up," my daughter shouted from the back of the bus, where air c…

The Next Chapter Begins - RV Life Day #9

Last night I lay on the warm, rock-hard black top driveway of the RV park. The reek, reek, reek of crickets over the babbling, bubbling hot spring creek was meditative. Zipping across the sky, I saw flashes of light belonging to fading stars or comets. I felt like a 10-year-old child watching the curvature of the night sky like a planetarium sprinkled with stars. A meditative moment alone, I pretended I was on a Cancun beach listening to waves crash, minus the comfort of a lounge chair.

I can't believe the kids are missing this, I thought to myself, which is how I know I am certifiably insane, and Cancun, minus children, the only place I can relax. As car lights approached from the right, I sprang to my feet and walked back to the RV with determination. I can't believe my kids have never seen stars in Portland, or laid on a blacktop staring at the sky!

Opening the RV door I spied four kids fixated on electronics who refused to give me the time of day, let alone entertain an as…