Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

My friend Kim at Let Me Start By Saying wrote an essay that was featured on the Huffington Post. It was about reading her five-year-old daughter's diary. Kim knew her daughter had been writing in her diary and Kim wondered what was going on in her daughter's head. She took the key and opened the book. She was apprehensive. She was worried she might find out that her daughter was sad or angry or hiding something. Instead, she found that her daughter was happy and loved her life. Kim wrote a sweet and endearing post about this experience and her relief to find her daughter happy and healthy.

Stan the Mann Got His DNA Results Back!

If you've been keeping up, then you know a year ago I changed my mind about dogs and we adopted Stan the Mann Doggo. When he got him we were told he was a "Retriever Mix." We were handed a wriggly little puppy with lots of loose skin, giant paws, and huge brown eyes. As he's grown over the last year and a half, he hasn't lost the loose skin or the giant paws or the huge brown eyes, but he also has never resembled a Retriever of any kind. In fact, we weren't sure what kind of dog he was.

From certain angles, he definitely looked like he had some Beagle in him or some Boxer, but we just didn't know.

So, over Christmas, the Hubs bought a dog DNA test from Wisdom Panel as a surprise for our family. We'd finally find out Stan's genetic makeup.

He sat down and let me swab his mouth and then we sent off the sample. In the meantime, we all wrote down what we thought the results would be.

My list was:

1. Retriever.

2. Beagle.

3. Boxer.

4. Chihuahua (just to be an ass).

Over the weekend, Stan's results landed in our inbox, and shocked is an understatement. 

We knew Stan was a mixed breed, but we didn't expect him to have 15 different breeds. But the most shocking part was that NOT ONE BIT of him is Beagle or Boxer.

He's a little bit of a lot of breeds, but he's 28% of one particular breed that came as a huge surprise. It was such a surprise that I asked my readers if they could guess. I ran a contest and anyone who guessed correctly would be entered to win a signed copy of one of my books (thanks for entering - the winner has been notified). 

I saw a lot of Boxer and Beagle guesses (we weren't the only ones who could see that, I guess). Several Labs and Pit Bull guesses. A TON of Bernese Mountain dog and St. Bernard. And one lady who guessed Chow Chow because every rescue she knows in Kansas City has a little Chow Chow in it. Her theory is there's a Chow Chow on the loose around town living his best life. I kind of agree with her theory since Stan is 6% Chow Chow.

But so many of these guesses were wrong. And I'm not surprised, because Stan the Mann is 28% Akita!

I don't see it. It's hidden in there.

For those of you who guessed Pit Bull, you were close. That's second on the list at 14%. He's also 1% St. Bernard which apparently really shows through when he's wearing his tie. And that wrinkly skin of his? I'm assuming it's from his 2% Chinese Shar-Pei.

Here's the whole shebang:

I guess the dog shelter wasn't wrong when they called him a "Retriever Mix." He's a whole lotta dog, but as many people said in the comments, he's 100% a good boy.

Stan also wanted me to remind you that MIDLIFE BITES: ANYONE ELSE FALLING APART, OR IS IT JUST ME? is now available everywhere books are sold.

Anyone Else Falling Apart Or Is It Just Me?

So I'm pretty sure I'm going through a midlife crisis. I feel like I'm falling apart. I feel like the more I try to keep from falling apart, the faster I fall apart. I feel like I'm drowning and I can't breathe. And, on top of all that, I also feel numb. I'm not positive that's a midlife crisis, because when I Google midlife crisis or signs of a midlife crisis, so much of the information points to how men feel or how men can cope. There's not a lot of information out there for women.

I thought, Maybe it doesn't happen to us? No, I think it's more like we don't talk about this stuff. 

I was reminded of a story about my overwhelmed great-grandmother asking her doctor for some help and he told her, "Nice women don't discuss such things."

Nice women don't discuss such things.

I guess it's a good thing I'm not a nice woman? Because I'm ready to discuss this uncomfortable topic.

I'm miserable. I've been feeling this way for about a year now and I was afraid to say anything even to my closest friends and family. It's a really shitty thing to say out loud, because I know it hurts the people close to me, plus it just sounds like typical suburban angst. If I was a refugee somewhere, I wouldn't get the luxury to say, "I'm just not happy." I'm not running for my life, I'm not watching people around me get murdered, I don't have any real strife in my life, so what the fuck? Buck up! Right?  

I don't know, though. Don't I deserve to be happy? Don't I owe it to myself? Isn't that what I'm always preaching? Or am I supposed to keep this all to myself and just muddle through and not make waves?

Overachieving Elf on the Shelf Mommies

By now we have all heard of the adorable little Elf on the Shelf. Almost everyone I know has one.  Some people even have two!  (Now I'm having guilt for not having two, because apparently I need two because when my kids are adults they'll each want one from their childhood.  Ugh.  Not looking forward to that conversation with the Hubs when I tell him why we need another Elf.)

The Elf is a handy little thing to have.  The little bastard keeps my children in check this time of year.  When there is even a HINT of rebellion all I have to do is say, "Elf" and they snap back in line.

I'm Always Right

It is a ridiculously hot real estate market and the Hubs has been working overtime. When we first started working together way back in 2006 we divided up the responsibilities: he'd work with buyers and I'd work with sellers. Over the last couple years, I've pulled away from real estate and left a lot of it up to him. He's been working like crazy these last few months and I couldn't help him because I've been finishing up Midlife Bites.

But as luck would have it, I'd just turned in my book to my editor at the same time he sold a listing, so I could help him. And it was a good thing I was around!

Because he specializes in buyers, he sometimes forgets the rules and laws for working with sellers. Last week he sold a listing (yay) but I felt he was misinterpreting the contract. No. It was more than a feeling. I KNEW he was misinterpreting the contract, but I could not get him to understand that what he wanted to do was not correct. 

"No, no, no," I said. "You'll be in trouble if you do that."

"I do it all the time," the Hubs replied.

"Yeah, because when you do it you're representing the BUYER. It's okay when it's the buyer, but the seller cannot do that!" I was practically screaming because he wouldn't listen to me. 

"What do you know?" he said. "You haven't sold a house in a year." 

McScuze me??? I might be a bit rusty, but I still know my contract law. "I know my shit," I argued. "I've sold a lot more listings than you have. Trust me. I'm right."

"I'll bet you I'm right," the Hubs said.

I don't normally like to bet unless I know I can win. When I go to Las Vegas, I go to the spa and shopping because I'd rather "lose" money that way. But I knew I was right, so I bet him. "If you call the real estate commission and ask them who is right, I'll bet you a hundred dollars," I said. That's how confident I was.

"Fine," the Hubs said. "I'll call them now."

"Fine," I said.

The problem was, it was a Saturday and the commission was closed for the weekend.

Yesterday was our anniversary. We didn't exchange gifts this year because after 18 years of marriage, what could a person still want? 

I was working in my office when the Hubs poked his head in. "You got a minute?" he asked.


He walked in and dropped a hundred dollar bill on my desk. "The Hubs always pays his debts," he said. "Happy Anniversary, you were right. You're always right."

And that right there was all the gift I've ever wanted.

What's the best anniversary present you've ever received?

Check out my signed books! Follow me on Instagram!

Meet Stan the Mann!

If you follow my personal Facebook account, then you'll know, we got ourselves a Pandemic Puppy in August. 

That's right, I finally broke down and adopted a dog. I know Adolpha's first word was "Dada" but I'm pretty sure her second word was "puppy." For over ten years Adolpha has asked us every day if we could get a dog. 

I didn't want a dog because I had enough to take care of and I knew that no matter what anyone said or promised, I'd be the one responsible for the dog. 

But once we were in the throes of the pandemic with no end (still) in sight, I decided that maybe we all needed a little furry friend to make us feel better. Every day we'd send links to one another advertising different dogs that were available for adoption. We argued over the pros and cons of big dogs vs. little dogs. Puppies vs. older dogs. We made lists of potential names for our non-existent dog. 

Finally, after several weeks of planning, we found the perfect dog and name: Stanley.

We're all big fans of The Office and Stanley is our favorite character so it made sense to name him Stanley. 

When Stan's adoption day rolled around, we wore masks and sat in our minivan while we waited for him to return from his surgery (snip, snip). Finally, after two hours of waiting, a masked volunteer dropped a sleepy puppy in Gomer's lap and we were told, "Good luck!" 

I didn't know what to do with a dog. Neither the Hubs nor I had a dog growing up and we didn't have any sort of "dog-ternal instinct" that would kick in. So, I ordered a bunch of books and started reading. I've read more about raising dogs than I have about raising kids! Luckily, Stan is super smart and he's made it quite easy for me.

We've had Stan for several months now and he's officially part of the family. So, must a part of the family, he got his own Instagram account. If you're not working on social media, you can't be in this family!

When we got Stan the kids were out of school and everyone could help take a turn watching him, playing with him, feeding him, walking him, pooping him, all of it. But within a few weeks school started and the state was like, "Ma'am, your kids need to be learning shit, not taking care of the dog so you can fart around on Facebook." 

So, guess who is Stan's BFF? 

It's not terrible, though. He gives warm hugs and is always happy to see me, which is more than I can say for the rest of my family. I finally get why people like dogs so much!

OH! I forgot, here's the FAQ everyone always wants to know about Stan. 

What kind of dog is he? We don't know. Because he's a rescue, we weren't given a lot of info except he's a "Retriever mix." There are days he looks like he's got some beagle in there or some boxer. 

Those paws are big! How much does he weigh? He's finally growing into his big paws. Last month at the vet he weighed just over 30 pounds. The vet has guesstimated he'll be 70 pounds. 

As I said, I don't have a lot of instinct when it comes to raising dogs, so give me your best bit of advice please! Follow Stan so you can take in all of his cuteness! 

And if you order a signed copy of any of my books, you can be assured that Stan helped me stuff the envelope. Act now and receive a slightly-chewed bookmark for FREE!!


Are You a Willful Wife?

Readers like to send me links to blogs or articles they think I might feel strongly about. This week I received a link to a blog called Biblical Gender Roles. I didn't even have to click the link before I felt "strongly."

But I took a deep breath and decided not to judge the blog by its title. After all, I'm always irritated when people scoff, "People I Want to Punch in the Throat? That sounds so violent!" I didn't want to instantly assume that this blog was written by a homophobic dude with control issues and a God-given desire to dominate the inferior females in his home. That would be wrong of me. I needed to read his writings first before I decided what to think of him.

And then I saw the title of the blog post: 8 Steps to Confront Your Wife's Sexual Refusal.

Fuck that guy. I already hate him.

Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

My friend Kim at Let Me Start By Saying wrote an essay that was featured on the Huffington Post . It was about reading her five-year-old...

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