Kids Gone Wild — Adventures in Camping



Dear Unskilled Perfectionist,

It has come to our attention that you have violated several key tenets from the OPC during your recent camping trip.  The charges against you include but are not limited to the following:

Improper Language
Upon approaching Cinder Cone and realizing that your husband’s plan was to hike to the top of the giant volcano, you blurted, “Get the f@$% out!”  Yes, your disbelief was motivation for your kids and they powered to the top, but horrible language is frowned upon by the OPC.


Complete Disregard for Proper Nutrition
We have reports that you fed your children so much stuff cooked on a stick over the fire, that when they passed a café at the Lassen Visitors Center, they begged for an apple.  An apple!  It is also our understanding that you let your children invent something called “The Ultimate S’mOreo” — a stacked monstrosity that includes: graham cracker, roasted marshmallow, bottom of an Oreo, another roasted marshmallow, top of an Oreo, yet another roasted marshmallow and another graham cracker.  We’re pretty sure the road to childhood obesity is paved with Ultimate S’mOreos thanks to you.


Engaging in Activities Unfit for Children
Really? You taught your children how to play poker?  It doesn’t matter that they won.  Poker is poker.  They chopped wood with an axe, whittled with a pocket knife, put bait on their own fish hooks and wandered down to the lake without an adult trailing them warning “be careful.”  We also have a report of child labor violations as you made your daughter paddle the two-person kayak while you kicked back and took pictures.  Shameful.


Inappropriate Clothing
Your children played in the snow while wearing shorts and t-shirts.  Yes, it was 90 degrees out and the snow was a welcome break during a long hike, but children in the snow need hats and gloves – no exceptions.  And what’s this rumor about skinny dipping in a lake when you forgot to pack bathing suits?  Ok, just a rumor.  We’ll strike that from the record.

In conclusion, despite your children’s claims that this was the “best trip ever,” those of us at the Office of Proper Childrearing hope that this warning will prompt you to make some much needed changes before your next family adventure.


Drama Momma


FADE IN: Afternoon in a suburban house, tastefully decorated and impeccably clean.

DAUGHTER and SON are standing on a stairway cluttered with the detritus of the school day: a cello, two sweatshirts, six books and a pair of dirty socks.  MOM is off camera, presumably in the kitchen doing dishes.  The kids start to bicker, then:

Hey Mom, Daughter called me an asshole.

ENTER MOM, breathtakingly beautiful.  Although weary from the day, she has Connie Britton hair and a Gwyneth Paltrow body.  Without thinking, Mom casually blurts

Well, are you being an asshole?

Daughter and Son are shocked to hear their sweet mother use the a-word so brazenly

DAUGHTER and SON (in unison)
Mommmmm, you said –

Mom, sensing this is very very wrong, goes with it anyway

Don’t blame me.  We have a declaration of asshole.  I’m just the asshole investigator.  Now tell me what happened.

We are both going upstairs and I need to take all my stuff up to my room.  Son isn’t carrying anything so I asked him to help me with my stuff.

Son, is this true?

Son nods defiantly.

Well Son, I can’t force you to help your sister, but it does make you a tiny asshole if you don’t.  Not a huge one.  But you really should think about helping your sister.  Also, don’t say that word.  It’s vulgar.

EXIT MOM.  Kids continue to bicker in hushed tones.  The only decipherable word repeated throughout the conversation is “asshole.”


Alright, we’re done with this.  The next person to say “asshole” is grounded.

SON and DAUGHTER (in unison, laughing)
Mom!  You said it!

Aw, geez.  You’re right.  I did.  Guess I’m grounded.

EXIT MOM with a smug smile on her face, presumably headed to her bedroom.  Sound of door closing.  Kids stare at each other, bewildered.

Um, what just happened?

I have no idea.  Here, let me help you get this stuff upstairs.

Fade Out.


Dear Jon

Mad Men PosterDear Jon,

You’ve occupied not one, but two spots on my Freebie Five for a long time now.  Yes, two spots.  Almost half of my fantasy allotment goes to you because clearly, a night with you would be very different than a night with Don Draper and, well, yes.

For the record, my husband couldn’t be happier that both of you made the cut because it means that one of my prospects doesn’t even exist in real life.  Similarly, I have encouraged my husband to add “the brainy Kardashian” to his list.

But Jon, we have a problem.  This thing in the news about your, um, Hamm bone causing problems for the nice folks in charge of wardrobe for Mad Men — ew.

It’s odd to say this, but please wear underwear to work, Jon.  If you want a little fresh air on your pork ‘n beans while out for Sunday brunch, that’s your business.  At work, however, you need to keep it locked down tight.

This is important.  If you creep me out and I have to take you off my list, I will be crushed.  I’d be compelled to give Tom Brady two spots – football player and Ugg model – but we both know he only deserves one entry in The Five.  So please, Jon, wear underwear to work.  Do it for me.  Or do it for the poor guy who allegedly had to Photoshop your groin into submission for the show’s promotional posters.  But please, just do it.

Forever yours,
(provided you wear proper undergarments at work)

— the Unskilled Perfectionist

Tooth Tales

The Story:  he was gnawing on some grizzly jerkey made from the bear he wrestled last week and popped his tooth loose.

The Truth:  he was so excited to try the dainty profiteroles his mom and sister made that he chomped down on the fork and popped his tooth loose.

There are some advantages of having a mom who used to be a PR guru back in the day…

Riggins and ‘Ritas

Three friends living in three different parts of the country decided that too much time had passed since they last got together and laughed themselves incontinent.  It took only one conference call (masterfully scheduled between school drop offs and naptime) for these friends to track down cheap flights, a hotel deal and a plan.  The unsuspecting folks in Dallas had no idea what was coming.

There was a pool.  And a pool boy.  There were gossip magazines, spa treatments, midday naps and late night gab fests that ended in drunken hugs and misty-eyed declarations of BFF love.  There were three separate hotel rooms because everyone wanted the chance to stretch out — blissfully alone in a king-sized bed — and sleep past 6 a.m.

If margaritas are the lifeblood of a girls’ weekend, these three friends were well nourished.  After one particularly margarita-y evening, the friends tumbled into a cab to head back to the hotel.  “Where to, ladies?” asked the driver.

“Can you take us to Dillon, Texas?   I need to get me some Tim Riggins!” declared one of the friends.

Ok, it was me.

Unfortunately, the driver was not a Friday Night Lights fan and did not find the outburst nearly as amusing as I did.   But it did feel good to give a shout out to Riggins and his little football show that never got the attention it deserved.

I’m telling this story for two reasons: first, the three friends need another weekend away and this will hopefully get the ball rolling; and second, now that you know about my fascination with Tim Riggins, I’m hoping you can answer a question for me.

It’s about this shirt.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to have it.  The problem is that it breaks one of my ironclad fashion rules.  Much like flouncy sundresses and short shorts, novelty T-shirts have been retired from my wardrobe for quite some time.  “I heart cupcakes” is fine on my daughter’s shirt, but not on someone who is thisclose to 40.  My chest is no longer a billboard for hipster graphic designs, team logos or snarky social observations.

But it’s Riggins.  And I love him.  So can I wear this shirt out of the house?  It’s kind of loose and slouchy and looks pretty good with just the front part barely tucked into jeans (like Jennifer Aniston does to prove she’s not prego when the paparazzi are out).  So what do you think?