Archive for the parenting Category

Post #139 – An Addendum to the day I performed sink surgery…

Posted in Family, family drama, friends, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

While I was rather livid when my son, Max, took off and didn’t clean his bathroom as requested, which is the subject of Post #138 –

– I have to say he made up for it later on that weekend when we put a new roof on the house. My husband, Charlie, didn’t want to shell out $15-$20K to replace our 25-year-old roof (understandably), so he and his friend, Alex, my mother-in-law Susan, and Max were up on the roof in 90-95-degree heat tearing off the old roof and installing the new shingles, etc. for 3 days straight. And they finished right before a torrential downpour commenced.

Alex was a roofer for more than 20 years, and, thank God for his expertise because they spent the entire first day correcting all the mistakes of the jack ass (or asses as the case may be) who built the addition on our house 10 years or so before we bought it in late 2001. There was no tar paper underneath the old roof as required by law (or local construction standards, whichever), and there was one section where there’s no siding where the roof of the new addition meets the original house that was built in 1962. And these are only a few of their screw-ups.

That said, my son, Max, was a lot of help that day.  He carried almost all of the 70-pound bundles of roofing materials up to the roof as depicted in the photo below –


He looks really pissed off in this photo, but he’s not. He hates having his picture taken anyway, and I snapped this one late on the 2nd day when it was 94 degrees in the shade, so he was a tad worn out! I think there were 23 bundles, seems like? And I think Charlie and Alex carried up 3 or 4 bundles, maybe. So, Max kinda redeemed himself after shirking his other domestic duties. Charlie did pay him to help with the roof, but he really earned his paycheck that weekend, and it would’ve cost a helluva more to hire someone to haul all of those shingles up to the roof.

Just thought I’d mention it since he was such a dick about scrubbing his toilet, etc. But he’s a guy, and as my husband says, “All guys are dicks occasionally…” 🙂

Now, that the roof is done, I wouldn’t mind if Mother Nature decided to throw some more of that hot weather our way. Since I returned from visiting Nana Maude and my son, Rory, on July 22nd, the temps since –  topped out at 85 yesterday. Otherwise, it’s been in the 70s during the day and 50 at night as is the forecast for today and tomorrow. And last I looked, it’s NOT September!

I know. I know. I shouldn’t complain, but it was difficult enough to leave the beautiful sunshine in Florida and Georgia without Summer going AWOL here in Ohio, ya know? It’s often brutally cold in the Buckeye state from October to April, so I’m not happy that we’re getting cheated out of our normally sizzling summer – even if it’s only for a few days.

And on that thought, I shall bid everyone adieu.

THANKS for reading my blog, and if you’re looking for a good book to take on vacation or whatever, check out my list of favorite books at

Peace out from TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies


© Tenacious Bitch 2014





Post #138 – Wish I Could Boil My Fingers…an Adventure in Sink Surgery

Posted in college, Family, family drama, humor, memoir, Motherhood, mysteries, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

One Saturday, a couple of weeks ago, Susan, my mother-in-law, came down to visit from Cleveland. On the Monday prior, I asked Max, my 22-year-old, to clean his bathroom by Thursday, so she wouldn’t have to either traipse through mine and my husband’s bedroom to the master bath (which she’d never do) or trek downstairs to the half bath in the wee hours.

I gave him until Thursday so that if it wasn’t sanitary, which is usually the case, I could kick his ass back in there to clean it again on Friday. WARNING – if you have a weak stomach, turn away now! Go back to the pristine premises from which you hail because the images below ain’t pretty or for the faint of heart. No, they’re not as disturbing as, perhaps, the latrine at a concentration camp but probably not a whole lot better.

On Thursday afternoon around 4:00, I was in my office down the hall working, and I heard him shuffling around in in his sorry excuse for a loo. After about 15 minutes, I heard the unmistakable sound of an explosion in the vicinity of his room, and I heard him shout, “Dammit! What the fuck?”

Not to worry. It was a fake bomb, accompanied by rather impressive graphics – all courtesy of his XBox.

I crept into his bathroom for a peek at his progress, and I was bitterly disappointed. Check out his sink…


And, then, there was the toilet…


I marched down the hall to his room and beat my fist against his door rapidly, which I’m sure sounded like machine gunfire from outside, LOL.

“What?” he asked in a rather annoyed tone.

I opened the door to find him lounging on his bed, his Xbox controller in his hand, but luckily, his game was paused, so he was at least listening to me.

“You can’t possibly think your bathroom is clean?” I snapped.

“Well, what’s wrong with picking up all the trash first?” He whined in a defensive tone.

“Nothing, but you were supposed to be finished by now. Please get back in there and scrub your sink, the tub and your toilet, and I’ll do the floor to make sure it’s clean.”

Yes, I know, he should’ve done it all himself, but I knew such was asking too much of the universe that he do a decent job on the floor as well because his idea of cleansing the tile was swooshing a mop around for 3o seconds, paying no attention to the grime on the floor around his toilet or the weird crud huddled up under the canopy of the cabinet under the sink.

“Okay. Okay.”

“Now, please. I’ve got enough to do before she gets here.”

He frowned, and I slammed out of the room.

The next day around 3 p.m, I went downstairs to get a glass of water, and he was in his bathroom again. And this time, I could smell the effervescent perfume of SCRUBBING BUBBLES. My relief was tempered by my skepticism that his toilet would be hygienic enough for any woman to park her behind upon it.

Unfortunately, while I was eyeball deep in work, he managed to slip out of the house before I could inspect his janitorial efforts. And goddamit – his toilet was still filthy. The counter was clean, but everything else was still dirty, and he hadn’t even touched his bathtub, which had a smattering of dead bugs layering the bottom. Awesome!

He’d been showering in the guest bathroom downstairs (at the back of the house) because his tub wasn’t draining properly. No wonder. There’s probably a family of insects clogging up the pipes or something.

I left several vitriolic messages on his phone and a few angry texts to boot, but I knew I wouldn’t hear from him. And I didn’t. He said his phone died. WHATEVER…DICKHEAD!

Funny thing though, he hadn’t mentioned his sink wasn’t draining either…didn’t take a genius to figure out why…

BAX'S SINKThere was something stuck in the drain.And he might not show up until 2:00 the next afternoon, and Susan was supposed to arrive around 11 a.m., so, of course, it was all on me.

I donned my hazmat gear, an old t-shirt, ratty shorts and a pair of vinyl gloves. I stuck my finger down inside the sink, but I couldn’t seem to get a hold of the object. It was about the size of a quarter, and it kept flipping around between my gloved fingers.

First, I tried a pair of tweezers, but they weren’t long enough. Next, I grabbed a pair of salad tongs, but they were too wide.

I finally realized, the only way I was going to fish this thing out was to use my fingers – sans the protective vinyl. I ripped off the gloves and stuck my fingers into the drain, and I managed to pluck it out on the first try. It was, in fact, a very hairy and grimy quarter…but, alas, there was something else wedged in the sink.

After a momentary bout of cursing, I took the plunge again, and this time I snatched a penny from the bowels of the sink.


You’d think my time playing sink surgeon was over, right? Oh, but, of course, you’d be dead wrong because there was still something else stuck in the curve of the pipe.

“Holy fuck balls, Max!” I shouted.

The last tidbit appeared to be a tiny bottle of some sort. I tried several times to pull it out, but it was plastic, and it kept slithering out of my grasp. At which point, I went into my bedroom, grabbed a sewing machine needle from my chest full of sewing junk. And I stuck the needle into the teeny, tiny bottle…and voila…


It’s a little bottle of eye drops, a sample from the eye doctor, perhaps?

We had a robust shouting match about him shirking his responsibilities when he returned very late that night. And I told him that he’d have to clean his bathroom once/week from now on because I was not going to spend another two hours on my hands and knees scouring his bathroom floor ever again. And for chrissakes, if you drop something in the sink, remove it before it turns into a waterlogged bit of rusty goo!

He apologized later, but the damage was done. And the worst part was – though I washed my hands repeatedly, I couldn’t shake the phantom slime lingering upon my skin after my dissection of his sink.

Yeah, wish I could’ve boiled my fingers!

And I seem to be cursed by nasty plumbing mishaps, i.e.,   …when Nana’s toilet imploded…:)

Hope all is better in your world than that auspicious day was for me!!!

Over and out from insanity central…

And for my wonderful fans who keep emailing me about my memoir, I’m getting close to finite! 🙂

TenaciousB and her band of truth-spouting hippies~


© Tenacious Bitch 2014

#134 – Time to Go To Prison~Again!

Posted in college, Family, family battles, family drama, friends, marriage, memoir, Motherhood, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true crime, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

My son Rory’s first DUI occurred when he was 21, not long after he got married. He was working at Chase bank, and he’d been partying with some friends one night and fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into a tree. No one was injured, thank God. All of which happened in Upper Arlington, a very ritzy, old money suburb not far from Ohio State University.

He couldn’t remember who was in the vehicle with him. However, his unnamed drinking buddies were seen scattering into the darkness when the police arrived.

Apparently, not only had he thrown back quite a few cocktails, he’d probably taken double the recommended dosage of Dexedrine, his ADD medication, and he’d been awake for around 36 hours straight. So, yeah, he was a mess. And he shouldn’t have been anywhere near a car.

Long story short, he was shuffled off to the drunk tank downtown and was later sentenced to six months probation and attending some sort of group therapy. Rory hadn’t augmented his Dexedrine intake to get high. He did it to increase his productivity and stay awake longer in order to get more accomplished – because he’s always been an overachiever.

Besides his job at Chase, he started moonlighting at Victory’s bar and restaurant downtown after Lacey lost her full-time job at a bakery. They had accumulated a massive credit card debt, and he was attempting to stave off foreclosure on their house. Lacey was unemployed for six months and had just started working part-time as a receptionist at Mt. Carmel hospital when he’d gotten the first DUI.

Three or four months later, he was out drinking and decided to give Kim, a co-worker at Victory’s, a ride home.  According to his friends, she was rather inebriated.

Kim didn’t doze off en route to her apartment as expected. No, she attempted to seduce him. Fending off her her advances caused him to swerve into the opposite lane where, thank heaven, there wasn’t an oncoming car. But a cop just happened to be right behind him.

Yeah, he was totally fucked.

On the advice of a friend/attorney who handles a lot of DUI’s, Rory refused the breathalyzer. But, apparently, when he passed the field sobriety test, the cop didn’t believe he was sober. So, the officer snuck up behind him, popped the breathalyzer in his mouth and told him to “blow”.

His blood-alcohol level was high enough for an arrest, but if I’d known how the cop had obtained his probable cause, I would’ve helped Rory prepare a Motion to Dismiss since all the evidence against him was fruit of the poisoned tree nullifying the policeman’s probable cause.

It might not’ve have been a Supreme Court-worthy document, but having been a paralegal for almost 7 years, I think it would’ve sufficed for a Pro Se defendant.

It might’ve eliminated or at least truncated Rory’s 2nd turn in County. Either way, worst case scenario – the judge could’ve denied the Motion to Dismiss. No harm. No foul. But I didn’t know what the police officer had done until a few days ago when I asked Rory about the specifics of his arrests to confirm all the details.

He pled guilty to the 2nd DUI because he couldn’t afford an attorney. He was sentenced to 5 days in lockup for violating his probation in the Upper Arlington case, and 5 days for the 2nd DUI.

Additionally, he lost his driver’s license for 2 years. However, at least the judge was kind enough to allow Rory to serve his time on his days’ off so that he wouldn’t lose his job. And since he was on flex time, his days’ off varied.

Rory’s 2nd prison term began in mid-summer. He had moved back home temporarily because he and Lacey were separated. (They divorced about a year later).  Since he didn’t have a driver’s license, I drove him to the corrections facility, which was only 4 miles away from our house.

I didn’t mind providing transportation. Plus, I could make sure he clocked in at at 9 a.m. sharp as required by his sentencing agreement. I was concerned he’d be late or not show up at all because he’d started drinking even more after he and Lacey split up. I knew that if he was a no-show, he could get thrown in the clink for 3 months to a year.

So, I’m sure you can guess what happened next. One particular morning in August, I got  up to take Rory to serve his time, and he wasn’t sleeping peacefully in his room. He wasn’t steeped in Jameson, dead to the world, on our couch downstairs in front of the TV. He was nowhere to be found.

I called and texted him a dozen times, but all I got was his voicemail and no reply to my texts. I texted every single friend of his whose contact info was on my cellular Rolodex. No one had heard from him, and none of his friends had a reason to lie, especially given the severity of the situation.

Finally at 9:45, I decided to toss out a Hail Mary. I suspected Rory might’ve spent the night with Lacey because he’d been talking to her a lot on the phone lately. She and I have a rocky history because I never wanted Rory to marry her. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a beautiful girl, and she can be extremely sweet when she wants to be. But I just didn’t think either of them was ready for marriage since he was barely 21 and she 22.

I also didn’t think they were a good match. He’s very serious and intellectual, and Lacey is not. And as I feared, they split up eight months into their marriage.

Therefore, it was a delicate proposition to contact Lacey. God forbid, I didn’t wanna call and wake her up unnecessarily since she works night or embarrass her if she happened to be with another guy. So, I chose a different route.

I called Rory’s friend, Nelson, who is probably Rory’s most responsible friend. By the time Nelson was 21, he’d already completed his BA in automotive technology from Ohio State. He works at a local Chevy dealership, and he’s got his own side business repairing/restoring old muscle cars. Yeah, I like Nelson. He’s a good egg.

So, I explained Rory’s incarceration dilemma and asked Nelson to contact Lacey. Not ten minutes later, he texted me confirming that Rory was at Lacey’s apartment somewhere downtown. I took a deep breath and dialed Lacey’s number.

“He got another DUI?” Lacey gasped.

Score another fuck up for me. Sorry, Dude, I thought to myself, didn’t mean to turn up the temp on the hot water you’re swimming in, Rory, but it ain’t my fault.

“Yeah, right after my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rory, got a DUI downtown,” I explained. “Is he with you?”

Long pause.

“Look, Lacey…” I began in an apologetic tone while looking at my watch. “He was supposed to be at the jail an hour ago. Is he there?”

“I see,” Lacey sputtered. “Thanks for letting me know.” And she hung up.



The conclusion to this story will be in my upcoming book – Tales From the Lunatic Lounge – which I hope to finish in a couple of months wherein you can read all the dirt on Rory’s last stint in the pokey! 🙂

And if you’re searching for some summer reads, check out my list of favorite books at:

Over and out-

~TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies

Tenacious Bitch © 2014


Post #133 – Love my merlot and Beck’s Light – but Keep the Ganja away from me!

Posted in Family, humor, memoir, Motherhood, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

A couple of days ago, my 22-year-old son, Max, decided to smoke a bowl of weed in his room, which he knows is NOT allowed (i.e. ) not only because it’s illegal in Ohio, but also because I’m extremely allergic to cannabis.

No, I’m not kidding, and I’ll elaborate on that momentarily.

I had feigned smoking marijuna  when I was in junior high when my friend, Cassidy, was dating a 14-year-old drug dealer.  Um, yeah, that’s a story in itself, but anyway, we were in the woods near Cassidy’s house one hot summer night, hanging out with her boyfriend and several others.

I was quite happy with my 40 ounce bottle of Schlitz Malt liquor, and when someone handed me a joint, I, like President Clinton, did not inhale. It must’ve been some pretty potent ganja though because 10-15 minutes later, no one seemed to notice that I wasn’t even pretending to take a toke.

I’d avoided cannabis because I thought it smelled like shit, and I didn’t trust anyone. I didn’t know Cassidy’s boyfriend that well, nor did I know where he procured all the product he sold each week.

I’d seen stories on the news about people who’d been hospitalized or died from smoking pot laced with Strychnine or God knows what. And I wanted no part of it. I didn’t and don’t care what anyone else does. That’s their business, and I know there are thousands of potheads who’ve never been gravely ill or died from toking it up.

Also, I’d seen my dad and other relatives rather inebriated at Christmas or whatever and understood the affects/dangers of alcohol. And I’ve loved beer from the first time my father let me have a tiny bit in my favorite blue juice glass when I was 7 (sans juice, btw).

It’s an Irish tradition to let one’s offspring lap at the liquor to stave off alcoholism. Sounds odd, but it makes sense when you think about it.

If I’d never sampled beer or chocolate, I’m sure once I’d shed my parental chains, I probably would’ve gone on a chocolate and beer bender the likes of which the world has ever seen…and once I recovered from my coma, the brain damage would most likely have been minimal…:)

When I was a teenager, the fact that  alcohol is regulated by the government and is/was sold in the very store where my mother bought all our groceries weighed heavily in its favor. You can’t say that for cannabis – at least not yet.

Granted, I did drink excessively in high school and college and beyond. But for over a decade, I’ve rarely consumed more than 2 or 3 glasses of wine or 2-3 beers. And there are even days when I abstain from spirits completely.

Anywho, as to how I discovered my allergy to cannabis, I can thank my friend, Prissy for that. She was previously mentioned in

Prissy had harassed me for years to get high with her.

“If I smoke with you, will you please leave me the fuck alone about it?”

“Promise,” Prissy said, smiling.


She was very excited. I was not. I was just relieved I’d finally found a way to shut her up. From the get-go, it gave me a headache. I took two hits and announced I was done.

Prissy shook her head, laughing, “Really? It’s so fucking smooth. Ricky’s best strain yet.” Ricky was a friend of hers who harbored a few illegal plants on his grandfather’s farm.

“It’s just not for me.” The next day I found out just how true that statement was.

I literally could not breathe through my nose at all as if it were clothes-pinned shut. And the clamoring of pain in my cranium was worse than any hangover I’d ever experienced. And, ahem, I was never really a lightweight when it came to liquor.

Not long before smoking pot with Prissy, I was late arriving at my boyfriend Reese’s apartment on New Year’s, and his friends had been drinking since noon and were all passed out well before midnight.

So, I drank almost half a pony keg by myself (after 3-4 beers beforehand) and almost a liter of champagne when Dick Clark’s ball dropped. Reese was 21, so his place was our party palace for awhile in high school. And, no, I didn’t drive home that night. My mother thought I was at Cassidy’s.

Therefore, though I haven’t stolen anyone’s tiger, I was well acquainted with the egregiously horrible condition caused by throwing back too much liquor.

The next day, after smoking with Prissy, I told Mrs. McDonald, the counselor, at school what I’d done.

“I need to see a doctor,” I said.

The counselor took one look at my puffy eyes and hearing my frog-like speech like someone with the worst of colds, and she knew I was really ill.

She was kind enough to excuse me for the rest of the day without a note from my mother. I took the city bus to see Dr. Reizner, our family doctor.

Though Dr. Riezner looked like Santa Claus -with his white hair and twinkly blue eyes, he had the gruff and blunt personality of your average drill instructor. He was a fine doctor, however, according to my mother.

“Young lady,” Dr. Reizner began, his forehead crinkling into an ugly frown. “If you’d smoked any more, you would’ve needed surgery.”

“Oh, my God,” I gasped.

He nodded. “You’re going to need a strong decongestant and Prednisone, a drug often given to cancer patients, to reduce the swelling in your sinuses.”

Now I know that he only mentioned Prednisone was a cancer drug to scare me because I’ve since learned that Prednisone is a widely prescribed medication, which my Aunt took for her allergies in the late 80s/early 90s.

But he didn’t know me well enough to know he didn’t need the dramatics to steer me away from marijuana.

So, here I am 30 years later, and my allergy to the daggone stank weed is much worse because just being exposed to the smell of it in the hallway outside Max’s room gave me another goddamned sinus infection. Since I haven’t been around it in 2-3 decades, it’s not surprising the affect is so profound.

However, I just didn’t want to deal with Max’s hysterics, so I’ve yet to say anything because he loves to wax on about how I’m full of shit, etc. But, Max, darling, these sinuses don’t lie.

That said, in my defense, my husband, Charlie, went off about the marijuana perfume when he got home from work that day…:) not that I really need any substantiation, mind you, it’s my damned house, and cannabis/crack/crystal meth/heroin/un-vaccinated squirrels/weasels/ho’s named Sienna/orange clothing or furniture/muddy feet/buffalo/snakes (except for those of the jeweled variety) cakes/brownies full of nuts, which I’m also allergic to, and tarantulas JUST AIN’T welcome!

So, AHEM…if it walks like weed/talks/smells like weed/shit, FIRE and a hole in the ground, baby, it must be weed.

Perhaps, I’ll drop by the local ER on the way home from Kentucky. Yes, I’m on holiday. Maybe, I’ll present Max with copies of my X-Rays and my script for Prednisone.

Unfortunately, he might still cry hogwash, and another blowout will ensue. Dear Lord…let this NOT be the case.


TenaciousBITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies

© Tenacious Bitch/Kennedy Smith 2014


Yes, I bought a COBRA! :)

Posted in Family, humor, memoir, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories, true stories, Uncategorized, young adult with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2014 by tenaciousbitch

This past weekend, I went to the Springfield Antique Show (i.e. ) in Springfield, Ohio)…where you can buy everything from collectible china and collectible toys to homemade bread to antique furniture, knock-off purses, used books, jewelry, posters of Elvis, original artwork, and a whole lot more.

Here’s a few photos from the event to give you an idea if you’ve never been to one of these outdoor extravaganzas…


I love antiques, and probably 1/3 of the furniture in my house came from Springfield, including this lovely wardrobe that we refinished:


And I SOOOOOOOO need this couch:


But, alas, they were asking $3900, and I arrived with only $50. Sigh…I realize a lot of people may find the sofa above rather gaudy, even ugly, but I LOVE it. They re-upholstered it with Brazilian cow hide! I know…I’ll be hearing from PETA tomorrow, but what’s new? 🙂

Anywho…I did buy something rather cool. It’ll have to fight the cats for the mice in the garage though. You guessed it! I bought a snake as my title suggests…


See? A beautiful silver cobra. Don’t hate me cuz I’m wearing a serpent…no matter how much you wanna… 🙂

Since I’m terrified of snakes, it’s rather ironic that I chose this necklace from the plethora of choices offered by the dozen or so vendors last weekend who were selling jewelry.

And when I say terrified of reptiles, I mean the totally panicked, unable to breathe, primal fight or flight variety of fear. Snakes are pretty much the only animals that induce panic attacks – other than maybe scorpions or tarantulas, but I rarely venture into their territory.

My trepidation of snakes was initiated by my brother Chad, who thought it would be funny to throw green garter snakes on his ‘lil sis when I was 6 or 7. Awesome…thanks for the nightmares, bro.

As far as real-time experiences with snakes, I once refused to move, walk or exhale until my first husband, Frank, had slain a rather harmless black snake, which is another garter snake, an herbivore, I believe, who poses no threat to humans regardless of its menu choices.

We had gone to an outdoor wedding at the edge of a lake in Michigan, and I was pregnant with my son, Drew, at the time, about 2-3 weeks away from my due date.

During my pregnancy, I was afraid to drink soda or go visit a certain relative whose house always smelled of bleach, much less – walk past the very path where a snake could’ve whipped around and bit me?! I THINK NOT.  Hello…don’t f#ck with the mother bear, after all?

So, I ordered Frank to kill the poor beast, who could’ve been someone’s mother itself for all I knew. Frank plucked one of his hunting knives from a holster (or whatever it’s called) on his leg  and sliced the black snake in half with one strong swing, akin to a karate chop.

And as I recall, the damned thing was nearly 6 feet long, so I thought it was a water moccasin – though he swore that garter snakes do get that long.

“Poppycock,” I said, the ever the paranoid parent to be. Frank laughed at me, but I didn’t care. Maybe it wasn’t a water moccasin…but I wasn’t betting mine or my child’s life on it.

So, not only did I coerce Frank into murdering what might’ve been an innocent creature, but I made him throw one half in the water…and he tossed the tail portion in the weeds a good 20 feet away. Yes, I was indeed freaked out, LOL.

That said, why do I find the necklace so fascinating, given my obvious loathing of snakes? It’s silver. It’s weird and cool. Interesting combo, n’est-ce pas? It’s also unique, and it’s totally ME…:)

So, God forgive me for forcing Frank to assassinate a reptile who probably feared us more than we did him and probably meant us no ill will. And please don’t turn my necklace into some sort of demonic talisman bent upon axing me like the deluge of horror movies Hollywood churns out…that’s just so tired…:)


TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies…


Post #122 – Words of Wisdom from the WEE ones…

Posted in art, BOOKS, Family, family battles, friends, humor, memoir, Motherhood, nonfiction, parenting, relationships, true stories, true stories, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

My cousin recently posted a conversation on Facebook that she’d had with her 4-year-old after telling her son that she had to punish him so that he would learn how to be a good human being.

His reply was, “You need to try something else because this isn’t working.”  TOO FUNNY, right? These days my conversations with Max, my 21-year-old, are all too often merely my asking questions, and his grunts, shrugs, and/or one-word replies.

So, I long for the days of dazzling and thought-provoking conversations between me and my children like one particular day when Max was eight. His homework was to write a one-page essay on someone from a different culture or a different religion. Max was hell bent on making his best friend, Alex, the subject of his paper. But Alex, who lived across the street, was also in third grade, was born in America, and his family is Protestant.

“You can’t do a paper on Alex because he was born in America,” I replied.

“So was Oscar.”

“Yes, but Oscar [another 8-year-old friend] is Mexican, and his family moved here when his mom was pregnant with him. They’re Catholic, which is not like our Presbyterian church, and the Mexican culture is very different as well.”

“But Oscar doesn’t have a moped, and Alex does. And he’s the only kid on the street who has a moped.”

I smiled. I could see his point if the inventory of one’s toys was considered one of the factors for his homework, but such was not the case.

“That doesn’t matter. His moped was a birthday gift. Where you were born, the language you speak, the way you dress, your religion, that’s what matters when defining someone’s culture.”

Max frowned. “Oscar doesn’t wear jeans, and Alex does.”

I shook my head, trying not to laugh because I knew that Max didn’t give a rat’s ass what the cultural differences were. He wanted to write about Alex’s moped, and he wanted to turn in photos of the moped also (because you got extra credit for photos). You see, Max was in love with that moped. He’d been begging for one since the moment he caught a glimpse of Alex tooling around on it in front of his house. But at the same time, he obviously didn’t understand the difference between one culture and another.

“Yes, he does. Don’t be silly. All your friends wear jeans.”

“Nuh, uh, he does not,” he sputtered, his lower lip puffing out in disappointment.

I smiled. “Try again, Sport. How about doing your paper on your friend, Kareem?”

Another frown. “Why?” He retorted angrily. “Does he speak Martian or something?”

I laughed, and Max smiled, knowing he was just being goofy.

“No, people from South Africa speak English and Farsi, I think. But Kareem doesn’t speak another language, right?”

“No,” Max said grumpily.

“And he’s Muslim, so that’s very different, and–”

“So, what? Who cares if Oscar is Mexican, and they go to another church, and Karim was born in another country and isn’t a Christian. We’re all Americans, right, Mom?”


“Well, my teacher said because of your culture, your family is different – like some people in Africa sometimes all live together with their moms and dads and grandmothers and cousins and uncles, all in one house. Most people in America don’t do that.”


“So, Alex is the only one who lives with his dad and his Dad’s girlfriend,  instead of his mom and Dad. And he’s the only one who doesn’t have any brothers or sisters, and I’ve got four brothers. And Oscar has two brothers and a sister, and Kareem has a sister and a baby brother, right?”


“And if we’re all Americans, we’re all the same, doesn’t matter where you go to church or what language you speak you’re still an American, but Alex’s family is different, and he’s the only one of my friends with blue eyes, and my teacher said that sometimes the way you look makes a difference. So, I don’t see why I can’t do my paper on Alex.”

Man, it was hard to argue with that logic…if only most Americans felt that way, it’d be a better place, would it not?” 🙂

Max ended up writing his paper on Oscar-albeit begrudgingly. As I recall, he got a B- on it, and then, he ripped it up and threw it in the trashcan. I didn’t say anything. I just let that go, but, apparently, Max could not let this issue fade into the night. Finally, when I thought Max had forgotten all about it, his teacher, Mrs. Childers, called about the other paper Max wrote.

“What other paper?” I asked.

“Another essay about someone named Alex. He handed it to me saying all that culture stuff is a bunch of ca ca, and this the one he should’ve done and that it was an A+ paper!” Mrs. Childers explained cheerily. “Afterward, he stomped over to his desk, crossed his arms, and fumed until recess. He didn’t do any work, but he didn’t bother anyone, so I just let him be. Eventually, he started drawing pictures of  Alex’s Moped. After lunch, he was fine on the playground and very attentive all afternoon.”

“I’m sorry to hear that he blew up like that,” I replied, trying not to laugh. “Is he in trouble? Did he say or do anything else?”

“No, I just wanted you to know how much this unit on culture upset him, but I think he vented his frustration in a very positive manner.”

“Well, thank you,” I said with relief because too often Max expelled his aggravation by screaming at people, breaking things, kicking his desk, or unfortunately, slugging a classmate, on occasion. “That was very nice of you to call and let me know.”

And…as they say…was that…

Over and out from CRAZYTOWN – where the CRAZY store never closes…:)

Tenacious BITCH and her band of truth-spouting hippies


Post 98 – The anniversary of a tragic death that still haunts me…

Posted in Family, marriage, Motherhood, nonfiction, parenting, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 23, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

I realize some folks may be tired of hearing about my mother, but I can’t help but note that today is the 6th anniversary of her death. I had just walked into my parents’ home in West Virginia after a long day of sitting by Mom’s bedside while listening to Nana grumble ALL DAY LONG about stupid crap like how my brother Danny constantly leaves dirty kitchen towels on the counter instead of hanging from the wooden towel rack beside the sink, and he occasionally had the audacity to drop them on the floor and NOT pick them up. Typical Danny. The laws/rules of man and the universe don’t apply to him, and that includes simple courtesy.

My mother/Nana’s oldest daughter and ONLY living child was DYING, and I had to constantly remind her (Nana) that though Mom was in a coma, she didn’t want to hear about Danny’s slovenliness or how much beer Dad was drinking!

His wife of 48 years was hours away from the END, you old WIND BAG. And we all know/KNEW what a slob Danny was. The solution to that problem would’ve been to kick his sorry ass out the minute he arrived upon Mom and Dad’s doorstep, but I didn’t have any say in that.

So, after all that, I was on my way to take a shower when Danny called from the hospice facility to say that Mom had passed. And he didn’t know what to do. Did he need to stay there and arrange for the transportation of her body? Did he need to collect her things, or could he just go. I told him to ask one of the nurses, and I’d be right there because I knew he was in no condition to drive. Danny’s an asshole, but Mom’s death hit him like a Mack truck falling from outer space.

I remember walking into Mom’s room and seeing Danny sitting there. He was teary-eyed, but he was more in shock, I think. I gave him an awkward hug, and he just continued staring at her.

“I heard her,” he said.

“You heard her what?” I asked, trying not to look at Mom’s ghastly expression. Her mouth was open wide and long as if she were at the dentist, but I knew it was really that she’d been frozen that way attempting to hold onto her last breath, which he confirmed.

“I heard her die, she took a deep breath, a crackly kind of breath,” he sputtered, “And then, she was gone. She was just gone…” he voice was swallowed by a bout of sobbing.

I put my arms around his shoulders briefly, trying not to break down, and said, “Come on. They said they’d take care of everything. We just have to let them know which funeral home.”

Danny nodded, and I took my last look at my mother at 7:38 PM on May 23, 2007 – almost, to the minute, obviously, on this date six years ago.

She was a beautiful woman, a kind woman, and losing her altered my life forever in ways I could never imagine. I love you, Mom, and I feel privileged to have known you, and this is how I’ll always remember you…

MOM AND I GOING TO THE PREMIERLooking happier than I’d seen her in years when I took her to the premiere of We Are Marshall in Huntington, WV, at the Keith Albee theatre about six months before she died…she was already eaten up with cancer, but you’d never know it by the spark in her eye and jump in her step.

Wish you were here, Mom. I know you’d love the new shoes I just bought, and you’d be excited to see how well your grandsons are doing.

So, to all those who haven’t spoken to your Mom in awhile, pick up the phone, hop in the car/get on a plane and go see/talk to her before it’s too late – because you never know which one is going to be the last conversation. The last thing my mother told me before she died was how proud she was of me, and when I’m having a crappy day – that always comes back to me…

~Ciao for now…