Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Monday, August 20, 2018


"I will not stand, sit, or lay down."  The Player's Code flashed through my mind as red laser beams connected with my chest.  I looked up, a feat pretty easily accomplished from the unique vantage point of being sprawled out on the floor on my back. 

"Are you guys okay?" Adam questioned, pausing his trigger finger just long enough for me to mumble affirmatively, then continuing to alternate between shooting me and shooting David.  In this style of play aptly named "Frantic," our packs rebooted from a tag after only one second, and staring down at two stationary targets was the laser tag equivalent of hitting the jackpot.  Alex seemed less concerned with our well-being, putting his sniper skills to use to tag whichever vest lit up first.

I had been more than a little frustrated with David for slamming his laser gun into my forehead and bolting.  My forehead throbbing, I lay on the ground with my eyes closed carefully assessing vitals before standing up.  Determining everything was technically fine, despite the concentrated bump under my bangs, I rose to sitting and took in my surroundings. 

In a white button-up shirt, David's torso glowed under the blacklights.  From it stuck arms and legs at angles best represented by that chalk figure drawn on the sidewalk at a crime scene.  He wasn't moving.  Immediately, I regretted my selfishness as I'd waited for him to come to my rescue.  "Honey, are you okay?" I asked, then waited for a response that didn't come.  "Honey?" I asked again, and then a third time. 

He stirred.  "I hit my head," he started.  "I think I must have tripped, and then I hit my head really hard.  What happened to you?"

"You hit my head really hard, too," I laughed.  Neither of us had moved substantially from where we'd landed, and neither seemed particularly inclined to do so.  Shaking my head at the incredulous nature of our predicament, I asked, "Do you think I should call for the marshal?"  I recalled the training we'd been provided before each laser tag game this month, and knew I'd been prepared for this silly moment.  If I simply shouted, "Marshal, Marshal, Marshal," we'd be rescued.  Albeit, also humiliated.

Instead, we opted to pull our 30-something-year-old bodies off the laser tag arena floor and take on the young opponents who'd been so eager to take advantage of our situation.  David has a headache, and I have a sizable bruise forming, and we have a ridiculous story of the time we injured ourselves playing laser tag.

End of Summer

My custody agreement is a strange one, I'll admit.  Kids with me in the summer; kids with Kirk during the school year.  It was designed to minimize the impact to the kids' way of life, and having lived it for a full year now, I think we chose wisely.

That said, it is the last day of summer, and I'm packing up the kids to send them back to Dad's.  

We took advantage of an evening when Adam had plans to treat Alex and Dylan to their Sugarhouse favorite: Dough Co.  A nice long walk up to the cookie dough store, a warm evening on a sidewalk bench, and chatty walk back home helped me tie up a great summer with the two little kids who seem to have thoroughly enjoyed their summer.

It's been harder on Adam, though, to be away from his friends.  His neighborhood.  His dad.  I've spend a lot of the summer as chauffeur, driving him to the many places he'd rather (or just plain had to) be.  Lagoon.  Bryce's.  Work.  I haven't regretted a single mile, because the secret to getting to know Adam is simple.  Spend time with him and let him talk.  The cumulative hours in the car have made up for all the time he wasn't around.

Still, I wanted to do something special for him to end the summer, too.  His unrivaled love of Top Ramen inspired us to take him to try the real deal.  And when Jinya Ramen Bar opened a new location just around the corner, David and I wanted to show Adam a corner of Sugarhouse that he just might miss.

The evening plays out like an old film real in my mind.  He's in black joggers and a white t-shirt - a huge break from his standard BYU sweats and a dark grey t-shirt.  He's skateboarding in front of us, and somehow through the back of his ball cap, I can see his smile.  He's loud, and he's laughing, and he looks back at us to make sure he's the center of attention.  He is.

He looks so grown up sitting at the table next to me and across from David.  He's 5'9" now, so I have to look up to look him in the eye.  He doesn't stop talking the whole meal.  About the food.  About a possible trip someday to Japan.  About anything that pops into his mind, because that is Adam.

The waiter comes and offers him more noodles.  "Wait, that's a thing?" he says, wide eyed and not quite willing to accept his good fortune.  He decides that ramen really is the best food ever and starts chatting about next summer when Bryce stays over, he'll have him bring some money, and they'll walk over and get ramen and...

...he's skated too far ahead of us for me to hear his words anymore.  We keep a leisurely pace, walking hand-in-hand and discussing the man-child whose larger-than-life presence has filled our home all summer.  We reach the front porch and hear a Smash Mouth melody being plunked out one note at a time at the piano.  We pause on the porch, knowing that if he is aware of an audience, he will stop.  With no warning, the teenage tornado abandons the piano and continues its path to the basement.  

Being Responsible

I've been "on my own" now since November 2016, and I've learned a lot about being responsible.  Health insurance, car insurance, oil changes, car registration.  It's not that I couldn't do that stuff before.  It is just that I hadn't really ever done it.  And definitely not without another responsible human looking over my shoulder and making sure I got it done.

I'm more responsible now than ever.  I check my credit score frequently.  My bank account daily.  I am mindful of due dates, and when things don't go quite the way I planned, I handle it.  (See debit card fraud of June 2018 and the great Car Registration Adventure.)

As a responsible adult, it really bugs me when I get notification that I have a debt that has been sent to collections.  From 2015. 

I get that in a past life I may have been less responsible.  I get that in my present state, I still let things slip.  I get that I might need reminders, and I am totally willing to pay the late charges and whatnot associated with my occasional screw ups.  But I am not certain why it needs to escalate to collections before someone sends me a letter.

I asked the collections agency and was told that the hospital to whom I apparently owed $31.87 transferred that debt to a different agency who then sent the amount to their firm for collections.  It seems like it would have been a lot less work for them to just send me a letter and let me know I owed them money.

I would have paid it.

Friday, August 17, 2018


What started out as being budget conscious has morphed into environmentally friendly, and I now shop pretty much exclusively secondhand. Decades for formalwear. Uptown Cheapskate for inspiration, blouses, and dresses. Poshmark for slacks. DI and Savers for shoes and jackets. And boutique stores for the slightly pricier but killer pieces.

Back to school never cost so little!

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Definitely just called Lyft to bring Adam's baseball bag to the school. 

What is the opposite of #firstworldproblems?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Chapter 1

Summer is almost over, and with it closes the first chapter of a new book I guess I could call Boytrapped Volume II.  In my custody agreement with Kirk, I get the kids (and optionally the dog) for the whole summer.  Exercising the dog option has brought a little added chaos to the last three weeks of summer.  And the kids have kept us on our toes as we all adapt to our new lives together and in Sugarhouse.

Adam opted to spend the night at Kirk's, so we took the other two to their favorite place, Dough Co, and ended up piled on the bed watching YouTube videos David had referenced during the walk back.

I am hoping we'll find time for a last-of-summer hurrah with Adam at the new ramen place around the corner before my house becomes 3 boys and a dog quieter next week.

Meditation Whim

On a whim, I decided to try meditating in my car on the way home. I looked up a YouTube video specific for car meditation, and I really tried to give it an honest effort.

But when the voice coming from my stereo asked me to invite my "clearing angels" into my car and ask them to take away the energy that I got at work and no longer need, I gave up.

If I have "clearing angels," I am giving them the evening off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Was it worth the time? Probably not.  But it makes me happy to see the books organized by color as a result of the library I loved so much at the hotel Arlo in New York.

Was it worth the sliver I now have lodged under my fingernail?

The jury, unlike the sliver, is out.

Hole in the Fence

It isn't fair how much we tease Adam. But my highly intelligent son has a frequent habit of letting his mouth move faster than his brain, and I just can't keep myself from laughing. Similar to the way I would have chronicled his first words when he was tiny, I wanted to record a few of our favorite Adamisms lately.

- Cheddar incense (it was really cedar)
- Exit salad (Dad chronicled that one on Facebook)
- This look he gets every time he doesn't quite understand that David is joking

But my favorite happens this last weekend when we were spending some time with Logan and Ehlana.  Adam struggles when words don't match tone, and will take the tone every time.  This has been a problem for him when dealing with adults all his life. Sweet primary teachers would smile at him and say, "I really need you to sit down." All he could hear with the kind tone was, "She really likes me! I should keep doing exactly what I'm doing."

Well, this means he is fairly likely to believe anything that is said by someone who sounds believable. Ehlana had him completely convinced that they had cut a hole in the fence just big enough for their dog to cross from the back yard to the front yard. All of Ehlena's body language indicated that she was kidding. The statement she was making sounded completely false. But her tone sounded serious!

And so when he was asked to open the gate for Alex, he responded, "Can't he just go through the hole?"

Girls Day Out

David asked if I would be interested in a girls day out.  A girls day out.

Of course I had all the questions. Which girls? Doing what? I have a core group of female friends, but I knew if they wanted to hang out with me the invitation would have come from Amy.

Whatever it was he had up his sleeve, he wanted to keep as a surprise. But I'm kind of a difficult person to surprise. It's possible I might be a diagnosable control freak. And it is all together entirely true that I am over scheduled all the time. Letting someone else put something on my calendar? That sounds like the definition of hell.

But I assured him that if he could promise me it was with people I liked doing something that I would rather do than spend time with him, I was up for the adventure. He tried to continue planning the surprise, But ultimately decided he needed my input in order to finalize the plans.

I stood in the hallway with a facial expression I am sure was a mix of complete disapproval and delight as I waited for him to spill the beans.  Really... what could he have planned that I would actually enjoy.  With girls?

"Would you like to go skydiving with Mena?"

That's his idea of girls day out?

No wonder I love this man.

Going Back

I am going back to blogging. Long before Facebook, I cleared my mental space by draining words straight into my blog. And while I did It for my own sake, others seemed to actually enjoy reading it. Perhaps that's when the problem started. Perhaps that's when I got an over-inflated sense that what I have to say matters.
Then came Facebook. And it's early days, it was a friendly place for sharing potty training stories and pictures of your dinner. It helped me feel less isolated when my children were little. But Facebook has changed, and so have I.
In order for me to confidently click post, I have to edit not only for spelling and grammar but for audience perception. Will a world of acquaintances catch my subtle tone? Have I tagged anyone would prefer not to be publicly acknowledged in my story? Have I gotten Adam's approval to share stories and pictures in a space he shares? My words have become carefully guarded. Spun for what I think will be accepted when received.
That does not help my brain declutter.
So I'm returning to blogging, and it's going to be more word vomity than ever.  Read it if you want. Judge it if you will. And get to know me if you stay.