Ugly Crying on the Beach

If I ever write a book, I think I’m going to title it, “Ugly Crying on the Beach”.

Catchy, right?

I know. I’m so stinkin’ creative.

Anyway, you know that awesome vacation I was so super excited about?

Well, much of it was spent ugly crying on the beach. Not entirely unlike this:

ugly crying

I mean… Ew.

Why, you ask?

WHY?! Why would I spend most of my vacation if not actually ugly crying, then trying not to ugly cry on the beach?



Well, for starters…

I mean…

It was all…

Okay, looking back, none of these things probably actually warranted ugly crying on the beach… in front of everyone…

But at the time…

I was all discombobulated and overwhelmed and overwrought.

There was the allergic reaction over half my body had to the sun.


The big, burning globe up in the sky? Yeah. Apparently, that side note that the doctor mentioned three years ago about me having a slight allergy to the sun? Yeah… apparently, that’s an actual THING. Which is why over half my body broke out into these hideous boil-like swollen hives… that had to be iced and aloed and calmed the frick down with lots and lots of Benedryl.

I mean… it was ridiculous. I put on a bathing suit for the first time in a decade and my entire body decided to revolt. So, of course, I had to spend the rest of the trip covered up underneath umbrellas, popping Benedryl and keeping any sun exposure down to a minimal.

Meanwhile, in other parts of the beach condo, Jack’s chillens were all spazzing because apparently he was spending more time on the vacation with me than he was with them, and so they brain-stormed these crazy elaborate plans to manipulate every possible situation so as to keep me at arm’s length and make it known that just because it was okay for me to hang out with them at home… vacations were a completely different beast and I just needed to…



Even though… in my defense… I barely saw the guy all vacation. And every time he would even venture to sit near me, there were dislocated shoulders and projectile vomiting and pandemonium and chaos of near apocalyptic proportions… all in an attempt to keep him away from me. And if we did manage to sneak in a moment here or there, there ensued a great wailing and gnashing of teeth about how he never spent time with them and they’d barely seen them all week and this was the worst vacation ever. And I was all trying to figure out what happened to the previously wonderful kiddos I had grown to know and love. Apparently, they had decided to take a vacation too… while the cyborgs filling in for them plotted my demise.

And then of course there was the food poisoning from a local waffle place, trying to be on my best behavior because I was on vacation not only with my guy’s kids, but also his parents, and the constant bickering, complaining and drama coming from the pre-teens. Oh, and apparently, while I was away, every work e-mail that has ever existed in the history of work e-mails needed to be answered that week… and also, there was the homeless meth head wandering the halls of my apartment building in my absence…

So… YAY!!!

So, by the time my sister called to see how things were going, I was all…


Can I go home now?

Suffice to say, it was wonderful coming home to more screaming kids to nanny and even more confused kids to tutor.

Apparently, I needed a vacation from my vacation.

And now that everything is back to normal (Jack’s chillens no longer hate me, and my skin is no longer breaking out… although it is still in the process of healing from that horrible, ugly sun) I want to go back and try it all over again.


Geeze, Annie… you’re just never happy, are you?




Too. Much. Stuff.

I have a vacation coming up on Friday.

Yes, a vacation.

A bonafide vacation.

Like the kind where you go to the beach, and stick your feet in the sand, and lie back, kick up your feet, read a good book and just REST.

I have never, EVER been on a bonafide vacation before.

I used to dream about them as a little kid when my mom would sing the “V-A-C-A-TION” song to us at the end of every school year. I always wondered what one of those would be like. I mean, sure, we took road trips as a family… went to fairs and explored big cities and visited museums and went to see family… but it was never a “Rest and Relaxation” kind of vacation. Even my honeymoon. We went to Chicago (I know… Chicago?!) and walked ten miles every day and didn’t have time to rest and relax because we had to see everything in a span of four days.

So, this vacation? This is a big deal.

But I digress. This post isn’t even about the vacation. It’s about the prep work leading up to the vacation… which leads to other work… which leads to ridiculous frustrations… which leads to ridiculous blog posts. (Stay with me, peeps. This all makes sense in my head.)

So, yesterday, in preparation for this vacation… I did some laundry, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned out the litter box, and then took a gander around my apartment and decided to clean. (You know, because one’s home cannot be too clean before embarking on a vacation. I mean, what would the cat sitter think if they were to see your home in utter disarray?!)


I know, Nick. I know. I deal in absurdities.

SO, anyhoodles… I’m all… cleaning... and I come across a stack (yes, a stack) of … gifts… given to me by well-meaning parents and students. Gifts that have been piling up since Christmas of LAST YEAR. Gifts that have been piling up since Christmas OF LAST YEAR (thus the need for the stack) because… I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH THEM.

It seems wrong to just… toss them… they are gifts after all… but they are gifts that I will literally NEVER-EVER use.


The apple cinnamon mini candle? Tell me you didn’t just regift that because you panicked at the last minute realizing you didn’t have a gift for the teacher.

The teeny-tiny apple picture frame? Whose picture am I supposed to put in there? Your child’s? I didn’t even like your child that much.

The mini book of inspirational teaching quotes? Do you honestly think I’m going to put that in my purse and pull it out when I need some wise words of encouragement? Um… Honey? Ain’t NO teacher got time for that!

The Mod-Podge glitter vase with my initials in it? Really? REALLY?

The LIP GLOSS?! Is that some kind of passive aggressive insult or were you just super desperate for a last minute gift?

THE BOX OF SPICES?! (SPICES?!?!) The ENDLESS array of teaching angels. The mugs… the mugs, the mugs, the MUGS! ALL THE MUGS ALL THE TIME. The candles and the calendars and the rosaries and the note pads.

I don’t know what to do with it all!!!

too much

Me too, Kevin. Me. Too.

Now, before you get bent too out of shape… I’m really not that mean and ungrateful. ANY time a student or a parent gets me anything, I’m always super surprised and delighted. I never expect anything for simply… doing my job. So, the fact that parents and students take the time to get me something always gives me the warm fuzzies.

It’s just that… once I look at the stack at the end of the year I’m all…

pile it up

But after a couple years of doing just that…

too much 2

(You guys… I’m going to let you in on a little secret… all the stuff? I piled it into a box bound for Good Will.)

Shhhhh…. No one will ever know.

Truly… I’m not trying to be ungrateful… but I have enough of my own stuff to contend with… stuff which also needs to be gone through and shipped off. (Heck, I haven’t even gotten through all the things from my parents’ house that I need to do something with. So, forgive me if I get all discombobulated with your candles, and picture frames and itty bitty books. It’s not you. It’s me.)

From now on, the only gift anyone will ever receive from me (Unless you explicitly state, “Annie. I would like item number 09283XL48 in red from page 243 of this catalog.” – I love that I assume people still shop from catalogs…) is a gift card. Because I know what you do with all the other gifts I have ever gotten you. You toss them. Or give them away. Or regift them. Because there is such a thing as TOO. MUCH. STUFF.


Annie and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Week

So, to summarize my week….

On Monday, while in the midst of planning for a coworker’s baby shower and doing laundry and grading papers, Sir Winston started dragging his butt across the floor. Just like he had been doing in February. Just like he had done in December. DANG YOU, ANAL GLANDS!

On Tuesday, I had a complete meltdown because of all the things I have yet to do as a teacher this year… and there is no possible way to get it done by NEXT THURSDAY. And despite my control freak tendencies, I was forced to ask for help and delegate responsibilities for both the field trip and baby shower that I had PROPOSED AND PLANNED. (It nearly killed me. I’m not gonna lie…)

On Wednesday, the noises my car was making got so bad I realized I better bring it in before the wheels fell off. And then I spent the evening curled up in the fetal position waiting for the mysterious waves of nausea and light headedness to pass

On Thursday, I brought a bus-load of hooligans to meet some sisters and tour a cathedral amidst waves of nausea and light headedness. Let’s just say it could have gone better.

On Friday, I was forced to cancel the trip to the cabin, the car appointment AND the hair appointment in order to figure out what was up with Winston’s Butt Scootin’ Boogying… and now I am forced to stay home, hawkishly watch his every move, ensure he’s still eating and drinking, and force feed him medicine twice a day while he froths at the mouth. Oh, AND my principal decided yesterday was a good day to pop in for a surprise observation… while I had NOTHING to teach. (I seriously can’t make this stuff up.)

Meanwhile, the man came in with a carpet cleaner to get the remnants of all the CAT DIARRHEA out of my carpet, while I scrubbed everything by hand… and YET, after ALL that, I awake this morning to the scent of cat urine. ARE YOU KIDDING ME, CAT?!

And to top it all off, my shower drain is completely clogged because of all the baths I’ve had to give smelly Sir Winston, the man thinks I’m a complete fruit cake because I’ve been crying about EVERYTHING, my neighbor keeps bothering me and asking me for help despite the fact that I have NOTHING else to give at this point of the week, and the man gets to spend the weekend with the kiddos up at the cabin WITH the boat AND the dock in, while I sit half-heartedly watching TV and staring at Sir Winston to make sure he doesn’t DIE.

Oh, and the cops were called to my apartment building yesterday.


Happy Memorial Day Weekend, ya’ll.

Welcome to Catholicism

Where everything is your fault… and even if it’s not, you may as well do penance for it.

I don’t know if I mentioned this… but I joined the Catholic Church about a year and a half ago.

Apparently, I don’t have the staying power the cradle Catholics have because I started pulling up stakes a few months back.

I just couldn’t do it anymore…

I mean, not really…

I could go through the motions and pretend, but…

But even the pretending became burdensome. You know you’re doing it wrong when the whole time at Mass you’re thinking, “I wonder if I can find something decent on Netflix after this…”

I tried. I really did. But what with all the suffering, and the Marian devotions, and the guilt and the shame, and the bickering over how pious and holy one would have to be to attain perfection and gain admittance into heaven… It just became too much. I couldn’t buy into it anymore. I didn’t buy into it anymore. It all became too convoluted and treacherous and… well… backwards.

I mean, when you start to brow beat yourself for thinking that Billy Graham certainly made it into heaven, and feel guilty for not praying for his admittance into purgatory… You know there’s a bit of a problem.

I mean… really, Annie?

It just became… exhausting. And worship had become… forced. And Jesus had turned into a sad, angry, hurt martyr… and God was mad at me ALL THE TIME… and all semblance of grace and joy and peace had been left in a dust heap by the door…

It was just time.

So… here I am. Trying to figure out the why and the “HUH?” to my conversion and reversion and making my way back around to the light and joy and the peace.

I don’t know… Like I said… Over and under, around and through… I guess that’s the only way I really learn.




Say something. Say… Anything.

Yesterday, I had a meeting with “the father”.  (What? I didn’t tell you about “the father”? Yeah, well… you’ll catch up.)

And as I am wont to do, rather than be my sophisticated, witty, interesting self, I ended up acting like Gomer Pyle. Because that’s how I roll.

You know Gomer Pyle, right? The simple-minded mechanic from “The Andy Griffith Show”?

Oh, you don’t? Well, this is Gomer:

Anyway, here’s a brief overview of how it all went down:

So, I had a meeting with the guy, right? We were discussing things, right? (No, it doesn’t matter what we were discussing, all that matters is that a discussion was taking place.  Stay with me.) Okay, so while we’re discussing these “things”, the guy is trying unsuccessfully to sit still. He absolutely cannot sit still. He’s like one of my 2nd graders. It’s ridiculous. Whenever we’re having a discussion he’s constantly rummaging through his books, looking things up on his phone and computer, shifting positions incessantly so he can get better blood flow to the brain…

Not entirely unlike this…

Anyway, he doesn’t do it to be rude. He’s listening the entire time, and continuing the conversation, and giving feedback. It’s just that when we’re discussing things, his brain is always going, and when his brain is going, he has to find supporting evidence for his assertions and opinions. And so he’s always looking things up. Because he’s brilliant and smart and a nerdy, researcher-thinker dude and I kind of find him weirdly… cute.


ANYWAY, at one point he was looking something up on his computer… you know, to offer up supporting evidence for his assertion. This happens a lot so usually I just wait for him to find whatever he’s looking for, and read whatever he wants to share. So, he’s looking up this information, and I’m sitting there waiting…



And instead of sitting there staring at him (Which I would never do… because that would be ridiculously awkward…)


I was looking out his office window. You see, he has these large windows in his office, and he had them wide open. And it was that kind of windy, blustery, perfectly stormy, summery day, and I was just enjoying the view.

Not entirely unlike this…

I don’t know how long I was sitting there staring out the window, but I finally turn back to his desk and he’s just sitting there…

Looking at me…

Like he was waiting for me ask my next question…

And I’m like, “Oh! I’m sorry, I thought you were still looking something up…”

Not entirely unlike this…


It could have been 30 seconds… It could have been a minute and 30 seconds… DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG THAT IS IN REAL LIFE?!

That’s a freakin’ long-ass time!

He must have been like, “Dude. Are you just going to hang out in my office or…?”

It’s not that simple! I didn’t know we were sitting here in awkward silence!

UGH… I am so ridiculously awkward. But why didn’t he say something?! He could have been like, “So, what else is on your mind?” Or… SOMETHING! But no. He sat there in awkward silence, looking at me, waiting for me to collect my thoughts and SAY SOMETHING.


It was horrifying.

Okay, not as horrifying as I made it out to be, but still pretty horrifying nonetheless. I mean… How long was I just sitting there? How long was he waiting for me? WHY DIDN’T HE SAY ANYTHING?

I’m so freakishly awkward. I’m such a Gomer.


Seriously, you guys. Is there anything better than s’napping?

And by s’napping, I mean, “summertime napping”.

I’ve been s’napping nearly everyday.

Usually during that mid-afternoon lull where you’ve finished errands and daily chores, there’s no justification for starting a Netflix marathon this early in the day, and quite frankly, if you spend anymore time reading, trolling Pinterest or stalking people on Facebook, you’re going to flat-out off yourself. THAT, my friends, means it’s prime time for a s’nap. (For people who work during the summer, this is that drowsy point in the afternoon right after lunch, right before your 15th cup of coffee. Primetime for s’naps.)

The problem with s’naps is that once you get into the habit, it’s hopelessly hard to break. Because they feel SO GOOD. I never knew how much I could enjoy taking a nap WHENEVER THE HECK I WANT. And most of the time, after I wake up, I don’t even feel guilty. Because it’s SUMMER. And I’m a TEACHER. What else am I going to spend my time doing? I mean, besides…

  • Catching up on reading
  • Working a summer job for extra income instead of whining about how poor I am
  • People-watching at Starbucks
  • Reorganizing my life
  • Redecorating my apartment
  • Gardening
  • Golfing, hiking, playing tennis or getting any kind of exercise
  • Travelling
  • Learning a new skill
  • Mapping out my curriculum for next year
  • Planning and putting together my classroom for next year

You know… all those things that pretentious over-achievers do. And I’m nothing if not an unpretentious under-achiever.

Now before you leave a whole slew of comments about how I SHOULD be spending my time instead of s’napping, let me clarify. This is my first summer off since starting my teaching career. All the prior summers off were spent taking graduate courses or relocating for new jobs. I’ve never had a summer where I could actually… HAVE A SUMMER. So, don’t be getting all up on your high horse with your, “Annie… you’re being slothful. You need to go to confession.”

OOH! Confession! That actually sounds like fun. I should try that out sometime. Play a little game of, “See which priest can recognize my voice the fastest.”

Oh, Annie. You irreverent, sacrilegious boob. Go take a s’nap.

Holy Crappers… I think I’m a little bit Catholic.

When I was in college, I was attending this charismatic, pentacostal, evangelical, non-denominational conglomeration of a church that hated women. It was weird. It was uncomfortable. It was… gross.

The main reason I attended this church was because the “holy of holies” attended this church. You know, the campus worship leaders, the students on fire for Christ, the future  youth pastors of America. (You know the type.) And I figured, if they were going, then I should be going too. Clearly, they knew something I didn’t. Clearly, they were being fed here. Clearly, this was the place to be for the who’s who of campus ministry.

So, I went. And I almost instantaneously hated it. But this is not that story. This is the story of the story that came out of being asked about “my story”.

Almost as soon as I started attending this place, I was cornered and confronted by some of the “holy of holies” within the church – the people who had made it their mission to determine who was “saved” and who wasn’t so they could either give them the seal of approval or pray their souls out of an eternity of fiery damnation. The “holy of holies” wanted to know my “witness” – my “story” – the moment the heavens opened up, God revealed Himself unto me and made a prophetic proclamation about my life. Because apparently, this is the rule rather than the exception in these churches. And if you’re the exception, then you’d better hunker down for one heck of a hot eternity.

So, apparently, in order to be accepted into the fold, I needed to have my salvation story ready. And I didn’t. And I was all…

I’m sorry. I have no idea what you’re talking about.

And they were all…


And so I stuttered and stammered and limped my way through a story about giving myself to Christ at Vacation Bible School with Missionary Larry at the age of five. But, apparently, that wasn’t a good enough salvation story because it wasn’t dramatic enough and puh-lease… everyone had gone to that same Missionary Larry VBS and that did not make me a born-again Christian.


And I remember going back to my dorm room and calling my mom and telling her that I was pretty sure I wasn’t a Christian because I didn’t have a bonafide “salvation story”.

She was able to convince me that that was silly, that a bonafide “salvation story” didn’t make me a Christian, and that I needn’t worry about my “salvation”. So, I believed her…. or at least pretended to. But I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that maybe I wasn’t a bonafide born-again Christian after all because… well… even when I had been standing there reciting that prayer in front of Missionary Larry at the age of five, I wasn’t buying it.

You see, in order to understand the thought-process of a five year old Annie, you have to understand that even at the age of five, Annie was a bonafide cynic. This was the kindergartener who had been given a stern talking to by her kindergarten teacher after laying out for her classmates the exact reasons why Santa Clause wasn’t a real dude. This was the kiddo who laughed maniacally at her older siblings when they tried to convince her that the Tooth Fairy was an actual thing. I didn’t buy into things easily. I was a realist through and through.

But when it came to Jesus… well, Jesus was an entirely different story. Jesus was the real deal. Jesus was awesome. Jesus was love and goodness and grace and mercy and forgiveness and awesomeness all rolled into one. That was just fact. That wasn’t something little Annie even flinched at. Jesus just was. It wasn’t even up for debate. What was there to debate? Reality? Reality wasn’t up for debate. Reality just was. You know… kind of like Jesus.

So, since little Annie knew this from a very young age, she found it somewhat bewildering that she should have to “give her life to Jesus”. This concept was baffling. What was there to give Him? He already had it. She already knew Him. She already loved Him. But now she was supposed to officially make a public proclamation in order to make it stick?

Little Annie, being the realist she was, found this absurd. I mean, let’s be honest… WHY???

However, Annie was not yet the feisty, spunky, spit-fire she would one day become. So, when she saw everyone else going up to the front to give their lives to Jesus, she figured she should too, because she didn’t want it to look like she didn’t love Jesus. So, she gave her life to Him again and asked Him this time if He could make it stick.

Fast-forward almost 30 years later and I’m sitting in Fr. McCutie’s office, asking about the Catholic thought-process of baptism and suddenly, this happens:


I’m sorry… are you trying to tell me that my inclinations, understandings and proclivities of the Christian faith have been CATHOLIC this whole time?! That maybe, just maybe, when five year old Annie was standing there all confused in front of Missionary Larry, that there was a teeny-tiny Catholic just dying to get out?!?!

No. WAY.

Holy crappers… I think I’m a little bit Catholic.