Top Ten Things Not To Do In Carpool Line

My Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop inspiration for this week: What’s the message you would craft?

What perfect timing! While I can’t claim to compare to the inspiration post, I was so inspired the other day in carpool by what was going on around me that I put aside my light mystery novel to grab some scrap paper and start listing the Top Ten Things Not To Do In Carpool Line. So this is longer than just a message, more of a memo really, and please feel free to copy and paste to create your own memo for distribution in your own carpool line. This is appropriate for both public and private schools, since items were inspired equally by my experiences as a parent at both. Don’t think you can always pick which is which, ’cause, honey, you would be shocked! It’s hard to decide which offenses are more irritating, so I’ve listed them in order of occurrence from the moment I pull into carpool line until the moment I leave it.

10) Do not leave your car running while you are parked in carpool for 20 minutes just so you can run your AC. You are blowing hot, foul exhaust fumes at all the cars around you whose occupants are following the rules and sweltering with engines off and windows open. You have an exception if you have an infant in the car, but that’s the only valid excuse.

9) Do not park your car in carpool line and then prance around from car to car in your tennis skirt, especially if you haven’t played tennis that day. Really – we can tell from the hair. And if you are too deeply involved with your conversation three rows over to move your car when it’s your turn to go I think the patrol kids should be allowed to take a cattle prod to your ass to get you moving.

8) If you really must smoke in carpool line (can you really not go 20 minutes without one? really?) do not blow the smoke into the car parked next to you. As my grandmother would say, it’s “common”. You Southern girls know what I’m saying here.

7) Do not play “Name That Tune” with songs on the radio. That’s Queen, honey, and there is no one else who sounds like Freddy Mercury. You probably can’t name the Beatles, either, so I have no use for you.

6) Do not sing along with any song on the radio. I don’t care how well you think you sing – this is not karaoke carpool. And especially don’t sing the profane lyrics to the rap song you’re listening to. I prefer the driving bass that shakes my fillings loose ’cause then I can’t hear the words as well.

5) Do not stand around in carpool on a pretty early April day bragging about how you’ve never received a W-2. This makes us frumpy-looking, exhausted working women want to run down your bleached-blonde, laser-whitened, surgically augmented bodies with our old, dirty cars. And we don’t worry about the prison time either, sugar, ’cause eight hours sleep every night and three meals a day cooked by someone else sounds pretty damn good about now.

4) Being old is no excuse. I think it’s wonderful that some grandparents pick up their grandchildren at carpool – really I do – they can even pick up mine if they want to. But they have to follow the rules. It’s a carpool LINE. This means there is a beginning and an end. First in is first out. Being over 55 does not mean you can drive across the cones, pick up your grandkids, and dodge all the other sobbing kindergartners while you race out of the parking lot. Bring in those patrol kids with the cattle prods and set them to “stun”.

3) Do not share True Confessions teenage sex stories in a loud voice. This applies whether you are talking to you friend in the passenger seat or your friend on the cell phone. And most especially don’t do it while the carpool line’s moving, ’cause it’s like a train wreck – we just can’t look away. And the kiddo we smoosh just might be your own (hopefully not conceived during that story, ’cause that was way too icky).

2) Do not scream at your child as soon as they get to the car. Or if you are a butthead and really must, then roll your window up. I do not want to hear, “What the hell were you thinking? How many damn times do I have to tell you to turn that f#$%in’ altar server form in?” Oh, yeah, honey, that was a dad in a parochial school carpool.

1) I’m assuming you can read. That sign says “Right Turn Only”. Do not attempt to turn left. This is not all about you. Rear-ending your Lexus seems like a reasonable option right about now.

Sweet Potato Salad ~ Lunchbag Week 6

OK, this one’s all about me! I can’t even get the guys to try a bite of this, although I did try. None of them could get past the sight of sweet potatoes (“Are those carrots or what?”) and spinach (“What’s that green stuff?”). That’s just fine, though – leaves more for me. I’m taking this for lunch every day this week and they can have boring sandwiches unless they decide to get brave and try some of this delicious salad. I found it in a Family Circle magazine and altered it to fit what I had around the house. Here goes:

Warm Sweet Potato Salad (although it’s good cold, too)
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup (I used plain old pancake syrup)
  • 3 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chucks
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 oz ham, diced (I used deli ham, but I bet thick chunks would be even yummier)
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I tried it with and without, and it’s great either way)
  1. Heat oven to 400. Stir together vinegar, syrup, and mustard. Whisk in 2 Tbsp oil and set aside.
  2. Mix potatoes, onions, ham, 1 Tbsp oil, salt, pepper, and thyme and bake for 45 minutes.
  3. Add spinach, walnuts, and vinegar mixture. YUM!

printable version

Verbal Kleptomaniac ~ Mama Kat’s Writers’ Workshop

Here’s the prompt I’m using this week:
3.) List the pieces of you that have come from those around you.
Select your own and join in the fun at Mama’s Losin‘ It!

I confess – I am a verbal kleptomaniac. I habitually steal words, phrases, and speech patterns from the people around me. I didn’t do this as a kid, I’m sure, because I remember going to visit my cousins in Lynch, Kentucky during the summer and their friends asking, “Where are you from, New York?” I’m actually just from Central Kentucky (and I sound like it), but the accents in Harlan County, Kentucky are pretty thick (think Loretta Lynn with a little extra spice) so I evidently sounded pretty city-fied. Maybe it started when I was in college and they taught us in Psych Nursing to use “therapeutic communication” – it did make me much more aware of all the nuances of a conversation, both verbal and non-verbal. Anyway, give me a good ol‘ country fella to do a stress test on and I turn into my mother. Things pop out of my mouth like, “No, honey, I’ve been workin‘ here since God was a boy” or “I’d like to buy him for what he’s worth and sell him for what he thinks he’s worth!” Of course if the next patient’s in his early twenties and didn’t drive a truck to the hospital I turn into my seventeen-year-old son, “It’s all good!” . My favorite word stolen from my ten-year-old is “ginormous” (gigantic plus enormous) which has a lot of uses, including describing some of the patients I do stress tests on as well as the size of the sweet tea I’d like to have at lunch. I have shamelessly stolen “any-who” from Dianna, just ’cause it sounds so darn perky. I also stole her name for me, AngieB, to use on my blog – thanks, girl! It cracks me up when her husband calls me that, it’s like they’ve been married for fifty years and are turning into each other (although I have underwear older than their marriage license). Any-who, I have to give credit for the head-bobbing thing I do when I fuss at the boys to Wendy (stole that from her way back in high school) and my scowl-mumble-stomp comes straight from my grandmother. I think that one may actually be genetic since my brother does it, too. Just remember when I steal something from you: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

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