To Tomicka Who Works the Night Shift at the Crowne Plaza

February 8, 2017 in Beth, But Seriously by Beth Woolsey

 

Dear Tomicka Who Works the Night Shift at the Crowne Plaza at the Seattle Airport,

I don’t know how many frantic phone calls you field every night. I don’t know how many of those come from mommies who are too far away from their kids to help them. I don’t know how many times you have to calm them the heck down and tell them not to worry because you’ve got this. I don’t know if this was old hat to you or a first. All I know is, you handled it like a rock star.

My kid was stranded the other night at the airport with a flight cancelled due to snow, which you already know because we talked about it on the phone while we became best friends. She’d flown to Seattle from Oregon on her way back to college in Hawaii, but, after waiting inside the airport 6 hours and another 3 hours sitting on the plane, the flight was cancelled, the passengers returned to the gate, and she was stuck. Tired from a long day of travel and delays, and stuck.

Now, yes. My kid is 18 and a half, so technically an adult. But she’s a BRAND NEW adult — a baby adult — and, perhaps more importantly, her mommy is new to having an adult, so we’re just learning the ropes around here. She could have handled herself. She would have done fine. But she was traveling alone for the first time, and it was snowing buckets outside, and the next flight wasn’t leaving ’til morning, so MOMMY TO THE RESCUE, right?? Except I couldn’t really rescue her. I could only try to find a place for her to sleep while she navigated the rest on her own.

I booked her a room at the Crowne Plaza.

We usually stay at a different hotel at the Seattle airport. One with crumbling asphalt in the parking lot and a very long, bent chain link fence. They serve horrible coffee with powdered creamer, and the carpets are stained, but the rooms are clean and cheap, and, frankly, that’s all we usually look for in a hotel.

But I booked her a room at the Crowne Plaza. The price was $50 more than we usually spend, but I wanted a place that made her feel safe. I wanted a place that made me feel safe. A clean room, not as cheap, but safe. I assume this is what people talk about when they say they have “standards.” Ours are usually lower than other people’s, but this time, no. Crowne Plaza it was.

I called you after I made the booking because I know hotels don’t usually allow 18-year-olds to book rooms, and I needed to make sure you’d let her check in. It was 11:00pm, dark with flurries furiously falling, and Abby was making her way to the hotel shuttles. She was texting me every minute to ask if she was in the right place. To ask if I was sure.

“This is the Crowne Plaza, Tomicka speaking. How may I help you?”

“Tomicka? My name is Beth. My daughter, Abby, just had her flight canceled so I booked her a room with you. She’s 18.”

“Well… our policy doesn’t allow 18-year-olds to stay alone here…”

I interrupted you. I was maybe a tiny bit frantic. “But my kid is STRANDED AT THE AIRPORT, Tomicka, and she’s ALONE, so WE NEED A SOLUTION. What is our solution here??”

“It’s OK,” you said. And “DO NOT PANIC.” Which sometimes I need to hear, even if I say back, “I AM NOT PANICKING, TOMICKA. I AM VERY CALM.”

“Let me finish,” you said, and I took a deep breath which was really just me preparing TO FIGHT YOU TO THE DEATH for a room for my child, but then you said these words to me, “Beth. Listen. I am a mommy. I will take care of your daughter. Although our policy doesn’t allow 18-year-olds to check in alone, I will call my manager right now to get an exception approved. I am on this. We can make this happen. I’ll call you back in 10 minutes.”

Listen, Tomicka. When my kid was tiny, we had one rule if she got lost. I drilled it into her over and over.

“If you get lost, what do you do?” I’d ask. “FIND A MOMMY,” she’d reply.

Find a mommy. That was our rule. Because I knew, if my little lost one wandered up to a mommy with a stroller, or a mommy handing out goldfish crackers at a park, or a mommy pushing a kid on a swing, and said “I am lost,” the mommy would protect her. The mommy would help her find her way back to me. Oh sure, the mommy’s reaction after that could go either way — she might be amazingly sympathetic and pat me on the back and say “there, there” while I cried out the adrenaline of losing my kid, or she might be mean and ask me what kind of a mother I am, anyway to lose my child like this? — but I knew she would keep my kids safe before that reaction. And that’s all I needed to know. One rule: Find a Mommy.

You called me back 10 minutes later, just like you said. And also like you said, you’d fixed everything. My kid could check in with the caveat that she couldn’t order room service because they serve alcohol, so delivery would be restricted on her account. “Don’t worry, though,” you said again, “Here’s a number to call if you want to order her a pizza or something. She’s probably hungry.” She was. She hadn’t eaten for 12 hours. She was tired and she was hungry. “BUT IF YOU ORDER,” you clarified, “make sure you have them deliver it here to the front desk. It’s probably fine to have them deliver to her room, but she’s 18 and traveling alone, so let’s just have them meet here where I am.”

 

“And listen,” you said, “ANYTHING she needs tonight — anything at all — you have her come find Tomicka, OK? I’m a mommy, too. That’s what we do.”

That’s when I said I love you and that you’re my best friend forever.

People ask me all the time, with all the terrible things happening around the world, why I stubbornly think people are good. Why I think there’s still hope. Why I insist that people I haven’t met in real life are, too, my very real friends and not virtual at all. You, Tomicka, proved my point. I keep thinking that way because people like you exist. People who look out for others. People who find common ground. A community of mommies. A community of momrades. Which is why, even if we never meet face-to-face, I still will always be,

Your best friend forever,

 

 

 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post misspelled Tomicka’s name as Tanika (as can still be seen in text photos).

Mother/Daughter Look-a-Likes: Can’t Tell Them Apart!

June 28, 2016 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Everywhere my daughter and I go, people can’t tell us apart. That’s why we have a history of taking twinsy pics; to blow people’s minds that we’re actually mother/daughter.

We took some yesterday, in fact, just for you. See if you can figure out who’s who!

Good luck, friends.

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You’re never going to believe this, but we’re 25 years apart in age. FOR REALS.

I know, right??

Minds. Blown.

You’re welcome, The Internets! It’s like the blue dress all over again.

With love,

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P.S. If you’re not done being shocked and amazed, here are some of our other Twinsie Pics…

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P.P.S. In unrelated news, MY KID IS THE BEST SPORT EVER. The End.

The Day I Peed My Shoe. Yesterday, Actually. Yesterday, I Peed My Shoe.

June 20, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Not the pretty kind of “wetting my shoe” that’s an adorable misleading statement where I say, “I wet my shoe,” but then I’m all, “J/K! I got my shoe wet with the garden hose while watering the garden. Gotcha!” You know what I mean? Like when you drop a pea on the floor and say, “I peed the floor,” and your nine-year-olds think you’re HILARIOUS and your teenage daughter rolls All the Eyes in All the World and goes, “Stop, Mom. Just stop.”

Nope, this is not that; in this situation, I wet my shoe with my very own urine because — and here’s where I offer as true an explanation as I know — at my core, I am a gigantic dork. A gigantic, shoe-wetting dork.
Now, to be fair to my sweet self, this incident wasn’t actually as bad as the time last fall when I wet my office, about which I haven’t written because I’m loathe to be the girl who pooped my closet AND the girl who peed my office. I mean, how much believable pottying-on-oneself can one actually do? At some point, people will necessarily question my credibility, right? In our current shame-based culture where we can’t even share our lovely lunch pictures on the Facebook (while being simultaneously chided to treasure the little things) without being accused of the overshare, I was afraid I Couldn’t Take It. Losing even more credibility AND being re-accused of over-sharing? HOW WILL I ENDURE THE SHAME?

So I didn’t.

I left the office-peeing story untold.

And it shall remain untold for now, because I have a more pressing matter to address, which is the wetting of my shoe, about which I felt a similar measure of shame to the wetting of my office, until I remembered this afternoon that I HAVE no shame. I lost it long ago, as well as my dignity. I also realized that being absent the credible makes one incredible, and I was all, “INCREDIBLE ME can SO TELL THIS STORY.”

Which is why I’m here to let you know that once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Yesterday.

Once upon a time yesterday, I wet my shoe.

While on my way home from the Grace in the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat, I wet my shoe.

In a port-a-potty, I wet my shoe.

After bragging at the retreat how good I am at the “hover, aim and pee splash-free” maneuver — because this is the kind of thing one always discusses at a spiritual formation retreat, yes? — I wet my shoe.

I hovered, indeed, but then I missed, and it cascaded off the seat, creating a waterfall effect off the rim, which is how I wet my shoe. Which I failed to feel at first, so I REALLY wet my shoe.

The night after I told lovely retreat ladies in the hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean at sunset about Peeing My Office and about the shame which kept me from telling all of you, I wet my shoe.

Probably because Jesus was giving me more opportunities to be Authentically Me, I wet my shoe. We must, after all, credit Jesus with All the Gifts and Give Thanks in All Things, and I clearly have the spiritual gift of Soiling Myself, so Thank You, Jesus!

I wrote the ladies just now, in fact, and I shall share with you, too, for the sake of expedience and friendship and OBEDIENCE TO GOD, as you will see…

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies.

I need to tell you something.

I WET MY SHOE ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE BEACH YESTERDAY.

I WET it. With PEE. I am writing about it currently, but I feel that Jesus, who is mean and vindictive (not really) (I think) FORCED ME TO PEE MY SHOE because I neglected to tell the story in the fall about peeing my office. Do we think it’s a COINCIDENCE that I confessed that story to you in the hot tub on SATURDAY and then on SUNDAY I peed my shoe? THAT IS NOT COINCIDENCE, friends; it’s obviously my spiritual gift to pee and poop All the Things — I mean, HOW MANY TIMES DOES JESUS NEED TO SHOW ME THIS BEFORE I ACCEPT IT AS TRUTH?? — and then write about those things. I REJECTED my spiritual gift last fall after the incident that combined tights with that lady-pee-device and my consistently poor judgement, and then I hid my light under a bushel AND TOLD NO ONE WHAT I HAD DONE. Except a few friends at work. And also some people on my back patio when we drank whiskey one night. And also the people at the writing retreat. And also all of you ladies in the hot tub. But, other than, like, a few dozen people, I TOLD NO ONE, so Jesus made me wet my shoe to get my attention. Because Jesus is WILY and PERSISTENTLY IN PURSUIT OF HELPING US FIND AND ACCEPT OURSELVES AND OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS. (Psst… one part of that may actually be true.)

Anyway — I’ll write more on the blog, but just wanted to let you know — NOT GONNA HIDE WHO GOD AUTHENTICALLY CALLED ME TO BE! HEART INTELLIGENCE! WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Also, friendly word of advice… maybe aim REALLY GOOD in port-a-potties so your pee doesn’t cascade off the rim of the toilet, over which you’re hovering, and create a waterfall that gushes into your Dansko clog, which is uniquely shaped to capture every bit of the ever-flowing stream. I mean… up to you to accept or reject my advice, of course… you do you… but I thought I’d mention it in case it helps.

In conclusion, I once peed my shoe. Yesterday, actually. Thanks be to God.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I stole the Danskos pic from the Danksos site and am using it without permission. FREE ADVERTISING FOR DANSKO! I figure they won’t mind. I mean, who DOESN’T want to know Dansko clogs are easy to pee into? <<<SELLING POINT.

P.P.S. I’m finishing this (rudely) while at dinner with Greg and our friends, John and BJ, and I told them I can’t talk yet because I’m writing about peeing my shoe. Greg said, “Again?” And John said, “I peed both of mine today.” In extra conclusion, I like John better than Greg. The End.

Egg Hunting: Hunger Games Style

March 26, 2016 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Listen. I am not here to tell you there’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things. I’m just saying that if your Easter egg hunts don’t involve roofs, duct tape, twine, someone with an engineering degree and a mean streak, children and adults sustaining minor injuries, and at least one person crying, you’re probably screwing up Easter, and Jesus won’t be able to rise from the dead this year, and, therefore, all of humankind will, theologically speaking, be doomed to eternity in the fiery pits of hell without our Risen Savior.

So… you know. Your choice.

In case you, like the Woolseys, who have seriously questionable judgement, want to have a Hunger Games Easter egg hunt, here’s how it’s done.

Step 1: Have the kids stuff a truly ridiculous number of eggs with an insane amount of sugar.

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Step 2: Hide the eggs in impossible places for maximum frustration…IMG_9248

… disregarding potential injuries, of course.IMG_9249

Do be sure to consider an egg cornucopia.

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There will be blood when they discover this pile in the middle of the lawn, but I think we can all agree some things are worth losing body fluids for.

Step 3: Corral the children like cattle.

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Step 4: And let ’em loose!

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NOTE: some children will get trampled. ^^^ This is OK. Simply emphasize with the trodden child that the ground is an EXCELLENT perspective for finding well-hidden ground eggs. If you’ve done the prep work to foster the kind of cut-throat, to-the-death competitive streak necessary for Hunger Games egg hunting, this will work swimmingly and this won’t even be the child who cries. You can pat yourself on the back for a parenting job well done.

If you do it right, your children will have climbed fences, roofs, trees and each other.

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There will be scrapes and bruises and a few parts of the yard that will never recover.

And, in the end, Jesus will rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven after a lifetime of showing us how to love God and love each other, and the Church will spend the next two millennia arguing over substitutionary atonement theory. It’s going to be rad, I tell you. RAD.

Good luck, friends! Wishing you all the very best,

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P.S. When your kids are done with the Hunger Games, and if you have questionable morals, you might want to have a grown-up hunt, as well; except instead of Easter eggs, you can hunt for teeny-tiny liquor bottles. Just an idea.

P.P.S. If you do that, though, some of the less mature grown-ups will try to cheat and see where the “grown-up eggs” are being hidden. IMG_9243

 

P.P.P.S. Also, when the teenagers are in charge of hiding the grown-up eggs, you may end up scrambling up the roof for the baby vodka bottle duct taped to the highest pinnacle and then being terribly disappointed when your way more athletic cousin beats you to the prize and then mocks you for it. The jerk.

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Don’t ask me how I know, though, ’cause I’ll never tell.

P.P.P.P.S. This is me with my mama. She’s wearing her brand new Easter bonnet.

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😀 ^^^That lady cracks me up.^^^

P.P.P.P.P.S. Happy Easter!

A Make-Up Tutorial for the Rest of Us

March 6, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Wrote three drafts this weekend. Nothing’s done. Not the writing. Not the chores. Nothing except this make-up tutorial I made us this morning. Not, you know, for people looking for something useful or helpful. It’s more of a make-up tutorial for the rest of us.

Enjoy.

Yours truly,

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How to Houseplant

February 16, 2016 in Beth, Family by Beth Woolsey

My mom grew roses when I was kid. Gorgeous, HUGE roses with conceited, ruffled petals in every 80s pastel color imaginable, especially all the varieties of peach. She trimmed them, and dead headed the rose hips, and put tar on the end of every cut stalk to make sure the aphids didn’t get to the vulnerable plant, and my brother and I would play in the crab grass while she worked the rose beds, and threaten each other with bodily harm, but we stayed away from the roses because we knew what was good for us.

My grandma’s specialty was African violets. And cross stitch. And cross stitched African violets. I never knew her without them, the half wall in her dining room covered with her special white plastic shelves, grow lights, and precisely set timers eager to do her bidding. I bet if Grandma had put her mind to it, she would’ve grown great pot with that set-up. A carefully curated environment, every dead leaf perfectly plucked, and each bud babied. She could’ve made bank, friends, if she’d been just a little entrepreneurial.

But me? I didn’t inherit their green thumbs. Not even a little.

Or so I thought.

For YEARS.

I used to think I was bad at growing house plants, just because I always killed them. Now I know I was just growing the wrong kind of plants, and my technique was all wrong, because guess what I discovered?

I ROCK AT GROWING PLANTS, friends.

See?

IMG_8884A WHOLE BOWL OF HOUSE PLANTS.

I showed my kids, because I want them to have memories of their mom growing things and not, well, poisoning everything I touch.

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And my daughter said, “LOOK AT YOU, MOM! YOU ARE GROWING AN ONION FROM AN ONION!”

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WHICH I TOTALLY AM.

So I asked her if she knew what I was growing from the yellow potatoes.

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“What, Mom? What are you growing from those?” she asked.

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“A yellow potato plant,” I said, proudly.

“WOW, Mom,” she said, and she meant it, because she’s my FAVORITE, and I told her I’m growing sweet potato plants, too…

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… because I am.

Turns out, I’m excellent at growing plants. I just needed to find my kind. My mama rocked the roses. My grandma loved the African violets. I’m more of a tubers and root veggies girls, myself. Kinda makes me wonder what else I think I’m bad at that I’m… well… not.

 

 

With love, friends,

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P.S. In case you’re also good at growing house plants and need home decorating ideas, I tried out the following and can highly recommend:

  1. Decorate a Bookshelf

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2. Or a Mantel:

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3. Or, of course, a Restroom

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Never Trust a Fart. This Is Why.

January 31, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Frankly, I’ve had a lot of luck with farts over the course of my lifetime, and, not to brag, but I’m a pretty good farter, socially speaking. I mean, I know how to gently eke one out in public situations to see how it’ll develop, clamping down quickly if it’s too voluminous or odoriferous or loud. Or, alternatively, letting that sucker rip if my audience is my 9 year old boys. I got cocky, I guess, is what I’m saying. And my successful farting career lured me into a false sense of security.

Never trust a fart, they say. But I did. I did trust a fart, and this is my story.

I’d been feeling a little low the day it happened. A little down. A touch under the weather. But nothing terrible, you know? Nothing AWFUL. And, honestly, if we mamas stopped what we were doing and put our sweet selves to bed at the first sign of sickness, the world would stop spinning. Literally. Mamas stopping for the sniffles or a little tummy upset would cause a shift in the space/time continuum, or a rip in the fabric of reality,or California to slide into the ocean. Mamas do not stop for “a little” anything.

So even though I was a smidge sick that day, and slightly gaggy, and my insides were rumbly and tentative and uncertain, I proceeded with my day. Got the kids to school. Dressed (badly, in clothes that smelled like cheese) for work. Used dry shampoo. Spent my time wisely at the stop lights, throwing on make-up, smearing on mascara, and plucking chin hairs. And I went to work. Like a responsible person. With responsibilities. Who’s responsible.

Yes, I was gurgly.

Yes, I was nauseated.

Yes, I had a tiny case of the urps.

But not run-to-the-bathroom sick.

Not go-home sick.

Not STOP-THE-WORLD-I-WANT-TO-GET-OFF sick.

Just queasy.

Ignorably queasy.

So I kept my sushi date with Jen. Because a) Jen is good times and I love her very much, and b) SUSHI. It’s delicious. Even when I’m urpy. Delicious, I say.

And, mid-convo, I trusted the fart.

Just a little one, I thought.

A poof.

A puff.

And so, with a little subtle squeeze, I tested the farting waters.

And I got… farting waters.

Not a poof.

Not a puff.

That little push I thought was air, was not. And the clamping at which I was previously so accomplished? DID NOT WORK.

I looked at Jen, and to her I said, “Please pardon me. I must use the rest room. To potty. For a minute. Or two,” and I scooted off my stool, (my stool — no pun intended), while eyeing it surreptitiously to make sure I’d left nothing behind, because inspecting one’s stool before leaving for the bathroom isn’t suspicious at all. And I simultaneously prayed to Jesus.

“Dear Jesus,” I said, “I just pooped my pants,” because if I didn’t tell him, how would he know? And if he didn’t know, how would he keep it from soaking through my jeans? “And, DEAR GOD, if I’ve ever done anything useful in my entire life, please, please, please, please, please do not let it soak through my jeans.”

Thus I waddled to the potty with excellent and rigid posture and hind end out ever-so-slightly so as to not exacerbate the issue with unnecessary rubbing, and I arrived at the toilet to discover the mystery that awaited.

Here’s what I need you to know, friends: I have CLEARLY lived an extremely righteous and worthy life, and Jesus loves me to the moon. Or at least he loves me to the potty with poop-free pants, because when I arrived, I discovered the damage was to panties alone. TO PANTIES ALONE, friends, so TAKE THAT, Atheist, Godless Friends. (Ryan, hear me now…) GOD IS ALIVE AND ACTIVE IN THIS WORLD! I rest my case.

In conclusion, I suggest you avoid that sushi restaurant off the freeway by the big, new, fancy shopping mall. I hear patrons of that establishment discard their panties in the trash and have terrible theology.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I’ve been reluctant to tell you this story, lest you think I frequently poop myself. I told you about the time I pooped my closet. And now I’m telling you about the time I pooped the sushi restaurant. I swear, I don’t often poop myself. SWEAR.

P.P.S. Please do not send me religious hate mail for this post. If Mr. Trump can receive the endorsement and support of prominent Christian leaders, then my Poop Theology Proof of God is totes legit in current faith culture. Amen, friends? A-effing-men.