Friday, July 23, 2010

aNoTHeR SNaKe eNCouNTeR & JuSTin BieBeR (ToTaLLy uNReLaTeD?)

You're not going to believe this, because frankly, I don't even believe this myself, but THERE'S BEEN ANOTHER SNAKE ENCOUNTER IN THE MANIC RESIDENCE!


And it happened just 9 days after the first sighting, but fortunately, this time, the slithering demon was discovered DEAD!

I was pulling out of the driveway and something caught my eye, something bright orange and black and white laying on my driveway. Immediately, I knew it was a snake and I thought maybe I ran over it, but it didn't really look flattened and it wasn't squirming or splatting blood like I had just rolled over it, so I figured maybe it might not be dead, maybe it was just PLAYING dead.

So I got out of my car; I was by myself, and the kids were in the house, so I called Ajers from my cell and said, "AJers, don't say anything, but come outside because there's a dead snake out here but I don't want the other kids to know."

And he goes, "OH MY GOSH, NO WAY!"

So then all three kids come out. And I still am not sure if the snake is faking being dead or really dead so I tell the kids to stay away and I throw a rake at it, cuz that's what you're supposed to do when there's a snake encounter, right? Throw a rake at 'em. It's in the "Is That Snake Dead or Alive?" Handbook.

It doesn't move. And then I see there's blood all over the driveway and also some guts hanging out of the snake so it's definitely dead. Then I remembered I had heard some catlike squealing outside the night before, almost like cats mating or fighting or terrorizing the neighborhood, and I wanted to look outside, but it was dark and did I really want to go out and investigate some crazed animals fighting late at night? Nope. So I forgot about it. Good thing, because it was probably a coyote or a mountain lion murdering the snake.

Good to know that wild animals are keeping me safe from the snake den we apparently now live on huh?

And yeah, I had to dispose of the dead bloody gutty snake. I wanted to throw it into some bushes next door but someone brought up a good point. Dead decaying snake might attract more wild animals, and so far, in the six weeks of living in AZ, I've had enough of slithering animals. My neighbors have NEVER even seen SNAKES and they've lived here 15 years!

So we bagged it up in a Ziploc, and of course, we took video, specifically for your viewing pleasure:

And also, something else equally as exciting as dead snakes in my driveway, I'll be attending the Justin Bieber concert on Sunday night. I'm sure a full blog post dissecting the tween phenom will be explored! I'm just hoping there's going to be wine served in the luxury box and perhaps a pull-out bed. I think I may be bringing ear plugs and an eye mask too!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

aNd HeRe a LiTTLe BiT CRuMBLeS

Today didn’t start out very good. The boys came into my room and said, “We have no water.”

How can we have no water?

We had no water.

We apparently didn’t tell the water utility company that we were moving in and we needed water, so they turned it off. Not a big deal. We now have water. But this was the start of the day. We have lots of water now.

Especially my tears.

I haven’t cried this much since the day I pulled into the Jack In The Box and let the flood gates open the second week we were in the house. I thought I had been doing pretty good. I didn’t think this was coming today. But today Tukey whispered in my ear, “I don’t really like living here all that much.”

I know he has been sad. He has been coming into my room in the middle of the night.

“I can’t sleep,” or “It’s too hot,” or “I have a stomach ache.” These are the clues. I envisioned right away in my mind that we’ll give it a year and then OK, let’s move back to Chicago and make it all right again. Just get back to our regular Midwest lives with the people we know and love.

Everyone we feel comfortable around. People we can go to for help when the water is turned off, or when there’s a snake in the backyard, because right now, like for instance, when I called Mr. Manic to tell him the water wasn’t running, he started to say, “Call a neighbor” and then he stopped. Because guess what? We have one freaking god-send of a neighbor we can call to ask for help at this point. ONE. Thank God for them or we’d have NOBODY.

That’s a very lonely place to be.

For a family who used to have everyone they could call for help when they needed something or someone or a favor or help or a laugh or a ride or a Starbucks or a anything. And now we’ve got this godforsaken hotter than shit place and my kids are trying to be so brave and strong and they haven’t even met really anyone yet and next week I am shoving them off to another week of a camp that they don’t even want to go to because I think it will give them a place to make some friends for when school starts, and yes, I am feeling completely and utterly sad and sorry for myself at the moment and forgive me but this is my blog and usually I am cheery and upbeat but I don’t feel like being that way right now.

The kind of tears I’m crying right now are the ones that you try to hold back because you’re trying to be strong and you’re tired of being strong for everyone else and you know how you drag your tongue through your mouth to make your tears stop and then you also kind of make those whimper noises to stop the tears? Well, that’s what I’m doing now, and my nose is stuffy too, and my whole family is out there watching Everybody Hates Chris and I hope to God no one comes in and catches me crying. It’d be worse than if they came in and caught us Mushy Kissing.

OK, well, you see, I am already starting to feel a bit better by jamming all of these words out of my soul and onto this document so I’m just going to next have to share them with you. I am breathing a little bit better and I’ve stopped crying.

I am just worried about when school starts – who will sit by them at lunch? Will anyone bother to say hello to them? I’m scared for them, my children, who have been so brave to do this. They don’t even know how brave they are, and how proud I am of them, and see, now I am crying all over again. I just wish they knew how much I loved them and how I know how hard this must be for them, and I’m trying to make this experience exciting and fun for them, and I can see how it must be miserable for them because it’s so hot and there are no kids in the neighborhood right now, and I know fast-forwarding is not the answer, and I need to be thankful for what we have, which is a close-knit family who loves one another and we are blessed and they will find friends and they will be fine and all will be good, and this is just a blip in the scheme of things, but why do the blips have to hurt so darn much sometimes?

Sunday, July 18, 2010


This post is not for the family members that want to hear about our sex life. So click to another page now.

Or not.

Yeah, I figured you'd still be here.

Thanks for that. Your call if you wanna keep reading.

But don't you DARE pretend that you didn't read this.

Anyway, the past six weeks have been, obviously, a very trying time in our lives. Between packing up a house, and moving I don't know how many miles away from home to a whole new culture-shock place, filled with cacti, and snakes, and desert, and hot, and changes beyond belief, well you can imagine how it puts a riff in your life. Add to that, children who need your attention adjusting to the new ways of living, a husband who is traveling to one country and two other states in a matter of four days just last week (to give you a snapshot of his schedule), and well, there's not much time for each other.

You see where I'm going with this right?

Let me add to it further.

Our master bedroom is now on the main floor right off the garage and the main powder room, really right in the flow of traffic, off the kitchen and family room. There are french doors that lead to the patio and swimming pool. Two entrances to our bedroom. There is also NO door into our bathroom area. Our closet door is sliding mirrored doors. In our old house, we had an upstairs bedroom off the main part of the house. We had a door to our bathroom. We had a door to our closet, where we could often go to "fix a shelf."

We had PLENTY of privacy.

Here. Not so much.

So put ALL those factors into your black magic hat and the "don't come-a-knockin'-cuz-the-bedroom-is-a-rockin" rule has not been applied much.

Except twice.

And twice it has been a MAJOR FAIL.

The first time all three kids went to the neighbors to swim. We ran into the bedroom like teenagers whose parents had gone away for the weekend. And without going into too much detail, our bedframe busted just as someone else was busting.

The whole king-size bed collapsed.

I told HIM to make SURE the movers put that crap-ass frame together PROPERLY.

The next incident happened today.

The kids were all outside in the pool. They had JUST gone out there. I figured we had at least the required 2 minutes it would take, right?


"Hurry, hurry, hurry." I pled, in what I thought was a seductive, yet not unhurried voice.

And then, we heard the door handle turn.


Then, there was a knock.

It was Diva: "Why is the door locked?"

I seriously almost answered, "BECAUSE WE'RE HAVING SEX!!!!!"

Instead I said, "I'm getting in the shower!" and I jumped up and got in the shower and left Mr. Manic to deal with it. HAHAHAH!

Her eyes were stinging so she came in and I had gotten into the shower and I told her to rinse her eyes out. If the door wasn't locked and she would have seen what was going on, her eyes wouldn't have just been stinging, her retinas would have burned and she would have gone blind!

Later, she came to me and asked me, "What were you and Daddy doing?"

I said, "What did Daddy say we were doing?"

"He said you were mushy kissing."

(That's our family code for making out or whatever the kids think it is and she HATES that!)

I said we were and she got mad about that.

I told her, "We were hugging and kissing and we wanted privacy and we were NOT making babies (that WAS true!), if that's what you were thinking we were doing. We love each other, and you should be happy that we love each other so much because so many parents are divorced and we're not."

I explained to her that we haven't been on a date since we moved here and it's been difficult for us and that mommies and daddies need time alone too, and she should really be glad that we want to be together, and it's OK for us to want to hug and kiss each other.

And I also told her that Daddy better have enjoyed all that mushy kissing because it's the last time he's ever getting sex IN THIS HOUSE because it's just too traumatic for me and he's gonna have to start forking over the money for a resort from now on because I can't take the stress of all this anymore!

The End!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

BooK GiVeaWay: FLy aWay HoMe By JeN WeiNeR


WINNERS have been announced!--
Congratulations to Autumn and Bridget who are the two winners of this giveaway! If you'll both email me, I can give you details on how you can get your books!
And thanks all who entered! I will have another great book for you next week - A Maze of Grace, by Trish Ryan, a great friend of mine, and fabulous author, so check back. I also have some exciting news -- I GOT A JOB! (No, I'm not cleaning toilets!)

Book Giveaway!

Jennifer Weiner's next book, Fly Away Home comes out THIS Tuesday and I'm halfway through it, and trying to slip away from the duties of mom any chance I can to finish it. But I will tell you when I got to page 20 I was like, OH.MY.GOD! My husband was sleeping next to me and after reading page 20, I felt the urge to reach over and attack him! What a SCENE! HOT! HOT! HOT!

FLY AWAY HOME is being described as “hilarious, heartbreaking, and insightful” and features a sister duo (I love Weiner’s books with sister combos!) and a politician’s wife. The three women take refuge at the family beach house after Dad’s extramarital affair makes headlines.

I am loving all three of the women characters -- each are written so uniquely as only Jennifer Weiner can write them. Strong women, with quirky personalities, and I'm so anxious to find out where the story goes. I am hoping beyond hope that the hussy who breaks up the family shows up in the book -- SHE'S JUST GOT TO! A regular Monica Lewinsky! I just can't wait!

And I know you'll want to know too!

I wonder if there's a cigar and a blue Gap dress in the story too? Hee hee!

Jen has graciously offered to give away a copy here to one winner (US residents only.) And guess what? I have an EXTRA copy to give away too!

Fans of Jen's who read her blog, A Moment of Jen, may have heard of her recent contest where she asked readers to submit parent travel horror stories after she had a nasty run-in with a crotchety woman on a flight. I had a story to share, so I submitted it, and Jen chose mine as one of the top 12 entries out of 400! You can read it HERE (the ninth one down, my name is there), along with the other fab winners. And because I received a signed copy from Jen, I am going to give away my Advanced Readers Copy of Fly Away Home to a winner here on MaNiC MoMMy, which means two of you have a chance to get the book here instead of just one of you.

So, leave a comment here on why you love Jen Weiner's books, and I'll pick two random winners. Sorry, but you must be in the U.S. to win! And I'll choose at the end of the week! Oh yeah, and you must leave an email address so I can contact you if you win! Thanks!

And next week, I have another great book to give away from my friend and amazing author, Trish Ryan, A Maze of Grace, so keep coming back, and who knows, maybe I'll have another story or two to share about hunting down snakes in the backyard!

And Jen, thanks for sharing your great books with us! And readers, if you didn't read Jen's short story, The Half Life, in Redbook this month, check it out! It's HOT! And the second part comes out in August!

PeaCe uP, STay CooL!

~MaNiC MoMMy

Thursday, July 08, 2010


Today my very dear friend from high school came over to visit. She's in town with her female relatives doing a girl's week vacation and is my very first official visitor from Illinois. So, when I heard Kara was going to be here of course I was really excited! We planned on doing nothing but hanging out, because when you've been friends as long as Kara and I have, and have as many life experiences as we've had, hanging out is what we do best.

I picked her up at her condo and we grabbed lunch and headed for my house. I was also excited for today because it would be the first day that I would actually let myself just hang by the pool and not CLEAN toilets (boy, is THAT a fun task!), put away stuff, empty boxes of crap that I should have donated back in Illinois, or sit in front of Facebook hitting the Refresh button waiting for any ONE of you to post something interesting. Nope. I was going to pretend I was on vacation with Kara and veg out. Today was going to be totally a VACA day.

I had just seen Kara right before we moved, but seeing her again was awesome and it did feel like vacation. We easily slipped into relax mode and put on some Glee tunes and hopped into the pool. Diva was with us in the pool and the boys were inside the house. We've got a little rock waterfall at the pool and Kara was relaxing by it (the water was not on), and Diva was doing her usual flipping around in the pool while Kara and I were talking old time high school stuff: Bon Jovi, bad perms, Sun Country two-liter wine coolers, you know the norm, when all of a sudden I saw it.

And I could feel my eyes bulge out of my head.

"Kara," I said, "Come toward me."

She didn't ask why, she just calmly moved from her spot on the pool ledge and swam/walked in my direction.

"Diva," I said, "Come on, "Let's get out of the pool."

"WHY? WHAT IS IT?" She asked impatiently.

"Just come on, there's a little critter."

I waited till we were all out of the pool until I made my announcement.


Nah, I didn't say that. But I sure as shit thought some of it!

I did say I saw a snake, which made Diva run into the house, which made the boys run out and then Diva snuck back out and then the boys went back inside and then locked Diva out and then made Diva scream and cry and I swear to you that snake just ruined Diva's whole summer and she is never going to swim in our pool ever, EVER again, so thank you very much you fucking snake for ruining our lives.

Nah, she may be back in the pool as early as tomorrow. Because the Snake Huntress was on alert!

What did I do, you ask? Well, as soon as I got the kids safely secured in the house, I grabbed my phone and called our neighbors, who have been nothing short of miraculous to us and asked what we should do about snakes in the yard because I've heard you should call 911. They calmed me down enough so that I didn't rush to get the fire department over and assured me that it probably wasn't a rattler because it's too hot for them now and that if it got into the pool it would drown (phew, Diva can live to swim again!). They did suggest I kill it. KILL IT!?!?!? KILL IT!

Well, OK. Here's the thing. I live in this snake-dwelling place now right? It's me or those mother effers and I'm not going to let THEM win! So, I call for Tukey, who has a friend over and ask if he has a shovel, because HELLLOOOOOO! We no longer own a shovel, because, say it with me folks ... YOU CAN'T SHOVEL SUNSHINE, so the Manic family didn't BRING A SHOVEL TO ARIZONA! Who woulda thunk it that we'd need our freakin' shovel to throttle off the heads of snakes in our backyard?

So, in the meantime, while our neighbor kid runs to get his shovel, I am throwing water at the rocks where our friendly snake was last spied upon, like, "here, snakey snakey, come get the water, come out and get some nice cool water, so I can find out where you are." Like that's smart, right? And in doing so, I have no idea where the slithering thing has gone.

But I am a mother on a mission. A mission to protect her children. To make her home and yard safe so they can play and frolick in their backyard and not be afraid to jump and swim in their pool.

So, I go on the Snake Hunt.

I search the brush. We have a lot of foliage in our backyard. Palm trees and rose bushes, and a lot of shrubbery, and a lemon tree and a bunch of other pretty stuff I can't name, but would make GREAT snake hiding places. There's no way in hell am I gonna find this snake.

But I do.

And it's in a place so far from the first place this snake was originally that I think it can't possibly BE that original snake so I freak out and think that our yard is absolutely infested with hundreds of snakes, but then Kara, who is laughing hysterically at me this whole time, because "snakes don't bother me, but spiders do"... Kara assures me that is the SAME snake, even though SHE didn't even see the snake in the first place because it was trying to crawl up her back!

But it is. And I lock eyes with the bastard. Seriously LOCK eyes with it. And I refuse to not look at it, and I wait for the shovel, and I do not let it out of my sight because I am going to GET IT! I am going to PREVAIL, and rid my yard from this SATAN SNAKE because I feel it is SATAN!

The shovel arrives at the hands of our 10 year old neighbor who has lived in the neighborhood his entire life and he exclaims that they have NEVER seen a snake in their backyard EVER, which further cements my SATAN fear. Gotta kill this snake. Gotta kill this snake. And its eyes are locked on me and it's not moving and I tell everyone:


Kara goes, "Let Ajers do it."

Oh ye of little faith, my beloved Kara.

Oh no, I want to taste the sweetness of snake victory. I want to behead the evil being.

It moves. I move. It slithers. I follow it along the wall, hoping beyond hope that it will choose to move upward and over the wall. But it does not, and instead, crawls along the rocks, and so, while my heart pounds and my shovel is poised and at the ready, with a fierceness I never thought I possessed, I strike.

And I miss the fucker.

And it slithers under another bush and out of sight. And AJers said, "I coulda totally got it!"

And Kara said, "He coulda totally got it!"

And I say, "Let's go get some frozen yogurt!"

That should be the end of the story, but it's not. That snake may still be out there, living the plush life in my backyard. But hopefully not for long.

Later in the afternoon, I got gutsy, now that I know the snake is pretty thin, possibly a garden snake, definitely not a rattler (unless it's a baby rattler and it hasn't grown it's rattle yet, which is a thought I JUST HAD THIS MOMENT! Is that possible?) I grabbed a spray bottle of water and also a Terminix bug spray and went on the hunt. The bug spray said do not get in the eyes, so yeah, I know it won't kill a snake, but I figured I could spray it in its eyes, blind it, and THEN go for the shovel decapitation. It would at least slow it down, right? The spray bottle of water would be to just scare the snake out of the brush in order to locate it before using the bug spray. So yeah, I did THAT for an hour or so this afternoon too. Like I said, a woman on a mission to protect her family.

And NO, I did not find the snake later this afternoon.

But I did not STOP there! A Facebook buddy who lives in New Mexico suggested a product a Lowe's and I just happened to be by there today (seriously! Unrelated! We went to dinner at In & Out - we gave it a second chance!), and I ran in and got, no lie ... SNAKE REPELLANT! Which is some nasty ass smelling granules that you pour all over your backyard that snakes do not like. Which I can understand cuz humans don't like the smell much either.

So now, we have a stinky backyard, and possibly a snake infested yard. Sidenote: I found a broken little egg - snakes DO come out of eggs, right? This worries me because that means it could have HATCHED from a MOTHER snake and there could be a WHOLE family of snakes in my backyard. I am thinking this is a very good start to a HORROR movie in the making. Unsuspecting family moves into a beautiful new home only to be terrorized/infested by millions of snakes. Wonderful.

So, the hunt shall continue, but at least I have some solace in knowing that the snake repellant, whether it works or not, is out there on the ground. I don't care if it's a placebo or not, it'll at least help me to sleep at night, but I still think the snake nightmares are inevitable.

As for my kids, we'll see if Diva will ever swim again. Ajers just wants a fresh kill, and Tukey ... well, this is what Tukey had to say about the whole event and my antics as Snake Huntress and how I reacted with the shovel as I tucked him into bed tonight, which I think is the absolute most awesomest part of this whole snake thing:

"When I'm an adult, at night, I'm gonna tell my kids that story."