Your Rattle No One Else Can Hear?

Your Rattle No One Else Can Hear?


Have you heard my rattle?

The one that’s driving me crazy?

It’s happening in my new car.

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Well, not that new.

The car’s about a year and a half old.

Old enough to start with quirks.

Too new, if you ask me, to already have a rattle.

When I take the car out on the highway and get it up to speed, it sounds like the right front passenger window starts to rattle.

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Only it doesn’t.

See, it’s not the window, we’ve checked that, but it comes from that general area.

The knocka-thumpa-knocka-thumpa sound really bugs me.

Even worse, it drives my noise-sensitive husband through the sunroof.

So off I went this week to the dealership.

I waited and waited like the hostage you become in a dealership waiting room.

A guy finally comes in, apologetic, yet with that “Grey’s Anatomy” we’ve done all we can do” looks on his face.

“ I can’t hear your rattle,” he says.

“Let’s take a drive,” I suggest, ready to rattle his world.

We drive up and down the highway at all sorts of speeds.

I’ll be darned if I suddenly can’t hear the rattle either.

It was as if the Maytag Man came to life in my car.

Just like the classic TV commercial, the car rattled until he shows up.

Talk about frustrating.

“Oh well,” the dealership guy says as he gives me that, “It’s time for you to go home now, Crazy Lady” look.

“What’s the big deal?” I ask myself as I drive off. “How lucky are you that this is your biggest problem today?”

Only, suddenly, I picture the two hour road trip we will be taking this weekend to see my in-laws, the rattle starting in, Husband going on edge and I know this will be a bigger problem within a few days.

As I continue to stress about the mystery rattle, it strikes me, Dear Reader, you just might have a rattle, as well.

Maybe not in your kinda, newish car. Rather, that thing that is the thorn in your side, that others can’t see or detect that you’re told to get over.

The heartbreak you should be passed already.

The chronic pain that doesn’t go away from a long ago injury.

The brain injury that doesn’t show on the outside, but completely rewired you and your life forever.

The cancer you survived, but leaves you feeling unsettled.

Your rattle.

Like the guy at the car dealership, I can’t fix your rattle.

But I offer you today, this tiny gift—

I’m validating your rattle.

I hear it.

I see it.

I feel it.

I believe it’s there.

I hope this moment of understanding and acknowledgement gives you some comfort.

For just a moment, you’re not that crazy person.

Speaking of comfort—

I hate to ask–

Any chance you have a car I can borrow Saturday to go see my in-laws?

One without a rattle, of course.

For the sake of my sanity and my marriage, I would be ever so appreciative.

Find more uplifting stories on my website,

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

Do Humiliating Mommy Moments Ever End?

Do Humiliating Mommy Moments Ever End?

In case you were wondering—

The lady running around last weekend from one end of the metro area to the other in what can best be described as “Mom High Fashion of Shame.”

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Yeah, that was me.

How shall I best describe my outfit?

T shirt that I had slept in, so big it would still be loose on King Kong. Sweats from 1984, or thereabouts with stains and holes to match. Plastic Croc sandals. Uncombed hair half up in a clip.

Teeth were brushed. Yay for me. Points for that.

Bra? Deodorant? I managed one. Let’s just say you wouldn’t have wanted to come too close.

How did I manage to (as I hear my own mother’s voice shrilling in my head,) ever let myself “go out of the house looking like that?!”

I can explain in one word:


I’ll admit it.

I was that long time single gal who had “tsk tsk’ed” other women, mothers, leaving the house looking like a hot mess just to get their kids where they needed to go.

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“I’ll never do that, if I’m ever a mother,” I said silently. Smugly.

Clearly, we make plans. The Fashion Gods laugh.

How did I step out in the Mommy Outfit of Shame?

Would you believe I thought I was leaving the house for a simple 5-minute drop off at the school close to our house?

It’s what I do every weekday—transition from sleep to taxi service by throwing something on the bottom of fancy (not) giant sleep shirt.

Would you believe that simple 5-minute drop off turned into a 5-hour comedy errors where, as they say in local news, “Something went terribly wrong?”

There I was Saturday morning. All I needed to do was get one of our kids to school so she could hop on a bus to her cross country meet.

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When the bus wasn’t there, we figured we’d missed it, so I decicded to drive the kid to the actual meet which happened to be more than an hour away.

Or so we thought.

It took two more stops to get to the actual correct location.

And so yes, that was me.

The awful looking bag lady frantically driving across the state and back looking for a meet, running into countless people I knew along the way.

The lesson in this?

Not being attached to how I look?

That the kid is more important?

That, dare I say this, my mother is right?

I really shouldn’t leave the house looking like that even for 5 minutes.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few years jumping into this Mommy land.

You’ve been kind, Dear Reader, to not let me know this badge was waiting for me.

Motherhood doesn’t get more embarrassing than this?

Rather, better you don’t tell me.

Let’s keep it to sharing your horrifying Mommy Moment you thought would never come.

Or even, worse, how your mother was right.

I’ll be reading your email from the comforts of my home in some fabulous, huge t shirt.

Find more uplifting stories on my website,

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

My Missing Period Has A Whole New Meaning

My Missing Period Has A Whole New Meaning

Might as well start with the good news.

The experts tell me they expect my organ transplant to be a success.




So much more serious.

The extension of my body known as—

My laptop.

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That lifeline to the internet, that link to my email, that toolbox for my writing.

My digital bodily extension ended up this week in the computer hospital for emergency surgery.

The crisis started with something so simple—

A tall, refreshing glass of iced tea on a hot end of summer day.

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Please, don’t think I did anything as dumb as spill the entire drink onto the laptop.

Give me some credit for more originality than that.

I raised the glass for thirst-quenching sip and watched without much concern as a large dollop of condensation dropped from the glass onto my laptop keyboard.


Why worry? I’ve done so much worse to this poor machine in the last few years. My electronic body extension has the dings and scratches to prove it.

I wiped up the offending drop of moisture and went to carry on with my day. My life.



Breathing and all other life functions that don’t happen without my computer.

Dear Reader, perhaps you can understand the attachment issues computer and I have?

And perhaps, you can understand the anxiety as I began to realize something had gone terribly wrong. As I came to realize a few of the keys were not working.

No “L.”

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No “O.”

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No period.

I didn’t know how many words use “L” and “O” until I didn’t have them anymore.

There’s no love in that situation.

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I did get a good Old Lady chuckle when I pointed out to my frazzled self, “Missing a period means a whole different thing when you’re a 50-something writer than when you’re a 25-year-old single gal.”

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I laugh-cried myself to the local computer hospital.

“Fried keyboard,” the expert told me.

Fried, as in things that are bad for you.

This one will put a ding in my wallet for about $150.

“Better than buying a whole new laptop,” I consoled myself as I thought about the most expensive sip of iced tea ever.

“H-h-h-o-w long will it t-t-take to fix?” I asked going into immediate separation anxiety at the thought of being without my computer.

“No need to go without,” he smiled knowing he was about to pull a rabbit out of hat, give a computer addict her fix.

Back came my computer along with an external keyboard to plug in while we wait for the new organ, er, keyboard to come in.

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It’s like walking around with an artificial heart waiting for the real thing to show up.

It’s clunky, but it’s keeping me in business, online and connected to you.

Which means, hint, hint, Dear Reader, that I’m able to read your email where you share the dumb thing you did to mess up your computer.

It’ll make me feel so much better while I wait for the new organ, er, keyboard to arrive.

Computer and I are waiting.

Find more uplifting stories on my website,

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.

It’s Going To Be One Messy Year

It’s Going To Be One Messy Year

Please catch my newspaper column each week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Dayton Daily News and other newspapers across Ohio.  Here’s this week’s column:

Well, hello there, New Year you, who promises to be 12 months, 365 days, 8,766 hours, 525,948,766 of mess.

It’s not that I’m starting the year as a Negative Nelly. It’s actually more about being grateful for what and who I have, which leads to reality, which in my case, and perhaps yours, means accepting life is messy.

Anyone else ever notice that the more of your wishes come true, the messier your life gets?

I didn’t always used to be this way.  See, I used to be perfect.

Well, maybe not perfect, but as a long time single person with only one person to take care of, I had things pretty well buttoned up. My house was clean, my career was zooming, I had all sorts of time for friends and other family members. Oh, and the big one—I remembered everything I was supposed to.

Then, a couple of years ago all these lifelong wishes of mine starting coming true. Now, I have a husband and kids. And there is still all the other stuff I used to take such good care of: jobs, pets, other friends and family.

That’s when things got messy, when the really good stuff showed up.

How messy? For this week’s confession I offer up this wonderful moment: I forgot my kid the other day.

Forgot, as in dropped the ball, left her stranded in the dark, didn’t pick her up when I should’ve known I was supposed to. Yeah, that kind of forgot.

She has started playing on a new volleyball club team and I could’ve sworn I had the new carpool schedule down.

That is, until my husband got that phone call late Thursday night. “Were we supposed to pick up from volleyball tonight?” He asked as I was already half undressed and into my jammies.

“Shoot!” Well, I actually said something much worse that they won’t print in this family newspaper.

Our daughter was on the phone saying she and this other girl were the last ones left at the gym. “She says she tried to call you, but you didn’t answer your phone.”

Even better, I had my phone turned to vibrate.

Keep in mind, I didn’t just forget my kid. Someone else’s, as well. Someone I don’t even know since this is a new carpool.

That was a fun phone call to the other mom.  “Honestly, I don’t usually leave children stranded in the dark,” I heard myself explaining in the messiest of ways.

Who forgets their kids?

Please tell me you’ve forgotten yours at least once.

There were tears all right. No, not my daughter. She was unfazed.

The tears were mine. Who forgets their kids?

Somewhere in the land of TV talk show hosts, Facebook and the back of college alumni magazines there are a lot of perfect women living their lives. Huge careers, perfect children who have never been forgotten. They are training for a triathlon and I bet their houses are spotless. They must have signed up for the 48 hour day. I never saw that option when I went for the marriage license and signed the adoption papers.

Sometimes, I think I miss the perfect, those days when I had it all handled so well.

Then I remember that perfect was never ending and frankly, lonely.

That’s why I go into the new year thankful for my husband, kids, and yes, the mess. I’m going to screw up this year. You heard it here first.

“What are you writing your column about this week?” My daughter just asked as she peered over my shoulder.

“How I left you at volleyball. How I make a mess of so many things,” I shared.

She laughed for a minute thinking of that night. “You don’t mess up a lot,” she just said.  “You do a really good job.”

Oh my goodness. I could go on, but those sweet words, well, they made me a mess.

Messy: No doubt about it–aIt’s the new perfect.