Lost In Suburbia: Fat Lip

Photo courtesy of Giulia Gasparro

I’m one of those people who buys a lot of toys for my dog. Maybe I do it out of guilt for those times I leave him home alone while I run out to go shopping, do errands or whatever.  So what if I bribe my dog with squeaky, fuzzy and tuggy things?  I do the same thing with my kids and they seem ok with it.

However, while I have been able to somewhat successfully teach my kids to put their toys away, I have had no such luck with my dog. I actually can’t get my husband to put his toys away either, but that is another column.

Our dog Riley has a bin in the kitchen where we keep all his toys… and due to my guilt induced dog toy-buying sprees, he has a lot of them. This means that when he leaves his toys around, there can be upwards of seven assorted rubber Frisbees, several petrified semi-chewed dog bones, a half dozen formerly furry things that are now stiff with dried dog drool, and a couple of squeaky squirrel things on the floor of the family room and kitchen at any one time.

It is, quite truthfully, a dog toy mine field.

Fortunately, I have gotten used to looking down when I walk around this area so as not to trip over or step on the dog, his toys, or the occasional pile of doggie puke.

Unfortunately, I am not always so observant, and one day as I was walking and talking to my husband on the phone, I failed to notice one of the larger dog accessories right in my path.  How I could miss a rubber bone that was almost as big as my leg, I’m not quite sure. But before you could say “Down Boy,” I was sprawled on the floor with a fat lip the size of Texas.

Now, I know there are some women who pay a lot of money for lip fillers to plump up their pouts.  But I have been blessed with big lips so this was not really a feature I needed to enhance.

Peeling myself off the floor, I ran into the bathroom to look in the mirror. There was no disguising it. I had Trout Mouth.

“Is everything OK?” asked my husband when he called me back.  “I heard a yell, a curse, and a thunk.”

“I fell on the dog’s bone and I got a fat lip,” is what I tried to say. But that’s not what came out.

“I thell on the dog’th mone and I got a that lit.” I said emphatically.

“What?”

“I THELL and I got a THAT LIT.”  I repeated.

“You thell?” he wondered.  “What’s a thell?  Honey, you’re not making any sense.”

I decided to try a different tact. “I tritt on a mone!”

“You tritt? Huh?”
I thought that maybe I should just simplify to get my point across. “I hurt my lit.”

“What is a LIT?” he demanded.

I sighed. This was almost more painful than the lip itself.  I was at a loss. Was there any way to communicate to my husband what happened that did not require the use of an F or a P?

“I got hurt.” I told him.

“Oh.  Are you OK?”

“Yeah.  But I got a that lit.”

He sighed. “I’m sorry honey, I just can’t understand you.”

I threw up my arms in defeat and then thrust the phone at the guilty party.

“Here. Talk to the dog.”

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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If You Can’t Stand the Smoke, Get Out of the Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Daniel 657

“Mom, I need you to bake cookies,” my daughter said as she looked at me expectantly.

I sighed.  “I need you to bake cookies.”  Five little words that never fail to strike fear in my heart.

I know there are some women who can cook and bake and knit and get their family’s clothes their brightest white, but I’m not one of them. When God was handing out domestic prowess, he clearly skipped right over me and gave my helping to Martha Stewart.

I actually think the baking thing might be a genetic defect.  My mother was not a baker and neither was her mother before her. We are defrosters and reheaters. We are eat-outers and bring-inners.  When we cook and bake, things bubble, burn, smoke, and explode. Actually, it’s something of a talent. It’s just not a very good one.

Throughout my children’s school age years I have been called on to contribute to various bake sales and food fundraising events. Not wanting to be responsible for the loss of anyone’s teeth or the poisoning of an entire grade school class, I have always bought pre-baked cookies and arranged them on a doily and a tray to make them look like my own.  No one was ever the wiser and it ensured that I would stay out of prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Then one day my daughter decided she wanted to help me bake the cookies.  Clearly, the jig was up.

“Well, Mommy doesn’t actually bake the cookies,” I explained. “Mommy buys the cookies.”

Her little face dropped in disappointment. I could see I had failed the most basic lesson of Mommy 101:  I burst the baking bubble. It only could have been worse if I told her I ate the Easter Bunny for dinner the night before.

After ruining her childhood, I realized it was time to bite the bullet and bake a damn cookie, even if it killed me, her, and the rest of the class.

I decided to go for the easiest possible cookie… the slice and bake kind. There were no egg shells to accidentally mix into the batter, no ingredients to forget and replace with crushed potato chips, no batter to mix badly and end up with lumps of flour the size of Texas in the cookies.  Not that I ever did anything of those things before. No, never.

Confident in my ruin-proof cookie plan, I sliced the dough, placed it on a cookie sheet, set the timer, put the cookie sheet in the oven and waited. I didn’t want to take a chance that I would miss the timer and the cookies would turn into petrified hockey pucks, so I didn’t leave the house while the cookies were in the oven, or get caught up on a phone call, or go to take a nap. Not that I ever did any of those things before. No, never.

After 25 minutes, the timer went off.  I put on my oven mitts and pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven.

The cookies were not overdone. They were not underdone. In fact, they were not done at all.

Hard to ruin a cookie when you forget to turn on the oven.

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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The Adventures of the Lone Eyebrow

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

“Excuse me, Miss, can I help you?”

I looked up from a pair of sandals I was contemplating at the shoe store and was met by the biggest, bushiest eyebrow I had ever seen.  Yes, eyebrow. Singular. There was just one of them. It ran from the end of one eye all the way across the top of the salesman’s nose to the end of the other eye.

Had he been yellow and a muppet, I would have sworn I’d just met Bert from Sesame Street.

Of course it was not only a single eyebrow, it was also a bushy eyebrow.  Some of the hairs grew so high, I was afraid if he leaned in too close, he might poke me in the eye with one of his eyebrow hairs. It was beyond an eyebrow. It was beyond an eye-bush. It was a whole eye-hedge.

I was rendered so utterly speechless by the World’s Biggest Eyebrow that I completely forgot about the shoe in my hand.

“Huhhh?” I stammered.

“Would you like to see that shoe?” he asked me.

I looked down at the sandal in my hand. Then I looked back at his eyebrow. I was mesmerized. I wondered what happened when he got an eyebrow hair in his eye. Did they have to call the National Guard to get it out?   What happened when he looked up?  Did the eyebrow make everything above eye level look hairy? These were the questions that would keep me up at night.

The thing that really puzzled me, though, was whether he chose to have the single eyebrow, or if he was simply unaware that he had an option to have two distinct eyebrows.  Perhaps he had a unique form of Diplopia that made him see double and when he looked in the mirror, he saw two eyebrows where there was really only one. Or maybe he had Pluckaphobia, which is the fear of tweezers. If it was a medical condition, I thought I should greet his eyebrow with sympathy, or at the very least, with hedge clippers.

Not wanting to stare, or worse yet, avert my eyes, I tried to just pretend the eyebrow did not exist.

“Do these shoes come in brow?” I asked cheerfully.

“Excuse me?” he responded.

“BROWN!” I shouted. “I meant brown.”

“Sure.  What size do you need?”

“Um, a nine, tweeze,”

“Huh?”

“PLEASE.  A nine, please!” I gulped.

He disappeared to the back to go find my shoe. I had a sudden urge to leave the mall and go get a full body wax.  I decided to stick it out because at the very least, I would get a new pair of shoes and at best, I would get a Nobel prize for discovering the missing link.

“I’m sorry but we don’t have this shoe in a nine,” said the salesman with the World’s Biggest Eyebrow when he returned.

“Oh too bad,” I sighed. “I guess I’m out of pluck.”

“What?”

“LUCK. I’m out of luck,” I corrected myself as I wiped the nervous sweat off my brow.

“We can order it for you,” he suggested.

“No that’s OK,” I said, shuffling out of the shoe department.  “Thanks anyway.”

“No problem,” he said. “Have a nice day.”

I nodded. “Eye eye.”

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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It’s All In The Bag

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

Like most women, I have handbag issues. No matter how big the bag or how organized I am, I can never find anything in it. It’s like one of those roach motels.  In my case, lipsticks check in but they don’t check out.

For some reason, the thing I have the most trouble finding are my keys.   You would think that something that jingles and jangles would be fairly easy to locate. But my keys always seem to temporarily disappear into a Black Hole in my bag, spend time on the other side of the universe, and then reappear only after I’ve finally dropped everything else I am holding, thrown a giant hissy fit, and turned my bag upside down. Another theory is that there are handbag gremlins that hide your keys just for grins in a sadistic game to make you think you forgot your keys and will have to break into your house.

…which, actually, is exactly what happened to me today.

Well, I’m not sure about the gremlins part. But when my daughter and I got home and I couldn’t find my keys even after throwing a giant hissy fit and turning my bag upside down, I realized we were going to have to find another way into the house and it was probably going to involve a window, a ladder, and a dog.

Why a dog?  More on that later.

Normally we have an emergency key secretly stashed outside. But I had used the emergency key the first time I couldn’t find my keys an hour earlier, and had never returned it back to its hiding place.

“What now?” asked my daughter.

“Either we wait six hours until dad gets home or we break in,” I said glumly.

The good news was, I was fairly certain I had not set the alarm when I ran out to pick up my daughter from school so I was at least assured that I would not get arrested for breaking into my own house.

Why would I get arrested?  Because naturally I had left all my ID in the house, too. Yes, THAT’S how stupid I am.

After circling the house repeatedly, we determined that the only window that was open and break-in-able, was in my daughter’s bedroom.  2nd floor.  20 feet off the ground.

This presented another problem. Two actually:
1. I am deathly afraid of heights.
2. Did I mention I am deathly afraid of heights?

Fortunately, the window was only open wide enough to allow a teenage girl to crawl through which saved me from having to admit that I couldn’t climb the ladder because I am deathly afraid of heights (did I mention that?).  More fortunately, my daughter loves rock climbing and roller coasters and that kind of thing, so she had no problem with the task.

We carried the ladder to the back of the house and set it up right under her window. Then my daughter pushed up her sleeves, turned to me, and said, “I’m going in!”

In a flash she was up the ladder and wriggling in the gap in the window.  Moments later, her feet disappeared and she popped up head first at the window.

“I DID IT!!” she exclaimed. I wiped my brow and looked around nervously. I was pretty sure I heard the theme from Mission Impossible playing somewhere in the background.

As my daughter skipped down the stairs to let me in, I walked back around to the garage door to collect my handbag.  I picked it up just as she opened the door and the dog came bounding out to greet me, causing me to drop my bag on the floor.

…And the house keys to fall out of my bag.

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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A Questionnaire for the Exercise-Challenged

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto

Dear NEW member,
Welcome!  Thank you for joining the” Be Fit Health Club.”  This is your first step to a stronger, healthier you!!
In order to server you better, please fill out this short exercise questionnaire:

How often do you exercise?
Does raising my fork to my mouth count?

What form(s) of exercise do you enjoy most?
See question one.

Do you run?
Only when chased.

How would you describe your exercise goals?
To do some.

What has prevented you from reaching your exercise goals in the past?
Not doing any.

Are you currently pregnant?
Bite your tongue.

Do you ever feel faint or nauseous?
Only when I step on the scale.

Do you suffer from any non-specific aches and pains?
Only when I work out.

Do you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?
Do I get extra credit if I do?

Do you smoke?
Just when I’m on fire.

What is your average alcohol consumption?
During my workouts or after?

Please rate your activity level, with 1 being the least active and 5 being the most.
Is this a trick question?

What is the best time for you to workout?

-Weekday morning
-Weekday evening
-Weekends
√Other (please specify):  While I’m sleeping.

Please list the habits your would like to change:
1.  My husband leaving his socks on the floor.  2.  My kids walking in on me when I’m in the bathroom. 3. The dog chewing up our underwear.

Why did you decide to join our health club? Please check all that apply:

-Lose weight or fat

-Gain muscle
-Sports specific training to improve my sport
√Other (please specify):  So I could spend my valuable time filling out questionnaire’s rather than exercising.

Note:  For the latest “Lost in Suburbia” News, become a fan on Facebook!  Go tohttp://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage and click “like!”

Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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The Fish Did It, In the Library, With a Spoon

Photo courtesy of plus45

When I came downstairs one morning, I discovered a double tragedy. Two out of the three fish in the tank were dead.  Strangely, it was the two fancy goldfish. The catfish was still alive, but he wasn’t talking.

“Hey guys,” I yelled to the troops.  “We have an issue down here.”

They all shuffled downstairs.

“I have sad news,” I said. “Federica and Archibald are dead.”  Everyone peered into the tank where the two goldfish were vertical.  In case you are not sure, this is not a typical swimming position for a goldfish.

“I think we might have a double murder.” I alleged.

“Maybe it was a suicide pact?” suggested my son.

“I don’t know. Larry looks pretty suspicious to me,” I said staring at the lone catfish in the tank.  “Unfortunately we don’t have any hard evidence.”

“What are you looking for honey, a smoking gun?” snorted my husband. “A tiny mãcheté?  You think he slipped a pinch of arsenic into their fancy fish flakes?”

“All I know is there were three fish in the tank and two of them died at exactly the same time. Don’t you think that’s a little fishy?”

My family cracked up.

“What?” I wondered.

“You said it was a little fishy,” laughed my son.

“So? Oh! Ha Ha.”  I rolled my eyes. I was in no mood for puns this morning.  I had a double burial at sea to plan and a probable serial killer catfish.

While I scooped the dearly departed fish out of the tank, I suddenly realized that this might not be an isolated incident.  A week ago when our other goldfish Morgan Stanley had gone belly up, I had thought at the time that he had just passed away of natural fish causes. But now that the other two fish were dead, too, it forced me to reopen Morgan’s case and look at it with fresh eyes.

“I think Larry might have offed Morgan Stanley, too!” I said under my breath to my husband. “Come to think of it, Larry has outlived the last six fish we’ve had.”
“So what are you saying? he asked. “You think the catfish is a mass murderer?”
“Hey, if the fin fits…” I said.

As we prepared for Federica and Archibald’s final lap around the porcelain bowl, I couldn’t help but notice the normally sedate catfish definitely seemed to be enjoying the sudden increase in real estate in the fish tank.

I didn’t like the idea of anyone, fish or foul, getting away with a crime. But there was no way I was going to be able to prove this case. If the catfish had done it, there wasn’t really a fish court of law where he could be tried.  Besides, all the witnesses had been flushed.

”I can’t think of any way to find out what really happened in that tank,” I said to my husband. “Do you have any suggestions?”

“Yeah.  Don’t buy any more fish!”

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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Don’t Snore On My Parade

“Honey, you were snoring really loud last night,” alleged my husband.

“That’s impossible,” I said. “I don’t snore.”

“Oh no?”

“No, I would hear it if I snored.”

“You don’t hear it because you are sleeping!” he declared. “Something I was not able to do so well with all that snoring going on.”

“Maybe it was the dog?” I suggested.

“Listen TyranaSNORous Rex,” he said. “The snoring was coming from the body in the bed next to me.  I think after all these years, I can tell the difference between you and the dog.”

I shrugged and disappeared into the bathroom.

Truth be told, I kind of knew I had been snoring. It might have something to do with the fact that I was dreaming I was bowling in a thunderstorm while fireworks were being shot off and men with jackhammers worked nearby.  Or maybe it was the fact that I actually woke up at one point because I heard someone snort. When I realized my husband was not in the bed, it did not leave a lot of other people to blame it on.

I was actually pretty aghast to discover that I might be on my way to becoming my father.  My dad snored so loudly that one time when I was growing up, the neighbors called wildlife control because they thought there was a wounded warthog roaming the streets.  Although I have been informed that my snores sound like a cross between a congested cow and a rusty chainsaw, I had no doubt that I would soon be elevated to warthog status if I didn’t address the problem.

I was pretty sure my snoring was due to the fact that every night I was stuffed up. And I was pretty sure I was stuffed up because our humidifier was on the fritz.  I decided that in the best interest of spousal harmony, I should call in the humidifier repair people.  However, calling for a repairman and actually getting something repaired are two different things. It took four days to get someone to come look at the problem, two hours to determine that it needed a new part, half an hour to determine that the repairman didn’t have the part on the truck, and then another week to get the part in and install it. During that time, I was informed that I snored nine nights, snorted four times, and whistled through my nose twice.

The good news was, by the tenth day, the humidifier was back in action, the bedroom seemed less dry, and I was sure that my night would be snore-free.

The morning after a well-humidified night, I woke up feeling really refreshed and was convinced that my snoring days, or rather nights, were over.

“So,” I said, turning to my husband.  “Did I snore last night?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I couldn’t hear anything over your teeth grinding.”

Note:  For the latest “Lost in Suburbia” News, become a fan on Facebook!  Go to http://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage and click “like!”

 

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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Getting Our Ducks In A Row

Photo courtesy of Lee J Haywood

“DUCK!”  Yelled my daughter.

I dropped to the floor.  “What? Is something coming at my head?”

“No. Duck… in the backyard!” she clarified.

I got off my knees and peered out back. Sure enough, there was a mallard pacing back and forth along the outside of our pool fence. He was quacking and pacing and if ever a duck looked annoyed, this one did.

Last time I checked, ducks could fly, so I was perplexed why this duck was staying on the wrong side of the pool fence.

Now for those of you who are new to this column, you should know that it is not an unusual occurrence for us to get ducks in our backyard. There is a pair of mallards, Larry and Loretta, the snowbirds, who fly up from Boca Raton every spring to their lovely place here in New Jersey. They have been doing this every year since we moved into our house 11 summers ago.  The last two years they brought their friend Sy with them to enjoy duck paddling in the frigid water that collects over the winter in our pool tarp.  I tried to convince them to wait a month until we actually open the pool, but I guess they prefer to be here early and get first dibs on the drowned worms.  Early bird and all that… you know.

Anyway, at first I thought one of the ducks had arrived alone. But I soon saw that all three were actually here:  Larry and Loretta were in the pool and Sy was the one outside the fence.

This is when I realized that there might have been a falling out in duckland.

Every time Sy approached the fence, Larry hopped out of the pool and ran straight at Sy, quacking and flapping his wings in obvious disapproval.

“I think the ducks are fighting over the pool,” I said to my daughter.

“Seriously, mom? Don’t you know anything? She said rolling her eyes. “They are fighting over Loretta!”

I looked back and saw Loretta calmly preening her tail feathers while the male mallards engaged in a quack-off.

“Well, that’s not very cool of Sy,” I said glaring at the outcast duck.  “Doesn’t he know that ducks mate for life?”

“I guess he missed the memo,” said my daughter. I laughed out loud.

While we pondered the situation with the ducks, we failed to notice someone else who was becoming increasingly bothered by the duck wars.  It wasn’t until my daughter opened the back door to the deck to go out and get a better look that we realized the dog was on high alert. He bolted out the door and ran toward the pool, barking his head off at the ducks. Without another quack, both Larry and Sy flew the coop. But Loretta calmly hopped back into the pool and started swimming again.

“Well I guess that solves that,” I said. “She’s not going to pick either of them now.”

“Why?” asked my daughter.

“Because now she knows they’re both chickens.”

Note:  For the latest “Lost in Suburbia” News, become a fan on Facebook!  Go to http://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage and click “like!”

 

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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Why Did The Dog Cross The Road?

Photo courtesy of Pete Markham

“Hi.  Your dog Riley is in my backyard playing with my dog,” said a friendly voice on my answering machine.  I looked around for the familiar black snoring lump on the floor and realized with a start, that the lump was nowhere to be found.

I did recall letting the dog out back to do his business.

I did not recall letting the dog back in.

Still, I could not fathom how he had done a Houdini on me and disappeared from our property since our backyard is completely fenced in. Then I scanned the backyard and noticed a distinct lack of fence-ness where a section of our fence had once been in the back corner.

I realized that the dog did not, in fact, pole vault over the six-foot fence as I had suspected, but merely walked through the gaping hole to freedom.

Although I was understandably concerned by this discovery, I was relieved to know that he had merely gone on a jaunt a couple of blocks away and not run off to join the Iditarod.

I quickly called the friendly voice back and discovered that my dog was cavorting in her backyard with her dog, and p.s., this was not the first time he had been over there.  Not only that, but she reported seeing my dog across the street several times at the homes of two other dogs, as well.

I was stunned. Apparently my dog had been leading a double life for quite some time.   While I thought he had been happily chasing squirrels in our fenced-in backyard, he had actually been several blocks away cavorting with a cute little terrier, a pretty goldendoodle and a sexy samoyed. On each occasion, he had darted off before the owners could see who he was, and returned to our backyard before I could notice his absence.

Could it be that my dog Riley… sweet, neutered Riley, was actually a doggie Don Juan?

I’d bet his Milk Bone dog biscuits on it.

I grabbed his leash and jumped into the car to bring him back to his bachelor pad.

This time the terrier’s owner had managed to keep him contained in their backyard and when I got her house, I found Riley and his lady friend romping together joyfully.   Little did she know he had a harem on the street.

“Well, I can see why he would want to come over here,” I said to the dog’s owner. “She’s very cute.”

“Hmm, he may have come over for her the first time, but after that, I think it was to see me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Every time he was here, I tried to catch him to see who he belonged to, but he kept running away from me, so I did the only thing I could think of to get him to come to me.”

“What’s that?” I wondered.

“I gave him treats.”

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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New Kids on the (Old) Block

Photo courtesy of Kevin Aranibar

When you have teenagers, it’s usually in your best interest to keep up with the latest trends in music, lest someone accuse you of being tragically old and uncool.

Clearly, it was a lot easier when the kids were younger and their tastes ran more to Barney the dinosaur and Raffi. But fortunately I happen to like a lot of the same music as my kids so this is not as much of a challenge as you would think.  However there are a lot of new artists who all happen to be around the same age and sound suspiciously alike, and this can sometimes make it difficult to know who you’re listening to. It might be the fact that they all have autotune on them, or it might just be that they all are about 16 years old and sound like a certain young boy with awesome hair from Canada.

“Is that Justin Bieber?” I asked my daughter when a song came on the radio. I wanted to prove that even though I knew every song in the Billy Joel catalog, I was still a cool mom.

She looked at me with disgust.  “No.” she said definitively. “This guy sounds nothing like Justin Bieber.”

“I dunno,” I said. “He sounds pretty similar to me.”

She shook her head. “He wishes he were as good as Justin Bieber,” she said. “But he is just a Wannabieber.”

I cracked up.

We continued on in silence until another song came on the radio. This time I was sure that I knew who the singer was.

“I know who this is,” I said.  “This is Lady Gaga.”

My daughter rolled her eyes.

“Isn’t it Lady Gaga?” I repeated, a little less sure.

“It is,” she said, sighing.

“What, you don’t like Lady Gaga?” I asked.

“She’s OK,” she responded. “But she’s kind of a Madonna-be.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“Someone who is trying to be like Madonna,” she said.

I cracked up again. It was becoming clear to me that when it came to discussing current pop trends with my teenage daughter, I was way out of my league.

I guess I could understand.  I remember when I was her age, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and I used to try to talk to my parents about music.  No matter how cool my parents thought they were, there was no way they could ever understand the greatness that was The Human League, and I would never understand the appeal of Paul Anka.  Still, I wanted to connect with my daughter and prove that even though I was from another generation, I was not from another planet, and I did actually know the difference between Eminem and M&M’s.

“Hey did you hear that there is going to be another TV show launching that is going to be just like Glee?” I blurted out.

My daughter looked at me with sudden interest.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I exclaimed, “So I guess that would make it kind of a Wannaglee.”

She stared at me and then shook her head.

“Nice try, Mom,” she said. “But don’t quit your day job.”

 

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Tracy Beckerman

Tracy Beckerman writes the syndicated humor column,LOST IN SUBURBIA® which is carried weekly by the NJN Publishing Group, the North Jersey Media Group, The Mahopac News, and the Gatehouse Media chain. In total, her column is carried by over 400 newspapers and reaches an audience of nearly 3.5 million readers in 25 states. She is also the author of the recently published humor book, “Rebel without a Minivan: Observations on Life in the ‘Burbs,” and is a contributor to a new humor compilation called, “See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World’s Most Harried Moms.” Beckerman also writes this daily blog which features her musings on marriage, and motherhood, and offers tips for being a cool mom in the suburbs.

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