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WTF Jack Frost

In Humor by JenLeave a Comment

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I am having flashbacks to the polar vortex of 2013. It’s frickin’ cold up in here! A windchill of -25 should not be a thing! As a single mom on a super tight budget, turning up the heat ain’t an option, but here are a few of my favorite things that make hell freezing over a little more…”pleasant.”

  • Hot chocolate…heck yeah! Smooth, creamy, and hot…definitely HOT…in a super cute mug. Delish! Top with adorable snowman marshmallows and call it done!
  • Thermal underwear – Layering.is.key. Adding one under my clothes really makes a difference! “Long Johns” are da bomb!
  • Flannel sheets – Jersey…ugh. Polar fleece…nope. Flannel sheets is where it’s at. If you really want to go full on warmth, pair with an electric blanket. Turn that baby on a half hour or so before bed and experience true bliss. There is nothing like snuggling into a warmed bed.
  • Slippers – These little piggies are not going to the market when it’s this damn cold outside! I NEED my slippers! My absolute favs are Acorn. They are so warm and comfy! A bit pricey, but made to last. I have had mine for years. LOVE ‘EM! 
  • Sorta homemade chicken noodle soup – There is nothin’ better on a WTF winter day! It’s quick and easy to make, which is sayin’ something coming from me. I did not get my mom’s cooking gene.Just grab a rotisserie chicken, medium egg noodles, chicken stock, carrots, celery and onion. Chop the carrots, celery and onion and sautee them for a few minutes in some butter. Next, add them to a large pot with two cartons of chicken stock along with pieces of the rotisserie chicken and bring it to a boil. Last, add the noodles and continue to boil until they are tender. Voila!

Mother Nature…it’s time to kick Jack Frost to the damn curb! I’m ready to trade in my Sorrels for sandals!

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Milwaukee Gave Me Back My Mojo

In Courage, Divorce, Humor, Travel by Jen10 Comments

I just took an important trip. Since splitting from #2, I feel like I have lost my confidence. It is difficult when you don’t have “your person” anymore to rely on, to feel safe. I’m more anxious with tasks that I relied of #2 for like home repair and car maintenance. Being a single parent is overwhelming much of the time.

My daughter has become a talented photographer. That is her medium at the art high school she attends. This year, three of her photographs were entered in a competition. The regional entries totaled over 3,500. She found out in January that ALL THREE of her pieces were chosen for an award! She was over the moon…I was so proud!

The photo that received the highest honor was going to be part of an exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Museum’s collections of decorative arts, prints and paintings are among the finest in the county. This…was…HUGE!

We missed the award ceremony, due to a snowstorm. Really?  WTF Jack Frost! Disappointed? Damn right! So, we  planned to travel to Milwaukee to see the show the next weekend. Now Milwaukee is MUCH larger and MORE urban than my current lo-cal and the traffic…anyone remember Frogger? THAT is how I feel driving in HEAVY traffic. It is NOT…MY…JAM!

I was so excited to make this trip with my daughter, but I was STRESSED, ANXIOUS and PARANOID! I considered renting a car since my car has over 100K miles and I worried about the car breaking down. I didn’t. I decided I was more concerned about the possibility of the rental car getting hit, keyed or stolen. Yeah, not real logical…I KNOW.

I scoured hotel websites looking for a great place, which was hard since I have never stayed in Milwaukee before.
Pics and Google Maps can only get ya so far. Fast forward to me discussing hotels with one of my 9-5er coworkers. “You should try Hotwire,” she said. “I have gotten great deals before staying at the Pfister for 85 bucks!” Now the Pfister is a Milwaukee hotel icon! It celebrates it’s 125th anniversary this year. Rooms will run you a few hundred dollars a night.

Hmm. Well 85 bucks for the Pfister vs. La Quinta Inn sounds killer! Maybe I’ll give Hotwire a try. As you may or may not know, for these super deals ya don’t really know where you’ll actually be staying until AFTER ya hit the button and a non-refundable charge hits your credit card. So I threw caution to the wind and searched for a 4 star hotel in Downtown Milwaukee and crossed every part of my body that I could and a GREAT deal came up! With sweaty palms, I hit “book now.” The result…Potowatomi Hotel and Casino. Uh oh. At least there’s free valet…

I knew once I got us into the city, I DID NOT want to drive around in it. “Mom, we’ll just take an Uber or Lyft.” Ok, I’m not totally out of it, I know what Uber and Lyft are, but I have never used them. So, I did what we do now with the disintegration of our society and downloaded the apps to my phone. Then I planned our escape from a moving car if we were taken hostage. Yeah, again not real logical…I KNOW.

Saturday arrives. I silently reminded myself not to outwardly show panic. My daughter struggles with anxiety and I knew if I showed fear it would cause her to panic and that would ruin the trip for her. I tell myself “you.got.this” and recited some “Roar” lyrics into the bathroom mirror (thanks Katy Perry)….it’s go time. So, we dropped our pups off at puppy jail, aka the boarder, I took a deep breath and we hit the highway.

I am blessed. The relationship my daughter and I have is one that not every mom is lucky enough to have. We are very close. Our drive into Milwaukee was filled with lots of conversation. She was a great navigator and after a slight detour, we found our way to the parking ramp adjoining the hotel.

With check in time a few hours away, we parked the car and took our first ever Lyft ride to the Milwaukee Art Museum after the Uber app failed. SOL Uber! After our first ride, I knew this is the only way to see the city! No need to call for a cab, you just key in a destination, hit a button and in what seemed like a nanosecond a car appears to take you wear you want to go.

Our time at the Museum was something I will cherish forever. To see the pride and excitement my daughter felt as she stood next to her work in an exhibition in the same museum with Andy Warhol’s art was wonderful. He is one of her art heroes. She was beaming! We toured the Museum and had a blast! What a beautiful place!

We caught our second Lyft of the trip to head back to the hotel and check in. Our driver, Christopher, was great! In our ten minutes together, we found out that this super cool 20-something left his home in LA to drive alone cross country to pursue his dream job. He’d been in Milwaukee for only a month, but had just found out HE GOT THE JOB!

We got to our room on the 10th floor. The view of the skyline was stunning! We hit the jackpot…pun intended! The room was lovely, so we decided to enjoy the evening there binge-watching Fixer Upper. We even ordered room service…another first!  It was pure bliss!

Day two began with breakfast in bed. The blueberry pancakes were delish! We lounged around a little bit longer to enjoy a few more minutes in our beautiful room. We had one more stop before we headed home…the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory.

This place is amazing! There are three large domes that houses different types of plants. The first one we visited was the tropical dome. You felt like you were dropped into the middle of the rain forest. Although the dome is less than 15,000 square feet it contained over 1,200 species of tropical plants as well as tropical birds. There was even a banana tree! A-mazing!

Dome two was the desert dome. The deserts of five countries is represented. The collection of cacti and succulents is world class. Fuzzy cactus…who knew! Mind blown!

In the last dome there was a special exhibit called Railroad to Wonderland. This was absolutely adorable! Miniature Alice in Wonderland vignettes scattered around beautiful flowers and plants with model trains running throughout. I enjoyed watching the excited children scurrying about with parents running behind them.

We were “lyfted” back to our car and began our trip home. My daughter slept most of the way leaving me to my thoughts. This trip had a lot of firsts. First time driving into the city. First time taking a Lyft. First time visiting a true art museum. First time staying in a four star hotel. First time ordering room service. First time visiting “The Domes.”

It was truly a wonderful time and I did it…I.REALLY.DID.IT. I put aside my stress, anxiety and paranoia and conquered the unknown and that has made all the difference. I feel much more confident in myself and what I can handle on my own without having a husband around. Thank you, Milwaukee. I got my mojo back, baby!

 

 

 

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12 Single Mom Quotes When You feel Like Flipping a Table

In Humor, Quote by JenLeave a Comment

I don’t know who wrote these quotes. What I do know is they kick ass!

  1. Some people just need a high-five. In the face. With a chair.
  2. Sometimes I have to tell myself it’s just not worth the jail time.
  3. Not my circus, not my monkeys
  4. If someone points at your black clothes and asks who’s funeral it is, you just look around the room and answer “Haven’t decided yet.”
  5. Hello Jesus…I’m ready to come home People on Earth be trippin’.
  6. I want a closet casket funeral. However, towards the end of the service, please have the organist play “pop goes the weasel” over and over until everyone in attendance is staring at my coffin with silent horrified anticipation.
  7. Here’s to another day of outward smiles and inward screams.
  8. I don’t think there will be enough middle fingers for this Monday.
  9. It’s been like one of those days for like 3 years now.
  10. I hope the bus you threw me under swerves to hit you on the sidewalk.
  11. Underestimate me. That will be fun.
  12. I like storms. They let me know that even the sky screams sometimes.
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Battling the Butterfly

In Health by JenLeave a Comment

January is thyroid awareness month. What is a thyroid and why should you care. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. Although fairly small, this gland is FIERCE as it plays a huge roll in our bodies. It influences the function of many of our organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidney and skin.

My daughter was eight when she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, which is autoimmune thyroid disease and it SUCKS.  Her body attacks the thyroid gland and it causes hypothyroidism. Her thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone.

Before she was diagnosed, she began gaining weight very quickly and it did not make sense.  She was an active kid and the amount she was eating should not have caused weight gain.  She was tired, puffy and constipated. We saw her pediatrician and she did not believe the weight gain was not from over eating and recommended we see a dietician. We got the same response from the dietician. It was so frustrating!  As a mom, I knew it was not what she was eating! There was really something wrong. I started researching on my own and came across thyroid disease. It really fit.

I would not give up until she was tested.  Yes, I became one of those mothers. The ones that doctors cringe when they hear her name. I have discovered that you must be your child’s advocate.  If you don’t you can bet no one else will. So we had the blood test done and as I suspected…Hashimoto’s Disease. You would think that would be the end of the story, right pop a pill and all is fixed. Not hardly!

Fast forward eight years. We still battle the butterfly every.single.day. We have tried every type of thyroid medication, diet and homeopathic option. Nothing has made a huge improvement and we are not alone. We have met other online families that struggle like we do.

If you suspect that your child may have a thyroid issue, it is important to have the tests run. Your pediatrician can easily order them. If your doctor refuses…find another doctor. You know your kid and when something is wrong. Never doubt your mom intuition!

 

 

 

 

 

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Livin’ Like Joe

In Humor, Resolutions by Jen10 Comments

Three years ago I read an obituary about a man named Joe and he LIVED LIKE A BOSS for 59 years! I mean this guy blew.it.up.

  • At 15, he had a semi-valid licence by transposing some of the numbers.
  • At 18, drove his first Harley off the showroom floor.
  • Loved hard having 4 wives and 3 sons. One named Jack Daniel. I like to think it’s ya know…like the liquor.
  • Was at the forefront of the online adult entertainment industry during the internet’s early years.
  • Made breast implants.
  • Sold and repaired Singer sewing machines.
  • Was a model train enthusiast.
  • Rode Harley’s cross country.

In celebration of Joe’s life, his friends and family met a local pub. Although I had never met Joe, he has fascinated me. I had thought about going to that pub on that day to hear more Joe stories, but decided that may be a bit odd.

Now is the time we make resolutions for the new year. Being a single mom, I feel like I blink and a year has come and gone and I just went through the motions. I want to live a fuller, more interesting life. In 2018, I’m going to live like Joe.

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Cubicle Girl Living in a Cubicle World

In Humor by Jen2 Comments

Mundane. Monotonous. My 9-5er yo! When I was a kid and had, ya know dreams and stuff, spending my days in a box covered in beige carpet was not high on my list. During my work day my mind wanders and I imagine office scenarios to amuse myself.

Like using the intercom on my phone to announce “waaadsup office people it’s time for cubicle karaoke” or humming pop goes the weasel and on pop I bolt to standing my head over the cubicle walls. Synchronized office chair spinning, hacking the hold musak loop replacing Enya with my girl Missy Elliott, and spiking the office coffee with vodka. Wow…there has got to be more than this…and there is…singlemomswearcapes.com!

I started this blog as an outlet…an escape from my day to day reality. I hoped to connect with other single moms like myself and share our struggles and successes…and maybe, just maybe this blog becomes my reality rather than my escape and the way to live the life I really want for myself and daughter the life I feel that I gave up over a decade ago to start my life with Number 2 and ya know how that turned out.

My baby girl is not a baby anymore. She has grown into a lovely young woman despite her mental and physical health difficulties and I am extremely proud. She will be off to college soon and I will be left behind in a city with no family and a few friends. The need to move back home continues to strengthen. I’m sure you are thinkin’ “um ok…seems simple enough…just move then.”

This is where it gets complicated. I’d have to sell my house. Complication. I have two dogs and a cat. Complication. I do sell my house, I then have to move everything…by myself…500 miles. Complication. I make it to the other side, but need to find a place to live…with two dogs and a cat. Complication. New job? Complication. A move takes a lot of cash. Complication.

GEEZ LOUISE! Stay tuned for how this turns out.

 

 

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Show Me Some Skin

In Health, Humor by JenLeave a Comment

I visited a dermatologist after felling a scabby bump on my back.  I know…ew. I am what ya call a worrier. I went from mole to melanoma in less than sixty seconds. In the past six months, I have lost a friend from melanoma and had another diagnosed with it, so I knew I had to make the call.

Days later, there I am, waitin’…in the waitin’ room. After the medical history pleasantries, it’s go time. Time to don the gown. Aw yeah! Enter the doc. She begins the full body skin inspection. After an eternity, ok maybe more like fifteen minutes…seborrheic keratosis aka a noncancerous skin condition that appears as a waxy brown, black or tan growth…whew, but…ew…again.

Goofiness aside, skin health is important. A full skin exam is recommended as part of your annual doctor check-ups. I will adding this exam to my yearly doctor rotation. I hope you will too. We single moms often put ourselves last, but our health really needs to be first.

At the conclusion of my visit, the doc said “compared to people your age, you have very little sun damage.” That’s right, I have the skin of a 21 year old or at least that’s what I am going with. Moisturizer with a spf people!

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Ho! Ho! Holla for Dolla…Stores

In Humor, Saving Money by JenLeave a Comment

I love dollar stores! Where else can you get four rolls of t.p., two greeting cards and three bags of frozen broccoli florettes for five bucks. No where people! If you are a single mom into saving cash, find your nearest one. I buy all my gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper there. There is a great selection of containers. If your child has school projects, go to the dollar store! We buy all of our poster board and foam board there. I love the chocolate covered graham squares and stripped cookies. At a dollar a piece, I buy both!

Seasonal decor is also a winner. With the holiday season quickly approaching, make a stop at your local store. It will be well worth your time. At my neighborhood store, there are small table top trees for trimming, both green and white. I bought three! There are also lots of poinsettia floral picks, holiday mugs and candy perfect for stockings. It makes me utterly giddy walking out with armfuls of bags and still having money in my wallet! Happy dolla…I mean holla-days!