It. Is. On.

I am at war. At first I was committed to a relocation mission, but now I’m in full-on it’s-either-you-or-me mode.

Yesterday I discovered this guy on my tomato plant:

It’s a tomato hornworm and at first I thought it was kind of cute. A few days ago, I noticed that some of my tomatoes were half eaten, but I didn’t discover the culprit until yesterday. Yes, he’s big, but that sucker can blend in, unlike a wasted Donna Martin at the West Beverly Hills’ senior prom,  and I couldn’t spot him for the life of me until days later.

So yesterday I tried to do the humane thing. I didn’t want to kill him, so I attempted to remove him from the stem with a branch. And OMG I WAS TRAUMATIZED. Why? Because by accident I stabbed him and he started gushing green blood and THEN he got super pissed and tried to attack me. NO JOKE. He made this ferocious clicking sound and LUNGED at me. I had no idea caterpillars could attack but they do and, boy, do they go for the jugular.

Despite his violent attempt at my life, I was really upset that I stabbed him. I went to Plan B and cut the branch he was on off the plant. I moved him to the row of trees in my backyard and left him behind a weed where he could hopefully recover from his injury and perhaps escape being eating by birds. I checked on him a couple of times, and he seemed to be okay enough to devour all the rest of the leaves on the stem I clipped off, so I called it a day.

But TODAY I found another hornworm! Realizing I might impale him if I attempted to remove him, I went straight to clipping off the branch he was on. I guess he knew what was up because he started clicking at me. I carefully brought him over to where I had left the other hornworm, who was by now gone, and left him there along with a few more leaves to tide him over.

This is where my generosity stopped because when I examined the plant one last time I found four more hornworms. I was DONE. I tried to pry one off and he lunged at me like his countryworm, clicking away. I dumped him over the deck railing. The others met the same fate.

And I have to say: they deserved it because they freaking almost ate all my tomatoes and most of the tomato plant leaves and I am really, really annoyed. It could have been worse–I could have drowned them all in a big bucket of water, which is what one gardening website recommended. Hopefully word gets around that attempting to eat the Towbin tomato plant is a suicide mission and should be avoided at all costs.

Life is just a bowl of cherries

A man who is not my husband.

The other day I was riding in the car with my husband, who had grabbed a bowl of cherries to eat on the way. About 10 minutes into the drive, I noticed something weird. Or, should say, I noticed something NOT weird.

When my husband eats cherries in the car, he always disposes of the pits in this way: He rolls down his window, spits the pit out to the curb, and screams, “ALEX CHERRYSEED!” (As in, he’s like Jonny Appleseed, except instead of planting apple trees, he’s planting cherry trees. Mixed with his spit.)

That particular day I noticed he had not even ONCE screamed, “ALEX CHERRYSEED!” What followed:

Me: (looking in the bowl, still half-filled with cherries) Um, where are the pits?

Him: Huh?

Me: What are you doing with the cherry pits if you’re not spitting them out the window?

Him: (shrugs)

Me: Wait, are you SWALLOWING the pits?

Him: Maybe.

Me: What?!? You can’t do that!

Him: Yes, I can.

Me: No, you can’t!! You can’t eat cherry pits!

Him: Sure I can.

Me: I am definitely certain that NO YOU CANNOT and now you’re going to get really sick.

Him: Or maybe I’m just growing cherry trees inside me.

Me: (fuming, because this is NOT a joke and people are NOT meant to eat cherry pits even though I’m not sure why, and I just know he will not have to face any consequences for this behavior because isn’t that always the way)

Him: (eats another cherry; swallows the pit)

Me: What is wrong with you?!?

Him: (continues to eat more cherries and swallow their pits without commentary)

Me: You are one odd duck.

Image from: Rodale’s Organic Life


Dog days of summer

You might have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a few weeks, but I’m here to tell you there’s been a reason for that: I got a dog! I’ve been extremely busy with my new pet and haven’t had any time to tend to the blog. Let me tell you about him:

About a month ago I spotted a little black dog running around our neighborhood unattended. I tried to get him to come to me, but he was super scared and bolted away as fast as he could. Over the next few weeks, I saw him now and then, but each time he ran away from me. I started putting bowls of dog food and water out for him, hoping he’d learn to trust me.

Unfortunately, the only thing he learned to trust was that he could get a free meal over and over again at my house, which most likely contributed to his decision to start living underneath my deck.

I couldn’t get him out from under there no matter what I did, so I called the SPCA. Someone came out and set a trap for him; all I wanted to do was see if he was chipped (he had no collar) and get him back to his family. But that stinker managed to trigger the trap, eat the bait positioned INSIDE the trap, yet somehow escape its clutches.

Now I personally have not seen the dog since the Great Escape, which was a couple of weeks ago, but neighbors have told me they’ve spotted him around my yard. I’ve continued to leave food and water out for him, and by morning, it’s gone.

I have wanted a dog for quite some time, but due to circumstances beyond my control (psst, my husband) I was unable to adopt one. But don’t you see? Now I finally have a dog! Sure, I don’t get to play with it. Or pet it. Or even see it, but I have a dog nonetheless! For some reason my husband named it Frenchie, which is a really stupid name, but it stuck. I would show you a photo of him, but I don’t have one. Here is a stock photo in its place:


Isn’t he adorable??

But honestly, when it comes down to it, I’m not even really sure if I’m feeding the dog anymore. I might just be feeding a possum every night. I guess I might have a pet possum.


April showers

I was having lunch with my friend the other day and somehow the conversation turned to cleaning products. Not that I’m complaining. I love talking about cleaning of any kind. It makes me positively giddy!

Anyway, I started to tell her about a new purchase I made recently, which has made my bathroom cleaning even easier:

Me: “OMG! I totally bought this amazing shelving for my shower since there’s nothing in there except a soap dish.”

My friend: “Tell me more!”

Me: “There’s this giant pole that goes from floor to ceiling, and all along the pole are different shelves. Everyone has their own shelf! I have a whole shelf for just my own miscellaneous products!”

My friend: “So you don’t have any shampoo bottles or anything on the floor anymore?!?”

Me: “NO! It’s so easy to clean the tile now. I am telling you, THIS SHELVING SYSTEM HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.”

My friend: “Sounds amazing! You should totally blog about that!”

Me: (shifting uneasily in my chair) “Um, I don’t know.”

My friend: “Why not?”

Me: “Because, well…I don’t want to brag. I mean, you know how people buy things and are all, look how I just bought this new car or how I just remodeled my whole kitchen? I don’t want to brag like that.”

My friend: “Uhh, well, it’s shower shelving.”

Me: “I know, I just don’t want people to read the post and then be like, did you read Meredith’s blog post where she was bragging about her shower shelving? I mean, who does she think she is? I can’t BELIEVE she was showing off like that.”

My friend: “I mean, SOME people might say that, but maybe some people would appreciate the information about the product.”

Me: “It’s just NOT ME, ok?!?”

My friend: (silence) (probably reflecting on her life choices, as she has befriended a shower shelving braggart)

As long as I’m in this deep, I might as well show you a photo of the shower shelving:

I’m telling you: CHANGED MY LIFE. I highly recommend it.


Good old days


I turned 40 last year and this is what has happened to me since then:

  1. I enjoy an almost exclusive diet of contemporary adult music, which, and I looked this up, is characterized by “easy listening” and “soft rock” that is “inoffensive and pleasurable.”
  2. After a long hiatus, I tried to run outside. My entire body revolted. I AM PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF RUNNING.
  3. A radio ad came on for the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, which co-stars Alicia Silverstone. For a hot minute I thought she might be playing the big sister of the tweenish main character. Then it occurred to me that she’s probably playing the mom.
  4. My kids are old enough to be embarrassed by me. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as now the pranking can get really good.
  5. I eat oatmeal for breakfast. Every. Day.
  6. Yesterday I needed to replenish my make up supply, and when I looked at the label that’s stuck to the end of the wand so I could see what shade I wear, I couldn’t make out the words because they were too small. I was so desperate that I had to take a photo of the label and then enlarge it on my phone. My shade is apparently “vanilla.” Which pretty much now describes me.
  7. I enjoy a quiet evening of working on puzzles.
  8. It can be challenging to stay up past 10 pm. I think my kids stay up later than that, but I wouldn’t know because I’m sleeping.
  9. I fell getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Like really hard. It shook the whole house. And my first thought was that I broke my hip.

40 and fabulous!!

Insult to injury

So my right arm is KILLING ME and unfortunately I’m injured. It must have happened while I was lifting yesterday. I mean, all I was doing was my usual 140-lb. benchpress (10 reps, as fast as I can), but somehow I hurt myself.

Just kidding. I totally hurt myself cleaning. Yesterday I decided that the bathroom floors needed a good scrub. I sprayed some cleaner with bleach in it onto the tile floor and got to work. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed like I was going for an Olympic medal in it and made that tile sparkle. Not to brag, but, yeah, I did the grout. The only problem was that I was scrubbing so hard, I hurt my right arm (my scrubbing arm, obvs).

Sure, at the time I realized I MAY have been working a little too hard as I was panting and sweating and starting to feel lightheaded. But as far as the lightheadedness goes, I chalked that up to inhaling the bleach fumes. I mean, the fumes were already making my eyes burn, but I could still see, so I wasn’t going to stop just because I felt a tad dizzy. My motto is go big or go home and I apply it to EVERYTHING.

Anyway, I noticed the soreness in my arm that evening. I was all, maybe I should take some ibuprofen for that, but then I was all, what kind of wimp takes ibuprofen because her arm is sore from CLEANING? Suck it up, Towbin!

So I did. And then at 4 am I woke up in excruciating pain. In my sleepy delirium I decided that first thing in the morning I should definitely call an orthopedic surgeon about this injury because, really, who else could I possibly call for such a serious trauma? Then I started thinking that I’d have to tell the orthopedic surgeon that I hurt myself scrubbing the bathroom floor and my pride would not allow for that, so I just decided I’d have to deal with it, even if it required surgery (which, at the time, it most definitely seemed like it would).

Then I woke up this morning and realized I was insane. My arm is feeling much better and I realized I just gave it a really good workout. Unfortunately, my right bicep is going to be HUGE and my left bicep will be normal sized and I will look like a freak, but them’s the breaks.

My hang up

WHAT I HAVE JUST BEEN THROUGH. There’s no way I could ever relate the intensity and/or range of the emotions I’ve just experienced, but I will try.

You see, I have this jacket. I’ve had it for a few years, and I really liked wearing it. Right in the middle, a little above the waist, there was this fabric cord that you could tie up in the front. The cord had to pass through a “tunnel” of fabric that wrapped around the back of the jacket, a situation similar to that of a drawstring cord in a hoodie.

Everything was going great until one time I washed my jacket and the cord got pulled out halfway. I tried to string it back through, but it was IMPOSSIBLE. After several minutes of trying, I gave up and pulled the whole thing out. I wore the jacket a couple more times without the fabric cord, but it just felt, I don’t know, wrong, so I stopped wearing it altogether.

Fast forward to today. For some reason I got it into my head that not only was I going to wear this jacket, but, damn it, I was going to get that cord back through the fabric tunnel. With a little help from a YouTube video demonstrating how to rethread a hoodie cord, I decided I could transfer these newly acquired skills and make it work with my jacket.

The trick is to bend a wire hanger into a semicircle, attach one end of the cord to one end of the wire, and thread the wire through the fabric tunnel with the cord attached, thereby rethreading everything. Brilliant!

So I tried it. I tied one end of the cord to a little hook I made at the end of the wire hanger and tried to string in through. I got all the way through to the other side of the tunnel when I realized that the stupid cord fell off the hanger about an inch of the way through.

So I tried again. I tied the knot tighter.

Same problem.

This time I wrapped it around, made some kind of insane knot for which there is no name, and did it again. No dice.

I tried different variations of knots and wire hanger hooks for 20 FREAKING MINUTES. I was swearing. Out loud. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ineffectual. Unless you count the 3,000 times I’ve asked my kids to clean their rooms and all they do is throw a pair of socks in the hamper just to see how that’s going to fly and when I call them out on it they respond with disbelief and outrage at how I could possibly be so wrong because look how much they’ve cleaned! What do I want from them?!? BECAUSE WE CAN’T EVER BE AS ORGANIZED AND NEAT AS YOU, MOM, AND YOU CAN’T EXPECT US TO BE SOMEBODY WE’RE NOT! Um, maybe TMI for the blog.

Anyhoo, after 20 minutes, success! I was so ecstatic that I took a picture:

And that didn’t make me feel satisfied, so I wrote a blog post about it.

This is probably the dumbest blog post I’ve ever written, but WTF. I needed to share my victory.

Image from NST Insights.

Thinking outside the box

Sometimes people ask me what I do all day while my kids are at school. Here’s a good example: I pick a random spot on my floor, make a square out of tape, and wait for my cat to lie down in it.

No, I did not make this genius experiment up. I found it all over the Internet and decided to try it for myself. So here was my square:

I waited for two days and my cat wouldn’t go anywhere near it. I figured I’d placed it in an area that was too high traffic, so I moved the square in front of the fireplace. This is how that played out:

An hour later:

And an hour after that:

This cat. I swear. I kind of fell asleep while I was waiting for her to go into the box and this happened:

Well played, Cleo. Well played.

My waffle house of nightmares

I never thought I’d experience a bigger cooking disaster than the chicken-fried steak incident of ’01. I’m not going to get into details because you’d probably vomit, so I’ll just say it was the only time The Joy of Cooking steered me wrong.

Last night, though. LAST NIGHT. I tried to make breakfast for dinner, featuring the humble waffle. I found a new recipe that I was super excited about trying. It can be difficult to find a good waffle recipe because it needs to be gluten free and dairy free for me. I thought I had found a good one. It turns out I did not.

Now, I should have known something was fishy when the recipe required me to use three cups of almond flour and one cup of coconut flour. I’ve been doing the gluten-free thing for over a year, and I have learned through experience that I do not like things made exclusively out of almond and/or coconut flour. They taste blech. But for some reason I went temporarily insane and thought it wouldn’t matter and everything would be okay.

So after spending $18 on flour at the grocery store and using six eggs, I mixed everything up and plopped it onto the waffle iron. Things went further downhill when I noticed that the batter was starting to slowly ooze out the sides of the waffle iron. I tried to wipe it away, but as soon as I did, more batter started oozing out until it was a volcano of gluten-free waffle batter flowing all over my countertop and, eventually, my floor.

But I kept wiping it, over and over again, because, $18 and this was dinner. There was no backup.

When the oozing got under control and I thought the waffle was set, I lifted up the top of the waffle iron to find this abomination:

I put down the lid and told myself if I just cooked it a little longer, it would miraculously turn into an edible waffle.

It did not.

I STILL wasn’t willing to give up because THIS WAS DINNER AND $18 so I started to scrape a little off the waffle iron and taste it. I thought maybe I could feed us a pile of waffle crumbles and it would all be fine.

I tasted it and it was not good, to put it mildly. I had my kid taste it. Please know that this kid will eat anything. He has literally ordered an octopus tentacle at a restaurant and ate it up yum. But my waffle tidbits? He put a piece in his mouth and SPIT IT OUT. Wouldn’t even swallow it. He said that now he knew how sponges were made. As I write this, I can still hear him retching from the other room.

Freaking waste-of-my-time stupid gluten-free waffles. I didn’t know it was possible to hate a baked good.

Mother of the year over here

My poor kid has been home sick with the flu since Saturday, which means I’ve also been in my house since Saturday. My only outings have been to the doctor’s office and a quick run to the gas station.

Okay, so maybe I’m going a little stir crazy, but I didn’t realize how INSANE I was becoming until yesterday when I made the most epic parent fail in the history of parent fails.

If you know me in real life, you know that I’m pretty restrictive as to what types of movies/television shows/video games my kids watch/play. But my kid has been SO miserable and so sick for days that when he asked me if he could watch X-Men: Apocalypse yesterday I was all, “Sure! Why the heck not?? Whatever I can do to make you feel even a LITTLE better.”

He starts watching it and I go upstairs to do my thing. About an hour later, my husband comes home. I hear him chatting with our kid for a little bit, and a few minutes later he comes upstairs. Our conversation:

Him: “Are you FEBRILE?”

Me: “Huh? No. I’m fine. Why?”

Him: “Because you have him watching X-Men: Apocalypse!”

Me: “I know. Why? What’s wrong with that? He watches other action movies.”

Him: “Not like this! This is insanely violent!”

Me: “It is? I can’t remember.”

Him: “Um, yeah. Right now he’s watching the part where Wolverine SLAUGHTERS everyone.”

Then it came back to me because, yes, I’ve seen this movie, and no, I can’t even use the I-didn’t-know-because-I-never-saw-this-before defense. Wolverine doesn’t just kill a whole bunch of people. He literally impales them, decapitates them, DESTROYS them in the most graphic, bloody, disgusting way possible.

All I can do is mutter, “Uh oh,” and run downstairs. “Hey, buddy,” I say VERY nonchalantly, “so are you doing okay? Do you want to keep watching this?” I look over on the screen and see Wolverine BATHED IN BLOOD.

He answers that um, no, maybe I could just turn it off and watch something else because he’s feeling like he has to throw up again.

Nice. I am THE WORST. What is wrong with me?!? I am going nuts in this house. NUTS. Somebody send help.

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