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.

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.

Update: Inner peace is not a thing I have achieved

You might recall that I achieved inner peace last week via packing my suitcase. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Things turned sour pretty quickly. Why?


Yes, rolling up all your clothes into tight cylinders is completely awesome if your only goal is to fit as many clothes into your suitcase as possible. But what happens when you reach your destination and it’s time to unpack? The COMPLETE OPPOSITE of zen. Here’s why:

You open your suitcase and find 37 tightly rolled t-shirts/jeans/socks/etc. that must be unrolled. One by one. Which takes some time. And after traveling all day, unrolling all your clothes one by one is literally the last thing you want to be doing.

But, Meredith, you might ask, why not just leave everything rolled up in the suitcase and select what’s needed on a day-to-day basis? Well, because YOU CAN’T. Maybe I want to wear my gray t-shirt with the two birds on it on a particular day. Here’s me: “I’ll just peek into my suitcase and grab it and…oh s^&%! There are no less than THIRTEEN GREY T-SHIRTS, ALL ROLLED UP, and it is impossible for me to identify which one is which until I unroll them all and WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? What did I ever do to deserve such a stunning defeat after achieving a zen that most humans can only dream about?”

And once all the clothes are unrolled, you have to deal with the fact that every single item is a wrinkled mess AND you still have to fold everything to put it away in the dresser.

Needless to say, on the way back I packed up using a different method. I laid everything flat, one on top of the next, and that seemed to work better. At least things weren’t wrinkled when I went to unpack and I could identify what was what.

Even so, I am thoroughly disappointed. I was so stoked about achieving packing nirvana that I was even considering starting up a business involving me teaching people how to pack efficiently, which would of course have to be named Tripping with Towbin. There goes my business. And my zen.

A cause we can all get behind

The political climate has been INSANE lately, and although I’ve done what I can to make my own voice heard, there is one issue in particular that, quite frankly, has been my albatross for at least a decade.

This issue hasn’t gotten the spotlight that it deserves. People need to call out this vile, man-made construct that should have never seen the light of day. And let my voice be the first to declare: We as a people must stand up and say, nay, DEMAND, that the buttered popcorn jellybean be discontinued.

Such a flavor is an abomination. There is nothing worse than sitting there with your hand wrist deep in a giant jar of jellybeans, pulling out what you think is pineapple or even pina colada, and popping it into your mouth only to discover that instead of surrendering to a sweet burst of happiness, your mouth have been defiled by the most disgusting flavor ever to be produced in a lab.

I’m not proud of this, but back when my firstborn was really little, too little to know the difference, he ate buttered popcorn jellybeans exclusively. Every time my husband and I would dig into a bag of jellybeans and find a buttered popcorn one, we would give it to him. And that was the ONLY flavor we gave him because we kept all the others ones for ourselves. He seemed to enjoy them, and I guess that’s what we told ourselves so that we could sleep at night.

For shame.

To this day, the kid still asks for all the buttered popcorn jellybeans in a jellybean variety pack, and every time he does, it’s like a dagger through my heart. I did this. I DID THIS to him. What kind of a mother am I?

So for his sake, and for the sake of everyone around the world, I raise my fist in defiance and shout: “HEY HEY, HO HO, BUTTERED POPCORN HAS TO GO!”

Do you have the courage to join me?




The fruit of my labors, part trois!

I don’t want to induce panic or anything, but I’ve made a promise to my readers to be transparent: There has been another drive-by fruiting. It happened sometime between the hours of 9 am and 4:15 pm today.

Exhibit A:

But wait. Things have escalated. BEHOLD, Exhibit B:

That’s right. What we have here is an apple with a single bite taken out of it AS WELL AS a mini jar of orange marmalade, direct from Switzerland.

What in the NAME of Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge’s visor is going on?!?

Many of you have accused my husband of being the culprit. However, he has not been home for TWO DAYS. So it clearly cannot be him.

I am starting to suspect that someone I know–perhaps VARIOUS people I know–are depositing fruit on a regular basis (here and here) because they want their 15 minutes of fame. Yes, they enjoy the fact that I am blogging about it.

Well, I’m gonna fix their wagons. The next time this happens, I will NOT be posting about it. That’s right, your 15 minutes are over. Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted. Now go make yourself a fruit salad or something and find some other sucker.

The cat’s meow

Behold! Even the sun rays shine down upon her!

It’s been a rough couple of weeks here at Casa Towbin. The sleep situation hasn’t been great, with various nosebleeds, nightmares, insomnia, etc. all rearing their ugly heads. At least one of us (plus me, always me) is up for a period of time during any given night.

Last night we were all freaking exhausted, so I was hopeful that we’d all sleep through the night for the first time in a while. Everything was going smashingly until 2:30 am. That’s when my cat decided to do the thing she loves most in the world–put one of her mouse toys in her mouth and meow for no reason. For a minimum of 20 minutes. You see, I believe she puts the toy in her mouth so as to amplify the volume of her meowing.

For those of you who don’t have cats, here’s a little secret: They like to be a*#holes. Just because.

So, in true cat form, I hear my cat meowing FROM DOWNSTAIRS and it’s incredibly loud. I’m lying in bed listening, dreading that the cat will wake up others in the house, which will be even more of a disaster because then those “others” won’t be able to fall back asleep and I’ll be up for even longer.

So she’s meowing and meowing and I’m lying in bed and THE RAGE I can’t even tell you. I don’t want to go downstairs to yell at her for fear it will wake me up even more and I’ll have an even harder time falling back asleep.

Things go on for 10 minutes like this. For some reason I try to telepathically communicate with her, hoping that will work, telling her via my mind, “BE QUIET. BE QUIET,” in a continuous loop.

She does not.

After 15 minutes I bite the bullet and go downstairs. In my loudest whisper-yell I tell her to shut the hell up. She stops. I get back into bed, completely riled up, and try to fall back asleep, which I know will be impossible.

Ten minutes later, she starts up again and I AM PISSED.

And then it’s weird because I actually can’t recall what happened after that. I must have passed out from utter exhaustion, despite my rage, and I guess she stopped meowing at some point.

Why, Cleo? WHY?!? Why must you torture me like this? All I do is love you–maybe too much sometimes, as indicated by the baby talk I use to communicate with you and my tendency to ask you “Who’s a good girl?” every 15 seconds. Cut me some slack, PLEASE. Let me sleep tonight.




New Year, New You

I had this amazing idea during dinner yesterday. I’m not usually super into New Year’s resolutions, but I thought that maybe this year my husband, my kids and I could make New Year’s resolutions for EACH OTHER.

Within 10 minutes I discovered that this amazing idea was not, in fact, amazing but instead the exact opposite.

It all started out just fine. I was spitting out stellar New Year’s resolutions left and right for everyone. Less screen time! Better table manners! No more nail biting! It was amazing. It was like I had this superpower that would let me pinpoint EXACTLY what needed to be changed about a specific person and lay it out in no uncertain terms.

I saved myself for last. This is when I began to see the error of my ways. For some reason, I thought it might be hard for my family to come up with a New Year’s resolution for me. I don’t know why, because immediately all three of them started spouting off things that I could resolve to do:

  1. “Stop yelling so much.”
  2. “Pay more attention to me.”
  3. “Pay less attention to me.”
  4. “Publish a book.”
  5. “Be nicer.”
  6. “Stop our monthly check-ins where you ask me if I’m taking drugs.”
  7. “Don’t make us suffer because you are gluten and dairy free.”

To which I responded:

  1. I DON’T YELL! And anyway, if you want me to stop yelling, stop doing things that make me yell at you.
  2. Huh?
  3. Huh?!?
  4. That is out of my control. You have to tell me to change something I can control.
  5. SO. RUDE.
  6. Never.
  7. You’ve never eaten so well, ingrate.

What I’ve gathered from these suggestions is that: (a) I can’t take criticism, and (b) I basically need to change who I am as a person IN GENERAL. WTF?!? Like a simple, “Stop saying like so much” wouldn’t have sufficed?

I’m not going to lie. This cut me deep. Deeper than my #fingerbooboo, which, by the way, is on the mend. I have no feeling in the tip of my finger, but maybe that’s okay, because at least it’s numb to the events that occurred around last night’s dinner table.

Mail order


angry cat

I’m getting to a point in my life where if I don’t write something down, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. Who am I kidding — I’ve reached that point as of today.

I paid some bills this morning and needed to mail them out. I had some errands to run, so there’s a mailbox near my house that I drop stuff into when I’m out and about. I grabbed the bills on my way out intending to mail them on my way to Bed, Bath & Beyond (where I had to purchase a nonstick skillet since I recently threw all mine away since they’re supposedly toxic, but then when I tried to cook anything in my new stainless steel pans everything sticks like a nightmare so I had to go buy nonstick again and have no choice but to continue to poison us all slowly through the years).

So I turn onto the street and…drive right by the mailbox without mailing my stuff.

I was annoyed.

I ran my errands, determined that on the way home I’d mail the bills. When I was finished with my last errand, I even forced myself to hold the envelopes while I was driving so that I wouldn’t forget. I mean, they were RIGHT IN MY HAND and it was annoying to drive like that and the entire time I kept thinking about how uncomfortable I was but damn it I wasn’t going to forget again.

So I’m getting closer to the mailbox. I turn onto the street. I start thinking about how I need to take a class on how to make pies. It’s hard for me to make pie dough and I start to wonder if I should make an apple pie today, even though it’s not really apple season, but who cares because who doesn’t like an apple pie ANY time of the year?

And then I drive right past the stupid mailbox. Bills in hand.

I literally scream, “What the f*%& is wrong with you?!?” to myself inside my car.

It’s ridiculous. I just need to FOCUS. And not on pies.


© Copyright Meredith Towbin - Theme by Pexeto