Happy Birthday Mother


Growing up I don’t think I ever truly appreciated all the things my Mother taught me, but today I not only get it but often find myself passing on the same wisdom in the very same concise, impactful way.
My mother taught me about giving: “If you don’t stop crying, I’m going to give you something to cry about.”
She taught me abstract reason: “Because I said so.”
My mom taught me how to wait for things: “Just wait until your father gets home.”
She taught me about nature: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
She taught me what brings joy: “You won’t be happy until you break that, will you?”
She warned me of the danger of joining a gang: “What if everyone jumped off a bridge? Would you do it too?”
She taught me chemistry: “You’re not going to melt.”
She taught me resourcefulness: “Don’t let me catch you doing that again.”
My mother taught me priorities: “I really don’t care what everyone else is doing. I only care what your doing.”
She taught me about conservation: “Close the door I’m not paying to air condition the entire neighborhood.”
My mom taught me to stick with it; “You’re not going anywhere until those eggs are gone.”
She taught me about empathy: “I don’t care if you’re not tired, I’m tired so you’re taking a nap.”
My mother taught me to never settle: “Don’t you have anything better to do?”                    She taught me to be daring: “Go ahead, see what happens.”
She taught me about her childhood: “I didn’t just fall off a turnip truck yesterday, “and what lines of work she did not go to school for: “I’m not your taxi driver.” “Do I look like you’re maid?” “I’m not your answering service.”
She taught me to use my imagination: “If it were a snake it would have bit you.”
She taught me to have patience: “Someday you will thank me for this.”
She taught me to consider fashion: ”Are you really going out dressed like that?”
She taught me about natural disasters: “This room looks like a hurricane.”
From her I learned about the class system: “You’re not the king,” and the theory of relativity, “The world does not revolve around you.”
She even taught me to gamble: “Kim you better know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
Today I have found myself repeating much of what my mother said to me to my own children and I’m so grateful she cared enough to constantly invest in our lives. Like my mom did, I hope my kids will remember some grain of truth from all the things I tell them. However, looking back I now realize the most memorable lessons I learned from my mom were not from what she said; they were more often from who she was and is. I grew up watching my mom love Christ and love people, including me, the way he did. I learned from her that loving people makes you a better, friend, wife, and parent. If you know my mom you know all of this is true – especially how much she loves and invest in in others.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I couldn’t love you more.

Kim Avery’s- Thanksgiving – It’s Lost in Translation

“You stuff what inside the bottom of a turkey?” my friend asked. She was quite serious.

“Stuffing,” I said again, “that’s right!”

She laughed.

It all began when the organization that supports our foreign missionary friends flew them to the U.S. for a conference the week of Thanksgiving. Picking them up at the airport, we couldn’t be more excited that they would be experiencing the U.S. and Thanksgiving for the very first time. I quickly discovered that Thanksgiving, a nostalgic holiday that makes perfect sense to Americans, seems like a bizarre ride on the crazy train to much of the rest of the world.

It had never occurred to me that unlike Christmas or Easter, the rest of the world really has no ties to the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Not only do they not celebrate, they don’t really understand it either.

“The airport will be very packed,” I warned them. “Thanksgiving week is the most heavily traveled time of the year in the States.”

“Are people traveling to a place of worship to give thanks?” my friend asked.

“No, they are traveling to a place with turkey,” I answered. “They travel once a year to eat a giant meal with their friends and family and give thanks that they don’t live closer together.”

“Why turkey?”

“Well, it’s a traditional meal,” I explained. “We take a turkey, cut his head off, pluck all his feathers, pull his guts out, and stuff his bottom full of bread.”

“That sounds awful,” she said horrified. “Then what?”

“Well, we cook it. Traditionally we baked it in our oven, but this year my husband is choosing to light a garbage can full of oil on fire, in our driveway, and dunk the bird in it instead.”

Surprised, my friend commented, “That’s how we cook sheep’s heads in the township, but there are many accidents.”

“We, too, have accidents,” I said, “but Americans are often willing to risk life and limb in the pursuit of the perfectly cooked bird.” Case in point: my uncle Ted still has no eyebrows from last years attempt at frying his Turkey.

“That doesn’t sound very appealing,” she winced.

“Well no worries, there are lots of other things to eat,” I offered. “Americans take a variety of vegetables, especially gourds and pumpkins recycled  from Halloween, and mash them up with enormous amounts of butter, sugar and marshmallows which we deliberately burn before serving.” I continued, “In fact, Americans consume on average some 5,000 calories on Thanksgiving day alone.”

“Whoa!” she said, shaking her head in disbelief.

Not wanting to portray us all as irresponsible gluttons I added, “Many of us go to the gym the next week to burn it off.”

“What is this gym?” she asked.

“If Americans eat too much they can go there and pay money to run, jump, climb stairs, and lift heavy things in order to make sure all of those calories do not stick to them.”

“People are really motivated to do this?”

I could tell she couldn’t fathom it. “Well, if they aren’t motivated they can pay the gym extra and have someone yell at them until they are,” I explained.

The dumbfounded look on my friend’s face told me she viewed Thanksgiving as the strangest holiday she had ever heard of, and the fact that it was celebrated nearly universally in the United States blew her mind.

I was tempted to go on discussing my love for Thanksgiving parades where commentators give play by play on the movement of enormous crazy balloons. The tradition of tracing paper turkey hands, or watching football for hours until my family eventually becomes so inspired that we waddle onto the front lawn and recreate the game with grandma as quarterback.

But I realized I can’t explain most of it and sound sane. I can’t explain why my family loves space-age cranberry sauce that maintains its shape even after being poured from the can, or that at least three boxes of cereal mixed with Worcestershire sauce is a must.

I can’t explain our obsession with shaping appetizers into balls….sausage balls, meatballs, and cheese balls….

Or why our dinning room table is beautifully set but then connected with a train of wobbly card tables extending into our coat closet….

Or why Thanksgiving is the first day it’s acceptable to play Christmas music in our home even though Christmas is still a month away….

Or just try explaining why kids enjoy fighting over who gets the bigger side of a bone of the dead turkey carcass.

I thought about explaining all of this to my foreign friend, but I decided not to – mostly because I didn’t want her to think we are weirdos, and at this point I knew she would never understand.

To the rest of the world I guess it really appears that Americans have lost their minds on Thanksgiving, but for those of us that grew up in the United States, we don’t really care what the rest of the world thinks. We wait all year for that special day with family and friends where once again we repeat these unexplainable, bizarre, and nearly certifiable traditions.

Maybe it’s not really about the traditions themselves. Maybe it’s more about the way it makes us all feel….grateful!     Maybe, just for one day it takes us all back to a time when the world was not nearly as uncertain and politically correct as the one we face today.  I know now that I can’t explain American Thanksgiving to the rest of the world. I only know I love it – every crazy, wonderful, and certifiable part.

The Breakdown That Nearly Caused My Breakdown

There is really no good explanation as to how I ended up barreling down Interstate 285, smashed against a tow truck driver and deeply regretting my decision to leave home last Friday afternoon.

I blame my husband. I had mentioned to him that “Big Bertha,” our only occasionally trusty Suburban with 170 thousand miles, seemed to me to be barely hanging on.
“Perhaps you are a little paranoid,” he said dismissively.
“Perhaps I have good reason to be paranoid,” I snapped. “You do remember that our children are still scarred from the Bertha incident last Fall that left us stranded on the side of the highway while I was driving them to school?”

He laughed “You know it wasn’t the car breaking down that scarred them. It was your curlers, slippers, and robe combined with an unfortunately strong wind from passing cars that they are still working through with a counselor.”

He had a point. After that, at the insistence of my children, a new policy that I must be wearing pants and a bra before leaving the house to drive them to school was implemented.

Still, I could point to the many other times that Bertha had let us down. Each time when we picked her up from the mechanic my husband would pat her hood and say “Now that we have fixed all the major things that could go wrong, Bertha is good as new.” That was as ridiculous as saying my 82 year old great Aunt who has had breast implants, liposuction, knee surgery, hip replacement, and an angioplasty was now ready for the Boston Marathon or the cover of Vogue.

With my appeals falling on deaf, or at least very wax-filled, ears and having no other means of transportation, Bertha, Ashley, and I headed down GA 400 to her cross country track meet on the other side of Atlanta. Things took a turn for the worst about twenty five miles later. A young man in a shiny corvette convertible pulled up next to me on the freeway and motioned for me to roll down my window. I could tell he was visibly annoyed by having to hold his car steady next to mine as I manually rolled the handle, stretched out the cramp in my arm, caught my breath, and rolled some more.

Finally he yelled out “Hey lady there is black smoke coming out of the back of your car!” I nodded thanks, but in my head I was thinking “Look smart guy. I just manually rolled down my window, the ceiling of my car resembles a circus tent and my bumper is held together with bumper stickers. These things alone should signify to you that you were not born when this car was made. Do you think it should have the same emissions as a Prius?”

About that time Ashley choked out “something smells like a paper mill in our car!”
“Great!! Thats new.”

I pulled off at the next exit and managed to coast into a tiny Georgia service station. Explaining my dilemma to the mechanic, I asked if he would mind taking a look.

“No problem.” he said. It wasn’t long before he returned with his brilliant analysis. “Yep! She’s got black smoke coming out her back side.”

“Is it drivable?” I asked.

“Well, here’s the thing.” he said. “White smoke? You can drive her. Gray smoke. You can drive her. But black smoke means it’s burning really hot and she may catch on fire while you are driving her.”

I must admit that for just a moment I pondered the words catch on fire. I pictured Bertha on the side of the road burning like the Hindenburg and calculated that if I lived that should guarantee me a new car. However, realizing I had Ashley with me I came to my senses.

“I can call you a tow truck and get a rental car to pick you up.” he offered. After twenty minutes a rental car driver named Bubba arrived in a car that wreaked of cigarette smoke and body odor. Gasping for breath, Ashley and I both rolled down our windows and hung our heads out like Golden retrievers going for a ride.

Arriving still dizzy from lack of oxogen I fumbled in my purse searching for a tip. All I had was a twenty. Well I’m certainly not tipping twenty dollars for a five mile ride in a car that smelled like an armpit I reasoned. Instead I quickly hopped out and headed inside, trying not to make eye contact with the driver but I could feel his disapproving stare in my back.

Inside a perky agent greeted me with “I will be with you in just a moment.” Fifty one minutes later I was called up to the counter. “Obviously the word moment has a very broad definition here,” I commented.

“Credit card and drivers license?” she motioned. I wearily produced both.

“I could put you in that brand new SUV.” She pointed out the window. “Perfect. I’ll take it,” I sighed.

“But I can only rent to licensed drivers and your license expired seven days ago.”


I grabbed my license in disbelief. Yep the thing had been good for ten years but today it said expired. “I still know how to drive!” I said sarcastically. “That may be true, but according to this your no longer able to,” she quipped just as sarcastically.

“Thats just great!” I snapped. I tried calling my husband, but being unable to reach him I turned back to the agent.
“We are closing momentarily, but our driver could give you a ride back to your car,” she suggested. “Is that momentarily like in a minute or momentarily in rental car world, fifty one minutes from now?” I asked. Her face, no longer perky, said she was not amused.

I peered through the glass door into the parking lot and saw Bubba still glaring at me from behind the wheel. “Yeah, Ok” I said defeated. Taking a deep breath, I tried to act nonchalant walking out and sliding into the back of his car again. This time I handed him the twenty and asked sweetly “Could you take us back to our car please?”

He snatched the money out of my hand and laughed. At this point I was growing exhausted and irritated. “Couldn’t get a car?” he snickered. I looked at Ashley and raised my eyebrows as if to say buckle up, I’m about to loose it. I answered Bubba with the straightest face I could muster. “No, apparently that stretch I served back in San Quinton for an act of rage disqualified me. Who knew?”

When the color returned to Bubba’s face he quickly handed me my twenty saying, “It’s on me,” and even more quickly returned us to our car which was in the process of being towed.

“Do you need a ride?” the tow truck driver asked me. I thought of waiting for my husband or a friend to pick us up, but it was five o’clock, traffic was awful, and everything here in ‘Mayberry’ was closing, so I said, “Why not? Sure. What else could happen?”

So two Valium and two moments….I mean two hours later, Ashley and I arrived home. Obviously we never made it to the meet. All and all, it was an extremely memorable experience that we have spent the last week trying to forget. It gave us a new appreciation for the nuances of hitch hiking and a strong desire in the future to just take the bus.

Parenting All in and a little crazy

Article by Kimberly Avery

“Whats wrong with you?” my son asked. “I think I twisted something in my back doing the wobble at your homecoming dance yesterday. Who knew Chaperoning can be dangerous?” I said. “It can be the way you do it” he laughed and rolled his eyes. “The way I do it? What does that mean?” “You know, all in and a little crazy,” he said. His smile told me it was a compliment.

His comment caused me to reminisce. I became a little teary eyed and nostalgic knowing he would be graduating soon. “All in, and a little crazy.” I laughed. When he was little I had been so worried that I would mess him and his siblings up. I remember as a new mom crying to my mother that I was afraid one day this baby would realize that I had no idea what I was doing. “Fake it till you make it,” she said. I took the advice and have been faking knowing how to parent ever since.

I remember asking older moms, “what works in parenting?” I received many answers like “never let them see you cry.” One said “Wine coolers” while others offered “stay one step ahead of them.” I didn’t like wine. They had already seen me cry beginning the moment they were born, and I was a slow runner so none of that advice seemed to have potential. I still remember my friend Jennifer’s advice. She said, “It goes by so quickly. Be all in and a little crazy.” I remember thinking, “that I can do.”

Her thoughts were, “kids naturally love life and having fun. They will gravitate toward it like little moths to a light. If it’s with you or with someone else is entirely your choice,” she advised. “You have to say “no” enough. When you can, say “yes” and enjoy the crazy.” Having four kids, crazy did not seem such a stretch and after all since I was already faking having a clue about what I was doing, what did I have to loose really? If it didn’t work out I could always use their college savings toward counseling instead.

Like Jennifer, I began to look for ways to be all in. When I could, I said “yes” and joined them. So the crazy began. Yes to playing in the rain. Yes to eating cookie dough while watching old movies. Yes to hayrides, corn mazes, and family dance parties. Yes to jamming out at concerts. Yes to sneaking out for ice cream in our P.J.s. Yes, to having friends over, tons of them. Yes to me attempting ‘Call Of Duty’ and “Minecraft”. Yes to shark fishing and crab catching at night. Yes to scavenger hunts, TP-ing houses, and man hunts in the dark. Yes to Karaoke in the car. Yes to star gazing and sky diving. Yes to laughing until we cried.

Last week my oldest son called me from college. “Hey Mom! My girl friend wants to go to the Taylor Swift concert. Tickets go on sale today. Do you and the rest of the family want to go with us?” “Umm do you even need to ask? I’m putting it on my calendar now,” I said excitedly. He laughed. “Knowing you, I figured you would want to go,” he said. I smiled to myself, thinking after twenty-one years, he was still inviting me to have fun with him. Good news! The ‘All In And A Little Crazy’ strategy had worked. Now maybe we could safely put that money toward college instead of counseling.

Death by DMV

Article by Kimberly Avery

All the way to the DMV I had that feeling of dread. … like when my dentist says root cannel or my ob-gyn says “mammogram.”  Based on my previous experiences at the department of motor vehicles I was pretty sure, like at the doctors office, I was about to be asked to bend over.

Nonetheless, I had no choice.  I had been summoned by a decree from the Kingdom of Gwinnett in the province of Sugar Hill.  Just yesterday I received a notarized official parcel which held inside a disturbing decree demanding that as the mother of a delinquent, missing, and possibly nonexistent minor I would need to appear before the Lords and Ladies of driving immediately.  

If I did not arrive within ten days to plead our case I would forever be branded an incompetent mother and Tyler would not be allowed to operate any vehicle containing a motor for one year or the rest of his life which ever came first.  In further examining my summons my heart skipped a beat. This letter was dated the first and today was the eighth.  My child was not the only one playing hooky; clearly their messenger had taken a detour before reaching us.  Obviously this was now time sensitive. After all what would the world be like if invisible children everywhere were allowed to skip school and freely operate machinery?

It did not take long for me to confirm that Tyler was alive by the warm stench of his gym shoes left inside the front door.  I then called the school where I was currently sending my money.  Apparently the whole thing appeared to be nothing more than an accounting error.  Great! how hard could that be to fix I surmised. I still had three days…plenty of time.

 My first thought was to pick up the phone and straighten this all out.  The recording on the other end soon crushed that dream. “This  government agency is unavailable to be reached by telephone, fax or email.  If you have a question, comment, problem, or need directions you may visit us in person between the hours of eight and twelve and two and four on every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday except on Federal holidays, Mexican and Canadian holidays, and the third Wednesday and Thursday of every month.

After racking my brain and concluding it was not Cinco de mayo or the third week of the month I decided to arrive at eight the next morning to resolve this matter and reinstate my proper caregiver status.  Not to mention it could hurt Tyler’s chances of being accepted into a decent college if he could not prove his existence.

This was not my first rodeo with the DMV. So I knew the potential for some hassles and waiting but arriving the next morning I was shocked at what I saw.  Row upon row of chairs filled with hundreds of people all facing forward, holding numbers, and watching with the anticipation of the lottery for theirs to be called.  

A large sign greeted me at the entry. It was a smiley face that read someone will be with you shortly.  A very old woman sitting in the crowd slowly pointed with her boney finger to the side of the room where I pulled a ticket.  A chill went up my spine as I envisioned that perhaps this woman had been young and beautiful when she had entered the DMV and she too had been told “Have a seat.  Someone will be with her shortly.” Clearly I had my doubts.  But I held out hope concluding that at least I was not here to take a driving test or prove I wasn’t intoxicated, or something time consuming like that.

“Excuse me!  I was wondering where the line is for dropping off things like school attendance reports?”  “This!” she huffed “is the only line.” Disappointed I sat down and began attempting to decipher the secret code that held my magic number F378.  A347 was being called but wait.   D613 was also on deck before that.  What could this mean? I began to run several possible number scenarios in my mind.  Maybe the letters mean nothing and the numbers are called backwards. Perhaps tickets containing consonants are called before vowels and sometimes Y.

And what about all?  My mind wandered. Had that flesh eating bacteria I had seen on the five o’clock news yesterday spread through out the DMV taking out all but one of their brave tellers?  If only it had been the third week of the month or Cinco De Mayo I imagined this tragedy might have been avoided.

Three hours later I concluded there was no discernible pattern to the numbers being called.  The numbers were confusing by design.  I suspected that at one time people were handed numbers in succession and the DMV was potentially liable for all those ensuing heart attacks and strokes when they realized number 42 was being called and they were number 347.

I imagined the new number system had replaced initial shock and anger with a boil of confusion and slow growing resentment.  By hour four, I watched in disbelief as the teller at the only open window began to place a sign that read gone to lunch.  Rushing to the window I placed my face against what I now suspected was bullet proof glass. “Where are you going?” I shouted.  “To lunch” she said. “But have a seat and someone will be with you shortly.”

With the mere mention of food I now realized I too was starving.  But what could do?  I  had seen those in line ahead of me picked off by hunger, back pain, small bladder, and insanity.  I had seen the horror on others’ faces upon returning from the restroom or the vending machine only to realize their number was now glowing on the screen and they had missed their window of opportunity.  Seeing them stumble out defeated and mumbling I vowed I would not meet the same fate.  I would prove that Tyler did exist.  I would return victorious.

Digging in, I decided to call for backup or at least pizza. “Where do you want it delivered?” he asked. “I am at the brink of hell,” I told him.  “Oh!  Sorry, lady.  We don’t deliver to the DMV.”  “Why not?” I begged.  “Well, frankly we have had some drivers mugged there by crazy staving people.”  Desperately I searched the bottom of my purse.  Ah ha! Three M& Ms and a Pepto Bismal tablet.  I would survive.  

Eight hours later I heard the sound. Number F378.  Yes that’s me.  I drug my self out of my seat and tried to motion. “It’s me.”  Weak with hunger, bent over from back pain, and walking slowly because of my extremely full bladder I approached the window.  I was pretty sure I now resembled the ninety year old woman I saw this morning.  “That’s me” I said.  F378 that’s me.”  “Congratulations” the teller said expressionlessly.  

“What do you need?”  “All I need is to give you this form that states that my son does exist and he is attending school so he can operate a motor vehicle again.”  With the same expressionless face she pushed a new form toward me.  “He needs to sign this in order to prove those facts she said.”  “What?” I stammered, “he is not here.  I have a form from the school stating that he in fact he is real and attending their school.”  “Be that as it may.” she said. 

I began to loose it. Leaning into the glass and raising my voice. “As his mother I can tell you that I have a constantly empty refrigerator and a laundry room full of dirty clothes that prove not only does he exist he is often dirty and hungry.  I have stretch marks on my hips, and boobs that now hang to my knees from carrying him for nine months.  Why for the love of all that is holy, if you needed his signature would you not mention that before now?”

“Look” she said calmly.  “There is no need to become this upset.  Its very simple.  Rules are rules.  Take this home.  If he does exist, have him sign it.  We are about to close but bring it back tomorrow….oh wait today is Thursday you will need to wait until next Tuesday.”  Pushing the button for a new number “NEXT” she said.  Stunned I  managed to stammer.  “Wait!  When I bring it back can I just bring it up here to you?”  pleading as sympathetically as I could.  “Oh, don’t be silly.” she said.  “I wont be here.  I will be on vacation next week, but don’t worry.   Take a number and someone will be with you shortly.”

Random serious thoughts from this year

Articles by Kimberly Avery

Enjoyed the beach today for the most part. What I did not enjoy was seeing way too much of people who there was way too much of. What possess people when they hit that sand? If your a sixty year old hairy man, who appears to be pregnant, tanned like a rotisserie chicken rolled in hair balls for the love of God a small hot pink speedo is not your friend.

I’ve been having recurring kidney infections so my GP sent me for a lower GI yesterday. Afterwards mom and I were told to wait in the waiting room until they could find someone to read it who had not left for the holiday weekend. Finally someone appeared and cheerfully told us “everything looks good. You can head home and a specialist will look it over on Tuesday.” “What does it looks good mean?” I asked. Obviously in a hurry to leave she sighed “It means you don’t need to visit the ER. Your appendix is not in danger of rupturing or anything.” Mom and I smiled at each other. “So my appendix is in great shape?” I laughed “Yes looks great.” She confirmed “I may get a second opinion on that, since I had an appendectomy 20 years ago.” I laughed

In renting a car from enterprise today I felt as if I was trapped in an episode of Seinfeld. Me “but I had a reservation.” the enterprise guy ” I’m sorry there are no cars here at this time.” Me “So you know how to take the reservation you just don’t know how to HOLD the reservation and the HOLDING is really the most important part.” His smile and the word touche’ confirmed he had seen the episode. One hour later I left with a luxury upgrade and a free day of rental.

Home schooling is always interesting and around here and often humorous. For several weeks now our history lessons have focused on the Cold War. So I could not stop laughing after passing Ashley’s door this morning. She was holding our pug named Reagan up to her mirror above her head so it appeared Reagan was giving a speech. Ashley was moving Reagan’s paw commandingly up and down and using her best presidential voice. She stated with conviction “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

After stopping for a Family lunch after cross country. I asked our seventeen year old if he would like to drive. Tossing the keys back to me he said “Not now. Maybe after my food digest.” “You can’t drive after you eat?” I asked. He said “I’m a guy, you know we don’t Multitask!”

While washing dishes tonight I caught part of our ten year olds serious conversation with our dog. She was asking our pug “Where is your ball?” “Let’s go see.” “Where were you when you last had it?” Looking around and sighing she added “I guess you really don’t have much of a life so this shouldn’t take too long.”

Questions from Disney? What is it about theme parks that makes seemingly normal people loose their minds when deciding what would be the best attire for this occasion? Should the wait in line next to Katy Perry meets Richard Simons be scarier than the ride itself? Are the rides more enjoyable if the rider is wearing less? Is it possible that having your bosoms and butt cheeks exposed while riding a roller coaster adds to the thrill? What possible train of thought did the woman in front of me waiting for dueling dragons follow this morning while getting dressed? It appears she thought “being hurled through the air at ninety miles an hour and turned upside down six times, clearly this occasion calls for a loin cloth and a tube top.”

Ashley dipped her chip into the humus I had scooped on the side of her plate included in what I felt was a very healthy lunch. What is this? She asked. “Humus” I said “its made of chick peas.” Panicked she spit it out in her napkin and began dry heaving into her plate. “i just ate chicken pee?” I’m thinking she is not ready for Cotillion yet.

When my sixteen year old honor student and my nineteen year old comp E major at Georgia Tech are unable help my eleven year old with his very difficult K12 math and science homework something is amiss. After hours of trying to help Thomas we were left with only one logical conclusion. We suspect in light our countries current financial situation, our government; hoping to save money, has now secretly integrated its NASA program into our nations six grade curriculum Thomas’s work now appears to be rocket science.

After coming in from playing outside my nine year old plopped down in a chair. “Whats wrong?” I asked He said he was very sad that his older brothers no longer play cool stuff like army or spy outside with him anymore. “They were great at it when they were younger.” he sighed “Well Thomas, someday you will grow too old for that also.” “At what age?” he asked. I paused and imagined my 15 & 18 yr olds today running around our neighborhood with, fake guns, walkies-talkies and night vision goggles. “I don’t know at what age” I told him “but if your over six ft tall and have facial hair, I think there is a law against it.”

Took our sixteen year old to practice his driving. Simple enough. We picked an abandoned parking lot. He drove around a while. He pulled out onto a side street. He drove about 200 feet. He got pulled over. I could not believe it, I am sure that must be some kind of world’s record. The nice officer simply wanted to know if Tyler was a licensed driver. He felt he looked awfully young to be driving. When we arrived home John asked “how did it go?” Well lets see…”I drove on a road for about one minute, reached a top speed of twenty miles an hour, got pulled over, switched seats with mom and she drove us home.” Ty said. “It did not go well.”Like

2010 Getting Healthy

We’re Getting Healthy by Kimberly Avery

In keeping up with the news I recently learned that Michelle Obama will now be in charge of a small but extremely important version of health care. I was thrilled. Here one of our nation’s most glamorous and healthy role models will be mandating the novel idea that families eat healthier. In fact, I had recently had the same idea. It seemed straight forward enough I thought. Kids need help in making healthy choices and now that Michelle had brought it up it, I could tell the kids it is a mandate from the White House. This seemed like the optimum time to implement a new healthy eating plan. . .The White House suggests families eat less sugar, more vegetables and add grains and fiber.

I decided that our family of six needed to change up our diet not to be outdone by the rest of America who would all be eating as Michelle has now commanded. And after all, who wouldn’t like to fearlessly be able to wear sleeveless shirts in any situation.

What diet strategy should we try I contemplated? It couldn’t be too complicated or too boring I strategized. One of the easiest and most popular seemed to be the South Beach Diet. It claims that you can easily loose inches and become more healthy by eating very few sugars and bread. Yes our kids could not eat their own birthday cake but when they complained I simply point out they can eat meat and dairy to their hearts content. Who really needs Pizza crust anyway? We should be satisfied to order twice as many pizzas, simply scraping off the healthy toppings of double cheese and triple meat into a scrumptious pile to eat.

In the mornings we ate eggs, we ate sausage, we ate bacon. Our quest for optimum fitness continued in the evenings with rib night, steak night, cheese and enchilada night. I am not sure if it was the meat or the cheese or the overwhelming combination but it was about the time we were enjoying chili with double cheese night that regrettably it began to become clear that we had made a big mistake.

My six-year hit the floor yelling cramp, cramp and my husband soon had to make a midnight pharmacy visit to obtain some emergency Metamucil and Exlax for all of us. It was several days before we were all feeling well enough to reflect on our mistake. Not actually buying the book on the diet and only glancing quickly at the book jacket in the line at the check-out stand I may have missed the crucial chapter about consuming vegetables in proportion to our meat and dairy feast to avoid constipation. Not feeling healthier and having paid dearly for my mistake my family rebelled and that was the end of that diet.

A few days later, still in search of a painless, novel way to help my family meet this Washington mandate on healthier cuisine I observed television ads in which gorgeous, healthy looking people claimed that adding fiber to our diet could definitely increase energy and well being. I also got the impression that in addition fiber could make us look ten years younger and possibly tan. With enthusiasm, they suggested that this healthfulness could all be accomplished without my family ever noticing a difference in the satisfaction or flavor of their food. There are apparently many undetectable ways to get your healthy fiber. Undetectable! Now that my family did not trust my ability to implement healthful eating choices it would need to be undetectable. “ Perfect,” I contemplated! And after last week’s incident a little fiber couldn’t hurt. I browsed the grocery aisles tossing anything claiming to be “Fiber Full” in the cart. How easy. I was pleased. The White House may soon be using us as the poster family for good health I daydreamed.

Stealthily I replaced their candy and granola bars with look-alike fiber bars. I changed our bread from white to wheat. Our rice and pasta went from white to brown. Fiber one, two and three. … could this be any simpler? With so many healthy choices the kids will hardly know it’s healthy.

Unfortunately, they may not have known it was healthy but they soon sensed something was up. The commercials I had observed had failed to point out that too much fiber can have seemingly dire consequences. Soon I realized, along with our new found health, trouble was brewing . I mean literally brewing.

It began when my ten year old little leaguer glued him-self to the bench in the dugout. He refused to play the bottoms of the innings in the outfield since it would put him too far from the restroom. Next my six year old came home crying that she had to been asked to move to the desk in the back of the class near the open window because everyone agreed she now reeked. I tried to console her. “Those kids are just envious of how healthy you are” I said to no avail.

Apparently I did not take into consideration the percentage of whole grain fiber goodness that we were all consuming. For instance the cereal that claimed that just one bowl contains 51 percent of your daily fiber did not take into account that my sixteen year old eats his cereal in a giant mixing bowl and to his demise, in one sitting had now devoured 651 percent of his daily fiber allowance. When my son finally returned from the restroom I had to assure all of my children that they were not suffering the horrifying effects of some invisible chemical warfare. According to the white House, we were in fact healthier than we had ever been. Go fiber!

Kim Avery 1/30/10