Laura Stone

Writer, Fangirl, Nacho Lover

Category: WMD

The One with the No-Tell Motel (aka Pimps up, Oh my god, child get down)

This heart-felt tale is about the time when my family was almost shot up Southland-style on the highway of life because of my son disrespecting an Alabama pimp. You know, your typical family summer vacation.

Lampoons Vacation station wagon

Every summer the kids and I would go on a road trip across the south to visit friends in Florida and Alabama. The kids are seasoned road trippers. They have their books and snacks and travel games. There was plenty of space in my Mom Ride for everyone to stretch out and not argue. But 13 hours in a car is a long time for anyone, so on this particular trip, I used my points to book us a room in Birmingham at a cheap-o family-friendly hotel I’ve stayed at before: The Hampton Inn. It’s your basic road-trip joint with a Continental Breakfast, something that for whatever reason kids think is amazing. 

(Literally my children. This is literally how my children view a continental breakfast.)

The problem is that I evidently didn’t book at the Hampton Inn north of the city, but at a Days Inn on the same highway but an exit off. Eh, they both have the word “Inn.” Should be fine.  Right?

Wrong. 

Oh, what a difference that one word (and that 1.2 miles) made. Continue reading

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Indulgent personal post

The great thing about having my own website is that I get to put what I want here.  My beautiful daughter is an adult now, half-way across the country in college (and on the Dean’s list, thank you so much).  Those of you with children who are teens or older might remember those tumultuous years of eye rolling, arguing and defiance, wondering if you’re ever going to get that little body who curled up in your lap while you read their favorite book to them again.

(And you might also wonder if they’ll ever really appreciate the sacrifices, the hard work, the heartache involved in raising them.)

Yes. It all comes back.

I had a pretty nasty divorce (they’re all nasty, that’s just how it is), and one thing that I gave up to move on to a better place was our house, the house with the garden I’d carefully tended for 11 years.

roses gardening garden

Julia Child roses in bloom, and holy smokes, do these smell divine

(I’m a Master Gardener, so it was no small thing. Heirloom plants that you can’t get anymore, carefully sculpted ornamental trees, every single living plant, rock and structural support placed by my own hands.)

bluebonnets

The bluebonnets were the first sign of spring–and heralded the return of the bees

Most of the garden was ripped out as soon as I vacated the premises, and what’s left quickly fell into ruin, the trees are dying, the roses diseased, weeds where once were creeping phlox, toad lilies (much prettier than their name suggest), bluebells and ajuga and germander and the weeping Japanese maples and…

I can’t bear to see it when I go pick up my other child, but it’s what it is, as the saying goes. It seemed like the only person who actually cared about it was me. Turns out that wasn’t the case. My lovely, marvelous, magnificent girl sent me this, written for one of her Lit classes at her university.


For my mother

I used to have a big window that overlooked the street
And the lampposts that loomed beyond cars and bushes
Underneath was my mother’s garden
That’s now brown and dying
Because my father doesn’t look after it
And doesn’t care for that sort of thing anyway
I pushed my bed into the room down the hall
Where the garden can’t be seen
A year later I moved away
3000 miles where the green of leaves
Matches a puffy magic marker
If you go to a park diagonal from my school
I have a small window now
That is one two three four five stories up and above
A tennis court
It smells like burning food every morning
Because I’m technically one two three four five six stories up
If you count the restaurant my building is built on
I miss blue squared wood shutters
And cliche pots of tiny dancing flowers
On windowsills
And a pink skyline
That was so Picture Perfect it was boring after eighteen years
I guess I appreciate it now
I walked outdoors yesterday
And it smelled like it used to smell
I hope my mother
Opens her own windows sometimes
And remembers the way the birds would sing
As she dug up roots in the garden
Below my
Window

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The One With The Dead Fish

You know how a go-to episode on sitcoms of a family-flavor is when one of the kid’s pets die and the parents have to find a replacement that looks just like it? Can I just remind everyone that what happens on TV shouldn’t be emulated in real life?

My youngest child E is Miss Tenderheart. All creatures are precious. Not just your rabbits and puppies. I’m talking sharks, bugs, freaking scallops (“They’re so silly!” Uh… sure.). So here my little nugget is at three years old getting two betta fish and a crab for Christmas. (This was not a mother-approved gift and it’s because I know better.)

Right away, Mr. Crabs–I never said my children were clever, just that they love all the beasts of the earth–snaps Nemo the pink betta fish right in half. Cue my child’s horrified screams.

mr. Crabs violin sad

“They do that,” I said, rocking her. “They have to eat, too.” I had my husband clean out the floating entrails and refresh the water. Dory, the pretty blue betta, fortunately was smart enough to keep clear of Mr. Crabs. Didn’t matter in the end, because Mr. Crabs mysteriously died overnight. No, it’s actually a mystery. I didn’t give him what-for in the shadow of darkness for upsetting my child, but I would have if I’d thought about it. He just… up and died.

Emily is now positively traumatized. All creatures are precious, even sawing-the-betta-in-half-Mr. Crabs, who apparently died from the weight of his sins or possibly from being a crappy mall crab, who really knows. But two pets are down! Only one is left! These were the first pets that were just hers and not the family’s, and my tender schmusen is not going to suffer for one moment longer.

Gee dee it, Dory is going to be the oldest damn fish on the planet if I have my say. Continue reading

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