Tag Archives: barcalounger

Taking Your Kids to Vegas: A Lesson in International Culture, Etiquette, and Ethics


Once upon a time, before I lost my moral compass in a land far, far, away, I swore on a bible, under oath, that I’d never take my kids to Vegas (O.K. it wasn’t really that dramatic but I like the visual, especially because in my version of the story I have newly shellacked nails, a flowing iridescent robe with ruching in all the right places, a super-sweet spray tan, and Legolas standing by as my cabana boy witness).

Son of Thranduil and King of the Woodland Realm of Northern Mirkwood or cabana boy? You be the judge. Image via freewebs.com

Anyway, I was certain, based on past experience, that Vegas simply wasn’t a place fit for English Royalty, my grandmother Tim Tebow fans, or children. But the winds of change kicked up a ginormous tumbleweed as airfare hit a price point better known as dirt cheap and my children embarked on Fall Break, which, without some type of vacation, would end up being unbearable uneventful. So I pulled a complete about-face.

I’m a Gemini. Don’t judge me.

Blimey! Image via guardian.co.uk

Everyone knows Las Vegas is the capital of glitzy-glam-glut the United States of America, and I’m all about sipping cocktails by the pool providing a well-rounded education for my offspring. Intent on showing them why they should go to college the positive side of the world’s largest, most collagen-enhanced melting pot (behind L.A.), we recently loaded up our sunscreen, sensible shoes sequins, and hand sanitizer, and hit the road.

Is this former Knots Landing star Joan Van Ark or her Madame Tussaud wax mold? Image via zimbio.com

International Culture

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to visit Europe to experience European bathing. Instead, you can be from like, Alabama, frolicking through the family friendly lazy river ten tequila shots down with your surgically enhanced assets bobbing in the fake surf screaming “Roll Tide Roll!” as my son, completely entranced, who’s also unfamiliar with the metric system, gets a crash course in Girls Gone Wild 101 anatomy and physiology.

Image via shopncaasports.com


As a parent, I’ve used technology as a babysitter more than I’ll ever admit diligently taught my children the value of proper etiquette. So when a fellow tourist (possibly European but thankfully not nude), boxes your children out with her fanny pack and blocks their view of the Bellagio fountains because she’s using her nifty new iPad as a camera? Get all up in her face, step away from the safety rail and let her memorialize her future Barcalounger programming options trip in peace.

“Hey lady in the Depends. iPad cameras suck!” Image via vegastripping.com


Most parents don’t know this, but it’s not the casinos, international tour buses, or third row of a minivan taxi cab wave pools you need to steer clear of when you’re in Vegas with children. It’s actually the M&Ms store. That place will make you throw up in your mouth rob you blind as you quickly check your phone for the over/under on the Monday night game, sprint across the street to the Luxor to place a fairly sort of smallish bet, and return in time to discover that each of your kids has figured out how to personally monogram a container of candy that you can buy at Walmart for $1.97 each.

This is $80.00 worth of personalized M&Ms. O.K, actually $78.92: two of my kids ripped off the lids and started shotgunning them before I could pry them from their talon-like grasp. Image via Stacie “that was the most expensive bet ever” Chadwick.

Your penchant for five-finger discounts fight or flight instinct will immediately kick in as you weigh the odds of being caught stuffing three pounds of candy down your shirt. Since the store is wired with a security camera every two feet you’re a good, moral person, you instead spend the night’s blackjack money on candy that you’ll regift as Christmas presents to elderly relatives who haven’t yet had cataract surgery let your kids have, in limited amounts so that it will last the rest of their lives (which are now considerably shorter), when you get home.

So take it from me, a trip with the family to Las Vegas is something I’ll never do again much more than just a vacation. It’s an international experience of love, hope and harmony filled with opportunities to blow their 529 savings sky-high teach them about world culture, etiquette, ethics, and that those things being handed out on the sidewalk looking a lot like baseball trading cards? Not so much.

Images have been blurred to protect the innocent and the addicted. Image via mobypicture.com

P.S. “Thunder From Down Under” is not a show about variable weather patterns in the New South Wales/Victoria region of Australia.

Image via ethanjstone.com

P.S.S. We watched the second presidential debate with the kids while we were in Vegas, because it’s illegal to leave them alone in the hotel room to hit the craps table I believe in a well-rounded political education. In case you’re wondering, I can assure you that the term “binders full of women” has a completely different meaning in Las Vegas than in American politics. I think.

Image via abcnews.go.com

If you liked this, you may also enjoy reading:

Is That Your Daughter’s Bra Hanging From A Tree?

It’s Not Easy Being Me.

Seven Ways To Get Me On My Back


Having just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Labialand, where the scale sits five pounds too high and peeing in a cup is a full contact sport, I’ve come to an obvious conclusion.

Visiting your OB/GYN for any reason other than having a baby seriously blows.

Even though my childbearing days are long gone, I force myself up on the pleather-covered table once a year because experts swear that a smiling vagina makes the world a better place. Since we could all use a little more peace, love and understanding, following are some ideas that the Board of Obstetrics and Gynaecology might want to consider discussing with its clamp-carrying members to make the ride a little less rough.

Image via laserlabs.com.

If Happy Wife = Happy Life, then Healthy Lips = Less Hormonal Dips. You can quote me on that, but not in public or in front of my dad. He gets super-embarrassed when you shout VAGINA! during thought-provoking dinner conversation with the new neighbors and prefers to use the word bohunky instead.

Anyway, if you happen to be my OB, here are seven ways to increase your chances of getting me on my back (sorry Simon, it’s another hook, but if you’re still here, you’ve earned major props for reading this far since you’re a dude).

1. Replace this:

Yep, that’s me. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this:

Beam me up! This couple laughed all the way through menopause. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

2. Don’t pull the surprise “Time to prick your finger and check those iron levels!” gig right after shoving a three-foot long Q-tip halfway up my small intestines through a hole I didn’t want to explore in the first place. You’re a doctor after all, and should already know that my sweet summer tan and glow-in-the-dark teeth are proof positive of my excellent health.

This is how I feel about getting my finger pricked. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

3. Replace this wall art:

Birth Control is so mid-twenties. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this wall art:

Image via fanpop.com.

4. Please stop asking if I remembered to do my kegels after each pregnancy. I’m sorry if I’m leaking all over your bifocals, but I haven’t been pregnant for nine years. The answer is no. It’s always been no. It will always be no, and while we’re at it no, I don’t want an inpatient, hook and needle craft kit suture to tighten up the opening to my woman-cave. When it comes to peeing all over yourself on a regular basis you have to think positively. Adult diapers are a lot more form-fitting than the package leads you to believe, and paired with a new set of Spanx, take playing on the slip-and-slide with the kids to a whole new level.

That’s not me. Image via geekinheels.squarespace.com

5. Replace this:

Country-chic tampon holder. Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this:

Cristy Carrington knows how to choose an OB. Image via myopera.com

6. Consider exchanging those flimsy paper gowns that barely cover my cheeks and catch the draft of every open door in the building for Snuggies. If you’re interested, Walgreens has an entire landfill’s worth of the 2011 Tim Tebow Broncos version that you can pick up for next to nothing.

A three-month pregnant Le Clown could use a Snuggie to protect his Tori Spellingesque silhouette. Image via clownonfire.wordpress.com

7. Replace this:

Image via Stacie Chadwick.

With this:

I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey, but 100,000,000,000,000,000 women can’t be wrong. Image via Wikipedia.

And there you have it. If you, Dr. Feelgood, can find a way for me to kick back with a cocktail in a barcalounger wrapped in the cocoon-like warmth of a Tim Tebow blanket while I gaze up at Johnny Depp and read porn, I’ll come visit once a week instead of once a year. Promise.

Why You Don’t Want Me in Charge of Your Memories…or Your Garage Sale


Sifting through almost ninety years of my grandfather-in-law’s stuff just sucks.  On multiple levels.  In an effort to weave a path through lives still in motion, things become pretty cut-and-dry, and more quickly than I’d like to admit, a keep pile, sell pile, and trash pile form.  Multiple mounds ebb and flow seamlessly, in constant competition with one another while they grow in disproportionate shares.  Every artifact is there, present and accounted for, if not fully appreciated for a sticker price that can no longer be collected on demand.

One man’s treasure is another man’s trash, like the wooden bowl with a permanent, oily sheen that’s tagged for Good Will.  Even though it held a homemade Italian salad every Friday for fifty years, because spaghetti night was Gumps’ favorite of the week, valuables must be sifted, prioritized, and turned into chattel.  Tschokies are tagged at a dollar each because they don’t match anyone’s décor.  The truth is, no one else in the family is into cluttery collections, or understands the international appeal of the Lladro-like figurines that lined every dresser and shelf.

Image via teachickadees.com

If you’ve been in the position of having to troll through a loved one’s possessions, you know that determining the “value” of the mementos left behind not only feels wrong, it is.  But life sometimes becomes commoditized, drilling down to a series of lists to be checked off and eventually thrown away.

I’m not going to mine a trove of memories too deeply right now, because I’ve been sad for two weeks, and at the moment, I’d rather smile.  Instead, I’m gonna tell you why you shouldn’t put me in charge of anything you cherish or might want to keep.  As sentimental as I may sound, my actions tell a different story.  It’s not what you say that matters; it’s what you do.

I’m a classic discarder, the anti-hoarder, an OCD Gemini who cleans the kitchen counter and sweeps the floor about nine times a day, with or without Necessary and Proper Cause.  I’ll pick up your glass and put it in the dishwasher before you’ve gotten halfway through your drink, and you’d better nail down or hide anything I consider to be superfluous, because I’ll toss it through the air and into the trash before you have the chance to remember that it was ever yours.

I am not a hoarder. I am, however, hyperventilating while looking at this picture.

This is especially true with anything containing the words “stocking” and “stuffer,” and if it was purchased at Dollar General?  Forget it.  It never existed as far as you know.

So I found myself in an interesting position yesterday, suddenly a person of great influence and power.  I was tasked with the responsibility of negotiating prices at Gumps’ estate sale, and while others in the family were actually trying to make money, my goal was a little more mild: to get anything inside the house out.

If you’re gonna take the time to argue over why a box of sandpaper should be $0.50 instead of a dollar, you can have it.  Seriously.  Take it, because I’ve got better things to do than give you the thrill of your life when I settle at $0.65.  In fact, since I’m in such a generous mood, why don’t you add the dining room set and a Mandarin-to-English dictionary while you’re at it?  You’re a big guy, perfectly capable of strapping a four hundred pound organ on your back, right?  So go for it.  It’ll look great next to that new table and chairs you’re lugging home to set up in your backyard alongside the washer and dryer that don’t work and your collection of blown-out tires.

Sanford and Son rules!

But in my haste to discard waste yesterday, I was little trigger-happy with a couple of things that deserved a second thought.  I’m listing them below so that when you have to spend a warm, sunny day selling the relics of someone you wish was still around, you’ll be a little more judicious than me.

Even though the Craig’s List ad says the doors open at 10:00 a.m., there’s a contingency of scavengers who get to a garage sale at least an hour ahead of the start, and sometimes camp out the night before (just kidding…I hope).  I imagine this occurs because at a certain age, the sleep that’s beginning to elude me simply disappears, and rather than watch an endless, glassy-eyed loop of Lawrence Welk reruns, it’s a lot more fun to get out of the Barcalounger and haggle with me.

Image via furnitureplanners.com

So when an ancient dude walked up with a box full of old spray paint, I thought I’d hit the mother lode.  Not only was it useless junk, but hazardous waste that I couldn’t put out by the curb.  Double score!  If he’d been the clairvoyant zombie that keeps popping up in every book I read lately, he’d understand that I would have paid him to take that stuff off my hands.  Instead I got a crumpled $10.00 bill.  Sweet!

Image via senseslost.com

I was feeling pretty good about myself until a nice lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me the real value of what I let ricochet out of the tool shed.  Apparently, there’s an ensemble of successful graffiti artists, mostly residing in Malibu or Park Avenue co-ops and not anywhere close to the river in a tent, who will pay just about anything for certain paint colors that have been retired.  Like, to the tune of $1,000 a can.  As I internally high-fived myself, about a dozen of them walked out the door, on my watch, and under the appraisal of my self-satisfied eye.  Oops.

A little more on my guard (or so I thought), I immediately ran into another kind person who found a box of toys we hadn’t had the chance to sift through.  We managed to pull a vintage G.I. Joe off the top just ahead of the sale, but hadn’t yet foraged into the depths of broken Lincoln Logs, pick-up sticks, and dirt.  He rummaged around, and at the bottom found some old Barbies with mismatched clothes and really bad hair.  He mentioned that his granddaughters loved to play with dolls, he missed them dreadfully because they lived out of town, and that he’d take them off my hands for $1.00 each.  I found this sentiment to be endearing, since I have two little girls of my own.  Plus, he was old, and even though the coot with the spray paint pulled one over on me, I have a soft spot for elderly people who smell like Vicks vapor rub and mentho-lyptus all rolled into one.

Vintage Bad Hair Barbie. Image via Flickr.com.

Had I made it past remedial math in college, I would have realized that at about eighty, his granddaughters would be like, twenty years old today.  Playing with dolls when you’re almost legal is creepy, but I was so touched by his desire to look out for his sweet girls (and excited to get rid of more junk), that I would have happily let him take the whole box off my hands for free.

These are the Barbies I deal with on a daily basis at home:

In the land of Essa's misfit Barbies, amputation is common, and floating heads fly across the room for no apparent reason.

This is the one he was most interested in at the sale:

1962 Bubblecut Redhead Barbie loves hanging out in the desert.

Notice any similarities?  Right.  They’re all scary as hell.

Luckily, the same kind, genius-lady who knew what a fortune we lost in paint was hovering nearby, and stopped him in his tracks.  Not only was he trying to get out the door with the previously pictured 1962 Bubblecut Redhead Barbie with extra-large bangs, he had Yachtsman Ken #789 buried at the bottom of his stash, who was totally spiffed up and packaged in mint condition as he smiled winningly from the confines of his box.  You could just tell that Ken was dying to go sailing with the mega-millionaire graffiti artist who buys four-figure cans of half-used spray paint on a whim, and probably, in a strange twist of fetish-fate, loves to play with overpriced vintage dolls.

Vintage Ken wants to play with you. Image via boocoo.com

The old codger’s offer immediately went from $5.00 to $100.00, my savvy mother-in-law said no, he turned a ghastly shade of do not resuscitate, and quietly slithered away.  As it turns out, Barbie, Ken, their friends Skooter and Skipper, and all of the mismatched clothes are worth thousands of dollars.  Don’t come lurking around my house in search of them as they await their eBay fate, though, because they’re nowhere near my house.

Everyone in the family is onto me now, and next weekend?  I’m in charge of the free coffee and donuts, and that’s about it.