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Telling Tales

As many know, what first inspired the magazine were the emails we received each week in response to our “Telling Tales” column published in the Wednesday edition of the Wilson Post.

Our “tongue in cheek” column is about our “normal” life as working mothers and busy wives who go about our days in Wilson county - muddling through it all – but at the end of the day – thankful for every minute of it.

Our favorite part about writing for the local paper, is when we are stopped at the grocery or the hair salon by someone who enjoysreading our columns and they share with us which of them are their favorites.

We will continue to share our most recent tales with you each Wednesday in the Wilson Post. But now you will be able to enjoy your favorites in the magazine.

We hope they bring you a chuckle at the end of your busy day!

Angel & Becky

Category contains 6 blog entries contributed to teamblogs

Posted by on in Telling Tales

Mom and Dad,

 

The next three words immediately preceding this sentence isn’t hard for me to say. YOU WERE RIGHT.

You said, “When you have children of your own, I promise you will ground them.”

I thought, “That word will be banished from my home.”

You said, “You will not be their friend or at least not the kind of friend that a very selfish, sneaky teenager wants you to be. You will be many things to him or her in those teen years; butler, spy, warden, hugger, listener. Friend will come later, I promise.”

I thought, “PUH-LEASE! I’ll be the cool mom/friend that every 'alleged' selfish, sneaky teenager wishes they had.”

You said, “You will understand what it’s like to watch the minutes click by at a glacial pace past curfew. Then the sick feeling that follows when it’s 30 minutes past curfew. You will throw a coat on over pj’s and drive around looking for your child. I promise this scenario will not embarrass you and you will care less that it embarrasses your sneaky teen.”

I thought, “Another word that will never be used in my home.”

You said, “You will not regret being a tough parent.”

I thought, “Only if tough parent means not MAKING my kid work! And buying, giving, doing whatever he wants no matter what. Because he deserves to be happy every second of every day.”

teenager phoneYou said, “You will see, finally, that we made you finish the things you started, didn’t let you wear makeup until you were ready, set curfews, made you work, and didn’t let you do everything you wanted to do, because we love you. You will understand your mother and I have better things to do with our time than stay awake at night thinking of ways to make our teenager's life hard.”

I thought, “Liars.”

You said, “I wish I could take away the pain of a breakup, the disappointment of not making the team or getting the lead role in a school play, of a friend's betrayal, or all of those icky feelings of insecurity you feel right now. But I can’t. All of these things are part of life. I can promise that you will survive and be better than you were.”

I thought, “Whatevs!”

I didn’t believe any of it. I knew it all. You, mom and dad, were idiots.

I distinctly remember thinking, “IF I have kids, we will be the best of friends. They can stay out as late as they want without worrying about a pesky curfew. Bad grades? No problem. You just do you, sweet child. I’ll sit back and watch you grow. We can even party together because I’m the cool mom. Job? Are you kidding? You’ve got the rest of your life to work. It’s not like working hard as a child/teen will make you a more responsible, harder worker as an adult. And I will place you in a plastic bubble where no one or thing can harm you physically or emotionally. Meaning I will be single handedly responsible for you having no friends. All of this will involve me never letting you out of my sight-ever!”

Before I get to the real apology, I think you should know one of the cruelest statements you said to me was, “I hope you have a child JUST LIKE YOU.”

At the time, my immediate thought was, “ME TOO! I’M FABULOUS!” Then I became a mom to two boys. The oldest is now a teenager. The youngest isn’t far behind. I love them. They make me laugh, cry and think. They’re also the reason I’ve never regained full bladder control, but I’ll let that one go for now. They are so many wonderful things. They also try to get away with things their father and I tried to get away with. (And they’re better at it than we were!)

As it turns out, I wasn’t fabulous. I was a teenager. A selfish, sneaky, hormonal, insecure, butthole teenager. In short, I was the idiot, not you two. And I’m sorry...for everything. And thank you…for everything.

PS-Dad, you were right! Paybacks ARE hell!

Love from your eternally grateful daughter,

Becky

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snowed in

As I sit here on Saturday afternoon, watching the rain slowly melt the ice and snow, I wonder; how did it all go so bad, so quickly?

Less than six days ago, we'd been preparing to begin our week as usual. We were a clean, well-nourished, emotionally stable family. Of course, we'd seen the weather reports and like all good southerners hit the grocery to buy milk, bread and chocolate.

But, come on, it never really snows here! 

Day 1. Presidents Day. That meant the kids were out of school, so it seemed ok that we stay home too. Snow and ice covered the ground. Reports indicated that no one should leave their homes and we were happy to oblige. We found the sleds and posted our obligatory FB video of our using them. We baked cookies, watched movies and stayed in PJs all day. Life was good! No one showered.

Day 2. An official snow day!! No school!! The kids were excited and while we felt the urge to do something, there wasn't much we could do. So we ate some more, sledded some more, and watched Netflix some more. Life was still good. The adults did break down to shower.

Day 3. No school....again. Bread, milk and chocolate were becoming scarce. Sledding wasn't as thrilling, the no showering thing was getting on my last nerve, television was useless, and there was no one left to stalk on FB. Life had become excruciatingly boring. Two of the children still refused to shower.

Day 4. Are you kidding me!?!  This is Tennessee, not Antarctica! The house had an odor, wet coats, boots and gloves were heaped in piles by every door, the dog had chewed up the sled, and we were down to a few slices of bread, those bananas no one ever eats and pizza rolls, covered in ice crystals. Life as we knew it was over! The little piggy that refused to shower was forcibly bathed.

Day 5. We busted out on Friday! At least the two adults in the house did, never so happy to see our work family. Thankful to not be in that stinky house eating that stinky food! Instead we ate lunch at Demos like the all the other civilized adults in town. And yes, we even stopped at Starbucks.

Then at 4 p.m., the Weather Bug alert went off! 

And adults in town were told to hurry home before Ice Storm #2 hit! Life had become almost comical... except when we got home the kids were not laughing... and all three were back to not bathing.

Day 6. The day I lost my mind. Here's why. The ADT alarm went off at 2 a.m. when an unlocked door was blown open by the rain storm, four hours later we awoke again to find that the pool liner had ripped from the walls of the pool as the rain melted the block of ice that had been atop it. Leaks, wrecks and flash floods were being reported all around. Lisa Patton looked frazzled and the Governor raised the State of Emergency to Level 2.

And right then and there, I was over it!

Pick up those wet socks! Put the dog out! De-ice the gutters before they break! Call the pool company! Empty every garbage can in this house and figure out where that smell is coming from! Go change out of those pajamas, it is 2 o'clock! Bring me your wallet, you've exceeded your data package by one million percent! Stop eating junk food! Turn off that television and go read a book! And for the love of all humanity, everyone go take a shower!

Day 7. That's tomorrow. I'm going to church. First, to atone for all the horrible things I said, did and ate between Days 3 thru 6, second to ask God to please, please make it stop snowing and third to pray really, really hard that that little groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, dies a miserable, painful death.

Mostly for the third reason.

 

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sickSo the "I'm sick" bug has hit our home. And if your children are like my crew of 3, their "I'm sick" bug is way stronger than anybody else's.

For the last week every counter in the kitchen has been laden with bottles of Chloraseptic, Mucinex, and "Mama's Magic Elixir" a.k.a. liquid NyQuil.. That's because when my 3 get sick, they ache more, cough more, and sneeze more than the average person.

Don't believe me?

Just ask them.

So with the flu, stomach virus and Ebola going around, you can only imagine how hard this last week has been on me... I mean them.

It all started on Facebook when several friends began to report they had been diagnosed with the flu. Post after post depicted aches, chills and fevers and as I read one after the other I could literally feel the temperatures rising in our home.

By that evening all three of my children were sicker than anyone else they knew... including those they lived with.

By morning the humidifiers were humming, the hot tea was brewing and Vitamin C was our candy of choice.

And the competition was on!

"Feel my forehead Mama," is the usual way the games begin. As I go one by one, determining whose temperature is the highest, my job is not done until a winner is declared.

And the winner gets the master bed (to themselves), the remote (to themselves) and the electric blanket (to themselves). The losers get the two chairs in my bedroom and non-heated blankets.

And as luck would have it, the winner only felt better so long as she was watching a Project Runway television marathon a fact that enraged the other two... even through their Vicks VapoRub-induced haze.

Ironically, as hoarse as they were, I could still hear the screaming in the next room... to "put something on we all can watch!!"

Interestingly, as weak as they were, at some point they were able to rise from their chairs to wrestle the remote from the weakest one.

As frail as the weakest one was, she somehow found the strength to make her way to the kitchen to inform me that the other two "are not sick! Make them get out of the  bedroom and give me back the remote!"

And my Saturday pretty much went much like this until their father finally loaded them up and took them to the nearest clinic.

Three hours later, we learned it was not the flu, not strep and not Ebola. Instead it was the common cold.

Not that that changed anything. It was still "the worst cold ever!"

Thankfully, after a week of cold medicines, throat lozenges and exiling each to a separate room and a separate remote, my crew is on the mend.

Of course, now their father and I are sick and while you may not believe this, when we get sick, well, we are simply sicker than everyone else.

It's true. Just ask us.

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alarm clockIt started happening again. I can’t sleep. Rather, I can sleep, I just can’t STAY asleep.

This leads to a frame of mind that’s an ideal breeding ground for worry production. So I worry. Worry about getting back to sleep turns into worry about work, bills, taxes, life insurance, dementia, cancer, Ebola, my car’s engine light that keeps coming on, my oldest driving, even deflated footballs-stupid Tom Brady. I worry about problems I didn’t even know I had. If it weren’t for my foggy, sleep deprived brain, it would be hard to rationalize questioning every decision ever made about my children, career, husband, and career again? By the time those hamsters stop running, it’s time to get up and start the day.

It would be lovely to blame this on some sort of midlife existential meltdown. A really inspirational meltdown that culminates with the selling everything, backpacking across Europe with my family, while documenting every experience in a clever, witty, and heartfelt blog which is later made into an Oscar nominated film directed by Penny Marshall. Not that I don’t think this would be a wonderful idea. It’s just not going to happen EVER… if I don’t get some sleep. *As a side note, I’d love Melissa McCarthy to play me.

Looking at the clock would be a mistake. The neon green numbers just create more anxiety and confirm that I have less than two hours before the alarm sounds.

The fact that my husband sleeps soundly just inches away does nothing more than piss.me.off. It’s not enough that he’s got that smug look of peaceful sleeping. But now, HE’S SNORING!  A few nudges and a “HEY! You’re snoring!” wakes him up enough to say, “No I’m not.” He must have a death wish.

Giving up on any hope of sleep, I open my laptop to see what the rest of the world is doing. Before posting, “best way to reduce snoring that doesn’t involve a pillow and duct tape?” on social media, I realize that a post like that could be incriminating if this “accidentally” happens to my husband someday.

So what gives? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? Am I doomed to a life of sleepless nights? With no sleep, this could signal the end of my writing career. I mentioned this fear to my aunt last week. Her response, “It would be a shame to give up if you were any good at it. You’ll find something you can do better.”

One website says it’s all about creating the right environment. “Your room should feel like a cave.” What if your cave is also home to what sounds like a hibernating bear?

Another says a medical condition could be to blame-a swollen prostate. But how could my husband’s swollen prostate keep me from sleeping? That last observation made me giggle. So I got up, started a pot of coffee and decided that if I can make myself laugh at 4:04 am this is an ideal time to finish a writing deadline.

Two hours later, my cat smacks me awake to signal his feeding time and alert me that an argument between the boys could get bloody if someone doesn’t intervene.

Twenty minutes later, the cat’s fed, kids dressed and ready for school. Since there’s no time for a shower, a messy bun and extra deodorant will have to do. Pulling in to the drop off-line, my oldest says, “Don’t worry. If this happens next year, you can sleep a little longer since I’ll be able to drive me and Jackson to school.” And with those words, I realize, I may never sleep again.

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coffeeDear Starbucks:

I am writing this letter as I would like to lodge a formal complaint.

First, I would like it noted in your corporate records that I was probably one of your biggest fansever! Was being the operative word here.

You can't imagine my excitement when I heard you were coming to town. For years I've only been able to partake of your mouthwatering temptations on my infrequent trips to the Target in Mt. Juliet or when visiting out of town friends who took you for granted.  No matter the city, if I heard you were there I undoubtedly paid you a visit. And like any good stalker, I have the mug collection and Selfies to prove it.

To think you were going to grace our town with a full fledged store was the biggest news to hit Lebanon since Chick-fil-A came to town!

And since your doors have opened I've been a loyal fan. Probably dare I say your Number #1 fan. Just ask your employees, both the morning shift and evening shift, as I begin and end most days with a warm cup of your heaven in my hands. 

I'm not sure what it is about that aroma but I can't get enough of it. That sweet smell of coffee coupled with a hint of uptown, big city...let's be real I am never going to live in Chicago so this is about the closest I will ever get to being a hip, cool, latte drinking power player... and I have been hooked since my very first sip! 

And so it began on the first day your Lebanon store opened with my usual, a Grande White Chocolate Mocha and then after a few weeks, I stepped it up a notch to a Double Chocolate Java Chip Frappuccino (for those non-aficionados, that would be an incredibly chocolatey, coffee flavored ice cream shake with whipped creme and chocolate shavings on top, also known as... a token of God's love.)

Then the holidays came around and I became addicted to your Pumpkin Spice Latte followed by your Caramel Creme Brûlée Latte, and, of course, then your top selling,  holiday favorite, the world-renowned Chestnut Praline Latte.

It was all going so well.

Before work I would grab a drink and savor it all morning at my desk. I honestly think it made me look much more official. After work, I'd grab a cup to sip on the long road home, up 231 North (well not that long, but it's all relative in this town isn't it?).

On weekends, I would run in wearing my yoga pants and ball cap, as if I were going for my weekly run in Central Park. I wasn't... not even for a short stroll at Don Fox Park. But that was our little secret.

It was all so grown up, so civilized. (And right about now if my husband is reading this and working the math... yes, I spent a lot of money on my little addiction but since I don't get my nails done and rarely go shopping, you can put your calculator away and we can talk about this later.) 

Not that it matters anymore, because I'm writing to tell you... it's over!

On Sunday January 25, I got on the scale.

It seems that one thing you failed to share with your Number #1 fan is that macchiatos, cappuccinos, and expressos are just big fancy words for... I'm going to make you fat drinks! 

Therefore, it is with deep regret that I must inform you that I no longer will be gracing your store with my presence. (And just because you list the calorie content by each drink doesn't excuse you... who the heck would believe you can gain ten pounds from drinking coffee!)

 

Sincerely,   

Your ex-Number #1 fan                    

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laundrySo the conversation went something like this....

Neill: "Madison, can you pass me a knife?"

Madison: "What do you need a knife for?"

Neill: "To cut my tomato."

Disgruntled, overworked, overburdened teenager: "You don't need to dirty a knife for that! Here, take your fork and use it as a knife. You just put it on its side and saw into the tomato. I'm so tired of washing dishes and cups and knives and forks! For the rest of the day everyone is using paper plates and solo cups!"

Ahhh the joys of the never-ending Kane chore list....

Every few months we change up the chore list. And not because my children have perfected their respective chore of washing dishes, putting up clean clothes or feeding the dogs.

No, the chore list is swapped because I can't take one more chipped plate, one more pair of basketball socks showing up in my dresser drawer or one more dog falling into the pool in their attempt to quench their thirst.

Usually by the time swap day rolls around, the chore list has become but a mere suggestion of what my children could be doing... if they so chose to do... so long as they had nothing better to do.

So as Neill and Madison wrestled over the knife that Neill was desperately trying to move towards his plate, with his sister continuing to hold him back with one arm while sawing into his tomato with his fork... I called SWAP DAY!

Now swap day traditionally only brings joy to one Kane child, because as everyone who has ever done chores knows...washing dishes and feeding dogs doesn't hold a candle to... putting up clothes.

Clothes that belong to five people.

Three of whom consider anything that has been worn once, tried on but not worn out of the house, or recently purchased but not yet on the hanger... an item that warrants being thrown in the dirty clothes' basket.

Needless to say, when swap day hit this Sunday, Zoe could not have been happier. Neill and Madison, on the other hand, made an insincere attempt to convince me they were no longer mortal enemies, in a joint effort to keep Zoe confined to the depths of hell... a.k.a., the person in charge of laundry.

So I doled out the new list. Madison would now be in charge of clothes and Zoe would now be in charge of dishes.

Madison: "Wait. Why is Neill still in charge of the dogs? They are all starving because he never feeds them and that is the easiest job on the whole list! He never gets any other chore. I mean, I was just trying to teach him something. Every 12-year-old boy should know how to cut something with a fork and now I'm being punished and he isn't!"

And mind you, she did have a point.

But as any good parent knows, the chore list is not just a list of chores we want our children to one day master. No, first and foremost it is a list of chores we, as parents, do not want to ever do again, so long as we have a child living in our home.

And if I gave the chore of putting up clothes or washing dishes to Neill, well...it would just defeat the point of the chore list.

Me: "Well, you shouldn't have been fighting over a knife."

Madison: "That doesn't even make sense!"

Me: "One day when you have children it will and while you are at it, add downloading some Michael Buble to my iPhone to your list of chores today."

I do so love the chore list...

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collegeThe last few months have been a whirlwind of college applications, ACT prep courses, and road trips as we have continue on our adventure of "where in the world will Madi go to college?"

This past week as we left that house at 5 a.m. in order to meet the 10 a.m. tour, with my hot cup of coffee in hand, I got in the car and gleefully noted "This is going to be such a fun day."

Shocked by my joyfulness, her father reminded both Madi and I that "today is going to be fun and SAD!" You see, as much as Madi and I have come to embrace our little college trip adventures, Brody isn't quite there yet.

When we finally arrived, Madi and I bounced out of the car, eagerly awaiting our guided tour of the buildings, library and dorms. Her Dad slowly walked behind us.

While we asked questions about majors, internships and clubs, her Dad asked questions about campus security, crime rates and how do they insure "boys don't get onto the girls' dorm floors."

Seemingly very important questions to the other fathers on the tour, who nodded in agreement every time Brody grilled our 19-year-old tour guide on crime per capita rates.

After touring the campus we set about taking in this new city, checking out how far the grocery was from campus, the movie theater and the mall. We also checked out the police station, fire hall and hospital..."because it's important to know these things," noted her father.

The good thing about Madi is that she has been taking most of this in stride, as every member of the family is handling her move... in their own way.

Later that night, as Madi was extolling the virtues of this new college to her sister and brother, Zoe pulled out her own set of plans, saved under the Pinterest board name - "Zoe's New Room When Madison Finally Leaves."

"When exactly will you be moving out?" she asked. "Because Neill and I have decided that he is getting your room, and I'm redoing mine and turning his into my dressing room/tv room."

Both Brody and Madi looked stunned.

"You can't have my room," Madi said, completely outraged. "I am coming back in the summer and on breaks and probably some weekends too!"

And her Daddy is a happy man once again...

 

To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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N1412P12009CThere’s few places as beautiful as Middle Tennessee in the fall. And one only needs to visit Facebook or Twitter to take in all the beauty. Changing leaves, crisp air, family photos in all orange or red surrounded by a bevy of changing leaves posted all over social media, and general giddiness of the season make even this girl excited about football… for the social atmosphere, not the game.

This is also the time of year my normal (Note: this will be the only time that adjective will be used to describe yours truly) “stay away from anything crafty” persona transforms into a glue gun wielding poor man’s Martha Stewart. Before realizing how underqualified I am to take on big projects, I’ve started the process of distressing every piece of furniture I own, every room in the house smells of pumpkin spice candles and all the decorating dilemmas in the world can be solved by simply adding a touch of burlap or a monogramed initial.

I start to lose steam around mid-October.  

My husband is irritated that all of our furniture is covered with burlap. That’s the only way I can think of to hide the fact that our tables look (not in a good way) distressed.

My boys are revolting against the matching sweaters I ordered for a family portrait. It was the large embroidered initials on the front that sent them over the edge.

I prepare the white flag after Halloween.

In November, I give away four bolts of burlap, send back the monogrammed sweaters, and throw away everything that even remotely smells like pumpkins.

By the time December rolls around, I’m a basket case.

I can’t keep up. I AM NOT MARTHA. STEWART! I am however consistent with my signature holiday homemaking rituals.

The lights on my pre-lit tree NEVER work as a team.

My homemade cookies for teachers and friends are actually made by toll house and can be found in the dairy case of any grocery store.

Three unused gingerbread houses dated 2007 remain in the deep freeze waiting for the day I arrange a craft party with my oldest and his friends.

There’s a bag of clearance Christmas décor and gifts that I always forget about and find in January.

The truth is, I’ll never be Martha. But I don’t hate her. She didn’t force me to charge a Mauviel copper pot. Even if some of the things she hand makes for the holidays can seem a bit pretentious. Martha brings us all back to a simpler time when doing beautiful things for family and friends was cherished. And lucky for me, my friends and family cherish toll house cookies, stale gingerbread houses, and wonky Christmas trees.

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Flower peach and pink arrangement pictureBy Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine



This past month, the hubs and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. And it went something like this....

"Do not buy me flowers! You know that it just makes me mad when you do. In fact, don't buy me anything that I haven't picked out myself."

"Duly noted. No flowers for you or anything that you have not specifically requested. And may I ask, what am I getting for putting in my time?"

On our anniversary, I received flowers and tickets to a musical that I'd never heard of.

And therein lies the secret to 20 years of wedded mostly bliss. It's taken two decades  to work out the kinks but it goes something like this...

 

1.    Not everyone puts their clothes in the laundry basket or washes them in the gentle cycle. The first few years this will almost drive you to divorce court. I mean, how hard is it to NOT wash all my clothes on HOT!!! But as time goes by you realize the fact that he's washing his clothes, your clothes and the kids clothes is a pretty big deal. In some countries, wives that don't wash all the clothes get stoned. So, your favorite white shirt is now pink and could fit on a doll... look on the bright side, you aren't facing a firing a squad this morning. Even the negatives, could be worse.

2.    My Dad spends every Sunday afternoon washing my Mom's car and then filling it up with gas. Whenever I mention this to my husband, he reminds me that while my Dad is doing this, my Mom is cooking him a homemade dinner. Never compare your marriage to someone else's; also, pump your own gas and like it!

3.    Not everything that you hear in your head should come out of your mouth. This one is hard because that girl in your head, she knows everything! But the one thing she doesn't always know is when to keep her mouth shut. Every once in a while you should duct tape her mouth and stick her in the trunk of your car. Because no one wants to hear it, her or you 24/7.

4.    He has his thing and you should have yours. Let him watch the game, play golf, work on his car because that means you can go shopping, watch Hallmark movies, and play Bunco with the girls. If he didn't have his thing, he'd be tagging along on yours. And taking the Husband to Home Goods always ends badly.

5.    The best part of marriage is you have a built in wingman. Grocery shopping, moving furniture, sick kids, crazy family, homework battles, putting up the Christmas lights. Marriage means someone to not only have your back, but most importantly someone to help work your list!

 

Twenty peach colored roses (because he knows peach is my favorite color) and tickets to a Broadway musical written by the creators of South Park (because he knows I secretly think that show is funny.)

 

I hope for 20 more years that go something just like this....

 

To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonpost.com

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Everyone is thankful for something. Even on the day of Thanksgiving, when 40 members of your family are talking loud, complaining about the food temp, and wondering "out loud" if the serving dish used for stuffing belongs to them. As much as my family and close friends may test the limit of my nerves, I still say a silent prayer of thanks. It's not a prayer you are familiar with I'm sure. In the chaos of the holidays before I let myself utter or think, "THIS IS THE LAST TIME I'M COOKING THANKSGIVING!" I stop (obsessing), drop (the attitude), and roll (add Parker House to my grocery list) and instead say, "Thank you."

Thank you for a husband who helps with everything and doesn't complain about it (to me anyway). Who doesn't mind coming in second to so many things; work, kids, friends, sisters, the housewives of BRAVO TV, dad. Who just like me rolls his eyes when people talk about "soul mates." Because it's more important for us to simply be "mates." We can save the soul part for the afterlife. We've built a life together. It took us a while to finish the foundation but when we did, the rest just sort of fell into place. So thank you for him and keeping us smart enough to know that just because one day is bad doesn't mean tomorrow will be.

Thank you for a 15 year old who still talks to me and talks back to me. A boy/man who is trying to find his way and his identity. And a boy who still let's his mama run the bases with him when life throws a curve ball his way.

Thank you for an almost 11 year old who is so much smarter than all of us but doesn't rub it in. My youngest babe who makes very grown up observations like, "You know the "E" means you should stop and get gas?" or "Why are you always trying to lose weight? You don't need to." Oh! And he still loves to snuggle while watching "Elf" this time of year.

Thank you for my sisters and brothers. Those connected by blood or connected through life. Without a single one of them this island of misfit toys wouldn't be fun at all.

Thank you for my mother-in-law. Yes, you read that right. I'm thankful that she accepts me for who I am, messy kitchen and all.

Thank you for the dementia that changes our dynamic on a daily basis. It's not always fun. There are days when I'd love to stay in bed, watch bad reality television and post anonymous messages on political websites. But instead, I listen intently as dad tells me about how he met mom during the 1961 fall quarter at Western Carolina University. And for a moment I wonder if this is real. Maybe it's not as bad as the neurologist says. Then he sits to eat his soup with a butter knife. No big deal. I hand him a spoon, we giggle and he reads Jon Saraceno's latest. We go on. And so does life. Because while he will inevitably forget many things, his family will remember for him.

So for these things and so many more, I'm truly thankful.

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By Angel Kane
ebola

Wilson Living Magazine

Neill and I sat transfixed, intensely listening to the Fox News correspondent speak. We knew this day would come.

Although my youngest is the spitting image of his father, he definitely carries a double dose of my side of the family's genes. That means when a crisis hits, be it a weather occurrence, an unprecedented dip in the Dow, or a health epidemic, he and I are the first to react.

My brother and I like to say that we come from a long line of alarmists.  So, our ability to immediately become transfixed on any sign of possible danger goes centuries back in our DNA structure.

Our spouses scoff and our friends make fun, but to this day, our uncanny ability to sense danger miles ahead, has resulted in four decades without a broken bone, hospital stay or anything more than a cough!

When Ebola comes this way - few will survive, so as I see it, you are either going to be with me or against me.

As the Fox correspondent explained the details of Ebola having reached our borders, I started making a mental checklist: canned goods, hand sanitizer, face masks, batteries,

chocolate, flashlight, bunker.

All very doable but for the bunker, which with every crisis, is always my Achilles heel.

But although we do not have a bunker we do live far out in the country, which is basically a bunker.

"We'll be ok Neill. We have a creek so you and daddy can fish for food and we will live off the land. We'll be fine."

"Live off the land? You don't even cook!" remarked my eldest who carries only Kane genes. Calm, cool, collected....she can be extremely annoying at times.

Neill and I just turned up the television volume, as we didn't need any commentary from someone who obviously hadn't watched the movie "Contagion" as many times as we had.

We continued to watch and listen as the correspondent explained the symptoms of Ebola: body aches, chills, fever and vomiting. I tried not to panic.

While I had yet to experience chills, fever and vomiting, I couldn't deny I was feeling a little achy.

"Madison, go get my i-Pad, I need to google what they mean by body aches."

"You are not serious. How many Liberians have you come in contact with in Lebanon?"

And while she definitely had a point....my ancestral gene pool had not come this far to be thwarted by rational thinking and common sense.

"And while you're at it, bring me a pen. Neill and I are staying in tonight to start on our list of ... who is with us or against us!"

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swearEverybody has their favorite. Be it, heck, darn, or &^%$#, there is something to be said about being able to express yourself with just one word.

One fabulous, mind blowing, descriptive word that tells the world how you... REALLY, REALLY FEEL.

I, for one, have no problem with almost any word. As I explain to all who take issue with my word usage...'I was an English major, with a concentration in British Literature. I'm classically trained to use the English language in all sorts of ways.'

A line I first used on my dad after he had just paid for four years of college. Boy, you should have heard the words he used... and he wasn't even classically trained like I was!

But most everybody also has that invisible line in their bad word lexicon that they won't cross.

Mine is *&(^%.

No matter how mad I might be, I don't ever use THAT word.

Becky uses it.  A bunch.

She knows I don't. Ever.

A fact that brings her perverse pleasure, often using the word over and over until I crack!

For whatever reason, to me, that word sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I cringe, wince and look physically pained when anyone uses it. Which is odd, considering very little else offends me.

But like many things, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. This is a point I may have finally reached.  My 14 year old reminds me daily now that "Hello?? There are children in the room."

My co-workers are at that point as well, instituting a potty-mouth jar requiring anyone who uses an offensive word to pay up. Upon being told about the jar, I proceeded to inform them what they could do with their silly jar but didn't use the word "silly," instead I came up with a much more flowery word... which promptly cost me $2.00!

"Who made you the *&*^% police?" I asked.

That one cost me $5.00.

And now even my husband has chimed in, informing me that my expert use of the English language is bordering on verbal abuse.

So from this point forward, I'm going on a bad word fast. Instead I'll be limiting myself to 'gosh darn', 'for pete's sake' or 'fudge'.

Just knowing this, however, causes me extreme anxiety.

I fear without 'my words' I won't be able to fully explain how that driver cut me off, how that supermom wears me out or how very, very badly my toe hurts.

Just listen...

'Gosh darn, my toe hurts', doesn't quite depict the excruciating pain I feel whenever Neill nails my pinkie toe while wearing his soccer cleats. Whereas '&%$#!!!  my toe!' succinctly encapsulates all that I am feeling and more.

But for the sake of all those I live and work with, I'm going to give this fast a shot.

One question, do 'flowery' words in a foreign language count? I only ask because Spanish was my minor, so technically, I'm trained in those words too.

To read more of Telling Tales or other Wilson Living Magazine blogs by our other writers go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

 

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As of Thursday, September 25th I’ve been on this earth four decades. That day usually gives me the opportunity to reflect. 40 seems so grown up. 40 is the deadline for having your life in order. Over the years I’ve looked to friends in their 40’s as my own personal Dalai Lama; full of wisdom and experts at living a life full of intent. But the closer I inched to this decade the more I began to realize it wasn’t that all of my Dalai Lama’s were given the wisdom gene much like someone born with red hair or freckles. Instead they embraced the “what is” and tossed the “never will be.” They didn’t, like I assumed, wake up on the first day of their 40th year with a brand new perspective that was delivered while they slept. They learned through trial and error, just like me and eventually my children will. Sometimes it takes a 40 something’s opinion or insight to make people realize that just because Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing it doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for you. And while there’s plenty of mistakes in my future, I wanted to share a list of a few of the lessons I’ve learned as a helpful guide for my children.

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By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

A few weeks before school ended, the kids started a countdown. "I can't wait until Granny gets here,"  was their mantra all of May, as I would hand them a slightly bruised banana while at the same time screaming at them to "get in the car," as one more tardy and we were all going to Saturday school.

"She's going to make us eggs and biscuits and not make us iron our own clothes in the morning," mumbled my middle one. "We won't have to get our clean towels from the dryer," commented the youngest. "It's going to be heaven," noted our oldest who apparently has suffered the longest under our parentage.

And as I completely expected, Granny arrived on Memorial Day and things have not been the same!

Other than taking trips together or long holidays spent with my family, this is the first time all three of my children have experienced Granny much the way I did growing up. Which brings a huge smile to my face as there is a big difference between "Holiday Granny" and "I'm Coming To Stay For a Month Granny."

Such a difference that my kids have now started another countdown.

When Granny first got here, it was just as they imagined. Eggs and biscuits in the morning, casseroles and cobbler in the evening and in between she would tell them how smart and pretty they were.

That was week one - while she was still on vacation.

Slowly, however, Granny has emerged from holiday mode to the mother I fondly remember. 

Week two - she started cleaning. 

And when I say cleaning, I don't mean vacuuming. My mother cleans with buckets and dish rags - the on your knees - scrubbing down walls - type of cleaning. And when she is done she takes trash bags, the big black garden variety, and cleans out drawers, closets and cupboards.

Only after that, do we really start to clean.

And while Granny will certainly get down on her hands and knees with you, she much prefers to use young children to do her dirty work. Think the musical "Annie" where all the orphans are scrubbing the bathroom floor and you'll then have a glimpse of how my brother and I spent our Saturdays.

Another treasured memory is Granny's way of teaching you how "to do something the right way." She lives to show you how to fold a fitted sheet, mend a hem or sew a button. And nothing makes Granny madder than opening the linen closet to find a big, wadded up ball of fitted sheets.

"Kids, come here and let me show you something!" has become her favorite line. 

It's funny how in less than 3 weeks the May mantra has now turned into hushed whispers the moment I get home.

"She made me try on all my clothes in the closet, every single one and then refold the ones that fit and put them up neatly," relays my middle one, aghast at how the tides have turned against her.

Brody and I, on the other hand, are quite enjoying Granny's extended stay.

Our floors are clean enough to eat off of, our perfectly folded towels smell like a dewy meadow, our home cooked meals are just divine and our children...well, let's just say, the next time I throw a brown banana their way and call it breakfast...the words "thank you sweet Mother" will be flowing from their lips.

To read more of Angel and Becky's column, go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com.  

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madisonBy Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

So the text message went something like this:

Brody: "we're going to miss the first quarter of the Titan's game because of Zoe! I had to stop at the ATM which caused us to lose 20 minutes. We're now sitting in traffic that's at a complete standstill!"

Uh-oh, someone is going to be in big trouble was my first thought. One I shared with our resident, teen-age, middle child who rolled her eyes, mouthed "Not. My. Fault." and carried on looking at the latest fashions on Instagram.

The last time I can remember having cash, on a regular basis, was when fast food chains did not take credit cards. But once that barrier was finally overcome, now the only time I carry cash is when my grandmother sends me a newly minted, one hundred dollar bill for my birthday or when our resident banker deems me credit worthy to receive an allotment.

And if you think banking regulations have become tougher, I can assure you the Federal Government has nothing on the Kane Kids Bank & Trust.

Our kids don't get an allowance per se, but I find they are much more likely to  accomplish a big task like cleaning out the chicken coop or washing our cars, if I offer them the promise of monetary compensation.

And I can assure you, once the task it complete, they take whoever made the promise on a hostage-bank run and quickly pocket the cold hard cash.

And by pocket, I mean... their cash... goes on complete lock down.

Our eldest usually goes from our bank straight to hers where she promptly deposits it.

Our youngest has a piggy bank with a numeric combination that only he and his maker know.

And then there is our middle child, too young for a bank account, too old for a piggy bank.

Just right for the picking.

"Zoe, give your brother some lunch money and I'll pay you back."

"Zoe, your cross country uniform money is due today, pay for it and I'll pay you back."

"Zoe, I don't have money for a tip, let me borrow a few dollars."


Each time, our personal banker grumbles and threatens to cut us off but ultimately folds to the global economic pressures of living with parents who fully embrace a cashless society.

That is, until last Sunday, right as Brody and Neill were leaving for the Titan's game.

"Zoe, give your Dad some cash for parking and he'll pay you back."

"No, I'm not. No one ever pays me back. Madison keeps her money in the bank and Neill keeps his in a booby trapped vault. You and Daddy are the worst! I'm tired of letting everyone in this family borrow money and never being paid back!"

It's seems our not-so international monetary fund had cut us off!

Two hours later Brody and Neill were missing their all-time favorite teams, the Cowboys and the Titans, play because instead of their usual bailout, the boys were forced to head to the ATM.

Later that evening, the aftermath of the Kane financial crisis reached global proportions as fingers were pointed, financial bubbles were burst and key players refused to take the blame.

This Recovery... may take a while.

To read more of Angel & Becky's columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

"Have you thought about living in Chicago? I had a friend from high school who went to University of Chicago and she loved it. Or what about Baylor, my cousin's daughter went there."

I try not to make eye contact with Brody when I bring up far away colleges, because if looks could kill, his would be stoning me to death, one eyeball at a time.

"Stop telling Madi to move a million miles away from us. She may never come back!" he whispers (in his loud voice) anytime I bring up any college where she can't come home for dinner. 

I, on the other hand, think college is the perfect time to spread your wings, experience new places and meet new people...well, that's what I like to say to the other mothers ...sounds very grown up, don't you think?

But as we drove through the college gates for our first official college visit, four hours away from home, I almost burst out crying. And I don't cry. Ever. So I was a little confused as to that suspicious lump in my throat followed by my blurred vision.

'Am I having a stroke?' was my first thought.

And then I went from a stroke to hearing voices in my head. Voices that sounded just like my own, shouting out..."but I'm not finished! My time is up with her? How can that be, we just got started!"

Don't get me wrong, I don't doubt for a minute that she is ready. Having seen her in action this summer, campaigning side by side with her Dad, from one end of Gainesboro, to the other end of Westmoreland and back to Mt. Juliet, I know she will be fine. More than fine.

But at this point, her going away to college has become about me.

As we went on the tour from one building to the other, I thought about all the things I meant to do, meant to say...

I don't think I've ever played an entire game of Monopoly with her. I've racked my brain  and can't think of any game, in fact, that I've ever finished with her. I hate to play games and she really loves them. She is so like her Dad in that way. Does that make me a bad Mom? 

And there are all those dinners around the kitchen table I envisioned... there were too few of those, especially as life got busier with work and two younger siblings. From now on, I'm cooking every night until she moves away! Note to self, start going to the grocery again.

We did go prom dress shopping, twice in fact, but she found both her dresses at the first shop we went to, within the first half hour, so it was so quick I barely remember it. She was always such an easy child. Made my job effortless.

Do you think it's too late for me to let her be messy? I was one of those Moms who never liked a mess in the house. If she wanted to finger paint or play with play dough, it was always on the back porch. Is that why she isn't interested in the arts and considers being outside to be a form of torture?

I did teach her what make-up you can buy at your local drugstore and what types are best to splurge on, but did I tell her that less is more? I think I did, or maybe she just figured it out on her own.

Fix-a-Flat. Does she know about that? Maybe I should buy her a taser. She knows to always have her keys out as she walks to her car, but have I told her that if someone abducts you, to never let them take you to a second location? And definitely always punch them in the throat and run. We should practice that before she leaves.

"Your will shall decide your destiny" is one of my favorite quotes but so is, "Awesome things will happen today if you choose not to be a miserable cow" - I wonder which will work better embroidered on a pillow for her dorm room?

Does she remember those times we baked Christmas cookies? I never could get the icing to harden but the white snowman cookies were still the bomb. And that Halloween ghost cake, we made that at least three years in a row. Hopefully I've taught her that icing can cover a number of baking sins.

There are just so many things that I meant to say, meant to teach her, meant to do with her and instead, here I am on a tour that is taking my Madi away.

I looked at Brody as he was watching Madi peruse the t-shirts in the college bookstore. When she found one she liked and handed it to him, he blurted out "You want to buy one with this school's name on it? That's such a big commitment! We just started looking at colleges! Why don't you buy a magnet or something like that?"

Geez... he seriously needs to get a grip!

To read more of Angel's and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonpost.com or www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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By Angel Kane

Wilson Living Magazine

 

I remember, like it was yesterday, the day Madi started kindergarden.

At the time, I couldn't believe she was old enough for school... real school. Dressed in her prettiest sundress, new lunch box in hand, a big bow atop her little blond head, she and I were thrilled about her new adventure. I took hundreds of photos... but that was before Facebook...so until I can find them, scan them and post to FB, you'll have to take my word for it, she was just adorable!

And then, in a blink of an eye... she is about to be a Senior.

Every day now when I open the mailbox, flyer after flyer from one college or another is all that ever arrives. I watch as she examines the mail piece, googles the school and adds it to the places she wants to visit. Right about then, I usually scream out, "Why you want to leave me?" doing my best Greek accent as I repeat my favorite line from 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.'

To which she rolls her eyes and reminds me, "please stop, you don't sound anything like him!"

In two weeks, Madi starts her final year of high school. That means in two weeks, we also begin the Year Of Madison.

Three months ago, as we sat down for dinner, Madi informed us that as this was her final year to be with us, she fully expected the entire year to revolve around her. That meant, no new home purchases, no remodels, no work changes, no trips without her, no travel soccer leagues for her little brother or cross country meets for her sister and certainly no new dogs, chickens or pets of any sort that required attention. This was her year, and we were to do nothing, go nowhere, talk about anything... that didn't pertain to Madison.

Of course, Zoe and Neill immediately took offense. And after much discussion, it was agreed that the Year Of Madison would sometimes "feature" Zoe and Neill...but not that much, and only if Madison has pre-approved their guest spot appearance.

And slowly the idea of the Year Of Madison has taken hold. Although I do think it's funny that Madi believes that after one year, she will be gone forever.

"You do know college has breaks, don't you?" I query of her, but I don't think she is listening any more... nor is anyone else.

Her brother has already laid claim to her room, while her sister has laid claim to her furniture. And to be honest, I've laid claim to a couple pairs of shoes and belts that were mine to begin with and will not be making any journey out of state.

This past Sunday, we got a preview of the Year Of Madison as she took her Senior pictures. The house with abuzz as we readied her hair and make up and decided between her two prettiest sundresses. And as she stood in the field of sunflowers while the photographer and she did their thing, Brody and I soaked up every minute of the opening credits to the Year Of Madison.

The only thing missing was her new lunch box and a big bow atop her little blond head... other than that... it was just yesterday.

To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com or www.wilsonpost.com

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By Becky Andrews

Most adults have repeated the same phrase when referring to the younger generation, “What is this world coming to?” From the boomers to millennials, we’ve all been on the receiving end of criticism about our taste in music, movies, politics, and work ethic. My own parents had little patience for my taste in music, refusing to believe it was anything but noise. While there are many things I find annoying about the younger generation…texting a person sitting next to them, neck jerking to keep the hair out of their eyes, the constant mumbling, The Harlem Shake and on and on and on, in spite of it all, I still feel like we adults, the future retirees, are going to be just fine in their hands. Here’s why:

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By Angel Kane

“Do not be a baby!”

Those were the words I read, via text, after parking my car at the Lebanon Police Station last Tuesday night. Twenty minutes before I’d met Brody in our driveway as he was pulling in and I was pulling out. We had both forgotten I was supposed to go on a police ride as part of my Leadership Wilson program. And I was not happy about it! I complained for about five minutes, via my open window to his, with all the reasons I should not have to do this. 

“They better not drive fast!”, were my parting words to him as I drove furiously out of the driveway. 

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