7 Things Better Than a Debate.

Tonight is the first presidential debate.

I know, right.

Approximately 55% of the country moans in desperation, crying out to God, asking “Is this the judgment we’ve read about in Revelation??”

Apocalyptic or not, a debate between Trump and Clinton is perhaps the last thing I want to watch, especially since they’re not even letting any third party candidates in to chop up the madness into more palatable bites.

But watch I will. Or at least sit in the room while Chris watches it and I stare at my phone.

However, I do wish that the Beings in Charge would have conferred with me as to the setup of this debate. Because I have a few ideas. A few million ideas possibly, but definitely a few ideas that would make this whole showdown less nauseating.

After all, we live in a Media-Crazed Reality-Show world, which is partially to blame for the situation we find ourselves in now. So why not utilize those setups and make the whole catastrophe at least more interesting, and possibly even more informative?

Let me present a few of my ideas to you, since no one else has asked for them.

1. A dinner at Downton Abbey.


I think the IDEAL way to truly grasp the candidate’s ability to handle such a high-stress job would be to have Mrs. and Mr. Clinton, along with Mr. and Mrs. Trump, attend a dinner party with the Crawleys. The Dowager Countess, of course, would be in charge of questioning the candidates. After leaving them both at a loss for words with her endlessly witty smackdowns, she would concisely pass her judgment.

About Trump,

“Is this an instrument of communication or torture?”

And About Hillary,

“She is like a homing pigeon. She finds our underbelly every time… Dreadful woman!”

Then she would throw up her hands and say “Why does everyday involve a fight with an American?”

I agree, Violet. I agree.

But if Downton Abbey didn’t work out…

2. Hunger Games.

I think the important skills of avoiding the sting of Tracker Jackers, the jaws of Wolf Muttations, and no matter how hungry you are, not tasting those delicious looking Nightlock berries would be a good judge of ability to be the President of the United States of America.

And hey. If a face full of Tracker Jacker stings left one or two opponents unable to run for office anymore, I think America would be able to recover from their loss….eventually.

3. Naked and Afraid.

You know what, no.

That’s a horrible idea.

4. A Day of Alabama Football practice.

They don’t even have to practice football. Really any situation where Saban can yell at them for a solid eight hours and then have a press conference where he talks about how vastly disappointed he is in the both of them would make me blissfully happy.


5. Swimming with Michael Phelps.

That’s just because I want to see any mortal swim next to Michael Phelps. But Hillary and Donald would be especially amusing – most notably watching the orange hair (and orange chest hair) flap about in the pool and seeing that pantsswimsuit.

6. The Apprentice – Presidential Edition.

In this hit show, both contestants would serve in a one month trial presidency under Barack Obama. They would compete in important presidential skills, such as negotiating peace treaties, wrestling with massive lose-lose policy decisions, rolling Easter eggs on the White House lawn, and eating monkey brains with the King of that country in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Who can eat it with a straight face and presidential flair? Who hears “You’re Fired!”?

7. Liar Liar


Find that fantastic kid Max who wished his Dad couldn’t lie for 24 hours, and then pay him a million dollars to wish the same about Hill and Don. Then ask them each a question per minute for the entire 24 hours.

OH. MY. GOODNESS. The glory.

What would you create to replace the presidential debates? Make it good. Give me something to read and laugh about during the torture tonight.

How Hamilton is Actually a Parenting Self-Help Guide.


Haven’t you always assumed that life would be more fun if it were a musical?

Me neither.

I never did understand how people could sing their lives in perfect rhythm and rhyme in real time – not to mention in harmony with their fellow life-livers.

However. Hamilton has changed my mind.

Due to the constant barraging of praise for Hamilton from those around me, I decided to give the soundtrack a listen on Spotify during a run. It was the most delightful thing my running ears had ever experienced – an engrossing storyline set to music that is both brilliant AND will make you run faster.

Since that inaugural, life-changing, interest-in-history-inspiring run, I have had no other songs in my head. I skipped an entire week of my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist. I made Chris listen to Hamilton on his birthday (he’s now a fan), and I have experienced the best runs of the summer, all while living and dying with A dot Ham.

And as it has been my brain’s story-on-repeat, it has also made it into my parenting. And thus, I am finally living that musical I never wanted to, belting out lines full of passion at my children when opportune moments arise.

If you haven’t listened yet, I insist that you do so (but not with the kids in the car – who knew the founding fathers had foul mouths and sketchy girlfriends? A Beka didn’t teach us that.)  And, once you’ve listened, here is my compilation of the lines best sung to your offspring, along with some suggested opportunities for their use…


“Moooom! Why do I have to clean my room??”

Because you’re Half-dead sittin’ in your own sick, the scent thick…

“But I can’t!! It’s too messy! Can you help me??”

The ten-dollar founding father without a father
Got a lot farther by working a lot harder
By being a lot smarter
By being a self-starter!

“Hey Mommy can I have a snack I don’t like this shirt I need a new pillow will you buy me some candy but I don’t WANT to go to the store when are you making dinner?”

While we’re talking, let me offer you some free advice.
Talk less, Smile More.

“Hey Mommy I told Daddy about your secret chocolates…”

Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead…

“Moooooom! She hit me with her light saber!”

Chaos and bloodshed are NOT a solution!

“Give it to me right now!”
“No! It was mine first!!”
”Uh uh! I found it!!”

I am about to send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love!
Da da da dat da dat da da da da ya da!

When you see that kid toying with doing exactly what you just told them not to do…

You keep out of trouble and you double your choices!

When the children are ignoring you at record levels, just belt out at your highest volume…

The problem is I got a lot of brains but no polish
I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop knowledge!

Every night in bed with your spouse, talking about the children….

We are outgunned!
Outnumbered, outplanned!

When you tell the kid to go do a chore and they try to distract you with a giant hug…

And no, don’t change the subject,
Cuz you’re my favorite subject,
My sweet, submissive subject!

When all the kids are asking for something different at once…

I cannot be everywhere at once, people –
I’m in dire need of assistance!

Texting the babysitter…

We are a powder keg about to explode
I need someone like you to lighten the load. So?

“But Mom!! She started it!”

Love doesn’t discriminate,
Between the sinners and the saints…

“But why am I getting punished, too?”

Death doesn’t discriminate,
Between the sinners and the saints…

When you catch the kid red-handed…

The challenge: demand satisfaction
If they apologize, no need for further action…

When the kid spills apple juice on your MacBook….

Pick a place to die where it’s high and dry!

When you get that text that the husband is on the way home…

No one has more resilience,
Or matches my practical tactical brilliance!

“But Mom! She tattled on me!!”

You have no control:
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story!

When they get their own apartment and then ask for money…

What comes next?
You’ve been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
You’re on your own
Awesome. Wow!
Do you have a clue what happens now?
Oceans rise,
Empires fall,
It’s much harder when it’s all your call!

When you try to give them a kiss and they squeal and wipe it off…

You say our love is draining and you can’t go on
You’ll be the one complaining when I am gone…

You use this line every day. Obviously.

Ev’ry day you fight like it’s
Going out of style!

When the kids come home totally spoiled due to the The Grandparent Effect.

It must be nice, it must be nice to have
Gramamma on your side…
It must be nice, it must be nice to have
Gramamma on your side…

When the charming, adorable, endlessly endearing (to everyone but you) two-year-old has finally pitched the last fit you can handle…and it’s only 9:08 on a Monday morning…

Somebody gimme some dirt on this vacuous mass so we can at last unmask him!

When you hide under the covers in your bed so your kids can’t find you…

I’m erasing myself from the narrative!

When you find out the hard way that Daddy let the kids have loads of candy right before bed…

I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true –
Your father’s a scoundrel, and so, it seems, are you!

I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

R dot Call

Diary of A Tired Mom: Uncomfortable Truths.


This post felt like I’d taken two familiar genres and thrown them into a smoothie together: my Diary of a Tired Mom posts, and my friend Katherine’s madly fantastic Uncomfortable Truths, which has  66 volumes (and counting.) Be sure to read hers, because they’re delightfully more uncomfortable than mine.


Although my elbow and shoulder (and finger) are slowly recovering, they’re still annoying. I mean, it is my left hand. And I am left-handed. But way more annoying than having three separate injuries on my dominant arm is the fact that it is also my drive-thru arm. It’s hard enough to be a professional Chick-Fil-A Speed Receiver – but try doing it with only one arm.

My game has been decimated.

(Seriously. Next time you’re at the drive-thru, try doing all transactions with your right arm. It’ll make you appreciate the left side of your body so much more richly.)

(And anyway. Who needs to actually write with a pen in this day and age anyway. The ability to accept fast food is way more crucial.)


The British add a lot of unnecessary letters, right? (I get that the US of A became a nation a couple years after the United Kingdom but spelling wasn’t normalized until we were both around so I blame them for saying “yeah, let’s shove all those extra letters in.”)

There’s labour and flavour and colour and foetus.

But the most disturbing of all extra letters the British chose to keep is in a word already fraught with unnecessary characters.

Without a doubt, it goes to diarrhoea.

Somehow this unfortunate British spelling got stuck in my head and that extra o – a round circle surrounded by two cheeks of burgeoning letters – haunts me. And every time I mentally say diarrhea, (which is more often than I’d like thanks to having two children and a husband and being human and all,) I also add the o in there, mentally saying dia-ROY-a, as I imagine a countryside British farmhand would say.

“This ‘ere mare’s got tha dia-ROY-a again. Best be givin’ a ring to Doc Herriot.”


I recently had the joy of possessing a rather stubborn UTI. After a couple rounds of antibiotics, I went to the doctor, where they loaded me up with drugs – both the antibiotic and the UTI kinds. As she handed me samples of the UTI drugs, she said, “Now don’t be alarmed – this WILL turn your urine a bright blue.”

Well THAT’S different. I mean, AZO is entertaining enough, with it’s orange-maroon color (which incidentally looks just like the colors of the Virginia Tech Hokies – the students should all take AZO as a show of team support before football games.)


But BLUE. Not everyone gets the opportunity to pee blue.

When I actually experienced this fascinating phenomenon, I realized something: I could choose to not flush and other people would think I’d just finished thoroughly cleaning my toilet bowl. Because nothing feels fresher than sitting down at a toilet full of bright blue water, right?

It was like a magic pill! That made it look like I’d done a chore! Where can I get pills to make it look like I did the dishes more than twice a week? Or perhaps a pill that hid the crumbs my kids so expertly and efficiently spread across my floors? Someone needs to be researching these possibilities right away.

(Disclaimer: I didn’t actually not flush. But it totally looked Mr. Clean up in there.)


I’ve been wondering if I’ve contracted ADD. If I have, I suspect that one day they’ll discover there’s a risk of ADD contraction from being on Twitter. So many subjects. So many conversations. So many news articles. All jumbled together. Making your brain change lanes every 140 characters.

It’s a lot.

I was such a focused person in my school days, and even in my career days (which thankfully ended before the mainstream adoption of social media.) I could sit in class and take notes for HOURS and adore it. There was nothing I liked better than a perfect, neat, organized, outlined page of handwritten notes. It was a type of beauty I could appreciate.

But now, my brain is different.

I can’t take notes.

And definitely can’t sit still and listen.

However, I’ve found coping mechanisms. The downside to my coping mechanisms is that it makes me look like an unruly seven-year-old. But I swear it works. If I sit in church and take “notes” like this, I hear every single word of the sermon – and am able to process and even meditate on it.

Line Art for paying attention

But the second I quit my line art because I started feeling bashful about all of the eyes around me that could get a brief look at my notes and and say “mm, mm, mm,” while shaking their heads on the inside, I don’t hear another word. My mind wanders to the randomest of places. Like writing this blog post.

So, dear people around me in church, and Pastor if you have really good eyes, please know – if I’m coloring, I’m listening.  And maybe those coloring kids are, too.


“We have a reservation. For fifteen.”

It was Father’s Day. I was in an extremely busy restaurant, trying to snag our family table before the staff was overrun with families celebrating their Dads. I was too late – I waited at the hostess station for ten minutes, and our food wait was over an hour and thirty minutes. But I say all this to go ahead and excuse myself for what I didn’t do.

Noah needed to pee. Right away. I sent him and Ali in the Ladies’ room together, instructing her to not leave without him.

Way too long went by, all while I was still standing at the hostess station.

Finally, I saw Ali open the door. And hold it open. And hold it open.

He must be taking FOREVER to wash his hands, I thought.

Then she closed the door.

I was worried. What would I do if the hostess was ready for me to follow her deep into the bowels of the restaurant and my children hadn’t made it back yet?

Ugh. WHAT is taking him so long?!

A minute later, as the hostess was gathering our fifteen menus to seat us, Ali reappeared, and Noah followed her out.

They walked up to me as I began following the hostess.

“Noah couldn’t get his stall door unlocked.”


“So he had to crawl underneath the door.”


“Yeah! I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl under the door to escape!”


“I tried to help him but I couldn’t.”

“Did you wash your hands really good?”

“Yes! I used three lumps of soap.”

And I kept walking.

So I’m sorry, Manager-Who-Had-To-Figure-Out-How-To-Get-That-Stall-Door-Unstuck later that night. I had semi-plans to crawl back under myself and undo my son’s issue. (After I ate. Because ew.)

But then I had to wait an hour and a half for my food. And by the time I was able to wrangle my kids out of your restaurant, I had totally forgotten about your jammed door. Even though Noah returned once during the meal, crawling back under the stall door, to look for his lost bible. Because what good is there in Gideoning up a bathroom stall that can’t even be accessed?