Thursday, February 16, 2017

RWISA Spotlight Author ~ Bette Stevens

I am a proud member of the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC).

I am honored to also be included in an exclusive division of RRBC,

This week we RWISA members are being introduced by way of blog hop. Today I am excited to introduce you to a lovely woman and talented author, Bette Stevens. Please enjoy this brief interview, in which Bette shares a little about herself!

How long have you been writing, Bette?

20+ years

How many books have you authored?

4 (four)

Please name a few of your titles!


Do you have a writing schedule?

Yes, but it changes with my weekly schedule.

You're a member of Rave Writers ~ International Society of Authors (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?

I believe it is because I'm professional and dedicated to both my readers and author friends.

Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?

I have a passion for sharing what I believe are crucial societal messages and themes often ignored by the general writing/reading community.

If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?

Emily Dickenson
I think I have a lot in common with this icon who wrote about passions similar to my own.

Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?

I would definitely sign on the dotted line if the contract was too good to pass up, but I would still like to have control of my work to some extent and would write as an Indie as well. My first book, THE TANGRAM ZOO... was published by a local press and I had no control until the company went under and copyrights returned to me. That's when I became an Indie.

As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Lord willing, I'll stil lbe writing books and hopefully get a chance to talk about them with local readers. Getting recognized in my own area is an uphill journey. Libraries aren't clamoring to host Indies. A local high school librarian suggested that my Amazon reviews were insignificant and that I should get reviews from Kirkus, etc. Not going to happne - that costs a fortune. So, I continue to write, blog, support my author friends, read in local schools and tell everyone I meet about my books. The joy is in the writing and talking with readers. I've got some ideas in mind for 2017, so we'll see where they go...

What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?

Rave Reviews Book Club where I’ve met wonderful author and reader friends who support me by reading and reviewing my books, by sharing on their media sites, promoting my books on their sites and by encouraging me with positive comments and helpful suggestions. And, Rave Reviews  Book Club offers so much more!

Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members.

Micki Peluso

What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?

Keep writing, reading and reviewing...

Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?

Couldn't give an opinion without reading their work.  Personally, I would not be able do it, but all things are possible and everyone has unique gifts.

If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready?  No matter your reason, please explain why?

I would definitely not knowingly publish until I felt the book was ready for readers to enjoy. I would blog about the delay, send newsletter and use media to let readers know why publication was delayed. Readers might be disappointed, but I think would be pleased and feel valued to be let in on a writing journey’s detour.

In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”

A beautifully written (includes editing) and professionally formatted story that draws me in and makes me want to keep reading even when I close the last page.

If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do?  And the second?

FIRST:  Get out the book and start reading…
SECOND: Take explicit notes as I’m reading and make necessary corrections.

Thanks so much, Bette! Please share with us one more bit of advice you feel is important for authors to know!

Writing Advice

by Bette A. Stevens

As writers, we can never get too much writing advice. That may sound strange, but for me it continues to be true and I’m grateful for the abundance of resources available both on and off line. The first resource on my list is reading.

Reading? That’s right.

Reading is the first step in becoming better writers. One on the top writer’s resource on my shelf is a book by Stephen King. It’s not one of those stuffy books of Do This and Don’t Do That lists, it’s the story of King’s own writing journey and the book is packed with the nuggets he’s discovered along the way.

But the reading doesn’t stop there. I belong to local and virtual book clubs, where we read and discuss books. I’ve never read a book that I didn’t learn something from— and when I’m engaged in a book, my writer-self is right there with me learning how to improve my own craft.

So, yes, the first step in becoming a better writer is to be a passionate reader.

Next step? Become a passionate writer.

Get writing. Yup, that’s what writers do. On a single piece for my blog, I may write, edit, and rewrite several times before publishing a given post. When I’m working on a book—now that’s a different story. That’s where you need plenty of help, once you’ve got the first draft ready for amateur editor eyes—bless those darling beta readers.

While that draft is vacationing at beta readers resorts, reread your draft one chapter at a time as you edit and rewrite along the way. Always save an unedited copy of every draft just in case. Should one of your beta reader be a professional editor and is willing to reread, that’s fantastic. If not, before you publish, do hire a reputable editor.

Between edits, take breaks so you can look at the work with fresh eyes. It’s amazing what you’ll discover as you travel the path to publication.

Happy reading and writing!

Thanks again, Bette! Interested in checking out a few of Bette's books? Visit her Amazon page and take a look! 
You can also reach her on Twitter: @BetteAStevens
or Facebook:

Thank you for supporting our RWISA (Rave Writers ~ International Society of Authors) Members! Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Seeing Is Believing...And Not Judging

"You're so lucky your daughter's in a wheelchair!"

That was said to me by a fellow mom at a parent support group meeting I attended when Emily and Hannah were young.

"Excuse me?!" I responded.

"My daughter is autistic," she explained, "which is quite debilitating for her. But she looks normal, so people judge her...and me. They have no understanding of or patience for her disability because they can't SEE it. Your daughter is in a wheelchair. People know right away not to expect normalcy from her, so they're more likely to accept her for who she is. I'm jealous!"

Fast forward about 20 years. I now have a 21-year-old daughter who is still wheelchair-bound and a 24-year old (fully mobile) daughter with high functioning autism and mild to moderate cognitive delay (translating to social, developmental, and emotional abilities of about a 12 to 14-year-old. It was diagnosed a year or two after that particular parent support group meeting). There have been many times over the years when the words of that conversation have rung true - but probably none so blatant as a recent flying situation we found ourselves in.

Emily has flown to New Hampshire alone a few times to visit her best friend, Stacy (who happens to also be her ex-stepmother, a.k.a. my ex-husband's second ex-wife...but that's a story for another time). In the past we've always gotten her onto a direct flight from Seattle to Boston, knowing she would struggle with the challenge of changing planes in a layover.

Emily wanted to spend Christmas with Stacy this year, but for some reason the direct flights were much more expensive than usual. I did find, however, that a few airlines have programs for adults needing assistance with plane changes, much like the program most airlines have for unaccompanied minors. Delta is one of those airlines. When setting up Emily's travel plans I was told,

"All she'll have to do is walk into the airport, approach anyone at the Delta counter, and discretely say the words "Greet and Assist". Our agents will walk her through security and accompany her to her gate. At the second airport someone will meet her as she exits the aircraft and help her to her next gate."

Perfect. On the day of travel I printed out Emily's boarding passes and, indeed, found the words "Assistance Required" printed right there in black and white. Excellent. To make absolutely sure there would be no confusion, though, I also gave her an index card to carry, which read, "I'm in the Greet and Assist program and I need help, please." I told her if she had any trouble, to hand that to any Delta employee and they'd know what to do. Feeling nervous but reasonably confident, I dropped her off at Sea-Tac. She kept in contact with me by phone and text. Everything went swimmingly. The Delta agents were all helpful and respectful. She felt very much at ease and was pleasantly surprised when they informed her that her status allowed her to board the plane first. She wouldn't even have the stress and anxiety of bumping her way through a crowded plane as she nervously looked for her seat number. Fantastic!

A few hours later I got a call from Emily from Minneapolis, where she was switching planes. "Mommy! There's nobody here!" she yelled, in a panic.

Trying to keep my voice calm and even (despite the fact that I was more than a little nervous because I didn't know how long her layover was) I said, "It's okay, sweetie. Just take a breath, go up to the desk, and ask the person there for help, just like we talked about."

"They can't help me; they're too busy helping people onto the plane I just got off of," she said in near tears.

Obviously they wouldn't be boarding that plane so soon after she walked off; her response just demonstrated her level of distress.

"Breathe, Emily, it's going to be okay. Here's what we're going to do. You're going to go to the closest person in a Delta jacket. I don't care if that person is talking to someone, on the computer, or whatever - you will interrupt them and say, "Excuse me; I need help right now." Keep me on the phone so I can be with you until they've helped you."

She approached someone and said, "Excuse me. My name is Emily and I'm in the Greet and Assist program, and I need help getting to my next gate."

"The what program?"

"Greet and Assist."

"...and HOW old are you?"


[pause] "Uh...John! Will you help this woman to her next gate?"

I hung up the phone after Emily reported she was on a golf cart, headed for her next gate. I told her to text when she got there.

I got a call a few minutes later. Emily was, again, desperately trying to hold back tears. "Mommy, I'm in the area where my gate is, but I still don't know which is the right one."

"Didn't the man take you to your gate?"

"When he dropped me off he said, "Your gate is around the corner to the left," but there are a lot of gates here and I don't know which one is mine!"

"Okay. Can you see one of the screens with the flights listed?"


From there we determined which gate she was supposed to be at and that she had about 45 minutes until she needed to board. I suggested she get a snack, and when someone got to the desk, to ask if she would be able to board first again, since that had been so helpful in Seattle.

She later called me from the plane, reporting that she had been one of the first people to board, but not until after she had nearly the same conversation she had had when she got off the previous plane.

"Hi. My name is Emily and I'm in the Greet and Assist program. On my last flight they let me get on the plane first. Will it be okay for me to do that again?"

"The what program?"

"Greet and Assist."

"...and HOW old are you?"


[pause] "I guess...if you feel like you NEED to."

A few days before her return trip home, I called Delta and explained the "Tale of Two Cities", where their Seattle employees were the perfect picture of respectful assistance, and their Minneapolis employees...might benefit from a review of Delta's program, since none of them appeared to have heard of it. Not only had Emily told them the name of the program, but "Needs Assistance" was written right on her boarding pass! Attempting to bring the point home that getting help should not be so difficult under those circumstances, I said, "I mean, multiple people have told us we should just put her in a wheelchair when she gets to Logan airport, so maybe someone will ACTUALLY help her!"

The customer service representative shocked me with his response.

[slight pause] "Yes...yes. That's a good idea. Put her in a wheelchair as soon as she gets to the airport. She'll get help, then. And I apologize for her stressful experience on her last flight. I'm upgrading her to our Comfort Plus seating for both flights on the way back to Seattle, so she'll not only be the first on the plane, but she'll be first to get off the plane, too."

I called Emily and explained the plan. She didn't understand. It broke my heart as I tried to explain it in a way that wouldn't insult her or make her feel self-conscious. She said, "But if I'm in a wheelchair, won't the other passengers wonder why I'm not walking? Won't they think I'm just being lazy or something?"

"No, sweetie," I said, "Nobody will say anything to you. And if they do, you can say you just had surgery and your doctor doesn't want you walking more than a few steps. BUT...we are NOT pretending that you can't walk at all. When you're on the plane, if you have to use the restroom, you GET UP and walk to the restroom. Nobody will think anything of it."

The entire trip back home went as smooth as silk. Everyone happily helped her along every "step" of the way. I'm relieved that it was a much less stressful experience for her, but it's sad and frustrating that people need the "visual aid" to accept that someone needs assistance. Sad and frustrating...but oh, so true.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

WTH, TSA?! ...SMH...

Going through the TSA (Transportatin Secuirity Administraton) security check at the airport is [at the very least] annoying to everyone. For some people, like Emily, however, it is a downright torturous bombardment on the senses (it's too loud, crowded, fast, etc.). She is overwhelmed and flustered by the time she comes out the other end, often to the point of near tears.

I thought it might help if I got her signed up for TSA pre-check so she will at least be able to zip right through that mess. I filled out an online request, and was scheduled an appointment for her to visit their office and finish the process. The email told me she only needed to bring her passport, but I brought along a copy of her guardianship order, in case she needed to sign anything (to explain why I would either be signing for her or with her).

In a small, eerily quiet, windowless office, Emily and I sit at one side of a desk as the TSA guy types on his computer on the other side of the desk. Emily has a screen and a key pad in front of her with a few options, like "yes", "no", and "enter" to choose from.

Our address flashes up on her screen. "Yes", that's our address. A statement flashes up stating Emily was born in the United States. "Yes", she's an American. A statement flashes up stating she has never been covincted of a crime. "No", Emily is not a criminal. A statement flashes up stating she has never been deemed mentally deficient or spent time in a mental hospital. The guy says, "And for this you just click the 'no' button."

I interrupt, saying, "Um...wait; I have full guardianship over Emily." [I hold up the court order] "So would that mean we need to answer "yes" here?"

"No," he says impatiently, "This is only for people who have been found mentally deficient or mentally ill."

"Riiiigghhttt," I say, "which she haaaaasssss....", trying not to say too much, being sensitive to the fact that Emily is sitting right next to me, but enough to get this moron to understand what I'm saying.

"No," he says, even more impatiently, then he adds in what I can only assume is his most patronizing voice, with a slight shake of his head, tilted to the side, "A judge would have had to have ordered it."

"You mean like this one did, right here?", I practically hiss, pointing to the papers with a shaking finger.

He snatches the papers from me, brow furrowed, mouth turned down in a frown. "Oh," he says in a surprised, moderately confused tone after reading over the order for a few moments, "so she's..." he shoots a glance over at Emily like she's some sort of alien (the green Martian kind, not the immigrant kind) "...she's really mentally defici-"

"Right," I interrupt him in a growl, trying desperately to spare Emily even more embarrassment as I simultaneously imagine 6 different ways I could reach across the desk and do this insensitive ass bodily harm, "so, do we put a "yes" here, then?"

"Well, I...I suppose you'll have to. This has never happened before...but I suppose...yes, you'll have to answer that one "yes"." His expression is the most bureaucratically shell shocked I've ever seen. "So,, like, have power of attorney for her or something?" He doesn't even attempt to make eye contact with Emily anymore, as if he might catch something if he spares her a glance.

"It's kinda like a step above power of attorney," I patiently explain.

Then comes the part of the process where Emily is supposed to sign the little slab of plastic with the stylus so there will be a completely illegible indication that someone has "signed" the application.

But Emily can't [legally] sign it, of course, so I sign. The TSA guy suggests I include my "title" of guardian under my signature. Given the struggle with writing anything that could ever be successfully deciphered later, however, I ask if there's a comments section to explain that Emily just has a guardianship, that she's not mentally ill and has never spent time in a mental hospital (as the simple "yes" to the very loaded 2-part question may have suggested).

"No," he says, getting up to usher us out, having returned to his baseline holier-than-thou civil servant demeanor, "It's just yes/no. You can visit the website to check on the status of your application. I have no idea what effect that "yes" will have on your wait time or if it will keep her from getting approved. Have a nice day."

As we leave the office, I seethe, disgusted and embarrassed for Emily. What could the purpose of that last question on the application possibly be? I can only assume that anything asked in a TSA application would have to relate to security. What does cognitive disability have to do with security? I could see how some mental illnesses could have security concerns, but not most. That's something that would require clarification or explanation (which, of course, they don't allow for). And - even if you do have some valid reason for asking these things - why combine the two inquiries in a single yes/no question? "Do you have Down Syndrome or are you a homicidal schizophrenic who is currently off your meds after having recently finished an involuntary commitment at a mental hospital? Just click "yes" here, because regardless of which better describes you, the potential threat you pose is virtually the same." What the hell, TSA? [...Shake my head...]

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Beating the Burnout Beast

Caretaker burnout is real. It's ruthless. It's persistent. It sucks.

It didn't creep up on me as I might have expected. The onset was explosive. It first struck exactly 10 years ago. At the time I had Emily (an autistic teen), Hannah (who was 11 years chronologically but had the cognitive and self-care abilities of about a 9-month-old), James, an ADHD/dyslexic toddler (who had yet to be diagnosed and was completely out of control), and a newborn who insisted - loudly - from the moment of her birth that she would be held only by me, only in my left arm, and that she would require this treatment 24/7. I was also working 11 PM to 7 AM as a pediatric nurse.

Daniel came home one night after seeing a movie with some friends. As soon as he walked through the door I said, "I'm leaving."

"What?!" he asked, eyes wide and obvious panic in his voice.

"As soon as this one," I nodded down to the cranky, obnoxious, persnickety leach suckling at my breast, "is weaned, I'm leaving. I don't know where I'll go or who I'll go with, but I'll need a week. You'll have the kids."

I didn't leave much room for argument, but luckily I have an incredibly understanding husband who was happy to accommodate my need to flee. Roughly a year later I was, indeed, in the Dominican Republic with my sister for a week of respite...for a chance to recharge.

It was an incredibly important turning point for me. It took those 3000 miles of distance from my life to realize that I had completely lost sight of who I was. That may sound all "New Age" and "fru-fru", but it's accurate. My brain was so completely saturated with the needs, desires, preferences and schedules of the kids that everything "me" had long since slunk back to the far recesses of my mind. I had to remind myself what was important to me, what made me happy, what inspired me, what my goals were. It became obvious that my success (or failure) as a parent relied on finding those answers.

I got back home and made it a priority to devote some of my time - every day - to me. I had told myself for years that I didn't have time for it. I wasn't going to accept that excuse any longer.

It was transformative. My relationship with my husband improved, my relationship with the kids improved. I found my inner jock, quickly becoming addicted to running and Zumba. I lost 40 pounds along the way. I was reminded of my love of reading. I even published a book of my own, for crying out loud! Things were definitely improved.

But burnout doesn't disappear just because you've developed a strong defense. It lurks in the shadows, ever ready to strike and envelope you in it's dark, suffocating weight once again. The past decade has been a long, exhausting series of burnout high's and low's. I've had to learn to be patient through the rough patches and thankful when I'm feeling relatively at peace.

I was particularly worried last spring. Burnout was hitting me hard, and Hannah was finishing high school. She would now be home with me. Every day. All day.

I've now had a few months to experience this new development...and I've made an interesting discovery. Time together has actually improved my level of burnout. My school-day schedule with Hannah used to be: get her up and ready for school, put her on the bus, take her off the bus, get her changed and set up for the evening [before leaving to take Maddie to gymnastics practice], then put her to bed when I got home. Each of those encounters was nothing more than chores to be completed - chores I've grown to dread over the years. My daughter had become Hannah the diaper that needed to be changed, the medication that needed to be drawn up, the medical supplies that needed to be ordered.

Now I still have those same daily chores, but Hannah is also the random giggle from across the room, the mischievous look before she throws her star rattle into the toilet, the sound of delighted glee when she knocks the dog's water dish over. It's no cure to caregiver burnout - unfortunately, there's no such thing. But that extra spark of connection with my daughter - with my little girl - that's a mighty strong stick with which to beat back the burnout beast.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Missing Link

You were always a soft-spoken gentleman; as a pup you didn't even chew on just nibbled shoe laces.

You were named after a video game character known for his bravery, selflessness, compassion, and kindness. Well...your bravery seemed to fall a bit short, demonstrated by your fear of...dogs. But you didn't let that timidity keep you from excelling at the ever-important duty of herding your family safely down the treacherous walking paths of the dog park. Yes, what you may have lacked in courage, you more than made up for in fidelity and devotion. You skillfully guarded your charges from day one...

...come snow, rain, heat, or gloom of night...

...for all your years.

And you warmly welcomed all new members to the family along the way, regardless of size or shape, be they the human sort, the four-legged variety or...not.

And, oh, how you absolutely dominated on the agility course. Your athletic prowess deserved so much more acclaim than you ever received. You routinely beat dogs with national standing; you could have easily been a formidable competitor in the agility world. I'm sorry I didn't give you the opportunity to shine as brightly as I know you would have.

Despite being a world-class athlete, you never shied away from helping with the mundane chores of the household. You kept me company through many a load of wash to fold, garden of weeds to pull, and yard of leaves to rake.

And now you leave us to savor the fond memories you so generously provided over the years. I thank you dearly for each and every one of them. I will miss you, my friend. You were a good, good boy.

July 10, 2001 ~ October 31, 2016 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

All About The Badonkadonk

I've never been a party girl; large groups make me feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. In college my nickname was "Grandma Steph". While everyone else was out whooping it up, I was in the community kitchen of the dorm in my robe and fuzzy slippers, whipping up cookies, brownies and banana bread. I was the best friend to those who came back from the parties with a raging case of the munchies. They'd chow down while regaling me with wild tales of celebration and smashing good times. I'd be jealous, wishing I could have shared in the fun they were apparently having...until they'd share their war stories of projectile puking and/or deathbed hangovers. My life didn't exactly feel lacking for those particular joys. Things didn't change after college, either. Workplace holiday parties and big birthday bashes for friends...they just weren't for me.

All of that changed last weekend. It started as most discoveries do - with a big jump out of my comfort zone. I learned about a huge Zumba party at my weekly Zumba class. It was a fund-raiser for breast cancer research. I decided to sign myself up, reasoning that worse case scenario, I'd just be making a donation to a good cause. Wow. I walked into the room wondering if I'd be walking right back out. I walked out two hours later, knowing that - after 46 years - I had finally found my kindred party peeps!

There were dancers of all types - men and women of all ages, skin tones, backgrounds, and lifestyles. There were folks ranging from lifelong dancers to people more like me (the overwhelming majority of my dance experience involves a vacuum cleaner for a partner). The mood was festive and friendly, but it was really all about the music. It was easy to immediately get drawn into the booming base and rockin' rhythms. There were songs of many genres (I mean...there was a conspicuous lack of smooth jazz, but plenty of variety, from Pop and Hip Hop to Latin and Bollywood). The music had me feeling everything from young and energetic to smooth and sexy to gritty and gangsta. There was probably a moment or two when I much more resembled the white-bread, middle-aged, suburb-dwelling, rhythm-less housewife I am, but... it was all good. Watching the instructors on the stage, every fiber of my being insisted I looked just like them. Besides, who cared? There were no judgmental eyes pointed my way - everyone else was just as focused on the instructors as I was.

I can't recommend Zumba parties enough. If it were a requirement for all world leaders to attend a Zumba party before all interactions, we'd be living in a world of peace, health and harmony. I mean...this party had it all. Smiles. Laughs. Claps. Hugs. Dance. Could it have been any more fun? Why yes, yes it could. When I got home my Fit Bit informed me I had burned 873 calories. Now THAT'S a perfect party!

This post is dedicated, in part, to all of the amazing instructors at last week's party, with special thanks to my instructors (past and present) Kim, Dipa and Kristin!

I also dedicate this post to Maddie's new physical therapist, Jill. A few months ago Maddie landed wrong out of a front tuck and hyper-extended her knees. Luckily, she had no complaints of pain after a day or two, but it occurred to me that now, with a schedule of gymnastics 4 days/week, she would have little to no recovery time in the event of another injury. I decided to start some preventative physical therapy for her.

In the initial evaluation, Jill discovered Maddie was having some trouble with a few moves involving her knees. It surprised me, because I was sure she had fully recovered from her hyper-extension. Jill explained (sprinkling in a lot of anatomical and technical terms I won't bother to try to remember...or spell) that the issues she had discovered didn't really have to do with Maddie's knees at all. Maddie had been using muscles in her thighs to power herself through various jumps and flips, when she should have been using core and gluteal muscles.

The pain in her knees is caused by the thigh muscles and tendons becoming so tight from overuse that they pull on the knees in certain movements, creating discomfort. It's apparently a common problem for gymnasts. She said the plan was to loosen up Maddie's thigh muscles while working on engaging the core and gluteal muscles, so it would become natural for Maddie to use the correct muscle groups when flipping and jumping. She concluded, "Not only will this help your knees to feel more comfortable, but you'll actually be able to jump better and with more power once you're using these muscles (she pointed to Maddie's bottom) instead of these muscles (she indicated Maddie's thighs). Maddie considered Jill's words for a moment and said, "Sooo...what you're saying is, it's allllll about my badonkadonk."

Yes. Whether we're shakin' it or strengthening it, this month it's been all about the badonkadonk.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Say What Now?

The last few weeks have included a number of things I wish I had misheard, like:

From the guy driving behind me:
"Sorry I hit you; I just looked down for a second!"

From the cop:
"I'm pulling you over for expired tabs."

From the Department of Licensing:
"We didn't send you notification for renewing tabs because you have outstanding toll charges."

From the toll people:
"You have $32 in old toll charges, and with late fees that's...$1651. We sent you multiple bills. ...Oh...look at that. It appears we have the wrong billing address."

From the doctor:
"Huh. This is a curve ball. Emily's lab results are consistent with Grave's Disease. I'm sending you to our Nuclear Medicine department in Seattle..."

From the bank teller who called me:
"I notice there have been some suspicious checks cashed to your account over the past few the tune of...roughly $4000. I have suspended your account. I suggest you call the police to obtain a case number so our identity fraud department can open an investigation."


Instead of whining any more about the things we wish we had misheard, I thought I'd share a few conversations that originated from things that were misheard.

A few weeks ago Daniel and James were having a heated discussion about who is the best/most powerful of the Avengers. Attempting to get me in on the debate, Daniel asked me who my favorite is. Having no interest in jumping into the fray, I thought I'd answer in such a way that would surely turn him away. I paused for a moment (for dramatic effect), and confidently answered, "Hawkeye".

Oh, I hit a MAJOR Nerd Nerve with that one! Instead of getting the eye roll, disgusted sigh and head shake I anticipated, got an hour-long lecture about how - while there may be a few right answers to the question he posed - "Hawkeye" is the single worst, most wrong answer I could have possibly uttered.

After the lengthy tongue-lashing, Maddie turned to me and said, "Don't worry, Mom. I still love you even though Hot Guy is your favorite Avenger." Needless to say, this led to a whole new discussion about what Hot Guy would add to the Avenger team - his powers, his backstory...

As we were watching the Olympics, I explained to James that there were multiple track and field events taking place at the same time. While Usain Bolt was tearing up the track, other Olympians were participating in the Long Jump competition. Suddenly James looked at me with some degree of shock, disgust, and a touch of horror. "Uh....Mom? ....Why ...What ...H-how do they do a Long Junk competition?" Okay, most of the hilarious discussion that ensued this time was between just Daniel and I, after the kids went to bed.