A is for Acting Out

The day I noticed my stepdad kept the keys in his black Pontiac Grand AM is the day I started planning. You can’t just take a car, at 15 years old, no license and cross state lines to skip school with your best friend without proper preparation.  It only took a few days to build up the courage and to feel as though my plan was foolproof.

I’d recently moved from Minnesota to Wisconsin and I missed my best friend… that’s how I justified this madness.

I watched the parental units pull out of the driveway, carpooling to their jobs and a twinge of excitement rushed over me. Running to the phone, I couldn’t get Jenny on the phone fast enough. She had no clue what was in the works – true schemes like this can’t be jeopardized by doing something willy-nilly like talking about it on the phone. That’s how you get caught. Duh.

“Do you want to go to school today?”

…’Well, no?’

“Pack us some lunch, and I’ll pick you up at your bus stop.”

Jenny and I had the kind of friendship where after something like that was said, no questions were asked.

I slam the phone down and get to work. I marked the garage with tape so I knew the placement of the tires – and you can’t drive as far as I planned and expect the gas gauge to keep a secret, so the tape had multiple purposes. It didn’t stop there… after I placed the cheat tape on the floor of the garage and the fuel deal – it went on the seat adjusters. My young lady legs were shorter than the regular occupant and the goal this whole time is to make sure the next time Clarence sits down to go somewhere – everything is just how it was.

I told you it was an elaborate plan.

Looking back now as an adult I’m surprised I didn’t have any concern for the neighbors, who easily could have saw me backing out of the driveway, if they did they kept their yappers shut and for that, I thank them. It was roughly an hour drive to Jenny’s bus stop and at no point do I remember being concerned. I was not worried about getting pulled over, I wasn’t worried about being absent from school and I certainly wasn’t worried about getting caught at home – I’d put the work in.

Confidence is key, apparently.  

Jenny packed us tuna fish sandwiches and I hate Tuna – everything about it, especially the smell. After she chucked the sandwiches out the window we made our way to the good ol’ Mall of America. I’d never tackled a parking ramp before so that was an adventure all in itself. We found somewhere to park, but being an unlicensed, inexperienced driver I bumped into the concrete barrier with his bumper. Our quick looks of fear didn’t take long to subside and we were back to being carefree in no time. No harm no foul.

We did some serious cruising with Missy Elliot, too. We opened the sunroof and laughed while we watched the rearview mirror shake with the bass vibrations. Eventually, the day had to come to an end and I was on a time crunch.

Often times, I wonder how I ever managed to get anywhere before GPS and then I remember the time I got lost on the way home from stealing my step dad’s car. I stopped for gas and was too paranoid to ask for directions because if I asked the gas station attendant they might ask for proof of a driver’s license. Simple 15-year-old logic.

I was on my own, lost, and that moment was the only time I felt nervous. Clarence and my mom were due home soon and all my fun was about to come crashing down around me. Not that I deserved God’s help but I give him credit for getting me home and in that garage – all lined up – approximately five minutes before their arrival. I erased the message from school, threw my backpack where it’d ususally be thrown after school and plopped down on the couch – full of relief. “Hey guys, how was your day?” I said, with a smile as they made their way into the house.

The moment of truth came and went – I got away with it.

Fast forward 3 years or so – my mother went and read all my old journals. Remember when I said, “true schemes like this can’t be jeopardized by doing something willy-nilly like talking about it on the phone. That’s how you get caught. Duh.” … I did not feel that the same standards were there for writing about it. She made me confess – three years later. We were out to eat, mowin’ down cheeseburgers when I spilt the beans.

“I TOLD YOU!! I TOLD YOU!!” – Clarence

Low and behold, I didn’t do as great of a job as I thought and he asked my mom about it that night and for a few weeks after, to which my mother responded

“Jennifer? No…no way, she wouldn’t do something like that.”

I am looking forward to the month of April because I’m participating in the A-Z Challenge. Mostly to get in the habit of writing every day, but also to re-enter the blogging community and make some new connections. Looking forward to reading the other submissions for day one!



Could Be Worse [Friday Fictioneers]

PHOTO PROMPT -© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
PHOTO PROMPT -© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

I knew this place would be a dump.

Be grateful there’s a place at all… sleep out in the rain if you want.

It’s not my fault we’re in this godawful situation, but her tone always implies otherwise.

I rested my unwashed head and couldn’t help but wonder if the overripe stench was me or this questionable pillow. Fighting it, my eyes shifted in the direction of my mother; watching her body sob silently, I drifted.

I love you, kid.

I heard it, I’m just not sure if it was real or if I was dreaming.


This flash fiction entry was written in response to Friday Fictioneers.
The objective of Friday Fictioneers is to challenge yourself to write a 100 word or less story that is influenced by a single photo. If you’d like to learn more and/or participate, click on the photo prompt above.

Legalize It

I recently read an article on the Huffington Post that showed images of not-your-typical-pot-heads enjoying recreational marijuana.

[These Photos Of Legal Recreational Marijuana Users Shatter Stereotypes]

“We all know that many marijuana smokers look more like your Aunt Bettie or your accountant than “The Dude” from “The Big Lebowski,” but most images in the public sphere still do not reflect this.”

-Sharda Sekaran [managing director of communications for DPA.]

I haven’t done a ton of research, I haven’t spent hours reading all the ins & outs of the legality of this plant; what I have done is smoked weed. Would you like to know what other drugs I have tried? Alcohol; that’s where my list stops.

Society likes to cling onto the term “gateway drug” when talking to the children.

If you smoke marijuana you’re going to end up homeless looking for your next crack rock.

No. Poor decisions and bad influences make you homeless scrounging around for crack… not weed. Weed is not the issue.

Since I brought up Alcohol… would you like to know the terrible, raunchy things I’ve done after consuming too much? I’m sure you would, but I’m not actually going to share; use your imagination [or read about it].

Who hasn’t done things they regret while under the influence of their favorite adult beverage? Know what I’m not embarrassed to share with you?

The stupidest thing I’ve done while I was high on marijuana. I ate a lot of junk food, felt super bloated…had a ridiculously deep conversation, laughed about it & gained 2 pounds in one night.

To avoid sounding like every other person who’s preachin’ about the legalization of marijuana, I won’t go into the “War on Drugs” and the tax-payers dollars being spent to house the “weed-criminals” in prison in America. [42 Billion Dollars/Year]

There are facts that this drug has benefits to people. If a doctor can prescribe Vicodin to a patient to fight pain, there is a chance that person will abuse it. When Joe Alchie goes to the bar, the possibility of irresponsibly consuming the legal alcohol, is there.

The burden needs to be placed on the individual.

I want society to stop labeling this drug as dangerous. I want people like Nancy Grace who want to, “Save The Children” from pot-heads, to take their blinders off.

Nancy Grace had 2 Chainz on her show on HLN to debate this topic.

The video clip that gets put up for the viewers to see is a small child walking around with a joint; Nancy goes nuts over this poor child. THIS IS NOT TYPICAL. How many times have children taken drinks of alcohol when their irresponsible parent wasn’t paying attention?

Quick, ya better start a petition to make all varieties of alcohol banned.

Newsflash: You can be a “Pot-Head”, watch that video on Nancy Grace & wish those people never procreated. Society puts a blanket of judgment over the use of recreational marijuana & to be honest, I’m kinda tired of it.  You can be a “Pot-Head” and still hold strong parental values. You can be a “Pot-Head” and still be responsible. You can be a “Pot-Head” and have morals and goals.

Washington, Colorado, Oregon & Alaska are black and white proof that there are benefits to changing the laws. Colorado’s statistics alone shows a revenue of 60.1 million dollars via taxes, licenses and fees on recreational and medical marijuana, from January to October 2014.

In the mean time, my lovely state of Wisconsin just passed a law that allows samples of hard liquor to be handed out at grocery stores. 



Flashback Friday: That One Friend

Everyone has that one friend, the one your parents hated and their parents hated you just as much.  The other one was such a bad influence.

267883_10150300792575452_2608530_nMy friend, shared my name & that’s how our story began.  Jenny & I met in 1996; Mr. Anderson’s 6th grade class in Richfield, Minnesota; Spartan Elementary.

Ah, the days of meeting half way to catch the bus, passing notebooks in class, secret code language & nicknames. She was Fur-Fur & I was Imp. [short for impatient – looking back, I’m not sure what I was so impatient for as a 12 year old].


As I decided which stories I wanted to share with you I relized I’m not entirely surprised our parents weren’t fond of our blossoming friendship. If I’m being honest, I’m still not sure if things we did were normal childhood liveliness, or if we were downright awful human beings.

I hope it’s closer to the first, but………………


The first mischievous thing I remember doing with Jenny H was skipping recess. Yes, it’s possible. You’re supposed to go outside with the rest of class… and we decided to sit in the stairwell instead.

Rebels without a cause; we received in school suspension for a week.

As I continue with this story, please keep in mind that we were very bitchy young.

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We used to pick on a girl named Sarah. She was the first chair flute and also played the piccolo.  For you non-band people out there, the chairs signify how good you are at said instrument.

Jenny & I also played the flute, we were the last & 2nd to last chair – and we did not care.

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We stole Sarah’s padlock from her locker more than once, which might seem innocent…but we took it to a different level when we found our band teacher in the phone book.

Mr. Fairweather; he was interesting.

He always wore a floppy cowboy hat on his way into work. Occasionally, the group of us sitting outside before school would bust into, “Where Did All The Cowboys Go” by  Paula Cole in decent harmony.

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But anyway… we called him.

“Hello? Mr. Fairweather?


This is Sarah.

I’m sorry to call you at home but I was wondering if you

could tutor me?”

Jenny, pretending to be Sarah basically begged him to reconsider every time he declined. The conversation ended  when she screamed:






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The dancing baby was big at the time…  so…

It wasn’t long before we threw our homeroom teacher, Mr. Anderson into the mix.  We ordered multiple pizzas, with lots of delicious toppings for him. Super nice of us. I wish a pizza would just show up at my door – even if I did have to pay for it.

I think there’s a chance he considered it a random act of kindness rather than a prank; it’s possible. Once that got old… we wanted to see our plan play out. We started ordering pizza for a girl in our class who lived up the road. We’d sit at the top of the hill & watch it get delivered.

Yeah…these are stickers. We stuck them all over the tennis courts in our neighborhood.

Prank calling was kind of a specialty of ours. We’d call random names from the white pages [oh the struggles before the intraweb] and conduct surveys on smoking Meritt Cigarettes.

The surveyor was, “Suzie Severson” & she had a terrible lisp. The survey always concluded with:

“Thank you for your time. Shhmoke on & have a shhmoke free life!”

Again, I like to imagine we gave people a good laugh, but…

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Gosh, to have this kind of time on our hands again would be amazing.

When we turned 14 we both got a job at the local drug store up the street. We’d give the cute boys discounts on disposable cameras and they’d buy us chocolates & the super romantic flowers you can buy at a drug store. We were kind of a big deal.

The Drug Store Days
The Drug Store Days

I moved out of Richfield my sophomore year of high school but when I got my driver’s license the shenanigans continued.

Actually… it was before I got my license. I had my learners permit the first time I decided to drive from Wisconsin to Minnesota in my step-dads black GrandAm, on a school day [I think it was a Tuesday].


Jenny…do you want to go to school today?


Me either… I’m coming to pick you up at your bus stop.

Pack us some lunch.

She brought us tuna sandwiches & I made her throw them out the window [sick]. 

No license… an hour drive [one way], Missy Elliot, Simple Plan, The Mall of America and a set of young-super-good-decision-making gals.

[via: motormaniabuzz.eu]
[via: motormaniabuzz.eu]
I got home roughly 20 minutes before my mom & step-dad. The day went off without a hitch, until my mother read my old journal.

“I TOLD YOU SO!” was directed at my mom more than once when she made me fess up……………6 years later.

Apparently I didn’t park the car correctly & it’s been weighing on my step-dad ever since.

“Jen would never do something like that!”

-My Mom [for 6 years].

We got through our braces & frizzy hair phase together.

We’ve recorded ourselves singing to Martina McBride…to hear how good we sound.

I cut her hair with a pair of kitchen scissors in her bedroom.

We’ve taken a cat on a joy ride through a corn field, which ended horribly, with lots of scratches & a terrified cat.

We made cosmos in her bedroom with her mom hanging out downstairs.

We went on a search for a real prostitute in Minneapolis…to see if they really exist [they do].

There are many stories I did not include. Some I believe you’ll judge us pretty harshly for, some I don’t think Jenny would appreciate me sharing & some things are better left to the imagination.

Moral of the story #1: All that mumbo-jumbo about your kids being 10x worse than you were… I really hope it’s not true.

Moral of the story #2: I hope my kid finds a friend like Jenny.

I know they’re contradicting but I mean them both.

Yes, we’re aware it’s a miracle we ended up looking as normal as we do

PS: Sarah, Mr. Fairweather, Mr. Anderson…and the other girl we sent Pizza to [Lisa]…

I speak for both Jenny & I:

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8 Instances Someone Should Have Asked, ‘Is This A Good Idea?’

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.”

George Carlin


Her: Is this a good idea?

Her Friend: First, make sure the counter is dry..& let me stand behind you in case you fall, but yes…totally a good idea.


Her: Is This A Good Idea?

Her Friend: No, put it in the bowl you idiot…You’re lucky I can unattach those things so quickly – YOU’RE WELCOME.


Him: Is This A Good Idea?

Anyone: Maybe, maybe not… Make sure you jump high enough, or you’ll hurt your back.


Her: Is This A Good Idea?

Lady In The Floral Dress Behind Her: You are one morbid whack-job… No… awful idea.



This Person: Is This A Good Idea?

Tattoo Artist: Yep. That’ll be $250.00 please.

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Him: Is This A Good Idea?

Anyone filming it: You are so drunk.


Him: Is This A Good Idea?

Spotter: Hell no, but do it anyway.


I’d be willing to bet some dollars that this guy has never uttered those 5 little words.

For your viewing pleasure, a compilation of people who didn’t ask the very important question.

With all that being said… We never fully know what we’re capable of, unless we try. Kudos to all these idiots.