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Family Dinner Sucks

I know what the studies say. Kids that sit down to a regular meal together have a lower obesity rate, use less drugs, stay in school longer and experience less stress. That’s a whole lot of power packed into meatloaf night! While it’s clear there are plenty of reasons to have dinner with your kids, the thought of actually doing so scares me more than the return of the midriff. That’s because the reality of family dinner night never comes close to the fantasy.

The fantasy – My family races to the dinner table to find a succulent homemade feast that even the Barefoot Contessa would covet. We laugh while sharing enchanting tales of our day, then I’m showered with compliments about my culinary skills. After dinner, we sing a song in a round while doing the dishes as animated birds fly overhead.  Not wanting the fun to end, we move the party into the den to enjoy an enthusiastic game of Scrabble.

The reality – Everyone is way too busy for dinner but reluctantly comes to the table anyway due to my masterful use of threats and guilt. Because of our varied palates, my ‘compliments to the chef’ are replaced by “you know I don’t eat mushrooms”, “why is this so crunchy?”, “I hate this sauce. Why do you always use this sauce?”, and my personal favorite, “how many bites of this stuff do I have to eat in order to get dessert?”  When going around the table to share our day, our daughter limits us to one begrudged “fine” and my husband shares even less since he hates talking about work at the table.  My kid finishes her meal first, complains about how much noise we make when we chew, then begs to be excused to finish her video chat. I’m done next and painstakingly watch my husband eat with the speed of a DMV line. There are no songs, animated birds, or bonding board games.

Please tell me dear readers, are all of you out there enjoying family meals together on a regular basis? Am I the only one raising an obese, chain smoking, drug using high school drop out with a refillable prozac prescription? Why can’t I get it together for a regular family meal? And how does a family find time to gather round anyway? My husband works late, my kid has demanding homework and after school activities, and I have a job (albeit part-time) that leaves me with little or no desire to shop and cook a meal with more than one food group represented on the plate. Speaking of which, is there even a meal out there that can please a meat and potato lovin’ husband, a carb crazy teen, and a “trying to eat more fruits and vegetables in case that horrific midriff ever does make a comeback” mother? I greatly appreciate any help you can give me!

Being An Addict Sucks!

If I’m going to be a part of your cyber life, there’s something you need to know about me. It’s extremely personal and hard to admit but if we’re ever going to have an open and honest relationship, I feel it must be said. Okay…here I go…I’ll just take a deep breath and admit it to the world…I’m an addict. Phew! I did it! I’m so relieved to get that off my chest and feel closer to you then ever! What am I hooked on? It’s a desperate, all consuming need for the sweetest drug of all: sugar. I’m just mad for the stuff! I gotta have it all the time, and the more I have, the more I want! It’s a glorious glucose cycle that lifts my spirits and skyrockets me into a pre-diabetic coma of content!

Like most addictions, mine didn’t happen overnight. As a kid raised in a disciplined home, dessert meant a juicy peach or crisp apple. And I was fine with that. Mother Nature is an excellent cook and could kick anyone’s ass on Iron Chef. But then I went off to college and a chocolate coated, cream filled world opened up to me. I was welcomed by a “make your own sundae” bar in the dining hall and a bulk candy bin at the student store! Like any college student I experimented. Not with sexuality like other co-eds but rather with exotic treats like Nutella and Toblerone. Sure I developed “dorm butt” and gained the “freshman fifteen,” but that didn’t stop me from becoming besties with pushers like Little Debbie and Ben & Jerry.

It wasn’t long before I was hooked onto the hard stuff like raw cookie dough and tubs of vanilla frosting and moved on to the dark side of addiction. Like Adam, my world changed forever after eating the forbidden apple (albeit mine was caramel coated and packed with mini m&ms).

After graduation I took a job in the entertainment industry where my addiction continued to grow. Luckily I could hide my secret from co-workers thanks to my stash desk drawer and a fortunate clothing trend of baby doll dresses. I knew I was going down a dangerous path and tried hard to quit, but I always lost the battle to warm Krispy Kremes and the intoxicating smell of fresh baked goods wafting from the craft service table.

Now after decades of abuse, an undying popularity of damn skinny jeans, and a layer of fat that has spread throughout my body like a flesh eating bacteria, I’m ready to take control. As of today, I, Joanne Kimes, do solemnly swear to give up my love affair with sugar for the next thirty day. If I can make it through a month of dietary detox, I can finally kick my addiction and reset my taste buds to appreciate Mother Nature’s cooking once again. I’m going to rid my cupboards of anything sweet, including the yummy gummy vitamins I buy for my kid that I pop throughout the day like candy. And I’ll stop indulging on favorites like my towering frozen yogurt creations at Menchies that I wolf down with the rationalization that a woman my age needs lots of calcium.

So wish me luck. Hope that I find the strength to pass on those giant size treats at Aroma, and the red velvet cupcakes at Big Sugar that go down smoother than twelve year-old scotch. I’ll keep you posted on how I’m doing while I face my demons. And if you see me this month with my head buried deep in a bag of bite-sized Butterfingers, inhaling the sweet smell of Halloween that I won’t be able to partake in, take pity on me and give me a smile. Just know that if you’re wearing a pair of those damn skinny jeans, I will not be smiling back.

Being a New Mother Can Suck Class

Are you overwhelmed, exhausted, and resentful? Do you spend your days (and most of your nights) catering to the constant needs of others while tending to your leaky breasts, painful pooping, and other uncomfortable bodily functions? Then you must be a new mom! Come join me, Joanne Kimes, bestselling author and parenting coach, to guide you through the slings and arrows of the outrageous frustrations of having a new baby. Classes will be helpful, humorous, and best of all, make you feel like you’re not the only woman out there who’s having a hard time transition from pregnancy to parenthood! Classes will meet every Monday morning at 10:00, starting June 23rd in Studio City (Classes are $10.00 per class and limited to 10 people per class. If need be, there will be an additional class Tuesday mornings at 10:00). To sign up, and get more details as to where the classes will be held, email me at jkimes@sbcglobal.net.
Can’t wait to see you and your baby there!

Bonjour!

I just returned from a fabulous vacation to Paris. It was a trip of a lifetime where I ditched the hubby and kid, grabbed a gal-pal, and set off for ten days of walking, eating, shopping, museum-ing, and more eating! Oh, and then more shopping! And then of course, more eating! With my brushed up high school french, a pair of jeans and some cozy walking shoes, me and my friend covered the city, exploring all the windy roads and unique shops. We saved a fortune by renting an apartment and eating picnics from purchases from open air markets, that we had euros to spend on more important things: like a day trip to Monet’s Garden and regular wine and cheese trays at tantalizing cafes gazing at the passers-by and watching the sun set over historic palaces!
But alas, like all good things, this too came to an end, and I’m back at home doing piles of laundry and returning endless emails. With gifts to distribute to family and friends and wonderful moms in my “village” who covered my carpools and took care of my kid, I am making the final transition back to my regular life. Soon I will stop saying “excusez moi” when I bump into someone and to stop calculating euros to dollars when I look at a price, but I hope I never stop remembering the great sights, sounds, and smells of gay Paris! With any luck, I will return one day with my brushed up French and cozy shoes but this time, with my daughter, who will be old enough to enjoy the city of lights without whining about the lack of chicken nuggets and teen programs on Parisian TV. That too will be a trip of a lifetime!

Technology Sucks!

I know this crap happens to you as well, but since this is my blog and my story, it’s my time to rant. Here’s the lowdown.
For the last couple of months my internet sporadically crashes. It used to be once a week but then, like a perimenopausal woman and her missed periods, the occurences became much more frequent (guess that metaphor gives you another insight into my life). When my internet would drop at least ten times a day, it warranted a trip to the Apple store since I’m addicted to the internet and freak out if I can’t have it. At the Apple store I was given the devastating news that I’d have to leave my computer overnight, and, as expected, I endured a night of physical withdrawals from going cold turkey and being forced to actually talk to my husband and child.
The next day, I got to the Apple store early and scratched at the glass doors until the store opened. I was told my computer was fine but that I should get a new modem. I went home and proceeded to spend two, count them, two, hours dealing with that crap. I spent one hour on the phone with various AT&T “technicans”, and another hour going back to the Apple store to get a wireless thing-a-m-bob. Got home from the Apple store to find that, guess what? My phone was dead. No dial tone. Oh goodie.
I proceeded to spend another eternity with the phone company, who, after hearing my tale, gave me the glorious news that they can send a repair guy over…in four days! So, here I am, no land line phone, a computer with sporadic internet, and…uh, I guess that’s all (I really think lists to be in “threes” but oh well. Besides, those two things are huge enough).
So, to my friends and family, if you want to reach me for the next few days you can call my cell (which I rarely carry with me because I hate cell phones), or you can FB me and hope my internet connection is working so I can actually get your message. Or you can simply come over. There’s been so much rain lately that we’ve been having regular power outages so you’ll no doubt find me sitting home in the dark with no TV and a kid that’s screaming because her computer doesn’t work. Wonder where she gets that from.

New Cover! Gotta Love It!!!

Goodbye acid washed jeans! Hello new cover for the second edition of “Pregnancy Sucks for Men!” Those dang jeans have followed me around for 10 years when my first book hit the shelves. Way back then, my publisher didn’t want to spring to shoot a cover for an unproven book, so they used a stock shot of an’80′s pregnant lady. Now, ten years and 14 books later, those acid jeans are finally history…although no doubt ready to make a comeback in the fashion scene! Look for second editions of “Pregnancy Sucks” and “Pregnancy Sucks for Men” to hit the stores in August!!!

I Just Love it When…

…a new book cover is released!!! This time, it’s for my latest and bestest book: “Planning Your Wedding Sucks”! It’s a must-have for any bride-to-be whose realized that getting a band/photographer/venue/flowers/invitations/seating arrangement/dress/cake and all the other minute details of a wedding is a lot harder than it was when you walked Ken and Barbie down a toilet paper aisle. Your lace and toile covered world crumbles around you as you fight with your fiance, your mother, your in-laws, and your BFFs, and dream of ditching it all for a quickie Vegas wedding. They say the first year of marriage is hard? Hah! It ain’t nothin’ compared with enduring the slings and arrows of outrageous wedding planning torture! See how to avoid them all and enjoy the big day with “Planning Your Wedding Sucks.” On bookshelves everywhere come December!

The Sucks Series, A TV Show?

On paper, my life sounds so impressive. I just finished editing the latest book “Planning Your Wedding Sucks” (due out in Fall) and I’ve been meeting with producers and network executives trying to sell the Sucks series as a TV show. On one end, I have Mary Jo Eustace to host “Divorce Sucks,” (think “Supernanny” for the dumped and degraded), and on the other, I have the whole Sucks series where each show would focus on a different sucky subject (dating, dieting, unemployment, marriage etc.). But as exciting as all this may sound, the reality is all I am, is officially unemployed. Sure, the thought of selling a TV show is great, but I can only think of it as a hobby. Every so often I get to wear matching clothes and big girl shoes and head outside the comforts of the two mile radius of my home. I valet park and take the elevator up to the network floor where a nice lady asks me if she can get me anything to drink while I wait (oh, how long been since anyone cared about what I need!). I’m escorted to a conference room where important people actually listen to what I have to say without asking me to cut their meat or demand to watch iCarly before starting their homework. It’s like dress up for the stay-at-home mom crowd! After the meeting I turn back into a pumpkin as I race through rush hour traffic to pick up my kid who berates me for packing Danimals in her lunch when she’s told me countless times how much she hates Danimals. Then its off to take disgruntled kid to art class, home to walk the dog and start dinner, and a frantic search for the white button-down shirt for my daughter’s glee concert performance that night only to find that it’s bundled in a dirty ball in the back of her closet. True, trying to sell these TV shows may be just a hobbie, but oh, how an umemployed girl needs her hobbies. Keep your fingers crossed that one of these shows go so I can wear my big girl shoes every day and my 12 year old can pack her own damn lunch! And maybe even mine!

Awww, I Just Love Getting Email Like This:

Joanne,

I had to let you know that Teenagers Suck has been a life-saver for me. I have four kids – 16, 14, 11, 9 – and I immensely dislike the oldest right now. Your book was sent to me at Columbus Parent Magazine and I read it cover to cover, which I never do.

Since then, I’ve referred to it a bajillion times, have earmarked pages and literally read to my teenager straight from the book. My favorite line is “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you bleed internally.”

Now that I’ve fawned your ear off, I also wanted to let you know that I’m reviewing it in our all-teen issue coming out Feb. 1. Keep doing what you’re doing. It makes a difference. And saves my sanity (the very little I have left).

Staci

It’s The Most Suckiest Time Of The Year!

Yes, Christmas Sucks! And nothing will make you feel okay about your distain for this most sacred holiday more than this book! Learn how to deal with budget breaking presents to nasty mall Santas to bumper-to-bumper holiday travel to opinionated in-laws and drunken parties and much, much more! This Christmas classic will get your in the ho-ho-holiday hating spirit!