Real Life: 11 Ways Being a Lawyer Makes You Crazy


How and why being a lawyer makes you go crazy | The Champagne Supernova

Me and a close friend on law school graduation day in the year 2007 B.N. (Before Neurosis).

On her first day of law school at Harvard, Professor Stromwell advised Elle Woods and her classmates:

“A legal education means you will learn to speak a new language. You will be taught to achieve insight into the world around you, and to sharply question what you know.”

No truer words have been spoken. Before I was an attorney, the world was riddled with rainbows and butterflies. Bad people only lived on Melrose Place and nobody habitually lied or cheated.

Being a lawyer has opened me up to the world of the worst. It’s also been a giant mind game that’s difficult to shake. Every day is mental chess: staying one step ahead of your opponent so you aren’t caught off guard, upset your boss, or worse, the client.

After all, you have to pay the mortgage.

Once you’re a lawyer, being normal and mentally stable is impossible.

Here are eleven ways being an attorney makes you go irrevocably crazy.

Pun intended.

1. Putting Everything in Writing. When you’re a lawyer, you send emails, texts, faxes, and letters confirming everything. A paper trail to a layperson is a documentary ultramarathon to an attorney. There’s no such thing as someone’s word or handshake being “good enough,” because when you’re a lawyer, you know it doesn’t count unless it’s in writing.

Email to hair stylist you’ve known for 20 years: This is to confirm my cut and blow out for 10 a.m. this Saturday. See you then!

Fax to your husband at work: Touching base to remind you we have a dinner meeting tonight with the accountant. Almost tax day! (Fax is necessary because there’s a confirmation page.)

Text to your own mother: See you on Thursday at 7 p.m., thanks for agreeing to watch the kids, I really appreciate it! 

2. Never Putting Anything Damning in Writing. On the other hand, when you’re a lawyer, you use great care to never put anything in writing that could potentially bite you later.

For instance, you ignore the sign-up sheets for the end-of-the-year luncheon because you don’t want to formally commit to bringing homemade cupcakes. This is because you know you’ll probably procrastinate and end up frantically calling Domino’s Pizza at the eleventh hour.

When you’re a lawyer, it blows your mind when someone puts something stupid in writing.

Also noteworthy: during telephone conversations, you ask whether you’re on speaker phone or if anybody else is in the room. Just to make sure you don’t potentially offend a stranger.

3. Conversations Become Interrogations. Lawyers know there are multiple parts, and sometimes even sub-parts, to every question. Normal conversations end up becoming depositions.

The lawyer mindset never “clocks out.”

Attorney to spouse: You’re going to the store? What time? What are you buying? Which store location are you going to? What road are you taking to get there? Where are you parking? In the shade or in the sun? Remember to use the reflector if you’re parking in the sun so you don’t damage the dashboard. 

It gets better when you start asking leading questions.

Isn’t it true you just went to the store yesterday?

Isn’t it true you ate all the Triscuits in one sitting and didn’t leave any for me? 

Isn’t it true that was rude and inconsiderate? 

Legally_Blonde

4. Your Life is a Giant Calendar. The deadline- driven nature of an attorney’s career means everything meant to happen must go on a calendar.

Toddler birthday parties. Paying the mortgage. Getting a haircut. Going to the doctor. Girl Scout events. Church confessions. Dropping something off at, and retrieving it from, the dry-cleaners. The biannual dental appointment. Taking vitamins.

When you’re a lawyer, life is in shambles if your Outlook calendar crashes.

5. The Mindset Everyone is Lying.  Being a lawyer means you don’t believe a word of what anyone else says. This is because everyone is a self-serving exaggerator who is full of B.S.

Someone saying they ran an 8-minute mile means it really took them ten.

Someone claiming to make six figures probably makes five.

And you ask for documentary evidence, like pay stubs and last year’s W2. (See Number 1: it’s not true unless it’s in writing.)

The term “there are two sides to every story” is false. When you’re a lawyer, there are five sides.

My_Cousin_Vinny

6. Numbness to Sadness and Tragedy. Before law school, Hallmark commercials and country music made you cry. You loved the nostalgia of your baby blanket and seeing old pictures of you and Great Uncle Albert, who passed away several years ago, wading in the ocean. You considered other people’s feelings before doing something inconsiderate.

Then you became a lawyer and can pragmatically look at photos of a gruesome homicide scene without flinching. You don’t care that a youngster needlessly lost an appendage in a freak accident because you’re too worried about reporting to your client their outrageous damages exposure. You can depose a sobbing plaintiff who is detailing the loss of their spouse through hysterical tears without pause.

Quit crying and keep talking. I’m starving and saw there was a Tijuana Flats down the street. It’s Taco Tuesday.

7. Conversations with Loved Ones are Naturally Adversarial. Lawyers’ spouses routinely remind them the tone of their (one-sided) conversations sound adversarial. When you’re a lawyer, you often use the Federal Rules of Evidence during these conversations, imposing upon your loved ones many “relevance” objections.

You do not always use the “prior bad acts” exclusion when pointing out your spouse’s shortcomings. In discussions with other lawyer friends, you often “impeach” them with prior inconsistent statements.

8. Hypersensitivity to Hazards. When you’re an attorney, you are overly aware of potential hazards. You frequently point them out, and hypothetically muse about the types of injuries people could sustain. Then you ponder how much money the injury would be worth.

Keep your son away from a raised toilet seat if he’s standing up to pee. It could fall down and squish his penis. (This actually happened in one of my colleague’s cases.)

It’s really nice that you’re walking through the meadow of gorgeous wildflowers on some strange dude’s land, but be careful you don’t step into a slightly unelevated ditch and break your ankle. The landowner only has a duty to remove concealed traps which he has actual knowledge.

Don’t let your toddler take gymnastics. She could fall from the beam and suffer major brain damage and have to eat from a feeding tube the rest of her life. 

Apparently this thought process is abnormal among non-lawyers.

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9. Lifestyle Manipulation. When you’re a lawyer, you encourage your spouse to send you plenty of sweet notes and gifts, and you engage in extravagant displays of affection (on social media and in real life). This way, if you ever died and he or she had to bring a wrongful death claim, their mental anguish and pain and suffering would be easier to prove.

10. Seeing the World in 6-Minute Increments. Time is money, and your time is valuable, Goshdarnit.

Going to the mechanic to address a flat tire just cost you a 1.5 and means you’ll have to work over the weekend. Your colleague’s stupid anecdote about his grandfather visiting from New England just wasted .2 of your time. Having to make a fresh pot of coffee because the jerk before you used the last of it was a solid .1. You don’t know if going on vacation is a good idea because it will hurt your chances of meeting your monthly billable requirements.

11. Everyone Wants Free Advice. When you’re a lawyer, everyone wants free advice. It doesn’t matter that you make it clear that you exclusively handle real estate transactions because someone will, without fail, complain to you about their divorce, ask you about the reasonableness of their alimony payments, or want advice about setting up a (complicated!) trust.

And then they act like you’re an idiot for not knowing the answer.

One can only imagine what physicians go through.

Lawyer_Free_Advice

Of course, being an attorney has its perks. I met some of my best friends in law school at the University of Florida. After all, you don’t really know someone unless you’ve suffered with them.

Special thanks to my fellow neurotic lawyers whose input and candor helped make this post possible. You know who you are.

Cheers!

    Lady and Kuma: The Rescue Dogs Who Rescued Us.


    Labrador retriever rescue dogs | The Champagne Supernova

    It was November of 2009 and my husband, Jason, and I were five months hot off the heels of our wedding. We were living in a tiny rental home on Davis Islands in Tampa and I was burning the midnight oil working for Lucifer while Jason was busy studying for the engineering licensing exam.

    We were far from having children and I needed a project, so we decided to get a dog. We were looking for only one, and because we didn’t want the responsibility of training a puppy, decided to adopt an adult. After researching breeds, we decided to go with one that was family friendly, smart, and physically active.

    It would either be a lab or a golden retriever.

    We did some digging and discovered the Labrador Retriever Rescue of Florida, a non-profit organization dedicated to placing Labrador Retrievers in permanent homes. After filling out an application and having a volunteer come to our home (to make sure we weren’t wackos), we were given the green light to navigate their website and locate available dogs to meet and potentially adopt.

    So began the process. The organization had a website that was essentially a Facebook for labs in foster homes who were available for adoption. Each dog had a profile containing a picture, the location of their foster home, and provided the dog’s name, age, gender, and personality traits. Some of the profiles featured videos of the dogs in action: chasing balls, swimming, and enjoying a smorgasbord of treats.

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    The first dog we visited was a young male being fostered in Tierra Verde, about 45 minutes from our house. He was found chained to a tree and had been there for several days before a neighbor called Lab Rescue and a volunteer saved him. He was a sweet boy, but not a good fit for me and Jason, as he was hyper and needed a lot of attention.

    Back to the drawing board.

    The second dog we visited was a gorgeous chocolate male who lived in Clearwater with his original owners, who purchased him as a high school graduation present for their teenage daughter. As luck would have it, the daughter got pregnant her first year of college and moved home to have her baby. The dog spent all, and I mean all, of its life in a laundry room because nobody had time for it. The parents thought it was only right to put him up for adoption. Problem was, when we attempted to take him for a walk around the neighborhood, the poor dog must never have seen a leash before. Us walking the dog became the dog walking us.

    Next!

    After a couple weeks of frustration, we got a call from one of the head volunteers letting us know that two English-style labs (the ones that are shorter with the blockier heads), which she believed were brother and sister, were dropped off at a humane society a few days before. One of the humane society volunteers called Lab Rescue, who came and got them. Their foster names were Lady Gaga and Kuma, and the organization was giving me and Jason “first dibs,” even though we were under no obligation to adopt either of them.

    We got in the car and made the hour-long hike from Tampa to New Port Richey to check out the dogs, expecting to be disappointed like we were with the others. We also anticipated bringing home only one dog, if any.

    When we arrived, Lady Gaga immediately approached us, rolled onto her back, and wanted her belly rubbed. Smitten, we obliged. Kuma, her brother, was in a cage with a cone around his neck, having recently lost his manhood. We were also advised he had heart worms, but Lab Rescue was working with a local veterinary clinic to cover the costs associated with treating them.

    The foster mom asked if we wanted to take both dogs for a walk around the neighborhood as she handed us two leashes.

    Sure.

    Lady Gaga and Kuma were both perfect on the leashes. No issues. Bingo!

    As we were walking them, Jason got the craziest idea.

    “Let’s adopt both of them.”

    “Are you out of your mind?” I asked. Going from zero dogs to two dogs in a tiny 1100 square foot rental while we both worked full-time jobs seemed like a horrible idea.

    “We can’t separate them, they’re brother and sister. Plus, two isn’t much more work than one.”

    Being someone who is easily talked into making bad decisions, I agreed. When we returned to the foster house, we signed the paperwork and brought the dogs home.

    Burby, family of four!

    Picking up rescue dogs from foster care in 2010 | The Champagne Supernova

    Me and Jason with Lady Gaga and Kuma after signing the adoption paperwork in the foster home.

    We had in our minds we would shorten Lady Gaga’s name to Lady and would find another name for Kuma.

    But then we couldn’t figure out another name and kept referring to him as Kuma, so it stuck.

    Turns out, Kuma is Japanese for “black bear,” and he did look like a little black bear, so the name was well suited for him.

    Lady and Kuma were perfect dogs. They were house trained and well mannered. Our shoes remained intact, the floor remained dry, and Jason and I got lots of snuggle time from pets who would become “velcro dogs,” following us everywhere we would go.

    We were obsessed with them. My friends were probably tired of hearing anecdotes about the dogs and I would literally sit at my desk when I was at work, wondering what Lady and Kuma were doing and whether they were also thinking about me.

    I kissed them on the mouth and you would think that I gave birth to these flipping dogs, that’s how much I cared about them.

    I was the crazy dog lady.

    I even asked our veterinarian if dogs could feel love.

    He said yes.

    With regard to their former owners, I don’t know the story and don’t want to judge. However, I couldn’t imagine there were people out there somewhere who could just drop two perfectly good dogs off at the humane society, not knowing what would become of them.

    Totally judging!

    The adage was true. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and we just hit the jackpot.

    Rescue labrador retrievers playing fetch near the water | The Champagne Supernova

    Jason, Lady and Kuma playing fetch.

    How rescue dogs changed my life for the better. | The Champagne Supernova

    Life is rough!

    Labrador retriever lounging on a boat | The Champagne Supernova

    Kuma engaging in his favorite hobby: lounging on the boat enjoying the salty air.

     

    Labrador retriever playing fetch near the water in Florida | The Champagne Supernova

    Lady capturing the view of Davis Islands in Tampa.

    As it turned out, Kuma had a host of medical issues. In addition to the heart worms, he also was epileptic, had a strange growth on his gum, and cancer on his scalp. We didn’t know about the latter until after we adopted him, but it wouldn’t have changed our minds.

    We got through it, one seizure at a time.

    In the years we had the dogs, there were so many memories.

    Like the time I rushed Kuma to the vet’s office because what I thought was a huge tick on his belly turned out to be a skin tag.

    Thank God I didn’t try to light it on fire!

    Or all the times I’d have to hide my dinner or Lady would steal it right off the plate.

    She had an affinity for Mexican food.

    Eventually, weekends spent with Lady and Kuma at the park or on the boat were replaced with time spent inside the house with our real children.

    Get the Best Deals at Gymboree!

    They didn’t hold it against us.

    I swear, Lady knew I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, Arden, before I even knew it. She’d come upstairs as soon as she heard me stirring in the morning and would accompany me to the bathroom to provide moral support, as I was cripplingly sick with nausea the duration of my pregnancy.

    Lady started limping over Labor Day weekend in 2013. Turns out she had osteosarcoma, an incurable form of bone cancer, which originated in her back left leg. Amputation and chemotherapy were options, but they would only buy us a small window of time, and we didn’t think it was worth it to put her through the loss of a leg. The vet estimated Lady would make it six weeks but she, in the true spirit of a fighter, made it to twelve.

    Five months shy of meeting our second daughter, Elle.

    Through tears and grief, life went on with just the five of us. Kuma got older and his black face became a little grayer, but he was content relaxing in his favorite spot outside near the trees.

    Life happened. We got busier with work and doing the fun things that accompany having young children: trips to the pool, Saturday morning gymnastics class, vacations at the beach, and rounding the kids’ birthday party circuit on weekends.

    Two weeks ago, Kuma got too weak to come inside the house from the back yard. His age and arthritis got the best of him, and he was no longer able to move around or go to the bathroom.

    It was time.  

    Jason and I loaded Kuma into Arden’s red wagon, waited for the babysitter to arrive, watched the girls say their goodbyes, and drove him to the vet’s office.

    While I knew this time would eventually come, I couldn’t believe the crippling sadness and regret.

    Sadness for closing a special chapter in our lives. Lady and Kuma were there for us when we were navigating the beginning stages of marriage, buying our first house, and creating our family.

    Regret for all the times Lady and Kuma got the proverbial shaft once we had our kids and the dogs couldn’t be as much of a priority as they were before.

    We cried and petted Kuma’s head as we watched him take his last breath inside of Arden’s Radio Flyer.

    There is a sense of emptiness around the house, but the memories are vivid.

    I can close my eyes and still feel the way Lady’s silky head felt when I rubbed it. I can hear the sound of Kuma’s tail beating on the floor downstairs. They will always be here and I thank God for those memories and that we got to experience their faithful love.

    I sometimes wonder what would have happened with Lady and Kuma if we wouldn’t have picked them up from foster care and taken them home with us. Would someone else have adopted them? Would they have been separated?

    Some say that Jason and I are the ones who rescued them, but Lady and Kuma rescued us.

    Cheers!

    Special thanks to Dr. Christine Lynch and the team of compassionate pet lovers at Animal Doctors of South Tampa for being there with us through the good, the bad, and the ugly. We appreciate you more than you will ever know. 

      Parents: Stop Saying “It’s Hard”


      Parents: stop telling your kids school is hard! | The Champagne Supernova

      Are children less likely to succeed at something when they are initially told, “It’s Hard”?

      Would they have flourished if they didn’t have preconceived notions of potential failure that were planted by adults?

      By shutting our pie holes, let’s give our children better chances of success. 

      Let me illustrate.

      In my young childhood years, I was a perfectionist. So much so, I think it could have been a borderline personality disorder, if those things would have been routinely diagnosed in the 1980s the way they seem to be these days.

      Parents: Stop Telling your Kids Things are Hard! | The Champagne Supernova

      Me in 1986. Apparently, someone told my mom giving a home perm would be hard.

      Eventually, my aspirations of academic perfection were superseded by an interest in boys, MTV, and being social with friends.

      Moving to a new town, my parents enrolled us at a small private school, where adults said would be much more challenging because of the stereotype, which truth is immaterial, that private schools were more difficult than public.

      On top of that, I’d be enrolled in Algebra, which adults warned would be really, really difficult.

      Not a knock on my parents. Just adults in general.

      While my strengths and interests were more aligned with social studies and language arts, I had always performed just fine in math and science.

      There’s a formula. Plug the formula into your Ti-83. You get an answer. Boom!

      Ultimately, I took to heart what adults said about Algebra being hard, used it as an excuse to slack off and not pay attention in class or do well on tests, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy because I earned a B instead of the usual A.

      It was my first B. Ever.

      Who cares that I got a B? It was in Algebra and, dangit, Algebra was hard.

      But did I really think it was hard, or was I just adopting someone else’s opinions?  

      Sure, I didn’t do well in math because, as I the school year progressed, I cared more about whether Puck was getting kicked out of the San Francisco house on The Real World than about whether a2 + b2 = c2.

      But what would have happened if everyone would have said Algebra would be a piece of cake? Maybe it wouldn’t have freaked me out, I would have paid better attention in class, and killed it.

      I should’ve gotten that flipping A.

      So began the domino effect of my hatred for mathematics and why I became a lawyer instead of a plastic surgeon.

      I couldn’t bear the idea of sticking it through classes like anatomy, biochemistry, genetics, and immunology.

      All because some nimrods said they would be hard.

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      From personal experience, preconceived notions about something being difficult have spilled into adulthood. I’ve seen it happen with friends and colleagues. There’ve been times I’ve observed a supervisor walk into a co-worker’s office, hand them a new assignment, and said: “this is a very complex legal issue, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of case law that supports the argument we want to make.” Psychologically, they’ve already set themselves up for failure, both in locating the applicable law and finding a successful outcome for the client.

      Who can blame them?

      Where difficulty and potential failure are a “first impression,” it can seem nearly impossible to come out of that mindset, plow through, and succeed.

      There’re so many stereotypes, especially with education.

      I think it’s bad.

      Then, it got me to thinking.

      How many times has someone not tried or succeeded at something, just because somebody else said it would be too hard?

      <Raising my hand over here. At least twenty times.>

      As parents, can we stop perpetuating stereotypes to youngsters about things being difficult, keep our mouths closed, and just sit back and watch what happens?

      Maybe Junior would join the chess club if nobody projected their opinions it would be hard.

      Or perhaps Sally would have no qualms about training for the marathon if ole’ Daddio didn’t tell her she’d never finish and it would be murder on her knees anyway.

      Dang. Maybe David would take a chance and send his longshot application for college at Princeton if step-mom over there didn’t tell him it would be too hard to get in, and he’d be better off just applying at the local junior college.

      A 2015 study from the University of California found a positive correlation between parents’ supportive (academic) interactions with their children and success. Further, it found that whether or not parents expected their children to attend college was a key factor in the children’s success.

      The takeaway: if you expect your children to succeed, they likely will!

      Look, there’s no denying some things are more difficult than others. But kids are all different. One child might find art to be tedious and marine science to be a cake walk, while his sibling is the exact opposite.

      What would happen if, instead of blowing something off as hard, we just tell our children it will be hard work?

      There’s a difference.

      Let’s let our kids decide what they think is hard and easy.

      Let’s stop poisoning the well.

      Cheers!

       

       

        The House on Bossler Street: The Last Time


        The Last Time | The Champagne Supernova

        How many times in our lives have we had a last time without appreciating it? Would you want to know you were having a last time while you were living it, or would you rather remain completely unaware?

        On March 11, 2016, my grandparents said goodbye to their house in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where they lived in since 1969.

        Johnstown is a city in Cambria County that lies 67 miles east of Pittsburgh. Both my parents grew up there, and met one summer after high school while working at the local steel mill. The city received a nod in Bruce Springsteen’s song The River– “I got a job working construction, for the Johnstown Company, but lately there ain’t been no work on account of the economy.” It was also the filming location of the 1983 high school football drama All The Right Moves starring a young Tom Cruise.

        Plenty of landmark events happened while my grandparents lived in that house. Marriages. Deaths. Retirements. World travels. Divorces. Births. Eight Presidents. Six Super Bowl wins for their beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

        46 Years.

        Like most of the other homes in the neighborhood, the house was no longer functional for my aging grandparents, who decided to buy a practical condominium in an adult community.

        Isn’t downsizing a thing? 

        They were ready to bid adieu to the house without looking back.

        No more shoveling snow, worrying about how they would get to the bedrooms on the second floor, or stressing about maintaining the exterior.

        233 Bossler St., Johnstown, PA, 15902.

        233 Bossler St., Johnstown, PA, 15902.

        233 Bossler St., Johnstown, PA, 15902. 

        I’ve written that address literally hundreds of times in my life.

        Starting in the late 1980s when I’d write my grandmother thank you notes for ordering me subscriptions to Highlights magazine or for her financial contributions to my elementary school student government campaigns.

        Into the 1990s when I’d write the address on luggage tags because my sister and I would spend our summers with my grandparents in this house.

        I wrote the address in the early 2000s when I started sending letters to my grandparents featuring important events from undergrad: football games, fraternity parties, and weekends away with girlfriends. I wrote the address when I was in law school in the mid-2000s when I expressed confusion about how I’d survive torts finals or make it through the bar exam. I wrote the address in the late 2000s on letters enclosing engagement pictures and invitations for wedding events. In the early 2010s, the address became a destination for birth announcements and birthday parties.

        I’ll never write that address again. 

        The last time I was in that house was 2005 when I visited my grandparents after law school finals. I never made it back because life got busy, but I always thought there would be another time.

        There won’t be another time.

        Now, it’s someone else’s home with someone else’s family and someone else’s life.

        The Last Time | The Champagne Supernova

        My sister and I arriving at the Pittsburgh airport in the early 1990s to spend a few weeks with my grandparents during summer vacation from school.

        The Last Time | The Champagne Supernova

        Me, my sister, and my grandmother in the living room of my grandparents’ home. The bubble caption is from the photo album my sister made documenting the trip (before digital cameras).

        Sure, the sale of the house doesn’t change or erase the memories.

        But if I would have known I was having a last time while I was in the middle of the last time, I would have spent a little more time staring at the color of the walls, touching the leaves of the pachysandra my grandfather painstakingly planted in the front yard, and listening to the wind slide off the side of the hill.

        The Last Time | The Champagne Supernova

        Picnicking on the deck in the early 1990s.

        How many times in our lives have we not appreciated the moment we were living in because we thought we could do it again some other time?

        Talking to a loved one for the last time?

        Not realizing we’d never see someone or go somewhere ever again?

        Sending someone to voicemail because we thought there’d be another opportunity to speak to them?

        Seeing someone again, but having it be different from the last time.

        Below is a photograph of me and my sister with my great-Uncle staring off the side of a nature trail in Johnstown back in 1993. If life would have given me a fast-forward button, I would have found out my Uncle would be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease some years later. If I would have known this, I probably would have hugged him a little harder and appreciated the moment, while it was happening, a little more.

        The Last Time | The Champagne Supernova

        Walking along the Johnstown Inclined Plane trail.

        Years have passed and I’m a grown up with a family and life of my own. But I’ll always remember that house on top of a hill and all the cherished memories I have there.

        1,832 square feet. Four floors. Two bedrooms. One cellar. One attic. One bathroom. A large deck that overlooked the side of a hill. Red carpet. The “purple room” that was my bedroom for weeks in the summertime. The smell of cedar coming from the closet. The fancy couch downstairs where I read almost every book in Oprah’s book club collection.

        I have never known a life without this house. 

        Virgil said all of our sweetest hours fly by the fastest.

        Don’t they?

          Life: The 8 Types of Friends You Need


          The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

          I went to the bachelorette party of one of my college-turned-adulthood-friends, Stephanie, in New Orleans this past weekend. I was reunited with old friends and made new friends. We ate too much jambalaya, listened to a lot of jazz, and drank one too many Hurricanes.

          The second night of the party was a “Golden Girls” theme, appropriately based on Stephanie’s weekend mantra of “Thank you for being a friend,” and there were a whole lotta laughs to go along with the wigs and grandma outfits.

          It was a blast and we were a spectacle.

          Stephanie and I met our freshman year of college at the University of Florida. She lived directly across the hall from me in the dorms (Trusler Hall, for all you Gators) and we became insta-friends during sorority rush, as we were placed in the same recruitment group, which was assigned alphabetically.

          On the first day of recruitment, I knocked on Stephanie’s door, introduced myself, and asked her to iron my hair.

          This wasn’t Helen of Troy or the Chi.

          C’mon. It was 2000 and those luxuries weren’t available.

          Just an old fashioned iron I brought to college from home, which my mom probably purchased at JCPenney in the mid-1990s.

          Stephanie agreed, I got down on the ground, and she literally straightened my hair with an iron.

          We bonded over the smell of processed chemicals and burned split ends. We made other friends in the rush group, rolled our eyes at the girls who thought they were better than everyone else, and laughed when we were starving and the recruitment counselor offered each of us one measly piece of Starburst to “hold us over” before dinner. This was after she brought over coffee filters to take the shines off our faces. Again, this was before the days of the “fancy” oil absorbing sheets you could purchase at the drug store.

          Some of my favorite, most endearing memories from college involved Stephanie. I could write a book and it would embarrass our families and maybe get us disbarred, but they were cherished nonetheless. Over the next sixteen years, we would go our separate ways geographically, but it wouldn’t let us stop from sharing in each others’ victories, crying over our losses, and listening to each other vent our frustrations.

          We still talk on the phone almost every day.

          Weekends away with longtime friends are typically followed by airport contemplations, on the way home, about the types of company we keep.

          Carrie had Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte. Zack had Slater, Jessie, Kelly, Lisa, and Screech. Rachel had Monica, Joey, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross. These characters all knew that sometimes we need more than one friend to fulfill certain roles.

          Here are the eight types of friends people need in their lives:

          1. The Truth Teller: This is the person who will (lovingly) remind you when it’s time to tweeze  that long, black hair on your chin. The person who will acknowledge when the skirt makes your butt look big or if you did something that was out of line and ya-better-be-careful-or-karma-will-come-to-getcha.

          They aren’t sugar-coaters, and sometimes their input is unwelcome and unsolicited, but you need them, Gosh Darnit, to keep yourself in check.

          2. The Good-Time-Charlie: This is the person who is always down for a good time. If you want to have a blast on the town or engage in a Sunday-Funday, this person is always available and will always make you return home with awesome memories.

          The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

          Stephanie in character as Dorothy Zbornak on stage singing to Whitney Houston. For me posting this on the Internet without her permission, Steph falls into the category of “The Forgiving Friend.”

          The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

          “Ohhhh, I wanna dance with somebody…”

          3. The Therapist: This is the person who you can tell, without judgment, your deepest secrets or greatest frustrations. They will stop what they are doing, give you their undivided attention, provide honest feedback, and remind you that how you’re feeling is normal and you aren’t as crazy as you feel. They will tell you that they’ve felt that way too, and you instantly feel better.

          4. The Work Buddy: This is the person you can vent to when the jerk in the cubicle repeatedly sneezes too loudly or won’t refill the coffee. The person who will check your big project for typos before you proudly present it to the boss. You generally spend more waking hours with this person than you do your own family, and even though you don’t necessarily hang outside of work, they know your idiosyncrasies and appreciate them anyway.

          5. The Ole Faithful: This is the person who is always there for you. This is the first person to text you the morning of your birthday and remembers your wedding anniversary even if you’ve forgotten. This person’s memory is like a steel-trap, and they always remember to acknowledge important events. They are the most thoughtful of the thoughtful.

          6. The Oracle. This person is a modern Socrates. They offer wisdom when you need it the most and, dangit, are almost always right.

          7. The Former Friend. This is the person who used to be a close friend but, for whatever reason, like the Gotye song, is now “somebody that you used to know.” That’s okay. This person is also one of the most important friends because, without even knowing it, they are also teachers. They taught you about yourself, about the person you should be and want to be, and about the type of friend you perhaps never want to be to other people.

          There’s no bad blood. You see them out and about, you politely smile at each other, and you’re grateful for how much they taught you about yourself and how far you’ve come.

          8. The Comedian. This person is hilarious and always good for a joke, prank, or a laugh. This person can take it as well as they can dish it out, and for that, you’re appreciative because you need them in your life.

          The Eight Types of Friends You Need in Life | The Champagne Supernova

          Sometimes you get lucky and have friends who fill more than one, or many, of the categories.

          Who are the most important types of friends in your life? Did I leave a type off of this list?

          Cheers!

            How to Throw The Perfect Birthday Party: 5 Ingredients


            How to throw the perfect birthday party for children | The Champagne Supernova

            I don’t enjoy planning parties. Detest it.

            In the era of Pinterest-esque birthday parties with grandiose themes and elaborate decorations that require hours of planning that I don’t have, the simple thought of throwing a birthday party makes me lose sleep. I even wrote about it here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy attending these events and admire other parents who can effortlessly and enjoyably put them together, I just don’t want to do it. 

            In the interest of sucking it up and because I could no longer delay the inevitable, my husband and I decided to throw our oldest daughter, Arden, a party for her 4th birthday. There would be no-frills: a princess and pirate theme appropriate for her coed group of friends, a bounce house, pizzas and snacks, and we would have it at a public park in order to avoid the stress associated with having the event at home.

            I reserved the park pavilion two months in advance and invitations went out two weeks after that. The RSVPs began to pour in, decorations began to accumulate, and Arden got more excited with each passing day. She picked out a Sleeping Beauty princess dress on Amazon and a crown and wand set from Target.

            She couldn’t wait to celebrate her birthday with her friends.

            And then an incredible chain of events unfolded.

            Our youngest daughter, Ellison, was diagnosed with a staph infection and had to be hospitalized for three days, not to be released until hours before the birthday party (with her doctor’s blessing to have her attend the party, of course). My husband and I spent the three nights leading to the party in the hospital, with little sleep and lots of fear over the uncertain status of her health. We debated canceling the party or having our parents attend in our place, so as not to spoil the fun for the birthday girl.

            Then, on the day of the party, it didn’t just rain, it monsooned. Sure, the park had a pavilion, what would the guests do? Stand underneath it and awkwardly stare at each other? The bounce house would become a mud pit. After stalking weatherchannel.com and finally accepting that it would rain all day, I called an indoor bounce house facility the morning of the party and was, fortunately, able to have the location switched. Then, I was tasked with contacting all of the people who RSVP’d to advise of the location change. Some of these people were the parents of Arden’s classmates and I had to hunt down their email addresses and phone numbers. Then, when I went to our neighborhood grocery store to pick up the sandwich party platters I ordered a week in advance, I was advised by the very apologetic manager that our food order was accidentally lost.

            It was like being in The Birthday Party Twilight Zone. 

            Do do do do, do do do do.

            Despite the stress and the hiccups along the way, the party ended up being a success for Arden and her 45 (gasp!) friends. It was, in my opinion, pretty dang close to the perfect party.

            Then I got to thinking. In the age of parents over-extending themselves and becoming obsessed with holding an event to make it appear picture-perfect on social media, we can easily lose sight of the true meaning: celebrating our children with the people who mean the most to us.

            And here, my friends, are the five key ingredients for a perfect birthday party:

            1. Good Company. I couldn’t believe the large number of friends and family who reached out to support us and offered to help with the party when they learned that Ellison was in the hospital. The number of moms and friends who texted me to remind me that it didn’t matter if the party location was changed or if it was raining because “you got this!” was humbling. The look on Arden’s face when her best buddies arrived at the party was unforgettable. Like the saying goes, it’s not where you are, but who you’re with that really matters.

            2. A Fun Theme. I love having a reason to dress up and figured that a “Pirate and Princess” party theme wouldn’t require too much effort from the guests’ parents, who likely already have Disney Princess and post-Gasparilla pirate flair lying around their homes.

            3. Sweets and Smiles. Even though the grocery store lost our food order, we still had awesome cake and custom sugar cookies to keep the guests smiling, and to maintain energy required for climbing to the top of the bounce house slide. Because that’s exhausting. Phew!

            4. A Positive Attitude. I couldn’t control whether my daughter was in the hospital, the weather, or the fact that my party platter order seemingly disappeared into thin air. I could control my own stress level and my choice (because it is a choice!) to enjoy myself and to appreciate everyone who took time out of their weekends to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It’s difficult to be unpleasant when you’re focused on being grateful.

            5. Lots of Love. In the end, it’s all about love: love for our children and having the desire to provide them with fun and cherished memories. Love for our friends and family members who are sharing our joy with us. The desire to pay it forward with love in the future by supporting another child when it’s their turn to be celebrated.

             

            Pirate and Princess themed birthday party invitations #partyinvitations |www.thechampagnesupernova.com

            Pirate and princess party decorations #birthdayparty | www.thechampagnesupernova.comPirate and princess party birthday cake idea #birthdayparty | www.thechampagnesupernova.compirate and princess themed cookies | The Champagne SupernovaThrowing the perfect birthday party #birthday party | www.thechampagnesupernova.com

            Cheers to an imperfect, but perfect, birthday party!

            Vendor list:
            Cake: Publix
            Custom Sugar Cookies: Silly Monkey Cookie Company
            Invitations: Minted (This is an affiliate link, which means I’ll receive a financial kickback in return for any sales. Hey, the blog ain’t gonna pay for itself, so throw me a bone!)
            Photography: Synthia Therese Photography
            Venue: Playgrounds of Tampa

             

              9 Things for Mom: Who says Kids are the Only Who Get an Easter Basket?


              9 Things Moms Want in their Easter Baskets | The Champagne Supernova

              Ahhhhhhh, Easter.

              ‘Tis the season for seersucker, bonnets, and Cadbury Creme Eggs.

              A time for Peeps, chocolate rabbits, and Pottery Barn baskets.

              Petting zoos, egg hunts, and stories about Jesus.

              Easter is about religion but, let’s be real, it’s also about kids. And judging from this year’s Santa picture, I can only imagine how the shot with the Easter Bunny will turn out:

              Funny santa pictures with kids | The Champagne Supernova

              Santa needs a stiff drink.

              Last year, I did an elaborate, painstaking post about making the perfect Easter basket for kids.

              It got me thinking.

              Why don’t moms ever get Easter baskets?

              We’re the ones who need them the most.

              These are the items in my dream Easter basket, in no particular order:

              1. Deadbolts. So I can finally use the powder room in peace.

              2. Liposuction. After my jelly belly jelly bean binge.

              Mmmmmmm. Buttered Popcorn. Cantaloupe. A&W Root Beer.

              3. Chinese Finger Traps. So I can stay away from the jelly beans and don’t need #2.

              4. Melatonin. Not for me. The kids.

              5. A Live-In Maid: Not only will she cook and clean, but she’ll know how to give the perfect blowout and will be able to get smashed-up cheerios out of the back seat of my car.

              She’ll take my kids to school so I’ll never be late for work again.

              She’ll get my 4-year-old daughter dressed in the mornings so I can stop wrestling her to the ground before daycare.

              (My house becomes WWF between Monday and Friday around 8:15 a.m.)

              She’d be the twenty-first-century version of Alice from The Brady Bunch.

              Alice_brady_bunch

              “Run along, children, so Mommy doesn’t lose it.”

              6. For the Pedicurist to Rub my Feet 5 Minutes Longer this Time. And to stop flapping his gums while he’s at it.

              No, I don’t to make small talk with you.

              7. Carrie Underwood Leg Transplant. Caveat: I don’t need to do any maintenance.

              No squats or lunges ever again. The glory is mine.

              Meow.

              Meow.

              8. For Eyerolls to Become Publicly Acceptable. New rule: if I’ve ever personally witnessed you vomiting into a trash can while kneeling on the bathroom floor at a college dive bar, you don’t get to act like you’re better than anyone else.

              Ever.

              I don’t care that we were in school or that it happened fifteen years ago.

              Kthanksbye.

              9. Ability to Look Cool in Super Trendy Clothes. At what age is it no longer appropriate to shop at Forever 21? Is it when you get old enough that the idea of rummaging through all their crap clothes gives you a migraine? Or the age where the thought of wearing some of their stuff in front of your grandmother makes you feel dirty and ashamed? What about when you come out of your bedroom donning pleather, snakeskin pants for a party and your husband literally starts laughing? (That happened to me. I was four months pregnant. Okay, I deserved it.)

              brazilian_bikini

              The Brazilian-style bikini bottom. Como se dice, en Espanol, “I don’t want to pay big money to have a wedgie?”

              denim-high-waisted-shorts-9

              I’d. look. like. a. fool.

              What do YOU want in your Easter basket?

              P.S. This is satirical.

              Sort of.

              Cheers! And Happy Easter. xo

               

                9 Ways Blogging Makes me a Better Person


                9 Ways Blogging Made me a Better Person | The Champagne Supernova

                When I spearheaded my new blogging venture at The Champagne Supernova back in December of 2014, I freaked out every time I clicked the “publish” button.

                What will people think?

                Should I censor myself out of fear that sharing my truths will cause me to become rejected?

                Will people see me as vain and narcissistic, an occasional stereotype of bloggers? 

                Why would other people care to read about my mundane life or my personal opinions? 

                As a result of freaking out, my first couple posts were pure garbage. I mean, they weren’t terrible, but they also weren’t my authentic voice. They were the watered-down version of someone trying to come across as polished, politically correct, and proper.

                Those qualities are fine, but they’re not always me.

                It’s been a bit of an evolution, like everything else in life, but here are 9 ways blogging is making me a better person:

                Blogging Helps me Prioritize. Like other bloggers, I balance my hobby of writing with a young family, demanding career, and social life. When I started The Champagne Supernova, I had grandiose plans of publishing a blog post twice a week. Then, as I became more realistic and appreciated the amount of work and creativity associated with writing a quality post, those plans were reduced to once a week.

                Now, I’m lucky if I can pump out one post every week.

                And you know what? That’s okay.

                The world won’t stop spinning if I don’t publish a blog post. And for the Type A control freak in me, this is difficult, but I’ve just gotta let it go. 

                Blogging has helped me to establish a hierarchy of what must be done, what could be done, and what can wait for later.

                And sometimes that’s blogging.

                Blogging Keeps me Accountable. If I write on my blog that I’m going to do something, I pretty much have to do it.

                This is exactly why I haven’t posted about my goal to completely give up coffee.

                I’m just not there yet.

                Blogging Helps me Grow Thick Skin. In the fifteen months I’ve been blogging, I’ve been attacked by internet trolls. One publicly called me a bad mother because I let my three-year-old wear pajamas to daycare. One was another blogger who accused me of hijacking a common phrase from one of her old blog posts (that I never read) and then using it myself.

                The pre-blogger me would have called my friends crying and would have considered shutting down the blog for good. I would have responded to these people and tried to reason with them.

                You’re gonna like me again, Goshdarnit! 

                The post-blogger me shakes it off and doesn’t care.

                At all.

                Blogging has helped me realize that other peoples’ views don’t matter. And there’s definitely a positive correlation between people who are critical (read: haters) and people who don’t have the courage to pursue their own goals. So, generally, I don’t care about other peoples’ opinions unless those people are my immediate family, a handful of close friends, or a person who enables me to pay my mortgage (e.g. The Bossman).

                Blogging Taught me it’s Ok to Make Mistakes. After months of empty submissions to the blog for the Today Show parenting team, you can imagine my elation when one of my posts was finally featured and made its way around the internet. Read it here.

                There’s a typo in the fifth paragraph. And while it was unlikely anyone else noticed, noticed and agonized about it.

                For days.

                Then I realized, like most things, life isn’t over because of a simple mistake. In fact, life just got better because I learned from the mistake. I make an effort to closely read all of my posts before they’re published to avoid other typos in the future.

                You know what? It’s bound to happen again.

                And it’ll be ok.

                Blogging Inspires Creativity. One of my work colleagues, whom I deeply respect, once said that every person has an inherent need to be creative. Whether it’s painting, singing, writing, knitting, drawing, whatever, we all need to act upon our creativity, and we become unhappy when we can’t do that.

                I can relate.

                Creative expression sets my soul on fire. It allows me to be “artistic” in a way that my day job doesn’t.

                And I’m so much happier now that I’ve pursued it.

                Blogging Enhanced my Photography SkillsI bought a DSLR camera in 2012 when my first daughter was born and was painfully intimidated by the lights, buttons, and switches.

                F stop. Aperture. Shutter speed.

                What?

                Just keep it in the automatic setting, I thought. It’s so much easier that way. 

                Sure, it was easy. But it often resulted in pictures that were blurry, yellow, or dark.

                If I wanted good pictures on the blog, I would have to learn how to use the camera in manual. And, just like everything else, practice makes perfect. It took about two years, but now I only use it in manual. And check out this sweet shot I captured last year in Italy, which totally would have been ruined if I was shooting in automatic:

                9 Ways Blogging Made me a Better Person - one was it honed in my photography. |The Champagne Supernova Blogging Opens Doors for Connections. I have so many “friends” in the blogosphere who, even though we’ve never met in the flesh, I feel like I know. I read their blogs routinely, celebrate their blogging victories, see pictures of their families, “like” and “comment” on their Instagram photos, and would definitely have a glass of vino with them if given the opportunity.

                These bloggers have inspired me to do better and enabled me to have fresher ideas, take better pictures, grow my subscriber list, and jump start my SEO.

                Dang for those pesky geographic limitations.

                Blogging Makes me be a Better Listener. In the blogging community, it’s all about the conversation. There’s no right or wrong, just a gathering of opinions focused on seeing each other succeed. It’s no longer solely about what I think or what I’m doing, but it’s about reading what other people are doing and understanding whether it is or isn’t working for them.

                Blogging Helps me Help Others. Putting my honest struggles and vulnerabilities onto the world wide web, where it will stay forever, has an impact in ways I never realized. Last year after I published a post about my awful experience with the baby blues, a stranger approached me at Home Depot, sobbing. She was four weeks postpartum and was struggling with depression, discovered my blog, and found comfort knowing she wasn’t alone.

                Wow.

                It felt so good to know I made her feel good without even trying, just by being honest.

                What ways has your preferred creative outlet changed your life for the better? Let’s keep the conversation going.

                Cheers!

                  #Sorrynotsorry: Parenting Edition


                  Eight things I refuse to apologize about in parenting. | The Champagne Supernova

                  As a society, we’re always apologizing for something.

                  Apologizing that someone got their feelings hurt about something that wasn’t meant to be taken personally. Apologizing for having an opinion about a topic that isn’t the popularly-accepted view. Apologizing for just being our own imperfect selves.

                  Don’t get me wrong. There are times an apology is appropriate and necessary.

                  Then there’s times it’s not.

                  A couple months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Allison, at the AA blog compiled a list of all the things she was tired of apologizing for. It was genius!

                  So- here’s a list of eight parenting things I will never ever apologize for.

                  I like to call them the “sorrynotsorry” list.

                  Midnight Snuggle Time. I’ve read all the books that say co-sleeping is a cardinal sin. Ok, I’m lying. I haven’t read any of them because I just call my mom when I need parenting advice. However, I’m sure Dr. Benjamin Spock would agree that co-sleeping is a bad idea and blah blah blah. When my three-year-old comes into my room in the middle of the night, says she had a bad dream, and asks if she can snuggle, the answer isn’t just “yes,” it’s “Heck YES!”

                  There will eventually come a time when my girls would rather spend the evening at a slumber party chatting about boys over popcorn with their friends than hanging out with little ole’ me. This time with them now is sacred, short, and fleeting. So during the “in-between” time, my kids are free to crawl into bed with me and I’ll protect them from the Boogie Man. #Sorrynotsorry.

                  Disciplining my Children in Public. I won’t allow my children to “get away” with bad behavior in public. Permitting them to act like brats by not giving them immediate, age-appropriate, consequences is a loving effort to help them to grow up and be functioning, socially intelligent adults. Usually, this punishment entails hauling off my children to the nearest restroom or private area and putting them in “time out” until they cool it and can return to the group. Or taking away a toy or piece of candy no matter how loudly they protest. Absent certain circumstances, I won’t avoid confrontation for the sake of not making a scene. Because I love them. #Sorrynotsorry. 

                  Unreturned Phone Calls. Having kids has somewhat taken a toll on my social life. Before I had children, I’d use every opportunity to catch up with my girlfriends on the phone while I was in the car. Orlando. Miami. Atlanta. Fort Lauderdale. Nashville. D.C. Chicago. Gals in all different area codes. Some of these conversations happened when my kids were in the car with me. However, once my oldest daughter got to the age where she wanted my attention, I decided, once and for all, that I wouldn’t engage in non-essential phone conversations while she was riding with me.

                  So instead of jabbering on the phone with a girlfriend regarding what’s going on at work or the best new local restaurant, I’m having a real conversation with my daughters about what they did at school, books they love, what they want for dinner, and how they want to spend the few hours between coming home from daycare and bedtime. And it’s the bomb diggity. #Sorrynotsorry.

                  De-Emphasis on Physical Appearance. When I’m around my kids, I make a conscious effort to never comment on another person’s appearance or my own physical insecurities. They don’t need to know about whether so-and-so is beautiful, if so-and-so needs to lose weight, or whether I’m frustrated that my pants don’t fit the way they used to and even my Spanx are getting too tight (darn!) Who really flipping cares about these things?

                  Part of growing up is realizing what matters and what doesn’t. And while these things were “important” to me during the immature days of my youth, talking about them now is an unproductive, shallow waste of time. I don’t want my girls to notice whether other women are pretty, have a perfect body, or wear nice clothes.  I want them to notice whether they are kind, interesting, encouraging, funny, talented, engaging, and smart. I want them to be someone’s friend for who they are on the inside and not for what they look like, who they associate with, or what they have. #Sorrynotsorry.

                  Saying No. I read somewhere that unless an invite is a resounding “Hell Yes,” then it should be a “no.” I’ve begun using this mantra as a litmus test for deciding whether to accept an invitation. If something isn’t “family friendly” and it doesn’t involve people I love and truly want to hang out with, then the answer is “no.” Plain and simple. (Make no mistake, there are times I do want to say yes, but “life happens” and its not always feasible.)

                  Gone are the days of doing things just because I wanted to feel a sense of inclusion and belonging, coupled with a fear that saying no would stop the invitations from coming. Life is too short to be accepting obligations that we aren’t excited to be accepting or purposely hanging out with people who don’t give us the “warm and fuzzies.” #Sorrynotsorry.

                  Being Real. I don’t care if wearing mismatched, off-brand workout clothes to the gym isn’t cool. I’m gonna wear them anyway. I don’t care if my jokes are dumb and I think I’m funny when nobody else thinks so. I’m gonna tell them anyway. I certainly don’t care that I’m 34 and still use words like dork and dweeb and Jee Whiz and bomb diggity (see #3 above). I’m gonna say them anyway. I want to set an example to my children to be the people who God made them to be with complete freedom from other people’s opinions. #Sorrynotsorry. 

                  Being Obsessed with my Kids. I get it. Other than my husband, family, and close friends, nobody really cares about the funny things my oldest daughter said on the way to school, who their favorite teachers are, or their newest book and movie craze. That said, I’m going to tell the stories anyway and will not feel ashamed about being obsessed with my kids. On that token, I will listen with an open heart to anecdotes other people share about their children and will let them have their turns to be obsessed and will celebrate it. #Sorrynotsorry. 

                  Making time for Myself. I can’t take care of my family if I don’t take care of myself. I learned this the hard way when I dealt with the baby blues after my first pregnancy. I refuse to feel guilty about going to the gym, reading a book in a quiet room, of spending time with girlfriends who fill my cup. #Sorrynotsorry. 

                  What do you refuse to apologize for?

                  Cheers!

                    After the Fall: Recovering from Humiliation


                    How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life. | The Champagne Supernova

                    A lot of embarrassing things have happened to me in my life. If I didn’t have witnesses, there’s a chance people would consider my misfortune to be either exaggerated or blatant lies.

                    Like the time I got caught huffing oils at work.

                    Or the time I cussed out innocent bystanders in an elevator.

                    Or the time I got rejected from employment at Red Lobster.

                    Well, here’s another doozie that I think we all have a little something to learn from.

                    It was October of 2014 and my husband and I attended a destination wedding in the Florida Keys. We were stoked to be staying at a nice hotel and my parents were gracious enough to stay home with the girls, then ages 2 1/2 and 5 months.

                    Parents’ weekends away are good for the soul and good for the marriage.

                    How to recover from something humiliating happening to you. | The Champagne Supernova

                    Me and Jason on the day of the wedding. Before “the tragedy.”

                    The day after the wedding, at the recommendation of our breakfast waitress, we decided to drive 30 miles west from our resort in Duck Key to the No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.

                    The waitress said the bar was in the middle of nowhere and was surrounded by key deer, which were native to the area.

                    My husband, being the outdoorsman that he is, thought the idea was perfect.

                    So we got in the car around eleven and ventured off into the wild blue yonder on a 45 minute ride to head to a restaurant famous for its history, deer, pizza, and cold brewskis.

                    When we arrived close to noon, the restaurant was packed and there were people standing in line for a table. It was super casual in what seemed to be a 1200 square foot dining room and dollar bills adorned the ceilings and walls.

                    How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

                    It was only proper to personalize our own dollar bill to commemorate Parents Weekend 2014.

                    How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

                    We finally found a spot at the bar next to two highfalutin gentlemen who lived in Key West. The bar stools were exceptionally tall. We enjoyed our conversation with the men regarding property values, land investments, and working from home over a large pepperoni pizza and two Blue Moon beers.

                    How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.

                    The Scene of the Crime.

                    Yes, I drank two beers over the course of the entire hour and a half we were at the restaurant.

                    The calories and carbohydrates from the pizza effectively cancelled out the beers’ entire alcoholic content, so it was pretty much the equivalent, in my mind, to drinking two glasses of water.

                    When it was time to leave, we bid adieu to our new friends and I attempted to step off the bar stool.

                    Only it was too high.

                    Much higher than I remembered.

                    The whole ordeal felt like it was happening in slow motion.

                    I fell off the back of the stool and literally crashed into the table behind me, causing the bar stool I was sitting in to topple over. I fell on top of my neighbors’ table, causing their pizza and drinks to splat all over the floor, before I eventually landed on my derriere.

                    It was like Wile E. Coyote falling backwards off a cliff.

                    When I finally came to, the once-roaring restaurant was completely silent.

                    Every single person was staring at me.

                    Men.

                    Women.

                    Children.

                    The bartender.

                    The yorkie in the corner.

                    In a effort to make light of the situation, I stood up, did a gymnast-style pose, and loudly said, “I’m all right, everybody!”

                    How to recover and learn when you fall down and embarrassing things happen in your life.But nobody laughed.

                    So I skedaddled out of the restaurant as quickly as my bruised ego (and hiney) would permit.

                    When I got into the parking lot, my husband asked me if I was okay. I said yes. He then convulsively laughed until he was nearly crying and continued laughing the entire ride back to the resort.

                    In his defense, it was pretty funny.

                    Then I started thinking.

                    The event was a metaphor about life.

                    Sometimes when you fall, all you can do is get back up and keep on keeping’ on.

                    There’s been so many times in my life where I’ve been handed a whopping slice of humble pie and was glad I kept my eyes on the end goal and continued trying.

                    Like the time I studied my head off in law school for final exams and still got a dreaded C in criminal law.

                    I felt like an idiot. Especially when I heard some of my classmates bragging about “the one B+ that ruined their chances of grading onto Law Review.”

                    Or the time I essentially crawled to the finish line of my first marathon after losing steam at the 20th mile. I wanted so badly to give up after getting smoked by a lady who appeared to be 16 months pregnant and a dude who was on crutches.

                    Like the fall at the bar, sometimes there’s no point in dwelling on our embarrassments or letting them define us.

                    All we can do is laugh, learn from the situation, and keep moving forward.

                    The next morning, my husband and I returned to the same restaurant where we had breakfast the day before and was assigned the same waitress who recommended that we eat at the No Name Pub.

                    We told her we took her tip and went to the No Name Pub.

                    Then she said, and the good Lord (and my husband) is my witness:

                    Those bar stools are really high!

                    Apparently, patrons stepping off the bar stools and getting hurt is a common thing.

                    Attention personal injury attorneys: go sit at this bar one afternoon with a stack of business cards. You’ll make a fortune.

                    Cheers!

                     

                     

                     

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