Thursday, March 6, 2014


(Before I get into this, I need to warn you that if you read this post aloud you will sound as if it's five years ago and you are a tween girl who has just encountered Justin Bieber on the street. You do not yet know that Justin is about to turn into a big ol' mass of drag-racing stupidity, and you think that if he looks your way you will DIE! Just DIE! In other words, read aloud at your own peril.)

Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh!


Yesterday when I got home from work the postman had left a package on my front porch, and it was the MOST EXCITING THING EVER! I mean...well, let me back up a step or two.

One of the blogs I read is written by the lovely R who, much like Jerry McGuire, had me at the blogger's equivalent of 'hello.' Her site heading says she is "Another mother doing her best and hoping it is good enough." This philosophy completely nails motherhood. Completely. What sets Doing My Best apart from the rest of us in the blogosphere, though, is the second part of her heading: "Also trying to make the world a better place, one Crappy Day Present at a time."

Yes! R came up with the concept of the Crappy Day Present. Sometimes when you've had a truly terrible day, all you want is someone to give you a piece of chocolate and say "there, there." But sometimes (cough tax season cough) there is no one around to do that, so R invited the entire internet to be that someone with an impeccably organized system whereby you are assigned to send someone a box of little gifts you think she would like. Go to her blog and see how it works because I'm doing a truly terrible job of explaining it, but the bottom line is that I signed up for it, and a couple of weeks ago I sent off a box of goodies to the person I had been assigned. At about the same time R e-mailed me that I was going to be REALLY EXCITED when I saw who she had assigned to be my CDP buddy. 
Jaded Me

It isn't that I don't trust R (I mean, she has the perfect mothering philosophy, which is to say it's the same as mine) but I'm a jaded old broad, and I countered her excitement with a swoony sigh, a Greta Garbo-ish, "Of course, my dear. I'm sure you are most correct. Sigh. It's February. Whatever."

Yesterday my Crappy Day Package arrived on the porch.  



My Crappy Day Partner is ALEXA STEVENSON! 


I went from being jaded old broad to this baby in no seconds flat.

You may not be reading Flotsam, but you should be. Really. I discovered Alexa years and years ago, before she was married, and I began reading because I loved the way she writes. She was funny, and she was human, and she showed the reality of her life which included a photo of her messy apartment.  I was charmed. 

And then Alexa got married, and eventually she got pregnant with twins and that experience and the birth of her daughter kept me refreshing my browser compulsively to find out what was happening to the 1 lb. 11 oz. preemie. Alexa kept us updated in a way that made me laugh and cry and pray for this tiny, tiny baby and her mother even though I had never met them.

Okay, I won't spoil the story but let me just say that the baby is now in school, and the account of her entry into the world became the basis of Alexa's book, Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn, and How We Both Learned to Breathe. Yes, that book. A real book, printed on pages and sold in bookstores, the one that was on Anne Lamott's list of favorite books. 

I read every excerpt I could get my hands on and they were funny and human and completely captured the clutch-hearted emotions of a mom who was afraid her child was going to die. I've been there; I know those emotions, but I was incoherent in their grasp. Alexa spoke them onto paper.

And when Simone was out of danger, Alexa kept writing her blog. Today she and her husband have two daughters and I feel as if I know them, because I "know" their mom. She hates the word "impactful" (BECAUSE IT IS AN ABOMINATION! YES! IT IS!) and her blog posts are tagged with descriptions such as "Deplorable Solipsism." Yesterday a box of goodies from ALEXA STEVENSON arrived on my front porch! With my name written on the box with ALEXA STEVENSON'S ACTUAL HAND!

 Inside were all kinds of goodies that will make my crappy days so much less crappy, goodies that were chosen and wrapped in colorful tissue paper in spite of The Plague that was plaguing the Flotsam Family at the time the box needed to be mailed. 

Really, at that point I couldn't justify opening anything from the box because does that baby up there look like it's having a crappy day? Only if literally (and I am using this correctly) dancing around the kitchen with joy qualifies as a symptom. But one of my sons had a disappointing day yesterday. It was nothing that will leave a permanent scar, but I was disappointed along with him (a mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child, you know). So I dug down in the box and pulled out a flat package that I hoped would be...


And it was for ME!

I cannot describe...I...just...

Alexa Stevenson, you can't imagine how much I admire your writing. I think we could be best friends, except that you live eight states away and are young enough to not have any idea who that swooning actress is up there, and I must admit that even I think this post is kind of creepy as I re-read what I've written. But we have almost the same kind of glasses!
Thank you, so very much, for the Crappy Day Presents. And thank you, too, R, for coming up with this whole idea. Please, don't either one of you ever become big ol' masses of drag-racing stupidity or I will be crushed.

And I'm sorry, Kelly who was my Crappy Day Present recipient, that there is no possible way you could be even one-gabillionth as excited about the box of goodies from the House on the Corner.



  1. So exciting!!!!!! Funny how now you're looking forward to crappy days, right? But we all have them and R is such a lovely person to devise this system to make crappy days not so crappy.

  2. Yay!! I read that as fast as I think you might have spoken it!!

  3. A few things:

    1. As I said to R, this post is basically a Crappy Day Present in and of itself. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me (okay, I just did, but you know what I mean). Thank you SO much for all of your kind words about my writing. I have been having terrible Writing Nerves lately, and this was lovely and bolstering to read.

    2. I am a little offended at the implication that I wouldn't recognize Greta Garbo. (I'm not really offended! However I have seen Grand Hotel a dozen times and both of my favorite movies were made before 1940, so there.) (I am about 85 at heart, basically.)

    3. I am VERY relieved that you were pleased at the inclusion of my book in your package. I took it out and put it back in multiple times because I worried it seemed obnoxious or presumptuous. "Oh, you're having a bad day? Surely what you want most of all is a copy of MY book, autographed by ME!" I hope the rest of the package is okay as well. And the wrapping...well it is atrociously sloppy, and it was kind of you not to mention it.

    4. It is delightful to meet you!

    1. Are you kidding? I have carried the book around like a puppy since last week. The only thing that could have topped it would have been if you had stuck Simone and/or Twyla in the box, but I'm pretty sure that goes against the Crappy Day Present guidelines. Please tell your mother she did a fabulous, fabulous job in raising you.