Are You Kidding Me?:
My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives
Stacey Gustafson is an author, humor columnist, and blogger who has experienced the horrors of being trapped inside a pair of SPANX. Her blog, Are You Kidding Me? is based on her suburban family and everyday life. Her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and seven books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Her work appears in Midlife Boulevard, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, ZestNow, More.com, Pleasanton Patch, Lost in Suburbia, Better After 50 and on her daughter’s bulletin board.
She lives in California with her husband and two teenagers that provide an endless supply of inspiration. She writes about parenting and daily frustrations like her dislike of the laundry, self-checkout lanes, public restrooms, Brussels sprouts, roundabouts, and being middle-aged. Her book, Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives was released September 2014, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The book placed #4 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list in its first week, competing with some heavyweights including Jen Mann’s People I Want to Punch in the Throat and Karen Moline’s Sh*tty Mom and received 4.8 out of 5 stars with 86 reviews.
Visit Stacey at staceygustafson.com or follow her on Twitter @RUKiddingStacey.
Hop into your minivan and get ready to cruise through the crazies of Suburbia! Humorist Stacey Gustafson makes an entertaining tour guide in Are You Kidding Me?, a brash, voyeuristic peek inside the topsy-turvy world of suburban motherhood, midlife madness, and all points in between. If you’ve ever called SWAT on a neighbor, faked a heart attack in church, or pulled your hair out while questioning the sanity of your family, Stacey’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humor will resonate with you. Enjoy the ride and don’t forget to fasten your seat belt.
According to Roz Warren, Huffington Post reviewer, “When ARE YOU KIDDING ME?, a new collection of Stacey Gustafson’s humor columns, turned up in the mail, I figured I’d grab two minutes, put my feet up and check out the first essay. Twenty minutes later, I was still reading. It’s easy to enjoy these quick, upbeat glimpses into suburban family life. Gustafson covers much the same ground as Erma Bombeck, but updated for the 21st century, with a splash of Seinfeld-esque observational humor mixed in. (Why do take out restaurants that serve heaping portions of greasy, sloppy food invariably give you just one dinky napkin with your order? And, more important, what can you do about it?) Gustafson can be grouchy, but she’s never mean-spirited, and while she complains freely about her hubby and kids, she’s clearly, at heart, a loving wife and mom. There are entertaining riffs on being a germaphobe in social settings (“I will hurdle pews to avoid shaking hands during church.”) faking your way through receiving an inappropriate birthday gift — like the bronze statue of a nude couple in an erotic embrace she received from her husband and unwrapped, unsuspecting, as her entire family looked on) and the perils of self-checkout. My own favorite piece? The column in which Gustafson shares her sarcastic inner thoughts as she’s being manhandled during a routine mammogram. I totally plan to re-read that sucker, treasuring every line, before I go in for my next annual screening.”
The book is filled with candid humor similar to Lisa Scottoline’s nonfiction book, Have a Nice Guilt Trip. It placed #4 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list in its first week. Check out Stacey’s blog at StaceyGustafson.com and Twitter @RUKiddingStacey.
Blame it all on me. But in my defense, I didn’t anticipate that my family would fight for iced tea.
First thing you need to know: My husband is a patient, reasonable man. He never gets mad over little things.
“What’s for dinner?” he said, sniffing the air for a hint.
“Leftovers,” I said as I turned on the microwave.
And after the meal, he asked, “Do we still have some of that chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory?”
“Oops, the kids ate it.”
But if anyone messes with his iced tea, beware, an all out war brewed to boiling proportions.
There’s a little story behind how it all started.
On my quest for a healthy alternative to soda and sugary drinks, I discovered caffeine free, no calorie Crystal Light Iced Tea. My family fell in love with it, gulping down a gallon a day. Home from school, the kids downed it with their snacks. When the jug got drunk dry, the blame game began.
“How come the tea’s gone? Who forgot to fill it up?” I said and shook my head.
Both kids denied that they had the last drink and refused to refill it. Sometimes the carafe returned to the refrigerator with one-inch left. Other times, it was put back completely drained. A standoff ensued.
After work each night, Big Daddy tossed his sport jacket on the nearest chair and marched to the frig in search of his favorite beverage to guzzle. “You’re got to be kidding,” he said, shaking the container in our face, ready to blow. “Who forgot to refill this?”
Fe, fi, fo, fum.
We compromised. A black line, marked within four inches from the bottom of the container, represented the minimum fill line. Basic rule: if you poured below the mark, you refilled it. This worked for a while.
“Why’s this so weak?” asked Mr. Thirsty. With an outstretched arm he flashed pale-colored tea in the glass pitcher. “Was it you?” he said, looking in my direction.
Me swill tea? My drink of choice —Pepto-Bismol, straight from the bottle.
Outwitted by teenagers again. They had filled it up to the top with water in order to avoid making a fresh batch. When my daughter confessed to the crime, I put a circle with a slash through her name on the pitcher. Banned until further notice.
Next day. I heard the garage door open. Daddy’s home. The teens had chucked a pile of school stuff at the backdoor: backpacks, shoes, sports equipment, and cleats. He stepped over the junk, nudged a soccer ball across the room, but in the kitchen he exploded. “How come the pitcher on the counter is empty? This is ridiculous!”
Take it easy Crazy.
“Calm down. I have an idea,” I said before his head popped off. I grabbed another pitcher and marked on the front in enormous letters, “DAD.”
Total tally, two jugs.