Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Conversations With Ben: Continuing the Tradition of Embarrassing the Hell Out of Me In Public

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to my very first installment of “Conversations with Ben.”

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I used to (and will still, from time to time) maintain a segment called “Conversations With Jake.” Most of the posts were dedicated to how my oldest son, now eight years old, could take an embarrassing situation and make it worse by screaming something out loud in public about it.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, Benny (now almost four) has begun to rise to the occasion when I have been faced with these unfortunate circumstances.

Which, lately, usually has something to do with his total lack of desire to fully potty train.

Yes, I know. Benny is four. He’s taking his sweet time getting his shit together (no pun intended) because he’d rather crap in his brand new Spiderman underwear than actually STOP PLAYING AND USE A TOILET. But he’s coming along . . . albeit at a pace that will have him toilet trained just prior to his wedding rehearsal dinner.

The other day, we were at a very busy Costco. (I know. I know. These things always happen to me when I’m at Costco. You think I’d learn . . .)

It was Fourth of July weekend, and on top of it, we were having a late birthday party for Jacob, so we needed to pick up his birthday cake.

With Benny in tow, I proceeded toward the entrance and asked, “Do you have to pee or poop?” and he replied, “No.”

I checked his pants to be sure he didn’t decide to take matter into his own hands on the way over. When I saw that things were clear, we made our way in.

And about every ten minutes or so, I would ask him, “Do you have to pee or poop?” And he would always answer, “No.” And then I would repeat the looking-into-the-underwear thing, because I have no sense of smell and I certainly didn’t want anyone thinking it was ME who’d stunk up the joint. Not that I’ve never let one fly myself and then totally blamed him and said out loud, “Oh my GOD Benny! What did Daddy feed you?!” Kids are good for that kind of stuff but don’t go having kids solely for the purpose of BEING ABLE TO BLAME THEM FOR YOUR FARTS.

Anyway, just when we had found an awesomely short line for checkout, Benny decided that he needed to go.



07 2011

Coach’s Wife

The minute I knew I’d be a Coach’s Wife forever came almost two years ago when my husband returned home from his first practice. The gig: First Grade Little Dribblers Basketball.

ME: “So, how’d it go?”

LOML: “Oh. My. GOD! It was like . . . like . . . Ohmygod. There’s this one kid. And he’s like, I don’t know, supertall. And he’s like . . . like . . . OhmyGOD hon, I think KOBE is trapped in this little kid’s body!”

ME: “Okay, so, you’ve got one kid on your team.”

LOML: “Shut up.”

But I knew. I KNEW.

He was hooked.

And then at the first game, I saw first hand how it would always be with him.

He felt the pain and disappointment of every missed shot. And the joy and excitement of every basket and free throw made. He was like a visual equalizer, bouncing and moving to the pulse of the team.

Even the parents in line at the snack bar could see it. It was an “away” game, so they didn’t know him personally. Behind me, I overheard one parent said to another, “That coach is friggin’ HILARIOUS. Dude’s all covered in sweat and shit from being all over the friggin’ court.” And then the other parent said, “Dude’s gettin’ the shit done, though. Hell he’s motivatin’ ME and I ain’t even a player!”

Fast forward to October 2010.

Jake was still smack in the middle of football season when the LOML decided to coach basketball again.

New school. New team. New drama. (Yes, there’s drama with 2nd grade basketball.) And even though there was a point during the season when I had to physically keep him from going after a parent who picked a fight with him not once, but TWICE in a span of 5 minutes (in addition to using profanity in front of Benny), he STILL maintained he was having the time of his life. Most of the team’s parents also maintained that if it weren’t for Troy (and his awesome assistant coaches), they probably wouldn’t have signed their kids up to play.

And at the end of basketball season, I settled in to what I thought would be a nice break before football when he got a request to coach little league.

And all I can say about THAT is I hated that he chose to do it, but glad he did it. If that makes sense at all.

Two weeks after the last baseball game, we signed Jake up for football. At the same time,Troy submitted his application for a coaching position on Jake’s team. A few days after that, he got a call to meet with the head coach.

When he returned home, I could tell he seemed disappointed.

“They’ve got too many apps for Jake’s team. The guy wants me to coach up one level because they need more people up there. I think he’s worried that I’ll let being Jake’s dad get in the way of coaching the rest of the team.”

And, after much discussion, we came to the conclusion that it was all or nothing – either coach Jake’s team, or take a seat in the stands.Troy called the coach to let him know, and that was the last we had heard of it.

In the mean time,Troy continued to toss the ball around and run drills with the boys in the front yard, getting Jake ready for the upcoming season.

Then yesterday, after I returned home from the grocery store, the LOML said, “What’s for dinner? Coach is HUNGRY.”

It only took a second for me to realize what he was telling me.

He got the job.

ME: “Wait . . . What?!!”

LOML: “Yep! I’ll be an assistant. Probably O-Line.”

And then he smiled. And his blue eyes did that thing that they always did when he knew he’d be coaching.

Father and son playing football in front yard.


ME, to Benny: “What’s mama’s name?”

BENNY: “Kaftheen.”

ME: “And what’s daddy’s name?”

BENNY AND JAKE [Together, in unison]: “Coach.”


07 2011

Frankenstory Friday: My Brother’s New Hearing Aid

Well, boys and girls . . . It wouldn’t be FRIDAY without a little Frankenstory, now would it?!

[Scroll through the story S-L-O-W-L-Y. Try not to get a look at the picture below until you are done reading all the text!]

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a graduation party at my house for my sister niece. It was a fantastic affair — kids bouncing in a bounce house, plenty of food and liquor, and of course, Frank was in attendance.

Two hours in, he decided to relax on the couch and watch TV. When I sat down next to him, he turned to me and said, “You know that Steve wears a hearing aid?”

Bewildered (but I suppose not all that surprised) that he would use that as a conversation opener, I said, “Who’s ‘Steve’? Terry’s ‘Steve”? Or my brother ‘Steve’”?

Frustrated that I didn’t get it the first time, he quipped, “Your bro-therrr.”

ME: “Steve wears a hearing aid?”

FRANK: “That’s what I said.”

ME: “Nawww! Since when?”

FRANK: “Oh, I don’t know. For a while now, I guess. Big one too. It’s not one of those small pieces of shit that disappear in your ear either. It’s good size. Real nice.”

ME: “Is he wearing this hearing aid right now?”

FRANK: “Yup. Go see for yourself!”

So I went out into the backyard and zig-zaged through the maze of tables and food, and found my brother.

After he turned his head and I got a good look, I laughed so hard in his face that his sunglasses almost fell off his head. I doubled over, covered my mouth with my hand, and did the best I could from peeing my pants.

STEVE: “Jesus Kathleen, what the hell?”

ME: [Pointing to his ear] “Do you know that dad thinks THAT’S a hearing aid?”













07 2011

Conversations With Jake: The “Nay Kit” Flash (Or, Why You Should REALLY Make Sure Your Kid is Asleep Before Listening to Podcasts in Your Car)

Earlier this year, I wrote about a photographer named James Beltz (who I now refer to as “Professor Jimmy” around the house, because, as it turns out, he really DID feel uncomfortable with my calling him “The Jimmy Lama”).

To know him (through his podcasts) is to love him. He’s southern and charming and hilariously funny in his A.D.D./silly ranting kind of way and frankly, the LOML is starting to get jealous of my constant bringing up of his name. But the fact of the matter is that Jimmy is the only photography instructor that I know that totally gets “it.” He doesn’t take himself too seriously, gets his audience/students to relax, and teaches in a way that is both fun and challenging. And I honestly have NO IDEA where I’d be without his classes or podcasts.

ANYWAY, most of you know that I do quite a bit of my podcast listening while driving. And sometimes even while the kids are in the car. (Usually while they are sleeping, or else I get pelted with Cheerios or Cheetos until I tune the dial to Radio Disney. ACK.)

A few weeks ago, I had picked up Jake from day camp and didn’t even get out of the parking lot when noticed that his eyes were getting heavy and he had leaned the seat back a little bit in order to settle in for a nap on the way home. So I decided that as soon as he was “out,” I would plug in my iTouch and listen to one of Professor Jimmy’s podcasts.

And wouldn’t you know, it would be one where Jimmy uses the phrase “Nekkid” flash about 678 times. (“Nekkid” is southern for “Naked.” And a “Nekkid Flash” is what you would call one of those big long flashes you see on professional cameras WITHOUT what you would call “a white thingy” on the end. A “white thingy” is a flash diffuser, which helps soften and spread light evenly.).

And I remember thinking, Holy CRAP it’s a good thing that Jake is asleep or he’d be asking me what the word “nekkid” meant. BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW INQUISITIVE THIS KID CAN BE.

Fast forward a few days.

I had hopped on to the computer before going to work to check out some recipes I was thinking about trying for dinner. And without remembering to bookmark the page that I’d found, I shut the browser down and turned the computer off.

When I returned home later that evening, I fired up the browser and decided to go to my internet history in order to find the site I’d been on earlier that morning. And this is what I found:



Yes, you read that right.

There were searches for “NEY KIT FLASH,” “NAY KIT FLASH,” and “Professor Jimmy,” among other things.

Now, if you are slow to get this, bear with me. BECAUSE THIS IS A DAMN FUNNY STORY. (The LOML had me add, “Damn funny to photographers, maybe . . .”)

After discovering the search queries I laughed. HARD. For, like, TWENTY MINUTES.

Then I picked up the phone and called the LOML.



“Uh, can I ask you a question?”

“Oh . . . ‘kay. What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. Nothing. Just wondering if you happened to be on the computer at lunch, looking for something to buy me for my birthday.”


And then I was all, REALLY? Have you NOT ever heard of the INTERNET HISTORY BUTTON?

“You’re joking, right? I KNOW EVERYTHING.”

“[Loud silence, and then a long sigh.] Fine. YES, I was looking up stuff I wanted to buy you for your birthday. But I couldn’t find what I was looking for.”

“And what exactly, dear, were you looking for?”

“Well, this morning on the way to drop Jake off at summer camp, I asked him what he thought we should buy you for your birthday next month, and he said, ‘The man on mama’s radio says that you can do just about anything with a nay kit flash, so maybe we should get her one of those.’”

Church Festivals, and Her Birthday

I spent the better part of this afternoon and evening helping my old neighborhood church (and my son’s school) get ready for their annual Parish Festival. It’s a big deal, this festival. And has been for the past 50-plus years.

Up until the time Jake started Kindergarten, I got to enjoy this shindig like all the rest of the festival visitors — at my leisure. I’d stop in on Saturday afternoon for some food, get a few margaritas, go home and sleep, and then go back on Saturday night when the band is loud and the dance floor is hopping and all my friends from elementary and high school look really awesome because I’VE HAD WAY TOO MUCH TO DRINK. Then Sunday I’d get in line for some Menudo and everything would be okay again.

But all that changed in 2008, when I decided that it was MY turn to learn the ropes and see what it was like to prepare food for 2,000 people. It was my turn to take over the reigns that my mom had been holding for the past 5 decades. Talk about some major shoes to fill.

I spent that weekend introducing myself as a new Kindergarten parent and, “Carole’s daughter.” And ever since then, the name (“Carole’s Daughter”) has kind of stuck.

“What’s your name again?”

“I’m Kathleen. Lancaster. Jake’s mom . . .”

“I’m sorry? . . .”


“Ohhhhh. I THOUGHT you looked familiar . . .”

Because that’s the kind of reputation my family has with this Parish. I’ll ALWAYS BE A BONILLA. And the “YOUNGEST” Bonilla at that. Even though I’ve been married to a Lancaster for TEN YEARS.

Anyway, I’ll be spending this weekend rolling dough for home-made piroshkis. I’ll fry meat and chop tomatoes and onions and cilantro for the best tacos north of Mexico. And I’ll consume mass quantities of free beer and margaritas because basically, if I’m wearing an apron covered in flour and salsa, and feeding those who pour beer and margaritas, they return the favor quite nicely.

Then on Sunday, we’ll all be thinking of HER.

Sunday is her birthday.

Time still hasn’t healed this wound, especially for my mom and her son.

And my favorite brother.

But being at the festival, and being all together, will help us get through the day a little easier.

She loved that school, and the piroshkis, and the best tacos north of Mexico.

She loved the festival, and the music, and being around her family.

We’ll save a spot at our table for her, and have the band play some of the music that she loved to listen to.

And maybe one of her brothers will jump on stage and steal the mic and sing her a song. And the rest of us will laugh and pee our pants and say, “She would have LOVED this.”

Because that’s what Bonillas do to celebrate the memory of their sister. And daughter. And mother. We party until we pee our pants.

Happy Birthday, Laurie.


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08 2010