Author Archives: Bryce Warden

About Bryce Warden

Mom, wife, business owner, doer of good deeds, writer of life experiences. My cape is torn and in desperate need of being laundered. Twitter - @thebrycewarden



Sweet Geezus the bananas are out of control…AGAIN. Those pesky peels are showing up everywhere. Real damage is being done, people are dying slipping on those damn peels. Even the schools are not safe. Teachers who went into their chosen field to educate and enrich the lives of their students have to carve out time to teach students what to do in the event of a banana peel emergency. And an emergency is bound to happen, they always do. We’ve already had a handful of banana peel incidents this year and it’s only February.

Great minds have been debating this banana peel issue for decades and still no solution for the problem. Some people say that all bananas should be removed from circulation. Others argue for more restrictive banana rights. Others say “hey leave my bananas alone, our founding fathers fought so I could have a right to my bananas.” Maybe some people can’t handle the power of the banana, maybe not everyone needs one. Perhaps there should be a consistent test to determine if someone is within the right frame of mind to carry a banana?

We could make public places safer to avoid unwanted banana entry. Schools should probably be built more like prisons to keep the bad bananas out. That makes sense right? Really high fences – 20 feet high with barbed wire, a few guards at the entrance a banana pat down on the way in, maybe a retinal scan, we have the technology. Sure schools are going bankrupt paying for pension funds and a push to redistribute property taxes. Put all that aside for a moment…I’m sure Congress will loosen up the purse strings so we can keep our bananas AND make schools safer. We do after all value the safety and well being of our children as well as a free and accessible public school system.

There is a lot of speculation as to why the banana problem exists: poor family values, antidepressants, a lack of love & God, mental illness, video games, the pro-banana board which spends gobs of money keeping bananas accessible. At one point Australia had a banana problem and they just said “turn in your f*cking bananas.” Apparently that’s working for them. That couldn’t possibly work here. The UK, Japan and Germany also have a low tolerance for bananas. Shocking as that is, those countries have fewer banana fatalities than we experience in the USA. What could it be? We need our bananas we aren’t like those other countries.

I don’t know what the answer is…I mean I guess you just have to say a prayer and hope your kids don’t slip on any peels when you send them to school. That seems to be working out just swell…as long as it isn’t your kid slipping on the peel.





I was inspired to start writing a book a few weeks ago, I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. It’s like falling in love or making a new best friend…you want to pour all of your time and energy into it. Of course this doesn’t happen without a little slippage in other areas. There are still just 24 hours in a day, the creative Gods can’t give you more. This turns you into a criminal as you steal time from other parts of  your life.

Time communicating with loved ones gets curtailed, the laundry and dirty dishes pile up and you resent any intrusions. Even the dog gets annoying with her whining about whatever dog woes she’s experiencing. Sorry Fluffy, I don’t have time to deal with your existential crisis right now…5 more pages and I’ll rub your belly. She just grunted at me as she plopped her large dog body onto her bed next to my desk.

It’s been a roller coaster these past few weeks. The peaks of creative spontaneity hammered down by the crushing blows of self doubt. Self doubt is the monster that lives in your head and tells you how terrible you are at everything. My self doubt has migrated from a tap on my shoulder to a hand around my throat and she’s squeezing pretty hard. I keep shaking her off and she comes back over an over again like the protagonist in a bad horror movie.

I went to a writer conference last August and attended a session on self doubt. The facilitator was Danny Gregory and he spoke about his book – Shut Your Monkey. – Instead of a monkey, my take away from that day was to envision my self doubt as an elderly prairie dog named Ethel.

Ethel usually dons granny glasses and a knitted sweater vest. Sometimes she’s cute but lately she’s gotten more critical and suddenly she’s wearing a hockey mask and carrying a long sharp knife like Jason from Friday the 13th. She’s starting to scare me. I’d love to draw her for you but as Ethel as already reminded me several times today, I can’t draw for shit.

The worst part about this recent internal war is that I feel like I’m taking innocent people with me along for the ride. I have an illustrator that I’m working with and a handful of friends that are giving me feedback on my progress. Self doubt was bad enough when it was a solo act, now it feels indulgent. I mean it’s bad enough to spend time frivolously writing the hours away, now you want people to read it and comment. And dear Gawd that poor illustrator, she has a family and clients that pay her…real money.

Ethel: You can’t do this to people. It’s bad enough you waste your own time on this “hobby”. Now you are dragging your friends into this nonsense.

Me: Shut up Ethel you aren’t helping.

Ethel: It’s not like you’re even writing anything meaningful. Humor, who are you to write humor. What makes you think…..

….and that’s when I put a stick of Acme dynamite up Ethel’s ass and blew her up Wylie Coyote style.






Dementia is a beast. I have a client that I visit a couple of times a week, she has moderate dementia. I’ve been visiting her and her husband for almost a year and we’ve gotten very close. She’s a bit feisty and I like to tap into that side of her personality, she seems happy there.

Last week we were walking in the hallway (“airing out” as we call it) when I had a brilliant, awful idea. The residents put a lot of thought into the decor around their front doors. Wreaths, plaques, photos and other seasonal tchotchkes line the narrow shelves that flank the apartment doors. I suggested that we switch a few of the wreaths around and watch to see what the residents would do. She thought it was the best idea ever. Of course we didn’t do it, we only dream of being that rotten, but it made her laugh.

She turned 80 this past weekend. My friend celebrated with her extended family and she sounded happy when I called her. I was surprised she picked up the phone. She is very picky about which calls she takes and I didn’t think she would recognize my name on the Caller ID. I suspect her family urged her to answer.

That’s the awful part about dementia. You forget – people, places, names, events….where the bathroom is, what’s a brush, how to read. My friend still recognizes that my face is a friendly one and she enjoys our time together. She just can’t connect all the dots.

Today she asked me if I liked any boys. I told her I still liked my husband, she chuckled. She asked again a few minutes later and I simply said “not really.” I never press a person with dementia or try to explain complicated situations. I’ll distract them to try to calm them but I avoid correction. Any change gets her antsy. It could be a different pill container or a blue cup instead of a red one, change is hard.

Last week I was straightening up the apartment and I noticed a pat of butter in a dose cup. The kind of cup that cradles the lid of cough medicine. There sitting on the bathroom vanity was a pat of butter in a dose cup. That’s what dementia looks like. You try to make sense of it but it in the end rational thought does not prevail. You just find the logic where you can and hope to ease the stress and anxiety with some laughs along the way.

My friend wrote a note to me on Tuesday. She wrote in on a napkin, her way of making me promise I would be back soon. This is what she wrote:


“I will come

on Friday.

Hurry Up or Else!

Keep this.

Love, Helen”



My Seat at the Table

My Seat at the Table

Yesterday I took 7 girls to the mall. My daughter recently turned 13 and that was her birthday wish. She actually wanted to bring one more girl but we ran out of seats. I try to keep my mouth shut whenever I drive a carload of kids. You can get some good intel if you’re quiet. My problem is I want to sing along to the songs on the radio. Car karaoke is one of my favorite pastimes and I’m quite passionate about it. I lose all restraint if something by Queen, Journey or Pat Benatar graces the waves. I get a lot of side eye from my daughter who rides shotgun on these excursions.

The mall is a solid 40 minute drive away so I got to hear a few things. At one point they were discussing whether they want to have boys or girls later in life. There were mixed views, most stated that girls would bring a lot more drama than boys. I felt a little sad over that and realized this is a message they are receiving from all of us. I also recognized that indeed there is more drama in my daughter’s life then my son’s. He also is less apt to discuss his social issues with me (perhaps a classic closed off male?). So there were two stereotypes tapping me on the shoulder. Try harder mom.

Last year when I did a similar trip to the mall, I trailed behind letting the girls lead the way. This time I was asked to sit in the food court. I agreed to that as long as there were consistent texts and they met me at an agreed upon time. They had an hour and a half off the leash. I got texts from my daughter letting me know which stores they were in. Then something awkward happened.

While I was doing time in the food court, I was texting a good friend telling her my daughter wanted to get a second piercing in her ears and how I told her to ask her dad if it was OK. I also mentioned that I had never been more certain of a “no”. That text was meant for a friend but I accidentally sent it to my daughter. I got a hmmmm….response on that and I’m sure that will boomerang it’s way back to me. She forgets things all the time (gym uniform, socks, hats) this is something she will remember. I didn’t say anything bad just gave away that I talk to friends about this stuff and she gathered some intel of her own for how I attend to some parental issues. Quid pro quo.

Eventually we made our way to dinner at a chain restaurant. They seated us at a table that would have been considered Al fresco if we weren’t still indoors. The table was outside of the main seating area and in a corridor with a low metal fence creating a boundary between diners and shoppers. The girls looked at the kids menu and the regular menu and they all settled on some variation of pizza from the kids side. I didn’t ask them to order from there they just did it on their own. This is a considerate group.

At one point they asked for crayons to use on the kids menus and that was a pleasant surprise. A bunch of 12 and 13 year old girls comfortable enough with their friends to still be kids. I know that will change in the months to come so I soaked it in. At one point they realized our table could be seen from the security monitor that is displayed near the mall entrance so frantic waving ensued.


They also spent time making pretend promos for shows that exist only in their imaginations. They tried duplicating the Disney promos where the promoter draws a heart. Then a sad discussion about the end of the K.C. Undercover show. Everyone at the table is a huge Zendaya fan. I was happy to have some understanding of the topic. I suspect at some point in the near future I won’t have any idea what they’re talking about or I simply won’t be at the table. For now, I’m keeping my seat.

I’m Just Happy To Be Here

I’m Just Happy To Be Here

Hi my name is Bryce and I’m a recovering SAHM with an acute (not a cute) case of Imposter Syndrome. You all enthusiastically say, “Hi Bryce, welcome”. I spent a decade as a SAHM and wouldn’t even spring for a good haircut let alone a conference. I didn’t spend family money on frivolous things. Traveling to a conference for a “hobby” seemed excessive and not something I would have done two years ago. I am happy to report that times have changed for me.

A few years ago I started to consciously carve out a niche for myself. I had been a SAHM so long that I got lost in the daily tasks of managing a family. When both kids got to middle school I determined to change a few things. The first thing I took aim at was finding a job. That seemed impossible given that my last job involved proprietary medical software which doesn’t age well. If you’re out a week things change, you can’t play catch up on a decade long absence.

With no employment prospects, I decided to start a small business. I fill in the gaps for families that need a helping hand. Most of my clients are elderly and their loved ones just want someone to check in on them during the day. It’s great, the work is meaningful and I have autonomy over my schedule. I can also pay my way for the conference.

This year I turn the big 5-OH so I am more aware that there is less sand in the top portion of my life’s hourglass. I’m also making an effort to take my writing from a cathartic hobby to something that can earn money. I’m currently writing a book which I will shamelessly promote to all of you once it is done (I’m so excited about it!).

I wouldn’t be registered if it weren’t (weren’t or wasn’t; imposter isn’t sure) for my good friend, Leah Vidal. Leah was the one who inspired me to start a blog and she told me about the EBWW. In fact, she registered me for the event. I had to work the day that registration opened and I couldn’t log in. So if I accidentally burn the place down or I become ground zero for a new plague that spreads at the workshop, it’s Leah’s fault.

In a not so surprising twist, last week I realized that the conference conflicts with a variety show fundraiser that I started three years ago. I was sitting in a meeting for the non-profit looking at an event flyer and wondering why April 7th sounded familiar. Then I had my “oh sh*t” moment of realization and I immediately told the attendees I would be out of town. I will not be deterred.


This post was in response to Gina Valley’s EBWW writing prompt. PROMPT: In 300-800 words talk about signing up for the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop

Sex Bomb

Sex Bomb

I had a visit with an elderly couple today. I see them twice a week. I make them lunch, do some laundry but my main job is to socialize with the wife. Helen tends to get a bit down sometimes and dementia is causing her to become forgetful. Her husband, Ralph, wasn’t feeling good today and I wanted to lighten the mood a bit.

One of the grandkids got them an Echo Dot for Christmas. I thought some music might make my friend smile a little so I had Alexa play some Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, The Doobie Brothers (I was hopeful, she didn’t like them) and finally some Tom Jones.

The first Tom Jones song to come on was “It’s Not Unusual” and she loved it so we kept Mr. Jones on. The next song was one I never heard of – “Sex Bomb”. My ears did a double take and I instantly thought….Houston we have a problem. I looked over at my octogenarian friend and she was dancing. Here’s the chorus in case you aren’t familiar –

Sex bomb, sex bomb you’re my sex bomb –  You can give it to me when I need to come along (Give it to me) – Sex bomb sex bomb you’re my sex bomb – And baby you can turn me on (Baby you can turn me on)


Check It Out

Check It Out

I’m a bit of an @sshole when it comes to bagging my own groceries. I don’t have too many OCD tendencies except for this particular task. I prefer to use my own bags (when I remember them) and I have very specific ideas of what should and shouldn’t be bagged together. These are basically common sense notions except somewhere down the line common sense got his @ss kicked and now he’s afraid to leave the house.

I don’t think I’m too exotic with my grocery bag wishes. Put heavy stuff on the bottom of the bag so the “delicates” (Oreos, chips, the good stuff) don’t get crushed. Keep the cold stuff together (that’s right the warm roasted chicken should not coexist in the same bag as the ice cream). Put more than three things in a bag. I’m one of those “one trip” people. To finish things off, I like to play grocery store Tetris. Basically I get a small cart, load a large carts worth of groceries into it and then see if I can get them back in, good times. I always intend to go in for 4 things and come out with about 37 things, so there’s that.


My bagging preferences have not gone unnoticed by the workers. Just the other day my son and I were checking out with the three things we went in for (plus the additional 34 items we didn’t need). It played out like this –

Cashier: “Do you want a plastic bag for the meat?”

Me: “No thanks.”

4 seconds later….cashier reaches for the plastic bag with her left hand, meat is in the right hand.

Me: “It’s OK, I don’t need a plastic bag for that.”

Cashier continues to place the meat in the plastic bag. At which point I give the WTF is happening here look. She sees the look and continues…

Cashier:”I just think it’s better if the meat is in plastic…you don’t want sausage flavored lasagna.”

Me: “Interesting you should point that out, Susan. I do in fact want sausage favored lasagna.”

The next 2 minutes continued in an awkward exchange of the cashier explaining all the reasons why I should have this bag. I spent the time saying “OK” and fighting the urge to laugh and smack her…I was torn between the urges. I saw the ridiculousness of the situation for what it was and yet I was still pissed at her blatant disregard for my very clear instructions. Basically I went into pick your battles mode and did not escalate the situation. My son and I laughed about it on the way out.

This isn’t the only time I’ve encountered a bagging “situation” at this store. A while back I was checking out in a lane which had an overly aggressive bagger. This woman gets visibly pissed if you want to bag your own groceries. Here’s the tricky part, she has special needs. So I’m an instant @sshole for having any kind of an issue with her. Last year she threw my own tomato at me, I sh*t you not. I know she takes her job very seriously so I am mindful of the words I chose when we we interact. Here’s how it went down –

Me: “Regina, can you pass me that tomato, I want to keep the produce together?”

Regina then threw the tomato in my general direction with an angry scowl on her face.

Me: “Alright, then.”

Regina: “Sorry.”

So now I have one cashier and a bagger that I need to avoid when shopping. Does this happen to anyone else?








Limping to the Finish Line

Limping to the Finish Line

I hate running. I have hated it each and every time I have tried it, probably about 100 times in all. Doesn’t matter if I run for 30 seconds or 3 miles – hate it, hate it. hate it. The only time I like running is when I am finished running. I never got the “Runner’s High” and seriously aren’t there easier ways people? I prefer kick-boxing, where I can pretend to beat the crap out of people that annoy me. If you do that while running they’ll call for medical back-up and a psych evaluation.

One especially cold morning this past November, my daughter and I got up painfully early so she could join her Heart & Sole Team and do her first Girls on the Run (GOTR) 5K. I volunteered (because I’m an idiot like that) and was assigned to the Start/Finish line. I was the worst volunteer ever. Apparently my background clearance expired so I needed to renew. I was traveling the prior week and missed the deadline by two days. They still accepted my “help”.

I got there late, 16 oz Wawa coffee cup in hand, wandering aimlessly, shivering and useless. I stumbled around like a drunk in the dark looking for my assigned area. By the time I got there, the reliable volunteers had done their job and set up the start line so I had some time for the caffeine to kick in.

Let me tell you about runners. they are a cheerful group, even in frigid early morning temperatures and they come well prepared. Everyone had hand warmers and blankets on the ready and were happy to share their surplus. In the bathroom line, one avid runner told me how she brings toilet paper to marathons because when you have to go – you have to go. She went on to explain the runner-bathroom mentality which is basically drop your drawers wherever and finish quick so you don’t destroy your finish time. Come again? Runners will piss on the street or behind a building to avoid a Porta Potty line. And if you have to sh*t the same non-rules apply. Alright then, more reasons not to run and lazy, yet efficient me, thought why not just wear Depends?

Well it turns out my daughter also hates running. She wasn’t too fond of the other aspects of the program either – talking about your feelings in a group. It was pretty much a fail all the way around but she finished the season because that’s what we do. At least we don’t have to do it again.

That day wasn’t done with me yet. I was home by 11am, relieved to thaw out. I happily passed the parental baton to my husband who took our son to a soccer game about 50 minutes away. An hour or so later, he texted me that he got a flat tire. Shiz, relaxation was scrapped as I gathered the replacement tire and tools to take to my husband. Don’t be too impressed he had to walk me through it with directions that a chimp could follow (AAA anyone?). I texted him a photo to make sure I had everything needed for him to change the tire. I got the OK and headed over to the soccer field.

By this time there was a torrential downpour and the game was in overtime. Isn’t that always how it happens? You never get overtime when it’s pleasant out. I found the hubs and he got to work on the tire while I walked the 1/4 mile in the freezing rain to check on the boy. The game ended a few minutes after I made it to the field. I asked my son how the game was and he told me he was benched the entire game, dafuq?! It was his first year with this team and most of the other players have played together for 5 or more years. The game was competitive and they won by one point in OT, all the newbies were benched. It just sucked with the crap weather and the flat tire but life goes on.

Later that evening the boys were going to an ice hockey game. I was on Uber duty for our daughter and a handful of her friends who were going to a bat mitzvah. I just got my daughter out the door and was settling into a chick flick and some microwave popcorn (my version of a party) when I got a text from my hubs. He got another flat tire. Geezus are you kidding? Nope another flat tire this time it was 40 minutes east of our house. I had to do the math on the timing to make sure I could fetch 5 girls from the bat mitzvah when it ended.  I would be traveling in a triangle, nothing was close or located in the same direction.

This time I knew the drill. Go into the garage switch out the earlier flat tire for another replacement (my husband keeps an extra set of tires) double check that the necessary tools are in the car and hit the road. This time the added rub was my GPS, which is a consistent idiot with directions. The husband gave me the address and GPS took me to a different location. Luckily, the ice rink wasn’t too far from the wrong location and I was able to Forrest Gump my way to it.

I make sure he gets the tire changed, check the time and head out towards the bat mitzvah. On the way, I get into the Chick-Fil-A drive through 30 seconds before closing. They have the nicest fast food workers around. I didn’t catch a whiff of resentment when I placed my order. Try that at another drive through at closing time and you will get dagger eyes and a mixed up order if they don’t ghost you at the window. I got my take out and made it to the bat mitzvah with time to spare. The girls all had a great time and I loved listening to them talk about their night.

We all made it home by midnight. It was a long day and yet it was satisfying. Starting with the 5K, having my daughter complete it even though she kind of hated it. The next day I got a text from my son’s coach. He apologized for benching him, explained his reasons why and told me what a polite and dedicated young man my son is and he hopes he will be back next year. My husband and I worked together as a team to get things done and we stayed sane and laughed about the ridiculousness of the day. Sure we limped to the finish line that day but we did it together.





Moms Don’t Get Sick (Yes we f*cking do)

Moms Don’t Get Sick (Yes we f*cking do)

I’m going to throat punch the next person that says “Mom’s don’t get sick” to me. Right after I cough and sneeze directly into their left eye. I know, I’m cranky it’s the Advil Cold & Sinus talking and no they didn’t pay me to type that. Actually that is the only thing that helps (still waiting for payment, ah-Choo). Here’s that annoying commercial from Dayquil. I know I’m mixing shit up it’s the headache, lack of sleep and difficulty breathing.

Anyway, I know I’m “#blessed” because this is only a shitty cold and not some disease that wants to take me down one deteriorating cell at a time. I just suck at being sick. Forcing myself to rest is difficult. I called out of work today and I felt bad about it. My client is an 80 year old woman and I know she really looks forward to our visits. The risk of getting her or her husband sick outweighed the guilt.

Another fortunate thing for me is my kids are older. Moms and Dads of littles that get sick are really screwed. Scratch that anyone who is the primary caregiver that gets sick is royally screwed when they, themselves get sick. It’s not just parents of littles, it’s spouses of  the chronically ill, caretakers of people with special needs , adult children caring for parents. I see you and I hope you feel better and get the rest you need to take it all on again. As for me, this Momma is taking a sick day.

Notes from the Road

Notes from the Road

Got home a few days ago from a road trip with the family. We traveled from Southeastern Pennsylvania to New Hampshire during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. We took my middle-aged Honda Pilot which has over 150K miles on it. It’s comfortable, yet beat up enough that we can park it anywhere and not worry about bad car neighbors. The hubs filled the tires with air, I brought snacks and we hit the road 2 hours past our target departure, typical for us.

My husband and I like to recreate this particular scene with every uncharted drive that takes longer than 90 minutes. First, we enter the address into my car’s GPS (we’ll call her Sheila). She has proven to be a moron time and time again. We review the directions on the screen and see that Sheila wants to send us over the George Washington Bridge instead of the Tappen Zee. “No Sheila, you’re drunk again and that’s a terrible idea”. The hubs and I go into our usual script.

Hubs: “Why don’t you pull up Google Maps on my phone and see what it says.”

Me: (why didn’t you do this 2 days ago) “Sure, hon.”

Hubs: (What is your problem?) impatiently “Well?” Tries to take the phone “I’ll do it.”

Editor’s note* – the hubs always has a phone 3 versions up from mine so I never know what the hell I’m doing.

Me: (Oh FFS why can’t I get this right, swipes wildly, accidentally closes the app, has to start over 3 times, starts to sweat and feels car sick) “No, you’re driving, if you want to switch places, pull over”. “Hold on” tilts head up in a desperate, silent prayer – please help me God, you know I’m a Luddite. “OK, got it. This says take 202, 287, yup go over the Tappen Zee”.

Some variation of this conversation plays out for every road trip headed North. I am getting better with the apps, the hubs is still impatient and Sheila remains stupid. Personally, I think I should just drive but the hubs gets a bit “cave man” about driving and I don’t mind the naps (I just yawned).


The miles tick by usually with NPR on for something intelligent or at least mildly amusing. At some point the Radio Gods gift us with wavy static reception and we have to switch stations. The go-to after public radio is usually classic rock. Sometimes we slip in some current pop to make the girl happy. She usually creates a cocoon for herself in the middle row and slips into sloth mode. She’s pretty quiet with the occasional request for current music. The boy is solidly on board with AC/DC.

Whatever station we listen to, I usually know the words to 95% of the songs. If I don’t know the words, I just make them up. And yes I am that person who likes to “perform” when the mood strikes. I had just completed a set that included; Aerosmith (Dream On), Journey (Lights), Pink (What About Us) when my husband turned to me and said: “Are you going to sing every song?” To which I replied, “Well, that was the plan” and then he said something about singing in your head. And then I punched him in the face and he started to….kidding that only happened in my brain.


A few minutes later Pat Benatar (Hit Me With Your Best Shot) came on and he made a comment “now if you could sing like her”…which was especially insulting since I did that  song at karaoke a couple of months ago. A friend and I sang it at a fund raiser and neither of our husbands stuck around for our performance. My friend saw both of our husbands a few minutes later (hiding in a dark corner, pretending not to know us) and said “did you hear us” and my husband, smooth talker that he is – without skipping a beat said “I thought that was actually Pat Benatar.”


Funny, he didn’t remember that in the car. I considered divorce for a few minutes. I got over it with some pretty dramatic lip syncing to compensate for the lack of actual singing.