The Time Jeff Foxworthy Told Me He Loved Me

(that day I proved that although I’m smarter than a fifth grader, I’m twice as gullible)

It was Christmas time, 2005. I was living in Plainfield. The daycare children were at a fever pitch with holiday excitement and probably more than one holiday sweet. I had just started dating my now husband Joe, who lived in Rockford at the time while I lived in Plainfield. The radio show in Rockford used to play Jeff Foxworthy’s radio show, and there was a bit he did when he called someone, pretended to be someone he wasn’t, pranking the person on the other end of the phone.

I had just popped in a movie when the phone rang. A man was on the other end and told me he was given my name for someone who could help wrap Christmas presents for charity.

UM I HAVE QUESTIONS.

Say what? First of all, who recommended me? I wasn’t born yesterday and although there is a sucker born every minute, it wasn’t my minute. And another question, why was he so insistent that my wrapping skills were utilized? Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather clean bathrooms than wrap presents.

This “Children’s Charity Representative” rambled on and on about how much it would help “the children” and now all I’m thinking of is how I was going to get him off the phone. How were these supposed presents supposed to get to me? How many were there? What kind of racket was this?

I hemmed and hawed and contemplated. “For the children,” he begged. “Send me some information,” I say. “I don’t know how you’d get them here but…”

“Chris,” he interrupted, laughing.

I’m instantly suspicious. “Yes?”

In a slow southern drawl, he said, “It’s Jeff Foxworthy.”

Capture

THE Jeff Foxworthy.

I went hot then cold all over. YOU ARE SHITTING ME, I thought. I AM TALKING TO JEFF FOXWORTHY. A FAMOUS GUY. JEFF FREAKING FOXWORTHY. Always the eloquent one, I blurted out, “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU.”

He laughed and screamed right back, “I LOVE YOU TOO!”

I was amazed at how long I swung on that hook while he talked me into wrapping presents for kids I didn’t even know—but in the end, it paid off. He told me when to listen for the segment to be on the radio, which Joe and I listened to later, and he sent me something called a Redneck Snack Basket, which was full of soda, moon pies, chips, an autographed picture, a bunch of CDs, and the game “Are you smarter than a Fifth Grader,” which apparently I wasn’t.

Still love you though, Jeff.

About the author:

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella. Also, Chris ventured into the Kindle Worlds Mary O’Reilly paranormal series and has written Trouble Lake and Grave Injury. They’re the perfect books to curl up with any time of year but especially Halloween…because they’re chock full of ghosts!

Chris is a member of the In Print Professional Writer’s Group in Rockford, IL and the Chicago Writer’s Association. In her spare time, Chris enjoys writing, reading, and coloring in her grandchildren’s coloring books with the good crayons. Chris is married to a devastatingly handsome man she met on eHarmony, has three children and a black lab puppy who piddles and loves to help her pack lunches in the morning. She also has five of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

Tulip Takes a Class

Some of you may remember that four weeks ago, we drove in to Naperville and met the puppy that would be ours. In the car, we had a little laundry basket lined with a cozy red blanket, a pink heart dog tag with her name and address lasered onto it, just in case she was a runner like her beloved predecessor. Nestled on the blankie was a tiny leather piggie for her tiny little self to chew on.

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I am tiny. I am adorable. I have really sharp teeth.

We thought we were getting a 4 month old lab rescue puppy, and she is, mostly. I’d say 90 percent of her is a cuddly-wuddly puppy.

“She’s a lab mix,” said the foster mom. “I am not sure what she’s mixed with.”

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Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

I have some ideas. The other 10 percent is shark, or piranha, or crocodile—we haven’t quite decided which. Because I was so busy signing the adoption forms and Joe was so busy fending her off, we didn’t stop to check for gills, flat black pupils or number of teeth.

As part of the rescue process, we had to enroll her in a puppy class.

I got her all signed up and we took her to her first one this past Saturday. Once inside, Tulip promptly peed on the floor.

AWESOME. Great start. The trainer’s associate looked at us sternly. “Did your dog urinate?”

Urinate? She piddled, my good friend. PIDDLED. And she did it again when the trainer came in. Great start.

In a renovated barn, we sat in a circle with lots of other dog owners. Besides Tucker, a poodle who wanted smexy times with Tulip in the WORST WAY, there were five other puppies. All were much larger and beefier than Tulip. Joe said to me under his breath, “she’s the smallest one here. This can’t be the right class.”

Hold up, there, buddy. I spent all week sending emails and making calls and settled on the one puppy class that she’d fit into the best, and THIS WAS THE ONE.

Seconds later, we found out that all the dogs in our class were about five or six months, most of them were just as unruly as Tulip and just as inexperienced. “We’re in the right place,” I hissed back to him. “She’s just a runty little thing.”

We had been instructed to skip her breakfast but bring lots of treats and promptly learned how to get her to sit, bump our hand, and lay down. We were amused that after each success you’re supposed to quickly say, “yes” as you’re rewarding with a treat. After watching the trainer show an example, pretty soon all we could hear is a chorus of “yeses” and barking. Tulip soaked up the knowledge like a sponge. She’s super smart and in fact probably the smartest one there. Maybe.tenor

However, Tulip’s absolute favorite time in the class was when all the dogs were sorted into groups, much like Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat. Our small “Ruffyindor” was put with Dakota, a labradoodle and probable Ravenpaw, and Tucker, the high pitched barking poodle who was obviously a Hufflefloof. The three puppies ran around and play snarled at each other, and overall had a great time.

Although we did sit, bump hand and lay down, we did not do No Bite. Maybe that’s another class?

Tulip managed to stay awake until we got home, and then took several naps. We may have had a nap ourselves. After dinner, she promptly fell asleep again and slept almost the entire night—which was good because one of the handouts in our puppy folder was how to get your puppy to quit biting. Thank goodness.

I read that one out loud to her while she slept. Hopefully she’ll absorb some of that knowledge too.

No, Spanx.

On a recent business trip to Tennessee, I had brought a cute dress to wear. I had also packed a pair of Spanx to wear under that dress because it smooths out the panty lines.

(Who am I kidding. It smooths EVERYTHING out, not just panty lines.)

Wet from the shower, and struggling to get ready on time, I put one leg in the elastic and yanked to begin the arduous task of pulling them up. They make it look so easy on commercials, don’t they? Smiling women effortlessly roll them up, then pull shirts down over their new, svelte silhouettes.

That’s not happening in my situation. It’s not even close. I pull them up, they roll down. Pull up, roll down. I try again, more determined than ever, but have to stop to take a sip of  disgusting hotel coffee for strength. Huffing and puffing, I finally get them up where they belong and pause for breath and to rest my sore, aching shoulder. However, my victory is short lived.

The speed at which the Spanx roll down reminds me of a white windowshade in reverse.

They sit at my waist, this pretzel looking wad of elastic, and they mock me.

what are you gonna do now? they ask.

I admit defeat. That is what I do. I’m out of time and my poor shoulder (the one I have to have surgery on) is throbbing. I kick them at the wall, throw the dress on the bed and choose some dress pants that don’t require Spanx.

Later, my sister asked if I felt the earthquake in Tennessee. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that the quake seemed to coincide with me hurling my Spanx against the wall.

(Actual text with my sis below)

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Instacart, my new best friend.

So, I did a thing.

Last week, I found an Aldi Instacart order that I had abandoned a while back and peeked through it. Wow, I thought. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I actually do need, plus, I need milk for tonight. I started planning and scheming. I could order this stuff to come between 6 and 7, I thought, and by that point, I will have been home for an hour and able to clean the house while waiting for my groceries.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Friends, this isn’t like giving your husband a list to go to the store. No. I don’t know about your husband, but if I send him to the store for butter, I can guarantee you that he’s going to come back with unsalted and WHY WOULD YOU EVER BUY UNSALTED BUTTER to use on toast. (Not that it’s ever happened, of course.)

No, not like sending your husband or adult kids to the store at all because I order ahead of time, exactly what I want. You just click on the product, verify the quantity, and move on.  I did notice that some things were a little more than they’d be in the store, but not terribly more. Certainly not enough to dissuade me.

I chose carefully. Two boxes of slim jims. Popcorn. Half and half. Some avocados. All in all, it was about an $80 order.

I’ll admit to some trepidation here because I’m pretty finicky when it comes to picking out my produce. Was my anonymous shopper going to be as careful as I am? We would shortly find out. Spoiler alert: she did fine.

I had a $5 coupon which mitigated the approximately $8 charge. You might quail at an $8 charge. However, I am going to point out to you that the night I ordered Aldi groceries delivered to my house it was about 20 degrees and windy outside and that whole $8 was so well worth it. I wasn’t the one wheeling the cart to the car and unloading the groceries. I wasn’t the one schlepping the cart back to the corral to get my quarter back (in the cold) and I didn’t have to sit in traffic, either.

Was it worth the $8 to have this service?

YOU BET YOUR ASS IT WAS.

Also, the Instacart app keeps you updated on how many items your shopper has already gotten. If they’re out of a certain thing, the shopper texts you to find out if they can make a replacement. For instance, I wanted the peppermint ice cream that’s only out at the holidays but the shopper sent me a text that they were out, and did I wish her to make a substitution? Sure, my PMS said. Pick me up some chocolate.

I was notified when she finished and paid; I knew when she left the store to drive to my house, and I was notified when she pulled up. She was a very friendly young woman. I knew it was her because like Uber, Instacart sends you a picture of your shopper beforehand. I tipped her via the app.

Was it a little nerve wracking to relinquish control to someone else to shop for me? Yes.

Will I do it again?

HELLS to the yes.

Only the next time I probably won’t be cleaning the house, I’ll be wrapping presents.

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella.

In which Joe runs out of clean underwear.

This year, when the kiddies were all getting their new folders and crayons for the start of school, I was right along with them. I’m taking some courses to complete my Bachelor’s degree. All online, of course, because that’s the world we live in.

However, I still did treat myself to some new crayons. I huff them every chance I get and put them up very high so the grandies have to use the Rose Art ones.

close up of crayons

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My first class went pretty well for about a month, at which point I realized that I had signed up for a second session that started midway through the first class. Now I would have two classes to work on, both requiring large PowerPoint presentations and multiple page papers all formatted APA style.

Enough whining, though. Suffice it to say that nights around the Cacciatore household were a tiny bit busier. A lot busier. Like, a LOT plus I was doing homework on the weekends, writing paper after paper and wrestling with Word to figure out all the stupid fancy indentions. I made leftovers more. I haven’t dusted. I have my kids’ baby pictures still to put in their baby books.

What this meant for my long-suffering husband Joe was that I may have slacked off a tiny bit in the housework department. Now, it’s just the two of us anyway, so aside from the errant pair of socks on the living room floor and two coffee cups in the morning, it’s a breeze to keep clean. (Oh, and the black lab dog hair that clouds up and wafts all over the house but that’s a story for another time.)

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

One thing that suffered mightily was the laundry—obviously—and one morning my husband came running up to me where I was applying makeup in the bathroom. “I can’t seem to find any clean underwear in my drawer. Am I missing it somewhere?”

Yeah, I thought to myself. You’re missing it because it’s still in the bottom of the hamper, where it’s been for a week, because although I have enough underwear for four women, you have only ten pairs and OH MY GOSH has it been ten days since I did the laundry?

It had. I followed him to the laundry folding table where I make a big show of looking for his underwear that I know are damn well in the hamper.

“Why don’t you just go commando? Wear Ballfree underwear?” I snicker. I mean, I wouldn’t (personal choice) but Joe’s a dude.

Dear Reader, you would think that I asked Joe to go to work naked. His mouth dropped open. He was scandalized. Years of Catholic training bubbled up and over the top. He looked trapped, like I backed him into a corner. Go without underwear? GO WITHOUT UNDERWEAR?

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courtesy of angrydooting

“I guess—I guess I’ll just rewear the ones from yesterday.” He dejectedly pulled them out of the hamper and pulled them back on, all the while making a face like he was changing a dirty diaper.

I had to look away from his histrionics and smother a laugh, but I took pity on him. “Darling, I promise I’ll do some laundry tonight and get your skivvies all clean. Don’t worry.”

And I did. (But the ones he wore twice went through two washes, just fyi.)

 

I’VE READ ALL YOUR BOOKS AND I LOVE THEM SO MUCH and other answers to silly questions

Who doesn’t love those ‘favorite this, favorite that’ posts on Facebook? Who doesn’t get sucked into answering all those pointless questions, then halfway through wonder, WTF am I wasting so much time on this again? And then keeps going to the end anyway before gleefully tapping, “Post!”

Yeah, all of us. And so I bring you… one of those posts:

Favorite smell: The bathroom when I’m the first person awake in the morning. Trust me, you do not want to walk in there after my husband has performed his morning ritual…

First job: Waitress. Seriously, is there any other answer to this one?

Dream Job: That lady draped across the couch, being fed bonbons and not gaining a single pound. In fact, I think she’s losing weight. Stupid bitch. I hate her. I’d never want to be her. Okay, then, I guess my dream job is: author.

Favorite dog breed: Wait, seriously? The makers of this poll expect me to pick just one? WTF do they think they are? How can you possibly? I mean, look at those adorable faces, those wagging tails, those wet noses, those puppy-dog eyes. And don’t get me started on cats…

Favorite Foot Attire: Flip-flops. I got nothing funny for this one. Flip-flops just straight up rock. Sometimes I wish I lived in a place like Hawaii so I could wear them all year long. Okay, there are a whole slew of other reasons I wished I lived in Hawaii, and they have nothing to do with foot attire.

Favorite candy: Sour Patch Kids. No, Cadbury Creme Eggs. OMG, those things are to die for. It’s a good thing they are only available for like two months a year. Otherwise, crack dealers would give up their drug of choice because they could make a killing hawking this stuff. Or is that just me? Because legit, the guy in the white panel van with no windows could lure me in using those little chocolate eggs with the strangely egg-like yet decadent as fuck creamy center.

Favorite pie: Blueberry. No, cherry. No, pumpkin. No, strawberry. No….

Favorite cake: Carrot. Also, the kind that doesn’t count toward my daily calorie allotment. That exists, right?

Favorite food: Didn’t we already cover this? Cadbury Cream Eggs. Duh.

Favorite thing to hear: Waves crashing on the beach. Also, “I’VE READ ALL YOUR BOOKS AND I LOVE THEM SO MUCH, WHEN ARE YOU WRITING THE NEXT ONE??”

Color of eyes: Wait a minute. This is one of those abrupt scene shifts that throws off the entire story. Is this asking my favorite color of eyes? (Ian Somerhalder) Or is it asking what are the color of my eyes? (Blue-green) Because that’s not exactly a “favorite” question, so therefore doesn’t work in this random and pointless and addictive poll. Just sayin’….

Favorite holiday: The one on which I don’t have to work at the day job and also don’t have any obligation to do anything with the family, so I can spend my day writing. What do you mean, that doesn’t exist?

Night or Day person: I’d say I’m a coffee and wine person.

Favorite day of the week: Whatever day allows me to get in some sweet-ass writing time.

Tattoos: Is this a trick question?

Like to Cook? I like to eat. Does that count?

Can you drive a manual transmission: I’m pretty confident I could turn this question into something dirty. If I wanted to.

Skate backwards: You mean like at the skating rink, during middle school? Duh.

Favorite color: Blue. Sorry, I got nothing for this one. Blue is legit my favorite color.

Favorite vegetable: Food.

Glasses or contacts: Whatever he prefers to wear, so long as he isn’t wearing a shirt. Wait, you’re saying that wasn’t relevant to the question? Why not?

Favorite season: I like… no, no, that won’t work. It’s this… no, that isn’t right. Let’s go with… nope, not that. Okay, fine, summer!

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Tami Lund: award winning–and sometimes silly–romance author. Check out her website here: http://tamilund.com/ 

 

Whoa, ho, ho…it’s Magic

One week ago today, we were sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight back from Orlando marveling at  how quickly a vacation can come and go.

Was it a vacation, though? I believe it was, only in the strictest definition of the word. “Vacation” implies that one relaxed. Slept in. Lounged.

This was not that kind of vacation because we were at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and we had things to do, things to see, and ride attractions to experience…AND ONLY SIX DAYS TO DO THEM.

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I can feel the magic from here. It tickles.

Three years ago, I was introduced to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am not ashamed to tell you, dear reader, that when I stepped foot into Hogsmeade, I cried. It’s magical beyond anything you could imagine. The shops, the music, the staff that populate the stores…all of it is geared to letting you have the most enchanted time of your life.

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it really is this glorious. even better in person.

Example: When I bought my interactive wand. (Yes, even at almost 50, I bought an interactive wand.) I finished up my purchase on a Chase card so my husband wouldn’t know how much it was and still doesn’t. The cashier handed me the receipt and a pen, and asked me to “sign for the Ministry of Magic.” Charmed, after I had done so, he handed me back my card and said, “Here’s your Muggle plastic.” Talk about getting—and keeping—you in the magic. Same thing happened when I bought a Gryffindor student robe this year…but we won’t talk about that right now. I modeled my wizard robe to my daughters and they both snickered so hard they fell off the couch. #nerd #bignerd #biggergeek

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Girls, don’t make me get my little friend.

I stood in line to do spells with six year olds and I don’t regret a single minute of it because the spellcasting fed my soul. I was actually pretty good at it.

This year, the cast of characters going to Orlando changed a bit, meaning it was extra fun because we got to watch two people who had never been there become just as bewitched as we were upon first seeing it.8CRUDME7NcVACQDd7K9H69buheuZyktXJzsId9Dzgy0eJxFPc

We drank butterbeer almost every day, sometimes sharing one because you could buy the froo frootiest drink at Starbucks and it STILL wouldn’t be as much as a butterbeer. Five of us shared the giant feast at Three Broomsticks restaurant. I rode almost every single ride except for the Hulk and Rip Ride Rocket, which I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole because reasons. We saw some Transformers, got a little wet on the Jurassic Park ride, and met Blue the T-Rex, who doesn’t like eye contact so my sister promptly made eye contact. Silly Muggle.

We had volcano nachos at Margaritaville,

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delish.

toured the Hogwarts Castle, and watched that very castle light up at night with the four different house colors. We had sushi at Cowfish,

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double cheeseburgooshi.

rode the Hogwarts Express train, and risked our very lives to take a picture with Jaws.

Screenshot_20180618-150146We wandered around Diagon Alley, where we watched the fire-breathing dragon scare the stuffing out of newcomers. We had dinner at the Chocolate Emporium. We sweated our butts off, since the average daily temperature was only slightly cooler than hell. In a related story, the first day there, I got a blister from new shoes. Fine. So I wore my old ones the second and third days, and developed even bigger blisters. My sister and I wore SPF 50 every single day and barely have any tan to speak of, even after a week of being outside in sunny Florida for six days. Yet despite the regular and vigorous sunscreen application, I still developed sun poisoning on my inner shins. K7y4l1S_dBNEOuUv0_WtzLs_FBlhyUEuxT5A2lnD0GceJxFPcI know, right? Unfair. I also started referring to myself as Sister Chris of the Wailing Hip. (I didn’t tell anyone that, though.) I cannot emphasize to you how sore I was…we were up (well, Jenny was up) freakishly early so we could get to the parks early, then we’d be there for seven or eight hours during which we walked, strolled, or in my case, stomped and/or lumbered, take your pick.  My sister Jenny, going through thyroid treatment, RAN CIRCLES around me the entire time we were there. #letmesleepfortheloveofgod

We also were, by some miracle, upgraded to suites. These suites were bigger than my entire house and had a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and a living room with a sectional, dining room, and FbgWeiN4bsTAbFFdKhINVT7XkSBQQ-WZGCtji6WdnwYeJxFPcconversation pit. The suite was so big we needed the GPS to find the bathroom. We also had good snacks delivered via Instacart. We rode the boat through the waterways to get to the parks each day. We had tropical drinks poolside, made memories and laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

It may not have been the lounging, relaxing vacation you think of when you think vacation, but I believe it might have been the most fun yet. As I kept saying to my sister, “I can sleep when I’m home.”

I cannot wait to do again. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go check–and clear–my Muggle calendar right now.