The Murphy’s Law Travel Chronicles

Need a good laugh? Follow my traveling shenanigans on my Facebook page The Mustard Seed or click the link below to find out what happens when a hyper neurotic travels during Spring.

Roses, Rodents, and Restaurants


Today marks my 20th Valentine’s Day with my husband, Tim.  It also marks the first Valentines Day that I had to throw out the chocolates.

My sweet, thoughtful, and well meaning husband stopped by the store yesterday (Wednesday) to pick up a few items for me on his way home from work.  Apparently while there he felt the sting of Cupid’s arrow, and inspired he picked up a bouquet of roses, a box of chocolates and a coffee cup and stuffed animal.  Fully aware that I was in the kitchen when he arrived, he left loves bounty out in our vehicle; not bringing them in until this morning.  I think he forgot we live in Northeastern Maine and were in the midst of a snowstorm yesterday…..hello freezing.

The roses are now thawing and are a source of constant speculation from yours truly.  Are they dead or just “resting’? Only time will tell.


One thing was for sure though.  Our suspicions that something might be calling our SUV home for the winter have been confirmed.  As he took that iconic heart shaped box of chocolates out of the bag we couldn’t help but observe the obvious.  Something tried to eat my candy.

The box is intact, but the red plastic wrapping had been ripped.  Writing this I can’t help but scrunch up my nose, wrinkle my brow, and shudder at the thought of Mickey Mouse’s not so adorable cousin trying to rip through my holiday stash with his tiny sharp teeth.  Ew. Ew. Ew.

Ya’ll.  I tried.  I really, really tried.  But before the morning was over, that box of delight found a home in our trash can.  The rodent now owes my husband money, he says.  I just couldn’t do it.  Sure, the little creature didn’t open the box or anything, but I’ve a vivid imagination and just the THOUGHT that it could have had me repulsed enough to kiss an entire box of chocolate goodbye.  Figuratively speaking, obviously I wasn’t putting my lips anywhere near it…..

On the bright side, as a friend pointed out- candy will be 50% off in a few days, and I’m not leaving them in the car overnight.  I will however be clearing out the car and setting traps at night.  The only thing allowed to live in my car is my horde of receipts, fast food napkins, and an untold number of hair pins and elastics.

On a bright note I got to have a very lovely Valentine’s breakfast at a favorite restaurant of ours in nearby Smyrna.  The plate of French toast with strawberries and fresh whipped cream (and a side of bacon) made up for the tampered chocolates and thawing roses.  Also, the cute guy sitting across from me.  He gets a big E for effort.   Besides, he is my Valentine, and everyday I get to celebrate that love with him.


Whether you celebrate it or not, I hope you have a wonderful, rodent-free Valentines Day!!   Know that you are loved, whether you get a box of chocolates or not.

The Chronicles of Cletus

I can keep a man for 19 years, but a pair of antlers for my car?

Folks, we’re talking three antlers in just as many days. I wish it were three pairs, though. Because then I wouldn’t be driving around town with just one antler jutting up proudly from the driver’s side window.

Of course, the alternative would be to drive around town with just a red nose on the front end of my giant gas-guzzling Chevy.  That alternative was, indeed, my reality from Saturday evening until Sunday afternoon when I waltzed into a local store and snagged up a new set.  You know, to replace the set that flew off somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t have one red nose.  I have two!  One on the front and one in my trunk.  I thought about getting rid of it, but who are we kidding here? At this point, I should hold on to it; I’m sure I’ll be using it soon.

So, antler number 1 and 2.

I’ve had them since last Christmas in southern New Mexico.  I can only assume my Rudolph-Mobile was happy and content in the dry climes of the desert because they never came off.

Ahem.  Allow me to correct myself.

They have catapulted themselves into the car, smacking me in the head and leaving me feeling as if I just went into cardiac arrest whilst sitting in the drive thru of one fast food joint or another.  BUT, they never flew off the window, careened past the side of the vehicle and disappeared from sight.

I’d like to think this contributed to the fantastic display of stupidity I gifted my oldest and youngest with this past Saturday evening.  Our big old gas hog hurled down the road towards our destination, a Christmas party, when I found myself feeling overheated.  I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to (I hope I’m not the only one).

On occasion, when it’s hot or I’m feeling flustered, excited- whatever; I manage to go from a pale white girl to a splotchy red mass of anxiety.  It’s there for the world to see.  Spreads from my neck up to my cheeks. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were my entire face- I’d just say I got a sunburn (what? It could happen). Maybe a tanning mishap. Something. Anything!  But no, I blotch.  I’ve had strangers ask me if I were suffering from some malady to which I always reply no while in my head thinking (well, yes ma’am I do. It’s called humility with a dose of neurosis.)

So there I was, on my way to a party heating up faster than an egg on a sidewalk in a heat wave and I can feel it.  The Dreaded Red creeping up my face.  What’s a girl to do?  Don a green cap and say I thought it was a costume party with a produce theme?  No, though that does have merit… Did I mention I was wearing a red sweater?

I decided to crack the window.  Surely that would help! After all, it was a balmy 15 degrees fahrenheit; give or take a few degrees.

And then it happened.

The window was cracked, and apparently my mind too.  The flush was slowly receding from my face when the thought entered my mind.  The antler.  Maybe I should remove it from the window.  And so I began to reach for it when it suddenly popped off and WHOOSH!

Well thanks a lot Mother Nature.  I could’ve handled it myself.

My oldest, in all of his 17 years of droll humor, looks at me from across the middle console and states succinctly, “Well, that wasn’t the best idea.”

No kidding, Sherlock.

Not wanting to roll up as Cletus the one antler reindeer, I hatch a brilliant plan.  As we continue to dash down the road in our sleigh of misfortune at 45 mph, I lay my plan out to my dubious teen and my very amused nine year old.  I’ll roll down his window and he can remove the lone antler. You know, so we don’t look stupid……

I’m sure you can guess what came next.  Pretty sure, like my son, you figured it out before it even happened.


What can a girl do but proceed to sing a hearty rendition of Grandma Got Ran Over By An Antler while driving her last mile in utter and abject humility tinged with a healthy dose of self-appreciation for the ridiculous.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering where the third antler comes in.  And for all of our sakes I’ll keep this part short and sweet.


Driving home from the post office I noticed my radio wasn’t working at all.  No time display. Nothing.  It was working when I parked at the post office.  I thought to myself “I wonder if anything else is out.” And so without thinking?  I rolled down the passenger window.



Number of pedestrians or wildlife who might now have concussions from flying antlers- 3


Merry Christmas from the Mustard Seed and Cletus, the One Antlered Reindeer …for now.

When God Says Clean? You Clean.

So a funny thing happened in the past twenty-four hours.

I’ve been wanting a new living room set for a long time. Especially since moving here. I haven’t been in a rush though at times I felt more impatient than usual. Yesterday was sort of in the middle.

It just kept popping into my mind. And each time,following that thought would be a reminder to myself that it’ll happen when it should. That my God is a provider.

And then another thought kept coming to my mind. Clean the coffee nook area. Always right after thinking of the sofa situation.

First time it drifted through the maze that’s my mind I went into the kitchen and began to remove everything from the little nook. Benches. Table. Everything.

I swept. I mopped. Then I left it to dry.

Later. Same thing. Thinking of the sofas, then the coffee nook. So I pull out THE BASKET. You know the one. The landing zone for all things paper. Ads, bills, junk mail.

So there I am- purging paper, tossing receipts from Nixon’s term (just kidding, but you get the idea) and my hands land upon an unopened piece of mail from Wells Fargo.

I almost didn’t open it. How many times had I received such an envelope only to open it and discover yet another offer for low APR and what have you.

But this time? This time I opened it. I’m so glad I did.

Inside? An escrow check.

From June.

Now. I know. I know. This next part will have you thinking we’re frivolous and small minded, but I promise it’s not so. (At least in this instance). The money wasn’t burning a hole in my pocket, but a thought was knocking on my door.

The lack of living room furniture. The constant thought to clean and in the end find this money.

We decided hey if that’s not a sign what is? Let’s just go to that furniture store that’s going out of business and see what they’ve got.

Now originally we were looking for a sectional, but we decided a sofa set was just more flexible. Especially since I’m constantly rearranging. Not to mention budget friendly. (The sofa set vs sectional; not me.)

Well. We found a set and we basically got both for the price of the couch. Ka-Ching ka-Ching!! And it arrived first thing this morning.

I can’t help but think, if we’d opened that check two months ago we’d have ended up using it for something else. Also, if we had gone couch shopping, we wouldn’t have found that just right one for just the right price.

So as I sit here on this cloud of comfort, I can’t help but think of what I call monuments. Little testaments of God working in my life. Even at times like this where it’s something shallow and materialistic.

Moments like this, and even the sale of our previous home, and indeed, the purchase of this one stand firmly upfront in my mind. Proud sentinels pointing to His provision. His timing.

And His Whisper.

When God tells you to go clean, you go clean.

The High Price Of Moving

A friend from down the street texted me this evening inviting me to go on a quick trip to Ross with her. She was looking for storage bins for a new cabinet that she bought, and myself needing no excuse to go to a store full of pretty things quickly agreed.

The only catch?

I had five minutes to get ready; and so my spiral into shame began unbeknownst to me.

At first I thought “hey no problem I’m already dressed, my hair looks decent- I won’t scare any small children so hey we’re good to go. I’ll just let the kids know I’ll be back within an hour (hooray for having two teenagers – in house babysitting) and just grab my purse. Simple.”

And they laughed and they laughed and they laughed some more.

All of a sudden my youngest needed help logging into my computer. And I couldn’t find my sweatshirt. And …well you get the gist.

With only a moment to spare, I whip the closet door open and quickly grab a pair of flats, slam the door and slip on my shoes while giving last minute instructions.

I get outside just as she pulls up, hop in and we make our merry way across town to a shopping plaza.

All goes well. She finds what she needs. I find what I want but don’t need. I just had to get this adorable navy blue and white basket. It’s perfect for the upstairs bathroom and it was only $5!

After paying for our purchases we head home.

That’s when the Shame Spiral really begins.

I get inside. Slip off my shoes and then , and only then do I look down. And die a million deaths. My pride is gone. My ruination complete.

My dear friends; I wore mismatched shoes on my feet.

This is the price of moving.

My pride.

The house is a jumble of misplaced items exiled from newly painted rooms. My shoe basket is shoved into a dark hallway closet and I am in a constant mind fog of to-do lists.

Let this be a public service announcement: check your feet before going out on the street. Especially when your life is currently turned upside down.

You’re welcome.

This is Summer Dulinsky and I approve this message.

I want to hear from you! Share your shame spiral stories here. You’re among friends!

I Like To Move It, Move It


Oh how I love moving

Let me count the ways




I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who actually loves the moving process, and if there is and it’s you? Well, feel free to come over and help me.  Seriously.


Even Fat Cat (Shade) is feeling the effects of packing.

January 17, 2018: We received the email that we’d been waiting for since November. The move up north that we’d only been dreaming of for over eight years was finally happening. All we needed to do was reply back that we indeed wanted to accept the offer and we’d be on our merry way- in three months.

We jumped onto the roller coaster of change, strapped in and went for a ride.  There was the foreboding climb up first.  Should we accept?  Is this what God wants for us?  I mean we prayed, we sought.  Did we find? What if this wasn’t the right move for us (no pun intended)?  It’s amazing how you can be dreaming and hoping for something for so long and yet when it finally comes, everything is suddenly so hazy.  Our direction was so clear when it was all hypothetical.

Goodbye clarity, hello uncertainty.

Then we reached the top, the peak of the roller coaster, where we seized the moment and soared with the confidence that this was His direction. The elation! The excitement!  We were finally on our way.  After a decade in the desert, we would finally get somewhere that had all four seasons again.

This part of the roller coaster only lasts for so long because soon we had reached the descent.


The ugly reality of dealing with this.  It took two Advils, three hours, and four million boxes but this no longer looks like this- just take my word for it. It’s still a mess, but an organized mess.

The realities of the move, every minuscule detail, each logistical issue just plunged us down further and faster.  Fear of the unknown had dread plummeting down into our very souls faster than the ride could take us, but soon the thrill once again kicked in and with screams of wild abandon we threw our hands up in the air and embraced it.

Until we reached the bottom where we were left with boxes.  Lots and lots of boxes.


I’m convinced our stuff is really a colony of rabbits disguised as inanimate objects, mating and multiplying at night.  For every box I packed, there seemed to be fifty more waiting for me.  I’m this close to being on a first name basis with the staff of Lowe’s.  Soon you’ll find my picture on their wall of MVC’s. Most Valued Customer.  Okay, I’m totally making that up, but if they did have such a thing, I’d be on it.  My picture framed with bubble wrap.  Like this kind that takes a large mercury glass bowl and turns it into this.


Why yes, I left myself little notes of encouragement for when we begin unpacking…..Tired me will appreciate sarcastic me’s gesture.  Trust me.




 Balboa Mist is ready to neutralize. I’ll miss the yellow, but I’ll soon have a tangerine dining room in Maine. (More on that later)


I’d love to write more, but the painters will be here tomorrow and I’m nowhere near ready for them.  I’d pour myself a cup of coffee and just stay right here, but I need to move my chair into the garage.  That and I packed up all of my coffee mugs.  I have a lot of coffee mugs.  (Actually I’m exaggerating , my chair is safe for now, and I left out a couple of mugs for that sweet sweet nectar of life.)

Hey! Drop a line.  Entertain me with your harrowing stories of when you moved.  Whether it was across the country or just across town, I want to hear from you.  Bonus points if you make me laugh. IMG_3248 I’ll reward you with a cup of coffee.  I saved a mug just for you.  It’s the large one with the picture of a cow wearing glasses.

You’re welcome.



I love you banana split you must know, but once I take this last bite you’ve gotta go.

I already stole the cherry- plucked it from the top.

And those  luscious sweet strawberries were the cream of the crop.

I relished in your creamy dreams, even while I mourned the loss.

They forgot the nuts and I’m split.  Do I enjoy this divine confection or do I choose grief?

I should have gone to Dairy Queen.

This is a rewrite of an old poem I wrote on Wattpad.  You can find it here under a  Collection of my Chicken Scratch.