Scott Saalman on Abbie Rumbach


The woman at the tiny table was gasping for air, desperately trying to catch her breath and regain composure and at least some respectability—well, as much respectability that a full-grown adult can muster while trying to remain seated on a tiny, school library chair designed for a first-grader’s frame. Think Gulliver in Lilliput.

She was the latest victim of a laugh attack launched by humor writer Abbie Rumbach, who was reading aloud about burning the family dinner Poppin’ Fresh dough biscuits to a group of two dozen other laughing women sitting in tiny chairs too. The audience could only look sillier if they had been strapped into highchairs.

The wheezing woman was yet another joyous victim of what I call “Abbie Arrhythmia.” Abbie’s humor hobbles our hearts a bit, makes us gasp when she’s building steam and really Poppin’ Fresh. She writes funny stuff about modern family life, sort of like Erma Bombeck once did, but with a wicked, sometimes R-rated bite (you won’t find her in a family newspaper)—and likely with what I imagine is a flask in her housecoat pocket.

The scenario above was a reading she and I did for the local chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa, a sorority of outstanding women educators. We were a package deal, though I felt more like Abbie’s agent since the initial invitation to me stated, “We were wondering if you (and maybe Abbie R) could come to our Nov. 13 meeting . . .” A-ha, it was Abbie they wanted. A little blow to the ego, but hey, I took it like an adult. Once there, I asked Abbie to read first, making her appear to be my opening act, when actually it should be the other way around. (Hey, just let me have my little moment, OK?)

Reading Abbie is funny enough; hearing Abbie is even funnier. It’s all in her self-deprecating delivery. If you don’t know, Abbie has a hilarious blog, The Kids Made Me Fat. Her posts are sometimes picked up by the Huffington Post. Not too shabby for a Jasper mom.

Here’s a sampler from her blog.

On realizing (way too late) it’s time to buy new bras: The following list describes most of the bras I am currently wearing: 1. Some of the hooks are rusted or missing; 2. It’s nude but I’m pretty sure it used to be white; 3. The underwire is now squeaking—I wish I was making this up but sometimes when I move it like, moans, like it’s begging for mercy; 4. The material is transparent and not in a sexy way but in a stretched-out nasty itching-my-nipple kind of way; 5. It has snaps to unleash my boobs for feeding, and my baby is now eating lunch meat.

On running: Running is horrible, and I’m horrible at it. Though, I’m not sure you can call what I’ve been doing running, as I recently got passed up by an elderly couple who was walking their elderly dog. Seriously, this dog did not look good. They were dragging it down the street. Yet, they passed right on by me.

On the Tooth Fairy: The Rumbach family Tooth Fairy is ridiculous. She went completely over the top when Hadley lost her first tooth. Hadley didn’t just get a quarter as in days of old, but rather was given $5, a packet of Reese’s Pieces, a new Barbie DVD and a bottle of nail polish . . . When more and more teeth started to fall out (which, by the way, is gross), and once our kids started knocking them out on purpose for reward, we realized that we needed to explain to the kids that the recession had effected everyone, including Tooth Fairy.

On a Christmas present from her daughter, Hadley: My present was a coupon book. She filled it with coupons that I could redeem for help around the house. Her coupons included things such as, “Watch Jack for 30 Minutes,” “Clean My Room,” and “Pick Up The Toys.” I thought it was wonderful. Without any money to spend, Hadley had created the perfect present. A week later, on my birthday, the only thing I wanted was to take a shower. I remembered my coupon book and asked Hadley to watch her brother . . . She put her hands on her hips as she then said, “Mother. You need to look at those coupons. They have expired.” I got out the coupon book and sure enough, she was right . . . I forgot to read the fine print. All of the coupons were good for 3 days only.

On witnessing her father’s unfortunate attire at church: The adults made their way to the choir loft when I spotted my dad, a 30+ year member of the choir . . . He was wearing sweatpants. A T-shirt and sweatpants. I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t mind my Dad’s sweats, but I’m quite certain my mother did . . . apparently Dad came from his bowling league (where I guess he wears sweat pants?) directly to the church. And he must have had some nachos, because I’m pretty sure I could see some cheese dried on his thigh.

Read more Abbie at

Abbie Rumbach essay: Family Fitness, a Tale of Two Sisters

My sister is an exercise lunatic. She’s been that way her entire life, and if my memory as an 18 month-old child serves me correctly,  I am 100% accurate in this assessment.  When my mom brought my new baby sister home from the hospital, she promptly began bicep curling her bottle and she hasn’t stopped curling, twisting or lifting since. 

She was always flipping outside in the yard, while I was inside eating Sour Cream and Onion Potato Chips and waiting for Growing Pains to start. Sure, I would occasionally join her in her outdoor antics, but I’d stop as soon as I felt remotely uncomfortable. Sweat, insects, dirt – yeah, all of those things made me uncomfortable. So, I’d turn a few cartwheels and head on in for a weekly dose of Kirk Cameron and his shenanigans as Michael Aaron Seaver. Yes I know his First, Middle and Last Name – I had his posters all over my room. Kirk Cameron was dreamy. 

A “shart” story by Abbie Rumbach

(taken from our own Abbie Rumbach’s blog,

Sharking Her Pants

By Abbie Rumbach

My poor kid’s breath stunk. Like really stunk – like made my toes curl gagging stank-ass stunk. The putrid smell coupled with her nausea and sore throat brought forth a diagnosis that any seasoned mother could make on her own, yet I had to make a trip to the pediatrician’s office for the official verdict: strep throat.

This marks this kid’s 5th bout of the strep bug this school year, the last one being just 4 weeks ago. So, she is now a strep throat pro. While she used to be incredibly freaked out by the back-of-the-throat swab, she now doesn’t even put down her iPod while they go at her with the giant q-tip.

Yet today, something threw her for a loop.

DR: Well child, I think we need a stronger antibiotic.

Child (whose name is being protected for the sake of potential adolescent humiliation): Uh huh – ok.

DR: You’re going to have to be careful with this one. Do you know what a “Shart” is?

Um, did he just say that? 

Is “Shart” a term he learned in med school? Is a “Shart” recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics? Where did this guy go to med school? Did he even go to med school? Was he a real doctor? For god’s sake, how was I going to explain a “Shart?” How would that conversation go?

Well, honey, a “Shart” is a fusion of the words shit and fart – you put them together and you have a “Shart.” The doctor was basically telling you not to fart and shit your pants.

But I didn’t need to worry. My daughter had this one handled.

Child: Yeah – a shark – it swims in the ocean. I saw one in Florida when we went to the aquarium. I got a real shark’s tooth as a souvenir.

DR: No, that’s not exactly it…

ME: It’s ok – I’ll explain it later in the car.

That wasn’t good enough for Dr. Shart. 

DR: If you sneak out a fart, you might poop a little in your pants.

Well that did it.

Later, it took me 45 minutes of pleading to convince her to take the first dose of her antibiotic.

Child: Moooooooooommmmm! Nooooooooooo! I don’t want to shark!

For god’s sake, maybe the child thought actual sharks were going to come flying out of her ass.

ME: You probably won’t have any sharking so just go ahead and take it. You need to get better.

Child: Nooooooooooo Mom – he said I’ll shark in my pants.

And so it went for nearly an hour before she downed the shark-inducing antibiotics. One dose down the hatch – only thirty more to go.

It’s been a few days now – a few looooong days, where three times a day, we have to have the shark conversation, and while there have been no incidents of sharks in her underpants, I’m fairly certain she’ll never, again, want to visit the aquarium.

However, I’ve been thinking I’ll mail Dr. Shart a present….her empty bottle of antibiotic with her souvenir shark tooth right inside.