yes,
it really happened

Cooties from Paradise

IMG_9845I was planning to write a blog about Man Flu – She’s Sick; He’s Sick(er), but something happened and I need to write it out. Katie has cooties.

You may remember the blog I wrote about lice. She doesn’t have those cooties. But she has cooties of the foot variety, so this child is literally a lemon from head to toe. I love her, but lord help me.

We had this amazing trip to this beautiful resort in Antigua. Left the day after Christmas, which made me feel like we were criminals escaping town as I left my house a total disaster with wrapping paper and slippers all over the place. We left the dogs home and my parents in charge which also meant that I had given them my house to “watch” when it resembled a DMZ that had been condemned. But my mom was wearing her halo and she started cleaning dishes and never complained. And I went off wearing my crown and parked my butt on a lounge chair. We were all loungey to the extreme. We started keeping track of who was reading the most pages while we were on vacation. Katie had over 1000, I was close with 900 something, Alex kicked both our butts with over 2000. That boy can read. Brian read 75. He’s slow. We like him anyway.

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Husbands Helping at the Holidays, A Primer for Sanity

Brian green eggSo a couple weeks ago we hosted 36 people for Thanksgiving dinner. It was quite a feat, kept me occupied for two weeks prior getting everything ready, and made me laugh and curse and laugh at how my husband “helps”. He really means well. It’s just that I don’t think he has a true party gene. It’s like when Jennifer Aniston said Brad Pitt was missing a sensitivity chip. My husband is missing the party part of his brain.

As I was talking about this on Thanksgiving, many of my fellow sisters and mothers and cohorts on this planet could commiserate. Their husbands were also missing something in their brain – what else could lead them to think that reorganizing the toolshed was a helpful part of the party process? The first question is – do they really think that something like cleaning out the garage should be done for a party? Or is it just something to do in order to avoid actual important work instead?

I would like to put forth that these husband (party pooper) actions are not ill-intentioned. They truly believe they are doing good things for the overall party needs. If they were just trying to avoid work, they wouldn’t pick another chore – they’d watch football on the couch, they’d escape the house and go to the bar, they’d run an errand and not return for hours. These “Helpful” Husband Chores can be very upsetting and confusing to the wives who are busy balancing every other item on the to-do list. Here, I have compiled a helpful list of what the husbands* are likely to want to do based on personality. I’m not sure if it’s fixable, but it’s at least explainable. And laughable. Lordy we need to laugh.Read More

How I Bruised My Butt, And Who I Wanted To Show It To

blueberrypieSo I fell down the stairs the other day. Landed so fiercely that the bruise color looks like my right ass cheek sat in a blueberry pie. Mind you, the fall was only two stairs, like two actual steps, not flights of stairs. I wasn’t paying attention, I was looking at my watch with my left hand and eating grapes in my right hand. When I slipped, I caught a glimpse of the ceiling light fixture behind my watch, so I think I was definitely airborne for a certain amount of time. I might have touched the ceiling. Or outer space. So I came down on the sticky outy part of the stair that Siri tells me is called the tread nosing, which is the part that goes out over the riser of the next tread or step. So the sticky outy part. And I hit one, and I bounced back up to outer space, and then I hit the second one, and then I landed on the floor and still did not know what time it was and decided I would never eat grapes while walking again, because I was lucky I hadn’t choked and died. I actually say that to my kids about grapes, “Don’t walk and eat that – Don’t talk and eat that – you could choke and die”. God has a seriously funny sense of humor sometimes.

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Yes. There’s More.

chessIn case you got lost… this is a supplement to the blog “No Joke:How Not To Treat A Volunteer….Lessons from the trenches from a Class Mom on Probation“. You might want to read that one first. This is just an add-on of another story that has been lingering in the department of Things That Annoy Me. Or just read on. It’s a stand alone story so you’ll be fine….

I might not be as annoyed as I am if this were the first time offense with the group email response to a single situation. But it’s not. This email edict has happened before. The first time this happened was last spring. My father-in-law was in the ICU for two months. He sadly passed away in April, but as you can imagine, between February and March our family was in turmoil. I had told all my kids teachers and they were so thoughtful and caring. I had told the school guidance counselors who made themselves available and my daughter found such solace in talking with her school counselor that to this day she still keeps the little notes they made together. “I am safe”. “I am OK”. Her biggest worry was that something horrible was going to happen to someone else she loved at any second.

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No Joke: How Not To Treat A Volunteer…. Lessons from the Trenches from a Class Mom on Probation

umbridgeWell, I’m not technically on probation, but I am waiting to find out if I’m fired. And no, I’m not kidding.

See, I usually kid and joke about stuff quite a lot. I find it human. I think it’s good stress relief. And most of the time the people around me like it too. Except for, apparently, this time. Half a dozen people told me they liked my funny bit that I included on the form I handed out as Katie’s class mom on back to school night. This is the form where we asked for checks for teacher gifts for holiday, checks for teacher gifts for end of year, checks for PTO dues, and checks for PTO annual fund. That’s a lot of checks. But there was one who whined. And complained. And went to the powers that be to tattle. Because I made a joke. I’m not saying it was a good joke. Sure it was probably in a bit of bad taste, but there were no curse words and I didn’t borrow anything from Louis C.K. I just added a line. “If I write one more check I might kill someone”.

Funny? I thought so. Not to some. OK. I’m sorry. I legitimately am. Not everyone likes edgy humor and I suppose to those who are ultra politically correct killing jokes aren’t funny. I get that. I hate when someone says “Rule of thumb” because its origin was back in the days when there were laws on the books that said a man could beat his wife provided that the stick he used was no wider than his thumb. I hear that line and I cringe, but I recognize that it isn’t a call for action for more domestic violence. It’s just something people say. As far as expressions go, I’ve heard some that are a wee bit worse than that.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…A Back to School Special

alex and katie sand chairThe kids are going back to school. Without me.

Just kidding – I’m sure I’ll need to be there for a PTO meeting, training about how to behave in the library, volunteering in the library, concerts, art shows, art class volunteer duty – here’s your glue, book fair, holiday fair, fair’s fair, the mini marathon what-now, drop off, pick up, rainy days, you forgot your lunch/ boots/ mittens/ hat/ don’t call DYFS I swear I told my kid to dress warmly, pizza day, taco day, what is that on your lunch tray day, and of course, special events day. Because the other events were all not special enough. Am I bitter? Not really. Just tired.

Sometimes people ask me if I like being a stay at home mom. Firstly, if I said “no”, you’d think I was a horrible mother who didn’t love her children, or that I don’t appreciate the opportunity to be with them and not “have” to work. Trust me, I appreciate not having to drag my butt to an office every day. Secondly, I’m not a stay at home mom. I’m a drive all over the place for my kids, run errands, do grocery shopping six times a day, wait I forgot we need propane for the grill head back out, and where are the dogs they need a walk mom. I don’t like it all the time. But I love my kids. Most of the time.

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The Curious Incident of the Dogs and Their Butt Fur

two dogs and alexI have had a near death experience. Not really, don’t panic.

The dogs and I went on an early evening after dinner walk. The kids of course didn’t want to come, and I wasn’t in the mood to argue, so off we went, two dogs and me.  It was still hot (you know, 75 degrees), so the doggies weren’t going to go far. As we were walking I was noticing that Nicky’s butt/back fur looked weird, considering he’d been groomed yesterday. So I started tugging at it. He liked that, a lot, me tugging on his butt/back fur. And out come these giant tufts of fur. I sort of looked at them at first, wondering if I should put it in my pocket, or a poop bag, and then I decided I would be helping the bird population and their future building projects if I just left them on the ground. So I dropped them behind us like a furry version of breadcrumbs and they rolled along the street in the sea breeze like tumbleweeds.  As I looked back over my shoulder it looked a little creepy, like ghost kittens. Or rats. Or ghost rats.

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The 40th Birthday Blog…

40th bday cakeSo I am 40 today. That makes me old, reflective, and writing. I am halfway to 80. I am 20 twice. I am starting to realize that I am a little bit quirky. My husband snorted because I said “a little bit”. Maybe I’m just starting to realize it more as I grow wiser and more introspective. Much wiser. And much more quirky.  At least I’m not yet “Batty” – that’s usually reserved for octogenarians. But me?

I am a Prepper. Not just like the zombies might come and we should have a supply of foods and medicine for everyone in the house and a “go bag” in case we need to bug out. I do all that and have all that. Including gluten-free emergency food packs for Katie. And we have a generator. The kind that powers the entire house in an apocalypse. But I also prep the bathrooms. To me an emergency occurs not when there is no more toilet paper in the bathroom, but before that, when the spare rolls are down to just one. If I could wallpaper the room with spare rolls I would. But in the meantime I have one of those toilet paper storage rolls in every bathroom. And they should always be stocked. If they become empty, everything comes to a grinding halt, and everyone needs to participate in the restocking phenomenon. My kids think this is weird. That’s just another name for quirky.

I hate dirty bathrooms – and germs in general. Or bathrooms that might be dirty. Or bathrooms that were used by someone outside the first generation of our family tree or my closest friends. Or too many people even within that circle. I have cootie issues. I can’t use a use a bathroom after a certain number of guests at a party have used it. Those kinds of odds means someone must have germs. Or syphilis. Same applies if it’s been too many days between a thorough cleaning and a house guest. What if they contracted a horrible disease that hasn’t manifested itself? Like a stomach bug? Or ebola? I will climb numerous flights of stairs to find a clean bathroom instead of using one that looks perfectly fine but might have invisible cooties. Of course I could always clean it. Like now. Good lord let me get my Clorox wipes. Or else hide under my covers. Maybe take a nap.Read More

Real Life House Tours

It’s house tour season. For those of you who have not been on a house tour, let me explain. There are Perfect People with Perfect Houses who are also Generous and Kind, and they open their homes to various charity groups so that they can charge a nominal fee to raise money for good causes. Then voyeurs like me take off their shoes and walk around said Perfect Houses so I can goggle and ooh and ahh and then feel generally inferior about my own house and lack of perfection. And then I shake my head and realize this is indeed a first-world problem and I am a spoiled brat. I like my house. It’s just not quite tour worthy. But I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick reference guide in case anyone ever does want to tour our house. You never know. I could be famous.

Perfect House on Tour: Has a grand front walkway and door and lots of beautiful landscaping as you approach for your ultimate curb appeal.
My House That I Actually Live In: We only open our front door to get our takeout delivery. I used to say there could be a colony of rabbits living on our front porch and I’d never know it. We come in through the garage and into the basement. And remember to be careful not to trip on barbies, legos, fourteen pairs of shoes for two children, random coats and backpacks and leftover snacks and party favors. Last night I hosted book club and my ladies informed me there is a bird living in the pretty wreath on the front door. Not only did I not know we were harboring wildlife, I had forgotten we had a wreath on the front door. I checked it out in the daylight today. It’s not just a mommy bird. There’s baby birds too. Now we are roommates. I don’t evict families.

Perfect House on Tour: Please take your shoes off when you arrive.
My House That I Actually Live In: You better keep your shoes on so you don’t get your feet dirty. We live in a hovel. The dogs are in and out all day long and their dirty feet leave a film of pawprint everywhere they go. Don’t worry though – that little brown round thing in the kitchen on the floor? Definitely not poop. Probably a chocolate covered raisin from snack time. From three days ago. Most definitely not feces. Like 98% sure…just leave your shoes on. For sure.Read More

Winter Crankies – Hello Jersey.

Nicky with Alex's feet car in snow
I do not like winter. And I live in New Jersey, where we have six months of it. Even though we have 12 calendar months and 4 seasons and common core standard math-wise that should mean three months a piece, that is a lie. One big wintery icy lie. Winter lasts forever, like a sadistic Frozen meets Ground Hog Day movie mania.

There are many things that piss me off about winter in NJ and I shall detail some of them here as part of my mental therapy. And because I feel it’s necessary to explain myself like a 30 second public service announcement – yes, I do have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). But SAD doesn’t mean just people getting sad, like boo hoo I’m sad. It says I am AFFECTED – which is much more dangerous. It means I am sporting a rage and hate of winter more potent than heroin and I will cut you if you cross me. As long as we are indoors, because if you are outside then I am running to my car or my house and I will ignore you.

Static Electricity: This shit is dangerous and it feels like I am being electrocuted over and over again. Today toast shocked me – not the toaster – the actual bread that is toast inside the toaster. I was nearly electrocuted by carbs. This is part of the Paleo people’s evil plan. I have shocked my children so often that they don’t want to hug me anymore.  The puppy thinks I am torturing him or that his invisible fence collar is haywire. I’ve tried wearing rubber soled shoes, I have only hardwood floors, no carpet, and I’m still starting to twitch. Enough already. And yes I have a whole house humidifier, and yes it is set to winter not summer, and yes it is “working”. Screw you. Don’t touch me.Read More