A Letter of Apology to My Pants

Dear Pants,

I’m sorry I got your hopes up this morning. I know I set you up for disappointment when I laid you out last night, ready to wear to work on my first day back from spring break. And even though I tried you on this morning, only to discard you in a heap on my bedroom floor, please understand…

It’s not you; it’s me.

I had every intention of wearing you today. Really, I did. But when I tried you on, something inside me said, “No, you really shouldn’t. Just no.”

It was my gut. Not as in “I had a gut feeling I shouldn’t wear these,” like they were going to bring me bad luck or something. It was literally my gut that was hanging out over the top of you when I finally managed to get you buttoned.

I know that when I reached for another pair of pants in my closet, the ones that are not-so-affectionately known as my “fat pants,” you shed a little tear.

If it makes you feel better, so did I.

I’m not sure why I didn’t think I would gain a few pounds over spring break. It’s not like I worked out. Heck, I barely even walked. And then there was the food. I was bad. I was really bad. Like buy-a-large-container-of-mini-powdered-donuts-“for-the-kids”-and-then-proceed-to eat-the-majority-of-them-yourself bad. (If you dunk them in your coffee first, that washes away the calories, right?)

So even though I acknowledged that I was eating like I was gearing up for a long period of hibernation, a little part of me foolishly thought maybe my metabolism wouldn’t really notice.

Oh, I assure you, it most certainly did.

And it was pissed.

After all it has done for me these past months, how could I betray it so blatantly? I didn’t even try to hide the chocolate chips that I mixed in with my scoops of peanut butter. I did, however, try to imagine that I was really eating a bowl of fat-free Greek yogurt, but my metabolism wasn’t buying it.

So, pants, please know that although I threw you down in disgust this morning, it wasn’t because of anything you’d done. People often let out their anger on the ones they love the most.

And even though we have to break up for a bit, and during that time I will have to see other pants, I won’t forget you. Hopefully someday soon, with a little will power (and perhaps the mental picture of myself in a swimsuit), I’ll work things out on my end.

I hope we’re a perfect fit again soon.

Yours truly,

Paula

 

 

Let’s All Go to the Movies

Whoever thought it would be a good idea to go to the mall to see a movie on the day after Christmas was kind of an idiot. Oh, I guess that was me. After pulling in to the parking lot and realizing that it was waaaaay more packed than it had been on Black Friday (Yes, I went. Don’t judge.), Husband decided that was a good time to remind me that last year we went to a movie in the morning. And when we walked out of the theater and surveyed the crowd which had gone from “somewhat busy” to “violating fire code insanity,” we had remarked, “Good thing we didn’t wait until 2:00 to come!”

I glanced at my phone: 2:30.

Oh well. We were there, and we managed to find a parking spot. We had already tried to eat at Five Guys with the thought we would go to a later show, but when we couldn’t even get in the door because of the line, we thought we’d see a show first, and eat later. So in we went.

I have never been to Grand Central Station, but I’ve seen it in the movies, and this seemed pretty darn close. Some people waiting in one of several long lines, other people leaning against walls and larger-than-life ads of a cartoon baby in a suit or LEGO Batman and still others just wandering around in circles, staring up at the movie times in red LEDs, muttering to themselves. I looked up at that same movie sign, scanning it for Rogue One, and finally found the 2:50 showing. My joy was quickly dissipated, though, when the 2:50 suddenly changed to the word “FULL.” Crap. So I stood in line for 10 minutes to get tickets for the next showing, all the while wondering what the heck we were going to do in this crowded mall for over an hour and a half.

It’s not like we’re huge shoppers — especially the boys — but couple that with the fact that it was literally difficult to even move through the walkways in between the stores, and the prospect of leisurely shopping at Bath & Body Works or for God’s sake the Apple Store made me feel nauseous. We did, however, have to make an exchange at Hot Topic, so we decided to venture there. But first we had to make it through the food court.

As we tried to weave our way through the people and around the lines, I reverted back to my “mom of little kid” self and couldn’t fight the urge to grab my boys’ hands in the fear that we would get separated and never see each other again. First we walked past Zombie Burger, which had a sizable line, but at least they had organized it, and since it was at the end of the food court, had people standing right next to the wall instead of out in the walkway with everyone else. And everything was going ok — until we came to the hallway for the restrooms.

So many people were spilling out of there, and it seemed to me like they were all moving in fast motion. It was like a hose was turned on and was just spraying these people out. I honestly found myself thinking, “What is going on in there? Are they having some sort of entertainment back by the vending machines and the family restroom?” And of course these people were all swimming against the stream or trying to merge into our lane that was headed out of the food court. It was literally body-to-body contact with perfect strangers. What made it even more challenging was that half of them were also carrying trays — trying not to lose their Potato Ole’s or Mongolian beef and rice.

When we finally reached the end of the food court and could come up for air, at least for a few precious seconds, we shuffled to Hot Topic, just a few stores down. And we entered.

Have you ever been to a Hot Topic store? I don’t know if it’s every Hot Topic or just the one at our mall, but I’m positive it carries the most merchandise per square foot of any other store in the world. T-shirts, skirts, robes, pajamas, keychains, bags, Pop figures, earrings, chokers, lanyards, candy, posters — it’s all there. All jammed together. And to display all this merch, they have to have racks and display cases and shelves everywhere. It was a maze, but with what seemed like only dead ends. We could see the wall of t-shirts that Boy #2 needed to get to in order to pick out a shirt to exchange, but getting there was an entirely other matter. We tried to walk around the Pokemon display — blocked by a tween girl with pigtails and her mom. We tried to squeeze between the “Stranger Things” and Disney Princess racks — blocked again by two guys who seemed way too old to be buying a Pikachu onesie. Finally, after going what seemed to be the longest distance between two points possible, we made it to the wall.

I instantly got dizzy looking up at all of the t-shirts that were displayed clear up to the ceiling. Boy #2 hadn’t decided what he wanted, so we stood there, pressed against the wall and sweating, necks craning, trying to decide between the sloth in space, Edgar Allen Poe on a police bike and pug with laser eyes. Finally, he settled on an Alexander Hamilton one, which I would agree was a good choice considering some of the alternatives.

So here I made the sacrifice moms make, telling Boys #2 and 3 to save themselves as I fought my way to the checkout. Again, taking the most circuitous route possible, I managed to get to the end of one of two lines. There were arrows on the floor that I think were supposed to help us know where the lines began and ended, but they did not seem to actually correlate to anything related to the line or the cash registers, so we all ignored them and just picked a place to stand and wait. After 15 minutes waiting behind another middle-aged mom with glazed-over eyes and her teenage daughter who was buying a hardly-anything-there babydoll top that made me thankful I didn’t have girls, I finally made my even exchange.

When I stepped out of the store, I took a deep breath and also instinctively covered my eyes at the sudden change from dungeon darkness (I’m pretty sure they don’t have any lights in Hot Topic, or if they do, they’re always burned out) to bright mall light. I found Husband and the boys, who appeared to be having just as good of a time as I was, leaned up against the wall between Lids and Orange Julius. At this point, Boys #2 and 3 were starving and didn’t think they could wait until after the movie to eat, so we headed back into the belly of the beast—the food court.

I don’t know how you get when you’re hot and tired, but in our family, we become incapable of making any sort of decision. Such was the case here, and we stood, trying not get knocked over by other hungry people, taking turns saying, “I don’t care” when asked where we should get something to eat. I had to go to my happy place and do some inner self-talk to remind myself that we were having a fun family adventure and so I shouldn’t completely freak out on them. Finally, we went with the shortest line, which was an Italian place that curiously had no line as opposed to the other restaurants that were at least 8 people deep. The thought that it was because the food totally sucked crossed my mind, but at this point I didn’t care. I just needed something to fill my boys up and waste about 40 more minutes of time. Crappy pizza it was.

We actually managed to find a booth without wandering around hunting for 10 minutes. Out of the corner of my eye I spied a family getting up from the table and made a beeline, ready to knock over an old man or small child if I had to in order to secure the seats. (Ok, I wouldn’t really have knocked over innocent people, especially vulnerable ones like old men or toddlers. At least I don’t think I would have.) As we went to sit down, Boy #3 said, “Mom are we really going to sit here? The table’s all dirty and still has people’s trash on it.” Just sit down I said in a guttural voice that emanated from deep within, and I think Boy #3 knew that he probably shouldn’t complain again.

And there we sat, waiting until we could get into our movie at 4:15. We didn’t even chance having the boys get up out of the booth to get napkins for fear of someone else trying to hone in on their seats, so, like the good mom I am, I just told them to wipe off the blobs of pizza sauce on their faces with their hands. “But it’s all over my hands now!” Boy #3 whined. “Just keep rubbing your hands together and it will go away,” I heard myself saying.

Finally it was time. We could get into our theater, where we could at least wait in the comfort of cushiony seats that recline a little and, even though the movie eventually filled up, was still much less crowded and hectic than the rest of the mall. By the time the movie finally started, we had already eaten our popcorn, but we didn’t even care. The movie was really good, and the conversation afterward at Applebee’s, breaking down the scenes over hamburgers and hot-wings-Boy #2-didn’t-realize-were-actually-hot-even-though-they-were-called-hotwings, was priceless.

I think we’ll do this again next year.

The Final Countdown

Sending your kid off to college kind of sucks.

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It’s the final countdown. [Insert annoying keyboard riff here if you’d like. Or don’t. Although I’m sure the tune has already penetrated your brain by this time and now will be on “Repeat” for the next three days anyway. Yeah, sorry about that.]

No, I’m really not referring to the Europe song. It’s exactly one week until we drop off Boy #1 at college.

One. Week.

The pit in my stomach began to form a year ago, when I couldn’t believe he was going to start his senior year. And it’s never left. There were just too many “lasts” that the pit never had a chance to leave — the last time he’d play football, the last wrestling match, the last time he and his girlfriend would sit on the floor by her locker before school (And yes, I stood outside my classroom and pretended to answer a text while secretly taking a photo so I could remember this moment forever. Did you even have to ask?)

Graduation was hard enough, but at least I knew I had a few more months with him before I had to kick him out into the cold, cruel world. And as the summer has begun waning down, I’ve found myself becoming just a wee bit crazy, trying to do anything I could to take my mind off The Final Countdown.

Like cleaning. It began with the garage. I started out just taking down the tables that were still set up in my garage from my rained-out garage sale two months earlier. (No one’s surprised they were still up, are they?) Then suddenly I was organizing tools, wiping mystery fluorescent-green grime off the workbench, knocking down cobwebs that I’m pretty sure were original to the 1960s house and even venturing into the corner where I know a mouse lives and is just waiting to jump out and eat my face. Now mind you, we still can’t park a car in there. It’s only one stall and well, we have a lot of crap that has nowhere else to go. And although I still wouldn’t eat off the floor, I would probably eat off a plate that was sitting on the floor, which is as good as it gets at our house.

Then I started to tackle the basement. You know, the basement where we finished a room for Boy #1 and then apparently after hammering in the final nail, dropped the hammer, put our hands up and announced, “I’m out.” We’ll get all of this cleaned up tomorrow, we said. And we did. If the term tomorrow has been changed to now mean a timespan of approximately four years.

Yes, people. I’m talking wood, drywall, power tools — it was all still down there. Along with about four inches of drywall dust mixed with just regular old gross basement dust. Now, we had cleaned up Boy #1’s room, we’re not that disgusting. But the rest of the unfinished basement was HORR. I. BLE.

Did I mention that everything that we didn’t know where to put over the past four years was also stashed in the basement? So it was not only dirty, it was CHOCK FULL. And the best part? The petrified turds I kept finding from when my dog had evidently snuck downstairs to do his business. Oh, he won’t go down there when we’re down there. He knows better. He just sits at the top of the stairs like a perfect angel. But apparently when he thinks we’re not looking he likes to creep down the steps and take care of business. I never knew when I would run across one; it was always a surprise. You know, kind of like an Easter egg hunt. But not as colorful.

As I was elbow deep in dust and doo-doo, Husband came downstairs, processed what he was witnessing, and said, “I think you’re opposite nesting.” And it hit me — I was. Before the boys were born, I always got that burst of energy that made me want to clean out cupboards and alphabetize the spice rack. I realized that I’m experiencing that same feeling, except instead of trying to make everything perfect before a boy joined our home, I’m trying to make everything perfect before one leaves our home. And the fact that it keeps me so busy that I don’t have time to think about the fact that he is going to leave soon is an added bonus.

But now the garage and basement are clean, nearly everything on the college shopping list has been checked off and I am forced to think about it.

And it kind of sucks.

Parents of young kids, I know every day someone or another tells you, “They grow up way too fast.” And you politely nod your head and smile.

But, seriously, they grow up way too fast. It’s really a thing. Soon scientists are going to discover the proof that as your children age, time moves exponentially faster, so much so that you will finish reading the last Harry Potter book to your child, hand him his soft blue blanket, tuck him in and innocently close your own eyes for the night only to wake up and find that he’s got armpit hair, big muscles and tattoos (Yeah, tattoos. Just go with it.) and you’re at Target buying him a set of steak knives and explaining to him what a pillow sham is.

And you try to remember the last 18 years and all you come up with are glimmers of images of baby steps and toothless grins and light sabers and that “Husky phase” and home runs all blurred together so that you really can’t picture anything clearly at all.

And you’re not only sad, you’re downright pissed that his childhood is gone and you had no say in the matter.

Rational Me knows that this is part of life. Children must grow up and move away. And it will someday feel normal and right.

But Batshit-Crazy Me considers locking him in the basement, where I can read to him when I bring down his cookies and milk and kiss him goodnight. I mean, we haven’t even read the new Harry Potter book yet!

And Rational Me tries to regain control and reminds me that this is not a reason for heartache. People lose their children, for Heaven’s sake! And I can’t even begin to imagine that pain.

I know Rational Me is right. And it will tackle Batshit-Crazy Me next week before I handcuff myself to Boy #1 so we never have to be apart.

And instead Batshit-Crazy Me will go home and cry, flipping through scrapbooks and eating that King-Sized Hershey Bar that looked at me so sympathetically in the grocery checkout line. And realizing I will be doing this again in another four years, I’ll begin warning myself: They grow up way too fast.

At the Car Wash

You may be thinking, “How could anyone be anxious about the car wash?” And I will answer with a hearty, “Good question!” But I am, and it’s officially gone from bad to worse. After last week, I have actually vowed that I will never enter another car wash again. And I mean it.

Touchless_Car_WashAnxiety and I go way back.

Waaaaayyyy back.

Whether it was going to the nurse every afternoon in kindergarten so I could go home and be with my family, or suffering a meltdown in the aisles of the Osceola Public Library because my mom would limit me to only FIVE books to check out at a time—And how in the world was I supposed to choose from all of them??—so I ended up at home with none, or resorting to biting my own arm because it would take my focus off something stressful,  Anxiety has been a constant since I can remember. I didn’t, however, recognize that it WAS Anxiety until I was an adult—married with a couple kids—and realizing that the way I felt was not normal and not conducive to a healthy relationship with anyone. Including myself.

So with time (along with therapy and some helpful prescription drugs), I was able to break up with Anxiety. (“It’s not you, Anxiety, it’s me.”) At least for a while. But just like an ex who can’t let go, Anxiety keeps showing back up, wearing a trench coat and a boom box perched on its shoulder blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”

I’ve allowed Anxiety to hang around again lately, probably precipitated by the fact that I have a senior and am worrying about him leaving, college and how the heck we’re going to pay for it all. But with all I have going on right now and all I could be worrying about, where does Anxiety seem to harass me the most?

At the car wash.

You may be thinking, “How could anyone be anxious about the car wash?” And I will answer with a hearty, “Good question!” But I am, and it’s officially gone from bad to worse. After last week, I have actually vowed that I will never enter another car wash again. And I mean it.

Allow me to share my humiliation with you.

It was a week ago, on a Friday, and my car really needed washed. Not only was it dusty, but birds had used it as their personal toilet, and I knew it was time. So I took a deep breath and pulled into my local car wash.

As I swiped my debit card and marked the $7 Silver Wash, I had to take a deep breath and tell myself that my fears of driving into a car wash were silly and completely unfounded. I got the green light and proceeded ahead.

And that’s where it all went wrong.

I slowly crept ahead, letting the jets of soapy water blast the undercarriage, until I knew I was getting close to that place where my wheel is supposed to fit nicely into that little place, making the red light come on and the carwash continue. (Sorry if that was too technical for you.) But my wheel did not fit nicely into that little place. Instead, I felt the wheel falling off the edge of the little place and the car went kind of kattywompus on me.

Shit. Somehow I didn’t get my wheel in the right spot. Awesome. What the heck do I do now? I thought.

So I backed up a little, put it back into drive, moving the wheel over a little left so I could get it in the little place. And slooooowly drove forward.

Nope.

Missed again. Seriously? How hard can it be???

At this point I’m not only feeling anxious about not being able to get this car wash going, I’m also feeling claustrophobic because the garage door is still shut in front of me, so my only way out is to back out quite a ways, without being able to see anyone else who might be pulling in at the same time.

Shit.

So I backed up again, and this time I put the car in park and got out, left my car in the stall and walked outside to look for an attendant or just anyone who would pull in my car correctly for me. I had no pride left. I planned to just say, “I suck. Will you please drive my car through the car wash for me?” But no one was to be found, so I was forced to join my car again, alone, in the stall.

At this point I was nearing a full-blown panic attack. I was shaking and my heart was pounding out of my chest. But I did a few Lamaze breaths and tried to pump myself up by yelling at myself, “Seriously, idiots can do this! Complete idiots can pull their car into a car wash correctly. You have a college degree and were class valedictorian. Really, Paula, really? Come on, do this.”

So I eyed where my wheel was and where it had to go, and I swear it looked like that wheel should just go straight into that little place. All I had to do is pull straight ahead. Like a foot and a half. I couldn’t miss.

I missed.

I am not exaggerating when I say that I pulled back and pulled forward 10 times. By this time I had completely broken into a sweat and was swearing like a sailor. Loudly.

Until finally I felt my car jerk forward a little, like it’s supposed to, and then come to a halt.

Victory!

Or so I thought…

Apparently sometime during my pull back-pull forward show, the garage door had opened and I hadn’t even noticed.

The car wash had timed out.

It was like “Buh-bye” as it gave me the green light to proceed out of the stall. But instead of emerging all wet and shiny and clean, I did the drive of shame out of the car wash, my car now looking WORSE than it did before because it was covered not only in dust and bird poop, but the bottom half of my car now wore dirty soapsuds as well.

Aaaaaand it cost me $7.

I comforted myself in the fact that no one else was exiting the car wash at the same time, so hopefully no one noticed that I emerged dirtier than I entered. But leave it to my husband to burst my bubble. When I relayed what had transpired, he said, “I’m sure they have it on camera.”

I’m just waiting for it to show up on YouTube with the caption, “Woman vs. Car Wash: Car Wash wins!”

Well played, Anxiety, well played. Until we meet again. Which I’m sure won’t be long.

 

 

 

 

It’s Spring Break and I’m Spring Broke

Spring Break BeachSo, here I am. Tuesday of my Spring Break. It’s 6:30 p.m. and I’m sitting in our second-hand recliner with a sleeping dog drinking a cup of coffee (I am, not the dog) and downing some Double-Stuff Oreos.

Living. The. Dream.

Trying really hard not to log in to Facebook too many times lest I am bombarded with photos of other people’s Spring Breaks—most of which are a tad bit more vacation-ish than mine. Not that I’m not happy for them; I really am! It’s just not quite as fun to look at pictures of the sand, sun and ocean when we had our ONE nice day yesterday of the entire week, and now it’s raining—again—which actually looks really good compared to the SNOW that’s forecast for Saturday. Blah.

I know I shouldn’t complain. Some people don’t get to take any time off let alone fly to Florida for a week. Teachers on Spring Break, however, just seems a bit, I don’t know, ironic.

Let’s see, we’ll give you a week for Spring Break, but we won’t actually pay you enough so that you can afford to take your family anywhere tropical. Or subtropical. Or even a hotel an hour away that is decorated in a tropical theme.

And even if we thought before that we might be able to save just enough money to take the kids on a little getaway, Reality quickly stepped in, snapped its fingers and said, “Oh no, you didn’t!” (in a super sassy voice, of course).

Today, in fact, we participated in that wildly popular Spring Break activity of paying bills. And not just our normal monthly bills. Nope. Just in time for Spring Break, we welcomed a few annual expenses (property taxes, THREE vehicle licenses) as well as several new unexpected bills into our family. (Welcome, $6,000 income tax bill! We’re glad to have ya!)

Other glamorous Spring Break activities I’ve enjoyed so far include:

  • eating $1 hot dogs at Sam’s Club with my sister (which was curiously a lot more fun than it sounds)!
  • power shopping at Goodwill for spring pants that actually fit me in 15 minutes before the store closed. (In case you’re wondering, any pride I had has long since vanished.)
  • doing laundry. Always doing laundry.
  • bowling a … wait for it ... 88 and 77 before finally really ripping up the lanes by bowling a 111. Apparently it was Palindrome Sunday at Alley Bowl.
  • wrestling with dead vines from what has to be the strongest nuisance plant known to man that was all wound around the posts of my covered patio. Seriously, I had to channel my inner Hulk to rip apart each individual strand of that thing. Then trying to bag it all up was a whole other adventure that I’m sure was pretty entertaining to passers-by.
  • taking down my outdoor Christmas decorations. (And yes, I realize it’s mid-March. Because I’m classy like that.)
  • watching hours of my husband playing some video game involving weird wizard-ish people and a dragon-y thingy he conjures that I named Little Triceratops. Mind you, watching him play for so long was not intentional. I really think after a while I just kind of went into a trance. Or maybe the wizard-ish character put some kind of a spell on me…one that he concocted using the water hyacinth and ninsroot he collected along his journeys…
  • buying fleece from the clearance bin and washing it twice before using it as a poop-and-pee pad in a guinea pig cage to replace the messy bedding. So far, the girls are just pooping and peeing wherever they please, so this may not have been the most successful endeavor. Oh well, at least I don’t have a layer of bedding stuck to my clothes after walking out of Boy #3’s room! (Cue Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” — with appropriate whistling.)

Honestly, though, it hasn’t been that bad (even though you may be saying to yourself, “Really? Hasn’t it?”). No, really. Saturday night after my “bright idea” of trying to get into a brand-new microbrewery/eatery in “the city,” and being told it would be a two-hour wait, with no place to stand, and after almost going into full-panic mode in the car because I couldn’t make a decision about where else to eat, my husband arbitrarily (can’t say “randomly” if you’re married to a math teacher—unless it truly is random) chose a place we’d never eaten, and it turned out to be THE BEST food I think I’ve ever had. (Who knew Skillet Corn could be so freaking delicious?) So we found a new favorite special occasion joint, which is a plus!

And even though this probably isn’t what the boys would choose if they were asked, “What would you like to do for Spring Break this year?” they are still managing to have some fun together, and it is nice to have some down time to just hang out. Tomorrow we may go watch open practice for the NCAA Men’s Division I Tournament teams who are in Des Moines. Because that sounds kind of cool and, you know, it’s free. So there’s that.

Husband also mentioned that we should probably try to clean out the garage. This will not be a fun task, to put it lightly, however it will be nice if we actually manage to get this accomplished. But considering we’re supposed to have up to 50 mph winds tomorrow and Thursday and then highs in the 40s on Friday and Saturday, my guess is this will still be on the to-do list when we go back to school.

But no matter if we’re lying on the beach in Mexico or lying on the couch watching each other play video games, the important thing is that we’re together while we’re doing it. And even though being a teacher doesn’t afford me many luxuries, it does provide me with the luxury of more time with my family than many other people get. And in the end, it’s the time—and not where it’s spent—that really matters, right?

 

 

My Twitter Responses That I Didn’t Tweet

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I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Twitter. Granted, there’s some good stuff on there. Interesting scientific articles I wouldn’t otherwise come across. Play-by-plays of those high school games I can’t make it to. A video of a dog letting a squirrel dance on its head. Good stuff.

But there are also plenty of Tweets that I scroll through, thinking: I don’t know what they’re talking about; I’m not sure why I’m even following this person; I really don’t need to know what the nightly special is at the BBQ Palace in Tennessee. I don’t reply to these Tweets, but I do craft some responses in my mind. Allow me to get some of them off my chest.

Welcome to my newly updated front entrance! I added decorative baskets to hide the clutter.

By chance would you have decorative baskets big enough to hide 23 pairs of shoes and two pairs of mud-caked boots? What about three backpacks and two bags, a couple mateless mittens and a bowling ball? What do you think would look nice beside the liquid poop my dog left in our entryway the other day? I think a rug in just the right shade could’ve really complemented the cocoa brown color…

Spring Break is almost here! Walmart is your Smuckers #snackstation destination!

Note to Self: Read this since Walmart is probably the most exotic place we will visit this Spring Break. Besides, a snackstation sounds way more fun than a gas station or a police station. Or a weigh station.

Save Those Bananas to Make #Banana #Waffles

You posted this because you saw me throw away those three black bananas this morning, didn’t you? The ones that I found hidden under a couple questionable oranges in a basket on the counter. (The basket, of course, was itself covered by an empty plastic grocery sack and a half-eaten box of Girl Scout cookies.) I have such good intentions with bananas. I really do. I even once tried to freeze some disgusting rotting bananas so I could bake some delicious banana bread or maybe a banana cake with buttercream frosting. I threw the bananas away three years later.

Man pleads guilty in sex toy robbery case.

Wait–what? Why? This brings to mind all sorts of questions that I really wish were not in my mind. And pictures. Icky, icky pictures. Did he hold up a street vendor selling unmentionables out of his trench coat? Or was it some elaborate Mission-Impossible type heist that involved crawling through laser beam alarms to get to a locked glass case filled with a 24-karat fake wiener? Ewww. Just ewwww.

So MANY fun food ideas for HEALTHY ST. PATTY’S DAY FOODS.”

Ok, this would imply that I a) make special food for St. Patrick’s Day (or even really acknowledge apart from wearing my “Kiss Me I’m Iowish” T-shirt and possibly pinching one of the kids who inevitably isn’t wearing green)…and b) even if I DID make St. Patty’s Day food, you really think I would want to make it HEALTHY? Where’s the fun in that? 

The Ultimate Christmas Cookie Exchange (40+ Recipes)

Um, It’s March…?

#Sweepstakes — Enter to win a Bedroom Makeover Prize Package.

You’re implying I’m not already slumbering in the bedroom of my dreams. Complete with a couple of end tables that I purchased at Goodwill and (after spilling water and ruining the tops) have now covered in a lovely pattern of Contact paper; a canvas and plastic-covered clearly-made-for-college-students shelving unit that zips up the front but is too full to actually zip; a laundry basket completely overflowing with various sizes and shades of single socks that I’m afraid are never going to find their “sole”mate; plastic mini blinds in a soothing shade of yellowing-white and missing two slats, just enough to give passersby a show if they look closely; and a dog (yes, the one that poops in the entryway) usually burrowed under the covers of the unmade bed.

Your kids are always watching you. Be the person you want them to become. 

No pressure or anything! <<Flashback to last night when I spent the evening in bed on Twitter eating out of a half-gone bag of store-brand semi-sweet chips when I could have been feeding the hungry–or even feeding something besides Hot Pockets and hot dogs to my own kids. (Sadly, I’m really not kidding.)>>

10 Tips to Use Social Media for Motivation (Instead of Procrastination)

I’ll read that article tomorrow.

In case you missed it: Ad: Tyson Premium Cornish Hens Recipe

Hallelujah! Because I have a couple cornish hens in my fridge that I did NOT know what to do with! (Along with some figgy pudding.)

Thank you for allowing me to Tweet-vent, friends. I feel so much better.

Now excuse me while I check Twitter to see what I’ve missed…

 

Why I suck at Leap Year

Leap Year should be a holiday. A real holiday. It should be a holiday where everyone stays home from work and takes care of those things they have always been meaning to do or have good intentions to do, but “just don’t have time.”

LEAP YEAR

Today was Leap Year and I have nothing to show for it.

It’s such a weird concept, really. For three years we’re perfectly content shorting poor February two or three days, but the fourth year we tease it by giving it that extra day, making it feel like a “real month,” just before snatching it away again for another four years. Presumably while laughing maniacally.

The fact that Leap Year was on a Monday this year seemed even more of a cruel joke. Here, we’ll throw you an extra day this year. Buuuuut, it’s gonna be a Monday. Okay, I realize today STILL would’ve been Monday even if it wasn’t a Leap Year (I do understand how calendars work), but for some reason it seems even worse to know that our one extra day in FOUR YEARS is the most openly hated day of the week.

Honestly, Leap Year should be a holiday. A real holiday. It should be a holiday where everyone stays home from work and takes care of those things they have always been meaning to do or have good intentions to do, but “just don’t have time.”

Guess what? Just found your time, bitches. (Pretty sure this should be the new Leap Year slogan.)

So if this were true and Leap Year was a do-everything-you-say-you-don’t-have-time-to-do holiday, my day should’ve consisted of me checking off the following tasks:

  • scraping the grease off the fan above our stove–or even better, just tearing out the fan because every time you turn it on it sounds like a knife got caught in the garbage disposal WHILE a jet was taking off in the kitchen.
  • testing all of my circuit breakers to find out just which one controls the area of the basement that has been completely dark for at least six months.
  • taking the dog on a “real walk.”
  • re-patching that hole we patched up that looks like we tried to patch it up–that one that lost to Boy #1’s fist.
  • re-patching that other hole we patched up that looks like we tried to patch it up–that one that lost to Boy #3’s foot.
  • clearing a path in the garage so we don’t have to climb over two soccer goals, a broken dishwasher, a wheelbarrow full of dead leaves and board games (don’t ask), 5,304 empty bottles and cans, three sad-looking bikes and an assortment of tools that didn’t quite make it into the toolbox every time we need to do a search and rescue on our snowblower or lawnmower.
  • shredding those DIRECTV bills that we kept this long just in case someone needed to know whether or not we purchased the NFL Sunday Ticket in 2003.
  • exercising — just anything resembling exercising.
  • organizing the five drawers I have for cooking utensils and tools, one of which I’m pretty sure only contains a biscuit cutter (Confession: I’ve never once made biscuits) and a pair of chopsticks from the Chinese kitchen at Hy-Vee.
  • getting all caught up on laundry (Okay, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face).
  • cleaning out our medicine cupboard and realizing that 90% of the medications we have expired before Boy #3 was conceived.

But alas, the Leap Year free-day holiday has not yet taken hold, so instead my day consisted of going to work, coming home, making dinner “from scratch,” (aka a box, a jar and a pre-made package from Target), running out to the grocery story to fetch 7-Up and Jello for my ailing husband and hoping I can scrounge around matching (or even “nearly matching”) socks for everyone tomorrow since I’m feeling too lazy to throw in a load of laundry. Oh, and writing this post.

What can I say? The fact that it’s a Monday pretty much cancelled out any extra ambition I had to take advantage of this “bonus day.”

The good news? In 2020, Leap Year is on a Saturday.

I guess I’ll just have to put off vacuuming out my vents until then.

Don’t wake me if I’m dreaming

24 hours?  I better take a nap[Taps on microphone] Hello? Is this thing on?

Hey, everyone. I decided it’s finally time I see if I can give this blogging thing another go. It’s been so long now I’m not sure I even remember how. They say getting back into writing is like riding a bike — you can pick it right back up no matter how long it’s been. However, I don’t currently own a bike and I still have a scar on my right knee from when I wrecked my Daisy Duster in the ’80s, so that analogy isn’t making me feel any too confident.

Why start blogging again? Why today? Well, the truth is, I had a dream this morning and I thought of you.

Some people have dreams that are so good, they are disappointed when they wake up. They try to hurry back to sleep to see if they can pick up where they left off.

I am not one of those people.

I have a history of bad dreaming. When I was young, I had several recurring dreams. One involved Dracula living in the back of our closet. Another involved my dad crashing down a hill in our old Winnebago and his head falling off. I don’t think it takes a Psychology degree to attribute these dreams to my then-undiagnosed anxiety.

My recurring dream these days is that I am trying to drive, but I can only see a tiny bit, like I’m squinting my eyes, and I’m fighting to keep the vehicle on the road. Again — can you say anxiety?

So I never drift off to sleep with high expectations of what wonderful stories or scenarios the night will bring. But this morning, I awoke and thought, “Really? It’s come to this?”

My entire dream consisted of me cleaning up poop.

Poop was everywhere, and it was the kind that broke apart easily into little poop nuggets (Yes, my dream was that specific), so every time I tried to pick it up with paper towels, it multiplied into more little pieces of poop crumbs and fell out all over the floor.

This is what my life has become. A poop dream.

I’m sure a psychologist would have a heyday analyzing this.

So, where do you come in to this appetizing story? Well, after my first “Did I just have a poop dream?” thought, my second thought was of you.

I wanted to tell you. Who else would better appreciate it?

So in essence, a poop dream brought us back together.

That’s some good sh*t.

 

 

 

photo by: mike@bensalem