Archive for April, 2013

Now I Have to Lie In It

April 29, 2013 15 comments

You’ve all heard the saying.  You’ve made your bed, blah blah blah.

Okay, so I’m going to make a confession today that is sure to shame me and my whole family.  I only ask that you don’t judge me too harshly.  I’m speaking up for all the others like me, who are too ashamed to speak of this.

I don’t make my bed.  Furthermore, I don’t require my children to make their beds.  Our whole household is just a mess of tangled sheets and blankets dragging the floor.

Before you start thinking I’m just a horrible housekeeper, allow me to assure you that I am not.  I’m not great at it, but I do a passable job.  I don’t keep dishes in the sink, I clean floors on a regular basis and I pay my children a handsome allowance to do the things I really detest, like dusting and bathroom cleaning.  I just can’t bring myself to care enough about making the bed to even mention it to anyone, let alone require anyone to do it.



Point 1:  How many people are going to see my bed each day?  Of that extremely small group of people, who consist of Hubs and me and two kids who don’t belong in my bedroom anyway, how many of them care if my bed is made?  And if they are offended by the unmade bed, what are the odds that I’m going to suggest that they do it themselves if it bothers them so much?

Point 2:  When I finally fall into bed at night, I am exhausted.  Who needs the hassle of decorative pillows, blankets, or anything encased in a sham?

Point 3:  Hubs and I are both out of bed by 5:30 every weekday morning.  The cats strongly and vehemently object to rising at such an absurd hour.  Surely you’re not suggesting that I should oust my cats out of their peaceful morning slumber in order to move some blankets around?

Point 4:  I am chronically and incurably late every single morning of my life.  I don’t have time for this nonsense.

Point 5:  You get a visual reminder to wash the sheets.  When it gets too tangled and untucked, or when the fitted sheet literally starts crawling off the mattress, you’ve let it go too far.

Now, I don’t mean to suggest that there are no good things about making your bed each day.  I just don’t really know what they are.  I also feel a need to come to the defense of my mother and let you all know that I was not raised this way.  I was taught to make my bed and I was required to do it on a regular basis.  However, when we grow up and move out on our own, there comes a time when we make our own way in life.  My way is in a rumpled and unmade bed.


If You Want Something Done Right…

April 22, 2013 6 comments

You’d better just let me do it.

So, over Spring Break, I paid my children staggering amounts of cash to do menial chores around the house.  I don’t know why I bother doing this, ever, because I’m now spending my days off fixing everything they did.  Two reasons:

  1. They are really very bad at housecleaning of any kind.  They don’t understand the difference between “sweeping the floor” and “getting the floor clean.”
  2. I am a control freak and it causes me great distress deep down in my soul if things aren’t done exactly the way I want them.

Since I don’t want to break my children’s spirits (on purpose), I’m fixing these things on the sly.  I do call them out on some things, like my son’s dusting.  He dusted the house Saturday.  On Sunday I made him do it again.  He said, I already dusted!  I said, but there’s still dust there, right?  Point taken.


Other things, I’m being sneaky about.  For instance, my daughter reorganized my tupperware cabinet and my pots and pans cabinet.  She did a fine job, but it sets my teeth on edge, because it’s not RIGHT.  The tub of tupperware lids is supposed to be on the bottom shelf, not the top.  The little square tubs are supposed to be on the front left.  The iron skillets should be near the front, because they’re too darn heavy to drag out of the back.  And, also, because that’s where they go.  So I spent the morning reorganizing everything in the kitchen and I’ll say nothing about it.  I’m sure they won’t notice, because any child who thinks the toilet that she “cleaned” is actually clean isn’t capable of any sort of attention to detail.  For the record, she also believes that “putting away clean laundry” means “throw everything in a wrinkly pile on the chair in your room.”

I gave up long ago on getting Hubs to do things the way I wanted them done.  He is, after all, a grown man, fully capable of telling me to do it myself if I’m going to be so damn picky.  Point also taken.  The kids, though.  I thought I had a shot at training them properly.  When they are told to clean something, the unspoken command is “clean to your mother’s satisfaction.”  I have certain standards.  Whether those standards are reasonable or sane is debatable around here, but, hey, it’s not always easy being my kid.  I am trying to train them in my image here.  And I am failing.

It’s hard to teach this kind of thing, and I’m coming to believe that it’s all just a part of my special brand of crazy, which my children did not inherit.  It’s sad to see an era come to an end, but that’s part of being a parent.  Sometimes you have to let go of your dream of making your kids neurotic like you and let them find their own kind of crazy.

Stop Laughing and Clean up My Mess

April 22, 2013 Leave a comment

I’m annoyed right now.

Here’s the short version on what has kept my away from my blog recently.  My house was stinky.  I don’t mean regular stinky, I mean that special kind of something has died or someone has pooped in a corner kind of stinky.  My husband ventured into the crawl space under the house to investigate.  (For this, he has earned a permanent title of the best/bravest/most fearless husband in all the land.  I would not go under there to fetch a million dollars, especially if I had to crawl through a flood of funk.  It was a very Shawshank Redemption moment.)  We had a broken drain pipe.  What this means is that all water going down the drains in the sinks, tubs, dishwasher, washing machine and garbage disposal (gasp!) was under my house.  It was putrid.  It was repulsive.  It made ladies faint and children cry.



So, while the broken pipe itself was a pretty easy fix, we still had a mess under the house that was just shy of toxic.  So we called in the big guns.  Professional cleaning service.  They came right out and proceeded to clean out the most awful, disgusting mess that I’ve seen since the time my baby daughter’s diaper leaked right up her back and got into her hair.  The worst of it was handled the first couple of days.  Today they’re under there finishing up and they’ve got a huge crew under my house to do it.  So, why am I so annoyed?

There are two girls under there who will not shut the hell up.  And they must be a couple of comedians, because every muffled word I hear is accompanied by shrill giggling.  It’s making me a little bit crazy.  First, I am trying to focus on catching up on my recorded episodes of Chopped and they’re louding.  Second, I have concerns about how much they’re focused on my crawl space because it sounds more like a slumber party’s worth of twelve-year-old girls under there.  Granted, digging contaminated dirt from under my house probably doesn’t require that much concentration, but still.  Here’s my take on the situation.

This company is being well-paid to provide a service at my  house.  They should do so in a professional and unobtrusive way.  I am home.  My neighbors are home.  We should not be disturbed by a bunch of noise just because I had a broken pipe.  I understand the need to sometimes cut loose at work.  It breaks tension and passes the time and makes what must be a really awful job seem a little better.    I get all that, but it’s still irritating.  I mean, I’m already annoyed that the plumbing in this house has failed so catastrophically.  I’m annoyed that I can’t use my washer or dryer because they need my laundry room plugs for their under-house drying machines.  I’m irritated that this has already taken a week and we’re not done yet.  It bothers me that I don’t feel free to use my own bathroom because I know a bunch of strangers will hear my toilet flush and know what I’m doing.  I don’t think it’s so much to ask to not have to listen to a giggle fest under my feet  on my day off.

I know I should be grateful for them.  If left to our own devices with that crawl space, our best option would have been to just put the house on the market and sell it as-is.  It was really beyond the scope of what regular people are equipped to handle.  But when I hire professionals, I really, really want them to be professional.  I want them to be sober and somber and distant.  I do not want to have a conversation with you about my cat or your upcoming career change.  I don’t want to hear your conversations while you’re two feet under my floor.

I want you in and out as quickly as possible.  Quietly.

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An Open Letter to Other Men’s Wives

April 8, 2013 10 comments

Dear Other Wives,

The purpose of this letter is to express my gratitude to you.  You don’t know me, nor I you, but our husbands know each other.  And they talk, oh, how they talk.  Whomever first started the rumor that men don’t talk about their problems must have never actually met a man.  I, personally, have never met a man who could shut up about his problems.

But to my point.  I would like to genuinely offer my thanks to you for being bad at the things I’m good at.  Thank you for being unreasonable about the things which I brush off.  Because when your husband tells my husband about it, it makes me look really, really good.  And, you see, I have to take it where I can get it.  I have long since passed the phase of “trying to be a good wife.”  This is defined as trying to show a genuine interest in the dumb things your husband likes to do, making an effort to fix yourself up for him, asking his opinion on things (and caring), and not pooping in front of him.  These are things that I am not good at.  My husband knows this and he’s made his peace.  He knows there’s not a chance in hell that I’m putting on makeup on my day off.  He knows that I am not really listening if he waxes poetic about golf or the Playstation 3.  He knows that when I ask his opinion, I am really just telling him what I intend to do, and giving him an opportunity to agree with me.

This is not to say that I am a bad wife, or inconsiderate or a complete, stinky slob.  It’s just that we’ve been married for so long.  After a while it’s easy to become complacent and stop appreciating what you have.  And although he never speaks a bad word about our relationship, he sometimes forgets what a prize he’s got.  So, when you are hypersensitive to your husband’s (constructive) criticism, and I accept such criticism with grace (one of the very few things that I can do with grace), he really appreciates me.  And he tells me how much he appreciates it.  When you keep secrets from your husband, my incessant chatter about every minute of my life suddenly becomes very valuable to my husband.  When you pick a massive fight with your husband, my “whatever” attitude fills my husband with joy.  Suddenly, I’m looking pretty damn good.

And so I thank you for this.  For reminding my husband of the great catch that I am.  Don’t get me wrong, you are not a bad wife.  Not at all.  You just aren’t the right wife for my husband.  And that really works out for both of us, doesn’t it?  In the spirit of sisterhood, I shall return the favor, if I haven’t already, because I am sure that I’m very bad at many things at which you excel.  Perhaps your husband has expressed his appreciation that you share his interests, don’t have a filthy truck driver mouth, or rarely have room-clearing gas.

You’re welcome.



Facebook: The Cookbook

April 8, 2013 4 comments

There’s a disturbing new trend on Facebook.  I mean, more disturbing than the trend of photos demanding that you repost, or you’ll go to hell, hate your mother, and torture puppies.



Facebook recipes are the latest big thing.  This shit is driving me crazy.

  1. 99% of all Facebook recipes contain cream of something soup and/or are made in the crock pot.  I have an unreasonable prejudice against cream of stuff soup and if it’s not broccoli or green bean casserole and it’s not Thanksgiving, it makes me gag.  Also, I have crock pot issues that can be further explored here.
  2. All of my Facebook friends like the same recipes.  There are only so many times I need to see a recipe for stuffed zucchini.  (The number of times is actually zero.)
  3. There are a lot of weird shortcuts and ingredients.  I keep seeing a frosting recipe made with instant pudding.  That’s not frosting, that’s pudding.  If you like pudding on  your cake, I don’t blame you, but don’t pretend it’s frosting.  Let’s keep it real.
  4. The good ones are lost in the cream of crock pot shuffle.  There are some good ideas out there.  Please stop reposting the damn crock pot lasagna recipe so that I will notice the lemon berry cake.
  5. This direct quote shows up on many recipes:  “If you want to “SAVE” this recipe then be sure to click “SHARE” so it saves the recipe to your photo album on your page for future reference!”  No, no, no, NO.  If you want to save the recipe, the best way do to that is to write it down, print it, or, you know, actually just save it to your computer.  If you want to share it, that’s when you click “share.”  Isn’t it funny how words work?  (Helpful hint, it’s not necessary to share every recipe.)

I implore you all to keep the recipes in their place.  I love a good recipe as much as the next guy, but the day that I need assembly instructions for a trifle (the definition of which may actually be: delicious things thrown into a large bowl) is the day I just hang up my whisk.  Let’s maintain the integrity of Facebook and save our reposts for cat pictures, Dos Equis guy memes and my blog posts.  (You know you want to.)

Where’s Bill Murray When You Need Him?

April 8, 2013 7 comments

There’s a peculiar thing going on in my back yard.  It’s wild freaking kingdom out there.  Granted, our yard butts up again a wooded patch, but still.  We live in town.  We are in a well-developed part of town right near a major highway.  Why the hell are these animals gathering in my yard?  There is a fence to keep them out, but they’ll not be discouraged.  To date, we have had the following animals in our back yard:

  • neighborhood cats and dogs
  • a snake
  • a mole
  • a skunk
  • 35,246 random squirrels
  • a brown furry thing that looks like this:


Which makes me feel like this:



I can’t say for certain that the little beast is a gopher.  I’m a town girl.  I don’t know about wildlife.  I know that he lives in a truly mind-boggling patch of weeds that my neighbor maintains right next to my fence.  I know that he has dug a hole under the fence to access my yard and I know that the cocky little sucker likes to run right under the edge of my storage building and mock me.

To date, the kids and I are the only ones who’ve witnessed the triumphant sprint into my yard.  When I tried to tell Hubs about it, he asked me (I’m not kidding) if it was a squirrel.  This is when I began to wonder about the private opinion that my husband holds of my intelligence and skills of observation.  Okay, my skills of observation may be lacking, but I do know what a squirrel looks like.  I also know that if I ever encounter a squirrel the size of a small dog who can dig under my fence, then that is the day I burn my house down, because that is going too far, squirrels.

So I have a massive network of underground tunnels in the yard and I’ve got this little brown animal who likes to stare me down when he knows I’m too occupied keeping my children from trying to pet him to give chase.  So it seems like it’s probably a gopher.  Or the mole has returned and brought an above-ground friend with him.  Either way, I’m not totally sure what I want to do about it.  I don’t actually want to kill him, I just want him to go away.  He’s got quite a bit of personality and, while I don’t appreciate it, I’m not comfortable being his murderer.  I am soundly blaming my neighbors for this travesty, since he’s living in their yard, but clearly finds mine more satisfying to destroy.  A gopher with a grudge?  Maybe.

The real question is, what is so attractive in my yard to all the world’s wildlife?  There’s nothing back there.  The trash cans aren’t back there.  I don’t have any delicious edible plants back there.  There is nothing, except the thousands of mothballs that I littered around after I saw the snake.  Maybe gophers like mothballs?  I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m glad that Hubs does the grilling.  It’s getting scary to venture back there, especially when your gopher is a smart ass.

Bribery, Sibling Love and Building a Work Ethic

April 5, 2013 8 comments

So the world is all upside down.  Monday came and went without a post and here it is Friday and I’m at the computer with my coffee.  Contrary to all likelihood, I’ve not yet snapped and quit my job in a blaze of fiery glory.  I just took a staycation.  Hubs and I have started this new tradition since we have both worked at our jobs long enough to have earned more vacation days than any reasonable person would ever use.  We take Spring Break off to hang with the kids and take care of stuff around the house.

Last year we did this.  We were busy.  We worked and slaved all week-long trying to accomplish everything we wanted to do.  This year, we got smart.  In fact, I think this is the most brilliant parenting move ever.  The kids have done most of the work for us.  Willingly.  Eagerly, even.

Here’s how it happened.  My kids want things.  They have a deep and abiding need to buy things at all times.  Over the years, Hubs and I have tired of buying all these things and all the negotiation that goes along with it.  We don’t want to hear the whining or the arguments.  We instituted a very simple policy.  If you want something, earn some money and save up for it.  It’s a very rare occasion when I will buy things for these kids for no reason.  Because there is no end.  There is no end to the things they want and need and absolutely must have or they will fall down and die.  I will buy them clothes, food, toiletries and one pedicure per year (the boy does not take me up on this generous offer.)

So, my daughter has recently decided that she wants to play guitar.  I’m good with that.  I think it’s great.  What I don’t think is great is the likelihood that she will love the guitar for six months, then stuff it under her bed.  So.  I made her a deal in which I will pay for lessons and 1/4 the price of the guitar, but she has to pay for the rest.  As a symbol of her commitment, if you will.  My son has recently found a great love for Yu-Gi-Oh cards, which Hubs and I both think are dumb and a huge waste of money.  Therefore, he is free to buy them, but we will not, under any circumstances, buy them with our money.

Perhaps we sound harsh.  Allow me to assure you that these kids have made us this way.  Daughter went through this guitar thing several years ago and when I was about to carry myself to the music store, all her guitar love vanished, never to be heard of for many years.  Son, on the other hand, feels that he needs to collect everything that can be collected.  He has had this affliction since he was very young and needed to collect rubber bathtub ducks in every color and name them all “Duckly.”  Yes, he’s cute, but I will not indulge his inner pack rat.

So, you may ask yourself just how I expect a thirteen and eleven year old to make money.  It’s not like they can go get a job, right?  Thanks, Child Labor Laws.  Thanks a lot.  The answer is chores, of course!  It’s still my money buying their stuff, but they have earned it.  It’s a lot different when they’re willing to work for it and nothing makes me feel more generous than a kid who comes to me and says, “Do you have any extra chores for me?  I’m trying to save up some money.”  So, we kicked off this week by telling these children that we have tons of work that needs to be done, we will pay nicely for all of it and we will issue paychecks at the end of the week and go shopping.



You know what happened, right?  Not only have my kids done all the chores that I didn’t want to do (organizing the cabinets, anyone?  Torture!)  All week they have come to me looking for work.  Truth be told, I ended up spending a stupid amount of money for these chores, but a couple of things happened.

  1. The kids worked hard and were rewarded.  Not only did they get to buy the things they wanted, but they did it with money that they had earned and they learned about a feeling of accomplishment.
  2. I got a lot more free time to drink coffee and spend time talking with my husband.  It’s amazing how little time we actually have together when we go out and work everyday.  Boo for earning a living!
  3. Each kid took over a new, permanent chore for an increase in their allowance.  I no longer have to do laundry and dishes, my friends.  Daughter dear made the mistake of uttering the words, “You don’t have to do anything anymore,” and was treated to a diatribe of how hard I work every day to put a roof over her little blonde head.
  4. Gradually, throughout the week, I saw the kids stop fighting amongst themselves and adopt a kids vs. parents approach.  That might sound bad, but considering how we started the week, it was a welcome change.  As we sat down to dye Easter eggs and prepare our holiday celebration, my sweet daughter uttered to her little brother, “No one cares what you think, you’re adopted.”  (He isn’t, and even if he was, we would care plenty about what he thinks.  To his credit, he looked at her and said, “No, I’m not.”  Not one to get worked up, that boy.  And a good thing since he’s got a, um, dramatic sister.)  By the end of the week, they were giggling and plotting against us.  A step in the right direction, for sure.  Oh, and I’m not worried about them working against me.  I’m bigger, smarter and much, much meaner.

So, yesterday we took them shopping and they spend every cent of their money, plus some, in daughter’s case.  Guitars aren’t cheap, you know.  I generously made her a loan with the agreement that I will own her behind until it’s paid off.  That dreaded chore of picking up sticks in the backyard finally has a taker.

So now they have things they want and they’re broke again.  And they still want more things.  Because there is no end.

Which actually works in my favor, because the week isn’t over and someone has to scrub the toilets.

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