Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mischievous Mondays: A Mischievous Moment Gone WRONG

Help! Somebody get Prince Charming to rescue me! It stinks in here!!

I’m so excited to be co-hosting the Mischievous Mondays blog hop! It doesn’t take a lot of effort to prove my girls are mischievous. You might remember my post about Olivia stealing brown sugar from last week. 

Here’s a mischievous moment that repeats itself over and over around here: Rosemary writes the script for a prank in her mind before she actually pulls the prank.  She plans to stuff her daddy’s shoes with princess figurines so that when he goes to put them on…Whoa, Nellie! Princess figurines in Daddy’s shoes so his feet won't fit. Absolutely hilarious. This is pranking awesomesauce. She can’t hold it in any longer. She tells Olivia. They are now prankster partners. They plot and plan for a good 7 minutes. There is giggling, whispering, secrets.

Then just a little more time passes and it gets quiet. Quiet is never a good thing.

Olivia goes straight to the shoes, alone and armed with princess figurines. She’s loading the shoes herself. She lugs the dirty Newbalance sneakers, now full of plastic Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, into the kitchen. They land with a thud on the floor,  right at her daddy’s feet. “Try on your shoes, Daaaaaaaddy,” she says with a singsong voice, an evil grin on her face.

She turns, walks back to her sister, and smirks, “I gave Daddy the shoes, Sissy. He’s putting them on right now!” A moment of pure, unadulterated wickedness.

Rosemary cries big, fat tears. She does the ugly cry. Her plan is foiled. “Olivia ruins EVERYTHING!” she wails. She cries for 20 good minutes while I say "I know" a lot. Olivia is still jumping around, satisfied. I send her away just so Rosemary doesn't have to look at her.

Finally, I give up and put them in the bath. By now, everything just feels…dirty. Baths wash away the most mischievous of moments.

By tomorrow, it will all be down the drain, and they'll be plotting together again. 

For more mischievous moments from other moms, check out some of the links below! Then check back later, because there will be even more links.
Mischievous Monday Blog Hop

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Classified Ads

For sale:

Tiny house with one postage stamp-sized bathroom. 

Pantry not included. Dining room not included. House has a door to the back yard inside the closet in the master bedroom, which is convenient if you want to take guests through your entire house, including your bedroom and closet, so they can get to the back yard. 

So, if you have guests, don’t plan on hiding any of your mess in your bedroom or your closet, either. Basically, you should just plan to either keep things mess-free or plan on being embarrassed repeatedly.

Home lacks pool and hot tub. No sauna.

Would gladly leave lots of junk (read: “treasure”) inside for new owner to possess as his/her own upon closing.

House contains lots of happy memories. Someone else owns the cows that come up to the fence in the back yard, which means they're maintenance-free pets. 

All child and pet vomit has been previously removed by owner…multiple times.

Purchase price is negotiable, but should be enough to cover the home described in the wanted ad below.

Trash pick-up is on Wednesdays. Those guys will wave at you if you look out the window each week at 8am.


Bigger house.

Home should have a pantry the size of a grocery store. Or, really, just a normal size. Whatever.

Should also have miles of granite counter tops in the kitchen, and must have a dining room. And what you’re thinking is wrong. You’re about to say, “But we never eat in our dining room, anyway. You don’t want one of those. Nobody eats in their dining room.” Oh, yes. Yes, I do want one. If it means more space, I want it. I am tired of having to move junk off the tiny table that doubles as our counter/cooking preparation area and onto the washer every time I want to sit down and have a cup of coffee.

Non-negotiable requirement:  another bathroom, and even better yet—an additional 2 or 3. This way, every single time I have to pee, there might not automatically be somebody banging on the door and whining, “But I had to peeeeeeeeee, Mommy! Why do you always go when I have to gooooooooo?” All bathrooms must have working locks on the doors.

While I’m at it, I’d also like a kid-free room I can call my study, with books on built-in bookshelves all the way to the ceiling, a leather chair, and a fireplace. There should be a location for stashing Cheez-its, chocolate, and wine.

Also desired: double sinks; a whirlpool tub; crown molding in every room. Loads of bedrooms for kids and guests.

Could I also have a gardener for all lawn maintenance? 

Would like an outdoor fireplace and pool house. Oh, and a pool and a hot tub would be great. Breakfast nook should overlook the pool, fountains, and gardens.

I would love to set up the house with bells, so the servants downstairs could come up when I want them, then disappear back downstairs when they’re dismissed. Oh, and have I mentioned that I will be needing servants? They can live in the crawl space for free.

Or, better yet, I’d like to introduce self-cleaning elements to my home. I mean, this is 2013. I want my home to have up-to-date self-cleaning technology.

I want a playroom in its own wing of the house. That room will be soundproofed and should be completely self-cleaning.

I’d also like self-cleaning floors, and the appliances could just keep us fed and clean. 

So, basically, I want to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast before the servants turned into real people. How much does an enchanted castle run these days?  

If your home meets all these requirements, please let me know immediately. Feel free to contact me in the comments area below.

photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc 
photo credit: spablab via photopin cc

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sugared Up

The Costco bag of brown sugar was gaping open, and it was empty almost all the way to the bottom.

Every time I see that bag when I’m looking through the cabinet for a jar of tomato sauce, popcorn, beans, I always think, “I need to buy one of those ‘brown sugar bears’ so every bag of brown sugar won’t transform into huge rocks.” Somebody asks for cinnamon toast for breakfast, and I cringe. I don’t want to scrape sugar off the top of the mass that is now our Costco bag of sugar. I’m obligated to do it until I use up this bag, but I don’t want to do it.  
This is part of the reason I thought it was odd that the bag was open.  Nobody ever touches that bag of rock-hard sugar but me.

The other reason is because my husband typically buys his own little bag of brown sugar when he feels a need to add it to barbecue sauce. (Does your husband do that, too? Purchase special ingredients every time when he cooks, whether you have the stuff at home or not? Because he “can’t remember” if we have any, but what comes home for special cooking projects always seems to be name brand and not on sale?)

Anyway, I was cooking, so I grabbed a can of black beans, closed up the industrial-sized bag of brown sugar, and moved on.

I finished what I was doing, and 30 minutes later, I was sitting in the living room on my couch. I was just settling into vegetation mode when I heard a rattling in the kitchen…cabinets knocking, the crinkling of plastic. The crinkling went on for awhile.

“Olivia? Rosemary? Who’s in there?” I half expected to have to chase the dog away from the trash can again. I never noticed anybody go into the kitchen...

Finally, Olivia came out and stood in the doorway, her mouth full—FULL—of huge chunks of brown sugar. “Hi, Mommy,” she croaked, her cheeks full of the stuff. She still had some in her hand. And somehow, even with her cheeks full, she was grinning.

The grin on her face…that grin

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You look like you just stole cookies from the cookie jar.” That’s the look she had. It’s the face that means, “I just got a whole handful of brown sugar, and it’s in my belly now, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” It’s the face that says, “I've totally been playing you on the brown sugar, Mama. And if you turn your head, I’m totally doing it again in 5 minutes.” 

Let me just say, when I figured out what she was doing, I wasn’t sweet. Pun intended. I will save you from the details of yet another exasperated mama mean...parenting opportunity.

But I assure you--I moved the sugar.

One day, that kid is going to be a Mama herself. And I predict that she's going to have her own secret stash of brown sugar and a spoon, and that she will pull it out when nobody is looking, probably in the same way I pull out my stash of chocolate in those desperate moments.

And her kid is going to find her stash. Because this future grandma may or may not show the kid where it is and how to grab a great big handful.

Do you have a little sneak at your house, too?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy and Messy

Not my house. Because you knew I wasn't posting that on here, right? 

“So what do Mom and Dad say about us, then? Our family?” I ask my sister. We’re talking about our parents and their opinions about everybody in the family again, and I start to wonder what they’ve said about me. “Oh, you? They don’t have to worry about you.  They say you’re happy. Happy and messy.” I guess that’s about right. We are happy. And no denying it. We’re messy.

And I guess I wouldn’t prefer sad and neat. Cold and efficient. No, that’s not how I want my life to be.
But I wish I wasn’t so messy. I wish I could transform my space into the pictures I see in magazines, the spaces that so many of my friends have, the ones you, readers, probably have…where there are not toys all over the place, big plastic boxes in the hallway because I need to readjust my storage space in the garage to make room, cluttered mountains wherever there used to be surfaces, miles of laundry piled everywhere. I think I remember, when we moved into this house, that there used to be some counter space.  I wish I didn’t run out of room in my drawers, then start storing clean, folded clothes on top of the dresser, that every flat surface didn’t become a clutter magnet, that any spot in any drawer wouldn’t end up full of something, bulging, stretched until I need a bigger space. I wish I automatically cleaned things up—the kitchen, the laundry—without getting sidetracked and getting behind on everything.

I wish that when somebody called to say they were dropping something off at my house, I didn’t immediately respond with heart palpitations, anxiety, and self-loathing. Seriously—if you want to drop by, you really need to give me a week’s notice, or just pretend you’re in a hurry and have to leave it at the end of my driveway. Because no matter what, I’m going to be totally mortified that you’ve seen our mess and my inability to take control of it.

My house needs to go on a diet. I’ve never watched the show Hoarders because I’m afraid it will hurt my feelings, so please…in the comments…please, please don’t mention Hoarders. I don’t watch it because I am hoping that my space doesn’t belong on it. And if it does, I certainly don’t want to know about it. And know that there aren’t gross things in my house like I hear about on that show...Rat feces, bugs, that sort of thing. There may be more dirt than I'd like, but there are no infestations of anything, although people do keep holding the door open and letting flies in lately. It’s just that that sitting in a room in my house might give you a headache because we have too much stuff for the amount of room allotted to us in our little house.

Right now, while typing this, I’m worrying about the comments. And about what you’re thinking about me. I so want to hide my mess. If you are judging me for this description of my mess, please don’t post it here. Just lie to me and tell me your house is messy, too. Because it’s an emotional issue for me, and sending me to a personal organizer is not enough to fix it. And I’m already a Fly Lady failure. I mean, my sink isn’t even shiny now. And today’s Saturday. I have absolutely no excuse. A shrink? More likely to help, but only after years of sessions.  

My dad’s solution was to build extra storage buildings for his excessive stuff. He went so far as to measure the plastic boxes and build shelves tailor-made to fit those plastic boxes. Somehow, if you organize the ridiculous things you choose to keep forever, it makes things seem better, I guess.

But I don’t want to build new buildings to store more plastic boxes. Not ever.

I look through my girls’ books on their bookshelf. Get rid of some of these, I say. Then they pull out a book and toss it carelessly to the side, and my heart breaks. I remember holding Rosemary, pudgy, big-cheeked, squeezable, lovable, big-eyed, curious, golden-haired Rosemary, while we flipped those pages. We flipped those same pages hundreds of times. I can’t let go of that book. She’s tossing it to the side, ready to let go—and I want to hold on. Forever.  Not that one! Oh, and not the other one over there, either. I remember that one, too…But there’s no more room on our bookshelves, Mama, she says. 

I want to make room. There has to be room. So I stack it horizontally, across the other books. There’s space up there. I can fit this book if I put it that way.

Once, I let her fill a box and I gave those books away. I didn’t let myself look in the box. And I still worry about those books, and if any of them were ones that were really special.

So I’m happy and messy. But not really happy about the mess. And not ready to give up the mess, either.

How do you manage your emotional ties to things?

photo credit: sindesign via photopin cc

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 Ways to Make Attending Your Local Parade More Enjoyable

1. Choose your path to the parade route wisely. If you know a small kitten just got crushed by a driver a couple hours before, and that its leg is pretty much ripped off, and flies are swarming its body, and you can sort of see some of its innards, you may want to steer clear. If it means you have to walk completely out of your way, it might be worth it. 

It's bad enough that you have to see it, but then the rest of the walk, as you pass shady tree after shady tree that's already taken by other eager parade-goers, you're going to have to answer a lot of questions about kittens and the afterlife, scientific questions about decomposing bodies, and practical questions about who disposes of roadkill and how. You'll also probably get to wax poetical for awhile about the owner of the kitten and how he or she will probably need therapy. And your kid might also explain to you that kittens can't see when they're born, which might be a possible explanation why one might wander into traffic.

On a positive note, at least nobody will be complaining about being thirsty at this point in the day.

2. Whatever time you think would be an appropriate time to go find a prime parade-watching seat...go earlier. Choose a reasonable time to leave your house and walk to the parade route. But don't leave at that time. The early bird and the worm, people. You snooze, you lose. 

In fact, if you want shade, you'd better scope out your spot before there's even any shade yet. Better yet, bring some caution tape and put it under your prime location like it's reserved for the King and Queen of your town. Make it look official. And do it the night before the parade. 

3. Insure that somebody throws some candy to your kids. When you sit in the sweltering sun for 45 long minutes while they hold ziplock baggies, ready to retrieve any and all candy that people in fire trucks and on ambulances and in various modes of transportation will obviously want to throw at them (because why wouldn't they want to throw candy at your adorable chidren?), be prepared to be disappointed. Because guess what? Even the mayor will probably just throw one measley Lifesaver mint at your two children, and if you're particularly lucky, like we are, hopefully that mint will hit the pavement like a crystal bowl plummeting off of a tall tower, breaking into a million pieces, and then it can be shared. 

But what you should probably do is pack some tootise rolls (something that won't melt in 182 degree heat) and throw them at your kids yourself. If you throw them up in the air right, maybe they'll think that somebody threw them off the tractor that just went by--the one driven by the guy who is often drunk at the local restaurant, and who's dressed head to toe in camoflage. 

4. Bring a personal fan. This might be useful when a guy with white hair, whiskers, and a sizeable beer gut finds a buddy to talk to and parks himself right next to your obviously small children 10 minutes before the parade is about to start, and proceeds to smoke what has to be an entire carton of cigarettes. Your fan might help you blow some of the smoke away from you and toward the people who didn't bring your disappointed kids any candy. Plus, you can blow your fan on your kids when they start whining about being hot and thirsty.

If this doesn't work, you could bring up the topic of lung cancer really loudly.

Mace is a third, less friendly option. 

5. Bathe afterwards. Seriously. You stink. And this is what you smell like: sweat; probably other bodily odors, too; cigarette smoke; bug spray; possibly alcohol (the stench of that is everywhere, too); probably charcoal; hot dogs; and sunblock. You smell like America. Of course, you don't smell a thing like candy.

Don't bathe yet, though...because you still have a few hours to go until the fireworks. Happy 4th.

Oh, and try not to pass the dead kitten on your way home, okay?