Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Searching For the Great White Whale

"La la la. Not looking at other people's abs. Head back, like a boat, that's the way we like to float."

Morning Readers,

So there I was, tanning my stretchmarks, when it hit me.

The concession stand at the pool sells candy bars for two dollars, and there's really no other way to label that besides highway robbery. But something else dawned on me. Namely, I was exhausted from my research.

What research?

During the summer, I make it my business to take on many, unpaid side projects in order to slowly drive myself crazy. Now that I'm raising four kids, managing the house, and trying desperately to paint my bedroom so I can stop seeing shapes in the drywall, it helps to occasionally look up and yell at the heavens, "Please, more unpaid work."

This year, my side project has taken the form of dragging all four children to the pool and comparing the state of my mom body to every other one wading around in the chemically-treated blue. Now, some women are incredibly pious, secure, and stroll through life not remotely caring what they look like.

I'm not that woman.

In fact, the only thing I'm incredibly secure about is my insecurity when it comes to my post-baby body. That, and my ability to make a decent sandwich. (I have an unblemished track record of people being extremely excited when I make turkey on rye, so I've reserved discernment for other things.)

Yes, I realize I've birthed four adorable humans. Yes, I love them. Of course I have great respect for the miracle of life and only want to mail my children to another country occasionally.
...or maybe three days in a row.

But I've never been the lady who wants to throw on a bikini and flaunt what I've described before as "the jowels of an unhappy bulldog." So this year, like years past, I've parked my cellulite on the zero-entry beach of the pool and continued my search for the mom with the kids in tow, who has amazing stomach muscles and the thighs of a gazelle who works out with Jillian Michaels every morning.

Last week's report reads as such:

Monday - Observed mother of two. Stretch marks on thighs. Wearing two piece. Looks happy and confident. (Probably an exception.)

Tuesday - Watched woman with newborn baby girl. Was smiling, laughing, and wearing bikini. Flaunted postpartum belly. (Second exception of the week.)

Wednesday - Mother of three scolds five-year-old for cannon-balling into old lady. Mom was happily showing off stretch marks on stomach and adorable shoulder tattoo. (Third exception of the week. Findings becoming ridiculous.)

Thursday - Looked promising. Fellow mother of four sat wrapped in towel, throwing fruit snacks at children. Upon standing, however, towel was shed, revealing sassy two-piece, stretch marks on hips, and yet another tattoo on her back, reading, "They're all mine. Quit asking."

By Friday, I'd almost reached the conclusion that maybe I was the problem. Perhaps, next year, it was time to throw away the yards of fabric I wrapped myself in and just put on the damn bikini already. But then, I met her. The Great White Whale.

"Excuse me," I said. "What's your secret?"

She looked at me, confusion spreading across her rested face. "My what?"

"Your secret." I motioned to every other woman at the pool. "Your hair's perfect. You're obviously a size four. And I don't see a stretch mark on you."

"Stretch mark?"

I was getting impatient. "Yeah, you know the things that show up on your butt like racing stripes down a stock car?"

"Mam. I don't have any children."

"What?"

She put my drink on the counter and backed away. "I'm nineteen and I run the concession stand."

"Oh."

"That'll be three-fifty."

Baffled, I grabbed my cup and turned to go. I took a couple steps and called back over my shoulder, "That's highway robbery, you know."

The search continues...


Until Next Time, Readers!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:










Thursday, June 15, 2017

For the Record


Morning Readers,

How's everyone's summer going so far?

With all four kids back home, I've been easing into it and pleasantly surprised all of them have taken up a quiet hobby they work on all day long.

Kidding!

They fight like stray cats, roam for food multiple times a day, and I'm almost sure the four-year-old is close to figuring out how to build a time machine out of Legos. The again, he mumbles a lot while he builds, so it could be a zebra, who knows? In an act of self preservation, I tend to stealthily go about my regular household chores and observe what's going on from a distance. Once the toddler spots me, for instance, I'm cornered, until I respond to demands of, "Up," and let her hit me in the neck with a spatula.  Hiding is key. I've spent many good hours inside the bathroom closet, wondering about the universe and whether the daddy long legs I'm in there with will bite me.

Besides the normal summer chaos, Husband and I have been making some life and budgeting changes. We went about it like this...

"Kids, we're cutting the cable."

*seven days later*

"Kids, we got you a record player."

Not to be outdone by the neighbors and their new Corvette, we've lovingly taken in our new/old machine and given it a home next to the wet bar in the living room. Birthed by JC Penney in 1983 and still turning its table, the record player is quickly becoming a solution to a Friday night devoid of the mellow crackle of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Admittedly, I thought Husband was a little crazy for dragging it home, but after putting our heads together, we both got the hang of it. We're 90's kids after all, experienced in the art of cd's, digital, and winding cassette tapes up with a pencil eraser. This was new.

"So, you just plop down the needle?"

"No, you're breaking it."

"What's this lever for?"

"To lift the needle."

"Oh, I get it. But how does it know?"

"How does it know what?"

"How to read everything on here."

"These grooves. See the grooves?"

"Is that why everything was "groovy" in the 60's?"

"Is this how divorce starts?"

Eventually, Husband got everything dusted off and hooked up to a pair of old speakers he'd also dragged home. Not on the dainty side, both stand a couple feet tall and compliment the scratches the kids have left all over the couch. When everything connected and sound spilled out, we might as well have invented fire.

"It works!"

"I knew it would work."

"It just keeps going in circles."

"I know. Pretty cool, huh?"

"Look at it go. Watch, honey. It's about to come back around again."

"Stop jumping up and down, you'll knock it over."

"Sorry, it's just, I haven't been this excited about anything since I found out the trash man does a free large item pickup once a year."

As odd as it sounds, the record player makes music more of an interactive experience. This is seen in three main areas.

1. You have to get up to turn records over.

Oh, did you get comfortable on the couch during the first three songs? Tough. It's time to get back up to flip that piece of vinyl over. If you want to enjoy the three songs on the other side, you're gonna have to work. Last night, we tried a record that had a six minute rendition of I Heard It Through the Grapevine. That's right, six whole minutes of couch sitting. I felt spoiled.

2. Double yelling

Listening to music on an ipad, phone, or laptop is one of those deals where you pick a playlist, then put said device up and away from small hands. Not so with the record player. This particular machine is stationary and requires the extra step of yelling from wherever you're sprawled, "Don't touch that. We can't replace something that was built thirty-four years ago. You're wiggling that knob like you don't value your life."

3. Adventure

Finding particular records one wants to listen to is a process. You don't download a piece of vinyl, you go out and find. Sure, you could order a coveted record online for an exorbitant sum, OR you can drag all of your children out to antique shops on the weekend and stressfully look through boxes.
More on that later.

Well, I have to run. The kids are fighting about who gets the last piece of licorice, and I think I just heard a foot make contact with drywall.

Summer updates to follow as I survive them

Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Perennial Man

Ahh, nature, a perfect place to get a sprinkle of ants in your lemonade. Delish.

 Morning Readers,

I find it helpful to keep several running tallies in my life. For example...

Number of milkshakes purchased unnecessarily after 9pm: 350

Number of bobby pins bought and lost: 12,000

Number of creatures I'm trying to keep alive: 11

Some of those figures are more helpful than others. If I want to know why my pants ripped when I sat down, I reference number one on the list. However, if my query leans more towards why I can't see out my kitchen window, I hop right down to number three.

No, we didn't pick up any extra children, but, in addition to four kids, a giant Labrador, and a cat who spends his time yanking the weather stripping off my front door, the Kellermans have branched into botany, and are currently trying to nurture several different potted plants. The hilarity here is the fact I'm barely keeping the children alive, so why not bludgeon some plant life while we're at it?

Husband's taken to planting different things, and because I captain this ship on most hours, he's also trusted me to move them in and out of sunlight, without incinerating any particular one by accident. It's sweet how he trusts me. Especially because my level of finesse with human beings sounds like this:

Me: Go get your shoes on.
Kid: I have shoes on.
Me: Oh, did you need a sandwich?
Kid: You called me in here to help find the remote.
Me: I did?
Kid: Can I leave now?
Me: Sure, Fred.
Kid: I'm Lou.

Nevertheless, Spring called, and the Kellermans answered by sticking different seeds into pots, dousing them, and shoving all adoptees harshly at Mother Nature, while the sun peeks out and wonders what the hell we're doing. So far, success has been had in the area of peppers and pumpkins.

Several plants have been eased on up to Jesus.

Even with several deaths, Husband remains undaunted and has gained my admiration through his sheer persistence to coax tiny shoots out of the earth. It's endearing. But it's also started moving in questionable directions. His enthusiasm for nature is slowly tugging me into conversations like the one we had last night. I jogged down to the kitchen, where I found him, again, shoving more seeds into pots. "What are those?" I asked.

Husband placed the first tiny, terracotta pot under our running faucet and proudly pointed to an open box of seeds on the counter. "These? These are Venus Fly Traps."

Picking up the box and looked it over. "Interesting."

"Yeah, I though the kids would have a great time collecting flies and feeding them."

I nodded. "Finally, an answer to our fly surplus."

"It'll be great. These take six to eight weeks to sprout, but you see that dead fly over there?"

"Uh huh."

"If these were already full grown, that guy wouldn't even be a problem. Right now, he's just taking up space."

It was true. The fly had died several days before. Overcome by laziness, I'd decided to leave him on the white, semi-gloss window sill and name him Howard.

"Well, good luck. Don't let it become Little Shop of Horrors down here."

And then we laughed and laughed, until...

"It's a bird box."

Several days later found us back in the kitchen, staring out the picture window above the sink. I shook my head while we looked at the plastic box suction-cupped to the outside of the glass. "But it's full of worms."

Husband nodded enthusiastically. "Right. So you fill it up with meal worms, and then the birds just flock to your window. It's nature. Up close. Pretty awesome, huh?"

"But there are worms stuck to my window."

"But they're dried."

"But my window is full of worms."

"You'll love it."

"The women in Southern Living never have to deal with this."

So, yes, nature is in full swing over at the Kellerman house. As such, I've been forced to add a new tally to my mental list.

Number of times Husband is going to bring home another living thing that may or may not be a meal worm: Terrifying amount

Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Baskets and Ghost Children


I sure hope this lake isn't haunted. All I have is this paddle and a dry clean-only J Crew sweater....

Afternoon Readers,

I hope everyone had an amazing Easter.

Detox is the name of the game around here. Well, that and pulling plastic grass out of everything we own. Why do I talk myself into grass every year?

My Mental Easter Conversation:

Should I buy the grass this year?
No, it's demon grass that clogs the vacuum and makes me want to die.
But it looks cute in the baskets.
It also gets stuck in the heating ducts until Christmas.
I'll take five bags.

Besides wading through green, plastic misery, I'm just glad we survived another year of being woken up at 6am by children with chocolate streaming down the sides of their mouths and shouting about eggs.

"Mom. Mom? Mommy. We found all the eggs, but the dog ate jelly beans and he's not looking so good. Should we tell him to throw up in here or the hallway?"

"I'm up."

On its face, trying to care for kids on a candy high is one of the most frightening things about being parent, but I'm here to tell you it's not even close to number one. Not even in the top three. The most terrifying thing about being a parent is having to participate in various Children of the Corn moments that hammer you at the least expected of times. Like the one that happened to me a few nights ago. It's actually amazing I'm able to communicate with you guys today, because I was flirting with a bonafide heart attack. It's important that I write about it, if only for therapy's sake. Let's set the scene, shall we?

Imagine it's midnight. Imagine it's pitch black in the house. Imagine you're woken from a dead sleep by something banging around in your kitchen.

"What was that? The kids are all asleep."

Husband groggily rolled over and made a non-committal noise that was supposed to imply I was totally safe.

I wasn't having it. "Did you lock the door?" I asked.

He yawned. "What? Yeah. It's probably a mouse."

"Doesn't make me feel better at all."

"Then it's probably a ghost."

Slowly, I slid back down into the fluffy security of my comforter, before I squeaked out, "This is horrific. I married you to protect me against intruders, and here we lay, ready to be bludgeoned to death."

Husband's snoring shut me out, so while I still had a shred of courage, I crept out of bed and inched down the stairs, intent on checking all the doors. I'd prove Husband wrong, right before a shadowy stranger whacked me in the temple with the wooden cutting board I'd left on the counter.  My feet found the kitchen floor, and I padded through each room, tugging on door handles and trying locks. I made my way to the living room and tried the back door. Unlocked.

No!

As if in answer, a pot banged in the kitchen cabinets, prompting me to throw the lock shut and bolt back upstairs. I skittered back under the covers and waited to die. If it was a mouse, it was a big mouse.

A killer mouse.

Trembling, I crept back out from under the covers, sat up, and, poised to listen, tried to figure out what was going on downstairs. If whatever it was decided to crawl up the stairs, I could, at the very least, use Husband as a human shield.

After all, he'd left us to die while he slept. It was the least he could do.

Like any garden variety idiot in a horror movie, I stared at the open bedroom door for what seemed like an eternity. And, just as everything quieted, a shape ran past my door so fast, I left a wet spot on the bed.

I screamed while my brain processed what was going on.

A.) We had four children asleep and one ghost child.
B.) We had three children asleep and one roaming around.
C.) If A were true, we were moving.

Intent on not being trapped in The Shining, I hopped up and ran down the hall, while Husband laughed in bed behind me. The thought of ghost children, or any ghosts really, doesn't bother him. It's a ridiculous burden I must bear on my own. After a few confused moments, a quick check to make sure the walls weren't bleeding, and double checking that Redrum hadn't been smeared across the bathroom mirror in toothpaste, the wayward four-year-old was tucked back in bed. Doc has a habit of sleep walking. I will never get used to this.

So, here I sit, cramming Tootsie Rolls into my mouth and trying to wrap my head around it all.

Children are cute.

Children can also scare the crap out of you.

So, that's fun.


And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

If You Have Anxiety, Just Remember The World Is Full of Dog Hair


Morning Readers,

Well, it's time to get 2017 rolling.

And by "rolling," I mean skipping right over January, here at the blog, and jumping straight into February. You can do that when you're not famous. Besides, what really happened in January, anyway?

Snow
Cabin fever
I started watching Hell On Wheels, and I'm SO glad I don't live in a covered wagon. Can we just talk about that for a second? I'd like to give a huge shout out to the pioneers because: No indoor plumbing, farm work in dresses, hunting food on a daily basis, and hand-washing underwear.

I think we can all agree Paige Kellerman would've made it about a day before dying of cholera. And my oxen died of cholera. And then my whole extended family. So thanks, Early Settlers!

Now then, I mentioned, back in December, my anxiety was at an all time high. But you'll be relieved to know I was able to get it under control, package it, and carefully move it right into January, where I let it run its course. Sure, I did things to relax, like filing my taxes and cleaning food out from under the kids' beds, but, in the end, it was dog hair that broke up my pity party.

Let's rewind to last year....

Me: I'm ok with getting a dog, as long as it doesn't shed very much.
Husband: Understood. I don't think labs shed a lot.

Lies.

As it turns out, the Labrador Retriever, or Canis Familiaris, sheds enough to build several more Labradors. Consequently, any time I endeavored to feel sorry for myself in January, Ned Yost's coat activated and exploded on anything I remotely cared to keep clean. But, as with any animal Husband brings home, a year into the process is entirely too late to do anything to remedy the situation. Like mail him to Antarctica.

I'll let you be the judge as to which one I'm talking about.

Laundry time is my favorite time to reflect on all the ways life has been unfair to me, so of course this most special mental alcove of my day has been ruined by what dog information websites have informed me is, "moulting season." And it goes a little something like this...

"Ugh, student loans are due again. Why was it I needed higher education?"
*Opens washing machine*
"Because the interest is where they get you. Sure, the degree is nice, but maybe I should've looked into apprenticing as a blacksmith or a glassblower. Those people make a killing at renaissance festivals."
*Grabs wet laundry and strains to open dryer*
"Maybe I can barter some of this wet cra-"
*Stares at open dryer and lint trap in horror*
"Sweet mother of all that's good and holy."

Poof. And, just like that, I'm scraping eighty pounds of dog hair out of a machine, and piecing together a new, less mobile dog.  (Dog hair sculptures available on request.)

It's been extremely frustrating, having to push aside drowning in puddles of self-loathing, in favor of meticulously pulling chocolate hair off couches, beds, dishware, mobile devices, the refrigerator, toilets, and some inexplicably stray strands in a fresh sports bra. *falls over dead*

No one has time to feel sorry for themselves in these conditions. And that's just sad.



And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

I'd Buy That For A Dollar

Nothing to see here. Just burnin' a hole in your pocket, girl.

Morning Readers,

How was everyone's Thanksgiving?

As far as the Kellermans were concerned, it was another red letter holiday, trademarked by me eating too much, my kids not eating at all, and everyone complaining they were hungry at bedtime. I ventured out to exactly one Black Friday sale, and dragged a still-attached Mrs. Jones out with me so that everyone in the ridiculously long line could ask if she was a boy.

(This didn't anger me, as I'd been the one to zip her so totally into a hand-me-down boys hoodie, she resembled an androgynous, blue potato. Whatever it takes to get fifty-percent-off a coat.)

And while we're on the subject of deals, the drabness of winter is starting to rear its head, which means my dollar store roaming is in full swing. Some people are iffy about frequenting their local discount spot, but I'm on the other end of the spectrum. I probably think about it too much. As in...

Husband: Did you go to the grocery store?
Me: Uh, I ended up going to the dollar store.
Husband: But you were gone for three hours.
Me: You don't know my life.

At thirty-two, it takes a sizable effort to convince me to leave the house for any type of social engagement, but if you tell me I can wear my TOMs with the holes in both toes and we're going to go make it rain at Dollar General, suddenly, the world seems rife with possibilities. A delicious, bargain oyster.

Now, I'm not into public service announcements, per se, but if you've written off your local dollar store because it's probably just full of crap, I'm here to tell you...

It is!

But a lot of it's crap you can use, and I've spent a solid year experimenting with what happens to be safe crap, and crap that ends up shoved in a car's console. (That stuff's kind of awesome though. For instance, when risking your life by giving a hitchhiker a ride, it's always nice to break the ice with, "If you don't kill me, you can have the five, plastic wind-up dolphins I threw in my glove compartment.)

Paige's List of Useful Crap

1. Toilet Paper

This is entirely subjective, but my recent experience was good and two-ply. Husband had his doubts, but I switched his regular brand, while he wasn't looking, so all's well. I think. He looked at me suspiciously for a week but couldn't quite figure out what was going on. Who says 'no' to four rolls for a dollar? Not this girl.

2. Baking Utensils

Need a measuring cup? Spatula? Weird sifting thing for sifting stuff? Giiiiiiirl, if you got three dollars and some gas to get there, you could be channeling Ina Garten right now. Just make sure the milk you use is from quinoa-fed mountain goats who've been journaling their feelings on a consistent basis.

3. Wrapping Paper

Never. I repeat, NEVER buy wrapping paper, gift bags, or gift boxes from regular stores again. Once you buy your first gift box for a dollar, it's like the heaven's open and your veins are hit with some type of bargain opium.

Never mind, that was a terrible analogy. Don't use cheap opium. Or any opium really.

4. Decorations

My current addiction, grabbing seasonal decorations at Dollar Tree makes me almost as happy as the time I threw my winter boots in the washing machine, regretted it when the banging noises hinted the whole thing was going to explode, but all footwear ended up coming out intact and clean-ish. If you leave now, you can nab...

Christmas mugs
Garlands
Stockings
Door hangers shaped like snowmen who look so optimistic, you want to divulge your deepest fears just so they can soothe you into some sort of passive state, facilitating the purchase of even more garlands

I own so many fake poinsettias, it's clear I have a problem. I know it. The neighbors know it. More on that later.

5. Food Stuffs

This is tricky and requires a lot of trial and error. For instance, dollar candy is generally awesome and makes me fat like any other candy. However, cookies, chips, and beef jerky should be approached with caution. If you're like me and have a four-year-old, go ahead and let them try the jerky first. Doc still seems fit as a fiddle, so I may be able to add dried beef to my list of successes.

I could go on, but I won't. Surprisingly, this post isn't sponsored by a dollar store of any kind. I'm simply a woman who's found a nirvana of sorts and dug her way out of cheap paint brushes (did I mention those?) long enough to share her joy.

And now I'm off to drink coffee out of my $1 mug. 


Until Next Time, Readers!

And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Holiday Goals and A Giveaway from Basic Invite

(A beautiful card from Basic Invite) I'd love to do a card like this with husband, but we'd have to find an empty field to hide from the children in.

Morning Readers,

I hope everyone's in a veritable candy coma from yesterday. Is it possible to eat your weight in Reeses?

Because I ate twice that.

Which basically means I'm writing this post while my hands are shaking, but fear not because it's time to jump straight into the holiday season. No pressure, right? *sighs heavily and drools chocolate*

Sooo, it's around this time of year I make bold declarations. After pouring a hot cup of coffee, I gesture around to all my off-spring and say, "Stop hitting your brother." But follow up with, "This year, we're doing Christmas cards. We shall stand together as a family, smile, and spread our awkward Christmas joy."

Last year, Sundance was critical. "We are ?"

"Of course," I laughed.

"But we don't do that."

"Hush child."

"Well, we should. Other people do that."

"Ok, less feedback. More eating your Lucky Charms. Oh, and that milk's dual purpose. You can use it to wash down half this Pop Tart. I'm glad we're doing pictures and not a holiday letter to everyone about our eating habits. Merry Christmas, all the Kellermans have diabetes."

But...

Life gets in the way. I marvel at my friends and family who send out a beautiful holiday card every season, but I fail every, single time. I blame egg nogg. It makes me lazy. Also, organizing all my children into outfits not covered with food and then sifting through which ones won't scare the people I'm sending them to is overwhelming. Oh my gosh, and then I have to stop yelling long enough to put those cards in envelopes. Slowly. Curling. Into. Fetal. Position.

HOWEVER

This year is different. This year the good people at Basic Invite reached out to me and were all like, "Look at this vast array of wonderful products we offer. We even offer free samples and speak softly so we don't scare you off like a frightened deer."

https://www.basicinvite.com/


They dig this blog, but they also dig you and me because they're kicking off my season of giving things away by offering 25 FREE cards of your choice.

That's it. No strings attached. So, if you're like me and want to actually send fantabulous cards out this year, they've got you covered. No excuses, people. All you have to do is send them to your Great Aunt Jane who owns the dachshund farm in Wisconsin.

Another beautiful card you could send to Aunt Jane and her dachshunds.

What? Well, even if you're not doing holiday cards, you can use your winnings to get 25 beautiful...

Shower Invitations

Wedding Invitations and Announcements

Party Invitations

Or "Happy Half Birthday" cards for people you have a highly vested interest in

Basic Invite is also amazing because they offer 180 different color options to tweak your particular product, and 40 different color envelopes, so you can find just the right one. And remember, you can get a free sample before you commit, so you can neurotically pick out the right colors, just like me!

Y'all know what to do. Go get your Raffelcopter on. I'm off to steal Reeses from the four-year-old.


Until Next Time, Readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on: