Monday, September 15, 2014

How About A Great Giveaway Instead of Me Rambling?

Morning Readers,

This weekend I couldn't help thinking, "You know what, Paige? Your Readers have been really patient, putting up with all your rambling about house stuff and mortgage hodge podge and the now unbelievable fact we just put seven hundred dollars into the air conditioner, even though we were pretty sure nothing else would break. They deserve something for their good will."

Don't even get me started on the air conditioner. But for anyone who's interested in writing an unauthorized biography about me, please title it, "All Her Things Broke. And Then She Was Broke."

So, great news. Instead of whining about the house, today we're going to do an awesome giveaway. Even better, there are lots and lots of chances to win.

See? No house rambling. Stupid air conditioner. 

myCharge Giveaway The kids are back to school, but Moms know that's only the beginning! Now that the school year is in full swing, there's no slowing down. In fact, things can start getting pretty hectic this time of year between your work and your kid's homework, after-school clubs and sports, music lessons and carpools, birthday parties and play dates...the list goes on and on! Even the most organized Mom will tell you things can change at the last minute, and Moms of all people can't afford to run out of power...we mean for your phone or tablet, of course! myCharge knows how important it is for you to stay charged and connected all day - and all school year - long, so they're giving the gift of portable power so you're never left in the red! To keep you charged and connected myCharge is giving 3 lucky winners each an iPad mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger! The amazingly compact Hub 6000 features built-in cables and connectors for smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. Get up to 27 hours of additional talk time for your devices, as well as integrated, quick-charge wall prongs. The Hub series is commonly known as the “Swiss Army Knife of portable power devices.myCharge HUB6000 Additionally, 40 winners will each receive an Energy Shot compact portable charger for their smartphones that delivers an additional boost when you need it most. They come in a variety of styles and can give you up to 10 hours of talk time! (Please note, smart phone not included in giveaway). myCharge Energy ShotSo Moms, stay out of the red this school year! myCharge is here to keep you charged and connected! For more information on products visit the myCharge website or follow them on Facebook. You can find myCharge products available at retailers such as Target and Kohl's. Fill out the entry form below September 15, 2014 - October 15, 2014 for your chance to be one of 40 winners to receive an Energy Shot Charger (10 winners randomly selected each week) and one of 3 grand prize winners randomly selected on October 15, 2014 to receive one iPad Mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age or older, must live in the United States and have a valid shipping address. See giveaway form for complete list of rules and details. a Rafflecopter giveaway This is a sponsored post from myCharge.

Until Next Time, Readers! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Fair Folk

"Ok, I've got my tuxedo on. Let's go destroy some funnel cake."

Afternoon Readers,

By now, you probably think the only thing the Kellermans are good at is taking an entire year to get a house ready to put on the market, but you'd be slightly off because...

a.) It's only been eleven months.

and

b.) We do surprisingly well at street fairs.

Ahh, festivals, the sticky, cotton candy-covered spice of life. I love them, truly. Town fairs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but when ours sets up camp every September, I look forward to wandering through rows of street vendors and alleyways made entirely of funnel cake and regret.

"Well, I don't usually eat three pounds of grease and syrup, but when's the next time I'll be able to find sugar in America?"

The smell alone is enough to lure me out of my house and to the first person selling an eight dollar plate of nachos, the heat of the plastic container swirling and dancing delicately through air with the sounds of people accusing other people of stealing their spot on the grass.

Last Saturday had been yet another long day of painting, cleaning and trying to figure out how we managed to spill all our food under the drawers in the refrigerator. (Turns out, we live like absolute animals.) The kids have put up with my neurotic house preparations enough, the minute I remembered the fair was coming to town, the thought of making it up to them had instant appeal.

"Who wants to go make memories with mommy and daddy so you don't hold weeks of neglect against them later on in life?"

"We do! We do!" the children chorused.

And so, I threw on my fanciest sweatshirt and jean shorts and Husband and I hauled our offspring in the direction of music and no parking. Ok, I take that back, the parking miraculously sorted itself out.

"Are you sure we can park here?"

"I guess we'll know if our car's gone when we get back."

"You're a true testament to optimism and the indomitable human spirit."

The first thing we did was feed the children. Leaving the house to do anything is completely pointless if you have hungry children who ladle on the guilt they're two steps away from starving to death. The next thing we did was process the astronomical price of corn dogs and sausage.

"Here's the food!"

"Awesome. Smells lovely. Where's the change?"

"There was none. Oh, and I had to take a second mortgage on the house to get you those extra fries, so bon appetit."

The great thing about eating overpriced food at a fair or carnival is the unique opportunity to truly people watch. The teenagers, hipper than everyone else, are wearing things you don't recognize, bringing on a sudden, uncomfortable bout of mid, quarter, or end-of-life crisis to go along with your nachos. The people who dress only in leather goods have made an appearance to testify for the Hell's Angels, the moms from the 10am beauty contest are still chasing their children, trying to Aqua Net their curls into place, and then there's you being verbally abused by your own children. They just noticed every other kid in the place has a balloon and they want one too.

"Where do you think they're giving out the balloons?"

"I don't know. I'm still finishing my twenty dollar fries."

I'm a sucker for buying frivolous items out of tents. If I had a dollar for every time I'd talked myself into a scented candle or a bracelet woven out of premium yak hair, I'd have a lot more money and no items made out of yak hair. Still, we couldn't resist the urge to pay the three dollars to let Sundance have her hair spray painted pink and doused liberally with glitter.

Still on the balloon search, the other two children were a little put out they'd received nothing except a thirty dollar soda, so we made our last stop.

"How much?"

There's highway robbery, and then there's the price of rides at a fair. Why people don't use that as a metaphor more often, I'll never know.

There are three stages of ride guilt:

1.) Seeing the price of tickets and deciding not to buy them.
2.) Looking at your children's dashed hopes and devastated faces.
3.) Buying them anyway.

"Ok, I got tickets."

"How much did you spend?"

"Don't ask questions you don't want the answer to."

I ended up taking Sundance and Doc on the merry-go-round, while Husband took Butch on the Ferris wheel. No baby merry-go-round for my oldest boy. He craves the thrill of adventure and an unsettling rocking feeling of a structure that looks like it was last maintenanced in 1930.

And if you're wondering, yes, I enjoyed the ride very much. I just wish Doc had let me ride the giant moose and he had stood guard, instead of the other way around.

The fair won't be back for another year, but that's ok. I now have three-hundred-sixty-five days to digest those fries, and pay off this second mortgage.

Who knows, maybe we'll even have the house on the market by then.


Until Next Time, Readers!

 ***

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ain't No Party Like A Gravy Party, Cause A Gravy Party Don't Stop

"Always bike to a biscuits and gravy party. Your hips will thank you later."

Morning Readers,

People often ask, but, over the weekend, Husband and I were finally able to tally all the things that make us super cool:

3 Discussions about our favorite George Micheal songs and compiled playlist
1 Saved By the Bell unauthorized biography watched on Lifetime
2 cans of gravy

The gravy needs an explanation. First, I think it's extremely important to mention that, if your can opener happens to break and you get frustrated and throw it in the trash, necessity dictates you buy a new one. Otherwise, this is what happens.

"So you know how I was going to make breakfast for dinner in honor of Labor Day? Eggs, cheese, biscuits and gravy, all in the name of hard working people of this great nation?"

Husband nodded, clearly just as concerned with the fantasy football draft he was entrenched in as my dinner update and patriotism.

"Brace yourself, but I think I threw out the can opener and can't open the canned gravy I lovingly bought you and the children."

"No gravy?

"No gravy."

Now, Husband and I don't agree on everything in this life, but one thing that helps bind our souls together is a mutual love of biscuits and gravy. So much so, I can confidently say that, if we ever find ourselves in marriage counseling, it will have one hundred percent nothing to do with biscuits or gravy. He sprung into action.

"What are you doing?"

He opened a new tab on the laptop and nodded towards the screen. "Ok, there's no way we're not having gravy, so if anyone knows how to get those cans open, it'll be the internet. Hmm, this one looks good."

For the next few moments, we watched two Russians give us our options....

"First, no throw can opener away."
"Second, find nice, big piece of concrete."
"Third, take can and beat against concrete."
"Can open."

Honestly, I really liked Ivan Drago's plan. Simple, straight forward, only required a driveway. Just in case, we checked out any other options we had and assessed a plan of action. "It looks like we can either poke them with a spoon really hard or set them up on a date with the garage floor." Feeding off Husband's look of determination, I continued, "But I'll leave it to your discretion."

He grabbed both cans, a spoon and some optimism and set to work. I took a timeout from pulling biscuits out of an off-brand tube, intent on watching my love poke some Campbells repeatedly with a serving spoon.

"This isn't working."

I'd been so enthralled with watching Husband "tap, tap, tap" in somewhat of a futile effort, I hadn't realized a personal vendetta had begun to be forged in depths of his soul. "You headed to the garage?"

"This is useless."

"So we're not having gravy?"

"Oh, we're having gravy."

"Godspeed."

While I scrambled a dozen eggs, one for everyone and eight for myself, strange scraping sounds wafted from the garage, a true tribute to determination and a dinner with so many carbs, it pushed the bounds of propriety. Finally, steps thudded up the stairs and the door swung open. Two, empty cans were thrust threw the doorway. "Done."

I clapped my hands. "It's just like Christmas. And not just because we also have biscuits and gravy on Christmas."

Victoriously, Husband plopped the gravy in the pan and turned it on.

"I knew there was a reason I married you." Smiling, I set about popping biscuits into the oven and sprinkling cheese on eggs. "You're getting extra imitation sausage on your plate tonight!"

Labor Day dinner had been saved. It had only taken three Youtube videos, two Russians, and some concrete to make it happen. And if you're wondering, no, the gravy didn't taste like garage floor. It was delicious and the perfect precursor to the cheesecake decorated like an American flag I'd bought for desert.


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Ten Step Guide To Painting Rooms, If You Forgot You Have Kids

"Yes, George. I too dream of a world where we could bulldoze this house and start over."

Afternoon Readers,

I woke up today, determined to be productive. A go-getter. A person who cleans things.

Which is why I'm currently shopping online and drinking coffee. Well, initially I typed it as "coofe," so let's all thank the inventors of spell check and the makers of coffee for giving me the presence of mind to hit "search and replace."

Doesn't matter. The point is I've spent the last two days painting bedrooms and a little staring-into-space time is warranted. We're thiiiis close to being ready to list the Split level.

I can feel it in my bones. My brittle, caffeine-fortified bones. 

Painting the bedrooms has been my final Everest. Yes, I understand it's contradictory to imply there's more than one Everest in any particular situation, but my grasp on metaphors is slippery at best. My balance isn't so great either, but that didn't stop me from perching perilously on a dining room chair and edging against popcorn ceilings like my life depended on it. For added fun, the children have been turned loose in my workspace.

Today, I will perch once more, determined to knock out this last bedroom and pull this house together in one, unified color pallet symbolizing mild saleability. 

What's that you say? You have a painting project you're also wanting to complete that's just above sub-par?

You also have children, but forgot before you committed to home improvement?

Step this way, my friend. You came to the right place. Pooling my experience with materials, cheapskate tendencies, and an overwhelming urge to throw paint brushes through plate glass, I've compiled a list that should help.


A Ten Step Guide To Painting Bedrooms, If You Forgot You Have Kids

1.) Reevaluate 

Do you really have to do this? If you're super rich, I'd go with selling your house as-is or just burning it down and having someone rebuild it. Oh, and there's always the saner option of hiring someone to repaint the room for you.

If you, like me, happen to be strapped for cash, decide weather you really have to paint at all. If you don't absolutely have to, scrap all painting plans and go spend quality time watching your kids not step in paint. If you do... Godspeed. No one can help you now.

2. Decide on a color palate

Sure, a nice cream is wonderful, but will it hide the inevitable dirt? In my experience, something that falls under "Earthtones" will hide poop, and anything filed under "Slate Grey" will cover up the time your toddler took a hammer to the wall. Very Zen. 

3. Buy supplies

Whip out the old credit card and go to town. One brush for edging, another one to replace it when the baby shoves the first one down the vent that's missing a cover. Rollers, trays, paint thinner for while you're simultaneously weeping and trying to get paint off the duvet the preschoolers rolled for you. 

4. Save the receipt

Go back to step number one and really mull it over. It's not too late to turn back.

5. Ok, you're optimistic. I like that. Unfortunately, now is the time you have to get to work. Put a movie on for the kids and try not to cry into your newly-filled paint bucket because none of them want to watch what you picked out.

Pro Tip: Tears thin paint. Try to cry into your shirt. If you do hit the bucket, really sell the lighter color to your house guests as "Feathered Buffalo." It sounds very Anthropologie. If any of your friends point out the room resembles diarrhea, start yelling about how uncultured they are and storm out in search of boxed wine.

6. Outline

You managed to get the room edged while the kids fought over something irrelevant. Sure, you could've mediated, but when someone insults someone else by saying they build a better pile of saltines, well, that shit's gotta work itself out. 

7. Let me see you do that roll

Slide to the left.
Now, slide to the right.
Never mind. You're not getting any painting done. Try to convince the kids a truckload of popscicles just fell from the sky, into the backyard. Commence trying to paint again.

8. Second coat

More like one's good enough for most people. So what if you can still see the hand-drawn mural of Ponce de Leon discovering the Fountain of Youth? Moving on.

9. Nice and Trim

Remember that time you were trying to roll the walls and you rolled all over that fresh, white molding because the kids dumped the tray of paint down the stairs? Sure you do. It's why you drank this morning. Now that it's midnight, get back in there and finish the job, soldier.

10. Good enough

Spots? What spots? Hand prints? Just put a dresser there. Can't find any of the outlet covers because you stepped on half of them and the kids threw the rest in the trash? Hmm, you're not sure, but isn't it very European not to cover outlets?

Doesn't matter. The room's done, and all you have to do now is enjoy your new life in Feathered Buffalo.

Tres Chic.


Until Next Time, Readers!
 
***
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Gather Round The Old Toilet Hole

"The house doesn't actually come with a toilet, but what we can offer is this lovely collection of chamber pots."

Afternoon Readers,

If drinking an entire pot of coffee in one morning is wrong, I don't want to be even remotely right.

In fact, I motion we compose a group letter and petition the food pyramid people to make caffeine its own food group. After all it's done for me, I feel that's the least I can do in the way of appreciation. All I'm suggesting is maybe the very tip of the right hand corner. Or the entire bottom. Whatever.

Caffeine is truly the only thing keeping me on the wobbly track that is "The summer we moved and then decided we were never moving again because it would be easier to teach a herd of llamas how to crochet beanies for Bull elephants in need." Regular soda has given way to things like...

Husband: What is that?
Me: It's an energy drink. I found it for ninety-nine cents. It's called "Gridlock."
Husband:....
Me: Right? I can only imagine what it's doing to my insides.

If there's anything I'm learning about selling a house, it's probably that, just when you think you have all your fixes in line, the toilet decides to start pouring into the garage. For those of you who said, "Stage the kitchen with decorative fruit and put up a sale sign," I'm sorry your toilet already fell on top of your Yaris.

For informational purposes, this is prime time to let you know the signs of a leaking toilet seal.

Pee water on your floor
Pee water on your floor
Pee water going through the floor and falling on your lawnmower

(If you bought a lawnmower that was already covered in pee water, double check the first two signs instead.)

Initially, we'd blamed the kids and the dog. After all, what good is having kids or a dog if you can't shove the sad state of your bathroom on them? Exactly. But the problem became so frequent, Husband and I had to admit our kids were at least born with bladders, and the sad reality we had to fix yet another thing set in.

"I think I can fix it."

For a moment, I pulled the phone away and stared at it before putting it back to my ear. "Are you talking about our communication problems or the sewage problem two doors down?"

Husband sounded astoundingly confident, considering we had no idea what was living under the toilet. "I just need a couple things and some help from you. Don't call the plumber."

"Why, sir. You just filled my dance card for the evening."

I'm cheap, so it didn't take a ton of convincing to put away the checkbook and watch Husband unscrew and gingerly pry the porcelain throne away from the laminate. While I rocked back and forth on my heels, waiting to help kill whatever Steven Kingesque creature was crouching under our American Standard, the kids grouped in the doorway and made memories of the time their parents had ruined the bathroom, using only sewage and overconfidence.

"Uuuuuuughhhhh." The collective disgust of the family was simultaneously unifying and horrific, as the dirty, cavernous sewer hole gaped back at us.

Truly surprising, however, was the sense of overwhelming attraction that washed over me. Husband bravely began scraping away the wax remnants of the old seal and, with amazing precision, replaced it with a new one. Confidence radiated as he situated himself to put the toilet back in its respective position.

I'd married a man who could save us all from falling through the floor while we relieved ourselves.

*Insert mental pat on the back for saying 'yes' to our first date and not staying home to eat brownies instead*

"I can't get it back on."

"What?" I'd decided to continue the fun of the evening by putting the kids to bed by myself and hoping there wasn't poop on the bottom of my Converse. "What do you mean?"

Husband grunted and set the toilet back down, temporarily taking a break from the silent war. "It's impossible to line this thing back up with the bolts. I need your help."

Few things bring a couple closer together. War, famine, crapper placement. For the next fifteen minutes, we shoved the monstrosity back and forth.

"It must weigh three hundred pounds."

"Why can't I see the holes?"

"Woman, just get one of them lined up."

"You get yours lined up."

"I'll line you up."

"That doesn't even make sense."

"The baby's up."

"It's on you if he falls down the hole."

Finally, things lined up, bolts connected, and the toilet was back to its position of prominence.

Toilet ring: 11.00
New bolts:  2.00
The new owners not having to poop in an open hole in the floor: Priceless

Really, if number three on that list isn't a huge selling point, I don't know what we're going to do. Well, I know what I'll do.
Drinking caffeine and writing to the food pyramid people is an excellent time filler.


Until Next Time, Readers!

***
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Remnants of Summer

"How's about you and I pour a glass of wine and canoodle over a mockumentary?"
Afternoon Readers,

I thought I'd take a timeout from thinking about attempting to think about climbing the Everest that is painting the bathroom.

Yeah, it makes my brain hurt too. Especially the part where, instead of sitting in front of my laptop and drinking coffee, I'll be trying to decide whether to shoo them away or just paint over the spiders living in the corner behind the toilet.

Someone with eight legs is getting ready to rock a new shade of Old White in an eggshell finish. He'll go great with burlap throw pillows.

There's something about August that boasts a very unique sort of exhaustion. It hints at cooler weather around the corner, the children's failure to be impressed by the pool, and the certainty their fights will stretch into November.

As my swim shorts and I stretched out in the baby pool the other day, reflecting on the shreds of summer swirling around seemed like a great distraction from counting the stretch marks the sunlight had missed, my dreams of being the next Miss America giving way to a new dream of being Mrs. Elasticity of Yesteryear.

Mental Tally of Summer:

Pool toys left: 0

While the effort was put forth to buy decent toys for the kids this year, it didn't change the fact the baby was playing with half a Tupperware and stirring the water with a stick. 

Swim suits: 3 sort of

Brightly colored and fitted suits had become faded, stretched, and there was the very real possibility I'd stuck one of them in old tuxedo bottoms from a wedding last summer. I was tired of looking for suits.

Meals: Sub-par

My initial enthusiasm for fun, summer recipes had faded into a mutual respect for Peep candy dug out of the sale bin. I gave myself an extra point for dumping the Stouffer's baked ziti into a decorative, earthenware dish. 

Frosted animal cookies eaten: 1,538

I had an inkling it was only a matter of time before I looked down and my left thigh will have broken out in sprinkles. Jiggly but delicious.

Minivan: Trashed

There are raves more organized than the unidentifiable crap trying to roll under my gas pedal. I once had someone look over my shoulder and peer into our traveling cave.

"Oh, did you get in an accident?"
I nodded. "Yes, but I'll never let the kids build their own burgers back there again. My mama didn't raise no fool."

House: Ready to sell by 2089

Almost done.We only had one door to replace, eight walls to paint, a new piece of bead board to put under the sink, and to figure out why the electricity shut off every time we looked at new houses online.

Stress level: 8

This wouldn't be so bad if the above score hadn't been measured on a scale of 1-5.

Boxes packed: 300

After a futile day's effort to see around them, Husband and I agreed to build our own box forts and only visit each other on Saturdays or if one of the kids needs to go to the ER. My box fort is cooler. His has a slide.
Might just trade for his box fort.
I miss him.

Times we've bickered because the whole situation is exhausting: Trying not to keep track. Possibly 21.

Times we've made up and re-bonded over a Shark Week special that turned out to be a fake: 1

But we're both equally irate because of how emotionally invested we were. "All those people killed by that killer shark. I don't think I can even sleep."

Text from Husband: I found out it wasn't real. I'm pissed.

Text From Me: Discovery Chanel a**holes. I mourned those fake people all night.

Instances where I might have to paint over a spider: Unknown

But I'll find out. The bathroom's calling my name, and the kids are playing nicely in the dog kennel, so it's time to get to work.


Until Next Time, Readers!


***
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Monday, August 4, 2014

What Happens When You Get Too Busy

"Why cut your own hair, when you can have your kids do it?"

Afternoon Readers,

The great thing about kids is, when things as large as moving are going on, they can stay completely oblivious and carry on with their various plans to take apart the home you're trying to sell.

Other things also not interupted:

Fighting
Philosophical and Theological Questions (see also: death, dying, the soul, and why butterflies are beautiful)
Mess Making
Swinging glass tumblers around in order to up my chances of death by heart attack and not a sedentary lifestyle
Dropping random labels of things into the milk jug
Unpacking boxes that are taped shut for a reason
Casually plopping hands on to just-painted surfaces

But, just because it's going to take eighty us eighty years and a day to get out of here, doesn't mean the children aren't doing strange but slightly interesting things as well. A few days ago, I had a quick conversation with Sundance...