Friday, July 3, 2015

The Top Ten Things I've Learned In Six Years of Marriage

On my wedding day, I learned it's almost impossible to put a garter on under eight feet of tulle.

Afternoon Readers,

I'd like to start today with a public service message. Heading into this weekend, undoubtedly, you've already been briefed about using caution with fireworks, not drinking and driving, and thinking twice about a third helping of Aunt Helen's famous Baked Bean Extravaganza, but there probably hasn't been a warning about cookies.

To the point, if you insist on opening a bargain pack of thirty off-brand Oreos, propping them on your passenger seat for the ride home, and trying to eat them in heavy traffic, the results will be disastrous. It only takes one,good slam on the breaks to avoid a Ford Windstar.

You ever see it rain cookies in a car? I have. And it's terrifying.

In an attempt not to dwell on premature desert loss, let's talk about marriage. A terrible segue, I know, but today is Husband and my sixth wedding anniversary and some reflecting is in order. Cliche, but, with each year, it's an unavoidable fact that you gain a little more knowledge and wisdom about the whole thing. The only problem I'm running into is the fact we've now racked up four kids in six years, and the result is basically me not being able to remember anything that's happened since we said, "I do."

Faulty memory. It's why the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and Dr. Phil guide the world, while I spend my time eating shredded cheese out of the bag.

The Top Ten Things I've Learned In Six Years of Marriage

10.) He's never going to remember to close the cabinet doors in the kitchen. This is ok because it will literally take an act of God for me to remember to put oil in the car before the oil light comes on.

9.) We both snore. We both deny it. No one's been smothered by a pillow yet. Hoping to keep this statistic strong for the duration of our union. Which, ironically, could end with someone getting smothered by a pillow.

8.) Watching TV while we're both distracted by our phones is not the same as watching TV while we're not on our phones. Although not necessarily engaged in conversation, there's something to be said for focusing on a singular activity together. This may be the saddest sentence ever constructed, but I'm sure there's a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere.

7.) Forgiving the little things is a must. This is frustrating because marriage is pretty much a day-to-day compilation of little things.

6.) Sometimes he won't notice you took the time to put on makeup in the attempt to shake things up on a Monday. Other times, he'll see you stumble downstairs looking like a homeless street musician and comment on how hot you are. This makes no sense. Go with it anyway.

5.) Making a U-turn back to number seven, you don't have to forgive everything right away, but try not to say things you'll regret out loud. Say those things in your head, try to remember the time the other person threw three dead mice away for you, and get on with living.

4.) Neither of you will ever know what's for dinner. Someone just puts on a better front than the other. Except when I'm pregnant. Then I know we're having biscuits and gravy with a side of Skittles.

3.) You will mutually bond over how hilarious your kids are. On the horrible days,you'll also bond over the fact neither one of you killed them before bedtime.

2.) *Insert extra supply of forgiveness here*

1.) After six years, you're still strangely fascinated and in love with each other. Which is really weird because you're well aware of bullet points ten through two. This is all it takes to plow boldly ahead into year seven.


Until Next Time, Readers!


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Friday, June 26, 2015

The Happy and Sad Club

"If you're happy and you know it, cry for no reason."

Afternoon Readers,

Another week gone, another three billion dishes and loads of laundry done. Along with those, I drank about seven hundred cups of coffee, so everything has pretty much evened itself out before the weekend. What have you guys been up to?

Besides riding the everlasting wave of housework, I'm loathe to admit the rest of my time has been spent lounging in the exclusive area I fondly refer to as the Happy and Sad Club. It happens every time I'm pregnant, each day of each trimester punctuated by huge surges of elation, followed very closely by a crashing surf of sadness. Frankly, it's a roller coaster ride I'd completely forgotten about, but it's back with a fury. Some call it hormones. Others, a variation of prenatal depression. I call it a huge pain in my usually happy ass.

The hardest part is the unpredictability. For example... 

8am: Well, the kitchen's pretty cleaned up. Only two dirty pans left and the counter needs to be wiped up, but, no sweat, I'll tackle that after I eat second breakfast.

10am: Why did we even buy a house? This counter is disgusting. If I can't even keep a counter clean, how can I possibly raise these children to be functioning adults? Who lets someone who can't wield a washcloth have children? Honestly. Hoooooooonestly. *Eats third breakfast in the bathroom and cries for ten minutes.*

11am-2pm: All right, that's two whole emails I've responded to. I'm pretty much the most organized person ever. Ice cream for everyone!

3pm: *This spot reserved for crying for no reason*

3:30pm: Hmm, where'd that drink I poured for myself go? It's gone. Why's it gone? The toddler's running away, a sure sign of guilt. Ugh, and I'm too big to run after him. It's like I can't even have a drink to myself anymore. Then again, if I catch him, what am I going to do, squeeze it back out of him? *Cries while pouring more diet cream soda*

4pm: Ok, the bills are done and we even have money left over to rent a movie on demand. Wow, I should've been an accountant.

5pm: You know what we don't have money for though? Renovating the entire house. Don't most people renovate their whole property a month after they move in? Probably. Then again, maybe that was a Tom Hanks movie I watched.

5:10pm: Holy crap, did I plan anything for dinner? Yes. No. Yes!

6:00pm: What do you mean you don't want casserole? I bet the Pioneer Woman's kids eat her casserole. Then again, she makes blueberry lemonade from scratch and curls her hair before she makes pie. Maybe if I'd broken out the curling iron this morning, my kids would be eating a shit ton of this potato monstrosity too.

6:05: No, wait. This is actually a terrible casserole. That's the next time I take a recipe off a flyer pinned under my windshield wiper.

6:30pm: I think I'll randomly try on this pair of shorts that fit me before I was pregnant. *More crying*

7:00pm: Ok, baths, clean pajamas, prayers, bedtime. Only have to put the kids back in their bed fifty-two more times and Husband and I can have a conversation.

8:00pm: What the heck would we do without TV? Time to bury my emotions deep down while living vicariously through Scrubs and Game of Thrones. I should've been a doctor... or royalty. *Quietly re-examines life choices too closely.*

10:00pm....

Me: Time to go to sleep.

Brain: You know what we didn't think about today?

Me: What?

Brain: All the other stuff that makes you cry.

Me: Great. Let's do this.  *Cries softly about over-priced milk and the hairbrush I forgot to clean out*

It's not the most fun in the world, but I've done it enough times now to know it'll pass. Most days pass pretty well, and the pots in the sink eventually all get washed. Crying about everything will definitely blow over, but I can't say as much for my casserole skills. Those are actually really bad and will be a constant in my life forever. Just like the laundry and my coffee.

Until Next Time, Readers!

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Friday, June 19, 2015

The Cost of Friendship Is Seventy-Five Dollars

I'm sorry, toilet. For what we did, and also because the former owners put you in a blue bathroom that looks like a faded pair of Wranglers.

Afternoon Readers,

I speak often of my penchant for hermitude. Part of me really enjoys hanging out in a public setting, while the other, greater, part of me gravitates towards closing the doors, retreating to my bedroom, and making a tent out of my comforter. After which, I crawl under said blanket for three hundred years and read until the one missing person's report filed on behalf is crumbled up and put in the recycle bin.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with being a homebody, but, occasionally, solitude can turn into its own special sort of isolation, and the rogue call from a friend is embraced by my untoned arms.

Last week's message read as thus:

Hey Paige!

I'll be in town next week and want to stop by. Will bring coffee.

Sincerely,

Old College Friend

Noting the coffee pledge, I quickly added this friend I hadn't seen in ten years to my living will, accepted the offer, and made plans to make it look like I cleaned my house more than once a fortnight. Things were slow around Kellerman house, and I needed someone to chat with. Pregnancy had curbed whatever appetite I had for social situations, and there was a very distinct possibility I'd gotten tired of my own voice shouting, "For the love of all that's good and holy, stop opening the refrigerator."

By the time the knock came on the door, I was so cooped up with little people's requests, I simultaneously hugged my friend and tried to give her two or three children to take home. This was a bad plan because she has four of her own and was enjoying her own special brand of escape.

I played the gracious hostess. "Come in! Sit down! Never leave me!"

Making good on her promise, I enjoyed a gifted iced coffee as big as Volkswagen while we waxed nostalgic about when we were single and didn't where pants with panels. The great thing about visiting with mom friends is their inability to register the dumb things your kids are doing while you two carve out adult conversation. Any parent worth their salt who's been left in charge of kids but decides to have a visitor over anyway, knows it goes something like this...

"So, like I was saying, I only shop at ni... Hey, did you hear that noise?"

"Yeah, it's fine."

"You sure?"

"Yep. It's probably just the kids doing something extremely destructive in another part of the house. But tell me more about that new app you found that locates the nearest donut shop."

"Right, so it's called Tasty Tracker."

It's the time old cost of social interaction for those of us constantly watching children. You may have friends, but unless you want to fork over money for a babysitter and head out the door, you're going to end up staying home and paying in one or more of your worldly possessions. This is especially true for the parent who stays home. You're habitually the built-in babysitter for the other person's work, errands after work, or last minute social calls because you're already there. That doesn't really ease the blow when they get home though.

Before he got back, Husband hadn't been adequately prepared for the scenario. He walked and and looked unsettled. "Hey there. What's going on?"

I waved and smiled, hours of conversation having wiped the stress lines that inhabit the area between the bridge of my nose and my hairline away. "Hey, honey. This is my friend from college."

He nodded. "Nice to meet you. What are the kids doing?"

Shrugging, I pointed up the stairs. "Plaaaaying... I think."

I felt a small twinge of guilt, but that's the price of friend time, guilt and not knowing what the hell your kids have been doing. Screaming in a way which suggests someone has been stabbed hadn't occurred, so that was good. Although, the baby had brought me my toothbrush, deodorant, and leave-in conditioner, so, upon reflection, that should've been some sort of red flag.

His shoulders tensed and he headed upstairs. I continued my visit while I made dinner, served said dinner, and emotionally saw my guest back out the door. For the first time in weeks, I was happy.

"Um, why is all my stuff missing?"

Shit. Time to pay the piper.

I looked away from the door and innocently back at Husband. "What stuff would that be?"

"My toothbrush, deodorant, shaving cream, toothpaste. Pretty much everything I keep in our bathroom."

"I might have all that stuff down here."

He sighed. "Were you watching them this afternoon?"

"More or less."

As it turns out, it was a little more than I thought. The baby had taken it upon himself to not only sneak in the bathroom, but flush some unknown objects down the toilet. A quick call to the plumber, seventy-five dollars later, and the additional news that water is also leaking into our garage from that same toilet, and we were back in business. (Sort of. More on that as it develops.)

So, would I do it again? Of course. I'll simply be locking my bedroom door next time. Moms have to find sanity somewhere. I just hope the total comes in under seventy-five dollars next time.

Until Next Time, Readers!



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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Evening Out the Numbers

Just a friendly game of "Let's Paint, On the Fireplace."

Afternoon Readers,

I promise I'm not going to turn into a twice-a-year blogger, but the past few weeks have definitely been trending thus:

Be pregnant.
Feel fat.
Gather all energy and throw it heartily at caring for children and excavating last serving of ice cream from freezer. (Possible cause of fat feelings)
Eat Firey Cheetos. (Also probably tied to feelings of fatness.)
Watch marathons of Fixer Upper and hope they accidentally come and renovate our house.
Watch marathon of Scrubs.
Wash, rinse, repeat.

I totally forgot how the first weeks of pregnancy, while worth it, wreak a special sort of havoc on one's motivation for pretty much anything. Until yesterday, I didn't want to conquer the world. I did not want to achieve anything. I didn't even want to put on pants. So I didn't. You what comes between me and my Calvin's? Really cheap underwear I walk around in and hope no one sees when I open the door to drag in whatever the UPS guy threw at our fiberglass porthole. 

I guess what I'm saying is, if you're pregnant right now, it's ok not to get all the things done. This is my third time walking the path, and I still haven't fully grasped that concept. But you know what?

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Letter To My Disenfranchised Fourth Child

Susan extracts her fourth child from the bassinet she made from Sprite bottles.

Afternoon Readers,

Ahh, motherhood. There's something about it that makes you feel dusty and old, but also young and completely strung out. In my case, my right eye tends to twitch a lot, but to each her own.

This weekend's impending holiday doesn't give me an enormous amount of pause. Mostly because Mother's Day is also the twin's fifth birthday, and when birthdays are involved, we all know what My Little Pony/ Spider Man cake takes center stage. Then again, I might break under the weight of some sort of pregnancy-induced mental breakdown and write "Happy Mother's Day!" right across a pony's face. The weekend sits nigh, ripe with possibilities.

Tough to beat, but what I've been reflecting on more this week than cake or presents, is actually the newest Kellerman.   

Sleeping arrangements?
Supplies?
A homing device?

My brain keeps clicking over a potential checklist of things and coming up with... absolutely nothing. So I thought it best to write a letter of explanation to our newest member, in order to minimize bitterness and maximize feelings of apathy towards us as the years go on.


A Letter To My Disenfranchised Fourth Child

Dear Fourth Child,

I hope you're finding the stay accommodating. Don't worry about making yourself comfortable. My ab muscles were dismantled by your brother and sister in 2010, so feel free to do yoga, pilates, or use any spare space to build one of those quaint side cart coffee bars. I won't even feel it.

I'm writing today to apologize. I'm afraid you won't find much waiting for you when you head towards the light. I take that back. There'll be a ton of people there, unlimited pudding, and nurses who wait on you incessantly. I meant more the part where we draw a name out of hat and take you home.

(Totally kidding. We'll have a name ready for you. I think. At the very least, I'll let the drugs wear off before I pick this time. Don't ever let anyone tell you you're not special.)

Here's the deal. You're literally getting nothing new. 

What's "new"?

Simply put, when something's new, it smells like no one's licked it, picked at it, or died in it. Haha.. no, no one's died in any of your stuff. That we know of. At any rate, you'll have plenty of clothes, possibly not gender specific, but clothes nonetheless. Sleepers, t-shirts, onsies that say, "First grandchild!" You name it, we got it.

Your dad and I talked about it, and I'm also pleased to say you're getting the crib that's only fifty-percent covered in teeth marks. Get excited, because it's gonna look fab with the hand-me-down sheets and crib music box that plays "Can You Feel Love Tonight", if you hit it hard enough.

Unfortunately, there was a list of items we had to delete this time around. Call it experience or overconfidence. I'll let you pick when you learn to talk and pick my nursing home:

Diaper Genie
Heated Wipes (Kidding... We never had those. You'll be as cold as everyone else.)
Toys - Hurry to the toy room before everyone else gets there. And may the odds be ever in your favor.
Shoes - Hahahahahahahahahahaha.... eh em.
Changing table - I discovered this thing called "the floor" last year. Life and Style just named it this year's breakfast nook.
Shampoo/baby oil/lotion set - Hold out your hand and I'll give you a dollop of Nivea

What we will have for you is lots of love. By far, we're getting better and better at multiplying it from the bottom of our cold hearts. Oh, and I promise you get a new car seat. Some of the other kids volunteered to hold you while the car was moving, but five-year-olds drop things, so.

Are you excited?! We're excited. So just stretch out and relax. I'm off to figure out if the Baby Bjorn is still holding the back door to the van shut.

Love,

Your Mom




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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Grass Is Always Greener When You Pay Someone Else To Do It

"The neighborhood's concerned. First it was the plaid skirt, now it's dandelions. We're not sure where the line is anymore.

Afternoon Readers,

If you're just tuning in, I'm still fat and could really use a coconut cream pie right now. You know what they say, "New house, new baby, buy me pie." A blessed and ancient saying, handed down by many generations.

As it stands, I'm currently eating a bag of steamed vegetables I found in the freezer and waiting for my entire bag of french fries to be done cooking. Ahh, vegetables. You masquerade as food, but you fill me up about as well as the gentle wind which caresses my deck chairs. No matter, the oven timer is giving me just enough time to write and also to read the mail I just waddled out to get.

Flyer for diet pills
Coupons for two-for-one chimichangas *hides under my chin fat for later*
A letter stating I should act now before my lawn decays

Hmm, one thing I'll say is that, unlike our former neighborhood, lawn care in this neck of the woods is serious business. This letter is actually one in a set of five I've received in the last two weeks. The universe at large is extremely concerned with whether we prefer an emerald green we can sleep on top of, or one which I could comfortably give birth on. Little do these people know, I prefer to be wrapped in a gown three thousand people have used and be fully unconscious.

Suburbia has an ebb and flow, a gentle current running under all box hedges which speaks of how things are done. We get our pets toenails done here. Loyd gently trims and grooms all our trees. You could use that trash service, but we've had Rick's Refuse Removal for thirty years, and he brings his family and real baby sheep to carol on your doorstep, come December.

Kellerman lawn care is as follows: Mow lawn

I think this is fairly reasonable. No one wants a neighbor who gives his house the old Boo Radley treatment and dandelion curtains. 

Scenario 1.

*knock knock*

"Who's there?"
"The people who treat everyone elses's lawn in the neighborhood."
"The people who treat everyone else's lawn, who?"
"That'll be a hundred dollars a month."
"Get the hell off my AstroTurf."

Just kidding. That's only what you say if you're not prepared.

Scenario 2.

"Hi, mam. Whoa, you have a lot of little ones. One, two-"

"Don't bother looking for the third one. He's probably going through your wallet or something. Kidding! How can I help you?"

"Ha. Right, ok. Well, we take care of all the lawns on your street, and we were wondering if you'd like a flyer with some prices in it."

"I'd love a flyer. Does it come with a coupon in it for free service for as long as we live here?"

"Um, no."

"I'm sorry, Justin. You're super nice, but we don't have that in the budget this year."

"Do you guys have a plan for lawn care this season?"

"I'm so glad you asked. Besides mowing on Saturday, we stare lovingly at the freshly cut grass on Sunday. Mondays are dedicated to feeling frustrated that it's starting to grow back, and Tuesdays are for ignoring the clover, which, as you can see, is growing in the shape of Wayne Newton's head. Wednesdays, I send the children into the yard to "dandelion hunt," which is highly effective until they take all the weeds they've picked and sow them diligently into all the spots that had remained inexplicably weedless. Thursday, we run errands and don't look at the grass, and Friday is the day I put twenty dollars into our "Mulch the entire yard" zero-interest savings account."

"So I can leave this flyer with you?"

"Absolutely."

Right now, as I look out the front window of the Oak Palace, I'm pleased to see a green, if not perfect, lawn. It's lovingly cut by Husband and I'm super grateful because I'm far to fat to start a lawnmower at this season of my life. I may not be able to birth a baby on our grass, but today's "Dandelion Hunting Wednesday," and that's ok too.



Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy some Cankles
And if quick bathroom reads are your friend, grab The Big Book of Parenting Tweets: Featuring the Most Hilarious Parents on Twitter!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:






Tuesday, April 21, 2015

All the Stuff You Can Do In Eleven Weeks

"And she was all, 'I have the eye of the tiger,' but then she just started crying."

Afternoon Readers,

People sometimes ask me how I balance writing books, blogs, and getting my ends trimmed once a year. It's a great question, and the answer usually falls into one of two categories.

A. Poorly
B. Very Poorly

Don't get me wrong. Occasionally, a week pops up where I'm all, "Look at me doing all the things before five. And now, pizza for everyone!" (Pizza isn't a celebratory food here. It's my go-to about seven days a week.) But most of the time, the situation around Kellerman house is carefully controlled anarchy with a side of laundry, delicately garnished with a smidgeon of toddler tears. That's the usual. However, life is life, and sometimes that chaos gets turned up a notch, and an internet vacation is in order.

I am woman. Hear me roar and then crawl back under my duvet.