Monday, June 30, 2014

That Good, Old Deep Clean ....Just Might Kill You

"Just think, we could run away to a place where there was no dusting. And if there was, we could use your sleeves."

Morning Readers,

I hate to break it to you guys, but we're all living under a giant, disgusting pile of dirt.

Yes, even you.

Oh, you're not? Fine. When was the last time you cleaned your ceiling fans? I'll wait...

Still waiting.

Let me just go pull my quiche out of the oven. 

Right, that job sucks so none of us do it. (I was also joking about the quiche because the thought of baking this early in the morning is hilarious to me and I own zero ramekins.)
Granted, there's probably a token person here today who habitually wipes down the blades, but maybe that's because you forgot you could just stop looking up.

This moving thing is wearing on me and we haven't even moved yet. Or bought a new house. Or put this one up for sale. We're on task 8,053 of 11,787, and inching closer to our goal every day, but, unfortunately, that means deep cleaning has become the name of the game.

Deep cleaning. The phrase turns to ash on my tongue. I hate the word, as I hate hell, all Montagues.

Dramatic enough?

Good. The biggest drag of it all was having to tell the kids no pool today and to go stare at each other in another room. As it turns out, fan cleaning takes a certain sort of concentration which required me to learn how to keep my balance while children ran into the broken chair I was standing on, and an immunity to the abject filth that flies off in one's face. Don't worry though, I was using an old rag that trapped almost nothing.

Upon scaling your perch, the thing that hits you first is how long it's been since you cleaned that particular fan.

I did some quick calculation. "Hey, kids. How old are you?"


It'd been four years.

Or possibly never.

The next thing I had to process was the density of the dirt as I tried desperately to shove it off each blade. "By Ashton Kutcher's trucker hat, this must be a foot deep. I think I just inhaled it. Is that a snowman? It's a snowman made of dirt. When it falls clockwise on the carpet, it means Winter's coming early. Or that I have to vacuum now."

If you have particularly old fans like we do, the key to a good, deep clean is not losing your balance and clinging to them for dear life.

"Mommy's fine. Thankfully the wiring's still in tact. We're patching holes anyway. As you were."

"Was this one always crooked?"

"That's why the seventies ended. Couldn't make sturdy ceiling fans. Remember that when people ask you if I ever taught you history of any sort."

After you get brave enough to inspect all the nooks and crannies, you realize the frosted glass globes over the light bulbs could also use a wipe down.

But you don't care.
And they're so hot.
And, again, you don't care because you didn't lose your life in the last paragraph.

So what's the point? The point is that you, I and everyone else are living under horrific dunes of dust bunnies, but it's not worth dying over. But maybe it is because no one will buy your house if you don't climb back up there.

Maybe I'll just bribe whoever it is with a quiche.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

How To Get Carded In Five Easy Steps

"Card me? How bout I just give you this bracelet made of Tic Tacs and we'll call it even?"

Afternoon Readers,

You're tuning in today right in the middle of me making bets with myself for how long it'll take one of the kids to wander in the back door, leave it wide open, and subsequently add fifty dollars to the electric bi-

Yep, I owe myself a beer.

All three of the children play outside now, and at its core, this is a good thing. Unfortunately, they really only do this in five minute increments, before someone has a bloody nose, the baby's trying to stick an old barbeque implement in the air conditioner, or half an easel that's been living in our foliage gets dragged into the kitchen.

Oh, you didn't know childhood's made of fairy dust, moonbeams, and broken pieces of wood?

Well, you do now. And that's probably why this blog was just rated "350,000,000 Most educational on the Internet.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Life At a Funeral

"So refreshing. And the toddler who poured it for me was delightful."

Afternoon Readers,

I really wish I was one of those people who could eat an entire bag of peanut M&Ms, drink half a bottle of wine, eat three miniature Snickers, chase it all with a can of cheap beer, and feel great the next day.

Doesn't mean I'll stop trying, but a girl can wish.

Vegging out and watching TV was Husband and my answer to a very full weekend. After the wake on Friday, Saturday was devoted entirely to Grandma Lu's funeral and an afternoon of eating, drinking, and telling stories.

At least, that's what I'm assuming was going on.

In case this is your first time tuning in here, hi, I'm Paige Kellerman, toddler wrangler extraordinaire. Where most people indulge in the act of being social in social situations, I spend my time following around someone who's two feet tall and keeping him alive. He doesn't care who passed away or that screaming, "I sumfin' eat," inside a crypt might be sketchy. What he does care about is why you won't let him pour his own beer out of the keg.

It can be a tough gig sometimes. "Why won't you let me be mired in grief and let me eat some chili rellenos?"


"It's beer."


"Again, child, it's beer. I'm a little proud you figured out how to work the tap, but just because you filled your Solo cup with ice doesn't mean I'm ready to go to jail for your public intoxication. Top me off though."

Just as the tide of sadness would  creep up the shore of my thoughts, someone would try to throw himself down the stairs. 

Or rip pictures off the bookshelf.
Or run into a busy parking lot.
Or jump into the giant trough of ice water.

Things finally came to a head when I caught him trying to stab an innocent pumpkin sheet cake with a pie server. Incensed, he marched right back outside and gave the keg his full attention for the rest of the day.

"Your baby sure does like that keg."

"Well, they say to keep a lookout for the dependency problems early. I really though potty training would be our first hurdle, but when life gives you lemons, you stop your toddler from cutting them up and putting them in his Coors."

"You look tired."

"You should see the sheet cake."

Yes, Doc was his consistent, toddler self, oblivious to the occasion, but a stark and not-so-subtle reminder that life goes on.

Unless you're a sheet cake.

Can you tell I feel bad about that?

Because I do. Sorry to whoever made that.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Friday, June 20, 2014

This Is Two

"How'd you like those Legos I left in your coffee?"
Morning Readers,

First off, thank you so much for your kind responses to Wednesday's post. You guys are the kindest people in the universe.

Secondly, someone save me because the baby is on the war path.

You know what's interesting about having children?

We'll come back to that. The baby's spitting milk all over the floor and trying to "vacuum" it up with a broken pogo stick. Aaaand now he's naked because he claims he's a "mess" and is trying to squeeze himself into a swim diaper.

Hold please.

Doc Holiday doesn't turn two until September, but close enough. Much like Hollywood relationships, my sweet, chubby recluse of a baby has moved swiftly into the arena of irreconcilable differences and high octane emotional breakdowns. 

And we'll talk more about that as soon as I pull him out of the trashcan....

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Goodbye Grandma Lu

Afternoon Readers,

It's been a rough three days at the Split level. Not only have Husband and I resigned ourselves to fixing the drywall via Youtube tutorials, luck, and screaming, "It's already setting up. Why is it setting up? Here, whack it with a trowel.", but one of our favorite people in the world passed away yesterday. 

I've never written about Grandma Lu, but that's not because she wasn't a huge part of our life. Quite the contrary. Every week, I very generously took all three kids over to her house so they could take it apart.

I think she loved my thoughtfulness most of all.

From here on out, I'll desperately miss the Wednesdays we turned the kids and their cousins loose in her backyard and tried to gently explain why Sundance had ripped all the flowers off the bushes and the boys had flooded something with the hose again.

The loss of someone hits me pretty hard no matter what, but when it's someone who was so funny, kind, and selfless, it makes it a little harder. And because she even humored me in her last couple of days by laughing at my jokes, I'll say goodbye the way I know best. (And I know you can hear me now, so I'm really sorry I'm such a close talker.)

The Top Ten Things I Loved Best About Grandma Lu

10.) Baked goods. I don't think there was ever a time there weren't cookies, cakes, or coffee cake on your counter.

"Take a dozen cupcakes home." you said.
"Oh, I can't." 
"Here you go, honey."
"Can I have the cookies too?"

9.) "Oh, dear!"

Your adorable reaction to anything the kids did that was ridiculous. My reaction was to ship them to Antarctica, but you just said, "Oh dear!" and laughed.

8.) Your potato salad

Seriously, you made it with bacon. If Jesus didn't push you to the head of the line, I'd be shocked. And why I didn't write down the twenty-six easy steps you told me, I'll never know. Stupid Paige.

7.) Christmas

No one of Christmas past, present, or future will ever decorate for that holiday like you. Sparkly trees next to the bathtub? Yes, please.

6.) Ice cream

You always had ice cream for all the kids. The Pavlovian response to hearing you pull that box of cones from the freezer was impressive. I'm really sorry for all the times the kids accidentally drooled on you or the couch.

5.) Jewelry

Sundance inherited your love of flashy pieces.Thanks to you, that child will have some style. If it was left to me, she'd think a clean t-shirt and ratty flip flops are what's being rocked on the catwalks of Milan.

4.) Leopard print

Leopard print everything. I never entertained leopard print as a viable option for myself until I met you. The jury's still out on whether leopard print gets embarrassed when I wear it, but it's not like underwear is a risky fashion choice.

3.) You raised eight children.

And they're all great people. And you were still sane. And I only have three and they almost pushed me down the stairs the other day. (I'm saying this not only because I'm in awe of you but also because it's your job to pray for my well being and safety now. Seriously, the whole thing was really terrifying.)

2.) You were married for sixty years.

Sixty years! Husband and I are getting ready to round the five year mark and I'm ready to commission a statue to commemorate our little milestone. You and Pat better be kicking off an eternity of date nights and golf. That's all I have to say about that. 

1.) I loved the way you loved. And, oh dear, I'm really going to miss you.

Dedicated to Luella Doherty

Until Next Time, Readers!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Crack Real Estate

"Is that a daisy in your lapel or are you just here to fix my drywall? I'm sorry, that made no sense."

Morning Readers,

The kids just broke the mini trampoline. Which is great because I was afraid we weren't going to be transitioning into the weekend as smoothly as we usually do and, miracles.

Then again, a small part of me rejoices every time one of our worldly possessions breaks, if only for the reason we don't have to drag it to a new house. The crap we've accumulated in the last five years is shocking.

(Anyone interested in a B. Smith serving bowl set that's never been opened? What if I told you it's been living amongst the spiders for the last half decade? No? You're loss. I'm almost ninety-nine percent sure it's not broken.)

Besides hawking my sketchy wares and trying to find a place to put my shower radio, renovations to the Split level are moving along. Not moving along in the sense things are getting done quickly, but more like we're enjoying getting quotes on things, then sending people away with much fanfare, created by waving our empty checkbook above our heads in a sweeping and showy manor.

"We have no money, but see how we selected the personalized "garden" background the bank offered. It's even got deposit slips in the back. Ya know, if you're into that sort of thing."

Monday, the electrician arrived. This was the only service I've managed to justify so far. From everything my research has told me, people in market for buying a house prefer that it not burn down in the first week of ownership, so I was able to get over my penny-pinching just enough to pay to have things re-wired and outlets put in the holes that should be outlets and not storage for baseball cards and small change.

I really had high hopes for the drywall guy.

No money, but high hopes.

That's how all those VH1 Behind the Music success stories start, so, obviously we'd follow suit.

"Seven hundred dollars."

I nodded casually while I looked for my jaw, which had hit the ground and rolled under the changing table.

"That gets you nine patches of your choice. We're pretty booked though, so you wanna go ahead and schedule the work right away."

"I found it."


"My jaw. Listen, I'm sure you guys are expert crack patchers, but I'll have to run it by my Husband."

"You guys do have a lot of cracks."

I shrugged. "You know, I never thought I'd own seven hundred dollars worth of anything, but to own that much in cracks makes me strangely proud. Thank heaven it wasn't an even thousand. No living with my ego after that."

He looked skeptically at the hole the kids had been working on so they'd have a way to see from the floor of the living room to under the porch. "Just let me know. Oh, and I'm sorry your dog ate part of the upstairs hallway."

"Your condolences are accepted. Honestly, I wanted to ship him to Alaska after that, but the son-of-a-gun's still here. The things that don't happen because you can't afford the postage. I tell ya what."

So where does that leave us?

I won't go into it right now, but I spent the afternoon watching Youtube tutorials and I'm off to the hardware store, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Ok, the kids are sitting in the broken trampoline. Time to go convince them it's an airplane so I can figure out how to use drywall tape.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

While the Editor's Away, the Spam Will Play

Let me get my big, monkey arms around ya.
Afternoon Readers,

Again, I start the week on a Tuesday. This really has to stop because I keep wanting to put out the trash on Saturday, and we're running out of places to store all our empty frozen pizza boxes.

No matter, the weekend at Blog U was a success and one of the most fun three days I've ever spent in my entire life. I'm not saying you should start saving up to go next year, but that's actually exactly what I'm saying, so go talk to your bank about a special, secret account you can start now.

(Possibly a savings, but I know nothing about what yields the best interest, and the proof I'm not financially savvy was sealed when I bought three stocks from a Swedish company based in Iowa.)

My travels took me all the way to Baltimore, and besides gaining a ton of knowledge, not having to get out of bed to take kids to the bathroom, and eating meals no one stuck their hands in -that I know about,but it's cool- I realized three more important facts:

1.) The good people at Crabs and More Since 1944 are trying to get you drunk.
2.) Airport bathrooms vary wildly in levels of hygiene.
3.) You will not sleep if you share a room with Robyn Welling of Hollow Tree Ventures. She will make you laugh until 3am, be unable to fall asleep, and creep her eyes above the covers the next day and whisper, "I watched the sun come up," like the kid from The Sixth Sense.

But just because I was out of town, doesn't mean there wasn't work waiting for me when I got back. Because this blog is wildly popular in countries you've never heard of, there was loads of spam to reply to. Best get it out of the way. Professionalism and all that.

Anonymous #1 writes,

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Thank you so much for writing! When I set out to educate anyone, I always make sure it's terrible. Also...
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Dear Anonymous,

It's pointless to write anything at all, unless you know everyone will agree with it. Thank you for noticing and please enjoy your extremely difficult writing career.

Anonymous #3 writes,

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If this is the same Anonymous from my cousin's wedding, let me apologize again. I usually knock before kicking open a bathroom stall. (Also, don't wish to tell me I'm awesome, just go for it.)

Anonymous #4 writes,

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I'm sorry to hear it. I was recently called "terribly educational," so I'm not sure where the disconnect is.

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I'm always extremely enthusiastic of my own composing. Watch this. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, everyone, I have to go stop the baby from pouring orange juice in the Chex Mix bag.

Until Next Time, Readers! 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Just One More Thing

"Well, you see, mam. You're window is gonna fall out and kill someone."

Morning Readers,

I know you guys are used to tuning in here so you can hear stories of my perfectly organized life, but listen to this curve ball, gang.

Hold on, I'm trying to keep a straight face.

Quiet. I need to concentrate. Being sanctimonious is a learned art.

All right, back to our regular programming. Things are chaos as usual. This is my fault because I'm leaving town on Friday and the kids will still be needing to eat, wear clothes, and ask for eight hundred drinks of milk while I'm gone. Husband will be taking over my shift.

Godspeed and good luck, my friend. Your bravery reminds me of the stoic Sparten. Come back on your shield and all that...

Besides this weekend's upcoming odyssey, improvements to the Split level are ongoing. It's a tale as old as time.

Couple buys a house.
House sinks into the ground.
Couple decides to sell the house.
House has five billion things wrong with it that need to be fixed before anyone raises an eyebrow in in its direction.
Couple wonders if they sniff enough spackle, the problems will all go away.*

*Spackle experiment in progress. All data and findings will be posted at a later date.

The thing we're realizing about getting a house ready for sale is, even when you think you've made a complete laundry list of everything falling apart, you're wrong.

Scenario 1.

"Ok, so I cleaned the bathroom and threw out that old bathmat. Thing smelled like cheese and a Nicklback album."

"Sounds good. We just have to replace the window, gut the interior, and put a seat on the toilet, and we're done."

Scenario 2.

"Oh man, the kitchen was a doozy. Glad we only had to clean under the refrigerator once since we moved in."

"Awesome. That means we just have to buy new appliances and replace the counter tops, and we're all ship shape. Hey, did you remember to win the lottery last week?"

"Darn, I forgot."

"It's ok, I'll do it."

Scenario 3.

"Ok, we'll have the carpets cleaned and call it a day."

"Did you tell them about the stain in the hallway?"

"Which one?"

"The one that looks like the Mona Lisa hugging a beach ball. Covers like half the upstairs."

"I'll call back."

Scenario 4.

"Did you see the hole in the living room wall?"

"No, but did you see the hole in hallway?"

"No, but did you see the hole in the basement wall?"

"No, but did you see the one in the door?"

"No, but I noticed the chunk missing from the corner of the other wall."

"That's interesting because, while I was looking at the hole in the kitchen, I noticed a crack above the doorway."

"I'll get the spackle."

So, as you can see, this is a project that should take the lion's share of the summer, but I'm determined not to think about it for the weekend. As long as husband has enough supplies and the kids are good, it should be smooth sailing. I'll count any more missing pieces of wall when I get back.

Until Next Time, Readers!