Monday, August 14, 2017

Hair Today, Fantastic Tomorrow... A Monat Gift Package Giveaway!


Afternoon Readers,

I know what you're thinking."Two giveaways in a row? Things are getting fancy around here. It's a fancy, fancy blog."

Indeed.

Actually, when two people have children, and then they move into an old house, and then decide to renovate two bathrooms at a time, giveaways are perfect. I mean, my stress level is at a ten. Why should your stress level be at a ten? It shouldn't. So I say, let's give away all the things. Speaking of which, there's still one day to enter the Amazon giveaway, so hop on over and don't miss out.

Now then, today's FABULOUS giveaway is sponsored by my lovely friend, Megan Guertin. The way we met went a little like this...

Megan: I sell this amazing line of hair care products called Monat. Would you like to try some?

Me: Yaaaaaaasssss!

Megan: *mercifully still talks to me, even though I'm a spaz* Can I give some away to your readers?

Me: Yaaaaassss!

So, like the lovely angel she is, Megan sent me a huge box of extremely high quality products from Monat. It was pretty much Christmas in July. This was extremely exciting for two reasons.

1.) I buy shampoo and condition for two dollars a piece, and hope it cleans my hair.

2.) My new haircut (you can read about that traumatic ordeal here) usually looks like this...


Coarse, wavy, dry. Things that all describe a desert, but also my hair. It's not down to my behind anymore, but it still looks like I got caught in a tornado most days. "Soft" is way down at the bottom of the list of adjectives I'd use to describe my locks.

BUT...

I've been using the Monat system for two weeks now, and I'm pretty much in love. You can hop on over to their website to learn all the nitty gritty science that makes it awesome, but I can say with 100% certainty, my hair is softer, healthier, and even looks great when I let it air dry and wander to the grocery store. You guys know how I do.

Another perk of their line is that it helps decrease hair loss and increases hair growth. I'm looking at you, bald spots left after multiple pregnancy adventures. If I see a change in those, you guys will be the first to know.

So now the GOOD STUFF.

You guys, enter the handy little Rafflecopter below, because if you do, you win...


Blow Out Cream:
  • Works on all hair types to create a beautiful blowout that lasts.
  • Won’t weigh your hair down or make it feel greasy.
  • Does not create product build-up.
  • Restores softness and shine.
  • Reduces styling time and conceals the signs of damage.
  • Contains Dermofeel® Sensolv, a natural silicone alternative. 100% natural in origin.

Tousled Texturizing Mist:
Creates multiple styles with a variety of textures effortlessly.
  • Non-sticky formula
  • Helps to define layers
  • Adds volume without weighing hair down
  • Long-lasting touchable support

Rejuvabeads: Selectively targets and heals split ends and other damaged or stressed areas along the hair shaft, eliminating breakage and frizz, decreasing friction, increasing shine and helping improve color.   

On top of that, Megan also sent the lucky winner a brand new Monat round brush, complete with the CUTEST bag to keep it in. Just the products alone make this gift package a value of over $100.00!

So, if you want to enter fall with some fabulous hair, hit up the lovely Rafflecopter below. This contest is open to anyone in the USA. As soon as the winner's drawn, I'll mail you a big, beautiful box of happiness.

In the meantime, if you'd like to order anything from Megan, just pop on over to her site and have a
look at all the lovely things she has for sale.

As for me, I've got a date with a bucket of primer and a paint brush.

Until Next Time, Readers!

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


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Just a Little Amazon Giveaway!


Morning Readers,

Sorry for the radio silence. It's back to school week and I'm labeling all the school supplies on the planet.

Or in my orbit. Basically the same thing. Tiny letters on tiny scissors.

In the meantime, it's worth noting that The Beer's Folded and the Laundry's Cold is now an audiobook! Yes, my darling little book has actually been narrated by a professional and meticulously put back together on Audible and iTunes. Excitement level? Ten.

To celebrate, I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and TEN chances to win a free download of The Beer's Folded on Audible. So if you like free money and books, this giveaway is for you. If you don't like either of those things, I'm sorry, I can't help you.

(But do come back on Monday, because I'll be running an even more amazing giveaway for, say, people who love free, high-end things. I can say no more.)

Ok, hit up the Rafflecopter below, and good luck. If you need me, I'll be writing names on folders and hoping the ink doesn't wipe off before next week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until Next Time, Readers! 

Friday, July 28, 2017

What My Thirties Have Tought Me So Far ...In Horrific Detail

Not me, but getting makeup on my hands and not my face is a pretty frequent occurrence.

Morning Readers,

I didn't mention it at the time, but I turned thirty-three a couple weeks ago.

It's ok. I'll take any applause you can give me for making it this far. My journey through life looks a little like a toddler trying to eat soup with a fork. Finesse.

This year, I had to accept that I'm solidly adrift in adulthood. For a while, I thought I could cling to the late twenties raft, but it sprang a leak, and, all of the sudden, I was an exhausted Rose, wrestling a worn out door, hoping my body fat reserves would get me through.

The morning my birthday dawned, the Kellerman children were twice as excited as I was.

"Can I have cereal?"

"Last night, you said I could pick the first show when I woke up. It's the morning."

"Did you wash any underwear yesterday? I think I didn't find any this week."

Finally, the four-year-old wandered downstairs, yawned, and glanced in my direction. "Your birthday today?"

I sipped my coffee and nodded. "Yep."

"You have a good one, k?" He thought for a second. "Oh, and I need a fruit bar and some milk. Oh, and Mom?"

I smiled. "Yes?

"I need underwear too."

All wasn't lost. I'd started my special day at 5AM, unable to shut my eyes after convincing Mrs. Jones that one-year-olds had no business being up that early. Three, solid hours of quiet had given me a chance to work out, watch a documentary on Dolly Parton, and drink enough caffeine to be perfectly aware of how old I felt. Not as old as Dolly, but she'd already made twenty gold records by my age, so who the hell was I?

Who, indeed.

In those three hours, I had ample time to examine my life thus far, and here's what I know about being thirty-three:

1. I don't care.

It took me a while to get here, but I officially don't care what anyone thinks of what I do, how I dress, and my day-to-day. Unless you're my momma or Jesus, I ain't got time for it. (Unless you see me talking to myself in the frozen food isle and I, clearly, forget to put on a bra. Even then, just look away or grab a Snickers. Whatev.)

2. Intimidation is a non-issue

When I was a teenager, walking past a group of boys always made me feel self conscious. Were they looking? Did they smile at me? Was my mascara sliding off, resulting in some sort of sad clown incident?

Now that I've rounded thirty, that's a thing of the past. At the pool the other day, a group of teenage boys was blocking a direct path to my ratty towel shaped like a whale. Without thinking about it, I walked right through them, a female Moses parting a sea of iPhones and acne. "Thanks," I shouted, while my stretch marks drove them back toward the concession stand.

3. Nature's taking its course

A few weeks back, an envelope arrived, bearing my new driver's license. Stricken, I called up the DMV, "Hello?"

A cheerful woman picked up. "Yes?"

"You sent the wrong license. Dull hair. Bags under the eyes. Papery skin. This is the Crypt Keeper."

"No returns unless you're dead."

"I might be."

4. Worry is like a rocking chair

Something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere. That ridiculous crap will work itself out.

5. Crow's feet are a real thing

6. Mortality Awareness

Life's too short not to go out and take a decent shot at your goals. Seriously. Haul out that bucket list and start checking things off, because the angels are gonna come get your butt one day, and the last words out of your mouth shouldn't be, "I wondered what would've happened if I had done x,y,z..."

7. I can't wear anything with rhinestones on it. I just look ridiculous.


Until Next Time, Readers!



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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fluoride, Take Me Away


Is this seat heated? Because I'm never leaving.

Morning Readers,

Motherhood does strange things to women.

And by "strange," I mean sick, sad, and often downright pathetic events that lead us to say things like, "How many cavities do I need to have filled? Seven? Can you make it eight?"

I had to put myself in check this year. After carefully tending to my family's well-being for months on end, somthing happened that made me realize I haven't been taking care of myself. It went something like this...

*Crack*
"A piece of my tooth just fell out."
"A PIECE OF MY TOOTH FELL OUT."
"Someone needs to fix this."
"My body is literally falling apart."
*Crawls in a hole and dies*

Tabulating on my un-manicured fingers, I quickly deduced that, while I'd made sure Husband the kids showed up for regular dentist appointments, it had been somewhere around the ballpark of  six years since I'd made time to have my teeth looked at by a professional. I called right away.

"My teeth are falling out. Help me."

The receptionist calmed me down. "Can you come in on Monday?"

"No."

"How about next Wednesday?"

"No."

"Friday?"

I leveled with her. "Listen, I have a billion children. The stars need to align to get me in there. Possibly may need to be a leap year. It's literally taken pieces of my body falling out to make this call. The best I can do is three months from now."

"How about July?"

"Done."

Putting off appoints is my stock and trade. Managing everyone else's business is my business, but when it comes to wandering off by myself during the day... well, my new dentist had seen my particular brand of sadness before.

"So you haven't seen anyone in a while, huh?"

I hung my head and stared at my tattered flip flops. "I'm sorry."

"Don't worry, I see this all the time. Moms get busy being moms, and, before they know it, twenty years go by, they lose all their teeth, and I'm fitting them with dentures."

"Really?"

He laughed. "Heavens no. But you do need a root scaling, three fillings, two crowns, and we don't have a payment plan."

Me: *throws confetti ironically*

It was a lot of work, but, somehow, I set up a babysitter, grabbed my Kindle, and headed out the door. Even though it would be a king's ransom, it dawned on me that this particular onslaught of dental work would take time. Lots of time. Child-free time. Armed with this demented brain jolt, I practically skipped through the glass door.

"Paige Kellerman. One-forty," I said.

"I apologize, Mrs. Kellerman. It'll be a few moments."

I padded excitedly over to a chair in the corner. "Take all the time you nee, my good woman."

By the time the actual procedure started, I was in heaven. The dental assistant wasn't so sure.

"Are you doing ok, Paige?"

"Uuuuhuuug."

"But you've had two shots of anesthetic, four numbing swabs, and I stuffed a lot of cotton in there."

I nodded and let out a relaxed sigh. Who needed a trip to the Bahamas? This would do.

Two hours later, my teeth had been scraped, drilled, and put back together like a jigsaw puzzle, the only drawback being the inability to move the left side of my face. The dentist did a once-over and asked some final questions.

"Are you in any pain?"

"Nobe."

"If you happen to experience pain, will you let us know?"

"I cab doob dat."

He smiled. "Because we can always have you back, right away, if there are any problems."

"Reabbby?"

He nodded.

Grabbing my purse, I gave him my best Sylvester Stalone smile and said. "Grabte. I call you toborrow."


Unfortunately, my dentist did a fabulous job, and I have absolutely no pain. I guess it's back to my regular mom duties. With better teeth.

But if I crack something again, it's good to know that my body falling apart comes with some perks.

Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Old Anxiety Shop


Morning Readers,

How was everyone's Fourth of July?

All Kellermans are accounted for, and no one was hit by a rogue firework, so all's well until next year's fiesta. Nothing like mixing unpredictable children and sparklers, right?

Wrong.

This year, we decided to up our game and turn the danger to eleven. A rainy holiday forced our hand, and before one of us jumped ship and left the other to certain doom, Husband and I had to pow wow.

"I can't. They're literally climbing the walls."

"We have to get out of here."

"Can you hire a nanny on the Fourth of July?"

"This is a terrible time to break it to you, but Mary Poppins was fiction. We'll have to take them with us."

"The antique shop?"

"Sounds good. If you pull the other two off the roof, I'll grab the two on the banister. Wait. Never mind, I think I hear someone hammering in the basement."

The cookouts and plans had been nixed in favor of rain dates. After watching the children climb the doorways and attempt to ride the dog forty times over the course of Tuesday morning, we ran everyone through the downpour, secured car seats, and headed toward our new favorite past time. We simply had to go over the guidelines first:

Antique Store Guidelines

1. Don't touch anything
2. Don't touch anything
3. Don't touch anything if you value your life

For those of you who've never had the pleasure of wandering around a flea market/antique shop, please envision a backless room, stretching toward eternity, filled with nothing but old, yet fascinating things. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't some sort of heaven for me. I'm almost thirty-three. Sitting in a movie theater or going out to a bar doesn't hold nearly the appeal of rummaging around a decaying milk crate, extracting its contents, and shouting, "Are these doilies two for a dollar?"

Delightful.

So after going over the rules, all six Kellermans stormed into the shop and immediately began touching everything. Clay milk jugs and French sideboards. Geriatric barrels and boxes full of old toy cars. It didn't really matter, every grubby little hand held something it'd dug from behind an old radio or a headless dress maker's bust. We really only had one truly loose cannon to deal with.

"Mrs. Jones. No."

I suppose we haven't checked in on the baby lately, have we? She's closing in on two, highly mobile, and thinks she's in charge of the family. She has very curly hair and yells at us a lot. And that's probably enough backstory to get you to the end.

Taking a toddler into a store full of breakables is beyond idiotic, but she seems to have an affinity for salt and pepper shakers that have What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas! scrawled across the front, so it feels wrong to exclude her. But besides the constant picking up of glass items, she has one other habit that concerns me.

"Bae Bae."

Examining the contents of her chubby arms, I shook my head, "No bae bae."

Crestfallen but determined, Mrs. Jones put the highly creepy old fashioned doll in a headlock and glared at me. "My bae bae." 

It sounds mean, but Husband and I have a general rule about what we drag home from the antique shops - no weird dolls. We've seen the movies. Nothing with a bonnet and one, painted glass eye is following me home. Foot down. End of story. So, while Husband dug for records for our new/old record player, I tried to reason with our smallest and keep an eye on everyone else. 

"It's a creepy baby, honey. You have nice ones at home."

She pointed down. "Bae Bae shoes."

"I see the shoes. They look like they were stitched during the Civil War and have a curse on them."

"Preddy hair."

Two ratty, yellow yarn braids flopped over the doll's face, revealing a huge bald spot in the back of her porcelain head. "Sorry, kid. This thing's-"

Just then, one of the twins jumped out from behind a shelf he'd been digging through. "What's this?"

"It's a scythe. Don't touch the bla-"

"I touched the blade."

A crash on a nearby shelf spun me around to find the remaining Kellermans digging through a basket of Star War's toys being over-optimistically sold for forty dollars.

"Can we have all these?"
"If you spread them all out all over the floor, you can really see what's in here. Hey, tell that guy to step over our work area."
"Hey, Mom. If you look in this one's mouth, you think there's only one row of teeth, but surprise! There's two."

For the next hour, we shouldered on, sifting through piles of board games, lifting old roll top desks, and marveling at large collections of Looney Tunes juice glasses, McDonald's Happy Meal boxes, and giant, metal roosters.
If you visit Kansas, you can grab your own. Just ask.
All in all, it was a solid way to spend the Fourth. No one broke anything (I think), and Husband even bought me some gorgeous bedside lamps as an anniversary gift. Did I mention this was an anniversary trip as well? Stop it. You're not allowed to be jealous of our glamorous lifestyle.

But hey, we didn't bring home any creepy, woven dolls. So there's that.


Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cutting It All Off


If you get your hair cut in the woods, did it even happen?
Morning Readers,

So, I woke up on Saturday and cut all my hair off.

This is significant for two reasons.
a.) I've had my hair long for the last nine years.
b.) I've stopped sitting on it.

They say motherhood is the necessity of invention. Or something like that. But when it comes to hair and raising children, one can attempt to dodge the haircut bullet, or she can take it in the chest and join the ranks of functionality. I've spent the better part of a decade running from the gun and hoping for the best. Unfortunately, this is what happens when you have waist-length hair, four kids, and have to go somewhere:

"Ok, is everybody ready? Of course you guys are ready. I've spent the last three hours getting everyone ready. How much time do we have left? Ten minutes? Well, I guess I won't put on makeup."

*Stops to change diaper and break up a fight*

"Right then. I have five minutes to find something to wear. This track suit from 2007 should do it."

*Pauses to add snacks to purse and find someone's lost shoe*

"Sixty seconds until I have to be in the car? Ok, I've got my flip flops and the keys. What? You lost the keys?"

*In the car*

"No, mommy didn't get a chance to brush her hair. She was too busy catching you flying off the bunk bed so we didn't have to go to the ER and be an hour late. Homeless ponytail, it is."

And so, you end up looking like this, every day of your life...


I'd had enough. And honestly? I'd become way too attached to it. I'd transformed into Gollum, brushing it out and braiding it in unattractive ways. "My precious," I'd whisper to it, while simultaneously never doing anything remotely alluring with it.Things needed to change. But because it's me, I decided to go about things in the dumbest way possible.

Me: Hi, I need to cut all my hair off. I decided this today. If you're wondering, it's only about half existential crisis, half split ends.

Salon: Your regular stylist isn't in today.

Me: I don't care.

Salon: So you're ok with having a complete stranger cut off three feet of hair, even though she's never even seen it before?

Me: Yes?

Doubt seeped in, but I made the appointment anyway. Sure, she wasn't my hair guru, but it would be simple. I had pictures. Who'd ever gotten a bad haircut when they'd brought a picture? The internet said close to zero. Besides, I'd only cheated on my stylist once before, and she'd forgiven me. So, I wished Husband the best with our little band of heathens and headed out.

"How much are we taking off?"

"Um." The plastic cape choked up on me while I dug out my phone. "Something like this?" I held up the picture of an inverted bob I'd been stalking for months on Pinterest. Managable, and it would only make me look a little bit like a frilled lizard.

She nodded while she grabbed her scissors. "Oh sure. I can do that."

Relieved, I settled back into the cool vinyl. "Good, because I- "

Snip

Unceremoniously, she'd grabbed my ponytail and chopped it off. For those of you who've never cut off butt-length hair, with a person you don't know from Eve, let me just walk you through the mental process.

1.) Oh sh*t. She just cut off all my hair.

2.) What was I thinking?

3.) SHE CUT OFF MY HAIR.

4.) This isn't my stylist. Mayday. Mayday. Jump out of the chair and run away. I repeat. Jump out of the chair and sprint to the van.

5.) I'm bald.

We'd entered uncharted territory. Trusting this strange woman's instincts, I let her cut, while I interjected with the occasional, "A little more here," and, "I'm feeling a lot of wind back there."

Pretty soon, I had very little hair left. Things were an inch shorter than anticipated. A slow panic began to build.

"I'm just thinning it out all over. You have so much hair."

"Had. I had so much hair."

"Ok, let me just course correct and match this side to that side."

It was clear we had slightly different visions for how I wanted to scar the public with my looks. Mountains of hair continued to fall and, just as I'd lost all faith in anything hair related, my stylist finished.

It was short. So short.

"Looks great." *queue crying internally*

"Glad you like it. That'll be thirty-five dollars."

I staggered back to the van and surveyed what I had left. To be fair, everything was pretty even, with only one questionable section needing to be lovingly grown like a Chia Pet. But most of my adjustment would need to be mental. Who was I? Where was I going? Did I look like Kurt Russell in Escape From L.A.?

One thing was certain. As I buckled up and settled into the driver's seat, realization dawned on me.

"I'm not sitting on it!" I shouted to the empty passenger seat.

And with that, I drove off.

Should I have waited for my stylist? Probably. But life's full of choices, and I chose to be rash and let someone take all my hair. The good news is it doesn't look anything like the time I asked someone to give me "The Rachel," back in 1999, and I ended up looking like a Kindergartner had used dull scissors to make a construction paper scarecrow.

Things can always be worse. And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some growing to do.


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

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: