Thursday, April 19, 2018

Night of the Silverfish

Not the scene of the crime, but close enough. 
Photo by Bekah Russom on Unsplash
Morning Readers,

So there's been an on-going struggle in my life, but for the last three years, I decided to keep it to myself and suffer in silence.

No more.

When we moved into the Oak Palace, blissfully unaware was the state I operated in. We unpacked, organized, and tried to figure out how to cobble bunk beds back together. Husband stacked things in the garage. I shoved stacks of clothes into closets. And all was right with the world.

Except it wasn't.

Several months after occupying the new house, I went to retrieve clothes from the back of my closet, and every single shirt, skirt, and pair of treasured leggings I'd put away while pregnant with Mrs. Jones was filled with holes. An entire trash bag of Lycra happiness made its way to the curb and I began battling the infestation.

As it turns out, we weren't warned that, along with a front porch without a railing, we were receiving the bonus gift of silverfish, carpet beetles, and the silverfish's uglier cousin, the firebrat.

I found all this out while Googling, "Whaaaaat is haaaaaapppeeeeening?"

A few, helpful search responses described the horrific state we'd found ourselves in. Every, single one of the aforementioned species of insect is incredibly hard to get rid of, and the process of vanquishing the enemy takes, roughly, a thousand years. In the meantime, they content themselves with ruining lives and underwear. 

So, when I haven't been making a living writing terrible jokes on the internet, the rest of my time's been spent looking out for slivers of terror shooting across bedroom walls and bathroom floors.

Pros: They can't eat you. Even if they want to, their mouths are too small. *waves tiny victory flag*

Cons: They destroy everything else. Shirts, pants, paper, socks, blankets, will to live.

No matter how many times it happens, I'll never get used to the amount of adrenaline my body shoots into my heart, the minute I chance to pad to the bathroom at 2am and see something unholy wiggle up or down the drain. It's not right. That type of shock can kill someone in their eighties.

But here I am, a woman in her thirties, who's only mission is to keep her kids fed and check for irregular holes in her spanx. Thankfully, in the past three years, we've made huge strides in decreasing the overall insect population. Nights spent hugging cans of Raid, two bathroom remodels, and diligently throwing a shoe anything that moves have, most likely, decimated the enemy numbers.

Things had been fairly quiet.

Nothing had crawled back to eat a matching hole in the left butt cheek of my favorite leggings.

A modicum of peace had descended on the house.

But then, that's when things usually go to hell.

Several nights ago, overcome by the exhaustion of making sloppy joes and yelling at people to stop eating markers, I threw on a Royals shirt with only two insect holes in the armpit and stumbled to bed. Yawning, I yanked back the comforter, ready to put a dent in some memory foam, and recoiled in horror. There sat the enemy.

"Wha- What are you doing here?"

The silver droplet, seemingly unconcerned it was about to die, stared lazily up at me.

Fumbling behind me for a shoe, I seized on the opportunity to monologue. "I honestly don't know what you think you're doing, but a line has been crossed here. This is where I sleep."

Nothing.

"Don't you get it? It's my sanctuary. Where I sit and contemplate lost potential. Eat nachos. Watch to stupid shows about mermaids on low budget networks."

The shoe was swift and unmerciful.

There's something truly violating about finding insects in one's bed. Even after the remnants had been cleared away, I shuddered as I slipped under the sheets and tried not to think about what else was thinking about slithering over my unsuspecting body.

It's been a few days, and I haven't spotted any other intruders, but the fight is wearing on my nerves. Admittedly, it seems like we're winning, but at what cost? If I had a body bag for every insect I've taken out, this place would look like CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, and any other CSI I've missed because that franchise has gotten out of control.

Is there a big enough supply of Kilz to cover the grease spots where the Lepisma saccharina have gone to meet Jesus?

All I know is, if we ever move, the next owners are getting a bug-less house. I'm making sure of it. We should be able to live in a world where it's safe to put a cheap sweater in a closet, pull it back out, and know the only holes in it came from a late night trip to Taco Bell, when you tripped over the sidewalk in your haste to get a chalupa.

Then again, the world is also held together by impossible dreams.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go buy more Raid.


Until Next Time, Readers!


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

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Old Trash Van

Not even a remote resemblance to the inside of my van right now.
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash
 Afternoon Readers,

I was thinking about it this week, and I couldn't help patting myself on the back for all the progress I've made as a mom. Eight years ago, being completely clueless about rearing tiny humans ruled the day, and if I made it twenty-fours without crying, I'd reward myself with a donut.

These days, school schedules, meals, bath times, and getting everyone dressed aren't nearly as overwhelming. So, occasionally, I get really full of myself and acknowledge that, "I'm pretty much great at this whole thing."

And then I open my van.

I'm not sure if any of you've seen Mad Max: Fury Road, but the inside of my kid-hauler is fairly close to Tom Hardy's experience of wandering through a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Tumbleweeds, dust, things inexplicably glued to others, symbolizing some sort of tribal decoration.

For whatever reason, I'm now on years of trying to tame the family transportation vehicle into something that looks less like a tornado picked it up and shook it like a bottle of cheap sprinkles, and more like what those families on car commercials ride around in.

Clean
Organized
A seat belt you don't have to thrust your arm down into cushion depths, looking for, while you yell, "This time, someone's just gonna have to hold onto the floorboard."

I envy parents who can keep their vans and cars clean. As for my situation, it seems the Kellermans have a fairly high trash production, compounded by the fact none of them listen to me.


If the stars align and I meet a new friend, I feel compelled to introduce them to my van, as well. It's a package deal. And if we're to become bosom friends, besties, or acquaintances who avoid each other at the grocery store but awkwardly pretend they're not, she needs to meet my trash wagon.

I start at the front and work my way to the back, motioning to items of interest as I go.

"It's nice to meet you, Susan. This is my van. Van, meet Susan. If you'd be so kind, please take note of the two coffee mugs I keep up front. One is full of cold coffee, and the other is full of colder, older coffee. I wouldn't drink either."

"Don't reach into the compartment between the arm rests. There's a nest of receipts and yogurt wrappers I'm only fifty-percent sure a mouse hasn't bought real estate in."

"That trash pile you see on the passenger's side is mail I grab before I pick the kids up from school every day. I let it build up, until it feels like someone's sitting next to me. I'm very lonely."

"The glove box is where I keep my abandoned dreams and my aviators. Sometimes, Skittles."

"Directly behind you are two car seats. Their cubbies are filled with wrappers, but the fun part is that there's bonus trash underneath both seats. This comes in handy, when the children need things to throw at each other and can't get the stickers off the windows."

*Motions to vast collection of stickers on windows. Half of a Shopkin glares back,*

"As we continue our tour, please note another row of booster seats in the back. I haven't fit back there since 2009. The children haven't complained about any uncomfortable riding situations, but I lost them under two trash piles last month, so we'll check in with them when they dig themselves out."

If a potential friend is still feigning interest in me or my life, I like to finish up our visual adventure with a quick inventory of the trunk.

"This is where I wish I could go, when I need to cry. Kidding! I do that in front seat like a normal person."

"Know that song, "The Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly"? The trunks like that. This is the trunk that swallowed the blankets, that swallowed the stroller, that swallowed the donation clothes, that swallowed the ice scraper, that sits on top of the emergency kit, that's covered in old banana one of the kids threw out."

I finish the tour by driving away from the person who's now a little afraid of me and my van. She doesn't call. But that's ok.

I have the trash in the passenger seat to keep me company.


Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Paranoid Patty

Dear Diary, I'm afraid of ridiculous things. Also, yesterday, someone tried to kill me.

Afternoon Readers,

I'm interrupting this blog post to bring you a very important message:

It's still winter.

UUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGGGGH

And now, back to the program.

I've been inside for a while. Can you tell? It's unrelenting, this cold weather. I know, I know. Some people are coping by practicing that new Swedish? Danish? Finnish? way of getting through many months of hibernation, (I believe it's pronounced "Hoo-gah"), but this lady is practicing something else called, "Nope."

It's not so much the being trapped inside. I like that. I'm practically a professional introvert. No, it's the lack of sunlight that gets me every year. So it doesn't really matter whether I'm inside or out, it's a lot of pacing around under cloud cover.

Have I told you about my pacing?

I do a lot of it. Pacing during the day is my cardio. But I also pace at night, and that gets me into trouble. While Husband is able to fall asleep faster than an elephant hit with a tranquilizer dart, my brain likes to hash out everything I did wrong from 2000 to 2017, make lists, tabulate bills, and check for mice.

That last one's a big one. We recently canned a fairly large Master Splinter (let's not get into specifics.. I know he was a rat), and sent him packing to the trash, so anxiety about finding another rodent lounging my Instant pot is fairly high.

Squeeeeeeeak 

A few nights ago, I sat bolt upright in bed and listened to the noise drifting from the kitchen.


Sqeeeeak

I carefully slipped out of bed and padded down the stairs, pausing at the bottom to listen again.

Nothing.

Too late. I was already out of bed. If there was a mouse, or an intruder, it was going to have to face me and my tattered pajamas. Quietly, I slipped around the island, dropped to the floor, and crawled across the peeling linoleum I hadn't bothered sweeping before bed. That was a mistake. There was old waffle stuck to my palm.

Squeeek

Half jumping out of my skin, I backed into the dishwasher and decided I'd face whatever it was the next day. Who was I? Columbo?

The next day....

While doing my morning pacing, I was again audibly assaulted by the squeaking sound. Confusingly, it wasn't coming from a cabinet or usual mouse haunt, but seemed to be emitted from behind the stove. I clambered on top of the burners and listened.

Sqeeeeeak.

My mind tends to pick up the most logical analysis, always, so I immediately assumed it was a serial killer poised on the other side of the wall, dragging his hunting knife down the side of our board and batten. That time, it had sounded less like an animal and more like certain death. I'd have to make a stand. Which was inconvenient because I'd planned my whole life around never having to take a stand.

Squeeeak

Whirling around, I realized the noise was now coming from the dining room. I was Neve Campbell. This was Scream. And I was going to die.

Then again, maybe I was Drew Barrymore. It really depended on how long they toyed with me. Only screen time would tell.

Sqeeeak

The noise was now coming from the corner of the dining room. Closing the gap, I tiptoed across the inexplicable 80's carpet still covering the space and dropped to the ground.

It smelled like pet pee. We were living in a menagerie. For a minute, I thought about ripping it out.

Sqeeeak

It was coming from the vent. I did some quick calculations, made sure I wasn't stuck in a Stephen King short story, and decided there was no way a human being was waiting in the depths of the air duct to cut me stem to stern. Cautiously, I peered into the metal hole.

Legos. everywhere. But besides that, I watched with fascination as the loose, metal flap on the vent cover swayed back and forth with the air flow.

Relieved, I sunk back on the carpet and resolved to relax a little. Maybe the Danish were right. "Hoo gah," I whispered.

"Hoo gah."

"Hoo gah.

"Hoo gah this damn vent cover, anyway?"



Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Bathtub Lady

A group of rubber ducks is called a, "For the love of all that's holy, not that again."
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash
Morning Readers,

I wish I could tell you this week was full of travel, fancy dinners, and anything other than mundane activities, but if I could do that, it would be a different blog.

Forecast for this week: Mediocre with a smattering of cold, gray suck known as January.

Calendar Invention Board Meeting:

"We're going to call it January. It'll kick the year off."
"Will it have holidays with food?"
"No."
"Will it be warm?"
"No."
"What about snow?"
"It'll look dirty and freeze your face off."
"Ok, go ahead and add it." 

However, the oddity that has made an appearance this unremarkable month is the way Mrs. Jones requires us to do her bidding. As far as toddlers go, she's ridiculously pleasant, but that means she's in a good mood about seventy-percent of the time, and the other thirty is a crap shoot.

And we all know that toddlers and crap shoots go together about as well as toddlers and crap shoots.

Unlike the other three Kellermans before her, Mrs. Jones is in love with the bath tub. Traditionally, forcing my children to clean themselves has been a second full-time job, but the baby wandered out of the womb with absolutely no qualms about shedding her clothes in front of everyone and hoofing it to the tub.

Two-year-old feet, headed anywhere, are extremely determined, so I've had to be on my guard when things get quiet and I hear feet pounding down the hallway and into the upstairs bathroom. If I don't get there first, she's already wrenched the faucet on, buried herself in tub toys, and begun, "Fwimmin'.

Like a short, fat Olympic freestyler, she begins paddling towards victory, soaking the newly-renovated flooring and intermittently hurling rubber squids and sharks at the wall. It wouldn't be so bad if this was a once daily event, but it's quickly spiraled out of control, morphing into a constant pursuit of leisurely soaking.

I hear you. "Why don't you just put your foot down?"

In theory, I should be able to simply say, "No," and go about my business. After all, I am several decades older and hundreds of pounds heavier than my smallest charge. But, in short, she's turned to toddler tactics I absolutely hate but also admire because they're brilliant.

And Now, A Sliver of Toddler Evil Genius...

9am:

2yo: Bath. Wanna take a bath.

Me: No.

2yo: *sneaks away*

Me: Wait. What are you doing in the toilet?

2yo: Hi! I in the toilet.

Me: Ugh. Your bare feet are literally in the bowl. Now I'm going to have to put you in the bath.

2yo: *smiles knowingly*

Me: I see what you did there.

This situation repeats itself in various forms throughout the day. Some of my favorites include but aren't limited to:

"Applesauce in mah hair. Need bath."

"Pudding in mah hair. Need bath."

"Water on mah shuht (shirt). Need bath right now."

It's more than a little exhausting, but at least she's clean. I'm not sure how much longer this phase has to go, or whether it's in its infancy and I'll be doing this until 2019. It's really a roll of the dice or the rubber hermit crab. Whatever the case may be. But I have to go now.

Snow just melted on her sleeve. Duty calls.

Until Next Time, Readers!


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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Day Shelly Died

"I don't know it's alive or not, but it's adorable." 
Photo by Eric Aiden on Unsplash

Morning Readers,

When I gave my update last week, I was a bit remiss in naming everyone who currently resides in the Kellerman house.

Re-cap:

Humans = 6 Dog= 1 Cat= 1

But a couple months ago, Husband left the house one morning and, somewhere on his journey to work, forgot how many creatures he lives with. At day's end, he happened upon a small, baby turtle, and after extending it the courtesy of not running over it, decided to load it into his SUV. After which, he did what he always does when he finds an animal in want of shelter, and made it my responsibility.

Now, his account of this will differ, but it doesn't change the fact I was being made to embrace the animal kingdom once again and figure out what new smells I was about to deal with.

And messes.
And cost.
And having to fact check whether it would maul us in the middle of the night. (I've got a great track record on my research in that particular area.)

To a chorus of screams and shouts, Husband plopped the tiny turtle down in the middle of all Kellerman children, while they fired questions like a chaotic cannonball regiment.

"Where did you get it, daddy?"
"Will it bite my finger off?"
"Can I feed it grass?"
"Can I feed it some of the Twizzler I found under my bed?
"Is it a boy or a girl?"
"It looks like a girl."
"It's ugly."

Reluctantly, I watched Husband sweep a row of my books off a shelf and install a tank, light, and various colored sands and imitation seaweed.

The turtle was living better than I was.

For the next few weeks, I spent my days guarding the soon-beloved reptile dubbed, "Shelly," by the children. Upon connecting the dots between the relation of this being a name and it also being what was on the turtle's back, they were sold. No one was more enthusiastic that Mrs. Jones, who spent most of the first few days trying to reach in, grab Shelly, and put her in a death hold.

But there came a day when the happiness ended.

One morning, while passing by the tank and peering at my newest charge, I noticed she'd stopped her optimistic paddling, and instead, stared into space. Still. Unseeing. How I looked when I watched the last episode of Lost.

I rocked the tank gently and, receiving no reaction in return, proceeded to stare at the tiny turtle for five, straight minutes. Breath? No. Eye movement? No. I wasn't a turtle expert, but everything about the situation looked like death.

The kids had spent many hours clambering around the fragile tank, talking about all the reasons they loved Shelly and how, if given the chance, they'd love to pull her around on a skateboard or see how'd she'd fair in a treacherous bath tub climate. I prepped myself to deliver the sad news and wondered if flushing a turtle down the toilet would end up costing a call to the plumber and half the fund I had set up for new underwear for everyone in 2018.

Later that afternoon, I broke the news. "Kids, the turtle's dead."

They looked at me in disbelief. One of the twins piped up, incredulous, "How do you know?"

I nodded solemnly. "I just know."

Crushed, the children went back to fighting with each other and asking for snacks every five minutes.

For the rest of the day, I hatched a well-thought-out plan to dump everything in the backyard and cover the failed herpetarium with a good dose of top soil and strong resolve to put my Dr. Doolittle crash course to an end. Things were getting ridiculous. I spent every waking minute keeping the kids alive, trying bolster the numbers of the turtle community was asking too much.




 

"Mom! The turtle's not dead! You were wrong."

The children stormed up to my room and demanded answers.

"Why'd you say that?"
"Why would you think she was dead?"
"She's swimming right now. Do dead turtles swim?"
The baby spoke her mind. "She no dead."

One child wrapped his arms around me. "Don't worry, you can still feed her. And fill her tank. And take care of her every day.

Oh good.

Re-cap:

Turtles: 1 Dogs: 1 Cats: 1 Kids: 4 Husband: 1 Mother who dug a hole in the backyard she can't use, but needs a stiff drink: 1

Until next Time, Readers!















Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy 2018... Now Let Me Tell You Random Things


This isn't me, but I've already spent part of 2018 sitting in my car, staring into space.
Morning Readers,

It's an unwritten rule of blogging that when you quit blogging half way through the year, you simply pick it back up the following year.

Don't shake your head at me. I don't come up with the rules.

That said, I'm feeling refreshed and ready to spend 2018 with you. There's a lot going on. And by that I mean I've been observing the weird eating habits of the squirrels populating my back yard and hoping the grocery store sends out a repeat of the .49 cent carton of eggs coupon I threw away by accident.

To catch everyone up:

The twins are seven.
Doc is five.
And Mrs. Jones is a toddler, but may be a professional demolition specialist. I don't know.
Ned Yost is  two. However, because he's a Labrador, in dog years, he may be closer to fourteen. This doesn't mean he's more mature, jut that we're going broke trying to feed him.

We're still only about a quarter of the way through home renovations, and besides, once we fix one thing, something else breaks, so the point is we'll never get it renovated. In 2018, I'll have to accept I'll never have a Pinterest-ready home, and, instead, appreciate that the mouse we heard scurrying around the other night has gone to be with Jesus.

But wait, there's more (in bullet points!)
  • Last year, I bought new sweat pants, and this year may just be the one I buy more sweatpants and then tell you guys about it. Please stand by. 
  • I also spent a large amount of my year freelancing full time. I'd like to say I found a good work/life balance, but that would be a lie. And we're not starting 2018 out with lies. Pies, maybe. But not lies. 
  •  Christmas was fantastic but almost steam-rolled me. Organizing presents for four children, as it turns out, is a little like trying to solve a Rubik's cube, blindfolded. And the blindfold spontaneously combusts.
  • Husband and I have really grown as a couple. We made pizza rolls the other night and didn't fight over the last one. I ate it, of course. 
  • I've started writing a new book because I love you all.
  • I've also joined Instagram. This took me several years to do, but I finally figured out how to push buttons and accept terms of service that were kind of confusing. In addition to being able to post there, I may have also bought an exotic animal from Peru. But if you want a steady flow of funny and some random pictures of the Kellerman variety, click that follow button.
Anywho, one child or another is hungry and can't reach the snacks shaped like fruit. So it's time to parent. *sloth mode activated*

Can you feel it?

Well, we're all getting old. Feeling like you're knees are giving out when you get up is normal. But besides that...

2018 is going to be great. I hope you'll share it with me.

Otherwise, I'm the crazy lady who talks to herself on the internet. I am too young for that.

Until next Time, Readers!