Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thanks For Rearranging My Life

Oh, the shoes live with the mugs now? Suuuuuuper.

Afternoon Readers,

Fall just hit this week, and despite the lingering fruit flies, the cooler weather is doing wonders for my mood.

Warm weather: Stumbles out in jean shorts and yells, "Who's got my coffee? We're late for school."

Cold weather: Stumbles out in stretch pants and yells, "Who's got my coffee? We're late for school, but oh my, would you look at that stunning foliage."

Things I love about fall:

Sweaters
Jeans
Pumpkins
Taking a shot every time I see "Gather" spelled out on someone's front door wreath. 

Things I don't love:

Icy cold mornings (One novelty morning reserved each year to enjoy it, before I hate it)
Already having to turn on the heat
Realizing none of my cold weather clothes fit- a sad result of pool/beer/hamburger season
The fact that Husband chose this particular time of year to rearrange my kitchen

Now, before we get into this, yes, I know I'm not the world's greatest cook. Or a great cook. Or a cook.  BUT. Here's the thing. I've spent the better part of three years shoving things into cabinets the way I like them.

Do I make pizza 86% of the time? Yes
Do I use the other 14% of the time to make actual meals? Sometimes, yes. And it's precisely for those hand-full of meals that I absolutely have to know where I put the pepper. If it's lost, instead of cooking, I spend an enormous amount of running around the house, asking anyone of they've seen the pepper. Generally, I'm greeted with blank stares from children only wearing one sock, so I despair and order pizza.

Still, when I walked in from running errands last Saturday, it wasn't any less disturbing to find out my spice collection had been up-ended.

"Ok, so I grabbed milk and a few snacks that are gonna make us soooo fat. Wait.What are you doing?"

Husband, hands full of pepper shakers and salt tubs, stopped what he was doing, smiled sheepishly, and motioned to the cabinet above the stove. "I just finished organizing stuff."

I slowly lowered a can of nacho cheese onto the counter. "Why?"

Pointing back up to the cabinet where all spices, tea and a lone bottle of soy sauce now resided, he proceeded to explain. "Now that I'm doing more dinners on the weekend, it makes more sense to have this stuff where I can get to it."

This was irritating. Because he was right. Husband had been cooking fantastic meals for the last month, and I'd been thoroughly enjoying it. That is, until he decided to make the process of feeding me easier on himself.

I let out a frustrated sigh. "Fine. But where's my collection of plastic grocery bags?"

He pointed to a drawer. "There."

"And my trash bags?"

Another drawer opened, revealing a neat row of trash bags, tin foil, and other non-food stuffs. "Here. Oh, and that drawer you never use? I went out and grabbed some new dish towels and stuck them in there."

My eyes found the tiny, corner drawer, which was now filled with fluffy, white towels."But that was my bonus empty drawer." I protested.

He frowned and shoved a small container of paprika into its new spot. "What's the point of an empty drawer?"

I stalked over to the refrigerator and began unloading milk. "I need somewhere to put unrealized hopes and dreams. Everyone knows that. I also store complaints, yells into the abyss, and useless platitudes I tell myself, in the very back."

"You're crazy."

I nodded. "Agreed. My craziness is discussed, in hushed tones, for many miles, but you can still see where I coming from, yes?"

Husband considered. "Wasn't it you who said, "I'm so fat and happy, I hope you cook a new recipe every Sunday," last weekend?"

"Yes."

"And, last night, you started jumping up and down and clapping your hands, while you chanted, "He's making chicken friend rice tomorrow. He's making it for me," over and over?"

I finished shoving ice cream into the freezer and held my  hands up in surrender. "Fine," I said. "But if I can't find the coffee, on Monday, be prepared for that phone call."

We left it at that.

Later that night, I also enjoyed three plates of chicken fried rice.

For me, compromise tastes like sweet and sour sauce.

I'm still not thrilled about not being able to find things in my cabinets. Before I sat down to write this, I got turned around and almost brewed some cumin in a paper towel. Luckily, I found the coffee in a sensible (ugh) spot and saved the day.

As fall proceeds, I'll allow this new state of things because I love Husband and I do love to eat.

But this situation also calls for a trip to the store for new pants. So, if you'll excuse me...


Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Toddlers and Teeth Cleaning

How I look when I have to take a child to any kind of appointment.
Photo by John Volante on Unsplash


Afternoon Readers,

As it stands, nothing has slowed down in the Kellerman house in the past week. I keep waiting for it, but, just as five, quiet minutes start to accumulate, someone falls down the stairs.

None of my four charges have decided to stay babies forever, so they keep bumping into things, screaming at each other, and asking me things like, "Why are bald eagles bald?"

I don't know, children. Now go get me another pumpkin beer. That's why mommy's going bald.

Let's see. Let's see. Ahh, yes. Last week, Doc decided to turn six. I didn't like this at all. Mostly because he was a ridiculously fat and furry baby I brought home yesterday (as an aside, we thought he might be a third werewolf), and now we wants to talk about primary colors and shapes and, "Have I thought hard about investing part of my portfolio in gold?"

He was my resident comedian, and now I'm stuck with the baby and her demands for two baths a day.  "Why? Why do you need another bath," I ask.

"Wif bubbles!" She shouts.

And so I drink coffee on the toilet and peruse my phone, while she sends plastic squids on expeditions through Suave tsunamis.

A typical day.

 She's as absolute tyrant with curly hair, but as far as companions go, she's fairly loyal and makes my business her business. Never was this more apparent than last week's jaunt to the dentist. I'm determined to stay up on dental health so I don't end up gumming my pudding by fifty. This means, come flood or famine, I drag whatever child is home with me to the office and attempt to parent, while someone in a mask tries to stab me in the molar with an ice pick. Just as any life coach would recommend.

"You don't mind if she sits there, do you?"

After flooring the van down the street in an attempt not to lose our coveted appointment time, last Monday found Mrs. Jones and I setting up camp in vinyl chairs and waiting to hear that my teeth were falling out.

The hygienist smiled. "No, she's fine. Grab that stuffed tooth over there, honey."

Mrs. Jones obliged, put a twelve-inch-tall plush tooth with a grin like Tom Cruise in a headlock, and settled into her spot. She smiled back. "Tanks."

Before I reclined for what would be twenty minutes of less-that-relaxing enamel shiatsu, I gave the toddler a warning glace. "Can you sit there with Mr. Tooth Cruise and watch Paw Patrol?"

She considered for a second. "No."

I looked back at the hygienist. "Just do it. This ship isn't going to sail any smoother."

As I reclined backwards, and before I ended up flat on my back, I caught a hint of raised eyebrow. Until November, Mrs. Jones is still shy of three, a point where toddlers think about what they're supposed to do ...and do the opposite. The look on her face spoke of five, maybe seven minutes tops, before she shut everything down. Low and behold, two minutes of plaque scraping in, and I felt pressure on my feet.

"You k'?"

Before I processed what was happening, and powerless to stop it, someone small and chubby began climbing me like Mount Everest and perched, like an over-sized hawk, on my stomach. Mouth wrenched open, I tried to object. "Et own."

The hygienist, a little too understanding for my taste, smiled at the insurgent. "It's totally fine."

But it wasn't fine. Metal continued bobbing in and out of my mouth like an iron water fowl with anxiety, while Mrs. Jones slowly crushed my internal organs. I was dying. I just hadn't realized the lights I'd see in my final moments would be coming from a swivel lamp and directly tied to an out-of-pocket deductible.

"Mom. She hurtin' you?"

"Uh uh. It oh ahy."

"Yah?'

"Ah."

"Hmm. Oh tay."

Mrs. Jones raised both eyebrows and started directly into my mouth for the next twenty minutes, sure that someone was killing her mother with a butter knife, but not exactly doing anything to stop it either. Deep down, I hoped we never had to test our relationship mettle in a true crisis.

Such is motherhood.

Eventually, my teeth did get cleaned and, as an added bonus, my organs had been so compacted, I went down a pant size. Unfortunately, I was informed that I'll need a crown. Which means I'll be doing this all over. Which also prompts me to wonder...

Maybe the bald eagle's bald because it takes her kids to the dentist regularly.


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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

I Enjoy Doing Enriching Things With My Kids, But It's Slowly Killing Me

Karen finally figured out that story time went more smoothly when she sent the children outside.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Afternoon Readers,

How was everyone's summer break?

Shhh. The important thing is we survived. It's all over now. Stop crying.

Originally, I'd intended to blog throughout the heat-saturated months, but my days were soon sucked up by the pool, breaking up kid fights, and taking so many trips to the grocery store, the customer service lady said we could move in.

I like and respect her, so I said, "No, I couldn't possibly," despite the proximity to free bakery cookies.

So, back to school and spilling on the strange, new routine, it is. Because, quite frankly, this year is different from every other year since this establishment's establishment. Meaning, three out of four Kellerman children are in school.

*This spot reserved for pointing and gasping*

The twins started third grade. Doc is in Kindergarten, and the baby is a terror. Oh, a cute terror, to be sure, but I've never met a two-year-old I could trust. (The last one made some bad financial investments and it was a whole thing.) Anyhow, it's only Mrs. Jones and I. Compadres. Ride-or-dies. People who have conversations like...

"Would you like to watch Octonauts or Wiggles?"

"The toof paste is aaaall ober da floor."

"Right. Hiring a nanny, it is."

Kidding. Sort of. We all know I'm still on the lookout for that blessed lady floating out of the sky with her carpet bag. But more on my time with Mrs. Jones later.

Exhibit A
Now that we're back on the educational track, the name of the game has been personal enrichment. NFor instance, I'm doing my best to try and read out loud more to the children. It's a strange sentiment from a writer, making it sound so arduous. And I do love it. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.

Have you ever tried to read out loud to several children, spanning several different ages?
And you're not a teacher?
Or popping quaaludes?

In theory, it's a joyous experience, filled with wide eyes and inquisitive looks. "Mother?" One child raises a hand to submit an inquiry. "Now that you've finished the story, can we talk about themes?"

You smile back benevolently and everyone takes turns talking about how the story addressed truth and their various opinions on the matter. Was it about mobile down stuffing or something more existential? But it is just Make Way For Ducklings, after all, so everyone breathes a collective sigh that the birds made it to the pond.

And then there's real life.

First of all, when you're a mother and want to read a story, they all sit on on top of you. Yesterday, as I struggled out from underneath my pile of children and gasped for air, I manged to claw my way to a copy of Little House on the Prairie.

"Everyone, sit down," I yelled at the top of my lungs.

I combed a shaky hand through my hair. "Now then. Gather round. This is a classic. A beloved staple of my youth."

A voice piped up. "What is it?"

"Little House on the Prairie."

"What's a prairie?"

"It's-"

"How little is the house?"

"I-"

"I don't like it." (No one's more that they don't like a book than a child who's never read it.)

Sighing, I cracked the cover open and began. "Chapter one-"

"Who's Laura?"

"She's the author. Now then-"

"She lived on a prairie? Can we talk to her?"

"She's dead."

"Oh."

The next hour existed in fits and starts. Mostly because the children had no idea what a covered , wagon was, and also because the baby is enthusiastic about being read to but, due to her nature, can't let it happen.

"So they're putting everything in the wagon and it's covered with a tarp. Right, so no air condi-"

"Mama?"

"Yes?"

Mrs. Jones ripped at a page. "Dis' a book?"

"Yes. So as I was say-"

"You get me milk? Ma. You readin'. I yike dat a wot." *starts singing unintelligibly about cows*

All this to say, I really am trying, but the literature angle to parenting is a little more complicated than it seems. Enrich your children? Sure. Try not to back, slowly, out of the room and buy a plane ticket to Europe? Complex.

I'll think about it later. I have toof paste to clean up.


Until Next Time, Readers!



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

Thursday, May 17, 2018

What I've Learned In Eight Years of Being a Mother

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Afternoon Readers,

Well, it's official.

I'm never buying the Frosted Flakes/Lucky Charms special edition cereal again. I know, I know. I talk about cereal a lot. But the ratio of marshmallows to flakes was all off, and it's something that maybe shouldn't have happened.

In a happier category, something positive that did happen last week was the twins' birthday. Their eighth birthday. For those of you who've been here since the beginning, that means two things:

You're old.

I'm really old.

It seems like just yesterday we loaded them into the back of our suv and drove 5mph home. You know what they say, as long as you don't know what you're doing, might as well have two babies at a time, right?

Riiiiiight.

But we've all lived to tell the tale, and I'm proud to say I know a few more things, these days, than I did in 2010. We went to the petting zoo on their big day, and as I watched a herd of baby goats stampede, I couldn't help thinking it was a lot of baby goats. But after that, I started counting off a few pieces of knowledge I have now that I absolutely didn't have when I pulled on my first pair of mesh underwear* and wandered home.

*Five stars. Absolutely recommend

What I've Learned In Eight Years of Being a Mother 

1. You're literally always winging it.

No one has parenting figured out. If you ever meet someone who says they do, run. There's a good chance they operate a cult named Parenting Round' the Kid's Bop Comet and want to outfit you with some new, white Nikes and a glass of cyanide flavored KoolAid.

You don't have to take my word for it, but enjoy the underground bunker!

2. They'll do amazing things that have nothing to do with you.

No matter how hard you try to screw things up, your kids will begin to display talents you didn't realize they had. Sometimes this is art. Occasionally it's a great throwing arm. Sometimes, they're super smart and end up doing your taxes that year.

3. You're a huge liar.

"I only give them this much sugar during the week." You hold up your thumb an index finger to show Barb at the bake sale. But you don't! You're a nasty little fibber who took Huey, Dewey, and Louie to Dunkin' Donuts three times last week. 

4. Screen time

I wrote something on that, and here it is. Feel free to spread the good word.

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorPaigeKellerman/photos/a.143287912437450.21259.138202926279282/1068541303245435/?type=3&theater

5. If it's broke, just let it go.

This was a tough one for me and still is. Kids break everything. Full stop. You can either accept it and live a relatively anxiety-free life, or lose your mind over every body-shaped hole in your drywall and spend your day spitting and growling at anyone who rings your doorbell. Life is not Pottery Barn. Unless that Pottery Barn's on fire.

6. And while we're at it...

Kids don't just break things, they also leave ridiculously random objects all over the house. If parenthood was a dive bar, the sign on the door would read, "Welcome to parenting! Where there's toilet paper in the freezer and rocks in the toilet."

You must make peace with this, as well. Also, keep one of those grabber things in the bathroom. You'll need it at least three times a day.

7. Most of your alone time is after dark.

Wait. Strike that. All of your alone time will be after dark, between the hours of 9pm and 1am. Anything deviating from this needs to be submitted in writing.

8. All those annoying old people are right.

As an annoying old person myself now, I'm starting to get strange urges. When I see a young mother desperately toting her first new baby through Target, the itch to yell out, "It's ok. They grow up really fast," bubbles up at the back of my throat. At the last minute, I shove a Twizzler in my mouth, instead.

But they do grow really fast. This blog, a perfect documentation of me slowly losing my sanity, is proof of that. Whether I like it or not, my twin tornadoes are taller and taller. Smarter. Better looking than me. They teach me how to use my iPhone, and I remind them to put on clean clothes every day.

"Mom," they say, in unison. "Don't embarrass us in public."

"No," I answer. "I only have a little bit of time left."


Until Next Time, Readers!


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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Building the Perfect Nanny

You have a mermaid crown? You're hired.

Morning Readers,

How do you spend your free time?

If you're like me, you eat Pop Tarts and read about strangers. It's the best, isn't it? Some people are extremely constructive with their time, but not Paige Kellerman. Nay. What's that, Internet? Someone I don't know bought something I can't afford and used it to propel themselves to the Maldives?

Do tell! *lights distinguished looking pipe and leans back in chair*

So, while sifting through virtual tidbits this week, I stumbled across an article about Kate Middleton's nanny. Of course, I'd always assumed the royal family has a nanny, but I couldn't help but satiate my curiosity about the woman who marshals the heirs to the throne. In short...

She's amazing.

Dresses impeccably.

Is currently teaching all the royal children spanish.  

"Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo." I rolled the name around on my tongue as if, I too, could sound like a distinguished care giver from Spain, who'd trained in Switzerland, at an establishment that turns out the most respectable nannies in the world.

No, I was still the parent who raises her offspring on chicken nuggets and mis-remembered advice.

But what if I had a nanny? I mean, not for me, but for the children?

As I nibbled on off-brand cookies, I mulled over what qualities a nanny would need to have to work in Kellerman house. I narrowed it down to ten absolutely necessary traits.

1. She must have four names.

Three names weren't good enough for Kate Middleton, and they wouldn't work for me either. Something like Francesca Madeline Coco DeLacourt would do.   

2. She must laugh at all my jokes.

If they don't laugh hysterically at everything you say, there's no point in having hired help. This would be a terrible litmus test for whether one of my jokes would work on the internet, but a requirement nonetheless.

3. She must have a magic bag.

I think it goes without saying that any nanny who doesn't start her first day on the job by pulling a floor lamp, a house plant, and a full-grown parrot in a cage out of her carpet bag, is going to be a disappointment.

4. She must enjoy dumb shows and peanut butter

At noon, we'd break and watch something ridiculous on Netflix, while toasting to the marvelous open-faced pb and js we'd made. I'd laugh and say, "Oh Francesca, look at these fabulous pb and js we've made once again.

5. When I'm in the bathroom, she must be good at running interference.

If she can't block children like a hockey goalie, she need not apply.

6. When she realizes she's more of my companion than a caregiver, she absolutely must not panic.

7. When we're traveling in the van, she must be ok with climbing back over the seats to hand out snacks.

A necessary, but often irritating duty of motherhood, is how many times the off-spring sitting behind you demand something to eat. This is usually right after they've eaten, but the prospect of driving down the road, while small children wail, "I'm huuuuuungry," is, oftentimes, unbearable and ruins any 90's R&B you're trying to listen to. "Francesca," I'd say, "Throw some Minion fruit snacks behind you, post haste. Craig David's on the radio."

8. Dishes are essential

I'll do most of them, but that big pot on the stove I forgot falls smack dab in the center of her contract.

9. She must be ok with odd jobs.

The general care and feeding of the children I'm completely capable of handling. It's the random tasks I can't abide. Any nanny working for me must be open to finding lost scissors, socks, and hair ties. She must also be fine with Lego extraction and organization, putting flea medicine on the dog, and picking up Capri Sun wrappers off the ground.

10. She must be willing to work for free.

Or at least some sort of barter system. On payday, I'd say, "Francesca? Do you remember Downton Abbey?"

"Yes," she'd reply.

"And you remember the scene where the servants receive their pound notes, after killing themselves for the Crawleys all week?"

"Yes, mam."

"Working here isn't like that. But here are all the coupons from the most recent Value Mailer. If you purchase one burrito platter from Burrito Hut, you get one free. I'll see you on Monday."

Hmm, maybe I'll put out an ad.


Until Next Time, Readers!

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

Thursday, May 3, 2018

When It Rains, It Pours Bleach on Everything

How I looked, after yesterday was over. 

Afternoon Readers,

If you've hung out here with me for a while, it's not a huge secret that I don't enjoy cooking. In order of dislike, it looks something like this:

1. ) Getting mauled by bears

2.) Getting mauled by bigger bears

3.) Cooking

The reason why escapes me. No, wait. I remember. Because cooking, while kids hang off the back of your pants, crying hysterically, doesn't mimic a gentle, Julia Child experience, so much as being beaten with a bat.

(A mild correction: There is one thing I dislike more than making a meal, and that's seeing that same meal, again, at 2am. Or really any time after I've rolled myself into bed for the night.)

Especially chaotic days have an interesting habit of sneaking up slowly and pouncing. No warning. Just the softest tap on your shoulder can quietly signify that winter's coming. And that's precisely what happened around 1am, yesterday.

"I threw up."

Groggily, I blinked through the dark. "What?" I called out.

"Twice. I threw up and I'm sick."

Staring at what I'd originally presumed to be a ghost child floating in the ether, one of the twins came into focus and motioned for me to get up and address unfinished business. All parents know the siren song to clean up puke. You desperately want to roll back into the covers, but some sort of annoying, primal instinct kicks into high-gear, and, suddenly, there's a towel in one hand quietly whispered expletives in the other.

Now, this wasn't my first rodeo. But, even after eight years of parenting, the magnitude of the damage was impressive.

"What? How? Why? Did its trajectory hit the neighbor's Mustang?"

The details weren't important. I was in my underwear and half-blind, so all there was to do was shovel comforters in the bathtub, to wait for a morning wash, spray some sort of cleaner, wrap the invalid in fresh blankets, and stumble back to bed.

Until...

1:30am: Repeat entire process

2am-3am: Stare at the ceiling and contemplate booking a flight out of the country, rehash past mistakes, try to solve world peace.

6:30: Feeling six degrees separated from refreshed, I wake the children.

"Umm."

While simultaneously calling the school's absentee line for Twin A, it became apparent that Mrs. Jones had thrown up during the night, but, being her mother's child, had decided to roll over and go back to sleep.

I've been reading literature on positivity lately, and, time after time, it's suggested that stress is greatly reduced by "leaning into" one's struggles, instead of fighting them. So, just as I was leaning into a stack of sour blankets, reminiscent of the pepperoni (never again), we'd had the night prior, there was a primal yell from behind me.

"Maaaaa! I poop. I poop right now."

Whirling around and almost suffocating under rancid bed coverings, I managed to catch the freshly-cleaned Mrs. Jones generously distributing her stomach troubles all over my prized, 100% cotton, hand brushed by Himalayan goat herds (or so I imagine) fitted sheet.

It was now green.

Meanwhile, I shouted commands to anyone else who'd had the misfortune of being birthed by me.

"You. Get socks on."

"Someone make lunches!"

"I'm supposed to make lunches?"

Continuing to lean into my troubles, I Lysoled my coffee and packed pillow cases into lunch boxes. After which, our rag tag band fell over itself into the van and barely dropped the healthy twin off for the remainder of second grade, on time.

The rest of the day was a cloud of Febreze and tears.

Miraculously, all Kellermans were feeling fit as fiddles by end of day. So much so, I managed to marshal the troops to the school's open house, where I picked up a year's worth of art projects, two plants, and reasonably confidant feeling that no one was failing out. Things were looking up.

After all children were tucked into fresh beds, I leaned into five chocolate chip cookies and headed to bed. The fitted sheet enveloped me, and I drifted off, until a gentle tap hit my shoulder.

11:30pm: "Mom?"


Until Next Time, Readers!


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

Thursday, April 26, 2018

The Horror Continues

No, not terrifying at all. Approachable, really. Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Morning Readers,

Ok, so I really didn't want to drag this nonsense into another week, but here we are.

Over the last few days, I mentally tallied everything I wanted to write about: food, sleep, how, if I had a million dollars, I'd buy SO many donuts. And, just as I thought I'd picked something mildly entertaining, I was pulled from my reverie by a buzzing sound next to my window.

No.

The reason that word's struck so dramatically by itself is because that particular buzzing sound triggered memories of a gorgeous, sunny morning last summer, when I jogged downstairs, grabbed a handful of Lucky Charms (now with unicorns!), grabbed a cup of coffee, and made my way to the living room.

I sat down.

Now, I've experienced significant amounts of pain in my years- childbirth, surgery, ripping a band aid off too fast- but the fire that rocketed through my butt that Better Homes and Gardens day was, shall we say, not pleasant. I handled it ok though.

"Mother ******." I threw the remote and pictures on the mantel went down like milk bottles at a country fair.

I used my cool problem solving skills and hours of watching Sherlock to deduce my predicament.

"What?!"

"What iiiiiis it?"

"Sweet, Flavor Flav's clock, what is going on?"

Frantically clutching my spasming back, I searched the couch. Finding nothing, I jumped to the next logical conclusion.

"Kids? Kids, get me the laptop. This is how those strokes start. Ugh, I need to check WebMD and see if I should call 911 or risk weaving us all down the highway with an eighty-percent chance of making it there. Find your helmets."

With no one particularly interested in my impending death, I limped up the stairs, flipped up my shirt, and examined the damage in the mirror. There, barely visible, were two, small holes in my hip.

It meant more walking, but I half-slid, half-stumbled back down the stairs and combed the carpet. A waning buzz floated from a far corner and pulled my eyes to a giant wasp in its death throws.

"Right. It's the broom for you."

There haven't been many times in my life when I've resembled Babe Ruth (only three by my count), but, as I followed through with the force of all bristles, there was something majestic about it.

Fast forward to what recent developments mean to heroine of the story...

"The house isn't exactly air tight, babe. There's probably a nest somewhere."

I sat staring dumbly at Husband, while my arms made wing motions. "But that's the third one I've found in three days. In the house. Where we live!"

He nodded, gave me a look somewhere between sympathy and amusement, and continued searching for a more sane wife on his phone.

Glancing up at the picture window a story above me, I shuddered as a shiny, black body banged into the glass, over and over. It's anger was palpable, and there wasn't a doubt in my mind that, once enough rage had built, he'd exit his perch and head for my butt.

I shook my head. "Well, I'm not going to stand for it. They're invading our house. What is it with insects and our life? Was this house built on some sort of ancient bug burial ground and now we're paying for it? Tell me that, Carol Anne."

*This spot reserved for exhausted sighs*

So, while the silverfish, firebrat, and carpet beetle population seam to be tapering off, the wasps have infiltrated somehow.

I can't find a nest.

I've looked everywhere.

If I die and this becomes my unfinished business, I'm going to be really unhappy. In the meantime, I'll be wondering how wasps are wiggling through my window frames. Because that's fun.

I'm gonna need more unicorn marshmallows in my Lucky Charms.

Until Next Time, Readers!



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

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!