Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Walking just seems so pedestrian now

It happened quite by accident, but I went running this morning. Like full-on, non-old man running. Well, maybe a little bit old man running. But definitely not walking. I was so sweaty and horrifically, wretchedly smelly. I almost slipped off the toilet seat when I sat down to take off my shoes. It was awesome. I haven't run in years. YEARS. I want to go again. I also need headphones that won't slip out of my ears.  Of my 4.32-mile walk, I ran 2.69 miles of it. Remember when I was at my peak at running 3.21 miles a day? I could do it again. I just need headphones. That's all that's holding me back from true success.

In continuing the tradition of things I haven't done in years, I watched The Price Is Right today. Remember when you were a kid and you stayed home because you were sick and the highlight was watching The Price Is Right? It doesn't seem to hold the same allure anymore. I'm not even sure who their target audience is. Old people? Young people? I don't know. Certainly people with fungal issues as evidenced by the inordinate proportion of fungus treatment commercials:regular commercials.

Ben was a rock star as always and helped cleaned the kitchen. In order to capitalize on the runner's high, I decided to chop up everything in the kitchen. Bananas and peaches for freezing to put in smoothies. Made an avocado salsa for tonight. Also chopped up strawberries and cherries for a fruit salad for tonight. Made bean and cheese tortillas for dinner tonight as well. Then I made a spicy eggplant sauce for dinner another night. Two and half hours later, my kitchen looked like I'd murdered the produce section.

I continue to make progress on eating the contents of the jar of cashew butter.

In order to escape the oppressive heat that is our house, the kids and I went to Goodwill to look yet again for work clothes. I'm beginning to think I need to up the ante and just go to a real store with bona fide work clothes, some place like Ross or Marshalls. I found nothing except a black patent leather pair of sandals. At the last second, though, I had the clerk take them off because $8 is too extravagant for Goodwill sandals. $4 seems more appropriate for Goodwill shoes. Perhaps the real issue is why I can't splurge the extra $4. Oh, right. It's because I'm cheap.

Sam's redeemed itself and provided us with hot salty bread for snacks. Sam's did not know it was in such a perilous state of angst and came very close to us never renewing our membership that's been expired for almost 2 years now. The relationship has been restored though. We can continue to partake in its buckets of soda and an occasional sample while continuing to not renew our membership.

We went to Home Depot because apparently I hate life and having free time. We bought fans for bedrooms. I got schnookered into an appointment for a "consultant" to come out on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. and tell us everything that's wrong with our kitchen and how we can make it better at an affordable price. I'm willing to bet it's cheaper just to move. 

I tasted the spicy eggplant sauce and determined it a failure. When I was making the recipe, I thought for sure that it was two tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Like, for sure for sure. I thought, No, it's definitely tablespoons. I should probably check after I add these two tablespoons of vinegar to a tomato dish. Turns out it was two teaspoons. That's...much less red wine vinegar. The final result had an odd, slightly putrid taste of sour vinegar. Maybe some tomatoes? I don't know.

I had coffee with a friend to discuss our respective book projects. I dressed like a homeless person because that's what I do. I've worn my Saturday pants two days in a row. I'll most likely wear them again tomorrow. They're pretty hideous. Perhaps next year I need a summer job.

While texting my sister-in-law tonight about bringing sausage biscuits to the annual 4th of July breakfast picnic, Swype on my phone changed "biscuits" to "nudists." Sausage nudists. Really, Swype? Is that what we want at breakfast? Perv.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Of straw polls and defunct style

I took a straw poll today.

Me: "Ben, are you bored?"

Ben (for the millionth time): "Yes."

Me: "Sadie, are you bored?"

Sadie (exasperated at yet another boredom inventory check): "YES."

I demanded a recount because I was not bored. My days stretch out deliciously before me, nary a thing to do. I went for a walk this morning sans dogs because they are impossible with the leashes and walking and being dogs. Penny is dragging behind after two blocks, and Nickels walks like she's drunk, woozily weaving all over the place. Since yesterday was an exhibition in gluttony, I walked 4.32 miles this morning and then 2.58 miles this evening with Chris. That's 6.9 miles for those of you who don't have the calculator pinned to your task bar and you've given up all forms of higher math. 

Despite all the steps taken, I don't think I've managed to lose any weight. It probably doesn't help that I've eaten 1/3 of a jar of cashew butter in the last three days. I don't dare step on the scale because that would just be a sad number. Boredom is the only emotion I want to experience at this juncture.

I almost lost the will to live today in our 84 degree house, so Sadie and I trucked it into town and went to the thrift store in hopes of buying some more work attire. For me, not her. Although she's watched plenty of episodes of What Not To Wear that she could probably follow the rules. I'm not so good at it. Probably because I'm trying to find professional work wear at a thrift store. I found a couple of pairs of capri pants to wear on an upcoming trip since I don't wear shorts No one wants to see that. 

I also found a purse. 

Me (a purse! I never buy purses!): "Look. I found this purse, too."

Sadie (skeptical as to the veracity of my sanity): "Well, it's your style."

Me ('s...a...purse): "You don't like it?"

Sadie (mentally drawing up emancipation papers): "If you like it." I think it might have been a question.

I was feeling generous so I thought I'd peruse the men's section and get a little something special for Chris. Who doesn't like getting other people's secondhand clothes that you didn't even get to choose for yourself? As soon as I entered the men's aisle, an overpowering stench of BO and alcohol hit me. I gagged and exited the aisle as quickly as I could. Do men just mow the lawn and decide that a particular shirt is no longer working for them so they're just like, "I'll give it to the thrift store. Let me just sop up this beer first." I imagine they're grunting when they say it.

We were famished and sought sustenance from Sam's in the form of a pretzel combo.

Me: "We'd like a pretzel combo."

Dude (who seriously hates me): "We don't have any more pretzels."

It was all I could do not to smash my fists on the counter and yell, "F**K!" I showed great restraint and said we'd just take two drinks and we would eat at home, albeit bitterly. I don't understand the business model of Sam's and their cafe. Surely they hate me and revel in denying me carb-loaded snacks.

We made it home where I found that hey, all the dishes were still in the sink where I left them. That was a nice surprise. I made dinner. It's kind of white trashy but good: Hot dog sandwiches. Take your hot dogs (I used turkey dogs), cut them into fourths, lay one split half on a mini potato roll with a slice of cheese (1/2 on top, 1/2 on bottom). Press each sandwich in a buttered George Foreman grill. Serve with ketchup. That's mighty fine eating.

We rounded out the night with by finishing a game of Monopoly. Besides all athletic endeavors, I suck at Monopoly. I don't know how I am so miserably awful at it. I never acquire enough properties and then I just want to go bankrupt to end the game. 

"Boardwalk with 3 houses?? Score. I'm out."

We had fun though. No one seemed bored. There's always tomorrow.

Friday, June 27, 2014

It was definitely Friday today

Today consisted of not melting. It's not even July yet and I've sweated through multiple layers of clothes. Each day is spent finding ways we can go soak up other people's air conditioning.

How we're ever going to get back into a school routine is beyond me. Last night we stayed at the park until well past sunset, and Sadie and I played on the toys. We were both trying to cross the wobbly pads that are stuck to the sticks with the chains. Clearly I don't know what they're called. I thought we could both fit onto one to get to our respective next wobbly pole pad.

Me (sensing certain doom while trying to step on Sadie's wobbly pad): "This probably isn't a good idea."

Sadie (getting ready for college): "That's what makes it fun."

After the morning walk and old lady exercises (my shoulder has unpinched itself), I sat down and had breakfast and two cups of coffee. Then I took a nap to offset waking up so early. I finally showered around 9:30ish. Sadie finally woke up around 11:15. It's like having a bonus teenager.

Sadie: "I'm going to show you this trick. It makes your lips feel like butter."

Me: "How does it make your lips feel like butter?"

Sadie (not really clear on the science): "It just does. You put your lips like this and suck in like this."

At this she showed me how to press my lips together with the sides slightly open and draw in my breath so that my lips vibrated. I don't know either.

Me (after many failed attempts): "I can't do it. I don't have that talent."

Sadie (flummoxed by my lack of diversity): "It's not a talent. I can do it, so you can do it."

I finally accomplished this feat of aerodynamics and my lips vibrated successfully. I did NOT like it. Not one bit.

Since I've thrown out or given away a 50% of my wardrobe, I've had to start scouting thrift stores near and far to stockpile it with more "grown up" attire. I'm not sure I know what this means because I don't know what I'm doing. I've searched the Internets and Pinterest for ideas on what to wear and what not to wear. I'm pretty sure I have the basics covered but none of those items are lining the racks of thrift stores. Come on, people. Please give away your GOOD stuff. I see what you're giving away now, and it's really just crap. No body wants that. Step up your game so I can step up mine.

The rest of the day was spent reading and making dinner of grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and peanut butter banana smoothies. Pretty much the perfect day all around. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The licensed driver

I don't even know where to begin. I feel like I'm just standing in the parking lot of the department of public safety, flapping my arms helplessly, muttering, "Buh...I...buh...seh...pssh" It happens at frequent intervals in my head, usually during stressful situations or moments in which I don't have the answer (spoiler alert: 98% of the time).  

Ben took his driving test today for his license. He passed, of course, because he had an awesome driving instructor. Most driving lessons consisted of, "Ben! Stop! We're about to DIIIIIEEEEEE!" as I braced myself on the dashboard. He absolutely would not allow me to teach him how to drive a standard despite my 18 years of experience driving one. Chris had to teach him that one even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't that he doubted my abilities. It's the batsh*t crazy instructor sitting next to him. "Ben! The transmission! THINK OF THE TRANSMISSION! Who is going to carry the drive shaft when it falls out? Not me!"

We did some last-minute parking over the weekend and violated the parallel parking space at the local DPS. Thinking I could show Ben how it was done like a seasoned veteran, I failed in my mission to even get the car completely in the spot. I can count on one hand the times I've actually parallel parked in my life. Ben, of course, nailed it twice. Teenagers. Puh.

I was worried all Monday night that surely I was going to find a way to screw up Ben getting his license. I double checked all the paperwork and driving logs and blah blah blah. We got to the DPS about three hours early because I was really nervous and I wanted to have time to have to go home in case I forgot something as I am wont to do in important situations. 

We arrived at the DPS 3 hours early because that's just what I do. And who WOULDN'T want to hang out at the DPS on a beautiful June afternoon? She gave us the paperwork to start the process and we went around "the wall" to file paperwork. Sure enough, I'd forgotten one of the forms. Some sort of DI-9/DIW-32938g Part B. I just made that up. I don't even know what it was called because all I heard was all the blood rushing to my head as I realized I didn't know what she was talking about and how Ben was going to have to wait until the end of July to take his test because everything is booked until then and we'll have to do this process all over again and I think I might die right here in the DPS and do they have an AED machine because I could really use one. 

The lady was calm as could be despite my sinking ship mentality. She had some sort of miraculous computer glitch that bought more time to find Ben's driver's ed completion certificate. Found it, sent it to her, day was saved. We STILL had 70 minutes to kill before we had to be back for Ben to get in line for his test. We all ate kids' meals at Wendy's across the street. If stress doesn't kill me, sodium benzoate should certainly have a crack at my heart.

We go back, Ben lines up in the queue to have his car checked. I prattled on to Sadie and the other DPS prisoners about how nervous I was about this. He needed to pass this test! Had to! I would have to do this again otherwise!

He came back glowing. He passed. Apparently 7 minutes around a residential neighborhood at 30 miles an hour with speed bumps is all you need to asses a 16 year old's ability to drive mobile machinery at top speeds on open roads. Sounds like a reliable system.

As much as I will appreciate Ben's ability to drive himself to and from work, school, cross country practice, I will miss our travel talk. He's a good kid, that Ben. Quite possibly the best boy I've ever had.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Healthy schmealthy

The first week of my summer vacation was blissfully boring. So so so mind numbingly boring. I heard that refrain many, many times from at one least of my children, mostly the younger one. "Ugh. I'm so bored." I know! I love it! That was a little too much excitement. I need to reign it in and save some for the rest of the week.

My week consisted mostly of watching What Not to Wear. I'm convinced that I need to overhaul at least 95% of my current wardrobe based on their standards. I need to stop dressing like a 12-year-old girl or a 70-year-old woman. I can't seem to find a happy medium. I'm sure it's out there at Ross or Marshalls or TJ Maxx, but those places think highly of their items and price them as such. I'll probably make a trek to Goodwill this week and see if I can supplement from there. Hopefully Stacy and Clinton will pop out of the urine-soaked dressing rooms and ask me why I think I should be buying ______ item [gaucho pants, tiered skirts, broomstick skirts, peasant shirts, anything from Goodwill, large beaded jewelry, Mary Janes, leggings]. I'm pretty sure if I'm interested in it I shouldn't be buying it.

I spent a good portion of Friday afternoon convinced I was having a heart attack. I'm almost certain that I'm not a candidate for a heart attack as I've been told by "doctors" and other various "medical professionals" that I have low blood pressure. As in once I went to the dentist and it was 100/55. Friday morning I'd taken the dogs on a walk and came back to do some exercises that allows me to accept the alternate reality that because I "worked out" today, I can consume half a pan of brownies. 

I've worked up to 13 girly push ups, but that 13th one must have done me in. It was the first day to stop at 13, and sure enough I felt a pop under my shoulder blade as I was pushing up. [Side note to self: Never stop on 13. Just go 12 to 14.] Over the rest of the day, I felt like the muscles between my shoulder blades were on fire every time I turned my head or looked down or moved my shoulders or shrugged. I laid down on the bed on a heating pad, hoping to melt away the searing pain because I read on the Internet that that would be the best thing to do in this situation. 

That's a lie. I didn't even consult the Internet. I just self-diagnosed given the parameters I'd concocted in my head. Some or all might not have even been accurate.

So I'm laying there wondering how I get myself into these positions wherein it feels like I've shoved all of my nerves and muscles under my shoulder blades and then clamp it down. I realized that one time I read a really, really reliable Internet article about the symptoms of a heart attack in women. Sure enough, one of them was pain between the shoulder blades. My heart starts speeding up and I felt very flushed and thought I was going to die at any moment. I thought about calling the children near to utter my final words of wisdom, but then I just cursed myself for being so ridiculous to think that I needed to start getting in shape at 36. Who am I fooling? They make bigger pants sizes for a reason.

The pain didn't subside with the heating pad and I felt very faint given that the temperature in our house was 83 degrees and I was laying on a literal packet of hot coils wrapped in plastic sheeting. I went for a walk later that night and did another set of exercises because if I'm going to die, I should die doing what I hate the most and that's probably getting healthier through exercise. The pain in my shoulders felt better the more I moved, so it lead me to the conclusion that I most likely wasn't having a myocardial ischemia but rather recovering from a sports-related injury. That sounds way more impressive than pulled a muscle after 16 years of laziness.

I also shoved one of the blender blades under the nail bed of my finger this morning as I was cleaning the blender in preparation for a breakfast smoothie. Getting healthy is really taking a toll on my body.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The day in pictures

My main goal today was to do absolutely nothing. In the aftermath of yesterday's baking frenzy, drawing class, and then Bible study, I was committed to the cause of accomplishing the least amount of productivity. Mission accomplished.

The only caveat to the day started by having to get Ben from cross country practice at 7:30. Still though, once that was done, I had the next 14 hours to do as little as possible. We all came home and Sadie went back to bed, Ben read and then went back to bed, and I read. Not wanting to deprive Sadie of tender mother/daughter bonding time, I made her breakfast at 11:30 and we each colored a picture. I went back to reading when we were done, she went back to her room. I took the first of two naps.

Seriously. When the kids move out, how will I spend my time? I'm too much of an introvert to actively seek out human interaction, so I sequester myself inside books and naps. I will have to work until I die just so I can ensure some sort of daily conversation with people other than myself. I plan on getting a second job once Sadie goes off to college just to fill my nights and weekends (and line our travel account, which currently sits at $0).

I read the book Secrets and Lies all in one day. It was a super easy and fun read because I'm super nosy about the inside of other people's lives. If you want to tell, I will be more than happy to indulge my morbid curiosity in your deepest secrets -- financial, personal, professional, whatever. Spill it.

Chris came home and I peppered him with questions about his day because the kids aren't very responsive to my lines of inquiry.

Me (living vicariously through others who get to experience the wonders of compressed cold air): "How was your day? Did you enjoy the air conditioning? Was it nice and cool?"

Chris: "You make it sound like it was an exotic vacation. My building is 40 years old with cinder block walls."

Me (BUT WAS THE AIR CONDITIONED WITH COOLANT?): "But was there air conditioning?"

Chris: "No."

Oh, so he marinated in his own funk as well. I will stop being jealous.

Chris and I took the dogs for a walk. I had intended to take two walks today but laziness got in the way and I only accomplished the one 2.5 mile. I was busy reading and trying to move as little as possible. Walking was good times.

We came home, watched the remainder of Miracle, then the remainder of Ghostbusters. Then we played Junior Pictionary. It was Sadie's turn. She starts drawing a head with a hat, then a body.

All of us: "Boy! Hat! Graduation cap!"

Sadie: "Okay, I don't know how else to draw this..."

She draws something small between the stick figure legs.

Ben (oh, that cleared up everything): "Ball sack!"

Chris (yes, along those same lines): "Wiener!"

Ben: "Man!"

Sadie: "Yes."

Me: "Really, Ben? Ball sack? In Junior Pictionary. Ball sack. And wiener? Guys."

Alcohol wasn't even involved.

Monday, June 16, 2014

So...summer vacation

I started by walking the dogs the morning. We have dogs now. I am a plural dog owner. What? Sometimes I find both of them hanging out on the bed with me when there are three other perfectly good choices of humans to be with and they both The least pet ownery person in the house. The new dog was also a rescue from the animal shelter. She's a silver Silky Terrier, or so says the animal shelter. She's slightly bigger than Penny, and we named her Nickels. So we have the small brown Penny and the slightly larger silver Nickels. and nickels. Dog selection should always be such an apropos ratio of relationship:potential names:coloring:size.

I took it upon myself to do everything I haven't done this past school year due to neglect. I baked 8 loaves of bread today for the coming school year. I can't imagine, though, that they'll last through the middle of July. No doubt I will be hollering from upstairs, "THOSE ARE FOR LUNCHES! YOU'LL HAVE TO EAT PROCESSED GRANOLA BARS NEXT YEAR." Because the next time I make 8 loaves of bread will probably be in about 5 years. Varieties included: Chocolate Walnut Zucchini, Buttermilk Granola, Pumpkin Cranberry, and Bran Apple. I did not get around to making Power Cookies, which consist of oats, beans, and dried fruits.

I took Sadie to an Elementary Drawing class at the Rec Center. Every child should be able to reach their potential. Who am I to stymie someone's dreams? At the end, she came out and said, "Oh, my gosh. I was the best one in there. Every else's drawings were so bad." Call it like you see it, I guess.

Me: "Did you at least like it?"

Sadie: "I already know all this stuff."

Oh, good. I'm glad we're paying for this. Perhaps she should teach the class next time. Pay for all that cable and WiFi she's using.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer vacation: Day 1

I officially started summer vacation. This is the first time that I've had a good chunk of the summer off, so we'll see how it goes. I'm a little nervous with how I'll spend all this free time with Sadie. I'm fine with alternating activities of drinking coffee, reading, napping, eating, napping, reading, going for a long walk in the evening, and drinking coffee. Sounds blissful. Sadie might be bored with my laundry list of nonactive activities. I can't compete with public school and summer camp in which all minutes have been accounted.  I need more things that involve interacting with other human units.

Ben's cross country coach clearly has other plans for how my summer vacation should be spent. To wit: wake up at regular time (5:15 a.m.), get ready, leave earlier than I do for work on a regular work day, and drive Ben 12 miles into town to train for cross country for an hour. Why does his coach hate me? Why doesn't she want me to sleep? What's in it for ME?

This morning was an added bonus because after I'd gotten ready and picked out an outfit that Stacy and Clinton might deem acceptable for women who know how to dress appropriately but can't afford to buy those clothes and instead make do with thrift store cast offs, I received a text from Ben that practice was canceled due to the approaching storms. Oh, good! That's DEFINITELY how I wanted to spend the first day of summer vacation: with a false start. You're up early! Just kidding -- it was all for naught. That was funny, right?

That's okay. I did laundry, dishes, made a fruit puree as an oil substitute in bread, cleaned the kitchen, ate breakfast at Whataburger with Ben for half price, opened a bank account for Ben, went to the library, went home, put dinner in the crock pot, took a nap, read, took another nap, made bread, went to the food pantry, and came home.

Also, the likelihood of me numbering all the days of summer in sequential order is pretty much 0:0. I'm not sure that's even a real ratio, but that's the likelihood. Nothing to nothing.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Life as an adult

I've long known that I could win a contest for the Most Boring Person Alive. Not even suspected, known for a fact. That was made abundantly evident as I found myself in a desperately quiet house this Friday evening. Sadie was in bed for her requisite 3-hour after school nap. I'd already completed my nap, having woken up after 30 minutes in a panic thinking I needed to be somewhere or pick someone up. No, no. Just being crazy on top of being boring.

Ben and Chris went to play basketball with people who play sports as grown ups, so I had the house basically all to myself. I started to do grown up things like unload the dishwasher. Then I moved on to cleaning out the fridge for tomorrow's groceries. Then I loaded the dishwasher, ran a load of laundry, wiped down the counters, swept the whole downstairs, and took out the trash. 

Then I decided to make dinner with everything that was left in the refrigerator because that was free. One time I read a tip on healthy food swaps, and this article said you can mash up bananas and freeze them to mimic the consistency of frozen yogurt. Now I'm a veritable expert on frozen dairy confections, so I don't know that old mashed bananas is going to fool any part of me into thinking it's fro yo. I mashed up 4 old bananas and stuck it in the freezer. We'll see.

I also cut up 4 old mangoes to have with dinner. I thought they might be too old, but sometimes I'm too old and people still give me a chance. I also cut up 4 old apples to make cinnamon apples to go with dinner. Why do I have four extra pieces of all fruit at the end of the week? It's mind boggling really. Then I made bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches on flat breads. It was all leftovers! From my fridge and fruit basket! I feel like a queen.

As I was going about my business, I thought is this was adulthood is like? Shouldn't I have higher expectations for being an adult and having free time? Because the house was awfully quiet without Sadie bopping around and Ben being big and Chris messing with the dog. If I were by myself, I think I'd have to get a part time job on top of my real life job just to fill the hours of solitude because by myself I'm so painfully boring and really quiet.

Chris took Sadie to the pool and I went on a 4-mile walk by myself. So much alone time. I had Penny the weenie dog with me, which was more than pointless because she's not a long haul dog. I saw a friend who also saw me walking the other day, and she asked, "Do you ever go home?"

No! If I'm at home I have to face the fact that I'm at home. If I'm out walking, I'm officially Out Of The House, which is almost like Being Social. Perhaps I'll see people tomorrow. Hopefully I'll remember how to interact with other human life forms.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Now I need a goat and a donkey

My word, Internet. Why didn't you tell me I had this blog? Someone actually did tell me today that I'd been grossly negligent in my lack of posting. He said he wondered how I'd become such a stingy miser of words when I had all the words in the world at my disposal. I've been...busy with...stuff. Like, big things.

It honestly took me five tries to spell "negligent" in the opening paragraph. I almost had to look it up but gave it one more college try. Hey, degrees are good for something. Perhaps I shouldn't consume alcohol before writing? How will all the words flow so freely?

I saw this video on because that's where I go to get all my news. Watch the video. Did you watch the video? Clearly, I need a donkey and a goat. At the risk of sounding insipid, how precious are they? They would probably like some chickens, too. I also need a companion dog for Penny.

I recently spent $40 at the thrift store to update my wardrobe. I needed more options, Internet. One day it dawned on me that a good portion of my weekend wear is actual pajama tops. After wearing a certain shirt for about three years, I looked at it one day and thought, This is a pajama top! In italics, no lie. It did not deter me, however, from continuing to wear it in public as I often wear it for going on walks around the neighborhood or running to the grocery store. The other day I was in full on pajamas by 4 p.m. Chris and I took Penny for a walk in my pajama lounge wear. Hi, neighborhood! I have standards, they're just really really low!

What else? Someone should take me for tacos and margaritas.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

If this were an art project, it would most likely be paper mache

During a technology training today, the instructor asked me, "Do you have kids yet?" Yet? Yes, my kids are old school. Old hat.

Me (going through the normal spiel): "Yes, Ben is 16 and a sophomore in high school. Sadie is 9 and in 4th grade."

Her (why are they always astonished): "You look like you're 12! You can't have a 16 year old."

It's true. I do. I don't know why this should come as a shock to anyone. When you get pregnant really early in life before your adult life has barely even begun, you have yourself a 16-year-old man child at the ripe age of 36. Good news, though, I'll only be 38 when he graduates high school. Who's winning now? Probably the rest of society because that's how it generally works.

Ben informed us tonight at dinner that he did, indeed, get the job at Whataburger.

Chris: "And you thought you did horrible on the interview."

Me (talking to Chris): "You always think you do poorly on the interview and then you get the job. Whenever I do poorly on the interview, I knew I sucked and they knew it too. I don't get the job."

For one of Sadie's class projects, she has to do a trashion fashion show wherein she creates something from trash for a fashion show. You get that, right? So she decided on making a robot. I'm helping her cut the box for the head and eye hole and tape the sides.

Me (I LOVE PROJECTS!): "I hope I get an A on this!"

Sadie: "Uhhhh...this is MY project."

Me: "Right. I hope YOU get an A."

I really hope an A is involved because I do my best work on projects. I wish I would get more crafty projects in my daily job that involved trash around my house, masking tape, and silver spray paint. My word, how I love spray paint. I didn't even want to hand the can back to Sadie because I saw how she was too close to the CDs she was painting and making it pool rather than using even strokes. It killed me because I could have been doing such a kick ass job on it. I need to enroll in some sort of 4th grade art class.

I read an article today about how people are only putting the life out there on Facebook that you want them to see. Duh. Do you really want to know that I slapped some packaged turkey on thrift store bread and called it dinner? Because that's all I have. Please hold no illusions that my life is exciting or envy-worthy for even a glimmer of a second. But given what I do put out there, I hope people envy my life. I would feel so honored that you aspire to live a life of repetitive boredom and thrift store bargains covered in many layers of spray paint. I'm just keeping it real, Internet. It's also a cry for help.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's really a wonder that I've ever been married at all

Do you remember when you first started dating and it seemed like every couple of weeks you talked about your relationship and feelings and the future? Oh, my word that seems like such an insufferable topic now. Does anyone even do that anymore? I don't even know the last time Chris and I discussed our relationship. Sometimes just to mess with him, when he's absolutely exhausted and lays his head down on the pillow and shuts his eyes and it's way past our bedtime, I like to look at him intently and say, "Let's talk about our relationship."

After 11 years of marriage, I would hope we don't need status meetings to discuss our progress. I could probably use a status meeting to keep me in the loop on how many years we've actually been married. Turns out we've been married 11 years, not 12. Most analysis consists of:

Q. "Are you happy?
A. "Yep." 

Q. "Do you want more kids?" 
A. "I don't know. What do you want to do?" 

Q. "What car did you like best?" 
A. "I don't care. Just pick something and put it in the garage. I'm sure one of us will drive it."

I came across an article that gives 10 questions you should ask yourself or each other or random strangers to have a healthy relationship. Why all the deep probing inquisitions? I'm not Spanish.

1. Are you so good to your partner that he/she never wants to leave?
Yes, I am completely totally life-fulfilling awesome. I am nailing all the best qualities anyone could ever want in a mate: Looks, smarts, street cred. If you think you can do better, have at it. You deserve to have the very best.

2. Who are you in it for? 
Me? Isn't that why you're in relationships? I mean, if you didn't want to be in a relationship, surely you'd be alone. I'm confused.

3. Can you take the heat? 
Not all the time. Our house gets really, really hot in the summer. We've had so many arguments over 2 degrees. 2 degrees. And then if I have to actually cook, heaven help us. We're all going down in flames because we've all spontaneously combusted from lack of circulating air.

4. Are you willing to get comfortable with being uncomfortable? 
Ugh, no. Just yesterday I was telling Sadie how I hate that feeling when I've eaten too much and maybe gained some weight. I feel like I'm a sausage stuffed into a too-tight casing and if someone would just remove or slit the casing a little bit to let the insides spill out, I'd feel so much better. I don't like being uncomfortable.

5. Have you laid out your deal breakers?
Yep. Here you go. The list can be modified at any moment without prior notice or warning.
1. Non-believer
2. Smoker
3. Aversion to physical activity
4. Just plain dumb
5. Not funny
6. Liar
7. Political affiliation
8. Poor grooming
9. Poor/nonexistent hygiene
10. No serious job prospects
11. No living quarters
12. No reliable transportation
13. Makes me pay for dates
14. Doesn't want/like kids
15. Nose hair 
16. Doesn't read for fun/hasn't read a book since high school
17. Doesn't use correct spelling/punctuation
18. Mispronounces words
19. Calls me by the wrong name
20. Wants me to wear makeup/jewelry/fancy clothes

6. Are you willing to accept that the achievement of a "successful relationship" directly relates to the level of effort you each put in?
Look, if a relationship requires that much work, it's probably not worth it.  That just sounds like a lot of drama just waiting to unfold. 

7. Have you built your walls?
Why would I build walls? I'm not a licensed architect. Oh, you mean boundaries. I suppose. Only weird/creepy guys at discount stores flirt with me, so I think we're all safe.  

8. Are you honest about your sexual needs? 
Like in general or just to Chris? I mean I try not to bring it up at the latest work function.

9. Do you ask anything of your mate that you aren’t willing to give? 
All the time. I ask Chris to stop at the store on his way home from work because I don't want to go back out once I've been home, had a snack, changed clothes, napped, and have started on dinner. I also ask him to do the yard work every week in the summer despite my lack of interest of ever helping out. It's so hot out there. Blech.

10. Are you willing to play on the same team even if you’re losing the game? 
I'm not very good at sports. I was always picked last as a kid, teenager, and an adult. It's like captains innately sense that I'm going to suck at whatever physical activity is forthcoming. And then if I start losing, well forget it. No one wants to be on a losing team.

So essentially, relationships are just a crap shoot. You win some, you lose some. Keep looking and try to keep the crazy on the inside if you want to have a chance at someone thinking you're "the one" rather than "the one-off."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Posty McPostykins

Me: "I think I would like another baby."

Chris: "You just told me you were too old."

Me: "That's just what I say to make myself feel better. I could do it."

Chris: "Let's just get another dog at the pound."

I do want another dog (a buddy for Penny) but I'm leaning to wanting another baby. I just need to convince Chris that at this stage in our lives (I'm 36...ugh) that starting all over is what I want. Gladly. Baaaaabyyyyyy feeeeeveeeerrrr. The kids are 16 and 9. 16 and 9. This baby fever needs to be replaced with someone more productive like shopping or movies or anything that gets my uterus' mind off of procreating.

Chris is currently helping Ben with his Algebra II homework. They were just discussing a program that Chris wrote for one of his classes on how to find a prime number. I stayed out of that conversation out of respect for math and science. I might hurt its feelings that despite being an older college student, I cannot participate in discussions such as these. I do remember the quadratic equation. Small victory.

I took Penny for a walk by myself tonight. The children didn't want to come with me. They wasted a perfectly beautiful evening staying inside. See? I need smaller children who actually want to spend time with me. We did play Scrabble Slam when I got home, so family values were restored. Ben informed me that I smelled like I went for a walk. I asked for clarification later, and he said I smelled like BO. I guess that better than saying I smelled like a dirty diaper. Small victory? Probably not.

I've given up on cooking dinner. I used to make 16 course meals that took several hours to make and were lovingly prepared with wholesome ingredients. Tonight, though, I dumped out tater tots and mini corn dogs on baking sheets and heated them up. I used the oven, so that's almost like homemade. I rounded it out with some peas and carrots.

Me: "How can I get rid of this baby fever? What can I do?"

Chris: "Look at how much it costs to buy a minivan. Look at the cost of daycare."

It would only be $5000 per school year. That sounds doable, right?

This post was pointless and I've solved none of the world's problems. I've failed humanity. Par for the course.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The doctor's office

Not to brag or anything, but Ben hardly ever gets sick. Maybe it’s his genes or his machismo, but I usually never hear of him suffering from an illness. When he does get sick, it’s usually grand in nature. One Christmas it was strep and the flu on top of each other. Go big or go home.

I took him to the pediatrician despite his being a large man child. There should be some sort of size limitation for going to the pediatrician. It just seems odd. So the nurse is talking to me and asking what’s wrong. I said I thought he might have strep and pink eye. She looked at him and was taken aback to see his Angry Eye staring back at her.

Her: “Oh, yes. I see it now that I look at him.”

Right. Because he’s the patient. I’m just the talking piece.

The nurse practitioner comes in and says that the strep test was negative. She gave a quick look at his eye and said he definitely had pink eye. I always feel a slight sense of vindication like, “Ha! I was right! I KNEW it!” Like what if she came in and said, “It’s just allergy eyes, ma’am. Quit pretending like you know things.”

But it was pink eye, and she said he would need to miss school for today and possibly tomorrow. Why is it whenever you mention pink eye to someone, they automatically grimace, like the infected person has been going around rubbing their eye funk all over everything? That was certainly my first thought when I saw it flaring up last night. I made a list of things on which Ben could have rubbed his oozy eye -- door handles, faucet handles, the ham and cheese for the pizza, my shoulder when he gave me a hug goodnight. I wouldn't let him drive home from the doctor because what if he rubbed his eye on the steering wheel before he backed out of the parking space? It's just asking for trouble.

She wrote him him a note for school for today and tomorrow as well just in case. Ben informed us that he was just going to will himself to get better aside from antibiotic eye drops.

Me (confused by his understanding of illness and healing): “I’m pretty sure you can’t just evacuate the illness from your eye through sheer might.”

Ben (going with it): “I really think I could. There should be an experiment where you could just make yourself get better. Like you would have enough mental strength to get better.”

Me (wanting her to think I could be a doctor given my pink eye diagnosing skills): “I think there is a system for that. It’s called ‘crackpot science’ or ‘junk medicine.’”

All this in front of the nurse. I’m not sure she knew how to take it. Maybe we opened her eyes to a new way of thinking about medicine. We checked out and he got a Superman sticker. I asked him if he got one for Sadie. He was going to and then he forgot he had a sister as soon as he saw the sticker bank.

 Ben (on the way home): “I would like to experience a coma. Just to see what it’s like and I can come back and tell people about it.”

Me (sleep does sound nice): “I’ll be sure to run that one by Dr. Baker.”

Ben (no, seriously, this could work): “Could I have a medically-induced coma?”
Me (maybe it’s not such a bad idea): “I’m not sure he would authorize that.”

Ben: “Then you could just talk to me. Read a book to me. That’d be really nice.”

I’m not sure you can donate your body to science while you’re still living.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When crap spills out of my head it becomes words

Yesterday was the millionth snow day of this school year. By 11:50 a.m. I'd achieved a grand total of zero things. A whole lotta nothing. I consumed most of my daily calories in pretzel rolls and hazelnut spread. At one point I was calculating when Chris would leave for work so I could eat more rolls and spread. It was quite the balancing act to enjoy mere bites at a time yet not so much to horrify Chris but still leave enough to fully engage in the gorging later.

You know when people say, "What's your biggest fear in life?" and they mean it all deep and philosophical like you're going to say, "I want to be a good role model." That's not even close to mine. I'm sure I'll disappoint legions of people. You'll survive. No, my biggest fear (or within the top 3) is slipping and falling directly on my face in the cold icy weather. Why wouldn't I land on my ass or use my hands to break my fall? I don't know. I have a face? My fear is I'll use my mouth and/or teeth to cushion the fall. (In case you were wondering fears No. 1 and No. 2 are driving off the side of the road into a construction zone and coming out of the bathroom with my skirt tucked in my underwear.)

The TV in our bedroom has a big green glowing spot on it at various times. There's no rhyme or reason as to when it will appear. Tonight it looked like Bobby Flay had encountered Slimer from Ghostbusters (RIP Harold Ramis -- you were my first movie star crush when I was a kid). Our last TV died so we walked around Sam's for DAYS and DAYS trying to convince ourselves that -- as adults in our 30s -- we were worthy of spending $200 on a semi-decent TV for our room. After hours of deliberations and price comparison, we talked ourselves out of it and put the TV back on the shelf. A friend from work knew a friend who wanted to make a quick $25 selling their old school TV to frugal schmoes. It's very beasty. Nothing sleek or modern about it. But it was cheap, so that pretty much fits our MO.

I would like to go on the show Worst Cooks in America. Surely I can make something atrocious. Once I made a chicken paprikash dish that most closely resembled chicken vomit. I could fumble my way through a couple of challenges and then by challenge three just start nailing it and be all, "I don't know what happened. It just...clicked [26 years ago when I started cooking because I was bored staying home all day during the summer]!" I could use $25,000. I wouldn't even gloat. Much.