Sunday, June 21, 2015

College visit No. 1

Because we live and work in an actual college town, Ben has decided to pursue other universities far outside the realm of sanity. Since he's grown up here for the last 11 years, he wants to go away for college. (Sadie, on the other hand, doesn't care where she goes. "You live here now? Sounds good. I'll go to school here then." I love when school pride is flexible and easily transferable.)

We set out for Lubbock on Friday afternoon, preparing ourselves for the 5 hour trip. I told Ben since he wanted to visit Texas Tech, he was going to have to drive. All of it. To and from. He needed to see what that drive was going to be like. Selfishly, I wanted him to realize, wow this really sucks. I'll just stay in town and do my laundry at home. On the way there, I thought that if I were to ever go to school in Lubbock, you wouldn't see me for four years. Like...that's it. I'm in Lubbock. IT'S A REALLY LONG DRIVE.

I don't know that he came to that realization because the tour of campus was indeed impressive. Even though it took us 40 minutes to find the right building because streets are sparsely labeled and building names are shrouded in secrecy, it was all forgotten once we were in the lecture hall listening to the presentation. Ten minutes of listening to the speakers laud the merits of Tech, I was ready to go there. They were that convincing.

The campus was HUGE. So, so big. But the buildings were nice and they offered so much. Rec center, a beautiful pool with lazy river, really nice student union, lots of student housing. Ben would not let me ask if there was a Sorting Hat that tells you which dorm you're going to live in. He also would not let me ask if the football field doubled as the Quidditch field or was there a separate field for that. These are valid tour guide questions.

At one point during the tour, I was trailing behind Ben, listening to our tour guide and taking in the sprawling campus and architecture. It struck me as very odd that we were actually there. It's all fine and good to talk about college trips and making plans for the future, but it's another to actually see them come to fruition. Everything about Ben was a surprise, and that's usually the moment I remember in comparison to present day. He could definitely be labeled as a "surprise" baby, but he has been nothing but an immeasurable blessing I feel I was never worthy to receive. I feel like all these milestones are a life bonus because we never asked for Ben so it's all just this extra icing on the cake that we get to experience. It literally makes my heart ache to know that we only get one more year to parent Ben. Then he'll be a bona fide adult making his own decisions and living his own life. Not eating dinner with us. Not using the washing machine. Not eating all the cereal bars. That is going to suck.

While miles 26-300 were boring, the trip was fantastic. Ben is such a wonderful person and travel companion. I don't even have words. I want him to go to the college of his choice, not the one that is closest because it's the closest. Being a late-in-life college student meant I didn't get the opportunity to tour campuses and narrow down my choices, so I get the excitement and intrigue of exploring all these options and figuring it all out. The most daunting task, though, is figuring out how to pay for anything other than the local university. I'm almost twenty years out of high school, so I looked at the Historical Undergrad Tuition Rate at Tech for a present-day comparison. Had I gone in the 96-97 school year, tuition alone would have been $2,600 for the year. Now it's close to $9,000. That's not including books or room/board (although I learned to buy textbooks on Amazon and eBay and have saved literal thousands). Tech puts a final price tag of $24k per year. Who knew learning was so expensive? I need to start a university.
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Like living a 1950s modern day American dream

Today I felt like I was living the 1950 housewife dream when our new washer and dryer was delivered straight to our front door. I felt like a real Lady of the House. After 14+ years of the same Sears washer and dryer, we've been limping along through the last year of use. The washing machine would never spin the clothes automatically, so we'd go to put the clothes in the dryer only to find them sitting in water and have to restart the spin/drain cycle every time. Then it took three 40-minute cycles to dry a load of towels. You want pants? Try next Tuesday.

The delivery guys show up early and pull out the old machines and put in the shiny new appliances. It has buttons, Internet. Knobs are so early aughts. And no middle agitator. And like 620 cycles from which to choose. I felt like I should serve cocktails on my new washer it was so fancy. We're also going camping next to it later in the summer as a reminder that this is why we're not camping anywhere other than our laundry room. It's eaten up any discretionary vacation money, and the balance on the Vacation Fund was already at -$1200. Necessities of modern living. Puh.

I've been nagging Ben for WEEKS that he needs to clean out his closet because it makes me want to cry it's so messy. Just crap stacked on crap piled on top of crap, crying out to be cleaned, sorted, and organized. It really hurts my thought process to know that it's lurking in the confines of his room, neglected and alone. And he's using up valuable hangers for clothes he hasn't worn in a couple of years. YEARS. I need those hangers, man. Quit hogging them. At one point I went in to check on his progress.

Me (it's seriously been a couple of months of asking the same question): "How's the closet coming?"

Ben (looking at the closet): "The light is on."

Ah, progress. I haven't seen any bags going in or out, empty or otherwise so I'm not convinced that much is happening in the name of improvement. I have noticed that someone has made a significant dent in their viewing of Parks and Recreation on Netflix. I'm so glad someone has put their summer free time to such good use.

Keri came over today to accommodate me and my selfish appliance delivery. She even brought Starbucks coffee and a cookie. For real, Internet. You should get yourself a Keri. But not mine. She's my Keri. She used to pass on her clothes and shoes when she was done with them because she has far better/more expensive/more refined taste in fashion than I will ever have. But she didn't bring any clothes or shoes with her this time. It's like she doesn't want me to have nice things. Maybe she thinks that I make so much money now that I don't need free handouts, but that's where logic is flawed. I will never make too much to take free clothes (size 6) or free shoes (size 7) (just in case you were, you know, mentally going through your closet and itemizing things you think I would like and would like to give me wondering). What's better than cheap? Free. And free things I can actually use and not just have to throw away at a later date? Literal jackpot of life.

I went to a book study at church where we're reading C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce. It's not about how to have a great divorce lest anyone be alarmed. I read the preface and first two chapters as per the requirement for tonight's discussion. I thought I was prepared only to find out I was woefully inadequate to grasp the concepts of the book. My mind doesn't do so well in abstract allegory of futuristic realms. I just started reading Harry Potter a couple of weeks ago, and I've never read a single book with a single mention or whisper of a dragon. I think I might bring down the grading curve this summer. I've never been on this side of the curve. I don't like how this feels.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Are you there, Blog? It's me, Rachel.

Today started my first full week of summer vacation. I had Thursday and Friday of last week off, and those were especially painful days. Ben worked all day on Friday, and Sadie was spending the day at summer camp. Chris was at work because it was his turn to bring home the bacon. That left me a whole day to do absolutely nothing. It was nice for the first hour and then I thought that I certainly can't do nothing all day, so I went thrift store shopping, went to the library to get books 3, 4, and 5 of the Harry Potter series, and came home. To a still empty house.

I was looking forward to having the kids around the house because at least I'd have someone to talk to. Only Ben went running at 6:30, leaving me by myself after Chris left for work, which might have been okay if Sadie hadn't slept until 11 a.m. I decided that I couldn't spend yet another day neglecting chores while living at Hogwarts, so I chose to live in reality. I cleaned the oven, did laundry, swept all the floors, cleaned the oven again, ruined a rug in the washer, made dinner, ate a LOT of granola. This summer is not going to bode well for my caloric intake if I run out of chores in the first three days.

I started on my sewing/mending projects. That's not true. I was going to start on my sewing/mending projects but had the bright idea to add another shirt to the mix when I cut off the sleeves and made it into a tank top. There is no way a Junior's shirt is going to button around my big old lady arms. My arm circumference might have been such in first grade.

Sadie wanted me to take her to the pool this evening and now that I have my old lady bathing suit I thought now would be a perfect time to debut it. So about 6 I started calling Sadie to come down and eat dinner. 6:15 called her again. 6:30 called her again. Finally at 7:15 I went up there to see what was so important that she couldn't deign a reply down to me. Oh, she's SLEEPING. That's why. So Ben and I watched The Bachelorette and snarked on all the participants. Sadie finally came out at 8:35 and asked if I still wanted to go to the pool. Well, I never WANT to go to the pool, but as it turns out my window of interest in actually going expired at 7:15.  We will try again in the morning. 

Tomorrow we're having a washer and dryer delivered, so that should definitely add some excitement to the day. Your life can be this exciting, too. Quit going on so many vacations.
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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Turns out there's no expiration date on sibling rivalry

We did some old school parenting this weekend and went to the park and played with the kids. Sadie took a friend so she would have more fun. Chris and I played basketball with Ben. Well, "played" isn't really an accurate word. I'm not sure what is. Not being one who excels at or plays or even knows the rules of any sport ever, I just ran around Ben and tried to get the ball from him.  I can't compete with a 145-pound 17-year-old man child. He was a beast. I need 3rd graders for opponents in order to officially dominate. At one point, I had my arms around Ben's waist while trying to thwart his layup when Chis informed me, "I don't even think that's legal." I wouldn't know. I don't play sports. It was all well and good until Ben went to block my literal granny shot and his arm came down on my wrist and made me cry. I thought I was dying, so I went and sat on a concrete block off to the side and cried while nursing my stinging wrist. And this is why I never played sports.

The last week of school is upon us, and true to form I've approached it with the least amount of effort as possible. You know why? Class parties. I cannot say it enough: Stop it. If class parties are your thing because you're tired of sitting around the house and it's something that you want to put together and host and sit through, by all means please do it. But there's a reason I work: It's to avoid class parties.

I received one email soliciting $3 for pizza for an end-of-year party, so I had to dig in the couch cushions for the first 1/3 of the payment and then raid our change jar for the remainder. Who carries cash anymore? Probably responsible moms. Or sensible/practical people in general. If I'd had any wits about me at all this year, I would have kept $40 in small bills on hand for just such an occasion. As it turns out, I didn't stumble upon this realization until there were seven days left in the school year. That college degree did not prepare me for parenting pitfalls. So wasted. I could have been a really good parent with proper education.

Another email went out asking for donations for a picnic. It might even be the same pizza party? I've lost consciousness trying to keep up. I chose utensils because that sounds about in line with what I can accomplish right now. Because I was feeling extra generous, I picked up not one but two packages of utensils at Dollar Tree. I'm not sure you should actually put them in your mouth though. Beware, 5th grade. Let your parents know if start to lose any vision or can't feel your tongue. Or you can't remember words to describe everyday objects. Or cannot do simple math in your head. 

We forced the kids to go on a walk with us tonight in the name of family. A grand time as had by all. It was a beautiful night, and the kids get along relatively well. Relative to rioting prisoners so I suppose it's not all bad. Ben keeps trying to force Sadie to pursue activities he chose (orchestra not band, sports not art). I'm not sure he understands that she's a girl with completely different interests than his? 

Along the last stretch of the walk, I made Sadie retrieve the skateboard she had temporarily stowed away in a neighbor's line of bushes a couple of months ago when she was tired of carrying a skateboard and a scooter because you can't ride both at the same time. Right. So Ben grabs the skateboard attempts to ride it thereby making Sadie insanely jealous for the skateboard she's been neglecting for the last 90 days because she didn't care enough to dig it out of the bushes. 

Me: "Sadie. You didn't even care about that until you saw Ben riding that."

Sadie (indignant that would suggest something so preposterous): "Yuh-huh. I've really been wanting to ride my skateboard!"

Me: "I find that hard to believe."

Sadie (for reals): "No! Really! I've been wanting to ride it."

Ben (he's 17, btw): "It's just that I make everything look good when I do it."

I'm going to miss them when they move out. Well, not the arguing. I won't miss that for sure.
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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hey, hey it's Mother's Day

Today was mother's day. It still is, I suppose. I should try to get something additional out of it while the getting is still good. I think Chris is making coffee. Hopefully he will bring me a cup with a splash of milk and 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar so I don't have to go downstairs and get one. I already had to go down and get pajama pants while in sans pants mode. Hopefully the neighbors didn't see and if they did...sorry. I'm working on working out.

Last night Sadie offered to bring me breakfast in bed for this morning, but that would mean she'd have to wake up before 6 a.m. and she can't seem to see this side of 9:30 a.m. on the weekends. And I don't like eating meals in bed. It's like eating in the bathroom. Or wearing pajamas to work. Or anything else that you normally do one place and do it somewhere else. I can't think of any examples, so feel free to insert your own ideas here. I ended up making yogurt pancakes and sausage with hot maple syrup because it needed to be done. And it was delicious.

We went to church and there was a drawing for a Mother's Day gift basket that had a candle, coffee mug, Starbucks gift card, and some other lady things. I think just general lady things and not "lady things" although I would certainly appreciate a good stockpile of free tampons. The only requirement for winning was having pushed something out of your lady bits, so I qualified but I only got to put my name in once. I didn't win the basket, so Mother's Day was pretty much ruined. I wonder if they'll give away a Father's Day basket. What would be in there? Spark plugs, hunting magazines, dirty shop rags, random computer parts, Corn Nuts, Big League Chew, and neck ties? I hope they ask me to make a gift basket. It sounds like I really know the male species.

After church we went to Aldi because It's What We Do. And the kids get mad when there is no more food in the pantry. We reach riot status when I fail to buy "good snacks." Well, "good snacks" leads to "childhood obesity." Instead I buy cheese crackers and dried fruit, cereal, plain yogurt, fresh fruit. I did buy sugar infused granola bars. It's like I'm barely fit for motherhood. 

We came home and unloaded the groceries, watched the approaching tornadic activity. It got a little scary while Chris and Sadie were making a chocolate pie for dessert. I like inclement weather until it starts to get real. I had to put on shoes, Internet. Ben said they had to shut down Whataburger and everyone went into the bathroom since the tornado sirens were going off. When it calmed down, Chris visited his mom while I prepared dinner for everyone since we were all going to be in the same place at the same time for dinner. Wheeee! I never got to take my Mother's Day nap but I did finish watching Music and Lyrics, so it was not a complete waste of a day even though I didn't win the gift basket from church.

After dinner I got to open my present of a Starbucks gift card and reusable cup because I lurve the environment. I let Ben open my last present since he was the only one not to know what it was as Chris and I purchased it together and Sadie wrapped it. Someone should get to experience the element of surprise. It was a glass tea pitcher with matching glasses in case you were wondering. I'd been wanting one FOR YEARS but never got around to buying one because I'm not Martha Stewart, instead using my plastic one from 1973. I think it's plastic. It might be lead. Or asbestos.  Sometimes my tongue tingles after I drink tea and I can't remember my name. Well, no more. Moving up in life.

Chris and I took the dogs for a walk and had to cut it short because 1.) clouds were gathering and made me nervous and 2.) the dessert was making my stomach very stabby. It was a most uncomfortable sensation because everything upsets my stomach. Things always seem like a good idea -- donuts, beef jerky, whipped cream, pizza, hot chocolate, milk shakes, hot dogs, soda, anything fun or delicious. Then it's an angry pit of fire unleashing fury on my digestive tract. I love getting older. I hope I've passed this on to my children as well because I like to be a giver. Happy Mother's Day, kids!
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Friday, May 8, 2015

Who hugs pizza to their boob?

When I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed tonight, I noticed that I had a smear of pizza sauce on my shirt. I must have pressed it to my chest in earnest as I was going upstairs. Internet, this is exactly why I can't have nice things because it's also on the shirt on which I previously squirted tomato juice during dinner prep one evening. I can't even fathom how I would feel if I spent more than the $1.29 I spent on this shirt. I'd pretty well be devastated.

Sadie is having a gaggle of girls over for a sleepover. I see all the girls in her 5th grade class, and I don't remember ever being so full of poise and grace as some of them are. Some seem to just glide down the hallways. I gallumped along in my matronly clothes and library books, trying to impress the adult set with my vocabulary and "sense of humor." Childhood was such a painfully awkward phase. It got good for a little while between the ages of 17 and 19, but then it just descended into madness again. I'm one step away from elastic pants and white orthopedic shoes. I do have some white Keds. I'm pretty sure they're from the Old Lady line because they're super comfortable. 

We went to an instrument selection for band the other night. Sadie is going to be in band in middle school. We put her first choice as flute and second as clarinet because we didn't know what we were doing. When we went back into the band hall, the lady was super excited about All Things Band and was very welcoming to all these strangers. I'm not even that welcoming to friends and family when they come to my house. I want to be like Band Lady when I grow up. Sadie tried the flute and the clarinet, then just because we were there she tried the trombone and the tuba. It was a lot like test driving cars only less scary because she's only 10. She said her first choice would be the clarinet. Band Lady said, "Because I have to have one, what would you say is your second choice?" I felt like my life was unfolding like a dramatic twist in a novel because Sadie said, "The trombone." I did NOT see that coming. It was kind of exciting.

Mother's Day is this weekend. You know what I would like? A nap. A delicious untimed nap in a cold dark room in a clean quiet house. No mowers or edgers or drills or saws as my sleepytime music either. I would also like something yummy to eat. I was going to make apple cinnamon pancakes and sausage in the morning, but with 1100 extra children in the house I don't know that I have enough to feed them all so they get Apple Jacks and bananas. Perhaps this is why we never had a large family even thought buying in bulk brings me great untold joy. As it is, my noise tolerance only allows for two quiet children at a time. Turns out I become a little unsettled by chaos.
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Like winning the jackpot EVERY DAY

I suppose if I wrote even slightly regularly then I wouldn't have to keep calling posts updates. Then they'd just be "posts." Does anyone even care any more? Does anyone even read blogs?

I continue to try to get into the wrong car. Stupid generic black sedans. They all look the same. The Altima looks like the Sonata looks like the Honda Something. I tried to get in whatever Honda has that looks like the Nissan. After lugging out my armload of groceries, I put the beer and gallon of milk down on the ground to fish my keys out of my never ending purse. I kept digging and digging for TWO WHOLE MINUTES only to find that I'd conveniently and helpfully put them in the front zipper pocket of my purse. I love when that happens. Then I start pressing the unlock button on the fob and yank on the door handle. I hit it again because you have to hit it eleven times to unlock the non-driver doors. I yanked again. Still nothing. THEN I noticed a high end car seat in the back and THEN I realized that it wasn't my car because I would never buy a car seat that nice. We just stacked up phone books until the seat belt hit just right. It then dawned on me that Sadie hasn't ridden in a car seat in like 5 years so it was a pretty good bet that it wasn't my car. My car was NEXT to the one I was trying to enter. And it looked exactly the same. I also did not consume any alcohol at this point. That came much later. Why didn't someone accost me and accuse me of trying to break into their car? I could have saved so much time if they'd redirected me earlier and spared me this ridiculous spectacle in which I continue to find myself.

I don't know why I tell you these things. Perhaps to make you feel better about yourself.

I haven't washed my work clothes in going on three months. I'm not sure if I'm proud or horrified of this fact. It just means I have a ridiculous amount of clothes. Yesterday I wore a skirt that I've owned for about 8 years but haven't worn in about 6. It's brown and has sort of a bandana pattern. Bandana, not banana. I paired it with a lime green t-shirt that I also haven't worn in about a year because other things were clean. It was my Just Shy of Desperation Outfit. It was also one of the most well received outfits I've worn on this Journey to the Bottom of My Closet. I should be lazy more often. Turns out it suits me.

I cleaned the house today. No, like for real cleaned it. I even cleaned out hall closets. It just got real, people. If I were pregnant I would call this nesting but since I'm not I just call it hey quit being such a gross slob and clean out all the things you don't use. I still wish I could clean the kids' rooms, but they'd only be left with a bed (maybe) and a...nope. That would probably be it. I WANT TO KEEP CLEANING. What will I do when I reach the end of the dirty? Will I feel satisfied or will I feel like I need to clean another level? Is it like a video game where there's a different and more exciting level of dirt? I hope I collect some coins for the change jar. That would be euphoric.

I feel like I'm becoming a little obsessive about this. That should pass, though, come May 18 when The Bachelorette starts back and I rediscover my love of reality television and pinot grigio. That should pretty much take care of any responsibilities.

I started reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower today. I hope it has some helpful hints to integrate into my daily wallflower living.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Update No. 2

There was a snack station at one of my campuses today. There was an assortment of fruits, cereal bars, bagels, and juice. You know what I ate? Powdered sugar donuts. Why, Internet? Why? After all the weeks -- nay -- months of eating healthy and trying to focus on "losing weight" (puh), do I undo it with donuts? Delicious, crumbly, powdered sugary confections of perfection? It's not even real food. Just arid highly processed starches covered in finely ground modified starches. It was so good. I only took three because I wanted to appear dainty, but I'm sure the snack hall monitor knew the score because I scampered back to my office, covered the window and decimated them. The evidence was clear as a drug bust on my desk. Powder was everywhere. And then, as if I didn't feel bad enough about myself, I convinced myself that I needed the waxy chocolate donuts as well because, hey, free donuts. I went back when the monitor had her back turned and took two chocolate donuts. I love donuts. Almost as much as I love beer. Beer and donuts. Staples of an American pantry.

I haven't washed my work clothes in weeks. Probably a couple of months. And you might be thinking, That's gross, Rachel. You should keep your disgusting habits to yourself. Never fear, naysayers. I HAVE THAT MANY CLOTHES. So so many clothes. I've gone through all the pants that I even wore several times until a noticeable spot appeared and it would be evident to all and sundry that I was indeed not doing laundry. Never give away your hand until forced to do so, right? So now I've moved on to skirts and dresses. The only down side to that is having to shave my legs every day that I expose my alabaster skin to the world. First world problems, sure. But still. It's a hassle. No one wants to mess with that nonsense on a daily basis. I think I can still go about six more weeks with all the skirts and t-shirt combos I can make. I feel like I'm living in a fairy tale.

I do have it on my to do list this summer to get some sort of a tan. Although I don't really tan so much as beige. It's a slightly less startling pallor than Sleepy Vampire or Death Came to Roost.

When we sold our last house a couple of years ago, we got our asking price within a day of it being on the market. It was a wee house of only 1300 square feet. It was a fair price. It's for sale again for $25,000 more than what we asked two years ago. You want to know my first thought? Eff that noise. That's bananapants. $25,000 more for a 1300 square foot home. I wonder how much we could get for ours now? We'd all have to live in our car, sure, but think of all the money! And Ben has his own car, so it would really be like he'd have his very own house. I really think this could work. Wait. I have all the clothes. I would probably need my own car for my clothes. And then another car for all the food. And then another car for hanging out in that's not filled with food and clothing. Suddenly this seems like I haven't really thought this home selling process all the way through. Beer and donuts should solve this conundrum.

Dogs licking my hands while I type still hasn't gotten helpful overnight.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Update of sorts

I've been trying to watch the movie Intolerable Cruelty for the last four days. Watching this movie has intolerable cruelty. I can't imagine on what level anyone in this movie thought, Hey, this is a good idea. I can't figure out if it's really boring or...nope that's about it. Boring. So stupid. It's finally, mercifully over. Wait...this thing got three stars? There's no hope for humanity.

I found 55 cents on my walk. Two whole quarters and a beat up nickel. I love finding quarters. I love finding $5 bills more. Why can't the street proffer larger forms of currency? I would even settle for lids to all the plastic bowls under the counter. I wonder if when the kids move out and we clean out their rooms if we'll find all the things we've been missing over the years. Cups, bowls, sleep, money, TV time, quiet, matching lids, missing socks, last pieces of cake. I have already found some questionable food dishes in Ben's room on several occasions. It's been a mystery as to what I would have served that looked like moldy vomit. I don't remember making that for dinner, but it's not to say I didn't. And we'll totally need to burn his room when he moves out.

Why do I have two furry dog shaped shadows follow me every time I go anywhere? Every time I get up to go upstairs, they launch themselves with fervor in pursuit of another location. Then they both insist on laying RIGHTNEXTOTME and lick my hands as I type. It's not exactly helpful, but I also don't understand the animal kingdom.

Ben is rounding out his junior year of high school. To me that's a little weird. Is it to you? Do you remember when I started this blog and he was a mere 9 years old? He was such a baby. You read that, Ben? A baby. So wee. I try not to think about the fact that he'll be a senior and what all that entails. It just makes me sad. But also glad that he's so awesome. Is that what parenting is? A constant grab bag of mixed emotions? This sucks. 

Sadie goes to middle school next year. She's so tiny! She's not ready! She's only 10! She asked the other day if she could buy her lunch more at school next year.  More as in more than the two times I let her this year. Why buy lunch when you can eat already purchased food from home? I don't understand kids. I do understand spending money. It's my favorite hobby. 

And reading. I love reading. In the last two weeks I think I've read about 6 books. My brain can't process words fast enough and get to the resolution quickly enough. I wanted to eat a couple of them they were so good. I need words to be edible.

I need this blog to do something more than suck.
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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Oh, blog.

I don't think it's been warm on Easter in years. It seems it's been cool and rainy for the past several years. What do I know though? I could be completely wrong. It worked out well today though because the dress I wore to church might have been 1.) a size too big or 2.) I don't have all the right parts to fill it out appropriately or 3.) I do have all the right parts but they aren't big enough. I think it was a combination of all or part of the options. The dress was too big on top but I found if I blew up some balloons and stuffed them down the front of my dress then no one would mistake me for a 12-year-old boy because I finally looked like a real woman. Taking the balloons out, however, resulted in the the back of the dress bagging and looked like I needed boobs in the back. I don't think that's how it works? I don't know. I don't have a medical degree. It all worked out though because I wore a jacket over the dress and no one was the wiser. Until now.

Perhaps taking a break from blogging was a bad idea. Now I've forgotten how to write. Wine would probably make this better.
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Grout should be a four letter word only it has five letters

Because I worked all day, ran two hours of errands, sat through 11 bouts of traffic, cooked dinner for an hour, and then cleaned the kitchen, I figured I should tackle cleaning the bathroom. The day wasn't nearly busy and/or frustrating enough.

I think one of the worst types of decision are the ones that involve tiling and grouting any surface ever. Why, people? Why? Do you hate mankind? Do you hate free time and doing other things like sitting on your back porch drinking beer in the waning spring sun? Do you hate easy cleaning projects that allow you to get done quickly and move on to other things like binge watching reality television? Do you hate the people who will move into your home months or years from now and you want to repay them for getting you out of your mortgage by flipping them the bird and giving them the parting gift of various shades of grout? I have two words for you but they're not nearly appropriate for this blog and you could probably guess them even if I censored it with strategically placed asterisks.

Our first house we built new and were blessedly forced to have a shower stall of fiberglass or whatever they make shower stalls out of. Epoxy? Plastic? Noodles? I don't know. It definitely wasn't papier mache although I think I would have preferred that to the tile/grout situation we have going on now. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't step or look into the shower and raise and angry fist to the grout and say, "Effing grout!"

I have no earthly idea why the previous home owners thought this would ever in a million years would be a sensible idea. No one comes in there but Chris and me, so why would I need something so boring like white tile and grout for which the only purpose it serves is to take years off my sanity and television time? It's not even fancy Travertine or...hell I don't know. Whatever tile is fancy. It's just boring white ceramic square tiles. Ergh.

Not only is there tile and grout, there's a garden tub which I still haven't figured out how to clean gracefully after a year and a half of living here. Am I supposed to wear shoes and step into the tub to clean the wall side? I'm still not sure, so I usually end up laying across the width of the tub with my arm propping me up either on the wall or the bottom of the tub. One slip and I face plant into the side. My back also hurts because of the stupid bridge I have to make across the span of the tub.

I've decided that the next house we get I'm going to cover all the surfaces of the bathroom in truck bed liner material so it can just be hosed down a floor drain like a locker room. Walls, floor, bathtub, toilet, and counter tops will all be seamless hard plastic sheeting that is impervious to mildew and wasting time.

Grout ranks right up there with marshmallow Peeps, cantaloupe, leggings as pants, aspartame, and stiletto high heels as one of the worst inventions ever.

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Dear Ben -- You're no longer 16 going on 17

Because today you are 17 and I can no longer serenade you snippets from the Sound of Music. Remember when I sang to you, "You are 16 going on 17..." in my best Movie Musical Voice the other day in your bedroom? It was just the other day. And none of us were uncomfortable.

But the day is here when you're 17 and no longer a baby bird. I haven't even seen you today because you're out there in the real world. It's weird to know it's your birthday and I've yet to wish you happy birthday for real because you did NOT seem pleased when I woke you up at 6:50 and sang in my happy birthday voice, "Happy birthday, Ben!" I'm guessing you were wishing it wasn't your birthday until much later, like 10:30 or 11.

Perhaps this just gives us a taste of what's to come with you getting older. Katy asked me if I was crying all day because it's your birthday and you're getting older. But it's not sad. It's only sad the first couple of years when kids are little and the baby days are over. Then it's really cool to see the big person you become. And you're such a wicked awesome big person. You are hands down one of my favorite people ever. Seriously. 

You know how when you come home after work and you lay at the foot of our bed in the Ben spot, just shooting the breeze and imparting the smell of the Whataburger kitchen into the fibers of our bedspread? I love that. And when you talk to us for 30 minutes and then go get your dinner and bring it up to our room and sit in the arm chair and eat your dinner so you can talk to us some more? I cherish those moments. You are so wonderfully chatty and witty and have such a good sense of humor.

I realize that these days are fleeting. I know that when we make plans for the future they usually include statements like, "When Ben goes to college..." or "After Ben moves out to college..." These conversations are so abstract in theory but the days are evaporating so so quickly that college is becoming the reality. It makes my heart hurt to know that I won't see you on an everyday basis or see your big man shoes under the coffee table or see you devour three pounds of mashed potatoes in a sitting. 

Great. Now I'm sad, Ben. I was happy for you since it's your birthday and all, but now I'm sad that it's your birthday and it means you will be leaving us in such a short amount of time. It's quickly approaching when the memories of your childhood will be what fills the halls rather than the sound of your footsteps or the rumble of your voice. You were the first best thing that ever happened to us, Ben. You're a keeper. Happy birthday.


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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Living in a sepia-toned present day

I just dropped a handful of popcorn bits down the front of my shirt into my bra. I hope I do not find myself in a situation in which I encounter emergency personnel and my clothes need be cut away from my body for some such emergency. That would be awkward for all involved. Surely a lady would clean out popcorn bits from her undergarments. Perhaps a lady wouldn't be eating popcorn out of her hand like you would feed goats at a petting zoo.

To counteract the 210 calories I'd just eaten, I went for a 5-mile walk by myself. I tried to get Sadie to go with me but she was talking to a friend. I suppose at this age, friends trump boring old moms with their long walks by the beach and hot cups of coffee. I even wore my ankle weights to hopefully burn 3 additional calories. I'm not sure how much they weigh. One pound each? I don't know. I want to work up to 10-pound weights. When that becomes too easy, I'd like to use toddlers. One on each leg. I might be less scared to wear shorts this summer.

Chris had class tonight and Ben was...somewhere. Work? School? I don't know. I should probably find out. I proceeded to make dinner alone because Sadie was still...somewhere. I don't know. In her room? Asleep? I should probably find out. I set about making pizza dough for the -- you guessed it -- pizza, grating cheese, pureeing the sauce, slicing olives. The normal. Perhaps cooking and cleaning is my hobby? I seem to put so much time and effort into that. Surely devoting two hours to cooking and cleaning should count as something more than "chores." That's so deflating. It would make sense to dub it a hobby and be done with the meaningful fulfillment pursuit.

I also cut up strawberries and kiwi for a fruit salad. I dressed it with juice from a clementine and honey so it would be extra delicious. Delicious-er than usual. I removed the moldy strawberries from the bunch because I'm a considerate cook. This was the result of dinner that no one was present to enjoy:
I totally cleaned my stove top just for this picture. The crust is homemade, hence its wonkiness.

As I was standing alone in the kitchen, I looked over and saw this:
I mean we don't live in a sepia-colored reality obviously. But it was like I was already looking at a memory, seeing remnants of these really awesome kids of mine. There's this:
I did not ask Ben to model it for his stinky old mom's blog because moms and mom cooties and bleh bleh ack pbbbbttthh. If you'd told me that I'd one day have this totally kick ass 16-year-old who has accomplished enough to earn a letter jacket in cross country, I'd have said you were cuckoo. He even earned a captain patch. Internet. Seriously. One of my favorite, funniest, hard workingest people I know. What did I do to deserve him? A big fat nothing. Luck of the draw. Doesn't even seem fair to other people who get not awesome sons.

Then there's this:
This is Sadie's box for Valentine's day. Crazy part is she doesn't even think it's good enough. Like...whaaat? I know that at 10, *I* would have never come up with that. Pretty sure I can't even do that now. She covered a shoe box at the bottom, toilet paper rolls in the middle, a heart-shaped box with glittery lid on top, and a flag of kebob skewers. If you'd told me one day that I'd have this wicked awesome girl with razor sharp wit and a heart for others that feels everything so deeply, I wouldn't have even come close to believing you because I wouldn't think that girls like that even existed. But she does. And she's mine. I do not know what I did to deserve her, but I feel sorry for moms who get boring compliant daughters who aren't part-time engineer hobbyists.

I cleaned the kitchen for Chris so he would love me more. I also made coffee so he will buy me pretty things AND not get mad when I buy things on eBay. Ahem. But also because he deserves the very best. And a clean kitchen and hot coffee. Big things. Little things. All of it.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Way to go, Reality. Just crush all my dreams.

It dawned on me recently that I'm approaching the age in which I need a hobby. The kids are growing up and the baby cooker is out of business, so that leaves me to my own devices. Turns out my devices are really boring. There's only so much buying and acquiring of things before you reach the end of eBay and you don't need another Precious Moments figurine. 

My top two choices in Hobby Pursuit 2015 were:

1.) singing and 
2.) taking piano lessons

You know how when people realize that they can sing or have a moderately decent voice and think, I could really make a career with this melodious gift that's been so graciously bestowed upon me that I should unleash it on the world?  Right. Well, I'm living the opposite realization. I've long known that I can't sing pretty much at all. Suuuuuck at it. 

I tried to find some sort of CD or DVD tutorial that could help me learn pitch and breathing and posture that could launch my recording career but it was to no avail. I asked Sadie's music teacher if she thought that people either could or couldn't sing and if it was or wasn't something that could be necessarily taught. She said I could try but it doesn't always work. I've tried singing along to songs in the car but I still sound horrid.

I then moved on to my interest in piano lessons because that doesn't require that I inflict my voice upon unsuspecting or unprepared audiences. I mean I took piano lessons for a good portion of my formative childhood and teenage years, so the transition in to adult virtuoso should be pretty seamless. Turns out we don't have a piano. We don't even have a reasonable facsimile. Strike two on becoming a more interesting person. I was really looking forward to my first recital, too.

As I was leaving for work this morning (at least I still get out of the house, right? that's kind of like a hobby), I saw that someone had put some counter height bar stools in the alley free for the taking. That's when I thought that I could pursue a furniture refinishing business hobby. When unveiling my Great Plan to Chris, he was less than enthusiastic.

Chris: "Should I just move these chairs up to the attic like the last two or should I let them sit in the garage for 7 months before I do it?"

Me (there's no sense in procrastinating on anything): "Sure. They can sit there until I get some supplies."

Chris: "Where are you going to get all these 'supplies?'"

Me: "The store."

I think my new hobby is going to be purposeless furniture acquisition just to mess with Chris. This should be fun AND worthwhile. It's like a bonus hobby.

I need them to build an Aldi in front of the neighborhood so I can get a part time job to support my hobby. I don't know who "them" is but they need to get busy. I have things to buy.

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Monday, February 9, 2015

I don't Pinterest anything and I don't know how long I've been married

I wonder if anyone ever eats at Golden Chick and says to their inner self afterwards, "That was really a good idea. I'm glad I made that choice." I like eating and all, but seriously. Dairy upsets my stomach, so greasy fried chicken tenders with gravy probably isn't the best decision without being under extreme duress or the influence of alcohol. Maybe if you were in jail. Then it might be appealing.

After complaining to Chris for the last 14 years of our marriage about how cold the coffee is right after brewing and how it's cold before I even get upstairs to our bedroom to enjoy a formerly lukewarm cuppa joe and as real world college educated adults who deserve hot coffee, we finally broke down and went to Sam's to buy a coffee maker. It was touted as having 6 hot water jets and coffee spinner. It's like a jetted coffee whirlpool it's so fancy. It also makes the coffee blistering hot. Like...really hot. It burned my tiny baby girl mouth with all its hot heat that rivaled the surface of the sun.

Me (knowing how Chris likes loves to hear my status updates): "This coffee is hot. Maybe too hot."

Chris (he's the best): "Good grief. Maybe we need to brew half the coffee in our old coffeemaker and half in the new one, then mix them together to get the optimal temperature."

Me (that sounds like he's mocking me): "Your plan sounds ridiculous."

If it weren't so labor intensive, I might consider it. 

Confession: I don't think we've been married 14 years. I'm really not sure how many years it's been. We might just be on 12. With all the being married twice and the early aughts that all run together, I can't remember what happened in what year. I'll have to ask Chris when he gets home. I always forget in which year we were married and the running tally on total years of marital bliss. I wonder if it's been blissful for him, too? I should ask him that when he gets home.

Q1. How long have we been married?
Q2. In what year were we married?
Q3. What percentage of those years would you say you were happiest? Moderately happy? Not happy at all?

We should all know where we stand, right? I could stand to improve my wife skills. I would be willing to bet they fall below the national average. I don't Pinterest anything. Search, pin, make, browse...nothing. Surely we all know how deficient I am at doing anything that requires womanly skill. You've read this blog before, right? There you go.

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