Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family Planning

Photo credit:
We had a plan.  Of course nothing went according to plan.  Nothing ever does.  In my 20's when everyone else was on birth control, I was trying to get pregnant.  Now in my mid- 40's when some women are trying extraordinary measures to get pregnant, I'm trying desperately not to.  Which wasn't helped at all when I dropped my birth control pill in the dog's water bowl earlier this week.  But this post isn't about that.  It's about the other kind of family planning.  Trying to get anywhere with 4 kids, 2 dogs and 1 husband.

After my last post which contained a video of my friends ogling my bedroom renovation, a twenty something from Twitter asked me if my friends come over all the time and hang out.  And I about spit out my coffee.  Because apparently if you're in your twenties without kids you have no idea what kind of major military operation it is to go anywhere or to just have people over at your house when you all have kids.  (And I'm not even including cleaning your house just enough so people don't call CPS on you.)

As are the kids.  Not to mention, the damn dogs.

So, at the small, intimate renovation party I had (that I feel guilty I couldn't invite ALL my friends to), one of my very good friends, Victoria, broke the news that she's moving two hours away.  If you don't have kids, you might think....A measly two hours?  No biggie!  But you'd be wrong.  So completely wrong.  Because last summer I had two very good friends, Suzanne and Mary move one hour away, to Denver.  So I can verify that I don't see either of them near enough because of our family schedules.

Take for example last Sunday.
When we had a tentative family date with my friend, Mary and her family.
Who also has 4 kids.

Originally, we wanted to go tubing.  Problem was, the river doesn't have cell service and Craig was on-call for work.  Mary has derby practice Sunday mornings, so we'd meet in the afternoon.  That was until Sky came home the night before and informed us he took on someone else's hours at work the next day, not knowing we had family plans.  He'd start work at 4.  So between roller derby practice and work, we had between the hours of  2 and 4 to make this happen. (I didn't even mention  accounting for the dogs' walk to insure they don't pee on my new flooring.)  Then, it takes and hour to drive to Denver, providing Sky with some supervised driving hours with his permit.  Risking the lives of the entire family.  Of course none of this worked.  Well, we didn't die.  So that worked.  But, after a whole series of snafus and life circumstances, we didn't end up connecting. 

But, that wasn't the worst part.  When we were almost home, driving through thick traffic and rain, rushing to get Sky to work on time, Sky found out he didn't, in fact, have to work after all.

Our family plan would've worked too !
 If it wasn't for that meddling kid who's conscientious and motivated to work to earn money to buy himself a car.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Big Reveal

Clyde's tail swatch of one of the paint colors.
When I last left you, I was writing about how I half ass everything while finishing up my impromptu bedroom renovation.  Caused by my dogs (Bonnie & Clyde) whom I have a co-dependent relationship with, pissing on my carpet so many times the urine permeated down to the subfloor.  And yet, I still won't kennel them.  But, how can I be pissed at them?  I did gain a whole new appreciation of hating home improvement projects and a Bali-inspired bedroom out of it!

The before pic: A whiter shade of pale.
We'd never gone to any extraordinary measures to do anything to our bedroom.  We came, we saw, we stopped seeing, we closed our eyes, we slept.  Cause it's a bedroom.  We spend time in there with our eyes closed.  But when it came time for a change, I got an idea almost immediately from a little miniature globe that sat on my dresser for over a year because I didn't know where to hang it.  I still don't.  But, I do have a penchant for globes and maps.

The penchanted over homeless mini-globe.
In real life, I vehemently hate teal, In globe life, I loved the color of the ocean.  And Australia.  Even though I wanted the room to look Balinese.  I don't know where the hell I came up with a Bali-inspired room.  I have never been to Bali. Who knows?  Inspiration strikes for no apparent reason.  It sure the hell isn't practical.  And it's never boring.  Like the "Big Reveal" party I planned for a few of my friends to come "ooh and ahh" at my room.  Listen.  Listen to the copious "oohs and ahhs"!

(More friends came later.  And things got more interesting as the night wore on.) 

I'm sure Bali looks NOTHING like this at all.  

See what I mean?  NOT BORING!  And for the record, I only made the bed for this picture.  Because I half ass things and making the bed seems like a huge waste of time when you're only going to get back in it and mess it up again.  (Plus I had to make my bed every day as a kid and I'm still rebelling against that one.)

 Bali must have lots of Buddahs.  Right?
I know it looks like this Buddha head would have a poetic travel story to accompany it (my camel bench does), but I confess, it's from Hobby Lobby.  But vintage Hobby Lobby from like 9 years ago.  So, totally like hipster-cool or something.  Heavy on the something.

My biggest fan.
My biggest fan, is in fact, a pretty big fan.

Women always want to play on the pole. 
Totem pole or stripper pole?  Feminism is so confusing. 

I call this move 'Dead Man's Float'
Although he's not selling it with his eyes.  And he looks like he needs a life jacket. My friend Ken did realize he should tip strippers better.

Warning:  Empty your bladder before playing.
Then, when the kids ditched us and took off for the park down the street, we started playing Cards Against Humanity.  If you have not played this game, do NOT play it with children in earshot and be prepared that you will do your hardiest, thus ugliest laugh you are capable of.  Come to think of it, we should have played it in my room.  Just to make things even more inappropriate.  But that's ok...

No more scratching to get out of my bedroom.
Because I have a feeling I'm gonna be spending a lot more time in my Bali-wood inspired retreat.
Blissfully, alone.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Goal Oriented

Although I'm a type b kinda girl, I'm also extremely goal oriented.  Oh,  how I want to get things done.  I just don't want to go through all the boring, tedious steps to do it right.  Which leads to a lot of half-assing things.

I skim e-mails from my kids 3 schools.  Sure education is important, but it's like they're forcing me to read The Old Man and the Sea again or something.

I don't read (never mind follow) directions well.  And my sense of direction?  It's horrendous!

I won't bother with things like priming a surface or other things that you can't see with the naked eye.

If the car starts what does it matter that the check engine light has been on for over a year?

I don't think I've ever used ALL the screws that come with the Ikea furniture.

Cleaning the oven?  Really?  News flash:  It's only going to get dirty again.

Same with ironing. It's a vicious, pointless cycle that was meant to be broken.

And I can make a 30-minute workout even shorter by not doing the warm-up or the cool-down.

How often are you supposed to change your toothbrush?  Wait, don't even tell me.

I shove things into my cabinets/closets then unmeticulously arrange it just enough to close the door.

Sudoku?  Crossword puzzles?  No one sees how sharp or dull my mind is.  So, huge waste of time.

I could come up with other examples, but frankly, I'm too lazy.

So basically, my goal is to conserve energy.  
And I think in this day and age we all know how important conservation is.  

(Wait until you see the big reveal on my half-assed home improvement project on Monday.)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Camp Host Nazi

We look forward to it every summer.  Our annual camping trip on the lake surrounded by mountains and good friends.  Letting the elements run free in the elements.  We've been doing this so long we know exactly what to expect and we plan for it.  Bringing extra food, sunscreen, towels and life vests.  Except we didn't expect her.  Doreen.  Camp host and resident camp Nazi for the summer.

A rare sighting of Camp Nazi in her Nazimobile
After we had meticulously sprawled our tents between our campsites and the kids set up their hammocks to sleep among the trees and under the stars, she appeared.  Spewing her camp regulations and shoving a passive aggressive printed copy of them in my friend's hands.  We'd need to move our tents.  And no hammocks.  We'd have to create a tent city with zero lot lines on our pad.   Somehow this didn't blight the neighborhood.  Nor did the blaring country music.  Or dog owners that neglected to pick up their dogs' crap.  Or the fact that there wasn't a non-smoking section.

How could this be? 
None of this tent pad nonsense was enforced before.
 It didn't make any sense.  
The way regulations rarely do.  

Our thoughts on this bullshit is best represented by a photo of my friend Ken holding the regulations.  
Which we used for kindling soon thereafter.  

And then we handled the situation like adults.  We took to the lake for happy hour and talked about Doreen.  Pranks that we could pull, like TPing her camper.  Or putting honey around it to attract the bears.  We came up with condescending names for her.  Like Latrine.  And Doron.  But in the end, we did nothing.  Because we're mature adults.  Most of the time anyway.

The next morning, after that first cup of crappy camp coffee, the walk of shame to the commode to excavate one's bowels began.   And what's worse than taking a shit in a camp toilet already filled with shit, flies and the odors of a month's worth or more of the shits of strangers?

Not having anything to wipe your ass with because the camp host, that doron, Latrine, didn't stock the toilet paper.
We so should have TPed her camper!

To read more about last year's camping adventure you can check out So Campy here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Phone Skills

If you don't know me in real life, you may not know exactly how technologically inept I am.  The modern world and I aren't friends really.  I often feel like I was born in the wrong time in history.  But, I am glad that I'm living when toothpaste and dental hygiene are important.   However, my phone skills are a completely different story. And now I'm going to say something completely shocking in this day and age,  I hate my phone.

I used to have the cheapest most bare basics Walmart phone.  Until it died.  Reluctantly, forcing me to get a new phone. At which time I upgraded to the second cheapest most bare basics Walmart phone, which is actually less user friendly than the original one.  Anyone who texts me is also in hate with my phone.  But the list of people persistent enough to text me at this point is extremely short.

Originally, I thought I got a phone so my kids could reach me, you know,  in case something happened and they needed to get in touch with me.  However, the last person my kids are interested in getting in touch with is me. They wander our house with my phone in hand calling and texting their friends usually conceiving a plot to get out of Dodge.  Which is why at any given moment (like this one) I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA WHERE MY PHONE IS!

Annoying facts about my phone:

I can't receive photos or group messages.

I can't surf the internet.  So of course I can't facebook or twitter on my phone.

I can't see the little tiny buttons on the stupid thing without my reading glasses and because of this, every text is chock full of typos which makes me sound like I'm constantly drunk.

My phone frequently and spontaneously turns itself off.  Which requires I take the back off and the battery out, then put it all back in and wait about 5 long minutes until it warms up again.  Which means I could run across town, tap my friend on the shoulder, whisper my message in their ear in person before I could (in)conveniently text it.

I have a funny voicemail message my friends claim to enjoy.  Funny thing is,  I have no idea how to retrieve them. Ha.. joke's on you!  Unless it's actually on me...

I have butt dialed more people than I have ever talked to on that piece of shit. Yesterday's butt dial recipient was especially awkward, my ex-sister-in-law whom I haven't spoken to since she divorced my brother.  What is the divorce-phone protocol anyway?  Am I supposed to delete her from my contacts?  I don't even know how to do that.  Plus, I fear deleting a contact would mean I'd call them at least 3 more times.

Which brings me to the fact that I often don't even text my own texts.  The kids do.  Even though I've asked them a million times not to do this.  Although, it is a hell of a lot easier for me to just have them do it.  And remember my social calendar.

Why don't I just get a new phone you ask?  Because essentially, I'm used to living without a phone.
Plus, I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA WHERE MY PHONE IS TO TRADE UP.  That's why.  Those my friends are my phone skills.  Or rather,  lack thereof.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Home Improvement Hell

I wasn't seeking a home improvement project.  It sought me, the way these things do.  Not in a cosmetic, my-bedroom-needs-a-face lift-way.  Although it did.  But, when I'm in there I have my eyes closed, so what do I care if the walls and carpet are all white like a sanitarium?  I have bigger things to worry about.  That was until the dogs mistook the sanitarium for the latrine.  And pissed prodigious puddles all the way down to the subfloor.  That's exactly when this home improvement started.  And then I wanted it done, like yesterday.

I had a vision.

This is what I excel at.  The conceptual and creative side of things.  It's the logical, technical, focused, step-by-step, carrying out of that vision that I completely suck at.  Though I know these things about myself, I'm still excited at the beginning of the project. 

Step 1:  Destruction.  

Removing the carpet, pad, staples and baseboards.  Things are changing rapidly.  You can see it, you can feel it and most of all you can take out your aggressions about having to do an impromptu home improvement project because your dogs pissed you off.  I like deconstructing things.

Step 2:  Trash it.

The carpet and disintegrating pad have been dragged down the stairs and out the front door, spewing dust and dirt throughout the house along the way. Now, to get the carpet in the car to find an unsuspecting open dumpster to trash it in.  Crap.  Not only is the house filthy, now the car is.  And so am I.  I'm  white trash.  Except I'm more dingy gray pig-pen with surrounding dust cloud trash.  

Step 3:  Home Depot Stalking.

We're ready for tools, paint and more tools and more paint. I'm in Home Depot so often,  I think the paint guy thinks I have a thing for him.  I try to make intelligent, witty conversation to convince him otherwise, but since I'm starved to get out of the house and have an adult conversation, this might be backfiring. I hope he doesn't file a restraining order on me because this step is on repeat and shows no sign of stopping.

Step 3.5:  Distraction:

While going to the Lowe's way across town to look for a ceiling fan, because I'm absolutely nowhere near this more fun part of the project, I end up in World Market right next to the Lowe's that, as my friend Hillary noted, is almost to Kansas.  Don't judge: Sometimes you just need to get out.  As you may know, they don't sell ceiling fans in World Market.  But they do have chairs.  The perfect chair that is going to tie this whole entire room together.  It's a divine intervention of Design Star.  

Step 4:  That's it, I Want a Divorce.

I made it all the way to this point by myself, juggling the kids, their activities and the dogs and I'd like to put all of them in the dog house. Perturbed,  I haphazardly slap some paint on the wall amidst the chaos.  It's an unconventional color, but it's going to work.  I repeat this to the kids who come in and judge my 'creative genius'.  Then Friday night, my husband arrives home from work, looks at the wall and simply says, "That doesn't look like Australia."  (The colors of the room are based off a miniature globe and 'Australia' is the wall color.)  I give him the silent treatment the rest of the night for what I perceive to be his lack of support and secretly plan our divorce.  

Step 5:  Slave Labor.

If this project is ever going to get done, we need some free, but completely unwilling, labor.  The kids.  They can help paint the walls.  The whining will be worth it in the end.  You can't screw up paint right?  Wrong.  This step lasted less than 45 minutes.  Child slave labor is loud, sloppy, fights and requires blaring pop music for fuel.  And they need to take frequent breaks to snack.  (Yes, for only 45 minutes of "work" snacking was in their contract.) 

Step 5.5:  The Monsoon:

I got distracted (again) and went out to look for curtains and ended up in a torrential rainstorm of monsoon proportions white knuckling it across town in the minivan.  Of course, after all that, they didn't have the curtains I wanted in store.  So I came home and ordered them on-line.  

Step 6:  Reconciliation:

After a long day of work, I swiped my armpits with some of my son's manly smelling Axe deodorant (the only stick I could find), threw on a flowery dress I bought at a thrift store that clashed with the paint on my knee, and went out for a nice dinner with my husband.  Who had worked his ass off prepping the floor and cleaning up my messes.  I decided not to get divorced.  I think it might have been the wine.  Or the fact that he said he really does like the color even if it doesn't look like Australia.  Or the fact that we're so far from being done and I still need his help.  

Step 7:  Abbreviation:

All the super boring detail work that I'm super crappy at that takes forever.  Insert that here. 

Step 8:  Aren't We Done Yet?:

No. There's always more.  Always. Plus, projects are always double the anticipated length of duration.  At least.  If they are ever done at all.

Step 9:  Replication:

Our current project isn't even done yet and we already have the next one.  Waiting.  Looming.
And ultimately mocking us and our foolish do-it-yourself- selves.

Step 10:   Regret:

This can come in two major forms. Why did we start this $%&^%*! project in the first place?  Or why didn't we just hire a professional to do this ^&*%$! project in the first place?

I'm not sure which regret we'll have yet because we're still on step 7.  Which is the 7th level of Home Improvement Hell.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pissed Off

I never intend for summer to leave me pissed off, but it never fails to do so.  Because I have four indulged first world kids who must be coaxed into chores.  Which makes me reconsider my whole stance on child labor laws.  I'm pro-third world child labor laws and anti-first world ones.  But that's not what's pissing me off the most this summer.  That would be the smell of dog piss in my carpet.

I know there is an easy solution.  My family has pleaded with me to kennel them.  Except, Bonnie and Clyde are rescue dogs.  We don't know their story, except they were found wandering the streets of Pueblo together.  And it was apparent Bonnie had more than one litter of puppies from the flap of skin that hangs from her belly that has never receded.  When I took Bonnie to the vet, he said her teeth are damaged from biting on metal, probably a kennel. (At which point I assured him I was not the abusive puppy mill dog mom who did this to her.) This is why I can't kennel them. And every once in a while they have an accident on the floor.  But look at them...

Bonnie's Glamour Shot

Clyde's GQ Cover could I possibly be mad at them?  I mean I can be pissed at my kids, but they speak English and have opposable thumbs and I don't baby talk them.  Never have.  But the dogs with their naivety, and the corresponding dog guilt?  That's a whole different story.

So, I tell myself, I'll just clean it up one more time.  Every time.  And now my house smells like a zoo.  Specifically, the monkey house.  Where they piss and throw feces at one another.  It's disgusting.  I have bought every product and made my own concoctions to get rid of the smell.  To no avail.  And now that it's summer, the house is hot and we don't have air conditioning, the noxious odors have baked themselves into a crescendo of stank.  

And I can't even begin to tell you how pissed off I am right now!

Yesterday, I was ready to scrape up the money for a laminate floor, until I put feelers out on facebook.   That's when my friend Hillary (you know that friend who does everything perfect and makes you feel subpar and you want to barf in your mouth, that's Hillary) painted her subfloor.  So, guess what we're gonna do?  We're going to paint our subfloor and it'll probably look subpar and then we'll get a professional to fix it and it'll cost us a fortune.   And all because our priceless dogs pissed us off. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Feminist Perspective

I've read feminist books. And chose purposely not to expose my daughters to all that Disney princess some-guy-is-gonna-come-rescue-you-because-you're-so-beautiful-thus-way-too-stupid-to-rescue-yourself-crap.   So, my girls watched a lot of Mulan.  Even so, I never considered myself a feminist.  Feminists just always looked so pissed off and serious.  Gloria Steinam-Naomi Wolf serious.  And that just never engaged or appealed to me.

But, everywhere we've travelled, I've always noticed other women, the way they present themselves and social cues about the way women are treated.  The contradictions.  Like in Russia.  Which has the largest concentration of some of the most beautiful women I've ever seen.  Russian women dress like they're on a cover shoot for Cosmopolitan magazine.  Every day.  Russia must have a lot of podiatrists per capita for all the stilettos worn in country. And I'm sure you know Russian mail order brides is a thriving business for this (and many other) reasons. Sexist you say?

Did you know the Soviets put the first woman in space?  Not only that.  The year was 1963!
(America didn't put a woman into space for another 20 years.)

Meanwhile, in America in 1963, a notorious womanizer dismantled the "President's Commission on the Status of Women".  The womanizer?  President Kennedy.  But, only after its final report which later paved the way for maternity leave, equal opportunities for women and affordable childcare.  Another reason I never connected with feminism?  It's so confusing!

This past weekend, turned out to be that one day of the year I wear a cute strappy halter top that requires I not wear a bra.  Jade, my 13 year old daughter, was mortified and asked me to change.  I did not.  But, I did do what I always do.  I over thought the situation.

Can a feminist wear a halter top?  What about make-up?  And that push-up bra I own?  Oh here's the kicker.  Pole dance.  Surely, feminists don't pole dance.  Unless...unless this is completely stereotypical misogynist thinking.  Maybe I'm a post modern feminist.  Who believes strong, smart women can also  Not because anyone says we have to be, but because we want to be.  Because feeling feminine is a huge part of being a woman.  As is laughing your ass off at how absurd it is to be told what you can't be, usually by another woman.  We are the sex that keeps the entire human race in business after all.

And that's exactly what converted me to calling myself a feminist.  Humor.  Specifically, Caitlan Moran and her book How to be a Woman.  However, I'd also credit Sarah Silverman and all the other women who take me to the verge of pissing my pants with laughter while making me think at the same time.

So any day I damn well want, I will proudly wear a halter top braless in honor of all the women who paved the way for me to do so.  And for my daughters so they one day can wear a halter top or miniskirt or anything else they want only to be judged for being a slut because of it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Becoming Amish

 Photo credit:

It started with a tv show called Breaking Amish, and then its sequel  Return to Amish.  Not that I've seen either of them, but it got me thinking. Being Amish must be incredibly awesome if people leave only to discover they miss the smell of cow manure and shoveling it so much they return. And then I started to think about my entitled first world children.  Whose biggest complaint is that I restrict their screen time.  Then I had an idea.  We should become Amish.  And by 'we' I totally mean the kids.

Just think about it:

1.  They'd learn valuable life skills.  Like how to build a barn.  And make their own clothes.

2.  Plus, they'd be outside enjoying the sunshine.  And eating organic all natural non-hydrogenated foods.

3.  No need to worry about harm from microwaving anything in plastic. And if they miss dinner they can eat it cold.  Or it'll be fed to the pigs.  Serves them right.

4.  Environmental guilt will be obliterated, because our kids won't be using fossil fuels.  Wait, what are the rules for Amish and fossil fuels?  Whale oil for lamps?  Ok, I honestly have no idea.  Nor do I know if it's Greenpeace approved. 

5.  But, we definitely wouldn't have to teach them to drive a car.  Probably, just how to saddle and plow with an ox.

6.  And no member of the opposite sex is going to be interested in sullen, exhausted kids wearing clothes they made themselves from burlap sacks especially when they smell like a rare combo of b.o., cow manure and goat milk.  

7.  So BONUS it's natural birth control.  NATURAL I TELL YOU!

8.  Doing drugs would require that they build their own grow rooms or harvest poppy fields.  Which would be a huge deterrent.

9.  Because they'd have to initially score some poppy plants.  And how would they get to Afghanistan to score those?  A row boat?  Plus, they'd be way too exhausted by this point.

10.   And I didn't even mention fresh bacon,  butter and cheese!  Like really, really fresh.  Yum.

Seriously, I think this is one of the best ideas I've ever had.
Somewhere in Pennsylvania there has got to be an Amish summer camp I can send my kids to.


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