To Strip Or Not To Strip... That Is The Question

My husband and I have been having a heated discussion. We disagree on sheet changing etiquette when visiting family. My husband believes that you should strip the bed that you have been sleeping in at your Grandma Flo’s home before you leave. I believe that you should just simply make the bed as usual and say your good-byes… never mentioning the mysterious stain under the left pillow.

I personally prefer my house guests to not strip the bed. I would rather they just make it up and straighten the room as they go. This way I do not feel obligated to actually do the wash that day. If they strip the bed, I will wave good-bye to them and walk back into the house and start cursing because they have given me a chore to do RIGHT NOW because all of the sheets are piled up right next to the washing machine begging to be cleaned. My thinking is this, if you call me and say “Hey June, I am going to be coming out to visit you next week… you buy the beer and I’ll pay for the male dancer” well then I will march right into the guest bedroom and strip the already made bed in order to wash and re-make the bed with fresh sheets. So if you strip the bed when you leave, and I wash the sheets that day and re-make the bed, I will just have to do it all over again the next time you come in town. So unless you have spilled a strawberry margarita on my great Aunt’s antique quilt that she left me when she died… please don’t strip the sheets.

I also keep reminding my husband that we are no longer young kids. We are old. When our friends come over, they do not get so drunk that they have to “crash” at our house. The necessity for clean sheets on a bed has diminished with age. When we were first married a few of his friends did end up crashing at our house from time to time… but I burned those sheets. No washing required.

My husband on the other hand thinks that stripping the bed is actually helping the person who owns the house. Silly, silly man… when has handing a chore to a woman been listed under the “Big Help” list? He thinks this is the proper thing to do and believes it is rather rude to leave the bed all made up and sitting there with dirty sheets for God knows how long before Grandma Flo gets to it, as if we are so disgustingly dirty that the sooner we get those sheets cleaned the better. It may even be a matter of National Security.

So, we have come to a peaceful agreement. When we visit my family, who I feel is much like myself in their house chore beliefs (meaning-the less you have to do the better) we will not strip the bed but simply make it up all nice, remembering to never EVER plan a surprise visit… or we will be sleeping on the dirty sheets that have yet to have been washed since our last visit.

When we visit my husband’s family, we will strip the bed and put the sheets smack dab in the middle of the laundry room, and then go and tell them that we have stripped the bed for them and put the sheets in the laundry room for their attention. This works well with his family-especially his brother, who on the day you are leaving his house, will clean your bathroom before you have even finished your shower and vacuum you out of the house as he is waving good-bye. God love him.


Wish You Were Here...

As I type, we are speeding down the highway on the way to Atlanta for Easter. I tried in vain to lose those extra 12lbs that I have been carrying around on my butt… but alas, my crash diet of salads, m&m’s, and diet Pepsi only helped me lose 2 measly pounds. It must have been all of those extra large salads that did me in.

Who it is that packs in your house? I do all of the packing in my house. If I did not, my children would pack all of their dirty underwear, ripped t-shirts and holey blue jeans. I insist upon packing so that I can at least make sure my children look like they have a mother who cares.

My husband will set out all of the things that he wants me to pack for him. I will do this and then 100 miles down the road he will turn to me and say, “Did you pack my blue shirt with the yellow thread on the collar?” This will lead to a heated discussion because I will have no recollection of that blue shirt, and before you know it we are parked on the side of the highway and unpacking the entire rear of the van to check and make sure that I did in fact pack that one shirt. It always ends up that I have packed it., because my husband had set it out, but he could not remember and I do not care to remember. I honestly do not know why I try and organize the luggage in the back of the van because whenever we are parked on the side of the road, my husband just tosses all the luggage back into the van and my Easter dress will end up on the bottom and the (much needed-ever important-for the love of God we cannot forget them!) golf clubs will be on top.

Do you know how you see a lonely shoe or a discarded pair of pants along the highway? Those are just the things in my suitcase that have blown out when we are frantically searching for the blue shirt with the yellow thread in the collar. Those are my pants, and that is my shoe that I need to wear the next morning to Easter Mass.

Next time you see clothes on the side of the road, please pick it up and email me. I will give you my mailing address and you can send me my underwear that have been rolling and tumbling in the wind in North Carolina.

I am a horrible packer for myself. I go through my closet and decide to take things that I have not worn in three years. I say to myself “Hey! These parachute pants will look fabulous with that florescent green top I have! I must pack these!” I then spend the entire holiday in clothes that are too small because I held up my size 6 blue jeans and tossed them in my suitcase—just in case I lose 12lbs somewhere between Virginia and Georgia. It is an 11 hour drive-it could happen!

Yes, when I pull out my suitcase something happens within my brain. I am no longer able to decipher between what actually fits and what will make me look like a pair of pigs wrapped in a sheet. I will also pack 17 pair of shoes and 13 belts. You never know what may happen while on vacation. Those belts did come in handy one year when our car died and a Good Samaritan towed us to the local garage. Ever since it took 10 belts strapped together to tow our car, I never leave on vacation with less than 12 in my bag. I like to be prepared.

And I need those 17 pair of shoes because I know I will lose at least 5 along the highway when my husband searches for his favorite pair of sweat socks that he is not sure I packed for him.


3 Down, 1 To Go...

In the words of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) while he was being tortured and having his small intestine pulled out of his conscious body... "FREEEEEEDOMMMMMMM!"

Emma learned how to put her own seat belt on today!

Now some of you may be saying to yourself "big stinking deal." But, this is in fact a big stinking deal! Do you know how long I have been buckling her in her car seat? For almost 5 years now. I have bras that are older than that...

It is me who is always the last person in the car because I am buckling various children in their safety seats. It is me who gets her hair blown by the gusty wind on our way to Church because I am buckling children in safety seats so that by the time we get to Church I look like I am a prostitute on the corner of 5th and Dodge and need to go to confession. It is me who gets a soaking wet back and butt because I am standing in the rain buckling little people in their safety seats. It is me who thinks that she is going to get car jacked while buckling these children in their seats because I am completely vulnerable with my back side to any criminal element that is out there!

But not anymore.

Emma has mastered the art of buckling herself in her booster seat and now I don't have to yell things like "Will you HURRY UP and get in your seat before my butt cheeks get frostbite!" or "Will you please stop hopping around and just get in your seat before the mall police ticket me for loitering!"

Now that she has met this milestone in her life, she now gets to face the "how fast can I buckle myself before my mother starts driving like a bat out of hell" obstacle.

Today she did rather well, she was securely buckled before we even got to the grocery store. I am sure within a week she will be buckled before we are out of the driveway.

She is a quick study.


They're Coming To Take Me Away Ha Ha...

That is it. I quit. Seriously...

I don't know who I was kidding when I thought I would successfully be able to raise children. I am failing miserably.

I cannot remember when it was that I had a thought of my own. I don't know what it is like to have quiet in my house. I have no idea what it feels like to be able to eat an entire sandwich by myself. Forget about talking on the phone to anyone without being interrupted, and I think the last time I had a shower without a little person coming in to ask me if they could have a Popsicle at 8am was 13 years ago.

When Carl and I first got married we had a 5 year plan. We decided to wait to have children for 5 years. We wanted to grow as a married couple, become financially stable and possibly be able to buy furniture somewhere other than a second-hand store before we brought children into our love nest. 9 months after we said "I do" we became pregnant.

Two and a half years later we were pregnant again.

I was feeling good with having children so young. I was happy with the fact that I would still be a young 42 year old when our oldest went away to college. 40 is the new 30 right? I envisioned driving up to Hope's college on parent weekend in my BMW convertible and my hair blowing in the wind. Carl and I would be heading on to yet another cruise after we spent the weekend with our college student.

It was a nice dream...

Then we got pregnant again... and again.

Don't get me wrong, I love my children more than is humanly possible. That does not mean that they do not drive me batty just about every day of their little lives. Just because I love them, it does not mean I do not hide in my closet everyday around 3 pm humming "I'm A Little Tea Pot." Just because I love them, it does not mean that I am 20 lbs. heavier than I was on my wedding day because of all the extra half-eaten chicken nuggets that I consume off of Dora The Explorer dinner plates.

I am with my children 24/7. Homeschooling is stupid. OK, I did not really mean that, I just had to say it out loud for a second.

When people come up to me and say "I don' t know how you do it!" I want to say "I don't know either because I am damn tired... I mean damn damn damn tired."

You know how I had that dream of driving up to parent's weekend in my fancy car... well now I will be driving up to parent's weekend in my minivan with a first grader in the backseat and with fruit snacks stuck to my pants.

I know, I know, someday I will miss all of this. But right now I just want to have a little peace. I just want to be able to teach the 7th grader algebra without a baby crying, a four year old running through the house asking for a snack because she has a tapeworm, and a 10 year old playing civil war and shooting all of us for treason.

I just want to be able to clean the kitchen and have it stay clean for longer than 45 seconds. I just want to be able to wash only one head of hair a day (my own) and wipe only one butt a day (again, my own.) I want to be able to run to the store without packing luggage to go with me. I just want to be able to get through a check-out line without little people asking for candy and then screaming at the top of their lungs when the answer is no. I just want to get through one mother-loving day without listening to whining.

Sure, I pray to the Blessed Virgin for strength... but she only had one child and IT WAS JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF! I ask you, how difficult could He be? I bet He never asked his mother 21 questions after she got off the phone with the Maytag repair man. I bet He never asked for banana pudding and then changed His mind after two bites and cried for the chocolate pudding. I bet He never woke up his mother 3 times in the middle of the night for a glass of water, to go pee and to help Him find his baby doll that He can no longer find (which is laying right beside him). I bet He never once rolled his eyes at His mother or told her she was unfair and ruining His life!

Ahhh, but who am I kidding? I am in no comparison to Mary my Mother. I bet she never told her child that he was a pain in the butt and going to send her to the loony bin and he would have to take the bus to visit her since the police were going to take away their car because of all of the hands, heads, and feet that are sticking out of windows and are going to get popped off by the next passing semi truck! I bet she never referred to her child as "twerp." I bet she never hid in the bathroom eating a box of ding dongs and crying either.

I suppose if I thought I was a fabulous mother I would not try to be better. It is a good thing that I think myself a failure... I have no where to go but up (or to an insane asylum, which ever comes first.)


When Irish Eyes Are Smiling...

Why I Love Being Irish...

Ah, tis' a fine day to be Irish on St. Patty's day. A day when lots of people pretend to be Irish and the Irish get really drunk so we don't have to notice all of the Irish impostors.

I love being Irish because we have the best parades. We don't mess around with tossing candy or waving politely at everyone. We have beer trucks in our parades! We also throw insults and garbage at the politicians and cheer for little Colleen O'Brien who is in one of the 12 Irish Dance troupes in the parade.

I love being Irish because we dye everything green on St. Patty's day. Our hair, our beer, our potatoes. My friend even put green food coloring in her toilet bowl water today! I do that too... only mine is a result of all of the green beer consumed.

I love being Irish because before each sip of a drink, there has to be a long drawn out blarney story told with a toast. By the end of the night we are saying things like "An' here is to ol' Eamon, who thought he was going to be wearin' his brown pants today but decided to wear the blue. To Eamon and his blue pants!"

I love being Irish because I love a good fist fight. You know a Irish wedding reception is not complete until there is a fist fight in the parking lot. It is usually between the groom and the best man, or the groom and his new father-in-law, or the groom and the reception hall manager.

I love being Irish because we think we deserve to be kissed just because of our heritage.

I love being Irish because the Irish can curse like no other nationality. I am not fookin' around.

I love being Irish because we have jokes like these:

A man stumbles up to the only other patron in a bar and asks if he could buy him a drink.
"Why of course," comes the reply. The first man then asks: "Where are you from?""I'm from Ireland," replies the second man. The first man responds: "You don't say, I'm from Ireland too! Let's have another round to Ireland."
"Of Course," replies the second man. Curious, the first man then asks: "Where in Ireland are you from?" "Dublin," comes the reply.
"I can't believe it," says the first man. "I'm from Dublin too! Let's have another drink to Dublin."
"Of course," replies the second man. Curiosity again strikes and the first man asks: "What school did you go to?"
"Saint Mary's," replies the second man. "I graduated in '62.""This is unbelievable!" the first man says. "I went to Saint Mary's and I graduated in '62, too!"
About that time in comes one of the regulars and sits down at the bar. "What's been going on?" he asks the bartender. "Nothing much," replies the bartender. "The O'Malley twins are drunk again."

And finally, I love being Irish because the following video clip explains so much about my personality. I took it to my therapist and she finally had a break-through!


Just Don't Look In My Drawers...

Every Sunday since we put our house up for sale, I rush home from Mass and start cleaning like a crazy woman. Every Sunday we seem to get a steady stream of people (well, maybe not steady, but a stream none the less) that come through our house. We are hoping they buy, but they are probably just our neighbors from across town who are nosey.

Anyway, I would love to clean this house on a Friday or a Saturday and have it STAY clean for our Sunday-potential buyers-but probably just snoopers-but that would be impossible. It is impossible because of all of the little people that reside in this home. I walk out of a perfectly clean room only to walk back in and see papers, crayon wrappers, socks, Polly Pocket pants, army men, notebooks with entries like "100 reason why I loathe my mother," and even strewn underpants and empty beer bottles. How does this happen?

So, as I was saying, on Sunday I rush home to clean. By Sunday night I am pulling my hair out because I look around and it is a mess again.

I finally figured out why...

I am not really cleaning. I am doing the "just stuff the junk in any spare drawer, closet, corner, even the empty soup tureen" dance with destruction.

Moving has done this to me. The military has made me a world class junk hider. My children have made me... well, fat... but that is another post. And the potential buyers who are probably just snoopers have made me a pack rat!

I can't wait until we sell this house so I can go back to having all of my junk out where I don't have to be ashamed. It is exhausting putting on this facade of living in a home that is always clean-and you too can live in a constantly clean home IF YOU JUST BUY MINE!!!

I can't wait until Monday.


Super Deligates in the Blogsphere...

As some of you may know, I have been nominated on the catholicblogawards for the most humorous blog. I thought I would bribe you all into going on and voting for me with a picture of my husband and the men that he works with...

He is the best looking one... Millsy is the one with the nipple ring. He is a cheeky one that Millsy.

Happy Voting!

It Is All Part Of Their Evil Plan...

I seem to be losing my hair at rapid speeds. It must be a hormonal thing, or a spring thing, or an alcohol-related thing... or maybe it is because I pull it out while I scream type of thing. In any case, it is driving me mad I tell you! Mad!

The longer my hair gets, the more I lose. Taking a shower has become a burden. My biggest pet peeve (and yes, I am aware that I have many pet peeves) is hair on the soap. The problem with my hair is that it is blond, so I cannot see it easily on the soap and it takes me 15 minutes just to scrape it off. I also cannot see the hair that I feel between my fingers and toes during a shower and the hairs that slip down the back of my legs and take up residence right behind my knee only to bother me take at least 30 minutes to hunt down and remove from my body. By the time I step out of the shower, I need a shot of tequila to calm my nerves.

When I blow my hair dry I can see it just flying off of my head and falling to the ground. When I put product through my lovely locks I end up with fists full of hair. When I turn to leave the bathroom I glance over my shoulder and see what looks like a hair garden sprouting on my back.

I waste valuable moments of my life by plucking fallen hairs off of my back and shoulders all day long. Some people may mistake my children for monkeys because they are always picking random hairs off of me. Well, that and the fact that they have been known to swing from the Ad banners in Target.

If I really wanted to send my OCD into a tailspin, I would count the amount of hairs I lose everyday-but then I would have no time left to do more important things like watch American Idol, or hide in the closet eating ding dongs.

I am just waiting for the police to come knocking at my door and arrest me for a crime I did not commit because they found one of my hairs at the grisly scene... all because I was driving with my windows rolled down one day.

What is a girl to do? Do I just shave it all off and change my name to G.I. Jane? Demi Moore pulled it off. I don't think I have the bone structure for that look.

This is all the fault of men you know. Bald as they are, they like women to have long hair. Hairy as their legs are, they like women to have smooth legs, Big boxer short wearing as they do, they like women to wear little tiny pieces of fabric and call it underwear. It is the fault of men that I have to vacuum my bathroom everyday. It is the fault of men that I have to curl and spray and tease my hair until it springs from my head in defiance. Men... first they screw us with the equal pay thing, and now they have discovered a way to dominate our hair. Curses-foiled again!


What Ever Happened to a Cup O' Joe?

There have been many achievements that divide generations. It was indoor plumbing for my Grandparents and parents, it was cable TV and computers for my parents and me and it is Starbucks for my children and me.

Starbucks are everywhere. They are in malls, stores, business offices, dentist offices, high schools, college commons, train stations, airports, bus stops, suburban corners, city corners, and even on the corners where the prostitutes hang out. Poor prostitutes... having to compete now with Starbucks.

Yesterday we were at Target and my oldest daughter announced that she wanted to go buy a "Frapo." I had no idea what she was talking about. I am Starbucks illiterate. I can honestly say that I have never taken more than a sip or two of coffee. I just don't like the stuff-never have. My son then said he wanted a "Frapo" as well.

Eventually they explained to me that they wanted Frappuccinos from Starbucks. Ohhhhh-I understood. Well, really I did not understand because I could not figure out how they even knew what a Starbucks was let alone have a favorite drink from there. It must be that Starbucks that was recently placed in our Parish Hall at Church.

I stood in stunned silence as I watched my son go up to the "barrister" and order a "tall double chocolate chip frapo please." I was about to tell him to get a short one (because in Beer terms-something I know about-a tall is a large and a short is a smaller one. Coffee talk is apparently not as simple as beer talk.) My daughter then sauntered up to the counter and ordered a "Venti mocha frapo." Venti is large-or if you are Transilvanian it means "I vant you venti much."

I handed over a week's pay to the cashier, or excuse me, the barrister (and here I always thought a barrister was a person who practiced law in London) and my children happily drank their growth-stunting, heart attack inducing, 500 calorie drinks. It was a proud proud moment let me tell you.

I started reading the menu and realized that I had no idea what the hell they were talking about! Do they really sell coffee at Starbucks or are they just there to mock you? I don't know, but here are some of the things on the menu. I actually wrote them down and then flipped off the college girl who looked at me as if I were the stupidest person on the planet because I had no idea what a Macchiato was, let alone how to pronounce it.

I saw these words:
Con Panna

They sounded like magical spells from the Italian Harry Potter. The only word I understood was "skinny."

What ever happened to the Icee and the Big Gulp from 7-11? Now those are drinks! Maybe they just need a fancy name in order to make a comeback. Next time I go into a 7-11 I am going to ask the cashier for a "tall red and blue low-fat with a doppio of purple." The impressive part is that I will do it all in Arabic.


I Have 48 Hours To Lose 25 Lbs...

Ack! I always do this to myself! I completely and totally set myself up to fail because I am the biggest procrastinator of all time.

Back in January, I decided that I needed to lose a little weight. I would have been thrilled with 15lbs, overjoyed with 12lbs, and thoroughly happy with 10lbs. To date I have lost 2lbs. Yes, just 2.

I have only lost 2lbs. because each and every single day since the start of Weight Gate, I will wake up and say "Tomorrow... I'll watch what I eat and work out tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow." I have no idea how I lost the 2 lbs. It was probably that bout of diarrhea I had yesterday morning... I am sure it will be back by mid afternoon.

I have always been a procrastinator. In school I would get an assignment to write a 40 page compare and contrast paper on the Death of a Salesman and Duece Bigalow and would be given 6 weeks to research and complete the paper. I would put it off for 5 weeks and 6 days until I would cry at my computer and pull an all nighter only to hand in a paper that is 29 pages triple spaced, 26 font, and with statements such as "Willy Loman and Deuce Bigalow share the similar love for poodles, but Willy likes toy poodles whereas Deuce likes a standard poodle."

I would skate by with a C-.

This may be the reason why our son was born at Walgreens. Of course I knew that labor and deliver would one day come... but I figured I had plenty of time to get batteries for the camcorder and film for the camera. So what if I was in active labor and the baby was starting to crown when I decided to drive myself to Walgreens. In the end everything worked out.

My husband hates that I am a procrastinator because he is the most disciplined and scheduled person I know. If it weren't for him, I would be saying things like "This year I am going to file my 1995 taxes! I am going to do it I promise!"

I can even foresee my procrastination. My husband will be heading overseas for a year this coming August. I have been telling myself that I will eat right and work out while he is gone so that he comes home to the new and improved me, when I really know what will happen. The first month that he is gone I will eat everything in sight. Then the second month I will be so disgusted with myself that I will eat to prove a point. I will probably gain 25 lbs in the first 6 months, which will take me the last 6 months to get rid of and I will weigh exactly the same the day he returns as I did the day he leaves. It is no use.

The problem with my no-weight loss is that in 2 weeks I am heading to the land of skinny people... also known as "my sister's house." I can look at myself and feel pretty good about the way I am rockin' this old body of mine until I stand next to my sisters. How I received all of my father's side of the family genes I do not know... Curse You Big Boned Ancestors (fists clenched in rage) Curse you!

Well, tomorrow I am going to get serious. I am going to cut out all carbs, all sugar, all things blue, all things red, yellow and green (I am talking about M&M's) and I will survive on lettuce and water. I will run 2.5 miles a day and I will even do kegel exercises (something I procrastinated with during pregnancy.) Oh, who am I kidding... I know that I will eat what I want this week thinking that I have next week to diet and then by the end of next week I will be in a van speeding down the highway and stopping at McDonald's every 3 hours for a Big Mac, large fry and a chocolate milkshake.

I wish I would procrastinate eating. I met a woman the other day who told me that she gets so busy that she FORGETS to eat. WHAT? How in the world can you forget to eat? I can see forgetting to put on underwear or forgetting to pick up your kids from school... but forgetting to eat? Crazy.

I can dream though... imagine how skinny I would be if I would say "Eat that cupcake? Maybe tomorrow I will eat that cupcake, or maybe next month... I promise to eat that cupcake before the year is up. Don't you believe me?"


We Gathered Around The Toilet And Sang "Happy Birthday"...

I have not had any ideas to put onto this blog. Each day I sit at this here computer and stare at the screen and think "I have the most boring life in the world! I have nothing to write about!"

I told my kids about this, trying to get some creative juices flowing, and my son suggested that I tell you the story of the poo on the toilet seat. It is a great story-I suggest you go get a snack, because it is always fun to eat while reading a good story. Who am I kidding... it is fun to eat while reading a crappy story as well.

Anyway, a few years ago on one of Hope's birthdays, I was icing her cake. She always requests a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I am a world class cake icer-I even decorate. As I was making little milk chocolate flowers, I discovered that if I squeezed the icing a certain way, it looked like a little terd. This got me all giggly...

I ran upstairs to my kids bathroom and squeezed some chocolate icing on the back of the toilet seat.

I then started yelling-ranting and screaming about the poo on the back of the toilet! My son came running to see. I asked him if he was the culprit-to which he denied pooing on the toilet seat.

I should have received an Oscar for my performance because I refused to believe that it was not him that went poo. I walked over to the poo and, to my son's disgusted surprise, I put my finger in the poo. I then smelled the poo and finally tasted the poo. My son's eyes were the size of saucers. I confirmed the fact to my son that yes, it was poo and he was going to taste it as well!

I think my son may have suffered a small seizure, and then he started running and screaming away from me. I started chasing him with poo on my finger demanding that he taste his own poo for his punishment.

I have no idea what was going through my son's mind but it was probably something like this:

I finally caught up with him and tackled him to the ground. He was screaming and maybe even crying a little (yes, I am a sinisterly evil mother).

I forced my finger on his lip and he had no choice but to taste the poo...

The screams of horror faded and my son was trying to decipher between two thoughts. #1 Does poo taste like chocolate? #2 How fast can I get to the phone to call Child Protective Services?

In the end we all had a good laugh. The funniest part of the story is that my husband sat in the family room and did not even look up from Fox News. He knows me well and he has obviously decided to be the calm in the storm that we call life.

Oh, and by the way, my son only had to go to therapy for 2 months before his mind was right again. He is like a rock!