November 20, 2019

worst childhood-ending statement EVER

(FYI - this happened last spring, because Curly is now in 6th grade.  Found this in my drafts.  Not sure why I never posted it). 

Later that evening after I shared the facts of life with Curly, I was cutting the boys’ hair.  I told Eddie during his trim that I had given Curly ‘the talk.’  He groaned a little -  we all felt bad about ending her innocence.  

By the way, she told me that no one had shared any details about the facts of life with her prior to our chat.  I was glad that she hadn’t heard a sneak preview from anyone in advance - unlike my 5th grade end-of-innocence-afternoon, where my friend described ‘it’ in the most horrific of ways.  

Ed is now old enough for me to ask a question that I have always wondered . . . What exactly did Daddy tell him?  I often suspected that Coach had glossed over many aspects and just covered the male’s role in the whole ordeal.  Did my boys know what a period was?  Were they well versed in various situations that they need to be sensitive to?  Like, if a teenage girl says she is not interested in going swimming, leave it alone.  Do not push it.  If a pad falls out of a girl’s purse or backpack, would my boys ask what the heck that was?

Well, that last question was already answered by Mini.  In 7th grade I urged her to carry supplies to school to be prepared for her first period.  One day in the hallway her backpack fell and some things spilled out on the floor.  Tank was in 8th grade at the time.  He stopped to help her.  Imagine her horror when he held up a pad and hollered, ‘What’s this?’  Mini was mortified.  Her own brother!

Ed circa 5th grade - around
 the time his father's
'Well, that's what your
 mother and I did' comment
disgusted him and ended
 his innocent boyhood. 
Anyway, I asked Ed if he remembered the talk Daddy gave him.  Oh, yeah.  Did he ever.  There was one statement Coach made that was burned into Ed’s mind.  Ed was being slightly dramatic, but he said it ruined his childhood. 

5th grade Ed and Coach were sitting side by side on the basement couch.  Facing the same way, so not looking at each other.  Coach told him the main birds and bees story.  Then he followed it up with a childhood-ruining sentence:  ‘So, that’s what your mother and I did.’  

Well, Ed’s haircut was temporarily stalled as I doubled over trying to control my laughing.  We were on the front porch and this haircut had already gone on too long.  Ed has chosen to go with a bushy hairdo of late.  He has declined my typical buzz cut/short cropped style the last few months.  His hair is quite curly.  Let’s just say that he redefines growing hair ‘out’.  His hair is like a thick mop.
The glory days when cutting
 hair was a cinch with the clippers.

Mowing thru the boys’ hair with clippers is simple and straightforward.  Trimming Ed’s hair with a scissors was tough.  It was hard to track where I began and where I left off.  We were losing light and I had to keep making him rotate on the stool so that I could see the other side of him.  
Ed with longer hair, that took more
 time to cut.  How else do you
 post photos of the birds and
the bees talk?

Now I was lost in laughter and had no idea what areas of his mop I still needed to cut.  Coach appeared on the front porch exasperated that I was taking so long to cut Ed’s hair.  Tank was my final customer, and he was pacing around in the house growing impatient and making everyone miserable.  Shock.

Coach, the culprit of issuing childhood-ending statements, standing on the porch looking irritated only made me laugh harder.  Ed just sat there shaking his head.  He whispered:   Who wants to hear that?  It was awful.’  

Haircuts are not always my favorite activity, but this one will go down as gut-splitting and memorable.  

November 18, 2019

age of innocence slipping away, 2 generations worth

Cannot bring myself to cover up this
 precious INNOCENT face to hide her
 true identity.  Face of an angel, or what?
Curly around age 3 or 4. 
Her hair is now 7 billion
times more curly.
I went into my drafts this afternoon, because I know I have a DMV story filed away that I am ready to share.  The DMV nightmare blew up in my face when I was still sharing my Vancouver triology (OK, so what's longer than a trilogy?).  I discovered this gem.  It is two parts.  You MUST tune in for the 2nd part because  it is downright hilarious.  This nugget hails from my youthful memories.  Oh, how I miss the days before I knew so much.  

I hemmed and hawed about it long enough.  I decided to buckle down and get it done.  Curly is in 5th grade, and it was time for me to outline ‘where babies come from’ for her.  Not my favorite parental duty, but with more boys in the mix than girls Coach ended up with more uncomfortable conversations than me.  I could hardly complain.

If memory serves, when I delivered ‘the talk’ to Mini I had notes.  A brochure.  Guidelines, if you will- to make sure I was covering the important points.  This time I had nothing.  Just a goal to get it done. 

I called Curly into my room where I could not stop fiddling with laundry piles on my bed.  Finally, I sat down and spilled the beans. 

Back when I was in 5th grade, a friend of mine came over to play.  She told me that her brother had informed her how a woman got pregnant.  We both assumed he was JOKING.  How could THAT be true?  

Later that night I told my older sister, Marie, who I shared a room with that my friend Michelle had told me something hilarious.  Marie was like, ‘What?  Tell me.  What’s so funny?’  I could not stop laughing long enough to spit it out.  Finally I told her what Michelle had told me.  Marie’s face went from laughing in anticipation of my funny story, to totally serious - in the fraction of a second.  Then she literally spun on her heel and marched out of our room to go tell Mom what I now knew. 

In that moment, I sat alone in my room - no longer laughing.  I pretended to be asleep when Marie returned.  Two things were troubling me.  First, Michelle’s info must have been true.  Damn, that sucked.  I already knew I wanted a big family, but not if you had to go about it THAT way!  Second, Marie telling Mom what I was laughing about was probably going to land me in a bit of trouble.

Fast forward to present day:  Curly took the news as well as can be expected.  I must admit that I felt like my delivery was better the second time around despite the fact that I had no references to glance over while I stumbled thru it.  I believe I sweated a lot less this time. 

Afterwards Coach asked how it went.  I told him that I assured her that if she was ever not interested in partaking in marital relations she could just feign itchiness.  Of course I didn’t really tell her that, but I decided for Coach's benefit to reference my  whole nasty fungal/yeast infection nonsense that I put up with recently.  

How were you told about the birds and the bees?  Or did you figure it out with helpful 'friends'?

November 15, 2019

♫ these are the people in my family ♪

The heads getting ready to be
locked into their storage container.
Are you humming 'These are the people in my neighborhood,' from 
Sesame Street?  OK then, carry on!

Curly gets the gold star for helping me yesterday.  I was bound and determined to get the Halloween costumes put away.  That was supposed to happen over the weekend, but instead:  the out of town literary fest, the groceries, and then the bum knee. 

It is creepy to see them all stare out of their
bins especially if you go down into the
 storage room at night.
Eyes - they are everywhere!
See Elmo peeking out?
Behind him on the top
 of the shelf is the giant cookie
body and below him is the bottom of Bird.
Oscar's can is on top of the bins.
Gumby and Pokey are up higher.

Only I know how to put the costumes away.  I told Tank and Curly to haul Gumby, Pokey, Oscar, Elmo, and Cookie downstairs from the dining room.  (Mini and her friend dressed as Cookie Monster - but just the head, and a giant cookie.  Mini’s friend left the head behind at a party which made me quite nervous, but Mr. Googly Eyes was safely returned so he needed to be stored properly).  Tank groaned about pitching in because he had already dragged two crock pots full of leftovers to the kitchen from the basement fridge for his injured mother.  Curly was ready to serve her Mama.  

I have ziploc baggies labeled for each set of furry costume hands and pants, or feet and body, etc.  The bins were in disarray, but I reorganized them and Curly stood nearby ready to help me squeeze Pokey into the two giant bags once his body was rolled up.  My storage room resembles what I imagine Jim Hendrick’s studio would look like.  

Sink and coffee mugs with marshmallows
 left in the sink even though there is no
disposal.  Plus it looks like someone used
 paints down there and did not
 wash them out of the sink.
While in the basement, I spotted a bunch of coffee mugs from when Mini had friends sleepover on November 2nd.  I brought hot chocolate down to the basement for them.  The next day, I reminded Mini to clean up after her friends.  The basement kitchen area is tucked around in the back and I walk through it to get to the storage room.  I could not believe that she left the dirty mugs down there.  

Background is the castle.  Foreground
is girl legos.  Circled area is where there
was a blanket - there inside the circle
 is garbage and odds and ends of nerf toys.
Then I told Curly to grab a blanket that was just tossed in front of the castle.  Curly played with her legos earlier in the day, when her friend was over because they had no school.  She picked up the blanket and under it was a pile of garbage.  What. The. Hell?!  

I knew right away what happened.  Tank had friends over to watch the Bears game on Sunday.  This plan materialized while I was at the grocery store.  He went down in the basement and ‘cleaned up’ by gathering empty Gatorade bottles and wrappers and nerf gun toy parts and tossing it in front of the castle where his friends would not see it and then he THREW A BLANKET OVER IT.  Five more steps and he would have found himself at the actual garbage can in the kitchen down there.

I live with these people.  

A few weeks ago, when the kids had to do their kid bathroom jobs Tank had to wash the floor.  (There is a list detailing the rotation of jobs).  In order to wash the floor, Tank tossed everything from the floor to the tub.  Um, most of the clothing that was on the floor BELONGED TO HIM.  
Tub of stuff - including the garbage bin.
 The work of Tank!

The coffee table in the basement AFTER
Tank's friends were here.  Darts.  Video
 game controllers.  Napkins.
Empty liter of lemonade.
  Oh, and a textbook with the cover
 ripped off.  And a lone dip chip.  

The next week, he had to empty the bathroom garbages.  I noticed the other night that he NEVER emptied the kid’s bathroom garbage BECAUSE THE OVERFLOWING GARBAGE BIN WAS STILL LOCATED IN THE BATHTUB WHERE HE LEFT IT.  It was as if he could not find it.  WHAT?  We were starting a movie, so I sent him to empty the garbage and started the movie despite his request that we pause it for him.  Um, NO!

Labels on my bins.
Ziploc bags
with lists on them
 are tucked inside.
Curly, who never complained while assisting me, pointed out to me in the basement:  ‘You are so organized!’  Because of how well labeled all of my little furry creations are in their little bags.  I swear if it was up to me, we would not live like pigs - and my costume storage proves it!

Not sure if you can see the swollen knee here,
 but Coach did not think it was swollen.
 Um, and you are a professional?  The aerial
 view shows it.  I first took this photo
without pants on - it was just my
legs, but still.  You're welcome.  
For example:  if I had some delicious bonbons while I lay on my couch nursing my knee, I would definitely make sure the wrappers made it to the garbage.  

* Knee update:  it has improved greatly as of today - typing this late Wednesday.  I hope that by early next week I will feel like myself again.  Mostly.  Unsure if I will be able to workout yet, but fingers crossed to give the elliptical a try.  

November 13, 2019

God-sent day off, delegate fails, & still hobbling

BEST DAY EVER . . . well, the knee is not much better, but freakishly all three families that I sit for cancelled me for today (writing this Tuesday).  Hallelujah!  You know how some days you just NEED  day off – the stars aligned, people!

Remember little baby:  out of town for grandpa’s funeral.  So sad, and he was the first grandbaby.  Family with hefty baby:  preschooler was still struggling with tonsillectomy.  Third family:  baby with a stomach bug. 

So, I type this from the comfort of my couch and no babies to chase hobble around after . . . Coach rolled his eyes when I admitted that I googled how long it takes to recover from a torn meniscus (even one that is just tweaked or sprained) and the answer was:  6 to 8 weeks.  I guess he thinks it will not take me that long, but he did sigh and say that it was possible.  (warning:  here come the CANNOTs) . . .

People, I CANNOT be out of commission for that long, so let’s just assume I am going to bounce back sooner.  Agreed?  

Curly dances at regional championships over Thanksgiving weekend in Louisville.  I cannot be still struggling by then.  While I serve as a cheerleader for her, I am also an Irish dancing sherpa.  OK, OK, I know I flaked out and left a bag in a cab back in Orlando for Nationals champs a few years ago, but for the most part I am a top notch sherpa.  A bum knee cannot be part of this equation.

Thankfully my driving abilities have not been hindered. Thank you, sweet Jesus.  Can you imagine?  Well, I did lose my license back when I accumulated a few speeding tickets, so I CAN imagine.  I am grateful that I do not have to go there.  Note, I did not say getting in and out of a car is very graceful, but I can still chauffeur my peeps.  

I saw Coach at his clinic yesterday because I did not have to babysit and he thought it might help if I saw him.  He did not make me cry, and seemed generally more patient with me in public - so that was an improvement.  I think I had also accepted this suckie reality as opposed to the night before, so I was not an emotional basket case.  

Coach came up with a few exercises that I could do to keep it moving and increase the blood flow to the knee so that it heals faster.  I have already done these exercises twice since I woke up. 

It snowed here.  I am on crutches, for the most part.  Not loving the icy parking lots out there.  I am SUPER grateful that I bought every grocery item available to mankind on Sunday.  To clarify, (Kari) I am still responsible for the laundry regardless of my condition.  I tried to delegate.  I drove Curly to dancing and then attended a writers’ group (new thing I am trying and really enjoying).  While I was gone, I told Reg to set the kitchen timer for 8 pm and then go upstairs to the laundry room and put the stuff in the dryer.  

(Oh, and this video shows me hobbling over to turn off the THERMADOR fridge drawers that decided to fail for the 10th time - no exaggeration, in less than 2 years.  Great timing because we have people coming over on Saturday and I was not in the mood to hop over and turn them off when they beep every few hours.  Seriously!)

When I went to bed last night, the dryer was full of wet clothes.  Is it because I did not tell him to ‘turn it on’?  I remember saying ‘casual’ as the setting, but the on button might not have been referenced.  Sigh.

Before I went to bed, I lay on the couch with my back to the kitchen.  Coach called out that he was going to bed and that he was not going to do anything else with the kitchen.  Mini and Tank were watching TV.  I was in la la land.  They went to bed, and then I hauled my butt up off the couch.  I wished I had made them finish the kitchen, but I did not know the state it was in.

Um, guess who had to gather 10 glasses and reload the dishwasher till they fit, and load the crockpot, and start the dishwasher?  Yes, the gimp. 

Still, a happy gimp who was thrilled to not be babysitting today!!

November 11, 2019

please send bonbons, 2nd opinions, and a housekeeper

Well, here I am on the couch - but where are the bonbons?  I fear this is a case of ‘careful what you wish for’.  Remember when I was gearing up for my MRI of my pinkie last week, I thought I might end up resting on the couch recovering from cyst removing surgery with hands bandaged and everyone else doing my normal duties, ie:  everything.

Instead - I messed up my knee.  Doing what?  NOTHING!  Had I not been lucky enough to marry a physical therapist, I would have landed in the ER last night.  People, I COULD NOT straighten my leg.  Weight bearing - no way!  Nightmare.  

Coach informed me that people over 40 (Who, me?) are walking around with torn meniscus tissue, and I tweaked one such tear when I, wait for it, . . . . WALKED ACROSS THE FAMILY ROOM.  

On Thursday, I walked across the family room while talking to my babysitting buddy, Becky, who came over to watch my crew while I ran Reggie to a doctor appointment.  All of a sudden, my knee kind of locked up on me and made me feel like I was going to go down.  It hurt like Hell to straighten my leg, but after a minute I was able to straighten it.  Becky wondered what the heck I did, ‘Did you bump it on that high chair?  Did you twist it?’  I was like, nope.  I did nothing!

Thursday night Coach works late, so we barely saw each other.  As I climbed into bed, I asked Coach to take a look at my knee.  Coach mumbled to me (aka the shoemaker's child):  ‘No.  Tomorrow.’ 

Friday morning, my glorious day off, I stopped at his clinic in hopes that he would tell me that I could still workout in the attached health club.  The knee was stiff, but I was walking fine.  He moved it around a bunch and then told me it was the meniscus thing while simultaneously calling me old.  The great news is that he told me I could indeed workout, but that I should just do things without twisting my knee.  I did 6 miles on the elliptical.  No problem.

Saturday I did not workout because I was going to a National Literary Fest at my Alma mater with Mini.  Amazing day, details later - remind me if I forget.  We drove an hour and a half, hopped out of the car, started to walk into the building, and my knee went out from under me.  I almost fell.  Damn.  

Posed the crutches here because it
 is the only corner of the house that does
 not look like a disaster.  Going to bed,
Coach was like 'if we had crutches' - I
 informed him that we had a pair behind
 the door in the laundry room.  He texted
me this am that I could
use them if it really hurt.
 Did we not establish this?  But he pointed
out that one of the handles is missing. 
Anyway, I am confused because in one breath he
is all 'motion, blah blah' and in the other he is like
'use the crutches and try not to
weight bear if it really hurts.' 
I considered posting a photo that Curly took
 of me when I was crying on the floor because she
 wanted me to know that my hair looked good.
 I think she deleted it though when I scolded
her for taking photos of me
 grimacing, good hair or not.
Sunday I worked out and did a bit more than the elliptical.  My knee hurt afterwards and all day it complained.  I was still walking - more like shopping:  $400 at the grocery, $420 (including my renewal fee) at Costco, boot shopping with Mini at Nordstrom Rack, and finally I drove to pick up Curly from dancing.  

Now that it is winter, I moved heaven and earth and a lot of golf clubs, basketballs , lawn mowers, and bikes to be able to park the minivan in the single car part of the three car garage.  The former airport shuttle is always in the 2 car garage area but the single garage area is usually a disaster.  Anyway, it requires a gymnastic maneuver to exit the parked-in-the-garage minivan.  I (no gymnast) rotated and pushed off of my right foot to be able to squeeze out of the slightly open door and scoot between the car and one of Tank’s mowers.  That was it - the knee was like ‘No, no!  You should not have done that.’  

Curly exited the vehicle while on the driveway because no passenger can escape once in the garage.  My knee locked up and I struggled to get in the house - all alone.  I hopped inside crying.  Coach made me a plate of dinner and then invited me into his makeshift office aka the family room floor.  The kids gathered around and watched me cry as he forced my knee straight and ‘worked’ on me.  I asked them to get my contact case so I could preserve my salt-hating contact lenses.  

Coach shook his head.  ‘I have been practicing for 21 years and people do not cry like this when I treat them (for issues similar to what I have).’  

Tank:  ‘Wait, you only practice.  When are you going to be ready to stop practicing and really fix people.’  Ah, Tank - still cracking jokes while his mommy writhes in pain with a wet-from-tears face on the floor.

Me:  ‘It hurts!  Are you sure it is OK to be moving it like that?  It REALLY hurts!’  I regularly recommend Coach to other hurt people, but my confidence in him flounders when I am a victim the patient.

Coach iced it and told me ‘motion is lotion.’  That means I am supposed to keep moving it and keep trying to straighten it.  He kept assuring me that it would get better on its own, like a cut finger.  Um, I have experience with that - foreshadowing, people.  Stay tuned.  No MRI necessary.  

But I have made friends at the MRI place.  They loved my ‘Hey, I might need to hit the bars tonight’ joke last week when I was finally able to remove my wedding rings.  I don’t want to wait for it to just get better while I hobble around, I want to be fixed.  

I am trying to decide if I should cancel my babysitting peeps on Tuesday.  I normally babysit for one guy on Mondays, but sadly his grandpa is not doing well and the family flew to New York over the weekend - so today I ended up with the day off, which made the skipping of my favorite workout class a real bummer.  The Tuesday crowd includes a fat baby (no joke here, they feed her sugar cereal and veggies from a can) that I might not be able to haul up the stairs for her nap.  Curly has generously offered to stay home from school tomorrow to help me. 

A mountain of laundry awaits me.  Teenagers version of cleaning their rooms:  dump it on the laundry room floor and make it my problem.  Coach texted me this morning and told me I could come and see him at his work today, but I know THERE WILL BE TEARS, do I want to cry at his work?  Plus it snowed, and I don’t want to drive.  Reg and Curly have no school, Reg is going to a friend’s house, Curly has dancing tonight and Coach works late, so I will have to drive at some point.  

All this, and still no bonbons!

November 8, 2019

top 11 things I love, again with the 11

THINGS I LOVE: (aside from my family, health, and all of the goes without saying stuff)

No blood this time, Kari.  If  you look close
enough you will see the flap of skin that
 was once part of my thumb that is
 standing up waiting to get gross and fall off.
1.       Sharp knives - if I can just 
learn to use them without injuring myself!

2.    Fridays off

3.    The occasional warm fall day to trick me into thinking summer is still lingering (so I wrote this weeks ago - still those days make me happy)

4.    Nothing bundt cakes gluten-free cakes.  Thank you sweet Jesus for this

So good, I cannot even wait to
get a photo before I dive in.
     5.     Security questions - I had to look something up for my accountant recently.  A dividend 1099 thing that we never got in the mail.  The site asked me to select several different security questions.  I guess just in case someone wanted to try to steal my $27 annual dividend.  Anyway, there were SO MANY choices, and I contemplated how I would respond to each one of them.  Yes, you can classify this under:  the little things.

     6.    A really good foot massage.  I enjoy these more than ever because I am a) old and b) I run or walk about 5 miles a day and my feet are not always happy about that.

7.     Getting comments on my blog.  Yep, this just makes my day, so take a minute and leave a comment

8.    A good night sleep - rare but love it when it happens

9.    When my kids play Irish music together.  I have been trying to get Reg to take his concertina playing a bit more serious.  Mini knows lots about the notes and she has more experience playing Irish tunes for longer than he has.  I have been urging her to share some of her expertise with Reg.  Curly has been jumping in with her fiddle.  She tries to play a tune here and there.  Mini gets mad at her though because Reg goofs off and Curly laughs and Mini pulls her hair out trying to get them to be serious.  I should not laugh, but it is just non-screen-time related fun.  Mini is on my case to ban Curly from the music sessions.  I told them last night that first Mini offers Reg instruction and then for 10 minutes they invite Curly in so she can try to play a tune or two with them.  Tank has yet to grab his wooden flute and play along.  He seems to be taking his studies somewhat seriously at the moment.  We think maybe someone stole his identity or his ‘I don’t care’ attitude.  Not a bad thing.

10.   Saying ‘obvie’ to my high school kids when something is obvious.  It makes them crazy, like I think I am so hip.  In reality, they do brainless stuff sometimes and I like to call them out on it and ‘obvie’ is just a great short cut.  In my world of teenagers who like to tune me out, it is GLORIOUS to catch their attention - without even swearing.  

11.  I thought of another one!  I hate driving all over the place especially Route 83 - which is currently under major construction making it impossible to get to dancing on time.  The bright spot:  Curly is my secretary.  I constantly invite her to take a dictation and have her text people for me, which is very handy. 

November 6, 2019

11 things I hate, no idea why it's 11


Things I hate:  (how’s that for a positive start to the day?)

1.       Ass holes (see previous post)

2.     Disastrous rooms left behind by college kids

This is only one angle - it was much
 worse than it looks here.

Still not perfect, but this is how I spent
one entire afternoon.  I have texted
 the boys to alert them that they WILL NOT
return to school next time and
leave their rooms in such a state.

  3.  Seasonal allergies

  4.    Weight gained by inserting crunchy food in excess of my calorie requirement in order to scratch the roof of my mouth that is begging for a long scrub with one of those wire bristle brushes

  5.    Strep throat - Mini came down with this hours before Coach’s siblings were supposed to show up the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  Food already bought.  Some food already prepared.  Excitement at actually hosting two in-law families who we really enjoy on a night when no one had to work the next morning (and pulling off the invite minus his folks so it was going to be SOCIAL and not a lecture on our faith and all right wing activities we should be involved in).  Fridge drawers reorganized to accommodate adult and kid beverages, which will now just get in my way as we do not need fridge drawers stocked with alcoholic beverages.  (yes, this weekend sucked - between cancelling party and losing my biggest babysitting client - it sucked)

6.    Inability to reschedule above party because, well, everything

7.     The closing of the pool/end of summer

8.    Disappointments -(different from people who cancelled job on me) long story to be addressed later

Ireland trip suitcase and the several
 weeks delay that took place until I
went in her room and dumped it out.
9.    Reality check- so maybe this babysitting gig sucks, and I can just carve out more time (with less kids to sit for) to get this book published.  Reality check, because REALLY?  How is that ever going to happen.  Writers are a dime a dozen.  Everyone and their sister wants to publish a book.  Feeling washed up, career-less.  Is laundry and baking really my main calling?  I know, I know, six kids is nothing to shake an unpublished manuscript at, but I am longing to accomplish something that develops because of my creativity - not my diaper changing skills and my mom skills. 

10.   The misunderstanding that exists when I utter words ‘clean up your room and unpack from your Ireland trip that occurred WEEKS AGO!’  Note that I did not say that I hate this particular daughter, just her inability to comprehend what it means to empty a FREAKING suitcase. 

11.  ASS HOLES - ending on this note, because  want to - BECAUSE really people who are monstrously inconsiderate and rude are utterly the worst!  That babysitting family that canceled me at the last minute has really, REALLY ticked me off.  Who behaves this way?