January 31, 2018

when the force wasn't with Tank

I will be the first to admit it.  Tank is very entertaining.  People gravitate to him like dirty socks to his bedroom floor (technically his dirty socks rarely land on his bedroom floor - therein lies the problem.  He takes his socks off in odd places and never puts them in the dirty laundry.  He ends up rummaging thru Coach's drawers in the morning desperate for socks.  He never has clean socks because they are hiding out all around the house still dirty!). 

He is a character, but Tank's extensive fan club doesn't get what it is like to co-habitate with this kid.  His size 15 shoes can be found ANYWHERE but in his mudroom locker.  His impact on our surroundings involves more than just his inability to put things in the right place.

Tank will eat anything.  He will devour entire packages of something while hanging out in a 'don't-eat-in-here' space in the house.  Then he will leave the container in the non-kitchen room where I stumble upon it much later.  I have to hide certain groceries just so the other kids get a chance to have a nibble.  I bought donut holes last week.  I showed Reg, my early riser, where I was hiding them for breakfast, so he could get them out in the morning.  Had I not taken this step, we would've woken up to yet another 'who-ate-all-the-donut-holes' mystery, which in our house isn't much of a mystery.

This is my new freezer that
 for a few days was
 commissioned to only
hold basketball fundraiser
 pizza boxes.
Remember the fundraiser for basketball that landed over 70 boxes of french bread pizzas in my freezer?  We did our best to deliver the pizzas the first few days after we were saddled with them.  When people weren't home, we stored them in my freezer until they could be handed off to the lucky pizza purchaser.  I told the kids don't eat any of the pizzas until we are done delivering, because lots of these boxes don't belong to us.

I gave Tank his own private lecture about the pizza overflow situation.  'Don't eat the pizzas yet, Tank!  Not all of these are ours.  You have to wait until we are done handing them out.'  His response:  'I know.  I don't even like those pizzas.  They are gross.'

Imagine my surprise one morning a week before Christmas when a wrapper was discovered laying on the kitchen table.  I opened the freezer and sure enough SOMEONE had opened a box of pizza and eaten one of the 6 microwavable portions.

Tank didn't even bother to deny it.  'Sorry,' he winced.  Of course the box he had unceremoniously ripped into was NOT one of the varieties that I had ordered for our family.  Damn it.  How could I hand someone a partially eaten box of pizza.  It was making me flash back to when Mini sold girl scout cookies.  Mayhem.  The boys ate boxes of cookies like it was their sole mission in life.  They ate thru boxes that actual customers had ordered.  People, NOTHING IS SACRED.

Tank's PJ bottoms. 
You could say he is a
Star Wars fan. 
Unfortunately, he is also a
fan of pizza that doesn't belong to him.
He was very excited to attend the latest Star Wars movie later that night.  Final exams were done, and he and Eddie had made plans to go see it. 

I yanked that privilege out from under him.  'Movie you won't be seeing will you, young jedi,'  (That is my best Yoda imitation). 

There were tears.  Rants.  Begging.  Fake phone calls where he pretended that he was arranging for his friend to come and get him so they could see the movie together.  I stuck to my guns.  He even tried to hide out in the car because he knew Ed was about to leave for the movie.  I had to physically detain him so that Eddie could drive away.  Then he attempted to chase the car down the road.

I should've known I was in trouble when he classified the pizza as 'gross.'  In Tank's world gross pizza isn't a thing. 

January 28, 2018

in case you thought I was exaggerating

I've probably mentioned before that we live in organized chaos.  Our family is not overly focused on being surrounded by neat rooms with nothing out of place.  Far from it.

I do ask the kids to put things away.  Sometimes if I ask them to put something away that I find in the family room, they might get as far as the stairs.  There, the item gets abandoned.  Later when they walk up the stairs, they pass the out-of-place thing AND DON'T BOTHER TO PICK IT UP.  Why?  Why is this a thing?  They are not as geriatric as me - why can't they handle a flight of stairs?  Or bending over to pick their stuff up off of the stairs when they are on their way to bed?

They do have chores.  I admit that without a kitchen and a visual reminder board of chores, the chore thing has gone to the wayside.  Occasionally the stars align and there is some order in our home.  It rarely lasts long.

Some of the kids are better at pitching in than others.  I am constantly harping on the importance of a job well done.  Tank struggles more than any of them to grasp that concept.  I could write a book about how Tank keeps life jazzy and never dull.  I would title it:  'Life with Tank.'

Can you see it? 
White bag under the window?
In early December I asked him to empty the bathroom garbage cans.  We were headed to Eddie's game at the United Center.  Cousins were coming to hang out at the house before we headed back for the Bulls game later that night.  Tank tried to argue with me that kids (like his cousins) wouldn't really care if the bathroom garbage was overflowing.  'Good point, but still - go empty the garbage', was the angle I went with.  I'm crazy like that.

He was playing Xbox at the time.  He FINALLY disappeared for a few minutes and was re-attached to the video game handset in no time.  I questioned how he could be done doing the job properly in lightning speed.  He insisted he had done what I asked. 

Aerial view of the discovered bags nestled
between the coffee table and the window. 
Why not?
Later that day when we returned from the Bulls game I saw something odd in the living room.  Our coffee table was pushed up against the windows to make room for our kitchen table that was relocated to our living room during kitchen construction.  The 'everything-is-out-of-place' scenario makes it even more remarkable that I noticed this, but I guess it was my mom-radar.

There between the coffee table and the windows were white bags brimming over with bathroom related garbage.  In his haste to return to his video game, Tank had dropped several bags of garbage behind the coffee table.  This quick-release of the garbage bags vs. taking the extra 20 steps towards the garage saved him oodles of time and caused me endless amounts of frustration.

We've had a dumpster on our driveway for months and months.  Toss the trash in the dumpster for God's sake - it is an easy target.  The living room floor?  No!  Please, no.

Just so you don't think I am exaggerating when I say that our house is up for grabs and I can literally stumble across anything at any time.  That in a nutshell is life with Tank. 

I once caught Lad sweeping a pile under an upholstered chair in the study when we were preparing for a party, but Tank's methods take the cake.  What have your kids done to avoid chores?

January 26, 2018

I know it's Friday, but oh how Monday sucked!

Monday sucked.  I know it is a little after the fact but I am just now getting around to sharing it with you.  I think I blocked it temporarily from my memory.  I just had a flashback and it made me shake, so I have to share.

Over the weekend I dove headfirst into a photo project.  When we emptied the study for the floors to be refinished for the longest-ever-kitchen renovation, I came across tons of photos that I had printed or enlarged in order to hang them up in the basement.  Of course I had never gotten around to the hanging up part. 

Mini at 3 1/2 years.  She emerged from
 the basement after her older brothers stuffed her PJs with
 every ball they could get their hands on.
 At the time, she was the only kid I had without balls. 
(couldn't resist).  Reg in the background was innocent.
I love pictures.  I take a TON of pictures.  Less so now that the kids aren't wiping birthday cake all over their faces in high chairs.  Or having brothers stick every ball we own in their sleeper pajamas.  Who can resist taking a million pictures of those little faces?  Well, I sure as hell can't and I have the photo albums, busting-at-the-seams hard drive storage, and study closet full of extra pictures to prove it.

Anyway I sat down in front of the computer Sunday night and went thru the albums I have at snapfish.  I selected every photo I thought might make people chuckle.  Apparently we are a funny bunch because I was only a fraction of the way thru them and I had selected over 600 pictures.  I know, I know.  It is overkill.  I have no intention of wallpapering the basement with thousands of pictures, but I thought it would be easier to just have stacks on hand to chose from.  The rest can be set aside for when the kids are older and they want some pictures of themselves. 

I had to wake up early Monday morning to drive Tank to an early basketball practice.  I was kicking myself because I stayed up a bit late while being sucked into memory lane on snapfish.  I allowed myself 30 more minutes in front of the computer after I dropped him at practice before I had to jump in the shower, get kids moving for the school day, and brace myself for the little tots I sit for to get dropped off. 

On Saturday (backing up a tad) the doctor had given me a couple of prescriptions for a horrible sinus infection.  Last week I dealt with this awful headache for days.  I kept thinking it was a migraine.  I tried caffeine, but that only gave me relief for an hour.  I started to get some relief thanks to the antibiotic and the steroid (to relieve the pressure in my head), but on Monday morning the headache had me in its tight grip and WOULD NOT LET ME GO.  So, that sucked.

The kid I sit for pooped in his pants.  That sucked too and ticked me off.  While the kids played I chose some more pictures.  That's when I noticed that the 600 plus photos I had selected previously were gone.  What?!  I called snapfish.  I was told that I should've moved them to my cart before I signed out of the sight.  I hadn't signed out of the sight.  No one else had sat at the computer.  There was no retrieving my selections, I would have to start over.  Have I mentioned that my head was on the verge of exploding?  Snapfish gave me credit towards 100 free prints.  Photo addict like me is going to need that.

I got a phone call that the fabric that I ordered to cover the seat cushions for the counter stools I picked out (finally) for the island was back ordered.  Till the end of February.  I collapsed into a defeated heap at nap time and slept for an hour.  My head felt better when I woke up - until I moved. 

The rodents, I mean delightful children (I'm just kidding - remember the headache, you have to excuse how grouchy that thing was making me.  Even though my head doesn't hurt while I am typing this, I do remember how Monday made me feel) got picked up and I get ready to go to Mini's basketball game.

Eddie asked me if I knew where his basketball jersey was.  Nope.  This is my organized kid.  Responsible.  He plays varsity basketball.  They frown upon players who show up with no jersey.  Ed has witnessed his teammates struggle in this area.  He knew what lay ahead if he showed up jersey-less.  We dumped clean, unsorted (thanks to my photo project) laundry on my bed.  No jersey. 

I left for Mini's game but kept calling home offering other ideas.  'Check the sleeping bag cabinet in the laundry room.  Maybe it got shoved in there from a pile on the floor after Reg's sleep over last week when he was stuffing the bags back in the cabinet.'  It wasn't there - but points for me coming up with this totally possible scenario considering my head hurt like hell.

He got to his game and his teammate had his jersey.  Picked it up by mistake. 

Thanks to my inability to clone myself and Coach's work schedule, I had to wait for Reg to return from his away game in order to drive the girls to dancing, watch part of Ed's away game located past Irish dancing class, and then backtrack to get Reg to his music lesson.  I was super frustrated because I should've left Mini's game (since we were winning by so much that she didn't play in the second half) in order to get Reg so we could leave on time.  How could I have known that his bus would get him back to school 20 minutes later than expected?  His game didn't even go into overtime.

Let's just say I was happy to crawl into bed that night and look forward to Friday - my day off.  And here it is.  No poop pants to change.  And my head hasn't hurt for a few days.  I have about 900 pictures in my snapfish cart so they won't disappear, and lots more to go thru.  All jerseys are accounted for.  Waiting for the new counter stools won't kill me.  Yay Friday! 

January 23, 2018

getting socked in the nose - a real threat

Lately I have been fed up.  More than my usual fed up.  I was taught to take turns back in preschool.  When will it be my turn?

I don't argue that my spouse has spent years building a great career.  He is very good at what he does.  We can't go anywhere without bumping into a patient ready and waiting to demonstrate how well his knee bends or how well her shoulder rotates.  There is no doubt that Coach's hefty paycheck laughs at my minuscule babysitting deposit when they cross paths at the bank.  Thanks to the different ways we spend our days, Coach and I have very different approaches to free time.

Coach continues to work on career related 'stuff' when he is at home.  He reads, studies, and preps for classes that he is taking or teaching.  His laptop is frequently in his lap while he plans out his next move or listens to a PT podcast.  When he does take a break from his physical therapy related focus, he might pick up where he left off on a house project.

A few years ago, Coach juggled refinishing our basement while studying for his fellowship.  Those years are a blur.  (A blur of me bearing the weight of all parental duties, housework, and meal prep).  The basement project lingered on for so long that many of the toys we packed away during the project were no longer age appropriate for our kids when we peeked back in the bins.  I am grateful though that we still own all of that stuff.  When I decided to babysit in our home instead of shuffling out the door several chaotic mornings a week as I had for three years, the toys I needed were still available.

If Coach's parents gush once more about what a wonder he is for accomplishing the fellowship AND finishing the basement at the same time, someone is going to get socked in the nose.  I do believe his parents have moved on from that high-praise time of two years ago.  I am bracing myself though, since Coach has recently become re-committed to finishing the stalled basement bathroom.  I've suggested hiring someone to complete these time consuming projects, but Coach reminds me that he enjoys it.

Free time for me is different.  My work is never done.  I'm not talking about house projects that are left unfinished until I have time.  I'm referring to basics.  Food:  no matter what I do, I find it impossible to stock up enough to meet the demands of this bunch.  Laundry:  how can they dirty this many articles of clothing in a week?

OK, I swear I do more than feed and clothe them.  No matter how hard I try to accomplish more than that in a given day, often that is all I have to show for my time.  You can glance back at my last post to see a more accurate (yet, still incomplete) listing of some of my to-do-list items.  (I'd like to add that I am the ONLY person in our home that is capable of throwing away junk mail or newspapers.)  Babysitting does require a chunk of my attention Monday-Thursday.  I do what I can to get stuff done during naps, but it doesn't always amount to much.   

Curly likes to climb trees and Mini
wants to live on a horse farm one
 day.  I offered to paint their
brothers fishing in the pond up by the barn.
 The girls' politely declined the
presence of any brothers on their wall.
After putting Coach thru physical therapy school when we were newlyweds and then standing by while he finished a couple of basements (last house and this one), got his doctorate, his fellowship, and lots of other designations along the way, I am left to wonder:  When is it my turn?
Part of the mural - bottom of it
 partially blocked by their trophy collection.
Ironically the trophies are located
 just below the Irish dancing studio
in the little town scene.

I don't have the luxury of dropping everything to pursue my dreams.  If I try to tackle a project, I can't just announce:  'not driving to dancing, or making dinner, or putting clothes in the dryer, or visiting the ortho.'  It doesn't work that way.  Two years ago I painted a mural on the girls' bedroom wall.  I started over Thanksgiving break and had to finish it over Christmas break before I started babysitting again and racing people out the door for school.  And yes, I did enjoy it!

The whole thing at a glance.  Each girl got to paint a flower under the window.  The yellow part is supposed to be their house.  I keep thinking I will get a window treatment that will complete the look.  Maybe when they go away to college.
Saturday night I asked Coach what he had planned for the next day.  He looked at me like I had 4 heads.  'Whatever I decide.  I will probably workout and work in the basement.'  Must be nice.  And the kids often wonder why I am so grouchy.  They constantly comment that all I care about is getting things done.  Well, true.  But getting things done is the only chance I have at carving time out for myself.

I recently explained to Coach that I hadn't gotten to do what I wanted on my day off, because I had so many other things to take care of.  'Yeah, you have a hard time carving time out for yourself,' he remarked.  Talk about almost getting socked in the nose!  I was quick to tell him that I don't have trouble carving time out, I have trouble because I do too much!  On Sunday I delegated dinner to him.  I sat at the computer and listened to him yelling at kids from his post in the kitchen.  Aha!  So it isn't just me.

So what would I do, if I could take a break from 'my job'?  Write a book.  I have several hundred pages written.  I just need to organize it.  What would you do, if you could take a break from your real job (whether it is outside the house or inside it)?

January 21, 2018


Over Christmas break, Laddie let us know that the 'teen' car stalled when he was stopped at a light.  Laddie and Eddie drive a used Mazda Tribute that we purchased specifically for the teenagers.  It was a great deal - most likely previously owned by an elderly person who didn't drive it much.  The mileage was low, the year was recent, the price was right.  We've owned the car for 3 years.

The original plan, to have Lad drive our old minivan, didn't last long.  We purchased a new minivan the summer he turned 16.  That fall he rear ended a pickup truck on his way to school.  I don't doubt that he was speeding.  He never allowed himself enough time to avoid a tardy.

Apparently a lady and her kid ran across the street in the middle of traffic.  They weren't in the crosswalk.  They were no where near a school.  My guess is they were dashing to the gas station across from their apartment building to buy milk or something.

The three cars ahead of Laddie jammed on their brakes, and Lad hit a huge, over-sized pickup truck.  I was just grateful that there were 3 cars serving as a buffer between my knucklehead and the pedestrians.  Thankfully, the other driver shared the info about the peeps running in the street, so the cop didn't give him a ticket.

Our poor little minivan didn't stand a chance against this muscle car.  The hood was peeled back and  all that important equipment stored under the hood was mangled.  Minivan totaled.

We waited months before purchasing another 'teen' car.  We suffered as we rolled out of bed crazy early to get our car-less driver to early morning swim practices, etc.  The Mazda has held up well.  No issues.  Until now.

I followed Eddie to the shop to drop the car off last week.  It was the same day I was driving Lad to the airport to fly back to school.  I can't imagine how we would've survived break with only 2 cars had the Tribute acted up at the beginning of break.  Three cars for four drivers was painful enough.

I almost puked when the mechanic called to let me know that the car needed a new engine.  The oil hadn't been changed since April.  The boys had burned out the engine.  The mechanic admitted that the car was an oil burner.  Shit!

This is the point of the story where I point out the obvious.  I don't handle car maintenance.  I also don't take out the garbage.  Everything else.  And I do mean EVERYTHING ELSE is my responsibility.  (Oh gentle reader, I see you nodding your head.  Are we in the same boat?)

Serious dust on my living room lamp . . .
 AFTER I asked Ed to dust the living room. 
He actually believes that he dusted it. 
My standards are crazy low, but come on!
I'm not saying that all of my tasks are handled in a timely manner.  I try.  There are plenty of things that get overlooked.  Housework is typically the lowest priority.  My crew is just going to mess everything up anyway.  Last time I checked though, failing to dust the living room isn't going to set us back three grand.

Still.  I make myself lists.  Constantly.  This is my way of trying not to forget anything.  I pay the bills, visit the grocery an obscene number of times a week, prepare meals, clean the clothes, fold the clothes, beg someone to put the clothes away, chauffeur kids, schedule doctor appointments, hangout at the orthodontist, clean the house (OK, I might suck at this - but I delegate to my minions, and that works out great, as I'm sure you can imagine), handle the birthday party invitations/gift buying, text the contractor begging him to finish our kitchen (I'm hoping that this will be resolved soon and no longer a problem - but there is  no end in sight), and all the other crap that is generally taken for granted by the people I live with.  I'm confident they think I have a staff who just does it all.

This is the loaner car we borrowed from the Mazda dealer, who happens to be a family friend.  A tad nicer than our 'teen' car.  Coach is driving  enjoying it while the Tribute is getting a rebuilt engine that has several thousand more miles on it than our original engine did.  To think, it could have all been avoided.  Best not to think in these situations though, I guess.
Coach admitted the lack of oil inventory was his fault.  In the next breath he fumed about how the boys should have told him they needed an oil change.  Going out on a limb here, but I don't think the importance of oil changes was ever explained to them.  Ed is very responsible.  He claims he told Coach when the oil light went on.  I did overhear this conversation, but I also think by the time the light is lit - it is too late.  Damn it.

I added 'educate the younger four kids about oil changes' to my endless list of things-to-do.  Then I 'splained it to each of them, and promptly checked it off my list.  AND later that day when I drove to Irish dancing in the great white, I got an oil change while I waited . . . then I raced to the grocery store, of course.

January 19, 2018

vicariously living with hair envy

See?  I didn't know if I was going to
be able to find this pic.  Once I did,
I wasn't sure if I should share it. 
Oh, how I detest this photo.
 I generally don't like to share
photographs of us, but I am
 confident that if you saw me today
you would not connect the dots
 between me and this photo. 
At least I certainly hope you wouldn't! 
I feel like forcing short hair on me
was a form of child abuse. 
Anyone concur?
Is it wrong that I am vicariously living thru my 8th grade daughter on gradation picture day?  My 8th grade portrait from 1985 is hideous.  I mean that. 

I wore a white lacy dress.  I was as pale as can be expected of a girl of Irish heritage in a Chicago winter.  Ah, nothing like pairing a white dress with a pasty white complexion!  Posing for my portrait without my glasses made sense, since I was planning to get contact lenses.  Who knew I would be too squeamish to pull that off?  More about that in a subsequent post.  That is quite a story in and of itself.  So my picture just looks like something is missing.  After 4th grade, I was NEVER without my glasses.

My hair was barely longer than my brothers'.  This was not a style I chose.  It was a style- and I use the term loosely- that my Mom LOVED.  Therefore, I was given no choice.  I am pretty sure that I have written about the horrors of the history of my hair before.  If you are unfamiliar, let me catch you up to speed:

My Mom likes short hair.  Always has.  I was taken to a beautician to achieve a Dorothy Hamel look in the mid 70's.  That was my last childhood visit to a beautician.  Moving forward, my Mom cut my hair in the same fashion as my brothers' hair -with a straight edge razor blade.  This plan kept with the family budget and allowed her to create the 'feathered' look that she adored. 

When I was in junior high, our neighbor was a beautician.  She cut hair in her makeshift basement salon.  My sisters and I would walk thru the backyards and arrive at Mrs. Patty's house when instructed by Mom.  I begged to be allowed to grow my hair longer, but Mom was always quick to point out that my hair just didn't look right long.  Anytime I avoided my impending basement trim my hair grew out - to the sides.  It lacked the ability to flow down to my shoulders like the lucky bitches in the shampoo commercials. 

It wasn't until high school when we no longer lived in close proximity to Mrs. Patty, that I grew my hair out.  It often looked like a frizzy heap.  I ignored my Mom's pleas to cut it along with her derogatory comments about how it resembled a bale of hay.

I arrived to high school one day early in my senior year with damp hair.  A girl in my homeroom leaned across the isle, studied my locks, and informed me that I had curly hair.  You could have blown me over with a hairdryer.  She insisted that all I needed was product. 

Totally different look when she 'does' her hair. 
When not pulled up, she lets it air dry straight.
I eventually learned that a diffuser attachment for a hairdryer was intended for people with curly hair.  My hair, my self esteem, and my future became bouncier, higher, and brighter. 

I now wear my hair shorter again.  Sadly, my hair is so thin that longer styles are not an option for me.  They drag and scream 'look at my scalp.'  I refuse to get it cut as incredibly short as I did as a kid.  I have some layers that I can fluff.  My mom and my two sisters continue to rock the borderline-crew-cut look. 

Good hair all around -
Mini and little redhead baby I sit for!
Mini (who is like me in every way except hair thickness) has the thickest head of hair I've had the jealous pleasure of running my fingers through.  While I have suggested that she cut a few inches from her locks to make it more manageable and possibly more curly (she does sometimes comment about how lucky Curly is to have curly hair- just so you know that I am not projecting that on her . . . AND this is why I urge her to dry it/ put some product in there at times because it is curly after all!), I can not bring myself to insist that she cut it.  Progress?

I like to remind her how fortunate she is that her mother buys a multitude of very pricey hair products.  Part of this budget-blowing indulgence is that Curly's hair requires some serious tubes of 'stuff' to keep it manageable. 

I admit that it does irk me a bit that Mini's typical hair style is the quick and easy 'messy-bun'.  She will blow it dry for special occasions, but often pulls it back away from her face leaving it flat across the top of her head.  She argues with me that my suggestion to give a BIT of height is 'so 80's'. 
Exhibit A:  Mini's messy bun! 
(click here to read the story about why Mini wore this for Halloween)
This morning to prep for the 8th grade photo, I put gobs of sprays and cremes in her hair.  I blew it dry - my way, not Mini's preferred flat on her head way.  I used a few bobby pins to pull it away from her face.  Folks, she looked like a super model!  We also chose a pretty blue top from her closet.  Her Irish decent leaves her pale, and she isn't yet interested in makeup.  I'm embracing that though.  For me, thanks to my short hair scars, it is all about the hair!

January 17, 2018

who needs fingerprints anyway?

The latest episode in how to survive life as a Shenanigan happened just as I was trying to decide what I was going to write about in this post.  It didn't help that I was a bit groggy.  

Allow me to back up.  Tonight I dropped Curly off at her dancing class.  Mini hurt her leg during her basketball game after school, so she ended up skipping dancing.  Nothing serious.  She was sort of tackled.  I think she suffered a bone bruise on her thigh.  It sucks because we pay whether she attends dance class or not.  

Our 8th grade basketball team isn't the most skillful group.  It was actually exciting because we played a similarly disoriented team.  In intense basketball games, players often end up on the floor.  This tackle Mini endured was more of a fumble because the other player wasn't sure where she belonged on the floor.  Mini is one of our more prepared players- which honestly isn't saying much, but bam - this girl took her down.

Coach was picking up from dancing tonight.  I often drive 25 minutes to practice, and then sit outside the class or run errands.  Two hours later, I drive the exhausted girls home.  It seems silly to drive home and then head back up there an hour and 15 minutes later.  Call me crazy.  No really, call me crazy in my comments, if you think I am indeed crazy for feeling guilty asking Coach to drive back up there to collect them on occasion so I can just be at home!

I think the issue stems as far back as our early years of marriage.  When Coach was a full time student in physical therapy school, time was sacred.  Majorly.  Every spare minute that he didn't spend studying was allocated wisely.  We scheduled time together.  

Fast-forward 21 years and his time is still in high demand.  He works long hours.  He attends classes.  Now he teaches or acts as a TA to an online class in his spare time.  Have I shared with you the blurry 2.5 years when he was studying for his fellowship AND finishing our basement?  Recently he began devoting more time to the unfinished basement shower that he put in years ago during the original project.  

My glue projects.  A homemade
ornament by Eddie, a Spode
Christmas mug handle
 (why didn't I just throw this away? 
The handle was in 3 pieces -
it is never going back together
and that is in part why my fingers
will never be the same),
and the head of a Goofy ornament.
On Saturday I asked him if he was going to drive Curly to fiddle, since he wasn't working.  'Well, I was going to do some work in the basement today.'  Game over.  I ended up taking Curly to fiddle, so as not to interfere with potential progress in the basement bathroom.  I mean hey, I want that thing finished too.  

I had one of my horrible headaches off and on over the weekend.  Yesterday it was really bad.  I woke up this morning headache free.  I slept plenty the last two nights, so I was surprised when I couldn't keep my eyes open this afternoon. 

The stars aligned and all 4 babysitting charges slept at the same time.  I dozed on the living room couch for almost an hour . . . which is why I was totally shocked when I couldn't keep my eyes open on my drive home from dancing.  Instead of getting something done while I was home vs being parked outside of dancing, I fell back asleep on the living room couch FOR OVER AN HOUR. 

When Coach left to get Curly, I hopped off the couch desperate to accomplish something.  I wanted to super glue some ornaments and a mug handle that need to be packed in the Christmas bins before they get loaded into the crawlspace.  Tank shot me in the back with a dart 'ball' (a new version of a dart gun) while I was leaning over my gluing project.  I lost my focus and ended up with super glue ALL OVER MY FINGERTIPS.  
The culprit.  A Nerf gun that
shoots balls at high speed. 
They pack a punch!
See!  I am now officially unidentifiable!
I suppose now if I rob a bank or go on a Nerf gun shooting rampage to seek revenge on my son, they won't know it was me because I have clearly destroyed my original fingerprints.  Anyone with advice for how to get this shit off my fingers?  I tried nail polish remover.  I was going to sort the Christmas lights properly, but decided to hold off.  All I need is to have a string of Christmas lights permanently adhered to my hands . . . reminiscent of Chevy Chase's family when they struggle with sap while decorating the tree in 'Christmas Vacation.' 

January 14, 2018

far from easy street

Since school is back in full swing, so are my babysitting duties.  With only the two brothers (Theo and Carter) needing my services since mid-September, I've been coasting along on easy street.  Well, I suppose easy street isn't the most accurate way to classify caring for a 4 year and a 2 year old 4 days a week.  UNLESS you compare it to adding a 2.5 year old and a 4 month old to the mix. 

I'm not sure why 2 year olds get such a bad rap.  I speak their language.  I can get inside their little heads.  I like to think that I have the 2 year old thing down.  All day long.  They don't scare me.  They can pout, throw themselves on the ground, toss the word 'no' my way, cry me a river, refuse to eat what I offer.  They can't break me.  It's my way or the highway.  

I often witness the tot nonsense they store up and spew at their clueless parents at pick-up time.  Oh, glorious pick up time!  Great time of day, beating out nap-time by a small margin.  I digress.  Those little guys wouldn't dream of trying any of their usual tricks with a toddler master like myself.
The 3 stooges:  Theo, Joey, Carter.  I actually ventured to the zoo with them plus baby on Thursday.  How can I deny them a trip to the zoo when Chicago temps were near 60?  Baby sis cooperated and snoozed at least part of the time in the stroller.  This is a rare still moment for this constant-motion crew as they check out a porcupine from South America.  Way cuter than the North American variety.  What's up with that?  We are missing out!

Now that maternity leave is over and the little sis is on the scene, my hands are a bit busier.  I spent the week reminding myself of all the things I can accomplish with one hand.  Removing ornaments off a tree.  Starting a load of laundry.  The dishwasher.  All these duties can be done at an incredibly slow one-handed, but still possible, pace.  

On Tuesday my kitchen designer was back in town.  She and I had many things to go over.  I hadn't seen her or heard from her since before Christmas.  I had a list.  This project has dragged on at an unreasonably slow pace.  Now, IF the crew members were each holding a baby in one hand and building my kitchen with the other the unfinished work MIGHT make sense.  

She and I hammered out some details while I walked with the fussy baby.  The three boys were playing in the basement.  A few times I excused myself to check on the boys. 

Oh my.  It was like a bachelor pad down there.  There were light sabers, nakedness, air hockey, train tracks, matchbox cars, sweat, and loud voices.  One thing Joey (2.5 yr old bro to the new baby) kept repeating (he likes to repeat himself until someone acknowledges him AND he doesn't have a quiet bone in his body) was 'We are on a mission.'  I never learned what the mission was.  I assume it was top secret.  

Carter was letting it all hang out.  His pants and underwear were strewn about.  He was laying on the floor trying to figure out how to get dressed again.  I celebrated the fact that he had made it into the bathroom to pee all on his own.  I did suggest (as I have a million times before) that he use his voice to let me know that he is heading into the bathroom, so I can be of assistance.  Love the independence, though!

A quick peek into a moment with the gang.  The boys, released from the bachelor pad, are entertaining baby sis.  She is loving it!  I hope this video clip works.  I moved heaven and earth to edit a blink of it here for you.

The very next day I heard Theo and Joey calling Carter's name in the depths of the bachelor pad.  Continuously.  Knowing that even in a top notch game of hide-and-seek Carter couldn't possibly be THAT successful at eluding his buds, I figured out what was up.  Yes, in case you were wondering, I double as a rocket scientist.  Sure enough, I found two confused boys wandering the basement calling for the third stooge.  Then I stepped into the basement bathroom.  Carter was on the toilet awaiting someone to wipe him.  

Also a one-handed task.  Lucky me. 

My point- and I do have one- is that unfortunately blogging is not a one handed task.  Please be patient with my posting pace as I manage the mayhem that is far from easy street.  

January 12, 2018

neat little bow, and how that's not going to happen

weak ass looking bow . . .
but couldn't think of another
picture that would work here. 
How do you photograph hurt
feelings and passive aggressive
behavior?  Just went with
the generic symbolism. 
Well, I would really like to wrap up this family drama issue that erupted on Christmas with a neat little bow.  As is the case with most emotionally charged situations (especially when people don't intend to hurt their loved ones, but can't apologize or attempt to repair the damage when they do), this train wreck won't be resolved . . . never mind the aforementioned bow. 

This is how we handled what was left of our Christmas night:  Coach stayed at home with Laddie and we texted and called one another while I attempted to compose myself in my folks' laundry room.  Eventually Lad settled down.  Then he was concerned about me.  Was I OK?  He texted me that he wanted me to pretend that he had run out of the party because his friend was in an accident.  A fake out that no one would believe, and wasn't worth attempting.  Lad wanted to act like a man of steel, as if he was not hurt and upset.  He also requested that all of our copies of the book be left at my parents' house.

I wanted everything to be different.  Can we just pretend that we are OK?  Can Lad come back to the party?  No, Coach informed me.  Lad was not coming back.  Coach would come back and collect me when the kids were done playing.  I splashed some cold water on my face and eventually went into the family room and sat on the couch.  I pretended to be engrossed in my phone.  I didn't want to converse with anyone.  No one tried.

When we got home, the kids told me that I wasn't the only one whose family was discussed in a negative manner.  Ann's divorce was the focus of her overview.  I read it over.  Dad did describe her divorce.  She was married to a narcissist.  She is a victim.  Ann's issues with having complete control over everything are not mentioned.  Trust me - her ex-husband is a monster.  Her little write up, however, can't be compared to how Lad was thrown under the bus.  It simply reiterates exactly what she wants the world to know and believe about her failed marriage. 

On the next page, the fact that Marie's kids suffer from anxiety is brought to light in her summary.  Again, WHY?  The way it is written though it seems to be something they dealt with as children.  No one is singled out.  I never considered asking Marie if she was upset that this was shared in the book.  There's really no point.  Marie works VERY hard to maintain her position of 'wonderful daughter who enjoys the same interests as our father'.  She is blind to anything negative concerning our parents.  It is gross. 

Dad's gushing over each of my younger brothers on their subsequent pages was par for the course.  A course where I simply stumble and fall flat on my face TRYING not to be overlooked. 

Coach and I tried to tell Lad that his grandpa was most likely referring to Lad's childhood behavior.  We pointed out that to grandpa this was just a fact.  The man likes facts.  Regardless of whether or not it was important to share or hurtful. 

After Christmas:  I saw Chip to discuss the ever-so-important 'where do I go from here?'  I expected Chip to be on the same page as me.  He was not.  Drum roll . . .

Chip thought this was typical behavior for my Dad.  Um, yes - I have discussed various family issues in the past with Chip.  He didn't think an apology should be expected.  He also pointed out that we could remind Laddie that he did, in fact, give us a run for our money.  True.  Again, I think there are many layers to the 'why' we were given a run for our money.  Finally, Chip thought that if Lad felt like having a conversation with my Dad that he could say something along the lines of:

'I didn't feel celebrated in this book.  If someone read this book, and didn't know me that is all they would learn about me.  It makes me feel like you don't know me.' 

Coach and I discussed this possible approach with Lad.  Lad was not interested.  He insists that he's 'done' with my dad.  That breaks my heart.  Coach did remind Lad that his grandpa is not a bad person, but that he made a mistake and was inconsiderate.  Lad didn't care.

In the meantime, my Mom made a point to tell me that Mini informed Dad that she read the book AND she liked it.  That is Mom's passive aggressive way of telling me, 'hey, people like this book - get over it.'  Nuts. 

Twice since Christmas Dad has interacted with my not-thrown-under-the-bus kids and made passive aggressive comments.  He invited Ed to a movie.  Eddie emailed him back saying 'sure, and I'm sure some of my siblings would like this movie too.'  (Ed wants no part in the favoritism that flows so forcefully from my folks).  Dad emailed back saying, 'OK, Lad and Tank are old enough to see it, but Lad probably hates me now.'  He took Mini to lunch (I believe he has a rotation plan in place since I scolded him this summer for playing favorites and only taking 'golden' grandchildren like Mini to lunch).  He told her during lunch that he suspected that Lad now hates him.  Seriously.

I honestly do feel bad that he was so incapable of understanding other people's feelings that he was able to write what he wrote.  I feel it cast a shadow over his great gift idea.  BUT  if I suspected that a grandchild hated me, I think I would try to repair the damage.  Regardless of how big a bow it took to attempt to make the issue neat and tidy. 

January 9, 2018

Multi-functioning closet and over-doing it!

I've decided to share this fun fact with you as I take a breather from the family drama downer that occurred on Christmas.  I do have a few more tidbits to share there - still working thru it . . . thanks for listening reading and commenting.  It helps to know that other people don't find this crap 'normal'.

Coach and I just recently discovered that my walk-in closet serves an additional purpose.  I LOVE MY CLOSET (even without this bonus usage)!!  At our last house, I shared a very standard sized closet with Coach.  That tight space was tough considering I was constantly rotating an inventory of maternity clothes, 'in-between' clothes (that I wore shortly after giving birth), and regular clothes.

For the past 10 years in our current house, I have basked in oodles of closet space.  AND I don't have to share it with Coach.  He has his own small closet.  Trust me, it is perfectly acceptable for his wardrobe demands.  I enjoy walking into my closet and seeing so much at a glance.  The only issue is that at this time of year, I can also see my breath.  OK, 'almost' see my breath.

My closet doubles as a meat locker.  No joke.  My closet sits right above our unheated garage.  We paid dearly about 6 years ago to add insulation to the attic space that surrounds my closet and is also located over the garage.  We may as well have tossed fistfuls of money into the furnace that refuses to warm my closet.  I still freeze my buns off dashing in to grab an article of below-zero clothing.

On Thursday we hosted Eddie's varsity basketball team for a pasta dinner.  There are about 15 kids on the team.  Ed warned me to consider how much food I would make.  'Imagine the amount of pasta I eat, and then multiply it by 15.'  Well, Ed got my attention.  He reminded me how awful it would be if we ran out of food.

This isn't even all of it.  For real.
 Does it make you hungry?
'Cause you should've come over.  

Did you ever read the Big Anthony books to 
your kids?  'Boil, boil pasta pot,
boil me some pasta nice and hot . . . '
My friends, there is a reason I NEVER order pizza.  I absolutely cannot judge how much we will need.  If Coach isn't here to rescue me from the ordering process, then I feel almost compelled to invite over neighbors to share the inevitable excess.  Too bad majority of our neighbors are nuts, because they could really have scored in the pizza sharing department over the years. 

Hey, everyone has their flaws.  Pizza ordering is mine.  Don't ask me how I manage to prepare meals for our family on a daily basis.

I am embarrassed to admit that I made four huge trays of baked mostaccioli in addition to three 9 x 13 pans of it.  I think I used a little over 20 pounds of pasta and 12 pounds of meat.  I know.  Staggering numbers.  I wish there was a self help program for over-ordering types /over-cookers like me.
It might be hard to see amidst my clothing,
but there under the white drawers is a
shelf with a mostly-eaten sheet cake on it.
 I forgot to take a picture when there was more of the
cake left.  We have literally gone up into my closet the last
 few nights to retrieve the cake leftovers.

We only finished off one huge tray that night.  I practically force fed the team third helpings.  I ended up scooping mounds of pasta into Ziploc bags and handing them out like party favors.  I gave some to my parents the next day.  A 9 x 13 pan went to a family we know who just welcomed their 6th baby.

Despite our brand new ENORMOUS fridge in the kitchen and the back up in the basement, we were running out of space.  Not to brag, but where I fall short in my food estimation skills, I more than compensate in my stuffing-things-in-a-fridge abilities.

Coach reminded me that the leftover sheet cake from Costco was supposed to be refrigerated.  Damn.  That's when my husband who barely knows his way around a kitchen contributed by suggesting that we store the remaining cake in my closet.  Problem solved.  Um, yes - my lovely closet is that cold! 

Side note:  the team won a big game the next night.  And yes, I think some credit should be given to the pasta.  Maybe not the insane over supply of it, but still!  Now that I know that one tray is sufficient, I told Eddie that I am happy to host again.  Seeing as we have two trays in the basement freezer, I would welcome the chance to feed the team and free up some freezer space. 

January 7, 2018

fallout from 'the gift'

This won't make much sense unless you read 'the gift that keeps on giving or not:  you decide'.  Sorry.  This is in response to my New Year's resolution to write shorter posts . . .

Lad put on his coat and raced out the door.  He was sobbing.  I burst into tears.  My mom was sitting on another couch.  'Ernie, what is it?'  I held up the book.  'Dad wrote that my kids have ADD and that Laddie gives me a run for my money.'

To me ADD is like any undesirable ailment:  allergies, nearsightedness, asthma, etc.  But for most of the population ADD is associated with a lack of intelligence.  I know this NOT to be the case, but the stigma is hard to escape. 

Cover of the book.  My kids
thought my dad resembled
a younger Tom Hanks.
I found Coach in the family room reclined in front of the TV.  He didn't even know that Lad had left.  I told him to drive after Laddie.  I spent the next hour hiding in the laundry room trying to compose myself.  Eventually my Mom came in and hugged me.  She admitted that she had never read the book.  'Dad just doesn't think,' she reminded me.  After years of experiencing this first hand, I didn't need a reminder.  Still, what the Hell?

I just couldn't understand why it was necessary to include those few hurtful sentences in the book.  Yes, Lad gave us a run for our money, but there are layers to this.  I felt it was too hard to sum up in a two sentences.

As parents we should've taken him out of the Catholic school.  The kids were mean and he had no friends.  His acting up wasn't just because he had ADD.  We were dumb parents.  We tried, but we failed him.  Coach worked long hours and I had my hands full with the gang.  Lad learned to appreciate negative attention and I became accustomed to dishing it out.  Even though I feel like an older and wiser parent now, I am far from perfect.  Damn it, sometimes being a parent is so hard.

As I stood in the laundry room, I tried to figure out how to fix this.  There was a lot of emotion.  Can that page be rewritten and the book be reprinted?  Yes, I know.  Irrational.  Every cousin and aunt or uncle now had a copy of it.  There is one cousin in particular who doesn't care for Laddie.  So this cousin was just handed a written account of Lad's shortcomings.  Oh, I wanted to punch a wall.

Despite my hurt, I was also upset that Dad's awesome gift was now ruined.  There was even the littlest bit of guilt that it was my family's reaction to his book that was causing the initial glow to fade.

Then there was my brother, Pat.  I wanted to strangle him.  You proofread this?  No red flag moment in there, Pat?  You didn't want to say, 'Hey, Dad, this won't thrill Lad.'  Why not focus simply on other things?  If he insisted on focusing on 'frustrations' or struggles, mention my challenge in putting Coach thru physical therapy school when we were newlyweds.  Why not just describe your kids and mention why they make you proud?

I suppose it might be hard for Pat the proof-reader to see how someone else might be hurt considering the opening sentence to Pat's paragraph:  My fourth child and the first boy is pretty intelligent.  Seriously?

I explained to my Mom as I leaned up against her dryer that everything always seems to backfire for Lad.  I shared a story with her that I had kept to myself for years.  My Dad once took Lad to a Notre Dame alumni dinner that was held downtown Chicago.  I think Lad was in 8th grade or early high school.  It was such a treat.  When Lad got home, I called to him anxious to hear how the night was.  'It stunk,' he barked.

I was shocked.  Apparently when Laddie asked if my Dad thought that Laddie would someday be accepted into ND, Dad said, 'No.'  In the course of the conversation, Dad informed Lad that all of my brother Pat's kids would get into ND, because they were all soooo smart.  (notice the pattern?)

My Dad is an accountant.  Everything needs to fit on a line and be reconciled.  I wondered though.  How would this hurt be reconciled?

January 5, 2018

gift that keeps on giving, or not: you decide

It's taken me almost 2 weeks to decide how to approach this touchy topic, and whether or not to share it at all.

I paid a visit to my therapist, Chip, Dec. 29th.  Before I share Chip's spin on the
situation, I wanted to see where you all would weigh in.  It's sort of a game not unlike 'Are you smarter than a 5th grader?'  This version is called - are you as smart as a therapist?  I hope you will play!

I met Chip about 10 years ago when a few of the boys were diagnosed with ADD.  He gave us techniques on how to handle some of the behavior associated with ADD.  He even came to the Catholic school and informed a room full of teachers how to deal with ADD classroom complications.  I thought I was clueless, but these 'educators' wanted every student to fit into the same square peg.  My kid was round.

Occasionally I see Chip to get my problems shrunk.  He's been helpful when I run into a situation that causes me to lose sleep or pull my hair out.  ADD isn't always the culprit.  Sometimes it's family.

My parents live a few miles from our house.  They always host Christmas.  We had a wonderful dinner and as always a very impressive assortment of homemade desserts.

'Mom always said don't play ball in the house!'
Boy cousins goofing around in a room with
too much Waterford and Nana's breakable
collection of nativity sets.  I don't remember
what they were playing keep-away with,
but I'm sure after I snapped this I ordered my
offspring to knock it off!
After dessert we move into the living room where my brother passes out the mountain of grandparent and godparent gifts.  The gift opening has scaled back since I requested that we stop drawing names for an adult gift exchange last year.  Remember how well that notion was received?  This year I went the back door route and suggested to my sane sister in law that we stop having kids exchange as well.  Why not have an older cousin pair up with a younger cousin and go ice skating or to the movies together?  I'm all for making memories instead of making more  'stuff'.

My brothers and their wives liked the idea.  They recognized that if I introduced another change, I might be excommunicated from the family.  Instead, they pretended the idea was their own.  I accepted my silent role in this change.  I wasn't looking for notoriety - just looking to shop/spend less.  Cutting down on the cousin gifts isn't depriving anyone of anything.

Opening gift free for all.
Once all the gifts were opened, my Dad called everyone to attention.  He had a big box at his feet.  He asked us not to complain if he spelled anyone's name wrong.  Then he proceeded to hand out an inscribed book to the 22 grand-kids and each of his 5 adult children.  He wrote the book about himself.  My brother Pat's co-worker and good friend had suggested the project to him.  She provided Dad with writing prompts, and he submitted responses to her along with pictures.  Then Pat proofread the book and his co-worker printed it.

It was an amazing gift.  We were all dazed.  What a great idea!  The book included photos and stories of my dad throughout his life.  My dad is VERY into history, and this was his way of sharing his own history with us.  Dad has leukemia, and this was a small reminder that he won't be with us forever.

I was still sitting in the living room talking to my sister.  Kids abandoned the stacks of gifts and raced back into the basement to play.  The older kids headed back to the family room to watch football.  Laddie suddenly reappeared in the living room.  He interrupted my conversation by shoving my Dad's book in my face.  'Read this!' he ordered.  I tried to wave him off, 'Lad, I will read it later.'

'Read it now!' he demanded.  Dad wrote a bit about each of his kids.  My paragraph started like this:  My third daughter, Ernie, married a physical therapist.  They have 6 children.  2 of which suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder).  Her oldest has given her a real run for her money.  She suffers from a lot of frustration, but has learned how to survive.  To help with the family income, she babysits in her own home.

Stay tuned for the fallout . . .

January 3, 2018

gluten galore

One of the bummers about the holidays for me is watching delicious desserts be devoured.  I used to be a MAJOR participator in the sport of dessert eating.  Holiday desserts were the bomb!  I was good at leaving room.  There was always room.  Ah, gluttony.  My former constant companion.  A sliver of this, a sample of that.  I never met a Christmas cookie I didn't enjoy!

Back in May of 2015, I had an endoscopy and found out I had celiac disease.  (silent sobs)  I've avoided gluten ever since.  My dessert days are drastically different now. 

This past fall was Hell for me.  It's a long story, and it has only been a few days since my 'I'll be brief' resolution.  I am not ready to break that promise yet.  Let me just sum it up by saying that I barely slept for 3 long months.  I could fall asleep easily, but I often would not stay asleep for very long.  I would be ready to drink Lake Michigan in the middle of the night. 

There were other issues.  You can connect the dots here.  It was a waiting game.  Waiting for my body to be ready to relax.  By the time I could fall sleep, it was usually time to start the day.  Days of sleep deprivation strung together were becoming my norm.  I was a mess.

I called my GI.  The person who answered the phone (who should be relieved of employment at that office) said my issues weren't related to celiac disease.  I would have to be doubled over puking and in pain to suspect gluten.  I saw my OB.  I saw an allergist.  I saw my general practitioner.  I was tested for thyroid and diabetes.  Nothing. 

I finally scheduled an appointment at the GI.  He asked about gluten, but I insisted that I wasn't getting gluten in my diet.  He and I discussed how my mind occasionally races in the middle of the night.  Anxiety and motherhood.  6 kids.  6 busy schedules.  Coach felt strongly that I just needed to stop worrying about things.  Stop waking up to pee and allowing my mind to take off. 

I HATED THIS MINDSET.  I bristled whenever Coach tried to convince me that I just needed to relax.  I am NOT a worry wart.

The GI doc ordered lab work.   A week later I got around to getting the blood drawn.  Dumb to wait, I know but there was a stomach bug, a kitchen remodel, etc.  Remember?  The day before Thanksgiving I called the doctor to see if they got the results from my blood work.  I was strung out.  Missing sleep and fearing I was losing my mind. 

The results were in.  Some number that starts with a TI was a 9.  It was supposed to be between 0 and 3.  My blood had 3 times the acceptable levels of gluten.  I was shocked.  How?  I thought I was so careful. 

Inadvertent gluten.  I saw a nutritionist.  I have learned to get better about watching my labels.  My oatmeal, that was once certified gluten free, was no longer certified.  Now that was just plain mean.  I did my homework back in 2015.  These food people get to change their labels, their equipment, their recipes?  BULL SHIT!

So food that says 'gluten free' like Cheerios, is really not safe for me.  It needs to be 'certified gluten free.'  Oh, don't get me started on the gluten free wanna be's.  Cheerios is catering to them, and messing with me in the process.  (Sorry, Cheerios.  You are not alone).  I wasn't even eating cheerios regularly.  It's just an example. 

My mom makes almost all
 of the desserts.  I will have
to be committed to making
one next year.  Then I can eat
most of it myself.  Ah, gluttony!
Christmas day at my folks house.  None of the desserts are gluten free.  I sometimes make one myself, because my mother doesn't want to make anything with 'goofy' ingredients.  (Nope, not making that up).  The cherry dessert just needs to be make with gluten free graham cracker crumbs in the crust.  The Rocky Road fudge bars can be made with gluten free flour without compromising taste, because the flour to decadent chocolate flavor ratio is like 1 to 80.  I didn't have time this year to whip something up:   1.  we hosted on the 23rd  2.  I was still coughing up a lung  3. my kitchen is only partially moved into.  I brought a carrot cake slice for myself from a gluten free bakery. 

Limits suck (like TRYING TO LIMIT BLOG LENGTH)- especially when it comes to dessert.  And no, this was not the family drama ordeal that I have dangled before you like a forbidden Christmas cookie.  That is another story.  Oh, the good news is I am sleeping again (except when I am on prednisone).   

January 1, 2018

I'll be brief

I had a post written and published early this morning.  Then I decided to switch gears.  This topic seemed more New Year's-ish.

The other post will pop up again in a few days.  It's full of family drama and frustration.  Been mulling over how to share it with you since Christmas.  This is lighter.  And brief.  And, hey, I'm gonna TRY to be more brief in 2018.  You're welcome.  (In response, you are going to TRY to comment more on my posts, right?).

It's cold here in the windy city.  Crazy cold.  Yesterday morning, I put on my robe.  Referring to this garment of mine as a robe is being incredibly generous.  Coach came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders.  'My New Year's resolution is that you get a new robe.'  I don't really think that is how New Year's resolutions work.  Correct me if I am wrong.

I honestly only wear the robe a few times a year.  Most mornings I hop out of bed and dress in workout attire.  I hit the gym in the morning and shower.  Then the day begins.

I grabbed the robe yesterday because it is full-length, handy, and warm.  I wasn't working out until 10:30 am.  Boo hiss.  I hate working out that late, but I do enjoy this particular class, so I sat wrapped up in my robe and my PJ's drafting the distressing blog post that will show up later this week.  (curious?) I was cozy at the computer until 10:00 when I ditched the terry-cloth rag that I once treasured and dressed for my class.

The robe was a gift when I was going away to college.  It was from the family that I babysat for.  It has my name embroidered on it - along with a little shamrock.  I brought it with me when I studied in Ireland my junior year of college.  Ireland is damp.  The robe came in handy.  I still can't believe though that I sacrificed packing other more mainstream wardrobe items in order to haul this huge, pink robe overseas.  Sometimes I crack myself up.

I've tried other robes.  Polyester robes make me sweat.  They don't breathe.  It hasn't been a priority to replace, because I use it SO infrequently now.  Back when the kids were tiny and I was strapped to the house a bit more, I wore it every morning without fail.

In case you are wondering, I attended college a LONG time ago.  This thing is a relic.  I'm slightly embarrassed to share the photo with you, but I brought it up . . . so . . .
My robe.  Nearing antique status.  Note the shamrock.  The part at the top left is the shredded collar.  The black part was once a tag.  The cuff is equally shredded.  I tried to hide the discolored side of the cuff to preserve what little pride I still have in tact.  

Do you have anything that you aren't proud to own, and that your spouse/friend/kid is begging you to ditch in 2018?  Do tell.  Remember:  you are going to TRY to comment more - per me, the nutty lady who owns a ridiculous robe.