Dear Bleach: You Complete Me

This was sorta a sponsored thing, but I’d have done it for free because THAT is how deep my love for bleach is.

Despite now having three children, becoming an Infection Control nurse, and having the not-so-insane-(probably) desire to return to school to become a virologist, I’m not particularly germaphobic. I mean, I’m not exactly begging for germs to come into bed with me and make germ babies, but I am pretty laid back when it comes to Teh Germs.

See Pranksters, even knowing full well that I don’t usually WANT to know where that thing the kid is shoving into his mouth has been, I’ll admit it: I’ve allowed all of my children to crawl around on the floor without washing it first, I let dogs lick their faces, and I consider “washing a pacifier” to be throwing it into my own mouth for a couple of seconds. I own a thing of antibacterial hand sanitizer for those particularly disgusting stink-a-palloza (a term normally reserved for the scent of particularly badly cooked fish) diaper changes, but I often forget to use it unless it’s a true craptastrophe.

Despite all of that. Despite being raised by hippies whose idea of “cleaning” involved some patchouli-scented spray that ended up gumming up entire surfaces. Despite the “germs are our friends… sometimes” mantra I chant after I watch the dog eat his own excrement, I have a confession to make.

Ready?

Hold your breath, Pranksters. This is gonna be a shock.

I love, love, LOVE bleach. If I was allowed only one cleaning product for the rest of my life bleach would be it. Between the cats with worms and the kid who cannot seem to manage to pee sitting down, yet lacks the attention span to actually aim his urine at the gigantic gaping porcelain god, bleach and I are BFF. No, it’s DEEPER than that. I love bleach like I love oxygen. I’d marry bleach if I could be certain I wouldn’t inadvertently mix it with ammonia while cleaning the craptastrophe under my kid’s bed.

(Hey, I never said I was smart)

My love of bleach, though, it’s now bordering on obsession. Suddenly I want to dip the baby in bleach after his diaper explodes. I have to stop myself from following both Ben and Dave around with a spray bottle of bleach. I’ve considered bathing in bleach because I love it so very much. Instead of sprinking sage or whatever it is new-age people do around a house, I’d happily use bleach-scented air freshener if I didn’t think it would squick people out.

THAT is how I feel about bleach.

When Clorox asked me to come up with some words to describe occasions in which I’d use bleach, I was all, “WHERE DO I BEGIN?” and started writing a sonnet. But they got specific: they wanted SILLY words to add to their Clorox Icktionary not an ode to bleach.

I came up with two: stinkapalloza (overcooked fish) and craptastrophe (pile of crap under my kid’s bed). Because, well, obviously.

Anyway, it’s a good thing I’m in therapy or I’d (still) be standing on the side of the road with a big “I HEART BLEACH” sign. We all know how THAT turned out.

(answer: straightjacket time)

Blah, blah, blah disclosure time:

“This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Clorox blogging program. The opinions and  ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, you can totes click here.”

Martha Stewart, I Ain’t.

Nothing like a party with actual guests* to make me realize that it was fucking time to take care of some bizness. Namely, the house.

Now I am not an interior decorator. I don’t even play one on television (I do, however, play a doctor and/or the village idiot, so that’s something). I’ve never sat through a home improvement show – not even the show Home Improvement, but that’s because Tim Allen makes me want to stab out my eyes – nor would I care to. In fact, I’d rather gnaw off several toes than have to sit through one.

I’ve tried, mostly because I figured I could learn about this mysterious “eye for style” which, it turns out, is not something that can be acquired during ten or so minutes of one of those shows. My idea of a pretty room is one that has unicorns, glitter, and/or an Uncrustables machine, which means that my new house, the one I’ve lived in nearly five years, has been decorated in what can only be considered “found by the side of the road” style.

But if I have people over, it’s time to pretend that I may actually be a grown-up…or at least play one for a party. Which meant it was time for some motherfucking home improvements.

Because I am a bad blogger who takes lousy photos (when did being an incredible photog become part of being a blogger?), I did not take any “before” pictures. The room I am currently working in, my dining room, was painted what I liked to call, “Cat Barf Green,” although some of you may find it to be more “Cat Pee on Plasterboard.” Frankly, I’ll be interested to see what you decide upon.

This is the room BEFORE we moved in. Which means this was NOT my furniture.

Fake flowers make me dry heave.

Not sure what you’d call it, besides butt-fugly, but that’s what it was.

For years, I’ve worked in here, gritting my teeth as I looked at the hideous paint (recall also, those of you who love the shade, that I am color-blind)(and those of you who LOVE the fake flowers, it’s like I don’t know you.) and that awful chandelier, but there has always been something – anything – else that prevented us from fixing the room.

It’s the “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” problem. If I painted, I’d want to replace the fug light fixture. If I replaced THAT light fixture, I would also need some new art for the walls.

And so on.

So the room has remained, silently taunting me until last week, when I realized people would be coming by. AND JUDGING MY HORRIFYING TASTE. It’s not like I could put a disclaimer on the walls, like, “Objects In Here Are Not Aunt Becky’s Choice.” Well, I guess I COULD, but that’s weird.

Instead, I decided to strap on a set of balls and get ‘er done. Daver took the kids to his parents this weekend and Ben and I spent about 40 straight hours working on the two rooms (I’ll show you the other room tomorrow. Couldn’t get any decent snaps. Suffice to say, it was painted 2 different shades of white.).

And…

Where the magic happens.

Here’s where I ask for your help, Pranksters: I need some nice, beautiful, colorful pictures to hang on my wall around my desk. I’d go to Etsy, but I get overwhelmed every time I try.

Also: I need an old light box – you know, the thing where they used to hang X-Rays? That.

Any suggestions? Also: how was your weekend? Also also: can you give me a massage? I’m fucking sore. Also also also: apparently ninety-years old.

*Email me if you want an invite – I’m serious. I will insist that you admire my walls, but this is gonna be fucking fun.

When “Vintage” Means “You’re An Idiot.”

I’m getting a new central air conditioner today. It’s been dying a slow and painful death since Alex was a wee babe and we’ve put it off because, well, it hadn’t entirely bit the bucket. The guy came to install it and was all, “Holy shit, I can’t believe they hooked it up like this. It could have blown up.”

“Holy shit, I can’t believe XXX” is about what I think when I think back to our old first floor bathroom, so I think he and I are going to get along fabulously.

three-wallpaper-bathroom

(yes, yes that’s right, Pranksters. That IS three types of wallpaper in that tiny room. And, why yes! How astute of you to notice that it’s GLUED TO THE FUCKING DRYWALL. GOD, that was a bitch to get off.)

Anyway. I couldn’t be happier to have this installed, even though it’s costing me a couple of G’s.

As I told The Daver this morning, “Hey, it beats the condo.” He laughed knowingly.

Back when I didn’t know better, The Daver and I bought a three bedroom condo in Oak Park. It was a beautiful red brick building, right on the edge of an “up-and-coming neighborhood.” (in this case, “up-and-coming” means “on the edge of the ghetto”)

Our condo was a charming thing, all tall ceilings and dark wood floors. Very beautiful.

Until we moved in.

It was only then when I realized what “vintage” really meant. It meant, “you’re a fucking sucker.”

We had a radiator in the basement, one that heated all of the units, and, well, it was on when it was on and when it wasn’t on, it was still on. Our condo was right below it, so during the winter, it wasn’t uncommon to see me walking around in a tank top and shorts.

We’d gone to a Condo Board Meeting to learn that our poor radiator was on it’s last legs…and there were no funds from our condo dues to pay for it. It cost something like ten billion dollars.

We’d just shelled out five grand for a new back porch.

Great.

And the lead-paint covered windows that may as well have been screens for all the air they kept out? Well, if we wanted to replace those, they were a thousand dollars.

Each.

A thousand dollars.

Each.

We had something like ten windows. Ten grand (plus installation!) for windows. Windows NOT made of solid gold.

See, we needed to get specialty windows – replicas of the original – to match building code.

(fuck you, vintage)

When we added fans (and learned about the faulty wiring that may have killed us in a fiery blaze, had we not gone up and fixed it) in our condo in the summer because it was 8000000 degrees and window AC units don’t work so well when the windows allow hot air to pour in? Well, we were in trouble with the condo board for not using their electrician.

I have never been happier to move back to the land of the pre-fab.

At least now, when our AC unit craps out on us, I can buy a FLOOR MODEL and have it installed. It’s not specially carved by small children in Zimbabwe to match my house. It’s just an AC unit.

And when I decide to recarpet my house, it will be regular carpet, not carpet hand-crafted on the backs of seventeen vestal virgins.

Which is fortunate. I don’t even know what a vestal virgin is.

A New Dateline Special: When Roses Attack

Now, before a zillion of you click away disgustedly, this won’t be another boring ass garden post, well, okay, it won’t be TOO MUCH of a boring ass garden post. Because sometimes, Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch, I can’t help myself.

*ahem* Fantasy Football posts *ahem*

Besides, most of you read me in a reader (when the reader is working properly *angrily shakes fists at the sky*) and that ‘mark all as read’ button is just so damn handy.

After I got a house, I got a dog. Well, no, let me rephrase that. I got a dog that is actually a ficus in dog’s clothing. Sure, he may LOOK like a corgi/beagle mix/stuffed sausage, and his breath may smell EXACTLY like a vagina, but I assure you, o! wise, Internets, he is a house plant.

May I present to you Exhibit A (I’d add more shots here, but the only things that change are location and the length of already insanely-long page load time. Which I do not know what to do about):

Cash, As A Ficus

Before you alert the authorities, Internet, let me assure you that this is not a dead, taxidermied dog that I’ve inexpertly displayed on my couch. No, this is how Cash lives, 98% of the time: he naps on the couch, suns his belly, licks his pooper, and then rounds it out with a snack and another nap.

So to all of you Dog Trolls who drop in to critique my Crappy Dog Skillz, let me assure you, Cash pretty much has a life that I want.

No intruder is going to be terribly deterred by the rancid vagina smell coming from his mouth or the awesome way he can totally nap while laying ALMOST entirely on his back, so yeah, I had to come up with another strategy.

The cats, although fiercely annoying as they yodel and scream hello to anyone and everyone and occasionally just for the hell of it–often scaring people into thinking that I have small children trapped on various floors of my house–which yeah. They might end up tripping someone in a desperate plea for attention as a potential Bad Guy (or Girl, let’s not be Sexist Here)

Then we got Auggie, The Most Feared Dog in all of The World, and by “most feared” I mean, he’s effing adorable and if you saw him you’d be all “squeeeee! Lemmie take him home!” and I’d be all “BE MY GUEST!”

And as you were leaving with him, I’d say all ominously, “You do know he eats poo, right?” and then you’d take a scalding water bath with a brillo pad and refuse to take my calls. But he’s cute and he weighs 16 pounds, and his only real defense tactic is that you don’t want his tongue on your person because it has recently eaten poo straight out of the butthole of another dog.

That’s right, he likes his poo ON TAP.

But, awww!

Auggie

And The Daver, God Bless him, isn’t here very often, and let’s not forget the curious incident of The Thing In The Garage In The Night-Time, shall we? Dave weighs all of 45 pounds soaking wet (knock off the Jack Sprat jokes, people, I’m losing the mother-fucking weight) and, well, he’s as intimidating as a wee baby sheep. Actually, I take that back, a baby sheep is probably scarier.

So I did what any average suburban housewife with waaay too much time and science background and radon would do!

I grew ATTACK ROSES!

Naturally, The Devil was in the mother-effing details and I planted them in the BACK of my house instead of the FRONT of my house, but, you know, those wily burglars can come from any given angle, right?

ATTACK ROSE

You can see that my ATTACK ROSE has already eaten a soccer ball, a hose, and is working it’s way both towards a kiddie pool AND a Smoky Joe. It’s THAT full of Desire To Maim And Destroy.

(if you look closely, next to it is another rose, the Attack Rose of DANGER! is pink–naturally–which is thumbing it’s nose at the autumn weather and blooming like crazy. That rose, it has spunk)

Why sure, it has been pumped full of radiation:

RADIATION!!

But really, it’s not actually (read: sadly) been genetically altered. It’s a climbing, “rambling” rose. Which, for someone like me, whose favorite song was once The Dead’s “Ramblin’ Rose” makes me very happy.

It is also a HELL of a lot cheaper than a personal home security system. I guess this means that we can return Auggie, eh?

———————

How was your weekend?

This Ain’t Your Momma’s Pioneer Woman

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go here for a visit, then come back. It’ll make more sense that way.

Hm…It’s lunch time. What shall I cook?

cookbooks-unused-1

Wow, those cookbooks are shiny and new looking! That must be painfully obvious that I do not cook. Unless one calls “shamelessly ordering take-out” cooking. Which, probably not.

think-of-the-children-2

WHY WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHIIILLLDREN?!?

*wrings hands dramatically for several minutes*

Man, being sanctimonious makes me hungry.

secret-recipes-3

Wait, now THAT looks like a book I would like! Retro lady, the word “secret” in the title, and I’m pretty sure no foodies would masturbate onto it.

Phew! I can make lunch after all.

Let’s see…

control-freak-cookies-4

Hm…

Well.

Now.

Not really quite what I had in mind. I left my bitter pants upstairs, and while I like cookies, I’m pretty sure this won’t be too tasty.

Well, hel-lo lover…

pad-thai-5

Hooray! Even *I* can use the microwave! And look at the whimsical packaging! I can’t go wrong here.

instructions-6

Okay, dude, Pad Thai box, I sort of hate taking direction. Remember the whole “nursing school” fiasco?

Yeah, me too.

crap-inside-7

But lookit all the cute individually wrapped packages! How wee!

ingrediants-8

I can artfully arrange them JUST LIKE BEN! He’d be so proud of my technique! I should show him. Oh…right.

*sighs*

Man, Day 1 of school and I already miss him.

water-9

Posing the water next to my orchid is very artsy. Maybe I could be…a photo blogger.

(shut UP)

And that’s ABOUT a cup. Close enough for me.

11

5! More! Flavors!

I might actually eat lunch properly again! O! Thank you, box of prepackaged Thai food!

noodles-12

Add the bag of noodles.

barfy-sauce-13

Wait. Um. That sauce looks semi-unappetizing.

But wait! Look! Whimsical packaging!!!

What was I saying again? I totally forgot.

microwave-14

Look at me all using the microwave like a big kid. Daver is going to be SO PROUD of me.

*hums Jeopardy song loudly*

15

Aww, yeah! END. I know what THAT means!

16

Uh. Well.

YUM?

17

Maybe this is what will make my lunch more delicious: one more microwaved minute.

Aww YEAH.

19

And just like that, I have noodles glued together with an unidentifiable sauce! I should TOTALLY WRITE A COOKBOOK. That’s EXACTLY what I should do! WRITE COOKBOOKS!

alex-wtf

Uh, MOM? Hi. Are you a total idiot?

Aunt Becky’s Guide To Wifery

I found this sort of guide to wifery from the 50’s online a couple of years ago, and supposedly it’s called The Good Wife’s Guide. Is this legit Aunt Becky, you ask me, a disapproving tone in your otherwise flawless voice? And I will tell you with absolute certainty that it doesn’t fucking matter. It’s Comedy Gold.

Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

Planning it out in advance is saying ‘Pick up some Chinese food tonight on your way home from work’ at 3pm. Trust me when I tell you that I am concerned about my needs far more than his.

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

Now I’m not trying to imply that I look like a million bucks when Dave walks in the door, but honestly the last thing on my mind at 7pm is ‘shit! Do I look okay?’ It’s much more like ‘did I accidently microwave the cat, AGAIN? Shit!’

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Dude. I’m always a little gay.

*waggles eyebrows suggestively*

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.

What the fcuk is a dust cloth? And I’ll happily make an effort to pick up the clutter the day that Dave does not have a roving sock colony following him around like a wee family.

During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Are you SERIOUS? I don’t know how to work the fireplace, and I don’t intend to learn. If he wants to relax by the fire, he can light it himself. I don’t know when catering to anyone’s comfort has provided me with any type of satisfaction.

Unless it involved Prada purses.

Then I could cater a lot.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him.

If there is noise in the home, it means I am home.

I am noisy.

I am loud.

I speak at extremely deafening decibels.

And really, if I am actually doing these household chores, he should be pleased that I’m not pawning them off on him.

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

My desire to please him?

Bwhahahahahahahaha!

*wipes tears from eyes*

Hahahahahahahaha!

Yeah. Right.

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

If I waited until Dave stopped talking to tell him such things as ‘the sump pump backed up and the basement is flooded’ or ‘I want to have a threesome with a midget,’ I’d never be heard.

Dave and I talk over each other with such comfortable regularity that we have actually made a sign that says “Floor” to use when we have Important Discussions.

And wait, how the hell is ‘œthe cpm processor of horhelfsag to the ajfoijhriwndas is jdsa;hfrioenrhiubnf more important than “Our bedroom smells like cheese” or “cherry flavored pez is a wonderfood.” Because it’s totally not.

Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

Who else can I greet this way?

Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.

If he stays out all night, trust me, my complaining will be the last thing he’s concerned about. More pressing needs might be “How do I get my testicles back from the sewer system?” or “Where else can I let my roving sock colony live? OH LOOK, SOCKS, MADE A BABY! It’s TWINS!”

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

Um, yeah, Michael, how’s it going? Now about that TPS Report?

Unless his arm is falling off, he had better pitch in with the kids, the dogs, buying me dinner, whatever. With a big smile on his face.

Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

My voice is like a sack of cats fighting over a mouse on a chalkboard. And I yell. Most of the time.

And where would I take his shoes? On a date?

Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

MASTER OF THE GODDAMN HOUSE?

Bwahahahahaha!

That’s right, Internet, The Daver is Master of the Bwahahahaha! I can’t even type it without laughing.

I mean, seriously, what am I supposed to say when he says, “I think we should buy a truckload of Twinkies and the biggest Fry Daddy we can find! Fuck our retirement*!!” Color me boring but I don’t think ‘Whatever you say, dear’ would work well.

A good wife always knows her place.

Dude, exactly “my place” is anywhere I fucking want it to be.

*hahahaha

A Bunny, Now That’s Fucked Up

It’s been brought to my attention by the letters O, C, and D that I have posted a decided lack of pictures since my new wordpress upgrade fails to allow me to scale my pictures appropriately. But, in the name of Rotavirus, I will say “eff THAT shit” and post it anyway.

Easter has long been one of my favorite holidays, in spite of the fact that April always seems to be An Asshole of a month (February is always the worst, though). I love it anyway, and I’m ever-optimistic that This Year Will Be Better. It never is, but my glaring stupidity and utter inability to learn from past experiences allows me to become excited about it every year, like clockwork.

This year was no different. I was hopeful and happy to be hosting my annual Easter Brunch. Then, the stomach flu hit us and suddenly, I was not so happy.

You might even say that I was UN-happy.

easter-eve

See, now, this was what Daver and I did on Easter Eve: we filled a fucking ton of small eggs with the sorts of candy that my grubby hands will leave alone. Like jelly beans *shudder, shudder.*

Also: we drink heavily.

And we mock the fact that I routinely forget that I’ve already bought stuff for (insert holiday here) and I buy more. Until it looks like I might, perhaps, have a soccer team of children. Which I assure you will never grace my uterus.

The following morning however, the joke was on us. Because my eldest had gotten sick during the night yet again, we had to postpone the Easter Egg hunt. So now I have a fucking ridiculous ton of small eggs in a bag in my closet simply waiting for the Right Time For A Hunt.

Or maybe I’ll just throw them back in my Easter Bin in the basement for next year. It’s not like anyone actually EATS the candy.

Then, the oven I needed to cook the delicious (pre-packaged) morsels of goodness (read: cinnamon rolls) simply refused to turn on. Fucking asshole oven. I will punch that bitch in the face.

So, then Ben was off with his father rather than force him to sit around and watch other people eat the deliciousness that is my Easter Brunch. That somehow seemed crueler to me than merely sending him off. He was happy, I should rightly add, to go.

We were down a kid, sadly, the one that was most excited about Easter.

This is a stock photo, taken on Tuesday of last week, because I had no desire to document for posterity the barfiness that was poor Benny.

amelia

My middle son, he was just thrilled by a ball. The eggs, the baskets, the candy, they were stupid and boring. Especially compared to a big red ball.

alex-easter4

And my wee daughter, she would simply like to tell The Internet that her mother is both cruel AND unusual. Why else would she be forced to wear this?

poor-amelia

Or one of those Head Garters everyone hates?

amelia-hat

Ah, the therapy they will all need.

The End Of A (Wood Panelled) Era

My current house was built sometime in the late 1970’s. I know this in part because I remember looking at the date of construction when we were filling out the approximately 64,836 mortgage documents and remarking to myself that “Hey, Self, this is a good thing! My house was built AFTER lead-based paint was made illegal.”

Might not be something that occurred to normal people when they were buying a house, but our condo was built at the turn of the century and as such, when the lead levels were checked before we bought it, they were off the charts. Stupidly, we still bought it.

(let us not make fun of the damage that the lead paint MAY HAVE DONE to Aunt Becky’s brain. It’s likely she was dumb well before this happened)

It’s a good age, I think, my new house is. It’s old enough that while the stuff inside isn’t brand new, there aren’t any surprises left over from faulty construction. At least, nothing that we know of YET. It’s not an interesting looking house, aside from it’s Electric Yellow siding. It’s a standard Colonial, one of three or four models in my neighborhood, but it’s home and I couldn’t be happier (unless, of course, the siding fairy came over night one night soon *hint, hint* and replaced my siding with something less, um, EYE catching).

We’ve been fortunate, however, in that the appliances that were likely here when the house was built–or shortly after–have remained functional despite their decidedly non-fashionable exterior. You’re going to be jealous when I tell you that not only do my washer and dryer have faux wood panelling, but so does our refrigerator.

Doncha wish your appliances were as hot as mine? ADMIT IT, INTERNET, YOU WANT MY SEXY APPLIANCES.

Except that with the possible exception of my refrigerator, which I hate primarily because of it’s utterly ineffectual side-by-side design (which allows for practically nothing to be stored there), I have known that they were on their proverbial last legs since we moved in nearly 4 years ago. The dryer, which takes approximately 4.5 hours to dry a simple load of laundry, has been nearing death for a couple of months, back when I resurrected it.

(My fancy-ass trick? I HIT THE TOP OF IT WITH A BOTTLE OF DETERGENT. It’s a freaking wonder MENSA hasn’t come knockin’ for me. Oh wait, no it’s not)

This morning, however, my dryer rests gently wherever it is that the souls of old appliances go when they die. Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Rest in peace, sweet wood-panelled dryer. *sniff, sniff*

With the death of my dryer comes, of course, the rebirth of a whole new set of appliances (sadly none of them the sexy cherry-red that I petitioned loudly for), which will successfully remove all traces of faux wood panelled artifacts in our house. The 70’s will no longer reside in our home, instead, they will be transported back to their rightful place in hell along with all Lief Garrett LP’s and polyester pant-suits.

*sighs*

On second thought, leave the pant-suits. Maybe there’s some seeds hidden in them.

Rudolph, The Red-Nosed….Wait, Didn’t We Just Do This?

My apologies to anyone reading today in a reader. I’m importing some old posts from my other blog before it’s shut down and sent to wherever blogs go to die. A blog graveyard? I don’t know. THIS is the post from today, the rest will be dated according to their original air date. Sorry for overloading you in advance.

During years past, I looked forward to the holidays nearly peeing myself with the childish excitement of it all (or, perhaps I am just a Simple Simone). Decorating cookies, Christmas music blaring from all radios, wrapping gifts in elaborate patterns, and throwing festive tinsel and garland around the house merrily, for months ahead of time.

I’d roll my eyes at the Scrooges out there who would complain about the Christmas stuff coming onto the store shelves mid-October, mocking their discontent. I just couldn’t understand how anyone would mind that stations played Christmas music in November. I sure didn’t. Hell, I’d play it in July while tooling around in my car (with the windows rolled up, for sure, so I didn’t look like an escapee from the local funny farm).

I’m not sure if it’s a combination of being completely overwhelmed by the things that have happened this year, or that I’ve sort of retreated back into my shell. Or maybe it’s just pregnancy brain fog sneaking it’s tendrils around my grey matter, I’m just not sure.

But I can tell you that I am not excited for the holidays this year.

I mean, I’m not NOT excited (if that makes any sense) but I’m certainly having a hard time getting as pumped about it all as I normally do. It all just seems like so much extra WORK for me to do. And I already have a pretty full plate. Of bon-bons! ZING!

I guess that part of it is that I’m feeling pretty discouraged about the whole situation. Now, I’ve written in years past about all of the mucking around that we used to do to appease our families, and how we were going to stop fucking doing that, because it made the holidays miserable. For us.

So, once we bought our house, and got settled in, we volunteered to start hosting some of the holidays. We’d take Thanksgiving proper with my parents, Dave’s parents and Dave’s brother (my brother and sister-in-law celebrate with her family on that day), and Christmas Eve with the same people. Then the following day(s) we’d have the bash at my parents house.

While it wasn’t actually ending the repetition of the holidays, it was certainly a far cry from shlepping our children around the states. And I figured that the more Dave’s family and my family got together, the happier we’d all be.

(hey, if it worked for the song, right?)

Well, yeah. That didn’t work so well.

And I got tired of being the person who did all of the work only to sit uncomfortably around The Day Of, staring at my hands and wishing like hell that Alex would get up from his nap already.

So this year, we’re trying a break from even this arrangement: we’re breaking the holidays back up into individual family occasions, and those of whom we cannot visit–Dave’s parents–will go out to eat with us. I’m not hosting this Us vs Them showdown again any time soon, and quite frankly, I’m not certain I’ll ever do it again. Some people, I’m guessing, will just never get along.

(My parents are hippies, Dave’s are uber-conservative Christians).

It makes me sad, but it’s true. And in the name of laziness, I’m giving the hell up on it all.

I mean, shit, there are bigger issues out there right now. Like the Motrin Mom’s thing.

*smirks away*

How do YOU do holidays with more than one family? Enlighten me, o wise Internet.

And The Zoo Keeper Is Very Fond Of Rum

The love I have for animals often rivals that of the Crazy Cat Lady, so fond am I of the wee ickle beasties. When I was a small child–perhaps a bit older than Alex–I used to dress in my baby clothes, not dolls, but my kitten, Biscuit. Biscuit was as dumb as a box of rocks but had the wherewithal to occasionally protest in the form of some claw marks to my body. Why, I still have those scars today!

It appears as though her legacy lives on.

As a child, I regularly petitioned my parents to add to our happy home any number of small animals, and was nearly always denied.

But the moment that I moved out on my own (with The Daver), his love of animals amplified my own, and before either of us realized it, we’d built ourselves a menagerie of wee beasties.

After adopting two older cats (as the kittens are far more adoptable AND far more annoying than older cats) to add to our one cat home, we adopted an older dog. Then we adopted a geriatric gecko. For my birthday, I was gifted (at my own request) a hedgehog, and several weeks before Alex was born, we adopted an older rabbit. In my post-miscarriage haze, I foolishly agreed to a puppy, and I have wild plans for a future of salt water fish tanks. Multiple ones.

Although the many animals can be overwhelming and occasionally annoying, as at the moment that I’m typing this, I’m surrounded by two cats (who hate each other but love me so thoroughly that it doesn’t matter), my houseplant (read: dog) Cash, and Auggie (el puppy) is lounging nearby, I love it. Our house is full of love, light and complete chaos, but it works for us, unless we foolishly need to go out of town for something. Then we’re screwed.

Why am I waxing poetic about my animals, who have made me the official Mayor of Poo-Town?

Because, no matter how much I feel I love, and more importantly, care for my wee beasties, I’m starting to feel like it’s NOT ENOUGH.

It started innocently enough when we began to take Cash to the groomer at our local pet store. He’s the type of dog with a thick undercoat, so the minute the seasons change around here, the floors in my home begin to swirl with mountains of fluffy dog hair. And because I am completely lazy and don’t wish to clean my tub afterwards, I am happy to pay someone else to remove said fur.

Appointments were made, proof of current vaccinations were faxed and we showed up with Cash in tow.

Having adopted him as a 6 year old mutt from the pound, Dave and I looked at each other quizzically when asked what he was like when he was groomed. No idea whatsoever.

We dropped him off and went about our day.

I generously let Dave (read: insisted) that he go pick up the dog alone, and when he returned, he thrust a stack of papers into my hands (this is a fairly common occurrence in my home; I get handed stacks of papers constantly. Seriously). Among the receipts and the invoices, I noticed something strange.

At first, I was convinced I’d accidentally gotten some of Ben’s paperwork in my pile. But upon closer inspection, I realized that no, no in fact, this was from the groomer. The groomer had painstakingly filled out A REPORT CARD FOR MY DOG. Who was, according to this report that I totally wish I’d saved to show The Internet, a “great boy” who “loved to give kisses.”

I, being his owner, knew these things to be true and immediately felt sorry that the groomer had been required by his employer to fill this out. I mean, I don’t get daily report cards from BEN, who is in real SCHOOL.

But then I felt guilty laughing at the whole notion of an A++ doggie report card. Because I knew full well that if people hadn’t WANTED to know how their dog had behaved while out of their care, it wouldn’t exist.

(as a total aside, I would, of course, WANT to know if my dog had behaved badly. Biting, snarling, being a general asshole are things I WOULD have wanted to know, had this been the case)

Then, upon wandering around the pet store with my freshly cleaned, non-stinky, bandana-ed dog, several days later I realized why I’d been feeling so inadequate. While I was obviously a frequenter of the pet store, I’d been buying a stock supply of the bare necessities for my beasties and nothing more.

While my cats had proper food, it wasn’t the top of the line (read: $100 a bag), nor did they have any amount of themed toys or festive collars. I didn’t even own a jaunty cat carrier! Mine was a boring beige plastic!

My dogs had collars, of course, but not leather, or designer in the slightest. Cash had a Purple one, Auggie had a blue one. Neither had any embellishments or accessories attached. Hell, their leashes didn’t even match the collars! And forget about expensive soaps or treatments for my doggie’s sensitive skin! I had nothing of the sort. Nor did even my mini pooch have any clothes to wear! He was NAKED for all the world to see! AUGGIE’S WEENIS, EXPOSED TO THE WORLD!

My gecko did have a mini-Statue of Liberty in his cage, something I found particularly hilarious, but he seemed to ignore that in favor of the fake hunk of wood that he could hide behind. And forget about any real cage amenities for Robes Pierre (may he rest in peace), no, I used regular lizard sand.

No, I walked out of that store, having my eyes opened for the first time as to how much further I could push my animal obsession. And how much further other people did do so regularly. And with gusto.

It didn’t seem to matter to my guilt-ridden head how much MORE I did for animals that weren’t even my own. No matter how many cats I fostered only to find good homes for, no matter how many animals I adopted rather than purchased, no matter how many piles of puke I cleaned up only to find another three feet away, it would never compare to what I could do.

I sighed deeply and reminded myself that even though I can’t boast a designer animal, at least I don’t have SUCKER written on my forehead.

Besides, I don’t even buy fancy shampoo for myself.