Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Show

I know that I did it to my parents when I was a kid. I know that we made countless family members suffer through probably a hundred of them. Even back when I was a kid, I knew that I wasn't really meant for the stage. The rolling eyes and audible sighs in the audience always told me so.

And yet, the show went on.

Every holiday, birthday and family gathering, there was a show. There had to be a show. We'd make everyone sit there, demand all their attention, then bore them silly with amazing shows. We would sing and dance, sometimes there were costumes involved. The shows usually had some kind of theme or idea behind them, but I remember there was a lot of improv going on.

The more kids that were around, the more elaborate the shows were. On my Dad's side of the family, there were always a ton of us cousins. And everyone would participate. Shows that big required planning. And better costumes. I think we probably spent half our time together rehearsing back then.

Thing is....the shows sucked. Sure, our parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles would sit there. They'd be good sports about watching our performances, at least for a little while. Until something more interesting tore them away.

Payback time.

My kids, though they have no cousins close to their age, or anywhere around here, have enough siblings to put on shows. And do they ever. They even make tickets and programs for their performances. There are always costumes. And it seems like there is more improv these days.

Don't get me wrong, it's cute and all. The work they put in is impressive. They have a great time doing it.

Unfortunately, the shows still suck.

So if you're ever at my house and the kids ask you to come to the show, I'm apologizing in advance. You're never getting that time back. And yes, we are all going to sit and watch it. For a little while, at least.

I know that eventually they will outgrow this. Until then, I'll just enjoy the show.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Let me tell you a little story about the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world.

There is this time of the day that I look forward to all summer. It's not the time when the dishes are clean and put away and the counters are all wiped down. Though I love that time. Which is good, since it happens a few times a day.

It's not when we sit around the table and talk and eat dinner and laugh at AJ being way too civilized for his age. Insists on using forks and napkins, that boy. I do love that time too.

It's not when we hang out in the backyard and the kids all play nicely together and the mosquitoes stay far away, though that time is lovely.

It's not when my babies are all fresh and clean and right out of the bathtub. Even though that is pretty much my favorite smell in the universe.

It's not when I'm sitting with my little girl at the table helping her master letter sounds and perfect writing the alphabet. Or when my oldest takes a victory lap around the table after getting a math problem right (we're working on memorizing his times tables right now). Or watching as my big girl writes a whole entire page about something then reads it back to me. I love all those things too.

It's not the time at the park or the pool, hanging out with friends, though that time is nice.

It's this thing we do almost every afternoon. After we eat our lunch and we have quiet time and everyone spends a while in their rooms, it happens. Just about every day.

They come back downstairs, they wake up from their naps, they peek around corners, they ask if quiet time is over yet. Rested and rubbing their eyes. And they want to snuggle. They want me to read them stories. They want to sit on my lap.


And it's pretty awesome.

I love summer.

Friday, June 25, 2010


Like most women, I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I think I always have.

The proverbial grass is always greener.

It started back when I was a little girl. Long before I should have been aware of how much hair color can influence your life, I was. I was born the sixth in a line of girl cousins. And they all had something I didn't. Sun kissed, golden blond hair.

Mine came out brown and dull. Straight as an arrow, fine and wispy. I still have those little tiny baby hairs all around my hairline. Like my hair never grew up, even now.

For as long as I can remember, I wanted what they had. I wanted to fit in. I wanted people to tell me how pretty my hair was. How pretty I was. I wanted people to know that I belonged in the family. When my grandfather died, a woman actually came up to my grandma and asked who I was. Surely I couldn't have been part of the family. Surely.

Not long after that traumatic experience, I asked my parents for a perm. What I wanted was a spiral perm. What I got was something much different, much worse. The stuff hair nightmares are made of. And I got a haircut at the same time. I closely resembled a poodle for a few months. A poodle with some brand new super dorky glasses, that is. As if I didn't have enough issues already.

Thankfully since my hair was so short, it didn't take long to grow out. When it got nice and long again, I asked for that spiral perm. The right one, this time. I got one, but realized that my hair didn't like spiral perms. It took, but only on some of the hair. What I wanted was bouncy, flowing curls. What I got was stringy occasional curls.

Sometime in high school, I started experimenting with home highlighting kits, sun-in and lemon juice. They either did nothing or turned my hair orange. Not good. Finally I managed to talk my mom into letting me get highlights done. By a real hairdresser who knew what she was doing. I needed professional help. And I got it.

By then, I'd learned to embrace my straight hair. It looked better with some highlights. And all was good for a few years. Through college, I was semi-blond. Over time, it got too expensive to maintain. And my hair slowly started to turn to straw. It couldn't handle the amount of chemicals it took to lighten it. So I gave up.

I went back to plain old brown. By then, I was attempting to get pregnant and trying to avoid all the chemicals anyway. Except there was a problem. Poking up from the top of my head.

Wiry, gray hairs. Lots of them. The blond hid them well. The brown wasn't as kind.

In between pregnancies, and these days on a regular basis, I have to dye my hair. I can't do plain old brown, has to have a little auburn tinge to it. I have too many issues with that plain old brown color, honestly. It's amazing how much what one person says to you at nine years old can screw you up for life.

Pregnancy brought with it other blessings, besides the cessation of the highlights that hid the grays. It made my hair wavy. Not wavy enough to be nice, just wavy enough to be annoying. I miss that stick straight hair.

To combat the waves, I've been growing it out. These days, it's longer than it has ever been in my life, mostly because I never can find the time to get it cut. I never have time for me.

I have always had issues with my hair, and I probably always will. I think it's just part of being a woman. Our hair is a huge part of how we define ourselves, how others define us.

It's taken a lot of failed perms, a lot of horrible haircuts, a lot of bad dye jobs, graying and waves, but I have learned to love my hair.

I've been growing my hair for a reason, one that not many people know. I'm having it cut tomorrow, donating it to a charity for cancer patients in my Dad's honor. I can't do much for him right now, but this I can do. Someone out there might be happy with slightly auburn, awkwardly wavy hair.

Someone other than me, that is.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I'm a strange person. I know that. It's nothing new.

I've been told many times by many different people.

I was reminded of my weirdness yesterday. For whatever reason, Aidan was asking me random questions. Wait, who am I kidding, really? He asks me random questions all the time.

Anyway, he was asking me questions about eels. He knows how I feel about eels.

They are pretty much the grossest, most disgusting, ugliest and scariest animals in the world. At least to me, they are.

Normal things don't freak me out. I'm not afraid of much. And I'm not afraid of the things most people are afraid of. Spiders, sharks, bats, snakes...none of them scare me. Back when I was in junior high, I was a curator for the school's science museum. I held snakes every day. Played with tarantulas. Mixed up nasty smelling food for the iguanas. Taught kids about sharks.

As much as snakes don't scare me, put a perfectly harmless snake in water and you've upped the fright quotient dramatically. I don't know what it is, and I don't know why there is such a difference. But water snakes? Seriously, why do there need to be water snakes?

And don't even get me started on eels.

At Sea World, right next to the touch and feel ray tank, are the eel caverns. Everyone knows that they make my skin crawl. And everyone always wants to go look at them.

They are down there, waiting for me with their mottled orange skin. Staring at me with their yellow beady eyes. Wanting to attack me with their sharp little jagged teeth. Evil little creatures they are.

Even behind the glass, they freak me out.

I know it's not a legitimate fear I have. I mean, really, how likely is it that I will ever encounter an eel in the real world? I live in the middle of the country. Not likely at all. The ocean isn't anywhere around here. The only ones here are in big aquariums. But still.

It's not like they prey on humans or anything. We are way bigger than they are. I'm pretty sure the only eels that have ever done serious damage to people are the electric eels. And they are even more rare than eels in general. But still.

It doesn't matter though, they are out there, those eels. And they scare me, even though not much else does.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Over this past weekend, I participated in the Relay for Life. I headed up a team dedicated to my Dad, recruited friends to walk with us and raised money. Even though this was our first year and we did very little actual fundraising, we passed our goal.

It was a beautiful, emotional and exhausting experience. And I can't wait to do it again next year.

I also did something else in the fight against cancer. Something that is just as, if not more important, than raising money. I enrolled in a study.

The American Cancer Society is a co-sponsor of a very large scale cancer prevention study. It's a long term, prospective study aimed at identifying risk factors and lifestyle issues that are implicated in cancer development. It isn't the kind of study that will benefit our generation. What it will do, however, is provide tremendous knowledge for our children and our children's children.

As someone with a public health background, I was positively exuberant when I learned that this study was enrolling here. I nudged friends to go do it too. Some were reluctant, but I persuaded them.

I'm not just a person with a public health mindset. I'm not just someone who studied epidemiology and understands how hugely important this study is. I'm not just a fan of evidence based medicine, urging this industry to find more cause and effect relationships. I'm not just someone who knows that prevention is far superior to treatment.

I'm a daughter and I'm a wife and I'm a mother.

I refuse to believe that the way we detect and treat cancer today is good enough. I refuse to believe that there isn't a better way. I am highly suspicious of the chemicals and toxins in our world that we have come to accept as safe and normal. I don't for one second believe that we can trust companies to make safe products.

I am doing this study because I'm a daughter and a wife and a mother. And I want my children and my grandchildren to live in a world without cancer, something I have not known. I want them to be equipped with the tools to avoid dangers. I want them to know that something might harm them long term. I want to give them the information they need to make conscious decisions about their health.

So if that means I need to answer lots of questions on a regular basis, so be it. If it means I have to give blood occasionally, so be it. It it means I have to subject myself to tests and measurements, so be it.

This is important. Really important.

This is bigger than us.

Monday, June 21, 2010

10 Things I Hate About You

I hate you Colorado.

I hate you and your affordable houses.

I hate you and your good schools.

I hate you and your family friendly atmosphere.

I hate you and your beautiful snow capped mountains.

I hate you and your greenways and riverwalks.

I hate you and your bike trails and parks.

I hate you and your outdoor concerts.

I hate you and your crisp fall afternoons.

I hate you and your snowy winter mornings.

I hate you and your glorious sunsets.

I hate you Colorado.

And I hate you because I love you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


In my life I have been lucky. I've been surrounded by some really fantastic men.

As a doula, I have helped men become fathers, some for the very first time.

As a sister, I have been able to watch my brother become the father he always wanted to be.

As a niece, I was shown how to defend what is the most important by my godfather.

As a little girl, I was blessed to have been able to spend time with both my grandfathers.

As a teenager, I found out that grandfathers can be men that you aren't related to at all.

As a married woman, I became a daughter-in-law to a man who never had a daughter of his own.

As a mother, I have been fortunate to share this journey through parenthood with my amazing husband.

Before all those, though, I was just a little girl. A little girl who had long brown pigtails and wore footy pajamas and who's world revolved around the most important man in her life, her daddy.

Happy Father's Day. I love you.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I'm not here right now. At least I am not supposed to be. Assuming everyone cooperates, I won't be home tonight. If all goes as planned, I will be out at the Relay for Life with my husband and my children and my friends. Walking.

I am walking to remember the fight my husband fought all those years ago. Ten years he's out now. Healthy and strong. The father of four children he was never supposed to have. He will be out there walking all night too, holding the hands of those four kids with me.

I am walking to remember the man that suffered from the same disease Tom did, that friend of the family who lost his battle with cancer and succumbed at far too early of an age. He is now and will forever be an angel to our family. Though he is gone, his illness did one thing that I will always be grateful for. It made Tom check. It made him call the doctor right away when he felt the lump. It made him realize that being young doesn't mean you are invincible. We miss you Jeff. And we will always, always thank you for the gift you left behind. Knowledge.

I am walking to support my friend, Kerry, who is in a very similar place in her world to me these days. Her experiences so often mirror mine anymore. I think that maybe we found each other a few years ago because we'd need each other now. I hope she can make it out tonight. As with everything it seems though, she might have somewhere she needs to be more right now. And no one could possibly understand that more than I can. She is so strong. Stronger than she thinks she is. Stronger than she sometimes wants to be. I walk for her too.

I am walking for the friends and family who have lost their fight. Not just my family and friends, but all the lives it has touched, whether I've ever known them or not. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care how much money you make, what color your skin is. It doesn't care how old you are, how much life you have ahead of you. It doesn't care who needs you. Through my experiences, I have learned so much from others who have been down this road before. I am grateful for their knowledge. For their understanding. For their shoulders to cry on.

Mostly though, I am walking for the strongest man I know. For the man who refuses to give up. Who wants to keep fighting. Who isn't going to let this disease define who he is. Who inspired the name of our team. Who really is the Tooth Fairy. The man who held me in his arms as a baby. Who used to let me dance with my feet on his. Who spent endless hours playing catch with me in the backyard. Who taught me how to ride a bike and taught me how to drive. Who walked me down the aisle. The man who I think about only a million times a day.

Dad, I'm about to spend hours doing something you love the very most in this world. Making a left turn. (A little NASCAR humor thrown in there to make my Daddy smile.)

Fight the good fight, Daddy. I love you.

Friday, June 18, 2010


This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one. And it is sure to be an emotional one as well.

I figure that I'd better write about this now before I get so caught up in thinking about other things. I get distracted easily.

Our anniversary is this weekend, among all the other things happening. Twelve years.

We got married young. Really young. Like, so young that I don't think I'd ever want my kids to get married at that age, young. We were only 21. Right out of college. And so sure.

Turns out that we weren't just crazy in love, in a hurry and jumping in to something we weren't ready for. Turns out that we'd need each other in ways we could have never imagined. Turns out we were ready to handle what life threw at us. Turns out that maintaining a long distance relationship all through college wasn't even close to the hardest thing we'd have to face. And it turns out that we have been able to weather some storms.

Our relationship has changed as we have changed. It's grown as we have grown. And it's matured as we have.

The songs that define our relationship have changed as well.

When we first started dating, our song was one of infatuation. Obsession. Total preoccupation. You know, new love stuff. "I'd Die Without You" by P.M. Dawn.

In college, the song that resonated the most for us was "When You're Gone", by The Cranberries. 121 miles between us for four years, not that I counted or anything.

The song we danced to when we got married was "Still in Love", by New Edition. A song about a couple who had been through trials and made it through, stronger than ever.

And now, this song seems to speak to my soul all those years later. About how even though we are grown and have been together for a long time and have little people who depend on us and have settled into life....maybe just maybe, someday we could still do amazing things.

Like teach the kids to fly.

Here is where we are now. And where I hope we can be, together, in the future.

"You & Me", Dave Matthews Band

I love you Tom. Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


You know, sometimes I regret ever making this whole blog post writing thing a daily endeavor. There are times that I have a hard time coming up with a topic. There are times that I really want to write what I want to write but I don't. Like now.

I follow some blogs that have one, maybe two posts a week. And I think about all the free time I'd have it I did that. But then I remember why I started this as a daily project. I don't have the patience to stew on one topic for a week at a time. I am already so bad about editing that I spend more time fixing my posts than writing them in the first place. Can you imagine how much time I would spend editing if I only had one post to deal with for days?

I wouldn't spend any less time on the computer, I assure you.

So I write every day. Which means I have to come up with something to write every day. It's not as hard as you'd think, really.

It's not like I've ever been at a loss for words in my entire life.

Living with five other people generally provides something to ponder. Something to laugh about. Some story that can serve as a warning to other parents. Some stunt the kids pulled that needs to be documented so that I can tell them about it one day when they have children of their own.

I've been lucky to have some amazing friends, some crazy adventures, some stories worth telling.

For me, this blog is a way for me to think out loud. It's a way for me to reflect on what I see. What I feel. What I live. To share a little piece of myself with you.

I wanted to thank you all for reading. Whether you've been around for a while or are fairly new, I appreciate it. Really. Thank you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today is my little brother's birthday. I'm not sure why I still refer to him as my little brother. I mean, we are adults and all. Both of us parents to other people these days.

But he's my little brother now and forever.

I guess you don't ever outgrow that.

This past year has been one of highs and lows for us all, for him even more. Coupled with everything we've collectively been through, he also became a father for the very first time. Fatherhood is a journey he is just beginning, but he seems to be enjoying the ride so far.

I thought that instead of writing gooey sentimental things about how much I love my brother (though they are true, don't get me wrong), I thought maybe I'd write something else. He's not the gooey sentimental type anyway.

Over the past weekend, my husband was fighting with the door handle for the bathroom. It seems that the handles installed on our home are universally defective. None of the locks work. Ever.

He was fiddling with it, trying to get the lock mechanism to engage. I asked him why he suddenly cared so much about getting them to work. We've been in this house for close to five years, and they've never worked before.

But then I figured that maybe, just maybe, he was doing it to preserve the privacy of the kids. Aidan at least is getting to the age where he doesn't want to be interrupted while in the bathroom. The girls still mostly don't care, but he does. And the girls know that he does. And they have already started torturing their brother the way I used to do to mine.

They open the door when he's sitting there, pondering the universe, and laugh at him. He yells at them to close the door. They point and giggle. He flails his arms helplessly towards the wide open doorway. It works best upstairs in the kid's bathroom. It's all about proximity of the toilet to the door and how long the arms of the sitter are.

To my little brother (who swore to me he wouldn't read this anymore, but I know that he will), Happy Birthday.

I'm pretty sure this is an old Irish birthday blessing...

May your arms be long enough to shut the door

Love you.


I find it rather ironic that I spent over an hour this afternoon taking the vacuum cleaner apart.

Today sucked.

(insert laugh track here)

Rather than write about all the things that made today suck, I will write instead about my battle with the vacuum cleaner. It's far more entertaining anyway.

I don't vacuum upstairs nearly as often as I should. I vacuum downstairs ALL the time. Upstairs, not so much. I justify it because the dogs don't go up there, no one ever wear shoes up there and food and drinks other than water are forbidden. Plus, the kids rooms are their own private sanctuaries, and I let them get away with having messy rooms far too often.

I only have one vacuum. And I don't want to haul it up the stairs all the time. Okay, so that's probably the biggest reason I don't vacuum upstairs enough.

We built a house here. Not this one, but the one right behind us. We designed that house from the ground up. And do you want to know what it has in it??? A central, whole house vacuum cleaner. With ports upstairs and down, and a kick plate in the kitchen. We changed houses at the last minute because this one was done already, had a bigger garage and a bonus room. Better house overall, but no central vacuum.

I'm thinking I got screwed.

Anyway, after forcing the kids to pick up all their stuff, I hauled the vacuum upstairs and got to work. I started in Aidan's room, which is just a bad idea. For many reasons. The kid has a ton of toys with teeny parts and a loft style bed with a curtain he can pull shut to create the illusion of cleanliness. He's a magician, that one.

I was in the zone, trying to vacuum his room fast, before the girls had a chance to mess their rooms up again. I get very short windows of opportunity to vacuum. Very short.

I got to the edge of the dreaded curtain and heard the characteristic noise my vacuum makes when it isn't happy. Like a drowning cow, sort of. Not pretty. But, at least you know something is wrong right away. You know, before the motor starts to smell like smoke. We had a vacuum without an early warning system before. It didn't end well.

I sighed, turned off the vacuum. Then turned it back on real quick after crossing my fingers that it would magically get better. No luck. I unplugged it and called down to Aidan to get me a screwdriver. And a trash bag.

I could have waited for Tom to do it, yes. But, he was at work, with a tennis match afterwards. And has something to do tomorrow too. If it was going to get done, it wouldn't be until Thursday night, which wasn't going to do me any good. So I started taking out the screws. Tried to take the bottom off. Said some bad words. Took out more screws. Pulled out the guilty clogger. A tiny plastic bag from one of Aidan's LEGO sets. Stupid LEGOs.

Then, after the dust cloud cleared, I set about putting the vacuum back together. Except it didn't want to go back together. More bad words. Bigger dust cloud.

Then I sat there, almost defeated by the vacuum, realizing that Tom would just come home and laugh at me if I couldn't get the damn thing back together. Then he'd pat my little female head and remind me that such tasks were meant for men alone. I couldn't let that happen.

So I did what I had to do. What I've seen Tom do. I manned up. I hit the vacuum until it went back together.

And it worked.

Though there was that little entertaining break, the day promptly went back to sucking.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


In a few days, my husband and I will celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. We were together for six years before that. Seems like we've been with each other forever.

We did meet when we were 15, so it's pretty close.

I'm sure that many of you know the story of how we met. We sat next to each other in Driver's Ed for the entire semester in tenth grade and didn't speak to one another until the end of May. He never once acknowledged my existence. Just sat there, eyes straight ahead, bored to tears for months. It's not like I talked to him either, at least not until I had to.

The guy sitting in front of me was annoying. Really annoying. But, it's because of him that we are together, so I guess it was a good thing. I finally had enough of him and turned to the next closest person, Tom, trying to get some distraction from the annoyance.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Our story isn't that exciting I know. It's cute maybe, how we met in high school and all. But not exciting.

There's another piece of the story though, one that not as many people know. It involves my father. And fate.

Before I met Tom, I was on a boy crazy stretch. I think at one time I was sort-of seeing 4 guys simultaneously. Immediately before I met Tom, there was another guy. An older guy. A much older guy. Who had a job and a car and an attitude. My dad was not a fan. At all.

Dad knew though that he couldn't ever let me know how much he couldn't stand this older guy, because that would only make me like him more. (I was also in a rebellious stage...okay, decade...) So, he didn't.

One day, Dad came home from work and told me a story. About how he'd been at one of the dentist's office that day and saw a nice, clean cut young man sitting in the waiting room. Dad described what this guy looked like. He seemed well mannered, sat and talked kindly with his mother. And he looked like he was about my age.

Dad wondered aloud why I couldn't just date guys like that. Then he sighed and shook his head at me in his silent disapproving way.

Less than an hour later, the doorbell rang. It was Tom. His mom had brought him over to the house for the first time (remember we were only 15 and couldn't drive yet!).

As soon as he walked into the house, I thought Dad was going to fall over. Tom was the guy in the waiting room that he had just seen that day. The one he had decided would be perfect for his daughter.

Call it fate if you will. We've been together ever since.

Sometimes as a parent you have to be careful what you wish for. Anytime Dad ever gets frustrated or annoyed with Tom, which truth be told, hasn't been often, I just remind was what he wanted. And he has no one to blame but himself.

Love you Dad.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Monday. I think that about sums it up, right?

Even if you are like me, a stay at home mom with nowhere you need to be since school is out for the summer....Monday is still Monday. Monday, Monday.....

Secretly though, I find myself looking forward to Monday. Especially on Sunday afternoon. Anyone with enough kids and a husband like mine will understand exactly what I mean. I know some of you do.

During the week, I am the supreme leader. My way or the highway. I tell the kids that if they make a mess, we won't go anywhere or do anything until it's cleaned up. No one sits around in their pajamas until 3pm. Stuff gets picked up. Dishes get washed.

Weekends are different. I figured out why.

It's because even though the Tom is supposed to be the one to rule with strong words and strict enforcement and consequences, that's not the case. The kids still haven't figured this out. They think he is the bad cop. That he's the enforcer. Nope.

Clearly I am.

He is the fun parent. The one who throws rules out the window. He is the one who lets them play videogames in their pajamas and make a mess. He will still take them out for bike rides, feed them ice cream and go to the park. Even if they are bad.

Yesterday he taught the girls how to slide down the stairs with cardboard boxes.

I've given up cleaning on the weekends. It is just not worth the energy. The other parent is always distracting the kids from what they are supposed to be doing with some new fun adventure.

I wait until Monday. When I once again reign supreme. When what I say is the law of the land. When I can justify cleaning the floor because I know it just might stay that way for a few minutes. When I can pick up the toys and make the kids help. When I alone have the power to decide when the videogames and tv get turned off. When I can dictate what the requirements are for doing anything fun.

I can be the good cop too, but someone's gotta be the bad one. And that someone isn't who the kids think it is.

This bad cop takes the weekends off.

It's Monday. The good cop is back at work and I've got a house to clean.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I'm about to let you all peek into my marriage for just a bit.

Don't worry, it's nothing you have to read without the kids in the room or anything nearly that exciting. I have way too many family members that read this for stories like that!

I spent all day in the bathroom. Not like you think though. We are remodeling it, and the tile is done and grouted now. But that's about where my husband stops. He isn't a detail guy. Just as a general rule.

Maybe that's why public accounting is so appealing to him. He audits financial statements, and part of auditing is making sure that their money is where they say it is, went where they said it went. And along with that comes the concept of materiality. Essentially, he is only concerned about items about his predetermined dollar amount cutoff. Little deviations from the expected he ignores. He's worried about the big stuff. It is the thousand dollar mystery transactions he cares about, not the $4.27 ones. Not so much about the details.

It works for him.

His avoidance of detail also gets him out of a lot of work around the house. He does the big stuff. The heavy lifting. The flooring. The baseboards. The tile. I do just about all the rest of the projects. All the little stuff that comes afterwards to make it pretty.

I fill the holes, patch the walls. I touch up the paint, caulk the gaps. Do all the clean up.

I don't know if he's bad at it on purpose. Could be. What's the term for that, again? Learned helplessness. I don't think it's that though. He's tried to do all the detail work before. He has. And between you and me, it's just better that he doesn't try anymore.

There is a reason I do all the painting. A reason why he isn't allowed to touch the caulk gun. It's easier for me to just do it than come behind him and fix what he messes up.

We have our roles when it comes to home improvement. We are both well aware of them, and have long ago made our peace with it all.

It's good that we complement each other this way. We'd never get anything done if neither of us was willing to do the big stuff. And we'd never finish anything is neither of us was willing to do the little stuff.

Besides...I like to paint. I really like to paint.

And it just seems wrong for a man to play with the caulk. ;)

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I just spent about an hour reorganizing the medicine cabinet. I have to do that at least once a month. You know, if my kids didn't have allergies and asthma, there would be a lot less stuff in there. A lot.

But there would still be bandaids.

Ahhh, bandaids. Of course, I use the term loosely, since we have bandages from all the major companies in the house. They are just universally bandaids to the kids.

I'd love to be the guy who invented them all those years ago. It's such a simple idea, really. Just some plastic with a pad attached. That isn't what makes them special though. The magical mystical healing power is what makes them awesome.

Sometimes the kids beg me for bandaids to heal wounds that aren't even bleeding. I oblige. Because, really, the bandaid isn't about covering and protecting a wound. At least not the kid sized bandaids. They are about something completely different.

For some kids, the bandaid is about you taking the time to calm them, to carry them inside and sit them on the counter and hug them and make it all better. It's more about kissing the boo-boo than covering it in the first place.

For other kids, they just want permission to get the bandaid. And they want you to help them, but not help them too much. They want to try to fix this themselves. Sometimes it takes a few extra bandaids. Sometimes the tape folds over on itself when little fingers are trying to open the package. Sometimes the bandaid misses the mark or ends up upside down. Sometimes three just work better than one. That's why they come in boxes of twenty or more.

For still other kids, bandaids are just super awesome stickers. I've found more than one of my children with an entire leg covered in bandaids before.

I buy a lot of bandaids.

We have them in all different sizes and characters. We have waterproof ones and breathable ones. We have specialty shapes and nice generic plain ones for the grown ups. I buy a lot of bandaids. And a lot of bandaids take up a lot of space.

I finally consolidated them all into one container. Not that I honestly believe for one second that they will all stay in there. Or that it won't be emptied that much sooner because of the ease of access now. For the moment at least, they are all happily contained in one place.

I'm sure that the combining of the bandaids is a bad idea for lots of reasons, not the least of which is that my husband will very likely need one at some point.

I doubt he wants to walk around with Buzz Lightyear or Barbie on his cuts...even if those kid sized bandaids really are coated with magical mystical healing power.

Friday, June 11, 2010


So I have this friend. She gave me permission to share these stories though asked that I not give her name. Except that anyone who knows her will completely know these are about her. She has the best bathroom stories. Seriously. Since she doesn't have a blog, I feel compelled to share them here.

Let's be honest. Anyone with a kid over the age of three has a bathroom story or two. I have a few. I'd share my bathroom stories, but I don't really have any that come close to hers. They pale in comparison.

Well, except for the one time I heard one of my daughters calling her big brother in to admire her creation. That was pretty damn funny.

My friend, though, she has some great stories.

There was the time she called me and asked how bad it is when the light fixtures on the main floor are dripping water. My obvious first question was, why?

Her youngest had been upstairs in the bathroom all alone. He was the culprit. He was awful proud of himself for attempting an unassisted wipe, though a little frustrated that his efforts didn't seem to be getting the job done. The only solution, of course, was to use more toilet paper.

Sometime after he'd done his business and used a ton of toilet paper, he did the unthinkable. He sat there and he flushed.
And the water came up and up and up.

He pretty quickly realized that it wasn't going down on it's own, so he did the only logical thing to solve his dilemma. He climbed up and tried to shove it down, hanging on to the towel bar for support. It might have worked, at least in his four year old mind, but the towel rack ripped off the wall.

So here he was, with an overflowing toilet and a towel bar ripped off the wall. He sat back down. And yelled. MOM!!!!

And my friend, my dear friend, walked into her carpeted bathroom to discover the horror of the situation. Her little boy just looked at her and said,

"But the good news is, when the water came cleaned my butt!"

Suppressing her laughter and overwhelmed by the situation, she got to fixing. Wiped the boy, plunged the toilet, started using towels to soak up all the water on the carpet. By the way, who the hell ever thought it was a good idea to put carpet in a bathroom????

Eventually she made her way downstairs and not long after that the drips started. All the recessed lights in the ceiling under the bathroom were dripping. And they were dripping toilet water. That's when she called me. And being the good friend I am, I tried really hard not to laugh. There was so much water it was trapped between the floors and the only choice she had was to shut off the power and wait for it to all drain out.

At least the water cleaned his butt, right?

This has been a favorite story of hers for a while now.

I got another phone call yesterday. From her. Another day, another toilet. More toilet paper, except this time it was in the basement and gravity wasn't going to help. She tried everything she could think of, even busting out the drain snake. Then she felt like she had to soak her entire body in bleach afterwards. There's just something about doing battle with a toilet that makes you feel icky for days.

Finally, she'd had enough. After six hours of fighting with the toilet. She did what I would have told her to do had she just called me sooner. Except she had to resort to online searching to find it.

The tip she found told her to pour liquid dish soap into the toilet. A lot of liquid dish soap. Let it sit, then fill up a bucket and drop the water in from waist height to force the clog out. It worked.

She called, all excited to tell me of her victory. How she had conquered the toilet. I laughed at her, but I tried really hard not to because I am a good friend.

And then I told her I was soooo writing about this.


For those of you who don't know me well, let me introduce myself.

My name is Kelly. I was born and raised in Southern California and moved to Colorado almost five years ago.

I could bore you with all the little details about the things I've done, but I won't. This isn't a job application, and I don't think any of you care about my resume.

I have an almost completely wonderful husband. I have four kids, two boys and two girls. I also have an angel.

I have two very badly behaved dogs.

I love to write. In case you couldn't tell. I just started writing a third book. You know, in my free time.

I'm a doula, though I hardly get to work as one. When my kids get older, I hope to do it more often.

I'm a pain in the ass. I like things the way I like them. I tend to get my way.

I'm a perfectionist who has a problem with procrastination.

I'm a pretty tough chick, at least on the outside.

I'm a daughter and a sister and a wife and a mother and a friend (among other things). Sometimes those roles conflict with each other. They've been doing that a lot lately.

I call it like I see it. I won't hestitate to tell you that you are wrong. If you piss me off, you're going to know it. I don't do passive agressive. I've been told I'm scary. When one of my very best friends in the world got engaged, her fiance was afraid to meet me. Either she portrays me unfairly, or I really am that scary. Not sure which.

I love conflict. I think it's healthy for the soul. Think how much easier everything in life would be if everyone could just lay their cards on the table instead of playing games all the damn time.

I know a lot about a lot of stuff. Some is useful, some isn't. If you ask me a question, I might have an answer. And if I don't, I'll find you one. If I can't find an answer, I'll find someone who can.

If you need something and you ask me, chances are I will help you. I struggle with saying the word no.

I have an insanely sarcastic sense of humor. Laugh, dammit. Laugh!

I am who I am and I make no excuses about it. I guess some people find that intimidating. Or annoying. Or whatever.

It just makes me me.

Take it or leave it. Cause I ain't changin. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I think as women, we all have an idealized version of ourselves we aspire to. We want to be a particular kind of wife. A specific kind of mother.

I know I had visions of grandeur.

Make that delusions.

When we got married, we received two crockpots as gifts. I promised myself never to use them for anything but chili and meatballs. I swore I'd never make boring things for dinner like casseroles and stews. I vowed to never ever put fruit into a jello mold. I swore I'd never spend entire days cleaning the house. I promised to fold the socks.

We'd be gloriously happy and share hobbies. We would go for long walks with our well behaved dogs and talk about everything we did and felt and dreamed of.

Back when I thought about what kind of mom I would be someday, I had many ideas of how things would go. I'd have immaculately clean children. My kids would never have snotty noses and unclipped fingernails. They would always be dressed in unstained, matching clothes.

I swore I'd never have the family room cluttered with toys and rocking horses and ball pits.

I'd never let my kids watch tv. They'd be constantly enriched with educational games and toys. I would have playgroups and mommy and me classes. I would breastfeed for precisely one year, never allow pacifiers and take away all bottles at the times I was supposed to.

Clearly I was delusional.

Not only do I use my crockpots all the time, I have to confess to using both of them at the same time on several occasions. I make a casserole at least once a week. There is jello with fruit in it in my fridge now. I pretty routinely spend all day cleaning the house. And I don't fold the socks, at least not until I really, really have to.

My husband and I have almost nothing in common. We don't go on long walks and our dogs are not the kind you ever take out in public.

I tried really hard not to have dirty kids for a while, but with four I just can't do it. I can't keep them all clean all the time. It just is impossible. Even when it was just Aidan, he always had a snotty nose. The kid had clogged tear ducts and chronic sinus infections. Part of the reason I always keep wipes in the car is for the last minute oh crap we are going somewhere and you are all gross moments.

I have a five year old girl who insists on wearing whatever she wants, and trust me when I say it's just easier to let her than argue about whether something matches or not.

I've learned there is a difference between clean clothes and unstained ones. Big difference.

My kids love tv. LOVE it. I try to limit it, and there are days that it's never on. But then there are the other days...

I gave up buying educational toys, at least the ones marketed that way. They never play with them. But give them some bubble wrap and toilet paper, now that is a guaranteed good time.

I stopped going to playgroups when my second was born and none of the groups allowed older children. All those first time moms, delusional still, they wanted their little babies to be protected from the bad influences of the big kids. Someday they'd have more kids, I laughed. Someday they'd learn. Someday they'd be like me, lost in the sea of boredom with too many kids to ever be welcome anywhere again.

I've nursed all of my kids for as long as they wanted to. My almost two year old is walking around with three pacifiers as I type this. And he's carefully maneuvering around the piles of toys in the family room.

I could go on for days about all the things I swore I'd never do. Motherhood teaches you a lot about who you are, as opposed to who you thought you would be. And it teaches you a lot about life in general.

First and foremost, never say never.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I have a bit of a problem, I know. I'll admit it. I'm a junkie.

I'm obsessed with the weather this time of year. Wildly obsessed.

I check the radar almost constantly. Find myself peeking out the windows in every direction several times a day.

I blame it mostly on the fact that I was once stuck outside when the sky turned an eerie green color. I've looked up at the swirling clouds above my head and wondered what if.

Up until that point, I thought that we were safe here. That tornadoes couldn't happen in this area.

Here's the thing though. It didn't really freak me out. In fact it has done quite the opposite.

I find myself mesmerized by the cloud formations. How they can start so small and grow so fast, reaching for the heavens above. The wall of rain that can come in an instant. The way that the hair on the back of your neck stands at attention when the lightning is too near. How thunder sounds when it bounces off the mountains.

These storms, as powerful as they are, are a magnificent thing to behold. Though most people are afraid of them, I can see what draws some to them. What makes people want to study the sky, chase storms.

It's the adrenaline rush. The thrill. The mystery of it all.

Keep an eye on the sky. I know I will.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Forgive me while I change gears for a minute. I'm about to be real and serious and not at all funny.

I feel compelled to write about this. If it wasn't for the fact that I am so completely entrenched in my own reality, I'd be a lot more outraged about it than I am. Mostly though, I just don't have the energy to devote to being upset about it.

The Gulf. BP. The massive oil leak.

To me, the oceans are sacred. For the longest time I wanted to be a marine biologist, but for some reason I opted to be more practical and go into law. Lot of good that did me. I've always been drawn to the ocean, which makes living in the middle of the country a challenge.

Part of it is that I was born in southern California, a place where proximity to the pristine beauty and overpowering nature of the water is a given. Where you get so accustomed to seeing the ocean, breathing the smells of it, that it's just ingrained in who you are.

My love of the ocean is deeper than just an ordinary affection.

I wrote my senior thesis in college on the overfishing of sharks in international waters. Even though I went into public policy, I wrote about my passion. At the time, it was nowhere near the public problem it is now. It's a topic that has gotten more attention in recent years. Shark fin soup has always been an expensive delicacy in parts of the world, but the demand was growing. And the power of greed drove men to the oceans, to prey on one of the only apex predators in the seas. Messing with the food chain at any level is dangerous on a large scale, particularly when one aims at the top. Not only do they kill the sharks, they do so in a horrific manner, wasting the entire carcass. All they want are the fins.

And out there, out far in the oceans, away from the coastlines, there are few laws. There are few protections. And, it seems, there is a lack of respect. Not just for the animals, the other nations, the people of this world. There is a lack of respect for Mother Earth.

As huge and vast as the ocean is, it is fragile as well.

Greed can drive men to do great damage. To endanger ecosystems, to destroy life. And here we are now, with a well off our coastline spewing oil with no end in sight. Death and destruction in the path of an ever growing suffocating mess. And they, the men whose greed drove them to dig this well, cannot seem to stop it. What now?

Maybe this is a sign that we, as a nation, and as a world, need to stop relying on oil. It's a beacon of our waste and excess to the rest of the world. Of our recklessness. Our carelessness. Our greed. Maybe this is a sign that offshore drilling isn't merely an eyesore, but a real and true threat to our way of life. Maybe we need to stop being so short sighted. Maybe we need to find an urgency for the development of clean energy.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is the work of our Mother, tired of being raped and pillaged for the benefit of man. She's pissed and she is fighting back. And she's teaching us a lesson.

I don't pretend to know how to solve this problem. How to stop this leak. You would think that is one of the things they would figure out how to do before puncturing the ocean floor, just in case it ever went sour. Apparently not.

How do we stop our reliance on oil in the first place? How do we change our nation, and those around the world? How do we make people think about what they are doing to the Earth their children and grandchildren will someday inherit? How do we stop the greed?

This catastrophe, as terrible as it may be, might just be what the Earth needs. What we all need.

A wake up call.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Potty, Part II

Of course after I wrote the first potty post, I realized that I left out a bunch of stuff. Good stuff. Important stuff.

For instance, don't ever try to potty train a kid right before you go on a vacation. Trust me when I say you'd rather deal with diapers than be constantly looking for a bathroom in an unfamiliar place.

I have talked children into wearing diapers after they were potty trained for long car rides. Not that I expected them to use the diapers...just in case we didn't find a rest stop or non-gross bathroom in time.

Once you feel confident enough with potty training progress to venture into the outside world, bring extra clothes and a plastic bag with you. Everywhere. You. Go. The one time you don't is the one time you'll need it.

Remember that your newly trained toddler still has a tiny bladder. They have to go more often than we do.

If you mention the word potty, know that you have just put them on notice and the clock is ticking. Do not ask them if they have to go unless you are within a few minutes of a bathroom. The power of suggestion is strong.

Even if you have a bathroom tourist (I have two, who have to go to the bathroom everywhere we go, even when they just went), take them. They could be telling the truth. And you don't want to be on the wrong side of that judgement call in the middle of a restaurant.

Don't bother trying to potty train a toddler who is about to become an older brother or sister. If you've got less than 3 months before the arrival of the baby, do something more productive with your time. Regression is common, and you don't want to go through all that only to have to do it again.

Discuss how to handle accidents with every adult your child is with. Consistency and patience are more important than anything else. Floors can be cleaned, clothes can be washed.

Just because a child is potty trained doesn't mean you are off the hook. You have years of wiping ahead of you. Years.

Buy a plunger if you don't have one already. Once they start trying to wipe, most kids use way too much toilet paper for any conventional toilet to handle.

All my kids trained immediately after I opened a huge box of diapers. Never when you are on the last few. That's just the way it is.

There are occasionally easy trainers. The kids that just wake up one morning and decide it's time. Don't count on your child being one of them. Sure, you might get lucky. I did once. But don't count on it. Having said that, if you do happen to be lucky enough to have one of those kids, and they are ready and willing, it is in your best interest to help them learn. Even if you are planning to leave for vacation in a few days.

Just don't forget to bring a change of clothes.

Trust me.


Ask and you shall receive. :)

Cue dramatic music....

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to train an uncooperative child to empty their bladder and bowels into a functioning toilet with predictability. This message will self destruct.

Potty training. Let's all just have a collective sigh, shall we?

It's not one of the fun parts of motherhood, I can tell you that much. A necessary evil. It is indeed something which children must learn to do in order to eventually become independent, functioning members of society.

Unless you manage to pawn it off on someone else, that is. I came across a mother who actually did that a few weeks back. I was picking up a screaming child from the gym childcare, and a women walked in with her 3 year old daughter. She clearly had just picked this kid up from her regular daycare on her way home from work. As she was signing her little girl in, she handed the childcare workers a bag with a change of clothes and spare diapers. She apologized for the fact that her daughter was in panties, she just wasn't sure what her daycare lady was thinking. The gym employee, clearly familiar with the little girl, just replied back that it wasn't a big deal. The girl had been using the potty there without help for months. Months? Was this mom really that clueless?

She must live in the fantasy world all the rest of us dream of.

Back to reality. That isn't an option for most people. And really, I had a hard time holding back my laughter when it all happened.

So, anyway, how do you potty train a child? I've done this quite a bit, and am about to embark on the adventure again. I should know what I am doing by now, right?

Rather than bore you all with the things I specifically did with my other kids, I'll just give some pointers on things that worked and didn't work. Keep in mind that every single child is different, and I lay no claim to guaranteed success.

* Toddler pull-up disposable diaper pants are you biggest enemy. Don't buy them. Ever. They lure the child into a false belief that they are indeed making progress, when really, you are just buying more expensive diapers with some new cartoon character on them. And they are harder to change. The biggest problem with them, as with disposable diapers in general, is that they are super absorbent. If the kid doesn't feel wet and gross, they aren't going to be in a huge hurry to do anything about it.

* If you can swing it, get some cloth diapers for potty training time. Again, the wetness cue is important. There are also thicker training pants, some with plastic covers. The accidents aren't fun to clean up, but they will make training easier.

* If possible, wait until the kid shows signs of interest. If they aren't ready, you are just wasting your time. Taking off diapers all the time does not necessarily equal interest, though. It could mean the kid just likes to be naked. Or figured out how to take off a diaper. Or figured out how to push mommy's buttons. Or needs clothes that are just harder to get off. It may mean they are ready, but isn't a sure fire sign. For me, signs of readiness are the following:
- Increased curiosity in bathroom affairs (beyond unrolling the toilet paper).
- Ability to hold their bladder for longer periods of time. If your toddler is waking up from a 3 hour nap bone dry and not peeing immediately upon waking, he or she might be ready.
- If they start to hide when they need to poop, or come and tell you they did. Signs they are either embarrassed to do it in front of others, are uncomfortable sitting in it, or both.

* If none of the above signs are present, really, just don't bother. Unless you have a looming deadline for preschool enrollment or something, it isn't worth forcing the issue. Trust me on this. I've been down that road. There are a lot of accidents and frustration on that road. It's not worth it.

* Stay calm, be consistent, be disciplined. If you are making progress, keep going with it. This is as hard for us as it is for them, I think.

* Don't listen to other people. Truth is, every kid is different. And no, your toddler won't go to college in diapers.

* Don't be afraid to give up. If it isn't working, stop cold turkey. Wait a few weeks, then try again. Don't torture yourself or them by continuing something that isn't working.

* Just getting some kids to sit on the potty is progress. Some kids are afraid of it. Be leery of public toilets with automatic flushers. They terrify little kids, especially ones who happen to be sitting on the toilet when it goes off. If you are in one of those bathrooms, cover the sensor while they go. (again, trust me on this one)

* Be prepared to dedicate a few solid weeks to perfecting potty training. Some kids get it quickly, others need more time. If you have lots of things to do or places to go, now is not the time to try.

* Some boys do better learning to pee standing up from the beginning. Messy, yes. But whatever works.

* Don't waste money on expensive floating things to get boys to pee. Cheerios are cheap.

* Buy the flushable wet wipes. But hide them from the kids unless they are being used for their intended purpose. They are expensive!

* Choose your potty carefully. One piece potties are ideal. Do not buy a potty that has a drawer to catch the pee and poop. Um, because, well...just don't. Trust me.

* They make toilet seats now with an integrated kid seat. I'm so getting one of those when AJ starts. Kids have a hard time learning to use the big potty if they feel unsafe up there. (try to imagine yourself feeling comfortable going if you felt like you'd fall the entire time) If you use an inset kid seat, make sure it is stable.

* Don't get frustrated. They aren't doing this to make you angry. They are learning how to do this for the first time, and you are learning how to teach them for the first time. Even if you've managed to potty train other kids before, you haven't potty trained this one.

* It's fairly common for kids to be trained for either pee or poop, but not the other. I knew a little boy who asked for a diaper to poop until he was almost 5. Stayed that way until he got diarrhea when he was sick once, and that was the end of that. Making them feel bad about it won't fix it, in fact it usually makes it worse. Again, they won't go to college in diapers.

* If something worked for you other kids, it won't necessarily work for this one. Remember that. And don't compare them.

* I'm not above bribery and rewards. They work. The trick is finding what works for this kid. For my oldest, mini M&Ms were the trick. Ashley needed a sticker chart and fancy panties. Eventually you have to phase out the rewards obviously. I mean, I don't get candy every time I go potty. ;)

* Timers. When they get to the point of going on the potty, set a timer. 5-10 minutes at first, lengthening the time between. Big deal every time. Big.

* Naked parties. Seriously. If it's warm enough, take the little potty out back and have a naked party. They will know immediately when they start to pee or poop that something is amiss if there is no diaper to catch it. Plus, there's a hose out there.

* Accidents happen. Some kids have accidents occasionally for a very long time. Some never have them at all. Every child is different.

* Nighttime training is a whole different animal. Bed wetting has other causes, most of which have nothing to do with daytime training. If your child has more accidents at night, use diapers or pull-ups only then. You can do all kinds of things like limiting drinks before bedtime, waking them up to go, setting alarms, etc. But really, none of those will address the reason and I highly recommend you not do them. If they are thirsty, give them a drink. If they are sleeping, don't wake them up just to use the bathroom. If you have concerns about it after they have been daytime trained for a while, discuss it with your pediatrician. Really.

That's all I know about potty training. Once other people know you are potty training, be prepared for unsolicited advice, and lots of it. Ignore it. You can buy books and listen to the advice of so-called experts, but really, no one knows what will work for you and your kid. You know him or her better than anyone else does.

The only things you really need to master potty training are these: time, patience and wipes. You need a lot of wipes. Oh, and maybe some carpet cleaner.

Good luck!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I'll be the first to admit I've got a short fuse right now. There are just too many things going on inside my universe right now, and they are pushing me closer and closer to my limit. At any second now, I'll become a bumbling idiot, a screaming lunatic. Seriously.

So I'm cranky. Deal with it people, cause it most likely won't be changing any time in the near future.

As if I needed other things to worry about right now, I spent all morning painting the garage doors. Both of them. Oh, and the front door. Normally I love to paint. And under any other circumstance, I would love to paint the garage doors. But it wasn't my idea, and I don't do well with being told what to do and being threatened. Especially by stupid people with no lives of their own who have nothing better to do than harass me.

Have I ever mentioned that I despise HOAs?

Back when AJ was born, a sign was put on the garage door. One of those Welcome Baby Boy signs. You know, signs that are supposed to be bring cheer. Yeah, well...

The signs were attached with tape. And when we took them down, the tape took some paint along with it. Tom touched the paint up with what the builder gave us. Except the new touch up paint wasn't exactly the same color. The rest of the garage door had faded, the touch up paint had not.

I could have cared less. But unfortunately, my crazy neighbor, who happens to be the president of the HOA (by the way, who the hell voted for him anyway?) lives across the street from me. And though I don't particularly care if my paint isn't uniformly faded, it's the kind of thing that probably drove him insane.

Then again, he cuts his grass with scissors. (nope, not kidding)

So we got a letter about it last fall. It was getting to be the time of the year when one shouldn't paint things outside because it's too cold. I planned to repaint the doors this summer, once the kids were out of school and my life actually contained increments of time at home greater than 2 hours. You know - this week.

Before I could even get to this week though, I got another letter. This one even told me which shade of paint to buy. Isn't that nice of them?

At the end of my rope, and tired of being harassed about something so stupid, I went and got the paint. I just don't have the patience or energy to deal with it anymore. Oh, and I was planning to do it this week anyway. Too bad the HOA told me to buy the wrong color. I ended up needing to paint both the garage doors and the front door so it appeared intentional.

I do have to give my crazy neighbor some credit. He ran back in his house as soon as I started painting, didn't reappear until I was done. He's smart enough to stay out of my damn way. I'm pretty scary right now.

Told you I have a short fuse.

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