You say you love

Whaaaa happened?!

I missed a few blogging days and I can’t figure out where the time went, other than to say I’ve been busy!!  In fact, I talked to a stay at home mom last night who wanted to know how it was going…and I told her about being really, really busy.  And she said that eventually I’ll find it hard to remember how I did it all AND worked.  Part of me wants to say “huh?! That’s not possible.  I’ll never forget THAT” and part of me wants to say “I could see how that could happen very, very easily.”

In the meantime, I wanted to tell you a little story about the apartment my husband and I lived in when we were first married.  We could hear everything going on in the apartment below us.  Yes.  Everything.

But mostly what we remember were the 3 a.m. fights downstairs that always culminated in yelling about the level of love present in the relationship.  The following phrases were always used.

(said in an agitated [read shrill] female voice with an Asian accent) You say you love, but you NO love!!  WHY you say you love when you no love?!?

So…over the course of the last 20 years, when one of us feels neglected by the other, we’ll trot out the “why you say you love when you no love” bit in a joke-y, non racist you-say-you-love-but-you-no-love way just to make the point that we could use a bit more attention.

Now I can’t help but hear my blog in my head after a few days of no activity, “You say you love, but you NO love!”

I do love.  I’ve just been busy!!

Marketing Professional For Hire

Lately I’ve been considering applying for jobs I don’t even want and I may not really even be qualified for – all just to have a job (hi, Unemployment Agency!).   And when I saw the phone line repair guy up in the cherry picker yesterday talking on the phone – I sensed a kindred spirit.

I mean, what could have been going on with that?  I’m sure the phone call wasn’t of the “hey honey, I’m glad you called; what’s for dinner?” variety.  Instead, he was totally focused on some sort of panel he had open at the top of the pole while being deep in conversation.

Maybe it was a quick check in with his manager?  He’s recently back from workers comp leave during which he received therapy for his fear of heights and phone-wire phobia and his manager just wanted to know how his first day back on the job was going??  In which case, it could also have been H.R. or his union rep.

Or perhaps they’re doing some sort of remote surgery up there in the air?  Kindof like those surgeons working robots in an operating room thousands of miles away from where the patient actually is.  Except in this instance, instead of robots, they use a cherry picker, a warm body and a telephone to get the work done?  Maybe the one guy in the whole universe who’s qualified to repair the wires is actually located in Alaska and he has to “consult” with the guy who’s actually in Colorado repairing the wires??

Voice on the line:  “Ok.  Do you see the red wire?”

Guy in the cherry picker:  “Uh-huh uh-huh.  I do!  I do see the red wire.” [slowly reaches for it]

Voice on the line:  “Well don’t touch it!”

Maybe the phone line repair dude was sick the day they covered “what to do with red wires” during the phone line repair certification class and he has his instructor on the phone doing a quick “refresher” course?

Or…could it be that [GASP!] he used to be a very competent and talented marketing professional but phone line repair dude was the only position he could get after his company took his marketing job away and he had to make ends meet?  Yikes!  Will this be me shortly?!

If so, I would be less scruffy looking.  No beard for me (well at least not one that’s visible from the ground anyway) and I would be dressed way cuter.  Hey!  Ya gotta set the fashion trends when you’re perched above your adoring public!  Hard hats, flannel shirts and jeans are totally in again!!

***Disclaimer and open notice to phone repair people – I absolutely respect and admire your strenuous and perilous work and the flippant nature of today’s blog in no way implies the opposite.***

Dessert!

I met some former colleagues (to be clear, they’re not former.  I am) for lunch today.  Gosh it felt good to be interacting with a group of adults again!  When I was in the office – even though the majority of our conversations centered around whose turn it was to make the coffee – it was nice to have other adults to see and talk to periodically.

Now…the quietness of my days roars loudly in my ears.  That and the fact that it’s pretty slim pickin’s when it comes to adults around here (well, there’s me of course – and my husband when he gets home from work.  But other than that, it’s mostly monkeys-acting-like-children to keep me company.  And only when they’re home from school).

But despite my best efforts to describe the scrumptious dessert I literally pulled out of the oven right before I met the former colleagues for lunch, no one seemed as impressed as I was with my morning’s worth of “work.”

I thought perhaps a picture was called for.  So when I got home, I sent them the picture below along with the following email message:

From: ME
Date: September 24, 2012 1:59:38 PM MDT
To: All of the colleagues I met for lunch
Subject: Dessert!

It was good to see everyone.

And just to prove the point, I wanted to send you a pic of the dessert I was making right before I met you for lunch!  You’ll notice it’s brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Combined!

Hah-lah!!! Whoop whoooop!!

That right there is good times in a baking pan…and will be very well received this evening after my home made sloppy joe extravaganza!

Hey! If this was your biggest accomplishment of the day you’d be a little more enthusiastic about it too!!  But noooo…you’re alllll superior with your “gotta help customers” and “hafta close sales” attitude!!

Yeah?!  Stay at home mom my a$$!!  We’ll see what YOU get for dessert tonight, won’t we??!

Ok…I’ll stop now because I realize I’m sounding a little off-balance and in desperate need of those mother’s-little-helper-pills (aka Rick’s hip replacement pain meds) we discussed earlier.

Rick – please send some soonest!

Signed,
New Stay at Home Mom (.com)

Ladies, start your engines!

Stay of execution!

It turns out that despite my last ditch housecleaning cancellation call yesterday, the cleaning ladies had already charged my credit card so they are cleaning my house one FINAL time today.

Phew!!!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am.  Well shucks, Cleaning Ladies, you may as well clean the house then instead of pursuing that there cumbersome refund process you describe.  But this is it!  I mean it!!  This is the final professional housecleaning and then me and my amateur housecleaning a$$ are taking over!

But this latest development on the housecleaning front totally freed me up this morning to…sit at the car repair place for FOUR FRICKIN HOURS!

Carpool lady is out of town so I had to take my own kids into school (imagine the NERVE of some people!) and discovered I was having trouble starting the car. Specifically, I couldn’t get the key into the ignition despite 5 minutes worth of best effort in that area.

Uh-oh, Houston. We have a problem!

$700 and four hours later and the tumblers in the ignition (who knew?!) are being replaced and I’m blogging to you LIVE from the car repair place.  Here’s who’s with me in the waiting room:

  • a couple in their late forties. The man has a whole arm-resting-on-a-cushion-yet-strapped-to-his-body scenario going on so I suspect the woman is just the warm body driving him around until the cushion can come off.
  • an older man talking about his bridge schedule on his flip phone.
  • a woman about my age reading 50 Shades of Grey!  Just out in the open!! Not even trying to cover it up!!!  Get a Nook for goodness sakes.  Show some decency!
  • a woman in her late 50’s who’s been here as long as I have. Except whereas I’m dressed in running gear she’s dressed in a crazy jeans and leather jacket combo that came straight from the 80’s.  Did we all think shoulder pads made our waists look smaller or something?! Newsflash: they didn’t…and still don’t. Her hair is oddly mussed but time travel will do that to you.

I’ve had to pee about every 15 minutes ’cause I have to drink $700 worth of free coffee and bottled water while I’m here. But on the plus side I won’t need lunch because I’m full of free snacks. Goldfish, animal crackers and granola bars are a bit heavy on the carbs — but did I mention they’re FREE?! (or $700 depending on how you look at it)

So…to sum up…I’m in good (well – maybe not good, but interesting at least) company; warm, fed and clothed. I’m $700 poorer.  But I didn’t have to spend the whole morning cleaning my own house!  Scratch that. I’m $850 poorer ’cause I didn’t spend the morning cleaning my own house.

Cleaning Ladies

Ya wanna know how to save your family $500 in one fell swoop?  Fire your cleaning ladies ($150 every two weeks) and start making lunches for your kids (instead of buying hot lunches at $3.50 a pop).

More to come on the make-your-own-lunches effort because that hasn’t started yet (October 1st is when the magic happens there).

Tomorrow is supposed to be the two-week cleaning lady visit but I called this a.m. and asked them not to come (and used the job take as the fall-guy for why we couldn’t be customers any more).

And now I’m sitting here hyperventilating because I’m not really sure I remember how to clean a house all by myself. 

I do know that there are two schools of thought here.  The first is that you do a little housework each day and by the end of the week, you’ve run through the list only to start all over again the following week.  (I have a friend who subscribes to this school and in fact, she’s the one I heard it from and this is now her biggest fear come true – to see herself highlighted in my blog!  Hi, L.C.!!!)

The second school (the one I will be subscribing to – Hi, L.C.!!!) is that you get ‘er done once every two weeks.  Kinda like a cleaning lady employed by a working mother. 

But where to begin?  Should I have some sort of caddy to carry all of my supplies in as I move from room to room?  I can tell you right now the supplies will mostly consist of rubber gloves.  I’m gonna go broke from all of the rubber gloves I’m gonna hafta buy.  I can’t even imagine how the cleaning ladies feel cleaning up after someone else’s barely-human children.  It’s MY family making the mess and I can’t even clean a toilet without gagging my way through the whole thing.  In fact, I think I need a rubber suit.  And what about a harness?  So I can carry the vacuum cleaner around on my back.  Why were you thinking I needed a harness??  The only question now is whether it goes over the rubber suit – or under?! 

But really, the biggest conundrum that presents itself as I take over the housecleaning duties is what to do with the showers.  Do I take FOUR showers on cleaning day?  How do you clean a shower without actually TAKING a shower??  This seems hard.

Now that I think about it…I’m not sure I EVER knew how to clean a house.  Back before I had cleaning ladies, I vaguely recall some sort of debacle with the shower and a can of Scrubbing Bubbles.  What I mostly remember was buying the Scrubbing Bubbles just to see what they looked like when they came out of the can.  I mean, do the bubbles really smile and scurry around like that?!  It gave me the same feeling of anticipation I had when I was a kid and bought those sea-monkey eggs from the back of the comic book.  I placed them in the container in the sunlight just as instructed.  And I waited.  And waited.  I was DYING to see those smiley faces on the monkeys.  Would a few of them be wearing crowns like in the advertisement??  I never did find out because the family dog, Lady, drank the water before they hatched.  But really, were they ever gonna hatch and walk around with smiles on their faces and crowns on their heads?!

Whatta scam.  And it’s the exact same way I feel about the bubbles.  They don’t smile.  They don’t talk.  They don’t even say weeeeeee as they go down the drain.  And they sure as heck don’t do your cleaning for you!!!

I’m loving the whole stay at home mom thing, but it may be worth it to get a job just so I can have my cleaning ladies back.

Too much or not enough?

As a new stay at home mom, I frequently struggle with whether I’m doing too much…or not enough…for my family.

For example, take this morning: I was going to get up early and make homemade cranberry orange muffins and yogurt/fruit smoothies for the kids.  Three too many snooze buttons later and breakfast was cold cinnamon raisin bagels with glasses of o.j.

Not enough?

Then, after my son went up to get dressed and my daughter had a second bagel, I proceeded to pack snacks for the kids.  Those orange-y crackers with faux fromage (read cheese) inside and a fruit roll-up.  Well – actually I packed that for my daughter but my son doesn’t like those crackers so I packed him those weird little breadsticks and the orange-y dipping-sauce-that’s-supposed-to-be-cheese and comes in little individual packages.  And a fruit roll-up.

Not enough?

After having been up in his room for a full ten minutes, my son then comes back down with his pajama pants tied around his waist (Not on.  Tied.) complaining the whole time that he has no clean underwear in his drawer.  So let me get this straight.  I collect all the dirty laundry.  Sort it.  Wash it.  Dry it.  FOLD it.  And leave it to sit in nice, neat piles on the counter in the laundry room waiting for someone to just simply put it away, but no one ever does.  And it’s STILL not enough?!

As a side note – my son totally could have walked through the dining room to get his clean underwear out of the laundry room without anyone having been any the wiser.  I think he just walked through the kitchen for fun  (as a side note to the side note – he only got one pair of underwear instead of bringing up the whole pile so we’ll have a reprise of this scene tomorrow, guaranteed)  and to show off what he described as “something Tarzan would wear.”  And it was, except for the logos of pro football teams all over the little helmets on the pant legs tied in a knot and hanging down his back.  Which didn’t quite cover his bongo-drums.  This of course was all designed to elicit an eckkkkghh noise from his sister.  (you know eckkkkghh.  It’s the noise you might make while hocking a loogie.  Except you’re ten and a girl and you need to put all the loathing you feel into it.)

Just a word-to-the-wise at this point: do not watch cooking shows while running on the treadmill after everyone leaves the house for the day.  I will now be making chicken fricassee for dinner.  But first I have to buy the chicken…and all the fricassee fixin’s.  And don’t EVER watch any show where Martha Stewart is doing the cooking.  It will make you want to commit full-on mayhem.  Martha and I have a love/hate thing going.  But she doesn’t know it.  And it’s mostly hate on my part.  I mean, come on!  Who can really be like that?!  Says Martha to Matt Lauer, “No, Matt, it’s pronounced Bow-kay Gar-neeee”.  Says me to Martha “eckkkkghh!!!  I will cage fight you now, Martha!”

But wait!  Speaking of committing…I just remembered that I’ve committed to attending a friend’s clothing party starting at 5 tonight (drinky-poos to be had so don’t want to miss it!).  So the fam won’t be getting frickin’ Fricassee after all.  Franks and beans it is!

Too much??

TMFFT

I pulled into the school parking lot about 40 minutes before school got out today.  And there were – no joke – 11 cars in car-line already.  Waiting to pick up students…that wouldn’t get out for ANOTHER FORTY MINUTES!!

Ok, I’m struggling to find things to do with my time, but waiting in a hot car for 40+ minutes to pick up my kid isn’t one of them.

Back when I had a job (oooh about a month or so ago) there was this “saying” a friend at work and I invented to describe co-workers who didn’t have enough to do.  Who had too much free time.  We called it TMFFT.  Too much f^*#ing free time.

Every single person in that car line had a bad case of TMFFT today.

And why was I there 40 minutes early you might wonder?  That there is a case of NOYBW.

None of your bee’s wax.

My Husband’s Laundry

***SPOILER ALERT***

If you’re married to me (and you know who you are), do NOT read this blog post…well, at least until you get home that is.

I think I just went down a really slippery slope today.

Why?

I just did my husband’s laundry.  For the first time ever.

OK – ‘ever’ is a slight exaggeration, since I’ve probably done it twice before (once during each of my two maternity leaves) in the last 20 years of marriage.

Early on, when we were newlyweds and were both working full-time jobs that carried the same weight in terms of the income we brought into the house, we decided that I would do my laundry and he would do his.  And not to be outdone in the equality of how we divvied up the chores, he would do the towels and I would do the sheets.  Yes, I’m totally serious.  Why?  How did you divvy up the chores when you were a newlywed?!?

Well – years passed and the sheets/towels line got blurred and I found myself washing items in both categories.  And then more years passed and Baby 1 came along and doubled the laundry load (pun intended).  Then Baby 2 came along and suddenly there were exponential amounts of laundry – poopy onesies, dirty bibs, pee-ish crib sheets, my clothes, an entire family’s worth of towels and linens.  The mountain of dirty stuff-needing-washing became my domain.

The one last laundry bastion left in the house was my husband’s clothes.  Well…not today.  Today I just did a load of his dirty unmentionables.  There was some serious hinting going on yesterday as I was doing everyone else’s laundry (hey – ya get into a routine and it’s hard to break out so sue me!).  So I bit the bullet and did his laundry as well.  We’ll see where this leads.  It may just be one more thing I take on because I have the TIME to do it.  Or it may be one of those things where I ‘accidentally’ irreparably damage a clothing item he loves (remember like your mother did back when you were in 5th grade and your favorite sweater came out of the dryer tiny enough to fit a baby-doll?!  And you’ve been doing your own laundry ever since??  Maybe that was just me…) and he goes back to doing his own laundry ad infinitum.  TBD on this whole thing.  The slope might not be as slippery as I think.  And I’m not folding anything.

Speaking of folding, my husband never does.  And when I was upstairs just now putting stuff away in our closet, it occurred to me that his clean clothes look suspiciously like his dirty clothes.  I can’t tell them apart.  [and I’m NOT smelling anything!  I have my standards, slippery slope or not!!]  In fact, I may have just washed a whole load of clean clothes!  And the dirty ones are still…uh…dirty.  We won’t know until he comes home.  Apparently the Spoiler Alert applies to me as well.  Like I said, TBD on this whole thing.

Dear Kohl’s

This is an open letter to Kohl’s…

Dear Kohl’s,

Please cease and desist with the Kohl’s Cash.  Now.  I can’t take it anymore.  Kohl’s Cash redemption days are literally the only thing on my calendar (well – besides my upcoming lunch lady duties).  Just the fact that I have to put a reminder on my calendar so that I don’t accidentally miss using my Kohl’s cash tells you how knee-deep I am here.

You’re very stealthy, Kohl’s.  But I can see right through you.  I know those innocuous $10-off-any-purchase-over-$10 coupons are all part of your psychological warfare.  I frequently find myself driving to one of your many conveniently-located stores in my area, saying to myself, “You can do it this time.  You can JUST spend $10 and come away with something that’s basically free!”  But that never happens, does it?  Oooooh nooooo!  $183 dollars later and look-y here, I’ve actually saved $298!!!  And yes, that’s $183 AFTER the $10 off coupon combined with a 30% off coupon that I got in the mail last week.

Wait!  What?!  I just wanted to spend $10!!!  But now I’m $183 in the hole and I need to come back again in 2 weeks to use the Kohl’s Cash ($30 bucks worth, ya effers) I never wanted to “earn” in the first place.

Stop it.  Just stop.  I’m looking for things to do, Kohl’s.  But as my grandmother used to say, “going to the poor house saving money” isn’t one of them.  Stop already!  I mean it.  I’m serious this time.  I’m gonna use that final $30 in Kohl’s Cash (and not a cent more!!!) and then I’m done with you.  We’re through.  C’est fini!  Kaput!  Do you hear me?!?

Now I’ve got to go get the mail.  I gotta see what sort of coupons came today…

Coffee break

I went to a committee meeting slash dinner last night (well, actually no meeting, all dinner.  And drinks.) and sat at a table with mostly stay at home moms who were very curious to hear how it’s going with me.  They’ve all heard through the school grapevine that I’ve joined their ranks (see blog Day 3 for an explanation of how the school grapevine works – http://newstayathomemom.com/?p=17) and they wanted to know how I like it.

Duh – Love it!

And then, looking to fit in and show how I was “one” with them, that we were “simpatico,” that they are my “peeps” (what’up, what’up home mom!)  I regaled them with a story about how I had a mutual acquaintance over for homemade cake and cup of coffee that afternoon.  To which they were all “wait, wait, wait.  SHE brought cake?”

Me: “No, I made cake.”

Them: “Huh?  You made cake? And served it with coffee to a friend at your house?!”  And they’re all looking from one to the other and shrugging their shoulders.  Next, I expected they would try to poke each other in the eyes while saying nyuck nyuck nyuck like some stay at home mom version of the three stooges.

Me: “Helloooo. I mean come on!  Isn’t that what we do?!  Isn’t this what you’ve all been doing since your first child went to school?  Having each other over for cake and coffee and leaving the working moms out?” [I was a little more jokey sounding and less angry and desperate than it’s coming across here.  I think.]

…….

Honestly, doesn’t anyone else remember their mother having women friends over for cake and coffee in the afternoon?  It’s what they did, right?  My mom did it so well that she even had little fancy containers (matching, white with bumps all over them like those old popcorn-y bedspreads) for the cream and sugar.  But I thought I was modernizing the whole affair by not having any containers.  My guest just helped herself to the sugar directly from the sugar jar and milk out of the carton.

[as a side note, coffee is WAY easier to make nowadays than I remember it was back then.  It took like 20 hours and you had to assemble metal items and maybe even a spring or two then balance it all on some sort of stick within the coffee pot.  Then the coffee had to bubble up through this little glass spout at the top.  I believe that was called “percolating” but it seemed really confusing and time-consuming and you had to prepare it long before people even walked in the door]

And here we’ve come to the crux of the problem (no, not that coffee can now be made on-the-fly.  Or that I don’t have fancy cream and sugar containers, ’cause I do.  I just didn’t use them).  Rather, maybe I’m operating under some 1970’s version of what I should be doing??

Good Lord!  Where’s the pamphlet from the OB/GYN’s office when you need it?!?  It’s hard to get this right!