Help Wanted!

On the way to my daughter’s soccer practice, I saw a sign that said “Want to make $70,000 to $100,000 per year?”

Uh – why yes, yes I do.  Preferably the higher end of that range, please!  What do I have to do?

“Become a Class A Trucker” [or was it Grade A? – but that sounds too much like an egg ranking scale]

Oy.  I couldn’t do that.  The travel would kill me.  And none of it would be to Paris.

Easy peasy lemon squeezie

They say that losing a job (Gaaaah!  How many times do I have to tell you – I didn’t lose it…they took it!) is one of the big stressors in life.  Right up there with the death-of-a-loved-one.

Really?!  Who are they kidding??  Losing my job (and when I say lose, I mean they TOOK it!) and becoming a stay at home mom is the easiest thing I’ve ever done!  I mean, apart from the fact that I’ve effectively halved my family’s income and may be single-handedly responsible for leading them to the brink of financial ruin, this is good times.  If you can get past that constant heart-in-your-throat feeling.  Yep, good times…

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

The worst part about housecleaning is the spiders.  Now – this may just be me because there are a lot of spiders in my house.  Or – this may just be me because I totally have arachnophobia.  But am I right or what?!?

I mean, seriously.  Spider webs alone flip me out.  I literally FLUNG the dustrag ACROSS THE ROOM while SCREAMING AAaaaahhhhh!!! the other day because I thought a spider web had brushed my hand.  Turns out if was a thread from my sleeve.  Oy.

But coming across an actual live spider?  In a corner.  Just waiting for me.  Waiting…

That’s the stuff of nightmares.

And you (and when I say you I mean me) can’t just vacuum it up.  Because it’s in a corner.  And everyone knows the vacuum cleaner doesn’t “do” corners very well which means the spider may escape (right at you/me!!!) and live to terrorize you/me another day.

No – it’s necessary to assemble that hose attachment thing so that you can accurately pinpoint your spider sucking efforts.  But then what happens?  I envision all of the spiders I’ve sucked up somehow cling to the inside of the hose just waiting for me to disassemble it before they POP out at me in retribution!

Or…as is more likely the case…they form a vast community of sucked-up-spiders living in the cleaner bag.  Subsisting on crumbs.  Rubbing their (4 sets of?) hands together, cackling maniacally as they plan a revolt against the overlord.  Once they have achieved critical mass, they’ll come pouring out of the vacuum cleaner bag when I change it.

Well, ha ha!  I have totally outsmarted them.  I never change the vacuum cleaner bag.

Brilliant!  Right?!

Hard Work

My daughter came home from school yesterday out-of-sorts and frazzled and said, “I want to be a stay at home kid!”

Yes, 5th grade sucks.  But aside from that, apparently I’ve been making this stay at home mom gig look like good times.  But it’s hard work.

Please don’t misunderstand me; It’s not the kind of hard work that you might do in order to close down a failing, unionized manufacturing plant (been there, done that) nor is it the kind of work you might do to create a business case in order to convince your company to move into a multi-million dollar market (been there, done THAT too).  But I digress.  Being a stay at home mom is hard work… in its own way.

Take this morning for example.  I baked cookies AND cleaned bathrooms.  Simultaneously!  And all without giving the family a bad case of E.coli poisoning (I hope) while a seasonal craft project waited in the wings calling my name.

BTW – it turns out there’s a methodology to the bathroom cleaning thing.  You clean the toilets LAST!  D’ohhhhh!!!  You were waiting for me to figure that out on my own instead of telling me, weren’t you?  I’m aware of this weird stay at home mom initiation thing I’ve been going through.  But I’m on to you and hazing is against the rules and I’ve already informed the pledge master so it better not happen again.

When the bathroom cleaning efforts are TIMED, the whole thing goes much quicker.  I’m from the switch-the-cookie-pan-on-the-top-oven-rack-to-the-bottom-every-five-minutes (-and-vice-versa) school of thought.  This allows the cookies to cook evenly and prevents burning on the bottom of the cookies that have been left on the lower rack for the full 10 minutes of cooking time.  More importantly, it allows me five minutes only to accomplish some key segment of the bathroom cleaning process before have to pull off my gloves, wash my hands and switch the cookie pans.  [don’t worry, I saved the toilet cleaning for AFTER the cookies were all done.]

Also, the craft project is halfway done but the Halloween season is upon us and time is ticking.  In case you think I jest about this morning’s activities – I’ve included pics of same for your viewing pleasure (below).

And talk about hard!  Wading through the thick cloud of silence that hangs heavy in the house once everyone leaves for the day really drains you.  But I’ve been playing more 80’s music lately to combat that.  Turns out you can’t really hear much of it though over the sound of the vacuum cleaner.  Or the dishwasher.  Or the zippers on the sweatshirts clanking around in the dryer.

See what I mean?  Hard work.

clean toilet


3 dozen home-made cookies

craft project involving upcycled jars, orange tissue paper and decoupage glue

Chiropractor Visit

Guilt attack today!

My poor husband works hard for his (our) money.  He travels constantly for work.  And somewhere along the way, he jacked up his back.  He walks like a stooped, old man now.

I couldn’t take it anymore so I made an appointment with my chiropractor for him today.

I guess this is what I do now – I don’t actually make the money, I just make the appointments.   Well, and I make the cookies too!  And when I’m not doing all of that scintillating, value-add stuff…I go running (and when I say running, I mean jogging.  Home Mom just trying to keep it real – what’up what’up!!  But the jogging is where my need for a chiropractor stems from fyi).

Before my husband left for the appointment, I was kind enough to warn him about the underwear issue!

He wanted to know why, WHY the chiropractor would ever see his underwear!!  What kind of chiropractor is this anyway?!

So I explained that I thought his back problems might be stemming from a sciatica nerve issue and if that was indeed the case, then the chiropractor would want to do some muscle stimulation on his bongo drums.  While attaching the electrodes to his back and his bongos, the chiropractor would see his underwear.

I was just trying to help!  No one told me anything about the possibility of this happening when I saw the chiro for the first time, and I wish they had because I wore some serious granny panties.  That may have been left over from my maternity wardrobe.  Eight years ago!  Washed out, faded “nude” underwear is never flattering.  Ever.

But then when I had to go BACK for more follow up visits, I was kindof “stuck” wearing granny panties because it’s not like I could switch mid-stream to something…er…more “youthful” shall we say.  Because then the chiro would wonder what was up.  All of a sudden I make an about face and start wearing brightly colored underwear with lace?  I don’t think so.  I didn’t want the doctor to question my professionalism.

So, fair warning!  Just like mom said – always put on clean (cute, youthful, brightly-colored, maybe with some lace) underwear.  Just in case…

And ESPECIALLY when you go to see the chiropractor!

Everybody’s working for the weekend (except me)

Well…it’s Friday.  Is there any other child of the 80’s out there who has that Loverboy song running around in their head, or is it just me?  “Working for the Week-end.”  Remember it?

Here’s my stay at home mom interpretation:

Everybody’s working for the week-end!  (Uh…well…except for me, that is.)

Everybody wants a little romance. (Hmmm…perhaps.  I AM reading 50 Shades of Grey, after all.)

Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end!  (Maybe me too.)

Everybody needs a second chance!  (Ok…for sure me on this one.)

The dirty, diiirty house

I told my husband allllll about my housecleaning debacle the other day (as a side-note: no one seems to be experiencing fever, chills, nor is anyone puking so I think we’ve safely skirted any E.coli poisoning.  Phew!).

Below is the conversation that followed:

ME: PLEASE Please pleaaaaasepleasepleasepleaseplease can we get our cleaning ladies back?  I’m not gonna be able to do this.

HIM: Well it’s obvious that you’re doing it all wrong.

ME: It is?!?  Well…Expert – what do you recommend?

HIM:  You should be wearing a cleaning lady uniform.

[Mom – don’t read any further]

ME:  A cleaning lady uniform?  Like…khakis and a green polo??  THAT would help me clean better?!

HIM:  No.  It has to be a maid uniform.  That would do the trick.  A French maid.  And you need to speak more French while cleaning the house.  The dirty, diiirty house.

ME:  I can see what’s dirty, diiirty here and it’s not the house.  And the uniform won’t help.  And I’m not doing it.  PLEASE Please pleaaaaasepleasepleasepleaseplease can we get our cleaning ladies back?!?

[or perhaps I WILL do it if I can get the cleaning ladies back – if ya know whadImean – wink, wink, nudge, nudge.]

Down the toilet

Gaaack!  gaaaAAACCKKKK!!!

Good Lord!

I have to get my cleaning ladies back at all costs!!!

Both kids have a sleepover coming up & I was just gonna change the guest beds in each of their rooms.  Two hours, two bedrooms and two bathrooms later and I’ve decided that a cleaning lady is worth ANY amount of money.

I sit here shuddering, trying to unsee things that should never have been seen in the first place…including my son’s bathroom.

First off, my brilliant decision to use rubber gloves, specifically the rubber gloves I use when I spray paint, may have complicated  this whole issue.  The last thing I painted was a brass light fixture.  Brown.

So, armed with my gloves, I bit the bullet and used that weird, rancid scrubby brush thing LEFT OVER FROM THE PREVIOUS OWNERS to clean the inside of the toilet.  And then I used antibacterial wipes to clean all the other parts of the toilet that an 8 year old boy uh…uses (“uses” is the only euphemism I can come up with here for the horrible, horrible things that happen to that toilet).

So I’m wiping the toilet seat down and the more I wipe, the more I notice all these brown specks all over the place.  So then my mind races about where all these brown specks are coming from.

It’s important to note here that I approach toilet-cleaning the same way I approach spider-killing.  Arms straight, elbows locked, head turned so you can only glimpse things out of the corner of your eye, the maximum amount of paper product between you and your nemesis all the while screaming in your head F*#K!  S%^T!!  F*#k s%^t f*#k s%^t s%^t sht sht sht ttttttttt!!!  tttga tga gaaaack!

And then I start to gag.

Picture it.  The most swear words in the world are running around in my head (and maybe coming out of my mouth.  Unless my mom is reading this, in which case they weren’t) because I believe I am wiping fecal matter all over the toilet while trying to clean the toilet.  Gaaack!  gaaaAAACCKKKK!!!

Oh.  Wait.  It’s just the old spraypaint flaking off of my gloves.  Oy.  Nothing to see here folks.  Move along.

So while the toilet seat turned out to be a non-issue (well – as far as gagging, shuddering and wanting to poke your eyes out afterwards can be a non-issue), I did uncover a stuffed-animal-hair-cutting ring that’s been operating out of my son’s bathroom.  Why would I think that?  Well…probably the round-tip scissors lying there along with approximately a MILLION tufts of red and purple hair scattered all over the countertop tipped me off.  I’m sleuth-y like that.  As a side note – fake fur is a total SOB to clean up.  Also, I did notice some oddly familiar brown tufts in and amongst the purple and red.  And my son IS wearing his bangs to the other side lately.  Hmmmm….

At the end of the 2 hours, I found that one has to take a shower because housecleaning is hard work.  Is this how my cleaning ladies used to clean my showers back when I had housecleaners??  Saving it for last because they were all hot and sweaty and…naked?!?

After the shower, while I’m pondering how I used to have a special coating on the shower door but the dastardly Scrubbing Bubbles must have weeeeeeee’ed it right down the drain with them, I notice brown flaky stuff all over my bathroom countertop.

OMG!  OMG!!!?

I was so worried about protecting my hands from fecal matter (and really, in the end, so smug.  So very, very smug.  Because hey – I have a MASTER’S degree.  How hard can housecleaning be if you have a MASTER’S degree?!?) that it never occurred to me that I shouldn’t use the same gloves to clean the sinks and faucets and countertops THAT I JUST USED TO CLEAN THE TOILETS!!  WITHOUT WASHING THEM IN BETWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

F*#K!  S%^T!!  F*#k s%^t f*#k s%^t s%^t sht sht sht ttttttttt!!!  tttga tga gaaack!  gaaaAAACCKKKK!!!

I’m pretty sure I’ve single-handedly sickened my whole family with E.coli poisoning.

Cleaning ladies – 1.  Stay at home mom – 0.

Book Fair

I volunteered to work Book Fair yesterday at the kids’ school.

I won’t be volunteering again.  And it wasn’t even a high-pressure day.

What with all my free TIME and stuff…I figured I could donate a few hours to this little fundraiser.  The day I worked was the day that the children simply “look” and “jot down” what they might like to buy.  Then they tell their parents.  At which point their parents have a fit over the cost of the books and only give them money to buy one or two…the next day.  So today?  Not much buying.

And it wasn’t the whole school or anything that showed up during my shift.  It was only the kindergartners and their 4th grade buddies who were there to “help” the kindies “jot down” their wish list which really devolved into the 4th graders mostly making their wish lists and not watching the kindies as they WALKED OUT with books!

But there were a few intrepid souls who must have penciled the Book Fair into their assignment pads and therefore actually brought money to spend during viewing day.

I worked (food) retail in high school and could barely stand it when adults handed me credit cards.  Having a monkey in the guise of a kindergarten boy hand me a ziploc bag of $41 IN COINS for $40.49 worth of books puts me on edge.

And then there was the little girl with the red headband who pony-skipped in with a book (which was clearly not bought but which “accidentally” made its way back with her to the kindergarten classroom where the teacher must have “strongly encouraged” her to quickly return it).  She dropped it back on the table from wence it came and then hightailed it outta there!  All without making eye contact.  Perhaps she thought she was invisible and we wouldn’t notice?

Finally, there was another little girl who had a $20 bill in a flowered wallet who wanted to buy an invisible pen.  Uh – this is a BOOK Fair, not an invisible pen fair.  Are you sure your mother would want you to buy it?!

Girl: “Ooooh yes.  This is my birthday money and she said I could buy whatever I want.”

Me: [in my head] “Then do you wanna buy me a shot?!?” (heh heh heh – totally kidding.  Kindof.  Because don’t be silly.  There wouldn’t be a bar at book fair…otherwise it would be called BAR fair.  And the audience would be limited.)

Ugh.  But you see, right?!  I can barely tolerate my own children and I birthed them.  Other people’s children being chaotic and handing me dirty money is not my idea of fun.

So like I said, I won’t be going back.  Been there, done that.  Cross it off the list.  I have better things to do with my TIME.   Like reading 50 Shades of Grey for example.

Bring up the Bodies

I tried.  I really, really tried.

I went to the library – got some (what I thought were) awesome books – and really, really tried to read them.

(Remember that part where I was going to focus on running only those errands that didn’t cost money?  Well the trip to the library was one of them.)

First up – “Helen Keller in Love” by Rosie Sultan.  By page 28 I had had enough of all of the descriptions of smells and vibrations (through the floor, the table, the ground, the railing) I was gonna be able to take.  So I had to move on.

But by page 9 of “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel I felt like I was engaging in a full-on research project (rather than just an easy-read).  I had visited the 4 page Cast of Characters three times and the 2 page family tree twice.  In addition, I also had to look up 5 portraits by Hans Holbein, the Lesser.  And then I had to look up Hans’ portrait and figure out why he was called the Lesser (his dad Hans Holbein Sr. was the “Greater” that’s why.  Duh!).

Despite the research involved, this big, long Cromwellian stream-of-consciousness wasn’t a total loss.  For example, on page 364 (of 407 pages mind you) I finally find out what the phrase “Bring up the Bodies” actually means.  And I learned way more than I ever wanted to about the last few months of the life of a woman named Anne who’s been dead for 500 years (and her family – the Boleyn’s, and their king – King Henry VIII, and his family – the Tudors, and their servants, and their families, and their servants’ families…)

Let’s stop right here for a second and quickly discuss the methodology my husband says I use to choose books.  It’s the same way I choose racehorses.  By the name and the colors.  Nothin’ else needed.  The front cover includes some sort of Old Masters portrait of long-dead royalty wearing pearls?  Check!  Or howz about folks dressed in Victorian garb faded to sepia tones?  Check!  The word “queen” is in the title coupled with the implication of romance??  Checkity check check!  And at this point I do have to admit a bit of ignorance with the whole library check-out process.  I was honestly convinced that if I took THREE books from the Xpress Area (a special library display of newly released/available books – but maybe you knew that already?) that an alarm was going to sound.  Either as I took the books or when I checked them out.  Turns out, no alarm.

Anywhooo…after slogging through that book, I eventually moved on to the “Highlander Series” by Maya Banks.  Not a waste of time at all!  As the name implies, it was actually a trilogy: “In Bed with a Highlander”, “Seduction of a Highland Lass” and “Never Love a Highlander”.  Them there is some good reads.  The covers were of appealing people dressed in swathes of plaid in what I believe might have been compromising positions – but it was hard to tell with all the plaid all over the place (can anyone else actually hear my father rolling his eyes from where they are, or is it just me?).  But what’s weird about these covers is that you’re not sure how they get into those odd poses on the front.  I mean, there’s no way the heroine can actually have a left arm and still lie like that.  And neither can the hero for that matter.

In which case, for my money, there’s nothing better than one-armed Scottish people in love!!  Thus making the foray into free-errand ‘ville an outright success.

Final read – “The Queen’s Lover” by Francine du Plessix Gray.  Just the author’s name was enough for me, really.  But the cover did have overturned Louis Quatorze furniture on it and it is about Marie Antoinette after all…so it’s another must-read.

ADDENDUM: I am not an author and cannot fully appreciate how hard it might be to write books.  Absolutely no harm was intended by my light-hearted (not malicious in any way) comments.  Highly Talented Authors: we thank you for your oeuvres.  Also…I just received an electronic notice from the library and the book I placed on hold 7 weeks ago is in.  50 Shades of Grey here I come!!!!!  And in a humorous twist of fate – my electronic copy of How to be an American Housewife is now also available.  Funny, right?