Thursday, April 28, 2011

I had 4 men in my bathroom and I wasn't wearing a bra. That's how I do business.

While Big V was working, I hung out with 4 men in my bathroom. I tried to get them to clean the toilet and mop the floors but they wanted nothing to do with that. Instead, we were all gathered together to perform some sort of meeting of the minds.

A couple weeks ago, after sobbing hysterically that I was going to murder someone if I had to live one more blasted day with this bathroom inquiring about the remodeling process, I met with Dan from Stebnitz Builders for what was called a Feasibility Walkthrough. This was when Dan was forced to listen to me ramble on non-stop about what I wanted to do with the house. I want to take this wall down and put one up over here and add lights there and win the lottery and lose ten pounds and have French doors open into a home office.

Then Dan looked at me and said something along the lines of you need to fix that leak in the main bath before your whole house falls apart due to water damage. Since he's the professional, I figured he was right and I should hold off trying to diet away those ten pounds and focus on the bathroom. (Actually, I know he's right. That leak should have been fixed a long time ago.)

Over a box of Belgian Mini Chocolate Dipped Cream Puffs I explained to Big V our options. He agreed the bathroom needed to be done but worried we wouldn't have enough money to even consider a whole bath remodel. But Dan was aware of that, too, and noted that they would work with us. For instance, we could demo the room ourselves. And by "we" I mean definitely not me because I'm allergic to dust. And also I don't like the way grit and plaster bits feel on my fingers. (I have textile issues. Stop judging me.)

And, since Big V is a stellar tile setter he insisted he be allowed to do showcase his skills in his own bathroom which Stebnitz Builders is willing to allow. I've seen V's skill in the mansions he works on and if I can get just a quarter of what he does there I'll be in heaven.

Together we agreed to move forward. Besides, if it was something we can't afford we'll simply fix the leak and keep the rest of the crappy bathroom the way it is. No harm, no foul. Except for the shattered dreams inside my heart.

That brought us to this morning.

I was already planning on going in to work late because Cletus the Used to be Fetus had a physical/speech assessment at 9:00am, so when Stebnitz Builders called to set up an appointment with the subcontractors (in order to figure a quote) I scheduled 8:00am. Which would have worked out perfect if they hadn't arrived ten minutes early. Or if I had woken up a bit earlier and took a quicker shower and wasn't standing naked and dripping wet when the doorbell rang.

I yelled out to Dotter to go to the door and tell them I'd be right there then grabbed the first thing I could find (which happened to be one of V's huge t-shirts and the pants I wore the night before, wrinkly from being crumpled on the floor). I ran out to the door not even giving a thought to what my hair might look like. (I caught a glimpse of it later and, hoo boy! Bad decision on my part. Should have looked. Really. Should have.)

I think the guy's name was Mike, but it might have been Bob or Larry or Alfred - I honestly was just trying to look casual and not let on that I wasn't wearing any of the appropriate supporting undergarments a lady ought to be wearing. I grabbed the nearest sweatshirt and covered up.

To bring additional embarrassment to the situation I went to school with both the plumber and the heating guy. Hey, Jeff. Hey Ray. Haven't seen you guys in years. Don't mind the fact that I look like a drowned sewer rat.

As if my appearance wasn't humiliating enough, I eventually had to pull aside the shower curtain and expose my dirty, little secret: a twenty year old tub once painted green, now peeling; a tub surround that billows out away from the wall; and gross disgusting mold lining the tub. Yes, we shower here. Yes, the baby bathes here. Yes, it is disgusting and gross. Please help.

Embarrassed as I was I remembered the vital part of the bathroom remodel: the Laundry Chute. Big V requires a laundry chute.

But Big V might not get a laundry chute because the obvious place to put it in the bathroom would mean clothes are landing on the hot water heater. The one with the open flame. Which is not good because clothing could potentially start on fire and that's kind of a bad thing.

We could put a laundry chute in the hallway, but then the clothes would fall on the couch in the basement rec area. The Bean would be so humiliated if she was cozied up with her boyfriend and Mama drops her once a month grandma panties down the chute and onto boyfriend's head. Back to the drawing board.

The plumber, the electrician, the heating guy and Mike (or Bob or Larry or Alfred) measured, discussed, measured some more, brainstormed, offered suggestions, talked about building codes, while I stood there wondering how upset Big V would be if he didn't get his clothing tunnel. I suspect he would be pretty disappointed since that was the only thing he asked for.

Mike (or Bob or Larry or Alfred) assured me he'd figure out the chute. In about a week or two we should have before us plans for our dream bathroom... and a quote that I hope to God is lower than my children's college education.

That leaves me wondering if it's even worth getting my hopes up. We're a simple couple trying to raise kids and make the best of what we have. We're at the bottom of middle class or the upper part of lower class depending on if you're a glass is half full or half empty kind of person. We have no idea what finish countertops we want or type of hardware for the tub, we just want something that looks nice. Something that makes us feel proud - like, Look. We worked hard for this. And it's awesome. Something that makes us feel good every single time we walk in and not something that reminds us of the terrible financial mistake we made at the expense of our family.

I worry it will be too expensive and we won't be able to afford it.

I worry we won't ever be able to do better than what we have.

I worry we will be able to afford it, but then I get carried away and it becomes something we can't afford.

I worry I won't be able to choose the right vanity. Or mirrors. Or exhaust fan.

I worry I'll forget something obvious and find out I have no room to store towels or toothpaste or tampons or toilet paper.

I worry the walls will open and we'll find a sinister problem hidden in the walls that we won't be able to fix and our house will be condemned.

I worry because I've never done this before and I don't know if I'm doing it right.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How to Feed a Family of 5 on $80 a Week: Starve Them.

Some time ago I posted that Big V went grocery shopping with me and screwed the whole $80 per week grocery budget up by tossing boxes of Hostess Twinkies in the cart. Since then people have begged me to let them in on my secret: how do I feed a family of five on only $80 a week?

Simple. I starve them.

That way the children don't grow as fast and I don't have to keep buying them new clothes. And also then everyone is really lethargic and I don't have to take them to places like carnivals and fairs. Do you know how expensive those places can be for a family of five? I want cotton candy! I want to ride the ferris wheel! Geesh, you could spend a fortune in no time.

I'm kidding.

I don't starve my family. Although throughout the majority of the month both girls will have you convinced we have absolutely no food in the house. (What they really mean is that we don't have bags of cheese puffs and boxes of Oreos free for the taking.)

I could try to convince you I'm one of those extreme couponers but honestly, I just don't get how that works. And it seems complicated. Also, my good pair of scissors got all rusty when someone left them outside after trying to hack away at a thick rope once used to restrain a crazy, satanic dog, and I really don't feel like buying a new pair just to clip coupons.

Here's the deal:

I budget $80 a week for groceries. My personal definition of groceries is "items to make dinner."

The girls eat lunch at school ($2.25 a day x 5 days = $11.25 per child, or $22.50 for both).

I either take left overs or buy lunch. When I buy lunch I try to limit it to $5-$7 a day, roughly 3 times a week, or $15 - $21 a week.

Big V eats out all the time and he usually spends between $8-$10 a day, everyday - so that's about $40-$50 a week.

Then there's the milk that gets bought just about every other day. $10 a week.

Nobody eats breakfast in our house because we all hate it. I know it's the most important meal of the day but trust me when I say if you made us eat as soon as we woke up you'd have three barfing girls fighting for the toilet. Our bodies were just not constructed to consume food that early in the day. (The baby eats breakfast. Usually a banana and yogurt with Cheerios mixed in.)

Sorry to disappoint everyone. I don't have any money saving secrets. But if YOU have them and want to share them with ME please do so!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

You only want more Teen because you don't have more Teen.

As you know, I posted yesterday. I shared this text I received from my 15-year old daughter.

And you people wanted more.

Is that text even real?

Why on earth did she ask that?

Where was she when she asked that?

Did you even reply?

What on earth did you say?

So, because it's obvious I'm the only person in the entire world who has a child like this and you are all captivated in this unique species, I shall now give you more. I don't blame you; it's how I am with conjoined twins. I'm absolutely fascinated with how they manage to adapt in order to function successfully in life.

I was sitting at my desk at work when the text came in. The time was 12:07pm. 

After reading the text, and subsequently requesting assistance in lifting my head up from my desk, I responded with a series of text message replies because I believe it's important to 'keep the lines of communication open' even if it kills me.

"I would think the tampon would expand once it was soaking in any liquid form rendering it difficult/impossible to insert. Especially if you used the OB brand. However, I think the plastic applicators would still function. Not the cardboard... they'd fall apart from being too wet and soggy. Also, I would be incredibly leery of any guy wandering around with a box of tampons and a bottle of booze."

To which she replied with:

"Thanks for the info. I'll be glad to share it tomorrow with my class."

And that got me really confused. Like, really confused. And kind of scared.

Turns out they were discussing this rumor in class and whether or not it was true or false. My daughter piped up with hold on, I'll ask my mom - she'll know. Can't wait for that parent/teacher conference.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teenagers: You never know when they're going to blindside you.

Here is a text message I received from the Bean today.

If you are a guy & ur at a party & someone takes a tampon & soaks it in alcohol & shoves it up ur... u know.. Can u die?

I am currently accepting donations to be used towards a nice, long quiet vacation without children. Or the co-pay needed for the mental institution.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

There is nothing so maddening as losing a pair of shoes.

We lost the baby's shoes.

His only pair. Gone.

We looked everywhere. In the closets, under the beds, in the toy box, in the kitchen cabinets. The kid is mobile and loves to put his shoes on and take them off. In fact, he takes them off every single time we're in the car.

So we looked in both vehicles. Under the seats. Under the car seat.


I've asked the girls to look in their rooms. And look in their rooms again.

Especially the Bean. She can be, oh, how shall I say this? A disastrous housekeeper. She could have a live warthog in her bedroom and I'd never find it. So I really zoned in on the Bean.

Did you look in your room? I mean, really look. Like, under things? Behind things?

And still nothing.

Last night I was on a mission to find those shoes. I cleaned. I organized. I set about mumbling passive comments loud enough for everyone to hear.

 I'm going to be so pissed, Bean, if I look in your room and find them!

Okay. Perhaps not so passive.

Big V chimed in, attempting to help, "We had him in your car after picking him up Friday night and I know he had his shoes on then. He had to have taken them off in your car. They must be in your car. Did you look in your car?"

Annoyed, I snipped back, Of course I have looked my car, thankyouverymuch. A thousand times I have looked in my car. My car is empty. In fact, I had the Bean clean out my car Saturday morning when she wanted to borrow it...  wait a second.... Bean. What exactly did you do with the stuff you took out of my car when you cleaned it?

"Oh. I put everything in your trunk."

* silence *


"Well, I didn't know what you wanted me to do with everything so I just threw it all in your trunk."

* stunned silence *
I was stunned. Not her. She was oblivious.

Could you, uh, by chance, go out to the car, open the trunk and see if your brother's shoes are in there?

"Oh, I know his shoes are in there because I saw them when I cleaned out your car and put them in the trunk."

And yet you never thought to mention this at all during the entire week we've been looking for his shoes?

"Well, you never asked me if they were in the trunk."

* crickets *

You know what? How about you just go grab everything out of the trunk of the car and we'll start from there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Freezer Leaks: EXPOSED!

I don't normally write about work because I'm afraid I'll get fired and let's be honest: (1) I need the health insurance, and (2) I'm not nearly as clever as Dooce and will probably never turn my firing into a multi-million dollar empire, so I was taking quite a chance yesterday by unlocking the secrets of the office freezer.

Imagine my shock (and slight horror) when, at lunch today, the boss stands up, goes to the freezer, opens it, and announces something along the lines of look at all these decrepit bananas; I shall, upon my most immediate convenience, take them home and bake them into a tasty banana bread for all to enjoy.

Say what?! I sat dazed and confused, convinced I had been exposed and surely would be fired for my satirical view of the beloved freezer. She continued to announce the 4-year old popsicles ought to be dumped.

Take a look at our newly cleaned freezer:

The brick of butter is still there.

And, so far, I'm still employed here.

So, let's celebrate by finally finding out what's being kept in that big deep freezer we also have in the office: 


You might want to start brainstorming on how you're going to explain to your kids why the Easter Bunny didn't stop by this year.

What? Did you really think there really was the body of a mountain goat in there? Why on earth would we keep a mountain goat in our office freezer? You people are weird.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Secrets of an Office Freezer

Lean Cuisine and Sandwiches. Obviously, it's someone's lunch. Obviously, it's not mine since it isn't piping hot and sitting in a take-out container.

We also find an old banana that someone just couldn't dare part with.

A box of French Fries. We don't have a deep fryer, but I'm sure thawed out at room temperature those babies are tasty.

Ice cubes. Only one person uses ice cubes in the office. They must be prepared.

Cake. Trust me on this one: cake tastes better frozen.

Popsicles. No one actually eats these popsicles. At least, no one has since the fall of 2007.

A pound of butter: you never know when you'll need to move heavy office furniture. Greasing the floor helps things slide.

More old, black bananas: we feel bad wasting our rotten fruit. Please don't suggest baking banana bread because if someone hasn't had the urge to bake that in the past four years I doubt they'll find the urge now.

Ice. Lots of Ice. Ice packs. Ice cubes in a Ziploc bag. Ice cubes in a Styrofoam cup. You can never have too much ice, people!

Then there's this beast, which may or may not contain the body of a large mountain goat. Or it might just be running with absolutely nothing in it at all (every single day for the past month or so) because someone might have stock in the electric company.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Safety First

Big V says he wants to move to the country so we can have dirt bikes and shoot things. I grew up in the country and know that these things can be serious. Serious fun and serious deadly. So I told him something along the lines of you know how some men just ooze safety? Like they'd be the dad taking their kids to Hunter Safety class and impressing upon their children that guns are never, ever to be taken lightly? Yeah, you're so not that guy.

To which he was greatly offended, but then I reminded him about the time when I was mega pregnant, sitting on our front steps of our house as he test drove a motorcycle around the block and he came whipping by doing a wheelie. He giggled like a schoolgirl and I said this is why I don't think you ooze safety.

And then he got even more offended and huffed and puffed saying he was too safe.

So, ten minutes later I go out to the garage where he's cleaning out the back of his pick-up truck and he's got 18-month old Cletus the Used to be Fetus sitting nicely on the edge of the tailgate. Playing with a utility knife. With the blade exposed. And I screamed. And he quickly noticed the baby playing with the deadly weapon and snatched it out of his tiny fingers and yelled, "This doesn't count!"

But I think it totally does.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Living God's Purpose in the Bathroom

I believe that God gave each and every one of us a purpose to be fulfilled in our time here on earth. Mine happens to be placing the rolls of toilet paper actually on the toilet paper holder.

You see, not everyone can do this. It takes great physical strength and immense education to accomplish this feat on a regular basis. And, while it is true I get winded walking up a flight of stairs and I don't currently hold a PhD, God granted me enough brain cells to figure out the complicated contraption and enough muscular power to muster through the task.
Where would my family be if not for me?

Rolls of toilet paper would be left haphazardly on the bathroom counter, waiting anxiously for water to spill over and wilt its precious edges. Rolls would hang precariously off the edge of the toilet tank terrified of that final moment when some outside force causes it to plunge to its death, only to be found hours later, clogging the bowl, bloated like a dead cow in July. Or, as was the case yesterday, a roll could be left, isolated, alone, sitting on the entry table by the front door, wondering if anyone was ever going to come to its rescue and return it to the security of it's home. Meaning the bathroom. Not the front entry.

My poor family would be reduced to drip drying because there would not be any toilet paper available within reach. I imagine them crying out, "Lord! What precious time is lost here on the toilet wondering where the hell the toilet paper is! Please send someone to save us, Lord!"

Alas! My family shall never be frightened or afraid. The good Lord sent me.

I have been blessed with the understanding of the elusive toilet paper holder. I understand the spring loaded action of the plastic tube. My hands are able to complete the difficult "push in, tilt towards, pull out" motion that is required to take the roller off. I understand the concept of taking off the old, finished cardboard roll from the holder before attempting to place the new roll on. (See, that part can be tricky. You're stuck standing there trying to shove the new roll on and can't understand why it's not working... it's because the old roll has to be removed first! Tricky, indeed.)

I search out displaced toilet paper rolls from throughout the house and return them to the bathroom. I save rolls from countertop and toilet tanks. I save rolls from under beds and hall closets and the back seats of cars and wherever else they might land. And, proudly, filled with God's purpose, I continue to replace old rolls with new.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Think you know everything? You obviously don't have a Teen.

I am 37 years old. Which, according to my 15-year old daughter, means that I ought to be shopping for coffins instead of hip new sunglasses. Since my impending death from old age will obviously strike any day now, I figured we should spend more time communicating with each other. Which is really hard to do because (1) I don't text nearly as fast as she does, and (2) I have no idea what she's saying.

It is at these moments, when Teen Speak has my head spinning like that creepy girl from The Exorcist, that she slows to Mom Speed and breaks it down. (Okay. I admit: she would never actually use the phrase "break it down." That was 100% me.)

Last night we talked about boys.

When I was going to school we would go out with different boys. Well, other girls would. I didn't. Because none of the boys wanted to go out with me. They actually preferred to go out with my beautiful, older, richly tanned sister - but, hey! I'm not bitter. If you were going out for a substantial period of time you automatically morphed into boyfriend/girlfriend status. Then you went to college, realized the planet was much bigger than your rural high school and broke up.

But today's teens.... well.... you're gonna need a flow chart.

(1) The Cool Stage.
As in, "Oh, that's Bob. We're cool."

When you are cool it is acceptable to approach that person in public. You can acknowledge them in class. You can even say hi when they're standing around with their friends - but quickly. Then you walk on. Because you're only cool.

(2) The Talk Stage.
As in, "Oh, that's Bob. We talk."

This means you can send and receive texts to each other. You can also speak in public. Like in math class. When you're actually supposed to be listening to the teacher explain that using the slope-intercept form of a line helps in finding the slope of a line from an equation and the intercept directly from the equation. This is great because it shows how to graph a line using y=mx+b and can be quite useful for applications of linear equations.

You can even talk on the phone late into the night about whatever your heart desires. But that is all. You can only talk. You are not exclusive and you are not expected to save yourself for each other.

I liken this to my old fashioned idea of "he is a friend of mine." But that was like 150 years ago.

(3) The Thing Stage.
As in, "Oh, Bob and I have a thing."

You do all of the things Stage 1 and Stage 2 provide, but now you can make out. With each other. You can make out with other people but then you're a slut (girl) or a douche (boy). Also, if your good friend knows you have a thing with a boy and she moves in for the kill, you can hate her.

(4) The Facebook Official Stage.
As in, "Oh, this is Bob. We're Facebook Official."

You can do all the things in the previous three steps, plus now you get to change your Facebook Status to "in a relationship." And you get to boss them around and say things like, "I already told you I have to go to my dad's this weekend so you're going to have to take me out Friday night instead of hanging with your friends." And also, "My prom dress is not Cornflower Blue; it's Brandeis Blue. So you're just going to have to change that cummerbund."

* It is super, duper important that you never prematurely status a relationship on Facebook. If you have a thing you cannot, should not, better not change your Facebook Status. That is called social suicide and you can be shunned for years. Also, it is always best to have the boy instigate the Facebook Status change so you never accidently commit social suicide. See, boys can be slippery and want to be Facebook Official on Friday, but then come Monday morning change their mind and suddenly you're eating your lunch by yourself in the hall by the Ag Room because you changed your status too quick. Also, also - if the boy says you're Facebook Official but three months go by and there's no actual status change, you can bet he has another girl two school districts away and you need to let that boy go.

By the way, I think it's important for me to announce that for my entire life I thought it was "cumberbun." Well, I mean, I've thought that since I first learned what one was. Obviously not when I was like two. Or six. Or probably not even when I was twelve.  Yet when searching for the correct spelling I was surprised to find this:  "A cummerbund (sometimes mistakenly spelled cumberbund) is a broad waist sash, usually pleated, which is often worn with single-breasted dinner jackets (or tuxedos)."

I consider it a success when communicating with my teen lends knowledge to mankind. And to me, specifically.

Looks to me like a fine day for a nervous breakdown.

You know how sometimes you're just standing in the middle of the kitchen, water on the stove boiling over, baby screaming at the top of his lungs while he attempts to open the fridge for the forty-seventh time to get into that can of shortening (again), pre-tween shouting how she can't possibly throw her dirty clothes into the laundry because her hands still hurt from horseback riding four days ago, the teen entering her second hour of showering with accompanied ghetto music blaring from down the hall, and you're imagining how peaceful the thinking gardens might be at the state mental hospital?

No? Just me?

Never mind.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Those Pork Rinds Totally Blew My Budget

You know what I'm never going to do again? Besides take a huge bite out of an onion and down it with a shot of whiskey just so I can dance the night away as opposed to staying in bed trying to sleep off a cold? Take Big V grocery shopping with me. Because that, my friends, was torture.

First off, when I go shopping with the kids and they're trying to dump boxes of hostess cupcakes in the cart, I can snap at them at tell them to put it back or they're not going to watch TV for a week. Do you know how people look at you when you say that to a grown man? Not very nicely, if I do say so myself. Instead, they're all shaking their heads muttering things like why do all the nice men end up with such bitchy women?

Also, do you know how many aisles are in a grocery store? Way too many to hear, "Oh! I forgot about these! I really like these. We should get these." Again. And again. And again.

And, like most Americans we're on a budget. A budget I had to remind V of several times as he was tossing in bags of pork rinds and jars of seasoned mustard. Also, this cart is getting heavy so maybe you should push it with your big manly arms and then maybe you'll be distracted and not keep throwing crap in the cart.

Except you can't push the cart without running into the back of my foot, can you? Which leads to the question why must you actually push the cart a half inch behind me? Are you intentionally trying to see if I'll punch you in public? And so I'll just push it myself.

And then, Big V wanted to know what that paper was I grabbed when I first came into the store. Which would be the store coupons. Which are great when something you need is on sale.

Big V was very impressed with the super savings. So impressed, in fact, he snatched that flyer right out of my hands and started sprinting around the store intent on finding every great deal listed.

Tuna fish? Why look! You can get three cans for a dollar! Surely we'll need those!

Hey! Looky here - frozen pot pies are on sale! But no one eats frozen pot pies. Doesn't matter! They're on sale so surely we shall buy some!

And that is how my $80 budgeted grocery bill came to $120 and why Big V is never accompanying me to the grocery store ever again. Although, on a positive note, we did save twenty dollars in coupons.

Oh. And the onion/whiskey thing? Totally works.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I might not rock it now, but I will totally rock my future old folks home.

I worked out, y'all. I think. I mean, it felt like it but I didn't pay any exorbitant gym fees so I'm not sure I can call it that. Regardless, my legs hurt and I can't lift my arms, so I'm pretty sure I worked out.

Keep in mind I haven't participated in any form of physical activity since getting pregnant. (That sounds really funny but I am not going to change it.) My point is that: I am so lazy. I knew something had to change.

So on Tuesday I took an adult beginner clogging class. Let me guess; you have no idea what clogging is, do you? Here, with a little help from clogging sensation All That, allow me to show you:

My sister clogs. My oldest daughter was amazing - and then she quit because she's a teen and that's what teens do. And my younger daughter dances, too.

Silly me thought it's just a beginner class; how hard can it be?

I woke up with shin splints. For real. Which tells me that I am incredibly lazy and can expect one heck of a workout.

Being the martyr that I am, I then decided to go to Zumba on Thursday night.

Zumba? Here.... allow me once again to show you:

Here I am taking not one, but two dance related classes. And the irony is - I can't dance. And now I can't walk either because the Zumba made my calves hurt. Bad. And also my arms. Because when you dance you use them, too. In fact, there's always several body parts moving all at the same time, and in different directions, and very quickly, too. It's all terribly confusing. And painful.

I'm currently looking for something more in my league, if you know what I mean. Something like this:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I could out-talk Bristol Palin for half the cash.

So, Bristol Palin gets knocked up and now makes $260,000 a year speaking out against teen pregnancies. Who do I need to contact to let them know I'm willing to speak out against teen pregnancies and on some days I'd also talk out against most teens.

Because I bet Bristol doesn't mention the hemmorhoids. Look, after three kids spaced 14 years apart I think I've pretty much covered it all, starting with "young, single mom with no insurance and no decent place to live." 

But that's actually the easy part. The finding a place to live, figuring out you'll have to sell your Depeche Mode collection to subsidize the blood work, and yes, your body will actually bounce back pretty easy. Trust me. Try having a baby in a nearly 40-year old body. It won't bounce back; it'll just jiggle. A lot.

The hard part isn't the pregnancy. Not with the cute maternity clothes and the super cute baby outfits you'll get at your shower that your BFF's throw you third period right before Algebra. No, that part is all easy.

In fact, the labor won't even be the worst part. (Well, except for that whole "It's burning! It's burning! Save me! I'm going to rip in half" sensation the Ring of Fire provides. That's pretty hellish.)

And afterwards, everyone will gather around and take pictures and ooh! and ahh! and tell you how beautiful your baby is and you will feel pretty dang special.

But then they start to grow:

Seriously? A whole jar of vaseline smeared all over the television screen? Really?

Uh, no, I actually didn't tell her ahead of time she shouldn't cut off her eyelashes because I didn't think that was an actual probability. Now I know.

What on earth made you think a ketchup and mustard war inside my bedroom would be a good idea?

No, you are not allowed to bring the chickens into the house regardless of how scared they seemed.

Oh, trust me... the pregnancy is nothing, Bristol. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Poulet à la Crème sur Biscuit

I approach cooking like I do exercise: I take the short cuts.

Sure, I could probably start working out 5 times a week and running miles daily in minimalist shoes, but then again, there's Spanx. Likewise, I could spend 4 hours shopping for and cutting up a gazillion ingredients, only to have my masterpiece scarfed down by some guy who acts like he hasn't eaten ever, or I could take the short cut.

This is one of my favorite short cuts. Because Big V considers this dish the Best in Show in the cooking division. It might be because I obnoxiously refer to it as Poulet à la Crème sur Biscuit using a haughty French accent and then tell him I will need peace and quiet in order to concentrate on such a masterpiece. In all actuality I'm tossing together some generic food items for 7 minutes and then watching the last half of House Hunters International so he doesn't catch on.

Creamed Chicken over Biscuit

10 oz. chunk chicken breast. Yes, it comes in a can. Drained & Flaked.
1 (11 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp garlic powder
8 oz package onion & chive cream cheese
8 oz can peas, drained
5 Grands Biscuits (I use the flaky ones)

 Combine soup, milk and garlic powder in skillet.
Do not let ANYONE see this.
They may decide not to eat it.
Over medium heat, stir it until it's slightly thickened.
(Make sure there are no lumps. Lumps are gross.)

Just blob in the cream cheese and keep stirring.
This is the secret ingredient. Don't ever give it away.

 Keep stirring and maybe even do a little taste test.
It is so good!

 Add your chicken.

Add your peas.
Not my favorite part of the recipe, but you'll survive.
Mix it real good so the cream mixture covers everything.
That way you won't taste the peas.
Neither will your kids.

Add some freshly ground black pepper until you get sick of cranking on the pepper mill.  

While you're cooking the cream mixture, bake the biscuits and also throw in a package of broccoli & cheddar Steamables in your microwave for good measure.
Extra vegetables, I know, but the kids will like the cheese sauce.
So will your husband.
Unless he hates cheese.
Then you're on your own.

Honestly, this will take you less than 10 minutes.
You'll spend more time opening packages then actually cooking.
Much like we women spend much more time putting on the push-up bra and making sure our make-up is absolutely perfect ....
and in the end we're devoured as quickly as this meal.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

There are days, much like today, when I think I just can't take this anymore! When I feel the crushing of the cruel world breaking every bone in my body. And then I remember the spring of 2002 and tell myself Hey, you! You can get through this! This is nothing... you survived a hemorrhoidectomy. Remember?!

First of all, I didn't know what the hell hemorrhoids were. All I knew was that several months prior I had a baby and since then something just wasn't right. In the tail end, I mean.

Uh, Doc... there seems to be something going on. Or, uh, out. Something coming out. And there's pain. Quite a bit of that, actually. And once in a while some blood. Which normally wouldn't concern me, seeming as I'm a girl and all, but this blood isn't coming from the proper opening. Know what I mean?

And that's how I learned about hemorrhoids. And the fact that they are nothing to mess around with. Literally. Don't try pulling on those things, they ain't budging.

Then I learned about Tucks Medicated Pads and suddenly I was 80 years old, shuffling around in my house slippers and looking forward to my bi-weekly appointment at the beauty salon.

Then I remembered how once, when we were little, my Mom cracked up laughing because my Dad accidently used Vicks VapoRub on his hemmorhoids mistakenly thinking he was dipping into the Vaseline, and boy, did that get his attention, so then I asked the doctor if hemmorhoids were genetically passed on like cellulite and stretch marks, because if that was the case I was really getting the short end of the DNA stick. And then I threw out any Vicks I had in the house, just in case.

I put up with the pain and awkwardness for as long as I could. Then my handy dandy HMO granted me relief in the form of "Outpatient Hemmorhoidectomy" and I thought phew! Except I didn't fully comprehend what a hemmorhoidectomy included because if I had, I would've kept those suckers.

First of all, you can't be embarrassed or shy. Because they make you lay down face first on a table naked. Then the table goes way up in the air so the doctor and assisting nurse don't have to hunch over to get to your heiney. Then they turn on a super bright light. So there you are, lying ass up five feet in the air with a spotlight on your bum.

And then the nurse says something along the lines of we're going to numb the area now. And really, shame on them for not restraining the patient.

First, you feel too many hands spreading your cheeks. Which, in my opinion, is wrong. Because as I was laying there I was thinking how many times have I had numerous strange people pulling at the naked flesh of my rear end? and I couldn't remember one. (Albeit, college was a blur.)

And then the nurse injects the area.

Just sit in that for a minute, will you.

Injects. The. Area.

As in, the area the hemmorhoids are located in.

Do you know how many nerve endings are located in the area? Tons. Millions. A gazillion thousand billion. Hey, just for kicks, if you're not doing anything tonight, ask your partner to lightly prick you with the end of a safety pin right there and see if you can handle it. Or if you flip yourself off the table while round house kicking the face of the nurse holding the needle. Just saying.

Thankfully, the area is numbed quickly. And then the doctor and nurse happily set about spreading and slicing, but you won't care because you can't feel a thing.

Then you'll drive home giggling because *awkward* someone just had their hands all over your butt and you'll stop off and pick up your pain medication and take it right in the pharmacy because the nurse took you by the shoulders and stared intently into your eyes while saying, "For the love of all that is kind and good: do NOT miss your pain medication. Not even by fifteen seconds."

And a half hour later you'll understand how right she was because you have never felt so much pain in all of your life and you'll want to take all your pain medication right that very minute. Along with a bottle of whiskey. Birthing a rhinoceros without an epidural while hanging upside down as someone's slipping slivers of bamboo under your fingernails feels better than the pain of a diced rectum. Trust me on this.

And then. Oh, you know what's coming.

Eventually you have to do this thing called have a bowel movement which might as well be called pass a razor sharp anvil through one of the most tender openings of your body. Six jugs of prune juice, eleven stool softeners and something called ColonClenz picked up at the local GNC and I found myself hanging on to my dear life via the walls of my bathroom alternating between pleading with God to just let me die and begging Him not to let me die, because hello! Far too many people have seen my pasty white rump roast already.

For a week I slipped in and out of consciousness while lying on my couch. Face down, of course. Did you know that if you sneeze it really does feel like you'll blow out your uh, area?

But I survived.

I don't know how, but I did. And if I can survive a hemmorhoidectomy then I can survive anything life throws at me. But if those suckers ever come back then they're stuck with me because I would never, in my right mind, do that again.

And no matter how nicely you ask, no, I will not show you the scars.

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

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