Monday, December 28, 2009


C = CHAOS. Total. Complete. Chaos.

H = HAPPINESS. Sheer happiness reflected on the faces of my two little boys and in Grandma's eyes whenever the boys gave her snuggles. And, HAIR. You see, my hubby absolutely loves it when my hair is short. I know. Weird, right? Turns out he's a neck man, so he loves it when my hair is really short and he can see my neck. Anyway, on the 24th, when he was working, I got all my hair chopped off as an early Christmas present for him. He loves it. I kinda hate it, and my 5 year old begged me to make it long again. But, my sweetie loves it, and it was his present, afterall. So, I get good wife points.

R = RUNNING. The endless, constant running of my two little boys. Running to the tree. Running down the hall. Running out to the kitchen. Running back down the hall. Running into the living room to launch themselves onto Grandma or Grandpa's lap. Running back down the hall....And, RUM. Rum and nutmeg in the eggnog. Rum in hubby's coke. Rum. Yeah. That works, too.

I = IMAGINING. Imagining how much calmer next Christmas will be, when we have a fully-functioning kitchen and a washer and dryer and are not battling water damage in the subfloor while trying to install new laminate with a house full of people over the holidays. SIGH.

S = SANTA, of course. The boys were SO excited about Santa this year. They drew the cutest pictures for him, and they were stoked that he ate the cookies and gave the carrots to his reindeer. Santa was a big, big hit this year.

T = TOY STORY. Spencer got a stuffed Buzz Lightyear and Foster got a stuffed Woody. These were, by far, the most loved and appreciated gifts of all. However, this Christmas, "T" must also stand for TABOO, as in the board game. Why? Because my Dad is one of the most reluctant game-players in the world, even though the rest of the family loves to play games. It's like pulling teeth to get him to play a card game or board game with any of us. But...A couple of glasses of wine, some pleading looks with big, sad, eyes, and he was in. And, we all had a blast. Even dear ol' Dad. I have proof. On videotape. He was laughing his head off, along with the rest of us. Great times!

M = MOMS. Mine, doing her best to take care of me. Me, doing my best to take care of everybody else. There's nothing like Mom love. Nothing. Fierce. Exhausting. All-consuming. Awesome.

A = ANN. OK, technically I saw my friend, Ann, the Sunday before Christmas. But, it was an awesome kick-off to Christmas week. Ann has known me forever. She knows more about me than anyone else, including my husband. We met at some outlet stores half-way between our homes to do a little last-minute Christmas shopping without our kids, and it was glorious. A wonderful day, capped off with huge hamburgers, a pitcher of beer, and, of course, a trip to Dairy Queen, just to make it complete. What a great day. It felt like a vacation. Truly.

S = SLEEP? No, didn't get much of that. SEX? Nope, perimenopause and too much wine took care of that little issue. I'm going to have to go with SHARING. Sharing what? Sharing precious and fleeting time with my family. Going to the park to feed ducks with Grandma and Grandpa on Christmas Eve day, then staying for another hour myself with the boys and building the world's coolest lean-to out of scavenged evergreen branches. (I'm not kidding. It was a truly awesome lean-to. People could live in there. I should get some kind of merit badge or something...) Sharing laughter with my sweetie, as we awoke on Christmas morning, not to the sounds of our boys shouting with glee that Santa had visited and begging us to get up to open presents, but to the sounds of our boys ripping paper like crazy as they just dug right in to their stockings without even bothering to wake us up first. Sharing a delicious Christmas meal with my parents, my hubby, and my little guys, cooked and eaten in a kitchen that could only be described as a disaster area, but not even caring, because we were all having such a good time just being together. Just sharing. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. Everything is better when it's shared with people you love, eh?

Another great Christmas. And now, on to a whole new year... Cheers!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

At this rate, I should be 15 pounds thinner by New Year's!

If you want to lose weight, "they" say you should eat six small meals a day, right? Awesome! I am SO on track to lose major weight this holiday, because I am totally on track with the six small meals thing. So far, today, I've had:

Meal #1: Coffee, 3 Christmas cookies
Meal #2: Second cup of coffee, half-glass of milk, 2 more Christmas cookies
Meal #3: Bag of Sun Chips and a Diet Coke
Meal #4: Two satsumas, 3 pieces of salt water taffy
Meal #5: One piece of Costco pizza, another Diet Coke

Only one more small meal to go, today. I'm thinking a few bites of the kids' leftover mac & cheese, a couple more Christmas cookies, and a glass of wine. I'm gonna get so skinny!!!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Well, this should all make Christmas dinner much more interesting...

Kitchen update: (For anyone who cares -- Kami, this means you, and thank you for asking, dear blogging friend -- and for the future, when my sweetie and I will look back on this particularly chaotic Christmas holiday and chuckle at the memory...Doesn't seem possible right now, but I'm sure the day is coming...)

OK, here's the summary:

Mold and water damage? Still there. Waiting. Lurking. Seemingly getting worse and worse every time I look at it. Oh, and did I mention we found another spot by the back door? Merry Christmas to us! This is truly the gift that just keeps on giving...

Washer and dryer? Still temporarily living in our bedroom. It's really adding to a sexy atmosphere, let me tell you. And, of course, they are no use at all, because we don't have the right outlet or a washer hook-up in our bedroom. Not something you ever think you're going to need right next to your bed, eh?

Stove? Right next to the washer and dryer. We've been eating peanut butter and jelly, cheerios, Top Ramen, hot dogs, and other microwaveable crap for a week-and-a-half. And, man, those cheap TV dinners haven't gotten any better since I was a single gal living in New York City. Blech! Oh, and did I mention that we're still supposed to be putting on some sort of Christmas dinner for my folks and the in-laws? Hmmmm....

Refrigerator and dining room table? Snuggled up next to our couches and Christmas tree in our itty bitty little living room. A nice, tight fit. Just more opportunity for family bonding, right?

Homeowner's Insurance People? Calling tomorrow to set up an appointment to assess the problem. We decided this was too much for our limited skill set. Ripping out another wall? We could do that. Ripping out an entire bathtub and shower to get at the leak, fixing the leak, and then somehow repairing the subfloor and all the rest of the damaged wood? A bit much, even for two intrepidly optimistic and fearless homeowners like us.

Bank account? Pitiful. College fund? What college fund? The boys can get scholarships and student loans like we did, right? As for retirement? Who needs it? We'd probably just be bored out of our minds. We'll just work until we die. In this house.

The good news? My parents (bless their hearts) decided to stay in a motel while they're visiting for the holiday. I would never have asked them to do it, but, I have to admit that I am seriously relieved. It'll be so much easier, and we don't have to try to find an alternate location for all the stuff that's stacked in the guest room right now OR borrow our neighbor's washer and dryer to do the sheets and towels. Also, they get a continental breakfast at their motel, so that's one meal per day I don't have to worry about. (Maybe they can snag us some extra fruit and pastries...) Anyway, thanks, Mom and Dad, for understanding so well what I needed, but would never ask for, myself. I love you!

The plan? Get as much new plywood down as possible, avoiding the water damaged areas, so we can at least move the kitchen table back in, and maybe get the stove back in as well. I have to face that we'll be without a washer and dryer until the water damage can be taken care of, but I have lovely friends who have offered to let me come over with my dirty laundry. And, it's not like I'm a stranger to the laundromat....I've just never done it with two little terrors (I mean "sweeties") in tow, y'know? Could be disastrous. Who am I kidding? It will be disastrous. I know my boys...

So, there you have it. The chaos continues... But, someday, some wonderful, joyous, beautiful day in the future, I will have a pretty little kitchen, with a nice, new floor. And, as a good friend pointed out to me in her usual, no-nonsense, "things could always be worse" style, at least we found the water damage when we did. The way our luck's been going the last couple of years, I'm surprised the washer and dryer didn't just crash right through the floor into our crawl space. So, it's all for the best.

Happy holidays, everyone. Here's wishing you a healthy family, good times with loved ones, and freedom from water damage, mold, and other household disasters! Cheers!

Friday, December 18, 2009


Why is it that, the very week you lose the use of your washer and dryer, is the very same week that:

a) You take a corner too fast in the minivan, (because you're running late -- again -- and have only 6 1/2 minutes to get from your youngest son's daycare, all the way across town to work) and spill your coffee all over your last clean pair of work pants.

b) Your 4-year-old gets so excited playing PBS kids on the computer that he forgets to pee until it's too late, resulting in a total saturation of shirt, pants, socks, and hubby's computer chair.

c) You try to pull the cork out of the open bottle of red wine your father-in-law insisted you take home with you after your last visit, and it won't come out. So, because you really, really, really want that glass of wine, you decide to use your teeth to pull it out. Of course, with one huge yank, the cork does come out, but the open bottle of wine jerks backwards, splashing your hair, your face, your shirt, your favorite pair of flannel Christmas pajamas, and your white socks with waves of dark red liquid.

d) Your hubby decides to use the good, white, washcloths to clean up the dirt and grime he found inside the faucet when he took it apart. Rags, honey? Remember the cleaning rags in the closet? I make them out of the disgusting, yellow-armpit-stained t-shirts you discard? Remember them? Huh?

e) Hubby (so often, it's the hubby, isn' it?) gives the boys a bath but leaves the bath rug on the floor, then lets our two rain-soaked dogs in from the back yard. Where do they decide to go with their huge muddy paws? To the nice, soft, clean, white bath mat, of course. (Now, in his defense, it's absolutely idiotic of us to even own anything white. I mean, really. White? What are we thinking?)

f) Chocolate milk. One 4-year old boy. His 5-year old brother. An argument. Need I say more?


Well, since I'm sitting here writing this in my red-wine soaked shirt and pajamas (why risk putting on something clean, afterall?), I may as well refill my glass, kick back on the couch, and exercise my remote-control thumb. Why not? The kids are in bed. The day is winding down. And, it's not like I can do laundry!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'll look back on this some day and laugh, right?

The kitchen makeover continues... Whatever possessed us to think that we could: a) Tear down a big piece of a weight-bearing wall to expand our kitchen, b) put in new flooring, c) do all of the work ourselves without killing one another, d) do all of this without breaking the bank, and d) complete it all by Christmas? I mean, seriously. What the hell were we thinking? Well, for starters, we began this whole project a couple of months ago, full of starry-eyed optimism. (For a little more on the genesis of this whole insane idea, see "OK, the wall is gone. Now what?" ). A couple of months ago, this all seemed possible. In fact, we naively thought we'd have it done by Thanksgiving. Ho ho ho... A couple of months ago, we were still looking at one another and sharing giggles and little jokes about it all, as we labored side-by-side. A couple of months ago, we at least had a functioning (albeit, not attractive) kitchen in which to prepare and eat our meals. A couple of months ago, we thought we had enough money in the bank to cover it all. Ahhhh, such wide-eyed innocence...

All that joy, optimism, and hope was before we discovered that the previous owners of our house used a nail gun with unbridled enthusiasm and added in lots of sticky tar-like glue, just to make sure it was physically impossible to simply tear up the top couple of layers of old flooring to put down the new stuff. And, because there are multiple layers and the current flooring is so torn and warped and nasty that we can't just put the new stuff over the top, we found ourselves having to saw down to the original sub-floor -- a process which resulted in a fine layer of sawdust covering every single surface in the kitchen and living room. Then, after sawing the floor into a giant grid of squares, we had to pry them up with crowbars and hammers and lug each heavy, nail-covered square of flooring out to the truck. In the rain and snow, no less. I'm not kidding! Fun, fun, fun!!! I still can't put my poor, bruised palms down on anything without wincing, and I'm pretty sure my right wrist will never regain full range of motion.

Now, in the process of ripping up this extensive amount of flooring, we discovered...MOLD! A big, sloppy area of moldy water damage. Where is it coming from? Unknown. It seems to be coming from the shower in the bathroom...As I write this, my poor hubby is doing his best to get to the bottom of this new discovery. SIGH.

So, here we are, with only ten days to go until Christmas Eve. We have no functioning stove, washer, or dryer, as they are currently shoved into a corner of our bedroom, because we have no room in our garage. The kitchen table and chairs, along with the refrigerator, are smushed into our tiny little living room, right alongside the couches and our Christmas tree. Let me tell you, meal times are an exercise in comic craziness right now. So is getting the kids ready for school, myself ready for work, and all of us out the door in the morning. We're elbow-to-elbow, hip-to-hip, shimmying around each other to reach the things we need, with the dogs winding themselves around our legs and generally adding to the insanity, while the boys do their best to poke, prod, and antagonize one another.

Truthfully, it's been pretty funny, overall. There's definitely been more laughing than anything else during all of this craziness. John and I still love each other. The kids are managing all of this without too many meltdowns. We're still finding humor in it all. Still, Christmas is next week, my parents are arriving on Christmas Eve Day, we're supposed to be throwing a big dinner for the whole group plus the in-laws, and we have no stove, no living space to move around in, no place for everybody to sleep, because the guest room is packed with everything else we had to remove from the kitchen, and pretty much total chaos in every other room of the house. Oh, and did I mention that my parents are bringing their dog, Sam, along for Christmas as well? So, four adults, two rambunctious little boys, and three big dogs all packed together under these unique circumstances? Sounds like a recipe for disaster... It could be like that famous old science experiment where they cram all the rats together in a much-too-small living space, and they all start to eat each other. But, hey, then I wouldn't need to cook Christmas dinner! Now, there's a silver lining for you...

Anyway, I'll let you know how it all turns out after Christmas... If I'm still sane enough to tell the tale, that is. Happy holidays and a healthy, peaceful, joyful new year to us all!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Santa Claus: A Mom's Best Friend!

There are many, many reasons I love this time of year. There are the twinkling Christmas lights. Eggnog (with a healthy dose of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum). Christmas cookies. Christmas carols. That lightness of spirit that seems to take over so many people and makes them just a little bit kinder, a little less selfish, and a little more optimistic (except on Black Friday, that is, when the opposite seems to be true.) There are fun times with family and friends. Exchanging laughter and gifts and hugs. Oh, so many reasons to love the season...

Then, there's the joy of saying these particular words: "Do you want Santa Claus to put you on the Naughty List? No? Then make a different choice, boys." Works like magic!

Ya gotta love Christmas!