Save the Laughter for After

I try to be an adult, to have poise and maintain composure and all that. It's just that sometimes, my inner twelve-year-old makes herself known - and recently, she made herself known so loudly and clearly that Adult Me wanted to shrivel into nothingness right there on the spot.

As you guys know, we moved to Ohio from Iowa a year ago, and we've been renting our house here while our house in Iowa sold. But earlier this month, we finally bought the place we've been living in: it's officially ours.

When you buy a house, the last step is closing, where you sign a bunch of paperwork. It's super-official. For our closing, we went to the title company, which was all poshly decorated and fancy: rich, ornate woodwork everywhere, plush carpeting, a polished table where we conducted our Very Important Business. My husband and I dressed nicely. Our Realtor met us there, along with the title company lady (title officer? I'm sure she has an actual designation, I just don't know what it is). They were dressed nicely too. We were all on our best, most grownup behavior.

Basically me, trying to be on my best, most grownup behavior.

It started out well. I sat in my chair with my hands folded primly in my lap, raising them only to scrawl my signature on document after document after document. Seriously: SO MANY PAPERS. And that's precisely why things went downhill.

The title lady had all the paperwork in front of her, a huge stack that apparently even she was impressed by. Because as she scooted the stack toward my husband, she said to him ... and I quote:

"You have a large package."



It was a totally innocent, totally non-pervy comment. But that's when twelve-year-old me showed up. And she came cackling out of my mouth in the form of a loud snort/guffaw/totally inappropriately-timed laugh. Right in the middle of our Very Important Business.

I was mortified. The title lady blushed and let out a nervous little titter. My husband gave me some serious "I-can't-even-believe-you-right-now" side eye. Our Realtor sat, stone-faced and stoic, like somebody hadn't just TOLD MY HUSBAND HE HAS A LARGE PACKAGE. I knew I had to rein my ridiculousness in, and fast.

Only ... I couldn't.

You know that feeling when you're trying your absolute hardest not to laugh? That feeling when you know you have to hold it in, but it comes bubbling to the surface - totally involuntarily - anyway? Yeah. It was like that. I clenched my hands between my knees. I bit my tongue. I gnawed on the inside of my cheek. I looked down at my lap, up at the ceiling, anywhere but at the title lady handling my husband's large package. I TRIED SO HARD. But my shoulders were convulsing with barely-contained hilarity. My eyes were welling up with the kind of tears that only hysterical laughter can produce.

As the meeting proceeded around me, I managed to regain my composure. But it took me a good five minutes, much to my embarrassment.

We wrapped things up and were officially homeowners again. We shook hands and thanked everyone politely and left the office. And as soon as we got into the car, my husband said with his voice what he had been saying with his eyes: "I cannot believe you." But now, he was laughing too.

I guess he's better at waiting until the right time.

Lordy Lordy, I Suck at 40!

In eleven days, I'll officially be married to a FORTY-YEAR-OLD. That's right: Curtis is gonna be celebrating the big 4-0.

It's funny 'cause we've been together long enough for me to remember him turning the big 2-1. I gave him underwear (two pairs of Tommy Hilfiger boxer shorts, because it was the '90s) and took him to Red Lobster (because when you're practically a child and you've grown up in a rural area, that counts as super fine dining). Then he went out with his friends, undoubtedly to drink, and I went home because I HAD TO GO TO SCHOOL THE NEXT DAY OMG I WAS SUCH A BABY.

I mean I was a senior in high school, but still.

This is a photo (okay, a terrible photo-of-a-photo) of us on our very first official date:

Seriously! Look at my little baby face!

And here we are as we look now, nineteen years (and four kids) later:

Geez, just typing that sentence made me feel like driving 20 mph to the store for some Depends and some Geritol. 

Anyway, there have been a lot of birthdays between then and now, and I'm ashamed to say that none of them have been more remarkable than underwear and Red Lobster because a.) we've been poor as shit for many of them and b.) I suck at birthdays.

I have these grandiose fantasies of doing something amazing to commemorate his fortieth, like renting out a room at a winery (he loves himself some nice red) or giving him a wonderful present like the motorcycle I told him he could get when he got promoted to Staff Sergeant in the Air Force ... a decade ago. (He's not even in the Air Force any more. But still motorcycle-less, poor guy.)

The problem is, we share a bank account, and I'm too scatterbrained to remember to secretly squirrel away money here and there - snacks I can totally hide, but money, not so much. So that kind of rules out doing anything expensive or impressive.

He's not a sentimental type of guy (I get him a sappy card, he reads it once, smiles, and leaves it on the counter until I throw it away), so a "through-the-years" type photo book or something would literally be opened once, on his birthday, and then collect dust somewhere. Meanwhile I'm over here still hanging onto the Cheesecake Factory receipt from February 12th, 1999, the night he proposed to me ... ahem.

So I don't know what to do. I just know I have eleven days to come up with a not-completely-terrible birthday celebration idea for the guy I adore more than chocolate itself. Sure, this is a man who accidentally pepper-sprayed our entire household. Who followed me around Target in farty-sounding shoes. Who reported our poor innocent neighbor to the police. Who wore fake Halloween teeth around for a year like it was his freaking job.

But he also sent me on a girls' vacation and even wrote a guest post for me while I was gone. And he didn't stay mad for long when I accidentally called him a fat-ass, or got him a present addressed to "Mr. Simpleton," or when I overshare to the entire Internet about things like our failed attempt at "getting it on."

I need to do something wonderful for his fortieth birthday. WHAT THOUGH?!

He likes ...

- Red wine
- Meat. Like whatever kind of meat. Even nasty meat like bull testicles and weird gamey things
- Motorcycles, even though he doesn't have one
- Country music (gag!)
- Restaurants
- Clothes and shoes, because even though he likes a lot of stereotypical man-things he's oddly refined
- Watching the Outdoor Channel (and then doing the things he sees on there like hunting and fishing)
- Foot massages
- Meeting new people - he is totally outgoing
- Vowing to start working out, and then not

He's not so into ...

- Sitting through movies
- Sappy things
- Sports (he likes them, just isn't one of those rabid fans who has to watch games all the time)
- Reading (boohooo!)

He works A LOT because he loves his job and has a very strong work ethic, but also complains of being worn out. He doesn't smoke. He's generous to a fault. He's a fantastic, devoted dad and loves doing things with the boys. He is pro-level excellent at billiards and fairly average at golf, but he enjoys them both.

Any ideas, y'all?


Yesterday as I glanced at the mirror in our downstairs bathroom, I noticed something weird. No, not the forehead wrinkles dominating the upper half of my face (although I noticed those too, the assholes). It was a weird mark on the glass. A splat, of sorts. Whatever it was appeared to have slapped wetly against the top half of the mirror (which, for the record, is taller than me), leaving splatters, and then been haphazardly wiped semi-clean. But there was definitely evidence left.

I mean, there's all manner of ill smudges on my walls. Boogers. Dirt. Straight-up handprints. Footprints, even. So a smeared-up mirror didn't exactly raise alarm bells, but I did wonder what had gone on to leave it that way.

Fast-forward to last night. Now that our oldest son is middle-school aged, we let him have a smartphone. I make him leave it unlocked, and I go through it periodically to make sure he isn't, you know, being totally irresponsible with it (other than leaving it lying around all over the place). He hardly uses it for regular phone purposes like calling or texting - but what he does use it for is videoing everything. And last night, when I had gone through his search history and all his text messages - because whether it's an invasion of privacy or not, he's my kid and I need to know what he's doing - I decided to look through some of his videos.

There were a few random shots of his brothers doing flips (on the couch, grrr) in slow-motion, a clip of the boys playing basketball with Uncle Steve, a video wherein Colin pretends to teleport from the linen closet to Cameron's bedroom via the use of some creative editing ... and then something so weird I didn't know whether to laugh or be angry. He wouldn't let me post it (sigh) so I'll describe it to you. Keep in mind, it wasn't one continuous video, just a bunch of short back-to-back snippets.

- Shot of half a hamburger bun on the kitchen counter
- Hamburger bun on floor, closeup of Colin's foot stepping on it
- Hamburger bun balanced on Colin's bare thigh
- Hamburger bun used as a hat for our cat Zoomer
- Hamburger bun tossed into living room
- Shot of the downstairs toilet
- Hamburger bun being forcefully thrown into toilet water
- Colin's foot inserted into toilet, rapidly squishing hamburger bun into said toilet water
- Colin's foot closing the toilet lid
- Colin's hand opening the toilet and fishing out the soggy toilet-bun
- High-pitched giggle

/end scene

A lovely still shot of my son's ... cinematic masterpiece.

Since he has recently been allowed to stay home alone for short periods of time, I can only imagine that this happened while we were at the grocery store or something. And I'm glad to see he at least tried to clean up after his ridiculous shenanigans.

... But let me just tell y'all: He's pretty damn lucky I didn't catch the live version.


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