Foodie vs. Fitness

It's baking season, y'all. And soup weather.*

*(Just don't almost accidentally get your kids drunk when you try to make French onion soup, mmkay?.)

If you don't know what I mean by "baking season," I'm not sure we can still be friends.

The trees are changing into their gorgeous autumn outfits in preparation for their slow strip-tease into bare branches. And I'm changing into my loose sweaters and extra-chin-camouflaging scarves. (And my fat pants.) Not solely because of the cooler weather, but because the compulsion to bake and eat at this time of year tends to overtake me. So come January, I'm usually wearing something else: an extra ten pounds.

Okay, okay ... fifteen. Sheesh.

This year, in an effort to thwart the outward expansion of my thighs, I'm trying to ramp up the amount of exercise I'm doing. Because lord knows I'd rather do a little more moving than a little less eating. I mean ... baked goods and soup! (And Halloween candy. And Thanksgiving dinner.)

But I'm finding that I'm not very easily motivated. You know what motivates me? Food. Which, for obvious reasons, is kind of an issue. I feel like there's something wrong with me when I'm not inspired by those Pinterest photos of chicks with rock-hard bodies, rivulets of sweat trickling down their determined faces. Seriously, all I can do is feel sad that they won't be experiencing the cozy bliss that is a pot of chili simmering on the stovetop and an apple pie in the oven on a brisk, breezy day.*

*I suppose they won't be experiencing fat days, either, but I never think about it that way. 

I wish I could view kale chips and Paleo whatever-people-are-eating as delicious alternatives - but alas, try as I might, I'm not wired that way. The thought of giving up my foodie-ness makes me sad. 

But so does the thought of the fall-and-winter poundage that I pack on like a bear preparing for hibernation. Which is why I did fifty squats last night while waiting for my chocolate chip cookies to bake. 

That's gotta count for something, right?

The Demented Dentures

Halloween is coming up. I'm not what you'd call "crafty" or "talented at sewing" (I once tried to hem a toddler-sized cow costume and ended up making the legs capri-length) so we buy our kids' costumes. Hence the reason for our trip to the ridiculously-overpriced Halloween store late last week.

Our nine-year-old wants to be a zombie. When he told me this I was all, "Yay cheap costume!" because I envisioned some torn-up dirty old clothes (which we have in abundance around here) and some cheap face paint. But of course, he wanted the fancy putty-stuff to make scars with and the (seven dollar!) decaying teeth that you put over your own. Ugh.

When he said he wanted the teeth, I was skeptical. I mean, the kid hates tags in his clothes - I couldn't imagine how he'd feel about sporting a big hunk of plastic in his mouth for the duration of Halloween. But before I could point that out, thereby saving myself seven bucks and a whole bunch of inevitable whining, my husband was like, "Wow, buddy, those are awesome! I think they'll be perfect."

So, we bought the teeth.

Just as I'd expected, Colin had them in his mouth for all of 2.5 seconds before he deemed them too uncomfortable and abandoned them on the kitchen counter. I was just about to launch into an epic "I told you so" speech when I noticed that the teeth were gone.

I had to chuckle when I saw where they'd ended up.

They might have been too big for Colin's little mouth, but they fit oddly perfectly into Curtis's. We had a good laugh, and I figured that was that.

Only it wasn't. Because the teeth kept reappearing. Or, more accurately, they never really disappeared. Curtis was obsessed with the damn things. Just as I thought he had put them away for good, they would materialize out of his pocket. All. Weekend. LONG.

He wore them with our Kindergartner's Harry Potter glasses.

He wore them while playing video games with the kids.

He wore them while on the computer.

He wore them while on the phone. WITH HIS WORK.

He wore them at dinner.

He wore them in bed.

Yesterday, he took them to his office and wore them when he spoke at his morning meeting. (Did I mention that when he wears the teeth, his accent typically slips into a redneckish drawl?) And he had them in last night. They're in his pocket as we speak, ready for their next great adventure. I can't take him anywhere without risking total mortification. He hasn't embarrassed me this much since that time he followed me around Target making farting noises.

At least we've gotten our seven dollars' worth. And then some.

Ten Things that Piss Me Off About Cleaning

Cleaning. It takes up a substantial portion of my day, which I hate, because there are things I'd much rather be doing ... like sitting on my couch watching "Sex and the City" reruns working on my writing and playing with my kids. But there are six people in my household, and five of them are messy. That's not even counting the two dogs and the cat. So cleaning is a necessary evil, like a mythical beast I have to keep taming before it overtakes my entire kingdom. 

But here's what pisses me off most about it.

#1: The fact that I have to do it. At all. 
I mean ... letting all the housework go would be soooo much easier. I'd never be obligated to scrub the toilet again. I'd coexist peacefully with dust and turds and crumbs, chillin' with the roaches. This couldn't ever really happen, of course, because a.) I value not having my kids taken out of my custody (and not living in an episode of "Hoarders,") and b.) I am entirely too much of a neat freak. Which brings me to our #2 spot ...

#2: Cleaning crap I can't reach.
If I could, I would totally ignore everything that is above eye-level. And I'm not gonna lie - sometimes I do. It's not like I clear the top of the fridge every time I clean. However, between that, and the ceiling fans, and the tops of door frames and book cases, and the knickknacks on top of my kitchen cabinets ... there's always something to knock the dust off of. Except these places are hard to reach, so it's like adding insult to injury: not only do I have to clean them, but cleaning them involves huffing and puffing and reaching and grunting and straining. Don't even get me started on what's behind and under things. I know for a fact there's enough hair under my couch to manufacture a Donald Trump toupee for every bald guy within a fifty-mile radius. And speaking of hair ...

#3: The stuff that collects in the crack between the wall and the floor.
Vacuuming my carpet isn't all that bad. I just stand there pushing the vacuum back and forth, hoping I'm burning calories. What sucks (besides my vacuum, I mean) is the junk that it won't reach: the dog hair and dust bunnies and whatever that lodges in the crevice where the floor and wall meet. If you're lucky enough to have a vacuum with a crevice tool, it's not such a chore - but I happen to have a dog who used to be an asshole a puppy and decided to chew mine up. Which is why I'm always down on my hands and knees clearing the stupid crack with my fingers. And while we're on the subject of things that are really hard to get?

#4: That last line of dust that JUST. WON'T. GO. IN. THE DUST PAN.
You know what I'm talking about. You sweep the pile of yuckiness into the dust pan, and three feelings follow. First, disgust (all that was on my floor?). Then, triumph (woohoo! Done sweeping!). And then ... dismay. Because you notice that last little thin line of dust - the one that collects at the edge of the dust pan - the one that, no matter how often you do the move-and-sweep maneuver, stays stubbornly behind. You have to clean it up with, like, a damp paper towel. And who wants to do that? I mean, you already had to sweep. Ugh. But I guess even the rogue dust line is better than ...

#5: That liquid funk in the bottom of the trash can.
I don't put hazardous waste in my kitchen trash (I save all that for the trash can in the garage). I have a garbage disposal that I put leftovers and vegetable peelings and stuff in. So WHY, for the love of all that is holy, is there always a thin layer of some wet, funky liquid in the bottom of my trash can when I lift the bag up? For years, I've been making fun of my mom because she wraps everything in foil before she throws it away, but I don't think she ever has this problem, so maybe she's onto something. (Don't tell her I said that.)

However, I'd rather deal with the mysterious disgusting garbage-juice a million times than ...

One of the two toilets in my house is used exclusively by little boys which means it has to be cleaned incessantly. Because no matter how you try to teach them, they have an astounding lack of aim. I don't care if they pee sitting down - they still manage to spray it somehow over the seat, where it seeps underneath, trickles down the side, and collects into a concentrated yellow crust along the base. (And sometimes, they just straight-up pee on the floor as they focus on everything but where they're supposed to be peeing.) The pee smell is enough to burn the hair right out of your nostrils. So is the bleach I use, but hey, which would you rather smell?

I suppose dealing with the toilet is only a little bit worse than dealing with ...

#7: The other "surprises" my kids leave.
Children are great at forgetting where the trash can is. (Or, you know, the toilet.) In the near-decade that I've been a mother, I've found poop in my plunger (and my washing machine, and other random and ridiculous places). I've washed and dried things that never should be washed and dried (like crayons and Kleenex). I've found sippy cups full of curdled milk, a water gun full of rancid pee, and once excavated this little gem from the very bottom of the toy box ...

It used to be corn. 

Then the other day I found chunks of pre-chewed string cheese lined up along the base of our TV. You've gotta love toddlers.*

*Seriously. Because if you don't, they will make your life a living hell.

I love a clean house, but you know what else pisses me off?

#8: The fact that I have to do it my damn self. 
I get a little help here and there (too bad it isn't from a professional maid service). But for the most part, the cleanliness of this joint is left up to yours truly. My husband works approximately a bazillion hours a week - plus, he doesn't seem to care if the place is appallingly filthy. My boys are just getting old enough to do a few things on their own (my oldest can clean a toilet now - hallelujah!), but since they're still learning, it's never done to my standards which means that I have to redo it anyway. And then, as if to add salt to a wound ...

#9: The fact that it gets messed up again so quickly.
Cleaning would be so much more tolerable if it, like, stayed that way for a substantial period of time. Like if you only had to do it once a month - that'd be great. But nooooo. In my house it's like, "Oh, you just cleaned? Let me track in some mud and grass clippings and dribble juice all over the place and now would be a great time to brush the dog." I can Windex the windows until they're crystal-clear and literally within five minutes they're smudged with handprints and dog nose-prints and slobber. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Especially since ...

#10: Nobody appreciates it the way I do.
Once upon a time, my laundry room floor looked like this.

And I took a picture of it, which I keep in my phone and stare longingly at from time to time. Because look at that gorgeous gleam! It smelled so nice. There was no grit underfoot, no kitty litter tracked anywhere, no dust ... just a beautiful, sparkling expanse of cleanliness, the reward for my grueling labor of sweeping and mopping.

But shortly after this photo was taken, the dog pooped on it (not the pug with the tiny turds, but the lab with the dumps the size of dinner plates). Because nobody else in my household - animal or human - truly grasps how awesome (or rare) this level of clean is.

I want to keep things nice. Nobody else cares. It's an eternal struggle.

Right now there are a million crusty surfaces in my house that need my attention. And here I sit, banging out a blog post. Why? Because while I love when everything is nice and clean, I hate actually cleaning it (and, okay, I'm a huge procrastinator). But I'd better get to it, because this shit's not going to clean itself.

... Unfortunately.

PS - Have you checked out the Giveaways & Reviews page lately? I'm giving away CHOCOLATE BOARD GAMES. And THREE of the newest water filtration products from PUR! Woot!

We Used to be Friends

We used to be friends, you and I. So comfortable together. I used to spend many hours dreamily engulfed in the calm and peaceful feelings your presence imparted. We were together all the time. Whenever I needed you, you were there. Instantly.

But since I became a mother, you've been ... scarce. With the addition of each child, you've grown even more distant. You're rarely around in my day-to-day life any more, only popping up on rare occasions. My life has taken a path that clearly doesn't facilitate our togetherness. So now, in those few-and-far-between times when you come around, I can barely enjoy you like I used to.

I have to admit, when you're here, it feels kind of weird. Awkward, you might say. I'm not used to you being around, the way I once was. I always say I'd like to see more of you, joke that a few minutes with you might save my sanity - but to be honest, while there are still times when I welcome you, it seems somehow wrong when you're in the room. It's like I don't know quite how to act around you these days.

We've grown apart; that's all there is to it. And maybe someday when my kids are grown and there's less laughter and playing and drama and chaos around here, you and I can reconcile. You'll come around a lot more often, and I can be completely at ease with your presence once again.

But until then, Silence, I've just got to do the Mom thing. And there's not much room for both of you.

I'll see you (and your friends Peace and Quiet) on the flip side.


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