This Place is a Dump

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I think I'm finally on the downside of the Horrible Plague of Near-Death ... also known as the heinous illness that caused me to spend two days draped uselessly across various pieces of furniture. I don't know if it was the fever, or the sinuses packed with sludge, or the fact that even walking a few steps set my heart to racing like I was working out with Jillian Michaels - but it pretty much incapacitated me. I only got up to do the necessary things ... such as pee and clean up raisins (see yesterday's post, which - yes - I managed to hammer out through a feverish haze. But don't look if you're, like, eating right now).

And of course since my workaholic husband is working - a fourteen hour shift last night - he wasn't able to offer much in the way of help. He forfeited a few hours' sleep yesterday to watch the kids while I napped, which was sweet, but, well ... yeah. My nap came at a cost. Because anybody who's ever known a man knows that, while they can work double shifts and supervise crews and maintain complex technological equipment, they cannot simultaneously a.) watch children and b.) keep things relatively tidied up. I'm sorry, I know that's stereotypical and sexist and all that, but it's also true - at least in my case. So while Curtis did keep the children from losing limbs or poisoning themselves, the house took a beating. Little boys who are largely allowed run amok do not a clean environment make.

What's worse? Today I can actually smell. And what I can smell is not pleasant. It's two days' worth of stuffiness from the house being shut up because I was too cold to open the windows. The dog pee on the carpet that Curtis cleaned barely blotted with a paper towel. The litter box downstairs that hasn't been touched (by anyone but two pooping cats) in 48 hours. The nearly-overflowing trash. The stale unwashed dishes in the dishwasher.

And the clutter. Ohhh, the clutter.

All waiting for meeeeeeee! Joy and rapture!

Honestly, I'm still not feeling 100%, and I could use another day to recuperate. But let's be real. I've got three little kids trashing up the place. And the thought of yet another day of yuck piling up on top of the yuck that I already have to deal with? Makes me sick in and of itself.

I can't wait until my kids are all old enough to clean. I'm writing up their chore lists already. Bwahahaha!

  



All the Wrong Raisins

I know. I swore I'd never buy any more raisins. But like most other things I swear to do (give up sugar, drink more water, keep up on the housework, blah blah blah) ... that kind of fell by the wayside.

It's mornings like these when I wish I were better at sticking to my resolutions.

Colin and Cameron, my four-year-old and two-year-old, were playing quietly in their room. Should I have known that quietness = mischief? Of course. I've been a mother for nearly five years now (and I was once a child myself). But when you're sitting at your computer, blissfully and obliviously reading blogs in the blessed silence, you tend to glaze over what may be happening in the other room and hope it's the one time out of a hundred when they really are being good.

But.

The baby, who had been playing with his toys on the floor, came crawling up to me with a diaper blowout of epic proportions (we're talking up-the-back here). I hadn't smelled it because my nose is completely out of commission due to a cold, so it was a lovely surprise. The wipes are in the boys' bedroom with Cameron's diapers, so I carried Coby back there and pushed the door open. Here's what I saw.

Cameron, diaperless, crouched in the middle of Colin's upper bunk.

Colin, on the bunk bed stairs, laughing hysterically.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that Cameron had pooped, then taken off his diaper. On the bed. And not only was he firmly plopped upon Colin's freshly washed sheets with his nasty behind, and had poo smeared all over his legs and feet and goodness knows where else, he was also rolling between his fingers what appeared to be ...

... raisins?

Yes. Raisins. Raisins that looked like they could've just come from the bag, only, you know, plumper. Reconstituted, if you will.

I guess the child doesn't chew before he swallows.

I mean it this time. No more raisins.




Dear Immune System ...


Dear Immune System,

I understand the need for a vacation. I totally do. But to leave me vulnerable and ill right now, when the husband is working a weird shift for 23 days straight? Not cool, Immune System. Not cool at all.

Let me remind you that this isn't the first time you've skipped out on me. In fact, because of your lackadaisical approach to your duties, I spent 3/4 of my childhood hopped up on Amoxicillin. But I overlooked all that because for most of my adulthood, you've done what you're supposed to do. I don't get sick very often these days, and that's a good thing.

Right now, though, is a different matter. For you to go packing just as the Stomach Virus from Hell and the Horrible Cold invade my entire household? That's just wrong. And it's even more insulting that you took your little friends, a.k.a. my children's immune systems, with you on your poorly-timed sabbatical. Do you think I don't have anything better to do than clean up three little boys' barf and (extra) poop? Do you think I want to do all that when my head feels like it's going to explode from sinus pressure and my throat feels like it's lined with sandpaper?

To take a little leave of absence is one thing, Immune System, but to stay gone long enough to allow the Horrible Cold to invade the children is just ludicrous. I may no longer be doing eight loads of vomit-soaked laundry a day, but now I'm dealing with three runny noses and sore throats (and the accompanying crankiness, which is probably worse than everything else). All while feeling like crap myself, because YOU, Immune System, decided to quit protecting me with no prior notice.

So I'm calling you out. I suggest you get your low-functioning act together and start doing what you're supposed to do: keeping me from getting sick. And bring my kids' immune systems back too, because I can't afford any more damn Kleenexes.

Your Super-Tolerant Employer,






I'm the featured blogger at IowaMoms.com today - yippeee! A big frumpy welcome if you're stopping by from there (but keep your distance, 'cause this blog is probably FILLED with germs). Be sure to click on the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab above for your chance to win a Perricone MD skincare product valued at $120! Only five days left - and all you've got to do is leave a comment!

Pee-ctures from the Past

**Before you read today's entry, be sure to click on the "Giveaways & Reviews" tab above - or just click here - because I've got a brand new and totally awesome giveaway that you must enter! You could be the lucky and wrinkle-free recipient of a Perricone MD skincare product valued at $120!**

Now back to your regularly scheduled drivel post.

If you watched the anniversary slideshow in my last entry, you know that I included the following picture of my husband Curtis as an angelic-looking little boy. Just look at that sweet, innocent face. (And that lovely '70s carpet!)


Curtis had only watched a few seconds of the slideshow when the picture flashed across the screen. "Why'd you post that one?" he asked, sounding all offended.

"Because it's cute?" I said, shrugging. "And because you'd have killed me if I'd posted the one of you in the little pink nightgown." (Note to self: post picture of Curtis in little pink nightgown.)

"This one's no better!" He jabbed an accusing finger at the monitor. "Look at my crotch. It looks like I ... like I spilled my sippy cup or something."

I obliged, looking at where he pointed - and couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it before.


I couldn't contain my laughter. "You pissed yourself!" I blurted gleefully between guffaws. "I posted a picture of you in pissy overalls!"

"It's not pee!" he insisted. "I must have spilled something."

"Right in your crotch? Whatever. That is so pee." Because, y'all? I have three kids - two in diapers - and a puppy. I am more than familiar with urine.

To clear matters up, I re-posted the pic on my personal Facebook page (bwahahaha!) and asked for our friends' opinions. The overwhelming consensus was that, yes, I had actually posted a picture of my (future) husband's incontinence for the world to see.

Ahahahahahaha! I mean ... sorry about that, Honey.

"It's still an adorable picture," I said brightly, trying to reassure him. "Just look at you, on your little pink bike."

"It's not pink," he said through gritted teeth. "It's sun-faded red."

Yeah. And that's a sippy-cup spill on your overalls.

Whatever, dude.




On Love and Life Savers ...

Ten years ago today, I was standing at the altar in the wedding dress that my grandmother hand-made for me, listening to Curtis clack a huge-ass Wint-O-Green LifeSaver in his teeth while he said his vows.

Awesome.

Because I love him anyway, and in celebration of ten mostly-wonderful years of marriage, I've put together a little slideshow. Enjoy. :)



Rita Goes Girly

You may have noticed that I took a 4-day blogging hiatus or something.

What's that? You didn't notice? Oh. Well, for the sake of my (fragile) ego, let's pretend you were like obsessively checking the computer for blog updates and blowing up my phone and like calling my mom and stuff. K?

*ahem*

Anyway. I wasn't blogging because I was doing ... drum roll please ... GIRLY STUFF. Like putting on makeup and doing my hair and wearing clothes that aren't pajamas and shoes that have heels and spritzing on perfume and shopping and drinking wine out of something that isn't plastic.

What's more? I was doing it with two of my best friends, Denni and Lisa. And WITHOUT my boys.

Yep, Curtis left Thursday night with the boys, and they all went to Missouri to spend time with our extended families for the weekend (sweet gesture from the husband FTW!). Denni and Lisa, meanwhile, drove here from Missouri.

(Um, in case you hadn't noticed, I'm originally from Missouri.)

Friday morning, I totally intended to sleep in, just because I could. Unfortunately, even though I didn't have my boys, I still had my puppy - who woke me at 6:15. And then once I was up, I figured I didn't want to waste any of my precious alone time, so I made like my kids and refused to nap. Instead, to kill some time before my girls arrived, I did one of my favorite things: mowed my yard.

Nope, I'm not being sarcastic - as dorky as it sounds, mowing really is one of my favorite pastimes. (If you're a relatively new reader, check this out for proof.) So I put on my iPod, gassed up the John Deere, and hit the turf. Mid-mow, I had a royal freak-out: OMG! The kids are in there all by themselves!  But then I realized, haha, they're not even home. And I had a little extra shimmy in my step for the remainder of the yard.

It's not that I don't love my kids, y'all. And I missed them like crazy. But a chance to have two and a half days without changing diapers, mediating squabbles, discovering mysterious crusty smears on my clothing, or hearing "Mommy, I need/I want/I can't" or any combination thereof every thirty seconds? BLISS. I don't even think I said "no" all weekend, unless it was to the legions of hot guys who were hitting on me all the time.*

*Okay, so that didn't really happen. But whatever.

All in all, I had a wonderful time. I'm still tired, because my refusal to waste time by napping, combined with a late night or two, have caught up with me. Now I have dark undereye circles to add to my crusty Mommy ensemble.

But it was soooo worth it.

I'm So Wrong I'm Right


I think I'm gonna start my own business. It will be called "Rita's Accurately Inaccurate Gender Predictions."

Because I have managed - and this is an amazing feat, y'all - to guess impending babies' genders wrong an astonishing one hundred percent of the time.

Seriously, moms-to-be should be swarming my door and inundating my e-mail inbox. Because I am more reliably wrong than, like, the weather forecaster. My wrongness is the type of wrongness you can count on. None of this "right-10%-of-the-time" crap ... I am always, without fail, mistaken. My inaccuracy is, in a weird way, accurate of its own accord. Which means that if you wanna know what you're having? Just ask me. And then go with the complete opposite of what I tell you.

It even holds true for my own babies. When I was pregnant with Colin, I KNEW he was a girl. I would have bet my life savings on it. (If I had a life savings.) I was so sure he was a girl that I didn't even question myself - I thought it was that famous "mother's intuition." Then when we had our big gender-revealing ultrasound, the technician swiveled the wand over to this little hotdog-looking protrusion and was all, "There's Mr. Happy!" and I was like, "My daughter has a penis?!"

Turns out he was actually, you know, a boy. Not a daughter with a penis after all.

Same with Cameron. Same with Coby. Same with every-other-friggin-baby-whose-gender-I-try-but-fail-to-guess.

So, for only $99.95, you too can make use of my astounding incorrectness to determine the sex of your baby. Line up, ladies! :) 


WTF Are You Selling Me?

Remember how just a couple days ago I was telling you guys that I couldn't understand why this was the new face of a Versace ad?

Well, I'm equally baffled as to why this is the guy who's telling me to refinance my house:


Seriously? They couldn't find anyone else to convince me that my mortgage could be lowered? Like, I don't know, maybe someone who's not a thousand years old?

Maybe this guy is (or was?) some sort of celebrity. Fine. But I'm your average mortgage holder, and I don't recognize him. Couldn't they have just as easily gotten some D-list celeb that I might have at least seen on a crappy reality show or something?

If they wanted so badly to use that creepy old dude in their ad, I think this would have been a much better option:


You're welcome, refinancing people. Now just sit back and wait for the calls to start pouring in. And hey, if you wanna hire me to design your ads from here on out, my contact info is right over there in the sidebar.

Practicing Bird Control

Today, boys and girls, I'm going to talk to you about ... protection.

If you remain unprotected during certain times, well, you're bound to end up with more than you bargained for. Multiple babies. Certainly an inconvenience in your life. And perhaps even ... an unpleasant infestation of mites.

I learned this myself last year, the hard way - mites and all. So I'm smarter now. I know that, even though it can be a a bit of a hassle at times, protection is of utmost importance. Which is why these days, I always use one of these:
Yep, a grill cover. What did you think I was talking about, you pervs? :)

You see, this is our third spring in this house. We've had our grill in the exact same spot since we moved in. And every year around April (that "certain time" I mentioned earlier), this happens:  


There's a little cutout in the side of our grill that's apparently perfect for a family of starlings to pop in and out of. And once they start nesting in there, I haven't got the heart to oust them. (Look here for a picture of some of our grill-babies.) Every year Curtis gripes. Every year I say, "But awwww, Honey, they're just trying to find a safe place for their family." And every year, I've dutifully waited until they've vacated the nest and then scrubbed and disinfected it top-to-bottom so we can actually use our grill for its intended purpose.

Last year, though, was a little different. Because as I was clearing the straw out of the nest, I happened to look down at my arm and noticed hundreds of tiny bugs swarming their way up.

I freaked the eff out. Screaming and dancing and frantically brushing bugs off my arm, yelling, "Liiiiiiiice!" Because I've totally heard that birds can give you lice. I've never had lice in my life and I wasn't about to get it from some skank birds I was just trying to be nice to. So after I got all the bugs off, I ran into the house and Googled it (scalp itching like crazy the whole time because that's just what happens when someone mentions the L-word). And whew! They were bird mites. Not lice. Still gross, but slightly less gross \than the alternative.

Needless to say, though, it was enough of a scare to convince me that we did indeed need protection. So this year, we've wrapped the Char-Broil. Because bird control is a serious matter, y'all.

This blog post can be taken both literally AND as a public service announcement promoting safe sex. So no matter what you came here looking for today, everybody wins! Yeehaw!

I'd Rather Smell Like Flowers or Something

I don't understand advertising sometimes, y'all.

I was flipping through my latest issue of Allure magazine the other day (I subscribe so I can keep up on all the beauty trends I fail to follow) and I found the following ad for Versace Versus. It's a perfume ... but their ad hardly makes me want to smell like this chick:


She looks like either a.) a zombie b.) a crack whore with decent teeth or c.) that girl at parties who gets really really sloppily trashed but still manages to come out of her stupor to pose for any camera within a twelve-mile radius.

Whatever option she most closely resembles, she still appears to smell like hot garbage. And that's not exactly what I'm going for.

Hey Versace peeps ... I'd be much more apt to purchase your perfume if I thought it smelled like, you know, good stuff. Flowers. Or some sort of fruit. Or chocolate or something.

What do you guys think? Am I missing out the point of this ad, or does she really look as unappealing as I think she does?

PS - I'm guest-posting over at The Awesomeness that is parenting BY dummies today! Go check out Dumb Mom and her crew of dudes. She looks like she smells pretty good.

Reading is FunDUHmental

I'm glad I already know English, and how to read. I'm glad I learned it when I still had a super-absorbent-spongelike-little-kid-brain as opposed to the porous-yet-non-absorbent-scattered-Mommy-brain I possess today. (Case in point: I totally just had to Google how to spell "possess" because it looked weird.)

Colin is learning to read and write, and until I had to help him, I had no idea how confusing the English language must be. Yesterday he was making me a word search on a piece of paper, and I came across the same mysterious word he put on a grocery list not too long ago: TIT. It led into a rather frustrating exchange.

"Colin, what's this T-I-T say?"

"It says 'tight,' Mommy."

"Oh, okay. You know, 'tight' is spelled in a very funny way: it has a G-H in the middle. T-I-G-H-T."

He screwed up his face to contemplate it, so I further clarified: "Any time you see an I-G-H-T, it makes the 'ite' sound."

He brightened. "So kite has an I-G-H-T?"

Um.

"Well, no, son ... kite is actually spelled K-I-T-E. But lots of other words -"

"Write?"

"No, write has an I-T-E like kite, not an I-G-H-T."

"White?"

Uhhh ... hmmm. Don't even get me started on what happened when we came across the word "eight."

This isn't the first time I've attempted (poorly) to explain something stupid and confusing about the way our words work. Like why we don't pronounce the k in "know" or "knee" or the b in "lamb" or "comb." Or why in most words, an S-H makes the "sh" sound ... but in words like "vacation" or "action," it's the T-I that sounds like "sh." Or why we say "phone," but not "phork" or "pheelings."

Seriously, what?

If I didn't already know English, I'd be like, "Screw this. I'm speaking Portugese from now on."

It's a good thing he's a smart little dude. It's not like I'm helping him out much.


RIP Pants

My pants died. My favorite pants in the whole world. :(

If I were a seamstress of any sort, I'd probably just patch 'em up and the sun would shine again and my heart could go on. But. You're talking to someone who tried to hem the legs of Colin's first Halloween costume because they were too long and ended up with clamdiggers. Clamdiggers really don't work when it's a cow costume.

Whatever, he didn't know any better.

Anyway, I'm mourning these pants, y'all. They were my favorite. I even dedicated the better part of a blog post to them once. Yeah, I confess: they were maternity pants. And okay, they were ... *whispers* polyester. But they were also THE BEST PANTS IN THE WORLD EVER, HANDS-DOWN.

Let me rephrase that, since "hands down" and "pants" are not usually paired in a G-rated sentence.

They were The Awesome. Stretchy and swingy and black ... like the proverbial "little black dress," versatile and classic. I bought them at Motherhood Maternity for a formal event when I was pregnant with Cameron, but they didn't look maternity. OR polyester. (Well, at least not cheap leisure-suit polyester.) They were just regular black pants with a regular waist. I think at the time I was a little put off by the price, but I ended up getting my money's worth a million times over. I wore them as dress pants, workout pants, pajamas, with a T-shirt and flip-flops, you name it. No matter how huge I got, they fit (dare I say flattered, when everything else looked like I was smuggling a watermelon on each hip) - almost like magic.  And even after I gave birth - and even after I lost 90 pounds - I could still wear them.

I'm not lying when I say that I'm so traumatized by this, I don't even remember how it happened. Whether it was an accidental rip or just an inevitable separation of the seams due to overuse, I'll never know. All I know is, now The Pants show a good four-inch expanse of my (blindingly white) inner thigh. And although I appreciate a good "airing out" as much as the next girl (what? Tell me you don't!), I think people would definitely notice. Plus ... wearing maternity pants is bad enough. Wearing ripped maternity pants is just over-the-edge frump, even for me.

So I guess it's goodbye, sweet Pants. I'll miss the way you so lovingly encased my rear in your polyester perfection. If there's a heaven, we'll surely meet again.

 ... Because there's no way I'm spending eternity in a white robe.

Easter Basket-Case


So ... Easter.

I feel all devoid of the Jesus-ness because Curtis has to work on Easter EVERY YEAR, and I'm not - I repeat NOT - trying to take these kids to church and make them stay clean and well behaved all by my lonesome. No sir. Jesus, I love you man, but it would take a miracle for me to be able to attend a meaningful, stress-free Easter service alone with my kids while they're this age. I don't think He'd blame me, really. I mean, WWJD? Probably not try to drag three snot-nosed boys to church and keep them in line without assistance. Walking on water would be easier. Or turning it into wine, which, hey! I totally wish I could do that. Some Moscato would be nice.

Anyway, up until the last three years, church services have been a normal part of EVERY Easter - except the Easter that I was seven and spilled the entire contents of the communion tray (read: lotsa grape juice) down the front of my white dress and had to leave early, but whatever. So it feels weird not to attend a service, and of course my children aren't getting the experience either. Their Easters so far have consisted of the bunny, baskets, and all the chocolate they can pry out of my fingers shovel into their greedy little gullets. This year Curtis was put in charge of the Easter basket shopping and OMG. I never trust the man to go to the store by himself because he will buy two of everything and grossly overspend so I can't imagine what I was thinking when I was all, "Yeah, sure, go ahead and get the kids' Easter stuff. I'll stay here." Because the kids' baskets? Were taller than them. Cameron's was filled with sports stuff, a.k.a. balls to throw in the house and break things with, and Colin's was filled with lots of fun things like MARKERS and CHALK. I say "fun" because I really shouldn't use profanity in a blog about Easter. And candy ... oh, the candy. I'm proud to say I only had two packages of M&Ms a Reese's peanut butter bunny the ears off a chocolate rabbit some mini-Snickers a few jellybeans and some Starburst a little bit. It's called willpower, y'all.*

*Psshh, just joshin' ya, I don't really have any willpower.

So because we didn't get to go to church ... again ... I tried my best to explain to the kids why we really celebrate Easter. I knew Cameron and Coby wouldn't understand it, of course - but I really thought that Colin, at almost five, would be old enough to kinda pick up what I was laying down. He listened intently as I told him the story of Jesus' death and subsequent resurrection and afterward he was all, "And then Jesus made the Easter bunny?"

Looks like it's church next year. I'm telling Curtis to take a vacation day.

Making Up is Hard to Do

My first attempt at wearing makeup was for my seventh-grade school picture. I was veeeery heavy-handed with the eyeliner on my lower lids, crazy underaged hooker-style. And unfortunately I was so intent on (poorly) applying my cosmetics that I totally neglected my hair and didn't notice it sticking up, so the resulting photo was pretty much just me looking like a hot mess. (In a magenta-and-teal silk shirt ... aw yeah.)

At the time, though, I was proud of my mad makeup skillz. From that moment on, I was hooked on the stuff. If it made my lips look plumper, my eyes look bigger, my lashes look fuller, or my cheekbones look more sculpted, I snatched it up and slathered it on. I did eventually get better at the application - so much that I became the go-to girl for special occasion makeovers. When I got older, I even sold Mary Kay for a while. And at any given time, you could find at least ten bazillion different beauty products in my makeup bag.*

*Ten bazillion is a rough estimation.

I'm sure my love of makeup is partially due to the fact that I'm the offspring of a woman who is always, I repeat always, in full cosmetic regalia. My mom won't go to the mailbox without her makeup on. It drives me nuts to go shopping with her because after she looks around for a parking space, she sits there for twenty extra minutes while she meticulously lines her lips, fills them in with lipstick, blots, and glosses. And for a long time, I was like that too. Catch me at the store sans face paint? Never. At least not in those days.

But now, I'm au natural more often than not. It isn't that I don't love beauty products - I do. I just don't love my beauty products. Why? Because they look like this. Behold, my actual makeup. My foundation, complete with smudgy mirror and ripped-in-half, why-do-I-even-still-bother-to-use-it sponge:


My eyeliner, broken down to the last nubby bit and missing the smudgy part at the end:


And my eye shadow, which is pretty much obliterated:


It is NO FUN to make yourself up when your cosmetics look like something you picked out of someone's trash, y'all. And why, you ask, does my makeup look like this?

My boys. My rotten, stinking, sticky-fingered boys.

You see, my bathroom is laid out in such a way that there's pretty much only one place I can keep my makeup, and that's in a drawer they can reach. One of their favorite pastimes is going in there while Curtis is on the toilet and "giving him a haircut" with my eyelash curler. That obviously involves rummaging through my makeup drawer (while their father, oblivious in a way that only fathers can be, plays with his iPhone and procrasti-poops until his legs fall asleep). It never fails: I think they're all just back there playing or something and the next thing I know, I'm washing concealer out of my blush brush (the single remaining brush from my now-lost set, that is).

It isn't easy to do a good job applying makeup when every-damn-thing in the drawer is coated with a dusting of crushed black eyeshadow. I literally have to wipe down each thing before I use it, so that I don't end up with shadowy smudges all over my face. Sometimes I get so frustrated and I'm all ...


... in like a really shrieky voice.

I've got to come up with a better solution for storage. And, like, $500 for all new makeup. And maybe some other things for the kids to do during Daddy's toilet time.

Eh. Looks like I'll be using my crappy, crumbly cosmetics for a while.


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