One Musky Mouthful


Every morning, my husband wakes me by spraying cologne in my mouth.

Okay, not really. Actually, he wakes me up - at least initially - by letting his alarm go off a bazillion times. But then after that, he retreats into the bathroom (which is attached to our bedroom) to get ready for work. And most of the time, I doze off again.

In Curtis's defense, he closes the door. When he showers, I can't smell the soap. When he shaves, I can't smell the shaving cream. When he brushes his teeth, I can't smell the mouthwash. When he's on the toilet, well ... I can't smell that either (thank. The. LORD).

But when he douses sprays himself with this body spray he has? Not only can I smell it ... I can taste it. And it is beyond disgusting. Do you realize how annoying it is to literally be awoken by the taste of thickly perfumed air? Especially in the wee hours of the morning, when my mouth is all dry and gross to begin with? Blah.

It always reminds me of the time I stashed a cookie in my purse next to a flowery-scented tampon. For, like, a week. And then I remembered it was in there and was all, "Mmm! Score!" and took a huge bite ... of tampon-flavored cookie.

No human being should ever have to know that tampons and cologne taste similar, y'all. Seriously.

The cookie fiasco I can avoid (and now you can too. Thank me later). But the offending body spray? Is apparently not going anywhere. I've griped brought it up to Curtis countless times, and he always just shrugs and says sorry in a way that I know he isn't sorry and he isn't going to stop using the stupid spray. "I have the exhaust fan on," he offers, like that's supposed to help. He cannot sympathize because apparently he stands in a cloud of the stuff and it doesn't bother him. But you know what? He's not mouth-breathing at the time.

Maybe next time I give him a cookie, I'll store it next to a tampon first.







Random Rants


Every once in a while when I can't think of anything else to write about, I just feel the need to rant about random stuff that bugs me. (Like the wrongness of calling gum a "snack.") And today, lucky readers? Is one of those days.

First up: the phrase "hand-dipped ice cream." I see it just about everywhere ice cream is sold. It's apparently supposed, like, make the ice cream sound more enticing. It's *cue sparkly music* hand-dipped. Um ... duh? How else are you supposed to get the ice cream in the cone? Dig your toes down into the carton? Wedge an ice cream scoop between your butt cheeks and go to town? I've never seen a fancy-schmancy automatic ice cream scooper machine (I picture it to look something like something Dr. Seuss would have invented, with a lot of mechanical arms). So until someone invents one of those, pretty much ALL hard ice cream is gonna be - you guessed it - hand dipped. Stop trying to make it sound special.

Second: planking. Owling. Or what is apparently the newest trend, batting. All this stuff where people lay or sit in ridiculous poses in ridiculous places and get their picture taken. Call me old and stodgy, but I have entirely missed the point. If I want my picture taken in a random place to post on Facebook, you know what I do? I sit or stand. LIKE A REGULAR PERSON. What a novel idea!

Third: my children's recent and excessive use of the singsong phrase "nanny nanny boo boo." It is heard especially frequently at mealtime, in regard to plates and cups; i.e., "I got the green cup, nanny nanny boo boo." It doesn't matter that the cups are the same type, same size, same print, and contain the same amount of the same beverage. And I swear if I hear it one more time, I'ma throw all the damn cups away and make them drink out of identical water bowls like our pets do.

Okay. A poopy diaper beckons. Which brings me to my fourth gripe: almost-two-year-olds who aren't potty trained.

Just kidding ... sort of.


I'm Ready, Already!


School starts in three weeks. Can I get a hallelujah?

Don't get me wrong. There are things I've enjoyed about Colin's first summer break. Like ... um ...

.... uhhh, like .... ummmm ....

*sigh*

Okay. Maybe summer break will be nice and enjoyable once my kids actually learn to sleep past 6:30 (IF that ever happens, although it sounds more and more like an urban legend to me). And once they stop coming up with brilliant and innovative new ways to make messes. And once they start getting along (if ever). It will be nice when four minutes can elapse without being punctuated with screams, slaps, tattles, or knock-down, drag-out brotherly brawls. I play referee so often I should be sporting some black and white stripes - it's exhausting.

Anyway, now begins the task of the back-to-school shopping, wherein we buy Colin jeans that he will rip, shoes that he will wear holes in, a backpack that he will drag along the ground, shirts that he will irreversibly stain, and supplies that he will burn through like he's eating them. And if last year is any indication, he will do all these things within four to six months, making a second school shopping trip necessary.

At this point, I guess I should be happy that only one of my boys is in school. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when all three of them need a seemingly-endless stream of school supplies and apparel. I'll have to put on my hotpants and fishnets and stand down on the corner just to keep them all properly outfitted.*

*They might be out of luck.

Maybe I should just homeschool them - then I won't have to worry about buying them clothes. They're naked all the time anyway.


This Phase is a Scream


I'm hoping I don't get a visit from the cops. Or worse, child protective services. But seriously, judging from the piercing screams that seem to almost constantly emanate from my house? I wouldn't be surprised if the neighbors called either one. Because it sounds like I'm butchering a pig up in here, y'all.

And his name is Cameron.

My three-year-old, has always had a big voice. It's just ... naturally loud. EXCEPTIONALLY loud. Even when he was a tiny infant, his cries could've woken the dead (with the exception of his father, who has always had a rare talent for "sleeping through" the boys' middle-of-the-night disturbances). I don't know why it's that loud except Cameron has a really big mouth, like really big, which might have something to do with it. Anyway, I love it when he sings, laughs, or says something funny. I do not, however, find it amusing when he screams.

Unfortunately, screaming seems to be what he does best lately. It's always brought about by Colin's pestering/torturing/teasing/scaring. And it DRIVES me CRAZY. No no ... crazy isn't even a good enough word. The sound is like hundreds of people collectively scraping their nails across a chalkboard while someone drives red-hot pokers into my ears and lets loose a swarm of buzzing mosquitos around my head.

But Colin doesn't feel the same about his little brother's huge voice. In fact, he enjoys bothering Cameron into a screaming frenzy. Which means he does it every. Single. Chance. He gets. And considering they're together all day long since it's summer vacation? I think you get the idea.

Colin chases Cameron with a toy snake: screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam!
Colin clips the dog's leash to Cameron's shorts: screeeeeeeeeeeeam!
Colin pretends to reach for Cameron's breakfast/lunch/dinner/drink: screeeeeeeeeeeeam!
Colin pretends he's going to pee on Cameron: screeeeeeeeeeeeam!
Colin says any variety of words (like "piggy" or "snoogle") in a "scary" voice: screeeeeeeeeeam!

I could go on. Like, indefinitely. Point is, it's ridiculous. But what's worse is that once he got into the habit of screaming about everything Colin does, Cameron also started to scream in response to just about everything else. Like when he's playing with the dog. Or when the baby tries to take a toy from him. (Which both happen approximately 1,500 times a day.) Even when Colin is doing something that Cameron likes - tickling or playing tag - what does Cameron do?

You guessed it. He screams. At the top of his lungs.

My ears are perpetually ringing. My head is perpetually aching. My nerves are perpetually shot. I know this is just a phase - I mean I don't think he's going to go off to college screaming at every little thing - but at this point, I'm praying the phase ends before I go completely mad.

Or before, you know, my eardrums explode. Whichever happens first.



Fish-a-licious?


I hate fish.

Not the live, swimming-around kind ... those I can handle. I'm talking about fish as a meal. Any kind of fish, baked, broiled, steamed, fried, sushi-fied, whatever: I hate it all with equal passion. Yuck. I'm pretty sure that if I died and went to hell, Satan would be all, "You will eat nothing but fish, hominy and black coffee for all eternity! And no dessert! Bwahahahahaaaa!"

Side note: anybody ever notice that fish-lovers who try to get fish-haters to eat fish are always like, "But this kind doesn't even taste like fish?" Here's a news flash, folks: FISH ALWAYS TASTES LIKE FISH.

Ahem.

So anyway, Curtis called me as I was making my way home from the gym the other day. "The boys wanted to make you a special meal," he said. And I was thinking, "Ooooh, score!" Because a.) I was ravenously hungry, and b.) I'm generally the one who makes the meals so it was nice that someone else took it over for a change.

When I opened the door, all three of my excited little boys were waiting to pounce on me. "Mommy!" they squealed. "We cooked a special lunch for you! Come and taste it! It's delicious!" They each grabbed some part of me - a hand, a thigh, the side of my T-shirt - and led me up the stairs, insisting that I keep my eyes closed so as not to spoil the surprise. But though I couldn't see, I could smell. And something was ... fishy.

With a growing sense of trepidation, I approached the table, which featured a (foil-covered) plate with silverware laid (crookedly) beside it and a neatly folded (paper towel) napkin. Two (Febreze air-freshening) candles flickered on either side. The boys could hardly contain themselves. "See, Mommy?" they beamed. "We set a pretty table, didn't we?"

"You sure did, guys," I said. "Now what's this lovely meal?"  

With a flourish, Colin whipped the foil off of the plate to reveal ......

... A FISH FILLET. Among other things that I couldn't even pay attention to because, OMG, fish.

My smile went all trembly and fake. What to do? I knew I couldn't - literally would not be physically able to - choke down the fish. But the boys were so excited, and staring at me expectantly with their hopeful little faces. It would be terrible to out-and-out refuse to eat it ... right? I tried to gauge the psychological impact that would have on them: would it barely register in their long-term memories, or would Mommy's callous rejection of their hard work land them on a psychiatrist's couch (and/or the Jerry Springer show) someday?

I looked to Curtis, who knows I despise fish, for help - but he was clearly enjoying my plight, a smirk playing on his lips. This dilemma could have been stopped in its tracks with a simple, "Mommy doesn't like fish, so how about we make something else?" ... but no.*

*And P.S., Honey? I'm going to remember that. Just sayin'.

"Oh my goodness, this rice looks delicious," I gushed, turning my attention to the mound of Rice-a-Roni piled beside the offending fillet. I was hoping that by making a big deal over the rice, the boys wouldn't even notice that I wasn't eating the fish, and at some point I could discreetly slip it to the dog.

But apparently, the fish was the main attraction. The focal point. The special of the day. "Now taste the fish!" the dudes urged enthusiastically.

I had to be honest. "It's so nice of you guys to prepare me this wonderful meal, and I love it," I began gently, "but ... Mommy doesn't care for fish."

"I know," said Colin, "but you have to take a 'no thank you' taste, remember, Mommy?"

It's always nice when your well-intentioned parental teachings come back to bite you in the ass, isn't it? And here was my six-year-old, using my own rule against me. See, when my kids are being picky - which is like 99.7% of the time - I say, "You don't have to eat the whole thing ... just taste it once. If you still don't like it, you can say, 'No thank you.'" Hence the term "no thank you taste." The majority of the time, once they actually put some in their mouths, they realize they do like it after all, and hardly ever say "no thank you."

I knew that wouldn't work with the fish. But what could I do? I had to follow the rule that I so consistently lay down for my boys.

So I flaked a bit of fish onto my fork and slowly put it into my mouth. All eyes were upon me.

I chewed. My throat locked. My eyes watered. I swallowed.

"No thank you," I managed weakly, once the threat of gagging passed. And then I shoveled rice into my mouth like I hadn't had a bite in weeks.

It was cold, but you know what?

It's better than fish.





Sound Advice from a Six-Year-Old


Colin has a rather ... unique nickname for his baby brother.

He calls him "Poon." It began at dinner one night, derived from the way Coby says "spoon." And it has (unfortunately) stuck. A poon, says Colin, is a type of animal.

Now technically, the definition of poon is "Any large Indo-Malayan evergreen tree of the genus Calophyllum." But if you are at all familiar with slang? You'll know that the street definition of poon is ... *whispers* vagina.

I know.

But of course, I don't particularly wanna explain this to Colin. I mean, I'd like to not be the mom who teaches her six-year-old the various (and possibly derogatory) slang terms for a woman's hoo-ha. You know? I mean, I already inadvertantly taught him some slang for the male anatomy (Mother of the Year right here, y'all!). So for now, at least, I've said nothing. 

The other day, the boys were playing and Colin was "hunting for poon." Curtis and I were trying not to crack up, naturally, as we would've had to explain why we were laughing - but it was flippin' hilarious. He stalked through the house, talking about how poon is so hard to find (snicker snicker), all the while completely oblivious to what "poon" actually refers to. But that was nothing compared to what he said when he caught Coby.

"Oh no!" Colin shrieked. "This is an infected poon!"

And then: "Stay away from the infected poon, or you'll be infected too!"

Curtis and I didn't even try hide our laughter at that point.

"Stay away from infected poon," repeated Curtis. "Remember that, son. It's probably the best advice you'll ever give yourself."

Yep. He's wise beyond his years. Let's just hope he keeps that tidbit in mind when he learns the alternate meaning of poon.

E-mail Fail


I remember my very first email address: grrrlfriend (with three r's, thankyouverymuch) at hotmail dot com. I got it when I was a senior in high school. That was back in the olden days, when email was brand-spanking-new and people still used libraries to look stuff up and dinosaurs followed us home from school.

In the early days of email, I got actual mail. Like, an electronic version of the notes normally passed to me in class by my friends. With conversations and gossip and questions and answers. Even a few love notes from Curtis, painstakingly pecked out with one finger, sparsely capitalized and punctuated. (He's learned a lot about both computers AND proper sentence structure since then, thank goodness.)

Then came the forwards. The first few were funny, a novelty. But then there was the onslaught of the stupid ones, i.e., "This is the story of little Timmy who sang to his baby sister on her deathbed who later reported seeing angels and teddy bears dancing on sparkly rainbows. Pass this to at least 200 people if you love Jesus."

I mean, I'm pretty sure me and the J-man will still be tight if I don't forward the heartwarming tale.

And now? My email, once a source of excitement ("Oooh! I got a new message!"), has become a source of stress for the most part. My actual person-to-person exchanges, I mean like written conversations, are few and far between. Yet my inbox is stuffed to the gills with "must-have deals" and "newsletter updates" from what seems like every store I've ever shopped in or organization whose website I've ever visited. And that's not even the spam. My spam folder currently contains 733 messages, and that's from the last thirty days alone. I don't even check that one any more, because it's too much to keep up with - and anyway, I don't need to enlarge my penis (huh?), satisfy my girlfriend (WTF?) or wire money to anyone in Nigeria.

I have 672 messages in my regular, non-spam inbox. They've gone undeleted because I obviously thought they were important enough to save, but honestly, y'all? I don't remember what 99% of them are even about. And the thought of going through them, one by one, just makes me tired. Yet the thought of doing one mass delete makes me nervous, in case there's something in there that - one of these years down the line - I might actually need to refer to. Ugh.

Ever just feel like deleting your email account and starting fresh with a new one?


Band-Aid Bandits



There's a rule in our house that you can't have a Band-Aid unless there is clearly visible blood. Because otherwise? My kids would be plastered with them from head to toe. They seem to think they need to slap one on every bruise, scratch, and mosquito bite ... even on places where there's absolutely nothing ("See, Mommy? I hurt myself right here." *points to blank skin*).

I don't understand the appeal. I mean, they're just plain brown adhesive bandages. They aren't neon-colored, or adorned with Dora or Diego or Mickey Mouse or Scooby Doo. They're not even the awesome-textured rubbery-feeling ones. They're JUST. REGULAR. BROWN. BAND-AIDS.

Not only that, but doesn't it hurt to peel them off any more? When I was little and I'd get a scrape or something, I'd initially be like, "Yay Band-Aid!" and then as soon as it was on, I'd realize with a dreadful sinking feeling that it eventually had to come off. That meant either a quick rip or an agonizingly slow peel, and either way, I hated the process. But my kids don't seem to care, seeing as they'll willingly stick them in places that - even as an adult - I cringe to think about removing them from. (Let's just say this: my children are lucky they don't have pubes yet.)

Anyway, once the dudes started to accept the fact that I wouldn't dole one out for just any old injury, real or imagined, they stopped asking and started sneaking. Despite their position on a high shelf in the linen closet, the Band-Aids keep mysteriously disappearing like there's some kind of emergency trauma facility hidden behind the stacks of towels. And despite the fact that I rarely ever CATCH anyone pilfering said bandages, I spot the stolen goods in the most random of places:

- Wrapped around doorknobs
- Used as nipple covers, in lieu of a shirt
- Holding handmade signs on doors
- Used as a substitute for tape, seeing as they've also somehow managed to waste entire rolls of that
- Wrapped around the dog's tail
- Stuck to the carpet in every. Single. Room.

Because they're apparently so useful for more than just first aid, my jumbo-sized multi-pack of Band-Aids has dwindled to a measly three or four stragglers. I've hidden the last few in an attempt to keep some around for actual bandage-requiring injuries, but I'm sure that in time, those too will be gone; my boys have an uncanny knack for finding things I don't want them to find.*

*And by "things" I mean the stash of candy that I amass when I secretly pick my favorite pieces out of their Halloween buckets, Christmas stockings, Valentine boxes, and Easter baskets. Oh and also certain battery-requiring items that I can't even write about because this is a generally PG-rated blog, if you know what I mean. *cough

Anyway.

Let's just hope nobody bleeds.


  


Your Old Friend Rita


I know I said a while back that I was going to dye my hair, but after all the tips and advice everyone heaped upon me, I decided against it. I wanted to go lighter and that sounded like too much maintenance. I'm all for fighting the frump with a fresh hair color, but not when I have to, like, fork over the money to keep getting regular root touchups.

I mean, I'm saving for a boob job, y'all.

This morning, though, I was straightening my hair. (For the record, that is pretty much the only hairdo-related thing I'm capable of accomplishing. And only with the one straightening iron I'm familiar with. Because last week my friend Trinity visited with her new-fangled In-Styler and I'm just now getting over the unfortunate neck-burn-that-looked-just-like-a-hickey. I actually thought about getting a THIS IS NOT A HICKEY t-shirt printed up.)

Anyway. I digress. I was straightening my hair this morning, and all of a sudden, up pops a crinkly gray hair. Now, this isn't my first granny-fied strand, although prior to turning the big 3-0 they were few and far between. I'm finding them more and more frequently, but today? Was some sort of cosmic joke. Like, "Surprise, you're effin' OLD!" Because after the first one, it didn't take me long to spot another. And another. And another. And ... another. WTF?!

They're beyond easy to spot in my dark hair, these wiry, crinkly omens of elderhood. They're so voluminous against the brunette backdrop that they may as well be made of LED lights. Hey, look at us! they scream. We're the precursor to arthritic hands and adult diapers! Yaaaay!

All in all, I spotted a grand(ma) total of SEVEN GRAY HAIRS. Today alone. And that's only the part of my head that I could see. I can't even imagine the oldness that's lurking in the back. It's probably freaking salt-and-pepper ... but I can't bring myself to look. I'm just going to pretend that the back of my head still looks twenty.

It's apparently not enough that I've been forced to battle with a beard ever since having my kids. Now I have to worry about going gray (at a record-breaking speed, I think). I spent years dyeing my hair when I didn't need to, just to try out different hair colors - from the experimental (albeit accidental) burgundy in eighth grade to the neon blue, red, and green streaks I sported during my high school punk phase.*

*Yes, really. **

**Don't judge.

But now that I actually need to dye my hair, so that no one mistakes me for my grandmother, it no longer holds nearly the appeal that it used to. I haven't dyed it in so long that my whole head is actually comprised of my natural color, which is a decent shade of dark brown that I never appreciated ... until it started its descent into Brillo-pad silver.

Brown-from-a-box, here I come.

Let Me Geni-Tell Ya ...

I can't find a non-pornographic picture for this post, so please enjoy this illustration of a happy cloud.


If I hear the word "penis" one more time .......

I know. I guess I should be happy they're using its proper name, rather than one of its slang-term (and infinitely more embarrassing when uttered in public) counterparts. But I wish they were using it in a different way. A proper way. For example, "Mommy, I am going to put on some pants so that you don't have to look at my penis all day long."*

*Heh. I wish.

But instead? My boys have recently decided it's funny to substitute "penis" for words in songs. Stories. Their names. Ad infinitum. Their formula is predictable: take any old sentence, replace one word with "penis," cackle hysterically. And it's getting old with a quickness.

I've tried hard to be the mother who is open with her children about all things. I've always been age-appropriate-yet-frank when Colin asks me cringe-worthy questions (and ohhhh, the questions ... remember when he asked me how babies are made and whether my nether-regions stretched during childbirth ?). I have worked to foster an environment where it's okay to talk about that type of stuff; where genitalia is not dirty or shameful, but just another body part.

That being said, the word "penis" can never be uttered as casually as, say, "foot." And I've had to explain that there are certain places we can't say it: like in school (because I'd reeeeeally like to avoid awkward phone calls from the teacher like the one I got a couple months ago). "It's only appropriate at home," was the penis-talk stipulation that I hammered into the boys' heads, over and over.

But now we are at home. Didn't I say (in repeat mode, repeat mode, repeat mode) that it was appropriate at home? Yes. In fact, I probably overstated that they could be comfortable saying it here, in hopes of nurturing said "open environment." And now, I'm forced to contradict my own teachings. It's just that I never expected, "What do you want for lunch?" to be answered with, "Macaroni and penis," or a beloved nursery rhyme to morph into "Penis Bo Peep."

I mean ... seriously?

I tried ignoring it in hopes that the phase would fizzle out. But no luck so far. I tried dirty looks at the mere mention of "the p-word." Nothing. I tried saying, "It's fine to talk about penises at home, but only when you are asking a question about them or need to tell Mommy something about your own." But much like the phrases, "Don't pick your nose," and "Leave your brother alone," it just hasn't seemed to sink in.

So for now, I'm stuck with an even greater-than-usual amount of genital jabber. Penis this and penis that. I'm surrounded by penis. And trust me ... that's not nearly as fun as it sounds.


  


Brotherly Brutality


I promise I don't beat my kids.*

*Even though there are times when I'd totally like to.

But as covered in injuries as they perpetually seem to be, nobody would believe it. I swear, it has gotten ten times worse this summer - I guess it's the increase in time spent outside. Climbing leads to bumps and bruises. Running leads to scraped knees. Mosquitoes lead to bites, which are vigorously scratched even though I've told the kids a million times to leave them alone, which leads to scabs. And then there are the (constant) brotherly spats, which lead to even worse injuries, like fingernail and teeth marks and red welts in the shape of little handprints.

Poor Coby isn't even two yet and already seems to get the worst of it. A couple of weeks ago, Cameron accidentally toppled an (empty) bookcase over on his little brother, leaving a nasty scrape on his forehead and a bruise that was thisclose to being a total black eye. Then just a few days after that, Coby was playing outside when he tripped and hit his head on the corner of the concrete patio, resulting in a cut just above his eyebrow on the same side as his bookcase injuries. And soon afterward, a game of chase with his brothers in the kitchen left him with a fat lip.

I seriously wonder sometimes how on earth I ended up with boys. Because y'all? This rough-and-tumble bidness is going to give me a heart attack one of these days. I have the distinct feeling that if I had three girls, I wouldn't be hosing blood off my concrete or going through a box of Band-Aids a month. I highly doubt that sisters would try to strangle each other or leave scratch marks down one another's backs.

I hate when it's time for their annual check-ups at the pediatrician, because the boys are always busted up somehow. My mommy-paranoia kicks into overdrive and in my head I'm all, "I hope nobody thinks we're abusing them OMG what if they do OMG what if they get like taken away or something? Should I point out that they did it to themselves or would that just look suspicious like I was trying to hide something should I just not say anything or what?" Thank goodness they're old enough to talk now, so they can actually explain the injuries themselves. Especially since the last time, Cameron had a scab that looked eerily like a cigarette burn, and his doctor actually asked about it.

"Colin did it with the toy helicopter!" Cameron tattled cheerfully. He was glad to tell on his brother, and for once, I was glad too.

As if on cue, just as I was typing this post, a piercing scream erupted from the bedroom where they had been playing quietly, and Coby came hurtling out to the living room and threw himself dramatically onto the couch. Upon closer inspection, I noticed three scratches on both sides of his neck. Combination strangle-hold/fingernail-dig, I'd wager. 

 

Birth of a (Procrasti)Nation

Someone seems to have set off a clutter bomb in my house.


I'm hiding.

From responsibility.

But if y'all could see this place, you wouldn't blame me. It's like somebody took the normal clutter-and-laundry buildup of my house and put it on steroids and then hit fast-forward and was like, "Haha Rita! Take that!" There are places in here where I literally can't even see the floor. The kitchen counters? Covered. The laundry room? Overflowing. Even the deck out back needs to be cleaned. Which is why I'm posted up in my bed with my laptop right now, because it's one of the least filthy areas in this joint. Although the following is a list of stuff I can actually see from where I'm sitting:

- A crushed Pepsi box
- A flattened box from an ice cream maker
- A toy dump truck
- An empty tea pitcher
- A pile of dirty laundry
- A heaping basket of clean-but-unfolded laundry
- One of my couch pillows
- A scattered stack of letter flashcards
- A flip-flop
- A dog-chewed phone charger
- A talking/singing stuffed toy that inexplicably yelled, "Awesooome!" in the middle of the night, scaring the bejesus out of me

Now take that bunch of random crap and multiply it by like a gazillion and you've got a pretty good idea of what the rest of my house looks like. And since it was back to work for Curtis today, guess who gets to take care of it all? I can hardly contain my excitement! *gag* I'm trying hard not to think about the fact that right before it was trashed, it was scrubbed-bleached-vacuumed-steam-cleaned-polished-straightened-and-sanitized, via hours of grueling preparation by yours truly.

The house doesn't look like this because I spent Independence Day weekend sitting around neglecting my domestic duties. It looks like this because I've had company for a week solid. A total of fifteen people to feed, entertain, and keep in clean towels - with an aftermath that rivals a ransacking by vandals. But it was really fun to spend all this time with family and friends, and I wouldn't trade the events of the past week for anything.*

*Unless it was, you know, like free maidservice for a year, or a date with Johnny Depp or something. 

Unfortunately, the mess isn't the only aftermath I've got to deal with. My kids are an even bigger mess from a week of basically running amok. They've had more sugar, more junk, less structure, fewer rules, later bedtimes. It's pretty much like when they stay at Grandma's house, and Grandma is all, "Sure, honey! You go right ahead and eat this cake and candy for breakfast and play in the mud in your good shoes and don't worry about brushing your teeth before bed because you'll just fall asleep on the couch watching TV at midnight anyway." You know what I mean? And then when you get them back they're, like, different children? Like they completely forgot that they normally have rules? And you have to harshly re-acquaint them with said guidelines?

Yeah. It's like that.

So now the (monumental) task of restoring order to absolute chaos lies before me. And I'll tackle it head-on.

... Just as soon as I can bring myself to come out of my bedroom. Ugh.

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