A Sh*tty Surprise

So last night I was picking up toys in the boys' room. And before you get all perfect-parent on me, yes, I know they should be doing that themselves. You're probably like, "Well. My kids always clean their own rooms" as you peer disdainfully at your smudge-less screen and click the mouse with your perfectly manicured nails. You with your fixed hair and your daytime clothes on. Hmmph.

... No, I don't have a complex, why do you ask?

Anyway. Last night I was picking up the boys' toys because it was just toooooo much of a mess for me to stand around while they picked it up themselves. I don't have the patience for that crap. I want it clean, and I want it clean now, and if I had waited for the kids to do it, it would have gone something like this: throw smallest toy into toybox. Pick up one more. Play with it. Be scolded by Mom. Keep playing with it while inching painfully slowly toward the toybox. Argue because brother is in your way and because IIIIIIIII wanted to pick up that toooooooy!!! Be scolded by Mom.

... Ad infinitum.

It would have taken forever, is my point - and it was like ten minutes 'til eight and nearly bedtime. So I was doing it myself lending a hand just to save my own sanity. And as I was throwing things left and right into the big plastic bin in their closet, and listening to the umpteen toys talking in there - the stuffed frog that says, "That's the red circle!" and the broom that says, "I'm Sweepin' Sam!" and the truck that says, "Now that's some serious power!" and the annoying Barney banjo that just. will. not. QUIT - I made a most unpleasant discovery.


But not just any poop. Ohhhhh, no. Not semi-petrified turds that can be easily plucked from their resting place or anything that simple. Nope. It was a bunch of droplets. A spray. As if someone had filled a mister with liquid feces and just went to town on my carpet. And it was dried.

"BOYS!" I bellowed. "How is there poop sprayed on your carpet?"

They both looked at me with blank faces. Only they weren't "I-genuinely-have-no-idea" blank ... they were "I'm-going-to-pretend-I-don't-know" blank. And no one said a word.

So I asked again. "How is there POOP. Sprayed on your CARPET?"

Colin was the first to crack. "I think Cameron did it!"

This would in no way surprise me, so I swiveled toward Cameron. "How did you do this?"

He paused. Then, "Um ..." he began sweetly in the tiniest little voice, "it might just be diarrhea. Maybe I just farted or something."

"You farted on your carpet?" I shrieked. "Pantsless?"

"... Or maybe it was Colin."

Colin protested, but still looked guilty. I was almost positive they both had a better idea of what had happened than they were letting on, but nobody was talking - at least not saying anything that made any sense. I got the feeling that it was some kind of collaboration, like the time Colin had convinced his brother to pee in the baby bathtub ... but seeing as it was an old crime, and the evidence was already dried onto the carpet, the statute of limitations had passed. It was a cold case, and it was nearly bedtime, and I was tired.

Plus, I wasn't even sure I really wanted to know ... ya know??

So I wearily busted out the Resolve carpet cleaner and the paper towels and went to work on the mysterious spray. But you better believe I left the rest of the toys for the boys to clean up - and they did it quickly, without protest.

I can't exactly say it was worth it, but that's one way to get them to pick up their own stuff.

The Perils of Peeing While Pregnant

In my dreams ... if I could sleep long enough to have any.

I woke up in the middle of the night ... on my back. I hate that, because anybody who's ever been pregnant knows that you're supposed to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your back apparently hinders, like, the flow of blood and oxygen and other stuff to the baby. So when I realized I was on my back, I felt a pang of guilt and envisioned poor Corbin all glazy-eyed and slack-jawed dealing with developmental issues because his selfish back-sleeping mother deprived him of vital nutrients in utero.

After the guilt washed sufficiently over me, I realized I had to pee. But the thing is, I'm pretty big. And sleeping in a too-small bed with a big husband and a toddler who sleeps sideways and a cat or two and an occasional Labrador retriever and a pug who, despite being a small breed, sure can pin down the covers like nobody's business.

Yeah, I've got too many animals, shut up.

Anyway, when you're sleeping under those particular conditions, getting up to pee becomes a bit of a challenge. I mean, when your belly is the size of a beach ball and the heft of a bowling ball, just getting up is hard enough. It didn't help that there was a cat laying on my hair.

Once that problem was remedied, I still had to get out of bed. And I was still on my back. So I looped my hands around my right thigh for leverage and sort of rocked back and forth until I could sit up. (Think of how a turtle would get up if it were lying on its shell. You know, if a turtle could actually get up from that position unassisted.)

When I stood up, I felt a little dizzy - I guess from all that horrible horrible back-sleeping (for shame!). So I wavered around in the dark for a minute, stumbling my way toward the bathroom, tripping over a scooter and some sort of helmet and all the other crap I was too lazy to pick up last night. The baby had slid into his normal position (head or whatever part firmly planted in my bladder) which intensified the need to pee by, like, infinity. And holding your pee in is terrible when you're trying to get to a toilet and can't make it immediately. So I waddled across the floor with my knees buckled, trying to maneuver around whatever obstacles were lurking in the darkness, praying that I could reach the bathroom without a leak ... or worse.

Miraculously, I made it to the toilet without falling over or pissing myself. When I did, I was immediately accosted by cats. I don't know what it is, but I guarantee if you're wandering around my house in the middle of the night, you'll have a cat prancing around your feet like you're wearing a nightie made of fish fillets. They come out of nowhere. So on my way out of the bathroom, instead of waddling around with buckled knees, I was shuffling so as not to step on anyone.

I managed to creep back to the bed, but it was dark, and it takes my eyes like eight thousand hours to adjust to the darkness, and plus I didn't have my contacts in and y'all know how blind I am without my corrective vision. I couldn't just lay down in the bed ... ohhhhh no. Because when you vacate a spot in my bed, it fills up immediately - kind of like a footprint in really gloppy mud or sand, you know, the kind that goes away a few seconds after you leave it? I couldn't risk laying on someone because at this point I would totally squish them.

I fumbled for my phone, but couldn't feel it. Luckily it was on the charger so all I had to do was grope along the cord, starting at the wall. Turns out, the phone had somehow fallen behind the bed. So I slid my hands into the crack between the bed and the wall, huffing and puffing and searching. Disconnected the phone. Turned it on. Shined the light on the bed to assess the situation. Sure enough, Coby (the toddler) had scooted over into my spot, Thurman (the cat) was on my pillow like he wasn't just winding around my feet five seconds ago, Destiny (the pug) was laying on the covers, and Curtis (the husband) had thrust his elbow over into the spot where Coby was supposed to be.


So I shooed away the cat, and shoved the pug to the center of the bed, and heaved Curtis's dead-weight elbow back onto his side, and scooted Coby back into the center (pleasepleasepleasedon'tlethimwakeup) and fluffed my cat-indented pillow and retrieved the pillow that I keep between my knees and finally, finally, hefted myself back into the bed.

By that time, I was wide awake. So since I had my phone in my hand, I went ahead and checked Facebook, which made it worse. And by the time I finished looking at Facebook and could think about going back to sleep, Curtis was snoring like a freight train - I swear the bed was vibrating from the sound. So I ended up laying there awake for like an hour.

But at least I didn't have to pee.

Warm-Weather Woes

It's the first day of spring! Oh, the awesomeness! My windows are open, I can hear the birds singing (well, kind of faintly, over the noise of squabbling and Nick Jr. and the dog and the washing machine), and there are buds on the trees.*

*Ha! Speaking of buds, I totally just remembered that I dreamed about going fishing in the dark last night, and pulling out a backpack full of soggy marijuana stashed in empty paper towel rolls, and taking it with me to an Applebee's where I waited nine hours, without complaining, to be served. How random!


I'm so excited for the warmer weather because that means no coats! No boots! No mittens! No hats! It means just saying, "Okay guys, get in the car," and not having to stop and bundle everyone up first. Because when you have three kids with assorted sizes of outerwear, finding everyone's everything and helping put it on is a huge pain in the ass undertaking. Which is why I am a terrible mother and rarely let my children play outside in the winter. Once I dress them in layers of clothing and the coats and stuff, inevitably someone has to pee, or has an itch underneath his this-or-that which must be scratched. By the time they take care of the problem and re-dress and get bundled and ready to go out, it's been forty-five minutes and the neighbor kids who are waiting to play have gotten cold and gone inside.

I guess it's not too much less of a pain to send them outside even in the warm weather. I wish we had a fence and I could just be like, "Hey, go out and play!" but I can't. We don't even have a swing set, so I have to go out with them and keep everybody out of the street and the flower bed and the creek that runs through our back yard. Which pretty much rules out sitting there with a book, chillin'. Booooooo.

And then there's still the issue of getting them dressed, because as y'all know, my children are nudists. Yep, even the two-year-old, who can now (proudly) take his own clothes off. Since it's not quite shorts-and-flip-flops weather, there are still jeans to snap and zip and socks to struggle with and shoes to tie. Even if I hurry, all this takes at least fifteen minutes.

There's a little boy in the neighborhood who comes by with his grandpa sometimes and rings the doorbell, asking if my kids can play. That's nice and all, but what they don't realize is, it's not a quick process. It's not like I can just say, "Yeah, sure!" and send them out. First of all, I have to go out with them, because proper etiquette dictates that I can't just shove them out the door for the grandpa to watch. Which means I myself have to be dressed, wearing a bra, generally presentable to the outside world - and not doing anything important, which is like, never. Then there's the matter of getting the boys all ready.

The other day the kid came by right at naptime. Two of my three boys were asleep. I wasn't going to even answer the door, but then Cameron rushed up to the window and was all, "Hey! There's a kid with a Scooby Doo shirt who wants to play!" in his unnaturally-loud voice. Fortunately I was wearing a bra, so I went to the door. I explained that, sorry, it wasn't a good time for the boys to play since two of them were sleeping. Which made Cameron upset, and he began to cry. Loudly. In the meantime, both the dogs decided to squeeze past me and run out into the yard. And when they run outside, they run. Like, away. Irritated, I ordered Cameron to stay in the house and not to open the door, and I ran out to chase the dogs down. Which meant running down the street, like four houses down. Hugely pregnant. In my bare feet. While leaving my kids in the house by themselves. Crouching occasionally like an idiot and yelling, "JoJo!" at Josie in that ridiculous falsetto voice that she loves. It took me like seven minutes to wrangle the dogs back into the house, by which time Cameron's superloud bawling had woken up his brothers, who were upset because I was gone. And I was having contractions like crazy.


I was polite, but it was all I could do not to yell, "See! This is what happens when you just randomly ring my doorbell!" Because it is. This is not an exception, but the rule. Something like this will happen every time someone comes to the door unexpectedly - the dogs will try to make a break for it and the kids will go crazy. Or I'll have to yell at them to stay away from the door because they will totally come down there pantsless or whatever. (I know this because we once accidentally traumatized a Chinese delivery dude.) I know it's irrational to blame that on someone else, but it would just be so much easier if no one ever stopped by unannounced.

... Not even in spring.

Tact vs. Truth

My kids are at a dangerous age: the age of brutal, uncensored honesty. At six years old, Colin is pretty much growing out of it. (And thank goodness, because he has been the worst so far. Remember this ... or this?) But Coby, who will be three in September, is just beginning. And Cameron, newly four ... well, he's right in the thick of it.

Honesty is one of those things it's really tricky to teach your kids about. I mean, you tell them they should be honest at all times - no matter what. Then you might amend that to add, "Well, you should be honest as long as it isn't hurting anybody's feelings." But the problem with that explanation is that kids this young have a limited scope of what hurts people's feelings. They've never felt the sting of being called fat, for example, so they don't know that commenting on someone's weight can be hurtful.

Enter Cameron and his big uncensored mouth.

The other day when I was getting dressed, he was all, "Mommy, you have a really big butt."

A simple observation, yes. A true one? ... Um, perhaps. But did I want to hear it? Abso-frickin-lutely not.

"Cameron!" I admonished with a frown. "That's not a nice thing to say!"

I could tell by the look on his face that the poor little guy was confused. It was though I had scolded him for saying "the sky is blue" or "the grass is green." I felt bad momentarily, but he needed to learn that he can't just go around remarking on the size of people's posteriors. He didn't say anything else.

Fast-forward to a few days later. I was tugging my Zumba pants over my rear end when Cameron came into the room. He sat down on the edge of the bed. He looked at me for a minute, obviously noting my struggle. And then he said, in a very sweet voice ......

"That's a small butt you've got there."

I thanked him and gave him a hug, feeling slightly guilty, but proud that he had retained my lesson. Because I may not be teaching him to be honest, exactly, but I am teaching him one of the most fundamental skills of being a man: when it comes to weight or age, tact is often better than truth.

He'll thank me someday ...  

100 Things About Me

I was browsing blogs over the weekend and came across several with lists entitled "100 Things About Me." At first I thought that was kind of a narcissistic idea - but then when I really thought about it, I realized the appeal. I mean, my favorite thing about blogging (reading and writing my own) is identifying and connecting with people. Feeling like I know someone, even when I've never met them. And what better way to get to know someone than a list of things, in their own words? I actually enjoy reading other people's lists. So if you're the same way, keep reading. And if you feel so compelled, write one of your own - I'll read it!

100 Things About Rita

1. I don't like my first name. Never have. When Curtis and I first got married and moved to Texas, I considered going by my middle name (Jane) but decided it was equally boring. I don't hate Rita enough to, like, change it ... but, meh.

2. I have a definite lazy streak, but it's almost dangerous for me to indulge it because I would literally end up unwashed and in my pajamas for days on end until it teeters on the brink of depressed. So I can't be completely lazy very often.

3. Conversely, I can also be one of the most energetic people you've ever met. It just depends on my motivation. (And the weather. The weather totally affects my energy level.)

4. I am a very keen judge of character.

5. I used to be merely indifferent toward my biological father, from whom I've been estranged since I was around ten ... but because of his actions in the past couple of years, I think I actually hate him now. And I hate that I hate him. Not because I want to love him, or him to love me, but because indifference felt so much less toxic.

6. I love, like LOOOOVE, a clean house.

7. I've got mad cooking skillz (well, the majority of the time) and adore being in the kitchen, whipping up a decadent meal for my loved ones.

8. There was never a time, even when I was a little girl, when I didn't want to be a writer. It's literally in my genes; I come from a long line of writers. None of them are famous, but that doesn't stop me from dreaming about it. I know I have a novel in here somewhere.

9. I am super-good at picking up languages but have never learned enough of anything to be completely bilingual.

10. I can spell my ass off, but put a math problem in front of me and I go all blank-eyed and drooling.

11. I have a knack for innately knowing how people are feeling and what they need emotionally, and providing it. It's like a weird sixth sense.

12. I love The Sims 3, and could seriously play it all day long if I had the opportunity. (Which I don't ... boooooo.)

13. I simultaneously love, and am petrified by, zombies.

14. I have no living grandparents, and have felt strangely orphaned since my grandma died in 2009.

15. My mom and I have a very close relationship; I count her among my best friends. She's always been one of my biggest supporters, not to mention my biggest source of inspiration.

16. I love being a "boy mom," but I'm secretly afraid my boys will grow up and not be close to me in the way that daughters are to their mothers.

17. At the same time, though, I'm scared of any of them becoming grown-up "mama's boys." That is definitely an unattractive quality in a man.

18. I hate fish. All kinds of fish. Bleccch. (Eating them, I mean - I actually love them in aquariums and such.)

19. I am a total sucker for needy animals, which is why we have two dogs (Josie and Destiny), three cats (Thurman, Ava, and Meeko) and a fish (Bluey).

20. I think #19 is partially due to the fact that my mother is not such an animal person, and always refused to let me bring home strays as a kid.

21. I wear contacts, and sometimes, glasses. This is because when I was in like fifth grade, I decided I wanted glasses but had no idea they made non-prescription "fashion" lenses. So I faked failing my eye test to get real ones. Lo and behold, my eyesight actually weakened to accommodate my new lenses, and now I can't see. I ruined my own perfect eyesight. What a dumbass.

22. I was boy-crazy from an early age. The first time I ever got in trouble at school was in Kindergarten, for chasing my crush around the playground, tackling him, and kissing him. ... Against his will.

23. I can play the piano very well ... by ear. But I can't read notes for the life of me, even though I took piano lessons as a kid. I used to just ask the teacher to play the piece first, then I'd remember it and play it myself without ever reading the notes.

24. I have never had a professional massage, and have absolutely no desire to. The mere thought creeps me out the door. I will, however, take a professional manicure any day!

25. I'm very aware of how my house smells, and if I could, I'd have the windows wide-open and scented candles burning 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I despise stinky, stale-smelling houses.

26. Regarding #25: it's very difficult to keep a fresh-smelling house when you have five animals (six if you count the fish) and three grubby little boys. But I try.

27. In my lifetime, I have lived in seventeen different houses/apartments.

28. I got evicted from my very first apartment because I couldn't pay my rent.

29. My parents were not yellers. I was disciplined as a child, but never yelled at. I grew up to be a yeller, though, and my tendency to resort to that bugs the crap out of me. It's just that, well, sometimes it feels like there's no other way to be heard over the noise level in here.

30. I love flowers and gardening, and I wish I had more time and money to devote to that hobby. Every year I ambitiously buy packets of seeds, and every year they end up sitting in my junk drawer, un-planted.

31. I eat when I'm bored. Or sad. Or happy. Or tired. Or ....

32. I could drink gallons of sweet tea. Like real, Southern-style sweet tea.

33. I do not know CPR, and it makes me feel guilty, seeing as I'm the primary caregiver for my kids and thus the one who would most likely be there in an emergency. It's on my bucket list to learn.

34. Curtis and I have been together since I was seventeen, married since I was nineteen. We've had probably more than our share of dramatic ups and downs, but I'm really proud of the way we've weathered the really nasty stuff (and trust me - there have been some hard knocks). I can honestly say he's my best friend, and that I really and truly am madly and ridiculously in love with the dude, probably more now than ever. Even though he knows how to push my buttons.

35. There was a time when I thought I'd never be a mother. We struggled through five harrowing years of "unexplained" infertility, during which I had eleven IUIs (intrauterine inseminations), countless rounds of fertility drugs, both pill form (Clomid) and injectables (Gonal-F), and exploratory surgery to locate any problems with my plumbing (there were apparently none). But after Colin? Trouble conceiving has been a complete non-issue. So weird.

36. Because of my infertile years, I'm still insanely jealous of pregnant women ... even when I am pregnant.

37. I grew up attending church regularly, but I'm not religious. I believe in God, or something close, but not exactly the God who's outlined in the Bible.

38. I used to think there might not be a God, but then there were too many amazing "coincidences" in my life for me to think that any more.

39. I believe that you can gain something from all life events - even the horrible, nightmarish ones - and that they all have a purpose in the grand scheme of things.

40. I hope I'm not around to see the end of the world.

41. I love driving by myself on a warm sunny day, with the windows rolled down and the music cranked loud.

42. I despise sports - all sports - and think it must be some sort of cosmic joke that I have sons who will inevitably play/watch/enjoy sports at one time or another.

43. Every year, I live for bing cherry season. (Which, by the way, is far too short.) I could eat my weight in bing cherries. I don't think that's an exaggeration.

44. I love farmer's markets.

45. I have always wanted to live in a teeny-tiny, cozy little cottage-type house. But obviously at this point, with four kids and all these animals, that ain't happenin'.

46. I am not all that generous, and don't like to share (especially my food). This is a bad example for my kids, so I try to share with them ... grudgingly ... once in a while.

47. I dread the days when my kids are old enough to want friends to come over regularly, because as much as I love my own, I have trouble tolerating other people's kids.

48. Sometimes I feel like a crotchety old lady (see #46 and #47). I feel like the older I get, the more easily irritated I am. By the time I'm seventy I'm probably going to be intolerable!

49. I was somewhat of a whiz-kid in school. I was in the gifted program from Kindergarten all the way through graduation, scored a 24 on my ACT test in the seventh grade, and got a full college scholarship to an honors dorm that I SWEAR I didn't even apply for.

50. I majored in Psychology in college. I wanted to be a sex therapist - and I would've made a good one.

51. Then I tossed my education aside to get married and follow Curtis around the world with his Air Force career.

52. I still don't have my degree, and that's okay with me. I probably wouldn't use it anyway.

53. I have been to Germany, France, and Mexico. That is totally not enough places.

54. I have struggled for most of my adult life with Social Anxiety Disorder. Although most of the time I can control it without medication, it still sometimes rears its ugly head, and I tend to get hermit-y. People who don't know this about me are often completely surprised because I don't strike them as "the type."

55. Because of this (I'm pretty sure), I'm not a very good friend as far as calling or dropping by for a visit. I'll Facebook or email or text you until my fingers fall off, but if you ask me to actually talk, I get weird. I have lost friends over this.

56. I have never, in my adult life, had a bedroom set - not a headboard for my bed, or a side table, or even a dresser. I want one oh so badly.

57. I hate the taste of mint. Especially with chocolate.

58. But chocolate and peanut butter? Hell yes.

59. My favorite smells include lilac, clean laundry, puppy breath, babies, spring breezes, rain, bread baking, lemon, pencils, and gasoline.

60. I love houseplants and have no fewer than eleven or twelve of them at any given time.

61. I would rather get a practical gift, like a new vacuum cleaner, than something frivolous like jewelry.

62. I ADORE the squishy, heart-exploding feeling I get when I watch my boys with their daddy. Nothing in the world feels better.

63. I still get excited butterflies in my stomach when I hear Curtis's car pull into the garage, even after fourteen years of being together.

64. I would love to be a vegetarian, for ethical reasons, but I just looooove meat.

65. I don't like coffee, but I wish I did. It smells divine, but the taste? Yuck.

66. I grew up in a very small rural-Missouri town with no stoplights, where the population of cattle far outnumbers the population of people (which probably explains my love of meat), and it isn't unusual to get stuck behind a tractor on the road. There were just over 30 people in my graduating class.

67. I lived in Las Vegas for three years; that's where Colin was born. It was an awesome experience and I loved it, but I'm glad I'm not raising my kids there.

68. I shattered my two front teeth when I was a kid (by running into a fence ... hehe), and have had fake ones ever since.

69. I love toilet humor, and I think farts are funny. It's a good thing, too, since I am surrounded by all of that on a regular basis.

70. When we lived in Germany, I came to really appreciate wine - but I only like sweet wines. Moscato is my favorite.

71. My great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mother (all on the same side) have all had cancer. This frightens me, as it doesn't seem to be skipping any generations. Luckily, though, they've all survived it.

72. I sincerely love and appreciate the women who regularly come to my Zumba classes. I feel like we're all a bunch of friends, and I always feel weird when my "regulars" are missing.

73. As much as I love to cook, I would be more than happy to eat at a restaurant for every single meal. I adore dining out.

74. Curtis and I didn't have a honeymoon. I did spend a few days at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, but it was a girls' trip with my three besties. Someday, I want to go on the honeymoon I never had.

75. I haven't worn underwear since I was a senior in high school. Maybe because my brother used to give me wedgies incessantly - he's even ripped a few pairs.

76. I'm not against tattoos; I have two of them and would like another one. I am, however, against getting one before you're twenty. I got both of mine as a teenager, and they're both kinda stupid. These days I'd get something much more meaningful.

77. I honestly and deeply despise cattiness, backstabbing, immaturity, and drama, unless it's on reality TV. I have no place for that kind of B.S. in my real life, so if you're one of those kind of chicks, we will likely never be friends. I equally despise it when people say they don't like that stuff, then spread some sort of rumor in the next breath. My favorite quote: "There's so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it ill-behooves any of us, to talk about the rest of us." I'm not sure who said that, but they're brilliant.

78. I really, reeeeeally hope my future daughters-in-law like me. And I hope I like them. Because as of right now, I can't imagine any girl who would be good enough for my sons, which makes me nervous.

79. I wouldn't mind if any of my boys turned out to be gay. I definitely wouldn't love or respect them any less. (Curtis feels the same way, which is just another reason I love him so.) I would just worry for them, that they'd have a harder time in life because of other people's closed-mindedness.

80. I retain virtually-useless factoids like a sponge, and I love it when they actually come in handy - like the other day when I let a friend know that the tannic acid in a tea bag can help stop bleeding after a tooth extraction. I'm a veritable treasure trove of strange tidbits like this.

81. I say things like "veritable treasure trove" and then get embarrassed when people make fun of me for my vocabulary. It happens all the time. Once at Curtis's office Christmas dinner, I asked someone to pass me the "decanter of water," and the entire table laughed.

82. At the same time, my sons all have large vocabularies themselves, and I'm totally proud of that fact.

83. I have an insane sweet tooth, and I wish I didn't. I need, like really need, sweets on a regular basis. I'm sure it's just a sugar addiction and that I could break it if I tried hard enough, but I just love my sugar ...

84. I am vomit-phobic. I hate throwing up myself, and I especially hate to witness anyone else doing it - even if I can only hear them.

85. When I was younger, I used to dream about being a paid date - sort of like a Japanese geisha or a Greek hetaera. A courtesan. Not a prostitute, just a companion who was paid (well) to be pretty and lively and entertaining at social events. I still think it'd be fun, but I mean ... I'm married and on the verge of old, so that ship has pretty much sailed. (PS - isn't that weird, considering my social anxiety disorder? I've never quite figured that one out.)

86. I do not take kindly to unsolicited parenting advice from people who don't have kids. I'm sure I doled out enough of it in my pre-child days, and now I realize I was totally wrong. I don't care how many child-rearing books you read or how many child development classes you've taken: if you've never raised your own kids, you just. Don't. Know.

87. I am ridiculously competitive and a bit of a sore loser at times, so it's probably a good thing I don't like sports.

88. I love to make people laugh. Humor is my coping mechanism - every time I've been in labor, my nurses have enjoyed hanging out in my room. Which is unfortunate for me because even though I'm in pain and just want to be babied, people think I'm feeling okay because I'm joking about everything.

89. I have never liked to work for someone else, which is why I've almost always been my own boss (i.e., a writer). I just get a yucky feeling knowing that I have to ask someone's permission to take my kid to the doctor, or to rest if I don't feel good ... or for someone to dictate when I can eat lunch, take breaks, etc. I've been extremely lucky to be in a position of working for myself.

90. My first "real" job outside of babysitting was waitressing at a little place called the C&R Kountry Kafe (which always bugged me - I mean, just spell it with a damn C). I hate hate hated it. The busboys stole our tips on a regular basis.

91. Speaking of things that bug me, I can't stand laziness in writing. Like "doughnut" versus "donut," for example ... how much harder is it to add the "ugh?" Or the way people write on the web: "ppl" for people, "u" for you, and so on. Blah! People don't realize how moronic it makes them appear. I'm sorry, but I can never take you too seriously if you can't take the time to type out an entire word.

92. I'm not sure if astrology is "real," per se, but I do know that I'm a very typical Virgo - and none of the descriptions of the other signs fit me nearly as well.

93. I experimented with many different drugs in my younger years, and I consider myself very fortunate to have escaped addiction and all the ugliness that comes with it (even though I'm pretty sure I lost more than a few brain cells, damn it). I'm petrified that my kids will do the same experimentation, but not escape the trap ... it's a thought that can keep me awake at night.

94. I don't think "drug" is a good way to describe marijuana, and I'm pro-legalization. (But no, that doesn't mean I'm a stoner.)

95. I bite my cuticles, but think nail-biting is icky.

96. I can't stand long toenails, on myself or anyone else. I also can't stand sandals on most men (unless their feet are immaculately groomed, which is pretty rare for a dude).

97. I'm not all that into purses and shoes, and it sometimes makes me feel like I'm not "womanly" enough.

98. The only "real" jewelry I own is my wedding ring. Everything else is not only fake, but Walmart-caliber fake. I don't mind, although I would like to have a pair (or three) of genuine diamond studs for my ears someday.

99. I can't wait for my boys to be teenagers, although I completely dread the grocery bill. Feeding four teenage boys is going to require a second mortgage.

100. I've never had a cavity ... or a speeding ticket. Hopefully I didn't just jinx myself by saying that ...

WTF Wednesday: Whacked-Out Searches

So it's "Wordless Wednesday" around the blogosphere, but y'all know me - "wordless" isn't exactly my forte. Still, I'm going to have a little help from someone else's words: namely, the ones people type into their search engines, whereby they end up here at my blog. And since they're mostly weird, I'm entitling today WTF Wednesday. Because OMG, I love me some Internet acronyms! LOL

... Ahem.

Now, without further ado, I would like to present to you some actual search terms people have used to reach my blog. Sometimes creepy, but always hilarious.

#1: Zombie Motivational Sippie Cup. Because nothing motivates a small child to break free from the bottle than the prospect of staring at something scary while they sip their juice.

#2: Lick my heels. Seriously? If someone licked my heels right now, they'd feel like they had run their tongue over a cheese grater. I mean ... it's winter.

#3: Sometimes I like to lay on the floor and pretend I'm a carrot. Well duh. Don't we all?

#4: Thus, the solution practically in our hands. It's so obvious why this search term ended up right here at the Frump: I have all the answers. Just ask me.

#5: Frickin' tulips. I know. Flowers are sooooo annoying.

#6: Priceless turd. I don't know why somebody would Google this, but I sincerely hope they found what they were looking for.

#7: Knock knock jokes about volcanoes. ... I'm pretty sure that was Colin.

#8: My wife keeps farting. News flash ... it's because she's your wife now and not the girlfriend who was trying to impress you. You put the ring on it, and now she's all, "Ahhh, I can let my guard down. *fart*"

#9: The most amazing inspirational picture ever. You know, I always try to put a picture with each post. And I'd like to think that whoever came across my blog with this search term found exactly the picture they were looking for. I mean, I have a whole array of them - perhaps this little number?

This inspires me, all right. ... To brush my teeth.

And finally,

#10: Nosepicking funny boy. Well, there's no better place to go for that than here, is there?


I guess you could consider every night at my house "weird." I mean, for one thing, my queen-sized arse is crammed into a queen-sized bed with Curtis, Coby (who still insists upon sleeping there), our lab, our pug, and usually a random cat or two. Add in the fact that I have to sleep with a large pillow between my knees lately to keep my hips from aching, and, well ... our queen should really be a California king.

But even despite all that, last night gets chalked up to super-strange in my book.

It didn't help that I was dreaming of zombies all night long, which I always do after watching The Walking Dead on Sundays, but I wouldn't have it any other way because I fricking love that show. (And if you watched last night's episode? OMG. I won't post the spoiler here but I almost died at the ending. So so sad.)

Anyway, I woke up because I was freezing - which was crazy because it's usually the exact opposite. I like my house cool at night, but this was ridiculous. So I got out of bed and went to check the thermostat. Not only was the heat not on, but it had been turned to "cool" - and it was 58 degrees in this piece!! The controls are mounted high up on the wall in our hallway, and the kids never bother it, and I know that neither Curtis nor myself had decided it was time for the A.C. (I mean, it snowed yesterday). You have to lift the cover to access the buttons, so it couldn't have gotten inadvertently bumped. I have no idea how or when it got that way, but I felt like an icicle.

Heat turned on, I went back to bed. I had just fallen asleep when the smoke alarms started going off. I snapped awake in a panic, and before I even thought about it, I began running through the house to see what was on fire. And ... nothing. Not downstairs, not in the garage, nowhere. Yet the alarms were screaming out their middle of the night warning.

What's more, all three of my kids slept right through it. I was astonished; these boys wake up when someone down the street farts. I dread the days when Curtis leaves early for work because that means they'll all be awake, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by like 5 o'clock in the morning. Yet here were the smoke alarms going off, and my babies were sleeping like, well, babies. And I was horrified at the same time: what if something had been on fire and they didn't even notice? We do regular fire drills around here. They know what to do in the event of an emergency. Unless they don't do it because they're, you know, sleeping.

Anyway, we finally got the alarms to shut up. Curtis surmised that it was the sudden change of temperature when I turned the heat on that tripped the sensor. I didn't care what it was as long as I could go the eff back to bed. Which I did. And only had to wake up three more times to pee.

This morning when I walked into the living room, it looked like a freaking dust tornado had gone through.  Big clumps of dust covered everything. I recognized it right away as the phenomenon that happens only rarely: when either a.) something hits the ceiling fan, or b.) the ceiling fan blades switch direction. Now, Curtis and I were the last ones in the living room last night, and we have twelve-foot ceilings. It's not like things just go randomly hitting the fan, and I know nobody climbed up there and pushed the directional switch. Yet for some reason, the dust that I've been neglecting decided to make an appearance. All over my furniture and stuff.

It seriously feels like someone came in here last night and just messed with us. You know? Bizarre. So far today, though, things are back to normal around here. Naked breakfast, nose picking, cats chasing dogs - you know, the usual.

Guess we'll see what tonight has in store ...

Swyper, No Swyping!

I'm a texter. 95% of the time, I'd prefer to dash off a quick text (or twenty) than pick up the phone and actually talk. I think it's because while a phone conversation takes up time, I can do things in between texts - like wipe butts or fold laundry or clean an unidentifiable crusty patch off of my clothing. Plus, it doesn't matter if one of my kids is hanging off me like a starved leech whining Mooooooooommmyyyyyyy while I text. I'm a big advocate of communicating without background noise, y'all.

When I got my phone (a Droid Bionic, which I despise, but that's a story for another post), I was excited to see that it has a feature called Swype. Basically it does exactly as it says: rather than picking up your finger to tap each individual letter of a sentence (because that's, like, so strenuous), you can just swipe it over the keyboard and it intuitively picks up on what you're trying to say. Like this:

Most of the time, it's a pretty cool feature. MOST of the time. But I find myself irritated with it on a regular basis, especially when it's acting ridiculous. Like when I try to type "me" it sometimes ends up as "nd." So a sentence will say, like, Call nd later. Really, Swype? You're so smart and intuitive, yet you can't figure out that I'm most likely trying to say ME? It does that with several words. Drives me crazy.

It's lucky that I'm a sucker for Damn You Autocorrect-like typos ... er, Swype-os. It makes plenty of them, and they're often amusing ... because my phone is secretly a pervert. Like the time my friend Lindsey texted to ask if we were having food at our Halloween bonfire. When I texted back that we were having s'mores, my Swype apparently didn't recognize the word "s'mores." Because it autocorrected it to "boners."

And who doesn't love eating boners around a bonfire?*

*Not that I have experience with this type of thing. I promise.

Or the other day, when I tried to text Curtis, "I'm tired" ... it came out as, "I'm turd."

Or the worst: when, during a text, I meant to write, "I really need a nap" ... but because I forgot to put a space between "a" and "nap," it turned into "I really need anal."

Yeah. I'm glad that was a text and not a Facebook status. I might've lost a few friends over that one.

... Or, you know, gained a few, depending.

Mammoth Mama

I'm huge. There's no nicer way to say it.

The other day, I posted this picture of my six-month-pregnant self on Facebook. I took it in my bathroom mirror right before I headed out to teach my 9 a.m. Zumba class (hence the tasseled pants).

Let me tell you - even I was astounded at how cute and baby-bumpish I look in this photo. It has to be the lighting, or my position, or the all-black-ness of my outfit. I got all kinds of, "Oh, you're just adorable!" and, "Aww, it's all belly!" comments. And I felt like a total fraud ... like I had Photoshopped my head onto a decent-looking pregnant body. Because, y'all? In real life, I swear I look much bigger than this. I'm already getting the stares like I'm about to give birth in the grocery store aisle, the reactions of gaping disbelief when I tell people I'm only six months along, and the "is-there-more-than-one-in-there" question (answer: there isn't).

Yesterday, I went to the doctor for a routine checkup - and of course, stepping on the scale was the first order of business. Yuck.

"Hmm, quite a little jump there," murmured the nurse. "Ten pounds since last time." Then she scanned my chart and raised an eyebrow. "Actually, you've gained ten pounds every time," she said. "That makes thirty pounds total. You've already gained more weight in these first six months than you should throughout your entire pregnancy. And you've still got a whole trimester to go."

Thanks for laying it out there. Tell me something I don't know, a-hole.

"Um, at least it's consistent?" I joked feebly. She wasn't amused. And I swear she didn't believe me when I told her - honestly - that I work out for six hours a week. I might as well have told her I was Angelina Jolie's adopted daughter from Outer Mongolia.

Then it was time to measure my belly - you know, where they find your pubic bone and then run a measuring tape to the top of your uterus. And she literally gasped in surprise, then consulted my chart again, then measured a second time.

"You've always measured right on target, but now you're measuring six weeks ahead of your due date," she said in disbelief. "I'm going to ask the doctor what he thinks we should do."

So that explains why I cried to Curtis the other day that I feel about ten months pregnant. I swear, I do. My left hip and back ache perpetually, I feel like I've been kicked in the crotch, I don't sleep comfortably, I waddle when I walk, and I can't breathe - which are things that usually only happen in the last month or two. At least before now.

Anyway, they've scheduled an ultrasound tomorrow to see if baby Corbin is just a behemoth or if I'm carrying extra amniotic fluid or what. Personally? I'm banking on behemoth. My boys have a habit of being huge.

And apparently, so do I ... even despite the Zumba. Because my thighs and double chin are just as pregnant as the rest of me.

That brings me to the whole point of this post in the first place: expectant mother parking. Do they have it where you live? In my town, there are expectant mother parking spaces at several shopping establishments. They're up front, right up next to the handicapped spaces. And they are awesome.

Except for one thing: non-pregnant people parking all up in there and acting like they're entitled.

Not too much can irritate me faster these days (except for my kids, who still - and will probably always - hold the record). I'm walking around like a blimp with legs and trying to corral three boys and groceries, so I think if anybody deserves an expectant mother space, it's me. Yet I swear, 95% of the people I see parking in those spaces are most certainly not pregnant. And if they are, nobody can tell; they're like five weeks along and have no need for special parking as yet.  

I don't park in handicapped spaces. Ever. Why? Because I'm not handicapped. I'm capable of walking. Would I like a space right up front? Of course. But those spaces are reserved for people who are handicapped. Just like the pregnant parking is reserved for people who are pregnant. Why is that so effing difficult to comprehend?

Last night I went to Walmart, and was totally psyched to get a pregnant space, because it almost never happens. As I was bent over in the backseat, huffing and puffing to get Coby strapped into his car seat, I heard an exasperated sigh behind me and turned to see a dude waiting for me to get my big arse out of his way so he could open his car door.

He - and his rail-thin girlfriend - were parked in the next "expectant mother" space.

And in the expectant mother space on the other side of me?

A fat guy munching on a bag of French fries.

I almost went off, y'all.

After I got the kids all buckled in, I made an extra-waddly lap around my car, just so those around me would see that some people actually do need these spaces and that more pregnant women would probably use them if non-pregnant asshats didn't park there.

I'm sure it didn't make any of them feel bad, but hey, a girl can hope.

*Oh, and PS - I know this is probably dumb, but after a couple of comments I got on my last post, I feel the need to clarify something. I don't make my kids separate breakfasts (or any meal, for that matter) ... the oatmeal thing was different flavors, but it was all oatmeal. I won't make one kid oatmeal, another cereal, another pancakes, etc. ... they either all eat the same thing or they don't eat. If they don't eat what's put before them, they know they don't get a snack until the next mealtime. And at lunch and supper, they sit at the table for the duration of the meal - it's just that at breakfast time, I'm running around trying to get my morning routine accomplished before taking Colin to school, and don't have the time to make sure everyone stays seated. 

Okay, I feel like a better mom now. Thanks. :) 


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