It's Snot Even Cute

Can somebody tell me if white stripes are fashionable? Because that's what I've been rocking for the past few days. Okay, so they're just white-ish. And maybe not so much stripes ... perhaps more like streaks.

Okay, so ... it's snot.

I'm basically just wearing snot-smeared clothing around.

I'm hoping against all odds that either a.) nobody will notice, or b.) they'll think that randomly placed, faintly crusty-looking streaks are indeed some kind of new trend and I am like sooooo cutting-edge.

Trust me, if I could help it, I would. It's not like I was all, "Hey kids! I'm going to be putting on a black sweater now so I'd really appreciate it if you'd wipe your boogery noses all over me. Thanks!" It's not as if I don't have an entire arsenal of tissues stockpiled in my linen closet. I have enough Kleenex to absorb the Mississippi River. But do they use them? No. Or if they do, they're just snotty again two minutes later and so they decide that the tissue wasn't effective enough and hey, let's use Mom's shirt! When I try to wipe the baby's nose, he acts like I'm trying to scour his face with steel wool - but he'll rub it all over my shoulder without hesitation.

I've got smears everywhere. Smears on my thighs. Smears on random spots along my arms. Smears along my neckline. Smears on my shoulders. Hell, I've probably got them on my back and I just can't see them. No matter what I'm wearing. No matter how long I've had it on. I can put something on, immediately go within a ten-foot radius of one of my kids, and bam: snot marks. It's enough to make me want to stuff tampons up their noses until they're over this leakiness.

... Hmm ... tampons ...

Home Stank Home

We have three cats. We started with one - Thurman - but I think I've got a touch of "crazy cat lady" in me because over the span of six years or so, we've ended up with two extras (Ava and Meeko). But I draw the line at three cats because I have this thing about my house smelling like litter box. Do you ever wonder if you're those people and don't know it? You know, the people who walk around perpetually smelling like fried food ... or animals ... or cigarettes ... or something else unpleasant (cough*grayhoody*cough)? They seem so oblivious to it. They just walk around, rockin' the pungent scent of stank, blissfully unaware of the nose-wrinkling stench they're imposing on those within sniffing distance. I think that's because they don't notice - they're just so used to the smell that they don't even smell it.

And that, y'all, is why I'm paranoid about the way my house smells. I'm scared to death that it reeks like the inside of a monkey cage in here and everyone who visits is too polite to tell me. I am constantly scrubbing, freshening, and disinfecting something in this joint, but with the volume of excretion going on, you know (not to mention the regular household smells like dishes and trash and laundry and four little dirt-magnets boys and a husband whose socks stay crusty even after a good washing) ... it's hard to keep up with.

Anyway, last Friday night Colin's friend invited him to a sleepover. His dad called and said they'd be over to pick Colin up in fifteen minutes, so we scrambled to get his stuff together. I wanted to put it all by the door so that when they came, I could just usher him out with a quick hug and a wave. Mostly because my house looked like this and I didn't want to invite anyone in:

... and that was just the kitchen.

But then Colin couldn't find his coat. (Like ... how do you lose a coat?) And as I descended the stairs to the front entryway, in order to search through the coat rack again, my nostrils burned with a stench so horrible, so permeating, that no air freshener would have touched it. One of the cats had just taken a particularly heinous dump in the litter box, located in the laundry room, which is just steps away from the front door. You can't see the box from the door, but at that moment you could have smelled it from Califreakingfornia.

And before I had the chance to do anything about it, I heard a car pull up in the driveway. OMG. I went into hurry-up-so-they-don't-have-to-come-inside mode.

"Okay well Colin?" tugging him down the stairs, "Your ride is here honey so let's just go don't worry about your coat you can just wear your brother's it fits," struggling to stuff arms in coat sleeves, "here's your bag the toothbrush is in the front pocket don't forget your pillow," shoving overnight gear into his bewildered grasp, "use manners and be on your best behavior I'll be by at about nine in the morning to pick you up I love you son sweet dreams!"

But it was too late. As much as I tried to catapult Colin out the door, we just weren't fast enough. The doorbell rang. And if it had been a balmy spring day I'd have just talked to the dad on the porch but, well, it's February in Iowa. I had to let them in.

As I opened the front door, the rush of cold, fresh air from outside just seemed to accentuate the poo smell. Mortified, I let them in, my internal monologue racing as I made the required small talk. Does he smell it? Surely he smells it. He has to smell it. Should I explain? Like, oh, sorry about the horrible stench, one of my cats forgot to use air freshener, ha ha? No way, I can't explain. That would be so awkward. I should just not say anything about it and hope he hasn't noticed. Oh please just let him not notice. OMG, is he making a face? Does he look kind of disgusted? Is he thinking, "Geez, this house smells like straight-up shit?" Is he going to go home and tell his wife? What if he thinks it's me?

I never could determine if he noticed or not. If he did, it didn't bother him enough to cut the small talk short. But as for myself, I was inwardly cringing the whole time. And the second after they left, I scooped the offending dump out of the cat box, sprinkled some baking soda in the litter, sprayed air freshener, and lit candles. And then sprayed every soft surface in my house with some Febreze.

Hey, no one's ever been accused of smelling too good.

PS - Are you Australian? Then you'll wanna check out the "Giveaways and Reviews" tab, under which I discuss the awesomeness that is Big W! And whether you're Australian or not, I've got some giveaways coming up, so keep checking back! :)

It's Almost Valen-Time

So ... tomorrow.

It's, like ... Valentine's Day.

Pretty much the only reason I know this is because I have had to purchase, and oversee the painfully slow labeling of, mass quantities of Valentines to hand out in my sons' classrooms. Plus take a random shoebox Colin brought home and try to turn it into a lovely Valentine receptacle. Thank goodness Curtis took over that task while I was at Zumba last night, which is why it has Transformers stickers all over it. But hey. Nothing says love and romance like robots or whatever the hell those things are.

This time of year has the mommy-guilt kicking in big time because I look at Pinterest, and my own Facebook feed, and see all these cute and creative handmade projects everybody's doing for their kids' Valentines and I'm all, "What? You mean I have to buy TWO packages of Spongebob Squarepants Valentines?" Much like the weird feelings I get about Elf on the Shelf, I feel all inwardly inadequate as a parent when it seems like everybody but me is going the extra mile. Like I'm missing the crafty gene or something. It's just that when I try to make stuff, creative stuff, for my kids ... it doesn't seem to go that well. Remember when I attempted those Moose and Zee pillows? Sheesh.

Maybe if I were more into Valentine's Day, I'd be more enthusiastic about my kids' projects. I mean, if I were excited, expecting some sort of grand romantic gesture, or looking to be swept off my feet, it might help. But y'all? I'm married to a man who, despite doing little thoughtful things on ordinary days - like stopping on his way home from work to buy my favorite candy bar (or helping decorate our son's Valentine box because he knows I'm craft-challenged) - isn't exactly known for his romanticism. I don't recall the last time he bought me flowers, and I don't own any real jewelry other than my wedding ring set. He wrote me a poem one time ... in crayon ... which included the uber-romantic sentence "hair brown like poop, eyes like a frog." And once, he told me my anniversary present was "in the car" - which I then heard start up and drive away. To the store. To buy my anniversary present.

Yeah, it's like that. He's lucky he's a good dude (and a good dad).

So it's not like tomorrow afternoon I'll be gasping with delight at the shiny new diamond adorning my finger, or squealing with anticipation as I pack my bag for a surprise getaway, or inhaling the sweet scent of a dozen roses. And I'm okay with that.*

*Even though this particular Valentine's Day marks fifteen whole years as a couple and it could perhaps be observed in a more romantic manner than usual HINT HINT

But tomorrow morning, I'll dye all my kids' breakfast foods pink and attempt to make pancakes in the shape of hearts and make sure everybody's store-bought Valentines and individually-wrapped packages of candy conversation hearts get to school and maybe make some chocolate covered strawberries if I have time.

Oh yeah, and I'll shave my legs.

Because, you know ... Valentine's Day.

PS - Speaking of hair removal, I just saw an ad for a local laser clinic advertising a Valentine's Day special ... on a hair removal treatment for the UPPER LIP. I know I've said before that I would love to be gifted with a laser hair removal treatment for my beard, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about receiving it on a holiday that's supposed to be reserved for romance. "Here, Honey, Happy Valentine's Day. Now let's go get that mustache taken care of." *wink*

21 Things that Make You a Mom

On my cell phone, I have a photo I took a few weeks ago. It's a photo of a toothbrush.

... Smeared with poop.

... With a secondhand corn kernel caught right in the center of the bristles.

All because my three-year-old decided he needed something better than toilet paper to wipe with. Adventures with kids, you know? 

The funny thing is, this photo - and the incident behind it - elicit no response from me other than perhaps an eye roll. Why? Because I deal with this kind of stuff all the time. I'm like a battle-hardened warrior, y'all. But when I show it to my childless friends? The reaction is something along the lines of OMGWTFBBQ! and a bunch of gagging and horrified eyes and hands clamped firmly over mouths.

This is just one of the things that separates moms from other women. And for your reading pleasure, here are a few more ...

21 Things that Make You a Mom

You can do anything - answer an email, take a dump, paint your nails, cook dinner, anything - with someone crawling all over you. It might take you a little longer, but you can still get it done ... perfectly.

You stumble upon a moment to yourself and have a minor freak-out because for a minute you think you've forgotten your kid.

Your purse contains more of other people's stuff than your own.

During a silence, your first thought is not, "Oh, they're playing so quietly!" but "Okay, what kind of horrible mess are they making?" ... But you enjoy the silence so much that you're almost willing to suffer the consequences.

You find poop in places that non-parents would be appalled at: like bathtubs. And pillows. And walls. And toothbrushes.

You get to go out for a girls' night but are back home by ten o'clock - either stone-cold sober or barely buzzed - because your kids will still wake up at the normal time and demand breakfast as usual and being tired and hung over before 7 a.m. is not where it's at.

You can't remember where you parked at the grocery store, but your brain is a stunningly accurate database of your children's current (and ever-changing) food preferences.

You see that the baby is chewing on his brother's clean underwear and you just let him do it because hey, he's happy and quiet and it's not like he's going to choke.

You would never splurge on frivolous things for your own bath, like an inflatable pillow and expensive bubbles and bath salts - but your kids have every bath toy and faucet cover and bubble bath and soapy finger paint and colored foam and color-change tablet under the sun.

You consider it a successful shower when you have time to shave up to your knees.

Your meals have morphed from grown-up ("Voila! Veal medallions and butternut squash gratinee!") to kid-friendly ("We're having chicken fingers and mac & cheese. Again. Want some mustard?").

You threaten so much you have to rack your brain for newer and more threatening threats.

You can distinguish a "something's wrong" cry from a "I can't fit these two Lego blocks together" cry from three rooms away.

You can successfully decipher whether your kid's whines mean he's tired, hungry, bored, sick, thirsty, the tag in the back of his shirt feels funny, his nose is itchy, the couch is lumpy, his brother looked at him with "those scary eyes," the dog doesn't want to play, his junk is facing the wrong way in his underwear ...

You like to think that fashion is still the number one criteria for your shoe purchases, but really you know deep down inside that the deciding factor is comfort and ease of slipping them on and off for school drop-off and pickup.

You answer questions like, "Do you have a vagina?" and "Why are your boobies so floppy?" without batting an eye.

For your own sanity, you encourage your kids to like the children's TV shows you find most tolerable, and limit access to the ones you can't stand.

You feel disheartened whenever they get old enough to start wanting to watch the crap their friends watch, and are not so easily swayed by what you think is cool.

You can answer almost any question satisfactorily while only half paying attention - but you know better than to answer "Right, Mom?" or "Okay, Mommy?" without first verifying what you're "right-ing" or "okaying."

You know which pregnancy gave you each stretchmark: "Oh, these lines? These lines right here on my hips? Those are from you. But those on the backs of my knees ... those are from your brother."

You have no problem peeing or showering with the door open and a kid or two chatting you up during the process - but you must have total privacy when you wax your upper lip, lest it come up in a conversation at school.


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