An Apple a Day ...

You guys? I'm a little nervous.

I have a blind date this morning. I found him on the Internet (I can't say "met," as we haven't technically gotten to that point yet).

I've showered. I even shaved my legs just in case things reach a point where he'd be seeing them - I mean, I highly doubt it, since it's my first time meeting him and all, but you can never be too prepared.*

*Plus my leg hair was getting so long that my pant legs were starting to feel tight. Or maybe that's the result of too many Girl Scout cookies? Well, whatever.

I have makeup on. My hair looks decent. I'm wearing an outfit that doesn't scream "SOMEBODY'S MOM." ... Okay, maybe it does. But it's the best I could do.

I hope I smell all right (and that I manged to pluck all my rogue chin hairs) because he's going to be getting reeeeeally close to me. And, like, touching me. If I like him, that is. And I hope I do. I hope we hit it off, and that he's everything I want and need.

Because y'all? Choosing a doctor is freaking HARD.


Yes: this blind date is technically an appointment. With a family practice doctor. This probably wouldn't be a big deal to most people, but I never go to the doctor. Like, ever. In fact, outside of a fertility specialist and then an OB/GYN for my pregnancies, I haven't had a checkup in probably fifteen years. And the last time I went to any doctor, at all, was my follow-up appointment with the gynecologist after Corbin's birth ... two and a half years ago.

I take my kids to every well-child visit and get them in to see the pediatrician when they're sick. Some months, I feel like I practically live in his office. And yet when it comes to my own health, I've always followed an (admittedly flawed) "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality.

But.

I turn thirty-five this year. I'm a responsible adult. (For the most part.) And when we are responsible adults, we must do things that utterly suck ass, like subject ourselves to regular physical examinations. Plus? I have kind of a scary family health history.

My great-grandmother had uterine cancer.
My grandmother had cancer of the lymph nodes.
My mother had breast cancer.
My father died of lung cancer.

Are you sensing a theme here? And that's just the direct parental lineage. As much as I hope that the same fate doesn't befall me, I have to be realistic about my chances. And I've got four boys counting on me (and a husband who would shrink all the laundry and put the dishes away in the wrong places if ever I wasn't here).

Anyway, point is, I need to start hauling the ol' bod in for a checkup once in a while. Make sure things are running as smoothly as I think they are. And I hope to find a doctor I'm comfortable enough to ask WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I KEEP GROWING A BEARD.

What about you? Do you go to the doctor regularly or just when it's an absolute necessity?


Dudely Decor

My home decor - much like my wardrobe - could use some sprucing up. We're both decked out in stuff I bought a.) on clearance, or b.) at Walmart.

( ... Or c.) On clearance at Walmart. Because lots of kids and a mortgage and a minivan payment.)

I really do try to make my house look as decent as possible given the fact that I'm not the lady on that irritating commercial whose day literally consists of working out, drinking coffee, and shopping online. I pick up things here and there. Sometimes I'll be driving by Hobby Lobby and my car will, like, mysteriously swerve itself into the parking lot. I don't know how it happens, but I always end up leaving with some sort of reasonably-priced wall hanging or something.

Half the time it's something with faux antlers, because my mission lately has been to outfit my little country-loving, deer-obsessed outdoorsman Coby's room. It has come along pretty nicely, if I do say so myself.


In case anybody's wondering, the bed, lamp, curtains, and beanbag chair are from Walmart. The comforter was on clearance at Bed, Bath & Beyond ($40, y'all!). And the wall decor is from Hobby Lobby (again: clearance. That's one of my favorite words).

There are still a few more things I'd like to do in Coby's bedroom (LIKE GET THE TODDLER MOVED INTO IT SO HE'LL SLEEP IN HIS OWN DAMN BED) but for the most part I'm satisfied with the way it looks. And Coby is so proud of it that he keeps it tidy ... for now, anyway. But that may be because he's in Kindergarten. Because looking at my oldest's room - he's in fourth grade - I'm pretty convinced that the older they get, the less they care about living in squalor.


This is the room my older two share. And can I just say, it has a superhero/comic book theme and looks cute when it's actually tidied up - but unfortunately, that's never. Partially because my kids' idea of "tidy" is "shoved behind a door where you can't see it."

Note the perpetually-unmade bunk beds; the lower bunk almost never has a comforter on it because they drag it all over the house, making forts with it and wrapping up in it to watch TV. Then there's the broken dresser right beside the bed. It's rickety and missing its drawers, but the boys insisted on using it as a makeshift table. There's a naked pillow on the floor (among the shoes, and the random cords, and the bits of paper) because heaven forbid my children ever keep a damn pillowcase on. You can't see the closet, but one of its doors is always coming off the track, hanging half-open to reveal the horrors inside.

But the pièce de résistance of the whole room is Colin's ridiculous desk.

Colin is a total computer geek. Lucky for him, my brother is, too - and he used to own a computer sale and repair shop, so he keeps the boys outfitted with monitors and old hard drives and such. That's why you'll notice that Colin has not one, but TWO monitors hooked up on his desk. It's crowded, but that's not the bad part.

This is.


Again, a missing drawer - what's up with that? And all manner of clutter: from printer paper to software to books to old Valentines to Lord only knows what else - as is evidenced by the crusty green patch cemented to the floor. I'm not sure what it is, but I do know that cleanup is going to require a lot of scraping. This junky jumble is Colin's idea of organized; he can tell you exactly what's in this teetering stack of crap. I would literally be driven insane by a mess of this caliber on my desk, but he's happy as a clam.

Is this a "thing" with older kids - boys especially? Do they not give a flying fig about their surroundings or do I just have a couple of exceptionally messy dudes on my hands?


My Face is Twerking


You've heard of giving someone the stink eye, right? Well, I'm giving people the wink eye. Because for the past two weeks, my left lower eyelid has been incessantly twitching. From the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, it's doing it's jumpy little thang. For TWO. WHOLE. WEEKS. NONSTOP.

Maybe it's staging a revolution. If it could talk, maybe it would be passionately insisting, "There's more than one body part that can twerk, you know! I'm tired of being overlooked!"

(Overlooked ... get it? ...  because it's a lower eyelid ... hahahaha ... ha ... ha .......... ahem.)

Anyway.

I don't know why the hell my eye has decided to go rogue and do something other than what it's supposed to be doing, which is absolutely nothing. All I know is, I'm tired of feeling self-conscious about it. Every time I go out somewhere I feel like I'm being judged and scrutinized.

"Mommy, why does that lady keep winking at me?"

"I don't know, dear. She's probably some sort of pedophile." *hurries child away*

Google doesn't even help because all I get is a vague diagnosis of being "tired or stressed." YA THINK? I have four sons ages nine and under, and, you know, a life and bills and work and a house to run. I'm always at least somewhat tired and stressed. Nothing short of a vacation is going to make me any less tired and stressed. But the rest of my body is holding up okay (knock on wood) so why is my eyelid suddenly crapping out on me like it works sooooo hard? It's like one of those celebrities who suffers from "exhaustion."

Because I love for the world to share in my pain (and laugh at my twitchy eye?) I'm including a video so you can see the twerky eyelid in action. I must have been standing in some bad lighting because I look really wrinkly.

... Yeah, that's it. Bad lighting.

video

So what say you, Internet gurus of eye expertise? Anybody else ever had this problem and if so, WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO GET RID OF IT BECAUSE OMG.

Seriously. I'm about to start wearing an eye patch.

Arrrrrrr!


The Poisoned Pancakes


So did you do anything for Valentine's Day? Mine was pretty low-key. 

Except for, you know, trying to poison my kids.

I've never been a fan of big bouquets and fancy gifts, as you know if you read my V-Day diatribe from last year. For me, it just sucks all the specialness out of a gift when it's only purchased because it's Valentine's Day and that's what people do. My husband isn't obligated to buy me anything simply because it's February 14th - because he shows me he cares every day, in non-obligatory ways. Like not insisting that I shave my legs even when the hair is long enough to get tangled up with his in bed.

But my kids want to celebrate every holiday like it's Christmas, so I try to make V-Day a little bit special even if I'm not all that into it. My tradition is to make them pink heart-shaped pancakes with red-tinted syrup and heart-shaped pats of butter.

This Valentine's Day morning was no exception, and I dutifully cranked out stacks of pink pancakes shaped into (lopsided) hearts. I poured the syrup into a measuring cup and added the red food coloring. The only difference this year was that I used this gel food coloring I found in the cabinet instead of drops like I usually do. "This will make the syrup super-red!" I thought excitedly. And it did.

Pleased with my mad breakfasting skillz, I presented the pancakes to the kids. As always, they were thrilled. They scrambled to the table amid exclamations of, "You're the best mom EVER!" and "Ohh, awesome!"

I stood back and watched them proudly as they all shoved an extra-big first bite into their eager mouths, because that's what boys do.

... And then watched the expressions on their faces change from pleased to horrified.

Brows furrowed. Nostrils flared. Eyes watered. The toddler started bawling.

"These don't taste right!" my five-year-old wailed, a red-tinted avalanche of half-chewed pancake spilling from his mouth.

"Are you trying to poison us?" my nine-year-old demanded suspiciously, narrowing his eyes. (He probably remembers the time I nearly got them drunk.)

I was astonished. My mind raced back through the pancake-making process, trying to figure out if I had forgotten something. Maybe I'd added salt instead of sugar? Twice the usual amount of baking powder? And then it hit me: the red food coloring gel.

Gingerly, I swiped a finger through the syrup and put it in my mouth. And y'all? It was like I had doused their pancakes with Windex. And ass.

"Please don't make us eat these," my four little Valentines implored.

So I made regular pancakes. Which, although they weren't colored and heart-shaped and fancy, were much better received. And a lot less toxic.

Plus, despite their adverse reactions, there was apparently a silver lining to the whole fiasco. Because later that day, I heard the one kid who had managed to choke down a bite or two exclaim in wonderment from the bathroom: "Hey guys, come look at this! My poop is red!" This was followed by the sound of excited footsteps and a few delighted gasps of, "Cool!" and "Siiiiick!"

Maybe I'm winning at this mom thing after all.


Fifty Shades of Eff Off

I'm so tired of mainstream media thinking they know what it takes to make me horny.

I'm sorry to be so blunt. Really I am. But seriously, y'all: YUCK with the Magic Mike and the Fifty Shades of .... everything. (I mean - they now sell Fifty Shades of Grey "adult vibrating love rings" at Target. AT TARGET. WTF.)

Don't get me wrong. I'm definitely not some kind of prude, and I definitely do appreciate the male form. *insert lecherous eyebrow waggle for emphasis*

However.

I find this kind of entertainment almost ... for lack of a better word ... insulting. It's like there's no substance to it. Like they just put together some hot dudes and some sex scenes and now they're laughing all the way to the bank because women are eating it up.

Things are done this way all the time, but it's usually geared toward men. Anybody seen the ads for the "Game of War" app? (If you play Trivia Crack, you feel me.) They feature Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton.


Now. If you'll notice in the photo, she is bravely leading the charge into battle. Yet there's a little discrepancy here. All the dudes are in full head-to-toe armor and have shields. But poor warrior-princess Kate is only protected if, like, an arrow happens to bounce off her tiny metal (and ... feather?) shoulder pads. This doesn't matter, however, because in the live-action commercial she is riding this horse in slow-motion, and the point is not how awesome the game is; instead, the point becomes HOLY MOLY LOOK AT KATE UPTON'S SLOW-MOTION BOUNCING TITS.

Because this is what sells. You don't have to put any thought into it. I could title this blog post "SEXY SEXUAL SEX" and I guarantee the views would double - even if it led to a blank page instead of a brilliant commentary (let's pretend there's a brilliant commentary here, mmkay?). It takes so little effort.

But I expect more from the male characters in movies and books. Don't run down a laundry list of things you think women like just because we're women (i.e., hard bodies, rich dudes, dudes who cry). It's the way I feel about those chocolates with the "inspirational" messages inside the wrapper: yes, I'm female, but don't try to pander to my femininity. It irritates me and I will want to throat-chop you. And then burp in your face.

You wanna give me a male character who makes me go weak in the knees, media? Give me funny. Give me quick-witted. Give me intelligent. Give me hardworking. It doesn't have to be wrapped up in a Greek-god-like package of abs or ... well, package. 

... With the possible exception of David Bowie in Labyrinth.


But at least he was a mastermind.

Six Ways to Recreate Life With a Toddler


I was sitting here pondering ideas for a blog post, but it was hard to think because my two-year-old was having a teary meltdown on the floor next to me.

Why the meltdown, you ask? Well, it was because I dared offer to cut his waffle into bites. I mean, the audacity!

This was the same waffle that he requested, but then when he saw it going into the toaster, asked if he could have mandarin oranges instead. So I gave him a cup of oranges - which he wanted placed on the counter and not the taaaaaable, Mommmyyyyyy! He picked at the oranges, and then was all, "Where's my waffle?" ... like he hadn't just vetoed it two minutes earlier.

When I finally produced said waffle, he asked for milk. No, chocolate milk. In the LEGO Movie cup. But nooooo! Not the one with Bad Cop! The one with UNI-KITTY!!!!

That's when I realized I needed to look no further for blogging inspiration - I could just write about how toddlers are irrational assholes. Because they totally are. Doubly so when they're sick or sleepy or hungry, which - between the three - is, like, seventy percent of the time.

If you don't have a toddler and would like to know the joys of living with one, allow me to list a few things that are comparable so you can try them out yourself.

- Find a super-grumpy, argumentative old man. Get him rip-roaring whiskey drunk, and then try to get him dressed, stuffed into a coat, and buckled into a car. (Make sure he's still spry enough to put up a fight in order to get the full experience.)

- Get a job as a personal concierge to a celebrity known for ridiculous demands. Expect requests such as putting apple slices back together, going to the grocery store with no pants, and eating mustard - and only mustard - for lunch. If you cannot or will not comply with these demands, heaven help you.

- Spend a few hours with the biggest know-it-all in the world and just nod tiredly as they tell you (in an irritated tone) that you're wrong about everything ... like the sky being blue and the grass being green.

- Find a friend who's willing to volunteer. Bind their wrists together and put mittens on their hands, then ask them to put on their shoes or zip their coat. When you offer assistance, have them scream, "NOOO! I DO IT MYSELF!" (directly into your ear). Accept that you will either a.) be perpetually late until this phase passes, or b.) have to start the leaving-the-house process like half an hour earlier.

- Find someone who barely speaks English. Infuriate them somehow, then try to reason with them. In English.

- Start a personal stylist business. Take on a client who vetoes 95% of the perfectly acceptable clothing you suggest, requesting instead things that are either too small, seasonally inappropriate, or ridiculous (i.e., a dinosaur costume).

And here's the thing about toddlers. Whether it comes at Terrible Two or Traumatic Three (I've had both!), you can pretty much guarantee that even the most easygoing and pleasant of children WILL go through a phase where you wonder if they've been possessed. I swear, a couple of days navigating through life with a stubborn, moody toddler would be a much better tool at preventing teen pregnancy than those fake baby dolls they have to take home.

I'm willing to, you know, rent mine out if anybody wants to test that theory.

At least until he's four.

Just the Tip

Over the weekend my kids inexplicably dragged a plethora of pillows, books, and a laptop computer into my bedroom and made some kind of fort. Or maybe it was supposed to be a really plushy desk. Anyway, I'm not sure what the hell they were in there for, but they made sure to set this up:


Tips? For real? Come on kids, move that sign, you're getting B.S. all over my table.

As you can see, some sucker soft-hearted person (cough*theirDad*cough) graciously tossed 'em a few coins. But I wasn't so moved by their cuteness. ( ... This time.)

"Tips for what?" I asked dubiously.

There were a few blank glances at each other and a couple of shrugs. Then one son said, "Well ... you can borrow our books?" while another vaguely suggested, "... Services?"

Services, indeed. Like messing up the clean toilet? Providing me with squabbles to referee? Eating through the contents of the fridge like a plague of locusts? Dragging all of their crap into my bedroom? I know they weren't talking about services like, oh, laundry or cooking or chauffeuring or general servitude. Because I do all that. FOR NO TIPS.

According to my calculations, if my children were to tip me according to the things I do for them, they'd owe me like $3.5 mil (that's a rough estimate). At which point I could outsource help, and maybe devote my time to more worthy causes than scrubbing dried toothpaste and wayward sprinkles of urine out of the bathroom.

I suppose, though, that my kids do provide me with "services," so to speak. Maybe not such practical applications as cleaning and laundry (although I'm just waiting until the day I can trust them around bleach), but less tangible things. Moments like this, for example, when my heart feels like it's going to explode with motherly love.


I guess those are pretty valuable services.

But, kids? Put your little money-collecting cup back in the cabinet where it belongs. Your "tips" are coming in the form of clean underwear and hot meals.

... You're welcome.


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