A step behind

Who me? Get distracted?

The church we attend has two big screens at the front where the congregation can easily use these to view hymn lyrics, scripture, videos, sermon bullet points, etc. This past Sunday the screen on the right must have been experiencing a bit of technical difficulty as it did some flickering. Since we were sitting in the balcony, we had a first-hand view of one of the tech guy’s attempts to press buttons, jiggle a wire or two, and then just stare at the projector thingee. I guess the staring worked. The flickering stopped.

Watching the tech guy reminded me of the time I volunteered in the 5th/6th grade “children’s church” (not for the light-hearted, probably why I only made it one year), and the leader had a high school student work the overhead, where he was supposed to click through a PowerPoint slideshow or play selected videos. I would find myself getting annoyed when it seemed the kid wouldn’t be paying attention or maybe didn’t know what to click or whatever. I suppose the technical challenges in this scenario made the hour drag on even longer. I seriously thought about suggesting to the leader that I work the technical part of the hour. I mean, I do have a technical background. I do know how to program the VCR, oh I mean DVR after my boys taught me. And I do sit at a computer Monday through Friday, pounding away at the keys producing some sort of something.

But then I started realizing why this slideshow assignment may not be the best for a personality like mine.

I can trace it back to my kindergarten graduation. The class was on stage and we each had a part to speak. I don’t remember what exactly. It was kindergarten remember, please cut me some slack. Anyway, I felt obliged to gently nudge every single one of my classmates when it was their turn to speak. I’m not sure how loud/obvious I was, but I suppose I would whisper each of their names, saying something like, “It’s your turn, Mary!” What can I say? I’ve always been such a helper! Well, my time came, and guess what happened. There were chuckles from the parents and then the announcement from the teacher, “Karen, it’s your turn.” I was so focused on what everybody else should be doing and the next steps in the process that I totally missed my part.

But you were only 5 years old you say! Oh, but friends, the trend has continued. The church’s women’s Sunday school class, which I still attend occasionally, used to volunteer for this annual tea room function. One year I felt obligated the desire to sign up. I was tasked with taking drink orders. Tea or water, those were the choices. How could I screw this up, right? I was so distracted looking around me, watching the other ladies in the kitchen, looking at the prepared food, thinking long and hard about how if I was in charge of the menu, it would be much healthier fare, and lower sodium, and I would… Karen? Hmm? Oh what? Did you get the drink order for the group in the corner? Oh no. Scramble scramble. Who wanted what? Oh, you wanted the tea? How many waters?

I was then relinquished to dessert cart. How could Karen possibly screw up taking the little cart around, right? It wasn’t my fault. This cart didn’t have enough room to move freely, and at one point there were cords on the ground I had to sort of “speed bump” over. I couldn’t even get to at least a quarter of the tables. I thought about how if I was in charge, I would’ve ensured a smaller cart. And I would ensure there was at least one gluten free dessert choice. Yeah, so I wasn’t doing too well with the desserts either

I was then switched to “bread” duty. All I had to do was give each diner two breadsticks each. I believe I found my tea room calling at that point. Although I admit I had a little trouble remembering who already got bread, and who still needed some.

I’ve tried several more volunteer attempts, always with the same results. I’m pretty sure I’m just not cut out for “interactive” or “time-sensitive” volunteering. Now if someone ever needs a volunteer for editing, or some other non-face-to-face, I’m betting I can handle that. Maybe I’m more of a “take your time” kind of gal, who works best behind the scenes.

Kristine from Mum Revised has talked about her awesome experience working with Habitat for Humanity. Sure, I could volunteer, but I’m pretty sure it would have to be something like stuffing envelopes. I’m positive no one would assign me to hammer duty. I’d end up being too distracted with… whatever.

So long story short, I let the whole teen / overhead thing go.


Tiny bubbles

First thing every morning at work, I grab my reusable water bottle and take it to the breakroom to wash out. Just a squirt of liquid dish soap will do, but I always like to give the dish soap bottle a little extra squeeze to make little bubbles come flying out. Every time I do this, I think of the part in Finding Nemo, which I was only blessed to watch at least 50 times when the boys were younger, where one of the aquarium fish becomes overjoyed every single time the bubbles are released. I figure when I release the bubbles from the dish washing liquid, it gives me at least a little smile for the start of the day.

But this morning was different, I found no joy in the bubbles. As many people around the world, I find I have a heavy heart after the weekend’s horrific attacks in Paris. I have a hard time understanding how such evil is even possible.

When such tragic events occur, I find myself longing for the days when my parents were responsible for carrying the burden of worrying about world events. I was happily ignorant throughout my youth, made possible by my parents’ efforts I’m sure of it.

I don’t particularly like this part of being an adult, or a parent. I think I’d rather remain oblivious to current events. I’m certain I’m not saying the right thing to my boys when they have questions. But I suppose as Gerald and I go about our daily business, I hope this shows them that life goes on. If we give in to the terrorists and live in fear and never go anywhere or do anything, then they win. Don’t get me wrong, I have to fight the urge to lock my children up in the house and never let them go anywhere. I do sometimes harbor a fear of something bad happening to my kids, especially after some horrific tragedy, but I know I can’t let that fear take over our lives.

I’m curious how others are dealing with the current world in which we live. Coping mechanisms? What are you telling your kids? I’d love your input.


It’s rerun time OR What happens when you give yourself 15 minutes to write a new post

So here’s the skinny, and I blame Gluten Dude (but I’m not saying he isn’t awesome, because he is!)! I came across Gluten Dude’s website a couple weeks ago and saw his post about Whole30 and then I found the site nom nom paleo.  So of course I had to buy the related books. And of course I had to grocery shop for everything “Paleo.” And of course I had to start cooking every recipe I could get my hands on. I’ve been a tad preoccupied, self induced, as always.

So here it is, late Monday night and no post ready to go. Surprise. Surprise. Surprise. I’ll try to get a fresh post up at least by next week. In the mean time, may I interest you in a “fall” post from last year? Pretty sure it will be new to all most of you.  :-)

apple tree

So LOFT just sent me this invaluable “What to wear apple picking” email.  Damn, there goes my idea of jeans and a simple t-shirt or old sweatshirt on Gerald’s and my special apple picking date.  Who knew there was special attire for apple picking?!?  I am always so out of the fashion loop!  Apparently, a (stylish) cozy sweater is required. I’ll have to tell Gerald we can’t go on our yearly apple orchard excursion–because you know apple picking is foremost on his mind this time of year–until I get some proper new clothes for the occasion.

I’m thinking if there is a special wardrobe for apple picking, then other “occasions” should get their fair shake, right?  For instance, what’s the fashion du jour for pumpkin patches?  Now can I go with simple jeans / t-shirt??  Hayrides?  Camp taught me it’s good to avoid shorts.  Attire for blueberry picking?  Probably want to avoid wearing white.  Vineyards?  No clue.  Renaissance Festival?  I found out last year it’s NOT fashionable to wear a turkey hat after too much wine.  Oh, I got one — Hospital volunteer work – I hear total head-to-toe and covered face wear is all the rage!

I’m pretty sure I could be the poster child of what NOT to wear on specific outings/days, especially after my recent work dress up fiasco.  It looks like I have LOTS of shopping to do.  Hey, Gerald, where’s that new credit card??




So many questions!

Gerald said something to me this morning, and I may have overreacted, maybe a tad. It’s just that nothing gets my hormonal crazies stirred up better than the following questions from my family —

–Did you do a load of whites? <–This was this morning’s question and it was not met with a pleasant response. Let’s see, Gerald, sure, I squeezed in washing and drying your precious tighty-whities* between church, grocery store, and cooking up some meals for the week, finally calling it a night (and totally exhausted) by around 10pm. No, I did not do a load of whites. I did a bunch of laundry loads on Saturday, but since no one seems to appreciate the sweat and tears I put into running this household, I guess it wasn’t noticed!

–Are you going to get ready for bed? <–Do I look like I’m getting ready for bed? I just sat down after being in the kitchen for hours, and I just want to vegetate for a while. That, and it takes me forever and a day to get ready for bed so I tend to put it off as long as possible. I’ve done this bedtime procrastination long before Gerald, but now my dawdling is justified. I really am beat after so much run-around and I just want to relax for a bit.

–Are you going to the grocery store? <–I can’t stand grocery shopping. It’s one of those things where it’s not so bad once I’m there and I’m doing it, but just like how I put off my bedtime routine, I stall my grocery trip for as long as possible. But boy how it pisses me off when I’m asked. I’ve only been trying to compile my list for hours now wanting fellow house dweller input but they’re too busy, you know, watching TV or something. So yes, I’ll eventually get to the store, but nobody better say a thing about anything I may have forgotten or didn’t get just right. If you have such a problem then go to the damn store yourself!

–Are you going to do your workout? <–Really? I’m pretty sure this question is up there with a man’s hesitant response to the “Does this dress make me look fat?” question. Translation in a woman’s head: I’m fat. Why the need to ask if I’m going to do my workout? Are you saying I look like I need to workout, Gerald? Have I put on a little extra poundage? Well, maybe I have, but I’m already feeling pretty lousy about it, and I don’t need all the interrogation! And I’m not sure when I’m going to find the time to do my workout, what, with all the laundry and grocery shopping.

I realize Gerald’s questions are most likely innocent inquiries; he wants an idea of happenings around the house and of my schedule so he is able to plan accordingly. But you would think after all these years of marriage, he would have caught on to the woman’s psyche by now. I suppose woman will forever be a mystery to the male species.

Runner-up questions (Pretty sure there’s no need for description):
–Where is my insert whatever object you can think of here?
–Do you have money?

*Okay, Gerald doesn’t really wear tighty-whities. The use of the term “tighty-whities” in this post is for demonstration purposes only.


What his baby wants, his baby gets

Gerald and I have been married a number of years now. Oh yeah, total bliss, you know it’s true. I must say that Gerald does try his best to keep his baby happy. No matter how asinine the request may seem to him, Gerald has learned to just do it anyway, no questions asked. This doesn’t mean we haven’t run into some “interesting” results along the way though.

Take for instance, The Shopping List. You just can’t get more complicated than a shopping list drafted by yours truly. You take my food intolerances, Gerald’s food preferences/dislikes, plus the boys’ favorite items, and you know it’s gonna be one crazy time-consuming trip to the grocery store. But Gerald will go for me anyway. It can be too hot, too muggy, too cold, too whatever for me, and my honey will go. Yes, I’m the one who regularly trudges to the store, but Gerald willingly goes for me when begged asked.

Gerald blames the awful handwriting, but I believe it’s more that he doesn’t pay attention to the minute detail of my typical meal planning / food preparation. Specific brands and quantity are important, Gerald.

He’s come home with corn tortilla chips instead of corn tortillas. The fix? We turned the tacos into nachos. One time Gerald got me the protein bars with the high sugar alcohol levels. Sugar alcohols and my system is just a disaster waiting to happen, people! The fix? I gave them to a co-worker. I think she was okay. I didn’t stick around to find out though.

At Thanksgiving a few years ago, Gerald was tasked with a run to the store for just two items so no list was necessary, right? Wrong. You can’t expect a man to capture the crucial details that it’s Breyer’s with a ‘B’ ice cream. Do NOT get the Dreyer’s with a ‘D’. I can only tolerate the Breyer’s, with a ‘B’. So what do you think the man comes home with? Yep, the ‘D’ ice cream. Tis okay, guess who had to make another trip to Kroger?

That same day, I tasked Gerald with buying two fall-ish floral arrangements. The man comes home with two fall-ish plants. Plants? What am I going to do with plants? Oh, that’s right, kill them. I didn’t want plants, Gerald! Solution? We kept them around long enough for the T-Day dinner, but the plants were promptly sent home with my mother-in-law. They would at least have a fighting chance! Gerald claims he didn’t really know the difference between a bouquet and a plant.

The moral of the story? What Gerald’s baby wants, Gerald’s baby gets. But not always.



Bun over at Bun Karyudo handles writer’s block much better than I do.

So here’s my writer’s block experience of the moment. I worked on a few post ideas the last couple weeks but none passed the “Gerald” test. When Gerald tells me something is kind of boring, I’m positive it’s a big FAIL. One story was me reminiscing about my Grandpa and his love of curbs as an old man driver. I didn’t even get a grin from my Gerald so I knew it must’ve been pretty bad. I may still work on it, but for now, I parked it on the shelf.

It's parked
It’s parked

The other post I worked on was sort of “Part 2” to last year’s nerdy hooker post. We had another fun dress up week at work several weeks ago and I was attempting to recapture the same magic as last year. I believe the problem was that THIS year, I was more prepared. I remembered what every day’s theme was and dressed accordingly. Unfortunately, there were no funny stories to tell from the week. No one mistook me for a nerdy 80’s hooker. I remembered to wear purple on Purple Day, and green on Green Day. I remembered my crazy socks on… Crazy Socks Day. BOR-ING. I mean, I have to apologize to my readers. I know you expect so much less from me. I’m sure you have come to expect some ridiculous story resulting from my forgetfulness or my typical fashion fails. So that post idea was out the window, or at least another on the shelf.

My parents came to visit this past weekend and I thought about describing the coffee maker to-do, or maybe how my parents ended up with Gerald’s Reef flip-flops at their house, a good four hours away. But nope, nothing has really inspired a good post idea.

In the meantime, while I try to get past my writing dry spell, be sure to check out Bun’s blog. You won’t be sorry. And be sure to visit my other favorite bloggers. Here’s hoping I’ll be inspired by something, and soon.


The nastiest bathroom

This is more an AFTER shot
This is more an AFTER shot. The BEFORE was more yellow.

I am certain my boys are secretly participating in some Nastiest Bathroom contest. I wonder if they’ll be upset with me in the morning when they realize I’ve dashed their hopes of bringing home a first place win.

Crystallized pee. And do you think they realize the sink’s water spout/spicket isn’t supposed to be solid black?

It’s only been a few weeks since the last–and final because I canceled the service–house cleaning service came. I had had enough for a while, but Gerald finally reached his breaking point when the cleaning ladies were being too hard on our bathroom fixtures (again), and we were just certain they would end up causing a costly repair.

But anyway, back to the boys’ bathroom. I had meant to get to it last weekend but since I spent the whole day on the kitchen, I didn’t bother with anything else. Oh, I’ll get to it during the week. Yeah, right.

I’m the only one who cleans my house like I want. I actually use elbow grease. I’m pretty sure most cleaning services don’t know about this secret “ingredient.” Anyway, every time we’ve gotten rid of a maid service, which has turned out to be pretty frequently, I figure I can handle it all by myself.

Then reality sets in. I realize if I attempt to be the sole cleaner of my house, I will literally whittle away my entire weekend to thoroughly sanitize my home, only to have to do the same damn thing in another couple weeks. And then there was last night. Oh yes, after last night’s venture into the boys’ bathroom, it really hit me that I don’t WANT to clean up after them. An expensive, mediocre cleaning service is just what’s in order.

I plan on getting a new service soon, but in the meantime, the boys will have to settle for 3rd place in the Nastiest Bathroom competition.


Swag bag scramble

I am certain the following described events never occur in other households.

I attended a recent “health” fair event at my workplace. The typical vendors were there – eyes, dental, medical, fire safety, credit union, etc. Most the popular vendor booths were giving away the cool little freebies. Water bottles, pens, flashlights, clip magnets, canvas totes, etc. Yeah, the majority of it is cheapy stuff but I believe that for whatever reason, most of us like to collect this free clutter crap.

I get home with my scored items to show off to my family I got simply by walking around and half-assed listening intently to the vendors’ spiels. Small price to pay for this super cool can’t-go-in-the-dishwasher-super-thin water bottle! Ha! Take that, kids! That’s when I realized I forgot an important lesson I had learned when I went to a previous year’s health fair – The kids snatch up and claim ownership of the cool items so fast, you don’t even know what hit you. And you can’t stop them and say “No.” I mean, it’s quite obvious I do not need another key ring flashlight. And yes, this tote bag would be a great Halloween candy receptacle. (sigh) Easy come, easy go.

Give it a few days and Gerald had gone to a charity golf tournament. The last time he went to one of these golf dealies, he came back with what the celebrities call a swag-bag. Yes, I am fully aware Gerald’s golf goodie bag contents do not compare to that of the grab-bags afforded celebrities at their fancy shmancy events, but it’s a swag-bag for us everyday Joes and Janes, it’s a goodie bag for the common folk, people!

As expected, Gerald walks through the door with his own collected freebies and the kids were all over it. Golf balls and golf tees – You can keep those, Gerald. Koozie – I think we need one more koozie to add to the classy collection we already have stowed in our pantry. Stylus pen – Where did that thing go?? Oh, the youngest claimed it. Broken flashlight keychain – Surprisingly, no one wanted this little gem. It actually made it to the trash. The cool backpack bag all Gerald’s stuff came in? Yeah, I claimed that for when we go for our walks; it will be great for holding water bottles and doggy doo bags. Maybe it will actually last longer than the other cheap string backpacks we’ve already gone through. (a big HA goes here)

It's such a valuable collection, there are even some still in their original wrappers!
It’s such a valuable collection, there are even some koozies still in their original wrappers!

There you have it. Before you even know what happens, your children strip you of everything. And I’ve just given the goodie/swag bags as an example. I’m sure in other households, the children don’t swipe nail-clippers, screen cleaner cloths, the last of the chips, the last of the cookies, oh and Gerald just reminded me — money. I never have any idea what sort of bills, if any at all, are lurking in my wallet. I’ll set the record straight here though – the boys don’t swipe money from Mom and Dad unless they ask first. I tell them to look in my wallet and take what they need for some school something or other.

So am I right? Does this sort of phenomenon happen to anyone else? It’s just my family, isn’t it?


Only in my dreams

Source: Wikipedia

I started writing this post about 4:30 Monday morning. Well, in my bed and in my head. (Hey, that rhymes!)

Oh it was a brilliant chain of events, just ask Gerald.

! That was the doorbell! I just heard the doorbell! A quick look at the clock: 4:53. Considering our bedroom clock is about 20 minutes fast, it was probably more like 4:30. But being in such a state of sleepiness, the time, real or fake clock time, just wasn’t registering. My oldest has these crazy cross-country practice hours and we’ve already experienced his ride ringing the doorbell at an ungodly hour while my whole family, including my son, has been sleeping soundly. So when I heard the doorbell ring this morning at about 4:30, I, oh I mean I made Gerald jump into full on GO mode.

Turn off the house alarm! Grab some pants! What time was he supposed to be up this morning?? And, weird, why wasn’t the dog in her usual “doorbell” attack mode? She was showing zero interest in our, oh I mean Gerald’s hop-to-it run to the door and get the boy up party.

Gerald after coming back in our bedroom: The doorbell didn’t go off, there’s no one at the front door.

Me: Oh, I must have been dreaming, sorry. ZZZzzzzz….

I’m just kidding, my heart was pump’n after the false alarm. And boy was Gerald annoyed. So sue me. The thing is, this isn’t the first time, and I’m positive it won’t be the last, where I cost Gerald sleep.

I have (and will continue to)…

–Woken Gerald up accusing him of bringing a clump of mud and grass into our bed.
–Woken Gerald up with a gasp because I thought there was an intruder standing over our bed.
–Made Gerald go running out of our room and into the living room, unarmed, thinking OUR house alarm was going off when it was really our neighbor’s (hers is REALLY loud and I thought it was our house alarm).
–Woken Gerald up by shaking him awake, having to ask some urgent question that I guess came up in my dream.

There have been other similar occurrences but they all share the same MO.  We’ll both realize I was just dreaming (again), and (hopefully) we both go back to sleep. It sucks when it’s almost time to get up anyway. You know, when you realize you only have maybe 10 to 30 minutes or so. Then you think, I may as well get up, but then you don’t, and then you end up hitting the snooze at least three times, and then you’re running late even though you could’ve actually run early. Yeah, that.

Sweet dreams, everyone!


Coins only!

It’s rerun time! I figured there’s mainly reruns on TV right now, oh and I’m having just a smidge of blogger’s block lately, so I’m posting a repeat of one of my favs! Trust me, it’s much better than the new post I was attempting. And as a bonus, I’m betting it’s a new post for most people who happen to come across my blog. :-)

Anyhoo, enjoy…

coins only

Not an actual toll road sign but it ought to be

Apparently, all kinds of items besides (valid) coins are found in toll road coin hoppers (the basket thingees where you throw your change to pay your toll).

I have compiled a list–on very good authority I might add–for the morons out there who don’t seem to grasp the true meaning of “Coins only.”

“Coins only” means — Coins ONLY, and NO —

  • condoms (packaged or used)
  • fuses
  • bullets/casings
  • safety pins
  • nails
  • lockets
  • earrings
  • rings
  • fake/foreign coins (paper or Chuck E. Cheese’s like)
  • paper money (real or fake)
  • firecrackers
  • gummy bears
  • nuts/bolts/screws (obviously the morons don’t want to lose anymore of these)
  • washers
  • bottle caps
  • turn signals
  • reflectors
  • ears (real or costume)
  • eye drops
  • “tobacco” rolling papers
  • clown (?) noses
  • mints
  • jolly ranchers
  • tongue depressors / popsicle sticks
  • whistles
  • keys
  • pantyhose
  • necklaces
  • pipes/tubes
  • money clips
  • watches
  • fishing hooks/lures
  • guitar picks
  • golf tees
  • dog tags
  • buttons
  • dice
  • fingernails (real or fake)
  • condiment packets
  • medals
  • drug capsules (OTC, prescription, illegal, whatever)
  • lighters
  • locks
  • drug vials
  • puppies


A (sometimes) cranky blog