April Showers

Bring May Flowers.

Unfortunately, when you have a one disconnected down spout and another clogged down spout, they also bring a flooded basement and an unhappy Kerry.

Two years ago, we began the first step in what became a full house, room by room, remodel.  When phase one was completed, my drab boring basement was transformed into this.  Behold, the Kerry Cave.

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Jealous, right?

Well, Saturday night, I was running around in a mad dash to cross a number of tasks and chores off of what seemed like an endless list.  We were supposed to have the birthday party for the new teenager, Paige, the weekend before.  I had the house already scrubbed and decorated, the food already bought, when the birthday girl woke up sick on the day of her party.  Many tears and phone call later, we pushed the bash off a week.  Luckily, the blown up balloons and taped up banners survived the week, but my clean house did not.  Darn it if my family couldn’t control themselves enough to not mess up my house for one week.

We had just survived days of endless rain and  the sunshine finally broke through.  I rounded the couch in my cave to grab something from the other side of the chaise, when….squish.

No, no, no, no….PLEASE don’t let this be what I think this is…

But, of course it was.  The whole northeast corner was sopping wet.   So in addition to making a new cake and cleaning up the joint, I got to Shop Vac carpeting and create a different kind of Fan Cave.

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I’m currently on day three of sucking and blowing.  (Walked into that one.)  At this rate, the carpet will be completely dry on Wednesday, just in time for the next predicted thunderstorm…..

 

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At least I know I’m loved

My kids go to Catholic School.  Every year they have a volunteer mass where they honor all the parents, neighbors, parishioner, and others who have volunteered during the school year.  Since I’m always at work during their weekly masses, I usually try to make it the volunteer mass each year.  A few weeks ago, I put in my sheet for the time off to attend today’s event.

As it just so happens, today is also my mom’s birthday.  Today she’s (29×2) + 3.  (My mom insists on staying 29, so the rest of us comply with her wishes….sort of.)

As we were all running around this morning getting ready, Paige called my mom to wish her a happy birthday, then we jetted off to school.  Just as mass was starting, my phone began vibrating.  I looked at it and noticed it was work.  Someone must have seen my office was empty, but didn’t talk to the main office to see that I was coming in late.  Oh well, I’ll return the call after mass.

Then a few minutes later, it goes off again.

Then another call.  This time from a different co-worker.

I know I turned in my paperwork, I hope there’s not an emergency at work.

Then IP‘s phone starts ringing.

A few more minutes later, I get a call from my mom.

Then another on my phone from work.

Then one from my mom’s cell phone.

Oh crap, there’s an emergency all right, but it’s not at work, its me.

Our father, hallelujah, stand up, sit down, fight, fight, fight!   Please say Mass has ended, so I can go in peace to love and serve the Lord and calm the nerves of my loved ones.

When I step outside to start returning calls, luckily, I’m greeted with endless laughter as I find out the extent to which the Finding Kerry saga reached.

When I didn’t arrive at work, they were worried.  I’m always on time, heck usually early, but no panic yet.  When I wasn’t there after 30 minutes, the calls started.  After not reaching me on my cell or at home, then not reaching IP, they called my mom.

“We don’t want to alarm you, but Kerry didn’t arrive at work today.  She didn’t call.  It’s not like her.”

“Well, I talked to Paige this morning and heard Kerry in the background.  Let me make a few calls.”

Mom decided her best first move was to call the kid’s school.  If they had been dropped off, she could start her search between there and my work.  If they weren’t at school, then she would make a B-line to my house.  Quick to action and ready to roll.  I think mom may have missed her calling by not becoming a detective.

She called the school.  “Um, this is going to sound like a weird question, but, I’m Paige and Trystan‘s grandma.  We can’t find their mom.  Were the kids dropped off at school?”

“Yep, they’re here.  Let me get the Principal for you.”

The Principal, in her infinite wisdom, scanned the pews at Mass before coming to the phone.

“Hi.  She’ in church.”

Praise the Lord!  I had been found.

Aw shucks….I might have looked good on a milk carton.

Meanwhile, back at the bat cave, um, I mean my work, they were feverishly digging through the paperwork, hoping to find proof that I wasn’t supposed to be there.  Eureka!  I’ve found it!  Kerry, 4/25, out 8-10 am at kid’s Mass.  Then my director asked the key question….”Did I sign the sheet?”  “Yes, yes you did.”

When mom called my work back to give them the good news, they relayed to her the mix-up with the paperwork and apologized for the near heart-attack they offered her as a birthday present.

I arrived at work to cheers, applause, and hugs.  The prodigal co-worker that was once lost, had been found.

Some times you walk through life not knowing if others around you really care, if you’re actually seen, if you’d really be missed.  Today I learned how kind, loving, and caring my friends at work truly are.  I’m proud to say that you have given me my Sally Field moment…

You like me, you really like me!

And I love you all!

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Pie

Today I become the parent of a teenager.  What?  No!  How did this happen?? (Ok, I know how this happened and I’m NOT telling you that story.  You’re welcome.)  But how can I have a teenager?!?!?!

IP and I tried everything we could to stop this from happening.

We asked her nicely.  “Please stop growing up so fast.”  (She only smiled at me.  Trying to fight nice with nice.  I’ll show her.)

We tried being discouraging.  “You don’t want to grow up.  Responsibility sucks!”  (She rolled her eyes and said ‘whatevs.’  ~Sidebar~ What is it with kids shortening words?  That -er fought long and hard to be included in your snotty whatever eyeroll.  Give it the respect it deserves.)

Finally, we just gave a direct order.  “We had a meeting and decided that you are not allowed to become a teenager.  We decided that on your birthday, you will go back to 11.  You were nice at eleven.  Cute, with less attitude.”  (She made a face at me….see…attitude…)

Despite our best effort, our sweet little pumpkin pie, our first-born, turns 13 today.  In honor of my baby doll, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the amazing Paige.

First and foremost, Paige is a mini-me.  The first thing people say when they meet us is, “Wow!  She looks just like you!”  To which I reply, “I definitely know I was given the right child.  There will be no knock on my door from a hospital official, offering us a check and an apology.”

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The most frustrating thing about having a mini-me is trying to raise yourself.  When you share the same looks, the same demeanor, and the same mannerisms, you also share the same stubbornness, attitude, and feistiness.  Which basically means I’m raising myself….

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The upside is I get to be a kid again and experience all the joy of the world through her eyes, which isn’t a bad thing and keeps me young at heart.

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Paige has an unnatural obsession with One Direction.  (Ahhh, boy bands.  Like Mother, Like daughter.  See https://kerrysorganizedchaos.wordpress.com/2012/11/05/history-repeats-itself/)   Along with the constant 1D music, begging for new posters, and being inundated with daily new facts about these British boys, a few months ago, I awoke to this notification on my phone.

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Thank you Paige and iCloud for keeping me in the loop.  I don’t know if I could have gone on without know that!

Paige once accused me of only having children so I could make her vacuum, to which I replied, “You’ve got me.  I went through 9 months of pregnancy, labor and delivery, all the diapers, the toddler phase, and everything since, so I could get maybe 10 years of vacuuming out of you.  I’m crazy like that!”  (Did I mention my daughter is sarcastic?  I wonder where she got that from?)

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Despite the complaining, Paige has become this awesomely responsible young lady.  The other day she made herself french toast AND cleaned up after herself!!!

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She also reads and studies without being asked!!!  (Trust me, there were days I never thought we’d get here.)

Paige’s nickname around the house is Messy Martha, and boy has she earned that name.  This is a common sighting in our house.

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How did she get the caramel all the way up there?  I mean I can see the upper lip, but the forehead?!?!  Oh Paige.  And despite having a neat-freak, OCD mother, this is what Paige considers a clean room.  Apparently, the DNA replication missed a gene….  

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I just broke out in hives looking at this picture.  On Saturdays I make her clean it to my standards.  It looks like this again shortly after she finishes.  I think she has Oompa Loompas hiding under her bed that help her mess it back up.  Luckily, the days that aren’t Saturday, I take the advice of my wise mother and close the door.

The good news is, we like her and I think we’ll keep her around for a while.  At least as long as we are getting some good chores out of her.  I mean it IS the reason we had her after all 😉

Stubborn, determined, smart, hardworking….

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Funny, crazy, wacky, sarcastic….

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Kind, caring, nurturing, loving….

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Pumpkin Pie, Directioner, Messy Martha, Mini-Me…

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You can all her whatevs you want, I just know I am lucky and privileged to be able to be called her mom.

Happy 13th Birthday Paige!

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Love, Mom

It sucks

I own a Dyson vacuum and it sucks, literally, in a good way.  I used to watch the Dyson commercials year after year and hear friends and family sing its praises, but, for the longest time, I held off buying one.  In my pig-headed stubbornness, I assumed I could find just as incredible of a vacuum without having to shell out Dyson level moolah.  I was wrong.  I spent three times as much on other inferior vacuums before I finally broke.  Well, actually, before IP broke.

With two cats, a dog, two kids, two asthmatics, and three allergic to everything, no vacuum could ever keep up with the work load we were giving it.  Those vacuums sucked, in a bad way, as in they didn’t.  Nothing sucks more than an item which is manufactured to suck, yet doesn’t suck, so it sucks.

After another less than stellar performance from our last non-Dyson, IP stormed out of the house, mumbling under his breath and returned, lighter in the wallet, but with that beautiful Dyson in hand.

Vacuuming has been a dream since.  I actually smile widely when I hear it sucking up all that hidden garbage from my plush, deep pile.  And oddly, I find great joy watching the tank swirl with all the dust, dander, and yuck it is collecting.  I have a problem.

Saturday is cleaning day in our household.  It’s taken a number of years and a whole lot of complaining, but I finally have the children fully programmed as to their Saturday morning chore routine.  They know there is no use fighting it, just to get it done, so they can get on with their weekend.

Yesterday, IP and Paige were out on a shoot, so young Trystan I and were working our way through the chores.  He had just finished the upstairs vacuuming, so I grabbed the Dyson from him and headed downstairs.  I plugged it in and switched it on.  Something was wrong.  My incredible sucking machine didn’t sound so sucky.  It actually sounded…sucky.  I took a look at the tank.

I have solved another mystery of life.  I now know how to break a Dyson and make it suck….you give it to your 10-year-old who just wants to be done with his chores already!

“Um bud, did you suck up a Kleenex with the vacuum?”

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“Yes.”

“And play money?”

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“Yes.”

Why?

“You said it could suck up anything.  You were right!  Can I go out and play now?”

Since I’m definitely keeping the Dyson around, anyone want a slightly used 10-year-old who play baseball, the trumpet, and is a little too smart for his own good sometimes?

 

 

 

Only in his dreams

You know those last previous moments of pillow talk before you drift off to dream land?  You and your significant other whispering sweet nothings into your ear.  Well here are mine.

IP – “Good Night”

Kerry – “Night”

IP – “I’ll see you in my dreams.”

Kerry – “What am I like in your dreams?”

IP – (Smiling) “You have bigger boobs.”

Kerry – “OK….I’m I smarter or dumber?”

IP – “You don’t talk.”

Kerry – “Nice.”

IP – “Shhhhhhhhh”

Keep dreaming babe, keep dreaming.

A mighty giant

in a tiny package.

Well it appears that winter has finally decided to exit stage left here in ye’ ol’ Nebraska.

The claps and cheers at the local university baseball games can finally be heard in full force, fans being able to leave the thermal gloves and knitted scarves at home when they flock to the ball parks.

The temperature topped 70, causing us all to dig through last years shorts and shimmy into a pair, daring to expose our neighbors to our winter paleness while we steal those first few rays.

And it’s the type of weather that sparks all humans, whether hard-core athletes or couch loving potatoes, to strap on some shoes and hit the trails.

Now while those trails and roadways get backed with runners, bikes, and strollers, another breeds squeaks in its four paws, adding to the congestion.   The dog.

I love dogs and I love people who take out their dogs on runs with them.  When I go out for a run, I used to be jealous of those out with their jogging companions, wishing I had a four-legged friend I could take out with me, especially on my early morning runs.  Unfortunately, when you’re a woman and  you run alone at 5 am, there are times that you feel uncomfortable and desire a furry protector.

Almost three years ago, we added a furry member to our family.  The kids had been asking forever, begging to be loyal and responsible dog owners.  Santa finally caved and deposited a cute little, Yorkie-Poo, Maddie, into our home.  Why a Yorkie-Poo you ask?  Well, the answer is two-fold.  Paige has a dog allergy, any puppy we were given need to be non-shedding.  Secondly, I’m not a big dog person.  Just thinking about 87 pounds of slobbering, shedding dog sends my OCD into a tailspin.  In my eyes, dogs should be fluffy, soft, little and cute.  It should be able to fit under my arm, in a purse, or curl up in my lap.  (Ok, mock me now.  I’m woman enough to handle it.)  I do draw the line at clothes.  You should not dress your dog….except on Halloween…. and during football season…. and, screw it.  I dress my dog sometimes too.

Anyway, back to the nice weather.  Maddie LOVES to go for walks.  And when I say loves, that’s an understatement.  We cannot even say the word ‘walk’ in our house.  We have to spell it, because, if you say it, you had better be prepared to grab the lease and the poop bag right then and there.  When you do walk her, she pulls you, going full throttle at the end of her leash the whole time.  She comes home still hyped, still leaping up to your waist, still looking for you to throw her ball.  Seriously, how much energy does this dog have?

Too bad I can’t take her on a run.

Or can I.

I don’t know where the unwritten rule about what type of dog you can take on a run came from, but today, I remembered that my dad didn’t call me his ‘little trendsetter’ for no reason and set out to re-align the universe.

I laced up my shoes, strapped on my music, and asked the spunkiest Yorkie-Poo on the block if she wanted to go on a run.  Want to guess what she said?

She took off like a dart, practically dragging me off the driveway and up the first hill, proving she was up for the challenge.  The only thing Maddie might love more than being out on her leash…. is peeing.  She is forever at the door, scratching to be let out.  She will go out, come in, then go right back out again.  Apparently, I have the cutest puppy with the smallest bladder.  That, and the largest ‘little dog’ syndrome, so she must spread her scent wherever she goes.  Our run started out like this.  Mad dash at puppy full speed, nearly choking herself trying to make the leash longer.  Squat in grass.  Be passed by Kerry. Give up squat to pass Kerry and take the lead back.  Repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.

About twenty minutes (yes, I said 20 minutes) into our run, Maddie started running at my side, matching me stride for stride, no longer trying to drag me.  I thought, maybe, just maybe, this was it.  I had found the point at which one can tire out a Yorkie-Poo.  Then she started running behind me.  Crap, I’m about to break my puppy.  I’m going to have to carry her all the way back home.  You know what looks sillier than running with a Yorkie-Poo… running while carrying a Yorkie-Poo.  Well, my fears were completely unfounded.  As it happens, my puppy was nowhere near spent, there just happened to be a runner approaching me from behind and Maddie morphed into protector mode.  I stepped to the side to let the runner pass.  Maddie again took off at full speed.

We hit the half way point and pulled a U-turn, heading for home.  She didn’t let up the whole way back.  I was in awe.  At any moment, I expected her to throw in the figurative towel, to sit down and refuse to lift one more paw.  But it never happened.

We rounded the last corner and caught sight of the house.  She did it!  She made it the whole run.  Hot Dog!  No, seriously, she was hot, thirsty, and panting like crazy.  I rewarded my superstar runner with a puppy treat and giant bowl of cool water.  She eat, drank, and crashed.  Literally.

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Remember the Tootsie Roll commercial…’How many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?’  I still don’t know that, but I now know how many miles it takes to tire out a Yorkie-Poo… 4 1/2.

If only it lasted.

Later in the day, IP made the mistake of saying the “W” word.

Guess who made a B-line to the door…..

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It’s the cheesiest

Hi, my name is Kerry and I stress eat Cheddar Chex Mix.  (“Hi Kerry.”)

I usually run to the grocery store on Wednesday after work.  This Wednesday was a particularly terrible day at work.  I work with behaviorally disordered students, and we make a tally each day at dismissal whether we think with won or lost that day.  The longer version of Wednesday involves being nearly choked, a broken necklace, a police call, lots of other phone calls and endless paperwork.  The short story is…we lost.

As I drug my behind to Wally World after work, I was hoping to make it a quick and painless visit.  I wanted nothing more than to make it to my couch and my bottle of Moscato.   My trip down wine therapy was derailed as I stumbled upon something better, one of my biggest vices…Cheddar Cheese Chex Mix.

It’s the devil really.  I mean, just look at it.

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There is nothing better than all that cheesy, crunchy goodness.  The Corn Chex, the Wheat Chex, those triangle shaped fake cheese-it looking things, the… nope that’s it.  I know, I know, your saying to yourself, “Kerry, you forgot to mention the squiggly bread thingys and pretzels!”  Um, no.  I didn’t mention them on purpose.  Those, I could do without.  Yuck!  In fact, I stress eat my way right around those wasted ounces of my snack bag.  If someone out there is listening, if you could make a bag of just the Chex pieces, that would be the best!

The shopping trip was a rousing success.  In and out in less than an hour and for under $200…double bonus.  I didn’t even have the groceries completely in the car before I had the bag ripped open and the inhaling had begun.

Then, I came across the most incredible part of the Cheddar Chex Mix.  These babies.

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Oh My… I’m drooling.  I mean, just look at them.  They are so completely covered in fake, orange, poly hydrogenated, absolutely terrible for you, processed ‘cheese’ powder, that you can barely tell if they’re a Wheat Chex or a Corn Chex.  I’m in heaven.

Shovel, chew, remember to pause to breathe, shovel, chew.

I arrive home and look down at the unmistakable evidence of my weakness.

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I told you I had a problem.  I’m thinking of starting a group.