Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A family sandwich

“Did you know your shirt is on backwards?” my husband asked while pointing a finger at me.

I looked down and...son-of-a-biscuit.

He was right.

I pulled at the shirt's neck where it pressed awkwardly around my throat and answered, “I thought it felt a little funny.”

I sheepishly began pulling my arms through the sleeves and whipped the offending garment around 180 degrees, once again a respectably dressed member of society.

In my defense...well...I don’t really have a defense. It wasn’t a plain shirt I put on in the darkness of the bedroom closet.

Nope. It was full-on daytime, and the shirt had a big, friggin’ design emblazoned right across the front.

Thirty-eight years old and still unable to dress myself.


It’s gonna be one of those days.


Getting a first grader to do his spelling homework isn’t always the easiest of tasks.

However, I’ve found great motivation in the form of chocolate chip cookies and a promised 30 minutes of “SpongeBob SquarePants” usually paves the way for Mr. Grumpy.

So consider me a little shocked when he announced after school that day that he’d already decided what he would write about and headed to his desk to get started.


Rather than feel unnerved about suddenly finding myself in a remake of “The Body Snatchers,” I simply shrugged my shoulders and decided to leave things alone.

I often find ignorance is bliss.

Ten minutes later, he excitedly ran into the kitchen, waving a sheet of paper over his head like he’d just written Star Wars Episode VII.

Look out, George Lucas.

“Mom, read this,” he shoved the paper at me. “It’s awesome.”

I smiled at his enthusiasm, looked down at the paper and began to read.

“‘I found a puppy. I brought it home. I named it Glory,’” I read aloud. I looked over at my son and patted him proudly on the head. “You did a great job.”

And then I read the last sentence, “‘It better not poop on the carpet.’”

Uh, oh. Houston? We have a problem.

And I think it’s OK to say George Lucas’s dynasty is safe.

I bit my lip to keep from laughing and admonished, “I don’t think you can use the word ‘poop’ on your homework assignment.”

He smiled and responded with innocence, “Oh, don’t worry, Mom. It’s not inappropriate. I really hope it doesn’t poop on the carpet.”


Let’s put aside the fact the little stinker correctly used the word “inappropriate.” Because, really, his vast vocabulary will soon eclipse that of the the two adults in the house and we’ll no longer be able to communicate.

We’ll be like chimps. Gesturing. Grunting. Throwing food.

In other words, a typical Tuesday.


“Please explain something to me,” I asked my husband later that evening. I waved a hand around the room. “Two thousand square feet of living space. With three televisions. And every single body in this house - including an 80-pound Golden Retriever that snores - is in one room, piled onto our queen-sized bed watching TV.”

My husband, whose upper chest was currently being squashed by said Golden Retriever that thinks she's a lap dog, could only grunt in agreement.

At least...I think it was a grunt of agreement.

He could have been desperately begging, “Get this animal off me!” But - darn - she looked so cute and comfy. I didn’t have the heart to shove her off.

And if having to share my sacred space with the entire family wasn’t hard enough...the movie our son had chosen for the evening was a Chipmunks sequel.

But before I could say anything, demand some alone time AND the remote control, our son turned around and said the words that melted my heart and cleared the stormy skies.
“Look, guys, it’s like we’re making a family sandwich,” he chirped.

I smiled and silently said a prayer of thanks for it turning out to be “one of those days.”

You can follow additional adventures at Kelley is a former editor of the Maryville Daily Forum.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

National Pet Day

It's National Pet Day!

Ours celebrated by waking us up at 3:30 a.m. to yak on the carpet.

Thanks, Bear.

We love you too.

A mother's advice

"I found a little puppy. I took it home. It better not poop in the house. I named the puppy Glory." - The Bard, Gabe Baldwin

This is the magical story our 6-year-old son penned last night, using his spelling words.

I'm going out on a limb here by stating I don't think "poop" was one of them.

"Uh, I don't think you can use the word 'poop' on your homework," I said.

"Oh, it's OK, Mom. It's not inappropriate because I really hope the puppy doesn't poop in the house," he defended himself.

On a sidenote: Proud momma alert! He used the word "inappropriate" correctly. Yeah. That's pretty cool. But back to business.

"Well, why don't you think of something else the dog can't do in the house," I suggested, "and that won't get you thrown out of first grade."

Geesh. This parenting stuff is hard!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Object of my discontent

It was like trying to go through life without the use of opposable thumbs.

Now I know how my dog feels.

“What the hell is wrong with this thing?!” I screamed in frustration as I stormed out of the bathroom, waving a roll of toilet paper wildly in the air. One ragged end fluttered violently behind me. “I can’t get the damn toilet paper to tear off!”

You’d think after 36 years of successful toilet training I would have had it down by now. But - no - all of the sudden I’m having trouble working one little roll of two-ply.

Well, in my defense, it was more like two-ply plus aloe plus a cotton blend plus anything else considered squeezably soft in the modern world.

The two males in the household insist on the fanciest toilet paper on the planet. It’s so expensive, I have to take out a friggin’ loan every time I buy it.

In fact, when it was on sale last time - an extremely rare occurrence - I bought eight packages of the damn things.

Filled up an entire shopping cart. 

Everyone threw me weird looks as I pushed it to the checkout.

Of course, the only other things in my cart were a jumbo pack of OREO cookies and a can of cooking spray.

Do you think that looked weird? I really need to start making a list. Anyway...back to toilet paper.

My husband, ever the observant one, answered, “Finally noticed a problem, did you?”

I cocked an eyebrow, looked at the offending roll again and uttered eloquently, “Eh?”

He sighed and gently removed the object of my discontent from one clenched hand, “Look,” he said, pointing a finger at the loose end, “it’s not perforated. They must have had a little trouble at the factory.”

I grabbed it back and took a closer look. I pulled out the loose end farther and farther and father, until half the roll lay in a piled heap on the kitchen floor.

Environmentalist tree huggers, please stop reading now. Back to the action.... 

Sure enough. My better half was right.

“Son of a biscuit!” I yelled. Through some unlucky twist of wacky fate we had managed to secure a non-perforated roll of toilet paper.

You hear horror stories about these kind of things.

You just never think it’s gonna happen to you.

I slumped down into the nearest chair and moaned, “How could this happen?” I looked at my husband in desperation and reached up to wave the roll in his face, “We’re good people! We don’t deserve this!”

He tried - unsuccessfully - to hide the smirk on his face. “Is it really that big of a deal?” he asked.

My mouth dropped open in utter and complete shock.

“Excuuuse me?” I said. I slammed the toilet paper onto the kitchen table, where it landed with a soft plop. “What kind of company allows this to slip through the system? What happened to quality control, people!?” 


“Someone is going to get a strongly worded letter from me,” I announced.

And then another thought hit me, even more terrifying than our current predicament.

There are three other bathrooms in our house.


I leapt from my chair and charged upstairs and into our son’s bathroom. With frantic desperation I clumsily pawed at the small roll on the holder.

Shortly later I muttered, “Oh, thank God!” I peaked out the door and hollered downstairs, “This one’s safe!”

My husband, who really isn’t shocked at my crazy behavior after 10 years, just quietly walked past the bottom of the stairs and gave me a “thumbs up.”

Then I was off to the master bathroom and then the fourth “room of necessity” downstairs.
Both were cleared.

I know how relieved you all are.

I meandered back into the kitchen as the last of the adrenaline seeped from my body. I sat down and dropped my head onto crossed arms.

“Do you think that’s why it was on sale?” I mumbled, rational thought trying to crack its way back into my thick skull. But that didn’t last for long.

My husband walked over, leaned down and quietly whispered in my ear, “What about all the other rolls in the closet?”

Son of a -----.

Monday, April 2, 2012

No fooling! It's a great day!

April Fool's Day brought sunny skies and summer-like temperatures to our little corner of northwest Missouri yesterday.

So we spent the afternoon lying on a blanket in the yard, looking at the clouds. Gabe climbed trees and blew bubbles. Jon took a nap.

All in all, a terrific day! It reminded us the importance of spending silly time with those you love most in the world. Taking time to smell the roses. Blow some bubbles. Snuggle with your dog. And laugh.

Life. Is. Good.

Showing off his muscles....