Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Date When You're Old and Covered in Kids


As you know, awhile back I became a "single" person.  It felt really weird. And it didn't take long until I fell face first into the world of dating as a forty-seven year old mother of a volleyball team.  It was a total nightmare accident.  It's been a world that's frighteningly different than the one I remember from a hundred years ago.  Mostly because when I dated the first go-round, it was childless.  As it should be.

When I first set up my new homestead, I was like Snow White to my little dwarfs.  You know, Stinky, Sloppy, Mouthy, Guilty, Nervy and Shifty.  I was completely focused on single motherhood and had no intention of dating PLUS I was intimidated by the idea of it all.  I mean, I'm the old lady in the shoe.  Remember?!  I was a "mom" this time. And I wasn't exactly a fan of relationships after my big fail.  Plus dating meant "drama" to me and I had been full-up on that for some time with the whole *sshhh* divorce.   And I got extra helpings of drama since my crew was also now in the godforsaken dating world too.   And dating while you're daughters are dating is just plain awkward.  We're all hold up in the bathroom together shoving to get mirror facetime and poking our eyes out with frosted mascara because my girls lost my grown up variety.  Then we all come home later and it's a bucket of weirdness.  And it's superfun to be on a date while your kids are texting you every five minutes wanting to know where we keep the extra batteries for the Xbox or what's the right dosage of Immodium AD or getting the referee job of a long distance knock out about what channel the tv should be on. Usually while I'm trying to enjoy a warm meal that I did not cook amen!  I eventually learned that dating can only take place on my childless weekends when I could have free reign of my house.  But for the most part, early on, I just wanted friendship.  I wanted people to treat me like I was somewhat normal.  Even if they knew better.

But my friends wanted me to not be pathetic alone.  That's what friends DO. And it was really nice when people were actually interested in me and wanted to talk to me about something other than how I needed to buy more Lucky Charms or unclog the toilet.  Again.   So on those weekends when I was missing my sweathogs, I started leaving the house and spending time with other grown people who were temporarily unattached to family life, like me.  It was a strange notion, but the alternative scared me more.  I started mentally naming my legion of cats I would end up with.

When I did leave the house, at first, it was like a bulls eye was stamped to my chest with the words "Fresh Meat". It was kinda like a zombie apocalypse but I just showed up, not knowing what a zombie looks like.  Maybe it's because I was mostly alone and didn't know how to act without kids stuck on me like tattoos. 

When I had met someone new, here's how the first conversation would go.

Him: "It's really nice to meet you."
Me: "Thank you.  Likewise."
Him: "So tell me about yourself.  Do you have any kids?"
Me: "Yes, I do"
Him: "Really? How many?"
Me: "Six"
Him: (dial tone)
But if we had face time, he excused himself to the bathroom.  A bathroom in Never Never Land.  because I never saw him again!

So in my laughable vast experience in the world of dating I've learned a few things.  One big thing I've learned is all men say they do not want to be in a relationship again.  At first.
Lesson #1: This is a lie. 
They are out there. In the world. Looking for someone.  If they wanted to be alone, you would not see them.  They would be home. Or invisible.
I realize there are a lot of moochers looking for a special lady.
For just one night.
Even those fellas are happy to be with this special lady, but only to get by until they find someone they want to see for more than one night.  For the most part.  This is me being nice.
But they may not know it's a lie themselves.  What they mean is they don't want to be in a relationship with YOU!  Or maybe they want you but not YET.  Because you might interfere with them living as they want or someone better than you might come along and they want to keep their options open.  Or they are still jacked up and can't discriminate between their ass and a hole in the ground.  YET.  This doesn't make them liars. It makes them confused.  And I think they deserve a hall pass.  At first. 

But in this sea of confusion, I've broken down the types of fellas I've met into three types.

This guy is trouble.  And you run into him 75% of the time.  His common denominator? He wants a free sample.  But I'm not Hickory Farms.  And it ain't gonna happen.  Ever.  He likes to talk nonsense about his ex, but whether he's justified or not, he's not doing himself any favors by telling his current interest how he talks about his past failed relationship and how it wasn't his fault.  He will eagerly tell you how striking you appear and wants to know where he can find you later.  He will NEVER ask anything about your kids or real life.  He doesn't plan on being around long enough to need to know or care. He will be in a urgent rush to make plans with you and get a date on the books.  If you refuse his hasty attempt at hooking up, he turns into an epic douchebag because you had the nerve to not jump  all over spending time with his shallow ass.  He also thinks you're too stupid to see through his transparent armor of bullcrap and is shocked when you blow him off at the get-go.  Hope for his sake, he's going through a phase or he'll end up spending his nights alone at Buffalo Wild Wings watching sporting events with the cute staff members who just spend time with him because he pays them to. 

This poor bastard is around about 15% of the time and is actually kinda date-able.  for someone else.  His divorce (or whatever happened) caught him off guard and he is still trying to find out where he landed.  He is kind and is really trying to do the dating thing.  He's a gentleman and will hold the door for you and buy you dinner and all that, but he is awkward.  He may talk constantly about his ex so don't encourage him!  He may still be dealing with that loss so you may want to have some tissues on hand.  He loves his kids and is involved in their lives, which is awesome!  He has no clue what to say to you but he tries.  Once you give him your digits, he will find you like the stray dog you fed that time.  He can be a little odd.  He might think his job as a computer programmer for the power company is fascinating dinner conversation.  He may have ALL of the lego star wars figurines still-in-the-box and you should be impressed by that!  The right woman will probably come along and help him overcome the weirdness, so let her have that job!  I already have six weird people who live with me so I'm looking to subtract, not add.  If you can put him in "friend" zone he may actually be good company and may evolve into the real deal!

This fella is the real deal but you will only find him about 10% of the time.  He may have graduated from one of the other phases or may just be an enigma of stability.  Whatever got him where he is, he has handled it well!  He's involved with his kids and wants to know about yours!   He has manners, knows how to use grammar and practices basic hygiene.  All a plus!  He's created his own life but wants to know about yours.  He doesn't mind sacrificing some of what he likes to make you feel valued so you mesh into his world.  He might be awkward sometimes but recovers well.  When he compliments you, it's not only about your physical perks but he makes note of your personality and character assets too.  He looks at you when you speak and he LISTENS to what you say! He will screw up sometimes but that happens to all of us.

As I put all this down in cyberspace, know I am mocking the dating scene a bit and maybe picking on men, but I've also met several other women in my shoes and I've heard stories from these fellas and know that women can be turds!  Women are the main reason a lot of these poor gents are so screwed up, so when you meet someone new, drop the notion that you've already got them figured out and actually give them a chance.  Put your guard down and give them the gift of YOU!  Stop bitching about how there's no one out there worth your time or love and give it anyway. Men also have to sort through a sea of whacked out women so cut them some slack!  You may find an unexpected treasure in a least likely place.  Isn't that what we're all looking for?   A treasure?  So don't just look for a treasure, BE a treasure!

Cyberdating Wizard,

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Lesson on Bigotry and False Judgement

My guardian angel at the end of every day.
A couple of years into this nonsense blog of mine, I got my first hate mail.  Shocked that anyone would hate me, I asked a fellow blogger how to respond to this hater.  I was worried about alienating my readers by coloring a little outside the lines.  She told me to do nothing.  That when people start questioning you and getting all passionate about your words, it just means you've arrived.  That I was doing my job of making people think and pushing the bar.  I'm always getting myself into trouble.  Just ask my guardian angel.

Today is one of those bar days and not the kind I wish it was!  And I hope you'll bear with me because I think more than likely, you will relate to what I'm about to disclose.  The humor may be less today, but I also like to make this site a place to reflect on nonsense.  With the recent elections and Ebola scares  and season, everyone is quick to take sides.  Which we should.  But taking sides doesn't mean you hate the other side, does it?!  Why does everything have to be in a box of "either/or"? And with closed-minded, one-sided thinkers it leads to ugliness.  Controversial. Judgmental. Bigotry.  And it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.  So here we go...

Our perception of how we live and move through this life is based on some things we can't control like our skin color, nationality, for my teenagers: acne, and for me, lack of height!  It's also based on our experiences, good and bad. We become sensitive to things that have impacted us and it makes us passionate about how we respond.  The problem lies when we take those passions and distort our perception into a lie and impose that onto others unfairly.  And it is so freakin easy to judge others.  People watching has become a sport in America.

One example of judgment was the story last week of the young woman who took her own life because she didn't want to go through the final stages of cancer.  Do I believe in suicide?  Of course not, but I don't know what led her to make that decision.  She said she didn't believe in suicide either but was going to die anyway, so she wanted to do it on her terms.  I don't want to live in a world where people go around killing themselves to avoid suffering.  I'm a big believer in suffering for good and dealing with tragedy with grace and love.  I disagreed with her decision, but I also don't want to live in a world where everyone imposes their beliefs on others unfairly.  I don't believe in legalizing marijuana.  I've seen it hurt people I love.  But like many things, if you choose to do so without it hurting me, that is your business.  But it has hurt someone I love and changed who they are, so that is my perception.  And the point in all of this, is that I should be respected for my beliefs just as you are, without unnecessary ugliness.  In this world, humans have far more in common than differences, yet we focus on our differences.  And what does that do?  It divides us.  Look at Christianity.  Most Christians' core beliefs are the same.  It's they way we practice those beliefs that divides us.  And look how it has hurt us.  We are spiritually divided over a small part of what makes us different.  As a Christian I can say, Christians can be bat$h*t crazy!

When I was pregnant with Sean I found out at four months along that he would die.  I made the decision to carry him as long as his heart was beating and I wanted him to die on his own terms and God's will, not mine.  It was a heartbreaking time in my life but only I was living it, no others around me completely understood, so they had no right to impose their beliefs on me.  Yet I listened to them with grace because I believe they meant well.  I had well meaning but horrible people tell me that I was a terrible mother for not aborting my son because of the pain it would inflict on my then five young children.  But I also had well meaning but horrible Christian people tell me that if I was right with God and if I prayed enough that He would spare my son and I would get to keep him, as if to say, Sean died because I wasn't right with God?  No.  Sean died because we live in a fallen world, not because his mother was a sinner, even though I am.

When we encounter people who don't understand, we have to be peaceful and look the other way as often as we can.  Then some people want to be ugly and push us.  And if you're from the south you should say, "He doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, bless his heart". 

I also read an article about an asshat rich woman at Halloween who resented less privileged children trick or treating in her perfect neighborhood with sidewalks and well lit streets and neighbors who could afford treats for children.  What the woman doesn't get is the feeling you feel when you give back to those who struggle daily, when you have excess everyday, and they may never know that comfort of having all they need.  And you get to share with our Creator and bless someone.

Many of you know, I live in the deep south.  In the southernmost part of Alabama.  If you believe what's in the movies, you may believe racism is a way of life down here.  You couldn't be farther from the truth!  Being racist is considered vulgar and crude.  I don't know anyone who would openly admit to those feelings.  That's not to say they don't exist at all, but then again, we love to find the smallest amount of ugly and make it bigger than it is.  So, I embrace my southern culture.  It is part of what defines me.  I'm also many other things.  I'm a woman raising an army of sloths, a Caucasian, am divorced and single, Roman Catholic, short, blonde, politically conservative, pistol toting, non-smoker but occasional whiskey drinker, and heterosexual. To name a few.  Does that mean I hate men? DEPENDS ON THE DAY  Other races?  Jews? Muslims? Brunettes? Basketball players? Democrats?  Gay people?  Douchebags?  Well, I do hate douchebags!

We all know one!
I could go on.  But you get the ridiculousness.  But there are people who believe that is how I am defined.  And I say this not for my own sake but because I know we've ALL experienced discrimination.  We recently had an amendment to our state law here in Alabama that gained national attention.  We are the first state to make a law that foreign law will not take precedence over state or national law.  The headlines said we were targeting Sharia Law as if we weren't tolerant.   That is not what it said on the ballot.  I know, I sat there and read it!  Sharia Law was not mentioned or implied. But I'm sure Sharia law was considered when creating this amendment.  So why does that make the state of Alabama anti-Muslim?  Especially since the law protects not just our natural born citizens but our Muslim brothers and sisters from possible harm!  In countries like Britain, Sharia Courts have been allowed to take place, but so far thankfully, with no serious sentences like beheading a person for use of profanity. Could it happen here one day?  I don't think it's likely, but I'm glad my state is thinking ahead and protecting everyone inside the state line from extremist laws.  Tolerance is what it should be, graceful acceptance of others' differences, so far as they are not imposed on everyone!   It is not, as it has become popular in politically correct fashion, to impose upon us to the point that it is shoved in our faces as long as the rest of us can't express what we believe too!  I mean, I expect for YOU to be tolerant of MY views as well!  Our brains have become diseased with this kind of "acceptance".  As I type this there are Christians who are beheaded in other parts of the world for believing in Christ, yet we do nothing because we don't want to pass judgment and interfere.  But there's also a movement to protect dogs from being eaten in other parts of the world that has a following here and money is being raised to interfere.  Makes you wonder if God isn't posed in a constant facepalm.

Here in the south we have a multicultural life as does the rest of the country. I'm surrounded by people of all ways of life.  And I embrace that.  Remember how I said life experiences affect how you perceive and live your life?  Well, when I was a young child, I went through a time when I was that kid who had no pals and ate alone everyday at school and was mocked and ridiculed.  I was very young and don't remember why.  I do remember how it felt.  But because of that, I embrace everyone.  I hate exclusion.  When I see people, I don't judge them by first impressions, but I may rightly judge them for seconds!  I know that everyone in this world has a soul and that is the essence of who they are.  It's not those things I used to define myself a few lines back, but what I DO with those labels.  The way someone looks or their financial portfolio mean little to me.  I wanna see how they behave and interact with me- what they can bless me with in our time together, whether it be for a few seconds in a check out line or a lifetime of love.

When my crew did community theatre, we were surrounded by folks of differing opinions and lifestyles.  My children regularly encountered folks who were not like us in some ways.  Their first experience with an atheist was in theater.  I was glad to use that as a learning experience for my crew.  I told them to be Christ to others no mater what and that if this person made atheism a soapbox for them to just be a good witness but never argue but also never back down from our beliefs. Arguing usually changes no one's opinions.  But the right behavior can.  I'm glad it happened while they were young and I could show them how we live among others who think differently. 

But often, no matter how kind you are to people, they want to label you.  This is when I have to remember that I don't know what they've been through.  There was a young man in theatre with my children who was openly gay.  I remember how good he was to my boys when they were only ten years old and just learning theatre.  He was so kind to them, taught them how to put on stage make up, how to prepare for their scenes and accepted them in their limited knowledge.  They figured out at some point he was gay and they never made any noise about it.  Because their first experience with a gay person was one of kindness and support.  And for that I was thankful.  I always cheered this boy on when I would see him audition or perform.  I had no reason not to.  But sadly, he hated MY beliefs and he falsely assumed that because we didn't agree on everything- like politics, then I must be a closed minded hater of all who he was, even though I never imposed my beliefs on him nor judged him.  He missed out on a great friendship because somewhere he got the idea that our ways of living are mutually exclusive.  But then, it was another life lesson for me, that I shared with my crew. 

Being open to loving people with differences doesn't mean I compromise my beliefs.  If you've ever been here, you know I'm not shy.  It means I'm open to receiving their friendship and love, while being able to voice all that is me as well, and be accepted by them.  Ironically three of my closest friends are liberal democrats.  And we often talk about politics because we know it isn't all that defines us.  One of those friends whom I talk to daily, is the one I go to when I'm hurting because she knows I'm more that just a conservative church lady.  I'm thankful she and I were open to friendship when we have so many differences.  It has blessed me. 
When I got married a thousand years ago, like all girls, I wanted my best friends to be in my wedding.  Two were women who got me through grad school.  One was an African American liberal democrat and the other was a politically conservative lesbian.  Those women held me in my lowest times, as I held them.  We live apart now but remain close friends to this day.  I was proud to have them stand with me at the altar, as I felt the love and support I needed that day.  Judgmental attitudes would have prevented me from having those wonderful memories.

Don't get me wrong.  There is a difference between being judgmental and making a judgment.  If my daughter brings home a man who's heavily tatted up with multiple piercings and is fifteen years her senior, I'm gonna tell him to hit the road because that's a judgment that I have to make as a parent. I also may not want to walk to my car at night if he is leaning against my SUV.  But when I see this fella at Walmart, if I'm open to it, he may just be the guardian angel who helps me get a functioning buggy because my hands are full of kids.  I go out of my way to speak to those who may appear "different" and I love it when I see the shock on their faces.  And I think it ministers to their souls that they are accepted.

When I divorced, I had to put my crew in regular school (I know, more stories, bear with me!)  The school I chose happened to be culturally diverse.  I would guess it had 45% African Americans, 30% Caucasians, 15% Hispanics and 10% Asian.  It was a great place for my children to learn with other children how to live and accept others who aren't like you.  And they got to learn this in a place of innocence, with children.  This past year, I pulled my girls out and left my boys there.  I did this because the girls had interests and needs that the school wasn't able to offer.  I gave my boys the choice to stay or change with the girls, and they chose to stay there for their last year before high school.  I'm happy with both schools for different reasons.  Sadly, one of my girls was told by a former classmate and friend who is African American that she was racist for leaving their school.  I had to explain to her that, like the theatre boy who judged me falsely, that she will experience mistaken bigotry sometimes.  I also told her that this little girl was only responding to her life experiences and would probably come to understand that my daughter was still her friend. 

I know this has been a long and less-than-funny post, but I know I'm not the only one who's noticed these things.  And something needs to be said!  Yea, it's an unpopular thing to write because no one wants to be the person who says controversial things.  But what I'm trying to say is to be open to letting other people be who they are while not trying to make everyone be you.  If we all were the same, there'd be no flavor. 

Last night I went to a sports bar, alone, and watched Alabama barely beat LSU.  It was a knuckle biter.  Because it was such a tense, roller coaster kinda game, everyone around me became pals.  We were all different except for the fact that we all had on crimson red.  And for a few hours last night, strangers united and celebrated.

Just a little bit different,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Causes of "Crazy Mom"

Those jacked up days when I feel like I'm losing my schmit, I beg my kids to tone it down a bit before I hafta hide in the prison bus. They help out by heading in the opposite direction and get louder! And act like I've not taught them any better.  Last night I asked them to clean up some pasta that spilled over on the floor, which happens as often as the day turns to night.   I don't know if they thought it was smart or lazy to use a mop for that particular job.  I think they thought well of themselves because when I stepped back in the room I had no proper words. Just obscenities.

I guess they can't help it.  We're related.  I've told you I have bat$h*t crazy relatives just like you, I'm sure- but what I haven't told you is how very sincere I am.  I mean, my family has... paperwork, to prove it!  My Mamaw once sprayed my great uncle in the face with breast milk.  From the original source.  My cousin once told another cousin she had outstayed her welcome and needed to go.  When she refused, cousin #1 took cousin #2's suitcase and dropped it in Alligator Bayou.  My dad once got mad that another car was parked too close to his drivers' side door, keeping him from getting back in his pick-up, with his six pack of Schlitz.  So he got in the passenger's side, he scooted over to his driver's side, rolled down his window, and urinated on the offended driver's windshield.  At 3:00 in the afternoon.  When the school kids get dismissed.  And our crazy people ain't kept at bay, so we get to experience all the nonsense up close and in person.  I know we all get crap from our kids and relatives that makes us wanna hide in our closets and bang our head against the floor.  We get insanity that runs on a constant loop, snipering us by the very creatures we brought into this world.  Their timing is almost too organized in their tag team set-up as if it was regulated by the damn government.  Since lunacy covers my family like tics on a stray dog, it makes me wonder sometimes how many steps I am away from "Crazy Mom".  In the end, I have no choice but to accept my fate.

There is supposed to be a video below, if it doesn't show up, you can see it here.

 And the battle keeps me exhausted.  Wait. No. Actually I would like to move up to being exhausted.  And my exhaustion has less to do with the constant car pooling and slew of craptastic mandatory kid activities than it does that I live with people with impaired reasoning skills.  That, plus the fact that they might actually be crazy!  I may as well live in a bar that never has a "last call" because dealing with them is like reasoning with drunk people.  A lot of drunk people!  And I win never. There is no normal conversation I can have with anyone I created because the normal processes of deduction and critical thinking never evolved with them.  Or maybe they've gradually lost those skills as they grew older, because the most intelligent person in the house right now is the six year old.  Maybe it's a dormant mutation.  Whatever it is, I need to find a clinical approach.  A vaccine.  Or stronger liquor. 

Catalysts to Crazy Mom
I would like to know why it is so hard to handle basic life skills.  I mean, since they came into this world, I have taught each of them to love Jesus, say "yes, ma'am" & "no, thank you", use soap, use a tissue for that, operate a dust pan, and wipe til it's clean.  It's like they just met me.  Every. freakin'. dagum. day! 

I've recently had some problems with my voice, so I was told to put some frequently used phrases on a voice recorder so I wouldn't have to use my voice so much.  Here's what I've come up with so far.

Stop it!
Put it down.
Pick it up.
Be quiet.  Really, be quiet.  Shut your mouth now!
What is that? Get rid of it.  And then wash your hands.
Y'all cut it out!
No you can't have Peanut Butter Capt'n Crunch for dinner.  I made a nice dinner and YES you have to eat that!
Who's socks are these?
Close the pantry door.
Close the cabinet doors.
Close the refrigerator door.
Who left a thimble of tea in the fridge?
Turn it down.
Turn it off.
Did you flush?
I'm on the phone.
Yes, you do have homework.
Because I said so.
Are your clothes clean?  You stink.
Please go to freaking bed!

I went to Sea World a couple of years ago.  Did you know they can train dogs and cats to jump through hoops and climb across tightropes and wear human clothes and dance and drive little cars? They can even train killer whales to jump high in the air with other killer whales, at the same exact time! Yet, my highly evolved sweathogs are still struggling with flushing.  Is it just me?  What is it YOUR crew makes YOU say ten hundred times a day?  There MUST be a better way.  I'll ponder it over while I clean out my fridge.  I need to do something with my leftovers.

Waiting for the last call,


Thursday, October 23, 2014

MamaJulep and the Six pack will be on the Small Screen!

This Saturday there will be an extra helping of nonsense on tv, because my crew will be showcased on a home improvement show.  For thirty minutes, viewers will be held hostage entertained while  my sweathogs and I tear up my house.  So it's like a regular day for me, only you get to watch it!  The people over at Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford fixed up my kitchen and gave us a good time while doing it.  It airs this Saturday evening locally but it's syndicated everywhere so you can probably find it where you are by checking here.  I know you will have nothing better to do with your time than to watch me do manual labor and chase kids. 

I stumbled onto this gig when my friend who co-hosts the show, was looking for folks who needed some stuff done at their home.  My sweathogs are demolition experts, so if anything, I was overqualified!  I sent them pictures of my house and all that it lacks and they came over here and took pity on me signed me up!  The catch was that my crew and I had to get our hands dirty in the renovation.  Yeah, it was almost a deal breaker to ask me to get my hands dirty or have to do stuff my.freakin.self because I never live that life said no mother ever!

Not many souls can survive my people for a whole week, but these guys did! They wanted to play up the whole "big fat freakish family" thing, so they wanted to see a little chaos for the show.  I was happy to oblige but told my crew they really did not want to see the real us.  So, on the little box, you will see the PG version of our reality show, because they won't put the real "us" anywhere near a video camera without several censors, a time delay and a lawyer.  If you've met me on this nonsense blog of mine, then you will see my June Cleaver side and not Eunice or Joy.  Unless they have bloopers. 

So I hope you'll check us out.  If you miss it on tv, it will later be available to watch on their website.  And my apologies for my strong southern accent.  I am and always will be....

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Post Where I Rant about "Big Family Issues"

I love all these lists you find about the awkward parts of being anything (oldest, youngest, religious, musical).  The ones about rants about "Big Family Issues" are my fav, but there's so much they leave out.  And since I get asked all the time about it and should have a PhD in it, let me fill in the holes a bit. 

MamaJulep's List of Big Family Issues: A View from inside the Frat House

1. Going any place where you all have to be seated, preferably together, has to be a well-planned execution with plenty of time to get there ahead of the crowd who doesn't have to be early.  Going to church? If you all want to sit in the same pew, plan on getting there about 30 minutes before they turn the lights on.  Make your extra time sitting there more craptastic by adding a toddler or three, so by the time Father walks in they are good and ready to meltdown.  One Christmas Eve I sat an hour ahead with my triplets, who were nine-Jesus-help-me-months old.  Their dad decided to take my 3 year old out as soon as we muther freaking got there for whispering too loudly and I spent the next two hours with strangers helping me handle my trio, while trying to participate in Mass and not be the act in the center ring, because I could not physically just walk out while holding all three at once.  I may as well have shown up with three baby octopuses.  Did I mention I was pregnant?
Wanna "grab a bite"?  You better call the diner before you leave and give them the *warning* that you need "the big table".  It' doesn't have to be a reservation kinda place because with a party of eight or more, it can be The Sizzler or Waffle House.  They always act like you just brought in the church bus at Cracker Barrel and you need to wait while we build tables in the back just for you.  And they always put you in that back room by the bathrooms and the dirty dishes. And if they do actually seat you by regular folks, you get the eye rolls and head turns.  Because we're freaks.

2.  The daily fight to groom, shower, pop a zit or pee alone is a battle that may be won sometimes but the war never ends.  There is no impromptu "I'll just grab my shower in the morning" when everyone else in the house also thinks the same thing.  This results in shower schedules and timed limits on bathrooms and replacing the door. again.  And it's like we're all living in the dorm and we overslept and are hungover and need to get to finals in thirty minutes. 
Only it happens every. godforsaken. day.  And mama ends up with a cold prison shower bathing with men's sport wash because her stuff was highjacked by teenage girls.  And my bathroom lottery number never comes up. 

3.  Privacy? Personal space? What's that? Yes, we live in the frat house and the party never has a curfew. Wanna pee alone? Have a private phone conversation?  Watch a movie without pausing it 85 times? Shower without visitors?  All are a "no" at my house unless you get real creative.   Ever seen a kid brush their teeth on the back porch so nobody spits on them?  Come over! Looking for one of your kids? Check the prison bus, it's like the hide out when you can't take another person next to you one more second!  And we share every space, so no one has their own room including me, who gets to share a bed with a six year old ninja sleeper.  Believe it or not, my crew is pretty modest so no one changes clothes together or opens up the bathroom and does the unthinkable while someone else is already in there.  But when we all do hang together and eat a meal or watch a movie, we have to be flexible and not be selfish turds.  Hmmm.

4.  We never have anything we need, mostly because of hoarders.  As soon as new loot hits the house, the kids are all over it like we're living The Hunger Games and it's the last time we will EVER GET THIS! School lunch snacks? Vanished.  You won't find them when you're packing a half dozen lunches.  Try checking their closets and under their mattresses.  Oh yes Honey!  Looking for a soft drink?  Why would it be in the kitchen?  Check under their beds or behind the dresser.  And things like clean towels, deodorant, razors?  uh..., no.  You'd have to get on the black market if you want your own bath cloth.  It's usually the six year old who knows where all the good stuff is.  Luckily, she can still be bribed.

Yeah, that's us, back in the day of only 5 kids. At the wholesale club. Yeah.
5. Going anywhere is a field trip and the public L.O.V.E.S us.  Taking the crew with me isn't as necessary as it used to be but they still need to go or just don't want me to be lonely and have any time to myself, even if it is just a trip to Walmart.  When folks see us they stare like we're celebrities or Americas Most Wanted.  I've been asked if I run a day care or have a church youth group.  Eh, no thank you.  I get asked how I had all my kids and what my religious beliefs are.  They're all mine. Yes I know what causes it.  No, questions about my uterus are really none of your business.  I'd just like to grab my four gallons of milk, the extra strength Excedrin, and the super box of tampons and just get home to my bottle of merlot.  And it's easy to be gawked at when you drive the prison bus and make noise because even when we are just having a conversation there's so many of us it's like you're in a cafeteria and it's never quiet.  ever.

6. Chores are supersized.  I recently got a working dishwasher for the first time in three years.  But even with the dishwasher, doing dishes for my crew is like doing time never finished.  I don't know what an empty sink looks like but I'd like to.  When I cook for my family it looks like I'm prepping for the end times.  All my recipes are made for the "pot luck" cookbooks because I have to.  I don't think I even know how to cook for two.  Still we never have leftovers.  I wouldn't know what to do with them.  And laundry is impossible.  Our missing socks basket is a hefty-sized trash can.  When I find something dirty and don't know whose it is, suddenly it belongs to no one, but if it's folded and put away it belongs to everyone. but me.  And the constant traffic helps none.  Given the money, I could hire someone full time just to keep my floors clean.  I need to sweep and mop at least once a day but I have these kids to deal with so we may as well have dirt floors for all the good I do.   And my crew leaves their crap everywhere so I have landmines all over the place and you just quit asking why you have a Barbie shoe covered in jelly stuck to your sock because you have to choose how much your brain can take of the nonsense.
And we make lots of garbage.  We get one trash can the city picks up once a week, which is, well, inadequate.  So I also recycle.  And I have a compost pile.  And Friday mornings I sneak around nearby houses like a bandit and put extra bags of nasty in other bins.  

7. Anything involving all of us has to be planned out like a military maneuver.  Most kids are involved in a few things at once, but for us, everyone gets to pick ONE extra activity at a time because there is only ONE of me! My family calendar looks like the human resources department for a Fortune 500 company.  Planning for Christmas or Back-To-School requires spreadsheets and highlighters and two number 2 pencils and a GPS and three major credit cards.  My extended family wanted all of the grandchildren to get gifts from each family.  Well drawing names is great when you have a couple of kids.  Oh, and it's a $20 limit.  So that put me in for $120 in gifts for kids I never see that aren't mine! So I suggested we each bring gifts for each of our own kids to open, that is unless they wanted their kids to open a jar of peanut butter.  They got on board with me.   And togetherness plus going out equals money.  With a big crew you can't take that for granted.  Just going to a high school football game with the crew can dent the budget so we plan and bring a cooler with drinks and snacks and all that planning makes you rethink what the hell have I done?  And with all my experience I really think I could run a Fortune 500.  Or at least order their office supplies.
My kitchen table.  Two weeks before school started.  I'm still not done shopping.
 And this list could go on, but then, that's why I write this nonsense.  To share with you the stuff I see everyday, which means you get to hear about life with sweathogs.  I could tell you how we never have a decent family picture because there's always that one kid... Or how everyone knows me at church or school because I'm that lady with all the kids, but I have no idea who you are.  Sorry.    And how many kids do you have again? It doesn't matter because I can never remember the right kids' name when I'm talking to them.  So they'll all grow up with identity disorders.  Among so many other things.  And I couldn't imagine my life if any of them were missing.

 From the carpool line,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Cold, Flu and Hypochodria Season

Or for carpool! Does it come in Pumpkin Latte?
It's time to ramp up sick.  At my house all my crew has been sick at some point this week.  They were all fevery and stinky and snotty and everyone missed a day or two of school and I never took one soul to the doctor

That collective *gasp* from cyberspace is the sound of families with less offspring than me, so... everybody.  I know many of you take your kids to the pediatrician constantly more than me.  I've done that before but with my crew it's not a luxury I have.  I mean when we all get sick at the same time, (which is like a live version of "Walking Dead" because everyone just looks at each other wondering why no one is helping ME) - then the bill for that visit is more than my mortgage, so, no thank you. I've done the "it's a virus and has to run its course, please hand me your credit card now" speech. And you'll be billed separately by our lab, and by our pharmacy, and by our bathroom attendant.

Don't get me wrong, I watched my little darlings and checked their fevers, which were so unnoticeable that other fevers didn't recognize them. I promise on my doctor's prescription pad that we know him well!   I've learned a thing or two about  "sick"  and we do check ups and immunizations and we've had our freak out moments and surgeries and procedures and godforsaken prescriptions!  So when they do get puny, I keep their pasty arses at my address and confine everyone to their quarters and cover the house in bleach and holy water.   and I appreciate it when other parents follow suit and aren't selfish douchebags for the rest of us.
Because getting sick at my address means I get the craptastic job of washing SEVEN sets of sheets and dealing with the unspeakable buckets of gross if a stomach bug is on board.  And it feels like the whole house needs to be bathed.  with a flamethrower. 

I realize things are butt tightening these days.  We don't have sissy germs anymore and everything on tv is made to scare the bejesus out of us.  The other night on our local news, they reported a woman who was being transported to one of our hospitals who may have possibly, "we don't know" could have been infected with Ebola and her relatives may have just returned from Africa "we think".  And that kind of thoughtless, fear infusing reporting is not helping.  And people freaked.  My local Facebook pals lit up Facebook like a Christmas Tree.  And it was like a category 5 was headed this way and we all better get to Walmart and buy a kazillion bottles of water before Armageddon.  By morning, the story had vanished and it was more likely that she encountered a bad burrito at the 7-Eleven. 

And it doesn't help that we're all head scratching and wondering who is in charge of this thing and who's gonna Chuck Norris Roundhouse that bastard out of here.  Because right now, we ain't seein' it!  And we are scaring each other and our kids. If you wanna talk to your kids about this without freakin them out more, check out my pal's article in the Washington Post on how to talk to your kids about Ebola.  She writes this little blog you may have heard of, Rants.  Check it out! Thankfully we live in a day with antibiotics and vaccines and so when we come upon something we scratch our head at, it makes us freak and turn into Eunice from Mama's Family. 
This Ebola thing is nothing to make fun of but we have to keep sane.  It makes the other germs feel far less creepy, if nothing else. 

Speaking as a mama who doesn't knee jerk to the doctor before engaging my own neurons, remember are the parent.  You got them here this far.  You are doing a wonderful job.  You take care of your babies and are teaching them to live in this world that can sometimes be scary.  Listen to your gut and trust those you have in your life who've had your back before.   And when the school calls and says your baby is sick, remember that being sick is what kids do.  It's how their little immune systems stretch their legs. And don't forget, to take care of YOU.   Because we need YOU!

With germ-x covered hands,

Monday, October 13, 2014

Six Pack version 2.0

Becoming a single mom just when my six pack got all half-grown and mouthy and waaaay smarter than me was probably not the smartest thing I've ever done.  Last time I mentioned them, they were mostly still harmless.  Now they are as big or bigger than me.  And I am the mayor of stupidity.  I'm sure they're surprised I can form sentences, walk upright and have opposable thumbs.  And I don't understand anything they deal with because I was never a teenager.  I just showed up one day, with a house full of kids, all old and stove up.

So here's a snapshot of where they are now. Do you even remember their names? Because I get them mixed up.

There's always that ONE kid who can't cooperate.  Thanks for the creepiness Slick!
I hope you know I've had to write some icky stuff that's not my usual subject in my last couple of posts because, well, people want to know.  And since some of y'all have been with me a bit, I felt like I owed a little backstory.  I mean, I have new mess now, so you won't be all like "Whuck?" when I mention it.  Now that I've done that, we can get back to nonsense. 

I thought when I had a half dozen little people running around with runny noses, dirty diapers and gross sippy cups lost in the prison bus I drove, who were never not hungry, that I was obviously doing the hardest job I would ever have. ever. because I never slept and never did anything but wipe noses and butts and drink adult beverages.  But now, I don't have to keep up with noses and butts so much, rather what I do have to keep up with is emotionally challenged kids with constant drama and constant eye rolls and why does everything have to be crucial to the stability of the universe?!  And since I'm too simple minded to actually be taken seriously on any advice, I'm just the lady they go to for meals and clean towels and to fix crap and find them money. 

And the house has turned into a frat house with one functional bathroom, no clean towels and the milk in the fridge has about a teaspoon left because it's harder to throw it away in the trash can next to the fridge than return it empty.  Seriously.  Awhile back I found the milk still in the fridge one day after it expired with the word "Expired" written on it.  I haven't decided if this was a message to me or a bizarre form of laziness.  I have limited neurons firing as it is these days, so I have to pick my battles.

As I share my frat house with you, I also have a few new cast members that will be on board to introduce.  And I need a new name for Baby-Screams-a- Lot since she's obviously mastered the baby stage.  She is so giddy and laughs constantly, but being six she's also still uncoordinated. Super uncoordinated.  She broke her arm this year on the monkey bars and then thought it would be fun to break the same spot again by just falling off a bar stool (she's just like her mama!) and spent the year in a cast.  And I'm thankful for her because she's the only non- teenager and she's silly and bumps into everything and it's like being with a little drunk person.  So we totally get each other.

My name for my triplet girl on this page of mine was "Buttercup" after the Power Puff girl because the was all cute and squeaky.  But if you crossed her, she'd cut open a vein.  It fit.  The Power Puff girls are B list celebs at best now, probably doing a bit in Vegas, opening for Wayne Newton.  But luckily I found another Buttercup that matches her well, from one of the best movies ever, The Princess Bride. 

One new cast member I'd like you to meet today, is my sister.  She's got me through a bunch of  nonsense and has a witty, bad ass attitude and we have each other to make fun of the sharp edges in life when we want to ugly cry.  Our texts may make it here some.  When I started my annulment, because I'm still churchy and all and don't want my kids to think marriage is disposable, she's been my ranting post as I dealt with having to tell a bunch of church folks my story.  Seriously, it's been more harsh than the divorce, so when she checked in on me, our texts were like medicine to my spirit.

I'm sure you have a "Karen" in your life, so you get it.  Now I just need to come up with a new name for my awkwardly funny six year old and maybe introduce some new nonsense.  If you have an idea, put it out there because "drunk six year old" ain't gonna take.  And if you've never seen "The Princess Bride" we need to rethink our friendship.  Watch it tonight with your crew.

As you wish,,