Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Tribute: Hooah! Ahroo! Hooyah! Oorah!

There are one and a half million men and women who put on a uniform every day. Add in the reserves, and that's another one and half million.

Three million people. And they all freakin' volunteered to do it. To be away from their families. To get sent to God knows where. To fight for freedom and love of country. To die.

OK, let's face it, for some of these guys and gals, it's totally a chance to play in mud and carry big weapons and blow up sh*t. Because who doesn't want to be Arnold Schwarzenegger (commando, not governor) or Linda Hamilton (terminator, not beauty) every once in a while? The closest Kate ever gets to that is watching football. And that girl loves her some football. She actually puts on a jersey and sometimes a helmet -- in her house --  and her voice drops about 27 octaves and she's yelling things like "Get him! GET HIM! Break his knees!" and the helmet is because she jumps up on the sofa and bangs her head on the ceiling. She may have a little too much testosterone in her. Maybe. (Yes.)

The point: there's this funny little piece of paper. It's super old and it has a lot of signatures on it. One of them super big, because that guy wanted to do a big F-U to a king, and back in those days you didn't say F-U, you signed really big. It's kinda like writing in ALL CAPS now. It's loud-y and hostile. John Hancock, you bad ass, for being a guy in a wig. You are the pioneer of telling someone to suck it. And since it was King George, it really was the first documented version of Suck It, Fancy.

So this paper says all these great things we believe in, like the right to tell someone to Suck It... and that everyone gets to be happy and -- unless they do something horrible -- to live a pretty cool life in a country that rocks. And the best things is, we wrote one of these when we were like 45 minutes old. It's like your toddler telling you and your babydaddy, "Hey, I think I can parent myself...you guys did alright, but I can handle it from here..."

No, here's the best part. We live and breathe and fight and die to preserve what that paper -- and it's cousin -- is about. [Editor's Note: Kate is a history major, so indulge her for a minute...she loves these documents. -Lydia] And our military men and women don't care who sits in a chair in an elliptical room in a white house or what the current stupid political battle is about, they suit up every day and go and keep that piece of paper alive and real.



And there is ONE thing that makes that possible. That amazing group of moms and wives and dads and husbands that stay home and read stories and take kids to school and fix the meals and run the errands and pay the electricity bill and never whine about what they have to do or what they are giving up while their loved one gives everything to everyone else. They just put on their big kid pants and do it. You guys make it look easy. And it ain't. And we don't thank you enough. THANK YOU. For your hard work. For your incredibly huge and difficult sacrifice. For letting us borrow - and God willing, return - your treasure. In a sea of uniforms, you can spot that one face that belongs to the love of your life. We pray you get to see that face really soon.  Memorial Day is yours, too and we honor you.

Besides, we totally love watching the serious PDA that happens when they get back. We high-five and giggle over the smoochies that mean that Afghanistence is nearly over.  And we ugly cry when we see kids reunited with their parents.
 
For every one man and one woman who puts on that uniform - with pride and honor and love of this country - there is a mom and a dad, a brother and a sister, a son and a daughter, a husband and a wife - who gives them a kiss goodbye, says a prayer, and sends them into the world. The treasure of this great country, gift wrapped for the world in fatigues, dress whites, green berets and navy blue.

And, oh, don't they look just yummy in them? Is there not something about seeing someone at the airport or somewhere in those I-have-muscles-in-places-you-can't-even-imagine uniforms with the spit shine shoes or those jacked up Timberland-boots-on-steroids. Damn. And let's not forget about the hair, all high and tight and even their skulls are muscle-y. How do they even do that?

Again, the point...Kate is easily distracted, clearly. Half a world away, there's people who hate us and people who need us. And our guys and gals go out and face one and help the other. And, then they come home...or they don't. And to those that do, welcome home. We love you and thank you. And for those who don't, every day - but especially today - we thank you, your family, and we miss you terribly.

Be safe out there. Come home soon.

Love, Kate & Lydia

P.S. Can y'all please make another Lady Gaga video? Because that was AWESOME!



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Sunday, May 30, 2010

SGW: Life Lessons the Afghanistan War Taught Me

[Editor's Note: While all of our posts are original to either Kate, Lydia, or one of our awesome special guest writers, we read this in our newspaper this morning, and felt that we needed to share. We like to think of it as a DaddyLand Rant, but it's way better than that. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. - Kate & Lydia]

Late last year, after eight months of service halfway around the world, I decided to take stock of myself: I had not been monitoring my stock portfolios and investments closely. I was not current on the machinations of the faltering economy or what the health-care debate meant for my insurance. I had never heard of the finalists on any of the reality shows.

Was I unenlightened and out of touch with reality? Perhaps, by a conventional definition of being connected, informed and up-to-date, I was woefully ignorant.

I was deployed in Afghanistan, and that combat sabbatical taught a completely different regimen of vital knowledge. I have learned:

  • Although soldiers are predominantly young, virile men, cut off from feminine wiles and charms, what they miss most is food. But having said that . . . 
  • Megan Fox is to Afghanistan what Betty Grable was to World War II.
  • When you look into the face of a gravely wounded soldier, your eyes fill with tears.
  • With some imagination, the sling seat in the gunner's turret of a Cougar combat vehicle can seem like a rocking chair.
  • Sometimes it is better to stay on radio watch than freeze in your sleeping bag.
  • The bulk of soldiers would relinquish their birthright for one ice-cold beer.
  • I dread the specter of death but do not fear it.
  • I am capable of performing acts of brutality but don't.
  • Although all Americans are born equal, all boots are not.
  • Having a culture different than America's doesn't mean there is something wrong with that culture or that it is not as good.
  • When heated and liberally seasoned with Tabasco, all MREs are good.
  • You don't feel the effects of a battle until the day after. Then you are swept with feelings of anxiety, anger, thankfulness and a profound weariness. A hollow sense of shock descends. It passes, mostly.
  • Afghan food, although prepared in a way that would make a state health inspector faint, is tasty. And...
  • The vast majority of soldiers get sick on American, not Afghan, food.
  • The Afghan people are a giving, warmhearted group.
  • The Afghan children are absolutely beautiful, with their hopeful smiles.
  • Nothing is more important than family. Nothing.
  • When Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" said, "There's no place like home," she was spot-on.
  • Soldiers still flock like pigeons when mail arrives.
  • Notes, packages and letters from Americans we don't even know warm our souls to the core.
  • Pictures and letters from a first-grade class make our sacrifices seem worthy.
  • The Afghan people deserve better than they have gotten the past 300 years.
  • The M240B machine gun is a wonderful weapon and never jams.
  • The Afghans are tough as nails and extremely resourceful.
  • Mortar and rocket explosions are much louder at night. So is machine-gun fire.
  • American soldiers are here by choice. They want to make a difference for Afghans and provide security for the folks back home.
  • This war is necessary and worthwhile.
  • When you are cut off, out of fuel, water and food, it feels even worse than it sounds.
  • There is no risk too great or mission too dangerous for the U.S. soldier if the goal is to retrieve a missing comrade.
  • Narcolepsy is rampant in the military. No place is too uncomfortable to sleep.
  • When a roadside bomb explodes, even if you know it is coming, you still jump.
  • When I look at my right sleeve and see the 101st Airborne combat patch and the subdued American flag, I am stirred with pride.
  • The first thing you say in a firefight is: "What the hell was that?" This is quickly followed by: "Where the hell did it come from?"
  • You never know how beautiful a sunrise is until you don't know if you'll live to see it.
  • I am always incredulous when the bullets stop whizzing past and no one is hit. 
  • American FRACU (Flame Retardant Army Combat Uniform) uniforms fade to dingy, mottled beige and are made of papier-mache.
  • Life for Afghans is an inexact science.
  • The MRAP is a fabulous, mine-resistant vehicle. It gives its life willingly so our soldiers do not have to give theirs.
  • Normally hard as tungsten and cold as sleet, a soldier will cry at a memorial service for fallen brethren.
  • The Afghans laugh at us behind our backs, too.
The war will not be won or lost in a conventional definition of victory or defeat. Stability is the ultimate goal, not notches on our national battle flags. We win when the Afghan people win, and not before. It is up to them, not us, when this war ends. We will persevere as long as they persevere.

[Special thanks to Maj. J. Mark Jackson, US Army Reserve, who wrote this amazing piece for the Washington Post. He served in Afghanistan from April to December 2009.]

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Top Ten Things That Make Memorial Day Weekend Not Really a Weekend

10. The same children who can't be dragged out of bed in order to be at school at 8:15 are up and ready to play at 5:43 am on the weekend.  And silly mommy, you thought having that extra glass of wine with your husband and staying up an hour later was such a good idea.  It doesn't seem like a good idea when you're breaking up fights over what cartoon to watch and changing a poopers before 6 am.  Welcome to Saturday.

9. Get a shower and have breakfast on the table by 7am because there's soccer at 8...and 10...and 11:45, 2, and 5:30. Yeah, that's how I want to spend my Saturday. Hot field, kids running aimlessly, coaches yelling things like "Randolph! You take, touch, pitch and run!"  What. Does. That. Even. Mean? Super comfy bleacher seats for 27 hours straight -- thank you, my ass now has rivets. And then the all powerful Soccer Mom on the other side of the field, watching her Angel "play" (translation: running around aimlessly, actually touching the ball, and then looking at the coach like "What?! You said 'touch'! [under breath] Douche.") and Mom is busy eating egg salad, rearranging juice boxes and yelling things like "go kick!' and "play soccer!" So I start yelling friendly reminders too...things like "breathe!" I'm pretty sure Coach doesn't need me to come back. Ever.


8. You get to make three full meals a day for every single person in your house.  A big eggy breakfast is sort of a tradition in our family.  Yummmm...  But three hours later comes lunch.  And three hours after that comes snack.  And three hours after that comes dinner.  Clean/cook/eat/clean/repeat.  By Sunday night, the dishwasher is going: "WTF?! Can you people not eat a single meal out of the house?  I've been running non-stop for 48 hours and my ass is tired." 

Well said, dishwasher, in that we are alike.

7.  Errands are the enemy of the suburban weekend.  Especially those that I like to call "sneaky husband errands".  These are things like getting the oil changed, something about tires being rotated or going to Home Depot.  Things that should take an hour but end up taking the entire afternoon.  I do not doubt the validity of such errands.  I just doubt that it takes three hours to accomplish them.  I also doubt the assertion that they could not possibly be accomplished with a child or three in tow.  I do nothing without at least one kid with me.  This includes going to the gynecologist.  So I'm pretty sure you can get a damn haircut with some company.  I am on my own with the little boogers all week, while I drive them places and wash their clothes and feed them and read them stories and they are cursing my name and dreaming of time alone with their daddy.  I say give it to them - at Home Depot - while I bask in my bi-annual hour of alone time.  It's just a guess, but I reckon that if kids were required to accompany their fathers on "sneaky husband errands" Daddy would be home from Jiffy Lube in less than an hour.

6.  The pool opens this weekend.  I am equal parts elated and defeated.  I love the pool.  I just hate the fact that it requires two and a half hours of preparation, three bags and a cooler, a half gallon of sun block and a backseat full of foam toys (that I will have to carry and no one will actually play with) to get there.  Twenty minutes after arriving someone will have to take a schmidt and I will have to argue why shoes are required for the bathroom at the pool because swimming in the pool is not technically considered "washing". *Me gagging.*  Then it will either rain or the ice cream man will come.  In either case, there will be crying. 

5. Catch up. All the sh*t you didn't get done all week, like the dry cleaners and the vet and the grocery store for that ONE thing you forgot and the post office and the bank -- which close at noon, so you have to get your ass in gear otherwise you're standing in front of a locked door cursing the Randy. Why him? Because you were at home...catching up on the mur.thur.fur.kin laundry.

4.Oh, and don't forget about Quality Time. You know, when your family pretends you've been transported into a Norman Rockwell painting. And you spend all this frickin' energy trying to take something stupid and turn it into something fun for the family to do fortheloveofpete, can't anybody appreciate that?! Damn! I'm trying to make some %*#(@*#_% memories here!

3. The mandatory barbecue.  You're screwed no matter what. If its at your house - why are you reading this blog?  You don't have time, honey.  Vacuum.  De-clutter.  You should be cleaning the guest bathroom and peeling potatoes right now.  They're coming and they probably won't help you clean up either.  If it's at someone else's house - either you or your husband will have to spend the entire time monitoring your kids, silently resentful that your spouse is getting to actually have grown up time. 

The worst is that usually, it's not just your kids that you end up watching but the hell-spawn of the Jackhole family.  You know the Jackholes, right?  Who show up at a party and release their rabid, ill-behaved monsters offspring and then never check on them again until they're ready to go home.  Who do they suppose is watching their children while they chat and drink beer and enjoy themselves?  Jesus?  To my knowledge, Jesus is not at this barbecue.  He was invited but he's busy.  And if he does show up it is not for the purpose of babysitting your kids and keeping them from drawing on the walls with a sharpie, pounding on each other and ordering inappropriate pay-per-view.  Apparently that's my job.  I love barbecues.  Grrrr....

*The Jackholes are the same ones who bring their kids to the playground and vapidly watch their kids throw mulch into my four year olds eyes and do nothing.
2. And there's the Sunday Night Stupor.  You sit down on the couch at 9:30 pm Sunday night for the first time since school got out on Friday and sink into a catatonic state.  And you wind up sitting there  with a glass of wine in your hand watching an episode of  "Law & Order" on TNT for the 87th time because you just can't get off the couch.  Your conversations with your spouse consist of grunts, nods and cave paintings.  The only thing that can pry your keister off the couch is the idea of quickly replanting in the bed.  Because tomorrow morning it starts all over again...

1. Oh, what? Monday is a holiday? You mean, a holiday for you. For me, it just means one more day when you're up in my sh*t, asking for food, making a mess, and generally just in my house when you should  be at school or at work. The species Exhaustus Maternus is the only known species to actually like Mondays...as it is the day she gets to recover from her "week end" whatever that is. Having a holiday on a Monday merely serves to extend that "week end" and increase said workload on Tuesday by 33%. So, thanks government. And school systems. Clearly you all aren't moms. You're douches.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Funniest F***ing Thing I Heard All Day

As told to Kate by McLovin:

A friend of mine is in the kitchen with his wife, their two kids and their very attractive 19-year old nanny. The nanny bends over and starts emptying the dishwasher and the husband can't help himself and checks her out. He then looks up and sees his wife watching him checking her out, and she says to him,

"You get a good at look at that?"

And he sorta looks embarrassed and shakes his head.  And his wife says:

"I've got news for you. She's doesn't even know you're in the room, you fat f**k."

The. End.

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I Lost My Keys...and My Mind

If you've been here to MommyLand over the past month and did any of the following:
  • laughed at all
  • read any Facebook messages
  • received emails signed "xo, K&L"  
  • didn't defriend or stop following us
  • snorted coffee out your nose
  • posted a comment
  • read a comment
  • elbow'd someone and said "listen to this"
  • ROFL'd, LOL'd or anything involving your ass falling off
you can totally thank Lydia.

Mostly because I suck. Because for all my frothing at the mouth about working and mommy'ing and balancing, something always goes horribly awry. And this time, it was that I lost everything. In the car the other day on our way to get Starbucks Lydia made me SWEAR on all that is Tenacious D in the world that, if I found the crisp hundred dollar bills that I was going to use to have my hair striped (but now can't because they've gone AWOL in my house)  -breathe-  that I would declare to all of MommyLand that Lydia is awesome and I suck balls.

[Editor's Note: Starbucks does NOT sell Self Esteem by the way, Lydia asked. You'd think with all the whips, frappes and crappes, they'd create a "Selfy Steam" concoction that would make us all happier moms...you know, a regular coffee with a Xanax or two tossed in to dissolve into all that caffienatedy goodness. - Kate]

 
So far this week, I've lost money, a parking ticket, my phone (twice), my keys (three times) one shoe, Happy for about 15 minutes and - oh yeah - my mind. And that's not even including all the things I didn't actually lose but merely sucked at...

Shall we re-visit?
  • I posted something on this very blog that wasn't ready to go. Like, still had all the misspelled words HIGHLIGHTED. In bright yellow. And I'm all "done and done...let's POST." And, Lydia had to do complete damage control and fix it all. Because I'm stupid.
  • I spent 4 hours looking for money. That I wasn't bright enough to put away where it belongs. Which I say to the IHPs all. the. mur.thur.fur.kin.time. Which means I didn't write, or fix dinner, or play with the kids, or do anything but tear my house apart, trying to convince myself that I wasn't Sybill.
  • Lydia forgot her pashmina at my house; I forgot a sweater at her house. The sweater was back in my possession the next day. Her pashmina is still at my house even though I've seen her 672 times since she left it there.
  • She graciously offered to take Happy to school for me one morning when I had to work early. The kid across the street was sort of bridging the gap between when I left and she arrived. She showed up to a hungry, pajama-ed, unbrushed teeth, wet pantsed kid because I was running too late to get him all Happied up for her arrival. I'm anticipating an egg salad sandwich upside my head any moment. And make sure it's a big one...extra mayo. Maybe even leave it in your car for a day or two...
  • I've gone out of town twice, worked a ton, fixed crap dinners and generally checked out of doing pretty much anything the moment I've gotten home from work. Ummm, guess what Jackhole? (I'm talking to me, by the way) Lydia has a husband, and kids and stuff she has to do. Does she really need you acting like she's your wife too? Calls like this: "Ummm, Lyd, can you update Facebook, I'm running late." And texts like this: "LC - i'm not funny today...do you have any ideas for tomorrow?? xo K" And in general needing an ovarian fueled launch into orbit via her clogs?
(Editor's note: I'm not mad and I'm not going to square up.  For like the eleventy-thousandth time, it's all completely fine, Kate.   Just...  Ummm....  Can I please have my pashmina back? xo, Lydia)
[Oh, can I totally digress for a minute? So, the one Alabama thing I have to share. So one night my co-worker (the German Photographer) and I got invited to go Flounderin'. So of course we were like, hell yeah. And then people would ask, "well, are you giggin' or fishin'?" and I was all "I don't know - let's say giggin'!" because that sounds way better.

Anyway, turns out you need REALLY smooth calm (and preferably, non oil infested ones...ugh) waters for giggin' (in which you pretend you're Tom Hanks in Castaway - the skinny version - and harpoon flounders.) Which sounds mean but it's like impossible to do and the fish are thinking "stupid humans think they can gig us" and then they flounder away. SO the point is, we couldn't go, and the guys who invited us were all bummed because they were all ready to pull this AWESOME practical joke on us - you know, let's get the Yankees - kinda thing (For the record, a Yankee is anyone north of the Bayou...so basically, Earth.) The plan was to take that dead alligator they'd come across earlier and put it in the water and then gig it when we were in the boat.

And then watch Kate LOSE. HER. MIND. Wouldn't that be the funniest? So they were sad we had bad water.

Yes, please, go back and re-read that. And what I couldn't get out of my head while I was listening to my Bayou friend Dom tell me this story is that while the practical joke in itself was gonna be a good one, it was that they had the necessary supplies to carry out such a prank. Dom: "You know? What we need here is a dead 'gator." Ken: "OH! 'Member that one we found down over by Pete's?" Dom: "Yeah, that'll get her...let's go get it."

So thanks guys. It would have been just...so...super. And I think I need to live somewhere where dead 'gators are just as funny and prop-y as whoopie cushions.


Anyway, damn that was long...]
  • And if all that isn't bad enough, I hit Lydia with all this right as she's weaning MiniMiniMe. No, she's not dealing with whacked out emotions or hormone levels, right? Or no sleep. Or doing all the already awesome stuff she already does. Now she's doing it vampire-style (creepy, not Cullen) and with sore ta-tas. I'm thinking about lining myself up with a travel coffee mug and a stroller in front of the Tampon and tell her to hit the gas. I can hear the Cap'n: "You ran over Kate with the BWT didn't you? Well, it was bound to happen..."
Oh yeah:

I gotta go make an appointment to get my hair striped. And buy Lydia something awesome. Woot!

xoxo, Kate



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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ask Kate & Lydia: To Breed? Or Not To Breed?

Dear Lydia and Kate,

I was amazed to read the following advice in the newspaper column of Hints from Heloise...

Dear Heloise,


In our busy world of bringing children to day care, shopping, etc., sometimes a child will fall asleep in a car seat and may be forgotten. In order not to forget a child, a woman should put her purse in the back seat next to the child. So many of us would never forget our purse, and this will be a reminder.


(name withheld)

I would like to thank this dear writer for raising such an important issue. The fear of short term memory loss has been the prime motivation for my decision never to have children. I mean, what if I left it on a bus? Would I be covered by insurance in the same way as other lost or stolen property? Or, while on a romantic date, what would would happen if I put my hypothetical child under the table with my purse and then forgot both of them? This has happened. My friend has a wonderful idea for attractive pegs that would keep a bag elevated by attaching it to the edge of a table, but she has not yet expanded the idea to include children.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this pressing subject and whether or not you think I should continue to remain childless.

Yours in anticipation,

Jane

-----------------

Jane,

You know, I worry about this all the time. Mostly because Lydia can't keep track of her coffee cup and it winds up falling off the roof of the Big White Ford Tampon and then she runs it over.  I just lost a large amount of cash in my house and I only had it in my posession for about three minutes.  So this is actually a good question because you see, when you have children you become very, very stupid and forgetful.  So the concern that you might forget one of your kids is not misplaced.
Please keep in mind that when we dispense our sage advice, we suggest things like putting bacon on your husband's face while he sleeps and using refurbished flux capacitors for time travel (to avoid living in a crowded single-wide with your adult children).  So, we clearly provide guidance that is logical and realistic.  And also awesome.

That being said, we think it's really important that you came to us first.  Before you ruined your plumbing and lost half your IQ (especially without the handy-dandy useful invention of the Kid Hook). By the way, those little purse ones can hold like 623 pounds of purs-age. I should know. I pack mine like a damned Sherpa, and I don't even include things for my kids in it. Mostly lipstick. And an extra pair of shoes... One never knows where Daniel Craig may show up and I'll be damned if I'm gonna be in flip flops when that happens.

If the fear of forgetting one of your children somewhere is what's keeping you from having any, then we may have a solution.   There's already kid leashes and kid GPS thingy-s and kid backpacks and frontpacks and crazy slingy things that are like a hammock.

So, why not a kid training collar? Why not a set of family training collars?  Like the one that came with our zappy electric fence that my geriatric gimpy beagle used before he got too old to try and chase squirrels anymore.

[Which was awesome by the way, because he'd be so revved up to catch one of those dirty bastards, he'd blast right through the barrier and probably have a seizure or two but WTF he's chasing prey dammit. And then he'd try to come home and he couldn't get back because THEN he didn't want the jolt from getting too close. So he'd sit on the far side of the fenceline and whine until I turned it off. Stupid, stupid dog.]

Anyway, if your potential progeny wander off too far from you - *zap!* Even better, you can use it when they're being obstinate. Not setting the table? Take two steps back and *zappity zap!* If you're feeling particularly Samantha Steven-ish, you can make wavy fingers while you jolt 'em so they think you have magic powers. Point is, they'll follow you around like you're Justin Bieber.  After a while, they'll be so trained to keep you within, oh, say 10 feet or so, you'll never have to worry about forgetting them. Because they won't forget you. Ever.

But, that's not all.  Because Lydia lives in mortal fear of losing one of her children somewhere, she suggests giving them the zapper when they are being supervised by someone who may be a little distracted (teenage babysitter, Daddy with Blackberry, Mommy without requisite 6 cups of coffee).  Imagine you are at the playground and busy reading a really funny blog on your phone and sort of tuning out your kids who were very nicely playing the last time you glanced up...  and then *zap!* and you pee a little are now paying attention to the kids and not to your phone.

"Mommy.  I asked you four times to please push me on the swings and it was like you didn't even hear me.  How many times should I have to say it?"

Sometimes it's important to do whatever it takes to keep your family safe, even if that includes taking a little zap for the team.  And, after all, isn't that what being a mom is all about?

You're welcome.

xo Kate & Lydia

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SGW: Hints from Planet You're Outta Your Damn Mind

Today's Special Guest Writer is Emma, whom some of you may remember from our now-infamous T-Box Taste Test.  Emma, thank you for making us feel better about our abilities in the domestic arts.  You're awesome, funny, gorgeous and have the figure of a poll dancer! So conversely, you make us feel a little dejected about the size of our asses but whatever... That's another post.
xo, Lydia and Kate
_______________________________________________________

I suspect many are, like me, in a constant state of war with the Laundry Fairy and losing badly. If I was into sports or military history I could insert an example of how outmatched I am and how long the losing streak has lasted - but I'm not, so I won't. It is considered a win in my house if from one Saturday to the next the boys' soccer uniforms are run through the wash and bonus points (in the form of chocolate or wine) are awarded (to me, obviously not the boys) if the uniforms are actually in their dresser drawers. There have been more than one Saturday when they have had to dress out of the hamper. If you think about it, this is not soo bad - they will be outdoors (spring air as air freshener) and running around (adding to the diffusion effect) so the stink should not be too obvious - or at least that is what I tell myself and the kids.

So knowing I operate at this level of functionality you will understand why I think aliens write into Hints from Heloise. Rough segue I know, but stay with me. Does anyone else read this column and is just gobsmacked? These can't be real humans actually residing on this planet. An example to prove my alien theory:
  • "To prevent the cuffs on the bottom of trousers from getting crimped up, I hold them in place by putting two large paper clips on them. I put two in the front and two in the back. I stretch seams gently before placing the garments in the dryer, and this helps reduce puckering."
  • "I shake items and untwist them before placing in the dryer. This not only reduces wrinkling, but it allows the items to dry a bit faster, and this saves energy."
  • And Heloise's reply: "Good hints, indeed, ... and a few favorites from Heloise Central: Toss pajamas in the dryer for a minute or two, and they'll get toasty-warm. Mark items that need special attention with a safety pin, to know which should be dried at a lower temperature or not at all."
Really, there is no room in my head for the concept that people actually have enough time and organization and concern to pull this off. It's like the Laundry Fairy has some type of dust these women inhaled. I wonder if there is an antidote? And then Heloise goes one better and offers the following tip:

  • Clean the lint filter. If the filter looks dirty — or once a year — scrub it with warm water and liquid dishwashing detergent. Then, unplug the dryer and vacuum around the base and inside the lint chute, duct, and vent opening.
I am happy if the crunchiness under the dining room table is vaccumed once a week and she is suggesting I vaccuum my dryer. Is she insane? Heloise also suggests I keep a prethreaded needle in the laundry room - but doesn't specifically explain why. I am sure she thought it was obvious and didn't need to be stated. But left to my own devices, I've decided it is for poking the Laundry Fairy in case he comes by with the dust. Now I suspect she is the Head Alien so I googled her and found this on Wikipedia. "Heloise (born Kiah Michelle Cruse on April 15, 1951 in Waco, Texas, current name Poncé Kiah Marchelle Heloise Cruse Evans)." Now if this is true,
  1. She needs more space than the Census form allows; [Editor's Note: I hear ya sister. - Kate]
  2. There has to be some really good stories behind these name changes;
  3. She has more than one person in her head; or, 
  4. Possibly the Waco portion explains everything.
So in the interest of my health I have given up reading Heloise. It makes my head hurt. Literally, I either bang it on the table or slap my forehead after reading the "gems" and then mentally it hurts as I try to imagine a life where these tips are utilized. I just can't do it. If you have time to paperclip your pant hems and tackle puckering - that is time that would be much better utilized reading in my world.

And yes my world is a bit stinky and crunchy and powered by chocolate and wine. Peace out!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

KIDS Is a Four Letter Word...So Is WORK

So, Catherine Businelle and Pamela Ballo over at Work/Life Equation wrote Lydia and I a few weeks ago to see if we wanted to write a little something-something for them. They are actual experts at this whole life and parenting thing, so we're very flattered that they wanted to hear our two cents on the issue. Then we wondered if they had ever actually read our blog.  They claim they have. We're pretty sure they either 1) wrote the wrong damn bloggers or 2) needed a good handful of ca-ray-zay for their new book. So of course Kate was all, "Giddyup! let's talk about some child-rearin', y'all".

These ladies are awesome at helping moms find ways to balance between home and work and still get everything done and make it all look effortless...  Clearly, Lydia and I are total experts in this too fodder for their next column. We happily submit our:

MommyLand Do's and Don'ts for Achieving Work/Life Balance

DO:
  • Take all the credit for the cool stuff that gets done while you're away at work. Our nanny is AWESOME at finishing the laundry and cleaning the bathroom and making the beds, mostly because her standards are a lot higher than mine and also, she pities me. When Lydia comes over for dinner and sees my house kinda tidy and the kids bathed, she slowly shakes her head and says "I am amazed how you handle all of it and work and the blog and your house is still clean and..." And right as she's about to cry, I pour her a glass of wine and say "I am pretty awesome..." (and then you slip in an extra $100 in your nanny's paycheck for thanks and for her continued silence). No, it is not a bribe. I need to take all the validation and kind words I can get, people.  And the nanny? She just really likes pictures of Benjamin Franklin, OK? 
  • Have a plan for dinner. I'm gonna shamelessly plug here. This place is awesome. I get away from my house every month for an evening. I bring a bottle of wine and a girlfriend or two. I put together all these dinners that I can cook - at home - when I need them. Clean up involves throwing away Ziploc bags and foil pans. And, I get to take all the credit for a homemade meal and all I had to do is slide it in the oven. Now, if you manage to score the free night out with the gals and the wine, please do not make the mistake of thinking you've saved yourself any time in the greater cosmic sense. You may come home with 24 dinners (thus amounting to 24 kitchen-free hours over the next month) but rest assured that your house will be a full blown disaster when you get home. Requiring a steam cleaner, some heavy duty spackling, and possibly an exorcist. Is it still worth it? Oh, even yesser.
  • Remember that you have two wardrobes. One for MommyLand; one for WorkLand. These are unique and distinct groupings. I can rock a pair of white slacks and eight hours later, still be rocking a pair of white slacks - but only in WorkLand. In MommyLand, they would within minutes have served as glorified napkins, band-aids, notepads, kleenex and soap substitute. Equally, items that have embroidery, kittens (any animal, frankly), school mascots, writing on the fanny, novelty socks, things that claim to be both outer and sleep wear, appropriated children's accessories (Lydia, discarded t-shirt sleeves are NOT refurbished headbands) or articles that facilitate running (unless you work in the ER) are to be left at home, pathetically peering at you from your bedroom window as you go off and play super cool Working Chick for the day. As for footwear, flip flops belong in one land; stilettos in the other. Easy rule of thumb: naughtiness in MommyLand gets *fwapped* on the fanny with a flipflop; bad people in WorkLand get their onions spliced by the mighty power of Choo.
DON'T:
  • Give the children your phone number. Give it to the school, the nanny, the neighbor, the teenager around the block who sometimes babysits, anyone you want...but not. your. own. kid.  Only better than ratting on each other and stirring the schmidt is when they get to dial the phone first and then tattle. I've told the IHPs that my work number has been tattooed on their skulls, and they should consider very carefully if they're willing to be BALD in order to call me. I think I may have inadvertently made it more appealing, if that's possible. Lefty tapped his finger to his lips and, with a Jack McCoy smile, surmised he could just shave McGee's head instead, therefore getting the phone number, keeping his own hair and rendering his sister a cue ball. She screamed and ran from the room. And for one brief moment, I was almost relieved that Law & Order got canceled.
  • (should you fail at the above) Answer your phone by hitting SPEAKERPHONE. I thought I knew who was calling; just a colleague confirming something for me, right? My boss had come in to check on the status and I, very casually, told him we were just waiting for the call back. Cue phone. Hit SpeakerPhone and before I can get one word out, it's SHRIEKING on the other end "MOM! WEWERESUPPOSEDTOHAVETHATFORMSIGNEDFORTHEFIELDTRIP ANDNOW ICAN'TGOANDYOUSAIDYOUWOULDN'TFORGETTOSIGNITWHENYOU--" I simply couldn't hang up fast enough and just stared at him, mouth frozen open, as soon as the first howler monkey syllable blasted through the speaker, immobilized. My boss nodded and left the room, presumably to laugh at me. Super.
  • Talk about illnesses at work. Any of them. Unless you work for the CDC and you're developing a cure for lice, no. one. wants. to. hear. about. lice. at. your. kids. school. It doesn't matter if little Johnny is clean as a whistle; to all your co-workers, your kid, your dog, your house and YOU all all covered in microscopic wormy things. Everyone starts itching. It's like mass freakin' hysteria. No lice, no sniffles, no cold sores, no ear infections, no any kind of infections (I mean, I don't have to say that right? That instant you mutter the word "infection" in your office, everyone steps back 40 paces.) no vomiting, no dysplasia, distemper, dysentery...  Just no and no and no. Because, unlike Lydia, you can't just say "oh, eww, that was gross, wasn't it?" and make it all better. You just make everyone want to douse you in Lysol. And that's just bad for your hair.
When all is said and done, mommies need time away, whether at a job, a spa or at Starbucks. The job thing just makes it easier to buy shoes. To you moms who have to work, who are doing your amazing Mom Job solo, or who feel like you're barely holding it together, I think you're a Rock Star. This is the hardest freakin' job I've ever had. The pay sucks. The bosses are evil, uncompromising and irrational. No body appreciates me and I'm pretty sure someone keeps stealing my blue pens. Not sure which Land I'm talking about? Neither am I. Which is why you guys are rock stars.

And when all else fails, at the end of the day, you finally get to see that little bald head, eyes closed, probably drooling a little, happily snoozing away...

And then you'll think to yourself, "Wait! What the hell am I still doing at work?"

xoxo Working Moms -- Kate


UPDATE!!! They're totally giving a MommyLand reader and three friends one of their AWESOME coaching sessions on how to balance your life. Which Lydia and I were totally going to steal it and not tell your guys about, but we're not that snitchy. Yet.  Jump over to their FB page click LIKE, and tell them how awesome you think they are on their blog...by the way, the prize is worth, like a pair of Jimmy Choos. So get on that...because it's like I'm giving (OK, they're giving) away a free pair of awesomeness. And, if that's not enough, they're funny...coffee snorting funny...oh and Cathy totally said that Tom Cruise in five years is gonna be something like this: 


You know why???? No Work/Life Balance. Totally. Oh, and something about jumping on furniture...

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Kate is Guest Posting! Tomorrow!

Kate is guest posting tomorrow at the awesome website Solving the Work Life Equation.  She's writing all about Do's and Don'ts for Working Moms.  If you want to get all the backstory on how this guest post came about, click here and see for yourself if Kate is funny in real life

And just because she's awesome, here's Dolly singing "9 to 5".



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Top Ten Things Lydia Says When She's Tired and Shouldn't Be Talking

Lydia doesn't get enough sleep. Like, ever. And she tends to say stuff that she doesn't even think about when she's tired. And then doesn't realize she's saying it. She once told someone she drove a Ford Tampon... and never bothered to correct herself. Or, she says stuff that doesn't make sense. Or stuff that's so funny that I have actually compiled an entire Top Ten List to that effect. On the classified section of the newspaper.

I also haven't told her that such as list was in existence. Until she saw it in our drafts. And then she denied saying pretty much any of those things. But these things are 100% true and 100% Lydia. Some are quotes and some are things she confessed to after a dip (or seven) into a T-Box. Either way, she's awesome when she's tired. Because no one - NO ONE - can come up with this stuff...I know. I tried...enjoy. And laugh super hard. Because it's all at her expense. GOD I LOVE HER!

xoxo Kate

10. She once told the Cap'n that she was going to square up and kick him in the labia. He spit beer out all over the floor. She didn't realize what she had said; she was just pissed he spit all over their attractive brown area rug named Peter Orszag.

9. "I'm such an ass...I'm such an ass... How is it possible that I am such an ass?"

8. "Hi Kate, it's me.  I know it's midnight.  I'm sorry for calling so late.  I forgot how to spell the word "necessary" and the spellchecker won't work." [During the conversation, the other line rings. I click over. It's the C3PO version of Lydia who has just accidentally texted my house phone. AGAIN.] "Hi. Kate. Sorry. To. Bother. You. Solate. Forgot. How. ToSpell. Nes. Essary. I. Am. A. Jackhole. Lydia." Click back over and tell her it's impressive that she can call me and other-line call me. She hung up, so I could talk to her on the other line. You think I kid....

7. "I swear to God the next child that gets out of bed is sleeping in the basement with the cat. Forever."

6. "Hey, sorry to bother you, I know you're at work. What does 'LTS' mean? [huge pause] Are you there? Seriously, stop laughing. I forgot. You're a bitch."

5. "OhmyGod Kate I spilled potting soil down my shirt when I was potting the tomatoes for you and then the baby poured water down my cleavage when I picked her up. So now I have mud in my bra...and maybe possibly a worm. What?"

4. "I'm so tired. Like, can't walk tired. How do people who have kids do it every day? Wait. What did I just say?"

3. (when the IHPs and I were over for dinner) "I thought I made Awesome Sauce, but now I can't find it. And it's weird. Because I thought I also made some yogurt for MiniMiniMe and I can't find that either..."

2. "I would totally have a glass of wine with you but...HAWK! STOP HITTING YOUR SISTER! what? Do you want something to drink? Did I ask you that? I would totally have a glass of wine with you --THUMBELINA! DO YOU WANT A SNAKE IN YOUR ROOM? Hey, sorry, I suck. Do you want a drink?"

1. [While reading her a portion of a post I was writing... Yes, I concede it wasn't one of my best... Snitch] *snore* *sound of phone hitting the ground*
Cap'n: "Kate? She fell asleep...and she's talking about someone named Randy...ummm, who the f*** is Randy?"
Me: "He's the Laundry Fairy."
Cap'n: "Right. She dreams -- and talks -- about figments of her own imagination. Thanks Kate. You'll be paying the psychiatric bills."
Lydia: [while sleeping] "You SUCK IT. Stupid track suit [laughs] This is awesome."


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