Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne and All That

Here are my reflections from 2009:

* I still don't like going to the dentist.

* Watching an 8 year old girl play basketball is completely different than watching an 11 year old boy play basketball.

* Mullets are funny.

* A John Hughes movie usually makes everything better.

* I'm not sure I will ever stop feeling torn between my parents. They've been divorced nearly 19 years and I still deal with that knot in my guts.

* Orthodontics are wonderful things.

* Giving up traditions is really, really hard.

* I can't fix everything.

* Battling wrinkles, pimples and errant chin hairs is not how I expected to spend the better part of my latter 30's.

* Living with a man who is giving up tobacco is hell on earth.

* If someone really wants to change, they will. However, I have found that more often than not I want them to change more than they do.

* My online friends let me down and hurt me far less than the ones I have in real life. Either that says a lot about my online friends or it says I have a pathetic life.

* Life is full of double-standards.

* Females are cruel.

* Open-mouthed, slobbery kisses from a toddler are just about the best thing going.

* Making my bed is cathartic for me.

* Having a teenager in the house is both rewarding and frustrating - kind of like dieting. I doubt I give up on the teenager, though.

* Everything in existence is fair game to a puppy and is subject to being chewed-upon at any moment.

* A single phone call can make or ruin a day.

* Males are weird. And infuriating. And amusing. And exhausting. And intolerable. And charming. And frustrating. And completely adorable.

* I find that I hinge my self esteem mostly on how I feel I'm doing as a mother. Some days I fly high and feel I've finally got it down. Others are barely worth getting out from under the covers. Fortunately my children are very forgiving - and fickle - creatures.

* Laundry multiplies when no one is looking.

* I tire very easily of drama.

* Judging someone makes you look small and ignorant and is just downright mean. Spreading lies about someone is juvenile. Doing it all in the name of the church or "for God" is deplorable.

* This year I have cried over my children, cried over other people's children, cried because I miss someone so bad it hurts, because I can't make it all better, because I was laughing, cried because things were out of my control, because of words both beautiful and horrible, because I failed and because I didn't.

* It only recently occurred to me that even though I have a seriously hard time letting God handle things, really, He was handling them long before I got involved.

Happy New Year to all of my readers! Thank you for being here through it all. I appreciate every time you drop in and apologize for all the times you did and I hadn't updated. Knowing you're out there gives me the warm fuzzies and I love you all.

Here's to telling 2009 to suck on dryer lint.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry, Merry, Merry!

Christmas Eve brought the promise of a white Christmas to Oklahoma, the likes of which we haven't seen in YEARS. A blizzard warning even! Talk about exciting times. Because of said impending DOOM Paul decided I needed one of my presents early - a 64GB iPod Touch. I cried. Seriously. My mother says it is a true sign of my geekiness that I cried over an electronic device.

Christmas morning I woke up at 3:30. I absolutely could NOT go back to sleep! I checked my Facebook and Twitter from my BRAND NEW ITOUCH, laid there and watched it snow, checked my email, then my Facebook again.....then it occured to me that I had forgotten to bring in one of Ab's presents from the playhouse where it had been housed for the past month so I woke Paul up with a series of jabs to the ribs. And well, since he was awake I figured I'd go ahead and go pee and get a drink. I peeked into Kady's room and saw a mysterious glowing from her bed - she was playing her DS. I asked what she was doing. Without ever taking her eyes from the screen she said, "Can't sleep, playing new game, did Santa come, is it time to get up?" I laughed and said, "Hon, it's 4am. Wanna come get in bed with Daddy and me?" As she was climbing down from her loft I looked in on Sam who was sitting on the side of his bed. Seeing him sitting there made me scream and hearing me scream made him scream. After recovering I said, "Come on, you and Kady both can come get in bed with Daddy and me."

I made them cover their eyes as we walked past the living room then we all three pounced on the bed to make sure Paul knew we had arrived. He groaned, but it was a good-natured groan. We all four settled into the Queen bed that suddenly felt narrow as a church camp bunk bed and we'd all get quiet then bust into giggles. After about 20 minutes of that Paul sighed and said, "Go wake up Abby. I cannot lay here a minute longer with you three morons. I'll go get Ab's present from the playhouse, you go wake her up. You other two? Stay where you are. No peeking." And even though Ab had threatened us with bodily harm if we woke her up a minute before 7:30 I marched into her room and told her to get up. From beneath the quilts, blankets and pillows I heard, "Is it freakin' 1am? Because if it is I am SO hurting you." I said, "Nope. It's just a little after 5. Get up." She flipped the covers back, revealing her cranky face and said, "You have GOT to be KIDDING me. You people are weird."

This is a quick shot of the clock just as we were starting to open presents.

Santa brought gifts in polka-dotted bags this year! It led to some serious mystery, which I liked. Since I KNOW Sam sneaks up front every year to pilfer before anyone else gets up, at least this year it would've been harder for him to do - ya know, if we hadn't ALL gotten up so early.

Most kids complain when they get socks for Christmas. Not Abby - she got a whole entire box of socks. I bet there were 20 pair. She was STOKED. The kids loves her some socks.

Santa apparently has serious connections because he brought four - FOUR! - Zhu Zhu pets to our house! FOUR! He should've brought Kady a comb.

Not only did my teenager love the socks she got from Santa, she also loved the box of books! She got a huge box of Fear Street books by R.L. Stein. She'll be reading until Spring. Or until next week if we keep getting snow.

Even though he had squealed and hollered and whooped like a spider monkey on meth, my son declared this to be The Best Present Ever - a bell from Santa's sleigh. Seriously. No kidding. I cried.

And my skinny-jeans-wearing 13 year old fashionista who abhors all things Country and writhes in anguish if she has to listen to one twang of a song about heartbreak and pickup trucks now owns a pair of camouflage Justin boots. She's nothing if not diverse.

The last-minute gift I threw in for Sam, a Ripley's Believe It or Not book, was a huge hit. Why, I do not know.

And after presents and breakfast and ZhuZhu pets and a nap....Kady played in the snow for only the third time in her little eight years. She was clearly happy.

Hope y'all had a good one, too!

We're expecting 3 more inches of snow tonight and wow, I am so excited I may go perform a root canal on myself to celebrate.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The kids and I watched A Christmas Story the other day and ya know, that is one movie that never gets old and always amuses the heck out of me. I particularly love the dad and his penchant for swearing. I know, it shows a lack of intelligence to swear and all that, but the 12 year old in me still finds cussing absolutely hilarious. The scene at the end of the movie where neighbor Bumpus' dogs bust through the kitchen door and make short work of devouring their turkey is rip-snorting hysterical to me because the dad's cussing is so hilarious.

Tuesday morning Cousin Courtney and Conner came out to make Christmas candy. Okay, really Conner had nothing to do with it; he served to entertain my children, thus keeping them from bugging us in the kitchen. She and I work very well together and just enjoyed dipping and sugaring and melting and stirring and laughing.

We made chocolate-covered marshmallows, chocolate-covered caramel corn, chocolate suckers and some Double Chocolate Ooey Gooey Marshmallow Pillows That Will Surely Put You Into a Diabetic Coma for the Holidays. Courtney also decided to try her hand at peanut butter balls, which she thought were just peanut butter and powdered sugar mixed together. I had no idea, but it sounded good to me. They lacked some substance. We're thinking there might've been another ingredient or two. As she was trying to glop the balls of conglomeration into the molten chocolate they were disintegrating, so I suggested freezing them.

She plopped the gooey messes onto a cookie sheet and because my boy-child was the one who was breezing through the kitchen in search of Koolade at that particular moment he was the one who was nominated to run them to the freezer on the back carport. We carried on with more candy-making and about 45 minutes later she wondered if I thought the peanut butter balls were set up enough to dip and headed to the back door to find out. I visually followed her path through my utility room and as I caught sight of my office window which looks onto the carport noticed something - the freezer door was open.

It's a large stand-up freezer and when the door is open it blocks the window completely. I screamed "THE DOOR IS OPEN!" Courtney jumped and said, "No, the back door's shut, Kristin." I said, "OH MY GOSH THE FREEZER DOOR IS OPEN!" and I all but knocked my itty bitty cousin over as I plowed past her to....well, I don't know what I thought I was going to do.

We both blasted out onto the carport to find frozen Schwan's pizzas all over the ground and as soon as we hit the concrete cats started flying out of the freezer like they were being catapulted. (Get it, CATapulted? Ha! I slay me.) Out flew the gigantic tom cat, Michelle Duggar, that fuzzy black and white thing and the hateful black one with one white whisker - all of them feasting upon the icy delights beheld in my freezer. I of course started cussing. And hollering. And shrieking. And between my wailing I heard Abby say, "OHHHHH SAM! You better get ready because you are about to get BEAT!" I also vaguely remember him saying, "BUT I SHUT IT! I SWEAR!" All that was background to the blood pounding in my ears. I do remember kicking the dog who thought us being there was some kind of permission to continue on what he had been doing, which was gnawing on a frozen package of hamburger. Seriously, dog has some crazy strong teeth to have gotten through half a pound of frozen hamburger.

Courtney was laughing and I knew I should've been, too, but at the time all I could think was why on earth do we have SO MANY CATS? When I finally calmed down enough to see straight and quit verballing threatening my son's behind and the life of every feline on our property I started taking stock of the damage. Half a package of hamburger, gone. One frozen chicken, gnawed on and scratched. I tossed both of those out into the yard. I looked up at the cookie sheet of peanut butter balls and said, "Courtney, I think your peanut butter balls are okay! They look okay!" She, however, was not convinced. She shook her head and said, "Ohhhh, I don't know....that fuzzy cat was right there when got out here....I'm not sure...." I reassured her they were fine, so she pulled the cookie sheet off the shelf. I was still checking out the three rolls of frozen Blue & Gold sausage to make sure there were no teeth marks on any of them when I heard her bust out laughing.

I looked up to find her holding the cookie sheet in my face. She said, "Uhm.....the balls are NOT fine. LOOK!" Sure enough, there were three balls gone and nothing left in their place except for frozen smears with cat-tongue prints in them. At that point, I allowed myself to laugh.

After I secured the freezer and double-checked the door, we went back in the kitchen and it occured to me that I had just been Bumpused. No, it wasn't the Christmas turkey on my dining room table that was obliterated by the neighbor's hounds, but instead my cousin's balls in my freezer by my own cats.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Always An Adventure

As I've mentioned before we have a new puppy named Giblet and Giblet is growing daily from a cuddly, squirmy ball of fuzz into something the size of a small Tyrannosaurus Rex. And being a chocolate lab he also chews on EV. RY. THING. Yesterday afternoon I went outside to get pellets for the stove and I'll be danged if that dog didn't chew the button on my sweater - while I was wearing it. We've had a lab before, but I think Jake was just a special dog because he never chewed on things. Never. We expected it when he was a pup, but Jake never chewed. Every other dog we've brought on the place has all but chewed the walls, but not ol' Jake. Giblet may very well take on the walls and soon he'll be big enough to just plow 'em down before he commences the chewing.

A few mornings ago the kids had already gotten on the bus and Conner wasn't here yet so I took the few moments of free time to start a load of laundry. I heard the front door open as I was stuffing a load of laundry made up of nothing but camouflage clothes into the washer. Then I heard Courtney's voice question, "Kiki? Kiki? Can you come here?" It wasn't her usual vibrant greeting and I crammed the rest of the camo into the washer and hurried to the entryway. She was standing in the doorway with the storm door partially open. I had just let Giblet off the chain for the day and all I could think was that he had gotten in her way and she'd hit him. (We've had that happen before when my ex brother in law came barreling up the drive and killed a pup while my son watched. Yeah, that was good times.) She said, "Come here, please. Would you look at this?" My guts in a knot I stepped onto the porch.

There sat Giblet with something in his mouth, his tail thumping the concrete happily. I hadn't had time to figure out what it was when Courtney said, "Is that a frozen squirrel-cicle in his mouth?" Sure enough, the dog was holding a frozen-stiff dead squirrel in his jaws and that poor squirrel either died a horrifically surprising death or he just happened to freeze solid with his front legs stretched out to the sides, his tail straight up and a look of eternal startle on his furry little face. There was no drooping, no limpness - just solid, stiff squirrel jutting stiffly from my dog's face.

Courtney looked at me and said, "Really? There are things I see here at your house that are not seen anywhere else."

That night when she came to pick Conner up one of the nearly-year-old cats was nursing Michelle Duggar. The cat, not the woman. We might be weird, but we don't get that bizarre around here. This black cat is nearly the size of Michelle and she was just laying there letting that large cat do her thing like it was as normal as a squirrel-cicle. She looked at the cats, cocked her head to one side and asked, "Is that cat nursing?" I just nodded and kicked the cats apart.

She shook her head and said, "Seriously. It's like a whole other world here."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And So She Sparkles

When I worked at DHS one day we were having a conversation about perfume. I chimed in, telling them about the perfume my mother had given me for Christmas. It was from Bath & Body Works and came in a little can that clinked when you shook it because it had a little metal ball in it to stir up the glitter. The label said "Perfumed Glitter Spray" and I LOVED that stuff. I'm not a foo-foo girl, but I took great pleasure in spraying that stuff into the air and walking under it to give myself a little sparkle, but not too much sparkle, ya know.

(Well, I used it until we went to a concert and I saw two 40-something women in line ahead of us with exorbitant amounts of glitter on their sad selves and decided I was too close to 40 to attempt that look any longer and since then the "perfumed glitter spray" has been reserved for my elementary school daughter when she plays dress up and for my middle school daughter who doesn't need a reason to sparkle, duh.)

So anyway, I chimed in the conversation about my perfumed glitter spray and the cutesy little 22 year old new caseworker exclaimed, "YOU have stripper dust?!? YOU? As in YOU?" Mouth agape I said, "WHAT?" and then she told me that perfumed glitter spray is what the strippers use before they go on stage. Everyone had a good laugh about the fact I had no flippin' idea I had been sparkling like a topless dancer since Christmas. Of course, I had to come home that night and inform my family that I OWNED STRIPPER DUST. It's been quite the joke around the house.

Tonight was the kids' Christmas program at school and Kady wore the most beautiful green sparkly dress with a beautiful custom-made sparkly bow in her hot-rolled hair so naturally she needed sparkles all over the rest of her, right? I sparkled her up, sparkled her sister, gave her hair another spritz of hair spray - then I heard Paul and Sam dramatically coughing and hacking out in the hallway. Paul said, "Good gosh, woman. You have made our bathroom smell like a wh*rehouse! Sam, man, give me your Axe, dude," and they proceeded to spray that nasty stuff all over themselves thus making them smell like the middle school locker room after gym class. We all rushed out the door in a cloud of noxious vapors and sparkles.

About halfway to the school Abby sniffed and said, "I'm kind of agreeing with Dad - it does smell like a wh*rehouse in here. Wow." Right after that I heard Kady sniff and snuffle then say, "Aw man....I think I just snorted stripper dust up my left nostril."


One year Mom and Sis went to Disney World around Thanksgiving time and brought us Hoovers back Christmas ornaments in the shape of Mickey's head, all in different colors with our names on them.

Last night as we were decorating the tree I opened the box that has the Disney ornaments in it. The first one was Sam's. I held it out to him and as he took it he said, "Mine's gold - because I'm the golden child!" I busted out laughing and Paul rolled his eyes.

Next was Kady's. Hers is purple. "Purple! Mine's purple because I'm royalty!" she said proudly. But of course - anyone who has insisted her name is Kady Princess from age three on would think of herself as royalty, wouldn't she?

I found the box that held Abby's and opened it. Abby said, "My ornament's red - what does red mean?"

Without missing a beat I put the hanger on it and held it out to her, replying, "Red? It means you're a hooker."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Because We's Smart

Apparently before Thanksgiving the kids in Kady's 2nd grade class each got a feather on which they got to write what they were thankful for and then stick it up the turkey's butt decoratively behind the turkey, thus creating a beautiful and colorful Thanksgiving-esque bulletin board decoration.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we've all moved on to stockings and jingle bells and the fat man himself the teacher sent the feathers home. I went through Kady's papers this weekend and found her beautiful blue feather with the word "SCHOOL" on it.

I chuckled at my youngest child's apparently budding nerdiness and said, "So, of all the things you're thankful for you put "school" on your feather?" Kady looked at me as serious as could be and said, "Well, DUH. If it wasn't for school I'd be dumb as a dang rock!"


Paul's days off are during the week so that means on those two week days Conner and I usually give up watching Dora and The Fresh Beat Band and Hi-5 because Paul has a seriously disturbing penchant for watching trash TV - Jerry Springer, Maury and Steve Wilkos to be specific.

Last week, though, on the second day he was home he'd had enough of Conner going to the TV, standing in the way of the pole dancer trying to decide who her baby daddy was and hollering, "Backpack! Backpack!" over and over, so he gave up and let us Conner watch preschool programming.

Having been involved in childcare for the better part of my life, I have become rather immune to preschool programming. Admittedly, there are times it will bother me and there are other times it just makes me giggle - like the episode of Go Diego Go! where the water buffalo or some other large bovine-ish mammal has a symbiotic friend called the "oxpecker" - but for the most part I hum along with the songs but don't think much about it. Paul, though, likes TV with wild game taking bullets, outlaws taking bullets, crooked cops taking bullets and shows about bullets taking bullets. Preschool programming is just too cutesy for his taste. And there are rarely bullets.

He had watched the first few minutes of Dora the Explorer and didn't say a single word. A little further into the show I heard him "hmph". I tore my eyes from Etsy and asked what was wrong.
He said, "This show. It's stupid. That annoyin' kid is repeating everything she says a hunnerd times. Stupid show." I laughed and went back to Etsy and Conner continued hollering BACKPACK! every few seconds.

Not long after that I realized Paul was quietly counting. He was sitting in his recliner with his denim shirt, goosedown vest and camouflage OU Sooners hat on, spitcup in hand.....counting. "One........two.........three........" I sat here watching him, wondering. He got to seven before I finally had to ask, "What on earth are you counting?"

He spit, never taking his eyes off the TV, then said, "How many times that effin' map of Dora's says 'flower,'" then he spit again and continued with, "....eight.......nine......."

The count got up to thirteen before he finally gave up and grumbling, went outside to shoot something.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Sparkly, Twinkly and Possum-y

As we have for the past two years, this year we have a display at Twin Bridges State Park's "Park of Lights". Two years ago it was a hasty, from conception to reality in 36 hours type deal. Last year we put more thought, time and effort into it. This year we spent weeks scoping out a new spot because of those crazy state park squirrels who had certain dietary requirements involving my lights, added some new "fixtures" and recruited my niece, Karissa, to help put it together. We're pretty proud of the results and a girl that graduated with my sister said her husband nearly peed his pants laughing at it the other night. I warms my heart to know we nearly made a grown man wet himself.

Here's a shot of Paul's rump as he was fussing and stewing over the endless network of extension cords all over the ground. The display looks much, much different in the dark. And you can't see it in this picture, but one of the newest additions to the display is just hidden behind that open door on the trailer. No, I'm not telling you. Drive to the park and see for yourself. Nyah.

And really? This shot has no importance whatsoever regarding the display other than the fact that my daddy handed me his electric staple gun and said, "Go have fun" while my mother stood there with her mouth agape. As I skipped off toward the display, looking for things that needed stapling I heard her say, "You do realize you just gave Kristin a staple gun, right dear? You do realize this may result in injury, right?"

I totally got my Tim the Tool Man on stapling that garland to that board. Paul laughed at me the whole time, but I didn't care. I had enough testosterone flowing through my veins I could've taken him. I'm pretty sure.

Now, if you're local or anywhere NEAR local you need to drive your family out to Twin Bridges State Park this weekend and see the display. For one thing, it's just dang time you got into the Christmas spirit. And for another - my crew and I will be working one of the gates Saturday night. I think we'll be at the front gate, but don't hold me to that. (If you don't see an adorable family at the front gate you'll see us at the end.) If this weekend doesn't work for you then Paul and I will be working a gate next Tuesday night as well, sans kids, so come out then. Either way, get thee to the State Park and partake of the Christmas wonders beheld there. And make sure you say hi!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Some things you just can't fix

I know, I know....I say I'm going to post more and I do pretty good for awhile then boom I'm all gone and stuff again. I really did have a good reason this time.

Sunday the kids and I just hung out at the house here, doing laundry and eating gratuitous amounts of Oreos. And I know y'all have days like this, I didn't ever find energy time to shower. It's gross, but some days merit absolute laziness. You know that. When Paul got home I started dinner - I had a plate of hamburger patties done and was in the process of getting another skillet going, the calico potatoes were just starting to sizzle in another and I was feeling ten kinds of relaxed. I was up to my wrists in hamburger meat when my cell phone started ringing the theme to "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" which is my biological father. I hollered for someone to come answer it and Abby came to the rescue. I said, "It's Pepaw, answer it." She did then palely handed it to me and said, "He wants to talk to you NOW." I could hear him shouting as I leaned in as she held it.

My father is a stern man who rarely emotes, but I said hello only to hear him say in the most frantic voice I've ever heard come from that man, "Your Aunt Shirlye just went down. We did CPR, she's on her way to Baptist. Come now, kid. Now." I said, "We're on our way," walked into the living room on the verge of quiet hysteria and said, "Aunt Shirlye's on her way to the hospital. They had to do CPR. That's all I know. Get your shoes on." Paul and the kids just did what I said and for like the only time ever no one said anything, asked anything, whined or complained.

I washed my hands (finally) and still fighting back the urge to just sit in the floor and cry for awhile, managed to get my shoes on, run a comb through my greasy hair and put the half-cooked dinner away for whenever. I had Paul call Cousin Courtney to see if the kids could stay with her, still not knowing the situation at the hospital, and then we blew out the door - all this in a matter of probably less than 10 minutes. I still hadn't cried at that point. I wasn't sure if I could stop if I started and I didn't want to walk into that hospital looking skanky AND hysterical.

I pulled up to the ER entrance, got out so Paul could get in and drive the kids to Courtney's and as I was walking toward the door I saw my father waving frantically for me to get in there. I ran as best as a fat girl can run and as soon as I entered the lobby my father put his arm around me and the hospital chaplain ushered him, me and my Uncle Tom into the ER. Still, at this point I had no clue what was going on and we met up with my stepmother as we walked. I raised my eyebrows at her, hoping for a clue. I got none. We were then led into a trauma room to find that Aunt Shirlye didn't had died. Then I cried.

These past few days have been a whirlwind of non-communication, tears, laughter, confusion, acceptance, anger, frustration and memories. Any time I am with my father's side of the family I realize how close we all aren't and it makes me so sad. When Nan passed away and we spent day after day in that hospital room with each other, drinking bad coffee and sodas from the machine in the waiting room and telling stories from our childhood, we all decided we needed to be closer. That was the first of September. It's now the first of December and I can say that one cousin and I are in closer contact now. That's all. When my Papa passed away you could barely drag us away from each other. Every family is different - it just so happens that my two sides are polar opposites. And we haven't even touched on my husband's family. They all think I'm an alien. No, I'm not kidding.

I love my father's family and they all love me, but it's just not a priority to get together I guess. They are just vastly different from my mom's side of the family and I have to realize that rather than get my feelings hurt or be disappointed when I feel like a raucous, loud stranger in a group of non-vocal people who stare at me like they wish I was a mute. My loud sense of humor and desire to make people laugh is wholly appreciated by one side and wholly not by the other. Aha...something just occurred to me - maybe it's ME they're all avoiding! Maybe that's why we never get together - they probably are having family dinners and just not telling me!

I kid, I kid.

I think.

So see? I have a great excuse this time for taking a few days from the blog - I was coming to terms with the fact that I am THAT relative.

This is going to make Christmas so much fun this year! I am going to try doubly hard to live up to expectations! WOOT!

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...