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I’m a DIY failure

July 21st, 2013

Please let this blog post serve as an official WARNING. HGTV, DIY and all the other home decorating channels flooding our cable and satellite feeds are setting us up to fail. They are probably a scam thought up by contractors to send people running into their capable arms, willing to pay anything to fix self-inflicted DIY disasters. (For anyone not totally down with the lingo, DIY is Do It Yourself…and it’s a crock of shit.)
Case in point: after way too many hours spent watching these shows where homeowners, with a little guidance from a peppy host and a hottie carpenter, completely renovate their homes while grandma takes the kids to dinner, I decided that with $100 at the hardware store and some good old fashioned hard work, I could transform my kids’ bathroom from a drab, ugly space into something fresh and new. In my mind, it was going to quickly and easily go from being the wart at the end of the hall to a shining beacon of light summoning all to come on down and have a quick pee.
So, just to set the stage – the previous bathroom was a lot of an exceptionally ugly tile that is somewhere between khaki and olive green (which I am stuck with because I know I’m not up to re-tiling). The cabinets were painted a drab off-white. The walls were painted a different, but equally drab shade of cream.
My improvement vision started with a navy and white striped shower curtain. I decided that navy blue cabinets would make the tile into something retro and hip, not just yet another outdated decorating failure from the ’60s. I ran it by Hubby #1.
me: “I’m thinking of painting the cabinets in the kids’ bathroom navy blue.”
Hubby #1: “No. We’ve spent a fortune on the family room.”
Oh, wait…did I forget to mention that we’re about two months and a nausea-inducing amount of money into a total renovation of our family room?
me: “No, no, no…I’m going to do it! I’m done a lot of research and I know exactly what I’m doing.”
Hubby #1 (with the memory of an elephant), “Like the laundry room cupboards at the old house?”
me: “I didn’t know what I was doing then, but I do now.”
Hubby #1, “Fine…but cabinets only.”
I’m on my way! And, let’s be honest, when I send HGTV my before and after pictures, they’re probably going to give me my own show, so this $100 at the hardware store and good old fashioned hard work is a small investment into what is probably the start of a Kirsten Sawyer DIY empire.
Day #1: I’m excited and I wake up early. I get to work meticulously prepping the room with pink painters tape (probably specifically designed for girl suckers like me who think they know what they’re doing). Things start off smoothly, but once the cabinets are primed, the walls look even dingier than before.
I think we all know what that means…the walls need to be painted!
Back to the hardware store!
As soon as I start “cutting in” the top of the first wall I realize what an incredibly bad idea it is to paint the walls. I flash back to our first condo where we spent every cent to buy the place and then had to paint it ourselves. It was pure misery that ended with a shitty looking condo. It was too late though. Sadly, DIY bathroom projects don’t have a much needed Undo command.
Night #1: I have to admit to Hubby #1 that I started painting the walls…and it’s not going well.
Day #2: The “navy” paint for the cupboards is more like a darkish blue than actual navy. It isn’t my vision and it doesn’t match the inspiring shower curtain.
Night #2: I have to admit to Hubby #1 that the cupboards aren’t actually navy. He points out that the walls I thought I was done with actually have pretty poor coverage in a lot of areas.
Day #3: The blue (not navy) cupboards are still quite sticky. How long does it take paint to dry? I decide to remove the painters tape from the tile seam at the top of the cabinet and the entire top of blue paint peels off like the face mask I should have been spending my time doing. I repaint the top of the cabinets.
Night #3: Hubby #1 points out that I have painted half the ceiling in “semi-gloss” paint and half in “eggshell” paint.
Day #4: The cabinets are less sticky. Less sticky enough I decide to put on the fabulous diamond shaped drawer knobs I found that match the diamond shape texture in the ugly tile. The screws that the knobs came with are too short for my cupboards.
Back to the hardware store!
For some reason, three of the replacement screws are slightly longer than the others. Too long for my knobs. I manage to find two washer type objects around the house to make them work. There is one drawer that is still knobless. I am embarrassed to go back to the hardware store, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this.
Day #5: I hang up the inspiring shower curtain that doesn’t match the cabinets but decide that I don’t care. I like the shower curtain! I move the kids’ junk back into the room, but arrange it on a cute white and navy metal tray. Except for the missing knob, I’m pretty happy with the room. And now with the bathroom looking nice, the hallway looks a little dingy.
It turns out DIY projects are a little like childbirth. When you’re in the throes of it, it’s the worst thing ever and between curse words you vow to never be tricked again, but once all is said and done, you’re open to giving it another go. I’ve been through childbirth three times…
I guess that means it’s back to the hardware store!

I’m being honest.

October 18th, 2012

The question I hate more than any other question is: “Are you still writing?” Uugh…really? Wouldn’t you rather ask about my baby weight? menstrual cycles? sex life? Anything else?!? But nope, invariably, I get asked, “So, are you still writing?”
My answer depends on my mood (AKA how honest I feel like being.) Some people get the perky, “I edit the school newsletter!” answer. When I’m being more honest I admit, “The baby’s not a great napper, but I do try to.” Or, the equally honest, “I feel like writing will always be there, but my kids being little and interested in being with me won’t.” And a few, select people get the God’s Honest Truth: “I love writing. I miss writing (although I do edit the school newsletter!). I feel like writing will always be there, but my kids being little and interested in being with me won’t, plus the baby isn’t a great napper…and when the older kids are at school, and the baby is finally sleeping, and the dishes are done, and the laundry is done, and I’ve actually had a shower, and the stupid newsletter has been edited, sometimes I would rather just sit on my ass, put my feet up and watch TV than turn on my computer and use my brain.”
So, there you have it – that’s me being honest.
However, like any mother worth her post-baby weight in goldfish crackers, I can multi-task. So, as I write this, I’m on the couch, feet propped up, TV on. Which I guess makes the answer to the dreaded question, “Are you still writing?” and easy one, “YES!”

I am thinking about divorce

February 16th, 2012

Here is a really sad start to my post. It has been SO long since I’ve posted something, that I actually forgot how to log into my blog! I had to go back through all my old emails and find the link that I emailed myself forever ago in case I ever forgot how to log into my blog. (Thankfully I know myself well enough to have set up for this scenario.) Total tragedy…but what matters is that I’m here now and it’s been TOO long. Babies #1 and #2 are at school, Baby #3 is napping, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season is over and the Bethenny Ever After season doesn’t start until next week. I’m yours (at least for the next few minutes).

Lately, I’ve been thinking about divorce – and more specifically, the division of assets.

DON’T WORRY — Hubby #1 isn’t getting off the hook.

Hubby #1’s College Friend is getting divorced after roughly three years of marriage. When I met his Soon-to-be Ex-wife for the first time, let’s just say it wasn’t the same love at first sight for me that it had been for him. She described herself as a “semi-retired model and actress.” She had that glow that only a person newly in love has as she seriously explained to me that planning her wedding was going to take so much time that wouldn’t have any left to work. Seriously? Then she added that she and College Friend planned to have five babies – as quickly as possible. Seriously?? It could be that we were just at totally different places in our lives – I was cynical and sleep deprived, Baby #2 had just been born and I was dealing with engorgement and diaper blow-outs, and her days were filled with cake tastings and dress fittings. I was pretty sure it was more than that though, so I quickly wrote her off as a total idiot and someone I would never be friends with.

Then something surprising happened – she started to grow on me! Every time we saw College Friend and Soon-to-be Ex-wife I would dread the interactions with the mayor of lala land, and would then end up pleasantly surprised (and a little befuddled) that she was kind of a cool girl. Believe me, I was as schocked as you are, but it’s true. I actually started to really like her. She was totally endearing and fun to be around. So much, in fact, that I decided I would call her up and make brunch plans. Yes, I decided that Soon-to-be Ex-wife and I were going to be friends.

Now, for better or for worse, I tend to plan to do a lot of things, but in reality very little actually gets done. This is evidenced by the fact that I haven’t had a blog post since last year even though I’ve had some really swell ideas that were almost completely written…in my head.

When I learned of their split – at a friend’s party, in a rather miserable, “Hey, where’s Soon-to-be Ex-wife?” “We’re getting divorced,” kind of way – I was stumped. What would happen to my soon-to-be friendship with Soon-to-be Ex-wife? Even though we’d only Facebook chatted a couple times, would that mentally planned brunch ever happen? I mean, we were practically extremely close!! In their split, could College Friend keep Hubby #1 and she could keep me? I had invested a lot in this friendship…in my head.

I asked Hubby #1 about how the division of assets would go. “Assets” meaning ME.

“No!” he said, “You can’t go out to brunch with her.”
“Why not?” I whined. Now that she was off limits, I wanted to be friends with her more desperately than ever before.
“Kirstie…” he said in the patient way he does when he’s waiting for me to figure out what other grown-ups know right off the bat.
“Fine,” I sulked.

I wasn’t about to push the matter since one of our biggest fights in history was when I spread the word in a wildfire like way about one of his friend’s girlfriends sleeping with another of his friends. I learned that messing with Hubby #1’s friends wasn’t worth the effort. So, sadly, I accept that Soon-to-be Ex-wife was not my Future BFF. And, really, it’s too bad because without a husband and five kids to tie her down, we could have had a lot of fun.

I am boring

October 25th, 2011

Every time Hubby #1 walks in to find me watching The Real Housewives, he matter-of-factly says, “You’re getting dumber from watching this.” I always counter with, “No way! I’m getting smarter.”

Okay, so getting smarter is probably a stretch, but I am definitely learning. I’m learning that my life is boring. B-O-R-I-N-G. Nobody ever throws punches, pulls hair or flips tables at my parties. Nobody ever has nervous breakdowns or drunken tirades at my dinners. Nobody ever mean-Tweets about me. Nothing. My life if boring, bland and dull. I get along with my friends and family, and they get along with each other. It’s all just far too mundane.

To remedy this, I suggested to Hubby #1 that we move to Jersey. Clearly, that’s where the action is. Plus, from what I can figure, you can be bankrupt and broke but still live in the lap of luxury, so we wouldn’t have to worry about working. Hubby #1 quickly and without even taking time to consider my idea shot it down. No Jersey for us.

So, maybe spicing my current life up is the answer, but again the problem of actually getting along with the people in my life is an issue. I imagined throwing a party and then stirring up some major shit between people, but I couldn’t really think of any shit to be stirred. Plus, being as non-confrontational as I am would have made this really hard.

Then, when I really started to think about it, I realized that my life used to be exciting. My dad had a Real Housewife worthy temper and I grew up constantly subjected to raging family feuds and furniture flipping, and I didn’t really like it. It was upsetting, unsettling and downright destructive (both to our lives and our stuff). I realized that it might just be the more intelligent decision to continue living in the peace and harmony that makes for a happy, albeit less exciting, life.

So, there you have it Hubby #1 – watching The Real Housewives actually IS making me smarter.

I actually do work

September 8th, 2011

Like so many moms, yesterday marked the official end of my summer. Even though the temperature was still over 100 degrees, Baby #1 and Baby #2 returned to school – first grade and second year of nursery school respectively. The day was bittersweet for me. On one hand – HOORAY! They’re out of my house…a much deserved break from the mess-making, arguing, and constant complaining that filled our summer. On the other hand – BOO HOO! They’re out of my house…no more schedule-free days spent on the slip n slide, saying up late, and just hanging out. The day also marked the official end of my self imposed, and practically Canadian maternity leave. Yes, with two kids at school at the same time and a third who is (thankfully) a good napper, it was time to get back to work.

So, I sat down in front of my computer and wrote a blog post comparing my maternity leave to Megyn Kelly’s with an odd tangent about my grammatical pet peeves, and some elementary school worthy gibberish about how I’d spent my summer vacation which included the words poopy and diaper. I read it over, preparing to post it and I realized something – IT SUCKED. It was embarrassingly bad. There was no way I could let anyone else read it.

I was super dejected. Had I lost my ability to write? Was my sleep deprivation so extreme that I could no longer follow a thought? With each child had I become dumber and Baby #3’s birth had pushed me over the edge? Possibly. My dejection didn’t improve later in the evening when Baby #1 asked where a friend’s mom was at pick up. I explained that his mom worked and his dad stayed home with him. I then overheard my children having a conversation about working parents. They were both in agreement that their dad works. Then Baby #2 said, “Mommy doesn’t work.” It hit me hard. Was he right? Was my career officially and completely over? Then, Baby #1 – shining, sparkling, beacon-of-hope Baby #1 said, “Mommy actually does work. She’s a writer.” AAAAAH!!! The clouds parted, sunshine streamed in and for a moment my world glowed.

With the renewed confidence that only a six year old can provide, I dropped everyone off this morning, came home and sat down in front of my computer again. This blog post might not be my most inspired, but at least I don’t vent my frustrations over misused quotes and apostrophes. Like the kids going back to school, I’m a combination of excitement and anxiety as I put the racket that was my maternity leave behind me and get back to writing because I actually do work.

I am teaching my children fear

April 8th, 2011

My week started off with quite a scare. Monday morning, outside of Baby #1’s elementary school, I was approached by a mother, clearly frazzled, on her way out of the principal’s office. She had been there telling him about an attempted kidnapping at a local park the day before. The potential victims were students of the school and her children had been playing at the park at the time the incident occurred. She recounted the terrifying story and the extensive police investigation that followed. She was on her way from the school to talk to a detective and was warning every parent she passed to beware.

For me, kidnapping is one of those topics that makes it harder to sleep at night. Part of this is probably a natural feeling for a parent, but I think it’s worse for me because I was raised by a mother who spent most of my childhood teaching me that most everyone was out to get me. In fact, to this day, she reinforces how terrified I should be to do everything and go anywhere. She is the kind of person who forwards endless e-mails about new ways that killers will trick you at gas stations, in mall parking lots and at the supermarket. Just this morning, while I was on the phone with her, a DWP employee rang my doorbell to have me unlock my gate. She made me call her back as soon as he was gone because, according to her, impersonating DWP employees is a new tactic used by predators. Because of this upbringing, I have to work very hard not to be afraid all the time. I have made a very conscious and concentrated effort not to instill the same panic in my children. Therefore, I find it easier to simply avoid the park because it is impossible for me to be 100% protective of two people who scatter in opposite directions, hide in tunnels and don’t respond when I call their names without scaring them with stories of the horrible things that can happen to children happily swinging. Instead, I convinced Hubby #1 that we needed a swing-set that takes up our entire backyard in order to give our children all the swinging, climbing and sliding satisfaction of a park in an environment where I can sit back and read a magazine.

Even though we don’t go to the park, the news still sent terror through me – maybe my mother is right?!? – and I decided that, perhaps, it was time to instill a little fear in my kids. Baby #2, who just celebrated his third birthday, was the only one home at the time, and so I began with him.

“What would you do if you were at the park and a man you didn’t know asked you if you’d like to come to his car and see his sleeping dog?” I asked, using the lure the local kidnapper had supposedly used. “Would you go with him?”
“Yes!” Baby #2 answered eagerly.
“NO!!” I countered and then, I am ashamed to admit, I told him that the person was going to take him away from me and never give me back.
Baby #2 responded by asking me about the sleeping conditions with his new family.
LESSON #1 – FAILURE

That afternoon, I presented the same scenario to six-year old Baby #1.
She too was willing to go to the car to check out the sleeping dog and only encountered a problem with the fact that the kidnapper might not have a 5-point harness seat for her to ride in.
“The seat doesn’t matter!” I exclaimed. “They are NEVER going to give you back to me. You’ve got bigger problems than the seat!!”
LESSON #2 – FAILURE

I have spent the rest of the week, convincing my children that there are people out to get them. I am ashamed that I have done it, but at the same time, feel a sense of satisfaction that now Baby #2 creates schemes potential predators might use, always ending in him saying, “NO!”

“Mommy, if I’m playing at school and someone I don’t know comes up and asks me if I want to see their dog throw-up, I say NO,” he proudly tells me.
“YES!” I cheer, thrilled that the dangers of the world are sinking in. I decide to let go the fact that even if someone he knows offers him the chance to see dog vomit that he should probably pass.

Then, this morning, I learned that the whole kidnapping threat was false. Some accounts are saying that the kids got it wrong – others are implying that they flat out made it up. I am now torn between admitting to my children that the world is a little safer than I have spent the past five days leading them to believe and not mentioning that it didn’t happen and using the incident as a good excuse to have taught them a lesson they should have already known. And speaking of teaching lessons, should I jump on this new development and move right into the perils of crying wolf?

At some point (and I have perhaps reached that point), all this lesson teaching becomes just as much work as trying to watch two kids at the park! I think, instead, I am going to spend the weekend sitting in the backyard reading a magazine and letting them believe that there are predators with ill dogs lurking under every public slide. As my mother loves to say, “A little fear is what keeps you safe.”

I had a good date

February 16th, 2011

I just had a super fun playdate. Okay, technically it wasn’t my playdate – it was Baby #2’s – but the kid’s mom was so cool that I think I might have had more fun than the kids. In fairness, she didn’t try to play with any of my toys, so it was easier to get along. For moms, a first playdate is a bit like a blind date. Sure my friend Beth said she was really nice, I’d chatted with her outside of school, and we’d exchanged e-mails planning the playdate, but now was the moment of truth – how would two hours of idle chit-chat go? It can be kind of hit and miss.

With Baby #1 at the “drop off” playdate age (which causes me anxiety for separate reasons), I had almost forgotten when Baby #2 started nursery school this year that playdates for him once again meant playdates for me. For a finite amount of time, you can select your child’s friends based on which moms you’d like to hang out with…but then kids start developing relationships of their own and you find yourself having to chat uncomfortably for hours with people you have little or nothing in common with (except obviously having kids the same age). It reminds me of a piece I read in the New Yorker years ago about what it would be like if adults were subjected to the same injustices as children. Basically the article joked about how adults would feel if their children forced them to spend time with people who were simply the same age, or if their children forced them to let someone else drive their brand new Mercedes because you have to share. The article suggests that being forced to spend time with people you don’t share anything in common with and sharing your belongings only happened to children – but let me tell you, when you have a two year old, it happens to you too! There are lots of moms out there, and sometimes the single commonality of having given birth around the same time is not enough to carry you through.

There are the “nice” moms, but “nice” turns into boring about twenty minutes in. Although, I’ll take a “nice” mom any day over a nanny. Showing up for a playdate that turns out to be with the nanny is even worse – especially if the nanny doesn’t speak English. A friend of mine is Haitian, with medium dark skin. She once took her son to a playdate where the nanny thought she was Puerto Rican and spoke Spanish to her the entire time. My friend doesn’t speak Spanish.

There are the “super busy” moms who spend the playdate on their phones or computers. But who can blame them…they are super busy.

There are the “perfect moms.” Obviously they are nice, but they are more stressful than the plain old nice moms because they are perfect. They are dressed to the nines – we’re talking hair and make-up – like they must be going somewhere other than the nursery school drop off and the market. Their houses are spotless – they don’t have dogs and shoes must be left at the bottom of the driveway. They offer delectable homemade snacks. They don’t have a single fault so they give me a complex. How do they do it all? Does their day have more than 24 hours? I certainly don’t have time to wash my hair and bake whole grain muffins in the same day.

There are the “over-sharers.” I’m not saying they make their kid share toys more than anyone else…I’m saying when you leave there, you know their financial situation, how their marriage is, what their kid’s morning poop looked like. You get it, it’s classic TMI.

But once in a golden while, there is a “cool mom.” She’s the best, taking little bits from all the other mom types and wrapping them up in a nice package. She’s nice without being boring – good sense of humor is a must. She’s busy in that she doesn’t stay forever because she has places to go and people to see, but she politely puts it aside for a couple of hours. She’s dressed in cute jeans and sneakers with hair in a ponytail and little or no make-up because who are we kidding, a playdate isn’t a night on the town. She shares enough to make you feel comfortable, but thankfully you have no idea when her last period was. This mom is a rare jewel.

What a great surprise that this morning’s playdate was so much fun. It’s like a blind date where you feel a spark. A kind of “oh my goodness, there could be a friendship here,” feeling. But now, like any blind date, as I sit here envisioning future playdates at the park…maybe the zoo?!?…in the back of my head is a distant worry. Will she call again? What if she doesn’t think I’m a cool mom too?

I (sometimes) know the most

February 1st, 2011

I don’t want to brag, but Hubby #1 is fairly brilliant, so it’s always a treat for me when I get an opportunity to be the purveyor of knowledge in our relationship. These moment are few and far between…like that shining day when I knew that the car doors that open away from each other in the opening of Entourage are called suicide doors. That’s right – Mr. Brilliant didn’t know…but I did. Of course when I do offer up some foreign nugget of knowledge, he generally takes to the internet to verify my brilliance rather than blindly accept it, but that’s okay – confirmed victory is almost sweeter. The down side is that when he stumbles upon something he doesn’t already know all about he over-researches and becomes kind of an expert. At this point, he can probably tell you all about the history of suicide door design and manufacturing, what car models they were offered on, and when they were discontinued. That’s okay though because while he may know MORE, I knew FIRST.

This week was another moment for my intellectual superiority to shine. It started when I received an email from my aesthetician. Along with the normal information about specials on dermabrasion facials and chemical peels, she included a reminder to make appointments for Valentine’s Day Vajazzling.

At almost six months pregnant with Baby #3, it’s been a while since I’ve given my nether region much thought. Literally, out of sight – out of mind. Later that night, as I brushed my teeth though, the tastefully vague illustration of a female form with a neatly red-rhinestoned crotch jogged my memory, and so for a brief moment I considered the bling. My focus was more on D-day (as in Delivery) than V-day, and I had a horrible flash of pushing so hard that a small crystal flew off, blinding my OB or injuring my newborn. It was with this ridiculous vision, that I walked back into our bedroom chuckling maturely to myself.

Obviously Hubby #1 was intrigued by whatever was amusing me. By now, I had moved on to the more practical problems of vajazzling, so I shared my confusion over how people deal with the growth related itch conflicting with the jewels. Much to my surprise, he had no clue what I was talking about. In fact, he thought vajazzling was something I was making up! I mean, seriously, could I even come up with that?!? Nonetheless, I quickly realized that this was one of those super special moments when I knew something he did not and I expertly explained what little I knew about vajazzling – hair comes off, rhinestones go on.

By the morning, Hubby #1 was a new authority on vajazzling…and penazzling (I’m sure you can guess what that is), as well as their trampier cousin, the twattoo. Oh well, my moment was over – lasting less time that an elaborate butterfly vajazzle (according to Hubby #1 one of the most popular designs available).

I’ve got high pumpkin pie, in the sky hopes

November 19th, 2010

I’m sure we all remember my bake-or-buy birthday cake dilemma earlier this year…good times. So, as the year comes to a close, I found myself facing the same question, this time in regards to the pumpkin pie I signed up to bring to Baby #1’s Kindergarten Thanksgiving Feast.

I have to admit, I was pretty jazzed about the feast from the moment I heard about it. Baby #1’s class would be representing the Indians – complete with construction paper feather headdresses, and another Kindergarten class would be the Pilgrims in homemade paper hats and vests. Baby #1 had enthusiastically shared with me how the two classes would be sitting in a pattern: Indian, Pilgrim, Indian, Pilgrim. I was completely smitten with the irreverence with which the two classes were putting aside all politically correct nomenclature, and ignoring the violent truth of 1621. It reminded me of my own early education on the subject – ah, nostalgia.

As I said, I signed up to bring the pie. Now, I am well aware that most people would hop on down to Dupars or maybe even Vons and buy the first pumpkin pie they saw. I think we all know, I am not that person. Instead, I would make the pie.

I have long loved making pies, and my newest obsession, Top Chef Just Desserts, has only added fuel to this fire. (I know, I need to lay off the reality TV.) And so, I decided that instead of using the organic canned pumpkin that I have long used in my pumpkin pie, that this pie would be 100% from scratch. This turned it into a two day project. In between school drop offs, picks ups, etc. I prepared the pumpkin on day #1. Seriously, it wasn’t hard…I doubt I’ll ever use canned again. You just cut it in half, clean out the inside and bake it for an hour and a half. Then, after it has cooled down, scrape the pumpkin from the skin and mash it up. No biggie. On Day #2 (the day of the feast!) I got the pie crust made before we left for school, then dropped Baby #1 off, and returned home to put it all together. No problems here either. In the end, the pie was stunning if I do say so myself and ready to go a whole hour before feast time.

The only downside to this pie making experience has been Hubby #1’s strong belief that I’ve gone round the bend. I can’t count how many times he has told me that “Kindergarteners don’t care,” and questioned if I didn’t have “better uses” for my time and energy. Obviously, this is ridiculous since the time and energy spent to make the perfect pie for 48 five and six year olds is well worth it. I will, however, admit that as I painstakingly placed little pie crust pilgrims around the crust of the pie I did pause to accept the irony that my own little squaw doesn’t like pumpkin pie.

Then, at the feast, a true Thanksgiving Miracle happened. Baby #1 was served a piece of my pie and, after someone covered it with some sort of repulsive aerosol whipped topping, she ate it! I mean, she ate almost all of it. At least 3/4 of it…maybe 2/3, but still – she ate it! I felt fulfilled. I felt like the mother I’ve always dreamed I could be. If only I’d worn heels and pearls, the moment would have been complete. Hubby #1 was wrong. Every second spent was well worth it. Not only had Baby #1 eaten the pie, I’m sure that somewhere deep down she was proud that her mother had been the provider of the truly homemade Thanksgiving delicacy and that she would forever have moments of the wonderful day.

EPILOGUE
On the way home from school, still glowing from the success of my pie, I commented to Baby #1 how happy I was that she liked the pie I made. She nonchalantly replied,
“I didn’t really like it, I was just being nice.”
I was speechless. Seriously? You’ve got to be kidding me! Oh well, at least I didn’t also take the time and energy to put on those heels and pearls.

I saw the light

November 1st, 2010

This year I found myself facing a dilemma that I haven’t faced in nearly a decade. I don’t know why it suddenly came up, but it did. The question? To dress-up or not to dress-up.

I have to preface all this with the admission that I live for a costume party. Seriously, few things in life make me happier than getting dressed up. I desperately wanted to make our house-warming party an ’80s theme costume party, but – here comes the #1 factor contributing to my recent lack of costumes…Hubby #1 is a party pooper. So, as Mrs. Party Pooper, I never dressed up for Halloween because we were (sniff, sniff) never invited to any fabulous Halloween parties, and I wasn’t going to be the only adult dressed for the occasion out trick-or-treating with my kids. The not dressing up thing got so deeply ingrained in my head, that wearing a costume almost completely fell off my radar and, I fear, I started thinking like he thinks. Then, I started to see the light.

It all started when we surprised the kids with a trip to Disneyland to see the Halloween decorations last week. (I know, we’re the most super cool parents ever.) In the parking lot, I was startled to see a woman in a full-on Belle costume complete with brunette ringlet wig and yellow hoop skirt.

“Freak alert!” I hissed loudly at Hubby #1 not wanting him to miss the spectacle that I was witnessing.

I felt very superior in my plain old jeans and sweatshirt. As our adventure to the happiest place on earth continued, I realized that there were lots and lots of freaks. I excitedly pointed them out the Hubby #1 as we made our way through the park.

“Plus-sized Cinderella!” “Geriatric Snow White!!” “Grown man in Peter Pan Tights!!!”

Then, around the time we were in line for Dumbo and I spotted a family in full Toy Story regalia – Dad as Woody, Mom as Bo Peep complete with newborn in Snuggly dressed like a sheep, and son as Buzz Lightyear, I had a thought. Maybe these folks were not the freaks. Maybe I was the freak. Maybe they were the cool ones? They’d gone all out. Good for them. I was the loser who wasn’t even wearing orange and black, let alone wearing a costume.

This idea festered in my head for the rest of the week and I decided that I wanted to dress-up for Halloween this year. The problem, of course, was that I (more sniff, sniffs) didn’t have a costume. Finally, I decided on Halloween morning that I would dress up as Fancy Nancy (the little, red-headed girl from the books who likes to make everything fancy). I thought Baby #1 would be thrilled…but she wasn’t. In fact, she acted a little embarrassed that I would even consider that. So, I started going through my closet. The problem was that the height of my costume wearing days was so long ago, and the chances of the same costumes fitting seemed unlikely. Then I found an old pair of overalls, and Farmer Kirsten was born. It was perfect. Everyone was happy.

I proudly wore my costume as we went trick-or-treating; I even talked Mr. Party Pooper himself into dressing up. And guess what…we costume wearers were the majority! It was by far the most fun Halloween I’ve had in a long time, and I’m already starting to think about what I’m going to wear next year.

Happy Belated Halloween. I hope no matter how old you are that you remember you’re never too old for a Halloween costume – except the geriatric Snow White…she was too old for it, but good for her for not caring.