Mother-in-Law Story

In CategoryNavel Gazing

My mother-in-law is in town.

All week.

So. That.

She came over Tuesday, and after dinner we settled the kids with the iPad, made coffee, and prepared to get all the Family Gossip. Somehow we got on the topic of her Eventual Demise and she started giving instructions on what she wants.

MIL: I don’t want to ever move again. I don’t want to go through all that stuff. I’ll just leave it for you guys and it will be your problem

Me: I hope you don’t expect me to keep everything you’ve ever inherited. I don’t even keep my own stuff.

MIL, sighing: I know.

MIL: I still have all those potties.

(When Jim and I first got married, my mother-in-law tried to pawn this collection of potties (yes. potties) off on me. Apparently some relative collected them and no one could bear to part with them. Again – we’re talking about little collectible pottie tchotchke thingys. Like Precious Moments statues. Except, you know. Toilets. Displayed on a shelf. Because decorative?)

Jim: We’ll put those potties in your casket and you can take them with you. (see, it’s not just me who is mean)

MIL: I don’t want to be buried. I can’t think about the worms getting me. I want to be cremated.

Me: The worms won’t get you.

MIL: How do you KNOW, though?

Me, patiently: Because. They don’t just put the coffin in the DIRT, they have to pour a concrete vault. Worms won’t get you, I promise. You’ll just turn into People Soup.

MIL, jumping up: PEOPLE SOUP! GAH!

MIL: No, I want to be cremated and then you guys can take my ashes to all the places I want to be.

Jim and I: ALL the places?

MIL: Yeah. There’s only five.

Me: Is there a budget for this Ashes Sprinkling Junket?

MIL, rolling her eyes: Fine, I’ll leave some money so you can go on a cruise.

Me: I can work with that.

MIL. So, you have to take some to Kansas, and some to the mountains, and…

Me, interrupting: I thought you said there was a cruise? So far I’m just driving to Kansas.

MIL: Royal Caribbean has a package where you can sprinkle ashes at sea and they have a ceremony and everything.

Me: Like a Vegas Wedding, but with dead people?

MIL: Exactly.


Me: YES!

MIL: In all of them? There are 40, you know. (40! FORTY POTTIES!)

Me: No, just the best five.

MIL, making a face: What if I don’t like the ones you pick?

Me, slowly: Well. Then I guess you can Suck It from the Great Beyond.

She laughed. Thank goodness.


Later, she said, “I guess you’ll have a story to tell your knitting group now, huh?

And I said, “Oh, don’t you worry, I am TOTALLY telling this story.” 

Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday


• This is interesting: How Netflix Reinvented Human Resources from the Harvard Business Review. I know it doesn’t SEEM interesting on the face of it, but it is.

• Also did you know you can push any kind of document to a Kindle? Imagine the possibilities! Stuff you want your kids to read, schedules for your kids, all kinds of new and techy ways to get in up in their grill and tell them what to do. I have not actually tried this myself, but a friend of mine raved about it.

• House hunting story:

We had just finished looking at a house last weekend, and we were standing around talking with the realtor about what we thought. The kids were milling around waiting, and out of the corner of my ear, I hear the teeny, tiny, 7 year old voice of my daughter say conversationally, “the yard would have been nice if it wasn’t for all that dog shit.”


• I took a sewing class on Saturday and made this!


So exciting! I am taking a class on pajama pants this Saturday. I will be a sewing FIEND, practically. As soon as I figure out why my machine isn’t doing it right, that is.

• Happy Monday, y’all!

A Day in the Life

In CategoryHome Schooling, Navel Gazing


Because my son is driving me insane and my eyeballs might actually explode from repressing the inner screams if I don’t vent SOMEwhere, I am pleased to present A Day In The Life.

7:30 am
Kids come get into bed with me to snuggle. This turns into a discussion wherein Little notices her hair is getting darker. I said that my hair was lighter when I was a little girl and hers might eventually darken too. Her response was giant crocodile tears spilling down her cheeks while she wailed, “but I want to stay beautiful!”

I was like, “so if your hair turns dark like mine, you will not be beautiful anymore?” and she says, wrinkling her nose, “your hair is just so BROWN.” and I go, “like poop, you mean? I HAVE POOP HAIR, LITTLE, IS THAT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING?” which I can barely get out because I am laughing so hard because I am an eleven year old boy.

She, naturally, continues crying and trying to tell me that I AM beautiful, but not in the same WAY because of my unfortunately colored hair. Apparently, my poop-colored hair is only redeemed by all the shiny silver hairs. This goes on for a long time, with me dragging her brother into it and asking Little if Big is also hideous like me, and her continual assertions that I am cute, just not in the best way possible. I am practically convulsing at this point.

She is patting my hair and sifting through it to find the less offensive silver hairs, when she then goes, “your hair IS pretty mommy, except right there where there isn’t any.” Which is suddenly less funny because now I not only have BROWN hair, it is also patchy and balding. I start groping my own head looking for this bald spot and protesting that I probably just slept on it funny and making mental notes to ask Jim if there really IS a bald spot. I thought Big was going to pee himself from laughing. Eventually she decides that my hair isn’t poopy, it’s just boring.

Obviously, I dish out some reminders that what makes a person beautiful is what’s on the inside and being kind is more important than being pretty and blah-blah-blah. I’m thinking those of us with patchy bald poo hair start out behind, though.

9:00 am
I decide that it’s time to quit this nonsense, and we should get up and do something productive. The kids fling themselves against the door at this announcement and tell me that we are going to stay in bed all day and they won’t let me out. I change the sheets and tidy up while they concoct elaborate plans to keep me from escaping. Eventually they both make the mistake of leaving and I promptly lock the door.

I pass notes under the door while they tried to pick the lock.







10:30 am
I decide that we need to get with it, so I call Big down to do schoolwork. I make a stack of everything he can do independently and tell him to make it happen. He alternates between complaining that Little isn’t going first and saying he wants to stay with me and work on my desk, thus making it impossible for me to work with Little at the same time. **eyeroll**

11:00 am – 11:30 am
I nag him to stop staring into space, stop tearing tiny bits off the edges of the papers, stop scribbling on everything and GET TO WORK FOR THE LOVE.

11:40 am
I tell him I won’t be making lunch until his work is done. (so mean!)

11:45 am
He sort of starts working, but mostly seems to be developing a code that I will have to translate before I can check his work. I threaten to print out the page again for him to do-over if I see so much as a hint of anything code-like on the page.

11:50 am
He enthusiastically extols the virtues of his math code and studiously writes it all down on scratch paper to save for his sister to use in two years. I make lunch for Little.

11:55 am
Big starts singing a theme song for his code, and asks me to vote on which variation I like best. I laugh, and wonder if I am going mad.

Little’s lunch (leftover pizza) smells so good, it spurs him to get his stupid page done. I make his lunch. I write this story and yell at people to CHEW WITH THEIR MOUTHS CLOSED OR GO OUTSIDE. (I said I was mean. Keep up.)

2:00 pm
I get them settled with their kindles and take a shower. Nothing says classy like finally putting on a bra in the middle of the afternoon.

3:00 pm
Go grocery shopping. Leave all kids behind, where they are their dad’s problem. Cackle evilly in my head and remember that Safeway has a Starbucks in it. Probably it’s a sign.

5:00 pm
Home from the store and wondering if I can possibly get out of cooking dinner.

Feel happy tomorrow is knitting day.


For more Day In The Life posts, see here and here.

House Hunting

In CategoryNavel Gazing

As I begin to recount our infernal house hunt, I want you to know that all my opinions are my own, and if I comment on a wall color or flooring material or furniture placement in a house it’s only a reflection of my own dratted pickiness.

So if you love Forest Green carpet, or brass fixtures from 1975, or pink paisley wallpaper with matching bedspreads and pillows and lampshades, then more power to you. I have EXTREMELY fussy, opinionated (quelle surprise!), specifically minimalist taste. I mean no offense to anyone who has decorated their house in the exact same way that I am complaining about. Sometimes I envy people who hang up disco balls. It’s just not me.

Okay? Good.

Now, for the record, I hate shiny brass fixtures. Our second house was built in 1977 and had freaking original brass EVERYTHING – light fixtures, doorknobs, even brass door hinges. We replaced every. single. thing. in our house. Everything. All the flooring. All the paint. All the window coverings. All the doorknobs. All the light fixtures. All the switch plates (thick ceramic switch plates? caulked to the wall? really?), all the flooring, all the heater vents… Oh, and we took wallpaper – sometimes multiple layers – down from almost every single room. *shudder*

When we bought our last house, there was CARPET in the KITCHEN.




I had a Home Improvement Spreadsheet.

Because of course I did.

In fact, I have a House Hunting Spreadsheet. Divided into Deal Breakers, Must Haves, and Would Be Nice categories.

Because of course I do.

Deal Breakers:
Excessive amounts of wallpaper. I can’t go back there again, man. I can’t.
A house that needs kitchen or bathrooms remodeled. We have evaluated our priorities and realized we can’t do a lot of work. We’ve done it before and we lost our shirts. Absolutely NO.

Must Haves:
Places for everyone. They don’t have to be big, but between a work-at-home hubby and homeschooling, we need a lot from a house.
A playroom. If traveling has taught me anything, it’s that Jim and I can work pretty much anywhere, and that Legos need a room of their own. With a door. Amen.
A kitchen from this century
A decent yard for the kids to wreck

Would Be Nice:
Gas cooking
Hardwood floors
Two bathrooms
Non-dungeon basement laundry. Laundry in a finished basement is acceptable. Laundry on the main level would be excellent. Laundry on the bedroom level would make me swoon. My real fantasy is to have laundry on the main level and the bedroom level, so I could wash kitchen towels separately from clothes, but I need to stay connected to reality.

Obviously my complete list is much longer and more detailed, but I don’t want y’all to think I am cray-cray.

Wish us luck!