Tag Archives: friends

The Gooball Story

Recently I met a fellow busy mom (to clarify, ALL MOMS are busy moms,) for a much needed  coffee-and-catch up session.  The craziness of Jr’s 2nd grade school year has combined with an amazing year of challenging and fulfilling growth for me in my role at work, and all the other stuff-of-life that we all experience, creating a whirlwind that carried the whole family from late summer and into the holiday season in a blink.

I was glad to stop and take a breath and spend some time with my friend and a large sugar free hazelnut latte, and somehow our conversation turned to school fundraisers, which quickly led into fundraiser prizes, which brought us to the dreaded goo ball.

Do you know the goo ball?  My dear friend, who always seems to me to be the textbook example of composed super-mom, started into a story about her daughter bringing home this racquetball-sized squishy, sticky ball made of a material that allowed it to stick to whatever it was thrown at, and crawl down slowly.

“OH THE GOO BALL!! ”  I shouted, probably a little too loudly for the quiet of the coffee house we were in, “I know the damn goo ball…. I have A Story about the goo ball!!!”

“I HAVE A STORY ABOUT THE GOO BALL!!” she exclaimed (also loudly… I bet they don’t wish we could come in every day at that coffee shop.)

Both of our stories involved the aforementioned goo ball becoming stuck, seemingly permanently, to a very high ceiling, and the ensuing circus that unfolded in an effort to get the damn thing down.

Mine was a harrowing tale involving The Mr at the tippy top of an extension ladder trying to swat at the devil ball with various poking devices while I held the ladder up at the bottom.  Spoiler alert, I can’t hold The Mr up and the ladder slid all the way down, taking my legs out from underneath me as The Mr rode it the whole way down the wall until we were both in a heap trying to see if the other was ok.

Fun facts to know and share – goo balls stain.  Significantly.  Along with the dark goo smudge on my ceiling, I also have a front entry table with “goo ball marks” all over the bottom shelf…  a greesy reminder of hard-learned goo ball lessons.

As we told our stories and described the many and varied household items we used to try and dislodge the nightmare “prizes” from our respective ceilings, we howled with laughter and clutched on to each other, caught up in the camaraderie  created by the mutual understanding of such a ridiculous situation.

It was just what I needed. It was perfect.

Over the coming days as I told other moms in my world about the conversation and how hard we laughed and how perfect it was, I learned that having a goo ball story is actually FAR from a unique experience.  Turns out those suckers have haunted the homes of almost every mom I know.   Somehow knowing this gave me an even bigger sense of renewed connection within my mom village.

Momming (yep, it’s a verb,) can be isolating at times.  It can feel like no other person is going through just what you are going through as you guide and root for and love and prod and sometimes yell your offspring through their days… everyone else seems to have it together.   It can SEEM that way.

But really?

Really we are all just trying to figure out how to hide our goo ball stain.


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41 vs 21.

41.  Today I (and my super awesome twin, Dr. Sissy,) turn 41.

Wait…..  Whut?

Forty FREAKING one.

One of my asshole acquaintances  younger friends said I am just celebrating the 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday.

Oh my damn.

It’s  been 20 years since my 21st birthday.

And hey!  Ya know what – when I think about it like that, maybe I should feel pretty damn good about things…  I have figured a thing or two out (ok, maybe just the one,) in the 20 years that have passed since Dr Sissy and I sampled every sketchy-ass “birthday shot” that the fine establishments of Boulder had to offer before taking turns holding each other’s hair back at different times over the next two days. (#wondertwinpowers)

That got me to thinking, how IS 21 different than 41?  Sometimes I feel EXACTLY like the girl who stood on the bar to kiss the buffalo with her sister on her 21st birthday, and not a day older…. and sometimes I am possessed by a cranky old lady barking at my husband to plug in my heating pad because I slept wrong the night before and “OY! MY BACK!”

What gives!?

Even at 41, I still hear the call of the Taco Bell drive thru when I have a shitty day at work… “Come Keri… get in line Keri… Nachos Bell Grande are the answer Keri.  And a GIANT Mountain Dew.”

But they aren’t the answer…  unless the question is “what is going to give you heartburn and make your damn pants not fit over your ass?”  And people – let’s acknowledge that is NEVER the question.  (I love you Taco Bell…. 4eva.  But you do me so, SO wrong.)

41 year old Keri WANTS to slam endless quantities of coffee drinks, all day and night, like her 21 year old self did.  21 year old Keri practically lived at THE BEST coffee shop EVER (I also love you 4eva, Paris on the Platte, RIP,) working there in the early mornings, and then camping out on a stool at the bar all evening long while Dr Sissy worked her shifts. Then heading back to the single gal condo and sleeping peacefully, NBD.  41 year old Keri just told her coworker today that she has to “watch her caffeine  any time after noon because otherwise I will be up all night.”  What, the actual F**k, universe?  How does that happen?  Now that I am a wife and a mom and have more on my plate than ever – NOW I have to limit my intake of the sweet nectar of energy and decency that is coffee, or risk being up watching Copper Skillet infomercials during the few hours my schedule actually allows me to sleep?  Damn you, 41.

21 year old Keri was ensconced in her perfect, walkable urban ‘hood, living on delicious (horrible) Big Bites and Hostess cupcakes, going to shows and  showing off fresh ink while downing house shots at PS lounge….

Remembering all of that is amazing.  But not the whole story. Nope… not at all.

21 year old Keri was  freshly mugged, flat broke, back and forth dating two guys- neither of whom was right for her,  and couldn’t get the air pockets in her bread to even out in culinary school (which is “rustic” now, but was “wrong” back then.) She was angry and lost and a little lonely.

I was 21 when I was diagnosed with MS.   (Talk about angry and lost… whoa nelly.)

21 year old Keri had some shit going on.    21 year old Keri walked through fire.

21 was actually a major pivot for me – and it had nothing to do with the ability to order  a drink.

And the things that happened that year set me on the path toward where I sit writing this now,  in my dimly lit kitchen,  about to get up and replace the blankets my son has no doubt kicked off, and fill the dog’s water, and kiss The Mr goodnight as he sleeps…  it was 21 that set it all in motion, really.

Andplusalso,  if you look hard enough, the best parts of that young woman are still right here, along with 20 years of hard fought understanding that have come along since then.  21 year old Keri buzzed around in her Jeep with the windows down and the music up. 41 year old Keri does the same. 21 year old Keri loved lingering and laughing over long tex-mex meals with her family,  and that is exactly how 41 year old Keri is celebrating her birthday this evening.

21 year old Keri made bad jokes when she was nervous (and when she was not,) enjoyed looking at the mountains way more than spending time in them, cried whenever she heard Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Colorado Christmas,” missed her twin sister living(part time) in Indy like crazy,  and was so damn grateful for every step she took, every sight she saw… every awful, wonderful perfect moment she got….

And you know what?  Ditto all of that for 41 year old Keri.

So maybe my not-so-jerky friend was right – happy 20th anniversary of my 21st birthday indeed.

(And to you too, Dr Sissy –  without you I am only half an egg.  muah.)





Filed under Just Sayin', musing

On brunch and babies and laminate counter embarrassment.

Yesterday we invited friends over for brunch, which is kind of like, the highest honor we can bestow upon someone (Because you totally care if you get some of my egg casserole and one or two of The Mr’s impossibly strong and spicy Bloody Marys right? No?  Not about you.)

Anyway – this isn’t about our reverence for brunch, or even my obsession with being the hostess (which is a neurosis for another post,) really.

It was inadvertently kind of a big deal, though.  Because as it turns out, we have had exactly NO ONE over since we moved in.

Well – no one other than my family, The Mr’s mom, and one dear family friend who came into town from The ATL and was our first overnight guest – but that is family and doesn’t count because they know all your shit anyway, and you know theirs, so any judgements cast would be kind of a chicken fight, ya know?

This particular awesome couple is 7 months along in their first pregnancy (“their”  HA!!   HER, in HER first pregnancy….. and he is there being supportive too, but seriously, whose bladder is that foot really jabbing?)   I was anxious to see them and share the joy and offer up any baby gear they might want to pick from the pile in the basement storage unit too (because kids are EXPENSIVE, and even though a baby swing may very well save your sanity in the beginning of things, that moment is fleeting, and then you are left with a lot of expensive, barely used stuff.)

It just made sense to have them out to the house, even though “house proud” isn’t exactly our family motto quite yet.  Actually, they will be one of the few to experience the kitchen pre-reno, since after they departed, I drilled out the holes for the new hardware that will go on after the cabinet refinishers do their thang at the end of this week, followed quickly the next week by the granite guys with our counters.  Things are coming along, but we are FAR from being finished with the de-generic-ifying of the abode.

Either way, in they blew, up the highway from the city and into our outbound work-in-progress.

No really.  They blew in.  Because it is so freaking windy out here, like,  All. The. Time. that I have to bite my tongue to keep from belting out the chorus of Oklahoma! every time I walk out of the house.  SERIOUSLY – I do NOT remember it being so G.D. windy here when I was growing up.  No wonder I used so much cheap hair spray when I was a teenager – it must have been a war keeping those 90’s bangs at full staff.

The Traitor  Mr. extolled the virtues of life within spit-ball distance of the foot hills, and the slower paced, wide-open-spaces existence he has become the poster-husband for; while I eyeballed how little OJ I could get away with putting in my mimosa and still be able to call it “a mimosa.”

This particular growing brood isn’t actually long for the urban jungle themselves, setting their sights on the ‘burbs on the south side of the city in the not-oh-so-distant future, so at least we could skip the long-winded explanations about that decision. (Since when did I EVER skip being long-winded about anything, though. Really.)

It was good to see them.  It was good to have them, have anyone, in our space again, actually.  To remember that the road goes both ways and most people don’t actually think like I did when we were in the heart of it all (I was seriously put out if I had to drive to even one of the outer ‘hoods.  What up, lazy?  Clearly, I’m working on it.)

So I guess the new house is officially open for business when it comes to entertaining.

Blow on in anytime, friends – the construction is ongoing, but the Bloodys are strong, the Mimosas are kissed with only a hint of pesky OJ, and if you hoist a bed sheet you can probably sail your car right off the highway and into the subdivision and save the gas.

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Mr. Rogers must have skipped some steps.

The neighbors.

The neighbors are all nice enough people, for sure.  We wave and say hello and there are the occassional BBQs or football game viewing incidents and everyone is friendly enough, you betcha.

But there seem to be two distinct groups that get a lot of social action in the subdivisions, and anything in between gets – well – not-so-much.

Group 1 is the stay-at-home moms.  These women stay safely tucked away inside their little homes in the mornings,  attending to morning rituals for their families behind closed blinds and plantation shutters, prepping for activities later in the day.  The only interaction you may have with one of them alone and before 2:30 pm is a quick wave if you happen to be passing by as they back the mini-van out of the garage and speed away to swimming lessons or music class.

It is in the afternoon and evening that they emerge, in pairings or threes, to stand on lawns sipping Starbucks (I feel like someone must have one built into her basement around here – they always have S-bux, but no actual S-bux run seems to have been made,) and laughing as they supervise their combined broods at play on various bikes, trikes, scooters, etc…

In the suburbs you can spot them by looking for one of these:

Image from Amazon - click if you need to identify your own group of S-bux sipping mommies in the yard.

Image from Amazon – click if you need to identify your own group of S-bux sipping mommies in the yard.

Now I am all for safety.  Oh, and kiddos.  I love me some kiddos – I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way.  Fo’ Sho’.

However,  with the amount of play equipment strewn all over in between the houses where these various mommies live, there is little doubt, even without the glowing plastic child waving a flag and staring at me from under his ball cap, that there are wee ones at work in the area.  I digress.

So there are the Moms and the Starbucks cups and their neon plastic watchman all hanging out in front of where a group of variously aged offspring are cavorting – this SEEMS like a great time to grab Jr and go make nice.

Except as you rattle your little red wagon full of kid and ball and bubbles and other fun-time peace offerings toward the group the laughter stops.  The moms stop chatting.  The kids stop playing.  Birds stop flapping their wings and fall smack out of the clear blue sky, (ok, that isn’t true, but still,)  the air almost seems to stop moving.  They all stare at you, pulling the bundle of cutie kiddo who wants to play up to them.  Moms stare.  Kids stare. Neon plastic guy stares (one eye at a time.)

Oh they wave and say hi, and the kiddos do too, but the wagon keeps rolling because there is clearly no room at the inn,  and as you walk away you hear snippets of “oh, SHE works outside the home, he’s in daycare somewhere.”   😦

They are thick as thieves and the door is NOT open to moms who might be closing down a conference call to cul-de-sac it for a bit.  Working moms need not apply for membership into that crew.

Group 2 is The Husbands.

Sigh.  Sad but true, this group cares not about employment or anything else – you just straight up have to have a wang to get in.    It actually includes guys in their teens all the way up through the silver fox set, and everyone in between who can pee standing up.   The Mr. was welcomed right into the fold, drinking beers on the driveway and bonding in that special way that dudes do:

(thanks, King of the Hill)


Attempts to elbow in on this behavior have not gone well.   A largeish group of bros yucking it up over beers on the curb will scatter quickly if say, a super awesome, (and pretty,  and funny, and cool,) wife comes sniffing around, even if she holds up her beer and says “yep” and attempts to siddle up next to them without making waves.

Also – cue the side-eye from my own husband, who seems to think I am jeopardizing his status in the pack.

Giant super pouty sigh.

It’s cool.  I have my kid, we have our wagon. We both like to roll with roadies when we take it for a spin; and I usually go in for something stronger than S-bux on those occasions, although this is interesting:

Thank you, Cheezburger.com

Thank you, Cheezburger.com

Plus we usually have a few Sesame Street characters along too, so we roll mad deep, yo.

Oh Mr. Rogers – you always made it look so easy.

(PS – is it because I say things like “we roll mad deep, yo”?  Oh well – can’t change the spots on this leopard.)


Filed under musing