Tag Archives: home

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.)

 

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under Just Sayin', musing

The hugeness of ordinary. 

Tomorrow Jr “graduates” kindergarten…

Yesterday he started intensive swimming lessons in a building that I remember being a department store.

This week my social media “memories” keep reminding me that 5 years ago I was saying my final goodbyes and leaving our treetop brushing condo for the last time, and pointing my packed Keri-mobile toward the town we had selected.

The town where I was raised.

I’m going to tie this all together, I promise… stay with me here.

Time passes.

Amirite?

Time. Freaking. PASSES.

And the version of me sitting, this afternoon, in the present-day, in my newest (and still unnamed) MUV, waiting outside of the school to get Jr after his last full day of kindergarten?  Well, she was scrolling through Timehop cooing over pictures of younger days in her kiddo’s life when this came up:

Today… 5 years ago today, after a particularly (shameless) emotional last night spent in wine-soaked bitterness deep reflection, I walked out the door of a home that had meant so much to me and to our little family, for the last time.

It was SHIT timing to see that particular gem, people.

The bell was going to ring, and I was about to walk, FOR THE LAST TIME EVER, and pick up the kiddo who in this family is THE kiddo, from kindergarten for the last time.

EVER.

Just like that time I shut the door to my beloved (though outgrown) Tree House for the last time.

EVER.

So I hiked down the grassy slope toward the kindy playground in a blurry haze of ridiculously-ill-timed but totally appropriate tears, and waited for my ginormous son to emerge from the door where I had dropped him off a pretty-much-pre-schooler just a few months ago.

He is fairly used to my being misty eyed, so he just handed me a paper light-saber he made with his friend and told me he didn’t forget his jacket as he burned stride-rite rubber  up the path away from the school.

He ate his snack and added to the Lego world he is building in our family room while I stared at him more than my spreadsheets for the next hour or so, then it was time for us to leave for his swimming lessons.

When I was growing up here (yep… right here, in this town, where you’ve been back for 5 years so get over it, Keri,) I took TONS of swimming lessons.  I was a TERRIBLE pupil.  I was scared of everything.  EVERYTHING.

Until my mom abandoned the lessons we had been plugging away with, summer after summer, and tried a totally different place.  With teachers who were supportive but still firm, and a bit of a different approach.

BOOM,  I was a fish. You couldn’t get me out of the pool. (You still can’t get me out of the pool in the summer.   Pool good.)

After several rounds of typical rec center lessons for Jr, I am after the same water epiphany moment for Jr, so I signed him up for THE swimming lessons that get results in our area.

It isn’t your typical pool – it is a fancy-pants situation built just for swim lessons, and it is in a shopping center that has been around as long as I can remember.

Actually, it occurred to me today (of course) that it is in the spot in this particular shopping center where a location of a small Colorado department store called Eakers used to be.  Where my mom used to take us to get school clothes and birthday presents for family and coats and all of that… Where my sister and I probably picked out bathing suits for swim lessons when we were Jr’s age.

If you are thinking that this thought made me tear up AGAIN while in the observation area of my kid’s swim class as I also saw him finally stop fighting his back float in his teacher’s arms – you are clearly catching on to my uncontrollable blubbering unique sensitivity.

Because Time, effing passes, people.

Department stores turn into swimming pools, hometowns get left, and sometimes returned to, babies become 1st graders, and a million other insignificant-yet-everything little changes connect our pasts and our futures and on and on into forever.

 So I guess it’s just another “no big deal except everything” kind of week in Keri-land.

Pass the kleenex and the wine. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

Six.

 

six

sigh.  SIX

So last month Jr turned 6.

Six.

S.I.X.

I still can’t wrap my head around the concept.

Don’t get me wrong, he is every bit the 6 year old, all full of energy and sass and silliness, and sucking up knowledge like a brain vacuum clad in an ever-rotating sheath of superhero wear.

But still…  He’s just a baby, right? I mean – he was JUST a baby. In his itty-bitty baby-wear, cozied down with me in his nursery all dozy and smushy and sweet….  He was JUST a toddler.  Clinching his tiny little potato-fists as he teeteringly ran around the back yard collecting rocks and referring to himself in the not –quite-correctly pronounced 3rd person. (“Coo-Cur fill bucket with rocks, mama.”  OK buddy. Andplusalso please never stop saying that.)  He really was JUST my tiny little guy.  And now he is an almost-1st-grader, leaving me in the dust on his two-wheeler with no training wheels needed (Hey – he beat me,) and just generally being a super big boy.

So this year when we talked about what kind of birthday party he might want, he wanted “just friends mom!”

Oh.

(We compromised and had grandparents too – a decision which saves my mommy butt a bit later in this fateful tale.)

So, after closing my eyes and saying a little prayer, I sent out invites to 6 of his little buddies with the words “parents welcome to drop off, or join in the fun” included.  On Purpose.

Um yeah – they ran like the freaking WIND from our lego-birthday-décor-laden house that day, people.

Straight up – I felt the breeze off their backs.

I don’t blame them a damn bit.

And anyway – it would be FINE, right?  I mean come on- one kid couldn’t even come, so it was 6 boys including Jr.  I had lego-themed activities to do, there was cake to be eaten, and presents to be opened…  It was only 2 hours – it would fly by, and I was totally prepared.  No Problem.

Um.

Problem.

So each of them had 2 little lego guys and accompanying cars to assemble, and we all got together around the table so they could get started.  The first set was tough for them, and I thought I was sitting pretty – PLENTY time consuming and yet entertaining for them, it seemed.

BUT WAIT.

They. Got. Faster.

The second set went super fast for each of them, and suddenly we were moving into “guess how many legos are in the jar,” a good 20 minutes or so before I had hoped to.    Plus, there was yelling.  EVERY COMMUNICATION from 6 year old boys in a flock is apparently done at MAX volume.

The Grandmothers must have smelled my fear – both have backgrounds in education, and they swooped in, offering the cheddar bunnies and veggie tray to the kiddos and creating an on-the-fly coloring contest while I regrouped.

Cake was eaten and gifts opened in what MUST have been record time, and then we ushered everyone outside to play (and yell some more) in the back yard.  It immediately started to gently rain.  We did NOT immediately go in.

At the two hour mark, parents (looking relaxed and refreshed,) returned to collect their offspring, now happily attempting to build the tallest structure they could from Jr’s collection of duplo blocks.

Jr looked happy, the Grandmas looked tired, and the house looked like a nursery riot had broken out.

So I guess that = success.

But hear me now people.  Believe me.

Next year? Next year we are going to the damn skating rink.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing

Sick Mom Walking

Join me as I accept my fate people.  I am 3- 5 days out from a rip-roaring stomach virus incident.  MAX.

How do I know this, you ask?

Because Monday afternoon, as I loaded Jr into his car seat after school he looked extra pooped out… he yawned a GINORMOUS yawn, and  informed me his tummy hurt “all day.”

Two hours later I was in the thick of the battle zone of a tiny person’s barf, and fever, and lethargy, and all that is parenting a child with a stomach virus.

I had sent up the flares, battened down the hatches, busted out the Lysol and pedialyte and readied him and I for the coming darkness, and the long, LONG night it would bring.

I feel it is prudent to mention, at this juncture, that my only back up going into all of this was Binky the Wonder dog….  The Mr departed that morning on one of his VERY infrequent business trips, and my parents were deep in the heart of Texas with vague plans to return sometime midweek.

To be honest having The Mr out of the way was a blessing – at the slightest hint of sickness in the house, he drops into some sort of pre-emptive man-cold mode, wherein he spends copious amounts of time panicking about catching the illness and determines he should just start  behaving as if it has already overtaken him.  Not needed or welcome when I have an active barfer in the casa.

As for Binky?  Well… he is good company, but he won’t crap in the yard which leaves me wheeling the tiny barfing human around the neighborhood bike paths in a wagon while begging him to “barf in the bag if you have to barf, buddy.”  So yeah.

It was a typical stomach bug – quick and dirty, affording me many “opportunities” to do LOTS of loads of laundry at inopportune times.

As an unintended bonus, when  The Mr’s parents arrive this weekend for their annual visit for Jr’s birthday, they will find a house that has been disinfected to the point that you could probably perform surgery on any surface of your choosing.  There is not one damn thing I haven’t scrubbed, laundered, sprayed, or otherwise decontaminated at this point.

Jr’s recovery set in as quickly as the illness had – and by Tuesday afternoon he was climbing the walls and jamming along to “Sing”  -which I had rented in an attempt to keep him occupied during a conference call. ( A plan that backfired when our internet and cable went down for a few hours in the middle of the day because the universe believes that I work best with a “challenge” evidently.)

But here’s the thing, and “primary parents”  tell me if you don’t feel me here:  I KNOW that shit is coming for me….

You can drink all the grape juice and diffuse all the frigging essential oils and partake in all the shameless bargaining prayer (No? Just me?) that you want to when these things hit your kids…

But you are UP. IN. IT.

You cannot tell me that your chances of ending up infected with that funk are not EXTRA HIGH when you are elbows deep in “the bucket” trying to clean it out from the last use when your kid walks up and yaks into it again (usually with the damn toilet RIGHT NEXT TO WHERE YOU ARE STANDING, WHY GOD WHY!?)  Or when said adorable germ carrier snuggles down in bed for story time, then unleashes a solid minute long combo of sneezing/dry heaving/WTF else is that noise even IN YOUR FACE before falling dead asleep while you try to hold your breath and run out to create a Lysol smoke screen to kill that shit.

There is not enough Purell on the PLANET, friends.   It’s a damn crap shoot at that point… it is cosmic forces…

I am in “the window.”

That period of days after the virus has departed your child where you wait to see if you too, will drop.

Where anything  you eat has that moment of “will this burn coming back up if tonight is the night?” fear every time you make a meal selection.

Where hoping that if you choke on your water during that video conference, it won’t lead to a power barf into your brand new super cute home office trashcan while your coworkers watch.

Nothing can help me now, people….  Only time will tell my fate.

(How many of you reached for the Lysol just reading this?  I know I would.)

Leave a comment

Filed under musing

How I spent my random vacation.

We have 6 bedrooms.

Six.

We have 3 people (4 if you count Binky the Wonder Dog, and we probably should because he would be the first to tell you he is effing “people” and don’t forget it,) in our family.

It is too damn many bedrooms, but whatever.

So The Mr has one bedroom upstairs as his office, and I had previously taken one of the bedrooms in the finished basement as my office.

This left us with 2 fully-outfitted spare bedrooms. 2 bedrooms just sitting around waiting for someone to come along and sleep in them or whatnot.

The spare room in the basement is TRICKED OUT – you get your own LEVEL of the house, FFS. Walk-in closet, the best TV in the house, surround sound, my favorite sofa, and a private bathroom.

The one upstairs is smaller, you share a bathroom with our 5 year old (“Captain-NO-Aim”) and his army of bath toys, and you are right up in the day-to-day of our family’s crap. It was the 2nd tier spare room, for sure.

It was also time to transfer Jr to a true bed, since he was bustin’ out of his Toy Story toddler bed to an extreme degree.

So I developed “The Plan.”

The Plan entailed us moving the queen bed from guest room B into Jr’s room next door, then moving my office into said unneeded guest room, and then finally the changing of my old office into Jr’s exclusive playroom.

Genius.

We moved the bed into his room and got him rocking and rolling as a “big boy” (although he does still have to take a semi-hilarious running jump to get into the thing for the moment.)

Then came the last 2 steps.

And a confession. I have a LOT of stuff.   I had been cramming the clothes Jr had outgrown into that unused bedroom closet for going on 4 years, and when we moved in I had just shoved boxes marked “Keri Office” into my office closet and shut that dang door.  Then filled two bookshelves with a fraction of my favorite books in that room (hello, English degree nerd girl,) slapped some pictures on the wall and called it good.

A reckoning was coming, people.

I took a whole week off of work to make it happen, people. (And also because I had hella comical amounts of vacay accrued, yo.)

Things started off well:

Mimosa buneh ready 4 ALL THE PROJECTS.

But things, um… deteriorated kinda quickly from there…. (this is the kind of crap you miss when you don’t follow Keri on snapchat – @reluctntnburbs.)

I quickly discovered I hadn’t really purged ANYTHING from the time we had Jr…. I threw it in bags and moved it out of The Treehouse when we left the city.

There was this:

Uh oh.

And this:

Oh noes! It’s one of 80 hats I apparently liberated from the hospital!

Which escalated to this:

That escalated quickly.

And a LOT of this:

Chee-burger….

And this:

Ruh roh, queso. (With a SPOON, mind you.)

And of course this:

That salad is to keep my wine company, people.

Big ol’ shocker – Keri wasn’t handling change well. Because we have NEVER seen that before (ahem – hereand hereoh and lookie here…  I DIGRESS!)

Anyway – after I  succumbed to my weeping and eating honored my emotions regarding the treasures that avalanched out of my closets I discovered in my purge, so much more than just a clean office started to come into view. I was able to pack a few boxes for dear friends who have little guys that can get more use out of the tiny cutie clothes and I have taken two car loads of various gear to donate at A Precious Child.

Plus, in both Jr’s packed away gear, and the books and writings coming up from my former office, I have revisited so many special moments in the history of Keri.  I re-read papers I wrote in college (dang, college Keri could REALLY pick apart a Virginia Woolf novel.)  I sat in the Big Blue Marshmallow Chair, now newly rehomed in my office, and laughed and cried my way through the journal I kept for Jr during my pregnancy and our first few months together after his birth.  I brought up the table I use as a desk, remembering that it was a cast off from the University where my paternal grandparents worked, as a groundsman and a cook, and thought back to my memories of them as I sat, palms flattened against the top.  I repositioned, again and again, the mid-century modern typing table that my in-laws bought me after I fell head-over-heals for it during one of their first visits after we moved here, grateful that they love the history of things as much as I do.

Andplusalso, that cool old TV in the corner was my mom’s family’s when she was a teenager.

Did I get it all done in a week? No – I ended up taking the long way around, for sure. But it’s coming along nicely… both rooms are, actually.

And spending that week sorting and laundering and dusting and moving and living with those things that have gathered through the years allowed me stop and think and truly know what needed to stay, and what needed to be released back out to find another round of use and love.

Hokey? Of course. But it helps my heart, so I’ll take it.

Otherwise I am just the woman who spent her vacation drinking mimosas, eating chicken wings, and crying into a pile of 10-24 month sized punk band shirts.

(Let’s never speak of this again, shall we?)

Leave a comment

Filed under Mom life, musing