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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.)

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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?)

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Come back, nap.

This is coffee.  Coffee took the place of Nap.  I liked Nap better.

I miss naps.

Like, I really EFFING miss naps.

Naps are just not part of my universe at this point, and honestly?  There is a nap-shaped hole in Keri’s heart.

In my past I was an EPIC napper.  A napper for the ages.  A napper on a competitive scale (but I didn’t go pro, because I didn’t want to risk losing my ability to compete in the nap Olympics, I guess.)

Napping has long been a favorite ritual of mine – waaaaaay back into the days of Keri-yore. (Yep, I just said that – it’s a thing now.)

When I was in middle school, we had the Ahhhh-mazingly ugly Blue Flowered Sofa in our living room.  It was something special, for sure.  The arm rests were large and rolled, and fit perfectly in the crook of your neck when you laid down on it.  So I did. Lay down on it, I mean.  Pretty much every day after school until my mom got home and woke me up, I would nap.  (I freaking miss you, Blue Flowered Sofa.)

In high school and college power naps were a MUST, since I was NOT making responsible choices about bedtimes AT ALL (I still kinda don’t.)

The months leading up to and directly following my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis were one big blur of nap: sometimes inadvertent (falling asleep on the keyboard at work, a lot, every damn day, not knowing why I was so tired,) and on purpose (leaving my steroid infusion appointments, going directly to my parents’ office and eating a giant bag of fast food before sleeping the whole afternoon on my dad’s office floor.)  MS makes you tired.  Crazy tired.  But napping was also a way to hide, to postpone processing, and to shut down from fear and sadness for a while.

Slowly that fog did lift, and I reclaimed the concept of nap-as-recreation.   My favorite hobby.

As I settled into married life and became a mom to the cutest, fuzziest, bestest napping dog EVER, the Sunday afternoon marathon nap was solidified as a permanently scheduled calendar item for Binky-the-wonder-dog and me.   This was SERIOUS business – in the bedroom, curtains drawn, under the covers, see ya in a few hours for dinner, BIG TIME NAPPING.  When I was pregnant it became pretty much the whole day.

And then along came Jr….

The early days were ok, a bit foggy at first, but then we settled in and I would nap when he napped, at least sometimes.

But then he got older. Naps dropped to one a day, and I found I had to get things done at that time.  Then naps – sweet sweet naps – were gone completely.

Last Sunday I was dozing a bit while he colored on his latest superhero creation and it hit me, a wave of nostalgic, wistful longing.  MY NAPS!! My precious naps….  They have no place now.

And I still stay up way too late – now grabbing a little time for myself or writing or prepping for the next day of life for the family….  And we just go and we go and we go.

I am so freakin’ tired.

Oh naps…. I think I miss you most of all.

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DON’T GO!!!!

Oh look…  it’s January, 2017… As in, AFTER the holiday season.

No more singing along with Bing Crosby (or tap-dancing with Danny effing Kay,) or indulging in my mom’s fudge or cookies both or Christmas songs on the radio, or Elf-on-the-shelf escapades, or get-togethers with friends and family or staying in jammies all day long just because you can…

I feel as though I have barely blinked, and now it is time to take down all of the holiday cards I looked so forward to finding in my mailbox each day.

Oh the glorious mess.. I even put them on The New fridge!

This year, more than other years even, I seem to have a significant case of the post-holiday blues.

I can’t let it go.

Tonight, after everyone is in bed, I am 100% sure I will sneak over and turn on the Christmas tree lights.  I will sit in my cozy Vicki’s Secret reindeer jammies with my hot toddy (hello, first cold of 2017,) in the glow, wondering where the season went.

Oh yeah… soooo twinklehhhh.

I can’t watch TV- flipping to the Hallmark channel to find Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia having reclaimed their nighttime reign from the grips of the 24/7 holiday romance offerings made me shoot the candy cane in my mouth clear across the family room.

They traveled down the road, and back (to Hallmark) again.

In the coming days I will watch the lights being taken down around the town,  (granted it happens slower along the Colorado front range where us natives like to leave up outdoor lights until after the National Western Stock Show is over, toward the end of January,) and I will stifle my urge to scream “DON’T GO, HOLIDAYS!”

I can’t hide it, I am having a tough time closing the door on it all this year.

For goodness sakes – it’s becoming a THEME on Instagram for me:

Santa charm still firmly affixed to mimosa, as seen Jan 2nd.

Yep

Even Jr is over me it at this point.  Yesterday, on his last day of holiday vacation from school, I took a break from reports on my laptop for some coloring time (we lovey the coloring… I will color with that kid until College if he lets me,) and I busted out the pile of holiday coloring books when he said I could pick the picture.

“MOMMMMM!!!  Not those! Put those AWAY! It’s OVER!!”

Poop.

Are you sure?

(He is still letting me watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and my two new favorites from this year:  Nina’s Hanukkah Adventure from SproutTV and The Snowy Day from Amazon.  For now.)

Maybe it is him getting older, or my parents getting older, or ME getting older (yes, we all do that, Keri;) or Jr being on break for so long and us getting into a new routine, or the sense of uncertainty 2017 is bringing, or  missing the family in Texas we didn’t go see this year… or it is just subconscious laziness about putting away the holiday décor.

Maybe, as I used to dread and now pray, I truly am turning into my mom.

The snow falling outside would have seemed festive just days ago….  Now it is just going to make getting Jr to school tomorrow a PITA.

The Christmas sock collection is getting put away, the wreath is down off the door, and laying out a spread of appetizers can no longer pass for dinner (OK lets not get crazy, Keri – that will ALWAYS be dinner at your house.)

Sigh.

Can I just cling?   Just through one more weekend… Just until this latest cold/snow snap moves out of the Colorado front range?

Then I promise to bring up the boxes and un-deck the halls.

(But I am keeping the damn coloring books out.)

The stash.

Shhh…  they are hidden behind the table by the couch, we have a brand new box of super sharp crayons from Santa if you need to jingle some bells or something to get you through.

No judgment from the girl clinging to her pikes peak blend with 3 pumps of SF peppermint, yo.

None. At. All.

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“Clean”

image

This is what “completely clean” looks like in our back living space, looking out from the kitchen over the island.
It involves toy storage, and a booster sticking out of the dining area, and Cozy Coupe parking.
And Elmo. Always Elmo.

Birthday cards and baby monitor and Little People buildings tucked in every corner.

In my kitchen there are sippy cup valves and snack trap lids drying in the rack along side my crystal wine glasses. Finger painted masterpieces and preschool info adorn the front of our refrigerator.

It’s not what “clean” used to be.

Gone are the days of perfectly arranged vignettes of breakable, ripable, pretty little such-and-sos on low tables.

Artfully “chopped” pillows carefully placed on completely straight sofas and chairs are fairly well a thing of the past at this point.

There are families in our life who confine the toys to playrooms and snacking to highchairs. Those who have perfectly coordinated family command centers to tastefully display artwork and schedules and information.
I kind of thought that would be us. The Mr is such a clean freak that for the first year or so of marriage, I took my glass if I left a room, because he would put it in the dishwasher if I left it sitting while I went to the loo. (Not. Kidding.) We have space for a playroom, and I do have frames in my office where I swap Jr’s art projects in and out to show them off.

Here’s the kicker.

I love seeing that “stuff. ” I like the toy cubbies and extra dish drying rack (hello- ours looks like fake grass! Cute!) and the Cozy Coupe parked by my dining table.

I like knowing that the things of our family surround us day-to-day; a place for everything, but it’s ok if things show while in their place.

Soon enough Elmo and plastic Easter eggs and tiny tricycles won’t be needed or wanted anymore.

Soon enough vases and plants can find homes on lower shelves, and protective blankets won’t be needed for sofa snack times.

Soon enough our family things will be very different, indeed.

I hope those things will find their places in our day-to-day decor as well, and reflect each of us to those we welcome into our home. Not gratuitous, but always gracious.

That’s the perfect kind of “clean” in this house.

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