Tag Archives: humor

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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May Day vs Mayday!

I used to love May Day.  Bulbs blooming, grass getting green, days at least STARTING to try and get a little longer…..  the promise of summer relaxation looming, full of promise, on the horizon.  Oh yeah.

But when you are a parent, May Day becomes more like MAYDAY!!

There is so much to do – May is the moment that the insanely big wave of all the parental shit you are doing finally breaks, and washes over you… grab something and hold the f*ck on, or be sucked out into the sea of trying to wrap up a school year while simultaneously plotting an entire summer AND making sure you have everything you need in place for the coming school year.

MAYDAY MAYDAY, we have a mom down! Send coffee!! Send wine!!  Throw up some shameless bargaining prayer!!

Every time I open my email, I find a new deluge of invitations for end-of-year school year activities, and forms to fill out for summer day camp, and even more forms for the coming fall, and (the worst) an unending supply of notices regarding MORE fees for said summer and fall.

All of the flat surfaces in our house are covered in forms and notices and finished products, with a fresh new hell of paper added to the pile each evening when Jr’s backpack explodes in a crapstorm that leads me to believe nightly that “this must’ve been the big day for sending stuff home.”  But no…. no no…  Silly, silly Keri.   Tomorrow’s pile will make you long for the smaller size of today’s.

The entire last 3 weeks leading up to the final day of the school year is an m-f-ing blur.  It is like I KNOW the days must actually be passing, but I can’t remember where they go.

A great example of this is that I actually started writing this the week BEFORE May Day.  As in, May 1st.  But then I blinked, got buried in a backpack paper explosion, and OH LOOK, it is May 15th.

This past weekend I cooked brunch for my parents to celebrate Mothers’ Day – and part of that “celebration” included 20 minutes where we all poured over our summer calendars, marking out all of the things we already KNOW are happening – followed by scrutinizing the leftover dates to see where we can wedge in other things that we all need or want to happen.

When did summer turn into something I need project management software for!?

Not to mention the last week of school that is roaring up on us – otherwise known as “the week Keri is going to office in her car in the school parking lot,” evidently.  I think there is at least one family participation activity a day for us in Jr’s class from now until the end of school.   There needs to be some sort of “emergency May mom clone” that we can all keep in the basement storage closet and just charge her up to trade off conference calls and field days…  family picnics and reconciliation reports….  appreciation teas and power points… and play performances and making meals and permission slip completion and new hire intros and sports physicals and laundry and bank file approval and swimming lessons and magazine submissions and carpool and HVAC tune ups and bedtime story books and ……

MAYDAY MAYDAY!!!!

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Gold Status Achived

Oh Hai cuties.

peg and steve

So, 50 years ago today , these two adorable, amazing, fabulous, fantastic folks tied the knot.

At an age when most people are still at the HEIGHT of teenaged dumbassery -that is totally a word-  they were looking at each other over a wedding license and seeing the future of a family.

I know that “times were different” then, and it would be easy to use that reasoning when thinking about them getting married at 18 and just chalk it up to “different times.”  I think that through the years, growing up, my sister and I have done that in our minds – painting a bit of a simplified, if not idealized, version of our parents’ love story in our heads.

But that’s not really it.   Before they were Mom and Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa, they were Peg and Steve….  There was first dates and butterflies and going steady and parental opinions and all the ups and downs of high school dating.

And also, there were two kids from two families, each with a history that would help shape their decisions regarding the future.   They may have been young, but their marriage was not something either of them entered into naively.   Not one bit.

I watch them together now – and I marvel at the connection.  They are two complete and separate people, but for the past 50 years they have shared the timeline of one life.  We have watched them cheer each other on, defend each other, sacrifice for each other, draw close to each other in times of sadness, or fright, or pain…   Their relationship formed the foundation of how our family would treat each other, and those we found connection with, in this world.   Has it been tested?  Well –  they had twin daughters… who were teenagers for a time… AND ONE OF THEM WAS ME.  Sooooo, yeah.

It has been tested.

But that foundation of our family – that always has been, and is now, and ever will be long after all of us have come and gone and generations have come to take our places – remains.  Somehow, under the weight of each new generation it supports, it only gets stronger.

So today I want to say thank you to my mom and dad.  50 years ago you made a brave choice to start a life together – and set in motion the story of all of us.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY – Maude and Daddy (Mom and Daddy, Nene/Nana and Pop, Steve and Peg)

We all love you so.

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The most wonderful (TV) time of the year?

Old faithful, spending retirement in the corner of my home office.

So  here we are sliding down the back side of Fall, with the season of holidays picking up steam.

Or as I always thought of it when I was little “the season of the holiday TV cartoon special.”

I freaking LOVE ME some holiday cartoons.   If you animate it, Keri is HERE. FOR. IT.

And don’t get me wrong – Jr is totes here for it too…

But it’s just… well…  Different.

This year when I fired up It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,  (onDemand, natch,) he was at least one foot in the “meh” zone about the whole thing.

I taped TONS of Halloween/fall episodes of some of his absolute fave cartoons, and I was more excited than he was for the most part.

That last sentence?   Therein lies the rub if you really look at it – I said “taped”….  People don’t “tape” shit anymore Keri, ffs.  You record it.  Because it’s NOT on tape.  But really, you don’t even do that.

You pull it up on Netflix, or Amazon or onDemand (like my Charlie Brown example,) or WHATEVER platform you dig, and you do it any damn time you want.

It’s not special.  It’s just normal.  And it’s bummin’ me out a little bit.

When Dr. Sissy and I were tiny twins, holiday cartoon specials were a big deal.  Like CAPITAL “B” CAPITAL “D” Big Deal, yo.

If The Great Pumpkin was coming, or The Grinch was going to steal Christmas on TV that night, preparations were made in advance at our house.  Sometimes it meant we got to pick something special to eat for dinner  – like my high holy culinary grail of kiddo- Keri-coveted treat dinners: The Swanson’s  Fried Chicken TV Dinner (dear God Keri, stop talking and delete this embarrassment…  but NO, I push on.)

Even if it was just hot dogs and blue box mac and cheese, it ALWAYS meant we got to eat in front of the TV that evening, which was rare.  We had two TVs in the house, in a VERY technical sense of that count. One normal “modern” television, and one that was O.L.D.

Holiday special nights usually meant that we fired up the O.L.D. set at least a half hour before said special started, so THE TUBE HAD TIME TO WARM UP (I shit you not, kids, this was a thing back then.)

Did I mention it was a black and white set?

See, now this is making Keri sound older than she actually is –  we were well out of the B/W TV set era by the time all of this was going down, but the set was in the room right off of our kitchen, and chances are daddy was down stairs watching football on the TV in the family room (or anything other than cartoons, because he was not the adult fan that his daughter is today,) so we fired up old faithful,  carefully set our metal chicken dinner containers onto our TV trays,  and waited for the picture to fade in.

Sure, as we got a bit older and a VCR that we could set to record (which was a bitch, BTW,) came into our lives, we could’ve taped the shows (and I mean actually taped here, folks,) but we didn’t.

We checked the TV Guide (that was an insert in the newspaper each week that listed what was on – before we had 9 billion channels and an interactive guide,) we adjusted the foil on the bunny ear antenna, and we got excited.

And if we missed it, then it was just too bad.  Life lesson learned.

If we missed the Great Pumpkin, we were that much more careful to make sure that we were in front of that TV when Snoopy started popping popcorn and flinging pretzels around that ping pong table at Thanksgiving.

It. Was. Special.  If you missed it, it was gone for a year.

Now?

Now it’s meh.  Because chances are mom can find it on her phone if you are getting rambunctious in the car or something.

Now your biggest fear isn’t that the old black and white console set will finally blow a tube and not warm up – it is the horror of the Grandparents’ inferior WiFi that might force you onto your mom’s work hotspot.

Sigh.

But I am NOT sinking into modern-day holiday special ennui without a fight, people.  Oh no no NO.

I am going to throw the picnic blanket on the floor, lay out a spread of kid friendly food that would make any tiny tummy growl in anticipation,  and fire up all the specials in the coming months.

ALL. THE. SPECIALS.

And this season, when the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes,  I am going to do my level best to make sure that Jr’s does too.

I may even get myself a TV Dinner.

(yes I know they don’t call them that anymore, shut up you are ruining it.)

Happy viewing, everyone.

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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.)

 

 

 

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