Month: November 2019

O’ Christmas Tree

To Christmas tree or not to Christmas tree. That is the question.

I called a friend from work to ask her to assist me with a sewing project. I own a machine, but I am sewing impaired. It is not in my wheelhouse. I admit it. There was a time that I attempted to correct this, but after some failed purses, diaper bags, and straight lines, I called it. I am no seamstress. I never will be. 

S- Telling her kids to put stuff up. 

Me- You getting the kids to help clean? You go girl. 

S- I did a thing. You can make fun of me in your blog or your next book. I decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving. 

Me- Girl, I don’t care. Decorate when you want. I have no opinion on the matter. 

S- Really? 

Me- I am sure the hobbit and I will throw our tree up soon. 

S- You are so laid back about things like that. 

Note- People usually say that instead of you are a hot mess. It more polite. 

It is true. I don’t care if people decorate in July. November is acceptable to me. I prefer that folks wait until after Halloween, but each to their own.  It does not take away from Thanksgiving. Facebook land is where people make fun. I am not Facebook land. I am dumbfounded by the over decorate people, but I do not make fun of them. I want to know where they find the space to store 12 trees and a yard full of reindeer. I am jealous of their storage places. I am jealous of their energy, but if they want to eat their turkey in front of their Christmas tree, go for it. 

At our house, we have a tree and a few random sit arounds for the holiday. We put them up when the hobbit wants them up. It is usually a week or two before Thanksgiving. Who cares? 

We have one tree. Just one. Guess who decorates it? Yep, you guessed it, the hobbit. It used to be both kids. The oldest lost interest. If there are four ornaments on one branch, well so be it. Our tree is full of homemade kid ornaments, personalized ornaments, and fun ornaments the elf brings. There are coffee cup ornaments, Scooby Doo ornaments, snowmen, and laminated paper ornaments. The tree topper is a Yoda Santa Hat.

 Life is too short to have a perfect tree with matchy matchy ornaments.  It is an imperfect tree for an imperfect family. For those twelve tree people with themed rooms, our stockings don’t match. If there were tacky Christmas police, I would be in trouble. 

We will respect your matchy matchy Christmas OCD if you judge us people that are just making it work. My ducks are never in a row. They never will be. We are busy making messy memories while you are putting up your twelve perfect trees. You do you and We will just be us. I really don’t care when you put up your Elvis tree. Live your life.  For the Facebook haters, get a life. 


Fall was a nice two days. It was the best two days of the whole year. Fall had a previous engagement apparently and was running late for it. She was just passing through. November brought dark, rain, and cold. It also brought the looming holiday season, school deadlines, and cabin fever. It also feels like the longest November in history. Is it Thanksgiving break yet? 

Found this online. I couldn’t sum it up better myself. 

Hold Up , It is Not Your Turn

  It is less than 60 days from the most expensive holiday of the year. Brace yourself,  Christmas is coming. Santa is coming. Lists are being made. Shopping is being done. I am ahead of the game for once in my whole life. Well, as ahead of the game as I get when it comes to extra spending on anything on a teacher’s pay. Then,  it happens! Two days before Halloween, the hubs tells me about a nightmare. The dryer isn’t drying. The reason the hubs is the one that tells me of the nightmare on laundry room lane is that he is the master of the washer and the dryer around here. 

I try to come up with reasons like the vent pipe is kinked or loose. After some mountain of clutter climbing, we checked the hose for clogs, tears, and kinks. It has a hole. I use my super power- Amazon to purchase a new one. Problem solved. Nope. 

Oct. 31

One load of clothes takes 6 rounds in the dryer. I am still hopeful that the Amazon will save us. 

Nov. 1 AM

Hubs- Babe, the dryer is not heating. 

Me- I ordered a new hose. 

Hubs- That won’t help. 

Me- So the new dryer is getting a new hose. 

Hubs- Probably

Nov. 1 PM

I come home from work and check the clothes in the dryer. They are not dry. I begin a conversation with with the dryer. 

Me- What are you doing? It is not your turn. Dry Damn it!

Dryer- silence

Me- I said it is not your turn. Dry. 

Dryer- silence

Me- Hits dryer. 

Dryer- silence

Husband returns home. I say, so what are we going to do   about the dryer. 

Hubs- Pulls up Youtube video on how to replace a heating element. 

Me- I start looking for dryers online. 

Hubs- That guy lied. This is not simple. 

Me- So order one?

Hubs- That sounds like a plan. 

I walk down stairs and walk in the laundry room. 

Me- You are out of here, slacker. 

Dryer- Silently sits probably smirking. 

Me- I hope you end up recycled as a metal parts for a port a potty. 

Nov. 6

Dryer is heating. It heard the new dryer is on its way. It still takes 6 cycles to dry, but it did make an effort. It must be scared I will really have it recycled as a port a potty. 

Nov. 7- The slacker is out. The dryer and I broke up. I am in a relationship with a new dryer. No scrubs!

How’s your momma and nem

While residing in the Sunshine State, I longed for the simple life of the rural south. My fondest childhood memories are of those simple pleasures: watching the fireflies dance in the moonlight between the tear drop leaves of a weeping willow, the feel of watermelon dripping down my chin on a hot summer day by the glistening lake, and the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from being waved at by a complete stranger. I felt my escape from Yankee land would be my salvation.

Upon returning to my roots in Alabama after two years in the giant rodent and Yankee-infested Florida, I was relieved and shocked. Yes, I said shocked. Despite the fact that my absence was brief, I had apparently forgotten some of the idiosyncrasies of this rural wonderland. Memories are often like that: we remember the past fondly and only the most desirable aspects of our lives long ago.

It has been many moons since I have resided in Sardis, AL. The close and observant neighborhood seems like a foreign land to me now. Everyone knows everyone’s business. If someone does not already know your business, that community member becomes upset that he/she has been left out of the loop.

To those of you who have never left this quaint and charming area–let me explain. In a giant apartment complex in Florida, I only knew one neighbor, and I knew her when I got there. I did not know what went on inside my neighbors’ homes, where they worked, or even their names. People just aren’t that interested in one another in larger cities. Now, I find that people I don’t know apparently know me.

These people also know details about my life. My first experience with this was at the local water board. What I expected was to go in, give the people pertinent information about myself, pay a hook-up fee, and leave. What I experienced was very different indeed. I enter very business-like and in a hurry. I requested the water at my new address be put in my name. The following conversation occurred.

Water Board lady: “What is your street address, darling?”

Me: (address given)

Lady: “I thought your brother lived there.”

Me: “He did.”

Lady: “I seen ya’ll been doing some work on the place.”

Me: “Yes.”

Lady: “I think I heard something about your brother moving to the valley.”

Me: “Yes.”

Lady: “How’s your Momma and nem?”

Me: “Doin’ well.”

Lady: “Tell James that he needs to come get his deposit back.”

Me: “Sure thing.”

Lady: “Unless, he wants me to keep the $50.”

This is only part of a very long and somewhat one-sided conversation that eventually discussed my brother being single and making a good living. Did I mention that I have no idea who this person is? This is only one incident of my culture shock. Everyone–and I do mean everyone–knows we painted our house. I will go to the local store and be asked how the house is coming along by people that I have not talked to in years or do not know at all. I have apparently become entertainment for the community.

My slow but sure transition back into small town life does not end there. Each time I go into my yard someone honks at me. At first, I became annoyed when this occurred. Lakeland was full of New Yorkers, and they honk when the light is red, if you are in their way, or just because they can. Honking is ALWAYS a sign of aggression or agitation in Florida or up North (actually the same thing). When people would honk at me here, I would complain or curse saying things like, “I didn’t do anything asshole.” It took days for me to realize that the “honky honkers” are just saying hi. I wonder how long it will take for me to start honking at people or asking “How’s your momma and nem,” if ever.

—Kristie Barnett

I am Kristie – Noojin Barnett. I am a mother, step mother, and wife. I am a librarian, a yogi, and a nerd. I have a blog called My first book was just published. It is available on Amazon. The tile is As I Walk Through Life With A Stain on My Shirt and My Shoe United: Confessions of a Nerdy Clutz.Facebook13TwitterPrintMore

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James Breakwell

James Breakwell is a professional comedy writer and amateur father of four girls, ages nine and under. He is best known for his family humor Twitter account@XplodingUnicorn, which boasts more than a million followers. The account went viral In April 2016 and transformed James from a niche comedy writer into one of the most popular dads on social media.
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Paint It Yellow

“I see a red door and I want it painted black

No colors anymore I want them to turn black

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes

I have to turn my head until my darkness goes.”

-The Rolling Stones 

Paint it Yellow

The Rollings Stones sang about painting it black. My motto is paint it yellow. Yellow is happy. Yellow is bright. I did accidentally paint my living room a pale yellow, but I have painted every kitchen that I painted yellow. There is a large margin of error with yellow paint. You can think you have Splenda packet yellow and it is Spongebob Yellow. Since my living room ended up Splenda packet yellow accidently, I decided to up the hue for the kitchen. Bye Bye beige. I chose a color strip. Showed it to my sons. Big one says whatever. Little one says paint it green. I choose a color. When I get to the store, I second guess  myself and go one shade brighter. 

Inner Optimist: Sunshine

Inner Cynic: Best Buy sign

This time , as usual, my inner cynic was right. With every single coat, the kitchen got brighter. The stubborn beige was very hard to cover. The yellow looked streaky. I would finish and think another coat to go. On coat 4 or fifty, I was beginning to need sunglasses. 

The big one walks through. 

Big One: Mom?

Me: Is it that bad? 

Big One: Am I staring at the sun?

The boyfriend ( now husband) comes over. 

Me: What do you think? 

Boyfriend: Was this your intention? 

Me: Should I try a faux finish to tone it down? 

Boyfriend: Whatever you think, babe.  Rolls eyes. 

So, back to Lowes I go. No home improvement venture is complete without at least four trips to the fix it store. 

I have asked the Google , the Pinterest , and the Youtube. Here I should note that if I Youtube it. I am in over my head. Youtube is a clear sign I should stop now. I never do, but it is a sign. 

I buy a sea sponge. I get out the pale yellow supposed to off white paint from the living room. I turn into Bob Ross. I am making happy clouds. 

Sea sponges are odd things. They leave inconsistent patterns. Maybe that is the free incapable help. The help should be fired. Oh wait, the help is me. 

Inner Optimist: That was fun. It is art. 

Inner Cynic: Well, at least it is not the surface of the sun yellow anymore. She  does work for free. You get what you pay for. 

Inner Optimist: Let’s try a backsplash next. 

Inner Cynic: Do you never learn?

Me: That sounds fun. 

The inner optimist talked me into it . For fall break that year, I installed a backsplash. The help works for free. 

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