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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Me- I said it is not your turn. Dry.
Me- Hits dryer.
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.
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.”
Lady: “I think I heard something about your brother moving to the valley.”
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.
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 Bookishnomad.com. 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 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.
Since becoming internet famous, James has been profiled by USA Today, […]
All Things Erma
“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.
Going on a Ghost Hunt
I am not a paranormal enthusiast. For those that are, I support your hobby. I do , however , enjoy a historic ghost tour or pub crawl while visiting a city with a rich history. I love the stories. I am Southern afterall. We love to tell stories and listen to them. A gifted tour guide can weave a tale that transports you to another time. I have gone on many of those historic ghost tours. I have paid my admission to ride in a convertible hearse and freeze in Savannah. I swore I saw something move in that cemetery. I am sure it was part of the tour. I have walked the streets of the historic district with a girl that needed to eat a sandwich in a hoop skirt. I listen, make smart comments, and laugh. The hubs and I even stayed in the Foley House on our last trip to Savannah . It is on all the ghost tours. The power went out several times that day in a storm, but I did not see the ghost. Of course, I suppose the ghost could have started the summer thunderstorm. Hmmm
I have had the pleasure of taking a tour of the French Quarter with Tour Guide Thomas. The lull of his southern drawl and dramatic flair make his tours a pleasure. Plus, they start on Bourbon Street across the street from where they sell Hand Grenades. If you are ever in NOLA, take a tour with Master Thomas at Lord Chaz Tours .
Several years ago-(four I think), my hubs and I had just started dating. For our second date, I suggested we go on a ghost walk that was taking place in Jacksonville , AL. What I expected was some grown folks out for a few ghost stories and exercise on a mild October night. Boy, I was mistaken. We were out for a walk and some ghost stories. The rest of the group were the for real paranormal kind with cameras. I can not prove this, but I think the tour guide was making it up as she went. Either that or the tiny square is the most haunted place in history. We walked two blocks maybe and heard a dozen vague stories. Most of the tour was pointing out spots of possible paranormal sightings and enthusiast ghost hunters looking for ghost orbs. One guy stood in the middle of a busy road with an oncoming car taking a picture. Amongst the ghost hunters were two smart ass middle age people on an awkward date.
Guy standing in the middle of the road taking a picture of ghost orbs – I mean headlights.
Me: What an idiot?
Date (Hubs): I bet he gets a picture of two ghost orbs.
As we round the block, we hear a story of how a brothel once stood on a now empty lot and people still smell roses from time to time.
Ghost Hunters: A chorus of I smell it.
Date (Hubs): While leaning in real close, I think it is your perfume or I farted. I tell my kids my farts smell like roses.
Me: Please don’t try to prove it.
Date (Hubs): But it was funny.
Me: Why are there no Hand Grenades ?
The only eerie thing I felt or saw was two middle aged smart asses on a date.
Four years later
Hubs: What are you writing about?
Me: It is called Ghost Hunt.
Hubs: That ghost walk we went on where the idiot almost got hit by the car?
Hubs: You know if he had been hit that car it would have been natural selection.
Yep, we still got that smart ass vibe going on. I also still want a Hand Grenade.
Hand Grenade Recipe Link
I unintentionally run a home for misfit felines. There are five- yes, I said five felines that reside on my property. I did not set out to be the crazy cat lady. Only one of the furry family members did I initially seek out and bring home. The others just found their way to my home. Before the PETA people start sending me hate mail, they are all spayed or neutered except the one that is too young. My family is plotting against me, or the cats are just very savvy and manipulative. I am fairly sure the movie Gremlins was written by someone that accidently got a collection of cats.
If you wish to start your own collection, here are the steps to follow:
Step 1- Give birth to two sons that quickly develop a love for animals and particularly the hostile feline kind. It might be considered an obsession.
Step 2- Let one of the sons become old enough to drive and provide him with a mode of transportation.
Step 3- Marry a man that saves animals and does not tell his daughters no when it comes to animals.
Step 4- Live next to a small wooded area where humans drop off cats or cats escape humans to live in the wild.
Step 5- Sit back and wait. The cats are coming.
My feline hoarding started with an ex-husband ( the big guy), two sons, and the intention to pull one over on me. The big guy returns the kiddos home with a cat carrier that contains the ugliest little skinny kitten that has ever walked the earth. The big guy tells me the kids already love him. Sneaky children beg me to let it stay. I relent. I force the kids to compromise on a name. The tall one says Bruce Wayne. The short one says Lightning McQueen. The cat is named Bruce Lightening. Little Bruce did not stay long. I suspect he ran away due to his horrible name.
Now, I have sad children. I adopt a cat from the shelter. Little kitty has a name, Maxwell. I convinced the children to keep the name to prevent a repeat of the Bruce Lightening incident. Though not the brightest bulb in the box, Max is a sweet cat . He is a little strange , and I am not entirely sure he knows he is a cat, but a weird cat fits into a weird family- right?
The dog raises the confused cat. Life goes on. One dog, one cat – that is normal.
My oldest son ( the tall one) takes the girlfriend on a date. They go to the pet store. There is not much to do in Oxford, Al. The tall one decides to adopt a cat that came with a sob story. She has been adopted and returned to the shelter more than once. No red flags there. Her name is Bonnie like Bonnie and Clyde. It suits her. There are many promises that he will feed, care for, and vet said crazy cat. I am still waiting on those promises to be fulfilled.
Only a few months later, the tall one calls me after going out with the same girl. He says, “ Mom, I got you something.” I respond, “ It better not need to be fed and watered.” The tall one responds, “ It was on the side of the road. It needs our help. It looks like that cat we used to have named Snickers.” My response, “ You mean it is a calico. Shit, it is a girl.” Tall one, “ Mom, you are on speaker phone. “ The tall one named her Caramel.
As if the tall one needed help rescuing every homeless cat on the planet , my then finance’ and now husband decided to get in on the act. He let his daughters talk him into not one but two homely kittens. When I questioned why two, the hubs responded , “ I have two daughers.” They are kittens not toothbrushes they could have shared. The fur balls lived with him a few short weeks until they ended up with me because we were getting married and they would end up here anyway. If these kittens were human children, they would be in the special class. They are skitties.
Since apparently the universe thinks five felines is not enough for one family, the feral cats that live in the woods by my house take turns coming to dine at Casa De Crazy Cats. There is a one eyed tom that frequents the fine faire on the screened in porch. There is a scruffy looking earless orange tom that also is a frequent visitor. Apparently, the cats invite house guests. There are many more random strange cats that visit like it is a feline fiesta up in here. They refuse to listen to me telling them that they don’t live here. On the plus side, we don’t have mice. We also do not have chipmunks, birds in the yard, or squirrels.
Some days after the completion of this entry, I received a text from the tall one to let me know that a kitten showed up and decided to keep us. That makes 6. No one claims responsibility for the new addition. I guess there are invisible hobo cat marks on our house. Anyone need or want a cat or maybe 5?
Picture it Alabama 2019 , the sweltering 90 degree days of summer. Oh wait, it is October. Early October granted, but it is still October. Once again autumn is late. The sweat glistens on our foreheads as we walk to our cars in shorts and tank tops. In other places, people are breaking out their thin long sleeves and scarves in fall colors. They are sipping a pumpkin spice latte while taking a walk in the crisp autumn air to view the golds, reds, and oranges of the leaves that flutter to the ground. Not in Alabama. The leaves that fell in September died of a heat stroke. They had one color the brown of dead plant life. On the plus side, it has been so hot and dry the grass died.
Well ,it has been bake cookies in the mailbox hot until one day about mid October. It was October 12 to be exact. Autumn made a rushed appearance. Autumn must have had car trouble or hair trouble. She was late . She also apparently had several more stops to make in other places. Autumn graced us with her presence approximately two days. Winter was right on her heels. All of a sudden, it started to rain. It rained little bitty rain drops, big fat raindrops, and sideways rain drops. The more it rained the cooler it got. Where is thin long sleeve weather? I had to find my sweatshirts and boots. What the heck Mother Nature? Are you having fever and chills? It was 90 last week.
Maybe Autumn’s ugly stepsister , winter, will let her come back and visit again soon.
To the ladies at work who were afraid they would die of a heat stroke in October while teaching because your air went out , fear not. It looks like you will need a jacket and mittens on Monday.
In less than 24 hours , I will have to choose a different category on surveys. When choosing on the rolling button , I will go from 35-44 to 45-54. The survey puppet masters have decided what our age milestones are. In the modern culture, I can decline to answer my race or gender. Why can’t I opt out of age? I much prefer the surveys that simply have a are you over 18 button. Heck, I don’t even mind giving my date of birth. I am aware it is the same. I just assume everyone is like me and doesn’t want to be bothered to do the math.
I do lie about my age if asked in person for a number, but I do it with a wink, wink, nod, nod. I am aware that no one believes that I am 27. That ship sailed a long time ago. My oldest son just turned 20. Even if I was a whore in high school or middle school and got him really early, that math doesn’t add up. I was a mother at 7. That would be Guiness Book of World Records stuff. Until I can get that stubborn man to claim to be a 6’2 ten year old, I doubt anyone would believe I am 27. They probably wouldn’t then. My Cruella Deville streak that I am not always on top of gives me away. Nevertheless, I claim 27. I was never good at math. We live in a world of self identification. I identify as a 27 year old that is thin, has great boobs , a firm ass, and perfect skin. It is the mirror and my birth certificate that lie.