“…never pass up a bathroom…” from The Bucket List

So, we are talking about ageism in my Intro classes which has to be my favorite topic we cover. In fact, talking about age is my favorite activity ever…just below putting a hot fireplace poker in my eye. 😳

Anyhoot, here’s a question that came up today when we were talking about our life expectancy: “Would you want to know what day you were going to die?” Half of the class nodded while the other half shook their head vigorously. The ones that said yes talked about how they would get things done…travel…be with family, etc. The ones that said no stated that the anxiety of knowing this would put a damper on the rest of your life.

I’ve been thinking about this today and don’t know which I’d choose…both sides have valid arguments. One student said “If I knew when I was going to die, I’d write out a bucket list and work to cross everything off.”

Did you know the term ‘bucket list’ didn’t come about until the 2007 film with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, and did you also know I’d give my left arm to hear Morgan Freeman read to me in person. Just sayin’.

I think I might be one of the few people I know that doesn’t have a bucket list and I actually have felt bad about that…like I have no goals or aspirations. Anyhoot, according to howtoadult.com, the most commonly found items on bucket lists from around the world are:

  • See the Northern Lights – OK, I’m going to admit this: I had no freaking idea where these were but now that I know they’re in Iceland, the chance of me moseying up there is slim. However, my son really wants to go to Iceland even though he hates the cold to the point if it’s under 60, he bitches about it. Go figure.
  • Run a Marathon – DONE! I’ve run 5 marathons in my life: 2 in Chicago, the St. Louis, the Green Bay, and Disney from which I have a gold Mickey Mouse medal! Yea!
  • Take an African Safari – my friend travels to Africa twice a year to spend time at the By Grace Orphanage in Kayole, Kenya. She created a non-profit, Stand up for Grace, and I’ve helped her with it since it’s inception 15 years ago. Unbeknownst to ma, I am planning to go next winter. It’s in a fairly dangerous place but I want to meet these kids so badly and work to make where they live better. Ma is totally against this…she’s convinced I won’t come back for whatever reason: getting run over by a rhino, getting held up (this has happened to my friend), saying or doing something unacceptable in the area and being jailed (yes, I have a big mouth and am impulsive…but yes, my friend would be there reeling me in), and the list goes on. So ma…if you’re reading this: I’ll be fine! OK?
  • Write a Story – I’ve written lots of kids books that I’ve mentioned before and really want to get them published badly…this is my goal. I’m also writing a book on being bipolar…it’s something I know a tad bit about and I hope to finish it during Christmas break. If, I’m not too busy shoving ma’s roasted pecans down my gullet the entire time. 😐
  • Walk Along the Great Wall of China – I’m gonna be honest here but I have absolutely no desire to go to China. The wall looks amazing and the history behind it is fascinating, but seeing it on Google earth has pretty much been enough for me.
  • Learn to Play an Instrument – I would love to learn to play the ukulele. I know I know…it sounds silly but I love the sound of it! I first wanted one when I saw the Andy Griffith show episode where the ‘Fun Girls’ have one and are playing it for Barney in the jail. What more can I say? (Ma…remember when you said you need Christmas ideas…well…here you go…😐).
  • Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef – I know this would be fucking amazing and I love love love the water. However, the thought of a 22 hour plane ride makes me want to puke. Literally. Ma and pop would draw straws to see who had to sit by me on planes when the family went on vacation. The loser got to watch me puke in bags for the duration of the trip. Charmed I’m sure. 🤢
  • Skydiving – O has done this and he loved it! The video of him is so cute but it scared the shit out of me when he left to go do this with his dad. My favorite part of his video is when the guy filming asks if there’s anything he wants to say before jumping and he says: “I love you, Mom!” This is all while his dad was sitting by him and rolling his eyes. I love it. However, me jump out of a plane? I have as much a chance of that as dating Taron Egerton. So the answer is no way. Unless…Taron asks me to do it with him. Strapped to his chest. Hmmmm…
  • Own a Dog – DONE! I’ve had 7 dogs in my life: Scooter (my first mutt), Tessie (my white German Shepherd), Lizzie (another Shepherd), Squirty (my Toy Poodle I had for 3 years before B and I got divorced…he wouldn’t let me take him and I cried for weeks), Dottie (the one who will always stand out the most in my heart…I cry for her everyday and miss her so so much), Edward (my mutt who is the most loving dog ever), and Mally (who is doing so well)! I will never be without a dog; even when they’re at the groomers, I don’t know what to do with myself in the empty house!
  • See the Pyramids in Egypt – actually, Pop and my step-ma are going there with my sissy and her hubby in July. I can’t wait to see their pics and actually did a report on Egypt in the 6th grade which they can all use as a tour guide. I’m sure it’s very comprehensive.
  • Learn another Language – I took 2 years of French in high school and can say 4 things in the language: hi, yes, bye and where’s the toilet. Why would I need to learn anything else? 🙄
  • Ride a Venetian Gondola – I would LOVE to do this…I want to visit Italy so badly some day so this is definitely one I need to jot down on my list.
  • Drive across the Country – Another one I really really want to do! J and I always talked about buying an RV and spending a year traveling all across the country and I still have dreams of doing this. I guess I’ll have to with Taron now. Darn. 😏
  • View Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower – O has done this too (my son is very well traveled) and his pics are amazing. And, because of my fluency in French, I think I would do great in this country.
  • Hike the Pacific Crest Trail – hmmmm…I’ve actually always wanted to hike parts of the Appalachian trail but am up for this too. Just so I look like Reese Witherspoon did in the movie “Wild” while doing so. All I need is to take 10 years off my life, be a blonde, have a rockin’ bod, and look good while sweaty. Yep…that’ll happen.
  • Take an Alaskan Cruise – Yes! Ma took one years ago and loved it and the pics of what she saw are absolutely gorgeous. Plus, I hear there are a lot of single men in Alaska…who really want to move to Central Illinois 😉.
  • See your Favorite Band – I’ve actually seen my all time favorite singer: Elton John; it was in 1989 in Chicago and amazing and I’d love to see him again! BTW, it was the first time I smelled pot. But not the last. Don’t tell ma. Or pop. 🤨
  • Go Glamping – No, I’ve never heard of this but it’s glamour camping…right up my alley. In fact, I think I have a better idea: hotelamping. Staying in a luxury hotel that has a spa, pool and cabana boys at your beck and call. T…let’s do this!
  • Visit Stonehenge – O has also done this (crappy kid has done everything) but said this about Stonehenge: “It was a pile of rocks, ma. You aren’t missing much.” I’ll take his word for it.
  • Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro – OK, I had to look up where this is and saw it’s in Tanzania which I also had to look up until I realized it is in Africa. The hike is 55 miles over the course of a week and I’d actually like to do this…I love to hike!

Now, anything else I want to add to a proposed bucket list? Hmmm…white water rafting on the Colorado river, opening a plant shop, convincing my son it’s time to give me a grandbaby before I get too old to see the little fart, and singing on stage where everyone claps and cheers even though it sucked balls. I have huge aspirations…huh?

So, would I want to know when I was going to die? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want that in my head but I do want to get some things checked off in my life. I mean face it, at the age of 54 that time frame is apparently shrinking…at least according to my young sweetie students who think 30 is old. Blech. 😳

Kristi xoxo

“Not Every Girl wants to be a Princess”

So, I am not a girly girl. At all. In fact, from the time I can remember, I was a tomboy and would revel in getting dirty and sweaty and stinky whenever I could. And that still holds true…even at the young age of 54 (shutty 🙄).

Anyhoot, why am I thinking about this? The other day, sissy called me and said I just had to go to this online shop to get some of their nail wraps because she had a few sets and they are adorbs. So within 5 minutes, I had an account on the site, ordered 4 sets, and signed up for their mailers. I’m not easily influenced at all.

Me and T loved these!

The box came a few days later and was packed so cute with the nail wraps, some tools and other goodies, and I was so excited just looking at them. But then I tried them and luckily, T prepared me for this: “Kristi, these aren’t as easy to use as I thought but I learned some tips and you’ll catch on quickly.” She was right…I caught on after re-reading her messages a dozen times, watching countless YouTube videos, and just winging parts of it I couldn’t figure out. Now mind you, these are nail wraps…not a NASA project. I got a practice set with my order and went through those in 5 minutes…those fuckers are sticky.

After ruining another set, I finally got them on and I felt so WEIRD! I couldn’t stop looking at my hands and was mesmerized by my nails. I was scared to do dishes…type…take out the garbage…and really, just move my hands in any way fearing they would come off. In fact, I was so distracted I don’t remember much about that week save for my flowered nails. If anything else big happened in the world, give me a shout.

It was a relief when the first one fell off…which I’m sure didn’t happen by me constantly picking at them. It was like I could live again…enjoy the scenery and not make my hands the focal point of my life. I think the Grand Poobah was relieved too…he was sick of me saying “Look at my nails!” to him every 5 minutes during our office hours 😳.

This reminds me of when T and I first started experimenting with make-up. This was the early 80’s and cosmetics were kinda icky back then. Foundations came in 3 colors: orange, orangier, and orangiest while lipsticks were slimy and came off if you blew your nose and a tissue touched your lips. Eyeshadows were blue and green (which I loved!) and you had to have a swipe of blush right on your cheekbones without any blending. The first time T got all made up, I thought she was gorgeous! Her skin was the color of an Oompa Loompa and she couldn’t smile for fear of either cracking her foundation or showing the schmears of lipstick on her teeth, but by golly, she was a knock out and I was mesmerized. I couldn’t wait until I could try it myself!

So I started experimenting and to this day…all these years later…I’m still as much of a novice now as I was then. I’ve worn foundation 3 times in my life and as God is my witness, I will never wear it again. I can color match, blend, powder, and rub and still have a line on my jaw that shows where my skin ends and my make-up begins. And eyes? I LOVE the look of eyeliner that curls out from the lid. I’ve tried to do this more times than I care to count and there is no way on this great green earth I will ever get the hang of it.

Best Shampoo ever!

My hair is the same way. I love messing with it and try to curl it and make it look ‘cute’, but I know I don’t always succeed. As it gets longer, I get more and more bewildered by buns and upsweeps and braids so I usually just get some cut off and then cry and say I’m going to grow it again. It’s a comforting cycle to be in and a pattern I never intend to break.

And clothes? I can count on 1 hand the number of times I’ve worn a dress these past 30 years and 3 of those were at weddings. Mine in particular. I think I once wore a dress to a graduation until I found out that running shorts under your robe feels better, and the other was to a funeral because my black pants had dog hair on them at the time. The chances of me wearing another one soon is about a billion to one.

I can’t walk in a dress…or sit in one…and since they require shoes other than Birkenstocks (which is all I wear now 😐) or my ASICS, I’m screwed in being able to walk. I have never truly figured out high heels. EVERY time I have ever bought any they have either been too big so that I walk out of them or too small so that I get huge blisters on my heel. And before you ask, they always fit perfectly in the store. Go figure.

My outfit of choice? Cargo shorts, t-shirt, Birkies, lip gloss and a smear of mascara. That’s about all you get with me. Charming…right? And colors? I am NOT a pastel type of woman. I am a gray, black, white, and dark green type that has to wear a belt anytime I have on pants or shorts with belt loops. O makes fun of me: “Ma, you don’t need to tuck in a wear a belt all the time.” Ummmm…yes you do. If there are belt loops, I’m going to use them. And, the only time you’ll see me untucked is if I’ve had a big lunch or am a bit gassy from spicy food 🤢.

Oh, I look at ads and social media and see these gorgeous women with the poreless faces and perfect makeup tottering around on 6″ heels while wearing skin tight dresses that show off their ass and I think ‘if only.’ Then, I start to think how I would break my ankle, split my dress while sitting down, and fuck with my make-up so much people would start to stare. So…no red carpet walk for me.

A couple of years ago, ma said I should never ever pierce my nose so I pierced my nose. It was like this ‘feminine’ thing for me and I couldn’t stop messing with it. I stared at my nose for significant stretches of time and whenever I twirled it around or wiggled it to make sure it was in place, it looked like I was picking boogies. Every family member would say this to me countless times: “Kristi, quit playing with your nose.” I think they were relieved when I snagged the damn thing taking off my shirt and never got it re-pierced.

It’s funny because I love being a ma and a daughter and a sissy and a sometimes girlfriend or wife, but I hate being too girly. I have nighties I’ve worn but prefer boxers and tank tops. I’ve bought fancy schmancy undies with lace but prefer my good old cotton Hanes. I’ve bought purses with little buckles and sparkles but prefer shoving my credit card in my back pocket. I’ve bought dangly earrings but prefer the studs I got in high school from my first serious boyfriend.

But, it’s me. Tomboyish me who loves to paint and dig in the yard and wash my car in the drive and mow my lawn and pull up carpet and use my new nail gun and ooo and ahhh over power tools at Harbor Freight and run in the rain and ride motorcycles when I can get my hands on one and get muddy with Eddie when we walk around the neighborhood. And frankly, doing all of this with nail wraps and make-up just doesn’t seem right to me. So that’s my excuse for being so unadorned…and I’m sticking to it.

Kristi xoxo

“What’s another word for Thesaurus?” ~ Steven Wright

So first, I want to say THANK YOU!! I now have 300 official followers and since I started this blawg in March, 2020 I’ve had almost 6,000 views and 3,700 visitors from 101 countries! That is amazing to me and you, my peeps, are so supportive and wonderful! Thank you for that! 😍

Anyhoot, after class today I was talking to the librarians and we started naming words that we hated to say…ones that make our skin crawl. We didn’t look at words that are offensive because we hate all of them and their meanings…instead, we looked at everyday words.

These coasters are available on Amazon! I want them!

What are mine? “Moist” is the first one and I must not be alone because one of the librarians said it as well. What is it about that word? Say it slowly: mmmmmoooooiiiiisssssttttt. Blech 🤢. I think it reminds me of when you spill something on yourself and you feel icky the rest of the day…or you are dripping sweat and feeling wet all over…or you touch something you THINK is dry, but it has a film of wetness over it. EWWWWW! When O was a little guy, I loved smelling his sweaty head after he played outside. And, I knew when he was growing up because the smell went from sweet to sour. That’s when I introduced him to the most wonderful product any home with a teenager can have: deodorant.

Another one? “Flap.” O knows I hate this word and uses it all the time: “Hey ma, I cut my finger and have a moist flap!” UGH! 🤢 I remember when his dad called me one day and told me: “Now don’t worry” (I wasn’t 😳), but I practically cut off my finger.” WHAT?? Go to the hospital! Get some care! But being the trooper he is, he wrapped it up and finished out his day. When he got home, I was ready with cotton balls, peroxide, and a bucket in case there was any blood that might make me puke (another word I hate saying!). I gently unwrapped his dozen layers of gauze and saw….get ready for it…..not much. It was a cut with a small flap and if he hadn’t told me about it, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it. I’ve had bigger cuticle mishaps. And BTW, thankfully it was me that had O, B wouldn’t have been able to do it. 🙄

And how about this one: gristle (I usually spell it ‘grizzle’). Anyhoot, this one bothers me because there’s nothing I hate more than biting into a piece of this when I’m eating meat. UGH. So, my first ‘real’ date was going to this guy’s prom at his school when I was a dorky, awkward teen. They served a dinner with roast beef and with my first bite, I had a piece of grizzle. I didn’t know what to do! Spit it out on my napkin in front of his friends (he was a senior 😳) or swallow it (hmmm…spit or swallow…why does this sound dirty to me? 🤭)? I ended up hiding it under my tongue and mumbling something about having to go to the bathroom and that’s where I got rid of the damn thing. Ever since then, I’m scared to bite into meat unless I’ve inspected it for anything my teeth can’t handle.

One more? Curdle. When I was eating/drinking dairy, I would be so paranoid about whether or not it was fresh. I don’t want to point any fingers at who made me this way…but it was ma. The fam was eating dinner one night and I had my glass of milk that I started drinking and it was spoiled! I told ma and she said it was fine. I said: “Ma…it’s disgusting!” and pop finally tried a sip and grimaced. So, not eating dairy anymore alleviates some of this paranoia and my almond milk is always fresh. BTW, nothing makes ma madder than when I smell anything she feeds me. So…I smell everything she feeds me. Go figure. 😁

This book is available at Wal-Mart! And I had to block out the c-word…we don’t want ma to faint.

There are also ‘dirty’ words that completely gross me out and one of them is the c___ word which is a lovely moniker for a woman’s genitalia. It’s such a harsh word…like a bullet when you say it. There’s no way this word can ever sound ‘nice’ and when I hear someone use it, I shiver. And what about bitch? This word depends on who’s saying it. Ma, sis and I will joke around and use it in a funny way, but when it’s said to a woman in a derogatory way, I shudder. A bitch is actually a female dog and the word is used to demean and degrade the woman. When I’ve been called it in the past, it stings. And the f-word (it’s fuck ma, but I know you don’t like me to say it)? OK, I obviously use this fucker more times than I should but sometimes nothing else works. When my step-daughter was a teen, she said ‘fuck!’ while we were riding around in the car and R said: “C…don’t say that!” which is a bit hypocritical since she no doubtedly learned it from him. Anyhoot, she replied with: “Fuckety fuckety fuck fuck fuck!” which is now my go to at least once every time I’m at ma’s. 😎

From Time

But as the Grand Poobah and I were talking about while I started writing this, some words that shouldn’t be said are important to be said for one reason: it shows us who the person really is. J’s brother was visiting us one day and we were sitting in the kitchen (the only room I allowed him to be in…and this was all happening while his pitbulls – and yes, I love all dogs – were tearing up my flower/fern garden) with the window over my sink open. My next door neighbor is a sweet black woman who has her grandson living with her and while she was in her backyard, brother used the n-word in a fairly loud tone of voice. I was horrified and J was too. I was so worried that my neighbor heard this and would think I had any connection to this guy. We got brother out and I told J he was never allowed in my house again. But here’s the thing: him using that word showed me the kind of person he is and the lack of value he has for people who aren’t like him (side note: this dumbass is a felon for something pretty bad…I don’t think he should be judging anyone). I’ve had people use other derogatory words in front of me and with only 1 word spoken, I can lost respect for that person and see them differently from then on out. Know what I mean?

I can’t even! From History Daily.

Finally, what are words I love to say? Gobsmacked is my fave as is using the word ‘trolley’ instead of grocery cart. I just love British words and calling my phone a ‘mobile’ instead of a cell phone just sounds classy to me. I also love how ‘row’ is used in place of argument and saying ‘knickers’ instead of underwear makes me laugh. Other ones are ‘knackered’, ‘quid’ (I substitute this for the word dollar) and dodgy when I describe something that just doesn’t seem right. I can’t wait to take a trip to England someday and use my anglo vocab.

Anyhoot, words are interesting in terms of how we react to them and what different meanings can be put upon them. I try to be careful in choosing my words…I’m not always successful. However, I promise you’ll never hear this sentence from my mouth: “The moist flap was full of grizzle.” Just sayin’.

Kristi xoxo

“…on Sundays I used to like to go hiking, but now…” ~ Heather / Blair Witch Project

Photo by Nicolette Attree on Pexels.com

So, I just want to publicly thank my son for already ruining next week for me: “Thanks, son.” 🙄

Courtesy of Pokemon Wiki – Fandom

A couple of months ago, my son got the brilliant idea of going camping which entails he and his girlfriend driving halfway across the country and camping in the back of his recently purchased pick-up truck. When he said this, I was dumb-founded since the only camping he has ever done was to stay in a hotel that didn’t have turn-down service. However, I wasn’t too worried that this venture into the wilderness would ever come to fruition. Afterall, he once told me he was going to be a professional Pokemon trainer and that sort of fell through 😐.

Then, I bought O a present off of his Amazon wish list for his birthday in August. Little did I know he never updates the damn thing, so of course he already had the fancy-schmancy keyboard I so lovingly purchased; he asked if he could exchange it and that’s when he bought “The Tent.” I put it in quotation marks because that’s how he emphasizes it when he talks about it and alongside the flowery words, his eyes get a look of pure glee in them. Apparently, this is something he’s wanted his entire life (of which he’s lived with me for 21 of those years and I never heard a damn thing about it 🤔) and it fits in the back of his pick-up truck bed. According to him, it will be ‘just like home.’

And I have to agree that a tent popped up in the back of a pick-up truck bed minus the toilet, refrigerator, TV, couch, stove, beds, DoorDash, air conditioner, electricity, and running water is truly going to be ‘just like home.’ You know, Hubby #3 always wanted to go camping and promised me the same thing: “It’ll be like you’ve never left the comfort of the house…except you’ll be sleeping on the ground and will have to use a spade to dig a latrine if you have to poop.” Charmed, I’m sure. And guess what? We never went camping. Ever.

Anyhoot, even after all of this I still didn’t believe he’d go until he called me yesterday to remind me that I’ll be watching my grand-dog all next week. So now the trip is real and I’m already worrying about the fucking (sorry, ma 🙄) thing.

Let me replay the conversation we had:

Kristi: Where exactly are you going, son?

O: We’re going to drive half-way across the country and back in the span of 6 days.

Kristi: That’s nice and specific. So, where will you sleep?

O: In the truck bed, ma…in the tent.

Kristi: WHERE will you sleep? Have you made reservations at campgrounds along the way where there’s at least some sort of a structure or facility you can use so when you pee, you don’t have to worry about getting a tick and/or poison ivy? Where there’s a water hook-up so you and K don’t wither away from dehydration? Where’s there’s electricity so you can have light in case there’s a flood and you both need to run to high ground? And for the love of all that is holy, haven’t you ever watched The Blair Witch Project??

O: I’ll make reservations when the trip is closer.

Kristi: You’re leaving in a couple of days, son. It’s close.

O: We’ll be OK…we’ll just sleep any old where out under the stars. That’s the point of camping, ma.

Kristi: Do you know how many serial killers are in our country at any given time?

O: No, Mother. I don’t. What’s your point?

Kristi: There are a million of them (slight exaggeration but try to understand my reasoning here 🤨) and they prey on kids like you in trucks along side the road in the particular states you’ll be driving through. Also, they like Toyotas.

O: Mother. I can take care of myself.

Kristi: No, son…you can’t.

O: WHAT???

Kristi: Let’s just say…for the hell of it…that a 300 pound bear comes up to your truck smelling what you and K somehow miraculously made for dinner with a kitchen no where in sight. What would you do?

O: We’ll be in the tent, Mother.

Kristi: Ketchup packets are harder to tear open than that tent.

O: OK, MOTHER. What’s the solution because we’re going.

Kristi: To get a dog sitter to watch all 3 pooches while I follow you in my Jeep to make sure nothing happens to my one and only child who I bore in my womb and raised. I’ll sleep on my back seat and live on KIND bars for the entirety of the trip. You won’t even know I’m there, but by golly, if a fucking bear starts attacking you, I’ll wave my arms and scream like an idiot to distract them while you and K scramble through the back window of your truck. And then, son, I will have saved your lives.

O: Sigh.

Now, do I have the right to worry? Yes. Yes, I do.

My son, to my vast knowledge of his every movement since the moment his little feet kicked the inside of my uterus, has never gone camping. Ever. And he’s taking along his girlfriend who gets a look of sheer horror on her face every time O mentions the trip.

So, I pulled K aside and talked to her:

Kristi: What do you think about this trip, K?

K: I’m dreading it. I’ve never gone camping. I’ve never wanted to go camping. And the thought of peeing in the woods makes me itchy and ill.

Kristi: I’m here for you, honey. WHEN you get fed up on this trip (which I’m assuming will be within the first 3 hours after they leave), call me. I’ll send you a pre-paid ticket to Vegas, will take some personal time off to hop on a plane myself to meet you at the airport, and we’ll have a few days at the Bellagio where we will tan by the pool and get massages from cabana boys while drinking ice-cold Mai Tais.

K: You’re the best.

Do I think she’ll call? Yes. Will I follow through with this? Yes. AND…am I worried to death over my only chance in the world to be a grandma traipsing across a country he didn’t know enough about to pass a geography quiz in the 7th grade? Yes.

Courtesy of delish.com

O keeps telling me it’s not my job to worry about him so much. But here’s what he doesn’t yet understand: it IS my job to worry about him. I don’t care if he’s 8, 18, or 28. I’m his mama and he will always be my baby. I’ll always have the instinct to take care of him…that doesn’t just magically disappear once your child grows up. One day, he’s going to understand that…just like I’m trying to understand the same thing regarding ma. 😉

Kristi xoxo

The Adventures of Me and Ma!

So, I know my sissy is going to be very jelly when she reads this because instead of being able to experience what I did this past weekend with ma, she was lolling on a gorgeous beach with her wonderful hubby and 2 beautiful grandkids. I feel so bad for her. 🙄

Anyhoot, ma and I have been going out to lunch on Fridays so she can have fish. Yes, she grew up Catholic. And no, she is not a practicing Catholic but for some reason, she likes fish on Fridays so go figure. We’ve been going to the same place for a while now (a GREAT old bar that has the best fish ever! 🐡🐟🐠) but decided to try something new this past week. As always, I told ma to choose the place and as always, she said it was up to me. There’s no use arguing (been there, done that) so I said: “Ma, give me 5 choices.” She did and I made my choice. However, she grimaced at each choice I made until I picked the one (0n my 4th try) she actually wanted anyway. My ma is a clever woman.

The actual bar we like to eat at…I LOVE bar ambiance!

So, we head off to Pop’s (another great bar…I love love love bar food…😐) and are faced with a crisis right off the bat. The only tables available are the tall ones with the high bar stools. I chose a 2 topper (restaurant speak for 2 seats…I waitressed through my last year of college 🤨) and helped ma clamber up the stool. It was horrifying at best and I just knew she was going to topple off this backless seat and I’d be blamed. Luckily, she spotted an 8 topper that had seats with backs. She scaled down where she was sitting like Edmund Hillary coming down Everest, and once again, I helped her get on top another god-forsaken chair. She got settled and I said: “Ma, despite the debacle of getting you seated with 40 truckers looking on in horror, the fish smells really good!” She agreed and when the waitress came by for the order, ma said: “I’ll take the shrimp basket.”

Heh? All week I heard about how excited she was to eat fish with me and she orders shrimp. I said: “Ma, didn’t you want fish?” And she said, quite snippily I might add: “Kristi, shrimp are fish.” Oookkkaaayyy! They aren’t exactly the Walleye she was craving, but I guess any old crustacean would do.

We gobble down the food which was delicious and since it was ma’s turn to treat, she had to get her purse off the back of the chair to pay the bill. This required her turning around on a chair she could barely balance on while telling me to leave her alone, she could do it herself. After saying a quick prayer promising God that I would never curse again if ma didn’t fall over, she wrangled it up and asked me what she should leave for a tip. I said: “Five bucks, ma.” She looked at me as if I’d said, “Ma, give the waitress a kidney and let’s blow the joint.” However, since the poor was called to our table numerous times (by ma…), I knew she earned every bit of that fiver. Just sayin. 😳

When I got her back to her house, she said: “Kristi, you need to come in…I have an emergency I need you to deal with.” Thinking she was experiencing a carbon monoxide leak but wanted to eat first, I cautiously followed her in. She grabbed her iPad and said: “I can’t get past level 47 on this game you had me download.” I said: “Ma. For fuck sakes…THAT’s your emergency?” Yes…it was. She had tried over a dozen times to get past that particular level and asked if I could help. Since I’m on level 317 myself, I did it with a few minutes to spare. It’s hard to describe the look on her face right then. It was part pride, part gratefulness, and part disdain.

This particular thrift shop has a huge amount of doll inventory…they are terrifying to say the least.

The next day, I wanted some stuff for my basement and we went to a GREAT thrift shop in town that has a bit of everything (please Lord…let there be thrift shops in heaven…😬). As ma was looking at the clothes, I was digging around in old books and furniture. All of a sudden I hear a loud “KRISTI?!!!” I said, just as loudly, “MA?!!!” She kept shouting (yes sissy…shouting…😐) until I tunneled through the hodge podge of crap and found her. I said: “Ma, what the hell??” She said: “Do you like this top?” No, I didn’t. Did I tell her that? No, I didn’t. After all of the energy she put in to getting my opinion, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was ass ugly.

After this adventure, we went to an antique furniture shop that looks like a hoarder bought anything and everything he had ever set eyes on in the last 100 years and threw it all in the very old, wooden, partly dilapidated building. The aisles (I use the term loosely) are approximately 10 inches wide and since most asses are bigger than that, you have to wiggle through them like those bubble tea beads through a straw. Ma and I had just gotten down the first aisle and had to trek back because a couple was coming down it the opposite way carrying chairs. After they were through, we went back in. To make a long story short, there were 12 fucking chairs in the set these boobs bought and instead of telling us they would be making numerous trips (6), we kept traipsing down the same aisle again and again until they’d come tramping back and we’d have to backtrack. Why didn’t we go down another aisle? Because this place is like a maze…one way in, one way out. And believe me, you don’t want to get lost unless you have provisions for at least a week.

Anyhoot, I had previously found the perfect piece for my basement (an AWESOME marble topped chest!) but didn’t have the cash at the time to pay for it. When I had pulled out my card days back, the salesman looked at me as if I were another life form using a currency never before seen on earth. He said: “We don’t take those things.” OK. Got it.

I told the guy I’d be back that weekend and he said he’d write out the sales ticket for it and have it waiting for me. The price was $150 but I got him down to $120. The owner of the shop, born during Lincoln’s time, was there when ma and I arrived and when he saw I had gotten a ‘discount’ he asked how I had managed that. I looked him straight in the eye and said: “I flashed the guy my boobs.” He didn’t flinch…just nodded and started loading it up. Apparently I’m not appealing enough that he wanted a rerun of that particular show. And no, I didn’t really flash ’em the first time around anyway. At least that’s my story…and I’m sticking to it. 😲

See the furniture piled up in the windows?? NOTHING is secured!

As the old geezer (who I will be referring to as Red from here on out) was loading up my stuff (that man might be old but my goodness, he’s strong 😳), ma found some vintage quilts. She asked Red the price and when he quoted it, she balked and put them away. I pulled her aside (the best I could in a 10″ space) and whispered: “Ma, for piss sakes, you’re supposed to bargain!” Instead, she and Red started talking about our town (since they’ve both been around almost from it’s conception in 1829) and while I was leaning on a dusty, moldy something or other in a building that wasn’t air conditioned on a 100 degree day, I began to get a bit delirious. Not really wanting to be a part of their conversation but needing something to take my mind off the heat stroke I could feel coming, I made a couple of quips I found amusing. Red didn’t. He looked at me like I was nuts. Which…actually…as we all know…I pretty much am. 🙄

Finally, I rasped: “Ma, we need to get going…” and I took matters in my own hands: I got my chest, 2 vintage quilts and an AWESOME vintage lamp for $150 less than marked. After we shook sweaty palms on it, Red looked gobsmacked. I think the heat had made him delirious too (believe me…this guy is known to be a bit of a shyster and I guarantee you he made plenty of money on this sale).

So, we were all loaded up and I was getting ready to pull away from the curb when he comes trotting out. I rolled down my window and said: “Whatcha need?” And he said: “What all did you get?” I told him and he rolled his rheumy old eyes and said it had been our lucky day. Yes. I was lucky in that I didn’t think I’d have to visit the ER that evening after all. When he was walking away I shouted: “I thought you were coming back to ask me out!” He looked back at me and said: “No.” Well…that hurt. 🙄

Anyhoot, ma and I always have fun when we’re together and we got laughing so hard at times this past weekend we almost peed ourselves. However, just because I love my sissy so much, I’m going to let her schlep ma around next weekend. Not that I need a break or anything. Just because I want to make up for what she missed while on vacation. I’m all heart.

And ma, you are the best…I love you so much and if you can’t get past another level, holler at me. K?

Kristi xoxo

“My mama told me…you’d better shop around.” ~ Captain and Tennille

From the Dallas Morning News

So, when I go to the great heavenly crafting area in the sky, I’m hoping my last conscious act will be buying something at IKEA. Preferably, I’ll be buying yet another organizing system while shoving Swedish meatballs down my gullet. Awwww…what more could I want? Well…that my son and my 15 grandbabies are there with me…but…that may be too much to ask. 🙄

Anyhoot, I had never heard of IKEA (except in a King of Queens episode and I didn’t understand the reference) until Oliver moved to Texas and we went to one in Dallas. Before we left he said: “Ma. This is a really cool store and we will be there most of the day. Be sure to pee before we leave and have an appetite.” I said: “Oliver. We won’t be there most of the day because you are not a ‘browser’. I always have an appetite and the next time you tell me to pee as if I’m an elderly aunt, I’ll ‘forget’ all about your next birthday. Kapeesh?” So I peed, had an appetite and made sure my debit card was handy.

Everywhere you drive in Texas takes forever since it’s so freaking big (I LOVE Texas…I’d live there in a heartbeat! 🤠) but I knew we were getting close when the hairs on the back of my neck started to prickle and the smell of furniture was in the air. We found a parking spot so far away that we could barely see the store on the horizon, but after a nice trek over the macadam, we entered the doors.

My IKEA living room!

My first thought was “What the hell? This sucks balls. It’s a concrete warehouse.” I rolled my eyes at Oliver and he pointed to the escalator. We got off and I swear I heard some angels singing while I took in the sights: furniture, dishes, lights, full decorated rooms, linens, rugs…it was like every single store I had ever dreamed about was rolled into 1. I had found my utopia.

I started, manically I might add 🙄, running around and exclaiming over everything with glee. Oliver reigned me in (which is never an easy thing to do) and said: “Ma. You have to follow the arrows. We walk through the entire thing.” WHAT? OMG! Not only did this store have everything my little heart desired in life, but directions? That was super fine for my OCD tendencies. Could it get any better? 🤔

Yes, it could. We started in living rooms and I took pics of EVERY single one (to Oliver’s obvious embarrassment 😐) exclaiming in my LOUD professor-teaching voice: “I want my house to look just like this!” If I had my way, my dream home would consist of a humongous structure that had as many living rooms, kitchens, and offices as IKEA does. I’ve already started saving.

Plants at IKEA? Yes!

I was amazed by all the colors and design ideas and funky looks but said to Oliver: “But what can you buy?” Dumfounded he said: “Ma. You can buy everything. Just don’t go overboard like you usually do.” Apparently my eyes rolled back in my head and I started having heart palpitations…I was able to squeak out “GET A CART” before I had to lean against a wall and catch my breath. It was a moment of pure elation.

Now, for those of you who may not know, IKEA is a Swedish company and all of their products are priced low but are quite chic. For example, my sofa cost $1300 at a furniture store in town…I could have bought one at IKEA for a couple hundred. And, believe it or not, the quality is really good for the price. They specialize in affordable products that are decorative and sturdy. And yes, that’s all well and good. But I’m going for looks, peeps! And they got ’em.

Our First Trip!

So I began pushing my cart around the maze of rooms and started coming across the bins of items and tags you snap a pic of to pick up later. Within 5 minutes, the cart was full and Oliver was saying: “Ma. You flew here. What the hell?” And I said: “Oliver. I’m your mother. Hush it up. I’ll figure it out.” Which, by the way, I did. Sort of. Oliver had to ‘store’ some of my things for future trips when I only packed a few pairs of undies and 1 extra shirt so my suitcase was empty for more goodies to lug home.

After we shopped for about 4 hours, I was exhausted…both mentally and physically and Oliver told me I just had to eat IKEA’s famous meatballs. Sure! So, we chowed down on a couple plates of meatballs and I told myself I will never eat another type of meatball in all my life. And actually, that ended up being a lie. Not 2 days later I was gorging on Olive Garden’s spaghetti and meatballs, but that doesn’t really count. Different countries…different balls. 😉

Anyhoot, the other day, Oliver, his girlfriend (K) and I went to the IKEA in St. Louis to get some things for their new house. I sternly told myself: “Kristi, this trip is for Oliver and K. Not you. You don’t need to buy anything…you have enough ‘stuff’. Focus on your son and save your money.” So, I ended up only spending around $700. I was quite proud of my restraint. However, Oliver and K bought about the same amount of stuff too…and as stoked as were were about our finds, we started to worry as we pushed out a furniture cart, 2 regular carts, all while carrying 3 huge IKEA bags to the loading zone. We drove my Jeep Renegade and it’s not a huge SUV. In fact, it’s a bit small. But my son is a complete rock star…he was able to get everything packed in with ‘justenoughroom’ for the 3 of us. You couldn’t have added a pack of gum to the Jeep…it was that tight.

Oliver and K trying to figure out how to load the Jeep!

My big find was a cabinet I’ve been wanting that I saw people on Pinterest using for plants. I got it put together and ta-da…I loved it…but a bit too much. The next day, I ‘had’ to drive all the way back down to St. Louis (5 hours round-trip 😳) just to buy another one. That’s all I wanted and all I ‘basically’ got. Well…I did buy some artwork. And storage bins. And towels. And plants. And a couple cute garbage cans. But that was all. I ate my meatballs and headed home.

When ma visited Texas with me, we took her and she had the same reaction…she was gobsmacked. It was so much fun showing her around and seeing her get excited about $.99 potholders. Sissy, ma and I are going down for a girls day this summer, and I have a feeling we’ll buy out most of the store. I can’t wait.

Anyhoot, now you know why I want IKEA as a final resting place. It’s always fun…there’s so much to see…there’s so much to buy…there’s so much to eat…and for a manic gal like me, the space, colors, and ideas satisfy my need for stimulation. Win win. So…if you ever come to IL, look me up and I’ll take you down there. Not for me, mind you…but for you. I won’t buy a thing. Except maybe another cabinet. And a new rug. And maybe a few knick-knacks. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Kristi xoxo

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so right.” ~ Stephen King

So, I don’t know about you but February is a notoriously sucky month for me. Holidays are over…snow is coming down…there’s mud and slush everywhere…and you can go days to weeks without seeing the sun. Charmed, I’m sure. However, THIS February sucked balls even more…let me explain.

To start with, I had COVID during the first 2 weeks and was stuck at home in quarantine for 14 days feeling like Typhoid Mary. Bill and I did get along (he had it too and I don’t want to point the finger of blame at anyone for getting it but Bill gave it to me…probably… 😳) only because he has my basement fixed up like a little apartment and we didn’t have to really see each other unless we wanted too. After a few days, we didn’t want too. I know all of you women are nodding your heads right now…and believe you me, I got on my knees and thanked the good Lord above that I was insightful enough to buy a house with a finished freaking basement 15 years ago. Just sayin’.

We were lucky with our symptoms though: fatigue, loss of taste and smell, headaches, some congestion…and that was about it. As I’ve said before, I missed not having the senses but Bill, for some unknown reason, wasn’t as upset. When I asked him why he mumbled a couple of words that sounded like ‘kitchen’, ‘cooking’, and ‘God send.’ I’m really not sure what he meant.

Then, I had to put my sweet Little Dottie down. I’ve had to do this once before and I prepared myself since she was getting so old and I could see my baby failing. But when you actually do it, no amount of preparation can lessen the heartache and pain you feel. Not a minute goes by that I don’t think of my sweetie and I still look for her all of the time. Every night, for 15 years, she slept on my bed and I’m still putting her blankie out every night…I’m not ready to stop that yet.

Y’all might not agree with this but I once read that you might have a lot of dogs over the years, but 1 will always stand out as being ‘that dog’. The one that was just a bit more special to you. The one you connected with a bit more. For me, it was Little Dot. She was with me from the day I moved into my house with O and we were never apart. Her personality was something else: diva + sweetheart + ornery + sassy + adorable. It was quite a combination. I will miss her until the day I die and when I see her, I know she’ll bark her fool head off.

Then, I went in for a ‘procedure’ on Friday and to make a very long story short (but less dramatic 🙄), I need to have a full hysterectomy. Well, fuck me (sorry, ma 😬 ). This is major surgery and I’m scared! My awesome gyno is going to do it laparoscopically (it took me 4 tries to spell that correctly 😐) so the downtime won’t be too bad…just a couple of weeks. I’m going to schedule it, hopefully, on the first day of Spring Break so I can recover a few days before I go back to teaching.

The really fun part is going to be juggling 7 regular classes, a late-start class, healing, mourning, and taking care of my house. But as Hubby 3 used to say (shutty the mouthies 😳), I’m a ‘scrappy thing’ and I’m sure I’ll be OK. (Note to Bill, Ma, Pop, T, and O: I’ll still need a LOT of spoiling… 🤨).

So, ma went with me for my “procedure” (that sounds like such a weird word…old ladies say it with ‘quotation fingers’ because they don’t want to say the real reason because it’s usually gross, like hemmorroids or something; mine wasn’t that ‘gross’ but it’s still not table talk) and I got us lost. NOW HOLD ON A SEC…WE NEED TO WAIT UNTIL MA PICKS HER CHIN UP OFF THE FLOOR SINCE I DIDN’T BLAME HER LIKE I WANTED TOO.

Anyhoot, we had to go to Springfield to get ‘er done and I drove there so ma could drive back when I was groggy and possibly vomiting. Here’s how the conversation went and as you read it, be sure to make your voice very shrill (on ma’s parts), very sweet and patient (on my parts), with the volume increasing with every sentence:

Ma: “Kristi, do you know where we are going?”
Me: “Yes, ma…duh. In fact, you made us leave so early we’ll have plenty of time to kill. I know Springfield like the back of my hand.”

45 minutes later:

Me: “Ma, since we’re 40 minutes early, let’s pop into the General ($ General) and I’ll get a magazine to read.” We browsed for 20 minutes before I said, OK…let’s go!

I drove around various roads and kept taking wrong turns (there are too many one way streets there) and even though I had no idea where in hell I was, I DID not want to let ma know that. However, I finally found the building after driving by it countless times, and once I got going the correct way on the one way street, got the car parked, trotted into the building and…wait for it…didn’t see the surgery center listed by the elevators. I go up to a nice young gal and ask her where it is. She said: “It’s downtown…about 6 miles from here.”

Ma was still behind me…I rushed ahead ‘just in case’ something went awry, and when the gal asked me if I needed the address, I said “No! I know where it is!” before ma could hear this exchange. I didn’t know where it was.

When ma asked what was going on I actually said this (don’t judge…you don’t know ma when she’s pissed…right T?): “They moved the surgery center and now it’s downtown.” Ma: “Do you have the address?” Me: “Duh. Of course.” I didn’t.

So, off we go again with 5 minutes left to get back to the car and find this place that magically ‘moved’ overnight. I started down the street I thought was right and was fumbling with my google maps that was screwed up because it was trying to connect to ma’s fucking blue-tooth in her car. As I kept making more wrong turns, she kept getting more pissed off. I said a little prayer, found the place completely by accident, and didn’t have to read the magazine I had bought at the General.

BUT, here’s what’s weird: I had COVID, lost my baby girl, and have to have major surgery all within the span of a month, yet I’m in a manic phase. Bi-polar doesn’t give a hoot about what’s going on in your life. It’s going to do what it wants to do…period. How can you explain that you’re grieving or scared or achy or sad when you just can’t stop moving, doing, etc.? People with bipolar process emotions differently than others. I’m not saying I feel MORE than others, but I am saying what I feel is on a different ‘spectrum’ than others. It’s very very hard for me to process all of this: I’m ‘up’, yet I’m so so sad. I’m ‘up’, yet I’m so so scared. I’m ‘up’, yet I am worrying about how I’m going to do all I need to do while recovering. What a weird thing: it’s like my brain is experiencing this bit of mania (it’s not too bad, but Bill can’t believe all I do in a day) but my heart is experiencing so much else. And, since these 2 things aren’t matching, I feel confused. Kind of lost…even kind of guilty.

Anyways, I hope your February was better than mine and I already know March is going to suck balls. But, by April I’ll be ‘as good as new’ and hopefully have a great summer.

Take care of yourselves, peeps…stay healthy and safe. K?

Kristi xoxo

“…rolling on the river.” ~ Proud Mary

So, blech. Isn’t that a great way to start? Makes you really want to read more, huh??!! 🙄

Anyhoot, Bill started his new job and guess what he brought home? Wait for it….wait for it…

COVID!

On Sunday morning, I told Bill that I felt ‘warm’ and he put his hand to my head and said I was nice and cool. So what did I do? Take my temp for the first time in years. It was a couple of degrees high and later in the day, we both were coughing and tired and achy…you get the picture (there was also a bit of diarrhea involved, but I’m not going to tell you which one of us had it…just suffice it to say it wasn’t me…😳). We got tested Monday and our results were back Thursday. We are in isolation until Feb. 3rd. I’m not good at isolation.

When I got the test results back, I called ma and said: “Ma, I’m sad because I’m not going to be able to see you for 10 days!” She said: “Kristi, we have gone a lot longer than that without seeing each other.” So I said: “But ma…when I CAN’T do something, I WANT to do something…you know, like when you forbade me to pierce my nose and I pierced my nose.” Ma said: “We’ll facetime.” Here’s the problem with that: ma doesn’t prop her phone up during our screen time and I get nauseated because of the movement…I liken it to being on a boat during a storm.

I am one of these people that get motion sick REALLY REALLY easily. Just watching the words scroll at the bottom of a newscast can make me dizzy and if I ride in the back-seat of a car, watch out. It’s going to get ugly.

When I was a junior in High School, me, ma and her fucking bastard of a husband went camping on Lake Michigan in the Cabin Cruiser they had (he could be fun at times…he got progressively worse through the years and they weren’t even married yet). I have no idea why I didn’t beg off of going except I thought it would be fun. You know…camping on a boat, in Lake Michigan, and not setting foot on land for a week. A couple of days into this nightmare, we decided to boat across Lake Michigan and because I’ve always had such great luck in my life, a storm came up and the boat that always seemed big to me felt like a raft in the ocean. Wave after wave was hitting us and I thought we were going to die. Ma thought we were going to die. R was having the time of his life…I’m assuming he felt like Skipper on the Minnow. 😐

Anyway, did you know Lake Michigan is HUGE? And once you’re in the middle of it, you can’t see land? And when you are in the fucking middle of it during a storm you can’t see land and you have to barf in a minnow bucket because you’re scared if you do it over the side of the boat you are going to fall in? And when you barf in a minnow bucket that smells like dead minnows, it makes you want to barf even more?

So, R was steering, ma was yelling, and I was barfing. Charming. Finally, after what seemed like days but was only about 4 hours, we motored into Chicago. I was REALLY sick by this time and getting dehydrated, plus we hadn’t planned on staying in the city so we had nowhere to dock. R finally spotted a small marina which was labeled “Yacht Club”. The boats were the size of my old snow saucer so the fellows there used the term ‘yacht’ very loosely. In fact, it was a pretty seedy place. But, they let us dock there and we set out to find somewhere I could recover.

We started walking (this was pre-Uber, my sweeties, plus we didn’t have cab fare…no cash and ATM’s weren’t a big thing yet 😐) and we walked and walked and walked. Actually, ma and R walked…I wobbled and teetered and barfed. We were in the Southside of Chicago, it was getting dark, and we had no idea where the hell we were going. We passed a billboard that said “God is watching you” and I said to ma: “I hope!” Finally, we spotted a hotel and R used his last check to book me and ma a room…he wanted to sleep with his boat.

So, ma and I were in a hotel on the Southside…I was moaning and groaning on the bed while she was trying to determine if I needed to go to the hospital or not. Finally, we both fell asleep until we heard someone messing with the door. They were actually trying to break in! Luckily, they left after they heard us scream and we spent the rest of the night with me dry-heaving and ma watching the door like a hawk.

A Greyhound from the 80’s.

The next day, it was decided that I needed to get home since there was no way in hell I was going to step foot on that Godforsaken boat one more time. The solution? I got to ride a Greyhound home! That was an adventure as well…my first time traveling across the state alone on a bus (actually, it was my last time too…so far…). At first I was excited, that is, until the last words I heard from ma while I was boarding were: “What if she doesn’t make it home?” That was comforting. Ma always has a way of seeing the bright side of things. Well, obviously I made it home and gramma and grampa took care of me and spoiled me to bits…it was heaven.

You know, I realize how lucky Bill and I are that our bout with COVID is mild and we are doing well. I also know how horrible this virus is for so many and my heart goes out to them…truly. Finally, I know that no matter what, ma has always been, and still is, there when I’m sick. Thanks, ma…you’re the best.

Kristi x0x0

“You gotta keep on doing it right.” ~ Brady Bunch

(*Note to my Sweetie Peeps: actual pics of Bill’s stuff was not used in order to protect the dignity of my beloved). So, first I want to say that everything is ‘all right’ between Bill and I even we experienced the greatest challenge to our relationship thus far. It was a bit dicey for a while but we (or actually, mostly me 🙄) overcame and are still going strong. You see, Bill is getting ready to move back to his hometown where I live and he has a new job in, and while I was at his bachelor pad this past week for a couple of days, I helped him pack. Ladies: you may now groan.

It’s funny how you have to learn things about people as you go. For example, we all remember Bill’s aversion to buying furniture…and food…for his pad, but now there’s something else I have to accept: my man is a pack-rat. Yes…for a man who has nothing of substance in his rooms, he has a fuck (sorry, ma 😐) lot of crap hiding in his closets.

We got started and I’m thinking: “This will be a cinch! How much can he have shoved away? We’ll be done in an hour at the most.” Ha. How naive I was. I got out a couple of hardback books that I could sit on in the hallway (no chairs…) while he began dragging out boxes that were barely held together with tape that was beginning to yellow.

I open up the first box he shoved my way and as I started rummaging around, he said: “Kristi…be careful…there could be valuable things in there.” Well, there wasn’t; it was full of books from the 1980’s he had promised himself he would eventually read. Some of the titles that stood out included “Electrical Technology” (this was sure up to date…the PC hadn’t been invented yet 🙄), “The Book on Running” which said, among other things, to run between 40-80 miles a week…no matter what (no pain, no gain), and “Intermediate College Algebra” which of course you want to revisit again and again despite the fact you graduated in the 90’s with a C in it.

So, I said this: “Bill…this box is full of books that are out-dated and would cause even Job to poke his eye out with a stick. I think they need to go in the ‘donate’ pile.” He said: “I need to go through every one of those.” In actuality, this meant that he had to open EVERY single book to show me a page or 2 in it that might be of interest to me or trigger a memory for him. Yes, seeing an electrical wire was not only a thrill but a trip down memory lane. Finally, after we got through only this one box after an excruciatingly long amount of time passed (🥱), I began to think this was going to take longer than expected.

Then came the box of Victrola records and come to find out, Bill no longer has a Victrola. I told Bill: “This box definitely needs donated since you don’t have anything to play these on.” Bill looked dumbfounded and said: “Are you nuts? These are worth money!” So, I looked them up on eBay and at the best, with what he had, he would have gotten about $30 for the lot. That is, if the person didn’t mind that the covers were seeped in mold with centipedes crawling out of the record jackets willy nilly, and the records themselves so scratched up, that anything played was going to sound like a screechy mess (much like my own singing voice 🤨).

What followed was a ‘discussion’ about memorabilia. Look, I’m all for keeping things that mean something to you…I have a nut cracker my grandpa had and it’s one of my favorite things. However, do we need to keep EVERY piece of memorabilia ever saved from his family for the past 3 generations? Hmmmm. So we compromised…he kept a couple of records that were the ‘least’ moldy. 🙄

Another box slid my way and while Bill sort of hinted around he didn’t want my ‘help’ anymore (“Kristi, is there something else you need to do?”), I nevertheless grabbed it and started my archeological dig. This particular box had papers in it. Papers. Not letters from gramma or recipes from mom or little prayers from Uncle Bob, but paper; for example, an empty envelope with a cellophane ‘window’ in it that was torn down one side. I said (very patiently I might add): “Bill…this box is full of useless papers and needs to be thrown away.”

He looked gobsmacked and ambled over to see what I would dare call trash (I called the entire box trash). He said: “Let’s save it.” Now it was my turn to stare at him wide-eyed and I said: “What in the name of all that is holy are you going to do with a torn, used envelope?” He said: “I don’t know. Tape it and use it?” With the patience of a saint, I looked at this man who might be my future hubby (why not…after 3 what’s one more 😏) and said, slowly so he would understand, “Bill…you can buy NEW envelopes at the Dollar Tree. For a dollar.”

So, the process went on. And on and on and on (😐). After we tackled the boxes, we moved on to his closet where I methodically went through every item that was hung up and told him to tell me which clothes he actually wore and liked…the others would be donated: the processing of every garment took him about 5 minutes each, and all of the clothes I thought would look so cute on him are the one’s he didn’t like. For example, he told me to put a dark blue, chambray shirt by Ralph Lauren that matches his eyes in the donate pile but to keep a solid white polyester number he wore to a dance decades ago. He tossed the hot looking Army green work shirt aside but kept a green polo that had some indistinguishable animal over the left boob.

By this time it was almost dark, and I was dusty, moldy, sweaty, hungry and cranky so Bill says: “Wanna tackle the kitchen?” I’m almost ashamed to tell you my response but since I’m always up-front with my sweetie peeps it was this: “Fuck no. Feed me now or I’m outta here.” He understood.

Anyhoot, he’s pretty much packed up and thanks to me, boxes and boxes of stuff was given to Goodwill. I know I’ll never…ever…help him pack again and I’ll monitor his ‘collecting of nostalgic items’ since he’s one ceramic figurine (without limbs 🙄) away from being a hoarder. Yes, we survived this first real test of our relationship. Yes, I forced myself to continue packing even though I would have given my adult coloring books for even a small break. And yes, if he ever asks me if he can go through my stuff…my answer will be no.

Kristi xoxo

“Our house is a very, very, very fine house…” ~ Crosby, Stills & Nash

So, there is absolutely nothing that feels better than knowing you have truly helped someone on a deep level. Having said that, I am so proud of Bill for acting on the suggestions I had for making his place a bit…hmmmmm…well….better.

Walking in this weekend, I encountered a much more friendly entryway complete with wooden key. From what I can discern, this little gem is vintage…from the 1970’s…and says ‘Welcome to my Home’ more than anything else could. And, since it is such an ‘original’, nothing else needs to be added to compliment it. Nothing. 🙄

Then, the kitchen and what can I say? Did I step into Better Homes and Gardens? Will I see this as a spread in House Beautiful? He hung up the painting I gave him (cough…cough…no accolades please…this is about Bill 🤨) on a stunning ‘peach’ sponged wall which sets the ‘ocean theme’ of the painting off perfectly.

When you turn around and your eyes move past the kitchen table which now houses a salt AND a pepper shaker (very chic and I’m guessing from Big Lots) you see his dazzling bottle collection and I’m on hold for Antiques Roadshow as I type. The glass bottles are quite…ahem…nice, but the vintage plastic beauty there really sets the tone. I shed a tear of joy knowing that one day, this menagerie will reside in my own home. I simply can’t stand it wait.

Moving into the ‘dining room’, the most formal room of the house, really show’s his creativity. Who else but my beloved can take 3 bikes, toolboxes, empty jars of foot balm, coolers that haven’t been sponged out since the early 2000’s, muddy duffel bags, and running clothes all arranged on 2 industrial rugs that are more commonly found in the entry way of factories, and turn this ‘space’ into a storage unit that you don’t have to drive too? That, my sweet peeps, takes talent.

Upstairs has substantially improved as well…particularly in the ‘home gym’ for which my membership still hasn’t been approved as we are currently negotiating fees. Anyhoot, this health spa (it’s next to a bathroom and if he takes a long enough hot shower, you have a ‘steam room’ 😐) now boasts ‘storage facilities’ which are cleverly disguised as empty gym bags. Isn’t that clever?

Now, I’m not bragging but have to say this: my own decorating taste has always been impeccable ever since ma and pop let T and I pick out our own carpet, wallpaper, and ceiling lights when we moved into the house we grew up in (ma still lives there and has since turned me and T’s rooms into stunning retreats that we both would have given our eyeteeth for at one time 🤓). While T chose orange flower wallpaper with orange and green carpet (she was so cute), I chose a much more mature palette: gold and brown carpet, yellow huge flowered wallpaper, and a red/white/blue flag light cover. Edgy? Yes…it was. In fact, I think I have have been the first to use the ‘mix and match’ concept… you’re welcome Vern Yip.

My first apartment with Hubby 1 (shutty the mouthies 🙄) was breath taking, probably because it had 2 east facing windows that got no air and we could barely breathe in the summer. The carpet was, once again, orange and brown (however, this was 15 years later than when it was ‘tres chic’ and thus referred to as ‘vintage heirloom’) with dark brown cabinets and dark brown doors and a dark brown bathroom. I cried when we moved…I’m sure you can see why.

Never again.

Our green trailer was something to behold and I must say I got on my knees and thanked the Lord that orange was no longer part of the color scheme. Instead, it was avocado green of which I said to hubby: “I’ll never get tired of this…it will always look like spring!” The problem was it was always spring: every single appliance and bathroom fixture along with the linoleum floor and carpeting was green. And yes, it was avocado green and no one likes guacamole like this girl does, however, the green was more reminiscent of guacamole that has sat out for a day…or 2. Luckily, the walls and cabinets were dark brown so in that way, we came full circle. Charming.

Now O’s dad and I had different tastes in decorating. We first found this out when we moved into our house and got ready to paint O’s nursery since he was well on his way. I wanted primary colors with Sesame Street characters mod-podged all over his closet doors while B wanted to slap some ‘Dover White’ on the walls and call it a day. So, we started painting with the primary colors and after it was done and I rescinded the divorce papers I had filed (never paint when your hormones are raging and your hubby hates to paint and yes, I wore a mask for the fumes. We can’t blame any of O’s behavior as a teen on that 🙄) I looked at it and whispered into B’s ear: “I hate it.” I knew my soon to be born baby would be horrified to see a 5′ Elmo on his closet and the primary colors gave me a migraine. I decided to ‘change my theme’ and we (meaning me) went with soft pastels and Mickey & Minnie mouse. As we stood, once again, looking at our handiwork together after I promised my lawyer I wouldn’t call him again until the baby was grown, B whispered into my ear: “If you don’t like this, you can raise YOUR baby alone.” I loved it.

Fast forward 6 years and B and I built our dream home! I got to pick out everything for it and was like a kid in a toy store. I brought home dozens of color swatches (that became my favorite word and I threw it around like Coco Chanel 🤨) and finally told B we had to make a decision as the builders were ready to strike. He said: “Dover White.” I said: “No.” He said: “Dover White.” The builders and painters who were observing this all said “Dover White.” But even in the face of all of this pressure, I decided to be a rebel. I chose “Eggshell White.” Ha!

My ‘yellow phase’!

I’ve lived in my current house for almost 15 years now and have painted the kitchen so many times, O says it’s significantly smaller than when we moved in. I went through the tan phase…yellow and red phase…and now I’m into blues. I no longer hang my pictures with 10 penny nails and have learned to putty and patch so I don’t have to put up said pictures only where there are holes in the wall. I’ve learned to coordinate colors: blue, yellow, purple, and green rooms all next to one another. I’ve learned, after having pulled my carpeting up, to put ‘rag rugs’ over pee spots that ate through the varnish on the floors and now understand you can take any piece of furniture, plop a plant onto it and you’ll be bohemian chic.

Y’all know I’ll be retiring (yes, at the age of 40 🙄) in a couple of years and instead of opening a plant shop which I intended to do, perhaps I should go into decorating with my own line of furniture, paint, etc. Just picture it. My taste…in all of the rooms in America. Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

Kristi xoxo

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