Today, I got a call from a dear friend who I’ve known since high school. She called to remind me that her birthday was last week. Dont’ get me, nor her, wrong here. It’s a running joke with most of my pals. I don’t keep tally as to who keeps up with my birthday. The people I expect to remember, I remind them. And, if I remember a friend’s birthday, there’s no guarantee that I’ll consistently remember after that either. This is reciprocated by most of my friends, but is an unwritten rule with said birthday girl that we just remind each other. It certainly wasn’t a call like this:
“Hey, I called to tell you it’s my birthday you piece of crap. I waited and waited for you to call. And you didn’t. Thanks. Thanks alot. The kids are fussy, I haven’t taken my mood meds all week because I’m lactating, and my husband just beat me with a stick. My only hope while he was beating me was that you would call me to wish me a happy birthday. You whore.”
Yeah, it wasn’t like that at all. He doesn’t beat her with a stick, he uses his hands.
The beauty of my friendships is that Birthdays don’t matter. So much more matters than “Happy Birthday” with my peeps. What matters is the little stuff. As long as they celebrate the good moments: “You lost five pounds? Congrats girl! I’m mailling you some chocolate brownies to celebrate.” As long as they giggle with me at my freaky moments, and help me in my sad moments, it’s all good. As long as they tell me I’m wrong or when they are concerned about me. As long as I get THAT call, I’ll waive the birthday messages, no problem. And I’m pretty sure my galpals feel the same about me. I’m hoping, because really, I can’t remember a birthday to save my life. If I call one of my friends, or send a card, it’s like a bonus treat, “Oh look, Les remembered my birthday this year! How silly!”
About a year ago, I called the birthday pal up one evening.
Me: “Hey, it’s me, what’s up?”
Her: “I’m laying in bed reading my new cookbook. I got it for my birthday…”
Tears of joy almost broke out of my eyeballs. I thought I was the only superfreak who reads cookbooks in bed. That’s the image I want to relax to. To fall asleep to a new perspective on fettucine alfredo, is a perfect slumbering moment. Maybe I’ll even dream about it! I’ve been a closet cookbook_reader_in_bed for years. I’ve been known to wait for Ricardo to fall asleep before I pull my new cookbook out from between the mattress and box springs. But here she is, this friend I’ve known for 20 years, just as psycho about good tasting recipes as me. Sigh.It was such a pinnacle moment in our friendship. I’ll never forget it. So Happy Birthday sweet friend.
That’s how I roll
…It’s like watching a trainwreck, really, you can’t watch, but you can’t look away.
Sigh. I just picked up the kids from an outdoor event. It was about 30 miles southwest of here. On my way there, I watched some clouds roll in. By the time I got there, it was dark. On the way back, the entire 30 minutes in the car with the wired 4_year_olds, it was like I was at a Pink Floyd concert. Lightning coming from south and west. I appreciate a good thunderstorm. And it wasn’t raining, yet. So, after we hit our exit and got off the highway, I rolled down the windows. Rather than hearing “Learning To Fly”, I get the ringing in of tornadoe sirens.
I rushed the kids in, called Ricardo, told him to stay put and we got in the basement. I got my candles and found a flashlight, and fixed me some Paula Deen cobbler. I’m safe, and if the roof comes off, I’ll have a spoonful of delight on my tastebuds. I’m well prepared like that.
I turn on the tv. And 5 of the six channels we have, are telling me to take cover, with meteorologists actually accurate in their claims today. *Truly, if you’re good with failure and hitting about 1 for 29, by all means, your career is in meteorology.
It’s the sixth channel that has me laughing hysterically. With APOLOGIES for interrupting the game after notifying the viewing area of 2 tornadoes and 1 wall cloud. Be it known, the game, as you see here is never interrupted. And they are getting clobbered. That’s all I’m sayin.
Safe in the basement. Giggling at apologies. I wonder if this guy getting sacked will have the same apologies at his press conference. That’s how I roll.
Some might feel I may have thrown Sophia to the wolves. Poor girl, didn’t see it coming! Trust me, I cleared it with her. You never want to get on the bad side of a good woman. So, to balance it all out, I thought I’d offer up my own throwing to the wolves. This is going to blow your minds. It’ll turn out either wicked_genius, or wicked.
Before we go there, let me take a minute to share this with you: Clearly, these guys are amateurs. Amateur shoppers. Professional film makers. These kids have no children. They are WAY too perky and not focused AT ALL at the task. They don’t even take grocery shopping SERIOUSLY. Sigh.
When it comes to grocery shopping, I’ve become quite the zen master. And so, I’ve developed my very own Ten Points of Light To Grocery Shopping. I’ll wait while you get a pen to take notes. This is all very enlightening and will empower you to grocery shop effectively, ultimately making you a better, happier you.
Light 1. Assessing your menu. I get all my cookbooks out. Ricardo picks 5 dishes and I pick 5 other dishes. These are our entrees for dinners. We also discuss breakfast and lunch items, which are consistently the same.But for the most part, the menu is developed for dinners. I then assess what meals need side dishes. We pick 10 dishes for our family because through experience we’ve discovered that in a typical two week period, stuff comes up. We go out or go to someone’s house for dinner. It’s a nice round number and we usually have one or two extra items on the menu by the end of the two weeks. So, establish a menu of about 10 items, plus your basic lunch and breakfast staples.
Light 2. Go through each cookbook and itemize what you have and what you need from said grocery store for your menu and start your writing out your list.
Light 3. Add all items you are out of, which you should have been keeping an ongoing list tacked on the fridge for you and spouse to write down when you run out of something. Merge that list onto your new list of menu/recipe items. Also add all items you need for your breakfast, lunch, and snack items.
Light 4. Take new big whole list and organize it. Yes, you need to do this. Yes, you do. Uh_huh, you do. Take a moment with me to close your eyes and picture your frequented grocery store. Stop if you’re visioning Walmart. You need a new vision. Okay, regroup…everybody have a nice grocery store in mind? Okay, walk through it. Chances are, you have somewhat of an idea where most products are located. Now, how do you walk through the grocery store? Do you start in the middle? No. Well, sort of. This gets complicated. Through experiment after experiment, after experiment and so on and so forth, I’ve discovered you should start with all canned goods. Go get all your heavy canned goods and boxed items. Then, start the loop. Return to one side, I prefer produce. If you work your way through produce, then to meats, then to dairy and then frozen foods, then back to bread and chips, you have a lovely set up of nothing getting crushed or melting. Please, no applause needed. Okay, stop and clap. Thank you, thank you. So, open your eyes now. And make your list in accordance of your visioned mapped route you just experienced. Make your list in order of travel. Make the list thorough. Rules of Engagement for grocery shopping are that you can’t get what’s not on the list. I’ve been known to write “Betty Crocker Chocolate Muffins” down in the middle of the baking aisle in order to justify putting it in the basket.
Light 5. Eat. Yep, that’s Point of Light 5. Eat before you go shopping. If you’re going on a Saturday, eat light. Because you’ll be snagging some sweet testers. Feel free to snag the testers and disregard any feelings of obligation to buy the product you just snatched. Chances are, it’s not on your list. Andyou can’t get what’s not on your list. So, eat, it’ll help curb the cravings for EVERYTHING YOU SEE when you go grocery shopping.
Light 6. Go Shopping. Get in car and go to store. Please make sure you have ample space in the car to pack in all your groceries. When you get to Destination Grocery Store, take note that the best place to park is not, in fact, the front row or as close as possible, but the closest you can get to a cart rack. Because once you are done, don’t be the jackass who leaves the cart in the middle of the parking lot.
Light 7. Get cart. Get list. Get all items on list in cart. See, by now, you should just follow the list. Be one with your list. Because, it is organized and well planned, and should just guide you through the store.
Light 8. Find a good check out line. This may not be the shortest line. You’ll have to eye_ball it based on time restraints and your level of happiness at this point. If you have plenty of time, try to find the happiest cashier. If you’re limited on time, please note that the shortest line vs. the amount of items in the cart before you may be deceiving. So, you’ve gotten the items and put them in your cart, now it is time to take them out of cart and put them on the three_foot conveyor belt. That’s so convenient for the cashier to bring the food closer, three feet closer. It’s like an airline chair reclining. It makes a big difference to someone, I’m sure.
Light 9. Some grocery stores sack your groceries for you. At most stores here, you end up sacking your own groceries and getting them back in your cart. So, those sackers out there, you’re under appreciated.Because once you’ve put the groceries IN the cart, and then taken them out, putting them back IN the cart tends to get a little irritating. I think they should start a Sackers Union. Pay for your items and get cart of items to car. Take items BACK OUT OF CART and into Cart.
Light 10. Drive home very easy on the curves and stops. Having to fish for tomato can out of reach under the seat can really put a dent into your happy grocery experience. So, drive safely please! Get home, and take groceries OUT of car onto counter tops. Then take groceries OUT OF BAGS and INTO pantry, refrigerator and where the rest goes.
Once everything is put up, we have a giant chalkboard in our kitchen. All menu items are written onto the chalkboard. This is a fabulous way of avoiding the conversation:
“What’s for dinner?”
“I don’t know, what do you want?”
“I don’t know, what do we have?”
“I don’t know.”
“Hmm, let’s go out”
You’ve got your menu items to pick from, and you’ve got all your ingredients because you just did that big ass grocery list. Remember?
Congratulations. That concludes the Ten Points of Light to Grocery Store Shopping.
Side tips that will probably turn into their own mini_essays later:
*Do everything in your power to not take the kids to the grocery store. If you haven’t a spare minute, share this post with a pal and form a discussion group as to how you can help each other out, watch each other’s kids to test the 10 Points of Light to Grocery Shopping. Help a Sista out.
*Don’t go to walmart, they get in your way. They’ll slow you down. And it’s not even the Walmart Man, it’s the little people that the Man has trained to know nothing about the store, it’s content or function and has also trained them to get in your way, slow you down, trip you if they have to.
*As you map out your plan of action in the grocery store, get canned items and such, then your dairies, then your frozens. Plan to make sure your eggs and any other delicate items don’t get crushed.
*If you take your kids with you, don’t allow them to hold the eggs. This is a very bad idea. Kids and slime and salmonilla simply don’t mix well.
*If you do take your kids, I discovered through the powers of SuperNanny, give them a little list and let them help you. Or give them a cookie, or if it’s a long grocery list, give them a box of cookies.
And so, as mentioned in the previous post, I have a few good points of turning OCD into empowerment of good. Go and get your shopping on.
That’s how I roll.
This is not a doctored photo. Okay, fine, I made it black and white. It just seems more effective that way. Quite frankly, even if I wanted to doctor a picture, I’m not sure I could do it. So, take a look at this picture. It is of a family member’s pantry. When I took this picture, Family Member, oh, let’s call her Sophia. Sophia assured me that it is so easy and I too, could have a pantry like that. I explained that I was admiring the pantry. It’s impressive. But I was taking the picture to show all of my friends and laugh. We make fun of what we don’t understand. I digress. But truly, this woman has her proverbial poop together. If I can’t attain it, I’m forced to make fun of it. I took the picture to show people that one fabulous woman has her stuff together, and no one else. Never have I shown the picture of this pantry to someone and they say, “Oh, I have a pantry just like that” or “Wow, mine is in MUCH better shape than that one.”
Granted, I have pantry envy. I have a beautiful new and huge pantry that would make the local soup kitchen or the Duggars cry. However, I can only use the upper half of it because Farley the Wonder Dog opens it and helps himself. So, it’s all crammed in there. The lower shelf of the upper half houses only cans because although Farley the Wonder Dog has gotten cans out and tried to get them open, it’s usually too much work for him. Every now and then, I’ll come home and find a scratched up soup can. The pantry is deep and dark, and I’m the only one who can find anything in there.
Not so at Sophia’s house. Which is odd considering we share the same pack_rat crazy pile_it_up_and_put_it_in_a_corner grandparents. I think we both escaped that gene, Sophia more than I. Occasionally, I take a good long look at this pantry picture. Wouldn’t it make a great greeting card. Have the picture on the front, open the card and have something like, “I hear you finally got your shit together”.
What really impresses me with Sophia’s pantry is the effort I know she went through to get it to that point. If you’ve ever been grocery shopping for a family of four, you know it’s a doozie. And here’s where I have my very own OCD, falling short of the final step in Sophia’s pantry. I’ll post my ten_points of light to grocery shopping tomorrow. And Sophia takes it one step further. If you’ll notice in the picture, she takes all cereals, rice, pastas, grains, snacks, etcetera are in their very own labeled container. Where’s the gin and vodka, anyways?
Sophia’s grace in organization and having her poop together has actually been in my favor in more ways than one. She had kids before me and in that moment of intiated mommyhood, Sophia discovered the best item a mom (or dad who does laundry will every know): Felsnaptha
Folks, if you can find this, get it. I’ve hunted it down in a local grocery store in the laundry stuff aisle. You need one bar per 2 kids. That will last you about 4 years. Oprah’s had this on her “Favorites” show. Pishaw Oprah, I’ve got it, I know girl. I wonder if she asked her maids and butlers what they like to clean with, or if some underpaid janitor at Harpo mentioned it to a producer one day. We’ll never know, but I am sure Miss Oprah never heard of it until her writers told her it was going to be on the show.
Wet stain, rub stain with Fels Naptha, throw in wash. Now, let me take this moment to establish a disclaimer here: DO NOT LET THE CLOTHES DRY WITH THE SOAP ON IT. You can let the stain dry all jacked up in your laundry load, and then get stain damp, apply soap, then wash. Most stains with this product come right out, you don’t have to let it sit. But if you let it sit and it dries, you’re screwed. You cannot set it and forget it here. You with me? This stuff gets KOOLAID STAINS OUT. Yes it does….YES IT DOES! Koolaid, poop, pee, barf, chocolate, grass stains, mud, and blood. All of it.
Sophia, out of the kindness and consideration of that organized heart of hers, sent me a bar of this stuff upon word that I was due to have babies. God Bless Sophia. She has liberated me and my laundry_esque_ness. And I now pass the torch to all my impregnated pals. Oh sure, a card and a congratulations are attached. “Congrats, in 9 months, you’re going to need one thing, this bar. More later, here’s a gorgeous picture of my kids.”
And so, see, Sophia’s OCD has come full circle, benefitting my life, and the lives of all others, touching us in a way that only people who do laundry with kids can understand. And now, she too can benefit you. Go forth and get this soap. And also, you can use her pantry as a goal for your pantry now.
That’s how Sophia and I roll.
I was a little nervous to move out of Texas. Then I reviewed that our President was from Texas, the woman who drowned her kids was from Texas, she’s getting a new trial…in Texas, Kinky Friedman is running for Governor of Texas just for fun, Jessica Simpson wed my boyfriend in Texas, and an entire success of a restaurant is solely based on whether you can eat a 72 ounce steak or not in Texas.
So, after further thought, I realized that maybe Nebraska was a safer place, and I left the crazies behind. I also kissed Tex Mex food goodbye which still makes me tear up a bit on occasion. Nebraska has an issue with corn. Well, they just have a lot of it.
And then I got here.
And Alfred Hithcock suddlenly took over the other voices in my head. It all started at a grocery store. We got moved into our apartment, and before they could get our fridge unloaded, I was gasping, as if a need for oxygen, but instead, it was to fill the pantry with food. So, on a beautiful August Saturday afternoon, I went to a small local grocery store. That’s when Mr. Hitchcock joined me. “Good Day, Madam. Have you noticed no one is in the store with you? Don’t you find that odd?” Uh, wow, you’re right Alfie, no one is here. It’s a Saturday. Isn’t this the prime pick for moms across America to ditch their kids and grocery shop. Not one person was in there. Alfred: “Do you like your grocery store music? It’s not quite the tune your Granddad preferred.” (My granddad loved what we referred to as grocery store music.) And that’s when I had to giggle. The first Nebraska Football Game of the season was on….THE OVERHEAD SPEAKERS OF A GROCERY STORE! Wow, they’re pretty serious about their Nebraska Football. But the finale was when I couldn’t get anyone to check me out because the only person working (must have gotten the shortest straw) at the entire grocery store, was in the deli talking with another lady at the counter about defensive strategies. Two women in their upper 40′s, talking specific playbook information. Now that would even creep Alfred Hitchcock out.
You’d think I’d be okay with this. I’m from Texas. Football is like water down thar. I was schooled that Tom Landry should be our next U.S. President at a very young age. It was a devastating couple of weeks at my house when he got fired. So, since he left the Cowboys, I’m out of the loop.
I also attended school in the Panhandle of Texas. The big school close by, Texas Tech, had a sign as you drove by on the highway that said, “Texas Tech, where the men are men, and the women are champions.” My small school also incorporated several successful women’s teams. If they don’t get to regionals or nationals, it’s not a successful year. We got coverage on the sports news because we were good. It was fun, and we earned it.
But here, it’s absolute obsession. It’s been explained to me that there’s no professional teams here, so we have the cornhuskers. And yep, that’s their mascot: The Nebraska Cornhuskers. I thought I’d seen it all with the grocery store incident a few years ago. But then there was a commercial for the Nebraska DMV mocking people getting personalized licensed plates that have something to do with Nebraska Football. The thing about it is how true it is. Here’s some plates I’ve seen around town:
and on and on and on.
Yesterday, I went into the gym, and their monthly party promotion is a “Nebraska Cornhusker Tailgate Party” It looks like someone threw up Nebraska Football all over the place. It’s eerie. Everyone tailgates because the stadium sells out two years ahead. Getting a ticket to the Nebraska football game is like getting the Golden Ticket.
I’m all for the fun. I had a few doubts about the kids’ birthday party: “You do know that’s right at kickoff, don’t you?” And when I explained that I did not know that, I was scalded even more.
Friday night, I’m watching the news and the sports guy literally tears up talking about opening day and kick off and what a privilege it is to work for THEM. Hello mister, but aren’t there a few other sports you’re “working for”? Like the other 2 colleges in Omaha, or, oh, I don’t know, their kick ass volleyball team?
I thought the corn fields would be an issue. But really, an iffy football team, and the former coach is now a congressman. A successful football coach wins every election…hmmmm. I’m fairly certain, people find out where he lives and face his residence before they say their Husker prayer.
I’m all for obsession. I prefer to jump on the bandwagon of an already successful team. But I guess these people think they can stick with them. And really, it’s in my favor. I can go to or host football parties and cook up a feast. It all balances out in the end. I left Texas crazies and just traded up for Nebraska crazies. Atleast Nebraska’s statewide OCD is all in good fun. We’ve all got a little crazy in us somewhere. Here, they just all have the same crazy.
That’s how I roll.
I don’t remember having a birthday party when I was a kid. Oh, sure. I had cake and presents. But not a full, blown out, crazy mahem birthday party. So, I’m sure all Dr. Phil viewers and Phil himself will nod in textbook familiarity when I say, I tend to overcompensate in making up from my past and forcing a big ass crazy circus hoorah for my children now.
Last year’s party was the first party that we invited other kids to. Wait, no for their first birthday, we had a slew of kids at that one too. But they were one year olds, and half were immobile. And just watching them eat cake was entertaining. As if it couldn’t get anymore entertaining, after everyone that could have reported us to CPS left, we let Farley in to “clean up” the table. THAT was fun! The second birthday party was just family at a neutral location.
Last year’s number 3 was a further step into insanity because the kids had friends over and I rented a bouncy (moonwalk) thingy. It was outside, but it was hot! Regardless, it was a success, everyone was happy. Hot, but happy. The kids got to play and bounce. The parents were happy because they we wore them out with the heat and the bouncy. Life was good.
At some point, I was joking that the kids would get a bouncy every year for their birthday. So that MTV Sweet Sixteen gig…that would be a fun episode at our house, because our kids would be jumping in the bouncy. Yeah, we could get them all dolled up, escorted in a limo to their house, only to walk in and find this in the backyard.
That would be quality television.
So, I opted to get the bouncy again this year. They were a little older, even more mobile. My thinking was that they’d have even more fun in the bouncy with their pals. About a week after I made the arrangements to rent the bouncy, and about 4 days before the party, I’m up late, watching the news. (Yes, the 10 O’clock news is late for me, or it was a week ago.) And I see that it is going to rain rain rain and be cold the day of the party. As if the stupid weatherman in which I’ve never had faith in was talking smack right to me, he adds a graphic of a rubber ducky with a rain coat on splashing in puddles while it’s pooring on him. We all know what duck rhymes with, and I said it, loudly. My perfect plan was being foiled. Darn that nemesis, the weather man.
I called the rental place, weighed out my options, and we decided to call that stinky weather man’s bluff. If we needed to, we could call the day of the party and cancel. And where would that leave me? Stuck in a house with 15 four_year_olds. Now, if any of you moms out there who attended the party are reading this, let me say, your children are all well behaved angels. It’s me. As mentioned here, I’m a bit nervous around kids. So, it’s not you, or your kids, it’s me. I’m willing to sacrifice this borderline anxiety attack for the sake of my kids. But I needed a plan B, and that’s when I found a place who comes in and does the party for you! WHAT? You come in and do the party for me?!!! Except the cake, right? Nope. Except the games, right? NOPE. Cups, plates, party favors?They do it alllll. They even keep the list of who gave what when opening presents. And I’ll be calling them next year.
This year’s party turned out great. For one day out of the year, I’ll have all of Max and Lucy’s friends come over and play. We played a few games, tried to bounce in the bouncy, but it was cold and wet. And we had a pinata! That’s always fun…four year olds and a bat. Also, I learned, if in doubt, whip that cake out. Whew, that was nice.
I did lose it just a bit when the kids were opening presents. Like the good little Maid of Honor at a wedding shower, I was trying to keep track of who gave what for the sake of thank you notes. The kids kept coming in closer and closer to see all the cool stuff. In the kids’ defense, what kind of terrible game is that, “Okay kids, circle round so we can all see all the cool stuff someone else is getting!” At some point I felt like I was in the middle of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, where the zombies just keep coming closer…closer…closer. I got a bit short of breath and in a last ditch effort to, uh, stay conscience, I announced, “Okay Kids, Mommy’s getting a little CROWDED. EVERYONE STOP AND BACK UP!” It was in a pretty good bitchy tone. Sorry.
Then the sun came out, and the kids went out to the bouncy. I snuck some rum into my Coke, and things got fuzzy after that. That’s the thing about kid parties. Serving alcohol is sort of frowned upon. However, I can throw an adult party. That’s all you need is good food, and alcohol, and you’re in. You don’t even need at theme, or heck, you don’t even need a reason. Everyone is happy. If you don’t drink, you’ve got the delicious food and fabulous conversation asking me for all my recipes telling me I’m the best cook ever. If you do drink, you’re all set with my inherited trait of mixing a great drink, asking for all my recipes because I’m the best bartender ever. I can mix a MEAN scotch on the rocks. Fo Sho!
Sigh, so, in hindsight, I’m hoping I didn’t freak all the moms out with my little outburst. And I’m hoping all the kids had a good time. Max and Lucy have cited that it was the best party ever. And in the end, that’s all that matters, right?
That’s how I roll.