Archive for May, 2008

Chamberlain Smackdown

I’m feeling reasonably intelligent this morning so I think I might balance our checkbook today. This is always an exciting time in the Chamberlain household because, as Forrest Gump so aptly put it, you never know what you’re gonna get.

I always follow the same routine before I do this task. I eat a full breakfast, take a shower, clean up the kitchen, take a deep, long breath and then face my calm, serene self in the mirror. I tell myself I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and dammit, people like me. I take the time to memorize my features so that I can recognize my own self three hours later when I have been transformed into a raving, seething, psychotic lunatic who would eat her own young if it meant the last entry in our checkbook would read BALANCED, THANK YOU GOD.

Our statements:

You may have noticed that there are four months worth here. That’s because I can find the courage to complete this task only three times a year and that’s because I’m married to a tall, dark, handsome man who has THE most creative way with numbers you have ever seen. In my previous life, I handled all the household finances, wrote every entry in the checkbook, balanced it every month to the penny and believe you me, I would scour the earth to find a penny that dared go AWOL on my watch. But now? Nate is in charge of the entries and everything I ever learned about addition and subtraction has become obsolete because nowadays there’s math going on in our checkbook that hasn’t even been invented yet. But that’s ok, because Nate has a system. I have spent the last eleven years trying to understand this system with no success. But I don’t give up easily and three times a year, I try my hand at it again.

My tools:

I don’t bother using paper in my adding machine. I don’t think they make rolls big enough for the numerical gymnastics that are about to happen. I keep the phone handy as it is inevitable that I will be calling Nate periodically throughout the day to yell questions such as WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME? and WHY DON’T YOU JUST HIT ME OVER THE HEAD WITH THE WEED WHACKER AND BE DONE WITH IT ALREADY? To which he will calmly respond with “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” or “Huh.” Then I will cry. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The red pen is crucial. Nate’s entries in the checkbook are in blue. Mine are in red. It’s kind of like a miniature version of the electoral smart board on CNN but without Wolf and the best political team on television.

I won’t cross out entries. I won’t scribble over numbers, I won’t have arrows pointing this way and that. That is entirely too confusing and makes our checkbook messy. I don’t do messy. Instead, I will simply use the red pen to make brand new entries explaining why the preceding twenty entries in blue are terribly, horribly wrong. That way, when Nate gets home, I can simply place the checkbook in front of him and he will see all the red and immediately know everything he ever wanted about my day. This negates the need for Nate to actually ask me about my day and this, in turn, relieves any need on my part to actually speak and that ultimately serves to protect Nate from any desire I may have to tackle him to the floor and choke him with his very own tongue. We’re like a well oiled machine that way.

The balancing of our checkbook is, at its core, a battle of wits between Nate and me and even though I’d like to consider myself better armed, make no mistake about it … I want Nate to win. I really do because in this instance and this instance only, it makes my life so much easier. Using the red pen means I’m going to have to think and think hard and I’m not happy when I have to think hard, so I am all about the blue. GO BLUE GO.

So this morning, I’ll prepare myself for battle, take one last look at myself in the mirror, shout BRING IT ON, BABY to no one in particular and the blue vs. red smackdown will begin.

History has proven time and time again that the smackdown will be over in about three hours. Team Blue will have been decimated and Team Red, specifically ME, will have lost approximately two pounds of weight in the form of stress sweat, together with the ability to form a coherent sentence. And the carnage … oh, the carnage.

WARNING: the following contains graphic material and may not be suitable to viewers of the anal, obsessive-compulsive, my-checkbook-balances-every-single-month-and-I-always-wear-matching-socks persuasion:

Wow. That’s a lot of red. Kind of awesome in a psychotic-psychedelic sort of way. See all of those “should have”, “mistake on”, “never recorded” and “duplicate” notations all over the place? Those are my routine moves – no biggies.

My favorite strategy, my absolute favorite one, the one that just makes me quiver in ecstasy is the “adjustment to records.” That’s my big gun, so to speak … the one I use only as a last resort, after I have attempted every mathematical combination of numbers humanly possible, ransacked our office in search of statements from the last year to verify running totals, called Nate 327 times for clarifications, eaten an entire Tony’s pizza, bitten my nails until they’ve bled and screamed at God to JUST TAKE ME NOW.

“Adjustment to records” is me giving up before I become a puddle on the floor, gasp my last breath and lose consciousness. As a rule, I try not to employ this tactic unless and until I have banged my head repeatedly against this:

So here I am this morning, preparing for our next battle. I just love the smell of potential nervous breakdown in the morning.

If I’m not back in two days, send out a call for help. Nate will need it.


May 30, 2008 at 8:17 am 13 comments

She was just seventeen, if you know what I mean …

My fourteen year old daughter asked me the other day if she could get her working papers for a job this summer. After I picked my jaw up from where it had fallen on the floor, I said sure. Actually, it might have come out more like HOLY CRAP, YOU BETTER BELIEVE YOU CAN, GET IN THE CAR. And then I got all excited because I was actually seeing light at the end of that long, dark, scary, endless I-AM-NOT-AN-ATM-MACHINE-FOR-CRYING-OUT-LOUD tunnel.

It got me to thinking about my early days as a wage earner. I went the traditional route at first and built up a great reputation as a babysitter – little human beings loved me. I rotated between a couple of good, reliable families, sacrificed my weekend nights and made quite a bit of money for a couple of years. All right, perhaps “sacrifice” is a bit of overkill. I was a painfully shy fifteen year old with braces, glasses, bad hair, acne and I lived in a town 50 miles past the middle of nowhere. What else was I going to do with myself?

My babysitting career was brought to a screeching halt after I turned sixteen. I agreed to babysit for a new family with a toddler whom I like to refer to as Satan and that was the beginning of the end that came four hours later. This child’s parents had called me at the last minute, having been referred by someone who knew someone who knew someone. They practically begged me to help them out and at $2 per hour, I just couldn’t pass it up. I should have gotten a clue by the maniacal sprint they did to their car once the door closed behind me but I was naive.

Four hours later, I wasn’t naive anymore. Cleaning up thrown spaghettios, dirty toilet water and piles of poo scattered here, there and everywhere tend to knock the blissful ignorance right out of you. If the book had even existed back then, I would have said the Devil does not, in fact, wear Prada, he wears pull-ups and is three feet tall and I’d rather chew off my own tongue than babysit him again. This was painfully obvious to his parents as they pulled up to their house and found a blubbering heap of me on their front step. I resisted their pleas to give SISPU a/k/a Satan In Scooby Pull Ups another chance, mumbled something about being busy for the next two years and got the hell out of Dodge. I headed straight for the mall where I thereafter found my dream job.

I started work at a local record store in our mall and can I just say, THAT JOB ROCKED. I was seventeen with perfect teeth and good skin, thanks to Dr. Strauss and Neutrogena respectively. Puberty had finally gotten its act together and I was not all together hideous anymore. In fact, I looked pretty damn good. It was smack dab in the middle of the eighties which meant I had BIG hair and lots of it, tons of makeup, thick shoulder pads, shorty short mini skirts and high heels. Shiny black patent leather four inch heels, to be exact – the first to be seen at my high school, thank you very much. Sometimes I wore them with cute little frilly socks, sometimes I didn’t. Either way, I had a killer set of legs and a fantastic figure and I worked in a place that played the latest and greatest in albums and cassettes and attracted everyone who was anyone. In other words, I was cool for the first time in my life and I made up for lost time in a way only an attention starved seventeen year old wallflower-turned-hot-chick knew how: at warp speed.

It was vinyl heaven and we’d rip the cellophane off any album we wanted and whip that baby onto our state-of-the-art turntable, turn the sound up to sonic boom level and let it rip. We were next door to GNC Vitamin Center and our daily mission was to shake their bottles off their walls. It was usually mission accomplished by dinnertime, thanks to a particularly loud piece by Mötley Crüe. You’d think their manager would have pitched a fit, but more often than not, he’d be AWOL, only to be found sifting through our head banger section.

I loved my job. I heard all the new releases first, got huge discounts on all the music I loved, met some great people and got to dress up in funky clothes that I got at incredible discounts because I was a mall employee and friend to a lot of other mall employees. I learned to flirt and was surprised at how easy it was to get some extra sauce on my fettucini alfredo simply by inching my skirt up a bit. After work, I’d hang out with these friends, all of whom were older than me and into the bar scene. They took pity on poor underaged me, doctored up my license and next thing I knew, I was a faux 22 year old burning up the dance floors at Flashbacks and Club 2001. Good times.

Would someone mind checking on my mom? I think she just fainted.

It’s hard to believe that I got near straight A’s in high school considering the above, isn’t it? But I did. I managed to keep my priorities in order for the long haul even though they veered a bit off course in the short run. I’ll always be grateful to my friend Pete who had my back at all times, making sure I was safe every time I went out. He was convinced I would tire of the scene in short order and he was right because he was always right, something that used to piss me off at first but then became what I trusted most. Of course, the suspicious bouncer weighing in at 400 pounds at Club 2001 who confiscated my fake i.d., helped curb my underage wild ways as well. HE WAS SCARY.

Eventually, I found my way to college, maintained an almost perfect 4.0 grade point average, graduated Summa Cum Laude, became a productive taxpayer, got married and started a family, in that order. All of it to the immense relief of my parents as I think it’s entirely possible I may have shaved a couple of years off their lives.

(As a side note: I am now well-versed in the theory of karma, having a teenage daughter of my own right now. I TOTALLY GET IT.)

Anyway … that record store and the mall it lived in don’t exist anymore and I don’t know of anyone who even owns any actual vinyl today. Any remnants of that seventeen year old with the drop dead figure are long gone now. But sometimes when this 41 year old wife and mother of two plays the oldies station in her car and hears Smokin’ In The Boys Room, she’ll sing off key at the top of her lungs, ignore the gawkers in the passing cars, and tap her flip flopped feet on the gas and brake pedals. And for a brief moment, that woman will yearn for some shiny black patent leather four inch heels.

And some killer legs to go with them.

May 28, 2008 at 9:34 am 11 comments

Peach Blossom Mist

I had planned 736 things to do today and not one of them is going to get done because I’ve already given up and it’s only 8:00 a.m.

Here is my washing machine. And as much as I would like to just toss these things into my dryer with a Bounce sheet and be done with it, I can’t. They’ve been sitting in my washing machine for approximately three days now and while you can’t tell from the safety of your home, in my home the sour stench emanating from my washer is about to make my eyes bleed. So I’m going to have to rewash them in blazing hot water with bleach and/or vinegar at least twice before they make it to the dryer. Can you tell this is a well trodden path for me? I am physically incapable of remembering to switch loads upon hearing the buzzer, in much the same way Nate is physically incapable of telling me he’s got something planned until five seconds before it happens. It’s just not in our DNA. And if I had an inkling of pride, I would have photoshopped that dirt ring right out of this photo but my pride jumped ship about twenty-five pounds ago so there you have it.

And once I do rewash that load, these are waiting for me.

Just looking at them sucks my will to live.

Maybe I’d feel happier about my predicament if I actually enjoyed being in my laundry room. Maybe deep down I subconsciously try to avoid my laundry room as much as possible because when it comes right down to it, I just don’t like it in there. When we bought this house, I was overjoyed that I was finally going to have a first floor laundry room. I had big plans for that room, plans that included gleaming white shelves, lace curtains, satellite radio and lots of wicker hand baskets. But those dreams took the express line straight to hell in one of those baskets because the key word here is “had.” As in, past tense. As in, I was delusional.

Notice the color of the walls? They’re a pale lilac, if you can’t tell. I hate them. Hate them with a deep, raging passion I usually reserve for bullies and those occasions when TiVo stops recording one minute before Lost actually ends.

I wanted a soft, pale peach for my laundry room. It was called Peach Blossom Mist and it gave me warm fuzzies and I loved it and it loved me. When I suggested it to Nate, he had to take what some refer to as “a moment” when he became very quiet and still for several minutes. When he came to, he calmly told me that Peach Blossom Mist did not match the flooring he had just spent all day installing. When I responded with something along the line of “who cares?” Nate had the closest thing to a seizure without actually having a seizure and from that, I got the general impression that LAUNDRY ROOM WALLS MUST MATCH LAUNDRY ROOM FLOORS, OR ELSE NOTHING WILL MAKE SENSE AND IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR SOMETHING, ANYTHING, TO MAKE SENSE IN THIS GOD FORSAKEN WORLD WE LIVE IN?

I’ve learned to pick and choose my battles and thus far, I’ve managed to keep my sanity at a level hovering just above nervous breakdown so I didn’t push it. I told myself that it was just a laundry room after all and nobody other than myself was going to spend any quality time in there so was it really that big of an issue that a good cry and Dove chocolate couldn’t cure? So I caved, otherwise known in the world of marital bliss as “compromised.” Before I knew it, Light Lilac or Pale Purple or whatever the hell you want to call it adorned my walls and my laundry room was declared “done.” It’s now 13,927 loads of laundry later and despite some heavy duty Dove gorging, I’m just not feeling the love.

Every time I am in that room, trying to maneuver among the swarm of dirty underwear and wet towels, I am immediately struck by the fact that I can’t even see the 2 foot by 4 foot section of flooring that shattered my dreams because of the amount of stuff, otherwise known as crap, covering it and I get an annoying little tick in my left eye. And it occurs to me amidst flurries of lint flying about my head and up my nose that if I could have foreseen the sheer number of hours I was going to spend in this very room prying apart sticky, sweaty, smelly socks from one another ad nauseam, I would have fought a whole lot harder for Peach Blossom Mist. And a hazmat suit.

I think we need to revisit this room, Nate. I think you know me well enough to realize I’m not above holding your comfy Fruit of the Looms hostage and the way I figure, you are the last person on the face of this planet to consider going commando so I think I’ve got some pretty good leverage.

I get my Peach Blossom Mist, Frank and Beans get to stay ensconsed in the 100% cotton comfort to which they’ve grown accustomed and all is right with the world.

And then maybe we can discuss a possible do-over of my office? Nate?

May 27, 2008 at 8:16 am 16 comments

Memorial Day Weekend

It’s officially here and we’ve got a long weekend ahead of us full of fights, laughter, tears, insults, love, guilt, jokes, stony silences, judgmental looks, friendship, hugs, babies, giggling children, animals running amuck and general mayhem, otherwise known as family gatherings.

Have a great weekend and I’ll catch up with you early next week.

Oh and by the way … stay safe, will you? Someone’s got to be around to read this blog and give me a sense of purpose – it might as well be you, right?

May 24, 2008 at 3:56 pm 5 comments

Twenty Things Every Mom Needs to Know

Last year, I had a layout published in which I dispensed some parenting advice that I had gleaned over my years as a mom. I’ve managed to keep my kids alive up to now so I think all of that advice still has merit and in my 4.3 minutes of allotted down time per day, I’ve gradually added to my arsenal. My goal is to have this mounted on a neon green 10′ x 10′ canvas and hang one in each of my daughters’ family rooms after they have children of their own. At the bottom, it will have a small, bronze plaque engraved with “I TOLD YOU SO. LOVE, MOM”

  1. My philosophy on parenting can best be described as a combination of “flying by the seat of my pants” and “baptism by fire” with a healthy dose of “winging it” thrown in for good measure.
  2. Save the $12.95 plus shipping/handling. No book is going to fully prepare you for the wonder that is projectile vomiting. You have to experience it first hand to truly appreciate all of its nuances.
  3. Television has the power to suck the ability to form a coherent thought right out of a child. Use this time wisely.
  4. Remember, there is no law that requires you to have fifteen of your daughter’s closest friends sleep over in your living room on her birthday and feed them all breakfast the next morning and no amount of hissy fits changes that fact.
  5. There is a direct correlation between raising a pre-teen daughter and the deterioration of cerebral function at warp speed. Who are you again?
  6. It’s one week before summer and your six year old insists on riding her bike into the road. What do you do? If your answer is to restrict her to your driveway and explain that you are simply trying to keep her safe and alive to enjoy the summer and, with any luck, her next birthday – good for you! Just be prepared for her to promptly fall off her bike in the driveway and suffer a spiral fracture of her lift tibia from ankle to knee, resulting in the summer being pretty much a bust. When she breaks her arm almost exactly one year later under identical circumstances, don’t say I didn’t warn you and I won’t say I told you so.
  7. The laws of physics simply don’t allow for seven friends to sit next to the birthday girl in a 2000 Honda Accord. It’ll be ugly but hey, you can’t fight the science.
  8. Any teacher worth his/her salt expects any mom worth her salt to negotiate the terms under which she will chaperone her kindergartner’s class field trip to the local zoo. As a mom and fellow human being, I encourage you to think of your own safety as it’s you against one hundred hot, sweaty little miscreants who haven’t eaten anything in three hours and who are demanding to pet the gorillas. Insist on a three foot perimeter “safe zone” protecting you from used tissue, chewed gum, sticky hands and various bodily fluids and gases. Bullhorns are a necessity, not a luxury. So is Xanax. If you feel your sanity is in jeopardy at any time, run far far away. If riding on a school bus is required, get the appropriate shots and demand combat pay. Make sure your affairs are in order. Just sayin’.
  9. When your five year old suffers a partially severed ear, requiring twenty stitches by a plastic surgeon in the ER and then asks if the mile of pink and purple bandaging around her head looks like “fashion,” just nod your head “yes” and try to ignore your clammy skin, greenish pallor, impending nausea, heart palpitations and acute dizziness. No one likes a drama queen.
  10. If you want your children to be able to function in the real world, then you better teach them how real time works. “Just a minute” does not mean sixty seconds, it means “whenever the hell Mommy feels like it.” So shut up already about the big hand and the little hand because you’re ruining it for the rest of us.
  11. In a perfect world, your pediatrician’s office has self-sterilizing toys, snack machines and a five minute maximum waiting time. But we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? Put your game face on and pack a bag.
  12. The first time you channel your mother won’t be your last.
  13. I can’t lie to you. There is no general consensus as to the length of a “stage.” It can last anywhere from ten minutes to ten years. Yes, it sucks. But at least you know.
  14. Barbie is the Devil Incarnate and Polly Pockets are her spawn.
  15. Taking a daily shower and separating dirty socks and underwear from dirty jeans before they hit the laundry basket is not considered child abuse. Neither is requiring them to actually hit the laundry basket.
  16. “I will” when uttered by a child actually means “I won’t until you ask me 83 more times.”
  17. Battling lice can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am so not kidding.
  18. Don’t sign your daughter up for girl scouts unless you are willing to sleep in some pretty icky places and take my word for it … no amount of Thin Mints is going to make you feel better about spending the night on the floor of an aquarium directly underneath the kid-friendly a/k/a no-walls-separating-you-from-them crab exhibit. Do I have to draw you a picture?
  19. The words “we’ll see” are almighty powerful and can mean yes,” “no,” “maybe,” “not a shot in hell” and/or “over my dead body,” depending on the circumstances. Use them sparingly and they’ll serve you well.
  20. If you think you won’t ever bribe, yell, or swear at your kids, or use the phrase “because I said so” … good luck with that. You’re on your own.

May 23, 2008 at 1:00 am 12 comments

By request: The Infamous Chia Pet Incident

I’ve been asked to blog about the infamous Chia Pet incident that happened in our household a couple of years ago. For those of you who are familiar with this story, I apologize and will try not to be offended if you up and abandon me at this very moment. No promises, though.

For all you uninitiated folk … it’s about the fall of a good, kind hearted man who had the best of intentions and stars a tall, dark, handsome, thoughtful, loving, utterly clueless husband and father who shall remain nameless, except that I’ll call him Nate.

A couple of days before Christmas 2006, our youngest daughter, then six, happened to see a Chia Pet commercial on television. Because it did not resemble the 2,732 toys currently strewn about her room, she wanted one. And because it did not resemble a Polly Pocket, I considered it.

It’s not as if she longed for a Chia Pet. In fact, Helena would most likely have forgotten all about it by the next day, much like her promises to pick up her underwear and stop burping in public. But if we did get one, another ten dollars was not going to break our Christmas budget. A budget that was immortalized in all its glory by the very anal, bordering-on-obsessive-compulsive, brightly colored two page Excel spreadsheet I had created. That thing rocked.

As Nate was already going out, I mentioned that if he happened to run across a Chia Pet, to pick it up for Helena but no biggie if he didn’t. And because Nate is Nate, he heard me say DO WHATEVER YOU HAVE TO DO, SELL YOUR SOUL TO THE DEVIL IF NEED BE, BUT GET THIS POOR, DEPRIVED CHILD A CHIA PET, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. PICK UP SOME MILK WHILE YOU’RE AT IT.

A few days later, I remembered the Chia Pet and asked Nate whether he had found one so I could update my very anal, bordering-on-obsessive-compulsive, brightly colored two page Excel spreadsheet. And he said to me “Oh yeah, that. I ordered two but I don’t know if they’ll get here by Christmas.”

Ordered? Two?

Upon further questioning, I learned that Nate wanted no part of the bloody, gut wrenching, cutthroat slaughter that is holiday shopping so he decided to order it online. And he got one for Zoe as well.

I wasn’t surprised that Nate had bought them online because if it came right down to it and it was available on the Internet, Nate would buy the air we breathe online. Who cares that we live within a five mile vicinity of at least ten major retail chains that stock Chia Pets? Online shopping saves time and gas and there’s no hassle dealing with real live people. Online shopping is nirvana.

I also wasn’t surprised that he bought one for Zoe even though she is allergic to anything green or messy, because Nate is a very thoughtful father like that. He always thinks of both girls. Like when Helena was two and Zoe was eight and Nate bought them each a star for Christmas. An actual star in our solar system with coordinates and everything. But because it’s against postal regulations to ship nuclear energy encased in a fiery ball of gas across state lines, the star company sent the girls official certificates instead. They could read about the stars they owned. How the company became the presumptive owner of all the stars in our universe in the first place was a little baffling but who cares? IT’S A STAR. WITH COORDINATES AND EVERYTHING. The certificates even came framed. All for $90. Each. Zoe wasn’t sure what to do with a gift that lived a billion light years away but she was appreciative of her certificate. Helena clapped happily and drooled all over hers.

So I ask Nate what he paid for these Chia Pets that may not even arrive before Christmas. And he tells me $20. Each.

I try to curb the wave of panic that I can feel riding over me as I mentally try to reconcile this piece of information with my very anal, bordering-on-obsessive-compulsive, brightly colored two page Excel spreadsheet. In my head, I’m shuffling items from one column to another, changing colors and crossing certain items off the list entirely, such as Christmas dinner.

And then it hits me. I didn’t ask the key question. Can you guess what it was?

Wait for it … here it comes …



How much was shipping?

To his credit, Nate did not lose his composure, fall to the ground and beg for mercy as I would have done. He did not stutter, he did not stammer, he did not plead temporary insanity. He just stood there and said clear as a bell: $20. Each.

Are you with me so far? Because that is a grand total of EIGHTY DOLLARS. For two stinking Chia Pets that may or may not arrive in time for Christmas for two little girls, one of whom would almost certainly say “ewwww” upon opening it and the other, having completely forgotten about seeing it on television, would ask why Daddy was giving her grass.

My very anal, bordering-on-obsessive-compulsive, brightly colored two page Excel spreadsheet went up in flames and I turned to Nate, resisted the compulsion to throttle him on the spot and demanded to know what, in the name of all that is holy, possessed him to cross so far over into the realm of lunacy that I barely recognized him? Nate who?

And do you know what that man said to me?

“Don’t you think $80 is worth it if they enjoy it and it improves the quality of their lives?”

Nate, can I just confirm that we are talking about the same thing, specifically an inanimate object made out of terra cotta with foliage sprouting out of its freakish head? I just want to make sure we’re on the same page, because I’m feeling like you called in sick, packed your swim shorts and bought a one way ticket to the dimension known as I HAVE LOST MY MIND, THE WATER’S FINE, COME ON IN and I have no idea how to get there. But as my feet are firmly planted in the dimension known as REALITY, I feel compelled to tell you that I read What To Expect When You’re Expecting twice, Mr. Lunatic Fringe, and NOWHERE IS THERE A CHIA PET MENTIONED.

That eighty bucks grew exponentially as I did mental math and calculated in the cost of bail and the court-issued anger management therapy that I could guarantee was in my immediate future.

For those of you who have stayed with me until the bitter end … no, they didn’t arrive in time for Christmas.

May 21, 2008 at 8:01 am 13 comments

We interrupt this blog for a burst of creativity

Last weekend, our niece had her first communion and any occasion where there’s cake, there’s me. But we couldn’t go empty handed and therein lay our problem. Or is it lie? Or laid? Lied?

Anyway, there was the small matter of a gift and I mulled over an array of possibilities while eating an entire bag of Reeses Pieces, discarding one idea after another. I mean, how many bibles and angel necklaces does one little girl need? And could Reeses Pieces be any more addicting?

I briefly considered sending Nate out to pick something up, but only because I was under the influence of toxic fumes emanating from my freshly scrubbed bathroom. Luckily I gulped in some fresh air and got my wits back about me. Because sending Nate out into retail land alone, armed with a credit card and no specific plan is like sending Eliot Spitzer to The Bunny Ranch with unlimited cash and one hour: a whole lot is going to happen in a short amount of time and none of it is going to be pretty.

I glanced at a small, bare wooden cross sitting in a box in my office. I had bought it months ago, thinking I could make it look really cool if I put my mind to it, but my mind had other ideas and I just never got around to it. Kind of like vacuuming or dusting. Seems like a great idea at the time but then you get over it.

As I examined the cross, I was struck with a burst of creativity and in my glee, I could have sworn that cross whispered to me: YOU GO, GIRL.

I told my kids I was going to my absolute favorite stamp and paper store of all time, I’d be back in an hour and not to kill each other while I was gone. And in Andrea World, that translates to: I’m going to my absolute favorite stamp and paper store of all time, I’ll be there for at least six hours or until my eyes glaze over and I pass out from sheer ecstasy, whichever comes first. Don’t wait up.

I picked up some gorgeous Japanese paper, some miscellaneous embellishments, some beautiful brown Basic Grey rub-ons and some funky, cool yarn.

The next day, I mixed all the ingredients together, prayed to the mojo gods not to desert me in my time of need and this is what happened:

And if I hadn’t been distracted by a cookie, I’d have taken a “before” photo. Bad cookie.

I know it’s not ALL THAT and Martha Stewart won’t be knocking on my door anytime soon, but I have to admit, I loved how it turned out and so did our niece and her mom. And what’s more, my girls did NOT kill each other while I was gone, I only burned myself twice with my glue gun, and Nate did not wreak havoc in retail land.

Can I get a hallelujah?

May 19, 2008 at 8:31 am 13 comments

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