Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A List of Simple Joys

Spring has arrived!

Green grass! Flowers! Baby animals! Sunshine and warm temperatures! The better of my two personalities! Gardening! Motherfarking weeds! Why are weeds so obnoxious?

Seriously, I was all, "OMG! It's green! And warm! And holy hell, look at all those weeds I need to pull. Crap."

In honor of my love of wretched winter being over, I present you with a list of simple things that make me happy. Perhaps some of them will bring you joy as well.

20 Simple Ways I Find Joy

1. Fresh color in my home and in the world outside.

2. Time spent with the smiles and laughter of my friends and family.

3. The smell of this hand soap- Mrs. Meyers Honeysuckle scent- it's lovely.

4. Driving with the radio up and the windows down.

5. The sound of birds chirping, the smell of fresh cut grass and the vision of Brock finally finishing my Zen Den.

6. Cold beer and wine spritzers on the patio. (And apparently toy guns and dandelions.)

7. Barbecues in the back yard and marshmallows roasted over the campfire.

8. Longer daylight hours- more time for long walks with the diggity dogs!

9. This video series, made by my friend.

10. Spending time with these dudes.

11. Cowboy boots and jeans, ALWAYS AND FOREVER.

12. The ability to go outside without shoes or a coat. (Yes, my kids are playing in a stock tank- so what?)

13. A new lawnmower that actually starts when you turn it on and doesn't backfire when you turn it off.

14. Lip gloss and mascara. Pedicures and sandals. Aviator sunglasses and Gucci Guilty. 

15. Saying to my kids, "Go play outside" and having them do it without whining.

16. Starting and finishing projects around the house. (See before and after below)

17. Nights I don't have to cook. 

18. Hearing someone say "I love you!"- particularly one of these guys.

19. To sleep until I want to be done sleeping. To read until I want to be done reading.

20. Baby animals and PONIES! (Even when they are shedding profusely.)

Happy Spring, everyone!
Peace, Love and Unicorns,

What simple things make you happy?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Signs of PMS

I'm not speaking from experience. Okay, yes I am.

1. There is not enough coffee to fix you.

2. You fantasize about attacking a hypothetical intruder. Until the death.

3. The volume of the cat cleaning himself seems to have gone up to 11 and it is quickly unraveling you. The fact that everyone in your home is hovering within the perimeter of your personal space bubble finishes you off.

4. You cry when you brush the little blind pony and profess your unending love to him.

5. You find the Internet simultaneously intriguing, disgusting, boring and infuriating (this is also true when you aren't PMSing), yet you can't quit it.

6. While browsing Pinterest, you see a pretty picture of a white house with a porch. Some twat commented below it, "In the South, we love porches. It's a Southern tradition." You read the comment, become inflamed and want to reply, "PORCHES AREN'T ONLY FOR SOUTHERNERS, ASSHOLE."- but you don't- then you feel angry because you don't have a the porch you always wanted, ao you turn on the TV to distract yourself with a backlogged DVR of The Voice. Because... Adam Levine. Then you hate yourself a little, because Shakira.

7. If anyone smacks their lips near your ear again, you fear you may throw the refrigerator through the window, then you notice how filthy the windows are and crab at your husband for never helping out with the housework. Then you call the county and get the number to the foreman who has been digging up the motherfucking dirt for the last two months directly across the street from your motherfucking house and tell your husband to call and talk to them because "You can't be trusted."

8. You look like your diet has consisted primarily of marshmallows and beer for the past 10 years. All of your pants mysteriously shrank (shrunk?) in the dryer.

9. Surprise! Your face now has pimples AND wrinkles! Because fuck you and your $500 of facial products!

10. You ate the two year old candy canes that you found on your pantry cleaning tirade, along with every almost empty box of cereal that was "almost, but not quite, a bowl".

11. Everyone is an idiot.

12. You've lost your ability to count and you don't even care.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Get Your Sh*t Together!

The half packed boxes had been sitting in the corner of my office for months, taunting me. The haphazard stack of photographs I printed for Christmas were perched on the Christmas cookie tin, mocking me. The fact that I accidentally bought two birthday cards for the same person just yesterday, yet could find neither of them today, frightened me.

It was all a reminder that I needed to get my shit together.

In an effort to find my Bohemian rug for the Zen Den, I spent the afternoon yesterday on my hands and knees, digging through the attic. While there I finally unearthed a bin of throw blankets that had been missing for six months. They were hidden behind a portable toilet that Brock lovingly gifted me when our septic system backed up in 2009 and my word processor from 1994- because those are apparently "keepers" in this house. I never found the rug, but I did find the original plastic zipper bag for the crib bedding I was sending to a friend. I told her I would send it two weeks ago, but it was sitting in a corner... in my office... along with my cousin's wedding gift... the one who was married last summer. The zipper bag was full of Mary Kay make-up samples and office supplies. I had thrown it in there two year ago, telling myself, "I'll sort through this another day". I drug it downstairs and dumped it out on my bedroom floor. It seemed "another day" had arrived.

It was all a reminder that I needed to get my shit together.

I redecorated the boys room last week and still hadn't bought lamps. I had yet to buy gifts for two babies and one wedding. I wanted to get a jump the boys' Easter baskets. I spent the morning collecting those things. I finally found and purchased the light bulbs that I originally wanted for the pendant lights in the kitchen. The ones Brock installed over six years ago. I was on top of that task!

I bled money.

I like 50% off sales and I cannot lie.

It was all a reminder that I needed to get my work done so I could earn more money.

I pulled into the driveway and looked at the big tree. It needed to be trimmed but the estimate from the tree people was over $2,200. Then I looked at the garage. It needed to burn down. Then I thought about the 43 unfinished projects that were lingering and the lawn mower that I needed to purchase and the fact that the horses were arriving in 29 days and I had a minor panic attack.

It was all a reminder that I needed to get my shit together.

Once inside, I packaged the baby gift for my cousin's new infant girl. Three months old is still new, right? After ripping apart the closet, I realized that the only wrapping paper in my home was either Santa Claus or Camouflage. Target already owned my bank account and I wasn't about to return there a second time in one day, so the boys and I went to work with perfectly preserved drawing paper I bought in 1995 and three month old markers that were missing half the caps. I even found the perfect sized box to fit the gift. Then we did baby gift number two- and that baby wasn't even born yet! Art time plus two checks off the to-do list!

Getting there! Making a giant mess in the process!

I started to feel like I was getting my shit together.

Taking a break from "Art-hour", we all sat on the couch for "Homework-hour". Thing 1 practiced his reading. Then the boys watched me package more gifts for shipping. Unfortunately, that meant there was no time to cook dinner, but we know how to improvise! (Brock) I made a mental checklist of how many things to take to the post office the next day. Five. Check!

I probably should have written it down. My brain is like a funnel cloud with an entire house, the contents of the city dump and an angry cow flying around in it. But I was getting my shit together!

By the end of the day, I was starting to feel better, but I was exhausted. Dinner (ala Brock) was consumed and the kids were shuffled to bed and tucked in with kisses and prayers. My foot was aching and I couldn't breathe unless I had my mouth open. I had been to the Doctor three nights ago and was on antibiotics for some gunk I've had since February. It took me seven weeks to finally take myself to the Doctor, but I finally went. It was time to call it a day. I walked into my room and suddenly remembered that I needed to sort through that pile of Mary Kay crap on my floor. I had also washed the sheets, but hadn't yet made the bed. I sighed.

It all reminded me that I needed to get my shit together.

This morning, I woke up coughing at 5 a.m. I decided to get a head start on the day. I crept out of bed and started the coffee. As I sat in silence for an hour, I sipped my coffee and looked at Pinterest. All those Pins from people who had their shit together! It simultaneously inspired me and made me feel worthless. With big plans for organization and success, I immediately started packaging the rest of the items to be shipped. I wrote thoughtful notes and found mailing envelopes while making breakfast, answering 138 questions, gathering Thing 1's school items and signing off on homework.

I felt like I was getting my shit together!

Then I went to find my address book. It is Pepto Bismol pink and easy to spot. I almost always keep it in the cabinet above Brock's computer. Yet when I opened the door. It was not there. No problem. Sometimes I throw it in the basket of paperwork that I haven't sorted through. Yet when I dumped it out, it was not there. No problem. Every once in a while I toss it in the other basket of paperwork that I have sorted through. Yet when I dug through it, it was not there. No problem. Sometimes I throw it in my purse. Yet when I dug through it, it was not there. Then I checked my jewelry cabinet. Nope. I walked in my socks, in 23 degree temperature, out to my truck. Nada. I dug through all the other office cupboards. No.


How was I supposed to get my shit together when I can't even find my shit?

I know what you're thinking,
"She's clearly so organized. I'm shocked she can't find anything!"

In a final, irritated attempt, I dug through my art supplies. I did not find my address book, but I did find two cards that my kids had made my Dad for Father's Day. Lat year. They had never been sent. Whoops. I threw them on the spare bed. I would deal with those later.

I started to sort through the paperwork from the basket of "needs to be sorted" papers that I dumped all over the buffet. In the pile, I found the Pepto Bismol pink address book. Hallelujah!

Now all I have to do is finish packaging things, write address labels, load everything (including myself and Thing 2) in the truck, drive to the post office and mail everything.

But the dishes are calling my name, I still haven't showered and I need to get some writing done...

Dirty dishes are stupid.

Now taking applications for a sister wife. Must be physically hideous, pathologically clean, an excellent cook, great with children and love manual labor. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

TMI Fridays- Toulouse and Tonic

Today we are learning all about the lovely Toulouse of the blog, Toulouse and Tonic. This is yet another case of the Internet bringing two people together that were meant to know one another. This lady not only is raising two boys, she is also a fellow horse-lover, a shoe maven and from a matriarchal family. Her story, "Stranger in the Land of Twigs and Berries", in the anthology I Just Want to Pee Alone had me laughing out loud and bumping my chest in solidarity.

This gal gets me.


Toulouse's blog is packed full of hilarity. She speaks frankly of parenting and life, always with wit and panache. In short, she's brilliant. Head over to her favorite posts and prepare to settle in with your laptop and a cup of something warm, because you'll be there for awhile, clicking through all of her posts and discovering that you love each one even more than the last. Trust me. I speak from experience.

To top it off, not only is does this lady possess a great talent for writing and humor, she also possesses great beauty. And her family... they're all gorgeous. Seriously. I'm going to adopt all of them. 

CFG: Tell us about your start in writing?

T&T:  I folded a piece of paper in half and drew what looked like a balloon - but was supposedly a person - on it and called it my first book.  My dad swears I was 2.  In the 3rd grade, I composed a poem called "The American Heritage."  I saw it on a book spine and, having no idea what a heritage was, wrote a poem about a monster.  No one called me a genius - but they did call me creative.  Eventually I studied writing a bit in college and came back around to it as an outlet when I "retired" from the career world and began to go nuts staying at home with my first baby.  When people ask what I dreamed of being when I was a child, writer is the first and last answer.  In between are things I would've been heinous at like actress, singer, football coach and world's shortest, meatiest-thighed fashion model.
CFG: How did you come up with the name of your blog?

T&T:  Toulouse is my alter-ego.  She had never done anything more productive than drink and instigate things before the blog so this has been her chance to redeem herself.  She also gives me a chance to talk about myself in the third person which most people think is just adorable.

CFG: Who is the wind beneath your wings?

T&T:   I have a lot of people who've been very important in my life but since we're talking about writing, this one goes to my husband.  He's been incredibly supportive and encouraging about a "job" where the benefits are often not very tangible.  He's also not afraid to ask me to rise up when he thinks I can do better.  That's a tough job and even though I sometimes want to close a door on his face after he critiques my writing, ultimately I find he's almost always right.

CFG: What is your biggest pet peeve?

T&T:  It's hard to choose just one but I'm gonna go ahead and admit to being a really big nerd about grammar and spelling.  Now everyone go straight to my blog and email me about every error you see there.  PLEASE DO NOT.  I also get disproportionately upset when I see people wearing leggings as pants.  

CFG: What is the craziest, weirdest thing on your bucket list?

T&T:  I don't have one.  I stayed single for a long time and I did a lot of crazy shit.  I'm happy to ride out the rest with my husband and kids just living life and maybe taking a side trip to Disney World.

CFG: What is your most regrettable fashion faux pas and will you please provide us with photographic evidence?

T&T:  When I was 12, all the girls were wearing zip-up one piece jumpsuits.  The only one I could find was orange polyester.  I put on and pranced myself to Wednesday night church.  I was a neon traffic cone of original sin.  I never wore it again.

CFG: What person/place/thing do you hate that you love?

T&T:  I kind of hate that I love US Weekly.  But at the same time, I don't give a shit.  Everybody needs something to read in the bathtub.

CFG: What is your greatest fear?

T&T:  I'm afraid of heights and orange polyester jumpsuits but the only thing I'm really afraid of is losing my husband and kids.  I have a total freak-out every time they all ride off in the car together.  But as soon as they're safely where they're going, I'm ecstatic to have some time alone.

CFG: I do the exact same thing.

CFG: Who is your favorite animated character and why?

T&T: I have boys, which means I end up watching about 5 minutes of a lot of superhero type stuff as I pass through the room stepping on legos and cursing under my breath.  The only one that can get me to sit down and actually watch the whole show?  "Oh, there you are, Perry!"
Phineas & Ferb is the best thing to happen to mom's (and dad's) of boys.  All of the characters are great but Perry is a platypus AND a badass secret agent who saves the world, like, every day, duh!

CFG: Who are your celebrity free passes?

T&T: I think my husband would've understood if I'd ever gotten the chance to shack up with Paul Walker before he so sadly passed away.  My other free pass is David Beckham, but only if he doesn't talk.  I just want him to come into the room in his underpants and stare at me like he does in the ads.  What happens after that is none of your business but it involves ice cream, wine, foot massages and "The Golden Girls."

CFG: What is your favorite chapter in I Just Want to Pee Alone and why? 

T&T:  I loved every story there but I think Meredith from the Mom of the Year - hers got to me.  It's the rare person who can make death with all of its pain somehow hysterically funny.

CFG:  Any new projects you're excited about?

T&T:  The sequel to "I Just Want To Pee Alone" is out this Saturday, March 22.  It's called "I Just Want To Be Alone" and I'm in it with a story about how boyfriends, bleach and margaritas don't mix.  It's a story I've wanted to tell for a long time and I can't wait to see what everyone thinks of it.  

CFG: Congrats! I can't wait to read it! 

Suzanne Fleet is the writer behind the award-winning blog, Toulouse & Tonic, and mom to 2 stinky boys, who together with her good-natured husband, give her loads of funny writing material.  Suzanne is one of Circle of Moms Top 25 Funny Moms, and a contributor to Huffington Post, In The Powder Room and Bonbon Break as well as a proud co-author of the best-selling books I Just Want To Pee AloneI Just Want To  Be Alone and You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth.  You can also find her on G+facebooktwitterand pinterest.