Little Lambs Go to Italy Part 2: Let the Stupid Fights Begin

Our first stop on our tour through Italy was a visit to the Vatican. Unfortunately, we had to wait in line for about two hours in the rain before we could even get through the doors. This was a bit of a disappointment since I was already tired from being woken up in the middle of the night by the town nut job-aka Jane-so even the thought of standing that long was exhausting. Having gone to Catholic schools all my life and now working at a Catholic school, I thought I might qualify for some sort of “express pass” in getting into the Vatican, similar to those passes you can get at amusement parks to skip to the front of the line for roller coasters, but apparently the Vatican does not do that. So I ended up waiting in line with the rest of the lay people/peasants as my hair frizzed out. The wait was worth it though as once we got in we saw many beautiful paintings and statues. We stopped at the gift shop to pick up a crucifix for our landlords/parents because we are just the greatest daughters ever and don’t want our Mom and Dad hanging out with any vampires (I hear those vampires are bad news! Can’t let my Baby Boomers get caught up in the wrong crowd!). Then we grabbed a quick pizza lunch. Sadly, our lunch was a pretty stressful experience as the pizza lady was mean and rushing Jane and me to make our decision! Did she not know that deciding on a pizza is a huge decision that must be well thought out and cannot be rushed?! Did she not know that the worst remorse one can experience in life is food remorse?! It’s not a decision that can be taken lightly, like deciding to get into a dark van with a complete stranger or deciding to spend two weeks in a foreign country without doing any sort of research at all. Pizza decisions require lots of time and thought.

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Die-hard Catholics right there.

After our terrible lunch experience we got on our tour bus to head to Sorrento. The drive was a couple of hours long so about halfway through we stopped at a service station for a bathroom break and snacks. We were on a tight schedule so our tour guide told us we had a half hour break before we had to be on the bus to continue our journey. Jane decided to spend the first 28 minutes of her break sitting at a table like a zombie staring off into space before she decided she wanted an iced coffee. That coffee experience turned out to be almost as stressful as our pizza experience! First the line for coffee suddenly got long, then Jane went to the wrong counter to pick up her coffee and the coffee workers didn’t speak any English so they didn’t know what we were trying to say! “Wow Jane, I’m so glad you did absolutely nothing for 28 minutes and then finally decided you wanted an iced coffee with TWO MINUTES left of our break!” I said sarcastically as we ran to catch our bus before it left us in the middle of nowhere. Luckily we got back on just in time.

After a few hours on the bus we finally arrived at our hotel in Sorrento. Jane and I both really had to go to the bathroom but again, being the selfless older sister that I am, I let her go first. When it was my turn to go I stepped into the bathroom and tripped over an extremely large towel that was for some reason covering the entire bathroom floor. “Why the HECK is this gigantic towel on the floor in the bathroom?!” I yelled to Jane “I nearly broke my face tripping over it!” “Oh yeah.” Jane responded casually. “I put that on the floor. I thought we could use it as our shower mat.” “What?!” I said “Why did you choose the LARGEST towel that takes up the whole bathroom floor?! Why didn’t you just install wall to wall towel carpeting in the bathroom?!” “Oh well aren’t you sassy!” Jane said “I’ll have you know that I didn’t want to get the tile slippery when I showered.” “Are you planning on showering tonight before dinner?” I asked. “We only have like 15 minutes to get ready you know.” “Oh no, I’m not showering tonight I’m WAY too tired.” Jane answered, acting as if I had just asked her the dumbest question. “I don’t plan on showering until tomorrow after we go to the beach.” At this point I started laughing hysterically. I couldn’t get over the fact that we had not been in our hotel room for more than 4 minutes yet Jane’s immediate concern was making sure the bathroom tile stayed dry after a shower she didn’t plan on taking for at least another 12 hours or so.

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And it’s not even unfolded all the way.

The next day we got right into our swim suits and headed to Capri to go on our boat cruise! We cruised around the island, jumped out and swam a few times (Could have really used that gigantic towel to dry off with when we got back on the boat but unfortunately it was already assigned the role of shower mat so I had to air dry), and just enjoyed the sun and the bright blue water. It was a perfect way to de-stress after our pizza experience. Once we got back on the island we had a few hours of free time to have lunch and explore the island. Jane, a few of our tour friends, and I walked around trying to find a place to eat. We walked by a place with outdoor seating overlooking the water. The restaurant owner was standing at the entrance and was overly enthusiastic about welcoming us and wanting us to come in and eat at her restaurant so we did. She grabbed some menus and showed us to our table. The tables on the patio were packed so closely I was practically sitting on the man at the table next to our’s lap. That should have been the first red flag that it was going to be a bad eating experience. We placed our orders and then I went in to use the bathroom. When I went in to the stall I noticed the handle was a little funny but didn’t think too much of it. Then when I tried to open the stall door I realized it was jammed and I couldn’t get out.  I fiddled with the handle a little bit and banged on the door for a while. “Oh this is just great, I’m locked in the bathroom” I thought to myself. Had I been locked in a bathroom in America I could have just climbed out through the ten foot gap between the floor and the bottom of the stall door but nooooooo I had to get locked in a bathroom in Italy where they respect privacy and the stall door goes right down to the floor. Finally one of the restaurant workers came in with a screw driver and let me out. I then went back to my table as if nothing had happened and made no mention of my traumatic bathroom experience. Not long after our food came out which we all ate and then immediately felt sick. Afterwards we were talking about how terrible the food was and Jane said, “Yeah, ya know I was told by a few people before we left on this trip to not to eat at any restaurant where the owner calls you in because usually it’s a bad restaurant.” We all gave her a look. “Thank you so so much for that extremely useful advice, Jane,” I said. “It’s so nice of you to share this information with us now that we probably all have food poisoning and/or parasites from that disgusting meal.” Here I thought the owner was just friendly and really happy to see us.

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Thumbs up for food poisoning!

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Stumbled upon this shop called “Mike” while exploring Capri! Sent this one to all my Mike’s back in the USA!

After our lunch we walked around a bit to check out the island and then took the ferry back to the mainland where there were lots of cute places to shop. Our tour guide gave us all some time to check out all these great shops and local street markets but Jane and I wanted to make better use of our time so we found an Irish Pub and sat outside drinking Magners. I though we were having a rather enjoyable time just sitting in silence watching the people traffic, enjoying a nice drink on a nice day but apparently Jane was not enjoying her time as much and wanted to try to make conversation. Thus, this stupid fight ensued:

Jane: So, what do you want to talk about?
Me: Nothing.
Jane: You don’t want to talk about ANYTHING?!
Me: Nah, I’m kind of tired. Plus, I don’t really have anything I want to say right now. I think I’ve said everything I wanted to today.
Jane: I think we should talk about SOMETHING at least.
Me: Why? Are you uncomfortable with sitting in silence with another person?
Jane: Well yes, I feel like we should at least try to make some conversation, don’t you?
Me: Why do you feel awkward and uncomfortable with me?! Is this a meet and greet?! Am I on an interview? I think it’s polite to make conversation with someone you don’t really know but we are sisters so I really don’t feel like we need to engage each other in a forced conversation! I am VERY COMFORTABLE sitting without having any conversation with you. Honestly you should take that as a compliment Jane because it means I’m very comfortable with you.

This then led into us having a conversation about conversations which then led into us having a debate on the straw ban in the United States and whether or not it has made its way to Italy yet. So once again, Jane got her way. Classic youngest child.

Once Jane was done talking my ear off we met back up with our tour group, attended a pizza making demonstration and then enjoyed a delicious pizza dinner. We decided to call it an early night as by that point I had broken out in a full body rash due to the sun poisoning I got from being out on the boat and exposed to the sun too long. Classic pale Irish kid. But other than the food and sun poisoning, and being locked in the bathroom, our day in Capri was amazing!

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Teeth brushing then bed time for these beach bums! Sun poisoning is exhausting!

The next morning we traveled to Pompeii and did a guided tour there. To sum up Pompeii in a nutshell-very hot, lots of bricks, lots of broken clay vases and cups. This is also where Jane mysteriously picked up an Australian accent. The first couple of times I thought I had just mis-heard her or that the heat was getting to me, but then when she said “It’s hot out here today” in CLEARLY a fake Australian accent I had to put my foot down. “Why are you suddenly talking like Nicole Kidman?!” I said “We have literally been out of Chicago for 72 hours!” Jane apparently had no idea she was talking like that and we both started laughing at how ridiculous she sounded. Jane claimed she sometimes accidentally picks up on other people’s accents and since our tour group included lots of people from Australia, she was doing it without realizing it. Classic town nut job Jane.

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Me and some cleaning lady at Pompeii.

After Pompeii I got on the bus with Crocodile Hunter Jane and the rest of our group to begin our journey to Florence. We all watched the movie Mama Mia which I’m sure the boys in our group were thrilled about. I had never seen it before and I was extremely appalled at the ending (Warning: Mama Mia spoiler alerts ahead)! I mean seriously?! They just decided to NOT find out who her father really was?! They are really just going to “share” the father role?! She’s just going to go her whole life never knowing which of those three men is actually her father?! How is that OK?! I mean I’m no psychologist but, wow, seems like a great way to mess up that poor girl. I mean a simple paternity test would do the trick. Then after that depressing movie we had to watch this dumb boring informational video about Florence and Italy. It was so slow and outdated I literally had no patience for it and was starting to get fidgety. “Would you just sit still?!” Jane finally yelled. “I’m sorry Jane!” I yelled back. “I can’t sit through this, it’s too boring! I’m a Millennial I need constant stimulation, this is too slow for me! It’s too much text to read and not enough flashy images, I’ve check out. If I had data on my phone I’d probably be tweeting by now.” Somehow I was able to survive the rest of the video and make it to our hotel in Florence. Our hotel room was nice but the shower was weird-the shower head was like a garden hose and you had to hold it so when I showered I felt like I was bathing a dog. Jane also had trouble with this shower and basically flooded the bathroom. We really could have used that gigantic towel on the bathroom floor this time. Once we were done at the dog groomer’s-Whoops I meant showering-We headed out for a spaghetti and meatball dinner and then out to a karaoke bar where Jane and I absolutely killed it with out rendition of the 1999 Backstreet Boys chart topper “I Want it That Way.” It was a real crowd pleaser.
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The next day Our tour group attended a leather demonstration at one of the local Florence leather shops. Afterwards we walked around the shop and considered buying some purses, but then we saw the price tags, remembered we were poor, and decided against it. After the leather shop we had a guided tour of the city and then we were free to do our own exploring again. Jane and I climbed the steps to the top of this bell tower which was exhausting but the views were awesome.

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It was a nice bell but it was no Taco Bell that is for sure.

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Jane was clearly trying to seduce the bell. He’s too old for you Jane! Leave him alone!

After that we tried to find this one Panini place we heard was good but we never found it. Jane kept leading us in zig zags so we kept getting lost and confused. I kept suggesting we go back to the central square so we could get an idea of where we were and then look at the map again and see if we could pinpoint how to get to the panini place to which Jane would ignore and say “Well let’s just go down this little street and see where it takes us.” So then I would sigh and follow her, we’d walk for about ten more minutes, not find the panini place, argue a bit and then Jane would say “Well I don’t know why you’re following me! I don’t know where I’m going!” Then we’d both laugh at how dumb and lost we were. This little scene happened a few more times until we finally gave up and just got gelato. After having our gelato we walked past some artist doing some chalk drawings of famous paintings on the street and got into a minor disagreement about whether or not one of the artists was doing a drawing of the Mona Lisa or not. Jane was convinced it was the Mona Lisa and I was convinced it was not. It wasn’t until later that we discovered we were looking at two completely different chalk drawings so we were both right!

After our chalk argument Jane took me on an exhausting quest to-and I kid you not-help her find a RING that would “remind her of her time in Florence.” I swear we walked every inch of Florence looking for this damn magical ring but Jane was so specific on what she wanted we couldn’t find anything to her liking. She was VERY annoyed and upset. She looked so sad so I kept trying to appease her suggesting other shops. “Hey Jane what about this shop? You think this might have your ring?” I asked. She just kept walking, looking down at the ground like a four-year old child and said sadly “Probably not.” “What are you, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh!” I said. “It’s a ring! Stop pouting and move on!” We both laughed at how childish she was being and just decided to give up and started to walk back to our hotel. About a block before our hotel we stumbled upon a jewelry shop and decided to try one more time. We walked in and it was as if we hit the jackpot-beautiful and affordable rings everywhere! Finally! So what did Jane walk out of the store with that day? Her perfect Florence ring you would think, right? Nope. SHE BOUGHT A NECKLACE CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! SHE CHANGED HER MIND AT THE LAST MINUTE AND DECIDED SHE DIDN’T WANT A RING ANYMORE BUT A NECKLACE! “Are you KIDDING ME Jane?!” I said as she walked out the door with her purchase. “You just dragged me on a 30 mile walk for your magical Florence ring and you get a necklace?!” I nearly collapsed.

Later that night after we laid down for a little bit and I finally decided against having Jane take me to the hospital to have my legs amputated after the ring journey, we got all dolled up for our tour group dinner in Tuscany! The views were awesome, the food was good and the sangria was delicious. After dinner we all headed to a night club where we enjoyed more delicious drinks, dancing, and of course fog and seizure inducing flashing lights. It was such a fun night and a great way to end our time in the wonderful city of Florence!

Part 3 of our trip coming soon! Stay tuned!

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We tried to take a cute Insta-worthy pic of our drinks and the view but it just ended up looking like one person awkwardly holding two drinks so we never posted it.

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“Hi everyone! Look at us we are at a Club”-Us

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Little Lambs go to Italy Part 1: Getting There

 

IMG_4800In July, my sister Jane and I took the trip of a lifetime-a two week tour through Italy. Most people, when preparing to go to a foreign country and spend a whole bunch of money on such an expensive vacation, might spend weeks or even months planning out every  detail-places to visit, hotels to stay at, transportation, budgets, etc., but not us. We were pretty last minute in everything. I mean, who has time these days to plan out a trip to Europe?! Definitely not two twenty somethings, who live at home with their parents, have no kids or family to take care of, households to maintain or real adult responsibilities to take up their time. We were ACTUALLY busy. Jane was halfway through The Office series on Netflix and I was trying to power through the last season of Nurse Jackie. Plus, if you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute! That’s our motto! So, a few short weeks prior to our departure, at about 11:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night, Jane and I decided to finally book our flights and throw a couple of grand at a tour company we knew really nothing about except that they plan the trip details and logistics out for you, so we were sold.

We were pumped for this new adventure but our dad wasn’t 100% thrilled that his two youngest were leaving the good old USA and traveling abroad together. When he’s not calling us “Millennial snowflakes,” he often refers to Jane and me as “two little lambs”- young, naive, and too trusting of the world. “Oh great, you two will be traveling together,” my Dad said sarcastically. “I can just imagine you two walking down the streets of Italy ‘La-de-da life is beautiful, hey where’s the beer?! Where’s the party at?!’ I’m going to need to pray extra hard you two don’t get kidnapped!” I quickly tried to reassure my Dad and remind him that I was a young business woman with TWO SUCCESSFUL business trips under my belt, not one, but TWO. So I was pretty confident I could manage a trip abroad while caring for my younger sister. He had no reason to fret. Was I worried about spending every single moment for two weeks with my sister? No, not really. I have known her a pretty long time and we’ve vacationed together a few times before-Michigan basically every year and Disney World once in the late 90’s with the family-so I knew we would get into some extremely stupid fights, but we’d both come back alive. We travel well together for the most part.

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Jane being lazy and needing my help down the slide on a family vacation in Michigan.

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Special thanks to my mom for dressing me (far left) like a 45 year old father of four with that white bulls hat and blue and white windbreaker to ensure no one would want to kidnap me during this family trip to Disney World. I bet I was wearing ankle high white socks and gym shoes too.

After days of planning out our outfits and figuring out how to fit everything we needed for two weeks into two tiny suitcases, the day finally came for us to depart on our big trip. Our Dad drove us to the airport all alone because apparently our mom doesn’t love us and thought it was more important to go couch shopping with her other daughter. Being a gentleman he made sure we got into the airport ok, said goodbye and then left us at the terminal. We checked our bags and then got in line to go through security and that’s when we ran into the first few hiccups of our travel journey.

“Uggghhh man look at this security line, airports are the worst am I right?” I said. “What are you talking about?!” Jane responded. “There are like two people ahead of us, this is the shortest I’ve seen it in a a long time!” “Ugh well my carry on backpack is so heavy I’m getting tired of standing.” I said. “Hey wait,” Jane said. “Do you have room in there for the shampoo? I had it packed in my suitcase but thought it might spill so I took it out last minute and don’t really have room in my carry-on.” Well, being the selfless older sister I am, I responded, “Yea sure, let me just move around some things.” I took my backpack off and started to rummage through my items and rearrange them in my backpack. While doing this I pulled out the huge jug of contact solution I had in my backpack. I looked up and noticed Jane was looking at me like I had just pulled out a bomb. Before I could ask her why she was looking at me with such a frightened look on her face she whisper yelled at me, “What are you doing with that?! You can’t go through security with that!” I was still confused, “What are you talking about?! I need contact solution for my contacts! Not all of us can have perfect 20/20 vision, JANE!” Stupid healthy Jane, I thought to myself, always rubbing in that fact that she’s perfectly healthy and I’m not. “No you dummy!” she responded “Liquids have to be 4 ounces or less! You can’t carry that on the plane!” “Oh shoot!” I said, “I forgot that was still a thing! Ugh darn! Well, I’m just going to have to risk it, I’m not throwing out this jug of contact solution, I JUST bought it from Meijer and it set me back 15 dollars I am NOT just going to throw it out!” Even though I said this with confidence, internally I began to panic and question everything I knew about airport security. I started to bombard Jane with my questions as if she was head of the TSA. “Shoot Jane, can I go through security with my watch? What about my earrings do I need to take them off?! And my ring?!” She politely told me to shut up. A few minutes later, as we moved up in the line right before we were about to take off our shoes and put our bags on the conveyor belt, the TSA officer monitoring our line looked over at the two of us and called Jane over. Oh no, I thought, he knows about my jug of contact solution! To my bewilderment though he simply asked Jane how old I was. We both looked at each other confused as to why he was asking Jane about MY age. Especially since a lady NEVER reveals her age. Turns out he was asking because people traveling with children 12 and younger can skip taking off their shoes and go through the express security line and he thought I was 12. He was absolutely shocked to learn I was 27. Jane could not stop laughing. “Oh shut up Jane! You’ll be jealous when I’m 40 and still look 12!” Karma caught up with Jane though and her bag got flagged going through security and had to be searched. Turns out it set off the alarm because her bag was too “dense” most likely, they said, from having too many books in her bag. When the TSA agents told us this I laughed and said, “Haha Jane you dork!” I don’t think this helped my case in proving I was NOT a 12 year old but it was worth it.

Once we got through security we had plenty of time to kill because our flight was two hours delayed! So we found the nearest bar and posted up there for a while-making our dad proud! After what seemed like forever, we finally were starting to board the plane. While waiting in line Jane’s passport photo caught my eye and I became frightened, as I thought I might be traveling with a potential serial killer. “That’s interesting,” I said to Jane, “I had no idea they let people use their mug shots as their passport photos too. When did you do time in prison, Jane?” She gave me a shove and claimed they wouldn’t let her smile for her photo, yet I was allowed to smile for my passport photo? Very suspicious, JANE! Perks of being a 12 year old forever I guess-you get to take a smiling passport photo. She also assured me she never did any prison time so I’m glad we got that squared away before we were about to board a plane together.

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Typical Millennial snowflakes being dramatic over a minor inconvenience. As you can see, I used my extra time to perfect my Snap Chat editing skills. Jane was my first subject.

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Our delayed flight also gave us time to get a quick check-up at the airport shoe hospital. Those airplanes are full of germs so you can never be too careful.

We got two seats together, put our carry-ons in the overhead bin, and settled in for a very long flight. Jane immediately began to inflate her travel neck pillow like an 87 year old woman and passed out in seconds. I, on the other hand, knew I would not be able to fall asleep on this flight so I perused the movies and decided to watch the movie “Lady Bird.” I was excited to learn more about the life of former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson in this film until I discovered “Lady Bird” was not about Lady Bird Johnson at all! After I realized I had gotten my movies confused I kept waiting for Michael Keaton’s character to come on screen but THEN remembered he was in the movie “BirdMAN” and not “Lady Bird.” What is with all these movies with “Bird” in the title, sheesh! I finished the movie but honestly could not tell you what it was about because of all the bird mix ups.

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I was able to get this quick photo in before Grandma fell asleep with her fluffy neck pillow.

Later on they served us our delicious prepackaged and preservative-filled microwave airplane dinner. Jane rudely began to eat her dinner before I had even gotten my tray-had her parents not taught her any manners? She was nice enough to keep ordering and giving me her waters and juices. I’m literally thirsty all the time and those airplane cups are like shot glasses so I was tossing back the liquids left and right! Luckily, Jane is like a camel and can have a little bit of water and be set for days so she had no problem giving up her water and soft drinks to me. After our bellies were full we remembered the first item we forgot at home-Tweezers! We were both devastated that we forgot this major necessity. “Oh great!” I said sarcastically. “We’re both going to come back to America in two weeks looking like Bert from Sesame Street without any tweezers!” God forbid we actually buy a pair in Europe.

After what seemed like days on that airplane we finally landed in Rome. Me and prison Jane sailed through customs, grabbed our bags and then realized we did not know how to get to our hotel. We were told we could take the train to our hotel but figuring that out was a little harder than we thought. Jane and I mainly specialize in calling Ubers back home but we could not do that in Italy so trying to figure out public transportation was a bit of a challenge. We are south side suburban bumpkins, we are no city girls! We must have looked lost in the airport because a young Italian man came up to us and asked if we needed help getting somewhere. We told him we were trying to take the train to our hotel and he informed us the train workers were on strike but he had a shuttle service that he could arrange to take us right to our hotel for only 20 euro! “How convenient!” we thought. What a great idea for two young girls in a foreign country who have no idea where they are going and don’t speak the native language to take a ride from a complete stranger! So we agreed and he made a bunch of suspicious phone calls speaking Italian, then he passed us off to another Italian man who led us to a black van with tinted windows in a parking garage. Scenes from the movie “Taken” were flashing through our minds as we began to worry that maybe we were being kidnapped. We did notice other people in the van though so instead of running away and dealing with the absolute HASSLE of trying to figure out that public transportation nonsense we decided to risk being kidnapped/our lives and jumped right into the front seats of the van with our driver. Luckily, it turned out great and the driver took us right to our hotel! Phew!

We checked into our hotel room and discovered we had a room with two twin beds-just like our old room at Mike Sr. and Mo Kelly’s Old Maid Boarding House! Italy really knows how to make people feel at home! We dropped our bags and decided to walk around the area for a bit. We took some photos with all the Mopeds, scooters and motorcycles parked everywhere, saw lots of dumpsters and grabbed some coffee to try and ward off that jet lag we were starting to feel. Unfortunately, our walk was cut short as Jane had just eaten a gigantic cookie moments before we left the hotel for our walk and was now starting to feel sick. Her face was pale and she looked like she was about to blow chunks all over the place so I led us back to our hotel where we both took a very quick nap.

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Didn’t see ANY cup holders so I declined the offer to take it for a spin.

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Total dude magnet

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Could not get over this dumpster’s long, luscious eye lashes! The dumpsters in Italy really are beautiful!

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Our uncomfortably close twin beds in our hotel room. We even threw our junk all over the place just like we do at home! Our parents would be so thrilled!

After that we headed down to the lobby for a meet and greet with our tour guide and the 49 other people on our tour group. Everyone was very nice, friendly and seemed cool! We all went to dinner and then drinks afterwards but Jane and I were so tired we called it an early night and headed back for a good night’s rest in our twin beds. The beds were pretty comfortable but they were awkwardly close together. So close in fact that Jane smacked me right in the face during the night! (She has YET to apologize for this by the way) Then at three in the morning she woke up and turned all the lights on and started to get ready thinking it was time to start the tour! She was so out of it it took me a while to convince her to go back to bed. “You dodo bird! It’s three in the morning! I yelled to her (ever so politely of course) from my bed “Go back to sleep and shut off all those lights!” When our alarm finally did go off the next day Jane woke up well rested and ready to start our tour! I on the other hand, was feeling a bit sluggish from being physically assaulted in the face and being woken up at the crack of dawn by my lunatic sister. We checked out of our hotel and got on our coach bus for our first day of Italian adventures. We were ready and excited to start day one of what was to be an amazing trip filled with fun times, great sights and awesome new friends!!

Stay tuned for Part 2…

Summertime, Baby!

892.JPGAs the fourth of July holiday draws near, I honesty can’t believe how fast this summer is flying. While it’s been a busy June, the start of the summer of 2018 has DEFINITELY been more relaxing than the summer of 2017, when half my family decided to make a pregnancy pact and all be pregnant at the same time. Last summer, I felt like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride Part II running around trying to prepare for the birth of the babies, never knowing when the the moment would come.

I am especially grateful that I haven’t had to help my mom host any baby showers this summer either. Last June, my mom thought it would be a good idea to host my sister’s baby shower at our house. She must have blocked out the memory of all the years we had to host graduation parties at our house when she made this decision. With 5 kids it seemed each year someone was graduating from grammar school or high school and we had to throw a party at our house for it. Unlike my mom, those horrific memories of preparing for the graduation parties were burned in my mind, and I knew getting ready for this baby shower would not be much different than those graduation parties. The cleaning, the errands, preparing the food and drinks, the decorations. It’s exhausting. I still remember as a small child getting ready for my brother’s graduation party. Per usual we were up to the last second trying to get our normally messy house in shape for the outside world.  I distinctly remember the panic I felt when I was sweeping and out of the corner of my eye I saw our first guests walking up the driveway. My siblings soon saw the guests too, and we all looked at each other, frozen in fear with our cleaning supplies in hand. We said nothing, but we didn’t need to, the terror in our eyes said enough. After no one moved or talked for what felt like hours I finally shouted to my mom. “Mom! Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jim are here already! What do we do we’re not done cleaning the dining room!” “WHAT?! ALREADY??!” My mom responded frantically “Did we not say four on the invitation?! It’s just a few minutes after four why are they here already?!” At this point we’d go into crisis mode-a drill we knew all too well. My mom would run upstairs to change, do her makeup and take the curlers out of her hair while us kids would handle things downstairs. One kid would go make small talk outside with the firsts guests (stalling them from coming inside) while the others would start shoving papers, shoes, backpacks and any other junk ANYWHERE we could hide it-cabinets, drawers, closets etc. I must say, as long as no one opened any doors, our house looked pretty darn good!

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Don’t bother calling DCFS on my behalf. Sadly this picture was taken 15 years ago so the statute of limitations is up, there’s no saving me now.

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Big smiles after being told we would not be hosting a party for Bridget’s Kindergarten Graduation. Michael was so excited he forgot to support baby Jane’s head. She turned out semi-ok still though.

While I tried to convince my mom to have it somewhere else, she insisted hosting the shower at our house wouldn’t be that bad. And as it turns out, she was actually completely wrong. It was WORSE than getting ready for those graduation parties. For one, our workforce was less since only two kids lived at home instead of five. Poor Jane and I were worked like dogs-cleaning, getting balloons, alcohol, food, decorations etc. Meanwhile Duke, the only real dog in the house, did no work at all which I thought was completely unfair. Also, we had no clear theme since my sister didn’t know if she was having a boy or a girl! (Spoiler alert: She had a boy). And don’t even get me started on setting up the tent. Putting that tent together nearly ripped my family apart. Then once the shower started Jane and I thought we were off the hook but no, our work continued. Again, I related to Steve Martin but this time in Father of the Bride Part I when they host his daughter’s wedding reception in his backyard and he doesn’t even have time to eat at the party! And to make matters worse for us, Mo was CONVENIENTLY leaving for a vacation with Mike Sr. the day after the shower so poor Jane and I were left with the clean-up as well!

 

 

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The one thing we forgot to put away before the baby shower. Mo claims it was a tomato plant. Sure, mom, ya big hippie. I’ve read books about the 70’s, I know what happened back in the day.

So, how have I spent the summer of 2018 so far now that I haven’t had any baby showers, you ask? Well, this summer I’ve been caring for a different kind of baby, my favorite kind of baby actually, my Baby Boomers, Mike and Mo. Baby Boomers are a lot like newborn babies except they require a lot more care and attention because they need help with just about everything technology related.

One thing that has kept me earning my room and board is the smart TV in our basement. My siblings and I got this for our parents as a Christmas gift and it completely backfired on us-me in particular. My Dad loves his television shows so we thought he would enjoy a bigger, sharper TV for his basement “lair” as we call it. Boy, were we wrong, Mike Sr. is not a fan of new TVs and all their “bells and whistles.” Just about every night I get summoned to the basement by my father’s calls. “KATHLEEN! THE TV IS BROKEN AGAIN!” It’s never actually broken, he just doesn’t really know how to use it. Last week, I heard my nightly call from my father, and dragged myself down to the basement where I found him sitting perfectly still in his La-Z-Boy recliner, a blank stare on his face as he waited for his in-house cable repair man-aka ME-to come and “fix” his TV so he could watch Railroad Alaska or Highway Thru Hell or whatever dumb old man show he was watching that night. I became irritated because I could tell he made no effort to solve the problem on his own, and I was tired of constantly being the cable man of the house.

Me: What, are you paralyzed from the neck down or something??!! Can you not move and reset the cable box? You’re just sitting there! Did you even TRY to get up and resolve this issue on your own??!!
Dad: I pushed the AT&T button and it didn’t work! These damn TVs now a days you need about 8 million clickers just to turn the thing on! Why can’t we have one of the old TVs where you push the power button and that’s it!
Me: YOU DON’T NEED 8 MILLION CLICKERS! HERE, LOOK!
(At that I grabbed the remote and in about 2 seconds I had his show on)
Dad: Well how in the Hell did you do that so fast?!
Me: Dad, we’ve been over this a thousand times before, you have to learn! I won’t always be here to fix the TV for you.
Dad: Hey, at the rate you’re going who knows if you’ll ever get married and move out, you may be an old maid living with us forever, which is fine by me because we will need someone to take care of us when we are old.
Me: You already ARE old. And I told you many times before, I’m putting you right in a nursing home. And not one of those fancy and fun nursing homes like Smith Village. That place is like college for old people. Way too fun and expensive for you. You’ll go wherever the state tells you.

Another thing that has kept me busy this summer is my recent purchase of an Alexa that I put in our kitchen. Our radio went out and I thought we needed an upgrade so I bought an Alexa for the house. After I set it up I hosted a training session for the Boomers, showing them how to use it and all the features it has. Since then my Dad has been shouting commands at her, to which the device ignores because he keeps calling the thing “Siri” and not “Alexa.”

Dad: (Leans down and places face about an inch from Alexa and shouts) SIRI! HOW MUCH DOES A CSX HEAVY WEIGH?
Me: Dad, a couple things: 1. It’s not Siri it’s Alexa, 2. you do not need to shout and lean in so close to the thing 3. I highly doubt she knows much about freight trains.
Dad: Ahh see she’s not that smart then if she can’t even tell me how much a CSX Heavy weighs, is she? But I know you can tell me, Kathleen.
Me: Yes, I know this only because you’ve ingrained it in my brain since I was about two years old. It weighs 216 tons.

My mom is the opposite when it comes to the Alexa. She will be in different rooms whispering with her hand covering her mouth so that the Alexa doesn’t hear her, acting like she’s a prisoner that doesn’t want a guard to hear her escape plan.

Mom: (Said in whisper voice from the family room) Kathleen, I have a question about you know who (pointing to Alexa in the kitchen) but I don’t want to say her name and accidentally turn her on!

The Baby Boomers are still getting used to the smart TV and having Alexa as another “roommate.” But I’m confident once I can properly train them on using these things they’ll learn to enjoy them. It’s a lot of work taking care of my Baby Boomers but they are worth it! Yup, it might have been a busy June, but summertime living is always easy with Mike and Mo!

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Me being the backbone of the household while the two drunks behind me enjoy another Twisted Tea.

 

Saint Mom

This past Mother’s Day as my Mom, Dad, two old maid sisters and I were traveling in our Mom’s grey Honda minivan for a nice Mother’s Day dinner at my brother’s house, we had a real Hallmark moment-A huge argument over Grey Honda minivans. Since their car purchase back in 2012, my parents have a tendency to ALWAYS point out all the other grey Honda minivans on the road, and always with annoyance in their voice, as if these other soccer moms and dads maliciously copied off them.

Dad: God Almighty Mo! Look! ANOTHER grey Honda minivan! What, did they make 8 billion grey Honda minivans?! Does Honda only sell THIS one minivan make and color now?!
Bridget: Oh My God you guys LOVE to point out all the grey Honda minivans on the road, we get it, there are a lot of grey Honda Mini Vans!
Me: Really Mom and Dad, there probably aren’t as many as you think. It’s a psychological effect, since you have this make and model car your brain is now trained to notice others of the same type. I read about it in a book!
Dad: NO! The guy at the dealership said they had limited colors available for this type of Mini Van. So there really are more on the road.
Jane: Who cares, there are 16 cup holders in this baby let’s just enjoy that.
Me: Dad, can you PLEASE drive faster? You are going down these side streets at kidnapper speed, these families outside look like they’re worried you’re going to roll down your window and offer their children candy. Someone is going to call the police on us if you don’t speed up!
Bridget: Yeah, did Michael want us over for dinner tonight or tomorrow night? At this point it looks like we won’t get there until tomorrow.
Me: I’m just going to get out and walk the rest of the way so I can get there sooner.
Dad: I’m waiting for the car to properly warm up before I pick up speed! Sorry I don’t drive like Kathleen who floors it the second she turns on the car! That’s how you ruin the engine.
Mom: Ok guys, let’s just all listen to some music.

Gotta love my Mom, always trying to be the peacemaker. Either that or she was just too tired from our big family feud earlier that morning about the strawberries in the fridge. There is nothing my mom hates more than when she buys fruit and no one cleans it off, therefore, it ends up sitting in the fridge and going bad. Unfortunately, her Mother’s Day got off to a bad start when she opened the fridge that morning only to discover a container of moldy strawberries. “Ugh! Look at these strawberries!” My Mom said, with anger in her voice. “Is it THAT much work to rinse off the strawberries and eat them?! I’m going to stop buying fruit in general because NO ONE seems to know how to clean it off and it ends up being wasted!”
(Editor’s Note:My mom often makes these threats in her short bits of rage, but she never actually follows through which is good. So I am still getting the proper serving of fruits and vegetables-thanks everyone for your concern.)
“I never requested any strawberries when you went to the store,” I responded confidently. “I distinctly remember asking for apples, which were both cleaned BY ME and eaten-and delicious so thank you (I said this with a wink). I did see the strawberries in the fridge but felt absolutely no obligation to eat them since I did not request them in the first place! So blame Jane and Dad!”

I’m not sure when exactly the strawberry argument turned into the Salem Witch Trials, but things escalated very quickly as each pointed a finger at the other. No one was safe from being accused of causing the fruit to go bad. Suddenly, the kitchen seemed to get very warm and the air thick. (I knew this temperature change was from the tension in the room, since my dad controls the thermostat and there is no way he would turn up the heat past 66 degrees. ) My Dad was quick to fire back, “Well I bought that container of blackberries a week ago and no one has touched them! They’ve just been sitting in that fridge, I am the only one eating them!” “That’s because you’re the only one that LIKES blackberries!” I said, “We aren’t grizzly bears, the rest of us don’t eat blackberries they are gross!” “What?!” My Dad said in disbelief. “Mo, you eat them don’t you?” “Mmm, no sweetie,” she said. “The seeds get stuck in my teeth, I haven’t eaten them in years.” “Well, that’s what floss is for!” My Dad responded. I quickly chimed in, as I did not want my parents to get a divorce over fruit. Divorce over a doughnut is acceptable, but not berries, that’s just sad. “Let’s just all start buying raspberries, everyone loves raspberries! They go great on cereal or in your favorite summertime mixed drink! Raspberries are a crowd-pleaser!”

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All smiles after being at eachother’s throats over mini vans and strawberries!

Later that Mother’s Day night, after everyone had calmed down and the battle of the Honda minivans and strawberries were both over, I was thinking about what a saint my mom is for putting up with her nutty kids and husband for so long. She has always been a very easy-going Mom. Growing up she rarely got mad at us kids, she was patient with us, and never put too much pressure on us academically. I think deep down she knew her kids were just EXTREMELY average and we were never going to be attending Ivy League schools. She knew her children were much more likely to give her a sarcastic comment than a straight A report card. Her easy-going attitude is something I love about my Mom, and I think it’s part of the reason why we get along so well today. That and the fact that I FINALLY forgave her for giving me bangs as a child. It might be her only mistake she made as a mother and I know she deeply regrets it. I just never had the forehead to pull off bangs. I ended up looking like the Mad TV character “Ms. Swan.” (If you are unfamiliar with the Ms. Swan Mad TV character, see side by side comparison below.)

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No, this is not an age progression photo. On the left is me with bangs as a child and the right is the Mad TV character “Ms. Swan.”

In addition to her easy-going attitude, I love my mom’s ability to find excitement and joy in every day simple things. A couple of months ago as I was sitting in the TV room and my mom was cutting coupons so we could put them in the coupon drawer in our kitchen and forget to use them every single time we went to the grocery store and then finally throw them out three years after they expire, I suddenly heard my mom let out a loud scream. Startled, I ran to the kitchen to make sure everything was ok. “What’s the matter?!” I asked. “AHHHH!” She responded, “THIS IS MY HAIR COLOR! This coupon is for $2 off Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Hair Color! I’ve been holding off on buying some because they try and charge you a RIDICULOUS amount if it’s not on sale or if you don’t have a coupon. I went to Target AND Walgreens the other day to check out the prices.” “Mom, you have like ten boxes under the sink in the bathroom I think you’re good on hair color for the next 30 years.” I said. “Oh I know, but you can never be to careful,” she said. “You never know when they will discontinue your hair color. Did I tell you Aunt Maribeth has been having trouble matching her color? Because they just stop selling her hair color one day!” She then proceeded to tell me a horror story about my aunt’s hair color troubles. It was very eye-opening for me. I had goosebumps by the time the story was over.

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Paws off my Mom’s stash of Clairol Nice ‘n Easy Natural Medium Cool Brown 5c/117D hair color everyone! She should have this stuff in a safe somewhere anyone could just come and steal it from under the sink!

Another reason I love my mom is for her tech skills. These skills are very limited, and that’s ok because it’s very cute and she makes me laugh when she attempts anything computer or “tech” related. I think my mom has gotten to the point in her life where she just doesn’t care or have any desire to improve her tech skills. She had five kids for a reason, and she’s going to get the most out of them. I think she decided to retire from the tech game after “The Book Ordering Incident of 2017.” For a few months we had a book just sitting on the floor in our TV room; it was a thick hardcover book that just kind of appeared one day. No one living in our house questioned it or moved it for months. Finally, when my sister came home for a family dinner one weekend she asked about the mysterious book. “Hey what’s with that book that’s been on the floor in the TV room for so long? It looks brand new.” We all said we didn’t know where it came from. Even my mom claimed at first she didn’t know anything about it, until the memory resurfaced for her. “Oh wait THAT book? Oh yeah, that was me,” she said very nonchalantly “Yeah, I was trying to pay my Reader’s Digest bill online and accidentally ordered that book instead. They make that online bill pay so confusing. I was going to try and send the book back but the cost to return it was more than I originally paid for the darn thing so I thought sheesh, FORGET IT! I guess I’ll just keep the book then!” For a minute it was dead silence as our brains tried to process this bizarre story. We still had so many burning questions. How does one end up ordering a book when trying to pay a bill? Did our Mother fall victim to an online scam? Why do we still have a subscription to Reader’s Digest? Finally everyone just burst out laughing. My mom was not phased by this at all, she just brushed it off and went about her day.

I could go on and on about all the things I love about my mom. One Mother’s Day a year is not enough to show our appreciation to her. She’s an incredible Mom and now a phenomenal grandmother. So this one’s for you, Mom! Thanks for teaching your five kids how to always find the joy and happiness in life. And thanks for loving us even though a few of us turned out weird (DEFINITELY not me I’m normal). Lastly, thanks for still loving Bridget even though she broke one of your REALLY expensive plates while washing the dishes a few years ago. You are truly a saint.

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I was giving the stare-down to my cousin who was fat shaming me for eating my cupcake too fast. IT WAS HOSTESS BRAND AND IT WAS DELICIOUS SO LAY OFF!

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I think whoever took this picture instructed me to look at Maggie and not the camera so my bangs wouldn’t break the camera.

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Bridget must have really liked those green pants.

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Great photo of me and my mom.

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Yes, my sweatshirt does say “Irish Grandma.”

Dad, the Washing Machine’s Broken

A few weeks ago, I opened the washing machine to switch my laundry into the dryer only to discover that my clothes were still soaking wet because the washer didn’t properly drain all the water out! Like any tenant would do, I immediately informed my landlord of this terrible inconvenience. “DADDDDDDDDD! THE WASHING MACHINE IS BROKEN!” I yelled from the basement. He quickly came down the stairs to check it out. “Yup, I noticed this happening when I did laundry yesterday,” He said. “I’m going to have to call the repair man. Until then you’ll have to wring out your clothes by hand over the laundry tub.” “Ughhhhh that’s so annoying! Wring my clothes out? What am I, a pioneer woman? That’s so much work, and it will hurt my wrists!” I responded. “Well maybe if you weren’t such a weakling it wouldn’t hurt your wrists so much.” He said. “You’re like a little infant. Here move aside, I’ll show you how it’s done.”

As my Dad wrung my clothes out over the laundry tub and I looked on, offering no help at all, he told me tales of when he was growing up and how they had to use some sort of contraption to wring their clothes out. Naturally I had no idea what he was talking about, as I was born in the 1990s and not the 1700s, which is apparently when my father was born. “Now, did you use this laundry contraption thing before or after you finished churning the butter?” I asked. In a mocking tone my dad responded, “Ohhh I’m Kathleen and I have a witty comment for everything.”

A few days later the repair man came and delivered the devastating news to my parents-they needed a new washing machine. My parents were very upset by this. My sister Jane (my other sibling living at home) and I were not surprised though as that washing machine was older than we are. We were actually quite pleased to finally have a washing machine that was made in this century. As the days passed though, there was no sign of our landlords replacing the washing machine anytime soon. Finally Jane brought it up at dinner one night.

Jane: What’s going on with the washing machine? When are we getting a new one?
(Jane and I often used the term “WE” when talking about home maintenance/repair projects when really we do not plan to have anything to do with the task.)
Me: Yeah, I put in a work order for a new washing machine like weeks ago and have heard nothing back on the status of my request from my landlords.
Mom (Said with irritation in her voice): Ugh, Yeah I need to pick a day to go out and look for one. What I definitely don’t want is one of those awful ‘Energy Efficient’ ones that they have now. Have you girls ever used one of those?
Me & Jane: I don’t know, probably when we were away at college.
Mom (Even more irritation in her voice): UGH, THEY ARE TERRIBLE! First, the water will only start to fill up the machine once you close the lid. Then, the water just BARELY covers the laundry that’s in the machine….

At this point Jane and I waited patiently as my mom paused her story for dramatic emphasis, looking each of us directly in the eyes, making sure what she just said about the water level in new washing machines had resignated with us.

Me: Ok got, it, energy efficient ones don’t use as much water. Please continue your story.
Mom: So it’s like there’s not enough water to let the clothes soak in! I mean do your clothes even get clean then?!

At this point we realize the amount of hate our mother has for energy efficient appliances and regretted even bringing up the topic of a new washing machine. We wished we could take it back, but by then it was too late. We set something off in her, and now she was on a tirade listing off other things that bother her. She covered specifics on just about every topic you could imagine-from baby and bridal showers to birthday cards, canoe trips, grocery stores and more. It was as if this tiny woman was letting out 63 years of anger and frustration. We we shocked by some of it but I can’t say I’m surprised that my mom hates energy efficient appliances though. She’s a Baby Boomer so I’m sure the urge to use up the earth’s precious resources like water, leaving hardly anything for future generations, comes naturally to her.

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The foe wood at the top really gives it a homey, “Cabin in the woods” type feel.

Once my mom finished, our washing machine conversation continued.

Dad: Mo, how long do you think we’ve had that washing machine? 30 years or so?
Me: Judging by the foe wood on the washer, I’d say close to 35 years. I hear that style was popular back in the 80s.
Dad (said defensively): That was a damn good washing machine! They don’t make machines like that anymore. It’s too bad we have to get rid of it!

One of the things I’ve learned about my Dad in the 27 years that I’ve known him is that he has emotional attachments to appliances and furniture. A word of advice to the public: Don’t EVER say anything bad about his vacuum. I mean the thing is absolutely awful-it’s heavy, hard to push on carpeting and makes the house smell every time it’s used. Not to mention that it looks like it was made in the 1920s. It might have been Hoover’s very first vacuum model. But for some reason my Dad thinks it’s the best thing ever made.

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You may have seen this exact photo in your history book.

Although we had a wonderful conversation about getting a new washing machine, as of today we still don’t have a new one. According to the Baby Boomers, if you put your laundry on a certain water level and certain spin cycle and turn the button while the machine is in the middle of the spin cycle, it works just fine. So this machine may just stick around for a few more years.

While my Landlords may get a D- in the appliance category, they get an A+ in all the other amenities they provide their tenants-Mike Sr. provides us donuts, cookies and cupcakes on the reg and Mo still makes dinner for her kiddos from time to time. The portions she feeds us would leave even Thumbelina with hunger pains, but we appreciate the meals nonetheless. AND most recently, they switched from Kleenex brand tissues to Puffs Plus! My nose never felt so soft!

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Real adults eat smiley face cookies.

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On special occasions she’ll let us have butter on our toast.

I better start working on my wrist strengthening exercises, because I may be wringing out my clothes for a little while longer. New washing machine or not, Mike and Mo are still the best landlords around.

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Photo taken the day I signed my first leasing agreement with the landlords. The three people to the right served as notaries/witnesses. Also super embarrassing that everyone can see my weight listed here. I should have blocked that out, I was still working off some of that weight I gained in the womb.

2017 Year in Review

 

2017 was quite an amazing year for the Kelly family. Yeah, there were a lot of babies born, but that’s old news. We had a lot of exciting things happen in 2017, it was a Hell of a year! Here are the top five from 2017:

  1. Mo Got an Instagram
    A couple of months ago, my mom came home and said to me, “You know, the aunts were telling me at lunch today about this APP (Over pronunciation of the word “APP” because she’s still getting used to the word) they have on their phones where they can see all of the nieces and nephews photos? Shoot, I’m blanking on the name right now….” “Are you talking about Instagram?” I replied. “Oh YES! That’s it! Can you help me set that up on my phone? Then I’m going to need a few lessons of course” She said with a wink. Being the wonderful daughter that I am, I cleared my schedule for the remainder of the day, for I knew this would not be a quick lesson, and I sat on the couch next to my mom to teach her the basics of Instagram. We set up her account and I helped her gain a few followers, I didn’t want to throw too much at her too soon. I even helped her with her first post, which she was thrilled about. “Great! So what do we do now?” She said “Wait for the photo to get over 100 likes?” I started laughing when she said this because she had about 10 followers at the time. Oh, I had so much to teach her. Mo’s Instagram proved to take up a lot of my time in 2017. Sometimes I felt like a landlord with a needy tenant when it came to my mom’s Instagram.
    Unfortunately my mom had the misconception that because I was a seasoned “Instagramer” I knew the names of every single person in every single Instagram photo. “Now who are all these girls in the photo here with your cousin Momo?” My mom said to me as she shoved her phone in my face, pointing to the Instagram post. “Mom, that’s a photo of her and her entire sorority, I don’t know any of those girls.”
    She also became very selective with her followers. Mo had zero patience for people who posted too many times a day or posted too many pictures of their kids. “Kathleen, I think I’m going to need a lesson on UNFOLLOWING some of these people” She said one day while on the couch, glasses on, looking at her phone. I could hear the annoyance in her voice. “It’s like your kids are cute but I don’t want to have to look at pictures of them numerous times a day!”

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    Mo in her element- scrolling through Instagram on Christmas morning.

  2. We tackled a lot of new shows
    While my sister Jane was home for the summer, her, my mom and I spent a lot of time watching some good shows in the basement. The three of us liked to watch pretty disturbing television, whether it’s a super juicy Dateline, 20/20 or a creepy documentary. This summer we tackled the Netflix series The Keepers together. Being a typical Baby Boomer, my Mom claimed she “didn’t know how to set up the Netflix” AKA she was being lazy. “Ok you girls go down to the basement and set up the Netflix and let me know when it’s ready and I’ll head down.” We always did what the boss told us but for some reason it always took her forever to come downstairs. This often left Jane and me sitting waiting in the basement staring at the paused opening credits. “MOMMMMMM!!!!” I’d yell up from the basement. “Where are you? We told you like five minutes ago that everything was ready to start.” “Ohhh sorry sweetie!” She’d yell back down “I thought we were waiting on Kathleen.” “THIS IS KATHLEEN YELLING UP TO YOU.” I’d respond “Oh, ok be right down!” After she said this we could hear her moving around upstairs doing whatever she thought needed to be done before she started the show with us. Then we’d hear the basement door open and she’d yell down, “DOES ANYONE WANT A PUDDING CUP?”
  3. The location of the Tupperware was moved
    One day I opened the drawer where we have kept the Tupperware FOR YEARS only to discover that it was empty. “What happened to all our Tupperware?” I yelled. I began to panic. I knew our Tupperware supply was dwindling due to the fact that SOME PEOPLE don’t know how to return Tupperware (Not to name any names but it’s my older siblings) but we couldn’t be completely out?? I need Tupperware! I’m like a depression baby, I always save part of my meal for later! Without Tupperware my leftovers wouldn’t stay fresh! Finally my mom responded to my cries. “Oh yeah, I couldn’t STAND the Tupperware in that drawer so I moved it to the pantry.” She said angrily. The pantry?? That was way too far away. My dad and I were not pleased with this move, and we made our feelings known. “Mom!” I said, “You can’t just keep changing things on us! First you switch us from a hand towel to paper towels in the first floor bathroom and now you move the Tupperware on us?! It would be polite if you consulted your roommates on these things first!” “I don’t know, Mo” My Dad said, “I don’t think this new location is going to work.” Because my mom has a heart of stone, she ignored our concerns. Now my father and I have struggled to get used to getting our Tupperware from the pantry. It’s been tough, but I think it will stay in that location for 2018 as well.
  4. I got new carpet in my room
    Sometimes, I feel like I am walking on a cloud when I’m in my room my new carpeting is so plush. My landlords surprised me one day by telling me they were replacing the carpet in my studio apartment upstairs. I was thrilled until I found out that I had to help take out the old carpeting. “Um, excuse me but I am not a boy and taking out carpet seems like a boy task.” I said. “Also, I feel like you are taking advantage of me as tenant just because I am your daughter. Would you ask an unrelated tenant to help you take out the carpet? I don’t think so.” They both gave me a fake laugh and my mom called me a smart ass while my dad handed me a pair of gloves. Apparently child labor laws don’t apply in Ma and Pa Kelly’s Old Maid Boarding House.

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    This new carpeting better be covered under my renters insurance.

  5. We gained a new roommate-Cardboard Jane
    My sister Jane decided to abandon us and live in Prague for the last couple of months of 2017, which made my parents sad. Being the awesome roommate that I am, I ordered a cardboard cutout of Jane. It can be exhausting being the glue that holds this family together sometimes. Was it expensive? Yes. But it paid for itself in all the memories we made with Cardboard Jane.

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    Don’t forget to support her head, Cardboard Jane!

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    Here we are slaving away in the kitchen all day getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner! Stay away from the stove cardboard Jane, you’re flammable!

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    Cardboard Jane could kind of be a creep sometimes.

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    Cardboard Jane being lazy and spending her day lounging on the couch.

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    Cardboard Jane trims the tree!

    This is the reason I cannot be left alone and need parental supervision at all times, I go and do dumb stuff. But Cardboard Jane turned out to be very popular! Although her personality was a little flat, Cardboard Jane was a great listener and was super easy going, she just went where ever anyone carried her, unlike Prague Jane who went to a different country to get away from her family.

    Yup, 2017 was one for the books. 2018 has some big shoes to fill, but I can’t wait to see what it has in store for us!

 

 

The Journey to (God)Motherhood

About a month ago, I finally fulfilled my life’s prophecy-I became not only an aunt but a Godmother. I was absolutely thrilled but I also thought, “Sheesh, it’s about time someone asked me to Godmother their child!” I mean, I feel like I am a pretty holy person since I went to a catholic grade school, high school and college, AND now I work for a Catholic school. Heck, I even LOOK like Jesus himself when I let my hair air dry after I shower:

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Might spend some time in Purgatory for this snap but it was worth it.

With all these credentials it’s really hard to hide my halo. Plus, I had been campaigning for Godmother ever since last December. It was a long and tiring campaign, but I won in the end. Sit tight and I will tell you my success story:

My journey to Godmotherhood began on Christmas morning 2016, when my oldest sister Maggie and her husband announced to the family that they were expecting a baby in July. The five of us kids had just given our parents their gifts when Maggie suddenly said that she and her husband had ‘one more gift for Mom and Dad.’ My two other old maid sisters and I were sitting on the couch and we immediately exchanged dirty looks.  We never said anything out loud but in our heads we were all thinking “Look at this brown-noser, giving Mom and Dad another gift! Here the five of us decided to collectively give Mom and Dad gifts and she goes and makes us look bad by bringing an EXTRA gift just from her and her husband?!” Our mood changed when my parents opened the gift to discover they had a grandchild on the way. I was very happy for Maggie but also thought she was being a little selfish. I mean here we were trying to celebrate the birth of Jesus and she had to go steal the spotlight from Mary?! Rude.

About a month later, before we even fully processed this new addition coming to our family, my brother Michael announced that he and his wife were expecting twins! Classic sibling rivalry always trying to one-up the other sibling. Michael really made Maggie look lazy on this one. One baby, really Maggie? That’s it? I guess not everyone in a family can get that strong work ethic gene. (When it comes time for me to have children in 15-20 years I’m shooting for triplets just to out-do everyone).

The whole family was shocked but thrilled. We were suddenly going from zero grandkids to three grandkids! In the Kelly family it seems that my sister Maggie and brother Michael to like to do things around the same time. They both got engaged about a month apart from each other, then they got married only four months apart, and now they were starting to have kids around the same time. That’s nice that they are able to bring my parents such joy with their life events. God knows my two other sisters and I aren’t going to be accomplishing those things anytime soon. In fact, I often wonder what my parents say about me when their friends ask about their kids. I imagine it’s something like this:

Friend: “So Mo, how are all your kids doing?”
My Mom: “Oh yea everyone is doing great! Maggie and her husband have a baby boy, Michael and his wife just had twin girls, Bridget has an apartment in the city and is a manager at her company, and Jane is teaching abroad in Prague for a year! Oh and Kathleen… yea she’s doing well…still living at home with us…not too much new with her…[*Here my mom racks brain trying to think of accomplishment*] she dressed up as a bag of dog food for Halloween so yea, we’re really proud of her and not worried AT ALL that she’ll never marry. We are so proud of ALL our children.”

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Still my greatest accomplishment in life. Duke and I killed it with our couples’ costume. No regrets.

While everyone was happy that we had three babies on the way, no one was quite as ecstatic as my mom. She would have sent out a press release and announced on national television that she had three grandchildren on the way if she could have. I also noticed that she began acting different-regularly attending yoga and Pilates classes at the local gym, which she never did before. “Going to POW! (People on Weights) Sorry I didn’t have time to make anything for dinner but I think there’s someone’s leftovers from something in there I’m sure you could eat!” she’d say, as she walked out the door in her yoga pants and sporty fleece, water bottle in hand. Who was this “I’m a gym membership Mom who regularly attends classes” gal? I thought to myself. The Mom I remembered was strictly a “pop in a Jane Fonda’s New Workout VHS and exercise in the basement a few times a month” kind of gal.  At first I thought this was just her way of trying to get out of cooking dinners, as these classes just so happened to be around dinner time, but then I realized it was all for the babies. “Are you trying to be one of those sporty Grandmas Mom?” I finally asked one day as Sporty Spice-I mean, my Mom-was headed out the door. “I have to build up my strength if I want to be lifting up my grandbabies!” She replied with a big smile and a wink.

My Dad, on the other hand, could not have been more opposite of my Mom in his excitement about his grandchildren. He was very happy of course, he’s just never been a man to show much emotion. His response to his children telling him they were expecting was much like a response you’d get when you told someone you had chicken for dinner. “Ah, very good” was my father’s big reaction to the news. We all though this was hilarious of course and we talked about it recently at a family dinner a few weeks ago:

Dad: [Said defensively] “Well what the Hell did you want me to do, start jumping up and down and doing cartwheels?! I was happy for them but it’s not like I didn’t know it was coming! Most people get married and then they have kids! It’s not like it was a huge shock!”
Me: “Dad, you show more excitement when your subscription of TRAINS Magazine comes in the mail than you did when you found out you were going to be a grandpa!
Dad: “Well that’s different! I don’t know WHEN TRAINS magazine is going to come so it’s exciting!”
Me: “IT’S A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION, IT COMES EVERY MONTH!”

At this point everyone was laughing hysterically. I think then my dad realized how ridiculous he sounded, but still wanted to stand his ground.

Dad: “Yes, but I don’t know WHAT DAY of the Month TRAINS Magazine will come OR what will be in it, which is very exciting.”

What can I say? The man loves his trains.

It’s crazy how fast nine months goes by when you are not the one pregnant. I’m not sure how fast time went by for my pregnancy pact friends, but before I knew it, all three babies had arrived, 2 days apart from each other. On July 31st we welcomed baby Michael and two days later on August 2nd twins Abby and Ava arrived. By August 3rd, I realized that my Mother’s five children were old news to her. She was a grandma now and her grandbabies came first-her five kids were now sloppy seconds.

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I remember when my mom used to look at me like that. It was nice having my Mom for 26 years but the babies have her now. I am old news. I had a good run though.

Once our family adjusted to life with three babies one very important question remained on everyone’s minds-Who will the Godparents be?! Since CLEARLY my parents were both emotionally unstable to handle being Godparents, as we saw through their actions after first hearing the joyous news that babies were on the way, I knew they were no competition in getting in my way of becoming Godmother. Jane left the country to teach in Prague so I knew she wasn’t even a contender but I did have my other siblings to compete with. As the weeks went by and no one had yet been asked to be a Godparent, we all began to worry that maybe no one would be a Godparent! Finally, about a week before the baptism, my brother asked me to be the Godmother of his daughter Ava. He really waited till the last-minute to ask me but I still gladly accepted and immediately began searching for the perfect Godmother outfit to wear to the baptism. Something that said “I’m not a regular Godmom, I’m a cool Godmom.”

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Me and my Godchild, Ava. Went with a sweater dress from Macy’s, I felt it just screamed “I’m a Godmom.”

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The whole family minus Prague Jane after the triple baptism. It was a little embarrassing that the babies wore white after Labor Day but they pulled it off.

While it can be difficult being a single (God)Parent AND working full-time, it’s very rewarding. Those babies are so darn cute, you can’t help but be happy around them. I used to reach for a drink after a rough day but now I just reach for a baby. I finally have someone to pass down all my prized possessions (AC unit, selfie stick and autographed photo of Inside Edition host Deborah Norville) to after I die. (These kids will make out like bandits upon my death).

Being a young, first time Godmom I still have a lot to learn. Thank goodness I joined the Moms of Beverly Facebook Group to network and get advice from other, more seasoned Godmoms. Us moms need to stick together and support one another! Being a Godmother is a huge responsibility but I am more than happy to take on this new role! Spinster Aunt Kath has lots to teach her nieces and nephews!

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Baby Michael in the middle posing as if he’s on the cover of GQ Magazine. They have Grandma Kelly’s eyes and Grandpa Kelly’s hairline.

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The original Kelly crew plus the ceiling fan with all the babies. (Thought I should post a photo with Prague Jane in it so she didn’t feel left out).