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!

IMG_6040

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.

IMG_6041

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!

 

 

IMG_4665

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!

IMG_1572 (1)

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!”

IMG_4229

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.)

swan

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.

IMG_4446

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.

IMG_4444

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!

IMG_4226

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

IMG_4221

Bridget must have really liked those green pants.

IMG_6104

Great photo of me and my mom.

IMG_8108

Yes, my sweatshirt does say “Irish Grandma.”

One is the Loneliest Number

As I sat in her room and watched her pack her things while I played Michelle Branches’ hit song, “Goodbye to You” on my phone for dramatic emphasis, I couldn’t believe it was true. My sister Bridget, a tenant of the Kelly house since 1989, was leaving the nest. I just couldn’t understand it, why would you want to leave an establishment that provides free doughnuts 1-2 times a week?! (Except during Lent of course)

Me and my roommate back in the good old days. Man, we were so Hawaiian Punch wasted in this picture.

Me and my roommate back in the good old days, before she wanted to leave me. Man, we were so Hawaiian Punch wasted in this picture.

Was I a little bitter that one of my roommates was leaving me? Hell yea I was. I thought she was going to be here for the long haul, especially since we made a very big joint purchase last year. It was a big step in our roommate relationship but we took the plunge and purchased a basketball from Target together. Why? I don’t know, maybe because we are 6th grade girls and like to practice our jump shot on the old b-ball hoop in the backyard. Plus basketballs are not cheap. I could never afford one on my own with my peasant’s salary my job pays me. What are we supposed to do now that we are living apart? Share joint custody of the basketball? She will get it every other weekend and holidays?! Does her new place even have a basketball hoop?!

Hard to believe I was a single woman back then. Most eligible bachelorette on the 7th grade girls basketball team.

The early days of my basketball career. Hard to believe I was a single woman back then. Most eligible bachelorette on the 7th grade girls basketball team.

Another reason why I told her she needs to stay is that she will miss all the excitement around the house. Let me tell you, her last weekend home was quite the exciting one. First we saw right from our own kitchen window a hawk trying to eat the birds that gather around my Mom’s bird feeder in the tree next door. It was like watching the National Geographic Channel Live in our own backyard! We were all scared for the birds but I think my Dad was secretly cheering for the hawk. He hates the birds that eat all the bird feeder. He refers to them as fat, lazy “welfare birds” that just keep eating all the bird seed he puts out. A couple of weeks ago he vented his frustration to me:
Dad (looking out the window): Look at those damn fat birds eating all the bird seed that I JUST put out! Sheesh I can’t keep up with them it’s like I put it out and I turn around and there they are knocking at the window like “(said in a deep bird voice) Hey Mike, where’s our dinner?! Where’s the bird seed?”
Kathleen: Wow, that’s pretty amazing that the birds are actually knocking on the window and asking you for more food. Do they use their wings to knock on the glass? Next time they do that would you come get me? I would love to see this for myself.
Dad: All those lazy birds do is eat! Damn welfare birds!
Kathleen: You do know you can just stop putting out bird seed, right?
Dad: We are trying to get rid of the stuff! Mom bought a huge bag and it’s in the garage taking up space and I’m trying to get rid of it!
Kathleen: Oh God, this is reminding me of the big box of Honey Nut Cheerios incident. I hope you know how ridiculous you sound. This is hysterical how much you are getting worked up.
(Yes, sadly that conversation actually took place.)
The evil hawk stalking the welfare birds, looking for a quick lunch.

The evil hawk stalking the welfare birds, looking for a quick lunch.

Luckily the hawk gave up and was never able to capture any of the birds. We think he ordered take-out instead. Then, as if the day wasn’t already exciting enough I nearly had to call the fire department later that day! I was trying to make some popcorn for myself as a healthy afternoon snack (Fit for ’15, still working on getting my Michelle Obama arms) and I burned it pretty bad. My two sisters were in the other room and I didn’t want to alarm them so I calmly said, “Oh, I think I overcooked the popcorn.” Then I opened up the microwave and smoke came out, “yup I burned the popcorn.” then I opened up the bag and even more smoke started billowing out, “looks like I’ll have to make a new batch.” As smoke filled the room I finally yelled, “OK YOU GUYS I BURNED THE POPCORN BADLY AND I’M GETTING SCARED SOMEONE HELP ME!!” at last they came to my aid where we had to throw the bag in the sink and run cold water over it. Smoke was filling the kitchen so we had to open all the windows. “Sheesh!” I said, “what does a girl gotta do to get some help around here, I nearly died!” “Well you played it off like everything was fine and then we saw smoke coming from the kitchen!” my sister said. “I was trying to remain calm! Hasn’t anyone ever told you the most important thing to do in an emergency is to remain calm and not panic?!” I replied. It took a few days for the burnt popcorn smell to leave the house, and our clothes smelled like smoke for a while but the main thing is I was able to make another bag a little while later after the smoke cleared and eat that. And everyone was ok, I guess that’s important too.
Even though I gave her many reasons to stay, she still decided to leave. Yup, sadly, all my roommates have been slowly leaving me these days. Pretty soon it’s just going to be me, the ‘rents and Duke. Talk about a recipe for disaster. I can already tell Duke and I will be butting heads. Duke is 42 in dog years but you wouldn’t know he was an adult because he acts like he’s still a teen. He has an attitude, sleeps ALL day, and has an endless appetite. “Why don’t you go out and get a job you lazy bum?!” I yelled to him one morning before work when he was sprawled out sleeping on his plush dog bed. We don’t always get along, me and him. In fact the other day, one of our arguments got so bad I called him an ass hole to his face! I felt bad later so I gave him a Pup-eroni and he quickly forgave me. I guess we will have to learn to get along because in the near future we will be the only siblings left at home.
Duke-my only loyal roommate left, bro-ing out in the backyard, basking in the sun.

Duke,my only loyal roommate, bro-ing out in the backyard, basking in the sun. Also elevating his legs to promote good blood circulation to the heart. So both smart and loyal.

I don’t hold a grudge against my sister for moving out. In fact, I have come to embrace her living in the city. I even offered to stay over a few nights to help her even out her queen sized mattress, wouldn’t want to get any lumps from sleeping in the same spot every night! That is just the kind of selfless person I am. Don’t worry Mom and Dad, the other 4 kids may be gone, but I am here to stay!

Our Trip to Dayton, as Told by a Selfie Stick

February is the most awful month of the entire year. This is just a known fact. I’m sorry if your birthday is in February, you can blame your parents for that. I just thank the Lord it is a short month. The one bright spot February had this year was that I was able to visit a magical place, this place is called the University of Dayton, and it is where I went to college back in the day.

 I took this weekend vacation with my four siblings, numerous cousins, and some friends. We embarked on our journey around 1pm on a Friday. I was already ecstatic because I only had to work a half day, and as I have mentioned before, not working is my absolute favorite thing to do. My mom was generous enough to let us borrow Mama Mini-her stylish Honda mini van with 16 cup holders, ipod hookup, ample legroom, and plenty of cargo space. So yea, we were riding pretty comfortably for the five hours it took us to get from Chicago to Dayton.
5 beautiful ladies riding in a min van-keep your eyes on the road boyz.

5 beautiful ladies riding in a min van-try to keep your eyes on the road boyz, am I right?!

Since none of us had eaten lunch, we needed to make a group decision on where to stop to eat, the last thing we needed was a van full of hangry white betches rolling onto Dayton’s campus and ruining the magical atmosphere. Our lunch decision was a tough one but after much thought and discussion, we decided on Wendy’s. I must admit I started to panic a little bit when we pulled into the Wendy’s parking lot. This is because the Wendy’s was connected to a gas station and I have trust issues with fast food places that are connected to gas stations (Please don’t ask why, the memories are still too painful). There are 3 things I fear when picking a fast food place to eat at while on the road:
1. The fast food restaurant will be connect to a gas station-fear met head on for this trip.
2. The ketchup pump will be out of ketchup-then I have to awkwardly go up to the counter and ask for packets and they never give enough, I really like ketchup.
3. The fountain pop machine is behind the counter so you cannot fill your own fountain pop cup-I’m a do-it-yourself gal when it comes to my fountain pop.
(note: these fears are in no particular order)
It’s just so hard to judge a fast food place based off a sign on the highway. But to my delight the Wendy’s was wonderful-it was clean and the food was delicious-I think it may have been a newly remodeled Wendy’s location. Great work Dave!
I look angry because I could not fit everyone into the picture. It had nothing to do with our favorite red head Wendy.

I look angry because I could not fit everyone into the picture. It had nothing to do with our favorite red head, Wendy. The lunch she served us was amazing.

After a quick lunch we were back on the road, jammin’ out to some tunes and sippin’ on our Wendy’s Fountain Diet Cokes (which thanks to the 16 cup holders, everyone had a place to put their pop). We arrived at Dayton just in time for the Friday night festivities to begin. We ordered some pizzas and had ourselves a few cocktails. Then it was time to head to a house party.
Now, a few weeks ago, I made possibly the best purchase I will make in my entire life-a selfie stick. I knew I had to bring it to UD to document what an amazing trip it was sure to be. My first documentation was at the house party Friday night. Let me just warn everyone out there, if you want to know who your TRUE friends are, go ahead and buy a selfie stick. I would liken being in possession of a selfie stick to that of a lottery winner. You just used to be this average person and then all of a sudden you have this fortune (in my case a selfie stick, but pretty much same thing) and everyone wants a piece of you. People at this house party were coming out of the woodwork just to get in a picture with me taken with my selfie stick. Like excuse me sir, do I know you? Get out of my selfie stick picture. No I am not going to tag you on Instagram. Leave me alone to pose by myself. I mean was I basking in all the attention I was getting? Yea a little bit but I knew deep down these people were not my friends.
IMG_1346

Captured this beautiful embrace with my selfie stick.

everyone

The peace sign never goes out of style.

IMG_1336

Using a selfie stick is quite the arm work-out, especially if you still have the iphone 4S like I do…so embarrassing.

IMG_1394

I only know one person in this picture.

The Kelly Family. As you can see Jane was maliciously trying to shove my head out of the picture with her head.

The Kelly Family. As you can see Jane was maliciously trying to shove my head out of the picture with her head.

Unfortunately tragedy struck on our walk home from the party in the early hours of Saturday morning when a piece of my selfie stick fell off and was lost forever. I think I went through every stage of grief-denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. We went back to look for it but it had disappeared into the night. It’s probably for the best that I could not take any more selfies with my selfie stick that weekend. I wouldn’t want to have been taken advantage of any more than I already was Friday night. (Editors note: Upon returning home I immediately contacted the company and received a replacement selfie stick, thank God)
Saturday I woke up on my partially deflated air mattress (still working off that holiday weight) with the attitude that this day was going to be better, a fresh start. And it was. It was also the windiest day in America so it sealed the deal that my selfie stick was gone forever. As many of you know one of my pet peeves is the wind but I got past this and had a great day even still. We had some lunch, watched the Dayton basketball game and danced to some amazing songs. Not the crap these kids listen to today but good quality songs from the Backstreet Boys, Nsync and Aaron Carter. We went to a few more house parties, saw my sister’s dorm, and had a fancy dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Here there was yet another obstacle for me to overcome when the waitress forgot to take my order. Again the stages of grief set in. Is it so much to ask for a few chicken wings and some fries? I didn’t think so. But again I didn’t let it bother me. After that we went to a bar and then called it a night. There were a few fights between the Kelly siblings, but nothing serious. And might I add that I was the innocent victim in both fights. My one sister accused me of calling her a fat ass hoe which was completely ridiculous. If I called her a fat ass hoe I would have admitted it. Then my other sister said she didn’t love me because I was going to bed and not back out to the bars. Boo hoo like I need your love, I have a selfie stick now and people who own selfie sticks do not need love.
Other than a few minor hiccups the trip was a blast. It’s always fun going back to my Alma Mater, the University of Dayton, my home away from home. I cannot wait for our trip next year!
The Crew

The Crew… and the pole of the selfie stick.

New Year, Same Old Me

January is the time of year most people start trying to live out their New Year’s Resolution. For those of you who don’t know what that is, a New Year’s Resolution is an empty promise you make to yourself at the start of every year to try to be a “better person.”  For most people, this is something you say you are going to do without actually doing it. For others, you do it for about a month before reverting back to your old, lazy-ass ways.
Some people set very high goals for themselves at the start of each year. These are the “reach for the moon because even if you miss you’ll land among the stars” type and I’m sure they have that saying in cute decorative letters some place in their homes, diaries, or pinned on their Pinterest board. I am the opposite. If I do set a New Year’s goal for myself, I aim low because if I reach that goal, I will be quite pleased with myself, in turn, boosting my confidence. If I don’t reach it, I just convince myself it wasn’t worth it in the first place.This way, if I reach my goal or don’t reach my goal, I’m still content.
My first New Year’s out of college my resolution was to “read more books.” I have never been a big reader, in fact, I was once quoted as saying that “I’d rather do anything else but read.” But I kept telling myself that I was so busy in school that I just never had time to do leisurely reading. So I tried it out. And it was a complete fail, but I think it was because my approach was wrong. I started out trying to read this extremely depressing autobiography about a guy growing up in poverty in Ireland. I’m sorry, but I go to work from 8:30-5:00, five days a week, I don’t need anything else depressing in my life. Also, when I realized the man who wrote the book was from Ireland, I kept reading the book in my head with an Irish accent. This was both time-consuming and exhausting. In addition, the book was very thick, and it was a hard cover so it was heavy, making it really hard to hold up when lying in a reclined position. My goal was to read more books not to get Michelle Obama arms, so yes, I gave up.
One good thing did come of this failed resolution though. You see, I use my phone as my alarm every morning and I started to realize that when I left the book on my bedside table, I could place my phone on the book, creating a shorter reach for me when I go to turn off my alarm in the morning. Then I got a book from the library, putting it on top of the other book already on my bedside table. This added more height and also shortened the distance from my bed to my phone, thus, minimizing the exposure to the cold air my arm had to endure when removing it from underneath my warm blankets to shut off my alarm early in the morning. Am I a genius or what?!
Brrr my arm was so cold reaching for my alarm.

Brrr, my arm was so cold reaching for my alarm. And yes those are snowman sheets on my bed. Judge me.

Thank God for books

Thank God for books. This book has been sitting on my bedside table untouched for over a year.

For this New Year’s I considered a few different resolutions. The first was “put on lotion more.” You see, my skin gets rather dry and irritated in these winter months, I should really apply lotion more but I don’t. I quickly eliminated this resolution citing it as a safety hazard. Have you ever put lotion on in a closed-door room and then tried to turn the knob to get out? Yeah, good luck, you’ll be trapped in there for at least 20 minutes with those greasy paws. This has happened to me one too many times-no thank you. Plus lotion is usually cold when you put it on and I have zero tolerance for cold things.

The second resolution I considered was “Eat out less/eat healthier foods.” Plain and simple this just would not work because eating out makes me happy. And eating out usually presents to me with the opportunity to get a fountain pop. I love fountain pop so this was a no-go. “Eat healthier” wasn’t going to happen either because I get crabby when I deprive myself of junk food. So I scratched that one off the list. I’m really only thinking of others with this reasoning, no one wants to be with a crabby person.

The third resolution was “drink more water.” There is water in Diet Coke right? And there is water in fountain pop, correct?Ok that one may be doable.
The fourth and final New Year’s resolution I considered was “become less selfish.” But then I selfishly thought about how inconvenient that would be for me all year long. As I mentioned earlier, I am a middle child and we are just wired different. We have to be selfish in order to get what we deserve. My sister Bridget (another middle) and I actually live by the motto “If I don’t take it, someone else will.” Meaning, anytime anything is offered to us we try to be the first to snatch up the biggest and the best of whatever is in front of us because if we don’t get the best, someone else might. And we can’t have that. This mindset is very different from oldest children. For example, when my siblings and I were little and there was, say, one Oreo left in the package (this was back in our “Reduced Fat Oreo” stage, times were tough), my sister Maggie (the oldest) would see it and offer it up to one of her younger siblings. If I were to see there was one Oreo left, I would grab it, taunt my siblings with it by dangling it in front of them but just out of arms reach, quickly eat it, and then continue to brag about eating the last cookie later on that day. That is just how my thought process works. I’ve been selfish for 23 years, I can’t go changing now.
I would have rather smeared an entire Oreo all over my face than have to share it with anyone

As you can see I would have rather smeared an entire Oreo all over my face than have to share it with anyone.

After taking all of this into consideration I decided to would be in my best interest to not have a new years resolution for 2015. I’m starting the year of right, by being honest with myself-I am a lazy, dry-skinned, junk food eating girl. It may be a new year, but it’s the same old me. Deal with it.

Oh…Christmas Tree

All families have their own traditions when it comes to Christmas. For many, this involves going to pick out a Christmas tree. When most think of this event, happy thoughts come to mind. For my family, our Christmas tree experience is slightly different. My father has been campaigning for getting an artificial tree for the past 30 years. I don’t know where his hatred for real Christmas trees came from, but it is almost as strong as his hatred for large boxes of cereal. Each year around Christmas he mentions how he saw artificial trees on sale at some store, and each year we ignore him.

 A couple of Sundays ago we dragged him to the local Christmas tree lot to get our tree. On the car ride over his anger and anxiety were already starting to show. As the song from the Grinch came on the radio I said, “Hey Dad, wasn’t this song written about you?” This did not lighten the mood.
I wish I had a blood pressure monitor to attach to him while we made our way through the trees. I’m sure his heart rate and blood pressure were both through the roof as he turned over each tag on the tree to reveal the price. “Whoa Dad is that a price tag or a phone number am I right?!” I said as I saw his body stiffen after seeing the price tag. This did not lighten the mood yet again.
Every year our picking out the Christmas tree tradition involves my Dad and I arguing over which tree to get. This is because he would prefer getting a tree that is the perfect size for a doll house and I would much rather have a tree more suited for the average sized person’s home. After much negotiation, we decided on a tree. I would have liked it a few feet taller, and my Dad would have liked it a few feet shorter (heck he would have preferred just snapping a branch of a tree and bringing that home) but we compromised because that is what families do. After the decision my mom snapped this beautifully awkward picture. Let’s analyze this, shall we?
IMG_0413
Per usual Maggie was drunk yet again and couldn’t keep her eyes open, but she looks very happy. I look stunning as I hug the tree in my blue parka from Land’s End and my white hat from Old Navy. Sometimes it’s exhausting being so photogenic all the time. I have a smirk on my face because I have just won the Christmas tree battle yet again. And my Father… let’s zoom in a bit for this one.
IMG_0414
Here is a picture of a man who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is not happy and he is not in the Christmas spirit at this moment. His wife and three of his old maid daughters, who STILL live at home and STILL rely on him to satisfy their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter, have just forced him into buying an overpriced tree that he wants nothing to do with. If you squint you can actually see the money signs in his eyes. He can’t believe how much he is about to pay for a plant that will only be in the house for a few short weeks. I don’t know exactly what is going through his head but I believe at this moment he was thinking something along the lines of:
“Will my daughters ever move out of the house and leave my wife and me alone to make our own decisions on things like picking out a tree? Will I blow all my retirement money continuing to feed these fat pigs I call daughters? Should I post an ad on Craigslist offering a dowry to any man that takes them off my hands? Will Kathleen ever learn to shut her trap or will she continue to talk and talk for the rest of our time living together? My God, this is my nightmare.”
The picture was so terrible my Mom made us take another one so when we look back on it years from now we actually might think we were having a merry old time. Pretending to have fun is the most fun!!
IMG_0417

If you look closely you can see my Dad lifting his hand to reject my hug. Will anyone ever love me?

Once we got the tree home my Dad continued to point out the flaws in the tree to make himself feel better.
Dad: You know girls, this tree has a lot of empty patches. Don’t look at me when we put it up and it looks sparse. I tried to tell you.
Kathleen: Yea, well don’t look in your wallet when you need money because you just spent it all on this tree.
Upon saying this my Mom gave me the single to “stop reminding Dad how much this tree cost”. Yet again my comment did not lighten the mood. I really need to learn to stop talking.
Although things were a little tense during our tree buying experience, once we were decorating the tree everyone got into the Christmas spirit. And like any job well done, we rewarded ourselves with cake. This isn’t just any cake though, this is a christmas tree shaped cake that we decorate with m&ms. We make this cake solely for the night we decorate our tree.
Had a slice of this baby for breakfast on Monday AND Tuesday. It's just like a donut-which I had on Friday

Had a slice of this baby for breakfast on Monday AND Tuesday. It’s just like a donut-which I had on Friday

While we may not always agree on everything, cake is always there to bring us back together. Thank you, cake, for all that you do for us. And Merry Christmas everyone!

The Day the Tuesday/Thursday Pants Died

Each weekday morning, when my alarm clock wakes me out of my wonderful slumber, the wise words of a famous poet run through my head. That poet’s name is Alanis Morissette and the words are the opening lyrics of her song “I’m a Bitch I’m a Lover” when she states “I hate the world today.” It amazes me how she so accurately encompassed all my feelings in the morning before work in one song. Then after I get Alanis’ catchy tune out of my head I immediately think, “I can’t wait to go to bed tonight.”

Last Tuesday morning was no different. But things took a turn for the worse when I put on my black Tuesday/Thursday pants. A soon as I zipped them up I knew something was wrong, call it a pants-wearer’s intuition or what have you, but I knew something just wasn’t right. I would have explored the unsettling feeling further but it was already 7:08 and if I’m not downstairs by 7:09 to eat breakfast and finish getting ready, I will be late. Right before we left for the train I decided to stop in our first floor bathroom to powder my nose (pee) but I was unable to do this because my zipper was stuck. Now, although these pants are comfortable, the zipper is on the side which I am not a fan of. I tried with all my might to zip them down but they would not budge. My first thought was “shoot, if this zipper is broken, what pants am I supposed to wear on Thursday?” Panic began to set in. I rushed out of the bathroom to find my mom because that is what you do when you are 23 and need help in the bathroom. Frantically I screamed “Mom I can’t get my pants down! What if they are stuck all day and I can’t go to the bathroom?! How am I even supposed to get them off?! They are stuck at the top!” My mom tried to zip them down, then my Dad, then 2 of my sisters. No one was able to get it. “Here take this bar of soap and rub it on the zipper” My mom suggested. So I did. And it completely backfired. “Mom that was a terrible idea now I have soap particles stuck in the zipper and it is jammed even more!”

I spent the majority of the morning at work rubbing a graphite pencil on the zipper and trying to get shards of soap removed from the zipper’s teeth. I Googled everything I could about zippers, seeing if I could find anything that would help me escape the prison my pants had become, but nothing worked. Here is the actual text conversation that took place between me and two of my sisters who also work downtown:
text 1
text 2
(First grade incident will be explained a little later)
text 3
text try 4
text try 5
text try 6
text try 7
text try 8
text try 9
Later that day they were nice enough to check up on me:
Final text
What traumatic first grade incident was I referring to? Well, in first grade we were allowed to wear our “summer uniforms” when the weather was warm. This uniform consisted of blue shorts and a white polo. I was small for my age, and being a middle child, my parents did not think properly fitting clothes were worth the investment on me. So I was wearing an old pair of shorts from my older siblings that were slightly too big, thus, requiring a belt. If you think my parents were going to buy me a brand new belt to make up for my ill-fitting clothes, you are sorely mistaken. The belt was an old belt of my brother’s, and it was broken. When it came time for the first bathroom break at school in the morning I went into a stall and tried to undo my belt but it was jammed. I asked the other girls in the bathroom to try and get it, but no one could, not even the strongest girl in the class! Too embarrassed to ask the teacher, I went the whole day without using the bathroom, subsequently, also not eating or drinking anything. When the bell rang at the end of the day to go home, I ran home crying. For several minutes, but what felt like an eternity, everyone at home tried to get my belt off but no one’s strength could match that of the old belt. Finally, my oldest sister, Maggie, was able to free me and I could go to the bathroom. Although she was never properly tested, to this day we still question if Maggie had been using steroids at the time.
At 6:15pm that Tuesday, the Tuesday/Thursday pants were laid to rest. It was a private, intimate ceremony, just me and her (the pants), where I shoved her in the garbage can in the kitchen. She never looked so peaceful as she did at that moment. I have since replaced the Tuesday/Thursday pants but they are not the same. Plus we got off to a bad start since the coupon I planned to use in her purchase could not be used.
Many people foolishly take for granted the simple action of pulling their pants down each day to go to the bathroom. Since that fateful day I have cultivated a greater appreciation for pants that have a working zipper. I also learned I go to the bathroom way too much during the work day. After a full dinner conversation where everyone discussed how many times they go to the bathroom during the day and their liquid intake, I realized I should probably go see a doctor. Rest in peace Tuesday/Thursday pants.