Mom and Dad Who Are You?

Growing up, I always thought I knew my parents to a tee. Their personality traits, likes, dislikes, and pet peeves. After all, I lived with them for a whole 18 years before I went away to college. But now that my four prodigal siblings have moved out and it’s just the three of us, I’ve learned that I didn’t really know them as well as I thought. Living with my parents has allowed me to discover so much more about them, and I’m sure they have discovered a lot more about me. Here are a few very important things I’ve observed about Mike and Mo:

  1. Mike Sr. loves to take out the trash
    Where we live, garbage pick-up day is on Tuesday morning, and it has been this day for as long as I can remember. Growing up, one of us kids was always assigned the chore of “emptying the wastebaskets” in all the bathrooms and bedrooms so it could go in Tuesday morning’s trash pick-up. As you can imagine, this caused a lot of fights between the five of us kids as to whose turn it was to take on this horrific and exhausting task. If my Mom accidentally assigned the same kid to “emptying the wastebaskets” two weeks in a row, she was dead to that child.
    When I moved back home after college, I started to notice that my dad took on this Monday night chore, which was fine with me because I didn’t want to do it. But then I started to notice he became more aggressive with emptying the waste baskets, going through and emptying them a couple times a week. Then it got to the point where if I threw a single Q-Tip in the bathroom wastebasket I felt my father was going to sneak up behind me and empty that wastebasket so there wasn’t a single piece of trash in it. I finally had to confront him about his addiction to emptying the wastebaskets, to which he adamantly denied.
    Since my father travels on business a lot during the week, he can’t always be there to empty the wastebaskets, so I would have to cover for him. I decided to use the information of knowing he loves emptying the waste baskets to my advantage, so I decided to start texting him pictures of myself in the act of emptying the wastebaskets to taunt him while he was away making enough money to continue to feed his 25 year old deadbeat daughter.

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The selfie stick is the gift that just keeps on giving.

My Dad’s love of emptying the wastebaskets has become a running joke between the two of us. As you can see, it’s the main thing we text about. He still claims that he doesn’t LOVE emptying the wastebaskets, that it’s just something that needs to be done, but I know the real truth.

2.  Mo is sick of pretzel rods
My dad does the grocery shopping every Saturday morning, so he keeps inventory of what’s in the fridge and what everyone likes to eat. One Saturday morning, as my mom and I were lounging on the couch with our coffee, watching a juicy Dateline episode that she recorded the night before, my Dad came up from the basement and said to me, “Kathleen, I noticed you haven’t been eating your yogurt that’s in the basement fridge. Do you not like yogurt anymore?” I paused the Dateline episode because I needed my parents’ full attention when I responded to this question. “Ah yea,” I said. “I’ve been meaning to  make an announcement about that. I’m pretty sick of yogurt these days. So if you could stop getting it from the store, that would be great.” And before anyone had time to process my big news my mom chimed in and said, “Well, while, we’re making announcements, I have one too. I just wanted everyone to know, and I know this is shocking, that I’m burned out on pretzel rods.” “Whoa, whoa, whoa, excuse me?” I immediately said. “You can’t just piggy back off my announcement with your own big announcement! You totally just stole my thunder.” Wow, I thought, talk about rude. I felt like Taylor Swift when Kanye West jumped on stage when she was accepting her award at the VMA’s. My own MOTHER “Kanye West’ed” me.
I have to admit though, this did come as a big shock to me. My mom has loved pretzel rods for as long as I can remember. When we were growing up, each day after school she’d boot us from the tv room so she could watch Jeopardy with her Diet Coke and pretzel rods. It took my father and me a few minutes to get over the initial shock of what my mother just said. Did we even know this women at all anymore? While it did take us awhile to come to terms with it, we finally accepted it and said we’d support her in whatever food she decided to replace the pretzel rods with. And that food turned out to be Famous Amos cookies.

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Mo and her two youngest watching Jeopardy back in the day. (I’m the one on the left) It got pretty tight on that couch with five kids, a mom, bags, book bags and all the other junk we threw on that couch. (looks like Girl Scout Cookies and grocery bags in this photo)

3. My Dad has trust issues with Tupperware
A couple of weeks ago, while the three of us were sitting down to a nice dinner of leftovers, my Dad brought up something that I could tell had been bothering him for a while:

Dad: You know, Mo, I put these pineapple chucks in this Tupperware container and the lid doesn’t seem to fit quite right.
Mom: I’ve noticed that too, I think this new dishwasher has been shrinking the lids. Dishwashers these days are way too powerful, I think it’s done some damage to my nice plates too.
Me: You guys always blame stuff on the dishwasher! Dad, the lid doesn’t fit because the top is Betty Crocker brand and the bottom is Rubbermaid brand so they don’t go together.
Dad: Where does it say that?! No, I’m sure these two fit together. (At this point my dad proceeds to try to jam the lid on top of the Tupperware container.)
Me: Would you like me to get a hammer from your tool box so you can better jam that lid onto the bottom? Look right here, the bottom says Rubbermaid and the top says Betty Crocker.
(Now Mike and Mo both take out their reading glasses and begin to inspect the Tupperware for several minutes, discovering that, in fact, the top and the bottom are two different brands.)
Dad: Oh Hell! You practically need an electron microscope to see the damn names on there!
Mom: (said with disgust) I don’t think it’s right that the two companies both make Tupperware containers with red lids. Each company should have a different color lid. They shouldn’t both be allowed to make Tupperware with red lids!

I got a good laugh out of how heated our Tupperware container conversation continued to get. Our dinner conversations always seem to come back to Tupperware. Ever since then my dad has been very cautious about the containers he uses. And he always takes out his glasses to inspect the top and the bottom, usually while making a sarcastic comment. “Do I need to get my PhD to be able to find a top and bottom to put away this pineapple?”

4. Mo hates to toss food.
My mom is a great cook. But these days, she has grown pretty tired of cooking, and I don’t blame her, she cooked meals for her husband and five kids every night when we were little. So the times when she cooks dinner have grown few and far between. But when she does, she cooks in mass quantities as if she is still cooking for five growing children. I also suspect it is so she can be sure there are a lot of leftovers. My mom loves leftover nights because this means she doesn’t have to cook. She is very skilled at making a meal and then stretching it to serve us the next four or five nights. And she’s not picky, she’ll take other people’s leftovers too. Have food you don’t want to finish? Send it Mo’s way, she’ll take it. All these leftovers can sometime be a burden for me because the task of finishing them seems to always fall on me since my parents both eat like birds. If we can’t finish all the leftovers and some food needs to be tossed, my parents make me feel guilty. “It’s a shame we have to waste this” my mom will say as she dumps the food in the garbage while her accusing eyes stare directly into mine, piercing my soul. “I can’t finish all the leftovers!” I say, “I’m only one person! That dinner you made on Monday is like the loaves and the fishes! The food just keeps multiplying in the fridge! I can only eat so much!” “Oh no, I’m not blaming you.” She’ll say even though she is 100% blaming me.
Her biggest pet peeve though is if she gets lunch meat from the store and you don’t finish it. For anyone that has read the book The Little Match Girl they know it’s a story about a little girl who is sent out to sell matches but doesn’t sell any. She is afraid to come home because her father will beat her for not selling any matches. So she stays outside in the cold and ends up dying. Pretty depressing for a children’s book if you ask me. Well, in this reoccurring lunch meat situation at our house I am like the little match girl. If I don’t finish the lunch meat I feel like I shouldn’t even bother coming home for fear of what my mom will do. “Oh my God, oh my God!” I say to myself in a panic as I see the “best if used by” date approaching on the turkey. “I have to find a way to finish this!” I frantically try to come up with a plan and see when I can fit a turkey sandwich into my week’s schedule. Sometimes I don’t meet the deadline and disappoint my mother. Just like the Little Match Girl feared disappointing her father by not selling any matches.”You know I’m going to stop getting lunch meat if you and Dad aren’t eating it.” She says angrily. She always says this, but doesn’t really mean it. And the vicious lunch meat cycle continues.

There are many other things I’ve learned about Mike and Mo, but these are just the important things. Maybe I never noticed these personality traits of theirs growing up because I used to only see them as my parents, but now they are my buddies. It’s been fun getting to know them better. They are pretty great roommates/landlords!

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This photo of me and the roomies was taken on the worst day of my entire life-my college graduation day. 

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I am NOT Making the Christmas Cookies

Last week, my younger sister went back to school after being home for over a month on her Christmas break, which, to me, officially marked the end of the Christmas season. Looking back, our family’s Christmas this year was a good one, although it got off to a very rocky start. In fact, our Christmas started out no where near holly, jolly, merry or bright.

The trouble began on Christmas Eve morning. We had a smaller group this Christmas Eve with my brother in Cleveland with his wife and my sister with her husband’s family, it was just my parents-Mike and Mo, my sisters Bridget and Jane, and myself. Yes, it was another Old Maid Christmas at the Kelly house. There was still lots to do to prepare for Christmas and we were short handed with our skeleton crew. Old Maids can only do so much work! To make matters worse, when my younger sister Jane finally rolled out of bed a little after noon, we discovered she had been stricken with a “mysterious illness” which left her couch-ridden the entire day. And by that I mean she was severely hungover. We had both gone out the night before and Jane must have made a little too much merry. I guess she took Merry Christmas very literally.

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Three Old Maids in their natural habitat-their parents home. Drinking their parents’ wine, and sitting on their parents’ furniture.

One of the things I love about Jane though is that whenever she is hungover she always denies it and instead claims to have some sort of chronic illness. “I think I have Crohn’s Disease” she’ll say, coincidentally the morning after consuming mass amounts of alcohol at the bars with her friends. Crohn’s Disease has been her go-to illness lately whenever she is hungover at home. I told her she’s going to have to start switching things up and use other diseases and illnesses, otherwise my parents are going to start catching on. I said if she was looking for suggestions for the morning of New Years Day, Tuberculosis might be a nice change of pace.

With Jane busy dying on the couch/looking up illnesses on WebMD, many of the Christmas duties fell on Bridget and me, one of which, was making the Christmas cookies. And boy, was that a chore. It’s very misleading when you see these families in Christmas commercials and Christmas movies all gathered together in the kitchen smiling and laughing, having a grand old time as they bake delicious cookies because in reality that’s not how it is at all. They don’t show you all the prep and clean-up that goes into those damn cookies. All the bowls and pans that need to be washed, the worry of accidentally overcooking or under-cooking the cookies. It’s a lot of pressure! Those Christmas cookies didn’t bring us together at all. In fact, they nearly ripped our family apart. Between the five of us at home, no one wanted to make them at all. My mom made it very clear on Christmas Eve morning that she was not going to partake in any holiday baking. “Now listen, girls” she said in a scolding tone as soon as we came downstairs, “I am NOT making those Christmas cookies! One of you kids will have to make them. I am going to make the bacon ahead of time for Christmas Brunch tomorrow and then I am out of this kitchen!”

I had never heard someone talk about Christmas cookies with such anger and hate in their voice. It was quite the rude awakening. Bridget and I both looked at each other stunned. We hadn’t even been up for three minutes and we were already in the dog house. I quickly glanced at my mom’s waistline to see if she was wearing a belt, as I was afraid she might take it off and begin beating us with it. Luckily, she was still in her robe.

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Don’t let that sweet and innocent face fool you. Of course I’m talking about Ronald Reagan’s face on the book my dad is holding. Mo means business when she’s in her blue robe.

I’m my mother’s daughter so I also did NOT want to make those cookies. I really tried hard to negotiate my way out of doing it, to no avail.

Me: Do you really think we need to make the cookies this year? Does anyone even eat those cookies anymore? Let’s just pick up a pack of Oreo’s and call it a day.
Mom: Well we are stuck making them because Dad already made the dough last night. So the hard part is pretty much over, you girls just have to finish the rest.
Me: Oh Dad, if you started making the cookies I think you should follow through on the project and finish them. Isn’t it so rewarding being able to complete a project from start to finish? You always taught us never to half-ass anything, so I’m really doing you a favor.
Dad: Oh yea, nice try! I did my part making the dough, you girls need to pitch in now.
Me: Well we really should have sat down and discussed this as a family a couple of days ago because Bridget and I never agreed to this baking thing.

Just after I finished getting that smart ass comment out of my mouth, I turned around and fear overcame me, for I thought the ghost of Christmas past had appeared in the kitchen to haunt me. But to my relief, it was just Jane, pale as a ghost from her Crohn’s Disease or Scarlet Fever or whatever she was calling her hangover that day. Somehow she gathered the strength to pull herself off the couch and join us in the kitchen for our domestic dispute over the cookies. “I’ll make the cookies” she stated in a weak voice. “Ew, no” Bridget responded “We aren’t letting you touch those cookies with your illness. Go back on the couch, you look awful….no offense.” She added. It’s true, poor Jane really did look terrible. She reminded me of Grandmother Willow from the movie Pocahontas. Not because she was giving out great advice like Grandmother Willow  did in the movie, but because her coloring was off and she looked a little shriveled up, probably from being extremely dehydrated.

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Actual photo I took of Jane on Christmas Eve. Yes Grandmother Willow, the path home from the bar is never the easiest one. Well said.

Finally, Bridget and I accepted our fate of being the ones that had to make the cookies. We started them as soon as my mom was done making the bacon, but unfortunately for us, it wasn’t soon enough. The cookies took a lot longer than we planned and so we were running late for church. Mike Sr. was not happy. And to make matters worse, Grandmother Willow couldn’t even go to church because she was still too crippled. Mike and Mo were not happy with their three youngest children.

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Duke was kind enough to help Bridget and me in the kitchen. If you look closely you can  even see the flour on his muzzle from baking all those cookies.(Ok but if I’m being honest he really didn’t do that much work. I mean the guy doesn’t have thumbs, he was dropping cookie sheets left and right. After that he pretty much just sat there and drooled.)

Our bad luck didn’t stop there. Since we were running late there were no seats left at church, which my parents blamed on Bridget and me. We ended up sitting in the choir loft behind a gigantic organ where we could not see or hear anything. We could have all sat in front of a wall wearing ear plugs in the comfort of our own home for an hour and had the same experience as we did during that mass. Also during the mass, my mom and dad kept suggesting that I go sit at this lone folding chair in the corner of the choir loft away from all the other pews so I could “see the altar better.” After a while I was starting to become suspicious of their suggestions, thinking they were trying to abandon me. I had heard stories of parents leaving their children at safe places such as churches or fire stations when they could no longer care for them, but I never thought MY parents would do it to ME. If they thought they could get rid of me that easy, they were wrong. I wasn’t going to fall for their trickery.

After my parents came to terms with the fact that their three youngest children will always disappoint them, they changed their attitudes and we actually ended Christmas Eve on a good note. We watched It’s a Wonderful Life and ate pizza. Bridget and I could especially sympathize with Uncle Billy watching the movie this time around because just like Uncle Billy, we also couldn’t do anything right on Christmas Eve. At least in my parents eyes.

Christmas Day things really turned about for the better though. We just figured Santa was going to bring the three of us coal this year after how mad he was at us the day before, but to our pleasant surprise he actually left us gifts! But that’s not even the best part of Christmas Day. The greatest moment was when we witnessed a real life Christmas miracle. Yes, Jane, who was stricken with [Insert any disease from the Oregon Trails computer game-Typhoid Fever, Cholera, Dysentery, Measles- really, take your pick, any will do, you just can’t call it a hangover] just hours before, made a miraculous recovery! She was totally cured!

Seeing my younger sister Jane finally get up off the couch that Christmas morning made all the trouble we went through the day before worth it. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about? I hope next Christmas is just as magical as this one was.

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Celebrating the successful completion of the Christmas cookie project on Christmas morning.

 

Summer Breeze, Makes Me Feel Fine

With the recent streak of warm weather in Chicago, I found myself thinking a lot about summer. Growing up, my siblings and I had it pretty good in the summer months. We were fortunate enough to live close by to my Grandma’s house, and she had a backyard most kids only dream of, complete with a pool, swing set, and sandbox.
Each day during the summer we would wake up and get right into our swim suits and beg our mom to take us to our Grandma’s so we could hang out with our cousins and swim. Sadly, our mom was a mean mom and had a rule that we couldn’t go swimming until all five of us finished our assigned pages in our workbooks. Boy, did she drive a hard bargain! Yes, she made us exercise our minds during the summer months (As if doing school work nine months out of the year wasn’t enough). I have to admit, I was usually the one delaying things because it took me so long to finish my workbook pages. The other four kids would be at the kitchen table diligently working in their books while I would be laying on the TV room floor complaining about having to do school work in the summer. As soon as my mom would leave the room I would plead with one of my siblings, “Bridget, come on! Please just do my work book for me! I don’t want to do it! Ugghhh! I’ll empty the waste baskets for a month if you just do it for me!” To which everyone else would yell back, “Kathleen! Stop being a baby and do your workbook so we can go! Hurry up we are all waiting! Everyone is going to be at Grandma’s before us!” Finally, I would get up off the floor and huff and puff over to the table to join the other nerds in doing school work.

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Ah yes, my pre-pool summer outfit. My saddle shoes matched perfectly with my African pride shorts and purple wife-beater top. I was quite the fashionista back then.

Whether I half-assed it through my assigned pages, or somehow bribed a sibling to do it for me, we always ended up happily on our way to the pool. We would all pile into the station wagon and jam out to my mom’s Don McLean/Jim Croce double sided cassette tape as we drove the all of 2 miles to Grandma’s. (This cassette was great except for the fact that “American Pie” cut off at the four minute mark and we didn’t get the whole eight minute song. This made for some awkward moments later in life when the song came on at wedding receptions and we abruptly stopped belting out all the words halfway through the song). Once we arrived at Grandma’s it was nothing but fun times with our cousins and aunts. There were really only two rules at the pool: 1. You damn well had better make sure your hands were completely dry before you dug into the bag of cheese popcorn. No one likes soggy popcorn. 2. No sand in the pool. If you were playing in the sandbox and wanted to go into the pool you first had to be hosed down by one of the adults. That water was so cold it was torture. It’s funny, looking back, it seemed my mom always volunteered to hose down kids with the icy cold water. Almost as if she enjoyed it. I swear I saw her smiling once when she was spraying me down but my vision was quickly blurred as the pressure from the sub-zero water hit my eyes so I can’t be 100% sure.
Sometimes, when we wanted a little break form the pool we would climb around the swing set. The safety of the swing set was questionable due to the fact that it was put in in about 1968 and some of the metal had rusted out. We were usually pretty good about staying up to date on our tetanus shots though so it was never really a problem. Plus, you get a cut on your arm just stick it in the pool. The high amounts of chlorine would kill any infection. The burn let you know it was killing the germs! Once we got bored with the swing set it was back to the pool we went.

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The whitest kids in America.

Once our eyes were practically bleeding and resembled that of a crazed drug addict from all the chlorine, we knew it was time to head home. Usually we arrived back just in time to do a quick run around through the sprinklers before dinner. Not our own sprinklers, of course, but that of our elderly neighbors next door to us. Their sprinkler system would go off at about 5:30 every evening which perfectly coincided with when we would arrive back home every day. Nothing screams “We are hillbillys” quite like running around through the sprinklers on someone else’s lawn. After a quick dinner we would head back outside to ride bikes or set up traps to try and catch rabbits, keeping with the hillbilly theme. We didn’t jump on the whole “cable TV” bandwagon until later in life so we had to entertain ourselves somehow.

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Either I just finished smoking some weed or I got too much chlorine in my eyes. It was too long ago so I can’t remember which one it was. (Side note my eye brows look like they are dangerously close to forming one big uni-brow.)

All that swimming really tired us out so at night we would kick back with a movie. Each week we would take turns on who got to pick out the movie at the video store. If you picked out a movie and it turned out to not be a big hit with the others, then naturally you’d blame it on someone else. “Well I was being nice and picked that movie for Michael so it shouldn’t even count as my turn! It’s really Michael’s fault the movie was so bad!” My parents would watch their movie upstairs while we watched our movie in the basement. The second the movie ended and the credits started to roll all of us would race upstairs as if our clothing was on fire because we were brats and no one wanted to have to stay and rewind the movie. Some were better than others in sensing when the movie was about to end and could get a head start. The unlucky kid left rewinding the video would usually yell up the stairs, “I hate you guys! You are all jerks!” While the rest of us would laugh and laugh.
Now that we are older we spend our summers a little differently. Things like work  and other responsibilities tend to get in the way of some of our fun but we still hang around the pool together from time to time. But these days instead of drinking juice boxes by the pool we’ve graduated to more adult type beverages. No matter what though, we will always look back fondly on our summers as kids, and we have our generous grandma to thank for that!

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The woman who made all of our summer fun possible. Looks like my slicked back hair-do was inspired by Uncle Jesse from Full House. “Watch the hair, huh!”

The Stages of My Life

A few months back we were all sitting in the TV room, looking for something interesting to watch, with no luck. I suggested we pop in a few home movies. This was mostly because I spent countless hours slaving away converting our home videos from VHS to DVD per my mom’s request and people were going to appreciate my hard work damn it! Once I hit play I had the usual reaction to seeing myself in the past: “Oh my God did I really sound like that?! Talk about an obnoxious voice” and “Mom, why did you keep taking us to that hair salon?! We look like boys!” As the years flashed by us on the screen, I began to see distinct stages in my life. These stages are not ones I am particularly proud of, but I guess they made me into the weirdo I am today.

Stage 1: I have no soul

I know I have touched on this before, but I am seriously convinced that I was born without a soul, it was just a few years late in entering my body. I think my soul didn’t get the memo on my birth. Better late than never though right? Every time I mention it my mom responds with “Oh no honey, you were a happy baby.” Really Mom? Show me one picture or video where I am smiling before the age of three. I have yet to see any documentation of this. People without souls cannot feel happiness.

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Only someone without a soul would be this unhappy on vacation. I was showing off a lot of cleavage in that swimsuit too-a little inappropriate for a family vacation. Shame on my mother for dressing me like that.

Stage 2: Wild Child

Once my soul did enter my body I became a weird freak with endless energy. I did strange things like tie plastic bags to my arms  and jump out of trees in an attempt to fly, rollerblade on the living room carpet, and try to catch bunnies and squirrels. I was either strange or really dumb-still trying to figure out which one. It’s a miracle I had any friends. I also refused to brush my hair, something I deeply regretted in my later years, which made me look like Tarzan. I still wince when I look back at pictures. I wish my mother had forced me to run a brush through my hair every now and then.

Oh my God I love the Hanson Brothers! Play "Mmm Bop" for us! Oh wait, that's me and 2 of my sisters. I'm the brat with her arms folded. God I wish someone handed us a hair brush

Oh my God the Hanson Brothers! I love them! Play “Mmm Bop” for us! Oh wait, that’s me and 2 of my sisters in our backyard. I’m the brat with her arms folded. God I wish someone handed us a hair brush

My parents are saints for putting up with me. If I were them I would have smacked me and then given me Xanax to make me calm down a little bit. It must have been concerning for them to have created a child as strange as I was.

My Mother looks like she just picked up these kids from the insane asylum. I'm the one with the hat that says "Kathleen", a hat perfect for being abducted.

My poor mother looks like she just picked up these kids from the pediatric insane asylum. I’m the one with the hat that says “Kathleen”, a hat perfect for being abducted.

Stage 3: I am awkward and ugly

I know this may be hard for people to believe, but I wasn’t always the bombshell babe I am today. I was actually quite unfortunate looking for a while there. I was scrawny, sickly pale, had braces, frizzy hair, thick dark eyebrows, and a nose my face had yet to grow into. I was also extremely annoying. I thought I was pretty funny too when really I was not at all. Watching this stage on the screen was hard on the eyes for everyone. I should have worn a brown paper bag over my head from 6th through 10th grade. Woof.

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Yikes. Not sure who the dog is in this picture.

Stage 4 (My final stage): I am done growing

Last year, on a sunny fall afternoon, I was at The Home Depot picking up a bag of gords for the fall centerpiece I was making for the dining room table (typical Sunday errands). While at the self check-out (since I’m an independent woman who don’t need no cashier) I was scanning the bar code on the bag of gords, minding my own business, when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned around to see a sweet elderly lady with a Home Depot apron on. Once I turned she said to me, “Excuse me, but where is your mother?” I was very confused. “Huh?” I said. She replied, “When I saw you coming to the self check out, I thought, this girl can’t be more than 14 years old. Why is she here all by herself?” I thought to myself, ok, old lady, you of all people should not be discriminating others based on age. But I was not about to tell this lady that I was actually 24 so I played it off and said my mom was in the car. Most people would be embarrassed in these types of situations but since it happens to me so often it didn’t bother me in the least bit. Lots of people mistakenly think I am about ten years younger than I actually am. It’s as if around the age of 12 or 13 my body just kind of said, “This is good, I think I’ll stop here.” It was evident in the home videos that my growth started to plateau around 8th grade. My mom tells me I’ll appreciate looking young when I am 40 or so. Since there is really nothing I can do about it I have tried to embrace my youthful look, hey maybe I’ll even try to get a job as a child actor, my possibilities are endless. The only time it can be annoying is when I try to purchase alcohol. More recently I was stopped at the grocery store check-out while buying a case of beer. The cashier did not believe I was 21 and thought my ID was fake. She even called over the manager. Like give me a break lady, I was buying Bud Light not Busch or Natural Light, obviously I’m over 21.

After a few DVDs we had had enough. While watching these home videos had provided us with lots of laughs we were also reminded why we only watch these every once in a while. Everyone goes through stages they aren’t proud of, but it’s all part of growing up. I am interested to see what my future stages will be, I guess we will have to sit down and watch our home videos again in another 25 years!

Everybody Knows, it Hurts to Grow Up

 “One day down, infinity to go”, that is what I said to my sister on the train ride home after my first day on the job. Unlike school, working doesn’t have an end date. Don’t get me wrong I like my job, but it looks like my company doesn’t observe Columbus Day, Flag Day, or Summer Vacation. This could be a problem. I guess at least us women have maternity leave to look forward to. Sorry boyz. 

It has been almost a year now since I graduated college. In that year I have been forced to begin to grow up, and let me tell you, it’s not easy. There have been many obstacles and hardships along the way. Joining the workforce comes with its own set of challenges. Two of those challenges I encounter on my walk to and from the train: Pigeons and slow walkers. They are both equally annoying and I feel like giving both parties a good kick in the rear to get the lead out of their pants. Many days I want to scream, “Get out of my way stupid pigeons! Not all of us have the luxury of flying everywhere they go! Some of us have a train to catch!” But I know if I said this I would look like a crazy person, so I have refrained from yelling this thus far.
Another challenge-picking out an outfit each morning. For me, the bottom part is easy because I pretty much own just two pairs of nice pants, a grey pair and a black pair. I rotate the pants every week-Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are grey pants day, while Tuesday and Thursday are black pants day. I wear the grey pants an extra day because they are comfier than the black pair. But picking out a top is like trying to solve a math problem. “Ok today I’ll wear the striped sweater. Wait I can’t wear stripes, I wore a striped shirt Tuesday and I can’t wear stripes two times in one week. Ok I’ll wear this blue shirt. Wait I wore that at the beginning of March what if people remember?!”
Yet another challenge-Lunch. Lunch can make your day a good one or a bad one. If I have a bad lunch I have nothing to look forward to in the mornings. If it were up to me I would eat salsa and chips each day for lunch but that’s not socially acceptable in the workplace so I usually settle for a sandwich. Sometimes I’ll make myself a salad. By that I mean I put iceburg lettuce in a Tupperware container and douse it will ranch dressing. Salad days=bad days. I’m sorry but salads just don’t keep me full and satisfied. I’m not a bunny.

In working I have learned that you can’t come into the office without watching the weather on the news, otherwise you will have nothing to talk about. Thank goodness for the Polar Vortex this winter. It really provided me with a good “ice-breaker” (pun definitely intended on that one) in starting conversation with my new coworkers. Some of my favorite go-to phrases include, “Cold enough out there for ya? (chuckle)” and “I think we may only have one season this year-Winter! (another chuckle)” But the Polar Vortex did come with its disadvantages. You see, everyone who knows me well knows I get cold very easily, thus my lips and nails turn purple. When your lips are purple, people ask questions like “Do you have purple lip gloss on?” Many times I’ve had to stop myself from saying “No I don’t have purple lip gloss on! This is not 1998 and I’m not a spice girl!” Luckily my office doesn’t keep the thermostat as low as my father does so I have been able to avoid this awkward encounter.
I have also learned about things I never wanted to know about. 401K? More like 4-0h Hell no! You’re going to take money out of my check and put it into an account that I can’t touch until I’m 59?! I could be dead by then, I don’t take a daily multi-vitamin! And tax day? When I was little tax day meant hamburgers at McDonald’s were 39 cents and cheeseburgers were 49 cents. Now I actually have to do my taxes. So upsetting.
In a way though, a part of me will never grow up. At least while I’m still living with my parents. I mean our upstairs bathroom has hippo wallpaper covering it. We all love this wallpaper so it will never come down.
"It's probably just water weight...right?'

“It’s probably just water weight…right? and my slippers add a few pounds.”

Pictured above is a hippo from our bathroom wall. I like to call her “College Girl Hippo” Maybe she had a little too much fun going out celebrating that Physics test she aced. Maybe she ordered a late night pizza because she got a little hungry after the bars. Now its Sunday, she’s feeling guilty, she steps on the scale to see how much damage she did, and she doesn’t like that number she sees. Now that I’m a college grad, older, wiser, and more mature, I want to tell her “Oh honey we’ve all been there, just have fun and enjoy your college years. You’re more than just a number on a scale!”
This Mama Hippo (center) is thinking what I'm sure my own mother has thought numerous times, "Why the hell did I have all these kids for?!"

This Mama Hippo (center) is thinking what I’m sure my own mother has thought numerous times, “Why in the hell did I have all these kids?!”

In addition to our childlike wallpaper, I still have glow in the dark stars on my bedroom ceiling. This is not by choice though. When I first wanted to put them up my Dad didn’t want me to for fear it would ruin the ceiling when we tried to take them down. Finally he relented and I put them up. Years later when I tried to take them down, pieces of drywall kept coming down with them- dear ole’ Dad was right. Therefore those stars will remain up forever. If you read this, sorry Dad! In my defense though, there is no feeling quite like sleeping under the stars.

How lucky am I to have this be the last thing I see before falling asleep?! Is that the big dipper in between the smoke detector and the light fixture?!

I have been having a hard time coping with the fact that I have been out of college for almost a year. I can no longer tell people I JUST graduated college, and this is hard to come to terms with. But I guess we all have to face the facts and grow up sometimes. I’ll grow up, eventually, but I still have some fun left in me before I do.