Just Me and the Boomers

Now that fall is here, and my sister is back at school, things are back to normal at the ol’ Ma and Pa Kelly boarding house. Just me and the baby boomers again. Which is probably a good thing because I was starting to feel neglected with my other siblings being home again. There was even one day during the summer where I suspected my mother had made a sandwich for my sister (the youngest) to take to work and not me. If she thought she could get away with this, she had another thing coming. I’m a middle child so obviously I’m going to take every chance I can get to call out a parent on being unfair. Middle children look out for number one-ourselves. To confirm my suspicions I texted my sister and once I had my answer, I texted my mom about the situation. Below is her BS response:

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I think my greatest and most rewarding accomplishment in life has been downloading the emoji keyboard on my Mom’s phone and teaching her how to use them.

I thought this incident required further discussion in order to successful repair our roommate relationship, so I confronted her about it when I got home from work. I asked her if she remembered the story in the Bible about the Prodigal Son. But, being a typical Catholic, she needed a bit of a refresher on it since she probably hadn’t picked up a bible since her 8th grade confirmation.  I explained to her how my sister, Jane, home from college, was like the Prodigal son (prodigal daughter in this case) and how I felt like the other son in the story who was out working in the field while they slaughtered the fattest calf in celebration of the Prodigal Son’s return. I can especially relate to the other son because my Dad sometimes makes me pick up sticks from our lawn, which is similar to working in a field. After my mom fully understood the parallels between the the two stories, she quickly apologized. While I told her it would take her a while to earn back my trust, I did forgive her, because that’s what roommates do.

While my roommates sometimes make mistakes, they really are quite enjoyable to live with. I really have gotten the chance to understand the Baby Boomer generation more and they are an interesting breed. After living with and studying them so long, I feel as though I could write a whole thesis paper on Baby Boomers. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

First off, they never cease to entertain me. Mike and Mo really make me laugh sometimes. I’m not sure if they actually mean to, or if it’s just our generation gap. For example, about a year ago, my mom came home very excited to show me her newest purchase, which was a measuring cup. When she took it out of the bag I started dying laughing. “What is the point of that?!” (Please see picture below).

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Mo’s favorite measuring cup

At first glance, you might think, oh that’s just your average measuring cup. But let me give a little perspective in the next photo of this measuring cup.

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It’s actually the tiniest measuring cup in America

Mom: Why are you laughing so hard?
Me:  Is that measuring cup for Thumbelina? We are never going to use that. That’s too funny! It’s cute though.
Mom: Oh, you little smart ass! It’s a teaspoon and tablespoon measuring cup! And I will too use it.
Me: I just don’t get the point of it, we already have teaspoons and tablespoons.
Mom: Well you just wait and see. You’ll probably be asking me to borrow it pretty soon!

Well, needless to say I was right and it has hardly ever been used, it just sits in the cabinet collecting dust and taking up space. After about ten months my mom did use it once and she was sure to let me and my dad know. “Just so everyone knows, I am using my little handy measuring cup here!” And that was the last time she ever used it. Also, for the record, I have never asked to borrow it either.

Another thing my mom is pretty funny about is where we keep the coozies. The other day I went to grab one from the cabinet in the kitchen to use for my Diet Coke so my hands didn’t get cold (I have poor circulation-cold hands warm heart) and they were no where to be found.

Me: Mom! Did you move the coozies again?!
Mom: Ugh, yes, I just couldn’t stand where they were in that cabinet! I’m just having a hard time finding a good place for them now with this new kitchen!
(editor’s note: We redid our kitchen 3 1/2 years ago, also the cabinet layout did not change so I struggle to understand why she is having trouble finding a place for them)
Me: Ok well where are they now? That’s about the 17th time you’ve moved them.
Mom: I know, and I may move them again. They are in the pantry for now but I don’t really like that spot either.

It’s been about a month since that move. I think that’s the longest the coozies have been in one location since the “new” kitchen. I will update everyone on where they end up next month.

The second thing I learned is they can sometimes be forgetful. Mike and Mo have taught me a lot about patience in their older years. Stories they tell while we are sitting down to dinner can sometimes take a little longer than they used to. Here is a typical dinner conversation for the three of us:

Dad: So Kathleen, I meant to tell you, I was downtown having lunch with some customers last week at….. (pause) at…. (pause again) oh Hell! What was the name of that restaurant? Mo, what was it called?
Mom: I’m not sure what restaurant you’re talking about, sweetie.
Dad: Yea, you’d know it, remember we went there a couple of years ago for dinner, we took your mom and it was a hassle to get to because they had that street blocked off due to that damn festival.
Mom: Oh, oh, oh, yes I know what you’re talking about but I’m blanking on the name. All right hold on let me think for a second. (stops eating to look up at the ceiling and think for a while) Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse?
Dad: Nah that wasn’t it. (looks up at the ceiling and thinks about it some more while mumbling off some names he thinks it might be close to )
Mom: What street is it on again? I can picture the outside of it I just can’t think of the name.
Dad: Oh Hell! It’s on the tip of my tongue why can’t I think of it?!
Mom: Blackie’s? Petterino’s?
Me: Excuse me, but is the name of the restaurant at all relevant to the actual point of the story? Because if it’s not I really  think we should just move on. I will be OK if I don’t know the name of the restaurant you ate at. I have to be at work tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. so if you could try and wrap up this story before then, that would be great.

After about what seems like 6 hours, my dad finally did remember the name of the restaurant. And no, it was not pertinent to the point of the story in the least bit.

Another thing I’ve learned from Mike and Mo is to be patient with Baby Boomers on anything relating to technology. Teaching them to download a picture from an email, copying and pasting, or helping them change a setting on their phone is a daily occurrence in our house. The other day I was helping my mom attach a few pictures to an email she was sending to her siblings. Neither of us was in the teaching/learning mood so I finally just took her computer and did it for her. Once I was done I gave her laptop back to her so she could write what she wanted in the email and I swear her fingers could not have been on the keyboard more than 2 seconds when I hear her say “Oh, uh-oh. Something just happened. I don’t know what I did but I must have hit something and the email is gone.” I couldn’t help but feel bad for the poor thing as she looked up at me, reading glasses on the tip of her nose, eyes wide in panic.She was in a total state of shock and confusion. Sure enough, she had somehow managed to reek havoc in the two seconds she had her computer back-erasing the email and closing out all her open tabs. We both had a good laugh and then I reattached the pictures to the email for her because we both didn’t want to be up for another 3 hours if I let my mom try it for herself.

The third and final thing that I have learned are Baby Boomers are creatures of habit. Mike and Mo like to do almost the same thing every weekend: On Saturday they go to lunch at Pappy’s, then 4:30 mass (sitting in the same section) and then they watch episodes of this super old show that’s in black and white called Perry Mason while eating ice cream. Since Baby Boomers are so inclusive, they always invite me to join to which I flat out deny

Dad: Kathleen, would you like to stay in tonight and watch Perry Mason with us?
Me: Oh thanks but as extremely boring as that sounds I’m going to have to take a pass. I’m actually going to the north side tonight so I’ll see you guys tomorrow.
Dad: Oh! Mo, how about that! Kathleen “North Side” Kelly is abandoning us yet again! She only lives with us during the week and then we are lucky if we see her at all on the weekends. Last weekend I was about to put your face on a milk carton we hadn’t seen you in so long.
Me: Dad, you KNOW if I don’t go out on the weekends I get irritable. This time apart is good for all of us. Distance makes the heart grow founder! And don’t be so dramatic, I’ll be back in time tomorrow for you to pay for my lunch at Pappy’s.

Since I always follow through on my promises, I made it back on the south side just in time to get lunch with the Baby Boomers. And it was delicious. For some reason free food just always tastes better than food you buy yourself.

Yes, I have learned a lot about the Baby Boomer generation since living with Mike and Mo, as I’m sure they’ve learned a lot about Millennials-hopefully that we’re not as bad as people think we are! So cheers to you Mike and Mo, thanks for continuing to teach me new things every day and keeping me entertained!

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This vacation was crazy. We all had so many Diet Cokes that day none of us even remember taking this picture.

 

The Summer Roommate

About a month ago I made probably the best purchase of my life (aside from my selfie stick) and that was a window unit air conditioner for my bedroom. We have central air but my father has the same method of using utilities in his house as Scrooge from A Christmas Carol did. Whenever we would complain to him about how it was too hot in the house growing up he never had much sympathy.

Me and my siblings: Dad it’s so hot can we please turn the air on tonight?
Dad: Oh you kids these days are a bunch of sissies. If you go five seconds without air conditioning you act like you’re going to die. Back when I was growing up we didn’t have any air conditioning! AND we only had one fan for all 9 of us kids to share!
Me: Why didn’t you guys just buy more fans? Those box fans are like ten bucks at Target.
Dad: Because we were too poor!
Me: You know, I think I’m going to start taking violin lessons so I can follow you around playing my violin as you tell your sob story to everyone.

Because of this, I was worried my landlords would not approved my purchase request. Surprisingly, though, they approved it right away so I immediately went out and bought an AC unit before they changed their minds.

Once that window unit was in, my room was as cold as it is in the wintertime when my Dad refuses to turn the heat up. Ahh, it felt great. Unfortunately, though, since this is America, when you have nice things other people like to try and use those nice things of yours for free. Yes, sadly, this wonderful AC unit put me in a situation where I was dealing with a squatter. A squatter who happens to be my younger sister, Jane, home from college for the summer.

Although we always shared a room growing up, the plan was for Jane to move into my brother’s old room when she came home from school. With our three older siblings moved out and two now empty bedrooms, there really wasn’t a reason for us to share anymore. Until the AC unit came into play. Every once in a while Jane will say something like “Ok, this weekend I am going to start moving my stuff into Michael’s room.” or “Next week I am going to look for a comforter for my new bedroom.” All empty promises, of course. But at this point I’ve come to terms with the fact that she doesn’t really plan on moving out, and I am ok with that now.

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Me and my summer roomie back in the day. Mom, I know you’re reading so just want to reiterate the fact that I was way too old for you to be dressing me in the same outfits as my little sister. You only got away with this because I always looked younger than I was.

Jane never liked the idea of us separating rooms. She would get upset when the subject of moving rooms was even brought up because she is sentimental like that. I, on the other hand, have no feelings or emotions so I had no problem trying to kick her to the curb. I liked to joke with her that one of these days she is going to find all of her stuff boxed up in the hallway outside our bedroom and that I was going to change the bedroom lock. She didn’t think it was very funny.

Sharing a room again has made us closer, actually a little too close now that we’ve actually begun to act like an old married couple-we spend a lot of time together, sometimes bicker, and even plan out when we are going to bed.  Our before bed conversation usually goes something like this:

Me: Ok, I am going to bed.
Jane: Ok, when you say you’re going to bed does that mean you are like going to sleep right away or are you going to read for a little bit? Because if you’re reading I’ll go up and read too but if you aren’t I’ll just read downstairs.
Me: I am going to read a little bit but probably only a chapter or two.
Jane: Ok then I will go up and read too.
Me: Wait, but like how long do you plan to read? Because I don’t want to finish reading and then have to lay there trying to sleep while the bedside table lamp is still on.
Jane: Well can’t you just put your pillow over your face to block the light while I finish reading? That’s how you usually sleep anyway.
Me: Whoa, whoa whoa. What, are you watching me sleep now you creep? Well if I can do that why don’t you just read with a flashlight then? How about that?
Jane: Ok, fine I will just read a chapter or two, I’m pretty tired.
Me: Ok, either way it’s your turn to turn off the bedside light.

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Throwing it back to when we had to wake up and bury our dead goldfish. By the way, what kind of sick person takes pictures at a funeral, MOM. Side note: seconds after she took this picture the dead fish fell out of my had and landed on our dog’s face.

In all honesty, the only annoying thing about sharing a room with Jane is how fast she can fall asleep. Most nights it takes me forever to get to sleep but Jane passes out practically before her head hits the pillow, as if she has Benadryl pulsing through her veins. And once she is asleep she might as well be in a coma because there is no waking her up. Since I don’t think it’s fair that she falls asleep so quickly I usually try to keep her up by talking or acting like a goof. My favorite game to play is the “Does it look like I’m in my bed?” game where I flatten myself out as much as I can and situate my blankets so it looks like no one is in my bed. Gets her every time.

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This is me killing it at the “Does it look like I’m in my bed” game. Spoiler alert: I’m in there.

Once we are done with that we gaze up at the glow in the dark stars on our ceiling (it’s like camping really) that will forever be there (since they take pieces of drywall with them every time we try to take them down) and then Jane falls.

Luckily, we don’t work at the same place so we have about 8 hours of separation. But after work I like to make Jane come on errands with me even when she doesn’t want to.

Me: Jane want to go to Target with me?
Jane: Ah no not really thanks though.
Me: Oh my gosh you are literally so selfish. You know I don’t like doing things by myself. Typically youngest child.
Jane: I was just at Target an hour ago.
Me: Oh come on I want to go to get one of those giant soft frisbees. And we can jam out to music on our way there.
Jane: You go out and buy the weirdest stuff.
Me: You know the hard plastic frisbees hurt my hands. I can’t play with those. It’s not my fault my hands are softer than a baby’s bottom.
Jane: Ugh fine, I’ll go with you.

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Thanks Dad! We hardly feel any bumps when we are driving around in your car!

Sharing a room isn’t that bad when you’ve done it your entire life and it’s all you know. I will miss her when she leaves me to go back to school. I think the thing I’ll miss the most is this amazing hairbrush she brought home that I like to use when I get out of the shower. It’s a brush specifically made to use when your hair is wet. I can’t explain it but it makes my hair just feel so healthy. I really hope she considers leaving it for me. All joking aside I will be lonely when she leaves me and it’s just me and the baby boomers again. Although her big move to my brother’s bedroom was supposed to happen this summer, it looks like that will be postponed a while. Target move date: Summer 2030!

 

 

 

 

#relationshipgoals

A lot of people ask me, “Kathleen, what is your secret? How have you had such a successful relationship with your roommates for 25 years, longer than some marriages last?” Well, I’ll admit, for the first 18 years my roommates were legally obligated to live with me. And provide me with food, clothing and shelter, things that parents usually have to provide their children. But after that I swear it was all volunteer work for them. I like to credit our great roommate relationship with one thing: Good conversation. Communication is key to a good relationship. My roommates and I have lots of good conversations. Most of them center around food.

On any given Saturday you can find my roommates and me enjoying a delicious lunch at Pappy’s restaurant, a local burger place. Sometimes I get sick of eating there, but I’m not one to pass up a free meal so I always go. Every once in a while I’ll make a weak attempt to offer to pay, but my Dad always tells me I don’t have two pennies to rub together.  As we are eating our burgers my Dad always says, “We won’t need a big dinner after this huh, Mo?” Talking to my mother. When he says this I usually have to respond with something like, “Excuse me, but it is literally 12:01pm, dinner is like 7 hours away. Some of us are in our early 20s and need to eat like normal people.” With my roommates, sometimes I feel like I am eating with a teenage girl who is way too concerned with her body figure (my dad) and a toddler (my mom).
My mom is a petite woman and eats very little, and sometimes she gets the hiccups during dinner and can’t finish her meal. A couple of weeks ago she decided she had a taste for an apple. Unfortunately for her, Mother Nature made apples too big for her to finish so she left half of the apple on the counter. It was there for several hours and it was kind of grossing me out the way it was starting to get brown so I finally said, “Mom, what’s going on with this apple here? Are you going to finish it or what?” To which she responded, “Yea, I’m just digesting a bit, I’m going to finish it later.” A couple more hours passed and the apple was still sitting on the counter. So I decided put it in a plastic bag and put it in the fridge. I notified her of the apple’s change in location and she thanked me and said she was going to eat it in a little bit. A couple of days passed and the apple was still in the fridge. I asked her if I should throw it out and she said, “No, leave it in there, I’m thinking about making apple bread so I’ll use it when I bake that.” After over a week, the half eaten apple was still in the fridge. I couldn’t help but laugh and said “Mom, looks like you are still in the brainstorming stage with this apple bread, huh? Are you going to leave the apple in the fridge a few more weeks and turn it into apple sauce?” She quickly responded, “Oh, you little smart ass! I am going to make the apple bread this weekend.” Well, that apple bread was never made. After a few more weeks I decided to finally throw the fermenting apple out.

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The infamous apple that was the topic of conversation for the whole month of March.

As you can tell from the apple incident, my roommates and I only talk about important things. Another fruit that sparked so much conversation and excitement in our house were some mandarin oranges. I like to refer to the incident as “The Case of the Leaky Mandarin Oranges Container”. You see, there was a Tupperware container of mandarin oranges in the refrigerator and I noticed that it was leaking the juice out onto the shelf of the refrigerator. So I decided to bring it up to my parents while the 3 of us were having dinner.

Me: You guys, I think there might be a hole in the Tupperware container that the mandarin oranges are in. The shelf was all sticky, I had to clean it up.
Dad: Yea, you know I noticed that too. I wiped out the shelf the other day. It must be leaking.
Mom: Oh really? I didn’t notice it leaking at all. Are you sure there is a hole in the Tupperware container?
Me: Yes, we wouldn’t lie about something like that.

Well clearly Doubting Thomas/my mom did not believe us and decided she was going to perform a little experiment. She took the mandarin oranges out of the container and then filled it with water. Then she put the container on a plate to see if any of the water would leak out. (Please see picture below)

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An original science experiment performed by the one and only Mo Kelly.

In just a few short minutes water started to leak from the container onto the plate, confirming my father and my suspicions that the Tupperware container was, in fact, leaking.
Mom: (Pointing to her experiment) Oh, look at that! Looks like there is a hole in the container after all!
Me (Laughing): Wow! Dad and I were right! You could have saved yourself the trouble of performing such an intricate experiment and just believed us when we told you the container was leaking.
Mom: Well I didn’t see it leak in the fridge so I just wanted to make sure before I threw out the Tupperware.
Me. That was a great experiment though, I think you missed your calling as a 6th grade science teacher!
Mom: Oh, you smart ass!

Other topics of conversation include “the size of muffins now a days”, shower heads, and of course, rats. But the one thing we talk about the most is probably ice cream. My roommates love their ice cream and we always have these ice cream bars called Cupid Bars in stock at the house. It’s basically vanilla ice cream with a hard outer shell of chocolate around it. The other day my dad and I were sitting in the tv room when my mom came in. I could immediately tell by the look on her face that something was wrong.

Mom: Kathleen, have you had a Cupid Bar yet?
Me: No, why?
Mom: Well, let me know when you have one, I want to talk to you about it after.
Me: Umm… ok, why?
Mom: I think the chocolate on the outside tastes odd. It’s like a different consistency or something. I think I am going to call and complain.
Dad: Yea Mo, I noticed something different about them too. Usually when you bite into them a thick piece of chocolate breaks off, like breaking up concrete with a jack hammer. On this batch of Cupid Bars the chocolate seems too soft.
Me: Well you better call soon because it seems like they are still being eaten pretty fast. I don’t really think we can eat them all and then call to complain about it.
Mom: You’re right, I am going to call tomorrow. Something is not right with them. You know me and my heightened taste buds. Remember when I was the only one who thought something was off with that bag of Tostitos chips and it turned out they were expired?

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Oh my God this soft chocolate is an embarrassment to ice cream bars every where. Get out of here.

Well, Mo ended up being all talk because she never did end up calling on those Cupid Bars. And they were all eaten.

When we aren’t talking about food my dad is usually giving me a hard time about going out on the weekends. Since there is a bit of a generational gap between me and my roommates, we don’t always agree on what activities we consider fun. Sunday mornings we usually have a conversation like this:

Dad: Kathleen I went into your room this morning and it smelled like a brewery! I felt like I was getting drunk just by being in there!
Me: What were you doing in my room you creep?
Dad: I was opening the windows so Mom and I didn’t pass out from the fumes!
Me: Yea, yea, ok, sure. Just stay out of my room you weirdo.

I do have to be careful on my use of sarcastic remarks with my roommates since they are also my landlords. I like to keep them in check with my witty comments but I also don’t want to walk up the stairs to bed and find an eviction notice taped to my bedroom door.

The three of us may not always see eye to eye, but we make our living situation work. We aren’t afraid to speak our minds and we joke around a lot. Three is never a crowd in our house!

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These two, they keep me young!