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Rose and Thorn

A friend introduced me to a game called Rose and Thorn, which is where you basically lost the best and worst parts of your day. I always liked it because it allows you to vent your bad part while happily reminding yourself of the good part of your day. Sometimes, you have an awful day, and the universe seems to drop something great down as a consolation prize. Other times, your day is wonderful but then there’s something to take you down a peg or two. Feel free to post yours in the comments! Today, I’ll share mine.

Roses: my daughter attended a birthday party and while that was taking place, I got to relax and enjoy good coffee and a donut with some of the moms whose company I enjoy. I came home and managed to accomplish some yard work. My husband also offered to do a tattoo for me on his day off. Woohoo! I topped off the day with an invite from the neighbor to go have dinner at her house. She makes the most amazing empanadas! Good company, many laughs were had, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Thorn: before I get into this, note that when your day is going fabulous, sometimes the universe will drop a tiny turd on the day to keep things balanced. Today, I learned what hell is. I stepped in dog shit while wearing FLIP FLOPS. This prompted me to recoil, shriek in horror loudly while pointing at my now surely diseased foot and scream “kill it with fire!”. I bleached my own foot while wretching. Even now, hours later as I lay in my bed, I feel like one foot has shitcooties on it.

Balance. It’s all about balance.

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Letting Kids Fly, But Not By Helicopter

Helicopter-Parenting-300x300

Ahh, vacation.  It’s my first day back from a weekend trip to visit family, and I already need another vacation.  Not because of the family, we had a fantastic time, but because I came back from a Saturday and Sunday away to a shitstorm of work to do.  I digrmyess, however.  Every year, my step mother’s sister throws an annual weekend up at her house.  Since my dad married into the family, they also include me, my husband and kids.  The weekend is filled with laughter, days spent at the lake, and lots of food and beer.  It’s always a fun weekend.  This year, I think we had 16 or more.

Saturday, while lounging at the lake, watching the kids play in the swimming areas and in the sand, I got into a conversation with my…let me see if I get this right….step cousin’s wife.  We were talking about our kids, and how they are growing up so fast, the usual.  She lives in Brooklyn NY, and she overheard her son tell me how excited he was for school this year because at his school, the kids are allowed to leave the school and go out for lunch unattended.  I was completely fascinated by this revelation, and his mom (I’ll refer to her as E) filled me me.  Apparently, starting in 4th grade, the kids are allowed to leave the school building and can go for lunch.  Completely unattended.  In Brooklyn.  I was a bit amazed that the school, never mind the parents, would ever go for such an idea.  I live in relatively small town suburbia, and parents here are CRAZY intense.  Helicopter parenting is mostly the norm, if not encouraged.  Parents direct every aspect of their children’s lives, friends, interests and activities.  Kids are placed into a LOT of activities because the general thought is that they must be active ALL the time.  They must be kept busy.  I have friends who have their kids in about 6 activities a week.  It looks exhausting, not only for the kids, but for the parents who have to drive to (and most attend) as well.  The idea that this school in NY would allow kids as young as 10 to just leave the building mid day and roam to a local restaurant unattended was something I struggled to fathom, but I was intrigued.

For those of you who follow my blog, you may remember I wrote a while back about how I was trying to let me kids have more freedoms, more independence, and promote a sense of self responsibility and good decision making skills.  It went swimmingly, until we had a falter when my daughter forgot to communicate she was going to a friend’s a few houses down and I couldn’t find her.  After that we had to place new rules and explain the communication process.  Things have been going really well, except that it got so hot the kids haven’t really wanted to venture outside too much, never mind riding bikes etc.  Hopefully, we will work on things more in the fall.

As we talked, E explained that the school allows the kids to leave, unattended for lunch, mostly due to a problem with overcrowding in the school.  There really isn’t enough room in the cafeteria.  She said the kids have a radius that they can go to, about 2-3 blocks, and their are crossing guards at the intersections (and to make sure the kids don’t go outside of the “zone”.  On those blocks, there are a bunch of restaurants the kids can choose from, they bring their own money, and buy lunch.  I thought about how this would fly where I live and giggled, because it never would.  After hearing the layout of their school’s plan, it seemed like quite a good one.  The kids have choice, are given responsibility, there are crossing guards to keep them in the general vicinity, and frankly, it was a great way to keep local businesses afloat.  E explained also that the principal is a very strong leader, explains the process to the kids very clearly, and they are fully aware that one misstep means they lose the privilege.  They haven’t had any issues, because the kids take the privilege so seriously, they don’t want to lose it.  Also, with the volume of people in the area, parents feel that the kids are far safer than wandering in the suburbs.

I explained to her my realization earlier in the year that there were so many things I knew how to do at a young age that my children have never learned, simply because they have never had to learn it.  Road safety, because I am always there to walk them across the road, for example.  All those little things, that really are big things, because I am always there to do it for them.  She said she had had the exact same realization, and it really bothered her.  The interesting thing was that with one of us living in the city, and one in the suburbs, we each had a different set of skills we realized we had never taught our kids because we’d always been there to do it for them. Also, the kids needed different skills based on their location.  For my kids, bike riding was more important, but for her kids, there wasn’t much of a good place for her kids to ride.  For her kids, navigating their neighborhood during rush hour was more important than for my kids, who don’t see a lot of traffic in our area.

Both of us have decided a change is in order, and we are working to give our kids more flexibility, responsibility, and more LIFE skills they can do without us.  While the skill sets may be different based on where we live and the needs that arrive from that, the mentality is the same. Our parents let us learn the hard way, on our own quite a bit, and it taught us good, solid lessons.  We weren’t hovered over and coddled.  We were treated as little people who had to learn to live in a complicated world.  I see moms on social media claiming their kids are never out of their sight, that they do EVERYTHING for their kids, and that they keep their kids in activities and busy every minute of the day.  Know what that tells me?  Those kids likely won’t be able to entertain themselves if someone isn’t telling them how.  Those kids will miss many an important life lesson.  Independence and self discovery is important!  If someone does everything for you, how do you learn to do it yourself?

I recalled the conversation I had with the police officer who came that day my daughter left for her friend’s without telling me where she was going.  I was honestly really, really frightened and questioned my decision to let her do more on her own. (And trust, there were the people who had to make nasty comments about what happened, but you know what? 0 craps given.)  The officer told me that I was doing a GOOD thing.  That kids should be outside playing.  He also said that one thing he runs into all the time are kids of helicopter parents.  He said these parents hover over their child’s every move, thinking they are doing the right thing.  He said that he sees the end result of that, where if a parent goes to the store and runs 10 minutes late back, the kids (old enough to stay home themselves) the kids freak out because they don’t know how to cope for a few moments outside of expectation when the parents aren’t there.  He sees a lot of kids without some basic life skills, because they have never been taught them or had to learn them.  When I recounted this to E she thought it was really interesting, and we discussed how true this probably is.

Statistically, we are at a time of lower crime, but more ways to communicate it.  Our kids in some ways are probably safer than we were when we were younger.  Yet parents are more protective and are helicoptering.  I have seen parents call their grown children out of work.  I have seen parents doing laundry for grown children.  How did we get here, where we are so focused on our children that we have stifled them?

One of the greatest feelings I had as a kid was the feeling of being trusted with responsibility.  I felt so grown up, and appreciative of any new independence, that I worked hard to keep the privilege.  As a kid, I flew overseas by myself!  I traveled 3000+ miles myself, with some oversite from the airline.  I arrived, got my bags, and found my ride.  I navigated airports like a pro.  When I traveled with my parents, they had me tell them where to go, what our next steps were, etc.  In time, I learned my way around our frequented airports, knew how to travel responsibly, and became comfortable that I could manage travelling on my own.  If I got separated from my parents, I knew I had a plan to stay safe and find help.  I knew road safety on my bike. I knew how to speak to adults, how to navigate my corner of the world, and even another area of the world.  I walked comfortably across town at 12 years old in a town overseas.  It saddens me that after being pushed to hover over my kids, I have neglected to teach them some life skills, not for not wanting to, but for not thinking of them.  Why? Because I handled everything for them.  The more I talk to people, the more I notice parents having the same revelations.  This year, I am going to teach my kids the process of navigating an airport and how to travel safely.  Time to let them fly, just not by helicopter parenting.

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It’s been a busy couple of weeks.  In my last post, I revealed I need to start working out.  It hasn’t been an easy process.  I HAVE been going to the gym and pool.  So there’s that.  However, after I am done, I want ALL the calories.  ALL the calories in the world! In.My.Belly.   I’m thinking that’s not going to work in my favor as far as losing weight, so I need to make some changes there as well.  Right now, the goal is just to move more than before, and take things step by step.  More changes will come, but for now, I’m starting with making moving around a new habit.

Look, I am a firm believer that most people don’t really change all that much.  People are who they are, and that’s that.  People don’t magically become a totally different person, and if they tell you they are, they are full of shit.  People’s edges wear off a little, they get new habits, but the core of who they are is what it is.  For example, I have a temper.  I have a batshit crazy, will rip your face off temper.  I also am a grown woman who knows it’s not cute to be losing her temper and doing the crazy stuff I used to do when I was younger, so I work hard at trying to maintain my temper.  Don’t be mistake, I can snap back to the rage of my youth in a New York second, but for the most part, I keep it on the level.  I am a woman who loves ice cream and chocolate.  That’s not gonna change.  I just know that I’m at an age where I need to eat more salads these days.  So I will give it a go….

….after I take the kids for ice cream tonight, that is.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

In other news, I had a great trip visiting my dad and stepmother this weekend.  The kids and I drove down to his house, about a 5 1/2 hour drive.  They watched the kids for me the first night so I could make a few stops to see friends.  The first stop was my good friend’s grandmother’s 90th birthday.  Yes, my vacation started off with a 90th birthday party, and it was amazing.  We didn’t tell her I was coming, and surprised her.  I spent a lot of time at her house in my early 20’s, and she was like another grandmother to me.  I walked in and she looked absolutely delighted to see me, giving me hug after hug after hug.  She hadn’t aged a bit since I had met her, even though decades had passed.  We were so happy to see each other (it had been about 5 years) and it was an utter joy and honor to be there for her birthday.  My friend’s family and other friends were there and I hadn’t seen many of them in years.  People were coming up to give me big hugs and ask about my husband and kids, asking how we all were.  Some of the folks there were kids when they first met me, but they remembered me and ran up to give me a hug.  I was so touched by all the love and friendship.

After the party, I headed the half hour back to where my dad lives to have a late dinner with another one of my good friends.  It’s funny, my friends down there are all parents, and we don’t talk much on the phone.  We’ll send the occasional facebook message, or touch base a few times a year, but as soon as we get together you can’t shut us up.  We fall right back into our friendships like not even a day has passed us by.  We’re all the same kids who were running amuck back in the day, creating chaos and hanging out for days on end.  These are some of the people who know me the best.  They know who I’ve always been, where I come from, and they know that I’m still that same girl, if not a little older, wiser, and ok, calmer. We’re all very different from each other, and there’s a lot we probably disagree on.  But what we do have is a history of good and bad times, a solid knowledge of each other, and we agree to disagree. It’s times when I go down there to visit that I am always touched by how long we’ve been friends and how lucky I am to have had friends that long.  While she doesn’t live down south, I am still friends with my first best friend from school.  If something happens, she knows me through and through. When I do a facebook post about my mom, she and my friends from down south always comment.  They knew her well and loved her too.

Sunday and Monday I hung out with my dad and step mom.  We went boating, went out to eat, fished, and sat around talking with my step brother and his family.  I wish I could have stayed a few extra days.  There never seems to be enough time with my dad.  He’s the quiet sort.  He has a lifetime of amazing stories that he never thinks to tell anyone, until he suddenly will mention something off hand and I have to say “wait…what?”  I’m fascinated by all the things he knows and has done, but I know he’ll never tell me it all.  Not because he doesn’t want to, he just doesn’t think to.  I don’t think he realizes how interesting he is.

The drive home with the kids was actually one of the best long road trips in a while.  The three of us laughed and laughed, told stories, listened to comedy shows on netflix, and it was a nice no-pressure time.  I didn’t have to be mom, which can sometimes be exhausting.  Momming is hard, man.  I’m a mom first, their friend second.  With the husband working, I have to be the bad guy more than I’d like….having them pick up after themselves, reminding about homework, saying no to stuff.  Sometimes it’s nice to just be another person in the car.  My daughter asked why I call my dad’s house home as well as our house.  “Wherever your parents are is home” was my response.  “When you grow up, and have a family of your own, or a career of your own, wherever Daddy and I are will be your home too.  You’re always welcome there, you’ll always be loved there, and home is where the love is.”  I’m glad I got to tell the kids that.  They both seemed to like that answer, and I saw them both settle into a little smile.

Well, life is short, and ice cream is yummy, so I’m off to treat the kiddos (and myself).  Tomorrow, I’ll try and eat a salad.  Everything in moderation.

Calling all folks…my one legged lesson just arrived. Help me help them.

So there I was last night, lying in my bed with a horrifically aching back, throwing myself a big ol’ pity party just for one (world’s smallest violin playing just for me…wah wahhhhh) when I thought of my mom and her common phrase “no matter how bad it is, someone else has it worse”.  I remembered the story of my mother in pain, struggling to walk, and telling my dad how someone always had it worse…just as the elevator in front of them opened and a one legged man stood before them.   I blogged about it.  (This will all make more sense I’m sure if you read the prior blogs, but if not, just take it at face value I might be a bit nuts and keep reading this one at least.)  I blogged about life handing you lessons.  I meant every single word.  Yet life has a funny way of making SURE you got the lesson, and just in case I hadn’t, life handed me a refresher course, and a final exam today.

I headed into work this morning with somewhat better, albeit still abysmal morale.  Without going into too much detail (ya don’t bite the hand that feeds ya, ya hear now?) I was possibly losing 2 days of pay this week for the hurricane, or I had to borrow against whatever vacation time I would get next year.  Now, all my paid leave last year went to my kids getting the stomach flu or other ebola type cooties that keeps a mama home except for 3 days where I made a stressful pilgrimage to Vegas (see prior blogs for deets on that).  Going unpaid was not an option as my husband’s business was shut down all week due to lack of power.  I was bummed.  So bummed, I awoke and decided that said company would get me with unwashed hair today.  I pulled it into a high ponytail as a tiny picket sign of my silent protest.  The pity party was over, but the hangover remained.

After a short while, I spoke to a customer who called in.  I’d spoken to her before, and her story was tragic.  I won’t go into too much detail in the interest of privacy and such, but suffice it to say that her story was robbed a few years ago.  During the armed robbery, her husband shot the intruder, the intruder shot her husband.  Both died, and an accomplice escaped.  Since that time, she has been threatened, robbed again, and harassed.  There is a conspiracy involved here that would BLOW YOUR MIND.  Still, she has persevered. Only now, after being robbed yet again, has she decided to close her business and move on.  I can’t imagine that any other word other than bitterness would come to mind, but when speaking to her, she speaks of healing, blessings, and moving forward.   She is my hero of the moment.  I was so impressed by her that I can’t even fully put it on paper (screen).   My pity party hangover lifted.

Flash forward to this evening, and I was scouring twitter and facebook.  (Mr. is back at work today and I finally can enjoy bad reality TV, beer, my couch and twitter feeling no guilt that I should be doing something else)  One of my favorite authors who lives out west posted a story about her friend in New Jersey who had lost EVERYTHING from the storm.  The woman and her husband had lost their home, their cars, and insurance would cover none of it. (renters insurance).  The family had grabbed their dog, their cell phones for communication, and run.  They don’t even have spare underwear.   They are living in a firestation at the moment, scared and with nothing.

But it gets worse.

The husband worked at Ground Zero for 9 months after 911.  He has since been diagnosed with terminal cancer of the esophagus.  His oncology meds were the only other things they grabbed when they left the home.

I have mentioned my mom dying from cancer, but I haven’t yet told you the full story of how cancer has effected my life.  That’s to come.  What I can tell you is that cancer doesn’t just destroy the person who has it, it destroys caregivers, families, willpower and hope.  Losing my mom destroyed a part of me.  Losing my grandfather to cancer of the esophagus and my last memories of how the disease affected him destroyed a piece of me too.  I felt a connection to this family.  I looked at the wife’s fb page.  Red hair, sassy. I looked at her posts from when  Sandy hit.  Comedic at first…a bit sarcastic, but clearly showing some nervousness.Then wry.  Then the fear set in.  Then devastation and exhaustion.  She is Homeless. She has a husband with cancer and 2 sons.  What does she have?

She has little old me.  Why?  Because life has presented me with my “one legged man” that I spoke about last night, and dammit, life, I am listening!  I have no money, but I have heart, and I have kind friends.  I told her I will try to find her some help…clothes, a toothbrush…socks, undies…for her and her family through my FB people and my twitter followers, as well as anyone who reads my blog.  There is a link on my TL to a donation site, and I have her information here:

Lucille Ascolillo

297 route 72W #111 suite 35

Manahawkin, NJ 08050

She needs: well, she has NOTHING but her family, her dogs, and her husband’s oncology meds.  They have clothes on their backs and nothing else.  I am sending a winter coat and likely some toiletries, maybe some shirts.

Her: size 16/18 pants.  shirts: size large.  9.5 shoes.

The husband and sons: XL sweatpants, XXL shirts.  30/30 jeans. medium or large shirts.  Size 11 sneakers.

Donations:  https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/view/9254

Anything will help.

This is my one legged man, life, and I’m listening.

I’m gonna go kiss my babies now.

Messy xx

Surviving Vegas (How I grew up and put unconditional love as my mantra)

I would like to start this post out by first thanking some of my Twitter followers (you know who you are) for the support you showed me over my last post.  All of you, strangers to me, who showed me such love and compassion…it really does bolster my faith in the human spirit!  This post will actually be dedicated to those who DM’ed me to tell me that you knew my pain on a first hand basis, or through your spouses going through the same situation.  The fact is, once you’ve lost a parent, you are the unwilling member of  the club nobody wants to belong to, but most become grateful for.  There is an understanding between all of us, and a support that you can’t find anywhere else.  To those of you who got it, this one’s for you.

The fact is, the trip went better than I thought.  Let me correct that, I was better than I thought I would be.  I don’t know where I drew the strength to hold it all together, but I did.  Why?  Because I realized that it’s not my dad’s fault my mom died.  It’s not his girlfriend’s fault either.  I can’t penalize my father and demand he remain alone for the rest of his life because none of this was his doing or desire.  I think if he had his choice, my mom would be alive and things would be as they were.  We just can’t always get what we want.  At the end of the day, I want me dad to be happy, because I love him.  I love my dad enough to wish him happiness even if it makes me uncomfortable, sad, or even angry at times.  That’s what love is.  I love him so much, I wanted to make his day happy, even if the situation highlighted to the utmost degree for me that my mom is gone.  The best way to do that, in my mind, was to just hold it together, put on a smile whenever I could, and maybe do something a little extra.

I knew going into this trip that the only way I could keep it together was to differentiate between my sadness of my mom (and how my dad marrying someone else put a big ol’ fat emotional spotlight over the fact she’s no longer here) and my love for my dad.  The two didn’t HAVE to go together on this trip. I also had support from my husband and 2 other family members that knew EXACTLY how hard it was going to be.

The ceremony was really nice.  I made sure not to drink too much, and I wrote and performed a speech for the bride and groom.  I forgot my glasses, and couldn’t read it in the moment, so I just winged it.  About half the guests made a point to come up to me to say how fabulous the speech was, and how impressed they were.  My dad grinned ear to ear.  I think he was proud of me.  The only really tough time where I struggled were on the few occasions when people came to talk to me about my mom.  I feel guilty now for not saying more, but if I had I know I would have cried.  Then came socially awkward woman…..

The day after the wedding, most of the guests got together for drinks.  One woman came up to me as I was preparing to leave and wanted to congratulate me on my speech. Then she went off track and mentioned she had heard much about my mother.  My husband sensed me tensing up.  The next thing I knew, the woman started saying “You know, my mother died too.  My dad got a new girlfriend, and I didn’t like her, no not one bit.  I had good reason, mind you!  She was a BITCH!  You know, if my dad got sick she would have run in the opposite direction!” There was more, but I think my brain turned a bit jellified and much of it after is a blur.  All I knew is that I was suddenly acutely aware that my dad’s new wife was standing right behind Social Awkward One.   I hope she didn’t hear and think *I* had started that conversation or had said anything about her.  I DO wonder what has been said about me to socially awkward one, however.  Has it been said I was slow to warm up to my dad dating in general, or dating the new wife?  Yuck.

I am home now.  There have been some tears as I think of my mom.  I guess I always felt like Marriage was forever, at least I want it to be for me, and also for my parents.  I suppose I forgot about the “until death do us part” section of the vows.  I miss her, and I am angry that she was taken so young.  I am angry that she is not living the life she should be.  I am sad that some of her possessions are now in another woman’s house.  I do take solace, however, that she has me to tell her story to her grandchildren.  I shall not forget her, and I shall bring her alive through pictures, stories, and the love I give to them.  I think she loved my dad enough to want his happiness now, and THAT is why I put my big girl pants on and acted like an adult.  I won’t pretend it was easy…there were times this weekend that were tough!  Like the moment when someone referred to my dad’s wife as my mom by mistake!   That was a dagger.  She is not my mom, she never will be.  Hopefully, she can be my friend, and a grandparent figure to my kids.  Hopefully, things will improve, if I make more effort towards that.

Oh yes, one other benefit of this trip was an amazing boost to my own marriage.  Mr Messy went above and beyond this trip to make anything he could less stressful.  I was so mindful of this, and so grateful for the love I share in my own relationship.  I guess that with work and kids, life’s stresses had taken us over.  I made every effort to let go of that, even under the circumstances of why we went.  It made a huge difference to be just him and I for a couple of days.  I think we will make the effort to get away, even if just for an overnight, once in a while.  My husband is my perfect match…I had just forgotten to tell him and show him that.

Thanks again for your support, loveys.  The kindness of strangers, yet it all means so much.  To all those who were or are in my shoes…know that you have my support and my ear.  If I can get through it, so can you.

Messy xx

The Messy Housewife Does the Laundry Battle

Laundry in our house is an overwhelming experience.  2 adults, one of whom is 6’2 and therefore has bigger clothes, plus 2 children’s worth means that much of my housekeeping time revolves around laundry.  On the whole, laundry is one area where I do pull what little domestic pride I have from.  I’m pretty handy at getting out stains, and Oxy Clean is my bestie in the laundry room.  When I worked as a waitress years ago, staff members commented my white shirts always looked new.  (Thank you oxy clean!)  The main reason I think I identify with the aundry is that it is so parallel for my personality and my life in general.

For starters?  The one thing I love about doing laundry is the challenge of making sure what goes in broken, comes out fixed.  I love the challenge of seeing a stain and getting it out.  I think on some level it makes me feel success in a housekeeping task where usually I feel a bit of a failure.  I love the smell of fresh laundry, the warmth of it when it comes out of the dryer, and the fluffiness.  Nothing makes me happier than sliding into bed when freshly laundered sheets are on.  Pure bliss.  I swear I sleep better on those days!

While I love the challenge, the softness, smells and all those goodies, doing laundry is like a drug for me.  The initial doing is the high, the folding and putting away part is my come down and low.  Socks are the bane of my existence. Hundreds off them in various sizes, colors, and styles, always mismatched and floating around.  Do you have any idea how far one sock belonging to a 2 year old can travel?  it’s like they walk off on their own.  Another question? how do kids socks gets so darned dirty when they are in shoes all day?  I washed the shoes…socks still dingy! Have I bred children who sweat dirt from their feet??  And just when I think I’ve got a handle on it….they outgrow those socks, so I have to buy a different style until I can weed out all the old socks to replace with the new.  All this focus on socks, and I realize while I am domestically lacking in other areas.

Then there is the putting away of the laundry.  Dear Loveys, I admit it with shame….anything clean and folded goes on the dryer….forever.  I am just not good at the whole putting away part.  Sometimes Mr. helps, other times the mount Vesuvius of laundry gets so high that I can’t reach the dials to turn the dryer on. Sometimes, what’s on top, falls down on to the hamper, so clean is mixed with dirty and I am washing the same item over and over! Then I know I have lost the battle.  Even after I put the huge mountain away, I realize the closets or overflowing, there are random other areas where clothes hide, and I wonder…why do we have so many clothes?  It amazes me that i have tons of clothes, yet wear half, and I STILL don’t look fabulous most of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m presentable, but for all the work this laundry entails, shouldn’t I look unfrigginbelievably amazing?

Deep down, I know the laundry is a metaphor for my life.  I love a challenge, but after the challenge, I lose interest  I’m a procrastinator.  If laundry emulates life, can life emulate laundry?  Dirty, messy, jumbled,  until you work to clean it up and make it bright?  When you think you are most buried, you can shine it up and feel brand new? If I can just get a handle on the laundry, will I hold life by the balls? Beacsue really, what’s a few socks?  Oh, wait…..

Miss Messy xxx

Some quick tips:

Add a cup of vinegar to washes containing new dark clothes or when you get new jeans (wash them inside out).  It helps the color stay darker, longer.

Freshish bloodstains?  I use regular bar soap and cold water.  scrub with the soap and rinse well.  Usually does the trick.

Oxy Clean:  I love it for whites.  Less harsh than bleach (which can cause holes and yellowing) and really removes a good deal of stains.

Club soda: great for removing stains when used right away.

Hairspray is also good for “freezing” spills  until you can wash the item.  Spray on right when fresh.  It sticks to the stain, and when you wash, can help pull out the stain.

I’m not saying these are foolproof, but they help me on a daily basis!

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons from the Real Housewives?!?

The Mr. doesn’t understand my love of Real Housewives.  He lightly scoffs at my desire to watch multiple seasons, simultaneously.  I’ve tried on occasion to explain why I enjoy the shows but I’ve never really been able to articulate why.  Tonight I gave it some thought, and I realized that even during the madness of some episodes, I have learned some great life lessons from some of the housewives, and one in particular that I will get to later.  Love them or loathe them (or at least who they are on TV)  there is much to be learned.

From Gretchen and Tamra, I learned that sometimes, misjudgements on someone can cause a series of problems that can be difficult to get past.  Yet they CAN be overcome.  Sometimes friends can come from the most unlikeliest of places, from the most unlikely of histories.  A bit of humble pie and a willingness to admit mistakes can turn a relationship completely around.

From Kyle Richards, watching a loved one battle addiction is a constant battle of two opposites….the fight to help them and to hide the embarrassment they cause themselves, and the knowledge that sometimes you have to let go enough for them to hit bottom so they can get help.  That’s one of the hardest parts of loving an addict.  When you most want to hold them tight, to help them you must often let go.

From Jacqueline: She kept trying to have a baby, and held the hope no matter what happened.  When it did happen for her, it wasn’t necessarily what she envisioned.  She jumped into the mode of finding out whatever she could to help her son.  Nick is a beautiful little boy, and I have no doubt her efforts will help him to succeed in the long run.  This reminded me that sometimes, life takes you down a different path than you might have expected, but it’s just a different way that may make you take a bit more notice of the world around you, and will be just as amazing.

From Ramona: While people say they like a straight shooter, who tells it like it is, they kind don’t.  Sure, we all say we want the truth, but sometimes the truth needs a touch of padding and love behind it.  Blasting out what’s YOUR truth doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s truth.  Sometimes saying something hurtful even though it may have some truth to it doesn’t make you a hero…it just makes you kind of an asshole.

From Kim Z: Married men are never good for single gals.  A man that will cheat on his wife has a flaw in his morals and lacks courage.  Is that someone you want to be with?  The fact is, if you’re spending all your time with Mr wrong or someone you know is Mr. Right Now, a REAL Mr. Right isn’t going to want to get involved with you.  This goes for anyone in a relationship.  Don’t waste your time because you don’t want to be alone.  Someone who is right for you and has a strong moral character isn’t going to be around you if you’ve got one foot in a relationship with someone else.

From Cat:  If you say Bollocks, you will score points.  Immediately.  But only if you do it in a British Accent.

From Teresa: oh T, where do we begin?  Families have fights.  But loving people means that sometimes you have to recognize that relationships change.  Nobody can destroy you.  Only you can destroy you.  Never tolerate a spouse who talks down to you, treats you badly, or possibly cheats.  Why?  because while he’s treating you like garbage there’s a better guy who will treat you like a treasure!  Lastly, if everyone around you is saying you’re messing up, sometimes, you gotta look inward and figure out what they are seeing that you’re not trying to project.

Lastly, my favorite of all….comes from Lisa Vanderpump.  One night, after the Laid Back Kid had done me wrong, disobeyed his momma, and made me really angry, we talked it out.  At the end, I told him “always remember one thing…mommy loves you.”  I make sure to tell them that often.  I hope that becomes a catch phrase that when I start it, they finish it.  When I am gone, and they have strife…I want my kids to hear my voice in their head saying “always remember one thing…mommy loves you”

Thanks Lisa!

Night Loveys! xx