Crazy for Cruggers

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated seven years of constant wedded bliss marriage. A marriage that has yet to result in any 911 calls for domestic battery, no less! These seven years have included some pretty big life changes. And although we lived together prior to marriage, little did I know that Crug still had plenty of surprises in store for me after we got hitched. Seven years ago I had no idea that my husband would charm me into loving him more and more each and every day by doing the following things:

1. Loading the dishwasher. Here you may be thinking I am lucky to have a husband who even touches dirty dishes but you would be wrong. Have you ever known anyone to put pots and pans on the top rack and cups on the bottom? This is a crime on par with homicide as far as I am concerned. When I open the dishwasher after he has done his handiwork, I curse him loud enough for all the neighbors to hear silently knowing that I will have to reorganize the whole damn thing before it can be turned on. I am pretty confident that my 2-year-old could do a better job than his father when it comes to this chore.

2. Throwing empty water bottles on the floor. I guess this requires some explanation…See, before we got married, my husband’s best friend in the world was his rottweiler, Donovan (aka D-Lo). D-Lo was his partner in crime, his confidante, his everything. Apparently D-Lo enjoyed playing with empty water bottles more than just about anything and at some point it became Crug’s habit to just throw them on the floor for his buddy to play with. OK, no big deal, right? Except, wait. Donovan has been dead for almost 9 years now. But the water bottles remain. I know you miss him, Crug, but neither Dasani nor Aquafina will bring him back.

3. Putting his dirty socks away. Well, only if “putting away” can be defined as placing them on the kitchen counter. Every single day. In the same exact spot. As though the kitchen counter is the appropriate home for dirty socks, their rightful place in this world. Ladies, try not to be jelly just cause Cruggers is all mine.

As with most of my complaint lists (I am beginning to detect a trend here…) I could go on and on. And on. And on. And on. But I won’t. Sweet Crug puts up with my bananas every day and for this I am grateful. Most days he even manages to make me laugh. On good days I even still like him. Here’s to seven more, baby!

How to be a slacker mom like me

Here are a few tips for those who wish to gain some free time despite those pesky kids underfoot. Warning: if you have only one child and said child is still a baby, you may be horrified by this post. Just wait, though. I remember a time when my sweet baby girl angel was but a wee little thing and my mother-in-law came for a visit. You remember Mommy Glo, right? MG was holding her innocent baby grandchild while sitting on the couch watching TV. I had heard of the dangers of letting babies watch TV and the damage it can cause with their speech patterns and such. In order to protect baby Madeline from the horrifyingly dangerous rays of the television, I actually used my body as a shield to block the TV from her line of sight. I simply would not allow her perfect baby self to be traumatized by even one Oprah commercial. Cut to five years later. Here are my tips:

1. Turn on the TV. As much as you need it. Seriously, as long as it is balanced with outside time, playing with friends, and most importantly the occasional visit to the wine vineyard in nearby St. Augustine (fun for kids, too!), how bad could it really be? Now I am not at all advocating an all-day everyday TV type existence like the one I had growing up. No lie, I had a TV schedule posted on the refrigerator. And I’m not talking about the one they print in the newspaper. No, I had my own handwritten schedule of what I watched every day after school, from 3pm till bedtime. Heaven forbid I miss a crucial episode of Webster or Diff’rent Strokes…Or Family Ties…Or Growing Pains…OMG, pulling up the links for the theme songs for these shows makes me all nostalgic. The Growing Pains one actually gave me the chills. I digress…

2. Take couch naps. Daily. Be sure to pick a child friendly movie to serve as babysitter so as to keep your children safe and all. Ponyo is ideal. Monsters, Inc., not so much. This movie contains scream after scream after scream. And screaming tends to interrupt ones peaceful couch slumber. And that is just tacky.

3. Act really vague whenever anyone asks you to volunteer to do something for your kids school or their activities. Eager-Mom type, “Hey! Would you like to volunteer to serve as the co-captain of our annual strawberry harvesting/cheesecake pumpkin squirrel procreation project?!” Me, “Um, yeah, um, oh wait, um, I am pretty sure I have something going on that day? Let me check my, um, calendar and let you know?” Be sure to NEVER follow up on this for as long as you live.

4. Eat at Chick-Fil-A. Often. You shell out no more than $15 for the whole fam to eat and then you get to check your mom hat at the door. The kids will easily spend an hour in the playpen play area while you get to check Facebook on your phone. Even better, bring your laptop and you can really get down on some internet scum. Just don’t ever make the newbie mistake I made for so long. Whatever you do, DO NOT sit inside that play area hell-hole. It will make your blood pressure rise faster than Bill Clinton’s man-parts did around Monica Lewinsky.

Now here’s the downside of all of this slacker mom stuff. My husband is on to me. If he comes home again unexpectedly during the day and catches me on the computer while my 2-year-old is drooling to Dora, he will likely divorce me. I prefer to know at least an hour ahead of time when he will be home. That way I can perform my normal evening routine just prior to his arrival.

I fire up my garlic scented candle. This way he has no idea that the kids really had chicken nuggets for dinner, it smells like a friggin’ Italian restaurant in here. Then I sprinkle a little flour on the countertops to imply that I have spent a bit of time baking during the day. I even take the time to lovingly scrub the marker and snot stains off the faces of my children. Supermom-like, I know.

One of my slacker mom friends has similar actions she performs just prior to her husband returning home from work. The second she hears the garage door opening, off the couch she goes. She literally pops up like toast, turns off the latest episode of Sister Wives and races to the kitchen to dump some bleach down the sink. When her man walks in the door from work, he can tell she has been very busy all day cleaning the house. This makes him happy.

And being a slacker mom makes me happy. Give it a try, people. You can thank me in the comment section below. If you have any additional slacker mom tips, I would love to know. Please share!

Joining a wine club can have unexpected consequences, BEWARE

This post has nothing to do with the dangers of alcohol abuse. You are following the wrong blog if that’s what you’re looking for! I will simply share my own personal experience with joining a wine club.

I am not by any means a wine connoisseur. The only thing I know about wine that the average college freshman probably doesn’t is that good wine has legs? See, I’m really not even sure about that one. Kinda funny to think of wine having legs, actually…I’m imagining my wine glass with sexy legs like this:

 like the one from the movie "A Christmas Story"

I can picture my leggy wine glass just marching all over the dinner table, all floozy-like. Stumbling into the salt and pepper shakers, tripping over a wayward fork, bumping into the clearly-confused water glasses. Eventually Floozy just shimmies under a placemat and passes out. Once I drink enough wine, that tends to be the type of thing I actually do see, anyway.

Every now and then I get on a kick and decide that it would be fun to learn all about wine. You know, learn all of the lingo and discover which wines go best with certain foods, that sort of thing. This would allow me to become the most obnoxious person at a dinner party. I tend to be this anyway, but at least now I’d have a good excuse. (Actually, I don’t ever go to dinner parties, I just like to think that I will someday.) But then I learned that for wine tastings you are not even supposed to swallow the wine. You are simply supposed to taste and spit. Seriously? Then what the hell is the point?!

A few years ago I was on one of these wine kicks and joined a wine club. I’m not talking about a group of people who meet up and swill and talk wine-smack. I am referring to the type of club where you get an initial shipment of six or so bottles of wine and then a delivery of two bottles a month thereafter. It starts out cheap but you end up paying for it in the long run. Kinda like Columbia House Records back in the day. I’m pretty sure I still owe them money for some tapes I never paid for…

So it was 2008. I join this wine club on a Thursday. The following Wednesday my period is late. No exaggeration, I am in the bathroom and have just peed on a stick. I am waiting for the test to develop and ding-dong goes the doorbell! My wine delivery. I go to the door, sign for the illicit goods and go back to the bathroom to discover that I am, in fact, pregnant.

Heed my advice, people. Unless getting knocked up is what you want to do right now, don’t join a damn wine club!

Bicycle adventures on the 4th of July, Jax Beach-style

A little background for the uninitiated: the very best time to be had in Jacksonville, Florida on the 4th of July occurs on a bicycle, cruising the streets of the beaches. It is simply unlike anything you have ever experienced. Unless of course you have experienced it, but then you already know what I’m talking about. This clip will give you a feel for the scene. The mediocre quality of this video actually lends it that certain je ne sais quoi.

Watching this complete stranger’s home movie, I am reminded of just how much my life has changed since having kids…After all, I don’t remember the last time I actually partook in this type of bicycle-riding celebration of Independence Day. Actually, I do know that it was 8 years ago but that really doesn’t help me remember it any more clearly. I mean, this was eight looong years ago, before I swallowed my pride and became a “townie” for the sake of homeownership. Back then, the only house Crug and I could have afforded at the beach we would have had to share with flying cockroaches. (You can call them “palmetto bugs” all you want. You can try to make them sound fancy but I know the truth. Those mo-fo’s really do FLY!)

Let’s go back. July 4, 2003: Some friends and I are prepping to head out to ride bikes and drink and be obnoxious in general, but OH NO! We are short one bike. Enter Granny. If you are among the few who can actually boast that your grandmother still owns and uses a bicycle, then we have something in common. If said grandmother is also kind enough to let one of your friends borrow her bicycle, then consider yourself lucky like me.

So we are all appropriately outfitted with bikes now, cruising and making all of the requisite stops at parties and bars and enjoying all of the trashy sights along the way. Towards the end of the afternoon we take a break to refuel at a place I used to consider my home away from home, The Ritz. At this moment in time, I am in total new-love-can’t-keep-our-hands-off-of-each-other mode with Cruggers. I am guessing we were off making out in a corner somewhere. Meanwhile, my two BFF’s are sitting outside watching an interesting scene unfold. Some random guy was carefully extricating a raggedy, old, beat-up bike from the bottom of a large pile of newer bikes, and then he took off with it. My sweet gal pals think nothing of this and continue to enjoy their rum-runners.

Maybe an hour passes and we all prepare to leave, only to discover that Granny’s bike has been stolen…Instantly we are infuriated about this injustice. Seriously, who was the nerve to steal the bicycle of a grandmother?! Granted, the fact that the bike was owned by a Grandma was not clearly advertised on the tires, but still.

My BFF’s are kind-hearted by nature. They felt bad once they realized they had watched the entire theft happen. Both had true feelings of guilt over their severely-lacking detective skills. So the punishment agreement was that Cruggers and I would race home on our bikes and drive back with a car to pick up my girls and the one remaining bicycle. Did I mention that me and Crug were in the middle of that “I love you so much I don’t want to ever leave your side and I will always think your sweet morning face is adorable and you are the funniest person ever in the history of the world” phase? Um, yeah we were. It was honestly no major race to get back to the Hawaii-Five-O flunkies.

But we got back there eventually. Apparently my buds were a bit hungry after having been stranded at a bar for a few hours with nothing but rum and fruit garnishes to sustain their energy. It seems Crug and I enjoyed some popcorn on the way back to pick up the girls. Once we were all in the car and heading home, my buddies were delighting in the smell of the popcorn. They could practically taste it, they were so hungry. Alas, just like Granny’s bicycle, the popcorn was gone.

What can I say? Payback’s a bitch.

My Mother-in-Law and the cheap perfume I like to wear

WARNING: You are not about to experience mother-in-law bashing. Even though my MIL is not likely to ever stumble across my blog, my husband has 5, yes, that’s right, 5 older sisters. It is entirely likely that they may fill her in on anything evil or trashy I might think to write about and I know better than to play with fire. I will simply highlight some of the funnier moments I have experienced (usually at my own expense) courtesy of my mother-in-law, Gloria, AKA Mommy Glo (MG).

For those of you who have never had the pleasure, let me give you a very brief intro to Gloria. She is a full-blooded Italian Mama. She was a gorgeous young woman in her youth and even after having 7 children, she managed to be a total MILF. Alas, sweet Mommy Glo has a sharp tongue which has occasionally been turned on me.

For the past 33 years or so, I have been referred to as “Kristy.”…Not a terribly weird or difficult name, I mean, nothing crazy like “Baylor” or anything. And having been raised primarily by my Mom and Grandma (who was herself a mother of 9), I am completely familiar with the “Michael, Tommy, George, John, Maggi, Mary, Miss, Kris-WHATEVER your name is!” phenomenon. This is not new to me. What is new to me since that first fateful meeting nearly 9 years ago is my new name, “That Girl.” Apparently rather than going through the roster of possible names for me, MG finds it easier to skip straight to this one. “Please tell That Girl she is in my way and I need her to move.”

We have had a few other “issues” through the years…I am proud to say that I breastfed both of my children for a year apiece. It was my personal goal to do this, and although with my first it was CRAZY hard in the beginning, I did it. Now I promise, you will not ever catch me on a high horse because of this, thinking that I am in any way superior to anyone else. (Por ejemplo: When is the last time you fed your kids McDonald’s Happy Meal’s for dinner whilst strolling through Wal-Mart? Cause I totally did that tonight! – I swear, I am so not a Mom-judger- How could I be?!) Had I not come from a long line of breastfeeding-Nazi’s, I likely would have given up on it before I left the hospital. But sweet Mommy Glo birthed and raised babies in a different time when breastfeeding was just not what most mothers did. Hence, her opinions. When she came to visit our home just after the birth of my first child and tried to tell me everything I was doing wrong in trying to nurse my young child, I almost had to be physically restrained.

Another time, sweet Mommy Glo had an approaching birthday. Ol’ Cruggers, being a dutiful son and all, asked what MG would like as a gift. She gave the typical Mom explanation, “Oh I don’t really need anything, I would just love to spend time with my kids!” At least, that was her answer until pressed by Crug…”Really, I don’t know! I guess…Hmm, I guess you could just get me some of that cheap perfume stuff…You know, like what Kristy wears.” I should have been offended, but honestly I was just happy that she finally said my actual  name!

I was going to continue and write about how MG has critiqued the way I clean the showers and tubs in my house but it seems unnecessary. I mean, this is actually the one-and-only house cleaning chore that is Crugger’s responsibility. I’m not going to try to ruin MG’s day by letting her know that it is actually her youngest man-child who can’t manage to win the fight against mildew.

I have learned that when it comes to MIL’s, it can often be a rocky-road traveled. I would prefer to avoid this rough terrain altogether. If I think about it, here is what I truly feel about MG: This wonderful woman created the man I am proud to call my baby daddy and for this I am forever grateful. If this means I have to answer to “That Girl” for the years to come, so be it…At least she doesn’t call me anything weird, like “Baylor.”

Cockblock and Buzzkill (and the suckiest parts of being a parent)

Having kids is rad, seriously. It has changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t trade a thing about it…Well, actually there are a few things that totally suck and I could do without.

I have mentioned previously that I have two wonderful children named Madeline and Baylor. Well, my husband also has private nicknames for our precious little sweethearts… “Cockblock” and “Buzzkill.” One way or another, these kids will try to wreck your night. On any given occasion at least one of them will try to ruin your vodka buzz by harassing you for a sippy cup or some other such nonsense. Either that, or the other one will try to climb in your bed constantly throughout the night. How exactly do they know how to wake up at the most inopportune times? Do they have built-in radar? Is this what they are teaching them in preschool these days? “Forget the ABC’s, kids- here’s the straight talk. Want to make sure your parents don’t have any more of those attention-whoring babies? Just pop up constantly throughout the night and go check on Mommy and Daddy to make sure they are sleeping. Trust me guys, it will work!”

If that isn’t enough to destroy you, how about this one? Early morning wake-ups. If you are unfortunate enough to experience this for any extended period of time, it can make you question your sanity quicker than a week spent in a jail cell with Paris Hilton. Plus, on top of the early rising, the little freaks tend to wake up with entirely more energy than is necessary for 5:45 AM. We don’t live on a farm, kid, go back to sleep! The only cow to be milked in our neighborhood is the fat lady around the corner who is still nursing her 5-year-old. And Johnny clearly has that situation under control.

Also irritating is having to get a babysitter to watch the kids after they are already asleep. I mean, really. Can’t the neighbors just keep an ear out for screams or breaking glass? Maybe they could simply sniff outside their front doors occasionally for the scent of fire and then just text me to let me know everything is OK?

The worst part of all just may be when you have recently overcome a major hurdle with your child. Maybe you have finally convinced young Tim that it is really not all that cute to secretly poop behind the couch. He finally stops and ALL IS WELL WITH THE WORLD AGAIN! You are high off of what has clearly been your accomplishment and starting to feel like you really have your shit together as a parent. And then two minutes later you notice your youngest child picking his nose and feeding his boogers to the dog.

Here we go again…

South Florida is the new Wild West

I have spent the majority of my life living in Florida, mostly in North FL, specifically Jacksonville. Prior to dating my now-husband I had not spent a great deal of time in his hometown, Ft. Lauderdale. I had visited nearby Miami a few times but really never got a true feel for South Florida life until I met Cruggers.

Through Crug, because of regular visits down south, I was introduced to the real South Florida, the shadiest place on Earth. And when I say shady, I am not referring to the palm trees. There is simply a fast-moving, moral questionability that surrounds the place. When I am there I often feel like a country bumpkin with a rusty car and an affinity for dipping tobacco.

On one of my early visits down south, we went to visit a good friend of Crug’s, Neil. Never before had I known someone who lived in a double-wide trailer…and had a live-in housekeeper. True story. When we got there and Neil asked what we’d like for lunch, I thought we’d be having sandwiches or something. That is, until he called in Rosario from the other room and had her whip up a fresh batch of gazpacho and paella. It was totally rad. Things like this simply do not happen in Jacksonville.

I have a friend, we’ll call her “Fabulosity.” She moved to Miami from Jacksonville several years ago. Now she summers in either Chicago or the Hamptons and regularly visits NYC and Vegas. Every other Facebook picture showcases her either front row at a sporting event, backstage at a concert, or aboard a private yacht. This girl has a masters degree, mind you, but no real job as far as I know. In South Florida things as trivial as a “job” seem not to matter a bit.

Speaking of jobs, have you ever read a magazine article referencing “the most unusual jobs ever”? This list typically includes jobs like ice cream taster, cow poop analyzer and nude beach lifeguard. Maybe you, like me, wondered where these workers are from? Well I found the answer! South Florida. They have some of the craziest jobs I have never heard of. Wacky stuff just happens there!

In case you didn’t know, Jacksonville can get pretty cold in the wintertime. There was a time when Cruggers and I briefly considered moving down south for the warm weather alone. Ultimately we decided against it. Truly, there are many great things to be said about South FL, but for now it is not the right choice for us. But who knows about the future? If I could find my own personal Rosario, I’d probably trade in the rusty car and Skoal in a second.