Sweet Dreams

I’m not a fan of clocks. It’s not the Father Time thing either, although he’s turning out to be a major pain in my ass as well. It’s the ticking and the tocking. Over and over and over again with expected precision increasing in intensity the more you desperately try to avoid it. I have a freakishly heightened awareness to sound, to the point I am certain that when the aliens invade I will undoubtedly become one of their high priority research projects. My worst nightmares include me being locked in a small room with loose change scattered about the floor, no furniture, and one very large wall clock mounted just beyond reach.

As most adaptable human beings tend to do when dealing with general annoyances, I have learned to compensate for things within my control. I simply choose not to own a clock that ticks and tocks. Brilliant, I know. It took a while for me to adequately problem solve through it. In graduate school, I used to take the clocks off the wall in my apartment and attempt to suffocate them under a pile of towels in my linen closet while I intensely studied for hours on end. Taking the batteries out would’ve accomplished the same thing but that adds the step of reseting the clock when you’re ready to hang it back up, and who the hell has time for that? I am efficient to the core and obviously smart as a whip.

Nowadays I merely avoid them altogether. Nondigital clocks are simply not allowed in my house. Quite frankly, the choice is me or a clock that ticks and tocks and so far my family has chosen me. Do I care that my kids very well might never be able to accurately tell time using the hands on a clock? Nope, not one bit. Just like cursive writing, I have a hunch that some day telling time will be slowly phased out or at the very least considered optional practice. Is it really that important? We’re all going to die someday. Why keep track?

On a separate but related note, my husband snores. It reminds me of a ticking clock because of the extremely high annoyance factor. Also, like clockwork, you can predict exactly when it’s going to repeatedly happen, over and over and over again until it seeps into your soul and transforms you into the devil himself. Unlike a clock, you can’t get rid of it or make any real attempt at suffocation. You can move away from the sound but there are only so many walls in your house before you’re outside, and it’s really fucking cold outside right now where I live. Captain Obvious might suggest using a fan or a small noise machine to drowned out the exasperating sound. Insert eye roll here.

I had the pleasure of knowing and adoring the sweetest most loving and devoted married couple that ever walked our planet. They were married for almost a million years and they never argued or bickered, they always smiled at each other from across the room, they lovingly referred to each other as “Ma” and “Pa,” and they chose to share a cookie. I have my theories as to why they were so easily able to break the standard till death do us part mold (i.e. genuinely be nice to each other throughout the passage of time). A. They never had kids. B. They slept in separate bedrooms.

I sometimes imagine my own bedroom complete with cool tones, noise cancelling walls, light cancelling drapes, the faint smell of lavender ever so delicately being diffused into the air from the bedside nightstand that also adorns the novel that has been bookmarked for continued reading. I imagine a pillow top mattress that I sink so far into I can no longer be seen. Sheets that don’t reek of the prior week’s sweat and void of crusty kid snot. A down comforter that smells none like manhood, but rather like a field of daisies on a pleasant summer evening with non attention seeking continuous white noise humming in the background without interruption.

Is it too much to ask? Does a happy marriage really have to start in the bedroom? Or can we put societal norms and expectations aside for a brief moment and imagine what it would be like to wake up refreshed and rested and still in love with our spouse the next morning? Moreover, is it healthy to want to bludgeon each other in the middle of every single night for something outside of human control? Does repeated and forceful kicking of the source of your disrupted sleep in an effort to disrupt his sleep really add any sort of positivity to a relationship? I asked my husband to roll over the other night. He responded after the 17th time, “Like a dog?”

“Yes honey, like a fucking dog.”

Beam me up, Scotty.

 

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Yuletide greetings from the f#!king elf

Greetings from the Veldhouse family Elf on the Shelf. I’ve had a busy off season but couldn’t be feeling better about life in general despite world, domestic, and local news to the contrary. What can I say, I’m an elf, I’m upbeat. As a reward for best seasonal performance last year, Santa put me and some buddies up in a sick pad on the coast of Spain and it was absolutely life changing. I did a ten day yoga retreat, threw back some beers with my besties on a private yacht, took a pill in Ibiza to show Luigi I was cool, and returned to the North Pole with a skip in my step and ready for my next assignment with the Veldhouses.

Tweenie turned 12 this year and is currently rocking her way through middle school like a champ. I like Tweenie. She’s super nice and seems to have a good grasp on the true meaning of Christmas. She enjoys playing basketball, watching basketball, talking about basketball, and pretending to be tired while sneaking off to Snapchat her friends. She is also fond of utilizing her recently acquired bat ears from rooms away, interjecting “like” and “you know” three times in every sentence, rolling her eyes, stealing her mom’s socks, and pretending she isn’t always on her phone. She walked directly into an open overhead kitchen cabinet the other day while texting and could not have been less phased by the blunt force trauma to her head. Truly impressive by all standards. Dysfunctional phone usage aside, Tweenie is going to save the world someday, or the whales, or something really important. Mark my words.

If there was ever a person I could choose to bring back to hang with the Christmas elves all year round, it would be Miss May (a.k.a. the fun one). Though she’s not much of a “worker,” she’s always up for eating candy, drinking anything chocolatey, wearing glittery things, telling inappropriate jokes, and walking her way through life with a bit of a shifty grin. Her ability to imagine she’s the most important person on earth can surprisingly still be a day brightener 1 out of every 37 times. Miss May is a dreamer and while some might call her delusional at this point, I for one cannot wait to see what she grows up to be. Bright lights and big cities are definitely in her future while suburbia and regularity is most certainly not. I’ll be moving out with her when the time comes. Her Royal Highness likes to dance, create, imagine, wear lipstick, win arguments, get the last laugh, and try her best at things she enjoys doing while simply not bothering with anything else. She also enjoys being stubborn and chewing bubble gum.

Buddy is the baby of the family but no longer an actual baby, much to his mother’s chagrin. He is an absolute stinker but gets a free pass on almost everything because he still holds his mommy’s hand in public. He really enjoys watching the iPad, watching T.V., asking to watch the iPad and/or T.V., and complaining that he never gets to watch the iPad and/or T.V. He also likes to take a break from mindless screen time to play interactive video games. To get away from all the stress, he enjoys playing any sport that makes him the sweatiest. He recently earned his man card at the ripe age of 6 when his daddy gave him permission to use the Old Spice body wash all by himself in the shower (#ladiesman). First grade has provided many new and exciting life lessons, with sign language using one’s middle finger appearing to (always accidentally of course) top the list. His vice is chicken mcnuggets, which his parents allow on occasion because he’s super cute and they are plain and simply that lazy sometimes. Hold the sauce.

Mr. Veldhouse is as cool a dude as ever. If he had pointy ears and a head that could swivel 360 degrees around while never blinking I’d swear he was my brother. He well deserves a sugary kiss under the mistletoe this season, but instead will likely be met with constant nagging about pretty much everything by the woman he chose to marry. He also enjoys undercooked bacon.

Mrs. Veldhouse continues to be irritable and overly annoyed by almost every single thing. She did manage to check a couple things off her bucket list this year though and is hoping that 2018 will reward her with less chin acne and more recognizable talent to boot. She likes Cheetos and red wine in somewhat concerning quantities, but hopes to turn everything around in the New Year (lol). I try not to make eye contact with her.

Wishing you sprinkles on top of everything and boundless merriment in the new year despite current dire circumstances of the world. I plan to watch it all go down with a double cup of cheer from the North Pole under the mistletoe with Miss Red.

Because I’m a fucking elf, that’s why.

To the apocalypse. Cheers!

~Rezbeard

Pound Town

Thanksgiving is upon us in a few short days and I could not be more excited about it. I never used to enjoy it all that much for whatever reason. I really like stuffing a lot so not sure why the overabundant quantity of that thing alone wasn’t enough to put my negativity aside for the day. I think it had something to do with the level of boredom and predictable annoyance of the day’s events. Eat until you are so unbelievably uncomfortable that you want to take your pants off but can’t because you know, Great Aunt Amy is there and she’s old school when it comes to undressing in front of relatives. Sweet lady though, but don’t ask my Grandma. She’ll be over in the corner projecting negativity all around while rolling her eyes at the fact that Great Aunt Amy is genuinely happy and (gasp!) smiling again. The nerve of that woman!  I love you Grandma.

It also could’ve been the mountain of dirty dishes awaiting the women folk coupled with the fact that anyone with a Y chromosome got a free pass to amble into the living room immediately post feast with an unbuckled belt and claim their spot for the rest of the entire day reclined on the couch watching football and high-fiving themselves for eating the most coconut crunch. On a separate but related note, I’m thankful for guys who aren’t pricks.

Or maybe it was the fact that Grandma would ask me the same condescending question every goddamn year without fault, “Were you out late having fun last night Jill?”

“Newsflash Grandma! I’m actually not 18 years old anymore! I’m 30 and have a couple kids now and a real life job so maybe that’s why I look so tired and smell funny?” It wasn’t, but still.

Then one glorious day out of nowhere everything changed all because one young pilgrim bravely arrived to our Thanksgiving feast dressed the exact opposite of what might be categorized as appropriate holiday attire. I owe him my life and honestly cannot to this day imagine the balls it took to purposely seat himself down in between Mom and Grandma at the dinner table while wearing a weathered Mountain Dew t-shirt that to the keener eye actually read “Mount and Do” and then proceed to fill his plate like a goddamn boss whose only care in the world was getting the white dinner rolls before they were all gone and he had to settle for the whole wheat ones. Gross.

I imagine it’s one of those ‘had to be there’ deals, but listening to my Grandmother inquisitively recite “Mount and Do” in a “I know that’s not quite right but can’t really put my finger on it” tone repetitively throughout the entirety of our Thanksgiving meal was hands down THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I had to remove myself from the table twice, because it was that funny and I am that immature. The angry, “That’s enough Margaret!” bark from Mr. Grumpy Pants sadly brought the fun to an abrupt and untimely end while immediately bringing back vivid childhood memories of the strictly enforced zero tolerance for fun rule at the dinner table. Face forward, engage no one, refrain from speaking, and don’t you dare even think about taking the last piece of bread you selfish little asshole. Ahhh, memories. Regardless, it was a pleasantly unexpected game changer that set into motion from that day forward an unspoken yearly attempt of oneupmanship by the comedic geniuses of the family to transform Thanksgiving from barely tolerable to almost pretty enjoyable. I honestly cannot wait.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my beautiful family, wonderful friends who truly appreciate me and all of my dysfunction, lifelong memories of my Grandma’s all around negativity, the men in my life who understand that people with boobs actually have the ability to enjoy watching football too, inappropriate dinner conversations, a brother who is almost as funny me, red wine, a husband who will do the dishes if I angrily stare at him long enough from across the room, and the promise of a brave young man to ask his sweet and innocent mother if she’s ever been to Pound Town.

Pass the stuffing.

 

 

It’s Poop!

I really like that my kids are now at an age where they can theoretically do stuff for themselves. It’s nice. Frees up more time for me to ponder the world and my place within it. That said, I typically try to avoid going anywhere outside of my own head to gather information and/or form opinions. If I could live in a cave in the mountains of Montana, I probably would, but sadly I’m not fond of the dark, no one will currently go with me, and I assume it’d be difficult to buy wine there, so on to bigger and more realistic problems. Like the fact that my adorable baby boy is unable to effectively wipe his own ass.

The kid is the sweetest 6 year old boy you will ever meet. Heads into the bathroom proudly declaring to the world, “Going poop Mommy. I’ll do it all by myself.” I immediately freeze in time and space and begin frantic self talk. “It’s going to be fine. There are bigger life problems. Breathe. Take a deep breath. Seriously if you don’t breathe you will literally die standing right here in your kitchen and then WHO WILL CLEAN IT UP?”

I really enjoy watching my children spread their wings and gain a sense of independence and confidence along the way. I don’t want them to live here forever. In addition, as nice as it sounds to believe my beloved offspring will always need their mother, I know my days are numbered. I typically like to poop alone too, so I get it.

Here’s the problem. He unequivocally cannot do it. Not only can he not do it, but he can unequivocally not do it. I have demonstrated, educated, reiterated, and drawn a map. “Got it Mommy!”

No he does not.

I don’t want to be the type of mom that enables her children. I want them to do things for themselves. I refuse to raise children incapable of being capable. I don’t do their homework when asked. It’s not because I don’t get it either. It’s because I don’t get it and they need to learn how to become functional members of society and not wait around for someone else to do their shit. That said, it’s poop.

I gave him the benefit of the doubt the other day. Let him do his business in private and didn’t even hover outside the door. Walked in there several minutes later only to discover a perfectly formed thumb print made out of actual poop on the top of the toilet paper roll. Let me be crystal clear. This is not a house where this sort of thing might be even remotely considered appropriate. As such, my detective brain immediately kicked in.

Is this some sort of intentional clue left behind for someone to uncover?

Are their longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates in there somewhere that will save someone’s life if examined under a black light?

I consider to investigate briefly, but then remember, it’s poop.

We are not cavemen. We do not live in a cave in the middle of Montana and even if we did, I would bring toilet paper and disinfecting wipes and 5,ooo cases of red wine because I am a planner and under no circumstances ever is literal poop left on the top of a toilet paper roll acceptable. Ever.   

Cats are assholes

I turned 42 the other day and I could not have handled it worse. The day vacillated between driving around listening to sad country music, drinking (yes drinking) myself into a brown gravy coma, and desperately trying to somehow reason out why I hate my birthday to appease all of the inquiring minds out there that desperately need an answer. Every year this happens to me, or I should say, I happen to me. I get inside my head and sabotage the one special day out of the year I get to share with a mere 19 million other people in the world. My little brother can’t even wrap his head around it and he’s the grumpiest person I know. “Everyone likes their birthday Jill.”

Do they? Because I definitely don’t and the concept of “everyone” includes me if we’re going to get technical here, right? I feel that after four decades of life, I have earned the right to form opinions. Besides, I like other things. I like the day before my birthday (I actually really like that day a lot for some reason). I like nighttime picnics. I like most of my family and friends. I like brutal honesty sans one ounce of bullshit. I like not answering the door for solicitors and/or unexpected guests (Sorry Mom.). I like the smell of Autumn. I like non-cheap red wine (Sorry honey). I like winning (especially against said honey). I like clever sarcasm and crude language. I like screwing with people (figuratively, not literally). I like the color grey (yes, grey). I like extra gravy. I like surprising people. And I like OTHER PEOPLE’S birthdays. I just don’t like my own. The horror!

People just can’t seem to wrap their head around it. I know it doesn’t make any sense. Who doesn’t like their own birthday? What kind of sad and pathetic human being could I possibly be?

Please refrain from intervention. I promise I am not having a mid-life crisis. I know this because I asked my therapist last week and she said, albeit with a bit of an eye wander, that she definitely doesn’t think so and I believe her because she likes me. To be certain, I googled “midlife crisis” on my internet machine shortly thereafter. Based on the search results, I am also close to almost certain that I do not have it. I simply do not meet the criteria.

  • I have zero desire to reclaim my youth (Been there, done that. No thanks.).
  • I don’t want to trade my minivan in for a sports car. (I have three kids. They wouldn’t all survive in such close proximity to each other and I’ll be damned if I’m making extra trips regardless of how cool my ass looks behind the wheel of a pre-owned two door sedan with Tay Tay on full blast and the windows down.)
  • I don’t want botox (I simply prefer to be seen in the dark.).
  • I don’t want a younger hunkier bed partner (I want to sleep alone.).
  • I don’t want to reevaluate my goals. (My goals are rock solid. To be the next Tina Fey or Amy Poehler by next week and to eat less Cheetos.).
  • And so on and so forth.

Nothing traumatic or sad ever happened to me on my birthday either, so no need for speculation or pity in that regard. I decided on my own with my own brain at a very young age that birthday festivities in my honor were simply not for me. I quit having parties by third grade. It was my choice. They always made me cry. I don’t know why. No one was mean, everyone brought presents, Mom always made cake, and I got to wear a big hat. Turns out I just couldn’t be bothered with even trying to meet the expectations of being the birthday girl. Who gives a shit. Everyone just wants the cake. I get it. Keep the hat.

It’s not the getting older thing either. I could honestly care less at this point. I stopped keeping track of my age at around 34ish. Just didn’t seem pertinent anymore after kids. That’s not to say I wasn’t extremely flattered that one of my son’s first grade classmates told me last week at the “fall party” on Halloween that I looked like I was 23 years old. I gave him three overzealous fist bumps and immediately and quite loudly declared little Petey my new best friend, but that’s beside the point. The point is I will probably never be asked to volunteer at another class party again.

Maybe it’s because I can’t handle being the center of attention for a whole day? Maybe it’s because I put a lot of time and effort and enthusiasm into acknowledging everyone else’s birthday on the planet and the half-assing it on my behalf is quite frankly just not up to my standards of awesomeness because I’m that self absorbed? Maybe its because my grandma isn’t alive anymore to take me shopping and give me a disgusting lemon drop that’s stuck to the bottom of a unclean mason jar that I loved and savored every single suck of? Maybe it’s because I don’t want presents but I do but I don’t but I do? Maybe it’s because I don’t like cake (Yep! I said it!)? Maybe it’s because asking my children for one goddamn day to not be assholes to each other because it’s their mother’s birthday is apparently just too much for their tiny brains to grasp? Maybe it’s because I actually enjoy breaking into tears every year on my birthday for no reason at all because it just feels nice? Maybe it’s because I’d rather have zero expectations on any other day of the year than to forcefully smile my way through 24 hours of inevitable disappointment just because it’s my (and 19 million other people’s) birthday and I could give a fuck less? Maybe I don’t care that you care so much about why I hate my birthday? Maybe I’m grumpy like my brother? Maybe you’re judgmental?

I don’t like my birthday. And I hate Mother’s Day too. And cats. And birds.

Deal with it.

 

 

Jillybean

I’ve always tried to do my own thing and be my own person. Being true to who I am and being okay with it is not always easy in today’s world of quick to judge anything/everything, but I do the best I can with what I have to work with. Thankfully I’ve had many guiding forces in my life that have served as wonderful role models, one more notable than the rest.

There’s something about the way she would yell at her kids that was greatly inspiring. Even now as I look back as a full grown adult with kids of my own, I wonder what it would be like to have that sort of parental confidence and zero fucks to give whether or not anyone else approved. Don’t even begin to judge her either. Her kids deserved it. I know because I was usually with them when they did. Nothing but a bunch of assholes we were and she knew it. Yet somehow she found a way to tolerate our shenanigans and love us all the same. She impressed me like no one else in this world ever has/will.

I have a tendency to be drawn to unconventional personalities. People that try too hard to conform to other people’s standards of how to live life and/or attempt to tell others how to do so are not people I generally choose to be around. It’s a personal preference and she undeniably makes the cut. I have drawn from her examples of parenting and friendship and love of life over the years and tried to apply them to my own life in ways that I hope would make her proud, not that she would ever tell me. Sugar coating is not one of her strengths, nor are terms of endearment. It’s refreshing.

She used to call me Jillybean. I hated it. I would cry and storm out of her house and the moment I would walk back in she would say it again and then come over and give me a great big bear hug and say, “It’s okay Jillybean. I love you goddammit!” She had such a unique and honest way with words. I wonder why I don’t swear more in front of my kids just thinking about it. It’s clear they’ve been exposed (mostly by their own grandparents), so why bother to refrain from what seems to come so naturally. Who is really benefitting from this approach anyway? Regardless, she made an impression on me as a young child and it has carried me into adulthood. She is the type of human being I aspire to be.

The message? Be yourself. Don’t take life too seriously. Swear if you want to. Work hard and vacuum your damn house. Have fun. Have fun. Have fun, and above all, drink a lot of beer. Damn can that woman drink beer.

I used to be a bed wetter. One of my favorite and most memorable childhood memories is when I pissed the bed and I had to wake her up in the middle of the night to explain what had happened.

“EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE, go the fuck to bed Jillybean, I’m sleeping!”

I never wet the bed again.

I love you Crazy Darlene.

 

 

 

Code Brown

I have high expectations of myself. I also tend to excel in pressure situations. As such, when I was first informed of such a risk, I was completely unbothered and amused. The thought was so outside of the realm of possibility from a personal standpoint that it was simply absurd.  I control my own destiny at game time. In addition, I pride myself in having more self control and basic dignity than the average joe, so I was highly confident my ducks were in a row. Carry on with your nonsense givers of advice, I got this.

In hindsight it seems so simple and preventable. I let myself down and as a result will never be the same. There is no turning back and/or fully recovering from something like that either. I will never be able to retrieve or genuinely claim any sort of dignified identity ever again. Whereas I was once self assured and confident, I am now incredibly weak and insecure. Even the tiniest most basic of tasks has since become a mountain of uncertainty and self doubt.

It couldn’t have been more than a dime in diameter, maybe a nickel, I don’t know. The actual size is debatable yet sadly irrelevant. My husband tells me all the time that size doesn’t matter and he’s a scientist so I almost always believe him. What matters is the actual physical existence of something in time and space. The “now you see it, now you don’t” phenomenon still implies that someone actually saw it once. There’s proof!

I could feel it. I felt it, okay? I couldn’t see it but I knew it had happened. It’s been over a decade yet I close my eyes and still immediately feel the shame. Despite the fact that most feeling in that region was virtually gone, I knew it had happened. Maybe I’m a medical marvel, who knows, but explosive rocket-like projectile force out of a bodily orifice is impossible to ignore regardless of actual site specific nervous system sensation. Besides, the, “Oh dear don’t make eye contact” expression on her face immediately confirmed it. Her nonchalant and pathetic attempt to run off with the evidence without being noticed failed miserably. Does she even know who the hell I am? I’m not the type of person you pull stuff over on lady. I’m the puller, every single goddamn time! The fact that hubby dearest was cowering in a corner wishing himself into the invisible man to avoid any sort of confrontation was predictably annoying yet strangely unimportant at the time. The difference is I know stuff about him too. A tit for tat knowledge of unpleasant and humiliating personal traits and experiences feeds our relationship. She knows nothing else about me! This is it! You only get one chance to make a first impression!

I can tolerate a basic degree of bullshit from time to time, but blatant lying to my face regardless of the intent is not one of them. I asked her a direct question and she not only attempted to discredit my intelligence by answering dishonestly but went one step further and completely changed the subject.

“Meet your new baby Mrs. Veldhouse. Congratulations, she’s beautiful!”

I pooped on the table. Nothing else matters.