Keeping It Realz

Today I am writing at the library because I needed a change of scenery and wanted to get away from my husband blasting Taylor Swift while he works. (Apparently that is who you turn to when you realize that Ke$ha sucks.) Also, writing at a study carrel next to older men wearing sunglasses and cowboy hats while they try to discretely look at porn reminds me of college, when I was particularly creative.

Lest you think that my life is perfect, what with my proximity to porno cowboys and my public library workspace, I’d like to show you my closet.


I’m not going to surprise you now with an “After” picture where my closet looks like the cover of Real Simple. Those kinds of pictures, with their Instagram filters and perfect lighting, are the WORST. Instead of inspiring me, they make me feel awful and force me to go add a layer of clothes to my closet piles while eating fried food.

I read this article about how Facebook users’ perfect pictures of their vacations and thoughtful spouses and overachieving kids are making us all insanely jealous and filled with envy (did they really need two German universities to reach this conclusion?), so I am really doing a community service by showing you my closet. You are welcome. For an extra feeling of superiority, you may want to pay special attention to the half-torn-off Halloween stickers all over my mirror, the ripped garbage bag full of five year old maternity clothes sitting by the door, or the random sweaters hanging over the lower hangers. Also, please take a good look at the lonely boot sitting atop the mountain of crap and let me know if you’ve seen the other one. I miss it and am afraid it is at the bottom of the pile (i.e., gone forever).

This disaster has been brewing since November. My closet really was reasonably organized for a lovely two week period back then. But every time someone would come over (which was a lot during the holidays), I would throw any loose crap straight in my closet, because who was going to look in there? The house is clean, the kids’ closets are organized, who cares about my closet.

But when I pulled a muscle trying to find a t-shirt the other day it finally dawned on me that, as a semi-functioning adult, maybe I should not live like this. So over the next several weeks and months, I will be obtaining my commercial driver’s license to operate heavy machinery so that I can begin excavating. And I will not show you any pictures of how awesome it looks when I am done.

And this is the boring lawyer in me coming out, but seriously: as willing as I am to show you my embarrassing closet, please remember that there are some things you just should not put in writing.

Pining Away

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our household, Piney Porky McHedgypants.


Piney arrived on a cold December evening, shortly after Christmas, wrapped in a massive amount of leftover Hanukkah wrapping paper from our beloved Uncle John (who, interestingly, is neither an uncle nor a John). After a fierce debate about whether it was a boy or girl porcupine or hedgehog, and why the hell didn’t it have any pants on, the kids settled on the name Piney Porky McHedgypants. Obviously.

Don’t let his painfully adorable smile and whimsical little ball nose fool you. Piney is kind of an asshole and has scared the shit out of me twice now: once when I checked on my daughter in the middle of the night and found him sitting in her rocking chair (I swear the chair was moving), and once when I walked by the kids’ bathroom and found HIM SITTING ON THE TOILET. The kids promise they did not put him there, and I totally believe them.

After that second scare, I had a brief, horrible thought of “losing” Piney the way certain noisy or messy toys seem to always get “lost” in my house. Whoops, mommy threw them away by accident, my bad. But LOOK at him. I can’t imagine seeing his sweet huge face staring up at me from the trash can, surrounded by empty juice boxes and banana peels. Or worse, his nubby, soft arms reaching out for a hug from the garbage man right before he chucks him in the back of the truck.

So I’ve asked Piney to start running errands for me. He’s been extremely cooperative.

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But the little bastard sucks at laundry. I told him he’s got two weeks to figure out how to use the dryer, or I might accidentally misplace him.

Just Calm the Elf Down

I have heard so many people complaining about their Elf on the Shelf this holiday season, to which I would like to say, he is not a real person and he is completely under your control.  If he is annoying you with his unreasonable demands to hide him in outlandishly creative spots, and he wants to come bearing gifts and treats for your kids, it is 100% your fault and you could probably do something about it.  Also, in a matter of days he’ll be off to Florida or Cabo or wherever the elves go in the off-season, so really, just deal.  You’ll be fine.

Also, picking apart a Christmas toy for its over-commercialization and the stress it adds to already busy moms during the holiday season is just too easy.  And to say that the worst thing about the Elf on the Shelf is its message of “spying on kids” – really?  Isn’t that Santa’s whole deal?  I remember being a little wigged out when I first heard “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”  Oh, you know, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, he knows if you’ve been bad or good…”, followed by the screeching violins from the shower scene in Psycho?  The Elf on the Shelf is just an extension of that, and part of the deal we make with our kids every December:  you behave, and I will do fun stuff for you and shower you with gifts and I will take exactly zero credit for most of it.  Now go to bed, I have to write “I LOVE YOU” in powdered sugar on the kitchen floor so you think you live with a magical flying elf.

In other news, I started to worry last weekend that the kids were getting a little too obsessed with all the stuff they want for Christmas.  So we went to the grocery store today, and they each got $10 to buy things for people who don’t have enough food.  My attempted lesson about giving back turned into a miniature (adorable) version of SuperMarket Dash:


In between the near misses with other shoppers, I think they actually got it.  I steered them towards the canned food section, and J asked how homeless people get can openers, and how will they heat up the canned food, and what will they use to eat it?  And he asked so earnestly and L was listening so closely that it was a lovely little moment in the middle of the grocery store.  And the kids behaved on the way home, and played nicely while I made dinner, and then read stories under the Christmas tree and went to bed so fast.  It was lovely.

And I probably owe it all to my spying little Elf on the Shelf.