My money-making scheme

In these apparently troubled economic times (seriously, I am so removed from normal society that I’m only vaguely aware that “something” is going on. I just keep my head down and keep working) I have come up with a way for us to pad our household income.

But I digress.

Last night, Shmuppie and I were at swimming. She swims, I exercise. Normally, I bike and then run. This allows me to catch up on magazine reading and allows me to convince myself that I don’t need to run as far because I’m up against a time limit to pick her up from swimming.

But, on Monday, I had a horrible run. I had indigestion after eating at my parents’ house the night before (first time we were there for dinner since Christmas Day), I didn’t eat breakfast and it was stiflingly humid. My 3-mile jaunt turned out horribly with me having to walk most of the last mile. I was ashamed.

So, on Tuesday, I decided to run first. I did a nice little 5K and then biked. I was soaking wet but felt OK and had redeemed myself somewhat.

On the way home, I was taking stock of life.
(PS…If you haven’t noticed, the theme here has gone from getting chased by midgets to babbling about health and fitness…sorry)
I had just run and biked. I’d met my latest goal on the Wii and had kept my weight low for the 3rd straight month. The radio was on and I could actually identify some of the songs.

I suddenly felt less than old for once.

Then we got home.

JewelrySlut had assembled dinner.
Moo was running around the house in a diaper. She was holding toy phones to each ear and dancing and yelling. Music was on. It was like walking into a tornado.

My point is…this is my money-making scheme.

I want to sell seats in our house. You can come by between 5:00 and 9:00PM and watch what happens. The target demographic is married couples without kids. If you can survive watching what goes on, you MAY be ready for children of your own.

As I said…we walk into the house:
Shmuppie immediately does the opposite of what she’s supposed to do. She’s supposed to put her towel in the dryer and go change into clothes. Instead, she stands, alack-jawed, in front of the computer, backpack on, staring at Pandora.

Mo is still running in circles yelling at her phones. She’s also trying to jam one into my pocket and swap it for my Blackberry. She wants it so she can see “BABY!” (Her as my wallpaper).

I’m holding my gym bag and sweating. All I want is to change shirts (I take 3 to the Y) and eat.

We get everyone to the table. Moo wants everything on the table and nothing (at the same time). She’s rejecting food left and right while asking for it 2 seconds later. Mostly, she wants “beeboos” (strawberries). She lets us know this by yelling “beeboo” over and over again while doing the sign for them (in case her dipshit parents can’t understand).

I relent and get the beeboos. I plop 2 on her tray.

“Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet”
“Yes…the beeboos are wet” Now she starts crying for her wet beeboos.
“Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo Teeshoo”
“Your beeboos don’t need a tissue. You’re fine. Eat”

“I have a social studies quiz tomorrow” (JewelrySlut and I exchange horrified looks)
Oh…what’s it about?
The regions.
The regions?
Yea…the regions.
The regions where?
In North Carolina. (Duh)
Oh…what are they?
Coastal Plains, Piedmont and Mountains (I knew this and was testing her)
Oh…what about them
Well…we need to know what jobs people have in them.
Like what?
In the coastal plain, people fish.
That helps…seeing how it’s near the ocean
In the Piedmont, people make furniture and work for banks.
Oh…I guess I’m not doing it right then seeing that I do neither. What about the mountains?
I don’t know. I think they work at places where they use wood to make paper.
Paper mills?
Well…I don’t think they call them “places where they use wood to make paper.” They call them paper mills.
We have to write a paragraph and say where we’d like to live, in what city, and what job we’d want.
OK…where do you want to live?
I could live in the mountains and whitewater raft (a kick she’s on lately. She wants to go whitewater rafting)
In what city?
OK…so you’re moving to Boone to be an outdoor guide of sorts. Can you name any other cities in the state?
Yes…that’s one. Any coastal cities?
We don’t know any Pacifically
JewelrySlut: That’s good, but do you know any Atlanticly?
(Blank Stare)
Raleigh is in the Triad
No it’s not.
Yes it is.
No it’s not. Raleigh is in the Triangle along with Durham and Chapel Hill (We do love us some shapes here in NC). The Piedmont is Greensboro, Winston Salem and someplace else.
No it’s not.
Trust me.
Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo Beeboo

Shmuppie now sulks because we’ve shattered her perception of North Carolina.
Moo is yelling for fruit but is ever so sad that it’s wet.
JewelrySlut is drinking wine and crying.

I finally decide that dinner’s over. Moo has been released from her chair and has managed to bring every toy she has to the table. She’s also banged her head on the table 47 times and fallen down 13 times. She’s howling in pain and asking for teeshoos. All I want to do is get the 2 of them to bed so I can shower and wrap things up at work. JewelrySlut is eating still. If you ask me, she’s dawdling over her salad to avoid the chaos.

Shmuppie is sent upstairs. I start clearing the table. Moo is now climbing the furniture. I just start yelling at everyone. I’m now pissed off and want the night to be over.

10 minutes later, we get Moo moved upstairs. She barges in on her sister. Shmuppie is in the shower. I happen to notice that she’s also completely dry. In the shower. 10 minutes after we sent her upstairs.


There goes my sanity. Moo has managed to run into the tub and is howling again. JewelrySlut is only now making it upstairs, having SLOWLY eaten her salad.

I grab Moo and pull her from the bathroom.


Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo Booboo
Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet Wet
SHUT UP YOU! (To the 2 year old)

I slam the bathroom door before Shmuppie can answer. I don’t want to hear the excuse. I don’t want to know what she had been doing for 10 minutes that didn’t include showering. (She claimed the water was too hot).

JewelrySlut now appears and is yelling at me.
Moo is trying to pull her diaper off.
The bird s flying in circles in her cage.
We can her Shmuppie form the shower cursing my existence.

All I want to do is get them to bed.

See…if you had bought a seat to this and could survive it, you’d know if you had what it takes to be a parent. Because, that was not abnormal. That was Tuesday. Today will be just as fun but for a host of different reasons.

I need a vacation. Not any vacation. As I tell JewelrySlut, I need a vacation where she and I can go to a nice hotel, stay in a room with a king-sized bed and lower the A/C to 68. We’ll sleep all weekend. That’s all I want.

Of course, I’m a parent so that’s not always an option. Especially in 2011. Shmuppie no longer permits us to do anything without her. We can’t get a babysitter and go to dinner and we certainly can’t send them to my parents’ house.

2-3 hours would be nice.

We get to do it all over again tonight at 7:30. I can’t wait.

Go away if you’re squeamish

Obviously, life changes when you’re a parent. Uh-doy.

But, let’s talk about sleep. You start off, after the baby is born, sleeping whenever you can. Once the baby starts sleeping, you wake up every time he/she sneezes, moves, coughs, farts, etc. These noises, of course, are all signs that your baby is deathly ill and will cause you to not sleep as a result.

Then they move down the hall. Now, you don’t hear every cough and fart, but most of them. No matter how deeply asleep you are; you hear it.


Shmuppie’s door opened. The 3 bedroom doors upstairs all stick somewhat, so JewelrySlut and I have excellent early warning detectors. We heard a creak and I shot awake.

You know when you wake up sometimes from what’s obviously been a deep sleep and you have to really stare at the clock to decipher the rune-like symbols on it? Yea…that was this morning.

My brain churned for a few seconds and came up with 1:48 as the answer. Awesome…

Despite her ninja skills, I can usually hear her if she’s making her way to our door. I didn’t hear said sounds so I drifted back to sleep.


JewelrySlut and I are now sitting up in bed. I stumbled out of bed and went out into the hallway. The bathroom door was open and the light was on.

“Shmuppie? Are you O…?”

There was a lake of vomit on the floor outside the bathroom.

So…we had a problem on our hands. I went back to our room and more or less stood in one place while my brain tried to wake up. I suspect it looked a lot like me when I’m trying to start the leaf blower.

“Set the lever halfway between the rabbit and the turtle…remind self to look up what ‘choke’ means on Wikipedia some day, pump the little thing…pull the string 47,000 times”

That was my brain. I knew we had a situation in the hallway that needed cleaning, but I lacked the mental capacity to determine how. I knew I needed rags but my brain could not process where to get them. YES! The linen closet! They’re in a bag on the floor! “Way to go, Brain!”

JewelrySlut was now up and had thrown on some clothes. I was still in my drawers. She hurdled the lake and went into the bathroom where Shmuppie was standing in her pajama top. Only her top. I started scooping up puke while JewelrySlut cleaned Shmuppie up and assessed the bathroom. It was not good. The child had somehow managed to puke her way from the hallway to the bathroom, hitting everything in sight EXCEPT the toilet or garbage can.

We sent Shmuppie back to her room to get new PJ’s as we tackled the mess. I was so happy that I had made those green beans with the nice bright orange sauce made from those cute little orange cherry tomatoes.

(To self)
“Well…this isn’t too bad. At least it doesn’t…”

(Out loud)
“Oh God…there’s the smell”

YAY! It’s 2:00AM and the upstairs now smells like industrial waste. We scooped up the chunks off the rug, cleaned the walls, doors, baseboards, ceiling, vanity, bathtub, car, etc. JewelrySlut went outside to throw away the puke rags. I put a towel over the mess and gathered stuff from the bathroom.

(Back story)
On December 31, Shmuppie was excited because I could no longer call her “Pee Pants”. I had told her in January of 2010 when she wet her bed that as long as she kept that up, I could call her “Pee Pants” for the rest of the year. December 31 meant that the statute of limitations was up…until she peed herself again.
(End story)

I gathered up the bathmats and her Pajamas from the bathtub (where JewelrySlut had tossed them).
(Entering Shmuppie’s room)
“You shit your pants, didn’t you?”
Yes…we are not candidates for Parent of the Year by any means.
“HA! I win!”
I got a weak smile from that comment…she knew what was coming as a result…another year of abuse from me.

JewelrySlut took the underpants outside and I started the laundry. There’s nothing as refreshing as starting the laundry at 2:00AM.

We all went back upstairs and back to bed. Needless to say, Shmuppie is home from school today.

We have a few issues here.
1: She’s on a strong antibiotic for strep throat
2: The ladies spent Sunday at my parents’ house, babysitting my mother who had pulled her ass…AND…had a stomach virus.
3: Shmuppie never seems to have a good ability to sense what’s coming. I can’t tell you how many near-accidents there are in this house because she forgets to go to the bathroom until the train is leaving the station. Last night was a perfect example. She waited too long and ended up missing the target…from either end.

I’m going to go upstairs now and fire up the carpet cleaner. Wish me luck.

Hi…miss me?

When I went upstairs, Moo was sitting at the table, happily munching on a pancake…in different pajamas?

“Yea…when I went upstairs to wake your daughter, I found her covered in vomit”

Oh shit…it’s gonna be like that, isn’t it?

Puddles puddles everywhere

Let’s go back to instituting an allowance.

Here’s how it works: you help out around dinner time; set the table, bring food to the table, help clear the table, put leftovers in the fridge, fill the dishwasher, get cleaned up after Moo…you’ll earn some money.

See, dinner is a 9-ring circus here. At say time after about 5:00, Moo starts losing her mind. When she does so, she needs to be fed. Invariably, she doesn’t want whatever she’s being fed. This results in a lot of yelling. JewelrySlut and I figured that we needed an extra set of hands to do anything constructive.

Here’s the payment plan: She’ll get paid $.50 per night. She can earn up to $2.50 per week, but must earn a minimum of $1.50 to get paid. So, from Sunday through Thursday, she’s got 5 chances to earn her keep.

Fast forward to tonight’s dinner.

Moo’s in her chair not eating her dinner. It’s mostly a leftover and side dishes kind of night. I take out some leftover chicken breasts and assorted lovely condiments to go with it. I’m cooking rice and roasted vegetables and a simple red pepper/udon noodle stir fry.

“Shmuppie! Come take the food to the table”
“Wha?” (Mind you, her heads buried in her DS. Just 5 minutes earlier, she’d heard me say something to JewelrySlut that had nothing to do with her, but wasn’t a direct order. The child has bat hearing…selective bat hearing)
“Come. Take. The. Food. To. The. Table!”

We eat…Moo yells and tries to grab at anything that’s not nailed down. She wants chicken, rice, noodles, meatballs, pasta, you name it. She wants it and is prepared to yell for it.

We’re done…time to clear the table. Shmuppie gets up and brings stuff into the kitchen. She then opens the fridge and proceeds to stand in front of it.

“What are you doing?”
“I can’t figure out where to put things”
“If you can’t find a place, put them on the counter”
She walks clear across the kitchen (not that it’s very big…it’s the principle of not sing the counter directly opposite it) and puts the stuff down
“Can you leave the stuff closer to the fridge?”
She then goes back to the fridge, opens it, stares a while and then starts putting stuff away…the same stuff that, 12 seconds earlier, would not fit.
“What are you doing?”
“I don’t know”
“Stop. Put the food down…as in right there on the floor. Just put it down and walk away. No allowance earned tonight”

Some time passes…JewelrySlut and I clear the table and wash the dishes. Moo had completed a massive shit (I was lucky enough to catch it) and we have her in her pen.

“Shmuppie…go upstairs and take a shower. This way, we can watch Hell’s Kitchen before you go to bed”


(Time passes)

JewelrySlut and I gather the baby to go upstairs.

Here’s my hope:
I’ll come upstairs and find Shmuppie in the shower. She’ll be moving things in the right direction.

When I get to the top of the stairs, this is what I hope to see (in order)
1: Bathroom door closed. I can hear both the fan and shower going
2: Bathroom door open, but fan and shower are on
3: Bathroom door closed and shower on, but fan is off
4: Bathroom door open, fan off, shower running

I got #5. I didn’t even know #5 existed until I got upstairs and turned towards the bathroom. Right before my eyes is a soapy naked 8 year old. She appears to be singing.

5: Door open, fan off, shower on, shower curtain open, lake on bathroom floor.

“What are you doing?”
(Startled child) “Wha?”
“What the hell are you doing? Why is the curtain open?”
“I forgot”
“You forgot? YOU FORGOT?!? You owe me $2.00 now”

JewelrySlut gets one look at Lake Bathroom and starts weeping.

(Shower finished)

“Do you know why, in our country, we use shower curtains”
“To keep water off the floor?”
“Yes…to keep water off the floor. Didn’t you notice that it was open and that you could see the hallway and not just the inside of the shower curtain?”

No…I’m often at a loss for words. Tonight was another of those nights.

And, it’s only Monday. I learned today that there’s a school dance on Friday night and any child who attends needs to being a parent to help chaperone. They’re not going to have liquor there, are they?

Sand anyone?

We went to FLA a few weeks ago to see JewelrySlut’s father. He’s doing progressively worse. I’d love to write about what his saint of a wife is going through and how it’s impacting us and the greater family dynamic, but you don’t come here for feelings and shit, do you? No. You come here for stories about shit.

The plan was to leave here on a Wednesday afternoon, drive to Savannah, stay the night and finish the drive in the morning. Savannah’s just about half way to their house and the hotel complex we’ve chosen has everything we need.

We left a few minutes ahead of schedule and were streaking across the highway in no time. This was Moo’s first major car trip and we all had doubts. She’s not a great passenger. Her sister, on the other hand, when not vomiting on the sides of Caribbean mountains, is a great passenger. She’s more than content to play her DS, read, listen to music, take pictures of the back of my head, and generally be well-behaved. Her younger sister likes to yell.

Stupid people that we are, we had to stop at South of the Border. We’re sorry…we can’t help it. The plan was to push on from there to a little hole in the wall along 95 called Santee, SC. My estimates had us arriving between 6:30 and 7:00. We chose Santee because it has a Cracker Barrel. While Cracker Barrel is no Michelin-starred restaurant, it offers what we need; quick service, clean bathrooms and consistent food.

That is…with the exception of Santee.

What a mess. The place was dirty, our waitress was awful and the food was bad. And, no top of everything else, we asked to be seated in the non-smoking section and they sat us right on the edge. This gave JewelrySlut an instant headache. Did I also mention that Moo was yelling? We managed to feed her something, but she mostly threw food on the floor.

We ate and, rather unhappily, got back in the car. Off we went…back onto 95. Shmuppie was watching a movie on her DVD player, and for once, Moo was quiet.

“At the next exit, we need to stop”
“What? You’re kidding me. We have an hour to go until we reach Savannah. What the hell?”
“Stop. The. Car”

Luckily, there was an exit…and, as luck would have it, a Cracker Barrel. JewelrySlut decided to make the poor people in Walterboro pay for the sins of Santee’s kitchen. We made it in the nick of time. If there hadn’t been an exit, she had planned to either hang her ass out the window at 80MPH or go alongside the road. Hell…we had plenty of baby wipes in the car. Cleanup would have been a breeze… Thanks Cracker Barrel.

The night in Savannah was mostly uneventful.

The drive the following morning, while annoying as all getout, was also uneventful. We did have one acrobatic diaper change in a Hardees’s parking lot in Bumfuck FL, but that was it.

(This is where I skip the part about me having to work while in FLA, my father in-law’s deteriorating health and the 60lbs of rotting food we pulled out of the fridge)

On Saturday, we needed to get out of the house. A few weeks back, anticipating this, I’d gone looking for a beach to go to. The local beach in Crystal River more or less sucks. It’s a protected gulf-side beach so the ocean is more like a lake than anything else. It’s shallow, flat, mushy-bottomed and has odd plant life floating in it. I don’t care much for it.

I found a little speck on the map called Pine Island Beach. It would be about 45 minutes away and looked nice enough. So, off we went. We piled into the car and headed south.

I hadn’t done my full due diligence on the beach…or the weather. I’d forgotten what happens to Florida during the month of September the love bugs come out to play. The little shits are everywhere.

Well, we arrived at a cute little beach and were instantly set upon by 47 billion bugs. Also, Moo decided to freak the hell out. She’d missed her morning nap because we’d been stupidly convinced she’d sleep in the car. WRONG!

Shmuppie and I ventured out into the muck and found a family who was hunting for blue crabs. Shmuppie had a good time trying to catch crabs. Al the while JewelrySlut and Moo were back at the beach fending off bugs. Moo was none too happy. I went back after a while to see how things were going. Moo was in a better mood, mostly because she’d decided to eat the beach. Fistful after fistful of sand was shoveled into her mouth. We couldn’t contain her and keep the bugs off of us. It was A: have bugs rape every hole in your body or B” have the child eat sand. We ended up being successful at neither.

We gave up a little while later and grabbed lunch. Then, we went home while Moo barked at us from the back seat.

Sometime later, we smelled a familiar smell. Moo had pooped.

Ever want to know what happens to the digestive tract of a baby who’s been eating sand? Trust me, you don’t.

From her, a foul-smelling pile of gritty shit had emerged. Couple this with Grandma’s odd decision to buy Activia yogurt, and we had ourselves a 4-alarm fecal disaster on our hands.

Gritty Activia shit is like nothing else on Earth. It clings to everything (especially the hands of a baby who for reasons unknown does NOT enjoy being changed and uses that opportunity to roll about on whatever surface she’s being changed on) around you and is nearly impossible to clean. It was not fun. We also knew that this was setting up for a bad ride home.

So, Sunday rolled around and we continued to rue the beach trip. The plan was to leave FLA between 2-3 and drive straight. That would get us home at around 1:00 AM (With a dinner stop).

We managed to leave at 2 and JewelrySlut took the wheel. I don’t normally let her drive, but I was going to take the late leg of the trip and was now free to radio surf and get football updates on my BB.

The plan was to get back to Savannah and visit…you guessed it…the Cracker Barrel at that exit. Why tempt fate again? Because along 95, your options at nearly every exit are McDonald’s, Burger King, locally-owned scary place and Cracker Barrel. As much as I hate chain places, at times, they’re your safest bet. I don’t know about you, but as I’m somewhere in northern GA/southern SC a Chinese buffet does not appeal to me. No person in their right mind made the journey from China to be slinging food along the side of 95 in the American South.

We arrived at the restaurant with a familiar stench wafting out of the backseat. Oh shit…quite literally.

We chose to redneck it and parked in a secluded section of the lot. We found some grass and set up a changing station. There, along the side of a road, in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel in Savannas GA, we changed an epic diaper. It was awful. Moo had crapped all through her clothes. So, not only did we have to wrestle with her to get her cleaned up, but we also had to surgically extract her clothes and get her dressed.

JewelrySlut barely touched her dinner. She was too afraid to eat. I’ll add that the bathrooms were appalling (Faithful readers know where this is going).

Back in the car, Shmuppie had a movie on and we bit the bullet and squirted a few drops of child’s Benadryl in Moo’s mouth.

Don’t look at us that way. Don’t do it. You either have or will do the same someday. We just needed her quiet for the 5-hour run home. I was not going to be able to deal with 5 hours of yelling and not drive the car into a bridge abutment.

The ride wasn’t bad…mostly quiet. Until, of course, we hit the NC state line.

Now, I enjoy my GPS. Annette gives good directions but she also gives me an estimated time of arrival. There’s no better feeling than watching those minutes tick downward as you drive along “I’m winning!” I exclaim to nobody in particular. Well, between Savannah and South of the Border, I’d shaved like 45 minutes off the trip. I was estimated to make it home by midnight. SC line to home should take 1:37 – 1:42 depending on how many lights I hit in Raleigh. I was smokin’.

BAM…Rain. And not any nice rain, a Biblical flood unleashed itself on the lower half of the state. What did our fine Tar H ell drivers do? Well, they, as expected, started crashing into each other. Every 5 miles or so, there was another impressive wreck. Card in ditches, cars on top of cars, pieces of cars everywhere. Between the debris and the rain, I was forced, at times, to slow down to 50 or so. I watched in horror as the ETA crept upward. I was powerless to stop it. I was Ok driving in the rain…not happy, but OK with it. The people around me thought his was a perfect time to slow down to 25 or so. Folks, 25 on an interstate is never a good idea. If you’re that afraid, get the fuck off the road.

We made it home at about 12:08 and changed gritty mcshittypants once again and collapsed into bed. We’d survived a much-needed visit to FLA (Perhaps the last time we all visit before the funeral) and were ready to tackle another week of at-home madness.

PS: After my letter was sent to Cracker Barrel, I got a Golden Ticket entitling me to a meal for 2…on the house. Who’s sexy?

I am.

I used to write, didnt I?

Among the many things David Sedaris said last weekend at his little read and greet in Raleigh was that if you want to write, you need to write…every day.

Fuck me.

The world’s worst blogger is now going to make another half-assed attempt at keeping this thing up to date. I need to get over the fact that I don’t need to pound out 2000 words per day; it’s just impossible for me. It’s not for a lack of stories. It’s an appalling lack of typing skills.

In any event.

(Checks site…gets distracted and harvests little Facebook island)

Holy Crap. August 11? That’s the last time I wrote anything. I do suck. If anyone bothers to keep coming back here to check for posts, I applaud your tenacity while quietly wondering about your sanity.

So, it’s been 2+ months. What’s happened?

Shmuppie was off from school for a while last month and now she’s back at school. The track in/track out thing is still a little odd, but we’ll get used to it.

Moo (Name change) is almost walking. It took her a while to get mobile, but she seems to enjoy crawling. She also finally left the ranks of the toothless and grew her some front teeth. I suppose it was bound to happen one day, but we maybe liked her more with teeth. I guess it meant she was still a little baby. Instead, now we have a monster who motors around the house on her hands and knees, attempting to devour everything in her path. She’s also quite loud. It’s rather unnerving at times when she starts yelling. This happens a lot at meal time. She’ll sit in her chair and positively holler at you to do something; anything to ease her apparent suffering.

“How about more pasta?”
“OK…some fruit?”

A few weeks back, having grown very tired of the yelling, I flung a piece of a chicken thigh at her. I just threw it at her and hit her squarely in the face. She was stunned for a moment, but then picked it up, ate it and then yelled for more.

I’ve also threatened her with my carving knife. Nothing seems to work.

As for the adults, I’ve been busy with work. I think I’ll use that as my excuse for not writing. As for JewelrySlut, she admitted last night that I could forget all she’d said about “If I were younger, I’d want a third one”. Moo has worn her down. It’s funny…we never had the chance to “raise” Shmuppie. She was something we dropped into the care of others from 7:30 – 4:30 5 days a week. We never went through the “yelling at meal time” phase of the game. I think Shmuppie was just too tired by the time dinner rolled around to put up the fight that her sister does.

But, all in all, life is good. It could be worse. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll explain how.