I know you’re happy to see me. But the feeling’s not mutual.

People who’ve visited my house in the past have commented on how clean and organized everything was.  I never let them in on my dirty little secret.

I had a housekeeper.

It was a total luxury, I know.  But as a full-time working mom, it was a bi-weekly indulgence that I relished.  I looked forward to coming home every other Monday to a house that smelled like Pine-Sol.  The toilets were cleaned, the beds were made, and carpets were freshly vacuumed.  And the only finger I had to lift was to pull out my checkbook.  Well worth it in my book, I tell you.

Alas, with some recent changes at my day job, we’ve been looking at places where we might be able to trim the fat a little with our expenses.  And so we went through the checklist.

Gas budget? Um, have you seen gas prices lately?

Eating out less?  What? And skip our weekly Red Robin rendezvous?  But I love those bottomless steak fries!

Eliminating beer?  Hell no.

Housekeeping?  Sadly, yes. Since I was staying home more, we conceded that the housekeeper should be a thing of the past.  It was all up to me.

The only problem?  In the two years that we’ve had a housekeeper, I’ve gotten spoiled.  Lazy.  I no longer know how much time it takes to clean the house.  Or exactly where the cleaning supplies are kept.  Or how to use them.

Such was the case when I went to dust off the vacuum the other day.  And I discovered a few things.

  1. Vacuuming really does burn a lot of calories.  Forget the treadmill.  I was sweating like a hog by the time I was done.
  2. Judging by the fruit loops ground into the carpet, my kids don’t listen to me when I tell them “no eating in the living room.”
  3. Judging by the Cheetos ground into the carpet, my husband doesn’t listen to me when I tell him “no eating in the living room.”
  4. My vacuum cleaner might just be smarter than I am.

To clarify point #4, let me explain.

We have a Dyson.  And while it cleans really well (that’s the rumor I’ve heard, at least), the damn thing just has so many buttons and gizmos, I need to get the manual out each time I use it.

One such gizmo is a telescoping hose that you can use for cleaning those hard-to-reach spots.  And while I eventually figured out how to get the thing to go up, no amount of cajoling, pushing or cursing could get the hose to go back down.

So, after 20 minutes of figuring out how the vacuum worked, followed by 45 minutes of vacuuming, followed by another 30 minutes of trying to put the vacuum away, I was left with something like this:

The best I could figure, my vacuum cleaner was just really happy to see me.

I wish I could say the feeling was mutual.

15 Things I Wish I Had Known About BlogHer

Alternate titles:

  • The things people didn’t tell me about BlogHer before I went, but what I wish they would have.
  • Unsolicited advice to newbies who might go to #BlogHer12.
  • Things that did not happen to me at BlogHer, but that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend.
  • Yet another #BlogHer11 recap post.

What I wish someone would have told me prior to going to BlogHer ’11:

  1. When packing for a blog conference, include a collapsible duffel bag in your suitcase.  Use it to bring home massive amounts of swag, dirty laundry, or perhaps that blogger that you just adore and want to keep as your new real-life BFF.  Not that I’m endorsing kidnapping.  But you never know when that duffel bag will come in handy.
  2. Making eye contact with people in the hallways is really hard.  People aren’t looking straight ahead.  Everyone is tweeting, texting or emailing on their smart phones.  If you want to get someone’s attention in the hall, the best tactic is to accidentally bump into them.  Or, better yet, send them a DM.
  3. You will be showered with swag.  And I don’t mean the fun, Christmas decoration sort of swag.  I’m talking tchotchkes, in embarrassingly obscene amounts.
  4. Only bring home swag that you would be comfortable handing over to TSA for hand inspection.  Don’t be tempted to pick up, say, paraphernalia from an adult toy booth, unless you’re willing to explain repeatedly to the security guard, “I swear.  It was a blogging conference.”
  5. You’ll meet some people that you immediately adore.  Some may exceed your expectations of what they would be like in real life.  And yet others may fall a little short of what you would expect them to be by reading their blogs.  That’s life, I guess.  Or, more accurately, that’s life when you bring thousands of women together in one place.  Move on to the next person.
  6. Drink tickets are worth their weight in gold.  So much so, that they are sometimes bartered for swag, favors, and places in the ladies restroom line.  Hold on to those suckers for dear life until you’re ready to redeem them.  And if you’re not a drinker, for Pete’s Sake, give them to someone who will put them to good use.
  7. Don’t worry about buying meals when you’re at the conference.  There is literally food everywhere.  One night, I had a 12 course meal while making my way through the expo hall.  And, yes, I regretted going back for seconds at the Dove ice cream booth.  And thirds.
  8. If you think Twitter moves fast in every day life, just try to keep up with the hashtags when you’re at a blog conference.  #itsimpossible
  9. No matter how short you are, ditch the high heels.  You might get compliments on your cute new shoes.  But the whole look is offset when you get blisters on your feet, and all you have in your purse are Hello Kitty band-aids.
  10. Starting a conversation with, “So, how long have you been blogging?” or “What’s your blog about?” might not be the best idea.  Especially when you’re unknowingly standing next to someone that’s been blogging since the dawning of the internet, and you have no clue who they are.  Instead, maybe start with, “Ooh, I love your shoes.”  They’ll appreciate the effort you took in noticing.  Especially if they’re wearing cute heels.
  11. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.  For someone who spends 14 hours a day behind a computer, this was a toughie for me.  In some cases, I had to force myself to break out of my reclusive behavior to interact with real people.  And, in the end, I’m glad I did.  Even if it was scary.
  12. Smile.  Please.  You’re so much more approachable when you do.
  13. On the way home, allow extra time going through security.  Especially if the conference is in San Diego, and the security line makes Black Friday shopping lines look like a walk in the park.  And if you disregarded point #4?  Just be forewarned that you might never get to your gate on time.
  14. Always introduce yourself by at least one or more of the following information: first name, Twitter handle, and blog name.  Ideally, at least some of these are the same.  Otherwise, you’ll end up starting conversations with, “I’m Kayleen, but my Twitter handle is @booyahsmomma, and I write at a blog called Chip and Bobo.”  Yeah.  I don’t blame you if were confused after meeting me.
  15. And while we’re on the subject of names?  Whatever you do, don’t name your online identity or company with a name that contains an apostrophe.  There might be a computer error that cuts off the last part of your name.  And you might end up walking around with a badge like this:

And you might just feel a little silly.  Either that, or it might be Booyah.

Fiddle-dee-dee

Scarlett O’Hara might have had the right idea.

And, no, I’m not referring to her 17″ waist.  I have two kids, a fondness for jelly donuts, and a love of beer that will never make that possible.

But right now, I’m really buying into her famous quote: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  Genius, that lady.

I have stinky piles of laundry overflowing from the hamper.  But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I have a toddler that has developed recurring vampire tendencies, who, more often than not, has been getting sent home from preschool with discipline notes.  Each day I pick him up, I wonder which victim he has chosen to sink his little teeth into.  But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I have a day job that is currently causing me more stress than I’ve ever experienced in my 14-year stint at the company.  Some days, I feel like it may give me an ulcer.  Or drive me to drink more beer.  The latter might not be a bad thing, but my poor liver might beg to differ.  But, still, I’ll think about the day job tomorrow.

I have bills that need to be paid.  But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I should probably open my Google Reader.  Or get back to the comments that people left me from posts I wrote a couple of weeks ago.  But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Booyah blew chunks in the hallway downstairs.  I noticed it when we got home, and just didn’t want to deal with it.  So I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I need to buy cat food.  And toilet paper.  And Cocoa Puffs.  But I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Frankly, I’m just too wiped out right now to give a damn.

So, tonight, instead of doing all of the things I should be doing, I’m going to relax.  And think about the stuff that does mean something.

I will camp out at my vast plantation humble abode, and be thankful that we have a roof over our heads.  And that the roof is currently not leaking.  At least that I know of.

I shall be thankful that I’ve hooked up with a great group of bloggers… who don’t seem to be bothered by how sporadically I visit, or respond back to their comments.  They understand that I have a life outside of this blog.

I shall be thankful for Jay.  I love him, and in the midst of all of the chaos, I don’t tell him that often enough.

I will think about slobbery goodnight kisses and “I love you, mommy’s.”

And all of that other peripheral crap?  I can’t think about it tonight.  So I will think about that tomorrow.

Because tomorrow is another day.  Right, Scarlett?

Multiplicity

Do you ever have those days when you feel like you’re juggling multiple personalities?  Figuratively speaking, that is?

I do.  And it feels like my multiple personalities have had a serious conflict of interest lately.

Working Me.  Mommy Me.  Housekeeper Me.  Chauffeur Me.  Wife Me.  Me Me.

They’re all there, fighting amongst themselves for a chunk of my time.  And, simply put, there are just not enough hours in the day to accommodate them all.  So my multiple personalities bicker.  And they engage in a perpetual rock-paper-scissors act to see which parts of me take precedence.

But at last my internal struggle is over.  Because, as I was channel surfing the other night, I found the long lost solution.

Multiplicity.

As in the movie, Multiplicity.  You remember it?  That ’90s comedy film where the husband stumbled upon the good Dr. Leeds, who created various clones of said husband so that he could balance his spouse, career and family?  That’s the one.

Anyway, as I was watching the movie the other night, I had this crazy epiphany that multiplicity just might be the answer to all of my problems.  If I had just a few more of Me around, I could really motor.  I started thinking about the possibilities.

Like what Career Woman Me would be like.  I’m guessing she would always show up to the office on time, sporting an immaculate business suit that did not have a single trace of spit up, playdough or Cocoa Puff residue on it.  She would never have to leave the office early to pick up the kids, or guiltily call in sick because one of her kids was oozing green boogers.  On days she worked from home, she wouldn’t have to worry about children cackling maniacally in the background during a conference call.

Or Mommy Me.  She would always have time for playing cars, giving horsie rides, or just stopping to really listen to what her kidlets were saying.  She would never rush them out of the house or beg them to stop dawdling.  She would stop and smell the roses.  Mommy Me would always let her kids play with Moon Dough, slurp spaghetti with their hands, and stomp in mud puddles… because she didn’t care about the mess it made.

And what I wouldn’t give for a Domestic Diva Me.  My domestic goddess clone would never leave four laundry baskets full of clean clothes sitting by the bedside, unfolded, for weeks.  There would not be scary things growing in her refrigerator.  She would not have Pizza Hut on speed dial.   And she would happily clean up the Moon Dough, spilled spaghetti, and mud stains from her kids’ clothes; she wouldn’t mind the messes that Mommy Me made.

Bloggy Me would not be caught dead with 256 new items in her reader.  She would respond promptly to her comments with witty, funny little snippets of goodness.  She would remember to check her Twitter account more than once every couple of weeks.

Wifey Me would encourage her husband to play golf, go out for a beer, or just hang out with the guys more often.  Because, deep down, she knows he doesn’t do that nearly enough as he should.  She would not scoff at the way he attempts to put away the dishes, even if she can never find anything he puts away.  (Because she would have time to re-put-away the dishes that didn’t find their proper home.)   And she would always remember that her husband is a person, a man, and the one she fell in love with 15 years ago.

And Me Me would make time.  Time to get a pedicure, or a haircut.  Time to go on a date night with the ball and chain husband.  Time to relax.  Or just veg out and do nothing at all.  Me Me would take more time to do things that she really wanted to do, as opposed to the things that she felt like she needed to do.  And she would not feel guilty about it.  Not one bit.

Yep.  I think multiplicity is the way to go, indeed.  Personally, I’m thinking the whole strategy is pretty brilliant.  And as soon as I figure out a way to contact Dr. Leeds, I’m so cloning myself.

Now, does anyone have the phone number of Dr. Leeds?

The Snowpocalypse That Never Was

When I was little, I loved snow days.

I would squeal with delight when I would wake and see the ground covered with a blanket of fresh white snow.  We would rush to get our rickety Radio Flyer sled from the garage, and we’d take turns pushing each other down the steep driveway in front of our house.  We’d make snow angels until our little butts were cold and numb.  And then we’d tromp inside for steaming mugs of hot cocoa with melted mini marshmallows.

But, somewhere along the line, something changed.  All the magic and excitement I saw in snow days gave way to annoyance,  frustration and stress.

As an adult, I can’t stand snow days.

Because, now, when I think of snow, I think of things like school closures.  I envision being stuck in gridlock traffic with a bunch of Oregonian yahoos that don’t know how to drive in the snow or ice.  (And yes, I fully admit I’m one of those yahoos that doesn’t know how to drive in the stuff, either.)  I have fears of being trapped inside the house for days with two stir-crazy kidlets.  What if we run out of fruit or milk?  Or, worse yet, beer??

These are the reasons I don’t like snow.  So when I woke up this morning to fresh powder, I was already stressed out.

The traffic cams showed delays and accidents.  Almost all of the schools in the city were shut down.  The kids’ preschool was scheduled for a delayed opening.  And today was the day I was supposed to go into our office downtown.

The snowpocalypse had arrived.  All 2 inches of it.

My kids, however, did not see the urgency in the situation.

While I rushed around the house like a chicken with my head cut off, they peppered me with questions about making snowmen.  While I nagged them to eat their breakfast, they stared out the windows, looking longingly out at the snow.   While I watched the news for weather updates, they danced around the living room ecstatically yelling, “It’s snowing!  It’s snowing!”

I was about ready to blow a gasket.  I had meetings to go to today.  I had an hour drive into the office… with yahoos on the road!  On a normal day, I would have been in the office already by now.  Did they not understand that the snowpocalypse was here?

And then I realized.  They did not.  They saw only the beautiful white fluffy stuff on the ground, just begging to be frolicked in.

I looked at the clock.  I looked back into the eyes of my kids.  And I realized my son, just turned two, had only seen snow a handful of times.  He’d never played in it.

So we detoured.  I changed out of my business suit, pulled on my boots, and we went outside.

…where we made snowballs…

… and Chip got to play in the snow for the first time, ever…

We attempted to make a giant snowman.  We realized that was too much work, and made a miniature, 2 foot snowbaby instead.

By the time we came back inside, changed into dry clothes, and got the kids dropped off at preschool, the snow was already melting.  But as I drove into work, I felt a little differently about the snow.  For the first time in a long time, I had seen it briefly as I did when I was little.

It had been beautiful.  New.  And exciting.  I had seen snow through my kids’ eyes.

When I finally arrived in the office, I was obscenely late.  But I had built a snowman.  And the earth didn’t end because of it.

And it’s a good thing we built it when we did.  Because when we got home this afternoon, everything had melted.  Everything, that is, except this:

A tiny, pitiful snowbaby looking all droopy and sad.  It was the only evidence that remained of the snowpocalypse.  It was the only evidence of the best morning I’ve had in a long time.

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