The day my heart melted

My husband knows that there is another man in my life.  Someone I love, and who fulfills me in a way that he cannot.

His name is Joe.  Trader Joe.

I might just leave my husband for him.  In fact, I do leave my husband for him.  Every Sunday, I traipse over to Trader Joe’s.  I romp around in the produce section.  I get lost in the depths of his wine aisles.

But the thing about Joe that makes me just go weak at the knees?  His very well-endowed frozen food section.

I’m a big fan of frozen foods.  After a long day at work, it’s so easy to just take something out of the freezer, pop it in the oven, and enjoy a hot, delicious meal in about 20 minutes flat.

The only problem?  I sometimes go a little overboard.  I’ll come home after a trip to Joe’s place, and will be laden with bags upon bags of that yummy frozen goodness.  Last month was one of those times.

“Clearly, your mother’s stocking up for a bomb shelter, kids,” my husband announced as he helped me unload the car.

I gave him a dirty look as I lovingly loaded up the freezer with the cute little Mexican quiches.  The Mandarin Chicken with tangy shoyu sauce.  And finally, the creme-de-la-creme:  the Mini Mint ice cream sandwiches.


But when I went to close the door, I got a surprise.  It wouldn’t fit.  I had to sadly admit that Joe, in all of his glorious frozen splendor, was just too much man for my puny little freezer.

But still I tried.  I rearranged, shoved, and packed things in, shut the door, and walked away.

Little did I know that Joe couldn’t be contained.  Somehow, in the middle of the night, he burst forth from the confines of the freezer, and the door became ajar.   By the next morning, everything had melted.

All I was left with was a wet spot.  A very wet spot.  All over my kitchen floor.

The worst part about it wasn’t the money.   It wasn’t the 150 bones I had dropped the day before… although that did sting.  Trader Joe’s lovin’ ain’t cheap, you know.

The worst part about the whole incident was parting ways with all of the uneaten culinary delights that morphed into a warm, dripping mess inside my Frigidaire.

And as I emptied the freezer, I said a tearful goodbye to the treasures from Joe that would never be consumed.

Farewell, Mandarin Chicken.  Adios, cute little quiches.  So long, Mini Mint ice cream sandwiches.  I think I’ll miss you most of all.

Needless to say, I learned my lesson.  Somewhat.   Even though the frozen food section at Joe’s still makes my heart go all a-flutter, I do try to restrain myself.  Somewhat.

I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that, while my love for Trader Joe may have no limits, my freezer certainly does.

I’m a strong woman.  But I know I just can’t handle having my heart melt like that all over again.

Mama's Losin' It
#2. The last time my heart melted...

Potty training for dummies

This isn’t a post about potty training your little one.  It took us over a year to potty train Bobo.  Obviously, I’m no expert in that arena. 

This is a tutorial on a different kind of potty training:  How to Fix a Toilet.  As it turns out, I am an expert on that kind of potty repair.

Before I get to the tutorial, let me give you a little context.  We had this annoying little drip coming from the toilet in our master bathroom.  I did some research on the internet, and figured out that the fill valve needed to be replaced.  After reading everyone say how easy it was, I ventured down to the hardware store and picked up a $12 toilet repair kit.

Now, the kit I picked up had words such as “do-it-yourself” and “easy” emblazoned on the packaging.  In retrospect, I’m thinking they actually meant it was easy if you had any sort of prior plumbing experience.

(I had none.)

Nonetheless, after my plumbing experiences last night, I feel like I’ve picked up quite a bit of knowledge.  Here are some of the valuable tidbits I picked up along the way:

  • Ever seen that little nob behind the toilet?  It’s called the water shutoff valve.  It is your friend; use it.  Preferably before you start disassembling the toilet. 
  • Put the lid and toilet seat down before attempting any work.
  • If you have long hair, tie it back.  Especially helpful if you forget to put the lid down.
  • Invest in some rubber gloves.  Especially helpful if you still forget to put the lid down and need to retrieve the pliers that fell into the toilet.
  • Before removing parts from the toilet, make sure the tank is drained.
  • Double check to make sure it is fully drained.
  • If you forget the last two steps, make sure you have plenty of towels on hand.
  • If the towels become soaked, you can also use articles of clothing.  I discovered that a sock stuffed in the hole at the bottom of the tank will temporarily stop the flow of water.  This will buy you enough time to run to the linen closet to get more towels.
  • Do not attempt to start fixing the toilet at 10pm.  No one, especially, your husband, enjoys being awoken at 11 pm to loud expletives.
  • When all else fails, call a plumber.

Speaking of which… have you checked out the hourly rates for plumbers lately?  Wow. 

I’ve decided to go into business for myself.  Even though I’m an expert already, I am still a newbie, so I’m prepared to offer a stellar deal.  For $20 an hour, you can have me come over and make a hot mess of your own bathroom.

Plus, you get this:

Reenactment of actual event. 
There was much more crap on the floor, and I was not this happy.

My only caveat to this deal of the century:  You supply the socks.

Any takers?

Mama's Losin' It

Work? Check. Family? Check. Me? On my to-do list.

I am obsessed with making lists. 

I have Post-It notepads scattered around the house so I can jot down things that I have to do, want to do, and don’t want to do, but need to do.  I should own stock in the Post-It company.

The problem with making lists is that I feel like if I don’t get everything crossed off it in one day, I’ve somehow failed.  The list becomes a nagging splinter in the back of my mind.  And between working full time, taking care of the household stuff, raising the kids, and trying to eke out some time for J (not to mention myself), I’ve felt for quite some time like there’s always something on the list that wasn’t getting done. 

The worst part about it is lately I have felt my family has been an item on the list.   I confess there are some days I go through the routine of work, getting the kids home, making dinner, and taking baths. But my mind isn’t all there.  It’s thinking about the work or list of things I have to do once the kids go down for bed. 

I’m not even sure where my personal needs fall onto the list.  I’m pretty sure dead last.

This realization appalls me. 

My family should not be something I “check off” doing every day.  Spending quality time with the kids and J should be my priority, and something I want to do.  And I should probably be on the list somewhere as well.

I realized I desperately needed some time to decompress, recharge and get caught up.  So this week, I’m using a couple of my precious vacation days for me, to get things crossed off my list. 

Yesterday, I got some of the had-to’s, need-to’s and yes, even some of the want-to’s done:

  • Took the car into the shop for a service appointment
  • While the car was being fixed, I walked over to the mall and bought a birthday present for J.  We’re both turning 29 (again) this year.
  • Washed the car.  I forgot it was actually black under there.
  • Monkeyed around on Facebook.
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Recycled the cans and bottles.  Man, I drink a lot of Bud Light.
  • Hunted down all of the baby Tylenol in our house and filled out the recall forms.
  • Went to Mattress World to look pick out a new bed.  Our current mattress has two huge valleys in it where J and I sleep.  It seriously looks like Dolly Parton did a face plant on our bed and got stuck there. 
  • Did my time and expense report. I told myself I wasn’t going to do any work yesterday, but hey, getting paid is good.
  • Washed and folded 3 loads of laundry.
  • Put the laundry away.  I only listed this as a separate item because typically, I do the laundry, then it remains by the side of our bed for a week before I get around to putting it away.
  • Blog hopped at my first blog party over at the D-List.  There are some fantastic parenting blogs over there!  Finally tore myself away from the computer and…
  • Did the dishes.
  • Blogged.
  • Mindlessly surfed the internet.  Google rocks.
  • Paid bills.  After which, I felt a little depressed, so I…
  • Dinked around on Twitter for a bit.  That made me feel better.  Somewhat.
  • Went to the nursery and picked up some geraniums and petunias.  Hopefully I’ll remember to water them.  (Oh, crap.  Another item for my list)
  • Made a home-cooked dinner that did not consist of minute rice or frozen tater tots.  I’d never made sausage stromboli before, but it was pretty tasty.  I cheated a bit and used frozen bread dough.  Who has time to watch yeast rise?

I know there are probably a lot of moms out there who do all of the above and more on a daily basis.  I am not one of them.  On good days, I may get to two or three, max.  OK, four, counting Facebook.

The best part about yesterday? 

When we gathered in the family room after dinner, my kids had my undivided attention.  We took Princess Tiana for a ride in the dumptruck.  We read books.  Bobo chased Booyah around the house and tried to pull her tail.  Chip chased Bobo.  Dad and I took turns chasing Chip. 

I did not have a to-do list on the back of my mind.  It felt good.

I’m going back to work tomorrow, but I’m hoping the new and improved me can stay around a while longer. 

I’ll make sure it goes on the list.