Wednesday, July 9, 2014


I heard the wailing from a long way off.
It was coming towards me.
Of COURSE it was coming towards me.
I held my breath, waiting to see what it was going to be THIS time.

Tessa materialized.
Face splotchy.
Look of devastation.

I was actually surprised it was her. It wasn't usually her.
She is usually more of a Tear Causer than a Tear Haver.

"Honey, What's the matter?" I asked.

"Chloe *choke* called me.............. *sob*'FAMINALLY," she sobbed.

Had I heard her right?
What had she said?
I must not have made it out correctly.

"She called you WHAT?" I asked again.
"FAMINALLY," she said.
"She called me 'FAMINALLY"
*shaking sobs with hands covering face*

At this exact moment,
a large bid swept down and swooped me up in its talons, carrying me over hills and oceans to its nest on a rocky cliff,
where I helped raise it's giant babies as if I were one of them, and I learned to ride them with saddles that I made myself out of woven blades of grass.

Not really.

But that's the exact type of thing I imagine happening sometimes after something like that is said.

Something so confusing and absurd that nothing that followed could ever surprise me.

"Honey. 'Faminally' isn't even a THING. It doesn't mean anything. If it doesn't exist, then being it can't be offensive." I weakly soothed.

"But....But....It SOUNDS mean and I don't like being called things that sound mean."

"OK," I said, "I'll talk to her about not calling you 'Faminally' ever ever again."

At this moment Chloe appeared from behind the wall.
Apparently she'd been there listening the whole time.
Her one eyeball discreetly peeking out from behind the baby gate as it tended often to do.

She, too, looked distraught.

"Chloe, Did you call Tessa 'Faminally?"
I could hardly believe I'd uttered the words.
I did all I could do to keep my tone as stern and serious as one can when probing their child about if they called their sibling a made up thing that sounded mean.

"I only called her that because she threw a lego at my ear. It hit me, and it hurt, and I called her 'Faminally.' I tried to say I was sorry, but she was already running down here to tell on me."

"Tessa," I asked, "Why did you throw a lego at Chloe's ear in the first place?"

"Because," she responded, "She told me that she hoped that one day I went completely bald because I'd look so funny if I was bald and she'd laugh and laugh and be happy forever, so I threw a lego at her head."

At this point I was really almost at a loss for where to go with the whole thing.
For one minute I felt it strangely appropriate to make them wear hats made of foil and perform in a Dressage competition.
It would have made about as much sense as anything else going on.

They were both in tears, clearly tormented by jabs about baldness and made up names.
I had to stay strong. I was already committed.

These are the moments in parenthood they never tell you about.
I'd love to see a chapter on FAMINALLY in a Dr. Spock book.
I had to be the solid ground,
even though what I REALLY wanted to do was call them BOTH "Faminally" and rock in the corner by the Calico Critter houses.

Chloe chimed in.
"I only told her that because she was telling me that she's happy when I feel anxious."
"No!" Tessa said.
"I meant that I am usually happy, and she's usually anxious. I'm not happy ABOUT her being anxious. I'm just happy WHILE she's anxious."

This was going nowhere.
Time to bring it to a close, no matter how amusing.

Sometimes I really wish I had a gavel.

"Alright, Girls. I want you to turn and face each other."

*Tessa faces Chloe*
*Chloe faces the dog*

"Chloe. You need to face TESSA."

*Chloe faces a SHOULDER towards Tessa*


Now we have full facing,
although neither one will look at the other directly.
It's as if their eyeballs literally REPELL each other.

The crimes have been too severe for LOOKING.

Tessa is now rubbing her eyes so hard that I am positive that when she removes her hands from them,
there will be nothing left but big deep weeping holes above her nose.

Chloe's mouth is open slightly and sort of oddly.

"I want you two to look at each other now and to realize the hurt that you have caused each other by your words. Words hurt. Sometimes even more than hitting does. You don't want to cause pain to your sister, do you? You don't want to be the one to make her cry...."

This is when I notice that Chloe has gone from just PLAIN open mouthed staring to slightly wall-eyed staring that is aimed at somewhere over Tessa's left shoulder.
She basically looks exactly like THIS:

"Chloe? You're not even looking at Tessa's face. I want you to look at each other. Why are you staring off into the ozone?"

"I'm not! I tried to look, but you were talking so long and when I stare for a long time like that, my eyes go all funny and I can't make it stop."

*giggles from Tessa*

*Look of forgiveness and also admiration for being funny*

I gave up.
I think even *I* went slightly wall-eyed.

"Oh for Heaven's sake. Hug each other, go play, and both of you -
STOP BEING so darned......FAMINALLY."

Monday, June 16, 2014

No Cereal

At one point today, I found myself sitting dead center on the living room floor almost in awe of the chaos.
The dog spun by,
Toys were everywhere,
And Paige was busy dunking our brand new home phone into the pool;
An act that has us down one handset.

I was focusing on the carpet asking myself what the 10 pieces of plastic shrapnel were from, and was that BLOOD on them,
when from the front room I heard Tessa gruffly whisper,
"I don't know. I guess we have to do it back there. Go ask Mama."

In came Chloe.

When Chloe comes in
especially with this particular look,
it usually means one of two things:
She's either about to ask if she can sleep in your bed that night because of some sudden-onset malady,
or about to tell some egregious act that Tessa committed and continue looking at you that exact way until you do something about it.
And that something had better be good and punish-y.

I was relieved when I was predicting wrong, because frankly, I'm tired of her in my bed,
but that happy feeling only lasted a moment.

CHLOE: "Mama, how do you spell 'CEREAL?"

My brain drifted before I answered.

Hmmmm. Cereal. Could we just do THAT for dinner? I HATE having to think of what we're having for dinner. We could, like, do a cereal BUFFET...
Tacos? No. We had that a couple nights ago....
I'm so tired of chicken...

ME: "Oh. It's C.E.R.E.A.L."

She looked confused.

ME: "Why? Why are you asking?" I questioned.

CHLOE: "Because on the table in the front room it says 'No Cereal,' and I'm wondering about it."

ME: "What do you mean on the table it says 'No Cereal?' You mean, like a NOTE is on the table?"

CHLOE: "No. And we didn't write it. I promise. We didn't."

From the front room a panicked sounding Tessa, ever the self-defender yelled,
"We did NOT write this. Really. Really we did NOT do it. I didn't do it. I know I did NOT do THIS!"

The only thing I could think was that Justin, in his recent prescription steroid induced cleaning/organizing frenzy had written some sort of psychotic Dad Note demanding that no more cereal be eaten in the front room ever ever again.

And I was no stranger to the Dad Note.
Growing up, ours was always taped to the television before sunrise with packaging tape. (Why did we never have NORMAL tape?)
It was always some list of things to do that day that always included some bizarre sounding task like "Mend the hole the Emu made."
Bizarre if you didn't grow up in my house.

I wouldn't put it past Justin, either. He was as prone to a weird Dad Note as the rest of them.

He was always declaring that no more food was ever ever ever to be eaten in the van/bedroom/front room/back yard/garage ever ever ever again.
He declared these types of things at the end of an hour of freeing See's lollipops from car interior,
or after an hour of being elbow deep in some dark crevasse that housed shells or husks or pits.
He declared,
then the eating resumed within a max of two days.

Strange I hadn't seen any note.

He had definitely looked at me sideways when I allowed the girls to eat fudgecicles in there the other day as they jumped couch to couch like tribesmen.

It caused beads of sweat to congregate on his upper lip if anyone took milk ANYWHERE without a lid besides three steps from the refrigerator.

Milk in the CAR?!
You might as well just disembowel him Braveheart style.

Maybe he'd just had enough of soggy mystery items stuck to various armrests, and had written Rules for the Front Room and posted them.

Strange that he hadn't mentioned it, though...
He loves mentioning rules...

"Where is the note laying?" I asked.

CHLOE: "It's not LAYING anywhere, Mama. There's no note on paper. It's actually written ON the table. On the actual table someone wrote it."

Even in a crevasse digging rage, Justin would not have written on the furniture. Unless it was the roids. I was a little worried about the roids...

"In, like, PEN?!" I asked.
Oh man.
This was NOT going to go over well.
Now there was writing on the furniture?!
Justin would need cognitive therapy.

Paige had written on the back of the couch with a sharpie a few months ago and that had caused him to try to ban the very color the ink was made of.
No amount of strategic vase placement was going to cover up the words "NO CEREAL" written on our coffee table forever.

ME: "Did one of you guys do it? Did you guys write on the table?!"

CHLOE: "Mama! No. It's written on the bottom of the table. Tessa turned the table over (We won't even ask why THAT happened)
and that's when we saw the note.

There's also another part about 'No style.'
Tessa says we can't do our Barbie's hair on the table anymore."

ME: "No STYLE?......."



ME: "Chloe........ Does it say 'S-E-R-I-A-L NO.' and 'STYLE NO."

CHLOE: "Yeah. That's what I said. No Cereal."

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Devil Wears a Cami

My friend Linda messaged me the other day.
She had a proposition.
She wondered if I'd be willing to write some blog submissions for a new fashion blog she and two of her friends are starting up based out of L.A.
The message went on to say something about celebrity backing, something about a jet-setter lifestyle, parties, vacations, etc.
I had to re-read it three times before it all sunk in.
I was too shocked she was asking me to even understand anything past the part where she "immediately thought of me."

Let me preface this by telling you about Linda.
Linda should be illegal.
Linda is a knock-out mother to three boys that must have been formed of jello because they did not do one harmful thing to her body with their births.
Linda is the type of mother that, when she posts pictures of herself, makes me want to bang my face firmly on a rock as I wail to the sky about how unfair it is for someone who has even THOUGHT about having kids to look that good.
It's like - Not even normal how hot she is.
It's probably some rare syndrome with some fancy acronym.

So, you can imagine, when getting a message asking for my assistance from THAT person -
That person that God decided to make genetically incapable of weird lumps, or hair in odd places, or even just a slightly lazy eye to make the rest of us feel better,
I was a little stunned.

I read and re-read.
It *might* have been as I drove. That I will never admit.

She went on to tell me that she would be the face of the blog, but that she just wanted a few posts here and there with my spin.

Well that's good because I'm pretty sure that no one wants to take fashion advice when I'M the face.

As it is, I have to force myself to even put on regular clothes during the day.
Those gray star pajama bottoms and spandex sleeping bra are pretty tough to beat.

She gave me some topics and wanted me to submit some stuff as soon as I have time.

And here I am.

Writing this.

Because THIS I KNOW.

Because for at least the last 6 years, when I think about fashion anything, my brain turns to pudding and dribbles out my ears onto my very unfashionable clothing and then blends in with every other stain and mystery splotch.

"You HAVE seen my facebook posts?" I ask her.
"You DO know that my idea of fashion these days is yoga pants and desparation?"

She responds with an LOL.

"No. I mean - I'm really not kidding. You DO know that, right? You realize that my fashion choice every day is whether to wear the shirt with the moth hole or the one with the oil splatter."

"That's the beauty!" She says. Most likely from somewhere in Beverly Hills through her gorgeous white teeth.
"You can write about fashion while sitting at home in your pajamas."

So I start to think about it.
Do I even remember fashion?
Do I, Kerri Green, know one thing that is going on in the World of the Runway?

I can remember a time when a young girl's mother that I knew approached me to tell me that she just wanted me to know that her daughter IDOLIZED my sense of style and wanted to look just like me when she grew up.
It is distant memory.
But it's there.

I blame it all on the kids.
Mostly because that's easiest.
I used to shop at expensive stores and care about things like double stitching and things cut on the bias, but now all I care about is if the pattern of the material will hide a thick toddler sized hand-print made out of what LOOKS LIKE marinara.

Will it show pit-stains from the sweating I'm about to do trying to keep a toddler from boarding an escalator without me?
Or from prying them out of a department store window display?

Do the pants have enough give to stretch my legs into the splits as I reach some beloved miniature plastic animal of some kind that is wedged behind the futon?

It has to be DRY CLEANED? Well then, forget it.

The last item of clothing that I bought that had to be dry cleaned was my wedding dress for a reason.
After that it was all down hill.

I should have taken my strictly sarong wardrobe from my honeymoon as a premonition of things to come.
My honeymoon where they lost our luggage and the only thing I could do was buy clothing aboard the cruise ship we were on.
The cruise ship that sold only sarongs, straw hats, and giant cotton granny panties.
Every honeymooner's dream.
I'm sure it was Justin's.
But I should have seen it as a window to my future.

If it isn't loose, patterned, multi-purposed, and able to be tied on in seconds with one hand - It's not for you anymore, Kerri.

What do I know about fashion?

I know what I DON'T like:

1) Pants with tight ankles that take a shoe-horn to get over my heel
2) Anything that makes me look like a block letter "P" from the side
3) Anything drawing even more attention to....well...any part of my body other than my eyes.
4) Shirts with a sewn in camisole underneath.

Who in the SAM HILL thought of the sewn-in cami?
Trying to figure out what goes where and which way to twist it to get your arms in both holes for both arms successfully takes the skill of a neurosurgeon.
I have spent HOURS of my life in dressing rooms trying to just get through phase one of trying on a shirt with a sewn in cami.
I have tried and failed and come out needing a chiropractic adjustment.
On the rare chance that I can get it on properly without having only one arm in but the other one stuck elbow first through the outer shirt like a chicken wing while the cami strap sticks out the neck hole, I almost always buy it, just because I can hardly believe what just happened.
That moment is TRIUMPHANT.
It becomes less of a cami and more of a Victory Shirt.
But good luck ever getting it on again.
You'd better wear that sucker out and have the cashier clip the tags on the way because you can bet MONEY that's never ever happening again.
Especially after you WASH IT.
The post dryer shirt with sewn-in cami makes the dressing room shirt with sewn-in cami look like child's play.

If mockery had a shape......

A few weeks ago, contemplating my lack of updated knowledge on what was even OUT THERE fashion wise, I took to my bath tub with an InStyle magazine in hand.
For 45 minutes I poured over it's pages, trying to soak up trends and make sense of hair styles.
The realization I came to is this:
Those people are crazy if they think I'm doing that.

Let's take this for example:

I've seen that dress before.
It was on a scary torso-only Barbie covering my grandma's spare toilet paper roll.

Or these:
Gorgeous on the GO NOWHERE, more like it.
If I wore heels like that, the only place I'd be going was careening to my untimely death.

Or this shirt:
I'm pretty sure I've seen that shirt before.
In Sears next to the elastic waist polyester pants.
It's just not cute.
And I'm *pretty* sure the girl wearing it has been turned.
I may not know what to best pair with a pencil skirt, but I know how to recognize a Walker.

I soaked and I looked and I came out of it all feeling like the page I identified most with was this one:

Maybe it isn't acne they're looking at, but it's something.
The used Hello Kitty band-aid stuck to the inside of my pants leg.
The booger that's not even MINE smeared on my shin.
The winter shoes that I'm wearing with capris because I just didn't want to go back upstairs
time to get proper ones.
The egg that's been stuck to my chin since breakfast - which was almost an hour and a half ago.


I mulled over it all so long I got pruny.
I stepped out and looked in the mirror and this is what I saw:

Clearly I know at least SOMETHING about fashion.

I rock a wicked smokey eye.