Friday, July 26, 2013

Buy My House, Please!

I don't think it's possible to really know how much stuff you own until you decide to sell your house and move. Once that happens, all of your stuff becomes apparent, and every new pile of stuff you find that needs to be packed up and hauled to your new house brings you one step closer to total psychological collapse. At least, that's the case with me. I kept finding more and more stuff that I had forgotten about, but even forgotten stuff needs to be moved. It seemed like moving was a never-ending process.

It hasn't helped my already meager amount of sanity that we were moving all of our stuff into our new house that still had some of my in-laws' stuff in it because their new house still had most of the stuff in it from the Wife's grandma, who was the previous inhabitant. So, essentially, all of us are trying to cram three houses' worth of stuff into 2 houses, which can be a very difficult thing to do, especially if you still want to have room to walk around and/or sleep.

We eventually did get all of the stuff out of our old house that we wanted to, while leaving most of the furniture to help it look "staged".  We also got most of the minor things fixed that needed fixing, and, lo and behold, our house was finally ready to go on the market. I think our realtor was beginning to think we may never get it ready, since we had initially contacted him about selling it almost 5 months ago.

We did get it ready, though, and when all was said and done, there were a lot of people interested in it. Showings were scheduled almost immediately, and we even got an offer within 3 days or so. Sure, it was way, way, waaaaaaaaay lower than what we were asking for, but it was a start. And, thankfully, there was another offer a couple of days later! Now we could choose between one really low offer and a second, even lower offer. What a conundrum we were in. Should we take the first offer? Should we take the second offer? Should we just burn the house down and take the insurance money? What should we do?
I'm going to miss the old place...

Selling our house was becoming more stressful than I had ever imagined it would. Why couldn't it just go smoothly, with one interested buyer agreeing to pay exactly what we were asking without any bickering, and paying us in one big bag full of cash? Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

Well, somehow, that is pretty much what ended up happening. A third, much higher, offer came in while we were hemming and hawing over the first two offers, for almost what we were asking for, and, lo and behold, they are going to pay cash. It couldn't get any better than that. We are very excited, except now we have to get all the rest of our stuff out of the house. I think we may have to buy another house to fit it all...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hi, My Name Is...

When I came up with the title of this post, I immediately started humming the tune to the rap song "My Name Is" by Eminem. I am not a huge fan of rap, but I don't hate it, either. In fact, I used to be the owner of several rap CDs, including Run DMC's Greatest Hits, and a couple of Beastie Boys CDs. I no longer own any of those CDs, not necessarily because I stopped liking rap, although that had something to do with it, but more because of the fact that I am an interminable seller of CDs. An evil part of my brain is always eager to tell me, "Hey, Scott, you'll never want to listen to this CD any more. Why don't you take it to Half Price Books or Cheapo Records and sell it for approximately 1/1000th of what you paid for it? If you sell enough of your CDs there, maybe you could afford to stop at McDonald's on your way home for a small order of french fries?" For some reason over the years, I have often listened to myself during times like this, and gone off and sold bins and bins of CDs for pennies on the dollar. Invariably, within a few months, I get songs from these CDs stuck in my head, so I go home to listen to them, and end up in a puddle of my own despair when I realize I sold the CD for virtually no money a few months earlier. I don't know how many times this has happened over the course of my life. You'd think I would learn, wouldn't you? For some reason, I don't.
I chose to use this photo instead of a photo of the rapper Eminem, because I've always thought Eminem kind of sounded like Kermit the Frog, and I'm not really into hearing Kermit the Frog rapping. That's just my opinion, though. I'm sure Eminem is a very nice person in all other regards...

Any ways, this blog post was not supposed to be about rap music, or my penchant for selling CDs that I shouldn't sell. Instead this blog post was supposed to be about my name, which is Scott, so let's get back on track, shall we?

Yes, my name is Scott. To me, it seems like a fairly straight-forward name. It's only got 5 letters. It only has one syllable. I think that it should be pretty easily remembered by people. Yet, for some reason, for some people, it isn't. OK, I probably should temper my rant right now, because it's true that a large majority of people do remember my name. Sure, when I was a kid, a few people called me Steve, but that's probably understandable, since my dad's name is Steve. I can see how some people could make that mistake.

Even now, every once in a while, people who don't even know my dad will still call me Steve. I guess that's probably because Scott and Steve both have just one syllable and start with "S", so I can kind of understand that too. It's the other names that people call me that I don't understand.

For some reason, I have been called "Mark" more than a handful of times over the years. What's that all about? I don't get it.

At my own wedding, a person who shall remain nameless (not because I don't remember her name, just because I'm trying to be nice) called me "Chris". Shouldn't someone at my wedding know my name? That one still boggles my mind.

Just this past weekend, somebody called me "Jeff". "Jeff" is nothing like Scott. I have no idea where that came from. It's almost enough to make me want to wear a name tag wherever I go...

Oh well, I probably shouldn't be too upset. I, myself, am terrible at remembering people's names, at least when I am first introduced to him or her. Whenever we meet new people, the Wife and I have to sneak off to have a secret confab where we both ask each other what our new acquaintance's name is. Between the two of us, we can usually figure it out, but if we meet you at a party some time in the near future, don't be surprised if we both refer to you as "Hey you." At least that's better than "Jeff", don't you think?

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Word of the Day, Vol. 1

It probably doesn't seem like it according to some of my posts, but I really do believe that my kids are not only beautiful and/or handsome, but also brilliant. The Girl set the bar pretty high when she was just a wee toddler, since she was talking and able to have fairly in-depth conversations with us by the age of 15 months or so. OK, maybe I am remembering her ability to speak in a slightly exaggerated way, but at one of her doctor's appointments around that time, her pediatrician informed us that she should be able to say about 20 words or so, and when we were finished counting all the words she could say, we got well over 200. Needless to say, on that day at least, both the Wife and I were duly impressed with our own parenting skills!

Well, the Boy didn't display nearly the same abilities with words that his older sister did, at least at such an early age, but that's OK. His speaking skills are really good, and, compared to the Girl, he is slightly less prone to punch his siblings for no reason, so he's got that going for him.

The Baby is just now learning how to say a few words. She loves to scream "MOMMA!!!!!" at the top of her lungs, usually when we are eating at a crowded restaurant. That always turns a few heads. She also is quite proficient at saying "Bubba", which is what we call her brother. She also says "Hi" and "Bye-bye!". She says "Dadda" every once in a while, but just as often she'll call me Momma. I am not offended by this, although if it happens at the aforementioned crowded restaurant, I look around and act like she's talking to someone else.

To help our kids get even more competent with the English language, I thought it would be fun to start a "Word of the Day" column every once in a while here on the old blog. I won't do it every day, but on the days I do, we will make it a part of our nightly ritual. The Girl and the Boy always want to read a billion or so books before bedtime, but on the days I write a Word of the Day blog, we will read them that instead of books. It will be a fun time of learning for everyone!

So, without further delay, here is today's Word of the Day:

in·sane [in-seyn] adjective
1. The state of mind that you, our children, put Mommy and Daddy in every day, usually before 8 A.M.
2. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a person who acts like Mommy and Daddy after you get out of bed: insane actions; (maybe we would be better off in) an insane asylum.
3. utterly senseless, like the way you act towards your siblings, even though they have done nothing wrong.
Example: What were we thinking, having three kids so close together in age? Were we totally insane?!?!
So, that's our first Word of the Day here at Chaotic Kids & Clutter. I hope you can use these columns to further educate your own kids. If you have any suggestions for words you would like definitions for, don't hesitate to let me know. I will elucidate them so everyone can easily ascertain the proper connotations.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Terrible Attitude

When you saw the title of this post, I imagine you probably thought I was going to be writing about any or all three of my hooligans. While it's true that a 4-year-old, 3-year-old, and 15-month-old can all have a bad attitude from time to time, or even all the time, I am not going to be writing about them today. No, being the egomaniac that I am, I'm going to write about my own terrible attitude.

Now, I don't think I have a terrible attitude all of the time. In fact, I think I'm a pretty happy-go-lucky, laid-back, try-to-be-kind-to-old-ladies-and-lost-bunnies kind of guy. And, if I can be honest with you, which is not always easy for me to do here on my blog, (wait a minute...usually I'm probably far too honest...hmmm...) I will admit that I am a God-fearing Christian who tries to live my life the way that Jesus lived his, although most days I fall far short of that goal. Yes, every day I trip up somewhere, or to be even more honest, many places along the way.

The worst place that I mess up and let my terrible attitude get the best of me is on the road. I am a very impatient, offensively-minded defensive driver, and I let all of the excruciatingly slow drivers that are on the road get under my skin. I know that a lot of the really slow drivers are probably very nice people in all other facets of life, yet I can't help but hate them because of their slowness. I feel bad about hating them, but while I am stuck behind them going 54mph in the left lane of a highway that has a 55mph speed limit, I truly do hate them. If you are one of those people, please accept my apologies for hating you while you are driving. And, also, please get in the right lane. NOW!

I wish more people followed this rule. But, then I would have to find something else to get angry about...
Yup, I need to work on my attitude, but at least I don't let myself get too mad. Most of the time, that is. I used to yell a lot. Things like "COME ON!!" or "CAN YOU DRIVE ANY SLOWER?!?!?" at the top of my lungs. When the Girl started copying me and yelling "Come On!" from the backseat when she was about 18 months old, I knew I should probably stop doing that. Now I simply mutter those same phrases under my breath. Muttering can be just as therapeutic as yelling.

Well, I am done talking about my bad attitude. Hopefully you can all forgive me. And, if you ever see me right on your bumper as you drive too slowly in the left lane, please don't take it personally. I'll only hate you for a little while.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Toothless Wonder

I knew very little about babies and their teeth before we had our own kids. Now I feel like I know way too much. Oh well, I'm sure I will forget most of it within a few years, much like everything else in life. The Wife would probably say that I am more apt to forget things within a few minutes, or even seconds, of hearing them, but this isn't her blog, so she can just keep that to herself.

Most babies start to get teeth when they are around 4-6 months of age. There are some extreme cases on both ends of the spectrum, though. Some freaky kids are born with teeth (I'm glad I'm not their mother!), and it's considered to still be in the "normal" range if a baby doesn't get any teeth until they are 18 months old. Once your baby is past the "normal" range and still doesn't have any teeth, your pediatrician will probably push you to get your baby's mouth X-rayed, but a pediatric orthodontist will tell you that there's no need to do that, since there's nothing they can do until the child is 3 years old. Pediatricians tend to want to over-do and over-medicate things sometimes. As parents, we listen intently to our pediatrician, and then go home and ask the google for more advice. Some times we even use our own common sense. It's worked out splendidly so far.

I know so much about baby teeth because all of our kids were late in getting theirs. The Girl got her first tooth right around 13 months of age, the Boy got his first at 13 and a half months, and the Baby is hurtling towards 16 months, and there's not a sign of a tooth anywhere in that kitten ball-sized head of hers. It's quite the strange phenomenon.

Thankfully, the lack of teeth hasn't negatively affected any of our kids. We started them all on solid foods (actual solid foods, not pureed goop) at the age of 6 months, and they all took to it even though there weren't any teeth. Have you ever been bitten by a baby without teeth? If you have, you know that their gums are as hard as concrete. They can chew their food as well without teeth as they can with. So, soon, our kids were all eating pretty much any food the Wife and I were eating - chicken, steak, pork chops, broccoli, and the list goes on and on.

I mentioned chicken first in that list for two reasons. For one, we eat a lot of chicken in our house, so it was the first thing to come to mind. Secondly, it is ripe in my memory because the Baby, despite her lack of teeth, is ravenous about chicken legs. She actively seeks out chicken legs, whether they have any meat left on them or not. Like a toothless hyena, she can rip all the meat off of a leg bone, and then she sucks every last bit of juice, or whatever you call it, out of all the nooks and crannies. It's something to behold, I tell you what. When she's done, she's pretty much covered in chicken stuff that Daddy or Mommy have to clean up, but her big toothless grin makes it all worth while.

If you ever get stuck babysitting the Baby, just give her a chicken leg to gnaw on. She'll be fixated on it for hours. It'll be the easiest $2 you ever made!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sasquatch or Wolverine? Hmmmmmm....

In a perfect world, I would be able to just ignore what happened to me this morning, and never think about it again. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is far from perfect, so I have to relive this morning over and over, as everyone and their sister ask me about it. OK, only a couple of people have asked, but they are the only two people I have talked to today, so that makes it 100%. And, if I was to be totally honest, which I rarely am on this blog, they didn't both actually ask - one of them did, and the other looked at me like he wanted to ask, but then didn't. I know what he was thinking, though. So I am going to go ahead and put him in the "Asked" column.

The thing that everyone and their sister are asking about is the huge, bloody gash underneath my right eye.OK, it's not really all that huge, but it is bloody, and like the true macho man that I am, I haven't wiped off the blood yet.
Actually, it doesn't look all that bad, now that I see it online.

How, you probably are asking yourself right now, did I get such a nasty gash on my face, especially since I live in the normally-tranquil suburbs where violent crime is almost non-existent? Well, I haven't quite decided what I should tell all the people who are bound to ask me...

Would it do more for my reputation as a manly man if I tell everyone that I had a chance encounter with a wild and ravenous wolverine while I was on my way to work? Wolverines are known to be one of the meanest, and I think coolest, animals in all of God's Green Earth. I've often heard that a wolverine out in the woods will just as soon kill you as look at you, so if I tell everyone that I had a scrape with one, that might boost my manliness quotient. The only problem is that there haven't been any wolverines in Minnesota in a long time, especially anywhere between New Brighton (home) and Lake Elmo (work), a span of about five suburbs. Despite my charm, people probably will not fully believe my story...

I guess my only other option is to tell the truth, which is a little embarrassing, but might be the better option. See, I actually got my gash this morning when I was shaving. I can hear you now: "What were you doing shaving up there?!?!" Well, some of us humans are known to be closely related to sasquatches, and I am one of them. Yes, periodically, I have to shave up there on the tops of my cheek bones, because I start getting little wispy tufts of fur growing there. I like to think that all that hair makes me seem more manly, yet I am a little embarrassed by it, too. Being part sasquatch is both a blessing and a curse.

Now that I think about it, maybe the wolverine story might be the way to go...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Riddle of the Middle (Child)

I can't really believe it my own self, but the Boy turns 3 today. It is pretty mind-boggling to think that it's already been three years since he was born, and yet, in some ways, it seems as though he has always been a part of our lives. It's almost impossible for me to remember a day when I didn't have a boy. It's an odd phenomenon, I tell you what.

What's even odder is that, despite the fact that it often seems as though he's always been a part of our family, I can't recall a whole lot about him as a baby. I assume it's because he's the middle child.

I tend to remember pretty much everything about the Girl as baby. She was our first child, and she brought with her all the trials and trepidations that new parents have to deal with. And, it was all new, especially for me. I had never changed a diaper in my whole life before the Girl arrived. In fact, I think I had only held one or two babies before her, and that was for a total of probably five minutes. All that newness really stuck with me. It also didn't hurt that we took approximately 4 billion photos of our first bundle of poop. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure all the pictures will help keep those memories fresh for a long time.

And now we have the Baby. Her babyhood is still fresh in our minds, seeing as how she's only 15 months old. She stills acts like a baby on many occasions, even though she's up walking around and doing a bunch of other things that toddlers do. She also has been very memorable since she was by far the crankiest baby in the history of civilization. It will be pretty difficult to forget that, no matter how hard we try.

But the Boy has been a different matter. He was a very laid-back baby, taking life as it came, not making too big of a fuss about anything. And, he was born right as the Girl was really starting to talk and act like an actual human, so she may have overshadowed him in some regards. Now he's three, though, and he has become the cutest, silliest, and nicest boy any parents could ask for. He makes us laugh all the time, and he makes me so proud to be his daddy.

If you can stomach it, I made a little video from some photos of the Boy, from the day he was born up until today. I'm sure the photos won't cause a problem, but the soundtrack might leave something to be desired. Check it out and see what you think. And, Happy Birthday Bubba! Daddy loves you!