Friday, February 28, 2014

"Why Don't You Up-Chuck & Di?"

The title of this post might seem a little off-putting, or even downright mean. It really doesn't have anything to do with the post; I was just trying to think of any vomit-related quotes from TV shows or movies, and this was the only one I could come up with. It's from the highly-celebrated 1980's-era sitcom Cheers, and was spoken by the gritty Carla Tortelli to, I believe, the uptight Diane Chambers. Although it could have been aimed at Cliff Claven. I don't remember for sure. Maybe it's not even from Cheers...Wouldn't it be cool if I actually used my brain for important things, and not to kind-of memorize lines from 30-year-old TV shows? I think it would...

Anyways, this post is not about the stuff that is uselessly filling my brain. It's about vomiting. Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 5 years, you probably know that the Wife and I have three young children. The oldest, the Girl, is a couple of weeks away from turning 5, the Boy is a little over 3-and-a-half, and our youngest, the Baby, is about 3 weeks away from turning 2. Yes, having so many young children under one roof has brought us our fair share of excitement, adventure, elation, drudgery, rage, and, of course, chaos, but for whatever reason, it has not brought us much in the way of vomit.

Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about the lack of vomit in our house, I just find it curious. You would think that, with so many small children, our house could be described as one large barf bag, but no, it hasn't been that way at all.

Looking back at things, I am sure the Girl has vomited the most out of any of our kids. She was also the only infant of ours who ever really spit up at all. Still, I would say she is on the low end of the puke scale. There was one day where she vomited several times, probably between 4 and 8 times total, a couple of years ago now. Other than that, she's probably only vomited 2 or 3 more times in her whole life.

I can only think of one time that the Boy vomited. He was still quite little, and it happened during the night. I can remember this because I am pretty sure he was still sleeping in his crib. The Wife and I had no idea he had vomited  at all, until we went in to get him up the next morning, and there was a smallish amount of vomit on the sheet next to him. He must have gone right back to sleep after it happened, since he hardly had a drop on him. It's one of the most amazing miracles in the history of the world.

As I mentioned earlier, the Baby is almost 2, and she is the reason I am writing this blog post in the first place. A couple nights ago, at a little after midnight, her streak came to an end. Yup, she finally vomited. We knew she had some kind of a cold, but we weren't expecting to find a crib full of vomit when she woke us up shortly after we fell asleep. The Wife went in first, and I soon heard a "Hey, can you come in and help?" being whispered by her. When I got myself into the Baby's room, I found a pile of blankies and her pillow already on the floor, and the Baby standing there in just a diaper. The Wife wanted me to get all the dollies, stuffed animals and books out of the crib so she could get the sheets off the mattress. The whole time, the Baby seemed almost relaxed. She was just kind of hanging out. It was a little strange. I would have expected her to be a jumble of nerves after her first regurgitation. I am whenever I barf. Which, thankfully, only happens about as often as it does for our kids. I must have taught them well...

As you can plainly see, this is a Hello Kitty barf bag, by far the cutest barf bag in the history of the known universe. Japan knows how to make everything fun, don't they? Good thing we don't have any of these in our house, or we all would want to barf more often...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Latest "Masterpiece"

I am not much of a painter. In fact, I have really only painted two pieces of "art" in my entire adult life. I put art in quotes there because some of you may not think my paintings deserve the name. I did use to draw a lot. In fact, at one point in my life, which seems like decades ago now because it was, I was an Art and Art History major at college. But, during that one year, I never took a painting class, just drawing.

That lack of knowledge regarding painting hasn't stopped me though. If you are one of my loyal readers, you may remember that my first "masterpiece" (again, some of you may not agree...) was a mural I painted on the wall of the baby's nursery in our old house. I finished it a few days before we brought our first child, the Girl, home from the hospital, almost 5 years ago now, and it was still there each time we brought another child home.

For that first "masterpiece", I decided to paint an underwater scene of a pond with some cartoony trout and other wildlife swimming around. I was mostly pleased with how it turned out, although there were a few things I wished I had done differently, the most glaring thing being the fact that I painted it on a wall. If you've never moved from one house to another, you may not realize that it's a tad difficult to bring an entire wall with you. So, when we decided to sell that house, the mural got painted over with some Dutch Boy Bee's Nectar to match the other three walls in the room, and it won't be seen again until some archaeologists realize that there's a "masterpiece" buried under what will probably be another 25 or 50 coats of paint, in about 400 years. (For the full story of the last days of my first "masterpiece", read this.)

As sad as it was to see my artwork covered up, it really only made me more excited to paint another "masterpiece". I have slowly been working on it over the past couple months, and I think I am finally finished, so as soon as all the walls in our basement are up and painted, it will be installed. It is fairly similar to my first "masterpiece", although the trouts are slightly more realistic looking, there aren't any turtles, and I included several "happy trees", as Bob Ross would call them.

I even made the decision to paint it on canvas, and not directly on the wall, so now, if we ever move, I can take my "masterpiece" down off the wall and bring it with me. The only downfall I can see is that, if the Wife ever gets sick of it, she can take it down off the wall, and throw it in a dumpster. Maybe painting on a wall isn't such a bad idea... 
This is my latest "masterpiece". It was laying on the concrete floor in the warehouse at work when I took this, but soon it will grace one of the walls in our newly renovated basement at home. The photograph doesn't do it justice. If you could see it up close you would notice that it's on a par with the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and all those other famous works of art. If I do say so myself...

Monday, February 24, 2014

How to Ruin Your Own Life - by an Expert in the Field

Sometimes I have really, really, really dumb ideas. That fact, in itself, wouldn't be so bad, except that I am very, very, very prone to acting on my really dumb ideas. I recently acted on one of my dumb ideas, and it's pretty much ruined my life forever.

Just thinking about what I did makes me so angry at myself I can hardly keep typing!

OK, I think I have settled down enough to continue, but I may have to take a break now and then. Please bear with me.

I've always been a pretty healthy kinda guy. Physically, at least. Mentally, maybe not so much, but, that's a topic for a different post. I have been to see a Doctor maybe 5 times in the past 15 years, and it's always been for very minor issues. The most pressing medical issues I've had recently have been a couple of bouts of clogged ears. And, if the Wife hadn't made me go get them cleaned out because I couldn't hear her talking to me, I probably wouldn't have gone then.

I'm not really sure what the impetus was, but I recently thought that it would be a good idea to find a doctor and go have a physical to verify that I truly am as healthy as I thought I was. Maybe it's because I want to be healthy as my kids are growing up...Maybe I've noticed that my tummy is not getting any smaller... Maybe it was because I needed something to do instead of all the back-breaking work on the renovation of our house... Who knows what the real reason is, but I did do some research and made an appointment at a nearby clinic.

Making an appointment for a physical wasn't the dumb thing, though. What was really dumb was when I called back to ask if they would do some blood work and check my cholesterol. Why did I think that was a good idea? Didn't I realize what my usual breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks are made up of? Did I really think there was going to be any other possible result other than a cholesterol level that was through the roof? Did I once think what that would mean for my daily breakfasts that include between 3 and 6 eggs that I love so dearly? Sometimes I am astounded by how dumb I can be...

So, yeah, my cholesterol level is high. Amazingly, it's really not all that high. Everyone seems to think I can lower it by eating a little better (in their minds that means fewer eggs, but we'll see...) and getting some exercise, for the rest of my life. Next time I get a dumb idea, please remind me to keep my mouth shut. I'm so angry right now...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's Still Time to Name The Baby, and Now There's an Actual Prize!

A few weeks ago we announced a fun contest we are throwing here at Chaotic Kids & Clutter. It's the "It's Time to Name the Baby Contest!" (Read all about it here!)

We got a lot of great ideas for what to call the Baby here on the ol' blog, along with a few not-so-great ones, but we need more. You have exactly 10 days to make your thoughts be known. As the clock strikes midnight, signifying the end of February and the beginning of March, the contest will close, and all of the entries will be thrown into my vast and powerless brain, mixed around so that I can properly ruminate on them all, and then the winning entry will be announced on, or shortly after, March 1st. Remember, the entire panel of judge consists of me, so try to think of something that will wow me!

And, I am happy to announce, this contest now has a Fabulous Official Prize to go with it. The Grand Prize Winner will get something that everyone on God's Green Earth could use: a Target gift card, worth exactly 500 U.S. cents. Let's face it, everyone lives within a few blocks of a Target, and we all would much rather go there than to Walmart, right? So, send your entries to me, either via email, facebook, or leave a comment here on the blog. And tell your friends!

Good luck to you all!

Who doesn't want to try to win a gift card? Crazy people, that's who!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Minnesota Vs. The World; or Why "Duck Duck Goose" is Wrong

Duck, Duck, Goose is wrong. The correct name of the game is Duck, Duck, Gray Duck. End of story.

The people in every state but Minnesota play the wrong game. It's Duck, Duck, Gray Duck, as you can plainly see in the photo. Courtesy of

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Fool and His Plan, 9 Years Later

Despite the fact that my two oldest children, the Girl and the Boy, have been working diligently at writing out Valentines' cards for all their friends, acquaintances, and mortal enemies at Preschool, and the fact that they keep bringing home heart-themed projects from said Preschool, and the fact that every other commercial on TV has been Valentine's-themed lately, I can't believe that tomorrow is actually Valentine's Day. Somehow, despite all the warnings, it has snuck up on me.

Really, when it comes right down to it, the Wife and I don't usually do much to celebrate Valentine's Day. As I look back on the Valentine's Days that we have spent together, the thing that keeps popping into my mind is not a Valentine's Day, but the day before our very first Valentine's Day we spent together, oh so many years ago...

I remember it like it was yesterday, but in fact it was exactly 9 years ago today. At that point, the Wife was not the Wife; she wasn't even the Fiancee; she was the Girlfriend, and we had been dating for either 8 or 6 months, depending on which one of us you ask. However long it was, we weren't getting any younger, so I thought I better get this show on the road, so to speak. I had spent many hours learning about and shopping for the perfect engagement ring, and had finally found a beautiful one that sparkled real nice. I made a meticulous and theoretically fool-proof plan to pop the question on Valentine's Day, you know, because I wanted it to be unique. Nobody ever gets engaged on Valentine's Day, right?

Remember when I said my plan was fool-proof? Apparently I didn't take into account the fool that was trying to pull it off. The entire evening of February 13th I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't sit down. I couldn't think straight. All I could think about was popping the question the next day, and what I was going to say, and how I was going to do it, and I kept changing the script in my brain every 30 seconds.  I was a mess.

Finally, I decided I couldn't wait any longer. So, at about 11:00 on the night of February 13th, I drove over to where the Girlfriend was working, a very romantic locale known as Oak Meadows Assisted Living, and proposed on the sofa in the lobby. Thankfully there weren't any elderly people watching, or I would have been even more nervous. And, also thankfully, the Girlfriend said yes, so for the next 5 months she was known as the Fiancee, until she became the Wife.

It is hard to believe how much better life has gotten in the 9 years since that day. The Girlfriend has turned into the most amazing Wife I could have ever asked for, and now we are blessed with a chaotic house full of crazy kids that keep me laughing and smacking my head each and every day. Who would have known what I was getting myself into 9 years ago? Happy Getting Engaged Anniversary, Connie! I love you! And, Happy Valentine's Day, tomorrow, to everyone reading this! Hope you have a wonderful day!
Dear Wife, this goes out to you! At least, the sentiment does. Not really sure why there's a gerbil in the pic...

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Trouble With Walls

Up until recently I've always liked walls. I've rather enjoyed being surrounded by at least four of them, especially at night during the frigid winter months here in The Most Inhospitable Place in the World, otherwise known as Minnesota. Sure, I've spent a lot of time outdoors, as well, doing fun things like fly fishing, golfing, playing softball, camping, and shoveling dirt and/or snow, but at the end of all these fun adventures, I've always liked going back inside to enjoy my walls.

Over the past few months, though, I must have gotten used to not having walls, at least in our basement. If you haven't heard, we began renovating shortly after we moved in to our new house. At first the changes were going to be pretty minor, but soon it was evident that it needed some more drastic work done. So, all the drywall on 8 of the 10 walls in the two main rooms got torn off and thrown out, and a majority of the studs had to go, too. We were pretty much starting over with a clean slate.

The clean slate meant that the basement seemed a lot more open than when we first moved in. With no walls, we could see from one end of the basement to the other, and, if I was working in one room, and my drill or whatever other tool I might need was in the next room, I could pretty much walk in a straight line to get it - no walls meant I didn't have to use doors if I didn't want to. And, if I wanted to watch a football game on our state-of-the-art 13 inch TV/VCR combo, I could set it up anywhere in the basement and be able to see what was going on no matter where I was ("See" is a relative term. I meant that I could kind of make out what was happening on the tiny screen, but I could hear everything, so I could at least tell which team was beating
my beloved Vikings...).
This is what it was like when I was able to watch TV from the other room. I will never be able to have this sweet setup again...

It was a perfect setup to work in. But, all that work I was doing meant only one thing: soon all the studs would be in place, and it would be time to hang some new sheetrock. Well, that time has come, and 80% of the sheetrock is up, including on the walls in between the rooms. So, now I can't see from one room to the next, so if I want to watch a game the TV/VCR combo has to be in the same room as me, and the worst part about it, if I need something from the other room, which I always do because I am notorious for leaving my tools all over the place, I need to actually walk through the doors to go get it. I suppose at some point I will get used to using doors again, but for now, every time I have to use one, it grates on my nerves.

It makes me talk to myself. "Remember last week when I didn't have to use the door. That was the best." Yup, walls can be really annoying some times...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

It's Time to Jump Like a People

We had a funny dialogue with the Boy last night. It was well after lights out time in his bedroom, a room which he is currently sharing with his older sister, the Girl. They are sharing his bedroom because the Girl doesn't want to sleep in the same bedroom as the Baby, although at some point in time, that is the plan. The Baby's sleeping habits aren't quite as predictable as the older two kid's, although if the Wife and I were to sit down and count how often we are awakened by each individual child, I think it would be a very close race.

Actually, just the Wife should do the counting, because most of the time I sleep right through everything...

Any ways, as I mentioned, it was after lights out time for the two older kids, and the Wife and I had settled down in front of the TV to vaporize a few brain cells. All the kids should have been asleep, or at least in the early stages of drifting off, but there, in the doorway of the TV room, stood the Boy, looking like he needed to ask us something.

Here is the exact conversation that happened:

The Boy - "Mommy, how can we jump like a people?"
The Wife - "What was that?"
The Boy- "How can we jump like a people?"
The Wife- "I'm not sure what you mean..."
The Boy- "How...can...we...jump like a people?" (I think he thought if he slowed down a little bit, it would make more sense to everyone.)
The Wife - "Sweetie, it's time to go to bed."
The Boy - "But Mommy, we want to jump like a people..."

The Wife then got up and ushered him back to his bedroom. About 30 seconds after she came out, we heard a knock on their bedroom door, so I got up to see what was going on. This time it was the Girl, asking if she could come out and talk to her Mommy. Since it may have been the first time any of our kids asked a question nicely the first time, without us reminding them to, I relented and let her come out. She came out and told us that the Boy was confused, and instead of asking how they could jump like a people (we still have no idea what that was about), he was supposed to ask if we could come in and help him find his Mickey Mouse slippers.
One of the slippers that led to all the confusion...

I did help find his slippers, and everyone settled down quickly, except for the Wife and I, who racked our brains for a while trying to figure out what it means to jump like a people, and what that has to do with Mickey Mouse slippers. The world may never know...