David Sings Adele

I’m sorry, there is no video available at this time.

However, I will attempt to communicate this musical gem through the magic of vocabulary.

Adele is on the radio all the time here in Charlotte; is that true where you live?  “Someone Like You” plays all the time.  If our entire family happens to be in the car when Adele starts singing, here’s what happens:


I start singing along, quite terribly.  I can carry a tune but I am the antithesis of soulful.  I am as white as they come in the vocal department.  Maddie also sings along in her little mumbling three-year-old way.  We both close our eyes and bob our heads like we’re on stage at Royal Albert Hall.  Sometimes there are even hand motions.

The boys roll their eyes and put up with it, again.

David starts improvising his own lyrics when the bridge (“I hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited…”) comes on.  They usually go something like this — though they are different every time because he is such a Masterful Singer/Songwriter:

I like to turn up at your house uninvited
‘Cause I’m a creepy stalker and I don’t care that you’re married
I follow you around and and it shouldn’t be surprising
That to you, I am so creeeeepyyyyyy….

Then it kind of descends into babbling on and on about how Adele has no respect for the institution of marriage and how mad the guy’s wife would be if she answered the door.  You know, typical heart-wrenching love song stuff.

So that pretty much ruins it, and Maddie and I start singing louder and louder to try to drown him out, until finally one of the boys interjects in good sense and asks if we can please change the radio station.

It’s all good fun.  I think Adele would approve.

Sorry, President Reagan

Kidney stones will always remind me of the week Ronald Reagan died.

President Reagan’s body lay in state at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, before being flown to Washington D.C. for his funeral.  We lived just a half hour from the library, and the naval base where the party was departing was just ten minutes away.  The route planned for the motorcade from the library to the base went right by our neighborhood.

Naturally, I dressed up the boys — we had just three boys then — in their finest red, white, and blue, purchased American flags, and told them all about how they should be respectful and quiet when the Big Black Car with the Very Important Man went by.

At the same time, my husband was in the air on his way to Florida.  He was a very expensive courier for his company that week.  He had to go to Orlando, pick up a part, turn around, and head back to California.  It was a long ordeal, but he was only on the ground on the East coast for five hours.

During that time that he was on the ground in Florida, I began to have a bad backache.  This was not unusual for me, since I was a nursing mother of a four-month-old with two other toddlers to take care of.  I spent a large part of my day bending over or crawling on the floor.  But as the day went on, it got pretty bad.

I called David and told him that I wasn’t sure what was going on, but maybe I needed to see the doctor.  I knew everyone at our church was getting ready for the annual Father’s Day campout in Yosemite, and I hated to bother anyone, so maybe I would wait until he got back and go in the next day.  He boarded his plane and took off, bound for a stopover in Denver.

When he got off the plane in Denver, he had a voicemail from a very tearful wife, saying I didn’t know what was happening, but I had to call somebody and go to the hospital.  I didn’t know who I would call, but I had to do something.

He called me back repeatedly during his layover and got no answer.  He of course imagined the best possible scenario:  me, lying in a pool of my own blood, with our three small children weeping over my lifeless body.

The truth was not nearly so shocking:  I had called a friend, she had taken me to the ER, and I had turned off my cell phone because in those days hospitals were pretty vigilant about keeping cell phones off inside their doors.  Oops.

I had called a friend who I didn’t know really well, but she ended up being the perfect fit.  I didn’t know it at the time, but she was a former firefighter who had EMT skills under her belt.  By the time she arrived, I had lost the ability to make any decisions.  She took my doctor’s office to task over the phone for putting me off, and then called someone to come get my two older kids.  She packed Andrew into his car seat carrier, put together some bottles for him, and off we went to the hospital.

As we sat in the waiting room, she kept telling me to be louder.  When I am hurting, I get very quiet and pale.  She told me I’d better start screaming or we were never going to get seen.  I didn’t do it, but the suggestion made me laugh.  When sitting became unbearable, she went to the desk and asked if it was alright if I laid on the floor in the waiting room.  Not surprisingly, the nurses decided that they could find a bed for me after all.

An hour later, I was on Demerol (read: high as a kite) and Andrew was full and happily resting in his car seat.  Remember poor David, up in the air, thinking I’m dead?

By the time he hit the ground in LA, I had passed the stone, been discharged from the ER, stopped at Trader Joe’s for a snack, and was back home with our other two kids.  My friend stayed until David came home, just so she could corroborate my story about JUST HOW BAD IT HAD BEEN.

It was a very intense few hours for all of us, except for Cameron and Ben, who got to hang out at their friends’ house while they got ready for camping.

We missed the funeral procession.  I will always be a little sad about that.

Cosmo Kramer, Nine Months Along

Today is my third son’s eighth birthday.  He would have been an April baby if everything had gone according to plan.  But, as these things often do, things went awry.

Andrew is the only baby whose labor was completely different than the others.  With all my other kids, I went into labor a few days early, had steadily increasing contractions — which increased with walking — and less than seven hours later, I was holding a baby in my arms.  Jonathan and Maddie came in less than three hours from the time labor began in earnest.

Andrew, however, was at the mercy of his foolish mother who got excited about a game of Cranium in her enlarged state, and he arrived ten days early.

We were living in southern California at the time, and the men of the church had gone out of town on a retreat for the weekend.  The women who were left home alone decided to get together for a game night.  Although my husband had stayed home from the retreat for fear that I would have the baby while he was gone, he told me it would be good for me to get out of the house and have some fun.

So I went to my friend Amy’s house, where the night began with some karaoke.  We had some snacks and moved on to Cranium.  If you haven’t played it, Cranium is a combination of drawing, singing, trivia, and charades.  And naturally the charades would fall to the pregnant lady.

As I remember it, the question was an “all-play,” which means that I was competing at the same time as Amy.  We were given the name “Kramer,” as in Cosmo Kramer, as in Jerry Seinfeld’s neighbor.

HERE IS THE PROBLEM.  We were in a room full of women who were either too young, too holy, or too busy to watch Seinfeld.  It ended up that Amy and I were the only people who knew who Kramer was.  So basically we were given the impossible task of getting people to guess something they would never, ever guess. The closest thing we could hope for was that maybe someone had seen a commercial with him in it.  Or lightning would strike and someone would just happen to say the right name.  Let’s just say the odds were LONG.

But Amy and I were good sports and maybe too competitive for our own good, and so as the timer began, we started our Kramer impersonations enthusiastically.  Since we were in Amy’s front room, right by the door, I decided to use the door as a tool, because Kramer is known for his entrances:

This exit/entrance strategy was especially perplexing to a few team members because they thought I was going home.

Onward we forged, for the full minute allotted, with our poor team members shouting out, “You’re coming home!  Hair!  Door!  Oh, it’s that guy…oh, I don’t know his name..Sorry!”

As the time ran out, I made one more spectacular attempt, sliding in the door and up against the wall.  I continued my Kramer-esque jerky movements along the wall, hoping someone – anyone – would have a moment of inspiration and shout out the right name.  However, whereas Michael Richards (the actor who played Kramer) is a lithe, sprightly man with obvious physical comedy skills, I was a thirty-five-pounds-overweight, off-balance, pregnant woman who carried WAAAAYYY out in front.

I slid along the wall and suddenly realized that my weight was causing me to steadily gain momentum.  I can see it even now in slow motion…sliding, sliding, jerking, faster…faster…until I was headed in a definite downward direction towards Amy and Uel’s beautiful white ceramic tile floor.

To the women in the living room, I imagine this looked like I was going along with the imitation until I suddenly dropped out of sight behind the couch.  They just thought I was really into it.  Kramer is REALLY clumsy sometimes!  They all roared with laughter!

Meanwhile, I was face down on the floor checking to make sure all my teeth were in place.  Miraculously, I hadn’t fallen on my belly, but I remember my face hitting pretty hard, and I was laughing at the time, so I quickly slid my tongue over my front teeth to make sure they were all there.  Yes, (phew!) yes, they were.  The last thing I wanted was a picture from the hospital with my new baby, smiling away looking like a hockey player.  Vanity, thy name is Kelly.

I remember the moment when the girls realized that I hadn’t popped up yet, and they all yelled, “OH! KELLY!” at the same time.  They were all sympathy and compassion and I was laughing at myself, feeling humiliated.  I wish someone had been videotaping…it would have been a GEM.

After the games were over, I drove home and started having contractions.  They were on and off all night, and then finally stopped.  We got up for church as normal, put a chicken in the crockpot for lunch, and headed off for Sunday service.  As soon as I sat down in Sunday School at 9 AM, contractions started up again.

It was a sluggish labor, and contractions never picked up unless I remained absolutely still.  Eventually, at six that night, my doctor gave me pitocin to help things along.  It certainly did that.  Andrew was born shortly after seven.  In the picture from the hospital — which is in storage, or I’d post it — you can see my top lip is slightly swollen.  This change is an improvement for me, since I normally have almost no upper lip.

I do have all my teeth in that picture.  I haven’t tried impersonating Kramer since.

Possum in the Pool

If you follow my twitter stream, you might have seen an ALL CAPS message a few weeks back about a “DEAD ANIMAL IN THE POOL!”

I was upstairs and the children came running inside yelling about a possum in the pool.  I felt certain that their home education had failed them and that they really meant a mole was in the pool.  Unfortunately, they were right about it being a possum.  I let out a little shriek when I discovered this fact.

How a Nature-y, Charlotte Mason-y, Calm, Expert Mother Would Have Handled It:
“Look, children, a possum!  Remember, possums are mammals, which means they cannot breathe under water.  Obviously this poor creature wandered into our pool in the dark, and eventually its lungs filled with water and it was unable to survive.  How sad.  Let’s pull it out, draw it in our nature study notebooks, and then give it a proper burial.”

What I Did:
(don’t miss the part where I scream and say, “IT’S SOOOOOO YUCKY!”)
(also, apologies for the cinematography)

Then we tied it up in a trash bag — more correctly, I tied it up in a trash bag since you can see how much assistance I was getting from everyone else — dialed 311, and two hours later a truck from the city of Charlotte came and took our disgusting hairy friend away.

The End.

Accentuate the Positive

As we’ve continued to unpack, it has been easy for me to get overwhelmed.  Every once in a while I will open one of those boxes that was packed in a hurry towards the end of the packing process which contains three dirty socks (no matches), an iPod cord, a coffee mug full of loose change, twenty-two Legos, and a tube of toothpaste.

A survival tactic that I’ve employed recently is “accentuate the positive.”  Let me give you a few examples.

Here are two shots of the new kitchen.

Ahh, the top of the cabinet.  A lovely tableau of green glass jars and my oversized Ball jar.  So peaceful.

And in the other direction, the beverage station/buffet.
Kinda makes you want to scream and pull your hair, right?
Quick, look back up above.  Ahh, all better.

Let’s try it in the dining room.

Here’s my teacup collection housed on the freshly polished hutch.
I don’t like that lamp sitting there, but it’s not offensive.

Now take a few steps back.  This picture was taken a few days ago,
and I tell you truly that the table looks WORSE and not better today.
Go back to thinking about the teacups.

Opposite the dining room…

The library.  A cohesive collection of commentaries.  Everything is lined up.  And there’s that dumb
stuffed turkey wearing a mortarboard that my husband refuses to discard.  Everything is in its place.

Except down here.  Down here nothing is in its place and everything is very upsetting.
When will I get to vacuum this rug?  Maybe today?

So there you have it:  my handy coping mechanism for the unpacking process.  It also works for children.  Don’t like the yogurt-smeared shirt your child is wearing at co-op?  Maybe his socks match.  Look at his socks.

Feel better now?

Shelf Paper Anxiety


As I said earlier in the week, we are moving soon.  Right now, right at this moment, my future kitchen is empty. All the cabinets, shelves, and drawers (there are a lot of drawers!) are open and waiting to be filled.

It’s a wonderful thought.  But I have a nagging issue called “Shelf Paper Anxiety.”

Shelf Paper Anxiety is an inherited condition, since my mother always, always had shelf paper in her kitchen.  I have not been so diligent with the shelf paper application.  But I have this lingering guilt about it, like I should really, really have shelf paper and people are judging me when they open my cabinets and see that they are un-shelf-papered.

It’s not that I dislike shelf paper, it’s just that in a relatively new kitchen, I don’t see the point of shelling out all the money required to cover shelves that can be wiped down effectively anyway.

So here’s where you can help.  Please answer the following survey.  This is HARD-HITTING, VERY IMPORTANT STUFF, people.

<a href=”http://polldaddy.com/poll/5926388/”>What are your feelings about shelf paper?</a> The poll will close just before midnight on the night before we move, so that I have ample time to frantically run to Target the morning of the move and buy yards of shelf paper. Or not.

Sh*tuff Christian Girls Say

Not gonna lie, I saw a little of myself here.  Anyone else?