My Parents Gave Me Syphilis for Christmas

February 3, 2017 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

My parents gave me one of those automatic vacuum cleaners for Christmas.

My sister-in-law got a membership to a wine club.

My brother got $50,000. (Or $50 plus books. Whatever. Same same.)

Greg got a 3D printer.

I got a cleaning implement.

My brother was jealous. He’s a younger brother. It’s what they do best. “SURE,” he said. “I get a money and books, and BETH gets the COOLEST VACUUM EVER. So what do I have to do to get a gift like that? JUST NOT CLEAN MY HOUSE FOR 12 YEARS, LIKE HER?”

Yes, Jeff.

Yes; that’s exactly what you have to do. Not clean your house for 12 years. And in retrospect? TOTALLY WORTH IT. Look at me, planning ahead!

So we have an automatic vacuum cleaner running around our house these days.

Greg named him Sisyphus, after the Greek mythological King of Corinth. As the tale goes, Sisyphus was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to hit him, on repeat, forever.

We don’t know what our vacuum robot did in a previous life to have to be reincarnated as the object that tries to clean our house, the ultimate act of futility, but it must have been BAD, friends. Very, VERY bad.

Some of our kids, though, can’t remember how to pronounce Sisyphus.

They call him Syphilis.

As in, “Syphilis got stuck under our couch again.” And, “Mom, have you ever noticed Syphilis seems to be EVERYWHERE in this house?” And, “Mom, I like to play with Syphilis and see if I can outrun it.” And, “MOM! Syphilis got me again!”

You know, we try really hard not to have secrets in this house. We’re much more of the Live Life Out Loud Even Though We’re Weird kind of family. And BE BOLDLY US. And LET’S TALK ABOUT ALL THE THINGS. I feel, though, like Syphilis should be the exception that proves the rule.

In conclusion, my children are not allowed — EVER — to talk about our vacuum robot at school. Syphilis just became our family secret. I mean, what could go wrong??

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for giving me Syphilis for Christmas. I like it very much.

P.P.S. I’m supposed to write a post about the February book for our Escapist Book Club, but people at my house are still barfing, and it was easier to write about Syphilis. Sorry. Here’s the February book, though, in case you’d like to get started:

More soon, I hope, about January’s book which I thought was RAD.

Ten Things that Happened the First Week of School

September 8, 2016 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

It’s Day Three of the First Week of School in these parts. Here are 10 things that have happened:

  1. We’ve put the kids to bed late. Every night. We mean well, I swear it, but the Summer Schedule is hard to break, man. Also, we have to, like, stand up to put kids to bed, and we just haven’t had it in us. By Thanksgiving, though; I’m pretty sure we can have this sorted by Thanksgiving.
  2. I woke up early Tuesday, the first day of school, to a sobbing 9 year old, emotionally destroyed because his mother, who washed everyone else’s backpack because she loves them more than she loves him (and also, has he mentioned that he has to do Everything, All the Time, and No One Else Ever Does Anything?), neglected to wash his, and it smelled like rotten cheese, and 4th grade was RUINED BEFORE IT EVEN STARTED, and, no, I shouldn’t try to fix it because it’s Too Late, and why don’t you ever think of others, Mom? WHY?
  3. I quick-washed and dried a backpack before school started because I AM A MAGICIAN AND DESERVE AN AWARD. 
  4. All my kids — every single one — went to school in clean clothes the first day, without holes, AND in shoes that fit. Minus the kid who wore the same outfit the two days prior, and minus the kid who had holes in his jeans (“They’re FINE, Mom”), and minus the kid who outgrew the shoes we bought him the previous month and so had to curl his toes to shove them in an old, dirty, holey pair of sneakers.
  5. I hid in the bathroom on Tuesday night, hoping if I stayed there long enough, the kids would take their mountains of First Day paperwork to their father who failed to plan ahead as well as me and was thus available, watching TV, in the family room. Listen, friends; listen… I KNOW this is not an Inspirational Blog. I KNOW who I am and what we do here, and I’m sorry for breaking character here, but hiding in the bathroom totally worked! GREG DID ALL THE PAPERWORK. <– In other words, Be Inspired! BOOM.
  6. I woke up early Wednesday and made bacon and eggs, thinking surely this is the year I will make my kids hot breakfast. Surely this is the time for Protein and Grace and not another bowl of Just Go Get Something from the Pantry, kids. Surely this is the season of life I will learn to rise with the dawn like the Proverbs 31 Woman and not rise like the Living Dead after hitting snooze twelve times. Fortunately, my son said the eggs were gross — “like poop, Mom,” he said, *spit* *spit* *spit*ing them back on his plate — so now I don’t have to make breakfast for the rest of the school year, AND I can blame my kid’s lack of gratitude instead of my inevitable laziness. FOR THE WIN, friends. For. The. Win!
  7. Wednesday night, one kid who’s had a very rough time lately, told us we suck and he hates us and he’s quitting school and moving out and walked out of the house and slammed the door and came home 5 minutes later saying sorry and to lots of Sympathy and Love but also Consequences for being a butt. And also, my other kid keeps growling like a dragon.
  8. My husband and I passed each other on the stairs around midnight. Not to brag about our Romance for the Ages, but we made Eye Contact and said, “Hi,” and “Hey,” and “Fancy meeting you here,” and “Come here often?” He brushed my hand. He made it seem like an accident, but I think it might have been on purpose. I hope to see him again someday.
  9. I did not wake up early Thursday because it’s important to Grow and Learn and Change, and I learned everything I need to know about waking up early on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  10. Tomorrow is Friday, which means we’ve almost made it through one week of school. ONE WEEK OF SCHOOL DOWN! In conclusion, praise the Lord God Almighty for Teachers and may we all receive divine amounts of Love and Grace and Patience and Endurance for the next 35+ weeks. WE CAN DO HARD THINGS, friends.

Sincerely,

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This Is My Brain on Parenting

September 4, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Listen; this doesn’t make me proud. It’s just true.

Here’s what you need to know, where “need to know” is used in the loosest possible sense along with my discretion and sense of decorum:

I just peed part way — like, a smattering — and then I stopped peeing and got up to do other things.

I was seriously standing up, buttoning my pants, before I realized I hadn’t actually finished. Like, I was in such a hurry that I ran into the bathroom, tossed a teeny, tiny bit of urine into the potty like I was throwing a fastball from a pitcher’s mound, my Subconscious said, “GOOD ENOUGH FOR NOW, BETH; NOW OFF TO DO OTHER ESSENTIAL THINGS — GO! GO! GO!,” and I listened and obeyed her.

Allow me to note… this is not OK, friends.

This is NOT RIGHT.

But this rushing and doing and never finishing is so deeply embedded in the mama brain that she runs to the restroom, pulls down her pants, pees halfway, clenches, stands, and is flushing and buttoning before she realizes she has the inalienable right to pee all the way.

DEAR SWEET JESUS ON A POGO STICK, friends.

I was Pants-Pulled-Up and Button-Fastened before I realized I should not only finish what I went to the bathroom for, but that it’s OK to use the additional 5 seconds it would take to fully empty my bladder. Like, I’m allowed to take that time. Pee Completion is an appropriate and wise use of the precious and few minutes in a day.

I realize there are people who say the internet is a wasteland of potty stories and people who share TMI, but THIS IS HOW FRENETIC THE LIFE OF A MOTHER IS, friends, and I don’t know a better way to illustrate the insanity than this.

 

This Life of a Parent thing? It is ridiculous. Also, it is an excellent excuse for being TOTALLY NUTS.

Solidarity, fellow parents. And fellow nut jobs. And fellow humans, because, let’s be honest, we’re all weird weirdos who are weird,

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P.S. I AM, however, totally rocking parenting on other fronts! I was feeling frazzled and frenetic making breakfast for my children without having had my morning cup of coffee. I was trying, man; I swear. But I was vacant-eyed and sluggish and said, “What? What?” forty-five times every time my children tried to talk to me because sans-coffee I cannot possibly be expected to understand words. Finally, one of the nine-year-olds, said, “Mom? MOM. Mom mom mom mom mom,” and I said, “What?” and he said, “LOOK ME IN THE EYES, MOM. ARE YOU LISTENING? This. Is Very. Important. HAVE YOU HAD COFFEE?” “NO, I HAVE NOT,” I said, and, “I AM DYING OVER HERE,” I said, and he replied very slowly, “MOM. HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING?? PUT ON YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK BEFORE ASSISTING OTHERS.” Which is when I realized I am the Best Parent in the History of the World because I am raising a child who sees the needs of others and speaks Love into their lives. I WIN PARENTING!

P.P.S. Full disclosure, though: after I had coffee, the same child told me he watched a YouTube video on how to make tiny drinking glasses out of strawberries and fill them with jello shots. “Naturally, we’ll need a lot of vodka,” he said. So feel free to add or deduct Parenting Points as you will.

My Husband Is A Better Encourager Than Your Husband

June 22, 2016 in Beth, Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Greg is an encourager, which isn’t at all what I was going to write today. I was writing, instead, an apology for my Christian faith, but I’ve only gotten to the part where I used to buy books on demon possession and stuff them in my heathen friends’ couches so they’d discover them later and be coerced by abject terror to follow Jesus. “Planting seeds,” I called it, and I ROCKED it, man.

But that story’s not finished, and I can’t write something called An Apology for My Christian Faith, or a Declaration of a Faith That’s Wild and Free, or GODAMMIT; I’M GONNA FOLLOW JESUS unless I get the words right in my own head and heart first, so that’s going to have to wait a bit.

So I’m going to tell you about what an encouragement Greg is to me, but first I have to tell you I have a new bike.

A new bike!

Which isn’t new ’cause I don’t really do new, but is new to me, so, like “Beth Woolsey New” which is as good it gets around here.

My new bike looks like this if we paint it in watercolor, which we’re totally doing because I’ve been playing with my Waterlogue app to avoid writing my apology:

Preset Style = Travelogue Format = 10" (Giant) Format Margin = None Format Border = Straight Drawing = #2 Pencil Drawing Weight = Heavy Drawing Detail = Medium Paint = Natural Paint Lightness = Auto Paint Intensity = More Water = Orange Juice Water Edges = Medium Water Bleed = Average Brush = Fine Detail Brush Focus = Everything Brush Spacing = Medium Paper = Buff Paper Texture = Medium Paper Shading = Medium Options Faces = Enhance Faces

 

Also, it looks like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

And like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

And like this:

Painted in Waterlogue

(Psst… this isn’t a Waterlogue sponsored post, ’cause I don’t do sponsored posts, FYI.)

Back to Greg being an encourager!

I bought a bike! And I love it! It has an electrical assist I can engage when I ride up the giant hill to my house and also whenever I want to pretend I’m 87 and too old to peddle. And it’s enormous and bulky enough to haul a kid AND groceries on the back both of which I now do regularly because COOL BIKE.

In fact, I love my new bike so much I’ve decided to take it on our annual central Oregon vacation this week. And, while some husbands might discourage their wives from packing a huge, unwieldy, motorized bike on vacation — what with the 5 children and the service dog and the piles of luggage and mountains of groceries that attend our holidays with us — Greg said, and I quote, “There’s no way — NO WAY — that enormous thing is going to fit in our car.”

Isn’t that cute??

“No worries,” I said. “We can get a bike rack!”

“Too huge for a bike rack, Beth,” he replied. “There’s no way.”

Aw. He’s the adorablest! I heart him to the moon, friends!

“Car top carrier, it is!” said I.

“Read. My. Lips,” said he. “NO. Way. On God’s green earth, there is NO WAY are we taking that thing.”

I was beginning to sense some reluctance, however small, so I called my dad, and HE WAS SUPPORTIVE, TOO! “Greg’s right, Beth; that’s ridiculous. There’s no way to bring that thing on a 4-hour road trip.”

The men in my life, friends! They get me! I say I want something and then they get all tense and RIDICULE MY ABILITY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN… which lets me know they must WANT me to bring my bike VERY MUCH since expressing contempt and derision for my ideas is the fastest, most efficient way to get me to do anything. They’re SUPER SUPPORTIVE, in other words, and ensuring all my dreams come true.

The internet is all about telling other people how much better our lives are than theirs, so I figure it’s OK that I put down my Christian faith essay tonight to write, instead, about how much more encouraging my husband is than yours.

In conclusion, #FinallyDoingTheInternetRight!

With lots of love,

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The Day I Peed My Shoe. Yesterday, Actually. Yesterday, I Peed My Shoe.

June 20, 2016 in Beth, Funny by Beth Woolsey

Once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Not the pretty kind of “wetting my shoe” that’s an adorable misleading statement where I say, “I wet my shoe,” but then I’m all, “J/K! I got my shoe wet with the garden hose while watering the garden. Gotcha!” You know what I mean? Like when you drop a pea on the floor and say, “I peed the floor,” and your nine-year-olds think you’re HILARIOUS and your teenage daughter rolls All the Eyes in All the World and goes, “Stop, Mom. Just stop.”

Nope, this is not that; in this situation, I wet my shoe with my very own urine because — and here’s where I offer as true an explanation as I know — at my core, I am a gigantic dork. A gigantic, shoe-wetting dork.
Now, to be fair to my sweet self, this incident wasn’t actually as bad as the time last fall when I wet my office, about which I haven’t written because I’m loathe to be the girl who pooped my closet AND the girl who peed my office. I mean, how much believable pottying-on-oneself can one actually do? At some point, people will necessarily question my credibility, right? In our current shame-based culture where we can’t even share our lovely lunch pictures on the Facebook (while being simultaneously chided to treasure the little things) without being accused of the overshare, I was afraid I Couldn’t Take It. Losing even more credibility AND being re-accused of over-sharing? HOW WILL I ENDURE THE SHAME?

So I didn’t.

I left the office-peeing story untold.

And it shall remain untold for now, because I have a more pressing matter to address, which is the wetting of my shoe, about which I felt a similar measure of shame to the wetting of my office, until I remembered this afternoon that I HAVE no shame. I lost it long ago, as well as my dignity. I also realized that being absent the credible makes one incredible, and I was all, “INCREDIBLE ME can SO TELL THIS STORY.”

Which is why I’m here to let you know that once upon a time, I wet my shoe.

Yesterday.

Once upon a time yesterday, I wet my shoe.

While on my way home from the Grace in the Grime Spiritual Formation Retreat, I wet my shoe.

In a port-a-potty, I wet my shoe.

After bragging at the retreat how good I am at the “hover, aim and pee splash-free” maneuver — because this is the kind of thing one always discusses at a spiritual formation retreat, yes? — I wet my shoe.

I hovered, indeed, but then I missed, and it cascaded off the seat, creating a waterfall effect off the rim, which is how I wet my shoe. Which I failed to feel at first, so I REALLY wet my shoe.

The night after I told lovely retreat ladies in the hot tub overlooking the Pacific Ocean at sunset about Peeing My Office and about the shame which kept me from telling all of you, I wet my shoe.

Probably because Jesus was giving me more opportunities to be Authentically Me, I wet my shoe. We must, after all, credit Jesus with All the Gifts and Give Thanks in All Things, and I clearly have the spiritual gift of Soiling Myself, so Thank You, Jesus!

I wrote the ladies just now, in fact, and I shall share with you, too, for the sake of expedience and friendship and OBEDIENCE TO GOD, as you will see…

Ladies. Ladies. Ladies.

I need to tell you something.

I WET MY SHOE ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE BEACH YESTERDAY.

I WET it. With PEE. I am writing about it currently, but I feel that Jesus, who is mean and vindictive (not really) (I think) FORCED ME TO PEE MY SHOE because I neglected to tell the story in the fall about peeing my office. Do we think it’s a COINCIDENCE that I confessed that story to you in the hot tub on SATURDAY and then on SUNDAY I peed my shoe? THAT IS NOT COINCIDENCE, friends; it’s obviously my spiritual gift to pee and poop All the Things — I mean, HOW MANY TIMES DOES JESUS NEED TO SHOW ME THIS BEFORE I ACCEPT IT AS TRUTH?? — and then write about those things. I REJECTED my spiritual gift last fall after the incident that combined tights with that lady-pee-device and my consistently poor judgement, and then I hid my light under a bushel AND TOLD NO ONE WHAT I HAD DONE. Except a few friends at work. And also some people on my back patio when we drank whiskey one night. And also the people at the writing retreat. And also all of you ladies in the hot tub. But, other than, like, a few dozen people, I TOLD NO ONE, so Jesus made me wet my shoe to get my attention. Because Jesus is WILY and PERSISTENTLY IN PURSUIT OF HELPING US FIND AND ACCEPT OURSELVES AND OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS. (Psst… one part of that may actually be true.)

Anyway — I’ll write more on the blog, but just wanted to let you know — NOT GONNA HIDE WHO GOD AUTHENTICALLY CALLED ME TO BE! HEART INTELLIGENCE! WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Also, friendly word of advice… maybe aim REALLY GOOD in port-a-potties so your pee doesn’t cascade off the rim of the toilet, over which you’re hovering, and create a waterfall that gushes into your Dansko clog, which is uniquely shaped to capture every bit of the ever-flowing stream. I mean… up to you to accept or reject my advice, of course… you do you… but I thought I’d mention it in case it helps.

In conclusion, I once peed my shoe. Yesterday, actually. Thanks be to God.

Sincerely,

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P.S. I stole the Danskos pic from the Danksos site and am using it without permission. FREE ADVERTISING FOR DANSKO! I figure they won’t mind. I mean, who DOESN’T want to know Dansko clogs are easy to pee into? <<<SELLING POINT.

P.P.S. I’m finishing this (rudely) while at dinner with Greg and our friends, John and BJ, and I told them I can’t talk yet because I’m writing about peeing my shoe. Greg said, “Again?” And John said, “I peed both of mine today.” In extra conclusion, I like John better than Greg. The End.

But First, Tacos

June 2, 2016 in Beth by Beth Woolsey

Things you should know:

  1. I’m still alive, and
  2. I’m missing writing here,
  3. but one kid had surgery,
  4. and one kid has mono,
  5. and one kid, who’s in the special education class, told another kid in the special education class that she was taking out a hit on him because he didn’t let her help him with science, and everyone knows when someone doesn’t let you help with science the only reasonable solution is to threaten that person with death.
  6. Also, one kid has a tiny concussion. And maybe mono, too. But probably just the concussion. I told him if he has mono like his sister, I’ll spank him, so he decided not to have it, after all.
  7. I won’t actually spank him; partly because it turns out I’m not a spanker, and partly because he’s hard to catch, even with a concussion.
  8. Also-also, one kid is graduating high school Saturday, so we are preparing to Fake Having a Clean House for the party. The struggle is real.
  9. Also-also-also, my Coma Friend had a heart attack last week, which she did not technically do at me or to me, but it was still unacceptable and uncalled for. She has apologized, so we can forgive her, but we are writing it into the Friendship Contract that she shall not have another. On the bright side, I got a free night’s lodging at the hospital.
  10. This morning, I threw away my mostly-consumed tub of Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Chocolate Fudge frosting (aka, COPING MECHANISM) because I do NOT need to eat ANY MORE of that crap at night while reading Meljean Brooks’ steampunk romance novels,
  11. BUT DO NOT WORRY because this evening I dug that tub of processed sugar out of the bathroom garbage and am finishing it now.

All of these things are happening, and also more things — All of the Things, really — and we may get to them in the coming days, but first, tacos.

First, tacos, because I feel they are emblematic of All the Things and particularly emblematic of the last two weeks.

I saw this in my Facebook feed:

IMG_9627

“Start typing @m [in the comments] and the first person that pops up has to buy you tacos (no cheating)”

I thought, “Ooooh. I love tacos. I could TOTALLY USE tacos right now. I could stuff, like, A DOZEN FEELINGS about illnesses and momming and busy-ness and heart attacks with a plate of tacos. I would EAT THE HECK out of those tacos!”

So I did it, friends. I typed “@m” in the comments while I thought, “I wonder which of my friends will have to buy me tacos?! Maybe Melissa. Or Mindy. Or Monica. Or Mary Ellen. These are all friends I see regularly. These are all friends who have, in the past, bought me actual, literal tacos. These are all friends who, if I’m pathetic enough, will buy me tacos AND margaritas. This is a WIN!” Which is when I saw my results…

IMG_9628

… and the Universe cackled at me because the Universe sucks sometimes. “You know who’s going to buy you tacos, Beth?” the Universe laughed, “NO ONE IS WHO. You are ALL ALONE and TACOLESS.”

I wish I had a happy ending to this post, but the Universe stole it.

Waving in the (tacoless) dark anyway,
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P.S. One of the kids just stole the rest of my frosting.

P.P.S. I can’t get it back, though, because she’s been known to threaten to take hits out on people.

P.P.P.S. Actually, I think I will go get it back. If I have to die, doing it for chocolate frosting feels like a worthy way to go.

How to Get Kids to Pick Up Quickly and Enthusiastically

May 19, 2016 in Family, Funny by Beth Woolsey

I asked my boys to tidy their room, which was a disaster, and, because they’re smart, capable, 9-year-old children who don’t need to have everything explained to them anymore in excruciating detail, I gave them two basic directions, as follows:

  1. When you are finished picking up your room, gentlemen, I should be able to both see and walk upon the floor.
  2. Your things should be organized in such a manner that you can easily find everything. I’m sure I don’t need to mention that you can certainly not find everything — including the shoes, jackets, books, homework folders, etc. that you cannot find ANY of the school mornings — if you shove it all underneath your bed or in the closet. Correct? I do not need to point this out? That there needs to be a better system? No? You get it? OK. OK, then, boys. Full speed ahead.

They finished in 10 minutes.

They have NEVER finished cleaning ANYTHING in 10 minutes, but there they were, tumbling down the stairs in holey socks with giant smiles, proclaiming completion.

I clarified.

Me: I can see AND walk on the floor?

Them: Yep!

Me: And not just a teeny, tiny sliver of the floor?

Them: Nope!

Me: And you have organized your belongings?

Them: Yep!

Me: ALL of your belongings or SOME of your belongings?

Them: ALL!

Me: And I will find how many items shoved under your bed?

Them: None!

Me: And you have completed this entire task in 10 minutes?

Them: Yep!

Me: And it’s SO complete that you feel good about me inspecting it?

Them: Yes!

Me: Now?

Them: Let’s go!

We trooped up the stairs for inspection, and I patted myself on the back on the way because friends — friends — if you give your children FREEDOM to complete tasks THEIR WAY, and you DO NOT INSIST ON YOUR OWN, they finish jobs QUICKLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY, and it’s a MIRACLE. I should write a Parenting Book! I have finally figured it out!

Also, here is their system:

CleanRoom1

As they say, “A clear path for walking and all of our belongings at our fingertips!” There is nothing under the bed anymore, and, in fact, nothing left in the closet, either, because they pulled everything out of it. Everything. To create their New System of Organization.

I asked where they got such a terrible, terrible idea, and they said — I kid you not — “We learned it from watching you.”

In conclusion, bless their hearts. Bless their punky, butt-nuggetty hearts.

Keepin’ it real,

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P.S. Their room still looks like that because they pointed out there’s WAY less vacuuming this way, and “it’s likely to smother all the bugs.” I’m having trouble arguing with their logic. Well played, boys; well played.