What fantastic entries in the Overwhelmedness Contest, ladies and gentlemen!

I am deeply impressed with the messes you all have made of your lives through the simple acts of being thoughtful parents, hard working employees, and community volunteers.  Ain’t it grand?

The smartest thing I did all week was to bow out of judging the contest.  My sincere and public apologies, Kim and Sally.  You have your work cut out for you.

I won’t waste your time by recounting all of the fabulous stories about sleeping with chickens, double-kid infections (I mean, I’ve heard of double-ear infections, but this one’s new to me), secret collisions with semi trucks, blog-comment-posting while at 1st grade Christmas programs, and a child’s attempts to remove her mother’s nipples.  Reading the comments is worthwhile, and I’m quite certain you’ll find something in there to make your life look calm and relaxed.  If calm and relaxed appeals to you.

In the spirit of Christmas (or the holiday of your choice), I will leave you with two gifts.

The first is technically a regift, complete with new wrapping paper and bow.  My loving brother posted an “actually” correction to my last blog entry, in which I stated that “caffeine is one of only five known antidotes for overwhelmedness.”  I think his gift of knowledge and hope is worth the repost here:

You were pretty close about there being 5 antidotes for overwhelmedness, Jeff writes.

Um, thanks, Jeff.

There are actually 6. After Coffee, the others are Sleep, Laughter, Lists, Exercise, and Alcohol.

You can even combine them, but some combos are more effective than others.

For example, Coffee plus Lists is a powerful overwhelmedness-reducer.  However, Coffee and Sleep don’t play nice together, and Exercise plus Alcohol can also be problematic.

For the ultimate overwhelmedness-eliminating experience, I highly recommend getting drunk on Kahlua, laughing at someone far bigger than yourself, getting knocked out, then dreaming of making lists while riding a recumbent stationary bike.  And to be clear, by “highly recommend” I mean “strongly caution against.”

See?  Regifting is fun.

My second gift to you is the gift of schadenfreude, which is defined as “pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.”  You have given me such schadenfreude in your overwhelmedness comments, that I feel the only appropriate way to thank you is to give you some in return.  Schadenfreude reciprocity, if you will.

My Christmas list used to include things like jewelry and books and make-up and magazines.  Since having children, my gift requests have changed to cries for help, desperate pleas for acts of service.

My number one most desired gift this year is stove-top and oven cleaning.  Here’s why:

My husband’s number one most desired gift this year is childcare for our 4-year-old twins so he can clean the garage.  Here’s why:

That stain on the foam mattress in the bottom center of the picture?  Dog pee.  We’re that fantastic.

This weekend is our Christmas open house.

Yep – I actually invited people over here.

I will be locking the garage door and praying to God no one finds the key.  (Did you hear that, God?)

My house will look like this:

That’s pretty much the extent of my Christmas decorating.  I had to work really hard to take that picture from an angle where things looked clean.  Here’s a picture from further away:

Oh, who am I kidding?  That’s pretty clean for us, too.  But it’ll be even cleaner at the open house.

I’ll spend all day Saturday cleaning and cooking.  I’ll hire my middle schooler and her friends to babysit to make that possible.  This is after I hired my friend’s mom to preclean the house this week; somehow, it’ll need recleaning by the weekend.

I’ll put clean, dry towels in the bathroom and stock it with soap and toilet paper.  I’ll hide my stove-top under an enormous skillet and double-burner griddle under the guise that that’s their place in the kitchen.

And then I’ll pretend our house always looks immaculate.  And that we always have soap in our bathroom.  And that I did it all without help.  (How does she do it?)

You won’t tell, will you?

Happy Schadenfreude, from me to you.

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8 responses to “Schadenfreude”

  1. Schadenfreude is how I survive! Thank you for sharing. Next time I go outside I’ll take a picture of our garage, you ain’t got nothing on us! I’m embarrassed to open the door during the day for fear the neighbours will see!

    On another note, I read several of your entries to a friend of mine while we chatted on the phone the other day. We laughed until we almost peed. Well, I was 98% successful in withholding, I’m not sure about my friend 😛 Enjoy your open house! Remember not to keep things too clean or people will feel bad about themselves. Spread the schadenfreude to everyone this Christmas! Maybe a cute poster on your entry door explaining your schadenfreude gift to your guests would suffice. (tee hee)

  2. you have made my day 🙂 Thank you! (I am reading this and my 2 year old is dragging my 6 month old down the hallway..and trying to stay calm 🙂 )

  3. Sometimes I think about adding a FAQ page to this website. It would only consist of one question, though:

    Q: Are you ever embarrassed?
    A: Um, yes. Every single time I post.

    When I wonder what in the world I’m thinking, someone inevitably tells me that they laughed. Or that being imperfect is OK. Or that this could save their sanity.

    I’m not sure that I’ll ever really save anyone’s sanity, but I do know that it’s a lot more fun to be insane with company. 🙂

    So, ladies, thank you, THANK YOU, for the words of encouragement. You made my day.

  4. I was just introduced to your blog today by a friend on Facebook. This could very well save my sanity! I have 4 babes under 5…and it is hard to find someone who understands or find a friend to stick around. This is a blessing and the humor lightens the load. I’ve already entered the overwhelmedness contest! 🙂 It makes me realize I should write more down because it really will be great to look back at one day! 😉 THANK YOU for this.

  5. You will undoubtedly make someone’s day with your holiday open house…even if everything isn’t perfect. It’s real life, I tell ya! Don’t tell me you’re cooking too! You’re like super woman.

  6. Oh, I am a new subscriber, and I am LOVING it! Thanks for showing us the “real” picture.
    I didn’t enter the overwhelmed contest because I have 6 kids (32, 30, 28, 25, 21, and 8!) and I am so used to being overwhelmed that I don’t even realize I’m overwhelmed anymore. I don’t think my house has been clean for more than 2 days in a row, like EVER. And the cars? Fuggedaboudit!

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