April showers

I was having lunch with my friend the other day and somehow the conversation turned to cleaning products. Not that I’m complaining. I love talking about cleaning of any kind. It makes me positively giddy!

Anyway, I started to tell her about a new purchase I made recently, which has made my bathroom cleaning even easier:

Me: “OMG! I totally bought this amazing shelving for my shower since there’s nothing in there except a soap dish.”

My friend: “Tell me more!”

Me: “There’s this giant pole that goes from floor to ceiling, and all along the pole are different shelves. Everyone has their own shelf! I have a whole shelf for just my own miscellaneous products!”

My friend: “So you don’t have any shampoo bottles or anything on the floor anymore?!?”

Me: “NO! It’s so easy to clean the tile now. I am telling you, THIS SHELVING SYSTEM HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.”

My friend: “Sounds amazing! You should totally blog about that!”

Me: (shifting uneasily in my chair) “Um, I don’t know.”

My friend: “Why not?”

Me: “Because, well…I don’t want to brag. I mean, you know how people buy things and are all, look how I just bought this new car or how I just remodeled my whole kitchen? I don’t want to brag like that.”

My friend: “Uhh, well, it’s shower shelving.”

Me: “I know, I just don’t want people to read the post and then be like, did you read Meredith’s blog post where she was bragging about her shower shelving? I mean, who does she think she is? I can’t BELIEVE she was showing off like that.”

My friend: “I mean, SOME people might say that, but maybe some people would appreciate the information about the product.”

Me: “It’s just NOT ME, ok?!?”

My friend: (silence) (probably reflecting on her life choices, as she has befriended a shower shelving braggart)

As long as I’m in this deep, I might as well show you a photo of the shower shelving:

I’m telling you: CHANGED MY LIFE. I highly recommend it.

 

Good old days

 

I turned 40 last year and this is what has happened to me since then:

  1. I enjoy an almost exclusive diet of contemporary adult music, which, and I looked this up, is characterized by “easy listening” and “soft rock” that is “inoffensive and pleasurable.”
  2. After a long hiatus, I tried to run outside. My entire body revolted. I AM PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF RUNNING.
  3. A radio ad came on for the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, which co-stars Alicia Silverstone. For a hot minute I thought she might be playing the big sister of the tweenish main character. Then it occurred to me that she’s probably playing the mom.
  4. My kids are old enough to be embarrassed by me. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as now the pranking can get really good.
  5. I eat oatmeal for breakfast. Every. Day.
  6. Yesterday I needed to replenish my make up supply, and when I looked at the label that’s stuck to the end of the wand so I could see what shade I wear, I couldn’t make out the words because they were too small. I was so desperate that I had to take a photo of the label and then enlarge it on my phone. My shade is apparently “vanilla.” Which pretty much now describes me.
  7. I enjoy a quiet evening of working on puzzles.
  8. It can be challenging to stay up past 10 pm. I think my kids stay up later than that, but I wouldn’t know because I’m sleeping.
  9. I fell getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Like really hard. It shook the whole house. And my first thought was that I broke my hip.

40 and fabulous!!

Insult to injury

So my right arm is KILLING ME and unfortunately I’m injured. It must have happened while I was lifting yesterday. I mean, all I was doing was my usual 140-lb. benchpress (10 reps, as fast as I can), but somehow I hurt myself.

Just kidding. I totally hurt myself cleaning. Yesterday I decided that the bathroom floors needed a good scrub. I sprayed some cleaner with bleach in it onto the tile floor and got to work. I got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed like I was going for an Olympic medal in it and made that tile sparkle. Not to brag, but, yeah, I did the grout. The only problem was that I was scrubbing so hard, I hurt my right arm (my scrubbing arm, obvs).

Sure, at the time I realized I MAY have been working a little too hard as I was panting and sweating and starting to feel lightheaded. But as far as the lightheadedness goes, I chalked that up to inhaling the bleach fumes. I mean, the fumes were already making my eyes burn, but I could still see, so I wasn’t going to stop just because I felt a tad dizzy. My motto is go big or go home and I apply it to EVERYTHING.

Anyway, I noticed the soreness in my arm that evening. I was all, maybe I should take some ibuprofen for that, but then I was all, what kind of wimp takes ibuprofen because her arm is sore from CLEANING? Suck it up, Towbin!

So I did. And then at 4 am I woke up in excruciating pain. In my sleepy delirium I decided that first thing in the morning I should definitely call an orthopedic surgeon about this injury because, really, who else could I possibly call for such a serious trauma? Then I started thinking that I’d have to tell the orthopedic surgeon that I hurt myself scrubbing the bathroom floor and my pride would not allow for that, so I just decided I’d have to deal with it, even if it required surgery (which, at the time, it most definitely seemed like it would).

Then I woke up this morning and realized I was insane. My arm is feeling much better and I realized I just gave it a really good workout. Unfortunately, my right bicep is going to be HUGE and my left bicep will be normal sized and I will look like a freak, but them’s the breaks.

My hang up

WHAT I HAVE JUST BEEN THROUGH. There’s no way I could ever relate the intensity and/or range of the emotions I’ve just experienced, but I will try.

You see, I have this jacket. I’ve had it for a few years, and I really liked wearing it. Right in the middle, a little above the waist, there was this fabric cord that you could tie up in the front. The cord had to pass through a “tunnel” of fabric that wrapped around the back of the jacket, a situation similar to that of a drawstring cord in a hoodie.

Everything was going great until one time I washed my jacket and the cord got pulled out halfway. I tried to string it back through, but it was IMPOSSIBLE. After several minutes of trying, I gave up and pulled the whole thing out. I wore the jacket a couple more times without the fabric cord, but it just felt, I don’t know, wrong, so I stopped wearing it altogether.

Fast forward to today. For some reason I got it into my head that not only was I going to wear this jacket, but, damn it, I was going to get that cord back through the fabric tunnel. With a little help from a YouTube video demonstrating how to rethread a hoodie cord, I decided I could transfer these newly acquired skills and make it work with my jacket.

The trick is to bend a wire hanger into a semicircle, attach one end of the cord to one end of the wire, and thread the wire through the fabric tunnel with the cord attached, thereby rethreading everything. Brilliant!

So I tried it. I tied one end of the cord to a little hook I made at the end of the wire hanger and tried to string in through. I got all the way through to the other side of the tunnel when I realized that the stupid cord fell off the hanger about an inch of the way through.

So I tried again. I tied the knot tighter.

Same problem.

This time I wrapped it around, made some kind of insane knot for which there is no name, and did it again. No dice.

I tried different variations of knots and wire hanger hooks for 20 FREAKING MINUTES. I was swearing. Out loud. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so ineffectual. Unless you count the 3,000 times I’ve asked my kids to clean their rooms and all they do is throw a pair of socks in the hamper just to see how that’s going to fly and when I call them out on it they respond with disbelief and outrage at how I could possibly be so wrong because look how much they’ve cleaned! What do I want from them?!? BECAUSE WE CAN’T EVER BE AS ORGANIZED AND NEAT AS YOU, MOM, AND YOU CAN’T EXPECT US TO BE SOMEBODY WE’RE NOT! Um, maybe TMI for the blog.

Anyhoo, after 20 minutes, success! I was so ecstatic that I took a picture:

And that didn’t make me feel satisfied, so I wrote a blog post about it.

This is probably the dumbest blog post I’ve ever written, but WTF. I needed to share my victory.

Image from NST Insights.

Thinking outside the box

Sometimes people ask me what I do all day while my kids are at school. Here’s a good example: I pick a random spot on my floor, make a square out of tape, and wait for my cat to lie down in it.

No, I did not make this genius experiment up. I found it all over the Internet and decided to try it for myself. So here was my square:

I waited for two days and my cat wouldn’t go anywhere near it. I figured I’d placed it in an area that was too high traffic, so I moved the square in front of the fireplace. This is how that played out:

An hour later:

And an hour after that:

This cat. I swear. I kind of fell asleep while I was waiting for her to go into the box and this happened:

Well played, Cleo. Well played.

My waffle house of nightmares

I never thought I’d experience a bigger cooking disaster than the chicken-fried steak incident of ’01. I’m not going to get into details because you’d probably vomit, so I’ll just say it was the only time The Joy of Cooking steered me wrong.

Last night, though. LAST NIGHT. I tried to make breakfast for dinner, featuring the humble waffle. I found a new recipe that I was super excited about trying. It can be difficult to find a good waffle recipe because it needs to be gluten free and dairy free for me. I thought I had found a good one. It turns out I did not.

Now, I should have known something was fishy when the recipe required me to use three cups of almond flour and one cup of coconut flour. I’ve been doing the gluten-free thing for over a year, and I have learned through experience that I do not like things made exclusively out of almond and/or coconut flour. They taste blech. But for some reason I went temporarily insane and thought it wouldn’t matter and everything would be okay.

So after spending $18 on flour at the grocery store and using six eggs, I mixed everything up and plopped it onto the waffle iron. Things went further downhill when I noticed that the batter was starting to slowly ooze out the sides of the waffle iron. I tried to wipe it away, but as soon as I did, more batter started oozing out until it was a volcano of gluten-free waffle batter flowing all over my countertop and, eventually, my floor.

But I kept wiping it, over and over again, because, $18 and this was dinner. There was no backup.

When the oozing got under control and I thought the waffle was set, I lifted up the top of the waffle iron to find this abomination:

I put down the lid and told myself if I just cooked it a little longer, it would miraculously turn into an edible waffle.

It did not.

I STILL wasn’t willing to give up because THIS WAS DINNER AND $18 so I started to scrape a little off the waffle iron and taste it. I thought maybe I could feed us a pile of waffle crumbles and it would all be fine.

I tasted it and it was not good, to put it mildly. I had my kid taste it. Please know that this kid will eat anything. He has literally ordered an octopus tentacle at a restaurant and ate it up yum. But my waffle tidbits? He put a piece in his mouth and SPIT IT OUT. Wouldn’t even swallow it. He said that now he knew how sponges were made. As I write this, I can still hear him retching from the other room.

Freaking waste-of-my-time stupid gluten-free waffles. I didn’t know it was possible to hate a baked good.

Mother of the year over here

My poor kid has been home sick with the flu since Saturday, which means I’ve also been in my house since Saturday. My only outings have been to the doctor’s office and a quick run to the gas station.

Okay, so maybe I’m going a little stir crazy, but I didn’t realize how INSANE I was becoming until yesterday when I made the most epic parent fail in the history of parent fails.

If you know me in real life, you know that I’m pretty restrictive as to what types of movies/television shows/video games my kids watch/play. But my kid has been SO miserable and so sick for days that when he asked me if he could watch X-Men: Apocalypse yesterday I was all, “Sure! Why the heck not?? Whatever I can do to make you feel even a LITTLE better.”

He starts watching it and I go upstairs to do my thing. About an hour later, my husband comes home. I hear him chatting with our kid for a little bit, and a few minutes later he comes upstairs. Our conversation:

Him: “Are you FEBRILE?”

Me: “Huh? No. I’m fine. Why?”

Him: “Because you have him watching X-Men: Apocalypse!”

Me: “I know. Why? What’s wrong with that? He watches other action movies.”

Him: “Not like this! This is insanely violent!”

Me: “It is? I can’t remember.”

Him: “Um, yeah. Right now he’s watching the part where Wolverine SLAUGHTERS everyone.”

Then it came back to me because, yes, I’ve seen this movie, and no, I can’t even use the I-didn’t-know-because-I-never-saw-this-before defense. Wolverine doesn’t just kill a whole bunch of people. He literally impales them, decapitates them, DESTROYS them in the most graphic, bloody, disgusting way possible.

All I can do is mutter, “Uh oh,” and run downstairs. “Hey, buddy,” I say VERY nonchalantly, “so are you doing okay? Do you want to keep watching this?” I look over on the screen and see Wolverine BATHED IN BLOOD.

He answers that um, no, maybe I could just turn it off and watch something else because he’s feeling like he has to throw up again.

Nice. I am THE WORST. What is wrong with me?!? I am going nuts in this house. NUTS. Somebody send help.

Update: Inner peace is not a thing I have achieved

You might recall that I achieved inner peace last week via packing my suitcase. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Things turned sour pretty quickly. Why?

BECAUSE THEN I UNPACKED.

Yes, rolling up all your clothes into tight cylinders is completely awesome if your only goal is to fit as many clothes into your suitcase as possible. But what happens when you reach your destination and it’s time to unpack? The COMPLETE OPPOSITE of zen. Here’s why:

You open your suitcase and find 37 tightly rolled t-shirts/jeans/socks/etc. that must be unrolled. One by one. Which takes some time. And after traveling all day, unrolling all your clothes one by one is literally the last thing you want to be doing.

But, Meredith, you might ask, why not just leave everything rolled up in the suitcase and select what’s needed on a day-to-day basis? Well, because YOU CAN’T. Maybe I want to wear my gray t-shirt with the two birds on it on a particular day. Here’s me: “I’ll just peek into my suitcase and grab it and…oh s^&%! There are no less than THIRTEEN GREY T-SHIRTS, ALL ROLLED UP, and it is impossible for me to identify which one is which until I unroll them all and WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME? What did I ever do to deserve such a stunning defeat after achieving a zen that most humans can only dream about?”

And once all the clothes are unrolled, you have to deal with the fact that every single item is a wrinkled mess AND you still have to fold everything to put it away in the dresser.

Needless to say, on the way back I packed up using a different method. I laid everything flat, one on top of the next, and that seemed to work better. At least things weren’t wrinkled when I went to unpack and I could identify what was what.

Even so, I am thoroughly disappointed. I was so stoked about achieving packing nirvana that I was even considering starting up a business involving me teaching people how to pack efficiently, which would of course have to be named Tripping with Towbin. There goes my business. And my zen.

How I learned to achieve inner peace

I have found inner peace. I wasn’t even particularly looking for it yesterday (that’s what the third Tuesday of the month is for), but somehow I stumbled upon it and I will never be the same again.

It all started when I needed to pack up my suitcase. I ALWAYS set aside WAY too many clothes/toiletries/traveling things and they never all fit. It’s my own fault. I just want to be prepared, okay? Like what if I need a teasing brush? Granted, I have used my teasing brush three times over the past 20 years, but what if I suddenly need to tease my hair while I’m on the road? If I left it behind, I would be royally screwed. I apply this type of reasoning to a minimum of 77 other useless things that I feel I must travel with, which is why I have trouble fitting everything into my suitcase.

But back to yesterday — I was wondering if perhaps it was not the packing list that needed to be adjusted but instead the packing method. So I went on YouTube and searched “the most efficient way to pack a suitcase.”

I watched several videos, one of which taught me how to pack my duffel if I was in the military. I finally settled on a method that made the most sense to me. It involved rolling up all the clothes in a very specific way. If you’re interested, here’s the link.

So I rolled up all my clothes, arranged them in my suitcase in such a way as to maximize my space, and OMG it was INCREDIBLE. Not only did everything fit, but I actually had room to spare!

I cannot express to you how amazing this made me feel. Yes, it took me an hour and a half to roll everything up, but I believe I reached ACTUAL ZEN. I’ve been such a sucker all these years, believing my occasional YouTube-guided meditation was the only way I could ever hope to attain any kind of inner peace. And all it took was suitcase organization. Behold!

Have you ever seen such a thing of beauty?

Dog image from Lainie of Leisure.

This is your brain on Honey Boo Boo

This is my brain being brainwashed by Honey Boo Boo advertisements.

I seriously do not know what is wrong with me.

A few days ago, the following popped up in my Twitter feed: “You’ll never believe what Honey Boo Boo’s mom looks like now!” Let me be clear: I have never watched that Honey Boo Boo show, I don’t care about that Honey Boo Boo show, and I certainly don’t care about the mom on that show. I just kept on scrolling because I literally couldn’t care less.

Then, the next day: “You’ll never believe what Honey Boo Boo’s mom looks like now!” with a short video below the tweet, showing random people’s reactions to what I could only guess was their seeing a recent photo of Honey Boo Boo’s mom. They were all shocked, of course. For a split second I wondered why, but kept scrolling.

This stupid ad continued to pop up in my Twitter feed over the next couple days. I came to realize that all this hubbub was being created to plug a television show that would be focusing exclusively on Honey Boo Boo’s mom’s transformation. It was premiering, I don’t know, yesterday or something because the ads freaking flooded my Twitter feed.

Fast forward to today. I’m scrolling through my feed and ONCE AGAIN see the ad for this show. For some reason it catches my eye. I think, “Hmm. I kind of DO wonder what Honey Boo Boo’s mom looks like now. I bet you I could just Google a photo real quick and check it out.”

WTF? Where did that even come from? I feel like there were subliminal messages in that ad or something. Or maybe the ad just wore me down and I have a weak constitution.

I ended up feeling absolutely compelled to Google what Honey Boo Boo’s mom currently looks like. Since I really didn’t know what she looked like before, though, the transformation turned out to be meaningless to me. And that’s how I ended up wasting three minutes of my life.

I’m here to warn you all: don’t get sucked in like me. It’s a trap. I guarantee you nothing good can come of this Google search. It will leave you empty and unfulfilled. Use your time for more worthy searches. You’ll thank me later.

Image from CS Globe.

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