Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Month: July 2016

Netflix and Chill

One time*, when we had only first started dating, my husband and I stayed up until 5AM drinking, watching movies, and talking.  I don’t remember what we watched, or what we talked about (I suspect we succumbed to our favorite past time, creating our dream cast for books that we’d read that we thought would make great movies), but I do remember how much fun we had.  I also remember the bleary eyed feeling I had when I looked at the clock and saw that it was nearing five.

It was fun and exciting and kind of felt wrong, like we were breaking the rules by being up so late.  And by having so much fun just being together while submersing ourselves into other worlds.

I got to relive a lot of that former excitement this weekend.  It was almost like we were back at the beginning again and had just started dating.  The excitement, the nervousness, the staying up late…

That’s right, I watched TV this weekend.  Like a god damn adult.

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How I normally watch TV (and edit).

And I got to do it, not only in the same room as my husband, but on the same couch!  Like, right next to him.  There was no child in between us.  It was just us and the warm glow of the television in the dark.

Real honest to god TV watching.

We’ve passed that whole Netflix and Chill phase of our relationship and have entered the Netflix and God-Dammit-She’s-Awake-Can-You-Please-Hit-Pause phase.

And while it wasn’t the all night bender that we would have pulled in our heyday (we only stayed up until 11:30, and he drank a cup of coffee while I had a cold glass of lemonade because it was about 115 degrees out) it was still great.  We watched an entire season of the new Netflix series Stranger Things.  Which, unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of because everyone you know is probably talking about how great it is.  And if not, well then you know the wrong types of people.  Check that show out.  It’s like Stephen King and Steven Spielberg had a baby and let the 1980’s raise it.  Actually, if you haven’t seen it yet then I am jealous of you because you get to experience the whole thing for the first time.  That’s how good it is.

The last time I watched an entire season of a Netflix show was season four of House of Cards.  It happened between the hours of 11PM and 7AM and there is a part in the middle that I think I blacked out for.  Also, there was a sweaty, pukey, toddler on my chest the entire time, so I was a little distracted.

This other way was much better.

Actually, as I am sitting here thinking about it, this past weekend was pretty much the best weekend we have had in a long while.  We took a break from all of the adulting that we have been doing and just decided to embrace the last weekend that we would have in our home before the packing/moving frenzy began in earnest.

We went to the movies (saw the new Independence Day, we should have stayed at home and watched more Stranger Things instead, that movie was a disaster), ordered a lot of take out (pizza, sushi, hoagies, we were out of control), and found an endless supply of reasons to laugh at our daughter (not limited to her reaction to a pop up thunderstorm in which she made the very clear distinction of who she prefers when things get scary… it’s her father.  Apparently the fact that I also jump at the crack of thunder does not fill her with confidence in my ability to protect her from said thunder).

Like I said, best weekend in a long time.  The good times will start up again soon, I am sure.  As soon as we get through this next phase of crazy.  Until then I will just have to hold onto these memories.

And if you’ve finished Stranger Things and want to talk about it, let me know!  I want to nerd out about it with someone other than my husband (because we have already gone over all of our theories and desires for season two).   

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Us in our childless heyday, look at how well rested we look!

*So, I say one time like it only happened once, but it happened… well, more than once.  And it was usually followed by sleeping until noon then leisurely waking up to go to a local diner to eat pizza fries for breakfast.  Oh my god, we wasted so much time not appreciating how much time we had to waste.  Ah, the folly of the young and childless!

The Accidental Landlord

Alright, the title is kind of misleading.

First, we are not yet landlords.  We are still in the god awful showing of the property and screening out lunatics phase.  We haven’t even gotten to the part where money exchanges hands.  We’re just basically unpaid tour guides in the museum of our lives.  And. It. Is. Awful.

As for the, “What?  How did this happen?” part of it all…  well, it was always part of the plan.  Or at least, part of the dream.  Our five year plan involved moving out of our school district before our progeny was old enough to enter kindergarten.  The real estate market being what it is in this town, nay the country, we were going to keep our house on as an investment.  Try and make some of that sweet, sweet rental income while we were at it.

But that plan was for five years from now (well, three years from now because holy crap my daughter is almost two).  Once we had added a second bathroom, painted the living room something other than purple and red (I assure you that it seemed like a good idea at the time), and figured out what we were doing with our unfinished car port… you know, and a few other things.

Instead, life does what it does, and laughed in the face of our plans with a big old HA HA HA.

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Echinacea in full bloom.

Now we’re looking down the barrel of a five week deadline.

This is not to stay that we don’t want this.  Honestly, all the moaning and groaning aside, this has been the kick in the pants that got us moving.  Sure, our five year plan turned into a five week plan and we’re scrambling a little bit, but we’re getting it done.  Slowly but surely.  Yeah, we aren’t adding a second bathroom, but we finally made a decision on that car port (a coat of paint and some minor major repairs to the roof late,r and it’s a… car port… you’re welcome future tenants).

And we’re going somewhere good.  Somewhere where we will be doing good.  And no matter all the other details, that makes it all worth it.

Even being a docent in my own home.

I’m also trying to lean into it a bit.  I’m giving into the crazy, the mayhem, the insecurity of it all.

The first day of showings I scheduled them all perfectly so that I had an hour for each visitor.  That gave us a full eight hour day with eight visitors.  You know, like a noob.

I even dressed nicely, figuring that I was asking these people to trust me as much as I needed to trust them.  I wanted to present myself as someone that took things seriously.  Someone that wasn’t going to get them in here and take advantage of them.  I wore a skirt for crying out loud.

My husband took a different approach and after the last appointment left pulled two knives out of his cargo shorts.  He had one in each pocket, he confided in me, in case something happened and he needed to use one, he didn’t want to forget where it was. 

After an awful day where only half of the scheduled viewings showed up (two cancelled without any warning at all), and one unbelievably unpleasant group of people that I had to tell on the spot that we would not be renting to them.  No no no, not under any conditions, NOT EVER.  I needed a beer and a break.

This weekend the viewings are scheduled for every 15 minutes for three hours.  I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  And maybe I’ll shower.  But maybe not.  Because walking from room to room and giving the same speech over and over again (all the curtains are staying, this bathroom was partially remodeled in 2015, oh this is the original vanity from 1951, blah blah blah, word vomit word vomit word vomit…) is sweaty work.

Did I mention it is also very thirsty work?

So, here we go.  This is our adventure in landlording.  Worst case scenario it’s just a year.  Just 12 months.  This could be a good 12 months, or the worst 12 months of our lives.

Here goes nothing everything.

My Mom Boner

I had a moment this weekend where I looked at my husband, smiled, and said, “Our life is kind of perfect right now.”  We were tired, sweaty, and on what was probably our third straight hour of working on the yard.

I leaned over, gave him a kiss, and went back to watching our daughter play in the area that once held our fire pit (read: hot drinking circle party place).  The fire pit had been dug out and taken apart.  All the fire proof bricks had been relocated.  I had painstakingly searched all the surrounding river rocks for old bottle caps, broken glass, and rusty nails*.  Things that were fine for a large group of drunken adults, but not so fine for my daughter’s constantly exploring hands.

It had been a project that we worked on a few minutes at a time over several weeks.  Our super cool hot drinking circle was no more.  Now it was an outdoor toddler haven.  There were water tables and sand boxes a plenty.  Slides, swings, miscellaneous other crap, set up all over the entire yard in the perfect intervals for optimal play time.

Naturally, our daughter was oblivious to all the changes and hard work.  She was too busy trying to drink the gross water from her water table.  And too busy taking wet handfuls of sand and rubbing them into her hair.  Occasionally she would stop doing those things long enough to look me in the eye as she took a handful of sand and threw it on the ground, daring me to yell at her.

Honestly, she probably could have punched a bird in the face and I wouldn’t have said anything to her that day.  It was just so nice having her so occupied by something that she enjoyed that required little to no participation on my part.  I was able to clean the windows, pull weeds, and finish collecting all those old bottle caps and rusty nails.

This was Saturday.  I was still riding the high Sunday morning when I woke up early and decided to make mini banana bread muffins from scratch (no, not like last time, these were legit banana bread muffins).

As I ever so gently folded freshly mashed bananas into my dry ingredients (just like the directions called for) I decided two things.

First, directions are for suckers.  I’m not gently folding shit.  Instead I got out the flat little bowl scraper thing and stirred everything up.

Second, I’m kinda into this whole mothering thing.  Like, I think that I was made for this.  Muffin baking and all.

That’s not to say that I don’t have bad moments.  Or bad days.  Sometimes I pour myself a pretty big glass of wine at 4:00.  Sometimes I pour myself a second pretty big glass of wine at 4:30.  It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.  It does get ugly.  I have lost my temper and yelled (more often than I’d like to admit).  I’ve started my coffee before changing my daughter’s diaper in the morning.  I’ve eaten cookies in front of her while not feeling bad at all about her begging for one.  I’ve cried because I have no god damn idea what I’m doing.

But then there are the good moments.  I’ve held her in my arms as she fell asleep, unable to look away as those tiny eye lids fluttered and then closed.  I’ve sniffed in that sweet baby smell until I thought I would sniff it right off of her (unlike the times that I’ve inhaled the bouquet of fresh turds, which actually happens way more often than the other sweet baby smell thing).  I’ve read the same books over and over again as she sat in my arms.

And, I’ve made carefully researched and crafted muffins from scratch that she has taken a bite of and then thrown on the ground because sometimes she’s a jerk.

Even though there is a lot of hard stuff, there’s so much good stuff too.  It makes me happy.  It gives me hope and fills me with excitement for the future.  It gives me… a mom boner.

Yeah, a mom boner.  I definitely just said that.  Baking tiny muffins and researching cloth training pants and taking perfectly lit pictures of her gives me a raging mom boner.

So, does giving her a bite of my Snickers bar, or a fist full of Doritos so that I can finish making dinner in peace.  Sometimes we eat pizza.  Sometimes we eat organic, locally sourced, free range chicken eggs.

And it all makes me happy.

Even the bad days because they pass and there is some weird mom amnesia (momnesia, it’s a thing) that lets you forget about how god damn awful everything was yesterday.

I will miss the fire pit and the drunken nights surrounding it with friends, but I know that there is a second act starting in the back yard.  One with less bottle caps and more sunscreen and sand.  And there will be more homemade muffins, because even though it’s not cool to admit it, I am really loving this mom thing.

*The fire pit is full of rusty nails because when you throw a huge party on a cold March morning and run out of firewood you burn the dog house.  Which is totally okay if you don’t have a dog. 

Which we don’t.

We’re Almost Through It

Independence Day was this past weekend.  I think that I speak for parents (and dog parents) everywhere when I say, thank god that’s over.  With Memorial Day as the unofficial start to summer, the Fourth of July has to be the unofficial middle.

It’s also guaranteed to mean that we have now entered the height of the heat for the year.  Yeah!  Under boob sweat for everyone!

The Fourth of July also means fireworks, barking dogs, and drunk neighbors screaming at said barking dogs.  This didn’t used to bother me quite as much.  Maybe it’s because I was usually drunk and setting off my own fireworks (yeah, karma, I get it).  Yes, those were the good old days, when I wasn’t holding a terrified toddler.  One who was probably convinced that we were under attack from enemies unknown, and all the neighborhood dogs had banded together to defend us.

She was probably also wondering why her father and I weren’t more concerned.  We are sticklers about her jumping on the couch, but we’re super cool about things exploding outside?  It must have been a very confusing weekend for her. 

So yes, I was longing a bit for the good old days this weekend.  The days where the summer meant going down the shore, staying up late drinking beers on the patio, sleeping until whenever I felt like it, and spending my free time floating around the pool dozing and reading.

I thought about those summer books, too.  The ones I lazed through back when I didn’t have quite as many cares in the world.  They were just so much more enjoyable when I was peeking out from under a hat with a large floppy brim and dark sunglasses.

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Ah, books, how I miss you.

That’s not to say that I hate summer as a mom, because I really don’t.  Sure, everything is a lot hotter because I have a thirty something pound child that sometimes decides that her and her wet bathing suit would be much more comfortable on my lap while we both become slick with sweat and sun screen.  And who is, for some unknown reason, always sticky.

Okay, that doesn’t really sound as positive as I meant it to.  But know that I really do enjoy those sweaty ass days.

Also, I can’t really can’t say that I haven’t done any reading so far this summer.  As I sit here thinking about it, I’ve actually done quite a bit of reading…

Here’s the run down so far. I present to you, My Summer Reading List 2016:

  1. The Pout Pout Fish, by Deborah Diesen.  Read, 9,258,687,810 times.  The first 6,000 times I found the book quite enjoyable.  We even worked out a little routine to go with it that my grandmother would frequently get in on.  I found the middle couple million times a little tedious.  We stuck it out and read it a few million more times and I think it will be a staple around here for years to come.
  2. What Floats, by Julie Aigner-Clark and Nadeem Zaidi. Read, thirty times.  Actually, we only really look at the pictures with the bubbles.  My daughter points at them and says, “Ohh dis?!” (what’s this?) And I say, “That’s a bubble.” And we do this over and over and over again until one of us cries.
  3. First 100 Words, by Roger Priddy. Read, well, I don’t think we have actually ever read it cover to cover.  Usually we just go through random pages and she asks me “Ohh dis?” until I lose my shit and redirect her to the What Floats book.  It’s a vicious cycle.
  4. Approximately twenty articles on potty training, written by various authors. Read, each one once.  I have decided that my mother is full of crap and there is no way that I was potty trained by the time I was my daughter’s age.  Way.  I will revisit this whole potty training thing, I don’t know when, just some other time.
  5. Winter Knight, by Jim Butcher. Read, approximately twenty pages.  That’s right, twenty pages over the past two or so months.  At this rate I will be able to add it to the inevitable, My Summer Reading List 2017.
  6. Several Google searches to determine if what my daughter is doing/saying/eating/not eating is normal. It is and it isn’t, depending on the web site.  So, yeah, color me reassured.
  7. The backs of six different bottles of sunscreen, because apparently they no longer make the one I used last summer and now I need to blindly stare at the bottles again and pretend that I know what I’m looking for that will be a big red flag that it is toxic poison and not in fact, sun screen.
  8. One Google search to see if there was a legal loophole for murdering your husband when he spends an entire weekend staying up late playing video games and reads and entire book in a day and then complains to you that he is sooooooo tired. For the record, there is not.

Anyone else looking forward to fall?

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