A Thanksgiving planner.

Day 16.

16 consecutive days of writing.

It’s not over yet.

Day 23 is Thanksgiving in the United States.

Day 23 requires planning. Day 23 brings out the foodies, the NFL fans, the Pilgrim lovers, the shoppers, and any person that hates their job and wants a long weekend off. Day 23 sends the masses to a place on the internet known as Pinterest.

I am a fan of Pinterest. I use it a lot for dinner ideas. I use it for school parties. I use it to plan a rehearsal dinner I’m hosting the Saturday after Thanksgiving (Day 25, that’s another post).

I’m also quick to call bullshit on Pinterest.

A Thanksgiving Planner

Two weeks before

  • Plan a menu.
  • Select dishes and serving ware.
  • Tell yourself to stop stuffing your butterball ass with leftover Halloween candy. Jesus, get ahold of yourself.
  • Wash the sheets and towels for your house guests. Prepare the beds and bathroom for their stay. Say a prayer to sweet baby Jesus. “Dear baby Jesus, please don’t let the kids and pets urinate, defecate, puke, spit, let a runny nose run, slash someone’s leg with a butter knife, or let blood splatter on the fresh sheets and towels. I cannot do any more laundry. Thank you and amen.”

One week before

  • Get organized with lists. Make a grocery list and arrange the ingredients by location in the store.
  • Make a seating chart and place cards.
  • Prepare the kitchen. Clean out the pantry and fridge to make room for groceries and leftover dishes.
  • Clean your house. If desired, decorate.
  • Tell the kids you will send them to their room if they continue to whine about the kids table.
  • Throw out the seating chart because someone wrote  “is poop,” “is a butthead,” “pees her pants,” and “mommy is mean” on all the place cards.
  • Convince your kids that you weren’t trying to kill them with a barbecue sauce that expired last winter.
  • Or the ranch dressing from 2015. Good God, what is in here.
  • Don’t bother cleaning. You’re still a week out. Have you seen what kids can do in seven days? They urinate, defecate, puke, spit, let a runny nose run, slash someone’s leg with a butter knife and let blood splatter. They are walking crumbs. They pick their nose and wipe it on the walls. Oh, I went there. I went there because you’d be a fool to clean a week out.
  • Hide the evidence of Halloween decor. And the Halloween bags of candy. We already discussed this last week, butterball.

The Monday before

  • Purchase all nonperishable groceries.
  • If frozen, defrost the turkey.
  • Panic. You have a storm of people arriving from all over the country and you haven’t done shit. Snap at your spouse and scream he hasn’t done shit. Scream at the kids for not picking up a shoe. Apologize to your child for blowing up. Flip off your kid behind her back when she says, “it’s just a shoe, Cinderella’s evil stepmother.”
  • Give your spouse a grocery list and regret this decision as soon as he pulls out of the driveway.
  • Send your spouse back to the grocery store when he says he forgot the green beans, fried onions, cranberry sauce, corn, milk, and juice for the kids. But he did get in his beer run. 

The Tuesday before

  • Make pie dough.
  • Make cranberry sauce.
  • Cut the bread for stuffing into cubes.
  • Order a pie from the local bakery.
  • Check to make sure you have boxed mashed potatoes.
  • Scream at the family for eating all the groceries. Ask them if they can please stop eating for two days. Now you have to go to the store again.
  • Sit and pour yourself a glass of merlot. Rip open a slice of Kraft American cheese and cut the bread. It’s a wine, bread, and cheese dinner kind of night. You’ve worked hard this week.
  • Tell the kids it’s a cereal night. 
  • Realize you’re only two days into the week and laugh at yourself.
  • Might as well finish the bottle of merlot because you don’t want that turning into vinegar two nights from now.
  • Tell yourself you should be a damn scientist for remembering wine turns into vinegar because you’re drunk now.

The Wednesday before

  • Chop veggies. Place in bowls of water in the fridge.
  • Shop for remaining groceries that spoil easily.
  • Prepare any side dishes that can be made ahead.
  • If you’re making a fresh turkey, pick it up from the market.
  • Make a list in your head of all the crap you have to do while laying in bed watching the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies. You have a monster headache.
  • Scream at the kids to stop fighting. They’re out of school now.
  • Feel the lightening pain shoot through your head after screaming.
  • Get your ass out of bed.
  • Pick up some pre-made sides from the grocery store. 
  • Navigate through swarms of people with your shopping cart. Contemplate running into their heels with your cart. Remind yourself how much you hate people.
  • Walk down the grocery aisle and wonder if you could shoot a turkey if you were a pilgrim.
  • Wonder if the pilgrims had guns.
  • Wonder if the pilgrims strangled turkeys.
  • Tell yourself, no, that’s what the Native Americans were for.
  • Wonder if Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. God, the pilgrims and white folks were assholes.
  • Make a mental note to browse the history channel’s website because you completely forgot what we’re celebrating.
  • Pick up the pie from the bakery you called in.

Thanksgiving

  • Remove turkey from the fridge in the morning and let come to room temperature.
  • Make the stuffing.
  • For dinner at 5 p.m., put turkey in at noon.
  • Reheat cranberry sauce.
  • Mash the potatoes.
  • Make appetizers.
  • Chill wine and cocktails.
  • Have a fabulous time.
  • Wonder if everyone is going to get massive diarrhea after eating a turkey thawing at room temperature.
  • Chill wine and cocktails – that shit was chilled last week. Cross that bitch off your list.
  • Heat up all the appetizers and sides you bought pre-made. Keep an eye out for the side-eyes. I see you, KAREN. 
  • Wonder who the hell eats cranberry sauce.
  • Yell at your spouse for watching football and not helping with cooking. Explain to him that this is 2017 – get his ass up and help. God damn.
  • Apologize to Grandma for the profanities but if any generation is going to break this sexist chain of Thanksgiving customs, it’s yours.
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine because there’s too many people in your kitchen. And now Grandma is giving you a side-eye.
  • Tell the kids no one gets pie unless they stay at the kids table. Separate your daughters because one is stabbing the other with a fork. 
  • Take a picture of your plate. Add it to Instagram once everyone says “amen.” Hashtag Thanksgiving dinner. Hashtag thankful. Hashtag family. Hashtag blessed.
  • Have a fabulous time. Thanksgiving is over until next year.

______________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

pepper2017

 

Shiplap lover.

What makes something funny?

I don’t have an answer for you and I consider myself a humor writer. I can tell you humor is an art. There are different styles of humor – parody, satire, slapstick, irony, sarcasm, puns, spoofs, dark humor, the unexpected. Any stand-up comedian will tell you timing plays a role in humor. My parents will tell you humor is genetic.

But recognizing when you’re a dumbass and telling the world takes a certain skill. I once told Scott that people only think I’m funny because I’m good at making fun of myself.

It’s called the dumbass humor.

I was in the bathtub when I realized – holy shit, I might be the dumbest person I know. And I know a lot of dumbasses.

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What is this empty tub you see?

That’s the after.

Before I get to my story, let’s talk about my house. If Scott got his way, our house would look similar to a mountain lodge. Towering windows, ceilings that can easily fit a 15-foot Christmas tree, wood beams, a statement shed chandelier. Animal fur rugs under your feet and big game animals staring at you as you drink your hot cocoa with a splash of whiskey.

I mean, I don’t have anything against mountain lodges. They’re beautiful. They have a charm about them that makes you go straight for the red wine, the stout beer, the whiskey, and the medium rare steak. It’s hearty, warm, and full bodied. It’s man versus the wild – even if the eyes of the wild are made from glass.

We live at an elevation of 1,040 feet above sea level. We live in Kansas. We do not have majestic views of mountains but one time Scott saw our next door neighbor topless, popping a zit on her face in the mirror. Stop. It wasn’t at this house. Scott closed our blinds at our old house one night and there she was, really digging in with her nails. And Scott isn’t a peeping tom if he called me to watch too. That’s as far as we get for views of majestic – fine – full but a little saggy mountains.

In order to make our house a normal looking Kansas home, I need to balance the man vs. wild on our walls. I try to soften our home with flowers and white knit blankets. I weave my love of script and words with Scott’s fur and glass eyes staring at us. I think I do a good job. I am always looking for ways to mix our own version of the outdoors into our home.

The first weekend of the month, thousands of people head to the historic West Bottoms of Kansas City. You will find stores filled with antiques, one-of-a-kind vintage finds, thrifty picks, other people’s junk, whatever. It’s an interior designer’s dream. I went down to the West Bottoms this past weekend with two girlfriends. We wandered into store after store, each talking about our homes and our personal styles.

I found a perfect piece.

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Shiplap lover.

Me: Oh! This is cute. I have a whole fishing theme going on in our bathroom. Shiplap lover. Sounds sexy.

Cody: Oh, you should get it then.

Me: Yeah, I think I will. I’ll get it to decorate the shelf by our tub. It’s perfect.

Kathy: What’d you get?

Me: Isn’t this cute? I have a fishing theme in our master bath.

Kathy: Oh. Yeah. Get it.

It was perfect. There’s something about the master bathroom, especially the bathtub, that can be intimate without mushy. Shiplap lover is sexy. If there’s one thing Scott and I love with a passion, it’s fishing. You will see that love in our personal spaces.

Scott: What did you buy with Cody and Kathy?

Me: This. This. Isn’t this cute? Oh, and this too! For the tub.

Scott: What’s a shiplap?

Me: Oh, you know. Like lovers on a ship. It’s like us and fishing!

Scott: I’ve never heard of that.

Me: You’re not romantic. It’s a thing. It’s cute.

Scott: Oh.

Sunday night. I put my new decor pieces out. I filled the tub with epsom salts and oils. I applied a facial mask to my face. I poured a glass of wine, grabbed a book, and my phone. I sank into the tub and looked over at the words shiplap lover.

What is a shiplap anyway? I better make sure it’s not like the bottom deck with the rats or something gross.

Google search: shiplap

Um, what the hell is HGTV’s Fixer Upper? Who is Joanna Gaines and what the hell did I tell everyone I was buying?

Shiplap refers to a style of building material made of wood boards that overlap each other. No, not in the form of making a ship but in the form of wood pieces being nailed up on a wall like a barn. Go ahead – Pinterest search: shiplap. It’s bringing the look of a barn indoors. Some woman named Joanna Gaines from a show called Fixer Upper made it popular.

Shiplap has nothing to do with ships or fishing or getting drunk on the high seas with a lover. Nope. Any reference to fishing and shiplap makes zero sense to anyone that is not a dumbass. I don’t have one wall in my house that is shiplap. How can I be a shiplap lover if I don’t have shiplap? I love fishing and Scott not Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper what the hell? Is that what I’m declaring now? My love for a television show that made shiplap popular?

Not only did my girlfriends probably think to themselves, what the hell was Julie talking about? But Scott called me out on it too. The employee at the store in the West Bottoms probably thought, this dumbass is buying a turquoise starfish with a shiplap sign. Every person I have ever fished with is sitting on their phone and laughing at my anchor, a turquoise starfish and shiplap lover. HGTV viewers, Joanna Gaines and interior designers everywhere are thinking, but those are rocks on her wall. Where’s the shiplap?

What makes something funny?

My dumbass.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Scott quit the PTA.

The Pinterest Mom.

Damn her.

She has the best school party games. She has the best school party crafts. No peanut butter allowed? That’s not a problem because she knows exploding slime will be better than a small package of peanut M&Ms. The teachers adore her. The polite moms roll their eyes behind her back. But her friends will say it out loud in front of her –

“Julie’s basically the adorable parent equivalent of teacher’s class pet.”

I didn’t mean to become the Pinterest mom. It just happened.

You guys, it’s not hard to be the Pinterest mom when all you have to do is steal ideas from Pinterest. I never add my own projects. I just steal. I can’t possibly be teacher’s parent pet. My kids don’t make straight As and they’re in elementary school.

I mean, if you were a kid at your class Valentine’s Day party craft table – would you rather color a coloring page or chisel a Cupid’s arrow from a stick I collected from my backyard? I’m kidding. We didn’t chisel Cupid’s arrow.

I should pin that. 

I was in charge of bringing a craft to Kate’s Valentine’s class party. I decided on No-Sew Felt Heart Pillows.

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Boom. Easy. Tie knots. Stuff. Tie knots again. Too girly for the boys? Nope – I’ll buy camo print felt. Stuff it, kids.

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That one heart took me two hours.

I asked Scott for help.

Me: Will you help me with these felt hearts? Just cut little snips around the edge and you knot. Like this.

Scott: Sure.

Scott cut two hearts.

Scott: Where’s the box cutters? These scissors are dull.

Scott opened the Hobby Lobby bag and pulled out the receipt.

Me: Oh, you don’t need to look in….

Scott: Fifty dollars!

Shit.

Me: Actually, it’s $40. The other $10 is for Kate’s school project.

Scott: Does the school pay you back?

Me: Are you serious?

Scott: Do the parents pay you back?

Me: Um, where have you been the past six years? No. The craft person is financially responsible for the craft. Especially since I’m a stay-at-home mom. Even though I’m really a work-from-home mom.

Scott: That makes no sense.

Me: Oh, you know. It’s easier for a stay-at-home mom to do these type of things than the moms that work outside the home.

Scott: Well that’s bullshit. So just because you’re at home, you have to pay? What the hell?

Me: I can’t believe you are just now realizing this. I volunteered, ok? Just help me. Please. Kate’s your kid too.

Don’t tell him this will take two hours for one pillow. Don’t tell him this will take two hours for one pillow.

It took Scott ten minutes to finish two ties.

Scott: Like this?

Me: Yep.

Scott: Oh, hell no.

Me: You’ll get a groove. Just keep going. They’ll be cute.

Scott: This is bullshit. How many of these do we have to do?

Me: Well, I got enough for 30 kids. I think 22 or 23. I’ll have to ask Kate.

We continued knotting for an hour.

Me: So you’ll get to the middle like this and leave the rest for the kids to finish and stuff.

Scott: So you want the kids to knot half a heart.

Me: Yeah, but we only have about six minutes with the stations.

Scott: Well, that ain’t happening. It took me an hour to do half a heart.

Me: Your fingers are chubby, maybe.

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Scott: This is a horrible project.

Me: It looked cute on Pinterest. I can’t return the felt. I cut all 60 hearts.

Scott: Are you kidding me?!

Me: I’m a good room mom! These are adorable!

Scott: No wonder Cody said you’re the teacher’s parent pet. You’re a teacher’s dream mom.

Me: No, I’m not! It’s Pinterest! Pinterest is the pet. And this is turning into my first Pinterest fail.

Scott: THANK YOU. FAILING. CORRECT.

Me: I just want the kids to have a good party. I remember making the cutest crafts when I was a kid. Ornaments, hand print projects, bird feeders…

Scott: I don’t remember any of my class parties. The kids will be fine.

Me: Fine, room dad. What should my craft be?

Scott: Let them sit at the table and talk to each other.

Me: That’s a terrible idea.

Scott: Ok, take the kids on a field trip outside and first person to find a heart-shaped cloud wins a piece of candy.

Me: Scott.

Scott: Throw a bunch of candy on the table and tell them every man for themselves.

Me: Come on.

Scott: Tell them to color a heart on their hand. We’re not paying for another craft.

Me: I said I would help Cody. She’s the room mom. I don’t mind. I want the kids to have fun.

Scott: You tell those other lazy-ass parents to step up and help. You’re not doing this anymore.

Me: Oh, they’ll love that psycho email. “Hey! It’s Julie! Kate’s mom. You guys are a bunch of lazy-asses. Screw all of you for not volunteering the craft. Now your kid will look for a heart-shaped cloud, color a heart on their hand and then attack classmates for candy thrown on the table.”

Scott: Then tell the teachers to do their jobs. I’ll send an email. I don’t care.

I gasped.

Me: WHOA! WHOA. Ok, this is NOT the teacher’s responsibility. The parents have always organized the class parties, like, for the past 30 years. You can’t say a word to the teacher.

Scott: See? Teacher’s parent pet. You’re a Pinterest mom. Nope. I’m done.

I ended up drawing a tree with bare limbs on a canvas. The kids inked their fingerprints to fill in the leaves of the tree. My sister wrote the teacher’s name on the bottom in calligraphy. I purchased the canvas and ink at an undisclosed price in fear of Scott reading this.

The class finished the craft.

And Scott quit the PTA.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Top Gun pumpkins.

October 23rd.

It’s the time of year Scott yells at me for carving the pumpkins too early.

Scott has no idea what it’s like to be me in October. Scott sees a bunch of pumpkins on our porch. He might let the kids throw some camo paint on them. He may even look at them as food.

I see blank canvases every time I pull into the driveway. It’s torture. Not to sound psychotic, but to totally sound psychotic because it is the season, I stood in my kitchen with a knife imaging myself taking that first stab. I am an artist. I couldn’t hold it any longer. I felt like Michelangelo the first time he saw the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo is smiling down on that Top Gun, Ice Man volleyball scene pumpkin. We all are, Mike.

 

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It was the first time I “skinned” a pumpkin to make facial features. Ice Man, you look so different in the light.
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Whoa – Maverick has boobs this year.

 Have you carved your pumpkins yet? What do you carve? Would you like a hand? Don’t mind my throbbing and bleeding thumb – it is the season.

The more you know.

This isn’t a planned post.

I love it when life sends me a blog-worthy jewel to share.

You guys, I cannot even make this up.

Scott and I lead separate lives during the fall. He hunts. And I mindlessly escape from life on Pinterest: the humor section. It’s the land of my people.

A pin goes through my feed. Pinned by my friend, Carmen –

...

Hmm. I don’t get it. I should ask Carmen what this means. 

Comment by Amanda: Bahahaha. That’s hilarious.

Comment by Carmen: I know, right?! Can’t stop laughing.

Doesn’t matter, had sex. Doesn’t matter. Had sex. How is this funny? Well, now I have to ask. 

Comment by me: I don’t get it? Am I dumb?

Comment by Carmen: She bit his head off … that’s what a female praying mantis does after or during sex … typical male … “doesn’t matter. Had sex.”

Comment by me: Ohhhhh! Ok, I get it now. I didn’t know the females did that. Hahahaha.

 

———

12 hours later.

Text message from Scott:

I got bit by this.
I just got bit by this.

 

Welcome back to Bug Bytes, Scott.

 

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I found my twin on Pinterest.

I’m traveling back home today from Florida. Here is a short little Monday post for you to ponder until I return to Kansas.

Text message conversation with my friend, Heather:

Me: I found this on Pinterest. Does this girl look like me with short hair?

It's not really me.
 

Heather: Hahaha. NO! 

Me: Put down the wine and really look. This looks JUST LIKE ME.

Heather: I don’t think you look like her at all.

Me: I’ll text my siblings. If anyone knows my face, it will be the ones that share my genes.

Ok, one didn’t respond. One said sort of. One said yes. I don’t know what to make of this vote. I’ll ask Scott.

Ugh. Scott said not really.

What is wrong with you people? Don’t you see my face is floating around Pinterest without my permission!! LOL

LOOK!
The REAL Julie.

Oh look, she morphs.

Oh. Great.
Heather – I am Austin Powers.

3 Things.

Two things on my mind.

1. Christmas music/decorations – I am one of those people that start listening to Christmas music as soon as Halloween is over. I was searching frantically through the stations in the car on November 1st. I didn’t hear one Christmas song. I call my mom in a panic. She didn’t hear any either. My sisters said there was nothing on in Tulsa or St. Louis. I get on the internet and find out that one of the stations will start the day after Thanksgiving. Damnit! The Scrooges won! My husband is one of those people, a Scrooge. He probably called in and yelled about skipping Thanksgiving. Ugh. People. Is it so bad? You can change the station you know. I’m sure your life won’t be drastically altered if you can’t listen to the regular soft rock programming – which I highly doubt you listen to anyway. That vast majority of Christmas music is Christian music. How can you have so much hate for it? The holidays are called the holidays-with-an-s for a reason! We’re celebrating Thanksgiving at my house this year with Scott’s side of the family. We are also celebrating Christmas since the real Christmas will be spent with my family. You can bet my house will be fully decorated down to the last strand of tinsel. My lights are already up outside (but not on, mostly b/c I’m scared of our homeowners association). I will be blasting “Sounds of the Season” from my TV. Emma will be belting out the high notes to “O Holy Night” for everyone to hear. And Kate will be running around, probably naked – like the baby Jesus himself. Christmas music makes me happy. My rant is off my chest now.

2. Pinterest – When I’m bored I go to this website. I make room in my schedule to be bored. Ok, fine…I waste my time. But I wouldn’t really say completely wasting. As a mom of two young girls, I have found this website is a tremendous tool. It has everything: decorating kids rooms, recipes (maybe a little bit too much on the dessert though), games/playdate ideas with kids, diy projects for around the house, inspirational quotes. I can’t really describe it other than it’s like looking at a magazine with no articles or ads. Or looking at a google image search but way more organized. I have caved on the whole “Elf on a Shelf” thing based off the adorable ways to hide the elf.

 

How cute are these?!

I’m just glad my phone doesn’t have an app for pinterest. Uh, watch out iPhone users – you do have one. I’m trying to use it more as a tool (Christmas gift ideas, teacher gift ideas, Thanksgiving recipes) than just randomly going through page after page. I’ll try harder once the newness of it has gone down.

3. Scott’s hunting friends are back for a week (so they say). It’s better this year with the bigger house. They are sleeping in the unfinished basement on air mattresses. Not looking forward to the deer va-jay-jay juice smell. Hope they like Christmas music in November.