I (Don’t) Got This

I’ve been a little silent since my announcement of the Easter bonnet competition last week, not because I’ve been gloating, (I have) but because last week was more than busy. My husband, Brantley, went to Memphis to work for a couple of days. The plan was that he would return home for three days, and then go back to Memphis for two more. However, his car broke down while he was there and the mechanic had to order parts to fix it. Instead of being gone for two days, he was gone for seven. This placed a major kink in my week.

As previously mentioned, Emma Nathews of Emily Dean Photography was coming into town to shoot more Awkward Smoking Pictures. (Be patient. You’ll see them soon.) Since Brantley wasn’t here to watch the offspring, I had to ship him to the grandparents mid-week. Maybe all kids are this way, but my son requires a pretty strict routine in order to maintain his, and my sanity. However, routine was nowhere to be found last week. Much like the shingles on my roof. 

A storm from the week before had blown away large sections of shingles. After calling our homeowners insurance company, they put us in touch with a roofer. I called Brantley in Memphis, “I need you to talk to the roofers. I’m not going to know what they’re talking about.” He interrupted, “Lori, I can’t do that. I’m busy. You can handle this. I know you can.” 

What was I thinking? Of course I could handle that. I’m Lori Wescott for crying out loud.

Imagine my surprise when the insurance adjuster told me that I had to use the specific roofing company that came out to do the estimate. “But, why?” I asked. “The roofer said five times that what he wanted me to sign WASN’T a contract.” Guess what? It was a contract. I’ll let you fill in the blanks on what happened next because it involves a lot of bad words. 

After a lengthy, ugly cry I picked myself up and shook it off. There was no time for crying. I had to prepare the house for company. About thirty minutes prior to Emma’s arrival, I realized that I had forgotten to put fresh-cut flowers in the guest room. Our guest room is drab and a little cramped, so I always do my best to punch it up with some fresh cut flowers, a new issue of Us Weekly or People, and some candy. I had done none of this. 

I called my next-door neighbor, the flower whisperer, and asked if I could cut some flowers from her yard. She told me that she really didn’t have anything vase-worthy at the time, so I decided to use what I had in my own yard- one sad little patch of Johnny Jump-Ups with one inch stems. They would have to do. 

About an hour later I got a text from the flower whisperer saying she had left a spring bud vase on my porch that I could sneak up to the guest room. She must have had a gut feeling that my version wouldn’t be up to par.

Bet you’ll never guess which vase was created by me.

The phrase, “Nailed it,” comes to mind.

Woes From The Salt Mines

Throughout my years as a writer, I’ve maintained my nursing license by working part-time, here and there at a clinic. However, due to some recent and, ahem, sudden staffing shortages, I’ve been needed on a more routine basis. I could use the money and am happy to help, so it works out well. I only have one complaint. Working is hard, y’all. 

This is such a news flash that CNN is bound to pick up this article at anytime.

My mantra has always been, “Don’t work too hard,” and I’m proud to say I’ve stuck to that principle, until recently. I’ve been working about three days a week at the clinic. On my off days at home I write music reviews for the paper, and do my best to keep my blog current. Then there’s my husband who follows me around asking questions all the time like, “Lori, what do you want for dinner?” and, “Lori, do you have any whites that need to be washed?” Omg! I can’t make every decision by myself!! 

Could you feel the sarcasm there? Yeah, my husband is kind of awesome. He works about fifty hours a week AND does all of the laundry. On his days off he cooks dinner. He’s a grat Dad and is kind of, really attractive. You know what else? He doesn’t complain. I can’t believe he’s still married to me, either. 

When I got home from work the other night I walked in on him having a conversation with Luke (4).

Luke: “Dad, tell me a spooky story.”
Brantley: “It was a dark and stormy night when the power went out. Suddenly, the lightning flashed. It lit up our dark bedroom and I saw someone standing there. It was your Mom, and she didn’t have any makeup on!!” 
Then, they both screamed and Luke laughed so hard he fell out of his chair. 

So I’m working on getting over myself and becoming a better multi-tasker. I will close with a conversation I had with one of my patients this week.

Patient: “It smells weird in here.”
Me: “Yeah, that’s my body. I emit an odor when I’ve worked close to eight hours in a row.”

Pinterest, Parties, and Pearls: Elle Turns One

Last month I turned thirty-three and discovered my first gray hairs, but I didn’t lose my cool. It sounds strange, but I feel as though I earned every one of those little gray babies. I’m getting old and I’m ok with it.

Here’s the part where I reflect.

I don’t regret many of my young-life decisions because they taught me a great deal, but if I could go back and change just one thing what would it be? Would it be to have more patience, or compassion? Would it be to work harder? No, if given the chance I would throw a better first birthday party for my son and it would be epic.

Just three years ago we threw Luke’s first birthday party. At the time, I remember thinking it was pretty boss. (Do the cool kids still say that?) Then, last week we went to a relative’s first birthday party that was complete with every Pinteresting detail imaginable. In walked regret complete with tutu and pearls.

I came home and sifted through old photos determined to find something from that first birthday that would be of equal or greater value to what I had just witnessed. This is what I found.

The photo quality is poor because it was probably taken on a four, or five-year-old camera phone (add to list of regrets), but the sentiment isn’t lost. There stands my better half groping the bosom of a cardboard cut-out at our only son’s Hawaiian luau-themed first birthday party. 

Why don’t you look at some other pictures while I snot-bubble cry, okay?

Drum roll, please. I give you…
Elle’s First Birthday
-Love a nice entry-
-This is mostly where I hung out-
-Beautiful cake, but also note that no one is being groped in these photos-
-clipped to the blinds were “A Year of Firsts” in photo-
-Pearl detail on the refreshment bin-
-The only time at the party that she didn’t act like a lady involved cake-
Is it wrong to want a do-over kid just so I can throw a better party for him/her? I’m sure kids are born every day for worse reasons than that. Quick! Someone tie my tubes!!

Post-Valentine Confession

Now that Valentine’s day is over I can stop pretending that I have a perfect marriage and tell you what happened the week before. Ermahgerd!!

So ok, I got really mad at Brantley Wescott two weeks ago, and I can’t remember the details right now, but trust me that he was being a total douche. I know I have it all written down in text messages to my friends. Hang on while I look it up. Here it is. (Oh, Jesus take the wheel! I’m angry again!!)

He wasn’t being a good communicator and he said, “Shut-up,” to me.

I’m not kidding. I was furious.

Later on, but before he apologized (that detail is crucial), I ran errands that landed me near in proximity to Green Hills Mall, specifically Nordstrom. I can honestly say that I’ve never been revenge shopping before, but I did it that day and it felt good. At least, until check out time when the girl ringing me up (who I realized by engaging in not-so-small talk with, is someone who I was almost related to by marriage, briefly, but still. Small world!!) said, “I need your address so I can send you a thank you note in the mail.” I asked her to forego the formality and just say it to my face, but she insisted and I wasn’t far enough along in my friendship/almost kin-ship with her to tell her that I was shopping on the down-low, not to mention my mail phobia. I mean, if I don’t know who licked it, or recognize the handwriting on the envelope, then it goes straight into the pile for Brantley to open. Because of this, I have an open mail policy with my husband, and there is a good chance of him intercepting said “thank you” note. Rats!!!

I then added that I’m a terrible liar, and that there was very little chance of making it through the day without spilling my own beans, anyway. Brantley always knows I’m lying because I have a tell. It consists of me speaking in a loud-monotone voice while gazing directly into his neck. I swear it’s like he’s in the CIA, or something. He always knows.

Anyway, a few days later this envelope came in the mail and it made me chuckle.

Clearly, it’s NOT from Nordstrom.

And The Tony For Best Improv Goes To…

Luke started acting classes at the Nashville Children’s Theater today. He’s a little outgoing so Brantley and I thought we’d throw him out there and see if we could get a return on our investment. Only time will tell. In the meantime, it was fun watching him pretend to be different things as instructed by the teacher. At one point, however, Brantley did whisper in my ear, “He does this at home for free.” “Yeah he does,” I said. “But when we’re in a theater it’s art, so shut up.”

The teacher instructed the children to have a “pretend argument” with their parents over not wanting to take a bath. Luke’s argument was pretty solid, “Pirates don’t take baaafs,” but when Brantley didn’t back down Luke thumped him squarely on the nose. Knowing full well that no one had instructed them to become physical if the situation called for it, I teared up over having just witnessed my baby’s first ever improvisation. I was one proud Mama.

Note the perfect thumping form of his fingers.
Maybe he should play piano, instead…

On the way out I slipped the teacher a five and whispered, “Put us on the Bieber fast track to fame.” So be on the look out for that to happen within the next week.

Look Out Below

Today was a good day right up until 3:30pm when Luke “fell” off one of our bar stools leaving him with a bum foot. His reaction was quite dramatic, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the pain was that bad, or the time of day was bad. Around our house things usually fall apart around the four o’clock hour and go downhill until someone, anyone falls asleep.

On closer inspection I could see some swelling and bruising, so I deferred to someone with a little more education and phoned his pediatrician. She said to ice it and put a walking boot on him. We happened to have one handy because Luke fractured his foot a year or so ago. However, when I came at him with boot in hand, he expressed that he would have no part in it. He quickly hobbled over to his tricycle and pedaled away with one foot. The smart bad guys always have a getaway car handy. He was so fast it was hard to feel sorry for him.

I later told my friend about our afternoon and she reminded me of what happened in our home a couple of weeks ago. I hadn’t forgotten about poor Baxter because I’m still medicating him twice a day, but I certainly hadn’t considered there had been treachery afoot when the stool hit the floor.

You see, it was early-ish morning- the time of day that I like to parent from my bed. Luke was awake, had already created a path of destruction, and had accidentally let Baxter (our Yorkie) up the stairs. I asked Luke to make him go back downstairs and he complied. However, instead of shooing him down the way I do, he grabbed his collar and “helped” him down the stairs resulting in my first born (Baxter) tearing his ACL.

Now I can’t help but remember this afternoon when I was on one side of the counter, Luke and Baxter on the other, and wonder if Baxter gave that stool a nice shake with his good leg. It hasn’t been proven in a court of law and I hope it never has to be. I have no idea who I would side with.

After Luke and Baxter had limped off to bed I began plunging the toilet that Luke had earlier stopped up with hand towels. I couldn’t help wondering if I would be next. I feel a little bit like I have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. How will it happen? I’m guessing I’ll fall down the stairs and shatter my hip, although none of it matters as long as we keep Brantley healthy. He’s the reluctant leader of our motley crew. Very, very reluctant.


On the Road Again

Having the husband working out of town has become our new normal, and I have to say that I kind of hate it. Aside from the laundry piling up (Shut-up, I do it when I can) and the garbage can being full, I’m also left to solely take care of all these kids. The fact that Luke (4 yrs old) only takes up the space of one person is truly an optical illusion. I assure you that he is as busy as three or four full-grown adults.

This afternoon Brantley said goodbye (truthfully, I think he said, “Later.”) and hit the road. With one slam of the door the balance of power had shifted. Smelling my weakness, Luke quickly cut his eyes at me and gave me an upside down middle finger which landed him in an immediate time-out. (It may have been upside down, but the sentiment was the same.) I began vacuuming up a mess that had appeared almost out of thin air when he began shouting.

“Mom! Mom! Mom! Hey, Mom!”
I turned off the vacuum cleaner. “You aren’t supposed to be talking in time-out.”
“I have to tell you sumping so important.”
“What is it?”
“If I ever get my own free (three) pigs I’m going to name them Pinky, Brownie, and Crappy.”
“That’s wonderful.” I turned the vacuum cleaner back on, but again I was shut down.
“Mom! Hey Mom, is it polite to do this with my hand?” he asked making an “ok” symbol with his thumb and index finger.
“What about this one?” he said as he made an “I love you”symbol.
“Yes, that’s fine too. Now, be quiet.”
“And, what about this one?” he asked as he, yet again, mis-used his middle finger. By this point I was hot. My voice became raised.
“Stop that right now!”
“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I’m so, so sorry. I’m just making sure which one is ok to…”

At that point I turned the vacuum cleaner back on and went about my business thinking how Baxter had just moved up the family totem pole. Sure he has accidents in the house, but really, so does Luke. And, since dogs don’t have hands he could never give me the finger. Brantley might divorce me if he returned home and Luke was sleeping in the crate and Baxter was in his bed, but then again, maybe not.

(Hang up the phone. I’m not really going to do it. I’m just wallowing in my own self pity for a minute. It’s a right I get to exercise when I’m forced against my will into single parent-dom. But on the serious, I totally understand plural marriage now.)

All my kids

En Construcción

The Wescott home is undergoing some updates. We are replacing all of the floors upstairs which has rendered me unable to use my bathroom, and left me feeling somewhat displaced. In preparation, Brantley removed the toilets and placed them in the shower so the tile could be laid. He was very pleased with himself over having done this, and informed me of the situation by saying, “I have a surprise for you in the bathroom.” Finding a commode sitting in the spot where I normally clean myself is not my idea of a good surprise, but what do I know.

On second thought, having a commode IN the shower could really be a time saver.

To ensure that the workers do their very best job I am constantly forcing Gatorade and snacks on them. This, however, has led to several awkward encounters. Despite the fact that they all speak fairly good English I first communicated with them by shouting and doing sign language. Realizing how dumb that was, I then shook my head and quoted the Ricky Ricardo refrain, “Ay, ay, ay.” Later in the day when one of the men walked out the front door, Baxter used the opportunity to make a run for it. I’m sure they were impressed with my Spanish when, after retrieving him, I said that Baxter can be very “Andale.”

Brantley now asks that I leave the workers alone. It’s probably not a bad idea.