The Humiliation Series: Memoirs of a 5th Grade Spy

Hi friends. We are friends, right? Who stand by each other through thick and thin? For better or worse? Even though one of us might be more than a little loco? Okay, remember that as you read on.

BFF

I’d like to introduce you to a very important part of my childhood.

I found it a few days ago in a box full of old keepsakes and miscellaneous junk. As soon as I caught a glimpse of that black and white splattered cover, ominously peeking out from beneath some photos, I let out a quiet gasp and whispered, “Oh no…”

You see, back in elementary school, I was a tad obsessed with the movie Harriet the Spy.

I remember sitting in the theater and wondering why I hadn’t come up with the idea spying on everyone. It was brilliant! Harriet was my hero. I took mental notes while watching it and knew immediately I wanted to have my own notebook to write down all the very important things my very silly 5th grade self discovered. I begged my mom to buy me this notebook as soon as we got out of the theater. I was a spy, called to action. This was my destiny.

I started by giving a warning to whoever might try to sneak a peek into my private notes.

Do you feel threatened yet? That kind of gave me some spine tingles.

Over the next hundred pages, stuff got real. This thing started filling up quick… there was just so much vital knowledge I had to document!

I even spied on my then-seven year old brother.

You obviously can’t read that crap because 11 year old me used pencils LIKE A CHILD. What kind of a crappy spy… anyway. Let me translate:

SPY TIME!

Daniel – I’m hiding in his closet, waiting for him to return to his room. He’s looking for me now.

He’s in his room, burping! GROSS! He’s talking to himself and singing “Wild Thing.”

(He’s still singing!)

He’s making squishy noises in his mouth. GROSS!!

Oh, no! He caught me!

CIA, if you’re looking for a new agent with exceptional sneaky skills, you know where to find me.

I’ve gone through the entire notebook and have chosen several more pages to share with you all. Unfortunately, my top secret Spice Girls files, my stalker-status shrine I dedicated to my 6th grade crush, “The Invention Zone” and multiple drawings of my Tamagotchi will have to wait until another day. Until then, here’s something for you, my dear BFF.

(You remembered you still love me right? Because things are about to get weirder.)

 

More money saving tips, courtesy the freakshows on TLC and my baby brother.

OKAY. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN TLC’S NEWEST DEMENTED WEIRDNESS DOCUMENTARY ENTITLED, EXTREME CHEAPSKATES, YOU HAVE TO DO IT NOW. CAPS NECESSARY.

A friend of mine was telling me about this show and how much I would love it/hate it/barf when I watched it, so I set that thing to record and finally got around to watching the horrors last night. Have you seen it? DID YOU GAG? I mean, I gagged, at least 45 times during the goat head segment alone. Okay, I’ll stop being all vague and explain.

The episode highlighted 5 or so people who are extremely consumed with the idea of saving money. I’m not ragging on them for trying to be frugal, it’s just the lengths they go to save VERY little are just… I don’t even know. Watch this clip about a lady who doesn’t buy toilet paper for her family. Keep an eye out for the STAINS.

You saw the stains, right? gaggfaklsdjf;alksdfjgag

There’s also a guy who goes dumpster diving for funsies and collects a bunch of random crap to give his wife for their anniversary. Like, he actually presented the gifts to her while they were out to dinner in a ceremonious fashion, right before he asked the other dining patrons if he could have their leftover food. Classy fella, that one. What exactly would you do if your husband gave you an old tea kettle with mysterious dumpster stains on it? I was asked this same question, and I can honestly say I would first beat him over the head with said kettle, then promptly drown myself in the moldy dumpster water it contained. There’s… there’s just no point.

So after Justin and I watched the show, we were so inspired by all the people who could think outside of the box that we started coming up with our own winning money saving ideas. It’s our new thing now, and our goal is to make our ideas as gross as possible. I’ll be washing dishes and Justin will come in and be all, “I have another good one. Clean all your old hair out of the drains, dry it out, then use it to stuff pillows for the couch!” And I’ll be like, “Why don’t we rinse out that bag the hotdogs came in and I can carry my makeup in it!”

Today I was hanging out with my brother and he came up with some pretty inventive ones too.

Old grapefruit peel as a key catcher on your entry table.
Old shoe becomes the perfect charging station! (Notice the cord running through the hole? I die.)
Soda can vase... a frugal gift for that special someone.
Don't throw away that toothpaste tube! Cut off the end and you have a glasses case. (Thanks for the high fashion model pose, bro.)

 

It’s all about upcycling, people. Now go find that show and watch it.

My Journaling Experience

I have a slight obsession with journals, notebooks and diaries. If I’m out shopping and happen to see one with even a semi-cute cover, I snatch it up like it’s going outta style.

There’s something fun about the prospect of filling each page with all my thoughts and being able to look back and read it as I grow older.  I always imagine sitting down on a bench in a charming little park and being inspired to write all this cool intellectual stuff and being all poetic and deep-thinkerish. And then 60 years down the road, my grandchildren will find a dusty old stack of books up in the attic and curiously open them, read them cover to cover, stopping only to wipe the glistening tears from their eyes as they realize what an amazing woman their grandmother was and how their grandpa should have helped her dust the apartment and let her buy more shoes because she really really wanted that pink pair from J. Crew and she deserved them for all the whiny crap she put up with, dang it.

That’s what I imagine every time I purchase a new one. I have some meaningful goals in life.

The truth is that when my new journal and I come home from the store, we have great intentions, but aren’t usually able to have our long chat at the park for quite a while. One day when there’s a quiet moment, I’ll realize, “Hey, I haven’t sat down to write with an actual pen in months! This is going to be fun!” Then I find a good pen that writes smoothly, sit down with a latte and practice signing my name in cursive for 3 pages.

When that gets old, I doodle a little.

Morgan + Justin = true ♥ 4 eva

I ♥ J.G.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Then I’ll perfect my generic 5 petaled flower, draw an intricate cluster of moons and stars and maybe play a game of MASH or two.

I was never a very good doodler.

Next page is usually the grocery list. Then my to-do list for the week. Slowly, but surely, I warm myself up to writing a true, honest-to-goodness sentence.

Somewhere in the middle of the book, I’ll open to a clean page and begin to really write. “I bought this new notebook in an attempt to document my thoughts and feelings and hopefully keep myself a bit sane. Here goes…”

  • Recent, life-changing events: “I had two babies! They’re awesome.”
  • Smaller events and confessions: Justin and I went on a date last night and I ate way too much and am still really bloated. It’s gross.”
  • Large and quite vague personal goals: “I need to do something meaningful with my life.”
  • Deeper, more specific goals: “After this, I’m taking all my clothes to Goodwill and then I’ll do 30 push-ups. Any maybe I’ll stop saying holy crap so much.”
  • General Realizations: “There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done.”
  • Detailed, passive-aggressive realizations that morph into extremely emotional, aggressive ranting: “Our friends are coming over at 6:00 tonight and I still haven’t cleaned this disgusting place. If only I had just a liiiiiittle help from someone I’m married to. Gah, I don’t get any help around this place. No one appreciates me. I should just stop worrying about it because nothing’s ever going to change. Not to mention, this place is tiny and cramped and small there’s no room to breathe with all this junk piled everywhere and no one helps me clean it! NO ROOM TO BREATHE. CAN’T BREATHE. GASPING. Holy crap, I’m stressed. All I want are a pair of pink heels from J. Crew and someone to help me dust all my crap every once in a while. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!?”

Without fail, I become terrified that another pair of eyes might see these crazy rantings. In order to fix their perception of me, I’ll end the entry with something like, “but I’m just PMS-ing or something, haha! I’m usually very chipper and happy, go ask anyone! No really, go ask.”

I close the journal and hide it in a place where no one will be able find it. If one day, my grandchildren happen upon a box of old dusty notebooks, they’re going to think I was one insane woman with some jacked up personality disorder and an unhealthy pink shoe fetish. But at least I ♥’d their grandpa, even if he didn’t help me dust the living room.

The time I cried in the arms of a Fresh & Easy employee

I seem to talk about these adventurous/stressful trips to the store and such pretty often (or maybe it just seems that way to me because I complain all the time), but seriously, this one tops them all. It was one of those days where you swear there’s a camera crew following you around, ready to jump out from behind a tree and yell, “SMILE! You’re on candid camera!”, then you laugh and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that everything was going horribly wrong for an actual reason and you’re able to walk away from it… but then that moment never comes so you just settle into the fact that your day is just all around sucky and ridiculous on it’s own and decide to go whine about it on your blog. SO YEAH. That’s what this is.

The morning started out swimmingly (never actually used that word before and not sure I’m a fan, looks weird, moving on though), with two happy kids in the backseat and a latte in mom’s hand. Err, CUP HOLDER. Cops, don’t shoot. Is it just me that feels like I’m breaking the law any time I’m holding something in my hand while driving? Ever since the no texting law… nevermind. Anyway, birds were singing, caffeine was coursing through the veins, I was about to buy myself a new sump’n sump’n at Target. It was a good morning.

“Say, Jack! Why don’t we put you in the big boy seat in the shopping cart today? You’re able to sit on your own about 2% of the time… THIS SOUNDS LIKE A VERY SMART IDEA!” (was not.)

“Here, I’ll help you balance your gigantic 22 pound body with my left hand, hold my steaming hot coffee in my right hand, keep your sister from standing up in the back of the cart with my silent scary mom glare and push the cart with… umm, my hip! This’ll work!” (did not.)

“Okay. There are 3 clearance racks to look through. Shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. I’ll hold you, but calm down the drama and stop punching me in the neck. And Maddie: silent scary mom glare.”

You get the idea. I spent a total of 20 minutes in Target, but by the time I pushed through the exit doors I was sweating like I just ran 10 miles. I switched Maddie to the front of the cart, held Jack, switched Maddie to the back again, rocked Jack and fed him a bottle in the makeup aisle while picking out a new mascara. At one point, I had both kids in my arms and was pushing the cart, yes, with my hip. That’s almost 60 pounds of kid… suddenly, all that sweating makes perfect sense.

There was one more stop to make before going back home to rock back and forth in the fetal position. I had to go to Fresh & Easy for a few little things and knew it wouldn’t take long or be nearly as rough as Target had been. Sure enough, the little shopping trip went without a hitch. I ate some chips and salsa samples and saved money with my coupon. Smiles all around. Out to the car we go…

Keys. Keyskeyskeys. Not in the pocket. Not in the cart. Not in the purse. Not on the pavement where I dumped entire contents of the purse. Back into the store we go. Long story short, I had every employee in the place combing each aisle for my car keys. One sweet lady helped me retrace my steps while I held back tears. No one ever found the keys.

The same lady helped me back outside to look around my car again. I circled the car, looked underneath, and just out of habit I tried opening the door. IT WAS UNLOCKED. There, in the freaking ignition, were my keys. I just started bawling and the woman hugged me. I felt SO stupid for making all those people stop and help me when the keys were right there the entire time. I apologized and said, “I was so focused on my horrible morning… I can’t believe I did that to everyone.” She just said, “Don’t worry about it, hun. You’re a mama and need to go easy on yourself.”

As she walked back into the store, I wiped the tears from my face and loaded up the kids and groceries. While I agree that I should be more easy on myself, more than anything I need to be working on not feeling so sorry for myself all the time. Stuff goes wrong. Kids go crazy in public. People get annoyed with you. It’s all bound to happen! But at the end of those crazy days, I need to remember that I’m doing all this because I want to. I’m so lucky to be home with my kids, and even if I end up sweaty and crying and snotty in public every single day, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Okay, no snot. Everything else though.