Disjointed Friday musings

by Jessie K on December 18, 2014

Serial ends today. I’ve been following since the first day it aired though I fear the finale may be a bit of a letdown because the threads of the story followed up on so far haven’t really led to anything more illuminating than what led to Adnan’s original conviction.  I hope to be wrong.

Can someone please tell me when exactly normal jeans starting costing upwards of $200?

Katie turned one on 12/13/14…and there was a meteor shower that night. I knew she was special. I had plans of taking away her bottle in exchange for a sippy cup promptly on that day, like I did with June, but Katie doesn’t appear to be ready to part with it.


My mother-in-law came down for the weekend to give me a break and watch the girls and I ended up going out with some childless friends until 2 a.m. Friday and — check it — 4 a.m. Saturday. I didn’t think that was possible in a small town but turns out it is (key component: hanging out with childless friends who like to party). It was all good clean fun: alcohol, dancing, laughing, ending up in a dog pile on the cold ground in the backyard watching the meteors. It was very fun and only slightly awkward.

Jake comes home for Christmas for two weeks tomorrow. We’ve been missing each other fierce. I cannot wait to see him.

I have to dress June up as a snowman for her first official holiday show tomorrow. The pressure!

Okay, I’m off to listen to the final podcast of Serial.

UPDATE: Serial went down like I thought it would: anticlimactic.


How to be a better holiday gift giver

by Jessie K on December 10, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATell me if this has ever happened to you: A relative gives you a fancy bottle of olive oil for the holidays. You’re all psyched. How did they know you liked artisanal olive oil from a remote coastal village in Italy? Such thoughtfulness. Such care. Such consideration. You turn the bottle over in your hand, marveling at its beauty, and see this…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s the remnant of one of those ghastly price stickers that are notoriously difficult to peel off from a discount chain like TJ Maxx, Marshalls or Home Goods.

Suddenly, the gorgeous bottle of olive oil seems slightly less special. Slightly less luxurious. You infer that it was more than likely chosen in haste during a drive by of the knick knack-slash-chocolate aisle at TJs because the relative didn’t know what the heck else to give you and it only cost $5.99 (marked down from $30, according to the claim on the sticker). And she needed some underwear.

So my advice during this holiday season: If you plan to give a luxe tchotchke from the likes of TJs, Marshalls, et al, make sure that damn sticker comes all the way off. And not just the paper part. The glue too. The glue is the dead giveaway. The glue is what says, I came for the Jessica Simpson underwear, I left with a cheap bottle of olive oil. (Not that I would know anything about this [heavy cough]).


You might as well preserve the illusion you dropped coin on the recipient. No one wants to feel like a TJ reject.

The only surefire way I’ve found of removing it is to squirt some Goo Gone on a rag and rub the bejesus out of it. I’ve also heard rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover works well. But be careful or you might rub away the fancy label too. Then it’ll just look like you found the olive oil behind a tree, or something.

I’m wondering, do YOU have any similar tips or advice for making dollar store merch look Neimen Marcus? Or any great regifting stories to share? Tis the season!



November wasn’t my month, which is why I haven’t been blogging or doing much of anything except trying to keep my head above water, what with Jake being gone and me being home alone with the two little guys for a year.

It all caught up to me in November, capped by the day June, Katie and I cruised into Walmart to buy some stuff and June immediately started complaining about feeling nauseous. I picked her up and put her in the cart so she could lie down (you can do that when you’re four) and happened to pass a tower of those aluminum turkey roasting pans. I pulled a medium sized one off the shelf and handed it to her, telling her if she needed to throw up, do it in this.

No sooner had the words left my mouth did June grasp the pan and heave into it. I didn’t realize she had already passed the Code Red stage. It tried to play it cool as families sauntered around me, casually gaping at my child’s worst hour.

When she was finished, she handed me the roasting pan full of “choke,” as she calls it, and lay back down in the cart. I wasn’t quite sure my next move. I momentarily contemplated leaving it in Aisle 5 next to the Glade Plug-Ins but propriety compelled me to at least attempt to act like a responsible grown-up.

I decided to bring the tray to the front of the store to the restrooms. June threw up at the very rear of the store. Walmart, as you know, is colossal, a vast expanse of Great Values and Hamburger Helper. There was no room in the back of the cart for the tray; rather, June would not stand to be in such close proximity to it, so I had to carry the tray while pushing the cart to the front of the store.

I instinctively didn’t want passers-by to see what was in the tray so I held it aloft, like a deliveryman carrying a pizza. This would be a crafty move if I was a tall person. I’m only 5’3 1/2 so anyone over lilliputian height could see all the mucky slosh in the tray.

I made it to the front of the store where I parked the cart right in front of the ladies room (I wasn’t about to deal with unloading both kids at this particular moment), ran inside and flushed June’s gift down the toilet. I then turned and jammed the roasting pan into the garbage receptacle along the wall. I smoothed my hair before exiting the bathroom.

I pushed my cart over to the nearest empty check out station and tried to explain the situation to the cashier. “So…uh… I need to pay for everything that’s in here, in my cart, except for this aluminum roasting pan that my daughter spewed in….that’s in the trash. In the ladies room.”

She looked confused.”Uh, lemme call a manager over, will ya?”

A manager, a female, came over. I attempted to explain the situation again. I think she could just see the coming meltdown wafting from my being because she looked at me, waved her hand, and said, “Go. Just go.”

It was like she was saying, “Been there. Done that. Cleaned it.”

She knew what I was going through. I’ve never been so grateful to a box store manager in my life.

(I did have to pay for all the other stuff in my cart first though. The aluminum roasting pan was on the house.)



10 Secret Perks of Parenthood

by Jessie K on November 10, 2014


Search Pinterest for “mom inspiration” and the first thing you’ll see is a whole bunch of quotes about why it’s wonderful to be a parent: You become more patient, less selfish, your heart grows by leaps and bounds, you strengthen your family bonds, blah, blah, blah.

Those are all well and good, but they don’t portray the whole story. There are a lot of other parenthood perks that never make their way into artfully framed wall art. Since Pinterest and its platitudes won’t provide this insight, I will. Here are ten bonus reasons why it really rules to hear yourself called Mom or Dad.

Continue reading here. 


I thought repairing it would make it look better

by Jessie K on October 30, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith Jake gone, I’m Mrs. Fix-It. When something in this house breaks, I attempt to repair it, “attempt” being the crucial word. Our house is strewn with all sorts of little objects in need of mend. I can’t fix anything except dinner, and even that lately has been Tator Tots.

The other night, one of the jewels on June’s Elsa crown for Halloween fell off. I attempted to glue it back on. I used Gorilla Glue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis turned out to be a big mistake. It appears that Gorilla Glue foams. A lot. June is going to have the only foaming crown out there on the streets of Elsa of Arendelle tomorrow night.

I relay this little story for your own knowledge — in the event you find yourself in a similar situation: Don’t use Gorilla Glue for mending crowns. June will just have to deal with it. I couldn’t pry that sucker off if I tried.


Halloween treat

by Jessie K on October 29, 2014

IMG_8514This is the second time I’ve made these Surprise Pumpkin Treats for Halloween. They’re pretty gross — food dye, Walmart “Crisp Rice” cereal, green frosting, green gum drop, wrapped around a chocolate-y center — yet I’ve managed to polish off two. I’m thinking about a third.

IMG_8512The under 5 crowd love ‘em.

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It’s not you, it’s just your face

by Jessie K on October 28, 2014


A perfect Halloween cocktail for a bigger town

by Jessie K on October 28, 2014


My friend Accacia just emailed me a most enticing cocktail recipe from Bon Appetit to try for Halloween: The Melting Olaf. It’s billed as a libation for parents who’ve seen “Frozen precisely 14 times too many.” Ding! Ding! Ding!

Like countless other little ladies this Halloween, June will be going as her guide in all matters magical, Elsa of Arendelle. I picked up the last itchy, scratchy remnant of flammable tulle otherwise known as an Elsa dress at Walmart for $19. For another $10, I ordered an Elsa scepter and crown. The gloves, we will have to improvise.

How I would love to take her Trick Or Treating quaffing this cocktail yet I have a feeling Aquavit and St. Germain are not available within 30 miles of this here town.

Figures. I suppose I can settle for a  more regional sip. 

(Photography: Andrew Lau for Bon Appetit.)


October beach weekend

by Jessie K on October 28, 2014

IMG_8498I had a revelation over the weekend. Going to the beach in October is the best. I took the girls to Virginia Beach over the weekend with some friends and had a great time. Clear skies, hot weather, cold beer, tepid water, zero crowds and a crazy affordable Airbnb. I highly recommend it. The area to stay, according to those in the know, is Sandbridge.

P.S. Some of you have mentioned you can no longer read the comments. My technical wizard, my Father,  is working on that. Hope to have it fixed soon.

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No, thank you

by Jessie K on October 24, 2014


Yesterday while walking the dog, I came upon a woman in a field. Her husband was up the hill, chain sawing fire wood. She sat down at the fence line and between spits of sunflower seeds and sips of Diet Mountain Dew, proceeded to tell me a story about one of her coworkers at the interstate rest area where she works. The coworker, a guy who had just turned 26, had been making crystal meth in the maintenance shed at the rest area. She said he’d come to work, clock in, then disappear in the shed for hours. She thought this was suspicious, but didn’t concern herself with it.

The discovery of his illicit side business was made after he’d inadvertently caused a chemical explosion during the cook and burnt to death in the most horrific way imaginable: on fire, covered in acid and locked inside the maintenance shed at a public rest area.

She said she got a glimpse of the inside of the shed after the incident, littered with charred Draino bottles and cold medicine containers, smears of blood on the walls.

As she told me this story, she sat in the dirt and grasped the fence. The whine of her husband’s chain saw could be heard 50 yards away. Her husband called to her. She had to go. Before she got up, she told me she couldn’t stop thinking about the fate of the man’s two little girls, both under the age of 5.

There are a lot of reasons for not doing crystal meth, but this one ranks high. Not only is this drug being made by bathroom attendants at public rest areas (I’m going to guess his sanitary standards were not exceedingly high), but two little girls are left without a father. Such a travesty.