You made it! Here it is... the blog where you get to sit back and laugh at - or be completely horrified by - life with 5 kids, 2 parents, some frogs, a cat & a rabbit (and those are just the creatures we know about).


Wake N Shake

There's been a crazy phenomenon happening in my bed. And before you cringe, or warn me about where babies come from, it's not that kind of phenomenon.

PJ & I both suffer from issues with the snooze button. I can hit that button in my sleep every eight minutes and still manage to wake up an hour late. In order to combat my snooze issues I set not one, not two, but three alarms for the morning. One is on my actual alarm clock, and two alarms are set on my iPhone. I don't always sleep well, so getting up in the morning isn't super easy.

PJ is even worse than I am. He used to leave his alarm clock all the way across the room and still manage to oversleep. This man sleeps like the dead. He would either never hear the alarm or walk across the room, turn off the alarm, and resume sleeping like nothing ever happened. Obviously, this would make arriving to work at a decent time a real challenge. 

PJ decided that he needed to take drastic measures. So he got a new app for his iPhone. Enter the crazy phenomenon - Wake N Shake. This app is terrifying. And, while it works wonders getting my husband out of bed daily, it is making me strongly consider sleeping in a different bedroom.

Close your eyes and I'll describe the scene. Okay, don't close your eyes because then you can't read, but try to envision this:

  • You're sound asleep in your bed. All of a sudden, the scariest evil laugh you have ever heard starts echoing all around your room. (Why PJ chose this particular sound for the alarm really makes me question his sanity.) While you frantically try to figure out from where the evil laughter is coming (and how a murderous clown got into your bedroom), an earthquake hits. The bed begins to shake so violently, you're not sure whether your demise will be at the hands of the evil-laughing clown or the quake.

Lovely, right? Isn't that a beautiful way to arise from your slumber? Who needs chirping birds and the slowly rising sun when you can have evil laughter and earthquakes. The thing about the app that works for PJ is that you cannot turn off the alarm (scary, horrible, loud, evil laughing) until you violently shake your phone for a certain amount of time. The app refers to itself as the alarm clock with "no mercy." I'm just not sure what I ever did to deserve this. 
You can't stop shaking until you get to 100%. Not any wimpy shaking. You need to destroy that mother-effer.

Another added bonus: on those nights when I have insomnia, the stupid phone displays exactly how much time is left until it goes off. I get to look over at that asshole phone as it taunts me with "4h 20m till wake n shake."
So, while PJ has cured himself of sleeping through the alarm clock, I awake every day in terror. Please, help me. I'm a-scared.

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Do you have trouble getting up in the morning (there's an app for that)? Feel free to share your story in the comments below...


Snakes on the Cape

This post has been delayed by almost a month. After our crazy vacation and subsequent return to work, I haven't had a chance to write about it. Really, though. This blog can't go without a post about what happened on vacation. I've never actually seen the movie Snakes on a Plane. I am aware, however, that Samuel L. Jackson's famous line is something about the motherf*cking snakes on the motherf*cking plane. Well, what none of us knew about our summer vacation is that we were going to be starring in the sequel, Snakes on the Cape. And yes, there were motherf*cking snakes on the motherf*cking Cape.

Every summer, my in-laws rent a house for two weeks. Not only do they rent a place big enough for our family of seven (& our dog), but we also have my sister- & brother-in-law and their dog, Ditto and her dog, and Nana (who just turned 90 last week). It's quite a crowd. This year, they rented a place we have rented twice previously. It has plenty of bedrooms for a group our size, is dog-friendly, and the property has its own beach. We figured we were heading down to Cape Cod for two weeks of fun, sun, and relaxation. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to be the case.

When my father- & mother-in-law arrived Saturday, the owner was there to let them know there was a slight problem. Apparently, some type of animal had died inside the wall of the kitchen. The kitchen smelled like death. It was horrendous. But the owners were nice enough to discount the rent somewhat and promised that an exterminator would be out Monday morning to try to address the problem. Okay, we figured we could eat takeout for two nights and tolerate the smell long enough to make coffee and get snacks. No big deal. Although, I did have to move the dog's food to another room because he couldn't even be dragged into the kitchen. Evidently, he had more sense than the rest of us about what we were dealing with.

Monday morning, I was up very early making a cup of coffee. PJ and my father-in-law had gone up to the city for work, and I was in the kitchen by myself. The lovely stench of death had dissipated somewhat, so I was just patiently waiting in the kitchen for my coffee to brew. The dog ran into the kitchen, grabbed something off the floor, then ran into the dining room and dropped it. I walked over to see what he had, and saw a tiny snake slithering on the dining room floor. It couldn't have been more than six inches long, but it was definitely a baby snake. Sadly, I didn't get a picture, but I looked it up later and found that it was a northern ringneck snake. (My favorite parts of the description are when they talk about releasing a "foul odor" and "biting savagely." Just what you want in a house with kids, dogs, and an almost 90 year old.) Seeing as I was the only one awake, I scooped it up with a piece of paper and threw it outside.
My little coffee companion
When the property manager and the exterminator showed up, I let them know that I had found a tiny snake in the middle of the kitchen. The property manager assured me that was just a fluke and totally unrelated to whatever had died in the walls. Um, okay. You're the expert, buddy. Whatever you say. They decided that there was an animal that had died in the wall but, since the smell was almost gone, they could just address the odor. If we really wanted, they could open up the wall and get whatever it was out. They kept trying to tell us it was probably a squirrel or something. After many conversations between my father-in-law and the owners, they decided to come back the next day and open the wall. This was the first time they mentioned that there might be a nest of snakes in there. The exterminator told us we should plan to be out of the house for a few hours because if there was a nest, the snakes would try to scatter when they opened the wall. "But don't worry, we'll have a high-powered vacuum there to suck them up." WTF?

The next morning, the property manager and exterminator showed up. We hastily shoved some food into the kids mouths and rushed them down to the beach. I went back inside to grab something and I could hear the high-powered vacuum running already. Oh hell no. Snakes don't particularly bother me, but I sure as hell don't want to be around when they start to scatter.

Later that morning, we were informed that the situation was all taken care of. They found a dead, three-foot long snake in the wall. Just one. The smell was so bad because it's the kind of snake that can release a scent (like a skunk). Regardless, the situation was under control. They got rid of the ONE dead snake and patched the wall. We were all set. Famous last words.

That same afternoon, my brother-in-law, Michael, was in the kitchen. It just so happens that, as a child, Michael was bitten by a venomous snake in the Philippines. You can imagine that he's got the best reason of any of us to really not be a fan of snakes. He was in the kitchen (at the opposite side from where the dead snake had been removed from the wall) and he closed the door to the porch. When he slammed the door, a foot-long snake fell from the ceiling and landed right on the floor in front of him. Are you kidding me? The problem is all taken care of, but now we've got snakes falling from the ceiling??

We decided no one should go back in the kitchen until we figured out what we were going to do. Nana heard this and was very upset. Her concern wasn't so much the snakes, but how she was going to get her vodka out of the freezer. She tried to send Michael back into the kitchen for it. I decided I could tolerate the snakes a little better than the poor guy who'd actually been bitten once, so I braved the snakes for Nana's vodka. Believe me, I was watching the ceiling the whole time. While I was in there, I went through the doorway to the porch and looked closely at the ceiling. I was trying to figure out where the snakes were coming from. While I was inspecting the ceiling, I noticed a space in the molding where there was a piece of snakeskin hanging down. Oh. My. God. There had to be a huge nest in the ceiling. And there's no way the exterminator didn't know that. Gross.

At this point, PJ and my father-in-law were on the way back. This was supposed to be the start of their vacation. None of us felt particularly comfortable sleeping in a house with nocturnal snakes, so the owners let us move into their main house on the property for the night. We spent that night and much of the next day trying to find a house on the cape we could move into that would house three dogs, seven kids, and eight adults. Pretty unlikely. Not for lack of trying, we were out of luck. We had to move all of our stuff back home on Wednesday night. 

We were finally able to move back into a new house the following Saturday for a week. It was a nice house that was near some beautiful beaches. It wasn't perfect because we had to drive to the beach everyday, but it sure as hell didn't have snakes falling out of the ceiling, so that was okay with us!

In addition to the snake infestation, we had kids with the plague (croup) that landed one of them in the emergency room. It was quite the time. I'm not sure what comes after the plague and snakes. I'll have to brush up on the Bible before our next vacation.

Here's to hoping next year's vacation is completely boring...

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Have you ever had a calamity on vacation? Feel free to share your crazy story in the comments below...


Full-Time, Baby!

I started teaching in September of 2000. I taught into my fourth year, right up until the day I delivered Patrick in November of 2003. I was very lucky to be able to spend the next six years at home raising my children. In the fall of 2009, when Sean was about eight months old, I went back to teaching three days a week. The next three years, I worked four days a week and used my Fridays for things like laundry and lunch-mothering at my kids' school. (I even managed to squeeze in one more child - with a very short maternity leave.)

This year, however, is a whole new story. I am officially back to teaching full-time. I am excited about the job because I followed my principal to a turnaround school. It's a much bigger school (717 students), and it needs a lot of work. The days are longer, too. But, I'm teaching math now (which I love), and I have a lot of faith in my principal that she is really going to be able to turn this place around. She certainly has her work cut out for her.

I've got my work cut out for me, too. Like every other working stiff, my weekends only have two days. They are way too short. PJ & I like to spend our time having fun with the kids. Which leaves very little time for chores and errands. It's going to be interesting trying to strike a balance.

I have yet to figure out how to fit everything in. I'm trying to get a little better each week. Last week, I just tried to survive my first full week. This week, I've already managed two dinners in the slow-cooker (a necessity since I don't get home until 5pm), with another planned for tomorrow. That's a big step in the right direction since we had take-out every night last week. And I have officially given lunch packing duties to PJ. That's one less thing for the nightly "to do" list.

Maybe next week, I'll figure out how I can squeeze in a trip to the gym. I guess this is going to be a year of mastering time management. I can't quite find enough hours in the day just yet. Unless I give up sleep altogether. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough coffee in the world for that. 

So, wish me luck. Or come do my laundry. That would be way more useful than luck. ;)

HEY! If you enjoy the blog, why not become a follower? I'm the one who's officially a working mom. You can also stalk find me on Facebook and TwitterLike the page and follow me!

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Have you mastered time management? Feel free to share your wisdom/secrets in the comments below...