“Boom. Boom. BOOM BOOM BANG. Thump. thump thump thump thump!” No, it’s not the fourth of July. No, That is not the sound of me attempting  to conquer Just Dance on the Xbox 360. (Confession: it has however- been. In the past. PS: I lose. Always.) Contrary to the dusting of snow outside my front door… it’s also not the sound of Frosty the Snowman Sledding in my yard.

It’s the sound of my washing machine. No, it’s not broken. (Yet.) It’s once again- suffering the effects of my Laundry Dysmorphic Disorder. I have made several attempts to solve this personal issue. I’ve consulted Laundry specialists. (Well, several sales guys at Sears…..they’re specialists, right?) I’ve sought the great and wise internets for answers. Yet, I still struggle.

I am daily haunted by the thumping protestation of my over worked washer.

I confess I’ve caused harm in my illness. I’ve allowed my disorder to run rampant and several washing machines have suffered the consequences. I have killed (washing machines and gaskets and pump motors…..) in my illness. I’ve sat through loving but- humiliating interventions. Where my repairman and family gather to tell me the truth about my harmful actions. I have treated their concerned outcries with disregard. I’ve taken out my anger on washing machine brands. “Front loaders just suck. It’s not me, it’s the washer. That one isn’t big enough. Washing machine companies lie. How can this be the heavy duty model? Lies. They all lie.”  I’ve ruined clothing. (They make clothes so poorly – it’s pathetic.. is my response to that…) I’ve wasted time. (Contrary to my sick brains belief- an over loaded washer does not get your laundry done faster. 1) it if runs through it may not actually be clean. 2) the number of times I have to run upstairs to stop the thumping before light fixtures fall from the ceiling, and I then attempt to redistribute the “unbalanced” load thinking if I just move the towels to the other side of the comforter it will finally balance and turn out clean…..is ridiculous. I’ve wasted money due to my disorder.  (If it’s not me, and it’s the washer– then- I need a new washer. Or another visit from the repairman. Or, for my husband to go pick up parts and repair this stupid appliance AKA: bane of my existence.

Truthfully? I might be better off washing the clothes in the creek.

I have no idea why I suffer from this disorder. I searched the DSM IV and could not find a diagnosis, cause or recommendation for treatment. I fear I may be alone in this disorder. Could I be the only sufferer of Laundry Dysmorphic Disorder? Could I really be the only one incapable of judging the appropriate size of a laundry load? Maybe. But, I doubt it.

To the very core of my being I (falsely?) believe that if I can fit (shove) something INTO the washing machine- it should in turn be cleaned without breaking down or thumping about as if each item of clothing is exploding on after another during the spin cycle. Is that really too much to ask? I think not. Actually I’m kind of proud of how much I can shove into a washing machine….it’s a challenge. I WILL WIN. (Except , not so much yet.)

In case you’re wondering- YES. I am sitting here right now- after re-balancing a load 3 times- listening to it, that demonic beast-yet again, attempt to beat it’s way through my ceiling.

The truth is- I’d much rather write about it than do anything about it. We’ll call this confession-the first step in my laundry recovery. Maybe. Probably not.

Please pray for my washing machine. I am an evil overlord. It needs help. Quite possibly- it needs rescuing.

Maybe, I just need a smaller laundry basket.

Smaller kids? (No- somehow laundry is a constant. Big kids= same amount of laundry of dirty little kids…. it’s a wash… HA! So to speak.)

A bigger washer?

So….am I alone? Do you over cram your washer to oblivion? Do you smile embarrassedly when the repairman suggests smaller loads- all the while thinking that washer needs to suck it up buttercup and build its strength by working harder?

Maybe we can start a support group. If I’m really lucky- I can get my insurance to recognize this disorder and my dream treatment of a live in laundress could be covered!!!!!

I’d post a pic of the poor mistreated machine- but I fear retaliation by Appliance Protection Services. In case they’re reading: This is a work of fiction.

(If they’re not: it’s not.)






“Just taste it!” I yelled, in desperation.

“I hate green grapes, they’re bitter!” He screamed back…

“How do you know, if you don’t try them?” I countered, wisely. At the same time, picking up one of the grapes and popping it into my mouth as evidence of their sweetness.

“Yum, these are good!” I said, in that fake- mom voice that makes me sound like a Sesame Street flunkee’.

“I just know! They were bad last time! I only like the red ones.”

And with that, I’d had it. And quite possibly, I lost my momma- mind.

It was one of those weeks where the stars align and so do my hormones and temper.  To be fair, he wasn’t making sense, and I was (technically) right.  How did he know if these green grapes were bitter, unless he tried them?

The battle had gone on long enough. I would make him try them.  NOW.

I part jokingly, part stubbornly, pushed the grape against his front teeth, waiting for it to “pop” and for his sure to follow admission of it’s  sweetness.  The “pop” I felt was followed  quickly by a flow of blood, not juice from his mouth.

For a minute I wondered what  had happened.. was it a tainted grape?  Did it have a razor blade in it- or some evil shard of glass?  What sick person would do that to a kid?  I grabbed a napkin and hoped he wouldn’t notice the blood.

Too late.

His complaints about bitter grapes turned into a siren-type scream: “You knocked my toof out!”  “Mommy!  You knocked my toof out!” Tears mixed with the rivulet of blood on his chin. (more…)

The snow is gone.  The sun is shining in my backyard, I grabbed a cup of coffee and joined the cat in front of the doorwall to soak up the sunshiney goodness through the glass.  Once my eyes adjusted to the brilliant light.. (takes a while after the long winter here in Michigan…) I noticed the dog poo. Perfectly piled little gifts our beagle has been leaving us all winter long—like left over Easter eggs found in July, they are not a welcome surprise.

What I do not understand, is this:  A  winters’ worth of garbage that blew through the yard, is gone.  The papers and bits of plastic that blew out of frozen garbage cans before they could be emptied into the truck…are all gone, blown away by the Spring breezes (read: near gale force winds) or somehow melted away with the snow.   The left over fall leaves have disappeared, becoming one with the grass, as they should.  The yard looks pretty good aside form the mud, until you look closely, thats when you’ll notice the poo.

Perfectly preserved little piles, dotting the yard.  The one thing that is naturally biodegradable (it’s already halfway there- for pete’s sake, it’s been digested!) remains.   The poo piles.  WHY does dog poo- not biodegrade?  Why does it last through snow and ice and rain and sun and  global warming and global cooling and sleet and hail  all seemingly, un-changed?  I don’t get it.

I have no answers.  I have no spiritual analogy… only preserved piles of poo.  And the task of assigning my sons to clean them up…. which they are already arguing about.  They have offered numerous suggestions in regards to the poo: (more…)

I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t.  I watch in terror as one after another, they went over the edge.

“Don’t they know?  Can’t they think for themselves? Why do they just follow each other like that?” I asked myself, in that instant when you witness an accident and it stretches time into eternity.

I couldn’t stop it. Sadly,  I’d witnessed this before. I had screamed then. My screams could not stop them from going over the edge.

They are  lemmings. It comes natural to them.

At least its my theory that it does. It must be genetic.  Of course- my lemmings  are not of the rodent type.. They are the sink/man/boy type.

Fortunately, there has been no loss of life, as of yet,  due to their mindless following.

My men are sink lemmings.  When they finish with a dish, glass or utensil, they take it to the sink. (We’ve made progress here, at least they head to the kitchen.) However, if there is ANYTHING in the sink. In. Their item, must follow.  Right over the edge, along with my sanity.

No, they do not check the dishwasher, to see if it is empty. They check the sink, to see if the dishwasher is empty.

The problem is: pots and baking dishes, often have to be soaked after dinner so I can get them ready for the dishwasher.  This does not mean the dishwasher is full. It means a pot needs to be soaked.

My lemmings interpret this (and sometimes in the dark, a sponge in the sink.) as a sign of dishwasher fullness.

IT MAKES ME WANT TO SCREAM. (Especially during a certain week of the month.)

Can I get a witness?

Do you have lemmings at your house?

What do you do about them?  (Besides turning to an exterminator.. I’m pretty sure thats illegal in this case..)

Do you have a dishwasher if full/empty magnet- thing?

Do you scream and yell?

Ignore it?

Tell me.  I need help. At least, I need to know I’m not the only one with a lemming problem…

“One more towel won’t hurt.”  I thought as I stuffed it into the already stuffed washing machine.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

“Drip. Drip. Drip.”  I heard just a few minutes later.  IN THE KITCHEN. I looked over at the sink, hoping to find a drippy faucet.  No such luck.  I looked up.  This is what I found:

That would be water, dipping through the kitchen ceiling.  (I have a second floor laundry.) From the washing machine.  Apparently, one more towel can hurt quite a bit.  It can blow a gasket.  Blown gaskets make big messes.

Upstairs there is a mountain of towels soaking up the water, downstairs is a bucket catching ceiling drips.  On the couch sits a woman feeling frustrated and convicted about the gaskets she’s blown in the past 2 days.  They haven’t ALL been in the washing machine.

Last night I had an argument at the dinner table that didn’t need to be,but was,  because I have yet to learn that it’s not necessary to say everything I think. I  over stuffed a conversation with my opinion and it blew a conversational gasket.

This morning, I decided to: dye my roots, shower and dress, knit a few rows, run the dishwasher, clean the kitchen counters, throw in a load of laundry, fold a load of laundry, put away a load of laundry and vacuum before church.  The result?  Much martyrdom mumbling accompanied the list. (“No one around here does anything but me.. Why can’t ANYONE ELSE, see what needs to be done, and DO IT?” My go-to momologue of martyrdom)  I overstuffed my schedule and blew my sabbath gasket, dripping toxic anger through the it’s ceiling all over my family.

As I wait for the ceiling to dry and the emotion to subside, I’m thinking about other times I’ve overstuffed things and caused blown gaskets.  There has been lots of overstuffed scheduling. (I can’t DO IT ALL.. I just think I can) I have overstuffed expectations for family and friends. I have overstuffed emotions that should have been expressed before I blew, and overstuffed a  tummy that has blown the gasket of my waistline.  The list goes on, and on.

Today- as I head to the laundromat, (which I’ll be doing a lot  for the next 7-10 business days, until the new gasket comes in and is installed.) I’m praying that I will think twice before stuffing one more towel into the washer, one more commitment into my schedule, or one more word into a conversation… I’d like to avoid another blown gasket anytime soon.

Dear Lord- Please forgive me for the gaskets I’ve been blowing and the messes I’ve been making.  I pray that you’d help me to STOP overstuffing, and save those around me from collateral gasket blowing damage. And Lord- I’m so glad you love me anyways. Amen.

FYI- if your ceiling ever springs a leak- POKE A HOLE in the drywall.  Let the water drain out.  Let t dry thoroughly. Fill the hole with spackling paste, let dry, sand and re-paint.  If the water leaves a stain, a coat of KILZ primer before painting may  be necessary. Works like a charm and saves you the time and money of an insurance claim and drywall repair. (Thanks to my mom- a retired insurance claim rep for that nugget of knowledge!)


The dirty beast crouched in the corner.  The brave and well armed Knight-ess of clean, raised her bottle of Windex in what could only be percieved as an act of war.  The beast growled, for a moment- a strange glow emanated from the dark gape that could be it’s mouth. A beep sounded. The Knight-ess wondered if it was an alarm, understood only by like-beasts, calling for help. Glancing to her right and left- she saw no beasts coming to it’s aid.  A ruse.  She saw right through it.

Undaunted, the shining Knight-ess thrust her paper- towel lance forward.  The “SQUEAK” of wet toweling on plastic, metal and glass deafening.  Her arm shook with effort.  Sweat stood out on her brow.  Just when she thought her battle was won, the beast, with new-found dirt (hiding in the not so wonderful too clean, grilling element) struck back.  What she thought was clean- alas, was speckled with dried Spaghettio’s and tomato soup.  Withdrawing her arm, she bumped the glass, leaving a smudge of sweat and (quite possibly) tears.  The beasts haunting , blue-green blinking (12:00) eyes glared at her in an assumption of victory.

The Knight-ess dug deep into her soul… with a mighty cry of “Tonight, we dine in CLEAN!” She deftly swiped at the dirt.  One. More. Squirt.  And the deed,  was done.   In place of a beast stood a shining clean appliance.

The Evil Microwave was defeated.

Clean ruled the kitchen once more. (well- most of it) All hail the Knight-ess!  Huzzah! Hoorah!  The Knight-ess soon found herself surrounded by a cheering crowd. (wouldn’t that be nice?… especially when I clean the floor around the toilet— I deserve it!)

That night-along with the King and Princes of her beloved kingdom,  she not only dined in clean… she dined OUT.


Why hasn’t anyone invented a self- cleaning microwave??? When I bought this new microwave- I had no idea what trouble would lie in wait. The heating element is a pain to clean around.  But- at $50…. I’ll put up with it for a while…. it will eventually die of old age- and then…. THEN my friends- I will find the perfect kitchen appliance.   (However,  with my luck… this microwave will live forever, out of spite.  No worries- this Knight-ess of clean (clean enough, that is) is capable of leaving a spoon in a cup of tea and reheating it until it either: A) causes a nuclear meltdown- thus destroying the evil microwave or B) Scares everyone in the house with sparking and noise enough, to warrant a replacement for breach of trust.

I need to get out more. ‘Nuff said.

Please note- I am fully aware that I could have cleaned every Microwave in Michigan in the time it took to post this….but this, my friends, is considerably more therapeutic.

The first one was an anamoly, the second a theme, the third?  An invasion.  They are tiny but mighty.  Little brown, annoying, biteless, pointless, ants. Everywhere. One attempted to imbibe in my morning cup of coffee.. I admit I enjoyed watching him die a white chocolate coconut flavored, death.  He was no Michael Phelps, the little guy shouldn’t have jumped into the coffee pool at all.

The visitors arrived yesterday, along with the rain.  Today the weather has cleared- so, I thought they were gone.  I was wrong. Their duck and cover to hide from the rain, must have resulted in their falling in love with my home.  They are back with a vengeance, and have brought friends.

I’ve found them: crawling on my couch, on my lap top (apparently they like twitter.) on the walls and under my books.  I found them in the kitchen and under the couch.  (Feasting on a Gusher’s wrapper,  a popsicle stick and a long lost piece of bubblegum.)  I enjoy having company, but, these guys are not welcome. 

I started out non-confrontational.  I tried the little crumbs trick from “The Secret Life of Bee’s.” I tried  to lure them back to the great outdoors… they thought it was a buffet.   Next, I turned the youngest loose to squash the little buggers. It gave him something to do while he was sick, but thats about all. He can’t keep up. It seems we have ants with loyalty issues. For every one he kills, two more return.  They are either cloning themselves or suicidal. I may be dealing with  kamikaze ants.  

I enlisted the help of my youngest.  (I’m holding off on the older two  boys, their solutions may involve flame throwers or chemical experimentation.. which I’m not quite desperate enough for, yet.) He  has been killing ants, one at a time, since yesterday afternoon. He’s got quite a method.  He uses a lego sword and stabs them to death, piling their mangled bodies for me to vacuum up, later.  I wonder if that counts as homeschool, today?  Maybe,if he counts them.  He’s been learning a lot about ant behavior and he observed that ant blood stinks. (No clue what possessed the boy to smell it.)

 Today, I am either more desperate- or more annoyed.  I brought out the ant spray, and the Dyson.  The vacuum sounded like a good way to rid myself quickly of the little invaders. Until,they crawled back out of the garbage can.  FYI- spraying ant spray into the garbage after you’ve dumped the vacuum/ant dust in there, leads to a face full of disgusting stuff that leaves you feeling a little high and not quite caring about the ants so much. However, I don’t recommend it. Once you are back to yourself, you will have to search out the little buggers again and squash them before they make it to the pantry. It was even less glamorous than it sounds.

I have sprayed the walls and possible entry points like a Mommy- Marine- securing the perimeter.  I sprayed outside around the windows and doors.  I sprinkled ant barrier, made a  few  threats (where would I find an anteater, anyways?)and yet- the ants keep marching in. Apparently, they are mutant ants that are invulnerable to the spray.  Like tiny little Jason’s they keep coming back coming back. It’s not efficient, but I have to admit there is a certain pleasure in it. I may have yelled “DIE, SUCKER!”  a time or two,while brandishing the can like a semi- automatic.

At this point, I no longer care about being green- or nice, I want them, dead. 

This afternoon, I’ll be heading to Home Depot to add to my ant slaying arsenal.  Others may be stockpiling guns and ammo- I’m stockpiling ant spray.  I’ll pick up borax, INHUMANE ant traps and the most lethal chemical cocktail I can find. I’ll set up a tiny little feast of doom, tonight those ants dine in… well, not Sparta, or my kitchen.

 I shall prevail.  I am smarter than a tiny ant, I am the supreme being here. I have opposable thumbs, for pete’s sake!

On the upside… this happens every Spring.  Some have bulbs that announce it’s arrival, I have tiny stinky brown ants. Oh well, Happy Spring!

If you have sure fire cures for little ants- leave them in the comments.. I can use all the help I can get.. the lego ant slayer is getting tired.. :)

dishes in the domino race

dishes in the domino race

30 days.  30 days of whining, complaining, struggling to have a right attitude and find a positive in a negative situation.  30 days of phone calls in vain and paper plates and carbon footprint guilt.  30 days of  escalating and asking for supervisors, to have them also read the same script in answer to our questions and frustrations. 30 days of wondering if we’d ever have a functioning dishwasher or if I, would end up taking it’s place, tucked neatly under the counter wearing my sassy gloves and mumbling about meditative vs annoying activities.   (Which would suck, as it’s really hard to knit and wash dishes at the same time.. FYI: It’s much easier to knit at stop lights,  than it is to knit between dirty glasses.)

For 30 days it has been like watching  one domino falling into the next placing blame and making excuses:  “We’re waiting on an approval from the provider, we’re waiting for the request from the repair facility, the part has been ordered, we need another part, we’re waiting on approval from the provider, we’re waiting on the request from the facility, the part has been ordered, the part is back ordered, we’re looking for a part, the contact says within a reasonable amount of time, we don’t expedite part orders, the contract says within a reasonable amount of time, the part has been ordered…” Every person we talked to had a different variance on the same theme.  Not one, gave a real answer or offered us a solution.  Like dominos they just fell into the lines of the customer service script they seemed to be reading from.

And then? Along came “Q”.

“Q” is a manager at the local Lowes where we bought the deceased dishwasher. We called him Tuesday evening for the first time.  “Q” listened to what was going on. “Q” understood that this was a ridiculous amount of time to wait for a repair.  He called the people we’ve been dealing with. He also, got nowhere.

We followed up with “Q” On Wednesday to say we’d still gotten nowhere.  10 minutes later he called back and said something profound: “I made a decision, we’ll take care of this for you.”  The hallelujah chorus sounded in my ears…FINALLY!  There was no scripted answer being read back to me.  He acknowledged how crazy this situation was, and then?  HE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.   

 I cried. FINALLY.  Someone who wasn’t just lockstepping like a well trained dishwasher nazi.  Someone who thought and acted based on what they thought was right to do.  While I understand that each person in this domino chain has had their own limitations and responsibilities..  there was something resonant about finally meeting someone who took action and thought about what the right thing to do was.

“Q” refused to be another domino, falling  with blame and excuses,  knocking us into the next domino in our crazy chain.  “Q” stopped the dominoes altogether. He made a difference. Sure.. it’s a DISHWASHER, I get that it’s a luxury.. I get that no ones life was at stake..I get that not everyone has a dishwasher..I have no Constitutional Right to a dishwasher.  I am not entitled to a dishwasher… But: I HAD ONE.  AND IT DIED.. I paid for an extended warranty.. that should have made a problem with my dishwasher simple to solve, instead it complicated it. That was wrong.  I may not matter in the scope of world history, but it mattered to me. 

Maybe  “Q” was different.  Maybe he made a choice,  or maybe he was finally a person who had the power and discretion necessary to make the choice. All I know is this:  If I’m ever in a situation where one domino is falling into another placing blame, making excuses etc.  I WANT TO BE A “Q”.  I want to make a difference.  I want to take just one step out of the line and end it, to help. Because it matters. Caring for people always does.

In my opinion?  “Q” was a good samaritan…something I hope to be, too…what about you?

My week thus far:

Monday-  child falls off of bed while goofing around and recieves a black (ish) eye.

Tuesday: Youngest and oldest child (also a GIANT) collide in a Wii bowling incident resulting in a bloodied and fattened lip on youngest child.

Wednesday- started off with ice and a planned hospital visit… ended with an UNPLANNED trip to the ER at 1o:30 pm to have a toy removed from the youngest childs FINGER.  (see: exhibit a)

Thursday:  I DECLARE EITHER A SHORTENED WEEK OR MOMTIAL LAW. Due to the fact that I cannot shorten or lengthen time (see Christmas preparedness posts previous)

 I Hereby declare MOMTIAL LAW.

For the protection of the universe.




Violators (herein defined as those in or causing injury, drama, surgical intervention and or other psycho-social crisis’) will be knit (or otherwise secured by crafty means) into bubblewrap protective devices without regard for age, gender or political perspective. They will be held in protective custody until the US government (heretofor known as MOM) deems them no longer a threat to themselves and or national security.

I hereby declare MOMTIAL LAW.

A curfew which includes staying home watching lame movies and knitting (or other recreative activities within reason and safety) with dull pointed circular needles and yummiest yarn you can find (or the chocolate and caffeine combination of your choice)  is in effect until further notice between the hours of 12am and 11:59 pm.

I hereby deputize all Mom’s as martials of MOMTIAL law, use your powers of enforcement responsibly- or the mighty spatula of doom will be weilded.


Exhibit A- need for Momtial Law

Exhibit A- need for Momtial Law

It happens in two places- the dinner table and in  the backseat of the car.  What, you ask?  a spot on observation by a child that totally changes my perspective and attitude. This time, it was at the dinner table, which can be a denagerous place when you have three boys. It involves the passing of ancient wisdom, the shooting of peas from ones nose and the total depravity of man.

We were munching away on pasta marinara served with a side of steamed peas. The boys were being silly, and Hubby was out of town.  (Yes, ALL 3 of them…silly at the same time… this is truly, as dangerous as it sounds.) The college boy and the high schooler decided that it was time to pass along manly wisdom of the ages to their youngest sibling.   The wisdom to be passed on?  The life saving skill of shooting peas out of your nose. As the only sane person- I mean…female present and the Mom, I strongly protested this passing of wisdom.   I was outnumbered.  Truth be told,  they were faster than a pack of wolves devouring a sack of “sliders”. 

It went something like this:

College boy:  “Hey, High schooler (name withheld to protect the guilty) – remember when you got that corn kernal stuck in your nose, and had to go to the hospital?”

High Schooler- “Yeah you made me try to shoot it out of my nose!”

College boy: “Show Noah!”

Mom: “DON’T!”

Highschooler:  Shoots a pea from his NOSE- across the table at the College boy.

Noah: suffers convulsive laughter, then reaches for his peas.

Mom:  “College boy- if that pea gets stuck up his nose- would you care to explain this all to the hospital?”

College Boy: “Won’t need too-if we teach him right.”

Mom:  “Don’t do it.”

High schooler:  shoots another pea in his typical silent rebellion manner.

Noah: Shoots a pea from his nose. (achieves nice distance- i have to admit)

Mom: “Noah!  Did you not hear that High schooler got something stuck up his nose and had to go to the hospital?  Did you not hear me say “Don’t”? Why did you shoot that pea?  DO you WANT to get in trouble?”

Noah: “I cant help it mom, it’s part of my nature.”

Mom- Falls into convulsive laughter as she realizes her 6 year old just demonstrated an understanding of the total depravity of man.  And-looking into his eyes- realizes he is probably telling the truth. He could not help it. It’s in his nature.

Maybe, I could be a Calvinist after all.. or not.