Archives for August 2011

Yay, Bus Drivers!

Today was Joe’s first day of school. He’s already beginning second grade. With a heavy heart, I rushed to get our little guy out of bed and all spiffed up in his special first day of school ensemble..shorts and button down shirt. We fed him a nourishing breakfast and attempted to ease his anxiety about a new classroom and his new teacher. We walked down to the driveway to the bus stop as a family and waited for that big yellow bus together.

It never showed up.

Last week, four days before school started, the bus driver called Dave to say that from now on she would be picking all the elementary kids up at one stop that is up the road from our houses. She said that it is acceptable for elementary school children to walk 1/3 of a mile to the school bus. She says it’s perfectly safe for our seven year old with ADHD to walk 1/3 of a mile on our long, wooded and hilly non-residential road.

David called the head of the transportation department and had a lovely conversation. He was told the bus would continue turning around in the same spot it always has. Problem solved, right?

Wrong.

The bus drivers decided to skip our stops this morning, leaving my little guy (and his entire family) standing at the end of our driveway for 30  minutes. The bus garage wasn’t picking up the phone.

My neighbor drove Joe to school with her son.

When I finally got through to the bus garage, the person on the other end took great pleasure in informing me that the head of transportation never told the drivers or dispatch about the conversation with Dave. His voiced nearly dripped with condescension and pleasure when informed me that the bus will only be driving down the road as far as the “new pick up”.

So as of now, the bus drivers deem our desolate country road safe for a little children to walk on. Our little boy with ADHD, the one who can’t walk up the driveway without taking a distracted right-hand turn into the woods, is mature and responsible enough to navigate 1/3 of a mile walk to and from the bus stop.

I’m wondering which representative from the school drove down our road and determined that the road is safe for children to walk on. Who looked at the woods, lack of homes, hills and lack of sidewalks and said, “Yup, elementary school children are entirely safe on this road.” Clearly it wasn’t the person who wrote “Safety and not sidewalks will be the determining factor for a student to walk to school or to a central bus stop” in the Student Transportation Policy. 

 

The Good, The Bad & The Boozy

I possess the ability to cry on demand. Don’t judge me, this is a skill that comes in very handy when you’re three weeks shy of the first day of school.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it really isn’t at all difficult to summon tears after you have spent precisely 54 days in the presence of your children. Sadly, the 54th day was rainy, damp and dreary – moist (I despise that word). It sure is easy to burst into tears when you’ve forgotten to give your oldest kid his ADHD medication. That was my first mistake. My second idiotic move was taking two loud little girls and one hyperactive freak show to the grocery store.

In the produce section he bench pressed a massive watermelon. Then he fondled the kiwi fruit while hollering for Gwen to come feel how “squishy and prickly” they were.

In the bakery, he poked holes in a whoopie pie wrapper. By the time I discovered his crime, he was already bent down and sticking his tongue through the holes, stealing tiny licks of the creamy filling. Besides being mortified, I was livid. I wanted to pick that whoopie pie up and chuck it at his little head, but in his state of unmedicated madness, he would have loved that. In fact, he would have hurled one back in that spastic I-have-no-athletic-ability-whatsoever way of his. Then his maniacal cackle would have echoed throughout the store. I’m fairly sure that the manager would have quietly escorted us from the premises.

In the pasta aisle which, for some odd reason, shares space with the booze, he hoisted up a bottle of coffee-flavored brandy and loudly declared, “Hey Mom! This is coffee-flavored liquor! I’ll bet you’d like it since you like coffee…and liquor!”

He struggled to walk toward me, embracing a gallon-sized jug of coffee-flavored booze and smiling helpfully. The other mother in the aisle, the one who had clearly showered and who was wearing a cute little hat, gave us a wide berth and hefty dose of side-eye mixed with a sneer. Of course, I immediately thought, Suck it, Honey…you have one kid who doesn’t even talk yet. And then I thought, Game on, bitch!

“Thank you, Joe! I do love coffee and booze, but not necessarily in that order.” Then I flashed Ms. I Wear Wool Hats in August a toothy grin as we passed. She wasn’t amused but I was.

 

In the meat department, Joe poked Gwen in the arm with a wooden skewer and pulled her onto the floor. Seconds after I broke that tussle up, he began repeatedly spanking a large pork roast. An old lady stopped her cart to blatantly stare at my children and then began to chuckle. I noticed her noticing us and my first inner-conversation went like this…Yeah, it’s a fucking hoot, huh lady? Then, I realized that it actually was pretty funny. Despite the humor, I truly hate grocery stores and taking three little kids to the grocery store is not conducive to a quick shop. So, to make a long story slightly less long… I didn’t really want to cry, but I played that card anyway. “Seriously guys…I’m going to cry.”

They stopped slapping the pork and stared at me. Our eyes met and the music to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly began playing in the background… okay, not really. I made that last bit up…  Silence fell upon us as we stared one another down. I summoned enough tears to make my eyes watery. Their silence lasted approximately 5.2 seconds.

By the time we hit the snack aisle,  I worried that real tears were imminent. Wisely, instead of stifling the urge to cry, I used those tears. That’s right. I filled each eye with tiny pools of sorrow then turned to face my children, “Seriously?”

“Wanna a watte, Mama?” Kate asked. Her big blue eyes were full of sympathy but, her hopeful suggestion that maybe a latte would make me feel better kind of came out of left field. It also made no sense. I’ll be honest, I was thankful that she didn’t loudly suggest drowning my sorrows in liquor. Mostly because Joe likes to be the one who doles out that kind of advice.

On our way to the cash registers, we took a spin back through the booze aisle so I could return the coffee-flavored brandy to its shelf and grab a bottle of Skinnygirl margaritas instead. Because I like coffee. And wine. And margaritas. Olé!
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Potty (Mouth) Update

Gwen is potty training Kate.

That’s right, my daughter who just turned 5 yesterday afternoon is teaching my 2 1/2 year old how to use the can. I have to hand it to her, she’s doing one heck of a good job!

I’ve tried but Kate hates everyone except Gwen. I think that’s because Gwen is the only one who still tolerates her foul-mouthed tirades. Gwen is such a nice little girl – a natural teacher.

Last weekend we bought Kate a potty seat because she “HATES potties!” I’ve been carefully suggesting that she might like to poop on the potty for a few weeks now, but she has made her stance on the Baby Bjorn potty clear. Mostly, by hurling it across the bathroom and screaming, “NO! I HATE POTTIES!” Notice I used the word “hurling” so that you would understand why I would “carefully” suggest using the potty.

She’s a dream…and not a good one, if you catch my drift.

Since we happened to be in Toys R Us on Saturday, I thought I’d let Kate pick out her own potty seat. You know, to give her a little bit of ownership over the location of her bowel movements. There were three choices. Elmo, Dora and Disney Princesses. She hated all of them.

“I HATE POTTY SEATS!” She screamed. Except it sounded like this: I HATE POTTY THEATS!

“I want this one.” She started patting a Baby Bjorn potty exactly like the one we have at home.

“We already have that potty Kate.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I HATE POTTIES!”

I’m beginning to think she might have some type of personality disorder.

Dave and I exhaled at each other and I briefly fantasized about hanging her on a fixture in the baby section. Somehow, I’m fairly sure that most folks aren’t in the market for a whacked-out girl baby that screams profanity-laced hate diatribes. I imagine that she’d be fast-tracked to the clearance bins and then just sit there for a while getting dusty. And screaming…and cursing.

“Fine,” I said, taking a stance, “I’ll pick one for you.” I chucked the Disney Princess potty sit into the cart.

“I HATE YOU!”

“Who’s Mommy’s sweet little pumpkin?”

Insert more screaming here.

Yesterday I was putting the final touches on the cream cheese and jelly sandwiches when Gwen ran into the kitchen to tell me that Kate had just peed on the potty. Joe and I looked at one another hopefully then ran to the bathroom to find Kate wiping herself with piece toilet paper lint and her fingers.

“Yay! Katie you peed on the potty!”

“No. You ahhh-sole, mommy.”

“Don’t call my mommy an asshole!” Gwen defended.

You’re wondering how she learned to say asshole, aren’t you? Well, it all started when we were in the minivan driving to Toys R Us. Seriously, here’s how it went down…

Kate was babbling and annoying Joe who desperately wanted “a quiet ride” despite the fact that there were four other people in the car. (Because I forgot to give him his ADHD medication and the noise was causing him to flip out.) The more Kate babbled, the more annoyed he became. The more annoyed he became, the more Kate babbled and it continued on like that for at least 8 miles. If you haven’t experienced 8 miles (that’s 12.87 km in case you were curious) of a completely idiotic argument between a two year old and a seven year old, you’ve escaped a tiny corner of hell. True story.

At some point, Joe attempted to pull out the big guns and get Kate into serious trouble, thus forcing her into a state of silence. “Kate just called me an asshole!”

“No she didn’t.”

“I’m serious. She called me an asshole.”

“Ahh-sole. Ahh-sole. Ahh-sole.”

“Now she’s saying, asshole Joe!”

“You ahh-sole, mommy.”

So there you have it. Joe taught Kate to say asshole.
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I Was Angry

Who loves back to school shopping with preschoolers and elementary school children? Shoe shopping is especially fun, no? We’ve visited a shoe store here in Southern Maine that inspired me to write Yelp review. Here it is.

What’s the fastest way for a business to inspire me to write a Yelp review? Mostly, by being amazing. By offering tremendous, friendly and helpful assistance because that’s what sales associates should do. Right?

Alternatively, Lamey-Wellehan Shoes in South Portland Maine inspired me to write a Yelp review for an entirely different reason. Because they suck. That’s right, I said that they suck.

In the year and a half that we have lived in Portland, Maine, we have visited this store at least 4 times. I wanted to like them but I can honestly say that on each and every occasion, they have sucked. Let me list some of the reasons why they suck.

  1. There is never enough staff.
  2. If there is enough staff, they are too busy chatting with each other or hiding in some location other than the area where I am standing and waiting for someone to bring me a shoe…or notice that I’m breathing.
  3. They don’t know how to measure children’s feet.
  4. They clearly don’t really want to measure children’s feet.
  5. They only offer to help you if you venture into the women’s shoes and feign interest in nurse clogs.

Okay, I could go on and on here but mostly, I’d like to point out to the sales staff at Lamey-Wellehan Shoes in South Portland that they are selling COMFORT CLOGS. You are not the shoe salon in Saks Fifth Avenue. Get over yourselves.

Also, I wholly apologize that my two year old daughter had the audacity to pick up a handful of your artfully arranged silk flowers. You clearly spent a huge amount of time placing them amongst your comfort clogs and orthopedic sandals. Nothing says, YAY, buy some Jesus sandals! more than tacky dollar store flowers.

Seriously, how dare she! I especially enjoyed the loud and annoyed observation made by one of your 20-something associates, “Ugh, she’s stealing the flowers!” Paired with her sneer of disgust, the whole statement smacked of professionalism.

Don’t worry,  I beat my daughter as soon as we left and called her an asshole for ruining your display. (Do I have to point out that I’m kidding about that last part?)

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that perhaps when a mother with three children is standing in the children’s area for 10 minutes waiting for some help, you might venture over and, I don’t know…HELP? We didn’t come in to hang out and play at Lamey-Wellehan. We came in to buy new shoes. Do you have idea how difficult it is to get three children fed, bathed, clothed and buckled into their carseats? That’s a four hour process! So at some point, your lack of attention is going to annoy me so much that I will let my kids pick up that giant Croc and throw it at each other. I will allow them to make a mess and I will not make them pick it up. Because I’m spiteful and you’re jerks.

Also, professional shoe sales people of Lamey-Wellehan…I would suggest that perhaps you actually make a practice of checking out the shoes a potential customer is wearing. High quality means she’s ready to spend, right? If you see a woman in a pair of Gucci loafers you might want try selling some shoes to her.

I did spend. I spent big bucks on my children’s shoes at another shoe store. 4 strikes and you’re out. Considering that my children are 2, 5 and 7 years old, we have a whole lot of shoe purchases ahead of us…

Well, have to go now. Shoes.com is running a special on comfort clogs.

 

*no offense to comfort clog fans, nurses or Jesus sandals. All insults were solely intended for the sales associates who we have encountered at this particular shoe store. Also, I’m sure that many of you have had perfectly lovely experiences there. Congratulations.
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What I Did This Weekend…

I defended my stance on the dirt pile after being called a “douche” for blogging about it on Friday. Fantastic vocabulary, Dave…all that law schoolin’ really paid off, huh? Just kidding, I’m totally cool with the 10th anniversary dirt pile. So cool in fact, that when the second pile was delivered yesterday morning,  I silently watched with delight while casting the hairy eyeball upon my unsuspecting husband.

He’s so romantical and stuff. Okay, I’ll fess us…he wants to build a flagstone wall so I can plant a pretty garden on the bald, weedy hill.

As the dirt pile (also filled with refuse) was dumped from the busted dump truck, I sat in the front seat of my sexy grey minivan. That’s right. I like to spend Saturday mornings with a cup of java and some Amor All wipes, scrubbing gobs of rotting banana and dog snot from its interior. I originally walked onto the porch with my cup o’ Joe intending to soak up the morning sunshine on a wicker chair. I don’t know, maybe it was Kate’s incessant shrieking or something that caused me to enter the minivan and start scrubbing. I was still in my pajamas… No, that’s not entirely true… I was wearing pajama bottoms and a bathrobe.

20 minutes into Scrub Fest and locked inside while the exterior was hosed down, I got hot. Really hot. So I took off the bathrobe and commenced Topless Scrub Fest 2011. But no one noticed because the doors where all closed. Dave finally peeked into a window and I saw his eyes widen with surprise. Somehow I don’t think that a 40 year old woman with bed head and coffee breath really fulfilled any naked car wash fantasies. Thankfully, the dirt delivery person arrived before Topless Scrub Fest began.

Then we went to Toys R Us. Again. 

Next, we purposely dragged the kids into this huge Goodwill in South Portland because they dragged us through Toys R Us. Smart, aren’t we? Tit for tat, man.

We scored a vintage oil painting (trés shabby chic) for $1.99. I’d show you a picture, but I’m too lazy and two cocktails into my evening and stuff. (No wonder no one tunes in to No. 7 anymore, huh?)

Vintage Californian Artist Oil Painting Period Frame

Not our $1.99 Goodwill oil painting, but you get the picture.

Today, we hired a new babysitter, drove to Old Port and inhaled a pile of sushi. Then, guess where we went? We went to Toys R Us. AGAIN.

It’s Gwen’s birthday tomorrow. So yesterday’s Toys R Us mission was held to uncover what the kid wanted. You know… since we totally forgot that she was turning 5. I guess we could have told her that the second dirt pile was hers, but I didn’t have the heart. From experience, I can attest to the fact that getting dirt for a momentous occasion sucks.

Anywho… we nabbed the last pink daisy covered Razor scooter, some Hello Kitty shades and a creepy puppy dog that wags its tail. The best part of our Toys R Us date was the discovery of some stuffed guinea pigs that simply must repeat whatever you say. Hecho in China. We taught the whole shelf to say, “Wazzzzzup, douchebag?”

I Say Chatimals Talking Guinea Pig

Then we left.
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What We Did To Celebrate 10 Years of Marital Bliss…

So, after I wrote that heartfelt post about our 10th anniversary last Friday, I’ll bet you wondered what we did to celebrate, right?

Okay, maybe you didn’t give it another thought but humor me anyway.

Hold on to your hats people because this is impressive! In fact, I’ll bet you’ve never heard of a 10th anniversary celebration as fantastic as this one was.

Seriously.

A giant pile of dirt was delivered.

Dirt.

I’m not kidding.

Our anniversary celebration was…how shall I say? Delayed.

Besides, you’d have to be a real asshole if you didn’t enjoy a giant pile of rocks, weeds and dirt.

Dirt!

Yay.

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The Horror!

My boob fell off today. Well, to be completely honest, it was my nipple and it only seemed that way if you happen to be a 2 1/2 year old named Kate. 

For some weird reason, the two of us seem doomed to experience boobie horrors together and always smack in the middle of Toys R Us… unless you count that time at the beginning of the summer where she pulled my bikini top off at the beach. Anyway, the last time I braved an excursion to Toys R Us with Kate was in the spring. While we were waiting in line to check out, the cash register ran out of tape and Kate decided that while waiting, she should multi-task and fondle my right boob. In our defense, it did cause that rather slow cashier-person to speed things up a little so I let it slide.

Our latest boob horror began last Thursday morning when something possessed my body and caused me to enter TJ Maxx. It’s a place I don’t normally enjoy, but for some reason, last Thursday I thought it was a fantastic idea…for about 15 minutes. I found a new booby trap that isn’t meant for a 12 year old girl just beginning to bud. I know, that’s exciting news right? I also bought a little box containing silicone nipple concealers. You know, those things that look like raw chicken cutlets, only tinier. Nipple sized flesh-colored pasties..because technically, I do not require a bra. Ever. They cost me $3.99.

Kate happened to be in the closet this morning while I artfully arranged my new skin colored pasties. When I turned to face her, she was intrigued then confused and ultimately, screamed at my right boob before running into the bathroom to escape. From the other room I heard her freaked out little voice, “Oh…your boobie Mommy?”

Later, Joe and Gwen begged me to drive them over to Toys R Us so they could cash in their birthday loot. Gift cards in hand, we spent an unbelievably painful amount of time wandering the aisles, searching for the elusive $25 toy of their dreams. I was becoming coated with a slick sheen of sweat as I pushed the cart, lifted the toddler, bent and stretched to retrieve toys for inspection and rejection. I had completely forgotten about my pasties.

In the Barbie aisle, I was forced to stand on my tippy-toes and stretch my right arm up to the top of the shelf to grab a gaudy Fairy Barbie. As my fingertips grazed the box, pushing it just out of my reach, I swore under my breath. Then, using the bottom shelf as a step, I lunged for the box and simultaneously heard a light THWACK on the tile beneath me.

I cluelessly stepped back onto the floor and passed the Fairy Barbie to Gwen.

“What is that thing?” I turned to see Joe squinting at something on the floor and wearing a look of utter disgust.

Gwen shrieked, “It’s mom’s boob! MOM! Your boob fell off!”

“That’s not her boob, Gwen…what is that thing anyway?” He cautiously inched closer to get a good look.

Kate pushed her way through the crowd and crouched down to inspect it. She poked it with her finger and, when she determined that it wasn’t alive, she picked it up. She straightened her little body to its full 2′ 8″ length and waved the pastie in the air. “Here, Mamma…your boobie.”

Silicone Nipple Concealers? FAIL.

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Poor Melvin

For this week’s prompt, I’d like you to be inspired by the poem below by William Carlos Williams. “The Red Wheelbarrow” has long been a poem that holds an air of mystery and intrigue for me. For it to be so few words, I feel it tells a complex tale with a lot hidden just below the surface. Take any word, image, or feeling evoked from “The Red Wheelbarrow” and turn it into your masterpiece. Oh, and like Williams, let’s do things short and sweet. Write your piece in 300 or fewer words. 
 

So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens but I don’t care about that. I’m more interested in finding my rabbit. We just came home from the Washington County Fair, blue ribbon in hand. He hit the big time in the 4H barn. My bunny named Melvin made me proud.

When I opened his cage and reached in, attempting to quickly transfer him to his hutch, Melvin made a break for it. He hopped like the wind. Melvin hopped so quickly that his little white and black body made a crazed zigzag pattern across the lawn, over the driveway, past the garden and into a hole near the compost pile.

Melvin, my blue ribbon winning bunny rabbit scored high in the looks department, but lacked the acumen to identify a weasel hole.

I knelt at the edge of the hole and attempted to peer down the narrow passage into the earth. I plaintively called to Melvin, all the while knowing that he was a lost cause.

Poor Melvin.

I sat back in the grass, smelling coffee grounds mixed with hot, rotting vegetables and loam in the compost pile. Helplessly, I looked up at the sky and watched large puffs of clouds float past. Behind me, I could hear the chickens protesting as the old and infirm – the ones who no longer laid eggs – were gathered for execution.

Should I sit here and pointlessly wait for Melvin’s unlikely emergence from the depths of the earth or should I run and hide before they put me to work on chicken slaughter day?

These are the quandaries of living on a farm when you are ten years old.

I wished Melvin the best then stepped into the meadow, allowing the tall grass to conceal me.

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Today

You want to know what I think about a lot? I think about my wedding dress…or lack thereof. David and I were married on August 5, 2001 in Newport, Rhode Island. We planned our wedding around the Newport Folk Festival. We weren’t expecting that anyone would come to our simple little ceremony in the King Park Gazebo with a Justice of the Peace. But they did.

When his family began talking about coming to our wedding, we quickly pulled together a location, a caterer and a photographer.  We’re pretty sure that everyone was confused by the whole thing…the camping in a state park the night before we were married…the lack of invitations,ceremony, flowers, music…But it wasn’t about anyone else.

It was simply about the two of us.

I didn’t wear a traditional wedding dress. That’s the only part I regret. I wish that David saw me walking toward him in a long, delicate gown. I wish that I had my hair and makeup done that morning. I wish that he was the one who saw me that way.

I was too concerned with the fact that I had already been married once before. I was too concerned with what the people in my family would think. We never registered for wedding gifts and I was far too worried about how it would look if I wore a real wedding dress to our wedding.

Today is our 10th Anniversary.

I’ve never loved a person as deeply as I love him. I think that I can confidently say that no one has ever loved me as deeply and as unconditionally as he does.

I’ve never stopped feeling blessed that we finally found each other.

We never had a honeymoon but I don’t think we’ve really needed one.

We survived the loss of his new job one day after we were married. The job that we had just moved to Boston for two days before our wedding. For five years, we lived like paupers while David went to law school. We had three beautiful healthy babies and each other.

In our ten years together we’ve experienced blissful happiness, intense worry, fear, disappointment and a whole lot of laughter. I wouldn’t change a single moment.

Happy Anniversary, my love.


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Standoff

I have some issues with the need to keep my space clean. As in squeaky.

I will, however, admit that in the past year I’ve lightened up a little bit. The kids are small, the house is big and I’m too damn busy to do things like wipe the windowsills once a week! I’ve gotten a tiny bit better. I don’t always dust twice a week. I no longer mop the floors once a week and sometimes I let a mountain of laundry sit on the folding table for so long that it gets all wrinkly. While I’m at it, I’ll also fess up to throwing said wrinkled laundry right back into the washing machine to avoid ironing it. Whatever, don’t pretend you’ve never done that. If you haven’t, then give yourself a big old kick in the ass pat on the back.

So, even though I’ve relaxed my cleaning regime slightly, I think I might just be operating like any normal mother with three children and a spastic dog, who is attending graduate school and attempting to keep up with her husband/friends/blog/house/life.

Yesterday I decided to wipe down all of the baseboards in the kitchen. But that project quickly turned into me washing every baseboard on the first floor. While I was down there on the floor scrubbing away at what looked like a rather nasty chocolate milk splatter, I observed that when I inspect the house from the height of a tiny human, it’s disgusting. There were greasy fingerprints, smears and smudges on the beadboard walls, the french doors, the kitchen chairs and pretty much anything below 3 feet. So much for relaxing my standards.

I found myself crawling through the entire first level of our house, peering under radiators, behind drapes and even beneath the clawfoot tub.

About a month ago I noticed a mysterious brown and chunky substance smeared on the closet door in the foyer. Someone had also taken a considerable amount of time smearing whatever it was on the glass to the side of the front door as well. At the time, I noted the existence of that brown stuff and then I turned and walked away. I walked away hoping that it was something other than what it looked like and, since it didn’t smell like what it looked like, I left it there. Yes, that’s right. I left it there. And I also left the house for 10 days knowing that the brown mystery substance was there.

I’m not sure what possessed me to go away for ten days and leave it festering on the door, but it felt damn good! Maybe on some level I was hoping that someone else would take care of it. Someone like the maid or a herd of cleaning fairies or my husband.

In the end, even though I left for ten days, the brown goop stayed. It waited for me to return and then it patiently waited another two weeks for me to cave in and attack it.

While I was crawling around the first floor wiping down baseboard and woodwork, the brown goopy chunks of smeared stuff caught my eye yet again. So with a defeated sigh I stood up and stalked into the kitchen to retrieve a butter knife with which to scrape the dried goo off the door.

Turns out it was banana.

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