Shopping Tips from Dad

purple, the new black??

Posted by Danny

I love school uniforms.  I’m not as concerned about the value of leveling the playing field for all students as I am for the simplicity of getting dressed each morning, although I’m sure both reasons have merit.

This is the first year ever that one of my kids did not have to wear a polyester outfit five days a week throughout the school year.  DJ, at a new high school, has the freedom to wear pretty much anything she wants to wear.  And you know what that means…according to her, she is grossly lacking fashion options.

So, we hit the Streets at Southpoint mall a week ago.

I used to go into a store and look for a nice bench to rest my feet.  But I noticed that most girls who are shopping have someone else with them to help pick things out and to give opinions.  I see lots of moms and daughters laughing or arguing at the mall.  I love to laugh, and I’m learning to spar.  I thought to myself, “I can do this!  I can shop with a 14-year-old.”

I’m sort of a clothes horse myself, although I specialize in dress shirts and bow ties.  I wondered if I could apply my Nowell’s experience to the Urban Outfitters.

To my surprise, I found that I really got into helping DJ lug stuff around the store, and I was not short on opinions.  I found myself saying things like:

“You can’t wear linen after Labor Day.  That’s a BIG no-no.  That would have to be for next year.”


“I like the scoop neckline on that dress.  The V neck isn’t flattering to your complexion.”  I’m not sure that made sense but I liked the round one better and complexion sounded very shoppy.

Or ,

“That’s cute but you don’t have any shoes to go with that outfit.  We’re gonna have to hit Nordstrom.”

I even caught myself pointing out that “Purple is the new black,” although I made that up because I couldn’t find DJ’s size except in purple (if any of you hear me asking if my pants make my butt look big, you have permission to smack me).

It makes me sad to realize that Lisa can’t be there to go into the dressing room with my girls to help them zip things up and argue with them about the appropriateness of their dress length.  Instead, they have a dorky father waiting by the door ready to give an opinion that can’t possible hold any level of credibility. 

“Dad, what do you think?”

“I think it is defective – your butt is hanging out.  It has a negative inseam.  Take it off and I’ll report it to the sales clerk.” 

I realize that the primary reasons DJ is still  willing to shop with me are because I represent both transportation and VISA.  But regardless of the reasons, I just like to spend time with her – even if it is in the overly perfumed, semi-naked postered Abercrombie and Fitch.

And the one benefit my shopping philosophy has over Lisa’s for the girls?  After two hours I’ll buy anything regardless of the look or price.  120 minutes and I’m done – there becomes no price too high for my freedom.


They’re Back!

DJ and Stephanie at the Camp Awards Banquet

Posted by Danny

The arguing began over the I touch as we drove out of the Camp Seafarer gate.  It was music to my ears!

Today I picked DJ and Stephanie up from Camp.  DJ’s been there for four weeks, Stephanie for two.  Michelle and I have had a lot of one-on-one daddy/daughter time and I think I wasn’t the only one ready for the return of the sibling duo.  She desperately wanted to share what she’d been up to for the past four weeks without them. 

We stopped at Chic-Fil-A for lunch in New Bern. 

Michelle:  “I want a three-piece nugget with fries.”

Stephanie:  “I want the same thing.”

Me:  “Are you sure you guys can eat all of that?  I don’t want to buy it if you aren’t going to eat it.”

In unison:  “Yes dad,” a little annoyed that I asked.

Sixteen minutes later –

Michelle:  “Dad, you can have the rest.”  There were three lone nuggets still in the box.

Stephanie:  “I’m done too.”  Another three staring me in the face.

Usually I’d give them a speech about waste paired with how money doesn’t grow on trees followed by a big I told you so…

Not today!  A fast food tray with half eaten fare could only mean one thing:  THEY’RE BACK!

We have Mt. Kilimanjaro of laundry in the basement.  I’m on load four.  There are many, many more to go.  I may, not sure, finish before it’s time to pack next July.  But you know what?  I’m loving folding each little pair of Target undies and I’m exhilarated by my search for the matching socks!

Last night DJ and I were up until 1 a.m.  I was working diligently to figure out if she’d met “Johnny Sea Gull” at one of the camp dances.  She wouldn’t divulge, but we sure did laugh a lot as I guessed potential names of her imaginary suitors.

Sending all three to resident camp is a big step for me, that was Lisa’s job.  But they grew a ton during their time away – both physically and in maturity. 

Maybe I did too.

You Weak Little Man

Posted by Danny

It’s almost time for braces in the Tanner household.  Teeth have the potential to become a significant focus in the months and years to come.

Our orthodontist called me a few weeks ago and said, “If DJ doesn’t want to be wearing braces in the 12th grade, she probably should get her last three baby teeth extracted.”  Since she was headed to resident camp for four weeks, I quickly made an appointment with our dentist.

So last Thursday, at 3 pm, we slinked in to the office waiting room, DJ understandably nervous.  Me, a wreck.

I’ve never had a cavity.  I floss without ceasing.  When Lisa and I were first dating we went to the mountains for the weekend.  On the top of Grandfather mountain, I looked out at the sights around us.  It was beautiful.  I then pulled out my dental floss – and went to town.  Why not merge the three things I liked most in my life at that time?  Hiking, Lisa and flossing.  It’s amazing she continued our relationship.

My love for a pure mouth and my squeamish stomach hinder my ability to be of  significant support to my children in an oral surgery situation.

With the permission of the dentist, I entered the examining room with DJ.  The nurse on one side of her, the dentist on the other.  Me on a round, backless, rolling stool at the base of her chair.

It started out simple enough – a mirror and cleaning pick.  That did not last long.

Her nervousness drew him to offer the laughing gas.  She began to inhale – she calmed a bit.

I, on the other hand, needed some too.  I became light headed as he pulled out the needle, longer than my forearm.  With a circular handle on the end, it reminded me of a small caulking gun.

The shots began – I looked out the window.  I could hear him shake her jaw – the sound of lips, spit and teeth, like a horse eating dinner.

“One tooth is out DJ.” 

Whew!  Relief.

“I’m just going to clean up the socket.”

How long can it take?  Is that the drill he’s pulled out?  Something is wrong.

“Are you OK DJ?”  the doctor asked with concern.

“Are you OK Mr. Tanner?” he asked with a grin.

My tan skin was white, my pits sweating profusely.  I need a chair with a back, I’m going to pass out.

I moved to the nurse’s computer with a more solid seat.  I held my head down as the blood rushed back in. 

Think happy thoughts Danny – the Christmas parade last year.

I was right in my thinking – something had indeed gone wrong.  Two roots broke off in her gums – he dug and he dug – like an archeologist searching for King Tutankhamun’s tomb. 

“I couldn’t get them all but I think they will resorb.”

Resorb, resorb, what exactly does that mean?   A cousin of absorb?  We can’t come back for more. 

You are such a wimp – you weak little man.  Lisa could have taken the teeth out with tweezers and peroxide.  You’ve got to buck up – this is your job now.

The Dreaded Camp Drop Off


Posted by Danny

Although I worked at Camp Sea Gull and understand the value of resident camp for kids, I still get butterflies when I drop my girls off at Seafarer.  It was hard when when Lisa was here; it’s harder now.

I remember when we first signed DJ up for Camp Kanata when she was seven.  Lisa was determined to begin helping DJ gain some independence, something she desperately needed.  I, on the other hand, was worried sick. 

That Sunday morning we were working to finish up the laundry.  Bailey was clearly concerned.  Every time I’d look at her I’d get a lump in my throat – “I’ll go check the laundry,” I’d offer.

“Didn’t you just check it?”  Lisa would clarify.  “Good Lord man, it’s a week of camp in Durham.  We’re not sending her to Indonesia for the summer.”

Lisa did all of the packing for camp.  Another thing I was totally unprepared for.  I started pulling out bathing suits a week or so ago – we seemed to be fine, there were several.  Then we headed to the pool last weekend.  By the time we were ready to go, this nice little hand-me-down bikini that fit just perfectly at 2:00 was sagging to Michelle’s knees by 5:00.  The outer material covering her butt just drooped – like an old lady’s butt.  I’d never seen anything like it. 

Along with the new bathing suits, I bought her new Crocs, Rainbow flip-flops and bug spray – because the 15 bottles we already have at our house just didn’t make the cut.  It’s that Target thing.  I just panic in there.  A counter full of bug spray when I know it’s on the camp list just won’t let me pass it by. 

“What if I’m wrong?  What if there aren’t five bottles of bug spray in the kitchen cabinet that I open and look at six times a week?  What if all five bottles are almost empty?  What if they have passed their expiration date?  She could be eaten alive by a pack of horsefly.  I won’t be there to look after her and I bet those counselors would never notice.  I’ll just buy the damn stuff.  Where’s the biggest bottle (her friends might need some) with Cutter.”

My child’s can of Off could spray down a camp of 1,200 girls for six years.  Twenty dollars it’s unopened when I pick her up.

What a bunk! Complete with egg crate, matress cover, matching sheets and a Camp Seafarer blanket. The bug spray is in her locker.

I had almost finished packing Michelle when I remembered that Lisa wrote the kids’ names on all of their clothes tags with a Sharpie marker.  Errr – I pulled it all back out.  I’m glad our last name isn’t Von Bibberstein.

Life size cut out, it's almost like she's there!

Michelle was worried that I might miss her so she created a life-size cutout of herself with the assistance of her babysitter.  She convinced me to tape it on my dresser so I’d remember her every morning and every night.  I kind of like having her there for the week.  I may put the cutout in the car and take her to dance and piano  – it’ll feel just like she’s here.

Stephanie rode with me for the drop off.  She worked hard to make sure I was OK even sporting a shower cap from the hotel on her head as a distraction.  “Do you like my new look dad?  Would you call room service and ask them if they’d bring a few more of these up here?  I think we should all wear them tomorrow when we drop Michelle off.”

Last year Michelle cried at breakfast, lunch and dinner I was told.  This year she was convinced that she’d be ok.  “You know dad, my buddy Annie has never been to camp before.  I’m going to tell her I’ll be there for her if she gets upset.”  I wondered who she was going to lean on when the tears were rolling into her scrambled eggs tomorrow morning.

Thanks to Stephanie and a year of maturity for both Michelle and me, things went alright!  I think we’re headed for a very good week.

A New Birthday Strategy

Posted by Danny

There have been some changes in birthday parties this year.  I think I simply approach things in a different manner than my wife did.

The guest list

Years past:  In depth conversation about who to invite to the party.  Whose feelings would be hurt if they weren’t included.  Whose birthdays Stephanie had attended that year.  Ponderance over whether to invite school friends only or to stretch into other groups.

This year:   “Stephanie, who are your best friends?”

“How many can I invite?”

“More than 5, less than a dozen.”

The theme

Years past:  Discussion over the theme.  What to wear, where to go.  What to do.  What to eat.  Reservations and well thought out plans. 

This year:  “What do you want to do?”


“Sleepover or no?”


45 minutes before the party started I was leaving work.  Did  I have reservations?  Nope.  Did I call in advance?  Nope. But I knew where three different bowling alleys were located and had a full tank of gas.

The invitation

Years past:  Beautiful printed invitations.  Lisa would either hit one of those nice stationery stores and splurge on an invitation that complimented the party theme or she would order special stationary and print the invitation herself. 

This year:  Three emails

Email 1 – Two weeks out:  Sorry this is an email and not a written invitation.  Is next Friday open for your kid for Stephanie’s birthday party?

One week out:  We’re on.

One day out:  Meet at our house at 5:30 pm.  I think we’re going bowling.

The budget

Years past:  Lisa was actually pretty budget conscious when it came to birthday parties.  Several years ago, we went to a birthday party where an animal man brought out snakes and warthogs, lizards and tarantulas.  At another party,the kid had a carnival in her yard with six of those huge blow up things you climb and jump on – she had a blow up Titanic in her yard. 

When our kids were young, we’d pull out the sprinkler and three buckets.  They were three or four years old – Lisa wasn’t spending money on extravagant activities.  She’d say, “They’ll have fun with dirt.  We don’t need reptiles to entertain them.”

One year she had a tea party – the girls came dressed up and Lisa was too – floral dress with a big fat hat.  They sat at our dining room table – cloth napkins, formal tablecloth, tea cups and pots, sugar cubes, and flowers at each child’s place.  Then Lisa played the piano and the girls sat around and sang.  I felt like I’d traveled back in time to 1956 – both in theme and cost.

This year:  Store bought cake:  $20

Bowling: $100 – They made us rent two lanes at $50 each per hour!  And then the smart alec high school student who rang us up and who noticed me about swallow my tongue when she said “that’ll be $100” told me, “It’s ONLY about $8 per kid.”  Apparently she didn’t do well in math, because it was about $11 per kid and that didn’t even include water.

Dinner:  $75

Gift:  (her first cell phone – unlimited calls and text)  $50 + 10 years of monthly service fees

Doughnuts for breakfast:  $15

Sodas, popcorn, milk and OJ:  $20


Years past:  Lisa had a rule – birthday parties should never be more than 1 1/2 hours.  Leave ’em wanting more she’d say.

This year:  18 hours (OK – Lisa did let them have sleepovers as they got older.  But it was a good rule when they were young.)

I liked her parties better – but the kids had fun and that’s what counts.

Soft Scrub is Your Friend

Posted by Danny

I think Lisa taught me about Soft Scrb, the all purpose kitchen cleanser, not long after we got married.  We purchased a house that was built in the 1950’s and the tubs were nasty.  She tried everything she could find to clean them and the only two things that seemed to make a dent in the dirt were Comet and Soft Scrub.

We have a housekeeper who cleans for us every other week.  I don’t do very much in between her visits.  Stephanie and Michelle brush their teeth in my bathroom most mornings and don’t know how to wash toothpaste spit down the sink.  About day 5 I get grossed out enough to take a damp cloth and wipe their Crest remnants away.  That’s about the extent of the cleaning in this house by those who inhabit these walls.

But today, I sort of got motivated to do some countertop cleaning in the kitchen.  And I have fallen in LOVE with Soft Scrub!!!

We have a glass top stove.  I never much paid it attention to it until I became the official head of this household last year.  Now, I see how disgusting it gets.  Lisa never cooked that much but when she did, she wasn’t a burner.  I apparently like my food well done because I can burn a boiled egg, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, asperagus, toast – you name it, I can burn it.  My cooking theory memics my outlook on life.  Move on with it – no time to slowly warm things.  On my stove there is really no need for a low or medium setting; I don’t have time for that.  If something needs to get hot, and with virtually everything you cook that’s what you’re aiming for, heat it up as quickly as possisble. 

So, every time I cook on the stove, something invariably overflows onto the burner.  And that leaves a nasty, crispy residue.

I’ve tried glass cleaner.  It is a glass top stove, makes sense doesn’t it?  Doesn’t work.  It does not get spilled, burned on spaghetti sauce off of the burner. 

I’ve tried 409 – when I was growing up, that was like household penicillin.  Not anymore.  Sure it’ll get a fingerprint off a door, but it doesn’t stand a chance to a stainless steel pot stain on a fiberglass sink.

But Soft Scrub – ahh.  The cleaner that keeps on cleaning.

Burned on Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup – no problem.

Pizza pan scrapes on your sink – no problem.



Red wine on your white countertops – no problem.


and AFTER.

I once used it to get steak juice off of my kid’s white shirt.  It works! 

I might try whitening my teeth with it.

When you’re running a household unexpectedly by yourself, it’s good to have help.  Jesse is good.  My parents are helpful.  My in-laws rock.  But Soft Scrub is always there for me.  Day or night – bleaching out the stains of my life.

The High School Decision

Posted by Danny

Lisa would have handled the high school search for DJ.  The applications, the visits, the entrance exams.  I would have been informed at some point where my daughter was going to school.  Of course I would have been consulted on finances if it was not a public institution; but, the decision would have fallen squarely to Lisa and DJ.

I don’t want to make that decision.  I like being told. 

Now it falls to me.

I have completed more bubble forms on-line than the average junior taking the PSAT.  I have typed in my address on four applications, two standardized tests, and on multiple scholarship forms. 

We have shadowed at four schools and attended five orientations.  At this point, I can’t tell you which one is  all girls and which one requires uniforms (I think there is one of each). 

I really liked the Catholic school.  I’d sort of like to be Catholic.  I REALLY like the idea of confession.  I know, I know, God forgives if we just ask.  But I like the idea of spilling the beans to someone through a small brown wooden wall and being given specific tasks to clear the slate.  When it comes down to it, I guess my desire to bear my soul isn’t a sound reason to choose a high school for DJ.

The private school in North Raleigh was beautiful.  The classes were small and the campus reminded me of my visit to Harvard a few years ago.  It was very impressive.  But, it was a pretty long drive from our house AND I would have had to sell at least one child and Jesse to be able to afford the tuition.  I considered that option, but wasn’t sure I could handle the annual clothes clean out without him.

Our base school is a large public school  where Lisa and her siblings attended.  Had she been alive, that’s probably where we would have landed.  DJ visited and enjoyed her day but she came home and said, “It’s really big.  And those were some long, boring classes.”  With my inability to be involved and stay on top of things – that concerned me.  She gets enough boring at home; I’m not sure she can take any more.

Much to her chagrin, I required her to attend the orientation for the local charter school.  It has a great reputation for academics…they stressed to the parents that the kids would have hours and hours of homework each night.  That’s punishment for me!  I’m not sure that I want to be in homework purgatory the next four years myself.  Plus, DJ “hears” that there are only nerds and geeks at that school.  She gets enough of that at home as well.

We have also received four – yes four – complete packets of information from another private school that we haven’t even applied to – I think they may send her class schedule and a bus to pick her up in August unless I drive over there and tell them we are not attending.

After much deliberation, a couple of fights, prayer (at least by my mom – I usually save my personal requests for bigger things like wives with cancer and purpose in life), and a “Are You Absolutely Sure” meeting in DJ’s bedroom, the decision has been made.

In August, DJ will attend St. Mary’s School!  It is a small girl’s school here in Raleigh with a stellar reputation for tough academics and incredible support.  I’ll have to admit I was a bit reluctant about a school  with no boys.  Although I think it’s great not to have that distraction in class, I do want my daughter to have a date before she turns 36.  But this school has a huge focus on making confident leaders out of the young women who attend.  And I can’t argue with that.

Several years ago Lisa went to an open house at St. Mary’s just to hear what they had to say.  She came home and told me, “I know we could never afford St. Mary’s but when you sit and hear their schpill, you just want to drop your kid off when she gets into 9th grade and pick her up when she graduates!” 

I think she’d approve of the decision.

The Great Clothes Migration, Part 2, The Stephanie Saga

Three weeks of work...

Look - they're all folded!!!

Posted by Danny

People in this family just aren’t normal.

On Saturday I began the Great Clothes Migration, Part 2, the Stephanie Saga.

The two of us headed up to her room and began the process.  I had her strip down to her underwear and bra so that the changing could go faster.  When we start, I focus.  No time for play or snacks or lunch or bathroom.  On – off – quick decisions! 

About 15 minutes into it, I heard noises coming from DJ’s room.  I opened the door to find DJ, Jesse and Michelle brewing up some mischief.  Apparently they had been in bed acting like they were taking a nap in the hopes that I’d come in and stir a ruckus.  But I didn’t have time for their junk.  I had work to do – Mount Kilimanjaro of clothing awaited.

Without pause, they looked at Stephanie who was about to undergo four hours of agony, and began to sing a popular song – but they changed the words from “Yellow and Black” to “Panties and Bra.”  She grinned at first but both of us grew tired quickly.  We shut her door and went on about our business.

About ten minutes later, we heard chanting outside.  Looking out of her second floor window, we noticed something unusual – three people, on the roof, glaring in the window at us.  It began with the same chant, followed by skipping by the window, dancing by the window and spinning by the window.  The grand finale was a slight mooning courtesy of Uncle Jesse (for someone with a butt as big as his, even a slight moon is fairly obvious).

Now that Stephanie was fully distracted, I’d had enough.  My glare showed my disapproval.

The show appeared to end.

About ten minutes later, DJ came in to see if she could help. 

“Do I need your help?  Yes.  Are you capable of helping?  From the looks of things, I’m doubtful.”

“I’ll help you but it’s hot up here.  Can you turn the heat down?”

Stephanie chirped in, “I’m comfortable.”

DJ replied, “You’re in your bra and panties.”

“Well I’m the one trying on all the clothes!”

“Fine, I’ll put on my sports bra with shorts and help.”

The next thing I knew, DJ and Michelle were in the room in sports bras and shorts.  I heard them holler downstairs, “Jesse, we’re having a shirtless clean out party upstairs.  Come join us”

“Un.”  I knew what that meant.

It took about ten seconds for him to show up.  Shirt off, hairy chest and stomach grossing me out.

They left the room and found Jesse a sports bra to help make him a bit more presentable. 

He claims he “helped” with the Great Clothes Migration this year.  I think “helped” is a strong word.

Jesse was about as much help as the Justin Bieber cut out.

This is the give away pile for my friend Paige. Better bring a U Haul.

Yard Work? Basketball? Nah, Let’s Go Shopping!

I LOVE to work in my yard.  There is nothing better than mowing, edging and blowing.  It’s instant gratification.

For a man, if your grass looks good, YOU feel good. 

When my yard is weedy and full of brown patches, my whole karma is off.  It’s like having a bad haircut or a huge zit on your forehead.

Lisa DID NOT like yard work.  In fact, I’m not sure she ever went in our yard.  She pretty much went from the house to the car to the mall.

Today after a quick mow (no time for edging or blowing), I tackled Stephanie’s seasonal clothes change.  After four hours of trying on, folding and unfolding, hanging and unhanging, I decided we had not been tortured enough so we headed to Crabtree Valley Mall to begin our spring buying extravaganza.

Everyone in Wake and the surrounding counties was at Crabtree late this afternoon.  Why?  The only people I thought would be there on a spring weekend day with NCAA basketball on were widowed fathers who went to NC State and who are going to be out-of-town four weekends in a row in April. 

There must be a TON of us.

Today we purchased:  1 pair of shoes, 5 bathing suits, 6 tops, 6 shorts, 2 pair of PJ’s, 3 sweaters, 1 skirt, a pair of crop jeans and a beer (that was the only thing I got).  And I spent hundreds of dollars.

Our Loot

I worked hard to be a good sport although I was a bit offended when the sales clerk at the Old Navy offered me the handicapped dressing room because it could “handle larger crowds”. 

I was extremely annoyed when I finally chased two women down in the parking lot to get their space and then they just sat in the car.  What were they doing in there?  Planning the Winter Olympics?  If you come out of the store and there are limited parking places and a car follows you to your space and turns on the blinker, proper etiquette is to quickly get in your car and get the heck out of the space!  Not these women.  They slowly put their bags in the trunk (who does that?) and slowly got in the car.  And then sat there.  Geeze.  My hand motions and horn blowing did nothing to rouse them.  Someone else is going to have to teach my children patience.

I was annoyed at my youngest two children’s new-found modestness in the dressing room.  We’ve all seen them naked – multiple times!  Sometimes they prance around the house in a towel or less.  They do not have to get totally re-dressed when I crack the door six inches to slip out to get another size garment.  There are not 5th grade boys stationed at the door of the handicapped dressing room hoping to get a peek!

I was annoyed when my nose started running at Hollister – a store that has life-sized pictures of naked teens and a plume of perfume floating through the air.  I was also annoyed that my 13-year-old was walking around in public with a naked boy onher Hollister gift bag.

I was annoyed trying to figure out how to try on a two piece bathing suit when the top and bottom were connected with plastic thread.  It was impossible.  We had to try the top on and then the bottom.  And what was that huge swath of tape in the crotch?  Do you take it out before you swim?  My kids said it was uncomfortable.

I was also annoyed when I left Old Navy, reached for my keys and realized I had a $25 gift card I had forgotten to use. I was equally frustrated when four hours later I arrived home and realized I also had a $25 Target gift card I had forgotten to use.

I was pleased when Michelle fell in love with a bathing suit that was twice as expensive as another one two hangers down – and convincingly said, “I like the other one just as well, there’s no need to spend that much more money for one that looks basically the same (it didn’t, but how sweet).”

I was pleased when after I bought her a sweater, DJ said “Thanks Dad!” – unprompted.

I was pleased that Stephanie didn’t smack me.  After trying on literally more than 100 articles of clothing this morning, she looked at me like I had lost my mind when I asked if she wanted to try on another pair of shorts in the last store.  However, she simply said, “I just don’t think I can dad.”

I was very pleased when we got to dinner and the waiter brought me a Yuengling.

Here’s to my wife who spared me from this for 13 years!

The Great Clothes Migration, 2010

I’ve learned to loath The Great Clothes Migration at our house. 

Twice each year, we go through all of the drawers and closets in our house.  It’s time to move the winter clothes out and the summer clothes in.  DJ’s hand me downs are shipped to Stephanie’s room.  Stephanie’s to Michelle’s.  Michelle’s go into three piles  1) trash 2) really special items we want to keep so that my attic will have a purpose and 3) the give away pile to a very dear friend who has two daughters a little younger than mine.

Yesterday we attacked DJ’s room.  I think I’m going to have to take a week off from work to recover.

DJ is a beautiful young woman who makes very good grades.  She is self confident and a leader.  She was honor camper at resident camp last summer.  She’s just an outstanding all around kid – I am so proud of her.  And, she’s a slob.

After about 30 minutes in her room, I considered calling Caterpiller to see if I could rent a Backhoe.  I discovered:

*15 unmatched socks throughout her room – four of them in her bathing suit drawer

*Enough fingernail polish to paint the nails of every 13 year old in South  America

*Single Benedryl tablets from the bathroom to the closet  and everywhere in between

*Femine products galore!

*A cup from the kitchen

and to top it off,

*Two of my good spoons under her bathroom sink!!

Is she eating cereal on the toilet?  Why would you have spoons under your bathroom sink?

The pile of clothes that don’t fit any longer mirror the local landfill – they just don’t smell as bad. 

She just drops paper – I think she has a neurological issue that keeps her from being able to throw things in a trash can. 

I’m about to take a nap to build up enough grit to tackle Stephanie’s room next weekend.  I’ve given her the seven day warning – we all need to get mentally and physcially prepared. 

I’d rather have three teeth extracted than to spearhead The Great Clothes Migration of 2010.

By the way, we’re missing one bear slipper. 

If you find one, please return it to me.  How do you lose an item this big?

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