A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

In case of emergency…

I’m not ready to die.

True story.

So whenever possible, I like to avoid doing really risky or stupid things.

Most of the time.

This morning, however, I strayed from my usual play-it-safe-routine of coffee with Ann, Matt, and Al, and decided I’d live a little dangerously.

I was going to clean the top of my kitchen cabinets.

I know. Try to contain your jealousy.

Why is cabinet-top-cleaning dangerous? Because it’s greasy and dusty up there and when you are wearing only pa-jay-jays and slippers, you don’t have a lot of breast support or foot traction to nimbly maneuver from one counter top to the other.

More importantly, you’re probably wondering why I was going to tackle this project today of all days.

I mean, it’s the first day my kids all went back to school after winter break, PRAISE JEEEZUS. Even my middle-schooler couldn’t wait to get out of this house today. We were all a little stir crazy and I found myself holding my head in my hands yesterday and saying things to my husband like “Why didn’t we stop after one child?” and “I’m going to go upstairs and cry for a while, m’kay?”

But it’s January, which means it’s National Organization Month, in addition to National Stalking Awareness Month, National Dog Training Month, and National Bath Safety Month. Not making those up. It’s a mad mad world.

Anyway, my friend Lisa turned me onto a Decluttering Calendar that she’s going to follow. It gives specific bite-sized organizing tasks everyday for the whole year.

I thought I’d give it a try with her to see if maybe 2012 is the year I finally get my shit together.

“Declutter the top of your cabinets and dust” was actually the task for January 3rd. Yes, I’m a couple days behind. That’s okay. I’ll make it up later. (I hope.)

So there I was, in my slippers and flannel nightie, precariously perched like a dyslexic owl on the edge of my somewhat slick cooktop while holding a spray bottle, a rag, and a 22 quart copper pot that’s bigger than a prize-winning pumpkin… and it occurred to me, “If I fall, I could die.”

The only person home with me at the time was Bucket Head.

Honest to Pete.

Does this kid look like he’d be any good in a crisis?

In fact, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t even be able to find the phone, much less dial 911 on purpose.

And if by chance, after a bad fall, assuming my giant copper pot didn’t land on my head and crush it like a ripe melon, I was able to drag my broken body to the phone and dial for emergency help, did I really want a crew of hot young paramedics seeing me in my morning glory?

Nope. I did not.

I have my priorities, you know.

Sorry Gracie, my trusty feline sidekick, this task will have to wait until The Gatekeeper gets home. It will be a lot easier with a human partner anyway.

But while I was thinking such morbid thoughts, I decided it would be a good idea to make it easier for a stranger to help me in case of an emergency.

I had read a tip somewhere over the break that if you lock your smart phone with a passcode and there’s an accident, the rescue crew responding to your emergency won’t be able to access your phone’s address book and see who your “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contact person is.

Oh snap.

That would be bad.

So I made this in Picasa, downloaded it to my iPhone, and saved it as my lock-screen.

You should totally do that too; with your own picture and emergency contact info, of course.

Alrighty kids, let’s be safe out there. And if you can’t be safe, at least put on some clean britches and a little lipstick.

Your friend,


© Copyright 2012, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.


  1. Jennifer

    You are so fucking hilarious. And I am swooning over the Deruta! I mean, a beard & Deruta? I need to change my panties.

    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG! You are a Deruta girl too?! That’s awesome. Don’t tell anyone, but I got one of those pieces at Goodwill! And another at TJMaxx. The rest were wedding presents from the Biordi shop in San Francisco (we used to live in Oakland). Sigh.

      Now go change your panties. Can’t have you sliding off your chair while you read.

  2. Erica M

    I need that decluttering book. To stack on top of my organizing finances book and my organize job searching book. You’re so far ahead of me. My kids went back to school yesterday, and so far, I’ve managed to feed the toddler fast food breakfasts both days. I may need more than books if I’m going to organize my life.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I hear you. The clutter thing is my MAJOR bugaboo. Well that and my alcoholism.

  3. Joanne B.

    laugh laugh laugh! I have done the exact same stupid thing. Only I must be smarter than you because I planned ahead. Why, yes! I like to pride myself on my organizational skills which are neck in neck with my emergency house keeping skills- I simply clip my cordless phone to my waistband so I will have it handy when I fall. Then as a backup I place my cell phone on the floor, within crawling distance of where I assumed I will fall from the countertop. Notice I do not take my cell phone up with me- see I don’t have accident insurance on my cell and would hate to have to pay for a new phone when this one gets demolished. I DO however, have medical insurance which is probably why I valued my cell phone more than my hip. Oh! and be sure to unlock the door so the cute paramedics can get in! (clean undies goes without saying)Either that or call a neighbor who has your housekey(and is also a clean freak) and inform her of what you are about to do and ask if she does not see you in a few days
    (my husband travels and is not home every night- or after 31 years of marriage may not notice I am splat on the floor and not moving) OR see’s buzzards circling around the house, to please check on me. The crazy things we will do when we spot a cobweb! Not time like the present- yep that’s my credo. Oh- here’s a tip you can actually use
    if you can wait)- once you get the above the cabinets area cleaned up, use a roll of paper towels to ‘line’ the cabinetops. Next time you are so inclined to clean up there you just have to simply remove the dusty chotchkies for cleaning, roll up the dusty aforementioned previously placed paper towel liner and you are good to go with replacing with clean paper towel liner and replacing the now clean chotchkies. All this works fabulously, that is, of course, if you live to tell. I must be doing something right…Thanks for the chance to laugh at my stupid self! (again)

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh Lawdy, Joanne, you are just full of tips and funnies today! Love the “circling buzzards” part…never a good sign.

    • jessiejack

      OMG-are you serious about the phones?? I hope so because I do the exact same thing when I climb that little flip down ladder that goes into the attic over the garage. I leave the garage door open too

  4. Jenni Wichers

    Hilarious…I needed to read this today as I am knee deep in 4 kids clothes 🙁 dirty laundry!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Jenni! Good luck on that nasty kid laundry. Blech! I hope you have a good supply of Oxyclean and a fresh box of wine on hand.

  5. anne

    Effing love the Gaffney peach that looks like butt cheeks! Your kids ventured MUCH closer than we could get our kids to go!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Well what you can’t see in that picture is that Bucket Head stepped in a fire ant hill in his Crocs about 20 seconds after that picture was taken. FIRE ANT HILLS EVERYWHERE in that little park! He screamed and cried and ran in frantic circles shouting “OW OW OW HELP ME MOMMY OW IT HURTS HELP ME! WAAAAAAAAAAA!” It was totally traumatic. He’ll probably never want to go back to the Gaffney Peach Butt.

  6. Karen

    I use several layers of newspaper on the top of my cabinets, then u can just peel off the dust & still have a clean layer. I have pottery on the top of my cabinet so most of it is able to be washed in the dishwasher, but that only happens every couple of years. I was noticing the other day it’s time to clean up there again. I however remember the time that I went out to the clothesline to hang clothes & fell in a hole, twisted my ankle & was unable to get back to the house. After laying out in the yard & screaming for a good 20 mins., someone from the family finally came out to help me. Luckily the dog sat by my side during the whole ordeal. I’m to the point where a little dirt is better than a hip replacement. My mother’s next door neighbor decided she needed to climb on top of the kitchen table to “wash” her ceiling, off she feel, broken hip & ended up in the nursing hom….never the same again! Really if your ceiling is that dirty, it’s time to have it painted. Steer clear of that cleaning Iris…it’s hazardous to your health!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Newspaper, eh? Brilliant! It’s green, it’s cheap, it’s easy. Right up my alley. Thank you!

  7. Ninja Mom

    My love for you grows post by post. While frantically preparing to leave for our Christmas adventures, I decided it would be great time to clean the fridge (it had been at least 10 months since the last cleaning, why the urgency?).

    I cleaned all but the door shelves, reasoning no one would be lifting out all my condiments while we were away and remarking on the Christlike appearance of the mustard drippings. But the house sitter would probably notice the smell from the main cavity. Ode de Boiled Egg and Spoiled Veg.

    How does this relate to your post, you wonder? Me too, friend. Me too.

    • The Bearded Iris

      I like you.

      Cleaning out the fridge is EXACTLY the kind of thing I do to get ready for a trip. That, and organize a storage closet that has absolutely NOTHING to do with our travels. (Damn fetal alcohol syndrome.)

  8. tracy@sellabitmum

    Never do anything without breast support.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh fine, NOW you tell me.

  9. Julie

    Shelf paper. Not just for your granny anymore.

    I was not aware that it was National Stalking Awareness Month. Hm. The more you know. 😉

    • The Bearded Iris

      Really? Shelf paper? That WOULD make the cleaning step easier. The previous owners lined the top of the cabinets with acoustic tiles…very porous. I wonder if shelf paper would stick to that?

      I’m probably going to go with the newspaper idea…less work. You know I’m a lazy beeyotch.

  10. Megan at declutterdaily

    So what did you declutter?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Nothing. I gathered all the greasy dust bunnies and saved them in a Ziploc baggie. I’m going to felt them into a cat toy based on a fabulous craft I found on Pinterest.

      • Megan at declutterdaily

        Oh lady, that is one clevah’ response. You’re a quick one, you. Anyway, I’ll be on the lookout for that on Pinterest (my newest full-time unpaid job). It’s like crack!

        • The Bearded Iris

          Don’t I know it! Like I need another addiction. It’s surprising how many things you can make from greasy kitchen dust bunnies. Look for some at your local thrift store, probably on the same shelf with the old wigs.

  11. muffintopmommy

    What if they find you slumped in that number with the empty box of Franzia though? Then what!!! I say bask in blackwatch anonymity til you come to, you crazy hawt mama~! (And if you did fall? Well that would serve you right for cheating on Matt and Al for something productive! WHAT!) I mean, I’m glad you’re ok!!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love how you always whip out the brand and pattern names, you savvy shopper you.

  12. Naps Happen

    I have totally done that same top-of-the-cabinets cleaning stunt and, man, is it nasty up there! It’s not just dust – it’s dust and grease. Worse- I store my three (!) fondue pots atop the cabinets, so they also have to be degreased. Gross and dangerous. This is a TLC program waiting to be made. And isn’t it on the most unexpected days that you take on these deep-cleaning tasks in your pajamas? I hear you – I have been you. Glad you came out alive.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Alright, hold it right there, Bub. You have THREE fondue pots? WTF? Is that really necessary? Do we need to stage a fondue intervention?

      • Naps Happen

        I know – it seems weird. I actually inherited two of them from my parents. Back in the sixties, you would have separate pots for cheese and for meat fondues, because you need the pot to basically boil oil when making meat, but it has to be cooler to just melt cheese. Now they somehow say you can use the same pot for all of these. I’m skeptical. The third pot is a small one for chocolate.

        • The Bearded Iris

          Okay, I see the logic now. It makes sense if you are really into fondue, and who wouldn’t be with all that melty goodness. Please don’t tell me anymore. I have serial hobby issues and I could totally see Fondue as my new obsession.

          I own a wheat grinder. Enough said.

  13. Kris

    Btw..today is National Whipped Cream Day too!

    • The Bearded Iris

      PERFECT. I can eat Whipped Cream on my jello when I’m in the hospital for my broken hip.

  14. Rootietoot

    The Big Butt!…I mean… The Big Peach!

    We put cabinets with glass doors on that empty bit over the regular cabinets.I can close the doors and pretend the stuff behind them isn’t dusty. It doesn’t really work, but it does irritate my mother in law, who thinks they’re ugly and stupid.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Well done. Half the fun of being married is irritating the MIL.

  15. Adrienne S

    When I was less than 2 weeks away from giving birth to yet another ginormous child (yeah, wtf was I thinking to have 4 of the little gremlins?) my house caught fire. I was SUPPOSED to be on bedrest, having nasty high blood pressure, but I didn’t get to lay leisurely in bed and wait for the firemen. I was too busy dragging 2 of my extremely upset children out of the smoke filled house by whatever limb I could snag, and trying to tote the *still a baby himself* overgrown toddler out by his diaper too.
    Now’s a good time to mention the only bloody maternity outfit left I could squeeze into was in the WASHER. Yep, I was in my nightgown. My very short, doesn’t fit over this belly much less cover my ass, nightie.
    18 firemen. Kid you not. 18 of the muscled, way too cute to be rushing into a burning house men, running past my mostly naked ass.
    It can’t get worse, right? Nope. Then my father showed up. :/ LMAO!!
    I was definately not ready to die. At least until the shame and mortification pushed past the adreneline. And then, perhaps for at least 30 seconds, I would have jumped on death and rode that bitch. I don’t think even lipstick could have helped that one. 😉
    ps: the house was fine. The gorgeous firemen, who only chuckled a little at me, were VERY fast. ThankyouGod.

    • The Bearded Iris

      HOLY CRAP Ade, what a story! I’m so glad everyone is alright! You just reminded me though why I’m such a fan of full-body-length pjs that cover all the jiggly things.

      You are an absolute hero that you got all your babies out of that fire unscathed. I am giving you the official Bearded Iris Camel Toe Salute!!

  16. Allysgrandma

    More bad news arrived today, so I was so happy to see your post. By the way, I stupidly got up a few days ago and realized how icky slick my teapot collection up there is, so I had that on my list of things to do.

    But thanks so much for the link to the calendar. I subscribed too because as DH said on January 1st after mowing both lawns and scooping up the leaves that should have been scooped 2 months ago, “maybe this will be our year”. So yeah I think we all feel that way.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Yes – let’s do this. This IS OUR YEAR!

      Don’t you dare get up there to wash those teapots, woman. Get that young nubile neighbor BFF of yours to do it while you make Limoncello Slushies for you both.

  17. Anne @ Domesblissity

    Always thought you were more than just a pretty face.

    Anne xx

    • The Bearded Iris

      Aw shucks! Yeah, I got the moves like Jagger. Believe it.

  18. Amanda Andrus

    Once again a hilarious and informative post from you. I saw the same Decluttering Calendar and thought about doing the top of my cabinets. I have yet to do it. Keep us up to date on how things go.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks Amanda! So far, so good. I like how the tasks are really small and doable (thus far). It feels good to cross them off on the calendar. I’m a gold-star-sticker-whore like that though!

  19. Meg @ Adventures as a Small Town Mom

    Love the picture of Bucket Head!

    BTW-I always try to read your posts along with TexaGermaFinlaNadian – have you heard of her? She is hilarious: http://texagermanadian.blogspot.com/2011/12/2011-wrap-up.html

    Thought you might be interested in checking out her blog.

  20. Tiffany

    Damn it, Iris. I didn’t know I was supposed to clean the tops of my cabinets.

    • The Bearded Iris

      OH SNAP! Let’s just pretend this never happened then, m’kay?

  21. Carrie

    Sweet mother…there’s a National Organization Month?

    Oh. Wow.

    THAT’S how far behind I am.

    However, I will totally rock out during National DISorganization Month.

    Keep me posted on when that happens. And I’ll need about a 90 day notice.

    • The Bearded Iris

      HA! The only reason I know that is because I am SO borderline-Hoarders that I subscribe to about 20 different organizing/decluttering newsletters/blogs/websites. It’s a sickness.

  22. Jen Has A Pen

    The declutter calendar irritates me. I rather like the sticky, dirt paste that lives on the tops of cabinets. Helps keep the roaches at bay.

  23. Leighann

    God I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s got greasy cupboards.

  24. Very VERY busy mom

    I love your “dyslexic owl.” Took me half a second to get it, but I should warn you I’m going to steal that one day.
    If you feel yourself falling, call in Bucket Head and let him catch you. Isn’t he strapping that thing to his back just for moments like that?

© 2022 The Bearded Iris

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑