The Lesbian Has Four Senses

I have such a deficient sense of smell that I no longer feel confident that I would be able to identify a gas leak or a fire in our home; my brain may process it as “birthday” or “sunset” and I will die. Of this I am convinced.

Case in point.

Carrie and I are taking a wine class. For $69, we spend our Tuesday nights at the Elmaro Winery in the MiddleOfNowhere, Wisconsin, learning about the process of making wine, how to taste wine, how to pair wine, wine, wine, wine. It is taught by an outstanding woman named Laura whose passion for this subject (and the immense amount of chemistry that goes into this subject) is infectious and lovely. We are having a blast.

However, week two was a complete and abject failure. Week two was to test our ability to identify the “aroma” and the “bouquet” of the wine.  The aroma, from my understanding, is the grapes used.  The bouquet is whatever other smells are included in the wine. A rudimentary understanding of these concepts is necessary to be really good at wine tasting.

I do not have a rudimentary understanding of these concepts.

The challenge was thrown down in this format: 20 glasses of white wine and 20 glasses of red wine were set on multiple tables in the classroom we use. We had a notebook and moved from glass to glass, sniffing the wine in the special way we had been taught, and then writing down the thoughts that came to us. She said she spiked them strongly (we were not to taste them for fear of us throwing up) and we may not be able to identify what exactly the smell was, but we should allow our minds to give us the comparison it made. Fine. All well and good.

We started with the whites.

The whites are mostly fruity and I can identify probably six or seven fruits if they are shown to me.  I can only identify grapefruit by smell for whatever reason (and I am a person who can eat my own weight in raspberry jelly). So I nailed the hell out of the grapefruit sniff test. The others were a little more of a struggle.

For instance, #2 was “easy” to identify for most people. “Green pepper,” they all offered when we went through what we had written down. Now, I knew mine was wrong and for the first time in my academic life, I found myself praying that she would not call on me. Alas, it came time for me to share.

“I smelled turkey,” I said. “But maybe it’s an association thing?” I offered looking at my wife. “Do you put green pepper in our turkey meals?”

“No, you weirdo,” she responded from across the room. People with functioning noses are so condescending.

The good thing about #2 was that someone ELSE in the room had written down turkey. We are now bonded forever in the land of SniffIssues. This made me feel better. Maybe I wasn’t so awful and others were going to have similar confusions to me. That would be wonderful! It would be a nice change of pace to have people share my issues.

I was able to identify the vinegar spike pretty easily because that’s what Carrie cleans our coffee maker with. So my mind did not register “vinegar” as quickly as “Carrie being frustrated with the speed of our coffee maker” but I got there in the end.

One wine was spiked with pineapple. About 90% of the class got pineapple. I had written down “sweat” on my sheet of paper.  So close.

Next came the reds. Dear god the reds.

Now I love red wine. Given the option, I will almost always choose a red unless I am out and eating fish. But at home, we drink (expensive) red wine almost exclusively because we are L.I.N.K.s (lesbian incomes, no kids) and spend our money on ridiculous things. I thought maybe I’d be better at the reds.

So the first one had some grains floating around the glass making it look horribly disgusting but seemingly identifiable.  “Coffee,” everyone said and she laughed, joking that the coffee grounds maybe helped with that.

Well, it didn’t help me. I wrote down cigar. I have never smoked a cigar nor am I ever around them. I drink coffee every single morning. This obviously makes sense.

The next one was chocolate. I got chocolate. I was gonna get on a roll, I could feel it.

I did not.

#8 was one that everyone sniffed and nodded knowingly.  I looked forward to #8.  I got there and took a big whiff of it exactly as I had been taught and absolutely not a single thing registered in my brain. It is not a quiet mind I have, but this was empty chalkboard level of nothingness.  I smelled again.  Finally, a faint picture appeared in my brain.  A coconut tree on a beach.  Mind you, I have never seen a coconut tree on a beach, but this is OBVIOUSLY what the smell was. Of course everyone got that but me. They’d all been to beaches, I thought.

As we were going through the answers, I waited patiently for #8 and when we arrived at it, 99% of the class shouted out “Black pepper” and nodded, happy with themselves as students and pleased with their functioning noses.  I mumbled, “Or coconut,” loud enough for the teacher to hear. She legitimately burst out laughing. Always a good sign.

#13 was cinnamon. I was sure it was cinnamon. Positive. And the answer was cloves so it really was close enough. I wrote down half a point on my paper for being remotely right.

Another component of this test was that we were to not make any faces or sounds upon sniffing the wines (which really limited my ability to cheat).  So I got to #16 and immediately, audibly gagged upon smelling it.  It was so bad, I refused to go back for an extra sniff. I wanted nothing to do with that wine and wrote down “mold” on my sheet of paper.

#16 was raspberry jam. Y’know, that stuff I can eat my weight in and have a song for while I slather it on my toast. My god.

Going back a couple, #14 smelled like cinnamon, too. She had warned us that sometimes a powerful bouquet will impact the wine you smell after it. But I couldn’t get past the cinnamon. This sparked a picture of Christmas at my parents’ house where Mom often lights cinnamon candles. Therefore, I wrote down “Christmas” on my sheet of paper.

The class had a really difficult time with this one (YAY OTHER PEOPLE’S STRUGGLES!) and I felt confident in my “Christmas” answer.  I even offered it up to write on the board, loud and proud. I thought it even sounded like a deep and meaningful observation.  “A wine so wonderful it was spiked with Christmas.”

The answers were wide ranging and she waited until every last person had offered up their answer. Then she smiled at us in the way you smile at a child who wants you to look at the mud he just picked up and wants you to be impressed with. “Nice, but no.”

“The answer is Band-Aid,” she said. “I soaked a band aid in the glass for an hour or so.”

Christmas. Band aid. What the hell is wrong with me?

When I told my mother this story, she laughed and then looked at me. “Seriously, was your childhood that bad?”

“No,” I replied, “but did I get injured a lot on holidays?”

These are the things wine class makes you wonder. I recommend it for everyone.

Fat Chronicles: Let’s Have an Honest Discussion about Yogurt

So this is my life now.  I eat at work instead of going home for lunch because my schedule changed to six hour days. (This is known as a cake schedule.) (Mmmm cake.) (I would like a piece of cake. I would like to be on a schedule of eating as much cake as I want.)  (Do you know what isn’t cake? Yogurt. We’ll get to that in a second.)

Instead, my schedule is simply wonderful and I firmly believe that everyone should work six hour days. It is life changing.  Those extra two hours are magical and allowing for all sorts of fat chronicle stories. But the point is that I eat in the office now which means I have to attempt to pack things I can eat in my office that don’t smell like microwaved feet.  (This is what working on a “health services” floor gets you.  People invent organic stews made out of fungus and kale and then microwave them 20 feet from my office while extolling the virtues of kale and I’m all like, ‘Bitch, please, kale is like celery’s ugly brother.’)

So I bring a sandwich – usually peanut butter because peanut butter is delicious and fattening and I don’t care.  I also bring carrots because carrots are like brownies except in every imaginable way. And I bring yogurt.

I eat in shifts, little bits here and there to try to stretch throughout the day so that I don’t get hungry at 3 p.m. when I have private practice clients until 7:30 p.m. This is brilliant and after the first week has been easy peasy.

But the yogurt, man. First of all, yogurt makes me think of Activia which makes me think about the campaign they had that one time for people to take video testimonials about how Activia has helped them to poop more efficiently. I don’t want those videos, Activia.

I do not eat Activia nor do I eat the super special Greek yogurt because I feel that is for fancy schmancy people who are skinny and do triathlons and refuse to eat chicken strips. I am not that person.

I am not eating yogurt because I want more efficient poop.  There are probiotics in yogurt, I am told. Or there are geobiotics that help the yogurt by serving as a Google maps of sorts for the body.  ‘Take a left at the small intestine. Recalculating…”  Or there are active cultures that help with the gross cultures in your stomach that they discovered cause ulcers. But here’s what I hate: I hate milk. I hate dairy of all kinds except cheese which is, of course, the shit you’re not supposed to eat too much of because we are supposed to care a lot about our arteries and not as much about our taste buds and I just think that we have our priorities wrong. (Much like forcing everyone to work eight hour days…)

Anyway, I hate dairy and I dislike most fruits. So why wouldn’t I eat a fruit filled dairy product as my noon snack? (It’s at noon because I don’t have to come to work until 10 a.m. which allows me plenty of time for hating every second of my morning treadmilling.)  Plus, the yogurt container is JUST deep enough to get yogurt on the spoon handle which inevitably gets on my upper lip so then I feel like someone is smearing my face in fruit filled dairy.

Then the parts that get in my mouth don’t exactly bless me with a joyous feeling. And I cannot help but worry that the yogurt has expired. One of my most frequently experienced worries is that some form of dairy has gone bad and I’m going to put it in my mouth because of my desensitized sense of smell before I realize it. That is my own hell. (That is why I make Carrie smell the milk when it is remotely close to the date. I have never smelled the milk. Marriage has its benefits.)

In conclusion, my new campaign for all the companies is this:
Yogurt: It is an aesthetic nightmare from beginning to end.

Next time on the Fat Chronicles, we will discuss fat people pants and why they suck. Stay tuned.

The Fat Chronicles: Reward Failure

It is day two of my exercise regimen, a pursuit that you will only hear about through humorous tales such as “I fell down on the treadmill trying to continue a Facebook argument” and “Why oh why can’t the bike have an air conditioner under the seat to help prevent your crotch from overheating?”

Today we will talk about setting up rewards for ourselves.

Carrie and I were discussing what might motivate us to get into better shape. Since I am a therapist, I know that rewards are motivational and therefore, we need a prize at the end of the very sweaty, uncomfortable, deprived-of-sleep-because-we-are-doing-this-in-the-mornings tunnel.

Not that there is an end to this tunnel. But that’s for another chronicle.

Anyway, we were brilliant and decided that whoever wins our strange “Biggest Loser” competition gets to pick our next vehicle.

This sounds excellent on paper. I mean, that’s pretty motivational. Which one of us is going to pick the orange Jeep that we both want? Scintillating theater.

But then I got to thinking… This is motivational in a very awkward way. The most direct route to winning is to sabotage the other person. Imagine a scenario wherein one partner gets to randomly bring home doughnuts that sit on the counter while her wife works from home all day and is a doughnut addict.

Or picture this: One partner does all of the cooking. (Not some of it…We are nearing 12 years in and I have never made a meal…) What is to stop said wife from adding extra butter to one meal while leaving her own bland and without fat?

Nothing will stop these events from occurring because they are all easier than working out. Using this reward system, there is a better chance we will both actually weigh more and do less simply in the hopes of the other person failing more miserably.

This is teamwork. This is marriage.

Welcome to the Fat Chronicles.

Rolling with the Fat

I don’t talk about body image much because I live at a very strange crossroads when it comes to the issue. My Wii console used to declare loudly “That’s Obese!” when I started up my Wii Fit session (which is super inspiring in case you were wondering) but this is not information to me and hasn’t been for quite some time. The thing is, the majority of the time, it doesn’t bother me. It remains in my consciousness as American society has demanded it do, but not in an “all day every day hate myself” sort of way. It’s more of a “If I have the choice between grapes and fried cheese curds, really give it some thought, fatty.”

A year ago, Carrie and I tried to do one of those month long challenges where you have to do planks, crunches, push-ups, and squats. Day one was easy because I swear that day one required us to simply imagine ourselves doing any of those things. We stuck with it until day 16. Day 16 was something in the vicinity of a two hour plank, 200 crunches, 80 push-ups, and 6349 squats. As we worked our way through the squats, one of us looked at the other and asked, “Really? Do you hate being fat this much?” The reply was a resounding, “No, really, I don’t.”

We did not complete the challenge.

Occasionally, though, I get a reminder that how I look in my head (which isn’t bad, honestly) is perhaps not the reality of the situation. Case in point:

Last weekend, I played in a softball tournament. We only played two games on Saturday, but it was 92 degrees and I am only in 78 degrees shape so I was very sore on Sunday morning. In particular, I felt like my lower left side of my back had been twinged in an irreversible fashion rendering me to feel as though I must ice before proceeding to day two of the tourney.

I grabbed an ice pack and found a comfortable position in our big plush chair, placing the ice on the spot that felt most sore. I stayed in this position for the requisite 20 minutes.

When my time was up, I stood up. Now, I’m not sure how I managed it, but the ice must have been specifically placed to touch one part of my back but just away from a small fat roll above it. Standing shifted everything so that the warm skin promptly rested against the cold skin.

“Oooooo….ooooooo….oooooo,” I declared, dancing around the living room, arching to my right to try to get the skin to stop touching. Then I began laughing at myself so hard that I started shaking which caused more skin touching which caused more gasping. Then I walked around looking like the old V8 commercials for the next 15 minutes until my skin warmed up.

I laughed as I imagined a scenario in which this event bothered me so deeply that I went on a workout, crazy health fanatic binge and lost 100 pounds. Then, when asked about my inspiration (as people do because everyone loves to talk about weight as though it is interesting), I would have to describe the time my fat roll stayed warm against icy skin and tickled me across the living room.

It would almost be worth it. Almost.

Love Letter Monday: Memphis, Baby

Mom’s highlight of the trip. I guess she preferred to look at these creatures waddling as opposed to Carrie and me.

Dear Memphis,

What kind of an “adult” likes to climb inside a minivan with her parents in the middle of June and drive a total of 1400 miles?  This “adult.”  (I am contractually obligated to put that word in quotation marks as we are not quite sure what that word signifies and, therefore, are unsure as to whether or not I meet the criteria.)

Oh, but we didn’t go just anywhere. We drove south. South to the land of hotel ducks and 107 degree weather. We piled three of the warmest women on earth and Dad into one vehicle and transported ourselves to a place where it was 82 degrees at night AND agreed we would walk everywhere because why not?

But you, Memphis. You rocked my socks off. Literally because no one should wear socks there because it is 107 degrees.

First of all, the trip to get to you is long and boring, so there is a high chance that we were delirious by the time we saw your beautiful skyline with little to no traffic. (Delirium included an instance where Carrie forgot to put honey mustard on my sandwich at Subway so as we were in the van and I was bemoaning my very dry sandwich, Mom opened hers and said, “Here have some of my honey mustard!” And she held it there until I replied, “Mom. We’re not going to rub our sandwiches together.”) Really, though, Arkansas? You won’t be getting a love letter anytime soon.

The niceness just oozes out of you, Memphis. From the second we pulled into the Peabody, everyone we met wanted to help us in some way. (I informed Dad that some help required tipping; he looked disillusioned with you, but I explained, Mem. I helped him understand.) From the old-timey bellhop to the front desk worker who upgraded our rooms for nothing, we felt like you wanted us there. It is good to be wanted. Your gift shop manager really liked our vowel-y accents, too.  Diversity is the spice of life, baby.

We ate at the Flying Fish which has the largest collection of those singing bass fish decorations anywhere. We even saw one painted to look like a confederate flag!  Who knew a bass could be racist? We do now, Memphis. You taught us real good.

To make up for that, we went to the Civil Rights Museum which was a crisp, cool half mile from our hotel. I added a half mile by getting us lost in a part of you, Memphis, that might need some work. But that’s okay. Only everyone complained about the heat. The Civil Rights Museum deserves its own love letter and should be required attendance for human beings.  It was somber and interesting and air conditioned.

When we left, we were looking for Central BBQ but my phone said it was 4.5 miles away, which everyone quickly denounced as being a no go on foot. We considered calling a taxi. Then I looked behind me and there a Central BBQ stood, less than a block away. (I imagine what that taxi ride would have looked like. “Take us to Central BBQ!” we would exclaim. The driver would look at us. We would remain giddy. He would put the car in drive and go 5 mph around the block. “Here you go,” he would say. We would ensure victory in the Laziest Americans of the Day contest. Send us our trophy!)

That night, we would eat at B.B. King’s on Beale Street where you house some excellent music and a really fabulous waiter. When Mom asked what was good on the menu, he listed off four different types of BBQ and then she went ahead and ordered the organic pasta anyway, he couldn’t help himself from exclaiming, “But that ain’t got no meat on it!”  Carrie would then wave her ribs across the top of the plate so he was more satisfied with her order and also brought us extra “cornbread croutons” because why not?  You wanted us to eat, Memphis, and we obliged.

The consensus for best experience was probably Sun Records/Studio.  What a fabulous tour!  Dad even won a guitar pick for answering a trivia question correctly but first he got it wrong and I actually gasped. I don’t know if my father has ever gotten a music trivia question wrong. He redeemed himself, but I thought we might need to have him examined.

If we have one complaint, my friend, it is Graceland. Wow do you just herd all of your unmentionables to that one location and desert them there all day, Memphis. Well done but hot diggity. Literally, hot. So much standing and waiting in line and kitche nonsense. The mansion itself was interesting as was the woman sobbing in front of Elvis’s gravesite. He’s been dead almost 38 years, Memphis. When are people gonna let it go?

Our Graceland experience was probably hindered a bit by our choice to starve ourselves all day in preparation for eating at a Paulette’s, a super nice restaurant, that night. I think large collections of gaudy items and blaring Elvis songs is better done on a full stomach. We forgot all about that experience, though, when Carrie had what she declared to be the “best filet mignon” anywhere. I had red fish with crab meat. It was so wonderful.

But that wasn’t enough. You, Memphis, you decided to flatter me. I got carded at that restaurant and told I am just so young looking.  Which means that I’m quite the catch, Mem. You’re lucky I love you.  But I do. So much so that twice I even thought, “Yeah. I could move south.”  Then I drove through Arkansas again and stayed in St. Louis (who will be our feature in my new Way to Suck Thursdays collection) and remembered that I am a Yankee. Still. We will always have this glorious week.  You are fabulous.

wonkypenguin, your trophy wife

P.S. Forgive Mom for always calling her small purse her “body bag.”  She knows not what she does.


MomBlog: Organizophile Edition

And in the beginning, there were clothes. And my god look at the sock drawer.

And in the beginning, there were clothes. And my god look at the sock drawer.

“I am 100% committed to this process,” I told my wife Thursday morning. “I have so many god damned clothes. It is overwhelming and embarrassing.”

“My fear is that you will get halfway done with the process and then just leave it,” she responded.

“Yes, because that’s what Mom is about. Doing things halfway.” I rolled my eyes even though I was at work and no one could see me do it. Facebook does not have a good eye roll emoticon. Fix this, Facebook. “I texted her because I couldn’t remember the name of the “organization guru” guy that she would inevitably leave Dad for. She texted me back within 30 seconds.”

“She probably let out a little ‘Squee!’ that you even asked.”  I then sent Carrie the link to Peter Walsh’s organization blog. “I can’t even tell you how much I don’t care about the organization guru,” she responded.

“WHICH IS WHY OUR HOUSE LOOKS HOW IT DOES!” I stated emphatically.  We are not a dirty people; we are a messy people. Whenever I come across any article that combines “hidden genius” with “organized messes,” I immediately bookmark it.

If this hypothesis is correct, Carrie and I are a collective Einstein.


Mom has been pursuing this event since approximately 1988. The great purge. The event for clearing of all things clutter. The deconstruction of a wardrobe that still contains a shirt I wore in high school, back when my boobs were not the focus of my being and I could run 800 meters in less than 12 minutes. Of all the things she has worried about, the lack of organization in my life ranks in the top 5. “How could I have failed,” she must wonder multiple times a day. (This reminds me of her visit to my college dorm room freshman year when she literally said, “Kelly – you don’t need to live like this. No one needs to live like this.” The horror is real.)

To wit, I am neither a hoarder nor suffering from any disorder unless you count the one that makes me keep multiple small piles of books scattered throughout the house so that wherever I am sitting at any given moment, I have something to read. I am more the “I was tired of wearing a bra so I took it off and flung it onto the chair in the office where it then gets thrown onto the floor of the spare room and lies there until I go on a cleaning spree and take it downstairs so it’s on the floor of the laundry room which then qualifies as “progress” to me. Make sense?

As Mom continued to send messages outlining what we would be engaging in, I asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited are you?”  She replied, “It’s like getting 30% off at Kohl’s!”  That is the epitome of MomJoy.  I knew we were in for a day.


My parents arrived with an entire box of garbage bags intended to collect “The Purge” as we were calling it. I had taken Ava to the vet and instructed Carrie not to let my mom just start or I would be left with one of each piece of apparel. She grunted as though she did not care. Indeed, I began to suspect she did not.

The system in our house had always been to keep just enough clothes dirty so that we had room in our drawers and closets for the clean ones. But on Friday morning, all of mine were piled in the living room for judgment. “Where shall we start?” Mom asked without saying hello to me when I arrived home. “Oh you brought doughnuts!”

Yes. The expectation was that I would bring home doughnuts from Bloedow’s which was voted the best bakery in Minnesota. Oh and did no one mention that Friday was National Donut Day?  So would you think that perhaps said bakery would be busy? The morning was already exhausting and we hadn’t touched an article of clothing.

We ate our doughnuts in the living room, looking at the amassed history of my apparel. “Okay,” Mom said, feeding part of her bismarck to the boys, “this is how Peter says to do it.” She then outlined for me the upcoming joy we would all be experiencing.


First came the clothes on hangers. These were my “dress clothes.”  Perhaps you have these, too. These are the ones you keep in a closet so that when you suddenly out of nowhere have an orchestra concert or an impromptu wedding you must attend, you have options to choose from. These are the ones you stare at while declaring, “I have nothing to wear.”

The oldest winner in this pile was a button up shirt from a shopping trip in 2004. It went in the pile. Mom exhaled with pride.  “Doesn’t that feel good?” she said holding up the next pair of pants for judgment.  A lot of shirts went. “The key is to have no emotional attachment to them,” Mom guided me. “They are going to the depot where they will either be resold or recycled. You’re not throwing them out. You’re just… redirecting them.”


I own 15 hooded sweatshirts. I threw three of them out. “Do you seriously wear all of these?” Mom asked me gravely, sifting through the multiple colors and densities.

“Yes, I do,” I said back, somewhat snidely. “It gets cold in Minnesota in the winter.”


The underwear and sock drawers were next. These were obnoxious. I quickly realized that 82% of my underwear drawer was composed of garments I hadn’t worn in years. Not like two years.  More like eight.  Toss toss toss.  The sock drawer was a little easier because I have a sock obsession and wear almost all of them. But I still had a pair from 2000 when I was at a freezing cold soccer tournament in Marshall, Minnesota, and I needed a warm pair of socks for being a spectator.

That pair of socks was when I really realized that my clothes led to memories and that perhaps that is why I kept them around for so long.  I don’t know if other people have this with as many pieces as I do. All I knew is that while I came to realize this fact, I turned to face the biggest obstacle in my way: T-shirts.


My grandmother screen printed a Polaroid and sent me a t-shirt three years ago. Again: Screen. Printed. A. Polaroid.

My grandmother screen printed a Polaroid and sent me a t-shirt three years ago. Again: Screen. Printed. A. Polaroid.

Good god the t-shirts.  Allow me to show you a few of the most special ones.

The first t-shirt Mom brutally tried to take away from me was the one on which my grandmother screen printed a Polaroid of a crying 2 or 3-year-old me with their old dog, Tuffy.

“What on earth is this?” Mom asked as she looked at it. “Seriously, Kelly. You hated that dog. Look how miserable you are! And Tuffy wasn’t exactly fond of you either. Is this a memory you really want?”

“Yes!” I exclaimed emphatically. “It’s a great shirt that I wear underneath other shirts.”

“We can buy you new white shirts,” Mom offered.

“Will they have a screen printed Polaroid on them?” I asked.


“Then we’re keeping it,” I responded.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 1, Mom 0.

I stole this shirt at a softball tournament in Kentucky. 12 years ago.

I stole this shirt at a softball tournament in Kentucky. 12 years ago.


Next came my Bluegrass Bombers t-shirt. I was never on the Bluegrass Bombers – a girl I was dating was.  And I essentially stole this shirt at a tournament in Kentucky in 2003.  It is a very comfortable softball shirt.

The problem is that I had eight (EIGHT) other softball t-shirts from teams I had actually played on. I had to have a softball shirt throwdown.

“I’m letting you keep six shirts because you claim to use them throughout the season,” Mom said. “That’s all. You were never a Bluegrass Bomber. You don’t need a shirt.”

“But I wear it underneath things!” I protested again.

“I’m onto your rouse,” she responded and it went in the bag.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 1, Mom 1.

Remember when everyone lost their damned minds in 2004?

Remember when everyone lost their damned minds in 2004?

One of my favorite time periods for the Sharbies was 2004. We claim we went crazy that year – did everything we wanted to do, traveled all over, dug ourselves into the most fun debt we could imagine (and then spent six years trying to recover from it).

Also in 2004 was the presidential election from hell. I don’t know if everyone else feels that way about the Bush/Kerry era, but I can say that it was so hellishly contentious and angry… and so much of it was focused on gay issues… that it was an exceptionally annoying time to be alive.

Within that, the Vote for Change tour erupted with tons of musical acts gathering together to promote the liberal cause. We saw one show in Des Moines featuring Bonnie Raitt, Keb ‘Mo, John Prine, and Neil Young. It was a sweet concert in an absurd time.

And that t-shirt was uncomfortable as all get out. Mom won easily.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 1, Mom 2.

If you can't understand why I need both of these, we can't be friends.

If you can’t understand why I need both of these, we can’t be friends.

“These are the same shirt!” Mom exclaimed.

“They are not!” I exclaimed back. “I don’t have any other brown shirts!” Emphatically. Shouted.

“Fine. Keep the brown one.”


“A smattering. Of colors. Of Coors t-shirts. Are you even listening to yourself?”

She was right. I may have, um, been peaking in my stress right about then. But I got to keep them both which just goes to show: People listen when you speak passionately.

T-Shirt Purge Score: Kelly 3, Mom 2.

The winner of oldest piece of clothing is...

The winner of oldest piece of clothing is…

There was a small contest going on to see just what would be the rattiest, tattered, oldest piece of clothing in my wardrobe. Now, technically, the oldest piece of clothing was a Beatles shirt that I wore on the first and last day of my senior year of high school. But I had kept that shirt in such pristine condition that it could hardly be considered the winner.

Which left my “Just Smash It” t-shirt as the winner. First off, I think the shirt itself is, like, a freaking size medium which I haven’t worn since I was probably 4 years old. It was a shirt I bought during my coaching career which started, peaked, and ended in 2000.

The fact that this was still in my collection is one of those flukes. It must have been hiding every other time I had tried to purge my clothing, tucking itself into a corner, begging me to remember that time they let me be in charge of a dozen 14-year-olds and I allowed them to use “The Thong Song” as our pregame inspirational music. I decided I didn’t need the t-shirt to remember such nonsense.

T-shirt Purge Score: Kelly 3, Mom 3

One of my top 5 favorite football memories was buying this jersey. Hi. I'm a Vikings fan.

One of my top 5 favorite football memories was buying this jersey. Hi. I’m a Vikings fan.

I grew up hating one football player more than any other player for the continuous years of 1992-2009. It’s not hard to do. Putting a cocky, good, narcissistic ass on my least favorite team in professional sports causes this for most sports fans. Add to that the unadulterated worship that fan base showed that player and it makes for a chemical mix that causes so much disdain, it cannot be measured with any device.

We were at the cabin on vacation without television one morning when our neighbor, Bernie, wandered over to tell us that Brett Favre was on a plane heading to Minnesota.  Sure, the Vikings needed a quarterback and sure, he was probably the best one available. And sure, the Packers had literally tried to pay him $20 million to simply not play anymore.

But the torture it was going to cause the worshiping nation of Wisconsin seemed too good to pass up. We got in the car and drove into Mankato (where the Vikings do their training) and sure enough, we actually found a Favre Vikings jersey already on sale. I bought it immediately. The joy was real.

As you know, making deals with the devil don’t work out very frequently so when he threw that dumbass interception to lose the NFC Championship game, I was not surprised. The memory will always be the day we found out he was coming. And Friday, I easily gave the shirt up.

T-Shirt Purge Score: Kelly 3, Mom 4

Notice the space between hangers. That didn't exist before.

Notice the space between hangers. That didn’t exist before.

All in all, I gave up 31 t-shirts.  And my closet looks like a closet now. I even got rid of three pairs of shoes and five hats.  That is unheard of. No one believed it possible.

My mom danced around like a child at the end of a sugar overdose (which, really, the bismarck may have played a role in).  “Don’t you just feel so … so … FREE!?!?”

The truth is that I did feel free. I don’t feel like I’m drowning in unnecessary items collected over a lifetime. It is a joy to have only clothes that fit, that I wear, and that I am able to comfortably store in my closet and drawers without managing the balance of having half of them in the laundry at all times.

My mother is an organizophile. And a damn good one. Feel free to hire her by calling 1-800-MOMWILLHAPPILYTAKEALLYOURCLOTHESAWAY.

My soul-cleansing Fridays have been wonderful so far. What shall I do next week?