Just Call Me The Queen of Pinterest (Fails)

I remember the first time I discovered Pinterest.

I started small – pinning recipes, crafts/games to keep my kids entertained, romantic ways to connect with the hubby, and trendy outfits I planned to wear. From there, I started pinning a ton of organization tips to help me keep my house clean, quick workouts promising to make me skinny, and easy hair styles for modern women-on-the-go. Pinning perfect possibilities were limitless.

Thanks to Pinterest, I could finally be the best-dressed, perfectly accessorized, fit-and-trim woman, who could cook delicious meals and romanticize my man – all while keeping my house miraculously clean, and spending quality time doing educational crafts with my toddlers. Hell Yes!

After assembling those first few boards, I dove right in. I started making those delicious dinners; doing those romantic things for my husband, and tried out those simple hairstyles. I even dusted off my workout clothes, cleaned out my closet, and then I spent a small fortune at JoAnn Fabrics gathering the crafting essentials.

So, how’d it all go?

Within days, I had mastered the culinary arts and whittled my waistline. I was always dressed to the nines and had the bounciest, shiniest hair ever. And my kids preferred to spend time doing crafts with me instead of watching cartoons. My husband adored me, and my house was spotless All. The. Time. Yes, Pinterest had literally changed my life.

OK so that last bit is what I thought would happen. But much like everything else in my life that I plan out, things didn’t necessarily work out the way I wanted them to

Turns out you actually need an in disposable amount of time, energy, dexterity, and patience to become the perfect woman. Who would have thought?

So, what really happened as I dove into this “pinteresting” adventure of mine was a long list of personal “Pinterest Fails”.

Exercise + Me = Generally Hating Life

I realized that most of the fast and easy workouts that promised to shrink my mid-section in a few days were the exact opposite – they were long, and difficult. I toppled to the ground a couple of times (ok…a lot of times) trying to do yoga headstands. I kick-boxed my way to a hamstring injury. I defied the laws of gravity trying to do burpees. Yeah, that first 10-minute workout was a bitch.

R.I.P. I Workout! board.

Crafty, I Am Not

Oh! And all those cute, totally educational crafts that were easy for little hands to make were next to impossible to re-create. I mean, even I got frustrated trying to make a dinosaur out of a paper plate! How on earth could I expect my easily-distracted children to do it? Both of the creations my kids and I made looked nothing like the image of the pin. Sayonara Kids Stuff board. Cartoons it is!

Hair Gone Wild

And don’t even get me started on my collection of simple hairstyle pins. I wound up with burns from my curling iron, damaged hair, and an array of products, brushes, and tools that I only ever used once. Dear Hair! board, you’re a tangled mess.

50 Shades of No Color at All

I don’t want to share TMI here, so I’ll keep this section brief. Long story short, every single thing I planned or tried out didn’t work. The yoga moves I added to my workout board did NOT make me more flexible. Furthermore, since the whole workout just didn’t work in general, the sassy outfits only meant for the bedroom (and sometimes Halloween) didn’t quite fit the way I intended them to. Let’s face it, the subhead says it all. (That was a private board, by the way, so I can’t share it with you on my blog, but I assure you, it has been deleted.)

Table for One, Please

I had pinned so many yummy things, and I couldn’t wait to try them all out on my hubby and kids. I’m talking real-life, actual home-cooked meals here, folks. For once, I was not going to just take something out of the freezer and put it in the microwave. More importantly, I couldn’t wait to crush the competition at the school bake sale with my homemade gluten-, peanut-, milk-, and egg-free brownies. (Because you can’t ignore all those allergies.) Much of those dinners turned out burnt and landed in the bottom of the trash can. And as for the bake sale? Let’s just say, I’m only allowed to bring store-bought items now. Yummy Vegan-ish Recipe board, you disgust me.

What Not to Wear

I took an hour to go through all my clothes, sorting them into “potentially could be acceptable-to-wear” and “completely unacceptable” piles. At the end of my sorting exercise, one of those piles was bigger than the other one. (I bet you can’t guess which one though.) Then, I remembered that I didn’t have any spending money, so I just hung everything right back up again. Thanks for nothing, Funky Fashion Finds board.

(Not) So Fresh and (Not) So Clean

Guys, I’m gonna be honest here. I tried every. single. one. of those organizational tips, and ya know what? My house is actually messier and more disorganized now than it was before. I just have my junk scattered throughout a heck of a lot more color-coded bins now. Organized 4 Life board, I’m just gonna sweep you under the rug with the rest of my dust and crumbs.

Here’s the thing. I know that I’m not alone. There are other moms out there who had so many hopes and dreams for Pinterest, only to watch all them come tumbling down.  I’m pretty damn sure that if you talk to any mom who has ever tried to do something based off of a Pinterest pin, they’d rattle off way more “Pinterest Fails” than wins.

I’m sure some moms may have figured out ways to use Pinterest for good, but based on first-hand experience and frequent “interviews” with other pinners, there are many more who have fallen to the dark side. I think it’s safe to say that most moms hate Pinterest with the fire of a thousand suns.

I’m over it.

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Mommy-Hood: The Untold Story

To the outside world, I probably appear to be a decent person. I’m a mom of three kids under the age of 7, I have a wonderful but challenging husband (who at times can be considered a 4th kid), and I have a full-time job. And guess what? I cracked the code and figured out how to achieve the coveted work-life balance.

Only I haven’t.

When you ask others to describe me, they may say Nikki Flores is…

  • organized
  • detail-oriented
  • kind
  • calm
  • smart
  • cool mom

Of course, that’s how I present myself to the outside world – because truthfully, those are characteristics of a person I would like to be. But what happens in the home and in front of true friends and close family is a completely different story. Who is the real Nikki Flores? Hell, if I know! But let’s give this a shot, shall we?

Can we start with the last one first? I love, love, love hearing people (usually younger than me) say that I’m a “cool mom”. I feel a sense of pride in knowing that the 20-somethings in my life (without any kids) don’t see me as just a mom, but a cool one.

Truth is, there is no such thing as a “cool mom” or a “non-cool mom” for that matter. There are just “moms”, and they come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and coolness levels. Moms like me are completely dedicated to our kiddos. And at the same time, we’re all struggling to maintain our own identities away from them. So yeah, I do yoga, I still hit the clubs sometimes and pretend that I’m younger than I am (because let’s be honest, those clubs are dark, and…beer goggles). I also try to make it to as many work happy hours as I can, and hit the slopes every now and then. And yes, I also have my non-makeup, crazy hair, sweatpants-wearing days when everything seems to go wrong. And that’s OK too.

It took me awhile to realize that. For so long, I thought that I was the only mom who had to deal with the shit I deal with daily, and I don’t just mean the diapers associated with a 13-month old. But I digress. My point is, it takes a lot of hard work to make things look easy (and cool) when they’re not. And to be frank, it’s exhausting!

Looking over some of the other attributes that supposedly describe me, I realize that yes, I am organized and detail-oriented, but that’s not really by choice. Those are pure survival skills – as in, I would literally fail at adulting without them.

From remembering which pants the 5-year-old refuses to wear to knowing what my 6-year-old’s homework is for that night to picking up after a baby who leaves a trail of toys, papers, socks, (and sometimes tampons) all over my house, there is no option to not be detail-oriented and organized.


People, these are real-life examples of what happens daily in my house:

  • Having bins of toys conveniently stashed all throughout the house because if I step on another block, Barbie, Lego, crayons, (insert any other toy here), I would literally lose it.
  • Trying to put all artwork as high up as possible so the baby (or in many cases, the dogs who are not well-trained at all) won’t get a hold of it and ruin it. Seriously, folks…if the artwork is altered in any way shape or form, it’s the god damn end of the world to a 5 and 6-year-old.
  • Building off that, trying to sort through the bajillion masterpieces my children bring into the house – What do I keep? What do I toss? Let’s be honest, it’s impossible to save them all. And by the time they’re in high-school, they’ll resent me for keeping them anyway, for fear that it may leak out and embarrass them. But heaven forbid if they find them in the recycle bin, all hell breaks loose.
  • And if I had a penny for how many times my girls looked up and said “I don’t like that,” when I put a plate of dinner on the table, I could most definitely quit my day job and travel the world.

Smart – That’s an interesting attribute. I’m sure you’ve heard of being either “street smart” or “book smart”. Guess what, folks? I’m neither. I’m more of a “trial and error smart” person. As in, I try something, hope that it works, and when it doesn’t, I try to remember what I did so I don’t repeat the same mistake. Yes, there are those rare instances when I do get something right on the first try – like walking upstairs – but hey, even I get tripped up on those from time-to-time. (Horrible pun intended.)

Kind – I realize that I’m skipping around the list a bit, but hear me out. I do think I’m a kind person – well, at least sometimes. I am very passionate about helping kids. In fact, my hubby and I used to be foster parents, and we even adopted our oldest. I also feel good whenever I can help a friend. If you need a shoulder to cry on, mine is always covered in tears (and sometimes snot – from the baby). But seriously though, I try to make myself open and available to helping where I can. Unless we’re talking about my kids – for some reason when the baby’s hanging on my leg, the 5-year-old is begging to watch a movie, and the 6-year-old is repeatedly jumping off the couch, my kindness disappears.

Calm – Oh wow…Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. I cannot comprehend how anyone who really knows me would ever say that I’m calm. Oh sure, when I’m surrounded by other rational adults, I can be as calm as a cucumber. Like when I’m at work or when I’m out with friends. Oh yes, I’m carefree then. But when my kids are around, I am anything but calm. Yelling, screaming, and temper tantrums are a frequent occurrence at home. And of course, the hubby and kids have their own antics. Not to mention, my emotions are more intense that the average person (I’ll delve into that in another post soon.)

Seriously though, think about your day job. What if you could never leave? As in you’re on call 24/7/365 without any PTO or sick days. Oh, and you can see all your failures immediately, but your wins are few and far between. Oftentimes, you won’t even know if you’ve done a good job until years have gone by and your “co-workers” can finally communicate effectively with you. You’re constantly cooking for, cleaning up after, and washing clothes for everyone else in the company. You even act as a personal chauffeur, carting everyone around. (God help me, if I don’t provide beverages and things to nosh on during those rides.)

Would you stay with that company?

No?

Welcome to mommy-hood, folks.

**Necessary Disclaimer**
All the things I’ve written in this post are entirely and completely true. And yes, there are plenty of good things about being a mom that I didn’t talk about here. But sugar-coating mommy-hood is not what this post is about. Because let’s be honest, nothing is as it seems.
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The Story Must Go On

I’ve been silent for too long. I put down the proverbial pen and stopped blogging shortly after my first daughter was born in 2011. Sure, you were able to read a post here or there about my thoughts for the day when I had time, but the truth was, I lost interest. I had a brand new love in my life — a tiny baby girl. She needed me, and I needed her.

I loved her more than anything. I did everything that I possibly could to make her feel safe, happy, and loved. And as I looked at her little hands and feet every night, I realized that I had never felt more clueless in my whole entire life. Knowing that I was this tiny human’s mom was both empowering and terrifying at the same time. Who will she be? I knew in my heart that it was up to me.

About 6 months after our daughter was born, my husband and I knew that we still had room in our home, money in the bank, and love in our hearts. Together, we decided to become part of Ohio’s foster care system. We sat through hours of training, listened to heart-wrenching stories, and stared into the eyes of broken children all across the county.

We started slow — with respite visits — which foster parents sometimes use when they need a break from their foster children. I don’t say that to be cruel. I’m sure everyone can agree that you cannot be your best self if you are not taking care of yourself. And parenting foster children is not like parenting your own biological children. Chidren in foster care have been removed from the only world they ever knew, usually unwillingly, and in most cases unable to understand why. They all hurt. Sometimes the pain is visible, but most times, these kids have buried their scars — unable to communicate their suffering. So they carry it silently as they shuffle from house to house, and so very rarely are returned to what they call “home”.

A few kids came and went through our doors. We welcomed them with open arms, never judging, yet never truly able to empathize with any of them. They were broken, and though we couldn’t fix them, we could show them kindness — even if it was for a day. We built relationships with social workers, other foster parents, neighbors, and friends.

And that was the beginning of our clueless adventures through fostering and adoption.

Life continued to pass by, until one day, a beautiful little girl walked into our home. She was scraggly looking with unevenly cut hair, wearing dirty clothes that were clearly two sizes too big. She called every woman she saw, “mommy”, but when she said it to me, something inside me lit up. I knew that this child needed me as much as I needed her. She was two years old.

We kept this little girl for two weeks of respite. And when those two weeks were up, tears were streaming down my face as I drove her back to her other foster mother’s home. I pleaded with the woman to at least let my husband and me still see the little girl from time-to-time. Maybe we could take her to the zoo or to the park. Anywhere really. We’re happy to have her back at any time you need respite again. The woman agreed that we could still see the little girl, and my husband and I were so grateful.

We said our goodbye’s to the little girl, and as the woman started to shut the door, we watched that child throw her little body on the floor and scream and cry. “Mommy!” she yelled. “Mommy!” I knew in my heart that she was calling for me. My husband and I cried all the way home that day. Neither of us able to speak, neither of us able to look each other in the eyes. We were heartbroken.

A few weeks later, I received a call in the middle of the night from a social worker. Are you able to foster a little girl for an extended period of time? My heart started to beat faster as I listened to the social worker describe the situation. The foster mother’s daughter came home from college, and found her mother passed out on the floor. Two little foster girls were playing quietly in their room, sealed off from the rest of the house by a baby gate in the doorway. They were completely aloof to the entire situation.

One of the little girls was the one my husband and I had previously fostered — the two-year-old that we had to leave. The words escaped my mouth faster than I could comprehend what I was saying, “Yes! Of course!” Within minutes, I was out the door, driving to the same little girl’s foster mom’s house. And when I walked through the door, she ran up to me, threw her arms around me and said, “Mommy!”

The weeks after that were a blur of finding childcare, doctor’s appointments, and caring for my own biological daughter with my husband. My love for that little girl grew stronger and stronger everyday. She was developmentally behind in gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and speech, and she was also under-nourished. Together, my husband and I brought her up to par.

After a year, my husband and I went to court. The state was trying to take permanent custody of the little girl — now 3-years-old — and permanently sever the biological family’s parental rights. My husband and I sat quietly in the back wiping away tears, holding our heads high, and staring intently at the judge. Before he made his final decision, we wanted that judge to know that this little girl did have two parents who loved her and would do everything in our power to raise her as our own.

We watched what was left of this little girl’s biological family parade around the court room and speak about how much they loved her and wanted her back. Yet, none of them cared to visit her while she was in foster care. Not even on her birthday. Her biological mother, who was 15 at the time, didn’t show. Her biological father sat quietly in an orange jump suit, handcuffed from previous crimes.

The judge ruled from the bench after 8 hours. He went down the line, pointed to each family member, and called each and every one of them out for their carelessness and indifferent view of the entire situation. He knew that none of them really wanted the little girl. They only wanted to fight to have her, so the state couldn’t.

The judge ruled in favor of the state. And with a slam of his gavel, the little girl became adoptable. Six months later, she became a part of our family forever.

There aren’t a lot of people who know the story behind my daughter’s adoption and the above is but a mere snippet. I’m telling it here now as I begin a new chapter of the my life. The CluelessMe posts will be more open this time around, and more real. I’ll be writing posts about all of my life’s ups and downs.

I am no longer afraid to share the bad with the good. The CluelessMe story must go on.

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Cluessme Guest Blog Post – Women Who Inspire Us #11

I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest blogger for Rivki Silver over at LifeInTheMarriedLane before, and I was thrilled when she asked me to do it again. All jokes aside, this was a serious post about a woman who recently inspired me: My labor and delivery nurse.

Here’s a little excerpt from the post (Note It’s a Q&A format):

When did you meet her? Do you think the timing of your meeting affected her impact on you?
I met Mary Lucy at Marymount Hospital (Cleveland, OH) around 5am on Sunday, May 1, 2011. I was moments away from tears because I thought that May 1st was going to be THE day I got to meet my baby, and instead I was being discharged for false labor. I was embarrassed, tired and extremely disappointed.

The first thing I remember Mary Lucy saying to me when I told her that I was going home because of a false alarm was: “Don’t you worry. I bet you’ll be back here tomorrow.” (And for the record, I went into real labor the very next day!)

What is inspirational about her?
As luck would have it, Mary Lucy was the first person to greet me the next day when I arrived for Round 2 of Labor and Delivery at 9am. She helped keep me calm the entire day. Mary Lucy not only told me what to expect during each stage of labor–how far I was progressing, when I was able to get an epidural or when my OB/GYN would arrive–she went well above and beyond that.

She helped me out with so many little things . . . Like bringing me red popsicles (because I mentioned to her that I was not a fan of grape or orange) or simply holding my hand when I transitioned and was shaking uncontrollably. Even though I barely knew her, having Mary Lucy at my side throughout the day was like having my best friend in the room with me.

Towards the end of my labor, I distinctly remember Mary Lucy mentioning that her shift was about to end. I will never forget when she came back into my room after clocking out for her shift at 8pm. She told me that she wanted to stay and help me through the actual delivery part. I was so moved by this small gesture. And sure enough, at 8:58pm, my daughter was born with Mary Lucy standing by my side.

Click here to read the entire CluelessMe Guest Post: Women Who Inspire Us #11: My L&D Nurse.

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Chronicles of a Clueless Caregiver

Literally, one year ago, I (half-heartedly) confessed that my radar for determining whether or not my husband was truly sick or faking it for attention was a tad defective.

In fact, I even nick-named myself the clueless caregiver when my neglectful bedside manner landed my husband in the hospital.

You’d think that in a year’s time, I would have learned a thing or two from my mistakes, right?

Wrong.

It all started three weeks ago on a cold, Sunday night. My husband returned from Home Depot and asked, “Did the food we had for dinner make your stomach feel weird?”

“No!” I shot back at him. “My new recipe was great, and so is my stomach thank-you very much.”

He limped around the house trying to finish up some things until he meekly said he was going to retire in the newly renovated guest room because he thought something was wrong and didn’t want to disturb me in the night.

2 am: I was awoken by the gentle sounds of a 31- year-old man emptying the contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl.

2:15 am: After I had fallen back asleep, I was awoken again by the sounds of my husband whispering sweet nothings into the toilet.

This continued a couple more times throughout the wee hours of the morning. And I felt bad, truly I did, but this also happened to be the second night in a row that the baby was sleeping through the night, so I admit, I was more pissed off that he disrupted my slumber than I was concerned over his well-being. I figured: He’s a tough guy, and sure enough all fell silent around 3:45 am.

The next morning, I woke up to check on him only to find him lying on the floor next to the bed.

“Uh…Are you OK?” I asked, kicking him slightly to confirm that he was alive.

“Ya, I just felt a little weak and fell down.” He replied, adding a little cough for dramatic effect. “Once I was down here, I didn’t have the strength to get back into bed, so I thought I’d just sleep right here.”

One trip to the ER and two IV bags of fluid later, my husband was hydrated, medicated and well on the road to recovery. I sheepishly apologized for not taking him seriously, and we lived happily ever after.

Well, at least that’s how I thought the story would end, but oh no.

Karma’s a bitch.

As luck would have it, my loving husband passed that miserable stomach bug onto me (on purpose for me not taking him seriously, I’m sure). The next day and night we were trading turns worshiping the porcelain throne until I finally mustered up the strength to drive myself to the ER at 1 am. I had the same IV fluid treatment, then crawled back into bed feeling much better around 2:45 am.

Now here’s where Nikki Flores’ life really get’s interesting…

The next day, my husband and I quickly dropped the baby off at day care in the morning, so the two of us could get some much needed rest at home.

Three hours into a deep sleep, the phone rings.

“You need to pick up your child. She’s breaking out everywhere in a rash and has a fever. We have a hunch that it’s chicken pox,” the day care director told me.

“Wha-?” I sat straight up in bed. “You’ve got to be joking!”

We picked up our feverish, rashy baby, (who looked like she was on the losing end of a boxing match, mind you) and called the nurse line. Together, my husband, the nurse and I  tried our best to determine over the telephone whether or not our baby’s leprous-looking rash was indeed chicken pox. Yet, in the end, it took a quick visit to the pediatrician to determine that our baby was actually having an allergic reaction to Penicillin.

And just in case you’re curious about what an allergic reaction to Penicillin looks like, here’s a snap shot:

Loser in a boxing match or Penicillin allergy?

So there we were…Two clueless parents, incredibly ill by what could only be described as the stomach virus from hell, who had to pull it together to take care of our puffy, red-patchy and very itchy baby.

Now under normal circumstances, my husband and I do a pretty good job of backing each other up and pitching in when the other needs help. But neither one of us knew the best course of action in this scenario. Somehow, in-between small sips of ginger ale and taking turns napping, we made it. The baby’s fever went down, her rash cleared up, and we stopped vomiting.

Life went back to normal.

Only…36 hours later, I coughed. Then I sneezed. Then I coughed again. And again. And again until my coughing fit got so bad that I swore I heard a rib pop.

In pain, I thought to myself: This can’t be happening, and surely it couldn’t get any worse given what we just went through.

Then I heard my husband cough downstairs.

And then the baby, who had been happily playing in my lap up to that point, opened her mouth and promptly vomited all over me.

Great. Just great.

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Need a New Car – Must Fit Baby’s Car Seat

Remember how excited my husband and I were when we brought home our very first stick shift car aka Jefe Blanco?

Well, I thought for sure that the biggest hurdle we’d have with our Kia Soul was my inability to drive a stick shift. Yet here I am almost three years later, a little less clueless about driving stick shift, but just as baffled about a new (ahem) dilemma.

Allow me to introduce you to Jefe Blanco’s new arch enemy–My 9-month-old daughter’s new car seat:

The hubby and I read all about the Safety1st CompleteAir 65 Convertible Car Seat when we put it on our baby registry about a year ago. It had great safety ratings, superb customer reviews, and it even comes with an attachable cup holder! Seems like the perfect car seat right?

There’s just one little setback…When installed properly, this magnificent car seat makes it virtually impossible for a passenger to ride in the front seat of our Kia Soul!

My husband, like the new proud papa he is, scheduled an appointment earlier this week with the local fire department to help with the install of this new car seat. Nothing could have prepared me for the phone call I received moments after it was installed…

“Uh, honey?” My husband said meekly into the telephone.

“Yeah? What’s up?”

“We need a new car. The baby’s car seat is too big.”

I burst out laughing. Clearly my husband had to be joking, right? I mean..Come on! How could our infant daughter’s car seat be too big for our car? I mean she’s not even a full 2 feet tall yet!

“Ha. Ha.” I replied. “Very funny.”

Then he texted me this:

I stopped laughing and immediately started Google-ing new cars with ample leg room.

Posted in Clueless Consumer, Clueless Hubby, Clueless Mommy, Clueless Newlywed, Clueless Wife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nikki Flores Moves On

I can’t believe two whole years has gone by since my good old blogging days as a Clueless Newlywed! I have to admit…I’m embarrassed that I’ve let this much time go by without a peep. And for that, I am truly sorry. It’s amazing how fast life passes you by if you let it.

But enough excuses. This is me…Nikki Flores…Telling you that I may not be a Clueless Newlywed anymore, but I still have a plethora of clueless adventures to share…

Let’s go back to where my life as a Clueless Newlywed really ended…Way back to the time my husband and I first decided to go house hunting in order to rid ourselves of the world’s worst neighbors.

I remember that we had looked at a ton of houses, but we were struggling to find a home that we BOTH liked. There were a lot of bungalows that were “move-in ready” that I liked, but my husband tended to like the houses that had more space, and needed what he called “a little love.”

I still remember the day my husband stumbled upon a foreclosed house that needed “a little bit of work” barely a mile away from our then-current duplex. Reluctantly, I agreed to look at the place, even though I swore up and down that I would NEVER buy a “fixer-upper.”

As we walked up the broken cement sidewalk, I remembered what all of my friends who had already gone through the first-time home owner’s experience had told me: “When you find the house, you will know it’s the one. You will know it the second you lay eyes on it.”

Well, let me tell you this…The first time I laid eyes on this house, a little voice in my head said “Oh hell no!”

“Wow! Look at that gorgeous door!” The hubby exclaimed.

Before I could say a word, I saw it in his eyes. He definitely had the “This is the house” feeling going on. No joke, his eyes were as wide as a little kid’s standing at the entrance of the Magic Kingdom for the first time. Immediately, he grabbed my hand and started pulling me up the broken sidewalk and crumbling porch steps…

Just so we’re clear, the so-called gorgeous door didn’t really fit the door frame correctly. So much so that I had to yank on the handle and give the door a firm kick before it would open. And the only way I could get it to shut was to turn the deadbolt. Nice, huh?

The next thing I remember after I manged to get the front door shut was my husband running to the right and saying: “Look how big and bright this living room is!”

Truth be told, I barely noticed the so-called bright room because my gaze immediately fell to the hardwood floors, and all I could see were tons of deep scratches and stains…

My husband must have noticed that I was trying to figure out what could have possibly damaged the floors so badly, because the next thing I knew, he had dragged me across the hall into the dining room and kitchen.

“Look!” He said, “A big dining room for the Sabbath and dinner guests…”

I stood in the middle of the room, my mouth agape. I started mumbling something about needing to carbon-date the blinds and chandelier, when he exclaimed: “And look at this HUGE kitchen…”

After I looked around the room, I remembered thinking: Yeah, it’s huge because the only appliance in here is that broken down stove.

Then, I gasped as I walked around and peered into the sink. Now I may not know much about kitchen sinks, but I do know the difference between a rustic sink and a rusty sink. And let me tell you…This one was definitely the latter:

And don’t even get me started on the plumbing…I mean, I know duct tape works in a pinch, but it’s not supposed to be an end-all-be-all solution to hold your pipes together:

My husband, sensing that I had seen enough, grabbed my hand and said something like: “Wait until you see the upstairs!”

I reluctantly allowed him to drag me up the staircase where I was greeted by six more doors. Three of which led to (tolerable) bedrooms, and one which went outside to what my husband referred to as a “good drinking porch with a bonus — The bonus being that he could easily attach one end of a zip line to the porch and attach the other end to a tree in the massive backyard.”

I groaned when I saw the nasty patch of mold growing on the bricks just outside the doorway:

Once back inside the house, I remember opening the fourth door and staring at what can only be described as the fugliest 70s-style barbie dream house look-a-like bathroom I had ever seen :

Oh and how can I forget the attention to detail (natural wood showing through) on the the second shower. (Yes, I said second shower. The first one, with all of the pretty Barbie pink tile, was sealed off and in-operable.)

It took all of my husband’s strength to hold me back from running back down those stairs and out the door at that point.

He literally shoved me up the second set of stairs up toward the finished attic, promising me that there was an elegant claw-foot bathtub. Oh, and when he said elegant, what he really meant to say was old, stinky, hideous green claw-foot bathtub:

Oh, and how could I forget this stained matching sink from hell…

And what nasty bathroom set wouldn’t be complete without a gross non-working toilet…

The basement was a blur to me, but I remember that it was un-finished, and one of the windows was broken. (I’ll save the pics for another post.)

My husband and I had a long conversation that night about the pros (according to him) and cons (according to me) of buying this money pit of a house. In the end, the only pro that I didn’t have an equal con for was that we both needed sleep. Badly. And we obviously weren’t able to get that with our current living situation.

It wasn’t until we were awakened for the ump-teenth time in the wee hours of the morning that night that I rolled over, tapped my husband on the shoulder and said, “Fine. We’ll buy the house.”

And thus began the whole first-time homeowner process, with many, many, many more clueless adventures to follow…

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Guest Post: CluelessMe Reviews Expiration Date

Unlike the last book review I did for LuxuryReading.com, my most recent review of Expiration Date by Sherril Jaffe made me feel clueless (mostly because I didn’t quite get the ending) all over again!

On the plus-side, I was recently asked to review a baby naming book. (Appropriate considering how I’m currently an uber-pregnant gal). More details on that review later. For now, check out the basics of my review below:

Imagine if you knew the exact date you were going to die. What would you do? Would you beg the “powers that be” for more time on earth? That’s exactly what Flora Rose did when she had a premonition that she was going to die in 25 years. Author Sherril Jaffe opens her book, Expiration Date, with Flora standing in the “prisoner’s box” in a heavenly courtroom, pleading along with her deceased parents and in-laws to extend her expiration date past her 60th birthday. Sadly, the judge (whom Flora never sees), does not budge on the decision.

Fast forward to Flora’s 59th year of life, and the novel takes an incredibly different tone. Jaffe jumps quickly between chapters, switching back and forth between the first-person perspectives of Flora and Muriel (Flora’s 86-year-old mother).

Wanna keep reading about it? Check out the full CluelessMe review on LuxuryReading.com.

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CluelessMe Dishes On House Divided

So apparently, I’m not so clueless when it comes to book reviews, as I was recently asked to review Raul Ramos y Sanchez’s House Divided on LuxuryReading.com.

Here’s a snip-it of the reivew:

Imagine a world in the not-so-distant future where Hispanic immigrants and American citizens are no longer living in harmony in the United States. In an effort to help control immigration, the U.S. government labels all Hispanics “class H” and forces them to live in dilapidated quarantine zones in Los Angeles. Fed up with their sub-par treatment and second-class citizen classification, underground Hispanic extremist groups are growing in momentum and plotting their revenge. Such is the world that Raul Ramos y Sanchez creates in his second book, House Divided.

Mano Suarez, his wife, Rosa, and their son, Pedro, have all been living in a war-torn zone for as long as they can remember. Influenced by the deaths of his two other children, Mano becomes a prominent leader of a revolutionary movement that’s fighting for the freedom of Hispanic Americans. With little progress being made, tensions mount among rebel members, and a gang breaks off from the group and starts lashing out on innocent non-Hispanic civilians. The young and easily-influenced Pedro is lured into becoming an active member of the terrorist gang, which pulls Mano in multiple directions as he struggles to simultaneously try to bring down the gang and continue his freedom fight without losing his son in the process…

Wanna keep reading about it? Check out the full CluelessMe review on LuxuryReading.com.

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The Clueless Caregiver

You know the age-old wedding vow, “In sickness and in health”? Well, when I stood under the chuppah and got married three short years ago, I never really gave much thought to that vow. Unfortunately for my husband’s sake, I really should have.

I had no idea that when my husband placed that wedding band on my finger, it inevitably meant that I would be put into a position where I would get up close and personal with vomit, whining and an overall sense of ickiness without any instructions on how to handle these types of situations whatsoever.

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Nikki Flores and I am a clueless caregiver, or so my husband claims…

NOTE: I had the opportunity to guest-blog on a friend’s blog for this post, so if you want to find out whether or not I’m a clueless caregiver, mosey on over to Life in the Married Lane.

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