The crabs of wrath

So I didn’t go get my free coffee yesterday. I had every intention of doing so but we’re in the midst of finally getting the holes in our wall fixed and the hole guy told me he’d be at our house first thing in the morning, by which he apparently meant noon.

Of course I can’t really throw stones because I live in the same glass house where first thing in the morning often means noon. Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say I live in a house with holes in the walls.

By the time I realized that our hole guy and I have the same view of morning, it was too late for me to make it to Starbucks because I desperately needed to go the grocery store since P was out of Natural White Cheddar Cheeto Puffs again. It’s a wonder he survived.

But we were also out of milk. And bread. And down to one roll of toilet paper. Plus, we’re in the midst of searching for the perfect powdered donut now that Hostess Donettes are no longer available. And by we, I mean Caroline and P. I know you’ll be as relieved as I was to discover that they have finally found Mrs. Baird’s to be an acceptable substitute. It’s just a shame that Mrs. Baird doesn’t make a chocolate cupcake with a white swirl across the top.

Okay, so let me tell you about the house.

This is just a glimpse of how it looks right now.


Not pictured: Industrial size trash can in the corner of the dining room.

I know what you’re thinking. How quick can you pin that on Pinterest? It’s pretty much what every woman wants her home to look like for the holidays.

But the good news is it should look a whole lot better in about a week. And I’m already planning to leave my tree up until at least January 7th so I can get a full month of beautifully lit Christmas tree.

And the even better news is that the built-ins are almost finished.


They need to be painted, obviously. And the cabinet doors aren’t ready. But, still. Look at all that potential storage space.

Speaking of storage space, I believe I mentioned that I was in the middle of a massive clean out last week in anticipation of all the painting and whatnot that I knew was about to happen. And while I was busy organizing, I had a major revelation.

Kristen Chenoweth should not be dating Jake Pavelka from The Bachelor.

Well, that. And that I had all my china and crystal stemware stored in one of my main kitchen cabinets.

True confessions, I’ve used it like four times ever. And that’s being generous. We are not china people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous and, other than P, it’s one of the few things I picked out in my twenties that I don’t regret. But a fancy night for us is when we eat on our real dishes instead of paper plates.

What I’m saying is there is no reason it should be taking up prime time kitchen space. So I moved it all to the cabinets above my ovens that are really only accessible if I pull out a step stool.


Now I have room to store my everyday dishes in a nice wide open space where they aren’t crowded.


And, needless to say, the coffee mugs are thrilled to finally have a space to call their own.


Even if they have to share some of it with a little basket that holds all our vitamins and Advil because we’re in our forties and need Advil almost daily for one thing or another. There’s also two boxes of Zyrtec D in there because P keeps putting it on my grocery list and I keep buying it. Which I’m sure means I’m on some sort of Meth Lab watch list.

So this is how life turns out. One day you’re nineteen and excitedly picking out what outfit you’re going to wear to the big party on Saturday night and then you turn around and you’re forty-one and thrilled to use 700 words on the internet to tell people how your kitchen cabinets are organized.

It feels like a low.

Except for the fact that I’m so excited about all the space I’ve freed up in my kitchen that I can hardly stand it. I was actually excited to unload the dishwasher today.

Oh wait. There’s the low.

In other clean out news, I decided to take the opportunity to get rid of Caroline’s hermit crabs and the accompanying crabitat they lived in. Normally I might have felt guilty about this, but Phillip had died almost three months ago and it took her every bit of two and a half months to even notice. However, we were left with Big Daddy and Clementine.

I wasn’t sure what you do with unwanted crabs (all of a sudden this sounds like a late night infomercial) but didn’t feel like I could just throw them away. So I do what I do in all complicated situations, I set the crabitat with the crabs outside on the table on the back porch and told P to handle it.

For some reason, he decided to put Clementine and Big Daddy in the dog’s water bucket to let them have one last swim or something. I don’t know. But then his phone rang and he forgot about them and left for the ranch. All I know is I looked outside hours later and noticed Scout was acting weird about drinking water.

And when I went to investigate, there were Big Daddy and Clementine swimming happily in the water dish. Heaven knows it’s probably the only water they’d had in weeks since Caroline is like the crab-version of Dr. Kevorkian.

About that time, Caroline was about to come outside and I didn’t want her to see the crabs and be reminded of their existence. So I hurriedly pulled them out of the dog’s water, set them down behind it and went inside.

And when I finally remembered what I’d done hours later, I discovered they were nowhere to be found. They made a mass crab exodus. If you consider two crabs to constitute a mass exodus. And I do because, let’s be honest, two crabs is really two crabs too many to have roaming freely in your backyard.

But maybe they packed their teeny tiny crab bags and left our house for good. They’re like little crab Joads in search of a better life.

Here’s hoping they find it.

Before Caroline finds them.

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  1. says

    The cleaning and organizing portions of this post should have me feeling inspired. Instead I just feel tired. But good for you! Everything looks great.

  2. says

    I love cleaning out. We did a huge 2 day overhaul back in August and it felt so good. I love the improvements. I did though throw away a ton of stuff. How many mugs can 1 family own? I mean really. It was pathetic. My husband though hates throwing things away, and dug those mugs right out of the trash and now they jingle along in the back of his Suburban every time we hit the road. That too is pathetic.
    Well, at least they’re not in my kitchen any longer!

  3. says

    “other than P, it’s one of the few things I picked out in my twenties that I don’t regret.” Had to LOL literally! : ) Hope they finish your walls and built-in soon.

  4. says

    Oh my. I so needed this post and the laughter I found within. I am, of course, laughing with you….you are laughing right? The holes in the wall and pinning it…oh my. But, I feel I should let you know you are not alone in your house-un-doneness. We have a bathroom (main floor of course) we started working on when our second child started to crawl. She is 19. Years old. Not months old. Epic fail. Bathroom is in even more of a mess than when we started. Paint is falling off the walls…which was the main problem 19 yrs ago. Now there are razor gouges and holes. I know your pain. I feel like we should hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Thanks for your honest, humorous posts!

  5. Patsy says

    I feel your crab pain. Our daughter wasn’t a very good crab mother either and one of her crabs escaped and climbed into the Christmas tree last year! We couldn’t find the silly thing in the fully decorated tree but the dog came to the rescue. The crab left the tree for his water bowl. He thought it was a new toy and proudly delivered the crab to me so we could play fetch. I returned the crab (unharmed) to his home where he happily buried himself in the sand.

  6. nancygirl says

    I like your everyday stuff. I like it so much that I am regretting my choice of almost 18 years ago. Drats. Any chance I can get that set at Target for 14.99? Oh yeah, and I need it to contain at least 12 place settings.

  7. PamB says

    Love this post but for some reason the pictures are not there (never had this problem before). If I click where a picture shoud be a screen of photobucket comes up and wants me to log in. Is there something special I need to do? Am looking forward to your book.

  8. says

    The bit with the crabs is the funniest thing I’ve read all day! You never fail to make my day better! (And I totally get the kitchen cabinet thing too!)

  9. Jen says

    A long time reader and I don’t think I have ever commented. A true laugh out loud moment for me when you are so excited about organizing your kitchen cabinets. I swear I said the same thing last month – “I hit 41 years of age and I’m excited by organizing my kitchen cabinets…” So sad really.

  10. Cathy says

    Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning as I pictured two hermit crabs swimming in the dog’s water dish and Scout probably had his head cocked to one side. Love it!

  11. Nelson's Mama says

    Love the crab exodus too!

    We had crabs too – before they refused to die – I kept considering taking them to a pet store and sneaking them back in with the other crabs…kind of like a reverse shop-lifting move 😉

  12. Jill says

    I have some neighbors that decided to let their crabs go in a creek about 300 yards from their house. The husband was out cutting the grass about three weeks later and the crab with a Sponge Bob shell was crawling up the drive way. The crab crawled out of the creek and up the street back to their house. I guess they treated their crabs better than we do ours!!!

  13. Lisa says

    Organizing kitchen cabinets, right up there with new Rubbermaid so all the lids fit. What has my life become? Before you know it I will be wearing sensible shoes to dinner at 4:30 and bringing a sweater in case it’s chilly. God help me.

  14. Susan says

    OMG, I thought I, was the only one to use “Joad” as an adjective!!!!! I, love it!!!!!

    GIG’EM, and go Johnny Football!!!!


  15. Andrea says

    Love the white dishes….where did you get them? Maybe a fashion Friday home edition is in order!!!!

  16. Jessica says

    I believe you should leave your decor out until at least January 6th every year. That’s 12 days after Christmas, and it’s Epiphany. People take their stuff down too early. :)

  17. Patty says

    Good call putting the china and crystal in lesser used space. I don’t know why I kept mine in the cabinets for so long. One thing I did was purchase padded china and crystal cases from the Container Store. Then, if you do decide to go fancy and use them, you don’t have to wash the layer of dust off of them.

    The crab thing cracked me up.

  18. Alyson says

    Hilarious! The entire post was too funny! I do hope the crabs are OK. Of course Scout may have made a meal out of them.

  19. Jasmine says

    I actually enjoyed your post on cleaning out your kitchen cabinets because, I am off for 2 weeks over Christmas break and the 2nd week is dedicated to cleaning out all cabinets and closets in my house.

    I know, I lead such an exciting life! But I am excited about it!

  20. Jessica says

    As everyone else is commenting on your beautiful clean-up…I have to tell you that I used to work with Jake at ASA (the Delta Connection airline he worked for) in DFW. This was about 10 years ago, and he was THE nicest guy. Everyone thought he was so cute. He looked about 16, and I know old people were terrified when they looked in the cockpit and saw him sitting there about to fly their airplane. Anyhow, totally disgusted with him and his choices. You know – since my opinion matters when it comes to his life. 😉
    Go get your free coffee, and ponder this: Will Sean be a good bachelor next month? Another Texas boy right around the corner from me, and I PRAY he makes for good Monday night TV.

  21. Christi says

    It took me 18 years to discover that our china and crystal do not belong in the kitchen cabinets. I moved it all just this week to the laundry room, in nice pretty storage containers, on top of the cabinets there.

    Oh, and we used our china exactly twice. In 18 years. We ate Ragu spaghetti both times.

  22. says

    You had me cracking me up! I love your organizing ideas. Good for you.

    Ummm regarding the hermit crabs…you have some dr. Kevorkian on you too. That being said, I just did the same thing last Sunday.

    Except I had my son do it.

    My 6 year old son who had not noticed, fed or waterd the crabs in over a week. Our backyard actually has sand and salt water, so I felt like they stood a chance. Except they were probably so weak that they expired before they got to said water or sand!

    A mama has to do what she has to do when it comes to cleaning up the kitchen of dead (or dying) creatures!

  23. says

    We had some crab trauma here this weekend. The 7 year old is the only one who cares about them. She had taken one out to “play.” It pinched her. So hard the mark was still there minutes later. SOBBING. “I JUST WANT A PET THAT HAS FUR. SOMETHING THAT WILL WANT TO PLAY WITH ME!!”

    And where was Daddy for all of this? Daddy, who is the furry pet hold-out? NOWHERE TO BE FOUND. Coward. Or a very smart man. You decide.

  24. Carey says

    OK. Melanie. Seriously. I’ve been reading your blog for longer than I care to admit (only because I feel like a stalker). I used to follow about 15 blogs. I’m down to maybe three. I’m not even on Facebook anymore. I read the news, do some shopping online, and keep up on what’s going on in your life. Feel free to shudder in horror.

    BUT. I have to tell you, even you have never made me laugh as hard as I laughed at this post. The unwanted crabs. The poor dog wondering what the hell was in the water. The vision of two hermit crabs shuffling through the yard to freedom. All so, so funny.

    And I totally understand the excitement of clean cabinets. I recently cleaned and organized my master closet. My teenage daughter caught me, repeatedly, just standing there staring at its awesomeness. “Really, Mom?”

    You rock.

  25. says

    The built-ins look amazing! I am excited for the final shot of it all done!

    My roommate and I had two hermit crabs in college. We are pretty sure mine helped the other out of the tank to escape. Then mine decided to shed its shell and never get into one of the many I tempted it with. It was a hermit crab suicide… very sad.

  26. says

    I’m always glad I stopped by for the entertainment!

    Actually, I’m really posting to say that you have the sweetest, cutest house. I’m sure in the midst of the renovation it may not feel that way, but every post I see featuring any part of your house in or out, it’s just so cozy and homey.

    Here’s hoping the crabs disagree and find greener pastures. Or bigger terraiums? (sp?) Or whatever it is that crabs look for in a dwelling.

    Have a good night!

  27. says

    One time my friend’s little sister flushed her live hermit crabs down the toilet. Which is sort of sad. But mostly really funny.

  28. Jeanie says

    I too am not a china person or a cooking person to name but a few of my inadequacies. This year I sold my 12 piece place setting of Haviland china that I picked out when I got married the first time 40 years ago. Maybe half of the place settings were used once or twice at best, and the rest were still in the factory plastic bags they came in. The beauty of Ebay is that I sold them to a lady with the same pattern that belongs to a supper club group and lives to entertain. Getting more of this china was like winning a mega million lottery for her. Next house I am downsizing to a house without a formal living room.
    Melanie, your observations are always so identifiable for me. I can always count on you to make the mundane laugh out loud funny. Your blog gives me the same pleasure today that I got from reading Erma Bombeck’s syndicated column many years ago. Thanks so much!

  29. Lindsay says

    Strange request, but can you tell me about your dishes? I love them & would like to get new! Thanks!