Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why you should keep up with the Jenningses

I found myself inwardly giggling this morning while I swept the sunroom floor that's perpetually blackening the bottoms of my family's feet. 

The pile of sand, fur, Play-Doh bits and dead spiders seemed to be a metaphor for my imperfect life and I had this thought that maybe I could serve as an emissary of lowered expectations on behalf of all stay-at-home-momkind. 

Instead of shooting for lofty goals like keeping up with the Joneses and suffering the resulting stress and anxiety, everyone could just dramatically lower their standards and just keep up with the Jenningses. 

This thought led me to a series of highly amusing scenarios (well, amusing to me at least) whereby relatives, friends and neighbors would find themselves striving to make it through the day while encouraging each other to "try to keep up with the Jenningses!"

For instance, a husband comes home from work to find his wife -- all barefoot, frizzy-haired, makeup-less and still sporting that morning's gym ensemble -- frantically addressing an overflowing pot of spaghetti as the saucepan filled with high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden, store-bought tomato sauce and frozen meatballs spits all over the already crusty stove. The kids are screaming at her feet for sustenance, the affects of the nutrient-free cheese crackers she'd thrown in a bowl for them just 20 minutes prior long having worn off. The dog is casually licking cream cheese remnants off the kitchen table. 

As the wife looks to her husband all exhaustion and desparation, her husband lightly kisses her on the forehead and says, "Oh honey, don't worry, at least you're keeping up with the Jenningses."

The wife takes a sip from a glass of wine she frantically poured out of a screw-top bottle of bottom shelf Pinot Grigio, breathes a sigh of relief and says, "Thanks honey, I feel much better."

And there are nearly limitless opportunities for living the passable life. 

Other signs that someone is trying to keep up with the Jenningses: 

One sure sign you're keeping up with the Jenningses:
Two words: Great body.
  • All of the sudden, modestly priced pre-owned vehicles in nondescript colors show up on their driveway.
  • They own fur-covered sofas that smell vaguely of feet with just a hint of canine flatulence.
  • You notice the missus has started showing up to gatherings sporting the latest in cotton, solid-colored T-shirts she nabbed off the clearance rack at Target. You're pretty sure she's a nail biter and that she shows her stylist photos of Poison circa 1985 for inspiration. 
  • Their children are perpetually disheveled and appear to be wearing the same chocolate-milk-stained "Frozen" T-shirt for the third day in a row.
  • The baked goods they serve at parties and casual get-togethers make Pinterest fails look as if they've been prepared by Martha Stewart. 
  • You noticed they recently invested some time landscaping. And by landscaping I mean they spent 2 minutes frantically weeding the crab grass that's overtaking their wilting flower beds which haven't been properly introduced to a mysterious substance known as "mulch" in several years.
  • Every time you visit they seem to have a new cat lounging on their countertops licking the coffee creamer they offer you with your cup of coffee.
  • They spend a lot of time boasting about the five minutes their kitchen floor isn't covered with sand, fur, Play-Doh and unidentifiable sticky foodstuffs. 

All self-depreciation aside, I am living the life of dreams that iPhone commercial talks about … even if I don't have the fancy iPhone to document it on. 

Sure, the pets could be better behaved (and less smelly), the kids a bit less scruffy (this would be a more attainable goal if Lily didn't insist on using markers to draw mustaches on her face) and the floors a little (OK a lot) cleaner. And some days the pets are better behaved and the kids are less scruffy and the floors are a little cleaner. 

But most days it's just more amusing to just live the life I have than worry about the one I don't. 

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