My Red Stapler

By | October 7, 2014

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Fortunately, I have a surplus of spam comments telling me what a superb job I’m doing on this ‘website.’ Sometimes spam is nice. Sometimes, it’s nice to have an unknown, foreign body telling you that everything you’re doing is awesome. Even if you know it’s total crap.

I take it with a grain of salt, just like I take everything else.

Oh, how we need that grain of salt. Large grains of salt.

Can you identify the reference?


If you’ve seen Office Space then we are friends. I love that movie. I love Jennifer Aniston and her “flair.” I love Peter Gibbons and his “It’s not that I’m lazy, its just that I don’t care” attitude. But most of all, I love Milton.

I love Milton because:

His red stapler. He guards it because it is precious to him.

His insistence on being more important than a resident of the basement. He’s angry because people don’t see his value or place in the office.

His dream of a margarita (with large grains of salt) on a white beach. He wants something attainable, realistic, but ultimately luxurious.

And I love how the “last straw” for him is when Lombard takes his red stapler. So what does Milton do? He burns the building down. I mean, they took his stapler. I get it.

The other day I threw a box of crayons across the apartment. In front of Chaucer–just so that he would pay attention.

It was the last straw.

I get Milton. It’s a good thing Milton didn’t have kids, though.

Do you have a red stapler? Something that you guard as precious? Something that nobody else would ever understand?

I think my sense of being heard, being understood is what is most precious to me. I spend most of the day wondering if my kids are hard of hearing or just ultimately naughty. I can only take so much, though. And while I can’t burn the building down, I can throw things. So sometimes Crayola bears the brunt of my patience.

I guess I’m waiting for my kids to tell me that I’m doing a good job; that they value my work and think I’m outstanding. Its probably going to be at least ten years before they say something like that (and it be true) and so I have to decide whether that red stapler is worth crying over.

It’s not.

White sands and large grains of salt are always just one credit card and click away on Right now I have crazy kids, endless cuddles, spit-up sleeves, and a saggy stomach. I want a thank you note, but my red stapler has to be the moments of grace.

The sneaky, kind of annoying, but totally delightful cuddles that Chaucer squeezes in at 6:00 AM. His “I love you, Mommy” that wakes Tenny up for his feeding. Shhh! But I love you, too.

The endless sheets of paper with family portraits that Coco gives me, so lovingly and generously. They are her best work and she is so proud.

The smiles and coos from a perfectly scrumptious baby.

Ok, so maybe he’s the red stapler of the moment.

The point is, I’m not going to burn any buildings down. At least not on purpose. But I’ll probably throw some crayons. The good news is my kids still find me amazing, and my husband sticks around even in the crazy. I am loved, and my red stapler hasn’t been completely usurped.


6 thoughts on “My Red Stapler

  1. Chris Carter

    Crap- TWO LL’s!!!! HILLARY!! I know better. Guzzling coffee now…. should have wrote that after the coffee, not before!! ????

  2. Chris Carter

    First of all- I now MUST see Office Space. Why haven’t I even heard of this movie? I suck.

  3. Amy Flory - Funny Is Family

    We all have those moments of stapler-gripping and quiet mumbling while making it rain crayons. I’ll see you at the Sandals in our minds!

  4. HouseTalkN

    We have all had red stapler moments, huh? Thank you for taking time out of the crazy to share your red stapler days!

  5. Melinda Ann

    We can be bff’s because Office Space is one of my very favorite movies. Lines from that movie are part of my every day life. Hang in there, Mama, it gets better. My boys are 23 and 20…..saaaaad. They really don’t need me much any more.

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    […] house, and burnt dinner on this “trying” phase of life. And it is true. You can read this post to see just how real my frustrating moments […]


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