Also, Halloween is coming

Once again, the kids’ social studies teachers are offering extra credit to kids who dress up in themed costumes for Halloween. This year Monkey is in the Government class his sister took last year, and Chickadee is in US History. I both love and hate this idea; I love it because it’s (supposed to be) fun and gets the kids engaged, but I hate it because who ends up doing all of the work, I ask you? (*AHEM* Exhibit A.) (Please also note that SOMEONE is refusing to let her little brother borrow her Bill costume this year EVEN THOUGH he doesn’t have the same teacher she wore it for last year.)

If they let us grab some pictures, I’ll show you their creations later this week. I’m pretty sure I’ve talked Chickie out of being William Howard Taft stuck in a bathtub. (“YOU CANNOT WEAR A BATHTUB TO SCHOOL” = an actual thing I said.) You know us, I pull for punny/easy any time I can, so the end results should definitely be groan-worthy. Will they get extra credit? (Maybe!) Will anyone have a giant meltdown? (PROBABLY!) Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’m pondering teenagers and Halloween over at Alpha Mom, because apparently I’m supposed to have a lot of feelings about it. (I mean, beyond the whole “don’t wear a bathtub to school” thing.)

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Why (an explanation)

So my folks were here, briefly, and my father mentioned no fewer than three times that he was going to check my blog to see if I’d written. “Um, I don’t really write much anymore,” I said, as if he didn’t already know that.

“Yeah, but how will I know what’s happening in your life?” he said.

“It’s terrible,” added Otto, never one to shy away from ganging up on me with my dad. “I used to be able to check the blog before I came home to find out what I’d done that day or to know if I should be worried about something. Now I just have to GUESS.”

I waved them off. Whatever.

A day later, Chickadee cornered me. “Hey,” she said, “why DON’T you write anymore?”

She’s a visual learner, so I made her a diagram to explain.

venn-teenagers

Now you know, too.

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I’m the chaperone who demands candy

Over the years, Otto and I have worked out a system for being Involved Marching Band Parents, and it’s served us pretty well. My responsibilities include working in the concession stand whenever we have a home game (after my baptism by fire three years ago I somehow ended up a permanent fixture in there), assisting with the mad scramble that is uniform fittings/distributions in August, helping with fundraisers, and dropping everything to show up at any rehearsal where a child of mine has completely lost their crap and requires an intervention (fun!). Otto’s responsibilities include most rehearsal pick-ups and rides home for orphan children in addition to our own, chaperoning away games, and taking lots and lots of photos of the band (much to Chickadee’s chagrin). Because we are team players, we split the “talking smack about the parents who never ever bother to volunteer” task evenly between us.

Now that Duncan has to eat every few hours, Otto stays home for home games and I stay home for away games. And while Otto chaperoned our first competition this season, I felt like maybe I should do the second one (even though I typically do not ride school buses!), so this past weekend, I did. I rode on a school bus. (Not with my own children. HEAVENS NO. They were on their own buses.) I ran around adjusting uniform hems. I doled out meals and snacks and gave Monkey money for funnel cake and cheered until I was hoarse and gave up my sweatshirt when it got cold after dark because SOMEONE left theirs on the bus. Also, I saw teenagers eating Sour Patch Kids on the way there and said one of the kids’ names in a VERY STERN VOICE and when she turned to me—worried she was in trouble—I asked if I could have some. It’s remarkably effective.

The kids did great and I woke up the next morning with ebola. Or a cold. Whatever. I HAVE BUS FLU. Still: worth it.

While I drink all the tea in the world and attempt to recover, I have a semi-serious (okay, mostly serious) post over at Alpha Mom today answering all of the questions you never knew you had about DBT, because… just because. DBT is good stuff when life is hard. Maybe you don’t have any band kids to give you Sour Patch Kids; I don’t know. I don’t judge.

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Hello, it’s weathering again

Today the southeastern United States are experiencing Some Weather, by which I mean that our weather radio has been going off all day long with WARNING WARNING WARNINGS of local tornadoes and “severe thunderstorms.” I do appreciate the tornado warnings—we can’t always hear the sirens out at our house—but I have less appreciation for the 4:00 am wake-up to let me know that it was raining. Uh. Thanks? However would I have known it was SEVERE WEATHER if the radio hadn’t woken me up to tell me so? It doesn’t appear to have an “Only make a lot of noise if I need to go hide in the closet” setting.

Also we got a bunch of recorded warning phone calls and emails, and the power went out a couple of times, and basically today has been a complete waste of time. That’s probably what the weather radio should say instead of bleating out SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN THE FOLLOWING SEVENTEEN COUNTIES; it should totally be all, “The dogs will refuse to take their delicate selves outside in the rain to pee, and also the power will go out and the ice cream will melt, and if you have a deadline today, WELL THEN, probably the power will be out for hours.”

This was not really what I pictured when I moved south, but oh well.

While I go reset all the clocks in the house before the power goes out again, you can go read a little story about a different unexpected day, one that didn’t involve sirens.

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Band, band, band, band, and band

But first… a scintillating Duncan update: He is very much enjoying his hobbit meal schedule. Where he used to just sleep in my office all day long (presumably due to his low blood sugar and being mostly dead), he now hops up and follows me around the house. Bathroom break? Duncan is there! Grabbing a snack? Duncan is ready! Someone at the door? PERHAPS HE HAS KIBBLES! Duncan now believes it is his birthright to have a handful of kibble in his face at all times, and he’d be happy to follow you around to remind you. He is forgiven, because 1) he’s adorable and 2) this newfound energy came with a bonus in the form of Formerly Cantankerous Dog now being downright cuddly. After dinner he paws at my leg until I pick him up and let him sit on my lap at the table. He leaps up on the couch and curls up against the nearest human. He GIVES KISSES. I don’t know who this dog is, but I guess I’ll keep feeding him all day long.

In non-Duncan-y news, we are deep into marching band season. This means Otto has gotten to make his favorite “our kids are the ones in the funny hats” joke multiple times. And it also means I am thrilled to see both kids enjoying the anchor of a great activity, surrounded by good kids, led by amazing staff. Over at Alpha Mom, someone asked how you know if a band program is a good one, and I’ve tried to offer some guidance. If you have kids considering marching, definitely give it a read.

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Dogs are stupid expensive jerkfaces

I guess I can offer up a small bit of further explanation as to why I hate everything and everyone right now, though this is just the tip of the iceberg, or—as we prefer to say in my family—the tiniest sliver of the crap cake.
140921_Duncan_tie_0058Hi there! My name is Duncan. I enjoy wearing jaunty neckwear, scaring the crap out of my family, and costing a billion dollars while I do it. Also, I have a toe fetish. Please walk over here barefoot so I can lick you.(more…)

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Pay no attention to the shitshow behind the curtain

You know how people say that God won’t give you more than you can handle and then you want to punch those people in the face because clearly you are dealing with more than you can handle and the idea that someone or someTHING handed it all to you on purpose, with thought and consideration, is kind of the the very last straw? That’s where I live, now.

To be fair, it’s possible my tolerance isn’t very good. But it’s also true that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and three fun days in Boston has since given way to three ridiculous are-you-fucking-kidding-me-with-this?? days upon my return. FUN! More on that later, maybe. (Or not! Misery is boring!)

Anyway, before everything went sideways, there was a sweet and wonderful thing that happened with my kids. I’m glad I write this stuff down because sometimes (like today!) I really need to be reminded that things are not always awful. I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, and if you love a D&D nerd (or are a D&D nerd) I think you’ll especially enjoy this one.

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Dorkin’ it up, travel edition

So, some of you know that about 8 months ago I took a new job. This turned into An Actual Grown Up Job Job (as opposed to Sure It’s A Grown Up Freelance Job But Pants Are Still Optional Job), and that’s the very abbreviated version of how yours truly, possibly the crankiest person to walk the planet, totally ended up drinking the Happier Kool-Aid. It’s awesome.

Less awesome: Happier is in Boston, and I live 1,000 miles away. Boston is great, but Georgia is where I keep all my stuff and my dogs and my family, so up until now I have spent a lot of time on Google Hangouts with my coworkers, trying to stay in the loop on everything while my dogs seized every conference opportunity to decide to bark at nothing.

So! The planets finally aligned and we planned a trip for me to come to headquarters. (That’s a lie; the planets never align, but basically I bought a plane ticket and wrote MOM IS GONE; GO ASK OTTO on the family calendar and called it good.) At long last, yesterday it was time to leave. My excitement wasn’t even overshadowed by the knowledge that I was likely to do any number of stupid things on my way; I was THAT excited.

But of course I did manage to make the most of my trip. (more…)

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Pretend I know what I’m talking about

There’s a certain magical thing that happens as your children get older; at least, it’s happening to me. In the very beginning, when they were tiny babies, I was sure I had no idea what I was doing. Over time, I gained confidence, and ever-so-steadily inched into a place where I felt like a competent parent. But then they turn into teenagers and once again I have no freaking clue how to do anything right when it comes to them. It’s just that instead of a colicky baby I now have stressed-out humans who are larger than me. Neat!

But if I actually DID know anything, I’d write about it all expert-like. Or, uh, I’d write about it all expert-like and we’d all agree that my theories are excellent, whether or not they work in practice. Then maybe we’d go for coffee, because coffee is always a good idea. Yes? Yes! So if you have homework issues at your place and are okay with pretending I know anything, you should head on over to Alpha Mom today because I’ve got the scoop on how to keep homework painless.

Trust me! I’m an (Internet) expert in (fictitious) children.

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Tiny morsels of cranky, update-y goodness

Life! Life, you so crazy. Or maybe you so normal and my coping skills are not. Hard to know. Maybe best not to dwell!

Various and sundry, because I am still suffering from the illusion that anyone gives a damn:

* School has been in session for about a month. Two excellent weeks at the beginning gave way to… reality. Reality kind of sucks.

* Speaking of school, I promised to share the poster grades once they were in, and I didn’t forget, this teacher is just a slow grader. Chickadee got a 100, Monkey got a 97. Both were pleased. (I may or may not have muttered “grade inflation” under my breath. Whatever.)

* So remember how my meaniepants doctor told me to lose 12 pounds and I was grumbling about that? The Cold Hard Truth and I had a conversation and—ever the overachiever—I decided I would set a goal of losing 15 pounds and Be Serious About It and Make Changes and all of that. Go me! I’ve lost 5 pounds. That’s good, except at the moment I’m completely stalled out because my feelings are DELICIOUS and napping is way more fulfilling than working out. I know what I need to do to lose the weight (eat less, exercise more; SCIENCE!), I am just… not doing it. I’ll just be over here, snacking on self-loathing. (more…)

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