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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You say plantain-o, I say tornado

When I’m quiet here for too long, my dad calls me to make sure no one died. I always tell him that’s just silly; if someone died, I’d have something to blog about, after all. (For some reason he doesn’t find that as funny as I do….)

Life and the school year continue to WHOOSH past me at an alarming rate. Rest assured that I am not holding out on you on the end result of the dueling posters situation; the kids swear they haven’t gotten their grades back yet, and that particular teacher seems to not be using our online grade portal, so it remains a mystery. Of course, Chickadee did mention this morning just-a-little-bit-smugly that her poster is hanging up behind the teacher’s desk. Well, then.

In the meantime, I’m just over here working and spoiling the dogs and trying to pretend that I have a handle on everything. This leads to things like a recent dinner extravaganza that was TOTALLY worth the hassle. Or not. You can read about it over on Alpha Mom, because one thing that never changes no matter how hectic life gets is that if I do something stupid, I’m apt to share it with the Internet. You’re welcome.

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Poster children

And lo, it did come to pass that the edict came down from the grand high ruler of the land (if we agree that by “land” we mean “this particular science class my kids are taking”) and the charge was thus: create a poster of determinate size and scope and breadth and beauty.

First, the children diligently argued over the dimensions of said assignment, for somehow the rubric and the spoken words from the ruler’s mouth, they didst not match. A missive delivered to said ruler was mirthfully replied to including the line, “I just love your children!” which is indeed ancient code for, “Wow, I see your entire family is strange and difficult.”

Next, keys were mashed at the large computational portal at one of the kitchen whilst at the other, decorative dyes were flung thither and yon. Voices were raised. Disputes were had. And in the end, it was right and good that two children with two posters departed for school, and glory be to God in the highest, I didn’t stab either of them, not even a little bit. Amen.

[You can read more about it over at Alpha Mom. It's gonna be a long school year, is all I'm saying.]

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Rites of passage everywhere

Every time I think I’m getting the hang of this parenting gig (don’t worry, it doesn’t happen all that often; just the rare, delusional flash of perceived competence), something new comes up.

Chickadee’s been doing marching band for years, y’know, so I figured I had the routine down and everything would be old hat with Monkey. But I forgot that he’s a boy and she’s a girl. I mean, it’s not like I didn’t know, but I forgot that once they got into uniform fittings there are… ahhhh… different concerns for boys and girls. Marching band uniforms are… very form-fitting. VERY. FORM-FITTING. Do you get where I’m going with this…?

I had to buy my son compression shorts, okay? I’m pretty sure it was traumatic for both of us. There is no comfortable way to explain to your kid that no one wants to see his junk while he’s wearing his uniform (Me: “No one wants to see your junk while you’re wearing your uniform.” Him: “GOD! MOM!! WHY WOULD ANYONE BE LOOKING AT MY CROTCH??”) or to handle trying on and assessing fit without wanting to stab out your own eyes, afterward. We got through it. Now let us never speak of it again.

No less traumatic, but 100% less groin-related, was taking my kid to get a checking account. It’s almost like I expect her to be a fully-formed adult in the not-too-distant future. That’s weird, right? I think it is. We lived, and I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, because there’s no spot in the baby book to record Baby’s First Debit Card.

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A fitting end to the summer (part 2)

I think I promised you some super-exciting content about our last visit to Costco. (I tell you what, this blog is worth EXACTLY what you’re paying for it. Such value!)

Before that, though, apparently I am falling down on my chronicling duties by not verifying that 1) my children went back to school and 2) they were wearing shoes when they did it. Here you go:

1stdayshoes-2014

[Obvious from the picture: My darling vegetarian has thus far refused to let me buy her leather boots, which means she wears these crappy ones that fall apart and make her look homeless. I'm not saying she doesn't rock that particular look---she's pretty cool and all---but lord, child, let me buy you some decent shoes. Not obvious from the picture: Monkey's shoes are, for the first time, larger than his sister's (I think his heels are just further back).] (more…)

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There but for the grace of God…

I’m over at Alpha Mom today, and I will spare you a long introduction and simply say that this is not the post I intended to write nor a subject I planned to address so directly, but with a high-profile suicide in the news, I didn’t know how to write about anything else.

It’s not a particularly cheery post. It may be uncomfortable to read or even triggering. I wish I could tell you that I had some sort of answer or formula and that suicide doesn’t have to touch any of us, but… we’re not immune, any of us. I could try to sugar-coat it, but that’s scary as hell, right? I think it is.

Suicide isn’t just other people’s problem. I don’t have any good answers. But I’m glad we’re talking about it—that’s a start.

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A fitting end to the summer (part 1)

This summer kind of flew by with a great sucking *WOOOOOOOSH*, and I don’t know how it happened. I mean, I do—we went on a trip, then Monkey went on a trip, and Otto went on a few trips, and for the first time in forever I had One Giant Job rather than Lots O Little Jobs, and Duncan kept acting like he was dying and had to have surgery, and then there was band camp, and POOF: summer’s over. It was just… weird. It kind of makes me long for those days when summer seemed to drag on and on and I did a little jig when the kids headed back to school, because there’s just no pleasing me.

We never even went camping, this year. There was no time. Every now and then I catch Otto staring longingly out back at the camping trailer. I usually say something understanding and supportive like, “Thinking of hitching up and leaving us?” (Before you ask: No, I don’t know why he puts up with me. It’s a mystery.)

The point is, summer shot past and it seemed like we’d be back to the normal school-year grind without any excitement at all. BUT NO! I was working along, minding my own business, when one day last week I pushed back from my desk to go take a shower. I do that, sometimes. My family appreciates it. Anyway, off I went, and when I returned (clean and fresh-smelling!), I had missed a call and the answering machine was blinking at me. Also, my cell phone said I’d missed a call and had a voicemail. Hrm. (more…)

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You can call me Shorty

It finally happened; after months of hovering just under my height—and countless mornings of not-so-subtly sidling up to me and comparing our stature—this morning Monkey came downstairs and I was struck speechless for a moment.

“Holy crap,” I finally managed. I turned to Otto. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing here? Isn’t he, like, an inch or maybe TWO taller than when he went to bed last night??”

Otto concurred as Monkey grinned and bounced by my side, using one hand to supposedly feel the plane from the top of his head to over the top of mine (though he was a bit slanted, and we had to point out that no, he’s not a foot taller than me… yet). Today was a long-awaited triumph for him, and reminder 749 to me that my darling boy is a late bloomer. He’s no longer the smallest kid in the class as he was for so long, but neither has he hit anywhere close to what I assume his eventual height will be. (People love to gently tell me that maybe he’s just going to be short. His dad is really tall; I think he’s just on his own growth curve right now, y’know?)

That brought me back to thinking about all of the joys of asynchronous development, so I wrote about it over at Alpha Mom, because the only thing more fun that trying to figure out a teenager is trying to figure out a teenager who is both ahead and behind.

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