Course correcting

Hello! Greetings from the land of Never What You Planned, But Somehow It More Or Less Works Out Eventually. I feel like I’ve spent the last 19 years exhorting my kids to be flexible! Go with the flow! But don’t be afraid to change course! There are no wrong choices, only “right for right now” choices, and if/when they stop being the right choices, you’ll make another choice! It’s all part of the journey to where you’re supposed to be!

A lifetime of trying to convince them that life throws us curveballs and that’s okay, and they can handle it, and yet… they struggle with this. I do, too. Sometimes people who live in this house cling to a plan like it’s life or death, and when the plan goes awry or stops being the right plan, the death-grip-holder-on-er in a question has a very hard time letting go because THAT WAS THE PLAN, world without end, amen.

Anyway. Learning! Growing! Changing! And—sometimes—hurting. I don’t like that part quite so much, but no one asked me.

So that’s preamble to two things I have to share today. First, I have a new post up at Alpha Mom with yet more advice for your new college student. And second, remember how we started this summer with Chickadee being deathly ill? Well, why not just make this The Summer Of Pestilence, bookended with sick children? Sure, WHY NOT. We headed out last week to pick up Monkey from his summer program and attend his college orientation and, um, it did not go entirely as planned. See, somewhere along the line my son decided that “work hard” was synonymous with “just keep going even if you’re so sick you can no longer keep food down and you have lost the will to live.” I’m telling you it was like a bad Monty Python sketch, with him assuring us over and over that he was fine, except instead of severed limbs laying around it was slightly (only slightly) less obvious how sick he was, at first. Without going into details I will just say that he made the very difficult (but wise because OMFG) decision to take a medical withdrawal/deferment for the fall semester. We have several months to 1) get him healthy again, 2) teach him about this whole BALANCE thing where you DON’T jeopardize your health, and 3) make absolutely sure that this is what he wants and he’s in a place for college to be a great experience rather than, say, the self-imposed death march he was apparently on for a month without telling any of us.

We are learning ALL OVER THE PLACE, yes we are. Onward.

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News you can use (for… umm… something?)

Chickadee has been giving me a hard time lately about the blog. “You never write,” she complains. “Why don’t you write anymore?”

I look at her, and she looks at me, and I shrug. Sometimes I follow it up with the usual excuses—I don’t want to violate anyone’s privacy; my life is pretty boring; there’s other stuff that’s more important right now. Those things are true, but another truth lies between us, unspoken: It has been a hard summer, for all of us, but especially between her and me. And the kids are theoretical adults (or close to it; heavy emphasis on “theoretical,” too) and whatever I may struggle with relative to them might’ve been a funny anecdote when they were little, but not so much, now.

Still. She asks more often when things have been difficult between us. She wants affirmation that I still love her, but it is easier to needle me about my blog than to admit she is affected by anything I might do. Dear Chickie: I still love you. For the love of all things holy, please clean your room and the bathroom and maybe eat something with some protein in it and perhaps consider generally working on taking care of yourself and being kind to those around you. Love, Mom.

Anyway, she is right, a number of things HAVE happened, and we are long overdue for an update, so I will try to hit the highlights here as best I can. I do not promise that any of it is interesting, but what can I say? You always get what you pay for, with me. (more…)

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Hello yes hi we are alive

A very patient reader pointed out over on the Facebook page that I never updated after the last post (about Chickadee being in the hospital). I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to be a giant jerkface, but it just happens naturally, I guess. So, to clarify:

1) I suck.
2) Chickie was in the hospital for 5 days and then was released to us.
3) She is feeling a billion and twelve percent better than she did during the acute phase which landed her in the hospital.
4) She does, however, still have mono, which means…
5) … she sleeps roughly 16 hours/day, and…
6) … she had to resign from her summer job, and…
7) … her liver is still Not Happy and being tested every couple of weeks, and…
8) … she is well enough to do things she likes but not well enough to unload the dishwasher, okay??

We are getting on each others’ nerves but she is recovering. And I will take squabbles about the dishes all summer long over literally carrying my child into the ER because she’s too sick to walk. So. Practical take: Also let us not forget that timing-wise this was pretty much best case scenario; if she’d gotten sick earlier in the semester it would’ve been catastrophic. Opportunity to torment our child take: Jokes about who your kid was swapping spit with while away at college never get old!

So that’s that. Everyone lived and the folks at the hospital were great, but we sure are glad to be home. (more…)

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Hold on to your liver!

Honestly, I have a million things just from the last week… er… crap… week BEFORE last… that I am still going to tell you about. Pinky swear. I totally intended to get RIGHT back to you on all of that after I told you about the Toepocalypse. Because we had our familyversary! And it’s been TEN YEARS, which is a really long time, and kind of a big deal, and also we all got each other very thoughtful gifts, some of which I will tell you about another time, but I will tell you that what I got Otto was that I very super-sneakily planned a little vacation for us. And by “us” I mean “just me and Otto,” because despite it being our FAMILYversary, Otto and I haven’t had a just-us vacation in… well, ever, seems like. And here I am with two grown (or nearly grown) children at home who can both 1) take care of themselves, 2) drive (!!!) (not that Monkey has driven more than once since getting his license, you understand), and 3) take care of the dogs. I could plan a whole trip and then just spring it on my husband, and then we could just GO in just two short weeks—this week, that is, two weeks after the reveal—which was one of the few totally clear weeks on the calendar this summer.

Otto was, indeed, surprised and touched. I was so excited! I really LIKE that guy and spending a few days away with him was going to be the best.

I mean, it still is. When we go. Sometime. But not this week (SUPPOSED TO BE ON VACATION RIGHT NOW, NOT AT ALL BITTER), because this week turned out to be the wrong week for a vacation.

Last week—the week after the familyversary, but the week before the supposed-to-be-trip—was graduation week. Everything was counting down to Monkey’s graduation, and my parents were slated to come into town on Thursday, and on Wednesday night—of course, of course the day before their arrival—Chickadee was holed up in her room after passing on dinner, and Otto and I were watching TV before going to bed, and around 9:30 I texted my daughter (yeah, I’m lazy) and suggested she come eat something, and she texted back, “Can you come take my temperature?” (more…)

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Because I am a delicate, delicate flower

Hello! All last week I kept thinking, “Oh, I finally have something to write about! I shall write! About it! All of it!” And all was very busy and before I knew it, 1) time had passed, 2) I had not written about any of it, and 3) “it” had become far more than one post could reasonably hold, even if you’re me, the person who believes that brevity is when you eliminate three adverbs from your 3,500-word post.

The good news is that this means you’re in for several posts in a row, assuming that a piano doesn’t fall out of the sky and flatten me, cartoon-villain-style, before I can manage them all. I’m not saying I EXPECT a piano to fall on me, you understand. I’m just saying I’m me and it could happen. Also I want the excuse out there in case it does. (“See? She must’ve had a premonition or something.”)

I think I’ll work backwards, in part because I want to cover what’s freshest in my mind, and in part because the most recent thing is the grossest, and I’d like to just get that out of the way. There are no pictures in this story because I love you all and also because I don’t want to make my father faint. I come by my delicate flower-ness honestly, it seems. So don’t worry that you’ll suddenly have your eyeballs assaulted with visual proof. I shall just stick to DESCRIBING this lovely incident for your entertainment. Buckle up! (more…)

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There are two types of people in this world

Listen, I understand that genetics are complicated and sometimes recessive genes do funky things and all of that, but I’ve recently made a horrifying discovery about my offspring. I’m not the tidiest person in the world, not by a long shot—I tend to have tidy areas of the house and then a few small dumping grounds (see also: my desk, my bathroom counter). It’s been a lifelong (their lives, not mine) struggle to be okay with a certain amount of mess in my kids’ rooms, because that’s their own space and there’s a line between “my standards” and “health hazard” and they have to both avoid Ebola and learn for themselves. I get all of that.

And when it became clear that Chickadee never pairs her socks, I kind of gave her a pass on account of the mixing-and-matching she tends to do with said socks. Also, she’s a slob, so no surprise there. But Monkey is much less of a slob and I have only recently discovered that he also no longer pairs his socks. SOCK DRAWERS GONE WILD. Honestly, why wouldn’t you pair your socks?? I do not understand. This is beyond the pale.

(I feel better, now that I’ve shared that with you.)

Other than lecturing my children about their sock habits, not all that much is happening here. BUT I did write some stuff over at Alpha Mom for you recently, so feel free to check it out. First, if you’re not tired of hearing me gush about how exciting it is to have finally get diagnosed with and treated for ADHD, I have a few more things to say about that. And second, if you—like me, and lots of other folks—are starting to plan for a college launch, you’re likely wondering how to pick the right meal plan for your freshman. But please do not ask me how to get your college student to pair their socks, because I clearly have no idea.

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When it rains, it’s all kinds of drama

Look at me, not waiting a whole month to write again. It’s almost like I’m going back to being a blogger, or something. WEIRD.

The impetus for this is simple: Life was boring, boring, boring… right up until it wasn’t. And when people start saying things to me like “Oh, Mir, that could only happen to YOU,” I figure that means it’s ridiculous enough to share, because why should I hog all the fun? I should not. Perhaps nothing dramatic is happening in your life, in which case: YAY YOU! But I have some drama to spare, and I’m a good sharer.

ALSO, after 3 weeks of back and forth with our insurance company, I am now the proud (?) owner of some ADHD meds. My doc has me starting off with a very small dose, and so at first I was all, “Huh, well, this is… sort of dumb,” but I have progressed one notch up the dosage ladder and suddenly I find myself doing all sorts of weird things. Like, I’ll sit down to do something and ACTUALLY GET IT DONE. Or I’ll start planning something out and have a TOTAL AND COMPLETE THOUGHT WHICH I DON’T FORGET HALFWAY THROUGH. It’s sort of magical. Is this how normal people’s brains work all the time? Why have we not yet cured cancer and also figured out how to make people stop caring about what other people do with their bodies? I am productive and invincible! (At least until tonight when the meds wear off!)

Alright, let’s get right on to the excitement. (more…)

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Another month, another series of mostly minutiae

Has it been another month? It has! I don’t understand how this keeps happening, and yet, here we are. Time has passed, some interesting things have happened and other not-so-interesting, and life marches on, etc.

I’ve made a number of desserts for Nerd Night this year and shared almost none of them with you because I’m a big jerk. Also because they’ve mostly been fine but unexciting. However! I am the sort of person who buys buttermilk for a recipe and then spends the next however-long trying to find recipes with which to use up said buttermilk, because most of the time when you Google “buttermilk recipes” you end up with things which call for a tablespoon or a quarter cup of buttermilk, and then the next thing you know, you’re looking for another recipe. Sometimes you just want a chocolate cake or a gooey pie or a cookie filled with caramel and chocolate, of course, but a couple of weeks ago I came across Teaspoon Bake Shop’s oatmeal cake recipe and made it for Nerd Night. Monkey was effusive in his praise—most likely because he is a fan of maple-glazed donuts and I suspect this tasted like that—but also, this uses a lot of buttermilk and quite a lot of oats, which means that yes, it’s cake, but it’s also relatively healthy. Cake without guilt! And it uses up buttermilk! If I could eat wheat, I suspect I would have a slice of this with a cup of coffee in the morning without apology. (My tips: First of all, I doubled the recipe for a full 9″x13″ cake pan, and second, all of those oats and buttermilk would be somewhat negated, then, by 4 sticks of butter, so I used 2 sticks of butter and a third cup of coconut oil, instead, to both cut the fat overall and use a “healthy” fat for part of it.) It’s a very simple/easy recipe and in no way “fancy,” but I recommend it.

Cake aside, here’s what else has been going on: (more…)

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Whoops

So it’s been about a month since I wrote here. Honestly, it only felt like a couple of weeks, which is weird, because in our new dystopian reality, every single day feels like a month, lately. Still, I knew I’d been remiss when my father called me to make sure I was still alive. When I go Dad-wondering-if-I-still-exist many days between writing, that’s when I’ve been a jerk. Er, a bigger jerk than normal.

Hi, Dad! I’m alive!

This is the part where I tell you how thrilling my life has been that I just haven’t had a SINGLE MOMENT to come here and detail it for you, what with the EXCITEMENT and DIRE IMPORTANCE of it all. And I would totally do that if I’d been doing anything that fit that criteria, but still I am mostly reading news, listening to news, and waiting for the sky to fall. Turns out that that takes up a crazy amount of time.

A few other things have happened in the interim as well, but mostly the news-and-panicking stuff. And baking. DON’T FORGET THE BAKING, because the only thing better than being certain that the world is ending is being certain that the world is ending but you probably should have some cookies, first.

And so I present to you a brief summary of the Very Exciting Things Which Happened of the last month or so: (more…)

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That (other) time my kid got into college

Perhaps you remember when Chickadee figured out what she wanted out of a college and then made it happen, and I was over the moon because not just YAY COLLEGE but also YAY LOOK AT YOU ADULTING and YAY YOU MADE IT and such. It was a time of MANY FEELS, many capital letters, and me randomly getting weepy and saying I AM JUST SO PROUD OF YOU to her at the most inopportune and (one assumes) embarrassing times. I’m sure she loved it.

All of that was very exciting. It remains exciting, actually. If you think I don’t periodically get teary and LOOK AT YOU GO all over again with her, you don’t know me very well. And let us note for the record that she had both her acceptance and her scholarship ahead of the winter break, and I perhaps didn’t appreciate how awesome that was at the time. (This is called foreshadowing.)

So when it came time to start the whole process with Monkey, it was old hat. Right? Right. No biggie. All fine. Nothing to worry about at all. I knew the drill, he required a bit more cajoling all in all, but hey, no problem. I dragged him to Atlanta to visit a campus I thought he’d like and over the course of about two weeks—with the actual campus visit in the middle—he went from, “I just don’t know that I’d be comfortable leaving town” to “I see now why you wanted me to visit” to “I guess I’ll apply” to “That is absolutely my first choice school.” Wonderful! Except! Oh my, so many things had not occurred to me when I had the SO BRILLIANT notion that I would just “introduce” him to this school that would be perfect for him. Allow me to count the ways…. (more…)

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