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Toes are delicious

There are a couple of times I’ve written about volunteering at my kids’ school (or schoolS, back when they weren’t at the same one), and it nearly always evokes at least one indignant WELL THAT IS FINE AND WELL FOR YOU, MS. PRIVILEGE PANTS, BUT NOT EVERYONE CAN DO THAT response. Being me, I thought hey, people must be misunderstanding my point, perhaps I will devote an entire post to it to explain why it is important TO ME and is something that I think, actually, most people can do in some capacity if they really want to (maybe not as often as I do, but at least once).

Well. Um. You would think that a decade as someone who makes their living writing would’ve meant I could communicate that clearly, but this is me we’re talking about. I went ahead and wrote that post for Alpha Mom and managed to piss off the first two commenters, right off the bat. Mission not accomplished. Toes, however, very tasty. Which is good, as I apparently spend a lot of time with my foot in my mouth.

Really my POINT is that I, personally, enjoy volunteering and arrange my life in such a way that I can do it. I am lucky to be able to do so, I know. I meant it to be encouraging to those who maybe haven’t quite figured out a way to make it work. I don’t know if this is a hot button issue because I’m really screwing it up badly or because people get very defensive about this topic. Maybe a little of each? Either way, I guess you can come over and yell at me, too, or maybe my point—YAY VOLUNTEERING WITH OLDER KIDS—will actually come across. We’ll see.

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Politics are sexy, yo

What you can read from me this morning over at Alpha Mom: Why and how I talk to my teens about the democratic process.

What you will not find in the Alpha Mom post: The fact that my husband and I set out to our local polling place just as soon as the kids left for school, this morning, made our way through and voted with absolutely no issues, and then as we were exiting the building I walked just a leeetle too close to an open door and—while I was trying to give one of those cursory polite smiles to someone entering as we left—my purse strap snagged on the door handle and I nearly lost a shoulder. I was immediately transformed into one of those cartoon characters being boomeranged; first I continued forward, then my purse yanked me back and I nearly fell, then I disentangled my purse and tried to pretend nothing had happened. Super sexy.

Grace, charm, and smarts. THAT’S ME!

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You get extra credit, and YOU get extra credit!

Everyone made it out of the house on time and in costume, and everyone got extra credit. In addition, Monkey “won” for his class (which was apparently chock-full of Rosie the Riveters and not a lot else). While Chickadee’s teacher admired her commitment to the pun, they apparently had a spot-on Andrew Jackson in her class, so no grand prize for her this year.

I give you… the government shutdown, and the Great (grate! get it? GET IT??) Depression:

halloween2014

(Adjusted for the Witness Protection Program, natch.) I do feel a little sad that I cannot show you Chickie’s Emo-ized makeup because… it actually looked amazing on her. I’m glad she’s not a makeup kid, normally, because it make her look about 20 and ZOMG NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Tonight there shall be football, but no uniforms—the kids are allowed to wear costumes. No one thinks I’m funny when I suggest they dress up as marching band nerds. Hmph.

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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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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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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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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 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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