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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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Our mom lost her mind and all we got were these tomatoes

Consider this my white flag of surrender for this week. I am done. DONE. I give up.

There’s a stomach bug being circulated around band camp, because of course there is. Both kids have had it. One of them had it twice. (Overachiever!) I may have also had it, but it’s hard to tell because this weekend I threw out my neck (making a bed, because I’m all gangster like that) and in a moment of extreme pain and poor judgment decided I could take some of these leftover painkillers here, I’m sure it’ll be FINE. Hey, not fine! Turns out that Tylenol and Advil do exactly fuck-all for a frozen neck, but no matter how hard to hope and pray that someday stronger painkillers will not make me barf, it’s not meant to be for me and the good drugs. (On the bright side, I’ll never be an addict, I guess.) So I might’ve had the stomach thing. Maybe. Or maybe I just had stupidity.

Otto has been working a million hours this week (whoever said that college professors have the summers off was a DIRTY LIAR) and I’m trying to keep up at work while I can barely move AND I haven’t been grocery shopping AND I GUESS kids marching around in the heat need decent nourishment, you know. As the only thing not pitiful right now is the garden, it’s sort of like “Have a good day at camp, here’s your lunch of some Gatorade and a heel of bread with the last slice of cheese and a big container of cherry tomatoes!” Chickadee reported this morning that during lunch break yesterday her brother was all, “Hey! Open your mouth and close your eyes! I’m going to throw this tomato into your mouth!” What could possibly go wrong with pelting your bandmates with fresh tomatoes, amirite?

But don’t worry, even at my most pathetic, I am still the absolute worst. I’m still having RULES and EXPECTATIONS and generally just making life miserable for those who possess half my DNA. It’s all part of my plan to… turn them into decent humans. (I AM A MONSTER.) I wrote about it over at Alpha Mom, because the only thing worse than having expectations for my children is telling the world about it. (Hey, at least it comes with some pretty good tomatoes.)

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Things I did this weekend

Alternately, Stuff I did while avoiding doing actual work.
Or even, I am super productive when I’m procrastinating.

* Missed seeing a friend on her birthday because I am so disorganized.
* Apologized to said friend and made plans for later this week.
* Realized I hadn’t seen another friend in far too long; made more plans.
* Talked with a third friend about future plans when she returns from a trip.
* Spent a full five minutes marveling at how far I’ve come since my cave-dwelling hermit days because THREE FRIENDS! PLANS! SOCIAL! WOOOOOO!
* Stripped all beds, washed sheets, made up all beds.
* Laid down on freshly made bed wondering if there is anything better in the whole world than fresh, clean sheets on an unrumpled bed.
* Was immediately joined by a dog with muddy paws. (You know in cartoons how there’s an audible *POP* when a character’s happy bubble is burst? It was like that.)
* Did more laundry.
* Stalked my husband’s social media to see how his trip was going.
* Talked to my husband on the phone and assured him that I wasn’t worried at all.
* Texted with my daughter during the car parts of their journey (Her: I’m boooored! Me: Try talking to Otto…?) and enjoyed the radio silence that signified having-too-much-fun-to-talk during the non-car parts. (more…)

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Yeah, we’re cheesy

So the Very Good News is that Duncan is now two weeks out from his surgery and got his stitches out and his inflatable collar off and never have you seen a dog so happy. He loves everyone and everything, and this is even in light of the Not So Good News that wearing that stupid collar (to keep him from eating his stitches, mind you) ended up giving him a whopper of an ear infection. (Apparently having your ears sort of pushed closed for a couple of weeks is bad.) By the time I discovered it, his ear was seriously grody and caked with… stuff. Ear cheese. Doesn’t everyone call it ear cheese? We call it ear cheese. Which then leads to a host of comments about how “He’s such a Gouda boy!” and “He’s just making some Mutt-zerella….”

(I know. We’re terrible.)

Anyway. I gave the vet what little money we had left and now everyone is healthy and good-smelling (Duncan finally got a post-surgical bath; Licorice took herself on an adventure thanks to an HVAC worker here leaving our gate open, and while I think she enjoyed the pond, she also needed a bath) and shhhhh, everyone act cool, because I think it’s all good.

In other news, longtime readers may remember that Something Terrible happened a looooong time ago, back before Otto and I got married, when I brought the kids down to Georgia to visit. At the time I was so upset I couldn’t even talk about it. Here we are, seven and a half years later, and I think we may have finally come full circle. You can go read about it over at Alpha Mom, if you like.

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A time to plant, a time to complain

I have a love/hate relationship with my garden, as many of you know. Mostly it’s love. Really. I love growing my own food, and I love the excuse to go outside and graze like a cow. (Ummmm. Maybe not like a cow. I don’t stand out there and eat grass, or anything. But I’ve been known to park myself by the cherry tomatoes, is all I’m saying.)

On the flip side, I do hate bugs. All bugs. Many, many bugs. And I’m not super-fond of my yearly “quality time with the children” fantasy being disrupted with petty concerns like “It’s HOT OUT HERE!” and “I’m getting eaten by mosquitoes!” and “Why do you hate us?” Is a little help in the garden so much to ask? Oh, well.

Regardless, I do think there’s enormous value in growing food with kids, no matter how whiny they are. (The kids. Not the food. If your food is whiny, you’re doing it wrong.) So I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, and I hope you might try it yourself if you haven’t already. There’s nothing quite like a salad from your own back yard, trust me. (Also there’s nothing quite like a child gazing up at you in adoration and saying, “I thought this was a really stupid idea but I guess it’s okay after all because you made those dumb zucchini into brownies.”)

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