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We’re gonna need a bigger vacuum

Today ended up completely sideways and I don’t really know how or why. This is me cheering myself up with the conversation that STARTED the day, before everything went to crap.

Her: So explain to me, again, why you want to be cremated when you die?
Me: Well, for one thing, I’m cheap, and I think the cost associated with buying a hole in the ground and a fancy box to bury in it seems dumb to me. For another, I don’t believe that the body means anything after the soul leaves it. Why fancy it up? Get rid of it, I won’t be using it. And I don’t want a place that you feel compelled to maintain, or that you have to sit and feel sad.
Her: But… so… then what do you do with the ashes?
Me: Sometimes people keep them around, like in a pretty container, but lots of people rather they be scattered somewhere that made them happy. Don’t save my ashes, that’s creepy.
Her: Oooooooohhhh. Okay, so after Licorice dies, we should have her cremated and then spread her ashes under the couch in your office. And after YOU die, I should just dump the ashes in your bed.
Me: That seems kind of gross for Otto, if he’s still around.
Her: Nah, he’ll love it. He can still sleep with you every night!
Me: You’ve got it all figured out, I guess.
Her: Don’t worry, I’ll sprinkle Monkey on the keyboard when it’s his turn.
Me:
Her: What? It’s where he’s happy!

Debate continues as to where Duncan should go (maybe the landing on the stairs, though I feel he’s mostly just confused there, not really happy), but thankfully Otto has already picked his finally resting/sprinkling spot. [Note to self: Revise will to specify that Chickadee never gets to decide where anyone's ashes go.]

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tl;dr: Money makes me paranoid

I have not been sleeping particularly well these last few days. Otto was doing a work thing all weekend, which meant he was coming and going at weird hours, and we have a friend of his staying here (for said work thing), as well, and I love our dogs, you know, I love them SO MUCH, they bring such joy to my life, but they are not all that bright about guests in the house. After however many years it’s been (4? 5?), we’ve grown used to Licorice feeling the need to bark anew EVERY SINGLE MORNING no matter how many times she’s already encountered the same stranger in our house. (“You’re still here this morning? BARK! BARK! BARKBARKBARKBARK!”) But now she barks, and then Duncan barks and HOWLS, and no matter how we try to separate them or whatever—say, tucking Duncan in for the night in his customary spot in Monkey’s room, faaaaar from where the men are returning to the house late at night—the moment our guest steps in the house or appears on the stairs in the morning or DARES to visit the bathroom in the night, it’s the Barkpocalypse.

So: I’m sleepy. Sleepier than normal, anyway. I got up this morning and sat down to go through my email and had one of those CUSTOMER FRAUD ALERT DANGER DANGER WILL ROBINSON emails from Discover Card, which was awesome, because you KNOW how I love it when people screw around with my beloved credit card. (more…)

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Pottymouth

I don’t think it comes as any surprise to regular readers when I confess that I sometimes use curse words. (The horror!) Some people might consider this a moral failing or character defect, but I prefer to believe it’s not. After all, they’re just words, right?

Today I’m over at Alpha Mom trying to unravel modeling appropriate language behavior for my kids, now that swearing isn’t exactly off-limits, but it’s not necessarily awesome to hear coming from my teenagers’ mouths, either.

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The holidays ate me and all you got was this post

First the kids were off school for a week and then I was cooking for days and then it was Thanksgiving and then it was a million other things AND the first miserable cold of the season which we passed around to everyone in the house AND a bunch of work and school stuff AND one of those “now we must reevaluate our life choices and make everything more complicated!” revelations that I like to have when I’m sick and busy AND did I mention that the new dog’s favorite pastime is slurping up an entire bowl of water and then horking it right back up onto the kitchen floor? Because it is. (He’s cute, but not very bright.)

There’s more to tell, of course, but for right now, I’ll leave you with my latest at Alpha Mom, because it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, and if I think about it too much, I have MANY MANY FEELS. What a difference a year makes, sometimes.

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The course of true puppy love…

… never did run smooth, right?

Our first night with Duncan was a little rough. Today is better, and tomorrow will be better still. We’ll get there. In the meantime, it’s possible that my latest at Alpha Mom will cure you of wanting a second dog, just in case you’d been thinking that was a good idea.

On the other hand…

… Duncan just figured out how to use the doggie door out on the porch, and he was pretty proud of himself. So there’s that.

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The ongoing conversation…

I’ve been writing here for coming up on ten (!!) years, and I can still count my very favorite posts on a single hand. That means either that those posts are beyond stupendous and/or meaningful, or that a lot of what I write here is utter drivel. Let’s not think about it too hard.

One of incidents that will always hold a special place of combined hilarity and horror in my mind was detailed in this post from seven years ago wherein my darling daughter discovered that the human body is terrifying and disgusting.

A lot of time has passed, and I still ever-awkward in my sharing of Information I Think You Need when it comes to my kids. Probably they will never forgive me. Nevertheless, over at Alpha Mom I’m tackling the age-old topic of teenage dating, and yes, my children still wish I would just shut up, already.

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The more you know!

As promised earlier, here’s a handy-dandy FAQ I made for you to help in getting through this season of fundraising with good cheer.

Hint: Be nice to the kids who come knocking on your door, even if you’re not buying anything.

Also: Can I interest you in some grapefruit…?

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Making memories, scarring bystanders

So before I forget, allow me to direct you to my latest recipe over at Alpha Mom, the perfect option if you kind of secretly love old-fashioned chicken casserole type things but are 1) gluten-free, 2) a fan of spices other than salt, and 3) religiously opposed to recipes that involve canned soup. This one is our alternative to chicken pot pie, but it’s topped with (gluten-free) cornbread. If you’re not gluten-free, make the cornbread with regular flour; I don’t judge.

Also, have you ever noticed that sometimes you ask me questions, or say “hey, can we see a picture of that?” and I don’t answer or produce? It’s very rare that this is intentional. It’s a lot less “no, you can’t have that” and a lot more “sure, let me just… oh, cookies!” And sometimes it’s more that someone says something like, “Oh, what oil-controlling moisturizer do you use?” and I realize that I hate my oil-controlling moisturizer and don’t want to recommend it to anyone. Stuff like that.

But when I mention Otto taking pictures of something, y’all KNOW there’s photographic evidence. And despite the fact that he’s an awesome photographer, I am not the most photogenic person in the world all the time. (TRY TO CONCEAL YOUR SHOCK.) Most of the time, I don’t share pictures. But sometimes, I guess I must. (more…)

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Highs and lows even out

Sometimes people ask me about the secret to success when it comes to a blended family, and usually I laugh and laugh and then ask them what they mean by “success,” and also, have they actually MET my family…?

But I think I’ve figured it out. The key is to make All Things Family mimic the child’s natural propensity for mood shifts. Even-tempered kid? Keep things on a nice, regular keel. Not-so-even-tempered kid? Hit the outlet mall.

Where else can you go where—when your mother inquires about where to find that shirt in the window, and when the sales associate informs her that that’s the last one, but she’s welcome to have it—you find yourself dying of embarrassment as your mother steps into the window in front of God and everyone and starts dismantling a mannequin? And then your stepfather moves in to take some pictures of your mother making ridiculous faces with a disembodied plastic arm draped around her shoulders?

But then just when you’ve determined you cannot possibly live under these sorts of conditions, that very same mother (with the shirt she ripped off the mannequin, thankyouverymuch) waits in line at Aeropostale for, like, 45 minutes just to buy you some cool jeans while your stepfather waits in the car (thank God).

There you go. Free of charge, the secret to blending your family (and also picky-teen-approved jeans for $6): The outlet mall.

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The root of all evil… and puppies

I think we all know I’ve been a little out of sorts for a bit. (“O RILLY?” you say, because you are mostly nice and only a little wanting to poke fun at my uncharacteristic use of understatement.) Various… things… and medications… have left me feeling… well, let’s say… unfulfilled.

["Hey Mom," said a child of mine, a few days ago, "I've been reading your blog and apparently you hate everyone and everything. How's that going?" Testament to my priorities: I just felt self-satisfied that this information was obtained from my blog when said child LIVES WITH ME. I must be doing a FANTASTIC job of pretending NOT to hate everyone! (Also I did not smack my beautiful child, even though the fruit of my loins was making fun of me when I am busy having MANY MANY FEELS. I feel that I deserve... maybe not a medal, but perhaps a merit badge of some sort? Someone should really invent an entire line of "surviving teens" badges. I smell a new Etsy shop!]

There are two distinct money-related phenomena that occur when I’m trying to cope with feeling like this, and although they are in some ways total opposites, I’m living proof that they can exist at the same time and feel like they make total sense. I’m just super talented that way. (more…)

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