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Floors, fluffy-buddies, and filth

Hey, remember when I painted my office? Like, a million years ago? And I was all excited about it but then we decided to order new flooring and we’ve been living life with my entire professional life (contents of my office; whatever) strewn all over the dining room and kitchen? The new floor is going in RIGHT NOW as I type. Finally.

Of course, I’m leaving town tomorrow. So, uh, either I’ll reassemble my office tonight before I go or my family can enjoy having my desk in the middle of the kitchen for a few more days. No biggie, right? Right.

Normally I would’ve been terribly impatient about it all, but because life is never dull around here, I’ve been quite busy… cleaning up poop and worrying that Duncan is dying. (Does this seem like a recurring theme? Because wasn’t he just sick a few weeks ago??) Over the last week Duncan was once again kind of lethargic and off and he stopped jumping up on the furniture to be with us and then he started having accidents in the house… and of course it was a holiday weekend so the vet was closed. He didn’t really scare me until the night (on the weekend! of course!) when he refused to get up to come to bed, even, but slept in the crate in the family room all night because he didn’t want to move. I’m not going to lie; I went to bed that night wondering if he was a lot sicker than we thought and maybe the next day would bring a terrible discovery… but… he slept all night and was happy to see us in the morning. After a few bad days he rallied and now he seems to be fine. Stinker. (more…)

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Lessons learned (veggie/college edition)

We returned from our whirlwind campus touring trip with the realization that yes, Virginia, this college thing is truly right around the corner and Big Decisions need to be made. That is both exciting and unnerving. And every time I try to remind myself that everything will work out just fine, I remember that once we get Chickadee through this process I have to start it all over again with Monkey, like, immediately.

Needless to say, we came home and I said “Oh, we don’t have any food!” and went to the store and promptly purchased All The Ice Cream. I think that’s reasonable, under the circumstances.

Also while we were gone, it rained a ton (on the heels of it having been approximately a billion degrees), so my garden is… experiencing growing pains. Specifically, all of my beautiful nearly-ripe tomatoes proceeded to split and in many cases, fall right off the vine. Still, I’m not complaining. Even ugly tomatoes can be turned into delicious tomato sauce.

gardenhaul-063015

This morning’s haul. Those are three types of tomatoes plus Japanese eggplant (and yes, I’m happy to see you, har har).

There was the matter of discovering HALF a tomato dangling from a vine, one day, and that was bizarre (my beds are in a fenced area), but then later that night we let Licorice out and she came back smelling VERY TOMATO-Y and the other half had vanished and, well, SOMEONE is now answering to “rotten tomato-faced thief.”

So clearly I’m no help on the gardening front, but if you’re curious about my take on questions to ask while touring colleges, I’ve got you covered over at Alpha Mom.

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Hole in the bucket (once more with feeling)

Have I mentioned that I am slightly… er… underemployed at the moment? And how that’s just fine, because I haven’t had a slow period in over a decade, and it’s summer, and we are doing Fun Things and years and years of being completely mentally ill about money mean that I can slack for a little while and we won’t be in financial dire straits or anything? And it’s all good, no problems, what a lovely and much needed break, we just have to be a little more careful and it’s no problem?

Well. I have all this TIME on my hands, now. Time I don’t normally have. Wouldn’t a lull in work be the PERFECT time to paint my office finally? Plus Monkey was going to be away for a while and then Otto went off on a trip and it was just me and Chickadee and, yes, sure, Orange Is The New Black wasn’t going to watch itself, but we finished it in two days (it was the weekend! GIRLS’ WEEKEND with bonding and lesbian prisoners, DUH) and then the following Monday I picked up my special-order, made-from-unicorn-horn-and-fairy-dust paint, and it was time to get down to business. Surely this would be NOTHING like previous DIY projects of snowballing magnitude, right? Right!

Allow me to tell you in words how the pre-painting prep went: I discovered that I have a lot of crap in my office. A LOT OF CRAP. I had a weird giant shelf on the wall that ultimately had to be unbolted and then chiseled off, and I have a giant desk and a filing cabinet and endless bookshelves and a coat rack and and and AND. We emptied most of the office into the dining room, and moved the remaining few big things (desk, futon couch) into the center of the room. It was… not fun, but we got it done. Next up was spackling and sanding. Then I started taping trim while Chickadee removed outlet plates, and that’s when I realized two very important things. (more…)

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In other words, totally normal stuff

Life has been uneventful here, of late. Yep. Nothing’s happening. Booooring. In the last month:

1) I got laid off.
2) School ended, and I now have a senior and a junior and SHUT YOUR MOUTH I DO NOT.
3) Chickadee got a job.
4) Monkey continues to insist he does NOT need to learn how to drive, despite a deadline of this week for our trip to the DMV to test for his permit.
5) We sold our camper.
6) We opened the pool and paid the children each a dollar to plunge into the cold water, as is our custom.
7) It rained a bunch and my garden is going berserk.
8) My dad and stepmom came to visit.
9) My dad and stepmom brought us the plague, which frankly was a shitty hostess gift, I have to say.
10) The dogs continue to be ridiculous and gross but we still love them.

Because I know each of these things is SUPER EXCITING, I shall elaborate. Lucky you! I’ll even spray this entire post with Lysol, because I’m still sick and I would hate to give it to you. (more…)

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Admitting ignorance is the first step

Remember the old saying about how a kid’s parents get dumber and dumber until the kid is an adult and then—magically—the parents start getting smart again? We’re going through that right now, and I always thought it meant that hahaha, the kids would think I was dumb when really I wasn’t, BUT NO, I’ve come to believe that I am truly losing brain cells as they get older. My poor kids, and their dumb ol’ mom who can barely function anymore.

For a while there, Monkey was very fond of declaring, “It’s okay, I’m a doctor!” in response to any sort of doubting of his ability. This morphed into, “It’s okay, I’m a DOG-tor!” (usually while holding a dog, natch), and now it seems like everyone in the family uses it as an all-purpose response. Well. The other day I tried to say “It’s okay, I’m a DOG-tor!” and it came out more like, “It’s okay, I’m a dog door!” and now Chickadee is fond of saying, “It’s okay, Monkey, Mom is a dog door.” I have no idea what any of that means, but there you have it. How dumb am I? I am SO DUMB, I am now a dog door. (May I show you to the run? It’s lovely out there.)

In the meantime, my children only increase in their ingenuity. About a week ago I discovered Chickadee’s watch left on my desk after the kids headed to school, so I sent her a picture of it with the caption, “OH NO!” She replied with this image, and the caption “IT’S OKAY, I GOT THIS.” Because of course.

All of this is a long preface to two things. The first thing is that driver training continues apace even though I am really dumb, and you should go read about it over on Alpha Mom if you are so inclined. The second thing is that we’re thinking of launching an advice column over on Alpha Mom sort of like Amalah’s Advice Smackdown, but for questions specifically about older kids and teens/young adults instead of little kid stuff. Would you read that? Would you ask stuff? Would you ask stuff and read it even if I—clueless and confused much of the time—was the one writing it? Any and all feedback welcome, and if you’d rather just send in a question because you think it’s such a great idea, hit me up at alphamomteens@gmail.com. (Have I mentioned lately that you’re my favorite? You totally are.)

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Breaking Craigslist news

The last time I tried to sell something on Craigslist, I received a slew of weirdo spammy responses about how “I come right now and pay you twice your asking price” followed by “and then you ship item to my little cousin in Upper Slobovia, yes?” and never anything that led even remotely close to an actual sale. I listed my item (a decent Yamaha student trumpet; anybody need a trumpet?) twice and had no luck either time. So when Otto declared he would list our old, peeling patio furniture on Craigslist and handle everything, I may have snickered to myself a bit. He listed it for twice what I thought it was probably worth, and I figured he could deal with the spambots for a while before we donated the set to Goodwill.

He sold it yesterday (less than two days after listing it). Takeaway: in case you were wondering, my husband is made of magic and Craigslist mojo.

We celebrated with cheap Mexican food out on the porch (Cinco de Taco!), wherein I commented only two or three times how much I love the new furniture.

In unrelated news, school is drawing to a close for the year, at which point I will officially have a junior and a senior (ZOMG A SENIOR HURRY PANIC COLLEGE ANGST AAAIIIEEEEE), and because I don’t want to think about what’s coming next, I am parking myself firmly in the current end-of-school-year angst with my youngest. He’s doing a lot better than he thinks, and you can read about it over at Alpha Mom if you’re so inclined.

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Dog weirdness and a new chapter

Theoretically I could just say, “Oh hey I have a new post over at Alpha Mom you should go read” and link to it, but I have a couple of dog-related things to share (which, granted, have nothing to do with the Alpha Mom post) so I am just going to put everything here and call it a post. Because… reasons.

Dog Matter #1: Licorice has developed a super-annoying habit of licking the kitchen floor. I don’t mean occasionally, or just that she scoops up food I drop (that’s why you have a dog, after all, so that you don’t have to vacuum as often), but that she will park herself in one of two favorite spots—directly under my feet while I’m cooking/prepping at the stove and the counter space right next to it, or under the kitchen table—and lick, lick, lick, until we worry that her tongue is going to fall off. We have scrubbed the floor. It does not matter. I think she’s removed whatever remained of the protective coating on our ancient vinyl and is giving herself brain damage. I HAVE CONCERNS. Otto’s suggestion of “coating the entire kitchen in Bitter Apple” seems… ill-advised. But I feel like I spend every morning and evening when doing food prep saying, “Licorice, stop. STOP. STAAAAAAHP LICORIIIIICE!”

Dog Matter #2: The other night we finished eating dinner and were hanging out at the kitchen table and I decided to have a banana (the fruit bowl is right there and perhaps I am low on potassium). As soon as I peeled it, both dogs were all up in my grill, per usual, but when Duncan stood on his hind legs and put his paws on my thigh I figured, what the heck, I’ll just let him take a little bite. I lowered the banana to his face and instead of the dainty bite I had anticipated (because I am delusional), my 17-pound delicate flower turned into one of the aliens from “V” (you know, the ones who can unhinge their jaws to eat stuff?) and CHOMP, 3/4 of the banana disappeared. He then lowered himself to the floor and chewed as if his life depended on it, because he knew that if he tried to set his stolen prize down to manage it better, Licorice would steal it. I laughed until I cried, while Otto and Chickadee asked me what I THOUGHT was going to happen. (Me: “Not that!”)

But hey, did I mention I have new post up at Alpha Mom? Because I do. It may not be as entertaining as Duncan stealing most of my banana, but you should go read it, anyway.

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I know that it is spring because…

… every time I let the dogs out, Licorice comes back in covered in twigs and leaves and mysterious little burrs, all “I’M A WILD ANIMAL! YOU CAN’T TAME ME!” Meanwhile, Duncan comes back inside sneezing. Because he is a delicate puppy-flower, and he has hay fever.

… both children are suddenly complaining that they “don’t have any clothes that fit,” as if it’s somehow MY fault that they grew since last year. Also, at 15 and 17, they seem unable to grasp the concept that 10 minutes before the bus comes is not the most optimal time to start demanding I find them some larger shorts. (I’m good, but I’m not THAT good.) I bought Monkey 5 new pairs of shorts after confirming that, yes, every pair of shorts he had magically shrunk over the winter. The first morning he wore a pair, I asked him if they felt alright and he said, “Yes, they’re comfortable and easy to wear!” This prompted a conversation about the extreme (comparative) difficulty of wearing jeans (don’t ask me; I’m just as confused as you are), and for WEEKS he then appeared in the kitchen each morning, struck a pose, and announced that his shorts were easy to wear. I really have no idea what that’s about but it makes me laugh every time.

… tiny ants. TINY ANTS IN MY HOUSE EVERYWHERE OMG MAKE IT STOP.

… everyone suddenly seems very interested in their grades. I am amused by this. I mean, you couldn’t be bothered for the last 9 months, why start caring now? Er, I mean… great job, kids…? (Related: I think we’re all ready for this school year to be over.) (more…)

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#oldmomnewtricks

All I could get Chickadee to tell me she wanted for her birthday was permission to install Snapchat. (Owing to an unfortunate bending of the house rules a few years ago, that particular app was off the table for a while, because I am a Giant Meaniepants.) I let her go the entire day without mentioning it, then downloaded it to her phone right before she went to bed that night. Then, of course, I had to install it, myself, and it was even more cringetastic than this:

It got me thinking, though, that as inept as I am, it’s always worth it to meet the kids wherever they are in terms of their preferred method(s) of communication. I think Snapchat is dumb, but whatever. It’s working for us.

In fact, quite a few things I never would’ve predicted are working for us right now, so I’m sharing over at Alpha Mom, because maybe you, too, have a teenager daughter who wants you to leave her alone and cuddle with her, simultaneously. It’s not just me, right…?

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Because I’m the meanest

They say you should be careful what you wish for, you know. Sometimes I think I WISH MY CHILDREN WERE MORE SELF-SUFFICIENT and then… I have to learn how to let them be more self-sufficient, no matter what that looks like. It’s kind of agonizing. Because if they would JUST… it’d be so much easier IF… but don’t you SEEEEEEEEE…?

Hell hath no fury like a control freak thwarted, is my point.

But hey, my kids will be adults in just a few short years (hang on, I just need to breathe into this paper bag for a minute), and time marches on whether I like it or not. As scary as it is, I’m turning over the reins more and more, even when I know it’s not going to go the way I want to.

Hey, at least it affords me good blogging material. Come on over to Alpha Mom today to read about how I’m letting go of lunch, even if it kills me (and it might).

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