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I’m the chaperone who demands candy

Over the years, Otto and I have worked out a system for being Involved Marching Band Parents, and it’s served us pretty well. My responsibilities include working in the concession stand whenever we have a home game (after my baptism by fire three years ago I somehow ended up a permanent fixture in there), assisting with the mad scramble that is uniform fittings/distributions in August, helping with fundraisers, and dropping everything to show up at any rehearsal where a child of mine has completely lost their crap and requires an intervention (fun!). Otto’s responsibilities include most rehearsal pick-ups and rides home for orphan children in addition to our own, chaperoning away games, and taking lots and lots of photos of the band (much to Chickadee’s chagrin). Because we are team players, we split the “talking smack about the parents who never ever bother to volunteer” task evenly between us.

Now that Duncan has to eat every few hours, Otto stays home for home games and I stay home for away games. And while Otto chaperoned our first competition this season, I felt like maybe I should do the second one (even though I typically do not ride school buses!), so this past weekend, I did. I rode on a school bus. (Not with my own children. HEAVENS NO. They were on their own buses.) I ran around adjusting uniform hems. I doled out meals and snacks and gave Monkey money for funnel cake and cheered until I was hoarse and gave up my sweatshirt when it got cold after dark because SOMEONE left theirs on the bus. Also, I saw teenagers eating Sour Patch Kids on the way there and said one of the kids’ names in a VERY STERN VOICE and when she turned to me—worried she was in trouble—I asked if I could have some. It’s remarkably effective.

The kids did great and I woke up the next morning with ebola. Or a cold. Whatever. I HAVE BUS FLU. Still: worth it.

While I drink all the tea in the world and attempt to recover, I have a semi-serious (okay, mostly serious) post over at Alpha Mom today answering all of the questions you never knew you had about DBT, because… just because. DBT is good stuff when life is hard. Maybe you don’t have any band kids to give you Sour Patch Kids; I don’t know. I don’t judge.

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Band, band, band, band, and band

But first… a scintillating Duncan update: He is very much enjoying his hobbit meal schedule. Where he used to just sleep in my office all day long (presumably due to his low blood sugar and being mostly dead), he now hops up and follows me around the house. Bathroom break? Duncan is there! Grabbing a snack? Duncan is ready! Someone at the door? PERHAPS HE HAS KIBBLES! Duncan now believes it is his birthright to have a handful of kibble in his face at all times, and he’d be happy to follow you around to remind you. He is forgiven, because 1) he’s adorable and 2) this newfound energy came with a bonus in the form of Formerly Cantankerous Dog now being downright cuddly. After dinner he paws at my leg until I pick him up and let him sit on my lap at the table. He leaps up on the couch and curls up against the nearest human. He GIVES KISSES. I don’t know who this dog is, but I guess I’ll keep feeding him all day long.

In non-Duncan-y news, we are deep into marching band season. This means Otto has gotten to make his favorite “our kids are the ones in the funny hats” joke multiple times. And it also means I am thrilled to see both kids enjoying the anchor of a great activity, surrounded by good kids, led by amazing staff. Over at Alpha Mom, someone asked how you know if a band program is a good one, and I’ve tried to offer some guidance. If you have kids considering marching, definitely give it a read.

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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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You say plantain-o, I say tornado

When I’m quiet here for too long, my dad calls me to make sure no one died. I always tell him that’s just silly; if someone died, I’d have something to blog about, after all. (For some reason he doesn’t find that as funny as I do….)

Life and the school year continue to WHOOSH past me at an alarming rate. Rest assured that I am not holding out on you on the end result of the dueling posters situation; the kids swear they haven’t gotten their grades back yet, and that particular teacher seems to not be using our online grade portal, so it remains a mystery. Of course, Chickadee did mention this morning just-a-little-bit-smugly that her poster is hanging up behind the teacher’s desk. Well, then.

In the meantime, I’m just over here working and spoiling the dogs and trying to pretend that I have a handle on everything. This leads to things like a recent dinner extravaganza that was TOTALLY worth the hassle. Or not. You can read about it over on Alpha Mom, because one thing that never changes no matter how hectic life gets is that if I do something stupid, I’m apt to share it with the Internet. You’re welcome.

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There but for the grace of God…

I’m over at Alpha Mom today, and I will spare you a long introduction and simply say that this is not the post I intended to write nor a subject I planned to address so directly, but with a high-profile suicide in the news, I didn’t know how to write about anything else.

It’s not a particularly cheery post. It may be uncomfortable to read or even triggering. I wish I could tell you that I had some sort of answer or formula and that suicide doesn’t have to touch any of us, but… we’re not immune, any of us. I could try to sugar-coat it, but that’s scary as hell, right? I think it is.

Suicide isn’t just other people’s problem. I don’t have any good answers. But I’m glad we’re talking about it—that’s a start.

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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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Gluten-free thug life

Someone asked me the other day how long I’ve been gluten-free, and I couldn’t remember. I ended up sounding like a complete moron, I’m sure (this would be different from the hundred other ways I normally sound like a complete moron…), with my response of, “Oh, you know, a bunch of years? Maybe 4 years? Wait, 5 years? 3 years? I MISS REAL PIZZA.” [I just looked it up. 5 years!! Whoa.]

It’s been a long time, is all. And I feel better and my skin isn’t falling off anymore and so that’s all great. I appreciate not being a giant wad of eczema.

In the beginning I tried my hand at various wheat-free substitutes, and spent a lot of money on the gluten-free versions of foods, but it became clear in very short order that:
1) Gluten-free imitations of normally gluten-free foods tend not to taste very good,
and
2) Specialty gluten-free products cost twice as much as their wheat-filled counterparts, either to buy pre-made or to make, myself.

As a bonus: 3) Anything that should be wheaty which is now gluten-free and actually tastes good is generally laden with sugar and salt and fat (yum yum) and really bad for you.

So mostly I just skip the normally-wheat-containing foods. (more…)

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Here, I brought you this snow. It melted.

I wanted to bring you back something awesome from our trip to Breckenridge, but I realized after we got home that I brought back… nothing, really. I mean, I remembered the kids, but to be fair, we’d brought them with us in the first place and I figured the people renting out the house we stayed in might be mad if we left them behind. I managed to buy my children 0 souvenirs from our super fun family vacation week. Zilch. Nada. I DID want to buy them a couple of I GOT HIGH IN BRECKENRIDGE t-shirts that we kept seeing everywhere (it’s nearly 10,000 feet, you know), but for SOME reason Otto kept vetoing that and giving me a funny look whenever I said it. I can’t imagine why.

Weeks before we left, my parents suggested to us that we look into getting some altitude sickness medication to bring with us. Apparently there’s something available by prescription, and I agreed that that was a good idea, meanwhile thinking to myself, “Medication? Does it bring you closer to sea level? How does that even work??” Also I then got distracted by all of the work I needed to finish before we left and the fact that (stewards of awesome timing that we are) we ended up purchasing Monkey some new bedroom furniture just days before we departed and that meant an evening spent assembling and moving things and selling his old bed and then the countless bewildering discussions between my youngest and me where he insisted that he loved his new furniture and wasn’t bothered by the change at all, but could I please just get him exactly the same bedding (y’know, the bedding that is only available in twin size) OR allow him to continue using the current twin sheets/blankets on his new full bed. Because that’s logical. (Autism! Motto: Progress ain’t linear, parents.) I got busy, is the point, and we never got a prescription, but I was sure that was no big deal.

Spoiler: We all got sick. (more…)

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I think he might be a cat

I keep trying to figure out how to tell you all of the cool stuff about our trip in some sort of logical way (i.e., in an order that makes sense, and also in such a way as to not sound like a privileged asshole, because HEY fun family vacation my dad paid for, that’s some serious good fortune right there), and I still haven’t figured it out. To at least begin, I figured it might be best to start to start at the end.

Actually, first let’s go to BEFORE we left, then we’ll talk about what happened when we got back.

Back when we decided to adopt Duncan, part of the impetus came from this incessant anthropomorphizing I engage in, which led me to believe that Licorice really “needed” a “sibling.” (Both of these words in quotes to acknowledge that I’m ridiculous. I KNOW. Shut up.) Anyway, I’m mostly home, but EVERY NOW AND THEN we spent a whole day out of the house or… we go on vacation. Wouldn’t it be nice for Licorice to have another dog with her for those rare occasions? Like, say, when we go to Colorado for 10 days and leave her at the kennel? Surely it would. One dog alone at the kennel might assume she’s been abandoned and be stressed out in unfamiliar surroundings, while TWO dogs at the kennel would cost an entire mortgage payment be comforted by one another and be less stressed. Surely. Right? (more…)

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We are windburned and jetlagged and happy

I promise I will actually write about our vacation… ummm… sometime. I will. Once I’m all caught up on the real work I have to do from being away for all that time. (Real Job Benefit: Having honest-to-goodness vacation time. Real Job Drawback: Having a giant pile of work waiting for you when you return from that work-free time.) We did all sorts of fun things in Colorado, and my life flashed before my eyes as I careened down a mountain, even. (Best part: Not dying!)

While you’re waiting, the good news is that after Breckenridge we hopped over to Denver to visit Kira, and ten people in a house together—twelve, if you count her folks, who live in an attached apartment—with a dog and a cat and a pen full of baby chickens is… kind of a lot. In the best possible way, you understand, but it’s also just quite noisy. I was a little worried Otto wouldn’t recover, but he seems to have. Anyway, you can read more about that part of the trip at Alpha Mom, while I go do worky stuff and apply aloe to this super-sexy farmer burn I have going on.

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