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So close, and yet so far

Greetings from Day 17 of our 5-day bathroom remodel. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA. HAAAAAAA. HA. Ahem.

It was the vanity, you see. Not vanity like hubris sort of vanity, but the physical cabinet/counter/sink thingie, and it was backordered, and so we had to wait. I mean, let’s pretend that’s why, and forget about the tiling and retiling and the third time the tile got done, finally. Because the tile looks great! The floor is lovely! The shower is complete! And we even have a working toilet! Let’s ignore the antibacterial soap pump on the edge of the tub because we have no sink. In fact, I’m pretty sure my kids are ignoring it, so why not?

Also let us not speak of the day the painters came and swore it was “all done” and later I found giant swaths of missing paint. “Sometimes when you’re painting a lot you just get tunnel vision,” said our contractor.

“Or complete blindness?” I suggested, looking for a more reasonable explanation. I mean, I do a fair amount of painting for someone who isn’t a painter. (I actually love to paint. It’s the one home improvement task I totally enjoy.) Never in the history of my painting various rooms in various homes have I ever packed up my brushes and rollers with a triumphant, “DONE!” only to discover that I’d missed huge patches of walls. Silly me, I figured if you PAINT FOR A LIVING that’s the sort of thing which… wouldn’t happen. Obviously I do not understand the grueling reality of having to use your eyeballs to survey your professional work.

It’s possible that a wee bit of bitterness is starting to set in. (more…)

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I bet my Monday was Monday-er than yours

Yesterday was rife with complaints about the time change and how Monday is so completely awful and now it’s Monday-plus-a-time-change and EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. I was busy bathroom-wrangling, or rather, trying to wrangle what’s happening with the bathroom and the contractors and when oh when might we have a working bathroom up there… does anyone know? Plus there was the usual work stuff and getting the kids back to school stuff and some other stuff and I remember thinking, yesterday afternoon, that it was a pretty terrible day and I would be very glad once it was over.

But then it got worse, which was—oddly enough—also when it got better. Sometimes you just need a reminder about what really matters, I guess. (At least I do.)

You can read more about it over at Alpha Mom, though I’ll go ahead and give you the spoiler: Everyone’s fine. And, as my dad always says: Never a dull moment.

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Death by remodeling

We’re renovating the upstairs bathroom this week. More accurately, this week I am trying to keep the dogs from going insane while a crew makes a lot of noise and a big mess. So far it doesn’t look much like a bathroom, but I have high hopes. Also, it was supposed to be finished by tomorrow. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA.

Um. I am still hoping it might be done next week. Or this year. Something. My usual way of coping with the grossness my offspring proliferate in their bathroom is to… just never go in there. But until that bathroom is done, they have to use the bathroom I use. Let’s just say my motivation to do whatever the contractors need right now is VERY HIGH.

I wrote about the ongoing renovation over at Alpha Mom, because my brain is rotted from doing things like going to the hardware store and having twenty-minute-long conversations about whether the satin nickel and the brushed stainless are actually different colors.

Then to take my mind off of the fact that I got a great deal on a killer light fixture only to discover that the bulbs it requires are 1) not included and 2) almost as expensive as the fixture itself, I also tackled another teen advice column question, because I am excellent at advising you on what to do with your kids, but terrible at picking out lighting.

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Nerd Night: Boston Cream Pie (and other things)

We had some scrambling to get Nerd Night rescheduled, this week, which prompted our friendly neighborhood Dungeon Master to share this with the group:

interesting-nerd-nightIt’s possible it made me laugh louder and longer than was strictly necessary, but I admit to nothing.

Now, normally my argument against rescheduling or canceling Nerd Night is that MONKEY WILL BE SO DISAPPOINTED, but when the subject of canceling last night or moving it to today came up, this time, like the doting mother I am, I was all YOU CANNOT CANCEL I AM ALREADY MAKING A COMPLICATED CAKE. See, Boston Cream Pie (motto: not actually pie!) is not hard to make, but it does require a bunch of steps, and because I am a planner, I had already made the custard when word came in that we might be canceling. Schedules were rearranged and they’re gaming today, thank goodness, because I do NOT need this in my house this week:

bos-cream-side (more…)

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Merry Christmas to all, and to all good cookies

It’s been a long time since I could say this, but: It’s been a pretty good year. I would like to lose 10 (20) pounds and I would like Duncan to stop getting ear infections and Licorice’s breath to smell less like she just ate a bunch of cat poop (yep, the feral cats in our neighborhood are still around…) and for Otto to have a little less stress in his life and for my kids to start understanding how amazing they really are and also maybe for them to strike the phrase “in a minute” from their vocabularies… but… things are good. These are minor quibbles.

To celebrate, I made a million cookies, and also I wrote you this as an attempt to explain. This year, this place where my family has finally landed, it feels like a quilt of tiny miracles after a looooooong stint of sifting through scraps and broken thread. One cookie has seen us through years of heartbreak and happiness, and this year is no different.

Merry Christmas, if you celebrate, and merry Chinese food, if you don’t. Thanks for being here. I hope you have everything you need this year, and cookies to see you through if for some reason you don’t, yet.

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More on fear

Y’all are great. I love that when I ask random questions you have all sorts of answers for me. And yes, I appreciate all of them. I am now 1) smarter about hotels, 2) hoarding cookie recipes, and 3) slightly less worried about loft beds. See? IT TAKES A VILLAGE.

I did get to thinking about the whole bed thing some more, yesterday, and I wrote a post for Alpha Mom and then never got around to linking it because both of my children decided yesterday would be an excellent day to fall deathly ill. Fantastic! But today one is back at school and the other is sleeping peacefully and now I remembered. Here you go! It’s about worrying and fear and a little bit about getting your kid ready for college.

[Bonus anecdote from last week’s college visit: During a parents’ informational session, someone asked about on-campus parking, which seemed reasonable to me, but then their follow-up question was about the availability of electric charging stations (for the record: there are none because this is rural Georgia, not San Francisco). I could not stop giggling, and as I was in a large room of very earnest parents, I had to sort of sink my face into the scarf I was wearing while I tried to regain my composure. To the credit of the people running the session, none of them laughed. I was REALLY HOPING someone would say something like, “I’m sorry, but your precious snowflake may need to trade in that Tesla before coming to campus,” but alas. I won’t even buy my kid a car and that question hit my funny bone. To be fair, it was towards the end of a very long day and also I am a child.]

If you want to skip straight to the bottom line, here it is: We can’t keep our kids safe, any of us. My goal is simply to find an acceptable level of fear and risk and learn to live with it.

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Two turkeys, no waiting

Remember when I used to write here regularly? I can’t decide if my life is less interesting now or if I just finally realized my life is not nearly as interesting as I once believed. It’s probably best not to dwell on it.

Today we are trying to Return To Normal Life, only that’s working about as well as you might imagine when my entire family returned on Saturday, over-stimulated and under-rested. Otto is a pretty good sport, as you know—plus when he’s tired he’s not mean, because he is a fully evolved human—but the kids spent most of Saturday in bed and then grumbled around for a while on Sunday and this morning they’re both sick. Because of course they are. (In fairness, Monkey told me he wasn’t feeling well on Saturday, I was just trying to wish it away because that’s a thing that’s worked so well in the past. HAHA. Kid made it 15 minutes at school today before I had to pick him up. Now he’s home with an ear infection and a lot of guilt-inducing comments about how he TOLD me he was sick!)

Chickadee is at school, though, because (quiz time):
A) She is a conscientious student.
B) She is paranoid about falling behind in her AP classes (read: all of her classes).
C) She wants to see her friends.
D) She fears I will give her a hard time for staying home.
E) She’s doing me a solid because she knows Monkey is sicker.
or
F) Some combination of the above.

This was all a fitting end to my few days of solitude, I guess. (more…)

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Never a dull moment

I really thought that once Chickadee got her license, my life would become less complicated. Like: immediately, and exponentially less complicated. Because everyone knows that just when you feel like your kids have reached an age of relative self-sufficiency, you are then relegated to 24/7 chauffeur status for years while they are too old for you to micromanage their lives but too young to handle their own transportation.

To some extent it’s true that things are easier now, in the sense that I am no longer driving back and forth to school more often than not, because I can let the kids take my car and they do many of the same activities, and then I can just wait at home in my apron to serve them a hot meal they don’t want when they get back. (I almost never wear an apron, so that part is hyperbole.) And while Chickie doesn’t have her own car, we happen to have a spare (you know, the haul-the-camping-trailer truck which, now that the camper is gone, is mostly the haul-the-Costco-shopping-trip truck), so it’s not a hardship to let her take my car and leave me out of the daily GOTTA GO TO THIS THING AND THEN GO THERE BE HOME LATER BYEEEEEE thing.

On the other hand, sometimes the kids don’t have the same activity, and sometimes they still need me for something other than rides (the NERVE), and I’m supposed to be working on work stuff and I am also working on book stuff (shhhhhh; the first rule of HolyshitIamwritingabook Club is that we don’t talk about HolyshitIamwritingabook Club) and I am trying to get back to exercising regularly and it’s getting colder so I need to cook and bake stuff to make the house warmer (that’s totally a thing) and sometimes the dogs need me to play with them. Stuff is still going on, is my point. And mostly it’s manageable.

The thing is, it’s a delicate balance, and it doesn’t take much to upset it. CUE OMINOUS MUSIC. (more…)

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Because reasons, that’s why

It has come to my attention that my perception of “normal” may be… a little off. Weird, right? I—and my family/home—am the picture of boring normalness, surely. (Voices in my head: Yeah, no. Also, don’t call me Shirley.)

I mean, doesn’t everyone reassure others about their competence by announcing that they’re a dog door? No? Or own their stupidity by exclaiming “Gorgonzola!”? Also no? Weird.

For some reason, this morning, I started thinking about all of the weird little things which happen around here and strike me as perfectly normal even though it’s POSSIBLE that they’re not. Or maybe they are and I’m just really confused. That’s also a plausible explanation because let’s face it, I spend a lot of time being really confused. A day where I’m NOT confused is probably… a day when I’m asleep. (Wait, is that an option? I would like to be asleep right now.)

So for my own amusement (and maybe yours?), here’s an assortment of things which I’m sure are perfectly normal: (more…)

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Greetings from Crankytown

I’ve got sleep on my mind, because we are currently experiencing a shortage. It’s no one’s fault, really, it’s just a lot of stuff on the schedule and less-than-ideal time management and the usual crop of minor crises. Everything’s fine. We’re just tired.

It did seem like a golden opportunity to make with many words about how important sleep is to growing teens, though. I swear I am more or less following my own advice, it’s just that life is unpredictable and also morning seems to come very early.

You can read more on Alpha Mom while I fantasize about taking a nap. (I won’t actually be taking a nap, though, because I’m about to go have a mammogram, instead. I KNOW HOW TO PARTY!)

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