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Backyard metaphors

Hey, how about we don’t talk about that thing. Or that other thing, either. Okay! Great!

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my vegetables. Quality time, you understand. I pull grass up out of the boxes a blade or two at a time and marvel at the plants that flourish seemingly in spite of me and try to coax the puny ones back to vigor. It’s very soothing.

In the meantime, I can’t help but notice how beautiful our big oak out back looks when reflected in the swampy murk that is currently the pool:

If I were a deeper person I’d probably make a comment about seeing beauty even in what’s broken, but because I’m not, I’ll just say that allegedly the pool guys are coming tomorrow. We’ll see.

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Remember when Georgia was in a drought? And whenever it rained, people all but danced in the streets? Good times, man. Good times.

Er, technically we are still in a drought. I don’t know who decides this or how they determine that we are no longer… ummm… drought-y, but TECHNICALLY we are still in a drought. Even though it’s been raining for upwards of a month, now. (It has not really been raining for a month. I mean, it has, but not continually. It just feels that way.) (Are you there, God? It’s me, Mir. I would like my hair to stop being the size and style of a full-grown poodle perched atop my head, now, please.)

Anyway. Clearly I do not want us to still be in a drought. But the constant rain is making EVERYONE cranky. It’s gray and cold and damp and gross outside. It was spring for a single, pollen-infused week and then it was summer for two days, and it’s been Whoops Are You Sure You Didn’t Accidentally Move To Seattle ever since. It’s unnerving for those of us who were primed to be bitching about how hot it is, by now. It is too cold and disgusting out for people to bless your heart, people! This is a true southern CRISIS. (more…)

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Because, that’s why

“I’ll take Mir and Otto’s Adventures in Home Ownership for $200, Alex.”

“And the answer is: No.”

“I’m… sorry? That’s the whole answer?”

“Yes. The answer is No.”

“Okay. Um… what is Can we ever do a single, simple project around here without it turning into a complete clusterfuck?

“Correct! On the board!”

“Yeah, screw you, Alex. Screw you AND your stupid board.”

So, um, I’ve decided to believe that the universe decided I really needed a distraction right about now. It’s a gift, really. The gift of dumbfuckery, right here in our yard. WE ARE SO LUCKY, because trust me, it’s been a distraction. Yay? (more…)

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It pays to Discover (again)

Otto and I were having some quality time on the couch last night, by which I mean that we were each sitting there on our respective laptops while half web-surfing and half watching the news because WOW, the news last night, yeesh. Typical Friday night, in other words. (Uh, except for the fugitive in a boat part. That was not typical, just the part where we were on the couch. Obviously.)


I don’t remember when I was doing online. Probably I was on Facebook; more specifically, probably I was on Facebook playing Scrabble. (According to Monkey, that’s all I ever do, you know.) But Otto, he was on a mission.

See, years of my influence have corrupted Otto, and the man who used to be able to say, “I want/need Item X, therefore I will go buy Item X,” and then simply make a purchase, can no longer do that. No, thanks to me, now half the time he agonizes over whether or not he REALLY needs Item X, and then even if he decides he DOES, he then comparison shops for it online for hours or days or weeks before purchase. I AM SO PROUD. Anyway, that’s what Otto was doing. He was shopping for… something. (more…)

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New things, old things

New thing: Hey, uh, lollipops and unicorns to everyone who welcomed my debut on Alpha Mom so warmly yesterday. I was hoping for a modest showing and apparently there are a lot more marching band devotees out there than I realized. (As in, the word “viral” was used and I had a giddy moment of amazement.) It was a lovely, lovely way to start off a new gig, although I am kind of having palpitations over what I can write about next week that won’t seem like a letdown, in comparison. Maybe I’ll have to attend the Incendiary School Of Post Writing so favored by a number of outlets and follow up the whole “Yay, marching band” post with something along the lines of “I let my teens smoke dope at the kitchen table, where I can supervise their tweaking” just to spark some conversation.

(Kidding, of course! I loathe smoking. I told them they would have to stick to heroin, but you know how Chickie feels about needles, so I dunno. We’re at an impasse.)

Old thing: Years of gardening and I am totally an old hand at the basics, now. Yep. I mean, I saw that some fire ants had invaded one of my boxes, and cool as a cucumber, I was out there with the diatomaceous earth to take care of them. I was not so cool or cucumber-like when I stepped too close and ended up with a Croc (shut up, I only wear them to garden) full of bitey ants. And yes, this happens to me at least once a season. Um. Yay for getting it out of the way early, this year? Also: OUCH. (more…)

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Various wondrous things

Okay, “wondrous” might be overselling it a bit. There are varying degrees of wondrous. Like, there’s a whole spectrum of interesting that spans all the way from “truly wondrous” on down to “WTFness.” And I will leave it to you to place the following along that continuum as needed.

[Sidebar: Let us pause for a moment to acknowledge that anything you hear from me today or for the next several weeks will be completely allergy-addled. I woke up this morning and had to chisel my face open. For a few minutes I thought maybe I had pinkeye, but no, it's just regular ol' allergies. I guess. Everything and everyone I love is currently coated in a thin layer of yellow grit, and my eyes---long my favorite facial feature---are buried somewhere behind the crusty, puffy skin that has conveniently swollen to twice its normal eyebag size all the way to HOLY HELL WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE. The pollen is taking over the woooooorlllld! And I am very cranky about it.]

Anyway. Wondrous. Wondrous! Yes, the miracles of ordinary life keep bowling me over. Allow me to knock you down with them as well. Don’t worry, there’s a nice soft pollen-drift right behind you to cushion your fall. (more…)

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Beauty tip

Yesterday was a full day; the sun was shining, we had a lot of going and doing and seeing people and enjoying the outdoors and whatnot. Eventually I went out with a friend for a girls’ dinner, then came home and Otto left to go watch basketball with some friends. (Tag-team parenting is my favorite.) I hung out with both kids, then Monkey went to bed and Chickadee and I watched some TV together and then she went to bed. I puttered around for a bit and then went to get ready for bed, myself.

The older you get, the longer your nighttime routine becomes. Right, ladies? I used to brush my teeth and then hop into bed. Now I also have to wash my face and smear gunk around my eyes and moisturize and peer at my various freckles and bumps. A few years ago I started developing these weird freckle-things every so often: they’re red (!) and raised and—sadly—permanent, though pretty small, and I haaate them. A chat with my doctor basically yielded a diagnosis of “yep, getting old sucks” and that was that.

So last night I was removing my shirt and realized I had YET ANOTHER new freaky freckle over one of my ribs, only upon closer inspection I ascertained that my new freckle had legs. Should this ever happen to you, I recommend screaming loudly, tearing through your drawer for the tweezers, swift removal/flushing of the offender, and then a full-body check conducted while still dancing the squirmy Dance Of Ick.

You’re welcome.

[Updated to add: Found a second one just now, in a location which I shall not name. Be right back, gotta go take an acid bath and burn my house down.]

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Gardening for carnivores

So hey, since moving down here to the south I’ve become a passable vegetable gardener. (I don’t know if it’s so much due to the move as that the longer growing season is a lot more forgiving, and also I have a fenced area here to keep the deer from eating everything we grow.) Each year around Easter I trot out the wheelbarrow and various tools and dig the weeds out of my boxes and start planning what we’ll plant this year.

I’d love to tell you each year has layered precious knowledge on top of what came before, and now—five years into my clueless time of gardening-with-Google—I’m an expert. But… mostly I am a person who 1) likes vegetables, 2) knows how to read, and 3) has sort of learned a little from past mistakes. To wit: After multiple years of trying to grow snap peas in the middle of the summer, I actually bothered to read up on them and now know that they don’t do well in heat. Whoops! So this year I planted some early, and theoretically they should be ready for harvest before we’re into endless weeks of 95+ temps.

Also, I’ve learned that tomatoes are pretty easy to grow as long as you don’t have to battle tomato horn worms. So the garden is always pretty tomato-heavy. We all like tomatoes and tomato sauce, so that works. (more…)

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Strolling through nature’s beauty

It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter (in all senses both literal and metaphorical). The arrival of spring has us all but dancing around with cartoon wildlife. Never has a return to normal life and pleasant temperatures been more highly anticipated than this year, I’m thinking.

And never has there been a happier canine than one Spoiled Rotten Licorice, who is reaping the benefits of our spring-drunkeness in spades. The nice thing about a tiny little mutt like her—12 pounds of terror, man—is that she doesn’t HAVE to have a daily walk. She’s not an insane breed whose brain goes berserk without proper exercise, plus (let’s face it), at her size, we can toss a ball in the house or let her out into her run and she can get all the exercise she really needs. Still, walks are ZOMGEXCITING and lately she’s getting a walk every day.

Is there anything more soothing, more American, more simultaneously meditative and invigorating than clipping a small animal to a rope and then alternately dragging her/being dragged around outside on a beautiful afternoon? THERE IS NOT.

It has gotten to where as soon as anyone starts putting on shoes, the dog starts dancing around in little circles. (more…)

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This post is NSFA (Not Safe For Anyone)

At first I was going to say that this post was NSFW, but upon reflection, that’s TRUE, but an incomplete caution. This post is not safe for work, home, in your car, with a fox, in a box, or with any breakfast product, rhyming or not. Honestly it’s not safe anyone at all.

If there are small children in the room, do not read this post. If you are of delicate sensibility, please do not read this post. If you are not in the mood to be completely horrified, for the love of God: I’m trying to explain to you that you should not read this post.

If you—like me—believe that the only redeeming value of being completely traumatized is in then sharing that trauma with others, and relishing in their anguished squirming and scream-whispers of, “No! NO! THAT DID NOT HAPPEN!!” then you might like to read this post. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you, because I did. REPEATEDLY.

Dare to read on? Alrighty, then. HAVE I GOT A STORY FOR YOU! (more…)

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