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Y’all can call me the little lady

Otto and I enjoy a fairly egalitarian relationship, I think, which is mindfully arranged through cooperation, compromise, and the fact that we both really like each other and try hard to be helpful to one another rather than being lazy or assholes. I don’t see us ever writing a marriage guide, or anything (“Step 1: Don’t be an asshole. Step 2: Remember Step 1!”), but it seems to work pretty well for us.

Sure, I do the bulk of the cooking, but that’s because I’m home a lot more often than he is, and also because I really enjoy cooking—NOT because I’m female or because he can’t or won’t cook. (He does cook, just not as often as I do.) And yes, he seems to be chief bed-maker, and I’m not sure why, although it may possibly be related to me not giving a crap about whether or not the bed is made. Stuff like that. Also, Otto is in charge of Fixing All The Things because he’s good at it. And I am in charge of beating the children because it poses fewer legal issues. Etc.

And it used to be that when it came to things like arranging for a plumber to come or, say, getting the pool company to finish fixing the pool (STILL LEAKING, THANKS FOR ASKING), we would take turns handling these issues. But eventually we gave up and now Otto handles all of that, on account of my pretty little head can’t be bothered. (more…)

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I’ll be dressing Monkey as the Little Dutch Boy

Bad news: The pool is still leaking.

Good news: The Pool Guy comes to see us EVERY DAY! And he gets to spend a lot of time IN our pool!

Bad news: He doesn’t seem too happy about it, plus Monkey is very bitter that the Pool Guy is the only person who’s actually been swimming in our pool so far.

Good news: There is not, in fact, a hole in the new pool liner. You know, the SECOND new pool liner.

Bad news: What it SEEMS to be is some poor patching work between the steps and the pool concrete, and the Pool Guy keeps “fixing it,” but we are still losing water.

Good news: We’re currently losing water a lot slower than before. Yay? (more…)

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Why am I even surprised?

We knew, not even very far into it, that fixing the pool was yet another Curse Of Casa Mir project, doomed from the start. What could go wrong, would go wrong. Obviously.

Much went wrong. So much went wrong, they had to redo the liner entirely, which meant the first one was taken away and a second one installed last week. EVERYTHING IS FINE NOW, they assured us. LOOK THIS LINER IS PERFECT, NO PROBLEMS, PLEASE DO NOT PUNCH ME IN THE FACE, they said. (The “please do not punch me” part was possibly implied. I never threatened to hit anyone. Not out loud, anyway.) They came while Otto was teaching his summer class and took out the old liner and put the new one in and then scampered out of here as fast as they could, probably because they knew I am a woman on the edge and also Mr. Completely Unflappable was considerably flapped by this entire adventure.

Otto came home; we finished filling up the pool, and then commenced dumping all the chemistry in the world into the water, to the tune of several hundred dollars. (Why do I mention this? The liner itself was a 4-figure job, why split hairs about the cost of the chemistry? BECAUSE I AM BITTER, THAT’S WHY.) When you start from scratch, there’s a bunch of stuff that has to go into the water. The salt for the chlorinating system, plus stabilizers and pH balancers and I don’t even know what. All I know is that we dumped and stirred and then I said to Otto, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we went to turn it on and the filter doesn’t work, after all of this?” (more…)

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… and then I broke my hand on an apple

We went up to the mountains to pick apples on Saturday. So pretty! Idyllic! I kept cautioning Monkey about the uneven terrain at the orchard because “all we need now is for someone to break an ankle.” HAHA. No one broke an ankle; we picked a bushel of apples, and the boys ate some fried pie.

Back at home, I made an apple crisp and several batches of dried apples. Sunday night I was working on a second crisp and mounting the LAST FREAKING APPLE when my apple peeler/corer doohickey decided to slip off the counter, and I can’t tell you exactly what happened because I really don’t know, but let’s just say that the peeler won. Four hours at the ER later, I am the proud owner of a spiral fracture and a temporary splint up to my elbow. Baby’s first broken bone! I should send my folks a picture.

More to come when I figure out how to type faster.

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Not actually a post

I kind of left you hanging, this week. I’m sorry. I would tell you all about it, but I’m currently still in the “I hate everyone and everything” phase on several fronts, so give me a few more days to return to some semblance of humanity.

In the meantime, here’s a dog:

She says she absolutely was NOT sleeping in the sun when I crept up on her, and she was NOT attempting to lick the drool off her whiskers when I insisted on taking her picture. Also, I love how even she is giving me the hairy eyeball. GET IN LINE, LICORICE.

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Me, wall, BOOM

We had a meeting over the phone with Chickadee’s “treatment team” (and I use that term loosely) last week, during which I’m pretty sure my head exploded. In the aftermath I had a small tantrum and then returned to all of the things I’m supposed to be doing. We took Chickie out for a while on Saturday and on the drive home I made Otto stop and get me some coffee because I was starting to feel that bone-crushing weariness that was putting me to sleep while I was sitting up. He stopped; I drank my coffee; I fell asleep anyway. And then we came home and I was futzing around online, and while reading the words of a woman who lost her child in a terrible accident I realized I was actually (do not think this is comfortable for me to admit) jealous. In a few short hours her nightmare descended and was over. Nine months into losing my child in bits and pieces, I was jealous of someone else’s loss. Something in me just… broke.

So that was me realizing I’d hit the wall. I basically crawled into bed for two days and tried to cry/sleep it off. I don’t know how successful I was. Yesterday I got up and shopped for groceries and wrote a long email to the CEO of the hospital. Today I go back to putting one foot in front of the other.

There’s a hundred things I need that no one can do for me and I’m still trying to figure out how to do for myself. I know it’s ridiculous, but what I really need right now (that you can maybe provide) is a new recipe. Hit me with a dinner idea that incorporates sweet potatoes; I am tired of alternating between veggie chili and baked sweet potatoes topped with black beans. I know it’s a dumb-sounding request, but I think it will help. Thanks.

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The texting generation

So, I have a confession to make: Today’s post of mine over at Feel More Better, about how today’s teens text more than they talk, is a little more grumpy than it seems on the surface.

Yes, I’m wondering about the parallels between what they do now, and the note-scribbling, constant-phone-talking existence I led as a teen. Sure.

But really, deep down? What I was thinking about when I wrote it is that Chickadee’s received exactly two contacts from friends since her hospitalization: One lengthy letter from a lovely young woman who also emails to ask me how she is, and one card from a friend whose mother probably made her do it. That’s IT. Because if they can’t text or email someone, they pretty much cease to exist. And that… kind of sucks. Though Chickie herself tends to feel that way, too, so it’s possible I’m more bothered by it than she is.

Does it mean today’s teens are less connected, or does it mean I’m just being oversensitive? Come weigh in because I honestly have no idea.

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The logistics of frustration

If Chickadee had cancer—if she had a tumor in her brain or rogue cells infiltrating her marrow—everything would be different. Well, almost everything. The thing that wouldn’t be different would be the fear and the worry and the what-if-ing I try to only indulge in in the middle of the night.

But people wouldn’t avoid us or say, “I don’t know what to say.” They would say, “I’m so sorry” and they wouldn’t act like we were contagious or whisper about our parenting.

Our health insurance would pay for her treatment, because that’s what health insurance is supposed to do. Even though brain surgery and marrow transplants are much more expensive than the treatment she needs, which they refuse to pay for, because health care in this country is undeniably broken.

And we could be there with her, all the time, and know what the heck was going on. (more…)

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A revised Serenity Prayer

This one goes out to all of my fellow parents of teenagers, with love and respect.

God, grant me the serenity to accept that the only difference between teens and psychopaths is that most teens eventually change,

The courage to smile around gritted teeth and ground the offender,

And the wisdom not to smother anyone in their sleep no matter how tempting.

I’m not saying that things won’t change, because—as ever—my mantra is “this too shall pass,” I’m just saying that right now we are realizing that things are pretty off-kilter around here, and it’s time to find that missing balance. That turns out to take a lot of time and energy (who knew?) and resolve.

It’s almost like being a parent is hard, or something. Huh.

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You just don’t even wanna know

I told someone yesterday that if our life right now was a novel or a movie, I’d be rolling my eyes at how unrealistic it is, because NO ONE has luck that bad. It’s just not believable.

In other words: How was your weekend? Ours involved The Hunger Games, and then stomach flu. Yes. Because of course it did. And it’s not like the kid hasn’t missed a bazillion days of school already….

Anyway, because I suspect you’d rather not hear stories about rainbow gummy worm puke (see?), today you can go on over to Off Our Chests and read about flying, instead. What greater joy is available to the modern world, except possibly having an unmedicated root canal? Exactly.

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