A few days ago, I found this:
by Mir on October 17, 2015 in Ottomatic For the People
A few days ago, I found this:
by Mir on October 5, 2015 in Ottomatic For the People
When you have kids and you remarry, you hope that eventually your children and your new spouse will someday share the kind of loving bond you already have with your kids. You know that it will take time and hard work, but still, you hope.
Maybe you don’t specifically hope that after 8+ years your oldest will leave this:
… and then your spouse will behold that note, flip it over, and do this:
… but when it happens, you’ll still feel a sense of warm fuzziness in-between giggles.
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.)
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…)
I often refer to our housekeeping style as “tidy with hidden pockets of disaster.” We spend most of our family time in the kitchen and family room; those rooms are clean and orderly, for the most part. My office desk tends to suffer from pile-itis, but I’m working on that. I exhort the children to keep their spaces free of clutter, or at least not covered in dirty laundry, which in teenage parlance is the same thing. But I must confess that somewhere along the way, part of how we kept the main areas of the house looking reasonable was to dump anything “to be dealt with later” into our master bedroom, because really, who goes in there except us, anyway?
My last big bedroom clean-out was probably 5+ years ago, and the clutter crept back in, and about a week ago, Otto asked if maybe over the weekend we could work on digging out our room a little…? You could tell he was hesitant with the request, and “we” meant “mostly me,” as most of the junk was on my side, and was a combination of stuff belonging to me and the kids. Otto asks for very little, and I love him, and he was right, it was out of control, so I spent most of Saturday sorting, pitching, and rediscovering that, huh, our bedroom is pretty big. I felt super accomplished about it, too.
Of course, part of the motivation to get rid of stuff may have been that I am also in the process of accumulating more stuff. Shhhhh, don’t tell. Also, if you think I’m crazy, that’s okay, but over at Alpha Mom, I’m revealing how retail therapy is about more than shopping right now. I hope it works.
I view myself as a strong, independent woman. I was fine being single. I don’t NEED Otto, you understand. I just WANT him. I like having him around, because he’s cute and funny and my rotten children often do not laugh at my lame jokes. But I could totally manage without him if I had to, despite his frequent assertions that I married him simply either for his health insurance or because I needed a lawn boy.
Once the freezer was cleaned out the other night, many items had been thrown away. Various mystery or in-need-of-disposal items, however, were in glass containers, and so we chucked them into the sink for defrosting so that the containers could be dumped out and then cleaned.
Yesterday—because my Pavlovian response to a big stack of dishes in the sink is to make an even bigger mess in the kitchen—I baked some “one-bowl muffins” which, true, only used one bowl, but also used my food processor and a bunch of other items, and filled the sink the rest of the way up. Once I got dinner going, I finally turned to cleaning up the carnage. I loaded the dishwasher, dumped out now-defrosted containers, washed items by hand, and then… turned on the garbage disposal when I was all done.
Did I mention, yesterday, all of the little containers of pesto in the back of the freezer? Darling tiny glass jars, each one juuuust small enough to slip down the drain unnoticed and be ground into a couple dozen jagged shards of glass while I cursed and leapt to turn off the disposal. Whoops. Nice work, me! So I’ll tell you that I don’t NEED Otto, but it’s a lie, because yesterday I needed him to extract all that broken glass and fix the garbage disposal. Or maybe I’m NOT a dumbass, and I just like making sure he feels needed. HARD TO TELL.
Whether I need him or not, soon it’s going to be just him and me again, so today I’m over at Alpha Mom planning for the future. (Not on my list: grinding up more pesto jars.)
Exactly eight years ago, right about now I was getting my hair done in preparation for taking another crack at the whole ’til-death-do-us-part thing. That feels simultaneously about a million years ago AND just a few weeks ago. Time is weird like that.
As is his style, Otto swooped into the kitchen this morning with a small flourish and a big, “Happy Familyversary!” and an extremely thoughtful gift for me and a family gift for all of us. He is the BEST. (Did you know that the 8th anniversary is pottery? I got a beautiful piece and we’re all going to a wheel class at a local studio next week to make our own creations, too. Again, I say: HE IS THE BEST.)
Because I suck, I confess that often I don’t get him an anniversary gift at all because I suffer from Gift Anxiety and his presentations to the three of us each year are always so thoughtful and amazing I feel like I cannot possibly compete. But something spoke to me this year, something I think he needs to have at this point in our marriage, and so I actually have a little something for him. Rather… it’s arriving today. Shipping was slow. So:
Me: I have something for you. But you have to wait until tonight.
Me: Ha! Not that, something else. It’s arriving tonight.
Him: Oh. [He sounded a little disappointed.]
Me: But hey, THAT TOO, if you want.
It’s actually more romantic when you can squick out the nearest teen. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing.
Happy anniversary, honey! Whaddaya say we go out to dinner tonight and find an innocuous way to mortify both children in public to further cement our love and kick off the next eight years together?
It’s been… kind of a hard month. February, man. February just blows chunks, under the best of circumstances. I don’t know why, but we should probably just accept that as fact. The days are short, the weather is wonky, etc. (Mind you, I do not miss the endless days of snow we had in February up north, but even here in Georgia, the weather is confused and unpredictable. TIME FOR A SNOW DAY = no snow at all. SUPER WARM DAY is then followed by CARNIVAL OF ICE, and so on.)
The other day, Otto and I were headed out to An Unpleasant Event (first rule of Vague Club: We capitalize things to pretend we’re not being vague) and it was even worse than necessary because we were out of coffee. THAT IS HOW BADLY FEBRUARY SUCKETH, we ran out of coffee beans and no one noticed and/or had the fortitude to replenish our stash in a timely manner. And now we were faced with heading into hard things without caffeine… unless we stopped for coffee. (Otto is a problem solver. I was all OH NOES, NO COFFEE, EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE, whereas Otto said, “We can stop and get coffee.” This is why I love him.) (more…)
The other day a dear friend said something along the lines of “Maybe I’m not a horrible person and maybe the world isn’t awful. Maybe it’s just February.” (I am paraphrasing a little, I think.) This struck a chord with me, because everything does seem particularly awful right now, but doesn’t it EVERY February? And aren’t I just as surprised, every single time, to discover that JUST POSSIBLY it’s a Calendar Thing rather than a Life Sucks Thing?
I am a slow learner, is my point.
Calendar or not, this “short” month is feeling particularly long, not the least of which because it always seems to be in February when I decide that’s IT, I am really going to get in shape now, seriously, I am, because my pants don’t fit and it’s cold out and I require pants. The problem is that at various daily intervals I also decide I require: cookies, chips, a second helping of whatever I had a good-sized serving of already, or a Random Piece Of Cheese. I’m not one of those “I work out daily and eat right and goshdarnitall I cannot figure out why I’m not losing weight” kinds of people. I am one of those “I do not exercise nearly enough and also I eat constantly so SURPRISE, I weigh more than I should but, you know, Sour Patch Kids are delicious” kinds of people. I start working on it (daily exercise! sensible eating!) and then life gets hard and I remember that chocolate makes everything better. Whoops.
Anyway, I’ve decided that yes, I’m totally going to blame it on February. Why not? Hey February, you are disgruntled and a little pudgy. You remind me of myself! Let’s be friends. Or let’s just move on to March. Whatever. But first: a moment to pause and appreciate Valentine’s Day. (more…)
Otto picked up a handful of lottery tickets last week. The Powerball or whatever it’s called was up to… I don’t even know what. 250 frajillion? It was a lot of money. And while I firmly believe lottery tickets to be a tax on people who are bad at math, we could spare a few bucks for the fun of what-if-ing for a few days.
Spoiler: We didn’t win. My dreams of lounging on a divan all day—eating bon bons and directing underlings to peel grapes for me—have been dashed. (Related: We don’t own a divan.)
Lately it feels like Otto and I talk about money a LOT. Part of this is the looming college thing, and gearing up to complete a FAFSA so that the government can tell us that if only we were to stop paying our mortgage or eating, we could certainly afford to send Chickadee to any college she likes. Part of it is the fact that both kids will be licensed drivers before we know it (pardon me while I breathe into a paper bag…) and will we want another car? Another two cars? WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY CARS?? And our car insurance recently got confused and sent us a bill which covered having a licensed teen driver (neither of them are licensed yet) and said bill caused my face to melt off and me to suggest a number of high-earning but not entirely legal career paths to said expensive teenager. Part of it is that some dear friends of ours are about to begin a kitchen renovation and OH ENVY UPON ENVY, happy for them (for real), but we would like to redo OUR kitchen, and should we? Could we? The only thing that costs more than a kitchen renovation is, I don’t know, a combination face lift/tummy tuck/breast implant surgery, and Otto’s boobs are already beyond reproach.
We have enough money for everything we truly need, and then some, because “need” is not the same as “want.” I get that. No complaints; we are lucky. (more…)
I went to Mom 2.0 this past weekend, and it was a verrrry interesting trip for me. In 10 years (!!) of blogging and freelancing and working for various clients, this is the first time I’ve gone to a conference as a representative of my employer rather than as just a freelancer looking for work, and that was very different. I’m still adjusting to this new phase of my career and still kind of looking around and going, “Is this my life? Are you SURE?” It’s all awesome, but I don’t know if you’ve maybe noticed that I’m not always so good with change…? Shocking, I know. It’s a secret. Don’t tell.
Anyway. In addition to the work weirdness of it all, Otto was busy being SuperDad (er, SuperStepDad?) here at home, which made my job about 10000% easier. The kids even seemed to still like him when I returned, so I feel confident in declaring him to have magical powers. And of course, I wrote about it for Alpha Mom, too.