Archive | Ottomatic For the People RSS feed for this section

Almost like a horror movie

Last night Otto and I were lying in bed after a very long day. Usually that’s when we have our best conversations, you know—side by side in the dark, chatting about nothing and everything just before we drift off for the night. But on those long, hard days, we just kind of sink into the silence and both try to pretend sleep is coming.

“Well,” I said, finally, desperate to find a bright spot before the inevitable next few hours of insomnia, “at least spring is coming! Listen to all of those peepers!”* It was true, the frog symphony outside was impressive, given how chilly it’s been. If I closed my eyes and emptied my head, it sounded like it was almost summer. “It’s weird there’s so many, already,” I continued, “when it’s been so cold.”

“Yeah,” agreed Otto. My conversational opening had been scintillating, clearly.

We continued listening, and then… it stopped. I don’t mean it trailed off, I mean one minute there was PEEPpeepPEEPPEEPpeepPEEP and the next minute: dead silence.

“What happened?” I said, my voice dropping to a whisper without conscious intention. “Why’d they stop? Why did they ALL stop? That’s weird, right?”

Poor Otto, he just wanted to sleep and he had no idea he’d married a neurotic frog detective.

“Maybe there’s a BEAR!” I said. “Do bears eat frogs? Are frogs afraid of bears??”

“Maybe there’s a feral neighborhood cat,” Otto answered, with a sigh. That made more sense, I guess. Still, that transition from cacophony to silence was unnerving. Then again, I pretty much find everything unnerving these days. “One time,” Otto murmured, rolling over, “we were home… and there was a BEAR!”

That made me laugh. And one by one, the peepers started up again.

*If you’re a city slicker or otherwise confused by “peepers”, they sound like this.

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 8 }

Dear kids: don’t read this one

Today over at Alpha Mom I’m sharing the naked truth about keeping romance alive when you have teenagers. Spoiler: It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be (and not in a “that’s what she said” kind of way, either). This would be a good time for nosey children of mine who like to read my blog to NOT go read that particular post. Consider yourselves warned.

By way of apology, I offer you this picture of my breakfast.

(They let me eat about half of it.)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 10 }

Just a little older and a lot wiser than me

Today is Otto’s birthday. I wish he had more than one each year, because Otto is the kind of man who is content to tend to everyone else and put his own needs on the back burner to make sure that everyone else is okay. He deserves way more than 24 hours of being the Man Of Honor.

Of course, we kicked off his birthday week early with the gift of mucus. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Remember how, before you lived with kids, you never got sick? No? Me neither. Here, I got you a box of decongestant. The GOOD kind, the kind I had to hand my first-born over to the pharmacist for. I’m sort of going to miss Chickie, but as she’s the one who brought this plague home, it seemed only fair. (Also, the pharmacist looked kind of scared.)

Anyway. Where was I going with this? (Woooo, I may have opened the decongestant box already. Good stuff, man. MY DESK IS SPROUTING FEATHERS.) Ah, yes. The point is that Otto is incredible and we don’t celebrate him nearly often enough. So today for his birthday I get to embarrass him. (more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 65 }

After this I’ll stop (maybe) (probably not)

The Great Doggie Integration Experiment of 2013 continues apace. Licorice continues to endure, while Duncan continues to try to figure out what in the world is happening. It turns out that his former owners weren’t kidding when they said he was “very food motivated,” so with liberal application of treats, we’re making good progress with him.

A fairly typical tableau.

(more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 32 }

I love abandoning my children

Last night, Otto and I had a date night. AS PEOPLE DO. “People” being “people other than us,” usually, because we are not always so super-fantastic about that whole “nurture your couple relationship” thing. It’s not that we don’t love each other (we do!) or enjoy each other’s company (he’s my favorite!), it is just that we’re old and tired and outnumbered by the other three sentient creatures in our household.

We don’t go on a lot of dates, is my point. But we’re working on it, because I hear this rumor that someday my children might grow up and move out of the house. I’m skeptical, but it’s what I hear, so who knows. Should they ever leave, the idea is that Otto and I need to make sure we still like each other.

So, last night: Date night! On a THURSDAY! Like the wild and crazy folks we are. A date on a school night; it must be that we really, really, REALLY needed this time to reconnect and get romantic. Or that we had the chance to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood perform. Either way. (more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 21 }

Continuing adventures in sleepyland

Do you have any coffee? No? It’s because I’ve taken possession of All The Coffee. I drink it all day long, now, instead of just my usual mug in the morning. You know that song Smoke Two Joints by Bob Marley? That’s me and coffee, now. I drink two cups in the morning, I drink two cups at night! I drink two cups before I drink two cups, then I drink two more!

Unlike the song, however, it doesn’t “make me feel alright.” It makes me feel… less like death. But still very sleepy.

Monkey was kind enough to come down with some sort of cold this week (step right up, come see the miracle boy with no immune system as he catches every virus in town!), which means that he’s been sleeping in, which means that I’ve been dragging my sorry butt out of bed at o’dark thirty to fix Chickadee’s breakfast and pack lunches, and then after she and Otto leave for school I go back to sleep until Monkey gets up. That part is handy, but the part where we’re both cranky after we get up is not so great. (more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 18 }

Bona-fide adults

A few years ago, Otto and I went through the process of writing our wills and advanced directives (I almost wrote “prime directive” there, which I suppose my little Trekkie would’ve appreciated, but that’s not the same thing), by which I mean we gave a lawyer a lot of money and he gave us a lot of paperwork. This was the adult and proper thing to do, but the impetus was not quite as mature as it maybe should’ve been. Most people think, “You know, I just want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row in case of unexpected tragedy or whatever.” And then they go write their wills, like grown-ups.

For us, I became irrationally convinced at some point that 1) I was going to get run over by a bus or fall off a cliff, and that then 2) my children’s father would compound their grief (assuming there was any; most days, only half my kids find me bearable) by immediately traveling to Georgia to snatch them out of our home the second I stopped breathing.

So, sure, “estate planning” and “establishment of trusts for the minor children” and blah blah blah BLAH; I, personally, spent all that money on all of that paperwork so that the completely non-legally-binding phrase, “In the event of my untimely passing, I urge my children’s father to consider their desires and school careers and grant temporary custody to my husband if the children desire to remain in their current home even after I am gone.” (more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 23 }

Gone skinkin’

So the supplies were gathered up, the trailer packed, and this is the part where I would normally conclude “and we were off in a cloud of dust,” except it has been so rainy that there is no dust. We were off in a cloud of mud? Mud doesn’t really cloud. We were off in the splash of a puddle? That sort of works. We packed up and left, is the point. Because why sit around at home when you could sit around in a forest and be eaten by bugs?

[Fun storm fact: Right before we left, the monotony of regular thunderstorm after regular thunderstorm was broken up by ye olde BIG ASS THUNDERSTORM FLASH FLOOD ZOMG, and thankfully that doesn't mean anything too terrible for us because we live on a hill, but our #^&*@#% cursed pool, I'll have to ask Otto if he took pictures, because I have never seen anything like it. For one thing, our crappy pool was transformed overnight into an infinity pool! By which I mean the water level was right up to the concrete. (Flash floods are FUN!) For another thing, all of the debris knocked off trees and whatnot had washed down the driveway and directly into the pool, so after EVERYTHING we've gone through to right the pool and balance the chemistry, it was not only overflowing, it was swampy with lord only knows what. Otto spent a day fishing out branches and stuff and the water was still brackish when we left even after a day and a half of running the filter.]

I wanted to burn the house down before we left, but Otto—so unreasonable!—was all, “Look, I bought you some candy for the ride, just get in the truck and let’s go.” So we left. (more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 12 }

The Antpocalypse

I remember when I first moved to Georgia and became acquainted with the fresh hell that is the palmetto bug (motto: we’re too genteel to admit we’re roaches!), at some point as I sat huddled in a corner, rocking back and forth and trying to find my happy place, I had this vaguely reassuring thought about how “at least they don’t have those awful little house ants.”

You know the ones I’m talking about, right? Every summer in New England, there would be a beautiful morning when you would wake up, listen to the birds chirping, go downstairs, and discover that your entire kitchen was now covered in ants. And let’s not even talk about that time when I was in grad school in California and I’d come home after a long day, flopped down on the couch with a box of Cheerios, and was on maybe my third or fourth handful when I discovered the entire box was FILLED WITH ANTS. (I am involuntarily writhing in disgust, just remembering it.) Palmetto bugs are at least easy to spot and completely unapologetic about how gross they are. Plus they tend to travel alone. But those tiny ants are all DUDES, PARTY THIS WAY, I FOUND A CRUMB! And suddenly you’re tracing the ant railroad from your kitchen counter, up the wall, along the ceiling, around the corner, and out the door.

But at least here in the south we have a Bug Guy, so no biggie, right? Uh, right. Except for the part where he’s not like Batman or anything, and after I make the HELP, WE’RE DROWNING IN ANTS phone call, we still have to wait a day for him to come spray (again). (more…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 57 }

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…)

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
Comments { 67 }
Design by LEAP