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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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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A night out like grownups

Last night Otto and I went out on a date. A DATE. LIKE ADULTS. It was very exciting, because I don’t know if you know this, but it is very easy to get caught up in work and kids and life and leaky pools (still leaking!) and strawberries and “there’s nothing on TV… oh WAIT, have you seen that Netflix has this ENTIRE SERIES here??” and forget to do things like this whole mythical “nurture your marriage” deal.

Speaking as someone whose second job has become pulling weeds and harvesting snap peas, I often wish I could just water Otto and pull on… wait. This metaphor is going someplace too inappropriate even for me. NEVERMIND.

The point is that I am still very fond of this here guy who keeps stealing the covers at night, and APPARENTLY we need to do more than watch television together to keep our love healthy, or something. So we went out without children. (more…)

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Still bumbling through it

You know what’s weird? This coming weekend will mark Otto’s and my 6th year wedding anniversary. Married for six years! And still speaking to each other! And also making out occasionally (you know, when there’s nothing good on television)!

This makes me an expert on all things remarriage and such, of course. Except not. At all.

Naturally this means that I have a new post up over at Alpha Mom, all about the secret to successfully blending a family. My advice is worth exactly what it costs you! (I hope you’ll come check it out, anyway.)

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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.)

ANYWAY.

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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Things which are scary

When I was about Chickie’s age, I was busy chewing my way through everything Stephen King ever wrote. The freakier and scarier, the better. This came up when I tried to convince Otto to watch Bates Motel with me the other night; he’s not so much a fan of a series that is fairly unapologetic about the amount of blood and gore, whereas I love it. I found myself explaining that—for me—there is catharsis in stories filled with terror. I get to experience all the fear/loathing/panic my body can handle WITHOUT having to relate it to my own particular life, and afterward, somehow my brain goes, “Well, then. We’re fine. Thank goodness none of that stuff was happening to US!” And I walk away happier.

Apparently that’s odd…? Like, most people read/see scary stuff and it just freaks them out? I’m now wondering if I am the only person who enjoys freaking myself out this way and feels fine, after. (Example: I watch Bates Motel, I can happily move on with my life when it’s over. But I have a real-life encounter like the last one I told you about and I’m disturbed and squicked out for days.

This tells me that fear is relative (duh). So here are a few other recent frightening things: (more…)

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Color my world office

Otto is a visual person, and I am a make-with-the-many-words person. Somehow we manage to communicate pretty well, though occasionally I’m sure Otto wishes I would just stop talking and every so often I do feel compelled to ask how a visual guy ends up deciding that THAT shirt looks okay with THOSE pants. These are minor blips. On the whole we have managed to forge our own language, an awesome perk of having known each other for nearly two decades dozen years (whoops, hey, we’ve known each other over half our lives).

Today Otto surprised me by suggesting we go out to lunch, which was a rare treat. When we eat as a family the conversation tends to center around the kids and their activities and how really, I MEAN IT, when I said I don’t want to hear any more jokes involving barf WHILE I AM EATING, I was SERIOUS. We have not had enough time as just a couple, lately, and when we do get that time, we tend to be discussing heavy Necessary Stuff, and not just kind of enjoying each other.

Naturally I tried VERY HARD to ruin our lovely lunch with some discussion of Unpleasant Yet Necessary Things, but eventually we did come back to a less depressing topic: My office. Specifically: As we come up on the 6 year mark of living in this house, am I finally ready to paint it? (more…)

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It’s getting hot in here…

To be filed under Things I Never Thought I’d Be Blogging About At My Advanced Age: Breastfeeding.

Specifically, I have to tell you something about back when I WAS breastfeeding. You know, a dozen years ago. I have teenagers; let me tell you about my breast milk! That won’t embarrass anyone AT ALL. But it’s germaine to the topic at hand, which I solemnly swear to circuitously reach in due time. Probably.

More specifically: When Chickadee was a wee floppy baby, I breastfed her, and I also pumped now and again because I truly bought the hype that formula was THE DEVIL, as young mothers who know everything about parenting are sometimes wont to believe. Breast milk was BEST and DAMMIT I was going to give my baby only the best so that she could grow up to have no problems ever. [Sidebar: HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I want to grab Young Mir and shake her until her eyeballs rattle.] So I nursed, and I pumped, and eventually Chickie went on a nursing strike and I ran out of frozen breast milk and ZOMG I GAVE HER FORMULA. Clearly this is why her life isn’t perfect.

This is also why—when I was pregnant with Monkey—I insisted that we buy a freezer. A freezer I could fill with breast milk. This seemed totally logical at the time. (more…)

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