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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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The truth about true love

Here is where I consciously choose to get away from The Heavy because I just need to, and we all pretend that’s perfectly logical and seamless and not weird. Yes? Yes.

Sidebar: Chickadee is supposed to get on a plane in a few hours. As of this moment, that’s still on schedule to happen. If you wouldn’t mind just, you know, crossing all of your fingers and toes that she shows up here tonight, that would be super swell. And it’s really not even for me; Monkey told me all he wanted for Christmas was for his “sissy” to be here with us, and then I melted into a puddle of goo, and that means it’s not even me being selfish and missing her, anymore, but about THE CHILDRENS and so I am just going to hopehopehope that tonight goes according to plan because DAMMIT something has to, this year.

In the meantime, I always have Otto here to entertain me. That’s what it means to love, honor, and cherish another human—you also provide them with blog fodder. I’m pretty sure it was in our vows.

And really, even if it wasn’t, it’s kind of too late for him now. (more…)

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He’s totally That Guy

Hey. Hey! It’s Otto’s birthday today. I made his morning extra special by forgetting to make coffee before I had to run off to physical therapy, and telling him that I would see him tonight. Rawr!

I will totally make it up to him later by… making coffee. (What did you think I was going to say? Oh, you.) Also, I’ll be taking him out to dinner. And maybe I will reprise last night’s hijinks where I totally sidled up to him and said in a husky voice, “I’m gonna go slip into something more comfortable,” and then I went and put on a t-shirt and my fleece pajama pants.

Anyway, this is the part where I’m supposed to wax nostalgic on how every year together makes us better and more in love and how I’d never want to walk through life with anyone else and he’s the wind beneath my wings. All of that is true, but in case you haven’t noticed (see: fleece pajama pants sexytime), that’s not exactly my style. Also, in case you haven’t noticed, this year has pretty much sucked hairy donkey balls for our family, so it gets a little complicated to be all grateful and stuff, just now. Nevertheless, I have a few things to say about the man who occasionally wakes me up to discuss snakes. (more…)

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