Archive | Ottomatic For the People RSS feed for this section

Various non-hurricane things

I feel slightly ridiculous, updating on random minutiae when so many people I know and love are battening down the hatches in preparation for Sandy, but here I am. Nothing I can do from here can stop a hurricane, which seems unfair, really. That’d be a good superpower to have. My superpower, instead, is WRITE ABOUT NOTHING AS A DISTRACTION. It’s not as flashy.

[Sidebar: I wrote something on Facebook this morning about how, when weighing the pros and cons of letting Chickadee move away for the year, "life-threatening hurricane" hadn't even been on my list of concerns. As I wrote it I was wondering for the 1,000th time if I should ask my ex if he's properly laid in supplies or if I should continue to assume he's a capable adult and not, you know, be a worrywart jerkface even though I'm nervous. And then Tarrant commented that, "Oh geez, after the year you've had, you'd think you would have factored that in," and that made me laugh so hard that I forgot to be worried for a couple of minutes. Thanks, Tarrant!]

Anyway, our weekend was SUPER exciting, I’ll have you know. (more…)

Comments { 23 }

Underwater ballet

I am 41 years old, and my experience with death of loved ones is remarkably scant. My parents are still alive. My grandparents’ deaths were long ago and I was mostly shielded from whatever rituals were executed after their passing. I have a relatively small family and a small group of friends, and the fortune of not having lost anyone from those circles in adulthood. Until my ex’s father died, I had never been to a funeral. (I tell people that and they think I’m exaggerating or joking. No, really. The first funeral I ever attended was for my then-father-in-law, and I had no idea what was going on, and being forced to spend several hours in a room at the wake with an open casket about did me in, because DUDE THAT IS CREEPY.)

In a sense this week is easier, because this time I know what to expect, and also because Otto’s family holds both “alcohol” and “inappropriate humor” in their arsenal of grief-coping mechanisms (neither were acceptable in my former marriage), and these are methods I can get behind. Although there have been tears, of course, there are also toasts and a lot of laughter (both of which are frequently followed by someone adding “cue the lightning bolt!”) and I think Otto’s mom would mostly approve. Even if she didn’t, I think she would shake her head and chuckle.

Still, it all feels fairly surreal. (more…)

Comments { 115 }

Dear 2012: Uncle.

My mother-in-law claimed not to like dogs, which was just about the only time I ever heard her claim to not like any living thing. But it turned out that Licorice absolutely adored her, and she loved Licorice right back.

This was not a surprise to me, because 1) Licorice is adorable and 2) my mother-in-law was a gentle, loving soul. Even when she was so sick, this last time, whenever Otto called her, she would always ask first how Chickadee was doing, how Monkey and I were holding up, and then—if he was lucky, ha—how Otto himself was. This woman accepted me and my children into her family effortlessly, considering my kids her own grandkids without a second thought. We were lucky to have her for the time we did.

She passed away last night. We knew it was coming, but of course there’s really no preparing. Otto and his siblings sure could use any spare prayers you might have right about now.

(This year is almost over, right? RIGHT??)

Comments { 173 }

Contrast

The following is offered for your consideration, without further comment.

* * * * *

A voicemail received on my cell phone from a blocked number:

Hey, I’m looking for a Ronald? And if I’ve found you, I just wanted to let you know that I found out some disturbing news. And, um, you need to tell the little bitch that yer livin’ with that she better leave my man alone. Because I just found out they’re seeing each other? And I don’t fuckin’ like it. Let me catch her ass out somewhere, she’s mine.

* * * * *

The other night in bed, after yet another tearful discussion of the mess our lives have become:
Me: I just don’t even know why you’re still here. WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?
Otto: Well… this is where all my stuff is.
Otto: OW! Hey!
Otto: Um. I love you?
Me: Jerk.
Otto: What??
Me: I said I love you, too.

Comments { 31 }

How things are

This week has, in a word, sucked. Oh, I know, this entire year has sucked, but this week sucked even compared to the rest, which is saying something. Tensions are running high and faith is being tested.

Today Otto got up before me and made coffee. I know this because I woke up to BEEP-BEEP-BEEP-BEEP, the international signal for “it is now safe to get out of bed and proceed directly to the largest mug in the house.” My darling, wonderful husband was in the shower by the time it beeped, and I all but ran into the kitchen.

And there I found a lake of coffee on the floor. The coffeemaker was in its usual spot on the counter, but the coffee POT was sitting on the edge of the sink. Otto had washed the pot, ground the beans, filled the basket, and then hit the switch without replacing the pot; eventually the filter basket overflowed and lo, the coffee streamed down the counter and onto the floor.

I beheld the tragic scene before me and burst into whoops of laughter, so loud that the dog came to see what my problem was. And then I went to tell my husband what he did. He kept trying to apologize, and between giggles I had to tell him that it was reassuring to know I’m not the only one falling apart.

Other people look at a gift of flowers or a particularly wonderful day with their spouse and know their relationship is built to last, and I mop up a giant coffee puddle and thank my lucky stars for one marvelous, barely-flawed Otto.

Comments { 31 }

Older, if not wiser

This weekend Licorice and I had our birthdays. That’s how I knew she was meant to be my dog, you know—the rescue had assigned her a birthdate, I guess, and it’s the day after mine. She is now maybe-six (really, they’re just guessing on her age) and I am now forty-none-of-your-damn-business-but-trust-me-I-feel-old. Or 41, if you insist.

Otto and I ran away for the weekend and left the dog at the kennel. Because we’re both so much older and more mature, now, this morning Licorice proceeded to prance around our bed a full hour before the alarm was set to go off, and later this morning—after I’d prepared breakfast and packed lunches—I set about making some mango salsa to go with the fish tacos I’ll be making for dinner, and on the VERY LAST ITEM I needed to cut up, yes indeed, I used all 41 years of my brainpower to cut towards myself and of course the knife slipped and I sliced open my finger.

So the answer to “What’s for dinner, Mom?” will be “Fish tacos with mangled fingertip salsa.” I wonder if Monkey will have seconds? (more…)

Comments { 26 }

Unrelated random things

I was thinking this morning—after I managed to stick my foot deep into my own mouth in front of a bunch of people, YAY!—about various cliches. Like, there should be something to describe the feeling of entering the third month of your kid’s hospitalization and still not knowing 1) when she might be coming home, 2) if she’s truly getting better, 3) if the #*&%^ Medicaid approval is ever coming, 4) if life will ever feel normal again. That’s far too long and messy, and you know what? 90% of people do not want to hear about it, anyway.

In the end (of the foot-in-mouth scenario) I had to settle for meekly apologizing, citing my current status as “a big ball of hurtiness” thanks to recent events. It felt inadequate, but saying “every time I think I’ve reached some sort of acceptance about all of this, a great big wave of THIS SUCKS I HATE IT hits me again” feels whiney.

Somehow the phrase “wearing my heart on my sleeve” popped up in my head. And then I thought that the meaning isn’t quite right for what I’m going through. This, this is more like having my intestines pinned to my shirt. And then I thought Intestines On My Shirt would be a good band name. And it’s really hard to imagine how I manage to continually say the wrong thing in social situations, isn’t it? It’s a puzzle, truly. (more…)

Comments { 48 }

A little perspective goes a long way

I knew, of course, that yesterday would be a hard day. Days when we see Chickadee for family therapy are hard, because she is not exactly what you would call pro-therapy. Things are better—so much better—than they used to be there, really. There is no longer screaming and throwing things, for example. But I’m pretty sure that if she had the option of passing on this particular exercise, she would. Sadly, she’s not in charge and we cruelly demand that she be tortured with our attempts to restore a workable family life (because we are monsters).

The fact that we parted with her angry at us over the weekend was on our minds, too. So: It would be hard. We knew. She’d seemed recovered, on the phone, but it’s hard to tell.

The good news is that the session itself wasn’t too bad. One of the things I really like about the family therapist is that she’s an equal-opportunity bullshit-caller, and although Chickadee maintains that she dislikes her (probably due to her absolute unflappability and also that she is not buying what my darling daughter is so often selling), the fact that I’m the one being chastised nearly as often as my kid is slowly winning her over. (more…)

Comments { 30 }

Slow and steady

Otto never tires of telling people the joke about how it was an easy decision for us to have a small, family-only wedding ceremony without all of the traditional hoopla. “We’ve both already been to the wedding where she wore the big white dress,” he’ll deadpan, then sit back and wait for that to sink in.

In a few more months, Otto and will have known each other for 23 years.

Today, we’ve been married for 5 of them. [Aside: OH MY GOD look how tiny the children were!!] Just 5 years; our marriage is only embarking on kindergarten, and in some ways I’m still holding its hand to cross the street, tucking it in at night, and trying to convince it that there are no monsters hiding in the closet.

Make no mistake: for me, our marriage definitely fears there’s a big hairy beast either in the closet or under the bed, just waiting to pounce. Except in this case the hairy beast is “One day Otto wakes up and realizes it’s maybe not supposed to be this hard, this much of a slog, this kind of endless grind,” and then he tells me that he can’t do it anymore. (more…)

Comments { 54 }

My favorite child

Did you know that school is finished for the year here in just a few weeks? (And before the usual slew of “No fair! You get out so early!” comments that this usually brings, allow me to point out that the kids went back to school the first week of August. They’ve had a whole year.) Anyway, it’s true. School is nearly out for the summer.

Just a few more weeks to get through, which means that everyone’s Great Big Hairy Meltdown is right on schedule for… now.

This happens every year. I have no idea why it surprises me, every time. But the children are… oh, a little on edge, let’s say. Moreso than usual. And my tried-and-true rule about only one child having an issue at a time seems to go out the window, this time of year. Or, you know, THIS ENTIRE YEAR. (See also: hurry the hell up, 2013.) (more…)

Comments { 19 }
Design by LEAP