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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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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…)

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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…)

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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??)

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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.

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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.

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