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Mir and Otto’s big shopping adventure

You may perhaps remember that during the last few months of last year—having no idea how much 2012 was going to suck, and how much less I’d be working—we decided to give all of our spare moneys to our favorite contractor so that he and his guys could rip down our sagging deck and replace it, and then of course it ended up taking forever, including failing the first building inspection in January because the handrail on the stairs ends on the second-to-bottom step instead of the bottom step. (TRUE STORY!) (Know how you fix that? Your contractor comes over and attaches a piece of two-by-four to extend the railing, and uses a couple of pieces of scrap wood to anchor it to the existing railing structure, and then after the crabby building inspector signs off on it, the contractor takes it off again. VOILA!)

Anyway, that’s all been resolved for months, and the new deck is lovely, and the dog has decided that the $29 doggie door we installed so that she can let herself out of the screen porch to the great outdoors is the best thing in the whole wide world.

As the weather’s improved, we’ve spent more and more time out there, though we’re sitting on folding camp chairs and using a card table for when we need to play a rousing outdoor game of Balderdash, because it turns out that… we don’t really have any deck furniture. And we, you know, spent all our money on the deck construction. Whoops. (more…)

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Comments { 27 }

It’s not contagious

We had a pretty uneventful weekend, here. We watched football (go Patriots!). We grumbled about the weather. I swore I was going to do laundry and go grocery shopping and then I did lots of laundry but neglected to go grocery shopping, which meant that this morning I packed everyone a delicious lunch of various odds and ends, and have hereby sworn that TODAY, no really, today, I SWEAR, I’ll go get groceries.

The kids saw their dad. Chickadee’s quiz bowl team defeated their most loathed rival team at Regionals but ultimately didn’t go on to State. While they were doing that, I was at play rehearsal and Otto staked out the District Science Fair, where all the kids who were busy at the Bowl were winning at the Fair but couldn’t be there. (Chickadee’s project—which was a DRAHHHMAAAAHHH of epic proportions for several months—has now taken first place in category at both school and district levels, and she is now on to Regionals still vowing that nothing less than first place will do. So glad she’s not putting any pressure on herself. Ahem.)

Otto and I didn’t do anything special, really. We shuffled the kids around and worked in our respective offices and played with the dog and ate popcorn and tended to the minutiae of daily life, and never once did I stop to think OMG OUR MARRIAGE COULD IMPLODE AT ANY MOMENT. (more…)

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Comments { 48 }

I guess now it’s Christmas

The thing is, there are lots of things to love about Georgia, but it’s really far away from our families, which is kind of a drag. I mean, it’s not as bad as when I lived in California—we’re all in the same time zone, at least—but it still means that visiting is kind of A Production, and there are times when that’s difficult.

So when we first moved down here, we said hey, we’ll come back for Christmas every year. The first year we had a good trip, though I did end up getting an ear infection and calling my doctor back in Georgia to beg for meds and sending Otto out looking for an open pharmacy on Christmas Eve. (Deck the Halls with Zithromaxes, fa la la la laaaaa….)

The second year, well, Nearly Nickless shared his stomach bug with me, and we spent Christmas Eve in the ER.

After all of that big fun, the third year we decided to just stay home. We promised to alternate years, and return the next year. (more…)

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Comments { 38 }

Insert various/sundry fawning here

Yesterday was Otto’s birthday, and lo there was much celebration and rejoicing!

Except… there was no way I was going to manage to top last year’s surprise (and subsequent party and extravaganza), plus Otto was out of town for most of the weekend, plus life is completely overwhelming right now for various mostly uninteresting reasons, plus I just generally sort of suck.

So, we love him to bits and all, but I’m afraid that as birthdays go, it wasn’t a terribly exciting day. I mean, there were presents, and we went out to dinner, and I told him I love him about a billion times, but I still feel like I kind of dropped the ball. And that is only partially because I discovered we were out of candles and made him blow out a match on top of his cake so he could make a wish. (more…)

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Comments { 49 }

A night out

Otto and I are going on a real live genuine date tonight, in just a little bit. I am drinking a large cup of coffee by way of preparation, because the sad truth is that my idea of a perfect evening, lately, is sitting on the couch watching TV for a while before going to bed at about 9:30.

I’m not sick. I shouldn’t be tired. But I am exhausted, mentally, and that’s bleeding over into everything else. I’ve taken to shutting off my alarm in the morning and going back to sleep; on the rare occasions when I used to do this, before, I would just get up 15 minutes later when Otto’s alarm went off. Now I often lay there until the last possible minute, and one day this week when Otto offered to pack lunches and shuffle children I just let him and stayed in bed.

It didn’t help. So tonight I’m doing my best to slough off my now-comfortable shroud of “I am just so TIRED and OVERWHELMED” and instead I’m going out with my very patient husband, and I may even put on mascara. (more…)

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Comments { 55 }

White trash fondue, yo

So this is a THIRD post about food in a row, which means the planet has officially been jolted off its axis. Or that these things come in threes and I’ll stop after this. Probably.

This weekend was stressful for a variety of reasons, and about halfway through yesterday as I was ranting to Otto that I AM ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS I AM NOT SUPPOSED TO FEEL LIKE THE MOTHERFUCKING SKY IS FALLING WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? he gently asked me if maybe, possibly, I had missed a dose? And I had. So it’s possible the sky doesn’t require expletives and maybe is just drooping a little, not crashing to the ground, and also the moral of the story is that right now I am Lexapro’s bitch. So! Lesson learned.

Anyway, in the midst of the stress and the weeping and the general angst, I not only had to figure out what we were having for dinner last night, but I realized we had to have fondue. (more…)

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Comments { 31 }

Wrapping it all up with a little arson

So far as Monkey is concerned, there are exactly two good reasons to go camping: 1) getting to play his Nintendo DS (which his mean, mean mother only lets him use on trips, lest his eyes glaze over and he and his console become one melded hybrid beeping creature), and 2) s’mores.

While I don’t understand the first item, I can see the s’mores love. What’s not to like about s’mores? I myself have been known to set several marshmallows on fire at a time, all while lovingly explaining to my vegetarian, marshmallow-loving daughter exactly how they get gelatin. (She makes an exception for marshmallows, because somehow the devotion to sugar overcomes her refusal to eat animals. Perhaps we should try candy-coating our bacon.)

Often, we go camping in the summer to places where it’s entirely too hot to even contemplate building a fire, so this last trip was Very! Exciting! because we had a fire both nights. And there was much rejoicing, and much s’more-ing. (more…)

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Comments { 28 }

Like that

Every now and then, Otto does a Big Thing designed to make me feel warm and fuzzy—my birthday surprise and the festivities that followed come to mind—and it’s very sweet and wonderful and everything, of course. But the truth is that I may even love him just a little bit more for the small things, because I’m a sucker for the I-was-just-thinking-about-you gesture.

So a week ago, I wrote this post, which contained the following:

The list says “Thou shalt not list the things you, the parent, do for the kid as if it deserves veneration.” Because the only appropriate response from the child at that point is, “I didn’t ask to be born, you know! You shouldn’t have had kids if you didn’t want to do that stuff!”

Instead, I gripped the steering wheel a little more tightly than necessary as I drove her back to school in complete silence.

And my darling husband came home that night with a plush steering wheel cover for my car. “So that you won’t hurt your hands when the kids are rotten,” he said, by way of explanation. That was a week ago and EVERY TIME I get into my car, now, I laugh.

Twenty-two years into knowing him, four-and-a-half years into the marriage, and I still feel totally lucky. It’s AWESOME.

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Comments { 35 }

It’s tough, being the only grownup

When you think about it, Otto’s got a pretty tough row to hoe when it comes to our family. Despite my efforts, sometimes I’m sure it just can’t help but feel like three against one. The kids and I were a unit for a long time before Otto joined us, and no matter how much they all love each other (“Awww, honey, if she’s being an insufferable brat to you that means she’s BONDED!”), the fact remains that sometimes I’m sure he still feels a little bit picked on.

Of course, this might just be because the kids and I are jerks, and not have anything to do with our blended family status. It’s hard to know, really.

This is a necessary preface so that you understand what happened last night at dinner. Actually, I guess there’s one more piece I have to explain. (more…)

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Comments { 35 }

My hero (?)

Longtime readers know that I’m not squeamish about much, but the bugs down here in the south—unfettered by a nice long winter freeze like the bugs where I grew up—do not screw around. They are free to grow to insane sizes and spend the entire calendar year plotting to suck out your brains through your ear. Or possibly your nose. I don’t know. I try not to think about it.

If you’re a newish reader, and stories about bugs aren’t going to make you scream (don’t worry, I scream enough for both of us!), you can review a few of my various delightful insect encounters in the archives. Why, there was the giant spider, meeting my first camel cricket, my battle with the garden slugs, the tomato horn worms, and—not to be overlooked—just one of many palmetto bug encounters.

The common thread in all of these stories is that I go from being a semi-capable adult human to gibbering squicked-out ball of fear and loathing in approximately .2 seconds. It’s a talent, really. (more…)

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Comments { 35 }
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