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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Today is a Special Day That We Are Not Allowed to Talk About here. But I wanted to share some things I love about my wife. (more…)

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Otto and Goliath

Longtime readers know that one of the joys of summer, for me, is my little backyard garden. What started years ago with a few containers on the deck has steadily expanded into a series of boxes where I spend half my July wrestling with vines that need to go UP THE TRELLIS, dammit, UP.

Some plants I grow from seeds. Zucchini, for example, is perfectly happy when you stick a seed in the soil and then completely ignore it for the next two months. Provided you do anything less traumatic than run it over with a car, zucchini will happily flourish until you have zucchini muffins coming out of your ears. (Or until you make zucchini fritters for dinner, like I did last night. Monkey’s comment: “YUM! These taste just like FRENCH FRIES!” It only took two cups of oil to find a way he likes zucchini, folks.)

Other plants, I go to the garden store and buy little ones, either because growing from seed is complicated or because I’m lazy. This year Otto was headed out to run some errands around Easter and I said, “Can you pick up a few tomato plants? I forgot to start seeds so we may as well.”

“Sure,” he said, because he is swell. “What kind do you want?” (more…)

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Love embellishes on the sly

I thought there was nothing I like better than when a reader so totally gets my family, they feel the need to call my attention to something that would make us happy.

Alert reader Jamie did just that: She emailed me earlier this week with this link to say she was thinking about me. In case you don’t feel like clicking, that leads to this little DIY gem:

Awesome, right? (more…)

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