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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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Shhh … it’s SOMEONE’S BIRTHDAY

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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Memories, plus bonus Otto

Yesterday I read Liz’s post about her step-grandfather and it got me thinking about MY step-grandfather. So today you get to read about him over at Off Our Chests, if you’re so inclined. He was a character.

Unrelated, here’s an actual, unretouched conversation that happened here yesterday:
Me: Honey, I love you SO MUCH.
Otto: I… love you, too…?
Chickadee: She wants something.
Me: No! I just LOVE YOU!
Otto: I know what she wants.
Me: You do?
Otto: You want me to stop at the store and pick up sweet potatoes.
Me: See? THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU! You’re the GREATEST!

(I always said a big part of the reason I wanted to remarry was so that my children could grow up seeing what a healthy, loving marriage looks like. Now they can see that when two people really love each other, their love magically produces veggie chili EVEN WHEN they are unexpectedly out of sweet potatoes.)

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True romance, camping style

Actual unretouched conversation preceding this post, over breakfast:

Me: Is it okay with you if I blog about last night?
Otto: *raises his eyebrows in the classic “Are you on crack?” gesture*
Me: No. No! Not, you know, ALL of last night. But… you know, the early parts.
Otto: *shakes his head slowly, wide-eyed, conveying that I’m trying to kill him*
Me: Otto! I just mean… you KNOW what I mean. I’m not going to say anything… inappropriate. But I know you’re descended from Puritans and easily embarrassed, SO I’M ASKING. If it’s going to mortally embarrass you, I won’t.
Otto: *sighing* It’s your site.
Me: Yes it is. But I don’t want to make you unhappy. If you really don’t want me to, I won’t. I can write about… squirrels.
Otto: It’s your site.
Me: You said that already.
Otto: *sighing again* I trust you.
Me: Do you?
Otto: Yes.
Me: Excellent.
Otto: *dropping his head into his hands* Oh, God. (more…)

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On the road agaaaaaaain…

The whole situation with the fence has gotten so intolerable, we’ve run away from home.

Okay, fine, STRICTLY SPEAKING that’s not quite true. I mean, sure, we ARE on Day 25 of our one and a half day fence job, and it is absolutely true that it is not yet done, and it is also true that Fence Guy, after offering to rip down the fence and build us a new one then had the BIG GIANT BRASS ONES to come back and ask for a materials deposit, and when we pointed out that we’d already put down thousands of dollars, remember? (subtext: OH HELLS NO), he emailed Otto and said “Well then we’ll need another solution” and we sat on that for a day and then he realized that maybe, just maybe, while we were not answering him, we were talking to a lawyer (we were), he MAGICALLY came up with a way to do it without additional money (imagine!), but technically speaking, we were already planning to leave home, fence or no. It’s just that the whole fence thing makes me FEEL like setting fire to the house and driving away.

Thanks to Otto’s calming influence, I didn’t torch anything. We just drove away, instead. (more…)

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This is love

I feel like I haven’t talked too much about darling Otto, recently, and this is not because my adoration for him has waned in any way. In fact, I would have to say that during my recent bout of The Crayzee he continued to be nothing less than a pillar of strength and support.

It’s funny; I was talking with a freshly-divorced friend the other day, and she asked me how I ever managed to get to a place where I could even consider trusting a relationship again, much less remarrying. And I had to confess that Otto and I have known each other for over half our lives; I’m not sure I ever could’ve done it, otherwise. I truly believe that history is the glue in our relationship. That’s not to say that our history is nothing but rainbows and sunshine, but that having known each other for so long—having seen each other make mistakes and be jerks and still somehow recover from those things—THAT is what allows us to look at each other every day and know that whatever it is, we’re going to be okay.

We’ve agreed to love each other for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, through endless fence debacles (NO THE FENCE IS STILL NOT FINISHED, THANKS FOR ASKING) and whatever else life throws at us. (World without end, amen.) (more…)

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Traditional; modern; cerebral

We have arrived once again at the portion of our program where life needs to pause, briefly, so that Otto and I can contemplate our life together. The fact that I have been half-joking for weeks that thinking too hard about this past year can only lead to madness was not a deterrent to my handsome husband; today’s our anniversary/familyversary and that means CELEBRATION.

Regular readers may recall that last year on our anniversary, Otto looked up the traditional 3rd anniversary gift and found that it was leather. Not wanting to deal with a vegetarian-staged protest over his gifting attempt, he elected, instead, to buy us all crystal sun catchers for the kitchen (crystal being the “modern equivalent,” though I’m still wondering how leather turns into crystal, exactly).

I had a feeling that perhaps a tradition had just been started, but I didn’t know for sure until this morning. (more…)

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