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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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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…)

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It’s true, we totally rock (updated with a pic)

You may remember that one piece of my recent weekend of doing pretty much nothing included a landscaping estimate. This is because my darling husband seems to believe that the outside of our house is supposed to look a certain way.

I’m not saying he’s wrong, I’m just saying I’m a lot better at, shall we say, selective visual fields than he is. Why, the weekend before the do-nothing weekend, Otto had declared a family yard pick-up day, and I’m not saying it didn’t look great when we were done, I’m just saying that this is a Mars/Venus issue.

What I think when I look at the front yard: Grass! Birds! Pretty!

What Otto thinks when he looks at the front yard: Maybe today we can pick up all of the sticks and branches that fell up by the big tree and then along the sides, there, and drag it all back into the debris pile in the woods. Then we can trim the bushes, rake all of the leaves and other crap out of the front beds, trim all of the greenery, weed, and spread new pine straw when that’s all done. And finally I’ll ride around on the mower for a while, because the grass has grown a full half an inch since the last time I did that.

(In my defense, I did pick up a LOT of sticks that day.) (more…)

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My big fat gluten-free corneal abrasion

[Thank you for the sweet comments yesterday. I’m pleased to report that the day did indeed improve, thank God, and a good time and a massive chocolate-cake-stupor was enjoyed by all yesterday evening. Go make this flourless cake immediately, whether you’re gluten-free or not. I may never make anything else again.]

So I’ve been meaning to tell you this story for a while, but it was while rereading yesterday’s post and saying to my husband, “HAHA! You can’t tell I’m off my meds at all from that! HAAAAA!” that I realized it was time for a good-size dose of levity—the kind of levity that only 1) confused people and 2) me being a dork can provide.

(You’re welcome!)

Anyway, perhaps you have gleaned that due to recent events I am in full-on hermit mode. I mean, I drive children to doctors’ appointments and stuff, but I do not socialize. I do not dress up. I do not go anywhere I don’t HAVE to, because every ounce of energy is currently focused on keeping the particles in my body from spontaneously breaking off and shooting into space due to stress. (Well, no, that’s never happened, but it COULD, right?) Of course in the midst of this, my husband had to go win a big award. (more…)

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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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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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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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