Archive | Ottomatic For the People RSS feed for this section

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…)

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.

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…)

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…)

Comments { 35 }

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…)

Comments { 132 }

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…)

Comments { 47 }

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…)

Comments { 21 }

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.)

Comments { 19 }

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…)

Comments { 31 }

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…)

Comments { 18 }
Design by LEAP