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If I had a few million dollars

Otto picked up a handful of lottery tickets last week. The Powerball or whatever it’s called was up to… I don’t even know what. 250 frajillion? It was a lot of money. And while I firmly believe lottery tickets to be a tax on people who are bad at math, we could spare a few bucks for the fun of what-if-ing for a few days.

Spoiler: We didn’t win. My dreams of lounging on a divan all day—eating bon bons and directing underlings to peel grapes for me—have been dashed. (Related: We don’t own a divan.)

Lately it feels like Otto and I talk about money a LOT. Part of this is the looming college thing, and gearing up to complete a FAFSA so that the government can tell us that if only we were to stop paying our mortgage or eating, we could certainly afford to send Chickadee to any college she likes. Part of it is the fact that both kids will be licensed drivers before we know it (pardon me while I breathe into a paper bag…) and will we want another car? Another two cars? WHY DO WE HAVE SO MANY CARS?? And our car insurance recently got confused and sent us a bill which covered having a licensed teen driver (neither of them are licensed yet) and said bill caused my face to melt off and me to suggest a number of high-earning but not entirely legal career paths to said expensive teenager. Part of it is that some dear friends of ours are about to begin a kitchen renovation and OH ENVY UPON ENVY, happy for them (for real), but we would like to redo OUR kitchen, and should we? Could we? The only thing that costs more than a kitchen renovation is, I don’t know, a combination face lift/tummy tuck/breast implant surgery, and Otto’s boobs are already beyond reproach.

We have enough money for everything we truly need, and then some, because “need” is not the same as “want.” I get that. No complaints; we are lucky. (more…)

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Here, have some toast in a pretty bowl

Monkey is not recovering as quickly as I’d hoped, plus he doesn’t really like to be coddled when sick. Well, he likes me to fetch him things, sometimes, but for the most part he just wants to lie down in a dark room and cough in a way that makes me wonder if maybe he has tuberculosis rather than the flu. My constant, “Honey, do you need anything?” prodding is both annoying to him and doesn’t fulfill my need to MAKE IT BETTER, so I have to content myself with making toast, mostly. In case you were wondering, yes, I DO spread the butter all the way to the edges. Because LOVE.

I did manage to sneak out briefly because the other kid (still not sick! everyone knock on wood!) has an upcoming school competition for which she requires pantyhose. (Apparently the competition is taking place in 1985….) Confused by the bright orb in the sky and the fresh air around me, I drove to my closest Big Box Store to procure said pantyhose, and then decided to actually LOOK AT SOME BOWLS just in case there was something wonderful there. And there was!

striped-bowl

(Here you understand “wonderful” to mean “colorful and cheap.”) We are now the proud owners of 6 new bowls which are NEARLY the same size as the rest of our bowls, and these are rainbow-y and make me happy, plus they were $2 apiece. I will remind myself of this when I start breaking them. Or maybe you will remind me? Thanks.

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A fitting end to the summer (part 2)

I think I promised you some super-exciting content about our last visit to Costco. (I tell you what, this blog is worth EXACTLY what you’re paying for it. Such value!)

Before that, though, apparently I am falling down on my chronicling duties by not verifying that 1) my children went back to school and 2) they were wearing shoes when they did it. Here you go:

1stdayshoes-2014

[Obvious from the picture: My darling vegetarian has thus far refused to let me buy her leather boots, which means she wears these crappy ones that fall apart and make her look homeless. I'm not saying she doesn't rock that particular look---she's pretty cool and all---but lord, child, let me buy you some decent shoes. Not obvious from the picture: Monkey's shoes are, for the first time, larger than his sister's (I think his heels are just further back).] (more…)

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Pardon me while I distract myself

I actually had this whole funny little post planned about The Day Of The Mystery Puddle—it appeared in the middle of the kitchen and we started playing Dog, Garbage Bag Leak, or Oblivious Child Spill—but before I had a chance to write it, Duncan commenced peeing all over the place and generally behaving unwell. At that point the puddle seemed less amusing and more like something I should’ve been more alarmed by in the first place, y’know?

Anyway. Duncan is also kind of lumpy and bumpy (“Age!” said the vet, the first time I pointed it out. “Or maybe something else! Who knows!”) and checking him over revealed one of his bumps had significantly expanded. No bueno. Off to the vet he went, first thing Monday morning, and now he’s in surgery. We’re waiting to hear whether this is a small expensive annoyance or a big expensive heartbreak (or something in-between).

So! I’m working! And shopping! And not thinking about my smushy babykins having dubious lumps extracted! It seemed like a perfect time to share some shopping tips for hard-to-fit-teens over at Alpha Mom as a distraction. You could come read it, and then we could be distracted, together.

[Edited to add: Duncan came through the surgery just fine, and other than an abscess and couple of fatty deposits the vet found nothing we need to worry about. He (the dog, not the vet) spent the night fairly confused and this morning is mighty angry that we won't let him eat his stitches. We lucked out.]

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The best-laid plans

Or, Things I did wrong recently.

Or, Life is hard because I am dumb.

Or, Allow me to make you feel better about your life choices.

I keep telling myself that I should just come over here and post some dog pictures and call it a day—after all, who needs content when you have furballs, right?—but it hasn’t happened and now all of that procrastination has paid off, because it turns out that while no one day has been blog-worthy, lately, taken in sum total I have a veritable epic of life-and-how-to-do-it-wrong to share.

Every day is a new opportunity to do something else stupid, as I always say. (I never say that. I should, though.) Without further ado, various illustrations of my suitability (or lack thereof) as a functional adult: (more…)

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Highs and lows even out

Sometimes people ask me about the secret to success when it comes to a blended family, and usually I laugh and laugh and then ask them what they mean by “success,” and also, have they actually MET my family…?

But I think I’ve figured it out. The key is to make All Things Family mimic the child’s natural propensity for mood shifts. Even-tempered kid? Keep things on a nice, regular keel. Not-so-even-tempered kid? Hit the outlet mall.

Where else can you go where—when your mother inquires about where to find that shirt in the window, and when the sales associate informs her that that’s the last one, but she’s welcome to have it—you find yourself dying of embarrassment as your mother steps into the window in front of God and everyone and starts dismantling a mannequin? And then your stepfather moves in to take some pictures of your mother making ridiculous faces with a disembodied plastic arm draped around her shoulders?

But then just when you’ve determined you cannot possibly live under these sorts of conditions, that very same mother (with the shirt she ripped off the mannequin, thankyouverymuch) waits in line at Aeropostale for, like, 45 minutes just to buy you some cool jeans while your stepfather waits in the car (thank God).

There you go. Free of charge, the secret to blending your family (and also picky-teen-approved jeans for $6): The outlet mall.

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We have been assimilated

I post a lot of Amazon grocery deals over at Want Not, largely because we have never belonged to a warehouse club and this has always been the cheapest way for me to, say, buy enough Cheez-Its to last my children more than a week without having to take out a home equity loan. Nearly every time I post something I think is a super great deal, though, someone invariably comments, “Oh, it’s less than that at Costco.” And then I make a voodoo doll out of that commenter.

Kidding! (How could I possibly make a voodoo doll without a piece of their hair?) I respond patiently, as I always do, that some of us live in the boonies and do not have a local Costco. I DO NOT HAVE A LOCAL COSTCO. Yes, I understand that it is the Mecca of all things wonderful, but I don’t have one, so just leave me be with my cases of cereal bars from Amazon, okay?!

But… there’s a Costco in towards Atlanta, about an hour from here. And every now and then, Otto and I talk about how even if we only went out there every few months, it might be worth it…? We used to do that with Trader Joe’s, after all. We’d take coolers and go stock up a few times a year. Somehow—perhaps our recent thumbs up from the financial advisor left us feeling like we had too much money?—we decided It Was Time. (more…)

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The joy of poppin’ tags

This week over at Alpha Mom, I’ve written about the best way to go thrifting with your teen. It does not include any information about my daughter’s penchant for going straight for the neon-green hooker heels and dancing around in them declaring, “I’M A PRETTY LAYDEEEEEEEE!” (which, now that I think of it, seems like a glaring omission). I did, however, manage to piss off a commenter pretty much immediately, because when I say “this is the rule in our family,” OBVIOUSLY what I am saying is “I am judging you for doing anything differently and you should get really mad and leave me an angry comment.”

Oh, Internet. Never change! It’s okay, I can soothe my battered soul over at Goodwill.

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How I make it all even out

Ah, glorious springtime! The birds are chirping! The lizards are leaping! The pollen is… pollening. Yes.

Like any other red-blooded American family, this time of year means that we are committed to cleaning and repairing various facets of our dwelling, because everyone knows that warmer weather + tax return = copious swearing from someone on a ladder. That’s just how it works.

I feel like every time we set out to do “a little project” it turns into our own special brand of “there’s a hole in the bucket.” (Why yes, I’ve noted this before, because it’s been happening for years.) This has a three-pronged effect of making me insane, because 1) the MONEY part of it makes me panicked and neurotic no matter how much mental preparation I’ve done and even if all the necessary money was set aside beforehand, 2) the TIME aspect just adds to the fun as I become convinced that life will never be normal again, and 3) the MESS is just the final, OCD cherry on the losing-my-marbles sundae.

Perhaps Otto and I need to have our own home improvement show. He can be all calm and capable and get stuff done while I run around pointing at holes in the wall and crying. (more…)

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Various wondrous things

Okay, “wondrous” might be overselling it a bit. There are varying degrees of wondrous. Like, there’s a whole spectrum of interesting that spans all the way from “truly wondrous” on down to “WTFness.” And I will leave it to you to place the following along that continuum as needed.

[Sidebar: Let us pause for a moment to acknowledge that anything you hear from me today or for the next several weeks will be completely allergy-addled. I woke up this morning and had to chisel my face open. For a few minutes I thought maybe I had pinkeye, but no, it's just regular ol' allergies. I guess. Everything and everyone I love is currently coated in a thin layer of yellow grit, and my eyes---long my favorite facial feature---are buried somewhere behind the crusty, puffy skin that has conveniently swollen to twice its normal eyebag size all the way to HOLY HELL WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOUR FACE. The pollen is taking over the woooooorlllld! And I am very cranky about it.]

Anyway. Wondrous. Wondrous! Yes, the miracles of ordinary life keep bowling me over. Allow me to knock you down with them as well. Don’t worry, there’s a nice soft pollen-drift right behind you to cushion your fall. (more…)

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