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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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Poppin’ tags, suburban style

Know what Chickadee loves? Let’s take a brief quiz:

A) When I sing and dance along with Thrift Shop any time it comes on the radio.
B) When I refer to visiting our local Goodwill as “poppin’ tags.”
C) When I respond to any compliment on my attire—however slight—with a deep, booming, “I LOOK IN-CRED-UH-BULL!”
D) All of the above.
E) None of the above, and P.S., it’s not nice to taunt the teenager.

[Your quiz will not be graded. I am too busy cutting the plastic tag thingies off our latest haul. But here’s Licorice’s favorite video version as a reward for playing along.]

The thing is, I’ve been a thrift store shopper since I was a teen with babysitting money in my pocket. The fact that there’s now a popular song about it doesn’t automatically transform me into a hipster. (Especially when you consider that my most frequent purchases at Goodwill are t-shirts which still have their original store tags. I’m not after your “cool, old” stuff so much as I’m after the bargain on stuff I hope you don’t realize I got at Goodwill. Thank goodness I’m not telling the entire Internet that’s where I got my “expensive” clothes. Um. Oops?) Really the only thing that’s different now is that my kids think it’s cool instead of embarrassing. (more…)

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Just another wild weekend

It seems like—particularly after the first full week of reintegrating ourselves as a family of four and everyone managing work and school and stuff—the weekend should be a time to relax and unwind and simply have fun. We should… sleep! Watch television! Meet up with friends and simply hang around with no set goals in mind!

Well, I’m sure that’s what SHOULD have happened. You know, if I wasn’t such a giant meaniehead. But you know… I am Mom, hear me suck the fun out of everything. HOORAY!

It actually started with poor, long-suffering Otto. I’m sure Otto would’ve LOVED to loll around this weekend and watch cars go around in circles on the television. Instead, he got up at o’dark thirty on Saturday and started driving north. My covert flute escapades have nothing on what customers at some random Dairy Queen in Virginia must’ve seen on Saturday afternoon when Otto met up with my ex and transferred the rest of Chickie’s belongings to his car. So, really, Otto drove for about 17 hours straight, which means that everything else that happened here was leisurely in comparison. Right? Right. (more…)

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The little black pants that could

I may have mentioned a few (dozen) times that I’m in a play this week…? Possibly? And one of the super things about putting on a production of The Vagina Monologues is that it really doesn’t require any sort of set or costuming or anything. Basically the director picks a theme for what the cast will wear and then everyone goes home and pulls something out of their closet and whatever. Boom. Done.

Last year we had to wear black, purple and gray, in whatever combinations we wanted. That was really easy, frankly, since I wear those three colors kind of a lot, anyway. This did not stop me, however, from going out last year and buying some, umm, SPECIAL pants for the show. In my defense, they were on clearance. Also in my defense, I was doing the “angry vagina” monologue and I really wanted to wear something kind of hardcore that I would never ordinarily wear. Further in my defense, SHUT UP, it is TOTALLY not weird that I bought some faux snakeskin black, shiny skinny jeans.

[Chickadee was horrified. Like, asked me over and over to confirm that I would never, ever, under any circumstances, wear them “for real” any time other than the show. Her horror amused me, but not to the point where I wore them anywhere else. Because they are ridiculous and that was the point.] (more…)

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Keeping me grounded

My Prednisone-fueled pace for 2013 continues unabated. I don’t know that I’m actually accomplishing anything beyond what a normal, functioning adult should be doing—possibly the last year has left me with a bar that is not so much low as it is smashed-on-the-ground and therefore easy to clear—but it certainly FEELS like I am Getting Crap Done in various areas of my life.

And yet, between cleaning things and getting work done and spending hours on the phone with the government (that’s… a whole ‘nother story for another time, and it shall be called Medicaid May Actually Be A Unicorn) and Getting Healthy Again (This Time With Feeling) and on and on and so forth, I have been a bit lax about doing some of those… shall we say… elusive “nice things for myself.”

So today, I did. I went out to lunch with a friend! And on my way home I stopped in at a consignment shop where I brought some stuff a looooong time ago, and lo, I had credit to spend, and before I knew what was happening, my “find a sensible black purse” mission had been supplanted by “OOOOH PURPLE!” and I was walking out of there with a “magenta leather” bag I clearly needed to have. LOOK AT ME, being wild and crazy. A purple purse! I may as well dance naked in the pale moonlight! (No, I am not getting out often enough; why do you ask?) [Edited to add: I did some research because I am NOT a Purse Person and was curious what I’d gotten. It’s this Coach Alexandra, from a 2009 (?) line.]

When I picked up Monkey from school, he pointed to my new bag on his seat and said, “What’s that?”

“My new purse!” I said, ever so pleased with myself. “It’s my favorite color!”

“You’re dressed head to toe in your favorite color,” he observed, with a small smirk. This was perplexing, as I’m not wearing any purple today at all. I’m wearing blue jeans and a black shirt. My face must’ve registered my confusion, because with a sweep of his arm, he proclaimed, “BRUISE. Now that you have that bag, the look is complete.”

So, uh, apparently my favorite color is “bruise.” He’s not wrong. (But I did enjoy that hour or so of feeling all sassy before I was schooled….)

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Poor little daft princess

Licorice is having kind of a tough week.

First there was the long holiday weekend, which meant people were home all the time—YAY!—and then strangers were here—BOO! Except FOOD! YAYYY!—and then people were home but the doorbell was ringing a lot.

We’ll never know what Licorice’s life was like before she came to us, but I strongly believe at some earlier point in her development, every time the doorbell chimed, someone kicked this sweet little pup in the face. It’s the only explanation I can think of that justifies the way she loses her ever-lovin’ mind whenever someone comes to the door. She runs in circles and barks her head off and generally has a mighty conniption. (Yes, we’ve taken her to training. Yes, I can get her to shut up and sit down when she’s doing it, but as soon as I stop LOOKING DIRECTLY AT HER she goes back to freaking out, and as I find it kind of funny I haven’t bothered working on it further with her. I know, I’m a terrible, negligent doggy-mama.)

And, see, ’tis the season of Amazon Lightning Deals, which means the UPS guy is here a LOT. Also the FedEx guy, sometimes. (more…)

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To sleep: perchance to dream

First: A thank you, which feels inadequate, but is necessary, because y’all are nice and I love you, man! And I don’t even want your Bud Light. You are all lovely and I appreciate you so much.

Second: Please know that my intention in indulging in a bit of woe-is-me “Why do people DO THAT??” whining is just… venting. Wallowing. Many of you were quick to jump on the SCREW THE BASTARDS train in response—and I get that comes from protectiveness and caring and kindness—but in my logical non-hurty-emotional mind parts I know that in general people do not hurt us on purpose. In specific for the situations I mentioned I know this even more; the people in question are not evil or bad or even (most of the time) inconsiderate. Things happen by accident, sometimes, and people end up wounded. It doesn’t make the folks doing the wounding villains—it makes them human. I get that. Thank you for letting me vent. Now let’s please stop bagging on people for being human.

Third: Here at Casa Mir we have been on a complete spending freeze for months while slogging through getting Chickadee approved for Medicaid on account of that whole “oh God we are going to end up broke and homeless” thing that wasn’t hanging over our heads. And that’s fine and all—it’s not like we got her Medicaid card and then ran out to party or anything—but of course we didn’t realize that wasn’t the end of the story. (more…)

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Making lemonade, darn it. Tampon lemonade!

So when I first shared here about Chickadee’s toiletries being pilfered by her fellow patients, many of you responded with a righteous indignation that brought a little tear to my wounded mama-bear’s eye. Several of you commented or emailed saying “Let us send stuff to them. We want to help.”

And I was touched by your generosity, so I went and mentioned it the person who I assumed was the correct contact at the hospital, and the response was… lukewarm. “It’s not really about the stuff,” was what kept being said. “This is more a matter of boundaries and appropriate behavior.” And yes, it is, but still. Some of these kids arrive at the hospital literally with nothing.

So I kind of tucked my tail between my legs and let it go, but it kept niggling at me. Really, they were going to turn down FREE STUFF for the patients? Really REALLY? And was I going to just let this go instead of doing something? I took a page out of my kids’ playbook and went for broke: I went and asked someone else, pretending I hadn’t already asked and been turned down. And I chose more carefully, this time. And her answer was, “Oh my HECK YES!”

If you want to help, here’s how: (more…)

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In case you want some flowers of your own

This isn’t a real post, because if it was, I would probably be telling more vacation stories, none of which (thankfully) involve further car wreckage.

Nope, this is about the many comments left on yesterday’s post about the flower my dad is sporting on his blazer. When we first learned we would potentially be having an on-the-spot wedding at the Grand Canyon, I felt certain that flowers were required. But real flowers in the Canyon seemed… complicated. So I went to Etsy—as one does—and it was there I discovered the awesome folks at Muncle Fred Art.


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