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Hello yes hi we are alive

A very patient reader pointed out over on the Facebook page that I never updated after the last post (about Chickadee being in the hospital). I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to be a giant jerkface, but it just happens naturally, I guess. So, to clarify:

1) I suck.
2) Chickie was in the hospital for 5 days and then was released to us.
3) She is feeling a billion and twelve percent better than she did during the acute phase which landed her in the hospital.
4) She does, however, still have mono, which means…
5) … she sleeps roughly 16 hours/day, and…
6) … she had to resign from her summer job, and…
7) … her liver is still Not Happy and being tested every couple of weeks, and…
8) … she is well enough to do things she likes but not well enough to unload the dishwasher, okay??

We are getting on each others’ nerves but she is recovering. And I will take squabbles about the dishes all summer long over literally carrying my child into the ER because she’s too sick to walk. So. Practical take: Also let us not forget that timing-wise this was pretty much best case scenario; if she’d gotten sick earlier in the semester it would’ve been catastrophic. Opportunity to torment our child take: Jokes about who your kid was swapping spit with while away at college never get old!

So that’s that. Everyone lived and the folks at the hospital were great, but we sure are glad to be home. (more…)

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Whoops

So it’s been about a month since I wrote here. Honestly, it only felt like a couple of weeks, which is weird, because in our new dystopian reality, every single day feels like a month, lately. Still, I knew I’d been remiss when my father called me to make sure I was still alive. When I go Dad-wondering-if-I-still-exist many days between writing, that’s when I’ve been a jerk. Er, a bigger jerk than normal.

Hi, Dad! I’m alive!

This is the part where I tell you how thrilling my life has been that I just haven’t had a SINGLE MOMENT to come here and detail it for you, what with the EXCITEMENT and DIRE IMPORTANCE of it all. And I would totally do that if I’d been doing anything that fit that criteria, but still I am mostly reading news, listening to news, and waiting for the sky to fall. Turns out that that takes up a crazy amount of time.

A few other things have happened in the interim as well, but mostly the news-and-panicking stuff. And baking. DON’T FORGET THE BAKING, because the only thing better than being certain that the world is ending is being certain that the world is ending but you probably should have some cookies, first.

And so I present to you a brief summary of the Very Exciting Things Which Happened of the last month or so: (more…)

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Let’s give ’em something to taco ’bout…

Today’s the day, people. We made it. Election Day! Now we all just have to make it to tomorrow, sans heart attacks. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….

In the meantime, may I remind you that it’s Tuesday? As in… TACO TUESDAY.

I can think of no better Tuesday in the history of (wo)mankind to well and fully commit to Taco Tuesday. Can you?

I’ve got your taco recipes right here, in case you need some inspiration. Until there’s a taco truck on every corner, you can just make yours at home, I guess. Enjoy!

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Batten down those dryer sheets

Welcome to another episode of, “Well hello there, I am not in fact dead, I have just been busy elsewhere and also I suck.” I have baked things for Nerd Night! I have fitted one hundred smelly teenagers for band uniforms! (That’s not a slam; we do fittings during practice and they’re practicing outside and it’s hot and seriously, please send air freshener.) I have Cleaned Things and Dealt With Broken Things and said “let me know how I can help” and actually meant it, which means I have been doing lots of things which are probably uninteresting to anyone other than the folks I am helping, but whatever.

Chickadee is loving college. Monkey is loving his time on our local campus, too, and this week submitted his last college application (!!!), meaning that now we just sit back and wait and see what happens. I feel like both kids were young- and middle-teens with various issues and that time period stretched out in whatever the opposite of dog years would be; each of those hard years seemed to last at least a decade, while I wondered if we would ever be through it. Now that they are both upper-teens and doing well, time is going WOOSH right past us in a blur. It’s early to submit applications, for example, but if I blink, we’ll be at graduation. So.

My darling daughter was already slated to take a trip home this weekend, meaning I’d be seeing her for the first time in a month (not counting FaceTime…), and I was like a kid counting down to Christmas morning. She’d finish class at 2:00 and get her stuff and be home before dinner! SO GREAT! And then—I don’t know if you’ve heard that there’s a hurricane trying to eat the southeastern US right now?—the phone rang before 6:00 this morning and it was a robocall letting us know that classes were canceled for the day due to the storm. Which: thanks? Instead of waiting for dinnertime, my (supposedly) fully functional adult child stumbled into my office around 9:30, still in her pajamas, with a car full of laundry, and yay for her being home ahead of the storm. BUT I DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW THIS BEFORE DAWN. Also when you see that it is 1) way too early and 2) the caller ID says it’s your kid’s college calling, that has a way of making you (me) release all the adrenaline in the world while you steel for Terrible News, and then when it turns out to be a robocall, you might be kind of angry. And jumpy. Because adrenaline.

All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Except the laundry, because that’s never going to end. (No, she hasn’t done laundry at school even once. In a whole month. I KNOW.)

While I was off doing other things, I did write a couple of posts over at Alpha Mom. First, I am admitting that my neuroses about my career choices and salary know no bounds, and then yesterday I answered a reader question about transitioning from homeschooling to public school. You could go read those while I fold laundry, if you wanted.

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Back to the grind

Otto has this thing about asking me how my day was. I mean, he really wants to know, I’m sure. But he asks when he gets home and he often asks at dinner and sometimes he asks when we sit down on the couch later to watch TV, and he almost always asks again when we turn out the light and get into bed at night. It’s endearing the first fifty-seven thousand times. Last night when he asked me for the third time that evening I snapped, “YOU ALREADY ASKED ME THAT” both because I’m a terrible person AND because half the time, I have no freaking clue how my day was. How was my day? What did I do all day? WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE???

I don’t think this is a kid-away-at-college thing. I think this is a Mir-is-a-somewhat-disorganized-dumbass thing. I do a certain amount of work each day, of course, but then I also find myself saying things like “Oh, I went grocery shopping!” like that’s some sort of major achievement. Um. Yay me? Yes, we have orange juice and a fresh loaf of bread! TRULY I AM A MARVEL! And if I manage to both do laundry AND put it away, well, I don’t require a standing ovation or anything, but if you must….

Summer was flying by the seat of our pants. Now that school is back in session, I’m trying to get us back on schedule. I’ve found that making dinner sacred again (you know, around marching band and everything else…) is usually a good anchor, so to that end, I’m over at Alpha Mom sharing my 10 Commandments of Drama-Free School Night Dinners. If you must know, last night we had chicken chili (made in the crock pot, natch), the leftovers of which will be nachos later this week. Tonight we’re having savory (gluten-free) cheddar buckwheat waffles topped with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, and onions in a white wine reduction. I can’t swear that cooking dinner is the reason my family still puts up with me, but I have my suspicions.

Tonight when Otto asks how my day was, I’ll reply with grace and love, “It was delightful. Shut up and eat your fancy waffles.”

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I just wanted a fridge cart

Chickadee leaves for college in two weeks, in case you’re counting. I was counting, for quite a while there—I was counting down until a wonderful, mythical day when ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER as we worked through that less-than-halcyon time when your college-bound teenager suddenly morphs into a prickly, cranky, spoiled brat. I hear this is perfectly normal, and that my reaction of wanting to strangle her with my bare hands was also normal. That time came, and went, and now we are just finishing getting her ready and enjoying each others’ company. And realizing we are going to miss each other. A lot. So part of me wishes we were back in that place where everything was an argument, because emotions are stupid.

Anyway.

We all know I shopped for a solid year, seems like, making sure that my kid would have everything she could possibly need for her tiny dorm room for the next year. I was mostly-done months ago, and she and her roomies have collaborated and negotiated and everything has been worked out. We’ve had a mini-fridge—given to us by a generous friend whose kid no longer needs it—forever. The roommate is bringing a microwave. Perfect. And then I made the mistake of reading one of those lists of THINGS YOU MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN BUT YOUR COLLEGE FRESHMAN TOTALLY NEEDS MORE THAN OXYGEN kinds of lists, and it featured a fridge cart. You know, a little wheeled metal cube with mesh storage drawers and a wood top, perfectly sized to hold a dorm-size fridge. Dishes and snacks fit in the cart, it keeps the fridge off the floor and expands your storage, etc.

I thought I was done shopping, but I saw this thing and decided Chickie needed one. (Me: “Do you want a fridge cart?” Her: “A what, now?”) And because I am me, it turned into An Adventure. (more…)

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Not dead! But still disappointing!

If you’ve been feeling let down because I haven’t been writing here much this summer, know that you’re in good company—most of my family is annoyed with me as well. First I received a phone call from my father asking me if I was still alive, and if so, if everything was alright, because “when you don’t blog for more than a week I get worried.”

Next, I received a text from my eldest (who was in the next room at the time), because although she will happily walk miles to catch Pokemon, apparently ungluing her ass from the couch to speak to me in person is too much effort.

12-days-no-blog

I guess what I’m saying is: If you’re bothered, get in line. But I’m well aware that I suck. So! A brief(ish) (lies) summary of what’s been happening in my life since we last spoke, and it’s going to be SCINTILLATING, I’m sure. (more…)

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#*%^(! squirrels, man

Hey, remember last year, how the squirrels got into my tomatoes for the first time in forever, and I had unfairly blamed Licorice for a while before I figured it out, and then it became clear that the squirrels were just looking for water?

Good times. And by “good,” I of course mean “rage-inducing.” By the end of the summer we’d already used up all of the tomato sauce I’d made, on account of having only made a few pitiful batches. Most of my tomatoes were stolen.

Well. THIS YEAR would be different. Sure, it was dry out for a while, but then it rained for, like, a week straight. NO PROBLEM! Those pesky squirrels wouldn’t need to decimate my tomatoes, right? HA. HAHA. MY OPTIMISM IS CHARMING AND DELUSIONAL.

squirreled-tomato

This specimen comes from the lone box up on the porch, the ONE plant I thought would remain undisturbed. And yesterday when Otto went out to let Licorice into the dog run, a squirrel chattered at him from INSIDE THE BOX and then dropped this and scampered away. Fucker. (Note the companion jalapeño which was sampled and discarded. I hope it gave him heartburn.)

In conclusion, I have no idea how to reliably keep squirrels out of my garden and I am cranky about it. On the other hand, I have lots of suggestions on how to take care of your marriage while life gets in the way, which is only because 1) life is always getting in the way, 2) life is less annoying that squirrels, and 3) Otto is the best and my favorite.

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Weirdest summer ever

I had grand plans for this summer. I did. This is the Last Summer, our last chance to operate as a family unit of 4 (if you believe the books with titles like Letting Your College Freshman Go and Once They Leave They’re Gone; Whoops! Just Kidding! They’re Back and Still Ungrateful and It’s Perfectly Normal: Why Your Child Becomes an Asshole Before Moving Out) and Do Things.

Except. Well, hey, we’re Doing Things. Many things. ALL THE THINGS! Just… not so much as a family unit, it seems. Everyone’s working. None of our schedules seem to sync up. When we finally have a day when no one has to go do anything, we retreat to separate corners of the house, doing our own things. (For me: quietly, without talking to other humans. For the kids: sometimes talking to their friends, but definitely not to us parents.) Eventually Otto coaxes the rest of us out with promises of ice cream, but it’s not exactly the picture of family togetherness ’round here at the moment, is my point.

Otto was all “We can do it! We can take a vacation! Let me just look at the calendar!” And the only time he could come up with was, like, 36 hours in-between two other things. He insisted that would be great. Um. Maybe not?

I’m sure everything is really great and fantastic, actually, I am just cranky because I’m tired. (more…)

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Things we do

Summer is in full swing! I know this because 1) it is hot and sticky outside and 2) I spend a fair amount of my life wondering why I don’t have more time now that school is out and DEAR GOD WHY AM I STILL PACKING LUNCHES??

Ahem.

So some things have changed, and others remain maddeningly the same.

In no particular order, here are some of the things our family now does:

Update the calendar in the kitchen. Remember how summer is relaxed and easier? HAHAHAHAAAAAAA nope. My school-year routine is to take down the calendar on the first of the month and fill it in, but now that both of my children have jobs with variables, we seem to be spending a lot more time filling things in and wondering when there is time to do various other things. Also I apparently need to make sure that my daughter sees every doctor in the world before she leaves for college, because it’s important to refill prescriptions/get new contact lenses/have a meningitis booster shot/get teeth cleaned/etc. before you move to a different planet. (Okay FINE, she’s going to be less than 2 hours away. Details.) Also let us not forget that now we have to record things like Chickie’s school breaks (never at the same time as Monkey/Otto’s school breaks, natch) as well as trying to coordinate her being available to come home for things like her brother’s Senior Night and such. Fun!

Fight over who gets to do laundry when. We used to have a system, man. It worked. There are only 4 of us, so it’s not like it should be complicated. But for some reason now everyone runs out of clean socks at the same time and starts bellowing about how THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I HAVE TO DO THIS (except me; I’m flexible, but the kids, not so much). Oddly enough—try to contain your shock—no one is interested in fighting over who gets the privilege of unloading the dishwasher. Weird. (more…)

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