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Some days I have a ton of work to do, deadlines coming out of my ears, and also there is laundry to be done and the kitchen is a mess and the dog needs a bath and my children are needy in various ways, and because I am a professional and also a master of life balance I look around and say, “Screw it. Let’s go pick strawberries.”

So we do.


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A couple of elsewheres

Back before it became clear that we were all supposed to spend this week pondering the fragility of life and/or the enigma that is the human brain (with its capacity for both great evil and kindness), I wrote some other stuff. I’ll grant you that it doesn’t seem quite so important right now, but it’s what I’ve got. (Other things I’ve got: a sick kid, an almost-birthday-kid whose only request is a flourless chocolate cake, no groceries or ingredients for said cake unless I get off my ass and out of my pajamas, seven OMGSOITCHY fire ant bites, and several real-life pseudo-crises I wasn’t planning on having this week which are demanding my attention. Considering the options, a couple of other posts seemed like the nicest thing I could give you.)


Did you know that Friday is the 2013 Day of Silence? Your favorite teen may clam up for the day, and on BlogHer I’m telling you why.

Although I don’t expect it to strike quite as many chords as my first post (you people have strong opinions about marching band!), this week on Alpha Mom I’m suggesting low-tech solutions for teens managing anxiety. (Psssst! They work for adults, too.)

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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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The house still smells like bacon

I keep waiting for something BIG and EXCITING to happen, possibly because I’m still in the pinch-me-I’m-dreaming phase of delicious normality. The reality is that life has been mundane and I am not complaining. I am just… perplexed. Surely one of us is about to come down with Ebola, or the next time we run out of milk and I drive to the store, my car will burst into flames. I mean, that’s… just sort of how my life goes, no?

Well—hang on, I have to knock on some wood, throw some salt over my shoulder, and perform a rather complicated ritual with the tchotchkes on my desk—right now, things go pretty boring. It rocks.

Of course, Monkey would tell you that things have NOT been boring. Things have been TERRIBLE because he has been DEPRIVED OF FRIEND TIME while Lemur’s family was sick. It was AWFUL and he nearly DIED of LONELINESS. Apparently none of the rest of us were interesting enough to keep him alive. (more…)

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Broccoli + plumbing = small-scale havoc

First of all, thank you for all of the color suggestions and stories and cautions in the last post. I posted that all, “Yellow?” and what your feedback told me was that I needed to put down the crack pipe, as the odds of me selecting a suitable yellow were somewhere between slim and none. Alert (and pretty) commenter Elizabeth said something about full-spectrum paints and I immediately emailed her all “WHAT IS THIS PAINT YOU SPEAK OF?” and with her help I then fell into the deep, expensive rabbit hole of Ellen Kennon paints. Eventually I emerged, bleary-eyed, with a passel of samples on order. We’ll see how it works out.

[For the curious: At the moment I am enchanted by a color called Oasis, which is described on the site as: “… a darker version of Gustavian Grey (Ethereal Mists Color) which crosses that fine line between blue and green. Therefore, it is both healing and soothing, yet rejuvenating.” We’ll see if I like the sample as much as I liked it in the virtual room-painter thingie on the screen. Also the bathroom off my office is painted dark burgundy and now I’m all I GUESS I NEED TO PAINT THE BATHROOM, TOO and hello, they also make a paint called RAINBOW FOG, which: obviously. Is “full spectrum” just marketing hype? Probably. But I spend most of my life in this room and I want LIIIIIIIIGHT. Hello, my name is Sucker.]

Anyway. That’s the paint. But yesterday, there was cooking! And plumbing! And the intersection of the two, kind of. (more…)

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Before the pollen: do all the things

In New England, March was always a month to bitch and moan about how spring was clearly NEVER going to arrive. Or there would be a couple of freak 70-something-degree days in amongst the snow storms. I still remember the year we got two feet of snow on April Fool’s Day, and with Chickie’s birthday being in the middle of April, every year it was a waiting game to see if we could have a party outside or not. One year the day of her party dawned warm and sunny, but I still had to go out into the yard with a shovel and break up an iceberg that hadn’t quite gotten the memo about the weather.

In Georgia, March is a mix of warm and cold, though “cold” is relative, of course. We’ll have a bunch of perfect, temperate days where everyone flocks to the outdoors, because by May it’ll be too hot, and April is the Month Of Pollen. For most of April, everything will be covered in a yellow-green powder that turns to thick sludge each time it rains. We are not yet in the “hey, the air is chewy” stage, but it’s time to break out the daily allergy meds and it’s only a matter of time.

Naturally, this means it’s time to Do Stuff and Clean Things because my allergy meds make me hyper AND because I lose the will to live once we start drowning in pollen. (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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Back to real life

One of the things I love about doing a play is that it completely lifts me out of my regular existence of largely being a hermit, spending my days alone at the computer, spending my evenings with Monkey and Otto and then vegetating on the couch in front of some truly horrible television programming. [Sidebar: So now that we all know that Storage Wars is fake you’d think we’d stop watching it. You’d think we would remove it and Storage Wars Texas from our DVR. You would not think that we would continue popping popcorn and plunking ourselves down to watch these shows every week like they were solid entertainment, but you would be wrong, because… ummmm… yeah, I got nothing. I like popcorn? Yes.]

It’s good for me to pretend to be a social person. By the time we get to show week, we’re all cruising along on adrenaline, and I gamely pop in my contact lenses and spackle my face every night and head out to spend the evening with a fabulous group of women. And I love every minute of it. I keep finding myself thinking WHY DON’T I DO THIS MORE OFTEN?

And then the show ends and I come down with some sort of Mystery Exhaustion Virus and I remember why I don’t: I’m a delicate flower. (more…)

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Road to nowhere

Is there anything better than a Saturday? We can sleep in! We have the whole day to do… whatever! But if you are Otto, the only thing that’s better than a random Saturday is the Saturday when the Camper and RV show is in town. Woooooo!

Um. What? You don’t get all excited for the Camper and RV show? It’s EXCITING!

[Full disclosure: It is not terribly (read: at all) exciting to me. But it is VERY exciting to Otto, and generally the kids enjoy it as well. Fancy campers have a variety of interesting things inside of them, and that’s in addition to the number of small spaces where one determined Monkey-child might wedge himself and then holler “I BET YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM!” Also, it’s an entire expo thing, which means there’s food. And one of the booths there sells CAKE! A slice is as big as a child’s head. I know some children who really enjoy cake. Me, I really enjoy Otto. I don’t think I’d ever, say, head to the Camper and RV show all on my own, but I am happy to go to make Otto happy, and also because he is adorable when he sees something he finds intriguing.]

So! We got up! We ate breakfast! We made ourselves presentable and then we got in the car and headed Atlantaward. “How long will it take to get there?” asked Monkey.

“About an hour,” answered Otto, and that’s when the ominous, foreshadowing music would’ve started up, if only we hadn’t been busy listening to “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” (more…)

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Sorry, I’ve been cleaning

It’s a funny thing about putting one foot in front of the other; it works just fine until you get to a point where you realize you can only keep doing it if you shut out everything else. Then you put one foot in front of the other with your fingers in your ears and your eyes closed and people look at you funny.

So that’s what I’ve been doing since last Friday. I’m still doing it, to some extent. My parents are here, which is fantastic, but there is now some question of whether Chickadee is coming home for Christmas, as she has managed to come down with a mighty case of The Crud at precisely the wrong time. I maybe didn’t realize how badly I need to see her until it became possible that I wouldn’t, and that on top of everything else… well, it’s just been a long week (hello, understatement).

So mostly I’ve been vacuuming and dusting and scrubbing. Also, I’m over at Feel More Better, talking about not talking about it. I’m still feeling a little unsteady, but my house is really clean.

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