Greetings from Sin City

I helped Otto put several large pieces of furniture (such as my giant L-shaped desk, which was serving as the world’s jankiest island in our kitchen during the floor install) back into my office once the floor was FINALLY completed at about 9:00 on Monday night.

[Aside: Apparently the installing parent company called with a “courtesy post-project satisfaction survey” and Otto shared that we had not expected installation in a small room to take… nearly 11 hours. He said that the woman on the phone was horrified.]

Was my darling husband hanging shelves and such at 10:00 that night? Yep. But eventually most of the big stuff was back in there and we said “good enough” and collapsed into bed. Then I left the next morning and I am now in Las Vegas with Kira, which is a whole ‘nother story I’ll tell you about soon, because it starts, of course, with me being insufferable during planning, and ends with me being insufferable while walking around our giant hotel and saying not-at-all weird things like “I THINK I SAW THAT RESTAURANT ON CSI ONCE” and “Do ALL the people in the casino look miserable or just the extremely sad people playing slots?” I’m super fun. Also? Otto was all “You should go see the Hoover Dam!” and we are all “Hey, they have alcoholic milkshakes here!” So.

Also please note that Kira’s and my love for one another is an enduring, beautiful thing, especially when our room reservation got screwed up and instead of the two queen beds we SHOULD’ve had, we were given a room with a king bed. “Do you want to be the big spoon or the little spoon?” I asked my longtime friend.

“Touch me while I’m sleeping and you’ll draw back a stump,” she replied, full of the sweetness and adoration I’ve come to enjoy over the years.

While I go figure out how to do Vegas exactly wrong (we are not gambling or sightseeing, but mostly just talking a lot, which I guess we could’ve done anywhere, but definitely nowhere as SHINY as this place), you can check out the latest installment of me blathering about teen driving over at Alpha Mom. Only this time, we tried to make it useful: I made up a driving contract you might find useful. I hope it helps. Also I hope we can figure out how to get out of the hotel today. (It’s good to have goals.)

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Floors, fluffy-buddies, and filth

Hey, remember when I painted my office? Like, a million years ago? And I was all excited about it but then we decided to order new flooring and we’ve been living life with my entire professional life (contents of my office; whatever) strewn all over the dining room and kitchen? The new floor is going in RIGHT NOW as I type. Finally.

Of course, I’m leaving town tomorrow. So, uh, either I’ll reassemble my office tonight before I go or my family can enjoy having my desk in the middle of the kitchen for a few more days. No biggie, right? Right.

Normally I would’ve been terribly impatient about it all, but because life is never dull around here, I’ve been quite busy… cleaning up poop and worrying that Duncan is dying. (Does this seem like a recurring theme? Because wasn’t he just sick a few weeks ago??) Over the last week Duncan was once again kind of lethargic and off and he stopped jumping up on the furniture to be with us and then he started having accidents in the house… and of course it was a holiday weekend so the vet was closed. He didn’t really scare me until the night (on the weekend! of course!) when he refused to get up to come to bed, even, but slept in the crate in the family room all night because he didn’t want to move. I’m not going to lie; I went to bed that night wondering if he was a lot sicker than we thought and maybe the next day would bring a terrible discovery… but… he slept all night and was happy to see us in the morning. After a few bad days he rallied and now he seems to be fine. Stinker. (more…)

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Lessons learned (veggie/college edition)

We returned from our whirlwind campus touring trip with the realization that yes, Virginia, this college thing is truly right around the corner and Big Decisions need to be made. That is both exciting and unnerving. And every time I try to remind myself that everything will work out just fine, I remember that once we get Chickadee through this process I have to start it all over again with Monkey, like, immediately.

Needless to say, we came home and I said “Oh, we don’t have any food!” and went to the store and promptly purchased All The Ice Cream. I think that’s reasonable, under the circumstances.

Also while we were gone, it rained a ton (on the heels of it having been approximately a billion degrees), so my garden is… experiencing growing pains. Specifically, all of my beautiful nearly-ripe tomatoes proceeded to split and in many cases, fall right off the vine. Still, I’m not complaining. Even ugly tomatoes can be turned into delicious tomato sauce.

gardenhaul-063015

This morning’s haul. Those are three types of tomatoes plus Japanese eggplant (and yes, I’m happy to see you, har har).

There was the matter of discovering HALF a tomato dangling from a vine, one day, and that was bizarre (my beds are in a fenced area), but then later that night we let Licorice out and she came back smelling VERY TOMATO-Y and the other half had vanished and, well, SOMEONE is now answering to “rotten tomato-faced thief.”

So clearly I’m no help on the gardening front, but if you’re curious about my take on questions to ask while touring colleges, I’ve got you covered over at Alpha Mom.

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Still recovering, but…

… it’s a good day, y’know? I like rainbows and they seem to be everywhere.

So just a quickie redirect, today: I thought folks would be tired of hearing about teaching a kid to drive, but I got a question about it at Alpha Mom, so check it out if you’re in that stage of life. (Spoiler: No, holding the dashboard with one hand and your face with the other is not the proper driver training position.)

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While we sweat into puddles

Greetings from… somewhere. I’m not sure where we are, right at this moment. We’ve stopped for lunch on a whirlwind Tour Of Campuses and so far we are still speaking to each other and cheerful, so things are going great. This is especially impressive when you consider that it’s currently 90-something and 70-something-percent humidity and we just spent hours tromping around a campus behind a VERY perky young thing who kept asking Chickadee, “Do ya like it? Huh?” (If there is anything Chickadee loves more than melting in the heat, it’s someone asking her repeatedly if she is happy and engaged. I had to stifle a snicker every time it happened. She kept answering, “… yes…?” which was pretty much Chickie-ese for “Please stop talking to me.”)

Anyway. We’ll keep hydrating and touring, and while we do that, you can go over to Alpha Mom and read about my summer rules for teenagers, if you like.

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Hole in the bucket (once more with feeling)

Have I mentioned that I am slightly… er… underemployed at the moment? And how that’s just fine, because I haven’t had a slow period in over a decade, and it’s summer, and we are doing Fun Things and years and years of being completely mentally ill about money mean that I can slack for a little while and we won’t be in financial dire straits or anything? And it’s all good, no problems, what a lovely and much needed break, we just have to be a little more careful and it’s no problem?

Well. I have all this TIME on my hands, now. Time I don’t normally have. Wouldn’t a lull in work be the PERFECT time to paint my office finally? Plus Monkey was going to be away for a while and then Otto went off on a trip and it was just me and Chickadee and, yes, sure, Orange Is The New Black wasn’t going to watch itself, but we finished it in two days (it was the weekend! GIRLS’ WEEKEND with bonding and lesbian prisoners, DUH) and then the following Monday I picked up my special-order, made-from-unicorn-horn-and-fairy-dust paint, and it was time to get down to business. Surely this would be NOTHING like previous DIY projects of snowballing magnitude, right? Right!

Allow me to tell you in words how the pre-painting prep went: I discovered that I have a lot of crap in my office. A LOT OF CRAP. I had a weird giant shelf on the wall that ultimately had to be unbolted and then chiseled off, and I have a giant desk and a filing cabinet and endless bookshelves and a coat rack and and and AND. We emptied most of the office into the dining room, and moved the remaining few big things (desk, futon couch) into the center of the room. It was… not fun, but we got it done. Next up was spackling and sanding. Then I started taping trim while Chickadee removed outlet plates, and that’s when I realized two very important things. (more…)

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Making our own food and entertainment

Here in Georgia it was rainy, rainy, rainy for a while and now the temperature is hovering around 100 all this week. In other words: My garden is going bananas and it’s HOOOOOOOOOT (um, very hot, not hoot) out and I’m getting a little loopy.

Yesterday I went out first thing in the morning to water, and discovered that as soon as the soil was soft, several of my tomato plants wanted to fall over. (They have cages! and stakes! and twine! and yes, I spend more time/energy on those damn tomatoes than my children, but the tomatoes never tell me I’m ruining their lives.) There’s really nothing like wrestling plants into submission at 6:30 in the morning when it’s already 80 degrees and 5 billion percent humidity out, lemme tell you. While I was doing that, I discovered that one of my basil plants was about ready to take over Atlanta, so I cut it down and made a delicious pesto that afternoon.

Of course, while I was prepping the basil, we discovered several stowaways. Ants and weird beetles get smushed, sorry. But it turned out that we had two baby praying mantises (discovered at different times) and those required careful study and filming and transportation back out to nature. Maybe this is only funny to us (we have watched it at least a dozen times and it’s only getting funnier), but first I “ruined” Chickadee’s film, then the mantis did. Bear in mind that this fella is about half an inch long. Enjoy!

Baby Praying Mantis! from woulda on Vimeo.

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Ain’t no party like a clearance sale party

First: THANK YOU to everyone who responded to yesterday’s post. I found it very helpful, and the girlchild read all your responses as well. I love having a collective brain-trust to draw on so that it’s not always just WELL MOM THAT WAS JUST YOU. Turns out that nearly every female I know has a story of Mean Girls Back In The Day, which is sad, but also somewhat validating. So thank you for sharing your stories.

Second: How many posts can I write about shopping at thrift stores? A bunch, it turns out. Especially when I’ve just scored huge at a ridiculous sale. You can check out my latest at Alpha Mom, though it’s less about shopping and more about what my kid teaches me while we do. She’s turning out pretty great, that girl of mine. (And that brand-new Elie Tahari blouse I got for a buck isn’t so bad, either.)

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This is not the post I meant to write

I’m about 700 words into a different post and I realized that wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about. In fact, I realized I don’t want to talk, because I feel like all I do is talk, and the people I have a habit of talking at/to are tuning me out. IMAGINE.

So: I would like YOU to talk, please. LET’S SAY a certain kid is nearing the end of high school and a frenemy situation has reached Maximum Suckitude, where a former friend has extended the expected nastiness and friend-poaching and whispering to maligning this kid’s genuine achievements in addition to just plain being an asshole. LET’S SAY that all of the usual advice—ignore it, smile and be so sickly sweet that the aggressor wonders what you’re up to, align yourself with those who don’t listen to that nasty crap, know that all of this stems from jealousy and low self-esteem and your best karmic move at this point is genuine pity, etc.—is falling on deaf ears. Let’s say this has been going on for years and the latest straw or three is straining the camel’s back to capacity and promises that “this year will fly by and then you’ll never have to deal with this person again” are being met with skepticism.

What do you say to make it more bearable, other than “Yes, this sucks, and it’s unfair, and it will get better very soon but not soon enough”? My tales of high school suckitude giving way to a much improved life in college are being met with “I KNOW” and eye-rolling.

Hit me with your frenemy stories (preferably ones which end with your happiness and their sad, meaningless existences OR heartfelt apologies once they grew up a little) so that I may demonstrate this is a universal experience and somehow, we survive and thrive anyway. Please and thank you.

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I’m a disgrace

My favorite thing about writing for Alpha Mom is the occasional, drive-by, years-after-the-original-post which is always—and I do mean ALWAYS—someone who wants to tell me that I’m an insult to humanity and irrevocably screwing up my children. You have to have a pretty thick skin if you put yourself out there (which is something I didn’t always have, true) but the random general “U SUCK!” comments don’t even count. I find myself wondering what makes a person think “This is very important that I tell this person how displeasing and wrong I find them. I shall do it right now, for it cannot wait and takes precedence over any other matter in my life. However, I should be very conservative with my use of letters, as they are a precious resource.”

Because my life is lacking in meaning and direction… er, I mean, because I am filled with hubris and also because it’s my job (and also, my poor terrorized children think it’s HILARIOUS that I sometimes give parenting advice on the Internet), our new teenage-problems advice column has a second installment up over at Alpha Mom. This time I’m tackling homework wars, particularly when special needs are part of the mix. Not that I would know anything about that. My perfect children always complete their homework with joy and laser-like focus, largely due to my superior skills as a parent.

Please remit “U SUCK”s at your earliest convenience.

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