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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Attack of the giant toddlers

Come closer, so that I can share a great secret of the universe. I just figured it out, because I’m brilliant, and so naturally the next logical step is to share it with all of my closest friends on the Internet.

Here it is: Teenagers are a lot easier to deal with when you realize they are just overgrown toddlers. (I KNOW. I was super impressed with me, too.)

Over at Alpha Mom, I’m expounding on this great revelation, because my teens may be LOOKING more like adults, but their behavior is giving me deja vu.

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Sometimes I am a delightful jerkface

I think I have discussed here before a certain… shall we say… philosophy difference in parenting between myself and my children’s father. Said difference manifests in a hundred different ways, but one of the most frustrating for me has been—and mind you, we’ve been divorced for ELEVEN FREAKING YEARS—this pervasive feeling that, as the custodial parent, I do most of the “hard” stuff and he gets to do the “fun” stuff. This is not a problem unique to us, of course. But as someone who really enjoys giving gifts to people I love, it has been a small but sharp point of contention all this time that I’ve essentially been unable to give “good” gifts to the kids since the split. Because the other person in this equation 1) buys stuff for them constantly and 2) is willing to spend way, WAY more money than I am.

This is perhaps a silly thing to get annoyed about, and I know that, too. Also, things have changed over the years, and that whole mythical “figuring out some basic truths about the way different people move through the world” thing that everyone told me would eventually come to pass is happening now, and so the sting of “I never get to be the hero” has lessened, of course. Still: Every electronic or “big” treasured thing my children own did not come from Otto and me. And that’s fine, but it can make occasions worthy of present-giving kind of challenging.

It’s fun to give someone something that makes them happy. I like to make my children happy. Lord knows I don’t get a lot of opportunities to balance out the “WHY ARE THERE DIRTY SOCKS ON THE COUCH?” and “ARE YOU TRYING TO FAIL THIS CLASS OR CAN YOU JUST NOT BE BOTHERED?” moments. (more…)

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Sing it with me

Being an adult is complicated, man. While I appreciate that I don’t have to ask anyone if I feel like having ice cream for dinner (this IS the marvelous future I imagined!), there are other aspects of adulthood I don’t relish quite so much.

Like, the older I become, the more I realize I’m responsible for my own behavior, regardless of how anyone else has behaved towards me. In a word: BUMMER.

Teaching these lessons to my kids feels a bit Sisyphean. Today I’m over at Alpha Mom, talking about what respect really means, and how much it’s not about the other person. It turns out that sometimes other people are jerkfaces, and that doesn’t entitle us to be jerkfaces right back. Weird, right?

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Almost like a horror movie

Last night Otto and I were lying in bed after a very long day. Usually that’s when we have our best conversations, you know—side by side in the dark, chatting about nothing and everything just before we drift off for the night. But on those long, hard days, we just kind of sink into the silence and both try to pretend sleep is coming.

“Well,” I said, finally, desperate to find a bright spot before the inevitable next few hours of insomnia, “at least spring is coming! Listen to all of those peepers!”* It was true, the frog symphony outside was impressive, given how chilly it’s been. If I closed my eyes and emptied my head, it sounded like it was almost summer. “It’s weird there’s so many, already,” I continued, “when it’s been so cold.”

“Yeah,” agreed Otto. My conversational opening had been scintillating, clearly.

We continued listening, and then… it stopped. I don’t mean it trailed off, I mean one minute there was PEEPpeepPEEPPEEPpeepPEEP and the next minute: dead silence.

“What happened?” I said, my voice dropping to a whisper without conscious intention. “Why’d they stop? Why did they ALL stop? That’s weird, right?”

Poor Otto, he just wanted to sleep and he had no idea he’d married a neurotic frog detective.

“Maybe there’s a BEAR!” I said. “Do bears eat frogs? Are frogs afraid of bears??”

“Maybe there’s a feral neighborhood cat,” Otto answered, with a sigh. That made more sense, I guess. Still, that transition from cacophony to silence was unnerving. Then again, I pretty much find everything unnerving these days. “One time,” Otto murmured, rolling over, “we were home… and there was a BEAR!”

That made me laugh. And one by one, the peepers started up again.

*If you’re a city slicker or otherwise confused by “peepers”, they sound like this.

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Dear kids: don’t read this one

Today over at Alpha Mom I’m sharing the naked truth about keeping romance alive when you have teenagers. Spoiler: It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be (and not in a “that’s what she said” kind of way, either). This would be a good time for nosey children of mine who like to read my blog to NOT go read that particular post. Consider yourselves warned.

By way of apology, I offer you this picture of my breakfast.

(They let me eat about half of it.)

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Gravity sucks

I’m having one of those “Oh, we are getting older and saggier and falling apart” sorts of weeks. To wit: I finally got my hair cut! It looks great! But I’m astounded anew by how gray it is. (Does that seem weird? I didn’t so much get my hair trimmed as I had it… de-bushed. Thinned/textured/layered, so that after the cut it was the same length as before but there was half as much of it. And for some reason the gray seems more prominent now. Because OLD.

Fortunately I am saved from feeling completely decrepit by the fact that Otto just got a new pair of glasses, and for the first time he’s gotten progressive lenses. His new frames are adorable—he’s always adorable, so that wasn’t hard—but he’s still getting used to to the lenses, so he spends a lot of time adjusting his head this way and that, and somehow watching him do that (okay, fine, laughing at him while he does that) is helping me to feel less old. Because at least I don’t have confusing glasses.

If I were smoother, now there would be a great segue here to encourage you to check out this this round-up of healthy dessert recipes I did for Alpha Mom, but all I can say is that there used to be a time when I could just eat an entire box of cookies and not gain an ounce, and that time… is long past. So now I have to be a little more judicious with my choices (without giving up dessert).

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The only constant is change

Scintillating life development this week: I went to make myself a haircut appointment—as the weather warms up, my hair has begun to expand accordingly—and discovered that my last cut was… last April. Granted, I’ve been growing my hair out more or less ever since I stopped dying it and cut it all off a couple of years ago, but still. The fact that I went almost an entire year without so much as a trim is an excellent metaphor for the year in general. Don’t worry, I’m getting it cut on Thursday. For my next trick, I may even remember to have my teeth cleaned.

Anyway. While I’m busy indulging in self-care (HAHAHAHAAAA) I’m also thinking about my kids’ futures (because why not). I can take care of the haircuts and dental hygiene and whatever, but I would really like it if society would stop telling them they have to figure out the rest of their lives before they turn 18. I’m grumbling about it over at Alpha Mom, because that’s what I do. You know, between haircuts.

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Happy accidents and small heart attacks

When I last left you, I was talking about furniture and how my dogs are disgusting. This is perfect, because today I am happy to report that we have furniture and my dogs are slightly less disgusting but still super-stressful, because I am never happy unless something I love causes me anguish. HAHAHA.

Anyway! The new furniture was delivered on Monday, and the first piece off the truck looked wrong. After checking over the paperwork and discussing it with the (very nice) delivery guy, it was determined that yes, in fact, we had ordered a love seat with a center console (you know, a compartment for remote controls and built-in cup holders, because we are nothing if not lazy) but they had shipped us a regular love seat, instead. We’d waited all this time and they sent us the wrong thing! Such first-world problem-having! No matter, they said to keep the wrong piece until they could get us the right one. So sweet of them. And then… once all the pieces were in place (it’s a sectional setup, composed of a couch, corner unit, and love seat) it became clear that if the love seat was any bigger it would be Too Much. Our family room isn’t that large, the new furniture is very… floofy (totally a real thing). So! Yay for the wrong thing that turned out to be right!

Also there has been no stealth-puking from the pups lately (as far as we know…), but a couple of days ago Duncan became decidedly wobbly. This was concerning. I discovered he had an ear infection and began treating that, but yesterday morning he was having so many tremors and so much trouble standing that I was sure he was having a prolonged seizure. We knew Duncan was sickly when we adopted him but I AM NOT READY YET, let’s just say that. Fortunately the vet suggested he may just be really struggling with his arthritis, and gave us some anti-inflammatories to try, and today Duncan is 1000% better. Phew. MAH BAYBEE.

So! Life continues to never be dull. While I was away dealing with all of that and working and such, I also took to Alpha Mom and wrote my most controversial blog post yet. (Hint: It’s about beets. People have strong feelings about beets.) And then after I finished eating my beets (mmmm… beets), I wished I could save my teens from friendship woes with some sort of Borg mind-meld. Still working on figuring that one out.

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A brief (yet disgusting) interlude

For Christmas this past year, sometime in October Otto and I gazed lovingly into one another’s eyes and decided to forego traditional gift buying for each other to instead embark upon the most romantic of journeys… replacing our family room furniture. Truly, we are an inspirational model of “keeping the flame alive” to couples everywhere.

Although we have worked through our home bit by bit, making it OURS (as opposed to THEIRS—in the case of layers of wallpaper and paint left us by the previous owners—or MINE and HIS as begat by various legacies of our pre-marriage artifacts), the family room—the main hanging-out room in our house—remained a mish-mash of blended family remnants. Otto brought The Man Couch into our marriage, and although it is brown and ugly, it is very comfortable. I, in turn, brought the Other Furniture in this room, a pretty love seat and easy chair/ottoman combo (from a former rarely-used living room) which aren’t uncomfortable, really, but are showing signs of wear now that they host energetic non-adults and small dogs with too-long nails on the regular.

So: Furniture for Christmas. Which really meant, furniture when we could get around to it. (more…)

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