Mama Grizzly mode, activated

I wanted to share a picture of Chickadee’s shoes on her first day of the semester, because for those of you who’ve stuck around for a long time, shoe pictures and the first day of school are a tradition ’round here, and this would’ve been a very significant picture, because… it will be the last one (at least for a good long while, anyway). Because—I hope you’re sitting down, people who started reading here when my darling Chickie-pie was 6 years old and sassy beyond her years—my once tiny and chirpy firstborn is graduating from college in just a few months. Graduating. From. College.

It’s okay, take a minute. I know I need to, every single time I say it out loud.

Anyway, that was… a month ago, and it never happened, because first she was all “Why?” and “You’re the worst” and “Fine, LATER” and then eventually when she texted me a picture she also told me I had to edit it before I could use it. You see, she was wearing booties and a pair of cropped pants and you could see a few specks of rash (remember The Rash Chronicles? GOOD TIMES THAT NEVER END) between the two and eventually I just gave up and never posted the picture. But trust me, she’s adorable. Except I have begged her to throw those shoes away multiple times because they’re falling apart, and I even bought her a replacement pair, which is sitting in her room upstairs here instead of in her apartment, so I guess that’s why she’s not wearing them. Whatever. Now it’s mid-September and no one cares about my kid’s shoes, I know. Which is fine, because that’s not even what I want to tell you about. (more…)

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If you give a Mir a basement

If you give a Mir a house with a basement, eventually the basement will experience catastrophic flooding, and everything will be terrible, and she will be sad and rent a dumpster and throw away tons and tons of ruined things.

If she throws away tons of stuff, you’d think it would be easy the next year to pack up what’s left and move 1,000 miles away, but—amazingly—she still has a ton of stuff and it takes forever.

If it takes forever, once she moves she will actually be relieved to end up buying a house which has no basement at all, because no basement means she cannot 1) fill it with stuff or 2) experience any sort of flooding.

If she doesn’t have a basement, she’ll just fill up the attic! And the spare closets in her son’s room! And the regular closets! And also the master bedroom! (more…)

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Back and even productive

My favorite thing to do after a trip—by which I mean, the thing I most often do just because I am a poor planner and also lazy—is to come home and swear at least twice a day that I’m going to unpack in just a little bit. I mean, I don’t want to brag, or anything, but I have been known to leave my suitcase in the corner of the room, untouched, for up to a month. And really, I thought that was what would happen this time, too. Somehow, though, I was both so buoyed from our trip AND so excited to return home to my dogs and my own bed (is there anything better than that first night back in your own comfy bed after being away?) that I came down with a bad case of Adultitis.

Digression: We had boarded the dogs along our route, so after packing up a gajillion things into our car yesterday morning (that’s only a slight exaggeration, as we’re the only ones close enough to drive this time, which meant we had all the food leftovers, and also somehow quite a lot of booze), we needed to kill a little time between rental checkout and pickup time at the kennel. We drove to an adjoining town where there is a 100% gluten-free crêperie and I capped off the five pounds I gained last week (not even kidding, also don’t even care because #worthit) in style. Then we headed homeward, stopping to get the dogs.

Licorice, as per usual, lost her goddamn tiny walnut-sized mind because CLEARLY we had abandoned her and were never coming back, yet here we were and OMGSOEXCITING and there was a lot of barking and prancing and licking. Duncan, on the other hand, was all “Oh, hey” nonchalance, which I suppose I’ll take over what happened at drop-off, which… involved a mop. Ahem. (more…)

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And then we went on vacation

You may or may not recall that every few years my father and stepmother gather up their collective children and grandchildren and take us all somewhere to sit around eating ourselves silly and telling embarrassing stories about the past. It’s magical. My little nuclear family missed the last trip (which was three years ago) for Reasons and so this is our first time all together in five years. In preparation I went back and read my posts from the very first trip, which was a cruise, so it was fresh in my mind that when the cousins first met, Gerber had just turned one, Banana was a painfully shy preschooler, Chickadee was in middle school, and Monkey was—though we didn’t know it at the time—ten and about to have a really tough year. (And if you’ve been reading here forever, allow me to blow your mind by pointing out that now when we sit around and play cards at night, Chickadee drinks with us—legally!—and Monkey had to request time off from work and also trim his beard before we left. Yeah.) So when we arrived this time, Banana remembered us but is now a nearly-13-year-old gazelle who is entirely unaware of how beautiful she is and huffs and rolls her eyes at everything her mother dares to say or do, and Gerber is now the age Monkey was on the first trip, tall and enthusiastic and impish and remembering us not at all. I told Gerber that the first time we met, he wasn’t even walking yet and Chickie carried him all over the cruise ship with a pocket full of Cheerios, popping them into his mouth whenever he got fussy, and his eyes got big and he laughed and laughed.

All of this is to say: It is a Very Good Thing we’re doing this now, because I think I didn’t even know how much I needed it. (more…)

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How to spend all your money without really trying

Whoops, I left another one of those long gaps, huh? I didn’t mean to. I’ve just been so busy crying, you see. [Sidebar: EVERYTHING IS FINE. It’s so fine, it’s all-caps fine. I have to keep reminding myself of this. EVERYTHING IS FINE.]

When I last left you, my awesome rainbow chairs were finished, but also so was our fridge. I was trying to just go with it, you know? Because the rainbow rockers truly are awesome. (In fact, they’re so awesome, recently a gruff, busy-on-his-cell-phone UPS man embodying every stereotype you might imagine came up the walkway, saw the chairs, and when I greeted him at the door, grinned and said, “Those chairs are AMAZING.” God bless you, UPS man. You are, as the kids say, lit.) And the new fridge is lovely, what with its ability to keep food cold and everything. So it’s all really fine and my particular mental illness about spending large amounts of money would just have to cool it, because everything was fine.

And then Chickadee came home for a few days so that I could shuttle her back and forth to some specialist appointments in Atlanta (because parenting doesn’t end at 21, especially if your supposedly-adult child is afraid to drive in the city), and THAT was all fine, except for the pretzels. (more…)

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Win some, lose some (paint some, replace some)

Oh my goodness, it’s been a week. Or two weeks. I’m not even sure. It all starts to blend together, you know?

When last we spoke, I was enthusiastically embarking upon Project Rainbow, or—more specifically—the “simple” task of repainting the rockers from our front porch with some actual rainbows, and although it was slow going I knew I would triumph and be pleased. Well. At this point in time I definitely AM pleased, and one out of two isn’t bad, right? I mean, look, they came out pretty okay:

rainbow rocking chairs (more…)

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More rainbows, less BS

I once worked a temp job for a small organization where I handled the copyediting for their newsletter, and I quickly learned that my boss’ biggest pet peeve was the correct (or, I guess more to the point, often incorrect) usage of “less” vs. “fewer.” I already had a college degree and was dismayed to discover no one had ever explained the difference to me, but explain she did, and I have never forgotten. You use “less” if it’s not a thing you would quantify by number. You use “fewer” if the item in question is something you can (or, more importantly, logically would) count. At some point in her teenagerhood, I explained this differentiation to Chickadee (no doubt after she used the wrong word in a paper), sure she—like me, so many years prior—would experience it as a lightbulb moment and never get it wrong again.

She listened and nodded and thought about it for a moment. A sly smile twitched up the corners of her mouth, and she looked me in the eye and said, “Fewer sand.” Her argument was that you COULD, theoretically, count grains of sand. But of course you do not. Should not. (Would not, Crazypants.) Still, to this day, if she feels an urge to yank my chain, a cheerful trilling of “FEWER SAAAAAND!” can be heard.

So. Perhaps you can count bullshit, somehow, but that would be crazy. Less bullshit it is. This is my mantra for now: More rainbows and less bullshit. I am doing my best to make this a reality these days. (more…)

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This post is covered in pollen

Hello! Sorry it’s been so long. In my defense, I was busy dying. I mean, OKAY, not DYING dying, just dying a little bit. Dying in the “dear God, I have woken up with a massive headache every day this week” and the “do I have a cold? a sinus infection? BUBONIC PLAGUE IN MY NOSE??” sense, which is to say: it’s springtime in the south! The whole world is covered in a grainy yellow coating, my eyes are itchy, etc. Everyone is making the same joke about how meth dealers are trying to turn their product back into Sudafed, and we all laugh every single time, because what else can you do?

Well, I guess you can wash your car a couple of times and switch allergy meds. I mean, that’s what I did. Not telling YOU what to do, of course, but I seem to have lived. So far.

Before I dive into all the RIVETING new news (yes, truly, my life is a wonderland of excitement, I know), I did want to follow up on a few previous items just in case anyone cares. And even if you don’t! Don’t like it? Fine. Go sit on the porch until you’re covered in pollen. (Don’t worry, you’ll only be out there about 10 minutes, I promise.) (more…)

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Our healthcare dollars at work

Before I begin, let me just say 1) I didn’t mean to leave you hanging on that last post, I swear, and 2) THANK YOU for all the nice comments and emails. February/March (Farch, as one commenter called it, which I shall use forevermore) is hard on a lot of us, huh? I’m really glad it’s almost April. Also I am (finally) feeling somewhat better, so do not fret.

But that is not why I am here today. OH HO HO HO, no. I am here today to tell you the story of why for-profit health insurance companies do not work and why when politicians start wringing their hands about how EXPENSIVE universal healthcare will be, I have vivid fantasies of setting living, breathing humans on fire. Also—in case you don’t live in Georgia or follow the news—I find it beyond ironic (like, we need a new word that means mega-ironic, please) that the state legislature here has just passed a so-called “heartbeat bill” aimed at criminalizing all abortion, because they care so damn much about LIFE, but in the meantime, everything I’m about to tell you is just fine and dandy by them because it’s not pertaining to a fetus, just my 20-year-old daughter.

Related: My favorite thing about me is how calm and collected and not at all hyberbole-prone I am in the face of dumbfuckery. (more…)

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Here is the thing about now

February sucks. Everyone agrees that February sucks, yes? I am well aware of the February suckage, and so because I am a fairly self-aware and productive human who has been in therapy for most of her life (wheeeeee!), each and every February when things get hard I keep reminding myself: “February always sucks. This is normal. Just keep going, because this is a short month.”

That’s good, right? I mean, I always feel really proud of myself while I’m doing that. No matter how long a person with depression deals with depression, one common feature of said depression (how many times can I say depression in this sentence, do you suppose?) is the inability to IDENTIFY said depression at critical junctures. This is why I gave birth to my daughter and white-knuckled it until she was about 10 months old before admitting that yes, I had a massive case of post-partum depression, and why I then had my SECOND baby, and—better informed, and so much more mature and worldy!—showed up for my 6-week post-partum check (COINCIDENTALLY IN FEBRUARY) at 10 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight and responded to “How are you feeling?” by opening my mouth like a cod and then bursting into tears.

And so February, fucking February, man, it’s always a bad month and I always KNOW it’s a bad month and I manage to hold it together and remember that February is short and that’s GREAT. Except. Except, you see, 28 days is apparently the maximum amount of time I can manage that, plus while I am remembering that February sucks, I often forget—please try to contain your shock—that March is worse. (more…)

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