I’m back, and I haven’t killed anyone. Instead, I drank about twelve cups of coffee. All of today’s answers were typed on the ceiling!
Let’s get to it.
Alektra wants to know what music I like.
(I am skipping the Monty Python bit, as we’ve both had it before and you did not specify the breed of swallow or its cargo.)
I listen to mostly twangy country music. (Fiction!) Know what happens when you play a country record backwards? The guy gets his wife back, his truck back, his dog back….
I like lots of different kinds of music. Right now I’m listening to lots of REM, Alison Krauss, Dar Williams, They Might Be Giants, Paula Cole…. This question is nearly moot because I can’t listen to a lot of what I really like with the kids around. They kinda dig TMBG but I’m thinking they need to be a little older for Alanis, ya know? (Fact.)
Rae wants to know how I handle sibling rivalry.
What’s that? (Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha!!)
It depends on what happens, exactly. I encourage my kids to work things out themselves whenever possible, and they parrot me word for word by the time I get to “… otherwise I will work it out for you and you won’t like it.” If they’re squabbling over an item, they have to find a compromise or the item is put up. If they’re flat out being mean, rude, or otherwise hurtful to one another, they are disciplined immediately, either with a time out or the loss of a marble from their jars. (We keep jars in which they receive marbles for good behavior and lose marbles for infractions; once full, the marbles can be redeemed for a prize.) If they are just relentlessly squabbling, they are separated (which they hate, because they prefer to play together.) I often reiterate that in our family we love one another and treat each other with respect, and always ask the offender “how would you feel if it happened to you?” For the most part I’ve been very lucky because I’m told my children get along very well with one another. I don’t know that my methods are stellar; ask me in about 14 years! (Fact.)
Snowball is getting all heavy on me today. Girl, I’d rather have this discussion over stiff drinks, but I’ll see what I can do.
… why do we make incredibly stupid choices in relationships despite being intelligent and educated women?
I can’t answer for you, obviously. For me? There are many personality aspects which go hand-in-hand with my fabulous intellect of which I’m not terribly proud. I tend to look for someone who is opposite me in those ways, to kind of balance me out. So I chose my ex because–when I met him–he appeared to deal with adversity much better than I did. I always said things rolled off his back (and I wished I could be more like that). Unfortunately years of suppressed anger erupted, and lo and behold, he ain’t the paragon of calm I’d once supposed. My bad. Then I chose the next guy because he knew how to have fun, enjoy the moment, and not take everything so seriously. That was a great idea, except that he absolutely couldn’t deal with when life needed to be taken seriously. Oops. Bye-bye. Knowing that I do this doesn’t seem to change the fact that I choose poorly. So what were we saying about how smart I am? Duh. (Fact, egads.)
… have I checked into hitman prices?
There was a period of time when I fantasized about it. Constantly. Now I realize that the longer he’s around, the better I will come out looking, in comparison, to the kids. He’s an annoying but useful foil. (Fact.)
… any progress on the mail-order poolboy?
I’m thinking that if I don’t find a job in another week or so, that’ll be my new business venture. Rumpus Rentals, I’m thinking of calling it. I’ll be like the next Heidi Fleiss, but, you know, smarter. (Heehee.)
Steph wants to know if I’ve thought about writing a newspaper column.
Yeah, I kinda lied on my answer to Snow, above. Instead of hiring a hit man to kill my ex, I’ve decided to bump off Dave Barry. Then I figure, fame and syndication are mine as I step into his vacant shoes. (Fiction. I love ya, Dave, although I prefer you as Mr. Language Person to your recent string of daddy-columns.)
I’ve thought about it. Haven’t done anything about it, yet. Some of that is because I’ve got other things needing more of my attention, right now. Some of that is because I’m a chickenshit. (Bawk bawk.)
Samantha asks two good questions I’ve already covered in previous installments, so I’m skipping her but giving her a little link plug here so that she won’t feel unloved.
Pamalamadingdong wants to know if I love her.
Who are you, again? (Kidding! Don’t hurt me because I’m certain you could kick my ass.)
Pam, I love you even though I don’t understand you. As a fairly unathletic asthmatic, runners puzzle me. I have never had the urge to run “just because” and I’ll cop to being a little suspicious of what the allure might be. But I totally respect your endeavors and also, wish I had your legs. (Fact.)
Randi wants to know if I have any animals, and if so what, and if not, why not.
Wait, can we go over that one more time? If I have what I have and if I don’t why I don’t and why isn’t there anything to DRINK here??? (Fiction, I’m not actually that easily confused. I’m not. Shut up.)
Currently I have no pets. I am frightfully allergic to cats and birds, somewhat allergic to dogs–although I love them–which I think are probably the highest-maintenance pet one could have, and unfond of rodents and reptiles. As a grieving infertile I picked out a mutt puppy with my then-husband, and he turned out to be a handful and a half once the kids came along. He needed a lot more attention than he got, I’m sad to say. Once I booted the husband, this already-hyper dog appointed himself alpha male on speed, and I had to crate him any time someone came to the house to keep him from attacking. Not Good. So Huckleberry has gone to live with my sister-ex-law and her big goofy dog, on a farm, and is much happier now. Someday when my kids are older and I have some money and time, I’d like to have a dog again. (Fact.)
Shawn wants to know what exactly are my so called “outdated” technical skills.
Well, I used to be able to tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue, but now it takes me so long, people aren’t impressed. (Fiction. Heh.)
I am degreed in experimental psychology with a concentration in human-computer interaction. As a human factors engineer, I did software GUI design and evaluation, including rapid iterative prototyping, focus groups and beta evals, usability testing, benchmarking, and all of that kind of stuff (I figure at this point in the sentence, you are either nodding in understanding or wondering what language I’ve lapsed into). It’s a narrow field and having a 4-year gap in my resume doesn’t exactly make potential employers leap for joy, especially when HF engineering is often considered “fringe” and funding for it is being cut left and right. (Fact.)
Genuine is still obsessed with my hindquarters. I’m trying to decide… is that sadder for him or for me?
Sheryl wants to know my favorite smell, and whether there is a memory connected with it.
I love the smell of skunk. It reminds me of the time Huckleberry managed to get sprayed in the mouth late at night, and I stood in the kitchen–after his bath in vanilla extract–eyes watering from his skunk breath, feeding him item after item from the fridge, trying to find something that would alter the scent. (Fiction. Well, the part about liking it!)
I’m gonna cheat and name two, because they’re very different and because I’m a dirty cheater. First, I love the smell of baking bread. Any kind of bread. Even a hint of that smell will make my mouth water immediately. No memories there (other than happy times spent being carb addict). The other scent is ground/grass right after a storm in the summer, when the moisture is evaporating in little puffs of steam and seeming to pull the essence of the earth up with it. That smell evokes my time at summer camp; uncomplicated joy. (Fact.)
Chewie is full of questions because she has locked her four children in the closet, I think.
… do I read the Bible frequently>
Hardly ever, undirected. I don’t know why. I sign up for bible studies and small group stuff as often as I can to “force” me to read it more, though. Given how much I enjoy it when I do do it, I wonder why I’m not more compelled to do it on my own. (Fact.)
… do I journal outside of this blog?
Oh sure. I have three other journals, and I’m working on a novel. And… hmmm, when did I last feed the kids? (Fiction. How many hours do you think are in my day, woman?)
… do I sometimes sneak into the children’s bathroom late at night to use their handheld shower head?
Only you would ask that, dear. I know that you and your handheld shower head have a… errr… special relationship, but I simply haven’t gotten that desperate yet. (Fact. Dad? Dad? Chewie, you made my father pass out, again.)
My one true love Kira blames me for her purchase of purple toenail polish, and wants to know if I’m proud of that.
First of all, when you said you only had the boys there to advise you, I was sure you were going to tell me you bought black or maybe bright green. So bright purple is quite tasteful, I think, given that your guide was the Tiny Testosterone Trio. Secondly, of course I’m proud, but I’m still prouder of your use of “better gopher blog fodder” as casually as if that’s a phrase you bandy about on a regular basis. You are smooth, girlfriend! You can carry off bright purple on the tootsies; I know it! (Fact. Smooches!)
That concludes this week’s installment of Friday Facts and Fiction. Thanks for playing! Answers contained herein may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the moths on my kitchen ceiling.