New things, old things

New thing: Hey, uh, lollipops and unicorns to everyone who welcomed my debut on Alpha Mom so warmly yesterday. I was hoping for a modest showing and apparently there are a lot more marching band devotees out there than I realized. (As in, the word “viral” was used and I had a giddy moment of amazement.) It was a lovely, lovely way to start off a new gig, although I am kind of having palpitations over what I can write about next week that won’t seem like a letdown, in comparison. Maybe I’ll have to attend the Incendiary School Of Post Writing so favored by a number of outlets and follow up the whole “Yay, marching band” post with something along the lines of “I let my teens smoke dope at the kitchen table, where I can supervise their tweaking” just to spark some conversation.

(Kidding, of course! I loathe smoking. I told them they would have to stick to heroin, but you know how Chickie feels about needles, so I dunno. We’re at an impasse.)

Old thing: Years of gardening and I am totally an old hand at the basics, now. Yep. I mean, I saw that some fire ants had invaded one of my boxes, and cool as a cucumber, I was out there with the diatomaceous earth to take care of them. I was not so cool or cucumber-like when I stepped too close and ended up with a Croc (shut up, I only wear them to garden) full of bitey ants. And yes, this happens to me at least once a season. Um. Yay for getting it out of the way early, this year? Also: OUCH.

New thing: I’ve been growing my hair out for just about a year, now, ever since I cut it all off to circumvent the whole two-tone thing upon giving up hair dye. (I still have hilarious, fond memories of writing about “thinking it’s time to embrace the gray” and having an anonymous commenter get all worked up about how I would look SO OLD and that was NOT FAIR TO MY HUSBAND and how dare I GIVE UP like that, he deserved MORE. Periodically I will turn to Otto and apologize for being such a lazy old hag. Somehow I have managed to drag myself through life and work despite the enormous handicap of… allowing my hair to be its natural color. I AM A REAL HERO.) Anyway! Growing out the hair is not the new thing. The new thing is that after a year of growing and periodic “shaping” (translation: thinning, or de-poodle-ing, at the hands of my capable stylist), this morning I discovered that I can finally (finally!) pull all of my hair back into a teeny, tiny ponytail. Sure, I have to pull it really tight to do it, and the resultant clump of hair is but a tiny poof, but the necessary tension has the added benefit of smoothing out any wrinkles on my old-hag face which my poor husband is saddled with viewing every day. So double bonus, right?

Old thing: Every year the sheer volume of pollen in the spring surprises me all over again. EVERY YEAR. I am a slow learner. We’re all, “Here comes the pollen!” but then when it starts drifting all over the cars and the deck furniture I’m all, “This is the worst it’s ever been!” Except it’s not. It’s always awful. Why is this surprising to me in the slightest? Also why do I freak out when my suffering-from-terrible-seasonal-allergies child plunks down on a piece of said deck furniture and leaves a Monkey-shaped void in the pollen covering? Apparently he is just following my lead of forgetting that pollen is, y’know, a plague.

Old thing meets a new thing: So if I went back through the blog searching for “times when my kid was really, really sick and I didn’t realize it for far too long,” I would probably find at least a hundred dozen examples. We all know that if Chickadee has a hangnail it’s a terrible emergency requiring immediate medical attention, whereas if Monkey has the flu, he says he “might” feel “a little tired.” I should totally know how to deal with this by now. HA HA. And… pollen. Allergies. The poor kid has really been struggling, and I’ve been keeping an eye on him and all, but… allergies! THE SCOURGE OF POLLEN! So when Monkey called me from Hippie School yesterday to ask in a VERY PITIFUL VOICE if I could pick him up early, I had no choice but to assume that he had Ebola.

Still, big props for the exciting Monkey Milestones of actually being able to 1) self-assess and determine there’s something wrong, 2) handle that discomfort without behaving inappropriately, 3) clearly communicate wants/needs (“Mom, I feel awful, I would like to come home”). All of THAT is new and fabulous and celebration-worthy.

Not quite so celebratory was the look on the new pediatrician’s face (our old one moved away, boohoo) later that afternoon when I had to confess that he’s had that cough for… oh… maybe a month? And then I had to be all, “But! Allergies! Pollen! Autism! High pain threshold! Poor self-reporter!”

Long story short: Monkey’s on antibiotics and I’m expecting DFCS here at any moment.

New thing: I snagged a deal on a hummingbird feeder in the middle of winter, feeling simultaneously pleased with myself and also convinced that spring would never come. Well HEY, spring came and Otto hung it up for me this weekend so that it’s visible from my office window, and HOLY COW. I feel like regular hummingbird sightings have boosted my overall happiness by at least 30%. You can’t be cranky while tiny little birds are flitting around sucking up sugar water. YOU CAN’T.

Old thing: I started my herb box rosemary from a cutting six years ago. Despite having no idea what I was doing and nearly killing it several times, nowadays it’s become a sprawling bush. I’m thinking of trying to put it in the ground, so that it can just become gigantic, if it wants, and then I’ll have more room in my herb box for other herbs. I’m a little afraid that if I move it it’ll go into shock and die, though. Also I’m a little disturbed that I’m this invested in my rosemary. (Related concerns: Will the dog pee on it if I put it in the ground? Will you all tell me horror stories about rosemary takeovers and caution me against this course of action? Will ROOOOOOOSEMARYYYYYYYYYY become the new MIIIIIIIIIIIINT??)

New, terrifying thing: My children think it’s HIGH-LARIOUS to change the settings on my cell phone. At one point my darling daughter went so far as to download a Handerpants ringtone for me, for some reason. I keep meaning to delete it but then I see something shiny and forget. WELL. A couple of days ago, Chickadee changed the alert tone that I get when she texts me to this Handerpants thingie. If you are unfamiliar, I AM SORRY to do this to you, but I must:

So the tone just does the “Handerpants, handerpants, HANDERPANTS!” thing. Also? It scares the ever-loving CRAP out of me every time she texts me, now. And she still thinks it’s hilarious. I think retaliation may be in order. (I am leaning towards this. Other suggestions?)


  1. Jenn

    I saw Handerpants at the bookstore the other day and was just mystified. This is a thing? People wear these things in public? On purpose? I can’t get the video to play and I’m just going to assume that’s a good thing. The phone clip is pretty funny though.

    • Amanda

      Wait…Handerpants are REAL? I assumed it was just a spoof infomercial. The world is weird.

    • Chickadee

      WOAH WAIT WHAT? THEY ACTUALLY EXIST!?!?!? My birthday is in a week. I demand a pair of handerpants.

      • Mir

        HEY WHO’S SUPPOSED TO BE IN CLASS RIGHT NOW? Yeah. That’s what I thought. No handerpants for slackers!

  2. deva

    I am giggling so hard at the handerpants ring tone! I like your idea for payback. You could also change it to “Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?” Or the Super Mario Bros theme (which scared the crap out of me and I CHOSE THAT as my ring tone!).

    • Mir

      Oh yes, I think she may need that one for when I text her. HA!

  3. Mary

    1. Please post a pic of the hummingbird feeder to FB. LOVE THEM and get a few every year but am wanting the perfect feeder to attract them!

    2. Similar but different… when we were on vacation using my GPS, I sneakily changed the voice to Chinese. Hubby’s reaction when he heard it damned near caused an accident. Oops! :-)

  4. JennyA

    Handerpants! Oh, sweet baby Jesus. I needed that this morning.


    Yes, the dog will pee on it if it’s in the ground. BUT, it will likely become HUGE and you will be able to snip of bits of it from WELL ABOVE pee-range. Unless Licorice is really some kind of Clifford-esque mutant ginormomutt. Seriously, my sister has a rosemary bush that is the size of a single-car garage. And there’s a house up the street from me that has one WITH A DOORWAY PRUNED INTO IT because it arches across their sidewalk.

    • Corey

      I want a rosemary doorway!!!!! Can just imagine how delicious that must smell!

      • Mir


      • lisa

        I have rosemary overgrowing right by the front door. It is nice as you walk in the door. But not as nice when your pants smell like rosemary for the rest of the day…

  5. Brenda

    1. Handerpants? Ridiculous. And hilarious. And you should totally keep the ringtone.
    2. You should absolutely change Chickie’s ringtone. The one you suggested is pretty great.
    3. Have you seen the GIFs from infomercials about how life is hard? Much harder than even the Handerpants ad would suggest.

    • Mir

      I saw the infomercials gifs a few days ago and they are fantastic.

      Thanks to this conversation I’ve now changed it so that if my daughter calls me it does the Big Bang Theory theme song, and if she texts me it says BAZINGA. Yes.

  6. js

    Please tell me what and where and how with the hummingbird feeder, if you finally found THE ONE that does not simply drip the hummingbird food all over the grass. I have the worst luck with hummingbird feeders and have gone through so many I suspect they’re laughing at me when I purchase them now. Of course this is nearing crisis level because teeny tiny birds that flysofast you can barely see them? Oh, the joy! The joy!

    As a similarly crazy addition, please God, don’t let my daughter see Handerpants! She is an As Seen on TV addict. On the other hand, her birthday is coming up…

    • Mir

      This is my feeder, and it definitely doesn’t leak. I followed the directions to DEAR GOD DO NOT USE DYE and filled it with a (clear) simply syrup concoction and was worried the birds wouldn’t find it, but the little flowers are apparently enough—we’ve had lots of traffic.

      • Heidi

        This is my fave feeder because it’s so incredibly easy to clean. When the others die off, they’ll all be replaced by this type.

        • Heidi

          ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

          (Replying to Stacy’s message above)

    • Jessica

      We got one from Etsy that we love: . They’re a little spendy, but they are beautiful and don’t hold a ton, so it’s unlikely the food will go bad (moldy). It’s also built by the seller (hand-blown glass) so that it will not drip at all, which is awesome. (We live in an apartment building and have a little balcony thing that we hang it above. We’d hate to have our tiny “deck” covered in sticky stuff all summer, so this was the one we got.) We got this other one for my grandparents a few years ago, and they loved it, too: . Both of them also recommend to NOT put dye in the feeders and to just make a simple syrup. The Uncommon Goods one came with a little packet of stuff (I don’t know if it still does) to help make it, and the Etsy one came with a recipe to make it.

  7. RL Julia

    There is only one retaliation – somehow Handerpants must be incorporated into Chickadee’s wake-up regime. Also – while I can appreciate the tidy whitey stylings – do they do a boxer version of handerpants?

  8. Diane

    Is it wrong of me that I think the little fly on the handerpants is adorable?

  9. Stacy

    Rosemary is a natural mosquito deterrent, so we have several very large pots of it on our deck. We may plant some around the yard too. And no, you cannot be sad when there are hummingbirds.

    • Mir

      How did I not know this?? Time to start some new cuttings and let it take over…. ;)

    • Arnebya

      Stacy! Are you serious? No, like really truly actually talking in seriousness right now? MUST. GET. ROSEMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARY.

  10. Tracy B

    I love it!!!! :)

  11. diane

    The Handerpants video and the Monkey update reminded me that I got in BIG trouble for mentioning the existence of the Annoying Orange game for iPad/Droid in front of my cousin’s children.

  12. birchsprite

    I want to live in a country with Hummingbirds! Very very jealous.

  13. Karen R

    Yay Monkey! And I hope he feels better soon.

    I have some Doctor Who tones (Fezzes are cool…). Let me know if you want them for your phone wars.

  14. Aimee

    Handerpants?! Wow.

    As for a suggestion for revenge, I was going to suggest this clip from Daria that I used to have as my email alert a long time ago, just a deadpan “Uh oh.” But I couldn’t find it. So, how about this instead:

    • Jessica

      <3 Daria! That was my nickname in college, but that was back when it was actually on the air. ;~)

      la la laa la la…

    • Heather

      That. is. awesome!

  15. suburbancorrespondent

    I don’t even know what any of those ring tones are. I still have the free TMobile one. And I’ve always resisted acquiring a hummingbird feeder, as I am convinced that having an entire container of sugar water outside will do nothing but attract these darn ants. Am I wrong?

    • My Kids Mom

      Do you remember when Avon’s Skin So Soft was supposed to do miracles? The only one that it really does do is repel ants. I dampen a piece of string in it each spring and tie it to the hanger of my feeder. Never seen ants on it. In my kitchen, yes, but not from that source. Maybe I should dribble the stuff along the walls of the kitchen….

      In any case, the Perky Pet line of feeders are very good and shouldn’t leak.

  16. Jen

    The passion of band parents make hockey moms look like pansies. ;) I’m not surprised the post went viral. :D (Oh, and if Chickie ever gets the chance to go to Bands of America Summer Symposium, she should go. I met my husband there…a lot of people met their spouses there. LOL! And her life would be totally changed by working with Dr. Tim at the leadership weekend. BOA changed my life. :) )

    You planted miiiiiiint?? Ahem. Repot the rosemary into something larger inside your house if you’re going to cook with it. I can’t plant it outside because Chicago would kill it over the winter.

  17. Megan

    According to a friend of mine who is a Serious Bird Person, Stacy’s feeder is the best kind you can get. Also it’s supposedly resistant to UV so, you know, bonus.

    My only reaction to Handerpants is to wonder if this means my elbows are going to need bras soon?

    • Valerie


  18. Ali

    Awww, the ring tone wars. The husband and I have many fond memories. Currently, I hold the crown for changing his ring to “I feel Pretty” and changing his lock code so he couldn’t change it.

    • Mir

      HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! You earned that crown.

      • Ali

        Oh yes. Now imagine it going off multiple times in a room full of manly Army men. Good times.

  19. karen

    I… have never heard of such a thing. I think you should order a pair of handerpants for the kids stockings next christmas.

  20. Lori N

    Yes, yes to the retaliation.

  21. My Kids Mom

    Want an idea to help you waste time? Check out pictures at – those birds are amazing and the photographers who can catch them are amazing too. Plus, you’ll like the migration map each spring.

  22. Ana Lydia

    Lovely post! I was thinking about a bird feeder and bless you for this post because I just made up my mind to get a hummingbird feeder. Until now I’ve been feeding birds in a large bowl placed in my lawn.

  23. Sandra

    I once lived with a weiner dog who loved to roam under the rosemary bushes in his backyard. He always smelled like rosemary. So there’s that.
    Rosemary bushes are pretty tough so moving it from the pot to ground should be okay.

  24. Anna

    They missed an important demographic- clumsy women who us apple peelers. Oh, yes. Maybe if you had been wearing handerpants, you could have avoided such a terrible injury.

    • Mir


      (Also this made me LOL for real.)

  25. elz

    Our Rosemary has been sufficiently large to produce bountiful Rosemary but not bigger than our knees for six years now. I would say Your Mileage May Vary, but I know with you it will vary wildly! HA!

  26. Kim

    I think it was last year we had a kamakazi (sp? – too lazy to google; I’m almost asleep) hummingbird; if I sat very quietly on the back porch it would hover right in front of me – like inches from my face. The first time it happened I thought it was a bee/large insect and almost swatted it. So glad I didn’t send the hummingbird flying into the garage wall with a hard backhand! – it never did it to anyone else in my family. Maybe I am just so sweet! (OMG my kids would die laughing and then compete for snarkiest comment to that one!)

  27. Lara T

    Very humorous post! LOLed at the “Just kidding … heroin” line. And the comments were great too. The infomercial GIF link was just what I needed to unwind after a crazy stressful day :)

  28. Kim Constable

    Just wanted to comment here to say that I found your website today and I loved it! You write to succinctly and so wonderfully funny – I immediately warmed to you. Great post – laughed at the heroin line. I think it’s important to not be too serious. :) Lots of love, Kim

  29. Rocky Mountain Woman

    So I had a humming bird feeder for a few years on the deck, but those suckers (pun intended) could drain that thing in about five minutes!

    Then I would feel guilty until I filled it again. They would look in the window pitifully, watching me until I filled it.

    I finally couldn’t stand it any more and took it down!

  30. Laura

    Ok, it’s no Handerpants, but given the sense of humor in your household you must, must, MUST check out BlueQ:

    They have some truly hilarious items and others that are just a bit quirky. Check out their hand sanitizers. He he he… Best stocking stuffers ever. (Some are obviously for grown ups only.)

    BlueQ is one of the largest private employers of disabled individuals in Western Massachusetts. No, I’ve never even been to Massachusetts, but as the mom of a disabled adult son this just makes me want to squish and hug the owners.

    BlueQ. So. Much. Awesome.

  31. Lindsay

    A woman I know IN REAL LIFE who doesn’t blog and doesn’t read blogs shared your AlphaMom post on Facebook! That’s how I found it! Congrats! :)

  32. Daisy

    Autism! Poor self-reporting! High pain threshold! I hear you. I totally and completely understand. At age 21, we’re still working on self-reporting. In fact, we handed him the phone yesterday and insisted he make the call to the doctor’s office for a prescription refill. Oh, the drama! What bad parents we must be to make him call by himself!

  33. Amy

    Couple of things; 1) did you know that fire ants will cover your whole body and then send out a message and then all bite at once? 2) THANK YOU for the Big Bang ring tones! now I have something new to do to my poor husband’s phone that doesn’t include making it so that all his apps disappear and making his background photo a close up picture of my nose! Hooray! (Also, my sweet husband is eventually going to put a lock on his phone, but until then bwahahaha).

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest