Thoughts about pools (and other things)

By Mir
June 3, 2013

I’m doing an experiment this summer, though saying it like that makes it sound like I’m being all official and science-y, when in reality I am just trying to embrace my inner sloth. Here it is: I’m trying not to work on the weekends. WEIRD, RIGHT?? I tend to suffer from a common affliction called “freelance creep;” sure, I sleep a little later on the weekends, but I find myself using those weekend days to catch up on things I somehow didn’t finish during the week. It sounds innocuous, but then I find myself sitting at the computer for hours and I hear that just walking away from work for a day or two at a time is healthy or something. So I’ve been taking the weekends off and I’m sure my productivity is down (minus) but overall my give-a-crap is up (plus!) so I’m calling it a win.

This means I get up on Monday morning feeling vaguely hungover. It’s not alcohol, it’s all that FREEDOM. An entire two days filled with WHATEVER. Crazy, man. Fortunately, this gives me all sorts of time to think about STUFF and THINGS and then I can come back and share all of those revelations with you. I know, you’re thrilled. Try to contain your excitement. Or at least save it for the weekend when you’re not supposed to be working. (You’re welcome!)

Thoughts about owning your own pool: For those who’ve asked, why YES, the pool is still leaking. The good news is that we know where the leak is and it’s been partially addressed so it’s not leaking as badly as it was, initially, but that of course leaves the bad news, which is that it’s still leaking. We are “being patient” with the pool company but I am about all out of patience. In the meantime, I think Otto has come to believe that owning a pool is somewhere around the fifth circle of hell, and I can’t REALLY disagree, but here’s the thing: Having your own pool is still kind of awesome (hassle aside).
1) You do not have to put everyone into the car and GO somewhere.
2) If one kid wants to swim and the other does not, OKAY!
3) You do not have to shave or otherwise feel self-conscious because screw it, your family has seen you in mismatched pajamas and bedhead.
4) Ditto to worrying about an appropriate swimsuit. (I’m not sure I even know what an “appropriate swimsuit” for a woman of my age is, anymore. Which brings me to…

Thoughts about swimsuits: I love the meme that’s going around about “How to get a bikini body.” (If you haven’t seen it, it’s not terribly long, but basically the answer to how to get a bikini body is to get a bikini and put it on your body. The end.) I really don’t care what anyone wants to wear and am not interested in judging anyone else—save for the fervent wish that people would at least wear things which fit them properly, because wearing something too small doesn’t make you look smaller, it makes you look like an unfortunate sausage—but I do wish that women’s swimsuits were a little more practical. I have a hard time finding a suit for myself which will not leave giant tan lines but can also be used as, I don’t know, A SWIMSUIT (meaning I can swim in it without it falling off).

Worse still, finding an appropriate swimsuit for a skinny teenager is a whole ‘nother level of crazy. Listen, if you, your teen, WHOEVER, feel(s) comfortable wearing a garment held together by strings, more power to you. Personally, I prefer that my ladies are contained in a way which cannot be undone with a flick of the wrist, but different strokes, etc. Again, there needs to be a middle ground between high-necked Speedo racing suits and tiny patches of material held together with dental floss.

We’ve both had some swimsuit success with Lands’ End—and that’s an affiliate link because I have one, but I purchased our suits with my own money and truly love ’em—but overall the choices in stores are frustrating.

Thoughts about sunblock: So those spray sunblocks are really convenient, but they’re filled with all sorts of nasty, hormone-disrupting chemicals that make you grow extra arms (allegedly). After years of dealing with Chickadee’s sensitive skin (which is still sensitive, but we are doing way better on the mysterious rash front this year, HOORAY) I have tried really hard to stick to physical barrier, gloopy sunscreens. They are, of course, a total pain in the ass and everyone hates them and WHY WHY WHYYYYYYYY CAN’T WE JUST DO THE SPRAY MOM GEEZ?!? Apparently my solution to this problem so far this season is to not buy any sunblock at all because I am a terrible, lazy mother. We have been swimming late in the day (mostly) and wearing rashguards (Monkey).

This of course means that somehow on Saturday we were in the pool for hours during the day and the only person who ended up completely fried was ME. That’s called karma, boys and girls. On my shopping list for today: SUNBLOCK, DAMNIT.

Thoughts about dogs: We are dogsitting Kaiser again (you remember Kaiser) and there has been a stunning breakthrough in Socially Stunted Dogdom! Kaiser and Licorice are actually playing with each other, this visit. It usually only happens for about 10 minutes each day, and generally right before bedtime, but the two of them will start running around and barking and leaping and actually interacting in a way other than let-me-sniff-your-butthole-again. It’s very exciting. The children are thrilled. It’s brought me back to the whole “maybe we should get a second dog” thing, but of course that’s not going to happen.

On the other hand, if I campaign really hard for a second dog, maybe Otto will let me get a couple of chickens, as a lesser evil…? Maybe? (Just kidding, honey!) (Totally not kidding at all.)

Thoughts about summer school: Chickadee is supposed to be taking a math class this summer, online. (Totally her choice as part of her plan for nerdtastic world domination.) We paid for the class and got her registered. It said in fifteen different places that the course wouldn’t open until today. She logged on first thing this morning and it demanded that she complete a course orientation, after which it said her class could be accessed within 24 hours. Because this is an accelerated summer course, not being able to get in today means she’ll be a day behind, and that one day = approximately one week’s worth of work. Ummmm. Fortunately there’s absolutely no way to contact anyone who has anything to do with the class to get them to let her in, so THAT’s fabulous.

I had really hoped she would be willing to just kind of chill out this summer and relax, anyway, but here we are with a Major School Crisis three hours into the summer session. YAY! Stand by for tales of how Math Is Stupid and Summer School Sucks and I Am The Meanest Mother Ever (for… ummm… allowing her to torture herself this way).

Thoughts about my vegetable garden: Every summer I’m all GROWING MY OWN VEGETABLES IS SUCH A SAVINGS and every single summer as I’m buying more supplies or begging Otto to build more boxes or design me a framework for suspending more plants I realize I am a complete and total dumbass. I doubt that growing my own vegetables is cheaper. It is, however, fun and happy-making, most of the time. I mean, when I’m not being eaten by ants or weeding a bed I just weeded and MY GOD WHERE DID ALL OF THESE WEEDS COME FROM?

All of my tomato plants are now as high as an elephant’s eye (if I was an elephant…), so this weekend Otto built a frame above one of the boxes and I was about to string up the plants which were falling down, like so:

I know, it doesn’t look like much, but those plants are loaded down with about a zillion still-green tomatoes, and it will be The Season Of Perpetual Tomato Sauce before I know it (I hope).

Thoughts about weekend television: I know the weekend is over when Otto and I look at each other during the final credits of Mad Men and say to each other, “Wait, what just happened?” I can’t stop watching this show, and yet I think most of the time I have no idea what’s happening AND I’m not even sure I like it any more. Is this what it’s like to do drugs??

Bonus: If you’re a Mad Men fan and you haven’t seen these Mad Men recaps as if the show took place on Facebook, I hope you didn’t have anything else you needed to do today.

Thoughts about groceries: Less than a week ago I spent around $200 on groceries, including two gallons of milk which have mysteriously disappeared. Both of my children resemble strands of vermicelli and Otto and I don’t eat that much so WHO IS EATING ALL THIS FOOD? And why doesn’t anyone go to the store and buy some more?

I just told the dogs to go to Publix but they’re ignoring me. Ingrates.


  1. Elizabeth

    Sounds like you had a good weekend. I’m glad!

  2. Jen

    I envy your garden and would move to your neck of the woods if it didn’t mean the humidity would kill me dead amen. Chicago’s humidity is bad enough, but it’s only supposed to be in the 60s today so bleh I have no garden.

  3. Rachel

    I feel the same way about Mad Men. I started with season 1 on Netflix in March, and finished season 5 in time for the season 6 premier. Now I wait all week for the new show on Sunday night, and then when it’s over I’m thinking “what just happened?”. But I can’t stop watching… so weird.

  4. Kati

    Somehow I read “Our Lady of Perpetual Tomato Sauce,” which sounds like the name of a small and eccentric Catholic church.

    • Susie

      I would soooooo attend Our Lady of Perpetual Tomato Sauce. Oh so very.

    • CuriousCat

      I read it that way too and I would so attend Our Lady of Perpetual Tomato Sauce; their spaghetti dinners would be AWESOME!

      Now, I want something tomato-ey.

  5. Kate

    You sound so refreshed!

    I am tired.

  6. js

    I can’t help but think maybe some of the problem is that you aren’t hung over. Grab some more of that pink alcohol and have a ball on the weekends, there, baby!

    Also, there are chickens, tons of them, by my house. I’m not saying I stalk them or anything, but they are so cute, even when they’re in their little newly-built coop! One of them is a show chicken named Rico. I DIE!!!!

    And thanks for the mojito idea! Add some pomegranate juice in there and we’re in business.

  7. Mary K. in Rockport

    There are Mad Men recaps? Uh-oh.

  8. Mindy

    I can’t help but be amused by the fact that all the ads surrounding your blog today are for pools or pool products!

  9. Katie K.

    That’s a lot of thoughts. :) Recently took my 14 year old swimsuit shopping with her friend and her friend’s mom. She tried on the cutest tankini suit from the juniors section, but having no hips at all, the bottom fell right off. Sigh… We had to go to the kids section where I tried really hard to convince her to get the Dora suit, but we actually found something not too little kiddish. Luckily her friend is awesome and did not make a big deal about it at all.

  10. Aimee

    Thoughts on thoughts:

    1. Totally sucks the pool is still leaking but yay for swimming with bedhead
    2. Land’s End swimsuits are the best. Pricey, but sometimes they have them on sale at Sears. I got one there last year for half price — of course, it’s now about six sizes too big for me, but still…
    3. Gloopy sunblock > sunburn
    4. Two dogs can seem like a million dogs. Why yes, I do speak from personal experience.
    5. I am all for nerdtastic world domination, but teenage attitude seems like a high price to pay for it.
    6. Fresh grown veggies may not be less expensive, but those tomatoes sure look purty.
    7. I just clicked over to those Mad Men recaps and had to force myself not to go beyond the first episode of this season. That’s pretty awesome, but I do have other things to do today.
    8. Groceries are expensive, dude. My niece is vermicelli-sized too, and it’s amazing how much she can pack away.

    Okay, back to work. And/or reading Mad Men recaps.

  11. Therese

    DItto to the Mad Men discussion. I just said to a coworker the other day that I think all the writers must be on drugs. The same coworker just gave up cable and I told her not to bother watching the rest of the season when it comes to DVD.

  12. CIndy

    Man, I feel your pain on the swimsuit issue. I would like to know on which planet does the swimsuit design industry reside? ‘Cause it sure doesn’t look like the same one I’m on.

    Chickens? Oh, the love-hate relationship I have with chickens. I mean, I love eggs and home grown ones not only taste waaaaaay better but the risk of salmonella goes down dramatically in a home operation. I’m not really into the rights of critters (unless you count MY right to have them for dinner) but commercial chicken farms are absolutely disgusting. I think we should avoid cannibalism, not enforce it. I grew up on a small scale farm and we have had chickens for as long as I can remember so I kind of hate the care they require.

    My personal two cents would be that home chickens are a good idea as long as you don’t have roosters (they are loud, can be violent and are generally obnoxious so unless you are into breeding, why bother?), you follow good clean practices with their care and you don’t mind the work involved. Having home chickens not only gives you eggs (and meat, if you go that route) but a whole circle of life thing that can be very satisfying. They eat veggie scraps while providing food full of protein then poop out a great fertilizer for more veggies! Love that. But I buy my eggs from my more industrious neighbors these days.

  13. Diane

    I don’t have cable, but signed up for Amazon’s full show thingee – the entire season for a quarter of the cost of one month’s cable. I’m no longer sure there is really a point to Mad Men anymore, but it sure looks retro-stylish while being pointless.

    Having fun is difficult. This summer is the “summer of fun” challenge for me – a summer of three day weekends during which I endeavor to purposely plan (and follow through on) things that are “fun”. I’m easily amused (don’t get out much), so my definition of fun may be pretty lame, but hey, I have to work at it…

  14. Jan

    Two gallons? TWO GALLONS? I would weep with joy over two gallons of milk in a week. My standing order with the dairy guy is 4 gallons a week and I add to that as necessary to fill in.

    Not that it’s a competition, or course, but that just made me LOL that that somehow seemed like … a lot to you.

  15. Tracy B

    And now it’s summer and the price of groceries and the amount of groceries, just doubled. Good luck with that!

  16. Kelly

    I went to publix yesterday and somehow have nothing to cook for dinner. It is a conspiracy.

  17. Kim in Minnesota

    Sunblock dilemma: I too have sensitive skin. I also am lazy and did not read the label. So I had assumed that the Aveeno brand sunblock spray would be good. No? (Usually Aveeno is one of the brands that works for me.)

  18. Angela

    Hey, but your FENCE looks GREAT!
    On the bikini front – I’m 8 months pregnant and wore my bikini to the lake Memorial weekend, HAHA! I decided it would be okay because I don’t have stretch marks and I accidentally bought a large size bottoms last year, which fit me now (serendipity!), and I’m too cheap to buy a whole “maternity” swimsuit just for a few months of use. However, I am as white as a light bulb so I probably blinded everyone with my tummy shining like the sun. Fortunately, I’m one of those people who don’t care what everyone else thinks, makes life so much easier!

  19. Sharon

    A friend just called with tales of her chicks, 18 of them, and how she had to move them quickly to a new abode because our temps went from 50 degrees to 90 in less than two days. Chickens are a lot of work under ordinary conditions. How about a cat? They can be good company, but if anyone has allergies…scratch the cat idea. Sure hope the pool leak is a thing of the past real soon ~

  20. suburbancorrespondent

    I spent 500 dollars at the commissary yesterday, and then – that very evening – I ran out to the local grocery store to pick up a few things. That’s pathetic.

    Thanks for reminding me to order a new Lands End tankini top! The spandex on mine (bought in 2006) has finally cried uncle.

  21. Jeanie

    I have tomato plant envy. Actually, my two seem to be doing fairly well, thanks to my son. I don’t dare touch them. Glad Licorice is enjoying her playmate. I think I’ve said on here before that everyone should have at least two dogs. They keep each other company, and it’s fun to watch them play.

  22. Holly Gault

    My tomato plants are as high as a lizard’s eye and I am at war with leaf miners and root maggots. I just have to remember that I will have fresh tomatoes until November once they finally get going. I do have my first zucchini blossom today, to make for happy.

  23. Jen

    I have 2 adolescent boys. We go through a gallon of milk *per day*, around 6 boxes of cereal and a Costco box of microwave burritos per week – it seems like I have to increase our grocery budget every month just to keep up with them. My older son is 5’10” and weighs 106 lbs; the little guy is 4’10” and weighs 75 lbs. I seriously don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth here – it’s not like they are expending any of it as energy, since they have basically become giant slugs since adolescence hit.

    Very jealous of your garden. Due to the relatively mild weather this year, my tomato plants are about a foot tall and covered in tiny tomatoes. I’m debating whether I should break off the tomatoes to allow them to grow taller – I get the feeling that if I do, they won’t end up getting any more tomatoes, and I will end up with taller but tomatoless tomato plants. I actually managed not to buy anything but soil this year for the garden – I had several volunteer plants, and used leftover seeds from last summer.

  24. kazari

    On the swimsuit front, if you’re ok with a one piece, I totally recommend blackmilk (not linking because you know, spam filters). All the suits are one shape, but cute, cute designs and really well made.
    I think you are awesome for stringing up the tomatoes. I just let mine creep all over the ground… as long as the beds are muched, they seem to get much bigger this way. Plus, because the tomatoes are in more variable conditions of shade or sunlight, they don’t all ripen the same weekend, which is nice.

  25. Otto

    No. Chickens.


    Also, I attended Our Lady of Perpetual Zucchinis as a child, which of course led to The Great Zucchini War of 1984 … still traumatized.


  26. Anna

    I read a good article recently about backyard chickens- it really only makes sense if you’re all in- butchering and everything. So, yeah. I’m out. ;)

    I came back today (without a preschooler in my lap) to share that I bought some of this sunscreen. It is WEIRD to put on, because it comes out grainy, but when the warmth of your skin warms it up, then it smears on nicely.

  27. 12tequilas

    I was going to link you to the swimsuit I just bought at Old Navy, but they don’t have it on the website at all. However, their swimsuit prices are really something. The one I bought, a one piece that ties behind the neck (securely) was $32.99 and has magical slimmization properties.

  28. s

    If you had chickens you would be able to “grocery shop ” in your own yard, get bonus points for getting your children extra pets that are not cockroaches and you could pretend your breakfast omelet cost less because of course it is cheaper to have your own eggs.

  29. Lori N

    My daughter decided that she wanted a bikini this year (she’s 13). After shuddering at the offerings at various stores (Strings! Everywhere!) we ended up buying her a VERY EXPENSIVE SUIT at our local outdoor specialty store. While I’m a little sick at the price tag, I am buoyed by the following: 1) It does not have strings holding it together 2) It fits 3) She likes it 4) We don’t have to go through that again until a-time-to-be-named-later. I call that success at any price.

  30. Little Bird

    Happy place also does Game of Thrones recaps. For those into that series. It’s just as funny as the Mad Men ones.
    And Mir, your kids have entered the hollow leg years. They will be able to consume vast amounts of food and not show it. This will continue to baffle you.

  31. Arnebya

    I would like a swimsuit with built in breasts, thank you. I would love my garden to look like that. Except, well, I don’t have a garden. I keep looking at the spot where it could be but it has yet to materialize. Oh, groceries. I will not bother to address this one other than to say WHERE DOES THE FOOD GO SO QUICKLY?

  32. angie

    Landsend swimsuits are cute styles, but they get transparent alarmingly fast!

    • Mir

      I’ve never had that happen with a LE suit, Angie, but they have an unconditional guarantee—if you have a problem they’ll exchange it, no questions asked.

  33. gilly

    regarding sunscreens/blocks. go to a store that carries La Roche Posay and ask for some samples of their sunscreen. Called Anthelios.I recommend their products a lot for sensitive skin and get good feedback. It is pricy but worth it ) ( ps I don’t work for them but am a pharmacist so get asked about this issue a lot and have read up considerably. )
    Avene also makes a good product

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest