We are all my little dog and her coat

It’s a very good thing I never actually promise to come back to writing here regularly. I think about it—a lot—but in the end, it doesn’t seem to happen. Oh well. Hey! This blog is worth EXACTLY what you paid for it! (So there.)

Things are rolling along, here, and everything is both going WHOOSH TOO FAST and also OMGGGGGGG SO SLOW. You know how Hermione has a time turner in the Harry Potter books so she can be in multiple places at once? Imagine I had one of those time turners and then I somehow ran it over with my car and tried to use it, anyway. Everything is taking too long but is over before I had a chance to pay attention. It’s an odd place to be, with everything in flux and me never sure what day it is or what’s going on. I mean, tomorrow is December. How did that even happen?

Thanksgiving was a cozy affair with enough food to feed an army, and I gained several pounds this past week while I sat at the computer working and eating ALL THE STUFFING AND GRAVY. I need to stop gorging on leftovers. The best way to make sure that happens is to eat all the leftovers so there are none for me to eat, right? Right! (#LOGIC) Chickadee came home with a carful of laundry and germs, and after sleeping and generally swanning around for the week, headed back to school and left her little brother hacking and wheezing with the crud she’d so thoughtfully shared. Otto and I are both run down and feel like we’re fighting off illness, but maybe we’re just tired. Hard to know. The stuffing is all gone, now, so I have switched to endless cups of ginger tea and whispered exhortations to the universe that I would really rather not be sick right now.

Let us have a brief State of Casa Mir Address, shall we?

State of the Colleges
Finals are next week. Chickadee is taking approximately seven billion credits (rough estimate) but has a good mix of projects and tests at the end here, I think, and seems to be holding up okay. (Hypothetically, if your kid responded to every query about their wellbeing with, “I’m fine. I’M FINE. EVERYTHING’S FINE I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING!” that would be normal at this point in the semester, right? Just checking.) Monkey took two university classes this semester and there has never been a person in the history of the world SO EXCITED for 8:00 am calculus. Ever. One of his classes is final-optional (and if you’re happy with your grade, you can skip it) so he’s only got one final to deal with next week.

Both kids are registered for their next-semester classes and happy with their schedules. No, we don’t know where Monkey is going to school next year, yet. But as I wrote yesterday at Alpha Mom, I am doing an excellent job of acting like a crazy person while we wait.

State of the Holiday/Birthday Shopping
‘Tis the season, what with Christmas coming, and Otto and Monkey both having Christmastime birthdays. I have a pretty good-sized closet and I stash gifts in there as I go, usually on the high shelves, up out of the way. At the same time, between the accumulation of Regular Dorm Stuff for Monkey and the fact that the birthday before college is the Birthday Of A Hundred Dorm Things, my closet has become a hazard. I was putting away laundry last night (laundry which, just so you understand, was a pile from no less than three laundering cycles which had remained un-put-away for weeks on end) and hoping nothing would fall on me and kill me. I am ready to hand over some presents, is my point.

In the meantime, I was feeling somewhat relieved to realize that the ONE thing I wasn’t going to have to buy this year was new pajamas. Er, I mean, the elves were not going to have to deliver new pajamas on Christmas Eve, because this year Monkey is actually not going to be here on Christmas Eve, and no point in matching pajamas for the evening if you’re not here to do the matching with your sibling, right? Don’t get me wrong—I, I mean, THE ELVES, have greatly enjoyed the years of cute coordinating jammies. But as the kids have grown to adult sizes and different proclivities it’s gotten harder and harder, and c’mon, everyone has plenty of pajamas, now.

So OF COURSE while Chickie was home over Thanksgiving she turned to me with big, sad eyes and said, “I figure this is the last year for pajamas from the elves since you probably won’t do it once we’re both in college, right? We’ll still do it even though Monkey’s not gonna be here on Christmas Eve?” Oh. Hrm.

I made a crack about how once they’re both in college they probably won’t even come home for Christmas all the time and she became INDIGNANT, and SPUTTERING, and just when I thought she was about to say something about how much she would miss us, she managed, “How would I get my PRESENTS if I didn’t come HOME??” Good to know she has priorities.

State of the Ottoness
Recently my darling husband bought himself some new wheels and tires for his car. I’m not sure why, even though he kept me apprised all throughout the shopping, the research, and even the trek to Nowheresville to meet the cousin of the guy from Craigslist (HAND TO GOD) to buy the set he eventually settled on. All was good and well until it turned out that the tire pressure sensors in said wheels are not working as intended. At least, I think that’s the issue. Sometimes I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher when my husband talks about cars. And when he accuses me of not caring about what he’s talking about, I say, “Well, it’s true that I don’t care. But it’s ALSO true that you are cute and I like you.”

As we look down the road to our impending empty-nest-itude, however, Otto and I find ourselves giddy. Not that we don’t adore the children, you understand. We do. (Mostly.) But we’ll have been married 10 years when Monkey leaves for college next fall. We talk about the possibilities all the time. We’ll take a trip! We’ll finally buy season tickets to a local concert series! We will do STUFF and THINGS and reacquaint ourselves with each other! You know, assuming the country hasn’t fallen into a civil war by then. (Details!)

Because I’m a true romantic, sometimes when Otto starts talking about how much he’s looking forward to it being just US for once, I snuggle up to him and whisper that I cannot WAIT for it to be just him and me and the dozen or so rescue dogs I’m planning to bring home. He’s a lucky, lucky guy.

State of the What Were We Talking About?
So, um, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am sort of a hypochondriac. I am a sentient version of Googling one’s troublesome symptoms and a million search results which suggest a fatal disease. Fortunately, I know this about myself, so even when I suspect something is REALLY AND TRULY wrong, I tend to drag my feet in dealing with it, because I assume I’m overreacting. This is probably why half my hair fell out before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

I’ve been having some memory issues. When I say “memory issues” I of course mean “I can’t seem to remember anything at all these days and also ‘you already told me that’ now tops the phrases most often hurled at me by my offspring.” This has been going on for… ummmm… yeah, I can’t remember. (BA DUM BUM!) A while. Too long. And at first I assumed I was confused and/or overreacting, and then Otto didn’t tell me I was being silly when I brought it up, and then he asked me to please go see my doctor, and finally I made an appointment.

One full checkup and a few hundred invasive questions later, my doctor suggested I be tested for ADHD. And then seemed somewhat startled when I laughed and laughed. When Chickie was diagnosed, I looked into testing for myself, and the nice doctor who prescribes my antidepressants said, “I would lay money on it, so I’m not sure it matters if you’re tested or not. It’s just up to you how you want to handle it.” How I handle it is mostly by drinking copious amount of coffee and scribbling notes to myself on every available surface, so I opted not to be tested.

The thing is, sure, I almost certainly have ADHD. And I’ve had it my entire life. This memory thing, it’s new(ish). That didn’t make sense to me. But my regular doctor said to go see the other doctor and discuss testing. So I did. And I also asked about medication interactions and such (the very same meds which keep me and so many others from dissolving in a puddle of our own self-pity have a habit of bringing along weird side effects out of nowhere, sometimes). And I figured he would say, “Okay, yes, let’s look at your meds” or “Let’s test you for ADHD and see if that’s what’s up.” Instead, he reiterated that we already assume I have ADHD and this is not a side effect with my particular medication he’s heard of, and it would be weird for it to happen after all this time. Instead, he’s sending me for a complete neurological workup.

Because healthcare in this country is in fantastic shape, I both have to pay for the testing out-of-pocket AND it won’t be happening until February. Hopefully I can remember who the hell I am until then.

While I wait: I am not so much scared as I am frustrated. I’m aware of losing track of things, sometimes, and other times, completely caught off guard. It feels like a lack of control and I hate that. Odds are good it’s a med thing or something else small. But… maybe it’s not, and I try not to think about that. (Which is fine, because in a few minutes I’ll forget!)

[Sidebar: Among the things I forgot was telling you about these Alpha Mom posts; first some advice about how to handle a friend’s kid being mean to your kid, and then my rather shameful fridge clean-out before Thanksgiving. Better late than never.]

State of the Dogginses
Toward the end of the summer I had the dogs groomed, and I asked the groomer to leave their coats a little bit longer because winter was coming and I didn’t want them to be cold. Well. Neither dog likes being brushed—Duncan will actually growl at me and bite the brush when he’s had enough, because he’s an asshole, while Licorice will just go boneless and cry—and despite my best efforts, it was Snarl City up in here after that. Duncan was constantly running away from my attempts to detangle his butt fur (YOU ARE WELCOME) and Licorice took to ejecting little snarl-balls of hair all over the house while she scratched and/or chewed on herself. It was gross. So the NEXT time I had them groomed, I said Hey remember what I said last time? Don’t do that. Shave ’em down.


So they got their doggy crewcuts (save for their heads and tails, which remain moppy and delightful) and were disgruntled and sleepy and that was the end of the snarl-balls and knotted butt fur. Hooray! But then (finally) it did get cold, and poor little Licorice, She Of No Body Fat, she became a shivery, chilly mess, so we put her coat on her to keep her warm, except she HATES the coat, so she would slink around the house making angry eyes and then flail around on the carpet any time she thought we weren’t looking, desperately trying to shake the coat off. Eventually someone (*coughMONKEYcough*) would feel sorry for her and take her coat off, at which point she’d run a few victory laps throughout the house before lapsing back into helpless shivering because she was too cold.

Lather, rinse, repeat. (Insert your life own parallel here. Lord knows I have.)


  1. amy

    Welcome back to your blog, and holy moly that’s a whopper of an update! I hope your neuro testing finds something so that you can sort out a plan of action. Huggles to the pups!

  2. Niki

    Welcome back! I feel you on the memory thing. I’ve had migraines for years, and for several years now my doc has been trying to get me to go on a med with some serious side effects, one of which is that it can make you slow and stupid. I’ve watched friends go through it, forgetting words, having a hard time stringing together sentences, and just watching them slowly put thoughts together, and swore I’d never do that, but after 3 solid weeks of migraines I was ready. I took the first minimum dose at night for a week and was fine. Monday night I took a dose, and yesterday I added the morning dose, giving me a double dose in my system. Yesterday at lunch I ran to the post office, and could not get out of my car (which I’ve had for 10 years) because I couldn’t find the door handle. I tried all of the window buttons, looked for the handle where it isn’t, sat there for a minute and started to panic, then remembered where it was. This does not bode well for my life or my job. But hey – only minor headaches for two days! Trying to decide if the tradeoff is worth it.

    • Monica

      Weird fun fact – they’ve had success in super low dose anti depressants for migraine sufferers. Not as a treatment but as a preventative. I used to average 2 a week and it’s been almost 10 years for me and only one trigger still overcomes the drugs. Dosage is usually about 10% of the starting dose for depression treatment. I kept my Imitrex prescription updated for the first couple years but I don’t even have it in the house anymore.

  3. 12tequilas

    Mir, regarding your refrigerator cleaning post: beer is *great* in chili! I promise. The one time I made chili without beer I didn’t like it as much.

  4. Em

    Please keep us updated on the memory thing. I’ve been having issues myself with memory, fogginess, attention and I am not sure HOW to go to the doctor about it where they will look into it but stick me straight into a scary MRI tube or something. Meanwhile, I jot down where I park and call my kids by the dog’s name. Hey! Maybe, poor memories are nature’s dues for great beauty and since we just get hotter by the day, nature needs to compensate by taking a little from upstairs. I guess it’s only fair.

    • Mir

      I approve of this explanation.

      • Karen

        I’ve been told after inquiring as you have that it’s a perimenopausal/ menopausal thing, even if you’ve had a hysterectomy, apparently. I’ve also been told it’s fairly normal at our age. (I’m a little older than you I think – 51) and as long as you remember people’s names? Like, your immediate family, the dogs, your parents, siblings and the brand of butter you have bought for 27 years? You’re good.

  5. Brigitte

    Ooh, hope it’s something minor and easily fixable. Meanwhile, A) you haven’t lost any ability to make me laugh, and B) you’re pretty.

    Hey, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be finding extra presents you forgot about for the next 12 months!

  6. another sue

    um. . . you kinda’ slid right by the thyroid issue, so I want to play too and say, if/when you get those levels squared away, some of the memory issues may no longer be there. A messed up thyroid can mess up a whole lot of other things, said the voice of experience. And also, the correct term is “age appropriate forgetfulness”. Of course I’m older than you, also dirt, so, you may need your own terminology. Good luck!

    • Mir

      HA well I’m on thyroid meds now, and my hair isn’t falling out, so I don’t think it’s that. (But! Thyroid check in the new year, anyway.)

      • andee

        Hey Mir – long-time reader, 1st time commenter (I think!) …. the thyroid is a really powerful gland. And it can come with brain fuzziness and brain fog, as well as forgetfulness. I had to have my thyroid removed, so obviously, I would be a severe under-performing thyroid if I still had it. My doctor insisted that I be on the name brand (Synthroid) for the thyroid medication and not anything generic. Took months to get my levels right before my fog went away. And if it was as bad as your hair falling out, this could definitely be a contributing factor. So, keep that in mind! Good luck with everything, I enjoy this blog (and your AlphaMom articles) much!

  7. Karen

    Really missed you! But life certainly has a way of butting in!

    We too have Christmasy birthdays. Not only the blood letting for Christmas, but there are the plethora (well three) Christmasy ones followed by one in early February.

    Glad your children are doing so well in schools, and you and Otto – stay well!

  8. Mom24_4evermom

    I’ve been missing you. I hope everything is all right. I was rather startled to learn that my hubby is having memory issues, and that it’s scaring him, which, by extension, scares me, especially since him mom died of dementia related issues earlier this year, though she was not young when her symptoms started. I’m definitely thinking good thoughts for you and hoping I was not just an asshole sharing that with you.

    I also had to laugh because I also thought I was done with the whole Christmas jammies thing only to be disabused of that notion and spent waaaay too long today searching websites everywhere for jammies for teens that have adult-like bodies. Then, I gave up on finding reasonably priced for one of my precious flowers and just sucked it up and paid for the over-priced ones that I had seen first that I knew they would if not love, at least like. (Ha! The fates I am tempting just by typing that.)


  9. Karen

    Have you ever seen this little pet heating pads?


    They probably fill your pet with bad EMFs and will cause Licorice to die young, but in the meantime… I got one for my cat and he LOVES it so much we’ve taken to calling it his crack pad.

    • diane

      Meanwhile, I got one for my kitties and they peed on it. :D

  10. Jeanie

    Good thoughts for a good outcome on your upcoming neurological testing. My shih tzu loves to be brushed. She lays across my lap and falls asleep through part of the routine.

  11. Mary K. in Rockport

    I want to reassure you about memory problems — they are most likely temporary. Don’t know exactly where you are on the perimenopause arc. Mine went on for years, and the only symptoms were more frequent migraines, mental haziness, and astonishing memory lapses. A colleague assured me that those problems would abate — which they did. Good thing, it was getting scary!

  12. Daisy

    The birthdays? I get it. Mine is near the end of November, husband and daughter in mid-December, and son in January. I shop ahead and create a spreadsheet keeping track because otherwise I will either forget something for someone or I will overspend and be unable to buy groceries in January. Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but it could. Really.

  13. Jan in Norman OK

    If you haven’t already done so, you might want to read Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most Out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder by Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey.

    I was over 50 when I was diagnosed with ADHD. I’m taking some meds but, as I pointed out to my doctor, I had over 50 years worth of coping mechanisms built in by then so I’m not sure the meds are making all that much difference.

  14. Sandra

    Where do you find your matching holiday pjs? Any preferences over the years?
    Good luck on the memory thing. I chalk mine up to age. :O)

    • Mir

      I’ve gotten them a ton of different places—Target, Lands’ End, Amazon, Macy’s, eBay… wherever! No strong preferences. (When they were still little, Children’s Place, almost always.) Nowadays the kids seem to enjoy the adult onesies. Last year they got Ralphie’s pink bunny suits. (Ignore the Ralphie faces, they LOVED them.)

      • Becky

        I know you hate Walmart, but what my husband and I have done for our family (my parents and my sister with her husband – no kiddos yet for either of us) was to go to Walmart and get the fleece bottoms – same but different colors – and coordinating sleep teeshirts. Several years ago, we got everyone camo pants – pink camo for the girls and green camo for the guys. Last year were Christmas themed fleece, a couple years ago were winter scene fleece. The year we all went on a Disney cruise, Disney themed fleece. It has worked well – matching, but not identical. And I should mention, my sister and I are in our 40s!

  15. Dezi

    Hey stranger, I have really missed you, and the memory thing is perhaps the reason for your going incognito! I don’t know if this helps even though you should get it checked out, but I went through a memory thing when my kids started college and had some still home. BUT! As an empty nester my memory came back. I do remember something the doctor told me though, like 15 years ago: ” Buy hooks for keys and put keys onto hooks as soon as I walk into door,have five pairs of reading glasses, and make a note where I park, # 5 etc. and if you remember what keys are and what they’re for,” then I’m probably OK.

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