Hello yes hi we are alive

A very patient reader pointed out over on the Facebook page that I never updated after the last post (about Chickadee being in the hospital). I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to be a giant jerkface, but it just happens naturally, I guess. So, to clarify:

1) I suck.
2) Chickie was in the hospital for 5 days and then was released to us.
3) She is feeling a billion and twelve percent better than she did during the acute phase which landed her in the hospital.
4) She does, however, still have mono, which means…
5) … she sleeps roughly 16 hours/day, and…
6) … she had to resign from her summer job, and…
7) … her liver is still Not Happy and being tested every couple of weeks, and…
8) … she is well enough to do things she likes but not well enough to unload the dishwasher, okay??

We are getting on each others’ nerves but she is recovering. And I will take squabbles about the dishes all summer long over literally carrying my child into the ER because she’s too sick to walk. So. Practical take: Also let us not forget that timing-wise this was pretty much best case scenario; if she’d gotten sick earlier in the semester it would’ve been catastrophic. Opportunity to torment our child take: Jokes about who your kid was swapping spit with while away at college never get old!

So that’s that. Everyone lived and the folks at the hospital were great, but we sure are glad to be home.

In other news, I was looking forward to my Last Summer With My Baby Boy Before College, which—in my mind—was going to include all manner of special memories and activities that probably never would’ve happened on account of Reasons. (Example: “Hey, do you want to go pick blueberries today?” “Maybe.” “So is that a yes?” “Maybe.” “You’re in the middle of a campaign, aren’t you?” “Yeah, it’s kind of important.” Etc.) BUT I HAD DREAMS, is the point. And whether or not they would’ve come true is beside the point, because we’ll never find out.

It turns out that Monkey has priorities other than letting his mother alternate between crying into his hair and suggesting he go shave off his goatee for twelve weeks (ingrate), and so he found himself a great opportunity of a summer program which is NOT HERE. We had a little bit of time together after graduation, mostly spent decompressing, and sometimes watching Terrible Television, and then he went off on vacation with his dad, and now he is coming home today and we will spend the next few days running the Final Preparation Gauntlet (not terribly taxing for him, but often involves me doing things like sitting bolt upright in bed at 3:00 because I just remembered he might need a stapler) before we take him and Nearly All His Stuff off to spend most of the rest of the summer Someplace Else That Is Not Here With Me.

Because I’m an anal-retentive control freak of a bargain shopper, 99% of his prepare-for-dorm-life purchasing was done before this all got decided, so at least there wasn’t too much of a panic on that front. (His graduation gift of a new laptop was already ordered, as well as the “I’m only awkward because I rolled a 1 in charisma” sticker to go on it, of course.) I did discover, however, that we were sorely lacking on the Appropriate Businesswear front, and on the heels of that, discovered that skinny Mr. Monkey falls into that delightful crevasse in-between the largest boys’ sizes and the smallest easily-obtainable men’s size in suits, which meant the double-whammy of paying men’s prices BUT ALSO having to pay for a special order and and and… well, let’s just say I focused on the injustice of this for a while rather than that my kid was leaving months earlier than I’d planned. Thanks to eBay and the generosity of some local friends, we obtained some hand-me-downs; a few alterations later, he was set. Now instead of being the kid with a single pair of khakis and a few nice shirts and one beloved tie-dye bowtie, Monkey is headed off with a nice suit and a decent blazer and several pairs of work-appropriate pants (as well as his shirts and the aforementioned tie-dye bowtie, of course).

Also, I had to buy him a 100% cotton lab coat, which is harder to find than you might imagine if you’d ever bothered to think about lab coats. I had not, until all of this, and not only are most lab coats some sort of poly blend (good for walking around a hospital and making people trust you, one assumes, but not so good for not setting yourself on fire, I guess?), if you search for “100% cotton lab coat” you will get lots of search results LABELED 100% cotton which then—in teeny, tiny print—clarify that they are, in fact, a poly-cotton blend.

Yes, this is all minutiae. This is how I’ve been spending my time.

ANYWAY, Monkey is about to embark on this cool adventure, so today we will fetch him from the airport and bring him home, and he’ll unpack and do laundry and then over the next few days I’ll help him repack, and I’ll give him a haircut and ask him what sorts of snacks he’d like me to buy him and then we’ll take him back to Atlanta and tell him how proud we are of him and LEAVE HIM THERE WITH ALL HIS STUFF PLUS A SUIT AND A LAB COAT WHICH IS INSANE BECAUSE HE’S A LITTLE BOY.

Yep. I’m fine. Nothing to see here.

Let’s see. What else? My garden is going completely nuts because we’ve had tons of rain, and so far the squirrels seem not to have noticed that there are tomatoes. Fingers crossed that they will continue to be oblivious, but so far only my yellow tomatoes are ripe, so it’s more likely that they’re just only interested in the red ones. We’ll see. I also have eggplant and peppers and melons and cucumbers and an endless supply of basil. When I need to clear my head I go outside and putter around weeding and training vines and when I find a tomato hornworm I pretend it’s a politician. You know, as one does. I highly recommend gardening for mental health.

I’ve also started baking bread again, because I like to torture myself with delicious looking/smelling food I can’t eat. (Also because Chickadee is still barely eating but will always eat fresh bread.)

I’m still writing for Alpha Mom, though there was a lull in there while I finished up a HUUUUUGE project, which is finally live. If you’ve ever thought about using a meal kit delivery service, but didn’t know which one to choose or even HOW to decide which one would be right for you, I’ve got you covered: I spent most of this spring evaluating nine different meal kit delivery services to figure out which one is the best. Spoiler alert: The answer was “it depends” (surprise!) but I think my experiences in the land of Get A Box Of Mealstuff Every Week were pretty interesting. Also, if you haven’t seen Wonder Woman yet, you should.

So that’s the news from here. The dogs continue to be ridiculous. Otto continues to be awesome. We have rescheduled our anniversary trip (you know, the one we were supposed to be taking while Chickadee was in the hospital) and patiently await the next catastrophe to prevent it from happening. (HAHA! JUST KIDDING! WE’RE GOING! SHUT UP! I’M NOT CRYING, YOU’RE CRYING!)

Onward we go.


  1. Mary K

    Holy moly, Mir! Ain’t motherhood grand? Even when your babies leave the nest, they’re still – and forever – your baybeeeeees!

  2. Sarah

    I’m so glad you finally got around to updating us. I need that sticker though.

  3. Jen R

    I can’t seem to get to any of the AlphaMom articles (not just yours). I get a 504 error from nginx … so a load balancing problem maybe? Anyway, in case they haven’t noticed I thought I would let you know.

    • Kate

      I couldn’t get to AlphaMom yesterday afternoon either, but they’re back up today!

  4. Karen

    Glad to hear all is relatively well! And so happy for Monkey – He is using his wings and flying! It’s never easy, letting them go..but reveling in their grown-up-ness is a beautiful thing too. Enjoy! And damn, how do you do it… I’ve been trying to go gluten free for two years now because it’s a known fact I feel so much better when I do… but.. the temptation when I make for others… UGH!!… I such at temptation, clearly.

  5. Karen

    That would be *suck.

  6. Laura

    I wish I lived closer, I would take all of those hornworms off of your hands to give to my oldest’s bearded dragon. It is delightfully gross to watch that lizard eat those creepy worms.

    • The Other Leanne


  7. Jeanie

    Thanks for the update! I always check to see if you’ve posted.

  8. Karen

    Nice to have an update. Glad to hear everyone is (mostly) okay, and that you’re coping. This whole kids growing up thing is not for sissies, I tell ya! I hope Monkey has an awesome time in his bow tie and lab coat, and that Chickie is better sooner than everyone expects.

  9. Chris

    Ahh the business clothes before you are ready. At least my DD is Still Somewhere With Me so in addition to taking advantage of the Ann Taylor 40% off sales, she has survived by raiding my closet- borrowing what she believes is cool enough for her 18 year old self. On days I am working at home, see her come home on the train in full work apparel (including usually wearing a Mom jacket since you don’t realize teenage jackets don’t cover much) is disconcerting (but also makes me smile). I will be very sad to have her go to college in August (and we have NO dorm stuff because that would make it real for us both and neither of us has wanted to go there). My baby….

  10. Vickie

    My youngest graduated from high school the spring of 2016, left for another country for the summer, returned and moved to college.

    So I feel you.

    And you probably have an advantage, because mine was an immersion program with no phone/skype allowed. One email a week. Yep.

    Sooooo, the good news is you will do all of your fall college adjustment for him being gone now.

    And I suggest making yourself a really good list of things you want to get done, so you have GO TO things when empty house hits later.

    And my same kid is gone this summer too. But she is in the country and can use the phone.

    And next summer she is out of the country again. And there will be Skype.

    I have also borrowed a dog to walk so somebody needs me and is super glad to see me each afternoon.

  11. gilly

    Vitamin B Complex. That is what Chickie needs to take and regularly. Will help her recover much faster. Wouldn’t do the rest of you any harm either. It is the miracle group of vitamins that helps the body function in ridiculous situations like these. Seriously, please get some. (Although it does turn one’s pee bright yellow.)

  12. Little Bird

    Mono does indeed suck. I had it when I was about her age.
    Monkey will do well, after all, you raised him!
    And about those tomatoes…. I heard that if you hang a few red Christmas ornaments, the shiny ones that break easily, the squirrels will go for those, discover they aren’t in fact yummy tomatoes and leave your garden alone. I don’t know if it actually works though.

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