I am positively CRUSHING 2018, in case you were wondering. Why, I made a new vision board on January 1st—as I’ve done for the past howevermany years—and I finally took down last year’s board and hung the new one this week. In April. LOOK AT ME GO. (Okay, in my defense: It has to be sealed with some spray stuff and I couldn’t find my old can of it, or maybe I’d used up the old can, I don’t know, and then I didn’t buy any until my 57 trips to the Big Home Improvement Store during Dressergate, and then I had to find the Command Strips, and… yeah, okay. That’s not really a defense.)

The hanging of my New Year’s Plan (such as it is, in collage form) promptly during the first week of April was perhaps a perfect metaphor for the overcrowding and disorganization in my life of late, so I started making some hard decisions, too. For example: Easter was this past Sunday, so this should be the week I plant my garden. But after a survey of my current life circumstances and the dozen projects I have yet to complete, as well as a quick review of how much I hate tomato-thieving squirrels, for the first year in a decade, I’ve decided not to put in a vegetable garden. Instead, I signed us up for a CSA, like the crunchy hippie I aspire to be. I mean, the cost is probably about the same, but this way I get more variety, less work, and 100% fewer tomatoes pilfered by overgrown rodents. Plus we watch a lot of Chopped and so I’m looking forward to opening a week’s haul and going GOOD LORD WHAT IS THAT HOW DO I COOK IT OR IS IT HERE TO EAT ME. Adventure!

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Oh hey, speaking of pilfering rodents…

… I have a giant plastic bin in which we keep our Somewhat Special Grain-free Food For Itchy Pups. We live in the south, the south has bugs and moisture, and so—generally speaking—I keep lots of stuff either in plastic or in the freezer. Anyway. Then Licorice got all itchy and sad and we tried her on one Super Special Food For Itchy Pups, and then we took her to the fancy pet dermatologist and they put her on a DIFFERENT Super Special Unique Bunny Protein Food For Itchy Pups, and so it came to pass that inside our laundry closet, we had the giant plastic bin of regular food, plus a small, half-empty bag of the first special food, and then a larger bag of the second special food which Licorice was still eating. You know where this is going, right? One day during a cold snap I opened the closet to feed the dogs and realized that the bag of food we were no longer using had a chewed-up corner.


Look; I don’t begrudge mice their existence. And it was cold out, and they’re just looking to get warm. I get it. But. BUT. NO. GET OUT. We set some traps and later that night I went to feed Duncan and when I opened the closet it was just in time to see a wee adorable little field mouse scurry away from one of the traps. So cute. SO HORRIFYING AND NOT BELONGING IN MY HOUSE.

Long story not much shorter: We caught four mice in fairly quick succession, and then there was nothing for about a week. Then we caught one more. I’m hoping we are now DONE with this particular saga (and all dog food has been secured in containers, now) but this is just another reason why dogs are jerks. I mean, I don’t keep MY food in the laundry closet, so clearly it’s their fault.

* * * * *

In fact, the dogs are SUCH jerks, I had to take Licorice back to the dermatologist when she got itchy again, and when I whined about how clearly she is just itchy and not food allergic and is there ANY way I could just schedule her for shots and not a whole exam (now that we know the shots work), the veterinarian not only agreed that we no longer needed to buy the super expensive food, she asked me how I felt about giving Licorice the shots myself. I wanted to say I FEEL GREAT ABOUT THINGS I CAN DO FOR FREE but instead I said I thought I could probably handle it. So the vet gave Licorice a shot and then I gave her a shot while the vet watched and then they sent me home with a bunch of vials of Magic Itch-No-More medicine and that’s a relief, because we are all out of money. Also: THANK THE LORD it’s Licorice and not Duncan who needs the shots, because Licorice gives me a sad and accusing glare of WHY MUST YOU but endures the injection without issue, whereas I feel certain that Duncan would bite my face off. Small favors and all that.

* * * * *

There’s nothing quite like uninvited rodent guests in your home to get you cleaning, so I’ve been decluttering and scrubbing and dealing with house-things to make myself feel less squicked out. Soooo I’m chipping away at all of that, and I decided, finally, to wash the contents of the hamper in the kids’ bathroom.

SIDEBAR: In our house, once you are old enough to reach the buttons on the machines, you do your own laundry. When the kids were small, there was a hamper in the bathroom and at first Chickadee did their laundry and then they alternated once Monkey was big enough, and then she constantly managed to push it off on him and THEN FINALLY they each grabbed a laundry basket for their rooms and declared themselves bosses of only their own stuff. AND YET, there is still a hamper in their bathroom, for reasons I cannot explain. For reasons even further beyond my understanding, that damn hamper is ALWAYS FULL. As a reminder: MY CHILDREN DO NOT EVEN LIVE HERE ANYMORE. What is in the hamper? IT IS A MYSTERY, because every time the kids are home and doing laundry (every time they are home, they are doing laundry) I ask one or both of them to handle the hamper. No matter which child I am speaking to, they will INSIST the hamper is full of items belonging to their sibling. And if I point out to either kid that this is an ongoing issue, well, the insistences only increase in their vehemence.

I brought the (full) hamper downstairs and did two loads of laundry. Then I lovingly folded everything into two piles, one for each kid. The piles were of approximately the same size. I considered donating everything to Goodwill on account of how everyone keeps assuring me there’s nothing of theirs in there, but instead I deposited each pile in the owner’s room and when the kids come home this weekend I will hold their Easter baskets (yeah, there’s belated Easter baskets; I’m not made of STONE, people) hostage until they both put everything away AND promise never to touch the bathroom hamper again. I think that’s fair.

* * * * *

I have been called for jury duty exactly twice in my entire life, despite being registered to vote since my 18th birthday. The first time, I was living in New England and had a nursing infant and was allowed to defer. The second time was this week.

It took the entire day and while I am happy to perform my civic duty, this whole thing of being shoved into a courtroom and not being allowed to even read a book during the HOUR where you’re doing nothing but sitting there and waiting for the judge made me pretty cranky. I was beginning to suspect that I was going to end up on an actual jury, on account of some of the people there seemed kind of confused and/or flaky, plus there was one woman who explained that she just felt very strongly that she couldn’t judge another person. No matter how the lawyers and the judge explained to her that she is merely following the law, she kept insisting that only God could judge. I half-expected the judge to let her know that God rarely turns up for jury duty, but in the end he excused her from service. I answered all the questions honestly, and so when I was asked if I had any strongly-held opinions about gun ownership, I was honest: I said I think the Second Amendment should be repealed as most gun owners do not belong to a well-organized militia or only own muskets, which is what the founding fathers had in mind.

Apparently the case involved guns. WEIRD, I was not picked for the jury. (And just to be clear: my beliefs aside, if seated I would adhere to assessment based on the current laws, so I don’t necessarily think that should’ve rendered me a bad pick. But also, I have things to do, so I’m glad I wasn’t picked.)

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Oh! I have been doing A Thing and I am finally going to start telling you about it. Monkey and I are going through Invisalign treatment together, because the family that fixes their teeth together… ummmm… something something. Follow along if you’ve been wondering what it’s like to have clear aligners and/or get your teeth fixed in middle age.

* * * * *

I have not attempted any DIY projects since I last updated you. Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll be wrecking something else pretty soon. I do still have another dresser to paint….


  1. Suzanne

    This was a VERY satisfying and hilarious update. I am also super impressed that you are giving shots to your pet. Wow. But I too like things that are free, so I think that makes up for a lot of squickiness.

  2. Sheila

    So many things in common on this one! First, rodents. There is evidence of mice in the pantry room. Our old mousetraps were MIA so asked hubby to get more from Home Depot on one of his many “this year my lawn will be perfect ” trips. He came home with the scariest looking traps I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t bring myself to set them then they disappeared in the great “we have guests coming clean all the things” marathon. Since then I found an empty granola bar wrapper on the lunch shelf and decided I really do need to find and set the traps. Tonight is the night I think!
    I haven’t noticed yet if the rodents are also eating the special food of my itchy dog or just our granola bars…
    Thanks for the update!

  3. Katherine

    I think the bathroom laundry hamper just needs to disappear. If it isn’t there, they can’t use it (unless, of course, you and Otto use it). When my kids were younger, I didn’t make them do the laundry, but they did have to put it away (and fold if they were around). After I found folded laundry back in the dirty clothes, I instituted a fine of 25 cents per item, if I found clean clothes in the dirty laundry.
    We haven’t had mice (please don’t let this jinx me), but rather squirrels in the attic. I caught one (in a haveahart trap) and took it far away and let it go. Reset the trap and caught a second – who then proto somehow escape the trap WHILE I WAS HOLDING IT!!! Holy #$&$#@ ! Took me a new trap and over a week to catch that squirrel again. He was very blasé about me in the attic with him. Second time I had a big Rubbermaid bin to seal the trap in once caught.

  4. Kim

    You didn’t put the hamper back in the bathroom, did you? Because I think no hamper gets the point across pretty well.
    And yes, mice are adorable, unless they are in my house, in which case, screw you rodents.

  5. Brigitte

    Yes, we tried a hav-a-heart type trap on our recent mouse. Who apparently was the one mouse on the planet who didn’t like peanut butter or bacon grease. Had to switch to the classic (and cheap) traps and kill him after we found he was stealing our Dove chocolates!! Now I’m in mid-kitchen-sanitizing mode.

  6. Jeanie

    I once had to give my dog shots and hated every minute of it, even though it seemed to go smoothly at first. Then he started to yip every time I came near him with the syringe. His vet said he was just pulling my leg, so to speak, and I wasn’t hurting him. Still, that ended my shot-giving days. I’m excited about your Invisalign experience. I had a friend who did that and I couldn’t tell she had anything on her teeth. I even turned her this way and that looking in her mouth.

  7. Chris

    Oh – we had a mouse family (and I still shudder as I type this) in our kitchen underneath pantry which is right by table. Discovered while DD was away and my DH usually got rid of the evidence before I went downstairs so all as ok as possible when you have two traps next to the place you eat. DD came back and I went away for work and somehow she came down first and all holy h*ll broke loose. I understand it was quite a scene and I had not one iota of the mom guilt I usually have for traveling. ;)

    My house is desperately overdue for de-cluttering but many ugly work things going on right now and meanwhile, my DD has decided to clean her rooms up by putting stuff in mine or the hall. I love that girl but some days…..

  8. Mel

    Yup, I am also wondering if you just GOT RID of the hamper or put it in the garage for Chickadee to take to her new apartment. :)

    • Mir

      It is with some shame I must confess the hamper in the bathroom remains. IN MY DEFENSE, that is also the bathroom guests use, and I like having a hamper there for their towels. Sigh.

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