All the things

Apparently the wedding took a little longer to recover from than I’d planned. Ooops! So, uh, hi! Still alive! Mostly! And only a few things have happened since I was last here.


Surely I will forget some stuff, but I will do my darndest to cover the highlights as best I can. Maybe later my husband will come home and say “But what about [insert that super important thing I totally neglected to mention]??” and I’ll say “Oh, yeah!” and actually come back sooner than six months from now. Who knows! Stranger things have happened.

If you’d rather not waste your time, the Spark Notes version is that everyone is fine. Even Turnip! Though she has developed this charming habit (I am lying; it is not even slightly charming) of refusing to eat at mealtimes. I have no idea what that’s about, but basically if we put her dish down (or close her in the crate with it) a while afterwards, she’ll eat. I have since learned that apparently Malteses are notorious for being picky princesses about their food. Seven pounds of neurosis, that one. Anyway.

Here’s what you missed over the last six months!

The newlywed report
Chickadee and Sunny discovered that everything changes once you’re married! Just kidding; I think it’s all pretty much the same for them, which means they go to work and also lots of concerts and everything in their world is covered in cat hair. Lots of people have asked me if they went on a honeymoon, and the answer is that they haven’t (yet), for a few reasons. First off, Chickie was still working on her master’s when they got married, and so traveling right then was out of the question. Second, Sunny has family in Japan, and what they’d really like to do is take a proper trip to Japan at some point (which requires more time/money than the average trip), so I think they’re still trying to figure out how to make that happen. They are young and have lots of time, so I trust they’ll figure out something amazing when the time is right.

In the meantime…

Hotter by a second degree!
… Chickadee completed her master’s, and Otto and I trekked to Texas for her graduation, which coincidentally was also the weekend Sunny’s brother was graduating (from undergrad), and also Mother’s Day weekend. So we got to see our baby get hooded on Saturday and then on Sunday got to have a big family brunch with the kids and Sunny’s parents. You may or may not recall that the girls actually went to elementary school together; Sunny’s folks legit live about a mile down the road from us. So brunch was a merry affair, filled with tacos and jokes about how we have to fly 1,000 miles to see each other because we are too lazy to make plans at home.

It was a lovely visit and—as always—never enough time together. We will see them again later this summer, but I don’t understand why everyone I love doesn’t just live next door to me. Hmph.


We are definitely not talking about this
… Monkey has continued post-graduation work at their “student internship” locally, while looking for a “real job.” The current job is real, you understand, but not what they ultimately want to be doing. On the pro side, their boss is AMAZING (first allowing the internship to be extended and hours increased, then converting it to a temp position and letting Monkey know they can stay as long as they like), and looking for a job is a soul-sucking endeavor and it has been good for both their resumé and their mental health to have work in the meantime. On the con side, they are ready to leave the area and also really launch into the field they want to pursue.

As somewhat of a sidebar, after having freelanced in a very different career sector for many, many years, helping Monkey go through job listings to find potential positions was eye-opening and somewhat depressing. The number of jobs claiming to be “entry level” but also requiring a loooooong laundry list of specialized skills boggled my mind. I guess this is how it is, now? No wonder Gen Z is so bitter.

Soooo long story very truncated and deliberately vague, one of the very first jobs that Monkey applied for and was super excited about was complete radio silence for close to two months and then was suddenly a flurry of “please send this” and “please do that” and three batteries of exams (one of which required a full-body pat-down at a certified testing center) and maybe four rounds of interviews later, Monkey has a Very Cool New Job.

Sort of.

What Monkey ACTUALLY has is a conditional job offer they cannot discuss and the delightful purgatory known as pending security clearance, and I guess this is one of those “if you know, you know” things. When will they be cleared and start working? No one knows! About how long will it take? Who can say! What will they eventually be doing? That’s classified!

So this is very exciting, but also difficult because Monkey likes to have A Plan and A Timeline, and this particular situation doesn’t really allow for either of those. The hope is that they will be cleared and start working sometime before the end of the year. Until then, they are still here at home, working their campus job, and enduring my daily exhortations to start cleaning and packing up their room.

I am also regularly threatening to send Turnip with them when they move, to which Monkey always responds that Turnip is an OBVIOUS security risk, so no can do. It’s funny every time (we are easily amused).

The end of the pancreas saga
It took nearly a year, but after having pancreatitis twice and then having All The Tests, every single test result was normal. And with each successive test and “normal results,” I grew a little more desperate, because I still felt like a ticking time bomb.

The last test I had was something called a HIDA scan, which measures how well your gallbladder works. At every single juncture of this journey, someone would assure me that I probably had gallstones, and every time they looked to see, there was nothing. Finally my gastro doc said we should do the HIDA Scan, because even without gallstones, it was possible something was wrong with my gallbladder function (which would essentially cause the same sorts of problems). I got to watch the scan on the monitor while they did it, and later that day the results showed up in my portal concluding “normal gallbladder function,” and I’m not gonna lie, I cried. They’d checked everything. No one had a reason for why I’d gotten so sick, which meant there was nothing to fix, and I could potentially get very sick again at any time.

About a MONTH after the HIDA Scan, my gastro’s office called to give me a surgical referral. I was confused. For what? Oh, to have my gallbladder out. Huh??

It turns out that the measure of how your gallbladder is working is called the ejection fraction, and historically it’s been considered Not Working So Good below a certain percentage (about 35%). Only fairly recently had medical science decided that if your ejection fraction is ABOVE a certain percentage (80%), that is also bad.

My HIDA Scan results said “normal gallbladder function” right after “ejection fraction of >99%.” Thanks, random dumbass radiologist!

This is called hyperkinetic gallbladder, and means it’s overactive; symptoms of which may include… chronic or recurring pancreatitis.

Let’s not think too terribly hard about the radiologist who declared this normal or the gastroenterologist taking a month to look at my test results. The end result was that I was referred for surgery, a robot removed my gallbladder, and the pathology was filled with lots of big words and basically concluded HOLY CRAP THAT’S A LOT OF INFLAMMATION. I am feeling much better, not the least of which because I was starting to think I was insane and had somehow mentally induced two bouts of awful illness.

Final note: I’d had laparoscopic surgery a couple of times in my 20s, so figured I knew about how things would go. HAHAHA. Lemme just tell you that the surgery that was no big thing at 22 is a LOT worse at 52. Whoops! Also I had the surgery on a Friday and was prescribed a narcotic for pain, and I don’t do well with narcotics, so I assured Otto I could manage with Advil, and then it was the weekend and Advil was not cutting it and the doctor’s office was closed. Whoops, again! Soooo… it was a rough few days. But that was a couple of months ago and everything is fine now. Yay!

Like a cloud! Like a taco! A cloud taco!
About 12 years ago, Otto and I invested in a Fancy New Bed. And it was amazing, for a long time. But apparently beds don’t last forever, or something. I dunno. Despite regular mattress rotation, our previously amazing bed has become… lumpy. Uncomfortable. Possibly past its prime, is my point.

We have been talking about getting a new bed for a couple of years. Every time we’re just about to do it, a tree falls over in the yard or the furnace fails or a dog needs to have an eyeball removed or… you get the idea. There’s always something else more critical to spend a chunk of change on. But we finally reached a point where it had to be done, and so we patriotically spent Memorial Day at our local Big Box Mattress Place, lying on various mattresses and trying to chat with a nice salesdude while doing so.

The mattress we were replacing was memory foam, and although we really liked it in the beginning, for various reasons we wanted to get a hybrid mattress, this time. The good news is that most mattresses are now hybrids! The bad news is that… most mattresses are now hybrids! I don’t know how long we were in the store, y’all. Time lost all meaning. We tried a lot of different beds. Salesdude tried to convince us that everyone who’s ever had a Tempur-pedic mattress and then switched to something else ends up coming back for another Tempur-pedic, but I really didn’t want to spend that kind of money again. Eventually we settled on a nice Sealy hybrid, and then between the current sale and rebates and whatnot, also ended up buying an adjustable base for a song.

Did we really WANT an adjustable base? I don’t know. It was cheaper than boxsprings, for one thing. It also meant I could potentially raise the head up, some, when I wake up and Otto is snoring, which seems preferable to smothering him with a pillow. And the salesdude gave us this whooooole long education about how sleep science (sleep science! totally a real thing!) has concluded that a “zero gravity” position is the optimal human sleeping posture, and the adjustable base even has a zero gravity setting already programmed in! “But,” he added—and this becomes pertinent in a moment—“you can also program in your own presets, and my wife and I have one that’s not quite zero gravity, but a little lower than that.”

We bought the new bed. We patiently waited for it to arrive. On the appointed day, one very burly man and one tiny-but-scrappy man showed up to remove the old bed and set up the new one. It was all very exciting. We were practically giddy when we went to bed that night. We hit the zero gravity button, and both the head and foot of the bed began to slowly rise, while Goose continued doing absolutely nothing and Turnip lost her goddamn mind. This was how we learned that the sound of an adjustable bed adjusting is

We lay there in zero gravity for a moment.

“I feel like a taco,” I said, finally. We both burst out laughing. We adjusted the bed some more, to make it a little less… taco-like… but still a bit elevated at the head and foot. I rolled around some and commented on how nice it was not to land in a valley and crash into Otto, as would happen with the old mattress. We went to sleep.

The next morning we compared notes and decided the bed position still needed some fine-tuning. I still felt like I was being folded up like a human taco, so that night we brought the head and feet down just a little more.

The morning after that, we compared notes, and that night we slept on the bed flat. It was PERFECT.

Will we ever actually adjust the base? I don’t know. Maybe. It also has motion-sensor underbed lighting, which is very nice because it makes us less likely to trip on a dog in the dark. It also has a couple of massage settings. I’ve always thought of any bed with massage as a quarter-eating, seedy-motel contraption, but Otto said we should try it, because it might be relaxing.

So one night I turned it on, and Turnip lost her goddamn mind. So. That’s a no, apparently. (*bork*bork*bork*bork*bork*)

Anyway, it’s super comfortable, and one of these days I’m sure we’ll adjust it for something. Maybe.

* * * * *

So there you have it: everything you missed in the last six months. It seems like there should be more, but I’m pretty old and forgetful, so this is what you get. I hope everything in your world is similarly exciting-but-not, because it’s pretty good.


  1. Sharkey

    It’s so weird to me that one of your little tiny children has a master’s degree and is married, and the other is going to be starting a real-deal job!

    We have the adjustable base, and the Taco setting is nice when you’re sick and want to watch TV from bed. We also use the Snore setting for reflux and post-nasal drip/stuffiness situations, so it’s versatile that way. But its biggest advantage—you know how they really, really discourage you from buying just a mattress and practically force you to buy a new box spring? That sales technique won’t work next time! (It’s probably also why mattresses are so dang expensive now, come to think of it.)

    • Mir

      Coincidentally, it is also SUPER WEIRD to me!

  2. Mary K

    So glad you’re back… and your life is still wonderfully blog-worthy!

    Also, every time my eyes scanned across “Turnip,” they registered “Trump,” which made it all even more amusing. Especially the security risk part.

    • Mir

      I would say they’re about on par, security-risk-wise. I mean, Turnip is pretty shifty.

  3. Beth Stocksick

    Must have missed something… when did Monkey become a them and they… as in a plural? Can you point me to the link to that post?

    • Mir

      Not plural, non-binary. I did not write a post about it, but if you look at the About page you’ll spot a nod to the adjustment. It was two or three years ago, I think. Hope that helps!

  4. Yet Another Heather

    So great to hear the latest! Also, my spouse had one of those conditional clearance job offers. Accepted in early 2020, surely the current clearance would transfer over in 30 days? Ha, ha, ha, SOB! Over 10 months until start date. May Monkey have better luck.

    • Mir

      Word on the street is that they’ve improved/sped up the process, some, so fingers crossed!

  5. StephLove

    I’d been wondering about Chickadee’s graduation. Sounds like a fun trip.

    I’m sorry for the uncertainty with Monkey’s job. My eldest waited four months between an interview and starting a new job (a temporary one! that only lasts 4.5 months!) and it didn’t even require a security clearance.

    I’m sorry about all the health woes. I hope you’ve turned the corner.

    We got an adjustable bed several months ago. I raise the front sometime for reading, but not for sleeping.

    • Mir

      Yeah, job-getting in the current world is crazy-making. Our poor kids.

  6. Niki

    Glad to see you’re all still alive. You never call, you never write… We bough a new bed last summer and almost went for adjustable base but decided it would be just too much to spend. Still kind of wishing we had. Also wishing we had stuck with a regular king instead of switching to a Cal king (hubby doesn’t like his toes unsupported), because at the time we only had one medium-size dog in the bed with us, and now we’ve added a currently-medium-size but likely to get a good bit bigger dog. It’s a good thing I sleep in a semi-fetal position, is all I’m saying.

    • Mir

      Turnip and Goose do a marvelous job of hogging our king; I cannot imagine how little space you have with both Georgia and Larka in your bed!!

  7. Rachel

    I love that this was ChildUpdate:ChildUpdate:HealthUpdate:FurnitureUpdate

    • Mir

      Listen, I considered going the other way but someone surely would’ve scolded me for making my bed more important than my kids. ;)

  8. Wendalette

    So glad to hear from you! And that Chickie, Sunny, and Monkey are just crushing young adulthood! Way to go, mama and Otto!
    Relieved for your health and I’m just full of bubbles happy for you all.
    From one Orange girl to another, luv and hugs!

    • Mir

      I take no credit for the kids’ successes, but I am ridiculously proud of both of them (and Sunny, too)! They all turned out pretty great!

  9. Mir

    Side note, y’all—apparently my blog was holding comments in moderation and not emailing me alerts, so apologies for not noticing I had a queue of comments waiting! I love you!! I will try to get that fixed!

  10. Meg

    Lovely update. Delighted the kids are doing so well.

    I’m sorry about the gall bladder nonsense, but very glad they actually validated how crappy you were feeling. Eventually. :( I had mine out in my mid 40s and did not super enjoy the experience! My digestive system was quite indelicate about adjusting.

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