Cave New World


Once upon a time, Will used to be somewhat hurt and jealous when Stella seemed to prefer me to him.  It was that typical “the baby wants its mommy” thing that they pretty much all do.  Everyone – and I mean everyone- told him to wait.  Just wait.  Before he knew it, she would become a daddy’s girl.

We’ve reached that point.  Don’t get me wrong:  I don’t get snubbed or anything, or at least not much, but daddy has become the “fun one” while I do stuff like clean, cook, and take care of Felix.  With this new powerful magnetism that Will has over his daughter is a renewed interest in Will’s “man cave.”

(Yes, he still has one for now, although its days are dwindling.  We are going to have to separate the kids one of these years, and I can’t see us getting the storage room made livable soon enough.)

I don’t know why it’s so desirable. I have no urge to hang out in there.  He has this creepy mask collection and the furnishings aren’t exactly luxe.  But to Stella, Will’s room is about on par with Six Flags.  She loves it.  The rule is, however, that as with vampires, she must be invited in and a grown-up (i.e. daddy) must be present.

She comes by her passion for masks honestly

She comes by her passion for masks honestly

She’s also resorted to rather ingenious ways of infiltrating.  Her latest is pretending to be me, since I obviously have carte blanche to be anywhere in the house I wish to be.

The other day, Will caught her sitting in his desk chair in front of the computer.  He fussed at her for being in there without a grown up when Stella basically told him to shove it:  She wasn’t Stella.  She was Mommy.  She had attired herself in my pajamas for the occasion.

Stella and my pjs, preparing for insertion behind enemy lines

Stella and my pjs, preparing for insertion behind enemy lines

She then demanded her coffee.

I shit you not.

I guess it’s better than wine.

Isn’t it too early for this kind of thing?

 

I Don’t Give a Luck


This is an old and kind of gross story, but it’s necessary for the rest of the post, which is about luck.  Here goes:

Once upon a time when Will and I started dating, he was driving this old Nissan pickup truck.  Somehow, some way, when he was on his way to my house late one night, he ran over a bit of roadkill – a dog – and it got stuck under his truck on something called a leaf spring (I don’t do mechanical stuff, so I had to take his word for it).  Basically as he explained it to me, the corpse got impaled on this bit of metal under his chassis and he started dragging it around.  I guess the best part of this was A) that he wasn’t the one that actually hit and killed the dog, and B) it was winter, so odors were knocked back considerably.

Poor Will drove around for days with this thing dragging behind his truck.  People on the interstate were beeping and rudely gesturing to him – à la National Lampoon’s Vacation.  He was pretty traumatized by the whole thing, and just wanted it to hurry up and fall off.  I caught a glimpse of it at one point, and it didn’t even resemble a dog anymore -more like furry ribbons.  Finally, he had enough and decided he would have to put on some gloves and try to remove this thing.  As he drove his truck up onto a curb so that he could better get underneath for the extraction, it sort of pinched off and that was that.

But that became a metaphor for those random streams of bad luck: dead dog luck.  It was a one in a million shot.

We’re kind of having some dead dog luck now.  While Will got his new job – sure – in the last 2 weeks our household has endured a rather ridiculous string of bad luck:  I got that UTI, the AC went out, Stella got strep throat, Stella got a sinus infection, Felix got an ear infection, I have some sort of awful sinus cold thing, Will has some kind of sinus cold thing, Felix may be catching the awful sinus cold thing.  The resulting copays and prescription costs from the kids alone has been absurd.  Last Thursday, Will took Stella to to the doc in the morning and Felix in the afternoon.  Stella got a shot and a prescription, Felix got a prescription.  We need a punch card for that place.

Stella with strep

Stella with strep

Felix dodged that bullet

Felix dodged that bullet

Stella on the mend (pre-sinus issues)

Stella on the mend (pre-sinus issues)

I know we’ve been really lucky, but we’ve always been the family that never got sick.  Now we can’t all get healthy.  It’s dead dog luck.  It’s not calamitous.  It’s just draining and inconvenient.  It makes normal functioning – doing things like cooking dinner and putting kids to bed – feel that much more impossible.  Last night I nuked some chicken fries for my kids along with couscous and watermelon.  I just couldn’t manage dinner.  I had a can of soup.

Here’s hoping this is the last of it, and that by this coming weekend we’ll all be back to normal and can get back to having some fun.

Felix faltering.....

Felix faltering…..

....and ultimately down for the count with the ear infection.

….and ultimately down for the count with the ear infection.

 

The Pen(icillin) Is Mightier Than the Sword


Dear Future Stella on the eve of some Mother’s Day,

I don’t know how old you’ll be when I let you read this, but consider this a “cashing in” of sorts.  As I write this, you are roughly 3.5 years old.  By all accounts, you’re a pretty amazing kid.  You’re built like a supermodel in training.  Your hair is bleached golden by the sun.  You have your daddy’s blue eyes but they’re big like mine.  Your memory is eerie it’s so good.  Your occupational therapist has said she believes you’re “hyperlexic,” a term I was unfamiliar with but after some research feel is a correct term for you; you read phenomenally well, and while initially you were practicing the mechanics of it, your comprehension is catching up.  You’re energetic.  You’re curious.  You’re wonderful.

We still have some things to work out.  What’s at issue now, and what has prompted this entry, is your absolute refusal to take medicine.  I don’t understand it, but your reaction to even hearing the word is on par with a Category 4 hurricane.

Once upon a time, you would refuse to take Tylenol.  You know, the awesome pink bubble gum-flavored kid stuff.  Your father and I tried EVERYTHING.  And I mean everything.  We hid it in milk, ice cream, popsicles.  You were like a bloody shark.  You could detect the equivalent of one drop of Tylenol in a swimming pool of chocolate milk.  We’re talking a sensitivity of one part per million.  Hell, one part per billion.

Holding you down and forcing it inevitably ended badly.  It turned your mouth into a spray nozzle, leaving everyone in a 2.5’ radius covered with a slurry of pink goo and spit.  Fortunately, you like never got sick.  Not really.  When you were uncomfortable as a younger kid, you just had to suck it up.  As you got older, we discovered the quick-dissolve tablets.  “Pink Candy,” we called them.  We had better success with that.  It still took some bribery, but you were now old and sophisticated enough to bribe.

About 6 weeks ago, you were feeling poorly.  We finally took you to the doc and lo and behold, you had a double ear infection.  It was only the 2nd (or technically 3rd and 4th) ear infections you’ve ever had (since your first was also a double).  They gave you antibiotics.  Your father and I were terrified and mentioned that you had some sensory issues that made medications very difficult.  The doctor said flatly: if she doesn’t take it, she’ll need to come in for 3 separate injections to knock this out.

You know what?  You took your medicine.  No drama.  Very little bribery involved.  You also took Tylenol and Mucinex as needed.  It was like the nightmare was over.

Then you got strep just this past weekend.  You were given the classic bubble-gum flavored amoxicillin.  You will have none of it.  Your reaction is epic: screaming, gagging, vomiting (at one point), crying, whining, kicking, hitting, scaring the bejeezus out of your brother.  It really is the Seventh Circle of Hell.  Twice a day.  If I’m lucky, you get half your twice-daily dose.  The rest gets splattered/spat all over you, me, the floor.  It is the viscous white stuff, so it currently looks as if a cement truck exploded all over the house.

Cue my Mother of the Year award:  Outside while sick with strep

Cue my Mother of the Year award: Outside while sick with strep

This was right before I let them play in the rain

This was right before I let them play in the rain

We have tried bribes – the big stuff, too.  Nope.  We tried dummy dosing.  You know, “look how daddy likes it.”  It’s amoxicillin so I can’t touch it.

Side note: when I was 3, I showed extreme reaction to penicillin.  In the words of my parents, I blew up like a balloon.  I can only assume this was some type of near-anaphylaxis.  From that point on, I was been banned from any of the -cillins.  Whenever I do need an antibiotic, Will loves to look at me and ask:  “How do you know if you’re really allergic?  It was a long time ago.  What if they made a mistake?”  I think he wants to collect the life insurance.  That kind of money would buy a lot of video games and beer.

So far the dude is unscathed

So far the dude is unscathed

Maybe he'll dodge the dreaded germ?

Maybe he’ll dodge the dreaded germ?

Only time will tell.

Only time will tell.

So anyway.  Here we are, day 3 of a 10 day run on this stuff.  I used to think dosing cats with any type of medicine was about the worst possible thing.  This takes the cake.

So, Stella, you owe me.  You owe me big.  Not for the years of no sleep.  Not for the saggy boobs (and your brother didn’t help these, either).  Not for at least 5 of my 15-20 extra pounds.  This.  Is.  Horrible.

Medicine.  It’s not supposed to be this F*#^$ing complicated.

So I want a good present this year.  I’ve earned it.

Now I’m going to go try to spot-treat myself and get this shit off of me.  I look like a Jackson Pollock painting.

Sincerely,

Your Mother

Hour Town


I have something to discuss that is mostly non-kid related.  We got some amazing news late last week:  Will had interviewed for a job with our local parks service and got it.  Understand, my husband is not a “let’s make a major life-change willy nilly” kind of guy.  He has worked for Barnes and Noble for just over 10 years.  He was a proverbial big fish in a small pond.  He landed there while he was in school and just sort of never left.

At first, it wasn’t so bad – regular hours, and since he started in the receiving department, he got weekends off.  Over time, the company changed.  Call it downsizing, streamlining, or changing their business model, the company simply became less employee-centric.  I worked there, too, for quite some time and hearing what has happened has been pretty sad.

I mean, I get it.  I really do.  The economy sucks.  “Obamacare” has seemingly been a factor (and hell no I’m not opening that Pandora’s box on my blog, but it is a factor in workplaces such as this one);  other than management, most full-time positions were whacked.  It went from a place that offered loads of full-time lower-tier supervisory positions – where people who were really passionate about books and reading could be assigned a section which was “theirs,” providing a sense of ownership and pride – to a McJob, where young adults eke out a living, cobbling their B&N wages together with all the other part time jobs they now have to have to survive.

Whew.  Sorry.

Suffice it to say, over the past 2 years, my husband’s stress level has gone up and up.  Work harder and not smarter, if you know what I mean. Meantime, his scheduled has sucked harder and harder.  I’ve been begging him to get out there and find something else.  During his first interview in a very long time, he landed a new job. ( See folks? You can do it. You just have to put yourselves out there.)

ANYWAY.  I’m ecstatic.  It’s a fresh start for him.  Selfishly, I’m happy for me.  We’ve been living like single parents during the week.  4-5 nights a week, I have been feeding, bathing, and putting our kids to bed mostly alone (thankfully Oui Oui stays and helps with bath time if she’s able).  I’m lucky if I get to talk to my husband for a combined 1-2 hours during the week.  When I do, I’m usually barking instructions or running through data like a drill sergeant, as it’s the only time I can communicate with him.  That doesn’t lead to good, quality conversations.

And this all seems doubly relevant after last week, when I needed to go to urgent care one night and couldn’t because I was home alone with the kiddos and this past weekend, when poor Stella caught strep and we had several very long and active nights.  To know that there are 2 adults in the house to help manage that sort of thing will be a huge lift.

I’ll have help cooking.  If he doesn’t want to cook, he can at least divert the kids.

I will be able to take regular showers for the first time in 3.5 years.  You have no idea how that feels.

We can spend time together, talking, drinking wine, watching movies.

We can spend time apart, and that will be more than ok because together-time won’t be such a rarity.

We can exercise, tagging out with each other so that the other one can ride a bike, jog, or do yoga.

We can actually be like a real family of 4 for more than an hour here, an hour there.

This is huge, y’all.  I’m giddy.  This will be a long 2 weeks.

 

Every Which Way But Juice


Once upon a time when I was a kid growing up in Pennsylvania, I had a pretty strict household.  My mom had married a guy that was pretty rigid in the rules department.  There was a legendary argument about “no glass of water in your bedroom.”  What got to me was my stepdad couldn’t provide a satisfactory reason why I could not have water in my bedroom.  And sorry, “because I told you so” isn’t satisfactory.  My  mother herself was fairly laissez faire about some things, but had her sticking points.  Food and nutrition was one of them.  Don’t get me wrong:  she wasn’t one of these “only free-range, organic, no GMO, gluten-free, free trade” kind of granola moms.  But she didn’t want me eating a bunch of crap.  The only sweet that was brought into that house on a weekly basis was my stepdad’s peanut butter Tastee-Kakes, which were forbidden to me.  There were no chips.  I was allowed some popcorn – the old air-popped variety.  Very rarely were there cookies, and those were doled out fairly carefully (and frankly, they were the crappy bargain variety).  Soda???  What’s that?

Side note here:  even as a kid, I didn’t like soda.  The carbonation burned my throat.  So while I’m bitching about the stuff I didn’t have as a kid, I really can’t say that I minded – then or now – the lack of soda in the household.

My mom did her best to cook meals for us.  I don’t think of myself as picky.  I think my stepdad was pickier.  Hell, I love Brussels sprouts, for crying out loud.  Still, my poor mom caught hell trying to make stuff we’d all eat.  “Meatloaf eggballs” were a favorite: these were meatloaf-wrapped boiled eggs with ketchup on top, usually served with chicken-flavored Rice-a-Roni and a can of French cut green beans.  It was a protein-bomb, but very hearty on a cold Pennsylvania winter’s night.  I remember tuna casserole made me want to puke.  One night, she experimented with some kind of pineapple chicken casserole.  My stepdad threw up in the kitchen sink.  To be fair, it may have been a stomach virus, but I wasn’t about to eat a damn thing after that.

This zeal for healthy-ish eating extended to beverages.  I was only allowed milk, water (yeah, right), or juice.  Specifically, I could have Juicy Juice – the only juice without added sugar.  I was allowed one large tin a week.  Once that was gone, it was back to milk and water.  I was ok with milk.  Until I turned 17 or 18.  Then I never wanted to look at a glass of that white demon juice ever again.  The thought of drinking it made/makes me want to gag.

I got milked out. I can honestly say I have not had even a swallow of milk in at least 22 years.

To be fair, it obviously did great things for my body.  I’ve never broken a major bone.  When I had a couple of wisdom teeth pulled, the dentist had to literally put his knee on my shoulder to gain enough force to yank it out, swearing he’d never pull the other 2 for me.  He said the bone in my jaw was “robust.”  I think that was a compliment.

So now I’m a mom with kids.  We’re a whole milk household. I’ve offered my kids juice – sparingly – but they don’t seem to dig it much.  I do let them have flavoring in their milk sometimes.  Not always.  To my knowledge, they’ve never had soda, and I’m super freaking happy about that.

Here’s my question to y’all out there: Am I a bitch because I feel like putting a damn padlock on the milk to keep my husband out?  He likes to drink milk.  He’ll drink several glasses a day, sometimes draining the last gallon.  When I express concern that the kids won’t have milk for that night/the next morning, he’s pretty flippant about it.  Yes, I know my kids will drink water and won’t starve to death without a glass of milk.  But geeeeeez.  Shouldn’t the milk be for the kids?  Drink beer instead, damn it.

Am I right or wrong?  This is a serious disagreement in my household.

 

 

When You Wish Upon a Tar


When you’re slogging through your children’s early years, people love to tell you shit like “it goes so fast” or “wait until they’re teenagers.”  It almost seems like an involuntary thing to say. It’s like parental Tourette’s.  It’s not that those people are wrong or mean.  It’s just not usually what you want to hear when you’re covered in snot and haven’t slept in 4 years.  You’d rather hear things like “go take a nap and I’ll watch them” or “here’s a sandwich and a glass of champagne to enjoy while I watch your children.”

But they’re right.  These little people are only little people once.

From time to time I’ve constructed a timeline of a typical day.  I share it with you all out there so that you all know you’re not alone in the slogging department.  But it’s also something of a memorial for myself one day. I haven’t done one of these in a while – (https://larva225.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/i-a-m-what-i-a-m/ )- since Felix was only a few months old.  An update seems long overdue.

This is a recent morning.  The specific day/date is inconsequential:

4:15 AM (Felix and I are in the master bedroom)  Felix wakes up by sitting up, singing his little “ba ba baaaa ba baaa” song. I cannot persuade him to go back to sleep.  I ask him if he knows what time it is.  Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t answer.  I sneak as quietly as possible down the hall in order to avoid waking Stella.  I proceed to put up child gates, make a cup of tea, feed the Three Stupid Cats, change Felix’s diaper, and put out a cup of chocolate milk and handful of Goldfish crackers.  Felix watches Pocoyo while pulverizing Goldfish, since that’s what’s on Nick Jr at this ungodly hour.  He attempts to climb up on the coffee table 9 times. I remove him 9 times.  He finally gives up and empties out his big Lego block wagon.  I try to check the news, weather, and Facebook on my phone.

4:49 Stella wakes up.  It’s probably because Felix was playing the toy piano.  And by playing I mean banging on it with both fists.  I provide her with chocolate milk and we wait for Peppa Pig to come on.  I unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry.

5:19  After sitting through the first episode of Peppa, Stella demands that I turn on Mater (Mater’s Tall Tales on Netflix).  After picking up the blocks from Felix’s block wagon, I find the Roku player remote.  By the time I get Mater going, Felix has upended the wagon again.  Both kids are momentarily hypnotized by Larry the Cable Guy’s voice. I sneak to the back to throw on clothes and makeup.  I return to make coffee and start sorting out lunch for Will.

5:54 Mater ends.  Stella asks for more Mater.  I pick up the blocks again and then hit play again on the Roku remote.  Felix empties out the blocks.  Again.

6:00  I try to get Will up for work.  I begin making him breakfast: a couple of boiled eggs in miso soup.  Stella demands food.  Shit.  We only have 2 eggs, and they’re for Will.  I improvise.  I decide to make breakfast quesadillas – one ham and cheese and one peanut butter and Nutella.

6:20  Will eats most of his soup and leaves for work.  Stella and Felix are seated and given some fruit – apple and cherries – while I wait on the food to cool.  Stella won’t eat the quesadilla, instead asking for stinky chips and pickles.  Felix likes the peanut butter and Nutella.  He likes painting with it more.  I’m folding clothes, trying to avoid puddles of molten peanut butter and Nutella.

6:45  Clean up breakfast stuff.  Stella’s plate is untouched (which sucks, as this means she’ll get wild at school when her sugar crashes) and Felix’s high chair tray looks like a tar pit.  So does his face.

This is what happens when you try to think outside of the breakfast box.

This is what happens when you try to think outside of the breakfast box.

7:15  I hit play on Mater for the FOURTH time.  I pull clothes for the little people.  Felix runs away when I try to grab him.  Fortunately he trips over his block wagon and all the spilled blocks. Stella hates the blue dress I chose.  I get impatient and rip it off.  Then she screams that she wants her beautiful blue dress back.  I wonder if I need a bite guard so that I have molars left by the time I’m 45.

8:00  I try to Facetime with my dad and stepmother, since this is their appointed phone date with Stella.  My dad’s wifi is F’ed up and he can’t connect.  He’s mad.  Stella’s mad.  Stella WANTS TO FACETIME.  I frantically try to Facetime with my brother.  He doesn’t answer.  Stella’s really agitated now.  I announce it’s time to find socks and shoes and GO TO SCHOOL.  Felix dumps out his wagon one more time and starts chirping “bye byyyye.”  Stella’s demanding that we Facetime and where’s my socks and fruitsnacks fruitsnacks fruitsnacks chocolate milk.  I just want to get in the damn car.

8:16  We’re in the damn car.  Stella’s eating fruit snacks and drinking chocolate milk.  She’s not going to do well at school today.  I just know it. NO WE CANNOT RIDE WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN, STELLA.  IT’S 85 DEGREES.  SHOUTING WILL NOT MAKE ME ROLL THE WINDOWS DOWN.

8:25  Drop Stella off at school, signing her over to the staff for the day.  Felix and I flee to the safety of the house, stopping briefly for eggs on the way home.  I’m tempted to buy some liquor.  But I don’t.  But maybe the presence of eggs in the house will curtail some of this mania tomorrow.

I’ll stop here.  It’s only 8:25 but at this point, I feel like I’ve already put in a full day.  After a day of reading reports, feeding my son, laundry, and picking up that F’ing wagon full of blocks, I will get to pick up my daughter and basically repeat the above in reverse, only adding in extra yelling and bitchiness after a full day at school.

 

They say it goes fast.  Sometimes, I hope they’re right.

Week in the Knees


So it’s been a week.  It started Monday (duh) with that lovely little prickly sensation in my bladder – the portent of a UTI.  I foolishly thought by drinking a whole lot of water and avoiding any other beverage I could try to get ahead of it.  That was fail #1.  By nightfall, I felt pretty awful and my temp started ratcheting up.  Will was at work, of course, so I couldn’t go to the doc in the box.  Even though the kids were asleep, CPS tends to frown upon leaving such young children unattended.

My temp reached 101 by about 8:30.  I decided to call Will to see if he could actually leave on time so maybe I could go to urgent care that night.  The house felt really hot.  Then again, I wasn’t the best judge.  I happened to glance at the thermostat and holy moly it was 79.  The AC was blowing ok.  It was just blowing hot air.  That was fail #2.

To make a long and boring story shorter, Will finally came home, fiddled with it, and determined that given the lack of time to research and tinker, we’d better get a pro to come look at it. I’m panicking.  How are we going to afford this?  I’m already having cold sweats about Felix going to school next month and absorbing the extra costs for that.  But now an AC?  And when the hell am I going to be able to go to the doctor?  Will had stuff to do for work all the next day, and now I was going to be in charge of babysitting a repairman who was going to no doubt fleece us and I would be too sick and stupid to know better.

Oui Oui saved the day, helping to pay for repairs (capacitor, it turns out) and bringing me antibiotics.  I may start calling her Saint Oui Oui.

By yesterday, I was feeling a bit better.  Still a bit off, but the antibiotics were doing their thing.  Stella wasn’t herself in the morning.  Lots of arguing and yelling.  “I will NOT wear that dress.”  “Give me back that dress it’s MINE!” And we’re talking about the same dress.  Sure enough, she went to school and showed a whole lotta butt.  She basically acted like a soccer hooligan: hitting kids with blocks, throwing books, yelling, kicking, knocking over a garbage can, spitting.

Maybe I should've suspected it would be a bad day when she started screaming Rock the Casbah at me.  And yes, that's THE dress.

Maybe I should’ve suspected it would be a bad day when she started screaming Rock the Casbah at me. And yes, that’s THE dress.

Just when you think things are “normal,” you know?  We haven’t had a behavior report in eons.  Sigh.

Today has been ok.  Work has been stupid.  As I’ve said before, there are definitely days when I’m reminded that I do, in fact, work for a government agency.  It’s like a bad episode of MASH, minus Hawkeye Pierce.  One funny thing happened this morning, however, that made me feel strangely good: Stella tattled on Felix for the first time ever.  I know I shouldn’t feel happy about that, but given our difficulties and yesterday’s outbursts, I was delighted to get such a typical example of kid-ness.  I’m sure before long I’ll be sick to death of getting inside information on my son, but this morning it made me smile.

Holiday Golightly


After yesterday’s foaming at the mouth, I thought I’d revisit something awesome:  the 4th of July.  It’s not your typical July 4 musings.  I have no BBQ recipes to share.  I can’t share pictures of fireworks – there were none.  I didn’t win the neighborhood watermelon-eating contest.  I didn’t decorate.  No, it was a quiet day.  And that’s why it was special.

Stella practicing freedom on July 3 before school

Stella practicing freedom on July 3 before school

Will had to work (sorry, Will).  Earlier in the week, Oui Oui and I had discussed potentially cooking out.  Well, with Will working and other family members otherwise occupied, that sort of fell through.  Given all of that, I honestly thought I was going to be in for a very long day at the house with both kids.  On Thursday, Oui Oui suggested I bring the kids over anyway, and I could have *gasp* THE HOUSE TO MYSELF for a while.

It hadn’t even occurred to me that I could do that.

I have not been in my home alone in about 2 years – since that day I was pregnant with Felix and had to do that repeat glucose test and ended up taking the whole day off at work while Stella was with her former caregiver.  I had a couple of hours off that afternoon.  I remember I ate and napped.

So I did, indeed, celebrate Independence Day.  I had about 3 hours totally alone.  I picked up a few things at the store.  I ate lunch – in its entirety – without once getting up to get something, pick something up off the floor, wipe something up, change the channel from whatever has suddenly become unacceptable, obtain a replacement utensil or napkin, or prevent something from being knocked off the table/high chair tray.  I TOOK A SHOWER AND SHAVED MY LEGS – alone – without someone talking about my “long boobies” or “hairy butt.”  I painted my toenails, without having to play goalie and protect the bottle of polish from becoming a Precious and spilling across the living room.  I watched 2 episodes of Orange is the New Black (and ok, yeah, now I’m hooked).  I cleaned out my spice cabinet.  The only thing I didn’t get to do was take a nap.  I wanted to, but didn’t want to waste this precious time unconcious.

It was magnificent.

Independence Day needs to come more than every 2 years.  It needs to come more than once every six months.  It was a true gift.

At Oui Oui's

At Oui Oui’s

My stern little dude (BTW: Oui Oui gets all photo credit here)

My stern little dude (BTW: Oui Oui gets all photo credit here)

Red, white, and blue

Red, white, and blue

Freedom fries at lunch

Freedom fries at lunch

Thanks, Oui Oui!

Do You Pee What I Pee?


Warning:  This is not a funny, happy blog.  It’s ranting in its purest form.

So my mind went to a really dark place the other night. As I was preparing my children’s bedroom for bed time, I went to Stella’s bed to turn back the covers like I do every single night. As I turned back her fluffy Hello Kitty comforter, I caught that unmistakable odor of cat piss.  I began to sniff frantically and angrily around her bedding like a mad dog. Sure enough, one of my Three Stupid Cats had peed on my daughter’s bed.

Yes, one of them is an emotional pee-er and tends to pee in the vomitorium. But he has rarely targeted anything outside of that room.   Even the time my purse was victimized, it was in “their” space.  What if I had a cold and been unable to detect the stench? What if Will had put them to bed?  No offense to him, but his nose just isn’t as keen as mine is on a regular non-congested basis.  I can’t bear the idea of my little girl slumbering in a piss-soaked bed.

I understand that my cats have not been overjoyed by my children. Hell, there have been times I have not been overjoyed by my children.  And lately Stella has taken to chasing them when they try to travel from room to room.  But urinating is different from the yakking up of hairballs; it takes matters into a level that is not just inconvenient but truly unhygienic.  Rather than being unavoidable, it’s deliberate and malevolent.

I scrambled to strip her bed, find a replacement mattress pad (we only have one for her bed, unfortunately, so I pretty much wrapped her mattress in one from our giant bed), find a suitable replacement for her comforter, and stuff the soiled linens in the washer.

I’m going to confess something.  I wished this cat dead.  There.  I said it.  I’m 95% sure which cat it is.  He frequently makes my life miserable.  If it weren’t for the guilt that would eat away at me, he’d either be kicked outside, dropped off at a shelter, or the victim of foul play.  I know there are loads of no-kill shelters, but his chances of adoption are pretty slim:  he’s roughly 9 years old, black, not particularly cute/pretty, and he’s INSANE.

I know he’s just acting out.  He’s a furry nut without the benefit of language.  His whole world has been rocked multiple times: moving in with us, taking in a 3rd cat, moving into our house, Stella, and now Felix.  But. I. Can’t. Have. Him. Peeing. On. My. Kids’. Stuff.

I’ve told Will that if something “accidentally” were to happen, I didn’t want to know about it.   I only said that because I don’t think Will could/would do it, either.

Is it wrong to fantasize about an animal’s demise?

You watch.  This is going to be the cat that lives forever.

Damn it.

The Science (fiction) of the Lambs


Weird things happen when you have children.  Not everything is what it seems to be and every object and person is dynamic, meaning it/they can change in the blink of an eye.  I often wonder if a gremlin is about, mucking things up.  The books that I just put back on the bookshelf seem to leap back onto the floor when I turn my back to put blocks back into the shape sorter.  This happens without much time elapsing or sound to indicate the source of the disturbance.

Maybe it’s over 3 years without proper sleep, but sometimes things seem impossible.  Not in the sense of impossible to do or cope with, but impossible to be/occur in the first place.  Like how such small people can be so impossibly loud.  It just doesn’t make sense.  My daughter is the loudest person I know.  The other morning she hijacked a pair of my shoes and went streaking up and down the hall.  She sounded like a bloody locomotive.  And these were rubber-soled flats – not heels!  It was deafening.

The old adage of “children should be seen and not heard?”  Hogwash.  Those old-timers must have beaten or drugged their children.  Mine even make noise in their sleep.  To me a “quiet child” would be about as rare and beautiful as a unicorn.  I’ll also probably find a unicorn before I discover a quiet child in my household.

We talk a whole lot about mermaids.  Stella’s a mermaid, of course.  Unless she’s Tinkerbell, Marshmallow, Ursula, or Peppa Pig.  But usually she’s a mermaid.  She transitions seamlessly between the different personalities with little to no warning.  While she’s quick to own being Ariel or Tinkerbell, she’s a bit more reluctant to acknowledge being Ursula or Marshmallow.  But I see it.  Yes, I do.  And I most definitely hear it.

Felix is starting to demonstrate imagination as well.  During a recent outing to a Vietnamese restaurant, he was watching us eat with our chopsticks very intently.  He decided that he simply must have a set of chopsticks.  After Will finished his lunch, he wiped them off and handed them to him.  He held them semi-correctly for a bit, even stabbing at a goldfish cracker or two.  Then they became a lightsaber and ultimately drumsticks.

Gimme some of that vermicelli salad!

Gimme some of that vermicelli salad!

You are NOT my father!

You are NOT my father!

Everything feels epic somehow.  The noise.  The activity.  Hell, even the plants in my garden just seem larger than life.  Either that or I’m shrinking.  Down the rabbit hole, I guess.

Sunflower as tall as the house.

Sunflower as tall as the house.

Squash-zucchini thing almost as big as my son.

Squash-zucchini thing almost as big as my son.

And for what it's worth....

And for what it’s worth….

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

'Merica!

‘Merica!