He’ll Give You the Squirt Off His Back

Busy. So busy that time passes so quickly and each moment is crammed with so much stuff that it seems surreal.  

Surreal.  It’s a Sunday afternoon in March and I’m watching my kids play in the sprinkler, each eating their 5th Popsicle.  Earlier today we went and saw the Wienermobile and got photobombed by a firetruck.

I’ve got tons of blog snippets jotted down, but I haven’t had a chance to work with them. Maybe this week?

Will and I made the kids give us the TV for 40 minutes so we could watch  episode 2 of Iron Fist on Netflix.  Now Felix is running around pounding everything.  Dammit.  Parenting fail.  We actually got a date night  last night and caught Logan.  We’ve had that odd “now what” in our heads after seeing something impactful and thought old Iron Fist could fill it. Hence the poor decision- making process.

Speaking of Will, I have to give him a shout out.  Y’all know I’ve bitched about our neighbors’obnoxious yapping   Chihuahuas, right?  Once upon a time it was just the Desperate Housewife next door (so named for her extremely slender frames, upright bosom, and anxious nature reminiscent of Terri Hatcher).  She got 2.  Then she married this big brute we call the Gorilla.  He had 1 plus some other big mutt.  The big mutt is fine – a delight.  The pack of rat dogs not so much.  They bark.  They bark so much.  At one point, she even laughingly apologized, saying it was accidental that they ended up with 4 dogs and to feel free to “squirt them with the hose” if they barked too much.  Well….

We really are live and let live kind of people.  But these dogs aren’t reciprocating.  We’ve tried an ultrasonic bird house.  It worked for a while.  Will threw firecrackers in their general direction a few times.  Our cop neighbor came to the house with his flak vest on.  We haven’t done that again.  So the hose is plan Z.

See, DH and the Gorilla have a dog door, so these furry nightmares can come and go at will.  Friday night was exceptionally bad.  They went so crazy that several times we stepped out back thinking that just maybe there was something legit going on.  Nope.  Not even a stupid possum.  This went on for hours.  I went to bed about 10:30 after several glasses of wine.  Will stayed up.  And had more wine.  And listened to more incessant barking.  He had enough.  At 12:30 he barged over, rang the doorbell, and pounded on their door.  No answer.  So he got the hose.  He let fly.

He says he stayed out there for 10 minutes, showering their back door every time he saw one of their snaggletoothed faces pop out.  Think aquatic whack a mole.  They didn’t bark at all yesterday.  We didn’t see them come out at all.  

No one wants to be that guy but I’d rather be that guy than those guys.  Next time I suppose we’ll just call the city cops and tell them about the horrible violation of the noise ordnance.  Or maybe 3 wet dogs too freaked out to do their business outside for a full 24 hours will have an impact.

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Ticks and Stones May Break My Bones

After promising them for months, we finally took the kids tent  camping.  They were beyond excited.  This was easily as big as Halloween.  As a matter of fact, they were so excited and wound up that while Will and I struggled to set up camp in the dark their noise was enough to drive away some fellow campers within about 45 minutes.  I felt momentarily bad about that but then realized they were in a camper and were therefore camping poseurs.  And who really goes camping for the peace and quiet?!  Chumps.

No, seriously, this was a very different camping experience.  Will and I used to camp all the time.  We both worked retail and had goofy schedules.  We never had weekends off.  So whenever we could get a few days off mid-week, off we went.  And the campgrounds were deserted during those times.  It was awesome.  It was quiet.  That was a lifetime ago – a different life.

But you know, this was OK too.  Once we got set up, had a fire going, fed everyone their hot dogs and marshmallows, and survived the 42 degree night, it was pretty awesome.  I also won’t dwell on the stupid rain that chased us off early Sunday morning, rendering my container of prepared pancake batter useless as we drove my damp and hastily-packed 4Runner through a Lafayette McDonald’s.

Stella completed all the requirements for a Junior Ranger badge unintentionally, although the aforementioned rain meant we had to bail before actually picking up the badge (no matter, as there are sites nearby we can visit and grab one while we’re there).  This meant several guided hikes where I actually learned a lot of stuff about the plants in the area.  We saw a speckled king snake on our own.  I like that my kids don’t run screaming from shit like that.

And y’all: I saw fireflies. Loads of them.  Sure, not the hundreds I would see as a kid but definitely more than I’d seen at one time in over a decade.

Everyone was glad to be home.  The kids missed wifi.  Hell, the adults did, too.  But we made some really good memories and now we know we can do it.  No one got hurt.  No one went completely mad.  The kids had a ball.  And we only brought one tick home (shudders).

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

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We Pee Kings

“Just you wait.  When you potty train your son, pee will get everywhere.”

“Yeah, right,” I thought to myself, thinking this was yet another know-it-all trying to overshare.  Fortunately, this sort of thing seems to come way more infrequently the older the kids get.  But every once in a while you get someone….

Fast-forward a year or so.  Felix is finally potty trained.  For the first time in over 6 years I’m not changing anyone’s damn diaper.  Can I get a hallelujah?  And after that one awful weekend when he shat himself in public no fewer than 4 times, it has all been so easy!  Only one accident at school.  Only 2 oopsies at night.  It’s been amazing.  And let me tell y’all something: this is not one of those rites of passage that as a mom makes me teary and miss my “wittle babies.” Hell no.  This is liberation.

Then I noticed something.  The kids’ bathroom started to reek.  At first I thought it was one of those stupid cats again.  I never found a puddle.  I washed the bathmat.  I mopped the floor and Lysol wiped the hell out of the commode.  It helped, for about an hour.  There is pee in that bathroom somewhere and it is hiding from me.  I’ve cleaned compulsively.  I’ve rubbed my face over the bathmat (which has just been washed but still).  I’m so pissed.  It’s like Felix has managed to aerosolize his urine and has soaked the very fabric of the house with it.

To make matters worse, Stella has taken it upon herself to be the potty cheerleader/peanut gallery.  She has apparently noticed that unlike “real” big boys, Felix sits down to pee.  Last night I had to sprint into their bathroom to keep her from yanking her brother to his feet mid-wee.  I tried to explain to her that all boys start peeing sitting down, and that Felix was a bit too short to effectively pee standing up.  I don’t think she gets it.

In other news, I’m excited to report that my tribe will be camping soon.  The kids are beside themselves.  Hell, so am I. I’ve been Pinteresting the hell out of camping stuff, and we just found an amazing Cadillac of a tent at Voldemart.  Sure, we’ve done cabin camping, but a big part of me still thinks that’s cheating – and expensive.  If this upcoming trip goes well, it will really expand our perimeter as far as travel goes.  We can start to do more, see new places.  Now if only my family can keep their act together….

It’s Mardi gras time down here.  We didn’t even make it to a single parade this year.  Honestly, I just can’t get that excited about plastic beads.  Regardless, if you’re into it, laissez les bon temps rouler!

EPee phone home?

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Everything’s Just Fine and Dandelion

I’ll be honest: we really don’t care much about our yard.  We’re working on it, sure, but that’s been one of the things that as working parents of 2 young kiddos we’ve had to “let go.”  Will cuts the grass and weed eats and we usually attempt some random haphazard “garden” of mixed edibles and ornamentals with zero thought whatsoever into their placement or aesthetic value.  And the grass itself?  It can go straight to hell.  I care not for grass, provided it’s not prairie-like to the point that I see the neighbors pointing.  With that in mind, I typically scoff at the putzes that spend a mint on weed and feed – especially if they bring out one of those tanker trucks.

So with all that being said, it’s probably strange that I’ve started to notice dandelions in our yard – lots of them.  Personally, I don’t care about dandelions. I find the yellow rather cheerful, and I know the greens can be edible if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse.  I also know that most homeowners find them to be a scourge, spending lots of money on the aforementioned chemicals to get rid of them.  Like most children, my kids love dandelions, especially when they’ve gone to seed and are nice and white and fluffy.  Felix will even travel the yard collecting individual white seeds, coming back with a handful of “wishes.”  Small wonder I’ve got a bumper crop of dandelions right now.

I know I’ve told y’all about our snooty neighbors Todd and Margo, right?  They love spraying chemicals on their yard. In the summer, I swear their lawn gets cut every three days. You could host Wimbledon in their front yard if it were a bigger, I tell you.  You know what I bet they hate?  Dandelions.  I may load my kids up with the white fuzzy ones and send them up and down the sidewalk in front of their house blowing.  It’s like suburban biological warfare. Don’t feel bad for them. They seem like really awful people. And I guess I’m doing them a favor in case there’s ever a zombie apocalypse. Maybe they’ll survive with my thoughtfully-provided food source.

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Things Aren’t Always What They STEAM

I’ve found another layer of “mom-guilt:” the variety in which by doing good for an organization or institution that your kid is involved with you miss actual involvement with your kid(s).  Last night, Stella’s school had a STEAM night.  STEAM is all the rage in schools these days, and being a science-type I’m all about that.  Therefore, when the emails commenced soliciting volunteers for the event, my virtual hand shot up.

I was in charge of the “Butterfly Garden Photo Booth,” which was fun and cute.  The sad part is that I never even got to see what else was there.  The event was packed; a free dress coupon was the prize for visiting all required stations and getting stickers for participation.  Will’s parents brought my kids and took them around.  Felix was in hog heaven.  I think he got even more out of it than Stella did.  Apparently there was some kind of station where they hooked electrodes up to your arm and when you flexed it made “music.”  He loved that, and woke up this morning still flexing his “musical muscles.”  There was also some kind of moving cockroach leg activity that he was enamored by.  Both kiddos liked the Lego activities.

Lego butterflies

Lego butterflies

Felix's musical muscles

Felix’s musical muscles

Looking at the pictures that Oui Oui and Stella’s teacher sent me, I felt kind of sad that I wasn’t there to see it.  I felt great about volunteering, but would have loved to experience that stuff with my kids.  It’s another example of not being able to do it all.  I feel confident that this will be an ever-growing theme.

My photo booth

My photo booth

In other news, holy crap it’s Friday.  How can it be Friday already???  I mean, sure.  It’s been a busy week (speaking of ever-growing theme).  There were doctor’s appointments on Monday.  I had my 2nd ever mammogram.  Nope, still hate it.  I also finally got to ask my GYN the question that had been haunting me for 4 years: If a woman is having a c-section and the doctor is pulling the uterus out anyway, and that same woman has requested her tubes be tied (i.e. she is not having any more children ever), why would you put the damn thing back in????  The answer was pretty obvious once I heard it: the blood vessels are too enlarged after carrying a full-term baby, so that for vascular reasons alone it would be too dangerous.  Ok.  I buy that.  Best of all, I didn’t act like a freak this time.  Last year I got all weepy seeing all the pregnant ladies and had one of those “I’ll never have that experience again” moments.  All of that probably justified my request for Wellbutrin.

Work gets crazier and crazier somehow, absorbing way more of my brain-space than usual.  What a drag.  Despite feeling over-scheduled, I’m still trying to make time for stuff other than work and children: meeting new friends for coffee or lunch, reading, getting out and walking.  I often look at my calendar and think “in 2 weeks things will calm down – I have nothing scheduled” but then my calendar fills up again.  It’s stressful but kind of invigorating.  I guess it’s good that I feel that way, since I don’t see any of that changing.

Have a good weekend, y’all, and happy Mardi Gras if you’re into that kind of thing.

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One Is the Onliest Number?

“No, Stewwa!  Nooooooooo!”

That’s the sound I hear just before the true jackassery begins – the chasing around the couch, the screaming, the inevitable injury and associated howling.  This is all very familiar now.  This does not make it any less irritating.

You see, I’ve learned something.  Kids love to fight. They love to fight about supremely dumb shit.  The dumber the better.  My kids fight over who gets to use the red cup, a broken clothespin, a paper clip through which nuts and washers have been affixed (this is currently ongoing, BTW), who is a winner, which is superior – Mighty Machines or Teen Titans Go, who is older, who likes They Might Be Giants more.  If one of them is quietly engaged in something, the other will invariably attempt to join in by attempting to occupy the same square foot of floor space causing the most diabolical and unearthly screeching this side of Hades.  And if it’s a weekend morning and they wake their father up?  All the drama.

I hadn’t expected this.  The squabbling.  The noise.  Will and I both have younger brothers, but in both cases they’re nearly 10 years younger.  In my case, my (half) brother and I rarely lived under the same roof.  I had the best of both worlds: having a sibling yet pretty much being raised an only child.  I experienced a peaceful, serene childhood.   There was no one there to steal my milk or invade my room or burp in my face or fart in my presence just to be irritating or to be angry when it was my birthday and they didn’t get presents, too.  

I certainly didn’t have couch brawling.

(Now they’re arguing about who ate all the cinnamon rolls that we don’t have.)

I often think of how much quieter households with only children must be.

Does this ever stop, or am I in for roughly another 12 years of this deafening nonsense?  

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If At Worst You Don’t Succeed…

I’m sorry, y’all.  I have simply been too busy to read much less write.  At this point, I feel like a giant zit about to pop.  I can never catch up and write about everything that’s happened.  So I’ll share some tidbits in no particular order.  At the very least it’ll demonstrate that I’ve not been a lazy bum.

1. Felix turned 4.  There was a party.  It was a pretty good party.  He was very happy and excited.  And I had one of those “no shit” moments when I realized I have produced 2 children and kept them alive for a significant amount of time.  And they both really like me.  Felix calls me “MyMom.”  Just like that.  Not “mom,” “mama,” “mommy.”  I am MyMom.

2.  I helped throw an actual grown up party and it was awesome.  It was for my boss who was retiring.  We had over 50 people show up, some even from out of state.  I had so much fun.  It had been years since I had been out with friends like that.  I felt kind of alive.  Now I’m wondering what other kind of event I can plan so I can get out of the house again.
3.  I tried eyebrow threading.  Holy shitballs that hurts.  It’s like being stung repeatedly by seriously pissed off wasps.  If men had to do that the Frida Kahlo look would be all the rage.  I’ll be returning to boiling wax, thank you very much.
4.  Some jackass went through our cars last night.  There’s nothing to steal but they looked anyway, spilling all the crap out of the glove boxes.  What an asshole.  Seriously, if y’all could see my house, you would not think “I’m sure those are rich folks who have a bunch of valuables.  This 2000 4Runner is just a clever disguise for all the wealth that they possess.”  I hope they stuck their fingers in some kid boogers.  I really do.

Observe our “pools.” All the rich people have them.

5. Work.  Soul crushing and anxiety-producing.  I do truly enjoy some of the people.  That helps.  Misery does indeed love company.  But dammit I wish Will could triple his pay so I could be a full-time PTA mom.
6.  Felix still talks about his “tail.” Stella has been demanding to see pictures of me knocked up.  I feel a disturbance in the Force.  I’m going to have to answer some of “those” questions soon.  Dammit.

What is it they say about jackrabbits?

7.  Valentine’s Day was full of sugar.  I helped with the party for Stella’s class.  Even the first graders were moaning about too much sugar.  I also attended a “Valentines Day Social” the previous Friday night.  Now, when I hear of a “social” I think of quiet, murmured conversation with tea and biscuits.  That is not what this was.  It was a hybrid between a mosh pit and a discotheque. We walked in to the Chicken Dance.  That was chaotic and loud, but cute.  Then they played Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and y’all the room blew up.  In the short time we were there, I saw one kid get knocked in the face resulting in a nosebleed and another girl gash her elbow open.  It was madness.  My Bloody Valentine, indeed. 

I think that’s it.  Looking at my calendar, things may calm down in the next week or two.  Maybe.  I do miss “talking” to y’all.

MyMom, signing out.

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Members Only

“I have a tail!” Felix excitedly tells my mother.  They’re FaceTiming each other.  In an unusual move, he requested it.  Usually Stella is the FaceTime fan, yammering on about all manner of arcane topics – how on one version of Nyancat on YouTube she was farting out pink glittery swirls rather than the usual rainbow and in another version she had a waffle for a body instead of a pop tart – while Felix does flybys.  This day, Felix craved it. Maybe because his fever virus popped back up randomly after a 2 day sabbatical (dammit) and he was feeling pitiful.

“You have a tail?” my mother asked in that grandmotherly way that they have  which suggests that they would be riveted by an hour-long discussion on the diet of the planaria worm, provided it’s coming from one of their darling grandchildren.

“Yes!  I can shake it.  It’s my penis part.  It sticks out of my butt!”  He’s so proud.  My mother proceeds to choke herself laughing so hard.  The same discussion happens again with my father about 5 minutes later.  My dad’s iPhone is an old piece of crap such that the audio cuts in and out.  I think he was laughing but I can’t be sure.

(Oh and Uncle Josh?  You and Emma were next on his FaceTime call list but I lied and said you were at work.  Otherwise you would have heard about his “tail,” too.)

I suppose I should be grateful he’s only discussing his tail rather than trying to show everyone how it sticks out and he can wag it. 

Shake it, son.

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Hear and Now

Saturday morning transcript:

Stella: “This is a puppy.  You have to marry her and read her this magazine.”

Felix: “I’m going to scratch this couch.  Gaaaaaaahh!”

Me (to self): What kind of interspecies bullshit is this?

Stella (singing off-key to the tune of Jingle Bells): “I have to get this hair out of my ukulele.  It’s going to be her crown.”

Felix:  “We ran out of triangles!”

Stella: “I want to go to the mall.”

Me: I want to go to a bar. “Why do you want to go to the mall?”

Stella: “If you like that magazine, Felix, you have to marry her until she dies.”

Felix: “What happened to my ice?!?!  Why did it melt?”

Stella: “Are you going to forget her when she dies?”

Felix: “Hey my mom!  I made a friend.  It gets super weird.” 

Stella: “I hurt my finger.  I hope it doesn’t bleed.”

Me: Holy moly it’s only 8 AM.

Stella (singing off-key to the tune of Smoke on the Water): “I want to go to the mall to buy a dress.”

Felix: “Stella!  We’re out of battery juice.  We have to tell daddy we’re out of battery juice.  Welcome to my shopping mall.”

Stella: “It’s my turn to wear the Lightning McQueen beanie.”

Felix: “Nooooooooooo!”

Me: Dear glob these children would fight over a piece of garbage in the middle of a landfill.

Felix: “It’s Mr. Rollypants.  He’s a machine.  He has a fever.”

Stella: “I have lego fever.  I feel like I’m playing with legos in my brain.”

Felix: “Actually my mom.”

Stella: “She’s your best marry-er.”

Felix: “Happy birthday to you!  Happy birthday dear Felix…”

Me: “You will clean up this other stuff before you get out legos.  Get rid of that clump of hair and the ukulele.”


Felix: “I don’t have enough space.  I need a Q-tip.”

Me: This cannot be any stranger than what one might hear in a mental health facility. 

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Happy Daze

I feel good.  There is plenty I could feel bad about – work things, personal things – but that is overshadowed by the good.  The sun is shining.  And I just got a text and picture from Stella’s teacher that almost brought happy tears.  I believe I’ve mentioned that one of my more glaring lack of mom skills involves hair.  I just can’t do it well.  I can’t do my own well.  I’m usually a mess.  Well, when I picked Stella up Friday, someone else had clearly done her hair.  It was in a lovely French-style braid.  It was a braid that there was no way in hell Will could have managed that morning.  Stella confirmed that Mrs. S had done it, and I texted her, admiring her skill.  Today, Mrs. S did an even fancier style and sent the cutest pics of the two of them together.  She said she loved “special morning time” with my kid, and that she “would soar.”  I’d show the screenshot, but I would never do anything to jeopardize her privacy.  But how amazing is that?

The only sad thing this weekend was this kitty.  Apparently it's out of candy.

The only sad thing this weekend was this kitty. Apparently it’s out of candy.

The weekend was busy and good.  No drama.  We got to visit the Asian market and see the annual lion dancing for the lunar new year.  We ran into several other friends there, and everyone but Felix loved it.  It just isn’t his thing.  Even though this year we remembered hearing protection, he spent most of the event clinging to my neck like a terrified monkey.  The rest of the day he looked reproachfully at me and complained that he “got gassed” at the lion dancing.  I didn’t think firecracker smoke qualified as gassing, but who am I to judge?  And in preparation for the event, I had resurrected my “Countries of the World” binder, choosing Vietnam.  I had found information on some of their customary dresses/uniforms, as well as traditional new year celebration foods.  We got to see and try some.  It was a full-on sensory lesson.  I love it.

I was determined not to damage my children's hearing this year.

I was determined not to damage my children’s hearing this year.

Lions dancing

Lions dancing

Felix begrudgingly feeding the lions

Felix begrudgingly feeding the lions

Stella enthusiastically feeding the lions

Stella enthusiastically feeding the lions

These are traditional cakes made of sticky rice, mung beans, and I have no earthly idea what the stuff in the middle is.

These are traditional cakes made of sticky rice, mung beans, and I have no earthly idea what the stuff in the middle is.

At the risk of sounding culturally insensitive (and maybe we just didn't eat it right?  Maybe you need sauce?), it was like a giant piece of really gross sushi.  But Stella and I get mad props for being open-minded and trying it.

At the risk of sounding culturally insensitive (and maybe we just didn’t eat it right? Maybe you need sauce?), it was like a giant piece of really gross sushi. But Stella and I get mad props for being open-minded and trying it.

I pimped my husband out to build  carpenter bee and butterfly houses for my Daisy Scout troop.  I think he enjoyed it.  Both afternoons, he and the kids just kind of hung out outside.  We grilled out.  We cooked hot dogs on a campfire in the backyard.  We were going to go to a museum event Sunday afternoon, but everyone seemed chill to  stay home. We just stayed outside.  It was pretty damn wonderful.

Carpenter bee house and butterfly house (minus the front panel)

Carpenter bee house and butterfly house (minus the front panel)

A byproduct of woodworking are scraps.  These scraps are either burned in the fire pit or, with the assistance of daddy's nail gun, turned into fabulous "machines."

A byproduct of woodworking are scraps. These scraps are either burned in the fire pit or, with the assistance of daddy’s nail gun, turned into fabulous “machines.”

I’m posting this, despite it not being terribly interesting or amusing, because some days it IS damn hard to think positive, to feel positive.  There is plenty that I – that we all – could worry and obsess about.  But worrying and obsessing rarely does much other than raise your blood pressure and anxiety.  Bad shit happens.  Bad shit gets handled.  But good shit happens in between.  Let’s try to have a good week, shall we?

Stop growing dammit.

Stop growing dammit.


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