How does it feel when you’re out on your own?*

September 4, 2009

We interrupt this extended hiatus to bring you…

… Connor’s first day of school. As you can see, he was totally ready:

I, however, was less prepared for the separation. I chose to deal with it by staying awake worrying for the entire night before, leading me to make this face at ass o’clock this morning:

He loved it, of course. Can’t wait ’til Tuesday.

*The GooGoo Dolls


Take a look at me now.*

March 9, 2009

Oh, my goodness, it has been so long. So very, very long. So incredibly long that I kind of don’t want to write this post, because so much trivial-yet-essential stuff has happened! I don’t even know how to connect everything together, because it’s not like over a month’s worth of life is really going to have a narrative flow. Also, I don’t really remember what I wrote about last time, although I guess I could just check, and this paragraph is really just more procrastination. Deep breaths. Okay, here we go:

I dyed my hair blue a while ago, except that I didn’t dye my hair as well as I dyed the bathtub and my toes and also, every inch of my skin from the shoulders down. I thought I had taken pictures of the tub, but alas I did not, so you will have to take my word for it. That word, by the way, is “disaster.” I’ve been applying straight bleach to the entire tub twice a day for three weeks, and the color still isn’t completely gone. On the other hand, my hair is now mostly not-blue, because the dye washes out in copious streams if I so much as think about wetting my head. I don’t know what possessed me to dye my hair blue, but… it doesn’t really matter, because in this case dying my hair a funky color on a whim was totally fine and not permanent at all! I will try to take pictures before all the color is gone, but I make no guarantees.

I went to the doctor, finally, to have that whole arthritis thing checked out, and he was very alarmed by my blue toenails. Aside from that, it’s apparently not arthritis causing the pain and the swelling and the pain and the discoloration and, oh my God, the pain. I got prescriptions for the pain, but then I had bloodwork that showed the problem isn’t arthritis, and now I need to see a rheumatologist and my doctor won’t refill my prescriptions, and did y’all know that healthcare is expensive? Because it is. Those taxes I was so excited about aren’t so exciting when pitted against multiple appointments and prescriptions and blood tests and, now, specialists. The status of all this health nonsense is kind of undefined — until I see a rheumatologist, nothing can go forward; until I win the lottery, I cannot see a rheumatologist. I’ll just be over here, hoarding my dwindling supply of pain pills and NSAIDs, all right?

I also had the Most Expensive Day Ever a while ago, involving (in order): an auto-payment for our electricity that didn’t go through, late fees and reconnection fees, running through my phone minutes in the course of straightening things out so that I had to go buy more, ridiculous car repairs, an extra payment to our Internet provider because we’d thought we might switch providers and then could not, and probably other stuff I don’t remember. Then Michael booked himself into a convention in Denver without telling me the price had jumped, and surprise! My account was overdrawn by $100! Which meant that, after we replaced that $100 and the overdraft fees, I had to cancel my own trip to Denver!


I am still considering going to Denver anyway, just catching a ride with Michael and parking myself on a friend’s couch with my kid for three days, but dudes: lame. Can’t we all just trade pretty beads and shiny things for this stuff? I bet I’d never run out of those. (Although really, I haven’t run out of money either; I’m just at the point where spending any more this month is distinctly a Bad Idea.)

Bad Ideas notwithstanding, I have begun buying seeds and accoutrements for this year’s garden. Michael and Chris built me a 4’x4’x2′ box last year, and my plan is to try square foot gardening in it — which would give me 16 miniature plots for growing various things. I want to plant eight big tomato plants, two cucumber plants, two squares of bush beans, and uh… some other stuff, to be determined later. I’m using the pots this year for strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and herbs. If I have the time I’m going to build a tomato trench and grow three or four more tomato plants, because who’s obsessed with growing tomatoes? HAHA, CERTAINLY NOT ME. Except that I kind of am, and I really want to try some funky stuff (black tomatoes, blue tomatoes, striped tomatoes) this year. This has, so far, been the one spark of good in an otherwise crappy week, and I will be starting my seedlings as soon as the clouds clear out, which had better be soon because Velocibadgergirl totally has the jump on me.

Finally, can I just complain for a minute? Because my kid — my awesome, smart, hilarious, sweet kid — is DRIVING ME NUTS. I don’t know if it’s an early taste of Four Years Old or what, but he’s suddenly… well, he’s been whining. And arguing. And refusing to do things he’s perfectly capable of doing, like unsnapping his own damn pants when he has to pee, or holding his fork properly, or uh, listening. What the hell, almost-four-year-old? Please, someone, tell me that this phase ends.

There. I think this covers almost everything, although I still haven’t written about OMGBOOKS and OMGTV and OMGMOVIES and OMGCONSUMERISTBONANZA and OMGSTIMULUSPACKAGE. Later, maybe.

*The Postal Service. I have so much trouble with titles that I thought I’d steal a page from Jonna’s book and start using song titles. This will probably backfire spectacularly, as I display my horrible taste in music, but we’ll see how it goes.

Christmas wrap-up.

December 28, 2008

Oh, friends, it’s a mess around here. Seriously, nobody should live like this. I haven’t mopped in two weeks. There are towels all over the bathroom floor and a layer of grime in the sink — our washing machine decided it should drain into the bathroom instead of, you know, OUT, so we’re waiting for tomorrow’s plumber. I think at least half the dishes in the house are dirty, piled totteringly in the kitchen sink and on the counter. Our bedroom floor has a festive carpet of laundry, due to the aforementioned plumbing issue. The living room isn’t so bad, except for my desk, which is… well, actually, I’m not sure my desk is still here; it’s possibly my computer is entirely held up by stacks of mail and leftover wrapping paper and candy wrappers.

Christmas was good, obviously, but I can’t seem to get back in the swing of things. Every time I turn around something I neglected during holiday prep stares me in the face — we’re out of trash bags, so I need to pick some up before I can clear the trash away from my desk, but first I need to do laundry so I have something to wear to the store, which means either waiting for the plumber or washing by hand (!!), though if I did that I’d need to clear out the towels on the floor because they’re rather unpleasant to kneel upon.

Or I could wash the dishes, except I’d need to put away the ones I washed on Boxing Day morning to free up the drainer, which means I’d have to get rid of the fancy(ish) disposable ones I bought for Christmas dinner, because those are currently in the cupboards where the real dishes go, and I don’t have trash bags so I can’t throw them out until I… do laundry, etc.

I was talking about Christmas, though, wasn’t I? It was good, I think I said. My nieces came over on Christmas Eve and we did the holiday baking and danced about to silly pop music. Connor opened his presents that night, one of which was a real drum kit (I am eternally an idiot), and we all had massive amounts of fun making far too much noise. He loved his presents and I am still feeling kind of smug, because usually when I buy toys he makes a polite noncommittal sound and never touches them — this year I spent far too much money and actually managed to get things he liked. Mom of the Year!

Christmas morning we were supposed to go over to Michael’s parents’ house pretty early, but Connor slept so late we finally had to wake him up and take him over there with bedhead. Michael’s mom had made a nice breakfast spread and we opened presents while noshing on cinnamon rolls and muffins. Connor was, of course, spoiled rotten and loved his presents. I was also spoiled rotten, and am still reeling from it — four new shirts! A gorgeous pair of earrings! The Dark Knight on DVD! An organizer for my desk! A framed holiday photo of Connor! It was quite nice.

We came home after that, leaving Connor behind for a bit to play with his new stuff, and started the turkey. At about 2:00 my mom and brother showed up, so we all hung out for an hour until it was time to pick Connor up. After Michael and I did that, my mom and I started the various side dishes to go with the turkey. Chris (Michael’s best friend) and Draven (his son) came by, and we all spent a lovely half-hour watching the kids play until Connor had a total meltdown and was put to bed for an emergency nap.

We ate well; Christmas dinner was absolutely delicious, and there were plenty of leftovers for my mom and I to split.

And… that’s it, really, for the past few days. Post-Christmas, I have been exceedingly lazy, and the house is really showing it. I can’t quite seem to get back on schedule, preferring instead to lounge about watching Angel and working in a desultory fashion for a few bucks each day. Connor’s been fairly engrossed by his new stuff, so I’ve had a lot of downtime time when I should have been cleaning to waste.

How was your holiday? Personally, I’m looking forward to New Year’s Eve.

My website is worth $1686.30!

November 12, 2008

My site is worth $1686.3.
How much is yours worth?

Or, you know, it would be, were I to post more than twice a month and then decide to sell a WordPress site to someone who did not realize that WordPress sites are free.

So! How are you? Long time no type, for I am one lazy ho. There has been nothing of note in my life lately, and I’ve been far too gray and mopey and exhausted and ennui-stricken to make anything seem noteworthy. Thus I present to you a list of Things That Have Happened and/or Things I Have Thought About Recently:

1) I started correlating what I eat with how I feel, and surprise! Turns out I need to eat meat on a nightly basis or I will wake up with a death wish! I thought the daily death wish was just my general state of affairs — you know, oh this modern lifestyle, how it scalds my gentle soul — but no, it was just low protein. Also, did you know that fiber can, like, regulate your blood sugar and keep the brain-fog at bay? Because it can! So now I eat copious amounts of Triscuits and cheese for lunch every day, and steak or pork or delicious, crackly-tender roast for dinner. FOR MY HEALTH.

2) ChaCha implemented a new system that, quite literally, doubled my average earnings overnight. And then! They broke it, and my earnings have dropped to something like $2/hour for the past three days. I am certain that they will fix it, but in the meantime I am living on the edge, and my in-laws actually loaned us $20 the other day for gas because I’d already spent eight hours that day making money at snail’s pace for Connor’s medicine.

3) Oh, yeah, that. Connor is sick. It’s just a cold, but he is endearingly attention-hungry in a stalwart way — he’s incredibly, in-your-face cheerful and brave about the whole thing, as if to let everyone know that he is suffering horribly and yet soldiers manfully on. I’ve slept in his room the past two nights because once it gets dark he is too miserable for me to remain unmoved, which means that I’m due to come down with the plague any minute now.

4) I discovered a recipe for strawberry-margarita cheesecake, and I’m trying to convince myself not to make it until Thanksgiving. With holiday cooking nigh upon us, I don’t think I should be leaving strawberry-margarita cheesecakes lying about in proximity to my gaping maw, but oh how it calls to me.

5) I did, however, make almond-poppyseed muffins today, and I’ve spent the whole day wishing I could get my hands on a home drug-testing kit so that I could test positive for heroin just once before I die. MythBusters told me that this is possible, and now I must try it! Though last time I got my hands on a home substance-testing kit (a drugstore Breathalyzer), the results were dismal — I found that my overall tolerance is much lower than previously suspected.

6) I am starting to plan out my holiday cooking, and I have realized that I’m not really sure how to brine a turkey. Do you just make some supersaturated saltwater, plop the turkey in, and leave it there for 24 hours? Is there a special mixture that one needs to have on hand, like supersaturated saltwater, sage, eye of newt, and three hairs of a virgin? I am strangely disinclined to Google “turkey brining methods,” probably because I fear Google will lose all respect for me in the morning. Also, as long as I’m supersaturating water with salt, surely I could then leave the water to evaporate and lick the resultant salt crystals? I just need information here, people.

7) I don’t like multiples of three. Thus, a seventh, non-essential, item.

There! I feel I’ve done an admirable job of bringing you all up to speed. Now… turnabout is fair play. The comments section awaits!

No mother-in-law jokes need apply.

September 15, 2008

The past couple of days have been better, really better — not “everything is perfect” better, but “hey I’m sure glad that crappy day is over” better. My in-laws, rather than being shocked and angry at the state of my house (and me) on the horrible day were very nice. They took Connor for a weekend visit, and yesterday my father-in-law brought over a swingset, set it up, and mowed our lawn for us. We had one of Connor’s friends over last night; they had a blast playing on the slide and swings until it was too dark and cold to do anything but sleep, and we’ve already been outside for an hour this morning.

An aside: If you have kids and need a workout? Get a swingset. Half an hour of pushing 40 pounds of kid on five pounds of swing, running under and around the swings, chasing your kid up the slide, and generally being goofy will kick your ass. It’s great.

It’s also great to finally feel like I get along with my in-laws. I don’t know what’s changed — I know I’ve been trying to be less uptight; I have no clue what changed on their end — but it’s such a relief. When we picked Connor up yesterday I caught sight of a framed picture on their living-room cabinet: a picture of Connor, Michael, my mother-in-law… and me. It’s the first time a picture with me in it has been displayed in my in-laws’ house, and it was nice to see. It was also nice to sit down and have an actual conversation with my mother-in-law, which I would never have said (or done) a year ago. We talked about Connor’s potty-training, and gossiped about the recent trend toward shoddy mainstream parenting, and looked through a Christmas catalog, and not once did one of us feel slighted or try to work in a backhanded compliment.

We are, slowly, making a family — one that is not just Michael, me, and Connor, but includes our parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles. I’ve wanted this for Connor ever since he was born; one of the reasons I didn’t just cut Michael’s parents off completely was that I was determined for Connor to grow up with a full complement of grandparents and extended family. I didn’t think about it then, but you know what? It’s nice for me, too.

The sun better come out tomorrow.

September 12, 2008

So I got up this morning and the house was a mess and Connor was crying because he’d had a bad dream and when I calmed him down and took him to the bathroom he was still kind of shaky and peed all over the toilet and floor instead of in the toilet and it was six damn o’clock and I hadn’t gone to sleep until four but whatever I settled him in with a movie and some cereal and started scrubbing down the bathroom and when I’d finished with that one of the cats threw up on the couch so I cleaned that up and got Connor dressed and realized we were out of coffee and also cat food and I logged on to start getting work done early so we’d have money for this stuff and Connor played happily until Michael got up at which point I cashed out the money I’d made and the menfolk went off to buy the day’s necessities while I washed the breakfast dishes and then they came back and I started cooking grown-up breakfast even though it was almost noon and Michael was playing some computer game and Connor was running in circles around the table and I was just so TIRED, I haven’t had real sleep in a couple of weeks, wtf, and as I was putting the finishing touches on some herbed scrambled eggs and headed for the toaster to round the meal off I heard a horrific thud and then Connor SHRIEKED and then he yelled “I’M OKAY I’M OKAY” and he burst into tears and I’d run into the kitchen doorway and stuff was burning but when I got to the living room Connor was up and Michael was holding him and his head was black and there was blood on his face and I swooped him up and tickled his back while Michael got a cold washcloth and the phone buttons wouldn’t dial fast enough and the advice nurse didn’t pick up and Connor was sobbing and sobbing and finally I just called the hospital and they were kind of nonchalant so we calmed Connor down and iced his head and it still swelled over half an inch in a half-dollar sized area and it was SO CLOSE TO HIS TEMPLE and maybe I cried too and Jesus I was so damn scared and it took over an hour to take care of the swelling and make sure he was not concussed and then he needed a nap so he laid in his bed and I cuddled him to sleep and then Michael had to go to work so I went back to my desk to do more work and realized that the house was filthy from the aborted cooking attempt and the various messes and also I hadn’t showered and kind of smelled bad and just as I finished undressing for the shower and figured I’d tackle the house later…

… my mother-in-law showed up. WHAT THE HELL, UNIVERSE? Can’t you spread this crap OUT a little bit?

Luck of the draw.

September 3, 2008

Some days, I still cannot believe that this is my life now. Things are going right in such unprecedented numbers already — I’ve got a good job, I have a garden, my kid is very cute and sweet, my husband is both genial and handsome — that when even more falls into my lap I wind up slackjawed.

Everywhere I went today, I found a bonus. I signed in to work this morning and discovered that I’d won some money in contests — not a lot, but enough that I can have a couple days off if I want to. We went to McDonald’s (… I know) for lunch and got some very pretty old-style Coke glasses, for free, just for eating crap (… I know). We picked up Michael’s check and found that he’d gotten an unexpected raise. While Connor and I waited in the parking lot for Michael to come back from grabbing his check, Connor said hello through the open windows to a couple of guys who were going in to shop. When they came out of the store a minute or two later, they had lollipops for Connor. “He’s so friendly,” they exclaimed, these 50-year-old obviously childless labor-sweaty fellows. (Connor took all this very serenely. “I am pretty friendly,” he said, “and lots of people give me suckers.” This is, alas for his teeth, true.)

We headed to Wal-Mart for some groceries, ran into our landlord, handed him the rent money right there, and he turned around and gave a five dollar bill to Connor. “You get yourself something fun, tough guy,” was his stern instruction. “I will,” Connor vowed solemnly, and he did, selecting a very nice Transformers action-figure set. As we meandered through the store it seemed like everything in the world was on sale: the fancy-pants ecologically friendly laundry soap with the smell I love? On sale. Egyptian cotton sheets to replace the, um, cheap cotton sheets that are about on their last leg? Sale. Delectable, glistening fresh produce — corn and tangerines and artichokes? SALE! Between the raise and the sales, Michael’s check went farther than it ever has.

As we were coming home, Connor fell asleep in the car, going limp and pudgy-cheeked in a way he hasn’t since he was about a year old. I got the pleasure of one (last?) limp-toddler, carseat-to-bed transfer while he snuggled against my cheek. He’s now in the middle of an epic nap, and I’ve had two hours of uninterrupted reading time in a bedroom that Michael stealth-cleaned right when I was at my breaking point with the mess.

It was chilly and grey this morning, and I’m excited for autumn. I feel like nesting, cleaning out shelves and polishing furniture, laying up stores for winter. I feel like everything is going to be this good for a while, and I can’t wait for fall mornings full of coffee and anticipation. (Lest you think I have gone completely ’round the bend with all this optimism, I find that I can wait — possibly forever — for the inevitable death of my garden. I thought we’d have a second harvest, but the morning chill has sharply disabused me of that notion. Oh, well. Can’t win ’em all.)

What about you? What’s it like for you, going into a new season and looking ahead? Tell me all about it; I’ve got nothing today but coffee and time.