Monday, November 16, 2009

Worse than I thought.

And I thought it would be bad.

Raising a teenager, that is. I thought it would be hard, that there would be yelling and carrying on and much rolling of the eyes. I hadn't counted on the sheer terror.

The Boy scares me. Often. Badly. He comes home late, or disappears out of his bed in the middle of the night, or doesn't show up to school. True, it's a been a month now since the last of these shenanigans, so maybe I have brought home the magnitude of the Scary that happens when we don't know where he is.

He always thinks he's got it covered. There's always a misunderstanding or innocent mistake in there somewhere. The thing is, when it's all going down you, as parent, don't know this, and you imagine horrible accidents, trouble in great boiling clouds, worse trouble that grows from subtle and seductive beginnings. You imagine the million little things that could send a kid down a path that fucks their life up for years. For always. You imagine big unstoppable things bearing down on someone small and clueless. You imagine blood and bones. You imagine not being able to stop screaming when someone gives you the god awful news. And even though he's always come home before, you can't stop imagining it all over again because he's not home now.

He's got it bad too, of course. I'm sure he could write you a paragraph that would make you wonder why he ever stayed home, and why, if he made it out, he would come back home at all. That's what it is to be a teenager.

He is right to think he is misunderstood and unknown. I am right to think that he's fragile and naive. I am right to think he's selfish and just plain wrong, he's right to think I'm overreacting and unhinged. We can't help it.

Don't you remember this?

Wishing remembering helped,

I know it's all temporary, and we'll both grow out of it, and we do a remarkable job of talking things through, actually. I just needed to vent a little.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For posterity's sake

Item the first: Let it be know that Oct 2008-Oct 2009 was the year of the suck, in terms of my health. I have Something. The Doctors have tested me eight ways to Sunday and have discovered nothing. In the meantime, I get worse. Simon and I think Chronic Fatigue syndrome. Nuff said, I suppose, because I don't want this blog to turn into a record of how good I am at whinging.

Item the second: We are going to move. Don't know where, don't know when, but they don't really have the hours for Simon to work, and things don't look like they're getting better, so we're going to try to get out while the getting's good.

Item the third: Boy has started High School, and is celebrating by flunking three classes, suddenly becoming unable to get himself out of bed in the mornings, and generally making dumb decisions with the best of intentions.


I hope he lives long enough to outgrow this phase.

Someday when I have more energy this blog will become more than a kind of time line, but right now daily living is too much, so it will have to get in line.

Hope you and yours are weathering the recession well,

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Well hello to you too!

At the park there's a bar that sits waist high (a grownup's waist, that is) that the little ones like to hang from. I was sitting next to this watching the girls. A little boy came up and starting swinging from it. The Bug came up, stretched, and just got ahold of it enough to start swinging too. I said "Look at you guys! You're professional swingers!" Then I looked at his mom, started laughing, and said "I totally didn't mean that the way it sounded!". That's me, the queen of playground innuendo.

Boy and I were in an "Anything but a Boat Race". This is the sort of thing where you build a floating thing and race it. We raced on a box spring. Came in fourth or fifth ish. Boat held up remarkably well- no leaks whatsoever. I loved being on a device of my own making, surprising people with its success, rowing in front of an audience. I learned that I am a ham, which is something I didn't know about myself.

As for Boy, my partner in crime, he was less than thrilled with the whole thing. Didn't want to do it, didn't think it would work (even though we'd had a successful test run), thought we'd come in last (who cares?), didn't want to be in front of a hundred or so people. He did it anyways though, for which I am proud of him.

Had my birthday. I got a box of homemade truffles (YUMMY!) and my very own ukulele, which Simon decorated in lovely fashion. I had never so much as held one before, and had no idea they were so tiny. They are the most tiny of precious cute little guitar-like things you have ever seen. I can't play it yet, but it's only a matter of time. I have grand plans. I want to learn to play the blues on it, or learn to finger pick it, or both.

I also got ahold of a trike and Simon and I put a seat on the back for the girls. Now I can toodle around town to just about any place I could need to go even when Simon has the van. The girls love it, the Bean especially. If the ride isn't long enough she cries when we get home.

Maybe I'll post some pics.

Hope your summer is warmer and drier than mine, although I kinda like it,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Probly won't.

Post much for a while. I'm just not in that kind of a space, but I wanted to share some articles I found to be very thought provoking:

This on changing the performance of schools by 1.3/1.4 standard deviations. For those who could care less about the maths, that's a lot. Most charter schools brag when they hit .3.

This on eating marshmallows. I have thought about this article very very often lately, and in regards to many aspects of parenting. Good read.

Count on me returning sooner or later. I always do:) In the meantime, I'm still posting pics on flickr...

Miss you guys,

Sunday, June 07, 2009

From my inbox:

From: Malcolm Holder*
Subject: I saw you about a month ago,

God had told you exactly when **

and so it shall be,,five fingers in pussy!, ***

SPAM! Tasty and endorsed by God!

Wondering what special missives you've gotten lately,

* Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. 
** Obviously, I changed this bit. Don't want to accidentally promote the wanger.
*** sic.  I love the extra punctuation. Like, if you use more, everything's covered. 

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ephelba is

listening to the Weepies and playing Spider Solitaire.  I have little more in me than a status update.  Maudlin, because I've been visiting with friends for weeks, and now they've all gone, and somehow I feel all alone, even though I have three kids and a wonderful husband wishing I'd quit being bitchy.

And, on a completely different note, this evening we discovered and caught two chickens in our yard.


Living the life of crazy random happenstance,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Great Response!

I must have good karma, because last night I picked up the toys, even though I'd already done it once, and this morning I insisted the Bean wear some panties, and when I got up I got dressed right away instead of waiting until I needed to leave the house, and all these trivial things combined meant I didn't have to be embarrassed about the state of my house or family when the police came at 7:30 this morning to ask if everything was alright.

Impressed with a two minute response time to her daughter's 911 call, embarrassed it was made, and hopeful it didn't take resources away from those who needed them,

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Now then. This week just flew, didn't it! We went down to visit MyFarmer and have a lovely time. Wellll, by we, I mean me and the girls. Simon had to work, and the Boy had to grow up.

A few weeks ago the Boy began going to rehearsals. For something. He didn't really specify what. Or tell me when the something would happen. So ON SUNDAY he lets fly that he'll be recording some music with a band on TUESDAY. TUESDAY would be the day that MyFarmer and I had our hearts set on spending with each other. Would I have set us up for doing this TUESDAY if the Boy had informed me weeks and weeks ago that he had something planned? Ummm, no. So Simon and I discussed it and decided that the Boy should pay the piper and stay home.


So I'm at a rest stop on the Pennsylvania border when the Boy calls, all in a dither, asking me HOW HE'S GOING TO GET TO THE RECORDING STUDIO.
I responded "Fuck if I know!" and hung up on him whilst I calmed down. Because, honestly! I had assumed this was going to be a small thing, a get together at the Y where he practices, recorded on portable equipment. And I assumed this because he had never, NOT ONCE, mentioned needing a ride. After I calmed down a bit I called him back and we discussed the fact that this was just another problem to be solved, BY HIM, and went through a few options. He ended up getting a ride, and it was all good, but heaven help us if he doesn't learn some things from this adventure.

I'm a bit of a flake, but I like to think I've overcome most of the problems that generates by using crutches. Calendars and Yahoo and all that. The Boy appears to have inherited my flaky tendencies, but he needs to learn to use crutches too, because this shit just won't fly. So we discuss whether what he's doing works. And what would work better. And I give him chances to mess up, because it's better he messes up now when we're here to back him up, but I wonder if I'm even going to have hair left to gray by the time he figures this out. He'll probably get it down about the time his sisters start giving me grief.

But I digress. I visited MyFarmer, who is not farming just now. She is looking for a place to live, because her landlords decided her house is so marvelous they want to live there. Nice, huh? We drove past some options and looked at some more online. It's hard to find a place for a family of five. And two dogs. Wellllll, one dog and one miniature barking horse. Max is a sweety, but he's HUGE. In the morning he would flop down on his side and try to get the girls to play with him by gently waving his paws at them. Our dog Mabel used to do the exact same thing to play with her much smaller sister Lucy. It's very sweet to watch.
What else?
We told stories and drank coffee and stayed up too late and signed MyFarmer up on Facebook and it was all over too fast. We'll be going back down Memorial Day weekend to do it up right with the whole family. YAY!

The drive back was a doozy. I was pooped, too little sleep for too long, and the girls were pooped too. When I was trying to leave I almost got stuck in the driveway- the van handled so strangely!- until MyFarmer asked if the parking break was on. Oh yeah! Hot Stuff, coming through! I kept trying to think positive thoughts about how the day was going to go, but it was hard when Google Maps steered me wrong, and the construction slowed me up, and the girls cried and asked for milk OVER AND OVER, and I had to pee desperately but the construction just didn't let up and I couldn't get off the road. As soon as I ended up driving North like I was supposed to, and the state of PA saw fit to let me off the road, we took a nice long break. This helped, so we did it once more before home, but the five hour trip still ended up taking us nine hours. Nine llloooonnngggg hours.

Which meant that when the Loon called and said she wouldn't be visiting this weekend because she was chickening out at the prospect of making the nine hour trip with her baby alone, I completely understood. Oh yes I did. Wait till your wifey can go too and then have a go at it, by all means.

In other news, I've ordered glasses online. Zenni Optical had the cutest glasses, so even though The Oracle warned me that they have had problems recently getting their stuff through customs and to the customers, I sent them the money and hoped for the best. Yesterday I called to get a tracking number, but no one answered the phone and the mailbox was full, which isn't a good sign. They'll get here eventually. My contacts don't fit well, and these glasses suck wooky, but all that means is that when my new lovely specs get here I'll be that much more grateful to have them, right?

The Bean has decided that using the potty is fun. She objects to the wearing of pantys- floweredy, sparkly monkey or just plain pink, but as long as she's not using up diapers I don't think I care. One thing at a time, man, one thing at a time.

Hoping you're wearing happy undergarments,

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Good idea?

"With college costs continuing to soar and more college graduates struggling to make their student loan payments, the Reduce The Rate Petition is urging lawmakers to extend the benefits of the federal bailout to students.

The plan, designed to help college students and their families in this fragile economy, calls on Congress to do the following:

  • Reduce the interest rate on all student loans to 1%.
    If banks can borrow at 1% or less, then so should our students.
  • Extend the grace period before loan repayment begins from 6 months to 18 months for students who graduate.
    In these tough economic times, it takes a college graduate an average of 6 months to 1 year to find a job. The rules should reflect this reality.
  • End the penalties assessed to schools for student loan defaults.
    Schools should not be held accountable for students who don’t pay back their loans.
  • Increase Pell Grants to cover the average yearly cost of a public
    4 year institution instead of the amounts in the current stimulus package--$5,350 starting July 1 and $5,550 in 2010-2011"
Blatently cut and pasted from the site. Seems like a really good idea to me.

Am tired. Up at least once for every child last night. Simon didn't sleep good either. No coffee upon waking. Cookies for breakfast.

BUT! Yesterday I raised my high score on Scramble to 155, and found the word "ganglion".

Really hoping today is a better day,

Friday, April 03, 2009


I just have to share. I had always made the argument that the bible never said women couldn't have sex with each other, but I thought I was the only one who noticed. Nice to know I'm not.

And I had no idea there would ever, ever be a need for a web page entitled "Fisting and God's Will".

Doesn't that just put the yeller in yer daffydils*?

I made that up right this second and have no idea what it means.

In Which I Probably Write Enough For a Novel

You've been warned. I have a lot to post.

First. My Mom came for a visit. You need to know that my relationship with my mother has been strained since I was a senior in HS. When I was younger we were thick as thieves, and it seems to me that when I started to grow up and away she wigged out. I think she would say I wigged out. Whatever. This is the nature of things, but it meant that our togetherness was weakening. Add to this the fact that she left for Russia to "Do the Lord's Work", while I spent the next year un-xianing myself. Religion was a huge part of our relationship when I was growing up, and I removed it. I removed it, spat on it, kicked it in the nuts and did a little jig. Every visit we've had since then has been strained by a tacit conversation about this issue in my head. In the beginning it wasn't so tacit, actually. Mom would remind me of what the lord wanted, and I would blow her off. I made it more and more clear that I didn't want to hear about his plan for me, so Mom got quieter and quieter. I knew (or thought I did) what Mom thought about the way I lived, so I got quieter and quieter too. Once Boy was old enough to understand what was what, I told her in no uncertain terms that proselytizing conversations with him would mean no further visits. I told her we needed to have a relationship with each other without god being there, and she told me she didn't know how. I said we'd have to learn. She cut her visit short and left.

This visit with my Mom would be the first time I felt like we made progress with our relationship as a twosome. We talked about when and why I quit believing in God, and she acknowledged that she wouldn't be changing my mind. I told her that I knew religion worked for her, and I wouldn't try to change her mind either. I know it pains her to see the choices I make, but I'm finally growing up enough to let that be her bag. I'm telling her things even when I know they won't make her happy. Our relationship can grow into something new because I'm done letting it be about pleasing her. Yay us!

So while we were doing all this growing and relating, I came down with a cold. And just as I was getting better, Mom caught a stomach bug. And right after she left the Bean came down with it, so I spent a day or two in her bedroom comforting her and cleaning her up and feeling pretty poorly myself (although I wasn't puking). Because dealing with a sicko wasn't, um, swell enough on its own merits, I decided to step on my glasses and break them in two. This being the last pair I had that I was willing to leave the house in. I'm down to my welfare glasses.

Ahhhh, my welfare glasses. I tend to not pay much attention to how I look. I can go for days without looking in the mirror. I'll run to the grocery store in yoga pants and unbrushed hair. I never wear makeup. Ask me to wear these glasses in public, though, and I feel a need to apologise to strangers for my grotesque appearance. The rational part of my brain posted an alert that this was odd and needed examination. I've spent a lot of time looking in the mirror, trying to decide if they're really that bad. It's hard for me to admit this, but I don't think they are. They aren't good, but they don't make small children cry. Maybe I'm hung up on them because they really are welfare glasses. They are the standard issue glasses that medicaid buys. Medicaid buys a set of frames that don't really fit my head. Also? Medicaid buys you low index lenses. These factors combine to create a heavy clunky seeing device that falls off my head every time I bend over. I mean, they completely fall off. Of my head. When I bend over, they fall off of my head. They frequently wander about my nose if I look down or turn too quickly, which is also annoying. When I first started wearing them I thought I needed to get over myself, because I can see through them and that makes them good enough, but after spending a week with them I think I'm justified in buying a new pair. They actually hurt me because I keep trying to use my head muscles to keep them on/up.

Let's sum up: I have these glasses that I hate, but I think I need to get over myself and wear them because I can see through them and I don't want to be the kind of person who lets their external trappings dictate their self image, but they fall off and make my head hurt so maybe I should get new ones, but I worry this argument is speciously justifying an unnecessary purchase, and jumping Jehoshaphat I know how to over think a thing, don't I.

I'll be buying new glasses, necessary or not.

Let's see, what else. OH! Mouse shenanigans! So we got our first mouse in our new digs. I was using the cast iron skillet to brown some onions, when I realized there was an extra special ingredient*. Simon and I tied up several traps worth of pepperoni, then laughed at Lucy as she set them off, then set them up in dark corners around the kitchen. The next morning Boy came downstairs to discover the mouse sitting on the counter, staring at him. Staring at him with huge, impossibly cute eyes. He caught it with a colander, and left me this note**:



Can we use live traps from now on?"

Simon and I plunked the girl into a tupperware and he dropped it off on the side of the road on his way to work. Lucy set off a trap again, because she's stupid and doesn't learn, and the baby picked it up and sucked on the pepperoni. There haven't been any more mice leavings, so we may be done. Wouldn't that be nice?

Last night I went grocery shopping. Not news, really. I mention it because I've been trying to spend less on groceries. I was hypothesizing to MyFarmer that the results would follow a curve that would go down at first, but then go back up and reach a plateau close to the starting point. I've been trying to only buy what we need for our menu, not buy whatever we're out of. I figured that at first we'd save some money, but once we used up what was on hand the bill would go back up because we'd need every ingredient in a recipe. I think we may have reached that point. We'll see. I only bought what we needed for the menu, but the total was still $180. For one week. Not counting the milk, butter and eggs I buy elsewhere. True, there will be several of next week's meals coming out of this week's purchases, but will there be enough to even out? I'd like to keep it to $150, including toilet paper and coffee and beer. Even that seems like a lot, but unless I start buying the kind of food that comes with coupons, or I start growing the kind of food we eat, I don't see it happening.

Ok, enough. I think that's all I meant to blog about. Whilst I sat here typing the girls tried to strangle each other, sampled Cocktail Sauce and decided they liked it both as a food and as a paint, festooned the dining room with flash cards, and took off all their clothes.

I should go now.

*Mouse turds! Honestly people, keep up with me here:)
** He also wrote this note, but didn't leave it because it was April First and he thought I'd think it was a joke:
Dear Mom,
This morning I saw the mouse just kinda sitting there (he was very much alive though) so I picked up the colander and put it over him. He's wicked cute. Just remember, if you pick up the colander, he's gone! I leave it up to you to think up what to do.


I find both of these notes to be unbearably endearing. Maybe it's the way the first note is in his atrocious cursive, and the second is in all caps.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We Have a New Record!

A half gallon of milk in three hours. That's $3.49. BAM! Normally it would be $2.75, but we ran out of the cheap stuff and had to go to the grocery store for the inferiorly* farmed, yet vastly overpriced version. Not that you even care, but damn people, I was impressed and had to share.

We had a wonderful visit with Simon's folks. It was truly a lot of fun. Grandma and I took the girls to Rough and Tumble, an indoor gym that the Bean's speech pathologist had just opened. It was a blast, not the least because we were the first people there. A TV crew stopped by unannounced, so the only children they had to film were mine. TA DA! I give you The Bug.

's head.

Ok, it's not a great shot of her, but it's not about her, so I can't blame them. And yes, that is my cr0tch.

Mostly the visit was us doing the things we always do, watching the girls do what they do, and laughing. Although, we did get all gussied up to watch Boy play trumpet in the All-County Band. His band gave an excellent performance. I mean it. It was a joy to listen to. As was the chorus. The orchestra had tuning troubles, but it's harder to keep the strings in tune- it's not like violins come with frets.

What else.

OH! Boy's Bday! We did good on the presents. At least, he says we did. He wouldn't tell us if we didn't though, so I'm left hoping that he truly is pleased. I know he knows we love him, which is the point, I guess. Here is the t-shirt I made him.

That's Bob Ross. It came out so well, I can't even tell you. For almost every gift giving occasion we make a t-shirt, and this is the best one yet. I also finished the booklet at the very last minute. Imagine the following, printed on square pages in various colors, fonts, and with nifty pictures, bound with little metal jump rings:

Create a list of the 25 most influential or important people of your life. Do not explain the project, but ask them if you can take a picture of them, and allow them to choose the spot. If they are far away, ask they to have someone take the picture for you. After you have 25 portraits, print doubles. Display one set somewhere in your home. With the other set, write a note to the person featured in the portrait on the back of each photo. Tell them why they are important or influential. Send the photo to them in the mail. Or you can hand deliver it but make sure you are not there while they read it.

Perform a random act of kindness.

List all the schools you can remember going to, then describe the classrooms in as much detail as you can - the toys/materials you liked the most, the way the room smelled, where you kept your coat, how the daily routine went, etc....

Grow something. It can be inside, outside, big, small, edible, pretty, plant or animal. Document its growth.

Have your portrait made by someone who loves you. Make a portrait of yourself.

Protest something.

Make something from scratch that you would normally buy.

List 100 of your favorite things.

Make an action figure of someone.

Make an illustrated timeline of your life.

Make a list of 10 things not to do before you die.

Perform a scene from a Shakespeare play with one other person, unrehearsed, while someone records it.

Make up a game,complete with rules, playing pieces and game board.

Think up your own project.

I gave it to him instead of a store bought card.

I've actually been piddling away on some projects myself. It makes me happy to make things. Truly theraputic. There were Boy's presents, of course, but I've also been working on that mix "Tape", and a sweat shirt, and learning to play the penny whistle. I can play the music as written, but you're supposed to slur and embellish, not tongue, which is hard to do, and probably hard for you to understand unless you play a wind instrument yourself. Sorry.

I've also been having a ton of fun taking pictures. A friend of mine from college must have noticed, because out of the blue he gave me a Pro membership to Flickr. I am deeply touched by the gift. I've wanted to upgrade for a while, but I kept putting it off because it felt selfish and unnecessary. Now I can look at all our pictures, load videos, etc. If you'd like to look, just let me know in the comments and I'll send you the link. If and when you go, be sure to click through to the very first page, I think it's page 23. Marvel at the Tiny Bean.

I probably have a lot more to say, but I can't remember it and there are a lot of dishes to wash, so
OH YEAH! Simon's step dad can't stand to have us wash dishes,apparently, because everytime he visits and we don't have a dishwasher he makes sure we get one, so this visit that means he bought us one, so as of next Weds we will be joining the modern age again. THANK YOU DEAR O!

Off to go take care of some crap,

* I know this isn't a word, but I can't think why it isn't....

Friday, March 13, 2009

I need your input!

I'm trying to make a "mix tape". The songs have to be so catchy you feel compelled to sing, but the words so unintelligible you to have to sing in tongues. So far I've got Matalli Ja Mustii by Varttina*, Bathtime in Clerkenwell by the Real Tuesday Weld, A folk song by a Thai street singer, and just about anything by Tom Waits. Not enough to fill a CD, obviously.


Because she's perverse,

*If you have children, perhaps you know it as The Binky Song.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Bean wants poo.

Our dog was naughty. The Bean, being a resourceful girl, got a rag, picked it up, then came and told me "Lucy pooped!". The Boy, when similarly informed, refused to deal with it. He said he didn't know what to do. I replied there was a reason that janitorial positions aren't degreed. * After he cleaned things up, the Bean cried and cried because She wanted to clean up the poop. So I suggested that we clean up pretend poop. Since then she's been exclaiming over a rock. It's a big one. And stinky.

It was a big day for her. I am here to inform you that today, for the very first time, the Bean peed on the potty. I am greatly relieved, as there was some doubt we were going to get the concept across any time soon. There was much clapping and hurraying and even- gasp- celebratory sparkly pink monkey panties.

That she promptly peed in. Then she peed on the floor. Twice. Then she put on a diaper and peed on the floor again somehow. I didn't think she had had that much to drink today. At least she has a notion of what's going on. I wasn't prepared for this sprinkler reaction to the concept, though, and am retreating a bit as I gear up for a messy learning process. And try to find even tinier panties.

Also- today we had friends over for playgroup. Whee! It was good to have a house full of friends, and I hope it happens more often.

Now I am going to comfort the smallest daughter, and relax. We'll have company for the next week, so it might be a while before I post a pic of the sparkly pink monkey panties....

She knows you want a pair,

* I'm not saying you have to be stupid to do the job, I'm just saying you don't have to be smart. I've made my living that way several times.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Ta Da!

Ever since we moved in there's been a pile of stuff sitting in the corner of the dining room. Random papers, the cuckoo clock, tools, things that needed to be dealt with. This weekend my family and I dealt. Then we de-piled all the other horizontal surfaces too. I still feel somewhat assaulted by the number of objects that are visible- I prefer the look you get when everything is behind cabinet doors- but in terms of how it feels to live here now, well the difference is night and day. When you want to put a dish away you don't have to figure out how it's going to fit with the books and hair clips and papers and whatnot, you simply put it away.

Having conquered the downstairs, I sallied forth to the girls' room where I put all the toys away, and the clothes, and vacuumed and straightened and TaDA! As long as nobody goes into the basement, attic, or our bedroom, I don't have to be embarrassed. Which was my goal. I wanted them to visit without me feeling embarrassed that we live like we do. Now I can relax and enjoy it.

As soon as I clean the fridge and the car.

The weather has suddenly warmed. First there was snow, then more snow and freezing temperatures, then nothing but warm. In all the years that we've lived here this first blush of spring has been followed by threeish feet of snow in one day, so I'm not too excited yet. I do have plans to start the seeds though. This year I want to pretty up the yard with flowers, and maybe try to do something with hops up the side of the house, since the landlord chopped down our trees. We're going to need some kind of shade.

Boy was such a huge help this weekend. He had to clean up all the dog poo that materialized in the thaw, and he didn't complain much at all. The girls did their part by playing nicely with each other, and Simon helped by washing the kitchen and cooking.

Now then.

I'm a little baffled. Usually I end up attacking the house the day before company comes, maybe even the day of. It's weird to not have this house looming over me. Not that there isn't anything to do, but there isn't anything that needs to be done right now, and really should have been done days ago. I suppose I'll go and see how hard it is to keep things this way. I can't believe it's as hard as this weekend was. Maybe I'll even find some time to work on a Project.

Simon is starting his new schedule today. I don't think I told you about it. Huh. That's odd, because it's the most life altering thing that's happened to us in a while. His company changes the schedules of everyone who works there on a fairly regular basis. Changes so drastic that whole families have to rearrange their lives. Just about the time that everyone gets settled, they up and do it again. Just now they've decided there must be three shifts instead of two, and everyone should work Monday through Friday. This would mean Simon couldn't work his other job, so he took second shift. Now he'll be working four hours in the morning at one job, come home for a few hours, then go back for a shift at the other job. This will be the plan until I can get a job. Until then, it means Simon won't hardly get to see the Boy. It means we won't eat dinner together every night, or watch TV as a family either. It means Simon still won't get enough sleep, because he won't get home till midnight and he has to be to work again at 8. I have no idea when we're going to have sex. The good thing is it means we will all be home at the same time for two whole days, which hasn't happened in almost a year. And he'll be making $30 an hour at the one job, which is also good. It isn't going to last forever, which is the important point. Once I get a job he'll be able to stay home with the girls and get enough sleep. Not that me going to work isn't a major change either, but at least he wouldn't be working himself silly.

On a completely different note- All winter long our house has been traveled by box elder bugs. What do they run on? There is nothing for them to eat here, but they're still plodding about the place as resolutely as ever.

Enjoying the view from the top of the ball,

Friday, March 06, 2009

No really, I'll do them today.

Simon says that all we need is for the dog to poop on the floor, and we'll be an article on fark. I say it's not that bad yet, but today is the day, for reals. Once I finish this coffee.

I can't tell you the pleasure that fills me when the clock peeps. Glee. Pure glee.

Yesterday I took the Bean to playgroup. The other children all cried when their mothers left. The Bean watched them with wide eyes, as if she was trying to decide whether she should be upset too. She was so excited to go, chatting and laughing in the van, but the group grief was very intimidating. I left her behind with some intimidation myself. Not so much for her, but for the other little ones.

In the afternoon Simon and I packed up the girls and went to see the Ear/Nose/Throat doctor, where they gave Simon a high five for using his medicine and preventing future troubles, then tested my ears and told me I can hear like a little child. Apparently my hearing problems aren't hearing problems. I'm calling it good news and leaving the subtitles on the TV. I'm very relieved that I still have functioning ears, because once the bits go they don't grow back. I must just need to practice listening. Maybe I should turn the subtitles off.

I went to bed when the girls did. Can't explain the tired, and can't be bothered to fight it. Hence the house. Today is the day though, because I have extra chores to complete before the visitors arrive, and I can't very well get them done if I'm still playing catch up on regular house work. It really looks like a bomb went off. A small, two-monkey bomb.*

With that in mind, I'm off.


*The Bean can now say "Naughty monkey" clear as a bell.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


When I was 15 I went on a tour of Europe with a band from Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. We were there for almost a month, if I remember right. Our first stay was in the Black Forest, and I decided to buy a small cuckoo clock. The dude who sold it to me couldn't speak English, but he made sure I understood you couldn't tip the thing upside down. So. I spent the entire trip carrying the clock around in a bag. It was my pet clock, and if jostled too much it would complain with a tiny Bong! noise. I babied that thing across Europe, through several airports and state-side visits, and finally home. Once there, I pounded a nail in my wall, followed the instructions for setting it up, and hung it up in eager anticipation of hearing the "Cuckoo" for the first time.

Instead, it promptly pulled the nail out of the wall, smashed to the floor, broke some of its ornamentation and LANDED UPSIDE DOWN.

I don't know that I have ever sworn so mightily, before or since.

Several times I have tinkered with it, trying to put the chain back on its gear. Coaxing the cuckoo to chirp.

Yesterday, in a fit of housekeeping mania, I decided to tackle the last Pile in my house. I decided that each item I picked up would be Dealt With. One of the things in the pile was the cuckoo clock. It took me all day, and several false starts, but after 19 years of sitting broken in a box, my pet clock is merrily ticking on the wall.

Isn't she pretty?

I also ran a new phone line so our house isn't festooned with phone cords. Yay me!

Still didn't wash dishes. But! But! you say, How do you have any dishes left? Ummm, we don't. And it's Simon's day off, which is sad because it annoys him to have the kitchen knee deep in dirty dishes. You can' find anything to eat off of, and even when you wash something you have no place to set it down to fill it. I'll be working on that today. While listening to the tick-tocks and pleasant peeps of the clock.

No therapists today. Developmental play group instead, which is a collection of kids who receive Early Intervention services getting together to play and pick up contagions in a daycare setting. Last time the Bean managed to bring home an unusual cold and the throw-ups. Two for one. Keep your fingers crossed that she only brings home some scribbles on construction paper.

Cuckoo, Cuckoo,

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Let's see...

Yesterday... Yesterday was one of those days where you feel like you're in a movie, and you're being filmed in slow motion, but everyone else seems to be clicking along just fine. I thought slowly, I moved slowly, I ran late and felt tired. It's like being high, without the giggles. The important things got done anyway. Mostly.

I tried printing Boy's birthday present out again before we left to go to playgroup, but then I touched some wet ink and got it on several pages and felt The Seether rear its head so quickly and viciously that I decided to screw it and come back to it later. In the mean time, I took a shower, dressed the girls, packed up the squash and headed over to Saille's.

Saille has knitted some really spiffy socks, which makes me want to knit socks. Saille's son is impossibly cute, and says many cute things. Saille turned the squash into a yummy risotto.That's quite a trick, you say, because you thought risotto was made of rice. It is. I should have said, Saille used the squash as an ingredient in a yummy risotto, which I'm hoping will become staple recipe for our family.

Poppy cooked dinner, which was very yummy. Nobody washed dishes, which was very bad. I went to bed when the girls did and slept all night long. I didn't wake up when Simon came to bed, or to get up and pee, or because one of the girls coughed, or because the people on the street decided to get into a yelling match or share their music. That, my friends, never happens, and is worthy of note as far as I'm concerned.

Which brings me to now. Now the house is a MESS. There are two therapists coming over this morning, library story time after, and I'm bound and determined to do something to this place so that I'm not embarrassed when Simon's folks come over. Busy day for me, then. Also, I feel obliged to tell you that this "Day in the life" thing will go on for a while, and then I'll do something else for a while and return to it later. I'm thinking the something else will be some projects, because I like the projects I'm giving Boy, and maybe I'll do some myself. Like draw a picture of The Seether.

Wishing she had a house elf,

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

No Spoons

Yesterday I ignored the dishes, let the toys free range, and worked on making a book for Boy's birthday. It's a book of fourteen project ideas, since he's turning fourteen. They seem pretty cool to me, I'm hoping he likes the idea.

What he wants for his birthday is a trip to MI for his friend's bar mitzvah. We don't have the money just now, and although we might have pooled everyone's efforts together to pull it off, the idea should have occurred to us sooner. I'm still racking my brains though.

It took me all day, but I got the diapers washed and dried. If I had my poop in a group, I would wash and dry them every night after the girls go to bed. There's enough time there, but I FORGET. ARG. Cloth diapers don't save you any money at all if you have to use disposables because you forgot to wash them.

What else... Oh. Simon says he couldn't sleep the other night because I spent the whole night running in bed. Like a dog. I woke up feeling like I had slept unusually soundly. Go figure. This morning I woke Simon up because it was 6:30 and I was sure he had to be at work. Nope. It's his day to sleep in. My bad. Then I went back to sleep and dreamed I was working for my old boss, but instead of making pregnancy tests we grew velociraptors. They were wily and kept getting out and running around the office trying to eat us. Oh the hijinks!

I bought groceries last night, and stayed well within the budget. Yay! For future grandchildren's benefit: I spent about $80, and bought less than is really comfortable. When we run out of things I don't buy more unless I planned that thing into the menu. Which means the cupboard is getting bare, but we're still eating nice dinners. Lunch is always peanut butter sandwiches, and breakfast is down to toast and oatmeal. The grocery spending is the only place in our budget to squeeze, so we squeeze. Other people have much smaller grocery budgets, but they tend to use coupons and sales to their advantage. I have never seen a coupon for apples. Or potatoes. I don't seem to be able to find the ones for whole wheat flour or oats. I suppose there might be some now and then, but by and large it's hard to find discounts on what we eat. Although- I did see a sale on frozen pizzas and bought some for dinner last night. I asked the Boy to cook them whilst I ran to the hardware store. He put them in the oven and forgot about them, and by the time I got home they were charcoal. Poor thing. He was very upset. I told him these things happen and you move on, but mostly I think he was upset because it meant more peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.

But! I was at the hardware store buying D rings and clampy businesses and screws so I could make attachments for a strap so he could carry his trumpet conveniently. It worked like a charm and looks lovely. We'll see how it holds up. I find myself being inordinately pleased with these little successes.

Today I'm off to take the girls to a playgroup with friends. The Bean is singing "Loodaloodalee", and the Bug has a poopy diaper. I have to pack up a squash and some coffee and get out of here.

On that note,

Monday, March 02, 2009

This thing I'm a gonna do.

So, again, in keeping with the purpose of this blog, I've decided that I'll try to post a one sentence summary of what I did everyday. This will not be interesting to most of you, but someday my great grandchildren will enjoy it. I'm also hoping that doing this will create the space in my life to record the things that I keep meaning to put here but never get around to.

Such as, the fact that lately I've taken to pulling the largest wooden spoons we have out of the drawer, making the best Maori attack face/stance I can, and chasing the Boy around the house. I can't tell you the fun. I've again said thanks to the gods of Architecture who designed the loop around this floor, which means that, once out of sight, one can still and hide in wait for someone else to come around the corner. It's a HOOT!

Let's see. One sentence. Ummm, Yesterday I stayed on the ball- that is, I kept the house as clean as it was the day before, made dinner, and even went so far as to bathe.

I'm working on an idea for Boy's Bday that I will share with you after it's given. I don't think the Boy reads this, but I'm fully aware that if he doesn't, it's only because he knows I don't want him to. I post this tease as a reminder to follow through.

See you tomorrow,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Your help getting the disbursement we require

I was thinking of getting a little part time job. If I could work from home that would be even better, so I'm thinking about seeing how much I could make off of Nigerian scammers. I don't know why, exactly, but all of a sudden I'm getting A TON of emails from the little twerps. So. I'm thinking that I reply to each one of them, and tell them that I need, oh, say, $10, to be wired TO ME, to prove to me that they really are Toyota, or the United Nations, or a Nigerian Banker and not some skeevey scum bucket. I'm sure most of them wouldn't bite, but if one percent bit I would have enough extra money to buy some toys for the girls, or pizza a couple of times a month.

Speaking of what I'd buy with a $100 a month, I told Simon what I wanted for my birthday, namely chocolate, a new fuzzy bathrobe, chocolate and chocolate. And then I thought for a minute, and I pointed out to him how lucky he is that I'm into expensive chocolate and not shoes or clothes or hair or makeup. I mean, when I splurge I buy a $4 bar of chocolate, not a $400 pair of Jimmy Choo's. He scored when he married me.

Just needing your name, birthdate, job title and sex*,

*I always laugh when the Nigerians ask me that. Sex? No thanks, I'm good, man.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

That good.

Simon spent some time yesterday diddling his beloved stereo system, and when he was done he visited some of his music. Wellll, I say music. At one point he put on "Winter was hard" by the Kronos Quartet. After listening to a few tracks, I said "Winter was hard. It was soooo fucking hard we had to sell our music and play this shit." When the baby started to cry, Simon gave in and turned it down a bit. To be fair, I'm sure that if I were in the mood, and the children were in bed, and I had a really, really large glass of wine, I could get into it.

Do you read Whoopee? I love reading her because my mental picture of her house resembles the actual view of my house. Usually when I read a blog I picture the author's living space as much spiffier than my own. Like, if the internet is a zoo, and each blog is an exhibit, than most of the blogs I read remind me of the Lion cage, maybe, with big beautiful cats lounging around a tasteful arrangement of grasses and rocks. My household would be the monkey cage, complete with random toys strewn around and primates scratching their nethers. All I can say in our defense is that we usually wear pants and never fling poo. Boogers, wet dishrags, and used diapers, yes. Poo, no.

I'm still trying to get caught up on the mess we made whilst we were ill, without getting behind on the mess we're making now. I've said it before and I'll say it again- staying on top of the housework is like staying on top of a big ball. Once you start to lose it, the whole thing goes sideways like THAT and it's completely gone. And when you're trying to get back up you have to pull it all together at once. At least, that's the way it feels to me.

Leaving you with the mental picture of herself as a monkey in a tutu balancing on a large ball whilst holding a dirty diaper and scratching her ass,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Much better now.

When Myfarmer gifted us with a loft bed for Boy, I wondered to myself what the mess would be like if he puked up there. I had also wondered, when I got pregnant for the Bug, what it would be like when a family of five got the stomach flu, especially if Simon and I got sick at the same time.

Poor Boy was feeling sort of icky, but I thought he had a cold, so I gave him a Benadryl and we all went to bed. Benadryl puts him out in a serious way though, and even when he started barfing he slept through it. Of course, this meant he was puking in his loft. The result was spectacular. I couldn't help but giggle a little when I got my first look at him.

The Bean got it first and gave it to us all, but she really wasn't very sick. The Bug was sick all night long, but never cried. In fact, she slept in her puke for half the night because I didn't figure out what was going on until 3:30 in the morning. Simon, Boy and I all came down with it on the same night, meaning the next day there was no one in shape to take care of the two perfectly happy girls. I opened their closet door (where I store the toys that are out of rotation) and lay down in the Bean's bed. The novelty of the situation kept them busy all morning. Then there was nap, and after that the grown ups were feeling better enough to move downstairs. We survived, and it was awful, but it wasn't as bad as I had imagined.

In other news, the Boy's birthday is coming up. We're giving him presents along two lines- one is the usual Gift of Entertainment, i.e. books, comics, movies, and the other is Gifts that You Give Grownups, because he's never gotten these before and he actually appreciates them. So Simon and I were looking at pens, and we couldn't decide if he'd like a cheery orange one, or a bad ass orange-gray-black one (can't tell which one I like, huh?), and finally I brought the Boy down for a hypothetical. We asked him if he'd rather have a cheery orange coat, or a orange/gray/black coat. O/G/B. But Simon says, no, that's not the same, so I say, what about shoes? And the Boy waffles. So I say what about a bike, and he says Orange, definitely, so then I'm like, what if we painted this wall ... and then Simon comes out and says, "That that's not like a pen at all" and I'm all like, "Shit!". At which point we just show him the pens, and he picked orange. Sadly, I have always held the policy that if you figure out what you're getting before the gift giving time it goes back to the store, which means that Simon blew it and now we have to figure out something else. Sigh. To top it off, Simon is all proud that he picked the right color.

The Boy was looking through a Oriental Trading Company catalog, and he started figuring out how much he could make at school selling the candy. At which point he decided he wanted to go into business. He's got all sorts of schemes worked up in his little brain. I'm really hoping he'll have a go at some sort of money making effort, although canday at school is right out. He's already learned a lot about basic business principles just by thinking things through- for example, it takes money to make money, so how could he go about getting the initial investment? This right here is how learning happens. It's exciting to watch.

Alright. Gotta go, feeding time for the monkeys.

Wondering why February isn't National Puke Month,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Twice in one week

People with pen1ses have held up a diaper full of poop and asked "What do I do with this?", as if we are saving the turds up for a set of dishes, or storing them until they ripen, or reusing them as skin creme, perhaps.

For the record?

Poop goes in the potty,

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Sometimes I don't know what to do with this blog. I started it because I read my Grandmother's journals and it gave me a whole new understanding of her. I wanted to leave something like that for my family. Also? My mother and I have issues with memory. We can forget the things that did happen and remember things that didn't. It's a gift. I try to leave written accounts of things so that I have a record of the life I actually lived, as opposed to the fun house mirror version I remember. Lastly, I have found that reading about other people's lives on the internet comforts me. I feel less singular. Most of my day is spent without the company of other adults, so this is not trivial. Writing in my blog is my way of paying it back. Maybe some other mother sees herself mirrored here and finds her way to having some compassion for herself. I hope so.

The problem I find myself having is that I don't blog as much of my daily living as I'd like, because I've wanted this to be a blog I wouldn't have to be ashamed of my family finding. I don't want them to stumble across this, recognize my life, then be hurt by the things I've said. I have a lot to say, however, and I don't see how I can serve the purpose of this blog by not saying them. This is the problem inherent in putting your diary on the internet, and I haven't solved it yet. Ideas and suggestions from the peanut gallery are most welcome:)


In the interest of having this blog adhere to its purpose, I will fill you in on what's been up this winter. I've been sick. I get these spells where my legs don't work too good, I'm tingly in spots and unbelievably tired. It comes and goes, now and then. Right now my Doctor says that since my lab results are normal it must be in my head, and has written me up a script for SSRIs. I know they won't work, because I've done this several times around. However, I do think he is a good Doctor, and I will try anything, because if it worked I would be very very glad. Also? Whatever it is isn't going to kill me. It's just life alteringly annoying. And another also? I want to be the willing patient so that he will work with me to figure this out. And the last also? I have been depressed this winter. Not the teenage kind of depression, where being alive=anguish. More of a middle-aged depression, where everything fucking annoys the piss out of me, it's all a bit too much, and really, why even bother anyway. So. SSRIs it is.

My Mom is in the states for a while and is staying with my Aunt. My mom is attempting to finish my Aunt's basement. Mom has the time to do this, and no one else does. It is good for all concerned. Auntie M saved up some time off and they came out here for a visit, also good for all concerned. They got to stay for a week and play with babies. The first day they were here they played with the Bean so much she pooped out and went to bed two hours early. Her favorite game was to get somebody, usually Auntie M, to walk around the house on a loop from the kitchen through the foyer through the living room through the dining room and back to the kitchen. If the Bug could be convinced to join, all the better. And for an extra special touch, all the girls would put on their snow boots and march and yell on their way around the circuit. This came to be known as the "Pink Boot Parade". Other options including singing various songs, counting steps and jumping on ten, and occasionally playing chase. By the time the visit was over, the Bean was finally saying "Four" after "three", instead of "nine", or perhaps "two" again.

My Mothers also bought me a cabinet and some table legs so I could put up a counter in my kitchen. The kitchen here is good sized, but strangely lacking in cabinetry. MyFarmer had given me a butcher block when she moved, and with the stuff they bought me we had all the parts necessary to remedy the situation.

It was interesting putting it all together. My woodworking skill set is weak. Simon's job entails many of the skills needed, and when he came home to find me working on the legs and things he let me know how he would have done things differently. I had spent all day working on the damn things, and was feeling pretty proud that I had managed to get them attached, seeing as how my past wood working projects had ended up in pieces or flames before I finished them. Simon was looking at the legs and feeling pretty certain they wouldn't hold up, although I still think he was doing the mental calculations based on whether what I'd done would keep an airplane together at 20000 feet.* I let Simon know that he had hurt my feelings, and he said sorry, and I believe there were some physical apologies all around. The next day I took the legs off and had another go. This time things went much better.** Even he was impressed. Then we proceeded to throw a new set of hissy fits at each other over getting the counter on the cabinets. It's deuced awkward to land a two ton counter and its holes smack onto the screws sticking up from the cabinet. And no, we couldn't just screw the screws up into the counter because it's made of maple and maple is HARD. In the end, Simon came up with the genius idea of using the kid's building blocks as shims, which we put under the legs and on top of the cabinet, which let us see what we were doing, and then we smacked the shims out and tada! We did it! The end result may not be aesthetically pleasing, but it is much better than the three legged card table I had been using. Srsly.

Let's see. What else. The Bean's birthday means that her therapies are going to be provided by the school district instead of the county. There was a round of testing, followed by the recommendation that she see a speech therapist 3 times a week, a physical therapist 2 times a week, and a special education teacher two hours a week. Currently she sees a speech therapist twice a week, and physical therapist once a month. Since her test scores were the same for the school district as they had been for the county, Simon and I are left wondering whether she hasn't needed more services all along. The therapists themselves are of differing opinions.

I think it's a matter of who typically receives services. The county usually sees kids who were born with a syndrome or illness that is so severe they don't have to be tested in order to get put into the system, or the Doctor decides that something is wrong and asks for an evaluation. Given that the Doctor usually spends 10 minutes with a kid, said kid has to be pretty off for the typical Doctor to notice. I suspect that there is a large group of kids who would qualify for services if they were tested, but they don't get tested because their parents either don't know enough about child development or don't know that services are available. The upshot of all this is that the county spends most of its time with very, very messed up kids. The school district, on the other hand, sees all the kids in the district once they start school. This means they see all the kids that slipped through the cracks and didn't get seen as toddlers. They end up providing services to many kids who have issues but mostly function. It's a matter of degree. The county's speech therapist is teaching kids to swallow, the school district's speech therapist is teaching kids to pronounce their "l"s. So when the county looks at the Bean they say "She's getting along fine", and the school district says "This girl needs a lot of catching up.". Of course, this is just my theory. She's getting more services now, so it doesn't matter why, I guess.

She's still being served by the county, but based on the school district's recommendations they're sending out a special ed teacher, upping her physical therapy to once a week and sending her to a play group with other special needs kids. For my part, I've signed her up for story time at the library and am getting together with a couple of moms who have 3/4 yos. Last week she went to story time on Weds, playgroup on Thurs, our friend's on Fri, and came down with a bad cold on Sat. Since then we've missed two therapy sessions, one playgroup and story time. Oh, and lots of sleep. Now the Bug is coming down with it, so more fun will be had by all, I'm sure.

On a happier note, the house is clean right now. It was clean yesterday too. Yay us! We're celebrating Simon's birthday tonight with a good dinner and presents, which will be fun. Yay again!

Suppose I better go get working on that, because I sure loves me some Simon.
I'll be back soon,

*His day job is airplane mechanic. Since you can't pull an airplane over to the side of the sky, the mechanics are making things very tight and strong. Can't fault them for that.
**Can I hear it for JB Weld?