friday morning

I sit on the sofa eating fried kimchi dumplings for breakfast because a kid abandoned a bag of frozen kimchi dumplings on the counter overnight.  Sometimes life is like this; offers of kimchi dumplings when really, the only thing you ever, ever want for breakfast is a giant mug of strong coffee with a splash of heavy cream.

You make do, and you move on.

When I’m finished writing and pinching dumplings with my chopsticks, and have enjoyed my daily mug, I’m going to pack. Sometimes life is like this; offers of incredible opportunities for growth and learning and change, and all of those things are good and right and natural and amazing. And sometimes you arrive at a place on the journey where you realize that for all the flourishing that is happening, there are some things that just can’t continue.

For the record, it’s way more pleasant to find a bag of unfrozen dumplings than to realize your marriage is over. Today I make do with fried dumplings, boxes, and a second cup of coffee. Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.

some items for your consideration

1. My hips are more cooperative than they were at this time last week. Thanks so much for your kind words and emails. The Internet People are so lovely.

2. I have developed a new marketing strategy for the Diva Cup, and it is called OCCUPY MY VAGINA. If the Diva Cup people aren’t interested, I may pitch the p.0.r.n people. Those guys need at least one new idea. Or so I hear from the guy that does lights for The Mister.

3. I am not actually going to pitch any of my ideas, clever or otherwise, to the p.0.rn people. Just for the record. Real live people who live their real lives near me have been confrontational regarding my beliefs lately, and I would hate to cause any more disruption to them. And to me. But I will totally tweet this post tomorrow and I will @DivaCup because at the very least they should send me a spare to keep in my glove box JUST IN CASE.

4. Henry turned five. This is the first time in my life that only 25% of my short people are preschool-aged, and fortunately for me, I have 2.25 more years to enjoy it.

5. On Thursday, The Mister and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary. I use the word ‘celebrate’ loosely. What I really mean is that he will go to work before I get up, and I will likely disrupt him at work by phoning him four times to ask inordinately stupid questions highlighted only by my complete inability to form a cohesive sentence with my mouth and my surprising ability to completely forget every single word in my working vocabulary. After which time he will find himself working very late because it’s Advent and he works for the Wesleyans and they are quite the overachievers. And then I will go to bed because it is very late and he will go to bed when he gets home.

And perhaps there will be a snacky treat for me when I get up the next day after he has gone to work, and perhaps I will only phone him three times instead of four. Because if I have learned anything in the last ten years, it is that The Mister’s Love Language is NOT CALLING WHEN HE’S AT WORK FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED. (That Language applied when he did not even work for Jesus in an official capacity, too.)

6. I have decided that when we are enormously wealthy and before the short people go away to be Responsible For Themselves, I will consider it mandatory that I have my own dedicated employee who will anticipate my wants regarding coffee, handle all of the laundry, and mop and vacuum every single day in addition to every time the people maliciously drop crunchy food items on the floor and crunch the items into a bajillion pieces with their feet. I would also like a giant-sized ironing board so I can iron enormous pieces of fabric without having to deal with the stupid pointy end of the ironing board.

7. Happy Tuesday, y’all.

some items for your consideration, part does anybody even keep track anymore?

1. You know when short people pretend they’re not sick? Well, maybe they’re not really faking, more like they’re not entirely convinced they’re sick? Elliott is trying his hand at that, poor lad. But on the plus side, he’s a really great cuddler.
2. Elliott is also fascinated with eyebrows now, too, which means he’s a fabulous Eye Poker-Outer. Big fun.
3. This week is my least favorite week of the year. And no, not because of Halloween, although I will admit that I am not a fan. The Mister always has a week-long gig, on top of working a normal full-time gig, so he is gone like the wind. I like to think of it as Single-parenting Appreciation Week, because I have a renewed perspective by, say, Monday evening, of how good I have it. All of you who take care of your babies and your homes and your jobs and never get a break? I have so much respect for what you do. And I get that you just have to do your life because it’s your life, but it doesn’t make what you do any less spectacular because you have to do it.
4. Speaking of Halloween, I am praying that it snows so that I do not have to take the short people Begging Door To Door For Candy They Will Not Eat Because I Got To It First.
5. I don’t think there is such a thing as Too Much Rice. This is because I love me some rice. I would claim to be the Bubba Gump of Rice if I were into hyperbole, but my friend Rebecca already claimed that title and would probably tell you an embarrassing story about how I stood in her kitchen, eating a container of her adobo mayonnaise, one fingerful at a time, while making weird noises and faces. OH WAIT. (There’s a freebie for you, Beccy.)
6. One of the short people has arrived at the stage where he or she finds it necessary to point out every detail of an experience and label it according to its value, which is a completely arbitrary measure. This is extremely irritating, and also, I have no idea where said short person acquired said skill. AHEM.
7. I would like to tell you about how I am feeling as if I have finally gotten the hang of homeschooling for the first time, but I wouldn’t want to jinx it, so draw your own conclusions but do it quietly and not on my blog.  Please.
8.  I finished a superty adorable cardigan on Saturday, the first of a pretty large custom order, and it has cables and bobbles on it, which makes me feel kind of like Big Shot Knitter Pants.  Now I’m halfway through a bright yellow pullover for Henry.  Dude loves him some yellow.  I’ll probably finish it this week.  He’s all antsy.
9.  What are you up to these days?  I’m all out of the loop and stuff.  

i’m just going to skip to the interesting part.

Day Two of the second camping trip of the year.  Everyone had swum (what? is that even right?) until they could swim no more.  Each had eaten his or her fill of whatever hot dog/marshmallow/snackity things he or she could put his or her grubby mitts on.  
It was time for bed.
The Mister slept in the tent with us the previous night, but he had an appointment in the morning, and needed to go home.  The five of us snuggled down in our respective sleeping bags, and The Mister kissed each of us goodnight, said goodbye and hit the road.
A couple of hours later, I heard the sound of unfolding tarps next to my head, outside of the tent.  It had been threatening to rain, so we stacked our firewood on tarps and covered it all up so it would light.  Honest to goodness, I thought someone was stealing our firewood.  Why would I think that?  WHO KNOWS.  It was after midnight, and I’d been sound asleep.  So I just laid there, because if somebody needed to have my firewood that bad, they could have it. 
BUT THEN.  That somebody sneaked into the screened-in area of my tent.  And started going through my things.  I reached for my flashlight, and as luck would have it, the windows on the doors between the screened-in area and the sleeping area were not zipped up, and I could see what was going on.
I did not like what I saw.
A skunk was eating cookies.  Cookies that I made.  I do not like to make cookies, people, I really don’t.  Cake? Yes.  Cookies?  NO.  I made a lot of cookies for this trip, and I stored them in a Tipperware container that clearly was left uncovered.
I slowly zipped the windows closed and laid back down on the air mattress.  I tried to go to sleep, really I did, but as it happens, the cookies were crunchy, and skunks are noisy eaters.  
FINALLY.   I heard the rustle of tarps, and the skunk was gone.  Peace and quiet had returned.  I think I dozed, but only for a moment, and for no reason at all I opened my eyes.
Something was moving inside the tent.  Except that I was laying very still, and the short people were all sound asleep, so really nothing should have been moving around the tent. 
I saw it clearly as it walked between Jack and Miss O.  THE SKUNK WAS INSIDE THE TENT AND IT WAS WALKING NEXT TO MY BABIES’ FACES.  Precisely twelve million gazillion thoughts blazed through my brain.  I know this because I was laying very still and counting my thoughts because I needed something to do so I didn’t FREAK OUT LIKE AN INSANE PERSON BECAUSE A SKUNK WAS WALKING AROUND IN MY TENT AND PLEASE, JESUS, DON’T LET THE CHILDREN ROLL OVER OR SNORE OR SNEEZE OR FART OR ANYTHING THAT WOULD CAUSE THE SKUNK TO SPRAY AND THEN WE WOULD GO BLIND AND DIE.
And because I was exceedingly awake by this time, I listened to the skunk exit the tent through the door that wasn’t zipped closed when A Certain Someone exited the tent earlier on his way home.
When I was convinced the skunk was really gone, and my heart had started beating again, and I could, you know, STAND UP, I gingerly stepped over my babies and zipped the tent closed.  Then I texted That Certain Someone a message that isn’t actually suitable for print.  He didn’t respond.  Just like a man.

it’s been a while.

So.  It was summer.  And now, it’s still technically summer, but summer is actually over.  I’ll tell you how I know:  I had to wear socks last week.  Three days.  I never wear socks in the summer.
The Mister was home all! summer! long! because he had an emergency back surgery situation that rendered him lump-like and unable to do things like LISTEN TO HIS BOSSES MICROMANAGE THINGS and WEAR A TOOL BELT.  Doctor’s note and everything, y’all.  He did take the short people to swimming lessons every day, and after a while he started wiping keisters again, which was nice.  But mostly he cringed when the short people ran in his general direction and beat them off with a cane used an actual cane to define his personal space bubble.  It was very effective.
We took up camping, which means I spent many moons laying on an air mattress in a tent away from my veryown bathroom.  Most of the time it didn’t suck, but when it did suck?  It really, really, really sucked.  I know, spoilerish alert.  Believe me, I didn’t ruin the story at all by letting you know it sucked.
Jack turned six, and he’s quite old and tall and he does Boy Things.  For example, Henry says to Jack, I think you should drop this croquet ball on my head.  And Jack says, That’s the single most brilliant idea you’ve had all day, old chap, I’m happy to oblige.  And then DROPS THE CROQUET BALL ON HIS LITTLE BROTHER’S HEAD and also WONDERS WHY I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE SITUATION.
And since I’m ratting out the short people, one of my children approached her father at a party and said, Pops, I have a string that’s bothering me.  Be a dear and allow me to borrow your Swiss Army knife to remove it.  To which Pops replies, Sure, darling, anything for you! and opens the Swiss Army Knife to the itty-bitty scissors, hands it to the short person, and stops paying attention.  Short Person sneaks off and GIVES HERSELF A HAIRCUT.  And then THROWS A FIT WHEN I MAKE HER A RECTIFYING-THIS-GOD-AWFUL-MESS APPOINTMENT at an actual salon and also WONDERS WHY I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE SITUATION.
We are making a solar system out of balloons for our next astronomy lesson.  I’m not sure how that is going to work seeing as how balloons aren’t actually shaped like planets.  
Remember this?  I think I can top it.

some items for your consideration

1. New Sewing Machine. I love her. A whole freaking lot. Her name is Nina Bernina.

2. Another Busted Disc. This time, it’s mine. Same one The Mister had surgery on. Some people wear matching shirts or share a hobby, but not us! We get matching boo-boos.

3. Narcotics. See item #2.

4. There is a super nice New York State Park near our house, and we got a season pass, so we go to the beach a whole lot. Last week, one of the lifeguards had to rescue a little boy. I was frightening and awesome at the same time, and I have never seen anybody move as fast as that guard did. Major thumbs up to the New York State Parks for hiring good people, training them well, and for keeping the parks open when many other states are not.

5. Fowl. We own ducks. And I’m sure this statement is going to result in more effbook mockery from that one guy who mocks us for having chickens and thinking about other unconventional pets, but whatever.

6. New Babies And Pregnancies. Four darling babies were born this month, and in the past two days I have learned that two of my friends will be having babies next spring. And before you get all crazy and start suggesting that we make us another wee Dayton, let me remind you that the likelihood that I even get to have a practice run at baby making is… Well… Dude just had surgery and My back is messed and there ain’t gonna be no getting some ’round these parts.

7. Swimming Lessons. My town has a wonderful summer rec program with sports and crafty things and swimming lessons for the short people. On Wednesday, the woman who runs the pool approached me and said that more thN six people had complained to her the previous day because I had breastfed Elliott while the other kids were having their lesson. She handled the situation beautifully, and told the complainers that in NY, women have the right to breastfeed their children anywhere they want, and that she wasn’t going to ask me to stop or to leave. How awesome is that? It’s so rare to hear a story about breastfeeding in public where people know the law and do the right thing. And as an added bonus, I met a lovely mama who is just finishing her Lactation Consultant training. Super cool.

waiting to hear

The Mister is in the hospital tonight, getting big doses of drugs and being MRI-ed and other sorts of exciting Things and Stuffs. I am home with the Short People, all of whom are tucked into their beds. Well, Henry is tucked into my bed, because he doesn’t like to sleep in his bed at night or on days that end in Y.

It is very late, and it seems I will just have to wait until morning for the official news about how broken he is.

Sad face.

some items for your consideration: the long-overdue edition

I realize it has been approximately ninety-eleven daysmonthsyearswhatever since I’ve been posting.  Sorry about that.  February was awful, and March was bad, and I had nothing clever to say.  It was just dark and icky, and I had nothing to say.  So I didn’t waste your time.
However, here’s a little catching up.

  1. There have been MANY trips to various doctors in the past 8 weeks.  So far, I have fibromyalgia (which I already knew) and at least 15 ulcers because I’m a complete overachiever, and there are approximately four children in my house with varying degrees of constipation.  None of these facts are particularly awesome.  
  2. Also not particularly awesome: my migraine meds are a no-no now that I have ulcers, as is spicy food, tomatoes, anything with fat in it, and coffee.  
  3. Elliott Samuel, my most darling of darling babies, turned 2 this week.  We celebrated by going to a total of 4 doctor appointments, blowing our noses, doing nebulizer treatments, taking tylenol and going to bed early.  
  4. Elliott Samuel, my most unsleeping of darling babes, who just turned 2 this week, also just began the beautiful practice of SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.  Mostly.  Which means I’ve had to get up one time on two non-consecutive nights in the past 8 days.  
  5. Last week was really sucky, but I got a little something in the mail from her, and a totally awesome dessert from her, and sat for an afternoon with her, and this guy cleaned my car, and my mother-in-law cared for the short people for about 20 hours because she’s nice.  And, as if that is not enough, there were more lovely things that happened, like phone calls from people who noticed I’ve not been myself, and my MOPS mamas showing up on my doorstep with dinner.  I feel like I am forgetting something, but believe me, it’s not from lack of gratitude, it’s from the migraine I’ve not been able to shake for a day and a half.  I’m blessed.
  6. Henry loves chickens.  I may have mentioned this before.  IN LOVE.  I ordered our meat birds and a few more layers because our laying hens are not actually LAYING EGGS and I think they should visit the pot but it doesn’t actually seem to matter what I think because NOBODY WILL KILL THEM.  So I will just purchase more and more hens until someone is forced to take drastic measures.  I digress.  Henry caught me perusing the online catalog of chickenry and squee-ed and shouted LOOK AT THE NAKED NECKS!!!! LOOK AT THE NAKED NECKS!!!  And so I did and he swooned and now we own a naked neck hen.  The end.
  7. More Henry.  Kid crawled up in my lap yesterday, wrapped his arms around my neck and said, Mama, I love you more than Elliott does.  I think you should know this.  
  8. Homeschooling.  We are doing that thing, still.  The latest in a long line of objections and attempts to not do school is this:  But I can’t find a pencil.  And yes, with extra whine and a side of whiney sauce.  It’s really difficult to find a pencil in my house, I assure you.  Extraspecially challenging considering there is an enormous box with the word PENCILS written on it in extra-wide Sharpie, and that said box is filled to the brim with at least 200 brand new pencils.  
  9. Just now noticing that I haven’t mentioned the Wee Man yet… He has mastered drama, congrats to him.  Also, he would like me to do a criteria-unspecified Lego contest on my blog, and he would like to play old-school Super Mario Brothers on the Wii all day long.  Finally, he can beat the Sudoku game on my phone in under 5 minutes.  We’re working on that.  Except the Sudoku.  I can’t have my 5 year old beating me at Sudoku.
  10. And The Mister.  The Mister ________________(verb) a ______________ (adjective) ___________________(noun) sometime before ____________________ (event) and we are not __________________________ (verb) very __________________________(adverb).
  11. The Mister also introduced the phrase “Polish bubblebath” into the short people’s vernacular this week.
That’s the news.  And please, for the love of teh interwebs.  Tell me what’s up with you.  I’m not up on your stories and goings-on, and I want to make sure you’re all still here.

some items for your consideration; 7th edition

1.  I opened the oven door to put the pizzas in (of the traditional friday night pizza-and-a-movie fame) and discovered that the heating element was no longer working.  This is the equivalent to having my left arm broken, I think.

2.  The Mister worked. And worked. And worked some more.  This working thing isn’t actually anything new.  But this week? It just seemed like a lot.
3.  I had an autoimmune disease flare of epic proportions.  (Did I ever tell you I have an autoimmune disease?  I do)  It started about two weeks ago, and reached its peak Friday and Saturday.  Everything hurt. And i had a migraine.  Only my joints hurt today, so I venture a guess that it’s going away.  I hope.
4.  The short people were super helpful, though.  They did laundry and emptied the dishwasher.  They even made more dirty dishes and! Refilled the dishwasher.  and!  Fetched things all by themselves.  Le sigh.
5.  I’m sorry I alarmed you with my post mentioning Secret Things And Stuff.  It’s all good, I promise.
6.  I am currently on a mission to commit clementine genocide.  You should fully expect to see me indicted at The Hague sometime in the middle of next week.  Genocide jokes aren’t funny.  But the words The Hague and indicted are funny.  So it kind of balances out.
7.  I got a new phone.  It rings when people call.  This is something new and very exciting, as my previous phone had stopped ringing about three weeks ago, despite displaying that a call was coming in.  I had to pull the battery out, put the battery back in, turn the phone on, wait for it to start up, and then call the person back.  It was somewhat tedious, and by somewhat I mean OH MY HELL THAT’S EFFING ANNOYING ALREADY.
What’s going on with you, my darling peoples?  

some items for your consideration, fourth edition

Item the First:  Thank you, so very much, for all the kind words you gave me this week.  Things do tend to look differently after bourbon, or in the morning, or in the morning after bourbon, which in this case is an air-quotes “in the morning” because it pretty much took until today for things to look upward enough to be convincing.
I think it’s important to say so when things are not good, just as it’s important to say so when things are good.  More than one IRL person told me this week they were totally surprised that I ever felt overwhelmed and inadequate.  Y’all.  Really.  I’m just a mama over here.  I might be a little more quirky than the mama over there and a little more straight-laced than the mama in the other direction, but we’re all just mamas, right?  
And when you said, You’re not alone, or I get this, or I know how this feels, you weren’t just saying it to me.  You said it to other hurting mamas who needed to hear it just as badly as I.  
So thank you.
Item the Second:  In addition to having a bad case of The Whatever That Was Last Weekend, I found myself having a case of the _____________ which led me to schedule an appointment with my midwife, who also performs regular vaginal maintenance procedures.  (And no, the correct answer to the fill-in-the-blank is not BABY IN MAH BELLAH, so pipe down over there.)  I just really don’t think that you need a clear description of All Things Southerly, so I’m just going to be a little vague, and you’re going to be happy about it.
This was not my yearly exam, because, well, I didn’t actually have a yearly exam in 2009, because I was doing something else that did not involve duck-billed anythings in my places.   Except it turns out that when you plan to attend the gyno only when you have a case of the ______________, she will take advantage of you when you are scantily clad and in a relatively immobile position to swish as many swab-ish things as she can in order to secretly conduct your yearly exam.  Big trickster.
But then?  Good news, people!  She upped my meds.  For those of you who don’t know, I flat out lost my shit when I was six months pregnant with Elliott, and started taking a low-dose SSRI.  Turns out that flat out losing your shit when you’re pregnant is an actual, serious medical condition called antenatal depression.  Time magazine wrote a really great piece about it last February.
But then?  Bad news, people!  She told me I’m fat.  No, she didn’t say the Eff word exactly (or the other eff word), but she said something about 20, no 25 pounds and so really speedy quick I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang the Smurfs theme song.  Classy, I know.  I can’t even help it!
Item the Third:  Christmas was nice.  Hope you had a lovely Christmas, too, if you’re a Christmas-er, or that last Saturday was a nice, plain old boring day if you’re not a Christmas-er.  And thank you to my internetty pals who sent us cards.  The short people would open them and say Who are *those* people? and we’d say Blog people, and eventually the short people would open a card, have a look, and say something ridiculous about Pretend People From The Computer.  Except for WRH‘s card… they jumped up and down and shouted about The Well-Read Son and The Well-Read Daughter and demanded to return to Philadeedelphia at once.  Heh.  Not with that attitude, missy.  And mistery.  Mystery… Oh never mind.

Item the Fourth:  It is bloody cold in my house.  This whole BEING CHEAP thing is not for me.  Thank GOD for my boyfriend, Colin Firth.  I pop that fella in the microwave for three minutes, and he warms me down to the tips of my toes.  Sometimes he warms only my toes, if I make him sit on my feet.  And you know what?  He’s okay with that.  And he always cuddles and never asks for anything more, no matter how hot he gets.  You should totally get your own Colin Firth.  (Spoiler alert:  shameless plug.)
Item the Fifth:  Laptop or iPod Touch.  Discuss.
Item the Sixth and Final:  Plans for New Years’ Eve are as follows:  Feed the children dinner.  Make some popcorn in our new Whirly-Pop thingy.  Pop a movie in the DVD player and cuddle in bed with the short people whilst The Mister mixes some random bar band and earns a pocket o’cash.  Bed by nine.  I know.  We’re terribly exciting.