Monthly Archives: September 2012

She Has the Power — Updated!


So a friend of ours is hugely pregnant.  We had nothing to do with it, but we’re very excited for her and the rest of her family, which consists of Mr. Her and the Her Girls, who are nearly exactly the ages of The Lovely Rhonda’s girls.

Mr. Her has been laid a bit low by some mysterious digestive issue — virus?  food poisoning?  nobody seems to know.  And Herself has been at least 4cm dilated and 70 percent effaced for days on end, suffering contractions that have come and gone, ready to just get this show on the road.  They were supposed to come over and hang out with us tonight for games and laffs and food, but circumstances being as they are it was decided to raincheck this.

Because we are nice people we offered to take their girls overnight and give them a break.  This isn’t just because we are nice but also will help offset the tremendous professional-quality envy that the littles have been experiencing because DELIA GOT TO HAVE A SLEEPOVER AND WE DIDN’T AND WE NEVER DO AND EVERYTHING SUCKS AND NOTHING IS FAIR EVER EVER EVER.

So yeah, we’re nice, but we’re also working this.

While she was here dropping the girls off, and bringing us the traditional bribe in the form of lattes, TLR offered to make her a mojito.

Now before you all get righteously indignant, a single alcoholic beverage won’t hurt even the pregnantest of ladies, nor their unborn spawn, and it is felt that such a beverage may help start labor in those who are teetering on the brink.

So TLR whipped her up a sort of hybrid ‘mo — as we had a lemon instead of limes — and Herself did consume it.

TLR received a text moments ago: water has broken, on way to hospital.

Says TLR:  “I win.”

THIS JUST IN:  Okay, actually we heard about it hours ago.  That baby arrived at 12:31am after a breezy, effortless labor (fervent thanks to the individual who invented the epidural) and all parties are doing well.  The Her Girls (2/3 of them, now) went home this afternoon, and our house looks only slightly worse for wear.  This isn’t because they were especially noisome or pesky but more because TLR and I are both feeling pretty crappy due to recent illnesses and after two days of expending tremendous effort to keep the home front hygienic, we are both exhausted and cranky.

Welcome to the world, Violet!


Your Huddled Masses


So the parent-teacher organization at the local elementary school holds “movie night” every couple of months.  They sell pizza and beverages for a fundraiser, and candy, and project a movie on a big screen in the cafetorium/gymnasium.  My kid doesn’t attend this school anymore but she did last year, and The Lovely Rhonda’s girls still go there, so we are obligated to attend.

Tonight they showed “The Lorax,” which I had not seen, so I actually did watch parts of it between playing games on my phone and blowing my nose.  These are currently my two favorite pastimes when away from home.  When I am home my favorite pastimes are complaining and blowing my nose but this doesn’t go over so well out among strangers.

I like to torment the children at these movie nights by purchasing delicious candy and declining to pass it out until they have asked when they can have it a minimum of fifty bajillion times.  Tonight I was so skilled at this that some of the candy actually went unconsumed.  It is still in the back of the van sending off little chocolatey radiation waves.  I doubt it will survive until morning, by which time they will hopefully have forgotten all about it, and if they haven’t there is a licorice rope with which to placate them.  I do not care for licorice.

The turnout at these events is frequently very good and tonight was no different; in fact TLR estimated it to be the largest turnout yet.  For those who have not had the pleasure, watching a movie at a PTO fundraiser movie night is not like watching a movie in a theater at all, unless your theater allows you to attend in pajamas carrying a sleeping bag, pillow, and favorite stuffed animal.  Also it would have to allow running, pillow-fighting, screaming, wriggling, talking, wrestling, crying and whining.  And that’s just our kids.  I’m not sure what the other kids did because I was too busy threatening The Collective Spawn with the Wrath of Doom if they didn’t Knock It Off Right This Minute And I Am Not Kidding, We Can Just Go Straight Home You Know.

Okay, I jest.  The kids were actually pretty mellow and the only tears occurred at the end of the movie when they held a drawing.  Each child had been issued a raffle ticket, free of charge, and the winner received the DVD of “The Lorax” that we had just watched.  It was a large crowd consisting mainly of teeming, orbiting children so it took several minutes and three different tickets had to be read before someone claimed the prize.  It was at this point that TLR’s youngest burst into tears because she didn’t win.  TLR had already told me that she liked the movie so much that she’d decided to buy it if we didn’t win it, and we told the youngest this, but she still completely lost her shit and wailed long and hard.  But to be fair she is only five years old and it’s only been a few weeks of full-day kindergarten.  By Friday she’s pretty exhausted and everything makes her cry.  Also?  She had immunizations yesterday and probably doesn’t feel all that hot to begin with.  I can relate.

My kid is having a sleepover tonight, just to add a soupçon of ennui to the mix.  The visiting girl is really sweet and no trouble at all, but TLR’s kids are both so envious and tired (a bad combination) that I think this might be the only time we do a sleepover on a movie night.  It’s just too much.

The funniest part of the evening?  Again with the youngest.  She wanted a drink of water, for which one needed to cross under the movie screen in front of the crowd.   TLR had tried to get her to go on her own but she just wouldn’t.  A little while later she wanted another drink of water and again TLR told her she could go get it on her own, she had taken her once so she knew where to go (it was easily visible from where we sat).  We watched in stunned silence as this kid proceeded cautiously to the front of the gym, laid flat on her back beneath the screen, and attempted to wiggle  feet-first from the near end to the far end.  The bottom edge of the movie screen was fully six feet off the ground but she was convinced that she would throw a shadow across the movie.  Finally TLR heaved a mighty sigh and went and collected her before she brought more awkwardness to the family name.  Because willing yourself across the gym floor on your back in slow motion would be so much less embarrassing than potentially throwing a shadow across the movie for two seconds.  Of course.

Six degrees of Facebooking


So I find that several of my friends are friends with other of my friends, and sometimes it freaks me right the friend out, knowhatahmsayin?

Middle school classmate, friends with Tammy (whom I know through a nursing school classmate more than 20 years later) and friends also with Darren (whom I know through an old motorcycling friend).

Oh, that old motorcycling friend?  Also went to high school with someone else  I know, but we didn’t realize this until I’d been friends with them both for years.

And that someone?  Friends with a guy I went to high school with, and hadn’t seen since graduation, but we bumped into each other at a party for the someone when she left for France this summer.

I guess what’s freaky about it is that I know them all through such different channels, and probably would never have even known of these connections were it not for Crackbook.  I mean Facebook.

Back to the grind


So tomorrow I have to go back to work.  Which kinda sucks.  I do love my job but I still feel pretty crappy a lot of the time, and when I look at the things I want to get done today I feel like I have to ration my energy.  I went to the store yesterday — actually to three stores, two for just a few minutes each and one fairly short grocery run — and it wiped me out.  So I know that working tomorrow will wipe me out.

I have had pneumonia only once since I was a child and that was more the “walking pneumonia” kind, so this has taken me by surprise.  I talk a good game while I’m sitting here in front of my computer expending very little energy but the truth of the matter is that I get tired out just by folding a load of laundry.  Yesterday was the first day I felt like leaving the house — for me this is significant, because I don’t stay home.  Even when Delia was a screamy horrible baby who screamed a lot, and I was a bewildered and exhausted new mom, I left the house at least once a day nearly every day because I couldn’t stand to stay home.  And since she hated both the stroller and the car seat with every fiber of her being, I carried her in a front pack even though it made my spinal column feel like it would snap in two.  I carried her around and I went places because I. Do. Not. Stay. Home.

Also?  I don’t nap.  But right now I tip over if I sit on the couch in front of even an interesting show.

So yeah.  Feeling crappy.  Tired out.  Still coughing and congested.

But!  Not contagious!  And rapidly running out of paid time off!  And can’t afford unpaid time off!

See you guys at work tomorrow!

How it turned out


So we tried a couple of dogs on for size.  We went to look at Jake, thought he might be too shy for our busy household, wanted to try Chloe instead, ended up with them both, and tried them out for about a week.  Some of these rescue places have decent return policies and we were careful to keep the receipt.

A week later the shy dog is not the least bit shy and the goofy, busy ball-obsessed dog is back with the foster family.  She’s a whippet mix and whippets have a high prey drive.  Cats might be considered prey… and we have three cats.

Hermione the bomb-proof cat got over it pretty quickly but Heals and Mrs. Norris just couldn’t deal with Chloe lunging at them anytime they poked their heads into the house.  She would scramble after them barking madly and they would race across the yard like they were on fire.  Nothing we did stopped her most of the time.

So today we returned Chloe to her foster family.  They have decided to keep her now, as she is not only not cat friendly but also has allergies.  We could have handled the allergies but not the cat-chasing.  We had also decided that three dogs was kind of a lot of energy at ankle-level for us.

Jake, though, is a hoot.  He’s small, energetic, a little yappy, but cheerful and reasonably well-behaved.  He and Otto get along well and the kids like him.  He doesn’t like strangers and takes a while to warm up to new people but that just means visitors shouldn’t expect to pet him, and if there are kids around who can’t resist him we can put him behind a closed bedroom door for the duration.

This isn’t the best picture but you get the idea.  Ignore the laundry on the back of the couch and the fact that he’s looking super pitiful here.  He’s completely fine!

Pneumonia kind of sucks.


So I returned to the doctor on Monday because I didn’t really feel substantially better.  I didn’t feel much better at all.  I’m not sure that I felt any better.

Nebulizer, more antibiotics, inhaler, four more days off work.  REST, she said, and push fluids.


I suck at pushing fluids and I suck at resting.  I excel at dorking around, but not so much at actual resting.

Blogging is restful, right?

And playing Plants Vs. Zombies is also restful.  And Skyrim, after the children are at school.

I’ve heard that napping is restful.  I suck at napping too, but it turns out that if you hold still on a couch and try to watch a Pokemon movie with a child, a nap will overcome you whether you’re good at it or not.  I just didn’t know!

There Shall Be Chickens!


So The Lovely Rhonda decreed that we shall get another dog.  Because our Large Main Dog, Otto, is aging and showing the first signs of impending decrepitude.  He’s what you might call Such A Good Dog, in that he is obedient, gentle, barks to let you know when strangers are threatening your domain, and very politely declines to soil the carpets.  He is also obsessed with The Ball THE BALL THROW THE BALL OMG THE BAAAAAALLLLL!  But this is a personality quirk that we can live with in that it makes him very easy to entertain.  We are known to occasionally allow a hapless visitor to innocently chuck the ball for him, not letting on that now they were condemned to throw it all day long, or at least have a slobbery hard rubber ball thrust roughly into their laps every thirty seconds until we put the ball away.  If they ever come back we know they are our true friends.  And if they do come back, chances are they’re wearing a cup.

So in light of all this Good Dog-itude, we felt he deserved a friend and also that it may make the transition easier on the kids when he does eventually shuffle off this mortal coil.  TLR has been trolling various dog rescue sites and the Humane Society site and so forth searching for just the right dog.  Finally we took the children to visit Jake, a terrier/weiner dog mix, at a dog foster home.  We liked him but he’s shy around strangers and we weren’t sure he was the dog for us, but they had another dog named Chloe whom we took to immediately.

Basically she’s Otto in smaller form.  She is ball-obsessed, friendly, well-behaved, and enthusiastic.  She just wants to help!  And chew on things.  Her tail is a lethal weapon.

So TLR called the lady back up and said we’d take Chloe.  The lady, sensing a weakness in the Force, convinced her to give Jake a try AS WELL since they are so bonded.  And we could always return him if after two weeks he wasn’t the perfect dog for us.  I think she sent a pinch of magical unicorn glitter through the phone somehow because TLR’s eyes became all swirly and now we have three dogs.

It’s been a couple of days now and the dogs are settling in very well.  They are really nice dogs and seem to like us, and Jake is a waggy, licky, wiggly little guy as long as we have no visitors.

At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with chickens, and I can’t blame you.  But don’t worry, I’m getting to that.

So I used to have chickens in the past and I’ve been yearning to get some again for a while now and TLR’s argument was always that if we had chickens we would have to get a pet-sitter when we left home because someone would need to let them in and out of their little house every day.  Previously we could leave Otto overnight without a sitter because he has a dog door, a gravity feeder and a big water bowl, and we never needed a sitter for cats because they are cats.

But these new gold-plated dogs are the kind that need special dinner arrangements and so far have expressed a serious aversion to the dog door.  I have hope that they will master it one day but honestly, they treat it like it’s going to eat them.  So, yeah.  We have to have a pet sitter now, and so TLR said on Facebook, “Well you might as well just get the damn chickens now blah blah blah.”  I don’t remember what came after that because HELLO!  CHICKENS!

Which is how we ended up scouring Craigslist for a chicken coop at 10pm on Saturday night, because we are losers who do stuff like that instead of drinking wine in fashionable night spots.  And I texted this lady about her coop and the next morning our Good Friend Josh drove my sorry, coughing person to some total stranger’s house to look at a dirty chicken coop.

And then our sidingwallah Kenny’s girlfriend and daughter came in his truck (he was at work being gainfully employed, so inconvenient) and I stood around and coughed and felt wretched while they stuffed that coop into the bed of the truck.  It just barely fit, with encouragement, between the wheelwells.  How’s that for karma?  And it was cheap too.  And included some chicken wire, nearly two full bags of feed plus some other stuff, and did I mention it was cheap? 

When I am no longer at death’s door I will put together a pen.  And by “I,” of course I mean my neighbor Kathy will “help” me while I do my best not to look too stupid and clueless.  Because I’m shamelessly inept at this kind of thing. But I lavish Starbucks and baked goods on people who help me, so it’s at least not too pitiful right?  Right?

And then I will get chickens!!!





O These Children


So last night we let the Collective Spawn dork out to their respective Nintendos and just play and hang out.  It was the end of the first real week of school and they were all pretty tired.  At the appropriate time we herded them off to bed thinking smugly to ourselves that they were so exhausted they would sleep well.


The middle child kept getting up.  MAMA I CAN’T SLEEP.  For two hours.  Finally at 11pm she stopped.

I was not foolhardy enough to think that this meant she would sleep in.  I have known these children for some time and it is apparent that these particular children do not “sleep in.”

At 5:40am the youngest child entered Grown-Up Land to inform The Lovely Rhonda that she could not find her sharpened pencil with which to do her Giant Workbook of Kindergarten Fun.  She was duly notified that at 5:40am nobody was the least bit interested in finding a pencil, sharpened or otherwise, with which to do anything non-violent and that she should be backing slowly out of the room by now.

Actually it went more like, GO BACK TO BED OMG IT’S 5AM WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU.

Naturally I now had to use the restroom and in doing so found the middle child, the completely knackered one with the dark circles under her eyes, cozily playing her Nintendo in bed.

I am sorry to say that I did not merely creep back to Grown-Up Land to inform TLR but instead removed the Nintendo from her clutches and stated that it was 5am and she should return to sleep.

Mayhem ensued, and the shrieks of the unjustly persecuted rang throughout the house.  It is only by some miracle that the oldest child never woke up.

I finally got out of bed at 6:50ish since I was coughing too hard to sleep anyway and found the middle child snoring and the youngest one sobbing in her bed.  An hour later.

Youngest child is now working on her workbook and finding reasons to enter and exit her room as often as possible in the hopes that she will find one of her sisters awake.

My mother once told me that when you wake up in the morning and lay in bed figuring out exactly how soon you can feasibly return to bed, you are an adult.

I think I have been an adult since I was nine.

By Way of Explanation


So last weekend  we went to Seattle to see the traveling King Tut exhibit.  I saw it when it toured in 1978 and didn’t want to miss this, since I have heard that Egypt will not be allowing most of its antiquities to travel much in coming years.  They are repatriating their lost treasures and want to encourage tourism.  I can’t blame them, but I think it’s unfortunate for those of us who may never have the opportunity to travel that far.

At any rate, I greatly enjoyed it but was dragging myself around pretty pathetically.  I had had a crappy head cold for about a week and it didn’t seem to want to part company, and going to Seattle always seems to involve way more walking than I typically care to engage in.  But I survived.

Only to return to work a surprise night shift Sunday night!  Hooray!  Even though I slept most of the day after, and the night after that, I still didn’t feel too hot as of Wednesday and now the pesky cough was so deliciously juicy that coworkers gave me a larger-than-usual amount of space.  I can almost swear I saw some of them shudder and make the sign of the cross as I passed.

Nevertheless I soldiered on and even dragged myself to see “Memphis” last night with The Lovely Rhonda.  We have season tickets to this “Broadway Across America” thing and it was the first show of the season.  I ate so many cough drops I got a little menthol buzz going on and my teeth were fuzzy, but I didn’t cough too much.  Nobody loves a cougher at a show.

In the wee hours I woke up — again with the coughing! — and found that in the position I was laying, I could hear a funny wheezy gurgly sound coming from my chest.  And I could feel a horrible wet feeling in my left lung.  And the things I was coughing up!  Don’t even get me started.

No really, please don’t.  You’ll regret it.

I’m a psych nurse and not really up on all this medical-malady thing so much anymore, but this all seemed like kind of a bad thing.

I went to see my medical provider today, having been ordered gently pressured to do so  by TLR, and after the usual niceties she listened to my lungs.  And spent a looooong time on that left area.

So yeah.  Nothing big, just sinusitis.

And pneumonia.

Just that.

No big.


How To Turn 45


So yesterday was my birthday, or as a friend put it, the “anniversary of my continued homeostasis upon this planet.”

We couldn’t let this go uncelebrated, so The Lovely Rhonda threw some invitations out and a few people dropped by.

I’m deeply uncomfortable allowing people to see how we normally live, i.e. like filth-beasts wallowing in our own swill, so I spent much of the day mucking out The Swamp.  It wasn’t too bad, for us, and this mainly consisted of scraping a layer of toothpaste off the bathroom mirror and running the vacuum.  Is there some special law of physics governing the spitting of toothpaste into sinks by children?  Because despite vigorous Windexing of the bathroom mirror just yesterday, I woke this morning to find fresh gobs of chalky whiteness decorating its lower half.  How do they even get that kind of trajectory going?  I can barely get it to clear my chin.

It was the usual mayhem of barbecued meats and alcoholic beverages.  TLR has found a decent mojito recipe.  I asked her where she’d found it and she said “some men’s magazine website.”  This is not even slightly surprising, although what is surprising is that she could navigate her way through all the photos of half-naked lingerie models to find the drinks recipes.  I suspect she may have enjoyed this more than she would care to admit.  At any rate they were very decent mojitos and I had a couple of them.  This passes for debauchery on a grand scale, for me.  Woo!

I’ve reached that age where when people ask me what I want for my birthday, I don’t have a ready answer.  I have most things I could want, I wouldn’t want anyone to shell out for anything on the Too Expensive To Buy For Myself list, and mostly all I want is a good time with friends.  Which I got!  But you know people love you when they bring you trinkets and widgets and geegaws.

It was quite a haul, really.  When the children get old enough to be taken shopping for you, you suddenly find yourself with a larger quantity of mysterious little packages than you have received in a while.  There is usually a lot more tape involved in the gift-wrapping, too.

Some friends came and brought their girls who are close in age to TLR’s girls, and the youngest of these not only brought me gifts from the pile but assisted me in tearing the paper off and before I knew it had squirmed her way onto my lap and practically into my shirt.  It was awfully charming.

TLR went a little nuts with the amusing trinkets.  The pièce de résistance was a can of Unicorn meat.

Yes, you read correctly.

Unicorn meat.

And, in keeping with my love of bacon, some Bacon-Scented Hand Sanitizer and Bacon-Flavored Lip Balm.

Our Good Friend Josh (GFJ) brought me a little token of his affection that I have struggled with since we got an XBox.  “Struggled with” in the sense of “resisted buying for myself.”  It is GFJ that we can thank for my sudden, comprehensive disappearance from society for the next six months, for he brought me — 

I’m not sure TLR is on speaking terms with GFJ now.

And just when I thought the night could not get any better, and was about to blissfully retire with dreams of bacon-scented dragon-riding Unicorn-munching adventure, my cousin Heidi showed up with a BOX OF AWESOME.

Heidi’s godmother collected something, you see, and when she passed away these somethings passed to Heidi.  And Heidi has bestowed them on me.

I present, without further ado: