Where I’ll be napping for the next forever.

April 22, 2015

I’ll say this for Haverty’s: they might charge an arm and a couple legs for their furniture, but they make sure it shows up at your house pretty quickly! Look what showed up yesterday:

Couch1Ta da! New, grown-up looking couches! Which is probs pretty fortunate, because I kicked my fifteen-year-old couches (and hideous lamps) out to the curb the night before, with a giant sign so the curb-shoppers would leave them for the women’s shelter to pick up. Twenty-year-olds should not be allowed to pick out furniture, lemme tell you. But now I have pretty, pretty new couches so go with the rest of the upgrades and renovations around the house. Slowly but surely, I’m building my nest.

Naturally, I spent the night rearranging furniture and seeing which way I liked it best. I’ll probably leave the couch all smooshed together like it is there. For one, you can see the TV the way it’s currently set up. But the thing I love about my sectional is that it functions even as separates.

Couch2That’s the two-seater that fits between the chaise and the traditional couch.

One option I’ve been toying with is to have the couch against the window-wall so I could try to fit a bigger TV somewhere in my poorly laid-out living room. I could leave them all squished together like this:

Couch3Which means I could still throw my feet up on the chaise and all of us can pigpile together and be all cozy. The downside is that the u-shape of the sectional means that the potential new TV position (offscreen just to the left) would make the room layout a bit awkward. But you can still see the TV just fine!

Couch4So I would move those two middle bookshelves to the wall behind the couches (that currently just has one bookshelf), and then get a media-center of some sort, something for my giant TV to sit on. Or maybe I’d wall-mount it over the hutch. Hmmm.

The other option I like better is to have the chaise off to the side. Then there isn’t the awkward empty space (that I suppose I could fill with a small chair or reading nook), and all of my guests wouldn’t feel like they were sitting right on top of each other. Something like this:

Couch6 Couch7

I think that’s my favorite layout. Either way, the girls are in looooove with the comfy new couches, and Kim and I are drooling over finding the right accent pillows and throw-rugs to make the room pop. The puppies love all the excitement that comes from new furniture to explore, although one of them (ahem:Bam) wasn’t too happy with my “no chewing bones on the couch” edict.

Other than that, it’s all naps and smiles over here at Casa de Katie. You know where to look for me if I go missing…

Well. Now there’s a view, at least.

April 21, 2015

Yesterday was epically bad at ThePlaceThatShallNotBeDiscussed. All I wanted was an easy night with the girls – I was definitely thinking of pizza and pajamas – and then later Jeff and I could a drink out on the patio and all would be well again. (Or at least it would feel that way, and isn’t that just enough sometimes?)

Except I walked through the door at the end of the day, saw a bunch of texts from the Ex saying After-Care had called him because Bee was sick (I didn’t have any missed calls, which was weird), and could I go get her, and then I looked up from my phone and saw this:

Bam3Bam the Destroyer had somehow gotten ahold of the curtains, ripped them down, ripped the curtain rod out of the wall (including some nice divots in the drywall where the anchors used to be), and then ate my curtains.

I had to just turn around and go get Bee-girl, who really wasn’t feeling well, and then Gracie helped me clean up the Mess That Bam Made. Jeff felt horrible, but once I got over the shock, really all I thought was that Kim was going to be tickled that those curtains she hated are gone. I didn’t hate them the way she did, but mostly because they still matched and they were perfectly fine. I wasn’t paying for new curtains when those ones worked just fine.

So I guess we’re putting up new curtains this weekend, or whenever I find suitable ones. In the meantime, I do have a lovely new view out the kitchen windows.

Bam4

Quote of the day.

April 20, 2015

Okay, I am sort of hijacking this story, but since the girls had barely tumbled into the house yesterday before they were telling me all about it, I feel like it kind of happened to us, too. I mean, the girls did tell me all about it…

The girls went to take pictures in the bluebonnets with their dad and stepmom, way out in the country. On the way there this (approximate) conversation happened:

Stepmom: We’re going to see some Belgian waffles!
Bee: Woohoo!

Bee tells Gracie, and then promptly falls asleep. Because Bee and car rides of any length, always.

A little while later, it must have dawned on Gracie that this doesn’t quite make sense…

Gracie: Wait, is there a restaurant out there? Or something?
Stepmom: Huh?
Gracie: For the Belgian waffles?
Stepmom:horses. Belgian horses.

Only my children would mishear “waffles” for “horses.”

Also, now I would like some Belgian waffles with warm fruit topping please. Someone get on that.

The Questionnaire about Readerly-Katie.

April 16, 2015

Recently The Millions posted a bookish-themed questionnaire to spoof on The New York Times 36-question interview that was designed to help strangers fall in love. Well. Who am I to turn up a well-designed questionnaire, especially one that gives me the chance to talk about books.

Part 1.
1. What was your favorite book as a child? Who can ever choose just one? I’d have to go with Anne of Green Gables because she was the first character who made me feel like I was understood, like I was okay. I can’t tell you how many times I read and re-read those first two books and watched the mini-series.

2. What’s the last really good book you read? I’ve been stuck in a rut of not-really-good books lately, so I’d have to go all the way back to Erik Larson’s Dead Wake about the final crossing of the Lusitania during the beginning of World War I. Larson’s non-fic accounts are more readable than most writers’ fictional tales: fact.

3. Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction? Why? Fiction, far and away. Although I love a good non-fiction account, I prefer to lose myself in make-believe. I’m insatiably curious about many things that I will never get away from non-fiction for long, but when it comes to story arcs and the amount of time I’m going to spend with a book – there is so many more possibilities when you remove the boundaries of facts and rules and has-to-bes.

4. Do you finish every book that you start? If you don’t, how do you decide when to stop reading? Absolutely not. I used to be a DNFer – Do Not Finish-er – but then I realized that even if I read every free minute I had, I would never be able to even dent the pile of books I’d like to read. So I decided to free up some precious time by not wasting it on poorly written stories. Funnily enough, I also decided not to waste time on people who treated me (or others) poorly. Do not suffer fools, you guys. As far as when I know it’s time…I just know. I give a book probably about 50 pages. I don’t want to run too soon (I never would have finished Carey’s Girl with All the Gifts otherwise, and I ended up loving that story!), but I generally have a good sense about the level of writing by the time I’m that far in.

5. List your 10 favorite books in four minutes or less. Write it down because you’ll revisit it at the end. Oh god! Um… King’s Dark Tower series; Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery; It by King; Beloved by ToMo; David Bradley’s The Chaneysville Incident; Rebecca Wells’ Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood; The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield; and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shafer.

6. Do you reread books? Which ones? Of course! That’s half the fun – you already know what’s going to happen, so you can slow down and enjoy it. Sometimes you catch new, subtle little things you’ve missed; sometimes it’s just nice to visit old friends. Then again, it’s always maddening when the story doesn’t magically expand, and when you realize all over again that you can’t shake your characters out of the book to come play with you, no matter how much you want to make it so.

7. Do you read poetry? Why or why not? I have been on more of a poetry kick lately, especially the fiery-burny-lusty ones. But as a whole, I’m not much into poetry, for the same reasons I don’t like short stories as much as novel-length ones: I like to unpack as much as I can. I want a story chock-full of characters and adventures and the whys and whens. There are 1000+ page books that haven’t been long enough for me. Glimpses are such a tease!

8. Do you remember the first “grown-up” book you read? I started reading so early that it’s hard to decide what counts and what doesn’t. Chapter books? Books a grown-up would pick up for themselves, without agenda? Books meant for an older crowd? The Anne books were certainly advanced, but they weren’t the first. Hmm… I suppose one that sticks with me was a Sunfire romance [read: romantic and kissy-kissy with suitors but no bodice-ripping] that for some reason ended up on the 5th grade Scholastic order form. My mom let me order it when I was in 2nd grade. Even better – I still have the book and read it from time to time. It’s not the worst story. Though still maybe not for 2nd graders!

9. Are there any authors whose work you have read completely? Stephen King. Joe Hill. Agatha Christie. Toni Morrison. Lots of newer, younger authors whose backlists aren’t deep enough yet for me to consider it an eyebrow-raising feat.

10. How often do you read books that are more than 100 years old? I try to read as many classics as I can. I’ve read enough that I had a hard time finding a book I hadn’t yet read for the Read Harder challenge item, “Read a book published before 1800.”  (No, I still don’t know what I’m reading for that.)

11. Is there a type (or types) of book you never read? I’m super picky about fantasy and sci-fi. Most romances are ridiculous and I can’t do them. I hate Westerns.

12. How do you choose what to read? I’m a really organic reader. My TBR is vastly, wildly diverse, but what I read next really depends on what crosses my path – what books I find at the library, something from the clearance rack at my used book store, a book someone has insisted I read, a new book from a day-of-publication author… I’m trying to be more systematic and on-purpose, but it’s so hard when you’re a reader on a budget!

Part 2.
13. What’s more important to you: the way a book is written, or what the book is about? The three most crucial things to me are Voice, Character, and Plot. And usually – usually – in that order. The feel, the sound, the lushness and quirkiness and truth of the way the book was written is then by far more important. Voice can make me care about a “what” I normally wouldn’t think about. I could be reading about something I would normally be all over, but if I’m not feeling it, there’s no way I’m going to get through a book.

14. What author, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with? Stephen King. I’d say there might be are could maybe, possibly be Misery-esque type plans all mapped out in a hidey-hole in the back of my brain, but that might get me pre-meditation if they were ever executed. So I won’t. Toni Morrison is also high, high, high up on this list. And maybe Stephen Fry to balance it out. Three very different writers, all completely and utterly fascinating to me.

15. If you could hang out with a literary character for the day, who would it be? All of them. I’d need to hang out with all of them all at once. I can’t pick just one!

16. If you could be a literary character, who would it be? GOD, with the hard questions! Probably the version of Miss Havisham from Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde. More than slightly mad, in all the best ways. Knowledge of the bookish world, able to hang out with nearly anyone literary, and a sneaky spy who jumps out of planes. Me to a T, right?!

17. Have you ever written a fan letter to an author? I chat with several via social media, but never in a SQUEEE! I LOVE YOU, JOEY MCINTYRE! kind of way. It’s never been like that. (Um…ignore the references to my Misery-esque type plans, wouldja?)

18. Is there any book that, if I professed to love it, you would be turned off? Is there any book that would impress you in particular? Not gonna lie – if you love Ayn Rand, I’m going to judge a little. I mean, I’ll hear ya out, but it’ll be an uphill battle to convince me your fight is for right. Want to impress me? Toni Morrison. Junot Diaz. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I mean, mentioning Stephen King – okay, not just mentioning but being able to thoroughly discuss – will make me smile and earn you points, but mention someone a little less mainstream. Someone you need to read on purpose.

19. Is there a book you feel embarrassed about liking? Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I shouldn’t feel embarrassed, but I do. It helped me through my divorce; it had meaning and weight during a very specific point in my life. But it’s earned a rep as a wishy-washy self-help book for whiny upper-class first-world white girls. So, um…yeah.

20. Are there books you feel proud of liking or having finished? Ayn Rand. Les Mis. I’ve read most of Shakespeare. Tristam Shandy. Generally anything most people haven’t read. Or things you don’t think I would have read. I like challenges – because I smote them. Mwa ha.

21. Have you ever lied about having read a book? In a pinch, but I’ve found that generally bites you in the booty, so I try not to.

22. Do you keep track of the books you read? Obsessively. Me and organization and books? Are you kidding?! I track them on Goodreads, a Google spreadsheet, and a journal. We can’t risk losing twelve years of data, now, can we?

23. How do you form opinions about what you read? I constantly think about what I’ve read, how it relates to the world, reshifting thoughts and opinions as I read new books and relationships change – everything is always shifting, isn’t it? I talk about what I read with everyone around me – friends, fellow readers, social media groups. I research what I’ve read and compare reviews. All the while, turning it over and over and over in my brain. It’s one of the best parts about reading, honestly.

24. What authors do you think are overrated? Underrated? JFranz is by far over-rated. He can write – The Corrections was incredibly crafted – but I don’t think he should be knighted the way media (and his own self) have done. He is not the best of all modern times. Sheesh.

Part 3.
25. Do you ever read self-help books? Very, very occasionally, and usually if I’m performing a very specific kind of research. Like when I was trying to save my marriage. Or process my divorce. Or learn about blended families. I’m generally not a fan.

26. What’s a book that shocked you? Is it odd that nothing comes to mind, or does it say more about the magnificence of my imagination and elasticity of make-believe when I’m reading? Books are more likely to infuriate me than shock me.

27. If you could force every person you know to read one book, what would it be? Stephen King’s Dark Tower.

28. What book would you recommend to me in particular? This kind of needs a specific interviewer, doesn’t it? Go ahead and ask me, though, and I’ll give you an answer. I love picking books for readers!

29. What books/authors have you been meaning to read for years? Why haven’t you read them yet? David Foster Wallace. He scares the shit out of me.

30. What kind of book do you consider “a guilty pleasure?” Stephen King is good comfort reading. Gratuitous YA. The few romances. The Outlander series. Cheap thrillers and crime procedurals. Mysteries. Re-reads. None of them are “wrong” to read – they’re just not as purpose-ful as other reading could be.

31. Has a book ever changed your mind about something? All the time. My mind is constantly changing, even if the swing isn’t as great as the question seems to imply.

32. If you were terminally ill, what book or books would you read? Uh…the same ones I read now? Although I would hope nothing depressing.

33. Do you have any passages of poetry or prose committed to memory? Can you recite something to me? I can recite passages and quotes of all sorts. I know T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and The Wastelands and a lot of Emily Dickinson the best.

34. If you could change anything about the way you read, what would it be? I would be able to read more purposefully, more diversely, if I had an unlimited book budget.

35. Was there any time in your life when you felt as if a book guided you in a profound way? Very, very much so.

36. Return to the list you made at the beginning. What titles, if any, would you change after our conversation? Ha! I wondered why I would need the list. Nothing changes after this particular conversation, but my list changes constantly the more I read.

Okay, dear readers. Your turn. What are your answers? And which of mine surprised you (or not) the most?

Keep your fingers – and your paws – crossed!

April 15, 2015

We have nicknames at our house for our two pups: The FenBeast and Bam the Destroyer. Fenway likes to pay far too much attention to tiny little wiener dog and occasionally terrifies Bam, who then gets all defensive and starts fights. Thus, the Fenbeast! And Bam…well, look:

Bam1

That’s what happened to my doormat the one time Bam didn’t escape her crate. Instead, he kept launching himself at the side of his cage until it had shimmied across the kitchen floor and up against the doormat…which Bam somehow caught hold of and pulled almost entirely into his crate. Where he then chewed it to smithereens, despite the damage it did to his teeth and gums.

The other two times I left Bam alone, either I didn’t close the crate properly, or else Bam should be called Houdini, because there he was, live and in person, waiting to greet me at the garage door when I came in. I was lucky the damage was limited to poop on the carpet, because this could have happened:

Bam2Jeff had left Bam out one night at his house (before we forced the dogs into being reluctant compadres), feeling guilty about leaving Bam crated so often. And then came home to find a hole dug straight down to the concrete near the garage door. Not to mention the other times Bam has chewed up an entire toilet paper roll, or Fenway’s nose. Clearly, Bam the Destroyer has earned his nickname.

Which brings us to the part about keeping our fingers crossed: we’re puppy-sitting. Jeff is off at a work conference for three days, so the Bamster’s hanging out with us. He gets to sleep with the girlies at night (thank you, Bee-girl!) and hang out – hopefully – during the day.

I brought Bam outside twice this morning, fed him, watered him, and moved the doormat out of the way. (I hope.) I had Gracie double-check my latchwork on the cage, and left a bone in there for Bam to chew on. I even left Fenway’s kettleball-of-rope right outside Bam’s crate with one end dangling in, in hopes of inducing Bam to destroy the rope instead of anything else. But I closed the door to Fenway’s room – and all the other rooms – just in cases.

Fingers crossed, you guys. I really hope I have a house left when I get home!

Quote of the Day (The One with the Mortification).

April 14, 2015

I went back and forth over whether to post this quote. To say it was embarrassing is an understatement. And it’s about the trials and tribulations of dating, with children – something I always have a harder time opening up about – in a public forum, at least. And then I decided this is one of those things I will look back at and laugh over, and is a teeny tiny piece I will want to remember. If I’m writing to capture the story, I should leave out only those pieces that are truly, truly necessary. Right?

So this happened. We were sitting around the table on Sunday night, eating dinner – me, Jeff, the girls and X-man. And apparently, X-man needed something.

X-man: Hey, Jeff!
Jeff: X-man, I’m “Daddy.”

X-man had been doing this all day Sunday. I get it. Not only is the “call your parents by their name” thing a popular phase for the four-years-old set, but he had also been listening to my girls call him Jeff all weekend. So I tried to explain. I think kids like having things explained to them – it beats having to do what your parents say just because they say so, right?

Me: He’s your daddy, X-man, just like I’m the girls’ mommy. The girls call me Mom, and you call me “Miss Katie”. Gracie and Bee call him “Jeff” because he’s not their daddy.
Bee: Well, not yet.

And that is when I died.

There was that crushing, enormous roar of silence for a second and then everyone started laughing and I covered my eyes with my hand and felt myself blushing scarlet even as I was laughing. AS A COPING MECHANISM. I was laughing, but I wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole! Doesn’t that girl understand my commitment issues? It took me weeks and a brown paper bag to breathe into just to use the word “girlfriend”!

Eventually, everyone calmed down, and I was still hiding, so Jeff asked – both with great kindness and empathy and with a goodish deal of teasing – whether I needed to go compose myself. So I crawled out from behind my hand, gave a big sigh, and pretended the entire thing hadn’t happened.

And even though I’m putting this down on paper (per se), I am still pretending it didn’t happen, so let us never speak of this again. Okay? Okay.

Five for Friday.

April 10, 2015

Good morning jelly bean starbursts! Don’t you love when it’s Friday and you know you’ve survived another week, and you actually got a decent amount of sleep, and you’re all peppy because you unexpectedly solved a particularly sticky problem while you were stumbling through your morning routines? Me, too! So let’s get this Friday rolling…

1. We finished reading Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming this week. Gracie adored it, mostly for the same reasons I did: high-caliber writing, finely drawn characters, and a plot where kids were left to their own devices and had to survive all on their own. Gracie’s convinced she’s Dicey and Sammy and James, all rolled into one. Bee-girl was glued to my side every time I read, but her response when I asked what she thought was typical Bee: meh. She isn’t a fan of reading, and that layer tempers every review.

2. Related: Every now and then, I’m reminded of both how resourceful my girls are and how much they’re part of the YouTube generation. I had been searching and searching for the Homecoming movie adaptation that I hadn’t seen, but knew existed. It’s no where to be found, though. Amazon only had it for $3234 – and only on VHS. Netflix and Amazon Prime both came up empty. And then lo and behold, the girls just happened to randomly find it on the TV one day, and so they recorded it. And then fell victim to their own TiVo-insanity. They record a hundred millions shows and eventually Homecoming: The Movie got bumped to save space. So we had a discussion on how that works…and they finally saw why my eye would get twitchy when it happened to my shows back when they used my TiVo. Here’s where the resourcefulness comes in: after the big letdown of discovering their movie was gone, Gracie found it on YouTube in five minutes. (It only took that long because she searched Netflix first, not believing me.) I haven’t sat down and watched it with them yet, but they’re already simultaneously enraptured and highly critical of the book-to-movie adaptation.

3. Other than that, it’s been a pretty re-ready week for me. I’m working on Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (one of the best comfort books out there) and I’m also re-reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson so I can launch into Tiny Dancer: The Tiny Cooper Story, that I got from the Easter Bunny. And I just know that the Homecoming sequel, Dicey’s Song, will be next; I can never read just one book from that series.

4. Couchapalooza continues. I cannot find a sectional that will fit my tiny living room configuration (unless I ditch the bookcases, and no thank you). I should do a post all on its own, but picture this: the east wall is open to the kitchen, and really is made up of the giant walkway into that room, plus a 3/4 bar that’s over the sink. The northeast corner of the room is sucked up by a giant, space-eating fireplace. The north wall has an entertainment center shelving area built in immediately to the left of the fireplace and is only big enough to contain a 42″ TV (which is decent, but rather limiting), and then three floor-to-ceiling windows to the left of that. The west wall is decently sized, but you can’t put a TV on it, because the couch can’t fit on the bar-wall/fireplace corner. And the southern wall is decently sized, and the only real place to put a couch… except you can’t put a giant TV against the northern wall because it’s either in front of the windows or has to be small enough to fit into the entertainment nook. I know this is the most first-world of first-world problems (and not the one I inadvertently solved this morning), but I’ve spent two months trying to troubleshoot it and it’s making me nutsy.

5. Oh! Hey! It almost tornadoed on my house last night. It started out as just a tiny line of storms, so I went out to run a few errands. Then I got a text, as I was almost done, that it was raining like heck over at Jeff’s place. He warned me that I might want to head back to my house soon. (And when a seasoned storm-lover advises you to go home, you listen.) I noticed what could have been a lowering in the clouds, but convinced myself it was a low cloud, not anything interesting. Except it kept getting bigger, and more defined. I kept an eye on it and flew home as fast as I could… Only to turn into my neighborhood and see my two crazy neighbors, Jimmy Buffet and his sidekick, out in front of their garages, filming it. FANTASTIC. Everyone run for cover! It fell apart just as I pulled the trash bins into the garage, so no good pics to show off. But I swear to god, the thing that scared me most was that it was interesting enough for those two loveable yahoos to stand there gawking at it. I love my neighborhood!

So there you have it. All the tiny little interesting nothings that happened this week. Here’s hoping for a good, fun weekend chock full of sunshine and kids and adventures! Enjoy it!

Peace for all dogkind might be on the horizon.

April 8, 2015

It was a big night at Casa de Katie. I was asked to puppy-sit while my guy went to meet some buddies for drinks and I was a little hesitant – I had a freelance deadline that I was racing to meet and merging our pup-pups hasn’t quite gone as smoothly as we had hoped.

For those who need a “Previously, on As The Puppies’ World Turns…”, the first time we introduced the dogs, Fen tried to eat Jeff’s weiner-dog, Bam. Not maliciously! Fen is just bouncy! And wiggly! And very interested in playing with squeaky weiner-dogs! And Bam…doesn’t like other dogs. Sigh. Somehow, Fen nipped Bam and drew the tiniest bit of blood. (And then the next week Fen tripped over the tension wire to the badminton net and gave herself a wicked rope burn…in the same place she had nipped Bam. Karma’s a bitch.) This past Sunday night, we tried again. This time, I had a muzzle for Fen. If we weren’t as worried about the dogs descending into a street fight, maybe it would be easier. Except: the muzzle was slightly too big. Fen can open her mouth enough to eat (awkwardly), drink, and very nearly eat small Bam-type doggies. Or, at least, so it looked. So! I kept one hand on Fen’s collar the entire time and the doggies got a little more acquainted. It didn’t go swimmingly, but there was no bloodshed.

So you can see why I was a little wary of how last night was going to go. I couldn’t spend my night refereeing Those Who Refuse To Get Along, but I didn’t want to listen to them whine in their crates all night, either. (Yes, we bought Bam his own crate for my house. We’re optimistic like that.)

My nerves were all ready to jump off the cliff, straight into the arms of anxiety. Jeff showed up, gave me Bam, raced off to meet his buddies, and… the dogs were fine.

THE DOGS WERE FINE, YOU GUYS!!

Okay, yes, there was fifteen seconds of drama when Bam had had enough of Fen’s constant (but calm) sniffing and went all attack dog. But I stepped in, separated the two, yelled at them, and whacked them both on the nose. Then I gave them a stern talking-to. And that was that. They might have played a game called I’ll-constantly-walk-around-the-house-and-you-follow-me-at-the-same-sedate-pace-constantly-sniffing-me, but there was no running. Fen got a little hyper when the girls came home, but she settled right down again. By the time Jeff came back, all was calm and blissful.

I’m not saying removing Fenway’s muzzle is on the immediate agenda, but I won’t say I’m rushing out to buy a snugger, more proper fit, either. Because I can see it, you guys – peace is on the horizon. This might work.

…Which means the kids are going to get into some kerfuffle this weekend, aren’t they?

A giant step forward for She With The Alien Gag Reflex.

April 7, 2015

Spring has sprung down here in Tejas. I know because the temps are ranging from the high 40s in the morning shade to the high 80s by afternoon. And if we didn’t need a complete wardrobe change every two hours to accommodate the wildly swinging temperature outside, we’d need it to shake off the electric green pollen that has coated everything from cars to driveways to patio cushions. I carried in the cushions from the patio furniture before a big line of storms blew through, only to find the arm that had been carrying the cushions covered in hives from contact with so much potent pollen!

Of course, we – all three of us – are enjoying the more common “fun” effects of pollen, too. We’re sniffling and sneezing our way through all the greenery. Gracie might have it worst, followed by yours truly. Bee-girl isn’t immune, though she is rather adverse to taking anything for her symptoms. She might ask to use her nose spray, but that’s about it. She hates taking allergy pills…mostly because she can’t. I’ve tried every trick I know to teach her how to swallow pills, without any success. She can’t swallow. Or she’ll gag. Or we’ll think she’s swallowed the pill, only to make a rather (ahem) sudden reappearance a few minutes later.

Bee’s always been like this. It’s nothing new. She couldn’t eat spaghetti until she was four because it would make her gag. It took forever for me to make her baby cereal that wasn’t as runny as formula – any texture meant the food was a no go! Foods were introduced incredibly slowly and much later than was typically recommended. Hey, once you’d lived with the kid for any length of time, you learned to trust her alien gag reflex. Once it was activated, it wasn’t shutting itself off. I could let that toddler scream it out with the best of them, I would refuse to let her out of bed for anything, I knew when she was just trying to use the potty as an excuse to get out of bedtime for two more minutes, but any time she said she had a hair in her mouth, I was by her side in a flash, escorting her to the bathroom for a drink of water until she declared the hair was gone. Any other reaction meant she would start gagging and then throw up…wherever she happened to be standing, sitting, or lying down.

Which is why I have to pinkie promise that any allergy pill I offer Bee is a meltable one. Anything else won’t do! I long since gave up on the battle. There are some that just aren’t worth fighting. So I was overjoyed when Bee-girl first asked for an allergy pill the other night, and then told me it could be one she had to swallow. “I can do it now!” she told me. “I raced Gracie at Dad’s house! …And I WON!” she trilled. So I got her a plain, old, ordinary Zyrtec and watched her match actions to words.

I still haven’t gotten over the Easter miracle!

This isn’t to say I won’t still have kids’ dosage meltable medications in every shape and size. I know the moment I count on Bee’s new superpower will be the moment it disappears. Maybe, if she’s lucky, I might admit her trick is here to stay about the time she goes off to college. Maybe. In the meantime, I’ll take any progress I can get!

A weekend without minions.

April 6, 2015

It’s not unusual for me to have a weekend without my girlies. It happens every other weekend, in fact. Our system works so well and we’ve had our routine down cold for so long that I maybe take it for granted without even realizing I’m doing it. My new guy has his son every weekend, because of the work schedules and distance involved. It’s a system that works well for them and that I’ve adapted to very quickly, as well. If it’s my weekend with the girlies, the entire clan hangs out and happy chaos ensues. If the girls are with their dad, then my guy and I hang out with his son and happy chaos still ensues, but a much different kind. It’s all good.

This weekend, though, the X-Man spent the weekend with his mom. Which meant that Jeff and I were kid-free for the first time. The options seemed endless.

The weekend turned out very well, if a little ambitious than we had first planned. We went out on a fancypants date on Friday night. We got all dressed up (and I nearly flashed all of downtown because the wind was gusty and I had on a dress and very tall high heels) and went to a swanky steak place and were nauseatingly adorable holding hands and laughing and people watching. Saturday we ran errands and went couch shopping, got haircuts and put together the wall mount for Jeff’s television. We had wings and beer in the sunshine and enjoyed being able to be lazy and do things like shop without entertaining any of the kids. The little things make all the difference!

Yesterday was the most un-Easterly Easter…at least until the girls came home. We slept in, grabbed a ham after a last-minute decision to make a traditional Easter dinner (good thing – the girls had hamburgers and hot dogs for lunch). Then we decided to go see the Sherlock Holmes exhibit at the Perot Museum because why not? We could enjoy ourselves and take our time instead of worrying about whether it was over the kids’ heads, and if so, cajole them into being patient a little longer before we found exhibits that would interest them. It was a nice, leisurely grown-ups-only afternoon.

Of course, the girls did come home eventually, and there was much rejoicing over Easter baskets and asking when we could do the egg hunt. Quiet never lasts long! But when they’re oohing and aahing over new books, it’s hard to get too upset. E.B. brought Gracie The Phantom Tollbooth, Bee-girl got Just Gracie, and XMan got Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Because of course he did. I got Tiny Dancer: The Tiny Cooper Story, a sequel to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Jeff got The Martian. Because he needs to read it.] It was a good, good night!

So there you have it. Our magical weekend is over, everyone has turned back into pumpkins, and our crazy workweek has already begun…right down to the chaotic start this morning when I forgot to shut off the house alarm and opened the door. Quit it, Monday – I’m ready for another weekend!


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