At some point after Ike was born, I took a pretty big step back from the "blogosphere community." It was partly deliberate (newsflash: some people be crazy, or at least crazy exhausting, also I hate Twitter with the fire of All Of The Suns). But mostly I just didn't have the emotional or practical bandwidth for a ton of long-distance virtual friendships or conference hopping, and all the online gossip/cliquish-ness that occasionally plagues both. Too many kids and freelance gigs and loads of laundry to worry about imaginary Internet reputation points any more. So while once upon a time, 99% of my friends were people I'd met via some Internet-related connection, I'd say the opposite is true these days. Most of my friends never heard of my blog until we've gotten to know each other and I have to awkwardly explain what it is that I "do." None of them give a shit about how many Instagram or Twitter followers I have/had, and as a result of this shift I like to think I do a better job of reaching out in person these days (rather than just posting shit on the blog/social media and letting life events dribble out... Read more →

So I casssssssually mentioned in Monday's post that Beau is a runner. That was...ever-so-slightly understating the situation by like, fourteen million words. His foster mom warned us about it: Keep him on the leash at all times outside, even within the fence. Don't open car doors until you've got a firm grip on it. Watch him around doors in the house, because he can bolt out like a flash. And the more you chase him, the faster and farther he'll go, because YAYAYAY THIS GAME IS FUN LET'S KEEP RUNNING FOREVER. Both Jason and I had dogs just like that growing up, so we assured her we understood the behavior and would be very, very careful. And we'd thoroughly explain the situation and need for caution around opening doors to the boys. Yeah that's going GREAT. On Friday night we went out for a quick dinner. I put Beau in his crate and went outside to the car. Noah was still inside, trying to track down a full selection of screens and chargers and whatnot, and suddenly I looked up and Beau -- off leash, not yet tagged or chipped -- went shooting out of the garage and over to... Read more →

This morning I successfully shooed a tiny baby snake off my front porch with a snow shovel. This afternoon I successfully gazed upon a squirming heaving pile of tiny baby snakes without losing my shit. Really growing as a person, over here, guys. I predict full-scale capable adulthood by the age of 55. So I never told this story, as it seemed unwise to write about at the time, but a couple weeks before we listed the townhouse for sale, I was straightening up the basement (AKA OBSESSIVELY DECLUTTERING AND FAKE STAGING) and discovered a huge wet spot on one of the futons. My first thought was CEIBA YOU ASSHOLE, until I felt something dripping on my head. I looked up at the ceiling and the stucco-textured ceiling was wet, bulging, and actively dripping water. HOUSE YOU ASSHOLE. It was coming from the dishwasher, specifically (as discovered by the emergency plumber we immediately called in) from a plastic water reservoir that had been CHEWED THROUGH. BY MICE. Now, we had not seen any evidence of any mice since Jason's Great Ethical Catch & Release Crusade of 2010, which coincidentally ended around the same time I spotted a big-ass garter snake... Read more →

The Game Changer That Wasn't

Late last week, in a fit of wine-induced TREAT YO SELF, I bought myself a light-up alarm clock. Specifically, this Phillips Wake-Up Clock mentioned in this Gizmodo post, which sings its life-changing praises. I have wanted one every since I read that post, but could never bring myself to spend $70 on a damn alarm clock. That's what phones are for. Or husbands. Or cats. Or any one of the three alarm clocks down the hall in my kids' rooms that they all regularly sleep through. But then I would go back and re-read that post, getting an almost inappropriate amount of pleasure from dreaming about the life-changing power of the light-up alarm. I am terrible in the mornings. Because mornings are terrible. Especially now, in the winter, when it's grey and cold outside and my bed is a deliciously warm cocoon. And it's so much nicer to burrow back under the covers and sleep jusssssst a little bit longer than to get up and confront the fact that I am a puffy-faced grease monster in the mornings, and stuck in a default mode of VERY VERY BAD MOOD for at least an hour after I wake up. A light-up... Read more →

I noticed a couple topic requests for Further Yakking About from the comments on the last post, and as I am in a procrastinating mood and have nothing better to yak about, let's do it: 1) The time-limit parental control thingie. Our kids used to solely play with our old, discarded iPhones. Plus an iPad that was technically still mine and I don't remember giving up custody but eventually it was chock full of nothing but kids' games and was always sort of sticky. I was never really happy with the parental control options in iOS. App purchases and downloads required a password, but I wanted to be able to set time limits, block certain websites, and just sort of generally know what they're up to without having to literally sit there staring over their shoulders. (And thus, having to listen to the Angry Birds theme song over and over and over and over...) There are two choices with options like that: Amazon Fire Kids Edition with the Amazon FreeTime subscription service, or a tablet with full Windows 10 installed and Family Safety enabled. At the time, we didn't have an xBox or anything, and Noah was DESPERATE to play... Read more →

Garages are so overrated. In my defense: 1) Our garage is a really, REALLY tight fit for the minivan, even with the mirrors closed. 2) The previous owners left a ton of shelving/storage crap in the garage that makes it even worse. 3) Today was literally the very first time I've even attempted to back a car out of a garage, ever, like in my entire life. 4) I was running late. 5) I forgot to make coffee. 6) I'm a virgin who can't drive. Anyway, it's been a great day for idiots doing idiotic things! I'm loving today! And now I have to go drive my busted car all over creation in search of 50+ Valentines for my kids, because I fail at math and calendars and for some reason thought I had until Monday. But of course I don't have until Monday, THERE'S NO SCHOOL ON MONDAY WHEN IS THERE EVER SCHOOL AT ALL AROUND HERE. I'm sure whatever Valentines or Valentine craft supplies left in the stores are going to be super top notch and awesome. At the very least hopefully I can find some card stock and ink cartridges and spend the rest of the day... Read more →

10 Surefire Tips to Smooth Schoolday Mornings

1) Before the school year begins, let each child pick out their very own alarm clock for them to completely ignore every single morning. Having three different alarm tones blaring is a surefire way to make sure you never oversleep and can start shouting at your unconscious children right on time. 2) If a child doesn't have any clean shirts in his closet, it's best to dig one out from the bottom of the hamper to make sure it wasn't worn recently enough for anyone to notice. 3) Teach older children basic breakfast preparation skills, both for themselves and their siblings, for maximum screaming when older child goes on a cereal-withholding power trip. 4) Bros before Hoes and Coffee before I Make Anybody Eggs. 5) Pack lunches the night before. Keep lunchboxes in the fridge for optimal frantic grabbing at the last possible minute. 6) If you plan to send in anything special that needs to be heated up or prepped in the morning, make sure your children have back-up money in a school lunch account, because YOU KNOW you gonna forget that shit and send them to school with like, a juice box and some pretzels. 7) Have dedicated,... Read more →

Just came here to post evidence that for a brief moment in time, my oldest child had a floor. A floor completely devoid of Lego. Because I spent an entire afternoon turning this: And this: Into this: (Why yes, those are Ikea bins with glued-on Lego collection logos I cut out of instruction books after personally separating out every applicable minifigure, accessory, vehicle, spaceship, Ninja Warrior Jungle Cycle Whatever The Fuck.) (Why yes, I am in-between projects at work and a new contract gig starts next week but in the meantime I have a lot of extra time on my hands HOW DID YOU GUESS.) And this: Which is basically EVERYTHING ELSE, but I assure you is 100% Lego, as I also pulled out everything non-Lego from our now woefully too-small Lay-n-Go bag : (Why yes, that IS an entire package's worth of green cocktail-sized napkins. Where do you keep yours?) The giant rando bins aren't the best long-term solution but until I can settle on the right Lego-organizing Ikea Hack, they'll have to do. I'd say more smaller, categorized bins but HA HA LOOK AT HOW WELL THOSE ARE WORKING: That's Noah's room right now. I hung up some... Read more →

Star Wars is a deeply special thing for our nerdtastic family, going all the way back to my very first date with Jason. We love it. Insane for it. Get a case of the warm and fuzzies just from thinking about it. Despite having our young hearts broken by the prequels, being able to introduce our children to the original trilogy brought back the love and magic big time, every time. (Ike, watching Empire Strikes Back for the first time last weekend. I've never seen him so blown away by a movie. When it was over, we said SCREW BEDTIME IT'S JEDITIME and let everybody stay up past midnight.) So there was no way -- NO WAY -- I was going to let my stupid-ass eyes (stupid ass-eyes?) stop me from attending the early Saturday morning showing of Force Awakens we'd bought tickets for ages ago. I was 99.9% sure I was no longer contagious (no red/pink, drainage, swelling, just the residual blurred vision but even that's markedly improving every day) but took all the proper washing/sanitation precautions and was extra mindful about keeping anything from touching my eyes. And it was wonderful. Just...all the wonderful things. I laughed, I... Read more →

One week ago, I looked in the mirror and said, "Yep, that's viral pinkeye, right there." And then went on my merry hand-washing way, because viral! What are you gonna do? "Well you can't just do NOTHING," Jason said a couple days later, staring at my eyes in horror. "You look AWFUL." I argued with him for a little bit, then Googled some more, eventually coming across a description of Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis. I texted him a link. "BAM. This is what I have." "STOP DIAGNOSING YOURSELF," was the reply. "GO TO THE DOCTOR." And thus, the journey began. Antibiotics, worsening symptoms, symptoms that could be something other than "just" pinkeye, a referral to an eye center that said oh, sorry, we sent ALL OF OUR DOCTORS TO A CONFERENCE TODAY ALL AT ONCE, WE CAN'T SEE YOU UNTIL MONDAY, a massive allergic reaction (IN MY EYES) to the antibiotics, more antibiotics, steroids, corneal abrasion and possible orbital cellulitis. I am happy to report that the journey more or less ended today, when the eye center's cornea expert looked in my eyes and said, "Yep, that's viral pinkeye, right there." More specifically, it's Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis, or EKC for short, which means... Read more →