It's 11:32 a.m. on Friday night now, and I just woke up 15 minutes ago. And it was glorious. And it's been that way all week, I have to admit. We dropped the boys off at their grandparents last weekend, spent one night in Philly (and still managed to squeeze in three different cheesesteak outings), and have spent the rest of the week here at home, sans kids. The first morning I woke up super early to phantom kid voices and that sense of OH SHIT WE'RE PROBABLY RUNNING LATE FOR SOMETHING. We stayed up super late for no other reason than we COULD, heading out to restaurants and bars and clubs just because LOOK AT US, WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR A BABYSITTER. And then we started sleeping in later and later until here we are today, bordering on full-time nocturnal. In the hours in between, we painted Noah's bedroom and I got to work giving it a low-budget Minecraft theme -- I'm sensing Noah will be a bit disappointed that we didn't paint the floor-to-ceiling pixelated terrain and sky he asked for, but sorry, it took us a full YEAR finally paint over the purple and yellow flowers in... Read more →

Late Summer Wrap-Up of Nothing in Particular

Oh, hello blog. You're boring! Life is boring. I don't actually mind boring, though. Noah finished up four weeks of a summer school program for social skills, and despite originally being supppppperr not-so-on-board with the whole riding the BUS to SCHOOL in the SUMMER, that is UNFAIR MADNESS, he ended up having a really great time. When we showed up to the open house, we immediately bumped into a boy who Noah had an on-again/off-again/on-again friendship with all year. A boy who I admittedly did not always think the most charitable thoughts about during the off-again part, but who lit up with a huge, excited smile at the sight of Noah, and rushed over to give him a big hug. His mom and I looked at each other like, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, okay, I get it now. That friendship is solidly on-again, as are two new friendships with two other boys in his grade. I think 5th grade is going to be pretty great. Ezra and Ike are finishing up a school-prep camp together this week, and are also having a surprisingly amount of fun despite the heavy academic focus. Learning can be fun! Especially with your brother there, even if the... Read more →

The Flood

We were out having dinner when the warnings started: Flash floods in Ellicott City. The warnings, however, weren't coming through on our phones via weather service alerts, but directly from our waiter, who was running from table to table making sure everyone knew: don't drive through downtown Ellicott City. I don't know how he found out, but we thanked him for the heads up and assured him we'd take an alternate route home. We were in downtown Catonsville, which is a little over three miles away from downtown Ellicott City. We'd driven right through it an hour or so earlier. Despite the not-great weather, the sidewalks and bars and shops all seemed typically packed with tourists and locals. In my head I imagined some rising river water clogging up one of the main intersections and causing a traffic snarl, which we avoided by taking the long way home. We only live a mile away from the historic district, but we're both farther away from the river and higher in elevation (not to mention our neighborhood has significantly more modern sewers and drainage compared to an area first built in 1772), so our house and street were predictably Just Fine when... Read more →

Yet Another Important Update On The Ongoing Cat/Box Situation: Somebody peed in the box. So now nobody gets to play in the box anymore, this is why you can have nice box things, you are gross guys, etc. Of course, the matter of WHO peed in the box is a mystery for the ages. So many bladders, so much nonsense. Speaking of mysteries (and nonsense), can someone tell me WTF this is? This is in our upstairs hall linen closet. It is some sort of pushable red button up near the top shelf. It has mystified us all ever since we moved in, although we have (SO FAR) all managed to resist the urge to PUSH THE RED BUTTON, OH GO ON PUSH IT, JUST SEEEEEEE, WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPENNNNNN? We didn't notice it during the inspection or anything and mostly forget that it's there but then I go to get some towels and I'm like guuuuuuuhhhhhwannapushwannapush. All my Google searches for "WEIRD RED BUTTON IN CLOSET WHAT DOES IT DO" and a million other variations have turned, exactly nothing helpful. My first guess was some kind of panic button, as the previous owners did install a... Read more →

I had a weird dream last night -- not VERY weird, as my weirdest weird-ass dreams go, but still -- where I looked out my front door to discover that one of our garage doors was sitting at the far end of the driveway, banged up to hell. I ran outside and a crowd of neighbors had already gathered, explaining that this sort of thing "happens all the time," thanks to a crazy woman in the neighborhood who likes to pull into empty, open garage door bays in hopes of sneaking into houses and wandering around.* Sometimes, they said, she'll close the garage behind her to hide her car, then back out in a panic before you catch her, destroying the door in the process. "You should keep your garage doors closed," they said. "So I should call the police," I said. "Nah," they said. "It happens all the time. What's the point?" Then I noticed a crew was already working on repairs -- an oddly oversized crew I had not called or hired, veering things into Money Pit-fueled anxiety dream territory -- but who assured me I didn't need a rate quote or anything because they "had the best... Read more →

So I'm in my office right now, admittedly drowning in work and emails and procrastination-fueled idiocy, and Rey is asleep on the guest bed right next to me. She's been there almost all day, as Miss Princess Tubberbutt has settled nicely into her life of leisure here. That spot allows her to come over for human attention without walking more than two steps, and lets her know the SECOND I stand up to maybe possibly head to the kitchen and put more food in her bowl. A few minutes ago, Finn walked in, clearly stressed out as all hell. He meowed over and over at me, then came over, got up on his hind legs and started tapping my arm with his paw, like hey hey hey listen listen listen. I thought maybe he was hungry (he eats even more than Rey but of course remains a svelte silver fox, going full George Clooney while his sister will probably get cast as his mom in the movie of their lives), but there was something extra frantic about him. "Are you looking for your girl?" I asked, and pointed to Rey on the bed. His eyes followed my arm and he... Read more →

By Friday night, things felt distinctly more "back to normal" around here, that is to say, a complete and utter disaster of my own making. Ike had been invited to a birthday party at a friend's house, and while the invitation clearly said "pool party," I was weirdly plagued with doubt as to what that actually meant, as I have not attended a pool party since probably junior high. Like, is it a real pool? Or something more like we would do, which would fill up a kiddie pool and set up an off-brand Slip n' Slide in the backyard? Am I supposed to wear a bathing suit, or just Ike? But all I own are bikinis? Is that inappropriate? WHAT'S THE ETIQUETTE HERE I'VE COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN HOW TO SUBURB. I also realized that since moving, no one has come across any of our pool or beach-related gear, including floaties or backpacks or goggles or pool noodles or any of the 20 million sand toys we own. I made another last-ditch effort to find it all in the storage area before giving up and thus showing up to the pool party (YES IT WAS A REAL POOL WHO HONESTLY THINKS... Read more →

I don't know, guys. Has this week kind of done anyone else in? Especially after all those other weeks? I keep coming here, staring at a blank New Post page for awhile before realizing I'm completely out of words. I don't have an impassioned opinion piece or moving tribute or even some half-baked political rant in me anywhere. I just want shit to stop. All the shit. Just...could you not, shit? Anymore? Can I open a news app just one morning without having to read about more shit? Followed by a news cycle's worth of having to read some other shithead's shitty reaction/opinion/total-non-solution to the shit? Shit, I'm tired. I downloaded Pokemon GO on Monday morning mostly because I didn't know what else to do. At least I'm walking more? My backyard is lousy with Rattatas. But I also discovered a half dozen raspberry bushes just beyond our fence in the backyard, loaded with ripe, delicious fruit. I had no idea. So we have a lot of raspberries now. For the first time in their lives, my children are becoming aware of what's happening in the world. The election, in particular, is stressing them out. They overheard someone on TV... Read more →

This post is sponsored by Wisdom Panel® Canine DNA Tests. Beau's original adoption listing said he was a mix of Miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire Terrier. We have no idea if his owners gave that description when they surrendered him to the shelter, or if it was just a guess made by a vet or the rescue group or what. We do know that the "Schnauzer" part seemed to mostly be based on his pre-haircut appearance, because once his fur was groomed it was clear his actual snout wasn't all that Schnauzer-like after all. His foster mom agreed, and added her personal guess of terrier breeds mixed with wire-haired Dachshund, based on his legs and feet. Our vet said he was all terrier: Yorkie, Jack Russell, Cairn, and probably a good smattering of others. When I would play around with online tools and surveys based on his physical appearance, I would get wildly weird results, like Pomeranian and Shih Tzu. The guessing game can be fun at first, but also hugely frustrating. What ARE you, dog? I've been sent photos of several Beau doppelgangers from all over the country -- crazy identical pups, right down to eyebrow coloring and the flippy... Read more →

In the weeks after adopting Beau, I became super-hyper-conscious of how many damn exit points there are in our new(ish?) house. Our old house had two doors and one gate, and you could stand in a single spot in the foyer and get the open/close status on all three at once. Now there are five different doors that lead to the outside, spread across three different levels. Three doors lead to the backyard, where there are then two different gates that could possibly be open, on complete opposite sides of the yard. One doors to the garage, where there are two more doors to worry about, especially since one of our neighbor's garage remotes accidentally opens ours by some weird cross-signal coding glitch. The front door has a storm door back-up, but that's useless unless it's locked because Beau quickly figured out he could push it open with his front legs and bolt to freedom, terrible freedom. For awhile there, our house felt more like some algebraic danger map of escape routes and combinations -- check that door, then the door after that, run from window to window to confirm gates are latched, solve for X, divide by π, multiply... Read more →