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December 2015
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February 2016

Dear School

Please come back, school. I need you, school. What did we do wrong, school? We shoveled, we plowed, the sun has been shining for five days straight now and I'm like 99% positive my kids could walk to you without even needing snow boots at this point. I've driven past you and I see you, boo. Your parking lot and sidewalks look goooood. Stop letting the big ol' district boss you around. You're ready. We're ready. If I have to stop working to go break up one more pointless screaming match (PROTIP: SCREAMING BACK IS SURPRISINGLY INEFFECTIVE) I am going to lose my mind and probably some of my hair. Sure, it was fun for awhile. Like trying to make a snowman out of non-packable snow using misshapen hunks from the plow piles. Sledding in the backyard was definitely better, and gave me that brief feeling of THIS IS WHY WE MOVED HERE YAY MAGICAL CHILDHOODS, which helped curb that creeping Yellow House as Overlook Hotel vibe for a bit. But now they're bored of that too so life is basically just: That isn't good for young developing brains, school. You need to do something about this, school. All this... Read more →

The Great Digging Out

So we got a little snow. Twenty-seven and a half inches of snow, to be exact, which piled up in massive drifts thanks to the blustery, blizzardy winds. And on our driveway, over and over, until we finally gave up on shoveling. ("I like how far back the house sits from the road," I said, once upon a time.) Luckily, unlike LAST TIME, ALL THE OTHER TIMES, we did not lose power. Or water or cable or wifi or even our damn minds. Yellow House withstood the onslaught and kept us warm and dry and Xboxed and jacuzzi tubbed, And we thank you, Yellow House, but oh dear God next year we're buying a snow blower. Our cul de sac is about evenly split right now between the original owners who bought during the 90s, and new families like us, who all moved in over the past year or so. And who were all experiencing our first real snow all over our nice new houses and big fat driveways and winding front sidewalks, armed with shovels, while the other half of the houses were firing up gasoline-powered snow throwers and nodding at us like, "welcome to the deep 'burbs, city... Read more →

Yes, You DO Need a Budget

This post is sponsored by YNAB. A little over a year ago (and thus, easily a decade too late), I finally got off my butt and went through the incorporation process. AMALAH LLC officially exists, and all my monies -- this here blog, plus my many assorted ongoing and on/off writing/copywriting contract gig -- now flow through an LLC, right into my very own Grown-Up Business Checking Account. And then the monies flow back out, sadly, usually in the form of estimated tax payments (boo), contributing my share to our household budget, and general other business expenses (drinks on meeee). (It's called NETWORKING. And it's IMPORTANT.) My husband is good at creating budgets. The maths and the categories and the pie charts bleeding red all over the place because we spent HOW MUCH on movie tickets last month? (It's called STAR WARS. And it was VITALLY ESSENTIAL.) I'm actually very good at sticking to budgets, as money and the Not Having Enough Of It is and has always been a big anxiety trigger for me. If buying a new pair of shoes means some other category will go in the red this month, I will kick the shoes off, run... Read more →

Dress Rehearsal

Last night we received a little appetizer to the Big Blizzard-o-pocalypse that's headed our way, in the form of maybe an inch and a half of snow. It was just enough to strike fear in our hearts and fire under our asses to clean up the garage enough so we could fit our cars inside. We have NOT ONCE, EVER, actually parked our cars in the garage. Despite a 2-car garage being Jason's main non-negotiable house hunting feature, we very quickly filled it up with crap and garbage and bikes and old kitchen cabinets and fancy new tools and extra floor tile and extra wall tile and Blue Apron boxes and pallets pallets PALLETS. Ta-da! Cars inside, basically just in time for the snow to stop. Of course, we did sort of run out of steam (and room in the storage area) after awhile. So that's...happening. We've definitely got our organizing-while-snowbound work cut out for us. This morning, the inch and a half was more like an inch, but schools were delayed two hours anyway, which screws with my work productivity more than an actual full snow day for some reason. I decided to just keep Ike home from preschool... Read more →

Diagnosis: Waffles

Introducing Ceiba, the bat-eared medical mystery dog! (WHO IS 2 TIRED 4 UR MEME-Y CAPTION BULLSHIT RIGHT NAO.) Just got off the phone with the vet, and thanks to the urinalysis and bloodwork, we have a nice long list of things Ceiba most definitely does NOT have: 1) A UTI 2) Bladder or kidney stones 3) Kidney disease 4) Liver failure 5) Diabetes (the normal kind) Which leaves us with the remaining three possibilities: 1) Diabetes Insipidus 2) Cushing's Disease 3) Asshole dog syndrome We're going to test for the diabetes first (which is also known as "water diabetes" but so far I prefer option three, DIABEEEEEETUS INSIDIOUS), which requires me to collect a urine sample from her three mornings in a row. This is...okay. I'm not 100% sure how to go about that. Yesterday she just peed on the floor like a good little asshole and I sucked some up with an old medicine dropper, but this morning she just went ahead and peed on her bed inside her crate. (Like a dog who is NOT being as asshole, but obviously struggling, thus my insistence that we keep testing for things. I've spent over 11 years with this dog... Read more →

Pet Updates & Things That Are Not Poop

I am happy to report that this guy: Is doing really pretty darn well. He LOVES his new (gross, smelly, blobby-looking) food. We've already gone through an entire pallet of it. No weight gain yet, but no more loss, and I don't know. He's moving better. Bit more energy and sass. And he looks fluffier. Is fluffiness a medical indicator of improvement? If so, then SO FLUFFY. Fluid injections, not so much. Still working on that. Poop and constipation issues are still not 100% improved either, in spite of loading his (vile, putrid, rotting-fish-scented) food with pumpkin and Miralax. I thought we'd had a...ahem...significant breakthrough the other day... But no. Add "GEODE OR POOP?" to the long list of questions I never expected to ponder in my life. Unfortunately, before I sat down to write this I was back at the vet with Ceiba, and am now waiting on HER blood work. I guess the pets are just so jazzed to finally have a plotline here on the blog that they're inventing ways to keep it going. Since a COLLAPSING TRACHEA apparently isn't exciting enough, Ceiba is either having some metabolic issues of her own or just being a very,... Read more →

Tipsy Not Tired

So which three of y'all won Powerball? Can I borrow a couple mil? No? FIne. Guess I'll just have to keep blogging. If you follow me on Instagram, you know full and well that Ike is not tired. Ike is never tired. Ike is now four-and-a-half years old and has not taken a proper afternoon nap since we got rid of the crib, and the mere suggestion that he might possibly be tired and would benefit from a nap is met with bansheed shrieks and protests because he is HASHTAG NOT TIRED. Ten minutes later, everything is quiet because he's fallen dead asleep wherever he was at the time. I've learned to just roll with it. At least there's carpet here? A couple days ago he crawled on my lap and asked for a hug, mumbled something about not tired...and promptly dozed off. Yesterday morning, he woke up very distressed and going on and on about drinking too much water. "I drank too much water," was all I could get from him, over and over again. "There's too much water in me!" Then he laid down in his closet and went back to sleep. Okay, so no school for that... Read more →

You Can't Stop the Lego

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 →

The Great Purge

As you may recall (because I didn't stop talking about it for like, over a month), our move into the Yellow House was...kind of stressful. As a result, we still have a lot of furniture that the movers just randomly positioned in rooms without much thought or plan, because Jason and I were too busy panicking over our disastrous closing/paperwork nightmare, plus all the various property laws we were breaking. JUST PUT IT ANYWHERE! JUST GET IT OFF THE TRUCK! THEN GET THE TRUCK OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY SO WE CAN PRETEND NONE OF THIS IS HAPPENING! The boys' bedrooms got the worst of it -- the beds were all plunked right in the center of the rooms, we didn't really divide up side furniture very well, so Noah's room seemed big and cavernous while Ezra and Ike were stuck in overcrowded smaller rooms, and the little floor space they had around their beds quickly became a embarrassing swamp of toys/clutter/laundry. We'd tell them to go clean their rooms and they'd look at us all helplessly, because they had zero idea where to even start. And I can't say that I blamed them. Their rooms were just not very nice... Read more →

Tales of Cats, Dogs & Candy Monsters

Okay! Back to our regularly scheduled programming, where curse words are allowed and no discounts are offered. So Max. It's his kidneys. Not exactly a shock, but the...good? semi-good? not-horrifically-bad? is that his numbers currently point to only "moderate" kidney failure, meaning not any sort of imminent death sentence, and it's worth trying some diet and low-level interventions. We picked up some prescription low-protein food at the vet (and donated nearly all of the cans and kibble we had on hand to the vet's pet shelter charity pile), and will be injecting him with fluids about three times a week. I was worried he'd reject the special food and we'd end up mixing it with something else, thus reducing the effects, but the minute I opened a can and smelled how totally freaking gross it is, I knew it wouldn't be a problem. Anything that smells like rotten fish and dog farts is Max's jam, and he's already devoured several full cans of it. He even let me mix in some fresh pumpkin for further de-constipating efforts, which he's never, ever done before. THAT'S how pungently disgusting this food is. He's only had one fluid injection, and I know it's... Read more →