Things That Do Not Work, Part One

Hello and welcome to the first installment of a series I just made up about things that Do Not Work in my home/life/general existence. You know what Does Not Work? This alarm clock Does Not Work. This is the Sonic Bomb Extra-Loud Dual Alarm Clock with Red Flashing Alert Lights and a Powerful Bed Shaker, which we bought for a certain 13 year old who needs to get his ass out of bed in the morning but who lo, does not get his ass out of bed in the morning. We tried several different alarms before this one -- an alarm directly next to his head paired with another one placed on the floor on the other side of his room. A different and slightly louder alarm tucked away on the top shelf of his closet. Even our own screeching voices yelling at him through the Echo Dot he keeps tucked under his pillow. He slept through all of them, or worse, would make the journey down from his bunk bed while still asleep, turn the alarm(s) off, and then climb right back in bed with absolutely zero memory of doing so when I showed up at his door 20... Read more →


Solo: A Storch Wars Story

Jason's been on a business trip all week so I've been trying my best to hold things together on my own. Nobody tell him I've been soaking the dinner pots since Monday. Poppy jumped over the fence to chase a squirrel, Beau escaped out an open garage door, and Jake found and consumed an entire package of English muffins. Packaging included, save for a single twist tie. Oh, and Rey got her head stuck in a package of seaweed snack while Finn followed after her trying to clean her butt. . It's like, when getting all these dogs, I looked back on the semi-impossible toddler days of yore and was like, yes. Let's absolutely do that all over again. On the other hand, the human children are no longer toddlers or semi-impossible. Noah was so excited to see sandwiches for dinner he didn't even care that they were technically full of vegetables. Then last night Ike ate two full servings of chicken and was the first one to finish, so he ordered me to text J and report on this truly STUNNING development. He gave me a huge hug this morning and said, "Remember how great I was at dinner... Read more →


The Branch of Watches Past

Last March, a wind storm snapped a large branch off one the willow trees in our backyard. (Well, actually many, many branches, as seen here.) But one particular branch got...stuck...on its way down. Like so: Being the responsible and capable homeowners that you know we sometimes seriously think about attempting to be, we saw two possible solutions: 1) Hire a tree company to come deal with it. 2) #BRANCHWATCH So the branch has been stuck there for since last March. When we're outside on the deck we might stare at it, discuss the physics and trajectory that got it wedged where it is, and what it might take for it to finally fall down. It'd make good firewood, we'll say for the hundredth time, if we could just get it down from there. Sometimes we just complain about it, as it's especially noticeable and ugly and dead in the spring and summer because the willows are too spindly and sparse to camouflage it. The kids throw rocks and soccer balls at it from time to time. We all poke our heads outside after every subsequent snow or rain or wind storm to see if it's finally been rattled loose. But... Read more →


The Life-Changing Magic of Sizing Up

This post is sponsored by thredUP. Keep reading to get an extra 30% off your first order. I've mentioned/whined about weight gain a few times here already, but just so you know I'm not exaggerating: I gained 40 pounds in roughly six months thanks to my medication. It's not that I simply couldn't lose weight, I literally couldn't stop gaining weight. No matter what I ate or how much I exercised, the scale kept creeping up and up. It's finally stopped and I'm working to lose it, but I'm left with a body I do not recognize in the meantime. And you know, fine. I'd rather deal with some extra weight than the alternative (and hellooooo, I have some SPECTACULAR cleavage right now), but it's still frustrating. It's difficult enough to get dressed in the first place when you're battling depression, now add in the fact that you've outgrown everything in your closet in what feels like overnight. Yeah, you're gonna be REAL GENTLE on yourself about that, aren't ya? (A sidenote here: I absolutely 100% do not intend to discourage anyone from going on any medication for fear of this particular side effect. It doesn't happen to everybody and/or... Read more →


Snow Day Complaints

The last couple weeks have been a blur of snow days, snow delays, half days and holidays, and it feels like my children have not spent more than three consecutive hours at school in ages. Was this what preschool was like? It was, wasn't it. Except there was also a nap, if I recall correctly. Today there are no naps, but probably the same amount of shrieking. And eating. Dear God, the eating. They are a three-mouthed snack tornado, laying waste to this season's carbohydrate supply. (An aside: Do your children ever actually throw out empty boxes/packages of cereal/crackers/poptarts/etc. when they take the last one? If so, HOW DID YOU TEACH THEM TO DO THAT? I routinely check our pantry and the shelves are always nicely full, but it's an illusion, like fake food in an IKEA display kitchen. There is actually nothing! Everything is empty! No BÖNITTJOĞÜM for you!) Everything is actually fine right at this moment; Noah is quietly building Titanic v.3.0, this time with proper modeling glue instead of an Elmer's purple glue stick because he's always been too impatient and then the thing sheds pieces until it's no longer sufficiently Titanic-y. Ezra and Ike are...somewhere, I... Read more →


Get Her Done

Here's a thing I didn't know about depression recovery: Your to-do list is INSANE. (I suppose I should avoid using words like INSANE as a hyperbolic adjective as we all attempt to de-stigmatize mental health disorders, but that would mean I'd also have to avoid words like CRAZYPANTS or BONKERSVILLE or ZIPPITY HUMMINGBIRD BRAIN and I just don't think I can do that. I am just a girl, with GAD and a CAPS LOCK key, doing what she can.) Anyway. I've been busy. There's a lot of catching up to do and holes to fill and bridges to un-burn. You have to figure out how to prove yourself as an un-shit employee and friend, make a lot of appointments and phone calls that should've happened six months ago...or maybe just look at a piece of fuzz on the floor and think to yourself, "I am going to pick up that piece of fuzz on the floor today." And then you pick it up. And allow yourself a brief moment of pride over this perfectly mundane and tiny task, because congratulations! You're officially human-ing at a baseline level again. Tremble before me, o fearsome floor fuzz! Begone, both u and the... Read more →


Of Dogs and Dance Parties

Remember the orthopedic bed Jake needed? The bed y'all so nicely bought for him? He completely destroyed it, the ungrateful jerkwad. He also destroyed two doorframes and ripped the carpet off the basement stairs. (Someone please adopt this wonderful charming amazing creature I beg of you.) His heartworm treatment dictates that he MUST stay calm and not exert himself in any way (because otherwise the dead worms will break into pieces and you know what you can just Google why if you want), so we have to keep him isolated from all the other wild and crazy animals a lot of the time since they whip each other into a crazy pack frenzy.* But Jake haaaaaates being crated, so for a little while we let him just lounge around in the basement, and everything was fine. But at some point he lost interest in the plethora of toys and chews and Kongs we leave for him, and started going full destructor mode on stuff like, books! Pillows! Paper! Anything he can pull out of the trash can! THE VERY WALLS AND FLOORS AROUND HIM. So fine, back into the crate he went, along with designated toys and blankets he's welcome... Read more →


Trading Spaces

When we first moved to Yellow House, everybody got their own room, and we made the room assignments by age and room size. Noah got the biggest room and Ike got the smallest, with Ezra taking the medium-ish one. But we REALLY assigned Ike to the smallest room because we wanted him to have as little space for rock-star-trashing-a-hotel-room shenanigans as possible. That room is big enough for a twin bed, a nightstand and one small toy box. Everything else is kept in the basement or on the hallway bookshelves. This would naturally limit the about of shit that he could dump all over the floor every night. (Right. "Naturally." My ass.) Sure enough, every morning I'd find the entire contents of his toy box on the floor, along with 20+ picture books he'd managed to drop riiiiiight into the small space between his bed and the wall. What I wouldn't find in that room, however, was Ike. Once his room was satisfactorily wrecked, he'd sneak into Ezra's room and crawl into bed with him. "Ezra keeps the bad dreams away," he told us adorably at the time, so we allowed it. We also, eventually, allowed Ike to just start... Read more →


13 is Fake News

So this video came up in the On This Day feature of my cloud drive, and at first I was like, awwww, look at baby Noah from like, what, five years ago? Six? When we were all still so passionate and hopeful that this madness had to end? No. Two. Two years to the day. View this post on Instagram "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Jan 29, 2017 at 4:26pm PST It's only been two years of this chaotic bumbling bullshit, but also: It only takes two years to fully turn a sweet little boy into a giant-ass man. Noah is almost as tall as I am. His shoes are gigantic. I ordered him a bunch of shirts in the largest size of the Old Navy kids' department and by the time they arrive his arms were already too long for them. He eats...so much. So very, very much. But apparently all of... Read more →


i Not Robot

Now that we're up to five humans, three dogs and two cats (plus two hibernating patio toads and hopefully some patio babies), it seemed like a good time to add yet another new member to the household. This is bObi, which Ezra and Ike decided is a girl because "we need more girls for it to be fair around here." They enjoy chasing after her and feeding her various bits of trash. Noah simply calls it the Chore Robot (as in, "Chore Robot! Over here! I dropped the pencil sharpener again"), so between that and all the demands/verbal abuse our poor Alexa suffers, I am growing vaguely concerned about the patriarchal/anti-feminist future of our robot overlords. Maybe I should lend them my pussy hat. ANYWAY, you can probably imagine the pet hair situation around here, plus my children all constantly shed, but instead of hair it's just straight-up dirt. They bathe and shower nightly, we take our shoes off inside, and yet the path leading away from Backpack Mountain and Discarded Coat Canyon (aka our foyer) always looks like a goddamn dust bowl just blew through. And for the first time in a long time, it's something I 1) notice,... Read more →