Sometimes It’s Louder When the Door’s Closed

It’s week 2 of our collective summer vacation, and already I’m feeling like a rabid squirrel with Alzheimer’s. The last week has been filled with no uncertain degree of unintended chaos as we welcomed two more teenagers to the house and I watched the refrigerator go from full to empty in less than 36 hours.  Seriously, I don’t know how you people with multiple boys are doing it.  Ya’ll know how much I love going to the grocery store, which I have admitted to visiting no less than 3 times a week.  I could have gone every day last week.  By the end of this week, we will have gone through 2 watermelons, 2 pineapples, 3 cantaloupes, 2 bunches of bananas, 4 loaves of bread, and one box of super-sized Special K.  There’s more, but I can’t remember it all … just like when I get up from my chair to get something in my bedroom and by the time I get to the hallway I’ve already forgotten what it was.

For five solid days I’ve been wandering aimlessly around my house trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s not pretty, particularly when one forgets she has house guests and wanders into the kitchen in her underwear to make the morning coffee. (Okay, so that didn’t really happen, but it could.)  My own children have been getting on remarkably well – almost frighteningly so – and I’m constantly bracing myself for the lightning which often precedes the thunder, a level of anxiety seemingly impervious to prescription medication.

My 10-year-old is bored.  Already.  Yet, she has managed to make an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies by herself (all of which she gave to her father last weekend, though she gave a box of them to my dad that mysteriously disappeared before he left our house), cleaned her room, played Grand Theft Auto with her brother (yes, I’m that mother, but in my defense she’s only driving the cars and her recent adoption of the teenage eye roll has me forgetting just how old she is), and engaged nephew #2 in a screeching cat-and-mouse chase through the house that left my soul trying unsuccessfully to jump through my skin. 

Yesterday, she bathed the cat.  And, since this was his first since the flea infestation of 2012, I’d have given up all my Hershey bars to watch that go down had I known she herself wasn’t showering.  He disappeared after that until 3 a.m. this morning when I was up checking blood sugars.

If boredom existed in myworld, I’d have no fodder for this blog mill.  I’ve managed to clear off the kitchen table (aka, my work station) of all but the essentials, but still things collect here and I have no idea how it happens.  Kind of like kitchen counters, which are wiped clean after dinner but by daybreak are littered with any manner of items.  It’s like the kitchen plays practical jokes on me – and has included the dishwasher in the game because on any given day I push the buttons on it no less than a dozen times before it will run.  Todd comes in, pushes it once, and it’s on.  I know I’m not crazy.  And, because in my world all things come in threes, I’m waiting for it to commit to the appliance mutiny that began on Friday.

Todd had meetings on Friday and so was gone until 5.  Meanwhile, the kids got picked up here at 4:30 because Owen has football practice at 5:30 and I had to leave for work.  I go downstairs to the laundry for something and there’s water all. Over. The. Floor.  I’m assuming it’s from the washer, which we had previously determined had a cracked barrel (which, really, is no surprise seeing as it sounds like a 747 landing when it spins out).  I calmly mentioned it to nephew #1 who I thought had done wash and when he said he hadn’t I ran back downstairs and opened the door to the water heater closet and there’s water. Pouring. Out. of. It.  Here was my chance to again prove how fucking clueless I am about the inner workings of the house (well, at least I knew where the water heater was) as I’m turning valves to shut the water off and it’s. Not. Working.  So I dash through the tide that is now my laundry room floor to find a main valve.  It worked!  And then I called Todd on his way home and told him to HURRY UP.

Anyhow, I go to work Friday and Saturday and $1000 later Todd replaces a water heater AND a washing machine. Meanwhile, my dad gets the flu (the flu, in June) and he will not be attending our Father’s Day dinner at the restaurant with the in –laws.  And all weekend it’s been 100 degrees.  Well, not really, but with this humidity I’m sure it could be measured somewhere.  You know it’s bad when you need to carry a full change of clothes for work later (full = underwear and bra).

I cleaned out one of our guestrooms downstairs which I had filled a mile high with Christmas boxes and old baby stuff (crib, stroller, play yard, high chair) I can’t bear to part with, other boxes of memorabilia, and totes full of Legos Owen purged last year.  It was an all-day affair that I think made Todd nervous since I just moved it all into the other unused guestroom downstairs.  He gently announced that “we” must find a place to store all this stuff and “we”know that means me since I’m the crazy one who worries over where is the best place to store it.  Nevertheless, I purged the first room of 3 large cardboard boxes filled with cardboard boxes – including shoe boxes because doesn’t everyone save empty shoe boxes for some unknown craft project we haven’t discovered yet?  (I saved a couple, just in case I try out that one I saved to Pinterest.)  And two monster trash bags filled and waiting to be picked up today.

Yesterday I dove into guestroom #1 where nephew #1 was holed up playing this video game that must be really exciting because every few minutes there erupts this whoop or holler and there’s something about scarlet witches and mutants and I would really like a closer look myself since this week I would really like to try out a new identity. I painted the walls a softer shade of blue and cleaned the ceiling fan, wiped the windows clean, and washed the floor.  Owen and Ava were playing Call of Duty (yes – because all 10-year-old girls should know how to fire an automatic weapon) until they got bored and started bickering, and then nephew closes the door against the noise.  At some point they decide it would be fun to shove Ava across the floor on the leather ottoman (it has wheels) so that she’s careening the length of our rec room at breakneck speeds and crashing into stuff.  Nephew observes that it’s actually louder with the door closed, and I agreed and wondered if it was too early to start drinking.

Meanwhile, back at the trash cans, all three cans are filled to the brim with garbage and recycling, and last night Owen and I carried out the last two items:  a cardboard box, and a baby carrier.  I know it’s silly, but I have long held onto the belief that there might be one more… but more than that, I’ve been holding onto that first baby I held in my arms.  I carried that baby boy out of the hospital in this carrier, and last night he walked beside me as I carried the empty car seat out of the house for the last time, and placed it gently on top of the trash can.  As I turned to walk back to the house, I stared at his back in front of me – this 5 foot 8 inch boy whom I have loved more deeply than I have ever loved anything – and the tears filled my eyes until they silently spilled over.  He turned around and then suddenly he was wrapping his arms around me and holding me close like he meant it, like he remembered those early days where we stared into each other’s eyes with hope and love.

What I Learned Last Week – June 8

It’s been a while since I wrote a “Things Learned” post.  Most of these are no surprise, and certainly not “news,” but they recently became glaringly obvious again.

School teachers get happier and happier as the school year draws to a close.  Conversely, parents’ faces seem to get longer.  I’ve been at the school a lot as we near the end, and I felt this cloud moving over me as the staff smiled these Cheshire cat grins and threw out a perky good morning!  Parents, however, smile somberly at one another – because we all know what chaos awaits.

There are two sides to every story. As I previously blogged, on the field trip to Annapolis I had nearly a 2-hour conversation with another mom about dogs, kids, Maryland colleges, and divorce. We commiserated a bit, by way of female conversation really, but in retrospect she didn’t really go into details.  Last week at the Heroes Tea, I got an up-close view of the Dad side of this divorce.  Father and son sat directly in front of me and, as son leaned into Dad throughout the presentation, Dad would occasionally kiss his head.  It was the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a while.  Two days later, I ended up in a conversation with him and another mom at Field Day and learned a breathtakingly different side to this divorce. 

There are A LOT of divorced (and blended) families in our district.  There just are.  Is it any different anywhere else?  In our old town, I felt like the only person in a divorced situation.  It seems nearly everyone I meet here either is, or knows several others who are.

There are many more Type 1 diabetics in our area than I knew.  There are a few in the middle school that I know of, and I know there were a couple in high school (including one with an alert dog), though I believe Ava might be the only one in the elementary school presently.  But her teacher’s husband is a Type 1, and one of her classmates has an older sister that is too.  Another of her classmates, whose mom I was chatting with on Field Day – her dad is a Type 1.  There is also a teacher in the 5thgrade –more than likely will be Ava’s – who is type 1 and pumping.

You cannot judge a book by its cover.  By that I mean it’s terribly easy when you’re the newbie, and having nothing else to go on, to look around at the parents on field trips and try to figure out who you want to talk to based solely on how approachable and friendly they seem.  I’ve had great times on the field trips in the past with moms I was simply “stuck with,” and so you could say I got lucky.  On the Annapolis trip we had a much larger group of parents attending and it was a walking tour, so there wasn’t a whole lot of conversation.  I looked to Ava’s cheer friend’s mom, and she didn’t seem very approachable to me, so I left it alone.  This is the same mom I spent half a day chatting with on Field Day, all because I initiated conversation with her.  She was very friendly, and I enjoyed chatting with her.  She and the divorcee dad knew each other and so were engaged in conversation about a number of people and things I knew nothing of, but still – both of them included me in their conversation.

My emotions are still unpredictable. I was worried I’d cry at the Heroes Tea, where my daughter named me as her hero and stood in front of her class and all of their heroes and explained why.  But I didn’t.  Instead, I cried when her bestie cried because her dad, who was running late, finally arrived.  And cried some more when it was her turn to present and she was still upset and couldn’t speak without crying.  Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one in there wiping their eyes.  Meanwhile, I was absolutely sure I was going to cry when Owen “graduated” from middle school on Friday.  But I didn’t.  Or, at least not until the Principal got up there for the closing statements and he started choking up over saying goodbye to this “amazing group of young men and women” who he would miss.  Suddenly, it was like being at a funeral for a stranger and catching the contagion of someone else’s grief – and you find yourself raking through the contents of an obscenely packed handbag for just one tissue.

Apparently, I’m old.  Tearful Mom on the other side of the room sat with us afterward for the reception, and she was saying how she feels old.  Her daughter said, you’re not old – you’re only 27.  I almost spit out my buttercream-iced cake.  I smiled at her as she rolled her eyes and resisted the urge to ask her if she really was 27.  Because IF she was, I would’ve had to punch her in the throat. Either that or blurt out, what am I then – grandma??  Do ya’ll realize I am almost TWENTY years older than her?

Daddy has a new girlfriend.  Okay, so I didn’t “just” learn this last week.  Usually when he’s single, he wants every last waking minute with the kids that he can get.  But several weeks ago he suddenly wasn’t able to see the kids one Saturday I worked because he “had to work.”  And he’s has turned down every subsequent date I’ve offered him to spend extra time with them.  He went on a business trip to Boston where he had to tour some factory – are you ready for this? – on Memorial Day.  I cry foul.  What factory do you know that’s open for touring on a national holiday? Then I was picking the kids up one day and he called me in a panic because shewas picking him up in mere minutes, and the kids had no idea she even existed yet (he was waiting until he thought the time was right – ha!)  Poor planning does not constitute an emergency on my part.  Apparently the time was right the following weekend, because her car was parked outside when I arrived to pick them up.  Hardly a shock, I know.

My dog is a killer.  Sure, she looks like a sweet poodle, but inside is a wolf disguised in goofy brown fluff.  I let the dogs out one blazing and humid afternoon and fully expected them to do their business and return quickly.  When they didn’t, I got suspicious and went to the window where I saw Sabra lying in the grass under a tree.  I thought, how cute – she’s just chillin.  Wrong.  She bent her head down and I saw that she was chewing on something. Pi was nearby minding her own business.  When I went outside, Sabra ran toward me – all excited – and then remembered her treasure and ran back to get it.  I ran after her and screamed NO!  though at this point I had no idea what it was.  It looked like a square brown piece of cardboard?  No, it was a TURTLE.  And the bitch ran up to me all proud of herself and rubbed her bloody muzzle on my white shorts.  Her front legs were coated with blood. 

I can walk the equivalent of 8 miles on a double shift.  Super cool app on my phone measures your steps each day, and on my first double shift in 20 years I walked over 15,000 steps.  You gotta try this! I’d like to see that 27-year-old momma beat that.

The arrival of summer has me feeling schizophrenic.  We are 3 days in, and I am alternately happy and anxious.  I look forward to lazy sleep-in days, swimming in the pool, and spending time with the kids.  However, I’m spending a LOT of time with my mini-me and she accompanied me to work this past weekend, two and a half hours round trip in the car and she didn’t stop talking.  My nerves were so shot by the time I pulled back into our driveway, I went straight to the liquor cabinet and called it a day.  Seriously, I experienced such a range of emotions on those drives that I’m still recovering from the whiplash this morning.

Personality matters.  This could be aptly named, You Cannot Judge a Book By Its Cover Part 2.  My daughter recently confided in me who her newest crush is, and she prefaced it by saying “he’s not, like, the cutest boy in class” but he’s really nice and he makes her laugh.  She’s paying attention to that stuff! How cool is that??  Yesterday when we stopped at Wawa on the way home, I kind of complained that I didn’t really want to stop because I’m still in my sweaty work clothes and my makeup is a runny mess – and Ava says, you look beautiful, mom.  And followed it up with a verbatim regurg of my own words: Nobody is perfect – everyone is different and that’s why we’re all beautiful.

Those are the moments where I remember to appreciate the life I have fought for, and continue to fight for the life I want.
Miscellaneous Tidbits

There are 63 days until the first day of school.  Or, 63 drinking days left until school starts again.

The highest temperature on record is 134 degrees, in Death Valley on July 10th, 2013.

1.25 million Americans have T1 diabetes – an estimated 200,000 are children under age 20.  Roughly 40,000 are diagnosed each year.  Comparatively, 2.2 million Americans suffer from schizophrenia. 

I was right about my kids’ toilet.  I kept telling Todd I thought one of theprevious tenant’s kids flushed something they shouldn’t have, and that’s why the toilet kept clogging.  Finally, he took it apart and guess what?  A TOY TIARA.  Snap.

Diamondback terrapins are Maryland’s official state reptile. I determined that the turtle Sabra ate, however, is a Painted Turtle (a pond turtle).

Excerpt from Book Writing – 1st Installment

January 4, 2010

New year!  Why is it that I can spend an uninterrupted hour washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, but the very minute my ass hits the couch, the kids are climbing all over me?  At least Ava does.  She is relentless when she wants my attention, cuddling up to me on the couch in such an obstructive way that I only have use of one arm and more often than that it’s the writing one.  Or, if she’s being particularly challenging, she will stretch herself across my lap, on top of the newspaper or book I’m trying to read.  Any attempts to disentangle myself from her are about as successful as pulling gum out of my hair with a toothpick.

Owen had his annual checkup during break, which I failed to mention and, despite his distaste for vegetables or any fruit that has the audacity to call itself anything other than “banana,” is the picture of health at 62 pounds and 54 inches tall.  He’s gaining on me!

I recently finished another fantastic book – The House at Sugar Beach, a memoir by Helene Cooper about war-torn Liberia and escaping to America.  It ended with a long overdue, much anticipated reunion that sent me into silent sobs, hot tears falling over my cheeks.  Everything’s got me emotional these days – tears coming easily, raw anger bursting out of the locked room I’ve been keeping it in.  I don’t really know what’s wrong with me, only that I’ve got all these pent up feelings I push down so much, until something or someone forces them to boil over.

Owen woke up upset this morning, not wanting to go back to school and subsequently missed the bus.  I tried not to be upset because I knew it wouldn’t help him get to school calmly anyway.  He’s upset more about the fighting over the weekend.  Daddy and I were at it again and I just went berserk.

One of the things we fought about is my personal freedom.  I can’t go anywhere by myself.  He can’t cope with Ava and her condition – it “hurts” him so much – so I must bear the burden 24/7.  He refuses to try church with me, and then he tells me that I’m not going either.  Well, as you might imagine, that about sent me straight off the cliff.  Just the idea that he thinks he can dictate to me when or how I can go do anything.  I have all week, he says, to do what I want.  The weekends are for us as a family.  Fine, except that imprisoning someone is not the way to happiness or peaceful coexistence. 

I don’t ever have the opportunity to be free of the responsibilities I have, not even for one hour.  I NEED it, and he refuses to give it to me.  “Everything would be so different if diabetes hadn’t come into our lives.”  He calls me selfish, but it is he who is behaving selfishly.  Sometimes he’ll admit he “can understand” how I feel, but ultimately he does nothing to appease me.  Well, he can understand it all the way to hell, but if he can’t honestly look me in the eye and say, go ahead honey, go take a ride by yourself. I’ll take care of the kids, then he obviously doesn’t really give a damn.  And the truth of it is, he can’t see past himself to help me at all.  It’s all about him, all the time.  And when will that ever change?

New Year’s Eve was uneventful, but the next day he called me a “fucking idiot” in front of the children because I’ve been keeping Ava’s open vial of insulin in the cabinet instead of the fridge. AND, I never consulted him before making that decision.  So, I lost it.  It escalated.  Because he can’t keep his mouth shut around our kids.  And I can’t take it anymore.  I’m so sick of it.

And the day after that was more of the same.  I said something he didn’t like or supposedly raised my voice, which set him off and he threw the pan of brownies I’d just baked that morning for the restaurant onto the floor.  When that wasn’t enough of an impact, he stuck his hand into the freshly baked apple cake (also for the restaurant), grabbed a handful of it, and threw it at me.  It was everywhere.  All over the floor.  All over the refrigerator.  The wall.  The trim.  I wanted to kill him.  But the dumbass burnt his hand when he did it, since it had just come out of the oven, so I guess God was watching.  If only I’d had the nerve to say that out loud. The cake was completely destroyed.  All of my work that morning, gone in sixty seconds.  And I was the one who cleaned it up.

In other news, Ava cracked Owen’s lateral incisor – an adulttooth – which was purely accidental but nonetheless very upsetting.  It only cost $150 to repair.  The week before, she got mad and charged him, biting him on the chest like a rabid dog and breaking skin, and leaving a circular, angry-looking welt.  He responded by pinning her to the floor with his hands around her neck.  Oh the fun we have!  It’s a wonder I haven’t had a complete mental breakdown yet.

The Very Merry Month of May

Regrettably, I’ve been a bit MIA lately. Even Facebook has seen less of my sarcasm. We’ve been busy working, cleaning up gutting the recently vacated apartment (which I decided required a whole new blog of its own)  and planning the renovation, completing renovations of our basement rec room, and making changes and deciding how to spend our summer.

I went on my daughter’s field trip to Annapolis – the capital of our home state of Maryland. She came home each week with details of what we were going to be doing – we’re riding on big buses with bathrooms and we get to watch a movie! We’re going on a boat ride! The bus ride was expected to be roughly 2 hours, so I asked Todd to download the Kindle app to my phone so I could read without carrying a real book (which is blasphemy, I know, but I was desperate) but, as luck would have it, I sat next to Jenn and we had a great time chatting and commiserating on the joy of divorce and ex-husbands and I had no need for reading.

Two hours goes fast when you’re talking to someone and soon we were disembarking at the boat docks for a 25-minute respite before the boat ride.  I had charge of just my daughter and her bestie, so we went first to the public restrooms (where, simultaneously, the occupants of the other bus plus 2 from another school district also went) and then on to Starbucks for mom’s frappaccino and 2 cake pops for the girlies.  That was about all the time we had before we walked back to the boat and, as I followed the girls walking along the docks, I contemplated the possibility of jumping into the brownish-green water should one of them accidentally fall in and imagined how it would feel to spend the rest of the day in wet clothes that reeked not in a good way of Red Lobster.

The boat cruise was fun – we had picture perfect weather – the sun was warm, the breeze quite pleasant. We ate our packed lunches on the boat as it sailed around the harbor, with tour-guide commentary on the United States Naval Academy (whose chapel is topped with real gold, FYI) and views of million-dollar homes set into the hills overlooking the water.  The boat had a small gift shop with what looked like leftovers from an Oriental Trading catalog and a snack bar which also sold “Frosty Beers and Refreshing cocktails,” though I figured it’d be widely frowned upon if I ordered a margarita on a school field trip.  Widely frowned upon but way more memorable.  The kids ran about the boat, up and down the stairs, and I just sat and imagined how romantic this would be if Todd were here, and the 158 kids enjoying the  Cupid Shuffle dance party 10 feet away from me weren’t.

The walking tour followed, led by a senior citizen volunteer fully dressed in colonial garb except for the geriatric shoes that were most certainly not regulation 18th century footwear, but we’ll give him a pass since my middle-aged feet nearly caught fire on the 2-hour walking tour.  I also utilized my walking app because I was curious to see how many steps we took on this lovely walk (7,014 or roughly the equivalent of walking a 5k).

I photographed some beautiful architecture and we toured the State House, where Ava damn near had a panic attack over having to go through the metal detector – which she can’t do with her pump on – and I assured her 300 times that I would handle it with the security officer (who, btw, was very cool about it and let her go around).  The State House was beautiful inside, with lots of marble and a painting the tour guide pointed out as having more than a handful of historically inaccurate features.  It is the oldest legislative house in continuous use in the nation, and is also where George Washington resigned his commission in 1783 (a draft he penned of this resignation is under glass there – so cool to see the handwriting of the most famous president in history a foot away from your face). There was a mannequin of GW that I desperately wanted a picture of the girls with but, so as not to disrupt the flow of the tour, I settled for a group shot on a cannon outside. 

There was a house we stopped in that was aligned with the tour, furnished as it would have been in colonial days, and our group trekked up the narrow staircase to the second floor bedroom where two hay-filled sacks lay on the floor alongside some sort of animal skin. The kids sat on these “beds” while the adults were invited to real seating around the room’s close perimeter, and various items were passed around – including a deer leg several of us moms reluctantly passed to each other.

I left feeling oddly satisfied after a field trip, not too tired and without a headache. I want to go back. I was in Annapolis once before, in my early twenties, when my mom was there with her other half where he kept his boat, and his truck broke down and she needed a ride back to PA. This was in the days well before cell phones and GPS – so I had to drive 3 hours in a  torrential rainstorm to a place I had never been before armed with only directions I scribbled on a piece of notebook paper. (Yes, there’s probably a story there.) But anyway, it’s a beautifully quaint place if you’ve never been before, very walkable, and there are loads of Navy men in white uniform if you’re a sucker for that sort of thing.

Three days earlier, I taught the kids the value of cutting school by keeping them home to attend my Mom-mom’s 90th surprise birthday party.  She was SO surprised and, of course, emotional as always – sniffling back tears and playing humble (though I know she secretly loved every minute of it).  My mom put the whole thing together at “the home,” as Mom-mom calls it, with 3 huge cakes and live music by local legend Gene Galligan.  Mom-mom held court by the cakes as the residents came by to wish her well, including one stooped over gentleman (we’ll call him Harry) my mother says was interested in Mom-mom. She ate slow forkfuls of her cake until at one point she was coughing so hard we thought she was choking, and mom said it would be terrible if she accidentally killed her mother on her 90thbirthday.  My mom danced with some of the ladies and they dragged a mortified Ava out onto the makeshift dance floor to join them, and soon she was giggling at the hilarity of it.

My mom’s sister flew home from Myrtle Beach for the occasion, and my mom’s estranged brother – whom I haven’t seen in twenty years and who has never met my children – was there, though he disappeared shortly after I arrived and only resurfaced long enough for a group family photo and then to say goodbye because he had to “cut the lawn.” 

My mom handed Mom-mom her phone to take a picture of us with the kids, and Mom-mom held the phone up backwards asking what to do, and we all got extreme closeups of her nose and eyeball, at which we nearly laughed ourselves silly, and she yelled us for “laughing at an old woman.” The entertainment was great, albeit geared more toward my grandmother’s generation with old-fashioned humor and silly jokes, and the folks loved it. Gene sang Have a Nice Day and when this crabby looking little old lady walked by, Harry smiled at her and said Have a nice day! I thought Owen was going to wet himself.  It was a beautiful event for the first and only birthday party my grandmother had ever had. Of course, being herself, when someone suggested doing it again next year she scoffed and said she hoped she’d die before then because she hates it here.

The beginning of May also saw Ava dragging me to the elementary school’s Spring Fling, where there was a huge inflatable slide she went down no less than 15 times and games – like the Cake Walk where she won a red velvet cake.  Just what we needed.

The kids and I accompanied Todd to a tournament in PA over 3 hours away in the coal region and happily there was no complaining other than boredom early in the games.  Then they discovered the game room soon after I discovered beer in the bar, and they cleaned me out of every last dollar I had.  Todd didn’t win, but it was fun to watch one of his league members get shitfaced and ignore me like she always does.

I had an appointment with my cardiologist who assured me I’m going to live, though that theory was later tested at Ava’s spring concert.  Never been to one?  A hundred parents crammed into the cafeteria/gymnasium/auditorium where a few dozen kids playing instruments oddly out of sync with one another competed with the roar of the central air conditioning system.  The only reason I didn’t get a headache is because I couldn’t hear them playing.

And, in keeping with the my-life-is-shit theme, I got to visit the water treatment plant with Ava’s class.  We all wore goggles for the outdoor tour and, while it was definitely vile in some very specific ways, it still didn’t make me nearly as ill as the smell of mushroom plants steaming away less than a mile from our house. Ava’s teacher spoke aloud the contents of my ever worried brain when she said she hoped no one fell in.  Whose dumb idea was this, anyway?

I’ve spent the rest of my days doing the housewifey thing, got our a/c serviced so our home is less balmy and more refrigerator, and fruitlessly attempted to wipe clean the stench of tenants in the apartment.  It’s going to be a total gutting.  Even the subfloor can’t be saved. I’m procrastinating about finishing a project I started long ago, and the writing thing isn’t happening easily either.  I’m trying to pick up running again and the one day I decided to take advantage of stellar running weather, I was chased by a neighborhood Rottweiler whose 130 lb body collided with mine and bruised my leg in three ugly places. And broke my iPod.  To make a long story short, I decided after much debate to report the incident to animal control – mostly because it’s the second time this dog has chased me and I am concerned that she might chase my daughter on her bike, or my son on one of his runs. And, while it sounds petty, I can’t help but think that if my dog had done that to someone, I’d at the very least have stopped by their house to check on how they were doing and apologize again and reassure them that it will never happen again.  Good thing I’m not holding my breath.

On the brighter side – we celebrated Ava’s 10th birthday and my hmphety-hmphth birthday… and our THIRD anniversary. It may sound corny, but really – it honestly feels like this is how life has always been.

And so. Life goes on.