“I’m not discussing it ALONE!”

(Son enters room, MegaBlock piece in hand)

Son: You know, this MegaBlock pile of coins looks more like a pile of poo.

(J and I look)

Me: Okay.

J: It does. Huh.

(Son exits)

J: It reminds me of that leprechaun cake we saw at the bakery, the one with the piles of poo.

Me: Yeah, it does! What were those supposed to be, anyway?

J: Piles of coins, I think.

Me: Then why were they dark brown?

J: They weren’t. They were a dark gold color.

Me: See? You’ve talked about the leprechaun poo so much that, in my head, it’s dark brown.

J: No, it was gold spilling out of the pots of gold, not piles of poo.

Me: Why are we even discussing this?

J: Well, I’m not discussing it alone!

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Actual conversations in my house

1.

J: I can’t log in to the Zombies, Run! site. There’s no login button.

Me: Are you sure? It was there when I looked … ?

J: I’m sure. Here, look:

[We both look at her screen.]

Me: Here, this button that says “login.”

J: I never would have clicked on that.

2.

K: I finished my chores!

Me: If I get up and go look at your chores, how much trouble will you be in?

K: … Um. Just a sec. Stay there. Don’t move.

3.

M: There’s [indistinct mumbling] fire in the kitchen.

Me: …

Me: M, I need clarification: Is there, or is there NOT, fire in the kitchen?

M: There is NOT fire in the kitchen.

Me: Good!

Me: … Sweetie, why would there have been fire in the kitchen?

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They’re home! They’re home!

My family is back from their vacation. Thank goodness.

I have to say, I think I am pleased with my personal navel-gazing while they were gone. I did things, I accomplished stuff that needed doing, I kept the house clean, I ate healthy food, I took care of the various pets, I saw people, I spent time alone.

In other words, I behaved like a perfectly functional human being instead of a wallowing slacker layabout who fails and disappoints everyone. Go me!

I am given to understand that there are people in the world who manage to hold jobs and maintain relationships and work on projects without having gone through a period of screwing all of that up. I’m not entirely sure how they do it. My partner, J, is one of those people. She says that she just imagines the consequences of not doing the things, and then does them.

I expect I was simply not that good at thinking ahead, when I was younger. And then, when I found myself mired in negative consequences, it was so clear to me that I had brought them on myself that instead of fixing the situation I wallowed in my own worthless stupidity. I was an otherwise smart person; my failure to see this result was therefore EXTRA stupid. I was the specialest snowflake of failure and despair, you know. My failure and despair were worse than yours, you couldn’t understand, there was no way to fix it, I’ll just run away and avoid you forever.

Oh, dear sweet crickets. How utterly, appallingly tiresome I was.

I’ve learned, now. I am better at seeing ahead to things. I am better at making plans and following through on them so as to avoid crushing failure and despair.

Mostly I make lists and leave them all over the house.

I think, sometimes, that “a real responsible person” would manage to do these things without lists, without reminders, without fear as a motivator. But that’s bullshit. You know what a real responsible person does? Figure out a way that works and use it.

But, enough of me nattering on about my personal development. The really important thing is, MY FAMILY IS HOME FROM VACATION.

All’s well in the world.

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Time sans children

The kids were whisked away yesterday around lunchtime for an excursion to Duluth with family friends. I took today off of work for the sheer novelty of having a day with J without kids.

It’s all coming back to me now, what that used to be like!

I got home from work yesterday and went out to dinner with J and N. Came home, watched a terrible movie. (Bring It On: In It to Win It, if you must know. I’m spoiled by the cancelled tv series Hellcats, which was SO VERY GOOD.) Slept in this morning until 7:30. Got up and checked the internet and made tea, none of which are particularly novel. But I haven’t said “no talking while you are eating” or “have you washed yet?” or “do not run in the house!” in a full day.

J and I had a leisurely morning of getting ready for the YMCA, and set out. Three blocks away we were stopped by furniture. There, sitting on the streetcorner, was an old and battered … I don’t know what it is. A fold-out desk with glass-fronted shelves and some drawers. An occasional desk of some sort. Lovely and wooden and old and with a Pokemon sticker hidden inside a concealed pen-holder. Just the sort of furniture our house needs.

I’m thirty-eight years old, and my taste in furniture has apparently not changed since I was twenty. Old, wooden, pre-battered by some other family so I don’t have to worry about keeping it nice. Free is an especially important criterion. My house is full of streetcorner furniture, or pieces from people who were moving and needed to give things away. (Thank you, still, Leah, for those bookshelves, they are much-loved and much-used.) If furniture is very nice I think, “oh, goodness, now I have to WORRY about it.” I’m not … not habitually thoughtful about material objects. I sort of don’t want Nice Things.

So this occasional desk was calling to us. (Every time I refer to a piece of furniture as an occasional something, I half-wish it meant that the piece was occasionally a desk, and occasionally a star-cruiser, or a kitten, or a crosswalk.) We were in J’s car, which is good, that’s the larger car. But the occasional desk (and part-time opera singer, who am I to quash a desk’s ambitions) was simply Too Large.

Much Too Large.

We pondered. I suggested balancing the piece on the roof of the car, holding on to it through the sunroof, but J nixed that. (Not even for three blocks. Spoilsport.) It was too heavy for us to carry to our house. The longer we stared at it, the more attached I became. I wanted this occasional-desk-slash-weekend-hedge-maze to be mine.

We stared. We noted that, across the street, was a house belonging to friends of ours who were 1) likely home and 2) had a much larger minivan. J approached and inquired about the possibility of transport. Said family was somewhat taken aback by the unexpected presence of a spandex-clad J and an intransigent desk (who might moonlight as a French moped) but allowed as how the Much Larger Minivan might be available for transport later in the day.

Relived, J and I hauled the desk and all its hypothetical alternate identities to said friends’ yard, removed the signs saying “FREE” from the object in question, and set out for the rest of our morning.

The rest of the morning involved pastry, chai, working out at the Y, stopping for needed groceries (chocolate, ice cream, sorbet, apples, bananas, and soy milk) at Target, and coming home to check the internets.

Which, Dear Reader, is where you find me now.

The kids will be home in an hour or so. This is all to the good, because I miss them when they are gone. For all our child-free morning, J and I likely spent a third of the time talking about our kids. (When we weren’t attempting to readjust the material properties of wood, metal, and plastic so as to fit a 54-inch item through a 48-inch aperture.)

The truth of the matter is, I have no time in my life that is mentally sans children. I hope they had a great time in Duluth. I hope they come home to find this lovely desk in the dining room.

Four brief things on a Sunday morning

1. Yesterday went well. M got home at 10:45 at night, but was a complete trouper.

2. I saw Thor last night! More thoughts on it on the forthcoming Fantastic Fangirls podcast, recorded soon.

3. I am currently reading:

Cinderella Ate My Daughter, by Peggy Orenstein
Story, by Robert McKee
Wars of the Roses, by Allison Weir

All of which I need to get done really soon now so that I can finish more of my Before-Wiscon-Reading list. Eep.

4. I called my mom this morning to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She said she’s growing her hair out super-long, so that she can wear it in a bun. Because that’s what classy old ladies do. I approve.

Saturday morning is for miscellaneous

1. The MN FIRST Regionals were a lot of fun. There’s something about seeing 600+ teenage robot jockeys running around with INTENSE ENTHUSIASM that makes me feel good about the future. M and K had fun, especially working with the LEGO Mindstorms robot league.

2. I haven’t talked about the movie Sucker Punch yet because the Fantastic Fangirls are attempting to start podcasting, and that’s our first topic. We recorded our conversation and are working on the technical aspects of hosting it for our listening public. More news as events warrant ….

3. N has found a really good dvd ripping program and is racing through the household dvds. Which are 90% mine, I think. It has gotten to the point where we need a search/tag/archive/something program to find things. He says he’ll look into it.

4. Familial plans are afoot! My brother, his wife, and their kids are going to visit in early May, at the time of the kids’ circus shows. And my sister, her kids, and my mother are planning a visit in June. Excellent!

5. Low-salt food and regular exercise have done the trick, and my blood pressure is back to acceptable. I, of course, need to continue low-salt and exercise, and monitor the situation. But I am *extremely pleased* at this turn of events.

6. I have to do my taxes next week. I MEANT to be more on top of things this year, but I’m not. Dangit.

Five things make a post

1. After four days of not catching any mice in the kitchen, we are tentatively hoping that we are mouse-free. We hope. I started cleaning the kitchen today. Let me say, scrubbing cupboards and drawers and all the contents therein has significantly increased the amount of dishes and dish-related work I do in a day. But, oh, please, please whatever powers that care about this, let us be mouse-free? Please? Else we’re going to have to start killing them.

2. The kids started a karate class today. It’s Running Tiger Shaolin Kenpo, for those who are interested, and the class is for homeschool kids. Which means it’s held at 12:30 on a Thursday, yes! I was pleased with the reports I got from the kids and J (I was out running errands) but I was especially pleased that, when asked about China, M reported on the Mongol invasions. A few weeks back J and I made a deal that I would cover history and social sciences on the days I do school, and she would cover language arts and grammar. I’m pleased to see that some of the history is sticking.

3. I’m going to be at Fallcon in a couple of weeks. I have a new comic to debut there, yay. I am also in the process of getting my website revamped. This revamping will mean I can host my comics as webcomics, giving lots of access to what I’ve already done.

4. I feel like I should get a Good Grown-Up and Good Parent star, for getting the kids’ homeschool attendance forms sent in to the local school district on time. Twenty-five-year-old me would never have accomplished this. I would have flaked out, or been afraid to do it because I might do it wrong, or I would have avoided calling around to find an address, and the whole thing would have been a crisis. I think I’ve grown up, or something.

5. My mom brought small gifts back from Europe for me and the kids. She got me pin-up postcards from the museum of comics. My mom brought me comic-book pin-ups.

It’s good to be known, it really is, but I’m not thinking about that too much, mmkay?