Tuesday, November 6, 2012

How I know you've left town:

Even if I hadn't dropped you off at the airport, I'd know you were going to be gone for a while- because the universe pulled one of its self implosions- everything went to hell and back in the space of 17 minutes.

I bring you to Naptime:

All is quiet and peaceful... except the toddler is up and down- he won't stay in bed. "Go potty." I suggest (Loaded suggestion. Your kid hates the toilet. For some reason I can't fathom, he almost never makes it to the stupid bathroom without pee getting on something. I'm so tired of your son's urine. And the fight it takes to get him to aim it into the appropriate receptacle!). 

Go potty he did. Pee. All over the bathroom floor. Poo. All over the toilet. Not inside it. On it.
 I get him into the tub, but he sees the poo and tries to run away from it- despite the fact that it's covering him- further spreading it all over the bathroom. 
At this point I've got your screaming newborn in a bouncy seat outside the kids' bathroom and I'm armed with bleach and paper towels trying to make sense of the mess. I have no hands left. 
"STAY IN THE TUB!" I scream, desperate, as the doorbell rings.

I smile and sign the slip for some mail at the front door and only just manage to keep the dog from escaping after the neighbors' cat (which is the cat that I think killed three of our chickens, by the way. Should have let Amelia get her!).

Back upstairs, I calm the baby and the phone rings- my daughter has had an allergic reaction at school. "Give her the Benadryl. I'll be there soon." Back to the bathroom.
Get the toddler scrubbed, bathroom bleached and wiped up, and nurse the baby back to calmness.
Got your daughter from school- then everyone took a three hour nap. It's not always hell around here. 

Now I'm waiting for the next episode- I know it's coming. The vomit-to-out-of-town ratio is still 1:1, so there's that to look forward to. 

-Your Loving Spouse

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chicken Chasing -or- We All Fall Down

Okay, so we now have these chickens we've adopted/rescued and recently (a couple of days ago) added to our already existing flock. I forgot to let you know about that, honey. So now you know! 
These chickens are supposedly great- to hear their previous owner talk, they're docile, charming, practically pet quality. Fantastic, I think, already laying, tame, hens for the yard!
What could go wrong? 
Well, for one, I could forget to check if their wings are clipped before tossing the already-caught feathered Houdinis into the coop with my (wing clipped and well-behaved) ladies.
So I realize I have two rogue hens running around the neighborhood, yesterday. Luckily, all of my neighbors are chicken-friendly, in the hopes of some eggs being bestowed upon them in the future. But still. I should recapture the chickens! So I waited until the night fell (genius, right?), hoping they'd roost someplace easy...like in our front yard. And they did! Just prior to my discovery of the rogue roosts, I had clipped the wings of four of the new arrivals...so I was feeling cocky.
I went to grab one of the girls from my flowerbeds, and missed. By the way, you need to weed those when you get home! Cue midnight chicken chasing hilarity. I gave up and went to bed. Then, today, on my way to work, I saw one of the little assholes, smug as you please, strutting in front of my car! Tried luring with food. No dice. I was now late to work, and had nothing but a bruised ego to show for it.
This afternoon, on my way home, who do I see in my driveway? Demon chickens one and two. Exactly. 
I got out of the car, leaving the kids buckled in, and went to try to herd one of the satan-birds back to the yard. I admit, I got a little overzealous when I got really close to snagging one of them and I tripped. And fell. Hard.
My toe caught on my neighbor's gorgeously tended grass and my only thought as I fell was: "Dang, our yard looks like crap, we need to hire gardeners!" And then I realized I was going down. And it hurt. I lay on their soft, cushy grass, grateful I hadn't kneed my burgeoning belly and winded myself in our own dead, weedy yard...would not have been nearly as nice a landing!
I caught my breath by hissing obscenities at the smug dinosaur waddling away from me, regained composure, and got the car into the garage, the kids inside, and called one of my midwives. She was sympathetic, and to her credit, did not laugh at me. For which I am eternally grateful! So now I'm taking it easy and counting kicks, rubbing my sore back (nursing that bruised ego), and relaxing.
Stupid effing chicken. If I ever catch her, I'm going to make chicken noodle soup.

And don't worry, honey. I'm mostly recovered now. My ego might take a few days to heal up, though. It was a pretty nasty bruise! Baby didn't even notice. Kicking away at my ribs, and punching away at my belly button and bladder in turns. I have never been happier for such painful reassurance! 

Love, your eight (nine) months pregnant wife. Come home soon, or you'll miss all the fun!

Monday, May 14, 2012


The first two weeks are always the hardest when you leave.

During those two wretched weeks, I fall into bed at the end of every day and stare, catatonic, at my laptop willing myself to refrain from posting yet another sniveling status update on facebook. I also spend an inordinate amount of time on facebook. Sad but true. I'm lonely when you're gone.

I barely make it to scheduled appointments and events on time...okay at all. Your kids don't sleep, I don't sleep, the dog doesn't stop barking and convincing me there's a predator outside my upstairs window at 2 in the morning (or that the zombie apocalypse has come at last). We watch a lot more TV, too.

The only saving grace is that the house is spotless. Seriously. I make up for the lack of you (or is it because of the lack of you?) with shiny countertops and clean dishes and crumb-free floors. Don't get me wrong, I don't go crazy. The housekeeper still has plenty to do.

But after two weeks- and it's always two weeks exactly- I notice the cadence of the day shifts from "exhausted chaotic frenzy" to "steady marginal chaos." It's a great shift.  We do normal stuff! We have our routine! We eat three real, healthy, homecooked meals a day! There is more being on time and less sobbing.  I still spend a huge amount of time on facebook, but not as much.

Even after that shift, though- we have some serious oddball roller coaster days. Mother's Day was one of those days:

 I had insomnia all night the night before- being awake from 01:30  onward 'till sunrise; Then giving up, getting up, and moving to the couch downstairs...where I promptly fell asleep for a whole blessed hour before River came to find me and the day began. We had a great morning, too, with some bumps in the road when we changed breakfast plans mid-stream ("You're not cooking breakfast right now? We have to go where? But we're hungry!").

Our early afternoon was fun, too. We had a great time at farmer's market, running into a good friend, making up for your lack of present (I know,  I'm not your mom!) with some plant and hat shopping, and on to the store to get containers for said new plants, potting soil, and some impulse kiddie pools. So great!

Then we get home, still doing well, set up the kiddie pools with a 3 and 5 year old given unbridled use of the two garden hoses, and I set to work planting my new plants. All good, right? Listening for both voices, poking my head from garage to yard from time to time to make sure no one was drowning... Well, I'm sure glad I did that! One minute we're running through the sprinkler-turtle's chilly streams, the next a chicken is drenched on the lawn, unmoving.

Maia looks up at me and says "She's okay, Mom, she's just lying down for a minute." I look down at this sopping wet chicken that is indeed lying down...struggling to breathe. Oh, no! Maia!!!

Cue my calm mom-business demeanor. Everyone onto the porch and dry off. Naptime has arrived. While they did their no-naptime-tantrum dances, I picked up said waterlogged chicken and brought her to a sunny spot on the deck- and attempted to modify chest compressions to my poultry. I put her on her back and thumped her chest a few times, but her breastbone really prevented that from working. Next, I turned her upside down and squeezed her- marginal success! Water streamed out of her mouth and I heard air moving! Good! So I tried a few more squeezes- like she was a bellows and the deck was a stubborn fire...in-out-in-out...  While I'm thinking: "Come on chicken, please don't make my daughter an animal murderer today of all days..."

Success! The chicken sneezed and started breathing on her own! Next I spread her wings out in the sun and held them there, letting the sun bake her dry. Soon after, she started to walk around and shake herself off.

As of this morning she was looking none the worse for the wear- and she is quite a bit cleaner than the other gals. Not a bathing style I'd recommend, though. She did not lay us an egg this morning. I don't really blame her! 

After chicken CPR, I went inside to deal with my (still no-nap-tantrum-dancing) naked savages "Where did your swimsuits go?" and realized yes, 4PM is definitely not a good time to start thinking of naps. Whoops. I dressed the kids, and put them to bed- all the while trying to explain what it means to treat our animals with respect and that yes, animal torture is very much against the rules. River went right to sleep- Maia had other plans.

Insert awful nap battle here. Maia's the queen of these. I don't want to relive it. Imagine your kids doing it, but worse. Because I'm competitive like that. 

And then it was time to go! To Marrakesh! The Moroccan restaurant where they serve you in the traditional way- and you eat on poufs at low tables, there's a belly dancer, rose water hand baths, and everything! Phenomenal food, too. My friend comes over (it's her first Mother's Day! Hooray!) and we head to the restaurant after very minor complaining from your savages about getting dressed. Again. Where do their clothes go? Why the nudity, always?

And it was wonderful. So wonderful it made me nearly forget the hellish afternoon hours  of chicken-waterboarding and tantrums, and love our kids again. We all went home full and quite happy. And I slept! All night! And the kids slept in this morning!

So we're back to regularly scheduled programming on the Daddy-in-the-Field setting. Today was fine, except for the part when I stood in front of my Nikki McClure wall calendar, wishing weeks away so that I could see you sooner. Also contemplating just how apropos the imagery for May is:

Almost there. We're halfway just surviving, and halfway thriving. The good days are beginning to outnumber the bad. If we can refrain from any more attempted avicide (poultricide?), we'll be doing wonderfully. Thriviving. 

See you soon. 

-Your loving spouse

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Never Wake Your Kids Up for Dance Class

If you wake your kids up for ballet, you will be late.

Once you're late, your son will decide to be impatient and whine until it's his turn to dance- even though his class isn't for another 20 minutes.
When you daughter's class is finally finished, your son will begin to cry at full throttle, because he does not have ballet shoes on. And because you used the bathroom.
When you put ballet shoes on him, and class begins, he will refuse to dance, and throw a tantrum instead.
When you take him out of class, he will apologize for the tantrum and ask sweetly to be taken back to class.
If you take him back into class, he will collapse into a mound of sobbing and yelling about horses.
If you take both kids out to the car to go home, you might lock your keys in your car.
If you call OnStar (a service you pay $24.95 a month for) to unlock your doors, their system might be down.
Since their system is down, and your 2 year old is locked in the car in his 5 point harness, OnStar will call 911 without your knowledge, and leave you alone on the line with dispatch.
If you still think you're talking to the OnStar lady, dispatch will think you're certifiable and may send two squad cars and a fire engine to the scene.
If the police show up, you may apologize profusely while they chuckle and try to break into your car.
During all of this, your husband WILL NOT ANSWER HIS PHONE.
If the police can't jimmy the lock on your car, your two year old will finally decide to begin to potty train, and inform you of his need to poop.
When the police leave, you will stand in 40-degree drizzling rain for another half an hour until your husband arrives with the second key.
After the doors are unlocked, and you are on your way home, you might find yourself pushing the OnStar button and saying things your children will probably repeat in preschool, and you might get a note home about them.