Saturday, May 30, 2009


So, the other day when I picked Big Kid up from school and buckled him into the car, he said," I learned all about DRUGS today."

He said this in a serious tone, with a pause before and after the word "drugs", and I thought sensed some accusation or judgment in his tone, although I couldn't imagine why.

"Really? What did you learn about drugs?"

"I learned about all kinds of ones you drink." He paused and looked at me seriously.

(Where the hell is this conversation going? my tired mind wondered) "Drugs you drink?"

"Like beer dat gramps drinks, or WINE dat you drink," he said slowly, definitely in a "caught you" kind of tone.

As I started the car, I felt a little angry. I know I joke about it a lot, but I am not a drinker. At all. I probably drink 6-8 times a year, I get drunk once every couple of years, usually at weddings, never with my kids around. I'm a 2 glasses of Pinot on a Saturday night with dinner or an Amstel Light or two on the beach every few months kind of girl.

And now my 5 year old thinks I do drugs because someone showed him a wine glass and a Budweiser can and told him that was bad. I know it had to be a picture of a can of Budweiser too, because Mr. Ashley enjoys a Heineken or two on most evenings, and here he was getting off free and clear because Big Kid recognized the can that he's seen his grandfather with.

"Gramps doesn't drink beer anymore. When he found out he was sick, he made the right choice and decided to only eat and drink healthy foods, and he hasn't had a beer since. I hardly ever drink wine, Big Kid. Those kind of drinks are alchohol, and although it would be bad to drink too much of that kind of drink, it is not against the law and adults are free to make that decision for themselves."

"My teatser said it was drugs."

"Then she was wrong, or you misunderstood her." I snapped, in an I'm-done-discussing-it kind of way.

Then we saw my dad on Memorial Day, and my dad told me that he had asked Big Kid if he knew he was sick. Big Kid replied with, "Yep, I know, and I know you laid off da beer, too." My dad was laughing about it, but I was sure to explain the back story so that he didn't think we were making a big deal out of his beer drinking (or not drinking) to our five year old.

Several days later, Big Kid pops up with, "You know, you don't have to die when you're 60. Some people die when dey are 87 or 93 or even 100."

Wondering what the hell he was talking about, and wondering if he knew more than I thought about my dad, I asked what he meant.

"If you do drugs or drinks you will die when you're 60. If you don't, you will live to be 94 or 98 or somefing."

"Uh, well, it doesn't work exactly like that. Drinking too much or doing drugs is not healthy for your body, that part is true."

Now I'm very irritated again. I'm not sure if Kindergarten is the appropriate forum for drug and alcohol abuse. Somehow the message has been passed on to my Kindergartner that if he sees me with a glass of wine, I'm doing drugs and am going to die at 60 vs 98. Also, we all know that Big Kid told (at least) his entire class that his grandpa and I drink drugs all the time.

Then, the day before yesterday, I had the boys making cards for me to take to my dad in the hospital. Big Kid wrote "Feel better Gramps" on the front and drew a parrot that he glued a googly eye and a feather too. I asked Big Kid what he would write on the inside.

"Hmmm, I'm finking...'you shouldn't have drank all dat beer." he said matter-of-factly.

I'll admit beforehand that my immediate reaction was a bad one. It was the day of the surgery, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, the alcohol lectures had annoyed me a few times already in the last week, and I was realizing that Big Kid believed that my dad had cancer because he drank beer, thanks to school.

"Listen to me, one does not have to do with the other. Gramps is not sick because he drank beer. Drinking beer was an unhealthy choice--but one that he had the right to make as an adult. Don't mention him drinking beer, or me drinking wine, or anyone drinking anything ever. Write something nice on the inside of the card, and don't bring this up again."

His eyes were wide and he mumbled that he'd just write that he loved him, and got right to it.

Then I felt bad, and after several minutes had passed and I thought of it objectively, I realized that a "Feel Better--you shouldn't have drank all that beer" card from Big Kid would be way, way funnier than your run of the mill "Feel better--I love you" card.

My dad loves to tease and Big Kid is always trying to get him back. Plus, my dad loves a story he can retell 9 zillion times and that could've been a good one. He would have thought it was funny and Big Kid's practical, safety-patrol, hand-washer extraordinaire persona cracks him up.

I told Big Kid that I was sorry I snapped at him, and asked if he wanted to make a second card as a joke and he declined immediately, saying he was pretty sure the joke wasn't funny and forbidding me to tell Gramps he mentioned the beer.

Now every time my dad tells me how the medical staff admire his cards, I think of how much funnier it would have been if I had let Big Kid do it his way.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I Don't Think So

I was just reading this heart warming story about a mother bird who saves her babies, when I did a double take there near the end. Go read the article, I highlighted the important part.

This mama bird immediately senses the danger, comes up with the solution of puffing up her own body and using it as a dam so her nest doesn't get flooded but the daddy bird manages to feed everyone and gets credited with doing "most of the work"??

Only a man would think so.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Little Things

Here are the bunk beds we refinished for the boys. We got them off of Craigslist for $50 because they were trashed. I accidentally touched someone else's kid's boogers during the cleaning/painting process. The bulletin board was all scratched up, so I had Mr. Ashley cut out a piece of cardboard the same size and I stapled batting and retro rocket ship fabric and ribbon to it. The whole ordeal, with the bunk beds and the mattresses and the bedding, was barely $200. They don't get to keep my pear chair, I want to find them a small red Ikea-ish modern one.

Here is little kid sitting on his bed. He insisted that I take this photo. No, he's not wearing pants.

This is a dove who has made her nest above our back window, not knowing my record with "saved" baby animals. She sits there still as a statue on her eggs, and every day we all trek out to see what she's doing (nothing much).

My real camera has been sitting unused for way too long, so I finally recharged the battery and forced the kids into the backyard so I could take a couple of pictures after school today. This was the very first shot I took, and the closest thing to a good sibling shot we've had in a long time.


Well, the surgery went well today because they got the big tumor out, but it has unfortunately spread to his liver and is Stage 4. In my heart of hearts, I knew this. He seems a weird color to me and the tumor seems so big and some local organization has offered to pay for everything and his liver has been so badly abused to begin with--all of these things have had me suspecting that doctors might have known that things were pretty bad. The doctor did know for sure when he saw the CAT scan earlier this week, and told my dad right before surgery.

I'm not the professional, and maybe he had a good reason for doing so (sedation soon after?), but it breaks my heart to think of my dad so scared and upset right before major surgery. My dad's crushed reaction was worse than finally hearing the diagnosis.

My mom told me on my way to the hospital this morning, so hospital anxiety and the post-surgery consultation were pretty anti-climactic. The waiting room was nice and the volunteers were very nice and my mom and I can have a decent time pretty much anywhere, so the waiting wasn't bad. The hallways and elevators sucked big time, but my dad looked much better than I had expected and was coherent and not hooked up to too much stuff.

He was worried though and seeing that is hard. The doctor told him he had 2 to 3 years, and I told him that the same doctor told us he had patients just like him who were doing well at 5 years out and medical technology improves daily. And that it is just an average and an estimated guess, and that a lot of those people weren't eating and exercising, and that a lot of them are way older. I had read an informal study done by a doctor where he told some of his patients that they were doing really well and things were looking great, even if that wasn't necessarily the truth, and that they lived longer than people with an "expiration date". I don't think it can hurt, especially if that's what they want to hear.

So, it was sad. I am pretty much sadded out today, so we'll have some non-sad stuff coming up soon. Thank you very much for all of your well wishes and comments, it definitely brightened my day.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eve of Tomorrow

So, my dad's surgery is tomorrow morning.

I feel like we're heading into a situation where one day our befores and afters will be defined by what happens tomorrow. When we were hanging out on Memorial Day, I kept wondering, "Will this be the last 'normal' holiday we have? Are things about to be complete sickness and misery?"

It is nearly impossible for a pessimist who has a dad with a 7 inch tumor and 2 best friends whose fathers died of Cancer earlier this year to think positively in a situation like this.

It's also really unfortunate that he feels better than he has in 30 years and he's about to be sliced open, dissected and poisoned regularly. Sickness and misery seem inevitable, regardless of tomorrow's outcome.

I've talked to several other adult children of people who have had cancer and their tiredness/defeatedness (not a word, don't care), and empathy, and "sucks to be you and you don't even fully know it yet" shines through their advice, encouragement or consolation and gives me a glimpse of what's to come.

Also, although this should be the very least of my worries...I would rather ride a million escalators to a million post offices run by a million mean librarians than step even one foot in a hospital. Hospitals are the absolute pinnacle of anxiety-inducing situations for me. Even typing about it, the skin on my chest is burning and I can't breathe deeply and my hands are itchy. The thought of seeing my dad in one makes my heart hammer and my breath catch. I've been testing out that image in my mind for weeks now to try to acclimate myself to the idea, but it still makes my stomach flop every time I try to go there in my head.

I hate the smells, I hate the sounds, I hate seeing people in hospital beds, I hate tubes and machinery, I hate linoleum, I hate the awkwardness, I hate other people's discomfort or pain, I hate all of it. I have puked, fainted, hyperventilated and needed medical intervention while visiting others in the hospital. Most of the people I have visited in the hospital have died, and a lot of that happened when I was a child, so my anxiety has a really valid root but now is not the time for my craziness.

Oh, deep breaths. I guess immersion therapy starts tomorrow on that one. I will be okay.

I keep trying to think of things from my dad's point of view. I can't imagine facing your own mortality after something as earth-shattering as a cancer diagnosis. I made the mistake of watching the Farrah Fawcett documentary and keep thinking of how she said she would miss the rain. Man, I can't imagine facing that, or having someone trying to quantify your time left.

Well, this is depressing. I'm always torn on writing about this stuff because we mostly come here for fun, and because I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me, and because a little bit of me feels like if I don't commit it to type, it's not really happening--at least not "in here" in this fun, alternate little universe we have here. And sometimes I do avoid the tough stuff for as long as I can, but it would also be too hard to leave big gaps in the Ashley family saga or to try to act like all is well in Ashleyland.

So keep your fingers crossed for me tomorrow...I mean, my dad. All of us, I guess.

I'll keep you posted.

It was too quiet

I just found little kid in his room with nail scissors and a potato.

That could've been bad.

Good Morning

I went to bed at 6:30 last night and woke up at 7 this morning. It was great, and I could have slept longer.

I am very, very sick of driving Big Kid to and from school. Four more days and then I get to bitch about him being home for months.

I have more to discuss, but want to get ahead of schedule work-wise so I need to get to it.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I made the mistake of introducing my boys to the magic of Pee-Wee Herman. They freaking LOVED HIM from minute one. So I bought the first season on DVD (only $9 at, relieved that I found something they both liked and happy to relive the Saturday mornings of my childhood through them. Seemed like a great idea.

8 gazillion episodes of Pee-Wee's Playhouse later and I'm ready to stage a burglary of our Pee-Wee collection. This shit is intolerable. One episode per week, like the good old days, would be do-able but they can't stop at just one. The upside is that they sit there completely mesmerized and quiet, the downside is that Pee-Wee's voice will make an adult want to rupture their own ear drums with a rusty fishing hook within minutes.

I've been reading like crazy to keep my anxiety at bay (my dad's surgery is Thursday) and I finished Geek Love today and got Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and can't wait to get started on it. Geek Love was exactly what I needed--it was very weird, a little too "out there" at moments, but engaging, quick and enjoyable to read. I hope I fall in love with Outlander because I'm excited by the sheer size of it. I need a good, long book to get lost in.

I just remembered that I never finished our Amazon list of closet reader recommendations--I will do that. Mostly for myself, but I'll share it too. You all have interesting taste.

Tattle tale

The other night little kid came running out of the boys' room and said, "um, um, um Bubby um, ake oys and fow em down and bang bang bang! He did," with a serious look on his face.

"Well, that's not cool. Go play," I replied, having no idea what he said.

Big Kid came stomping in behind him.

"Did you telled on me? Did you telled on me, little kid? Did you?"


"You didn't dare telled on me. You didn't dare. Mom, did he?"

"What would he have told on you for?"

"Like, doin' somefing bad. Did he?"

"What do you think he would have tattled about?"

"Maybe he said I frew toys down da bunk bed ladder. But I didn't. I did not."

"Okay, go play."

"Fine! I did it. I frew da toys down da ladder!"

"Okay, I appreciate your honesty. Go play."

"I din't want you to be mad, so I said I din't do it but I did!" he yelled as he burst out crying.

"Okay, good job on telling the truth. It's fine. Go play."

"I'm sooooorrrrryyyyy! I did it! I frew da toys down but I was afraid you'd be mad! I'm sorry, mom!"

"Look, it is okay. You told the truth. I am not worried about it. NOW GO PLAY."

"I didn't want you to be mad!"


"I fink you're mad."

"If you don't go play right now, I'm going to be mad."

"little kid, I can't even believe you tode on me."

"Sorry bubby."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Parenting Tip

I've convinced little kid that if he's ever home alone, monsters will come get him.

Monsters will never bother a child as long as a grown-up is around, but if he were ever home alone, or if he ever left our yard by himself, a monster would probably get him.

This has worked out well because now if he protests when I tell him to get his shoes on, I ask him if he wants me to leave him at home for the monsters and he usually goes and gets his shoes immediately. The few times he's tried to test me by saying he'd stay home, I told him okay and wished him luck with the monsters as I got the keys and walked out the door.

He rushes right out and grabs my hand, perfectly happy to get into the car.

Parenting experts would probably say this is "wrong", but I don't see them lining up to babysit or help out any, so they can stuff it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Letting Go

Big Kid just came up to me with a piece of paper and said, "I need you to make a big, colorful sign dat says "Come back Fluffy!" all in capital letters, big 'nuff for a butterfly to read."

Worn out and reluctant to believe we were still stuck on the butterfly release, I sighed.

"Big Kid, Fluffy is out there living a wonderful butterfly life. Tasting different flowers, meeting new friends, maybe having a family, flying around and seeing the world. You did the right thing by letting her go."

"It doesn't feel like da right fing!" he burst out, sobbing. "I want her back! It feels like a boring old fing now, I wish I had never done it. She was mine. I miss her so bad."

"I'm sorry, babe. I really am. It's a fact of life though. If you kept her as a pet, she would have died young, because butterflies have to live butterfly lives. She would have had a sad, short life just so you could keep her. But by letting her go, she gets to go be what she was meant to be."

More sobbing. "It's not right. It's dest not fair. She's not happy. She has no idea where I am. We don't live by my school. She'll never find us."

I then had to explain that life wasn't fair and point out that it was bed time, which led to even more crying and complaining.

Who knew Fluffy made such an impact? I feel bad for him but damn, enough is enough. I don't really know what else to say or do about it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I Need a Book

I finally finished my Marie Antoinette book (Abundance). It was good.

Now I need a new book, but I need a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good book. It has been super hard for me to get into books lately, so I need your very best recommendations.

I started to make a list of what I've read and liked but it's too long. I have probably read everything Tudor/King Henry related out there, so let's skip that unless you know of something new and interesting. Also, not a big fan of chick lit, and I have an almost-aversion to the Twilight series. I really like historical fiction, but also like Stephen King/Dean Koontz sort of stuff (when they don't wuss out on the endings and go all weird). My favorite authors are John Steinbeck, Margaret George, and Wally Lamb. I liked a lot of the older Oprah's book club stuff, but haven't followed that much recently.

It doesn't have to be amazing literature or anything, just something engaging and/or compelling. I know one of you can steer me in the right direction.


We all know that I think Big Kid's a genius. The stuff he knows is unbelievable and the way he thinks is really interesting/unusual.

His memory is out of this world. They count their school days, and he can tell you what number school day almost any event happened. Miranda's birthday? 34th day of school. On the 86th day of school, Gabrielle made Kency cry. He was on warning watch the 104th day of school...and so on and so forth.

Add that parlor trick to the long list of saying the alphabet backwards, practicing geography on the weekends, adding columns of numbers for fun, and making up word scrambles for me in his head and it is pretty obvious that he thinks differently.

What completely baffles me, however, is his complete and total inability to figure out underwear.

Underwear. Not a tough concept, we wear it every day, under our clothing, one leg per hole, tag in the back.

Not Big Kid. If I toss a pair of inside-out undies to Big Kid, he balls them up, scrutinizes them, stretches them out, twists them into a rope shape, and will spend ten frustrated minutes trying to figure out how to turn them right side out and get the tag in the back.

If I leave them laid out with his school clothes, he forgets to put them on. He genuinely seems to forget too, he seems as surprised as I am when I bring his lack of underwear to his attention.

If I hand them to him, right-side out and tag in the back, he'll put two legs in one hole.


Most mornings it is comical, but sometimes it gets frustrating because it seems like something he should easily be able to master. Every morning we go through it and he gets pissed if I show any sign of exasperation.

Socks also baffle him. We even bought him the type with gray soles...he still puts them on upside down 9 times out of 10.

So, if you want your desktop background and icons customized, he's your man. Just don't expect him to be wearing socks or underwear when he does it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bad Ideas

I had a migraine all weekend long, and was busy trying to find the cure for cancer, and it has made me a very boring blogger. Sorry about that.

Despite my growing headache on Saturday morning, I was nice enough to take the kids to the Orchestra thing Big Kid loves so much.

Although both kids were excellent and enjoyed themselves, the last fucking thing you want to hear while you're coming down with a migraine is a tuba. A TUBA.

That's not even the worst part. We walked in and got situated on our little carpet mats on the floor and moments later I notice this grandma frantically wiping her 3 year old grandson down with wet wipes. An usher comes over and I hear the old lady say that her grandson had yogurt with strawberries on top before leaving the house, and he had just coughed a little up.

Um, no. Three year olds generally don't spit up. When people cough, stuff doesn't normally come out. His pants and sock were stained red. Homeboy puked. For sure.

I prayed that the usher would somehow deal with it, but I guess she believed the coughing story. The show was starting right then and moving would only cause a commotion and I knew Big Kid would freak if he knew there was puke in the room, so I was stuck there.

Then, the freaking tuba starts playing and the poor little puke boy presses his face into his grandma's chest. She overly-cheerfully told him not to be scared, it's just the tuba! as she pulled him away and forced him to clap. He was pale and listless...kid was sick! Sorry you just dropped $24, lady, but it's time to call it a day and go home. But nooooo, I had to sit three carpet mats away and smell the tangy scent of kid puke as my ears were assaulted by the brass section.


At least my kids had fun.

Sunday we finished painting the bunk beds, and I made a french bulletin board (the kind with fabric and ribbon) for the desk section and we set them up in the boys' room. It looks really good, I'll post before and after pics one of these days. I swear.

That's my exciting weekend in a nut shell. I feel like I accomplished a lot for feeling so cruddy.

Today, Big Kid had an emotional breakdown after school because he had released his butterfly (Fluffy) that he raised in class and was holding his sadness in all day long about it. It was sad and sweet and a little bit funny, there was probably some blogging gold in there, but after 40 minutes of hearing him cry about it (and my head still hurt), I was sorry he had ever met Fluffy the Butterfly.

I mean, I felt for him and all...but only for about the first 20 minutes.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blah Blah Blah

I wish I had something brilliantly witty and funny to say today, but I am just unbelievably drained. I feel so tired. It makes this whole motherhood gig so impossible, I could really use a personal day.

I went to bed really early last night but had one scary, bizarre dream after the other and woke up covered in sweat and freezing every few hours.

I'm going to slap some links up so I don't feel too bad about not posting yesterday, and let's hope some energy and inspiration strike me later in the day:

Awesome 3D chalk guy
Do it yourself elephant
Van Gogh probably didn't cut off his own ear
Map of a cat's brain
Broken Picture Telephone game
Helen Keller on Twitter
The worst mistake
In 1918, 18,000 Iowa National Guard members made a statue of liberty out of themselves
Funny dumbass
Bone church made of plague victim skeletons

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Squeeze Me

I have a t-shirt that I got years (and years) ago off of the American Eagle clearance rack. It is green and has a yellow lemon slice on the front and says "Squeeze me".

Totally fruity, especially for my present age and status. It is super comfortable though and fits well, so I do wear it around the house or if we're running to the park, or somewhere I won't be seen.

So, on Mother's Day Big Kid presents me with an envelope full of sweet stuff he made for me at school. One of the items was a picture he had drawn of him and I. He's wearing his sketchers and I'm wearing flip flops, he's wearing his favorite blue shirt and I'm wearing...the Squeeze Me shirt.

He wrote "Squeez Me" across my chest.


He was so proud of himself.

His teacher must think I am a total freak.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A trip to the book store

I kept Big Kid home from school today because he has a runny nose.

He's convinced he has Swine Flu. When Mr. Ashley told him it probably wasn't, he said that it felt like Swine Flu to him and he didn't know what else it could be. I don't know what I was thinking when I told him about Swine Flu.

I needed to run out to the book store to get a couple of cancer books, so we went to the Books a Million down the street, with strict instructions not to ask me to buy them anything and bribery for good behavior.

It is a very fancy, brand new, two story Books a Million. I have a major escalator phobia, but decided to go ahead and get on it because the kids were curious about it and I don't want them to feel scared of escalators. On the way up, we were fine. Big Kid went on ahead of me, stood still with his hand on the handrail and his feet in the middle. I held little kid's hand and we shared a step. Big Kid was a little nervous when it was time to dismount, but he did it (with a leap).

Soon enough, it was time to go down. Big Kid told me he felt scared and I told him not to be silly (I felt scared too). With two books in one hand, I told him to take my hand and I'd tell him when to step and then I'd let go and get on behind him with little kid.

He panicked and walked right on, which was fine, he was safely on a step. So I went to let go of his hand and he got scared and wouldn't let me go. I couldn't just walk onto the escalator because little kid was standing by my side and I didn't have a hand to get him. It was a miniature Sophie's Choice moment there on the stairs as Big Kid traveled away from me. I tried harder to get him to let go of me and he lifted his feet off of the steps, basically forcing me to drag him up 4 growing stairs or tumble down the escalator myself. It was a slow-mo sort of moment for me, but I guarantee there was shrieking and yelling involved. People were staring.

Feet finally on firm ground again, he said, "I'm never goin' on a escalator ever again. Never." I tried to assure him that he was fine, he just got confused which was common for new escalator users, and that for now we'd go on the elevator (which are 2nd to escalators on my list of general fears). We boarded the elevator and I could tell he was embarrassed, so I was trying to explain how the whole situation had been my fault and how no one even noticed.

That is when little kid pressed the alarm button.

There was more shrieking and yelling. We rode the rest of the way down in tense silence and when the doors opened, people were staring.

All of that for two books. It is always an adventure.

Next time we'll take the stairs.

Dear Tangerine,

If I find a log of cat puke on my side of the bed at 2am with my foot, I would advise you not to stand on the nightstand at 6:50am and MEOW, MEOW, MEOW in an attempt to convince me to wake up and turn the faucet on for you so that you can have a morning drink.

I don't love you that much.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Hard to Write

So, I had a nice Mother's Day. I got a new bike on Saturday and I've been riding it every day. It is an aqua blue beach cruiser and I love it.

We had dinner over here at my house. Usually we do it at my parents' house so this was different, but we had my mom and dad and my brother and his girlfriend over and had a great dinner and played Wii and stuff. My brother and his girlfriend's baby is due in August and she's adorably pregnant right now.

It was extra nice to spend the day together as a family because on Friday my dad was diagnosed with colon cancer. I think we all spent the first 24 hours in total shock and were ready for a little discussion about it on Sunday, which was good. It is really scary. Especially this waiting period of knowing something bad is going on, but not knowing how bad until he has surgery next week.

Ugh. I have a lot to say about the whole thing, but I just don't even want to. It is hard to see your dad as a vulnerable human. I remember the first time I saw my dad cry, in the limo after my grandfather's funeral, and being stunned as a little kid that my dad could cry like that. Seeing that he was scared yesterday (who wouldn't be?) brings back that same scared, confused feeling that things are not as they should be.

I'm really impressed with his strength and determination though. After 30 years of being an alcoholic, he quit completely one day about two months ago once he realized the symptoms of whatever was going on with him had the potential to be serious. He started eating nothing but fruits, vegetables and white meat and drinks a gallon+ of water a day. My mom and him strap on their matching walking shoes and their pedometers and walk around the mall every day. He does 4 miles around the mall and then uses Sears' Ab Lounger (uh no, I'm not kidding). He's been reading a ton of books on nutrition and health and is a household food nazi. He's also been enjoying life more and fishing down at the city pier. He's like a totally different person. My mom, my brother and I have been amazed and amused at this immediate transformation.

He was feeling a lot better and we were hoping his change of lifestyle had cured or helped whatever it was. He has no insurance and had to wait to get a colonoscopy since no one would take him without payment up front. He finally ended up getting help through a local clinic.

So, my anxiety level is at 110% today. Mr. Ashley took a personal day because he wanted to go be "library dad", but I think he was giving me an excuse to take a Valium and hibernate under my comforter if I wanted, which could certainly happen later today. That was nice of him.

A new anxiety symptom of mine is that my hands itch badly (this is far better than full on panic attacks). I have scrubbed them so much with body scrub that the suspected age spot that was growing on me has disappeared. Sometimes I'll be okay for a minute and resolved to live a happy life and take everything a day at a time, but then other times I have to remind myself to breathe. I think I'll feel better once I have some sort of idea about what's going on.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Poop Bomb Update

Lots of discussion about the poop bomb, so I thought I should update.

Mr. Ashley is the one who picked the poop bomb up and he said it wasn't big enough to be Lily poop and not small enough to be Murphy poop. Also, there's a new space between two trees in the back hedges--I think our backyard neighbor leaned through and tossed the bag into the yard. They threw it where I would normally suspect the next door neighbors, but they have a very big dog, and she's a teacher and they have older kids and seem nice, and I think it would have hit the orange tree and fallen elsewhere if it came from that side. The trajectory path seems more likely for the backyard neighbors, especially with the new space in the bushes.

So all signs point to the owners of the fat Cocker Spaniel and it may not even be related to any issues relating to our dog's poop, since it doesn't appear to be our dog poop that they threw into our yard, they might just hate us since our dogs bark at each other whenever they are out at the same time and our kids are loud. The last renters here were non-pet owning Mormons with one small daughter and a I'm sure we really suck compare to them.

The only logical recourse is to use the potato cannon (yes we have one, don't ask) to launch cat turds into their unscreened pool.

It's unfortunate that it has come to this so soon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hey Neighbor

I just found a bright orange bag full of dog crap in the middle of my backyard.

I'm extremely disturbed by that, because the only logical conclusion is that one of my neighbors threw it over the hedges and into my yard.

I'm guessing maybe Murphy pooped in someone's yard when he broke his collar and got loose the other day? Still, is this the neighborly way to handle this? My dogs have escaped maybe 3-4 times, and have been caught within moments because the whole backyard can be seen from windows and I check them every couple of minutes when they're tied up outside.

It's not like I'm encouraging my dogs to shit on people's lawns and this is an ongoing problem with us.

I'm a little weirded out by the whole thing.

Is it Mother's Day Yet?

I justified sending little kid to day care today so that I could clean the house after I finished working (and so that we could avoid the cost of bailing me out of jail for child abuse because it has been a long week with him).

But now that I'm just about finished with work, that whole "cleaning the house" thing sounds pretty sucky.

I'd rather just sit around and wander around the internet and what not. This abandoned cemetery looks like it has interesting online research potential. I could also read my book. Or watch a movie. Or just enjoy the peace and quiet (without mopping).

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lock Up

little kid is in solitary confinement again after throwing an entire roll of toilet paper into a poopy toilet (guess who got to get it out?). This was right after dumping the clean laundry baskets out onto the floor. Yesterday he removed the shower drain cover and threw a small cowboy down there, completely disabling that shower until a plumber can be called or Mr. Ashley can find a tool that will reach it.

He is in big trouble. He is mostly in there for his own safety at this point.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It Hurts

I've stopped turning the kid's shows on in the morning because Big Kid falls into a television trance and takes forever to eat breakfast. Instead, I've been turning the Symphony music channel on.

Big Kid loves this and I don't mind it at all. It makes for a pleasant morning.

Or it would. If little kid didn't live here.

Orchestra music is to little kid as church hymns are to people possessed by Satan.

He spends most of the morning whining, covering his ears, trying to find the remote or reach the television buttons, and complaining of head and back aches "'cuz 'at music hurts! I wanna watch Batman movie!" I never give into him, but he never stops trying.

It makes for a really relaxing morning.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dear PTA,

There's really no nice way to say this, so I'm going to come right out with it.

The last thing (and I mean the very last thing) I want after volunteering at the school all year is a volunteer appreciation breakfast on a Friday morning at 7:30am.

The thought is there, but I really cannot imagine how a room full of moms decided "You know what they would like for volunteering their time? To wake up an hour plus earlier to come have school cafeteria breakfast! Yeah!"


Big Kid says he made me a place mat and he's been singing some volunteer song, and he really wants me to go. Man, isn't volunteering every Monday for a whole school year enough??

I appreciate the thought of the appreciation, and I will cherish the place mat. We just don't need to go as far as breakfast. A card signed by the class would be 4000x cooler than 7:30am school cafeteria breakfast.

Thank you anyway,

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Boys

Because I'm on a roll with pictures today, here's a recent one of both boys. They both look like total goons, but that's pretty much standard on all sibling pictures at this age. It's a small miracle just to have them both standing up and looking in the same direction.


I see that little kid's sweet, happy face is making some of you doubt his capability for sheer evil.

Have no doubt, he will annoy the ever living crap out of you on purpose and/or destroy things with that same sweet, happy smile on his face. You have to keep loving him because he is so funny and affectionate, and he knows this, so he does whatever he wants. All day long.

These pictures are from when he decided to "shave" (with a fake razor, thankfully). That first picture...that is a face that knows he is doing wrong.

Yesterday I was surprised to find him in my bedroom, with that same face on. He was wrapped up eskimo-style in my white sheets and down comforter. He's not really allowed in my room and something didn't look quite right. He looked wet, and kind of dirty.

Upon closer examination, he had pumped all of my tinted moisturizer out and rubbed it all over his chest and belly, and then rolled himself up in my clean, white bed linens.

It wasn't funny. It really wasn't.

Cowboys Everywhere

little kid thinks our lawn is maintained by a fleet of cowboys.

I've tried to tell him that they're really Mexicans in straw hats, but he will hear none of it. "Dat cowboys, mumum! Look at his hat!" he shouts as he runs window to window to watch them, beaming with admiration.

The other day we were at the community center unsuccessfully trying to get a beach parking permit, when he squealed, "It's a cowboy choppin' down a tree! You get it, dude! Yeah!" at the sight of another landscaper in a straw hat, pruning a palm tree.

To him, they're not just cutting the grass, they are tractor-riding, chainsaw-wielding heroes who deserve our applause and encouragement.