Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How It Went With HER

So, my dad's on-again-off-again girlfriend or whatever the hell she is?

Yeah, we saw her.

On our first morning there, we went over to Kiner's house (where my dad "lives"), and I brought food to make breakfast for everyone. It was Kiner, Seester, my dad, and our family. We hung out for the morning, and then my dad had to head to the fair to work the booth for his company.

At the very last second, he asked Kate and Joan if they wanted to go with him. Around noon, they all loaded up, and off they went to spend the afternoon goofing off "working the booth" with my dad at the fair. We agreed to meet him there at 4pm.

When we arrived, it was just my dad and the girls. We went to finish up the last of their ride tickets, when suddenly I look over and there she stood. I almost gasped, as I had no idea she was going to be there, much less RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

She never greeted me directly, but kept trying to insert herself into my conversations and catch my eye. Shock took over, so I basically (as politely as possible) ignored her.

She had her camera, and every time I took a photo, she took a photo. Of MY kid(s). Is that weird to you? It was weird to me.

A few days later, we met my dad to go hiking. Oh, man, was I wishing on a prayer that she wouldn't be tagging along. That hike is... well, it's special to our family, and I simply didn't want it tainted. Luckily, she didn't show up. WHEW!

After our hike, we decided to go to a great nearby restaurant in Rockerville. I thought I saw my dad slink away at one point, so I suspected he was letting her know our dinner plans. Sure enough, once again, she appeared. I sat as far from her as possible, and didn't directly talk to her, but quietly tolerated her presence.

If she had been on that hike? She would have inserted herself into ALL of these photos. Blick.

The main reason I didn't go out of my way to talk to her is that I'm terrified of her. Specifically, I think she's CRAZY, but also I was concerned that she would want to hug me and/or take me aside to "have a little talk" with me and/or go into some elaborate "apology" that would end up forcing me to feel like I need to also apologize and/or something. Since I have vowed to never allow myself to be alone with her (I honestly need witnesses, or she gets all crazy in how she tells the story), I didn't want to face that situation.

Also? I don't need to apologize. Honestly, if my behavior warranted it I WOULD, but... well. It didn't. I don't.

(Luckily she didn't try to do any of those things.)

On our last morning there, we met my dad, Seester, and Kiner for breakfast. It was a Sunday morning, but I was still holding out hope that she wouldn't be there. No such luck. In fact, at one point when Marin was opening an early birthday present from my dad, she nearly did a swan dive over the table, in order to jump in the photo.

Seconds after I took this photo, she positioned herself- standing- behind Marin (mostly with her arms wrapped AROUND Marin) for the remainder of the breakfast. True story. Standing, you guys. STANDING.

I put my camera away.

The most important thing for me is having a relationship with my dad. If he chooses to be with her, than I will respect that in order to spend time with him. I cannot- and do not want to*- tell him who to date, and I don't want to make him choose between her and spending time with us.

*Ok, maybe I want to tell him who to date, just a little bit.

All in all, I think it went as smoothly as it could have (save for if I didn't have to see her at all). I can tolerate her presence, but I still don't trust her. When she's around, she's like... static. Annoying, but easily ignored. That sounds super rude, but. Well. There you have it.

And? I wish she wouldn't smother my kids so much.

Double blick.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Knowing a Place

One thing that I have done, in regards to my "other home", is to try to foster a love for that place in my girls. Well, and husband.

True story- the first time I took David to the Black Hills with me, we stepped out of the car, and I said "Mmmmmm. Doesn't that smell heavenly?", and he said ".... I don't smell anything." He didn't know it at the time, but I've never been so close to dumping his ass as I was in that moment.

Because? The air there smells heavenly.

He's come a long way since that time, and while I doubt he'll ever have the same emotional connection to that place as I do, he at least has acknowledged that it's special. He even regularly comments on how great the air smells.

(Smart ass.)

(Everyone assembling at the base of the mountain before the hike.)

I started visiting the Hills as a small child, before we moved there when I was 14. By 6th grade, when I spent my first week in the Black Hills for church camp, I was totally, hopelessly in love.

So while David might be a completely hopeless (and sarcastic) case, I think there's a chance that my daughters will come to love the Black Hills like I do. One of things we've done as a family is go on the same hike every summer.

(Water break! As the girls say, "We always stop at this rock for a water break." Yeah, this rock and about 5930 other places, too.)

Since Kate and Joan have been doing this hike so many summers in a row, the trail is very familiar to them. They point out spots we've stopped before, or recall how this or that happened last year at this spot, etc.

(Marin, feeling victory at reaching the summit.)

"No, Mom, we're going the wrong way! Remember last year we did that too? That tree is the top of the other side. We have to go this way."

They forge ahead, confident, leading the way, the way only someone familiar with a place can do.

(You really can see for miles and miles and miles.)

When we reach the top, they are quiet, taking it in, at least for the first few minutes. We eat a lunch or snack, and take some photos, and muse over how far we can see. It's our special place.

(This year, we ran into a group of teenage boys, so we got a photo of our whole group. Besides, our family, there's my brother Kiner, Seester, my dad, and his beastly dog Chuck.)

I realized this year that by having this tradition, I've given my daughters a small piece of the Black Hills. They have ownership over this place. And memories. History.

And really knowing a place is a good feeling.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Being in the Black Hills this week has me pondering the definition of "home".

"Home is where the heart is."

"Home is wherever my loved ones are. As long as I have them, I am home."

Etc, etc. We've all heard those types of sayings so many times that we hardly even hear them- really hear them- any more.

For all intents and purposes, my home is in Minnesota. I've lived there since 1994, minus several summers during college. I've married a Minnesota native, we've been together for 11 1/2 years, we've purchased a house and own a business and given birth to three children in Minnesota. I've gone from really loathing Tiny Town to really loving Tiny Town. We have good people in our lives there- healthy, kind, supportive people- and we've created a community of friends beyond what I ever pictured.

And yet.

As soon as I start to see the outline of black against the horizon- those millions of Ponderosa Pines that give this area it's name; those Black Hills- something starts pulling at my heart strings. I have an emotional connection to this place that transcends any other place I've been or lived.

Now that I've been gone for so many years, I can see the flaws of this place; I have enough objectivity to see which parts of living here I'm romanticizing and which parts are truly awesome. But lists upon lists of FACTS of why living here would be a) impossible b) not that awesome and c) often downright miserable (see also: family drama), even the most rational and logical thoughts cannot make that ache in my chest fade.

I love it here.

This place is my home.

Yes, my home is also where my babies are. Where we've put down our roots and created a great life. It is, in fact, a life that I love. We are happy. I am happy. We are raising our kids exactly as I always dreamed of raising my kids, in an environment that is nearly idyllic.

But I think home is also knowing a place- forwards and backwards, the goods and the bads. It's knowing the back roads and the off-the-beaten-path ways; it's driving by a place and having a memory; it's the smells and the sounds and the happiness you feel smelling and hearing them.

It's the way the air feels on your skin after the sun goes down. It's the familiar act grabbing a sweatshirt when the thermometer says 102 degrees, because you know you'll need it later.

It's the curvy roads that you can drive a little too fast on because your body still has a cellular memory of them. It's the way you can still easily pick out the tourists from the locals; the way you still consider yourself a local.

I'm not sure exactly why I have such a strong emotional connection to this place. But I am truly, hopelessly, endlessly bewitched.

Visiting is bittersweet. I can't help but having several heart-quickening moments every day where I imagine us- really imagine us- moving here.

Moving home.

Yes, this is home. And yet tomorrow we will drive 550 miles back to the place that we live. A place that is also our home.

As I type this a thunderstorm is rolling in, and the pine trees smell wet and fragrant, and I have goosebumps. This smell? I think it even tops "newborn baby head" smell.

Monday, August 23, 2010


550 miles, ONE stop (bow now, for yes, we are rock stars), 3 kids, 1 cat, 107 degree reading on our car thermometer, 1 barfing incident (albeit minor and brief, thank you jebus), and we are here!

We're here, we're here, and we're contemplating our Clipboard of Fun. We're also musing about the "dry heat" (go ahead, punch me in the face, but it IS so very different that our humidity at home) (and by "different" I do mean "doesn't feel as hot") (as I said, feel free to punch me now), checking out my mom's houseful of toys, and sleeping in. Well, that last one only David is doing.

More soon!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Camping Trip

What do you get when you cross 12 adults, 14 kids, 7 tents, dozens of lawn chairs, a fire, mud, at least 6 coolers, and a guitar?

Joan helping Marin get ready to leave. (I love both this photo and how helpful my older girls are these days!)

It was a "walk-in" site, meaning we couldn't pull our van up and unload. Thankfully they provided these handy carts.

The kids could not be kept away from the fire. Here they are "roasting sticks".

I was just saying how I wish I had a friend who would play the guitar while we sat around the fire. And then TWO friends appeared out of the woodwork, with their guitars. HEAVEN!

This is a pretty accurate slice of typical camping life. Chaos and community...

All of the kids, minus one.

A camping trip to a group site, that's what!

So, we think a new yearly tradition has been born. Much like our traditional Father's Day camping trip, I think this group will (try to) get together each summer to go camping.

I think out of mostly sheer dumb luck, we've always been able to take our children camping without a problem, even when they were infants. The first camping trip we went on as parents, our twins were 5 months old, and we camped in a tent for a week. And it was awesome!

I think the camping is a wonderful way allow children the joys of being free in nature, much like many of us experienced during our childhoods. I may not let my children roam as far and as freely as I was allowed to roam my neighborhood, but when we camp, they are given a taste of that experience.

(Erm, not that we allow them to head off into the woods unattended. NOT SO. But they do get to get dirty and catch bugs and draw with sticks and go on hikes and hear forest sounds and smell nature smells... you get the idea...)

I was going to leave you a few tips for camping with kids, but then I realized I've already done that, and I'm quite happy with that list. The only tip I would add is this:

-Keep your camping supplies in plastic totes that close tightly. This will keep the rain out while camping. Also, when you get home, resupply the totes (garbage bags, toilet paper, and paper towels are things that get used up) and stick the totes on a shelf for next time. You wouldn't BELIEVE how much simpler it is to pack for camping if all the gear is kept in one place, ready to go.

You would think that camping with 14 children under age 8 would be sheer hell, and I wouldn't blame you for assuming that. But I swear to you- pinky swear, even- that it goes very smoothly. The kids kind of take on a "pack mentality" and find things to play with (sticks! caterpillars! mud!) and basically wear themselves into a exhausted, happy state... Many of us even got a decent night's sleep, if you can believe it.

Have you taken your kids camping? Any other tips?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My kids still have 3 weeks left before they start school, and I am so grateful! It seems like so much of the country is already back in school. We? are going to soak up these last dog days of summer.

This weeks should be filed under the "wha?" column, as so many little things are going on that I'm distracted enough to not have a CLUE as to the date, or day of the week, or time. One foot in front of the other, that's how it's rolling this week.

Our good friends moved (booo), but then Ruthie and her youngest (actually, her foster child) stayed here until yesterday. Ruthie had to work, and she had yet to find out if she could take her foster child out of state with her. This morning her 8 year old son started 3rd grade, so she really wanted to be there for that, ya know? However, she didn't know until YESTERDAY at 4:30pm if she could take her youngest with her. (She can, for now. It's still going to be a long process.)

It was so cozy and nice having them here. They were busy- she was working; he was at daycare- so I didn't need to entertain them. But then, late afternoon, she'd show up, and chop vegetables with me for dinner, or give Marin her after-nap cuddles, or crack open a beer. We'd make dinner and visit and pet the children if they wandered by.

Anyway, it was really nice and natural, yet hard to be too sad about the fact that she was moving since the bigger issue was obviously the foster situation. I mean, boo-hoo my friends are moving versus HOLY FUCK what's going to happen with this sweet 3 year old... hardly any competition, ya know?

Meanwhile, Kate and Joan are in a community play and have spent all week at rehearsals. Every morning one or the other has said "I can't WAIT for play practice today", and man if you haven't seen your kid doing something she really really loves... SIGH. These girls are getting so big, and I can sincerely say that I'm... honored, I guess, is the word... to witness them unfolding into more advanced versions of themselves.

It's a good think they love the play, because we planned our trip to Rapid City around it. The performances are on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, so we won't be leaving until Sunday. Without the play, we would have jetted out of time sometime Friday, probably. I'm excited to see my family and visit my beloved Black Hills... but you can imagine after the Christmas Issues, I'm also slightly nervous and gun-shy.

Well, but we're going to have fun and ignore any drama/bullshit that gets flung our way. That's my sincere plan.

So that's basically it in a nutshell. It sure doesn't *sound* like a "whirlwind" when I see it all typed out. I think, perhaps, it's more of an emotional shitstorm than anything. Sad friends are leaving, worried about their foster child, relieved and lightened to know he can go with them, overcome with thoughts of them not being near anymore, pride in watching my daughters being so grown up, brain-buzzing with all of the packing/travel to-do lists, heart-swelling catching glimpses of the girls on stage performing, Nervous Tummy thinking about seeing my dad's girlfriend (or whatever she is, as they've "broken up but not really" kind of thing), bummed watching another summer slip through our fingers, shivers of anticipation thinking of cool fall weather and apples and clogs and sweaters, excited for our upcoming vacation...

I'm trying to give each emotion it's own little slot on a time card, so each can be felt and tended to with due-diligence. Still, it's hard to not let the all coming running at me at once.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Family Photo!

Check it out. This past weekend, the planets aligned just so, and somehow- some miraculous, undefined force- allowed all five member of my family to be photographed. In one frame. Without anyone looking pained, grumpy, or passive-aggressively putting her hand over her face (ahemKATEahem).

Sure, the photo was taken while we were camping, thus ensuring that my hair is dirty, and the girls' faces are dirty, and THANK GOD YOU CAN'T SEE THEIR FINGER NAILS IN THE PHOTO, etc. (See also: the girls' feet, OMG).

Man, I love my family.

****Edited to add: Heretofore, this was the best family photo we've taken this summer:

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Rest of the Story


(Back story here and here and here. Oh, my.)

Here's a photo of Coco last moments with our family, before she found "a new home". (AHEM. Please do not blow my cover with the girls, brick-n-mortar peeps.) (Yeah, yeah, I'm likely to do that ALL BY MYSELF, I know.)

It took Joan and I a frustrating and sweaty amount of time just to catch the little wench to put her in her pet taxi. By then end of the ordeal, I was sweating and bleeding (from claw AND teeth scratches), and feeling rather DONE with this animal, as you can imagine. But then Kate (oh, Kate) got all sentimental and wanted a photo with her.

Well, I'll be DAMNED if we're removing her hissing self from that pet taxi, so this was the best we could do:

She was hissing as I snapped this, in fact.

I'm so sorry, Coco, that you were so miserable and that we failed you. And thanks for throwing me a bone with your rotten behavior.... it really did make things a teensy bit easier.

Land line:

Our cordless phone system is dying a slow, one-phone-at-a-time death, and rather than cough up money for more phones, we decided to cancel our land line. It was costing us $40/month, plus long distance. Since both David and I have cell phones, we decided it was unnecessary to pay for three phones every month.

Still, I was worried about what to do if the girls needed to make a phone call. David, boy-wizard, solved that problem by allowing the phone system at his office to have an extension ring in our home. We'll use our land line less now, and we'll still have the dying-cordless-phone issue, but at least our kids can call out if needed. He's so smart. (And it's free.)

The Tired and The Crazy:

Last winter I wrote a lot about being tired all the time and my decision of going off zoloft. (Here and here, for example.)

The tired has been much MUCH better since the seasons changed. I really need to consider SAD and how that's affecting my moods and energy. I still sliiiiightly anemic, but that's improved too. All around? I feel so much more "normal".

My decision to go off of zoloft was absolutely the right one for me. I feel fine, emotionally, for the most part. If I ever need to go back on something like that, I'm absolutely open to it, but for now I'm enjoying being med-free.

Anxious Kate:

Remember that trying little season we had with our darling Kate last spring? Well, this summer she has been fantastic. She's completely back to her old self, anxious-free, relaxed, happy. She's easy to get along with and cuddly. She talks about 2nd grade and school starting easily, without any worry in her voice.

I was so damn relieved for the school year to be over and for my daughter to be back to normal.


(There's always a however, isn't there?)

I got the letter in the mail today of class assignments, and Kate had a DIFFERENT TEACHER than the one she met last spring and has been planning on.

Needless to say, I have a brief hour of panic while I waited for the school to sort it out. We have a new principal this year, and he was very nice, and I explained that Kate already met her teacher and that she wasn't a child that could switch gears easily, and Kate is back in her original class.


(Oh, thank god.)

Finally, our friends are moving:

I can offer up one small tidbit of advice: if you are blue about your friends leaving, making them a photo book of memories of your families together will be hard. And sad. And somewhat therapeutic, yes.

We have photos of our kids dating back to 2004, and I've spent hours upon hours going through them all, uploading them, and making that damned book. I ordered one for our kids too.

We took this photo this morning, as I needed something for the back cover of the book.

I do miss them already.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hats... and Mittens. Huh?

It's been really hot and humid here. Like, steamy.

(As it has been everywhere else in the country, yes. I realize we are not experiencing a unique phenomena.)

However, my "must be outside all the time, no matter what" girls have changed their tactic.

They not only have been playing inside. They've been dressing up in their winter dresses, hats, coats, and mittens, and playing "snow storm".

They even requested hot chocolate for a snack. (They ended up with chocolate milk in a mug to pretend it was hot chocolate.)

(Marin's sad face was fake... she was pretending to be a "sad baby".)
(Also, these new hats are part of what inspired the game, I believe.)

While I'm not at all craving winter, I'm sorta thinking fall sounds crisp and wonderful about now. Not that I'll ever admit to that again. Fall's biggest downfall is obviously that it precedes WINTER.

Despite the sticky miserable weather, the garden produce right now? Like no other, any time of year. Which means, summer is still my favorite.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Food Fights

The Girls Who Wouldn't Eat

Once upon a time, there were three little girls that were extremely picky eaters.

Like, E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y picky.

Their sweet, educated, smart, funny mother knew better than to make An Issue of it, so she she fixed them healthy meals and tried not to get her feelings hurt when they whined, complained, and usually flat-out refused everything, save for the six or so "approved food items".

("Approved items" included apples, cheese, bread, grapes, and candy. Oops, only five items were on the list.)

Their sweet, educated, smart, funny mother knew how difficult The Food Issue could be, and was very nervous about Doing Something that might, in the future, cause Catastrophe. As in, for example, an Eating Disorder.

So she lived with three picky, whiny, meal-refusing little ingrates.



Until one day she snapped. During that week, her angelic (looking) daughters had refused: cheese pizza, macaroni and cheese, homemade bread, and sandwiches made exactly how they (used to) like them. During that week, they also (of course) refused all of the other food that was offered (anything that grew in the ground or on a tree for sure, plus all kinds of other stuff). But it was the "kid friendly" and previously acceptable foods that, when now snubbed, made her loose her mind.

Just a little.

Right then and there, she decided that her children were going to EAT their MEALS including VEGETABLES and that was the end. of. the. story. She was willing to go to any measure to FORCE them to eat, including but not limited to: mean threats, scare tactics, and force feeding.

The children, at first, balked. Who was this woman, who was now MAKING them eat delicious, organic, local, and freshly prepared meals? Where was the processed food of their dreams? Suddenly, that mac-n-cheese was looking mighty tasty.

Luckily for everyone, the little girls were bright children, and it didn't take them long to realize that MOMMY WAS SERIOUS. Had they read The Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood, they may have had visions of rubber-hose beatings dancing in their heads. But they hadn't read that book. Even so, they had the good sense to realize that Pushing Mommy Further might not be a Good Idea.

So, they ate their vegetables and their meals.

And they did not die.

In fact, the vegetables actually tasted... well, if not DELICIOUS, then simply good. Fresh. Crunchy. (Not that they would ever openly admit this. They did, after all, have reputations to consider.)

Their sweet, educated, smart, funny mother knew that, according to each and every child-expert, forcing a child(ren) to eat was a bad idea. She was, as previously mentioned, educated and smart (as well as sweet and funny). Therefore, she tried not to gloat too much over her success.

However, less than a week after Operation: Forcing Them To Eat began, she couldn't help but feel smug when her precious daughter opened her beautiful mouth and uttered More green peppers, please.

In fact, as she fell to the floor in shock and pride, she watched with fascination as the heavens parted and the angels began to sing.

The End

Thursday, August 5, 2010


You guys, I'm pretty sure Dooce is reading my blog and copying my writing style.

I published my last post at 8:15 am this morning. In it I stated that my friend had an "Idea with a capitol I".

At 4:06 pm this afternoon, Dooce published this, using almost similar wording when talking about "The Office. Capital T. Capitol O."

Coincidence? Or is she reading my blog for inspiration as we've all suspected all along? We all know she's off in New York, probably having a fantastic time, and certainly feeling the pressure to come up with something witty to say. And then perhaps remember that awesome blog she found? That was full of Ideas?

I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Blogher Smoke Screen: Park Palooza

First things first: I'm not going to Blogher, and now that it's upon us, I'm bummed that I didn't make plans to go.

The problem is, I didn't know I wanted to go- like, I really wanted to go- until... um, yesterday. Or perhaps it was the day before. But now that I'm seeing all the posts and tweets about it- YES! I COULD share a cab with you!... er, wait. I'm not going. Boooooo.- well, it seems like a silly, fear-and-anxiety-induced decision not to go. More boooooo.

So! Next year! (<--do you like how confident and concrete that sounds?)

(Anyone want to be a Blogher virgin with me? I'm really outgoing and tend to make even very introverted people feel comfortable and/or more extroverted than they are...)

So, blah blah blah blogher blah blah. Got that out of the way. Next!

My brilliant friend and fellow playgroupie had an awesome Idea- with a capitol I- that I'd like to share with you, so I can distract myself from Blogher Woe.

Her Idea was to celebrate the end of summer with a Park Palooza. The Friday before school starts, we are meeting at a park in the morning for breakfast and a "opening ceremony" (rumor has it there will be a balloon-release-type of event). Then we'll spend the morning going from playground to playground around town. We'll have lunch at a different park, take a break for afternoon naps, and resume the park-hopping after naptime.

The plan is to end the day at the local waterpark, where we're then going to ditch the kids with the dads and go have dinner/drinks together (just the moms).

There are six families included (if everyone can make it), so we're splitting up the meals and snacks between us.

Besides the fact that our kids are going to LOVE it, I really like doing something ceremonial to end summer. Especially living in our climate- where our winters are long and cold- it seems like a celebration to honor the end of our summer is perfect.

Aren't you glad I'm telling you about this, so you can copy the Idea?


I was so sad about Coco. And feeling guilty and like we colossally failed her.

However. The first morning of No Coco felt... really good. I was just so relieved that it was decided and over and done. I was so goddamn happy to not wonder about where she was going to pee next. I was so glad that my house no longer reeks. (David worked some awesome cleaning magic.)

I realized that she really wasn't a pet to us anymore. With all of her hiding and her slow decline over the last several months to being an almost-complete recluse... well, I can't say we really miss her. She was never around, anyway, unless she was peeing or hissing.

So, thanks for all the kind words. I'm feeling less guilty all the time.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


She's gone.

After talking it over more with our local humane society, their recommendation was to put her to sleep. She's terrified of noise, so even if she did eventually find a new home, she'd spend the next days/weeks terrified, probably amping up her issues. Plus, being aggressive makes her harder to rehome, and the likelihood of finding someone who was willing to deal with the aggression, potty issues, and a terrified skittish cat?... it was looking fairly hopeless.

They said it seems more humane to sedate her and then let her go.

We feel awful.

And for the record, we simply told the girls that she found a "new home". They were sad but accepted that explanation.

Cat II

(Back-story here.)

In a few minutes David will be home to pick up Coco and take her to the vet's. To be put to sleep.

I'm absolutely SICK about it. I don't want to do it.

She's still peeing everywhere, and my house reeks. But the past few days, she must have sensed her number was up because she's been so sweet. Last night, she lay curled next to me on the bed, purring. Of course, the kids were asleep and the house was quiet.

"Perhaps things will be better when school starts soon. The house will be quiet more often, then..." I thought.

I've tried everything to find a home for her. I've ran numerous ads on both petfinder and craigslist. I've received several emails of people interested, but no one follows through.

I've contacted 2 shelters; our local humane society and a no-kill shelter. Neither can take her. One offered me guidance in rehabilitating her. I read and read everything I could find online about how to cure her peeing habits. I could possibly handle to poop on the carpet, but the pee? No.

(There's little no info on how to stop cat aggression. Especially on a formerly "tame" cat.)

I devised a plan and was all set on keeping her. I put her on the wait-list for the no-kill shelter.

But then, she attacked me again, hissing and being really weird. And when I yelled "No, Coco" out of alarm? She pounced ON TOP of Marin, who was sitting on the floor.

I've had pets my entire life, and I've never once been afraid of any of them. Until now. I'm actually afraid she's going to hurt one of us. Several years ago, a friend had a cat-bite puncture wound that was HORRIFIC. She showed it to me a couple of times... and I can't stop seeing it now.

We're calling the local shelter one last time to see if they have room for her. One way or another, she's in her pet taxi, ready to leave our house. My fingers are crossed... and my stomach is hurting.

Please, let there be a suitable home for her, somewhere out there!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Weekend of Sloth

Does anyone else have a hard time finding that balance between being busy and having free time?

If we are really busy, I'm generally happy. You know, busy people are happy people, and all that jazz. But we inevitably overshoot that invisible mark that lands us in the "too busy" square, and we all end up tired and crabby and craving some down time.

So then, some down time happens. We laze around the house, staying in our jammies. We let the kids watch lots of tv and play lots of Wii, while we tool around on the internet and/or read. It feels glorious at first, but by late afternoon? I start to feel all yicky and grumpy. We need to DO something, SEE someone, have something accomplished for this day.

So we swing, back and forth. Too busy, too bored. We hit the sweet spot once in awhile- the place where we're happily balancing the two. But it seems like that spot doesn't have a magical set of coordinates that we can navigate to; we're always struggling to find it, and it always pops up someplace new.

All of that is to say, our weekend was pretty slothful. We did so little on Saturday that I can't even recall our day. By 4 o'clock I was feeling outright GLUM. We rallied though, packed up a picnic of sandwiches and orange soda and fresh cherries and strawberries and headed to a nearby beach.

Spending the evening swimming and laying in the sand? Reading a book and taking photos of my babies? It's my new favorite.

[Edited to add, for clarification: the evening at the beach was our least slothful part of the weekend, and I felt rejuvenated and happy. I don't regret one minute of swimming or beach bumming... it's all the OTHER minutes of the weekend that were too under-productive. I don't think I articulated that well originally. Sorry!]

Sunday was much the same as Saturday. We did manage to dash off to church at the last minute, making our morning seem less wasted. But largely, we were aimless and lazy, mixed with a restlessness that none of us could identify.

We thought about hitting the beach again, but it was already too late in the day to make it worth it.

In the end, we spent the evening cleaning the basement. Joan shop-vacing the cobwebs, Marin using baby wipes to clean the top of the washer and dryer, Kate humming while she used soapy water to wash the stairs. David and I, and our three kids, finding peace in a dirty, yucky chore. Who would have imagined?

My weekend slothdom can be measured by the fact that I finished the last half of Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest (oh, man, LOVED. And I saved the last 30-50 pages to finish the next day, so I could savor it. I miss Lisbeth and Micke!) AND read The Hunger Games in it's entirety (disturbing premise but couldn't put it down).

We have a busy month coming up, with lots of weekend obligations, some time out of town, and 2 doula clients due, so our laziness these last couple of days was probably wise.

However, I can't help thinking we wasted precious time that we should have been doing yard work, house projects, garage cleaning, etc. Gah.