Saturday, October 17, 2020

Equality is on the ballot

Equality is on the ballot.

Equality means my stepmother doesn’t get harassed in my neighborhood because she’s Latina.

Equality means my sister-in-law and my niece don’t have to put up with ignorant comments because they’re Asian.

Equality means Black moms don’t have to have different, scarier conversations with their kids about the police than I do with mine.

Equality means Black moms/moms-to-be don’t have to worry that their health care will be compromised during pregnancy/delivery because of implicit medical bias.

Equality means my LGBTQ friends and family don’t have to worry about their families being rendered invalid or their health care threatened.

Equality means Indigenous people don’t have to see an acting President write an executive order against learning about their actual history.

Equality means I and other women don’t have to worry that the government has a bigger voice in the decisions about our bodies than we do.

Equality means having equal access to health care, clean water, clean air.

Everything I just listed can be directly correlated to something this President either has done or has tried to do.

Equality means living up to the ideals Americans talk about when we are at our very best


Obituary for a fish

Today we said goodbye to Douglas, the fish

Douglas was carried to his final resting place in a Jo Malone perfume sample box by pallbearer and friend, Luke Reedy, who also made the cross marking Douglas' burial.

Luke asked that I photograph him standing in the corner with an umbrella, "so people will think Douglas had a mysterious past."

RIP Douglas - fish, friend, enigma

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Coronapocalypse Day 12

Online learning update:
Today I learned what a acrostic poem is.
Also -- Mom, do I need a shirt to wear for Zoom?
I'll just wear this old shirt from the floor, not any of these clean shirts in my drawer because I have NO GOOD SHIRTS

Also, Luke REALLY hates me as his teacher

Pest control update:
The district manager came out to check the rat situation.
It's never a good sign when a professional says, WHOA.
I feel like "district manager" and "rats" are not generally things that should go together, period.
Dear rats: you may be thinking, WE JUST CAN'T QUIT YOU, but I assure you, I can.

Gaming update:

Reading update:

Culinary update:
Can I have a sandwich on bread that's, you know, soft?
Like not heated in the thing?
What do you mean all the bread's frozen?
I hate all bread now
Can I have a Sprite for breakfast?
Can I have Ritz bits for lunch?
Can I have spaghettios?
I changed my mind, I hate spaghettios

Fashion update:
Can I get a new suit even if we're stuck inside for Easter?
Can it be camoflage?

We made it through another day, tomorrow's Friday ...and remember what Andy says -- we're going to get through this.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Coronapocalypse Day 11

In which I learn my patience can snap as easily as the Spode plate that shattered on the kitchen floor...

Today started out inauspiciously with a text at 3:47 am. Because on Saturday I broke my phone, spent hours trying to set it up yesterday only to have it assign me the wrong phone number. Side note - Ahmed, if you're out there, someone is bored during lock down and is desperately waiting for you to "hit her/him up" on Snapchat. You're welcome.

Glass half full: I have my phone number back now.

Glass half empty: chatting with the Verizon rep, while responding to two urgent work emails, while trying to make Parker sit down to set up his chromebook for 7th grade online learning as Luke does his 5th grade math OUT LOUD, while I'm toasting bagel for Parker, which leads to dropping plate and Luke runs in and screams that I'm wearing flip flops and will cut my feet and OMG MOM JUST LET ME HANDLE THIS.

Also glass half empty? Going outside to find rat droppings ALL. OVER. THE. PATIO. I just had the pest control people out. The rats are clearly unaffected by COVID 19 - or maybe this is some sort of triumphant act of revenge. Hey, human, remember the plague? YEAH SO DO WE. I called my pest control company (this is Texas, we have pest control on retainer) and explained what I found. You know it's bad when the professionals respond with, "OH GOD. I would have lost it." Well, Brad, you can't lose what's already gone.

(And please, well-meaning folks, do not suggest that mint can be used as a natural repellant. Rats could really give a rat's - well, you know - about your mojito garnish).

Other highlights:
- *Someone* spilled Swedish fish all over the den
- Luke and I beat Parker in basketball.
- In related news,my knees may never work again
- I finally started tuning into Andy Beshear's daily update and yes, all the memes are true. If you haven't started watching it, I highly recommend it for sanity. #teamandyforeverything

So cheers to Day 11. We made it. And guess what's also considered "essential business" right now?

Yep. Pest Control.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

An Immodest Proposal/A Tale of Two El Pasos

This past Thursday, a man left my hometown in the Dallas area and drove to El Paso, where he stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some groceries.

Two days later on Saturday, another man also drove from the Dallas area and drove to El Paso, where he stopped by a Wal-Mart to shoot people.

One of those men was my father.

The other was a domestic terrorist.

I'm not going to waste anyone's time with an angry rant. I'm merely going to offer my congratulations to those steadfast folks still sticking to the NRA party line, who are even today posting "they can take my guns out of my cold dead hands" nonsense on Facebook.

To quote from Four Weddings and a Funeral, "you must be very proud."

In fact, might I suggest you stop this false modesty by pretending you've nothing to do with this latest event. After all, you've regaled us with your stances on race, gender and -- of course -- guns for months on social media. Surely now's not the time to turn shy. Go on, "tell us how it is" that another man legally purchased a gun and legally carried it, using those laws you've told us all how important are to you, into a store to kill people.

Don't be bashful and disavow his actions as a mental illness problem. Why, you've worked hard to elect a leader who stands up for the racism you've previously had to keep under wraps, so step up to the plate and own it.

Mental illness -- oh, come now. Next you'll be offering up your thoughts and prayers, which, I know lots of people say do nothing -- but I disagree. Judging from the vitriol you share online, filled with self-righteous indignation over slavery reparations, rage at certain female members of Congress and my personal favorite -- those adorable "respect the flag" posts that completely overlook any true meaning of patriotism, I'm guessing this is exactly the kind of thing you've been praying for the whole time.

And here's a fun fact -- did you know the Trump administration owes the El Paso police dept hundreds of thousands of dollars for protecting his last rally there? Money he has yet to pay back?

I really have to hand it to you - who knew that all this time, your "blue lives matter" signs really meant "(don't pay) back the blue?"

I say, well played. And you're really coming into your own now. You're not hiding behind thinly veiled jabs anymore. You're letting your KKK flag fly freely.

Bravo. You've saved the rest of us the trouble of wondering who the next shooter's coming from, and as a parent whose children have been doing active shooter drills since kindergarten (not active crazy people drills or active axe-murderer drills, I might add) I appreciate that.

I like how you've gone all out with your support of the NRA -- murdered schoolchildren and grandparents be damned. You're going down with that ship, and I can almost hear the violins on the deck of the Titanic with every tweet.

You've shown us that of all the things you are, a patriotic American isn't one of them. Your knowledge of the Constitution begins and ends with the number two -- but, goodness, who needs math?

If I had anything else to say -- and hello, I'm a woman, so who cares -- I would merely quote your own words back to you.

America -- Love or Leave it.

By all means, do just that.

Leave it. Surely there's some other country you'd find more suitable to your views. I hear Saudi Arabia is nice and warm this time of year.
Except there's that tiny detail of you not liking "those people."

Gosh, well, perhaps you could just do what the rest of us are trying to do.

Make America Good Again.

For all of us. Those who were born here. And those who've been jailed just trying to get here.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Monday, August 13, 2018

Perseid Meteor Fail

Things overheard while attempting (and failing due to weather) to watch the Perseid meteor shower:

1. I can't see anything
2. Did you bring snacks?
3. Do you think Ali A's watching meteors?
4. Dude, you do NOT want to get rushed in Fortnite
5. Do we *have* to talk about Fortnite? Meteors are just as cool
6. HAHAHAHA, Mom, meteors are not cool
7. Remember that time mom made us watch the blood moon?
8. Hey, you should never watch the blood moon from the beach - get it? BECAUSE SHARKS LIKE BLOOD
9. Hey, don't drink a Bloody Mary on the beach, because ... wait, what's a Bloody Mary?
10. A Bloody Mary's a drink with alcohol and ketchup
11. Who drinks ketchup?
12. Whose sleeping bag is this?
13. I am NOT sharing a sleeping bag with my brother
14. Are my eyes focused yet?
15. I can't see anything
16. My eyes are tired from focusing, I'm going to close them
17. I saw something
18. No, you didn't
19. Yes I did -- I saw the sprinklers going off
20. Can we run in the sprinklers?
21. Please don't run in the sprinklers
23. I can't see anything
24. Can we go now?
25. Let's run in the sprinklers again before we go
26. Please don't run in the sprinklers again
28. I'm tired
29. I'm going to stay up ALL NIGHT
31. Parker opened the window & I'm getting wet AGAIN
32. Oooh, you're in trouble
33. But I don't want to go back to bed
34. It's ok Mom -- maybe you got the wrong night for the meteor shower
35. Can I have a snack?
36. Can I play Fortnite?

....One more week before school starts. One. More. Week.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2018...the year of the Rat

Ah, the new year. A time for reflection, resolution and...rats.

It all started with a New Year's Eve trip to the movies. My neighbor Carrie and I thought this would be "fun." Because as we all know, taking 5 boys to the movies is the very essence of fun. We didn't buy tickets online, because clever mothers that we are, we thought we'd just go early to the theater to get the kid discount. And that is how we ended up with front row seats.

To be fair to our children, they mostly behaved, though my youngest felt it necessary to dance in front of the screen, which they frown upon at the Alamo Drafthouse. And by the end of the movie, all kids were getting a little restless, which is probably why one of their hats slipped to the ground, which is why Carrie knelt down to retrieve it, bumped her head on the arm rest and started out the day with a black eye. #Happynewyear

Then we couldn't find two of our boys, who thought hiding in the Star Wars photo booth in the lobby for 20 minutes was hilarious.

By comparison, January 1, seemed pretty calm ... at first. I woke up to the sound of my oldest son tiptoeing past the door to the office to play video games before his brother woke up. Because obviously, one greets the new year by playing Madden 18 just like EVERY OTHER DAY OF THE YEAR.

By the time I'd made breakfast, both boys were battling over the PlayStation. So I decided this was the perfect time for my second annual traditional Polar Bear Plunge. I mean, it was 16 degrees outside, why wouldn't I jump in my swimming pool? Honestly, I thought it might distract my kids from killing each other, plus I'm a sucker for pseudo-sporting events that are really, really short in duration and involve minimal effort (Derby Day comes to mind).

I called Carrie to come over and witness my insanity, attempted to pick up the eviscerated remains of a couch cushion left by the dog, and yelled upstairs to the kids. They all opted to watch from indoors -- my oldest son waving at me from the office window, because clearly, Mom braving cold water was not worth walking down a flight of stairs. (This, from the same child who feels perfectly comfortable playing catch outside in shorts when it's 30 out, but hey, priorities).

With Carrie cheering me on, I walked into the pool... and yes, in case you're wondering, it was really @#$%%^ cold -- and then finally jumped in. For like a second. I said it was a plunge, not a swim -- insanity has its limits.

Twenty minutes later, I was in warm clothes, and Carrie and I were enjoying a post-plunge mimosa by the fire. Sure, I still couldn't feel my toes, but the Prosecco was helping...or at least helping me not to care about such trivialities as nerve endings. All was peaceful and bright. And then...

"Uh oh," Carrie said. "I think something might have broken."

I turned toward the dining room to see a massive spray of water pelting the window. My first thought was that a freak storm had just hit. My second thought was that hurricane season was over and I was an idiot, and the next few seconds unfolded like a certain Christmas poem.

When out the dining room window there arose such a clatter
I sprang (away from the Prosecco) to see what was the matter.
Away to the patio, I flew in a dash...
To get hit with freezing cold water in a mighty cold splash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a leak in a pipe ...yep, happy new year.

I tried to stem the water flow, and only succeeded in getting soaked. Desperate, I threw the patio rug over the pipe, which at least stopped the hurricane from battering my dining room window...and created a nice, oozing flood in my backyard. Carrie phoned her husband, Blake, who gamely came over to investigate, despite being sick, and then turned off the water. Going against what I tell my kids nearly every day, I found myself shouting, "DON'T ANYONE FLUSH THE TOILET" while we investigated the now only-seeping leak.

We spotted the hole, and decided we'd try to patch it up. Then, just before he left to get some plumbing tape, Blake casually mentioned, "Oh, and you've got a dead rat right there."

Yep. A dead rat.


Now, if you know me at all, I don't need to explain the impact of those words and you'll understand completely why I shrieked, ran inside and cursed 2018. By this point, my sick husband Mike (was anyone NOT sick this holiday??) came downstairs and agreed to dispose of the rat. He went outside with a trash bag. Blake came back inside, muttering, "I think I'm gonna be sick" -- because when you're already ill, a juicy, bloated rat corpse is just icing on the cake. Mike was out there for a while, before coming back in for a shovel, which did not bode well. Carrie offered to hold the body bag at this point. She then mused whether the rat had been lying there in the open all along, or whether the geyser of water had shot it into the air. Because you know what's worse than a dead rat? #Ratnado.

Once the rat corpse was gone, I went out with the plumbing tape -- as though I had any idea what I was doing, while Carrie helped me cut it and then took a snapshot of our plumbing prowess. Because a friend will video you jumping into a cold pool. A really good friend will bag a rodent, help you wrap a pipe and take a plumbing selfie.

Two Chicks Plumbing - you bring the leak, we bring the Prosecco.

Of course, once the water was turned back on, the water still spurted, but not with the same raging-rapid intensity. And turns out there's this valve thing you can turn off, which only shuts off the water to the backyard. Or maybe just that pipe. Whatever. All I know, is days later when an actual handyman came out to fix the leak, it took him FOREVER (ok, 5 minutes) to cut the tape we had oh-so-carefully wrapped around the pipe. So yeah, not bragging or anything, but if you need a pipe taped...well, you know who to call.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful, because ... well, how do you top a leaking pipe and a dead rat? But once we finished our black-eyed peas for luck (you know what would be lucky? No rats in 2018), we did settle into blankets in the den to watch Best in Show. Because when you're wiped out after RatPipeCopalypse, you can "not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about."

So yeah, that's January so far. I'd like to think the rest of the month will be more peaceful, but I know better; Science Fair projects are due in 10 days.

May your 2018 be healthy and happy
May your pipes not explode
May your Prosecco be cold
And may your patio be rat-free