Wild Things

We live in the woods. I mean, not like the Alaskan wilderness, but some pretty legit woods with wildlife, and big trees, and lost hikers who have resorted to cannibalism. Also, yetis. This bug was on our screen door one day last summer:
Moth

It is hard to get a sense of scale from this picture, but he is approximately six feet wide. That hairy neon-colored bastard clung to the screen door for two days before it soared away above the trees. And probably carried somebody’s dog with him. Also, one day when my husband was traveling (well of course he was) I went down to the basement to do the laundry and was greeted by this mother-effer, sitting right by the dryer:
Spider

I wet myself, ran screaming upstairs and did not go back to the basement for a week. My husband took that picture when the evil wolf spider (which Google says is harmless but CAN JUMP VERY FAR) re-surfaced. And no, my husband NEVER says, “Aww, look at this cute picture!” and then shows me the spider picture. Because that would be mean.

Then, just last week, I was relaxing on the couch, watching The Bachelor a thoughtful PBS analysis of the sequestration and its effect on the middle class. Suddenly the gate to our back deck creaked open and a raccoon the size of a PONY walked on to the deck and right up to the sliding door. And then he stared at me and screamed, through his foaming, rabies-infected mouth, that he was going to open that door and come in our living room and eat my feet and then take the remote and watch nature shows in high def. At least I think that’s what happened; it was hard to tell, since I immediately did a kind of handstand on the couch so that I could get my feet as far as possible off the ground.

This is exactly what he looked like, except about 80 times bigger with more foam around his extremely sharp teeth:
Raccoon

So, in a nutshell, I am often a little on edge about what creature is going to visit us and try to attack me next.

Wednesday during dinner, I had to run to the fridge in the garage for some milk. I was convinced that the raccoon was going to come sneaking out from behind the fridge and go for my feet again, or that he was going to drive the car at me or carbon monoxide poison me, so I was on high alert. But instead of a rabid attack on my feet I WAS ATTACKED FROM ABOVE.

No, I am NOT kidding you. Just as I opened the refrigerator door, I hear a rustling above my head and feel a slight breeze. I turn and see a flash flying though the air and immediately know it is a bat, because a bird would not be scary enough. And then I think it is probably a vampire bat because I still don’t know if those are a real thing or not, so I slam the refrigerator door, put my hands around my neck (so as to avoid vampirization) and high-knee it into the house (to avoid the rabid raccoon foot attack) and I don’t stop running until I hit a wall. My husband asks me what the hell is wrong, and I tell him SOMETHING IS IN THE GARAGE SOMETHING THAT FLIES AND SCREAMS!! He is unphased, probably because he knows that I exaggerate a wee tiny bit occassionally I am totally fine. So he goes outside, opens the garage doors, and waits for the bat to fly away. And now that he is free, the vampire bat can meet with the rabid raccoon in their coven to plan their next attack on my feet and/or sanity.

I am determined not to pass my anxiety about our neighborhood wildlife on to my kids, who love all things nature-related. So instead of telling them that mommy lost her mind because there was a bat in our garage, I tell them it was a cute little baby bat – OR MAYBE IT WAS A FAIRY. A beautiful, sparkly fairy, with little wings and a wand! Because, frankly, I would like to believe it was a fairy, and my daughter certainly wanted to believe it was a fairy, and my son always enjoys a good argument with his sister. So, win.

If that fairy gets too close to me, though, I will cut her.

Keeping It Realz

Today I am writing at the library because I needed a change of scenery and wanted to get away from my husband blasting Taylor Swift while he works. (Apparently that is who you turn to when you realize that Ke$ha sucks.) Also, writing at a study carrel next to older men wearing sunglasses and cowboy hats while they try to discretely look at porn reminds me of college, when I was particularly creative.

Lest you think that my life is perfect, what with my proximity to porno cowboys and my public library workspace, I’d like to show you my closet.

Closet

I’m not going to surprise you now with an “After” picture where my closet looks like the cover of Real Simple. Those kinds of pictures, with their Instagram filters and perfect lighting, are the WORST. Instead of inspiring me, they make me feel awful and force me to go add a layer of clothes to my closet piles while eating fried food.

I read this article about how Facebook users’ perfect pictures of their vacations and thoughtful spouses and overachieving kids are making us all insanely jealous and filled with envy (did they really need two German universities to reach this conclusion?), so I am really doing a community service by showing you my closet. You are welcome. For an extra feeling of superiority, you may want to pay special attention to the half-torn-off Halloween stickers all over my mirror, the ripped garbage bag full of five year old maternity clothes sitting by the door, or the random sweaters hanging over the lower hangers. Also, please take a good look at the lonely boot sitting atop the mountain of crap and let me know if you’ve seen the other one. I miss it and am afraid it is at the bottom of the pile (i.e., gone forever).

This disaster has been brewing since November. My closet really was reasonably organized for a lovely two week period back then. But every time someone would come over (which was a lot during the holidays), I would throw any loose crap straight in my closet, because who was going to look in there? The house is clean, the kids’ closets are organized, who cares about my closet.

But when I pulled a muscle trying to find a t-shirt the other day it finally dawned on me that, as a semi-functioning adult, maybe I should not live like this. So over the next several weeks and months, I will be obtaining my commercial driver’s license to operate heavy machinery so that I can begin excavating. And I will not show you any pictures of how awesome it looks when I am done.

And this is the boring lawyer in me coming out, but seriously: as willing as I am to show you my embarrassing closet, please remember that there are some things you just should not put in writing.

Cracking Up

J and L have been calling each other “stale crackers” for the past few days.  They heard it on Jake and the Neverland Pirates – Jake and his little cartoon hooligan friends run around Neverland saying, “Last one to the ship is a stale cracker!”  Um.  As a white woman whose doctor just told her she’s getting older, I am super uncomfortable hearing my kids call each other stale crackers.  Sigh.

So it got all kinds of Christmas-y up in my house today.  I found the most overpriced beautiful wrapping paper and gift tags at Container Store and wrapped up some toys for my nieces and nephews.  I am sharing the picture with you because, even though my kids politely oohh-ed and ahhh-ed when I showed them a pile of beautifully wrapped presents, you and I both know they really don’t give a shit.  But maybe you do!

Presents

I also made an owl ornament today.  I use the term “made” very loosely, because I just got a $4.99 kit at Michael’s, and stuck a threaded needle through some pre-cut holes in some pre-cut felt.  Wait, is that sewing?  Did I sew?  Anyways, this owl is freaking awesome.

Owl

While I was at Michael’s, I saw a mom and daughter in the scrapbooking aisle who were just about to get into it.  The mom was wearing a Harvard Law sweatshirt, and something about it looked legit to me – not like she bought it on a trip to Boston, or like it was left over from the ’80s when all the cool seventh graders wore college sweatshirts.  It looked like she actually went to Harvard law school.  Or at least that’s what I made up in my head.  I overheard her say to her middle-school aged daughter, “I KNOW what an ink dauber is, DO NOT talk to me that way or you can forget about that embosser…THING.”  For the record, I have no idea what ink daubers or embossers are, and they scare me.

I felt for that woman.  Michael’s totally overwhelms me because the moms in there who are really good at crafting speak another language and have customs and tools that are totally foreign to me.  I imagine that woman was thinking something like this:  “I am a freaking highly educated woman standing in a strip mall craft store and an 11-year-old is smack talking my knowledge of SCRAPBOOKING SUPPLIES?  What have I done with my life.”

We’ve all been there.  Well, maybe not in a craft store arguing over embossers with a surly tween, but in that place where we know we’re working so hard – and we have the wrinkles and gray hairs to prove it – and somehow we’re still totally unprepared for what is coming at us.  Maybe that is why I am in love with my five dollar owl.  I bought it, I read the instructions, I made it, it’s cute.  The end.  Just simple and finite.

Which is pretty much the exact opposite of trying to explain to your 4 and 5-year-old why they can’t call each other crackers.  Can an ink dauber help with that?

I am not an abandoned knitting blog

DAMMIT, it is hard to keep up with a blog! Seriously, I was hoping I could just write a few posts, get discovered, and then go on Oprah to tell her about my inspirations in life and my favorite kitchen tool (my stainless steel handled rubber spatula, obvs). But due to the high demand of my readers (i.e., a random woman asking me the other day, “Hey, didn’t you have a blog or something?”), I have returned. There is so much to discuss. In the last few months, I have transitioned the kids to a new preschool, gotten a new job that I’m excited about, traveled cross country with both kids by myself, and have peed in a sippy cup on the side of a major road.

I’ll start with that last one first.

So as background: something seriously disturbing happened in my house about six months ago, and I think enough time has finally passed that I can share it in any sort of lighthearted way. I hope you are sitting down, mainly because it’s just weird to read a blog standing up, right? SO one Sunday back in July, a crazy storm came out of nowhere and ruined our plans to go to the pool. It also knocked out our power. OK, it’s happened a couple times since we’ve moved in, no big deal. 12 hours later as my husband is getting ready to fly across the country for work for a week, though, it’s becoming a bigger deal. Well, long story short: we had no power for six days. SIX DAYS. Six days of waiting in long lines at gas stations to buy overpriced bags of ice so my kids had milk for breakfast. Six days of wearing a freaking headlamp while I did dishes and changed my daughter’s diapers. Six days of wondering if preschool was open, or if my big meetings at work were still on, or if my phone was going to run out of batteries, or if some nutjob was going to break in my house in the woods and no one would even know. Totally awful.

So the drive to the kids’ preschool is a long one, and is pretty much a straight shot down a major road. The road has lots of stoplights that were all knocked out during the storm. Our usually 40 minute drive to preschool turned into a TWO HOUR odyssey on the second morning after the power went out. The kids were actually pretty psyched to watch two hours of cartoons in the car. I, on the other hand, was freaking out. Cops were directing traffic at every intersection. People were honking, cursing, driving aggressively, and I had not used a blow dryer in a good 48 hours at this point. Well, about halfway into our journey, I realized I had to pee. Really bad. But I was so close to the kids’ preschool that I wasn’t too concerned. Twenty minutes and about quarter of a mile later, though, I’m wigging out and looking around for a gas station, grocery store, anywhere I can stop. Nothing. I’m literally on a stretch of road by nothing but neighborhoods, jam-packed with traffic, and I realize I am about to pee my pants. At which point, I start crying. So I do the only thing I know to do: I pull over, throw on my hazards, tell my daughter to finish her milk, scramble to the backseat of the car, yell at the kids to KEEP THEIR EYES ON THE TV SCREEN, and I pee in my daughter’s sippy cup.

I’m not sure the point of sharing this with you, except to totally embarrass my mom. And to say that life is completely ridiculous, and for all the hard work I (and every mom I know) put in to planning and preparing and anticipating, you still might end up on the side of a road pissing in your kid’s sippy cup.

But I really hope not. That is my wish for you. Which is totally what I will say, straight-faced, on Oprah when she asks me my one wish for the world: “To never have to pee in your kid’s sippy cup.” And Oprah will give me a knowing nod and lean in for a hug. And she will smell so good. She just has to, right?

I said good day.

Hello again.

Do you know what has always been so depressing to me? Abandoned blogs. Like you google “knitting needles” and come across a cute little website with nice pictures and funny anecdotes and instructions on knitting and perling or whatever, and then you realize that you’re reading something from October 2007. So someone took all that time to put their intense feelings about knitting on the internets, and then life took over, and evidence of their complete lack of follow-through is just sitting out there, waiting for google to point it out and the whole world to see.

Mamaesq was dangerously close to becoming a depressing abandoned blog. I haven’t even logged on since April, back when I lived in the city and didn’t have a commute or two sinks in my bathroom (my bathroom is bigger than a closet now!). But now that we’ve unpacked a little bit, and gotten used to mini-vans and commuting etiquette and not getting mugged (kidding) (a little), I have time to try to figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life. Which is where this blog comes in. Because, really, I have no freaking clue what I’m doing, but writing here feels like I’m doing something semi-productive. Even if my only audience is my mom. Hi mom.

So many of my peers — sadly, mostly lawyers — have told me they feel stuck in their jobs. In their lawyer-ly way they’re quick to note that they feel lucky to have a job at all, and very lucky to have a nice paycheck, but just feel totally uninspired and unsatisfied with their career. I don’t think I’m alone in that. And most of my peers say that doing something, anything, that makes them feel like they have options helps them deal. Like I have a friend who is constantly updating her resume, but has zero intention of actually looking for another job right now because of financial constraints. But just knowing that one more call from an a-hole supervisor and she could unleash her perfectly edited resume on the world makes her feel better.

I thought dropping back to part-time and moving to the ‘burbs might change that feeling a bit for me. But no luck. So today I’m blogging about nothing in particular, and tomorrow night I’m starting a writing class. I’m excited and totally intimidated, mainly because the class apparently involves a lot of reading, which I can only do for like 10 minutes at a stretch before passing out cold, and because I haven’t written fiction since law school. And I’m secretly afraid that law school destroyed the creative writing part of my brain and replaced it with bluebooking rules and latin phrases. So we’ll see how it goes. But it feels nice to be doing something a little creative again that’s not about the kids, and is just for me. It’s been a while.

Also, living in the ‘burbs kind of rocks so far. The transition was really no big deal. So far the hardest part has been getting used to not locking the doors and not setting the house alarm every time I’m inside. That, and figuring out which of the four thousand kid-friendly activities and restaurants we want to go to on the weekend. Pretty good. Oh, and getting used to suburban drivers. I think when you drive in the city, there’s an aggression level that everyone has, and it all works beautifully – you just assume the dude next to you wants your parking spot and is going to blow past you and screw you out of getting through the next light, so you just respond accordingly. But where we live now, people seem to be TIMID and FRIENDLY when they drive. IT IS BIZARRE. It’s like people aren’t in an insane hurry and aren’t trying to screw you out of a primo parking spot. And honestly, it bugs the crap out of me. Clearly my issue. I’m sure it’s a matter of time before I’m driving slowly and smiling and wondering why some lady with DC plates is giving me the finger.

Anywho, hello again.