Thursday, May 31, 2007


This week is the last week of preschool. Lola and many of her cohorts are "graduating"; they're leaving behind the carefree days of preschool to go on to kindergarten (or, in Lola's case, pre-k).

Today I came in to pick up Lola and saw that the director of our preschool was looking very upset and teary. This woman is normally a model of equanimity. Concerned, I asked one of the parents who'd worked at the school today whether there had been some family tragedy. This mom laughed and said, "Oh, it's because it's the end of the year, and so many kids are graduating." Awww, that just melted my heart: what a wonderful preschool director to be crying over saying goodbye to the little hellions.

After school, one of the other mommies remarked, "I don't remember her getting so upset last year at the end of the year."

"Maybe our kids are cuter than those kids?" I speculated.

brace yerselves

I've been getting a lot of inquiries about the fate of my runt, my failing foster kitten, and no, it's not a case of "no news is good news." He didn't make it, and I have been stalling on writing here because I felt guilty about having gotten this blog's (smallish, but devoted) readership emotionally involved with him.

Things go in waves in the feral kitten population of San Francisco. We see the same things over and over again in a season. Two years ago, it was the year of Incredibly Stubborn Fleas, where pet stores were selling out of Advantage because the fleas just wouldn't die, and it was also an epic year for ringworm. Last year, it was calicivirus: kitten after kitten came down with that weirdest of feline diseases, which usually starts with a swollen front paw and a limp. There was the season when there were so many eye infections that there was a shortage of the topical eye medication we use, and people were being solicited to bring it back from Mexico. This year, six or seven kittens died in one week, and their last days followed the same pattern. The kitten crashed (we call a state of near-death "crashing", which is unmistakable. Kittens go into shock and lie in strange postures, stiff and contorted, with low body temperatures), was revived, crashed again on the second day, was revived again, and then died on the third day.

This kitten had been separated from his mother at only about four days of age, so his survival was always in question. I'm trying to focus on my success stories: the kitten's tiny, frail brother is still alive, and he ate independently yesterday for the very first time (I've had him for nearly two weeks, and I've been force feeding him as I tried to wean him from the bottle, and FINALLY now he will eat by himself, but only if I stay by his side. If I leave, he stops eating). Also, one of my biggest success stories ever, the runt from my first litter of the season, now weighs 2 pounds and will go up for adoption this weekend. She was a poor eater and chronically dehydrated, so for about three weeks I force-fed her and gave her subcutaneous fluids several times a day. This saved her life, and now she is perfect: an uncommonly beautiful, friendly and healthy kitten who would be a joy in any home.

The first couple of years I fostered kittens, I blamed myself and felt like a cat murderer any time I lost a kitten. But now, I know what I'm doing for the most part. I know a lot about ringworm, calicivirus, and kitten diarrhea. If something goes wrong with one of my kittens, I can often treat it myself successfully without involving a vet (I have a supply of the most commmonly prescribed medications, which I get replenished from my rescue program). Sometimes kittens have crashed and come very close to dying, and I have been able to save their lives. This time, I couldn't.

The head of my foster program has a saying: "There's a reason cats have more than one in a litter." Not all kittens survive. I'm very sorry my little gray feral kitten didn't live; he was a good kitten. On his last night, I had the feeling he wasn't going to make it. That evening I let him doze on my chest for hours, and I made him a separate bed so the other, more vigorous kittens wouldn't trouble him. I got up at 3 AM to check on him, but he had already shuffled off this mortal coil.

Nature can be harsh to little animals. Last year, my rescue program saved about 500 feral kittens, but we can't save them all, alas. RIP little gray feral kitten; I wish you could have lived longer.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I overheard Lola saying to her father very knowledgeably, "Mommy knows everything, but you almost know some things."

Monday, May 28, 2007

not regular

All day, Iris and Lola have been playing the same game. "We are aliens, we are twins who are babies and who are rock stars! And we have rubber butts, and we snore real loud!" says Iris.

"Babies who are rock stars! And we snore REAL LOUD!" shouts Lola.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

fear of the sky

Four year-old Lola says, "Aliens are werry, werry dangerous. They land on earth, and they are mean. Mean old bells!"

Life or Death, part II

I had insomnia, resulting in my getting up at 5 A.M., and once again my tiny runt was in shock. I ran through the drill (corn syrup on gums, subcutaneous fluids, heat up the warming pad), and fed the other kittens as well. Sometime after six I fell asleep on the couch, which caused Iris to cross-examine me.

"Where did you sleep?"

"Upstairs, in the big bed."

"Then why were you here?"

Later, after I told the Sober Husband he had woken me up by raising his voice at Lola, Iris said ominously, "So you admit you were asleep on the couch."

Where I sleep is meaningless, at least to me. The fact I sleep, even the small amount I do, is troublesome. That runt can't currently make it between the last night feed and the morning feed without going into shock. I may need to set an alarm for two or three A.M. I can't face that prospect, given how tenuous my relationship is with sleep, but it seems there's a tiny life hanging on it. Sigh.

Lola sez

"I was just bouncing on my bed, minding my own business..."

Friday, May 25, 2007

somehow, I don't think this saying is going to catch on

Four year-old Lola described something as being "as busy as a butt" tonight.

it's life or death

So last night I had trouble getting to sleep, which is not uncommon for an insomnia sufferer. However, once I was asleep, I had no trouble staying asleep, and the Sober Husband let me sleep in, which was kindly meant indeed. But when I did wake up... I went downstairs to discover that one of my foster kittens had gone into shock. This is a very small kitten, one who is at most three weeks old and who was separated from his mother at only around four days old. Meanwhile all the other foster kittens and adult cats were clamoring for breakfast, and the kittens' pen was hideously fouled as it always is, AND because it was a half-day at Iris Uber Alles's school, I had very little time to deal with everything before leaving to pick up Iris.

The kitten was lying with its head at an unnatural angle, looking as though rigor mortis had already set in. As a seasoned crazy cat lady, I knew what to do: I put corn syrup on the kitten's gums to get his blood sugar up ASAP, I administered subcutaneous fluids (this was complicated by Lola interrupting me and the other hungry kittens squawking), and I heated up a warming pad for the kitten (he had lost a lot of body heat already and was cold to the touch).

For an unemployed person, I am remarkably important. If I oversleep, someone could die.

postscript: The kitten is hanging in there as of 6:45 p.m. Earlier in the day I conferred with the head of my rescue, and we agreed that there was no reason to take him to the vet other than to euthanize him as no one would do any more for him than I could.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

she makes me nervous

Seven year-old Iris Uber Alles just walked in and asked, "How do you spell 'j'accuse'?"

p.s. It turns out she is writing a note to her teacher, reading in part, "J'accuse, Mr. Hopper, and I really mean it."

kittens and magnolias

Every day I get up and instantly I am incredibly, horribly behind on everything. As soon as I get downstairs, I hear the cries of my newest foster kittens (I have seven foster kittens at the moment. Of these, two are pushing the envelope of kitten fostering technology, having been separated from their mother at only about four days old. Amazingly enough it looks like they are going to make it, although one came with a nasty abscess and is on antibiotics). The kittens are starving and have fouled their pen and themselves. The adult cats and parrot are screaming for breakfast. The kitchen is a wreck. For the sake of sanity, the coffee needs to be made.

Giving the parrot breakfast is the Sober Husband's job, as he has developed a ritual which is viewed, by the parrot, with an increasingly over-developed sense of entitlement. In the immortal vernacular of the eighties, "I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but my parrot likes hot butter on her breakfast toast." The parrot takes a well-buttered English muffin, consumed perched on the husband's shoulder, casting the evil eye towards everyone else who dares approach the sacred breakfast table. Until said English muffin is served up, the parrot screams and screams (the next door neighbors told me that for years they used to think, "God, Iris is sure loud in the mornings"). Now, to add a soupcon of stress to this charming ritual, Lola has developed a sibling rivalry with the parrot. Through the various stratagems of pouting and nearly crying with angst that her father can momentarily not hold her on his lap, Lola manages to achieve another victory for homo sapiens over the animal kingdom, getting the parrot prematurely banished back to her cage so that she may eat her own breakfast sitting in the paternal lap.

After their breakfast, the kittens are clingy and want to climb on me, but I need to shrug them off so I can clean their pen. I also need to clean their meat off my clothing and floor, as they are messy eaters (and my nice vegetarian home! It's defiled every morning!) It takes me roughly one hour each morning to feed the animals, clean the kittens' pen, make the coffee, get Lola's breakfast, and do what little chores must be done, such as running a load of laundry. At the end of the hour, I myself have not had breakfast and have not glanced at the newspapers. The feelings of stress and being behind remain all day.

Right now, I can hear a periodic, slightly wheezy sound, and I cannot track it down. I cannot get rid of the nagging suspicion that it's an ailing animal somewhere which needs my attention. It's a fairly logical conclusion in this house that a wheezing sound signifies the presence of an animal which will need chauffeuring about to the vets' and the administration of various medications. I think, though, that it's more likely a sign of increasing neurosis on my part. We have also now entered into the time of year when the motherfucking magnolia tree rains its foul seed pods down upon the back deck, and the intermittent thuds are working what little nerves are left within the raddled shell of your old Drunken Housewife. Kittens and magnolia trees: they seem so pretty and innocent, but they're destroying what little is left of my brain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Memorial Day/honoring the troops update/Update to the update

With no plans for Memorial Day, I was struck by the idea that perhaps I should do something with my children in the intended spirit of the day: honoring those who have given their lives in military service (regardless of whether or not we approve of any particular war, each soldier's death is a tragedy).

Commentator Chaos Control had an excellent idea: adopt a service member. I have signed up to adopt one, but there's a bit of a delay before one receives the name and address of one's assigned soldier. So that's in the works, but not likely to pan out before Memorial Day. If I get a male soldier, I promise to send all sorts of obnoxious porn I disapprove of on feminist grounds (that's the very purest sort of gift, when you send something the recipient wants which goes against your own grain). Our Ms. Drunken Housewife title holder TexzMissy is adopting one as well; join us!

And, in breaking news: This morning I received my adopted soldier's information. I have been assigned an 18 year-old private from the Bronx, stationed in Iraq. I'll put a package together over the weekend for him. Excited, I told the Sober Husband, "I got my adopted soldier!" He gave me a disapproving glare and said superiorly, "Perhaps I'll adopt an Iraqi." "Oh, I'm all for that," I said. "Go for it!" My friend Joyce suggested later that perhaps we could get my soldier to arm-wrestle the husband's Iraqi.

I don't know about the rest of you, but the fact I strongly disagree with the Iraq war makes me feel worse for the troops there. They are being asked to risk their lives and health in a stupid war which increasingly looks hopeless. At least the WWII soldiers could feel that they were making their sacrifices on behalf of a truly good cause, while veterans of unpopular wars are seen as chumps or villains. Having read "The Lucifer Effect", Zimbardo's brilliant analysis of how regular people behave evilly when placed in the wrong circumstances, I have all the more sympathy for the U.S. troops. If we think we would do better, we are most likely kidding ourselves. Iraqi civilians, U.S. military stationed in Iraq: I have sympathy enough for both sides.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I can't see a difference yet

This morning was a hectic one, and I was darting about feverishly trying to do laundry, bottlefeed tiny kittens, clean litterboxes, feed the parrot, make coffee, water the garden, pack Lola's lunch, etc.., etc... despite a fever and sinus infection causing a pounding headache. As I did this, Lola followed me around, waving a pretend magic wand at my rump and shouting over and over again, "Turn this butt into a fairy!"

Monday, May 21, 2007

do me a faaaaaavor

Yes, I know your Drunken Housewife has been oddly demanding of late. Read "The Lucifer Effect", help me honor the troops, etc.., etc... When will it ever end? Well, I have one more request, and then hopefully I'll shut my favor-seeking yap and get back to snarky anecdotes.

Yesterday out of curiosity I checked this blog's Google pagerank (not that I'm obsessive; it was only the second time I've done that). The pagerank had gone up, which was nice, I suppose, but that and two dollars will buy me a Red Bull. Then I had a wild hair and checked the pagerank of the Sober Husband's company, and I discovered that it has the same pagerank as this blog. That just slayed me. I had a good laugh at that, at the expense of this poor fledgling start-up (of course, the joke's on me as they had some good sales this week, and what cash have I generated? None).

Now I have formulated the frivolous ambition of increasing this blog's pagerank so that it exceeds that of the husband's high-tech start-up, the source of this motley household's income. I think it would be hi-larious if my little hobby blog were deemed, by the sacred measures of online commerce and search engine statistics, to be more important than the online presence of an award-winning, publicity-gathering, venture capital-spending high tech company. You, my dears, can help me achieve this goal. Just jam some link to somewhere where the precious little spiders will creep over it. Put a link on a blog, a bulletin board, a comment somewhere... flattering, unflattering, in English or not, it's all peachy. If this blog advances in pagerank, I'll be oh so motivated to thank those who made it all possible for me to lord it over my husband; why, I'll just slave my little fingers to the bone typing out little stories for y'all.

umm, how about a My Little Pony-themed piece of plastic crap instead?

"I want to buy a toy gun," said four year-old Lola, "a plastic one."

"Why?" I asked, surprised.

With the air of tired patience a genius must have when dealing with an imbecile, Lola said, "So I can pretend it's a real gun."

brainstorm with me a mo', readers

Today I was driving Miss Lola home from her swimming lesson (thankfully she'd just finished her lesson and showered off before some less happily potty-trained little minx took a crap in the pool, resulting in the rapid forced evacuation of the pool and the immediate deployment of the staff, who clearly have well-defined individual roles in such "brown-out" emergencies. This occurs several times a year, and I've never been on the premises before when it happened; I've only been the recipient of the rapidfire, curt courtesy calls informing me NOT to bring my child in as the pool is being drained and disinfected. The industry and energy of the staff was truly something to behold, and I had to force myself not to stand about gawking) and I was contemplating the Memorial Day weekend. I have no plans to go out of town. I had earlier in the year contemplated driving a few hours north for a large annual camping party organized by friends and acquaintances, but when it came time to reserve spaces, I was feeling too blackly depressed to have the energy for the party (and God knows driving anywhere with my children can test one's will to live). "So what shall I do all weekend," I wondered, and then it came to me. I should do something in the true spirit of Memorial Day, something to honor those who have given their lives in military service.

There has been a war going on in the background for several years now, and every day there are more and more casualties. I am personally deeply, deeply opposed to the war in Iraq (but in favor of the war in Afghanistan, about which we rarely hear), and I am sobered and saddened by the loss of each life. More and more American military personnel are deployed, possibly never to return again.

How should we honor those almost incomprehensible sacrifices? Suggestions? Can I encourage you, my darlings, to join with me in this? I realize that it's easier for me to draft you along on my whimsies when they are actually whimsical, e.g., y'all will send me pictures of cleavage but aren't about to rush out and read "The Lucifer Effect" with me, despite my ringing endorsement that reading about the Stanford Prison Experiment is engrossing enough to keep a suicidal person alive. Nonetheless, let's mull this over and generate some ideas.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Iris waxed rhapsodically: "I love kitties because they are small animals, and SMALL ANIMALS ARE PART OF LIFE!" The Sober Husband, ever prosaic, began animatedly, "And their poop is full of life.." until I interrupted, sick of hearing him go on about the kittens' crap: "All you talk about is poop! Talk about something else!"

Lola laughed hysterically. "All you know about is poop! ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT IS POOP! You need to learn about something else!" She paused to think, and then finished triumphantly, "Like ponies!"

a conversation with my neighbor

"I'm going to tell you something that reveals just how sick I am," said my neighbor, B. He stopped, adjusted his glasses, and hesitated before continuing. "The day after 9/11, I turned to L. in bed and said, 'Now's the time to buy some property. Anything. Just buy.' And I was right. There was nothing happening in the market for six months. It was flat. And then the prices went up. But that shows just how sick I am. Everyone else was flying to New York to help out, and I said, 'Now's the time to buy.'"

listen to the wisdom of the small child

Kindergarten teacher to class: "What do you do when you're bored?"

Angelic-looking kindergartener: "Destroy my brothers."

And let us not forget our own Lola, who proclaims, "I love my feet because they can take me anywhere! I love my butt because it lets me poop!"

Lola has also remarked several times lately, "I know how to say 'hello' in Hawaiian! HELLOHA!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

parents of our lives

Every now and then, I'm reminded how much fun mommies can be.Usually they all seem so stressed and tired and rushed, but every now and then, you can get a glimpse of the wild woman under that maternal exterior. Today I wore my beloved Elvis Herselvis t-shirt, depicting the delightful lesbian Elvis impersonator sneering with elan. It turns out that one of the mommies at my preschool "used to hear Elvis Herselvis having sex with my roommate all the time." This was back in the day, when this mommy was a funloving young woman living in the Castro with four lesbian roommates, and evidently the hijinks never ended. There should definitely have been a sitcom made of that material.

Last night at the annual arts festival at Iris Uber Alles's school (Incidentally Iris's most prominent contribution to the festival was a picture of an imaginary planet, Planet Iris, populated by Oprah-headed aliens. I had never realized my child was so taken by Oprah), I saw a fun looking mommy in a red-and-black African cap. Later she initiated a conversation with me, inquiring about my primitive silver necklace, a relic from my bellydancing days, and we hit it off. This other mother mentioned that she had noticed my husband and I as standing out in the parent population as "artsier" parents (she took a moment to seek the mot juste). I shared that at the beginning of the year, our kindergarten teacher from last year told me that I should "reach out to the new parents" and let them know that not all the parents at our school are cut from the same cookie cutter set (at our school, the relevant cookie cutters are probably best described as hedge fund manager & extraordinarily thin blonde trophy wife). As I related to the fun looking mommy, my reaction was, "How am I supposed to do that? Should I send them notes? 'Hello, I am weird and I can be your friend?'" Then, after that little moment of connection, we both went off to search the grounds for our respective offspring, probably never to see each other again.

This may well have been my Annual Moment of Connection With A New Private School Mommy. Last year I worked a volunteer shift at the fall festival with someone who looked at first glance like a staid trophy wife who'd be afraid to damage a Manolo, but who turned out to be the most amazingly fun person who throws parties with live blues, on weekends when her children are at the ex-husband's. (This did illustrate, of course, that one must never judge a mommy by her appearance. Indeed, not everyone who looks like a trophy wife is a trophy wife, and further indeed, many trophy wives can be a rollicking good time). I loved her, and she gave me her card, but somehow I lost it and never called, and the moment passed when it would have made sense to call and say, "Hey, let's go get embarrassingly drunk together."

Back at the preschool today, I had to use the bathroom at pick-up time just as today's working parents were cleaning it. "Watch out, the seats may be wet", one mommy cautioned me, as she'd just disinfected them. I said, "Don't worry, you don't have to re-do them. It's not as though someone used it like Paris Hilton, where our delicate maternal sensibilities would be troubled if our children had to put their butts there after her." "But isn't she in jail now?" answered the other mother. Our Hiltonian schadenfreude devolved into a spirited discussion of the merits of trashy celebrity gossip sites, wherein it was revealed that two out of three preschool mommies are addicted to, but only one out of three mommies has breathlessly followed the ongoing coverage of Hercules the morbidly obese tabby:

Now of course, it's not all fun and games in the world of parents. I was aggressively tailgated by a rude SUV driver today for about a mile... and it turned out to be one of the other parents from my school (or an agent thereof; conceivably it could have been a roadraging au pair). And then again this week one of my favorite parents from our preschool breathlessly passed on the news that a mountain lion had been seen in the canyon, which led to many parents panicking and demanding that the children be kept inside at school. My initial reaction was that some excitable person had seen a raccoon or an obese house cat (Hercules II?) as there is no viable wildlife corridor linking this urban park with any feasible cougar habitat. There are mountain lions in Marin, but I can't imagine the mountain lion who would make its way across the Golden Gate Bridge and half the city to our park. (Indeed, out-of-town drivers find negotiating the toll plaza and its lane merges to be stressful, and they're not on foot). On the other hand, there once really was an alligator in Mountain Lake back in the nineties(note for the non-San Franciscans: "Mountain Lake" is a small pond near a modest hill in northern San Francisco. Everything is named grandiosely here). Secretly, I was rooting for a mountain lion sighting, but I knew it was about as realistic as the fears of those crazy Brits who opposed the opening of the Chunnel, arguing that rabid French dogs would run down the tunnel and cross the Channel. I know I wasn't alone: if we must be conscientious and caring mothers who put our children first, no longer living in households with pop icons having sex in the next room, we can still keep an eye out for whatever thrills may be readily available.

our never-ending case study of a four year-old hypochondriac

"I have a boy's voice, NOT a girl's voice," complains Lola. She feels this is a biological mistake, an error which cannot be fixed but must be borne by the afflicted. Indeed, contemplating her sad fate, she sunk her head in her arms and mourned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

life goes on

I stopped by a bookstore in search of my idol Jack Bishop's new, seasonal vegetarian cookbook (which was not there, alas), but I did discover that my greatly beloved Donald Westlake has given the world another Dortmunder novel. I actually thought to myself, "It's a good thing I didn't kill myself last week." Pinning my life to Donald Westlake publications is not a good strategy, however, given that the man has got to be pushing one hundred. (A perennial item on my to do list is "Write Donald Westlake before he dies", which hopefully is a very, very long time in the future, but still, I should get a move on that, as well as "Find new dentist and make teeth-cleaning appointment", which is becoming a perennial).

It was not just sheer joy in the bookstore, however. This bookstore has branched out into carrying the seductive Melissa & Doug line of toys, and Lola was quite insistent upon getting a magnetic dress up princess (a sturdier sort of paperdoll, with magnets instead of little tabs). I refused to drop $20 on this when we already have analogous toys at home, but I did spring for another nauseating volume of My Little Pony pablum for her. So: the joy of Dortmunder is counterbalanced by the angst of being compelled to read aloud the doings of the My Little Ponies over and over again... and by Lola's pointed reminder that "I am getting that Princess dress toy for my birthday", spoken in a firm, no-nonsense voice as we walked to the car.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

what's eating yer drunken old housewife, part II

The hideous truth of the matter is that the number one thing causing a normally witty and likeable (albeit lazy and eccentric) woman to turn into a suicidal and insanely touchy hag is that (deep breath) I'm hot flashing like no one's business. I feel like a cartoon, like a living illustration of all those sexist jokes about menopausal witches.

Now, this is occurring over a decade ahead of schedule, and I'm cool with that. I was happy at first, since I'm unbelievably fertile and ready to call my reproductive career over. I'm so insanely in love with the amazing Lola and Iris Uber Alles that I'd be happy to have another child of their ilk, but I couldn't face another complicated pregnancy (ask me about bedrest and premature labor sometime), and of course, my schedule is so complicated already that adding any prenatal appointments, well baby visits, or source of child enrichment activities would be disastrous. It's kind of freakish, but it's to be expected I suppose, given that my older sister was done with menopause by age 40.

What I'm not cool with is constant hot flashes and mood swings. I'm also usually in the closet over this (odds of me deleting this are extremely high). It's not from any inherent shame; it's from societal pressure. I found that when I artlessly confided in people, "I'm having a hot flash right now, so excuse me" they would look at me as though I had said, "My leprosy-ridden finger is just about ready to come off, so forgive me if it falls in your lap." No one loves a menopausal woman. Why is there no blues genre which covers this?

Yes, I suppose I should entertain the idea of going on hormones, but I don't want to. First, there's the whole animal ethics thing (the more prevalent hormones are made from urine taken from tortured pregnant horses). Next, there's a complicated relationship between breast cancer and taking hormones, and I don't want to buy myself a ticket to chemo. (Not to mention that I may not be aging gently, but I have unusual green eyes and a great rack, and I don't want to lose either of those. Leave me something to be vain about, please).

I never believed in the whole crazy, hormonal women stereotype as a young feminist. I never personally suffered from PMS, and I doubted its existence. I didn't run around bashing anyone, but internally, I was rolling my eyes when a friend would bitch or share some anecdote of extreme behavior where the punchline was "And the next day I got my period!" I felt that was the sort of ridiculous whininess which held our gender back. Then I got pregnant and learned what it was to be hormonal. (Now I'd like to give all the PMS sufferers a hug and a nice chocolate bar). Back then my obstetrician told me something which should have frightened me more: "For some women, pregnancy is a foretaste of what menopause will be like." In retrospect, there should have been some kind of ominous background music swelling up as she said that.

I was really kind of insane during both my pregnancies, eating pints of ice cream, whining about not being able to have a gin and tonic, and calling my husband on the phone to instruct him about what to do in the event of my death. Then there was the time when, bedevilled with insomnia and pregnancy cravings, I made the husband go out for doughnuts around four AM, and unforgivably enough I had fallen asleep by the time he got back. Of course, he was richly rewarded for all that with children of the highest calibre. What does anyone get in return for bearing with me through the current rollercoaster?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

a taste of what's eating yer drunken old housewife

I've been so depressed lately, with only my book about human evil to cheer me up (and I'm on the penultimate chapter, so that's going to run out). There's no one big reason I've sunk into this morass, nothing like cancer or death of a loved one (although the other great certainty, taxes, figures into it). It's a series of insignificant-in-the-big-picture things which are stressing me, and I personally find that shameful. I should be more resilient. (Oddly enough, when it has come to the Big Things, I have been fairly tough, weathering divorce, death of loved ones, being the victim of violent crime which triggered post traumatic distress in me and my ex, etc...) I will share a small taste of the stress with you, but I'll spare you much of it.One large source of stress is that I'm constantly running about, ferrying the children hither and yon. Our schedule, the one for the children and me, is so ridiculous it has conflicts built right into it. The most blatant example of scheduling madness is that Iris Uber Alles has a piano lesson which directly conflicts with picking Lola up at preschool one day a week. (So why not stop the piano lesson? Because she really wants to play the piano and practices so willingly, and if we screw around this teacher, a very talented young pianist who lives five blocks from Iris's school, we'll never find such a conveniently located one again. And because we started piano on the advice of Iris's music teacher at school, another longish story). So one day a week the Sober Husband has to leave work early -- and of course it's one of the days he's required to be in Palo Alto an hour away -- and deal with one of the children. I'm always stressed that he won't remember (and indeed, the man does get involved in his work and lose track of time, relying upon his celphone alarm to startle him out of his consuming focus, but sometimes he forgets to set the celphone alarm).

We also have just re-started speech therapy for Lola, which conflicts with Iris's loathed softball practice. And of course, this falls upon a day the husband must be in Palo Alto, as well. This is a short-term conflict; softball is close to an end, but in the meantime, it's another source of stress.

Then there's Tuesday, where for eight weeks running (eight! weeks!), I've been scheduled to work at Lola's preschool. That makes Tuesday mornings stressful for us, with me having to chivvy poor Lola constantly to hurry along, as we have an extremely tight schedule to get from her delightful child gymnastics class to school early (working parents are supposed to arrive fifteen minutes before school starts). Normally I try to "plan for success with my spirited child", as the parenting catchphrase goes, and my planning for success largely involved allowing Lola a ton of extra time. She's a dawdler, an extremely slow walker (although, in a marked display of lack of self-knowledge, she proclaims herself to be "fast as a squirrel" and is completely puzzled over why the other children are able to get to school before her when she is walking as fast as is humanly possible). I like to allot half an hour to make the 1/3 mile walk to her school (and no, driving it is not possible, because the whole point of this preschool is that it's located in a quiet canyon where children and dogwalkers cavort in nature away from the hectic city). When we can't do that -- as in these eight consecutive Tuesdays -- our walk is transformed from the most relaxing part of our days (Lola and Mommy in nature! observing red-tailed hawks! looking for the baby owls which were born in a eucalyptus tree right by the trail! walking on logs! picking leaves off the stinky monkey flower plant!) into nasty old Mommy nonstop nagging poor, poky Lola. "Lola, we have to walk faster. Mommy has to work today and she's going to be late! It makes your teacher unhappy when Mommy is late! Please, Lola, for the love of God can't you keep walking?? Godamit." And of course, once I am at the preschool, I need to be patient, calm, cheerful, energetic and observant to work with the children, plus I need to keep my normally truck-driverish vocabulary G-rated.

There's not much time in the day for me to be alone or with other adults sans children. Iris's alarm goes off at 6 AM. Lola goes to bed around 10:00 or 10:30 p.m. That is a loooong day. (Don't start with me about how I am a bad mother letting Lola stay up so late. Lola is one of those freaks of nature, like Bill Clinton or Thomas Edison, who require very little sleep. As a baby and toddler, she was a non-napping paragon of wakefulness. In addition to her relatively tiny appetite for sleep, the child lives for the time of day when Iris is already asleep and she, Lola, rules the roost). Some days, I have a block of time of nearly two hours of free time without children, and I usually squander it going to the grocery store or running other mindless errands.

I used to relieve stress and maintain morale by a series of money-wasting beauty treatments (pedicures, professional eyebrow shaping, Brazilian waxes, expensive haircuts, etc...) plus buying books almost as frequently crack addicts buy rocks of crack. Then the Sober Husband and I had the realization that we were living way beyond our means, and the first thing to go on the economic chopping block was the poor old Drunken Housewife's personal appearance. Sigh. (Less sadly, I rejoined a delightful private library, enabling me a better source of books than the dreary and depressing public library).

This leads us to our next source of stress, the Almighty Dollar. We were recently hit by an astounding tax bill, which was completely unanticipated by stupid old us because we'd just paid a large amount of money in estimated taxes in January upon the advice of our tax attorney. These are taxes upon extra income earned in the distant-seeming past by the Sober Husband from doing some side consulting work, work which has dried up and indeed work from which we are owed $25,000 in unpaid fees (this is an entertaining story in its own right which I have long meant to get around to telling). Currently we are living outside our means, and Something Should Be Done. Of course, the most natural possibility that comes to mind is that the Drunken Housewife get off her curvy rump and obtain paying employment, but given that we already cannot get the children through the week without making the husband come home early from work at least one in five days, how the hell am I supposed to manage getting to a job? Not to mention that I am currently unwilling to do the work for which I am trained (litigatrix), and I'm woefully over or under-qualified for anything else. (I have graded practice bar exams for cash, as it's something semi-flexible which doesn't require putting the children into daycare, but it sucks in its own right. There's nothing to cause one to despair for the future of civilization like being put to grading a few hundred essays on a more obscure subject, such as corporations, which the aspiring attorneys of tomorrow have completely failed to master. And then again the pay for this is not generous, and indeed collecting it requires numerous long-distance phone calls and emails with increasing tones of nastiness. Funnily enough the bar preparation people are completely capable of receiving all emails EXCEPT the ones with my paysheets, which invariably are not received no matter how many times they are sent).

The last straw recently was when, on a day when I was already stressed and depressed and had only enjoyed about 2 hours of sleep, due to chronic insomnia (and indeed, it was a Tuesday morning, the worst time of the week), I received a note from my mother-in-law (with whom I have a spectacularly stressful and crappy relationship):

Dear family,

I will turn 70 next year, and I would like to have a first-ever family reunion sometime in the summer. You are all invited with families, spouses, significant or even insignificant others. This is a heads up way in advance to get your input on available dates during July-August 2008. Do you have any specific plans for those months that would prevent you from coming?

Here's the general plan: I will rent a place for a week, big enough for everyone. I'm looking on Martha's Vineyard but probably won't be able to confirm rental for 6 or more months. Whatever I get will have beach access and other activities available. I'm hoping everyone can be there for a big cookout on a Saturday night, vegetarian and vegan options available. Then you can stay for as much or as little of the rest of the week as you wish.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.
And here's your Drunken Housewife on the Martha's Vineyard ferry to the "first-ever family reunion":

Now why should this bother a reasonably sane person? First, the last time I went to one of these family reunions (this is actually not the "first-ever" one; there was one for a landmark birthday for the husband's now-deceased grandmother), it was one of the worst experiences of my entire life. Secondly, at least at that one (horrific as it was) I had insisted upon staying at a hotel, so I was able to have a few bits of time here and there where I could escape from the inlaws and stare blankly at the walls in private, contemplating death as a feasible escape and pondering why, why, why did I think it was a good idea to carry that particular family's genes forward into the new millennium. I was so horrified at the idea of having to be in a house with these people (and a statement that it will be "big enough for everyone" is meaningless coming from a person who thinks a one bedroom house is large enough for a family of four to visit comfortably, particularly as they could use a futon in the basement) that I completely missed at first the spine-chilling fact this was a house on an island. Not just any old, conveniently visited island, but one with no bridges and only an infrequent ferry. Thus if yer crabby old Drunken Housewife were stressed and wished to escape, there would be no escape short of wading into the sea.

But most of all, the fact remains that we haven't had a vacation in over three years, a proper vacation. We did go to Camp Mather last year and will return this year (Camp Mather is the city-subsidized mountain get-away, consisting of extremely rustic cabins by a pond in the scenic Sierras), but that is a vacation for the children, not their cranky old mother. Our last vacation was wonderful, a couple of weeks in Panama (so underrated as a destination. Just as brown is sometimes the new black, Panama is the new Costa Rica), but that was years ago and poor Lola can't even remember it. Travelling abroad is the most important thing in life to me, my greatest joy and pleasure, even eclipsing reading and drinking (and of course, you can read and drink abroad! discover new and exotic alcohols!). Due to monetary constraints, international vacations are not part of my life as a stay-at-home crab, and there are no conferences or calls to action for a cranky old Drunken Housewife to heed which would entail flying her abroad. At the present time, going from California to Martha's Vineyard is completely not in the budget and would conclusively exterminate any hopes of a more enjoyable outing elsewhere in the foreseeable future. I can't live in a world where my only vacations are spent being miserable with my in-laws. What mistakes have I made to put me in this position?

I am not being paid enough to be cooped up on an island with people who hate me. On "Survivor", at least they have tropical splendor to gaze upon and the hope of winning a million dollars... and the joy of voting out despised enemies.

And today, as the icing on the cake, my mother-in-law arrives for a visit. I am so dreading any discussion of this "first ever family reunion." If things get bad, I am going to have to run away from home (readers: I am entertaining offers! I have a valid passport and credit cards, albeit no ability to pay them off).

Friday, May 11, 2007

everybody say "awwww..."

My foster kittens have just outgrown the awkward, ton-of-work stage. When I got them, they needed to be bottle-fed constantly (I was staying up late and then getting up early for a 5 am feed). It was like having a baby, except I could leave them unsupervised without fearing CPS. They were not capable of cleaning themselves, and they didn't understand the litterbox (also, they had cranky little kitten bowels). I had to do a load of kitten-related laundry every day. Also, the runt of the litter was a poor eater who was always dehydrated, and for two weeks I gave her subcutaneous fluids several times a day, and I was really stressed and concerned that she wouldn't make it.

Now they are just a joy and no work. The two larger kittens come when I call them. They are all so snuggly and dear and as cute as a Hallmark card. Of course, the cruel day is soon arriving when the two large kittens will be packed off to go up for adoption, and the runt will be separated from her siblings. The horrible part of fostering is the guilt of dropping the kittens off at the shelter, where they cry pathetically, obviously sending the message, "Mommy, why are you leaving me in this little cage? What is this nightmare? Don't leave me here!" I feel terrible abandoning them to the vagaries of life.

Last year my rescue program raised roughly 500 kittens, the overwhelming majority of which were tiny, feral kittens. If this program did not exist, many of those kittens would have been euthanized. So much fluffy joy in the world... contact me if you want some of it to be yours.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Conversation with Lola is always most interesting when we're walking after preschool. Yesterday Lola was in a cheerful yet morbid mood and hit upon the happy-for-her thought of her big sister's eventual demise. "She won't be able to boss me around any more! No more bossy old Hassie!"

Today Lola had thoughts of personal glory. "I want to be a rockstar first, and then I want to turn into a roommate. A rockstar, then a roommate!"

bloodthirsty children

We gave a ride to Iris Uber Alles's fellow first grader, a child addicted to asking strange questions. "Iris, would you rather stick needles in your eyes or kill someone and go to jail?"

"I would kill someone, but only go to jail for a moment."

This talk of death inspired the listening Lola, who skipped down the sidewalk, shouting happily, "I want someone to kill George Bush! I want someone to kill George Bush!" I cringed, fearing some nearby Republican would report my four year-old assassin to the Secret Service.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

the dark flirtation

I've been in another round of dancing with my personal demon lately, and no, the demon's name is not alcoholism, despite what one might assume (cue my latest idol, Amy Winehouse, singing, "They tried to make me go to rehab, and I said, NO, NO, NO"). In my case, the nameless demon (and yes, some demons do have names: my somewhat combat-addled first fiance called his "Tobias") is suicide.

Somehow I think I've always known my personal story will have that ending [although to date my near-death experiences, of which I've had many, have had different themes, such as robbers armed with machetes in the Andes, undiagnosed gallbladder disease, household accident ending in dramatic scar on right wrist (how ironic for one of my flirtation to have only an accidental wrist scar!), careless drivers, meningitis, nearly drowning after getting caught in a riptide, etc...]. It doesn't sound bad to me; it seems like a natural fit, much like how when I got divorced back in the nineties, I told everyone who offered their condolences, "Eh, I always knew I'd be a gay divorcee." (What I didn't know was that my projected life of a single urban sophisticate was not on the cards, but instead a life featuring Mortgages and Small Children).

This makes sense to some. When I was engaged to the man with a personal demon, a hard-drinking member of the Special Forces who kept a lot of weapons stowed about our apartment, I told him that when I did consummate this flirtation, I was going to stage it so it looked like murder at his hands. In all seriousness, he said to me, "I'll fall more and more in love with you as I go through the criminal process." Ahh, sweet first love.

However, I have to spurn my suitor in this narrative or, at the very least, postpone this ending until I'm elderly and/or on the losing side of a medical crisis, due to the plot twist of small children in this tale. It's not just that, under the Sober Husband's stewardship, they would never be presented with a green vegetable ever again. I have a close family member who killed himself two years ago, and I can't put Iris and Lola through the aftermath. (The horrible thing is that in the case of my nephew, I think the only family members who were really bothered were me, his aunt, and his siblings. Of course, his high school friends and girlfriend were devastated, and their suffering at the funeral contrasted with the calm of the family members hideously).

God, the demands of parenting never end: must not kill self, must drive softball carpool, must work shift at preschool, must remember to bring check for afterschool enrichment program, &tc., &tc...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

yes, I realize how insane this sounds

I've been extremely depressed lately, and the only thing which perks me up is reading "The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil" by Philip Zimbardo. "Huh?" you might think. "What the . . . ?"

How this works: this book is so enveloping and so thought-provoking, that it makes me feel that it is good to be alive in a world where there are such interesting things to read and so much to learn. This book is making me want to make a visit to the local medical library so I can find the journal articles listed in the endnotes. I haven't been so involved in a topic in years.

In college, I took a number of psych classes, but it seemed to be 99% crap. I've never bought the artificial id-ego-superego thing, or all that Freud nonsense, such as penis envy. While taking a course in "Theories of Personality", I concluded it was all bunk and invented my own "Theory of Personality", known to my college friends as "the Weirdness Scale", which I contended was just as good as any of the theories covered in my class. Zimbardo, however, is on another level.

Currently I'm reading a chapter about obedience. Here's one insight: it has been conclusively shown that people tend to obey others in their life most when they act out of character. This is a big part of why abused women obey their abuser: the acts of abuse are "out of character." We tend to have a gut reaction that if someone who is normally intelligent and loving acts abusively, then there must be some core truth to their atypical reaction and we should fall in line. (Sadly this makes me think of the one time I lost it with Iris Uber Alles and screamed at her after a morning of conflict, and she instantly scurried to obey. At the time, I made a joke of it, saying "Who knew bad parenting was so effective?", but it's an illustration of the abuser being a persuasive authority figure. For the record, I didn't lift a hand-- I just raised my voice -- but yelling angrily is out of character for me).

The last book I read which was anywhere near so absorbing and thought-provoking was "The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2" by Jane Poynter. That was a book which gave me material for thought for days and made my mind buzz in a hundred different directions. In the end, did that book change my life? No, not beyond making me squabble with my husband over whether the Biosphere 2 had any scientific import, but it gave me some happy hours of reading. I suspect these authors are hoping to change the world significantly, and I doubt it would be meaningful to them to learn that they have assisted one middle-aged sot in killing time, but anyhow, cheers, Professor Zimbardo and Ms. Poynter. Thanks for the books!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

my challenge to all of you

Get yerselves a copy of Philip Zimbardo's "The Lucifer Effect" ASAP. I'm about a quarter of a way through this unusual and riveting book.

Zimbardo, a psychology professor, is best known for having created the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment, where male college students were randomly assigned to be guards and inmates in an ersatz prison created in a campus basement. The guards quickly became so sadistic that the experiment had to be aborted early. Zimbardo had a book deal to write about the Stanford Prison Experiment, but he was unable to face writing about it until thirty years had passed. Since that famous experiment, Zimbardo has been involved in the Abu Ghraib scandal (he reports that the infamous pictures we see are NOTHING compared to the unreleased ones he has seen) and other instances of regular people becoming evil. He believes that we all have the potential of great evil within us, which can be easily drawn out by a horrible situation.

Join me in reading this important and interesting book.

"why I don't blog" by the formidable Lemonjuicer!

The delightful Lemonjuicer, one of the winners of our First, Possibly Annual, Reader's Photo Contest, has stepped forward with her prize, a day of guest blogging. I have interspersed a few comments hither and yon.

why i dont blog.

i know... this guest blog entry is horribly overdue. [More shamefully I still haven't written the two prize entries for the winners who assigned me topics for a prize. I know, I suck. -DH]. i have been suffering from a long spell of writers block, otherwise known as 'my husband travels a lot and i am brain-dead from child care'. i am currently lubricating my mind with a cocktail - the world's most perfect margarita, of which i posted the recipe some time back in the comments section. i invite you to mix one up and drink with me, as i am far more interesting when you are drunk.

i feel honored that my rack has vaulted me into this position - for once the girls pay off!! ok, i lied. they have paid off before. that story involves a stripper and the man i currently call my husband. alas, i digress.

i apologize in advance for my lack of punctuation and capitalization. you will get used to it. i do in fact know the difference between it's and its. if i ever need to compose a letter to someone, say, Bill Clinton, i will tidy up my writing. if he ever visits me i will also flip the couch cushions to the 'visitor' side. the rest of the world gets all lower case and grungy furniture.

so, back to the title 'why i dont blog'. what do i have to blog about? despite having lived in the hearts of the gay communities of nyc, LA, and SF (yes, another former castro dweller!) i have been calling rural wisconsin my home for the past 4 years. i also went from monthly international travel to being a stay-at-home-mom of 2. and, considering our illustrious hostess - the formidable drunken housewife, has cornered the market on the drunken ramblings of a woman slowly losing her mind, what could i possibly have left to offer? apparently a sentence with far too many commas, thats what.

my husband suggested i write about blow jobs. wow, thats a shocker. i am not sure if its a 'stick with what you know' or more wishful thinking on his part. [This reference is going to win the charming Lemonjuicer even more fans!]

so i give you the blog entry about absolutely nothing.


And in Lemonjuicer's honor, let us all make the daily drink a margarita and toast her digitized image. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

"I can dream about wearing them"

Lola is obsessed with getting Homer Simpson slippers:
"I want them! I can dream about wearing them! Can you dream about me wearing them? Tell me when you dream about me wearing them!"

(art courtesy of Hughman!)

the minutia, the excrement, and all the driving is going to kill me

It's a rough week to be me, although in the great scheme of things, being me any particular week is not so bad. I live on one of the most beautiful blocks in one of the world's most gorgeous cities; I have more than enough to eat; I get laid on a regular basis. The big picture is lovely, but the small picture is sucky (and smells bad at times).

Monday: one of the working parents was scheduled to drive the frigging softball carpool, but a work issue came up forcing her to cancel. It is the lot, indeed the calling, of the stay-at-home parents of the world to step in and cover for those who have the dual stresses of work and child, so I volunteered to drive the despised softball carpool. So on Monday after driving Lola to her swimming lesson (and just as I was heading out the door, I discovered that one of my foster kittens had taken a giant crap all over Lola's swimming bag, resulting in a rather gross last minute clean-up AND me feeling stressed about getting to swimming on time), I had to make Lola spend an hour in the car for the softball carpool. Lola tried to make conversation with the bigger girls, trying such gambits as "I'm four!" and telling them that she goes to preschool, but they completely ignored her. In retaliation, Lola chose to shriek all the way to softball. Anton, who had completely blown off softball practice all season, had agreed to meet me at practice and relieve me from responsibility for supervising the girls (practice starts over an hour after school lets out, which I personally consider idiotic, but then again our coach is a highly successful hedge fund manager and I but a mere Drunken Housewife). He wanted to make it to at least one of the practices to help out, as the more athletic parents are roped into throwing balls and jogging with the girls and so on. (To date, I have been recruited only to walk girls to the far-away facilities. Evidently when a coach looks at me, he thinks, "She doesn't look like she could throw very good, but damn, I bet she's great at walking to the bathroom"). I was thrilled to see Anton and turn over my carload of first graders, who at that point were gawking lasciviously (children are so advanced these days) at a boy being made to change clothes in a nearby car. However, Lola, already sensitive by being shunned by the big girls, was deeply wounded by the idea that the Sober Husband would be spending time with Iris, not her. So Lola screamed and sobbed all the way home and for the next forty-five minutes, not being distracted by kittens , the prospect of cartoons on television, or even a desperate offer of ice cream. I finally calmed her down by helping her write a letter to Anton about how upset she was, which she illustrated with a picture of a frowning Lola with very big hair.

On Monday night, as on Sunday night, I had hellish insomnia, resulting in me spending much of the night sitting on the couch surfing the internet and reading old Parker novels. Oh, if it were not for Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, my life would be so blighted.

Tuesday: Lola is enrolled in a parent co-op nursery school, which means that a parent (read: me) must work one afternoon for every five afternoons Lola attends. The only day of the week it is difficult for me to fit working at the preschool into my schedule is Tuesday. It's not impossible; it is just highly stressful. I didn't ask for special scheduling accommodations because I know the scheduler has been so over-asked and harangued with accommodation requests that it's very difficult for her to make any schedule at all. Damn, did I regret being so mature and nice when I WAS SCHEDULED TO WORK TUESDAYS EIGHT WEEKS IN A ROW. Eight fucking consecutive weeks. Fuck me sideways. So, as it happens every single fucking Tuesday in a series of eight Tuesdays, I get Lola ready for her preschool gymnastics class, meaning she must hurry through breakfast, get her hair brushed and in a ponytail, and put on a gym suit. I drive her to gymnastics, attempting to arrive on time. Then I'm free to sit in the uncomfortable, filthy bleachers with the other parents, so long as I remember to buy Lola's apple juice and faux fruit snack for after class. This week, a three year-old boy pulled a little girl towards him by the arm and hauled off and bitch-slapped her like a born gangsta (before you condemn your Drunken Housewife as racist, be aware that none of the persons involved were of African American descent). The little girl cried hysterically, and the parents were all abuzz with gossip that the offending child's lesbian parents have adopted an extreme parenting philosophy, believing in home schooling and no discipline whatsoever. Your faithful correspondent tried to insert some compassion in the proceedings, noting that perhaps we, the gossiping parents, were merely lucky to date that we'd given birth to well-behaved little girls, but the other parents were hellbent on finding the little felon's mother to blame (this boy's mother does not choose to mingle with the other parents, instead sitting aside in her oh so cool Asian Film Festival t-shirt and black cargo pants, and hence gets no sympathy from the scorned masses). Also, Lola's beloved gymnastics teacher was out due to a soccer injury, and this caused Lola much concern.

After gym class, Lola always walks very slowly and is interested only in consuming her snack, but she must be hustled home. We had twenty-five minutes to clean our kittens' enclosure, check the runt of the litter for dehydration (and indeed, I needed to give her some subcutaneous fluids before leaving again), get Lola changed into preschool clothes, make Lola's lunch for preschool, make the Drunken Housewife (who had skipped breakfast) a lunch for preschool, make Lola's circletime snack, and get Lola and all our lunches and crap packed into the car. During this time, a kitten had diarrhea while I was holding her, which got into my hair. I had no time to take a shower and had to quickly rinse the fecally contaminated hair in the sink, disgustingly enough. We drove to school, where we must park and hike in a third of a mile. Lola typically takes half an hour to make this walk, choosing to alternate skipping with dawdling and outright balking, but on a workday, I need to be on time and must nag the child steadily down the trail.

So then, after all that rushing and nagging and stress, it was time to supervise a crowd of small children. I got into it with a five year-old boy who refused to eat his sandwich, but other than that, I did all right, despite the fact that I was so dog-tired from insomnia that I could hardly stand upright.

Seeing some friends of hers playing with a little rubber ball after school, Lola became extremely worried that she herself would become mutilated. Her gymnastics coach's injury may have spawned a soccer phobia.

When we got home, it was time to clean the litterboxes and feed the kittens. The Sober Husband expressed unhappiness that a kitten had pissed all over his favorite blanket (a gold comforter given to me by my friend Jewelz when she was purging possessions due to a bad roommate situation, it possesses the magical property of actively repelling cat hair). "What will I use for a blanket?" he complained, feeling that no other existing blanket was adequate as a substitute. I had almost finished a quilt I'd been working on intermittently over a year and a half, so I spent the evening feverishly sewing until quite late. "A cat peed on my blanket, so you made me a new one!" said the husband admiringly.

Wednesday (today, sigh): I woke up to discover cats had had bowel movements of various consistencies at diverse spots along the stairs. God, cats are such filthy creatures. Iris Uber Alles was remarkably rude to her sister, shouting "What the hell are you talking about!" when Lola expressed her concerns about the fallen gymnastics coach, victim of soccer violence.

Forecast for the rest of the week: extreme stress and outlandish amounts of driving children expected. On Thursday, I have to bake cupcakes for the celebration of Iris's birthday at school. Her actual birthday is in the summer, but her class will celebrate it tomorrow, which is fine for everyone except me, who has to bake the frigging treats and perform superhuman feats of driving: drive Lola to preschool, race home & get cupcakes & other crap, drive to Iris's school, celebrate Iris's birthday, drive across town to Lola's school, get Lola, drive back to Iris's school to pick up Iris. On Friday, it's more of the same: my kittens will be making a guest appearance at kindergarten, visiting the new class of Iris's beloved kindergarten teacher. I'll then need to race home, drop off the kittens, and drive Lola to preschool. Later, Iris has a piano lesson and Lola needs to be picked up and brought home. In between all that driving, I'll have to clean up various amounts of excrement. As long as it doesn't get into my hair, I will hopefully maintain a reasonable level of sanity.

such contempt for an innocent species

At the breakfast table today, the Sober Husband promised Lola toast and tea, but then wandered off to check his email, leaving me to take over the reins. I spread the toast with butter and honey, and I made the tea weak, with milk and sugar. This turned out to be all wrong.

"I like honey with peanut butter!"

"It's good like this; try it! That's how I eat it," I cajoled.

"This is MILK, not tea."

"It's tea with milk. White tea. Milk tea."

After quite a bit of sulking (I said, "Aww, you started out with a fabulous Daddy breakfast, but Mommy turned it into a crappy old Mommy breakfast!"), Lola ended up loving the breakfast. Anton offered to make her fresh tea, but she insisted, "I love this tea!" Charmed into a better mood eventually, Lola deigned to entertain me:

"What do you call a big dog that has brown spots all over on him?"

"A Dalmatian?"


She laughed uproariously at her own inscrutable wit.