Last Days

Many of you are probably already familiar with Emily over at The Waiting. Once a week, she does a blog hop. I’m not much of a hopper since I hurt my knee and all, but last week’s topic has gnawed on me like a toddler with biting habit. It won’t let me go. The topic was “last days.”

I’m late to the game. I should have linked up a couple of days ago. I should be writing about “back in the day,” but this is my day. I hope Emily won’t mind me bending the rules a little. I wanted to at least credit her for the idea because it’s a big one, and I thank her for it. I think.

I’m currently living my last days. Not most literal sense, although last week I lost someone dear very suddenly, and I can’t ignore the fact that any day could be my last. I’m living my last days with a little kid.

There has been a little kid in my house for the last sixteen years. When one reaches the stage of official Big Kid, there has been another right behind them to fill the role of baby. That’s not true here anymore. Squish marks The End.  As parents, we get all excited about firsts; first smiles, first steps, first Christmas. I was always too busy to notice the milestones marking the lasts.

Indeed, some of those Last Days come as a relief. You won’t find me counting diapers among my painful losses. I was more than happy to see the end of those years days when Squish was too shy to let anyone hold him but me. And I’m definitely not weeping over gaining a little freedom and getting to have date nights again. Having a life is a beautiful thing, but it’s bittersweet.

A week ago, I set Squish’s car seat on the curb. ***  He’s used it for almost five years. It was one of those convertible numbers that takes them from birth to big boy booster seat, and it did. We brought him home from the birthing center in this seat, and since then we’ve put thousands of road miles on it. And now he’s too big. Too big. All grown up. He has graduated to a booster seat. Our big and bulky car seat has seen its last days with our family.

On Friday, our preschool did a Thanksgiving lunch for parents. On Friday, I watched Squish parade around the gym with his classmates, shaking a maraca (and his bum-bum, but we won’t talk about that) and singing “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho.” His joy brought tears to my eyes. He is changing every day. For how much longer will he wave in frenetic delight when he sees me in the audience? How many more concerts will he perform at the top of his lungs before confidence melts away into self-consciousness? Childhood is a paradox. It drags on forever and is gone before you know it.

I’m living in my Last Days as a stay-at-home mom, as well. I’m looking for a job, an income, a new part of my identity, a career that will help fill in the blanks that I feel at the moment.

It’s not all bad. This time of transition has presented some marvelous opportunities for messing with my husband. Since I haven’t landed The Job yet, I told him I thought we should have another baby. He’s pretty sure I’m kidding, but that 1% of doubt is giving me such delight. And he skims longer blog posts, so there’s a good chance he’ll miss this paragraph entirely. I hope he does. I need a little more mileage. I’ll let him off the hook in a week or so.

Don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright. Where there are lasts, there will also be new firsts, and I’m looking forward to them. I’m ready.


I can still see the baby in him.


*** Don’t yell at me. I didn’t want to send it to a landfill, either, but it’s illegal to resell them here, even in thrift stores. I set it on the curb in the hopes that another family might adopt it. It was gone when I got home.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Passive Aggression, Vol. 1

I have learned something in the nearly seventeen years of my marriage. My husband isn’t perfect. And…wait for it…neither am I. There are times when we get on one another’s nerves and I’d like to feed his running shoes to a pack of wild wolves, and he’d like to paint mustaches on all of my Severus Snape action figures. But we don’t. Because marriage is about working things out. So we do. Eventually.

But what do you do in the interim, between the wishing you could back over them with the car and the kiss-and-make-up? I’m so glad you asked.


Serve them homemade chili the night before their big meeting. To take it to the next level, cook the beans in the water you soaked them in. I must warn you. There will be collateral damage. Make sure your own calendar is clear. And plan to leave your windows open at night. Methane poisoning is an ugly way to die.

Send their sandwich in a Justin Bieber lunch box.

Erase their entire musical library. Replace it with the sound tracks to “Titanic”  and “The Aristocats.” If those particular musical offerings are already on there, I really can’t help you.

When serving banana splits, don’t give them any of the chocolate ice cream. I know. This one is almost too mean. I am sorry you had to see that side of me.

Use their email address to sign up for on-line catalogs. Toys R Us, Wal-mart, Hickory Farms, candidates with opposite political leanings.

Wash their favorite undergarments in scalding water. Dry on high heat for three hours. Hope for a bit of shrink. If you’re feeling particularly vindictive, don’t use fabric softener. This one is not particularly environmentally friendly, so save it for the big stuff. Polar bears shouldn’t suffer because they left a toilet seat up/down.

Turn off their side of the electric mattress cover. Cold shoulder = cold all over.

Use their favorite coffee mug. For an added twist, pretend you don’t realize it’s their favorite. Serve their coffee in a substandard container and say “I know you prefer this cup.” They will spend their morning trying to figure out if you are being the better person or the turd.

Blow out their birthday candles. But don’t take their wish. There are lines that should never be crossed.


Or you could just say you’re sorry. But in order for apologies to sound sincere, it’s necessary to remember what  the transgression actually was. And everyone knows that the first rule for a happy marriage is to never keep score.

Titanic? You have GOT to be kidding me! What did I ever do to you?

Who Thought These Were A Good Idea?

Not the actual model. This design looks sleek and impressive. And would give me a concussion when it came sliding across the dashboard.


We got her for Christmas a few years ago. She seemed like the perfect gift. To my husband, she was another condescending female with comments on his driving. To me, she was a sister-wife. I called her “Julie.” Until I realized that he valued her input more than mine, and war was declared. If Julie said “All your friends are driving off a bridge,” he would probably gun it for the nearest overpass. Why did anyone ever think the world needed a GPS?

I understand, though. I fell for her, too. There’s something very comforting about having someone else tell you what to do when you’re lost and confused. It’s even acceptable that they’re bossy. Because if they’re talking to you like you’re stupid, then everything must be fine. It’s when the note of panic creeps into their voice that you’re up the creek without a paddle, and possibly even more literally than you’d like.

We have discovered that there are things that Julie the GPS likes. Fast food, for instance. She can tell us exactly how to get to McDonalds from anywhere. And there are places that she does not like, as well. She has an allergy to state and national parks. On one memorable trip (oh, believe you me, we have tried to forget), the path she chose for us took us around the perimeter of a park. It took us two hours before we realized that Julie is a lying wench. Despite her protests that she would need to recalculate, we took an unadvised turn and were at our destination in 15 minutes.

And we never learn. We went to the mountains this past weekend, and we decided to see if there was a faster route home. We learned on this trip that Julie likes to pout. Apparently since we hadn’t seen fit to ask her how to get there in the first place, she wasn’t sure she wanted to get us home. And we were in a national park. Double score. It took 15 minutes of hanging her out of the car window in quickly dropping temperatures before she would bother to pick up a signal at all. Hell hath no fury like a GPS scorned, ladies and gentlemen. And she wasn’t finished with us yet. It didn’t take her long to get all passive-aggressive. If I rolled up the window, she would promptly “lose” the signal until I rolled it back down. After this happened a couple of times, she started to get a little mouthy.

“Are you inside a vehicle?” What do you think, genius?

“Are you in (insert random state here)?” Uh, didn’t we already have this conversation when I programmed you?

“Are you driving under trees?” National forest. I think, perhaps.

“Is today December 4th?” Apparently, she was convinced I had suffered a head injury from beating my cranium against the dashboard during our friendly little discussion. I was waiting for her to ask me to name the current President of the United States when my husband suggested that perhaps we could continue without her. I think we can, like maybe for the rest of our lives.

But I know that there will come a time when he will be tempted to pull her out of her hiding place and ask her to take him somewhere. He likes bossy women who think they know everything, and Julie actually comes with volume control.

Just remember, though, Sweetie. She will never load the dishwasher as well as I do.




Photo: Wikipedia

Sick and Twisted


We have all encountered these couples at some point in our lives. You know the ones. Where they are absolutely nuts about each other. Their feelings are obvious to everyone but each other. It’s awkward and uncomfortable for absolutely anyone who ever comes into contact with them. We have a couple like that. They’ve been in our lives for eleven years. Eleven years. And they are still dancing around each other like kids with cooties at a fifth grade dance. And if you have kids, you may know them, too. That’s right. I am talking about Bob the Builder and his gal-pal Wendy. Click the link and tell me that even the cat isn’t disgusted by their  cluelessness.

They’ve skated around one another for so long that I can no longer bear to watch. He takes dance lessons to impress Wendy, um, everyone. Yeah, slick, Bob. No one caught that. Awkward. And she is bitterly disappointed when he doesn’t do something special for her. Because he can’t read her mind and know that she’d lay bricks for him any day of the week.

You would think that at some point in the last decade, one of them would have cracked. ONE of them would have confessed their true love for the other. But no. I find myself in every episode wanting to shout “C’mon, Bob! Man up! She paved your road for you when you were sick, and let you take the credit. Love doesn’t get anymore real than that!  And Wendy, really! You’re in construction. You’ve already turned gender-roles on their chauvinistic heads.  Ask him out!”

You would think by now that the ticking of her claymation clock would have finally driven her into his arms. Those little babies she clearly wants aren’t going to sculpt themselves. Who is going to take care of them in their old age, after all? Every citizen in town is older than they are. Their species is about to die out, and the only ones left to care for them will be the machines. And those things will rust out eventually. Hey, Bob! Yo, Wendy! Do you really want your adult diaper to be changed by a corroded scooper?

The episode that really killed it all for me was “Bob’s Forget Me Knot.” Are you ready for this? Wendy got Bob an electronic planner. With dead batteries.  Bob spent his entire day telling her how great the planner was and messing up all of his jobs because he was too proud to tell her that he didn’t know how to work the computer. She spent her day laughing at him because she knew the stupid computer didn’t work and that he was lying to her the whole time. Come on, people! Those kinds of crazy, twisted mind games actually MAKE you married in  48 states. Crazy seals the deal more firmly than a kiss and a preacher every single time.

I’ve tried to help them, but my helpful encouragement and the occasional swear word have fallen on deaf ears. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t get my hopes up for them again. I have been burned too many times. But Squish just got the Christmas special from the library. Maybe this time Bob will get his act together and produce an engagement ring. I’ll let you know.

I Have A Plan, and I’m Not Afraid To Use It.

I could collect another 14 of these. And dress them in little hats. And sing them songs.

My birthday is coming up soon. Less than a month. And it’s a big one. I won’t tell you which one it is because I don’t want to scare off my young hipster readers with my impending geezerdom, but let it suffice to say that it ends with a zero. And begins with a four. A big one. And with great age comes great responsibility. I know the midlife crisis is going to hit at some point in the not-so-distant future. Being a planner, I do not want let this to sneak up on me unprepared. Face it. If I don’t sort out my options before I begin to question whether or not anything I have done thus far in my life has any meaning at all, I could find myself moving to Florida and breeding lizards. As I have already bred lizards, and Florida has too many roaches, here are the choices I see thus far:

1) Boy Toys. No. I’m not talking about cougaring over at the local community college. I have a good guy already. I don’t think I have the energy to retrain another one. (Don’t worry. We established this weekend that he doesn’t actually read my blog. So you can laugh without feeling guilty. He’ll never know.) No, I am talking about actual toys. For my midlife crisis, I could go mad on Ebay and spend my life-savings on Harry Potter action figures. A friend as a life-sized Dobby that I covet. And I could spend my days knitting tea cozys for him to wear on his head. I have not ruled this one out yet.

2) Spiffy New Car. Mmm. New car smell. But Dave Ramsey, the awesome dude from whom we take financial advice, points out that new cars go down in value like a rock, so they are a terrible investment.

3) Classic Sports Car Something sleek that makes me look cool. Except that there is almost no leg-room in the back seat, no airbags at all, and can you imagine fitting a car seat in a Corvette Stingray?

4) Take Up Skydiving/Bungee Jumping Nothing says “My life has no meaning” like risking sudden death. Or at the very least soiling oneself in front of your instructor. But I’m afraid of heights. And I’m afraid the ankle cuffs might chaff. And enough people find my blog by the search term “peed pants.” I’m not sure I want that kind of traffic.

5) Have Another Baby Hanging onto youth by proving my fecundity. That’s original. And I have three already, and thus nothing left to prove in that regard. And they are expensive, which would mean fewer action figures for me. But my husband actually only reads the bold print in my blogs, and I can never pass up the opportunity to mess with him. Ever.

6) Take Up Smoking  Cigars or a pipe. Except that I am asthmatic. And smoke makes me sick to my stomach.

7) Volunteer For PTA President Really, really not that desperate.

8 ) Collect cats I think we have this one covered. We have three of them, and they own us.

9) Buy a Guitar This is the one I am leaning toward most. A folk acoustic guitar. The thing I think I will most regret if I don’t do it. Cheaper than a Corvette, for sure. I can sing pretty well. Granted,  God only gave me a single octave with which to work, but I will be the one-octave sensation sweeping the nation. And you will buy my records. And everyone will love me. At least the cats will. And they will sing with me. Because cats do that.

What other options have I missed? Husband says he’s getting a motorcycle for his midlife crisis, so I think I may be selling myself short.