Oh, how to start?
Where I am now
Is even less me than art
The feinting thump
Of an armadillo heart
Hey, I can walk in your shoes all day
Probably best to keep it that way.


Last week’s cryptic post was brought to you courtesy of my mother’s making an unexpected exit from the world. It was followed a few days later by my losing my great aunt; less unexpectedly, but damn, my family’s sense of dramatic timing.1

I’m now back home, up to my eyebrows in work that’s been keeping me up to 5HourEnergyCaliberUnfortunateHoursOfTheMorning, and now and again my brain gets stuck on the fact that my mother — who was Payroll Officer for a community college — made sure that she didn’t drop dead before she got out this year’s W2s.

Her shellshocked co-workers kept repeating that to me when they filed in for her viewing and funeral (and feeding us, bless ’em). Peggy got out the W2s.

@bhoneydew and I did our taxes as soon as we got back.

Now and again, my brain gets stuck on that fact too.

1One of the ways I kept myself together last week was imagining I was in a movie, and doing mental exercises as far as who I’d cast to play us all, and who’d do the cinematography and soundtrack. My sister (wisely) curated my in-the-real-world choices for funeral music. My (wiser) Monster opted to sing along anyway. Loudly. In a chapel full of stunned silent people. I was dumbfoundedly proud of him. Also wondering where he’d been listening to Miss Dolly and Miss Loretta sing gospel music, but more proud than dumbfounded.

Boundary Problems (continued)

New Things That The Monster Has Determined Are Not Poison:

Caramel popcorn1.
Cereal with (almond!) milk in it.
Cheese popcorn1.
Cherry pie.
Chicken without fillers in it.
Chinese fortune cookies.
Chocolate almond milk.
Crunchy spring roll.

Yes, I also find it suspicious that everything on this list starts with ‘C’, but I’m so not investigating that, no way, no how.  I’ll continue to pretend that it’s got to be a coincidence, just like it’ll be a coincidence when carambola, churro and cucumber turn up on his plate.

1 While he’s always been a fan of popcorn, it’s had to be plain or butter-flavored — as long as it was dry, but not powdery.

Boundary Problems

Researchers call it the “boundary problem”
However, I can’t ignore the supportive voices I’m hearing

-Today’s SpamCommentary

I usually don’t share things like this1, but I sort of have to with this one, because it’s just one of those things. I also meant to share it back on May 30th, when it actually occurred, but something else happened, then other something elses happened (happeneded?), and now we’re in the middle of June, and I’m not sure how that happened.

On May 30th, Monster ate cereal for the first time.

Let me rephrase that: it was the first time he wanted Cereal In A Bowl With Milk On Top Of It And To Eat It With A Spoon. He wasn’t messing with us or anything.2

He Wanted Cereal.

In A Bowl.

With Milk3 On Top Of It.

And He Ate It With A Spoon.

I know y’all are probably saying “uh, kid’s eating cereal, what’s the big deal?”.

He’s ten years old, guys.


Now I think I understand what my mother must have felt like the first time I ate a hamburger on a bun.

I was fourteen or fifteen at the time, so … progress!

1 Between my not really wanting to put family matters in the public space and having the majority of my work under NDA, yeah, I don’t generally have much I can talk about.
2 He does that.
3 And almond milk to boot, since we were out of white milk and he didn’t want to pour his chocolate milk on cereal, even if it was Multigrain Peanut Butter Cheerios.

Situational Adrenaline

It is not advisable to try to microwave the quiche

I started this post on December 1st. I had ten minutes, or so I thought, to throw some words together about what all is going on, and yes, the key words in this sentence are or so I thought.

It’s now the 23rd.

Since December 1st, I’ve turned in four contract deliverables (two more are due by New Year’s), taken a final (Advanced Database Management — I fell too far behind in the Algorithms class, so I’m taking it in the spring), and did the holiday prep with even less clue than I had last year.1

I’m currently wrapping up the antibiotics I wound up on after getting Yet Another Infection in my left ear (third one this year), and fighting off whatever the heck caused the Monster to spew terracotta colored vomit all over the upstairs last night and this morning.

So, Happy Holidays, y’all. I might be coherent enough to write a proper New Year’s post at some point before Chinese New Year.

In your plan, you’ll want to focus on the fact
And not the perceived problems
Repeat the rolling action that you just did
Within the first Situational Adrenaline
To arrive at the altar and grab the house key

-today’s #SpamPoetry

1Though I did succeed in putting up the icicle lights on the porch, after having put up the clips last year and totally failing to hang up the lights themselves. And the tree went up on time … but after we succeeded in losing the tree topper for the second year in a row (I bought a new one last year after we lost the old one, and now the new one’s missing AndWeHaven’tMovedHonest), we gave up … at least for now. Maybe we’ll decorate properly on New Year’s Weekend. Yeah, this is not the first time this has happened.

A, B, C, D, Twelve, F, G…

The subtitle of this post is “Why I Occasionally Stay Up Until 3:30 And Get Up At 6:00”.

The sub-sub title of the post is “January 2014 has been nothing but freaking snow days”.

At 9:15 p.m. Thursday night, I came back downstairs and flopped onto one of the chairs in front of the television.

“Guess how much work I managed to get done in the past three hours?” I asked @bhoneydew.  I’d spent the morning in a partner meeting where I’d picked up a writing assignment that was due Friday morning, which of course meant that my Thursday afternoon was eaten up by other issues, so I couldn’t sit down to write until after dinner.

Did I mention that January’s been nothing but snow days?  I believe I did.  On Thursday, Monster’d been out of school since the previous Friday.

@bhoneydew looked up from his work e-mail.  “You were interrupted every five minutes,” he guessed.

“Yeah. I was thoroughly schooled on the letter twelve.”

“And where does that come in the alphabet?  A, B, C, D … Twelve…”  He was still laughing when the Monster, after failing to get a response when he did his next five-minute verbal ping test, decided to join us downstairs.

When we lived in Pennsylvania, @bhoneydew and I converted our family room into a large home office, one we shared with the Monster.  We all had our computers, our brightly colored office chairs and our awesome IKEA Galant desks, and the arrangement worked very well, except when someone needed quiet to carry on a telephone conversation or think.  When we moved to Virginia, we bought a house that had enough space to allow us to split up into separate offices.  The arrangement works very well, except when we’re working in them while the Monster’s home.

When the Monster thinks he’s been stuck in the house too long, he starts checking on one or the other of us (usually me, because my office is more convenient to his office and bedroom) every five minutes.

Yes, his office is an office, not a playroom.  His computer lives there, so it’s an office.  While we’ve been able to get him to do homework or worksheets in there — though he’d rather do those at the dining room table — he won’t read or play with other things in that room.  If his bed was in there, we imagine he wouldn’t sleep!

This check consists of the Monster’s wandering into the room, saying some random thing, awaiting a fully attentive response, then disappearing for another five minutes.  The random things are most often letters, numbers, shapes, or colors, usually in English, but not always. He’s learning Mandarin Chinese in school, has picked up Spanish at some point along the way, and is teaching himself Russian1.  Every now and then he’ll ping test in some unrecognizable language, probably to see if we’re genuinely paying attention.

I think Monster’s picked up that @bhoneydew doesn’t understand French, because he pings him in that language more often than he uses it with me.  Zuul help us if he ever finds YouTube videos on Klingon language instruction2.

We got up, herded the Monster through a bath and book, then into bed,  I then swigged a Five Hour Energy and went back to work.

1 His Russian’s gotten good enough that it’s convinced me to enroll in Russian 101 this semester.  I didn’t finish my Russian homework this week, so I’ll be doing that after I post this — and hopefully before I go to tonight’s class.  I’m also taking Data Modeling locally for credit (that homework got done after Monday night’s class) and sitting in on a Stanford Online tech class that may see me break my habit of bailing on MOOCs.

2 Though if that would convince the Monster to talk to people who aren’t his parents or carefully curated outsiders, I’d be more than okay with that.

Invisible Hurricanes

Yep, there’s a hurricane coming. This is about a domestic one that made landfall yesterday.

I was supposed to do my first 5K yesterday. That didn’t happen:  @bhoneydew had to go out of town, I still haven’t found a Monster herder, and…

To be honest, I haven’t even been looking for a Monster herder.  It’s … well.  I can’t go into the reasons why it’s challenging to find a good one whom I can trust with him.

No, that’s not entirely true. I won’t go into the reasons. I am reluctant to go into the reasons. I do not like discussing the reasons. All of those are more accurate.

And, yeah, despite having had over a month to train for the 5K, I haven’t done a damn lick.  I couldn’t even make myself drive a mile and a half up the road and talk to someone about getting better shoes (for the record, I hate shoe shopping, so this is not a sign that I’m losing interest in an activity I enjoy).

‘Couldn’t make’ is probably less true than ‘didn’t want to make’, and even less true than ‘I was regretting what I’d come to regard as a rash decision to participate because while I support the goals of the organization that the 5K will benefit, I would rather not be publicly identified as a supporter or potential constituent, even if recalcitrance about such things was responsible for a number of Stackhouse situations in the past.’ 

So, yeah, I’m feeling a bit guilty over being relieved that yesterday didn’t go as scheduled (but obviously went as planned). Today, I’ll write a check and mentally beat myself up while I finish prepping for the not-so-invisible hurricane.

Track of Sleep

Almost a month here, and, knock on wood, the Monster continues to sleep soundly through the night in his own room.  He’s only awakened me three times since we’ve moved.

The first time, the first night we were here, Bad Quiet awoke me at 3:00 a.m. Monster wasn’t anywhere in the house.  Fortunately, he was too tired to go for an adventure:  I found him sitting on the front step staring at our cars parked in the driveway.

The next day, we had a house alarm system installed.

As a consequence (what @bhoneydew is calling “a good thing”), I’m not waking up at 4:00 a.m.  Or five a.m.  If I’m lucky, I wake up at 5:30, but, damn, most days I’m sleeping until the alarm clock goes off, and on more than a few, I’ve slept until @bhoneydew gets up two or three or sometimes five snooze cycles later.

As a consequence, the morning “free time” that I’ve been relying on for, uh, way too long now, is evaporating … and sure, I’m getting more stuff done because I’m better rested, but, why do I feel like it’s lower quality stuff (and certainly not creative stuff, unless work writing counts) and I’m always running behind?

Maybe I just need to increase my coffee intake, like I’ve had to increase my allergy meds (translation: take them daily, instead of just when I feel my eyes starting to swell up). Or beat my head against the wall enough to get the poetry I’ve been plagued with lately to Go Away.  I’d like the ear worm to come back, please. I’d even wouldn’t mind if it was the stereo ear worm I get sometimes.

Falling behind
And falling apart
Not always the same thing
But always the start
Of catching up
And climbing on
While wondering where
The track has gone.